The following discourse has been translated into English from Bhagavan's Telugu speech as heard on this festival's ashram audiocassette. It is a complete, literal translation made with the objective of preserving Bhagavan's precious original poetic style as much as possible.
DISCOURSE BY SRI SATHYA SAI BABA
Summer Course - 2002
23rd May, 2002
A tree trunk can be straightened without bends.
A stone can be shaped properly.
Can you shape a mind without bends?
Sai’s word is a truthful word.
There Are Three Akashas
Embodiments of Love!
Our warden asked Me to speak on the three akashas. What are these akashas?
Akasam Gaganam Soonyam.
Space is the sky - nothingness.
The meaning of this is: “Don’t say anything!” (Laughter)
That which can be seen with the eye, heard with the ear, and thought with the mind sustains the existence; and that which is beyond words, all such sights, are related to akasha. Not only what can be seen on the earth, also the sun, moon, clouds and stars that are seen in the sky, all of these are related to akasha. However, there is not only one akasha. There are three akashas. The first is Bhutakasha, the second one is Chitthakasha and the third is Chidaakasha.
Things are seen on this earth. There are not only the stars that we see, but so many stars that we can't even see! All of these are related to Bhutakasha. Bhutakasha is spread over so many thousands of miles. The distance between this earth and the sun is 91,100,000 miles. There are so many more such sights to see (more distant from the earth). The ones that are closest to us are the sun and moon. There are a few more stars even beyond them. They are also suns. They are as big as our sun. They look small because they are so distant. Each star is a sun. Such a sun and moon give light to the world, to numerous people and to numerous forms.
However, how far does the light of each star travel in one moment? In a moment, light travels at the speed of 16,000 crores. Yet even then, the light from a few stars hasn’t reached the earth up till today. The light of many more stars has not yet reached the earth. The light of these stars is very brilliant. Forms on the earth cannot bear it and they cannot see it. These lights are shining with great brilliance. This sun gives only a small bit of its effulgence to the earth.
The radiance that the stars, sun and moon give is not their own effulgence. All of these have a fundamental power. There is a main radiant foundation. It is through the Atma Shakti (power of the Atma) that the sun, moon and even the stars shine. All of these are contained in such a Bhutakasha.
Reflected In Our Heart
Then, what is Chitthakasha? Even though all that is seen is Bhutakasha, it is not possible to say that all that cannot be seen is Chitthakasha. There is one power that shines, which is not seen, heard, or known. That only is Chidaakasha. Everything - all the forms in Bhutakasha are reflected in Chitthakasha. All sights that we see are forms that are reflected on our heart. This akasha of the heart is very subtle. They call this Chitthakasha.
The Bhutakasha that can be seen with our eyes is spread over many thousands of miles. However, the stars that spread their light so far and other things, all of these are observed as very subtle in Chitthakasha. All forms that are reflected in Chitthakasha are reflections of Chidaakasha. The reflections of Bhutakasha are observed as very subtle in Chitthakasha.
Now we have seen a mountain. Close your eyes at once after looking at the mountain. The big mountain that was seen remains in your Chitthakasha. This Bhutakasha, and even the hundreds of thousands of stars seen in this akasha, remain in your Chitthakasha. No one can measure Bhutakasha, saying it is ‘like this’ or ‘like that’.
However, we can inquire to some extent only about Chitthakasha. All forms, the entire universe and all worlds - all are in tiny subtle form in Chitthakasha. Therefore, everything that is reflected in our mind, every reflection, is a reflection of Bhutakasha. So, what is physically seen is Bhutakasha, while what is seen in the mind is Chitthakasha.
Then the third one is Chidaakasha. What is this Chidaakasha? They call it ‘Atma’. Atma has no form. Atma doesn’t have any type of movement. It is:
Nithya, Suddha, Buddha,
Muktha, Nirmala Swarupinam.
eternal, always pure,
free, unpolluted form.
That only is Chidaakasha. The one who beholds Chidaakasha is one who experiences or beholds the Atma. The form of this Chitthakasha can certainly be seen even if there is no education and even if there is no scholarship. However, no matter how much effort is made, no one can see even the reflection of the nature of Chidaakasha.
If each star is observed, some are measurable distances from the earth. But a few other stars are at distances that are immeasurable. They are so distant that it is not even possible to say how far away these other stars are! They call this:
Beyond words and unseen by mind…
The One You Really Are
Even scientists made so many efforts to find out Chidaakasha’s value. No matter how much they did, they were only able to go up to Chitthakasha, but could not touch Chidaakasha. Therefore, beholding Chidaakasha is said to be beholding the Atma. All things that are seen in this world are belonging to Bhutakasha. Even Vedanta was unable to describe Chidaakasha. Science also cannot describe it well; so Vedanta defined it to some extent.
The reflection of Bhutakasha is Chitthakasha. That which swallows Chitthakasha is Chidaakasha. Chitthakasha swallows Bhutakasha. That which swallows Chitthakasha is Chidaakasha. Hence, this needs to be understood to some extent.
The one you think you are:
That is Bhutakasha. It means, whatever sights you are able to see, whatever forms you are able to describe and whatever experiences you are obtaining, all of that is the one you think you are.
The one others think you are:
That is Chitthakasha. That is, all that you think about makes you remember it in your mind.
That which goes beyond this Chitthakasha is
The One you really are.
That only is the nature of Atma. That only is the true form of Prakritti (Nature or the world). It is Divine bliss. There is no difference at all between this bliss and the word ‘I’.
The Word ‘I’
Ekam Thath Vipra Bahuda Vadanti.
Hence, no matter who is called…if I call “Anil Kumar”, he is beside Me and will answer, “I.” However, if Giri Garu is called, the man bearing the name of Giri Garu will answer, “I.” Like this, so many names are there. Even when a few hundred thousands of names are called, only the answer of, “I, I, I” will come.
So, the unity in diversity is ‘I’. The unity in diversity is the nature of Atma. It is not possible to say this nature of Atma is either akasha or earth or anything else.
What is akasha? It is infinite. It is immeasurable and non-apparent. Who can describe something like this? So, no one can say anything about this infinite form. Hence, all the scholars say:
Akasam Gaganam Soonyam.
Space is the sky - nothingness.
Akasha is the sky. What do we see in this sky? A few sights and a few clouds are seen in it. How long are they seen? Only for some time, then they disappear. They also move away. So that which cannot be seen is Chidaakasha. That only is ‘I’. No one can give the meaning of the word ‘I’. Vedanta says this unity is in everything, meaning it determines unity.
Aham Brahmasmi: “I am Brahman.” Only after the word ‘I’ comes, the word ‘Brahman’ appears. Only after ‘I’ comes does another word appear. Therefore, first and foremost, the Atma comes only after ‘I’. Without the word ‘I’, it is not possible for the word Atma to come. Aham (‘I’), aham: Aham Brahmasmi. This Brahman comes from ‘I’. Therefore aham is ‘I’. Hence, the word ‘I’ has the important nature of Atma.
So, no matter how many books are read in Vedanta terminology, no matter how many sciences are learned, each one advises one to find out, “Who am I?” Dear one, know who you are. The ‘I’ cannot be described through words, scholarship or through knowledge of the world.
Atma Has No Name
When someone asks, “Sir, who are you?” you answer, “I am Anil Kumar.” But who gave you this name of Anil Kumar? It is what your parents gave to the body. Before the name was given, what was your name? You don’t know! Hence, everything is something that was given, but not something that is born with you. Therefore, every single name is only given after one is born. Even names are given only for recognition. But they are not established as a form of Truth.
Therefore, Atma has no name. Aham, aham, aham, aham, aham, aham: This aham is the true nature of Atma. There is no separate form for the Atma. But if we want to describe it with a form, it is only Bhutakasha. Chitthakasha can be inquired into to some extent. Chitthakasha is the reflection of Bhutakasha. Chidaakasha has no forms at all. So, as it is formless, how can it be said to have any form? Therefore they say, “I,I.”
In every subject or in the terminology of Vedanta, no one recognizes clearly the meaning of ‘I’. What is this ‘I’? Is the ‘I’ the ego? Ego has a form (the body), doesn't it? However, the true ‘I’ has no form. So, that which is formless is this ‘I’. Vedanta explains it with so many different words.
So ‘I’ is not Bhutakasha. Aham is not a form and aham is not a sound. Aham is the nature without any sound or forms. Someone told, “Sir, know yourself and return.” The next day he returned. The second person said, “I came to know, sir.” When asked, “What is it? Who are you?”, he answered, “My name is Ramayya.” Then, when asked a second time “Who are you?” he answered, “My father’s name is Malayya.” Then, “What is your mother’s name?” “Pullamma.” Yellamma, Pullamma, Ramayya, Annayya - he said names like this.
These names are not you at all. They are all related only to your body. These are only words (names) that are said especially in the village. They say these at the time of introduction. These are only words specially created for you, but they are not your words (your true name).
Therefore, first and foremost, the word you were born with is only one: ‘I’. That is the nature of Atma. Atma or ‘I’ - all are One. Atma has no special form. “I, I, I, I”: If you try to recognize the nature of ‘I’, one needs no other spiritual practice.
“I am Ramayya.” Why is ‘Ramayya’ put at then end? ‘Ramayya’ only comes after ‘I’. Nothing should come after ‘I’ at all. Therefore, ‘I’ is only One. That only is ‘I’. The nature of ‘I’ should be recognized. This is the big secret of Vedanta.
Therefore, while speaking of the three akashas, Bhutakasha, Chitthakasha and Chidaakasha, this Bhutakasha is full of forms. It moves, it shakes, it travels and it is directly seen. Yet the reflection of that is Chitthakasha. All of Chitthakasha is only a type of reflection. These reflections also are not the true akasha. That without any reflection, reaction and resound is the true akasha. This only is Chidaakasha. It is not possible to refer to the nature of Chidaakasha as consisting of any name or any form.
A Devotee Of Ganga
At one time in Uttara Pradesh (a northern state of India), a man was selling bangles on the banks of the Ganga River. A form (a hand) emerged out of the Ganga. She (the Goddess of the River Ganga) came and asked, “Sir, will you place bangles on my hand?” The bangle seller answered, “Without fail, I will place them.” Holding her hand out, she said, “Place them on me according to the size of my hand.” He put them on.
After placing it, payment should be given. Then she said, “I don’t have the money. But at this certain place, at this certain house number, at this certain street and in this certain corner, I put the money. Go to my father and ask him.” She said this and then she disappeared. Just before she left, he asked: “Mother, what is your name? If your father asks I have to tell him, isn’t it so?” She answered, “Tell him that my name is Ganga.”
He went searching for this address. He found that address and he inquired, “Sir, your daughter came to the Ganga River and took bangles.” The so-called father said, “I'm not even married! Where are my daughters?” The bangle seller replied, “No, she spoke the truth. See, everything she said was true. The address is correct. She said, ‘My father’s name is so-and-so.’ Is that your name?” The so-called father replied, “Yes, it is.” So the bangle seller said, “When that is true, why shouldn’t this be true? Go and look in a certain corner.” The so-called father didn’t even know about the existence of that shelf. He went inside and looked. The bangle seller obtained the exact cost of the bangles there!
Do you know who the so-called father was? He was a devotee of Ganga, one who did worship to the River Ganga Devi (a Hindu goddess). So he said, “Sir, I am always contemplating on Ganga Devi. Ganga Devi is my chosen deity for worship. Due to my offering myself to her, I didn’t even get married. As she said her name was Ganga, let us go there. Take me!”
Then that bangle seller took him to the place where she had been seen. They went there and the bangle seller said, “Mother, I could see you when I gave the bangles. Yet why can't I see you now? I received the money due to me and I have come to thank you for it.”
She said, “Here is my gratitude (proof that you sold me the bangles).” Saying that, she lifted her hand. It was observed that her wrist was full of bangles. Her so-called father saw. “Ganga, Ganga, Ganga!” Only her hands were seen. The individual who was called her father put the bangle seller aside and he prayed, “Mother, Mother! Won't you give your darshan?” He saw her and then described her in many ways, saying:
Indira, Loka Matha, Ma!
Rama, Mangala Devata,
Bhargavi, Loka Janani,
Kshira Sagara, Kanyaka!
Goddess, Mother of the World, Mother!
Auspicious deity, Bhargavi,
Who gives birth to the world;
Daughter of the Ocean of Milk!
She said, “I didn't show anyone a single form. I have no form at all. All forms are God’s forms. When the ones who worship create certain forms, He is seen in those forms. But God does not have any specific form. There are no certain signs. Money had to be given to you (for the purchase of the bangles), so I showed this proof for your bangles.” He saw her hand and he felt that his life was sanctified. “I have obtained sight of the Mother’s hand. It is enough for me. “
Hastyasa Bhushnam Daana.
Kanthasya Bhushanam Sastram.
Charity is the ornament for the hands.
Scriptures are the ornament for the neck.
Whatever form we see is God's form. God does not have ‘this or that’ specific form. So, the nature of the best akasha (Bhutakasha), the nature of the sun and the moon that are reflected in it - all of these are characteristics of Bhutakasha. We should not pay attention at all to the characteristics of Bhutakasha. All of them move. They all quiver. They pass. They change and disappear. They all withdraw from us.
Only One is beside you, with you and in you. That only is bliss. There is no form for this bliss. Bliss has only one form. (Swami demonstrates laughing in a loud way.) “Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!” Laughing only is bliss. However, it shouldn’t be laughter with that type of sound. That is only a characteristic of the world.
What is God’s laugh like? He has a smiling face. It is a laugh without sound. It is a laugh where the mouth does not open. It is a laugh that gives bliss. It is a laugh that bestows bliss. Therefore, the worldly laugh is called ‘prahasana’ (loud laughter). That which has sound is prahasana, while that without sound is hasam (laughter).
Hence, even God is always laughing; but it is not a laughter which has sound. All of those other types of laughter are cinema laughs. We see all of this cinema laughter and we think that God also laughs like that. Yet there is only one sign that should be given to God. That only is gratitude.
What should we give to God? God is giving us so much. When the body is unwell, the doctor will come and give an injection. When he gives the injection, we will give money appropriate for the medicine. Then the debt is paid. One is hungry. To appease the hunger, you go and say, “Mother, I am hungry! Mother, hungry!” Mother takes some rice and vegetables and gives it to you. After she gives you the food, to eat it joyfully is the appropriate gratitude.
You may be suffering. Someone comes and removes the pain of the one who is suffering. What is the suitable gratitude? When anyone gives any help, we should not forget it. We should always remember it. That attitude is totally gone today.
God has given so much. He is giving free education. He is giving free medicine. He is giving free water. He is giving free words. He is moving for free among you. Everything is free, free, free, free, free, free! (Applause) What gratitude are you giving for this? You should give up ego. Only when you are also free, that is the appropriate payment for this: “What can I give to you?”
Lord! The heart that You have given to me,
I offer it again to You.
What else can I offer to Your Feet?
Accept my Salutations!
Offering your salutations - that
is your gratitude. If there isn’t even that, you will become cruel. You
will have to take so many more births. You will have to suffer so many
difficulties. You will have to succumb to so much suffering. Therefore,
when you offer your salutations, all of these will be cast away. You
should always have a smile. You will always be smiling. This only is your
At one time a devotee of Krishna was always contemplating on the Name: “Krishna, Krishna, Krishna! However, which Krishna should I remember? Krishna looks different in each picture. Should that One be worshipped or should this One be worshipped? Which Krishna should I worship?” He had that doubt. All of these are pictures that are created in the world:
Daivam Manusha Rupena.
God is in the form of Man.
The crown that is given, the make-up that is depicted - all of these pictures are not the true form of Krishna. Always smiling, always making others smile, always being blissful and giving bliss to others: that only is Krishna’s form.
One should be blissful and give bliss to others. Therefore, give and take. You should give joy. You should receive joy. This only is your gratefulness. You will have joy even in your dreams. Without gratitude, you will not obtain bliss by only giving joy to Divinity.
Continue To Smile
When your eyes see the God you worship, smile! You should continue smiling. The mouth should not be puckered up. If the mouth is puckered up in that way, one will never get any joy. One should always be joyful. Bliss is your true form. Hence, one should always continue to smile.
Some suffering comes. Some difficulties come. Some sorrows come. You should not cry about this at all. They come and go. All are passing clouds. They come and they have gone. Only that; but they do not stay. So we should not worry about them at all. Only when we make that firm faith steady, will we become true devotees.
It’s not like that today. Mother has a fever. Father has an illness. If you worry, always thinking about them, how can you obtain bliss? Who are the parents? They are only parents of the body. Whose body is this? It is only born from the physical body. This is not our gratitude (to contemplate only on the body). We should forget this body. We should contemplate on the body of God (the Atma). That is the true nature.
The Nature Of Akasha
Therefore, the nature of akasha - Chitthakasha, Bhutakasha, Chidaakasha: Bhutakasha should be completely forgotten. Chitthakasha should be kept in memory only to some extent. However gradually, if we merge in that Chitthakasha, we will go onto Chidaakasha. So we should recognize the nature that is merged in Chitthakasha. What is the way to behold this Chitthakasha? I will give details of that tomorrow.
The nature of Divinity in the world can be explained to any extent. However, the Divinity that is described is not Divinity itself. All of these words are the nature of description. They are natures that describe. They are natures that make one deluded. They are natures that are unstable. But you should inquire into the nature that will liberate you. That only is ‘That’.
That is ‘That’: Thath Thawam Asi. This ‘That’ is Divinity only. ‘Thwam’ is ‘This’. ‘That’ and ‘This’ - the point of unity of these two is Asi: Thath Thwam Asi. That only is Thath Thwam Asi (I am That). Therefore, both of these should become One.
Hence, Narasimha Murthy, the Brindavan Campus Warden, prayed for the descriptions of these two: the subject related to the world and Chidaakasha, Chitthakasha and Bhutakasha. Only when we know all of them, what is the true akasha? That only is Hrudaya akasha (the akasha of the Heart). Even the heart akasha is not stable! Hence, we should make the appropriate effort to find out about Chidaakasha.
Bhagavan ended His Divine Discourse by chanting the bhajan,
“Hari Bhajana Bina Sukha Shanti Nahi…”
Summer Course Glossary
May 23rd, 2002
Taken from "A Glossary of Sanskrit Words
Gleaned from Sai Literature"
(pg. 17) Ether or space; sound is its nature, e.g. a clap
Bhutakasha: (pg. 17) The gross
or physical aspect of the universe
: (pg 88) The Cosmic
Self; Brahman describes a state of consciousness beyond time and space, in
which Being (Sath), Consciousness (Chith), and Bliss
(Ananda) merge to become One. That which is beyond eternity.
Brahman is the basic Truth of the Universe, which includes Oneself.
Chidaakasha: (pg. 17) The causal
or finest aspect of the universe
Chitthakasha: (pg. 17) The subtle
or mental aspect of the universe
Crore: A hundred lakhs or
ten million; 100 x 100,000
Lakh: (pg. 200) One
hundred thousand (100,000)