Weekly Food For Thought

Present is Omnipresent

Swami has often said “the present is not an ordinary present but is omnipresent”. How do we make sense of this statement? What is the implication of this statement on all our desires & endeavors to shape our future? In our everyday experience of life, the present moment is just an elusive bridge between the past and the future moments. How does this acquire the magnitude of omnipresence?

Let us take the help of an analogy to understand this. A single beam of light when passed through a prism is refracted into a beautiful spectrum of seven colors. Could we possibly extend this idea to the concept of time? Is it possible that the omnipresent time or eternity is split into past, present and future when passed through the prism of our minds? It is so, indeed. Our mind is synonymous with thought. Every experience of ours is always in the eternal now but thought translates it into past, present or future. Thought alone defines a moment as the “past” or “future” by comparing it with the “present moment”. From the point of view of thought, the present moment is a point that connects past and future. Even so, thought cannot capture the present moment. The moment “the present” is recognized it has already become the past. The present moment is at best an idea of the mind but a window into eternity, the closest approximation to omnipresence. The trinity of time is an image, a reflection of Eternity which is otherwise beyond the comprehension of the mind.

What is the implication of the omnipresence of time on our desires & endeavors to control future outcomes? If future has no reality but in thought, does the question of free will or controlling future outcomes even arise? Isn’t this just a play of thought? Does it imply that we don’t need to plan for future?

Projection into future or thinking of the past is a power that the mind/ thought possesses, and one can choose to use the mind in whichever way one deems best. We remain free as long as we do not assume action in the present moment to be a means for fulfillment in a future moment. The present is omnipresent, full and complete. Action can be an expression of the dynamism, fullness, and freedom that the “now” or eternity represents. Life then becomes a play like how it was meant to be.

So next time, we catch ourselves obsessing over the past or the future, let us remind ourselves there is only the present and that it is omnipresent! All we need to do is to examine our experience & realize that even our thinking about past or future happens only in the present. Present is the only reality, and it is not an ordinary present but is truly omnipresent!

Weekly Food For Thought

What is the true gift you must give God?

You must express your gratitude. You have to pay four kinds of debt in this world: debt to your mother, debt to your father, debt to the saints and seers and the debt to God. Since your mother has given you her blood, her life and strength, and is responsible for your birth, you must show gratitude by respecting her. You must show gratitude to your father, who gives you money, education and protection. The rishis or saints teach you human qualities and so you must show gratitude to them. Ultimately, God is responsible for all these; so, you must show your gratitude to God.

In the love of a mother for the child or the affection of a preceptor to the pupil, there may be an element of self-interest. But there is no selfishness in the bounties which the divine showers on mankind. God has no self-interest or selfish purpose to be-achieved. He expects no return from anyone. God is conferring on mankind countless benefits which no human being can offer. Can all the man-made lamps in the world equal the light coming from the sun? Can all the pumps you may install produce the amount of water that comes down in one night’s downpour? ‘Who has given you the life-giving air that pervades everywhere? 

Thus, innumerable superhuman benefits are conferred by God on mankind. Even electricity is an expression of the Divine. From magnetism to electricity, heat and light, all these various forms of energy are considered as different forms of matter. This is not so. God is the source of all energy. If this is not realized, we will be failing to appreciate the true source of the air we breathe, the light we enjoy and the heat that sustains life.

For the power we consume or the water we use, charges have to be paid for their supply. That being the case, do we not owe gratitude to the Divine who has provided the world with air, water and light free? As the beneficiaries of the benefits provided by the five basic elements (ether, air, fire, water and earth), we should show our gratitude to them as manifestations of the Divine. The five elements are the source of five qualities experienced by the five senses: Sound, Touch, Vision, Taste, and Smell. Man makes use of these five elements but shows no gratitude to them. Gratitude should be an essential quality in man. 

What is the true gift you must give God? Only gratitude. All I expect is your gratitude. Never fail to express your gratitude to anyone who helps you. An ungrateful person will suffer sorrow all through. There will be no end to his cycle of rebirth. He will never taste success and will suffer pain and agony.

The gratitude I expect from you is your own happiness. Always be cheerful and spread good cheer. Real gratitude is to take bliss from God and share it with others. It is ‘to give and take’. It is no gratitude if you aim to please only God. God is happy if you make everyone else happy. Obstacles, pitfalls, and problems in life are like passing clouds. If you determine not to be bowled over by them, you are a true devotee. Forget the body and think of the Atma. As illustrated in ‘Tat Twam Asi’ – ‘that’ must combine with ‘this’ to give Atma – ‘thou art that’.

Sathya Sai Baba