Life's greatest secret: What you hold within is what you get
The setting - Venue where the SECRET was revealed
It was the 31st of August, 2008. It was a tremendously momentous day for the alumni of Swami’s Institute working in various capacities at Prasanthi Nilayam and Brindavan. That morning, however, none of them had the slightest inkling of what was in store for them. The 2nd of September marks the formation of the Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust and it is a day that all the students who have decided to stay in the physical proximity have chosen as their special day - the Sai Sannidhi Day.
And today, their dear Master and best friend for life, Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba had decided to confer on them the Secret to Life. This Secret is so profound but so subtle that one often misses it.
When we consider something as simple and it turns out to be complex, we get stuck, unable to comprehend what’s happening. The converse is also true. When something that we consider as complex or even complicated turns out to be simple, we get stuck, unable to comprehend what’s happening!
That second case was true of what happened to me as I sat listening to Swami on the 31st of August, 2008. What He said seemed so difficult to believe. He sensed that and presented an example which made things so easy to grasp, appreciate and imbibe. Today, when I look back to that day, I feel that if I am able to keep that one discourse in my heart, for life, my life is fulfilled!
So much of a build-up but then we humans are often accustomed to a build-up before anything grand - so much so that the grandeur may get missed if not for the build-up! Isn’t that the case in any TV show/film, the Olympics, the announcement of results or even narrating a story? Well, here is what happened on that day.
The world exists because the mind exists
He started off by asking,
“Does anyone have any spiritual doubts to ask?”
Nobody spoke for quite some time. It was as if a golden opportunity was being let go of because nobody had any spiritual doubts to ask about. One among us decided that a doubt asked here would benefit not only the hundred or so of us, but the entire humanity. So, mustering courage, he asked,
“Swami, please tell us how to control the mind.”
Swami began the reply,
Mind has no death and there is none who can control it. The body dies, but not the mind which tags along with the soul. It is forever. Without this consciousness, man cannot live. Mind has to be there for the Mind is the nature of man. When you are a man, mind will exist. It is only when you become God, the mind goes and all become One.The diversity and variety you see is because of the mind. Only in Advaitic state (state of non-dualism), mind vanishes and so does the diversity. As long as the feelings of mine and thine stay the mind will exist. This is mine, that is mine - such thoughts keep the mind in existence. All this is Dvaitam, dualism. Mind will be fickle as long as duality exists. Advaitha is - “I am I”. If you think anything else, mind exists.
That was profound we knew simply because Swami was saying it. But it would surely take our entire human life to understand it. For once it was understood, our life no longer remains ‘human’! Swami had simply stated the Inconvenient Truth in a more palatable manner! But just because something is more palatable doesn’t make it easy to digest. In order to aid digestion, Swami gave a simple yet beautiful example.
The story at the hall of mirrors
“A dog once entered a hall of mirrors. Seeing so many dogs (in the mirrors) all around, it felt that it must assert its supremacy - according to the eat or be eaten philosophy. As it growled in authority, hundreds of dogs growled back at it. Now it realized that it must do something more drastic. So, it attacked one of the ‘dogs’. The mirror collapsed and broke into pieces. Now there were a thousand new dogs growling back and attacking the dog! That is how dogs behave.
But then, a human entered the same hall. He was only filled with love and admiration, because he knew the truth that it was only him being reflected everywhere. He was blissful throughout his stay in the hall of mirrors. When he noticed any defect, he immediately corrected himself. Everything became perfect again!”
And to depict this, Swami ‘set’ His hairstyle and showed that once ‘our’ fault is corrected, the reflections automatically are fine too! And that is what we should do whenever we see any faults - set ourselves right. Hasn’t Swami told us repeatedly,
“There is nothing wrong in Srishti (creation); it is all the fault of Drishti (vision)” ?
Ok. If we even theoretically accept that the world is how we see it, that our mind makes us actually see in the first place and the ‘world’ would be ‘gone’ once we shed our ‘individuality’ to become a part of the whole, how does it help us? (An interesting observation here based on Advaita - each one of us is God and the whole world is also God means that the part of the whole contains the hole in it! Science has discovered this through the phenomenon of fractals.)
The question therefore is,
“How does the theoretical knowledge that
1. everything is Divine and
2. what our mind ‘sees’ is what we ‘experience’
help us in practical life? “
The answer is simple - We should ensure that our thoughts and feelings are only those that we like. It is here that positive thinking and divine thinking come into play. The whole thing becomes clear with a single example of a mirror.
The day when my Master told me that considering "I am God" is not ego...
A practical example
Stand in front of a mirror. Take a glass in your hand and hold it out against the mirror. Say, “I want a glass.” What do you see in the mirror?
A glass no doubt.
And now, place the glass down and hold up a plate. Now say, “I don’t want a plate.” What do you see in the mirror?
The plate no doubt.
And therein lies the secret - It does not matter whether we ‘want’ or ‘don’t want’ something; it does not matter whether we ‘like’ or ‘dislike’ something. What we hold is what we see.
And that is what happens to us in daily life too. What we ‘get’ is what we ‘hold’ within us. I want to get the top rank in my class. But all the while, in my head are thoughts of how it is going to be tough; how my competitor will somehow come trumps in the crunch situation; how am not a favorite of the teacher concerned. Though I ‘want’ the first rank, I hold thoughts which reflect ‘missing the first rank’!
Again, I dislike someone and want to avoid him at any cost. But if I keep thinking that I must avoid him, I am actually holding thoughts that reflect ‘him’ into my life. It would be better instead to hold thoughts of those whom I love and like - isn’t it?
What you want in life - hold those thoughts/feelings and play them over and over again in you. What you don’t want in life, don’t give it any space in your being - thoughts or feelings. A neat secret, don’t you think so?? This very secret, our ancients pronounced as
"Yad Bhavam Tad Bhavati." (As is the feeling, so is the result.)
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