“What is the Meaning of Religion?”

Thursday, March 1, 2001 

After the evening interviews, Swami came to the Ganesh portico. 

Swami : (To Prof. Anil Kumar, pointing to the students) Who are these boys? 

Prof. A. K. : Swami, Your children. 

Swami : (Jokingly) Some are Veerapan’s association members and some are Maarappan’s associates. (Swami then took a letter from a student and told him that the letter was too long.) I am not lazy. (Swami meant that more than reading letters, He has to do other work also.) 

Prof. A. K. : Yes Swami, it is like an application form. Swami, in U.S.A., an earthquake struck, but there was not much damage. 

Swami : It is called ‘gili’. (One feels that something has happened. Actually nothing has happened) Is your house safe? 

Prof. A. K. : Yes, Swami. It is quite safe. Swami, morning speech was very good. 
Dr. Ganapathy, a student of J. N. P. Mahadevan (a famous Professor of Philosophy) spoke, quoting many good examples. 

Swami : What did he speak on? 

Prof. A. K. : Swami, about religion. He said that religion is related to love and we have to practice selflessness and unity. He also told about secularism. 

Swami : I told all this long back. You prefer other’s dishes to your own (home made food). 

Prof. A. K. : Swami, not like that. He spoke everything from Sai literature. He took a train as an example to explain the value of time. 

Swami : (To a student) How was the speech? (Pointing to Prof. Anil Kumar) Is he your classmate or a teacher? 

Student : Swami, Awareness teacher. 

Swami : (To Prof. Anil Kumar) What is the meaning of religion? 

Prof. A. K. : Swami ‘re’ means to unite. That which unites or brings together is termed religion. Swami, what is realisation? 

Swami : Being oneself, and knowing about oneself is realisation. 

Prof. A. K. : Swami, is the body, the cause of ‘Bhinnatwa’ (sense of duality)? 

Swami : Yes. Body is the main cause for this. Identifying oneself with this body is only ‘Bhraanti’ (illusion). 

Prof. A. K. : What is the difference between Dehatma, Jeevatma and Paramatma

Swami : Jeevatma (individual soul) has ‘Chaitanya’ (consciousness). It includes the mind and senses. Dehatma (physical being) has no identity. It is inert. Paramatma (the Supreme Divine Principle) is beyond these two. In Sushupti (deep sleep) stage, you are close to Paramatma. In the above three stages, Atma is the same. But JeevaDeha and Parama are different. 

Prof. A. K. : Swami, what is the meaning of Atma-Chaitanyam

Swami : With Chaitanya, Atma lives in the body together with the Jeeva
Before operation, they give anesthesia and make the body and Jeevatma separate. Medicines can be used only when they are within the expiry date. After that, we can’t use them. Similarly, Jeevatma also works within the period of expiry. After that, it leaves the body. This body is made of five elements. In the word ‘Prakruti’, ‘Pra’ means ‘Vikasam’ (expansion), Prabhavam (effect), Prakasham (effulgence). Prakruti is effulgent with the five elements. 

Prof. A. K. : Why does Bhrama (illusion) come again and again? 

Swami : You eat today and also tomorrow. All this is Bhrama. Food and stomach both are Bhrama. Atma does not experience them. But Bhrama accepts everything. If there is Bhrama, Brahma (Divinity) will not come. 

Prof. A. K. : How will Brahma come? 

Swami : The person who wants Brahma does not have Bhrama. If you leave Bhrama, you can find Brahma. If we have control over our senses, then illusion will go away. If you leave Bhrama, Brahma will catch you. (Bhramanu Veedithe, Bramha Padathadu). Panchangam (Indian almanac) also came like this only. The one which explains the principles of the five organs (Pancha-angam) is Panchangam. Just to delude, other things TithiVaaraNakshatra (day, date, constellation) are included. Actually, Panchanga does not have any relation with these. 

Prof. A. K. : Swami, how can we remove Bhrama

Swami : You have built a house, and you have divided it into many rooms like bathroom, dining hall, kitchen, etc. Once you remove these walls, everything becomes one hall. These Godalu (walls) are the Golam (troubles). Once you remove these Golas, then Bhrama (illusion) will go away. 

Prof. A. K. : In today’s life, are science, technology and other things Bhrama

Swami : Yes, everything is Bhrama. This world is Bhrama. But you should keep reminding yourself that it is Bhrama. If one does not remind oneself that it is Bhrama, he will leave Brahma and fall into the Bhrama. The heart is filled with worldly thoughts. The one who realises that everything is Bhrama, will be able to attain Brahma. 

Prof. A. K. : Swami, in family life, it is difficult to remind oneself that everything is Bhrama

Swami : No. It is not difficult. Even in family life, one can get Vairagyam (renunciation). Rajayogi Janaka Maharaja is an example for being like that. Even in family life, one should act, keeping in mind that every act is Bhrama. One day, while Shuka (a great sage) was leaving his father (Vyasa), his father expressed his affection for him. At that time Shuka told him, 
“You are the father-body and I am the son-body. But the Atma in us is the same. To have individual identity is Bhrama.” Shuka conquered his senses, except Vaasanaa-Trayam (three types of Vaasanaas). He kept that with him to experience the fragrance related to wisdom. 

Prof. A. K. : In Mahabharata, is the annihilation of Karna, Saindhava (King of Sindhu - Jayadratha), Shishupala also Bhrama

Swami : Krishna made others to experience illusion. But, He did not experience it. 

Prof. A. K. : If everything is Bhrama, then who is Krishna? 

Swami : Krishna is the Saakshibhutam (witness). He is like the current in the switch, wire and fan, which makes them run. The current makes the fan rotate. That current is the witness. Similarly, Krishna is also the witness. 

Prof. A. K. : Was Karna’s chariot getting stuck and Arjuna killing Karna also Bhrama

Swami : Yes. Arjuna’s charioteer was Krishna, who is the Saakshibhutam
Karna’s charioteer was Salya (the king of Madra kingdom). He did not control the chariot properly. The chariot getting stuck in the Earth is not true. Because of lack of control, Karna fell down. It was his mistake. Krishna did not create the Maya (illusion) of the chariot getting stuck. 

Prof. A. K. : In Ramayana, there is abduction of Sita. Is that Bhrama

Swami : Once Rama and Sita were talking with each other. That time Shurpanakha came there. Seeing her, Rama told Sita, “The drama that we have to enact is coming near. Leave your Tejas (effulgence) safely with Agni (the presiding deity of fire).” After that, Rama sent the Maya-Sita (shadow/illusory Sita) to Lanka. But He did not get back the Maya-Sita. Later, in order to end His Avatarhood, He sent Sita to forest, so that he could be free from the attachment to the children who were going to be born. He enacted all this drama with full awareness. When Vasishtha told Rama that He was really God and not the son of Dasharatha, Rama, as if He did not know, asked him, “Is it so?” Like this, He created the Bhrama

Prof. A. K. : Swami, what is the difference between Swapnaavastha (dream state) and Sushupti (deep sleep)? 

Swami : Sushupti means deep sleep. Effect of senses will not be there. He will be close to ParamatmaTurya Avastha (the state beyond the three states – waking, dream and deep sleep) is greater than these three. The three states are Jagrat (waking), Swapna (dream), Sushupti (deep sleep). It is present in all these three stages. 

Prof. A. K. : Are not Ragam (attachment), Kartavyam (duty) and Badhyata (responsibility) the same? 

Swami : Kartavyam is not BadhyataKartavyam does not have Diksha (vow) or Pattudala (determination). Badhyata has Bhrama in it. Kartavyam is like YogaRagam is like Yajna

Prof. A. K. : Swami, who is a Vairagi (renunciant)? 

Swami : The one without Ragam is Vairagi. He does all work, but does not get attached to them. He does not have desire. 

Prof. A. K. : Swami, people say that Krishna was partial towards Pandavas

Swami : No. Even before marriage, Draupadi identified the Divinity of Krishna. 
She also recognised the Pandavas during the Svayamvara (the ceremony where a girl can chose her bridegroom from those who have assembled), though they were in the guise of Brahmins. When her father felt bad and said that she was going to be married to poor Brahmins, she replied, 
“Don’t worry. They are not Brahmins. In the coming days, you will come to know about their greatness.” Krishna was not partial to Pandavas. During the war, both Duryodhana and Arjuna went to Krishna seeking help. While Arjuna sat near Krishna’s feet, Duryodhana, due to arrogance, sat near the head. When Krishna got up from sleep, he saw Arjuna first and asked him what he wanted. It is the quality of a king to speak to the person, whom he has seen first. Arjuna said, “Swami, I need Your help”. Then Krishna said, “I have only two things. One is the army and the other is Myself. Whatever you want, you can take.” But Arjuna remained quiet. That time Duryodhana coughed, to show that he was also present. Then Krishna turned towards him and asked, “Brother-in-law, when did you come? What do you want?” Duryodhana asked for the army. Then Krishna turned towards Arjuna and said, “Duryodhana has asked for the army. Now, only I am left. I will come with you. Take Me.” Before itself, Krishna had taken the vow that He would neither take to weapons nor would he fight. Krishna was always on Dharma’s side. Since, Dharmaraja was the embodiment of Dharma, Krishna was with the Pandavas. 

Prof. A. K. : Swami, what is the difference between Treta Yuga and Dwapara Yuga

Swami : In Treta Yuga, the war was for the sake of Dharma and Dharmapatni (righteousness and righteous wife). Both Rama and Ravana didn’t need wealth. In Dwapara Yuga, the war was for the Dharani (land), Dharma and Dharmapatni. Here, there was also politics. In Kali Yuga, one fights for Dhanam (wealth) and Adhipatyam (power). 

Prof. A. K. : Is it not wrong to fight for the sake of Dharani

Swami : Dhritarashtra was blind. A blind person does not have the right to rule. Therefore, the whole kingdom belonged to King Pandu. Since Dharmaraja was the eldest, the kingdom should have gone to the Pandavas. After the death of Pandu, Kauravas forcefully occupied the kingdom. 
Therefore, they fought for the sake of Dharma. So, it is not wrong. 

Prof. A. K. : Swami, did not Dhritarashtra know Dharma? 

Swami : He knew. But was caught in Bhrama - too much attachment to his sons. 
One day, Gandhari asked Krishna, “I had 100 children, now not even one is left. What kind of God are You?” Krishna replied, “When even the sight of parents has not fallen on them, how can My sight fall on them?” 

Prof. A. K. : Is it not difficult to practise Satyam (truth)? 

Swami : Satyam is great. It is not difficult to practise Satyam. The person who lives in Satyam will definitely follow it. The person who believes that 2 X 2 = 4 will definitely follow it. Similarly, a person who recognises the value of Satyam will definitely follow it. (To a student) Did you listen to whatever I said till now? 

Student : No, Swami. 

Swami : Then, that is your Karma (fate). (To another student) Did you understand? Nowadays, people struggle for money. In those days, they struggled for Dharma. (Then pointing towards the Russian devotees) The Russians are seeing Me from that time. Though they can’t hear, they feel happy on seeing Me. 

As Swami was going back, one student said that he was suffering from Asthma. Swami materialised Vibhuti for him. 

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