Imagine you are walking at dusk when things are seen dimly and a rope lies on the path. Now each one who sees it has their own idea of what it is, though it is really just a length of rope. One steps across it, taking it to be a garland. Another thinks that it is a mark made by running water and treads on it. The third imagines it to be a vine, a creeper plucked from a tree that has fallen on the road. Some others are scared that it is a snake. Similarly, the one Divine without any change or transformation affecting It, manifests in the Universe with many names and forms, due to the dusk of maya (Illusion). Just as the dim light confuses people and provokes various feelings and reactions, maya disillusions people. The rope is ever the rope though it is the basis for all the variety.
‘Sa’ means Divine; ‘ai’ or ‘ayi’ means Mother and ‘Baba’ means Father. The Name, Sai Baba means Divine Mother and Father. Sai’s descent is to achieve the supreme task of uniting the entire mankind as one family through the bond of brotherhood and to affirm and illumine the Divine (Aathmic) Reality within each and every being. The Divine takes the form as Avatar to reveal Himself as the basis for the entire Cosmos, and to instruct all to recognise the common divine heritage that binds everyone; so that human beings can work hard to rid themselves of animalistic qualities. I am the embodiment of Love; Love is My instrument. I reveal truth about Myself for, I desire that you should contemplate on this and derive joy. Also, may you be inspired to observe the disciplines laid down and progress towards the goal of Self-Realisation. Realise the Sai who shines in your hearts. (Divine Discourse, 19 June 1974)
As regards the technique of meditation, different teachers and trainers give different forms of advice. But I shall give you now the most universal and the most effective form. This is the very first step in spiritual discipline. At first, set a few minutes every day for meditation, and extend the time as you feel the bliss that you get. Let it be in the hours before dawn. This is preferable because the body is refreshed after sleep, and the dealings of daytime will not yet have impinged on you. Have a lamp or a candle before you with an open, steady, and straight flame. Sit in front of the candle in the lotus posture or any other comfortable sitting position. Look on the flame steadily for some time, and closing your eyes try to feel the flame inside you between your eyebrows. Let it slide down into the lotus of your heart, illuminating the path. When it enters the heart, imagine that the petals of the lotus open out by one, bathing every thought, feeling, and emotion in the light and so removing darkness from them. There is no space for darkness to hide. The light of the flame becomes wider and brighter. Let it pervade your limbs. Now those limbs can never indulge in dark, suspicious, and wicked activities; they have become instruments of light and love. As the light reaches up to the tongue, falsehood vanishes from it. Let it rise up to the eyes and the ears and destroy all the dark desires that infest them and which lead you to perverse sights and childish conversation. Let your head be surcharged with light and all wicked thoughts will flee there from. Imagine that the light is in you more and more intensely. Let it shine all around you and let it spread from you in ever widening circles, taking in your loved ones, your kith and kin, your friends and companions, your enemies and rivals, strangers, all living beings, the entire world. Since the light illumines all the senses every day so deeply and so systematically, a time will soon come when you can no more relish dark and evil sights, yearn for dark and sinister tales, crave for base, harmful, deadening toxic food and drink, handle dirty demeaning things, approach places of ill-fame and injury, or frame evil designs against anyone at any time. Stay on in that thrill of witnessing the light everywhere. If you are adoring God in any form now, try to visualize that form in the all-pervasive light. For Light is God; God is Light. Practice this meditation as I have advised regularly every day. At other times repeat the name of God (any Name fragrant with any of His many Majesties), always taking care to be conscious of His might, mercy, and munificence.
– Sri Sathya Sai Baba
Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume X, Page 348-350, Shivarathri, 1979
“Today we are celebrating Shivarathri. ‘Shivarathri’ means “Auspicious night”. At least on this day, one should chant Shiva’s name all through the night. At least on one day in a year, chant the Lord’s name. This night, devotees are expected to stay awake by chanting the sacred name of Shiva. Keeping awake in any other way is purposeless. Spending the night reciting the Lord’s name sanctifies one’s life”.
– Divine Discourse: February 25, 1998
The festival of Maha Shivarathri is one of the most important festivals in India. It falls on the 14th day of the (Krishna Paksha) dark fortnight of the Magha month of the Hindu calendar. The very word ‘Shivarathri’ means auspicious night. All over the country, people throng Shiva temples and spend the night in worship and contemplation of the Divine. According to Hindu belief, the moon is the presiding deity of the mind and the 16 phases of the moon represent the 16 aspects of the mind. On Shivarathri, which falls a day prior to the new moon, only a streak of the moon is visible. This is symbolic of the waning influence of the mind, when 15 aspects have already merged in the Self and only one aspect remains. Hence on this day, it is easier to control the mind and direct it towards God. Therefore, the night is spent in contemplation and adoration of God, so that the vagaries of the mind can be totally subdued and transcended to attain realization of the Atman.
Lord Shiva Who is hailed as Abhisheka Priya is mightly pleased with sacred offerings. Last evening’s Maha Rudrabhishekam had 18 types special offerings to the Saieswara Lingam. The offerings included milk, curd, ghee, honey, sugar, fruits, tender coconut water, flower, yellow rice, sandalwood paste, vibhuti, bilwa leaves, sugar candy juice, rudraksha, darbha grass, gold, turmeric, kumkum (vermillion) etc. with each individual offerings bear spiritual religious significance. These 18 offerings are meant to appease the Indweller within, Who is verily Sai Shiva.
“The lesson of Shivarathri is that devotees should foster good and sacred thoughts. They should be filled with godly thoughts. They should seek to become one with the Divine by reflecting on their inherent divinity. If you constantly chant the name of God, God realization will come in due course.
Whatever other things they may possess, men suffer from lack of peace and bliss. These two can be obtained only from God. It is for these two that men should pray to God and not for anything else, because God alone can give them. When these are secured, all other things will come of their own accord by the grace of God. People should yearn for God. All other desires are worthless”.
– Divine Discourse: February 26, 1998
Small pendant materialised by Baba of Shiva on April 20th 1972
At the Shivalayam Temple (Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba’s Birthplace) Puttaparthi, India on Maha Shivaratri – 7th March 2016 (Morning) Five priests performed a puja and abhishekams to Lord Sai Shiva.
Special offerings were made to the Lord Shiva. The offerings included milk, curd, ghee, honey, sugar, fruits, tender coconut water, flower, yellow rice, sandalwood paste, vibhuti, bilva leaves, sugar, rudraksha, turmeric, kumkum, with each individual offering bearing great spiritual significance.
These offerings are meant to appease the Indweller within, Who is verily Sai Shiva. Lord Shiva Who is hailed as Abhisheka Priya is mightly pleased with such sacred offerings.
“Makara Sankranthi marks the movement of the Sun from the southern horizon to the northern horizon. This northward movement of the Sun has immense spiritual significance. The north is symbolised by Himaachala. Hima means snow. It is pure, untainted and soothingly cool. All these endow it with the quality of Prashanthi (perfect peace). Achala means that which is steady and unshakeable. Himaachala does not refer to the physical Himalayan mountains. It represents that which is cool, peaceful and steady. From this day the Sun is said to move towards such a state. The Sun symbolises the vision of man. The northward movement of the Sun is a call to human beings to turn their vision towards that which is cool, peaceful and unchanging, i.e. towards the divinity within.