Do not try to cover up your defects / The best way of serving God

Study Circle 05/20/18

Do not try to cover up your defects:

For that yearning and the pursuit that is impelled by it, the first equipment that is necessary for the individual is ‘a rigorous self-examination’ to remove all evil from oneself. Do not try to cover up the defects, the down-dragging tendencies and habits. When people go to a shop to purchase cloth to have dresses prepared for themselves, have you noticed that they prefer coloured materials to white? The answer they will give when you question them why they choose coloured materials is, “It will not reveal dirt”! So, you see how anxious people are to hide their defects, instead of striving to remove them. They are so much attached to physical comfort and objective pleasure. Really speaking, the body has to be treated as a wound that has to be washed, bandaged, and treated with medicated ointment, three or four times a day. That is the real purpose of food and drink and raiment. Thirst is the disease; drink is the drug. Hunger is the disease; food is the medicine. Craving for pleasure is the disease for which detachment is the medicine. Once the Aathma is cognised, all is Unity; you will find that all is really One. This is the goal prescribed by the ancient scriptures of this land. But, the children of this sacred land have neglected the path and they are today struggling in the quagmires and cesspools of faction and fear. When the four bulls that grazed in the jungle were united and watchful of each other’s safety (for they felt they were all One) the tiger dared not approach them; but, when discord broke them and created out of the One, four separate individuals, they were attacked one by one, and destroyed by the tiger. That is the fate of those who feel separate. Know that though vyakthis (individuals) may be separate, the shakthi (power) is one; that Shakthi
is the Param-aathmathathwa.  – SSS vol 6, Chp 6.

Questions:

1. Reflect a little. Why does an individual cover up his/her defects at times?

2.What are some best practices to refrain from hiding our faults?


The best form of serving God

Prahlaadha knew the truth, Sarvam Vishnu mayam jagath—This world is all filled with the immanent God”. He knew it by study and by experience; he knew it as an ever-present fact. So, when he was asked to frame a boon to be granted by the Lord who concretised before him, he asked neither for the revival of his father nor the restoration of his kingdom, long life, wealth or fame; he asked for the chance of assuaging the pain and sorrow of all beings! God, he knew, was manifest as those beings and the best form of serving God was to serve those manifestations and give theme relief and joy. The tongue must justify itself by sweet soothing words; the hand, by soft harmless acts. The body must be spent in upa-vaasa–being in the constant Presence of the Divine. Many of you misunderstand upavaasa to mean ‘fasting’ and I know, you overdo it. You fast on Monday to please Shiva, on Tuesday to please Lakshmi, on Wednesday to propitiate some other God, on Thursday in My Name, on Friday for Gowri and Saturday, for fear of Shani and on Sunday, to get the favour of the Sun. Laal Bahadur Shastri wanted that you should fast one day to help solve the food crisis, but you are prepared to help him much further. Now, this fasting will not bring you nearer to the Grace of God. Do not overdo anything, be moderate Upavaasa means that all your thoughts and deeds and words on those holy days must be about God, that you should spend the day ‘near’ Him, ‘in’ Him, ‘for’ Him. It means that eating, sleeping and other bodily avocations have to take to secondary role, and the meditation and japam have to take the main role. If your body wastes away as a result of these fasts, God will be blamed; so, you are only drawing down the calumny of people on the God you adore. They will come to you and say, What! Before you started this Sai Baba Puuja, you were looking much better; now, you have become so thin and frail; you can scarcely move ! And they continue talking against Me in the same strain. Do not overdo anything; be moderate and wise. You speak of My being Sarvabhoothaantharaathma (the Inner Motivator of all beings) and Sarvavyaapi (all-per-vading); but, yet, you get angry and upset when you are prevented from coming here for Navaraathri or Shivaraathri. You should not belie the faith you have in the Omnipresence: ‘Women especially have to be obedient to their elders and husbands. Do not feel that the husband or the children are hindrances. You should not entertain the slightest trace of disgust at either of these. Worship the husband as the Lord; serve the children as Shri Krishna was served by Yashoda. See in them the Lord you revere. In the days of Emperor Krishnadevaraaya at vijayanagar, an infectious disease appeared and gained ground quickly. It was reported that the disease spread through rats and so, each house was supplied a cat, together with a ‘cat allowance’ for feeding the cats. But, the rats showed no signs of decline in numbers. After a few days; the discovery was made that the cat allowance was misused by every one and the cats had become too weak to pounce upon the rats and catch them for eating. The cats must be fed, so that they may eat the rats. So too, the body must be fed so that wicked tendencies, sensual appetites, evil propensities may be vigorously attacked and put down. Unless this work is done, the Divine in man cannot bloom. The earth around the trunk of certain trees has to be turned now and again so that the roots might get strong; the branches have to be trimmed, so that blossoms might appear and fruits might be got. So too man has to dig around the edges of the mind, trim the traits of character and tend the tree of life.  – SSS vol6, chp5.

Questions:

3. Swami says ‘Women especially have to be obedient to their elders and husbands. Do not feel that the husband or the children are hindrances. You should not entertain the slightest trace of disgust at either of these. Reflect a little.

What are some best practices to ensure that we do not feel hindered by members of our family when we feel we are not being allowed to accomplish our personal goals?

4. Reflect a little.  Why do we fast, and in your opinion what is the best way to fast? Please share your
thoughts.

Affirmation: I am not a hindrance to the progress of anyone.

Life Application Skill: Please come up with one based on today’s reading.