Study Guide: Unity
Study Guide: Purity
Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, the universal teacher, the embodiment of love and truth, teaches us the way to reach the ultimate and supreme goal of human life – namely, to realise our innate divinity and the divinity inherent in all creation. In His love for us, He has given us two key aphorisms: Unity is Divinity and Purity is Enlightenment. To attain unity and purity, He has also given four practical divine commandments – Love All; Serve All; and Help Ever; Hurt Never.
Baba lent His sacred name to the Sathya Sai Organisation wherein, as brothers and sisters, we can come together to realize the goal of life easily by following these aphorisms and commandments. He said that we can reach the summum bonum of existence by following His teachings immediately, implicitly and completely, with sincerity and absolute faith.
Accordingly, the 11th World Conference of the Sathya Sai International Organisation (SSIO) will focus on two seminal teachings of Bhagawan, with the theme: Unity is Divinity & Purity is Enlightenment. To assist Sathya Sai devotees everywhere in their spiritual journey, two study guides, which are compilations of the essential teachings of Baba on Unity and Purity, have been developed.
Unity Is Divinity
The first Study Guide deals with the aphorism–Unity is Divinity. Swami says that just as we see different reflections of ourselves when we are surrounded by mirrors, the apparent multiplicity around us is just the many reflections of the one Self, which is our reality. Realisation of this fundamental unity leads to purity of mind. Through this purity, we are enlightened and realise our innate divinity and that everything and everyone is divine.
Baba says we are reflections of the one divinity, facets of the one immortal Self, and our essence is love–which is our own true nature, the Atma or divine Self. Although fundamentally One, unity manifests in many ways. At the fundamental level, all is God – Isavasya Idam Sarvam. The next level is unity in Nature – God is Nature; Nature is God. The one divinity is manifested in all of nature’s multiplicity, and humanity is an integral part of nature. Unity can also be manifested at the levels of the individual, the family, the Sathya Sai Organisation and society. Bhagawan reminds us that Man (Vyakthi) is part of Society (Samashti), which is part of Creation (Sristhi), which is part of God (Parameshti). The Study Guide explores the linkages, principles and practices of seeing unity in all these manifestations.
Purity Is Enlightenment
The second Study Guide deals with the aphorism–Purity is Enlightenment.
Swami says that purity is essential for experiencing divinity and everlasting bliss. It is not possible to experience divinity unless we are pure – in fact, Swami says that all spiritual exercises, such as selfless service, devotional activities and education, are undertaken to purify the mind.
How to develop purity? This is the crux of the matter, and Swami beautifully dilates on the importance of developing purity at a young age, and the various aspects of external and internal purity. External purity refers to purity at the body level, which includes purity of food, speech and action and purity of the place and environment. However, it is not enough if the body is clean — purity of the heart and mind is essential and Swami’s teachings on developing inner purity (Antahkarana Suddhi) are listed in this section. In His infinite compassion, Bhagawan recommends specific steps to develop ten types of purity in day-to-day life, and gives directives on spiritual practices such as namasmarana, selfless service, meditation, etc. and how they should be performed.
The Study Guide also deals with Swami’s admonitions on the pitfalls in the process of developing purity. He warns us about the obstacles, as we undertake sadhanas such as devotional singing, service activities, study circles etc., and provides practical solutions to overcome them. He guides us to practice purity in thought, word and deed in our daily lives.
The Study Guide expounds on love as the basis for developing purity. The more we develop love, the more pure we become. Finally, there is a short discussion on what we can learn from the examples of various spiritual masters, sages and saints who achieved purity.
The simplicity and beauty of the practical advice given by the Lord is of lasting value to all devotees engaged in spiritual advancement, at all times, wherever they may be. It also has practical value for sustained peace and prosperity of society and the world, at large.
Let us study His nectarine words, understand them through discussions, study circles and workshops, and practice them sincerely. Let us resolve to move forward with unity, achieve purity and experience divinity in this very life.
Jai Sai Ram.
In the Loving Service of Sai,
Narendranath Reddy, M.D.
Chairman, Prasanthi Council
Sathya Sai International Organisation