Thought for the Day - As written at Prasanthi Nilayam

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October 2004

October 1, 2004

What is devotion? It is not merely offering several types of worship or going on pilgrimages. Unalloyed and true love for love's sake alone constitutes devotion. True devotion is the love flowing from a pure heart unpolluted by selfish motives. Love cannot co-exist with ego and pomp. Love is the intimate bond of relationship between the devotee and the Lord. Love is the royal path that can take you to the highest state of the Divine.

October 2, 2004

Enduring bliss can be got only by overcoming trials and tribulations. Gold cannot be made into an attractive jewel without being subjected to the process of melting in a crucible and being beaten into the required shape. When I address all of you as Bangaru (gold), I consider you as precious beings. But only by going through the vicissitudes of life with forbearance can you become attractive jewels. You should not allow yourselves to be overwhelmed by difficulties. Develop self-confidence and have firm faith in God. With unshakeable faith, dedicate yourselves to the service of your fellowmen and lead exemplary lives.

October 3, 2004

Listen carefully and ruminate over whatever you have heard. Put into practice whatever you have absorbed. This is the meaning of the Upanishadic injunction: Shravanam (listening), Mananam (contemplation) and Nidhidhyaasanam (practice). Just as there is no meaning in preparing delicious food unless it is consumed and digested, it is useless to listen to discourses unless you put into practice what you have learnt. Only then can the bliss of learning be experienced.

October 4, 2004

Mind is responsible for one's bondage as well as liberation. If man follows the dictates of the mind, he becomes worse than an animal and ultimately ruins his life. His life will be sanctified only when he follows the dictates of Buddhi (intellect). He who goes by the vagaries of the mind cannot attain true happiness. So, first and foremost, man should make his mind steady and sacred. Before undertaking any activity, he should discriminate whether it is good or bad, right or wrong.

October 5, 2004

Man commits a great sin by forgetting his divinity. He fails to recognize his true nature, considers himself a distinct individual and fills his mind with desires and hatred. We should not look upon human existence as something pitiful or weak and powerless. Man is the embodiment of Sath-Chith-Ananda (Being-awareness-bliss). The Divine in him is always radiating light and bliss. But, due to the barrier of bad thoughts, he is unable to experience this bliss.

October 6, 2004

Kshama (forbearance and forgiveness) is the greatest power of a human being. Only a person who is filled with Kshama is endowed with sacred love. If one loses this quality, he becomes demonic. This virtue cannot be learnt from text books or acquired from preceptors, it has to be cultivated by oneself in times of difficulties that one is forced to meet. When confronted with problems, one should not get upset and become victims of depression. You are embodiments of strength, not weakness. Therefore, in times of despair, cultivate the attitude of forbearance and be ready to forgive and forget.

October 7, 2004

Calamity, danger and death cannot be avoided for all time; they are inevitable factors of life; you have to learn to live bravely with them. This can be accomplished only by uninterrupted prayer and not by spurts of worship actuated by fear. Purify your hearts, your thoughts, feelings, emotions, speech and strengthen your nobler impulses. Then no panic can unnerve you; nothing can shake your equanimity and peace.

October 8, 2004

You must have watched a bird sitting on a branch that is swaying in the wind. It is unafraid, because it places more confidence in its wings than on the branch. It knows that at any moment, it can take to its wings and leave that uncertain perch. The branch is Prakriti (world) and the wings are the Anugraha (grace) of the Lord. Rely upon the grace of the Lord and you will not come to any harm. But, if you trust Prakriti and rely entirely upon the protection it gives, you are likely to fall.

October 9, 2004

Using spiritual practices, discard the attachment to individuality and sense pleasures. Welcome the aspiration to expand the heart into the Universal. Do not cloud your minds with base desires, transitory hungers and thirsts that need but morsels or mouthfuls to be satiated. Yearn for the enthronement of your Soul as the unquestioned Monarch of the Universe. When you merge in the Universal, celebrate your triumph over the inner foes that hampered your march to victory. Acquire Me as your charioteer and I shall lead you to that consummation. Earn that unfailing grace by your sincerity, simplicity and sadhana (spiritual practice).

October 10, 2004

Be ever immersed in the search for Truth; do not waste time in the multiplication and satisfaction of wants and desires. Satiation of one want only gives rise to further wants. Thus, the mind seeks to acquire various objects again and again. Do not yield to the vagaries of the mind. Turn back, even forcibly, from sensory attachments. Stick to the same place and time while undertaking spiritual practices. The Atma itself will sustain the sadhakas (spiritual aspirants) and give them strength and steadiness.

October 11, 2004

The study of scriptures is of little avail if genuine love of God does not flow spontaneously from the heart. It is only through such love that the Divine can be realized. Love and sacrifice are the two greatest qualities in life. It is on the basis of these qualities that our ancients dealt with the problems of society, so that the individual, the family, the community and the nation could pursue the path of Dharma (righteousness).

October 12, 2004

We should give up all differences based on one's birth and position in life and chant the Lord's name with intense love and devotion. First the name should melt the devotee's heart, only then can it melt God's heart and draw His grace upon the devotee. God does not care for how long and in what ways you have practised Sadhana (spiritual practise). What He wants is sincere, whole-hearted and intense love for Him.

October 13, 2004

One should never doubt one's capacity to undertake a particular task. If one has faith in oneself, one can accomplish anything. Vedanta (Vedic philosophy) declares that a person who doubts himself can never realize the Atma (spirit). If one tells oneself that one does not have a particular skill or attribute, then that will psychologically affect him or her in a negative manner. Develop the courage that one can accomplish anything, then one will be able to do so. The real devotee is one who makes an effort to develop confidence in the self. Whatever one undertakes, one should do it with a divine and sacred feeling.

October 14, 2004

Divine Love does not originate from the firmament. It does not grow from the earth. It has no birth and death. It is all-pervading. It emerges from the heart when the knots of ignorance are broken. One may describe in various terms, the state of mind of the devotees filled with love of the Lord, but not the nature of Divine Love. It is a priceless gem that can be obtained only from God, who is the very embodiment of love.

October 15, 2004

Freedom is independence from externals. One who is in need of the help of another person, thing or condition is a slave thereof. Perfect freedom is not given to any man on earth, because the very meaning of mortal life is relationship with and dependence on another. The lesser the number of wants, the greater is the freedom. Hence, perfect freedom is absolute desirelessness.

October 16, 2004

Brahman (Divinity) cannot be seen through the eyes, for Brahman is that which enables the eyes to see and the ears to hear. It can be known only through tapas (penance in the form of intense yearning in a cleansed mind and concentrated thought). No other means can help. Everything in the universe originates from Brahman, exists in Brahman and unfolds through Brahman and merges in Brahman. Discover it yourself through tapas.

October 17, 2004

The real meaning of the word 'culture' lies in giving up bad thoughts and bad actions, and cultivating sacred thoughts and noble deeds. Culture expresses itself as discipline; it must be evident in every aspect of life. One must live a purposeful life. By doing so, one can attain Divinity. Otherwise, life is rendered wild and wasteful. The senses and the mind have to be controlled and regulated so that one can win the battle of life. Self control is sense control and mind control.

October 18, 2004

Everyone born in the world has a name and form. But the Divinity within has no name or form. The individual with name and form is filled with egoism and possessiveness. These qualities are the cause of one's pleasure and pain, happiness and sorrow. Hence, everyone must strive to curb these two tendencies. The knowledge of the Supreme Self is associated with total freedom from Ahamkara (egoism). Those who have no taint of ego in them are totally free from the consequences of actions, regardless of the actions they perform.

October 19, 2004

To get rid of the demonic qualities, man has to embark on the enquiry: "Who am I?" Scriptural scholarship is of no avail in this enquiry. Atmananda (the Bliss of the Self) can be realized only by recognising that the same spirit dwells in all beings. This realization can be obtained only by spiritual enquiry. Reciting the shlokas (hymns) of the scriptures will not rid man of his sorrow. The transformation must take place within.

October 20, 2004

Though God has come down in human form to help mankind, it is really tragic that people do not strive to benefit from Him. They do not have the good sense to follow the ideals of the Avatar (Divine Incarnation). One cannot sit back and expect the Avatar to confer peace and joy on him or her. Avatar comes to warn, to guide, to awaken, to lay down the path and shed the light of love on mankind. But man has to listen, learn and obey with hope and faith.

October 21, 2004

If the eye does not help you to visualize God in everything you see, it is far better to be blind. If your ears drag you towards filthy cacophony, it is far better to be deaf. The senses should not be encouraged to plunge you into sensual muck. They must serve your real interests and sublimate your appetites. They must help you to dwell on God. All our thoughts are influenced by what we see, hear or smell. We must try to control the sense organs, especially the ears and the eyes.

October 22, 2004

The supreme end of education is to make man aware of the 'Universal Immanent Impersonal'. This is the truth that is loudly proclaimed in the Vedas. The ever-changing aspects of Nature may be a fine subject for study, but the science of the Transcendent Principle that permeates the universe, that is unchanging, eternal, ever full of peace and bliss, the ultimate refuge of all for all time, that is the highest knowledge that man must gain.

October 23, 2004

Joy and pleasure earned by karma (actions) are only temporary. Nevertheless, one cannot and should not desist from karma. How then is one to act? One should practise detachment and desirelessness towards the results of karma. That is to say, one should treat all karmas as yajna (sacrifice) performed for the glory of God and not for selfish ends, for earning lasting merit and not for temporary benefits. The Nishkaama Karma (desireless action) mentioned in the Bhagavad Gita is the real yajna. Karma performed in that spirit will not cause either greed or grief; it will fill you with a sense of satisfaction and fulfillment.

October 24, 2004

The right attitude of a devotee should be one of total surrender. As one devotee declared: "I am offering to you the heart which you gave me. I have nothing I can call my own, for everything belongs to you. I offer to you what is yours. What else can I do?" As long as this spirit of surrender is not developed, man will have to be born again and again. One should offer one's heart to the Divine, and not be content with offering just flowers and fruits.

October 25, 2004

Every object has a Swaroopam (its own form) and Swabhaavam (its own nature). Man is completely unaware of his real nature, which is love and compassion. He is so much immersed in selfishness that every activity he undertakes is only for furthering his own interests and accumulating possessions for himself. Even the love that man displays towards other persons is with a selfish motive of gaining something out of them and not for the other person's sake.

October 26, 2004

In the spiritual field, the sprouting of intense interest represents the beginners stage. But interest alone is not enough. Efforts to realize the spiritual objective have to be made. The aspirant has to recognise the basic truths of the spiritual quest, and those truths have to be practised. Only then, the fruit of knowledge in the form of realization of the Divine can be secured. The pursuit of supreme knowledge calls for devotion, and supreme bliss is its reward.

October 27, 2004

What is valuable in this world is not our position, education or learning, but our conduct and behaviour based on spiritual values. Conduct and behaviour determine the result that we get. Our conduct has to be patterned on noble and lofty ideals. We should give up all that is narrow and petty-minded, and broaden our outlook. True education is love, and nothing but love. Without love, life is not worth living.

October 28, 2004

Spirituality today is associated with activities like attending religious discourses, reciting hymns, counting beads and singing bhajans. This is not true spirituality. Spirituality consists of two processes - getting rid of the animal qualities and imbibing human qualities, and then, progressing from humanness towards Divinity. Moksha (Liberation) does not refer to any specific place or location, nor is it something that can be obtained from a preceptor or any other person. To realize one's own true self is liberation.

October 29, 2004

Today humanity is being racked by innumerable troubles and worries. No administration or authority can solve these problems. God alone can save mankind. Men have to develop faith in the Self and thereby acquire the grace of the Divine. Humanity, as a whole, is in need of God's grace. To receive this, every man has to fill his heart with love and render service to his fellowmen, and thereby redeem his life.

October 30, 2004

Is it the body that derives joy from looking at a thing of beauty, or is it the Atma (soul)? What is it that relishes the good food that is consumed - the body or the spirit? What is it that enjoys fragrance or is moved by beautiful music? On enquiry, it will be found that it is the Atma that is the enjoyer, and not the physical body. The body by itself is gross and is incapable of experiencing joy. It must be realized that the spirit transcends the mind and the intellect, and pervades the entire cosmos. The spirit is the basis for the cognition of the external world and experiencing the inner world.

October 31, 2004

Man is the embodiment of Sath-Chith-Ananda (Being-Awareness-Bliss). But he is unable to recognise his true identity because egoism and possessiveness, pomp and pride envelop man's true form of Sath-Chith-Ananda. When he is able to get rid of attachment and hatred, egoism and acquisitiveness, he will recognise his divine nature. The Divine within is covered by these tendencies like ash over a burning charcoal. When the ash is blown away, the fire will reveal itself.

Online source: Radio Sai Global