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The Guru within

Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba

Gurupoornima Discourse
Poornachandra Auditorium July 7, 1990

Embodiments of Divine Love!

As long as a dream lasts, all that is experienced, heard, or seen in it appears as real. Likewise, in worldly existence, filled with likes and dislikes, everything seems real till the dawn of wisdom (Jnana). When one attains the state of Supreme Realization, all that happens in the world appears as a dream.

The human body is composed of the five basic elements--earth, water, fire, air, and space. These five are compounded together in an orderly way. The human body is described as the physical body. It establishes all types of relations with the world. This may be described as the bonding together of the five components. In the body, in its waking state, all the sense organs are active.

The body is the abode of pleasure and pain. It has three forms: gross, subtle, and causal. The gross physical body is permeated by food. It is inert. It is comparable to an instrument. What we see is only the physical body. Believing that this is real and permanent, man tens to forget the all-pervading and eternal Atmic principle.

The five vital breaths (pranas), the mind, the intellect, and the ten sense organs of perception and action constitute the subtle body. It functions in the [sleeping] dream state. In this state, the individual is oriented inwards. In it, man creates for himself a new world. The dream is itself the proof of its reality. It is self-constituted with no external relations. In the dream state, everything is created by the mind--forms, sounds, and taste, which are experienced without any physical basis for them. This entire experience is limited to the individual concerned. If, for instance, ten persons are sleeping in one room, each person's dream is unique to himself. Each one's actions in the dream are unique to himself.

THE MIND AND THE DREAM STATE

There is no relationship between the dream and the waking state. One individual has a dream in which his friend harasses him in many ways. If after waking up in the morning, he accosts his friend and asks the latter why he harassed him, the friend replies, "You madcap! I have not seen you at all!" This means that the friend in the dream and the troubles he gave are all self-created by the dreamer. All other dream experiences are also self-created. Hence, all the experiences in dreams are confined to the individual concerned and have no connection with others in the real world. The joys and sorrows experienced in the dream are the stuff of the dream state. It is in the dream state that one goes through the consequences of good and bad actions in previous lives. This means that the experiences are related to the subtle body. In this, the mind is the most important factor. It is the mind that creates everything.

Although the mind is one, according to the different functions performed by it different names are given to it. When it is engaged in the thought process, it is called Manas. When it is engaged in discriminating between what is permanent and what is transient, it is called Buddhi. In its role as a reservoir of memory, it is called Chitta. When the mind identifies itself with the body, it is called Ahamkara (ego). The four names are related to the mind and their combined aspect constitutes Antahkarana (the inner instrument). Thus, both the waking and dream states are creations of the mind.

The third state is Sushupti. "Su" means "good." "Shupti" means "sleep." Sushupti means sound sleep. In this state, the mind is absent. When the mind is not present, the world is also absent. In the absence of the world, there are no experiences of joy and sorrow. The world exists as long as the mind is present. Joy and sorrow are experienced through contact with the world. Hence, the world is associated with joy and sorrow. The mind, thus, is said to be the cause of both bondage and liberation.

THE ATMA AND THE FIVE SHEATHS

There is, however, one other state which transcends all the previously mentioned states--the Atmic state. It is because of his identification with the body in the first three states that man forgets his spiritual reality. But for all experiences, the Atmic principle in everyone is the cause, though the physical forms are varied. Man is a prey to ignorance because, forgetting his Atmic reality, he identifies himself with the mind-body complex. The waves appearing in an ocean seem to be different from each other. But they consist of the same water. Likewise, though man appears in innumerable forms, all these are like the waves appearing on the ocean of Sat-Chit-Ananda (Being-Awareness-Bliss). Names and forms may be different, but the basis is the same.

The Atma, however, is covered in the human being by five sheaths: Annamaya, Pranamaya, Manomaya, Vijnanamaya, and Anandamaya Kosas (sheaths). As a result, the Atma is not easily cognizable. The physical body is the Annamaya kosa (the sheath of food). The sheaths of Pranamaya (life-force, Manomaya (the mental sheath), and the Vijnanamaya (imbued with intelligence), form the subtle body. The Anandamaya kosa is the causal or seed body. Although it has the name Anandamaya (blissful), it is not real bliss. It is the blissful state of the Atma that is reflected as an image in the sheath of Bliss (causal body). The mind is like the moon, which is not self-luminous. The Atma alone is self-effulgent. It is this light which illumines the body, mind, the Buddhi and the senses, and invests them with consciousness.

It is this Atmic consciousness (Chaitanya) which makes the cosmos function. For the entire creation, consisting of living and inanimate objects, this consciousness is the basis. All that is experienced by the body and the mind has no real connection with the Atma. Relying on the light coming from the sun, many people perform different actions/ Some may do good deeds amd some others may indulge in bad actions. The Atma is unaffected by the consequences of these actions. just as the sun is not affected by the activities done with the help of sunlight. The Sun is a witness/ Likewise, the Atma is a witness to what is done by the body, mind, and other organs. But man, because of his identifying himself with the body and other organs, attributes all their activities to the power of the Atma. For all this, the mind is the root cause. It is the mind that assumes these multifarious forms. For instance, if a person builds a house, he erects within it a bedroom, a drawing room, a kitchen, etc. All these separate rooms are for his comfort. But if the walls are knocked down, only one room remains. Likewise, if the walls created by the mind are removed, the Atma alone will be experienced.

REALIZING THE SELF

If man embarks on the process of casting off one by one the five sheaths which envelop the Atma, he will experience his true Self. This process consists in the practice of Sravana, Manana, and Nididhyaasana: hearing, reflection in the mind, and meditation on the Divine. The body, the mind, and the senses are merely like the husk which encases the grain. When the husk is removed, the rice alone remains. As long as man is enveloped in this husk, he cannot escape birth and death. When the husk (in the form of the five sheaths) is cast off, man is freed from rebirth, just as the rice without a husk cannot sprout.

Even as you do not need a lamp to see the sun, there is no need to search for the Atma when it is omnipresent. The Atma shines eternally. No other sadhana is required to recognize it. As long as man is not aware of his own true nature. he will be under the delusion that the Atma is somewhere remote from him. Like the ashes hiding the fire in burning charcoal, the delusion regarding the body is covering the Atma. Once the delusion goes, man will experience true bliss and understand the Cosmic Reality.

THE "I" AND THE ATMA

In this context, the significance of the use of the term "I" by everyone should be rightly understood. Without the "I," the world would have no existence. What is this "I"? It is the basis. Because the same basic entity exists in all beings, it is called Atma. It is also called Brahmam. Another name for it is "Hridaya" (the spiritual heart). It is also called "Aham" (I). All these different names refer only to the Atma. When we use the term "Hridaya," we generally consider that it refers to the physical heart in the body. This is not correct. "Hridaya" has no physical limitations. "Hridaya" in the true sense of the word refers to that which is all-pervading. Forgetting this omnipresent, spiritual heart, we tend to regard the physical heart in the body as the true heart. This betokens a narrow mind.

In ordinary parlance we use the terms "Aham" ("I") in every context. This "Aham" is Brahmam. When you declare "I am a householder," the first reference is to yourself as "I." Another says, "I am a sanyasin." Here, again, the "I" comes first. Similarly in other references, the "I" comes first and then the description follows. When you separate the "I" from the person who uses it, the "I" alone remains distinct from the different individuals. This shows that the "I" is basic to everyone, whatever his status or form. This "I," which is present in everyone, is the omnipresent Atma. Because man forgets this basic truth, he is the victim of endless sorrows and doubts. What we should love and cherish is the Atma, not the body.

People have love for their parents, wife, children, and other kinsfolk because of the relationships. But these relationships are essentially impermanent. In cultivating these ephemeral atttachments, men are failing to love the Atma, which is everpresent and is the source of lasting bliss. If you have doubts regarding Atma, it is because you have no steadfast love for the Divine. To develop firm love for anything, you have to get the conviction that "it is mine." Unless you acquire such a conviction regarding the Atma, you cannot become a man of steadfast wisdom. You will not achieve real bliss. You cannot reach the permanent state of Self-Realization.

Develop the unshakable conviction that the Divine is present in everyone. Then there will be no room for developing differences of any kind. Conflict and disorder will have no place. Likes and dislikes will go. Once you direct the mind towards the Atma, you have learned the supreme mantra: "Aham Brahmaasmi" (I am the Brahmam). Whatever you do, eating or walking, seeing or speaking, do it with the Atmic consciousness.

THE ATMIC "I" AND THE EGO

There are two "I's" in everyone--the "I" that is associated with the mind and the "I" associated with the Atma. Consciousness of the Atma is the real "I." When this "I" is wrongly associated with the mind, it becomes "Ahamkara" (the ego). When the "I" associated with the Atma experiences Atmic bliss, it realizes that the universal consciousness is One, though it may be called by different names. When you eliminate the body consciousness in you, you will have the consciousness of the Universal in you. Without this consciousness, no sadhana is of any avail. The water vapor produced by the sun becomes a cloud and hides the sun. Likewise, the thoughts arising in the mind conceal the Atma. When the mind is eliminated, the Atma alone remains.

For eliminating the mind and removing the delusions from it, desires have to be controlled. But the sadhaks of today have not reduced their desires. It must be realized that selfishness and self-centeredness have to be eliminated. Selfishness is at the root of all the afflictions plaguing man.

REFORM OF THE INDIVIDUAL

If the world is to be transformed, we must begin with the individual. His evil traits have to be removed. He must fill himself with sacred thoughts. To start with, the individual must reform himself. Without the individual realizing his true nature, all other accomplishments are of no avail. Man is exploring the most distant regions in space, but is not moving even an inch toward understanding his heart. Is this the journey man should undertake? He must turn the mind inwards. Turning the mind toward the external world can only breed sorrow. Enduring bliss can be obtained only by turning the mind toward God. That is the real sadhana. Without mental transformation, all other changes are meaningless. Without changing your qualities. you remain in the same state as before. Develop good qualities and sanctify yourself. This is the message for everyone.

THE GURU IN EVERYONE

Today is Gurupoornima. Poornima refers to the full moon with all of its sixteen aspects being illumined by the sun. In man there are sixteen black spots: the six enemies (lust, anger, greed, infatuation, pride, and envy), the two gunas, Rajas and Tamas, and the eight types of conceit based on lineage and scholarship, wealth, youth, beauty, position, and penance. It is only when man gets rid of these sixteen evil traits that he will be able to realize his Oneness with the Divine. Who is the one who enables man to achieve this state of fullness? It is the Guru. Guru refers to one who has transcended the gunas and has no form. The Gurus today are filled with qualities of all kinds. The disciples seem to be better than the preceptors. The disciples are making sacrifices. The preceptors are acquiring possessions. In this situation it is difficult to say who are gurus and who are disciples.

People today tend to be naive in their actions. Whenever they see some aged persons, they seek some mantra (spiritual message) from them. What is the mantra they really need? It is the understanding of their true nature. This mantra is within them. Each contains within himself the mantra (spiritual message), the tantra (the method of practicing it), and yantra (the instrument for implementing it). Your process of breathing contains the mantra you need, "So-Ham, So-Ham." (Baba demonstrated how this should be done.) "I am That; That is I." This is the mantra. What is the yantra (instrument)? It is your physical body. What is the tantra? Your heart! When you have all three of these, why go to anyone else for a message? That is a sign of weakness and ignorance.

Your true guru is God alone. He transcends all gunas. He is beyond all forms. He is the only one who can dispel the darkness of ignorance and light the lamp of Supreme Wisdom. It is a mark of ignorance to go after nondescript preceptors and seek messages from them. When they are wallowing in bondage themselves, how are they going to free you from bondage? How can one who is filled with delusions himself rid you of your delusions? Can one who is begging for food relieve your hunger? Do not go in search of gurus. Strengthen your faith in the Atma. Seek to enjoy the Atmic bliss. Strive to develop the conviction: "I am the Atma." That is the true message. When you have grasped this Truth, all others things will be unnecessary.

For experiencing this Guru, there are no restrictions as to time, place, or circumstance. Only for the man steeped in the mind, changes in time exist, and he is bound by them. But to the man who has transcended the limitations of time, everything remains immutable. This spiritual state can be reached only through confidence in the Atma.

"GOD IS THE ONLY GURU'

Gurupoornima is observed as a day for honoring the Guru. Some type of gurus welcome this day as the day which brings them income. They are an inferior breed. The real Guru is only one. He is the One, the God of gods who is hailed as father, mother, teacher, knowledge, wealth, and all else. He is the Supreme whom you must seek by your sadhana. God alone can transform your spiritual efforts into a transcendental experience. You have the vision of the Divine. The vision does not come from outside. It is within you, because the Divine is omnipresent. Only the person who considers himself separate from God will have the feeling that the vision of God comes from outside. God is everywhere. You are God.

It is the agglomeration of body, mind, and the senses which is preventing you from recognizing your inherent Divinity. You are covering yourself in this manner. You are the cause of your bondage through the body and the mind. When you understand the nature of the body-mind complex, you will realize your true essence. It is enough if you develop the conviction that you and the Divine are One, "Aham Brahmaasmi." Cultivate steadfast faith in this Divine Oneness through love. That love will lead you to Self-Realization.

Wherever you may be and whatever you do, regard yourselves as instruments of the Divine and act on that basis. You need not wait for a whole year to observe Gurupoornima. Treat every moment of your life as being intended for dedication to the Lord. This is the way to experience the Divine all the time at all places. This is the true vision of the Divine. Serve all and love all. Firmly believe that the Divine is in everyone and constantly act on this belief. Only by continual practice can you develop this sacred attitude. Fill yourself with Self-confidence and courage. Make your life a complete offering to the Divine, who is the real source of all that you are and all that you have.

There was an old woman in Uttar Pradesh who used to give away many things as charity. She used to go about with her head bowed. Some people asked her why she was humbling herself in that manner when she could hold her head high because of all the numerous gifts she was making to all and sundry. She modestly replied, "When the Lord is giving me so many things with His thousand hands, all that I am giving is only with a single hand. What reason is there for feeling proud about what I am doing? Should not people feel ashamed about giving to others with one hand what God gives them with a thousand hands?"

Hence, everyone must develop the spirit of sacrifice (Thyaga). You must serve people with your body. You have to cherish good and noble thoughts in your mind. You must use your wealth for supporting educational and other institutions to help the people. Give food to the starving. This is the way to lead a purposeful and sublime life. Life has been given to you--not to fatten yourself--but as the basic instrument for the practice of Dharma.

Dedicate your entire time to service and the discharge of your duties. Your spiritual practices must not be for selfish ends. It must promote the good of others. Giving up selfishness, cultivating selfless love for others, sanctify your lives.