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Obtain Divine Grace by obeying your Parents
Ganesh Chaturthi 18-09-2004
The moon illumines the world at night and the sun during the day.
Righteousness illumines the three worlds, and a virtuous son illumines his entire lineage.
(Telugu Poem)

Embodiments of Love!
A virtuous son is greater than even those who have acquired Jnana (knowledge), Vijnana (wisdom), Sujnana and Prajnana (constant integrated awareness). Lord Vinayaka is such a virtuous son. Every individual has a Guru. But, Vinayaka has no Guru at all. He is the Guru of Gurus and the leader of leaders. He is called by the name “Vinayaka” since He has no leader above Him and He is the leader for all.

Embodiments of Love!
Whenever a new task is undertaken, it is customary to perform Puja to Lord Vinayaka to invoke His blessings for the successful completion of the task. Even while starting a musical concert, the singers pray to Lord Vinayaka with the kirtan, “Vinayaka Nannu Brovara” (Oh! Lord Vinayaka! Please come to my help). It is only when you thus pray to Lord Vinayaka and seek His blessings, will all your task meet with success.

Lord Vinayaka has an elephant’s head and trunk. It denotes that Vinayaka can be compared to an elephant in intelligence, which always thinks twice before setting its foot forward. Similarly, it is only after intelligent discrimination that Vinayaka moves forward. The four letters in the word Ganapathi (ga, na, pa and ti) denote that Lord Vinayaka is full of Vijnana, Sujnana and Prajnana. People today forget the underlying meaning in the name ‘Ganapati’ and engage themselves in mere rituals. You may not perform any rituals, but, never give up worshipping Lord Vinayaka. Especially, it is the foremost duty of the students to come under the leadership of Vinayaka, who is a leader unto Himself. You would not find a parallel to Lord Vinayaka. When you take such a Lord as your ideal and pursue your studies, you will be able to master all branches of education. Vinayaka has a big tummy, which is full of Jnana (wisdom). That wisdom is His power. We should worship such a powerful Lord. No one can comprehend the true nature of Lord Vinayaka, fully.

Lord Vinayaka is the leader for one and all. He is the divine father and mother to everybody. In accordance with the prayer Twameva Matha cha Pitha Twameva, Twameva Bandhuscha Sakha Twameva, Twameva Vidya Dravinam Twameva (He alone is the father and mother, friend and relation, wisdom and wealth to every individual). No one else can be compared to Lord Vinayaka in terms of power and prowess in this world. The world is unable to recognise the true nature of such a divine leader. We are, today, prepared to accept the leadership of ordinary mortals. This is an unfortunate situation.

Today is the holy day commemorating the birth of Lord Vinayaka. In fact, He has no birth at all. He created the entire universe. All the Vedas are the result of the divine sankalpa of Lord Vinayaka. All forms of knowledge have originated from Vinayaka.

Embodiments of Love!
Lord Vinayaka does not know what anger is. He is the embodiment of love. Where there is love, bad qualities like anger, passion, conceit etc., cannot gain entry. You might have witnessed the facial features of Vinayaka. Did His face ever reflect anger? No. He will always be smiling. Vinayaka is omnipresent. People attribute a particular place as the birthplace of God and consider it as a Kshetra (a sacred place of pilgrimage). But, no single place can be ascribed as the birthplace of God. He is Swayambhu (Self-emergent). There is no specific place which can be ascribed as place of birth, place of upbringing, etc., for God. He is omnipresent. God will manifest in such a place where people get rid of their bad qualities and sincerely pray to Him with devotion. He is Gunatheetha (beyond attributes). He is Nirgunam, Niranjanam, Sanathanam, Niketanam, Nitya, Shuddha, Buddha, Mukta, Nirmala Swarupinam (God is attributeless, pure, final abode, eternal, unsullied, enlightened, free and embodiment of sacredness).

God appears to be angry at times. But, that is not real anger. In order to put the devotees on the right path, He pretends to be angry. If He does not pretend so, there is no chance for the devotees to change their behaviour. His pretending to be angry is just a drama. God has no trace of anger in Him. When we commit mistakes or tread the wrong path, we are afraid that God will be angry with us. But, God only pretends to be angry on such occasions so that you become aware of your own faults and deficiencies. For example, when Swami keeps Himself away from you, you feel very sad and think that Swami is not talking to you because He is angry with you. In fact, Swami does not know what anger is. He is the embodiment of love. He is full of love. However, on some rare occasions when He speaks harshly, it might be misconstrued that He is angry. This is quite natural even in our day-to-day life. When you call somebody, “Son! Please come here,” it sounds that you are calling him with love. But, if the same words are uttered with a raised voice (in an angry mood), it looks as though you are angry. Therefore, all these are variations in expression and nothing else. The same was the case with Sage Durvasa, whose expressions revealed anger and thus became synonymous for anger. But in fact, Sage Durvasa had no anger at all!

During the Mahabharata war, Aswatthama, the son of Dronacharya, took a terrible vow to annihilate all the Pandavas. Having come to know of this, Droupadi prayed to Krishna to save the Pandavas. The leelas of the Lord are not only wonderful but also mysterious. God enacts dramas and even changes the scenes in His play for the welfare and safety of His devotees. In this instance, the Lord saved the Pandavas with a delicate touch that He alone is capable of.

He went to Sage Durvasa. He was immensely delighted to receive Krishna. The sage asked, “Lord, what brought You to my humble ashram?” Krishna smiled and said, “I have a small job for you.” The sage was happy and said, “I am at Your service. You just have to command.” Krishna then said, “Good! Tonight, you have to save the Pandavas.” Durvasa was puzzled and asked, “Lord, it is You who protect everything in creation. Who am I to do that job?” Krishna replied, “That is a different matter. But for this job, you will be My instrument. I extend protection in many different ways. On this occasion, you have to do something specific as per My instructions.” Durvasa wanted to know what it was and Krishna continued, “Dig a pit, ask the Pandavas to hide themselves in it, cover it with planks, grass and mud, and then take your seat on the shelter so prepared. The enemies of the Pandavas may come and ask you about the whereabouts of the Pandavas. They may say, “You know the past, present and future. Please tell us where the Pandavas are hiding.” Durvasa intervened and said, “Lord, I cannot tell a lie.” Krishna countered, “Did I ask you to utter falsehood? I am Myself the Embodiment of Truth, and I will always ask you to speak only the truth. However, you are at liberty to change your voice suitably to achieve the desired result. I am sure you understand.” The sage nodded and smiled.

Some time later, after the Pandavas were hidden, Aswatthama came there, exactly as Krishna had foretold. Durvasa was sitting with his eyes closed. Bowing to the sage, Aswatthama enquired, in a most humble manner, about the whereabouts of the Pandavas. Durvasa slowly opened his eyes; which were like flame. Angrily he roared, “Yes, the Pandavas are here, right below me.” Aswatthama was frightened because the sage was well known for his bad temper and his propensity to curse those whom he is angry with. Promptly, he fled from the scene, and the Pandavas were duly saved. All Avatars employ such techniques, and Swami too does the same when required.

The sages and saints, yogis and jnanis for ages have been providing rakshana (protection) and sikshana (correction) and make people tread the right path. Sage Durvasa did the same thing. Ignorant people accuse him of being one of anger in spite of being a great tapasvin. But, those people who are able to understand the real intention behind his apparent anger realise the truth. God has no anger. In fact, one who has anger is not fit to be called God at all!

Once Mother Parvati and Easwara called Vinayaka and His younger brother Subrahmanya, and advised them to go round the world. They also told them that whoever came first would be given a phala (fruit) as reward. This competition was intended to demonstrate the greatness of Vinayaka to the world. The younger brother Subrahmanya immediately plunged into action. He mounted His vehicle, the peacock, to fly round the world. But, Vinayaka did not move and sat in His own place. Easwara then enquired, “My dear son! Why did You not start on Your journey round the world?” Vinayaka laughed at this question and replied “Oh! Father! I need not go anywhere. The fruit of all My journey round the world is right in front of me.” So saying, Vinayaka made a Pradakshina (circumambulation) round His father and mother (Lord Easwara and Mother Parvati) and sat down calmly. He claimed victory in the race. In the meanwhile, Subrahmanya came there, after completing His journey round the world. He was very much tired and reported to His father about His successful completion of the task. Lord Easwara then declared Vinayaka as the winner in the race and handed over the fruit to Him. The place where this episode took place is called Palani, in the State of Tamil Nadu.

The underlying meaning in this story is that the parents are the very embodiment of divinity and it is enough if one does pradakshina to them in reverence. That would be tantamount to the punya (merit) acquired by visiting all the holy shrines in the world. Without the parents, there can be no son at all! If children are to be virtuous, it is the parents who have to take care of them. The parents are responsible for the success of their children in all the endeavours.

It is common practice for students to visit temples during examination time and pray for success in the examinations. They offer coconuts in the temples with the pocket money given by their parents. These are all external practices, which have little to do with sincere devotion. If they really wish to achieve success in their endeavour, it is enough if they please their parents and obtain their blessings. If they are satisfied, you are sure to succeed. In order to drive home the point that children should strive to please and satisfy their parents first, Lord Easwara and Mother Parvati arranged this competition of going round the world for Lord Vinayaka and Lord Subrahmanya. If you want to obtain the grace of God, it is enough if you obey the command of your parents lovingly. There is no greater divinity than the parents who are present right in front of your eyes. They have struggled hard in several ways to bring you up to the present state. They made a lot of sacrifice, so that you may come up in life. No parent would ever like to displease his children. They appear to be angry sometimes and may even give some punishment, but that is only outward. In their heart of hearts, they have abundant love for you. Even if they pretend to be angry, it is for your own good. The stream of infinite love ever flows in their hearts. Here is a small example: When the child does some mischief, the mother gives a beating. But, how? The beating merely produces sound but does not cause any pain to the child. Her anger is borne out of love only. On certain occasions, they may show anger, but it is only temporary. It is never permanent. You may think that your parents are angry with you. But, that is your own misunderstanding; you may not be able to understand their love, which is lying dormant. Even if they show anger and say “chee” (an expression in Telugu to indicate one’s disapproval), it is only out of love. Students shall, therefore, try to understand the real nature of their parents.

In fact, one’s anger is his own enemy, and happiness, his heaven. One should always be happy. A person with anger and irritable temperament can never achieve anything. Vinayaka is one who always obeyed his parents’ command. That is why it is said that there is no leader above Him. Students sometimes ask for money from their parents to go to a cinema. When parents refuse, they think that the parents are angry. These are trivial issues. The parents, especially the mother, will be even ready to sacrifice her life, in order to save her children in times of danger. Unfortunately, today there are sons who even go to a court of law against their mothers. It is, therefore, essential that they change their attitude towards their parents and realise that they are verily embodiments of love.

Any number of diversions or silly thoughts may arise in children, but the parents’ love towards their children remains unwavering. There are several sons in the world who are angry with their parents, but relationship of the parents and their children is one of love only. Whatever differences that may arise between them are only temporary. The relationship between parents and their children is one of love, nothing else. Lord Vinayaka is the embodiment of love. He always showers love only. When He was acting as a scribe to write the Mahabharata to the dictation of Sage Vyasa, he displayed the same attitude of love. Since He was the embodiment of Love, Vyasa selected Him particularly to undertake the duty of a scribe. Throughout the period of writing the Mahabharata, Vinayaka displayed this quality of pure love. That is why you do not find even a single mistake in the Mahabharata. Since He was flawless, His word was also flawless. You do not find the bad qualities of anger, jealousy, envy or pride in Vinayaka. They are the qualities of a human being devoid of noble qualities.

Dear students! From today onwards, you give up whatever little anger you have towards your parents and cultivate pure love towards them. Love begets love. Receive love from your parents in abundance and prosper in life.

Today is the festival of Vinayaka Chaturthi. It is a very important festival. There is a custom in some families to invite the newly married son-in-law for the festival. Therefore, do not hesitate to go to your in-law’s house to spend some time happily with them.

Oh newly married bridegroom, visit your in-laws’ house,
Come, spend your time in fun and frolic with your brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law,
The entire household and the neighbourhood will honour you with love and affection.
(Telugu song)

When a son-in-law visits his spouses parents’ house, the entire household gets into a festive mood. One is sure to feel happy and mentally relaxed. There are, however, some stone-hearted sons-in-law, who cultivate ill-feelings towards their in-laws and do not visit their house. Such ill-feelings are the result of food. As is the food, so is the head. The feelings of the heart reflect the thought in the head (mind). Therefore, we must take the right food. You should never take such food as would kindle the flames of anger and envy in you. Since ancient times, sages in India have observed strict diet regulations. They always made it a point to consume sattwic food, not rajasic food. By consuming rajasic food, anger is generated. On the other hand, if you consume thamasic food, you will feel sleepy even while you eat. Therefore, both rajasic and thamasic types of food must be avoided. Only sattwic food must be taken. Excess of chillies, salt and sour items must be avoided in food. Before you take food, never forget to offer your prayers:

Brahmarpanam Brahma Havir
Brahmagnou Brahmanahutam
Brahmaiva Thena Ganthavyam
Brahma Karma Samadhina.

(Brahman is the ladle as well as the oblation. He is the sacrificial fire as also the sacrificer. And finally, Brahman is the goal of one who is engaged in the act of sacrifice.)

When you pray in this manner before you partake of your food, God immediately responds thus:

Aham Vaishvanaro Bhutva
Praninam Dehamasritah
Pranapana Samayukta
Pachamyannam Chaturvidham.
(I am present in all beings in the form of digestive fire. United with the Prana (exhalation) and Apana (inhalation), it is I who consume the four kinds of food.)

While taking food, you must always ensure that you take only such items which you can easily digest. Never consume food which you cannot digest. Just as you sit down happily for taking food, so also when you get up after taking your food, you must feel happy and light. Some people sit for food with a light stomach and get up with a heavy stomach after eating bellyful. This is not the proper method of taking food.

Always take light food. These are the habits you must cultivate at least from this auspicious day of Vinayaka Chaturthi. If you cultivate these good habits and qualities you can become as great as Lord Vinayaka.

(Bhagawan concluded His discourse with the Bhajan, “Prema Muditha Manase Kaho…”)







Date: 6 September 2004 Occasion: Krishna Janmashtami
Place: Prasanthi Nilayam

The Lord accepts only a Pure Heart

Divine Discourse
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba

Oh Krishna! You don't eat what I give You,
You don't eat our home food,
You go to the houses of the cowherds,
And eat butter stealthily,
You spoil Your good name, my dear!
(Telugu poem)

Thus, mother Yashoda expressed her anguish one day, having been vexed by the complaints of the neighbours. She chided Him saying, "Oh Krishna! I have to face a lot of trouble on account of Your mischievous pranks. You don't have taste for the food prepared in our house. You always like the items prepared in the neighbouring houses. How shall I manage with You?" True, people develop a taste for food in the neighbouring houses. A sweetmeat shop owner sitting in his own shop, all the while enjoying the sweet smell of the laddus, develops a taste for puffed rice from another shop.

Kashyapa, a great devotee of the Lord had completely surrendered himself at the Lotus Feet and was totally lost in divine bliss. One day, his wife, Aditi, approached him and advised him, "My dear! We do not have children. You have surrendered everything of yours to the Lord. Why don't you pray to Him to bless us with a child?"

Emperor Bali, in Krita Yuga, performed many yajnas (sacrificial rite). After completion of one hundred and seven yajnas, he made arrangements for performing the one hundred and eighth yajna known as Viswajit. As he was performing this yajna, Lord Vishnu appeared before him as Vamana in the guise of a dwarfish Brahmin. Vamana asked for three paces of land in charity from Bali, which he was about to give. In the meanwhile, Emperor Bali's preceptor Sukracharya came there and tried to dissuade Bali from giving this gift of charity. He advised Bali, "Please do not give anything in charity to this short Brahmin, much less the three paces of land. Do not underestimate Him. He is not an ordinary Brahmin. He is an Avatar of Vishnu. He is born to Sage Kashyapa, in fulfillment of the boon granted by Lord Vishnu to him."

But Emperor Bali did not pay heed to the advice of his preceptor. He asked Lord Vamana, "Sir, What can I do for you?"

Vamana replied, "Oh King! I do not need anything. Just give Me three paces of land."

Sukracharya again pleaded with Bali, "Oh King! You consider this person as an ordinary Brahmin. No. No. He is capable of filling the entire universe. It is not wise on your part to grant his request." But, Emperor Bali turned down his advice saying that he could not go back on his promise, because it was a great sin not to stand by one's word.

In those days, people considered death preferable to going back on one's word. But today in Kali Yuga, people make promises and break them at will. Emperor Bali was of pure heart. Once a promise was made, he fulfilled it, come what may!

He said, "I gave a word to this Brahmin boy. I am prepared to face any eventuality in fulfilling my promise. I will offer the fruits of all the yajnas I have performed, including the one I am now performing, to this Brahmin boy. So saying, he put the garland of the fruits of 108 yajnas performed by him round the neck of Vamana and prostrated before Him." (As He said this, Swami created a necklace of 108 gold coins.)

Vamana covered the entire land given in charity by Bali under one foot. He grew in size and filled the entire universe with His second foot. There was no further space to put His third foot. Then Sukracharya said, "Oh emperor! You did not pay heed to my advice. You underestimated this Brahmin boy and got yourself tricked by His innocent looks."

Vamana received the offering of Emperor Bali and praised his large-heartedness and blessed him. Vamana was short in stature, but he could fill the entire universe. Being an Avatar, He was Aprameya (beyond all limitations, indescribable and immeasurable). Human being have limitations, but not an Avatar.

The sunrise and sunset happen according to a predetermined Divine command. It happens regularly, uninterrupted. The sun, the moon, and the stars follow a definite pattern of schedule. All the five elements in the universe discharge their duties regularly as ordained by the Lord. Even God Himself observes the rules that He lays down for all. Everything in God's creation goes on according to a predetermined order and Divine command. Nothing in the universe, including the five elements, has an independent existence. But, unfortunately, man is unable to recognise this divine force that regulates the functioning of the universe. Scientists are making unstinted efforts to discover this divine force. The stars shining brightly in the sky at night are, however, not visible during daytime.

The sun rises in the morning and sets in the evening
with utmost regularity everyday.
The stars glitter beautifully in the sky at night and
hide themselves during the day.
The wind blows incessantly and sustains the living
beings without taking rest even for a moment.
The rivers make gurgling sounds as they flow perennially.
(Telugu poem)

What could be the reason for this phenomenon? Scientists probed into this aspect and concluded that the stars were not visible during daytime because the sun was shining brilliantly in the sky during that period. Similarly, they tried to explain the divine force in ever so many ways.

The moment the umbilical cord is cut and the child is separated from the mother, it cries. Why? Nobody could explain and explore this secret. The moment a drop of milk or honey is put on the tongue of the newborn child, it sleeps happily. This means ever since a human being comes out of his mother's womb, he struggles to satiate his hunger.

Oh man!
You struggle hard to acquire various types of knowledge
in order to fill your stomach.
In spite of all your hard work and acquisition of knowledge,
you are unable to experience everlasting happiness.
Instead, why don't you contemplate on the Lord
and seek refuge in Him?
He will certainly show you a way to overcome your misery.
(Telugu poem)

Every human being thinks that he is born merely for filling his belly. He constantly struggles to acquire food.

There is another interesting phenomenon in nature. The branches of a tree rub against each other due to the wind, and fire is born out of that friction between two pieces of wood. How does it happen? Though there is fire in the wood of a tree, it is not burnt away. Why? No scientist could ever discover this secret so far. There are several such inexplicable phenomena in nature. With a view to recognise and understand such phenomena, man is constantly engaged in the quest for Divinity. However, one need not search for God, who is omnipresent.

Oh man!
You struggle hard in life merely
for the sake of filling your belly.
You acquire myriad types of knowledge from various fields.
Examine and enquire for yourself what great happiness
you have achieved by spending all the time from dawn to dusk
in acquiring worldly knowledge and earning wealth,
while forgetting God.
(Telugu poem)

Everything in this universe moves strictly according to the Divine Will and force. Man, of his own accord, cannot achieve anything. The Divine force manifests itself in several ways in this universe, in the form of various types of energy. People think they are created by somebody. Strictly speaking, nobody has created them. They are natural phenomena that manifest out of divine will. For example, when two pieces of stone are struck against each other, fire is born. It means that there is fire latent in the stone, but it does not manifest outside. Thus, all the powers are latent in nature.

A few minutes ago, one boy spoke about Nanda and Yashoda, the foster parents of Lord Krishna. In those days, there was no electricity. People in the village used to go to the house of Nanda (since he was the chief of the village) and lighted their oil lamps from the lamp lit up in Nanda's house. People were of the belief that they would attain plenty and prosperity if they lighted their oil lamps from the lamps lit in the houses of well-to-do-people.

A newly married daughter-in-law by name Suguna arrived in that village. Her mother-in-law told her to go to the house of Nanda and get her lamp lighted from theirs. When Suguna went to the house of Nanda and lighted the lamp, she could visualise Krishna in that flame. On having this divine vision, she lost her body consciousness. She fixed her gaze on that beautiful form of Lord Krishna and was lost in bliss. She could not even realise that her fingers were being burnt, having come into contact with the flame. She was in total bliss. In the meanwhile, other ladies from the neighbouring houses also came there to light their own lamps. They were wonderstruck on witnessing this scene. They could notice that Suguna was not moving away from the flame even though her fingers were being burnt. They then realised that she had the vision of Krishna in that flame. They sang a song describing this incident. (Swami sang a Telugu song, the meaning of the first few lines is as follows ...)

It seems Suguna had a vision
of Gopala in the house of Nanda.
She saw Krishna in the flame!

On hearing this song, Yashoda came there literally running. She saw Suguna's fingers getting burnt in the flame. While all the gopis (cowherd maids) were dancing in ecstasy, Yashoda went near Suguna and pulled her hand away from the flame. She chided her saying, "Oh! Suguna ! Did you not notice your fingers being burnt on coming into contact with the flame? Do you wish to bring a bad name to us that if anyone goes to Nanda's house, their fingers will be burnt?"

Suguna's mother-in-law was by nature a short-tempered woman. On hearing about this incident, she came running to the house of Yashoda and made a big issue of this incident. She ordered her daughter-in-law not to go to the house of Nanda again in the future, for getting the lamp lighted.

Several miracles happened in the house of Yashoda. After Krishna left for Mathura, the gopis could not bear His separation and were pining for His darshan (site of a holy person). In such a moment of yearning, Krishna appeared in Gokul. However, neither Nanda nor Yashoda could see Him. All the gopis gathered at the house of Nanda and prayed that they may be allowed to have Krishna's darshan. They started complaining, "Nanda and Yashoda! you have kept Krishna away from us. Please tell us where he is." But, Krishna did not make his appearance in public. He appeared to some gopis individually in answer to their prayers.

A few minutes ago, a student of our University narrated an incident wherein Swami had appeared before him in answer to his prayers. No one else could see Swami. Then, the boy prayed again, "Swami! What is the use of giving darshan to me alone? Please give darshan to all the students; otherwise, they will not believe my words and make fun of me." I replied, "Does not matter. Let people think whatever they wish to. This is your prapti (deservedness), only you deserve to see Me." So saying, I disappeared.

Once, Yashoda reprimanded child Krishna saying, "Oh! My dear Krishna! You don't eat the food I prepared for you. You go to the houses of the milkmaids and stealthily eat the butter stored in their houses. You are creating problems for me. Is it that the butter suffused with mother's love does not taste good for you?" So saying, she tied Krishna to a mortar with a rope.

It is everybody's experience in the world that we do not like the food cooked in our own house. The items cooked in others' houses will appear to be tasty. This is quite natural. However, Krishna did not steal the butter from others' houses for its taste. There is an underlying message in this leela (play, sport). Here, butter symbolises a pure heart. Wherever such a pure heart is available, Krishna takes it. Such a pure heart will be soft and sweet. The hearts of gopis were ripened with devotion. They were pure, soft, and sweet. Hence, Krishna had gone to their houses to steal their hearts.

Krishna is referred to as chora (thief). What does He steal? He steals the butter-like hearts of the gopis, hearts that are pure, soft, and sweet. If you address someone as "chora" (thief), he will be annoyed. But if you call Krishna as "chiththa chora" (stealer of the heart), He will enjoy this appellation. That is why, devotees sing in praise of the Lord most endearingly "Chiththa chora Yashoda Ke Bal! Navaneetha chora Gopal! Gopal, Gopal, Gopal! Govardhanadhara Gopal! (Oh! Yashoda's little Krishna! Oh! Gopala! Stealer of butter! Oh! Gopala! Lifter of the Govardhana mountain!)." The song thus sung melodiously with bhava (feeling), raga (tune), and thala (beat) will be liked by everyone.

Great Singer-saints like Thyagaraja made sweet offerings to God in the form of Kirtanas suffused with bhava, raga, and thala and won His grace. There is so much sweetness in such devotional songs. God's grace can surely be obtained by such devotional singing. You cannot win the grace of God by empty rhetoric. It is only through devotional singing suffused with bhava, raga, and thala that Divinity can be attained. God will be moved by such sankirtan. Even the Vedas have extolled the efficacy of devotional singing.

Even by chanting the Vedas, God cannot be attained. There are several hymns in praise of God in the Rig Veda, Yajur Veda, Sama Veda, and Atharvana Veda. But not even a single individual chanting those hymns could obtain divine darshan. However, when these hymns are set to tune and sung with devotion, they could experience Divine Love. That is why God is extolled as "ganalola" and "ganapriya (pleased by devotional singing)". Therefore, you pray to God with devotional singing.

You can easily win the grace of God. Some people may have a doubt, "We cannot sing well; we have not learnt the art of singing. How can we please God?" Do not worry. You may not have knowledge of music or a mellifluous voice. It does not matter. Sing the glory of God with intense love, in some tune that you know. That is enough to move the heart of God.

What is music? It is not necessary to make a special effort to learn music. A simple song with intense love and yearning will move God. For example, you recite a poem, "Rama! Nannu kaapadu (Oh! Rama! Please protect me)." There will be no sweetness in the poem. It is simply a literary rendering of your feelings. Similarly, if you make an appeal to God saying "Rama! Nannu kaapadu", it becomes an empty repetition of words. The same feeling, if it is expressed in a song set to a beautiful tune, "Rama Nannu kaapadu", it will be so sweet and endearing to Divinity. There is so much sweetness in music. Therefore, if you want to attain God, you have to do it only with devotional singing.

You need not be disappointed if you have not learnt music. Why disappointment? If there is an appointment, there will be disappointment. Therefore, do not make an appointment, in the beginning itself. You sing the glory of God in your own way. That is the easiest way to attain God. The Divine bliss enjoyed by the gopis in the Krishnavatar in Dwapara Yuga is unparalleled. Therefore, remember that divine bliss and try to please God with your love and devotion.

In no Avatar have devotees merged in the Divine Love to such a great extent as in Krishnavatar. Thousands of devotees merged in Sri Krishna during His Avatar. Hence, if you want to merge in divinity, devotional singing is the only means. God is said to be ganapriya (pleased by devotional singing). Krishnavatar is the best example for this statement. One simple name "Krishna" sung by a devotee is enough to move Him. The leelas, mahimas, and miraculous deeds performed by Lord Krishna during His Avatar are unparalleled.

Dear students!
You are singing several bhajans. All of you are participating in the bhajans. But each one is singing in his own way. This is not proper. If all of you sing in one voice and one tune with divine feeling, God will surely install Himself in your loving heart. Krishnavatar is the only Avatar that had granted darshan to different people in different ways, clarified their doubts about His divinity, and merged them in His own Self. Krishnavatar is the only Avatar that made everyone happy and blissful by His sweet and loving words.

Embodiments of Love!
There is nothing superior to devotional singing. What a great joy and happiness you derive by singing the song, "Nanduni Yinta Gopaludanta Deepaana Kanipinchenanta (It seems Gopala has appeared in the flame in the house of Nanda)". Therefore, sing such soulful songs with bhava, raga, and thala to please God and obtain His grace. You may sing any number of bhajans. and songs, but it is only when they are suffused with intense love, devotion and sweet and soft feeling (bhava,) you will derive immense happiness and joy.




Bhagawan's Discourse on the afternoon of 6th September 2004 at SAI KULWANTH HALL

God Protects those who Protect Sathya and Dharma

No visit to any pilgrim centre, no penance, no Yogic practice, no study of sacred texts nor charitable acts will help you in crossing over the ocean of Samsara, but the service rendered to the noble.
(Sanskrit Sloka)

Embodiments of Love!
You would have read in sacred texts that Ravana was a master of four Vedas and six Sastras. Having learnt these sacred texts, was there any transformation in him? No. Instead of developing Daivatva (divine qualities), he developed Danavatva (demonic qualities). The ten heads of Ravana symbolised four Vedas and six Sastras. In the decisive battle, Rama severed Ravana’s heads since he did not put into practice the knowledge he had acquired. Mere learning of sacred texts and chanting of Vedas will not bring about any transformation. In order to drive home this message, Rama cut off with his arrows Ravana’s ten heads. It is only right at the end. Just before his spirit left his body did Ravana recognise his faults and repented for them and became sacred thereby. All that God preaches is for the benefit and welfare of humanity. Therefore, it is enough if one puts into practice at least one of the teachings of the Vedas. It should be a natural trait for everyone to put into practice the divine teachings.

In Prasanthi Nilayam, you find that even the Primary school children join the senior students in chanting Vedas. They know all Vedas, but they do not have the required knowledge to put them into practice. Mere recitation of the Vedas is of little use.

Only God exists everywhere and at all times. The world is but an illusion. The sacred teaching that God exists everywhere should be propagated to everyone. You find many Sadhakas (spiritual aspirants) chanting and teaching the Vedas. Consider this example: a cassette tape or a disc merely plays, but does not experience the melody. It would be fruitless if one does not practise what he preaches. So, one should recognise, understand and practice the sacred teachings. Lord Krishna put into practice what He propagated and also insisted that everyone should follow suit. You find many elders in the Mahabharata who were great scholars themselves, but, failed to put into practice the knowledge they acquired. The same is the position today. God has no preferences or no dislike whatsoever. All are equal for Him. But, He watches to see how much a person puts into practice what he has learnt. Many people study sacred texts, go on pilgrimage, perform penance, repeat God’s Name, but what is the use? Many ask Me for a Japamala (rosary). Is it to adorn your neck for publicity or is it for spiritual experience? One hand is enough for one who wants to practise this Sadhana. (At this point, Swami demonstrated with His hand as to how one should do Namasmarana.) The five fingers of the hand contain nine Aksharas (letters) which are further divided into twelve Brahmas and this makes up to hundred and eight beads of the rosary. Chanting the name of Rama nine times twelve will make up to one hundred and eight. This Sadhana requires neither a Japamala nor a fixed place. It can be done while walking or even while lying down till you go to sleep. When there are such easy and sacred paths, why should one go for strenuous Sadhanas foregoing sleep?

Droupadi is known for her chastity. She has protected her husbands in many ways. After the gruesome massacre of the young Pandava children, Arjuna tracked down Aswatthama, the perpetrator of the atrocity, and dragged him before Droupadi. Instead of cursing the evildoer and pronouncing punishment for him, she fell at the feet of Aswatthama, the son of her husbands’ most revered Guru, and said:

It is at the feet of your father, Dronacharya that my husbands have learnt all that they know. Being the son of Dronacharya, was it proper to kill my children. How could you have the heart to kill them who were unharmed, young, quietly asleep, were not having any grudge against you, and were not contemplating any harm to you? (Telugu poem)

When Droupadi was praying like this, Bhima could not bear to see this. Exploding in anger, Bhima roared:

This Droupadi is a stupid woman, for she pleads for this wretch’s freedom. She feels no anger against this murderer of her sons. (Telugu poem)

When Arjuna was about to kill Aswatthama, Droupadi fell at his feet and reasoned with him thus: “Arjuna! Will my sons be revived by killing Aswatthama? His mother too would experience the same kind of sorrow that I am undergoing at the loss of my sons. Having studied the Vedas and Sastras, how is it that you are not able to maintain your tranquillity?”

The body is made up of five elements and is bound to perish sooner or later, but the Indweller has neither birth nor death. The Indweller has no attachment whatsoever and is the Eternal Witness. Truly speaking, the Indweller who is in the form of the Atma is verily God Himself.
(Telugu poem)

Thus, Droupadi pleaded with Arjuna to forgive Aswatthama for his heinous act. Arjuna replied, “You are preventing me from keeping up my vow.” To this Droupadi said, “Tonsuring his head and removing the crown jewel from his head is equivalent to killing him.” Arjuna paid heed to Droupadi’s advice and as a token punishment shaved Aswatthama’s head, took his crown jewel and sent him away.

What is Papa (sin)? Hurting, abusing and killing others is sin. What is Punya (merit)? Helping others is merit. Therefore, one should not retaliate to an evil act with an evil act. Instead, one should be magnanimous in forgiving the offender. There are many such sacred teachings in the Mahabharata.

There are many such noble women like Droupadi. She stands as an ideal for all women. Why are we forgetting the teachings of such great women? Today, women are treated as mere puppets. But they are full of courage, valour, sacrifice, determination and righteousness. Have you ever cared to recognise the power latent in women? Men do not possess such valour and courage of women. It is because of such great women that our Bharatiya culture is held in high esteem. Otherwise, it would have declined long ago. Did you ever recognise the fact that women are endowed with such great powers as courage, valour, determination and righteousness? These qualities are not to be easily found in men. Why? Most of them are afflicted with the disease of anger, which is ruining them.

One with anger will not be successful in any of his endeavours. He will commit sins and will be derided by one and all. (Telugu poem)

It is possible that women may also succumb to anger and indulge in sinful deeds, now and then. Such people should be pardoned and encouraged to make amends, not denounced and condemned. The quality of patience and perseverance in women is great. In fact, it is the quality of equanimity in times of difficulty that was characteristic of the Droupadi, which saved the Pandavas. There are several such women even in present times also. The bad qualities of anger, passion, jealousy, envy and pride are more prominent in men. Women are able to control such evil qualities from overtaking them. Under the circumstances is it not our duty to encourage and honour such women who preserve and promote peace and harmony? On the contrary, women are belittled and slighted. No, no, this should not happen. Such women with noble qualities deserve to be encouraged and upheld.

A few days ago, you had witnessed a function in this Hall, where the glory of womanhood was highlighted. A playlet was put up in this Hall by Chethana, in which the greatness of mother Sita, as the ideal woman, was presented. Sita and Droupadi were great Pathivrathas (women of chastity). Such efforts to highlight the greatness of women need to be encouraged.

Sathya and Dharma (truth and righteousness) are the greatest characteristics of Indian culture. If these two are protected, the country can be saved from degeneration. If you want to protect your country, you need not join the army and fight a battle. If truth and righteousness that are inherent in you are protected, they themselves will protect the country. It is not great to kill the enemies in a war. First and foremost, protect truth and righteousness in you. The country will automatically be protected. Indian culture exhorts Sathyam Vada (speak truth) and Dharmam Chara (practise righteousness). When you do this with perseverance, you will become a great hero. When you protect Sathya and Dharma, God will, in turn, protect you. Instead of trying to worship God and obtain His grace, if you protect truth and righteousness, God will protect not only your country, but the whole world. Truth is your very life-breath. Righteousness is your armour. Therefore, protect truth; foster righteousness. That is enough. Truth and righteousness are inseparable. One cannot exist without the other.

They are the very life-breath for the universe. Droupadi was assiduously observing and propagating these two.

Sathya Dharmamu Santhi Premalatho
Nee nithya jeevana yathra saginchu.

(Oh man! Carry on your life’s journey with the help of Truth, Righteousness, Peace, and Love). You must hold on to these principles, come what may. God will always protect such people. History is replete with several examples wherein people held steadfastly to the principles of Sathya and Dharma, and were constantly protected by God. One such example is that of Pandavas and their chaste wife, Droupadi. You may argue, “Where is Sathya and Dharma in the present-day world? Whom are they protecting?” This is a totally wrong argument. If you protect Sathya and Dharma, they will, in turn, stand before you and protect you. They are the very embodiments of Divinity. Unfortunately, today, instead of Sathyam Vada (speak truth) and Dharmam Chara (practise righteousness), people are following the distorted version Sathyam Vadha (kill truth) and Dharmam Chara (imprison righteousness). This is utter perversion. You should lead your lives based on Sathya and Dharma and consider them as more important than your lives.

When Droupadi was pleading with Aswatthama who killed her sons, Bhima was furious with uncontrollable anger. He clenched his fist and proceeded towards Aswatthama to kill him. In that uncontrollable rage, he argued with Droupadi, “Are you mad? Why are you trying to save this man who mercilessly slit the throat of your five sons? I will break the head of this child-killer into pieces with my fist. Do not come in my way.” At that moment Droupadi fell at the feet of Bhima and pleaded with him to spare the life of Aswatthama. She prayed for regaining his composure. People around, who were witnessing this scene, were wonderstruck. They were wondering whether Droupadi was really mad! In fact, the world will be better if everyone is afflicted with such madness. Thus, when Droupadi pleaded with her husbands for saving the life of Aswatthama, he prayed for forgiveness. Droupadi was happy at the change of heart in Aswatthama and advised him, “Brother! You need not beg for my forgiveness. Instead, you pay your respect and do service to your mother. Do not drown her in sorrow. Never cause her anguish; take good care of her.” Even the loss of five sons did not make Droupadi shed tears of sorrow.

Several women come to me with a heavy heart and tell me “Swami! My husband’s death has caused me deep sorrow and anguish. How do I bear this calamity?” Then I would respond saying, “Oh! Your husband died? Very happy.” They feel very unhappy with My attitude and question Me, “What is this Swami? Are You so happy on hearing the news of my husband’s death?” What am I to say? I am always happy. I do not know what sorrow is. I always discharge My duty.

God is the only person who protects everybody. Therefore, pray to God always. Forgetting God and depending on the mercy of human beings! What madness! You must depend on God, for everything in your life. That is real Thapas (penance).

Since ancient times, women have been the very life-breath and foundation for Bharat. They are the very embodiment of truth and righteousness. How much respect and reverence we must show towards such noble women? On the contrary, there are several people today, who put them to untold suffering. Due to bad habits and bad company, people lose their sense of discrimination and torture the women. No woman should be put to mental and physical torture, whatever be their nature. They must be revered and respected and protected in all ways. Women in Bharat have always been held in high esteem. There are several chaste and noble women in Bharat and still Bharatiyas are undergoing difficulties. What is the reason? Whose fault is this? It is only because the Bharatiyas are not giving proper respect and place to women in society. The fault lies squarely on the men.

Forbearance is the real beauty in this sacred land of Bharat. Of all the rituals, adherence to truth is the greatest penance. (Telugu poem)

The truthful character of the women is really their Tapas (penance). Therefore, such noble women must be encouraged and honoured. If you can put this one great principle into practice, your life will be sanctified. Those who ill-treat their wives can never be happy and prosperous. If men cannot protect their women who are prepared to sacrifice even their lives for the sake of their husbands, what for is their existence? Women are really the presiding deities of their homes. Our primary duty is to protect them. Never let your women shed tears. If women shed tears, such homes will be ruined in no time. Women are ideals to the society. Never cause them distress.

Men should lead a life of truth and righteousness. Only then can they protect the country and become worthy of being called real men. Otherwise, how can they become heroic men? Several people go to temples. When they visit a temple, they must make a vow that they would respect and protect the women. Only then will they be protected. It is only when the women are safe, the whole world will be happy. Therefore, if you wish to protect Dharma in the world, you must first protect your Dharma towards women.

Embodiments of Love!
Imagine a situation wherein you are in the role of women and some men torture you. How miserable and helpless you would feel! Women are prepared to sacrifice even their lives for the sake of their husbands. But, men do not have such spirit of sacrifice. Men should also cultivate such a spirit of sacrifice, like women. Only then will you be fit to be called men. Otherwise, you will be men only in form, but lacking in masculinity. You consider women as Abala (weak). But, the truth is they are Sakthi Swarupas (embodiments of strength and power). Only, I know the plight of women who lost their husbands. It is our duty to protect such women. If you can discharge this duty properly, you will be happy throughout your life.

Embodiments of Love!
You must follow truth even in small matters. There are three letters “Sa”, “Tha” and “Ya” in the word “Sathya”. If you reverse the order, it will become “Ya” “Tha” and “Sa”. This means when you do Thapas with austerities like Yama (control of the inner senses) and Niyama (control of the outer senses), you will have the divine vision of Sathya Swarupa (Embodiment of Truth). You have to thus, recognise the inner meaning of every word and follow them meticulously.

King Janaka, a great renunciant king, used to propagate truth and righteousness to his subjects among his own example. His daughter, Sita, also led a pious life based on truth and righteousness. You are not studying the life history of such ideal women. Instead, you are reading trash. No. No. This is unbecoming of you. You should study the ancient history of Bharat, which is so sacred. The character and morality of women in Bharat are very sacred. You will become worthy of being called men only when you undertake to protect such great women. By mere sporting a moustache or growing a beard, will you become men? Moustache and beard are not the real signs of masculinity. You must protect ladies and uphold the dignity of the family. Only then can you become great heroes and men of character.

Embodiments of Love!
Consider women as embodiments of truth. Even if some minor faults are noticed in them, do not give credence to them. Respect and revere them. Do not use even a single word that would offend them. If they really wish, they can achieve any great task. You should be even prepared to lay down your lives for the sake of protecting and fostering women. At least from today, all of you should come forward to protect the honour and dignity of women in the world. Women also should undertake a vow to contribute their mite in this great task of protection of Sthri Dharma. As regards men, there is nothing great or new in trying to protect women. That is your duty. Her duty is to foster and maintain the entire family as a unit. If women are protected, they in turn will protect the entire world. Never belittle women and treat them as mere playthings. I hope all of you men will, at least in future, undertake to protect the dignity and honour of women and thereby protect your own dignity and honour. I conclude My discourse blessing you all.

(Bhagawan concluded His Discourse with the Bhajan, “Rama Rama Rama Sita …”)