The Sacred Thread Ceremony
| Dear Boys!
This is the most auspicious occasion of your life. Human life can be compared to a four-storeyed mansion. The four stories are: Brahmacharya (celibacy), Grihastha (householder), Vaanaprastha (recluse) and Sanyasa (renunciate). Today you are laying the foundation for the mansion of your life. The safety and security of the mansion is assured once you make the foundation strong and sturdy.
Man is born four times in his life. He is born for the first time when he emerges from his mothers womb.
He becomes a Dwija (born for the second time) when he is initiated into the Gayatri
Manthra. He becomes a Vipra through the study of Vedas and ultimately becomes a Brahmana
when he recognises the principle of Brahman. One should be a Brahmin not merely by
virtue of birth, but by virtue of action too. For this, chanting of Gayathri Mantra is
Man is the embodiment of all gods. In fact the gross form of the food that man consumes refers to the principle of Brahman. On this basis, it is said, "Annam Brahma, Raso Vishnu" (Food is Brahma and the essence is Vishnu). The subtlest form symbolises the principle of Easwara. The gross form of food strengthens the body. The subtle form of food strengthens the mind and the subtlest form of food purifies speech. Therefore, food plays a vital role in strengthening and purifying the body, mind and speech.
Gayathri is Sarvadevata Swarupini and Sarvamantra Swarupini (embodiment of all gods and goddesses and all mantras). It is said "Gayathri Chaandasaam Matha" meaning Gayathri is the mother of the Vedas. There is no need to chant any other Mantra if you chant the Gayathri Mantra. Gayathri has three names: Gayathri, Savithri and Saraswathi. Gayantham trayate ithi Gayathri, it protects the one who recites it. Gayathri is the master of the senses. Savithri is the master of the life principle. When Gayathri acts as the protector of life-forces, she is known as Savithri. You might have heard the story of Savithri, a woman of chastity, who brought her dead husband, Sathyavaan, back to life with the power of her prayer. Savithri protects those who lead a life of Sathya (truth). This is the inner meaning. Saraswathi is the presiding deity of speech. Man has to earn the grace of Gayathri, Savithri and Saraswathi to sanctify his life.
First and foremost, man has to purify his speech. Only then will his life be safe and secure. If you slip and fall, the injury can be repaired, but the slip of the tongue is miserable. So, you should have control over your speech. Excessive talk will lead to untruth and unpleasantness. That is why the ancient saints and seers used to observe silence. You can uphold truth and attain fame only by talking less. Limited talk will confer happiness. Excessive talk will put you to grave dangers.
Gayathri, Savithri and Saraswathi are latent in everybody. Bhur Bhuvah and Suvah in the Gayathri Mantra refer to body (materialisation) life-force (vibration) and soul (radiation). Also Bhur means Bhuloka (the earth), which is nothing but the combination of the materials. This denotes the human body is also a combination of materials. Bhuvaha refers to the life-force, which makes the body move. Suvaha refer to Prajnana Shakti, which sustains the life-force. This Prajnana Shakti is known as the Constant Integrated Awareness. This is also termed as radiation. All the three, viz., materialisation, vibration and radiation are present in man. I tell you often, you are not one, but three: the one you think you are (physical level), the one others think you are (mental level) and the one you really are (Atmic level).
Human life is the combination of body, mind and the Atma. Body is the basis for attaining wisdom. So it should not be misused. One has to purify ones body and mind by undertaking sacred actions. The principle of Atma is always pure and unsullied. It is said, Janthunaam Narajanma Durlabham (human life is the rarest of all lives). Sareera Maadhyam khalu Dharma Sadhanam (it is by the body can one undertake righteous actions). Do not underestimate the potentialities of human body. In fact, human body is the basis for attaining the goal of life. Work for the redemption of your life by chanting the Mantras and undertaking sacred activities.
One need not make any special effort to acquire the human qualities, Viz. Sathya, Dharma, Santhi, Prema and Ahimsa. They are with you right from your birth. But you have forgotten them, as you have not put them into practice. Instead of giving tons of speeches, it is better that you practise at least an ounceof what you have learnt. Today humanness is on the decline because man does not practise human values. Man is developing Aasalu (desires), forgetting Aadarsaalu (ideals). Attachment to the body is essential, but only when it comes to performing actions.
You should give up Dehaabhimaanam (attachment to the body) and cultivate Deshabhimaanam (attachment to the Motherland). After Ravana was annihilated, Lakshmana prayed to Rama to reign over Lanka too. He said, "Brother, it is not proper on our part to disturb our brother Bharata, who is ruling over Ayodhya. Moreover, the kingdom of Lanka is more affluent and more beautiful than Ayodhya. So it is my humble prayer that you should become the king of Lanka." Vibhishana too fell at the feet of Rama, saying, "Swami, I surrender myself, my wealth and the kingdom at your Lotus Feet." But Rama was not carried away by the affluence of Lanka. He said, "Janani Janma Bhoomischa Swargadapi Gareeyasi," the mother and the motherland are greater than even the heaven.
Himachala forms the boundary on the northern side of India. Hima means ice. It is white in colour and melts easily. Whiteness symbolises purity. Achala means that which is steady. Your Hridaya (heart) also should be like Himachala, pure and steady. It should melt with compassion. Hri + Daya = Hridaya. Daya means compassion. God resides in your heart only when it is pure, steady and full of compassion. But today human heart has lost its purity and steadiness due to limitless desires. Life is a long journey and your desires are the luggage. "Less luggage, more comfort; make travel a pleasure." The journey of life will become enjoyable when you reduce the luggage of desires. The lesser the desires are, the happier you will be. The Gayathri Mantra teaches that you should offer everything to God. Sarva Karma Bhagvad Preetyartham (perform all your actions to please God). Only then you will be free from all difficulties and misery.
The Vedas declare: "Mathru Devo Bhava, Pithru Devo Bhava" (revere the mother and the father as God). I keep telling the students very often that their blood, food, head and Duddu (money) are all the gifts of the mother. So, first and foremost, one should show gratitude to the mother. You should never forget your mother who gave you birth after carrying you in her womb for nine months and brought you up providing all care and comfort, unmindful of her own physical strain. The mother always has your well-being uppermost in her mind in whatever she says or does. You may be highly educated and your mother may be an illiterate, but still you should have utmost regard for her. You should consider the teachings of your mother as the Veda itself.
Gayathri is the embodiment of the mother-principle. You should chant the Gayathri everyday, morning, afternoon and evening. These are referred to as Praathah Sandhya, Maadhyahna Sandhya and Saayam Sandhya. When you show your back to the sun, your shadow will be ahead of you. It will fall behind you only when you stand facing the sun. Similarly, Maya (illusion), which is like your shadow, will overtake you when you turn your mind away from God. It can be overcome only when you turn your mind towards God.
Due to the impact of Kali Age and the advancement of modern education, mans intellect is getting perverted. There is no point in acquiring education bereft of character. Worldly education, which corresponds to mere bookish knowledge, can never help you to lead a divine life. No doubt, worldly education is essential, but along with worldly education, one should have spiritual education too. "Aadhyaatma Vidya Vidyaanaam," spiritual education is the true education. "Nadinaam Saagaro Gathihi," all the rivers ultimately merge in the ocean. There can be no river without the ocean. Worldly education corresponds to rivers and rivulets. Spiritual education can be compared to a mighty ocean. So, of all the forms of education, spiritual education is the highest and noblest. Today even the highly educated parents are acting without any sense of discrimination. They discourage their children from worshipping God and participating in Bhajans. They tell that they would have ample time to think of God after retirement. This is a grave mistake. Start early, drive slowly, reach safely. One can remember God in the old age, only when one thinks of Him right from ones childhood.
This is the right age to contemplate on God. This is the golden age, a very sacred age. Do not misuse it. Some parents want their children to go abroad immediately after the completion of their graduation. What is there in foreign countries that is not available in Bharat? In fact, that which is not present in Bharat is not present anywhere else in the world. Most of the students who go abroad to pursue higher studies develop perverted minds and lose their character. I have seen, many who went aborad, but only a few of them returned to Bharat with good character. People send their children abroad because they want then to become Dhanavantulu (wealthy), but not Gunavantulu (Virtuous). Money may provide all the comforts and conveniences, but can it confer mental peace? No. Only spirituality can grant peace of mind.
Today people are crazy to go to foreign countries, whereas the foreigners themselves are coming to Bharat in search of peace of mind. They have all the material comforts, but lack peace of mind. They have money, but no character. Excessive money gives rise to arrogance, which in turn leads to all wicked qualities. So, one should not go abroad in search of wealth. One should remain in Bharat if one wants to cultivate noble character. Take Swamis own example. Thousands of devotees have been praying Me to visit their respective countries. But till today I have not entertained the thought of going abroad. What is the reason? Bharat is the centre of all Dharmas. It is the land of sacred rituals and sacrifice. Here is a small example: The train has an engine in the front and many more compartments attached to it. You will find coal, fire and the driver only in the engine, but not in any of the compartments. Bharat can be compared to the engine. In Bharat alone you find the sacredness of Yajnas and Yagas. Other countries are like different compartments attached to the engine of Bharat. Some compartments may fall aside, what is the reason? They do not have proper link with the engine. The culture of Bharat is highly sacred. The Bharatiyas should remain in their motherland, practice and propagate its sacred culture.
Gayathri is known as Panchamukhi, meaning she has five faces. What are they? Aum is the first face; Bhur Bhuvah Suvah is the second; Tat Savitur Varenyam is the third; Bhargo Devasya Dheemahi is the fourth; Dhiyo Yo Nah Prachodayat is the fifth. The Gayathri has three parts: Praise, Meditation, and Prayer. First, the Divine is praised, then it is meditated upon in reverence and lastly an appeal is made to the Divine to dispel the darkness of ignorance and to awaken and strengthen the intellect. Dheemahi is related to the Meditative aspect. Dhiyo Yo Nah Prachodayat relates to the aspect of Prayer. Chanting of the Gayathri Mantra purifies the mind and confers devotion, detachment and wisdom. Young men must necessarily chant the Gayathri Mantra. Today we find people getting initiated into the Gayathri Mantra in the advanced stages of their youth. Intellect will blossom and shine forth in all its splendour only after initiation into the Gayathri Mantra. That is why it is essential that Upanayanam be done at the age of eight. One who is initiated into the Gayathri Mantra at an early age will become highly intelligent. Chanting of the Gayathri Mantra will sanctify mans life.
It is because man does not think of God with devotion and sincerity that fear and restlessness have become the order of the day. Chanting of the Divine Name alone can make one fearless. God is referred to as Hiranyagarbha. Hiranya means gold. Only when you place this gold in your heart, can you get the jewels of Sathya, Dharma, Shanthi and Prema. Once God is installed in your heart, only Divine feelings will originate from it. When sweet pudding is poured into a vessel with a number of holes, what comes out of the holes will also be sweet pudding. Likewise, when you fill your heart with Divinity, all your actions will become divine. But man lacks faith in divinity. He has swasa (Breath), but no viswasa (faith). Such a life is useless.
Youth should work for the progress of the country. They should always help the fellow-beings. Sage Vyasa gave the essence of 18 Puranas thus: Paropakarah Punyaya, Paapaya Parapeedanam (helping others is meritorious, harming others is sin). So, Help Ever;Hurt Never. This is the true devotion and surrender. Devotion does not mean offering worship or doing Bhajans. They are all external activities. All these are futile if there is no inner purity.
Love is God. God is love, so live in love. Love your parents. Serve them, obey their command and satisfy them. They have immense love for you. But, sometimes, they may try to put you on the wrong path unknowingly. In such a case, explain to them, what is right and what is wrong and convince them. If they want you to go abroad to earn more money, tell them that character is important, not money. If you explain to them in a proper way, there will certainly be a transformation in them.
If you chant the Gayathri Mantra wholeheartedly, you will never face difficulties or misery in life. Chant the Divine name incessantly. You know the story of Prahlada. His father Hiranyakasipu commanded him to stop chanting the name of Lord Narayan. Prahlada would never argue with his father. He would smilingly listen to all that his father had to say, but ultimately would follow the dictates of his conscience. He was trampled upon by huge elephants, bitten by poisonous snakes, pushed down from mountain cliffs, thrown into deep sea; but never did he give up chanting of the Lords name. As a result, the elephants, the poisonous snakes, the mountain cliffs and the mighty oceans, transformed into Lord Narayana Himself. The Lord came to his rescue whenever he was put to danger. Likewise, if you have divine feelings in your heart, God will protect you, wherever you are. You should have unwavering faith in Him and chant His name with love.
Do not allow to the evil qualities of anger, greed and jealousy to rise in you. They are like gateways of hell. Ravana was highly educated and powerful. But he ruined his entire clan and kingdom as he became a victim of Kama (desire). Hiranyakasipu symbolised anger and ultimately ruined himself. Duryodhana was greed personified and he too suffered the same fate as that of Ravana You many have Hiranyakasipu. You may have immense knowledge, wealth and valour, but you are bound to suffer if you become a slave to anger, desire and greed. Do not take pride in your wealth, physical strength and education. Develop the strength of love. Love can transform even a foe into a friend. Only through love can your life be redeemed. Some people may argue it is foolish to believe in the existence of God whom you cannot see. But, in fact, you are seeing God all the time, because the entire universe is the form of God. Right from microcosm to macrocosm, all forms are His. The Vedas declare: Easwara Sarva Bhuthanaam (He is present in all beings). You are unable to see Him because you see the nature from the physical point of view. Give up the worldly feeling and see the nature with divine feelings. Then God will certainly manifest before you. Just as fragrance is present in the flower, Divinity is latent in you: flower can be seen by the naked eye, but can anyone visualise its fragrance? Mother loves the child. She had a form, but her love has no form. That love is God.
Gayathri Mantra is highly sacred. As the Sastri garu pointed out, Gayathri Mantra contains the essence of all the Mantras of all Gods and Goddesses. Just as a single thread runs through all the flowers in a garland, the same divine power exists in all the God forms. Understand this unity in diversity. One who has understood this unity will never be put to suffering. Develop faith in God. Do not get carried away by what others say. Follow the dictates of your conscience. If you have the strong desire to see God, contemplate on Him with unflinching faith. Then you can certainly see Him. Never doubt His existence. He exists for those who believe in His existence and does not exist for those who deny His existence. He acts according to ones feelings. So, develop faith in Him. Merely chanting the Gayathri Mantra for three times a day, i.e., morning afternoon and evening, is not enough. You should chant this mantra incessantly. Why should you stipulate a particular time period for chanting His name who is beyond time? Sarvada Sarvakaleshu Sarvathra Harichinthanam: chant His name at all places, at all times and under all circumstances.
February 10, 2000