Do you know God?

Do you know God?
Thomas Chillikulam, TOI Crest,
Apr 17, 2010, 01.07pm IST

Divine understanding …

Religious fundamentalism runs on the engine of arrogance. A religious fundamentalist claims to possess absolute knowledge and truth about God. The basic teachings of religions regarding God prove such claims to be false because all religions perceive God as an inexhaustible and indescribable mystery that cannot be grasped fully. The Bible affirms that the ineffable mystery of God eludes understanding – “Can you penetrate the designs of God? It is higher than the heavens; what can you know?” (Book of Job 11:78). St Augustine, an early Christian thinker, warned those who hold absolutist claims: “If you know God,it is not God”. For St Thomas Aquinas, Christian theologian of all times, the greatest of all knowledge about God is: “To know that one does not know God”.

Upanishadic sages were aware of the incomprehensibility of the divine mystery. The mystery of God is so ineffable that, “The eye does not reach it, or speech, or the mind. It is not understood by those who understand it; it is understood by those who do not understand it,” says the Kena Upanishad (1.3.4).The Absolute is anirvachaniyam or indescribable. Hence, after every description of God, the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad (3.9.26) adds “neti, neti”“not so, not so”. Sufi Muslim saint Sarafudddin Maneri acknowledges: “A hundred thousand intellects cannot comprehend Thee, O, You who lie hidden from the gaze of eye and soul”. Khwaja Abu Sa’id, another Sufi saint, declares: “No one knows the full story, hold your tongue, hold your tongue”.

Historical experiences and cultural expressions of being gripped by God give rise to particular religions. Religions are existentially manifold, yet at the inner level of spirituality there is an essential unity because the core experience of being gripped by God is the same. Nonetheless, diversity and plurality of religions have contributed positively to the spiritual evolution of humanity. Each religion is the expression of a unique interplay of the divine spirit and the creative human spirit in and through diverse cultures and symbols. Therefore, it is important to respect the diversity of religions and at the same time recognise the basic unity of religions.

God is beyond all religions and no religion can claim to possess absolute truth or make the claim of being the norm for all the others. Truly religious persons cannot be exclusive. They can discern the presence of God in every religion.

Ramakrishna and Sri Satya Sai Baba of Puttaparthi did not find any contradiction in practising different religions. They exemplify the ideal of finding God in all religions and respecting the faith, symbols and practices of other religions. It is untenable to hold on to a position that God’s revelation occurs only in a particular country or culture. God has no “chosen people” for all are God’s people. A person with a deep experience of God and rooted in his own faith will not be threatened by other religions, but rather would rejoice in the diversity of religious experiences.

Harmonious relationship between religions is possible when followers of all religions realise that the infinite mystery of God cannot be exhaustively grasped. The truth present in one’s own religion is part of the infinite horizon of divine truth in which people of various cultures and religions are equal participants. In this way, religions need not be competitive but are complementary. We are co-pilgrims on a journey towards fuller life and communion with God. In such a common journey every faith is part of a festive delight.

The writer is a professor at Gyanodya Regional Theology Centre, Patna.

Times Of India Reference

Built In Terminator

Sri Sathya Sai

Sri Sathya Sai

Built In Terminator

Loving Sai Ram and greetings from Prashanti Nilayam. While creating the Universe, God, in His infinite Wisdom, has ensured that nothing is permanent. This applies both to inanimate as well as animate entities. Stars are born, but they also die. Incidentally, you may surprised to know that the atoms in our bodies have all come from a star that had an explosive death before our Sun came into existence. As for animate entities, Shakespeare said beautifully that all that lives must die and go from here to eternity.

It is not only individual living beings that have a birth and a death; species too go through the same sort of cycle. A species comes into existence, exists for several million years and then one day becomes extinct, like the dinosaurs, for example. What we wish to discuss in this “Sunday Special” is that coming under the spell of constant change, socio-economic forces, including those that harm Society, also appear to have a termination, at least to some extent. Unfortunately, however, while one evil phenomenon becomes extinct, others, often more virulent, take their place. Thus, it is rather like what happens in a garden. Weeds appear and through the use of pesticides etc., the weed is exterminated; but other weeds appear, and the cycle goes on.

The question before us is the following: “Placed as we are in a Society that is becoming increasingly crowded, and where money power is slowly appearing to become absolute, how are we to protect ourselves?” Before we try to address this question, we would like to cite some examples of such transient phenomenon. In the business world, for example, success is not eternal. Take, for instance, the automobile industry. Time there was when America literally dominated the scene. In fact, so powerful was General Motors and so important was it to America that it used to be said: “What’s good for General Motors is good for America.” Presently, however, the American auto industry that once held such a powerful position is in the red. A similar eclipse is being forecast in the Television industry. For decades, three TV channels in America ruled the airways. They were true giants. But with the emergence of cable technology, internet streaming, etc., these once powerful institutions are worrying about what they must do to stay alive.

Let us turn next to powerful empires. Barely seventy years ago, it used to be said that the Sun never sets on the British Empire. Where is it now? After the Second World War, the Soviet Empire seemed invincible, the Berlin Wall being its symbol of might and authority. Yet, how quickly the Soviet Empire crumbled, almost overnight as it were! Much before this, there were the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Czarist Empire, the Ottoman Empire , the Moghul Empire, and so on. Every one of them has vanished into the dustbin of history. What we are trying to drive at is that any social or economic system based on social imbalance and inequity, has a built-in factor that one day leads to the extinction of that system. In that sense, this built-in “Terminator Factor,” in so far as it applies to evil forces, is good news. However, though a particular form of evil might become extinct, if the overall climate for evil to flourish does not change, then evil would always reappear in some other form.

Diseases provide an example of how one problem is often replaced with another. Till about seventy years ago, small pox and plague used to kill in thousands if not hundreds of thousands. They were very much feared but today, they are extinct. Polio, likewise, claimed its victims in millions but today, it has almost disappeared, except in a few countries. But even as these deadly diseases have taken their bow as it were, others have appeared in their place, the most notable and feared of them being AIDS. Believe it or not, till 1980 AIDS simply did not exist, but today, it is killing five thousand people every single day; and for your reference, that number is roughly one and a half times the number of people who were killed in the attack on the Twin Towers in New York, on September 11, 2001.

This brings us to our main point. Yes, specific forms of evils do have a life span, and one day may become extinct. But where humanity as a whole is concerned, it does not quite get off the hook. These “local extinctions” might benefit some people, but suffering and misery continue; while some who suffered earlier might later prosper, others who had it good earlier might now suffer. To make matters worse, the number of people suffering might even increase. So, if one looks at humanity as a whole, the “Gross Misery Index” tends to increase, despite the “Terminator Factor”.

The question arises: “In that case, what’s the big deal about the so-called Terminator Factor in relation to evil? Why talk about it at all, when it really does not matter much where overall suffering is concerned?” There is a reason and we now wish to focus on that. Let us start by asking: “We earlier considered ‘Local Terminator Factors’. Is there any ‘Global Terminator Factor,’ that can take care of the whole bunch of evil?” Our answer is: “Yes, there is one.” Want to know more about it? Read on!

Let us go back to the diseases example. How did humanity get rid of the dreaded smallpox? Essentially by eliminating the virus all over the globe. What this tells us is that if we are looking for some kind of a ‘Global Terminator Factor,’ then the first thing we have to ensure is that evil has no place to hide anywhere. This raises the question: “Where exactly does evil normally hide? What is its home? And where is this home?” The answer is straightforward: “Evil hides in the Minds of humans.” So, if evil has to be eliminated globally, then all Minds must be spiritually disinfected.

You might wonder whether at all this is possible. When we are facing so much difficulty in fighting AIDS and getting rid of it, can we ever “disinfect” Minds everywhere, spiritually that is? We are not suggesting that this is going to be easy but we do believe that humanity must give this a serious try. Swami says if you see a deadly snake, you would do everything to avoid getting bitten by it. We must have the same attitude here.

Let us look at this issue in some greater detail. Today, there are hundreds of thousands if not millions of rich and upper-middle class people who are well off, but there are also billions of people who are suffering in innumerable ways. Even the rich are not happy. They might be loaded with money, but few of them are relaxed. To make money, one has to compete fiercely and that sort of aggressive life brings its own quote of problems. All this is well known and so we shall not go into those details. But we have to mention that the great divide of humanity into the haves and the have-nots is the source of conflict in many societies. As one intellectual put it, the conflicts we often see boil down to a confrontation, sometimes violent, between raw money power and equally raw people power. The distinguished Harvard Professor J. K. Galbraith who died recently – J.K.G was, during the Kennedy administration, America ’s Ambassador to India , a post he adorned with great distinction – once said, “Wealth does not understand.” What he meant was that wealthy people simply do not understand that the under-privileged have serious life and death problems, most of them caused by the huge disparity in income. When those who do not have problems do not understand the suffering of those who are beset with innumerable problems – they may be financial, connected with health, mental retardation, physical disability like blindness, etc., – then there will always be friction, sometimes violent.

You might say, “All that is old hat. What exactly is the point being made?” Our answer is the following:

First and foremost, if evil is to be removed, ALL must make a commitment towards it. For example, small pox got eliminated when everyone got vaccinated.

Next, EVERY ONE must accept that the Mind gets disinfected best by following Swami’s teachings in full faith.

In particular, CEILING ON DESIRES is a must for every one, both the rich and the poor, each in their own way.

Sathya Sai Baba says that there must be LOVE FOR GOD, and also FEAR OF SIN. What exactly is sin? Sin is any act that God would not be pleased with. God would not like acts that pander to the senses; God would not like anything that harms others; God would not like greed, and so on. So, fearing sin really means being afraid to hurt God!

Since we have gone through all this many times earlier, we presume we do not have to elaborate on this topic. But we would like to discuss briefly why all this is important.

You see, the world of today is so interconnected that what happens in one part of the world affects a lot of people even far away. Heavy disturbance to the environment in Mongolia and China , has led to desert sand from China being blown all the way to America . The Chernobyl nuclear accident took place in Ukraine but it affected people all over Europe . Poverty in the less-developed countries has resulted in massive immigration into the rich countries, often illegal immigration. The rich countries that once welcomed immigrants are now not so enthusiastic about it because all kinds of problems have surfaced. Rich people in wealthy countries want good wooden furniture and they encourage people in poor countries to cut their forests. In turn, this causes devastation to the topsoil, leads to flooding when there is heavy rain etc. The list goes on.

In short, man today has too much power, too much technology, too many desires and too little wisdom. May be not every one of the six and odd billion humans on planet home have money, power, etc. But when there is a huge disparity as there is at present, it can create all kinds of problems, all over the place, even if the number of rich is only few millions. The time has come to move away from the money-power versus people-power type of confrontation. We should all regard ourselves as children of One Loving and Compassionate God, and share with as well as care for each other by abandoning selfishness, to which all are addicted, both the rich and the poor.

Is selfishness all that easy to get rid off? Not easy we admit, but it IS possible, if we truly Love Swami, as we invariably claim to.

You know something? True Love is immensely powerful and is the ONLY effective Terminator available to us. Swami loves us so much and gives us so much. Can we not, by way of expressing gratitude, set apart every single day, wherever we are, just two minutes in the morning and two in the evening, when we contemplate quietly and say to Swami:

“Lord, when I see You in Your Cosmic Macro Form, I see that You are suffering through millions of human forms and millions more of other forms like the whale, the baby seal, and so on. Swami, I realise that all this suffering is caused by us humans. And the reason for this is because I have not allowed You who are my Indweller to express Yourself through this body and Mind of mine.

Forgive me please, and let me at least now say with true feelings of Love and Compassion: LOKA SAMASTHAA SUKHINO BHAVANTU. I know that I routinely chant this Mantra at the end of every Bhajan session but this time, I assure You it is truly from the Heart.

They say that prayer is God’s only weakness. I believe in that. So Swami, I earnestly pray that You do not suffer through all those millions and billions of living forms. Please help all of us not to thoughtlessly put You to such suffering.

Trapped as we are in stupid delusion, we cannot end the evils of the world, for which we are really to blame. We plead guilty but please Swami, we do not want to be stuck with it! And there is only one Global Terminator for all the current problems, Your Love!

Baba! Please help us so that that Infinite Love of Yours can arise and swell in our Hearts and sweep away at one stoke like a Huge Divine Tsunami, all the evil on earth!”.

You know something? If each one of us really prays in this manner every single day, then there is sure to be a change. The Heart, which is the seat of God, holds infinite power that can do wonders. Suppose we go one step further and pray in this manner, intensely, at the end of each Bhajan session, the results would be even greater. Suppose all the Bhajan groups in a city decide to do this at a particular time of a particular day, every single week, even greater Moral cleansing can be expected.

A carbon dioxide laser is essentially made up of trillions of very tiny molecules. Yet, when the molecules cohere, the radiation from the laser can drill and cut through five centimetres of steel! This is not any new-fangled technology but has been there for twenty-five years, and is extensively used in many industries. If tiny inanimate molecules can do so much by coming together, how much more humans can do when they come together!

We now ask you to sit back and reflect on all that we have tried to say; after that, reflect on why Swami asks us to do Akhand Bhajans at least once a year.

Jai Sai Ram.

With Love and Regards,
“Heart2Heart” Team

Swami Vivekananda Remembered : January 12th 1863 – July 4th 1902

Swami Vivekananda

Swami Vivekananda

Swami Vivekananda Remembered – January 12th 1863 to July 4th 1902

Swami Vivekananda (January 12th 1863 – July 4th 1902), born Narendranath Dutta, was the chief disciple of the 19th century mystic Ramakrishna and the founder of Ramakrishna Mission. Vivekananda was the Hindu missionary to the West. He is considered a key figure in the introduction of Vedanta and Yoga in Europe and America and is also credited with raising interfaith awareness, bringing Hinduism to the status of a world religion during the end of 19th Century. Vivekananda is considered to be a major force in the revival of Hinduism in modern India. He is best known for his inspiring speech beginning with “sisters and brothers of America”, through which he introduced Hinduism at the Parliament of the World’s Religions at Chicago in 1893.

Swami Vivekananda was born in an aristocratic family of Calcutta in 1863. His parents influenced the Swami’s thinking (the father by his rational mind and the mother by her religious temperament). From his childhood, he showed inclination towards spirituality and God realisation. While searching for a man who could directly demonstrate the reality of God, he came to Ramakrishna and became his disciple. As a guru, Ramakrishna taught him Advaita Vedanta and that all religions are true, and service to man was the most effective worship of God. After the death of his Guru, he became a wandering monk touring the Indian subcontinent and getting a first hand account of India’s condition. He later sailed to Chicago and represented India as a delegate in the 1893 Parliament of World religions. An eloquent speaker, Vivekananda was invited to several forums in United States and spoke at universities and clubs. He conducted several public and private lectures, disseminating Vedanta, Yoga and Hinduism in America, England and few other countries in Europe. He also established Vedanta societies in America and England. He later sailed back to India and in 1897 he founded the Ramakrishna Math and Mission, a philanthropic and spiritual organization. The Swami is regarded as one of India’s foremost nation-builders. His teachings influenced the thinking of other national leaders and philosophers, like Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Subhas Chandra Bose, Aurobindo Gosh, Radhakrishnan.

Remembering Vivekananda

Remembering Vivekananda

On this day (Swami Vivekananda’s birthday), January 12th 2009, we reverently remember the inspiration, passion and brotherhood that Vivekananda evoked and still evokes in India and throughout the world today.

All Is Sweet That Ends Sweet

All Is Sweet That Ends Sweet

Priya Mani With Sai Baba

Priya Mani With Sai Baba

“Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba is Omnipresent, Omnipotent and omniscient” is something I had grown up hearing, ever since I joined Swami’s school. In open-mouthed wonder, my little mind (Ms. Priya Mani came under Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba‘s fold as a young girl of 11 years) would try to fathom these stupendous attributes of God.

I am reminded of a ‘sweet’ experience, that takes me back to my 10th grade, when I was sitting for darshan in the 1st line with a couple of students. It was a rain-kissed Onam morning and we were seated for special festival blessings. Given the crowds and the program, it seemed highly unlikely that Swami would even come our way.

Each of us must have been praying to Swami; in a moment of desperation, I decided to bribe Him with the lure of a much-loved sweetmeat. “Please, Swami, please,” I pleaded, “If You bless us today, I will give up eating Gulabjamuns for ever.” As our good fortune would have it, Swami did come our way and did bless us!

2 years sped by. We were in our 12th grade diligently preparing for our approaching Board examinations. It was the dry and dismal month of March with Swami away at Brindavan. One night, Swami appeared in my dream. I saw Swami seated on a chair in our school lobby, and we students were seated on the floor facing Him.

With an ever so slight gesture of the index finger, Swami pointed to one of the students, asking “What is your favorite sweet?” The student replied, “Swami, sohanpapadi.” Swami then posed the same question to another student, to which the response came ‘badurshahi’. Swami then asked me, “What is your favorite sweet?” I replied, “Swami, gulabjamun.”

The Lord then remarked to the gentleman seated beside Him, “Do you know how foolish some people are? They try to please me by giving up sweets!!!”

I woke up delighted and thrilled beyond words. Later on, during the day, we were greeted in the dormitory with joyous shouts that Swami had sent prasadam (sweets) for us from Brindavan and that we should go downstairs to collect the same. It was sohanpapadi! “Wow! What a coincidence. Well, well, all’s sweet that ends sweet.”

But Swami was in no mood for endings. The next day, He sent prasadam again. This time, it was badurshahi! This set me thinking. Part 1 and 2 of my dream had found fulfillment. And I was wondering how Bhagavan was going to execute Part 3. Would He dispatch barrelfuls of rosy gulabjamuns to school tomorrow from far-away Brindavan? Inconceivable by all standards of reason!

Yet, I waited in anticipation for the next day. I did not have to wait for too long. For the very next afternoon, as we were plodding away with our books, our Headmistress Aunty walked in with a huge bowl of gulabjamuns she had prepared exclusively for us, the 10th and 12th grade students. She said we had been slogging too hard, so she had decided to sweeten our labors with a savory surprise!

This incident taught me 2 lessons. One, God defies all definitions of possibility and probability. When He decides to do something, he will find the ways and means to do it. Time and space cannot limit Him and His will. It is we who need to keep our minds and hearts open to receive that Will and Grace. Two, Swami does not desire our paltry offerings by way of giving up a much-desired food item.

He doesn’t even need them. What can we really give Him that belongs to Him already? We can only offer ourselves to Him, heart and soul.

More importantly, Swami was gently reminding me as ever that He was privy to my every thought, word and deed; that ‘Forgetting’ was a word that simply did not exist in the Divine Dictionary!

That I would ‘get’ and ‘forget’, but He only ‘gave’ and ‘forgave’.

Sai Baba With Priya Mani

Sai Baba With Priya Mani

Ms. Priya Mani, an alumna of the Sri Sathya Sai University, Anantapur Campus, joined the Sri Sathya Sai Primary School for her 6th grade. She later went on to complete her graduation and post graduation in English Language and Literature from the Anantapur Campus, securing a Gold medal in both the courses in the years 2002 and 2004 respectively. She currently lives in Dubai and works as a freelance writer.

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

Cultural Program by USA Devotees Of Sathya Sai Baba

Sathya Sai Baba

Sathya Sai Baba

Cultural Program by USA Devotees Of Sathya Sai Baba
Devotees from the US (Region 10 – Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Arkansas) presented a musical offering to Bhagawan on Monday, July 28th in Sai Kulwant Hall.

The program depicted Bhagawan’s love for mankind throughout the ages. It showed scenes of His various incarnations and messengers to uplift man to enable him to realise his divinity. The entire group of 276 performed a medley of songs in 7 languages, woven together with narration. 57 Bal Vikas (SSE) children provided a dramatic portrayal through skits and dances.

The six episodes focused on the majesty of Rama, the mischief of Krishna, the serenity of the Buddha, the compassion of Jesus, the glory of Allah, and the grandeur of Bhagawan Baba

The first scene was set to a backdrop of uplifting songs, which described the glory and might of the Lord, and illustrated the power of the vanaras’ devotion to Lord Rama as they built the bridge to Lanka. Our prayer is to be, likewise, humble instruments in Lord Sai Rama’s mission.

The second episode focused on the mischief of Krishna, who charmed Mother Yashoda and the Gopis as He stole yogurt and butter. His leelas, dramatized to a bhajan, inspire us to awaken the God within who will steal our butter-soft hearts. This scene was followed by a song that reminds us to remember Hari (Lord Krishna) in all that we think, say, and do.

Set to a traditional chant followed by a bhajan, the next scene depicted the Lord Buddha’s peaceful aura. His presence was enough to calm the restless minds of spiritual aspirants depicted by SSE students. By controlling the senses and purifying their intake, the heart shall become Prasanthi Nilayam and Sai will reside within.

The fourth episode showed Jesus showering His unconditional love and compassion on the blind, the hungry, the sick, and the needy. Seeing Jesus’ loving service, others, who previously were unwilling to serve, follow suit and therefore are transformed themselves.

The fifth episode showed a traditional Sufi dance set to an uplifting Qawwali praising Allah. The songs of Allah demonstrated that Bhagawan (in all His forms) is the ultimate embodiment of All that Is as He is the One behind everyone and everything.

For the grand finale, the boys and girls created two hearts at the Lotus Feet of Bhagawan Baba while the entire group sang “Hum Ko Tumse Pyar Kitna.” This represented that the whole world – all faiths, religions, castes, and sects – is arriving at the Lotus Feet of Bhagawan to participate in His Divine Mission.

Swami responded to this outpouring of love by coming down into the group of children for a photograph. He granted padanamaskar to several of them, materialized a gold chain for one boy, and distributed prasadam to everyone.

Swami’s pleasure was evident as He invited the group to sing several bhajans in His Divine Presence. After accepting Arathi, Swami raised both hands in blessing to all.

Reference (With Pictures)

Sathya Sai Baba On The Jyoti Meditation

Sathya Sai Baba Jyoti Meditation

Sathya Sai Baba On The Jyoti Meditation

“As regards the technique of meditation, different teachers and trainers give different forms of advice. But I shall give you now the most universal and the most effective form. This is the very first step in spiritual discipline. At first, set a few minutes every day for meditation, and extend the time as you feel the bliss that you get.

“Let it be in the hours before dawn. This is preferable because the body is refreshed after sleep, and the dealings of daytime will not yet have impinged on you. Have a lamp or a candle before you with an open, steady, and straight flame. Sit in front of the candle in the lotus posture or any other comfortable sitting position. Look on the flame steadily for some time, and closing your eyes try to feel the flame inside you between your eyebrows. Let it slide down into the lotus of your heart, illuminating the path. When it enters the heart, imagine that the petals of the lotus open out by one, bathing every thought, feeling, and emotion in the light and so removing darkness from them. There is no space for darkness to hide. The light of the flame becomes wider and brighter. Let it pervade your limbs. Now those limbs can never indulge in dark, suspicious, and wicked activities; they have become instruments of light and love. As the light reaches up to the tongue, falsehood vanishes from it. Let it rise up to the eyes and the ears and destroy all the dark desires that infest them and which lead you to perverse sights and childish conversation. Let your head be surcharged with light and all wicked thoughts will flee there from. Imagine that the light is in you more and more intensely. Let it shine all around you and let it spread from you in ever widening circles, taking in your loved ones, your kith and kin, your friends and companions, your enemies and rivals, strangers, all living beings, the entire world.

“Since the light illumines all the senses every day so deeply and so systematically, a time will soon come when you can no more relish dark and evil sights, yearn for dark and sinister tales, crave for base, harmful, deadening toxic food and drink, handle dirty demeaning things, approach places of ill-fame and injury, or frame evil designs against anyone at any time. Stay on in that thrill of witnessing the light everywhere. If you are adoring God in any form now, try to visualize that form in the all-pervasive light. For Light is God; God is Light.

“Practice this meditation as I have advised regularly every day. At other times repeat the name of God (any Name fragrant with any of His many Majesties), always taking care to be conscious of His might, mercy, and munificence.”

– Sri Sathya Sai Baba
Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume X, Page 348-350, Shivarathri, 1979

Jyothi Meditation
Based on Bhagavan’s step-by-step directions.

Jyothi (flame) Meditation is the foremost spiritual discipline geared towards gaining inner peace.

1) We should have a fixed time and place every day where we sit for meditation either in the morning and/or evening.

2) We should sit on a thin mattress for this exercise. The sitting pose or asana should be comfortable both for our mind and body.

3) We should then chant Omkar, the Universal Mantra glorified as ‘Nada Brahma’ at least 3 times but preferably 21 times. The mind under the influence of this divine sound slowly loses momentum and becomes more and more tranquil and steady.

4) The next step is to put the breath in rhythm. The easiest and the most effortless method is to watch the breath, thereby the process becomes normal, that is, longer and calmer. When we inhale, the breath sounds ‘So’ and when we exhale, it sounds ‘Humm’ which means ‘He’ i.e. “God” and ‘I’ respectively or “God am I”.

5) Accordingly, synchronizing with these two breaths, imagine that the flame ‘Jyot’ is within us. Feel that the light of the flame is in our heart, right in the centre of the Lotus. Gently move the light to other parts of your body — the stomach, the limbs, the eyes, the ears and the tongue. Feel that the entire body is illumined thereby. Rejoice that the light is the light of love; it removes hatred; it dispels darkness and doubt; it reveals that all are Divine.

6) As the light fills the eyes, you must feel that they have been purified. They shall no longer seek to look upon evil sights. When the light lights the tongue with love, decide that there is no more scope for uttering harsh words. Similarly, once the radiance of the divine light bathes the arms, they can no longer delight in performing harmful deeds while the feet can no longer move into polluting areas and places.

7) Now visualize the light as surrounding our physical body and spreading far out to family members, neighbours and even those whom we do not like. Every object is enveloped in that divine effulgence. Isavaasyam Idam Sarvam. All this is illumined by God. This is the stage of bliss.

8) In this manner, the ONE flame on which we concentrate can cleanse our mind and body and spread its light and radiance to include our entire environment.

9) Finally, take the Jyot on to the figure of our Ishta Devta or the Deity of you choice and/or fix our vision on the Jyot, and commence meditation or silent sitting for a few minutes, followed by Japa of our chosen Mantra with the full understanding of its meaning and firm faith in its power and benefits. It should be inter-woven with our breathing process of inhaling and exhaling.

Exercise on Jyoti Meditation. Instructions compiled from Sri Sathya Sai Discourses

  1. Let us close the eyes and chant Omkar (OM) 3 times to make the mind become tranquil and steady.
  2. Keeping the eyes closed, let us put the breath in rhythm to make it normal and calmer.
    • In our mind (mentally) repeat “SOHUM’. (1-2 mins.)
    • As we inhale mentally repeat “SO”
    • As we exhale mentally repeat “HUM”. (1-2 mins.)
  3. Let us mentally bathe the senses in the light. Look at the Jyoti, imagine that the flame is ablaze in the Lotus of our heart. Having the beautiful feeling of LOVE.
  4. Take the flame to the different parts of the body.
    • Let not my eyes see evil
    • Let not my ears hear evil or bad
    • Let my tongue speak only sweet words
    • Let my hands do only right things
    • Let my legs be always moving towards places for good actions and good work.”
  5. Now, bring the flame up the legs slowly, strengthening; up through the stomach, cleansing; through to the eyes, taking away all the darkness and out of the body through the head, purify us.
  6. Open the eyes and look at the Jyoti. (2-3 mins.)
  7. Now imagine the figure, of the form of your choice (Baba), for worshipping in the Jyoti. (2-3mins.)
  8. Effortlessly repeat OM SAI RAM or your personal mantra. (2-3 mins.) It should be natural and without tension. Relax.
  9. Slowly close the eyes and meditate for a few minutes. (15-20 mins.)
  10. Keep the eyes closed, stop repeating the mantra, or having the flame and form consciously. (2-3 mins.)
  11. End meditation. Softly and slowly.

Asatoma Prayer
Om Asato Ma Sadgamaya
(From untruth lead me to truth)

Tamaso Ma Jyotirgamaya
(From darkness lead me to light)

Mrutyor Ma Amrutamgamaya
(From death to lead me to immorality)

Om Shanti Shanti Shanti
(Peace Peace Peace)