CULTIVATE GOOD HABITS TO COMMAND RESPECT
Some people keep awake
the whole night of Sivarathri by playing cards. Can this be
called Jagarana (vigil)? If one abstains from food on account
of quarrel with one’s wife, can it be called fasting?
The fisherman goes on watching intently to trap the fish in
the net. Can this be termed meditation?
Several people play cards throughout the
night in order to keep themselves awake on the holy night
of Sivarathri. Once I enquired of an officer, “How did
you spend your time last night?” He immediately got
up and answered, “Swami! I spent the time very happily.”
I further enquired what sort of happiness he derived. He replied,
“Yesterday was Sivarathri. I played cards throughout
the night and enjoyed very much. I did not have even a wink
of sleep.” I questioned him again, “How can you
derive the fruit of holy Sivarathri by spending your time
playing cards throughout the night?” The officer gave
a wonderful reply, “Since I was busy playing cards throughout
the night and was therefore free from all worries; I thought
I was happily spending time last night.” You might have
observed the fishermen laying their nets in the pond and waiting
with single-pointed attention hoping for some fish to fall
in the net. Can you call their intense gaze as concentration?
Can it lead to Mukti (liberation)? The understanding of concentration
and meditation by man today can be compared to the fisherman’s
single-pointed effort to catch fish.
Another example: A person was heavily drunk
and had lost his body-consciousness. Can you call it Thanmayattwa
(total identification with divinity)? One more example; a
person quarrelled with his wife and abstained from food. Can
you say he was on a ritual fast? Some people resort to such
acts of Thanmayattwa and concentration and live in a fool’s
paradise. One can imagine as to what extent man has degenerated
himself taking to bad ways and distortions! Did you ever analyse
the nature of the human body? It consists of sweat, urine,
excreta, bad odour, flesh and blood. It is prone to decay
and death ultimately. Every second, only bad matter and bad
odour are generated in the body. What is there to be proud
of such a decaying body? One has to realise the true nature
of such an evanescent human body and make the best use of
it. Do you know why God has given us the human body? Is it
for indulging in evil acts and wasting the precious life?
No, no. The body is given to us so that man should strive
to attain Divinity; not for misusing it. You should realise
for yourself to what sacred purposes it is to be used. From
the time one gets up from the bed till he goes to bed in the
night, man’s time is spent in worldly pursuits. He does
not have time to think of God even before he goes to bed.
The human body is a sacred instrument
given by God and it has to be sanctified by contemplating
on God at least one or two times a day. What kind
of activities are to be undertaken so that man may derive
happiness and joy? The most appropriate answer to this question
would be that his senses should be engaged in constant contemplation
of God. The eyes must always see good things. The ears must
be engaged in hearing good things. The tongue must be made
to speak always sweet and noble words. It should chant the
divine name. Thus, every limb of the body must be put to proper
use and sanctified.
Normally, I do not like to speak about My
physical self. However, I am revealing certain aspects of
My daily routine with the hope that they will serve as guidelines
for you. I wake up four times during night. Usually I get
up from bed at 12 hours at midnight, brush My teeth and also
clean the tongue and mouth thoroughly. Again, I repeat the
process at 1.30 a.m., 3 a.m. and 4.30 a.m. The boys who sleep
in My room to attend to My needs during the night may find
it inconvenient sometimes as their sleep is disturbed. However,
I strictly adhere to this routine so that My tongue, mouth
and teeth are always clean. I feel happy only when My tongue
and mouth are clean. A clean tongue helps in maintaining purity
of body and mind. You might have observed Me talking to a
number of people, everyday. I will spend even 20 minutes instead
of 10 minutes talking to those who keep a clean tongue and
whose mouth does not emit bad odour. On the other hand, I
do not talk to those with bad odour even for two minutes.
During our sleep, bacteria get generated and they stick to
our tongue and teeth on all sides of the mouth. They have
to be removed by proper brushing of the teeth and a thorough
cleaning of the tongue and mouth. Only then can we be healthy
and happy. Apart from physical cleaning, our tongue must be
engaged in speaking sacred and pure words. Following this
principle, I am putting My tongue to proper use by engaging
Myself in sacred activities. It is only after I clean My body
properly, I come out of My chamber. By the time I come out
of My room, a boy looking after the kitchen brings the ragi
gruel. I partake of the gruel and feel very happy and energetic.
Except this ragi gruel, I do not take any other item during
early morning. I do not have breakfast. After taking the gruel,
I once again clean my mouth. Then, I drink some fresh water
and come down. Several people may be wondering as to what
I have for My breakfast. Nothing; I have no taste for snacks
at all! A glass of cool water is all that I like to have.
Thereafter, I spend some time happily with devotees, giving
darshan and talking to some; I also give interviews to selected
people. I am always pure in body and mind. My words
are pure, My thoughts are pure and My acts are pure and sacred.
One important aspect to be borne in mind
by people who are called for interview. While I enter the
interview room with such a pure and sacred body, I notice
that some people sitting there in the group, are in the habit
of smoking. Please be cautioned that I do not allow people
smoking. I strongly disapprove the habit of smoking. Immediately
I pick up such people and ask them to go out. The wife of
a smoker may plead with Me, “Swami! He is my husband;
if you send him out, what is there for me to represent to
you?” I firmly reply, “Whether it is husband or
son, whoever he may be, one should not enter My room with
bad odour and the smell of cigarette. You tell him to go out,
clean his mouth and come back. Then I shall speak to him.”
Such people will go out immediately, clean themselves and
come back in ten minutes. Then I speak to them endearingly.
Several people try to cover the bad odour emanating from their
body, by using some perfume. There is a small story in the
puranas, which is relevant in this context. Goddess Parvati
did great penance hoping to marry Lord Easwara. She tried
all sorts of methods to entice Easwara, i.e., by putting on
good dress, applying perfume, etc. But, Easwara did not yield
to her wishes. Then, she sought the help of Manmatha (cupid)
to wean Easwara to her side. Even then, Easwara did not budge
an inch. On the contrary, he took Manmatha to task for trying
to help Parvati. Immediately, Parvati realised her fault and
regained her poise. She meditated on the Divine form of Lord
Easwara which is Nitya (eternal), Suddha (unsullied), Buddha
(enlightened), Mukta (liberated), Nirmala Swarupinam (embodiment
of purity). She came back to her normal, natural and pure
self. Easwara then turned His vision towards her and accepted
her. They were married on an auspicious occasion with the
consent of her parents.
A human being should always be natural and
pure. He should not be artificial, wearing gaudy dress and
applying perfumes and colours. This may be necessary to a
certain extent. But, of what use is it to apply perfumes when
the body is full of bad odour? My body always emits
natural effulgence and divine fragrance, because I never entertain
bad thoughts. “A sound mind in a sound body” is
the principle I follow. In order to teach such good
habits to others, I always maintain My body and mind in a
pure and unsullied condition. Sometimes, I wake up the boy
sleeping in my room at 12 hours at midnight and again at 1
a.m. This may cause some inconvenience to the boys. They may
feel a little inconvenience during that particular moment,
but soon forget the same and attend to Swami’s needs.
Thus, the body must always be kept in a clean and fit condition,
since it is a sacred instrument provided by God. Since I give
utmost importance for cleanliness of the body, others would
also like to emulate Me. By following My good habits
and moving along with Me, people command respect in society.
Markandeya was a great devotee of Lord Easwara.
But, he had a short span of 16 years of life. Like any other
boy of his age, he used to spend a lot of time in play. He
was very happy in the company of other boys, unaware of his
impending death. When his parents realised that he would be
completing 16 years shortly, they felt very sad that he was
nearing his end. They were immersed in sorrow and started
shedding tears. Markandeya enquired of his parents, “Why
are you crying?” Realising the futility of concealing
the information from their son any longer, they replied, “Son!
Our relationship with your mortal body ends today. Lord Easwara
granted you a short span of life of 16 years, which will come
to an end today.” Markandeya felt very much disappointed
since he spent all his time till then in play, in the company
of other boys. Realising that he had still a few more minutes
of time, he took bath and went to the temple of Easwara. There
he started chanting the Divine name of Easwara with a pure
tongue. Meanwhile, it was time for sunrise. Easwara and Parvati
were discussing among themselves the impending death of Markendeya.
Parvati enquired from Easwara, “Swami! Markandeya’s
life is fast coming to an end. Why delay in saving his life?
His parents are immersed in great sorrow.” Easwara then
suggested that Parvati should enter the scene and play her
role in prolonging the life of Markandeya. Parvati then lifted
the child and made him to sit on her lap. Markandeya had the
good fortune of sitting on the lap of the Divine Mother, which
entitled him to win the grace of Lord Easwara. Easwara came
there and blessed Markandeya that he shall be a chiranjeevi.
Thus, he earned the grace of both the Divine Mother and Father.
In the meantime, Markandeya’s parents arrived there
to see what had happened to their son. Their joy knew no bounds
when they found their son hale and healthy. They expressed
their happiness thus: “Son! It is only due to your devotion
and complete surrender to Lord Easwara that you are able to
overcome death and earn the Divine grace for becoming a chiranjeevi.
You protected yourself, we could not do anything in this regard.”
God does not need anything from the devotee, except
devotion and complete surrender. He expects from
a devotee a sacred body, sacred words, sacred vision and selfless
activity. When a devotee offers these things, God gives Himself
up to that devotee. One’s body, mind and actions
should always be pure, so that God is attracted towards him.
It is not by the different forms of worship or other rituals
that God’s grace can be obtained. Even the mother expects
the child to cultivate a pure heart. Frequently, I recite
the following poem to remind man of the futility of struggling
for merely filling one’s belly:
Oh! Man! You struggle
hard for the sake of filling your belly, you acquire many
forms of knowledge in various fields; examine and enquire
for yourself what great happiness you have achieved by spending
all the time from dawn to dusk in acquiring worldly knowledge
and earning wealth, while forgetting God.
I always sanctify My time by engaging Myself
in activities beneficial to the society. Right from My childhood,
I cultivated Spartan habits and followed strict regimen. This
I had already explained in a poem on an earlier occasion thus:
Get up early in the
morning at the crowing of the cock,
Have a bath after your morning ablutions,
Wear a proper dress,
Eat properly and moderately,
Go to school and study diligently,
Earn a good name,
Don’t move out when it is raining,
And never go near the ditches,
Take part in games,
Run and play.
If you abide by all these rules
You will have both health and wealth.
In those days, people were not used to snacks.
The cooked rice was soaked in buttermilk on the previous night
and taken as breakfast next morning with a little salt.
Several boys keep their study tables very
unorganised, with the books strewn all over. They make it
clumsy and dirty. But, I used to keep my books always neat
and tidy. Whatever I am relating today is based on My personal
In those days, very few boys were in a position
to purchase new books when they were promoted to a higher
class. Every four or five years, the textbooks were changed.
I always used to keep My books neat. Hence, boys studying
in the lower standard and promoted to the higher standard
at the end of the academic year used to take My books. During
a particular year, a poor boy approached Me and asked for
My books. I advised him to go and have a bath in the Chitravathi
river and then come. He did accordingly. Then, I showed My
books to him. In those days there was high syllabus even for
lower classes, like history, geography, civics, etc. On seeing
My books, he commented, “Raju! you do not seem to have
touched your books even once. They appear brand new.”
The cost of My books totalled to twelve rupees, but the poor
boy was not in a position to pay even that much. Then I told
him “My dear! I am selected for the scout camp by our
teacher. I have to purchase khaki dress and shoes. Besides,
there are some other items of expenditure. I don’t have
money to incur that expenditure. Nor I would like to ask My
parents. What I need at the moment is five rupees. Therefore,
pay Me five rupees and take away the books.” The boy
felt very happy. He immediately paid the amount. In those
days, currency notes were very rare. Therefore, he brought
the entire amount in small coins packed in a piece of cloth.
It was tied in an old cloth, which gave way unable to bear
the weight of the coins. The coins were strewn all over the
room, making a big sound. On hearing the sound, the lady of
the house came there and enquired, “Where did you get
all this money? Did you steal from my trunk?” So saying,
she slapped Me. The poor boy standing there explained to her,
“Mother! I gave those coins to Raju towards the cost
of his books which I purchased from him.” She did not
believe his words and took away the entire money. The next
day all My classmates were going to Cuddapah for participating
in the scout camp. I was studying in Kamalapuram, when this
incident happened. I told My teacher that I would start the
next morning and join the group there. Early in the morning
I set out on My journey by walk. I walked a long distance
and before I could join My colleagues, they had left for their
breakfast. As for Myself, I did not have even a paisa in My
pocket. What do I eat for My breakfast? I thought I would
manage somehow without eating anything. I purposely avoided
My classmates then, lest they may question Me whether I had
breakfast. They were searching for Me. There was a masonry
tank nearby in which water was stored for cleaning the cows
and buffaloes. I was feeling very tired, hungry and thirsty,
having walked all the way. But, I could not help. I washed
My face with that dirty water and drank some. Then, I noticed
that someone had left behind a packet of beedies (country
cigarette) and a one anna coin on the tank there. The beedies
were, of course, of no use to Me. Therefore, I threw them
away. I took the one anna coin and converted it into four
small coins (botlu or kanis). Four kanis in those days were
equivalent to one anna. As I was returning, I noticed a person
sitting on the roadside playing cards spread over a cloth
and inviting passersby to bet on a particular card. He would
offer double the amount, if we were able to win. No doubt,
this was a sort of gambling, which I would advise everyone
to refrain from. But, I was completely helpless at that time.
I therefore put one coin on different cards. Every time, I
was winning the bet and getting double the amount I invested.
Thus, I played the game till I could make sixteen Annas (one
rupee). Then I thought that was the end of the game and returned
with the money already earned. Since I was feeling hungry,
I purchased three dosas with one bottu. In those days dosas
were available at the rate of one for a dammidi (1/3rd of
a bottu). Thus, I managed with two bottus a day eating dosas.
I joined the scout duty along with My friends. During night,
I kept the bundle of coins under My head and slept on the
sandy floor. Since I was very much tired, I was lost in sound
sleep. Meanwhile, someone noticed the bundle under My head
and took them away when I turned to the other side. When I
woke up the next day, I noticed that the cloth bundles containing
money were stolen away by somebody. I had no money to buy
even one dosa. My classmates were very much dejected at My
plight. They were in fact crying. They pleaded with me to
eat at least one dosa, which they would buy for Me. But, I
flatly refused. I told them that I was not hungry, since I
did not like to avail Myself of others’ help. Especially,
I did not wish to touch others’ money. So, I left that
Another incident happened during My childhood.
Once My hand was swollen and it was giving Me a lot of pain.
I did not reveal it to anybody. I tied a bandage Myself with
a wet cloth. The next day, Seshama Raju’s (Swami’s
elder brother) son died. He gave a telegram to Venkama Raju
(Swami’s father). Venkama Raju immediately rushed to
see Seshama Raju. The Griham Abbayi (Venkama Raju) started
from Puttaparthi and reached Bukkapatnam, and from there to
Kamalapuram. By the time he reached Seshama Raju’s house,
all in the family was immersed in sorrow over the death of
his son. I too had to pretend to be sorrowful, since I was
beyond sorrow and joy. The Griham Abbayi enquired from Me,
why I was having a bandage on My forearm. I tried to explain
away very casually as if nothing had happened. I told him
there was a slight pain in the joint and therefore I put the
arm in bandage. There was a lady belonging to the Vysya community
in the neighbouring house, who used to make her living by
preparing dosas and selling them.
She tried to reason with Griham Abbayi, saying,
“What! Venkama Raju! I know you are sufficiently well-off
so as to get Raju educated at your place. Why should you put
him to so much trouble by keeping him under the care of his
elder brother at such a distant place? You do not know how
much the boy is suffering here. He has to fetch drinking water
from a distant place carrying two big pitchers with the help
of a Kavadi on his shoulders, daily.” Thus, she narrated
several incidents where I had to undergo physical strain and
suffering. Griham Abbayi was deeply moved on hearing My plight
and immediately called me and said, “My dear son! You
start immediately and come along with me. Let us go back to
Puttaparthi.” All the family members loved Me. He therefore,
lamented, “I never beat you till date. You are undergoing
so much suffering here.” I tried to console him by saying,
“No, No. What these people say is not true. No one here
is putting Me to any trouble at all! If I come away with you
now, there will be none to help in the domestic chores here.
It is not proper for you to take Me away from this place right
now. You may go and I will follow you later at an appropriate
time.” Thus, I never revealed the fact that the pain
in My arm was due to the injuries inflicted on Me in Seshama
Raju’s house. I never had the habit of complaining
against elders. I always tried to protect the dignity and
honour of the family.
In those days, I was struggling very much
due to paucity of funds for My education. Often times I had
to manage with empty pockets. In the same village, there used
to be a businessman by name Kotte Subbanna. He used to run
a provision shop in which some Ayurvedic medicines were also
sold. Once, a new Ayurvedic medicine by name “Bala Bhaskara”
was put up for sale in his shop. It was a new and very efficacious
medicine. It could fetch him a good profit if popularised.
He, therefore, requested Me to shoulder the responsibility
of making propaganda for this new medicine. I agreed to his
request, but asked for some more information about the medicine.
Then I composed a song about the efficacy of the medicine
and gathered a few children of My age to go round the nearby
villages with placards in their hands and singing the song
composed by Me. I led the team of boys. The song ran as follows:
There it is! There it
is! Oh, children! come, come!
There is the medicine Bala Bhaskara;
Be it an upset stomach or a swollen leg;
Be it a joint pain or flatulence;
Be it any ailment, known or unknown;
Take this Bala Bhaskara for an instant cure!
If you wish to know where it is available,
There is the shop of Kotte Subbanna;
It is in that shop that you can pick it up.
Come here boys! come here!
It is an excellent tonic
Prepared by the famous physician Gopalacharya himself,
Come here boys! come here!
By the time we completed our propaganda tour
of the nearby villages, all the stock of medicines in Subbanna’s
shop was exhausted. He felt very happy. Then he called Me
and expressed his happiness saying, “My dear Raju! Due
to your efforts, all the stock of medicines in my shop was
sold out in no time. I am grateful to you.”
When Griham Abbayi requested Me to follow
him to Puttaparthi, I told him that I could not go with him
since Seshama Raju’s family was in a sorrowful state
due to the loss of their son. “It is not proper for
Me to leave them at this juncture. You please go to Puttaparthi.
Later, I will join you, I said.” Griham Abbayi shed
tears of joy for My sense of responsibility and noble feelings.
He said, “Dear son! I had never come across small children
explaining such noble thoughts to elders. How noble and great
are your qualities! You are teaching me such great things.
How sweet and wise your words are! Your nobility alone will
protect you.” Saying thus, he left for Puttaparthi.
However, ever since he reached Puttaparthi, he used to send
messages daily requesting Me to go over there. He was remembering
all those complaints made to him by our Vysya neighbour about
My difficult life in Kamalapuram and was feeling very sorry
for My plight. Meanwhile, a few more days passed. I had to
sit for My examinations as well. So, I thought it would not
be wise to get back to Puttaparthi at this juncture without
attending the examinations. Moreover, I had My friends to
be taken care of in the examinations.
We three were friends – Ramesh Suresh
and Myself. We sat on the same bench in our classroom. Ramesh
and Suresh used to sit on either side of Me. They were dull
in education. I told them, “I will write the answer
for the questions on your answer books. You just sit silently
in the examination hall.”
All the three of us went into the examination
hall. Our roll numbers were quite afar from one another. Therefore,
we had to sit at different places in the examination hall.
There was no chance at all for us to communicate with each
other. My friends were very unhappy and dejected. I conceived
a plan to help them. First of all, I finished writing My answer
sheets within no time. Then I took additional sheets and wrote
the answers for the questions for both Ramesh and Suresh,
in their own handwriting. Then, I kept all the three answer
sheets on the table of the examiner. The result of our examination
was announced on the third day. In those days, the examination
results were announced soon after the examination; not like
the present day when it takes months together to announce
the results. All the three of us passed in 1st class. Whatever
answers were there in My answer sheets, the same were found
in the answer sheets of the other two boys as well. But, none
could accuse us of copying, since our roll numbers were very
different and our seats distant from each other. Mine was
number 6, whereas another boy’s was 108. The third boy’s
roll number was still far. However, our teacher Mahboob Khan
realised that I helped the other boys to perform well in the
examinations. But he did not reveal that news to anyone. While
we were coming out of the classroom, the teachers followed
us and congratulated us for securing first class in the examination.
They shed tears of joy. Thus, I made everyone including my
teachers and classmates happy and returned to Puttaparthi.
My friends Ramesh and Suresh expressed their wish to accompany
Me to Puttaparthi. They, in fact, insisted on following Me.
I advised them that, they could join Me if they so wished,
but they had to leave Me in Puttaparthi and get back to their
places. I used to advise, guide and correct My fellow students
during My stay in the school. Never did I waste My time in
the school. I always endeavoured to sanctify it. I
used to talk sweetly and softly with everyone.
By the time I reached Puttaparthi, people
could notice that a strange ailment had taken over Me. I used
to talk something to Myself. People around Me thought that
I was mad. Several people offered several suggestions to get
Me cured of this strange disease. At the end, all people unanimously
decided that I should be taken to a Bhootha Vaidya (witch
doctor) for curing Me of an alleged possession by a demon.
That sorcerer got My hair shaven off and inflicted two deep
cuts on My scalp in the form of an X. Then he poured lime
juice on the bleeding cuts. It gave Me great pain and an unbearable
burning sensation. But, I did not give vent to My feelings
and silently suffered all this torture. In fact, I was laughing
at his foolish treatment. Then, he decided to put Me to more
suffering. He brought Kalikam (a sort of poisonous substance)
and put it in My eyes. Thus, he put Me to several kinds of
torture. Venkamma (Swami’s elder sister) who accompanied
Me to this sorcerer’s place could not bear to see Me
undergoing this suffering. She therefore ran to Griham Abbayi
and pleaded with him, “Father! You don’t put Sathya
to this inhuman treatment. This man is inflicting great pain
and injury on the boy. Enough of torture you take him away
immediately to Puttaparthi.” I was brought back to Puttaparthi.
From then on, I underwent occasional bouts of a “strange
ailment”. On Thursdays, I used to answer some questions
and enquiries of people in the name of Baba. Ever since that
sorcerer shaved off My hair and put two deep cuts on My scalp,
till today I did not have a haircut. Some people think that
I trim My hair. No, never. My hair grows naturally. I am having
this type of hairstyle for the last 70 years. The ensuing
birthday is My 79th birthday. Till today, I did not suffer
from any disease. My teeth and eyesight are intact. Till a
few years ago, those accompanying Me were, in fact, running
to catch up with Me. I can still walk very fast, but the doctors
put a condition that I should not. The reason being that I
was operated sometime ago when I had a fall on the floor.
They put a steel rod joining My hipbone and put sutures over
it. That is why I was advised against My walking fast. Nevertheless,
I have been able to attend to My daily routine. I do not give
up any item of My daily activities. I am giving interviews
to visitors. I am moving along the Darshan lines, giving Darshan
to devotees. There is absolutely no hindrance to My daily
activities. I have already spoken so long. There is a lot
more to speak, if I wish. I have been maintaining My body
all these years in a perfect shape. It is possible that I
might have caused some trouble to some people in the process.
But, they do not mind. They do service to Me, even though
I dissuade them.
Today is Durgashtami day. Tomorrow and day
after are Mahanavami and Vijayadasami festivals. I have a
lot of work to do. I have to talk to the Purohits (priests)
conducting the Yajna. Besides, there are other important matters
to be attended to. After finishing My work, I will again talk
to you. Did I not tell you that students are My property?
I care so much for them. If they are happy, I will also be
happy. I have a piece of advice to you. Never give
up Namasmarama. Do constant Namasmarana wherever you are.
(Bhagawan concluded His Discourse with the
Bhajan, “Hari Bhajana Bina …”)