To take care of the body
is our prime responsibility. An unhealthy body is a
burden. A healthy body promotes healthy thoughts. An
unsound mind cannot entertain sacred and elevating
thoughts. Thus ancient people considered health as wealth
and paid attention to the upkeep of the body. Even in the
modern age, people have evolved various systems to ensure
good health. The Romans and Greeks saw the body as a
representation of the cosmos and worshipped
The Body and the Indweller
organs of the body cannot work or even exist,
independently. Their unity alone allows the body to be
complete and to perform useful functions. When we
understand this unity, we can know the Indweller of the
body. The Vedas say - Deho Devaalayam Jeevo Devo
Sanaatanah - The body is a temple and the Indweller is
the Eternal God. Ancient Indians recognized this
truth and demonstrated it in their day-to-day lives. But
the youth of today are preoccupied with the body and
neglect the Indweller. Water does not need fish, but fish
need water. In the same way, the body cannot survive
without the Indweller.
body is a chariot. We must maintain it well and use it to
tread the right path. Today man concerns himself only
with decorating and painting this chariot. People do not
make efforts to recognize the wonderful Charioteer. Keep
the indwelling divinity in view and engage the body in
The Forest Fire
their daily routine, Balarâma and
Krishna went to the forest with the gopalas and
cows. After walking some distance, Krishna played
His flute and the boys started singing, dancing and
playing in the fields. The gopalas enjoyed
themselves immensely in Krishna's company every
day, forgetting their bodies, losing themselves in the
melodious notes of His flute. This day they were so
engrossed in His music that they forgot the cows and
calves. When they came to their senses, the animals were
nowhere to be seen.
gopala ran in a different direction. All the
surroundings were searched but the cows were not found.
they ran deep into the forest. Finally they saw the
at a distance, surrounded by a huge forest fire. Smoke
bellowed out of everywhere and nothing was visible
gopalas shouted, "Krishna! Krishna!
Krishna ran there. By then the fire had engulfed them
gopalas were afraid for their lives. They couldn't tell
happen the very next moment. Krishna called out to
by their names, one by one. The cows heard His
responded, "Ambâ, Ambâ".These cows had
(sound as a manifestion of God). The cows had no
knowledge or education.
identifying Krishna's voice as the sound of
in His direction.
gopalas were troubled by the fear of
and Balarâma went to them and said, "Do
fear when we are here? You have walked long distances
of the cows. You left familiar territory behind and
the dense forest. You are tired. Close your eyes.
open them till we tell you." The fire was very near
the gopalas could feel the hot draft. But placing
in Krishna, they closed their eyes. This was not
new to the gopalas. Their greatest virtue was to obey
Krishna always. Not even once did the gopalas ever
question or disobey Krishna. If Krishna said "do", they
did. If He said "go", they went. No questions, no
hesitation. That is why they lived in Krishna's
few moments Krishna asked them to open their eyes.
The gopalas felt a cool, refreshing breeze. "Where did
the fire go?" they wondered. They saw their cows around
them, safe and sound. They were back in the fields where
they were last playing, singing and dancing. They thought
deeply about this undeniable miracle. Unable to fathom
the mystery, they said to Krishna, "O Lord
Nârâyana! Beginningless and Endless One!
Protector of the helpless! You are the Supreme Lord. We
are fortunate to experience Your lîlâs and
wondrous powers." Saying so, they fell at
how long? Only for a few minutes. Then they forgot the
miracles. They asked their "dear friend" to join them in
games! They stopped addressing Him as "Lord". Notice, how
bodily attachment is ready to spring on us every moment.
When people see miracles, they think, "He is powerful".
The next minute, yielding to body attachment, they say,
"He is an ordinary man." In every Avatâr's
life, people alternate between human and divine
perceptions of Him. Why? Men spend their lives in
body-consciousness. Their goal is worldly life and they
are incapable of understanding the Divinity that
transcends their mundane existence. The gopalas
also used to appreciate Krishna's strength and intellect,
but not His Divinity [S.B. 10.17
Krishna Teaches Âtmâ Vidya
passed days in this manner, Krishna decided to
teach Âtmâ Vidya to the
gopalas. "Their thoughts are limited to the world.
They are not able to recognize Me as beyond the body,
mind and intellect", thought Krishna. The rainy season
has just began. The blue sky was dark, laden with clouds.
In some time, thunder and lightning began. Krishna
looked at this scene and said, "You can see the unity of
three gunas in nature today. O Gopalas! God is
omnipresent like the infinite, blue sky. This divinity
(sky) is covered by the dark clouds of your ignorance
(thamo guna). Thunder (rajo guna) and the
brilliant lightning (satva guna) accompany this
ignorance. This is the inner meaning of the rainy season.
You cannot perceive divinity since it is concealed by
these three gunas. The winds which brought the
dark clouds will also scatter them in due time.
Similarly, when your ignorance
(a-jñâna) turns into wisdom
(prajñana), your darkness will be
lightning lies behind the screen of dark clouds,
Wisdom (jñâna) must underlie
recognize the meanings of natural phenomena. Nature is
your best teacher. As you observe nature, realize that
your body is also a part of it. Your vision is limited to
the physical body but not the divinity dwelling in it.
The body is only the effect. Âtmâ is
the cause. Don't be blinded by the effect. See the
at this tumbler, the effect. But you don't inquire into
its material, the cause. How can the tumbler exist
without silver? The world is the effect and God is the
your sight, as is your aim, so the world will appear to
you. Creation (srishti) is based on your vision
(drishti). None can change creation. That is why I
ask you to change your vision. Meaning, as long as you
consider yourself to be the body, you cannot perceive My
reality. You call me 'Gopala, Gopala' and
experience Me as your dear friend. But the body is only
an instrument. Understand the divinity within the body."
The gopalas went back and shared their miraculous
experiences and Krishna's words of wisdom with
everyone. In this manner, they experienced boundless
bliss in Krishna's company daily.
The Priests and their
One day the boys went
very deep into the forest, searching for fresh, green
pastures for their cows. At midday, they weren't able to
walk any more. The gopalas cried, "We're hungry, Krishna,
really hungry! Please arrange for some food." Krishna
smiled, "Foolish boys! When you have the All-Powerful
Lord following your every step, why are you worried about
hunger? Balarâma and I are with you, don't
fear. Some priests are performing a Yaga nearby.
Go there and tell them I sent you. Tell them you are
hungry and they will feed you".
The gopalas went to the
priests and pleaded for food. The brahmins said, "How can
we feed you before completion of the yaga? After the
yaga, we will eat. Then we will feed all those who helped
us in the ceremony. Only then, we can give you the
leftovers. You must wait till then." The gopalas waited
for a long time and couldn't bear their hunger any more.
They grew weak and couldn't walk. Dragging themselves,
they somehow returned to Balarâma and
Krishna. They said, "Krishna! We told them that
even You and Balarâma were hungry, but they
and asked them, "Friends, who did you ask?" They replied,
"We asked the priests". Krishna said, "O innocent ones!
It is the mother who knows the hunger of her child, not
the father. There is no use pleading with the priests.
They are busy in karma
yoga (fruitive labor or the attachment to the result
of labor), without bhakti
yoga. They only care about mantras and their
meanings. They overlook God who is the embodiment of all
mantras. Go to the wives of these brahmins, who
are cooking food for the yaga right now".
The gopalas said,
"Impossible, Krishna! We have no energy to walk
even a step". Krishna replied, "You must go back. Get up,
and I will give you the strength to walk". The gopalas
never disobeyed Krishna in anything, anyway. If He said
"walk", they walked. Owing to such total submission, they
never experienced sorrow in their lives and obtained the
bliss of Krishna's daily company.
The gopalas went to the
wives of the priests. These pure ladies had heard much of
Balarâma and Krishna, but had never seen the
brothers. The brahmins used to ridicule
Krishna as a "cowherd" and never allowed their
wives to visit Brindavanam. The priests were
limited to rituals, but their wives had great devotion.
The gopalas said, "Mothers! We are gopalas,
sent by Râma and Krishna".
The ladies were ecstatic,
"The Lord Himself is here! Where are the divine
Balarâma and Krishna?" The
gopalas said, "They are at some distance from
here. They are tired and hungry, like us. They told us to
ask you for food." As soon as they heard this, the ladies
collected all their pots and filled them with food. They
carried some vessels and handed some to the gopalas, and
hurried toward the pastures. They didn't think of the
yaga or their husbands' anger...
They came to
Balarâma and Krishna. They saw Him reclining and
playing on the flute. The notes of the flute wafted into
their hearts and awakened devotion. They forgot
themselves and walked forward unmindful of their bodies.
As they drank the divine darshan of
Balarâma and Krishna, their minds
overflowed with bliss. The only word they uttered was
"Krishna, Krishna, Krishna". They made everyone sit down
and served food. Even the cows were served!
Meanwhile the priests
completed the yaga and noticed the absence of
their wives - and the food! The priests were hungry also.
They ran in search of their wives. They came upon the
gopalas eating food along with Balarâma and
Krishna. And they saw their own wives gazing at
Balarâma and Krishna with unblinking
eyes. The brahmins rushed there and started
slapping and pulling at their wives. But the ladies were
oblivious to their husbands. They did not feel any
physical pain. They were totally immersed in the Bliss of
the Lord's company [S.B.
and Krishna let their divine effulgence shine
on the priests also. The priests recognized the brothers'
reality and fell at their feet: "For whose grace we
initiated this yajña, the goal of this
yajña, that Divine Lord is in front of us
in human form! Yagnovaih Vishnuh - You are the Vishnu
who is the fruit of all yajñas. But we are
indeed the greatest sinners. We performed this
yajña for You but we were not able to dedicate it
to You". Every action must first be offered to God.
Therefore, we chant before meals:
brahmâgnau brahmanâ hutam
brahmaiva tena gantavyam
brahma-karma-samâdhinâ [B.G. 4:
prâninâm deham âs'ritah
pacâmy annam catur-vidham [B.G 15:
The sacrifice itself ,
that which is offered in the fire of sacrifice and he who
is of sacrifice are of the same spiritual nature; he will
certainly attain the spirit of the Absolute
[Brahman] who is completely absorbed in working
for the spiritual.
Enacting as the fire
of digestion in the bodies of all living beings, I keep
the balance of the ingoing and outgoing breath and do
digest the four kinds of foodstuff [food that one
swallows right away, chews, licks and
Listen to this
"Even during normal
meals, we offer food to You. But today, in a sacred
yajña, we attempted to eat after refusing You! We
are the most abject sinners, the most unfortunate people.
Krishna and Balarâma consoled the brahmins and
blessed them and their wives profusely. Then, while the
gopalas stood watching, Krishna gave darshan to
the brahmins and their wives as Lord
It is difficult for
worldly people to recognize God in human form. Of what
use are education, scholarship in Vedas or the merit of
yajñas? Those who do not grasp the truth,
behave foolishly in spite of learning. We should find
ways to purify our minds. When does the mind become pure?
When attachment (abhimâna) and ego
(ahankâra) are uprooted. How can we give up
attachment and ego? Attachment presents never-ending
attraction towards objects. But it is very easy to
renounce! Simply think: "Everything belongs to God.
Nothing is mine". This is the way to transcend
A small example. In your
science courses you go to the laboratory. After
conducting experiments, both students and teachers return
home. You don't say, "I work in this lab, so this
equipment is mine". You know that everything belongs to
the school. But no one would object if you used the
equipment. The world is like a laboratory. You may use
and experience. But you have no right over
A manager in a bank is
the highest authority over millions in the bank. But can
he take even a single coin home? The money is in his
control, but it belongs to others and to the Government.
We can experience sensory objects and joys. But how? With
what attitude should we acquire material objects? Realize
this one point and you become worthy of all worldly
accomplishments: You may enjoy, but without feeling
"This is mine".
Another example. The
principal is the highest authority in a school. He has
the keys to cupboards, which have valuable equipment. He
may feel, "I am in charge, all this belongs to me". But
if he is transferred to another school, all he can take
with him are the clothes he is wearing! Why? He can only
use the objects, not own them. Why not? The school really
belongs to the Government.
Yes, you can say, "My
home, my land, my wife, my child, my wealth, my cattle,
my cars" and so on, but keep in mind: They are for use
only, not for ownership. They are God's property. You
must part with everything at death. That is why the
Gîtâ says: Responsibility is yours,
not the right. People forget responsibilities and
fight for rights. No one has a right in this world. When
you do your duty, rights follow automatically. So,
gradually decrease the idea of 'mine'.
Yes, you say "mine". What
is yours? Nothing. What you perceive to be yours can
change the next moment. A man held a currency note and
thought, "This is mine". The note laughed at him: "Yes,
now I'm in your hands. But by evening I will have changed
over ten hands! How am I yours, you madman?" Worldly
objects change from moment to moment. How can you claim
ownership over such temporary articles?
"Everything belongs to
God". With this attitude, yes, you may experience the
world. There is nothing wrong with that. But while
experiencing, you must inquire: "Everything belongs to
God. How should the property of God be used by me?"
Experience the world with your power of discrimination.
If you use objects as you please, you could misuse God's
property. Use the world to engage in constructive
actions, to walk the path of truth. God's command
(bhagavat vâkya) is that God's property
should not be misused.
Today we misuse
everything, deluded by the ideas of "I" and "Mine".
Misuse and wastage causes sorrow. What is the cause of
sorrow? The idea of "mine". God does not cause either joy
or sorrow to you, nor does anyone else. You alone are
responsible. To blame someone else for your suffering is
a sin. Students should promote such expansive feelings in
The Devotion of Gopikas
Krishna was always
surrounded in Brindavan by the gopikas and the
gopalas. Of these, the gopikas were slightly mad!
What kind of madness? Divine madness! But people
attribute wrong intentions to their love and distort the
meaning of the Bhâgavatam. When
Krishna left Brindavan for good, He was five
years old. Some say that Krishna and the gopikas
engaged in amorous sports. Is it possible for such
meaningless stories to be true? The gopikas said: "O
Krishna! Your flute is most enchanting. Your words are
life to us. Sing for us, talk to us!"
Paata Paadu Maa
Paluku Teneloluku Natula
Maatalaadu Maa Mukunda
Sing for us, our
With your words sweet as honey.
Talk to us, our Mukunda,
Till our hearts are full!
Nada Brahmamuganu Maarchi,
Paata Paadu Maa Krishna!
Take the essence of
Change it into Sabda-Brahman,
Fill your flute with this sound,
And convey it to our hearts as music.
Sing for us, our Krishna!
Listen to this
sweet bhajan sung by Swami
What Divine feelings! Is
this worldly? No, no. Anantovai Vedah - The Vedas are
infinite. The gopikas prayed: "How can we read
the Vedas? We are women and illiterate, at that.
Give us the essence of the Vedas through your
music". Now, in this Summer Course, after the guest
lecturers speak in the morning, the students summarize
those speeches in the evening. In the same way, the
gopikas wanted a summary of the Vedas from
Why song and sound? God
is described as:
Sabda Brahma Mayi, Charaachara Mayi, Jyotir Mayi,
Nityananda Mayi, Paraatpara Mayi, Maaya Mayi,
Therefore, Brahman is the very form of
gopikas pined for Krishna for many years, for
their entire lives. Krishna knew their pain of
separation, their yearning. He sent Uddhava
to convey His message of consolation to them. All the
gopikas collected around Uddhava to
listen to Krishna's message. "What does Krishna say? When
is He coming to give us His darshan?" they
"Mothers! Krishna has sent a letter for you". Students
should clearly understand the pure and divine feelings of
the gopikas. "Here is the letter sent by Krishna.
One of you please read it aloud to the others", said
Uddhava. Gopikas had no education. In those
days women were not sent to school. Only one of them knew
a little bit of reading. When asked to read it, she
declined. When students listen to her reply, they can
imagine her sacred devotion.
"Uddhava! I cannot read that letter. Our bodies
and minds are burning in the fire of separation. If I
touch that letter, it might catch fire. It is not proper
for us to burn the words written by God". Another
gopika said, "We have been crying endlessly. When
I set eyes on the words written by our dear Krishna, all
our agony will emerge as tears. The tears will emerge as
tears. The tears will fall on the paper and smear the
words. So I cannot read it, either".
What intense devotion
they had! Uddhava himself read Krishna's letter
aloud. "O gopikas! Don't feel sad. I am in you, with you,
around you all the time. I am not separate from you. I am
not an outsider, I am your Hridayavâsi -
Resident of your heart. I am your very own. My
messenger Uddhava will tell you about
jñâna and yoga. Listen to
Uddhava and practice his teachings".
The gopikas heard
Uddhava's teachings and said, "We do not need your
yoga. We need merger (samyoga) with
Krishna! Your yoga will not quench our thirst of
separation (viyoga)! We cannot absorb your words.
We have only one mind, not multiple minds like clever
people. Our mind followed Krishna to
Mathurâ". Uddhava recognized their
When Uddhava got
ready to depart from Brindavanam, each
gopika came to him and gave heart-rending messages
for Krishna: "All of Brindavanam is parched
dry! Come back and make the flowers bloom again! The sky
of our hearts is dark, clouded by separation. Scatter
these clouds and let us bask in Your company! Our life is
like a garland bereft of flowers. Come back, collect us
as flowers and wear us around Your neck!" [S.B.
If scholars paid
attention to the sanctity and depth of gopikas'
feelings, they would not relegate them to a worldly
level. The Gopikas were actually perfected rishis.
They had attained absolute control over the senses and
purity of mind in past births. To accuse them of bad
character is nothing short of a crime. The hearts of
students are polluted by cheap movies. No, do not allow
such impressions to form. The hearts of the gopikas and
gopalas were immaculate. They did not desire anything
worldly at all! Uddhava recognized this truth.
When he returned, he extolled their virtues to
Krishna without end.
Mottukunna, Mari Bhartalu Kattulu Nooruchunna
Norettaru Kopagincharu Etakegaru, Bheetilaboru
Pottamulandu Chittaruvula Reeti Vaarilonunde
may scream, husbands may threaten,
They do not answer back, get angry, go away or become
Like a portrait on paper, Krishna is imprinted in their
"Krishna, You are imprinted in the consciousness
of the gopikas. It is not possible for anyone to separate
You from their hearts. I have not seen devotees like them
anywhere in the world. I went to teach them wisdom but
instead, they taught me devotion! Krishna, all of
us are deluded by Your physical form, but it is the
gopikas alone who have realized Your
Once upon a time,
Nârada went to the gopikas and
gopalas and said, "How fortunate you all are! You
obtained Lord Nârâyana, who is beyond
the reach of yogîs and sages. The sacred
proximity that you enjoyed is unattainable even after
countless yajñas and good deeds. You played
with Him and sang with Him as friends for many years and
earned His Grace. Truly, you are blessed! You are not
ordinary souls. You are Devas - Do not forget this
In realty, Truth
is God; Love is God; Dharma is God.
The Gopis and Gopalas saw in Krishna the Embodiment of
Truth, Love and Dharma.
What He said was Truth; what He was became Love, what He
did was Dharma.
They were so immersed in Krishna-Consciousness that they
saw everywhere and in everything nothing but Krishna.
Krishna for them did not exist as a separate entity in
the home of Nanda;
He was right in their own consciousness, at all levels of
These Gopis and Gopalas were true Bhaktas indeed.
- Sathya Sai Baba
Do Not Lose Sai
When God assumes a human
form, He does not become limited or lower in any sense.
Do not be deluded by such doubts. Think about the golden
opportunity at hand and make all possible efforts to earn
His Grace and Blessings. This chance will never come
Chikkina Sai Ni
Vakkaleyaka Chakka Chesukondi,
Poyina Chikkadu ee Partheesuni Paada Seva Yandi,
Bhaktini Icchi Sakti Lo Munchi Mukti Jerchunandi,
Eka Manasu To Nammi Sai Ni Enchi Koluvabondi,
Itarula Maatalanimpuga Nammi Kompa
You have found Sai.
Now bring Him near, do not neglect Him.
Once lost, the chance to serve the Feet of the Lord of
Parthi will never come again.
He bestows devotion, immerses you in strength and takes
you to Liberation.
With a one-pointed mind, have faith in Sai and worship
Do not ruin your destiny by giving ear to others'
You obtained this rare
opportunity. Now use it well. Follow the path prescribed
by God, engage in actions that are dear to God. God seeks
unwavering, pure and unselfish Love alone. In return, He
will grant anything and go to any extent to please
But you should not love
with any expectation in mind. Prayer with expectation is
like a business deal. Do not pray with conditions: "Lord,
I will break two coconuts for You if You fulfill my
wish!" Strive to experience at least one-thousandth of
the devotion of the gopikas and
(s'abda-brahman): the oral tradition, culture of
precept and ritual giving access to
Krishna--consciousness (s'âbhda-brahman: the Veda:
- The spiritual sound manifesting itself in the vital
breath, the senses and the mind (11.21: 36, and 11.15:
19). Mystically in selfrealization and socially in the
tradition of the personal conveyance of the
Karma: fruitive labor.
Akarma: free from karma or devotional service. To
work as a volunteer, to work for God. Vikarma:
unwanted activity, crime.
Bhakti: devotion, devotional
service to Lord Krishna.
Uddhava: (sacrificial fire, a
festival, holiday; joy, pleasure), the name of Krishna's
best friend and cousin.Krishna talks extensively to him
at the end of His earthly presence in Canto
11. In the tenth
Canto chapters 46
& 47 he
mediates between Krishna and the gopis.
Drawing: Krishna playing His
flute by: Maharani dasi
Mahamantra sung by: Haraprana devi dasi