Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Sathya Sai Krishnashtami 1988 discourse on Bharatiyas' worship of Nature, three beliefs of Law of Karma, Avatars and rebirth, and purpose of Avatars

Given below are extracts from Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba's discourse on Gokulashtami (Krishnashtami i.e. Krishna birthday), 3rd Sept. 1988, in Prasanthi Nilayam (Puttaparthi), http://www.sssbpt.info/ssspeaks/volume21/sss21-25.pdf.

In these extracts, Bhagavan tells us about the following:

* Bharatiyas worship nature - stone, Tulasi plant, Banyan tree, cows, horses, elephants, monkeys etc. - viewing nature as manifestation of the Divine.

* Human birth is a result of Karma.

* Three beliefs Bharatiyas have held fast to: Law of Karma; concept of Avatars, and doctrine of rebirth.

* For the Divine the three categories of time - past, present and future - do not exist.

* Purpose of Avatars is to teach mankind about the truth of love. Love and sacrifice make man divine.

---- start extracts of Sathya Sai discourse ----

Nature is the best teacher for man. Every object, every individual, is offering lessons of various kinds to man every moment. This truth was recognised by Bharathiyas from the earliest times. It is the primary characteristic of the sacred Bharathiya culture. From a stone to a diamond, from an ant to an elephant, from a simpleton to a sage, everything and every being in Bharath was regarded as a manifestation of the Divine. Every object was considered worthy of worship. That was why they sanctified a stone image and worshipped it.

Divine love should be extended to all beings

Bharath is the land in which the tender Tulasi plant and the giant banyan tree were worshipped with equal devotion. Cows, horses, elephants and other animals were treated as sacred objects of worship. Even ants were considered worthy of care and protection and rice flour or sugar was offered to them every day. Crows and eagles, dogs and monkeys were deemed worthy of worship. Not realising the deeper truth underlying this attitude to various objects in creation, ignoramuses choose to regard this worship as a silly superstition. This is wholly wrong. Bharath considered that the expression of Divine love should not be confined to human beings but should be extended to all beings. This is the great ideal that Bharath has held out to the world. The profound secret of this knowledge and understanding has not been grasped by any country. Bharath is the land which has upheld this sacred spiritual truth and adhered to this vision of the Divine.

The sacred aspect of Indian culture

The Gita has declared: "Adveshtaa Sarvabhoothaanaam" (Bear no ill-will towards any living being). Hatred towards anyone is hatred for God. The scriptures have also declared: "Sarvajiva namaskaaram Kesavam Pratigachchati" (The salutation that you offer to anyone reaches the Divine). Few outsiders can understand or appreciate this sacred aspect of Indian culture. Even many Indians do not realise the purity and divinity which characterise Bharathiya culture. Bharath has always proclaimed that despite variations in names and forms, there is a unity that underlies the diversity in creation.

Because Nature is a reflection of the Divine, its laws cannot be transgressed by anyone. Man, who has taken birth to realise his own true nature, instead of seeking to understand the truth about the cosmos, is lost in the pursuit of material possessions. He does not realise, that the human body made up of five basic elements, is bound to perish. This temporary, perishable body should be regarded only as a means for realising the eternal Reality. The body should be considered as an iron safe, in which the precious jewels of good qualities and good actions are kept. It is these qualities that should be cherished. If today, the state of the world appears deplorable, it is because man's actions and conduct are not good. Men should return to the ways of righteousness and lead a good and godly life.

Human birth is the result of Karma

God is not a separate entity. Man is the image of God. "Daivam maanusha rupena," (God appears in human form) declare the scriptures. God has no separate form.. It is to show to humanity how human lives can be divinised that Avatars come from time to time. I have often declared that God does not come down as Avatar to relieve individuals of their troubles and sorrow and to confer joy and happiness on them. Difficulties, troubles and worries come in the natural course as a consequence of past actions. The Gita says: "Karmaanubandheeni manushya loke" (Human beings are bound by Karma in the world). As human birth is the result of Karma, there can be no escape from the consequences of Karma. As is your action, so is the reaction to it. When you stand before a mirror and offer salutation before the mirror, the salutation is reflected by the image. If you address harsh words to the mirror, the harshness is reflected by the image in the same manner. It will be evident from this example that the fruits of our actions are determined by the nature of those actions.

Bharathiyas have held fast to three beliefs: The law of Karma, the concept of Avatars, and the doctrine of rebirth. The law of Karma means that there is no escape from the consequences of your actions. The Karma doctrine lays down that one has to experience the results of his actions. The concept of Avatar implies faith in God and in the divinity inherent in man. Man does not merely mean the human form. Man is distinguished from other animals and creatures by his capacity to judge what is permanent and what is transient, and his ability to recognise the past, the present and the future. Man alone has the capacity to comprehend this threefold nature of time. Man can ruminate over the past and speculate about the future. He can experience the present. However, man should not worry about what is past. The present is the product of the past. What has happened is beyond recall. It is futile to worry about the future because it is uncertain. Concern yourself only with the present. By "present" we may be thinking only of this moment. But this is not the present as Divinity sees it. For the Divine, "present" is what is "omnipresent."

"No thought of My future"

This means that both the past and the future are present in what is, because it is the result of the past, the seed of the future. Because man has no firm faith in the Omnipresence of the Divine, he worries himself about the past, the present and the future. For the Divine, these three categories of time do not exist.

The question has arisen in the minds of some devotees: As Swami is aware of what will happen in the future, should He not have anticipated and avoided the slip in the bathroom? I know all about the future. But I think only of the future of others and not of My future. You must note this fact carefully: "Karthavyam yogam uchyathe." (Doing your duty is Yoga). I think only of what I have to do at any particular moment. Some things might happen. They come and go. Happenings in the world are like passing clouds. These incidents give rise to certain experiences. Students should take note of these experiences.

The purpose of Avatar

When the Divine comes down as Avatar--whether it be as Rama or as Krishna, Matsya (fish), Varaha (boar) or Vamana (dwarf)--it is only for one purpose. You recognise only the momentary results of the advent. But you should note that the Divine comes as Avatar only to teach mankind the truth about love. "Oh man, it is because you lack love and are filled with selfishness that the world is plunging in so much conflict and chaos. It is only when you develop love and the spirit of sacrifice that you will realise the divinity that is in the human." The man who has no spirit of thyaga (sacrifice) will be a prey to all ills. A man without love is a living corpse. It is love and sacrifice which make man divine.

Love alone is the fruit of love. Love is its own witness. There is no trace of self-interest in it. Because love exists, for its own sake, it has no fear. It is to teach humanity the way of love that Avatars come in the world. The world displays the diversity that has emanated from the One. The Divine demonstrates the unity that subsumes the diversity. Recognition of this "Unity in Diversity" can be learnt only from the Divine.

The Krishna Avatar has been described in various ways: As a sport of the Divine in human form, as an ideal for the world, as a sacred ruler, as a manifestation of the Atma. The Divine comes as Avatar to proclaim the pure, unsullied and disinterested love of devotees towards God. People may consider that the Avatar's activities include punishment of the wicked, protection of the good, weeding out of unrighteousness and restoration of righteousness. This is how they may look at the Avatar's doings. But that is not the way the Lord sees things. There is nothing bad in God's view. Hence there should be no hatred or ill-will towards any being. It is only when you love all, that you can be said to love God.

---- end extracts of Sathya Sai discourse ----

[I thank sssbpt.info and have presumed that they will not have any objections to me sharing the above extracts from their website on this post which is freely viewable by all, and does not have any financial profit motive whatsoever.]

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