Conversations on Epics and Examinations, Dharma and Karma

Wednesday, March 7, 2001

After the evening interview, Swami came to the Ganesh portico.
Swami: You should not have too many sweets. I do not take sweets at all. When Subbamma used to keep any sweet in My hand, I used to put it down and act as though I had already eaten it. I also never take milk or curd.

Prof. A. K.: Swami, if we eat spicy food we get ulcers, if we eat sweets we get diabetes, if we eat too much food we become fat, then what is the way out for us?

Swami: Eat to live, but don’t live to eat. You should eat as much as necessary and not up to your throat. 
(Swami enquired about the board examination that was held for the Class X class students today. The paper was English. Mentioning the names of the School English teachers) 
The same questions that were taught by them came in the examination. Ten boys will get above 90%. Others will get between 65% and 80%.

Prof. A. K.: Swami, the exam was held at an All India level. The whole country has the same paper.

Swami: If you prepare well for the examinations, you will have no need to fear. Otherwise, you will have only fear. Last year, the students performed well in the examinations. (Swami asked one of the English teachers about the performance of the boys.) 

Teacher: Swami, boys have done well.

Swami: Physics and Chemistry exams are yet to come. (To the School Principal, Sri Sivaramakrishnaiah) Do you have ‘Additional English’ also? 

Principal: No, Swami! 

Swami: In English, many boys do not do well. It is because many boys join from other schools. 

Prof. A. K.: Swami, one truth has to be mentioned. Among the three colleges, Anantapur students’ English is the best. 

Swami: I told you the same thing long back. Primary School students’ English is also very good. Institute students’ English is not good.

Prof. A. K.: Today (in the morning prayer session at the College) there was a quiz programme on Bhagavad Gita organized by the PG (Postgraduate) students. Boys chanted, explained, quoted Swami’s explanations, and identified the chapter of a given Shloka, in the quiz programme. 

Swami: They might have practised the previous day and presented. (Advising that students should not have ego) Ahamkaram Hatha Pathanamu Gavisthundhi (Ego leads to total destruction). It is not that they develop their ego without their knowledge. They do it knowingly. If one teases another, he should realise that it would come back to him ten-fold. One should be equal-minded to accept both praise and blame. 

Prof. A. K.: Swami, in temples, they do Puja, Annadana (rituals, donating food), etc.; so that the evil effect of the sins done by them will be removed.
Swami: All that is of no use. It might give personal satisfaction. But it cannot remove the effect of all the wrong things done. Suppose you mix the seeds of a thorny plant and a fruit-bearing tree and you sow that mixture, the plants that grow will be of both the varieties. You should use your Viveka (discrimination) and remove the thorny plant. In the same way, you have to accept the fruits of both good and bad actions, and avoid bad actions. If you have diabetes, you cannot go away from it. But to reduce its effect, you should have diet-control, exercises, etc. People ask, “Anyway, I am going to face the result of bad actions. What is the use of doing good actions?” If you do a good action, it will reduce the effect of the bad actions. Otherwise, you will suffer from more problems. If you do not know that you are doing a mistake, it is not a sin. But if you do the mistake knowingly, then it is a great sin. You should be able to discriminate between right and wrong, and do the right thing. 

Prof. A. K.: Does Dharma change with time?

Swami: Dharma does not change with time, it changes with Karma. That which changes with time is just fashion. Dharmamutho Karma Cheste Marmamu Thelusthundhi (If you act in accordance with Dharma, you will understand the secret). 

Prof. A. K.: Swami, You tell us that we are bound by Karma. But there are so many types of Karma, like Sanchita Karma, Aagami Karma, and Prarabdha Karma. Which one should we follow? 

Swami: Those are like different classes. Like the first, second and third standard, you go from first to second and from second to third. Similarly, there are various types of Karma and man has to go from one stage to another.

Prof. A. K.: Swami, is it because of the past bad deeds that individuals undergo suffering?

Swami: Don’t worry about the previous birth. You should be worrying about the previous day. The effects of yesterday will be felt today.

Prof. A. K.: Swami, it appears as if those who indulge in wrong deeds are having a merry time. How do we reconcile with this?

Swami: It only appears that way. But the people who will ultimately be happy are the ones who do good deeds. (Swami quoted a Telugu poem which means that even a king like Dharmaraja had to go to the forest, Rama too tested Sita, and that one should be prepared for any eventuality at any moment, while leading a Dharmic life.) 

Prof. A. K.: If an individual has to face the consequences of his actions, how does God’s grace come into the picture? How does it become relevant?

Swami: If you really have faith in God, you will be liberated from the effects of wrong deeds. But, three-fourths of the people undertake bad actions in spite of knowing that the results will be bad.
Prof. A. K.: Swami, when a person knows that he is going to face the consequences of bad actions, why does he continue to indulge in such deeds?

Swami: They feel that when the time comes, they will pay attention and thus they continue to do misdeeds.

Prof. A. K.: Swami, is it only the one who indulges in wrong action who faces the consequences?

Swami: If you eat food, will your wife’s hunger be satiated? Whoever eats food, only his hunger will get satisfied.

Prof. A. K.: Swami, then how do we understand the fact that the whole kingdom (of Lanka) had to suffer due to the actions of one person, Ravana, in Ramayana?

Swami: Who said that all of them did not do any wrong? The only one who did not do any wrong was Vibheeshana and he was saved. Whoever does a wrong action, he alone has to face the consequences. If her son’s leg gets hurt, the mother cannot tie the bandage to her own leg. She can at the most console the child.

Prof. A. K.: Now-a-days, people do so much Japa (chanting the Divine name), Daana (charity) and give money to the Pujaris (priests) to perform rites on their behalf.

Swami: All such actions are of no use.

Prof. A. K.: With these words, Swami, You are wiping away the jobs of several individuals! (Swami smiled). They chant our Gotra (name of one’s lineage) and name while doing the Archanam (offering in the temple).

Swami: It is because you give them money that they are ready to do all that. Whenever a bad thought arises in your mind, do not implement it immediately. On the other hand, if a good thought arises, put it into action immediately. Any thought, good or bad, is subject to change with time. When a bad thought arises, take time and discriminate. Judge the consequences of the action and then only you should take to action. Suppose in a temple, a person promises to donate ₹5,000. On hearing that, another promises to offer ₹10,000. There will not be a problem if they willingly give away the money then and there. But, if they go home and start pondering about the donation, they will begin to feel that ₹2,500 would be a good enough sum to donate. When he goes to the cash box, he will feel that ₹1,000 would do. Finally, when he picks up the cash, he feels that there is no real necessity to make the donation now. All this is illusion. Bhrama Unte Shrama Tappadu (If there is illusion, one cannot escape from toil and suffering). Bhrama Pote Brahma Vastundi (If illusion leaves, Divinity will spring forth).

Prof. A. K.: Swami, You said that only the person who indulges in an action will reap its benefit. When Shuka narrated the Bhagavatam to Parikshit, it is Shuka who should have acquired the merit of the narration and not Parikshit. But actually, Parikshit acquired the benefit of the narration.
Goswami Shukadeva narrating the Bhagavatam to Parikshit
Swami: Shuka was already an enlightened individual.

Prof. A. K.: Maybe, the eagerness and the enthusiasm of Parikshit to hear the story of Bhagavatam brought him the merit of the action.

Swami: Apart from that, Parikshit was a Sthitaprajna (one of equanimity). 
(Swami explained it with the help of an example.) 
Rama redeeming Ahalya
Ahalya turned into a stone owing to the curse of a sage. All who touched that stone could not turn the stone back to Ahalya. Nor did all the stones that Rama touched turn into Ahalyas. It was only that particular ‘Ahalya’ stone that turned into Ahalya on being touched by Rama. Similarly, because Parikshit was a Sthitaprajna and Sage Shuka had the ability to give the benefit to Parikshit, that he got the benefit. Some people ask Me to bless them with a husband like Rama. I tell them, if you conduct yourself in the manner similar to Sita, you will surely get a husband like Rama. On the contrary, if you behave like Shurpanakha, the very same Rama will chop your nose and ears. In real life, all such small things matter most. Nowadays, people try to search for easy methods for everything.

Prof. A. K.: Swami, what is the difference between Vritti Dharma and Kartavya Dharma?

Swami: You are a college lecturer. Suppose, you hold a tea party and you do not feel well after the party; you will ring up to the Principal and convey to him that you will not be able to make it to the college. You will take leave. If the Principal tells you that there is a visiting professor coming to the college and that your presence is necessary, then you will somehow try to come to the college after having a tablet. This is Kartavya Dharma; the earlier one is Vritti Dharma.

Prof. A. K.: Swami, does Vritti Dharma change?

Swami: It is normal. It goes on changing.

Prof. A. K.: When we do an action, should we not expect the result of the action? For example, a student studies to acquire a good grade and make Swami happy. Is his expectation of getting a good grade wrong?

Swami: What is the purpose of the student being in college? His purpose is to study. If he does this properly, good result will come automatically. You need not have to separately worry about the result. (Changing the topic) Yashwant Sinha presented the budget on February 28th and all the members of the parliament accepted it. Vajpayee (Prime Minister of India) said that even without getting his approval, it (Hospital project) has been sanctioned. No MPs or MLAs can put their hand into the working of the Hospital project. They said, who else could do projects of such magnitude other than Swami? They said that they could not have finished such a project within nine months.

Prof. A. K.: Swami, he accepted this fact in the open gathering.

Swami: For undertaking anything, one needs to have all the resources, good people, equipment, tools, etc. If you want to have tea, you need to have a cup, a saucer and other things. We need good people to do the work. Government said that they cannot do anything.

Prof. A. K.: Swami, they only keep arguing with each other in the Parliament.

Swami: Huge amount of loss will accrue, if the Parliament doesn’t conduct business even for a day. For every hour the Parliament doesn’t work, the country loses lakhs of rupees.

Prof. A. K.: Swami, in Parliament, they walk out many times during discussions.

Swami: If they really want to achieve, they should stay and achieve.

Prof. A. K.: Swami, they have decided not to criticise each other and talk softly.

Swami: Instead of words, let them show in action. (After a pause) Tomorrow, there is a meeting regarding the Music College. Bhimsen Joshi and many others who are exponents in instruments, like Tabla and Harmonium are coming. Dance is also being included. Have you sung any songs?

Prof. A. K.: Swami, I have not sung in public. Whenever I sang, I saw to it that others did not get disturbed and my doors remain closed. I have sung in chorus. Aasakthi Vundi Kaani Sakthi Ledu (I have enthusiasm but not strength).
Swami: Sakthi Lekapothe Aasakthi Vundadu (If there is no strength, there will be no enthusiasm). Aasakthi Vunte Aaa Sakthi Vuntundi (If there is enthusiasm, you will have that strength (or capability)).

Prof. A. K.: Swami, today during Darshan time, they played a nice instrumental music of a song on Yashoda. One boy sang that song. He is from Alike and he sang very well.

Swami: He studied in Alike. He is not from Alike. (Referring jokingly to a boy named Akash, meaning sky) All Panchabhootas (five elements) are here only.

Warden: Swami, he learnt Tyagaraja Keertana also. The student asked Swami for permission to lead Bhajans in Mandir. Swami consented and blessed him with Padanamaskar. Swami sang few lines from that particular song that was referred to earlier.

Warden: Swami, four boys, this boy and three M.B.A. students are waiting for Swami’s permission to sing in Mandir. They sang on the day when Swami had come to Hostel.

Swami: Choostaanu, Choostaanu (I will see, I will see). 

Swami went back to the interview room.

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