You are on page 1of 226

Bereft of truth, righteousness, love and peace the value of all your

education is zero;
Bereft of truth, righteousness, love and peace the sanctity of all
your acts of charity is zero;
Bereft of truth, righteousness, love and peace the utility of the
positions of power occupied is zero;
Bereft of truth, righteousness, love and peace the result of all your
good deeds is zero;
These four qualities are the four pillars that support the mansion
of Sanatana Dharma.
What more can I explain,
Oh! Men of noble qualities!
-

Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba

Tumuluru Krishna Murty


Anasuya
C-66 Durgabai Deshmukh Colony
Ahobil Mutt Road
Hyderabad 500007
Ph: +91 (40) 2742 7083/ 8904
Typeset and formatted by:
Desaraju Sri Sai Lakshmi

Erudition is of zero value,


When man has no truth, right conduct,
peace, non-violence;
Generosity is of Zero value,
Powerful position is of no worth,
Praiseworthy action is valueless
When man has no truth, right conduct
peace, non-violence;
For these four are the walls of the hoary
mansion of Sanatana Dharma.
The life within, the vital force of all the four,
Is Prema--Love, selfless, steady, sublime
-

Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba

Table of Contents

Foreword ................................................................................13
Introduction ...........................................................................15
The True Nature of Dharma ................................................17
What is Dharma ? ................................................................................... 17
Intentions of actions should be pure
19
Principles on which Dharma is based
20
Do not have a double standard
21
Do unto others as others do unto you
22
Dharma is the primary maxim of life
24
Dharma of man is a life of sacrifice
25
God is the embodiment of dharma
27
What is the essence of dharma?
28
On the path of dharma
29
Three principles to guide you
31
Dharma and human values .................................................................... 32
Practising what you preach is Dharma
33
Symbolic meanings of Spiritual terms and acts ...................................... 34
Divine Versus Worldly Dharma
37
See the stone as God
37
Follow divine dharma and be free
38
Egotism based on the body is hell
41
True dharma is the fundamental basis
42

The Doctrine of Karma .........................................................47


The Eternal Dharma ............................................................................... 47
Consequences are implicit in the action itself
49
Why Bharat is a Karma-Bhoomi
50

Human qualities to be cultivated

51

What is Religion? ..................................................................53


What Religion means: ............................................................................53
All religions proclaim the Unity of Divinity .............................................56
Divine experience is inherent nature of man
59
All religions emphasise human values
61
The origin of post-Vedic religions ...........................................................62
Religious differences should never arise
63
Why Hinduism stands out as a religion
64
What the religions teach ........................................................................65

Hinduism ................................................................................69
Why Hinduism stands out as a religion ...................................................73
Three schools of philosophy ...................................................................78
Shankaracharyas adwaitha philosophy
79
Merging in the Source is the ultimate destiny ................................... 79
Ramanujacharyas Visishtadwaitha Philosophy
81
Madhvacharyas dwaitha philosophy
82
Upasanas ................................................................................................83

Zoroastrianism ......................................................................85
Jainism....................................................................................89
Buddhism ...............................................................................95
Buddha's search for Truth ....................................................................100
Nirvana
102
Good life leads to nirvana ................................................................103
Buddhas Teachings ..............................................................................105
Divinity transcends space and time
105
Samyag darsanam
106
Samyag vachanam
108

Samyag karma and samyag sadhana


108
The true meaning of dharma .......................................................... 109
Buddha teaches True Sacrifice
110
Buddha shows what true sacrifice means ....................................... 111
Buddha teaches Equanimity
112
Buddhists Prayer .................................................................................. 113
True meaning of the Buddhist prayer
116
Buddha Purnima .................................................................................. 118

Christianity ..........................................................................119
Jesus .................................................................................................... 121
The three stages of Jesus' life
121
Jesus' original name was Isa
123
Do not confine Jesus to one community
124
Man forgets or ignores the goal of life
125
Jesus bore no ill-will towards any one
127
Be ever ready to cast the body away
128
Bible Clarifications ............................................................................. 129
Christian ............................................................................................... 130
Christmas ............................................................................................. 131
He whom Christ announced ................................................................. 132

Islam .....................................................................................145
Allah
Islam
The Atma can never be hurt by insult
During Ramzan month rivalry is avoided
Unity is the basic teaching of every religion
Demonstrate love and tolerance in daily activity

147
147
148
149
150
151

Sikhism .................................................................................152
Sai Religion the Unity of Religions .................................156
The 'Sai religion' is the essence of all faiths .......................................... 158

Unity of Religions .................................................................................161


Develop spiritual oneness
162
Religions are not different from each other
163
The message of unity
164
Love is the life-breath of every being
165
Love is my Religion
166

Ishwaras sarva bhuthanaam: Sanatana Dharma embraces


all faiths ................................................................................168
Sanatana Dharma is the essence of all dharmas ...................................168
Man and God
171
Divine Intelligence is universal and all-comprehensive .........................172

Sanatana Dharma Is the Divine Mother of Humanity .....181


The Divine is manifest in every human being .......................................181
The three tools for Awareness
183
Secret of Inaction in Action
183
The Reality inherent in all
184

Spiritual Transformation ...................................................192


Religions arise from the minds of men
192
Man's life is conditioned by feelings and deeds
194
The nation belongs to all
195
Three concepts and ideals you should cherish
196
Make the world a happy Home of Love
197
The goal of spiritual endeavours
198
People today relish the very things religion condemned
199
Sacrifice at least a desire or two
200
Inherent divinity in everyone is the same
200
Develop devotion to Dharma ...............................................................201
Social transformation is related to spiritual change .............................202
Teachers who can inspire are becoming rare
203
Pursuit of the science of the spirit is essential today
204
The Supreme is in the subtlest and the vastest
205

10

The five types of life-breaths or vital airs


206
Difference between worldly and spiritually minded
207
Have your hands in society and heads in forest .............................. 208
Use scriptures as guides for right action
210
Six virtues to be cultivated in life
211
Spiritual transformation will bring peace
212
Need for national approach to sharing-river waters
214
Education, health and water should be free for all
215
The water project ............................................................................ 216
The triple transformation
216
Shed selfishness
217

Index .....................................................................................218
Bibliography ........................................................................219

11

Be always saturated with prema:


do not use poisonous words against any one,
for, words wound more fatally than even
arrows.
Speak soft and sweet;
sympathise with suffering and loss and
ignorance;
try your best to apply the salve of soothing word
and timely succour.
-

Sri Sathya Sai

Foreword
Ekam Sat Vipra bahudavadanthi Truth is one but wise have
said in many ways.
Ekameva adwitiyam brahma God is One without a second.
There is only one God and Atma is one. The Atma is the same in
All. All religious people pray to the same God, but their names
and forms may be different.
All religions teach only good,
And one has to follow the teachings
Using ones discrimination.
If the mind is pure,
No religion would appear bad.
Bhagavan says: Religions are many, but God is one; Jewels are
many, but Gold is one; Appearances are many, but Reality is
One.
Cows may be of different breeds or colours or sizes, but milk
they yield is the same, the world over. So too, all religions,
whatever their origin or extent of influence, are means to teach
man this process.
Do not give room for differences based on language, religion,
caste or nationality. Develop the feeling that all are children of
God. You may worship God in any form of your choice, but
13

Sanatana Dharma: For a happy, peaceful life of an individual and for society

always bear in mind that God is one. Cultivate love and promote
unity and harmony among all.
Religions are many, but the road is the same. Flowers are many,
but worship is the same, professions are many but living is the
same.
Saharaseersha Purusha Sahasraska
sahasrapath-Isavasya midam Jagat
Eswara Sarvabhuthanam
Ekovasi sarvabhoothamanratma
Understand, the tenets experience and follow. Religion means
Realisation, What is that realisation? That is oneness, That
realisation is Love. Therefore we must with unity live
harmoniously. As a good Muslim, as a good Hindu, as a good
Christian as man seeing God in another and live together -Brother-hood of man and Father- hood of God
Keeping these precepts in mind practice Bhagawans Upadesh
(teachings), let us all live in religious harmony and peace and
follow Sai Religion of Universal Love.
That is a flower at the Lotus Feet of God.
With Pranams at the Lotus Feet of Bhagavan
Samastha Lokas Sukhinobhavanthu
Tumuluru Krishna Murty

14

Introduction
Sanatani is a term often used by most Indians to describe
denominations that adhere to what is sometimes misunderstood
to be Orthodox Hinduism. The term was popularized by Gandhi
in 1921.
The term Sanatani is used in contrast to reformist denominations
of Hinduism, which often reject previously long-established
socio-religious systems based on fundamentalist interpretations
of specific scriptures or were led by reformist sants (saints).
Hinduism has been called the "oldest religion" in the world and
many practitioners refer to Hinduism as Sanatana Dharma, "the
eternal law" or the "eternal way" beyond human origins. It
prescribes the "eternal" duties all Hindus have to follow,
regardless of class, caste, or sect, refraining from injuring living
beings, purity, goodwill, mercy, patience, forbearance, selfrestraint, generosity, and asceticism.
This is contrasted with Swadharma, ones "own duty", the duties
to be followed by members of a specific caste and stage of life.
According to Knott, this also refers to the idea that its origins lie
beyond human history, and its truths have been divinely revealed
(shruti) and passed down through the ages to the present day in
the most ancient of the worlds scriptures, the Veda.
15

Sanatana Dharma: For a happy, peaceful life of an individual and for society

According to the Encyclopaedia Britannica, the term has also


more recently been used by Hindu leaders, reformers, and
nationalists to refer to Hinduism as a unified world religion.
Sanatana dharma has thus become a synonym for the eternal
truth and teachings of Hinduism, the latter conceived of as not
only transcendent of history and unchanging but also as
indivisible and ultimately non-sectarian, all-inclusive, embracing
and welcoming all with open hands with tolerance and love
The phrase dharma sanatana does occur in classical Sanskrit
literature, e.g. in the Manu smriti (4-138) and in the Bhagavata
Purana, in a sense akin to "cosmic order". (From Wikipedia)

16

The True Nature of Dharma


Jantoonam Narajanma Durlabam." Of all the lives in this organic
world, human life is the rarest and the noblest of all.
In this infinite world, there are manifold Jivas. Amongst all of them,
man reigns supreme. While eating and sleeping are common to all
living beings, man is distinguished by two qualities. One is dharma
or right conduct and other is jnaana or wisdom.
If this jnaana and dharma are not present in man, he will also have
to be grouped along with all other living beings. We should first
enquire as to what dharma means.

What is Dharma ?
Today all kinds of worldly Dharmas are proliferating. When we try
to find out what is Vaidik Dharma (Dharma according to Vedas),
there are confusing and conflicting opinions. (SSS Vol.21), 26-31988.
Veda is declared to be the root of Dharma. The Veda is
Apourusheya---"Not ascribable to human skill or authorship;" the
Veda Purusha (Soul of Veda) is not ascribable to any one country.
Veda emanates from wherever you yearn for it. All religions and

17

Sanatana Dharma: For a happy, peaceful life of an individual and for society

Dharmas are but proliferations of Vedic truths. (SSS Vol.2), 5-101962


Dharma ordains man to observe certain rules of behaviour for social
and spiritual progress. The observance of such restrictions and
disciplines can be called dharmic. Dharma is also capable of
causing hurt to people who try to cause the decline of dharma.
Similarly, dharma will protect those who will try to protect it.
Another sacred quality of dharma is that wherever it is, there will
be victory as well.
This sacred word dharma has been commented upon by many
elders in this country. This country has been bound by the rope of
dharma and therefore it acquires a distinctive feature and serves as
an example to other countries. This word dharma, which is really
bound up with an infinite variety of meanings, is being inadequately
described by one word, duty, in the modern age. Duty is something
which is connected with an individual, a predicament, or with a
particular time or country.
On the other hand, dharma is eternal, the same for everyone
everywhere. It expresses the significance of the inner Atma. The
birth place of dharma is the heart. What emanates from the heart as
a pure idea, when translated into action will be called dharma. If
this is to be explained in a manner that all can understand, one can
say, Do unto others as you want them to do unto youthat is
dharma. Dharma consists in avoiding actions which would hurt
others. If anyone causes happiness to you, then you in turn should
do such things that will cause happiness to others. When we

18

The True Nature of Dharma

recognise that what others do will cause difficulties and if we do the


same things, that would be adharma.
Sometimes, and under some circumstances, an individual who
commits a wrong has to be told in very clear terms that he has done
something wrong, in order to improve him. Simply because one
uses a knife sometimes, one cannot conclude that it is an evil thing
or that the individual is a cruel person. For example, sometimes a
doctor uses a knife and cuts open the heart while performing
surgery. Will this be called cruelty or an act of helping?
If you do something which is connected with untruth, it could be
called adharma. But whatever action you do with prema cannot be
called adharma. Law is love, and the entire system of law is based
on love. For instance, if a boy commits a mistake and if the mother
beats the boy, would you call it cruelty or adharma? In this context,
dharma has acquired many different meanings. There is dharma
relating to time, relating to the world, relating to heart, relating to a
sect, and so on. There are varieties of dharma which have come up
in usage at the present time. (SSB 1973, pp. 259-260)

Intentions of actions should be pure


Human nature has to be chastened, controlled and guided along
certain channels; otherwise, like the flooded Ganga, it will bring
disaster to millions who rest in security, believing it to be harmless.
The haste to secure an immediate advantage has to be cured, the
later advantage may be more lasting and more healthy; benefits to
the individual have to be given up in favour of benefits to the group,
the village, the community, the country or the whole of mankind.
Ideas, principles, laws, customs, codes, habits, actions---all are to
19

Sanatana Dharma: For a happy, peaceful life of an individual and for society

be judged on the twin points of intention and consequence. Is the


intention pure, is it born out of Prema, is it based on Truth?
Does it result in Shanti? If yes, dharma is enshrined in that action or
law, custom or conduct. Intention and consequence are the two
bunds that guide the flood waters of the Godavari safely into the
sea, which can swallow any amount of river water. In fact, it is the
rule and the restriction that gives charm to the game of life. If in the
game of football any player can do anything with the ball, and there
is neither foul nor out, neither offside nor goal, neither throw nor
will penalty, then it is a meaningless game incapable of giving
Ananda.

Principles on which Dharma is based


Now, how are you to decide in any particular case what is dharma
and what is not? I shall tell you some principles which you can use
on such occasions. That which does not inflict pain on you. and on
others---that is fight, that is dharma. So act in such a way that you
get joy and others too get joy. Or, take another standard for your
actions: Make the manas, the vaak and the kaayam (thought, word
and deed) agree in harmony. That is to say, act as you speak, speak
as you feel; do not play false to your own conscience; do not cover
your thoughts in a cloak of falsehood; do not suppress your
conscience by forcibly enslaving it and embarking on actions not
approved by it. That is the dharmic way of life Frequently doing
right makes it easier and easier, habit grows into conscience. If you
are once established in right conduct, you will automatically follow
the right. What you do depends on what you are; what you are
depends on what you do. The two are interdependent to a great
degree.
20

The True Nature of Dharma

Or, there is another principle. Dharma trains you to be calm, levelheaded, secure in equanimity. You know the transitory nature of
success or failure, riches or poverty, joy or grief, appointment or
disappointment. You are not elated or deflated. You are serene,
unmoved. Anything that helps you to maintain this unruffled
stability is dharma.
To cut it short: sensual life is adharma; the spiritual life is dharma.
Dharma is that which sustains, saves and sanctifies. Man is born
and is given a lease of life so that he may earn the knowledge of His
identity with the Infinite.
There are differences between the limbs of the body but they all
belong to the body; it is foolish for them to imagine that they are
unconnected with the body. The Sun sends out a million rays but
they all belong to the Sun. The Sun is reflected in a million pots of
water but though they all are tiny images of the Sun, the Sun is the
Truth and the reflections are all relatively unreal.

Do not have a double standard


One common definition of dharma is that it is the adherence to the
rule: "Do unto others what you wish them to do unto you; do not do
unto others what you do not wish them to do unto you." Do not
have a double standard. Treat all as your own self. That is to say,
you must have faith in yourself and then only can you have faith in
others. You must respect yourself and respect others. Egoism is the
measure of altruism. Mankind is one community; you harm yourself
and you harm all. You make a man stand erect and that act makes
you stand erect. The treatment you wish others to render to you is
itself the measure of your duty to them.
21

Sanatana Dharma: For a happy, peaceful life of an individual and for society

The Vedas and the Upanishads, which form the Jnaana kanda and
the Upaasana sections of Sanatana Dharma (Eternal Religion), are
the best guides to the path of dharma for mankind, for all classes,
for the family, for society, for the professional group and for the
individual. Just as Delhi is the capital of India, India is the spiritual
capital for all mankind. It is the responsibility of Indians to
demonstrate in their lives that Dharma confers on them shanti and
soukhya (peace and happiness), so that the rest of mankind may get
the inspiration to follow the same path. (SSS Vol.2), 5-10-1962

Do unto others as others do unto you


This means that we should not cause harm to others because we do
not want them to do harm to us. This is the natural Dharma which is
relevant to all people in worldly life. Not everybody can understand
or follow Vaidik Dharma (Laws of Eternal Religion). Hence, in our
ordinary daily life, the simple principle to be adhered to is do unto
others as you would like others to do unto you.
However, what we notice among most people today is rampant
selfishness and self-centredness. While they want to be respected
and honoured by others, they will themselves show no respect or
regard to others. Dharma is not a one-way traffic. It calls for "give
and take." Today the spirit of sacrifice is absent among people. The
foremost lesson of the Ramayana is readiness for sacrifice. It is only
through thyaga (renunciation or sacrifice) that one attains Yoga
(oneness with Divinity). The Ramayana proclaims the ideal of
sacrifice. Obeying the commands of his father, renouncing the
kingship and wearing the bark of the tree, Rama went to the forest
as an exile. He was complying with what he regarded as Aajna

22

The True Nature of Dharma

(divine command). He demonstrated to the world what adherence to


truth means. (SSS Vol.21), 26 Mar 1988
Dharma, in essence, means making use of every limb for the sacred
purpose for which it is intended. See good; think good; speak good;
go to good places; do good deeds. What do we mean by the use of
the word "good"? It is not what someone else advises you to do.
The Divine is not somewhere outside. He is within you. The
consciousness of what is good must arise from within you. That is
the voice of Conscience. Act according to the dictates of your
Conscience.
When the question is asked, "Where is God?" the answer is given
(in the Gita sloka):
"Aham Vaiswaanaro bhutva
praaninaam deham Asritah;
Prana-Apaana Sa-maayuktah
Pachaamyannam Chaturvidham."
(As Vaiswanaara I have entered every living being and I digest all
the four kinds of food). The Lord thus declares that He is within
everyone as the digesting agent, who supplies nourishment to all
parts of the body. God is present in everyone as Vaiswaanara1.
(SSS Vol.23), 14-8-1990

Therefore, while taking food, you should offer it to the Divine first by
reciting the sloka:
Brahmaarpanam Brahma Havih,
Brahmaagnau Brahmanaahutham

23

Sanatana Dharma: For a happy, peaceful life of an individual and for society

Karma (ones deeds) is responsible for birth. Every man is a child


of Karma. Born on account of Karma, Dharma (Righteousness)
becomes one of the primary goals of human life. Dharma governs
all worldly and other-worldly actions in life. Based on the rules of
Dharma (conduct) pertaining to ones caste, vocation, or Asrama
(stage in life), people are supposed to regulate their lives. This is
regarded as Dharma. But this is not the correct meaning of the term.
Dharma in its exalted meaning is that which applies to all people, in
all countries at all times.
Dharma is that which sustains mankind. True humanness consists in
observing unity of thought, word and deed. All actions done with
this triple unity are dharmic (righteous actions). All such actions
will be non-violent. Words spoken with such triple purity will be
truth.

Dharma is the primary maxim of life


Bharatiya Vijnana is suffused with Dharma (Righteousness).
Dharma is the primary maxim of life. It is life itself. What is
Dharma? It is said: Dhaarayati iti Dharmah" (Dharma is that
which bears or supports everything). This derivation is not
adequate. In every object, there is a vital principle running like a
thread. Here is fire. What is it that fire bears within it? Heat and

Brahmaiva thena Ganthavyam


Brahma Karma Samaadhinaa.
(Brahmam is everything: the offering is Brahmam, the sacrificial fire is
Brahmam, Brahmam is the goal and the means). (SSS Vol.23), 14-8-1990

24

The True Nature of Dharma

light. Only when heat and light are present, can you regard it as
Agni (fire). If heat and light are not present, it will be a piece of
charcoal and not fire What, then, is the Dharma (the vital principle)
of fire? To manifest heat and light. Here is a lump of ice. What is
its form? It is white. It is cold. If it is not cold, it will cease to be ice.
Likewise, the vital principle of sugar is sweetness. If it has no
sweetness, it will turn into salt or mud.
"Man is sustained by three factors: the body, the mind, and the
tongue. The hands represent the body, thoughts represent the mind
and speech represents the tongue. The acting in unison of the body,
the mind and the tongue is Dharma. Thoughts, words and actions
should be in harmony. That is the mark of a true human being. This
basic truth is valid without regard to place, nationality, language or
religion. It is applicable to people everywhere, at all times. Those
who observe this triple purity are the redeemed. They are the salt of
the earth. They are the upholders of righteousness. To such
adherents of Dharma, God is a constant companion, keeping close
to them at all times and places. (SSS Vol.28), 18-8-1995. Today
man must strive for this triple unity. Dharma cannot be destroyed.
But what is happening is the decline in the practice of Dharma.
Today, the practice of Dharma is itself true sadhana. (SSS Vol.23),
14-8-1990

Dharma of man is a life of sacrifice


What is the Dharma of man? A life of sacrifice on the basis of
morality and integrity is the Dharma of man. How should the
Dharma be practised? With Trikarana Suddhi (purity in thought,
word and deed). True humanness consists in the harmony of
thought, word and deed. Today it is because there is no unity of
25

Sanatana Dharma: For a happy, peaceful life of an individual and for society

thought, word and deed among men, Dharma has declined. As a


result Vijnana (science) has lost its true form. The nations
prosperity and wellbeing have been destroyed. Security has become
scarce. Morality and integrity have disappeared. Mammon-worship
reigns supreme. In the insane pursuit of wealth, men are losing their
morality and integrity.
Money earned by unworthy means is nothing but dust. That wealth
will not be of use to you. Hoarding wealth is of no avail. Ill-gotten
wealth is not truly yours. There are four covetous elements waiting
to get at it. The first entity is the Government. In the name of some
tax or law, the Government will make a raid on the hoarded wealth.
The second entity is fire, somehow or other fire reaches the illgotten wealth and destroys it. The third entity is a thief. The thief is
after secreted wealth. Somehow he tries to steal it. The fourth entity
is disease. To deprive a person of his ill-gotten wealth, disease
seizes hold of him and makes him spend money on treatment.
Misers, who will not part with a paisa to a beggar, will spend any
amount on doctors and medicines. These are the ways in which
money earned by dishonest means is taken away. Therefore, you
students, who are the nations hope for the future, should rigorously
eschew unfair means to earn money, adhere to morality and
integrity in your professional life and uphold Dharma through love
and truth and serve the nation. Only then will the nation recover its
ancient greatness and glory. It is impossible for anyone to eradicate
the basic truths embedded in Bharatiya culture and tradition. (SSS
Vol.24), 2-6-1991.
People must dedicate themselves to dharma and always be engaged
in dharma, so that they may live in peace and the world may enjoy
26

The True Nature of Dharma

peace. One cannot acquire real peace, nor can one win the grace of
the Lord, through any means other than the dharmic life.
Dharma is the foundation for the welfare of humanity; it is the truth
that is stable for all time. When dharma fails to transmute human
life, the world is afflicted by agony and fear, tormented by stormy
revolutions. When the effulgence of dharma fails to illumine human
relationships, humanity is shrouded in the night of sorrow.

God is the embodiment of dharma


God is the embodiment of dharma; His grace is won by dharma. He
is ever fostering dharma, He is ever establishing dharma, He is
dharma itself. The Vedas, scriptures (Shastras), epics (Puranas),
and traditional accounts (ithihasas) proclaim aloud the glory of
dharma.
In the scriptures of the various religions, dharma is elaborated in
language familiar to the adherents. The duty of everyone,
everywhere, and at all times, is to pay homage to the personification
of dharma (Dharma-Narayana).
The stream of dharmic activity should never run dry; when its cool
waters cease to flow, disaster is certain. Humanity has reached this
stage only because dharma, like the river Saraswathi, flows unseen,
below the ground, feeding the roots and filling the springs. Not only
humanity but even birds and beasts have to adhere to dharma, so
that they may be happy and survive in comfort and joy.
Therefore, the waters of dharma have to be kept flowing
perpetually and fully, so that the world might enjoy happiness.
Disaster now dances madly on the world stage, because right is
27

Sanatana Dharma: For a happy, peaceful life of an individual and for society

neglected and there is disbelief in the essentials of dharmic life. So,


one has to understand clearly the very heart of dharma.

What is the essence of dharma?


Can common people lead a happy life and survive if they stick to
dharma? Naturally, these doubts confuse the mind in the course of
life. Solving them is necessary, even urgent.
As soon as dharma is mentioned, the ordinary person takes it to
mean: giving alms, feeding and providing lodging to pilgrims,
adherence to ones traditional profession or craft, law-abiding
nature, discrimination between right and wrong, the pursuit of ones
innate nature over the freaks of ones own mind, the fruition of
ones fondest desires, and so on.
Of course, it is a long, long time since the spotless countenance of
dharma was tarnished beyond recognition. Beautiful fields and
groves run wild with neglect and soon become unrecognizable
bushland and thorny jungle; fine trees are hewn by greedy people,
and the shape of the landscape is changed. With the passage of time,
people get accustomed to the new state of things and dont notice
the transformation, the decline. This has also happened to dharma.
Everyone has to acquaint himself with the outlines of dharma,
expounded in the Vedas, scriptures (Shastras), and Puranas.
Misunderstood by incompetent intelligence, unbridled emotion, and
impure reasoning, these works have been grossly diluted, and their
glory has suffered grievously.
Just as raindrops from the clear blue sky get coloured and
contaminated when they fall on the soil, the unsullied message of
28

The True Nature of Dharma

the ancient sages (rishis), the example of their shining deeds, and
the bright untarnished urges behind their actions are all turned into
ugly caricatures of their original grandeur by uncultured interpreters
and scholars. Books written for children contain illustrations to
clarify the text; but the children spend their time with the pictures,
forgetting what they are intended to clarify. In the same way, the
unwary and the uneducated mistake the rituals, which are designed
to illustrate the grand truths, as profoundly real in themselves and
ignore the truth that they were meant to elucidate. Travellers
moving along the road rest for a while in wayside shelters, but
during their stay, they damage by neglect or misuse the very
structure that gives them rest. So too, the dull and perverse alter the
very face of Vedic morality and deceive the world into believing
that their handiwork is what the Vedas teach!
When such mauling of dharma took place, when the face of dharma
suffered disfigurement at the hands of the enemies of God, the Lord
responded to the call of the gods and the godly and saved the world
from ruin, by restoring right and truth in the field of dharma and
karma, i.e. in both ideal and practice.
Now, who can cure the present blindness? Man has to slay the sixfold beast of inner enemies (arishadvarga) that lead him on to
disaster: lust, anger, greed, delusion, pride, and hate. Thus only can
dharma be restored.

On the path of dharma


Whoever subdues egotism, conquers selfish desires, destroys bestial
feelings and impulses, and gives up the natural tendency to regard
the body as the self that person is surely on the path of dharma; that

29

Sanatana Dharma: For a happy, peaceful life of an individual and for society

person knows that the goal of dharma is the merging of the wave in
the sea, the merging of the self in the Over-self.
In all worldly activities, you should be careful not to offend
propriety or the canons of good nature; you should not play false to
the promptings of the inner voice; you should be prepared at all
times to respect the appropriate dictates of conscience; you should
watch your steps to see whether you are in someone elses way; you
must be ever vigilant to discover the truth behind all this
scintillating variety. This is your entire duty, your dharma. The
blazing fire of wisdom (jnana), which convinces you that all this is
Brahman (sarvam khalvidam Brahmam), will consume into ashes
all traces of your egotism and worldly attachment. You must
become intoxicated with the nectar of union with Brahman; that is
the ultimate goal of dharma and of action (karma) inspired by
dharma.
Sacrifice ignorance (a-jnana) and ego (ahamkara) at the altar of
wisdom (jnana) and install dharma therein; this is the message of
the Vedas. Every single unselfish act that prepares the ground for
the merging of the soul with the Over-Soul, that broadens the vision
toward the basic Brahman immanent everywhere, is a dharmic act.
Each such act is a tiny stream that swells the river of holiness
rushing towards the sea of knowledge of Brahman. Your acts and
activities are all rituals in the worship of the highest Atma, which
pervades the universe. Whatever is done in an attitude of dedication
and surrender is a component of the dharma that leads to
realization. The strategy of the Indian (Bharathiya) way of life is
directed toward the sanctification of every movement and every
thought, word, and deed into a step towards that realization. (DV)
30

The True Nature of Dharma

Three principles to guide you


The mind must become bhakthimaya (saturated with devotion to
God); the intelligence must be transformed into jnaana-dheepthi
(the splendour of universal wisdom), or jnaana (Divine
Knowledge); the body must be a willing and efficient instrument for
saddharmacharana, (the practice of righteousness). Such a life is
indeed the crown and glory of humanity. The rest are contaminated,
contained, caged lives!
There is no use asking a doctor to advise you about the plans for the
building you propose to raise; nor is it wise to ask the engineer for a
balm to assuage pain. Go to the proper Guru and learn from him
about at least three principles to guide your lives.
(1) Dharma : What is dharma, why should it be followed, what does
it allow, what does it condemn, etc.?---these have to be clearly
known. The Geetha is the best text on Dharma: the first word in it
is dharma and the last word is mama (mine). So, it teaches each
student what exactly he should consider as "the dharma which is
mine!" Each one must evolve his own dharma based on
Atmadharma, the faith that the Atma (soul) is his true reality.
(2) Bhakthi Bhakthi (devotion) is like a king, who has two aidesde-camp called jnaana (divine knowledge) and vairaagya (nonattachment). Without these two bodyguards, bhakthi is never secure
or safe. Bhakthi must be built upon the foundation of jnaana; it
must flower as "detachment from the world." The jnaani is the
sthitha-prajna (unmoved by agitating feelings and emotions),
unshaken by the storms of fortune, good or bad; the vairaagi (the
detached), is the person who has rid himself of the three gunas
31

Sanatana Dharma: For a happy, peaceful life of an individual and for society

(qualities of the mind); and the bhaktha (devotee) is he who is all


prema (Love). Bhakthi, jnaana and vairaagya are three peaks of the
same Himaalyan range. Prema creates dhaya (compassion);
vairaagya induces dhama (tolerance); and, jnaana leads you along
the path of dharma.
(3) Saadhana- When the house catches fire, you run about in
desperate haste to get succour and to put out the flames; but, you do
not realise that the fire raging inside you is even more devastating
and devouring. You must take up the duty of fire fighting in right
earnest and never rest until the flames are put out. Start the fight
right now. Start serving your parents, your teachers, the elders, the
poor, the diseased, the distressed. Do not foster factions and
divisions. Promote love, concord, co-operation, brotherliness. Do
not look upon people as belonging to this state or that; all are in the
state of bondage to the senses, to the objective world. Join the
company of the good, the striving, the yearning saadhakas and you
will soon reach the stage of peace within and harmony without.
(SSS Vol.4), 14-8-1964

Dharma and human values


Dharma is otherwise known as neethi (morality). Morality is
equated with selfless love. Religions were instituted to foster the
well-being of society through the promotion of love. The ancient
sages laid down certain rules and precepts in accordance with the
times, the place and the circumstances of the country. These were
intended to foster human values and were based on the scriptures
and the Vedas. No one can determine the precise date, place or
authorship of these regulations. The sages believed that these
disciplines were conducive to the promotion of the highest human
32

The True Nature of Dharma

qualities and were divinely ordained to help mankind. With the


efflux of time and because of the predilections of different sages,
these rules got divided into sakhas and upasakhas (branches and
sub-branches), with the names of the respective sages attached to
them. The names of sages like Vasishta, Gautama, Parasara,
Viswamitra are associated with these sakhas (branches). They were
all designed to promote social well-being. No one can fix the date
or the name of the founder of the religion of the Bharatiyas. The
fountain source of all the sects is the Veda. (SSS Vol.22), 23-71989.

Practising what you preach is Dharma


Practising what you preach, doing as you say it has to be done,
keeping precept and practice in line. Earn virtuously, yearn piously;
live in the fear of God, live for reaching God---that is Dharma,
(SSS Vol.5), 30-3-1965
What is our culture, what are our traditions and what is Sanatana
Dharma? One who is not aware of the three cannot call himself a
child of Bharat. Bharatiya culture is one that is ageless. It has
withstood the vicissitudes of time. The soul of this culture is
Sanatana Dharma.
It is the bounteous nectar that has emerged from the dedicated
efforts and severe penances of the rishis. Those sages did not
embark upon these exercises out of blind faith or ignorance and lack
of knowledge. They were profound seers, free from attachment and
self-interest. After discovering the basic truth through disinterested
enquiry and personal experience, they gave it to the world. In the
world today, knowledge and skills have grown immensely, but
33

Sanatana Dharma: For a happy, peaceful life of an individual and for society

human qualities have not developed at all. Every subject is riddled


with controversy. The reasoning process is invoked, without
understanding what exactly is reason. It must be clearly understood
that the Divine cannot be known by ordinary perception or through
rules of logic and reasoning. (SSS Vol.19), 8-3-1986.

Symbolic meanings of Spiritual terms and acts


You have to understand ancient pious actions (dharmakarmas) by
entering into their symbolic meaning. The spiritual field has many a
technical term, with its own special connotation. These terms have
to be clearly understood, so that you can grasp correctly the
teaching of the scriptures (Shastras).
Take an example. People used to celebrate sacrificial rites (yajnas)
in ancient times, and they sacrificed animals (pasus) in these rites.
But the animal is only a symbol. It was not the dumb creature that
had to be cut to pieces. The animal leads a life of sacrifice, even
without its career being completed at the sacrificial pole! The
animal that has to be disemboweled and offered is different.
In the spiritual vocabulary, animal means the bodyconsciousness,
the I-consciousness, and this is what has to be slaughtered. The
Lord is known as Pasupathi or Govinda. Pasupathi means the Lord
of all individuals (jivas), pasu meaning individual; and govinda
means the guardian of cows or individuals, go meaning
individual. The tending of cows is a symbolic play of Krishna to
indicate His mission of tending individuals.
The scriptures (Shastras) have profound inner meanings. The aim of
dharma is to make the individual (jiva) give up attachment to
external nature and the illusion that it causes and to make it realize
34

The True Nature of Dharma

its reality or rather, unrealize what it has now taken as real so that it
may stand revealed in its genuine identity.
These meanings must be learned by young and old. Take, for
instance, the Siva Temple. Right in front of the idol of Siva is the
image of Nandi, the bull. You are told that the sacred bull is the
vehicle (vahana) of Siva, and that is the reason for its being there.
But, really speaking, the bull (pasu) represents the individual (jiva)
while the lingam is the symbol of Siva. No one should pass
between the bull and the lingam, the individual, and the Siva, it is
said; for they are to merge in one. Siva has to be seen through the
two horns of Nandi, they say. When asked the reason for this
procedure, people reply, Well, it is holier than other methods of
viewing the lingam.
But the inner meaning is, You must see the Siva in the individual
the bull Pasu and Siva (Pasupathi) are one. Nandi and God
(Iswara) become the Lord of individuals (Nandiswara). Both are
only two ways of referring to the same entity. When in bondage, it
is Nandi; when the bound becomes free and union with God is
achieved, it is God. It is worshipped and is entitled to be so
honoured. The true sacrifice (yajna) occurs when the bull (pasu) is
offered to the Lord of animals, Pasupathi, and its separate identity is
cast away. The significance has now been forgotten. Today, these
symbolic acts have changed beyond recognition. The practices of
today and the principles of yesterday are far apart. Even the smallest
detail of secular life has to be inspired by the higher ideal of
spiritual fulfilment.

35

Sanatana Dharma: For a happy, peaceful life of an individual and for society

Then, even simple folk can be led step by step toward the goal.
When you do not discriminate the process and purpose of every act,
but still go on doing it, it becomes a funny fossilized version. Once,
even Prahlada said, Since it is difficult to destroy egotism, man
finds it easy to destroy this dumb animal as a substitute. Animal
sacrifice is the manifestation of the quality of inertia (thamoguna);
it is the path of bondage. The sacrifice of the animal of egotism is
the pure sacrifice (sathwic yajna) on the Godward path of
liberation.
Thus, the highest goal (paramaartha) of those ancient days is
turned into the fools goal (paaramaartha) of these days! Every one
of the ancient practices, which were once full of meaning, has
grown wild beyond recognition. Branches have shot out in various
directions. It is now impossible to pluck the tree by the roots and
plant a new one. So, the existing tree has to be trimmed and trained
to grow straight. The highest goal has to be constantly remembered
and not diluted into the lowest.
Dharma cannot be restricted to any particular society or nation, for
it is closely bound with the fortunes of the entire living world. It is a
flame of light that can never be extinguished. It is untrammelled in
its beneficent action. Krishna taught the Gita to Arjuna, but He
intended it for the whole of humanity. Arjuna was just an excuse.
That very Gita is today correcting all mankind. It is not for any
particular caste, religion or nation; it is the very breath for humans
everywhere.
Dharma expresses itself in a variety of forms. Sometimes, it is
known by the people who codified it, like Manu-dharma,
36

The True Nature of Dharma

sometimes by the group that followed it, like caste-dharma,


sometimes by the stage of life to which it is applied, like
householder-dharma, and so forth. But these are subsidiary practical
details, and not the fundamental norm. (DV, pp. 5-8)

Divine Versus Worldly Dharma


The Atma-dharma, the divine dharma, is what I am speaking of.
Practical dharma, or rules of good behaviour (acharadharma),
relates to temporary matters and problems and physical needs, to
ones passing relationships with the objective world. The very
instrument of those rules, the human body, is itself not permanent,
so how then can these dharmas be eternal? How can their nature be
described as true? The Eternal cannot be expressed by the
evanescent; truth cannot reveal itself in untruth; light cannot be
procured from darkness. The Eternal can emerge only from the
Eternal; truth can emanate only from truth. Therefore, the objective
codes of dharma relating to worldly activities and daily life, though
important in their own sphere, have to be followed with the full
knowledge and consciousness of the inner basic Atma-dharma.
Then only can the internal and external urges cooperate and yield
the bliss of harmonious progress.
If, in your daily avocations, you translate the real values of eternal
dharma into love-filled acts, then your duty to the inner reality, the
Atma-dharma is also fulfilled. Always build your living on the
Atmic base; then, your progress is assured. (DV, pp. 9-11)

See the stone as God


Making God into stone, that is the effort being made today! How
can such effort lead to truth, when the real task is to see the stone as
37

Sanatana Dharma: For a happy, peaceful life of an individual and for society

God? First, the form of the Godhead has to be meditated upon and
imprinted on the consciousness; then, that form has to be conceived
within the stone and the stone forgotten in the process, until the
stone is transformed into God. In the same way, you have to imprint
on your consciousness the basic dharma, the fundamental fact of
Atma as the only entity; then, filled with that faith and vision, you
have to deal with the manifold world of objects, its attractions and
impingements. The ideal can be realized only thus. If this is done,
there is no danger of the authentic meaning getting diluted or of
Atma-dharma losing its lustre.
What happens when a stone is worshiped as God? The unlimited,
the ever-present, the all-pervading-immanent entity, the Absolute, is
visualized in the particular, in the concrete. Similarly, dharma that
is universal, equal, and free can be spotted and tested in a single
concrete act. Do not be misled by the idea that this is not possible.
Dont you accomplish many difficult things, things that only
increase your anxiety and fear? If one is wise, cant one take up
instead things that are more worthwhile, things that give peace of
mind?

Follow divine dharma and be free


To be free is your birthright, not to be bound. It is only when you
guide your steps along the path illumined by the universal unbound
dharma that you are really free; if you stray away from the light,
you get bound and you are caught.
Some might raise a doubt: How can dharma, which sets limits on
thoughts and words and regulates and controls, make a person free?
Freedom is the name that you give to a certain type of bondage.
38

The True Nature of Dharma

Genuine freedom is obtained only when delusion is absent, when


there is no identification with the body and senses, no servitude to
the objective world. People who have escaped from this servitude
and achieved freedom in the genuine sense are very few in number.
Bondage lies in every act done with the consciousness of the body
as the Self, for one is then the plaything of the senses. Only those
who have escaped this fate are free; this freedom is the ideal stage
to which dharma leads. With this stage constantly in mind, one who
engages in the activity of living can become a liberated person
(muktha-purusha).
It is only because you bind yourself that you become bound and
stray away from the dharmic path. It is always so; no other person
can bind you; you do it yourself. If faith in Gods omnipresence is
deep-rooted, you would be aware that He is your self and that you
could never be bound! For that faith to grow, you must grasp Atmic
bliss firmly. The reality of the Atma is the bedrock, the
incontrovertible wisdom (nishchitha-jnana). Devoid of that
foundation, you become the target of doubt, despair, and delusion.
The maid of dharma will not wed such.
Therefore, first endeavour to become free. That is to say, as a
preliminary to successful living, cultivate faith in the Atma as the
core of your personality and then learn and practise the discipline
necessary to reach down to that core. With that qualification
acquired, you can engage fully in worldly activities, following the
dharma prescribed for their regulation. Then you become a moral
individual (dharmapurusha).

39

Sanatana Dharma: For a happy, peaceful life of an individual and for society

Those who hold the physical objective world as the all of life and
the body as the Self lead wasted lives, live as meaningless as
making God into stone. Making the stone into God is the holier,
more wholesome task. So too, seeing divine duty (Atma-dharma) in
an act transforms it into an act of worship, elevates it, and removes
its binding characteristic. Performing the duties of worldly life with
no regard to genuine practice of the law of truth (sathyadharma) is
as unholy as treating God as stone. Good behaviour (aacharadharma) pursued apart from the law of truth (sathya-dharma) and
the law of truth divorced from good behaviour are both barren of
results.
Good behaviour and the law of truth are inextricably intertwined
and should be treated as such. The senior officer needs the work of
the junior official as much as the junior official needs the help of
the senior officer. Who, then, is the bound one and who the free?
Both are bound to their desire to be happy and comfortable. Until
the fundamental secret of the Atma is recognized, the outer state of
bondage will persist. When that is done, the burden of slavery to the
senses and the objective world will be diminished. Then, the code
of behaviour toward the objective world will be merged with the
code toward the inner divinity, and the urges will all be cooperating
harmoniously.
The Vedanta, the scriptures relating to the Supreme Spirit (adiAtmic Shastras), and dharma all invite man to live and act as God
(Bhagavaan), and not as bondsman. Then, all acts become virtuous
acts (dharma-karma) and not acts done with intent to gain the fruits
thereof (kamyakarma). The shackles of bondage cannot be avoided
by a mere change of type of activity. They can be avoided only by
40

The True Nature of Dharma

changing the point of view from the created to the Creator (deha to
the Deva). Thereby, the moral qualities will also be rendered
stronger.

Egotism based on the body is hell


Some people hold the opinion that being employed is bondage,
while sitting at home without any specific work is freedom! This is
a sign of want of intelligence. When employed in a job, one has to
obey the superior officer. But can one escape the demands and
compulsions of relations even while at home? When amidst friends,
can one avoid the necessity of acting according to their fancy? Can
one be free at least from the need to take care of ones own body
and cater to ones own comfort? How then can one feel free while
in the cage of bondage? All life is a prison, whatever the difference
between one type of sentence and another. It is so, as long as the
attitude of identifying the Self with the body is there.
That is why Sankara once said that egotism based on the body is
what is meant by hell (naraka). Egotism of this kind is just another
form of the contra-divine attitude.
Who can remove all the thorns and pebbles from the face of the
earth? The only way to avoid them is to move about with footwear.
So too, with the philosophy of Vedanta, with the vision fixed on the
reality (sathya), with full faith in the Brahman, which is your own
essential nature, you can bypass the need to transform the external
world to suit your ideal of happiness and attain the practice of truth
(sathyadharma).

41

Sanatana Dharma: For a happy, peaceful life of an individual and for society

That one is already liberated who tramples down egotism and


declares with conviction thus: I am not the bondsman of this body,
which is the repository of all types of servitude; the body is my
bondsman. I am the master and the manipulator of everything, I am
the embodiment of freedom.
All codes of duties must help in this process of destruction of the
ego; they should not foster it and make it grow wild. That is the
road to freedom. If a person, finding life with the son miserable,
goes to the daughter and lives in her house, that is not winning
freedom! That is only a way of feeding the ego. This search for
sensual happiness cannot be elevated into dharma.

True dharma is the fundamental basis


After all, what is a home for? For the enjoyment of the bliss derived
from the contemplation of the Lord, for getting the opportunity to
meditate on the Lord undisturbed. All the rest can be ignored, but
not these. The true dharma of the individual is to taste the bliss of
merging with the Absolute and to attain true liberation. A person
who has reached that stage can never be bound, even if put in the
grimmest of prisons; on the other hand, for a person who is the
slave of the body, even a blade of grass can become an instrument
of death.
True dharma is to be immersed in Atmic bliss, the inner vision, the
steady faith in the identity of ones real nature with the Absolute,
and the realization that all is Brahman; these four are the authentic
dharma. In this physical existence as particular individuals, these
four are named truth, peace, love and nonviolence (sathya, santhi,
prema, and ahimsa), for the convenience of practice (but yet
42

The True Nature of Dharma

saturated with the inner dharma of Atmic reality), so that particular


individuals who are also personifications of that Absolute can
follow them in daily life. The mode of pursuit of dharma, now, as in
the past, is to adhere to these high principles in every act and
thought. The truth, peace, love, and nonviolence of today are but the
unintermittent immersion in Atma, the vision fixed on the inner
truth, the contemplation of ones real nature, and the knowledge that
all is Brahman, the one and only. These, the fundamental and the
derived, must be coordinated and harmonized. Then only can it be
termed Atma-dharma.
It does not matter what your activity is or what name and form you
have chosen. A chain is a chain whatever the material; it binds
whether it is iron or gold, doesnt it? So too, whether the work is of
this type or that, as long as the Atma-dharma is the base and the
Absolute Principle (Atmathathwa) is the root, it is dharma, beyond
doubt. Such work will bless one with the fruit of peace (santhi).
When the waves of egotist fear or greed drive one forward, into the
privacy of the home, the loneliness of the forest, or any other
refuge, it is impossible to escape suffering. The cobra does not
cease to be a cobra when it lies coiled; then, too, it is cobra. In daily
practice, when acts are motivated by the basic principle of the
reality of the Atma, every act becomes stamped with the seal of
dharma. But when acts are motivated by convenience and selfish
interest, the dharma becomes pseudo-dharma. It is a variety of
bondage, however attractive it may be. Like prisoners in a jail
pushed in a single file by wardens, either to the court of trial or to
the dining barracks, the prompting of the senses pushes the
bondsman forward either to a place of sorrow or to a place of relief.
43

Sanatana Dharma: For a happy, peaceful life of an individual and for society

Why, even the feeling that is a friend or this is an enemy is an


error. This delusion has to be given up. The Lord, the embodiment
of love (prema), is the only constant friend, relative, companion,
guide, and protector. Know this and live in that knowledge. This is
dharma built on the bedrock of understanding, this is life built on
the bedrock of dharma. Ignoring this fundamental basis, when
attention is concentrated on external polish, the goal moves beyond
reach. Attachment to the world can be destroyed only by attachment
to the Lord.
Why complain that the ground cannot be seen, when all the while
your gaze is fixed on the sky? Watch the ground and look at the
sheet of water that reflects the sky then you can see, at the same
time, the sky above and the earth below. So too, to adhere to the law
of truth (sathya-dharma) (which, after all, is the practice of the
immanent Atmic principle) you must see in every act the reflection
of the glory of the Atma; then, attachment to the Lord will
transmute attachment to the world into a pure offering. The goal
should not be altered or lowered; that is to say, the essentials should
be kept intact. Dharma does not depend on the various names and
forms that its application entails; they are not so basic; dharma
depends more on the motives and the feelings that direct it and
canalize it. (DV, pp. 12-20)
Dharma is the moral path; the moral path is the light; the light is
bliss (ananda). Dharma is characterized by holiness, peace, truth,
and fortitude. Dharma is yoga, union, merger; it is truth (sathya). Its
attributes are justice, sense control, sense of honour, love, dignity,
goodness, meditation, sympathy, nonviolence; such is the dharma
that persists through the ages. It leads one on to universal love and
44

The True Nature of Dharma

unity. It is the highest discipline and the most profitable. All this
unfoldment began with dharma; all this is stabilized by truth
(sathya); truth is inseparable from dharma. Truth is the law of the
universe, which makes the sun and moon revolve in their orbits.
Dharma is the Vedas and the mantras, the spiritual wisdom (jnana)
they convey. Dharma is the course, the path, the law. Wherever
there is adherence to morality, there one can see the law of truth
(sathyadharma) in action. In the Bhagavatha too, it is said, where
there is dharma, there is Krishna; where there are both dharma and
Krishna together, there is victory. Dharma is the very embodiment
of the Lord; since the world itself is the body of the Lord, the world
is but another name for the moral order; no one can deny it, now or
ever. (DV, pp. 27-28)

45

Vaishnavites have esteemed Vishnu as the Supreme Shaivites


have given the highest place to Shambhu
The worshippers of Ganapathi accord the highest
place for Ganesha;
Saraswati is adored as the Supreme
by the seekers of knowledge;
Muslims regard Allah as the Supreme Lord
While Christians hail Jesus as the Saviour;
Buddhists worship Buddha as the Supreme
Enlightened One;
Jains accord the highest place to Mahavira;
Paarsis adore Zoroaster
Sikhs deem Nanak as the Supreme teacher
Baba devotees adore Sai as the Supreme
The wise regard all of them as equal.
All religions should be revered equally
Because God is one and the same God for all of them.
God is Truth. He is Righteousness.
He is peace. He is the embodiment of love.
(Telugu Poem)

Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba

The Doctrine of Karma


Sanatana Dharma - Eternal religion. A descriptive term for what
has come to be called Hinduism. It has no single founder or text of
its own. It is more a commonwealth of religious faiths and a way of
life. (Glossary for the Vahinis)

The Eternal Dharma


Dharma conceived in this way transcends the barriers of space, time
and circumstance. Hence it is called Sanatana Dharma--the eternal
verities. There are in the world various rules of conduct which are
related to conditions governing time and space. Such rules are liable
to change from time to time and country to country, according to
changing situations. But if Sanatana Dharma is changed, humanity
will cease to be human. Just as burning charcoal, if it loses its heat,
becomes mere charcoal, and a piece of jaggery, if it loses its
sweetness, becomes a lump of clay, likewise man remains truly
human only as long as he adheres to the eternal Dharma (which is
represented by purity in thought, word and deed -- Trikarana
Suddhi). Without this basic quality, man is only human in form and
not his true nature. (SSS Vol.23), 21-11-1990
Bharatiya culture is preeminent and unexcelled. It bears testimony
to the eternal verifies which are unaffected by time, place or
circumstance. Sanatana Dharma is the inner core of this culture.
47

Sanatana Dharma: For a happy, peaceful life of an individual and for society

The obverse of Sanatana Dharma is the doctrine of Karma2 (the


Law of Cause and Effect). No one can fully comprehend how
Karma operates. Its operations over time, place or people defy
definition. The doctrine of Karma rules over the whole world.
The Vedas3 are the primary scriptures of Bharatiyas. The Vedas
have three Kandas (divisions). The first part deals with Karma-

Karma - Action; deed; work; religious rite; the totality of innate tendencies
formed as a consequence of acts done in previous lives. Every karma
roduces a lasting impression on the mind of the doer, apart from affecting
others. Repetition of apar-ticular karma produces a tendency (vaasana) in
the mind. Karma is of three kinds: (i) Praarabdha: which isbeing exhausted
in the present life: (ii)Aagami : which is being accumulated in the present
life, and (iii) Samchitha, which is stored to be experienced in future lives.
Akarma is action that is done without any intention to gain the
consequences; Vikar-ma is action that is intentionally done. (SSS Vol.1)
For the process of such discrimination and for the visualisation of ones
innate reality, one has to study the Upanishads. They are collectively called
Vedanta. They form the Jnana Kanda of the Vedas, the section that deals
with the Higher Wisdom. Liberation from the consequences of Ignorance
can be secured only by Knowledge, or Jnana. The Upanishads themselves
declare, Jnaanaad eve thu kaivalyam; By Knowledge alone can freedom
be won.
The Vedas are reputed to be three sectioned. Kandathrayathmakam; the
three sections being Jnaana, Upasana and Karma. These three are found in
the Upanishads too. They provided the basis for the Adwaitha,
Visishtadwaitha and the Dwaitha systems of Philosophy too. The name
Upanishad denotes the study and practice of the innate truth: the name,
Brahma Vidya, denotes the supremacy of spiritual contemplation. The name,
Yogasastra, denotes the mental churning that brings success. What is the
fundamental activity which is required of man? What is the basic thing to be
known? It is only ones basic reality. The Upanishads describe the various
stages and the various modes of this search for realising this.

48

The Doctrine of Karma

Yoga (the Yoga of action and reaction). The Upanishads came into
existence to indicate the path of Jnaana (Higher Knowledge). The
Upanishads also have three divisions one of which deals with
Karma-Yoga.
It is necessary to find out why the doctrine of Karma (action) has
been given primary place both in the Vedas and the Upanishads.
The entire gamut of human life--birth, growth and death---is
governed by Karma. All the joys and sorrows man experiences, all
his sins and merits, all the praise and blame he gets, flow from his
actions. Man is thus bound by the operation of Karma.
Not realising the relationship between cause and effect, man
indulges in actions which give pleasure for the moment. When he
reaps the consequences of his bad actions, he is immersed in
misery.

Consequences are implicit in the action itself


Hence, before undertaking any action man has to follow the
Upanishadic advice and offer his salutations to the Lord of Karma.
He should pray that he should be endowed with the strength and
competence to perform good deeds which will produce good results.

The name is full of significance. Upa means the process of studying with
Nishta or steadfastness. Shad means the attainment of the Ultimate Reality.
The name Upa-ni-shad arose for these reasons. The Upanishads teach not
only the principles of Atma Vidya. They instruct the practical means of
realisation also. They point out not only the duties and obligations one has
to bear, but also the actions to be done and those to be avoided. (UV, pp. 23)

49

Sanatana Dharma: For a happy, peaceful life of an individual and for society

The consequences of every action are implicit in the action itself.


For instance, there is a small seed. Its entire capacity to grow into a
big tree is latent within it. The seed contains within it the
potentiality of growing into a tree with branches, flowers and fruits.
There is an interval between the planting of a seed in the ground
and its growing into a full-fledged tree. Wherefrom has this tree
come? Krishna has declared in the Gita, "Beejam Maam Sarva
Bhuthaanaam" (I am the seed of all living beings).
All that you see in the world is the result of Karma. Everything has
a beginning and an end. Pleasure and pain have a beginning and an
end. They are inseparable. Man has to realise the preciousness of
human birth. It is highly unfortunate that people born in Bharat do
not realise the greatness of Bharatiya culture. Understanding the
operation of Karma is one of the essential aspects of Indian culture.
Karma is not something remote. It is related to ones actions. Sin is
not associated with some distant land. It is related to the actions
which one does. Bhakti (Devotion) and Jnaana (Wisdom) are based
on Karma (Action). Wisdom is the fruit of action.

Why Bharat is a Karma-Bhoomi


Bharatiyas had recognised how Karma operated. Nowhere else has
the secret of the Law of Cause and Effect been explored as
thoroughly as in Bharat. That is the mason why Bharat was called
Karma-Bhoomi (the land of Karma). Having taken birth in such a
sacred, sublime and great country, it is a pity Bharatiyas today are
not aware of the truth about Samskara (Right Actions).
People are making no effort to understand the place of Right
Actions in life. They should be aware of the essence of Indian
50

The Doctrine of Karma

culture. Everything that happens is the result of some action.


Everything in creation is based upon action. Whether one believes
in it or not, Karma is the cause of creation. Here is an example. You
feel hungry. The hunger is appeased after you take food. But them
is a chain of events like putting the food in the mouth, masticating
it, sending it to the stomach, digesting it and distributing it to all
parts of the body. Hunger is relieved only after all these processes.
Taking food is Karma, relieving of hunger is the fruit of the action.
But between the action and the fruit, a number of events take place.
These events may be immediate or spread over many years, or
lifetimes. But the fruits of Karma are bound to be realised sometime
or other. Therefore all actions have to be done in the right way.
People should engage themselves in noble deeds and serve as an
ideal example to the nation.

Human qualities to be cultivated


Fraternal feelings, ethical conduct and the sense of fellowship are
the qualities which elevate human nature. People do not strive to
cultivate these qualities. People should realise that bad thoughts in
the mind affect every part of the human body, just as a small stone
cast on a pond generates ripples which cover the entire pond.
Similarly good thoughts affect the entire body. Good thoughts lead
to good actions, good speech, good hearing and seeing good things.
When the thoughts are bad, the consequent actions are equally bad.
The ancient history of India is full of the actions and teachings of
sages who exemplified, in their fives, great ideals. But today, while
we have considerable talk about ideals, they are not reflected in
practical living.

51

Sanatana Dharma: For a happy, peaceful life of an individual and for society

The truth of the Law of Action and Reaction can be verified from a
simple experience. If you stand before a mirror and offer a
Namaskar, the image returns the Namaskar. If you assume a
threatening posture before the mirror, the image reflects it back in
the same manner. Reflection, reaction and resound are three aspects
of how Karma operates. (SSS Vol.25)
This land of Bharat is very sacred and meritorious. Since time
immemorial, Bharat has been imparting spiritual education to all
nations of the world and thus bestowing peace and happiness on all.
This is the eternal glory of Bharat. The motto of the Bharatiyas
(Indians) has been Loka samasta sukhino bhavantu (May all the
people of the world be happy!) Sarvam khalvidam Brahma (verily
all this is Brahman).
As Brahma pervades the entire world, dharma should permeate all
actions of man. Karma (action) will be sanctified only when it is
based on dharma and Brahma. It is said, Karmanubandheeni
manushya loke (human society is bound by action). Nobody should
waste time. Right from the time he wakes up in the morning, man
should utilise his time and energy for the welfare of society. This is
his main duty. He should realise that his welfare lies in the welfare
of society. (SSS Vol.36)

52

What is Religion?
What Religion means:
The word religion contains the prefix re. Re means doing
something again. The other part of the word connotes unifying.
Religion may thus be interpreted as reunion, the reunification of
two entities separated by time, or the restoration of their original
organic unity. Jivatma and Paramatma have lost their
fundamental Oneness. Karmic factors have created a duality
between the Atma and Brahman. The restoration of the primal
unity of Atma and Paramatma through self- realisation is the
primary function of religion. (SSB 1979, p. 55)
For the Bharatiyas, religion means experience and nothing less.
(Vidya Vahini, p. 77)
The word generally used for religion is matha; the word to indicate
the mind is mathi. Putting the two together it can be said that matha
is primarily engaged or ought to be engaged in straightening and
strengthening the mathi. The goal, the purpose, the key, the essence
of all creeds, faiths and religions is just this. the sublimation of the
mind of man to guarantee liberation for the individual concerned
and happiness for the society of which he is a unit. Principles and
practices have grouped around this prime need, and various creeds
are the result.
53

Sanatana Dharma: For a happy, peaceful life of an individual and for society

Religions attempt to implant holy ideals in the heart of man but man
does not allow them to sprout and grow. His egoistic craving for
power and competitive success has, in most cases, persuaded him to
use religion as an instrument of torture and persecution. Instead of
uniting mankind in a common endeavour, it has become a system of
walled enclosures, guarded by hate and fanaticism. So each religion
is an armed camp sunk in self-aggrandizement, trying to wean
others into itself and preventing defections from itself. Religion,
therefore, is being condemned as the root of chaos and conflict. In
spite of great progress in many other areas of life, religious
animosity is aflame even today in many parts of the world.
It has to be emphasised that religion is not the root cause of this
state of affairs. The factional fights and fanatic hatred are due to the
unruly ego that is given free play. Religion strives to destroy just
this vicious tendency. So it has to be supported, not condemned.
What has to be condemned is the narrow, perverted attitude of
hating those who do not agree with you or who hold different
opinions of the mysterious force that animates the universe.
Religious wars and conflicts breed in the slime of ignorance and
avarice. When people are blind to the truth that the human family is
one indivisible Unity, they grope in the dark and are afraid of
strange touch. The cultivation of love, alone, can convince man of
this truth that there is only one caste---the caste of Humanity, and
only one religion---the religion of Love. Since no religion upholds
violence or despises love, it is wrong to ascribe the chaos to
religion. (SSS Vol. 10, pp. 61-62)
Religion has as its aim the removal of hatred and enmity between
the children of God; but, we find religions engaged in conflict! (SSS
54

What is Religion?

Vol.7, p. 181). The followers of one and the same religion may
torture each other and slaughter innocent lives with bestial glee! So,
religion is not responsible at all. The unrest is due to want of
religion, rather than the plethora of religions. It is blind fanaticism
that is to be condemned; not, religion that is against it. Love of
country can also be tainted by fanaticism; it has led man to destroy
by the atom bomb innocent millions living in another country,
hoping thereby to secure the safety of the country one loves! The
mind in which hatred and egotism grow can never appreciate
religion. Is religion the cause of the calculated cruelty of the atom
bomb? No.
The plan and purpose of the ancient religions of India are to plant
the seeds of Love in the human heart so that they may sprout into
saplings of endurance, and blossom into tolerance, yielding
ultimately the fruits of Peace. (SSS Vol.7, p. 90)
For the consummation of human evolution, and the realisation by
man of his highest goal, religion and spiritual discipline are very
essential. Religion is the link between the individual and the
Universe, between Jiva and Deva. If that does not exist life becomes
chaos. A cow caught on a hill wanting to go to the hill opposite, but
confronted with a flooded river in between, needs a bridge between
the two. That is what religion is. (SSS Vol.24)
All religions have emphasised the same truths in their basic
teachings, But few people try to understand the inner import of
religions. Out of a narrow feeling that ones own religion is superior
and other faiths are inferior, members of different religions are
developing hatred towards members of other faiths and acting like
55

Sanatana Dharma: For a happy, peaceful life of an individual and for society

demons. Such narrow ideas should be given up totally. All should


develop the awareness that though names and forms may be
different, the essential truth is one in all religions. (SSS Vol.24)
Religion means Realisation. Since realisation is one and the
same, irrespective of whatever religion is professed by different
men, it logically follows that basically all religions are one; or to be
more accurate, there is only one religion. (SSB 1990, p. 33)
To realise God is his foremost task in life. Man must realise God,
feel God, see God and talk to God. This is realisation. This is
religion. It serves no purpose if one knows everything else but does
not know God. (SSB 1990, p. 75)
Every religion looks for God and they look far and wide, but man
should know that God is Omnipresent and resides in the heart of
man. (SSS Vol.5)

All religions proclaim the Unity of Divinity


All religions are one, declares this land of Bharat. There may be
difference in the number and nature of the limbs; the message each
conveys is the same as all the rest. This is the discovery of India,
and her announcement to mankind. (SSVahini, pp. 150-151)
The truth proclaimed by all religions is one and the same. The
ultimate goal of all religions is the same. The primary object of
religion is to cure man of his follies and make him a real human
being. Equally, religion aims at promoting righteous conduct by
transforming the mental attitude of man. Religion is concerned with
developing in man faith in the Spirit, besides his preoccupation with
the needs of the body. For all religions the foundation is morality.
56

What is Religion?

If morality declines, humanness will decline together with the


eclipse of religion. Morality is the basis of right conduct. Whether it
is the State, the society or the individual, the basis for all of them is
morality. When morality goes, all the three will be undermined. All
prosperity and happiness are based on moral strength. It is to make
man realise the value of the ethical life that religions came into
being.
Religion aims at: promoting the harmony of body, intellect and
mind through righteous conduct. Right conduct in its totality
represents morality. It is otherwise known as Dharma
(Righteousness). Dharma also means that which is priyam
(pleasing). It also refers to what is real value in life. When one leads
a life governed by moral values, he achieves the most precious
things including name, fame and prosperity. Material objects have
their value, but Dharma is invaluable. No price can be set on it.
(SSS Vol.22), 23- 7-1989.
The whole of mankind belongs to one Religion---the Religion of
Man. For all men God is the Father. As the children of one God all
men are brothers. This Conference is therefore a family gathering. It
is not a meeting of nationalities and religions. It is a meeting of
minds. It does not relate to any one culture or philosophy. It is
concerned with the divine way of life that is implicit in the
teachings of all religions. Its purpose is to see Unity in Divinity.
The basic truth in all religions, irrespective of country or race, is
one and the same. The philosophic ideas or the practices and
methods of approach may vary. But the final objective and goal is
only one. All religions proclaim the Unity of Divinity and preach
57

Sanatana Dharma: For a happy, peaceful life of an individual and for society

the cultivation of Universal Love without regard to caste, creed,


country or colour. Those who are ignorant of this basic Truth
develop pride and ego because of their own religion. Such people
are creating great confusion and chaos by fragmenting Divinity. To
confine and divide the Infinite Divine into such narrow
compartments is treason to the Divine. The basis for a spiritual,
God-based life is the indwelling Spirit--the Atman (divine soul).
The body is the home of Spirit.
Life in society should also conform to this spiritual basis. Man,
however, bases his life on the belief that the body alone is real. It is
to rid him of this error that he has to be taught about Spirit.
Mankind has to realise that both the individual and society are
manifestations of the Divine Will and that the Divine permeates the
Universe. Only by recognising this Truth can man give up his ego
and lead a life of devotion to duty. Society should not become a
cockpit of selfish individuals, but a community of divinely guided
Individuals.
With the progress of science man imagines that he is the lord of the
universe and he tends to forget the Divine. Although man today has
gone to the moon and is exploring outer space, if he were to
consider the innumerable mysteries and wonders in creation yet to
be known, he will realise that these are far beyond the limited
capacity of mind and intelligence. The more man discovers the
secrets and mysteries of the cosmos, the more he will realise that
God is the creator and motivator of all creation. All religions are
agreed upon this Truth. All that man can do is to strive through his
limited intelligence and knowledge to understand the invisible and
58

What is Religion?

infinite Divine and learn to worship and adore Him. (SSS Vol.16),
30-10- 1983.

Divine experience is inherent nature of man


Once the Truth of the Indwelling Spirit is recognised, there dawns
the awareness that the world is one family. One is then filled with
Divine Love which becomes the driving force for all of one's
actions. Man tums away from the pursuit of endless desires to the
search for peace and equanimity. By converting the love for
material things into Love of God one experiences the Divine. This
experience is not something beyond man. It is, in fact, a part of the
inherent nature of man.. It is the secret of his humanness and his
Divinity.
Whatever one's religion may be, everyone should cultivate respect
for other faiths. One who does not have such an attitude of tolerance
and respect for other religions is not a true follower of his own
.religion. It is not enough merely to adhere strictly to the practices
of one's own religion.
One should also try to see the essential unity of all religions. Only
then will man be able to experience the oneness of Divinity. There
should be no kind of coercion or compulsion in the sphere of
religion. Religious matters should be discussed calmly and
dispassionately. Do not entertain the feeling that one's religion is
superior and another's inferior. Conflicts on the basis of religion
should be totally eliminated. To divide men on grounds of religion
is a crime against humanity.

59

Sanatana Dharma: For a happy, peaceful life of an individual and for society

Man today imagines that he knows everything about Nature and the
Universe. But of what use is all this knowledge if man does not
know himself? It is only when he understands himself that he will
be able to know the Truth about the external world. Man's Inner
Reality cannot be known by exploring the world outside. When he
turns his vision inward and realises his essential Divinity, he will
acquire an equal-mindedness towards all beings. Out of that feeling
of oneness he will experience the Bliss that passeth understanding.
(SSS Vol.16), Message to International Symposium in Rome on the
theme"Unity is Divinity," held on 30 and 31-10-1983
Unity, fellow-feeling and devotion are essential for every human
being. To promote these sacred qualities in mankind, some great
souls sought to establish different religions. Religion is not a
restrictive concept. Religion is intended to develop the human
personality and indicate the basic guide-lines for right living.
Religion brings out the humanness in man and enables him to live
in harmony with his fellow-men. It provides the link between the
individual and the Divine. It demonstrates the unity that underlies
the diversity in the world.
Love, Sacrifice, Service and Righteousness are the four limbs of
Religion. Religion brings out the divine and sublime feelings in
man and makes him serve society It evokes all that is great, blissful
and good in men and demonstrates the unity of mankind.
It is supremely unfortunate that Religion, which has such high and
sacred objectives, is construed and practised in a narrow way and
propagated as a narrow creed.

60

What is Religion?

Religion is like an undercurrent that sustains the whole of humanity.


The founders of religions, with a view to spreading the subtle
secrets of religious faith, laid down certain rules of conduct and
conveyed their message to the people. (SSS Vol.23), 25-12-1990.
Religion is three-fourths character. Only those who preserve
character can be pronounced truly religious. (SSS Vol.12)

All religions emphasise human values


No religion can ever be bad. That is why the great scientist,
Einstein, declared that religion without science is lame and science
without religion is blind, thereby stressing the need for a judicious
combination of science and religion to serve the needs of humanity.
Religion is of immense help in fostering the integral development of
the human personality. It underlines the unity in diversity. True
religion teaches the harmony and unity of all religions. The essence
as well as the goal of all religions is the attainment of the purity of
mind and heart.
Every religion has its own precepts and principles. But no religion
preaches hatred, untruth or unrighteousness. "Speak the truth,
practice righteousness"--enjoin the Upanishads. Similar sacred
injunctions are to be found in all the other religions too.
Thus all religions emphasise the human values and serve as beacons
for the proper progress and development of mankind. They all
facilitate the manifestation of the divinity inherent in man.
But the present-day men in general, and the youth in particular,
have forgotten our age-old culture and sacred values and are
61

Sanatana Dharma: For a happy, peaceful life of an individual and for society

bidding good-bye to God, having been enticed by the modem


science and technology.

The origin of post-Vedic religions


Apart from the Vedic religion, some other religions came into
existence 2000-2500 years ago. The founders of these religions took
note of the prevailing social conditions and sought to promote unity
among the various sections through their teachings. There was
basically no conflict between these different faiths. Unfortunately,
the differences among the individual followers of these faiths
resulted in the growth of narrow loyalties and creedal conflicts. In
each religion there were some virus elements which promoted
hatred of other faiths. In truth, there is no conflict between one
religion and another. The religion of the Bharatiyas is the most
ancient in origin. Having regard to its Vedic basis, it has been
described as Hinduism. The essence of this faith is its universality
as expressed in the saying: "Lokaas samasthaas sukhino bhavanthu"
(May all the peoples everywhere be happy). The Bharatiya faith laid
stress on the happiness of everyone.
The objective of Islam, the religion of the Muslims, is also the
same. In Persian, "Islam" means "surrender" or "peace". The inner
meaning of this term is that man should surrender to God and live in
peace with his fellow men. The holy book of Islam, the Quran,
contains many sacred precepts. "Salaath" is one such precept. It
enjoins one to worship God with steady faith. Another precept is
"Zakaath", which enjoins the believer to practise charity for
relieving fellow-beings in need or in distress. In the scriptures of the
Bharatiyas, a similar duty has been laid down in the saying:
"Paropakaarah punyaaya paapaaya parapeedanam" (It is meritorious
62

What is Religion?

to help others and it is sinful to cause harm to others). It is by


practising such precepts that people professing different faiths lived
in harmony. Truth, peace, love, forbearance and compassion were
regarded as the five life-breaths of their religion by the Bharatiyas.

Religious differences should never arise


Even the Quran declared that in discussing matters of religion and
the teachings of different religions, acrimony should not be
imported into the debate and the differences should be considered
without bitterness. This is affirmed by every religion. But the
followers of each faith, forgetting this fundamental truth, raised
barriers based on creedal differences which were really verbal and
not fundamental.
Today various kinds of differences are arising among religions. This
is not a good thing. Everyone should base his life on the divinely
ordained morals and verities and endeavour to foster them. Morality
should serve as the beacon light for everyone. Without that light
human life will be plunged in darkness.
The ancient sages made known to the world that by their earnest
quest for God, they had been able to experience the Divine. "We
have seen that sacred effulgent Purusha (Lord) in our hearts." "We
have seen Him beyond the tamas (darkness) of ignorance," they
declared. But the purpose of human life is not merely to secure a
vision of the Divine or to experience the bliss of that vision. Those
who love sugar, must seek to become sugar itself. "Brahmavid
Brahmaiva Bhavathi" (The knower of Brahman becomes Brahman
Itself). Religion aims at bringing about such a transformation.
Making him a man to begin with, it seeks to transform him to
63

Sanatana Dharma: For a happy, peaceful life of an individual and for society

Madhava (Divinity itself). Religion, which has such a sublime


purpose, is being degraded to serve petty ends.

Why Hinduism stands out as a religion


The Veda is dualistic. We have in India the followers of Sankara,
Ramanuja and Madhvacharya, representing three schools of
philosophy. These sects are the products of individuals, but Hindu
religion itself is not the creation of any individual. The basic Hindu
faith is not for Indians alone but is for all mankind. The word
"Hindu" is composed of the two syllables "Him," meaning Himsa
(violence) and "Du" meaning, "distant." Hinduism is the faith that
makes violence distant.
That is the reason why Hinduism alone stands out as a religion that
strives for the well-being of all peoples, in all countries, at all times.
Hence the appellation, "Sanathana," meaning ancient or timeless.
No one knows when it was revealed and who was its founder. Other
religions have their chronology. The Hindu religion knows no
growth or decline. It belongs to all countries. It is acceptable to all
people.
Though people may call themselves Muslims, Christians, Hindus
and the like, there should be no differences between them. Students
should be completely free from sectarian differences. They should
respect all religions because what you cherish in your religion is
found in other religions also. If you adhere to your own religion,
you need not worry yourself about other religions.
In all religions, people have faith in certain beliefs. But they do not
make any efforts, by enquiry or otherwise, to experience what they
64

What is Religion?

believe. Students!-Dont entertain religious differences. The God


that is worshipped in all religions is one and the same. With that
conviction, respect all religions. Realise that the essence of all
religions is one. Dont enter into futile controversies or criticise
other religions. It is fraught with danger. When you attack another
religion, you are really guilty of assailing your own religion.
Therefore, show your reverence to everyone. "Whatever deity you
adore, the worship reaches the One Supreme Lord." (SSS Vol.22),
23- 7-1989.

What the religions teach


Buddhism declared that Truth and Non-violence are the basic
requisites', for getting rid of delusions and achieving purity in life.
Christianity proclaimed that all are children of God and should have
fraternal feelings towards each other. Jesus declared: "All are one,
be alike to everyone."
According to Islam, all are members of one family in spiritual
terms. It regarded prayer as the best means of ensuring peace and
security in society.
Emperor Manu declared: "Thyajeth deham Kulasyaarthe; Kulam
janapadaschaarthe" (One must be prepared to sacrifice his body for
his community and his community for the sake of the nation).
Manu's DharmaShastra laid down that the welfare of society is
most important.
The Upanishads declared: "Sahasraakshas-sahasrapaad" (The
Divine has a myriad eyes and a myriad feet). All eyes are God's; all
feet are His; all hands are His. This was the message of the
65

Sanatana Dharma: For a happy, peaceful life of an individual and for society

Upanishads. In this manner, the Upanishads emphasized the


oneness of humanity.
For man, it is the collective concept that is fundamental and not
individualism. No one can live in this world all by himself. He has
to cultivate the sense of community if he wishes to live in peace and
happiness.
"Sahanaa vavathu; sahanau bhunakthu; sahaviryam karavaavahai"
(Let us live together; let us struggle together; let us grow together in
joy and harmony). This was the teaching of the Vedas. (SSS
Vol.23), 25-12-1990.

66

Hinduism

OM
The syllable "om" is first described as all-encompassing mystical
entity in the Upanishads. Hindus believe that as creation began, the
divine, all-encompassing consciousness took the form of the first
and original vibration manifesting as sound "OM". Before creation
began it was "Shunyksha", the emptiness or the void. The
vibration of "OM" symbolises the manifestation of God in form
("sguna brahman"). "OM" is the reflection of the absolute reality,
it is said to be "Adi Anadi", without beginning or the end and
embracing all that exists. The mantra "OM" is the name of God, the
vibration of the Supreme. When taken letter by letter, A-U-M
represents the divine energy (Shakti) united in its three elementary
aspects: Bhrahma Shakti (creation), Vishnu Shakti (preservation)
and Shiva Shakti (liberation, and/or destruction).
Om is a mantra and mystical Sanskrit sound of Hindu origin
(geographically India), sacred and important in various Dharmic
religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Sanatana Dharma and
69

Sanatana Dharma: For a happy, peaceful life of an individual and for society

Jainism. The syllable is also referred to as omkara or aumkara,


literally "om syllable", and in Sanskrit it is sometimes referred to as
praava, literally "that which is sounded out loudly".
Om or Aum is also written, where is pluta ("three times as long"),
indicating a length of three morae (that is, the time it takes to say
three syllables)an overlong nasalised close-mid back rounded
vowelthough there are other enunciations adhered to in received
traditions. It is placed at the beginning of most Hindu texts as a
sacred incantation to be intoned at the beginning and end of a
reading of the Vedas or prior to any prayer or mantra. It is used at
the end of the invocation to the god being sacrificed to (anuvakya)
as an invitation to and for the latter to partake of.
The Sanskrit name for the syllable is praava, from a root nu "to
shout, sound", verbal pra-nu- being attested as "to make a humming
or droning sound" in the Brahmanas, and taking the specific
meaning of "to utter the syllable om" in the Chndogya Upanishad
and the Shrauta Sutras. More rarely used terms are akara (lit.
symbol, character) or ekkara (lit. one symbol, character), and in
later times omkra becomes prevalent.
Classical Hinduism (c. 200 BCE-1100 CE4)

The 'Common Era' refers to 1A.D.


CE=Common Era,
BCE=Before Common Era

70

Hinduism

Hinduism, also known by the name Sanatana-Dharma is the


dominant religion of the Indian subcontinent, which consists of
many diverse traditions. It includes Shaivism, Vaishnavism and
Shaktism among numerous other traditions, and a wide spectrum of
laws and prescriptions of "daily morality" based on karma, dharma,
and societal norms. Hinduism is a categorisation of distinct
intellectual or philosophical points of view, rather than a rigid,
common set of beliefs.
Hinduism has been called the "oldest religion" in the world, and
many practitioners refer to Hinduism as Sanatana Dharma, "the
eternal law" or the "eternal way" beyond human origins. It
prescribes the "eternal" duties all Hindus have to follow, regardless
of class, caste, or sect, such as honesty, purity, and self-restraint.
Western scholars regard Hinduism as a fusion or synthesis of
various Indian cultures and traditions, with diverse roots and no
single founder. Among its roots are the Vedic religion of the late
Vedic period and its emphasis on the status of Brahmans, but also
the religions of the Indus Valley Civilisation, the Sramana or
renouncer traditions of north-east India, and "popular or local
traditions". This "Hindu synthesis" emerged around the beginning
of the Common Era, and co-existed for several centuries with
Buddhism, to finally gain the upper hand in most royal circles
during the 8th century CE.
From northern India this "Hindu synthesis", and its societal
divisions, spread to southern India and parts of Southeast Asia. It
was aided by the settlement of Brahmins on land granted by local
rulers, the incorporation and assimilation of popular non-Vedic
gods, and the process of Sanskritisation, in which "people from
71

Sanatana Dharma: For a happy, peaceful life of an individual and for society

many strata of society throughout the subcontinent tended to adapt


their religious and social life to Brahmanic norms".
Hindu practices include daily rituals such as puja (worship) and
recitations, annual festivals, and occasional pilgrimages. Select
group of ascetics leave the common world and engage in lifelong
ascetic practices to achieve moksha.
Hindu texts are classified into Shruti ("revealed") and Smrthi
("remembered"). These texts discuss theology, philosophy,
mythology, Vedic yajna and agamic rituals and temple building,
among other topics. Major scriptures include the Vedas,
Upanishads (both Shruti), Mahabharata, Ramayana, Bhagavad
Gita, Puranas, Manusmthi, and Agamas (all Smrthi).
Hinduism, with about one billion followers is the world's third
largest religion, after Christianity and Islam.
Hinduism is a term for a wide variety of related religious traditions
native to India. Historically, it encompasses the development of
Religion in India since the Iron Age traditions, which in turn hark
back to prehistoric religions such as that of the Bronze Age Indus
Valley Civilisation followed by the Iron Age Historical Vedic
religion.
The period between 800 BCE and 200 BCE is "a turning point
between the Vedic religion and Hindu religions and a formative
period for Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism.
The Epic and Early Puranic period, from c. 200 BCE to 500 CE,
saw the classical "Golden Age" of Hinduism, which coincides with
the Gupta Empire. In this period the six branches of Hindu
72

Hinduism

philosophy evolved, namely Samkhya, Yoga, Nyaya, Vaisheshika,


Mimamsa, and Vedanta. Monotheistic sects like Shaivism and
Vaishnavism developed during this same period through the Bhakti
movement.
The period from roughly 650 to 1100 CE forms the late Classical
period or early Middle Ages, in which classical Puranic Hinduism
is established, and Adi Shankars Advaita Vedanta, which
incorporated Buddhist thought into Vedanta, marking a shift from
realistic to idealistic thought.
Hinduism under the Islamic Rulers, from 1100 to c. 1750 CE, saw
the increasing prominence of the Bhakti movement, which remains
influential today. The colonial period saw the emergence of various
Hindu reform movements partly inspired by western culture, such
as spiritism (Theosophy). The Partition of India in 1947 was along
religious lines, with the Republic of India emerging with a Hindu
majority.
During the 20th century, due to the Indian diaspora, Hindu
minorities have formed in all continents, with the largest
communities in absolute numbers in the United States and the
United Kingdom. In the Republic of India, Hindu nationalism has
emerged as a strong political force since the 1980s, the Hindutva
Bharatiya Janata Party forming the Government of India from 1999
to 2004, and its first state government in southern India in 2006.
(From Wikipedia)

Why Hinduism stands out as a religion


We are unaware of the significance of being Hindus. What does
Hindu mean?
73

Sanatana Dharma: For a happy, peaceful life of an individual and for society

H for Humanity
I for Individuality
N for Nationality
D for Divinity
U for Unity
It is when all the five qualities are present, we have a real Hindu5.
Of these humanity is most important. (SSS Vol.28), 20-5-1995.
Bharatiya culture has always upheld the supremacy of faith in God.
Bharatiya culture was based on the view that there is nothing in the
world which is not permeated by the Divine. From a stone to a
diamond, from a blade of grass to a blooming lotus, from an ant to
an elephant, everything was regarded as a manifestation of the
Divine. Bharatiya culture upheld the view that love should not be
confined to human beings, but should be extended to all beings and
objects in creation. Ignoramuses who have not understood this great
truth speak disparagingly of Bharatiyas as people who worship
stones, trees, serpents and the like. In the eyes of Bharatiyas, every
object is a creation of God. "Sarvam khalu idam Brahma" (All this
is Brahma), "Sarvam Vishnumayam Jagat" (The cosmos is
permeated by Vishnu)--these Vedantic declarations proclaim the
same truth. You cannot find in any other country a universal, allembracing sacred declaration of this kind. This contains the broad
concept of social justice. You cannot see in any other country such

Hindu Person who adheres to Hinduism the religion based on the Vedas.
Name originally applied by foreign invaders to inhabitants of Indus (Sindhu)
river valley.

74

Hinduism

a sacred view. Although all religions have preached this truth of


oneness and samathvam (equality), selfish persons, for their own
ends, have interpreted them in narrow terms and promoted strife
and discord between different people.
The essence of all religions is the principle of Oneness, the principle
of Love. When you cultivate this principle of love, there is no room
for hatred. (SSS Vol.23), 25-12-1990.
The religion of the Hindus stressed the Unity of all Creation, and
declared that diversity we experience is not a true picture. But since
faith in the One comes into awareness only to a mind clarified to the
utmost, the religion had soon to posit duality, and even multiplicity,
with deifies for every facet of the Whole. The most wide spread of
these qualities is the Shaivite and Vaishnavite faiths, centred on the
Shiva and the Vishnu aspects of the One.
The Veda is dualistic. We have in India the followers of Shankara,
Ramanuja and Madhvacharya, representing three schools of
philosophy. These sects are the products of individuals, but Hindu
religion itself is not the creation of any individual. The basic Hindu
faith is not for Indians alone but is for all mankind. The word
"Hindu" is composed of the two syllables "Him," meaning Himsa
(violence) and "Du" meaning, "distant." Hinduism is the faith that
makes violence distant.
That is the reason why Hinduism alone stands out as a religion that
strives for the well-being of all peoples, in all countries, at all times.
Hence, the appellation, "Sanatana, means ancient or timeless. No
one knows when it was revealed and who was its founder. Other
75

Sanatana Dharma: For a happy, peaceful life of an individual and for society

religions have their chronology. The Hindu religion knows no


growth or decline. It belongs to all countries. It is acceptable to all
people.
Hindu culture is the pillar and support of the nation; it is the
backbone of the spiritually adventurous; it grants both this world
and the next to all beings. It is really World Culture, the culture that
the world needs. Other cultures assume various forms in various
climes. But, the culture of Bharat has asserted eternal values, values
for all times and all climes--like dhaya, dharma and dhama
(compassion, virtue and self-control). It has not bent before the
pressure of patronage or persecution.
The impact of Western civilisation has given rise to certain new
sects that attempt to re-form and modernise Hindu religion.
Hinduism has the strength to correct their egoism and establish
concord. Hinduism is the one religion that proclaims the truth that
there is nothing separate from God and it proves it too. Because
people are not able to understand this fundamental integrating
principle, hatred and malice have grown in the followers of other
faiths. (SSS Vol. 6)
The Vedas are the authority for the faith of millions. They are the
very words of God. The Hindus believe that the Vedas had no
beginning and will have no end. God speaks to man. They are not
books written by authors. They are revelations conferred by God on
many inquirers, of the ways of earning the Supreme Goal. They
existed before they were revealed as valid paths. They will continue
valid even if man forgets the path. They did not originate at any
period of time nor can they be effaced at some other time.
76

Hinduism

The Dharma (righteousness) which the Vedas allow us to glimpse is


also without a beginning or an end. For, it refers to the Supreme
Goal.
As authoritative texts of the basic beliefs of Bharatiya Culture in the
spiritual field, the Upanishads, the Brahma Sutra and the Bhagavad
Gita, the Prasthana Thryas, or the Three Sources, have to be
reckoned. Many in India feel that the Adwaitha Vedanta alone is the
correct one. But this attitude is not a correct one. The Upanishads
are the very Voice of Easwara. The Brahma Sutra is the supreme
embodiment of the principles and doctrine propounded by Vyasa. It
is the most important of the texts depicting philosophic doctrines. It
harmonises the entire body of philosophic beliefs. Though based on
earlier texts and dissertations, there is no conflict between the
earlier and later. In the aphorisms of the Brahma Sutras, each
conclusion attains fulfilment and reconciliation. The Bhagavad Gita
acts like a Commentary provided by God, for Vedanta.
All sects of Hinduism, who claim to be authentic and orthodox,
accept the Three Sources as their basic textswhether they are
Dwaithins, Visishtadwaithins or Adwaithins (dualists, qualifiednon-dualists or non-dualists). Whoever desired to propagate a new
interpretation or a new attitude or theoryShankara, Ramanuja,
Madhvacharya, Vallabhacharya or Chaitanyahad to propagate it
through commentaries from that standpoint on the Three Sources,
the Prasthana Thraya only. Therefore, to assert that Vedanta can be
used only with reference to the Upanishads and the doctrines that
they teach will be a great mistake.

77

Sanatana Dharma: For a happy, peaceful life of an individual and for society

All conclusions drawn from the Prasthana Thraya are genuine and
deserve the name Vedanta. Visishtadwaitha as well as Dwaitha have
as much claim to be known as Vedanta as Adwaitha. This unity in
diversity, this harmony in difference, this is the core of the current
of Bharatiya thought.
Hinduism and Hindu culture have been flowing as one continuous
stream. In the Hindu religion rituals and ceremonies have been laid
intermission. Many of them are elaborate yajnas (inward-directed
sacrifice), yagas (outward-directed sacrifice), and sacrificial
offering to Divine Powers. Not being content with rituals and
dedicatory ceremonies appropriate to the baby growing in the womb
until death and the subsequent attainment by the person of higher
worlds, elaborate disciplines have been laid down. No other religion
has so many and so elaborate rules of living. Therefore, it will not
be correct to declare that all religions are the same. They might
have adopted a few or many of these from Hinduism since
Hinduism has, from the beginning, laid emphasis on them.
According to Hinduism a Jivi is timeless, the present life is but the
latest of the series brought about by its own thoughts and acts. The
Jivi has not come now, as a result of either the anger or the grace of
God. They are not the cause of this present existence. This is the
declaration made by the Sanathana Dharma. (SSVahini)

Three schools of philosophy


Jiva, Easwara, and Prakrithi have been in existence at all times
they were there even before the creation, and they will continue to
be there. Though the physical bodies may be undergoing
transformation, this Atma Thathwa remains eternal and changeless.
78

Hinduism

Three approaches or three schools of philosophy have been


propounded to enable us to know this Atma Thathwa. These three
are dwaitha, adwaitha, and visishtadwaitha. (SSB 1974 Part I)

Shankaracharyas adwaitha philosophy


The first among the interpreters of the Vedas (most ancient revealed
scriptures) to found a school of philosophy and lay down the path of
spiritual discipline to benefit from that school, is Sankaracharya6,
born in the State of Kerala. During his very short life, he established
on secure foundations of logic and intuition, the truth that there is
only One God and that all else is an appearance of the One Reality.
This is the no-two or adwaitha philosophy or faith that explains
the individual nature and God in perfect harmony. The Vedic
axioms---EkohamBahushyaam (I am One, let Me become many),
lshwaras sarva bhoothaanaam (God is immanent in all),
lshavaasyamidham sarvam (All this enveloped and penetrated by
God) --- are thus illumined by the intellect of Sankaracharya into
patent truths.
Merging in the Source is the ultimate destiny

Monism, as propounded by Sankaracharya on the basis of Vedic


texts, seemed to the majority of individuals too simple a solution to
satisfy their inner urges. They had in them the yearning to worship,
to dedicate themselves to a higher power. They could not grasp the
truth of their inner Reality being the one and only. Their emotions
and activities had to be sublimated by disciplines of devotion.

Celebrated philosopher and preceptor of nondualistic Vedanta. Defeated all


religious opponents in debates throughout India.

79

Sanatana Dharma: For a happy, peaceful life of an individual and for society

Therefore, Ramanujacharya commented upon the Vedic texts and


religious scriptures from a new point of view. This made the
adwaitha take on a special outlook. So it was called Visishta
(special) adwaitha (non-dualism). The path of devotion was laid
down to enable man to merge with God.
The goal is mergence, as the rivers know and strive for. The waters
of the sea are raised by the Sun as clouds into the sky and the clouds
pour them as rain back onto the earth, to flow back into the sea
through many a ravine, as a stream or tributary-fed river. Merging
in the Source from which one took form, is the ultimate destiny.
The river has the passion of overwhelming love which leads it down
the slopes until it reaches the loved one, where the lover, loved and
love, all three merge in one illuminating ecstasy. Prema (highest
love) is the attachment to God that does not allow anything to
interfere or diminish its quality or depth. God is loved by the
bhaktha (devotee) for His sake and not for any incidental benefit or
blessing. It is spontaneous, sustaining and sublime, like a child
before the mirror enjoying the reflections of its own pranks and
gestures. Complete surrender to the extent of the annihilation of
ones own individuality is also beyond most aspirants. Sugar cannot
be tasted and enjoyed by sugar; you have to be an ant so that you
can revel in the sweetness of the stuff. This craving of man was
sought to be satisfied by Madhvacharya, who declared that the jiva
(individual soul) will remain ever separate from the Universal, and
there can be no merging. In adwaitha, a flash of intellectual
illumination reveals that the Atman (Divinity) alone exists, and that
all else is deluding appearance. The Visishtadwaitha posits that the
river is an integral part of the sea. Dwaitha points out that the joy

80

Hinduism

derived from adoration and worship is enough to draw the fulfilling


Grace of God. (SSS Vol.13)

Ramanujacharyas Visishtadwaitha Philosophy


If Adwaitha took deep roots, Ramanuja7 was afraid that faith
and devotion might become weaker. Therefore, he started
preaching Adwaitha in a special and qualified manner. He gave
it some distinctiveness and explained that Jiva and Brahman
always remain as separate entities. He introduced a special
theory that though Jiva and Brahman were close and similar to
each other, they were not really identical. In this context and in
accordance with such teachings, people tried to get closer and
closer to the Lord by their devotion. (SSB 1974 Part I)
Ramanuja interpreted the basic texts and discovered that man can
realise God through worship, using the gift of Nature as instrument.
God is the kernel, the shell is man and the fibrous stuff is Nature (as
in the coconut). They are intimately intertwined, as limbs in the
body, parts with their own peculiar characteristics. Man, Nature and
God are One without a Second (Adwaita) in a special and unique
sense (Visishta). So, Ramanuja's philosophy is named Qualified
Non-Dualism. (SSS Vol.18)

Ramanuja Eleventh century teacher and interpreter of the Brahma-sutra;


proponent of the ultimate oneness of the differentiated (visishtaadwaitha).
Believed in a personal God reached by devotion and faith and the
everlasting self-identity of the individual soul in communion with God as
the goal of life.

81

Sanatana Dharma: For a happy, peaceful life of an individual and for society

Madhvacharyas dwaitha philosophy


Later in the 12th century, Madhvacharya8 propounded that Jiva,
Brahman and Prakruthi were more distant than what had been
conceived by the earlier schools of thought. He propounded that
Jiva and Easwara are to be regarded as distinct and separate from
each other and that they can never get close to each other.
Madhvacharya opposed and contradicted the view of Shankara
according to which Brahman was the only reality and the world was
illusory. He asserted that Brahman, Jiva and Prakrithi were distinct
and that each one of them was as real as the other two. We have to
interpret this as simply meaning that Madhvacharya preached the
concept of Salokya (Constant thought of godhead) and that Jiva
simply lived in the domain of the Lord but it was not identical with
the Lord. In this context, one can say that these three great Acharyas
were teaching three different aspects of the same reality. Shankara
was propounding Sayujya or identity with the Lord, while
Ramanuja was talking in terms of Sameepya or closeness to the
Lord and Madwacharya was preaching in terms of Salokya or living
in the domain of the Lord. (SSB 1974 Part I)
Vedic tradition sanctions four paths as legitimate and fruitful to win
this achievement. They are called Sathyavathi, Angavathi,
Anyavathi and Nidhanavathi. We have considered these in some
detail in the earlier chapter.

Madhwacharya (Madhvaachaarya). 13th cent. exponent of dualist


philosophy; lived in the South Indian court of Vijayanagar; author of
Vedantic works; founder of a sect of Vaishnavas; refuted monism of
Sankaracharya.

82

Hinduism

These four paths (Sathyavathi, Angavathi, Anyavathi and


Nidhanavathi) are each one progressively more commendable than
the previous ones, as far as simplicity and practicability are
concerned. They award, in the end, Oneness with the Universal
Will.

Upasanas
Of the various other Upasanas or sadhanas which are mentioned in
the sacred texts and practised by seekers, Pratheekopasana (Idol
Adoration) or Prathiroopopasana (Image Adoration) is included
under Angavathi Upasana Sarvathah paani paadam thath,
sarvathokshi Siro mukham(Everywhere His Hands and Feet,
everywhere Head and Face). The Lord (Madhava) has His Hands
everywhere, for He is in all. He sees through all the eyes. He thinks,
plans and resolves in all heads. He eats through all mouths, hears
through every ear. Through one Form, you can adore Him as all
Forms.
This is the highest idealHe is latent in all beings. He operates
unseen in and through all. This is the Prathiroopaupasana,
worshipping Him as present in each. There are sundry other
Upasanas9 (steady worship) too mentioned in the texts.

For details of the Upasanas, please see the chapter, Modes of Worship from
the book, Bhagavan, Bhakti, Bhakta and Bhagavatha: God, devotion, the
devotee, and the scripture by the same author.

83

The only way of hope in the enveloping gloom of


fear violence and cruelty, of enforced conformity,
of hatred and persecution, is the Peace that one
can win through self-control and Sadhana. That
peace will pervade and puffy the inner
consciousness as well as the outer atmosphere.
Sadhana is the life-breath of man; struggling for
power and pomp is but the breath of poison. Poor
silly man craves for the air that will destroy him,
the food that will torment him and the drink that
will defile him!
-

Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba

Zoroastrianism

1700 BCE Zoroaster (a.k.a. Zarathushtra),


Zoroastrianism is thought to have been born.

founder

of

Zoroastrianism also called Zarathustraism, Mazdaism and


Magianism, is an ancient Iranian religion and a religious
philosophy. It was once the state religion of the Achaemenid,
Parthian, and Sasanian empires. Estimates of the current number of
Zoroastrians worldwide vary between 145,000 and 2.6 million.
Zoroastrianism arose in the eastern region of the ancient Persian
Empire, when the religious philosopher Zoroaster simplified the
pantheon of early Iranian gods into two opposing forces: Spenta

Sanatana Dharma: For a happy, peaceful life of an individual and for society

Mainyu (Progressive mentality) and Angra Mainyu (Destructive


Mentality) under Ahura Mazda (Illuminating Wisdom) in the 7th
century BCE.
Zoroaster's ideas led to a formal religion bearing his name by
about the 6th century BCE and have influenced other later religions
including Judaism, Gnosticism, Christianity and Islam.
In Zoroastrianism, the creator Ahura Mazda is all good, and no evil
originates from him. Thus, in Zoroastrianism good and evil have
distinct sources, with evil (druj) trying to destroy the creation of
Mazda (asha), and good trying to sustain it. While Ahura Mazda is
not immanent in the world, his creation is represented by the
Amesha Spentas and the host of other Yazatas, through whom the
works of God are evident to humanity, and through whom worship
of Mazda is ultimately directed. The most important texts of the
religion are those of the Avesta, of which a significant portion has
been lost, and mostly only the liturgies of which have survived. The
lost portions are known of only through references and brief
quotations in the later works, primarily from the 9th to 11th
centuries.
In some form, it served as the national or state religion of a
significant portion of the Iranian people for many centuries. The
religion first dwindled when the Achaemenid Empire was invaded
by Alexander the Great, after which it collapsed and
disintegrated[4] and it was further gradually marginalized by Islam
from the 7th century onwards with the decline of the Sassanid
Empire.[5] The political power of the pre-Islamic Iranian dynasties
lent Zoroastrianism immense prestige in ancient times, and some of

86

Zoroastrianism

its leading doctrines were adopted by other religious systems. It has


no major theological divisions (the only significant schism is based
on calendar differences), but it is not uniform. Modern-era
influences have a significant impact on individual and local beliefs,
practices, values and vocabulary, sometimes merging with tradition
and in other cases displacing it. (From Wikipedia)
Zoroastrianism, the Paarsi religion, was founded by Zoroaster, who
wanted that man should ever have the Fire of Wisdom blazing in his
consciousness so that evil thoughts and tendencies might be reduced
to ashes. It has to infuse all thoughts, words and deeds with the
illumination of virtue and vigour; it must destroy all worldly desire
and render man pure for entry into the heaven of freedom.
Adoration, meditation and acts of selfless service are essential for
the dawn of enlightenment. (SSS Vol.13)
Zoroaster, one day, asked the Prince of Iran, "Go, light this lamp,
from yonder flame." The lamp could not be lit; for the wick was
soaked in water. Then Zoroaster said, "Your mind is so soaked in
desire that it cannot receive the wisdom it needs; dry it in the sun of
detachment." When teachers and the taught are immersed in worldly
desire, how can light be transmitted or kept alive? (SSS Vol.7), 307-1967
Among the Paarsis, there is a story about a Guru and a pupil. The
pupil prayed that he may be given some advice to make the
pilgrimage to God easier and faster. The Guru sat silent for a while
and then told him, "Go. Light that Lamp." The pupil tried his best,
but he could not light it.

87

Sanatana Dharma: For a happy, peaceful life of an individual and for society

It was filled with water, not oil. So, the Guru asked him to pour the
water out squeeze the water from the wick, dry the wick, wipe the
lamp clean, fill it with oil and then light it. The water is desire, the
Sun that can dry the wick is renunciation and the flame of the
lamp is Wisdom. The Guru said, "This teaching is enough for you.
You can go; may God bless you." Fill your mind with the desire to
see God, be with Him, praise Him, glorify Him, and taste the Glow
of His Majesty. There is no bliss higher than that. (SSS Vol.7), 1510-1967

88

Jainism

An emblem representing Jainism was introduced in 1974. The Jain


emblem is composed of many fundamental concepts and symbols.
The outline of the image represents the universe as described in
Jain scriptures. It consists of three Loks (realms). The upper portion
indicates Urdhava Lok (heaven), the middle portion indicates
Madhya Lok (material world) and the lower portion indicates Adho
Lok (hell).
The semi-circular topmost portion symbolizes Siddhashila, which is
a zone beyond the three realms. All of the Siddhas (liberated
bodiless souls) reside on this forever, liberated from the cycle of life
and death. The three dots on the top under the semi-circle symbolize
Triratna (Ratnatraya) Samyak darshan (right belief), Samyak
Gyan (right knowledge), and Samyak Charitra (right conduct).
Every creature in this world can become free from the cycle of life
and death. This gives the message that it is necessary to have
Triratna in order to attain Moksha.

Sanatana Dharma: For a happy, peaceful life of an individual and for society

In the top portion, four arms of the Swastika symbolize the four Gati
(destiny): Narak (demon), Triyanch (animal), Manushya (human)
and Dev (angel). It represents the perpetual nature of the universe
in the Madhya Lok (material world), where a creature is destined to
one of those states based on their Karma (deeds). It also represents
the four columns of the Jain Sangh: Sadhus, Sadhvis, Shravaks and
Shravikas - monks, nuns, female and male laymen. It also
represents the four characteristics of the soul: infinite knowledge
(Anant Jnan), infinite perception (Anant Darshan), infinite
happiness (Anant Sukh), and infinite energy (Anant Virya).
The symbol of hand in the lower portion shows fearlessness and
symbolizes the feeling of Ahimsa (non-violence) towards all the
creatures in this world. The circle in the middle of the hand
symbolizes Samasara (reincarnation cycle) and the 24 spokes
represent the preachings from the 24 Tirthankars, which can be
used to liberate a soul from the cycle of reincarnation.
The meaning of the mantra at the bottom Parasparopagraho
Jivanam is "Live and Let Live", in short, all creatures should help
one another.
In short, the Jain emblem represents many important concepts to
show the path to enlightenment by following the basic principles of
Ahimsa (non-violence), Triratna (right belief, right knowledge, and
right conduct) and Parasparopagraho Jivanam (helping others).
Jainism traditionally known as Jain dharma is an Indian religion
that prescribes a path of non-violence towards all living beings and
90

Jainism

emphasizes spiritual independence and equality between all forms


of life. Practitioners believe that non-violence and self-control are
the means by which they can obtain liberation. Currently, Jainism is
divided into two major sects Digambara and Swetambara.
The word Jainism is derived from a Sanskrit verb Jin which means
to conquer. It refers to a battle with the passions and bodily
pleasures that the Jain ascetics undertake. Those who win this
battle are termed as Jina (conqueror). The term Jaina is therefore
used to refer to laymen and ascetics of this tradition alike.
Jainism is one of the oldest religions in the world. Jains
traditionally trace their history through a succession of twenty-four
propagators of their faith known as tirthankara with Adinath as the
first tirthankara and Mahavira as the last of the current era. For
long periods of time Jainism was the state religion of Indian
kingdoms and widely adopted in the Indian subcontinent. The
religion has been in decline since the 8th century CE due to the
growth of, and oppression by the followers of Hinduism, and Islam.
Jainism is an ancient religion of India. The origins of Jainism are
obscure. Its philosophical roots go back to primitive currents of
religious and metaphysical speculation in ancient India. During the
5th century BCE, Mahavira became one of the most influential
teachers of a Jainism. Mahavira, however, was most probably
neither the founder of Jainism, which reveres him as their prophet,
nor the author of their religion. He appears in the tradition as one
who, from the beginning, had followed a religion established long
ago.

91

Sanatana Dharma: For a happy, peaceful life of an individual and for society

Parsva, the traditional predecessor of Mahavira is the first Jain


figure for whom there is reasonable historical evidence. He might
have lived somewhere in the 9th7th century BCE. Followers of
Parsva are mentioned in the canonical books; and a legend in the
Uttardhyayana stra relates a meeting between a disciple of
Parsva and a disciple of Mahavira which brought about the union
of the old branch of the Jain church and the new one.
After the death of Parsva, his disciple Subhadatta became the head
of the monks. Subhadatta was succeeded by Haridatta,
Aryasamudra, Prabha and lastly Kesi. Jain scriptures have records
of a dialogue between Mahavira's disciple and Kesi; Kesi along
with his community accepted Mahavira as a tirthankara and
merged with him as a result.
The tirthankara are said to have attained perfect knowledge, known
as keval jnana. After Mahavira, one of his disciple Sudharma Svami
is said to have took over the leadership. He was the head of Jain
community till 515 BCE. After his death, Jambuswami, a disciple of
Sudharma Svami became the head of the monks. He was the head
till 463 BCE. Sudharma Svami and Jambu Svami are also
traditionally said to have attained keval jnana. It is said that no one
after Jambu Svami has attained it till now.
After Sudharma svami, a succession of five sutrakevalis, i.e. those
who were well versed with scriptures, who headed the monks of the
Jain community. Bhadrabahu was last sutrakevali. After
Bhadrabahu, there were seven (or eleven) leaders. The original
doctrine of Jainism was contained in scriptures called Purva. There
were fourteen Purva. These are believed to have originated from
92

Jainism

Adinath, the first tirthankara. There was a twelve year famine two
centuries after the death of Mahavira, the last Jain tirthankara. At
that time, Chandragupta Maurya was the ruler of Magadha and
Bhadrabahu was the head of Jain community. Bhadrabahu went
south to Karnataka with his adherents and Sthulabhadra, another
Jain leader remained behind. During this time the knowledge of the
doctrine was getting lost. A council was formed at patliputra where
eleven scriptures called Angas were compiled and the remnant of
fourteen purvas were written down in 12th Anga, Ditthivaya by the
adherents of Sthulbhadra. When followers of Bhadrabahu returned,
there was a dispute between them regarding the authenticity of the
Angas. Also, those who stayed at Magadha started wearing white
clothes which was unacceptable to the other who remain naked.
This is how the Digambara and Svetambara sect came about. The
Digambara being the naked ones where as Svetambara being the
white clothed. (From Wikipedia)
In Jainism also, the recognition of the One Divine in all beings
(spiritual oneness of all creation) was taught by Mahavira. When
the senses are allowed to have their way, all kinds of reactions
occur. It is only when the senses are brought under unified control
that the nature of Divinity can be comprehended. The eyes have the
power of sight. The ears can hear. The powers of all the sense
organs--seeing, hearing, speaking, etc., are derived from the Divine.
It is the Divine that enables the eyes to see, the ears to hear, the
mind to think and to have various experiences. It is when all these
sensory processes are brought under unified control (by the
conquest of the senses) that man becomes a conqueror a "Jina"---as
termed by the Jains. Because he had conquered his senses the title
of victor was conferred on Mahavira. (SSS Vol.24), 25-12-1991.
93

Sanatana Dharma: For a happy, peaceful life of an individual and for society

Jainism, the religion that was rendered an all-India movement by


Mahavira, extols Jina, or the heroic conqueror of senses, emotions
and stratagems of the intellect. He called upon all to carry out the
duties inherent to their status and profession with steady faith and
enthusiasm. He declared that all things and beings are holy in their
right and are pilgrims on the road of Realisation. Any injury
inflicted on any one of them is an intervention in that sacred journey
and so one has to be scrupulously avoided. (SSS Vol. 10, p. 65)

94

Buddhism

Wheel of Dharma
The Wheel has been used as a symbol for the concept of Dharma
since at least the 3rd century BC. The dharmacakra ("Wheel of
Dharma" or "Wheel of Law"), is one of the Ashtamangala symbols
that has represented dharma, the Buddha's teaching of the path to
Nirvana, since the early period of Indian Buddhism
Buddhism is a nontheistic religion that encompasses a variety of
traditions, beliefs and practices largely based on teachings
attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, who is commonly known as the
Buddha, meaning "the awakened one". According to Buddhist
tradition, the Buddha lived and taught in the eastern part of the
Indian subcontinent sometime between the 6th and 4th centuries
BCE. He is recognized by Buddhists as an awakened or enlightened
teacher who shared his insights to help sentient beings end their
suffering through the elimination of ignorance and craving by way
of understanding and the seeing of dependent origination, with the
ultimate goal of attainment of the sublime state of nirvana

Sanatana Dharma: For a happy, peaceful life of an individual and for society

Two major branches of Buddhism are generally recognized:


Theravada ("The School of the Elders") and Mahayana ("The Great
Vehicle").
Buddhist schools vary on the exact nature of the path to liberation,
the importance and canonicity of various teachings and scriptures,
and especially their respective practices. The foundations of
Buddhist tradition and practice are the Three Jewels: the Buddha,
the Dharma (the teachings), and the Sangha (the community).
Taking "refuge in the triple gem" has traditionally been a
declaration and commitment to being on the Buddhist path, and in
general distinguishes a Buddhist from a non-Buddhist. Other
practices may include following ethical precepts; support of the
monastic community; renouncing conventional living and becoming
a monastic; the development of mindfulness and practice of
meditation; cultivation of higher wisdom and discernment; study of
scriptures; devotional practices; ceremonies; and in the Mahayana
tradition, invocation of buddhas and bodhisattvas.
The History of Buddhism spans the 6th century BCE to the present,
starting with the birth of Buddha Siddhartha Gautama in Lumbini,
Nepal. This makes it one of the oldest religions practiced today. The
religion evolved as it spread from the north-eastern region of the
Indian subcontinent through Central, East, and Southeast Asia. At
one time or another, it influenced most of the Asian continent. The
history of Buddhism is also characterized by the development of
numerous movements, schisms, and schools, among them the
Theravda, Mahyna and Vajrayna traditions, with contrasting
periods of expansion and retreat. (From Wikipedia)

96

Buddhism

Of the major religions, Buddhism is one. Buddha was so agonised


by the suffering that haunts the life of man that he investigated the
behaviour of the mind and intellect of man and discovered remedial
disciplines; he analysed the vagaries of the mind which lead man
into the whirlpools of desires; he analysed the ways of reason, too
and spotted the areas where prejudice takes root; above all, he
preached surrender to dharma (righteousness), to compassion and to
Buddha (the Enlightened One). (SSS Vol. 10, p. 65)
Buddhas mother, Maya Devi, passed away when he was just 8 days
old. His stepmother Gautami brought him up. That is how he got the
name Gautama. He was christened as Siddhartha at the time of his
birth. (SSS Vol.32 Part I, p. 214)
Because Buddha did not interest himself in the study of the Vedas
or in the performance of Yagas and Yajnas, he was dubbed as
atheist10. This is utterly wrong. Buddha was a pure hearted person.
When he was born, a renowned astrologer had predicted that he
would be either a great King or a great renunciant. On knowing this,

10

The reason is he felt that it was more important to ensure that the five sense
organs were pure to begin with. Buddha sought to find out why the mind
gets disturbed. He could not bear to see anyone suffering. He was deeply
grieved at the sight of persons afflicted with old age. He was intrigued at the
sight of a dead body. None of the natural happenings gave him peace of
mind. Buddha considered the movements of the planets and the Sun and the
stars as Natural phenomena. He undertook many spiritual exercises to find
out what transcended these natural phenomena. Failing to find the answers
by the exercises, he approached many great elders to find answers. None
could give him satisfactory answers. Ultimately he reached Gaya and sat
under Peepal Tree to meditate on the problems that worried him.

97

Sanatana Dharma: For a happy, peaceful life of an individual and for society

Buddhas father, Suddhodana arranged to keep out of his sons sight


all unseemly worldly sights or happenings in this world. From his
childhood, Buddha could not bear the sight of anyone in pain. He
was saddened at the sight of old ill treating the young, of men in
authority harassing the people and the big fish swallowing the small
ones. He realised that it was wrong for anyone to cause harm to
others. (NNSG Vol.8, p. 31)
The name given to Buddha at the time of birth was Sarvaartha
Siddha. Suddhodana got his son married to Yashodhara, daughter of
his brother-in-law, Shuddhabuddha. He apprehended that his son
may become a recluse and turn away from the world if he was left
to himself. But Buddha did not feel that a married life was the
proper thing for him. Buddha felt that man was bound by various
attachments in worldly life. Friends and relations were the cause of
this bondage. Various human relationships were the cause of sorrow
in the world. So he declared: "Sarvam duhkham duhkham" (All is
sorrow) He also declared: "Sarvam Kshanikam, Kshanikam"
(everything is momentary). "Sarvam nashyam nashyam"
(everything is perishable).
Buddha felt that nothing was truly lasting. Parents were subjecting
their children to various kinds of bonds and making their lives
miserable. As soon as the children come of age the parents are keen
to get them married. They do not know what kind of happiness he
can get from married life.
What happiness have they derived from their own married life
physically, mentally or otherwise? No person, however intelligent,
thinks about this matter. Even eminent scholars do not care to
98

Buddhism

examine whether it is worthwhile pursuing sensuous pleasures


instead of seeking what is beyond the senses. Buddha felt intensely
unhappy that his parents and others combined to commit him to the
bondage of married life. One day, at midnight, Buddha left the
palace, giving up his wife and young son, Rahul. Nirvana is the
only truth He abandoned everything out of the conviction: "There is
no mother or father, no kinsman or friend, no home or wealth.
Awaken yourself!" He resolved to find out something which
transcends all worldly relationships and pleasures.
Buddha asked himself: "What is this life? Birth is misery. Old age is
misery. Wife is a cause of sorrow. There is misery at the end of life.
Therefore, be alert and awake." Happiness is not to be found in any
of the things of the world. Everything is fleeting. Man is wasting his
life in the pursuit of petty ephemeral pleasures. Nirvana is the only
truth. It is the sense of oneness with all life. To turn the mind
towards that which is permanent is Nirvana. (SSS Vol.30), 15-51997
At the age of 2811, Buddha renounced all the palatial comforts and
took to sanyasa (renunciation12). He wandered in the forests,
listened to the teachings of noble souls and studied holy texts. But
none of these could give him satisfaction. Ultimately, he realised
that his heart is the true holy text given by God and God is his true

11
12

(SSS Vol.30), 15-5-1997


What is the significance of this step? Buddha declared: "Sangham sharanam
gachchaami",""Hands in the society, head in the forest." He renounced
everything to think about promoting the well-are of society. (SSS Vol.30),
15-5-1997

99

Sanatana Dharma: For a happy, peaceful life of an individual and for society

friend. He discarded all books and stopped visiting noble souls. He


turned inward and enquired into the truth. Ignoring the holy text
(heart) and forgetting the true friend (God), man is going hither and
thither in search of peace. (SSS Vol.35)

Buddha's search for Truth


Buddha taught that people should adhere to truth and uphold it.
Among Buddha's teachings the foremost were Sathya (Truth) and
Dhana (Righteousness). These two are the teachings of the Vedas:
"Sathyam vadha, Dharmam chara" (Speak the Truth, practise
righteousness').
He declared: "Dharmam sharanam gachchaami." What is this
Dharma? "Ahimsa13 paramo dharmah Dharma means causing no
harm to anyone. Basing his teachings on these two declarations,
Buddha went about preaching his message.
Buddha's emphasis was entirely on purity in every aspect of daily
life. Purity in vision, purity in thought, purity in speech and purity

13

Buddha attached great importance to Ahimsa. He considered it the foremost


Dharma (duty). What does Ahimsa signify? It is not merely refraining from
causing harm or injury to others. It implies also refraining from causing
harm to oneself. One who harms himself cannot avoid harming others?
Whoever desires to observe Ahimsa must see that he does not do violence to
himself. How is this to be ensured? By constantly examining whether his
conduct is right or wrong. For instance, in the matter of speech, he must
examine whether his words are causing pain to others or not. He must see
that his looks are not tainted by evil intentions or thoughts. He should not
listen to evil talk. All these cause harm to the individual.

100

Buddhism

in action. He considered the spirit of sacrifice as true yajna.


Sacrifice is the means for attaining Nirvana (freedom from the
bondage of mundane existence). (SSS Vol.30), 15-5-1997
Buddha was totally opposed to anyone being forced to lead a
worldly life against his will. When Buddha was going round
begging for alms as a mendicant, his father, Suddhodana, called him
and said: "Son! Why are you going about as a beggar? I am a king
and you are leading the life of a beggar. This is not proper at all."
Buddha gave him a fitting reply. "Sir, you are Brahman and I am
Brahman. You are not father and I am not son. Both of us are
Brahman.
In the phenomenal world, you belong to the lineage of rulers. I
belong to the lineage of renunciants. All those who follow my ideals
are all renunciants. Your lineage is based on Raga (attachment). My
lineage is based on Viraga (renunciation). To those who have
attachment, it becomes a toga (disease). To the renunciants,
detachment becomes the means to Nirvana (liberation from
bondage)." Buddha taught his message in this way to his father,
wife and son. (SSS Vol.30), 15-5-1997
Buddha laid emphasis on seeing good, thinking good, speaking
good and doing good. Seeing all sorts of thing is not good for
anyone. The eyes should be used for seeing only what is pure, what
is holy and what is edifying.
He came to be known as Buddha because he developed buddhi
(intellect) and discrimination power.

101

Sanatana Dharma: For a happy, peaceful life of an individual and for society

Discrimination is of two types: individual discrimination and


fundamental discrimination. Individual discrimination arises out of
selfishness, whereas fundamental discrimination is concerned with
the welfare of one and all. One should discard individual
discrimination and have only fundamental discrimination. This was
the teaching of Buddha to Ananda, son of Gautami, before he
attained Nirvana.
When Buddha was on the verge of attaining Nirvana, Ananda
started shedding tears of sorrow. Then Buddha consoled him,
saying, Ananda, why are you unhappy over my attaining Nirvana?
I have been craving this state of Nirvana for the past many years.
Why do you shed tears of sorrow when I am experiencing supreme
bliss? Ananda understood the truth and followed the teachings of
Buddha. Ultimately, he too attained Nirvana. (SSS Vol.32 Part I, p.
214)

Nirvana
Buddha asked himself: What is this life? Birth is misery. Old age,
misery. Life is a cause of sorrow. There is misery at the end of life.
Therefore, be alert and awake.
Happiness is not to be found in any of the things of the world.
Everything is fleeting. Man is wasting his life in the pursuit of petty
ephemeral pleasures. Nirvana is the only truth. It is the sense of
oneness with all life. To turn the mind towards that which is
permanent is Nirvana. (NNSG Vol.8, pp. 31-32)

102

Buddhism

Good life leads to nirvana

After getting enlightenment under the Bodhi tree in Gaya, Buddha


embarked upon his mission of preaching. Once two of his disciples
were accompanying him. Buddha noticed that they were looking at
some women who were bringing water from a river. Buddha chided
them for their misconduct and expelled them from the Sangha. He
said that while walking on the road the eyes should be concentrated
on the road in front and should not go astray. Such actions are often
the cause of serious accidents.
Buddha declared that the good life leads to liberation (nirvana).
This is the sacred consummation for a good life. In this state, a man
is tree from desires and actions prompted by them. Before his
passing, Buddha taught his stepbrother, Ananda, the transience of
worldly pleasures and the meaninglessness of a purely mundane
existence.
When Ananda started weeping, noticing the imminent passing of
Buddha, the Enlightened One asked him: Why are you weeping?
Ananda said, I am weeping because your passing is imminent.
Buddha told him that he should not worry about what happens to
the body that is perishable and full of infirmities. He exhorted
Ananda not to bother about the body or the mind, but lead a life
based on the dictates of the conscience. Giving this advice, Buddha
breathed his last. (SSS Vol.31, pp. 19-26)
Buddha followed the same principle. Earlier, Buddha went in search
of divinity everywhere outside. He wandered in several places. But,
he could not succeed in his endeavours. Ananda, his cousin saw the

103

Sanatana Dharma: For a happy, peaceful life of an individual and for society

plight and enquired why he was wandering here and there. Then,
suddenly Buddha realised that he was all the while following his
manasika thathwa (mental impulses), which is impermanent and
momentary. He, therefore, decided not to follow the mind. He,
immediately started contemplating on divinity with full heart and
attained Nirvana (liberation from bondage). It is clear from this
example that one should never rely on the mind which weaves
fantasies. Forget the mind, establish divinity firmly in your heart
and finally merge in that divinity. That is the real nirvana.
You must forget the deha bhranthi (the illusion of body). Merge in
divinity with atma-bhimana (attachment to the atma). That is the
real dhyana. That is the true thyaga (renunciation or detachment).
That is your real yoga. That is your real bhoga. That bhoga is
ananda (bliss).
Always follow the principle, Sathyam bhruyaath, Priyam
bhruyaath, Na bhruyaath Sathyam apriyam which means always
speak the truth; speak the truth pleasingly; never speak truth which
is unpalatable. Only then will you be able to attain Nirvana. Several
people aspire for liberation. Liberation cannot be attained by
temporary sadhanas. It can be obtained by constant contemplation
on divinity, forgetting the mind totally. That is real nirvana.
Wherever you see, if the mind only is visible, how can you attain
nirvana? It is only the one who forgets the mind can attain nirvana.
(SSS Vol.35, pp. 186-187)
Morality and integrity alone can lead to Nirvana (liberation).
(NNSG Vol.8, p. 35)
104

Buddhism

Buddhas Teachings
Man today is acquiring various types of knowledge. Among these
he is learning how to live and act like lions and other animals. What
is the meaning of knowledge (jnaana)? It is not mere acquaintance
with numerous books. Even the acquisition of information about all
the objects in the animate and inanimate is not knowledge. True
knowledge is awareness of the relationship between the individual
and collective (samashti) and their oneness.
Men today do not recognize the nature their humanness. How can
they recognize their inherent divinity? It is only when man is aware
of his humanness that he will be competent to recognize his
divinity. How then, is man to reach humanness? What is the means?
Buddha undertook various inquiries to discover the Divine and
came to the conclusion that it is only through mastery over his
senses he can achieve this. Man has to make the right use of his
senses for sacred purposes to realize his divinity.

Divinity transcends space and time


True ideal is to give practical knowledge of dharma to others. One
should be a hero in practice, not merely in preaching. This was the
ideal of Buddha. All the Avatars and noble souls led their lives in
the most exemplary manner and helped people experience divinity.
Buddha said, O man. you don't need to search for God anywhere.
You are God yourself. (SSS Vol.32 Part I, pp. 214-215)
When Buddha sat under the Bodhi Tree in Bodhgaya, after the
illumination that revealed to him the Four Noble Truths, gangs of
disbelievers gathered around him and poured ridicule and abuse on
him. His disciples were enraged; they prayed to the Buddha, "Lord,
105

Sanatana Dharma: For a happy, peaceful life of an individual and for society

Give us leave; we shall beat this insolence and .ignorance out of


these traducers." But, Buddha only smiled at their anger. He said,
"Dear ones, know you not how much joy they derive from this
exercise? You derive joy worshipping me. They derive joy pelting
me with abuse. You pour reverence; they pour ridicule, and receive
equal satisfaction. Control yourselves; do not hate any one, that is
the teaching. This is the ancient ordinance." (SSS Vol.12), 14-11973

Samyag darsanam
Hence, Buddha declared that the first requisite is samyag darsanam
(Having the right vision). The implication of this statement is that,
having been bestowed with the great gift of eyes, man should use
them for seeing sacred objects and holy beings. But, on the
contrary, by using his eyes to look at unsacred objects and evil
persons, man fills himself with bad thoughts and becomes a prey to
evil tendencies. What one sees influences the feelings in the heart.
The state of the heart determines the nature of ones thoughts. The
thoughts influence one's life.
Hence to lead a good life the first requisite is a pure vision. Man has
to cultivate sacred outlook. As a result of looking at cruel, ugly, and
wicked scenes man leads an animal existence.
The very first inquiry one should make is to ascertain what is pure,
edifying, and godly that he should see. Whatever he sees leaves its
imprint on man. Few realize the effects of this. Human life today is
racked by anxiety, misery, unrest and troubles of various kinds. The
root cause of all this is that man is witnessing what is repulsive,
wicked and demeaning. For transforming one's life, the first
106

Buddhism

requisite is a proper vision. The eye (netra) is comparable to a


spiritual text (Shastra) and one's vision14 (drishti) determines one's
views of the cosmos (srishti). Hence to acquire the highest
knowledge one has to purify the vision. This means one should
avoid seeing what is obnoxious. One should strive to see only that
which is sacred and pure. What man sees is like seeds sown in the
heart. Evil scenes give rise to evil thoughts. Good scenes evoke
good thoughts. When sacred scenes are implanted in the heart there
will be no room for bad feelings or thoughts to grow in the heart.
This was the first lesson Buddha taught. Buddha wandered all over
the country in search of spiritual peace and liberation. After many
years of inquiry he came to the conclusion that the secret of spiritual
wisdom was not to be got from scholars or by study. He realized

14

Right vision confers double promotion


There are forty lakh light rays in the human eye. But their radiance is
destroyed on account of wrong vision. When you look at wrong things, you
waste the enormous power of radiance of the eyes. There are thirty lakh
taste buds on the tongue.
But they get destroyed because of bad talk. So, first and foremost vision and
tongue should be kept under check. Otherwise man may lose his humanness
and ultimately ruin his life. Along with right vision and right talk, cultivate
right listening. If someone were to indulge in bad talk in your presence,
leave the place at once. Right vision confers double promotion; it
strengthens the will power and enhances the power of radiance of the eyes.
Having understood this truth, Buddha made a concerted effort to control his
senses. Meditation and penance confer only temporary happiness. Eternal
happiness results only from control of the senses. Buddha was the crown
prince and had the entire kingdom under his control, but he sacrificed
everything and tried to control his senses. He could experience bliss and
attained Nirvana only after controlling his senses. (SSS Vol.32 Part I, pp.
210-211)

107

Sanatana Dharma: For a happy, peaceful life of an individual and for society

that spiritual understanding could only come from mastery of the


senses.

Samyag vachanam
From developing sacred vision, man should proceed to samyag
vachanam (sacred speech). Buddha declared that only sacred
thoughts could lead to sacred speech. Buddha declared that the
tongue should not be used recklessly to utter whatever one thinks.
The tongue has been given to speak the truth, to expatiate on what is
sacred and pure. The tongue has not been given to man to pamper
the palate with delicious sweets. It is not given for talking as one
likes. It is not to be used for causing displeasure to others. Nor is it
to be used for indulging in falsehood. The tongue has been given to
man to speak the truth, to be sweet to others, to praise the Divine
and enjoy the bliss derived from such sacred speech.
There are people who devote their entire time to reading all kinds of
books, without trying to put into practice what they learn from such
reading. What is the use of such reading? Buddha spoke out against
scholarship unrelated to the good life. He carried out a great deal of
study and met many great men. He listened to many discourses. He
realized that true knowledge could not be got by these means. He
realized that a pure, unsullied consciousness confers the highest
knowledge. True knowledge is derived from a pure inner
consciousness (antahkarana).

Samyag karma and samyag sadhana


Buddha emphasized goodness in action (samyag-karma). The mark
of good action is harmony in thought, word, and deed. When there
is no such harmony, the action belies what is said or thought.
108

Buddhism

Buddha went on to declare that good action is conducive to good


spiritual progress (samyag-sadhana). Good deeds constitute
genuine spirituality. Mere formal worship or ritualistic practices do
not constitute spiritual striving. These religious practices are good
in a way. But they do not constitute spiritual sadhana. True
spirituality consists in the unity of thought, word and deed in all
their purity and sacredness. Buddha declared that when spiritual
striving of this nature has been completed, there is samyag-jivanam
(leading a pure life).
This is how the five organs of perception (panchendriyas) should be
used to achieve the supreme goal of life. Good vision, good
thoughts, good speech, good deeds and good spiritual endeavour are
the prerequisites for a good life (samyag jivanam). In this context,
the meaning of spiritual striving should be properly understood.
Essentially spiritual striving calls for the shedding of all bad
qualities and the cultivation of good thoughts. Spiritual sadhana
means cultivating good thoughts and undertaking good deeds.
The true meaning of dharma

To achieve happiness, man embarks on acquiring various kinds of


knowledge and pursues various occupations. He seeks happiness
through marriage and having children and building a mansion for
his residence. But is he happy thereby? No.
In his last moments, Buddha summoned his stepbrother Ananda to
impart to him his final message. Ananda was the son of Gautami
(Buddha's stepmother). Placing his palm on the head of his younger
brother, Buddha said: My dear child! I came to the world to teach
(the Truth). If anyone asks, Where is God? the answer is: He is
109

Sanatana Dharma: For a happy, peaceful life of an individual and for society

everywhere. Truth is God. Speak the Truth. Do not harm anyone.


Recognize that the highest dharma is nonviolence ahimsa).
What is dharma? Is it celibacy or the duties of a householder or a
renunciant (sanyasi)? These are transient obligations, which have to
be observed as incidental duties in the journey of life. The Supreme
duty is refraining from causing harm to anyone. This truth is
proclaimed in the scriptures in the exhortation: Speak the truth.
Speak what is pleasing (Sathyam bruyaath; priyam bruyaath.)
Thus, pleasing speech is declared as a supreme duty.
Buddha told Ananda that this truth was learnt by him from his own
experience. He said, When I left the palace, my father (the King)
was told that I was doing a great wrong in renouncing the family.
My parents, kinsmen and others tried to put pressure on me to
return to the ties of family life. These wrong efforts on their side
made me more determined to pursue the spiritual path. In the quest
for spiritual peace several ordeals have to be overcome. Today I
have found the Truth about life. What is it? The sanctification of the
five senses is the way to Truth. If the senses are polluted, of what
avail are spiritual exercises? When the water in a tank is polluted,
all taps will only give polluted water. Your heart is the tank. Your
vision and thoughts are impure. Your speech is foul. When the heart
is polluted in this manner, the senses are bound to be sullied.

Buddha teaches True Sacrifice


Buddha was once asked: "Who is the richest man in the world?"
Buddha replied: "He who has much satisfaction (with what he has)
is the richest man." To the question, "Who is the poorest man?"
Buddha replied: "He who has many desires." A Maharaja, who was
110

Buddhism

listening to Buddha's sermons on contentment and renunciation,


wished to earn the approbation of Buddha.
Buddha used to keep with him always a rattle-drum. His disciples
once asked him: "Master! Why are you always keeping this rattledrum by your side?" Buddha replied: "I shall play on this drum the
day a person who has made the greatest sacrifice approaches me."
Everyone was eager to know who this person would be. Such
persons are often the forgotten men of history.
Wishing to attain this distinction, a Maharaja loaded his elephants
with considerable treasure and went to Buddha. He hoped to offer
the treasure to Buddha and earn his praise.
Buddha shows what true sacrifice means

On the way, an old woman greeted the Maharaja and pleaded: "I am
hungry. Will you give me some food?" The Maharaja took out a
pomegranate fruit from his palanquin and gave it to the old woman.
The old woman came to Buddha with the fruit. By then, the
Maharaja had also come to Buddha and was eagerly waiting to see
when Buddha would sound the rattle-drum. For a long time Buddha
did not use it. The Maharaja stayed on.
The old woman approached Buddha staggering on her legs, and
offered him the pomegranate fruit. Buddha took it immediately and
sounded the little drum. The Maharaja asked Buddha: "I offered so
much wealth to you. You did not sound the drum. But you rattled it
after receiving a small fruit. Is this a great sacrifice.

111

Sanatana Dharma: For a happy, peaceful life of an individual and for society

Buddha replied: "Maharaja! In sacrifice, it is not quantity that


counts. It is the quality of sacrifice that matters. It is natural for a
Maharaja to offer gold. But what great sacrifice is made when a
hungry old women offers the pomegranate fruit to the Guru despite
her hunger. She did not care even for her life and gave the fruit.
What greater sacrifice can there be? It is not sacrifice to offer what
is superfluous for you. True sacrifice means giving up that which is
most dear to you, that which you value most." (SSS Vol.21), 26 Jun
1988

Buddha teaches Equanimity


There used to be a village-chief who did not like Buddha's way of
life. He used to look upon him as a lazy person who was gathering
round him young men and making them lead an idle life. Buddha
who was aware of the man's attitude, went to his house one day with
his disciples and begged for alms "Bhavathi! Bhikshaam Dehi" (Oh
blessed one! offer me alms). The headman, who had espied Buddha
approaching the house and begging for alms, shouted: "You lazy
fellow! You don't deserve any alms. Get out! You have been
wasting your time." The headman went on abusing Buddha, calling
him all kinds of names. Buddha was amused and was smiling.
After exhausting his abuses, the headman calmed down and asked
Buddha, "Sir! I have a doubt. Will you clear it?" Buddha said,
"What is your doubt? Speak out." The headman asked how Buddha
had remained unaffected by all the abuse he had levelled against the
latter. Buddha said, "I came to you begging for food. Supposing you
had brought the food and I had refused to take it, what would you
have done with the food?" The man replied, "I would have taken it
back."

112

Buddhism

Buddha then said, "Now, instead of food, you gave me all your
abuse. I refused to receive it. What happens to it? It goes back to
you. I have no connection with it." The headman learnt a good
lesson. (SSS Vol.25), 15 Mar 1992
Once, Buddha entered a village along with his disciples. A lady
approached him and requested him to have food in her house.
Buddha blessed her and accepted her invitation. Seeing this, many
villagers, including the village headman, warned Buddha, saying,
O Buddha, you are one of wisdom and have renounced everything.
She is not a woman of good character. It is not proper for you to
have food in her house. Buddha smiled and asked the village
headman to come forward. Buddha, holding the right hand of the
headman, asked him to clap. The headman said, it was not possible
for him to clap since one of his hands was in Buddhas hold.
Buddha said, True, it is possible to clap only when two hands
come together. Likewise, this lady cannot turn bad by herself unless
there are men of bad character in the village. The men of this village
are the root cause of her bad character. The villagers realized their
folly, fell at Buddhas feet and sought his forgiveness. Through his
teachings, Buddha instilled sacredness and wisdom in people.
Buddhas teachings are highly sacred, with profound inner meaning.
(SSS Vol.32 Part I, p. 214)

Buddhists Prayer
No one can live for himself. He is involved with parents, kinsmen,
friends, foes, society, countrymen, etc., in ever widening circles.
Buddhists declare, Buddham Sharanam Gacchami, Sangham
Sharanam Gacchami "I take refuge in the Buddha. I take refuge in
the Sangha. I take refuge in Dharma (virtue)." The first is the
113

Sanatana Dharma: For a happy, peaceful life of an individual and for society

involvement with the reality in one's own individual self. One must
examine oneself whether he lives according to a mind, free from
polluting thoughts and feelings. Buddha is the symbol of the
awakened intellect. Is the intellect sharp enough for clear
discrimination? This must be one's question to oneself. For, even an
insane person asks for food when hungry. His intellect is alert for
limited purposes. But, it has to serve far higher purposes for man.
The second stage is refuge in the Sangha. Just as one yearns for and
works towards securing property, welfare and 'happiness for
oneself, one must also yearn for and work towards securing these
very things for the sangha (society) to which one belongs. Without
society to guard and guide, the individual is lost, like a drop of oil
on an expanse of water. One's welfare is based on the welfare of
society. The welfare of a particular society is based on the welfare
of the country.
The third stage is refuge in the Dharma. Dharma means the vesture
of the Cosmos, that which is its very nature, namely, Prema or
Divine Love. When one seeks refuge in Love that sustains and
promotes progress, the individual, the society and world become a
sublime Trinity. (SSS Vol.11, p. 142)
Krishna commanded Arjuna, "Develop a broad mind and expand
your vision. You can start with the concept of the individual
personality, but do not get stuck there. Do not waste your entire life
thinking only of individuals. "From the individual you must move
on to the concept of the society, which transcends the individual,
Individuality and personality are associated with a limited name and
form, but let your mind soar beyond name and form. Reach and
114

Buddhism

experience that principle which is full of Dharma. You are still


viewing everything in the framework of Dvaita, or duality, and so
your life is manifesting only duality; you are caught up in name and
form, in subject and object. Make the effort to travel from Dvaita to
Vishishtadvaita, from dualism to modified non-dualism, keeping the
highest wisdom of pure non-dualism, pure Advaita as your ultimate
goal. Make an effort to see the same divine principle everywhere
and in everything, until you realize the ultimate truth, that only the
Atma exists, that only the Self is real."
Buddha taught the same great truth, although he may not have made
reference to Veda or used Vedantic terms, nevertheless, he
experienced and demonstrated the essential spirit of the Veda. First
he said, "Buddham Sharanam Gacchami", meaning, "I take refuge
in the Buddhi, my power of discrimination". This deals with the
individual; it speaks of the limited personality. Gradually, he added,
"Sangham Sharanam Gacchami", meaning "I take refuge in the
community, I take refuge in the Society". He recognized that
feelings associated with individual and personal considerations are
selfish and narrow, and cannot take you very far.
Society does not have any particular form; it is made up of
individuals. When large number of individuals joins together they
become a society. Swami often says, "Expansion is My life. When
you expand individual life to infinity it becomes divinity", that is to
say, let individual life multiply and broaden and it will eventually
reach divinity. Therefore, Krishna told Arjuna, "Live in the society,
serve the society; and develop broad mindedness".

115

Sanatana Dharma: For a happy, peaceful life of an individual and for society

The meaning of society in one country may be different from that in


another; and a society or community called by one name may have
nothing to do with a society or community called by another name.
So, you will find that there are limits even for a society, and that the
society by itself will not take you all the way to infinity. Therefore,
Buddha added one more step, "Dharmam Sharanam Gacchami",
meaning "1 take refuge in Dharma, I take shelter in "truth and
righteousness". Dharma, as used here, has a very broad connotation;
it refers to the one who supports the entire world. - When you
investigate the general meaning of the word Dharma, you find that
it relates to the basic nature of a thing, its essential truth. The
"thing" referred to here is the immortal Atma the indwelling
divinity. Therefore, the deeper meaning of Dharma is found in the
true nature of divinity. To take refuge in Dharma is to become one
with the attributes of divinity. It has been said that Maya is the body
of God, but it is more correct to say that Dharma is the body of
God. It is His very form. That is why Krishna announced, "For
establishing Dharma, I have come again and again". Dharma reveals
the broad nature of divinity in all its glorious aspects. (DBG, pp.
249-250)

True meaning of the Buddhist prayer


It is not enough to read the lives of avatars and messiahs. Their
teachings should be put into practice as much as possible. People
must gradually outgrow their material attachments and develop
divine love.
Suddhodana tried to protect his son from all external worldly
influences by keeping him in the palace and not even sending him
to school. What happened ultimately? Buddha decided to renounce
116

Buddhism

everything in quest of the truth about human existence and he


declared Ahimsa (non-harming) as the supreme good.
What is it that people need today? These are three things: A heart
pure and white like the moon, speech soft and sweet like butter, a
face that is loving and kind. These are lacking in the world today
The entire atmosphere is frightening. There is harshness in speech.
There is no softness in the heart. The heart should be pure and soft
like butter. Today, on the contrary, people are hard-hearted.
Fill your hearts with compassion. Let your speech be sweet and
truthful. You will then be truly human. Ahimsa is the supreme
virtue Buddha taught one great, truth to the world. He declared that
it is not what the Vedas and Scriptures say that constitutes truth.
People should bear in mind that non-harming is the supreme virtue.
Do not cause harm to anyone by thought, word or deed. The tongue
is given to you to utter truth. Jayadeva exhorted his tongue to
manifest its sweetness by chanting the names of the Lord Govinda,
Dhamodhara, Madhava. Whatever be the number of religions, their
goal is one and the same. To carry on daily life in the world people
pursue many vocations. But does all this constitute real living? Can
a life led without remembering God be called life at all? What kind
of life is it where there is no purity, no morality and no spirituality?
Morality and integrity alone can lead to Nirvana (liberation).
Today these two are absent. People must strive to base their lives on
Neethi and Nijaayathi (morality and integrity). They should
become, as Jesus said, messengers of God. (SSS Vol.30), 15-5-1997

117

Sanatana Dharma: For a happy, peaceful life of an individual and for society

Buddha Purnima
Embodiments of love! We are celebrating today Buddha Poornima
or Buddha Jayanti. What does Poornima (full-moon) signify? It
signifies wholesomeness. When the mind is filled with love, it
achieves fullness. As long as the mind is filled with darkness and
evil thoughts, there is no meaning in celebrating Buddha Poornima.
Get rid of this darkness. Without the light of love in the heart, what
use is there in having illuminations outside? Light the lamp of the
Divine in your minds. Banish hatred and envy from your hearts.
Man is the victim of two evil planets: attachment and hatred. To
escape from their grip, the only way is to cultivate love. (NNSG
Vol.8, p. 35)

118

Christianity

Christian cross
The Christian cross was in use from the time of early
Christianity, but it remained less prominent than competing
symbols. The Christian Cross, seen as a representation of the
instrument of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, is the best-known
religious symbol of Christianity. It is related to the crucifix (a
cross that includes a usually three-dimensional representation of
Jesus' body) and to the more general family of cross symbols.
Christianity (from the Ancient Greek word , Christos, a
translation of the Hebrew, meaning "the anointed one", together
with the Latin suffixes -ian and -itas) is a monotheistic religion
based on the life and oral teachings of Jesus as presented in the
New Testament. Christianity is the world's largest religion, with
approximately 2.2 billion adherents, known as Christians. Most
Christians believe that Jesus is the Son of God, fully divine and
fully human, and the saviour of humanity whose coming was
prophesied in the Old Testament. Consequently, Christians refer
to Jesus as "Christ" or the Messiah.

Sanatana Dharma: For a happy, peaceful life of an individual and for society

The foundations of Christian theology are expressed in


ecumenical creeds. These professions of faith state that Jesus
suffered, died, was buried, and was resurrected from the dead in
order to grant eternal life to those who believe in him and trust
in him for the remission of their sins. The creeds further
maintain that Jesus bodily ascended into heaven, where he
reigns with God the Father. Most Christian denominations teach
that Jesus will return to judge everybody, living and dead, and
to grant eternal life to his followers. He is considered the model
of a virtuous life. His ministry, crucifixion, and resurrection are
often referred to as the "gospel", meaning "good news". The
term gospel also refers to written accounts of Jesus' life and
teaching, four of whichthe Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke
and Johnare considered canonical and included in Christian
Bibles.
Christianity is an Abrahamic religion that began as a Jewish
sect in the mid-1st century. Originating in the Levant region of
the Middle East, it quickly spread to Syria, Mesopotamia, Asia
Minor and Egypt. It grew in size and influence over a few
centuries, and by the end of the 4th century had become the
official state church of the Roman Empire, replacing other forms
of religion practiced under Roman rule. During the Middle
Ages, most of the remainder of Europe was Christianized, and
adherents were gained in the Middle East, North Africa,
Ethiopia and parts of India. Following the Age of Discovery,
Christianity spread to the Americas, Australasia, sub-Saharan
Africa, and the rest of the world through missionary work and
colonization. Christianity has played a prominent role in the
shaping of Western civilization.
120

Christianity

Worldwide, the three largest groups of Christianity are the


Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, and the various
denominations of Protestantism. (From Wikipedia)

Jesus
Two thousand years ago, when narrow pride and thick ignorance
defiled mankind, Jesus came as the embodiment of Love and
compassion and lived among men, holding forth the highest
ideals of life. You must pay attention to the lessons he
elaborated in the various stages of his life. 'I am the Messenger
of God,' he declared, first. Yes. Each individual has to accept
that role and live as examples of Divine Love and Charity. The
guru must; act as the alarm-clock; he should awaken the sleeper
to his duty to himself. Uththishtha! jaagratha," as the
Upanishads proclaim---"Arise! Awake." And bear witness to the
God within, in every thought, word and deed. (SSS Vol.14), 2412-1980

The three stages of Jesus' life


Jesus was kaarana-janma, a Master born with a purpose, the
mission of restoring love, charity and compassion in the heart of
man. He had no attachment to the self, nor paid any heed to joy
or sorrow, loss or gain. He had a heart that responded to the call
of anguish, and he went about the land preaching the lesson of
love and poured out his life as liberation in the sacrifice to
humanity.(SSS Vol.14), 24-12-1980
Jesus could assert that his life was his message, for he lived
among men as he advised them to live. Everyone has to start his
Spiritual pilgrimage, proclaiming he is a servant or messenger of
121

Sanatana Dharma: For a happy, peaceful life of an individual and for society

God and trying to live up to that high and responsible status.


This is the stage of duality. The he progresses to discover the
divine within himself, and realise that God is his precious
heritage, which he must claim and utilise. That is the stage when
one feels he is a son of God, of the same nature of God. Finally,
he merges in God- consciousness. This is the essences of all
religious disciplines and teachings. When Jesus proclaimed that
he was the messenger of God he wanted to emphasize that
everyone is a messenger of God and has to speak, act and think
as one... When progress is furthered, Jesus asserted, each one
can recognise all as sons of God, children of God, brothers and
sisters of oneself... Finally, knowledge ripens into wisdom, and
the goal is reached when one realises I and the Father are one.
Jesus has shown the way in clear terms. He announced very
early in life that he had come to illumine the spiritual path. He
had the Light within him. Jesus was the name he was known by;
he was honoured by the populace as Christ, for they found in his
thoughts, deeds and words no trace of ego. He had no envy, or
hatred; he was full of love and charity, humanity and sympathy...
(EL, p. 70)
Like most seekers, he first searched for the Divine in the
objective world. But he soon realised that the world is a
kaleidoscopic picture created by one's own imagination, and
sought to find God within himself. His stay in the Himalayan
monasteries in Kashmir and in other centres of eastern
asceticism and philosophical inquiry, gave him greater
awareness. From the attitude of being a Messenger of God, he
could now call himself the Son of Clod. The bond of relationship
increased: the 'I' was no more some distant light or entity; the
122

Christianity

light became a part of the "I." With the body-consciousness


predominant, he was a messenger. With the heart-consciousness
in the ascendant, he-felt a greater nearness and dearness, and so
the son-father bond seems natural at this stage.
Later as the Atman-consciousness was established, Jesus could
declare, "I and 'My Father are One." The three stages may be
described as: "I was in the Light," "the Light was in me," and "I
am the light," and may be compared to the Dwaitha (dualism),
Visishtadwaitha' (qualified non-dualism) and Adwaitha (nondualism) stages as described in Vedic philosophy. The final stage
is the one when all duality has been shed. This is the essence of
all religious disciplines and teachings.

Jesus' original name was Isa


Jesus was honoured by the populace as Christ, for they found in
his thoughts, words and deeds, no trace of ego. He had no envy
or hatred, and was full of love and charity, humility and
sympathy. Jesus' original name was Isa which, when repeated, is
Sai. Isa and Sai, both mean Ishwara (God), the Eternal Absolute,
the Sath-Chith-Ananda (Being-Awareness-Bliss). In the Tibetan
manuscript, at the monastery where Isa spent some years, his
name is written as Isha, which means the Lord of all living
beings.
When Jesus proclaimed that he was the Messenger of God, he
wanted to emphasise that everyone is a messenger of God and
has to speak, act and think like one. This is the true KarmaKanda (branch dealing with action and its reaction) of the
Vedas: sadhana (discipline) of karma (work), japa (prayer),
123

Sanatana Dharma: For a happy, peaceful life of an individual and for society

seva (service) and dhyana (meditation). When progress is


furthered, Jesus asserted, each one can recognise all as Sons of
God, Children of God, brothers and sisters of oneself, and so,
deserving of worship. The Upaasana Kanda (branch of Vedas
dealing with contemplation) is the scripture in Sanaathana
Dharma (Eternal Universal Religion) for this stage. Finally,
knowledge ripens into wisdom and' the goal of Jnaana Kanda
(branch of Vedas dealing with spiritual wisdom) is reached,
when each one realises, "I and my Father are One."

Do not confine Jesus to one community


The Birthday of Jesus must be celebrated by all mankind, for
such kaarana-janmas belong to the whole human race. They
should not be confined to a single country or community. Jesus
found that scholars and ritualists had befogged the true religion,
He engaged himself in teaching both spirituality and morality,
for education is the very light of life. Jesus found that people
were running after glass beads, imagining them to be diamonds
and attaching great value to them. He went round the holy
shrines and discovered that they had become bazaars where
Grace was being bargained and commercialised. He condemned
the priesthood which tolerated and encouraged these practises.
So he drew upon himself the anger of the heads of temples and
monasteries. They tempted one of his disciples with 30 silver
pieces, to betray him into their hands.
The Roman rulers were told that Jesus was attempting to assert
himself as King and so could be punished for treason. Their
insistence made the Governor order his crucifixion. When the
nails were being driven into him to fix him on the Cross, Jesus
124

Christianity

heard the Voice of the Father saying, "All life is one, My dear
Son. Be alike to everyone," and he pleaded that those who were
crucifying him may be pardoned for they knew not what they
did. Jesus sacrificed himself for the sake of mankind.
Carols and candles, readings from the Bible and acting out the
incidents that surrounded His Birth, are not enough to celebrate
the Birth of Jesus. Jesus said that the bread taken in the 'last
supper' was His Flesh, and the wine, His Blood. He meant that
all beings alive with flesh and blood are to be treated as He
Himself and that no distinction should be made. of friend or foe,
we or they. Everybody is His Body, sustained by the bread;
every drop of blood flowing in the veins of every living being is
His, animated by the activity that the wine imparted to it. That is
to say, every man is Divine and has to be revered as such.

Man forgets or ignores the goal of life


You work as a messenger or servant; later, you worship, as a son
does his father, and finally, you achieve the wisdom that You
and He are One. That is the spiritual journey of which Jesus has
shown the way in clear terms. He announced very early in life
that he had come to illumine the spiritual path. Even as a bud, he
emitted fragrance. He had the light in him, or else how can the
tiny glow-worm light a lamp? To elevate man, to raise the level
of his consciousness, He has to incarnate as man. He has to
speak to them in their own style and language, He has to teach
them the methods that they can adopt and practise. Birds and
beasts need no Divine Incarnation to guide them, for they have
no inclination to stray away from their dharma. Man alone
forgets or ignores the goal of life. (SSS Vol.14), 25-12-1978
125

Sanatana Dharma: For a happy, peaceful life of an individual and for society

Jesus was Compassion come in Human Form. He spread the


Spirit of Compassion and conferred solace on the distressed and
the suffering... Jesus was Himself out in such Seva (Selfless
Service). The heart full of Compassion is the Temple of God.
Jesus pleaded for Compassion. Compassion was His Message.
He was sorely distressed at the sight of the poor... Noticing the
torture of birds and beasts at the Temple in Jerusalem, He
reprimanded the vendors and drove them out of the precincts. He
drew upon Himself the anger of the priests. Good Works always
provoke the wicked... Self (Ego)-dominated people turn envious
at greatness and goodness. But since Prema (Love), the Prema of
Jesus, had no trace of (ego) in it, Jesus was unafraid... Jesus was
the target for many obstacles and He braved them all. As a result
His Name and Story and Message are shedding splendorous
Light all over the world now.
This day, Jesus is worshipped but His Teachings are neglected.
Sai is being worshipped but His Teachings are neglected.
Everywhere pomp, pageantry, hollow exhibitionism! Lectures,
lectures, lectures! No activity, no Love, No Seva (Selfless
Service). Heroes while lecturing, zeros while putting what is
said into practice... Bring to mind the words Jesus uttered, the
advice he offered, the warnings He gave, and decide to direct
your daily lives along the Path Jesus laid down. His words must
be imprinted on your hearts and you must resolve to practise all
that He taught... Jesus teaches infinite Love and Compassion. To
resurrect Love and Compassion, you must kill jealousy and
selfishness, purify your hearts... A cloud of ignorance veils the
Truth. God sends sages, saints and prophets to unveil and
Himself appears as an Avatar to awaken and liberate man. The
126

Christianity

Great Teachers belong to mankind. It is wrong to believe that


Jesus belongs only to the Christians and that Christmas is a Holy
Festival for the West only. To accept One of them as ones own
and discard the rest, as belonging to others is a sign of pettiness.
Christ, Rama, Krishna they are for all men everywhere (TSF,
pp. 177-179)

Jesus bore no ill-will towards any one


Jesus knew that God wills all. So, even on the cross, when he
suffered agony, he bore no ill-will towards any one and he
exhorted those with him to treat all as instruments of His Will.
"All are one; be alike to everyone." Practise this attitude in your
daily lives. Of course it is very difficult to develop unwavering
faith in this great truth. The mind, as Arjuna complained, hops
from belief to doubt, from one conclusion to its negation and it
causes turmoil and confusion. But, there is one method by which
it can be conquered.
The black-bee can bore a hole in the hardest wood. But, when
dusk intervenes while it is sipping the nectar from the lotusflower and, as a result, when the open petals close in on the bee,
it finds itself imprisoned, with no hope of escape. It does not
know how to deal with softness! So too, the mind can play its
tricks and jump wantonly about on any arena; when placed on
the lotus feet of the Lord, it becomes inactive and harmless. In
order to offer the mind entirely to the Lord deep detachment
from worldly desires is needed. Superficial devotion or shallow
steadfastness cannot succeed. To fell the hard sandal wood tree,
a heavy axe of steel is needed.

127

Sanatana Dharma: For a happy, peaceful life of an individual and for society

It is the privilege of this stage of life to cultivate this


detachment, to subdue the vagaries of the mind, and to manifest
the Divinity that is latent in you. That Divinity when expressed
in action blossoms into loving service of fellow-beings. It
renders the heart pure, free from pride and greed.

Be ever ready to cast the body away


Jesus wandered purposefully in lonely places for twelve long
years, engaging himself in study, spiritual exercises and
meditation on God. Of course, one must protect and preserve the
body, which is a Divine gift, a boat equipped with instruments
through which man can cross the Sea of Perpetual Change and
reach Divinity. This goal of life has to be reached before the
body-boat develops leaks and disintegrates, through illness, sloth
and senility. Physical, mental and spiritual health has to be
fostered with vigilant care. Nevertheless, 'one' must be ever
ready to east the body away in defence of dharma or Daiva
(goodness or God). Have Jesus as your ideal for this. He
exhorted all to observe the basically valid teachings of the
ancient scriptures and to derive peace and joy therefrom.
The Jews held the rituals and regulations laid down by the
prophets in the scriptural texts as valid for all time and so, they
held the teachings of Jesus as wrong. They were not moved by
personal hatred towards Jesus.
The problem arises in every age---the conflict between the letter
and the spirit---the doctrines that are held sacred, the mantra
(sacred formula) that is held to be holy, the various do's and
don'ts that have to be scrupulously followed, and the underlying
128

Christianity

truth. In the Vedic Faith also, one can find today this conflict
between the upholders of ancient tradition and the promoters of
deeper understanding. These later also base their teachings on
the Vedas. (SSS Vol.14), 24-12-1980

Bible Clarifications
What is the root cause of doubt? It is the absence of total faith.
Jesus had a disciple, Thomas, who doubted everything he came
across and was appropriately called doubting Thomas. In the
path of spirituality, doubts do arise at times, even though one
may have faith in God. One of the doubts is this:
Did Jesus really declare that He was the Truth, the Path, and
that none was superior to Him?
Enquire into the truth yourself. Jesus was never egotistic at any
point of time and never made any such declarations. There was a
tax collector who recorded the conversation between Jesus and
the fishermen. It was during one of those conversations that
Jesus assured them that He would take care of them, but at no
point of time did he mention with a sense of ego that He was the
only One and the ultimate One to protect them. He did this only
with a view to increase their confidence and enthuse them into
action.
At the time of divine birth, three wise men visited Jesus in the
manger. One of them, looking at child Jesus, remarked; He looks
as though he was a Messenger of God. The second wise man
exclaimed that the child looked as though he was the Son of
God. The third wise man disagreed with both and concluded

129

Sanatana Dharma: For a happy, peaceful life of an individual and for society

that He and God were one and the same. These three statements
have been interpreted in varied ways.
Jesus had no trace of ego in Him. He was filled with compassion
at the sight of the meek and the afflicted. Paul opposed Jesus in
all matters from the very outset. Once Jesus appeared in the
dream of Paul and questioned him, What harm have I done to
you? Why do you criticise Me so? This caused Paul to ponder
and realise that his ignorance and ego blinded him to reality.
Thereafter he became an ardent disciple of Jesus. In every age,
every noble soul had to put up with criticism. People always
have mistaken notions about good and bad. If only we
understand the truth in the Bible, we will come to the conclusion
that there was no fault in Jesus at all. Jesus always aspired to put
people in God consciousness.
At the time of crucifixion, Jesus prayed: O Father! What sin
have I committed? Why am I put to suffering thus? When
Mother Mary stood crying at the foot of the Cross, an ethereal
voice was heard. All are one, My dear Son; be alike to
everyone. (SSS Vol.31, pp. 445-446)

Christian
There is an age-old practice among Christians to pray to God for
forgiving their sins. In the churches, it is the practice for
devotees to confess their sins, make cash offerings and obtain a
solution from the pontiff or the priest. The belief in redemption
through repentance and offerings to the Divine is prevalent in
India also. These practices are based on misconceptions about
the Divine. There should be an earnest enquiry into the nature of
130

Christianity

the Divine and people should try to get rid of superstitious


beliefs, which have no basis in Truth.
It should be noted that the spirit of enquiry was prevalent among
the ancient Greeks, centuries before Christ. Socrates was a great
teacher who promoted the spirit of enquiry among the youth of
Athens. Socrates was so much wedded to the pursuit of truth that
he preferred death in his home city to making good his escape
with the help of his disciples. He set no value on life, property or
possessions. (SSS Vol.20, pp. 260-261)

Christmas
It is not by festivity and fun that you can celebrate Christmas,
Celebrate it rather by resolving to put into practice at least one
of the ideals he enunciated, or by endeavouring to reach at least
one of the goals he placed before man.
Let me call upon you to give up, in memory of this holy day,
two evils from your mind: self-praise and scandalising of others.
Adopt one habit as yours: the habit of loving service to the
distressed. If you spend all time and energy merely to pile up
worldly comfort and sensual delight, you are disgracing this
human existence.
You consider this habitation of yours as your body; no, it is the
Temple of God. God resides therein. Keep it clean, fresh and
fragrant through developing compassion and love. Christs
birthday is when he is born in each persons heart. It is only on
that day that one is entitled to celebrate Christmas.
(EL, p. 69)
131

Sanatana Dharma: For a happy, peaceful life of an individual and for society

Christmas means the Mass that is held on the birthday of Christ. It


is fundamentally a sacred religious rite. To deal with it as if it is a
festival for drinking and dancing or even for recalling Jesus to
memory is very wrong. The day must be spent in prayer; not merely
this day, but cultivate the sadhana (spiritual discipline) of prayer as
a normal way of life. Prayers for worldly ends do not reach God.
They will reach only those deities who deal with such restricted
spheres.
But, all prayers arising from pure love, unselfish eagerness to render
service and hearts that are all-inclusive will reach God. For, God is
the very Embodiment of love. We know that we have to see the
Moon only through Moonlight. So too, God who is love can be seen
and realised only through love. Love is God, Live in Love. That is
the Message I give you. (SSS Vol.14), 24-12-1980

He whom Christ announced


It is therefore appropriate that the Birthday of Jesus, who felt the
need to save mankind and who strove to achieve it, is celebrated;
but, the celebration must take the form of adherence to the
teachings, loyalty to the principles, practising the disciplines and
experiencing the Awareness of the Divine that he sought to arouse.
(SSS Vol.11), 24-12-1972
These days, the world is deriving satisfaction in mere words, and in
witnessing clever rules designed to cover up one's faults. The
Birthdays of the Great are honoured by such hypocrisy and external
pomp. There is no examination in the light of the message they
gave, nor, any effort to practise it and derive the bliss it promises.

132

Christianity

The Great Teachers belong to mankind. It is wrong to believe that


Jesus belongs only to the Christians and the Christmas is a holy
festival for the West only. To accept one of them as one's own and
discard the rest as belonging to others, is a sign of pettiness. Christ,
Raama, Krishna---they are for all men everywhere. (SSS Vol.11),
24-12-1972
Jesus taught simple practical lessons in spiritual advancement for
the good of mankind; He manifested Divine Powers to instil faith in
the validity of his teachings; he marked out the path that can confer
on men the sweet nectar of Ananda. He exhorted people by precept
and example to cultivate the virtues of charity, compassion,
forbearance, love and faith. These are not separate and distinct
qualities, they are only the many facets of the Divine in Man, which
he has to recognise and develop. (SSS Vol.11), 24-12-1972
Significance of the story related to Christ's birth
People talk of the sacrifice of Christ as evidence by His crucifixion.
But, he was surrounded and bound, and crowned by the crowd who
captured Him with a crown of thorns, and later, nailed to the cross
by his captors. A person bound and beaten by the police cannot say
that he has sacrificed anything, for, he is not a free man. Let us pay
attention to the sacrifice that Jesus made while free, out of his own
volition. He sacrificed his happiness, prosperity, comfort, safety and
position; he braved the enmity of the powerful. He refused to yield
or compromise. He renounced the 'ego', which is the toughest thing
to get rid of. Honour Him for these. He willingly sacrificed the
desires with which the body torments man; this is sacrifice greater
than the sacrifice of the body under duress. The celebration of His

133

Sanatana Dharma: For a happy, peaceful life of an individual and for society

birthday has to be marked by your sacrificing at least a desire or


two, and conquering at least the more disastrous urges of the ego.
The followers of Jesus have got broken into schisms on various
counts; but, the life of Christ is a lesson of Unity. When Christ was
on the cross, ill-feelings towards the men who tortured Him
troubled Him. Suddenly he heard a voice alerting him. "All Life is
One, my dear Son{ Be alike to every one!" This was followed by
another admonition, "Death is the Dress of Life." As one casts of
the worn clothes and dons another set, so, the soul dons and doffs
bodies. Therefore, Jesus was warned against hate and ill-feelings, as
well as the lamentation to which man is heir. (SSS Vol.11), 24-121972
Manifestations seen when Christ was born
The lives of such personalities are lived out, in order to establish the
welfare of humanity, the prosperity and peace of the world, and
individual liberation from bondage to sensual desires and passions.
This is illustrated by the strange phenomenon that occurs at the time
of their Advent. It is believed that when Christ was born there were
such manifestations. The ruler of the realm had ordered a census,
and each had to be counted in his own village. So Mary and her
husband moved along the road that led to his native village. Mary
was with child; the pains started midway; they knew no one in the
hamlet through which they were passing; so they took refuge in a
cowshed. Joseph made ready the space between the cows, and went
out into the road at midnight, to seek some woman who could help.
But, soon, he heard the Baby's cry.

134

Christianity

And, the story says, there was a Star in the sky, which fell with a
New Light, and this led a few Tibetans and others to the place
where the Saviour was born. This story is read and taken on trust by
many, though stars do not fall or even slide down so suddenly.
What the story signifies is this: There was a huge halo of splendour
illuminating the sky over the village when Christ was born. This
meant that He, who was to overcome the darkness of evil and
ignorance had taken birth, that He will spread the Light of Love in
the heart of man and councils of humanity. (SSS Vol.11), 24-121972
Use and misuse of wealth and wisdom
Appearances of splendour, and other signs to herald the era that has
dawned are natural when incarnations happen on earth. Jesus was to
shatter the darkness that had enveloped the world and the aura of
light was a sign that announced the event. The Masters arrive in
answer to man's prayer. "Thamaso maa jyothir gamaya" (Lead us
from darkness unto Light!) If each one does his duty, in the spirit of
dedication, the Light can illumine all, but, if the doors of the heart
are shut against the Light, how can darkness disappear? You cannot
sit back, and expect the Incarnation to bring peace and joy into you.
The incarnation comes to warn, to guide, to awaken, to lay down
the path, and shed the light of Love on it. But, man has to listen,
learn and obey with hope and faith.
There is a tale told of old that Wisdom and Wealth once quarrelled
loud and long, about their relative importance. Wealth argued that
without it, the body will be weak, the brain hazy and wisdom a willo-the-wisp. Wisdom retorted that, without it man cannot even
distinguish wealth from non-wealth or know how to earn it or use it.
135

Sanatana Dharma: For a happy, peaceful life of an individual and for society

The Soul intervened and told them that they were both equally
important, but, only when properly used. Wealth without wisdom
becomes an instrument of exploitation and tyranny: wisdom without
wealth becomes mere fantasy and a bundle of blueprint. Use makes
them worthwhile; misuse makes them disastrous.
It is like the knife in the hands of a maniac, which becomes an
instrument for murder; in the hands of a surgeon, it becomes an
instrument which saves a life! Are you doing good with wealth?
Are you benefitting others by means of wisdom?---that is the test.
This day, Christmas, when we celebrate the birth of Christ, resolve
to lead the lives of loving service to the weak, the helpless, the
distressed, the disconsolate. Cultivate tolerance and forbearance,
charity and magnanimity. Hold dear the ideals He laid down and
practise them, in your daily lives. (SSS Vol.11), 24-12-1972
The best way of celebrating the Birth of Christ
The ways in which Christmas is being celebrated now show how far
men have moved away from those ideals, how much ignominy they
are heaping on his name! The midnight hour is revered; illumination
is arranged; the Christmas Tree is set up; and then, the night is spent
in drinking and dance. It is a day of Holy Ananda, but, the Ananda
is reduced to the level of the poisoning excitement of intoxication!
Drink is so pernicious an evil habit, that when man puts the bottle
in, he himself gets into the bottle and cannot escape! First man
drinks wine, then the wine drinks more wine; and finally, the wine
drinks man himself! He is sunk and drowned in drink. Liquor
destroys the humanity in man! How then can it develop the Divinity
in him? One must dance in Divine Bliss; instead, sensual dance is
136

Christianity

indulged in as a deleterious substitute! Make your hearts pure, your


activities holy, and your feelings beneficial to all. That is the best
way of celebrating the Birth of Christ.
There is one point that I cannot but bring to your special notice
today. At the moment when Jesus was merging in the Supreme
Principle of Divinity, He communicated some news to his
followers, which has been interpreted in a variety of ways by
commentators and those who relish the piling of writings on
writings and meanings upon meanings, until it all swells up into a
huge mess. (SSS Vol.11), 24-12-1972
Christ's announcement of the Advent of Baba
The statement itself has been manipulated and tangled into a
conundrum. The statement of Christ is simple: He who sent me
among you will come again!" and he pointed to a Lamb. The Lamb
is merely a symbol, a sign. It stands for the Voice---Ba-Ba; the
announcement was the Advent of Baba. "His Name will be Truth,"
Christ declared. Sathya means Truth. "He will wear a robe of red, a
bloodred robe." (Here Baba pointed to the robe He was wearing!).
"He will be short, with a crown (of hair). The Lamb is the sign and
symbol of Love."
Christ did not declare that he will come again. He said, "He who
made me will come again." That Ba-ba is this Baba and Sai, the
short, curly-hair-crowned red-robed Baba, is come. He is not only
in this Form, but, he is in every one of you, as the dweller in the
Heart. He is there, short, with a robe of the colour of the blood that
fills it.

137

Sanatana Dharma: For a happy, peaceful life of an individual and for society

The great axioms of Bharatiya culture found in the Vedas--Ishwarassarvabhuuthaanaam,


Isaavaa-yamidham
sarvam,
Vasudevassarvamidham---"God is the inner Motivator of all beings.
All this is enveloped in God, All this is Vasudeva, the Divine"---are
to be in every one.
This is the inner mystery of Incarnation, God incarnating in all! All
are One; The One is All. There is only one God; He is Omnipresent.
There is only one religion, the Religion of Love; there is only one
caste, the Caste of Humanity; there is only one language, the
Language of the Heart. (SSS Vol.11), 24-12-1972
When Jesus was born three wise men followed a star to reach his
place of birth. Seeing the new-born babe they bowed to the divine
child in their hearts. Before leaving, each of them spoke about the
child as follows to the parents. One sage told Mary: "He loveth
God." The second sage said: "God loveth him." The third man said:
"He is God." What is the inner significance of these three
pronouncements about Jesus? The first statement that "He loveth
God" contains the implication that Jesus is a messenger of God. A
messenger can love his master, but the master may not so easily
love his messenger. The second statement declared that "God loves
him (Jesus)."
Why? Because he is the son of God. The third statement "He is
God" bears out what Jesus said: "I and my Father are One." It
means that as the Son of God he is entitled to acquire his Father's
place. The unity of Father and Son was proclaimed by the third
sage.

138

Christianity

All human beings are "messengers of God"


The inner meaning of all this is that every' human being in the
world is a massenger of God. What does this signify? What is the
message that the human being is expected to convey? That he is a
"messenger of God," not of the devil. A messenger of God must
propagate the divine teachings of God to the world. You have no
fight to call yourselves messengers of God if your actions are bad,
your thoughts are evil and you preach wrong ideas. Such persons
can only be called agents of the Devil.
From today, "as messengers of God," you have to demonstrate to
the world the purity, the Truth and the Love that the Divine
symbolises. When you lead a life of purity and morality, you are
entitled to regard yourselves as "Sons of God." God is the
embodiment of Love and you should not do anything which is
contrary to the love that God represents. You should develop those
good qualities which can make you worthy "sons of God."
In the Bible it is recorded that Jesus washed the feet of His
disciples. When they asked him why He was doing so, Jesus
answered: "I am washing your feet as your servant, so that you may
learn to serve the world." Every man is, to begin with, a messengerof God. When he fulfills his duties as a messenger, he realises that
he is a son of God and then achieves oneness with the Divine. (SSS
Vol.17), 25-12-1984
Jesus's vital message to mankind
There is no use in merely invoking the name of Jesus and praying to
Him without regard to His most vital message: "God is in everyone.

139

Sanatana Dharma: For a happy, peaceful life of an individual and for society

Do not revile anyone. Do not cause harm to anyone." This was


Jesus's greatest message.
At present there is a growing tendency among propagators of the
Christian faith to cast aspersions on other religions. Money is being
spent lavishly to spread Christianity. None of you should have any
part in such activities. This type of propaganda does great harm to
the personality of Jesus. Jesus was a supremely pure and sacred
person. To forget Jesus's teachings and to profess love for Him is no
love at all. You must all remember: "God is One. Love is God. Live
in Love." Only by this means can humanity, despite the many
divisions that exist at present, be unified. Absorb the teachings of
all the great seers and prophets. Do not despise anyone. Everyone is
entitled to accept what is good from any source. Differences of
creed and caste are irrelevant. There is only one caste, the caste of
humanity. There is only one religion, the religion of Love. There is
only one language, the language of the heart. There is only one
God, He is omnipresent. (SSS Vol.18), 25-12-1985.
Path of Love is a means of merger
Jesus advised one of his foremost disciples, Peter to live in love, for
Love is God. Man can experience God only when he becomes the
embodiment of Love, which doesn't seek anything or expect even
gratitude in return, Love which becomes sacrifice and service,
spontaneously. When Peter listened to such exhortations from the
Master, he found a new joy welling up within him and a new
meaning in the word joy. 'J' meant Jesus and the letter directed him
to love Jesus first. 'O' meant others who must be loved next. 'Y'
meant yourself who ought to be loved only last. But, look at the

140

Christianity

human condition today. Man loves himself first, others next and
Jesus last! (SSS Vol.19),
Sins and repentance
There is an age-old practice among Christians to pray to God for
forgiving their sins. In the churches, it is the practice for devotees to
confess their sins, make cash offerings and obtain absolution from
the pontiff or the priest. The belief in redemption through
repentance and offerings to the Divine is prevalent in India also.
These practices are based on misconceptions about the Divine.
There should be an earnest enquiry into the nature of the Divine and
people should try to get rid of superstitious beliefs which have no
basis in Truth.
It should be noted that the spirit of enquiry was prevalent among the
ancient Greeks centuries before Christ. Socrates was a great teacher
who promoted the spirit of enquiry among the youth of Athens.
Socrates was so much wedded to the pursuit of truth that he
preferred death in his home city to making good his escape with the
help of his disciples. He set no value on life, property or
possessions.
Jesus and the rich man
Jesus also set no value on wealth or position. Once a rich man came
to Jesus when he was in the house of Martha and Mary. The rich
man told Jesus that despite all his wealth and possessions he was
not having peace of mind. He was harassed by many worries and
appealed to Jesus to show him a way out. Jesus told him: There is
a simple way but will you follow it? You have been accumulating
riches and your worries have grown with them. What are you going
141

Sanatana Dharma: For a happy, peaceful life of an individual and for society

to do with all this wealth, which some day you will have to leave
behind? Distribute it among the poor and the needy and all your
worries will go. Accumulate instead the wealth of God's grace
through love of your fellowmen." This is the message that has to be
understood today. What people should seek is the earning of God's
love. All other forms of wealth, including the wealth of scholarship,
are valueless.
By chastising the rich and ministering to the poor and the diseased,
Jesus taught his disciples a new way of life based on faith in God.
Starting his ministry as a Messenger of God, Jesus finally declared:
My Father and I are one." St. Paul, who was in the beginning an
inveterate critic of Jesus, became the first propagator of the
Christian faith after having a vision of Christ in a dream in which
Jesus told him: Every man is a spark of the Divine. When you hate
me, you are hating yourself and hating God." Paul had to face many
ordeals in propagating Christ's message. The early Christians were
subject to persecution by the Roman rulers. In course of time the
Christian faith established itself in Rome, which became the seat of
the Catholic church.
"Kingdom of Heaven is within you"
Christ declared that God can be realised only through love. Once a
high priest in Jerusalem called Jesus and asked him: "Are you King
of the Jews?" Jesus replied: "I do not say so." The priest told Jesus:
"You are leading the people astray by your wrong teachings. You
are telling them that everyone can enter Heaven only through you."
Jesus said that he had been telling the people to seek the Kingdom
of Heaven. The priest asked: "Where is that Kingdom?" Jesus
replied: "The Kingdom of Heaven is within you, within everybody.
142

Christianity

When this is my teaching, how can I be accused of claiming that the


Kingdom of Heaven can be attained only through me?" How did
Jesus get the courage to speak in this fashion? It was because he
was proclaiming the truth. Truth is born of love, which comes from
faith in God. (SSS Vol.20), 25-12-1987.
Basic teachings of Jesus Christ
Christ's basic teachings were related to promotion of compassion,
sympathy, love, sacrifice and fellowship among human beings.
Jesus was named the Christ as he was regarded as the "chosen"
messenger of God. The growth of Christianity in the Middle Ages
culminated as it were in its acquiring the status of a State religion
under Emperor Constantine. With the growth of Christianity,
schisms also developed in the religion. The growth of schisms often
results in a decline in spirituality. As men develop worldly desires,
religious faith declines. Men do not realise that the pursuit of
physical pleasures is like the pursuit of a mirage to quench one's
thirst. (SSS Vol.24), 25-12-1991.
Christ spoke of these three, when He made, one after the other,
three statements. Referring to the active individual soul, the
flickering Moon, he said, "I am the Messenger of God;" referring to
himself as the Yogi, who has risen beyond dualities, and attained
balance, he said, "I am the Son of God." Realising that these two are
but reflections, and that the real Moon is the Witness in the sky, that
he too is the Formless, Nameless Absolute, he declared, towards the
end of his life, "I and My Father are ONE." (SSS Vol.11), 24-121972

143

Islam

Star and Crescent


The star-and-crescent was originally a symbol of the Ottoman
Empire, the most powerful Muslim empire of the modern era; it
came to be re-interpreted as a symbol of Islam after the Ottoman
Empire's collapse in the early 20th century. Thus, the symbol was
adopted by the All-India Muslim League in 1940 (later becoming
the Flag of Pakistan).
A star (or stars) and crescent featuring in some combination form
the basis of symbols widely found across the ancient world, with
examples attested from the Eastern Mediterranean, Persia and
Central Asia.
The early Muslim community did not have a symbol. During the
time of prophet Muhammad, Islamic armies and caravans flew
simple solid-colour flags (generally black, green, or white) for
145

Sanatana Dharma: For a happy, peaceful life of an individual and for society

identification purposes. In later generations, the Muslim leaders


continued to use a simple black, white, or green flag with no
markings, writing, or symbolism on it
Islam is a monotheistic and Abrahamic religion articulated by the
Qur'an, a book considered by its adherents to be the verbatim word
of God and by the teachings and normative example (called the
Sunnah and composed of hadith) of Muhammad (c. 570 CE c. 8
June 632 CE), considered by them to be the last prophet of God. An
adherent of Islam is called a Muslim.
Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable and the purpose
of existence is to worship God. Muslims also believe that Islam is
the complete and universal version of a primordial faith that was
revealed before many times throughout the world, including notably
through Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses and Jesus, whom they
consider prophets. They maintain that the previous messages and
revelations have been partially misinterpreted or altered over time,
but consider the Arabic Qur'an to be both the unaltered and the
final revelation of God. Religious concepts and practices include
the five pillars of Islam, which are basic concepts and obligatory
acts of worship, and following Islamic law, which touches on
virtually every aspect of life and society, providing guidance on
multifarious topics from banking and welfare, to warfare and the
environment. Most Muslims are of two denominations: Sunni or
Shia (From Wikipedia)
Mahomed preached monotheism and was driven out of Mecca.
Jesus preached mercy and charity and he was charged with treason.
Harischandra refused to give up his allegiance to Truth and was
146

Islam

driven to such straits that he had to sell as slaves his wife and son.
So, when you stick to the path of Truth and Righteousness, pain and
poverty haunt you. But they are only clouds passing through thy
sky, hiding for a little time, the splendour of the Sun. (SSVahini, p.
97)

Allah
The foremost need today is for everyone to realise that God is One.
This is what Jesus and Mahomed proclaimed. The word Allah"
really means the One Supreme which contains everything in the
universe. This is the primary message of the Vedas: "Om
Ithekaaksharam Brahma" the single letter Om is Brahmam. (S.S.
Jan 85, p. 4)

Islam
All founders of religions have heard this impersonal Voice of God
revealing the Atma that activates the entire Creation. Just as the
Vedas (revealed sacred scriptures) were heard and propagated as
heard (Shruti), the Quran too was heard by Hazrath Muhammad.
The Quran has Salat and Zakat as the two eyes. Salat means prayer;
Zakat means charity. Those who consider charity as a high duty and
elevate their consciousness through prayers and continuous
meditation on God are Muslims. Islam is a word which denotes not
a particular religion but a state of mind, the state of total surrender
to the Will of God. Islam means dedication, surrender, peace,
tranquillity.
Islam denotes the social community whose members have achieved
supreme peace through surrender to the All-Merciful, All-Powerful
147

Sanatana Dharma: For a happy, peaceful life of an individual and for society

God and who have vowed to live in peace with their fellowmen.
Later, it came to be applied to communities that considered
themselves separate and different and so hostile to the rest. Islam
taught something higher. It directed attention to the One in the
Many, the Unity in Diversity and led people to the Reality named
God.

The Atma can never be hurt by insult


Every human being has three needs: food, clothing and shelter.
Seeking to fulfil them, man has developed a variety of foods to fill
his little stomach ignoring the purpose of eating them. Clothing has
to be worn to protect the body from cold. But we are attaching
enormously exaggerated value to clothing. Of course, one must
have a house to live in and lay the body down for rest. The Muslim,
Gibran, asks why build these gigantic dwellings then? They are
erected not for oneself but to hoard one's treasure and riches. Gibran
says these mansions are tombs erected by the dead for the living.
Hazrath Muhammad announced the message of God that he had
heard to the townsmen of Mecca. At that time, people did not give
heed to the Divine Declarations. They forced him to leave the place.
But, Hazrath Muhammad. knew that truth will win and God will
prevail. He knew that the insult and injury were only for the body;
the Atma can never be hurt.
The Ramzan month is set apart for the holy task of bringing into
memory and practice the teachings that Hazrath Muhammad
conveyed and attaining that stage of unity and purity which is truly
Divine. Islam gives importance to the Moon which regulates the
months. Hindus consider the Moon as the deity presiding over the
148

Islam

mind. With the darshan of the New Moon, the Ramzan fast begins
and when the New Moon is seen again, the fast ends. 'Fast' does not
consist in merely desisting from food and drink. The fast starts at
sunrise and is broken' only after sunset and is observed most
rigorously.

During Ramzan month rivalry is avoided


Waking as early as three or four, in the Brahma Muhurtha, prayer is
started, and throughout the day, the constant presence of God is
sought to be experienced. This is the meaning of Upavasa (fast).
Also, during the Ramzan month, rivalry is avoided, hatred is
suspended, husband and wife live apart though in the same home,
mother and children both follow the same spiritual regimen and an
atmosphere of brotherhood is maintained. The body, the senses and
the mind are subject to rigorous discipline.
Periods of fast 'comprising a month are prescribed in all religions.
The Hindus observe it in Maagha and Shraavana months.
Zoroastrians and Christians have allotted for themselves months for
the same purpose.
The Quran lays down that all men should cultivate the sense of
unity, of interdependence, of selfless love and of the immanence of
Divinity. Generally, all men take food of some kind or other for the
body five times a day: an .early cup of coffee in bed, breakfast two
hours later, a heavy lunch at noon, tea at four and a fat dinner at
nine. Islam prescribes food for the spiritual nature of man and
directs that it be taken five times a day, as prayer. For the arousal of
the Atmic consciousness, for earning spiritual joy and for promoting
the manifestation of Atmic illumination, prayer is prescribed as
149

Sanatana Dharma: For a happy, peaceful life of an individual and for society

many as five times a day, from the dawn of discretion up to the


moment of death.

Unity is the basic teaching of every religion


Prayer, in Islam, is also a congregational activity. Prayer in a group
produces beneficial vibrations. Islam promises a greater flow of
ecstasy when God is adored by a huge concourse of yearning:
hearts. All of them bow low at the sight of the Masjid. They sit in
rows on their bended knees and lean forward until their palms and
foreheads touch the ground in humble submission to Gods Will.
Misunderstanding, conflict and enmity should not disturb the
serenity of the occasion.
Thus Islam emphasises the One in the Many, the urge for God
which manifests in various degrees in various minds. Unity is the
basic teaching of every religion. Faith in Unity is cardinal. Without
it, no system of belief and conduct can be a religion. God is One
and the teachings in all faiths that exalt Him are all on Love,
Compassion, Tolerance and Sympathy. The tragedy is neither the
Muhammadans, nor the Hindus, nor the followers of other religions
are practising these qualities in daily life.
Islam teaches that God's Grace can be won through justice and
righteous living; wealth, scholarship and power cannot earn It. Holy
Love alone can please the Lord. This is the message of every
religion. But mankind has ignored this crucial point. Ramzan brings
together in bonds of love kith and kin, near and far, friend and foe.
This type of negligence is happening in every religion. The
followers adopt the rules they like and break those which they find
exacting. So, they become narrow-minded and crooked. And, they
150

Islam

rationalise their defects and justify their failings. They have become
habituated to this practice of self-deceit.

Demonstrate love and tolerance in daily activity


Since Islam means surrender to God, all who in a spirit of surrender
and dedication, live in peace and harmony in society, do really
speaking, belong to Islam. Islam insists on full co-ordination
between thought, word and deed. Muslim holy men and sages have
been emphasising that we must inquire into the validity of the 'I'
which feels it is the body and the 'I' which feels it is the mind and
reach the conclusion that the real 'I' is the Self yearning for the
Omniself, God. The Ramzan month, the fast and the prayers are
designed to awaken and manifest this realisation. Whichever may
be the religion, its emphasis is on unity, harmony, equalmindedness. Therefore, cultivate love, tolerance and compassion,
and demonstrate the Truth in every daily activity. This is the
Message I give you with My Blessings. (SSS Vol.16) Discourse on
Ramzan, Prasanthi Nilayam, 12-7-1983

151

Sikhism

Khanda
A graphical representation of the Sikh slogan Deg Tegh Fateh
(1765), adopted by the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak
Committee in 1920. It is also part of the design of the Nishan Sahib.
A double edged khanda (sword) is placed at the top of a Nishan
Sahib flag as an ornament or finial. The Khanda emblem is an
amalgam of three symbols, represented by three different items.
A double-edged khanda (sword) in the centre
A chakkar (chakram)
Two single-edged swords, or kirpan, crossed at the bottom and sit
on either side of the khanda and chakkar. They represent the dual
characteristics of Miri-Piri, indicating the integration of both
spiritual and temporal sovereignty together and not treating them
as two separate and distinct entities.

152

Sikhism

While an exact date of when the Khanda was created is not known,
it was created by Guru Nanak and therefore created while he was
alive (15 April 1469 22 September 1539).
The Khanda is often confused with the emblem shown on Iran's flag
which the Khanda predates.
Sikhism, known in Punjabi as Sikhi, is a monotheistic religion
founded during the 15th century in the Punjab region of the Indian
subcontinent, by Guru Nanak[3] and continued to progress through
the ten successive Sikh gurus (the eleventh and last guru being the
holy scripture Guru Granth Sahib. The Guru Granth Sahib is a
collection of the Sikh Gurus' writings that was compiled by the 5th
Sikh Guru). It is the fifth-largest organized religion in the world,
with approximately 30 million adherents. Punjab, India is the only
state in the world with a majority Sikh population.

Adherents of Sikhism are known as Sikhs (students or disciples).


According to Devinder Singh Chahal, "The word 'Sikhi' (commonly
known as Gurmat) gave rise to the modern anglicized word
'Sikhism' for the modern world." Gurmat means literally 'wisdom of
the Guru' in contrast to Manmat, which means self-willed impulses.

According to Sewa Singh Kalsi, "The central teaching in Sikhism is


the belief in the concept of the oneness of God." Sikhism considers
spiritual life and secular life to be intertwined] Guru Nanak, the
first Sikh Guru established the system of the Langar (communal
kitchen), in order to demonstrate the need to share and have
153

Sanatana Dharma: For a happy, peaceful life of an individual and for society

equality between all people. Sikhs also believe that "all religious
traditions are equally valid and capable of enlightening their
followers". In addition to sharing with others Guru Nanak inspired
people to earn an honest living without exploitation and also the
need for remembrance of the divine name (God). Guru Nanak
described living an "active, creative, and practical life" of
"truthfulness, fidelity, self-control and purity" as being higher than
a purely contemplative life] Guru Hargobind, the sixth Sikh Guru,
established the political/temporal (Miri) and spiritual (Piri) realms
to be mutually coexistent.
According to the ninth Sikh Guru, Tegh Bahadhur, the ideal Sikh
should have both Shakti (power that resides in the temporal), and
Bhakti (spiritual meditative qualities). Finally the concept of the
baptized Saint Soldier of the Khalsa was formed by the tenth Sikh
Guru, Gobind Singh in 1699 at Anandpur Sahib. Sikhs are expected
to embody the qualities of a "Sant-Siph"a saint-soldier] Sikhs
are expected to have control over the so-called "Five Thieves",
dispelling these by means of the so-called "Five Virtues". (From
Wikipedia)
GURU NANAK
In the year 1459 A.D., Guru Nanak, the first Sikh guru, started the
practice of bhajans (community singing15). (SSS Vol.19), 8-10-986.
He started this and it spread throughout the nation. Such holy
persons took birth in India and taught many such good things. How
delightful is the sound when so many sing together in unison. That

15

When many voices join together and pray as a single voice, it is called
community bhajan.

154

Sikhism

is nothing but unity in diversity. We must do the same and enjoy


real happiness. Bhajans may also be sung by getting together family
members or a small group of people and derive happiness from it.
(SSB 2002, p. 209)
He told his followers that they should seek fulfilment in life by
chanting the Divine Name. Therefore, all Sikhs give highest priority
to chanting of the Divine Name in their life. In the Golden Temple
at Amritsar, the holy place of the Sikhs, the Divine Name is chanted
constantly. (SSS Vol. 41, p. 82)
The Guru of the Sikhs, Nanak declared that only a man with a pure
heart can be regarded as a true Sikh. (SSS Vol.17)
Granth Saheb: The collection of the teachings of the Gurus
referred to as Granth Sahebis extolled and revered by the Sikhs. It
is derived from the spring of Bharatiya spiritual traditions. Its ideas
form the very core of Bharatiya cultural traits. (SSVahini, p. 248)

155

Sai Religion the Unity of


Religions

The symbol of the Organisation is "the Harmony of Religions, the


Unity of all Faiths, the Acceptance of all Approaches." (SSS
Vol.11)
The logo contains the five human values that form the foundation of
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba's education-in-human-values
program: truth (Sathya), righteousness (dharma), peace (Santhi),
divine love (prema), and nonviolence (ahimsa).
156

Sai Religion - the Unity of Religions

Also pictured in the logo is a tall pillar, called the sarva dharma
(world religions) stupa, with a lotus flower on it. (Literally, sarva
means entire, whole, every kind of; and dharma means
righteousness, morality, virtue, duty, the dictates of God, code of
conduct.)
This pillar is near the temple in Prasanthi Nilayam (Sathya Sai
Baba's main ashram in India). At its base are symbols of five of the
world's major religions, along with the associated sayings shown
below. The pillar, with its concentric rings, represents yoga, or
Union with God. The rings indicate the stages of yogic discipline
required for unfolding the "lotus of the heart", whose petals are at
the top of the pillar. The flame of inner illumination is in the centre
of the lotus. Just as the lotus plant lives in water but does not get
contaminated by it, so we should live in the world but be untouched
by it.
Hindu Om: Listen to the primeval Pranava (Om) resounding
in your heart as well as in the heart of the Universe.
Buddhist wheel: Remember the wheel of cause and
consequence, of deed and destiny, and the wheel of dharma
that rights them all.
Zoroastrian fire symbol: Offer all bitterness in the sacred
fire and emerge grand, great, and godly.
Islamic crescent and star: Be like the star, which never
wavers from the crescent but is fixed in steady faith.
Christian cross: Cut the "I" feeling clean across and let your
ego die on the cross, to endow on you Eternity.

157

Sanatana Dharma: For a happy, peaceful life of an individual and for society

Let the different faiths exist, let them flourish, and let the glory of
God be sung in all the languages and in a variety of tunes. That
should be the Ideal. Respect the differences between the faiths and
recognize them as valid as long as they do not extinguish the flame
of unity - Sathya Sai Baba (from www.sathyasai.org)
Study the emblem of the organization; it declares that all faiths feed
the heart with Ananda (Bliss), all faiths cleanse the mind of
littleness, and all faiths confer courage on the weak and vacillating.
Christ, Rama, and Krishna they are for all men everywhere.
(TSF, p. 159)

The 'Sai religion' is the essence of all faiths


Sarva Matha Sammathamae Sai Matham (the acceptance of all
religions alone is Sai Religion). (Uniq, p. 112)
The Sai religion, if the name of religion in its literal sense of
binding man to God is accepted, is the essence of all faiths and
religions, including those like Islam, Christianity and Judaism. The
motive behind the formation and propagation of all these different
faiths is the same. The founders and propagators were all persons
filled with love and wisdom. Their goal and purpose were the same.
None had the design to divide, disturb, or destroy. They attempted
to do good, see good and be good. They sought to train the passions
and the emotions, to educate the Impulses and Instincts and direct
the faculty of reason to paths beneficial to the individual and
society. They knew that the mind, which is the breeding ground of
desire and attachment, ambition and aspiration, has to be cleansed
and properly oriented.

158

Sai Religion - the Unity of Religions

Sai considers that practice of these disciplines is much more


essential than blind faith in a bunch of philosophical theories. No
one has the right to advise others unless he is already practising
what he preaches. First establish the reign of love between the
various members in your own home. Let the family become a centre
of harmonious living, sympathetic understanding and mutual faith.
When a religion wants to extend its influence it has to resort to
vilification of other religions and exaggeration of its own
excellence. Pomp and publicity become more important than
practice and faith. But Sai wants that the votaries of each religion
must cultivate faith in its own excellence and realise their validity
by their own intense practice. That is the Sai religion, the religion
that feeds and fosters all religions and emphasises their common
Greatness. Take up this religion, boldly and joyfully. (SSS Vol.13),
1-10-1976
To unite all mankind into one caste or family in the establishment of
unity - that is, atmic realisation - in every man or woman; which is
the basis on which the entire cosmic resign rests. Once this is
realised, the common divine heritage that binds man to man and
man to God will be apparent and love shall prevail as the guiding
light in the universe. (S & M -p. 237)
Bodies may be different, but you are bound by the same love
principle. Just as your mother loves you, you should love
everybody. All are the children of Viswa Matha (universal mother).
All are brothers and sisters. You should not have any differences
whatsoever. The sun is one and the same for all the worlds. Just as

159

Sanatana Dharma: For a happy, peaceful life of an individual and for society

the sun is reflected in a water tank, in a river, in an ocean, likewise


the same Divinity is reflected in the hearts of one and all.
Ekam sath viprah bahudha vadanti (truth is one, but scholars refer
to it by different names). It is not correct to say that you like only
Rama or Krishna or Siva or Sai Baba. There is only one God, and
He is omnipresent. Do not hate other religions. A Hindu should
become a better Hindu, a Christian a better Christian, and a Muslim
a better Muslim. The one without love can be called neither Muslim
nor Hindu nor Christian nor Sikh. In fact, he is verily a demon on
this earth. Only those without love give scope to differences based
on religion. You will find the unity of all religions only when you
fill your heart with love. (SSS Vol.32 Part II, pp. 146-147)
God-is one for all people though He may be worshipped under
different names and forms. Whether they are Hindus or Muslims,
Christians or Parsis, Buddhists or Sikhs, God is one for all.
Whatever the form in which worship is done, it reaches the one
God. The sun is one and does not vary with the nation on which he
sheds his light. (SSS Vol.23), 3-6-1990.
You have to teach the equal validity of all faiths. Teach the children
through quotations from the Bible, the ideals of Christianity. So,
too, use the sacred texts of Zoroastrianism, Buddhism, Islam, etc.,
to acquaint them with the ideals held aloft by those faiths. Also tell
them the stories contained in the scriptures of all religions. Do not
belittle any one religion or give predominance to another. There
was a suggestion that children must be taught the entire Gita.

160

Sai Religion - the Unity of Religions

That is a mistaken view. Of course if they desire to do so through


their own ardour and enthusiasm, do not stand in their way. But
what we have to do is to place before them in sweet, simple style,
the teachings of all faiths.
The Sai religion is the harmonious blending, through love, of all
religions. Though some followers of other faiths feel that the Sai
religion is contrary to theirs, we should not entertain similar
feelings. Ours is the totality, the Sun. So we should not limit or
restrict our vision. (SSS Vol.14), 21-11-1979
We must have Unity, not community or enmity. (NNSG Vol.5, p.
233)

Unity of Religions
Whom the Muslims adore as Allah, the Christians as Jehovah, the
Vaishnavas as Phullabjaaksha and the Shaivites as Shambhu, who
grants, in answer to their several prayers, health, prosperity and
happiness to all, wherever they may be, He, the One God, is the
God of all mankind.
India has been teaching since ages the message of the spirit and the
means to gain and ensure equanimity and joy. She has stood forth as
the preceptor of the world for centuries. The prayer that she has
taught her people Is: Lokah samasthah sukhino bhavanthu (May all
people everywhere be happy). This is the consummation of Vedic
thought since time Immemorial.
Such wholesome ideals were propagated and fostered by the rulers
of this land, the seers and yogis (God-centred persons) who guided
161

Sanatana Dharma: For a happy, peaceful life of an individual and for society

the populace, and the chaste mothers who reared generations in the
atmosphere of spiritual effort.
But due to vicissitudes in the country's history, when the people
were subjected to pressures and counter-pressures, these ideals
suffered a set-back. The abstractions of faith received concrete form
and got crystallised into specific identifiable names and forms. Each
new attitude or aptitude, each new concretisation, became a special
sect and every theory enveloped itself in its own shell. (SSS
Vol.13), 1-10-1976

Develop spiritual oneness


Religion teaches self-discipline
and promotes one's well being;
It enhances one's spiritual power
and makes one effulgent.
If people live without knowing
Its inner secret
The community and its culture
decline and suffer.
Innumerable waves arise from the vast ocean. The waves appear to
differ in form from one another. But these multifarious waves are
not different from the ocean. In all the waves, the nature and
qualities of the ocean are immanent. Likewise, the innumerable
beings which you see in this boundless cosmos appear to be
different from one another, but all of them emerged from the same
cosmic source whose form is Sat-Chit-Ananda (Being-AwarenessBliss).

162

Sai Religion - the Unity of Religions

Religions are not different from each other


When rain pours down from the sky, pure water falls on the earth,
mountains, rivers and the sea. But the pure water acquires the
colour and taste of the region or spot where it falls. Likewise,
prophets and messiahs, coming down in different forms of the
world at different times, imparted their message in terms
appropriate to the time, the place and the conditions of the people
concerned. Religions' cannot be considered different from each
other for this reason.
All religions have taught
only what is good for humanity.
Religion should be practised
with this awareness.
If the minds are pure,
how can religion be bad?
It is a mark of ignorance to consider one religion as superior and
another as inferior and develop religious differences on this basis.
The teachings of all religions are sacred. The basic doctrines are
founded on truth. Atma-tathva (the truth of the Spirit) is the essence
of religions, the message of all the scriptures and the basis of all
metaphysics. The primary duty of human beings is to recognise that
the paths indicated by different religions may vary but the goal is
one.
Love, sacrifice, compassion, morality, integrity and similar qualities
are common to all religions. In different ways all religions sought to
promote unity in diversity.

163

Sanatana Dharma: For a happy, peaceful life of an individual and for society

Bharatiya philosophy, culture and sacred way of life permeate and


shine like an undercurrent in all religions. Bharatiya culture has
affirmed the profound Vedic truth "Eko vasi sarva bhootha
antaratma" (It is the One Spirit that dwells in all beings). This unity
of the Spirit is proclaimed in various contexts in the teachings of
Buddhism, Christianity and Islam. Although in terms of physical
form, human beings appear different, in terms of the Spirit they are
all one--this is the truth propagated by Christianity. It has declared
that all are the children of one Lord and believing in the Fatherhood
of God, all should live in harmony.

The message of unity


The basic truth of the spiritual oneness of all creation is emphasised
at every stage in Bharatiya culture. "Ekam Sath-vipraa bahudhaa
vadanthi" (The Reality is One; the wise call it by different names).
The Ultimate Reality is One only. Your mental reactions give rise to
multiplicity. What you have to offer the Lord is Ekaatma bhaava
(the sense of spiritual oneness). Bharatiyas are wont to fold the two
palms together and offer Namaskar (salutation). What is the inner
significance of this form of greeting? It is an expression of the unity
of the many in the One.
In Islam, the expression salaam is used as a form of greeting. "Sa"
in this term signifies the combined expression of Saalokyam,
Saaroopyam, Saameepyam and Saayujyam (Seeing the Divine,
having the vision of the form of the Divine, nearing the Divine and
merging in the Divine). When these four expressions are combined
and merged into one--"La" signifying merger---you have Salaam
(the merging of the many in the One).

164

Sai Religion - the Unity of Religions

In Christianity, the term "Esu" (Jesus) is used to describe Christ.


This term also signifies the oneness of Divinity. The inner
significance of the term "Esu" is the recognition of the One Divine
in all beings.
In Jainism also, the same truth was taught by Mahavira. When the
senses are allowed to have their way, all kinds of reactions occur. It
is only when the senses are brought under unified control that the
nature of Divinity can be comprehended. The eyes have the power
of sight. The ears can hear. The powers of all the sense organs-seeing, hearing, speaking, etc., are derived from the Divine. It is the
Divine that enables the eyes to see, the ears to hear, the mind to
think and to have various experiences. It is when all these sensory
processes are brought under unified control (by the conquest of the
senses) that man becomes a conqueror a "Jina"---as termed by the
Jains. Because he had conquered his senses the title of victor was
conferred on Mahavira. (SSS Vol.24), 25-12-1991.

Love is the life-breath of every being


Even as ornaments are varied but gold is one, religions are varied
but their basic spiritual truth is the same. Buddhism also enunciates
the same oneness. It declares that in every human being what should
emanate is love. For every being, love is the life-breath. When such
love animates a person, he will not resort to violence; he will
practise Ahimsa (non-violence).
Buddha urged that if human life is to be redeemed, men should
cultivate love. Thus, if we try to understand the basic truth of every
religion, it will be seen that it teaches only Unity. Religious
differences poison the mind. No one should give room for religious
165

Sanatana Dharma: For a happy, peaceful life of an individual and for society

differences. All are spiritually one. All should develop the


awareness that though names and forms may be different, the
essential truth is one in all religions. (SSS Vol.24), 25-12-1991.

Love is my Religion
Baba said, In the school I used to lead the prayers every day.
There was a platform with a few steps. In the prayer there was a
song which ran as follow.
Aharaha thava aahvaana prachaarita
shuni thava Udaara Vaani
Hindu Bauddha Sikha Jaina Paarasika
Mussalmaano Christaani.
Even in those days there was the recognition of the oneness of all
religions. Some of the teachers used to wonder how this boy was
propagating the unity of all religions. (SSS Vol.23), 20-10-1990
The English translation of the song is:
Moment to moment, Thy clarion call resounds
Hearing Thy magnanimous words,
The Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis, Muslims
and Christians come to Thy throne From east
and west, making a garland of love
Hail to Thee,
Who unites all humanity!
Hail to Thee,
Who controls the destiny of Bharat!
Hail to Thee! Hail to Thee! (SSS Vol.42, July 2010, pp. 190191)
166

Sai Religion - the Unity of Religions

People following the Sai Religion should be permeated with love.


No room should be given to divisive forces. Differences of caste
and creed should be totally eschewed. Character alone should be the
hallmark of one's community. Love should become an article of
faith. Morality determines the nature of a community. The answer
to the question, "To which community do you belong?" should be:
I belong to the community of the moral." If anyone asks for your
religion, declare: Love is my religion."

167

Ishwaras sarva bhuthanaam:


Sanatana Dharma embraces
all faiths
Sanatana Dharma is the essence of all dharmas
The sum total and essence of all these dharmas is Sanatana
Dharma. It is in this context that we can say that all religions are
His and all forms are His. If each one develops faith in his own
religion and puts into practice whatever has been said in his own
religion, then there will be no room for the difference of opinions
which are flourishing now and for the uncultured way in which we
often talk. While you profess faith in your religion and act in your
daily life in a contrary manner, then one can understand what faith
you have in any religion. If you have true faith in the religion which
you profess, then there is no chance of your behaving in a manner
contrary to the tenets of that religion. When precept is divorced
from practice, then it appears like an external cloak. This itself is
adharma.
All our devotion and faith today are in appearance only. They are
not truly in you. If we go to any place of pilgrimage or a place of
worship, we show a great deal of devotion and faith; but when we
come away from such places, all our devotion and faith are left
behind. It is in this context that the Bhagavad Gita has said,
Satatam Yoginaha. This means that you must be a Yogi and a
devotee always and at all times. Our good qualities are in the

Ishwaras sarva bhuthanaam: Sanatana Dharma embraces all faiths

forefront only when we are doing puja or japa. The moment we


come out of our puja, we shed such qualities. Good qualities are not
to be tied down to a particular time and place. They should be
observed in ones entire life continuously.
One individual had to cover a distance of ten miles at night. He had
a lantern in his hand and the light of this lantern was shining and
lighting the way only for about four or five yards. He entered the
forest, then he began to wonder how he can travel for ten miles with
that lamp, which was giving light only for a few yards. At this time,
a sanyasi was also going that way. The sanyasi asked him where he
was going and why he was feeling so sorry. The man said that he
had to travel ten miles. The light in his hand was showing only a
few yards, and he was worried as to how he could travel such a long
distance. The sanyasi said that if the person took the light with him,
then it will show the way for all the distance.
In the same manner, our virtuous conduct will help us throughout
our lives. You may doubt the omnipresence of God; but if you
realise that your own body is the temple of God, your own heart is
the seat of God and that the Jiva in you is simply a reflection of
God, then your meditation room is your body itself and so He is
present wherever you go. Therefore in all the deeds that you
perform, in all the individuals that you meet and in all the thoughts
that you entertain, you must see the Divine and act accordingly. In
order that you may have these qualities, you must develop faith and
follow the paths indicated by the sacred texts like the Bhagavatha,
Mahabharata, Ramayana, Bible, and Quran and so on. (SSB 1973,
pp. 261-263)

169

Sanatana Dharma: For a happy, peaceful life of an individual and for society

Sanatana Dharma (Eternal Universal Religion) enables one to


attain this fullness. Really speaking, very few have grasped the
uniqueness and the importance of this Religion. Nowadays, many
elders and political leaders are afraid to utter even the word
"Religion" before the gatherings they address. They shape their
lives in accordance with a new order, which has no religious slant
whatsoever. In fact, they have not understood what religion really
means. They do not attempt to discover the significant role of
religion.
Many talk from platforms on Hinduism and Sanatana faith but very
few of them have understood the genuine core. Sanatana Dharma is
the very basis of living. It deals with the total personality. It
embraces all faiths and has established worldwide influence.
Sanatana means Eternal. Only a Dharma (code of righteousness)
which can win Universal acceptance can be named Sanatana. The
religions we know are all derived from a person or prophet who is
adored as the ideal. Islam has Muhammad, Christianity has Jesus,
Buddhism has the Buddha.
But Sanatana Dharma is not derived from or through a person. It is
the primal essence of all faiths. It is the essence of all the messages
the prophets proclaimed. It is welcomed by all mankind, for it
welcomes all mankind. It is therefore to be deplored that some
Indians boast selfishly, "Sanatana Dharma is our religion."
Newton, discovered after a series of experiments, that the earth had
the force of gravitation. But, we cannot conclude that the earth had
no such force until Newtons discovery. So too, though the
principles of Sanatana Dharma are inherent in human
170

Ishwaras sarva bhuthanaam: Sanatana Dharma embraces all faiths

consciousness, and have their impact all over the world, the people
of Bhaarath have long practised and experienced them and
discovered their value and validity. They have earned invaluable
Bliss therefrom. Just as atomic science developed in one country
and later spread to other countries, the Sanatana faith, developed in
India and spread to other countries. Even a material process like
atomic science cannot be held down in one place; in the same
manner, this spiritual science too has spread all over the wide
world. (SSS Vol.14), 19-11-1980

Man and God


For the consummation of human evolution, and the realisation by
man of his highest goal, religion and spiritual discipline are very
essential. Religion is the link between the individual and the
Universe, between Jiva and Deva. If that does not exist, life
becomes chaos. A cow caught on a hill, wanting to go to the hill
opposite, but confronted with a flooded river in between, needs a
bridge between the two. That is what religion is. Between the hill of
individual life and the region of the Universal, there is the flooded
river of Nature, with all its confusion and complexities. It is
difficult to discover where it comes from, how it accumulates all
that uproar and where it ultimately ends. But fortunately, we have in
every human community bridge-builders, who help people to cross.
We may have more than one bridge, but the purpose of each is the
same. The bridge built by the sages and seers of India is known as
the Sanatana Dharma bridge. It is called so because it is an eternal,
everlasting bridge based on the ageless foundation of the Vedas,
and can be reliably used by all, in all countries, at all times. That is
why it is sometimes called the Vedic bridge and the Vedic path,
also as the Aryan Path. All attempts to trace those who have laid
171

Sanatana Dharma: For a happy, peaceful life of an individual and for society

this path have failed. This is the reason why they have given up the
search in despair, characterising the path as akartha or
undesigned. They assured themselves that the Vedas or in other
words the Lord himself has been the designer.
All religions and spiritual paths laid through the ages are indeed
sacred; for, they have all been designed by Messengers of the Lord,
chosen because they are the foremost of men. Buddha, Jesus Christ,
Zoroaster, Mohammednames such as these are known worldwide. Their doctrines, ideals, and thoughts, have all become so valid
for their followers that their names have been identified with their
religions.
Since the ideal religion at that time was believed to be the Message
from God and since that Message was communicated and spread by
Jesus Christ his name was given to it. So also the Buddhist religion
was named after Buddha, since it was intuited and spread through
him as the Divine instrument. Mohammed who heard the Message
of God laid down doctrines and disciplines and those who follow
them are said to belong to Mohammedanism.
Therefore it is not wrong to say that all these religions are products
of the foremost among men and the most ideal Messengers of the
Lord.

Divine Intelligence is universal and all-comprehensive


Human intelligence is confined within narrow limits. Its range is
very poor. The scriptures deal with only one goal, but they indicate
different paths to reach it. Each path could be a definite religion and
its doctrines and disciplines considered different from the rest. So
172

Ishwaras sarva bhuthanaam: Sanatana Dharma embraces all faiths

the statement that Rama, Christ, Zoroaster, Buddha, Mohammed,


and others are one, is not valid.
In the Christian religion, it is stated that individual beings were
created as they are. It is said that Allah did the same. Even
Zoroastrian and Buddhist religions describe creation more or less on
the same lines. But Vedic religion has a different version. The
individual is as eternal as God. He is a spark of God. If there are no
jivis (beings) there is no Deva (God). This is specially emphasised
in the Vedas.
Followers of other religions are, in recent times, recognising this
truth. The present life of each is only an interval between the
previous and the future lives. It is but a step towards the next. This
is indicated in the Vedas. The Vedas instruct about the relationship
between the previous and future births. No other religion however,
has revealed so much about previous and future births.
Another point: Among the four objectives of life, Dharma, Artha,
Kama and Moksha, various religions describe the stage of Moksha
or liberation in various ways. Each one lays down some doctrine
and insists upon faith in that doctrine. And therefore there is no
agreement or identity between the experiences they describe. The
Hindu description of the experience can however be gained by
followers of all religions. There may be agreement in the details of
the descriptions in various religions. But the total experience is not
described in the same manner. The reason is: Hindu religion which
has come down from the timeless past is really supreme. Other
faiths are only based on some of the doctrines of Hinduism selected
by them and developed in accordance with the traditions and culture
of their own region. Therefore Truths inherent in the Hindu faith
173

Sanatana Dharma: For a happy, peaceful life of an individual and for society

often appear in those other faiths. Hinduism and Hindu culture have
been flowing as one continuous stream.
In the Hindu religion rituals and ceremonies have been laid down to
be observed from sunrise to nightfall without any intermission.
Many of them are elaborate yajnas (inward-directed sacrifice),
yagas (outward-directed sacrifice), and sacrificial offering to Divine
Powers. Not being content with rituals and dedicatory ceremonies
appropriate to the baby growing in the womb until death and the
subsequent attainment by the person of higher worlds, elaborate
disciplines have been laid down. No other religion has so many and
so elaborate rules of living. Therefore, it will not be correct to
declare that all religions are the same. They might have adopted a
few or many of these from Hinduism since Hinduism has, from the
beginning, laid emphasis on them.
In order to carry out this heavy schedule of Karma or ritual, man
must have Bhakti, Jnaana and YogaFaith, Understanding and
Self-Control. Dharma is the tap root of the great tree, religion. It is
the eternal source of its strength. It is fed by waters of Bhakti. The
leaves and flowers are renunciation and other virtues, and the fruit
is Jnaana.
In these stages of growth, if there is any interruption or deficiency,
that is to say even if any regulation is missed the fruit of wisdom or
Jnaana which the tree yields will be affected adversely. Such strict
plans for spiritual progress can be found only in Hinduism and not
in any other faith. For Hinduism is the nectar churned and prepared
by the ancient Rishis out of their own genuine experience. It is not
put together from things available in books.
174

Ishwaras sarva bhuthanaam: Sanatana Dharma embraces all faiths

It is not proper for anyone to adopt whichever faith or code that


pleases him most. For they believe that life is a matter of just three
days, and so they need morality and self-control. Life is a long
journey through time, and religion confers peace for the present and
encouragement for the future. We must believe that we are at
present undergoing the consequences of our own activities in the
past.
It is a great source of peace that people can be content with their
present conditions because they know they themselves were the
cause and know that if one does good and meritorious deeds now, it
is possible to build a happy future. This is great encouragement. It is
only when life is run on these two lines that morality and selfcontrol can have a place in life. The power to adhere to these two
ideals consists in the encouragement and the enthusiasm given by
religion.
We cannot determine the origin of religion or its end. So also it is
difficult to declare the origin and the end of the individual or the
Jiva. According to Hinduism a Jivi is timeless, the present life is but
the latest of the series brought about by its own thoughts and acts.
The Jivi has not come now, as a result of either the anger or the
grace of God. They are not the cause of this present existence. This
is the declaration made by the Sanatana Dharma.
Religion cannot be, at any time, a mere personal affair. It may be
possible to assert so, since each ones faith is rooted in himself and
since each one expresses that faith in his own behaviour and
actions. But how far is that statement valid? It is not valid to assert
that there is no God or religion or Varna (caste), as many intelligent
people do to their own satisfaction. We find a large number of
175

Sanatana Dharma: For a happy, peaceful life of an individual and for society

people proclaiming the non-existence of God and declaring that the


directives to guide and sublimate ones activities laid down in all
religions are superstitions. These persons are not ignoramuses. They
are not without education. When such individuals characterise
spiritual beliefs and practices as superstition, what importance can
we attach to their statements! If they entertain such convictions in
hearts, society need not complain, for it suffers no harm. But they
do not stay quiet. For example, intoxicating drinks like toddy,
brandy, etc., are indulged in by others. Can this be dealt with as if it
is a personal affair? Do others feel happy over it? However
emphatically the matter is declared personal, this evil habit does
affect society subtly and openly in various ways. It demonstrates its
nefarious effects, in spite of everything. When ordinary persons
indulge in such harmful habits, the danger is not so considerable.
But when elders who have won a name in society do so, the
common man too follows the evil path.
The works of Vyasa and Valmiki are very ancient. Such writings of
past ages are aptly called Puranas. But though centuries have flown
by since they were born, age is powerless to affect them. Had it
been otherwise, they would not be loved and demanded even today
by people residing all over the land from the Himalayas to Sethu.
The texts are so young and fresh. They are unaffected by the
passage of time. Whoever desires Ananda at whatever place,
whenever he needs, can get himself immersed in it.
The Manu Dharma Shastra is unique. We have no text to compare
with it in any country throughout history. Can anyone create a book
of the same type at any time? The doctrines of the Hindu faith and
the Shastras which enshrine them do not offer homage to material
176

Ishwaras sarva bhuthanaam: Sanatana Dharma embraces all faiths

sciences. These do, of course progress from day to day but the
theories honoured one day are condemned the next day and new
theories are brought up to explain the same phenomenon. How then
can the eternal and ever-valid truths of the spirit honour the material
sciences? The scientists of today call this attitude blind faith.
They want it to be discarded. They want every subjective and
objective fact to be examined and put to rigorous tests. They
confuse themselves when they consider this as an independent path
to the discovery of reality. But it is not correct. There is no need to
dig up and lay bare new doctrines. Every principle and path is
readily available.
Understanding is the only thing we need aspire to. Western
philosophers from Kant to Spencer have, in fact, only dwelt upon
some facets of the Dwaitha, Adwaitha and Visishtadwaitha schools
of thought. Hindus have long ago delved into these matters and
reduced their understandings into doctrines and principles.
(SSVahini, pp. 138-144)
The various processes and attempts for realising this oneness can be
regarded as important aspects of dharma. This dharma is called by
three names, the inner dharma, the gross dharma and the subtle
dharma. Dharma also takes the three attributes satwa, rajas and
thamas and moves in the three parts of Bhakti, Jnaana and Karma
or worship, wisdom and work. This fact of dharma taking these
three aspects is implied in the full and complete meaning of the
word Sanatana Dharma.
For us, to be able to recognise the divine principle in all the three
gunas, namely satwa, rajas and tamas, and also to recognise the
177

Sanatana Dharma: For a happy, peaceful life of an individual and for society

presence of divinity in the past, present and future and to be able to


associate divinity with the three aspects of the bodythe gross, the
subtle and the causalare the essential features of dharma.
Because it is difficult for an ordinary individual to comprehend
dharma in its entirety in the three different periods of timepast,
present and future, in the three aspects of the bodygross, subtle
and causal, and in the three gunassatwa, rajas and tamaswe
generally take an easier path and we talk of specialised types of
dharma, dharma relating to the body, to the caste, to the individual,
to the society, and so on. These specialised forms only help in
propagating the original Sanatana Dharma. If we do not follow
these specialised forms of dharma, it will not be possible for us to
recognise and practise Sanatana Dharma.
There is again a small example for this. Our body consists of many
organs. We can conclude that the body is in a good and prosperous
condition only when all these organs are in good shape. If one or
more of these organs is not functioning well, we cannot say that the
body in its entirety is healthy. In the same manner, these individual
and specialised dharmas relating to the caste, body, religion,
society, and so on enable the total Sanatana Dharma to shine and
be healthy.
For instance, if six blind people go near an elephant, and one of
them touches its stomach, the elephant appears to him like a big
wall. Another blind person touches the ears of the elephant. To him
the elephant looks like a big fan. Another touches the leg of the
elephant, and he would describe the elephant as if it was like a
pillar. Yet another blind person described the elephant as a big rope

178

Ishwaras sarva bhuthanaam: Sanatana Dharma embraces all faiths

after touching the tail of the elephant. The elephant is actually the
totality of all these parts, each part felt and described by a different
individual.
In the same manner, many blind people are touching this vast
Sanatana Dharma, and describing it as consisting of only that
which they are able to comprehend. Those who follow Vaidika
Dharma, those who follow Jainism, those who follow Christianity,
those who follow Islam, and so on, all of them describe that part of
Sanatana Dharma which is appropriate to their respective religions.
Sanatana Dharma in its totality is not being seen and described by
any one of them. Each one of them is describing only a fragment.
We need not discuss whether what each one of them is saying is
true or untrue. There is no doubt that they are describing accurately
what they have experienced and what they have chosen to describe.
But each one is describing only a part of dharma. No one is
describing the totality of it. Therefore, if you want to understand
and establish the total picture of dharma, what you have to do is to
make a synthesis of the essence of all religions. When we are able
to bring and put together the ideas of everyone, the moral laws
supported by all religions, and the truth that is in all religions, we
will have a picture of Sanatana Dharma.
No one has the right to hate or criticise anothers religion. You have
the right to describe your dharma or the particular aspect which you
have chosen to understand. But you have no right to discuss and
criticise other aspects. You have direct experience of only one
aspect which you have chosen, but you have no expertise in other
aspects. When someone comes and tells you his views, you will feel
179

Sanatana Dharma: For a happy, peaceful life of an individual and for society

that he is right because he is describing that particular component


which he has chosen and understood. You will feel that each one is
right in his own way. You will have no reason to think that he is
wrong. Before we start an argument, we should try and assess our
own capacity and our own strength.
If we only take God as an ideal and the charioteer of our life, we
will not be subjected to any harm. Like the policeman who stands
on duty at the circle and tells you how to safely go through the
traffic, God tells you which way to go safely in this wide world.
The policemen today create some confusion and cause accidents
without looking in all directions, but the Divine policeman in God
will never let such accidents take place. If only we surrender to
God, there is no doubt whatsoever that our life will be very happy
and God will look after us. Some people are very confused about
the nature of dharma. This need not be so, Dharma deals with your
happiness, security and peace. (SSB 1973, pp. 253-257)

180

Sanatana Dharma Is the


Divine Mother of Humanity
The Divine is manifest in every human being
Sanatana Dharma is bound to overcome todays rampant
materialism, for it can harmonise the secular and the spiritual, into a
single way of life. It can bring together into closer kinship both man
and God. It is based on the Divine which is the reality of the Self.
So, it is not limited to one country, one individual, one period of
time, or one sect. It has a variety of procedures, points of view,
disciplines and guidelines, in accordance with the special features of
the region, the age, and the environment. It is coeval with man on
earth. This faith, though first explicit in Bharat, between the
Himalayan range and the three seas, has become a world faith,
through its innate strength.
The Divine is manifest in every human being. The religions
professed may be different, the manifestations may differ; but the
Self which Sanatana Dharma posits is the same in all. "The
thousand-headed, thousand eyed, thousand-footed person, posited
therein is the Divine Self, approachable through many paths,
expressed in many forms.
The essence of all religions, the goal of all paths, the destination of
all spiritual effort, is this Sanatana Dharma (the Universal Eternal
Faith). It is like the ocean: particular creeds are rivers that flow into

Sanatana Dharma: For a happy, peaceful life of an individual and for society

it. It is the vital air on which humanity has to live. (SSS Vol.14), 1911-1980
Sanatana Dharma (the Eternal Religion) is the essence of the
lessons enunciated in all the Vedic texts. This Dharma
(righteousness) is the source and spring of various systems of
philosophy, codes of morality and even of the different forms and
streams of literature. Through these means the Dharma has taught
that man cannot live in peace, until he knows what ought to be
known, he casts away what has to be cast away, and reaches the
goal he has to reach. Veda means awareness, knowledge and
discrimination. The four Vedas (scriptures of eternal value) teach us
who and what we really are and how we are related to the world
around us. This is the greatest gift that the Vedas offer. This is the
end of all enquiry, the aim of all scientific search.
Knowledge has its consummation in the discovery of Truth. Truth h
survives Past, Present and Future unaffected. Sathyam, Jnaanam,
Anantham. Both Sathyam (Truth) and Jnaanam (spiritual wisdom)
are Anantham (without end). They are eternal and limitless. The
Vedas are vocal expressions of both these. To consider Vedas as
literature or poetry is to devalue them. Vedic hymns are not
intended for empty worship by rituals. They have been recorded by
sages to help, practise and to experience. The sages had recognised
this factor and therefore, the Vedas have survived untarnished until
today. Their practice became Yajnas (sacrificial rituals). Their
prayers became songs.

182

Sanatana Dharma is the Divine Mother of Humanity

The three tools for Awareness


Speech, Mind and Breath are the three most vital instruments for
adoration and awareness of Truth and Knowledge. Among the
Vedas the Rig-veda highlights speech; the Yajur-veda highlights the
mind; the Sama-veda highlights breath. Just as these three elements
pervade the world, the three Vedas reveal three-fold Cosmic
principle which is the reality of every atom in the universe. They do
this in simple language, using easily understandable similes and
metaphors. The Vedas prescribe the ceremonies, rites, rituals and
actions necessary for the prosperity and progress of mankind, here
and hereafter.
The body needs a second principle to guide it but that principle, the
Atma (Eternal Spirit) is One without a second. When the attention is
diverted from the body-mind-senses complex the splendour of
Atma becomes brighter and brighter. The body seeks gathering and
possessing; the Atma seeks giving and showering Light, Love and
Grace. Attachment to the upadhi (sheath) is the greatest obstacle for
samadhi (communion with Divinity) which is the ultimate goal of a
spiritual aspirant. Wisdom dawns when man realises, that the body
he believed to be his is understood as only temporary habitation and
a burden he assumed out of sheer ignorance. (SSS Vol.20), 2-11987.

Secret of Inaction in Action


Activity finds fulfillment when wisdom dawns. Karma (sanctified
activity) is the path by which Jnaana (spiritual wisdom) is attained.
And, wisdom in action is the highest Karma. Worthwhile activity
must result in purifying the mind. Therefore, no one, not even a
recluse or monk can desist from engaging in good deeds. These
183

Sanatana Dharma: For a happy, peaceful life of an individual and for society

deeds must originate spontaneously and should not leave any trace
of pride in the mind. Nor should any attachment to the result of the
deed lead to a craving for claiming it for one self. Renunciation
must be the only source of joy. Thyaga (selfsacrifice) is the truest
Bhoga (enjoyment) for the Sanyasi (ascetic). The Gita recommends
inaction in action and asserts that inaction is the most rewarding
action for those who strive for supreme peace. This attitude is
named Karma Sanyasa (non-attachment to action). Action or
activity is generally associated with the body only, but the mind is
also busy with the world. The Atma alone is the unaffected witness.
So, the secret of inaction in action lies in taking refuge in the Atma
and in recognising all living beings as fundamentally Atma.
The wise act solely for the promotion of peace and goodwill in the
human community with no consideration of I and Mine. The ego is
deep rooted in man during countless previous lives. It grows fast in
this life also, seeking sensual pleasure, possessions in plenty,
applause and appreciation, authority over others, fame and fortune.
It can be removed only by relentless enquiry into our Reality.

The Reality inherent in all


A tree has a trunk covered with bark and myriad roots to feed it and
hold it firm. It has branches spreading in all directions, tapering into
twigs. It has millions of leaves which breathe and borrow energy
from the Sun. It fulfills itself by attracting bees to fertilise the
flowers into seeds.
All this variety of colour, fragrance, taste, smell and softness, of
strength and toughness and tenderness has emanated from one

184

Sanatana Dharma is the Divine Mother of Humanity

single seed. All creation has emanated similarly from God. This is
the Reality inherent in all. That Thou Art. Be firm in that faith.
Ponder on a river merging in the ocean. The waters of the ocean rise
up as vapour when warmed by the Sun and form clouds, which drop
down as drops of rain. Each drop has inside it the yearning to return
to the ocean from which it has been exiled. But, the feeling of
individuality overcomes the yearning. The raindrops accumulate
and flow as brooks and streams which swell into tributaries of
rivers, flooding the plains. At last, the river merges into the ocean
and loses its name, form and attributes. In spite of all modifications
undergone in the journey from ocean to ocean, water remains as
water in vapour, cloud, rain and river. Names and forms and
qualities do change but the core remains unchanged. Man too
emerges from the ocean of Divinity and his destiny is to merge in it.
This is the Truth. This is the Reality. That Thou Art. Be firm in that
faith.
Take a lump of salt and drop in a cup of water. The salt dissolves
soon and disappears though we know it exists in every drop. The
lump cannot be picked up but we can assure ourselves of its
presence by tasting the water. God is present everywhere, though
invisible. But, He can be known by the taste. You are the taste, the
Divine droplet. This is the Truth. That thou Art. (SSS Vol.20), 2-11987.
Sanatana Dharma is the mother of all religions, all ethical codes
and all Dharmas of this world; and Bharat Desa (India) is the home
where the Mother was born. The world in its entirety is the Body of
the Lord of the world, and this Bharatha Desa is that Bodys unique
185

Sanatana Dharma: For a happy, peaceful life of an individual and for society

organ, the Eye. Without the eye the body is not master of itself, is it
not? Again, it can be said that Bharat Desa has been beautified by
the two eyes, the Vedas and the Shastras. On account of this it can
be declared without doubt that the Samskara attained by the
Bharatiyas has not been acquired by the people of any other
country. Sanatana Dharma which teaches the truth of all religions
and tolerance of all religions is the Dharma of all mankind. Born in
various areas, flowing through various paths, the rivers at last reach
the ocean. So too, born in different lands, practising different ways
of Dharma, people reach the Ocean of the presence of the Lord,
through different modes of worship. Sanatana Dharma is the central
location in which all these various paths, moving in different
directions, converge. Followers of the different religions can
practise this Sanatana Dharma, by being truthful in speech, by
avoiding jealousy and anger, and by acting always with a loving
heart. All those who so practise Sanatana Dharma and, without
faltering, achieve it, are entitled to be called Bharatiyas.
The Hindu religion is the only religion that has achieved and
maintained the foremost position among all religions from earliest
times and established itself permanently. The only people who have
survived without being destroyed, throughout the historic age, are
the Hindus. In this religion, more than in any other, people have
practised lives of love, equality and gratitude. The Hindus have
earned their Dharma through the discovery of philosophic principles
and through the Vedas. They have drunk deep the essence of the
Vedas which are without beginning and without end. A land so holy
is a veritable spiritual mine to the world. Just as the bowels of the
earth reveal, in each area, mines of different metals, in Bharatha

186

Sanatana Dharma is the Divine Mother of Humanity

Desa is found the mine of Sanatana Dharma, the essence of all the
principles of all the Shastras, all the Vedas, and all the Upanishads.
As if by the good luck of the Bharatiyas, along with the emergence
of the mine of Sanatana Dharma which is as a home to them, from
that moment and for that very purpose, leaders, thinkers,
commentators, apostles and teachers have been originating in this
land itself. Also from this very Bharatha Desa arose seers, selfless
Karma Yogis, wise men, realised souls, and Divine personages
connected with this religion. It is through these persons that
spiritual wisdom guaranteed by experience flowed all over the
country. In this way loaded with essence, Sanatana Dharma
progressed throughout the world. But to whatever land it spread, the
original home is Bharat itself. Look at the world today: machines,
cars, engines of some new type or other come to light in one
country and are exported to others.
But their original home cannot be forgotten. Such cars and engines
are manufactured only on the basis of its experience. Nothing can
be done without that basis. So too Sanatana Dharma arose. Bharat
Desa and people of other countries benefited from its waters
through the great personages and the books they composed. Hence,
the basis of the original home cannot be ignored. That is impossible.
But it is a matter of some concern to see today, in this Bharat Desa
the birthplace of those holy persons who nursed and fostered this
sacred Dharma, new modes being accepted as ones Dharma, and
the Sanatana Dharma itself being assigned and kept aside for people
of other countries, by the persons who have not even tested the
sweetness of the Dharma, who have not grasped its meaning, and
who have smothered it in empty disputation. The reason for this is,
of course, the absence of proper guides who could show the way.
187

Sanatana Dharma: For a happy, peaceful life of an individual and for society

But even when there are such guides, people yield to these modern
modes and get attached to them. These are really like bazaar
pakodas. They attract by their smell, and are bought by persons who
do not discriminate. Though their Swadharma is the pure Sanatana
Dharma, the fascination exercised by outward show is absent and so
it gets neglected. Truth has no need for such decorations. Taste is
the important thing. The basic reason for this is the fact that men
today are motivated by mere whim and fancy. It has become the
habit to reject the reality and accept the Dharma of another. This is
a great mistake. It is against Dharma for Bharatiyas to be attracted
by external forms and by outward show. No other Dharma has, or
will have, Truth and Highest Love, above and beyond that
contained in Sanatana Dharma. Sanatana Dharma is the veritable
embodiment of truth. It is the heritage of all. There can be no
boundary for Holiness. Holiness is one, without a second; is it not?
Those who have attained Liberation in this life by adherence to this
Sanatana Dharma, who have earned the grace of God, who have
understood the nature of Truth, who have achieved Realisation are
all Bharatiyas.
Bharatiyas have adored those who have reached that holy stage,
without distinction of caste, creed, or sex. The holiness of that stage
burns to ashes all such limitations. It is only until that stage is
reached that it becomes impossible to consider everything as equal.
So, it is necessary to embark boldly on the realisation of Sanatana
Dharma. This is the birth right of Bharatiyas.
If we examine history since its very beginnings, we can know in
detail what great personages were born, in which sections of the
Hindus. Incarnations, Divine personalities and Jivanmuktas (one
188

Sanatana Dharma is the Divine Mother of Humanity

who is liberated) like Rama, Krishna, Balarama, Janaka and


Parikshit, Raja yogis like Viswamitra all arose among the
Kshatriyas (warrior class). Brahma Rishis, great Pundits, Shastraic
Scholars, Vedic Rishis, originated in the Brahmin section. Sudras
predominate in the epical books, like Bharatha and Bhagavatha.
Among the great devotees of the Lord, members of the lower castes
form a large number. To attain holiness, without being affected by
the world, and to reach Paramatma, each ones sadhana is
important. Other things like caste will not be a hindrance at all. But
one should deserve the Grace required for it, one should become
regular and disciplined in practice.
Such holy Bharatiyas, however, now bring endless disgrace on the
Hindu religion by neglecting the principles of life of the abovementioned great personages, by not studying them and following
their instructions, by modifying their way of life to suit the
changing times and (as the saying goes, the hour of ruin brings
wicked thoughts), by becoming slaves to name and fame and the
craving for power and position and an anxiety to promote the wellbeing of their wives and children through selfish means. Still, there
is no dearth of persons who love all in equal measure, who are
devoid of selfishness, who are engaged in the promotion of the
welfare of all, who have dedicated themselves to the service of
mankind and who sacrifice everything. But they are suppressed.
They are not appreciated or placed in positions of high authority for
fear there will be then no place for the wicked, the crooked and the
unjust. (Prema Vahini, pp. 56-57)

189

Sanatana Dharma: For a happy, peaceful life of an individual and for society

However broad and deep the ocean, when the earth quakes
underneath, the waters part of themselves, and when the commotion
subsides, they resume their original position. So too these good men
keep away without being caught up in it during the earthquake of
injustice, unrighteousness, selfishness and ostentation. As soon as
the hullabaloo subsides, they re-enter the world. Evanescent
authority and self-glorification cannot be permanent. To grow is
only to decay, it is said. The present peacelessness is decay not
growth. For, see how the Bharatiyas who from the beginning, grew
up in righteous ways with pure feelings, with self-control and
reverence for the good name, who were fed on the breast milk of the
Vedas, Shastras and Upanishads, who welcomed and honoured even
races driven out of their own country and vouchsafed to them Love
in equal measure, today, for love of power and self, accuse their
own brethren, one person impatiently envying the prosperity of
another, deceive their own brothers maddened by selfish greed,
keep at arms length their real well wishers, pursue only each ones
selfish end, multiply bad qualities hitherto unheard of in the Hindu
fold, follow wrong paths and ways of life and become the target of
conflict and restlessness, on account of the absence of fear of sin,
fear of God, discipline, reverence and faith. The fall is indeed
incredible. (Prema Vahini, pp. 50-58)

190

Resolve that relying on His Grace,


You shall be free from illness from this moment.
Transfer the faith that you have in drugs to God;
Put your trust, not in medicine, but in Madhava.
Resort to prayer, to sadhana, japam and dhyanam.
They are the vitamins you need;
They will restore you.
No tablet is as efficacious as Ramanama.

- Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba

Spiritual Transformation
India has always been a land of plenty. That is why Muslim hoards,
European nationals and Mughal Emperors raided the land so often.
Like the elephant, which surrenders to the mahout without realizing
its own strength, the Bharatiyas are yielding to pressures from
without, not realizing their own prowess within. Why is it that we
are not able to secure all that we possess: the reason is simple - lack
of unity among ourselves. Freedom has been won, but unity has
not been achieved. You see around rampant selfishness and selfaggrandizement. Let us keep off selfishness and let us hold on to
unity. (Y P - 87)

Religions arise from the minds of men


Religions arise from the minds of good men, who crave to make all
men good; they strive to eliminate evil and cure the bad. They are
many, since they have to be adjusted to the individuals, their
activities, their professions and roles, their character and
characteristics. The individual has to start observing the limits and
laws laid down, and derive joy and strength thereby. And, then, his
cleansed mind will lead the way, to higher and higher stages. He
and the society of which he is a unit will benefit thereby.
The various limbs and organs together form a body; various nations
and communities together form the world. The sustenance given by
Divine Grace circulates in every part of the body, helping it to
192

Spiritual Transformation

function in unison. The stream of Love, endowed by Divine Grace,


has to circulate in every State and community to make the world
live in Peace and Joy. If this truth is realised, there will arise no idea
of difference.
If the members of a family are at loggerheads, the lands and other
possessions of the family will be uncared for, and be either wasted
or lost. The separation of one member will also be a big loss, for,
the Grace that sustains the family will diminish and get lost. When a
hand is amputated, the limb loses its function, and a great deal of
blood too is lost during the removal. So too, the Divine Grace of
Love is lost when a country sets itself apart: it also becomes a weak
and functionless limb of the World community.
Division, difference and distinction cuts one off from the life-giving
Grace, that feeds every cell of the body and every individual in the
World. The World is sustained by the self-same Grace. A tree
requires for its growth, soil, sunlight and atmosphere. But, more
than these three, it requires the seed. Man's life is conditioned by
feelings and. deeds, and the consequences of 'these feelings and
deeds. But, his existence, his very Is-ness, depends on the Will of
God.
Growing trees may differ, according to the nature of the soil, the
quantity of sunlight and the quality of the soil. So too, men may
differ according to the consequences of the types of feelings and
deeds that emanate from them. But, just as it is true to say that" the
seeds are the same, is One, without any difference, the variety of
forms, the variety of emotions and attitudes, the variety of
communities and loyalties are the result of man's ignoring his
193

Sanatana Dharma: For a happy, peaceful life of an individual and for society

fundamental Unity in the one Divine Will, and his acting contrary to
that Unity. (SSS Vol.11), 24-12-1972

Man's life is conditioned by feelings and deeds


Bear burdens bravely, declaring, "I am a man." Try to raise
yourselves into the Divine. Or, at least, try to live up to the standard
expected of the human. The thought in the mind, the word on the
tongue and the deed by the hand---try to make all three, one. Many
people hope to lead good lives by doing good deeds. But I do not
believe this is possible. You can never become good, by means of
good deeds. You have to be good, in order that your deeds and
words can be good.
First, endeavour to be a good person. Thereafter, it becomes
possible for you to do good. Be good; do good. It is not possible to
predict when and where or for what reason a persons life blossoms
or expands. You may pray underneath a tree which yields bitter
fruit, it cant give you a sweet fruit. But, when a branch of the sweet
fruit tree is grafted on that tree, it can yield sweet fruits, though
originally it could not. This process of grafting is equivalent to
Sathsang (good company) in human affairs---getting involved with
the good and godly. So do service to your fellow-men with pure
intentions and always seek good company. Then, you can transform
yourselves.
The evil traits that have grown through many lives and generations
cannot be wiped away in an instant. So, mix in godly groups,
cultivate good habits and attitudes, and involve yourselves in good
activities. In this gathering, people from many countries, speaking
many languages, belonging to many races, are present. They are all
194

Spiritual Transformation

single-mindedly united in love for Sai and in love from Sai, in spite
of differences in nationality, race, creed, colour and dress. This is
my real task. This is the consummation of the yearnings of the
ancient seers and sages of this land. Develop this Oneness, this
Unity in love, hold it ever before you as the ideal. Religions arise
from the minds of men; they are not external to man. When minds
are polluted, religion too suffers pollution. Those who deny religion
can be denoted as having distorted or polluted minds. Of course,
religion is not related to practices and prohibitions like "Dont touch
me! Dont touch this." (SSS Vol.14), 19-11-1980

The nation belongs to all


Bharat is a sacred and glorious country. It is our good fortune to be
born in this land. You should realise the truth of the saying, "As you
sow, so shall you reap." Hence all your actions should be pure and
noble and such as would promote the well-being of the nation and
give you joy.
Good or bad fortune in life comes in its own time. It is not easy,
however, for everyone to leave things to the will of the Divine. Men
are prevented from adopting such an attitude because they magnify
other peoples faults and forget their own defects. People should get
rid of such an attitude. If one cannot be helpful to others, at least he
should not do any harm to others.
The nation belongs to all. This truth should not be forgotten. People
must stand up for truth. There is nothing greater than truth. Truth
knows no barriers of caste or community. It is the same for all.
Many people are undermining the reputation of Bharat by their
actions. This amounts to treason to the nation. One who is not proud
195

Sanatana Dharma: For a happy, peaceful life of an individual and for society

of his motherland and its reputation is worse than a corpse. All must
protect the honour of the nation. They should be united. This is the
message of the Vedas, "Let us all live and strive together in
harmony." If only this spirit prevails among Bharatiyas, the nation
will shine in all its glory. It is because people have forgotten the
greatness of Bharat that our country is suffering from many troubles
and difficulties. If people act together in concert, there is nothing
they cannot achieve in Bharat. Determination and unity are
essential.

Three concepts and ideals you should cherish


Bharatiyas should give no room for differences of caste, religion or
language. They should recognise the unity of the human family.
Remember: "Caste of Humanity, Religion of Love, and Language
of the Heart." If you base your actions on these three concepts, the
country can make any amount of progress. Cherish these ideals in
your hearts and discharge your duties.
Bharat is faced with many grave problems and people are worried
about what may happen, on seeing reports in the Press. There is no
danger for Bharat, because what are happening are only the birthpangs of changes to come. The changes will be for the good.
There must be, however, a transformation in the minds of the
people. There is no use in changes in external forms. Qualities must
change. There must be a change in the way of thinking. Only then
the change will be to the lasting good of the country. Envy and
egoism are animal qualities.

196

Spiritual Transformation

The qualities which every human being should have are peace,
compassion, forbearance, love and sacrifice. These are the qualities
that should be developed in all people, not vices like hatred, greed,
envy, pride and others. Cultivate the feeling of love. Get rid of old
prejudices and differences. Foster divine feelings. Only then the
nation can make all-around progress.
You must regard the construction of this magnificent mansion as a
symbol of universal good--Vishva kalyaanam. Vishva kalyaanam
means the well-being of all.
There should be unity of hearts so that anything that is desirable can
be accomplished. People should co-operate with each other. From
today resolve to give up selfishness and achieve unity among
yourselves to serve the nation. Forget all your differences and come
together to uphold the reputation of the nation. (SSS Vol.25)

Make the world a happy Home of Love


Every religion teaches only good principles and disciplines. When
the mind of man is steadfast in the good, how can religion be bad?
Therefore, acquire the love that draws all into the One. By this
means, you can put down the fears and anxieties, the greed and
envy, the hatred and haughtiness that are today infecting the peoples
of the world and establish an era of peace and joy. Let all the worlds
be happy---this is the prayer that comes naturally from every human
heart.
This is the goal to which Sanatana Dharma (Eternal Universal
Religion) leads. Everyone must sing of this goal, live in the melody

197

Sanatana Dharma: For a happy, peaceful life of an individual and for society

of that song, and merge, through that melody, in the Paramatma


(Supreme Divine Self).
Do not seek to find differences between one person and another.
Seek rather ways and means to strengthen the bonds of kinship,
through love. Factions and fighting emerge among the followers of
the same family because they have not learnt to love. From the selfsame mind, many conflicting feelings emerge, Why? Love has not
been nursed and grown therein.
You have to sow love and grow love and destroy the weeds of fear
and hatred that have spread over the world. Make the world a happy
Home of Love. (SSS Vol.14), 19-11-1980

The goal of spiritual endeavours


The moving water of a river has the Moon in its depths; the still
water of a lake has also the Moon underneath; the sky has the Moon
up above. The Moon in the flowing river is broken and fragmentary;
it flows fast, apparently, with the floods. The Moon in the lake is
calm, unmoved, undistracted. These two are but reflections of the
real Moon in the sky. The Moon reflected in the flood is the
Individual Soul, engaged in activity, embroiled in-Maya, cause and
effect. The Moon reflected in the placid face of the lake is the Yogi,
the Saint, who has attained balance, equipoise, peace, dwelling in
the One. The real Moon in the sky is the Eternal Witness, the
Absolute, the Primal Principle.
All beings are images of the Universal Atma, in the names and
forms they have apparently assumed. This is the truth, enclosed,
elaborated 'and demonstrated in the spiritual texts of India, which
198

Spiritual Transformation

form the basis of Bharatiya culture. The essence of all religions and
faiths then, is this: the merging in this Unity. The goal of all
spiritual endeavours is this: the merging in this Unity. The object of
all enquiries is this: to cognise this Unity. But, this patent fact is
ignored, and persons create strife, anxiety and unrest for themselves
and perpetrate horrors to hold forth the support, the disunity so dear
to their fractioned minds. (SSS Vol.11), 24-12-1972

People today relish the very things religion condemned


The passage of time has clouded the splendour of the message, the
fascination exercised by the material and the worldly has drawn
them away from the path, and the expansion of science and
technology has made them conceited and wrong-headed. So, people
now relish the very things prohibited and promote the very things
condemned by religion. All religions teach that one should revere
the parents and evince gratitude to them; but, ridiculing them and
neglecting them have become fashionable now. All religions lay
down that the aged are to be honoured, since they are the
repositories of experience and their guidance is indispensable; but,
now elders and the aged are treated as nuisances and handicapped.
All religions insist on truth; but now, the man who sticks to truth is
laughed at as if he were a fool. Cruelty and violence, condemned by
all religions, have raised themselves to the status of weapons of
progress and means for desirable ends. However, the basic truths of
religion are not affected or tarnished by the evil that men practise or
the competitive propaganda they indulge in. (SSS Vol.11), 24-121972

199

Sanatana Dharma: For a happy, peaceful life of an individual and for society

Sacrifice at least a desire or two


Reduce your wants; minimise your desires. All these material
knick-knacks are short-lived. When death deprives you of
resistance, your kith and kin take off the nose-stud and in their haste
they may even cut the nose to retrieve it! If you go on heaping
desire upon desire, it will be impossible to depart gladly when the
call comes. Become rich rather in virtue, in the spirit of service, in
devotion to the Higher Power. (SSS Vol.2), 26-10-1961
There are four components in the term "Ceiling on Desires." They
are, respectively; curb on excessive talk, curb on excessive desires
and expenditure, control of consumption of food, check on waste of
energy. Man needs some essential commodities for his sustenance
and he should not aspire for more. (SSS Vol.16), 19.1.1983

Inherent divinity in everyone is the same


People must, therefore, engage themselves in noble actions and
strive for unity with all their fellow beings. Intellectuals today are
more busy promoting divisions rather than in fostering unity. There
are very few good men who seek to promote unity in diversity. The
oneness of all mankind has to be realised. Names and forms are
many, but the inherent divinity in everyone is the same. You see a
variety of bulbs in this hall. They are different from each other. But
it is the same current that flows in all of them. The same analogy
applies to human beings. They may vary from each other in several
respects, but the divine spark in all of them is one and the same. The
Divine is common to all. There is no separate God for each country
or each religion. God is one. The people must realise the importance
of unity for promoting the welfare and progress of the country.

200

Spiritual Transformation

Selfishness is the cause of disunity. Only when Swaartha


(selfishness) is given up will people realise the Parartha (Supreme).
It is essential to cultivate the spirit of Thyaaga (sacrifice). People do
not realise all that can be achieved by sacrifice. When every action
is done in a spirit of dedication to others, it becomes a form of
sacrifice and a source of joy. When egoism is shed in the
performance of actions and the desire for fruits is renounced, then
sacrifice itself becomes a source of pleasure. This magnificent
auditorium is the result of the combined efforts of many persons,
engineers, workers, electricians and many others. It is the outcome
of their labour.
Every product is the result of action. Hence, the nature of action
should be properly understood. What seems enjoyable at one time
has consequences which are saddening later on. At the time of birth,
a child cries Koham (Who am I). This cry should not last through
life. Before death one should be able to say, Soham (I am He). Man
must experience the divine in him. This is the goal of life.

Develop devotion to Dharma


Humanity has achieved today tremendous progress through science.
Astonishing advances have been made in areas like plastics,
computers, electronics and exploration of space. On the other hand,
in the sphere of ethics, the picture is depressing. The world is
confronted with grave economic and political problems.
International, racial, religious, caste and communal differences,
inter-state conflicts, violent agitations by students are rampant, all
over the world.
What is the reason for these contradictory developments scientific
progress on the one side and moral deterioration on the other. How
201

Sanatana Dharma: For a happy, peaceful life of an individual and for society

has mankind fallen to this egregious depth of ethical and spiritual


degradation?
Wickedness and cruelty are spreading among men today. Lacking in
devotion and righteousness, men are developing only their bad
habits and tendencies. Mankind does not lack scriptures like the
Vedas (sacred ancient scriptures), the Upanishads (Vedic
metaphysical treaties), the Bible, the Quran, the Zend Avesta and
other great works to show how peace and the higher wisdom are to
be got. Spiritual books are published in countless numbers. Nor is
there any dearth of religious preachers. heads of mutts, religious
scholars, saadhus and sanyaasis are proclaiming spiritual and
ethical truths to warn mankind. In spite of all these well-meaning
efforts, why is it that mens minds are turned towards narrow,
unrighteous pursuits?

Social transformation is related to spiritual change


There has been any amount of transformation in the political, social
and scientific fields. But all this development is of no avail if there
is no commensurate transformation in the mental outlook of the
people. Ethical transformation depends on social transformation.
Social transformation is related to spiritual change. Without tends to
Spiritual transformation, social progress tends to become inimical to
human advancement. Spiritual transformation is the basis for ethical
transformation.
There is a belief that science is opposed to spirituality. Science by
itself tends to make mans life artificial. Demonic qualities like
envy, greed, selfishness and ostentation are today dominating mens
minds. Selfishness has grown beyond limits in men. Behind every
202

Spiritual Transformation

action there is the desire for personal gain. Man is attached to


worldly things out of selfishness. The world will make genuine
progress only when men give up self-interest and self-centredness.
Time is infinitely precious. You should not waste even one moment
of it. In a mans life, the period as a student is most valuable and
sacred. You should make the best use of it. Milk mixed with water
cannot get back its original purity, however much you may try to
separate it. But once you have converted the milk into butter, it will
not be affected by association with water. It will float above the
water and maintain its distinctive quality.
Likewise, Samsaara (worldly attachment) is like water. The mind
of man is like milk. When the pure, sacred, uncontaminated mind is
mixed with the water of worldly desires, it is difficult to recover the
original purity. However, if in this sacred period of study you derive
from your unspoilt mind the butter of knowledge, wisdom and right
conduct, you will be able to remain unpolluted by the attractions of
the world even when you are in it.

Teachers who can inspire are becoming rare


Students should realise the importance of ethical, dharmic
(virtuous) and spiritual development. These three should be present
in teachers to a greater degree. The reputation of teachers and their
success depend primarily on their conduct. The future of numerous
innocent children is in their hands. The good conduct of the students
depends on the example set by teachers. The teaching profession is
a highly responsible one. Today there are three kinds of teachers.
The first type consists of teachers who revel in "complaints." They
are the teachers with grouses of one kind or another. The second
203

Sanatana Dharma: For a happy, peaceful life of an individual and for society

type consists of teachers who "explain". They "explain" what the


students have to learn. To the third type belong teachers who
"inspire." This category of teachers arouses the enthusiasm of
students and inspires them to take deep interest in their studies.
Such teachers are becoming rare these days.
Once the enthusiasm of the student is aroused, learning becomes a
creative process. The teacher should patiently understand the
problems of students and help to solve them. Teaching today has
become more and more mechanical, with each teacher content to
"teach" the prescribed portions of the syllabus. Teachers should see
whether the students have properly comprehended the subjects
taught to them. Any deficiency on the students part should be
ascribed to the teachers failure to do his job well.

Pursuit of the science of the spirit is essential today


In the field of science today, there is great emphasis on research and
discovery. But unless the results of research are applied in practice,
it will be an expensive futility. If all the time is spent on research
when is it to find useful application in practice? Nor is there any
sense of discrimination in the promotion of research.
To give an example: When I attended recently a symposium in
Bombay on "Science and Spirituality," a prominent scientist said
that the nuclear arsenals of the Big Powers contained enough atom
bombs to destroy the world ten times over. What is the sense in
building up such arsenals? If you have destroyed the world once,
what is there left for the other bombs to destroy? In the process, you
would have destroyed yourself.

204

Spiritual Transformation

Those engaged in research seem to be more concerned about


boosting their name and fame by their research than about
promoting public well-being through the results of their research.
Nor do they seem to be bothered about the harmful consequences of
their discoveries. There is nothing great about causing harm to
others. To destroy a million persons by a single bomb is no great
thing. To do good to a single individual in the world is more praiseworthy. The scientific knowledge we acquire must be used for the
benefit of our fellow-men. Only that is proper education which
prepares the student for disinterested action. The pursuit of the
Science of the Supreme Spirit (Paraartha Vijnaana Shaasthra) is
more essential than involvement with the Physical Sciences
(Padhaartha Vijnanamu).

The Supreme is in the subtlest and the vastest


In every padaartham (object) in the Universe there is a Paraartham
(Supreme Principle). The physical object is Matter. The Supreme
Principle within it is Energy. There is no matter without energy or
energy without matter. The Vedas proclaimed this by saying that the
Supreme is in the Anoraniyaan (subtlest of the subtle) and the
Mahathomahiyaan (vastest of the vast). Students! By deriving
pleasure from a small fraction of the Pancha Bhuuthas (Five
Elements--Space, Air, Fire, Water and Earth) we are forgetting the
truth of the Cosmos. What is it that sustains these Five Elements?
The five elements have their respective qualities: sound, touch,
form, fluidity and smell. The corresponding sense organs in man are
important for experiencing these qualities. But the power behind
these sense organs should be noted. For instance, the eyes are able
to see things. But the retina on which the images are reflected is
more potent than the eye itself. The power of sight is more
205

Sanatana Dharma: For a happy, peaceful life of an individual and for society

important than the eye. There are many who possess eyes but who
cannot see. There are persons with ears but who cannot hear
because they lack the power of hearing. We are trying to control the
sense organs without trying to regulate the power that is responsible
for their functioning.
For example, there is in the body a digestive organ. When one takes
a balanced diet, the food is properly digested and the body is kept
healthy. Similarly the bodys temperature has to be kept at a certain
norm. If the temperature goes above or below that norm it is a sign
of illness. Similarly if the Five Elements that constitute the natural
environment are kept in balance, the world is in a healthy state. If
this balance is upset or if the elements are polluted, then the country
suffers in various ways. If the products of science and technology
result in upsetting the balance of Nature and pollute the atmosphere
or the rivers and the seas, many harmful consequences follow.
Pollution gives rise to many new diseases. Today even pure air has
become a rare commodity. Three-fourths of the earth is covered by
water. There are many minerals in the ocean bed. But in extracting
them, some limits should be observed. Otherwise, even the ocean,
which has been adhering to its bounds, will exceed its limits. Even
earthquakes and volcanic eruptions are caused by the unsettling of
the ecological balance in nature.

The five types of life-breaths or vital airs


Take the body, for example. The body derives its vital force from
the Sun. There are five types of Praanas (life-breaths). These are
known as Praana, Apaana, Vyaana, Udhaana and SamaanaVaayus.
(Praana Vaayu is the life-wind or vital air which has its seat in the
206

Spiritual Transformation

lungs; Apaana Vaayuis the life-wind that goes downwards and out
at the anus; Samaana Vaayu is the vital air whichhas its seat in the
cavity of the navel; Vyaana Vaagu is the life-wind which is diffused
throughthe whole body; Udhaana Vaayu is the life-wind which
rises up the throat and enters the head).
The Praana 0fie-breath) comes from the Sun. The Vyaana comes
from Vaagu (air). The Apaana comes from the each. Udhaana
comes from Agni (fire). The Samaana comes from Aakaasha
(space). Because of these five breaths functioning in us, we are able
to live healthily. There are 72,000 blood-vessels in a human being.
The Vyaana Vaagu blows through the entire circulatory system. The
Vyaana Vaagu is derived from Vaagu (air). When the air is
polluted, the 72,000 blood-vessels get polluted and the effect of this
on the Apaana Vaagu leads to cancer and heart attacks.

Difference between worldly and spiritually minded


Man needs pure Vyaana Vaayu for good health. Students should
realise the importance of maintaining the purity of the environment
and developing a pure heart in the interests of their body and mind.
Some kind of cleaning powder is used for cleaning vessels.
Similarly prayer is the means of cleansing the heart. Through a pure
heart one achieves spiritual insight. Impure minds are the cause of
many heart troubles. When the heart is filled with all kinds of
worldly desires, there is no room in it for spiritual effort.
There is a vast difference between one who is attached to worldly
things and one who is devoted to Dharma. This may be illustrated
from the actions of Drona and Bhishma, the two principal Gurus of
the Kauravas. Both Bhishma and Drona were supreme masters in
207

Sanatana Dharma: For a happy, peaceful life of an individual and for society

the arts of using Astras (weapons directed by mantras) and Shastras


(lethal weapons). But what a difference between the two! Bhishma
was highly spiritually minded. After he was wounded all over the
body in the. Kurukshetra battle, when blood was flowing from the
wounds, lying on a bed of arrows he taught Dharma (righteousness)
to the Pandavas. His teachings are contained in the Santhi Parva
(part dealing with peace-keeping) of the Mahabharata.
On the other hand, when Dronacharya heard Yudhisthira say
"Ashwatthama hatah" (Ashwatthama is killed), he did not even wait
to hear that it was the elephant named Ashwatthama that had died,
he concluded that his son Ashwatthama had died, and he collapsed
on the battlefield. Dronacharya was filled with worldly attachments.
Bhishmacharya was filled with love of Dharma (virtuous action).
Have your hands in society and heads in forest

Without the courage of firm conviction and strong determination,


no purpose is served by routine sadhanas undertaken by aspirants
who oscillate from moment to moment like the pendulum of a
clock. On the contrary, a person who never swerves from his
determination even under trying circumstances, is called a Dheera
(a hero) and such a person wins the grace of the Lord.
We should try to seek fulfilment in our day-to-day life by basing
our mundane activities on spiritual values. As I have been telling
you off and on, you must have your hands in the society and head in
the forest. That is to say, whatever be the activities with which you
are preoccupied in society, you must be steadfast in holding on to
the spiritual ideal. This alone is the true sadhana which will bestow
lasting peace on you.
208

Spiritual Transformation

Whatever may be the change in the various Pratibimba (reflections)


there will be no change whatsoever in the Bimba (Original).
Remember that you are that changeless original--the Atma. All your
sadhanas should be directed towards establishing yourself in this
firm conviction and unwavering faith, culminating in your life's
fulfilment. (SSS Vol.24), 1-1-1991.
It is the privilege and duty of the young men and women to promote
the welfare, progress and peace of the world. Transform all your
actions into sacred duties. Experience the love of the Divine. That is
the meaning of Swami's declaration: "My life is my message."
Adhere to the ideals set before you by Swami. Today people tend to
forget Aaashayaalu (ideals) and foster Aashalu (desires).
Selfishness prevails over patriotism. This should change. Never
forget your motherland. Remember that our ancients enthroned
sacrifice as the supreme virtue. They stood for justice and truth.
And as a result they enjoyed peace.
Today humanity is haunted by fear because there is no spirit of
sacrifice; righteousness is at a discount and truth has become rare.
Young people should enthrone Thyaaga (sacrifice) in their hearts,
wear the crown of justice on their heads and carry the sword of
Truth in their hands.
These are the weapons needed, to defend the nation. Young people
should consider the true purpose of life. They should get rid of all
the impurities in their hearts. With pure hearts they should embark
on service at all times and everywhere. "Hands in society, head in
the forest." From today develop an unwavering mind and a steady

209

Sanatana Dharma: For a happy, peaceful life of an individual and for society

vision. That is the way to divinise the world. (SSS Vol.30), 16-71997.
You might have heard the story of Rani Jhansi Lakshmibhai. She
had a small child. When she was left with no other choice but to go
to the battlefield, she tied the child to her back, took a sword, and
waged a fierce battle with her enemies, riding on horseback. But all
the while, what was uppermost in her mind was the well being of
her child. Similarly, you must necessarily discharge your worldly
duties, but at the same time your mind should always be focused on
God. This is the meaning of the maxim, Hands in the society, head
in the forest. You do not need to undertake any specific spiritual
sadhana. Whatever you do, do it as an offering to God. (SSS Vol.32
Part II, p. 159)

Use scriptures as guides for right action


There is another example in the Mahabharata of the differences in
response of those attached to Dharma and those filled with worldly
attachments. When the news of the death of her son, Abhimanyu,
was conveyed to Subhadra (Arjunas wife), she saw in her sons
death the signs of the impending Kali age in which mothers would
lose their young children and unrighteousness would prevail on
earth. She recalled that during Ramas reign no woman wept over
the loss of her child. When Arjuna received the news he bitterly
lamented the fact that there would be no one to inherit the kingdom
after his victory over the Kauravas. What use was there in winning
a kingdom after he lost his son Abhimanyu, he wailed. While
Subhadra was grieved about the impending plight of all mothers in
the Kali age, Arjuna was only worried about his personal loss.
210

Spiritual Transformation

Men today are either indifferent to Dharma or seek to use even the
scriptures for their selfish purposes. The scriptures are to be used as
guides for right action. They are signposts showing the way to the
realisation of the Divine. We must be ever conscious of what we
owe to God. The air we breathe, the food we eat, the light that
enables us to see the world, all these are the gifts of Providence.
What gratitude are we showing to the Great Giver of all these
benefits? We are thankful to many for small favours. But to the
Lord who is the source of all the innumerable things we enjoy, we
show no regard at all. The man without gratitude is worse than a
cruel animal.

Six virtues to be cultivated in life


Students! Realise that without the Grace of the Divine we cannot
exist for a moment. Cultivate good qualities and strive for the
promotion of Dharma in the world. This will give you more
enduring happiness than the acquisition of perishable worldly
things. Once the sage Maarkandeya asked the Goddess of Dharma
why she was leaving the earth. She smiled and replied: "I have no
place in a land where wickedness prevails and there is no truth or
Righteousness."
Education consists in cultivating the following six qualities: "Good
thoughts, good actions, adherence to truth, devotion, discipline and
discharge of ones duties." When you have acquired the friendship
of these six virtues, your life will become purposeful and satisfying.
Students! Concentrate on your studies from the beginning of the
academic year itself and develop discipline and right habits so that
you may make the best use of your opportunities in the Institute.
211

Sanatana Dharma: For a happy, peaceful life of an individual and for society

Teachers should not consider that they are teaching for the sake of
emoluments and students should not consider their studies as
primarily for the purpose of getting a job. Education must develop
in you self-reliance and prepare you for all the challenges of life.
With faith in God and leading a righteous life, you must become
true citizens of Bharat. The discipline and regulations you observe
now will stand you in good stead all your life. Prepare yourselves to
serve society and thereby propitiate God, whose Grace is a greater
benediction than all the gains from the world. (SSS Vol.16),
16.6.1983

Spiritual transformation will bring peace


How is individual transformation to be achieved? There are some
bad habits among individuals such as smoking, drinking liquor,
meat eating and gambling. These bad habits not only degrade the
individuals but also inflict hardships on their families. These bad
habits have to be given up for the individual to manifest his inherent
goodness. Ones personality can blossom only when he leads a
moral life.
How should ones attitude to society be changed? One should give
up talking ill of others, reviling them or ridiculing them, feeling
envious of good people. Evil traits like these lead to loss of peace in
society. People should develop friendly and loving attitude towards
their fellow-beings in society. To develop a sense of helpfulness,
there should be the spirit of sacrifice.
People should also cultivate the feeling of sympathy and
understanding. For spiritual transformation, the qualities that are
needed are Daya, kindness, love, forbearance and compassion.
212

Spiritual Transformation

Bharat throughout the ages has fostered these qualities among the
people.
People today have forgotten these sublime qualities because they
have lost the fear of sin, ceased to love God and do not observe
social ethics. What greater misfortune can there be for the nation?
Love of God and fear of sin
Love of God should be a natural feeling in everyone. It is our
immemorial heritage. When there is love of God, fear of sin follows
naturally. Today fear of sin has gone and everywhere the most
heinous crimes are being committed. In such a situation, how can
there be morality in society?
How are we to transform this state of things? Who is responsible for
all the troubles, disorder and violence? Maname (We alone) are
responsible. The truth has to be recognized. People are blaming
others for their own faults. If there is unity among the people, there
will be no problems. Unity is strength.
Today righteousness has declined among the people. As the level of
righteousness goes down, the water level also goes down! If good
qualities arise in men, the water level will also rise. What is the
reason for the failure of timely rains and the shortage of food crops?
It is the decline of morals among the people which is the cause of
natural calamities. The people must cherish sacred thoughts. Then
the peoples aspirations will be fulfilled.
I have to utter a warning in the presence of the Prime Minister.
Bharat achieved its freedom through the sacrifice of innumerable
213

Sanatana Dharma: For a happy, peaceful life of an individual and for society

patriots, who gave up their lives. Freedom has been achieved, but
not unity. Without unit)~ the nation is weak like the hand of a man
who cannot use all his fingers. We must achieve unity in every
field.

Need for national approach to sharing-river waters


All natural resources of the country should be enjoyed equally by
all the people, regardless of caste or community. There are many
rivers in our country which flow across State boundaries.
Bharat is not lacking in water or other resources. We have many
perennial rivers and vast areas of fertile land. But these resources
are not being fully used. The nations perennial rivers like Kaveri,
Ganga and Krishna should be treated as national property. Then
there will be no room for inter-State disputes. All river waters
should be used for the benefit of all the people. It is because of lack
of unity and the assertion of separatist claims that a good deal of
river waters is going to waste. If the Prime Minister endeavours to
promote a national approach to the harnessing of river waters, the
nation will prosper. The States also are prone to put their claims
against the claims of others. They should adopt a co-operative and
fraternal attitude towards each other and behave as good
neighbours. If this is done, there will be no shortage of food or
water in this country. The people also should develop this cooperative attitude.
It is well known that quite often, sections of the public adopt an
adversary attitude towards measures taken by the Government. The
people should recognise that these measures are taken in their
interest. Moreover, the public should not remain idle, leaving
214

Spiritual Transformation

everything to the Government. They have to do their duty. They


have to live up to certain ideals. The body should be used for
rendering help to others. The spirit of helpfulness must be fostered.
There is an old Sanskrit saying which declares "Charity is the
ornament for the hand; Truth is the ornament for the throat;
Listening to sacred lore is the ornament for the ears." These are the
ornaments which should be valued.

Education, health and water should be free for all


Swami had resolved from the beginning on the provision of three
vital things for the people: For health, the heart is important. For
education, the head is important. For the body, water is vital. I feel
that these three should be provided to the people free. Today a
heavy price has to be paid for medical care and for education. Even
water has to be bought. A heavy capitation fee has to be paid for
getting admission even in a primary school. Illness is incidental to
human life. Doctors should be prepared to make any sacrifice to
relieve the sick. Money should not be the primary consideration.
There are many educated students present here. They should take a
pledge to serve society after finishing their studies. Instead of going
after high salaried jobs in the cities they should go to the villages to
serve the poor living there and earn their love and gratitude. Only
then their education would be worthwhile. Students should be quite
content with modest emoluments in the villages, with which they
can be more comfortable than with larger earnings in the cities.
They can lead more healthy and happy lives in the villages. (SSS
Vol.28), 18-11-1995.

215

Sanatana Dharma: For a happy, peaceful life of an individual and for society

The water project

With regard to the water project, it should be noted that much was
accomplished in a short period. In the execution of the project
changes had to be made in response to the appeals of people in
different villages. Because of this, the entire project has not yet
been completed. Some villages are yet to get water. This should not
cause any disappointment. Whatever may happen, all villages will
get water and the project will be fully carried out. The inauguration
of the project by the Prime Minister does not mean that further work
will be held up. We are prepared for any sacrifice to honour the
plighted word. Work will be resumed from tomorrow and we shall
see that by January the entire district is supplied with water. We
will give no room for anyone to complain that he has not got water.
Embodiments of Love! It is a matter for gratification that today the
Prime Minister, who belongs to Andhra Pradesh, has inaugurated
the water supply scheme for Anantapur District. All of you should
live in amity, without differences of any kind and offer your
cooperation to the Government. Not only will the nation benefit
from your unity, but you will also be setting an example to the
world. Give up hatred and jealousy, participate with love in
measures taken by the government for the well-being, of the people.
Love can achieve anything. (SSS Vol.28), 18-11-1995.

The triple transformation


Bharatiya culture declared from the outset that all people should be
happy, that all should enjoy peace and prosperity and that all should
lead sacred lives. Mankind today has progressed immensely in the
physical and social spheres. But in the field of morality and
spirituality mankind is unable to give up narrowness and pettiness.
What is the reason? It is because over many lives men have grown
216

Spiritual Transformation

in selfishness. In every effort of man, in every aspiration, selfinterest is the driving force. Man has become a plaything in the
hands of selfishness. Whatever object he seeks, whomever he loves,
it is out of selfishness and not for its own sake. No step is taken
without regard for self-interest. This intense selfishness has resulted
in the total decay of human values. This monster of selfishness has
pervaded every field of human activity the physical, the social,
the economic, political and moral fields.

Shed selfishness
Hence, the primary endeavour of man today should be to shed
selfishness, develop spirituality and realise the Divine. Three basic
changes should take place in man. That is the truth contained in the
Sai principle. S" stands for Spiritual change. "A" stands for
"Associational" (or National) change. "I" stands for Individual
change. By this triple change the nation will prosper. Without a
change in the individual, society will not change. Without a social
transformation, spiritual transformation cannot take place in the
heart.
Promote love in your hearts and share it with others. That is the best
form of worship. Make love your life-breath. With love of God in
their hearts the ancient sages could transform - even the wild
animals in the forests. (SSS Vol.29), 13-4-1996.

217

Index
aachara-dharma, 40
adharma, 19, 21, 172
Bhakthi, 31
Brahmaarpanam, 23
dharma, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 26,
27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 34, 36, 37, 38,
39, 40, 42, 43, 44, 52, 69, 74, 88, 93,
95, 103, 107, 108, 123, 126, 160,
161, 181, 182, 183, 184
Dharma, 17
Gautama, 33, 93, 94, 95
Gita, 23, 36, 50, 70, 75, 164, 172, 188,
224
jnaana, 17, 31, 32, 103
Karma, 24, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51, 52, 88,
121, 178, 181, 187, 191
, 3, 4
lingam, 35
manas, 20
Namaskar, 52, 168
Nandi, 35
Parasara, 33
Pasupathi, 34, 35
Puranas, 27, 28, 70, 180

Purusha, 14, 17, 63


Ramayana, 22, 70, 173
sadhana, 25, 106, 107, 121, 130, 193
Sanatana Dharma, 3, 15, 22, 33, 47, 67,
69, 172, 174, 175, 179, 181, 182,
183, 185, 186, 189, 191, 192, 201
Shanti, 20
Shastras, 27, 28, 34, 40, 180, 190, 191,
194, 212
Siva, 35, 164
sthitha-prajna, 31
Trikarana Suddhi, 25, 47
Upanishads, 22, 48, 49, 61, 65, 67, 70,
75, 119, 191, 194, 206
vaak, 20
Vaidik Dharma, 17, 22
vairaagi, 31
Vasishta, 33
Vedas, 17, 22, 27, 28, 29, 30, 32, 45, 48,
49, 66, 68, 70, 72, 74, 75, 77, 95, 98,
115, 121, 127, 136, 145, 146, 175,
177, 186, 187, 190, 194, 200, 206,
209
Viswamitra, 33, 193

218

Bibliography
Dharma Vahini: Stream of Righteousness (Revised Enlarged
Edition : April 2003 ed.). (n.d.). Sri Sathya Sai Books &
Publications Trust.
Discourses on Bhagavad Gita. (1988).
Geetha Vahini (The Divine Gospel) . (June 2002). Prasanthi
Nilayam, Anantapur District , Andhra Pradesh , India: Sri
Sathya Sai Books & Publications Trust .
Glossary for the Vahinis. (n.d.).
Necklace of Nine Sai Gems (Vol. 8). (n.d.). Chennai: Sri Ram
Printers.
Necklace of Nine Sai Gems (Vol. 5). (n.d.). Chennai: Sri Ram
Printers.
Prasnottara Vahini: Answers to Spiritual Questions (First Enlarged
Edition: July 2002 ed.). (n.d.). Sri Sathya Sai Books &
Publications Trust.
Prema Vahini: The Stream of Divine Love (4 ed.). (1975). Prasanthi
Nilayam: Sri Sathya Sai Books & Publications Trust.
Sathya Sai Speaks: Discourses Of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba
(Vol. 15). (n.d.). Prasanthi Nilayam, Anantapur District,
Andhra Pradesh, India: Sri Sathya Sai Books & Publications
Trust.
Sathya Sai Speaks: Discourses Of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba
(Vol. 16). (n.d.). Prasanthi Nilayam, Anantapur District,
Andhra Pradesh, India: Sri Sathya Sai Books & Publications
Trust.
219

Sanatana Dharma: For a happy, peaceful life of an individual and for society

Sathya Sai Speaks: Discourses Of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba


(Vol. 14). (n.d.). Prasanthi Nilayam, Anantapur District,
Andhra Pradesh , India: Sri Sathya Sai Books &
Publications Trust.
Sathya Sai Speaks: Discourses Of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba
(Vol. 23). (n.d.). Prasanthi Nilayam Anantapur District,
Andhra Pradesh, India: Sri Sathya Sai Books & Publications
Trust .
Sathya Sai Speaks: Discourses Of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba
(Vol. 21). (n.d.). Prasanthi Nilayam, Anantapur District,
Andhra Pradesh, India: Sri Sathya Sai Books & Publications
Trust.
Sathya Sai Speaks: Discourses Of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba
(Vol. 3). (n.d.). Prasanthi Nilayam, Anantapur District ,
Andhra Pradesh , India: Sri Sathya Sai Books &
Publications Trust.
Sathya Sai Speaks: Discourses Of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba
(Vol. 8). (n.d.). Prasanthi Nilayam, Anantapur District ,
Andhra Pradesh, India: Sri Sathya Sai Books & Publications
Trust.
Sathya Sai Speaks: Discourses Of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba
(Vol. 4). (n.d.). Prasanthi Nilayam, Anantapur District,
Andhra Pradesh, India: Sri Sathya Sai Books & Publications
Trust.
Sathya Sai Speaks: Discourses Of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba
(Vol. 22). (n.d.). Prasanthi Nilayam, Anantapur District ,
Andhra Pradesh , India: Sri Sathya Sai Books &
Publications Trust .
Sathya Sai Speaks: Discourses Of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba
(Vol. 28). (n.d.). Prasanthi Nilayam , Anantapur District,
220

Spiritual Transformation

Andhra Pradesh , India: Sri Sathya Sai Books &


Publications Trust.
Sathya Sai Speaks: Discourses Of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba
(Vol. 5). (n.d.). Prasanthi Nilayam, Anantapur District,
Andhra Pradesh , India: Sri Sathya Sai Books &
Publications Trust.
Sathya Sai Speaks: Discourses Of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba
(Vol. 18). (n.d.). Prasanthi Nilayam, Anantapur District ,
Andhra Pradesh , India: Sri Sathya Sai Books &
Publications Trust .
Sathya Sai Speaks: Discourses Of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba
(Vol. 11). (n.d.). Prasanthi Nilayam, Anantapur District ,
Andhra Pradesh , India: Sri Sathya Sai Books &
Publications Trust .
Sathya Sai Speaks: Discourses Of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba
(Vol. 12). (n.d.). Prasanthi Nilayam, Anantapur District,
Andhra Pradesh , India: Sri Sathya Sai Books &
Publications Trust.
Sathya Sai Speaks: Discourses Of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba
(Vol. 20). (n.d.). Prasanthi Nilayam Anantapur District,,
Andhra Pradesh, India: Sri Sathya Sai Books & Publications
Trust .
Sathya Sai Speaks: Discourses Of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba
(Vol. 26). (n.d.). Prasanthi Nilayam, Anantapur District ,
Andhra Pradesh , India: Sri Sathya Sai Books &
Publications Trust.
Sathya Sai Speaks: Discourses Of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba
(Vol. 36). (n.d.). Prasanthi Nilayam, Anantapur District,
Andhra Pradesh , India: Sri Sathya Sai Books &
Publications Trust.
221

Sanatana Dharma: For a happy, peaceful life of an individual and for society

Sathya Sai Speaks: Discourses Of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba


(Vol. 19). (n.d.). Prasanthi Nilayam Anantapur District, ,
Andhra Pradesh, India: Sri Sathya Sai Books & Publications
Trust.
Sathya Sai Speaks: Discourses Of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba
(Vol. 1). (n.d.). Prasanthi Nilayam, Anantapur District,
Andhra Pradesh, India: Sri Sathya Sai Books & Publications
Trust.
Sathya Sai Speaks: Discourses Of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba
(Vol. 13). (n.d.). Prasanthi Nilayam, Anantapur District ,
Andhra Pradesh, India: Sri Sathya Sai Books & Publications
Trust.
Sathya Sai Speaks: Discourses Of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba
(Vol. 10). (n.d.). Prasanthi Nilayam, Anantapur District,
Andhra Pradesh, India: Sri Sathya Sai Books & Publications
Trust.
Sathya Sai Speaks: Discourses Of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba
(2nd ed., Vol. 6). (n.d.). Prasanthi Nilayam, Andhra Pradesh,
India: Sri Sathya Sai Books and Publications Trust.
Sathya Sai Speaks: Discourses Of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba
(Vol. 32 Part I). (n.d.). Prasanthi Nilayam, Anantapur
District, Andhra Pradesh, India: Sri Sathya Sai Books &
Publications Trust.
Sathya Sai Speaks: Discourses Of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba
(Vol. 17). (n.d.). Prasanthi Nilayam, Anantapur District ,
Andhra Pradesh, India: Sri Sathya Sai Books & Publications
Trust .
Sathya Sai Speaks: Discourses Of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba
(Vol. 41). (n.d.). Prasanthi Nilayam, Anantapur District,

222

Spiritual Transformation

Andhra Pradesh, India: Sri Sathya Sai Books & Publications


Trust.
Sathya Sai Speaks: Discourses Of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba
(Vol. 25). (n.d.). Prasanthi Nilayam, Anantapur District ,
Andhra Pradesh, India: Sri Sathya Sai Books & Publications
Trust .
Sathya Sai Speaks: Discourses Of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba
(Vol. 2). (n.d.). Prasanthi Nilayam, Andhra Pradesh, India:
Sri Sathya Sai Books and Publications Trust.
Sathya Sai Speaks: Discourses Of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba
(Vol. 24). (n.d.). Prasanthi Nilayam Anantapur District, ,
Andhra Pradesh , India: Sri Sathya Sai Books &
Publications Trust .
Sathya Sai Speaks: Discourses Of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba
(Vol. 7). (n.d.). Prasanthi Nilayam: Sri Sathya Sai Books &
Publications Trust.
Sathya Sai Speaks: Discourses Of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba
(Vol. 29). (n.d.). Prasanthi Nilayam Anantapur District, ,
Andhra Pradesh , India: Sri Sathya Sai Books &
Publications Trust .
Sathya Sai Speaks: Discourses Of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba
(Vol. 30). (n.d.). Prasanthi Nilayam Anantapur District,,
Andhra Pradesh, India: Sri Sathya Sai Books & Publications
Trust .
Sathya Sai Speaks: Discourses Of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba
Delivered during 1998 (First Edition ed., Vol. 31). (n.d.).
Prasanthi Nilayam Anantapur District, Andhra Pradesh ,
India: Sri Sathya Sai Books & Publications Trust.
Sathya Sai Speaks: Discourses Of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba
Delivered During 2001 (First Edition ed., Vol. 35). (2003).
223

Sanatana Dharma: For a happy, peaceful life of an individual and for society

Prasanthi Nilayam, Anantapur District, Andhra Pradesh,


India: Sri Sathya Sai Books & Publications Trust.
Sathya Sai Speaks: Discourses Of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba
Delivered During 2009 (First Edition ed., Vol. 42). (July
2010). Prasanthi Nilayam, Anantapur District, Andhra
Pradesh, India: Sri Sathya Sai Books & Publications Trust.
Sathya Sai Speaks: Discourses Of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba
Delivered from July 1999 to December 1999 (First Edition
ed., Vol. 32 part 2). (August 2001). Prasanthi Nilayam,
Anantapur District, Andhra Pradesh, India: Sri Sathya Sai
Books & Publications Trust.
SATHYA SAI VAHINI: Spiritual Message of Sri Sathya Sai (First
Enlarged Edition : June 2002 ed.). (n.d.). Prasanthi
Nilayam,, Andhra Pradesh, India: Sri Sathya Sai Books &
Publications Trust.
Spirit and the Mind (Non American Edition ed.). (n.d.).
Summer Showers In Brindavan (First Enlarged Edition ed., Vols.
Part - II). (1974). Prasanthi Nilayam, Andhra Pradesh, India:
Sri Sathya Sai Books & Publications Trust.
Summer Showers In Brindavan (First Enlarged Edition : September,
2004 ed.). (1979). Prasanthi Nilayam, Andhra Pradesh,
India: Prasanthi Nilayam,.
Summer Showers In Brindavan (August 2002 ed.). (2002). Prasanthi
Nilayam, Andhra pradesh, India: Sri Sathya Sai Books &
Publications Trust.
Summer Showers in Brindavan- Discourse by Bhagawan Sri Sathya
Sai Baba on Brahman: Delivered during the summer course
in Indian Culture and Spirituality May-June 1974. (1974).
Prasanthi Nilayam, India: Sri Sathya Sai Books &
Publications Trust.
224

Spiritual Transformation

Summer Showers in Brindavan: Delivered during the summer


course held for students at Brindavan, Whitefield,
Bangalore District on Indian Culture and Spirituality (First
Enlarged Edition ed.). (1973). Prasanthi Nilayam, Anantapur
District,, Andhra Pradesh, India: Sri Sathya Sai Books &
Publications Trust.
Summer Showers: Indian Culture And Spirituality Discourses by
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba Delivered During The
Summer Course May-June 1990 (Large Print Edition ed.).
(1993). Prasanthi Nilayam, India: Sri Sathya Sai Books and
Publications Trust.
The Embodiment of Love (4th Impression ed.). (1990).
The glory of Bhaa-rath. (n.d.). Chennai: Printed by Sai Shriram
Printers .
The Scriptures are fulfilled. (n.d.). Hawaii: Published by Cerdinat
Enterprises Hiro.
Uniqueness of Swami and His Teachings (First Edition ed.). (2005).
Upanishad Vahini: Essence of Vedic Knowledge (First Enlarged
Edition: June 2002 ed.). (n.d.). Sri Sathya Sai Books &
Publications Trust.
Vidya Vahini: Stream of Thought Which Illumines (First Enlarged
Edition ed.). (June 2002). Prasanthi Nilayam: Sri Sathya Sai
Books & Publications Trust.
Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. (n.d.).

225