Sri Sathya Sai On: The Game of Life – Part 2

Sri Sathya Sai Speaks
Follow Your Conscience

If there is real faith and devotion in a man, the senses will be powerless against him. It is the decline in faith and devotion which has led to man becoming a slave of the senses. Students should, therefore, examine before they do anything whether it is good or bad, right or wrong, and act according to the dictates of their conscience. Even in respect of the conscience, certain facts should be borne in mind. The promptings of intellectual reasoning should not be identified with the dictates of the conscience.

The directives should come from the heart. When you dive deep into a problem and enquire whether what you should do is in the interest of your friends and society in general, your conscience will give you the right answer. You should not be guided by intellectual reasoning which has a selfish element in it. You should be guided by a concern for the collective interests of society at large. That alone is the true voice of conscience. This kind of broad social conscience should be developed through education. 
Students performing Gymnastics at The Annual Sports Meet at Prasanthi Nilayam
Students! You have performed a variety of gymnastic feats. You have distinguished yourselves in a variety of games and sports. Although these games have a value of their own in the physical field, there is something greater than all of them. Life is a game, play it! Treat life itself as a big game. To achieve a good name and success in this game of life, you have to cultivate good habits. Good thoughts, good speech and good actions are the disciplines required in this game. When so much practice and efforts are required to achieve success in games like tennis, how much more effort is needed to succeed in the game of life! In this game, if you wish to achieve a good name, uphold your ideals, and realise the Divine. You have to observe in your daily life, right thinking, right conduct and right attitudes.

Anger Shortens One’s Life
Students! You have to take a resolve today to restore the ancient culture and tradition of Bharat. Life is wasting away every moment. People are growing older every minute, forgetting their duties. In this situation, what is it that you have to achieve? All that you wish to accomplish, you must set out to achieve now when you are in the prime of youth. Man’s lifespan, which should be a 100 years, is shortened by the misuse of the body. The length of man’s life is determined by his own actions. A man’s bad thoughts, his hatred, his jealousy and bitterness are shearing his life into bits every moment. Anger shortens man’s life. This can be seen from everyday experience. When a person gets angry, his temperature rises. The blood gets heated up. In the process the nerves get weaker and as a consequence all organs in the body also get weaker. This weakness may last for 6 months. One moment of anger will deprive a person of the energy got from 6 months of food. Every fit of anger shortens a man’s life span. Regardless of the temporary satisfaction a man may derive by the display of anger, it causes greater damage to the individual concerned than to others. Likewise, hatred and envy are equally debilitating in their effect. Egoism and attachment also have similar harmful effects on man’s life. 

Spiritual Education is the Culmination of all Education

Man is made up of 3 constituents – the body, the mind and the Atma. Man needs the body for performing actions. But if the actions are done without using the discriminating power of the mind, man will be behaving like an animal, which acts on impulse. Moreover, if the mind, without relying on the eternal and ever-pure Atma, follows the demands of the body and the senses, the actions will be demonic. The combination of mind and body leads to demonic qualities. When one is installed in the Atmic principle, transcending the body and the mind, one attains the Divine. The ancient sages Divinised their lives by control of the senses, by observing spiritual discipline and by successfully carrying on their daily avocations. These are the means by which men can transform themselves into sages. For effecting this transformation, students will have to cultivate faith and devotion. Spiritual education is greater than all other types of education. This was declared by Lord Krishna in the Gita. Rivers are distinct in their names and forms, but when they merge in the ocean, they become one. Likewise, all kinds of studies and practices, when they are merged in the ocean of spiritual knowledge, become one.

Be Near and Dear to God

Make your heart pure so that it becomes a worthy abode of the Divine. What should be a Ksheera Sagara (an ocean of milk) has been turned by man's misdeeds into an ocean of brine. Sanctify all your thoughts, words and deeds. Only then you will deserve the title Saakshara (truly educated). The Lord made three declarations: “Son! I shall give you what you ask. If you search for Me, you shall find Me. When you knock at My door, I shall open it.” But man today asks for favours not from God but from Nature. He searches not for God but for worldly pleasures. He knocks not at the doors of liberation but at the gates of hell.

What you should ask for is the grace of the Divine. What you should search for is God. And you should knock at the doors of the gate to liberation. Man is acting contrary to God’s injunctions. If only man followed God’s commands he would be Divinising his life. Man’s frailties have made him distant from God. A student (in his speech earlier) said that to be away from God was a ‘living death’. Man should strive to be ‘near and dear’ to God. Many who are ‘near’ to God are not ‘dear’ to God. For instance, here in Prashanti Nilayam you see devotees who have come from distant countries like Argentina, Australia and America out of their love for God. Many who are near Swami may meditate on God but they do not dedicate their lives to God. Only by dedication can they become ‘dear’ to God. Students should strive to be both ‘near and dear’ to God. Outsiders coming to Prashanti Nilayam, on seeing the students, feel, “How lucky are these students! Swami is always talking to them and moving with them”.

Tyagaraja (1767-1847)
Saint Tyagaraja’s experiences provide an illustration of the dilemma confronting devotees. Once while experiencing troubles and undergoing indignities from others, Tyagaraja wondered whether the troubles he had to go through were due to deficiencies in his devotion or whether Sri Rama was not powerful enough to help him. Convinced about his own devotion, he attributed his troubles to Rama’s inability to relieve him. Such doubts often arise in the minds of devotees. After meditating over this matter, he realised that Rama’s power was limitless and that the defect lay in his own devotion. He composed a song which described how devotion to Rama had enabled Hanuman to leap over the ocean and how it had enabled Lakshmana and Bharata to perform heroic deeds. Tyagaraja confessed that in doubting Rama’s powers he had been guilty of weakness in his devotion. 

If Swami did not possess such power, is it conceivable that people would come seeking Swami’s grace from distant countries like Argentina and Australia? No one issued any invitation to them. The fact that they have come here at great expense and are prepared to put up with many inconveniences, shows the depth of their devotion. Therefore, you should not entertain complaints against God or blame Him for your difficulties. If Swami did not have the power, would people of different faiths and from different countries come to Him and experience their oneness? What is the Will that is able to accomplish this? If you enquire along these lines, you will discover the shallowness of your attitudes. It is your small mindedness, which accounts for such reactions. Therefore, develop a broad outlook and a wide vision.

All the students of our Institute of Higher Learning should prove themselves to be ideal human beings wherever they go. You should earn a good name from everyone. Students who have won prizes in sports should realise that by their conduct they should earn the esteem and love of Swami. All kinds of titles are conferred on people today. But the title which all of you should aim at is that you are Amrutasya Putraha (Children of Immortality). Install God in your hearts and make Him the basis for all your actions. Then all your actions will become sacred. Bring a good name to your parents, to your society and to the land of your birth.

Source: The Game of Life, Discourse 12, My Dear Students Volume 3; Divine Discourse on January 14, 1992 at the Prize Distribution Function, Annual Sports and Cultural Meet, Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning, Prashanti Nilayam Campus Auditorium

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