You Cannot Always Oblige, But You Can Speak Obligingly

Sathya Sai Baba

Sathya Sai Baba


You Cannot Always Oblige, But You Can Speak Obligingly

Loving Sai Ram and greetings from Prashanti Nilayam.

Gandhi often said that he wanted to live till 120 but he died much before that, not due to natural causes but due to assassination. Gandhi preached and practiced non-violence, peace and love; but ironically, he died on account of the anger and hate in the mind of the assassin. Gandhi is remembered for many things but today, we would like to dwell briefly upon a few aspects most important for our times.

If there is anything that stands above everything else in the personality of Gandhi, it is his firm commitment to Sathya and Dharma. Where these two were concerned, Gandhi took no orders from anyone except his Conscience. As Sathya Sai Baba often reminds us, Conscience is our true Master. Even recently, Satya SaiBaba was telling a couple of people from overseas, ‘People worship my Form but that is not enough; God is Inside and they should listen to His voice which is always speaking and giving good advice.’

Getting back to Gandhi, one might ask: ‘We all have Conscience; God is in all of us; then how come we are not able to do what Gandhi did?’ This is a question we really ought to be asking ourselves all the time, especially when Sri Sathya Sai Baba often tells that we are very deficient when it comes to following His teachings. The answer to the question we have posed is simple: Gandhi practiced many of the things that Swami teaches even though he never met Swami and had never even seen Him – remember Gandhi died on 30th January 1948, when very few people in this country knew about Swamiji. We, on the other hand, pride ourselves in listening and reading Swami’s Discourses, but avoid practice.

Gandhi took God seriously, indeed far more seriously than most of us do, and that is what made him so very different. Now what are those things that Gandhi did that gave him such towering Inner strength? Firstly, he was always chanting the Name of the Lord so much so he literally died with God’s Name on his lips. Next, he tried his best to remain true to his Conscience, indeed even in politics. Chanting the Name and being true to one’s Conscience are precisely the things that Swami wants from all of us; yet we consistently deny exactly those two to Swami whereas Gandhi gave just Him that; and that is because he really loved God.

Gandhi was called Mahatma; what does that mean? All of us are embodiments of the Divine Atma, as Sathya Sai Baba often reminds us; but Gandhi made that embodiment come ALIVE, and that is why he was called Mahatma, which means a great Atma. Gandhi was not born a Mahatma but by strictly adhering to the command of God, he became one.

Sathya Sai Baba often talks of bookish knowledge and practical knowledge. Gandhi is a good example of a man who translated bookish knowledge into brilliant practical knowledge. And this is something we should pay careful attention to. Today, if anyone were to say that Sathya and Dharma are very essential in national and international politics, people would dismiss that person as a bloody fool. Gandhi showed, however, that indeed even politics must be pursued keeping in mind all the time, what we call human values.

When Gandhi launched the famous Sathyagraha [non-violent, civil disobedience] movement as a part of the freedom struggle in India, he made it very clear that the struggle would be non-violent. However, some misguided people let their passions run away and burnt a Police Station, which resulted in the death of many Policemen. Gandhi was stunned; he did not expect this. Promptly he suspended the Sathyagraha, publicly declared that he had made a huge mistake – a Himalayan blunder as he called it – and then went on a fast to purify himself.

In August 1947, the British partitioned the subcontinent into two countries, India and Pakistan. All the assets of British India were divided between these two new countries – the railways, the Central Bank [called the Reserve Bank], and so on. It so happened that as a part of this division, India had to pay Pakistan 550 million rupees [or 55 crores as we would say in India]. Immediately after partition, there was an armed conflict between the two countries and on that basis, India withheld the 55 crores. Gandhi criticised that action as being morally incorrect; the word having been given, must be kept, politics or no politics. Such was the respect that Gandhi commanded, that the Government of India yielded and did precisely what Gandhi advised.

Gandhi started off as like most of us, as an ordinary person. He was not a scholar of the scriptures, the Vedas and the Upanishads. But one thing he knew – in life, Truth and Righteousness are always of paramount importance. And he resolved that never would he compromise on these, even if it meant death. That is what firm faith is all about. In other words, Gandhi demonstrated beyond doubt that with firm faith and deep love for God, one can develop so much self-confidence that one can face any adverse situation.

It is no surprise that Gandhi attracted and continues to attract admirers and even followers. Speaking on the occasion of Nelson Mandela’s 85th Birthday, President Clinton said that in politics he admired no one more than Gandhi. Martin Luther King never saw Gandhi but he showed that Gandhi’s principle of non-violence works even in modern times. And, in his own way, Nelson Mandela too demonstrated that non-violence is superior to violence.

These are days when people tend to dismiss Sathya and Dharma rather quickly, claiming that they won’t work in the age of globalisation. This is a myth and it is tragic that such falsehood is being actively peddled amongst the gullible.

If we concede that it is God who has created the Universe of which we are a part, and that God is Sathya, Dharma and Prema, then we too must have those genes of basic values. If we have come from the Creator, how can we not have at least some of the ‘Divine genes’. Under the circumstances, to deny Sathya and Dharma is to deny ourselves as well as God. Nothing could be more foolish. Today’s generation might tend to dismiss Gandhi but, as Einstein said of him, centuries hence people would wonder whether such a man did really walk on earth.

Mahatma Gandhi

Mahatma Gandhi


When Sathya Sai Baba talks of values like Prema, Ahimsa etc., we nod our heads and clap but later dismiss them as irrelevant for this age. That is not true; as long as there are humans on earth, values are a MUST, and instead of dismissing them because we are too weak to follow them, we must take courage from the shining example of Gandhi and try to emulate him, in at least a small measure, by listening to our Conscience, for example.

Jai Sai Ram.
With Love and Regards,
“Heart2Heart”
RadioSai’s e-Journal Team,
In Sai Service

The Silver Map of India

Sathya Sai Baba

Sathya Sai Baba


The Silver Map of India

We all caught our breaths, as Sathya Sai Baba created a most powerful object. It had a round black onyx base and on it was a silver map of India. Surrounding the map were 18 jewels that glistened in the dark, from some mysterious inner light.

He said that on the map were inscribed 100 Sanskrit verses giving the history of the Avatar from birth to the time when it leaves the body. He said, “All great works of the Avatar and all leaders chosen from my students are recorded here”.

He took it around for all to see and touch. Spiritually it was very powerful and esthetically very beautiful. The writing was too small to decipher. When asked, He answered, “I will not reveal the future. Everything will be revealed in due time. Why do you hanker after this object when you have its creator? You have Me and I have you. You are all sacred souls and have roles in the mission. No force can delay this mission even by one instant. I will appear in many manifestations of my form. Wherever you are, there I will be”.

He was not just speaking to the students, but to all of us… fortunate souls whom He has gathered in. It continues to be a great wonder to me, that not only is Swami still quite easily accessible, but there are so very few who have committed to become His devotees and live His teachings. Swami said His devotees are one in a hundred thousand. He said that one among ten, you can find one truly good person; one among ten such has some deep feelings for god; one among such ten will yearn for a direct experience; and one out of such ten will be ready to let go totally, to renounce, and surrender completely to God. “That is My devotee, and He is very dear to me”, Swami said.

Al Drucker

From the book: Love in Action, Proceedings of the Meeting of Sai Organisations of Europe, Hamburg, 12-15 May, 1989

It Was Well Done That It Was Not Well Done

Shirdi Sai Baba

Shirdi Sai Baba


It Was Well Done That It Was Not Well Done

While treading through the concepts of the eternal journey of an Individual Soul (Jeevatma) and its ultimate goal of regaining the consciousness that it is part of, the Supreme Soul (Shivatma), one finds that the Individual Soul passes through different bodies or forms during different births or incarnations, gradually updating and re-updating its consciousness. Somewhere in its eternal pilgrimage, the Soul gets guided by another experienced one, who has already attained the goal and beyond and filled with extreme level of compassion, takes the responsibility to guide the others in the desired path. This surely can be described as the most compassionate act in the whole universe. Probably for the Guide, the motto is “the Soul must go on…….”

Here, we would not discuss more about the journey of the Soul. Rather, we would discuss about the relationship between the Guide and the Pilgrim as mentioned above, going through some incidents from the lives of some able Masters (Guide) and their great Disciples (Pilgrims). Here, we would try and delve into the nectar filled intricacies in their relationships, the eternal longing for each other and the greatest milestones set by them for others to look up to.

Saint Sarmad used to be a well-to-do Parsi business man, visiting various parts of northern India for trade. Once while in Bihar, he saw a very good looking young man and was spell bound by his charm. It automatically struck him ‘If the creation of God can be so beautiful, how beautiful the God himself would be?’ Then Sarmad wandered in search of the most Beautiful God and after some time, he met the great saint ‘Bhikha’. The Pilgrim had found his Guide, or rather the vice versa…

After his companionship of the gross body with the Master was over, Sarmad wandered in the streets of Delhi, praising his all compassionate Master. Sometimes he used to utter verses, expressing sheer joy and ecstasy at the thought of the Master; sometimes praising the glory of the Master; and at times pensively longing for the Master.

For many he was a revered one and yet for some, a mad man. On this, in one of his Rubaiyats, Sarmad said, ‘they say that my life was not well done; but I say it was well done that it was not well done.’ Thus he had aptly justified that if he had put himself into the mundane chores of the world, then he would have missed the most important companionship of his Master. Once, condemning the worldly contacts and looking up to the Master’s compassion, Sarmad said, ‘For my misdeeds, I bow my head in shame. I pass my life in worries and doing what I should not. But O’ Master, your reputation for grace and mercy is at stake; not my reputation for misdeeds.’

Such was the intensity of love and longing ness of Sarmad for his Master that at times Sarmad used to utter words of confrontation, challenging the Master to prove wrong, Sarmad’s own conviction of the supreme greatness of the Master. In one Rubaiyat, Sarmad said, ‘Tell me the cause of my broken-heartedness; Tell me how long I shall endure this pain; I know I am a sinner and a supplicant at the door of your grace; And if you can not forgive me, lead me then to the door of another one more compassionate than you.’

With the passage of time, when Sarmad’s popularity grew as a holy saint, the priests and the advisors of Aurangjeb, the then mogul emperor became jealous and charged Sarmad with the act of blasphemy of Islam. In Islam, idol worship is strictly prohibited, yet Sarmad was going on and on with worshipping and praising his Master. When Sarmad was confronted with this charge of idol worship, he said,

‘Why do you seek His abode in the chapel or the mosque? Can’t you see His creation above and below? Wherein does He not abide? The whole universe made by Him recites His tale. He alone is wise, who for Him is mad….’

‘I am an idol-worshipper and not among the believers. I go towards the mosque, though I am no Moslem…’

Thus, Sarmad, amidst all the chaos of the mundane world, kept on praising the glory of his Master and eventually when Sarmad left his gross body, none other than his Master appeared before him to greet him into the other world.

As the disciple longs for the Master, the Master also longs no less for the disciple. The relationship between Shri Sai Baba of Shirdi and probably His greatest disciple Shri Upasani Maharaj is an apt example of the same.

When Upasani Maharaj came to Shri Sainath for the first time in Shirdi, Shri Sainath was already waiting for the arrival of Upasani Maharaj. When Shri Sainath asked for ‘Dakshina’, Upasani Maharaj gave Shri Sainath a coin, which was no longer valid. Immediately, with all love and compassion, Shri Sainath gave a hint about Upasani Maharaj’s future. Shri Sainath said, ‘You have given me this coin, but I will give you the most precious one.’ This kind of strange behavior did not impress Upasani Maharaj much and he wanted to leave Shirdi as soon as possible.

Before leaving Shirdi, when Upasani Maharaj asked for Shri Sainath’s permission, Shri Sainatn said, ‘You will return to Shirdi in eight days.’ And thus happened, on the eighth day, Upasani Maharaj reached Kopergaon, a place just eight miles away from Shirdi, to his utter confusion. He realized that during the nine days, he had actually lost his path and was roaming around Shirdi. At that moment, Upasani Maharaj understood the ‘What’ and ‘Why’ of Shri Sainath’s words. Filled with insurmountable love for the Beloved, he returned back to Shirdi. The ‘Guide’ had found His able ‘Pilgrim’ and the journey of Upasani Maharaj towards the pinnacle had just begun to end.

Upon Shri Sainath’s instructions, Upasani Maharaj started living in the Kandoba Temple, just adjacent to Shirdi. Shri Sainath seldom used to meet Upasani Maharaj physically. Through many visions and mysterious instructions, Shri Sainath carved a Perfect Master, the highest of the high, out of Upasani Maharaj, in just about four years!

Under the active observation of his Master, Upasani Maharaj started the final phase of his pilgrimage, practicing greatest levels of penance and other spiritual practices. On one occasion, sitting amongst some devotees, Shri Sainath declared with divine love for Upasani Maharaj, ‘For me, the whole world is one side and Upasani, the other.’ That is probably the greatest level of performance evaluation any disciple can never even dream of from his Master.

When Swami Vivekananda met with Shri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa for the first time, Shri Ramakrishna abruptly started crying like a child. Tears of the pleasure of finding a missing one were rolling down his cheeks incessantly. The disciples of Shri Ramakrishna remained dumbfounded at the site. Then to add to everybody’s surprise, Shri Ramakrishna said, ‘Where had you been? I have been waiting for you for so long?’ At that point of time Vivekananda did not quite understand what the Master had said. It took him some time to understand that actually at that very moment, the Guide had found His long lost Pilgrim.

Once, Shri Yogananda was sitting with his Master Shri Yukteshwar Giri. There was something in Yogananda’s mind, that he had kept to himself for long, to be expressed to the Master. On this occasion, Yogananda could not restrain himself any more and asked the master, ‘Master, till now, never ever have you told that you love me.’ Hearing this, Shri Yukteshwar Giri remained silent for some time and eventually expressed His unfathomable love for the disciple by saying, ‘But why do you wish to bring the warm feelings into the purview of the coldness of vocabulary?’ Upon Yogananda’s insistence, the master eventually said, ‘so let it be; I love you Yogananda.’ Then filled with gratitude, Yogananda said, ‘Ah Master that is my ticket to heaven.’

The above incident subtly describes the feelings the Master and the Disciple hold deep within their souls for each other. Those are never expressed and always understood and experienced with no words uttered and no questions asked.

The Master of the great Bulleh Shah was revered Shah Inayat. Bullah Shah served the Master with great zeal and assiduousness. Complete surrender and service to the Master with a life bubbling with renunciation and unswerving devotion, gained for him the grace of the Master. With the passage of time, Bullah Shah, unable to control his joy, began expressing his divine experiences before the uninitiated. That displeased Shah Inayat and for a time, Bullah Shah was expelled from the hermitage of the Master.

With the separation, the whole universe fell crashing down on Bullah Shah. His state of mind was no better than a mad man, not having any control whatsoever over his behavior. He did not have any sense of pain and pleasure; the feeling of agony and joy were the same for him. During this period he once wrote, ‘What was my fault that you forsook me and went away? I pass my nights and days in tears. More tense and brutal are the shafts of love than the canon shots and swords. None is cruel like love, it is very deadly and painful…’

Completely ignorant about what is to be done about the problem, and filled with unquenchable thirst of love, Bullah Shah started learning traditional dances of a dancing girl to impress the Master. Soon, after he became proficient in it, disguised as a dancing girl, he went to a congregation of Sufis held at Shah Inayat’s place and melodiously sang the following:

‘My Lord, my Guru has left me, what shall I do? He has left me, I must pursue Him. The flames of the fire of separation are leaping without sight of Him. Without my preceptor, I have lost both my worlds…’

The melody of the voice, the depth of the meaning and the piercing agony of separation made Shah Inayat recognize His disciple Bulleh Shah, despite the attire of Bulleh Shah’s disguise. And when the Master interrogated, ‘Is it Bulleh?’, the disciple answered, ‘Not Bulleh but Bhullah (meaning literally ‘the erring one’).’ An embrace followed and once again Bulleh Shah and Shah Inayat were together.

From the above one understands that once the Disciple finds the Master or vice versa, there is only room left for divine love and longing for each other. Irrespective of the physical proximity, both the emotions remain there till the Disciple and the Master become one and the same. For the Master, the divine welfare of the Disciple is the priority and for the Disciple, the Master prioritizes over the mundane world. All barriers with regard to the society, religion, custom and so on and so forth are of no relevance. Thus amongst and irrespective of all the chaos and anarchy, the Disciple is all concentration upon his Master. As the Disciple progresses in the path of love shown by the Master, his judgment towards the worldly life remains – ‘It was well done that it was not well done…’

Debabrata Satpathy

Reference

New Year 2009 At The Sathya Sai Baba Ashram

Old And The New

Old And The New


2009 New Year Morning Darshan At Prashanti Nilayam, Sathya Sai Baba Ashram

New Year Celebrations At Prashanti, 01 Jan 2009, Pictures

Curtesty SaiEditor:
The darshan hall is quiet, the flag-bearers await Swami, the procession and band wait quietly outside Yajur Mandir. The darshan hall is chock-a-block full of waiting devotees. Primary school children enter the darshan hall, in their bright orange vests; parents wait for their children to pass and get a glimpse. Classes carrying New Year Cards and Greetings to Swami; some are quite large.

Silence; waiting for the Lord. My mind wanders and I wonder if Swami is waiting for Muhurtam, a most auspicious time for giving of grace, blessing and Love, Love, Love. At 9.45am, the procession enters the darshan hall – Flag bearers, students dressed as brahmins in ochre robes with white shawls enter next, chanting slokas, among all of that I hear the Sai Gayathri, and then Swami enters, dressed in white, in the gold throne chair, with umbrella following him.

A slow procession across the darshan hall, then across the very front of the porch, up to the veranda.

The porch cover is draped in bunting, green boughs and there is a floral arch atop with Happy New Year. Swami’s face is beaming, almost a radiant, golden face, he has a smile and moves slowly across the front of the porch to traverse the length of the veranda where cards and cakes are presented by the various classes and schools.

Swami then arrives at the front of the porch, where he lights two lamps; there is applause as Swami lights the lamps. The brahmin students continue to chant slokas. Swami turns and faces the darshan hall. Looking down the darshan hall, I can see men standing at the back, the crowd is impassable, there are men on the steps, men have climbed the iron fencing itself to obtain darshan.

Up the front, cameras flash. Students kneel in front of Swami; there is some conversation and the morning’s program is presented to Swami.

Enfin, the Brahmin students chant Shanti, Shanti Shantihi.

Silence.

First is an orchestral presentation … orchestral music, trumpets, drums, electric piano, tuba, oompha, more drums, cymbals, it is grand to listen to. There is loud applause as the Music College students finish their numbers.

One student arises, takes padnamaskar and speaks. He talks about the difference Swami makes to this world, every sunrise, every day, every breath of wind, all of creation is graced by all of His love. His integrity, his grace and above all, His love, makes our lives pristine, pure and a holy offering. On behalf of all of us present, and devotees everywhere, he greets Swami on this auspicious new year day.

The violins play a catchy tune, and there is a song, very uplifting about the glory of Sai Baba. The next song is pure magic. It is a song to Sai Maa, with western backing, it grabs the very heart and soul and lifts the emotions, all of who you are up with each refrain to Sai Maa. Swami is reading the program. A pause; more of this marvellous song:

Sai Maa,
Sai Maa,
Atma Maa,
Atmaswarupa Maa,
SAI MAA

And that last Sai Maaaaaa just about blows the roof of the darshan hall. Marvellous.
The oboe plays a solo number; serenity pervades the darshan hall.

Students then sing a composition called Sai Prema Govinda, those voices are of the quality I recall of the great singers of classical ragas. They are fabulous voices. There is a twist, a very nice song with a strong catchy drum support about “Surrender to you, Sai Prema Maa”, and I realise its the same song, Sai Maa with a catchy rock beat behind it; they sing of the glories of Shirdi, the glories of Parthi. Then Sai Govinda, beloved of the Gopees.

Students approach Swami, kneel and offer the next part of the program to Swami. One of them gives a talk and towards the end of the talk, the electric piano starts up accompanied by flute, and a lovely song, the crowd sing along and clap, “Everybody loves Sai”. A very catchy song, sung bhajan style. Crowd joins in enthusiastically. Its a mixture of blues, rock, very appealing and parts of it remind me of Frank Sinatra singing! That causes me to pause a bit and ponder the skillbase of these students — they have certainly acquired a vast repertoire of musical ability; this reminds me of what Swami told me one day, “What I look for in people is capacity”.

Swami, wearing a white robe, is seated at the front of the darshan hall on the golden throne-chair, (I don’t think this one is a car seat, somehow) (although it could well be) … and he dabs his lips often, and keeps referring to the program. A troupe of students wearing gaily coloured headbands approach the front of the porch and begin dancing and singing Nacho, Nacho, Nandalala, and they move through several different types of dance as they sing; a Radhe-Gopala bhajan, and then Govinda Krishna Jai which everybody joins in, singing and clapping. They did it really well.

Another student gets up and gives a talk; students then approach Swami with bowls of prasadam which Swami blesses. Electric piano and flute lead the bhajans as the students begin to thread their way through the darshan distributing prasadam to all present.

And that was the morning darshan for New Year Day. The Lord Sai was captured prisoner by the love and devotion and presentations of the students and assembled devotees on this New Year’s Morn.

Courtesy: http://saieditor. com/spirit/

Curtesy RadioSai
Thursday, January 1, 2009

The Sai Students – alumni of Prasanthi Nilayam and Brindavan – were ready to escort Bhagawan from His residence to Sai Kulwant Hall in a procession with flag marchers and Poornakumbham with Vedam. Swami arrived just before 10 am in a dazzling white robe seated on a golden chair, granting New Year darshan to the devotees who filled and surrounded Sai Kulwant Hall. When He reached the verandah, Bhagawan blessed the cakes there and came onstage to begin the programme arranged by the Sai Students. A band programme with symphonic and vocal accompaniment was followed by songs composed for the occasion by the Sai Students. The whole programme was interspersed with short speeches by the alumni, reliving their days with Sai. A bhajan medley formed the score for a short dance programme too. Swami blessed the participants who came up to Him one by one, and after prasadam was distributed, accepted Arati at 11.35 am.

Bhagawan arrived in the evening for darshan clad in a deep red robe. When He came onstage just before 5.30 pm, He blessed the brass band of the University to perform, and they played a couple of pieces with brief introductions. Songs by the students followed. Swami called up some of the alumni singers and asked them to sing, and they sang some of the group songs which used to be sung by the students in the mid-90s. After 45 minutes of music, Bhagawan delivered His Divine Message. Bhagawan’s emphasised the message of Advaita, stressing the point that there is nothing in this world which is not divine, and that we should conduct ourselves bearing this in mind. After speaking for more than 70 minutes, Bhagawan asked for Bhajans to begin at 7.25 pm. Prasadam was distributed, and Swami accepted Arati at 7.45 before returning to His residence.

Also see:
Happy New Year 2009 From The SathyaSaiBaba WordPress Blog

Yagnam For World Peace Begins

Sathya Sai Baba 83rd Birthday Celebrations

Sathya Sai Baba 83rd Birthday Celebrations


Yagnam For World Peace Begins
Express News Service
First Published : 16 Nov 2008 09:53:00 AM IST
Last Updated : 16 Nov 2008 12:52:51 PM IST

ANANTAPUR: The 83rd birthday celebrations of Sri Sathya Sai Baba began at Puttaparthi today with Sahasra Purna Chandra Santhi Yagnam. Sri Saibaba inaugurated the threeday yagnam for world peace at Hill View Stadium.

The yagnam has greater significance as Sri Saibaba’s birthday celebrations begin with Sri Venugopala Swamy Rathotsavam every year. Sri Jayendra Saraswati and Avadhoota Sridatta Swamy will participate in the yagnam on the concluding day on November 17.

The State Government set up a committee with four ministers to oversee the arrangements for devotees visiting Puttaparthi to participate in the birthday celebrations of Sri Sai Baba.

Major Industries Minister J Geetha Reddy, TTD Chairman DK Audikesavulu Naidu, District Collector V Anil Kumar, OSD Vijayakumar, SP MK Singh, IGs Sivanarayana and RP Thakur and others were present at the inaugural ceremony.

The Information and Public Relations Department is organising a photo exhibition on welfare schemes and development programmes to mark the birthday fete of Sri Sathya Sai Baba.

Collector Anil Kumar inaugurated the photo exhibition at the RTC bus stand in Puttaparthi today.

The exhibition will be on till November 23. DPRO P Thimmappa, Penugonda Sub-Collector Praveen Kumar and other officials were also present.

Reference

Recent Events At Prashanti Nilayam – Sathya Sai Baba Ashram

Sathya Sai Baba - Recent Events

Sathya Sai Baba - Recent Events At Prashanti


Recent Events At Prashanti Nilayam – Sathya Sai Baba Ashram
Curtesty RadioSai:

Sunday, October 26, 2008
If yesterday it was the chance of the Iranian student to chant Vedam onstage, today it was the turn of the two American brothers, one in the school and one in the college. Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba came onstage after His darshan round in the car at 4.30 pm, and asked Prof. Anil Kumar to announce that the Vedic hymns are not limited to any country or religion, and then called up the two American boys to chant onstage. After ten minutes of their chanting, Swami sat for a few more minutes while everyone chanted together, and then moved to the Bhajan Hall and then to the interview room. During the Bhajans which began at five o’clock in the Bhajan Hall, Swami asked for the two bhajans with Alap to be sung – ‘Sri Raghavam’ and ‘Allah ho Akbar’. At 5.45, He accepted Arati and returned to His residence.

Saturday, October 25, 2008
This evening, Bhajans began at five o’clock and Bhagawan arrived for darshan a short while later. He sat onstage and blessed many students with letters and gave a chain to one of them. Ten minutes past six, He asked for the Bhajans to stop, and collective chanting of the Rudram began. The Iranian student from the Primary School was asked to stand onstage and chant into the microphone. Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba asked Prof. Anil Kumar to announce after the chanting that the boy was from Iran, and that he was the first to learn Vedam there. After a few more minutes of chanting, Swami accepted Arati at 6.35 pm and returned to His residence.

Friday, October 24, 2008
This evening, youth from the North-Eastern states Assam and Manipur presented some dances. At four o’clock, Swami went to the Stadium directly from His residence in the car, and returned directly to His residence after half an hour. Later, He came onstage at 5 pm after His darshan round in the chair, and the programme commenced shortly thereafter. Youth from Assam presented Sattriya dance and Guru Vandana followed by Krishna Vandana. Manipur youth then presented Thougal Jagoi dance. Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba sent clothes for the participants and Bhajans began by the youth at 6 pm. Prasadam was distributed during Arati at 6.20 pm, following which Swami came down from the stage and blessed all the participants with group photographs before returning to His residence in the car. See: “Vandana”, Saatriya Dance Presentations by Assam Youth and a Thougal Jagoi Dance Presentation by Manipal Youth

Tuesday, October 21, 2008
This evening, youth from Kerala presented a dance followed by a music programme. Bhagawan came onstage after His darshan round by 4.30 pm, and in ten minutes, asked the Kerala State President Prof. Mukundan to introduce the programme. After the 20 minute dance, Swami went to the interview room briefly before coming out to begin the musical performance. Forty minutes of popular devotional Carnatic and Hindustani songs were followed by bhajans by the students for twenty minutes before Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba accepted Arati at 6.10. He Blessed the singers with clothes and the dancers with a group photograph. The main dancer was blessed with a ring, and Swami interacted with him for a few minutes before returning to His residence in the car after granting padanamaskar for all the performers at 6.30 pm. See: ‘Sivashtakam’, a Classical Dance Ballet and Classical Music by Sri Prasanna Venkataraman and Kum. Lakshmi

Gandhi on Gandhi

Pat McGrath, The Ottawa Citizen

Rajmohan Gandhi, a professor and the grand son of Mahatma Gandhi, will be speaking at the Museum of Civilization today. Photograph by : Pat McGrath, The Ottawa Citizen


Gandhi on Gandhi
Scholar speaks on Hinduism, grandfather
Jennifer Green, The Ottawa Citizen
Published: Saturday, October 11, 2008

Mahatma Gandhi was not only a hero, but a committed Hindu and complex human who blundered, sorrowed, and even fell in love, says his grandson and biographer.

Rajmohan Gandhi, author of Gandhi: The Man, His People and The Empire, will talk in Ottawa today on Gandhi and the Hindu Tradition.

“Current Hindu extremism is a grave reality,” Mr. Gandhi said in an interview yesterday. “These attacks on nuns and priests, it’s most disturbing.”

Mr. Gandhi teaches at the University of Illinois, specializing in Southeast East Asia and Middle Eastern studies. He believes comfortable elites incite the lowest in Indian society, the Dalits or untouchables, and the tribal groups.

“They have succeeded in deflecting the anger against high castes, and redirected it to Muslims and Christians. They are told that they will be in the lead defending Hindu society. The elevated position being offered, it feels empowering. Meanwhile, the forces behind the riots and violence stay safe in their homes.

They themselves will not be caught by the arms of the law.”

Although the professor will lecture on Hinduism, the 73-year-old descendent of the Mahatma knows people really want to hear about his grandfather.

“Every person who meets me wants me to relate personal memories. On the other hand, most people have warm feelings about Gandhi and that translates into a cordial feeling towards me.

A brother of mine he used to say if we did something good or even courageous, everyone said, ‘so what, you’re a Gandhi,’ but if you did something bad, it was, ‘how dare you!”’

The professor has spent many years researching his grandfather’s life.

“He was a slave to his conscience … as a result I think he made a remarkable new version of Hinduism. To many Hindus, their religion is just a matter of following certain rules but Gandhi brought the ethical to the foreground.

He liberated Hinduism from mere ritual.”

Still, he was not always as kind to his family as he was to the rest of the world. To his great sorrow, he was estranged from his eldest son after refusing to pay for higher education. He criticized another son who tried to help this estranged brother, dismissing him as “weak.”

Despite his well-known celibacy, when he was about 45 he developed a romantic passion for an accomplished but married woman who was also active with social issues. Various family members intervened and the affair of the heart came to an end.

Mr. Gandhi speaks at 2 p.m. today at the Museum of Civilization 100 Laurier St., in Gatineau. Admission is free.

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