Learn spirituality from the epics

Our epics, said Sri Sathya Sai Baba, contain invaluable lessons. Baba extracted these priceless lessons by giving us invaluable insights into living a life that advances our spiritual upliftment and helps us develop resilience in the face of temptation in the ephemeral world.

The foremost of these lessons was the need to eschew desire: "Control your desire to the extent possible. Ravana ruined not only himself, but also his dynasty because of desire. Therefore, to the extent possible control your desires. Today, the government has imposed ceiling on land and property through legislation, but what is essential is a ceiling on desires. Not only did Hiranyakasipu refrain from chanting the name of Lord Hari, he also insisted that his son Prahlada follow suit. He developed hatred toward his own son for singing the praise of Lord Hari against his wishes. This evil quality of anger led to his doom."

We glean the same lesson in the Mahabharata: "Duryodhana was greed personified. He was not prepared to part with even a small piece of land. He subjected the Pandavas to enormous hardships. What happened to him ultimately? He became a victim of his own greed. Desire, anger and greed are the greatest impediments in the path of spirituality. Render help to others, if possible. Never hate anybody under any circumstances."

For Baba, unity could be nurtured through spirituality: "Spirituality promotes spirit of unity. The story of the Ramayana reveals the ideal relationship that should exist between brothers. Lakshmana and Shatrughna served Rama and Bharata respectively, with utmost devotion and sincerity. When Lakshmana fainted in the battlefield, Rama lamented, 'In this world, I might find another mother like Kausalya, a wife like Sita, but definitely not a brother like Lakshmana!' A brother should be like this - one who respects elders and brings name and fame to the whole family. It is the unity among the brothers that brought reputation to the whole family."

"The same was the case with the Pandavas. The five Pandavas could defeat 100 Kauravas because they stood united. Even though Vali and Sugriva were just two, they fell apart because of lack of unity. Rama restored the kingdom to Sugriva, since he completely surrendered to Him. Similar was the case with Ravana, Vibhishana, and Kumbhakarna. Any big task can be accomplished if the five fingers are united. Otherwise even a small task becomes extremely difficult. Strive for unity. Spirituality destroys narrow mindedness and confers unity, cooperation and universal peace."

"Love is God. Spend your life in selfless service. This is the teaching of Rama. Later Sri Rama said that it was because of Lakshmana's strength and support that He could defeat Ravana and bring Sita back to Ayodhya."

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