Built In Terminator
Loving Sai Ram and greetings from Prashanti Nilayam. While creating the Universe, God, in His infinite Wisdom, has ensured that nothing is permanent. This applies both to inanimate as well as animate entities. Stars are born, but they also die. Incidentally, you may surprised to know that the atoms in our bodies have all come from a star that had an explosive death before our Sun came into existence. As for animate entities, Shakespeare said beautifully that all that lives must die and go from here to eternity.
It is not only individual living beings that have a birth and a death; species too go through the same sort of cycle. A species comes into existence, exists for several million years and then one day becomes extinct, like the dinosaurs, for example. What we wish to discuss in this “Sunday Special” is that coming under the spell of constant change, socio-economic forces, including those that harm Society, also appear to have a termination, at least to some extent. Unfortunately, however, while one evil phenomenon becomes extinct, others, often more virulent, take their place. Thus, it is rather like what happens in a garden. Weeds appear and through the use of pesticides etc., the weed is exterminated; but other weeds appear, and the cycle goes on.
The question before us is the following: “Placed as we are in a Society that is becoming increasingly crowded, and where money power is slowly appearing to become absolute, how are we to protect ourselves?” Before we try to address this question, we would like to cite some examples of such transient phenomenon. In the business world, for example, success is not eternal. Take, for instance, the automobile industry. Time there was when America literally dominated the scene. In fact, so powerful was General Motors and so important was it to America that it used to be said: “What’s good for General Motors is good for America.” Presently, however, the American auto industry that once held such a powerful position is in the red. A similar eclipse is being forecast in the Television industry. For decades, three TV channels in America ruled the airways. They were true giants. But with the emergence of cable technology, internet streaming, etc., these once powerful institutions are worrying about what they must do to stay alive.
Let us turn next to powerful empires. Barely seventy years ago, it used to be said that the Sun never sets on the British Empire. Where is it now? After the Second World War, the Soviet Empire seemed invincible, the Berlin Wall being its symbol of might and authority. Yet, how quickly the Soviet Empire crumbled, almost overnight as it were! Much before this, there were the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Czarist Empire, the Ottoman Empire , the Moghul Empire, and so on. Every one of them has vanished into the dustbin of history. What we are trying to drive at is that any social or economic system based on social imbalance and inequity, has a built-in factor that one day leads to the extinction of that system. In that sense, this built-in “Terminator Factor,” in so far as it applies to evil forces, is good news. However, though a particular form of evil might become extinct, if the overall climate for evil to flourish does not change, then evil would always reappear in some other form.
Diseases provide an example of how one problem is often replaced with another. Till about seventy years ago, small pox and plague used to kill in thousands if not hundreds of thousands. They were very much feared but today, they are extinct. Polio, likewise, claimed its victims in millions but today, it has almost disappeared, except in a few countries. But even as these deadly diseases have taken their bow as it were, others have appeared in their place, the most notable and feared of them being AIDS. Believe it or not, till 1980 AIDS simply did not exist, but today, it is killing five thousand people every single day; and for your reference, that number is roughly one and a half times the number of people who were killed in the attack on the Twin Towers in New York, on September 11, 2001.
This brings us to our main point. Yes, specific forms of evils do have a life span, and one day may become extinct. But where humanity as a whole is concerned, it does not quite get off the hook. These “local extinctions” might benefit some people, but suffering and misery continue; while some who suffered earlier might later prosper, others who had it good earlier might now suffer. To make matters worse, the number of people suffering might even increase. So, if one looks at humanity as a whole, the “Gross Misery Index” tends to increase, despite the “Terminator Factor”.
The question arises: “In that case, what’s the big deal about the so-called Terminator Factor in relation to evil? Why talk about it at all, when it really does not matter much where overall suffering is concerned?” There is a reason and we now wish to focus on that. Let us start by asking: “We earlier considered ‘Local Terminator Factors’. Is there any ‘Global Terminator Factor,’ that can take care of the whole bunch of evil?” Our answer is: “Yes, there is one.” Want to know more about it? Read on!
Let us go back to the diseases example. How did humanity get rid of the dreaded smallpox? Essentially by eliminating the virus all over the globe. What this tells us is that if we are looking for some kind of a ‘Global Terminator Factor,’ then the first thing we have to ensure is that evil has no place to hide anywhere. This raises the question: “Where exactly does evil normally hide? What is its home? And where is this home?” The answer is straightforward: “Evil hides in the Minds of humans.” So, if evil has to be eliminated globally, then all Minds must be spiritually disinfected.
You might wonder whether at all this is possible. When we are facing so much difficulty in fighting AIDS and getting rid of it, can we ever “disinfect” Minds everywhere, spiritually that is? We are not suggesting that this is going to be easy but we do believe that humanity must give this a serious try. Swami says if you see a deadly snake, you would do everything to avoid getting bitten by it. We must have the same attitude here.
Let us look at this issue in some greater detail. Today, there are hundreds of thousands if not millions of rich and upper-middle class people who are well off, but there are also billions of people who are suffering in innumerable ways. Even the rich are not happy. They might be loaded with money, but few of them are relaxed. To make money, one has to compete fiercely and that sort of aggressive life brings its own quote of problems. All this is well known and so we shall not go into those details. But we have to mention that the great divide of humanity into the haves and the have-nots is the source of conflict in many societies. As one intellectual put it, the conflicts we often see boil down to a confrontation, sometimes violent, between raw money power and equally raw people power. The distinguished Harvard Professor J. K. Galbraith who died recently – J.K.G was, during the Kennedy administration, America ’s Ambassador to India , a post he adorned with great distinction – once said, “Wealth does not understand.” What he meant was that wealthy people simply do not understand that the under-privileged have serious life and death problems, most of them caused by the huge disparity in income. When those who do not have problems do not understand the suffering of those who are beset with innumerable problems – they may be financial, connected with health, mental retardation, physical disability like blindness, etc., – then there will always be friction, sometimes violent.
You might say, “All that is old hat. What exactly is the point being made?” Our answer is the following:
First and foremost, if evil is to be removed, ALL must make a commitment towards it. For example, small pox got eliminated when everyone got vaccinated.
Next, EVERY ONE must accept that the Mind gets disinfected best by following Swami’s teachings in full faith.
In particular, CEILING ON DESIRES is a must for every one, both the rich and the poor, each in their own way.
Sathya Sai Baba says that there must be LOVE FOR GOD, and also FEAR OF SIN. What exactly is sin? Sin is any act that God would not be pleased with. God would not like acts that pander to the senses; God would not like anything that harms others; God would not like greed, and so on. So, fearing sin really means being afraid to hurt God!
Since we have gone through all this many times earlier, we presume we do not have to elaborate on this topic. But we would like to discuss briefly why all this is important.
You see, the world of today is so interconnected that what happens in one part of the world affects a lot of people even far away. Heavy disturbance to the environment in Mongolia and China , has led to desert sand from China being blown all the way to America . The Chernobyl nuclear accident took place in Ukraine but it affected people all over Europe . Poverty in the less-developed countries has resulted in massive immigration into the rich countries, often illegal immigration. The rich countries that once welcomed immigrants are now not so enthusiastic about it because all kinds of problems have surfaced. Rich people in wealthy countries want good wooden furniture and they encourage people in poor countries to cut their forests. In turn, this causes devastation to the topsoil, leads to flooding when there is heavy rain etc. The list goes on.
In short, man today has too much power, too much technology, too many desires and too little wisdom. May be not every one of the six and odd billion humans on planet home have money, power, etc. But when there is a huge disparity as there is at present, it can create all kinds of problems, all over the place, even if the number of rich is only few millions. The time has come to move away from the money-power versus people-power type of confrontation. We should all regard ourselves as children of One Loving and Compassionate God, and share with as well as care for each other by abandoning selfishness, to which all are addicted, both the rich and the poor.
Is selfishness all that easy to get rid off? Not easy we admit, but it IS possible, if we truly Love Swami, as we invariably claim to.
You know something? True Love is immensely powerful and is the ONLY effective Terminator available to us. Swami loves us so much and gives us so much. Can we not, by way of expressing gratitude, set apart every single day, wherever we are, just two minutes in the morning and two in the evening, when we contemplate quietly and say to Swami:
“Lord, when I see You in Your Cosmic Macro Form, I see that You are suffering through millions of human forms and millions more of other forms like the whale, the baby seal, and so on. Swami, I realise that all this suffering is caused by us humans. And the reason for this is because I have not allowed You who are my Indweller to express Yourself through this body and Mind of mine.
Forgive me please, and let me at least now say with true feelings of Love and Compassion: LOKA SAMASTHAA SUKHINO BHAVANTU. I know that I routinely chant this Mantra at the end of every Bhajan session but this time, I assure You it is truly from the Heart.
They say that prayer is God’s only weakness. I believe in that. So Swami, I earnestly pray that You do not suffer through all those millions and billions of living forms. Please help all of us not to thoughtlessly put You to such suffering.
Trapped as we are in stupid delusion, we cannot end the evils of the world, for which we are really to blame. We plead guilty but please Swami, we do not want to be stuck with it! And there is only one Global Terminator for all the current problems, Your Love!
Baba! Please help us so that that Infinite Love of Yours can arise and swell in our Hearts and sweep away at one stoke like a Huge Divine Tsunami, all the evil on earth!”.
You know something? If each one of us really prays in this manner every single day, then there is sure to be a change. The Heart, which is the seat of God, holds infinite power that can do wonders. Suppose we go one step further and pray in this manner, intensely, at the end of each Bhajan session, the results would be even greater. Suppose all the Bhajan groups in a city decide to do this at a particular time of a particular day, every single week, even greater Moral cleansing can be expected.
A carbon dioxide laser is essentially made up of trillions of very tiny molecules. Yet, when the molecules cohere, the radiation from the laser can drill and cut through five centimetres of steel! This is not any new-fangled technology but has been there for twenty-five years, and is extensively used in many industries. If tiny inanimate molecules can do so much by coming together, how much more humans can do when they come together!
We now ask you to sit back and reflect on all that we have tried to say; after that, reflect on why Swami asks us to do Akhand Bhajans at least once a year.
Jai Sai Ram.
With Love and Regards,