The Promise in The Bhagavad Gita

Sri Sathya Sai at the Prasanthi Nilayam Campus Hostel - 1989

Students should bear in mind that for achieving anything worthwhile in life, a healthy body and a healthy mind are necessary. To realise such a doubly healthy state, purity in thought, word and deed is essential. In Vedantic parlance this is described as ‘Trikarana Shuddhi’ (purity of the three instruments of mind, speech and hands). The Vedas are divided into three Kandas (sections): the Karma Kanda, the Upasana Kanda and the Jnana Kanda. These are associated with three types of Yoga: Karma Yoga (the path of detached action), Bhakti Yoga (the path of Devotion) and Jnana Yoga (the path of Knowledge or Wisdom). 

First is Karma Yoga. For performing any action you need hands. All the actions you do with your hands should be sacred, pure, helpful to others and purposeful. The hands become sanctified with such actions. Hence, the first step is to make the hands pure and holy. By pure actions the mind also gets purified. But mere purity of mind is not enough. The mind has to develop concentration. For cultivating concentration, Bhakti (devotion) is of great value. Bhakti means getting rid of the separation from Bhagavan. There must be the realisation that the Divine is omnipresent and that you cannot separate yourself from God. To remember the omnipresent Divine, to chant His glories and adore Him, you need the tongue (the power of speech). Jayadeva hailed the tongue as the God-given instrument for glorifying the Lord. This sacred instrument should not be misused in any way for speaking ill of others or causing unhappiness to them. As enjoined in the Gita, you should avoid unpleasant speech and use only words that are true, comforting and good (‘Anudvegakaram Vakyam, Sathyam Priya Hitham Cha Yat’). Harshness in speech should be avoided. Only when the tongue is used in this way, can it become pure and sacred. When your speech is sanctified, your life itself becomes sanctified. 

Uphold your own promise at any cost

There is no Dharma higher than Truth (‘Satyannasti Paro Dharmaha’). ‘Truth alone triumphs’. (‘Satyam Eva Jayate’) The Emperor Bali asked his preceptor: “Is there a greater sin than going back on your word?" Once you have given a promise, you should not go back on it in any circumstance. This was the truth demonstrated by Bali. When you take a pledge or give a promise, you should uphold it even at the cost of your life. Once you give your word, you must make every effort to fulfill it. Nowadays there is little respect for the plighted word. Promises are made freely and broken freely. Pledges are made and buried from moment to moment. Such persons are no better than living corpses. 

Truth is the life-breath of speech;
An army is the life-breath of a fort;
Justice is the life-breath of society;
The signature is the life-breath of a promissory note.

You must remember that once you begin to treat your promises lightly, it will become a life-long habit. Harishchandra gave up his kingdom, his wife and son and even became a pitiable watchman in a cremation ground for the sake of upholding his plighted word. His supreme example as the votary of Truth shines like a beacon-light across millennia of human history. If you wish to earn a name for truthfulness, you have to adhere to truth steadfastly. Among the attributes of God, Truth is foremost. God is hailed as ‘Satya-Vaakpaalakaaya Namah’ (the Protector of Truth), the Propagator of Truth, the Embodiment of Truth. ‘Truth is God’. Purity in speech is the second purity that has to be ensured. 

Students! This is a crucial period in your lives. It is the stage in which your Divinity can blossom forth. It is the right time for you to strive to sublimate your speech and learn to honour your word. Most people are content to use words to suit the needs of the moment. They attach no lasting value to what they say and therefore do not live up to their words. 

The Promise of The Bhagavad Gita 

In the Bhagavad Gita, the Lord gave a promise that He would take care of the Yogakshemam (welfare) of all those who are devoted to Him alone and without any other thought. What is this Yoga? You can see for yourself what a sacred privilege you are enjoying, what extraordinary opportunities you are getting here. Every day innumerable persons are coming here from many remote countries, spending thousands of rupees. They wait for long periods just to hear one word from Swami, which is enough to fill them with bliss. There are lakhs of such devotees. Here you are receiving the blessing of Swami’s company without any expenditure on your part, with no effort at all and without spending any time. How indifferent are you to this great opportunity? You are taking it all for granted and are unmindful of its infinite value. You have got this blessing, thanks to merit earned in many previous lives. This itself you should regard as Yoga. It is not the fruit of this birth. This is Yoga and when you try to protect it, you have Yogakshemam. Kshemam means protection of what you have. Bhakta Mira prayed: “Oh Lord! I dived into the depths of the ocean and found a pearl; will You let me lose hold of it?” Mira and Sakkubai secured God’s grace through many ordeals and difficulties and they prayed to the Lord to see that grace was not taken away.

Source: 'Trikaranashuddhi: The Triune Path', Discourse 22, My Dear Students – Volume 5; Divine Discourse on January 19, 1989 at the Sri Sathya Sai Hostel, Prasanthi Nilayam

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