There is no need to go around trying to change the world; if you change yourself, that is good enough. If you become a loving person, you will find love everywhere.
- Sadguru Sri Madhusudan Sai
With the Blessings of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, we are delighted to present our One Hundred and Eighty Sixth issue of Ananda Vahini.
In this issue, we present the Divine Messages by Sadguru Sri Madhusudan Sai as delivered on the festive occasions of Ugadi on April 13 and Puthandu as well as Vishu on April 14, 2021.
Starting from this issue, we are pleased to share the fortnightly column by our beloved Sadguru Sri Madhusudan Sai on the Kannada daily, Vijayavani, as published on February 09 and February 23, 2021. Sadguru benevolently expounds on Sanathana Dharma for the benefit of all.
To combat the infectious Coronavirus disease, Sadguru lovingly provides guidance on the benefits of chanting Aum which is covered in this issue.
Sadguru Sri Madhusudan Sai expounds on the teachings of Kathopanishad, one of the most sacred texts, which reveals the true purpose of life, and showers wisdom and enlightenment on sincere seekers of truth. May the Divine bless everyone to imbibe divine qualities and become one with God.
In this issue, we present Episodes 14, 15, 16, 17, 18 and 19 of the 'Kathopanishad' video series.
- Sathya Sai Grama Communications Team.
UGADI MESSAGE BY
SADGURU SRI MADHUSUDAN SAI
13 APRIL 2021
TAMIL NEW YEAR & VISHU MESSAGE
BY SADGURU SRI MADHUSUDAN SAI
14 APRIL 2021
SANATHANA DHARMA SIMPLIFIED
The most ancient culture in the world is that of Bharath. Beyond the recorded history of modern historians, the sacred texts and scriptures of Bharath date back to thousands of years of advanced civilisation going all the way back to the timeless Vedas which are considered as 'apaurusheyas’, or not of human origins. These were the greatest truths of the universe and all existence, that were revealed to highly concentrated and purified minds of the evolved sages through intuition, and have been passed on for generations through oral traditions and therefore earned the name ‘Shrutis’ or that which is heard.
The fundamental Vedic texts since then have been explained and interpreted in simpler language, considering time and context of the societies through ‘shastras’ - or the scriptures which carry code of conduct as well rules and regulations of various kinds, for example Vastu Shastra which deals with do's and don'ts of architecture, and the likes. This apart the history of this most ancient land has been recorded in the texts called ‘Puranas’, the ‘ancient’ stories as well as ‘Itihasa’ (Iti + ha+ asa) which can be loosely translated as ‘It was thus’ which originated from the memory of those who witnessed such times and thus are classified as ‘Smritis’ or memories. Ramayana and Mahabharata are part of it. These stories did happen and are a part of the ancient Indian history is proven by various astrological extrapolations of the planetary positions which were described in those ancient scriptures. For instance, in Ramayana as described by Maharishi Valmiki, the author, Sri Rama was born under certain planetary positions which has been described in great detail. These details when studied astronomically- astrologically through reverse calculations, led to the date December 4, 7323 BCE. Not just that several other incidents mentioned in the text like the construction of the bridge across the ocean when matched with the studies of the remnant of the present Adam’s bridge shows that astronomically the bridge must have been constructed around October of 7292 BCE and when studied geologically, radio carbon dating estimates that the area of that bridge must have been exposed (and not submerged) anywhere between 7000 to 18000 years ago. These stories when corroborated with actual archaeological sites that still hold significant evidence of the happenings as mentioned in Ramayana, leave no room for doubt about the ancientness of Bharath beyond the modern recorded history of Harappan civilisation dated only 2600 BCE.
With the passage of time and with more and more people studying these scriptures, various other texts of this ancient land emerged. Be it the commentaries on these ancient texts called ‘Bhashyas’ or even independent works of one’s own spiritual and intellectual acumen like the ‘Sutras’ - aphorisms, inspired by these ancient truths of the Vedas.
This peninsular land was then known as Bharath Varsha located in Jambu Dweepa - the great island, which stretched all the way from the Eastern Europe to the Far East Asia of today. The culture of this great land that bound everyone together in a way of life unique only to this land was called ‘Sanathana Dharma’- or simply put ‘the supreme eternal law’. This was simply the law that guided and governed the material as well as spiritual well being of all its people.
However, with the passage of time this very law came to be known as ‘Hindu Dharma’ due to the naming of this land which was on the other side of the river Sindhu as the land of Hindus. Not until Persians named it Hindu (as they pronounced Sindhu as Hindu) that the then residents of this land came to be known as Hindus and our way of life came to be known as Hindu Dharma. However if we refer to our ancient texts, nowhere do we find the word ‘Hindu’, which has been ascribed to us albeit very recently if one were to consider the timeless history of our ancient land.
Thus, the roots of Hindu culture truly lie in the tenets of Sanathana Dharma who’s most essential teaching is the divinity of all existence as found in the philosophical part of the Vedas called Vedanta, described in the Upanishadic texts of the Vedas. Vedanta does not mean end of the Vedas but simply the ultimate wisdom of the Vedas beyond which there is nothing more to be known. The idea of divinity of all creation is unique only to Sanathana Dharma which proclaims ‘Aham Brahmasmi’- I am Divine, and ‘Sarvam Khalvidam Brahma’ - All is Divine. The Supreme Divinity which is simply the pure consciousness pervading every part of the creation is known as Parabrahman or Paramatma and the individual consciousness in all is referred to as Jeevatama or simply Atman. Think of a bucket of water immersed in a tank of water; the water in the bucket and in the tank is same but known differently due to its presence in the different containers.
The other most important aspect of Sanathana Dharma which naturally cascades down to Hindu Dharma is the twin principles of - Karma (Cause and Effect) and Punarjanma (Reincarnation). The actions that we perform lead to consequences that are good, bad or mixed ones and we must experience them at some point of time. Much like Newton’s third law of action and reaction with the only difference being that some results are instantaneous like satisfaction of thirst upon drinking cool water, some are long drawn like a seed sown that becomes a tree after a few years, and some are really long drawn spanning several births. Therefore, reincarnation happens when the same Jeevatma must experience the left over consequences of previous births by reincarnating in another form in another time and place. That would explain why some children are born child prodigies without any formal training, or why some are born poor and some are born rich, some are born sick and some are healthy and so on. This twin principles of Karma and Punarjanma control or decide the family and circumstances in which one is born. This cycle of birth and death goes on until the Jeevatma or individual consciousness evolves to realise that it’s not different from the Paramatma - the Supreme Divine Consciousness. And this happens through purification of one’s mind and actions. Thus, Sanathana Dharma promotes annihilation of individual ego through purification of mind by various spiritual means like devotion to a name or form of God of one’s liking, study of spiritual scriptures, selfless service to all, intense meditation on the truth, or a combination of two or more of these.
Thus, Sanathana Dharma is the most universal, flexible, comprehensive and practical way of life and anyone can follow it, just any one!
BY SADGURU SRI MADHUSUDAN SAI
[Published in Vijayavani, a leading Kannada Daily Newspaper on February 09, 2021]
THE SUPREME GOD IN SANATHANA DHARMA
In the last article it was learnt that Sanathana Dharma is not a religion but a supreme eternal law that governs the entire universe. Its fundamental philosophy of the ‘oneness of all existence as divinity’ (Sarvam Khalvidam Brahma) is the most ancient way of life practised in the Bharath Varsha - Indian peninsula, for much longer than the recorded modern history. Vedas are its fundamental texts and Vedanta the philosophy. The twin principles of ‘reincarnation’ (Punarjanma) and ‘action-reaction’ (Karma) are the rules within which this law operates.
Today let’s understand the idea of God from the point of view of Sanathana Dharma.
While ‘God’ is a non existent entity to atheists, mystery to the seekers and a living experience to the believers, God has always been the most debated from the very beginning. Ever since the first man opened his eyes and looked around in wonder at the suspended stars in the night sky which twinkled and shimmered eternally, the golden disc at the dawn which never missed its appointment with the earthlings, the soothing silver moon in the night that waxed and waned rhythmically, the mother earth with all her myriad inhabitants, animate and inanimate, minuscule and mighty, and the crest jewel of it all the humankind with its endless enterprise and enquiry, he asked within himself; Where did all this come from? Who governs this? Where does it all go at the end?
The first man wondered wide eyed in the wilderness, seeking answers to these questions, and when he could not find the answers outside, he turned within, in deep contemplation. That’s how seekers and sages evolved out of ordinary beings, just like a caterpillar that transforms into a butterfly. The answers were more of intuitive revelations than experimental conclusions, call it serendipity if you may.
The first understanding that emerged from this process of deep enquiry was that definitely there is a power, ‘a creative force’ that exists, and all this has come out of it. The second inference was that this power or force is not mechanical but ‘conscious and creative’ for this kind of distinctive variety and intelligent detailing isn’t possible by a dead unconscious power, and thirdly that this power has no beginning or end, for everything in the creation is cyclic, be it days or nights, seasons or situations, even life and death on this planet. Just that some are shorter cycles and some are longer. Upon keen observation, a student of science can easily draw striking parallels between this intuitive understanding of the sages of yore and the scientific conclusions of the modern scientists, who said that all matter is energy (E = mc2) and energy can neither be created nor destroyed but can only be transformed from one form to another!
Thousands of years ago, much before all the modern scientific studies, Taittiriya Upanishad described these three aspects of that supreme creative force as - Satyam, Jnanam, Anantam, which is to say that this power has three attributes of - Existence, Consciousness and Perpetuity. Simply put it means that it exists, it is intelligent and that it can never be created nor destroyed, which is what scientists say now, well almost, except that they are still debating whether it is a conscious energy or an unconscious force of nature.
However, with the newer frontiers of quantum mechanics and unified field theory, the idea of a ‘field’, a substratum to the entire universe is gaining rapid acceptance. This field consisting of fours kinds of forces, namely, gravitational, electromagnetic, weak nuclear force and strong nuclear force, seems to have an intelligent way of its own, leading to creation of newer materials, sustenance and destruction of it as well. Let’s not forget that once upon a time people thought that the earth was flat, till they discovered that it wasn’t! So science is yet to discover what sages have already done.
In Santhana Dharma, the term given to this power which exists and is conscious as well as eternal, is ‘Brahman’. Brahman is considered as one without name and forms, without attributes and qualities, without dualities and differences, though paradoxically all the variety, beauty and apparent differences in the creation are all due to that one, eternal, non dual, unchanging Brahman. How is that possible? Let’s take the example of the electricity, which by itself is nothing but a force generated by the flow of electrons in a wire. But, when the same electric current passes through a bulb, it turns into light energy, when enters a heater, it becomes heart energy, when enters a fan, it becomes wind energy and so on. Though electric current did not have any of these attributes like, lighting, heating or blowing, yet its interaction with the various appliances transformed its essential electrical energy into all these apparently diverse and different kinds of energies. Similarly Brahman’s conscious intelligent energy interacts with the nature and generates everything, sustains them and finally even destroys them. The subatomic particles interact to form atoms, which form molecules, elements, compounds, matter, plants, birds, animals and humans, and when humans die they disintegrate back into the same sub atomic particles and energy. The cycle continued perpetually! Based on this cyclic nature of work of Brahman, three functions have been attributed to Brahman, which are : creation - Srishti, sustenance - Sthiti and dissolution - Laya.
Thus, this one changeless Brahman, essentially energy appears to manifest in all the changing things or masses of the universe. But just as all ornaments, be it bangles, rings, necklaces are nothing but modifications of gold, and though known by different names which are attributed to their different forms, they are essentially gold only, everything and everyone is essentially Brahman, is what Sanathana Dharma preaches.
This Brahman in Sanathana Dharma is the supreme Godhead, and though for the sake of it we often refer to that Brahman as ‘He’ and not ‘She’, however the truth is that Brahman is neither ‘He’ nor ‘she’ and not even ‘It’! Brahman is Brahman!!
Then one may ask, what about all these variety of Gods that we worship, some masculine, some feminine and some even stranger like half human- half animal, how can these be Brahman? How can we also know Brahman like the sages of the past? We will learn about it in the next article.
BY SADGURU SRI MADHUSUDAN SAI
[Published in Vijayavani, a leading Kannada Daily Newspaper on February 23, 2021]
EPISODE 14 TRUE MEANING OF BRAHMA VIDYA (KNOWLEDGE OF THE ULTIMATE)
by SADGURU SRI MADHUSUDAN SAI
TRUE MEANING OF BRAHMA VIDYA (KNOWLEDGE OF THE ULTIMATE)
EPISODE 15 THREE KINDS OF TAPAS (AUSTERITIES) TO ATTAIN SELF-REALISATION
SADGURU SRI MADHUSUDAN SAI
THREE KINDS OF TAPAS (AUSTERITIES) TO ATTAIN SELF-REALISATION
EPISODE 16 AUM, THE PERFECT SYMBOL AND SOUND TO DESCRIBE BRAHMAN
SADGURU SRI MADHUSUDAN SAI
AUM, THE PERFECT SYMBOL AND SOUND TO DESCRIBE BRAHMAN
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