Sathya Sai Baba & Indulal Shah

Sri Sathya Sai

INDULAL SHAH
He ‘organises’ the Sai mission.

Sometimes friends can help change life permanently. Indulal C. Shah met Bhagawan ‘by chance’ while visiting long-time friend Mr. Java in Bangalore in 1965. He stayed on to become a cornerstone personality in the mission of Sri Sathya Sai. Moving up the Organisation ladder, he is today the International Chairman of the Sri Sathya Sai Service Organisation. He and his wife Sarla have literally nurtured the Sai Organisation and made it the most important part of their lives.

Sri Indulal Shah has been a Chartered Accountant since 1942. He participated in the ‘Quit India’ Movement and was an ardent follower of Mahatma Gandhi. He had been Secretary to the Indian National Congress from 1951 to 1960 for the Bombay Region. He had been associated with the Khadi Movement for a decade from 1954. The President of India and the Prime Minister have decorated Sri Shah with a gold medal and a shield for rural work and contribution to the building of rural economy.

Sri Indulal Shah has since long been spiritually inclined. His baptism into spirituality took place when he stayed in the Ramakrishna Mission Hostel in Bombay (Mumbai) from 1937 to 1942. From 1949 to 1964, he had been the joint secretary of the Mumbai branch of Sri Ramakrishna Mission.

In 1951, Sri Indulal Shah visited Shirdi for the first time. He has been making pilgrimages to the shrine of Sai Baba ever since.

With this blessed background, Sri Indulal Shah had Bhagawan Baba’s darshan in Malleswaram in 1965. Bhagawan was to address a public meeting and rain clouds had filled the sky. But Bhagawan willed the filled clouds away. The clouds of doubt and reservation too disappeared from Sri Indulal Shah’s mind. Along with wife Sarla and daughter Darshana, he went to have Baba’s darshan in Whitefield. Bhagawan saw him only after five days. The five days wait gifted Sri Indulal Shah his first personal interview.

Sri Indulal Shah’s long association with spiritual institutions has created in him the zest to present spiritual messages through words and pictures to the masses. Trained in the direction, he was able to prepare an exhibition on Bhagawan in the 60’s that ran for four months. Earlier he had prepared a ‘Sant Darshan’ exhibition in Mumbai and in 1969, the Gandhi Centenary Committee of the Government of India nominated him member secretary to oversee the preparation of a mobile exhibition on the Mahatma. In years to come, Sri Indulal Shah was to co-ordinate Prajnan Pradarshan (exhibition on spirituality once housed in Bangalore), Sanathana Samskruthi – Eternal Heritage Museum in Prasanthi Nilayam and finally his crown offering to Bhagawan – Chaitanya Jyoti, also at Prasanthi Nilayam.

In 1976, Bhagawan visited the residence of Sri Indulal Shah in Mumbai for the first time. Ever since, on some occasion or the other, Bhagawan would visit his home to shower His love on the man who officially ‘looked after’ His organisation. Even recently in June 2001, Bhagawan flew down to Mumbai to call on his ailing wife.

Sri Indulal Shah’s association with the Organisation is ever since its inception. In August 1965, when the registration of the organisation was in progress, Sri Indulal Shah was actively involved in the process. In March 1967, Bhagawan stayed at his Mumbai residence and finalised the site for the Dharmakshetra ashram of the Organisation. Dharmakshetra was ready by May 1968 to host the First World Conference of Sri Sathya Sai Organisations.

In 1967, during the first All India Conference of office bearers of the organisation, Sri Indulal Shah prayed Bhagawan to enlarge the scope of the Organisation and include education in its scope. After a gestation of twelve years, Bhagawan announced the Education in Human Values Movement in 1979. The EHV Movement has since flourished into a landmark step in the evolution of education in India and abroad.

For many years, Sri Indulal Shah held the position of All India President of Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisations. After 1985, Bhagawan gradually drew him to the international scene. Today Sri Indulal Shah is the International Chairman of Sri Sathya Sai Service Organisations.

Yet, Sri Indulal Shah is a humble sevak of Bhagawan. It was his humility and tremendous concern for others that made him the recipient of tremendous grace from Bhagawan. In 1967, at Madras, during the All India Conference of Sri Sathya Sai Organisations, Bhagawan was speaking to a private audience in Telugu. Sri B. Ramakrishna Rao, once Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh and Governor of Uttar Pradesh, remarked that Sri Indulal Shah did not understand Telugu and that a translation was necessary. Bhagawan then said, “No, there is no time, he understands Telugu” and patted Sri Indulal Shah on his head with His fingers. To his surprise, Sri Indulal Shah was able to understand every word in Telugu that followed during the discussion!

Many such remarkable incidents are cherished with sweetness in this soft-spoken gentleman’s life. However, he cherished the teachings of Bhagawan the most. He has made a particular saying of Bhagawan central to his life: “It is not enough that you love Me, but you must see whether I love you.” Sri Indulal Shah leaves no stone unturned to deserve the love of Bhagawan.

Sri Indulal Shah has authored four books on Bhagawan, all of them reflecting on the Divine teachings: Sixteen Spiritual Summers (1980), We Devotees (1983), Spiritual Blueprints of My Journey (1993) and I, We and He (1997). He had also produced the popular film in Hindi on Sai Baba of Shirdi, Shirdi Ke Sai Baba.

Sai devotees have been privileged to work directly under his inspiring personality and guidance. His love and concern for his co-Sai workers is immense. When the serial blasts took place in Mumbai in 1993, he called up the residences of his brother Sai devotees to enquire if they were safe. A man of principle, Sri Indulal Shah has been a role model for many youngsters on how to lead and run an organisation. After all, he ‘organises’ Bhagawan’s mission.

Reference

Sathya Sai And Indulal Shah

Anandamayi Ma – The Blissful Mother

Anandamayi Ma Young

Anandamayi Ma – The Blissful Mother
By Chris Parnell (a Sai Devotee)

Individuation & Personality
Anandamayi Ma was born in East Bengal (now Bangladesh) in 1896. She was the second child of a pious, highly orthodox, impoverished Brahmin couple. Her devout mother had several auspicious dreams of gods and goddesses before Ma’s birth – a sign usually indicating the presence of an imminent mahatma (evolved soul). She was named Nirmala Sundari, and attended school only for two years. She was married when thirteen years old, to Mohan Chakravarthi, who later became her disciple (renamed Bholanath), and, finally a guru (spiritual preceptor) himself.

Their marriage would never be consummated: when her husband once tried to initiate conjugal relations, he felt a violent electric shock surge through his body. The Divine Light in Ma began to spread radiance and splendour. Soon Hara Kumar Ray, brother of the landlord of Astagrama, began to view Ma as a spiritual Mother. One evening Ma went into a deep trance during a public kirtana (devotional singing session). This further added to her growing reputation as an extraordinary spiritual personage.

Often, sitting in her room at night, after impeccably carrying out the household chores during the day, an ‘inner guidance’ prompted Ma to recite ancient Sanskrit verses and mantras (potent sound-symbols) which she had never heard. She also experienced the different aspects of God. When asked who or what this ‘inner guidance’ was, Ma replied, “Your Shakti (Divine Power).” It was then revealed to Ma: “You are everything.” After this, she stated, “I realised that the Universe was all my own manifestation… I found myself face to face with the One that appears as many.”

On the night of August 3, 1922, Ma, guided by her inherent Shakti initiated herself. She played the roles of both the guru and disciple – uttering an arcane bija mantra, which she then repeated for a while. This unprecedented self-initiation rite shocked one of Ma’s cousins. Ma had ‘flouted’ an age-old tradition, as well as ‘set’ herself up as spiritually superior to her uninitiated husband. Ma promised this cousin that Bholanath would also soon be initiated. Sure enough, five months later Ma initiated her husband, sending him into deep trance for two hours! Ma followed, in full, all the details of the initiation rite prescribed by the ancient scriptures.

While living in Dacca, Ma’s spiritual lustre illuminated many hearts. Many times during religious chanting, she would become stiff and even fall to the ground in a faint. Her body would variously become deformed during these events. She would sometimes hold difficult asanas (yogic positions) for long periods and spontaneously form complex mudras (tantric hand positions) and gestures.

Sometime in 1924, Ma lost the ability to feed herself. Henceforth, she was hand-fed by a devotee. Once she abandoned all food (solid and liquid) for 23 days. For one six-month-period, she ate only six grains of rice daily, and two or three ripe fruits fallen off the tree. Ma ‘knew’ which fruit had fallen and which had been plucked!

Once when Ma passed a Muslim tomb, she immediately began to recite portions of the Quran, and perform the Namaz ritual. This, and other similar acts, showed that Anandamayi always moved through a variety of psychic and spiritual states.

Anandamayi Ma wrote no books. She travelled extensively throughout India and established many ashrams, affording women the opportunity to lead the celibate life as brahmacharinis.

Ma’s devotees are spread worldwide. They are of all ages, from different walks of life, from various religions. Westerners began visiting Ma since the 1940s. Mrs. Blanca, a former Austrian aristocrat, became a renunciate under Ma, receiving from her the name “Atmananda.” This lady outlived Ma by a few years. She performed invaluable service by translating Ma’s teachings into English and other European languages.

Speaking about Brahmacharya (the life of celibacy), she said that it was better to become an ideal family man than to become an aimless brahmachari (celibate). In her view, “There is nothing wrong in leading a virtuous family life. It is good for some people to strive to move close to God through marriage.”

Ma, in the midst of a conversation or a devotional song, would often begin to laugh in a rich, resonant and rhythmic voice. Her laughter sometimes quite prolonged seemed to say: “Don’t worry – be happy!” This was in keeping with “Ja hoye jay” was the most frequent of her pithy East Bengali aphorisms. It means, “Come what may, all’s well, all is God’s wondrously intelligent, benevolent play.”

Travels and Teachings
Ma was once invited to the Sevagram Ashram of Mahatma Gandhi. Dr. Rajendra Prasad (first President of India) and Acharya Vinóba Bhave came to have her Darshan.

Kamala Nehru took Ma and her followers, there. Gandhiji greeted her, addressing her “Mataji” and Ma reciprocated by addressing him “Pitaji.” Mahatmaji took Ma in his arms like a little child. Appropriately Ma turned into one, hiding her face in his chest. Gandhiji’s first words to her were, “Perhaps you know that I sent Jamnalal to you. He came back and told me that he got the peace of mind from you which I failed to give him.”

Mentioning Kamala Nehru’s devotion to Ma, Gandhiji once told those present that Kamala used to treat Ma as her guru. Ma immediately protested, “Pitaji, I cannot be a guru to anyone. I am just a little girl.” Ma and Gandhiji spent the whole day together like a little daughter meeting her father after a long time.

Ma meets Shri Aurobindo
Once, at Bhimtal, Ma experienced travelling in the astral form to be with Shri Aurobindo. From Bhimtal, Ma moved to Nainital. Here one day, during a kirtana, she suddenly found that the congregation comprised a myriad Krishnas. There was just one image of Lord Krishna but in her eyes all participants had turned into living Krishnas. A similar thing happened in a gathering singing the glory of Ram. In her eyes, all those present had been transformed into Ram. Speaking about high significance of Nama Kirtan, Ma said, “It is not being suggested that you leave everything behind and run away. You should be with the world and its various demands, but keep a fire burning – the fire of His name. If He chooses to bless you, then this fire will burn all impurities and lead your pure soul unto Him. Live your life in this world but keep Him along.”

Ma on Karma
Once a man named Pannalal came with a problem. His friend had been continuously doing sadhana (spiritual practice) for 20 years without any change in consciousness and had now decided to leave the path in disgust. He had even lost faith in God. Ma told him that mere external sadhana was not enough. One had to get rid of lust, and desire. “If you hold on to the chain while taking a bath, you can never have a proper dip.” Again, “the old practices and beliefs stand in the way of getting to Truth.”

Pannalalji’s wife used to pray and meditate hours on end everyday and yet she died in pain of cancer, after a prolonged illness. Why did she suffer like that? Ma explained, “One accumulates the effects of habits, practices and beliefs over several life-cycles. Don’t you think it is His mercy if all the accumulated ill effects are washed away through the suffering in just one life-cycle?” Dwelling on his friend’s doubt, Pannalalji asked, “Can one see God?” Ma’s replied, “You can see Him the way I see you now or you see me here – there is no difference. You can achieve Him more intimately if you have a yearning to achieve and feel Him.”

Anandamayi Ma Middle

Ma and Islam
Shortly after 1945, Ma was felicitated in a function organised by Muslims. After excerpts from the Holy Koran were read, speakers discussed various aspects of religion. By her presence, Ma emphasised that in essence every religion had the same message: the disputes were over the external attributes and rituals.

One day, speaking about the ways of God, she said, “Frequently, you lament over the unkindness of God, when you are merged in sorrow; but the point is that He dispels danger only by creating danger. No one would move towards Him unless one passes through sufferings.”

Ma and Mother
At Madras, a devotee asked Ma the way to reach God. Ma said, “Cry for Hari and you will get Him.” The questioner said he was incapable of crying. Her reply was, “In that case, keep company of those who can.”

Ma went to Pondicherry next. She had a meeting with ‘The Mother.’ Mother stood in the sitting room of Sri Aurobindo and looked at Ma for a long time with a fixed gaze. Ma looked at Mother with a natural poise. Mother presented Ma with a rose, a ‘ball’ flower (globe lily) and two pieces of chocolate. Ma returned the rose and one piece of chocolate. Mother kept the chocolate but gave the rose back. This exchange of flowers was repeated twice or thrice after which Mother tore a portion off the rose and returned the rest to Ma. The same evening, the two had another meeting at the same place. Mother was distributing roasted peanuts to visitors with a spoon from a wooden container. She offered some to Ma who said, “This little girl is the youngest of all.” Mother said in English, “Forever a little child.”

Poorna Kumbh
Once Ma attended the Kumbh Mela at Allahabad. Millions of people from all corners of India had assembled there. A camp was set up also by Anandamayee Sangh to receive devotees. Mohantas (high priests) of three sects – Dasnami, Udasi and Vaishnav – were honoured at the camp. The Shankaracharya of Jyotirmath also paid a visit. The auspicious moment for the holy dip fell in the small hours of the night of February 3. As Swami Paramananda left with a hundred devotees for the dip at three in the morning, Ma looked unusually disturbed. When the second batch left the camp a few minutes afterwards, Ma told them to chant God’s name all the while. At nine in the morning Ma lay down and suddenly cried out, “There, they are being crushed, stampeded, there they cannot breathe.” Shortly, the sad news of hundreds of devotees having been stampeded to death was received. Later, while returning to Kashi, she said, “When the tragedy occurred, it was as if ‘this body’ was being crushed and it was ‘this body’ that was losing breath.”

On Conquering Fear
Ma’s birth anniversary was celebrated at Solan one year. The Governor of Himachal Pradesh came to have her Darshan. Ma felt at ease in the calm and quiet atmosphere of Solan and devotees could approach her easily. Once, talking to a group of young men, Ma said, “You can conquer fear if you think of God. He is the soul – the life force. Unless you call Him, you cannot get free from the shroud that covers you. Never try to bribe your way to God. If you try to deceive, you will be deceived yourself.” On reaching God while leading a family life, she said “Turn your house into a temple of God. Whosoever stays in my house are images of God and I shall serve them as a manager. If you can live in this spirit there is every chance of your becoming a true servant of God in good time.”

Time taken to reach God
Ma returned to Kashi Ashram. During a religious discourse there, a devotee asked whether any particular name of God when recited would lead to Him more quickly. Ma said, “All names given to God have the same power. You can reach your destination by taking any name you like. The more intense your sadhana, the quicker you reach Him. Take it lightly and you take more time.”

Devout Mistake:
Once Ma went to Kishenpur Ashram for a week. Shortly after, Ma was at Kankhal. Devotees surrounded her. An old lady bowed in Pranaam (salutations) before an American lady, mistaking her for Ma. When she realised her mistake, Ma assured her, “You have done the correct thing. There is just one Lord; everything else is of no consequence. To whomsoever you may bow your head in reverence; the offer is being made to the Lord. For that matter, all creatures, plants and even inanimate objects are nothing but the manifestations of God.”

Last days of Earthly Sojourn
By March 1982, symptoms of an undiagnosed ‘disease’ that baffled doctors showed on Ma’s physical form.

On the Guru Poornima Day on July 6, Brahmachari Bhaskaranand performed worship to Ma as she lay in her bed in the Verandah. She herself restricted Darshan to once a week – half-an-hour every Sunday. For quite sometime preceding this, Darshans had been completely stopped. A number of devotees came for her Darshan on July 11. Among them were Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, her sons, daughters-in-law and grandchildren. Indira Gandhi had rushed down from Delhi on hearing the illness of Ma. For a few minutes Ma sat up on the bed and spoke to her. This was the last time that Ma sat up on her own to give Darshan to anybody.

The condition of Ma’s body was preparing itself for Ma’s Mahasamadhi conscious exit of the soul of an evolved personage, and mergence with the Absolute. In the night of July 23, Ma told Mrs Khaitan, “Tomorrow morning ‘this body’ will move to Kishenpur Ashram.” On arrival at Kishenpur, next morning, she was seated in a chair kept in the courtyard, and then taken straight to her room on the first floor. It was here that the Divine Light completed Its role as ‘Ma’ and merged in Itself.

Once Ma took a trip to Lucknow. While returning, she received the news of Jamnalal Bajaj’s death. He used to be very child-like in Ma’s presence. When someone was lamenting his death, Ma said, “Who goes away – who else is that arrives? What is the distinction between life and death? One who passes away, in fact, merges into the One who is ever-existent.”

Reference

Anandamayi Ma Late Life

Sri Sathya Sai Baba & Maynard Ferguson

Maynard Ferguson Guru Sathya Sai Baba

Sri Sathya Sai Baba & Maynard Ferguson

Walter “Maynard” Ferguson (May 4, 1928 – August 23, 2006 ) was a Canadian-born jazz trumpet player and bandleader. He came to prominence playing in Stan Kenton ‘s orchestra, before forming his own band in 1957. He was noted for being able to play accurately in a remarkably high register , and for his bands, which served as stepping stones for up-and-coming talent.

Ferguson was born in Verdun, Quebec (now part of Montreal ). Encouraged by his mother and father (both musicians), Maynard was playing piano and violin by the age of four. At nine years old, he heard a cornet for the first time in his local church and asked his parents to purchase him one. At age thirteen, Ferguson first soloed as a child prodigy with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation Orchestra and was heard frequently on the CBC, notably featured on a Serenade for Trumpet in Jazz written for him by Morris Davis. Ferguson won a scholarship to the French Conservatory of Music where he studied from 1943 through 1948 with Bernard Baker.

Ferguson dropped out of Montreal High School at age 15 to more actively pursue a music career, performing in dance bands led by Stan Wood, Roland David, and Johnny Holmes. While trumpet was his primary instrument, Ferguson also performed on other brass and reed instruments. Ferguson later took over the dance band formed by his brother Percy, playing dates in the Montreal area and serving as an opening act for touring bands from the United States. During this period, Ferguson came to the attention of numerous American band leaders and began receiving offers to come to the United States.

Ferguson moved to the United States in 1949 and initially played with the bands of Boyd Raeburn , Jimmy Dorsey, and Charlie Barnet . The Barnet band was notable for a trumpet section that also included Doc Severinsen , Ray Wetzel, Johnny Howell, and Rolf Erickson. Ferguson was featured on a notoriously flamboyant Barnet recording of Jerome Kern’s All The Things You Are that enraged Kern’s widow and was subsequently withdrawn from sale. When Barnet temporarily retired in 1949 and disbanded his orchestra, Ferguson was free to accept an offer to join Stan Kenton’s newly formed Innovations Orchestra.

Kenton and Hollywood
Stan Kenton had a longstanding offer to Ferguson but had temporarily disbanded when Ferguson moved to the United States. Kenton’s bands were notable for their bombastic brass sections and Ferguson was a natural fit. In 1950, Kenton formed the Innovations Orchestra, a 40-piece jazz concert orchestra with strings, and with the folding of the Barnet band, Ferguson was available for the first rehearsal on January 1, 1950. While the Innovations Orchestra was not commercially successful, it made a number of remarkable recordings, including “Maynard Ferguson”, one of a series of pieces named after featured soloists.

When Kenton returned to a more practical 19-piece jazz band, Ferguson continued with him. Contrary to the natural assumption, Ferguson was not Kenton’s lead trumpet player, but played the fifth chair with numerous solo features. Notable recordings from this period that feature Ferguson include Invention for Guitar and Trumpet, What’s New and The Hot Canary. In 1953, Ferguson left Kenton to become a first-call session player for Paramount Pictures . Ferguson appeared on 46 soundtracks including The Ten Commandments. Ferguson still recorded jazz during this period, but his Paramount contract prevented him from playing jazz clubs. While he enjoyed the regular paycheck, Ferguson was very unhappy with the lack of live performance opportunities and left Paramount in 1956.

The Birdland Dream Band
In 1956, Ferguson was tapped to lead the Birdland Dream Band, a 14-piece big band formed by Morris Levy as an “All-star” lineup to play at Levy’s Birdland jazz club in New York City. While the name “Birdland Dream Band” was short-lived and is represented by only two albums, this band became the core of Ferguson’s performing band for the next nine years. The band included, at various times, such players as Slide Hampton , Don Ellis , Don Sebesky, Willie Maiden, John Bunch, Joe Zawinul , Joe Farrell, Jaki Byard , Lanny Morgan, Rufus Jones, Bill Berry, and Don Menza. Arrangers included Bob Brookmeyer, Jimmy Giuffre , Bill Holman , and Marty Paich.

As big bands declined in popularity and economic viability in the 1960s, Ferguson’s band performed more infrequently. Ferguson began to feel musically stifled and sensed a resistance to change among American jazz audiences. According to a /Down Beat / interview, he was quoted as saying that if the band did not play Maria or Ole, the fans went home disappointed. Ferguson began performing with a sextet before finally officially disbanding his big band in 1967.

India and England
Following the path taken by many important jazz artists in the 1960s, Ferguson left the United States in 1968. Feeling that he needed a period of spiritual exploration, Ferguson moved with his family to India and taught at the Krishnamurtl-based Rhishi Valley School near Madras. He was associated with the Sri Saithys Sai Institute of Higher Learning’s Boys Brass Band, which he founded and help teach for several years. Whilst in India, Ferguson was impacted by Bhagwan Sri Sathya Sai Baba of Puttaparthi, whom he considered as his spiritual guru.

In 1969, Ferguson relocated to Manchester, England, manufacturing personally designed trumpets and mouthpieces and performing with a variety of ensembles in Europe.

Also in 1969 Ferguson signed with CBS Records in England and formed a big band with British musicians that performed in the newly popular jazz/rock fusion style. The band’s repertoire included original compositions as well a pop and rock songs rearranged into a big band format with electronic amplification. This British band’s output is represented by the four MF Horn albums that included very popular arrangements of the pop songs MacArthur Park and Hey Jude.

Return to the U.S.
Ferguson’s new band made its North American debut in 1971. With a revived career, Ferguson relocated to New York in 1973 and gradually replaced his sidemen with American performers while reducing the band size to 12 (four trumpets, two trombones, three saxophones and three rhythm plus Maynard). The quintessential recording of this period is the album /Live at Jimmys/, recorded in 1973 in New York. Ferguson latched on to the burgeoning jazz education movement by recruiting talented musicians from colleges with jazz programs (notably Berklee College of Music, North Texas State University and the University of Miami) and targeting young audiences with performances and master classes in high schools. This practical and strategic move helped him develop a strong following that would sustain him for the remainder of his career.

In 1976, Ferguson began working with producer Bob James on a series of commercially successful albums that were complex studio productions featuring large groups of session musicians, including strings, vocalists and star guest soloists. The first of these albums was Primal Scream, featuring Chick Corea, Mark Colby, and Steve Gadd. The second, Conquistidor in 1977, resulted in a top-10 pop single, Gonna Fly Now (from the movie Rocky), a rare accomplishment for a jazz musician in the 1970s. Aside from an exciting Jay Chattaway arrangement and dense Bob James production, the single was also helped by the fact that it was released prior to the official soundtrack album of the hit movie. Ferguson maintained a hectic touring schedule during this period, with well-attended concerts that featured concert lighting and heavy amplification.

Ferguson continued with this musical model for the remainder of the 1970s, receiving considerable acclaim from audiences but often tepid response from jazz purists who decried his commercialism and questioned his taste. Ferguson reportedly also began to experience great frustration with Columbia over being unable to use his working band on recording projects and having difficulty including even a single jazz number on some albums. Ferguson’s contract with Columbia Records expired after the 1982 release of the Hollywood album, produced by Stanley Clarke.

Ferguson recorded three big band albums with smaller labels in the mid 80s before forming a more economical fusion septet, High Voltage, in 1986. This ensemble, which featured multi-reed player Dennis DiBlasio as the only other horn player, recorded two albums and received mixed reviews. The format was ultimately unsatisfying to Ferguson, who had grown up in big bands and developed a performing style most appropriate to that structure.

Big Bop Nouveau
In 1988, Ferguson returned both to a large band format and to mainstream jazz with the formation of Big Bop Nouveau , a nine-piece band featuring three trumpets, one trombone, two reeds and a three-piece rhythm section. The band’s repertoire included original jazz compositions and modern arrangements of jazz standards, with occasional pieces from his 70s book and the Birdland Dream Band. This format proved to be successful with audiences and critics and Ferguson toured nine months a year with Big Bop Nouveau for the remainder of his life. This band recorded extensively, including albums backing vocalists Dianne Shurr and Michael Feinstein.

Although in later years Ferguson did lose some of the range and phenominal accuracy of his youth, he remained an exciting performer into his late 70s. Just days after completing a weeklong run at New York’s Blue Note and recording a studio album in New Jersey, Ferguson developed an abdominal infection that resulted in kidney and liver failure. Ferguson died on the evening of August 23 , 2006 at the Community Memorial Hospital in Ventura, California.

Influence
Maynard Ferguson was one of a handful of virtuoso musician/bandleaders to survive the end of the big band era and the rise of rock and roll. He demonstrated a remarkable ability to adapt to the musical trends that evolved from the 1940’s through the 2000’s. Ferguson’s albums show an evolution from big band swing, bebop , cool jazz , Latin , jazz/rock, fusion with classical and operatic influences. Through his devotion to music education in America, Ferguson was able to impart the spirit of his jazz playing and technique to scores of amateur and professional trumpeters during the many Master Classes held throughout his long career.

Ferguson was not the first trumpeter to play in the extreme upper register, but he had a unique ability to play high notes with full, rich tone, power, and musicality. While regarded by some as showboating, Ferguson’s phrasing and vibrato have been extremely influential on generations of trumpet players. Ferguson was doubtless endowed with exceptional facial musculature, but he often shared in interviews that he was able to command the upper registers of the trumpet not so much with his embouchure, but more with the breath control he had discovered as a youngster playing the instrument in Montreal. Ferguson attributed the longevity of his demanding bravura trumpet technique through his later years to the spiritual and yoga studies he pursued while in India.

While Ferguson’s range was his most obvious attribute, perhaps equally significant was the personal charisma Ferguson brought to a musical genre that often veers towards the cold and cerebral. As David Von Drehle wrote in Ferguson’s Washington Post obituary, “Ferguson lit up thousands of young horn players, most of them boys, with pride and excitement. In a (high school) world often divided between jocks and band nerds, Ferguson crossed over, because he approached his music almost as an athletic event. On stage, he strained, sweated, heaved and roared. He nailed the upper registers like Shaq nailing a dunk or Lawrence Taylor nailing a running back — and the audience reaction was exactly the same: the guttural shout, the leap to their feet, the fists in the air. We cheered Maynard as a gladiator, a combat soldier, a prize fighter, a circus strongman — choose your masculine archetype.”

Ferguson popularized and enhanced two unique instruments, the ‘Firebird ‘ and the ‘Superbone ‘. The Firebird was similar to a trumpet , but had the traditional valves played with the left hand (instead of the right) and a trombone-style slide played with the right hand. The Superbone was another hybrid instrument, which was fundamentally a trombone with additional valves played with the left hand. Ferguson regularly incorporated Indian instruments and influences in albums and concerts.

Personal Life
While Ferguson’s life had its ups and downs and moments of exploration, Ferguson was fortunate to have evaded the self-destructive behaviors that bedeviled so many other musicians of his generation. In the mid 1970s, Ferguson resettled to Ojai, California, where he lived to the end of his life. Ferguson’s first marriage was to singer / actress Kay Brown in 1951. Maynard second marriage to Flo Ferguson (in 1955?) lasted until her death on February 27, 2005. Ferguson had four daughters: Kim, Lisa, Corby, and Wilder. Kim Ferguson is married to Maynard’s former road manager, Jim Exon. Wilder Ferguson is married to pianist (and former Big Bop Nouveau member) Christian Jacob. At the time of his death, Ferguson had one granddaugher, Erica.

Reference

YouTube Videos Of Maynard Ferguson: 010203

Maynard Ferguson

The Rediff Special – Major General Eustace D’Souza (retd)

The Rediff Special – Major General Eustace D’Souza (retd)
‘Here’s my pistol, now come on shoot me’
June 27, 2008

As a young major in 1947, Eustace D’Souza first read about Major Sam Manekshaw when reading about the Burma campaign in World War II. Manekshaw was shot in the stomach when he and his company were holding the Sittang bridge. For that act of valour, he was given the Military Cross on the field of battle; his commanding British officer did not expert the flamboyant Parsi officer to survive. But survive Sam did, leading the Indian Army to an incredible military victory in the 1971 war.
Commissioned in the Indian Army in 1943, Major General D’Souza (retd), now 87, has fought four wars and had several interactions with Field Marshal Manekshaw. He spoke about the man who was an outstanding leader of men. A first person account of a great soldier who passed into the ages shortly after midnight June 27:

Till yesterday Sam Manekshaw was the oldest living field marshal in the world.

I first met Sam Manekshaw when I was facing the Chinese in Nathu La, commanding a brigade. It was in 1964-1965. The Chinese were across a little strip and my brigade held them when they first moved up with 2,000 troops, we held fast, we didn’t panic like in ’62.

Sam came to visit us as he was very pleased, and then he came again to request me to stay on as brigade commander. I told him, ‘Sir I have a family too, I have been away from my family for four years — three in high altitude.’ He recommended me to the National Defence College and I went there.

He was very perceptive. When he came to visit me at Nathu La at 13,600 ft, I was a brigadier then with 5,000 troops under me. He said, ‘Souzie — he used to call me that –what do you do for your young officers, they must be absolutely cheesed off here.’

He went back to Calcutta and sent back a packet of girly magazines. He said this is for your young officers. He had wanted to see how I lived and saw a portable record player with lots of LPs — and I am a Western classical music fan. He went back and sent a parcel with a LP record of the famous American singer Marian Anderson.

He was fearless. When he was a major with the Sikh company in Burma, they had a promotion meeting for the appointment of lance naik to naik.

He didn’t approve of one name because he said he was a rascal. That man sent word to Sam saying, ‘I would kill you.’ So Sam Manekshaw told his senior subedar — ‘Unko march karna hai’.

He was marched before Sam and he asked him — ‘You are going to kill me? Here’s my pistol, now come on shoot me.’ That man was so taken aback that he marched out meekly. Sam appointed him as batman. That was the sort of man he was.

Once in a riot he walked through the crowd with just his cane.

Once he visited our 4th battalion in the ’65 war in the Barmer sector. There was a mike etc for him and he said, ‘Take this bloody thing off, I want to speak to my boys.’ He knew how to win people. In Nathu La, we got tea for him on a silver tray and he said, ‘I want it in a mug.’

Professionally he was good, there is no doubt about it. He was the first Indian to be appointed by the British after World War II to the military operations directorate.

Just before the war ended, he was sent on a three month deputation to Australia to tell them about the Indian Army. He did a good job. He came into focus then.

When he became chief it was a toss up between him and (Lieutenant) General Harbaksh Singh. His becoming chief was touch and go between him and General Harbaksh. Tactically and strategically, he was a very good soldier. He knew how to get around men. He commanded the Western and Eastern Commands — both hot seat commands.

He will always be remembered as the creator of Bangladesh and the man who split Pakistan. What was most outstanding was that he could get a team going because the Navy and Air Force, who were always at loggerheads, he got them around in Bangladesh.

If there was no Bangladesh, he would not be a field marshal. He was at the right place at the right time. He deserved to be field marshal because he carried the air force and navy with him in ’71. Remember we were fighting on two fronts — east and west. He stood out.

He had a presence, was impeccable in dress and appearance. His shoes were polished, he had a good knowledge of the English language, sense of humour and was a good orator.

When (then prime minister) Mrs (Indira) Gandhi asked him if he was going to take over the country, he told her are you asking for my resignation on grounds of mental instability? Here’s my resignation.

His only fault if you can call it that is having an inner circle of friends but who doesn’t. All of them flourished. Once I was told that Sam Manekshaw doesn’t like anyone taller than him.

In the ’71 war, I was commanding the division in Baramulah — responsible for 200 kms of the border between India and Pakistan, somebody carried tales to him that when I took over the division, my predecessor said — ‘I’m sorry Souzie there are no Gorkhas in this division’ and I said — ‘thank god’.

That was carried to Sam; after that he was after my blood (the field marshal was from the Gorkha regiment] Sam. During the war, my division captured 73 square kilometres of Pakistan territory, but he never visited my boys. I had 25,000 troops from 365 castes and communities.

I retired in 1978 and came to Bombay, I was on the management of Xavier Institute of Management and we did a series on leadership for which I asked for Sam — along with five other names.

I asked for an appointment, at that time he used to live at the Oberoi (hotel, now the Hilton in Mumbai). He was very surprised because he thought I hated his guts but there is no doubt that he had leadership qualities.

I asked him to come and speak on leadership for an hour. He said, ‘You really want me — and I said — yes sir, that’s why I’ve come here.’ He spoke brilliantly without notes, answered all the questions, held the audience in a packed hall. I had it recorded and have shown it all around the country.

He was called to speak on leadership many times in Bombay and he used to say, ‘Souzie, haven’t you heard enough of me?’

He was always prepared well in advance if he was making a talk, he never used notes and his turnout was impeccable. Even if he was to give a talk in the evening, he would shave again so that there was no shadow on his face.

He had a sense of humour, sometimes it backfired. Once a remark in Patiala offended the royal family there. Wherever I took that CD of the leaders, and asked people of the 6 who impressed you most — 100% it was Sam Mankeshaw. He used to get a standing ovation.

When the Parsis had a felicitation for him at the Tata Theatre (in Mumbai), I was asked to rally all the ex-service officers. I told them to come wearing their medals and when he saw all of us, he was really touched.

I called on him in Connoor when his wife was living, she was a very nice warm hearted person.

He was a great believer of Satya Sai Baba.

He liked good looking girls and was colour conscious. When he went as commadant of the Staff College in Wellington, he got into trouble in the mid 1950s because he put up photographs of the (British) queen. Somebody made a complaint and there was an inquiry held by the then vice chief (Lieutenant) General (P P ) Kumaramangalam and he was later exonerated.

Sam wanted to be a doctor. He wanted to go to England where his brothers were doctors but his father knew that Sam was a naughty chap, he said — ‘you stay right here in Amritsar.’

He read an ad in the paper asking for young Indian gentlemen to apply for the first course of the Indian Military Academy in 1930. He applied and got through.

He belonged to the 4/12 Frontier Force Regiment which went to Pakistan after Independence and commanded the Sikh Company.

The Sam Bahadur myth is all because of his association with the Gorkhas. He was allotted to the Gorkhas after Independence. His father was a doctor in the old Indian medical services and fought with the Second Royal Ludhiana Sikhs in Mesopotamia. Sam was partial to Gorkhas and Sikhs.

When he was sick, it was the saddest thing for me to see him being led up the stairs at the Tata Theatre by his daughter some 8, 9 years ago. It was unthinkable because he was always so dashing.

In the last few years he was mainly in hospital in Delhi. He said he wanted to go back to his home in Connoor because he was very fond of rose gardening. When he had come to Baramullah, I took him to my rose garden and said, ‘Sir have a look at my roses,’ and he said, ‘What are you bloody well taking the credit for, it’s because of the climate here.’

I think the top leaders of the Indian Army are Field Marshal K M Cariappa, General K S Thimayya and Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw. I rate General Thimayya number one. India hasn’t produced a better general than him.

Major General Eustace D’Souza, PVSM, retired from the India Army in 1978. He served two years in Italy, two years in Japan during World War II and fought the Pakistani army in Baramullah in the 1971 war. Now, 87, he recently traveled to Baramullah and met soldiers in the area he once commanded in Kashmir. He spoke to Archana Masih. Photograph: Archana Masih.

Reference

Ramayana Saptaha Mahotsava At Prashanti Nilayam

Ramachandra

Ramayana Saptaha Mahotsava At Prashanti Nilayam
(Curtesy RadioSai)

Sunday, June 22, 2008
The seven-day Ramayana Saptaha Mahotsava got underway today. In the morning, the priests assembled for the occasion did Abhishekam to Lord Rama’s idol at the altar readied on the Mandir Stage. The Bhajans did not start since the puja was scheduled. Bhagawan did not come for darshan, so the devotees in Sai Kulwant hall dispersed by 11.30 am.

In the evening, the Rama-Sita-Lakshmana idols were brought to Sai Kulwant Hall in procession with traditional paraphernalia from Bhagawan’s residence just before 4.30 pm, and Swami followed soon after. At 4.45, Bhagawan was seated onstage and asked for the programme to commence. A learned scholar spoke in Telugu for 45 minutes, introducing the Ramayana Saptaham, stating that each day, one Kandam of the Ramayanam would be expounded by a scholar, till the last day, which would be dedicated to the Pattabhishekam or Coronation ceremony. The scholar then spoke about the first part of the Ramayanam, the Bala Kandam and the inner significance of many events narrated there. Bhajans commenced after the speech and prasadam was distributed while the students sang Rama Bhajans. Bhagawan accepted Arati at 6.10 pm before returning to His residence.

Come 22nd of June and the entire Kulwant hall appeared in a different light altogether. It looked as if the legendary “Rama Rajyam” had descended on earth. Sorry! Correction please – not just looked that way, Raama Rajyam has indeed descended! Sai Rama speaks a lot on Rama. More than anything else, as He describes the qualities of the Lord then and the way Rama conducted himself, one is always reminded of the daily activities of Swami Himself.

The stage had been occupied by three beautiful statues – Rama, Lakshmana and Sita. Hanuman was conspicuous by his absence. It came to be known that these were only like a standby The actual idols would be brought in a procession in the afternoon! In the afternoon, the Yajur Mandir was bustling with activity. A gaily decorated procession stood in readiness to escort the two Ramas from different Yugas!

Swami came out at about 4:30 pm and the procession started. The grandly decorated palanquin bearing the idols of the Lord was being carried by priests chanting hymns and mantras in praise and glory of the “perfect man” of the Treta age. The sanathana Dharma is so glorious and grand.. While in many places, God is reduced to a mere book, idol or picture, the Sanathana Dharma, uplifts everything – idols, pictures and everything to the level of God! The “GajaNade” as it is called is the traditional elephant walk that the priests simulated while carrying the idols. This meant that Rama seated atop the palanquin would have felt as though He is seated on an elephant! The movements were such and the priests undulated and gracefully twisted their bodies to exactly replicate that walk.

Swami in the meanwhile, sat just at the threshold of the Kulwant hall entrance from Yajur Mandir and said that He would prefer to wait for the idols to be taken in procession completely and then begin His darshan round. That was so sweet and understanding of Swami. Imagine the state of mind of people if both Swami and Rama came for darshan together! The two eyes are not enough to drink in the beauty and glory of both forms at the same time. What does one do when the tastiest of dishes and the best of desserts are placed simultaneously in front for the feast! So, as Swami sat sweetly allowing the palanquin to proceed. all the assembled devotees had a wonderful darshan of Rama, Lakshmana, Seeta and Hanuman. Towards the later part of the procession, the “HamsaNade” or the gait of the majestic swan was adopted and the palanquin proceeded and came to a halt at the stage.

Then sweet Swami began His darshan rounds. It was double delight. For those not yet spiritually evolved to see the Lord in the idols, here was the same Lord in flesh and blood. The thought that the Avatar was in our midst in flesh and blood, heightened by the presence of the idols atop the palanquin made hairs stand on their ends at the great good fortune all of us privileged to enjoy being contemporaries of Swami.

Swami glided through the hall in the chair and was all smiles towards the assembled devotees. He went through the gents side and then came to the students section of the hall. Blessing the birthday boys and collecting letters from many, Swami went on stage. There He lit the lamp that had been placed and so the “Srimad Ramayana Sudha Pravachana Sptaham” had been officially declared open! The Kalashasthapana and Shodashopachara pooja to the idols were performed and everyone awaited for the next part of the programme to begin looking at Swami. Swami sat listening to Vedic chants as He gently fondled and played with a yellow rose bud in His hand. He opened up the petals slowly. It was so symbolic of what He was doing to all the children seated in front of Him. The come to Him as buds and with His touch, He makes them bloom into fully blossomed flowers.

At 4.45, Bhagawan, seated onstage, asked for the programme to commence. A learned scholar, Sri.Vidwan Nidumamidi Srikanta Rao, spoke in Telugu for about 45 minutes, introducing the Ramayana Saptaham, stating that each day, one Kandam of the Ramayanam would be expounded by a scholar, till the last day, which would be dedicated to the Pattabhishekam or Coronation ceremony. The scholar then spoke about the first part of the Ramayanam, the Bala Kandam and the inner significance of many events narrated there.

As he went about the narration of the events of the planned coronation the intilal exploits of the young princes, Swami listen appreciatively with rapt attention. At the end of his talk, Swami looked at the bhjan group and signalled them to begin with a hint word, “Shlokam”. And so began “Shree Raghavam”, the aalap for the bhajan “Shree Raghunandana”. Bhajans continued after that and everyone clapped and sang enthusaistically. All the bhajans were on Rama with special emphasis on the initial phases of Rama’s life- to the events of Baala Kanda in particular! Prasadam was distributed while the bhajans went on. Bhagawan accepted Arati at 6.10 pm before returning to His residence. (Reference)

Monday, June 23, 2008
Today was the second day of the Ramayana Saptaham being held at Prasanthi Nilayam, and today’s talk was on the Ayodhya Kandam. Bhagawan arrived for evening darshan at 4 pm, and after sitting onstage for a few minutes, moved to the interview room. He emerged after half an hour to move around the stage area and the verandah, going back onstage and starting the proceedings at 5 pm. After the stirring hour long Telugu speech by Mallapragada Srimannarayana Murthy garu, bhajans commenced at 6 pm. After half an hour of Rama bhajans, Bhagawan accepted Arati and returned to His residence.

The afternoon of 23rd too began on the same auspicious note as Swami came for darshan. Today however, Swami cut to the stage after the ladies side. Bhagawan arrived for evening darshan at 4 pm, and after sitting onstage for a few minutes, moved to the interview room. He emerged after half an hour to move around the stage area and the verandah, going back onstage and starting the proceedings at 5 pm.

Today’s talk was on the Ayodhya kandam. The scholar speaking on it today was Sri Malla Pragada Sriman Narayana Moorthy from Guntur. He spoke very beautifully on the inner significance. Ayodhya means, “Where no one wins”. this part of the Ramayana, expounded the scholar, was the portion where everyone- King Dasharatha, the queens, all the four brothers and everyone in the family loses. Yet all of them lose so that Dharma can win. And that was the significance of that Kanda. It also highlights the beautiful congruence between Sathya and Dharma. Like the two feet which are perfectly in sync and make movement possible, only when Sathya and Dharma are in sync is progress possible.

Swami was very moved at many instances during the narration. The speaker too spoke very powerfully on the Ayodhya Kanda and the entire audience listened in rapt attention. After the stirring hour long Telugu speech by Mallapragada Srimannarayana Murthy garu, bhajans commenced at 6 pm. Swami too sang the lead for some of the bhajans and that only catalysed a more devotional and enthusiastic singing by everyone assembled! After bhajans for half an hour, Swami received Mangala Aarthi and left for Yajur Mandiram. Two Wonderful days of the Ramayana Sapthaha. (Reference)

Tuesday, June 24, 2008
On this third day of the Ramayana Saptaham, the proceedings began in the morning with Vishu Sahasranama chanting by the entire congregation at 7.50 am, forming a laksharchana. Bhagawan arrived when the morning Bhajans commenced after the laksharchana. In the evening, Bhagawan once again sat for a few minutes onstage after His darshan round in the chair and returned to the stage from the interview room to start the proceedings at 5.15 pm. Today’s speaker was Sri S. Ranganath garu from Bangalore, who spoke in English about the Aranya Kandam for 45 minutes, noting various points of interest in Valmiki’s poetry. Bhajans commenced at 6 pm, and Bhagawan accepted Arati at 6.30 pm.

As the Mangalavaram (literally translates as auspicious day / Tuesday) dawned in Prashanti Nilayam, the chanting of the holy VishnuSahasranaama started in the mandir. All the devotees who had assembled offered the holy akshatha grains to a picture of Swami’s cosmic form that had been so efficiently distributed to all of them.

At about 8:45am, Swami came for darshan in the chair. He cut to the interview room after the ladies side. The bhajans began at 9 as usual and then a beautiful incident took place. Swami came in for bhajans and noticed that a student was seated in front with a bowl of Akshatha grains as it was his birthday. Swami called him and blessed him profusely. The magical moment came when the student asked for paadanamaskar and Swami consented. There was a sudden momentary silence as the bhajan that was on concluded. As the student placed his head on the Lotus feet, the next bhajan began – Sathya Sai Paadaambujam, Bhajore Manasa Nirantaram. (Oh mind! Dwell incessantly on the Lotus feet of Sathya Sai) A thrill went through all who were witness to the poignant scene and the student must have been overwhelmed for he stayed down on His feet for more than 10 seconds. Swami was smiling so sweetly at this “coincidence”! The bhajans concluded and Swami left after receiving Aarthi.

In the evening, Swami arrived at about 4:30 pm. He completed the darshan rounds and came onstage. There , He called a boy and took his letter opening it, Swami saw that the letter was a full page long. He made a face of mock anger and then asked, “Why do you write so much? Write a few lines- that’ll suffice!” The boy returned with a smile on his face. He was so happy that Swami spoke to him that maybe that advice went unheard! Immediately, Swami called another boy to take the letter. This time, as He slowly opened it, all watched in bated breath! Swami Himself seemed to open it with an expectant anticipation. Seeing that the letter consisted only of a few lines, He smiled and so did everyone around. With this, He went around the upper stage and then via the inner portico, went into the interview room. He returned to the stage from the interview room to start the proceedings at 5.15 pm.

Today’s speaker was Sri S. Ranganath garu from Bangalore, who spoke in English about the Aranya Kanda for 45 minutes, noting various points of interest in Valmiki’s poetry. Today’s talk was more of a Sanskrit scholars’ delight with the erudite speaker outlining the beautiful grammar and perfect language employed by the sage Valmiki. He also drew out examples from the works of various modern and contemporary writers where they had been influenced and inspired by the Ramayana. Therefore, he stated, this epic has great relevance irrespective of the age or era!

At the end of his talk, Swami saw that one of the students was clicking photos prolifically. He asked him as to there was film in the camera. The student, on his knees, cheekily pulled out the memory chip from the camera, showed it to Swami and said, “No film Swami!” Swami smiled and asked for the bhajans to begin. The bhajans began and today they were all specific to the episodes and the characters of the Aranya Kanda. After bhajans, Swami enquired whether any prasadam was available! When it was being checked, He said that prasadam may be distributed the next day. Smilingly He asked for Aarthi and then left. (Reference)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008
This morning’s Laksharchana chanting was performed with the Sri Rama Sahasranama at 7.30 am. Bhagawan came in His chair in the evening at 3.45 and went into the interview room. After interacting with a few devotees, Swami came onstage at 4.45 to start the proceedings. Today’s talk on the Kishkinda Kandam was in Telugu by Sri Venkata Subbarao garu. After the 45 minute talk, the Bhajans commenced at 5.40 pm. Prasadam was distributed while the students sang Hanuman bhajans. Bhagawan accepted Arati a few minutes before six o’clock and returned to His residence.

This day was dedicated for the Kishkindha Kanda. Swami arrived in the evening a little earlier than all the students had arrived. He completed His darshan rounds on the ladies side. There was a huge empty space as the students had not yet filed in. He took a detour and then cut across the marble blocks. He spoke to the two sevadal lads who were seated near the pillar as part of the security measures to ensure that no one rushes upto Swami to touch His feet and so on. They were taken aback but nevertheless filled with joy as Swami spoke to them. The speaker scheduled for the evening was Dr.Thangirala Venkata Subbarao from Bangalore. Swami then went into the interview room. Coming out, He took a round around the stage and inner portico and once again went into the interview room. From there, He spoke a while with then bhajan singers and then came out of the bhajan hall too. Swami came out and then after a while of Veda chanting, He asked for the speaker to be introduced. The speaker offered his obeisances to Swami and began the talk.

He detailed at length on the Ramayan story from the point where Hanuman meets with the two princes Rama and Lakshmana till the point where Hanuman stands ready on the shores of the ocean, ready for take off to Lanka. The killing of Vali at the hands of Rama and the wonderful dialogue that followed was narrated. Vali asks Rama as to was it fair on His part to kill him in that manner from behind. Rama raplies, “Oh Vali! I never challenged you in a fight. I am on a hunt and I hunted you like any hunter would do a wild animal. Your deeds show that you are indeed a wild animal as you have eyed the wife of another and treated your own brother very badly. As for the enmity, though you are not my direct enemy, you are the enemy of my friend Sugriva, and so you become my enemy too!” Vali himself repents to his words and begs Rama’s forgiveness. Rama’s crystal clear understanding of Sathya and Dharma was highlighted. At one point, the speaker said that just like the forest in Ramayana had been transformed by the penance of the sages, Puttaparthi had been transformed by penance of Swami. At this point, Swami burst out laughing! With a smile, He said, “I never did any penance of any sort.!” All those who saw it smiled and nodded back at Him.

There exists a misnomer among many that Swami is a great spiritual seeker who has loads of penance backing Him. He is not a spiritual seeker but the One who is spiritually sought; does not need penance to back Him, but He is the one who backs all the penance of the world!

The mind may make comparisions between Him and sages, but the heart will say that the only apt comparision will be between Him and Rama for both are incomparable and that is the similarity between them!!

After the speech completed in about 50 minutes, there was a loud applause and the speaker was blessed by Swami. Swami then asked for bhajans to be sung. The instructions were that only Hanuman bhajans be sung.

The first bhajan to begin was “Rama Lakshmana Jaanaki”. Now this bhajan is special because, the lead is always “Rama Lakshmana Janaki” while the follow is always,”Jai bolo hanuman ki”. As soon as the first line was sung, Swami sang out aloud, “Jai bolo Hanuman Ki”. Apparently, it seemed that the Lord was reminding all about the special nature of the bhajan. Well, a little deeper view and the Lord was showing mankind another beautiful aspect. In the divine romance, the devotee always keeps singing and thinking of the Lord while the Lord thinks and sings about the devotees. As all assembled kept singing the Lord’s name, the Lord was singing the devotee’s name! It was indeed an awe inspiring and thrilling sight! After four bhajans, Swami asked for the Aarthi and then left for Yajur Mandiram. (Reference)

Thursday, June 26, 2008
The laksharchana by the devotees gathered in Sai Kulwant began at 7.30 am, with the chant of the Sri Sathya Sai Ashtothara Sahasranamavali. Bhagawan arrived at 8.40 am while the chanting was in progress and sat onstage for a while. He then moved to the Bhajan Hall and then to the interview room. The chanting concluded at 9.10 am and Bhagawan arrived in the Bhajan Hall for the Bhajans to start. He moved to the interview room for a few minutes, then returned to the Bhajan Hall, sat there for half an hour and accepted Arati at 10 am before returning to His residence.

Swami returned in His chair to Sai Kulwant Hall at 4.10 pm and moved to the interview room. After a round of the Bhajan Hall and the verandah after a few minutes, He came onstage at 4.45 pm and sat there for 45 minutes while the Vedam went on, calling up a few students with letters and interacting with them. The speech for the day was on the Sundara Kandam by Dr. Mylavaram Srinivasa Rao garu in Telugu, and he held the audience spell-bound for 90 minutes. Swami accepted Arati immediately after the talk at seven o’clock while prasadam was distributed to all.

Friday, June 27, 2008
This Friday’s concluding Laksharchana was with the chanting of Sri Lalitha Sahasranama. All the devotees chanted “Aum Sri Matre Namah” as the Sahasranama went on from 7.30 to 8.25 am. The scholar who chanted the Sahasranama spoke a few words extolling the compassion of the mother, then concluded the morning session for the Bhajans to begin as usual at 9 o’clock in the Bhajan Hall.

The afternoon session began with Bhagawan arriving in His chair at 3.45 pm. Moving to the interview room after a few minutes onstage, He emerged at 4.15 and moving to the verandah, distributed special clothes for the priests to wear for tomorrow’s function. Then He came onstage and sat for a while with the Vedam chanting going on. Swami called up two American brothers from among the students to chant Vedam onstage, then an Iranian boy from the Primary School. The programme of speeches commenced at five o’clock. The Yuddha Kandam was narrated with aplomb in Telugu by Sahasravadhani Garikipati Narasimha Rao garu till six o’clock, and with that the programme of speeches concluded. Bhajans were sung by the students as prasadam was distributed, till Swami accepted Arati at 6.15 and returned to His residence.

Pictures Of Prashanti Nilayam Rama Pattabhikema 2008

Lord Rama

Bharati Maiya & Sri Sathya Sai Baba

Amba Sai Maa

Bharati Maiya Of Surat (Gujarat)
By Dr. D.J. Gadhia
Sai Samaran (Chapter 45, pages 323 – 329 )

After a laksharchana in a hall in Leicester, some devotees from London said to me, “We would like to see the ‘Mini Prashanti Nilayam’ in Wolverhampton” – i.e., the Sri Sathya Sai Temple in Ratibhai Patel’s house.

It was already 10:00pm and it took us two hours to get to Wolverhampton. We reached there at midnight and a few devotees from Manchester were sitting with Ratibhai. Among them was Bharati Maiya of ‘Ambica Niketa’ in Surat (Gujarat), who was visiting Manchester. She invited ‘this Das’ to come to Manchester and after two days I went there and heard the following true story about her.

At the age of ten years, Maiya used to worship Lord Krishna. Her devotion must have reached great heights – a continuation of her bhakti from previous lives – and Lord Krishna granted His darshan. The Lord advised her to worship Shakti (Devi Amba Ma) and she went to the temple of Gabbar in Gujarat and was initiated and started worshipping Amba Ma.

After ten years, Ma appeared in front of her and said, “You have to serve mankind in several ways. But first you have to build Ma’s temple”. She replied, “I do not have the means to build the Temple”. Ma suggested, “Collect just one rupee from everybody.”

Maiya started collecting one rupee from each person. Some devotees offered a hundred or even a thousand rupees, but she refused. After one year and nine months, she had collected one hundred and seventy five thousand rupees. Ma appeared again and said, “You have now collected enough for building the temple. Nobody but you can see me. Follow me and I will show you the site of the temple.”

Ma took Bharati to the banks of the Tappi River on Athwa Lines and said, “This is the place.” Maiya said, “You want me to build the temple here where Muslims kill goats!” Ma answered, “Don’t you know that I will come here as Mahakali and stay here with you?”

A committee was set up and the site was acquired for the temple and plans for the building were prepared. A beautiful building was ready and Ma appeared again and said, “Look here, observe me correctly. I am not sitting on a tiger or lion. I am sitting on a stone. I do not carry any lethal weapon; there is only Surdarshan Chakra in one of the eight hands. You go to Jaipur where beautiful statues are made. Most of the merchants will say that they do not have a big enough stone to make a life-sized statue but they could cut out a big statue from two stones. In the end you will find one person who will say that there is only one big stone, which he has stored for many years. He will be the right person who will make the statue. You give him the description and the rest will be handled by Me.”

A most wonderful life-like image of Amba Ma with eight arms was completed and one feels as if she would speak.

Bharati Maiya called upon one hundred Brahmins to do a special puja called Lakhchandi Yagna before installation of the statue in its right position. Two Brahmins developed severe gastroenteritis (vomiting and diarrhea) that could lead to serious consequences. Bharati Maiya prayed to Amba Ma who appeared and suggested giving the juice of neem leaves. After taking this juice, the two patients recovered miraculously.

Having installed the statue, Amba Ma appeared and instructed Bharati Maiya on the following matters:

– Keep a few cows to supply milk for the ashram’s use.
– Establish three dispensaries in different locations to give free treatment to all patients.
– Establish homes for old people, especially old and sick parents who have been rejected by their married sons, where they can live comfortably with all their necessities provided. Some hundred old couples were being looked after in this place.
– Establish a school (Veda Pathashala) and admit 50 children who would learn everything including the Vedas, recitation of slokas, astrology, etc.

Some devotees of Beloved Swami staying nearby informed Maiya that the following message, written using vibuthi, had appeared on a wall: “Examine the life story of Bharati Maiya”. She was not prepared to believe this, but went to see it and was most surprised to see Divine vibuthi falling from the wall. She developed faith and requested the devotee to give her a small photo of Beloved Swami.

Bharati Maiya obtained a small photo of Swami and kept it in her shrine and used to offer food preparations before taking it herself. From that day onwards, one food item used to disappear, as if taken by Beloved Swami.

One day, all the boys in the Veda Pathashala expressed their wish to visit Prashanti Nilayam. They arrived in the ashram in Puttaparthi and after three days, Swami called everyone for an interview. in the beginning, Beloved Swami said, “You are my Maiya. What have you brought for Me?” She answered, “Swami, a box of chocolates for the children.” He opened it, ate one chocolate and distributed the rest to the children.

Swami asked the question, “Why are the boys wearing pants of different colors although the material seems to be the same?” Maiya answered, “Swami, some can afford while some are poor and cannot afford to buy costly clothes.”

Beloved Swami gave a signal to a volunteer who brought the same type of cut pieces of cloth to be distributed to every student. Then beloved Swami said, “Every boy will have the same colored pants.”

Maiya thought that if only Swami had given this two days earlier, the pants could have been stitched. Beloved Swami knew what was in her mind and sent three tailors; they took the measurements and all the pants were ready by the morning. All the children with the same type of pants stood near the interview room.

Swami called the children from His Veda Pathashala and sat them opposite to the children from Surat. Baba asked the Puttaparthi children to recite a particular verse from the Vedas. They knew it perfectly and recited it quickly.

Then Beloved Swami asked the children from Surat. They too recited perfectly and everybody came to know that their pronunciation was correct.

Baba took them to the interview room and had photos taken with them. One of the boys asked Swami, “When will you come to Surat, Baba?” Swami answered, “Ask Maiya, she knows. I come daily to partake food offered at her shrine!” This was a great revelation.

The climax in this story was when Beloved Swami called Maiya in the interview room and said emphatically, “Look here, who is this?”

Baba was transformed into Amba Ma – the same as the visioin Maiya had seen – and she shouted, “Oh, my Amba Ma! I am so pleased to know that You are my Ma.”

When Baba returned to his own form, Maiya said, “Can I ask you one question?” Swami said, “Yes, Maiya!” She said, “The Jain community in Surat is building a very large hospital and we have been given the responsibility to build a super diagnostic centre where all investigations can be done under one roof. We do not have the provisions for it, what do we do?”

Beloved Swami answered immediately, “Will you do what I say?” Maiya replied, “Yes, Swami.” He then said, “Go to the UK and America; your work will be done easily.” She therefore travelled to the UK with the secretary of the temple and subsequently met us in Wolverhampton.

This was the result of Beloved Swami’s resolve. Perhaps He wanted to send ‘this Das’ to help Maiya do her work. I took her to different places in the UK and after hearing the description of the super diagnostic center, everyone was happy to help. With her blessings, the health of many devotees improved and women who had no issue for a very long time became pregnant within a couple of years. Maiya’s blessing helped hundreds of devotees in different places during her stay of two weeks.

I asked my sister Hansa and her husband in California to help. Maiya was such a divine lady that everybody was attracted towards her and many devotees throughout California invited her. During Maiya’s stay there the response was great and as directed by Beloved Swami, her work was completed and she was able to establish the Super Diagnostic Centre in Surat. As a token of love, one rupee was charged for a complete investigation to help towards a diagnosis, after which the patient was sent to the hospital by the Jain community for free treatment including free surgical treatment.

We are all aware that Beloved swami build a beautiful hospital called the Sri Sathya Sai Super Specialty Hospital near Puttaparthi where all treatments are given free of charge, even surgical treatment, without regard to the patient’s caste or creed. We also know that a second such hospital was build near Bangalore; it is the biggest in the State of Karnataka.

Beloved Swami proved to Maiya that His sankalpa (resolve) was final and everything happens according to His plan. Bhagavan must have decided to involve the Gadhia family as he said in Kampala, “Gadhia family is Sai family”. In the UK, ‘this Das’ was called to help Maiya, while in the USA my sister Hansa did the same under the Lotus Feet of Beloved Swami. Thus was His Grace showered upon us!

Beloved Swami said:

Ask me when you need any help. Extend your hand only for Grace from God. Ask for Grace as a right, not in a grovelling style. Ask, as a child asks the father; feel that God is nearest and dearest. Grace is showered on those who seek. Knock and the door shall be opened; ask and food will be served; search and the treasure will be yours!

Maiya, after having the Divine darshan of Amba Ma, asked Beloved Baba – not as a father, but as a mother – and Beloved Swami fulfilled her wishes.

Beloved Swami has said:

God does not address everyone as a real devotee. If you are a real devotee, then God will call you ‘His devotee’. It is not good to call yourself a devotee; only God can call you His devotee.

Beloved Maiya was worshipping heartily and sincerely Amba Ma (Shakti) – the left side of Beloved Swami. Hence, as His real devotee, Baba gave her the Divine vision of the same Amba Ma.

Our most sincere and hearty salutations to Beloved Baba and Beloved Bharati Maiya!

Amba Ma - Durga Lakshmi Saraswati

How To Receive Sri Sathya Sai Baba’s Grace

Sai Grace

How to Receive Sri Sathya Sai Baba’s Grace
Compiled and Edited by Dr. Satya Pal Ruhela
Diamond Publications, New Delhi, 1982
312 pages; ISBN: 81-7182-089-1

Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba is the greatest of all the contemporary Godmen, Mystics, Spiritual Saints and Gurus in the world. He is the Purna Avatar. This unique book focuses on the most crucial theme “how to receive Sri Sathya Sai Baba’s grace’. The meaning and implications of Sathya Sai’s devine grace have been presented along with some ardent sai devotees’ most intimate experiences in the Sai Path.

It is said that one is closest to God when one is in pain or peril. Basically selfish, human beings turn to Him only in moments of crisis. We devise various ways of reaching Him, by going on pilgrimages, distributing alms, chasing godmen or praying at home. Once upon a time Sri Satya Sai Baba was a rage among the nation�s elite. Politicians, intellectuals, scientists, Generals, Admirals and Air Chief Marshals led the pack in having the Baba�s darshan. Then things changed, and the Baba is now a recluse. Spiritualism, politics and materialism can be a high octane explosive mix. The author has compiled the experiences of various devotees of the Baba. Needless to say, they are all in his praise. It always makes one wonder about the divine experiencess that these people are able to have, or the miracles they behold. […]

Contents
Dedication
Divine Assurance
Sai Message: “Be Like Bees”
Prayer Given By Swami
Foreword
Preface

Section I: Sai The Saviour
1. Letters From the Divine: Mata Betty
2. Understanding the Divinity of Sri Sathya Sai Baba: Dr. S.P. Ruhela
3. Sri Sathya Sai Avatar: A Philosophical Profile: Dr. Kamla Arora
4. ‘In the Form of Sathya Sai, God Became Actual’ (Poem): Prof. I.D. Singh
5. ‘Sai Darshan’ (Poem): William Jackson

Section II: What Divine Grace Means
7. Divine Grace: Jayadayal Goyandka
8. Saints on Divine Grace: J.P. Singh
9. Prayer: What & How: Sister Gertrude
10. Rekindle Your Flame of Devotion: Connie Shaw
11. Meditation Tecnique As Recommended by Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba
12. The Power of Choice: God’s Greatest Gift to His Finest Creation, Humanity: Sri Sathya Sai Baba
13. Sai Gems on ‘Sai Grace’: Sri Sathya Sai Baba
14. ‘How Will You Know When I Am Near’ (Poem)
15. Purity and Peace: Sri Sathya Sai Baba
16. The Role of Baba in Grace: Indulal Shah

Section III: Experiencing The Sai Grace
17. ‘We and Our Lord in Prasanthi Nilayam’ (Poem): Donn Doongaj
18. Sai Darshan: Memories of Those Blissful Days with Swami: Neeta Roy
19. ‘Yes, I have Indeed Received the Grace of Sri Sathya Sai Baba in My Life’: Anonymous
20. A Sanyasi’s Experiences in the Sai Path: Swami Rameshananda
21. My Twenty-five Years Under the Grace of Sri Sathya Sai Baba: Dr. S.P. Ruhela
22. Frustrations, Bad Karmas and Sai’s Grace: Dr. S.P. Ruhela
23. Of Faith and Scepticism: Uttam Sen Gupta
24. Strange Experience of a Sai Devotee: Prof. I.D. Singh
25. Sri Sathya Sai: A Laboratory God: Prof. I.D. Singh

About the author (from the Back Cover)
Dr. Satya Pal Ruhela (born on 2nd February 1935) is an internationally renowed sociologist. He is Professor of Education (Sociology) in the Institute of Advanced Studies in Education, Jamia Millia Islamia (Central University), New Delhi. He is an ardent Sai devotee. He has contributed several highly informative and interesting books on the Sai Baba Phenomena, Spirituality, Sociology and Education. He is the Founder and Secretary of the ‘Sai Divine Research Centre’, Faridabad – 121003.

The book is available at:
Sathya Sai Book Center of America
Sri Sathya Sai Book and Information Centre, Toronto, Canada

Bhagwan Shree Sathya Sai Baba – Views and Voices

Famous Guru - Sathya Sai Baba

Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam
Former President of the Republic of India

Sri Sathya Sai Baba is always remembered for His contributions, particularly in providing drinking water, education and healthcare to the needy and the poor. All these three areas are divine assistance and His Blessings. I pray to the almighty for His continued Divine service to the mankind.

Dr. Manmohan Singh
Prime Minister of the Republic of India

While celebrating the birth anniversary of religious and spiritual figures we must underline the humanitarian aspects of religion and harness its constructive dimensions for the benefit of entire humankind. On this occasion, I extend my greetings and good wishes to all those engaged with the Trust for the success of the birth anniversary celebrations of Sri Sathya Sai Baba.

Atal Bihari Vajpayee
Former Prime Minister of Republic of India

In the long journey, Baba has spread His unique gospel of love. As Baba Himself says, “There is only one caste, the caste of humanity; There is only one religion, the religion of love; There is only one language, the language of the heart; There is only one God; and He is omnipresent.” How profound, how simple and how timeless, ageless is Baba’s message. He has, through the power of love and selfless service, transformed the lives of countless people both in India and abroad. Today, Baba’s footprints are seen all over the world.

Shivraj V. Patil
Home Minister of Republic of India

Words will fail to explain the various services that Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba has been rendering to the humankind for the last so many decades. Bhagawan’s teachings emphasizes on Love not only towards other human beings but all and everything created by God in this world. He correctly professes that the only way to attain salvation is through Love which has been described in Gita as Bhakti Yoga. Bhakti Yoga is nothing but Love towards God, which Bhagawan in His own inimitable style preaches to the humankind.

Sushil Kumar Shinde
Governor of Indian State of Andhra Pradesh

I am delighted to join along with you in the celebrations of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba’s 80th Birthday on 23rd November. On this auspicious occasion one has to recall Bhagawan’s contributions for the welfare of the society, people in distress and the spiritual leadership to His followers. Sri Sathya Sai Baba was kind enough in providing drinking water to the villages in Rayalaseema Region, setting up of educational institutions including a Free Super Speciality Hospital at Puttaparthi, for the poor and needy, speaks volumes about His magnanimity.

Vilasrao Deshmukh
Chief Minister of Indian State of Maharashtra

The happening of a Phenomenon like Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba is a boon to our modern society. Man today is on a self ruinous path but the Pure Divine Love that Baba exudes is fast making man conscious of the fact that still nothing is lost and Paradise can be regained. He energises man and instills in Man the self confidence that Man is not an ordinary being but a reflection of divinity. Indeed, with the divinity called Sri Sathya Sai Baba with us we have nothing to fear. However, we have to fulfill the only wish of Baba that we all commit to transform ourselves and adopt the practice of the 5 Human Values of Love, Truth, Right Conduct, Peace and Non Violence in our lives and offer Him our heartful of Love.

Justice P.N. Bhagwati
Presided over the Supreme Court of India as its Chief Justice from July 1985 to December 1986.

The way is shown by my Master…We must remember that we are all part of the one common humanity: all religions – whether Christian, Hindu, Sikh or Muslim – recognise the essential unity of mankind and our ideal must be to break down all differences that divide us and to demolish all barriers that prevent us from coming together as human beings regardless of what language we speak, or the colour of our skin, or the race to which we belong, or the religion we profess to practise. Today we see a paradoxical situation in the world. On the one hand, science and technology with the modern means of transport and communication have brought about a near revolution in our lives and the world has shrunk into a global village, while on the other hand, the world is being torn apart by strife and violence, hostilities and massacres, men forgetting their in-dwelling divinity, engaged in killing one another. We thought that after the holocaust of the Second World War, peace would reign on earth and there would be no hatred and violence, but that dream was shattered to pieces. We do not find peace anywhere and that is why we long for universal peace, peace not only in my country, not only in yours, but throughout the world. How can we attain this universal peace which will be a blessing for humanity? The way is shown by my master…

S.M. Krishna
Governor of the Indian State of Maharashtra since December 2004; former Chief Minister of the Indian state of Karnataka from 1999 to 2004

I consider myself fortunate…I often wonder, what is so special about Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba that endears Him to people cutting across distinctions like caste, creed, religion, sex, country, etc. It has been Baba’s constant endeavour to ensure that humanity be governed by the universal values of Sathya (Truth), Dharma (Righteousness), Shanthi (Peace), Prema (Love) and Ahimsa (Non-violence). It is in the interest of us all to join Him in His mission, for, therein lies the welfare of humanity. I consider myself fortunate to have received the love and guidance of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba in great abundance. His blessing is the biggest treasure in my life.

Air Chief Marshal (Retd.) O.P. Mehra
Former Chief of Air Staff, India; Former Governor of Indian States of Maharashtra and Rajasthan

I have no hesitation…In the final analysis I have no hesitation in saying that I am, what I have had the pleasure of being, and as of today, thanks to Sri Sathya Sai Baba – the DIVINE – the AVATAR – my MENTOR. I am convinced that everything we see, hear, smell, touch and or taste is His. Salvation of all human lies in laying the Soul at His Divine Feet. Sincere and genuine Love alone will ensure merger with Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai.

M.K. Rasgotra, I.F.S. (Retd.)
Former Indian Foreign Secretary, Former Indian Ambassador to Morocco, Tunisia, the Netherlands, Nepal, France and the UNESCO

None can fully comprehend…There is no way one can fully comprehend the many splendoured personality of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba: with faith and devotion one may, now and then, experience His love and grace and even get a glimpse of the divine mystery embodied in his delicate human frame, but it is impossible to fully capture in words even these fragmented and fleeting visions of His reality. I have never found it easy to write about Him: the more I see of Him, try to understand and know Him, the more the mystery deepens and words become less meaningful.

Dr.(Mrs.) J. Geeta Reddy
Minister for Tourism & Sugar, Govt. of A.P., India

How fortunate are we to live as contemporaries of the ‘Living God’, our ‘Beloved Sai’. Our lives would never have been the same without His presence. He changes our lives from the mundane to the magnificent. … Let us join together not only to love Him, but to love each other and everything around us. For, did He not say that, He separated Himself from Himself, in order to love Himself?

Anil V.Gokak, I.A.S. (Retd.)
Vice-Chancellor of Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning; Former Secretary in the Ministry of Fertilisers, Govt. of India

He has come at the most critical juncture…Sai Baba is, undisputedly, a unique avatar in the history of humanity. He has taken the human form at a time when man has lost his Peace. Man has become more and more materialistic and self-centred, thanks to the advance of science. Ruthless exploitation of nature by man has also created a great deal of disturbance. An avatar is badly needed by mankind and surely, Sai Baba has descended on the planet in the human form to guide humanity at a most critical juncture in its history.

Dr. G. Venkataraman
Former Vice-Chancellor of Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning; Formerly Director of Anurag, Defense Research and Development Organisation, Hyderabad, India

Preoccupations take you to miss His wonderful shades…Most devotees are generally preoccupied with miracles and experiences that border on the miraculous. This obsession with the paranormal is understandable, but, in the process, we also tend to miss the wonderful shades of the Divine in human form. One aspect of Swami that is constant and has always fascinated me is His extraordinary sensitivity to the needs and the problems of others. This sensitivity is ever in operation but few bother to take note of it.

Lt. Gen. (Retd.) S.P. Malhotra
A highly decorated soldier of the Indian Army; retired as GOC-in-C, Northern Command

Love all, Serve all Help Ever, Hurt Never. Baba’s teachings which He gives in His discourses are profound, put in simple league so that everyone can understand them. His command over language and fluency is phenomenal. His discourses are in Telugu but He can speak all other languages. Baba’s knowledge not only of the scriptures, but medicines, science, technology and all other subjects is unlimited. Swami’s basic teachings can be summarized in just 8 words which are: Love all, Serve all Help Ever, Hurt Never.

Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma
Internationally acclaimed Santoor Maestro from India

I have been very fortunate to receive Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba’s blessings in life. I had many experiences of Swami’s omnipresence, Swami’s showering of love like a Mother, Swami’s power to always protect us wherever we are. In the last 35 years I had innumerable experiences in different parts of the World. We are very fortunate that we have been born in this Yuga, where we can see Bhagawan talking to His devotees and showering His divine grace on everybody.

M.K. Kaw, I.A.S. (Retd.)
Former Education Secretary to Govt. of India

The true miracle about Baba is not that He produces rings, japamalas and necklaces with a flourish of His hand. That is at the initial stages, when He sees that we are like little children and can be tantalized by a toffee. He did this to me at our very first meeting on 1st June 1985, twenty years ago. “What is the difference between you and me?” He asked and did not wait for a reply. Then He answered it Himself, “When you want a ring, you go to a goldsmith, who takes lot of time to melt the gold and fashion it into a ring. But with me,” He said, with a circular motion of His palm, “I will and it happens.” And suddenly, there was a ring in His hand!

C.L. Kaw, I.R.T.S. (Retd.)
Former Chairman, Indian Railway Board

Miracles are in the very nature of God because He operates at a totally different level. Moreover, He is very compassionate towards His devotees. He is in the real sense Karma Dhwamsine(destroyer of evil effects of bad actions). Normally every individual has to bear the fruit of his karmas and as per karmic theory there is no escape from this. But Swami as the most compassionate God many times helps His devotees by softening the effect of karmas – on some occasions, suffering Himself to reduce intensity for devotees.

Dr. S.V. Chittibabu
Former Vice-Chancellor of Madurai Kamaraj University; Former Vice-Chancellor of Annamalai University

Is it not our immeasurable good fortune that Sri Sathya Sai Baba should have come into the world as the Purna-Avatar of Sriman Narayana in human form during our lifetime for the redemption of humanity? Swami’s sublime teachings imparted through His lofty discourses, writings, conversations as well as His living example are nonpareil with respect to their contents and efficacy in metamorphosing the hearts of countless millions for the better. … On this memorable occasion this is my fervent prayer to Bhagawan Baba, the Living and Loving God, the Enchanting Charioteer and Singer of the world with abundant love and tender patience leading us all by his vision of truth and beauty, love and goodness: … Above all give me the strength to surrender my strength to Thy Will with Love.

Indulal Shah
Formerly, Chairman of World Council of Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organizations

If one has to ask a question as to what is the one single largest contribution of this Avatar in the 21st century, what would the answer be? It would be “en masse transformation of mankind and thereby the whole world”. The approach of Bhagawan Baba makes Him the most scientific Avatar when He says, “Come, examine, experience and only then develop faith”. There is no question of just blind faith.

V. Srinivasan
Reputed Industrialist from Chennai; All India President, Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisations

There are many instances of the Lord’s omnipotence, omniscience and omnipresence; all these are like milestones in the journey of our lives to the Lotus Feet. Millions travel on this journey with their own milestones, perhaps by separate paths but all the same destination, the abode of pure love!

C. Srinivas
From the oldest batch of students of the erstwhile Sri Sathya Sai College of Brindavan. Member, Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust

Today as we celebrate eighty years of Sri Sathya Sai, the Mission of human transformation has grown in a manner that defies comprehension. The Divine entrepreneur has now generated a momentum not ever known, so much that ‘SAI TOUCH’ is not felt in all corners of the world. The uniqueness of His Mission has been that, just as much as He has gone about accomplishing His Task, at the core, SAI remains sweet, simple, accessible and above all, humble.

K. Chakravarthi, I.A.S. (Retd.)
A Civil servant borne on the Cadre of the Indian State of Andhra Pradesh; Currently, Secretary, Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust

We see the faraway gaze of Swami and then the sharp piercing of His near look. We sense His deep engagement in the world and its procession of men and events; and a quiet disengagement from them. And in stillness and silence profound truth is taught and learnt, as we are told with reference to Dakshinamurthi. But at human level we need to be talked to by Swami. When He talks, there is joy. When He is silent, there is sadness. When He smiles there is laughter in our hearts. When He sees away there is a loneliness however much “I keep my countenance and remain self possessed”. We need to move and learn at two levels of our being – the mental and spiritual – and unify such learning into a coherent response to the divine.

Dr. A.N. Safaya
Former Chairman of the Management Board of AIIMS; Former Medical Superintendent at AIIMS, New Delhi; Currently Director of Sri Sathya Sai Institutes of Higher Medical Sciences at Whitefield, Bangalore, and Puttaparthi

Swami in His countless discourses and personal talks to individuals has given in detail valuable advice on diet, exercise, sleep and cleanliness. He has mentioned a number of bad habits, which have to be avoided both by the young and the old. Not only has Swami explained at length these principles but has also practised these principles Himself. “My Life is my Message”, He has proclaimed. If medical science is really meant for the mitigation of afflictions of disease in man, if it is to serve mankind for its healthy survival, the Sai Health Care Mission has given to the world the basic principles on which this science has to develop and improve further.

Dr. Narendranath Reddy
A practicing Endocrinologist from the United States; Member, Prasanthi Council, governing body of Sri Sathya Sai Organsations, Worldwide

How blessed and fortunate are we to have this beautiful, sweet and loving Lord to protect us and guide us. Let us make use of this unique chance to adore Him, worship Him, practice His teachings and merge in Him, who is the Source.

Dr. Samuel Sandweiss, M.D.
Practising psychiatrist from the United States

In this year of celebration of Swami’s 80th birthday, we take stock of the infinite grace that He has showered on us. What have we learned and put into practice? How has He helped us to understand the real meaning of our lives? In what direction has He so softly and persistently guided us with the loving hands of a million mothers? … One night I had a very lovely visit from Swami in my dream. He approached me and I bowed before Him. Upon rising I happily blurted out, “Swami, I am bringing you a book.” Swami looked lovingly at me and softly said, “I am bringing you a book.” What a wonderful reminder of Swami’s place in our lives. We are in His orbit. We are living in Him and He is living in us.

K.R. Paramahamsa, I.A.S. (Retd.)
A Civil servant borne on the Cadre of the Indian State of Andhra Pradesh

Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai is the present day spiritual guide and companion to humankind, leading us by hand. He is the mother taking care of our yoga and kshema. He is the non-coercive power transforming and rejuvenating through His bountiful compassion and boundless love. He is the catalyst helping us unleash the limitless human potential in a positive manner for the good and well being of all creation. He is the sadguru guiding us through the thick and thin of our living with a view to finding answer to the all-important question ‘who am I?’ and find life’s fulfillment. The spirit of the humankind, therefore, considers in reverence that He is God-Incarnate that walks among us in human form for our deliverance, allowing us to bask in the aura of His Divine Resplendence. Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai is ‘Tat’ embodied.

Sunil Gavaskar
Legendary Cricketer of International acclaim from India

I feel grateful to have been able to serve my country in my capacity as a cricketer for many years. However, now it would give me the greatest joy to be able to be of some small service to Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba Himself in His grand mission to uplift humanity. If life has given me a few good things, the best has been Bhagawan Himself! I cherish that above all else and pray for His constant guidance, support and blessings.

S.K. Birla
Noted Industrialist from India; Chairman/Director of several Birla group ventures

I have had some occasions when non-believers appeared to question my devotion to Bhagawan. To me Pujya Baba’s Divinity is a matter of intense personal belief, but the unprecedented extent of His works for the public good – hospitals, schools, university, water projects and many others – must persuade all to see Divine intervention in the affairs of men. Whenever I look at His visage, I see only expressions of love and kindness dripping from it.

S.S. Naganand
Senior Advocate, a legal practitioner of repute from Bangalore

Simple teachings of Swami give solutions at every point of time in our life. It is for us to pause, contemplate and act as per Swami’s teachings. I wish to express my deepest gratitude to the all pervading, most compassionate divine being Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba for giving me an opportunity to be in the proximity of the Avatar and render some small service for the fulfilment of the grand design of Swami for the upliftment of humanity. This is a unique experience and cannot be compared with anything else.

Arjuna Ranatunga
Cricketer of International repute from Sri Lanka; Captain of Sri Lanka’s world cup winning team, 1996. Currently, Member of Parliament and Deputy Minister for Tourism, Investment Promotion & Industries, Govt. of Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka has always looked towards its great neighbour India for inspiration and succour in many fields and on numerous occasions, but none so more than in the spiritual field. India is the birth place of Hinduism and Buddhism, which more than 70% of the population in Sri Lank adhere to. The great philosophers down in history such as Swami Vivekananda and Sri Ramakrishna have their followers in Sri Lanka mostly among the Hindus and among other religious groups as well. However, in recent times, the most popular influence on the Buddhists, Hindus as well as Christians has come from Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. The numbers appear to be ever increasing and are to be found among all strata of society, though naturally much more among the more educated upper and middle classes. In many a home, one could see the framed pictures of Bhagawan kept in a respected and honoured place.

Prof. A. Anantharaman
A management professional with rich International corporate experience; currently Honorary Professor at the School of Business Management, Accounting and Finance, Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning, Prasanthi Nilayam

On this solemn occasion of the 80th year of His incarnation, we need to make a choice. We can continue to demand from Him tinsels and trinkets, as we have been all these years. Or we can seek from Him what He has come to give us. We have a choice, as expressed in language of unsurpassed beauty, by the bard of India.

Rabindranath Tagore:

“To take shelter in silent obscurity
Or let his Will draw you out
When old words die out on the tongue
And new melodies break forth from the heart
When old tracks are lost
And new country revealed in its entire splendor!”

What will you choose?

Prof. H.S. Bhat (FAMS)
Academician of repute in the medical field of Urology; Currently head of the department of Urology, SSSIHMS, Prasanthigram

It is a tragedy of circumstances that our livelihood should be dependent on the sufferings and pain of our fellow beings. We firmly believe that, while we can only cut, we have minimal or no control on the healing which ultimately is in the hands of God – a God who may be addressed in any way we wish to. We continue to see the miracle of healing everyday by the Divine Physician in every field of activity. His discourses are messages of life and the purpose is love in action. He demonstrates that His religion is love; His language is the language of the heart. His food is Love and what He does for humanity is His Love in action.

Victor Krishna Kanu
Formerly High Commissioner of Sierra Leone, Africa, to U.K., Norway and Sweden; Director of the African Institute of Sathya Sai Education (TAISSE) at Ndola, Zambia

The Name Sathya Sai Baba is pregnant with divine potency that invokes in anyone who believes in it and calls it an unqualified feeling of security, joy and hope. From my personal experience, the constant invocation of His name places one in a perpetual state of ecstasy, bliss and integrated awareness of God who is in everything known and unknown. The name is also sweet to the ears and the tongue. This Name and what it stands for is the guiding light of Africa.

Dr. R.S. Padmanabhan
Dentist of repute from Bangalore. Member, Sri Sathya Sai Trust, Karnataka, India

People ask me why Swami calls a few and not others for interview. There are tens and thousands of aspiring people. How can He call all of them? I asked Swami about this. He says where Karma of a person is over, He calls him. He may not cure a person of the maladies he is suffering from. But, He gives strength to sustain them with fortitude and faith. One has to work out one’s karmas. When Swami sees a person, it is sufficient. The Divine Glance sets things in the right direction.

Dr. (Mrs.) Hiramalini Seshadri
A Senior Consultant Physician and Rheumatologist based at Chennai; visiting Rheumatologist at the Sri Sathya Sai General Hospitals at Prasanthi Nilayam and Whitefield

Creating objects with a wave of His hand, stopping rains, floods, fires, turning water into petrol, multiplying food…..we devotees are old hat at all that. Resurrecting people from the dead, curing cancers, creating even living creatures – well, all this too is history now. But the omnipotence of the Lord manifests most when He transforms the hearts of men.

N.P. Bhat I.R.S. (Retd.)
Formerly Chief Commissioner of Income Tax, Govt. of India

Some years ago, I recall, as I was coming out of the “audience room” in Puttaparthi, I told Baba how happy and proud I was to witness the remarkable transformation over the years, of Baba’s Ashram into a huge bustling township, complete with all amenities and facilities. Baba, in a serene voice, told me that His real Ashram was in the hearts of His devotees. I have been trying all these years to make my heart Baba’s Ashram. May Baba’s grace and bliss be on all of us.

Begum Parween Sultana
Gifted vocalist of repute from India

I must have done something good in my last birth and that’s why I am getting such a divine Guru, Father, Mother Sai in this birth. My gratitude, my grateful thanks, my koti koti pranams at the Lotus Feet of Bhagawan for giving this opportunity to be with Him in this birth.

V.N. Narayanan
A prominent journalist of repute; formerly Editor-in-Chief, Tribune, Resident Editor, The Indian Express, Editor, Hindustan Times; Currently Editor, Bhavan’s Journal and Principal, Bhavan’s H.B.College of Communication and Management, Bangalore

As Bhagawan Baba enters the eighth decade of His life on earth, He is moving into the most decisive phase of His avatar. Over the past decade He has noticeably reduced handing out His “calling cards” to people. The contact with devotees at the sensory level too has reduced, though at the level of spirit it keeps growing. The SAI universe of edifices blessed with a unique spiritual aura continues its multi-dimensional growth. And now the phase of miracles and message-conveyance has yielded place to the fulfilment of the Mission of the Avatar. Before I give my vision of the Sathya Sai Mission, let me recount – in my very limited and myopic view – the various stages of the Sathya Sai Avatar, which, if Valmiki were alive today, would give the world a new Ramayana of epic proportions.

B.N. Narasimha Murthy
Warden, Sri Sathya Sai Hostel, Brindavan, Whitefield, Bangalore

The love for Swami that pulsates in the hearts of millions of men, women and children all over the world is the greatest and the surest of signs of His love for mankind. We need not look for any external manifestation of signs of His grace; we have to just look into our own hearts and see for ourselves, how much we love Him.

B.G. Pitre
An Educationist of repute from Mumbai. Currently, Director of Sri Sathya Sai Education, Mumbai

These people converge in Puttaparthi to pay homage to the Apostle of Peace, to experience happiness and joy. They come to pray at the Feet of the Master. He seems to be saying, ‘Come, Experience, get transformed.’ For, the solutions to human conflict do not lie in resolutions in an assembly of nations, nor information of fighting forces but in ‘transformation’ of hearts. They require the cultivation of the mind-the Mind of Man – the collective mind of all mankind. The root cause of hatred, conflict and wars has to be removed from within us.

U. Srinivas
Mandolin maestro of International fame from India

Wherever I performed, I felt the Divine presence of Baba and I never concluded my concerts without playing Sai Bhajans; and the moment I started playing Sai Bhajans whether in an auditorium or at a public place, the atmosphere totally changed into a different world. In my personal experience, wherever I go, whomever I meet, I could see Swami’s influence in everyone.

A.N. Haksar
A business management expert of great reputes; Formerly, Chairman of ITC Ltd.

Sitting at the feet of Swami, the Divine Teacher there have been many lessons to learn, as Swami never says anything or proclaiming anything that He does not put into practice.

Nimish Pandya
A practising Advocate from Mumbai; Pioneer in Sri Sathya Sai Bal Vikas and Education in Human Values Programme

Yearning for friendship is a natural phenomenon for man, as he is said to be a social animal. The kind of friends a man has, also determines his image. It is therefore said that, “Tell me who your friends are and I will tell you what you are.” …Indeed, for the first time in eons of time, has the Master Himself come on Earth and is asking from within each one of us, a very simple question “Will you be my friend?” and the only simple answer He awaits from us is “Yes, I will… I will.”

Moyia O Brien
An ardent long time devotee; running a Centre for the disabled in Brisbane, Australia

In my quiet hours I often reflect on beloved Baba and think about how His love and grace is expanding the spiritual horizons of the world. And I believe that one day the whole of humanity will be engulfed in His loving care, unitedly moving in a stream of consciousness leading towards and fulfilling His divine plan.

Dr. Kanwaljeet S. Anand MBBS, D.Phil., FAAP, FCCM, FRCPCH
Pediatrician of repute from United States… Professor of Pediatrics, Anesthesiology, Pharmacology, Neurobiology & Developmental Sciences UAMS College of Medicine; Board of Directors, Arkansas Children’s Hospital Research Institute

All of Humanity is beholden that Sri Sathya Sai Baba has taken a human form that lives in Puttaparthi, in the Southern part of India. He was born on Nov 23, 1926 and announced his Divinie Mission in May, 1940. Millions and millions of instances have proven to the world that God Almighty, the Absolute Reality, the Divine Cosmic Being, the Creator of the Universe has set aside His difficult to grasp Immanence and manifested in the form of Sri Sathya Sai Baba. HE has assumed a human form to guide humankind towards their own Divinity within and to save humanity from its own annihilation.

The Advent of this Divine Form is referenced in the Book of Revelations of the Bible, in the Holy Koran, in the Vedas and Jaimini Mahabharatha, in the Guru Granth Sahib, and in all of the major religious texts of the world. Currently, Sri Sathya Sai Baba is worshipped by more than 100 million people from more than 200 countries in the world, but most of the world remains oblivious of His Presence. For many decades, any advertisement about His Presence or His Activities was strictly forbidden by Him. His Great Benevolence was that He allowed His Message of Love to be spread by word of mouth, which allowed each listener to experience a glimpse of the ecstasy and bliss that the one who came in contact with Him. This Blissful experience would urge each one to directly experience His Divinity rather than believing in the experiences of other people. Any attempt to describe Him or understand Him is guaranteed to fall far short of its target!! How can a small fish measure or map the ocean? Similarly, therefore, how can a human being who is a tiny part of this Cosmic Being, understand HIM? All I can say is that I was the complete skeptic and initially very sarcastic about His Divinity, His Activities, His Message portrayed through every moment of His Life, until the time came when He called me finally to Puttaparthi to see Him (obtain a Darshan of Him) in October, 1996. That was the one event that has changed the entire course of my life. Many subsequent visits over the past few years and personal contact with Him in interviews and elsewhere, have combined to secure a permanent place for Him in my heart. He is TOTAL and ABSOLUTE LOVE, which He gives generously and unconditionally to the millions of people who flock to Him. Sri Sathya Sai Baba has certainly transformed my life to be infinitely better than it was before His Touch, as He has transformed the lives of the thousands of people that I have personally met – who are as inspired by His Loving Example as I am. With Divine Grace, I have personally met the greatest of scientists, industrialists, politicians, world leaders, or members of the Royalty in several countries, but to compare all of these great personalities with Sri Sathya Sai Baba is like holding a candle to the Sun.

Ms. Kalyani M.R.
Editor, ‘Indian Railways’, Monthly Magazine of Ministry of Railways, Government of India

Learning to be away from materialistic world… Love all, Serve all is the greatest thing which I have learnt from Bhagwan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. I always want to be filled with Baba’s thoughts and keep on singing and the immense joy that I derive out of it, is beyond expression.

Reference

Also See:
Official Sathya Sai Baba International Website

Mahatma Gandhi – Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi

Mahatma Gandhi

Mahatma Gandhi – Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi

Ex-Devotees Of Sathya Sai Baba Attack India, Indians, Hindus and Mahatma Gandhi

Ex-Devotees have been waging concerted and unremitting smear campaigns against Sri Sathya Sai Baba that includes fierce and malicious criticism of India, Indians, Hindus and their religious scriptures.

As a matter of fact, Barry Pittard and Robert Priddy (two of the main spokespersons for the Anti-Sai Movement whose WordPress blogs contain numerous defamations, libels and slurs against Sathya Sai Baba, Sai Devotees and Sai Proponents) wrote a joint article entitled “The Sathya Sai Organisation’s Deception And Propaganda Exposed: Part Four” (Ref), in which they said about the Ramayana:

home.hetnet.nl/~ex_baba/engels/articles/venk4.htm
“Nor can any intelligent person make good or relevant sense of it in the modern world – it is just a fantastic, impossible concocted story of the ‘Superman’ kind – with ‘monkey-man’ Hanuman lifting and flying aloft with a whole mountain (so Rama could pick out a herb from it!) or jumping across the sea to Sri Lanka. Come on, how can one be so backward intellectually? This may be o.k. for ignorant peasants, but the thinking world must regard it as sheer delusion!”

In addition, Barry Pittard said:

home.hetnet.nl/~ex_baba/engels/articles/barrybetrayal.html
“Since everyone in India suffers from it somehow, the issue of corruption is fairly easy to talk about there. It is the way things are done, including getting non-corrupt matters done.”

Needless to say, Barry Pittard and Robert Priddy (typical white westerners who suffer from the aposate syndrome) have bashed & trashed everyone in India as being “corrupt” and that Mahatma Gandhi, scholars, sages, gurus and millions of Hindus are “backward intellectually” “ignorant peasants” who believe in the Ramayana (which they consider to be “sheer delusion” and an “impossible concocted story of the ‘Superman’ kind”).

In an effort to do damage, control, Barry Pittard recently wrote a blogged article in which he praised Mahatma Gandhi, various religions and India. Hold on! What happened to Ex-Devotee’s claims that everyone in India suffers from corruption that Hindu Scriptures are “impossible concocted stories of the ‘Superman’ kind” and “sheer delusion” that are believed by “backward intellectually” “ignorant peasants”?

To Date: Neither Barry Pittard nor Robert Priddy have issued a public apology for their malicious attacks against India, Indians, Hindus and their scriptures. Nor have they retracted the articles or quotes in question. Consequently, it is to be concluded that Ex-Devotees praise of Mahatma Gandhi, various religions and India is hypocritical and an act of blatant deception.

There is a tremendous amount of information on the internet about Mahatma Gandhi (Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi) and his ardent belief in the Ramayana, the Bhagavad Gita and other sacred texts associated with Hinduism.

Mahatma Gandhi TimeLine:

1869: Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi born in Porbandar in Gujarat.

1893: Gandhi leaves for Johannesburg for practicing law and is thrown out of a first class bogie because he is colored.

1906: Mohandas K. Gandhi, 37, speaks at a mass meeting in the Empire Theater, Johannesburg on September 11 and launches a campaign of nonviolent resistance (satyagraha) to protest discrimination against Indians. The British Government had just invalidated the Indian Marriage.

1913: Mohandas Gandhi in Transvaal, South Africa leads 2,500 Indians into the in defiance of a law, they are violently arrested, Gandhi refuses to pay a fine, he is jailed, his supporters demonstrate. On November 25, and Natal police fire into the crowd, killing two, injuring 20.

1914: Mohandas Gandhi returns to India at age 45 after 21 years of practicing law in South Africa where he organized a campaign of “passive resistance” to protest his mistreatment by whites for his defense of Asian immigrants. He attracts wide attention in India by conducting a fast –the first of 14 that he will stage as political demonstrations and that will inaugurate the idea of the political fasting.

1930: A civil disobedience campaign against the British in India begins March 12. The All-India Trade Congress has empowered Gandhi to begin the demonstrations (see 1914). Called Mahatma for the past decade, Gandhi leads a 165-mile march to the Gujarat coast of the Arabian Sea and produces salt by evaporation of sea water in violation of the law as a gesture of defiance against the British monopoly in salt production

1932: Gandhi begins a “fast unto death” to protest the British government’s treatment of India’s lowest caste “untouchables” whom Gandhi calls Harijans — “God’s children.” Gandhi’s campaign of civil disobedience has brought rioting and has landed him in prison, but he persists in his demands for social reform, he urges a new boycott of British goods, and after 6 days of fasting obtains a pact that improves the status of the “untouchables” (Dalits)

1947: India becomes free from 200 years of British Rule. A major victory for Gandhian principles and non-violence in general.

1948: Gandhi is assassinated by Nathuram Godse, a Hindu fanatic at a prayer meeting
(Reference)

Mahatma Gandhi Quotes On Hinduism & The Gita:

“I call myself a Sanatani Hindu, because I believe in the Vedas, the Upanishads, the Puranas, and all that goes by the name of Hindu scripture, and therefore in avataras and rebirth; I believe in the varnashrama dharma in a sense, in my opinion strictly Vedic but not in its presently popular crude sense; I believe in the protection of cow … I do not disbelieve in murti puja.” (Mahatma Gandhi – Young India: June 10, 1921)

“Hinduism as I know it entirely satisfies my soul, fills my whole being … When doubts haunt me, when disappointments stare me in the face, and when I see not one ray of light on the horizon, I turn to the Bhagavad Gita, and find a verse to comfort me; and I immediately begin to smile in the midst of overwhelming sorrow. My life has been full of tragedies and if they have not left any visible and indelible effect on me, I owe it to the teachings of the Bhagavad Gita.” (Mahatma Gandhi – Young India: June 8, 1925)

The Story Of My Experiments With Truth
By Mahatma Gandhi

“What, however, left a deep impression on me was the reading of the Ramayana before my father. During part of his illness my father was in Porbandar. There every evening he used to listen to the Ramayana.”

Select Quotes About Mahatma Gandhiji:

Mahatma Gandhi (Book)
by Sankar Ghose
(Chapter 1: Kathiawar’s Ambitious Boy – page 9)

“In later life, Gandhi regarded Ramayana of Tulsidasa as the greatest book in devotional literature and repition of Ramnama as an infallible method of curing one of all kinds of doubts and despondency.”

Priyaranjan Das Munshi’s Mahatma Gandhi!
By V. Sundaram
News Today

“Mahatma Gandhi was a great devotee of Lord Rama and Lord Krishna. He worshipped the Ramayana and the Bhagavad Gita. Rama Nama and Ram Rajya were for Gandhi synonymous terms. Addressing a prayer meeting in New Delhi on 25 May, 1946, Mahatma Gandhi said: ‘Rama Nama should come from the heart. In that event, Rama Nama could become an effective remedy against all ailments. A man who believes in Rama Nama would not make a fetish of the body but would regard it as a means of serving God. And for making it into a fit instrument for that purpose, Rama Nama is the sovereign means. To install Rama Nama in the heart requires infinite patience. It might even take ages. But the effort is worthwhile. Rama Nama cannot come from the heart unless one has cultivated the virtues of truth, honesty and purity within and without.’

Therefore, Ex-Devotees of Sathya Sai Baba (all white Westerners) have directly and unequivocally berated Mahatma Gandhi (a firm believer in the Ramayana) and millions of Hindus as “backward intellectually” “ignorant peasants” who are universally “corrupt” and who believe in scriptures that should be regarded as “sheer delusion” and “impossible concocted stories of the ‘Superman’ kind”.

Sathya Sai Baba On Mahatma Gandhi:

Sathya Sai Abaout Gandhi

“Man has been endowed with buddhi or intelligence, so that he might at every turn decide what is beneficent for observance and what is detrimental. Gandhi while going through hate ridden regions, prayed, “Sabko san-mati de Bhagwan!” (O Lord! Give everyone Good intelligence!) The intelligence has to be kept sharp, clear and straight.” (Sathya Sai Baba).

“When quite young, Mohandas Karamachand Gandhi witnessed along with his mother a drama on ‘Sravana and his devotion to his parents’ and he resolved that he must also become a Sravana. He witnessed a play onHarischandra and that drama impressed him so deeply that he resolved to become as heroically devoted to virtue as Harischandra himself. These transformed him so much that he became a Mahatma. Gandhi had a teacher when he was attending school who taught him wrong paths. But Gandhi did not adopt his advice. As a consequence, he was able to bring freedom (Swaraj) to the country.” (Sathya Sai Baba, Vidya Vahini)

Related Mahatma Gandiji Links:
Mahatma Gandhi: Ramayana and Justice By Dr. Ravindra Kumar
Wikipedia Article On Mahatma Gandhi
M.K. Gandhi – Resources And Information
Mahatma Gandhi’s autobiography on wikisource
Works by Mahatma GandhiGandhi Smriti — Government of India website
Mahatma Gandhi News Research and Media service
Mahatma Gandhi a votary of sustainable living
Mani Bhavan Gandhi Sangrahalaya Gandhi Museum & Library
Gandhi Book Centre
Works by Mahatma Gandhi
Gandhi Hall and statue
Works by or about Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi

Dalai Lama at the Sathya Sai International Centre in Delhi

Dalai Lama at the Sathya Sai International Centre in Delhi

Lecture by the Dalai Lama at the Sathya Sai International Centre in Delhi
News from Sri Sathya Sai International Center
3rd January 2004

The Sri Sathya Sai International Centre in Delhi began the New Year with a lecture on 3rd January, by the Dalai Lama. Lt. Gen.Dr.M.L.Chibber, Director of the Centre welcomed the Guest of Honour and Dr. Karan Singh, eminent philosopher-statesman, who presided over the function. The auditorium was packed to capacity, even though it was one of the coldest days of this winter. His Holiness the Dalai Lama spoke for 45 minutes, after which Dr. Karan Singh, delivered his presidential remarks.

The Dalai Lama opened with the remark that the key to peace lies in non-violence and tolerance, which is a 7000-year-old tradition in India.

We can have peace only if we are able to bring about an attitude of respect for religions, faiths and belief systems other than our own. There is an interesting fact to be noted about the great world religions. At the level of philosophy there might be apparent differences among them; but at the level of practice there is no difference.

When we study the ethics or the practice advocated by the various faiths, there is not much difference. They all believe in certain core human values like Truth, Non-violence, Compassion, Love and Peace. One of the important values is Truth. Truth lies in perceiving Reality as it is. Reality can be experienced in its fullness, only if one harbours positive emotions and not negative emotions.

It would not be correct to say that we should have no emotions. A person without emotions is a person without feeling. He is apt to be dry, distant, cold, friendless, negative and vicious. The important thing is not to harbour negative emotions.

Negative emotions are emotions that are immature, narrow and cloudy. For example, attachment and hatred are two such negative emotions. When a person sees the world through the prism of attachment, he would conclude that whatever he does is 100% right. And when he sees someone else through the prism of hate, he would conclude that whatever the other person does is 100% wrong. Nothing in Nature is 100% right or wrong. Such a perception is merely a mental projection, that distorts our appreciation of Reality, creating more problems.

Positive emotions are mature emotions because here emotion is combined with intelligence. The application of intelligence leads to analysis and investigation. Analysis leads to conviction. The disciplining of emotion leads to a holistic vision of Reality. Everything is interconnected. If one fails to see the interconnectedness and interdependence, then it is a distorted vision. Examples of positive emotions are faith and Compassion, which can be imbibed only through a training of emotions.

Knowledge leads to conviction. Conviction leads to determination. Determination leads to familiarization. Familiarization leads to change of emotion. The main attempt must be have a clear vision so that we can see Reality as it truly is. Only then can we solve the problems of life.

Cultivation of positive and noble emotions leads one towards Compassion, Contentment, Forgiveness and Self-discipline, in turn producing a calmness of Mind. When there are no ripples in the Mind, it remains clear in its vision of Reality. It sees a problem as it really is and is able to solve it easily. Problems would then be unable to disturb Peace of Mind. But if the Mind is weak, if it is assailed by fear and doubt or too much of unbridled emotion, it would find it difficult to face the arduous problems of life.

Life is bound to be full of problems. Even if there are no other problems, one’s own body suffers from the problems of illness, decay and death. If problems are an integral part of our existence, we have to be fully prepared to face these with calmness, placidity and fortitude.

In this process of nurturing your inner self, it helps if you continue to remain in the spiritual and religious tradition in which you have been born. I am happy to see that Sathya Sai Baba has said that his mission is not to convert people to other traditions. He would like a Buddhist to be a better Buddhist, a Muslim to be a better Muslim and a Hindu to be a better Hindu.

One should be serious and sincere towards one’s own faith. This generates a calm atmosphere both in the individual and the society. Our inner experiences reach a deeper dimension.

Quite often, I get the feeling that I am reciting verses that were taught to me by my mother and teacher in my childhood. On certain days, it seems to me that I am reciting the verses by rote and not with my full heart and soul in it. The recitation then becomes something of a burden. But later I realize that such daily practice, although it appears to be monotonous and repetitive, it silently and effortlessly builds my inner resources and strength and help me to become a true follower of the Buddha.

In this audience there is a plurality of faiths. This reality has to be accepted. India has always believed in ahimsa in terms of acceptance of other faiths. Gandhiji is a great example of inter-religious harmony. He was a staunch Hindu, but he had a deep respect for other faiths.

Buddha was also a true Indian in this sense. He studied the faiths prevalent in India in his time and practised a number of Hindu paths. After his enlightenment, he taught the four noble truths. Buddha’s philosophy of interdependence is his unique contribution to world philosophy. The concept of interdependence is equally true in the fields of economy, politics, defence and so on. This gives a wider, holistic picture of any problem and brings us closer to reality.

Buddha believed in the human value of truth. He exhorted his followers to follow the truth. When he enunciated the four noble truths, he also analyzed the cause of suffering. His conclusion was that all suffering was due to ignorance. He accepted the practice of Samadhi. He also innovated the vipassana system, which can be a very effective method for reducing attachment. He had great respect for the other traditions.

This ideal of religious tolerance is still alive in India at the village level. There the followers of different faiths have lived together in peace and harmony for the last several centuries. Multi- culturalism and religious tolerance is practised in their daily lives.

It is only in recent times that some politicians have created problems due to their low level of awareness. They have too much attachment, which leads to a narrowness of vision and a kind of shortsightedness. It is important that these few people are not allowed to destroy the rich 7000-year-old tradition of tolerance and harmony. We can all live together and work together at individual and community levels.

In his presidential address, Dr. Karan Singh described the Dalai Lama as a unique combination of a natural sense of humour, compassion, wisdom, and an infectious childlike laugh. He demonstrated by his living example that Spirituality did not necessarily mean a prissy, acidic outlook on life. On the other hand, Spiritually-advanced souls were full of Ananda, which often bubbled over into their conversation.

The Dalai Lama was also the epitome of Compassion. Compassion was the essence of Buddhism. He had deep insight into the nature of the world and man. He had nurtured Tibetan Diaspora all over the world and helped them to organize themselves into dynamic communities.

But apart from being the apostle of Tibetan Buddhism, he had taken the Message of Love, Compassion and Peace to the people of the world. He could be described as a great Warrior of Peace. His services to the world community had been recognized through the award of the Nobel Peace Prize.

Today the world was divided and split apart by fanaticism, hatred and war. Against these demonic forces, we were sorely in need of a countervailing coalition for Peace, led by personalities like Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba and the Dalai Lama.

In order to strengthen the forces of Peace, it was necessary to first accept the fundamental fact that no religion could claim a monopoly on Truth. Nor could we wage wars, crusades and religious conflicts in the twenty-first century, in order to compel others to adopt our point of view. Today, war meant a nuclear conflict, which could easily result in the disappearance of humanity from the face of the globe. We find ourselves in an imperfect world and we have perforce to learn the art of living together in peace and harmony.

India had always nurtured religious harmony through the ages. Our seers had declared long ago that Truth was One and the sages simply called it by different names. We needed to remember these insights that had served this country through the millennia of its existence.

Describing the discourse of the Dalai Lama as illuminating, Dr. Karan Singh expressed his happiness at the large presence of young people in the audience. With so much of misinformation around, it was refreshing to drink from a healing spring of knowledge, insight and wisdom.

Dalai Lama In Delhi
Dalai Lama giving a discourse on Human Values at a function organised by Sathya Sai International Centre for Study and Research in Human Values in the Capital on Saturday.
— Photo by Kamal Singh

The Dalai Lama’s Biography:
His Holiness the 14th the Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso, is the head of state and spiritual leader of the Tibetan people. He was born Lhamo Dhondrub on 6 July 1935, in a small village called Taktser in northeastern Tibet. Born to a peasant family, His Holiness was recognized at the age of two, in accordance with Tibetan tradition, as the reincarnation of his predecessor the 13th Dalai Lama, and thus an incarnation Avalokitesvara, the Buddha of Compassion.
The Dalai Lamas are the manifestations of the Bodhisattva (Buddha) of Compassion, who chose to reincarnate to serve the people. Lhamo Dhondrub was, as Dalai Lama, renamed Jetsun Jamphel Ngawang Lobsang Yeshe Tenzin Gyatso – Holy Lord, Gentle Glory, Compassionate, Defender of the Faith, Ocean of Wisdom. Tibetans normally refer to His Holiness as Yeshe Norbu, the Wishfulfilling Gem or simply Kundun – The Presence.

The enthronement ceremony took place on February 22, 1940 in Lhasa, the capital of Tibet.

Education In Tibet:
He began his education at the age of six and completed the Geshe Lharampa Degree (Doctorate of Buddhist Philosophy) when he was 25 in 1959. At 24, he took the preliminary examinations at each of the three monastic universities: Drepung, Sera and Ganden. The final examination was conducted in the Jokhang, Lhasa during the annual Monlam Festival of Prayer, held in the first month of every year Tibetan calendar.

Leadership Responsibilities:
On November 17, 1950, His Holiness was called upon to assume full political power (head of the State and Government) after some 80,000 Peoples Liberation Army soldiers invaded Tibet. In 1954, he went to Beijing to talk peace with Mao Tse-tung and other Chinese leaders, including Chou En-lai and Deng Xiaoping. In 1956, while visiting India to attend the 2500th Buddha Jayanti Anniversary, he had a series of meetings with Prime Minister Nehru and Premier Chou about deteriorating conditions in Tibet.

His efforts to bring about a peaceful solution to Sino-Tibetan conflict were thwarted by Bejing’s ruthless policy in Eastern Tibet, which ignited a popular uprising and resistance. This resistance movement spread to other parts of the country. On 10 March 1959 the capital of Tibet, Lhasa, exploded with the largest demonstration in Tibetan history, calling on China to leave Tibet and reaffirming Tibet’s independence. The Tibetan National Uprising was brutally crushed by the Chinese army. His Holiness escaped to India where he was given political asylum. Some 80,000 Tibetan refugees followed His Holiness into exile. Today, there are more than 120,000 Tibetan in exile. Since 1960, he has resided in Dharamsala, India, known as “Little Lhasa,” the seat of the Tibetan Government-in-exile.

In the early years of exile, His Holiness appealed to the United Nations on the question of Tibet, resulting in three resolutions adopted by the General Assembly in 1959, 1961, and 1965, calling on China to respect the human rights of Tibetans and their desire for self-determination. With the newly constituted Tibetan Government-in-exile, His Holiness saw that his immediate and urgent task was to save the both the Tibetan exiles and their culture alike. Tibetan refugees were rehabilitated in agricultural settlements. Economic development was promoted and the creation of a Tibetan educational system was established to raise refugee children with full knowledge of their language, history, religion and culture. The Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts was established in 1959, while the Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies became a university for Tibetans in India. Over 200 monasteries have been re-established to preserve the vast corpus of Tibetan Buddhist teachings, the essence of the Tibetan way of life.

In 1963, His Holiness promulgated a democratic constitution, based on Buddhist principles and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as a model for a future free Tibet. Today, members of the Tibetan parliament are elected directly by the people. The members of the Tibetan Cabinet are elected by the parliament, making the Cabinet answerable to the Parliament. His Holiness has continuously emphasized the need to further democratise the Tibetan administration and has publicly declared that once Tibet regains her independence he will not hold political office.

In Washington, D.C., at the Congressional Human Rights Caucus in 1987, he proposed a Five-Point Peace Plan as a first step toward resolving the future status of Tibet. This plan calls for the designation of Tibet as a zone of peace, an end to the massive transfer of ethnic Chinese into Tibet, restoration of fundamental human rights and democratic freedoms, and the abandonment of China’s use of Tibet for nuclear weapons production and the dumping of nuclear waste, as well as urging “earnest negotiations” on the future of Tibet.

In Strasbourg, France, on 15 June 1988, he elaborated the Five-Point Peace Plan and proposed the creation of a self-governing democratic Tibet, “in association with the People’s Republic of China.”

On 2 September 1991, the Tibetan Government-in-exile declared the Strasbourg Proposal invalid because of the closed and negative attitude of the present Chinese leadership towards the ideas expressed in the proposal.

On 9 October 1991, during an address at Yale University in the United States, His Holiness said that he wanted to visit Tibet to personally assess the political situation. He said, “I am extremely anxious that, in this explosive situation, violence may break out. I want to do what I can to prevent this…. My visit would be a new opportunity to promote understanding and create a basis for a negotiated solution.”

Contact with West and East:
Since 1967, His Holiness initiated a series of journeys which have taken him to some 46 nations. In autumn of 1991, he visited the Baltic States at the invitation of Lithuanian President Vytautas Landsbergis of Lithuania and became the first foreign leader to address the Lithuanian Parliament. His Holiness met with the late Pope Paul VI at the Vatican in 1973. At a press conference in Rome in 1980, he outlined his hopes for the meeting with John Paul II: “We live in a period of great crisis, a period of troubling world developments. It is not possible to find peace in the soul without security and harmony between peoples. For this reason, I look forward with faith and hope to my meeting with the Holy Father; to an exchange of ideas and feelings, and to his suggestions, so as to open the door to a progressive pacification between peoples.” His Holiness met Pope John Paul II at the Vatican in 1980, 1982, 1986, 1988 and 1990. In 1981, His Holiness talked with Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Robert Runcie, and with other leaders of the Anglican Church in London. He also met with leaders of the Roman Catholic and Jewish communities and spoke at an interfaith service held in his honor by the World Congress of Faiths: “I always believe that it is much better to have a variety of religions, a variety of philosophies, rather than one single religion or philosophy. This is necessary because of the different mental dispositions of each human being. Each religion has certain unique ideas or techniques, and learning about them can only enrich one’s own faith.”

Recognition And Awards:
Since his first visit to the west in the early 1973, a number of western universities and institutions have conferred Peace Awards and honorary Doctorate Degrees in recognition of His Holiness’ distinguished writings in Buddhist philosophy and for his leadership in the solution of international conflicts, human rights issues and global environmental problems. In presenting the Raoul Wallenberg Congressional Human Rights Award in 1989, U.S. Congressman Tom Lantos said, “His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s courageous struggle has distinguished him as a leading proponent of human rights and world peace. His ongoing efforts to end the suffering of the Tibetan people through peaceful negotiations and reconciliation have required enormous courage and sacrifice.”

The 1989 Nobel Peace Prize:
The Norwegian Nobel Committee’s decision to award the 1989 Peace Prize to His Holiness the Dalai Lama won worldwide praise and applause, with exception of China. The CommitteeÕs citation read, “The Committee wants to emphasize the fact that the Dalai Lama in his struggle for the liberation of Tibet consistently has opposed the use of violence. He has instead advocated peaceful solutions based upon tolerance and mutual respect in order to preserve the historical and cultural heritage of his people.”

On 10 December 1989, His Holiness accepted the prize on the behalf of oppressed everywhere and all those who struggle for freedom and work for world peace and the people of Tibet. In his remarks he said, “The prize reaffirms our conviction that with truth, courage and determination as our weapons, Tibet will be liberated. Our struggle must remain nonviolent and free of hatred.”

He also had a message of encouragement for the student-led democracy movement in China. “In China the popular movement for democracy was crushed by brutal force in June this year. But I do not believe the demonstrations were in vain, because the spirit of freedom was rekindled among the Chinese people and China cannot escape the impact of this spirit of freedom sweeping in many parts of the world. The brave students and their supporters showed the Chinese leadership and the world the human face of that great nations.”

A Simple Buddhist Monk:
His Holiness often says, “I am just a simple Buddhist monk – no more, nor less.”

His Holiness follows the life of Buddhist monk. Living in a small cottage in Dharamsala, he rises at 4 A.M. to meditate, pursues an ongoing schedule of administrative meetings, private audiences and religious teachings and ceremonies. He concludes each day with further prayer before retiring. In explaining his greatest sources of inspiration, he often cites a favorite verse, found in the writings of the renowned eighth century Buddhist saint Shantideva:

For as long as space endures
And for as long as living beings remain,
Until then may I too abide
To dispel the misery of the world.

For as long as space endures
And for as long as living beings remain,
Until then may I too abide
To dispel the misery of the world.

Reference

Dalai Lama