The World Is What It Is Because We Are What We Are

The Vinayaka (Ganesha) principle protects man from the various hurdles in life and ensures peace and security. Hence on every auspicious occasion, Vinayaka is worshipped. The devout offer worship to Vinayaka with the well-known prayer beginning with the words, Shuklaambara-dharam (The one who wears a white garment). Vighneshvara is described as one who is white like the moon, who has four arms (two for giving worldly protection and two for spiritual benediction), who has an ever-pleasing countenance and to whom obeisance is offered for removing all obstacles.

- Divine Discourse, September 16, 1996.

Loving Sai Ram and greetings from Prashanti Nilayam. For this Sunday, we have an article by Dr. Rajeshwari Patel, a former student of Bhagavan’s college and currently a Reader in the Department of English, Sri Sathya Sai University , Anantapur campus.

In the far distant horizon, if you look with care, you will see the slow formation of a shrine of future glory and prosperity. But do you know that every brick piled upon another makes a shrine? Brick by brick, the future is taking shape, is being brought to form, and you must know that “your brick,” “my brick,” “every brick” will count in the building of a better India and a happier world.

You know that in every country that has a tale of glory to tell, it is the tale of a few great men, the few that rose above the philistine multitudes, and made a mark in the history of the world. It is these few that we need desperately in our country today.

How pitiable it is that much of the pride that we take in belonging to a great nation like ours has its roots in the grand achievements of our ancestors. That country is not worth its name whose people sing the glories of their ancestors while they themselves have ceased to do anything for which they may be remembered with reverence after their time.

Simply because a nation has precious minerals in the bowels of its earth does not make it wealthy. The ore has to be extracted, refined and, then, placed in the hands of the “valiant.”

Many of our young people hardly recognize the value of the rich culture that we have inherited. I am reminded of something I read several years ago, of how foreign students at the Oak Ridge Institute of Nuclear Studies in America used to be very much in demand for speaking engagements at clubs in the area. After one of the Indian students had given a particularly fine talk on Indian Culture, he was congratulated. The student replied, “Frankly, I learned most of it here in the U.S.A. I was asked so many questions about India I couldn’t answer that I decided to read up about my country in your Public library.”

We should be like the Indian who, when he was once asked by an Englishman why he was spending such a lot of time on the Dvaita, Advaita and Visistadvaita philosophy, replied, “Why do you spend so much time and energy trying to climb mountain peaks? How is it going to help mankind?” When the Englishman insisted that his efforts were a proof of man’s conquest over Nature, the Indian promptly added, “You conquer peaks, we conquer ideas!”

Swami Vivekananda defined education as the manifestation of the faculties already latent in man. But the process of manifestation is not an easy one. It often requires a proper “Guru.” If we say that these days we don’t find a Guru who is ready to teach his pupils with selflessness, we will also have to admit that these days we don’t have pupils who have the humility and readiness to sit at the feet of the Guru and listen to him with reverential devotion, in quest of knowledge. Instead, like the archangel Satan, we consider ourselves self-created, self-taught and dependent on no man and nothing for the education of our souls.

We wash our car; polish it well daily, so that it may shine better than our neighbour’s car. We spend hours each day in things of external value merely. Sometimes we even waste our minutes in trying to reform the next man but with our own self, we take it easy. We seem to think that there is enough time for ourselves. As Tolstoy said, “Everyone thinks of changing humanity and nobody thinks of changing himself.”

Our life is so uncertain, so divided, we are often so much at war with the different voices within us that Unity of Being is an impossibility to realize. In a world that is expanding day-by-day, with the improved communication system, we have, ironically, narrowed ourselves down. As Edmund Burke wrote in one of his letters to the gentlemen of Bristol : “The world is large enough for us both. Let it be our care not to make ourselves too small for it.”

It takes more time to make a thing than to mar it. A 20-storey building may take four years to be built but to destroy it you only need a time bomb that will make a neat job of it in less than five minutes. To build a firm relationship with a friend worth having may take perhaps years but to break the bond requires only one or two unkind words. To build a nation, then, how much youthful energy, how much hard work, and how many centuries may we need? India became a republic six decades ago, and we are still making ourselves! In the meantime, it is expedient that our young people engage themselves in constructive schemes and do not spoil what has already been achieved.

The young often have their grievances against society – that it is corrupt, that the older generation is not setting a good example, etc. But society is you and I. Have we made ourselves fit to take respectable and responsible positions in various fields? The older generation is passing out, yes, and we are coming in to take their place. But, let us not be proud of toppling them down, of replacing them, unless we are going to leave behind us - to the generation that will come after us - a different society and a better world to live in.

There is talent, no doubt, in young people. But we somehow lack human understanding. We fail to put ourselves in the other man’s place and know how he feels. And yet, one might say that it is easier to live with others than with ourselves. It needs greater courage to know oneself and like oneself. Few of us would be happy to meet ourselves “face to face.” We are always trying to escape from ourselves every time we find it difficult to face the truth. Some of us hide behind groups so that we can cease to be individuals. It is easier to melt into a mob. How many of us dream of becoming heroes, and yet are unable to step out of our social selves and walk fearlessly on our own feet.

Not that everything looks bleak around. We have immense potentialities within us if we can only actualize them. As Ruskin has said, “The weakest among us has a gift, however seemingly trivial, which is peculiar to him, and which, worthily used, will be a gift to his race forever!”

With the teaching and training that Bhagavan has given us, let us hope that a few at least will rise, from among us, that will uphold human values and human dignity. A shrine of future glory is taking shape in the distance. But I would like to affirm once again – “your brick,” “my brick,” every brick will count in the building of a world of our dreams.

Jai Sai Ram.

With Love and Regards,
"Heart2Heart" Team.