Break Free Of Rituals And Abstractions

Break Free Of Rituals And Abstractions
Shammi Paranjape
23 November 2009, 12:00am IST

The Srimad Bhagavatam lit a new path to the Divine, free from binding ritual and esoteric abstractions. On the one hand, it portrayed the majesty and might, the mahatmya of the Supreme Being. On the other, it revealed the tantalising possibility of blissful communion with Him in a loving relationship. In doing so, the Bhagavatam introduced the liberating and transcendental gospel of bhakti yoga.

Nothing pleases God as much as devotion. How dear bhaktas or devotees and their bhakti or devotion are to the Lord can be gleaned from the declaration in the Srimad Bhagavatam, that it is for the love of devotees that God takes form from time to time. Sathya Sai Baba says:

“The Avatar or Form Incarnate on earth is only the concretisation of the yearning of seekers. They are the prime cause. The cow secretes milk for the sustenance of the calf. It is the chief beneficiary. But others too benefit from that milk. So along with the sustenance of the bhaktas, other incidental benefits also accrue, such as fostering of dharma.” ~Sathya Sai Baba

Srimad Bhagavatam belongs to the class of Hindu scriptures known as the Puranas, and enlightens humanity on the sacred mystery of incarnations. The mystical life of the divine enchanter Krishna is finely detailed in the Bhagavatam, inspiring devotion in human hearts. Though the concept of devotion is as old as the Vedas, the Bhagavatam introduced the concept of a personal god with countless attributes who could be adored and worshipped as ‘one’s own’, in the form of child, parent, master, friend, or beloved.

The word ‘bhakti’ is derived from the root ‘bhaj’, which has several meanings to serve, to honour, to love, to adore. According to Narada, the great theoretician of bhakti, it is the wholehearted and supreme love of God, obtaining which the devotee feels he has gained the highest attainment in life, as also unalloyed bliss. Sandilya has expressed bhakti as ‘unabated and unslackening attachment to God.’

The Bhagavatam expands the frontiers of bhakti and states, ”When all energies of mind, organs of knowledge and of action become concentrated as a unified mental mode, directed to the Supreme Being, spontaneous like an instinct and devoid of any extraneous motives, the resulting state of mind is bhakti. It is superior even to mukti. Like fire it burns away the soul’s sheath of ignorance.”

Bhakti is divine engagement with the Supreme; it draws upon the highest energies of the soul. It calls for incessant yearning from a purified heart, soaked in devotion. Krishna said of the gopis, blessed souls who attained to this state and whose total devotion for Krishna is at the centre of the Bhagavatam: “They never learnt the Vedas, they never served any teacher, they practised no austerity, but by association with holiness and love alone they attained to Me.”

Sathya Sai Baba says:

“Devotion is the supreme state that man can attain. It is bhakti that proves the eternal truth, Tat Twam Asi Thou Art That that the devotee and God are one.” ~ Sathya Sai Baba

The Bhagavatam too declares bhakti to be the highest gift of God, bestowed on aspirants more rarely than mukti itself. No wonder then that the bhakta is ready to forego even the pleasures of Vaikuntha and the goal of mukti itself, for the ineffable delight of loving his Lord.

Today is Sathya Sai Baba’s birthday.

Times Of India Reference

Thousands Throng Hadshi To See Sai Baba

Thousands Throng Hadshi To See Sai Baba
TNN 31 October 2009, 06:25am IST

PUNE: Thousands of people thronged the village of Hadshi, about 60 km from here, on Friday for a darshan of spiritual leader Sri Sathya Sai Baba, who has been in the village for the last three days.

The spiritual leader’s appearance on the stage near the village led to loud shouts of ‘Sai Ram’.

Chief minister Ashok Chavan’s wife Amita Chavan and former Union minister Shivraj Patil were among the politicians and eminent personalities who have come to the little village on Friday to visit Sri Sathya Sai Baba.

During the three-day discourse, other politicians, including ministers Patangrao Kadam, Harshvardhan Patil and Dilip Deshmukh also sought darshan.

Sri Sathya Sai Baba is expected to leave for Mumbai on October 31.

On Friday, people began gathering at the venue hours before the actual programme started, wherein child stars of a reality show performed a few devotional songs. There were also a number of foreigners among the crowd, who clapped and hummed bhajans along with others.

For Yamuna Deodhar, a resident of Mahad, the trip from her town about 100 km away was one she would always remember simply because she got what she wanted. “A darshan of Swamiji was something I had never expected to take place, so this is definitely a dream come true,” she said.

For Mukund Mule, a financial consultant from Sangamner, it was the social work of Sathya Sai Baba that inspired him to become his devotee. “He and his followers are working for the betterment of the society and the deprived class. I respect that,” he said.

Echoing the same sentiments Sunil Ahire said that he has come for the spiritual discourse after hearing about the work carried out by Sathya Sai Baba’s various organisations. “I have come to this spiritual discourse for the first time. I wanted to listen to the thoughts of Baba and this was a good opportunity for me since the programme is taking place very close to my village,” said Ahire, a resident of Paud village.

Some politicians had come along with their families and were staying near the venue for the last three days. “I had heard his spiritual discourse in the late eighties for the first time. Since then I have been following Baba’s discourses for more than 20 years. I regularly visit his ashram in Puttaparthi,” said Dayanand Londhe, sarpanch of Malad, Baramati, and a former member of zilla parishad.

Times Of India Reference

Young Devotees Wowed By Sathya Sai Baba

Young Devotees Wowed By Sathya Sai Baba
The youth were captivated by the guru’s message of love and respect for mankind
By Vishakha Sharma
Posted On Saturday, October 31, 2009 at 02:38:20 AM

Hundreds of devotees of Sathya Sai Baba in the city gathered to catch a glimpse and listen to their revered guru from Wednesday, October 28 to Friday, October 30. Pune Mirror spoke to some of Sathya Sai Baba’s devotees who told us of their experience.

Aloka Deane-Chinnayya (30) felt blessed to have met Sathya Sai Baba. She said, “It was an amazing experience meeting him. He taught us how important it is to love and respect mankind. The love he shared with all the people here is unbelievable. He spoke to everybody in a lay man’s terms so everyone could understand. He taught us some phrases which we should use in our lives like help ever, hurt never and love all, serve all.” We also found some young devotees at Baba’s darshan and they were equally happy.

19-year-old Vrushali Swatantramath said, “Meeting him felt like meeting god. Just like all his devotees were happy, Swami was happy too. It was wonderful to have him with us.”

16-year-old Ragini Ramachandran, recollected an old memory and shared it with Mirror. She said, “When I was three years old, my father had this drinking habit which he would not leave. One day, my mother and I decided to attend Swami’s bhajans and asked my father to join us. He refused saying he did not believe in him. So the two of us went. But later, my father called up, asked us for the bhajan’s venue and attended it. He was sitting in the last row and refused to meet Swami. But after coming home he had a transformation and quit drinking. Sathya Sai Baba spreads the message of love and helps transforming people for their better,” added Ragini.

Pune Mirror Reference

Sri Sathya Sai Baba To Visit City Tomorrow

Sri Sathya Sai Baba To Visit City Tomorrow
TNN 30 October 2009, 06:32am IST

MUMBAI: Spiritual leader Sri Sathya Sai Baba will bless his devotees in the city on a visit scheduled from October 31 to November 2. Sri Sathya Sai Baba will be staying at his divine adobe ‘Dharmakshetra’ in Andheri.

The schedule for the Mumbai trip includes bhajan and darshan at these locations: Bombay Exhibition Centre in Goregaon on October 31 at 4 pm ; Jamboori Maidan in Worli on November 1 at 10 am and Brabourne Stadium in Churchgate on November 1 at 5 pm.

He visited Mumbai for the first time in 1967 and laid the foundation for Dharmakshetra, which was inaugurated in 1968. Dharmakshetra is an initiative involved in many social activities like education and medical care among other things.

Times Of India Reference

Know The Secret Of Happiness That The Gopis Knew

Know The Secret Of Happiness That The Gopis Knew

Gopis were very unique, as devotees. They had no consciousness of the body at all; they were all the while attached only to the principle that is embodied in It. They were eager to know the `other’, not to experience ‘this’. As a matter of fact, it is the identification with the gross body that lies at the root of all the cruelty, injustice, greed, violence and falsehood that parade all over the world. It is this that breeds desire, that multiplies wants, that makes man ride on the waves of whim and fancy. When he is not able to catch up with his ambition, man becomes a prey to disappointment and grief, hate and avarice.

If you ask God to fulfil your wishes, your worship is degraded into an act of bargaining; your reverence is equated with what you receive; you are selling homage for so much of satisfaction. You become a paid servant, a hired labourer, insisting on wages and calculating how much is got for the work done. Be on the other hand, a member of the family, feel that you are the Lord’s own, do every task as `my work’ `my task’ without any idea of the return therefore; then the work does not tire, it is done well. When this attitude is taken up by you, you feel not clamour for wages at all. The Master will maintain you and your people as He feels you deserve. This secret of happiness the Gopis knew; you must also live out your lives on these lines.

(Sri Sathya Sai Baba – extracted from Divine Discourse on 19th August 1965)

Reference

Recent Events At Prashanti Nilayam – Sathya Sai Baba Ashram

Recent Events At Prashanti Nilayam – Sathya Sai Baba Ashram

Curtesy RadioSai

Monday, November 24, 2008
This evening, the Tamil Nadu Balvikas children were to perform a dance drama in Sai Kulwant Hall. Bhagawan arrived for darshan in His chair at 5.20 pm, and after His darshan round, went into the interview room. From there, He emerged to come onstage and start the drama at 5.45 pm. After the 70 minute drama, Swami came down from the stage and blessed the children with group photographs. Prasadam was distributed, and Swami accepted Arati at 7 o’clock before returning to His residence.

Sunday, November 23, 2008
Bhagawan blessed the overflowing Sai Kulwant Hall in a white robe this morning, as the 83rd year of His advent dawned. The procession to Sai Kulwant Hall began from Yajur Mandir at 9.45 am, led by the bands of the Primary School, the Anantapur campus and the Prasanthi Nilayam campus, with Vedam chanting students from the Primary School, Higher Secondary School and the University. Bhagawan was seated on a raised chair covered with golden cloth. Once Swami reached the stage, He heard the four bands perform ‘Happy Birthday’ and other tunes before moving to the verandah to bless the cakes assembled there. Once He returned to the stage, He asked for Bhajans to begin at 10.30. Prasadam was distributed. The large number of people who could not enter the Sai Kulwant Hall had darshan moving across the Gopuram gate, and accepted prasadam there. Bhagawan accepted Arati at 11 o’clock before returning to His residence.

The evening programme commenced with Bhagawan arriving from His residence at 5.40 pm. Once He reached the stage, He asked Prof Anil Kumar to speak a few words in Telugu and to introduce the speakers for the evening. Sri. V. Srinivasan, All India President of the Sai Organisations spoke first, and was followed at 6.15 pm by Sri. Ajit Popat of the UK. Bhagawan delivered His Birthday message at 6.55 pm, in which He declared that the Muddenahalli educational institution would come under the Sri Sathya Sai University within a year. After nearly an hour, He concluded by singing the Bhajan ‘Rama Rama Rama Sita’ and accepted Arati at 7.50 pm before returning to His residence.

Saturday, November 22, 2008
The 27th convocation of the Sri Sathya Sai University was scheduled for this evening. The procession from Bhagawan’s residence to the Sai Kulwant Hall led by the bands from the Anantapur campus and the Prasanthi Nilayam campus of the University began at 3.45 pm, and in a short while, Bhagawan entered the Hall in His chair clad in a maroon robe. He was flanked on the stage by the office-bearers of the University. The function proceeded in the conventional manner, with the Vice-chancellor Prof. Vishwanath Pandit presenting the graduands of the year, with the gold medal winners and recipients of PhDs being called up by Principal of the Prasanthi Nilayam campus, Prof. U. S. Rao. The convocation address was by Prof. G. Venkataraman, following which Bhagawan gave His benedictory address seated onstage for forty-five minutes at 5.20 pm. The proceedings concluded with the National Anthem just before 6.15 pm. The convocation drama presented by the students of the University got underway at the Poornachandra auditorium at seven o’clock after Bhagawan arrived there. After the drama, Swami blessed the participants with group photographs onstage before accepting Arati and retiring for the day at 8.20 pm. An announcement was made about breakfast and lunch being provided tomorrow free to all as Bhagawan’s prasadam.

Friday, November 21, 2008
Last evening, Bhagawan saw the dress rehearsal of the convocation drama at the Poornachandra auditorium from 4.30 to 5.30 pm before coming to the Bhajan Hall to accept Arati after Bhajans. Today, He distributed sarees both in the morning and the evening as extended Bhajan sessions went on. In the morning, He called groups like the Primary school teachers and so on into the Bhajan Hall and distributed there, while in the evening, He went around the Sai Kulwant Hall giving sarees. He also distributed a few sarees in the Bhajan Hall.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Ladies’ day at Prasanthi Nilayam began with the traditional Suprabhatam being sung by Smt. P. Susheela just before 5.30 am. The vedam chanting around the Mandir was also by the ladies. Bhagawan arrived in Sai Kulwant Hall at 9.30 am in a procession led by the girls bands of the Anantapur campus of the Sri Sathya Sai University and the Primary School, along with Vedam chanting students, as a welcome song was aired. Fifteen minutes later, when Bhagawan reached the stage, the programme for the day began with a ten-minute introduction by Mrs. Chetana Raju. The two speakers of the morning were Dr. (Mrs) Ankhi Mukherjee, former student of the Sri Sathya Sai University and Lecturer in the Universty of Oxford and Mrs. Sylvia Alden, who is a member of the Central Council of the Sai Organisation in the USA with a Masters in Special Education. After their talks, the materials kept in the centre of Sai Kulwant Hall were distributed to the needy. Solar LED lanterns, water purifiers, rugs and other items useful for the rural folk were passed on to the recipients drawn from various parts of Anantapur district. After prasadam distribution, Bhagawan accepted Arati at 11.10 before returning to His residence.

In the evening, once again Bhagawan was ushered into Sai Kulwant Hall in a procession, with another welcome song played over the speakers, at 5 pm. When He reached the Mandir, He moved to the Bhajan Hall where the children from the Primary school were ready in costumes for their programme this evening. After a brief interaction with them, Swami came onstage and started the programme for the evening. Smt. Sunitha and troupe presented devotional songs for an hour and Bhagawan blessed them with clothes before the programme by the Primary School children began at 6.20 pm. Their 70 minute dance-drama brought out the glory of Sai down the ages from Krita Yuga till the present, with video projections on the back-drop adding to the narrative. Swami was very pleased with their performance and went down among them for group photographs before returning to His residence after Arati at 7.40 pm.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008
The traditional Rathotsavam in which the idols of Rama Lakshmana Sita along with Venugopala Swami are taken from the Mandir to the Kalyanamantapam in Puttaparthi was held this morning. Bhagawan arrived at Sai Kulwant Hall after blessing the baby elephant Gita near His residence and after a darshan round in His chair, went inside a few minutes before 9.30 am. The procession led by Vedam chanting students began soon after, and as they came near the stage, Bhagawan arrived there to send them to the Gopuram gate. He then moved to the Gopuram gate to see off the procession and then returned to the Mandir and asked for Bhajans to begin a few minutes before 10 o’clock. At 10.30, He accepted Arati and returned to His residence. In the evening, Bhagawan arrived after the Bhajans began at five o’clock. He moved down the verandah in the chair and entered the Bhajan Hall from the rear door. Moving to the front of the Bhajan Hall, He sat there for a while before going on another round of darshan and returning to the Bhajan Hall to accept Arati and retire for the day.

How Sathya Sai Baba Materializes And Brings Forth Lingas From His Mouth

Sathya Sai Baba

Sathya Sai Baba


How Sathya Sai Baba Materializes And Brings Forth Lingas From His Mouth

During the festival of Maha Shivaratri, the festival dedicated to the worship of Lord Shiva, Sathya Sai Baba usually performs the sacred miracle of Lingodbhavam, the emergence of the Linga (an ellipsoid object symbolizing divinity) from Him. Howard Murphet, who had the privilege of witnessing the event from close quarters, gives a detailed account of this awe-inspiring miracle in his book “Sai Baba: Man of Miracles” thus:

I had been told that every year, one or more Shivalingams have materialised in Sathya Sai Baba’s body at this sacred period of Shivaratri. He ejects the lingams through His mouth for all to observe. They are always hard, being made of crystal clear or coloured stone and sometimes of metals like gold or silver.

At six o’clock Sai Baba, accompanied by a small group of disciples, came onto the Shanti Vedika and soon after that the speeches began. It was about eight-thirty, powerful electric lights illuminating the group on the platform, when Sai Baba rose to His feet. First He sang a sacred song in His sweet celestial voice that touches the heart. Then He began His discourse speaking, as He always does on such public occasions, in the Telugu tongue.

On the platform Mr. Kasturi was busy making notes of the address which would be published later in both Telugu and English. Sai Baba’s eloquence had been flowing in a steady stream for some half-hour when suddenly His voice broke. He tried again but only a husky squeak came. Bhajan leaders among the devotees, knowing what was happening, immediately gave voice to a well-known bhajan and then the great crowd joined in.

Baba sat down and drank from a flask of water. Several times He tried to sing, but it was impossible. Now He began to show signs of real pain. He twisted and turned, placed His hand on His chest, buried His head in His hands, plucked at His hair. Then He sipped some more water and tried to smile reassuringly at the crowd.

Some men around me were weeping unashamedly and I myself felt a flow of tenderness towards the being suffering there before us. I could not grasp the full significance of the event that caused the agony, nor perhaps could most of the great crowd watching, but to understand a thing with the mind is one matter and to feel its meaning in the bones and blood is another. Inwardly I felt that I was sitting at the very heart of something profoundly significant to mankind.

So, instead of blurring my eyes with the tears of sympathy, I kept them fixed on Baba’s mouth; my whole attention was glued to that point so that I would not miss the exit of the lingam.

After about twenty minutes, I was rewarded. I saw a flash of green light shoot from His mouth and with it an object, which He caught in His hands cupped below. Immediately, He held the object high between His thumb and forefinger so that all could see it.

A breath of profound joy passed through the crowd. It was a beautiful green lingam, and certainly much bigger than any ordinary man could bring up through his throat. Sai Baba placed it on the top of a large torch so that the light shone through its glowing emerald-like translucency. Then, leaving it there, He retired from the scene.

Mr. Kasturi, who had been present on the platform of the Shanti Vedika when it was produced, described it thus later, in print: “An emerald lingam, three inches high and fixed on a pedestal five inches broad that had formed itself in Him (Baba), emerged from his mouth to the unspeakable joy and relief of the huge gathering.”

Reference: “Sai Baba: Man of Miracles” by Mr. Howard Murphet. Page: 43-49 (Paperback Edition). Published by Macmillan India Ltd, 1972.