The first one is Presence. The thirst for the Presence is called prayer. Whether there is a God to whom you should pray or not is immaterial — just your prayerfulness is sufficient. The first step is to feel the Presence; the next step is realising that you are the
Presence, that you have become one with the Presence, that you are not distant. That Presence is called ‘Bhagawan’.
The second attribute is fame. Fame means that which is universally accepted — in many places, in many types of minds, in many types of people. That is real fame. Let us see what we normally understand as fame. Take for example any singer, say Michael Jackson, who is well known in North America, Europe and some big cities in other Eastern countries. But if you go to some remote parts of China or India and start singing that style of music, people will not appreciate it. But if you go to any corner of the world, whether in India, China, Japan or Korea, you’ll find a church there, and Jesus is known. The people appreciate His teachings and value Jesus. Who is famous: Jesus or Michael Jackson? True fame crosses the barriers of race, age groups, sex.
That’s why it is Bhagawan.
The 8 types of wealth
The third attribute of Divinity comprises all types of wealth. One of the greatest illusions created in the world is wealth. Just look at the disparity in the world. There is no logical reasoning or explanation why someone should be born in Africa and suffer for a piece of bread, while there is so much bread elsewhere that we throw it away; why do some dogs enjoy the comfort of a home while others are strays in the streets? Wealth is something that is bestowed on you. There are eight types of wealth.
Wealth as material comfort: The first type of wealth is what we commonly understand as wealth — the material wealth. Just being born in Ford’s home, somebody acquired all that wealth without any effort. Why does this happen when somebody else had to toil all his life to make money? Why do some people inherit while others do not?
Wealth as health: Just having money is not sufficient. Some people may have a lot of money but they cannot eat well. They may have diabetes or high cholesterol. That wealth is nothing. Some people do not have money, but they have enough to eat and they are healthy. Like many farmers in India: they don’t have any money but they have plenty of food with them. Anyone who goes to them is fed; they can feed the whole town. They can sleep well.
Wealth as success (Vijaya Lakshmi): Some may be born into a very wealthy family, but any job they do becomes a failure. It may be a simple thing, but it is not a success. For example, you tell such a person to go and get some yoghurt from the shop.
They will always come back with a negative answer — ‘‘There is no yoghurt available… The shop is closed… I can’t get it.’’
To have this wealth of success, one does not start with, ‘‘What if it doesn’t work?’’ as then life just finishes without acquiring anything. This is taking life too seriously.
Wealth as courage: Make life a play or a game. Go ahead! Be adventurous! Even before playing the game, don’t think whether you will win or lose. So what if you don’t win? You’ll win again some other time. But being afraid of making mistakes, being afraid of doing anything in life, one lacks the wealth — the wealth of courage. Somebody may have a lot of money, but if they don’t have courage, there is no fun in life. Someone may not have any money, but look at the courage in them, the force in them! It shows that they are rich in something!
Wealth as friendliness: The fifth type of wealth is friendliness, having a caring attitude, having a sense of belonging. You may have the other types of wealth, but you still feel as though you are in a tight compartment, if you don’t have a sense of belonging.
That is what happens at most parties. Many rich people go to a party just to show off how rich they are, but they feel so out of place.
You find sugar-coated misery there. Everybody is so uptight. It’s like a war field actually. Parties are like a competition ground or battlefield; everyone going around with a shield. That is no wealth at all. Do you know how frustrated some people from aristocratic families are? Especially when their children see such hypocrisy, it’s so hard on the children. The whole hippie wave that happened was just a rebellion against this uptight attitude.
Wealth as skill: Another wealth is having different skills and talents. Some are good in writing, some are good in arguing, some are good in debate, some are good in music, some have wonderful voices, some cook well, some are talented in bringing up a child, in administration, and still others are talented in completely different things. There are hundreds and hundreds putting their efforts. They all should have achieved their goal. They all should have got what they wish to achieve, if it’s just by effort. But no, it is not so.
Wealth as dignity: The world is filled with lessons if only we observe it with full awareness. Be as humble as the grass. Then nothing can touch you, nothing. No one can humiliate you. In the eyes of the Divine, it is those who serve creation, who are true kings and queens. Walk like a king and be a perfect servant!
Wealth as memory of the source: We only know that we were born; we don’t even know how we were born. Somewhere from three or four years onwards, we know whatever is happening. Our memory is very short; it appears this is the only life. We are not aware of our Source. The moment you become aware of your Source, and your infinite past, your whole life changes, like somebody just suddenly becoming aware of how wealthy he or she is. Immediately your style of walking will change. This is the awareness of the Source.
The fourth characteristic of Divinity is dharma. It is very difficult to translate dharma. You can say ‘righteousness’, ‘nature,’ you can say ‘the totality of life’, ‘the path’, ‘the goal’. Dharma means that which upholds; that which upholds one’s life, that which upholds the whole creation, that which upholds the entire surroundings and evolutionary levels.
When knowledge is well-rooted in profound experience, it is wisdom. This kind of knowing does not just come from the head, but it is from the very being, from every cell of the being, from every particle of the being. When knowledge becomes inseparable from you, it is wisdom. One kind of knowledge comes and goes; but another kind is an integral part of you. You cannot be without it. It is like the breath. When knowledge gets so deep-rooted, like the breath, that is wisdom.
Renunciation is the sixth attribute. Just observe what becomes of your breath when things are unpleasant. If someone gives you a compliment, it doesn’t become so deep-rooted, like a part of your breath. But if someone insults you, every breath you breathe in and out burns. Isn’t it so?
Renunciation is the ability to drop everything and rest. What can you hold on to? Once one has total control of oneself, he does not control anything, or anybody. He brings great freedom. That is Bhagawan. There is a saying in the Gita — one can never achieve yoga unless one drops everything one wants to do, or is doing, or has done, at any moment. Living in the moment, making the mind free is what renunciation is.
From these six attributes of Bhagawan, Divinity, even if you take any one away, it will be incomplete. In fact it is quite dangerous. For example, fame without wisdom is of no use. The flower of divinity, which blossoms, has to have all the six petals.
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From Talks by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
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