UPHOLD THE DIGNITY AND HONOUR OF BHARAT MATHA
The Lord of Kailasa has manifested
His Divine form in front of your eyes with the crescent moon adorning His
head, the cool water of the Ganga flowing between the matted locks, with His
radiant eye in the middle of the forehead and the purple neck gleaming like
the sheen of a blackberry. He wears serpent bracelets and a snake belt, His
entire body is smeared with Vibhuti, His forehead is adorned with a Kumkum
dot, his ruddy lips glow with the juice of the betel, diamond-studded gold
earrings dangle from His ears and His whole swarthy body glows with divine
Embodiments of Love!
Everyday you have been listening to various speakers dwelling on the
principle of Easwara (Divinity). Many people imagine that Easwara has a form
with matted locks of hair and snakes adorning Him as ornaments. But, this is
not the true form of Easwara. Though He is all-pervasive, devotees, out of
their imagination, attribute a form to Him with various types of ornaments.
There is a temperamental weakness among Bharatiyas to
bring down the various forms of God they adore and the idols they worship to
the level of beggars. Truly speaking, there are no beggars and there cannot
be a beggar in this sacred land of Bharat. To consider somebody inferior to
you and imagine that they expect money from you is a sign of weakness. It is
because of such narrow-minded feeling that people from other countries
consider India to be a poor country and that it is full of beggars. This is
totally a misconception. Bharat has never been a poor country. Just because
people are economically backward, they cannot be considered beggars. There
are no beggars in this world. If someone seeks financial help or asks for
food, they are treated as beggars. In fact, we are responsible for making
somebody a beggar. We consider them to be inferior to us and ill-treat them.
Bharat is a land of plenty and prosperity. You must realise that there are
no beggars in this country and must conduct yourself accordingly. Some
people bring down even God to the level of a beggar. When their desires are
fulfilled they eulogise God. They pray, “Oh God, I will offer You cash or in
kind if You fulfil my desires.”
God is not poor and hence, people created by Him cannot
also be poor. It is man who makes beggars out of his fellowmen and
ill-treats them. Such low and mean practices should be given up. Some people
think that Lord Venkateswara is in need of money. They think He would do
their work and fulfil their desires for the sake of money. In this manner,
they bring Him down to the level of a beggar. It is a grave mistake. God is
not a beggar. You should consider Him as your father and mother. Cultivate
love for God and your fellowmen. Never consider someone a beggar and
ill-treat him. Extend help to those who are in distress. Develop
love for God and fear of sin. Just because someone approaches you
for help, do not consider him to be weak and inferior. Do not humiliate him.
Your innate divinity will manifest before you when you develop love and
respect towards all. Treat everybody as your brothers and sisters. Never
consider anybody a beggar. It is a great mistake to think that you are the
giver and someone else is the beneficiary.
There are some businessmen who try to get their work done by offering bribe
to those in power. Offering or accepting bribe is also a great sin. Asking
for bribe is the same as begging for alms. We should not give room to such
mean practices. Since ancient times, Bharat has upheld moral and ethical
values and has set an ideal to the rest of the world. Unfortunately, such
values are forgotten today. Feed the hungry with love but do not look down
upon them as beggars. Begging should not be entertained or encouraged in
this country. People may come to you and ask for food. It does not mean that
they are beggars. You do not become superior to them just because you serve
them food. Speak to them lovingly and satiate their hunger. But, never
insult them. Bharatiyas are putting their own country to disrepute by making
their fellowmen beggars. Bharat is not a poor country. Otherwise, how do we
explain the invasion of so many foreign rulers in the past? Many foreign
kings invaded this land and plundered the wealth of our country. The
question of being rich or poor arises because one compares himself with
another. If someone comes to your doorstep saying,
Bhavati Bhiksham Dehi (mother, give alms), do not treat him like a
beggar. Treat him like another human being and empathise with him. His
coming to you and asking for food does not make him inferior to you. Just
because he has no money to feed himself, he does not become a pauper and you
a millionaire. If you want to uphold the reputation of the country, respect
your fellowmen. First and foremost, develop love for your motherland. Feel
proud that you are a Bharatiya. Realise that you are born in a sacred land
which is the birthplace of many noble souls. Yesterday you heard the ladies
extolling Bharat as the land of the Vedas, the Upanishads and the Bhagavad
Gita. You should always keep in mind the glory and grandeur of Bharat and
conduct yourself accordingly. Only then are you eligible to be called a
Bharatiya. Your actions should match your words. Merely extolling the glory
of Bharat and conducting yourself in a mean manner is futile.
Forbearance is the real quality in this sacred land of
Bharat. The nectarous feeling in this country is the feeling towards one’s
Consider Bharat as your own mother. Develop love and reverence
towards her and uphold her dignity and honour. If you think your
mother is poor, how can you consider yourself to be rich? Since ancient
times, Bharat has conferred the wealth of knowledge to all through the
sacred scriptures and epics. How can such a country be considered poor? Your
physical mother may be poor but not your motherland. This sacred land has
attained the reputation of being the greatest among all nations. You should
not show disrespect to such a great country by considering it poor and weak.
The morality and integrity that we find in Bharat cannot be found in any
other country. Bharat is like a treasure chest of gold.
Having been born in such a land, where is the need to go in search of gold
and silver? But, unfortunately, people show disrespect and disregard to such
a land of gold. The educated should take a vow to revive the ancient glory
of Bharat. But, sadly, even the educated are not able to realise the
greatness of Bharat.
Today if we find beggars in the streets, it is because we have encouraged
them by giving money. You should never give money to beggars. If they are in
need of food or clothes, you can certainly give them. But do not encourage
the practice of begging.
Bharat has earned great name and fame among all nations. But people in
position and power are bringing disrepute to the country by their corrupt
practices. Nobody should indulge in the bad practice of giving or receiving
bribe. Even the Government should be cautioned in this regard. They should
find ways and means to stop this practice of bribing and begging. Beggars
should not be given money. They should be provided with opportunities to
become self- reliant. Extend all your help and cooperation to the less
fortunate ones and help them to come up in life. It is not possible for all
to be equal in this world. There is bound to be inequality.
Today, people out of their selfishness and self-interest have brought down
even God to the level of a beggar. When you to go to a temple, the priest
brings a plate before you expecting a few coins as Dakshina. People keep
Dakshina (offering) in the plate and receive Prasadam from the priest. This
practice of asking for Dakshina also amounts to asking for alms. Let us not
resort to such begging. Let us become rich in our thought, word and
deed. You may die for want of money, but never beg for money. The
educated should teach a lesson to those who spend their time begging in the
streets. When you come across a beggar, you should tell him, “My dear, you
are the son of Bharat Matha. Your mother is not poor, she is rich in all
respects. Since ancient times, she has been taking care of all nations.
Being her son, it is not proper on your part to resort to begging.”
Do not keep coins in your pocket for giving to beggars. You may derive some
satisfaction by doling out a few coins to beggars, but, in the process you
are also bringing disrepute to your motherland. You should uphold the
prestige and honour of your motherland. You should become an ideal and
worthy son of Bharat. Be convinced that you are born to uphold the honour of
your motherland. Otherwise, what is the use of your birth as her son?
You must have heard our students sing Ramakatha in which there is an
incident wherein Lava and Kusha find their mother Sita in a sorrowful mood
and then trying to console her. They ask her, “Mother, please let us know
the cause of your sorrow. Of what use is our life if we are unable to wipe
your tears? Do not underestimate us just because we are children. In fact,
we are more powerful than Lord Rama. Hence, Oh mother! Do not shed tears. If
you shed tears, the whole country will be ruined. Being your worthy sons, is
it not our duty to remove your suffering and sorrow? We are ready to meet
your interests and give you happiness even at the cost of our lives.”
Unfortunately, today we do not find such ideal sons as Lava and Kusha.
Today, people have become weak-minded. They lack the spirit of sacrifice.
Even the so-called great and rich people have not given up mean-mindedness.
I feel it is they who are making beggars of their fellow human beings. One
should never say ‘no’ when it comes to helping others.
Once, a rich person went to a Guru and requested him to grant him wisdom.
His pockets were stuffed with bundles of currency notes. As he was seated
there, the Guru sent one of his disciples to a businessman’s shop to get a
five rupee note. After some time, the disciple returned saying that the shop
was closed. The Guru sent him to another shop and again the disciple
returned empty-handed. This went on for some time. But, the rich man who was
a witness to these happenings did not offer a five rupee note from his
pocket. Then, the Guru chided him, saying “Your pockets are full of currency
notes, yet you did not have the heart to part with a five rupee note when I
needed it most. How do you expect to attain wisdom without cultivating the
spirit of sacrifice?” Immediately the businessman took out a five rupee note
and offered it to the Guru. The Guru did not accept the note, saying one
should perform acts of charity out of love and not out of compulsion.
When someone comes to your doorstep begging for food, you should invite him
wholeheartedly into your verandah, give a sumptuous meal and satisfy him.
Everyone has an equal share in all that is available in this world. Today,
people lack the spirit of sacrifice. They are experts in giving lectures on
sacrifice but are not prepared to part with even a paisa from their pockets
when it comes to practising what they preach. What is the use of preaching
when you cannot translate it into action? Manasyekam
Vachasyekam Karmanyekam Mahatmanam (Those whose thoughts,
words and deeds are in perfect harmony are noble ones). You need
not borrow money in order to serve others. Share with your fellowmen
whatever you have. This is how you should uphold the honour and dignity of
Bharatiyas. Today, the reputation of the country has come down on account of
people who have stooped to the level of beggars. It is because of the
educated people that beggars are on the increase. What is the purpose of
education? Is it to produce beggars? I am not in favour of such education.
One may acquire a high academic qualification such as
M.A. and B.A. and attain exalted position,
One may amass wealth, perform acts of charity and attain name and fame,
One may have physical strength and enjoy a long and healthy life,
One may be a great scholar studying and preaching the Vedas,
But none can equal a true devotee of the Lord.
People lack strength and have become weak-minded because they lack devotion
for God. They do not have love for their motherland. Consequently, they are
bringing bad name to the country. You will be called a true and
worthy son of Bharat only when you uphold the dignity and honour of Bharat
Matha (Mother India). You may be a great scholar, but your
scholarship is of no value if it is not used for protecting the honour of
your country. If you go through the biographies of noble men like
RamakrishnaParamahamsa, Vivekananda and Rabindranath Tagore, all of them
exhorted people to give up mean-mindedness. You should proclaim with pride,
“I am the son of Bharat.” The boy who spoke earlier made a
mention of this. If you want to be called a true son of Bharat, you should
lead a life of sacrifice. If need arises you should be prepared even to
forego your meal in order to feed the hungry.
The spirit of sacrifice demonstrated by Bharata in the Ramayana is
unparalleled. When Rama went to the forest, Bharata was to be crowned as
king. But he went to the forest to entreat Rama to come back to Ayodhya and
ascend the throne. Lakshmana who was with Rama in the forest, observed the
arrival of Bharata and his entourage from a distance. He became furious with
the misconceived notion that Bharata was coming to wage a battle with Rama.
In an angry tone, he said, “Mother Kaikeyi has sent us to the forest. Now,
her son does not want us to live in peace even in the forest. That is why he
is coming here with his army. If You permit me, I will teach him a fitting
lesson.” Reacting to Lakshmana’s outburst, Rama said, “Lakshmana, I think
you have developed a desire for the throne of Ayodhya. Better, you go to
Ayodhya and rule the kingdom. I will keep Bharata with Me in the forest.
Bharata is one of sacrifice and character. His spirit of sacrifice is
matchless. You have misunderstood his noble intention.”
Meanwhile Bharata came there and fell at the feet of Rama. “My dear, how are
the parents?” This was the first question that Rama asked Bharata. He did
not enquire about His own mother Kausalya, but He asked about the well-being
of Kaikeyi. On hearing the name of Kaikeyi, Bharata became furious. “It is
because of that wicked woman you are forced to live in forest. The very
mention of her name fills me with disgust. Please don’t mention her name.”
Rama put His hand on his shoulders and pacified him, saying, “Bharata,
Mother Kaikeyi is a noble woman. It is because of her that My Name is
glorified and spread far and wide. Do not go by the outward behaviour and
talk ill of her. Her heart is filled with noble intentions.” After speaking
to Bharata in this manner, Rama went straight to Mother Kaikeyi, fell at her
feet and said, “Mother, by your blessings, I am fine here. Do not worry
about Me. Let Bharata be crowned as the king of Ayodhya. Teach him the codes
of governance. After the completion of 14 years, I will come back to Ayodhya
and see all of you. It is My duty to uphold the promise made by My father.
It is not enough if one listens to the command of one’s parents. One should
strictly adhere to the rules and regulations laid down by the government and
strive for the welfare and happiness of fellowmen. Only then can one be
called an ideal citizen.”
As denizens of the land of Rama’s reign, we should lead our lives in
accordance with His model. Rama’s words made an indelible impression on the
mind of Lakshmana. He fell at the feet of Rama and repented for his
outburst. He said, “Brother, when I saw Bharata and his army from a
distance, I was seething with anger. Now my mind rests in peace having known
the truth and listening to Your soothing words.” Rama advised him not to be
carried away by the outward scenario but to turn inward and strive for
experiencing bliss. When Bharata started pleading with Rama to return to
Ayodhya, Rama affectionately drew him close and said, “Bharata, no doubt
your intentions are noble, but you should bear in mind the command of our
father. You must follow your mother’s advice. That is the only way you can
please Me. Share your love with not only your friends and relatives but with
one and all. Remember that Thyaga (sacrifice) alone can bestow on you true
Sage Vasishta shed tears of joy listening to the words of Lord Rama. He
said, “Rama, You are forced to live in the forest for no fault of Yours.
But, You have forgotten the injustice done to You. You are seeing only the
good in others. We are really moved by Your magnanimity. However, we request
You to establish Ramarajya (kingdom of Rama) in Ayodhya and give joy to
all.” Rama smilingly replied, “Now it is Bharatarajya, not Ramarajya.
Henceforth, it shall be called Bharatadesa (the land of Bharata).”
It is because of such noble men of sacrifice that Bharat has progressed and
attained exalted position. No other country can match Bharat in terms of
dignity, honour and reputation. People of ancient Bharat led a life of
sacrifice for the welfare of the country. There is no greater sacrifice than
sacrificing for one’s own nation. Greatness does not lie in performing acts
of charity by spending crores of rupees. Your thoughts, words and
deeds should be suffused with love. You should make efforts to
alleviate the suffering of your fellowmen. Love all as you love
yourself. This is your Dharma. Dharma does not
mean performing acts of charity alone. You should fill your heart with
righteous feelings and give up selfishness and greed. Always keep the
welfare of society in mind. Do not consider your fellowmen as ‘others’.
Share your love with all. Live in amity and develop unity.
Only through love can you win the hearts of others and transform them.
Hence, the need of the hour is to cultivate love and share it with others.
Develop love for God and compassion towards those less fortunate
than you. This is the essence of education. Serve your
parents and make them happy. What is the use of sharing your love
with others when you are not concerned about the suffering of your mother at
home? Your foremost duty is to love your parents and serve them. Then you
can share your love with others. This was the teaching of Lord Rama to
Bharata. He told him, “Bharata, there is no point in filling the treasury
with money. You will earn a good name and win the heart of your subjects
only when you utilise the money for the welfare of people.”
Lakshmana and Satrughna were the sons of mother Sumitra. Lakshmana followed
Rama while Satrughna was always with Bharata. They served their elder
brothers with utmost love and devotion. During times of difficulties, they
stood by their elder brothers, gave them good counsel and supported them in
all respects. That was the purpose for which they were born to Sumitra. All
this was a part of God’s master-plan. Rama exhorted Bharata to give up
hatred towards his mother and love her wholeheartedly. He told him that it
was all destined to happen and she was not to be blamed. Since Rama did not
relent and after His resolve not to return to Ayodhya, Bharata prayed to Him
to give at least His Padukas (sandals) to be enthroned as His proxy.
The name of Sumitra does not find a place of prominence that it deserves in
the Ramayana. She was a paragon of virtues and, true to her name, she was a
good friend of all. The sacrifice made by Sumitra was greater compared to
the sacrifice made by Kausalya. Some of the virtues of Sumitra were not to
be found even in Kausalya and Kaikeyi. Before leaving for the forest, Rama
sought the blessings of Kausalya. Then He went to the residence of Sumitra.
Rama prostrated before her and said, “Mother, I am very happy to obey
father’s command and go to the forest, but I feel sad to leave you and go. I
pray to you to shower your love and blessings on Me. I do not require
anything else.” So saying, He offered His salutations to her again and
again, took leave of her and left for the forest. Among the three queens,
Sumitra was the noblest. Even Sage Vasishta and Sage Visvamitra extolled her
noble qualities. We should accept others’ greatness and not indulge
in self glorification. In order to glorify others’ greatness,
sometimes we need to be modest and self effacing.
Never belittle others. Develop broad-mindedness and treat everybody
with respect. Consider others as your own brothers. If a hungry
person comes to you, welcome him with open arms and give him a sumptuous
meal. Never consider someone a beggar or a poor person. Having been born in
this sacred land of Bharat, one cannot be a beggar or a poor person. All are
rich. When you consider someone a beggar, it is only the defect in your
feeling that is reflected outside.
When Lord Rama lifted Siva’s bow, Sita’s joy knew no bounds. Her prayers
were answered. Rama, being the embodiment of love and righteousness, had the
power to lift, not just one bow of Lord Siva, but ten such bows. The four
brothers, Rama, Lakshmana, Bharata Satrughna and their consorts had perfect
unity and harmony among themselves. They were like different parts of the
orange fruit. One day Sumitra peeled out the skin of an orange fruit. As she
took out each part, she was saying, “This is Rama, this is Lakshmana …” She
considered each part of the fruit to represent the four brothers and their
wives. She was very happy to have such virtuous daughters–in–law like Sita,
Urmila, Mandavi and Srutakeerthi. The daughters-in-law also served their
mothers-in-law with utmost love and care.
The four brothers and their wives always had a common mind. That is why the
fame of Ramarajya spread far and wide. Having been born in this sacred land
of Bharat, you should live like a true Bharatiya. Your heart should be
filled with sweetness. Do not avoid those who need your help, on the
contrary you should always wait for an opportunity to serve. This
Thyaga Bhava (spirit of sacrifice) can alone confer on you true Bhoga
Today we are celebrating the sacred festival of Vijayadasami. People perform
various rituals during the nine days of Navaratri festival. We should hope
and pray that every day of our life should be as sacred as these nine days.
Let us all move together, let us all grow together,
Let us all stay united and share our knowledge,
Let us live together with friendship and without disharmony.
Live in unity, make proper use of your intelligence and give happiness to
your parents. When you lead your lives in this manner, every day will be a
day of festivity and celebration. The whole world will rejoice. I wish that
you put into practice all that you have learnt during these nine days.
Be always cheerful. Never put on a face as if in deep
misery. I am happy that our boys never put on a long face; they are always
cheerful. From now onwards, forget all differences and share your
love with one and all. Serve all.
Bhagavan concluded His Discourse with the Bhajan,
“Rama Rama Rama Sita …”