"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 II <<
Next Dialogue IV >>
...to be continued
Swami: Oh! When did you arrive?
You were not visible anywhere outside. Are you well?
Bhaktha: 'Tis two days since I
came. I see here a number of people everywhere outside. I hear the
incessant confusion of voices. Coming from my place to avoid that
confusion, I find here too crowds everywhere. Therefore, I entered
inside. There, it is fine, blissful, quiet. That is why I was in the
hall inside. It is as quiet inside as it is restless outside.
Swami: What is special in this? It is natural. Where there is
jaggery, there gather the ants - and between outside and inside, this is
the distinction! That is the characteristic. That is how it is.
Bhaktha: Swami! I do not
understand what you say. If you tell me in detail, I shall listen and be
Swami: You yourself said, didn't you, that there is an outside
and an inside. Well. Those are what we call 'Bahyaprapancham' and 'Antharaprapancham',
the external world and the internal world. Now, which is the internal?
Give me your idea.
Bhaktha: You want it to come
from my mouth itself? It would be so good if You speak.
Swami: Well. Making the questioner himself give out the answers
is the Sanathana method of teaching. If those who question, themselves
give the answers, they would clearly understand the subject. The
lecturing style is different. In olden days, all the Rishis enabled
their disciples to understand Vedantha only be this method. So, come on!
Speak! Let us see.
Bhaktha: Do you ask me to speak
of the objects I have seen with the eye?
Swami: Not only the eye. Tell me all that you have experienced
and known through all the senses of cognition, the eye, the ear... etc.
Bhaktha: Earth, sky, water, sun,
moon, wind, fire, stars, dusk, mountains, hills, trees, rivers, women,
men, children, old persons, animals, birds, coldness, heat, the happy,
the miserable, fishes, insects, disease... like these I have seen many.
Swami: Enough, enough, that's enough! This is the 'Prapancha'
...Did you see it only today? Did it exist yesterday? Will it exist
Bhaktha: Why do you ask me so,
Swami? It has existed like this for ages isn't it? Who knows for how
long it will exist, or since how long it has existed?
Swami: 'Since how long it has existed!', you said isn't it? That
is what we spoke of as 'Anadi', beginningless. This external world is
beginningless... When there is 'external', there must be 'internal'
also, is it not? ...Well, have you ever seen a cinema?
Bhaktha: Ever seen! Why, Swami,
the cinema too is a part of the Prapancham, isn't it? I have seen many.
Swami: What did you see? Tell me.
Bhaktha: I have seen many
wonderful 'pictures'; I have heard numerous experiences of joy and
Swami: 'I have seen', you say. The screen is one; the 'picture'
is another. Did you see both?
Swami: Did you see the screen and the 'picture' both at the same
Bhaktha: How is that possible,
Swami? When the pictures are seen, the screen is not visible; when the
screen is visible the pictures are not seen.
Swami: Right! The screen, the pictures, do they exist always?
Bhaktha: No. The screen is
permanent; the pictures come and go.
Swami: As you say, the screen is permanent and the pictures come
and go. For this 'permanent', and 'impermanent' we use the words,
Sthiram and Asthiram, Nithyam and Anithyam, Ksharam and Aksharam. I
shall ask on another Anithyam. I shall ask on another subject: Does the
picture fall on the screen or the screen fall on the picture? Which is
the basis for what?
Bhaktha: The pictures fall on
the screen; so, for the picture, the screen is the basis.
Swami: So, too, the external world which is like the picture has
no permanence; it changes. The internal world is fixed; it does not
change. The external has the internal as its basis, its substratum.
Bhaktha: But, Swami! I heard you
say Ksharam Aksharam, Nithyam Anithyam.
Swami: Yes, my boy! You were speaking now of pictures, do these
have names and forms?
Bhaktha: Haven't they? 'Tis only
because they have names and forms that the story is understood. Then
only do we recollect Ramayana and Bharatham. There is no formless name
and nameless form.
Swami: Good! That is well said! Where there is form, there must
be name' where there is name, there must be form. Both these are
connected with each other. When we say, Avinaabhaava Sambandha , it is
to this relationship that we refer. Have you understood now the meaning
Bhaktha: I have grasped that it
is identified with name and form, but... Swami, ...I would like to hear
you describe how it originated.
Swami: You should not fall into the tangle now. If we engage
ourselves in describing that, it would be like getting into a mango
garden and without eating the fruit we have plucked, calculating the
number of trees in the garden, the number of twigs on each branch, the
number of fruits on each twig, and what the total price of all the
mangoes would be if the price of one mango is so much. Instead of
senselessly wasting precious time in the collection of this information,
we should, like the person who eats the fruit, find out what is of
primary importance; and understanding that thing first, attain
contentment and joy. Leave that alone. What did you say is the nature of
this Prapancham? This Prapancham has another name too, do you know?
Bhaktha: I said the Prapancham
is identified with name and form. I have heard that it is known by
another name, Jagath.
Swami: This Nama-Roopa Prapancham, this Jagath is like Indrajala
or magician's art, real only as long as you see it. So too the world is
real only so long as you experience with your Indriyas or senses. That
is to say, anything not experienced in the wakeful stage is taken as
nonexistent. Under such circumstances, we say 'Sath' for existence and 'Asath'
for nonexistence. Therefore, what do you say of this world? Is it 'Sath'
Bhaktha: It exists in experience
in the wakeful stage, and so it is 'Sath'; it does not exist in the deep
sleep stage and so it is 'Asath'.
Swami: Oh, Sath, Asath, did you say? When these two words are
added, we get Sadasath, isn't it? This is what is spoken of by us as
Maya, do you know?
Bhaktha: Is that Maya similar to
Swami: Is it not? 'Indrajalam idam Sarvam'; all this is the
magician's work. That is what the Rishis have been saying since ages.
Bhaktha: Then, there must be a
performer of all this Indrajala, isn't it?
Swami: Certainly, there is. That magician is God. He is endowed
with countless auspicious attributes. The Maharshis have formed a name
on the basis of each attribute and a form on the basis of each name and
attained realisation meditating on those forms, making the attributeless
attributeful and the formless formful? Is it not their experience that
is being proclaimed through a thousand tongues? In the Sastras, Vedas
and the Upanishads have they not declared how they have realised God in
their Dhyana Samadhi, each in his own way, according to his attitude and
devotion and worship; how each has been blessed with the vision of the
Lord and the actual consummation of union with him?
Bhaktha: Yes, Swami! I have
understood that. But you said that name and form are based on
attributes. Kindly explain this to me.
Swami: Certainly. We must now pay attention to such important
topics only because the others are beyond your powers of imagination.
Listen carefully. Since the Lord pleases all, He is known as Rama. So
also He is Premaswarupa, the embodiment of love; He is Bhaktavatsala,
full of affection to His devotees; He is Krupasagara, ocean of mercy. In
each such name and form, He has vouchsafed Sakshatkara to Bhakthas and
blessed them with Sayujya. The formless God assumes all forms in order
to bless Bhakthas.
Bhaktha: I am happy. I am indeed
so happy, Swami! Through Your grace, I am understanding quite clearly.
Just one doubt: The formless Paramathma, you said, has countless names.
Are all names and forms equal? Is there any difference?
Swami: What a question! All names and forms are certainly equal.
Whatever name and form are worshipped, the Lord is of that unique real
Swarupa only. It is possible to realise Him through that name and form.
But, the Bhaktha should pay attention to one matter. In whichever form
the Lord is worshipped, the favour prayed for the purpose must be one.
Bhaktha: What type of purpose,
Swami: Mumukshuthwam. Desire for Liberation. The Lord alone
should be loved, nothing else. Love that. Meditate on that. That should
be concretised. Finally, resolve that you be merged in that. That type
of acute desire alone one should have.
Bhaktha: True, Swami! I have
understood well. As you said, I have heard many stories from the
Bhagavatha and the Ramayana of people who asked the Lord all kinds of
favours and brought about their own ruin. Hiranyaksha, Ravan and
Bhasmasura and others are remembered for their ways from that day to
this. You have said it clearly. It is something which Bhakthas should
Swami: Well! There is no use simply nodding the head for
everything, relishing them as 'true', 'true'. If it is firmly fixed in
your heart that this is true is true and this is good, thereafter it is
necessary to put it not practice. If you say that it is true so long as
I speak and forget when you go away, this listening itself is useless.
The food that is eaten is to remove hunger, not for being kept on the
tongue, away from the stomach. Then hunger will start again. So also,
hearing and not acting accordingly, is useless.
Bhaktha: So far, you have told
some important things, (1) The External World, (2) The Internal World,
(3) Bhagavan, the Lord. Are these then separate entities, like cause and
effect? Or are they connected one with the other?
Swami: Think about it yourself! For this I have already sent the
reply in 'Prema Vahini'. It must have reached you today itself. Look
into that. Look closely at what is said there of the relationship
between 'He that serves', 'He that is served', and 'the wherewithal of
Bhaktha: Swami, You said also
Ksharam, Aksharam, Nithyam, Anithyam. Are there any other names too?
Swami: These two are known as Purusha, also. They are said to be
Chethana and Achethana. They are referred to as Jiva and Jada also. The
Kshara Akshara Purushas are named in another context as Para and
Apara-prakritis. If you contemplate with a clear intelligence you will
find that only names change; the thing does not change.
Bhaktha: Then, Swami, just as
Kshara Akshara have as synonym Purushas, has Bhagavantha, the Lord, and
Swami: Why? Bhagavan is well known by the very appropriate name,
Purushothama, since He is the highest of the Purushas.
Bhaktha: Oh! How sweet! What a
sweet name! Did the Purushas originate from the Purushothama?
Swami: Here comes the big problem. Once before also you asked,
did it 'originate'? We must use correct words. Otherwise, we get wrong
meanings. We should not say, 'originating' from Purushothama. In Him
they shine. I told you before that these Purushas are indicated by the
words, Para-Apara Prakriti, Jiva-Jada. This word Prakriti gives the
sense of Swabhava and Sakti, isn't it?
Bhaktha: It does. I understand
Purushothama is one, His Prakriti is the second.
Swami: No. You are mistaken. Think again. Is there any difference
between a thing and its nature? Is it possible to separate and see the
nature apart from the thing? Still, you said 'two'.
Bhaktha: 'Tis a mistake, Swami.
It is wrong. No one can separate them. The two are one.
Swami: In current speech we say; sugar is sweet, the sun gives
light, it is hot etc. Sweetness is in sugar, light is in the sun. They
are not separate; they are one. Sweetness cannot be known unless sugar
is placed on the tongue; without seeing the sun, light and heat cannot
be known. Thus, Bhagavan has two characteristics; when we speak of them
as two, they are referred to a Purusha and Prakriti; but they are really
one. Prakriti in the Bhagavan (this is what is known by the name
Mahamaya) is unmanifested and inseparable, like sweetness in sugar.
Avinabhaavasambandham means just this relationship. By mere willing,
this Maya envelopes Bhagavan and manifests in the form of cosmos or
Brahmanda. This is what is called Samashti-Viswarupa, or
absolute-full-world-form. It is this absolute that expresses itself as
Jagath, through the power of Avidya according to the divine will.
Bhaktha: What is this, Swami? It
was all so clear so far, but this word Avidya newly used has upset my
train of thought! I didn't understand anything. Please explain.
Swami: Don't be in a hurry! Have you heard the word, Vidya? Do
you know its meaning?
Bhaktha: Certainly. Vidya means
Swami: Vidya means knowledge, Jnana. When 'A' is added, it
becomes Ajnana, ignorance. Though one, ignorance takes multifarious
Bhaktha: Yes, Swami. How did
this Avidya come about? Where did it come from?
Swami: You know, don't you, of light and darkness. Do they both
exist at the same time?
Bhaktha: There can be no
darkness when there is light nor light when there is darkness.
Swami: When there is light, where does darkness exist? When there
is darkness, where does light exist? Think well.
Bhaktha: This subject is very
difficult, Swami! Still, I shall reply as well as I can. Pardon me if I
am wrong. Darkness must be in light; light must be in darkness; how else
can it be?
Swami: I will ask another small question. Answer, me. This light
and this darkness; are they independent, or are they dependent on
Bhaktha: They are dependent on
the sun. When the sun rises, it is light; when the sun sets, it is
Swami: Well, my boy, Vidya and Avidya are dependent on Bhagavan.
Vidya has another name, 'Chith'. I shall describe to you all that, if
you come next month. This is enough for today. Go and come. If all is
eaten at the same time, it won't be digested. It would lead to bad
health. What we have heard, what we have eaten, requires time to get
digested and assimilated. That is why I have given a month's interval.
If within that time all this is fully digested and practised, I shall
tell you the rest gladly. Otherwise, you can imagine what that day would
Bhaktha: Namaskaram. I am indeed
blessed. To digest what is heard, and what is eaten - the power to do
this should be vouchsafed by You alone. When everything is the Lord's,
how can this alone be ours? But, I shall use the power and knowledge.
You have endowed me with, as much as possible, without any waste. Beyond
that, it is all my destiny and Your grace. I shall take leave with your
Swami: Placing your burden on destiny and keeping quiet means
diminution of effort. With effort and prayer, destiny can be attained.
Without effort and prayer, destiny and grace are not gained. Start the
effort! Well, my boy, go and come gladly again.
Dialogue II <<
Next Dialogue IV >>
...to be continued
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