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Date:11 Jul 1996 Occasion:Divine Discourse Place:Prashanti Nilayam

Practice - Better Than Precept

Life today is highly confused. People interpret the word `God' in many ways. The true meaning of the word `God', however is Light. This light is in everyone. Ancients compared this, with words like radiance, brilliance, effulgence etc. It is this very light which changes into darkness and vice versa. Light and darkness cannot co-exist. This is also called Jnanagnanam - wisdom - ignorance. Darkness takes one to light. Light converts into darkness. In Vedantic parlance this is called Abhava - not just the absence of Bhava (feeling). Bhava has several meanings. Praying to God with feeling is one. Considering God full of attributes is another. Recounting all leelas of God or chanting the name of God are others - (Bhava, Roopa, Nama, Kirtana). Therefore, there are four types of prayers offered to God. Following these four paths, man understands reality. For all these four paths, the heart is the centre. God is not present in a foreign land but is in your body. So also, sin is not present elsewhere but is attached to your own body. Therefore your own body is the basis for all. That is why, Being, the indweller in the body is called Dehi. Because he is present in the body (Shareer), he is called Shareeri, Kshetrajna, one who resides in the Kshetra(body). Body is the temple, the knower is God. That is why we should understand the difference between the individual and the cosmic soul. Jiva is the one who lives on the basis of the body while God is the one who lives on the basis of mind and spirit. One who oscillates and moves constantly is the Jiva while God is the steady witness. That is why it is said - " Slow and steady wins the race". One should be steady. This is the sign of Divinity.

This body, pleasure, pain, outer things are all temporary. However two things, Truth and Reputation(good name) are permanent. The body may die but Truth and Good name always remain. Truth exists unchanged in all three times - Past, Present, and Future. This Truth will manifest when you are in solitude. But what is meant by solitude ? Many people distort the meaning of this word. Concentrating, fixing, directing your mind on God - wherever your body is, with unwavering mind, fixed on God, not thinking of your body, family, is solitude. It is a link, a relation between you and God alone. Nothing should come between you and God, not even a mosquito. That is solitude. During the time of meditation or while remembering God, there must be no connection with anyone but God. Then the result will be Prema. Prema, the light of Love originates from the relation between God and devotee.

In all discourses I always refer to Prema (Love) and Dharma. These are my inhalation and exhalation. Whatever be the subject, Love and Righteousness are the standard and are always spoken about. Speak Truth and follow Righteousness all through your life. Students, you study many subjects. In spite of all this, to what extent do we follow these - Prema and Dharma? We must do service. How should we serve? We should serve to kill ego, show and pomp in us. Many pray to Swami to be given good mind and discrimination and energy to tread on the right path. Those who pray thus are not devotees at all. Why? You already have a good mind. This is not a bank transaction - to give and receive. Though you have a good mind you do not use it. You are hungry and all dishes have been served. But unless you eat, how will your hunger be appeased? You do not eat so you do not get the energy and consider yourself weak. You should practice all that is said. Today as every one attends the talks, the detachment goes on emerging in the listeners but this lasts only as long as the discourse. It is not treasured even until they reach home. What is the use of listening to so many discourses on detachment, etc.? You just listen but do not follow. Only when you practice you will see fruits or results. Once you taste it you will know. Why are you not eating ? You are weak. So eat and digest. But you do not, because of the bad effect of the Kali age. Spirituality has become a sort of 'fashion'. Not Compassion. Develop compassion then the fashion will disappear. Listening is a fashion. When asked, "where have you been?", you say, "I have been to such and such a discourse". What happened there ? Lots of things happened there but when asked to repeat a few things you cannot remember even one.

For years together you have been attending Swami's talks. As long as we are listening it is all very well. The moment we step outside this compound we revert to our old ways, old thoughts, old condition. So what is the use of listening to the talks? Have you taken in anything at all? Everyday I have been speaking but the listeners are tired. You keep asking for this and that from Swami and expect Him to do this and that for you. Constantly you keep desiring this and that. How do you expect liberation ? Are you not ashamed to ask ? Don't you feel humiliated to ask ?

What are you practicing ? This is what you must understand. From years you are hearing, still you do business with God! Do this for me, do that for me. It is growing day by day. Follow what I am saying, then without your asking I will do all things for you. In the matter of practice we are all zeroes, but in asking boons we are heroes. Devotees today are like those who are typically ready for eating but run away at the mention of work. We do not practice anything. So first obey and follow at least one or two things that are being told. All the sacred texts like Ramayana, Bhagavatha are not for the sake of doing parayana (Repetitive reading ) but for the sake of practice. We just keep going through them again and again for years. Of what use is this if we do not put into practice at least some things we read? One spoonful of cow's milk is better than barrels of donkey's milk. The former is useful whereas the latter is useless. Do not talk too much. Lead a peaceful life. Do not have too many connections with people. Never give up Love. I always talk of Love and Dharma in all my talks, because they are the primary instructions in the Vedas which say, "speak the truth and practice Dharma".

We live in the Ashram, but we still have all types of attachments. It is Shrama (pain and suffering) and not ashrama (free from these). A-shrama should be free from suffering.

Ruminate on what is being said and practice them. You must also practice sweet and smooth speech. Then alone will we see positive results of living in the ashram and listening to these Divine things.