The Mind and Its Mysteries
The mind is a wonder; its antics are even more surprising. It has no distinct form or shape. It assumes the shape of the thing it is involved in. Wandering from wish to wish, flitting from one desire to another is its nature. Hence it is the cause of loss and grief, of elation and depression. Its effects are both positive and negative. It is worthwhile for man to know the characteristics of the mind and the ways to master it for one's ultimate benefit. The mind is prone to gather experiences and store them in memory. It does not know the art of giving up. Nothing is cast away by the mind. As a consequence, grief, anxiety and misery continue simmering in it. If only the mind can be taught renunciation (Tyaga), one can become a yogi.
The swimmer in the river has to push aside the water in front and to kick the water backward so that he can move forward straight and fast. Forcing the water back is the act that takes him forward. That is to say, do not attach importance to the water. Throw it back; give it up, renounce; that alone can help you to progress, even an inch. Instead, man collects and stores, accumulates and takes pride in what he holds firm, regardless of the preciousness of the human trait of renunciation. So, we sink in material possessions, victories and vagaries. We do not float or swim across the temptations.
We must try to discover and learn the means of progress. We may well ask, how can a person sunk in relative knowledge become aware of the Absolute, the Atma? But there is no reason for despair, or for condemning ourselves as mean and low. For, when small people take big decisions, they earn encouragement from the great. When the tiny squirrel decided to share in building the passage across the sea, did it not receive the blessings of Lord Rama? The squirrel knew that its help could only be negligible, but the feeling of dedication, which prompted it, won it the grace of God.
Humans, however, do not generally sublimate small Sadhana [spiritual practices] through high purpose. They engage in Bhajan, Puja [ritual], and Dhyana [meditation]. These are but physical exercises. The mind does not elevate them through sincerity. The heart does not pour forth or vibrate in these. So, they remain at the human level. They do not rise to the Divine. The heart has to be offered in full. Devotion has to fill and overflow the heart.
From Unreal to the Real
The inner core of each living thing is God. Joys and sorrows are the results of the mind's involvement in the transient and the trivial. Divine grace falls like the sun's rays. The sun is not tarnished by anything harmful which it falls upon. The Self too is unaffected by the effects of the mind pursuing the senses wherever they lead it. When one becomes aware that the Self is God, there can be no fear of death haunting him. The building may collapse, but the basis is safe.
Only the body dies; the Atma is beyond birth and death. By being aware of this, one is soaked in Ananda [bliss]. Give up what has to be cast away, know what has to be known and attain what has to be attained. Then Ananda becomes your unruffled nature. So give up the idea of the world being valid; know the reality of the Self and attain the source – the Brahman. This is the significance of the Upanishadic prayer,
Asato Maa Sat Gamaya
Tamaso Maa Jyotir Gamaya
Mrityor Maa Amritam Gamaya
This is a prayer asking to be led from the Jagat [universe] which is constantly being built and rebuilt, resolved and dissolved, into the Divine whose Being undergoes no change. The darkness symbolizes the ignorance which induces identification with the body-senses-mind-reason complex. The light reveals the divine core, over which all the rest is superimposed by the fog of faulty vision. Death affects only the body-mind complex. When we are led into the light, we become aware that we are the undying Atma [Soul], and so we become immortal.
The human heart is an ocean, whose depth none can gauge nor can anyone limit its horizon. The ocean has countless pearls and precious corals but it has also sharks and crocodiles. One has to explore continuously and boldly for the gems and pearls of good thoughts and feelings, and cultivate them more and more.
You Are Indeed Unique
There are two obstacles which prevent man in this valuable effort. The first is the tendency to compare oneself with others. This is very wrong. No two things or two men are identical. Even identical twins grow in distinct ways of life. No one of the millions of leaves on a tree is exactly the same as another. Billions of human beings are there on earth, but which is the press that has given each of them a novel imprint? This is the glory of God. Man is created by God, each with his distinct nature, quality, potentiality and destiny. How, then, can anyone compare himself with another and either exult or despair? We say he is tall and feel dejected because we are short. We are proud that we are better than others. All this is very silly when we come to think of it.
Secondly, we are in the habit of justifying our faults, rationalizing our errors and avoiding the responsibility of facing them squarely and correcting them. These two attitudes thicken man's ignorance and breed further failings. Everyone has God as the source. No one is higher or lower. We are all kin, through God from whom we have come. Parents and other physical relations are those whose impact we feel on the way. But, the source and the goal is God and God alone.
The Voice of God is Within You
One can grow only after the Divine within us is developed, after its discovery. Live in God, with God, on God and for God. Drink God, eat God, see God, and reach God. God is the Truth, the substance, the Heart of Man. 'I am the occupant of your heart', says Krishna. Every cell in the human body is God, though under a microscope you cannot find Him. You are now recording My speech in the cassette, but can you see My voice or words now on the cassette? No. When you play it back, you can hear the words. So too, the body is the tape, the voice of God is imminent. Equip it with faith and tune it with love. Then, you can imbibe My voice and words. A pure heart, a cleansed mind, a God-filled consciousness will help you to listen to the voice of the God within you.
~ Sathya Sai Baba
Source: My Dear Students! Divine Discourses to His Students
Vol 1, pp. 29 – 33. [Excerpts from discourse]