Thousands Of Sai Baba Devotees Receive Anna Dana

Sai Baba Of Shirdi

Sai Baba Of Shirdi


Thousands Of Sai Baba Devotees Receive Anna Dana
Shirdi (Maharashtra), Wed, 18 Mar 2009 ANI

Tens of thousands of devotees of Sai Baba were recently given Anna Dana at the annual prasadalaya function here, taking forward a tradition first started by the Sai Baba himself.

Devotees accepted the delicious prasad at a nominal rate.

Sources at the Shree Sai Baba Sansthan Trust said, nearly 1.5 crore devotees benefited from the prasad and the meals that were served.

The trust spends Rs.25 crore annually on the prasadlaya. The donation is considered very valuable in today’s age, which is known as KALYUG in the Hindu mythological context.

According to the trust, one should constantly endeavor to donate and help the needy, especially those who are suffering from hunger and malnutrition.

Legend has it that Sai Baba used to feed the hungry in his own unique way, taking the whole process to a spiritual plane.

He used to prepare the food himself, and ground the spices on a grinding stone. He also used to purchase foodgrains that were to be cooked and subsequently distributed by him personally.

The trust is really a place of faith for all Sai Baba devotees. They relish their food, which can be procured for as little as Rs.5 per person and Rs.2 for a child.

On any given normal day, 35,000 to 40,000 devotees attend the activities at the Sai Baba Trust. During occasions like festivals and vacations, the number goes up to 70,000 or 80,000.

One hall can accommodate up to 5,000 devotees, and a meal often includes servings of rice, roti, dal, two vegetables and a sweetmeat.

Free provision of food is given to the poor, blind, the physically challenged and hermits.

The prasadalaya purchases the foodgrains once a year, and it includes 9000 quintals of wheat, 5,500 quintals of rice, 6,500 quintals of besan, 9,500 quintals of sugar, and 11,000 quintals of tur dal, besides 6,200 quintals of vegetables which are stored in the cold storage of the trust. Another 2000 quintals of food grains is also purchased every year.

The prasadalaya operates for twelve hours every day and has 474 workers, 404 of whom are permanent.

The prasadalaya is the largest of its kind in India. A one storeyed building which has been built on seven acres of land at a cost of Rs.20 crores. (ANI)

News Track India Reference

How Sathya Sai Baba Came To Me

HOW SATHYA SAI BABA CAME TO ME
by James Sinclair

James Sinclair

James Sinclair

Mr. James D. Sinclair is a reputed businessman, who has made a very big mark for himself in the field of mineral prospecting. That apart, he is also a person who has been coming to Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba for spiritual guidance for several years for now. After having acquired his degree from the University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School of Business, Mr. Sinclair, in the year 1975, set up the Sinclair group of companies for which he became the President and the Chief Executive Officer. Thereafter, he established, in the year 1981, the James D. Sinclair Financial Research Institute, for which he became the Chairman and the Chief Executive Officer. Later on his interest increased in the field of television and telecommunications, wherein he became the founding partner of the company Cross Country Cable TV. Presently, he is the Chairman and the Executive Officer of the Tanzanian American Development Corporation. The manner in which James Sinclair of America became a devotee of Sai makes a thrilling story. Sinclair had never heard of Baba but he had a deep yearning for God in his heart; that was enough. For the rest of the story, we turn to Sinclair himself:

“How is it possible”, I used to wonder, “that I was born at this time and age?” As a Christian, it seemed so unfair that here I was in the 1950’s, and Jesus was on this planet two thousand years ago. I used to pray as I drove to New York City for business work: “I know you are out there, but I can’t find you, Dear Lord. Instead, You must find me!” Those prayers were not wasted. They were heard and answered in the positive.

I will tell you of an event that at that time seemed shocking but would take thirty years to become fully clear. It has to be kept in mind that neither I nor my wife at that time had any understanding or inclination towards Eastern tradition or philosophies. In 1964, just a short while after our marriage, my wife and I accepted an invitation to stay at a friend’s woodland cottage. As we were going to sleep, I saw an old man standing over my bed in the moonlight. My feeling was not one of fear but rather like one has while a mother is looking at her son. The old man then turned and walked across the room and through the wall! Just then, my wife said in a loud voice, “Jim, are you awake?” She screamed since she was watching the old man as he walked through the wall. Barbara had never seen anything like that in her life and was shaken by the experience. Now let us leave this experience and move ahead to 1968.

Our married life had produced our first daughter. Business was not going well. My health was not so good. The IRS [Internal Revenue Service, which is the name for the Income Tax Department in the U.S.] was looking for me. I had just sold my car to pay the month’s rent for our living quarters. I was frustrated about the way things were going and my apparent inability to change the circumstances. One day, it just became too much for me to bear. I went into my cellar where I had a desk. I sat down and prayed:

I don’t know who You are.
I don’t know where You are.
I don’t know what You are.
But this I do know: You are!
So, You have to take over,
Because I have made a mess of everything.

I resolved not to leave the cellar till the Divine literally took over, whatever that meant. All of a sudden, I looked to my right and saw what appeared to be a little royal child dressed in gold and jewels. The child had long hair, so I thought it must be a girl. Suddenly, all my fear was gone. I was totally at ease. I got up and went upstairs. The fun was about to begin.

I began to meditate twice a day. The environment slowly began to improve. I had an interesting experience. My meditation was on the light from a candle. Every time I started my meditation looking at the candle flame, I saw a little fellow in the flame wearing an orange robe with a great shock of black hair. Then I would transcend thought. I also began to have the same dream every single night. It went on for years. I saw myself walking up a hill, led by three men in the darkness of night. One was an old man in white. One looked somewhat like Jesus Christ. The one in the middle had an orange robe. This dream occurred night after night for years. At that time, I had no knowledge of Shirdi Sai Baba or Sathya Sai Baba. For that matter I had no idea of any Avatar and did not know what the word meant.

Now we move ahead another eighteen years to 1984. I have been meditating now for fifteen years. I am a vegetarian, and I keep a special room in my house for my meditation. It is a tiny hut, completely private. My meditation has lost form of any kind. A friend who then was a technical commodity market analyst knew my interest in meditation. He suggested that I might like the tape he has. He told me that he it played before and after his meditation. It gave him a great spiritual feeling. I was most grateful and began the same practice for relaxation before and after meditation. Wow! It was powerful.

Now comes the spectacular story. Please understand that I don’t feel special in any way. In fact, I believe that someone had been knocking hard on my door for a lifetime. I was too stupid to know. Therefore, this person had to blow a bugle in my ear to get my attention. Well, the bugle blew in Connecticut, East Coast USA, one winter evening.

I was walking from the lavatory in the night. You know how you get a feeling someone is there. I did. I turned around and there He was. I hadn’t the slightest idea who He was. This handsome figure dressed in a long orange robe, with a shock of hair you wouldn’t believe, was in my hallway, looking at me silently. I nearly jumped out of my skin. As fast I had seen Him, He was gone. Well, it happened a second time. Not too much later, I was in my meditation room, and this same figure was standing when I came out of meditation. I rubbed my eyes. He was still there. He motioned as if I was to do something with His Feet. I knelt down and touched His Feet. As I looked up, He was no longer there. This time I didn’t feel scared, I felt out of my mind. I didn’t know which I needed more, spiritual or professional medical help! I was determined to find out who this fellow was that visited me. I certainly wasn’t going to tell my wife.

Off I went to the fort of spiritual knowledge in New York City, Samuel Weiser’s bookstore. I approached the clerk. He asked if he could help me. I said, ‘I certainly hope so.’ I described my visitor, of course without giving details of the visit. I wanted to know if there was any book about someone who looked like the description of my visitor. He said, ‘One moment. I will be right back.’ He returned and handed a packet of whitish grey powder and a book titled Holy Man and the Psychiatrist written by a doctor [this book is by Dr. Sandweiss]. The salesman told me that he himself was a devotee of Sri Sathya Sai Baba. Now I knew that the name of the form was Sathya Sai Baba. Was I in for a surprise when I recognised that the recurring dream had been of Shirdi Sai, Sathya Sai, and Prema Sai walking up the hill night after night for many years? The figure in the flame was also Him.

Sai Baba Trinity

On my first visit to Prashanti Nilayam, which is a story in itself, I was granted an Interview with Baba. As I entered the room, He said, “All I have given you, and you have never been happy one moment in your life. I CAME TO YOU TWICE. Would you do something for Swami?” My answer was, of course, yes.

Swami went on, “BE HAPPY”. I had told absolutely no one at that time of the visit. In a 1994 Interview, Swami said to my wife and myself, “I came to you thirty years ago”. He said it right out of the blue. 1964 was the year when we had the experience in the woodland cabin with the figure of the old man in white. That was indeed thirty years ago.

Who was the royal little girl in my cellar when I was at my wits ends? I believe it was Baba in the form of Baby Krishna, welcoming me as a spiritual baby onto His path. Thank You, Swami!

JAI SAI RAM

RadioSai Reference

Tight Security For Sai Baba Relic Exposition

Sai Baba Of Shirdi

Sai Baba Of Shirdi


Tight Security For Sai Baba Relic Exposition
HERALD REPORTER
PANJIM, FEB 11

Tight security arrangements will be in place for the Sai Baba relic exposition on February 22 which is expected to draw over 1 lakh devotees.

The devotees would pay their respect to the Padukas (sacred footwear) of Sai Baba, which will arrive in Goa on February 22 and displayed at a pandal at Gymkhana Grounds, Campal.

The chairman of the Shri Sai Baba Paduka Darshan Sohala Samiti, Anil Counto, said that the Samiti has taken all precautionary security measure for the event.

He said to stave off any security threat the organisers have decided to put metal detectors and CCTV cameras in place.

With a view to commemorate the centenary of the weekly tradition of Shri Sai Babas Palakhi (ceremonial palanquin procession) from Dwarkamai temple to the Chavadi (city gate) in Shirdi every Thursday, the Sai Baba Saunsthan Trust has planned to organise a Sai Baba Sammelan in Panjim followed by those at Lucknow and Kolkata by sending the Padukas to these places.

“We expect nearly 1 lakh people from Goa as well as neighbouring States to visit the Paduka Darshan Sohala,” he added.

Further, Counto said that the traditional Sai aartis including Kakad aarti, Sanj aarti and Shej aarti would be performed on February 22, besides making available mahaprasad (holy meal) and laddoos from Shirdi to the visiting devotees.

Seating arrangements for senior citizens, volunteers to accompany the visiting physically challenged persons, drinking water facility, security, etc would be provided by the committee, he said.

The Sai Bhajans would also be sung by well-known groups at the venue, he informed, appealing to the local bhajan troupes to join the celebrations and contact the committee, if interested in presenting Sai Bhajans.

Counto said that the teachings of Shri Sai Baba are very much relevant in today’s times and go well with the secular nature of Goa.

oHeraldo Reference

Shirdi Sai Baba Body To Take Action Against Duplicates

Sai Baba Of Shirdi

Sai Baba Of Shirdi


Shirdi Sai Baba Body To Take Action Against Duplicates
Published: February 5,2009

Lucknow , Feb 5 Shri Sai Baba Sansthan, Shirdi (Maharashtra) will take legal action against all those who exploit Sai Baba‘s name by constructing “duplicate samadhi (mausoleum)” and putting up his “paduka (shoes)” in different parts of the country.

“We will be taking legal action against all those who have made temples in the name of Shri Baba and also made his samadhi and put his paduka there. Baba took samadhi in Shirdi on Oct 15, 1918. This is the place where his samadhi and original paduka (shoes wore by Sai Baba) exists,” Managing Trustee Shri Sai Baba Sansthan, Shirdi (Maharashtra) Ashok Khambekar told PTI here.

He said that the organisation did not have any objection to shrines dedicated to Sai Baba but claiming that they were his samadhi and paduka” was not fair.

He said that that it had also come to their notice that some people claim themselves to be scion (descendent) of Sai Baba and earn money.

Indopia Reference

Walls Of Sai Baba Temple In Shirdi Adorned With Gold Sheets

Sai Baba Of Shirdi

Sai Baba Of Shirdi


Walls Of Sai Baba Temple In Shirdi Adorned With Gold Sheets

Shirdi, Jan 11 (PTI) The four walls surrounding the statue of Shirdi Sai Baba have been adorned with gold sheets weighing 50 kg and embossed with pictures of the 20th century saint.

The sheets mounted over the walls, prepared using about 50 kg gold, 50 kg bronze and about 250 kg copper, have been donated to the temple’s trust by a Hyderabad-based businessman Adinarayana Reddy, a Sai Sansthan trustee told PTI.

Bangalore-based artist Raja Algar who has embossed the sheets with pictures depicting the saint, six in all, has been working on it since the past four months, he said.

Algar has worked on the designs of many temples including the Tirupati Balaji in Andhra Pradesh, he said.

In 2008 Reddy had donated the golden throne on which the Sai Baba now sits, after his wife Sulochana had a dream in which the saint asked her to get it made.

The throne which costs close to Rs 90 crore was made using 100 kg gold. It was also prepared by Algar.

The temple, the second richest in the country after Tirupati Balaji, see 25 per cent increase in the number of devotees each year, the trustee said.

Shirdi Sai Baba temple has collected Rs 81 crore in cash, 120 kg of gold and 440 kg of silver in the form of donations during the year 2008, he added. PTI

Reference

Sai Baba Temple Is Second Richest In India

Shirdi Sai Baba

Shirdi Sai Baba


Sai Baba Temple Is Second Richest In India

Kopargaon, Jan 09: The famous Shirdi Sai Baba shrine in Maharashtra has become the second richest in the country in terms of income after the Balaji temple in Tirupati, trustees said on Friday.

The temple has collected Rs 81 crore in cash, 920 kgs of gold and 440 kgs of silver in the form of donations during 2008, creating a record, Ashok Khambekar, a trustee of Shri Saibaba Sansthan Trust, said.

The temple also collected a record amount of close to Rs four crore and fifteen lakh in its cash donation box between December 29, 2008 and January six, 2009, Khambekar said.

During 2007, about 104 kgs of gold, 235 kgs of silver and Rs 60 crore in cash was received by the temple through donations, he said.

The trust, which was formed in 1992, has an annual budget of Rs 200 crore which is used for development works such as construction of hospitals, new buildings and roads in and around Shirdi, Khambekar said adding a super speciality hospital and a ‘prasadalaya’ (dining hall) had already been constructed.

Bureau Report

Reference

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