Sri Sathya Sai Speaks

Divine Discourses spanning 7 Decades (1950 – 2011)

Sri Sathya Sai Speaks, Vol 26 (1993) (Download)

19 October 1993 | Prasanthi Nilayam | Dasara

The Message of the Upanishads – 1

Download – The Message of the Upanishads – 1

ONE may study all the scriptures, perform all types of sacrifices, go on extensive pilgrimages, master the eight types of knowledge, but it is not easy to control the senses and the mind, direct one’s vision inward and maintain equanimity of temper. In ancient times, the sages and seers maintained purity in thought, truth in words and righteousness in deeds. But in this Kali Age to- day, people have forgotten human values and exhibit animal qualities such as lust, anger, greed and hatred. Purity of heart and selflessness are the hall-marks of the human life which one gets after passing through several births. Foolishness, pride, covetousness and other such qualities are a hang-over from their previous lives as sheep, buffalo or cat. One who is in the habit of attacking and harming others out of hatred reveals the tendencies in his previous birth as a dog. One who lacks steadiness of mind and constantly jumps from one thing to another, reflects the quality of the monkey from which he has evolved. It is to get rid of such bad qualities that Yajnas (Sacrifices) are undertaken.

Mind is the altar of the Yajna

In Thretha Yuga, Vishvamithra took the help of Rama to ensure the conduct of the Yajna without hindrance from the demonic forces. His Ashram was called Siddhashrama. Actually the heart of every human being is a Siddhashrama. The moment evil thoughts or bad feelings arise in man, that is the beginning of all sins. When the heart is polluted with such sinful thoughts, one should seek the help of Atma Rama, just as Vishvamithra sought the help of Rama to put an end to the ogress Thataki. If you think of God and pray to Him with sincere devotion, every deed done by you will be a Yajna. The mind is the altar of this Yajna. You must offer all the evil qualities at the altar of the mind. That is the ideal internal Yajna to be performed by every person as distinct from the external Yajna done ritualistically.

The Ramayana as allegory

The allegorical meaning of the Ramayana story should be properly understood. Rama stands for Yajur Veda, as he was the embodiment of Dharma. Lakshmana esteemed Rama’s words as law and followed him. He was always chanting the name of Rama. He represents Rig Veda. Bharatha represents Sama Veda, as he was always singing the glory of Rama. Shathrughna represents Atharva Veda. Thus the four sons of Emperor Dhasharatha of Ayodhya represent the four Vedas. Dhasharatha’s capital, Ayodhya, symbolises a where no enemy can enter. Dhasharatha symbolises rite karmendhriyas (five organs of action) and the Jnanendhriyas (five organs of cognition). The three queens of Dhasharatha – Kaushalya; Sumithra and Kaikeyi – represent the Sathvik, Rajasik and Thamasik Gunas (qualities of Goodness, Passion and Inertia). If the inner significance of the Ramayana is properly understood, it will serve as a manual of ideal living for all mankind.

If the principle underlying the Yajna is understood, it will be realised that the Divinity pervading everywhere is within you too. “Antharbahischa thath sarvam vyapya Narayanasthithah.”

Through the conduct of a Yajna one can understand the immutable permanent Reality in a fast-changing world.

Fire has an important role in the Yajna. Fire for the Yajna is created by churning two wooden sticks d together. The top stick is the mother and the bottom piece is the father of Agni (Fire). Immediately after birth, Agni devours both father and mother. Fire is the presiding priest or Brahma (for the Yajna). He takes the offerings and acts as a courier to convey them to the Gods. Yajna has, moreover, many significant inner meanings. Those who do not know them make fun of it or deride it.

Since people have forgotten the real significance of such holy rituals performed for promoting the welfare of mankind, humanity is suffering from all sorts of tribulations and miseries. In the ethical, physical, scientific and all other fields today man has given up his Svabhava (true nature) and is keen only to earn Prabhava (fame). Fame is like passing cloud. Today one may be a Prime Minister, full of fame and power. But when he steps down from that post no one will care for him.

Upanishads proclaim the real nature of man

What is the true nature of man A term for man in Sanskrith is Nara. Nara means Atma (the Self). The five elements have come from Atma. They are called Naramu. The term Narayana has come from this. Nara does not refer to the physical form of a human being. He is the Atma and should behave in keeping with his reality. A man without human qualities is like a flower without smell, a fruit without juice and a cow that cannot give milk.

The Upanishads explain this truth. They stress the importance of man knowing his own Reality, transcending the body, the senses, the mind and the intellect. They proclaim that the real nature of man is love, compassion and selflessness. But people have forgotten their original nature and are nourishing unnatural qualities. How can Dharma be sustained in such circumstances People are mainly engaged in selfish pursuits. They use their sense organs in wrong directions, instead of seeing good, hearing good, speaking good and doing good, which is the godward path. When there is no trace of any good quality in human beings, how can one expect purity of heart

Power of the Divine

Yajnas with sacrifice as the basis provide the royal road to Self-Realisation as opposed to the perilous path of self-destruction, in which people are engaging themselves now. Yajnas are designed to invoke the power of the Divine for the welfare of mankind. Divine power is limitless and beyond the comprehension of the limited intellect of man, who is labouring under the delusion that he is all-powerful and can achieve anything. Even the great saint musician and composer Thyagaraja once doubted the power of God when he was subject to great misery and suffering, but recovered his faith immediately after he recollected how, without the power of the Divine, a monkey (Hanuman) could cross the ocean or Lakshmana do service at Rama’s feet or Bharatha worship His sandals or Lakshmi, the Goddess of wealth, serve at His Lotus Feet. He blamed himself for doubting the power of the Lord and regretted the lapse in his devotion.

The significance of the offerings made in the holy fire of a Yajna is that whatever is offered is converted into Amruth (Divine Ambrosia) and conveyed to the gods. When. man sacrifices his bad qualities, he is transformed into the Divine. With this in view, the Upanishads declare: “Lead me from untruth to Truth, from ignorance to Knowledge, from death to Immortality.” Thus the Yajna helps man to progress to the summit of eternal bliss.

The Yajna is not for passing time. The cosmic energy issuing from the Manthras will go up in the fire from the Yajna hearth and spread all over the world and purify the atmosphere. Some agnostics may criticise this as wasting food, ghee and other valuable articles by throwing them into the fire. This is as foolish as the criticism of an ignorant person that a farmer wastes good quality seeds by casting them on his farm. He does not realise that one small measure of the seed will yield several bags of grain as harvest. The Yajna is done not for selfish purposes but for the welfare of the entire world. It reflects the noble ideal of service and sacrifice before self.

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