Value Heroes


Bhagawan Baba, in all His Discourses throughout His earthly sojourn, has propagated and stressed on the practice of the five fundamental Human Values as the basis of all worldly and spiritual pursuits. These are Sathya (Truth), Dharma (Righteousness), Shanti (Peace), Prema (Divine Love) and Ahimsa (Non-violence). These fundamental Human Values manifest themselves in our life through a number of instrumental values. Understanding each one of these Human Values demands tremendous effort, time, experience and maturity.
As Bhagawan Baba says, life is the best teacher and nature is the best preacher. As we move along the journey of our life, these values unfold their true meaning and purport to us, provided we make a serious and sincere attempt to understand, appreciate and above all, put them into practice in our day to day life. However, an easier way of understanding and appreciating their meaning is to study the lives of great heroes / heroines who have actually lived and demonstrated these values in their lives. This posting is an attempt in that direction. There are many such great personalities embodying these Human Values spread across the length and breadth of our globe. However, the focus in this posting, which is just a sample, is on the rich and sacred epics and texts of the East. In Bharath, the name that goes synonymously with Sathya (Truth) is King Harischandra, popularly known as Sathya Harischandra. Yudhisthira, the eldest brother among the Pandavas was verily called Dharmaja, because of his strict adherence to Dharma (righteousness) in life. Shanti or forbearance was embodied by Draupadi, the consort of the Pandavas. Bhagawan narrates a possibly less known anecdote in the life of Draupadi, where she has demonstrated the forbearance of the highest order, an ideal for all people to follow. Ahimsa was verily the life-breath of Lord Buddha and the very centre-point of his message to humanity. Finally, Love crystallized in a human form and walking on two feet is none other than our beloved Bhagawan Baba. The five audio extracts in this posting have been taken from the Discourses delivered by Bhagawan in the years 1984, 1996 and 2000. There is one extract from a Discourse delivered in the year 1966, for which the audio version is not available.
Clip-1 focuses on the value of Truth, through the example of the life of Sathya Harischandra. In Clip-2 Bhagawan narrates a unique episode from the life of the Pandavas, wherein Dharmaja manifests equanimity of a high order and at the same time fulfils all his duties as per his Dharma. In Clip-3 Bhagawan highlights a very special episode in the life of Draupadi that sets an example of the quality of peace in the form of forbearance, for the entire world to emulate. As it would be apt to end the posting with Bhagawan’s life story, we cover Non-violence first and then Love. Clip-4 focuses on Non-violence and narrates a wonderful story from the life of Lord Buddha that is pregnant with profound wisdom and insights. Finally, Clip-5 presents one of those many episodes in the life of Bhagawan Baba, where He has showered His immense Love and Grace on His devotees.  
Each audio clip has a name that adopts the following code: Serial number, Title appropriate to the key content, Duration of the clip, Year-Month-Date of the Clip. Below the title is the translation in English of the select excerpt of the Discourse, followed by the audio player. The post ends with a short quiz that would help you evaluate your assimilation of Bhagawan’s Message from these extracts.  
Note: Those receiving this blog by email may see words bunched together due to a technical glitch. That is beyond my control. Please click on link at the top of the email to read the blog directly. Sorry about this. If anyone has a solution to this please help me out.

The Five Fundamental Human Values


01-Always Speak the Truth-1.36-1996 July 13
Sathya Harischandra – The King of Truth
Image Source

Rama is the very embodiment of Truth. But we utter all lies. We perform the Satyanarayana Vratam once a year; that is all. That is not right. Satatam Satyam. We must speak the truth always. Sarvada Sarvakaleshu Sarvatra Harichintanam. We must think of God always, at all times and everywhere. We must at least make an effort to speak the truth. But we are not doing that. The moment we open our mouth, it is lies. Whatever we say, it is lies. It is not even possible to know what the truth is.

Therefore students, do not give up truth under any circumstances, even if it comes to losing your very life. It is truth that will be with you, around you, front of you, behind you and will protect you like the eyelid of the eye. This is how Harischandra got transformed into Sathya Harischandra. He was challenged with so many difficulties and pains. He sold his wife and children; he sacrificed his kingdom, and finally became a cemetery worker. But he did not get shaken and he never gave up the truth. Finally, God Himself had to submit to him. God manifested before him, gave him back everything that he had lost and honoured him with the tile “Sathya Harischandra”.

02-Equanimity of Dharmaraja-Adherence to Dharma-3.45-2000 November 14
Dharmaja – The embodiment of Dharma
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Forty-two years after the (Kurukshetra) war, Arjuna was returning from Dwaraka. In what situation was he returning? The entire clan of Yadavas was embroiled in squabble, as a result of which Krishna had left His mortal coil, and Balarama and the Yadavas all perished. Knowing that Arjuna is coming, Kunti got up and sat down. No one has ever suffered as much as the Pandavas did. Since they experienced so many difficulties, they were able to stay so close to God. Kunti got up and awaited the arrival of Arjuna. Dharmaja went forward and received Arjuna. He asked, “Arjuna, how is our Krishna? Our friend, our brother-in-law, our relative; how is He?” Arjuna could not utter any words. “Krishna is no more!”, saying so, Arjuna collapsed. Hearing this news, Dharmaja went to his mother and said, “Mother, Krishna has passed away”. “Did Krishna pass away? Did Krishna pass away?”, she uttered thus thrice and gave up her life. The body (of Kunti) that gave up its life, fell on the lap of Dharmaja.

Holding mother Kunti who fell into his lap, Dharmaja was enquiring, “Mother, as Krishna has gone away, have you also gone to find Him? It appears to me that you have gone in search of Him. What for this life without Krishna? So long we have lived with Krishna, we have experienced Him, we have been victorious; we have been able to achieve all this only because of the help of Krishna”. Saying so, he called Bhima and Arjuna. He also called for Nakula and Sahadeva. He told Nakula and Sahadeva, “Start making preparations for our onward journey”. He called Bhima and told him, “Make preparations at the cemetery for the final rites of Mother (Kunti)”. He called Arjuna and asked him to organize the coronation of the young one (his grandson Parikshit).
How strange is this? On one side is the death of Kunti Devi, and she was being taken to the crematorium. On the other hand, arrangements were being made (for the Pandavas) to proceed to the forest. Yet, on the other hand, all were getting ready to coronate the young one (Parikshit). All these three events happened on the same day. Who can do this? No one can do this. Only devotees who have earned the Grace of God can accomplish such a task. Dharmaja alone could perform such a sacred task.

03-Forbearance of Mother Draupadi-An ideal for all-3.35-2000 May 19
Draupadi protects Aswathama – Epitome of Forbearance
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After the gruesome murder of the Upa-Pandavas (children of the Pandavas), Arjuna tracked Aswathama (the perpetrator of the atrocity) and dragged him (before Draupadi). Draupadi, the consort of the Pandavas, fell at the feet of the wicked Aswathama and enquired:

These children were at home
And did not enter the battlefield;
Nor did they hunt and kill;
They were just tiny tots,
Devoid of all ill feelings.
Why then did you cruelly strike them,
And in the darkness of night slaughter them?
They were the children of Dronacharya’s disciples,
That very same Drona,
Who was also your father and guru.
Can you truthfully declare,
That what you did was right?
(Telugu poem)
Bhima could not bear to see what Draupadi was doing. (Exploding in anger) Bhima roared:
Here is this demon,
Who has slaughtered our children,
And this foolish woman,
Is trying to reason with him!
Should the murderer be spared,
Or dealt with as he deserves?
If no one is willing to punish him,
I shall with bare hands,
Crush him to pulp!
(Telugu poem)
Consumed by fury, most of the Pandavas were about to jump on Aswathama. Draupadi raised her hand and said, “Stop, you should not kill such a person.”
O Phalguna (Arjuna)! It is wrong to kill
One who is afraid,
One whom courage has abandoned,
One who is asleep,
One who is intoxicated,
One who seeks refuge,
And finally, a woman.
(Telugu poem)
“You should not kill Aswathama, for he is your preceptor’s son. Just shave his head as a token punishment and set him free.” This is how Draupadi reacted to the situation; she did not show the slightest anger towards the one who mercilessly wiped out all her children.

04-Non-violence-Buddha refuses to react-6.02-1984 September 06
Lord Buddha – Personification of  Non-violence
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Once upon a time Buddha set out to seek alms. He neared the village that he was supposed to go to. All the residents of that village had great faith in Buddha. However, as he reached close to the village, some rowdies (ruffians), taking to the wrong path, started abusing him in all ways. Instead of travelling further, Buddha sat there on a rock. He asked (the ruffians), “Children, what is the pleasure that you get in abusing me?” Not giving any reply to him, they started abusing him in a more heinous manner. Buddha sat there stating that they could abuse him as long as they wanted.

They got exhausted by abusing him continuously and finally they were preparing to leave the place. As they were about to leave the place, Buddha addressed them thus, “Children, in the village that is nearby, all the people love me very much. If you would have behaved like this after I reached that village, they would have cut you down to pieces. Therefore, to make you escape that danger and to give you an opportunity to abuse me as long as you want, I sat here all this while”.
In order to make others happy, we have to put in lot of effort and spend lot of money. But today, it is so comforting to me that without spending even a naya paisa (a former monetary unit of India, the 100th part of a rupee) and without putting in any effort, I have been able to give so much happiness to so many of you. If you are so happy to abuse me, then am I not responsible for (giving you) that happiness? I have to satisfy you somehow. Therefore, I am happy that I have satisfied you.
To make others happy, there are many who build choultries, dig wells and perform several other tasks to help others. But without putting in any such effort, in this unique way, I have been able to make you wicked people so happy. This amounts to accomplishment of such a great task by me.
Buddha taught them one more lesson in a manner that made a great impact on their heart. Children, (let us say) a beggar comes to your house. He asks for alms – Bhavati Bhikshaandehi. You get some alms. But it is not the alms sought by the beggar. You have brought some other alms. The beggar asks, “What would you do if I do not accept the alms?” Your reply would be, “If you do not take the alms, I will take it back with me. It will belong to me only”.
In the same way, you all made an attempt to offer me the alms of abuses. I did not accept that. Then, whom will these alms reach? Redirect – it will reach back to you only. Therefore, you all are abusing yourselves and not me. If we post a registered letter to a friend, and if the friend does not accept the registered post, what would happen to that cover in the post office? It will be redirected and will reach the person who has sent it. In the same manner, if you have abused somebody, or if you have criticized somebody, and if they do not care about it, it will all get redirected to you only. Therefore, hatred and jealousy actually hurt you only. To think that it causes harm to others amounts to mean satisfaction.

04-A-Non-violence-Buddha refuses to react-1966 February 02 (No Audio File)
A Naasthika (atheist) came near Buddha and challenged him in violent language, abusing him, casting aspersions on him and his associates, exhibiting foul manners of the most reprehensible kind. Buddha listened to him but did not react at all. The poor fellow’s tongue got exhausted and he became mad with anger. He went out of the presence, in great huff. When asked the reasons why he did not speak a word in reply, the Buddha said, “When someone comes to your door with the intention to be your guest, the slightest indication that you have become aware of his coming, a word like “Hello” or “when did you come?” is enough to make him settle down in the house. But, if you do not notice him or react to his talk, he will return without much ado.”
Many of you are pained by the calumny that some papers are indulging in, regarding Me. Many are urging that something should be done about it. But, I am holding every one back, for that is the best way to deal with both praise and blame. The ocean knows no overflowing or drying up. It is ever full, ever majestic, ever unconcerned.
05-Love of Swami is that of a Thousand Mothers-4.44-1996 July 04
Embodiment of Love!

A small example. Though I do not want to remind you about this, but even a small boy, having given a promise to Swami, has been keeping up his promise to this day. The boy who spoke first, hails from Simla. I am seeing that boy now. He was so young ten years back. He was studying in Primary School. This and the other boy are brothers.

From Himachal Pradesh, the mother (of these children) was brought on a stretcher. They brought her to Brindavan. I took these two boys close to me and told the mother, “These are My children. You do not need to have any more anxiety. Do not worry about your children”. The mother also promised Swami, “Here take my children, O Sai Maata, I am offering them to you”. She handed over the sons and gave up her life. I brought these children here, from Brindavan. Then, they were very young. The boy said, “Mother Sai is my true mother. It is not that (physical) mother, but it is this mother who is most important to me”. The father also made a similar promise. Since then, both these children in Prasanthi Nilayam have not shed a single drop of tear. The tender hearts know pretty well the power of the promise given. Once a promise is given and upheld, there will be no sorrow in life. That is surrender. Mother died. The father too does not come here frequently. He has left them as Swami is taking care of them.
Every morning and evening, I am watching them, talking to them and enquiring about their well-being. The tender hearts have such total faith. Today, that boy spoke about faith so well. His heart is full of such faith. They have never experienced the pain of the absence of their (physical) mother. 
One day, saying that he is missing his mother, the Warden brought the boy to Me, from the Primary School. She said, “Swami he is not eating any food. He is crying”. At that time, the boy was five years old. He was studying in first standard. I called him, made him very happy, took him to the interview room, gave him a ring, pampered him in so many ways and made him forget his sorrow. From that day onwards he is always smiling and smiling.
Thus the hearts of the children are so sacred. The elders today are not able to recognize that sacred love. Love is so sacred. It gives you all the courage and valour. Would these children have survived had it been any other place? No! Because they were with Swami, they could live so well. Swami takes care with the love of a thousand mothers!


Value Heroes


A Short Quiz
01-What is the Sanskrit verse that advises us to think of God always, at all times and everywhere?
02-What were the three entirely independent events that Dharmaja was able to initiate and handle at the same time, with total equanimity?
03-In this age of multitasking, can the three tasks handled by Dharmaja in parallel, be considered as a great challenge? If yes, why?
04-What are the questions raised by Draupadi that testify the unjustified killing of the Upa-pandavas?
05-Draupadi with all her forbearance and wisdom prevents the Pandavas from killing Aswathama. She points out six situations wherein it is not justified to kill a person. What are these six situations?
06-Finally what are two reasons Draupadi states to ensure that the Pandavas do not kill Aswathama, the murderer of their children?
07-Evetually, does Draupadi let Aswathama go scott free?
08-Why does Buddha feel so happy in allowing the wicked people to abuse him continuously?
09-What is the reason that Buddha gives for sitting on the outskirts of the village so long, allowing the wicked people to abuse him?
10-What is the analogy of the beggar and the alms that Buddha gives to explain to the wicked people, as to why he did not react to their abuses?
11-What is the analogy of the guest that Buddha gives to explain to the wicked people, as to why he did not react to their abuses?
12-Bhagawan says that the tender hearts know the power of the promise given. What are three vows or promises that Bhagawan has given mankind as the Avataar of this age?
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Ashta Pushpam -The Eight Flowers to be offered to God


Be it any religion, any culture or any civilization, flowers play a very important role in prayers and worship. Bouquets, garlands, and in a variety of other forms; flowers adore the altar, the photograph, the mausoleum or the deity. Roses, jasmines, lotuses, marigolds, lilies, and the list can go on. In certain traditions, specific flowers are prescribed for specific forms of worship too. Thus, flowers are such an integral part of religious and spiritual practices that one can never imagine any ritual or practice without the use of flowers in some form or the other. Specifically, in Bharatiya culture, one would never find any temple without the idol bedecked with flowers and without a number of flower vendors lining up the entrance of the temple. Buying flowers and offering them to God, turns out to be a lively experience for the devotee and a livelihood for the vendor! 
However, these are only the external modes of worship and prayers. What are the flowers that we truly need to offer to God? Would we become deserving of God’s Grace only by spending some money and buying flowers to adorn Him? Would we advance spiritually by plucking flowers from the plants and offering these to Him in worship? Would God, in whatever name or form, be anxiously waiting for flowers to be offered to Him by His devotees? If God is omnipresent, omniscient and omnipotent, is He not present in the flowers? Is not the fragrance of the flowers an expression of His very own Self? Are not the infinite shades of colours of the flowers His very own manifestation? If yes, then why would He need these? If not, then what type of God do we believe in, who is so limited and incomplete that He desires for flowers to be offered to Him? Analyzing thus, we would realize that all these forms of worship and prayers are for our own satisfaction and not for satisfying God. These forms of worship and prayers give us joy, delight and provide the ambience for us to raise our consciousness and turn within to comprehend Him as our true Self! Thus, flowers do have their due place in prayers and worship, but one should not stop with that.
In this context, Bhagawan Baba states that He does not want the worldly flowers to be offered to Him; flowers that would fade and dry away within a few hours or a day. He wishes that we offer Him flowers that remain fresh and colourful forever! Where are these flowers available? What are they? It is precisely about these flowers that this blog post talks about. Bhagawan asks us to offer eight flowers to Him. He calls these the Ashta Pushpam (Eight Flowers). This blog post lists all the eight flowers and presents Bhagawan’s explanation for each of these. 
The twelve audio extracts in this posting are taken from the Discourse delivered by Bhagawan in the year 2000. 
Clip-1 gives an introduction to the eight flowers to be offered to God. In Clip-2, Bhagawan explains about the first flower of Ahimsa (Non-violence) to be offered to God. In Clip-3, Bhagawan describes the second flower of Indriya Nigraham (Sense-control). Clip-4 elaborates on the third flower of Sarva Bhoota Daya (Compassion towards all Beings). In Clip-5, Bhagawan illustrates the quality of compassion through the well known story of Abou Ben Adhem. In Clip-6, Bhagawan states that Compassion and Service to others is the highest among all the nine paths of devotion. Clip-7 explains about the fourth flower of Kshama (Forbearance). Clip-8 highlights the fifth flower of Santhi (Peace). In Clip-9, Bhagawan speaks about the sixth flower of Tapas(Penance). Clip-10 is about the seventh flower of Dhyanam (Meditation) and Clip-11 is finally about the eight flower of Sathyam (Truth). In the last Clip-12, Bhagawan reiterates that God does not want an offering of flowers that will dry and fade away. He wants us to offer flowers that will remain ever fresh.
Each audio clip has a name that adopts the following code: Serial number, Title appropriate to the key content, Duration of the clip, Year-Month-Date of the Clip. Below the title is the translation in English of the select excerpt of the Discourse, followed by the audio player. The post ends with a short quiz that would help you evaluate your assimilation of Bhagawan’s Message from these extracts.  
Note: Those receiving this blog by email may see words bunched together due to a technical glitch. That is beyond my control. Please click on link at the top of the email to read the blog directly. Sorry about this. If anyone has a solution to this please help me out.
01-The Eight Flowers to be offered to God-1.16-2000 August 22
Offering Eight Flowers to God
Image Source

Embodiments of Love! God does not expect from you the Shodashopachaara(16 forms of ritualistic worship) or the Ashtadasha Puraanam (Knowledge of the 18 Puraanaas) He wishes only for a few sacred flowers. The first flower is Ahimsa (Non-violence). It is very important. The second flower is IndriyaNigraham (Sense control). Sarva Bhoota Daya Pushpam (Compassion to all the beings) is the third flower. The fourth flower is Kshama (Forbearance). The fifth flower is Shanthi (Peace). The sixth flower is Tapas (Penance). The seventh flower is Dhyana (Meditation). The eighth flower is Sathya (Truth). It starts with Ahimsa(Non-violence) and ends with Sathyam(Truth). Therefore, when the beginning and the end meet, the life of the human being is redeemed.

02-The First Flower of Ahimsa-Non-violence to be offered to God-2.33-2000 August 22
Offering Non-violence at His Lotus Feet

The very first flower is Ahimsa (Non-violence). Ahimsa is to not hurt or cause pain to any life or being, either in thought, word or deed. But some doctors use the knife and perform an operation. Many wonder whether this does not amount to violence. No. No. To relieve the existing pain (of the patient), the doctor uses the knife and cuts the stomach. Thereafter, he gives (the patient) happiness, joy and health. This amounts to helping only and not hurting. It is non-violence only and not violence.

Some more say, “You eat all these vegetables. When you cut these vegetables, they must be feeling so much pain”. What we do does not affect these vegetables. Trees and vegetables do have life. But they do not have a mind. Because they do not have a mind, they do not feel the pain. They do not have wisdom either. If you cut a vegetable/fruit, there will be some sap oozing out. Looking at that, many feel that the vegetables/fruits are crying and shedding tears. This is natural water and not tears of sorrow. Sorrow comes only when there is mind. Delight /happiness is experienced only by the one with a mind. Humans have a mind. Animals and birds also have a mind. Germs and insects also have a mind. Trees and vegetables have life but do not have a mind. Therefore, the one without mind will experience no pain even when put to suffering.

03-The Second Flower of Indriya Nigraham-Sense-control to be offered to God-6.52-2000 August 22
Offering Sense-control at His Lotus Feet

The second flower is that of Indriya Nigraham (Sense-control). Any Sadhana (spiritual exercise) done without exercising control of senses, goes in vain. How do we control the senses? First and foremost is the tongue.

Jihve Rasagne Madhura Priya Twam
Satyam Hitam Twaam Paramam Vadami
Avarana Yeta Madhuraksharani
The tongue has got used to many tastes. We have to make an attempt to control such a tongue. “O Tongue, from the time you have been born, you would have eaten so many bags of rice, you would have eaten so many bags of wheat, you would have eaten so many bags of snacks, you would have eaten so many types of vegetables, you would have eaten so many delicacies; still are you not satisfied? Chhee (what a shame), what is the use of this life that is bereft of satisfaction?
You have to control the tongue and the taste. You have hunger and you have to eat. But, Bhikshaannam Deharakshaartham (You need food only to protect the body). You must eat so as to protect the (physical) body, not for the sake of taste. Therefore, “O tongue, give up (sacrifice) this taste. Eat for the sake of hunger. Provide strength (nutrition) to all the sense organs.  
This (Sense-control) is the second flower. Ahimsa is the first flower. The second flower is Indriya Nigraham. This is very important. We can achieve anything with control of senses. The senses are responsible for all the conflict, restlessness and lack of peace in the world today. In fact, we should teach a lesson to each of the sense organs.
We must teach a lesson to the mouth. “O mouth, how long will you keep eating like this? You are not contended inspite of eating for so long. Your life is just this”. As we advise the tongue, so should we advise the eyes also. “O eyes, you have been watching so many things. You have been experiencing so many things. Are you still not satisfied? What should you see? You have experienced whatever you have seen. You should indeed see the form of Truth alone, i.e. the form of God. Aspire for God. Contemplate on the real form of God. Therefore give up all these foolish things and consume the right things”
What should you consume?”
O ears, you are ready to listen to vain gossip and tales. But you are not ready to listen to matters of spirituality – Telugu verse.
O ears, you have been listening to so many things. You listen to all unnecessary things. You listen to all vain gossip of the town. You listen to all bad things, which are not good for you. You listen to all that comes on the radio. You listen to all that comes on the video. But what is the benefit you have got from all this? Chhee (what a shame), O ears, do not give in to such actions. Do not be ready for this. Listening to others’ matters, you are spoiling your heart. All that you hear gets imprinted on your heart. All the scenes that you see, get imprinted on your heart. Therefore, you are spoiling your heart. Today, the whole world is polluted. Taking in all this pollution, you are polluting your heart also. You are making your mind impure. When your mind is impure, what can you experience? Everything is useless.  
Yesterday, I spoke to the devotees from Visakhapatnam. Our heart is like a pen. As is the ink in the pen so will be the lines and the writing. The colour will be the same as the ink. Therefore, the human heart is like a pen. It writes all the worldly matters and gets imprinted there. You need to fill this pen (of the heart) with the ink of love. Then, all your thoughts, all your words and all your actions will also be full of love. Whatever you write with this pen (heart) of love, will be full of love only. It will have the same colour. Thus, we must fill our hearts with love and lead a sacred life.

04-The Third Flower of Sarva Bhoota Daya-Compassion towards all Beings to be offered to God-0.51-2000 August 22 
Offering Compassion to all Beings at His Lotus Feet

The third flower is compassion towards all beings. We should not hate any being. Bhagavad Gita calls this, “Adveshtaa Sarvabhootaanaam(devoid of malice towards anyone). It is not just absence of hate, you must also not have too much interaction (connection) with others. Live in love with all. This is the flower of compassion towards all beings.

05-Compassion towards all Beings-Story of Abou Ben Adhem-3.19-2000 August 22
The one whom God Loves
Image Source

The flower of compassion towards all beings is very significant. Not just in Bhaarath, but in all nations, the flower of compassion towards all beings is very important. Boys know this (story) very well. There was a person by name Abou Ben Adhem who was always engaged in service. He would go to the bazaar and serve people without legs, eyes and other physically challenged people. He would return exhausted, late in the night, to his home. This is the flower of compassion towards all beings.

One day, he returned home very exhausted. He saw a woman sitting and writing something. She was not an ordinary woman. She was an angel. After a while, he got up and asked her, “Mother, who are you? What are you writing?” She replied, “I am an angel. I am making a list of all those who love God”. Abou Ben Adhem asked, “Is my name there by any chance?” She replied, “Son, your name is not there here”. “Very happy” said Abou Ben Adhem. The angel disappeared and he went to sleep. 
The next day, again when Abou Ben Adhem returned home, he saw a woman sitting there and writing something. Recognizing her, he asked, “Mother, what are you writing today?” She replied, “Son, today I am making the list of all those who are loved by God. Yesterday, I was writing the list of people who loved God. Today, I am writing the list of people who are loved by God.” Abou Ben Adhem asked, “Is my name there in this?” She replied, “Other than your name, there is no other name here”. Thus, service to others is the highest.

06-Compassion towards all Beings-Service is highest among all nine paths of devotion-1.35-2000 August 22
Service is the Highest form of Devotion

Nine forms of service have been prescribed in this world. But among these nine types of devotion, service is the most important. Shravanam, Keertanam, Vishnu Smaranam, Paadasevanam, Vandanam, Archanam, Daasyam, Sneham, Atma Nivedanam. Among these nine forms of devotion, compassion towards all beings is the most important. Abou Ben Adhem was constantly engaged in serving other people. It is this eservice that earned him the first name in the list. That is why God started loving him. God loves all. Love is His very Form. But God comes forth and specifically loves those who show compassion towards all beings. Therefore, we must be apt in this art of service.

07-The Fourth Flower of Kshama-Forbearance to be offered to God-2.01-2000 August 22
Offering Forbearance at His Lotus Feet

The fourth flower is very important. The flower of forbearance is very special and significant. Pandavas suffered so many troubles at the hands of the Kauravas. Their consort Draupadi was humiliated. But Dharmaja maintained forbearance in all circumstances. That very forbearance protected the Pandavas and set them as an ideal example for the entire world. Therefore, the flower of forbearance is very dear to the Lord. Only when you offer the flower that is dear to the Lord, He will be happy and will confer the boons on you. What is the use of offering any number of flowers to God, if you do not offer that flower which is dear to Him? The other flowers are those that will dry away, fade away and wither away. But the flowers that must be offered to God are the flowers of forbearance, compassion towards all beings, sense-control and non-violence. These four flowers are very important.

08-The Fifth Flower of Santhi-Peace to be offered to God-3.01-2000 August 22
Offering Peace at His Lotus Feet

The fifth flower is Shanthi (Peace). In spite of facing any number of difficulties, in spite of facing obstacles, in spite of any objections, we must observe peace. When you have peace you will be graced with compassion. To be deserving of God’s Grace, you need to have peace (patience). Tyagaraja had to face so many difficulties. Potana had to face so many difficulties. So too, Tukaram and Shivaji. But they were able to resist all difficulties and observe peace (patience). The one who observes peace (patience) will be the recipient of God’s Grace in bounty. 

That is why, Saint Tyagaraja said, “Shaantamu Leka Saukhyamu Ledu” – Without peace (patience) there is no happiness. We need physical, mental, worldly and practical peace. But how can we earn this peace? In the outer world there is no peace. There is no peace in the material comforts or in the external objects. This peace is verily our own form. Therefore, this flower of peace has to manifest from within us and cannot come from without.
We must be able to face all the difficulties and challenges that come our way and must move forward. There will be so many difficulties in this world. There will be so many challenges in this physical world. We must not take note of all these. The human birth has been given to overcome all these. The human birth has not been given for mere comfort and pleasure. It is not for experiencing worldly happiness. We are anyway experiencing all these. Animals and birds are also enjoying these. But this is not what we need to experience. We need to experience the real peace. That is the very nature of our heart. We should be able to achieve that peace which emanates from the heart. Thus, the flower of peace is the fifth one.

09-The Sixth Flower of Tapas-Penance to be offered to God-3.07-2000 August 22
Offering Penance at His Lotus Feet

The flower of Tapas (Penance). What is Penance? Does penance mean going to the forest, partaking of roots and tubers and remembering God? This truly amounts to Tamas (sloth). What is real penance? Penance means being ready for anything. It means exercising control over the senses. Penance means controlling the agitation that arises in our thought, word and deed. It means putting a check on the disturbances that arise in our Satva, Rajas and Tamas qualities. We must have equanimity in all states of Satva, Rajas and Tamas. We must continuously focus our mind on God. The one with such a heart is a true human being. Hrut + Daya = Hrudaya. True penance means a human being must be filled with compassion. It is not merely wasting time or misuse of time. True penance means uniting the three. He is a true Yogi. Manas Ekam, Vachas Ekam, Karmanyekam Mahaatmanam (He is a noble soul who has unity between his thought, word and deed).

Na Tapaamsi Na Teerthaanaam
Na Shaastraanaam Japaanahi
Samsaara Saagarotaare
Sajjanam Sevanam Vina.
Neither penance, nor pilgrimage, nor scriptures, nor meditation can help you cross the ocean of the world. Service to the noble ones alone can help you cross the ocean of Samsaara (world).
True penance means uniting the three Gunas (qualities). You may get anger, but you must control it. You may become very enthusiastic, but that has also to be controlled. You may become very happy but that also must be put under check. Sorrow may come but that also must be controlled.
Sukha Dukhe Same Kritva
Labha Labhou Jaya Jayou
(Verse 38, Chapter-2 – Bhagavad Gita)
We must exercise the spirit of equanimity in times of both sorrow and joy. That is true penance. You may do any work, you may engage in any service but do not entertain desires. Penance is the state bereft of desires.

10-The Seventh Flower of Dhyanam-Meditation to be offered to God-3.07-2000 August 22
Offering Meditation at His Lotus Feet

The seventh flower is that of Dhyanam (Meditation). What is meditation? People think that closing the eyes, sitting in the lotus posture and thinking of the Paramaatman(Supreme Being) is meditation. This is a physical and worldly type of meditation. This is meditation done in a worldly way. This is necessary. But to what extent? It is necessary until you get Paripurna Siddhi – total and complete attainment.

(But true) Dhyana (meditation) is not this. Meditation means to merge the mind in God. When water mixes with milk, you cannot separate water from the milk. In the same way, when the principle of love merges in God, it cannot be separated from God. When iron is put in fire, the whole iron becomes fire itself. It burns wherever you touch it. Therefore, our principle of love must merge in the Love of God. The Vedas call this as, “Brahmavid Brahmaiva Bhavati” (The knower of Brahman becomes Brahman Himself). The two should become one. The iron and the fire should not be separate. They should become one. Our mind should become one with the feeling of God.
Just performing meditation in the morning and evening and uniting with God for that brief period is not meditation.
Sarvadaa Sarvakaaleshu Sarvatraa Harichintanam
You must think of God always and at all times. While doing any work, you may focus on the work, but keep this Love (God) as the undercurrent. This is true meditation. Meditation is not remembering God by setting aside a limited period of time. This would amount to only part time devotion. What is needed is full time devotion. Therefore, meditation is not sitting for a brief period in the lotus posture and remembering God. In that case, God’s Grace will come for a moment and then go away. Once God’s Grace comes, it should stay permanently with you. We should pray so as to (be able to) meditate truly and continuously.

11-The Eight Flower of Sathyam-Truth to be offered to God-1.41-2000 August 22
Offering Truth at His Lotus Feet

The eight flower is Sathyam (Truth). This is very important. The creation is born out of Truth. The creation exists because of Truth and the creation will ultimately merge in Truth. Therefore, Truth is a very important Sadhana (spiritual exercise).   

Satymabulanundi Sarvambuputinche
Satyambulananage Sarvasrushti
Satyamahimaleni Sthalamedikanugunna
Shuddha Satvam Idiye Choodaraiyya
The Creation emerged out of Truth, is sustained in Truth and finally merges in Truth. Is there any place where there is no Truth. It is the unsullied pure Truth that we see everywhere.
Trikaalabhaajyam Sathyam
Truth is that which does not change with time. It is always ever existent. Everything may vanish, but the Truth will always remain. That Truth is God. Therefore, Truth is God, Live in Truth. We must live in Truth and end our lives in Truth. This Truth is the eighth flower.

12-God does not want Flowers that will dry and fade away-1.11-2000 August 22
God does not want flowers that will dry away

God will not accept your flowers which fade and dry away. The priest gets so many types of flowers and performs worship. “O priest, is this what you have learnt in all this time? You are getting lorries and lorries of rose flowers, lorries and lorries of jasmine flowers and other fragrant flowers. What is the use of getting all these? The flowers you get today fade away tomorrow. It is not these flowers that I want. I want the flower of peace, the flower of love. These will not fade and dry away. You perform worship with such flowers”.

Therefore, when we worship God with these flowers, He will lovingly accept these. God will not expect any other type of flowers.    

A Short Quiz
01-Do you know what constitutes the Shodashopachaara (16 forms of ritualistic worship)? Can you list them out with a brief description for each?
02-What are the eight flowers that need to be offered to God and that would please Him?
03-Does not cutting open a patient’s body by the doctor, with a surgical knife, amount to violence??
04-Does not plucking and cutting fruits and vegetables amount to causing pain to them and thus amount to violence?
05-How does Bhagawan ask us to advise our tongue so as to exercise control over our taste?
06- What is the meaning of the phrase, “Bhikshaannam Deharakshaartham”?
07- How does Bhagawan ask us to advise our eyes so as to exercise control over our sight?
08- How does Bhagawan ask us to advise our ears so as to exercise control over our hearing?
09-What is the analogy that Bhagawan draws between the human heart and the writing pen?
10-What is the meaning of the phrase, “Adveshtaa Sarvabhootaanaam”. Which flower among the eight flowers does it talk about?
11-Narrate briefly the story of Abou Ben Adhem. What is the central message of this story?
12-Bhagawan states that service is the highest among all the nine forms of devotion. List the nine forms (paths) of devotion.
13-Whose example does Bhagawan give to illustrate the fourth flower of Kshama(Forbearance) that we must offer to the Lord?
14-Talking of the fifth flower of Santhi (Peace), Bhagawan gives the example of four great and noble personalities who stand as role models of peace for the entire world. Who are these four personalities?
15-How can we earn Santhi (Peace)?
16-What is true Tapas (Penance) according to Bhagawan?
17-What is the meaning of the phrase, “Manas Ekam, Vachas Ekam, Karmanyekam Mahaatmanam”? What is the similar opposite phrase that Bhagawan usually speaks of, immediately after this phrase?
18-What is the way to cross the ocean of Samsaara (world)? What is the Sanskrit verse that Bhagawan gives in this context?
19-What are the four emotions that we need to control as part of our penance?
20-What is the meaning of the verse, “Sukha Dukhe Same Kritva, Labha Labhou Jaya Jayou”?
21-What is the worldly type of meditation that Swami talks about? How long does one need to practice this worldly type of meditation?
22-What is true Dhyana (Meditation)?
23-How does Bhagawan explain the Vedic dictum, “Brahmavid Brahmaiva Bhavati” using the analogy of iron and fire?
24-What does Bhagawan say about the eight flower of Sathyam (Truth)?
25-What is the meaning of the phrase, “Trikaalabhaajyam Sathyam”? In this context, one may recall that Bhagawan has talked about the three types of Truth – Nijam, Satyam and Ritam. Explain these three types of Truth?
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