The Gaayathri manthra has in it the validity of the Vedas. It contains the essence of Vedic teachings. Each of the four Vedas has a core axiom (Mahaa Vaakya) enclosed in it: Thath Thwam Asi (That thou art), Prajnaanam Brahma (Consciousness is Brahma), Ayam Aathma Brahma (This Self is Brahma) and Aham Brahmaasmi (I am Brahman). When all these are synthesized, the Gaayathri emerges.
Gaayathri is all Gods in One: The triple stranded Yagnopaveetham (Sacrificial Strand of Thread) is to be worn by every one who is initiated into Gaayathri recital, for he has to perform the three sandhya rites when the sun rises and sets, as well as when the Sun is at the zenith. The rites are in adoration of the Trinity---Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. The purpose of the rites is to invoke the Gods to bless the novitiate to lead a good life at all times (past, present and future), in all places (heaven, earth and nether region). The Gaayathri divinises the five elements; it represents the presiding deities of all the five. Gaayathri is worshipped as a Five-Faced Goddess---Om, being the first, Bhoor-bhuvahssuvah, the second, Thath Savithur Varenyam, the third, Bhargo Devasya Dheemahi, the fourth, and Dhiyo Yonah Prachodayaath, the fifth face.
Through meditation on the Gaayathri, one can become aware of the inner motivating principle of the five elements, the five vital airs in the human body and the five sheaths, which encase the Aatma. Just as there are three basic energies that govern man---the physical, the metaphysical and the psychical, the Aadhi-bhowthik, the Aadhi-daivik and the Aadhi-aathmic, Gaayathri has three facets: Gaayathri, Saavithri and Saraswathi. Gaayathri fosters the metaphysical, Saavithri, the physical, and Saraswathi, the psychical. These three karanas or instruments have to be cleansed and sublimated so that man can realize the goal of life. Through the recital of Gaayathri manthra and meditation thereon, this great task can be achieved.
The Gayathri is the universal prayer enshrined in the vedas, the most ancient scriptures of man. It is addressed to the Immanent and Transcendent Divine which has been given the name 'Savitha', meaning 'that from which all this is born'. The Gayathri may be considered as having three parts --(i) praise, (ii) meditation, (iii) prayer. First the Divine is praised, then it is meditated upon in reverence, and finally an appeal is made to the Divine to awaken and strengthen the intellect, the discriminating faculty of man.
The Gayathri is considered as the essence of the Vedas. Veda means knowledge, and this prayer fosters and sharpens the knowledge-yielding faculty. As a matter of fact, the four core-declarations enshrined in the four Vedas are implied in this Gayathri mantra (chant).
The Gayathri is usually repeated at dawn, , and dusk. But since God is beyond time, it is a result of our limitations that we talk of dawn and dusk. When we move away from the sun, it is dusk; when we move into the light of the sun, it is dawn. So you need not be bound by the three points of time to recite the prayer. It can be repeated always and everywhere, only one must ensure that the mind is pure. I would advise you young people to recite the Gayathri when you take your bath. Do not sing cheap and defiling film songs; recite the Gayathri. When you bathe, the body is being cleansed; let your mind and intellect also be cleansed. Make it a point to repeat it when you bathe as well as before every meal, when you wake from sleep, and when you go to bed. And also repeat 'santhi' thrice at the end, for that repetition will give santhi or peace to three entities in you -- body, mind and soul.
Every human being has four birthdays. The first is when he emerges from his mother's womb and, being neither holy nor unholy, craves only for food and shelter; the second is when he begins his spiritual study to lead him from darkness to light; the third is when he has gained wisdom, having mastered the disciplines propounded by the sages for achieving self-realization; the fourth and last is when he realizes his true identity and merges with Brahman.
The sacred thread (yajnopavitham) is a symbol of purity, which is necessary if you wish to participate in the ritual of living. Life is a continuous series of sacrifices of the lower for the sake of the higher, of the tiny in favor of the vast. Upanayana, the word which has been given to this ceremony of initiation, means the conferment of another eye. Your two eyes cannot reveal to you the magnificence and the majesty of the realm of the spirit. They are focused towards the objective world and its transient attractions. So the Gayathri mantra has been given to you as a third eye to reveal to you that inner vision by which you may realize Brahman.
Gayathri is a treasure you must guard throughout your lives. If you have not caught the sounds of the mantra correctly now, learn it from your parents or from your family priest. Perhaps they may not know the Gayathri themselves, or they might have forgotten it through culpable neglect. Then I would ask them to learn it from you.
Never give up the Gayathri; you may give up or ignore any other mantra, but you should recite the Gayathri at least a few times a day. It will protect you from harm wherever you are travelling, working, or at home. Westerners have investigated the vibrations produced by this mantra and have found that when it is recited with the correct accent as laid down in the Vedas, the atmosphere around becomes visibly illumined. So the effulgence of Brahma will descend on you and illumine your intellect and light your path when this mantra is chanted. Gayathri is the mother, the force that animates all life. So do not neglect it.
Elders and priests, the custodians of this mantra, have given it the go-by. But you, as inheritors and guardians of the great culture of this country, have a great responsibility in preserving it and demonstrating its efficacy and worth.
The Basic Hypocrisy
This day as well as yesterday, Pundits spoke to you about Sanathana Dharma and its greatness. I too shall speak only about that, for, there is nothing more important than that Dharma for material and spiritual happiness. Sanathana Dharma calls on you to revere the Achaarya, for he is seeking to save you from disaster, the flood of birth and death into which you are slipping, through ignorance. Eetha or Swimming you have to learn to escape from the swollen river; Geetha or the Lord's Teaching you have to learn to escape from the swirling torrent of birth death. The Guru points out the Guri (Goal) to you; he reveals the Atmathathwam. A man struggling in a bog cannot be saved by another who is also caught in its slime. Only one standing on firm ground can pull him out. So the Guru must have a secure footing, above and beyond the slush of Samsara. The Rishis or Sages struggled with themselves and elevated themselves into the purer regions of thought, to discover their own truth. They felt the thrill of that discovery and sang of the freedom they gained. These songs serve as signposts and all who derive benefit therefrom have to acknowledge the debt. How to repay the Rishi-rna, the debt of the Rishis ? By study, by reflection on what they have sung of their liberation, by practicing the Sadhana they adopted, by proving them right out of your own experience.
There are also three other Rnas, or debts, mentioned in the scriptures--Pithr-rna, Maathr-rna and Deva-rna, the debt of the father, of the mother and of the Gods. Once there was a great sage named Uddalaka, famous for his scholarship. He had a son, Swethakethu and a daughter Sujatha. Among his disciples was Kahodaka a young man who was well behaved, virtuous, devoted to the teacher and earnest in his studies. But, he could not keep pace with the other bright lads and so became the target for taunts. The Guru loved him all the more on account of this. Sympathy with his lot grew into Grace; Grace resulted in the Guru offering his own daughter in marriage to Kahodaka! While Sujatha was enceinte, Kahodaka recited the Vedas as laid down in the disciplinary rules, but within hearing of the child growing in the womb. It heard the recitation but, since it was already aware of the correct pronunciation of every syllable, whenever Kahodaka spelt a syllable wrong, it squirmed in distress. So, when the baby was born, it had eight bends, crooked in eight places, in fact! Naturally, he was named eight bends or Ashtavakra.
When Ashtavakra was still in the womb, Sujatha had persuaded her husband to seek some monetary help from King Janaka to relieve their dire poverty and when Kahodaka went to Mithila, in the midst of a big Yaga which the king was celebrating, he had to stay on till it finished; later, he was forced by circumstances to join a competitive disputation with a celebrated scholar called Vaandena, and accept the terms laid down by the challenger, namely whoever gets defeated in argument was to be thrown into the sea.
Meanwhile, Ashtavakra, in spite of his physical deformity, became an erudite Pundit full of intricate scholarship, even while in his teens. His father's fate was kept from the lad by both Sujatha and Swethakethu for many years, but, one day, he was taunted by some one as one who was ignorant of his father's fate and the sad tale was revealed to the son. Immediately, he proceeded to Mithila and sought entrance into the audience-hall of King Janaka. The guards laughed when he wanted them to report to the King that a Vedic scholar eager for disputation with the court pundits had come. They slighted him for his tender age but he said that age was no criterion. At last, he pleaded that his deformity, at least, entitled him to hospitality and sympathy.
Janaka was struck by the boy's persistence and courage; he ordered that he should be admitted and arranged the disputation the boy sought! If I start telling you the absurd questions that the court pundits teased him with and the replies with which Ashtavakra sparred them with, it will take so much time that perhaps we will have to sit beyond Sivarathri even! Janaka tried his best to dissuade him; he told him that he was too young to risk death in the sea. But, Ashtavakra argued that Atmavidya does not take account the Dehathathwam, the physical principle of the body. Vaandeena entered the fray with the deformed lad resplendent with spiritual scholarship; to the great astonishment of all, the boy gained the upper hand; the aged pundit squirmed under the questions; he failed; he had to be thrown into the sea; the deformed son of Kahodaka had triumphed over the victor who had consigned his father to the waves. The mother was delighted that her son had discharged the debt, and retrieved the honor of the line.
The father must encourage the son by example more than precept. Prahlada told his father that only the parent, who directs his progeny to God deserves obedience and respect. All others are, so far the sons are concerned, human ogres like Hiranyakasipu. There are some parents who are sorry that their sons are coming to Puttaparthi and who dread that they would start doing Puja or Japam or Namasmarana, and give up the habits of smoking or drinking or gambling, which they have learnt from their fathers! Such do not know the value of Sathsanga, for peace and happiness. They fail to equip their children or themselves with armor against the blows of fate or fortune. The Gayathri manthra develops the Dhee sakthi or power of discrimination and, so its consequence will be the giving up of evil company, and the seeking of kindred souls. If Sathsang is not available, you can keep company with your own higher impulses and noble thoughts. Dive deep into your own divinity. The crocodile is happy and unharmed, it is undefeatable, in the depths of the lake or river. Once it sprawls on land, it becomes the plaything of man, an easy target for death. The depths; They are your refuge; the source of your strength. Do not stray into the shallows or the sands. You know that the Garuda bird feeds on snakes. Well, once the Garuda went to Kailasa Mount to pay respects to Siva, who wears snakes on His head, arms, wrists, neck, waist and ankles. When the snakes saw Garuda, they were unafraid; they even dared put out their forked tongues at Garuda and challenged it to come near them. That was the extent of the courage lent to them by the place where they had established themselves, So, establish yourselves in the Atma; no worry or grief or pride can harm you then.
Several types of Prema were spoken about today, but, all types are based on the 'I' feeling; it is like a drama in a film story, a plot within a plot. You must feel that all this is just a passing show, that you are the central figure, the only figure, the entire figure. Thathwam asi; that thou art. That is this. The external world is fundamental) One, is really Brahmam, appearing as many. Thwam is you, yourself. And, what does the experience of all the sages tell them? What is the profound discovery embodied in the wisdom of the Vedas? Thath is thwam, thwam is Thath; there is no second, there is only One.
If you act or feel or talk contrary to your nature you demean yourself; you deny your reality. The Brahmathathwam is Vimalam, Achalam, Pure, Unshakable; be pure and unshakable. It is thrigunarahitham, devoid of qualities (dull active or balanced); it is pure consciousness. You too must not be agitated by the storms of feeling, or the fog of dullness and sloth. Play your role, as a puppet does; the unseen Director unfolds the drama, which He has willed. Once it happened that a village drama, Harischandra, was put on boards, with Harischandra and his son, Lohithaksha selected from one of the two rival fractions and Chandramathi being acted by a man from the other! Lohithaksha fell dead, bitten by a cobra, as required by the drama and Chandramathi the mother had to wail. Everyone expected the actor to do that very realistically; but, since the boy belonged to the rival party, Chandramathi refused to weep! This led to a minor riot; the 'puppets' had deluded themselves into attachment. They had failed to remember that they were acting 'roles'. This is the basic hypocrisy; claiming to be a character in the play, but, not speaking the lines, exhibiting emotions, going through the movements and not making the role a success. Many pundits claim to be exponents of the Vedas and Sastras, but, it is not what they teach that tells, but how they live. Many sing the glory of the Lord, but, few live in His constant Presence and in the constant awareness of that glory that fills the Universe. Udipi Krishna , they sing--but, they don't make their hearts Udipi, so that Krishna may come and be installed therein.
There are certain special hours when you have to perform Sandhya and repeat Gayathri. This is very good discipline. Just before the Sun rises, the morning rite has to be gone through. Jonnalagadda Sathyanarayanamurthy described very poetically the calmness, the color, the eloquent silence of those hours the waking birds and flowers, the earth that thrills to the touch of dew--that is the time when you too should acclaim the rising Sun with the Gayathri. Yesterday, one speaker described the Gayathri as equal to Ramanama, today another Sastry said it was the elaboration of Krishnanama and the Bhagavatha; I ask you to fix your mind on any name of the Lord, that brings up into your consciousness the Glory and the Grace of the Lord. Also, train, your hands to do acts that serve the Lord that is shining in every being. All men are He; He shaves as the barber, He makes pots as the potter; He starches and irons clothes as the Dhobi. He prompts, He inspires, He devises, He fulfils. You take a sheet of paper on which My Form is printed, as Myself; you revere It; you fall to the ground before It in reverence; why cannot you then revere all human beings, believing that I am in each of them, in an even clearer Form?
The Gayathri is a prayer for the development of your Intellect, so that you might reach this Vision. So let Me advise the elders who are here, this. You have brought your sons or grandsons or wards for Upanayanam and Gayathri-upadesam here to My presence. You are happy at their fortune; but, they will repeat the Manthra only if you too repeat it, sincerely. And it is good for you also. Repent therefore, that you have given up taking that priceless drug; start from today, the Sandhyavandanam. Learn it from your son or grandson, keeping aside your sense of superiority. When you have the royal road to reach the Goal, why scramble through thorny jungle tracks? Do the Sandhya as prescribed, and you will find a calm descending inside you, a calm that will not be shaken by any storm. You need not flee to a Himalayan valley; you can make your heart that Valley, by the discipline of the Sandhya.
Recruits for My Army
The Samskara of Upanayanam is beneficial not only to the boys who were initiated, but, for every one of you, who witnessed it and drew inspiration from it, The learned Pandit from Delhi spoke to you now of the meaning of this Samskara; it has made all these lads, "twiceborn" "dwithiyam mounjibandhanaath" he said. The belt of munja grass has given them that status, he said. The Upanayanam or the ceremony of leading the lad to the teacher and the recital by the initiate of the Gayathri manthra which prays for clear Intelligence, are the first steps towards the ultimate Realization of the Reality. Pundit Ramasaran explained how the Gayathri is the essence of the Rig Yajur and Sama Vedas and how the traditional conception of the Gayathri Devatha embodies an harmonious blending of the Five Gods, Vishnu, Surya, Maheswari, Ganapathy and Iswara, representing the Five Elements, and how prayer to Gayathri confers the material and spiritual needs of man.
Every man is burdened with one body and four births! He is born a Sudra; for, as a child he has no sense of cleanliness or definite ideas of right and wrong. By the rite of initiation into spiritual life, that is to say, when he is taken as a pupil by a guru, who takes up the responsibility of leading him to the Goal of Human Life, he becomes Dwija, twice-born, entering into the second chapter of his human career. When he has finished the spiritual disciplines and studied the scriptures, he becomes a Vipra; at last, when as a result of those practices and experiences, he visualizes Brahmam as immanent in all, he is a Brahmana. A Vipra attains Brahmajnanam and becomes a Brahmana. This is therefore the first step, but, the most, important step, in the process of self-realization.
The parents endow you with the material body the Deha; the Guru points out to you the Dweller within the Body, the Dehi. So, he is entitled to be honored as a God, says the Vedas. Mathru Devo-bhava: Pithruu Devo Bhava; Aachaarya Devo Bhava. To make gold more amenable to the operations attendent on ornament making, it is alloyed by the addition of a little silver or copper; so too in order to manifest the multiple variety of Nature, the Brahmathathwam is converted into an alloy, with the addition of a little egoism or Mamakaaram; the Guru teaches you to regain the pure unalloyed Brahmam by the processes of Sravanam Mananam and Nididhyasa in the crucible of the intellect. The Jivathathwam and the Brahmathathwam are then clearly understood as facets of the same entity.
The aim of all human effort is to achieve this One, Ekam that lies behind all this plurality. Without achieving it, man can have no peace, within or without; no amount of repetition of the Santhi manthra is capable of granting him that. The Guru reveals to the disciple the invisible current that activates the many seemingly distinct instruments, like the bulb, the mike, the fan, the refrigerator, the tape-recorder, the stove, etc. He deserves your gratitude. He is like the stranger who entered the cottage of a poor man and announced that underneath the floor of that hovel, there lies hidden a precious treasure, which he can take and own, by a few minutes of digging! The sage Viswamithra devised the Gayathri manthra as a fine drug for the spiritual aspirant; he is also to be revered, for the drug awakens your buddhi and confers upon you Viveka, Vichakshana and Vairagyam--the three distinguishing marks of humans, elevating them far above other animals.
Samskara involves double actions: removing dirt and applying paint, when the word is used with reference to a house. This Gayathri has the subtle power of removing evil tendencies and implanting virtuous habits, and so, the Upanayanam is a unique Samskara. Man is Divine; he has the Lord dwelling in his heart, but yet he is bound, miserable, limited, weak, agitated. Why? He is ignorant of his reality. He imagines himself weak, limited, bound and he is so shaped by the mind, which is the source of that imagination. How then can you be freed? How are you to overcome this Bhrama or delusion? If you desire to overtake a train, you must speed in a car or board a plane. No vehicle slower than the train will help. So too, if you intend to overcome the delusion you must establish yourself in God; the Bhrama of Manavasakthi can be overcome only by the attainment of Daivisakthi. The Gayathri promotes the acquisition of Daivisakthi.
Gayathri means 'that which saves, when repeated'! It is the torch of Jnana, given into the hands of these lads venturing into the regions of intellectual inquiry and sensory restrictions. As paddy is treated to a process of pestling and winnowing and cleaning in order to get rice, that can be cooked and eaten, these boys have to de-husk the individual, discover the Atma hiding inside the five sheaths, of Annamaya, Pranamaya, Manomaya, Vijnanamaya and Anandamaya. The Sandhyavandana rite they are enjoined to do, three times a day, from this very day, is part of this process of de-husking. Time must be found, time can be found, provided they have the will and they get encouragement from the elders. Supplying the calories for the spirit is as necessary a process for happy living as supplying calories for the body; breakfast, lunch and dinner, Prathahsandhyaa, Maadhyaanhika and Saayamsandhyaa--all six are equally essential. You miss any one of the six at your peril.
Dear boys, you have today got the Gayathri, the milk from the four teats called four Vedas of the udder of the cow that is Godhead; it has in it the sustenance that will make you shine with spiritual health. You must now carefully use it for your good; do not spill it or spoil; boil it, make curds out of it, churn it and get the butter that is immanent in it. It will become curds by means of your contemplation on the Lord, Bhagavath-chinthana; with the churning-rod of discipline, collect the butter of Ananda. You were initiated in this holy Presence, remember, the Presence that so many thousands covet; so, you have a special responsibility to fulfil your Brahmacharya, the path that leads to Brahmajnana. The body is fundamentally unclean, but, yet it craves to achieve both cleanliness and Godliness, because, its nature is Purity and Holiness.
Inner cleanliness should be your first aim. Which do you cleanse more in a drinking vessel? The interior or the exterior? You may have fine vegetables, excellent tamarind juice, chilies, salt, dal; the cook may be a master of the art; the oven may be the perfect type; but, if the copper vessel, is not tinned, the 'Saambaar' will be turned into dangerous stuff, that cannot be eaten. It will act as poison to those that eat it. Sathkarma (virtuous deeds) Sadaachaara (beneficial habits) these act to protect the Saambaar from contact with copper. For you the Gayathri and the Sandhya rites three times a day will act as the 'tin' for the Hridayapaathra, the heart-vessel, where emotions impulses and instincts are cooking. The discipline of Sandhya will tame all instincts even as the mahout's good subdues the might of the elephant and trains it to perform tricks in the circus ring. Do not fail to make the best of this chance.
As many as 450 boys have had this chance today. Some persons at Prasanthi Nilayam felt that, this being the examination season for schoolboys, many may not be able to come and get initiated in this sacred presence; but, see how, on account of strikes and consequent disturbances, schools were closed, examinations were postponed and almost all who had written about their desire to come are here before Me! This is another reminder of the efficacy of unseen merit; the rain fails on barren land and all the seeds hidden underneath the land sprout, making a green carpet to cover the area! No one knew, except Myself, that there were these seeds, of earned merit awaiting the showers of Grace in the heritage of these boys.
For the revival of Sanathana Dharma these boys will be efficient instruments. They will replenish the glory of Bharathavarsha. They are today recruited into My army. I am achieving the re-establishment of Dharma, the restoration of the Vedas, and it is with that in view that I am initiating in My Presence every year boys from all parts of India. This Samskara is fast losing its significance; the recital of the Gayathri and, the performance of the Sandhya rite are both being neglected; so, they have to be restored to their pristine glory. This is an important step. Until you see the Akshara, the unchanging, you must practice the Kshara, the changing, which helps you to transcend it. When once you are able to pronounce 'cat,' you can give up reading the word 'c-a-t'. The Gayathri will help you to reach the Akshara; practice it, three times a day, in the Sandhya rite. The Deha-maatha (the Mother who bore the body), the Lokamaatha (the Mother who sustains the Universe) and the Gayathri-maatha (the Mother who saves you from Bondage and Ignorance) all three, deserve your devotion and worship.
Today is Sankara Jayanthi - the day commemorating the advent of Sankaracharya who came to restore Dharma; it is also the day on which Brahmopadesam was given here for the boys sitting on this dais, who have come from Bengal, Bombay, Hyderabad and Bangalore. The Sankara Jayanthi Day was chosen by Me for their initiation into the Higher Adhyatmic Life, for Sankara is an inspiration even today for millions of sadhakas all over the world, who seek to know the Reality of the Universe and its fundamental Unity. They had this lucky chance of getting initiated here in My Presence by Me, as a result of their own good fortune.
The ceremony of Brahmopadesam is Upanayanam, because the word means, "taking near", taking the young aspirant near Brahman, that is to say, introducing him to Brahmajijnasa, the path of Brahma. It is one of the Samskaras, that is, rites which reconstruct the personality, re-form the mind, purify it and re-build it. It makes the person receiving it a Dwija, a twice-born! The boy is born first into the world; now, he is born into the Sadhaka world. He becomes a Brahma-chari, a person who walks towards Brahmam. So, it is a very significant day in the lives of these people, a day they must long remember with joy and thankfulness. It is the day when their hearts were turned towards God; and they should try not to run away from God, hereafter; that is a great responsibility.
The initiation was done by the Upadesam of the Gayathri manthram. The manthram is a universal prayer that can be used by men of all climes and creeds, for, it calls upon the Glorious Power that pervades the Sun and the three words to arouse, awaken and strengthen the Intelligence, so that it may lead to intense Sadhana and Sadhana may lead to success.
Every little moment or incident results in sound; only, you may not be able to hear, because the range of your ear is limited. The falling of an eyelid over the eye makes a sound, the dropping of dew on a petal makes a sound. Any little agitation disturbing the calm is bound to produce sound. The sound caused by the primal movement that resulted in the enveloping of Brahman by self evolved Maya is the Pranavasabda or Om. The Gayathri is the elaboration of that Pranava and so, it is now held so venerable and valuable that initiation into Adhyatmic life is achieved by its contemplation.
The sound of a Manthra is as valuable as its meaning. Even a poisonous cobra is quietened by music; Naadam, sound, has that allaying property. The child in the cradle stops wailing as soon as the lullaby is sung; it may not carry any meaning; it may be a nonsensical rhyme or just a jungle, but, it quietens, soothes the nerves and induces sleep. In the case of the Gayathri, the meaning too is easy and profound. It does not ask for mercy or pardon; it asks for a clear intellect, so that the Truth may be reflected therein, correctly, without any disfigurement.
The Brahmachari has vowed himself into a life of Sadhana. Now, what are the requisites for Sadhana? First, Faith--that can stand the ridicule of the ignorant, the caviling by the worldly, the laughter of the low minded. When someone ridicules, you should argue like this within yourself: Is he ridiculing my body? Well, he is doing what I myself would wish to do; for, I too want to escape out of this attachment to this body. Is he ridiculing the Atma? Well, he is doing the impossible, for, the Atma is beyond the reach of words or thought; it is unaffected by praise or blame. Say to yourself, "My Atmathathwa is Nischala, it is Nirmala," and carry on. Second: Do not worry about ups and downs, loss or gain, joy or grief. You are yourself the maker of the ups and downs. If you but care, it can all be one smooth level. You label something as loss and something else as gain. You crave for a thing and when you get it, you call it joy; when you don't, you call it grief. Cut the craving off, and there will be no more swinging from joy to grief. Third: Reason out and get convinced of the truth, Sarvam Brahmamayam.
You know there are 5 elements or Bhuthas, which constitute by their permutations and combinations, the world called Pra-Pancham, the "Five-constituted." Prithivi or the Earth-element has 5 qualities, the maximum and so, it is the grossest. It has its own special characteristic of Gandha as well as the characteristic of the other four, namely, Sparsa, Rasa, Rupa and Sabda. The next one, Jala, the Water-element has only four, its own special one Rasa-and Sparsa, Rupa, and Sabda. So it is subtler than the Earth-element. Agni is subtler still, because apart from its special characteristic of Rupa, it has only two others, Sabda and Sparsa. Vayu, the Air-element has Sparsa as its special quality and one more quality, Sabda. Finally, the lightest and subtlest of all the five, Akasa-the Sky-element, has only one characteristic, its own, namely Sabda. Now, God is subtler than even Akasa and so He is all-pervading, even more than ether or anything more pervasive than that. His nature is beyond all human vocabulary, beyond all human mathematics. Have this conviction well stabilized in your Buddhi.
Fourth: Be steady in Sadhana, and never hesitate once you have decided on it. When the bus is moving on, the dust will be floating behind as a cloud; it is only when it stops with a jerk that the dust will envelop the faces of the passengers. So, keep moving, keep, steadily engaged in Sadhana. Then, the cloudy dust of the objective world will not cover your face.
Sankaracharya came for the work of Dharmasthapana, but, he did not wage a war against the narrow sectarians or the wild theologians who opposed him or the critics who condemn him as a pseudo-Buddhist. He won them over by argument, persuasion, and preaching. He spoke softly, but with conviction. He gave his opponents fair chances to present their cases to the best of their ability and sometimes he even helped them to clarify their own points of view. Through Bodha alone can Dharma be saved in the modern Kali age. That is why I am engaged in Bhoda, in this task of re-constructing through Upadesa.
When you scatter seeds on the surface of the soil, they do not germinate. You have to keep them inside the soil. So too, Bodha if it is scattered on the surface it will not germinate, grow into the tree of knowledge and yield the fruit of wisdom. Plant it in the heart, water the plant with Prema, manure it with Faith and Courage, keep off pests with the insecticides of Bhajana and Sathsanga, so that you can benefit in the end. You have not yet got started in Sadhana; still, you demand Santhi; you demand Grace. How is it ever possible? Start! Then, everything will be added unto you.
God gives you whatever you pray for; so, take care. Ask for the right things. There was a man who had four wives; he happened to go to Bombay on some work connected with his business. From there, he wrote to all of them that he was prepared to bring home whatever each of them wanted. So, they all wrote to him giving a list of the things they wanted. The first wife asked for some nice tonics for her health, and rugs and woolen clothing, to be of service whenever she fell ill. The second wife wanted some saris of the latest style, choli pieces, jewelry of the Bombay type and such other sundry decorative stuff. The third asked him to select for her some religious books, the Jnaneswari, abhangs, Bhakthivijaya etc. available in Bombay book-shops, as well as pictures of Pandarinath, Bhavani, Sai Baba etc. The fourth wife had no list at all; she simply wrote, "If you return soon and safe, that is enough for me". She got nothing but his love. The others got big packets containing whatever they had written for. So, think well, discriminate clearly, before you ask, before you pray.
I know how systematic you are all in eating and drinking. You take pretty good care of the body. I do not condemn it; I only want that you should take equally good care of the needs of the spirit also. Take a dose of Dhyanam and Japam as the morning breakfast, Puja and Archana as Lunch at noon, some Sathsanga or Sath-chinthana or Sath-granthaparayana or Namalikhitha as afternoon tea and snacks, an hour of Bhajana as Dinner and a small ten-minute Manana as the cup of milk before going to bed, that dietary is enough to keep your inner being happy and healthy. That is My advice to you today.
Power of Gayathri
All that is visible shines as Gayathri, for Vaak is Gayathri and all objects or Bhuthas are Vaak, indicated by Vaak and subsumed in Vaak. Vaak is speech or sound. It is Vaak that describes them, it is Vaak that declares them and it is Vaak that denotes them. All objects are also of the world or Prithvi. Nothing can go beyond it. This world is the body of man; he cannot leap out of his body. There is the Prana that sustains him; breath or the Prana is inside the Hridaya or "Heart". And, the Prana cannot move outside and beyond the Hridaya.
The Gayathri has four feet and six categories. The categories are: Vaak, Bhutha, Prithvi, Sariram, Prana and Hridaya - Speech, Objects, World, Body, Breath, and Heart. The Purusha that is extolled by this Gayathri is indeed exalted, sacred, glorious. All this objective multiplicity, as has been said, is but a fraction of his body. The number and nature, the measure and meaning of the objects or bhuthas are beyond understanding; yet all this is but a quarter of His Magnificence. The other three quarters are His Effulgent immortal Form.
It is impossible to grasp the mystery of that splendor filled Form. This Purusha indicated by the Gayathri is indeed referred to as Brahmam. He is the Aakaasa, beyond the comprehension of man; He is spoken of as, "Bahir dhapurushaakaasah." This is the mark of the waking stage; that Purusha is the Aakaasa, inside the personality of man. He is "Antah Purushaakaasah". That is the mark of the "dream stage". He is the Aakaasa inside the Hridaya of man. He fills it and fulfils it; that is the "deep sleep stage". Whoever knows this Truth attains Fullness and Brahmam. That is to say, he who knows the Three Avasthas of wakefulness, dream and deep sleep (Jagrath, Swapna and Sushupthi) is himself Brahmam. How ridiculous is it that man, known as Purusha, bearing the name of this Atmaswarupa should become the repository of egoism and consequent impurity, busy in the unholy pursuit of injustice! How calamitous! At least for being known even today as a "Purusha", man should try to practice the path that will endow him with an atom of that Glory.
Then, what to speak of Purushadharma? How can Purushas who have not cared to earn even the infinitesimal glory of the Primal Purusha be expected to practice Purusha Dharma? Not even the most diligent search will now reveal a fraction of it! As the ancient Rishi said:
Samdhyaa Heeno Suchirnithyamanathas Sarva Karmasu
Yad Anyath Kuruthe Karmo No Thasya Phala Bhaag Bhaveth
That is to say, when the twice born gives up the Sandhya worship, he falls into perdition; so say all the Smrithis. Those who neglect the Sandhya worship have no right for other type of ritual. It is because the sages of ancient times performed the Sandhya worship for many years that they acquired long life, fame, glory, wisdom and the splendor of Divinity; this is mentioned by Manu also. Therefore from whatever point of view we consider, no Brahmin can deserve that status if he does not meditate on the Gayathri.
Of course what is meant by Brahmin in this context is the man who has realized the Brahmathathva and who has purified himself by the practice of the Brahmopasana, the ceaseless contemplation of the Brahmam. This has nothing to do with caste and even religion. But, those who have inherited the name Brahmin have a special responsibility in adhering to the Sandhya worship and the Gayathri.
What exactly is Sandhya? Sam means well and dhya is derived from dhyan and so Sandhya refers to the proper dhyana or intense meditation on the Lord. It means concentration on the Godhead. To fix the mind on God, the activities have to be controlled. For, success in that process of control one should overcome the handicaps of the Gunas, the Sathwa, the Rajas and the Thamas. When these faces of natural impulse predominate and try to direct along their channels, one must pray to God to negate their pull. That is the first duty of the man who strives towards God. It is the rule of nature, that the morning is the period of Sathwic quality, the "" of Rajasic nature and the "evening" hour of dusk of Thamasic nature. At dawn, the mind is awakened from the comfort of sleep liberated from agitations and depressions and so, the mind is calm and clear. At that time, in that mental condition, the dhyana of the Lord is very fruitful, as everyone knows. This is the reason why the Praathah-Sandhya is prescribed. But ignorant of the significance, men continue doing the ritual in a blind mechanical way, simply because the ancients have laid down the rule. The second duty of man is to perform the Sandhya-worship, after realizing the inner and deeper meaning of the same.
As day progresses, man is infused with the Rajoguna, the active effortful nature, and he enters the field of daily work and toll. Before he takes his noonday food, he is directed to meditate on the Lord again and to dedicate the work as well as the fruit derived through it, to the Lord Himself. He can start eating only after this act of devotion and grateful remembrance. This is the meaning of the Maadhyahnikam, the Noontime worship. By observing this ritual, Rajoguna is kept in check and it is overpowered by Sathwa nature. This is the third duty of all men.
Then, man is possessed by a third nature; the Thamas; when evening descends, he hurries home and eats his fill and sleep overpowers him. But, there is one duty still awaiting him. To eat and sleep is the fate of idlers and drones. When the worst of the gunas, the Thamas, threatens to rule, man must make a special effort to escape its coils by resorting to prayer, in the company of those who extol the Lord, reading about the glory of God, the cultivation of good virtues, and purposeful nursing of good rules of conduct. This is the evening Sandhya-vandanam, which is prescribed.
Therefore, the mind that emerges from the vacancy of sleep has to be properly trained and counseled; it must be made to feel that the bliss of Dhyana and the joy of being unaware of the outer world are much grander and more lasting than the comfort one gets by means of the daily dose of physical sleep. This bliss, this joy can be felt and realized by all; discrimination will bring this home to you. This is the fourth duty of man.
The man who, so long as he has life in him, observes the thrice a day Sandhya, is indeed of the highest type: he is ever glorious; he attains all that he desires. Above all, he is liberated, even while alive; he is jeevanmuktha.
Care must be taken to see that the Sandhya is not taken as a routine ritual, one among many laid down for observance. This is to be carried out, aware of the significance, dwelling on the inner meaning. One should clearly grasp the sense of the Gayathri Manthra. It is necessary to feel the identity between that Effulgent Being, the Atmaswarupa, mentioned therein and oneself. It is only those who are ignorant of its meaning that will neglect the Gayathri.
Manu lays special stress on just this: why he has declared the Gayathri is the very life-breath of the Brahmin. It is not his declaration only; it is the Truth. What is more efficient for spiritual uplift than Dhyana on the Effulgence that illumines and feeds the Intellect of Man? What is more vitally fruitful than the prayer, which pleads for saving the mind from sin-ward tendencies?
For man, there is no better armor than the cultivation of virtues. Manu states that the Brahmin will not lose his status-so long as he holds on to the Gayathri and is inspired by its meaning; he says that, if he is too weak to pursue the study of the Vedas, he must at least recite the Gayathri and adhere to it, till the very end. The Smrithi too says that there is no treasure richer than the Gayathri.
Soul-force can .accomplish all thc tasks of the world; and since--the Gayathri: confers inner strength to foster that force, it has to be cultivated with care at the right moment, without neglect. For the growth and development of the body pure Sathwic food is very necessary, is it not? So also, the effulgence of the Sun has to be drawn, to reinforce the inner effulgence of man in the form of Bhaavana, or creative imagination.
When soul-force waxes, the senses too are activated and directed along fruitful lines. When it wanes, the senses fail and fail you. So, if the solar energy is drawn at that very juncture, it will be as seeds planted in season, the harvest is assured. Can darkness hide and confuse when the sun has risen and bathed the earth in splendor? Can sorrow prevail, when we have infused ourselves with that effulgence? How can we be devoid of strength, the strength derived from the very fountainhead of Brahman? The technique of this process has been laid down by the ancients, for the benefit of all aspirants. Learn and practice it; by your own experience, you will be able to witness the Truth of their path.
Of what purpose is the Upanayana sacrament? Which is the Manthra that you are initiated into that day? Why has that Manthra alone to be taught then? Why are other mystic formulae not given equal prominence? Reflect on these matters and then you will find that the Gayathri is the Monarch of Manthras. You will also find the rituals shining with a new meaning, the rituals and restrictions full of purpose; the deeds and activities of the ancients will seem worth while. If you do not try to know the significance, you will interpret them as your fancy leads and land yourselves in tricks and stratagems, to escape the obligations of life. You will be caught in injustice and negation, Anyaya and Adharma.
Well, what is the real meaning of the word Gayathri? Does any one try to know it today? The word is taken to mean either a Goddess or a formula. Gayathri is that which protects (Thra) the Gaya-s, or Pranas or the Indriyas, beginning with Vaak. Besides, it is said, "Gaayantham thraayathe yasmaad gayathri, thena thathyathe." That is to say that which saves those who sing it, or revere it and repeat it or meditate on it is called Gayathri. It is this sacred Manthra that transformed a Rajarshi like Viswamithra into Brahmarshi. The Vedamaatha, the mother that is the Veda, will confer all boons on all those who worship Her. That Goddess is described in glorious terms in Brahmanas and in the Dharmasuthras: if you understand these clearly, you can realize it, unaided.
Dharma imbued with such deep mysteries, is today rationalized and interpreted willfully in various paltry senses, that is the reason why the decline of Dharma has come about. So, it is imperative to revive Sanathana Dharma and the principles of interpretation natural to the Atmic Truth, which is the basis of Dharma. Otherwise, the meaning will be changed out of all recognition and the whims of individuals will prevail. Every act will be stamped as Dharma whatever its nature!
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SRI SRI BABAMANI
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