The 2nd and 3rd chapters from ‘Prasanthi Vahini’ (Stream of Supreme Peace), by Bhagwan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. Swami explains here, the means for attaining ‘Supreme Peace’ and the methods by which one can ‘Shape the Mind’.
The world today is suffering from selfish politics, nihilistic religion, and heartless competition. This is indeed a disgraceful state of affairs. People have completely forgotten their fundamental, divine nature. At such a crisis, what is most urgently needed is peace and divine love; they are the drugs that will cure this dreaded disease. No other specific can ameliorate the illness. Love is the only means to get peace. The fuel of love yields the divine flame of peace. Love brings about unity of all mankind, and this unity, combined with spiritual knowledge, will bring about world peace.
The discipline of the self is the basic foundation for successful living. Through that alone can one attain real and lasting peace. And, without peace, there can be no happiness. Peace is the very nature of the Atma (Soul). It coexists only with a pure heart; it is never associated with a greedy heart full of desires. Peace is the distinguishing mark of yogis, sages (rishis), and wise men. It doesn’t depend on external conditions. It will flee away from the selfish and the sensual. It hates the company of such persons. It is the characteristic of the inner Atma -wonderful, unshakeable, and permanent.
Peace is full of spiritual uplift and the wisdom that is the natural accompaniment of bliss. Genuine peace is won only by control of the senses. Then, it can be called supreme peace. The experience of that stage is the “Stream of Supreme Peace”. Calming the mental agitation that surges like waves, levelling the swirls and whirls of likes, dislikes, love, hate, sorrow, joy, hope, and despair, peace is earned and maintained without disturbance.
Peace is of the nature of the Atma. The Atma is imperishable. It doesn’t die, like the body and mind. It is universal, subtle; it’s very nature is knowledge. So, peace also partakes of these characteristics. Knowledge of the Atma destroys illusion, doubt, and sorrow. Hence, knowledge of the Atma confers the steadiest peace and, with it, holiness and happiness.
The Atma is not the object of knowledge; it is the very source and spring of knowledge. Spiritual wisdom (jnana) is that which shows the way to the ripening, the fruition, the freedom, the immortality, the eternal happiness, the eternal peace. Those who are carried away by the vagaries of the senses cannot attain the Atma. Brahman is the one Unchanging in this changing world. The Atma is untarnished by external transformations, changes, or modifications. The glory of the body is not the Atma; the Atma is, really speaking, indescribable and inexpressible. It is neither this nor that. It can be said to be only It, the Atma, Brahman. Brahman itself has become truth (sathya), love, light, peace, wisdom, and highest bliss (Paramananda). You can attain Brahman through any of these paths. Have no doubt about that; it is the truth.
The Atma is not the five senses, the intellect (buddhi), the vital airs (pranas), or the life force. It can only be described by what it isn’t, not by what it is. No one can say it is thus, etc. If anyone says it is this or that, we can take it that they don’t know the least thing about it. Much can be said about something unknown; anything, any name can be ascribed to it. In short, the Atma cannot be communicated by words. It is impossible to describe, whoever may try
Bliss (ananda) is the innate nature of all. But the pity is that people are searching for it everywhere except where it is available. Bliss is not something lifeless and inactive. It is another name for purposeful living. Peace is the authority under which the rule of bliss prevails. It lays down the limits and laws for all activities. It must be made so stable that it is unaffected by the ever-wandering mind or the outward-bound senses. It can be experienced, personally, only through the natural state of wisdom. It is the most precious treasure. The one who grasps that which is deathless, that which cannot be destroyed, that which is not modified —that one is the enjoyer of peace and has no death.
Peace is a shoreless ocean; it is the light that illumines the world. Having it is having all. It confers knowledge of both this world and that. It leads to the understanding of Brahman, the very fulfilment of human life, which Vedanta tries to teach.
Pure love can emanate only from a heart immersed in peace, for it is an atmosphere that pervades and purifies. Peace is not a conviction arrived at by means of logic. It is the discipline of all disciplined lives. When one is born, the mind is like a blank sheet of white paper. As soon as thinking, feeling, and acting starts, the process of tarnishing the mind also starts. The body depends on the life breath (prana); it depends on the mind and the desires that agitate the mind. Right and truth are befogged by the needs of manners, fashion, convention, custom, etc., and the individual is thrown into a crowd. The solitude is invaded and taken away.
Therefore, the mind must first be calmed and quieted. Only then can the body be healthy and the intellect sharp. The mind is projected at one time only on a single object, not on many. But it is still a conglomeration of thoughts, desires, fancies, imaginings, and the rest. In fact, the mind has inside it, in a nutshell, the entire history of creation. That is the delusion (maya) mould of humanity. The mind is the battle field (kurukshetra) where good and bad, right and wrong contest for supremacy. Iron has to be beaten flat by iron alone. So too, the inferior, low mind has to be shaped better by the superior mind. One has to make one’s mind superior and stronger for the task of personal uplift.
That is the purpose of this “Stream of Supreme Peace” (Prasanthi Vahini). Drink deep from the waters of this Stream, the waters of discipline indicated therein. Immerse yourself in it and become cleansed; may its coolness refresh your sorrows and pains and quench the fires of sin
BABA (From Prasanthi Vahini, Chapters 2 and 3)