Sai Baba (Sathya) of Puttaparthi
THE PRAYER : Asatho maa sath gammaya: “From this transient world of decay lead me to the everlasting world of Bliss; ” Thamaso maa jyothir gamaya: “Give me the effulgence of Thy Grace and illumine my soul with truth “;Mruthyor maa amrtham gamaya : “Save me from the torture of birth and death , destroy the cravings of the mind which produce the seeds of birth .”
Man’s life must be a perpetual Sadhana ; any day is a good day for starting Sadhana. Sow in the field of your heart the seeds of good thoughts charged with humility ; irrigate it with waters of love ; protect the growing crop with the pesticide called courage ; feed the crop with the fertilizer of concentration ;then the ‘bhakti’ plants will yield the harvest of ‘jnana’ the eternal wisdom , that you are He, for,you were always He, though you did not know it so far. The individual can fulfil himself only through the service of others , expansion into the universal Sadhana has to enlarge the vision , enhance the experience , and enthuse the Jivatma to merge in the Parmatma.
From the experience of saints and sages ,you can realize that the joy got from the external world is infinitesimal when compared with the Bliss won through spiritual discipline. To win that bliss, Sadhana full of Vairagya (detachment, renunciation) is essential. When boring is done to draw water from the bowls of the earth ,the pipe has to be kept free from air so that water can rise up . If air enters , the water will not rise . So too ,be sure that attachment to worldly things does not mar your Sadhana. Prema will not well up if sensual pleasures or personal pride invade the mind. There are three things which one should keep in mind , namely I will not think of anything else except God ,I will not do anything else without the permission of God and I will have my attention completely fixed on God.
But the Ashrama Dharma and the Varna Dharma ( the code of moral conduct prescribed for the castes and for those in the Four Stages of Life —Student , Householder ,Recluse and Monk) do not hinder in any way the discipline of fixing the mind on God or of purifying the mind of evil or worshipping the Lord through all one’s actions , words and thoughts. The distinctions of sex or caste or status or stage of life affect only those who live in the awareness of the body as Reality and who act as if the world is absolute and eternal.
“Spiritual discipline, intensification of japa (recitation of holy name) ,Dhyana (meditation) ,Seva (service) and Sankirtan (singing that comes from the heart and with joy )—— these can achieve the same end ,without landing the human community in the morass of animality .”
Placing your burden on Destiny and keeping quiet means diminution of effort . With effort and prayer, new Destiny can be attained .Without effort and prayer, Destiny and grace are not gained . Start the effort! If the seed of True wisdom that I sow do not come up as good saplings and give good harvest,I too am effected. On the other hand , if they grow well and fructify into the harvest of Ananda, how happy I would be .That is my food. This is the Seva you should do to me .There is nothing higher than this .
People hesitate to enter the field of sadhana , though they crave for the harvest of joy .They are not willing to spend a pie , they are reluctant to do an iota of exertion; but they want Moksha to drop from the heavens on their laps .They would fain have the vision of God thrust painlessly into their brain ! When Maitreyi was given by Yajnavalkya vast wealth in the shape of gold and cattle , when he left hearth and home on his spiritual quest, she asked him whether they would be of any use for her in her quest. When her husband replied that they were transient and cheap when compared to the wealth of spiritual experience ,she cast them off and sought the precious wealth of Thapas (austerity) and Sraddha (faith).She got eternal joy through them .Study of scriptures and religious texts and such books without effort to practice , results in ill-health, Being false to one’s profession eats away one’s self-respect and one starts getting ashamed of oneself .So learn to practice and digest. That is the advice I give you.
When you are depressed by what appears to be loss or calamity , engage yourselves in Namasmarana , the recitation and recollection of the Names of the Lord ; that would give you consolation , courage and the true perspective . Remember the distress and calamity that the saints underwent with enthusiastic welcome and be calm during every storm . People laughed at them and called them mad ; but they knew that they were in the Grace Hospital of God ,not the mental hospital of man. They had full faith in their destiny and so they had full faith in God ; they laughed when calamities tried to cow down their eagerness , for they knew their latent strength , the strength of the Atma (Divine Soul) within. Just as the wild elephant ,roaming in the forest as head of the herd , is trapped and trained to sit on a three- legged stool in the circus ring , the mind of man too has to be trained by a systematic process of discipline —Sama ( control of senses), Dama ( detachment) , Uparathi (practice of withdrawal of senses from the objective world ) , Thithiksha (vigilance , fortitude ) , Sraddha (steady faith )and Samadhana (mind control )—so that it may subserve the best interest of man. How much more is the need for proper qualifications in the spiritual field , for winning the grace of God? You aim high ,but you make no effort to reach that height.
The eyes have to be trained to discover the footprints of God ; in this process, the mind has to be mastered . The mind is the pivot of thought and feelings .the mind is the thinking aspect of Brahman; the Absolute Consciousness . The absolute Self manifesting itself in imaginative activity is Mind .However , instead of turning towards the Absolute it turns outward and starts using the senses as its instruments .It forgets its source , the Atma. How and why this happens is inexplicable .We know that this happens and it can be avoided and prevented . The intellect cannot grasp the secret which is called , Maya ( The mysterious , creative and delusive power of Brahman through which God projects the appearance of the Universe ) , for it too is bound by it .One has to transcend the intellect in order to understand it . That is a fact and the fact has to be faced. The mind is the background of the world . If thoughts and activities of the mind are sound , healthy , non-violent , filled with love morally harmonious , then, peace is near at hand and Brahman can be attained . That is why Sadhana is to be strictly pursued to train the mind inward , towards God, its source.
In order to attain and understand Divinity , we must undertake Sadhana and behave in a way that is like the Divine .
You are advised to spend time in Meditation Or Japam or the quiet pursuit of Namasmarana ; for peace and joy are not to be found in external nature . They are treasures lying hidden in the inner realm of man ; once they are located man can never more be sad and agitateds. So use this holy atmosphere , this splendid chance , these precious days to the fullest . With every inhalation , utter the name of God; with every exhalation utter the name of God. Live in God, for Him, with Him.
Things you don't know about Sri Sathya Sai Baba
Key Information about the Trust
Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust was founded by Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba on 2nd September, 1972. Under Bhagawan's guidance, the Trust has been undertaking a number of welfare activities such as providing free education at school and university levels, delivering quality medical care at primary, secondary and tertiary levels completely free of charge, supply of pure drinking water in various regions of the state of Andhra Pradesh and the metropolitan city of Chennai. Other activities of the Trust include preservation and propagation of the rich culture and heritage of India through construction of museums, convention centers, community halls etc. Thus, it has been His instrument, translating into action His message of selfless love, touching the lives of millions. It has actively initiated the economic, moral and spiritual regeneration of society and today stands as a paragon of service worthy of emulation.
Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust is a Public Charitable Trust registered under Section 12A of the Income Tax Act, 1961 for carrying out activities in the areas of: Relief to the Poor; Medical Relief; Education.
The Sri Sathya Sai Space Theatre or Planetarium
The Sri Sathya Sai Space Theatre or Planetarium, with a seating capacity of 200, acts as a catalyst in creating interest and also increasing the understanding of the basic concepts of astronomy, mathematics, physics and other disciplines in the students of the school and the college. In fact, the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning is the first university in the country to employ a planetarium for educational purpose. It was inaugurated by Bhagawan on 22nd November, 1985.
Sai Baba Yajur Mandir
From the archives of “The Times of India”
The Times of India, June 18, 2011
11.56cr cash, 98kg gold at Baba’s abode
Puttaparthi: Sri Sathya Sai Baba’s abode Yajur Mandir in Prasanthi Nilayam has turned out to be a treasure trove. A 36-hour accounting since the mandir was opened yielded 98kg of gold, 307kg of silver and Rs 11.56 crore in cash.
While the gold items were valued at Rs 20 crore, silver stocks totalled Rs 1.6 crore, said sources close to the team of 20 trust members, executive council members, Sai Seva Dal volunteers and bankers involved in the exercise at the seer’s residence in this small town in Anantapur district.
Huge idols of Lord Krishna, Rama and Hanuman made of gold were also found along with precious jewellery. Sources said teller machines were used to count the cash, which was deposited by the hour in a bank even as the counting exercise was going on.
“The cash found in Yajur Mandir has been deposited in the account of the trust in State Bank of India Prasanthi Nilayam branch,” Trust member and Baba’s nephew R J Rathnakar said. Rathnakar said no will was found during the inventory of Yajur Mandir, putting at rest rumours Sai Baba had written a will in favour of his caregiver Satyajit. The inventory was done in the presence of retired judge of Supreme Court A P Mishra and Karnataka high court retired judge Vaidyanathan. An assessor approved by the income-tax department was also present to assist in evaluating the gold jewellery and silver articles, sources said. Yajur Mandir had remained closed since the seer was hospitalized on March 28. He died on April 24 of multiorgan failure. The mandir was opened in the presence of trust member and ex-CJI P N Bhagawati, secretary K Chakravarthi and senior members—S V Giri, V Srinivasan, Rathnakar and caregiver Satyajit on Thursday. The trustees claimed the sole purpose of the inventory was transparency and to dispel rumours about the wealth amassed by Sai Baba. Sources said some key documents, papers and other valuables were found inside the private chambers of the godman.
The trust has decided to open Yajur Mandir for darshan from July 15. “We will turn it into a museum where various items and other material used by Baba would be on display,” Rathnakar said. Sources said many foreign devotees used to donate money they had in the form of Indian currency.
What is Yajur Mandir?
It was constructed in 2001 by L&T. The ground floor of the Yajur Mandir has one visitors’ hall, followed by another hall, dining room and a kitchen. It has two separate rooms. On the first floor, there are three rooms, including the resting room of Sai Baba. The entry of VVIPs and important dignitaries to the first floor was restricted when Sai Baba was alive. The Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust members and VIP devotees used to wait on the ground floor to meet Sai Baba, who used to come down from his abode in the first floor. Sai Baba used to sleep on the silver cot embellished with gold ornaments. The plates, glasses and other articles used by him were also made of gold and silver. Only a few of the high-profile devotees had an opportunity to have dinner with Sai Baba, who used to come down by using a lift.
In the Mandir, Sai Baba used to allow only his caregiver Satyajit along with two-three ‘‘favourite’’ students to serve him. Even Sai Baba’s nephew R J Rathnakar was allowed only a few times in the first floor of Yajur Mandir.
All the units under the university celebrates their Annual Sports Day on 13th of January every year. Just to tell you the magnanimity of the event, flame from Olympics was brought to inaugurate the sports in the year 2006.
Temples of healing
He started healthcare service projects in Puttaparthi and Bangaluru providing tertiary medical care to the under-privileged. The complete treatment is provided free of cost without any consideration of age, caste, nationality or financial status.
He started projects through which free potable water was provided to people who did not have access to any of it. Let's now talk about each of them.
The district of Anantapur is one of the most arid and backward districts in Andhra Pradesh. The three major rivers Pennar, Hagari and Chitravathi that flow in the district are non-perennial and remain dry during the summer months. Tanks and rivers run dry for most of the year and groundwater too is scarce. Even the groundwater that is available is brackish and high in fluoride content. Thus, the people of Anantapur have for long been suffering due to lack of water even for drinking. The villagers had to trudge long distances in the harsh unforgiving heat to fetch water for their daily consumption. In November 1995, Bhagawan announced His concern about the suffering of the people of Rayalseema due to lack of drinking water. He said, “Rayalaseema should be ensured water supply all through the year. Today it is a Raallaseema (a rocky region). It must be transformed into a Ratnalaseema (land that glitters as a diamond).”
About 2000 kilometres of pipeline of varying diameters were laid. 43 sumps with capacities ranging from 1 lakh (0.1 million) litres to 25 lakh litres were constructed. 18 balancing reservoirs with capacities ranging from 3 lakh litres to 10 lakh litres have been constructed on the top of hillocks. Construction of 270 overhead reservoirs. 125 ground level reservoirs were set up. More than 1500 precast concrete cisterns of 2500 litres capacity have been installed in various villages. Each cistern has four taps for people to collect water. Overall, 731 villages are provided free water under this project.
The project was formally handed over to the Government of Andhra Pradesh in October 1997. This project has received much acclaim from the Government of India: The Ninth Five Year plan document of Government of India added a citation to the Trust in appreciation of the project, which read - “… Sri Sathya Sai Trust has set an unparalleled example of private initiative in implementing a project on their own, without any state's budgetary support, a massive water supply project, with an expenditure of Rs. 3,000 million to benefit 731 scarcity and fluoride / salinity-affected villages and a few towns in Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh in a time frame of about 18 months.” On 23rd November 1999, the Department of Posts, Government of India, released a postage stamp and a postal cover in recognition of the pioneering service rendered by Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba in addressing the problem of providing safe drinking water to the rural masses.
Medak & Mahabubnagar Drinking Water Supply Project
Following the Anantapur Drinking Water Supply Project, the Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust replicated the model to provide water to 320 villages in Medak and Mahabubnagar districts of Andhra Pradesh. Just as in Anantapur, the groundwater in these regions contains excessive concentration of fluorine. Pollution from industrial effluents had further aggravated the problem. The Trust stepped in to provide safe and pure drinking water to the people of these districts in the year 2001.
East Godavari Project
The upland and backward areas of East Godavari and West Godavari Districts of Andhra Pradesh which are mainly inhibited by tribes and poor people depended mostly on bore-wells and streams for their drinking water needs. Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust decided to take up a massive project for supply of safe drinking water to about 452 upland and tribal habitations in East Godavari and West Godavari Districts in the South-Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. About 212 habitations covering a population of more than 2.20 lakhs have benefited from the project in the East Godavari District. The main sources of water are River Godavari and its tributary Pamuleru which flow throughout the year.
West Godavari Project
The project provides clean drinking water to about 240 habitations covering a population of more than 4.70 Lakhs in the West Godavari District. The projects in both the Districts were completed and handed over to the Government of Andhra Pradesh on 15th September, 2007 for operation and maintenance.
Telugu Ganga Project
The city of Chennai, earlier known as Madras, is the largest city in South India, with a population of about six million. It was built in the early 18th century by the British colonists and was developed by them as a major port and a hub for trade and commerce. Today, it is the capital of the state of Tamil Nadu and a bustling metropolitan city attracting business investments in manufacturing sectors and also in Information Technology and Biotech areas. But up until December 2004, it was also a city with a major problem.
People of Chennai queuing for the precious resource … and being met by dry taps The city of Chennai lies on the east coast of India. However, it lies in the rain shadow region of the south-west monsoon and has to depend on the fickle north-east monsoon for its water supply. No major rivers flow near the city. Thus, Chennai has had to live with the problem of water shortage from way back in the late nineteenth century. In recent years the problem had become more acute with some areas of the city having to go without water supply for three days at a ime during the harsh and humid summer months. The city with its teeming population required about 750 million litres of water per day and was having to make do with a mere 250 million litres. Long hours of waiting for a few litres of water at unpredictable and sometimes inconvenient hours from the community water sump seemed to be the norm everywhere in Chennai.
The proposed plan for the Telugu Ganga project In the early 1960s the Central Government announced that annually 15 TMC (thousand million cubic feet) of water from the perennial river Krishna would be brought to Madras, with the states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra contributing 5 TMC each from their share of Krishna waters. The water from the Somasila reservoir in Srisailam district was to be taken to the Kandaleru reservoir in Nellore district and from there to the Poondi reservoir in Tamil Nadu that supplies Chennai city, by a 150 kilometre long canal.
The dilapidated Kandaleru-Poondi canal This canal connecting Kandaleru and Poondi reservoirs was called the Telugu Ganga and was completed in 1996. But, to the dismay of the residents of Chennai, of the planned 15TMC of water a measly 0.5 TMC of water was all that reached the Poondi reservoir. The reasons were manifold – evaporation, seepage and erosion of the canal walls all contributed to the reduced flow and after a few years the canal had fallen into a state of disrepair. To the despairing millions of Chennai it seemed there was no solution in sight to their problem.
Till Bhagawan on 19th January 2002, on the occasion of the first anniversary of the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences, Whitefield, Bangalore, surprised everyone with His announcement that He had determined to resolve the plight of the thirsty millions in Chennai. He said, “Today I have made a new resolve. Madras is suffering from acute shortage of drinking water. The rich can buy water sold by tanker services, but what are the poor to do? They have been depending on rain water that has collected in puddles and ditches, thus spoiling their health. I have therefore decided to work towards bringing drinking water to Madras, no matter how difficult and costly the task is.” People wondered as to why He had chosen this occasion to make His Will known, till they realised that this day was also the anniversary of Sundaram, Bhagawan’s Mandir (temple) at Chennai!
Chennai water project begins
Bhagawan announcing the Chennai water Project The project undertaken by Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust that commenced in July 2002, entailed renovation of the dilapidated Kandaleru-Poondi canal as well as enhancing the capacity of the Kandaleru reservoir. This would not only ensure adequate water supply to Chennai but also help irrigate about 3 lakh (0.3 million) acres of agricultural land in Nellore and Chittoor districts of Andhra Pradesh. With the blessings and grace of Bhagawan, the project took off at a fast pace on many fronts employing the most modern technology.
About 4000 workers were employed and the work proceeded round-the-clock. The project was completed in a record time of sixteen months. The Andhra Pradesh Government, in appreciation and gratitude to Bhagawan rechristened the Kandaleru-Poondi canal from Telugu Ganga to Sathya Sai Ganga. Now it was only a matter of the reservoir at Kandaleru filling up before the water could begin the historic journey to Chennai.
Finally, on 23rd November 2004, the 79th Birthday celebrations of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, the gates of the Kandaleru reservoir were opened. The gurgling waters surged through the 150 kilometres to the Andhra Pradesh-Tamil Nadu border, reaching the border in a record time of four days as against the 8-10 days it used to take prior to the project. 27th November, 2004 the blessed day when the Poondi reservoir began to fill up with Sai Ganga water, happened to be Bhagawan’s birthday according to the Telugu astrological calendar!
The long-suffering residents of Chennai had finally found succour. The Lord had come to their rescue unasked, and showered His bountiful blessings on them. A few days after the release of water, on the 11th of December, devotees from Chennai gathered at Prasanthi Nilayam to express their gratitude to their Lord. Bhagawan went straight to them and asked, “Did water reach Chennai?” The devotees replied in the affirmative and thanked Him profusely. Bhagawan’s face radiated the joy and love of a thousand mothers. He said, “I am happy hat water has reached My thirsty children”
Sri Sathya Sai Baba on Ritual Worship
Will God get angry if we fail to worship Him? What is worship? It is a set of prescribed rituals offered to a deity . Hindus have an elaborate and varied set of rituals offered to multifarious manifestations of Divinity in their religious firmament. The bottom line in all religions is the religious sentiment of adoration and reverence for the Supreme, in whichever manner perceived. This is not a bad thing.
Ritual worship engenders humility and a sense of awe at the grandeur of the Supreme Entity and helps forge a relationship between man and God.Places of worship facilitate this process.If you want to post a letter, you go to a post office; to take a walk you go to a park; if you want a few moments with God, you go to the designated House of God. So, in that sense it is not bad at all.
However, there are some points to consider. Our worship gives us satisfaction, for sure, but what about `God'?
What does He get out of it? Does God need our worship? Not at all; He does not need validation. Praise and genuflection are the needs of earthly rulers.Then what might be God's need?
In the thousands that throng Houses of Worship, or religiously perform puja and prayer rituals at home, He is simply looking for a true devotee.
Sri Sathya Sai Baba says, “You may acquire the highest knowledge, you may spend hours in meditation, you may visit temples and perform rituals earnestly , but unless you feel love for God, it is all useless. Love alone surpasses the most arduous sadhana, and makes you the recipient of the highest of graces.“ Love. What could be the definition of this love that pleases God so much? Is it the one we hear and talk so much about in pop songs, movies, and books? Hardly. That is limited love and mostly transient. It changes, shifts, varies with time.And it is concentrated on a few chosen individuals only . Divine love cannot be narrowed like that. It is expansive and covers all creation, seeing the underlying unity of all. Such a love is spontaneous, permanent, engenders bliss and naturally promotes peace and harmony. Unless a devotee has this basic credential of universal love, he does not pass the test of a true devotee.
How can this universal love be manifested? It is quite simple. By developing a spiritual vision and seeing everything with the eye of wisdom. The divine principle is cognised in all, and revered and respected. When you hurt another, you are hurting the Divine, when you love another you are loving the Divine. That is the bottom line of all religion and spirituality. So, worship, yes. But remember, worship to become a better person. Its value is to you, not to God. Its purpose is to cleanse you and bring forth, from your true nature, the gems of universal love, that are the adornment of human life.
Sri Sathya Sai Baba says, “Love knows no distinction of any kind. It knows no caste, colour, creed or nationality. Love should be all-embracing and envelop the entire world. `Love all, serve all', is the worship which pleases God the most.“ (November 23 is the birth anniversary of Sri Sathya Sai Baba).