An Eventful Day at Prasanthi Nilayam during Navaratri Celebrations

Saturday, November 4, 2000 


Today after morning Darshan, most of the students went to Kothacheruvu town for the distribution of Prasadam and clothes. In the evening after the interview, Swami came to the Ganesh portico and enquired from the teachers about the Seva activity. When the Warden mentioned the name of a village… 

Swami : It is Parvathamma’s (Swami’s sister) in-laws village. Her grandson, Shravan Kumar studied M.B.A. in our College. (While discussing about the Grama Seva, Swami said) Some villagers explain, some others inspire and some complain. (Contrasting the educated with the uneducated village folk, Swami said) Educated people have spoiled mind. They have doubts from head to toe. 

Brindavan Warden : Swami, because of desires. 

Swami : Desires. Monkey desires. They don’t have humility. 

Prof. A. K. : They have the feeling: ‘I am special’

Swami : Ahamkaram (ego). (Then Swami went on to describe the story of Chanakya, an Indian teacher, philosopher and royal advisor belonging to the second and third century BC, he authored the ancient Indian political treatise called ‘Artha Shastra’ and is considered to be the pioneer of the field of Economics and Political Science in India.) Educated people do not have Pavitrata (purity). (Prof. Anil Kumar asked a question whether all educated people are like that. For this Swami said) A truly educated man behaves well and does not have ego. But those who are partially educated (half-knowledge) have ego. Because of that they become low. 

Prof. A. K. : Swami, they have the ego of being educated. 

Swami : A fully educated man would have Sama Darshanam (equanimity). But a partially educated man will have Vakra Darshanam (crooked vision). 
There was a Vyakarana Pandit (scholar in grammar). 

Prof. A. K. : Swami, Panini. 

Swami : Yes, Panini. He wrote grammar. Bhaskara wrote Ganita-Shastra (Mathematics). (Then Swami narrated the story of Ashtavakra, a sage mentioned in the Bharatiya scriptures, he is described as one born with eight different deformities of the body. He was the author of the work ‘Ashtavakra Gita’, a treatise on the instruction by him to King Janaka about the Self.) He got the bent body because of the Shapam (curse) given by his father. It is not due to Papam (sin). There is difference between Shapam and Papam. Tell boys what I have told. 

Prof. Anil Kumar repeated aloud (in English) whatever Swami spoke, the story of Chanakya and Ashtavakra. Swami then gave a talk. It resembled the experience that students have in Trayee Brindavan. The English transcription of the talk is given below: 

Divine Discourse in Sai Kulwant Hall 
One day, Ashtavakra’s father was reciting Mantras (sacred syllables). He was chanting them with wrong intonations. At that time, his wife was lighting a lamp. Within her womb, Ashtavakra criticised his father, telling that his intonations were wrong. Hearing this, his father was annoyed and said, “If he is criticising from within the womb itself, tomorrow, when he grows up, he will criticise me further.” Therefore, he cursed him to be born with bends in his body. Not one, but eight bends. Hence he got the name Ashtavakra. Once, Ashtavakra went to the king’s court. Noticing the bends in his body, everyone laughed at him. Ashtavakra scolded them saying that they were all cobblers and not scholars. Ashatavakra explained that scholars should have Sama Darshanam (equal vision) and not Charma Darshanam (focus on the physical vision; Charma literally means leather, thereby indicating the physical body). They must not have Vakra Darshanam (crooked vision). A scholar sees a person’s intellect while a cobbler sees the skin. 

Once, Chanakya’s mother was crying. When Chanakya asked her the reason, she replied, “Since you have a handsome body, you may become egoistic. In addition, you also have well-arranged teeth, which means that very soon in your life, you will reach an exalted position and then you may not respect elders or even your own mother.” Hearing this Chanakya said that he never wanted to become such an egoistic person. He even took a stone and broke two of his teeth in the front. Even the limbs of the body indicate the personality of a man as described in the Angashastra (science of the limbs). His mother had studied it. 

It is not enough if one studies well. He should have obedience, discipline and humility. Ego is expressed in many ways, it manifests in one’s sight, speech and even laughter. Each limb of the body shows traces of ego. Every limb of the body should act according to Dharmashastra (the righteous scriptural injunctions). Sometimes we talk in excess. Too much talk will lead to criticising others. Criticising others will cause disorderliness of lips. At the time of birth, one’s nose may be good, but later it may get bent. Hence, even if one is born with a perfect body, his egoistic actions will lead to physical deformities.

Einstein (1879-1955 AD; a German-born theoretical physicist, he developed the General Theory of Relativity, one of the two pillars of modern physics, and received the 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics) was never egoistic. He respected all equally. Once someone asked him, “What is the secret of your greatness?” To this he replied, “I will show you the secret”. He then took him to his room. He lived in a very small room. There he pointed to a cupboard. In that, there was a copy of the Bhagavad Gita. Showing that he said, “This has brought me success and reputation”. He had full faith in the Gita. His unique quality was his forgiveness. He was married at a very young age to an illiterate woman who happened to be his uncle’s daughter. She used to keep waiting for him at the dining table. But he would keep on writing. One day she got very angry. She would tell him, “You keep fasting and don’t listen to me. You and your useless studies”. But Einstein wouldn’t react impulsively. Though his wife would feel very hungry at times, she never ate her meals before her husband had eaten. It was the culture of those days. One day, however, in her frustration, she poured a pot full of water on his head. Still he was very calm. He said, “My dear wife. Be peaceful. Till now, you were ‘thundering’. Now it is a ‘heavy downpour’!! I am not feeling bad that you poured water on me, but the letters have got spoilt. All the matter which I had written has been erased.” In those days, people would dip their pens in inkpots and then write. When Einstein told his wife that everything was erased, she replied, “This means that the ‘intelligence’ was not within you. You got it from outside, and hence you are feeling sorry. If it were inside you, you wouldn’t have felt sorry.” From that day, Einstein reasoned that everything outside was just reaction, reflection and resound; not reality. He accepted his wife as his Guru and began to explore within. 

Tulsidas was also the same. (Tulsidas was a poet-saint, reformer and philosopher renowned for his devotion to Rama. A composer of several popular works, he is best known as the author of the epic ‘Ramcharitmanas’, a retelling of the Sanskrit Ramayana in the vernacular Awadhi language. He left his mortal coil in the year 1623 AD.) He composed the Tulsi Ramayan. Once, when he was in Chitrakoota, many people went to have his Darshan. One day his wife also went there. But she didn’t have the feeling that he was her husband. Previously, his name was Ramabrahmam. He used to water the Tulsi plants, and hence he was called Tulsidas. Just like everyone, his wife also prostrated before him. Seeing her he asked, “Why did you come here?” She replied, “I heard people say that you are a Jnani (one of wisdom). But now, you are behaving like a Moorkha (fool). You still entertain thoughts of me being your wife. How can you be great then?” This opened his eyes and he immediately fell at her feet. He told that from that day onwards, his wife was his Guru. 

Some may look innocent. But then, one must not infer anything merely from looks. Einstein might not have forgotten what he had written, if it were original. But he had borrowed the knowledge. His wife showed him the reality. Everyone reads. But it is not from within. If it is from within, it will not get erased. If one forgets something, it is because of the fact that it is not original. People may seem to be ignorant, yet they have wisdom. Educated people have only borrowed knowledge. They are full of doubts. They even doubt their mothers and think, “Am I really her son?” When they doubt their own mother, they will surely doubt their wives even more. True education is knowledge that is within, not the outside scholarship. The latter is simply an educator and not educated. Hence, Educare is essential. People pronounce ‘edju-cated’. It is actually ‘edu-cated’. 

Teacher : Swami, by doing Grama Seva, we are getting true education. 

Swami : Yes, real education. Children are working whole-heartedly. (Again about pronunciation) When students do some mistake they say that they have committed a mistake. Actually it is not mistake but ‘miss + take’. Boys do not have good pronunciation. But they say Swami does not pronounce properly. 

Prof. A. K. : They never think like that, Swami. 

Swami : They also pronounce the word ‘Master’ wrongly. It is ‘Maaster’ and not ‘Mas-ter’. (Swami articulated the right pronunciation.) Master the mind, be a mastermind. When does one become a master? When one has total control of senses. If there is no control, he will not be a master. He becomes a slave. Only such a Master (the one with sense control) is a man. 
Others have no right to call themselves to be a man. 

Prof. A. K. : Swami, I was thinking that by wearing this kind of dress we are masters. 

Swami : No. Not by dress or by collecting information or by form (physical appearance) one becomes a master. He is not at all a man, who doesn’t have control over his senses. He is an animal. Einstein also said the same, “I am not an animal. I am a man.” (Swami looked at His wrist) Why has the music not yet begun? 

B. Warden : Since Swami was talking, they didn’t want to disturb. 

Swami : No. Let the Bhajans begin. 

It was already past 5.30 pm. After Bhajans Swami retired to His Poornachandra residence. 



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