Whatever you think, you become that. If you know the source you have come from, you will become that. You should know where you have come from. All have come from the Atma. There is no other place other than the Atma. And again at the end of lives’ sojourns, you have to return back to the Atmic Principle. In between these two, you may take many lives. As told earlier, the water in the ocean gets converted into water vapour and forms the cloud. The clouds further form the rain. All the water evaporated from the ocean doesn’t come back to the ocean directly from the rain. Some water gets collected in the tanks, some in streams and some goes into the rivers. But finally all these rivers, streams and the lakes merge in the ocean. Because of good company the streamlets also get elevated and subsequently merge in the mighty ocean. Hence your company is important. You should have good company and good relations. Run away from bad company. That is what you have to do first and foremost. Then you will become good. You should not be contented that you are away from bad company. Get into good company. Do meritorious deeds day and night. But you don’t do that. If you do good deeds, you will know what is eternal and what is temporary. You should merge into the Reality; then you will know what is good and what is not.
You should have a clear understanding of these four components:
1. Running away from bad company (Tyaja Durjana Samsargam);
2. Getting into good company (Bhaja Sadhu Samagamam);
3. Doing meritorious deeds day and night (Kuru Punyam Ahoratram); and
4. Understanding what is real and what is not (Smar Nitya Anityatam).
Till you understand all these things clearly, your practice should go on. As long as you don’t know all these four things, you will be caught in this cycle of birth and death. Thus, everything in this world is depends on your company.
Once there was a thief who used to rob every day and escape from the police. One day he killed a person while robbing. When he was caught, he was put in the jail. He was sentenced to 10 years of imprisonment. Ten years passed, his punishment was over, and he was to be sent back. But before he was about to leave the jail, the jailer went to him and asked him to pack his clothes so that he can leave the next morning. But the thief replied “Why should I take the luggage from here? Even if I go, I have to come back tomorrow.” Such was his mindset! In the world today, this is the situation of students. Today’s students love to enjoy and make merry, but in that process they commit lots of mistakes. As a result of this, when they die, they have to return again to this world. Today’s generation should strive for not returning back. One should not have the life of going back and coming again. Going and coming like a thief is not good on your part. The same thing was told by Shankaracharya – Punarapi Jananam, Punarapi Maranam, Punarapi Janani Jathare Shayanam.
As long as you have bad thoughts, gaining any amount of knowledge or reading of sacred scriptures, is of no use. When you read the books, all that is present in the books will get into your head. Your head becomes like the book. What is the use? The evil actions, qualities, thoughts and ego inside you were not expelled. As long as you have bad thoughts, there is no use whatsoever even if you have read a large number of books.
Whatever is the level of education, a mean person cannot forego his bad quality.
By studying so much, you enter only into argumentation and can never attain true knowledge.
A person went to a sweets shop for purchasing some sweets. He went to a shop and tasted some of the sweets. But he spit it out immediately saying that the sweets contained salt. He went to the next shop. Over there also he took a sweet for tasting and over there also he told that the sweets contained salt. The shop owner told him that his sweets were not salty, but the man’s mouth was salty. He told him to go to a nearby tap and wash his mouth. After washing his mouth, he tasted the sweets again and found them to be sweet! In the same way as long as you have bad qualities in you, even if you try to learn good things, they seem bad to you. It is no use talking good things if your thoughts are not good. These bad thoughts come through bad company. This bad company ruins your life completely. If someone is talking foolishly, you should immediately leave that company.
Source: My Dear Students Volume 5, Discourse 28, “Where are you coming from? Where are you going?”, Discourse on June 2, 2000 at Trayee Brindavan