The Heart Reminds Us of Nonviolence:
Today, every one wears a wrist watch; the watches are of many varieties of shape, size and cost; the straps too are of different materials and monetary value. They tell us the time; they also serve as a decoration and an ornament. When they first came into the village of Puttaparthi, they created commotion and wonder. I was then nine years old. I wrote a limerick on the wearers of the strange contraption and on the leather strip round the wrists. Now, the watch has become a part of every wrist. Only, the wearer has not learnt the message of the watch, its potential to arouse the latent divinity in man. The name, WATCH, has five letters! The mantra that leads the sadhaka to God (Shiva) – Namah-Shiva-ya has five syllables.
WATCH is as much a pancha – akshari (five-lettered) mantra as Namah Sivaya, and, If meditated upon, is as meaningful and momentous.
W Stands for Word: The first letter reminds us of the sadhana (spiritual practice) of watching the Word. One should not revel in idle gossip, or spreading slander and scandal and wound others and pollute oneself. Examine the word before the tongue pronounces it; Is it true, will it hurt, is it necessary? Warn the tongue against relishing falsehood, or indulging in outbursts of vilification and the like. Adhere to Truth, at all costs; It is the basic human value.
A Stands For Action: The second letter reminds us of the additional sadhana of watching, Action. Be vigilant that every activity conduces to your moral progress, to the welfare of society, that is to say, follows the moral code, dharma. Dharma also means innate nature. Fire must spread warmth and light and also burn. These are its dharma. Without them, it is but coal. Sugar without the sweet taste is but paltry powder. A rose without fragrance might as well be a plastic substitute. Man’s dharma is to love and serve fellowmen, practising truth without causing injury to others. ‘A’ teaches us to manifest dharma in every action of ours. Dharma is another great human value.
T Stands for Thoughts: The third letter ‘T’ indicates an additional sadhana, a third one watching our Thoughts. While adhering to the earlier two, one trains the mind not to react vehemently or vengefully when one is blamed or extolled. Why should one worry if the blame has no basis? Thoughts must reinforce the innate peace and tranquillity which are one’s heritage. They should not create anxiety or anger, arrogance or envy, which are alien to the Divine Core of human beings. Thoughts, when watched and warned, promote shanthi, (peace) another precious human value. Shanthi is the jewel won by the sages. It resides in hearts free from pride and, greed.
C Stands for Character: The fourth letter of the Panchakshari teaches one to watch the Character. Character is three- quarters of life. The sadhaka (spiritual aspirant) has to direct himself to the acquisition of the three values already mentioned, through steady vigilance. Man is the very embodiment of Love; His character finds expression through character saturated with Love. A life without Love is really living death. Every thought, word and deed must emanate from Love. Love must bind the community as one; It must strengthen the feeling of brotherhood and satisfy the craving for expansion. Love must reach out to all mankind and to God. When such a steady selfless character is absent in man, he is a lampless home, a barren cow, a runaway kite drifting helplessly down, a counterfeit coin. Is he observing Truth? Is he virtuous? Has he serenity? Does love motivate him for every action? These are the tests.
H Stands for Heart: The fifth letter ‘H’ instructs us to watch the Heart and the feelings it originates. It reminds us of the human value of ahimsa (Nonviolence). Heart does not mean the fist-size physical equipment we have to purify and pump blood. It is the centre of emotions, good and bad. It has to be watched, so that good emotions alone are manifested. It must expand to include all living beings to feel kinship with all creation. “My reality is the reality of all” – this truth must be ever springing forth. Then, the idea of violence can never find place in the heart. The sense of unity cannot produce competition and confrontation. The fifth human value Ahimsa – is promoted by the sadhana indicated by the letter H.
For want of these five human values, mankind is in the throes of distress and disaster. The morning newspaper is full of murder, massacre, arson and dacoit activities. The brain and the mind have been polluted to a dangerous extent. Education aims only at providing information and promoting skills. It has not tackled the problem of moral degeneration, of the sublimation of low desires, of sense control and the development of spiritual insight. Man is converting himself into a brute with a human form. Vali, the monkey, is said to have argued that Rama wounded it with his mortal arrow, in spite of the fact that the sin it had committed was pardonable and even proper among monkeys. But Rama replied that Vali was only a monkey in appearance; it knew both right and wrong, and so deserved punishment. Man, today, is a beast in human garb. When he develops and demonstrates human values, he would have to discard’ the beast in him and become man, the pilgrim to God. Contemplation on the watch is the best means for achieving this end. The watch will teach sathyam (Truth). It warns against evil, and alerts you to be good, Sivam. It is worn as a jewel so it is Sundaram, too, besides being a teacher and reminder of human values. The watch is the symbol of Time. We are powerless before time but time’s Creator and Director can be won and attained by the wise use of time. Instructing others on this inner meaning of the Watch and the Panchakshari Mantra derivable from the five letters WATCH are not enough to fulfill your duty. The watch advises you to watch yourself whether you have the credentials to teach. A hundred eyes will be watching every word and deed of yours to discover whether you have mastered the human values and whether you are practising them. Most important of all, God, the Universal Watcher, is witnessing and weighing your every thought, word and deed. The God in you examines and judges and you are able to acquire self-satisfaction through sincerity and serenity. Prove your humanity by the practice of the values which are the unique qualities of man.
– Sathya Sai Baba Discourse, 07/03/1986, Prashanthi Nilayam
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