Ceiling on desires
Discourse by Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai
Baba on January 1983
MEMBERS appear to be confused about
the true meaning of this programme of "Ceiling on Desires" decided
on at the Tenth All India Conference of Sathya Sai Organisations.
There are four components in the term "Ceiling on Desires." They
are, respectively; curb on excessive talk, curb on excessive
desires and expenditure, control of consumption of food, check on
waste of energy. Man needs some essential commodities for his
sustenance and he should not aspire for more. We can learn a
lesson in this respect from Nature. Only if air is available in
sufficient quantity will it be comfortable and good. If it is
excessive and there is a gale you will feel uncomfortable. When
you are thirsty; you can consume only a limited quantity of water.
You can't consume the entire water of the Ganga! We take only as
much as is needed for the sustenance of the body.
Doctors know that the body temperature is normally 98.4. If this
goes up to 99 they say fever has set in due to some disorder in
the body. We inhale and exhale at a normal rate. If there is a
slight increase or decrease in the rate it indicates disorder in
the body. Changes in the pulse rate or blood pressure also
indicate disorder. So you find that if you cross the limits even
to a little extent it is dangerous or harmful to the body. There
is a limit for everything to function in a normal way. When your
eyes happen to see a flash of lightning or a flash light while
taking photographs, they automatically close because they can't
withstand such high illumination. Ear drums also cannot tolerate
hearing beyond a certain volume and we close our ears or keep
cotton inside the ears. From these we see that our life is a
Misuse of money is a great evil
Similarly our desires also should be limited. Women are usually
desirous of adding to their wardrobe any number of sarees when
they go to a shop or an exhibition. You should have a reasonable
number of sarees, but not a huge collection for pomp or show.
Misuse of money is a great evil. Even men will have to do their
own bit in controlling the expenditure on unwanted and unnecessary
things. Money is Dhaivaswaroopam (embodiment of Divinity).
When you talk of wealth you should be careful to avoid avaricious
accumulation and extravagant expenditure. Even in the preparation
of food, you should be careful in avoiding wastage. We are only
doing a disservice by consuming more food than what is necessary
for the body.
Thirdly, you should be careful about ' time' , which is the
yardstick of life. Seconds become hours, hours become years, years
make yugas (ages) and so on. You should not waste this most
valuable 'time'. Time lost in wasteful pursuits can' t be got back
by any means. All our activities should be planned for utilising
the available time to maximum advantage. So, we should not waste
food, money, time and energy. Even in purchase of garlands, you
need not waste money. What God wants is the flower of your heart
that is filled with humility and devotion. Eight types of flowers
can be offered to God, viz, (1) Ahimsa (Non-violence), (2)
Indhriya Nigraha (Control of senses), (3) Sarvabhootha
Dhaya (Compassion towards all beings), (4) Sathyam (Truth),
(5) Dhyaanam (Meditation), (6) Shaanthi (Peace), (7)
Vinaya (Humility), (8) Bhakthi (Devotion).
God appreciates only your motive
I feel very much concerned about the excessive money that is spent
y the Trust and Samithi on the expensive huge garlands offered to
Me on every occasion and also the use of flowers for decorating
the path. No doubt you are doing this as an expression of your
Aanandha (Divine bliss). But I won' t call this Bhakthi
(devotion), though you may not own this. We should realise our
defects and rectify them. You may show your affection y just
handing over one flower and spend the money wasted on garlands for
helping the poor people in distress.
People may think that Baba will not like it if flower paths are
not provided and huge garlands are not offered. You must
understand that God appreciates only your motive and not the
external things. By indulging in such exhibitionism, you will only
spoil the name of the organisation. As a member of Sathya Sai
Organisation you should have no sense of ego or pride. As I have
often said you should have your "Hands in society and heads
in the forest". This should be your guiding principle. What little
you do you must do with a good and pure heart.
In the Bhagavathgeetha, Krishna has referred to "Pathram,
Phalam, Pushpam, Thoyam" (that is, leaf, fruit, flower or
water) that can be offered to God. I am pleased with any of these
provided it is offered with sincere devotion. What is 'pathram'?
It is not the ' leaf' that you see around you. The inner meaning
is that your body itself is the leaf. Flower is not the one in the
plants but it is the flower of your heart, "Hridhaya Pushpam".
'Phalam' is not the ordinary fruit but 'Manophalam'
(the fruit of your mind). 'Thoyam' means water but what is
referred to here is not the water from the river or tap. It refers
to the tears of joy welling up within you from a sincere
and prayerful heart.
Transform yourselves into better individuals
Moreover you should not only practise yourself but teach others
also about this ceiling on desires. Though Naaraayana is in
everyone, the one in the poor people is referred to as "Dharidhra
Naaraayana". When this Naaraayana begs for food, you refuse to
give him food while you offer food to another person who is
already well-fed. You place before God' s pictures a lot of food
of rich variety as 'Naivedhyam' (offering). You do this
because you know very well that this is coming back to you. So,
here too it is 'Swaartham' (self-interest) and not 'Thyaagam'
(sacrifice) The amrithathwa (immortality) or Moksha
(Liberation) will come out of thyaagam.
We have Seva Dhal, Bhajan Mandalis, and other Wings. It is a good
sign that more and more youngsters are coming forward to join the
Seva Dhal and take part in service activities. The participation
of youth is necessary for the welfare of the world. We should
rejoice when they turn over a new leaf in their life. There is a
common saying that you should not rejoice and distribute sweets
etc. when a child is born, but you should do so only when the son
grows up and earns a good name as a 'Sathputhra' (good son)
. You can't please Me just y joining as a member of the
organisation. I shall wait for the day when you turn over a new
leaf and transform yourselves into better individuals. You should
become 'Guna-sheelas' (persons of sterling character and
It is the code of conduct which is responsible for the
organisation moving forward growing from strength to strength. The
office-bearers should exercise maximum care to see that the code
of conduct is adhered to and guide others also in the fight path.
When a cook in a house works with integrity the master on his own
will entrust him with the keys of the house. Similarly, God also
will appreciate only men with integrity. The desire to please God
should be the fundamental motive.
Discourse given by Bjagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba to active workers
Sri Sathya Sai Organisations, Tamil Nadu at Abbotsbury, Madras, 19