Tuesday, 19 February 2013
Refusing Abuse (Sai Baba's version of the Buddha Cake Story)
From Summer Showers in Brindavan 1977
By Sathya Sai Baba
Includes an alternative version of Buddha asking what would happen if the Brahmin gave him a cake and he did not accept it (as with anger).
p.184. What is the way to immortality? Removal of mortality is the only way to immortality. Narrow and immoral ideas like being unjust and unkind, causing harm to others, must be set aside. What is the reason for this? One should accept that whatever exists in another person is also the same divine spirit which is in you. How can we then have jealousy or hatred towards another?
When sometimes other people conduct themselves badly, then you should pray to God that they be purified and they should not conduct themselves badly. But do not subject yourself to jealousy and bad conduct. I am hoping that you would recognise the divine aspect of atma, the one aspect for which there is no parallel and that you will promote your sacred ideas.
Divyatmaswarupas: You must all make an attempt with determination to coordinate your thought, word and deed. It has been said that the proper study of mankind is man. It is only when you do that and it is only when you recognise human nature, will you be able to understand true divinity. But today there is no proper study of mankind. This is the reason why human nature has sunk down to the very lowest depths and man is not able to live like a human being.
p.218-221. The essence of education is to recognise the truth. All branches of learning are like rivers. The spiritual learning branches of learning are like the rivers. The spiritual learning is like the ocean. All rivers go and merge into the ocean. When they merge in the ocean, the rivers lose their individuality completely. Under no circumstances should we give room to excitement, to ego and to anger.
There is one little example for this. In one village, there was a village head who did not like Buddha. The moment he heard any words uttered by Buddha, he used to get angry. He was always suffering from uncontrolled anger. One day, he learnt the news that Buddha was coming to that village with his disciples. Since he was the head of the village, he issued a certain order. The order was that when Buddha came asking for alms, no one should give him alms and all should close their doors. Following this order, all the people in the village closed the doors of their respective houses when Buddha came. The head of the village also closed the doors and was sitting in the verandah outside the door.
Buddha was all-knowing and he knew what was happening. With his disciples he came to the very house in which the village head was living. Great people will never be affected either by praise or by blame. Such people, having developed equal-mindedness, will go right in front of those who are suffering from jealousy and ego. This village head was suffering from such ignorance and pride and Buddha went straight to him and asked for alms. The village head, who was waiting for such an opportunity, became even more excited. A person who is sick will always want to take several medicines. Certain birds will always be wanting to look at cool moonshine. Good people will always want to help bad people and to see that the badness in them is removed and they are cleansed. It is only one who has a disease and is sick who wants a doctor. A healthy man does not want a doctor. Similarly, people who are suffering from the disease of disbelief can be cured by good people.
With such noble ideas, Buddha, along with his disciples, went to the house of the village headman and said, ‘Bhavati, bhikshan dehi.’ ‘I have come to ask for alms.’ When he saw Buddha and the disciples accompanying him, the headman became very angry. He addressed Buddha and said, ‘You lazy man, you have collected all these people in your company, and they have become lazy. You are taking them round because they do not want to work. Not only are you ruining your own life, you are also ruining the lives of your disciples. This is wrong. In that manner, he abused Buddha and the disciples who came with him.
Buddha smiled at all this and, smiling, asked the head of the village if he could clarify a doubt for him. The headman said in a very loud voice, ‘What is your doubt? Let me know.’ Buddha said, ‘I have come to ask for alms from you. You have brought something in order to give it to me. If I do not accept what you wish to give to me, where will it go?’ The village headman laughingly replied, ‘What a big question you have asked! If you do not wish to take what I have brought for you, I will take it back myself.’ Buddha said that he was very happy. ‘I have come here along with my disciples for taking alms from you. You have brought abuse and you want to give it to me as alms. But I have not accepted the bhiksha you brought for me in the form of abuse. To whom will it go back?’ With this, the ego of that village headman subsided. In this manner, great people and great saints go to several persons and with a view to enlighten them, adopt different methods. By such things we should not let our mind become impure. At all times, we should make an attempt to cleanse our mind and make it pure. The house which we use every day, we undertake to clean it day after day. So also if this mind of ours, which we have to use every moment, is not cleaned often, great damage will result. Our mind is like a copper vessel. This copper vessel will gather rust from moment to moment. We are using the water of repentance to cleanse this pot of our mind from time to time.
If anyone abuses you or accuses you, you should not get excited. With equanimity, you should be prepared to take what they give you. In this sacred age of yours, excitement is a very harmful thing. If you think of the Lord for five minutes all that excitement will vanish. These states of excitement are transient and temporary and are not permanent. If anyone amongst you, with an inimical feeling, accuses others, you must be prepared to repent. One can also think of another method of understanding this situation. Suppose some friend of yours sends you a registered letter through the post. According to the rules of the postal department, if you wish to receive it, you have to sign on a receipt. If you do not agree to sign, where does that registered letter go? It will go back to the address from which it has come. In this manner, whatever others may say, yet if you feel that they are not for you and if you are only a witness, then nothing will come to you.
Divyatmaswarupas: You are truly only witnessing persons. Not only in regard to worldly matters but also in regard to spiritual matter, you should remain as witnesses only. But you should ask the question, such of us who are only to witness, where from have we come? Where do we go? If you cannot obtain an answer to these two questions, then what is the purpose of life? We post an envelope in the post-box. On that envelope, either there must be a ‘from’ address or the address to which it has to go. If both of them are not present, where will the envelope go? It will simply be removed from the post-box and burnt. As in that analogy, if we do not know from where we have come and where we have to go, we will be discarded as useless and thrown away. If any group teacher comes and asks one of you, ‘Where from have you come?’ If you are not in a position to reply, then he asks you, ‘Where are you going?’ And if you are not in a position to reply to that also, what will the happen to you? We have come into this world which is a mithya. Everything in this world is asking you, ‘Where have you come from?’ All the Upanishads are asking you, ‘Where are you going? What is your destination.’ Upanishads tell you that you are the child of immortality. You must have a firm belief that you have come from the aspect of atma, and that you will be going back to immortality.
Students, in order to cleanse your minds, you should promote sacred prema [love] in yourselves. To just keep talking of devotion does not fulfil the purpose of devotion. It is a mistake to think that you can control your future and go on praising yourselves that you have devotion. Love of God is the main symptom of bhakti, or devotion.
Sri Sathya Sai Education & Publication Foundation, Andhra Pradesh, India, 1977