– Sri Sathya Sai Baba in a Letter to V.R. Krishna Kumar, 1946
‘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)
“The Avatar comes to reveal man to himself, to restore to him his birthright of inner Bliss. He does not found a new creed, to breed a new faction, to instill a new God. If such happens, it is the consequence of the evil in man. The Avatar comes as Man in order to demonstrate that Man is Divine, in order to be within reach of Man. The human mind cannot grasp the Absolute, Attributeless Principle; it is Abstract and beyond the ready of Speech, Mind and Intellect. Fire is inherent in the matchstick but it is only when it is struck as flame that we can benefit from it. The Formless has to manifest as Form; the Formless has to appear with Form. Then only can man listen, learn, understand, follow and be saved, through the Bliss of that experience. He lights the flame of Realization in each; and the age-old ignorance is destroyed in an instant.”
“My Birthday is the Date when Divinity Blossoms in your Heart”
– Sathya Sai Baba
“With holy thoughts in you on this auspicious day, you must go out into the world and spread your sacred feelings among others. Don’t confine your feelings to yourselves or retain them only during your stay here. Spread them wherever you go”.
– Divine Discourse: 23 November 1997
“Today, thousands of people have gathered here. What has brought them together here? Love is the main cause. Without love, but few of you would have come from such distant places. How does this love express itself? It is a process of give and take. You have to receive God’s love, and you have to offer your love to Him. But, both are one and the same love. God’s love is reflected in you. That is the meaning of the declaration in the Bhagawad Geetha: “A spark of Mine is present in every being.”
Global Akhanda Bhajan, the timeless intonation promoting Universal Peace and Harmony is one of the most significant and far-reaching annual spiritual exercise initiated by Bhagawan way back in the mid forties.
Ever since, every second week-end of the month of November has been a fixed schedule for this 24 hour marathon non-stop bhajan saga.
Akhanda Bhajans at Prasanthi Nilayam (12th – 13th November 2016)
The Akhanda Bhajan had its origin way back in 1945, started in Bangalore by a group of eight families. Upon the culmination of the year-long Thursday bhajans, they had been conducting quite regularly from 1944, during the World War II time, the group of eight families showed up to Bhagawan in Puttaparthi seeking blessings for conducting bhajans. The Divine Visionary that He is, Bhagawan blessed the group, praising the idea of bhajan singing and named it Akhanda Bhajan. Bhagawan even promised the group that He would bless the same with His physical presence. This grand Spiritual exercise has been going on uninterrupted ever since and the years that passed had been fortunate to have the spirited physical presence of Bhagawan during the occasion.
“Today we are having the Akhanda Bhajan. This is being done not for the sake of one individual, one nation or one community. It is for the welfare of humanity as a whole.
The bhajans that are sung permeate the ether in the form of sound waves and fill the entire atmosphere. Thereby, the whole environment is purified. Breathing in this purified atmosphere, our hearts get purified. Reciting the Lord’s name is a process of give and take. Singing the Lord’s name should become an exercise in mutual sharing of joy and holiness. It should be remembered that the sounds we produce reverberate in the atmosphere. They remain permanently in the ether as waves and outlast the individual uttering the sounds.
– Divine Discourse on Akhanda Bhajan day on November 8, 1986
Deepavali, the festival of Lights is celebrated on the new moon day in the month of ‘Ashwin’ of the Indian lunar Calendar.
It usually falls in late October or early November.
Deepavali or Diwali, , is a festival of lights symbolizing the victory of righteousness over evil and the lifting of spiritual darkness. The word ‘Deepavali’ literally means ‘rows of lamps’. The lamp is not merely the symbol of knowledge of Truth, but also of the one Atma (spirit) that shines in all.
“Today is the day on which Naraka, the demon was killed. What does this event signify? It signifies killing the demon in man. ‘Nara’ means man and ‘Asura’ means demon. This demon is present in every human being. It is not necessary to acquire great weapons to kill this demon. Man is called ‘Nara’ because there is Atma (spirit) in him. That Atma is the embodiment of love. It is possible to kill the demons only through love. Therefore, realize the Atma Tathva and develop love. This is true Bhakti (devotion)”.
– Divine Discourse: November 4, 2002
“The flame of a lamp has two significant qualities. One is to banish darkness; the other is a continuous upward movement. Even if a lamp is kept in a pit, the flame is directed upwards. The ancients have taught that the upward movement of the flame denotes the path to wisdom and the path to divinity. However, the external light can dispel only the external darkness, but not the darkness of ignorance in man.
Asato mA Sadgamaya |
Tamaso mA Jyotirgamaya |
MRRityormA AmRRitaM Gamaya || Om Shanthi Shanthi Shanthihi Lead us from the Unreal to the Real Lead us from Darkness to Light Lead us from Death to Immortality Om Peace, Peace, Peace
Deepavali ushers in the light of prosperity
From the very name of today’s festival–Deepavali–it can be seen that the Divine effulgence is manifest in it. Deepavali means “the array of lights.” “Thamasomaa jyotirgamaya” (Lead me from darkness to light) is an Upanishadic prayer: This means that where there is darkness light is needed. What is this darkness? Sorrow is one form of darkness. Peacelessness is another. Loss is another. Disappointment is one form of darkness. Misery is yet another. Lack of enthusiasm is another. All these are different forms of darkness. To get rid of the darkness of sorrow, you have to light the lamp of happiness. To dispel the darkness of disease, you have to install the light of health. To get over the darkness of losses and failures, you have to usher in the light of prosperity. —
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
Dasara or Navaratri is a ten day festival, usually falling in the month of October, that is celebrated all over India in the worship of the Divine as the Mother principle. Bhagawan has explained that the festival of Dasara is a celebration of the triumph of good over evil signifying the vanquishing of the ‘six demons’ of lust, anger, attachment, greed, pride and jealously within us.
Durga Mata Mandir in Puttaparthi
Durga is worshipped the first 3 days, Laxmi the next 3 days then Saraswati the final 3 days.
Vijaya Dasami Day being the 10th Day.
The Dasara celebrations at Prasanthi Nilayam begins with the Kalasha Sthapana Puja in the Bhajan Mandir. After this, Kalasha puja is performed during all days of the Navarathri.
who is the auspiciousness of all that is auspicious,
who is the consort of Lord Shiva,
who is the bestower of every desire of one’s heart.
Adorations to You!
O Devi, I have taken refuge in you.
Is the mother of the universe and believed to be the power behind the work of creation, preservation, and destruction of the world. Since time immemorial she has been worshipped as the supreme power of the Supreme Being and has been mentioned in many scriptures
– Yajur Veda, Vajasaneyi Samhita and Taittareya Brahman.
Devi Durga stands on a lion in a fearless pose of “Abhay Mudra”, signifying assurance of freedom from fear. The universal mother seems to be saying to all her devotees: “Surrender all actions and duties onto me and I shall release thee from all fears”.
“WHY FEAR WHEN I AM HERE” …Baba
“The life of a man who cannot respect and love one’s mother is utterly useless. Recognizing one’s mother as the very embodiment of all divine forces, one must show reverence to her and treat her with love. This is the true message that this nine-night festival (the Navaratri) gives us. The supreme Shakti manifests herself in the form of Durga, Lakshmi, and Saraswati. Durga grants us energy – physical, mental, and spiritual. Lakshmi bestows on us all forms of wealth – not just money but intellectual wealth, the wealth of character, and others. Even health is a kind of wealth. She grants untold riches to us. And Saraswati bestows intelligence, the capacity for intellectual inquiry, and the power of discrimination on us. The Navaratri festival is celebrated in order to proclaim the power of the goddesses to the world. One’s own mother is the combination of all these divine beings. She provides us with energy, wealth, and intelligence. She constantly desires our advancement in life. So she represents all the three goddesses that we worship during the Navaratri festival.”
– Divine Discourse: 14th October 1988
Veda Purusha Sapthaha Jnana Yagna
During Dasara Celebrations the Yagnam commences with the rubbing of wooden blocks to produce fire through friction. Thereafter, the sacred fire thus produced, is placed in the ‘Yagna Kunda’ (the sacrificial altar into which oblations are offered)
The most important component of the Yagnam is the ‘Rudra Homam’, an invocation to Lord Siva, in which the oblations of clarified butter are poured into the Yagna Kunda while chanting hymns from the ‘Sri Rudram’. Other rituals also take place simultaneously like the Surya Namaskar, or the worship of the Sun as the visible symbol of the Supreme. The Srimad Bhagavatham Parayana, and the Ramayana Parayana and the Devi Mahatmyam are simultaneously performed by noted scholars, and a few pundits and Bhagavan’s students simultaneously chant various hymns from the Vedas. Another priest worships the Sri Chakra, a mystic drawing representing the Supreme Mother. The first 6 days the Yagna follows this routine daily.
The Dasara Celebrations come to an auspicious close on, Vijaya Dasami Day, the 7th day of the Yagna. Poornahuthi or the Valedictory Offering is made.
After seeking the blessings of Bhagavan, the priests make the final offering of clarified butter into the fire while chanting hymns from the ‘Chamakam,’ praying for the physical and spiritual welfare of all the beings of the world. Bhagavan blesses all the priests by sprinkling sacred water and akshada (turmeric coated rice) on them.
Ganesha Chaturthi is celebrated on the Chaturthi, i.e., the fourth day of Indian lunar month of Bhadrapada.
It usually falls in the month of September in the English calendar. Lord Ganesha, the elephant-headed God is usually worshipped before commencing any activity in order to remove obstacles and ensure success of the endeavour. He is also the bestower of worldly intelligence and spiritual wisdom.
Let us recall the benign countenance of the omni-present Lord,
with a moon-like complexion, having four arms
and clad in a white garment.
May He remove all impediments in our path.
The festival is usually celebrated for a period for three days in Prasanthi Nilayam. On the first day, the students sing devotional songs and Stotrams (hymns) and present cultural programmes in the Divine Presence and Bhagawan grants His discourse.During the next two days, students and staff of Bhagawans Institutions worship idols of Lord Ganesha in their respective premises. On the third day of the festival, the idols are brought to the Sai Kulwant Hall in a grand procession of colourful and exquisitely designed chariots amidst chanting of hymns and singing of Bhajans. After offering final worship and Arati, it is customary to immerse in the idol in a nearby lake or pond as it is the belief that Lord Ganesha takes with him the troubles and the bad tendencies that act as obstacles on the spiritual path.
Ganesha Chaturthi Pooja & Aarti performed in Puttaparthi
“Vinayaka (Ganesha) is one who drives away all sorrows, difficulties and miseries. He is the enemy of all obstacles. He will not allow any obstacles to come in the way. He is the destroyer of obstacles. He confers happiness and peace (on his devotees). He is the master of all these powers (Buddhi and Siddhi). What is Siddhi (fullfillment)? When there is purity of mind you achieve peace (which is Siddhi). Vinayaka is thus Lord of Buddhi (the intellect and Self-Realization). Hence every human being should aquire control over the mind…
Vinayaka is the Lord of learning (Vidya). Does learning mean bookish scholarship? No. Everything pertaining to the cosmos is included in the term learning (Vidya). Walking, talking, laughing, sitting, eating, strolling, thinking – every kind of activity is related to learning. Vinayaka is the master of every kind of learning…
“Whenever people want to commence any undertaking, they first offer worship to Vinayaka (Ganesha or Ganapathi)…Ganapathi is one who gives us spiritual potency and endows us with Supreme Intelligence…” – Sathya Sai Baba
He is one who instills purity in body, and fearlessness in the mind.” – Sathya Sai Baba
A Ganesha idol materialised by Swami for a student in 2004
“What is the inner significance of worshipping the elephant-faced deity? The elephant is a symbol of might and magnitude. The elephant’s foot is larger than that of any other animal. The elephant can make its way through the densest jungle. In this way, it signifies the quality of a leader who shows the way for others. The elephant is also known for its faithfulness and gratitude. These are the lessons man should learn from the elephant. Intelligence without gratitude is valueless. Every man should be grateful to those who have helped him”.
Bhagawan has declared that Lord Krishna’s advent took place at 3 a.m. on 20th July, 3228 B.C, the Ashtami Day (eighth day after full moon) under the star ‘Rohini’ in the dark fortnight.(Krishna Paksha) of Shravana Masa in the year named ‘Srimukha’.
Krishna Janmashtami Celebrations from Prasanthi Nilayam
The Mystical Sport of Sai Krishna
Even the smallest acts of Krishna were saturated with supreme sweetness. Krishna was everyone’s dearest kinsman and fastest comrade. The Leelas (Divine Sport) of Krishna are sweet and meaningful. All activities of Krishna were for the well being of the World. His advent was for the uplift of the world from wickedness and unrighteousness. It was also for fulfilling the needs of those who are devoted to Him, for the establishment of righteousness and the revival of the Vedas. Though people caught in the coils of ignorance see the Leelas as self-centered and even motivated by delusion, genuine devotees cherish each one of these as significant and sustaining examples of Grace. The Lord showers Grace on each and every one in such a way that suits the time, the person and their aspirations.
– Bhagavatha Vahini, “Krishna Avatara” Chap 34.
Today we are celebrating the Birthday of Krishna. You are attaching importance to His body, but not to His teachings. You will be celebrating Krishna’s Birthday in the true spirit of the term only when you put His teachings into practice.
All the actions that you undertake must be sacred. There should be harmony in your thought, word and deed. The proper study of mankind is man. “Work is Worship”, “Duty is God”. This was the teaching of our ancient seers. Consider all activities as an offering to God and all work as God’s work. Just as two wings are essential for a bird to soar high in the sky, two wheels for a cycle to move, Prema (Love) and Seva (service) are essential for man to reach his destination. No benefit accrues from rendering service devoid of love. Do not expect any returns for your acts of service. The satisfaction which you derive from rendering service is itself a reward.
People merely say, “Krishna, Krishna,” as they go round or pass-by a temple. Of what value is such part-time devotion? They are mere name’s sake Bhaktas. You must strive to earn the great wealth of God’s love. God is omnipresent in all His attributes. One experiences this unity. Ramadasa also had this experience. Thaneesha put him in jail, but he never gave up the name of Rama. “O Rama! When all is your form, how can I be apart from you,”, he prayed.
There are those who sit in Dhyana or meditative postures. But their minds are in the market or in hair dressing shop. Is this Dhyana or Japa? The mind should be immersed in Krishna. Instead it is filled with desires (Trishna). What is needed is Krishna not Trishna. Krishna will fulfil all your Trishnas.
In chapter twelve Lord Krishna extols the glory of devotion to God.
Along with this he explains the different forms of spiritual disciplines and discusses
the qualities of the devotees who by performing their activities in this way become very dear to Him.
Thus this chapter is entitled: The Path of Devotion.
More than the adherent of the path of karma, jñâna or yoga, the follower of the path of bhakti is declared fortunate and superior. He is better than the yogî, the sannyâsî, the jñânî and the sadhaka who takes up the discipline of karma. – Prasanthi Vahini, p. 76
(1) “Krushathi-ithi Krishna” that is, “The One who ploughs is called Krishna.” The field here symbolizes the heart. The heart should be cleared of weeds (evil qualities). It should be filled with love. The seeds of the Lord’s name should be sown in it. Krishna is the one who inspires the devotee to do all this.
(2) “Karshathi-ithi Krishna” that is, “The One who attracts is called Krishna.” Krishna has the supreme power of attraction. By His words, His sport, His music and all His actions, He attracts all people. This power of Divine attraction is present in everyone. Hence, everyone is potentially Krishna.
(3) “Kushyathi-ithi Krishna” that is, “The One who imparts bliss is called Krishna.” Everyone seeks happiness. The Divine, who is the embodiment of happiness, is in you. God wants you to be happy, but you do not realize it. Try to recognize the source of bliss within you. It is not the true nature of man to be unhappy. When anyone is sad, people around him are concerned about him. You should always be happy, because you are the embodiment of the Atma. Never give way to worry.