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Cultivate Divine Love

Date:14 February 1999  Occasion:Shivarathri  Place:Prashanti Nilayam 

He who reaps the harvest of love in the field of his Heart
is a true Christian, a true Sikh, a true Hindu, a true Muslim.
In fact, he who cultivates love in his heart
is a true human being.
(Telugu Poem)

Embodiments of Love!

Love is the breath of man. Love is the consciousness in all beings. Love is the goal of human life. Human life is suffused with love. Unable to comprehend the eternal principle of love, man is weighed down by physical, worldly worries and anxieties.

There is the principle of Hiranyagarbha (cosmic womb) within every individual. Hiranya means gold. When gold is mixed with other metals such as copper, silver, brass, and alloys, it loses its effulgence, value, and identity. At this juncture it is impossible to ascertain whether it is gold, silver, brass, or copper. Similarly man's heart, which is Hiranmaya, is losing its brilliance, value, and identity on account of its association with worldly desires (vishaya vaasanaas ). Consequently, it is impossible to ascertain whether one is a human being or an animal or a devil or a demon. There is no love at all in human beings today. Life devoid of love is a devil's life. Can a man be called a human being,if he has qualities of devils, demons, and beasts? Man is leading a life of a demon, unaware of the path of truth, righteousness, peace, and love.

God did not create creatures such as devils and evil spirits. These are the creations of man. Here is a small example. During the exile of Pandavas, Krishna visited them to ask about their welfare. He spent a night with them. The Pandavas had to undergo untold sufferings during that exile. Since they had Draupadi  with them, the Pandavas would keep vigil every night in one-hour turns. Krishna also volunteered to keep vigil for one hour.

Dharmaja wondered, "When You are the protector of the entire universe, what is the meaning of your offering to do security duty for an hour to protect us?" At the same time, he cautioned Krishna, saying, "Krishna, beware of the devil in the vicinity. My brothers and I encounter it every night. On many occasions, it tried to attack us. Therefore, we prayed to you to desist from this act. You came to ask about our welfare. It isn't proper on our part to put you in danger. So kindly take rest."

Krishna replied, "Dharmaja, is this what you have understood of My divinity? On the one hand, you extol Me as the protector of the entire universe, and on the other ,you are apprehensive that I can't protect Myself. You are worried that the demon will harm Me. Rest assured that no demon can touch Me. So permit Me to join you all in doing security duty."

Having completed one hour duty, Krishna sat on a rock and smiled to Himself. Thereafter it was Arjuna's turn. He rushed to Krishna. a bit worried thinking that the demon might have attacked Him. Seeing Krishna smiling, Arjuna feII at His feet and asked whether He had vanquished the demon.

Krishna replied, "Arjuna, I have never created demons and evil spirits, so how can non-existent demons appear in the forest? The demon you are referring to is not a demon at all. It is just a reflection of the evil qualities within you, such as hatred, anger, and jealousy. The anger in you is manifesting in the form of a demon. Its power is increasing in proportion to the intensity of anger in you. The evil qualities of man are the real demons that trouble him today. Man is under the mistaken notion that demons exist and that they are responsible for his suffering. These are all nothing but imaginations and psychological fears. In fact, it is only man who puts another man to suffering; there is no demon as such. There are no demons and evil spirits in this creation."

Arjuna realized the truth of Krishna's words and thereafter encountered the demon no more. Arjuna was beholden to Krishna for opening his eyes. He fell at His feet and expressed his gratitude. Good and bad are man's own creations.

After Buddha became a renunciant, he traveled far and wide. People were wonder-struck upon seeing his brilliant and handsome form. Enamoured by his effulgence, a lady, named Ambashali, approached him and said, "0 great one, you look like a prince in ochre robes. May I know the reason behind your donning ochre robes at this young age?"

Buddha replied that he took to the path of renunciation in order to seek solutions to three problems. "This body, which is young and handsome, is bound to become old at some point and will be subjected to sickness and perish. Ultimately, I want to know the cause for old age, sickness, and death."

Impressed by his quest for truth, she invited him for lunch. In time, the entire village learned of this. The villagers started coming to Buddha one by one and asked him not to accept her invitation, since she was a woman of bad character.

Buddha listened to all their complaints patiently. He smiled and asked the village head, "Do you also affirm that she is a woman of bad character?"

The village head replied, "Not once but a thousand times I will vouch for Ambashali's evil character. Please don't visit her house."

Holding the village head's right hand, Buddha asked him to clap. The village head said that he couldn't do so since Buddha was holding one of his hands, and it was impossible fto clap with a single hand.

Buddha replied, 'Likewise, Ambashali can't be bad by herself unless there are men of bad character in this village. If all the men in this village were good, this woman would not have turned bad. Therefore, the men and their money were responsible for Ambashali's bad character. Then asked if any individual in that gathering was without a trace of bad in him, so that he could visit his house for lunch. No one came forward. Buddha said, "When there are so many bad men in the village, it is not proper to point a finger at one woman. She turned bad due to bad company That is why it is said, 'Tell me your company, and I will tell you What you are'."

Realising their folly, the people fell at Buddha's feet and sought forgiveness. After that, they started realising Ambashali as one among them. Inspired by Buddha's teachings, Ambashali also took to the path of renunciation and led a pious life.

No one else is responsible for the good and bad in an individual. Each one is responsible for their own good and bad. Who is good, who is bad? First, eliminate the bad in you. Be in the company of good. It is a sin to point a finger at others when there is mountain of evil within you. The same sentiment was echoed by Jesus.

Today, man is not making an attempt to recognise the innumerable faults in him. Instead, he is magnifying the minutest faults in others. In fact, he is searching for mistakes in others with a thousand eyes. This is the sad state of man today. Man is losing his true identity because he has allowed evil qualities to enter his heart. People are more interested in finding faults rather than the good in others. The true human being sees only good in others.

He who cultivates love in the field of his heart
is a true Christian, a true Sikh, a true Hindu, a true Muslim.

Unfortunately, today, no one is sowing the seeds of love in their heart, so how do you expect a harvest of love? How can you call a person a true Hindu if there is no love in him? When the members of the Viswa Hindu Parishad came to Me, I asked them the meaning of the word 'Hindu'. Many answers came forth. One said, the word 'Hindu' refers to a person with compassion and righteousness. I asked them for the spelling of the word Hindu in English. They replied H l N D U. Then I told them,

H - stands for Humanity
I - for Individuality
N - for Nationality
D - for Divinity
U - for Unity

A true Hindu is one who embodies these aspects in him. Love is the underlying principle in all these five. A true Hindu, Muslim, or Christian should be the embodiment of love. Muslims pray "Allah Ho Akbar", which means "God is the Greatest". Islam means peace. So a true Muslim is one who leads a peaceful life. Peace originates from a heart full of love. Without love, one cannot be peaceful. So, for any caste, creed, or religion, love is the basis. Love is auspiciousness (shivam and mangalam). Love does not hurt any one. That which does not hurt is referred to as shivam. Man bereft of love is a corpse (shavam). The one with love is the embodiment of auspiciousness (shiva-svaruupa) .

Today we are celebrating shivarathri. What does it mean? Rathri (night) is associated with darkness. The Vedas declare, "Moon is the presiding deity of the mind. So, the mind should be pure and unsullied (Chandrama Manaso Jathaha,Chaksho Suryo Ajaayatha)" .

There is an immense significance in every statement of Vedantha.Confusion prevails when these are misunderstood. Today, there is a practice of sacrificing innocent and dumb animals such as goats and sheep in the name of sacrifices and rites (yajna and yaaga). One day a noble soul noticed some animals being taken in a grand procession. On enquiry, he was informed that they were being taken to the sacrificial altar. He asked the animals' owner what benefit would be derived from sacrificing the animals. The reply was that the animals would attain liberation. Then the noble soul said, '0 man, yourmother, father, wife, and son --all crave liberation. Why don't you sacrifice them and fulfil their desire in the process? Why don't you grant liberation to the people who aspire for it instead of to the innocent animals, who don't know what liberation means? If you firmly believe that sacrifice liberates the sacrificed, why don't you sacrifice your parents, wife, and children?"

Today some people advocate the need for devotional singing (bhajans), charity and service, saying that they confer liberation (moksha). If they really believe in what they are saying, why don't they practise what they preach? It is easy to preach but difficult to practice. Total detachment is liberation (moha kshayam is moksham).

Attachment leads to suffering. So first and foremost ,give up attachment. Prior to marriage, even if the girl is down with a serious ailment the boy is least affected. Subsequent to the marriage, if the girl develops a mild fever (99 degree Fahrenheit) the boy is extremely concerned. What is the reason for this? It is attachment. Before the marriage, there was no relationship whatsoever between the two. But after the marriage. the boy feels "She is my wife." It is only this attachment that causes the suffering. The closer we move toward attachment, the farther we move away from liberation. Attachment should be under certain limits.

One who is immersed neck deep in water may be able to speak, but not one who is totally immersed. Likewise, a person who is completely immersed in divinity  will have no words to describe the glory of God. Only those who have understood God partially will try to describe Him in various ways. You should immerse yourself completely in divine feelings and pure love. Today, since there is no love, there are conflicts between individuals, villagers, states, and countries.

The Vedantha declares, "Know thyself. A person who follows the outward path (pravritti marga) is interested in collecting Information about others and their whereabouts. He keeps asking others, "Who are you? Where do you come from?" A person who treads the inner path (nivritti marga) looks within and asks, "Who am I? Where do I come from?" The inward path is positive in nature; the outward path, negative. How can you expect positive results when your heart is full of negative feelings? External is the reflection of the internal. You will reap what you sow. Having eaten cucumber, how can you expect the belch of a mango? So. in order to get positive results, you should fill your heart with positive feelings. Love, peace, and compassion, which originate from the heart, are positive in nature. All negative thoughts are products of the head. Science and technology are associated with the head. Today, technology has become "tricknology'", because you are traversing along the high intelligence in the absence of positive qualities.

Today, man has acquired all forms of knowledge, and yet he doesn't know himself. In spite of having acquired various forms of knowledge, a mean-minded person can't give up his evil qualities. All this worldly knowledge bolsters excessive argumentation, but not total awareness.

After all, one has to die in spite of acquiring all the worldly
knowledge. So study that which makes you immortal.
(Telugu Poem).

Today, as acquisition of worldly knowledge rises, noble qualities in the heart decline. What is the use of ten acres of barren land? A small piece of fertile land is better than ten acres of barren land. Develop at least one noble quality, which emerges from the heart, instead of ten from the head. All thoughts that emerge out of the head are useless. Most of the activities of the scientists are based on the head rather than on the heart. Students are well aware of the fact that it was Newton who discovered the existence of the gravitational force. As a result of excessive dependence on head, Newton had to spend five years in a mental hospital before his death. So don't over-strain your head. Today, students spend most of their time in studies.

While traveling in the car, many a time I have noticed small children carrying a big load of books on their backs. You yourself can imagine the plight of the young children who have to stuff their head with lots of information from those books. As a result, their tender hearts are being polluted with unnecessary information. So your studies should also be under certain limits. Only then you can retain your intelligence and memory power. The feelings that emerge out of the heart are immortal and nectarine. But are you making use of at least one of them?

It is enough if you can develop peace. Every day, at the conclusion of the bhajan session, you chant peace (shanthi) three times, but there is no trace of peace in you. Even if there is the slightest disturbance caused by the person singing beside you, you feel irritated, and the tone of the repetition of peave (shanthi) becomes harsh due to your anger. Even while chanting shanthi, there is no trace of peace in you. How do you expect to experience peace if you don't cultivate love in the field of your heart? Instead of cultivating love, you are cultivating the evil qualities of jealousy and hatred. If someone is to criticise you, don't take it to heart but consider it as for your own good. It is the worst of the sins to search for mistakes in others. In the first instance, correct your mistakes and accept the good in others.

If you don't reap the harvest of love in your heart, you are not a true Christian, true Sikh, true Hindu or true Muslim. You are a demon in human form. When you develop love in your heart you are verily God. You become God or demon based upon your feelings.

Don't find fault in others. Buddha was criticised by many when he accepted Ambashali's invitation. She alone was not responsible for her bad character. Many others encouraged her.

For every act of sin, five people are mainly responsible: one who commits the sin, one who is the cause, one who encourages the act of sin, one who shows the ways and means to commit the sin, and one who witnesses it. All five will have to face the consequences.

When Draupadi was being humiliated by Duryodhana and Dussasana in the open court, elders like Bhishma and Drona remained as spectators. They didn't oppose Duryodhana's heinous act. It is in this context that Vidura pointed out that not only the sinner but the other four persons mentioned above would also go to hell. Since Bhishma, the one of wisdom, was a slant spectator to the humiliation of Draupadi, he had to be on the bed of arrows for fifty-six days. Had he prevented the humiliation of Draupadi, he wouldn't have suffered thus.

It is rather difficult to say how one gets merit or sin. In order to escape from sin, one has to take to the path of spirituality. Knowingly or unknowingly, you commit sin. Consequently, you are suffering. You are unable to trace the root because of your suffering. So, undertake meritorious deeds. Cultivate sacred feelings. Serve fellow beings.

Taking to this path amounts to devotion. Devotion does not mean performing worship and offering flowers to God. Worship amounts only to good action. One should have good thoughts within. One won'tt be redeemed if one undertakes good actions with bad intentions. For instance, if someone donates 10 lakhs for a charitable cause, someone else may come forward with 15 lakhs only to attract public attention. In reality, he may not give even 10 rupees. Such people are heroes in platform and zeroes in practice. There should be unity in thought, word, and deed. '"The proper study of mankind is man." This is true humanness.

Embodiments of Love!

In order to redeem yourselves, you should reap the harvest of love in the field of your heart. Water the field of your heart with love. Water is the life of man. How can you sanctify your life if you cannot provide at least drinking water to the people who need it? Water is divine. Water in Sanskrit is called naaram. The eye is known as nayanam. So, the naaram, which comes out of nayanam, should be for the sake of only Naaraayana (God). One should shed only tears of joy, not tears of grief. When do you get tears of joy? Only when you are successful in your endeavours.

You all know this. There are many people in this gathering from the Mahaboob Nagar and Medak districts. Swami has consented to provide drinking water to these two districts. Many people hailing from these two districts have never seen Swaml before. Their joy knew no bounds when they came to know the love and grace showered on them by Swami. Men and women, young and old, were ecstatic. Every week many people from these two districts come to Swami to express their gratitude. You should all plunge into such sacred activities for the benefit of mankind at large.

Sage Vyaasa declared, 'Help Ever, Hurt Never (Paropakara punyaaya paapaaya prapeedanam). If possible, try to help others. Never hurt anyone. Love even your enemies. Never use harsh words and hurt the feelings of others. If you hurt someone today, you will have to suffer ten times more in future.

You will be observing Shivarathri in the true spirit of the term only when you give up bad qualities and cultivate divine love. Merely observing vigil on Shivarathri is not sufficient. You have to contemplate on God incessantly. Most people claim that they have observed vigil (jaagarana) on Sivarathri night by playing cards. The fisherman goes on watching intently, in order to trap fish in the net. Can this be termed meditation? If one abstains from taking food on account of a difference of opinion with his wife, can it be called fasting? No. Similarly, observance of sacred vigil on Shivarathri night is not achieved by playing cards the whole night. You should spend this night by chanting the name of God, using the time in doing good deeds.

Don't waste the valuable time in vain gossip. Instead, undertake service activities in villages and slum areas. Provide the basic necessities of life, such as food, and clothing, to the poor and needy. It amounts to the greatest service. I have practised this right from My childhood. When someone appeared at the door steps begging for alms, the people in the household would say, "not now, not now," but I would surreptitiously dole out alms. If anyone needed clothes, I would provide them.

The mother of this physical body (griham ammayi) used to recollect and narrate all these incidents wistfully. Believe it or not, I had only one pair of dress to be used throughout the year. Every day, after returning from school, I used to don a towel and wash My only dress, put them for drying, and then press them by using a container with embers as an iron box. When I was provided with a new dress, I used to donate My old dress to the poor and needy.

The father of this physical body (griham abbayi) never reprimanded Me or beat Me up. He would compliment Me by saying, "You are one of great sacrifice (a maha thyagi). It is impossible for us to be Iike YOU." He would endearingly address Me as "philosopher (vedanthi)".

The same was the case with the mother of this physical body. She looked after Me with great love and affection. People used to fall at her feet, pour out their tales of woe, and plead with her to recommend their case to Me. But I used to put her off softly by saying, "Don't worry about others' problems." In spite of this, she used to carry on, saying, 'Swami, what is the use of My human birth if I don't help people in distress. My sincere feeling is that they will be relieved of their suffering if I convey their problems and feelings to You. So, I won't refrain from doing this even if you object or scold Me." In this manner, the parents of this physical body led a very pious and sacred life. The whole clan has benefited from this.

Develop good qualities. Don't give scope for bad by joining bad company. In this train of life, youngsters are the long distance passengers. The elders may get down at the next station, but you have a long way to go before you reach your destination. First and foremost, you need to have self-confidence. Today, people suffer because of lack of self-confidence. If you have total faith In God, you will be able to overcome all difficulties. There may be a few difficulties in your way, but don't be unduly perturbed. You should face all hardship with all courage and conviction. Then, you will attain true happiness.

Never blame God for your difficulties. Good or bad, you are bound to face the consequences of your actions. But if you have God's grace, even bad will be turned into good. So develop faith in God more and more. You believe in your friend, whom you met a few years ago --but not God, who is with you, in you, around you, throughout your life. You believe in the washerwoman (dhobi) and part with your valuable clothes. You are prepared to bend your head in front of the barber. You are prepared to put your life in the hands of the driver. But you don't believe in the omnipresent, omnipotent, and omniscient Divinity.

Why can't you bend your head in front of God? Some evil-minded persons criticise people for bending their heads before God. Such evil-minded people will never have the good fortune of bending their heads before God.

One day, King Bhoja was going to a village in his chariot, along with his minister. On the way, he met a Buddhist monk coming in the opposite direction. Immediately, he got down from the chariot and paid his respects to him by placing his head on the monk's feet. The minister didn't relish this act of King Bhoja. He said, "0 king, how could you keep your most invaluable head on the feet of an ordinary monk?"

The king waited for an opportune moment to reply. One day, the king gave his minister the head of a sheep, a goat, a cow, and a human being and asked him to sell them in the market. The minister succeeded in selling the head of the sheep, goat, and cow, but not that of a human being. He returned to the king and said, "0 king, no one is willing buy this human head."

The king said, "O minister, do you remember the day when you objected to my falling at the feet of a Buddhist monk, saying mine was the most valuable head. At least now, do you realise the value of a human head devoid of life?" One should prostrate at the feet of noble souls when they are alive, for even the vultures and dogs don't value a human head after death.

Self-confidence cannot be purchased or obtained through learning. It is based on deservedness. To attain deservedness, develop divine thoughts. In fact, you are the most fortunate people, for otherwise how could only a few of you have come here when there are millions in this world? Make the best use of this golden opportunity. Follow the divine path. If you have faith in God, He will protect you in the face of all adversities. He is always with you, in you, above you, beside you, around you.

Don't give scope for bad feelings and bad thoughts. Don't criticise anyone. You are well aware of this fact, every day in the newspapers, you find headlines describing the conflicts between various parties. One party criticises and finds faults with the others. They are accumulating sins by doing so. That is why I don't read newspapers. Why should I go through all this? Many people waste so much money buying these newspapers. It is one form of madness. Read good books. Slander is the worst of the sins.

Embodiments of love!

As pointed out by the Vice Chancellor in his speech, in earlier years, I used to bring Aathma lingams from this body on Shivarathri. The emergence of a lingam (lingodbhavam) used to take place on every Shivarathri. To witness this sacred event, thousands would gather in a small hall. Consequently, a stampede would result in injuries to devotees. Due to this, I discontinued lingodbhavam in public. There is a specific time for this. It may take place at any moment between 8 and 10 in the night. It takes place at the right time regardless of where I am. It is bound to take place. It is natural on this Shivarathri night. Those who are fortunate to witness this sacred lingodbhwam are free from all sins. One must see how it emerges. But some people may not be able to see this even if they are sitting close by. Witnessing the emergence of the lingam is of utmost importance. Once it emerges, everyone will be able to see it, and that has its own benefits. There are many such important aspects attached to this auspicious occasion.

You will be immensely benefited if you keep awake and sing the glory of God at least on this night. The moon is the presiding deity of the mind. The moon has 16 phases (kalas). On this Shivarathri, 15 phases have already merged in God, and only one remains. By constant remembrance of God, even the 16th phase merges in God. Can't you spend a single night in the whole year singing the glory of God? Sanctify this night by participating in devotional singing (bhajan). The bliss that you get from bhajan, the sweetness in the divine name, the happiness derived from visualizing the divine form --these can't be obtained elsewhere. Everything is possible only through love. So cultivate love and sanctify your life.

[Bhagavan concluded His discourse with the bhajan Bhajana bina sukha santhi nahi