"This series of dialogues with Baba, published in the magazine originally in Telugu, unravels the mysteries of spiritual truth and lovingly removes the mist that hides the vision of aspirants. Perused with care and faith, these dialogues are bound to clarify, reinforce and convince. May the perusal lead you nearer and nearer the goal." N. Kasturi,

Dialogue I     >>Next    Dialogue II


Bhaktha: Swami, can we ask you freely about any topic concerning the spiritual path, which we do not know?
Swami: Certainly. What is the objection? Why this doubt? What am I here for? Is it not for explaining to you things you do not know? You can ask me without any fear or hesitation. I am always ready to answer; only, I want earnest inquiry with a desire to know.

Bhaktha: But some elders say it is wrong to vex the Guru with questions. Are they right, Swami?
Swami: That is not correct. Whom else can the disciple approach? Since the Guru is everything to him, it is best that he consults him in all matters and then acts.

Bhaktha: Some say that we should reverentially carry out whatever the elders ask us to do without raising any objections. Is that your command also?
Swami: Until you develop full faith in them and know that their words are valid, it will be difficult for you to carry out their orders reverentially. So, until then, it won't be wrong to ask them the significance and the validity of their orders, so that you may be convinced.

Bhaktha: Swami, whom are we to believe, whom are we to discard? The world is so full of deceit. When those, whom we believed are good, themselves turn out to be bad, how can faith grow?
Swami: Well, My boy! Where is the need for you in this world or any world to grow faith in others? Believe in yourself, first. Then believe in the Lord, Paramatma. When you have faith in these two, neither the good nor the bad will affect you.

Bhaktha: Swami, faith in the Lord too diminishes sometimes. What is the reason for that?
Swami: When one is deluded by the mere external world and when one does not attain success in such external desires, faith in the Lord diminishes. So, give up such desires. Desire only for the spiritual relationship; then you won't become the target of doubts and difficulties. The important thing for this is faith in the Lord; without that, you start doubting everything, big and small.

Bhaktha: Until we understand the reality of Paramatma, it is important, they say, to be in the company of the great and the good and also to have a Guru. Are these necessary?
Swami: Of course, the company of the great and the good is necessary. To make that reality known to you, a Guru too is important. But, in this matter, you should be very careful. Genuine Gurus are scarce these days. Cheats have multiplied and teachers have retreated into solitude, in order to realise themselves undisturbed. There are many genuine Gurus but they cannot be secured easily. Even if you get them, you must thank your destiny if they vouchsafe to you more that one single Sadvakya; they won't spend time telling you all kinds of stories! There should be no hurry in the search for a Guru.

Bhaktha: Then, what in the world is the path?
Swami: Why, it is just for this that we have the Veda, Sastra, Purana and Ithihasa. Study them; adhere to the path they teach and gather the experience; understand their meaning and the trend of their message from Pundits; follow them in practice; meditate on the Paramatma as the Guru and as God; then, those books themselves will help you as your Guru. For, what is a Guru? The Guru is that through which your mind gets fixed on God. If you consider Paramatma as the Guru and do Sadhana with unshakable love, the Lord Himself will appear before you and give Upadesa just as a Guru. Or, He may so bless you that as a result of the Sadhana, you may meet a Sadguru.

Bhaktha: But, nowadays, some great big persons are granting Upadesa to all who ask; are these not Sadgurus, Swami?
Swami: I won't say they are or they are not. I declare only this: It is not the sign of a Sadguru to grant Upadesa to any and every person who comes to him with praise, without considering the past and the future, without discovering the qualifications of the pupil and testing whether he is fit.

Bhaktha: Then Swami, I have committed a blunder! When one great person arrived at our village, and when all were receiving Upadesa from him, I too went and prostrated before him and asked him for it. He granted me a good Upadesa; I repeated the Manthra for some time, but, soon, I came to know that the great person was a cheat. Since that day, I lost faith in the name he gave me; I gave up Manthra. Was this wrong? Or, am I right?
Swami: Do you doubt the right and wrong of this? It is very wrong. Just as the Guru, as I told you now, examines the qualifications of the disciple, the disciple too has to critically examine the credentials of the Guru before receiving Upadesa. Your first mistake was that you did not pay attention to this but hastily accepted Upadesa. Well, even if the Guru gave it without the necessary qualification, why did you break your vow and stop repeating the name? That is the second mistake: casting the fault of another on the sacred name of God. Before receiving Upadesa, you should have taken time and known his genuineness and enveloped faith in him. Then, when the desire to accept him as Guru emerged, you should have received the Upadesa. But, once you accept, you must repeat it, whatever the difficulty; you should not give it up. Otherwise, you commit the wrong of accepting without deliberation and rejecting without deliberation. That wrong will be on your head. You should accept a name when you are still afflicted by doubt or a name which you do not prefer. Having accepted, you should not give it up.

Bhaktha: What happens when it is given up?
Swami: Well, my boy. Disloyalty to the Guru and discarding the name of God - on account of these, your one-pointed endeavour and concentration will wither away. As the saying goes, The diseased seedling can never grow into a tree .

Bhaktha: But if the Guru grants the Manthra though we lack the merit?
Swami: Such a Guru is no Guru. The result of his wrong act won't fall on you. The evil of that wrong will devolve on him only.

Bhaktha: If the disciple acts according to the promise made to the Guru, irrespective of what the Guru may turn out to be, and honours him as before, can he realise the goal?
Swami: Certainly, what doubt is there? Don't you know the story of Ekalavya? Though Dronacharya did not accept him as his disciple, he installed an image and took it as Dronacharya himself; revering as such, he learnt archery and achieved mastery of all arts. Finally, when the Guru, blinded by injustice, asked for his right thumb as his fees, he offered if gladly. Did Ekalavya take to heart the injury done by the Guru?

Bhaktha: Of what avail was that offer? His education was all a waste, that was all. What was the net result of his achievement?
Swami: Though Ekalavya lost all chance of using his skill, the character that he earned by that training was never lost. Is not the fame he acquired by his sacrifice enough compensation?

Bhaktha: Well, what is past is past. Hereafter at least I shall hold fast and try not to discard the name. Please grant me Upadesa yourself.
Swami: Your attitude is just like that of the person who, after having witnessed the Ramayana being enacted throughout the night, asked some one at daybreak how Rama was related to Sita! I was telling you that the Guru and the Upadesa will come when your qualifications ripen. It will come by itself. There is no need for you to ask! Really speaking, the disciple should not ask for Upadesa on his own. He cannot be aware of his being ripe for it. The Guru will be watching for the proper moment and he will himself bless and help. You should not get Upadesa more than once. It is not repeatable. If you give up one Upadesa and take up another, whenever you feel like it, you will be like a married woman gone astray.

Bhaktha: So, what is my fate now? Is there no way to save myself?
Swami: Repent for the mistake committed, but continue meditating on the name you received. For Namasmarana, apart from Japa, you can use as many names as you like. For Dhyana, the name got by Upadesa alone should be used, remember. Don't change that sacred name; transform yourself by persistent yearning and effort and proceed.

Bhaktha: Swami! Today is indeed a great day; for all doubts have disappeared by the message you gave. As you said, Upadesa created the doubt; Your Sandesha dispelled it. If permitted, I will return now to my place and when I come again, I will bring some new doubts to be cast away in Your presence in exchange for peace and joy. If you so command, I shall come next month.
Swami: Very good. That is exactly what I want - that persons like you should rid themselves of doubts, should grasp the real significance of life and welcoming the Sandesha with faith and steadfastness; dwell in constant remembrance of the name of the Lord. Whenever you come, whatever comes, learn from Me the method and means of ridding yourself of grief and doubt and worry. Never suffer from grief; for with that pain inside you, you will not be able to do any Sadhana. Whatever Sadhana you do will be like rose water poured on ash. Very well, go now and come later.

...to be continued  (SBOI - Group Post)

Dialogue I     >>Next    Dialogue II

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Source: Sandehanivarini