Once, Swami called a brother-sister duo for an interview. They had lost their parents in a plane crash. Swami said that even if one person on that plane had chanted Gayatri Mantra three times, everyone would have been saved.
Baba proved this fact through a real life experience. I came across this miracle of Baba when I was a student. A catholic priest was working at a church in New Jersey. As he was traveling by plane, intense turbulence hit the plane and everyone on board started panicking.
This priest was on the plane and he remained calm and started reciting some prayers from the Bible. As we know Baba embodies all deities so in response to this priest’s prayers, Baba manifested on the plane. He gave the priest His blessings and a packet of vibhuti with His picture.
The priest had no idea who this Indian-looking Divine Being was but he was very happy that the turbulence stopped and everyone was saved.
As soon as he returned to New Jersey, he wanted to find out who this person was so he enlarged the picture Baba gave and placed it in his church.
That day, an Indian woman visited the church. She was excited to see Baba’s picture there and asked the priest how he got it. When the priest narrated the story, she had tears in her eyes and told the priest about Sai Baba.
The priest was overjoyed and visited Baba’s temple here in New York to thank Baba. He even became interested in Sai Satcharita. Such is our Baba. He loves everyone and rushes to help as soon as we call Him sincerely.
Once, during puja, the door opened and one lady walked in. She saw Baba and was so excited and said, “So I got it right.” As I didn’t understand I asked her to explain. She said that during early hours of morning Baba came in a vision and asked her to come to Om Sai Mandir. As she did not know computers very well, Baba have her detailed directions to come here. She had never heard about the Mandir until Baba Himself told her. That was the reason she was so happy and said she got it right.
There are many such stories of devotees coming to the Mandir in strange ways. On another occasion, a lady from Trinidad saw Baba in a vision and she was asked to come and offer specific types of lemons at the Mandir. Another person was driving near the cemetery on Hollis Court Blvd. and he felt a strong pull to come here. Many more … will share slowly. omsaimandir.org
By The Editor, Sai Sandesh, Om Sai Mandir – Sai Mandir in Queens, Flushing, NY
It is said that a caterpillar constantly meditates on its own beautiful butterfly form and through incessant meditation it soon metamorphosis into a mind-bewitching butterfly. The Guru Charita says that when a disciple constantly serves his guru with one-pointed concentration with no thought but that of the guru, the disciple soon transforms into a divine guru himself. He develops the guru’s noble qualities, devotion, and powers through such incessant meditation. One may not realize but our future is determined by what we think constantly. Ever seen two people who love each other dearly. It could be a parent-child relationship or a sibling or a friend … if these individuals love each other dearly, they will behave in almost like fashion. It is a fact that if we constantly think about something, we become that very object.
This is exactly what Lord Krishna has declared in the Bhagvad Gita. The Lord said that whatever one meditates on at the last hour of his life, one goes to that object (and therefore becomes that). For this reason, it is important to constantly meditate on God and chant His name ceaselessly.
Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, the guru or Swami Vivekananda, demonstrated this truth through his own life. The sage was so perfect in his meditation and his thoughts were so powerful, they would bear instant fruit. Once, he meditated constantly on Lord Rama and considered himself to be Hanuman, the eternal slave of Lord Rama. Through constant meditation on the relationship — he being Hanuman and God being Rama, the sage soon grew a physical tail and resembled the mighty Hanuman. Not only his mind, his body, too, became the very being he was meditating on. Our thoughts are that powerful even though we may be oblivious to their inherent energy and potency.
On another occasion, a disciple came to the Paramahamsa to learn meditation. The guru asked him, “What do you like the most in this world?” The disciple said, “My buffalo.” Ramakrishna then said, “Fine, go and meditate on your buffalo constantly.” The surrender of the disciple was so great, he did not question the guru at all and went to his room and meditated on the buffalo day and night. After a year, the Paramahamsa wanted to see how far his disciple had progressed and went to his room. As it was locked, he asked from outside. “Is somebody inside?” asked the guru. “Yes,” came the response. The guru then asked, “Who are you?” Pat came the response, “I am the buffalo!”
It is said that if you leave a lion cub with sheep, it will soon start behaving like a sheep. It is a guru who removes this ignorance and takes the lion to the water to show its own reflection in the water. It is then that the lion realizes that he is indeed the king of the jungle and not a sheep. Our nature is like that. We constantly think that we are weak, powerless beings who are destined to perish. It is only a divine guru like Baba who can shows us our true self and make us realize that we are the immortal, all-powerful atma (soul) and not the weak physical beings that we consider ourselves to be.
Constantly contemplate on God and his noble qualities and you will soon transform into your own divine nature. Consider the example of Mother Radha. She constantly meditated on Krishna day and night. Her meditation was so deep that if one were to ask her “Who are you?” She would say, “I am Lord Krishna!” Indeed, the Mother had completely merged her mind with Krishna and had become His Divine self.
Once, a student of Swami was seated at His feet. Although fortunate to be a student in the Lord’s educational institution, he was young and had been influenced by the ways and claims of modern education. He had heard that without God’s will even a leaf will not move. This is an ancient adage, but he wanted concrete proof of the same and so he put forward a question to Swami. The essence of his conversation was as follows:
“Swami, you say that not even a leaf will move without God’s permission. Here, I place a pen on the floor. Move it and prove this Supreme Will to me.” Baba has His own ways of teaching all of us, His children, and could He lose the opportunity to give a real life experience to one of His beloved students. Nay. Swami responded in His own way and told the child to lift the pen. He did so effortlessly. Swami then said “Ok, place it back.” The student obeyed and put the pen back on the floor.
Baba then looked at him and said, “Now lift the pen.” Much to the student’s astonishment, his arm simply did not move. He could not move his arm at all, let alone lift the pen. He had tears in his eyes as he feared that he would remain in the frozen state for a long time. With tear-filled eyes, he looked at the Lord, who was all compassion and love. The Lord said, “Ok, now lift the pen again!” Much to the young man’s delight, he could effortlessly move his arm and lift the pen.
A similar incidence occurred in the 90′s. A great saint-devotee of Baba, Late Dr. Rao, used to reside in Hyderabad, India. Due to a stroke, one of his hands had become paralyzed and it was very difficult for him to manage his daily chores with just one hand. Yet, with implicit surrender in Baba, he used to carry on with his routine duties without complaining. Even with that ailment, he would pray for all the Sai devotees who would rush to him for guidance and succor. Whenever he would pray to Baba for someone’s benefit, that person would definitely receive divine grace. Such was his relationship with Baba. Whenever he would sit in his meditation room, the Lord would appear in His physical form and converse with this saint-child of His. Despite his close proximity to the Lord, Raoji never requested Baba to heal him and instead continued praying for the benefit of all mankind.
One day, his family asked Raoji to pray to Baba to heal his hand and cure the paralysis. He was reluctant but upon repeated entreaties by his family, he finally conceded. That day, when he sat for prayers, the Lord appeared as usual. After the prayers, Raoji reluctantly told Sai about his paralyzed hand and conveyed the prayers of his family members. Did the Lord not know? Of course, He knew. Baba looked in the other direction as if He had not heard anything and continued conversing like the mischievous baby Krishna of yore. Raoji thought that Baba did not want to grant his request and so he kept quiet out of much respect toward Baba. Baba then suddenly said, “Look at my picture there. It is covered with dust. Go and clean it first and then continue your prayers.”
Raoji was in his late sixties and so he slowly got up and went toward the picture. He picked a piece of cloth and swiped the picture clean. It was then that he realized that he had cleaned the picture with his paralyzed hand. Baba had healed him instantly and the order to clean the picture was just a naughty play of the Lord.
Sometimes, we understand what God’s will is and yet like a naughty child, we want to have it our own way. If it is not to our benefit, the Lord will not allow us to do it. The story of Upasani Baba is a case in point. Upasani came to Lord Sai when he was forty one years old. He was in awe of Baba, but did not desire to live in Shirdi. Baba, on the other hand, wanted him to stay in Shirdi and progress spiritually under Baba’s direct guidance. Upasani wouldn’t listen, though, and left Shirdi. Baba then said, “Okay, go. I will do what needs to be done. You will be back in eight days.”
Upasani, however, had no intention to come back. He started walking away from Shirdi and continued walking for eight days. On the eighth day, he met some individuals who asked him to join them on their visit to Shirdi. By then, Upasani, had forgotten about his intention to stay away from Shirdi and he joined them. When he touched Baba’s feet, the latter joked “See, he came back in eight days.” Upasani was surprised because despite walking for eight days, he was still within the vicinity of Shirdi. How could that be possible. He thought he had walked so many miles. How did he not reach farther? It was then that he realized that it was Baba’s will that did not let him go far.
Such is the power of Baba. With His will, even the impossible becomes possible. One may ask, “What is the role of free will in our lives? What about God’s will? Are they both separate?”
These are difficult questions that only the Lord can answer best. We surmise, however, with our own understanding. It is very true that the Supreme Will moves the universe and the overall direction of our lives, but at the same time there is free will too. Let us explain our understanding further. When the owner of a pet ties a leash around the neck of the dog and takes it for a walk, the owner constantly controls the direction the dog has to walk in, yet, the dog has free will to play around within the length of the leash. He can step on the grass, tease other dogs on the road, play in the dust a little, and have some fun. But, despite this freedom, it is the owner who decides the overall direction in which the pet has to walk (in our case, toward God). This is analogous to the Supreme Will.
Finally, we do have complete free will with our reactions. If an event occurs in our life, we are hundred percent free to react to the event with happiness or sorrow. This reaction is of our own making and determines our future karma. If we accept the Lord’s will in every event in our lives, we transform our reaction into unconditional surrender and no further karma accrues. We are then completely free and on the road to unlimited, eternal bliss.
Perhaps, the first temple in the world dedicated to the two most recent avatars of Lord Sai, Om Sai Mandir is a unique and divinely-inspired temple of the Lord where individuals from all faiths and beliefs gather to worship the Supreme Lord Sai. Om Sai Mandir or Flushing Sai Baba Temple, as it is commonly known, was established in Flushing, Queens, New York (NY) in 2003 with the singular purpose of serving Sai devotees in a spirit of unity, love, and selflessness. Since its inception, the temple has remained open for devotees seven days a week, 365 days a year.
Temple Timings, Address, and Daily Schedule and Activities
Om Sai Mandir, 4511 Smart Street, Flushing, NY 11355, Phone: 1.718.461.0454
The temple is open daily from 8 AM to 9 PM. Please do not hesitate to call us if you have any questions.
Daily Schedule and Activities
Our daily schedule includes four aratis (Kakad Arati – 8 AM, Madhyana Arti – 12 PM, Dhoop Arati – 6 PM, and Shej Arati – 8 PM) just as they are observed in Shirdi. Additionally, Sathya Sai Baba’s arati is performed twice every day. In the morning after Kakad Arati and in the afternoon after Madhyan Arati.
Additionally, Rudra Abhishekam and Sarva Devata Abhishekam is performed at 9 AM daily. Vedic prayers such as Rudram, Sri Suktam, Durga Suktam, and Purusha Suktam are chanted during the abhishekam. Hanuman Chalisa is chanted 108 times every Saturday and Maha Mrityunjaya Jap is performed 1008 times every Monday. Sai Naam Jap is chanted every Sunday (1008 times). Vishnu Sahasranam and Lalitha Sahasranam are chanted daily as well.
Apart from the intense prayer schedule, the temple participates in numerous programs and activities focused on teaching bhajans to the children, serving the elderly (senior citizens), feeding the poor (annadanam), and various other service projects that are taken from time-to-time. Individuals with reading difficulties and language problems are provided translation services and assistance with filling various forms.
If you are on Facebook, Google, Twitter or other social media sites, please do like us and join us. We host daily satsanghs and provide a wealth of information on Baba’s teachings, sayings, stories, and messages.
Thousands of individuals visit Sai mandir, Sai Baba temple in Flushing, every single year, including devotees from all five boroughs (Queens, Long Island, Staten Island, Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Bronx) and also from states outside of New York, including far-off states. The visitors come not only from the tristate area, but also from various countries. The mandir is fortunate to have a following from practically all continents in the world. It is Shirdi Sai Baba and Shree Sathya Sai Baba’s divine presence and grace that attracts everyone, no matter how far the distance. In fact, we have had several devotees who said that they just felt drawn to the temple. Some claimed to have been directed by none other than Sai either through dreams or through friends and well-wishers.
Followers of Saibaba know that He has emphatically declared in the Sai Satcharita that I draw my followers to Me, just as sparrows are drawn with a string tied to their feet. We, at Baba’s temple, have been fortunate enough to witness these words in action and can confirm that Baba does indeed carry out His work Himself, without the need for any agency or instrument. It is Swami’s supreme will that accomplishes the welfare of his followers the world over.
Directions to Om Sai Mandir
Driving Directions and Route from Manhattan (New York City)
Drive to Long Island Expressway, LIE, (I-495 East) and take Exit 24 (Kissena Boulevard). Once you take the exit, make a left into Kissena and drive north for about one mile and then turn right into 45th Avenue. Keep going for about four blocks and make a right into Smart Street. We are the second building on your left.
Route from Long Island
Om Sai Mandir is just as easily accessible from Long Island. Again take I-495 West and get off at Exit 24 (Kissena Blvd). Turn right into Kissena and go north for about a mile. Turn right into 45th Avenue and drive for about four blocks. Turn into Smart Street and drive to 45-11 Smart Street.
For out-of-state devotees, you can reach LIE through all major highways, including The Belt Parkway, Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (BQE), Grand Central, and others. Once on Long Island Expressway, follow the directions provided above to reach Saibaba Temple in Flushing.
You can also use public transportation, which provides frequent service in the vicinity of the mandir. For directions through public transportation, kindly visit our directions page.
Brief History and Structure
Our founders, Dr. Gangadhar Rao Chalasani and his wife, felt a strong need to have a place of worship that would be dedicated to followers of both Shirdi Sai Baba and Sathya Sai Baba. Given the fact that the Sai movement is growing manifold, it was necessary to have a common ground so followers of Baba could learn about the teachings of both Sai avatars in one place. Our founders started the temple (as a non-profit organization) without much fanfare and in the simplest manner. As such, the institution is a product of love, dedication, and sacrifice for which we remain eternally grateful to the founders, who have decided to shun any form of limelight from the very beginning of the organization’s journey.
What is most unique about the institution is the fact that all of its programs and activities are coordinated by a dedicated group of volunteers, who serve at the temple seven days a week. This taskforce of tireless, young Sai-lovers form the very core of the strength and their presence ensures that all of the temple’s resources are allocated exclusively for the functioning of the temple and its various programs and not a single cent is spent on manpower.
The organizational structure is one of love and humility. Every person who serves here works without the lure for titles and accolades. Sai is everything from the head of the mandir to the one who orchestrates the entire show. The volunteers and the founders prefer to serve as humble instruments, nay servants, of the Lord and exist for the sole purpose of selfless service.
Blessings of Baba, Sages, and Saints
Since its inception, many saints of the highest order (such as Shree Vishvayogi Viswamjee, Shree Bhawati Siddhar, and others) have visited the temple and showered their blessings on devotees. Each one of them has unequivocally attested to the fact that they could feel Baba’s divine presence at the mandir in abundance. In fact, the temple’s inception was entirely coordinated by the Lord Himself and we will post these experiences on our blog shortly.
Miracles of Baba at the Mandir
Baba performed the most inexplicable miracles in both Shirdi and Sathya Sai avatars. He never placed much importance on the miracles, though, and performed them for the sole purpose of benefiting devotees. Baba has performed countless miracles at Om Sai Mandir as well. Many of these are not shared due to respect for the concerned devotees’ privacy, but we were fortunate enough to record some of the miracles on video and the same can be viewed on our YouTube channel. You can also read about Baba’s honey miracle that occurred recently. Baba has also cured many devotees of various ailments (including cancer, Glaucoma, and others) and has benefited them in more ways than we can humanly describe.
We do not crave for miracles, but when Swami does perform them, we feel overjoyed, grateful, and reassured of His constant divine presence. Our attitude toward these miracles is that of a witness filled with reverence, gratitude, and awe. Only Sai is the doer, not us.
Newsletter, Outreach, and Information about Sai
It is imperative that our beloved Lord’s teachings and stories be preserved for future generations and it is our humble endeavor to share His teachings (again as an instrument) through the temple’s newsletter, blog, and various one-on-one and group-based educational interactions. The past newsletters can be viewed here and to subscribe to our monthly newsletter, please visit the subscribe page.
The mandir’s blog has many informative articles and can be accessed through any Internet-enabled device. Furthermore, extensive information is posted on a daily basis through our various social media outreach initiatives on Facebook, Google Plus, Twitter, and YouTube. Be sure to like us on your favorite social media channels.
Information for Out-of-State Devotees
If you are visiting New York (NYC) for the purpose of having darshan at Om Sai Mandir, there are plenty of amenities in the close proximity of the mandir. In addition to the prasad served at the temple, there are plenty of restaurants and fast food joints in the close vicinity of the temple. From the Ganesh Temple’s canteen to other fast food and fine dining establishments (and we have a variety, from Chinese to Italian and everything in between), food is never a problem in Flushing. If you need to make living arrangements during your stay in New York, the Flushing YMCA offers reasonably-priced accommodations. There are also many hotels and motels in the area, should you desire to follow that route. We are not affiliated with any of these organizations, so devotees should perform their own diligence before narrowing down their lodging and eating arrangements.
Rest assured, we are just a phone call or e-mail away, so please do not hesitate to call the temple if you have any questions.
A Hispanic mother-daughter duo visit Om Sai Mandir every week. They never miss a single week, no matter how the weather may be. With immense faith in Baba, they come and pay their respects at the mandir and are always curious to learn about Baba and implement His teachings. Their humility and devotion are admirable.
Last week, the mother was diagnosed with Glaucoma of the eye. Although it is not a life-threatening condition, it can cause pain and annoyance to the patient and since the mother is in her seventies, it would have been one more condition to manage.
After she was diagnosed she came to Om Sai Mandir and prayed to Baba from the bottom of her heart. In her simple, child-like prayer, she asked Baba to look at her eyes and she, in turn, looked at Baba’s. It was very simple. No complicated rituals were performed. A simple heartfelt prayer was offered to Baba.
A strange miracle happened with that small interaction. She visited her doctor yesterday and the surprised doctor told her that “she was all clear!” No Glaucoma, no eye problem … nothing. She is all clean.
Baba can cure any disease, He can perform what no one can. What is impossible for the creator who made this human form? Nothing! God can do what no one else can.
A woman in her late forties comes to Om Sai Mandir regularly. Due to ailing family members, she is the sole bread winner for the family and was forced to face an impending legal battle with a major organization. The other side had expensive legal counsel but she could not afford lawyers. A law student at the mandir helped her fill out the forms but could not represent her as he was still a student.
As she went for her hearing, the judge called out for her. When the opposing side was called out, they did not respond. How could they? Baba did not let them come on that day.
The judge told her, “Ma’m, you are very lucky! I know this organization for a long time and they have never failed to appear at a hearing. I don’t know what happened today. You win by default.”
Baba knew her condition and the fact that she had done nothing wrong, so He allowed her to win. What’s better? It has been several months and the other side has still not appealed. Jai Sai Ram!
No matter how powerful the opponent, when Sai saves us who can harm us?
Baba says that all the treasures in the universe are at His disposal and that we can seek anything we like. What, then, should we ask? The Lord illustrated this with a beautiful story.
Once, a king held an exhibition and put all his treasures there. He then called his subjects and said, “My dear children, you can all come and take anything you like from my treasures. I have given everything to all of you.” No sooner did he make this announcement, all his subjects thronged to the exhibition. Some carried away gold coins, others took furniture, still others took away food and pleasures … each person took all that she/he desired. The king was watching his subjects with great astonishment when an elderly lady came there.
She stood at the entrance of the exhibition and did not appear to be interested in anything that was there. The king was surprised at her behavior and rushed to her. He said, “Why do you not take anything?” The lady replied, “I don’t want all those things.” The king was surprised further and started tempting her with money, lands, servants, elephants, horses, and the like. She refused all those things. Then the king begged her, “Please take something. I really want to give.”
The lady then said, “Do you promise to give me whatever I ask?” By now the king was completely in awe of her detachment and said, “I promise, I will give you whatever you ask.” The old lady then said, “I want you!”
The king was taken aback for a moment, but he had to keep his word and said, “Honorable Lady, I am all yours.” Then the old woman explained that the people who sought small petty treasures were missing out on an important thing — the king with a golden heart. Which king would be so generous and such a king must be a great human being and that is why the lady wanted him. Now that she had him, all the treasures in the kingdom — nay, the entire kingdom — was hers. The king applauded her wisdom and gave her a permanent place in his palace.
Baba says that we must be like the old lady. We must not worry about the trifles in the universe, but rather God (the greatest giver) Himself. Once we have Him, everything in the universe is ours.
Life is an amazing learning experience and Baba is the most magnificent sadguru one can have. Baba does not teach with words, but rather through real life experiences — ones that we can never forget. Often time, Baba will bring forth similar experiences in our life repeatedly until we learn to correct our inner weaknesses. A spiritual aspirant who is prone to anger, for example, may repeatedly find himself in situations that test his patience until the person learns to get control that particular weakness. Once that is done, Baba may choose to work on another aspect of spiritual development. Each one of us has our own journey, though, and only Sai is capable of leading us ALL to ultimate perfection. If we stick with Baba, He will accomplish that without fail.
Baba often says that He is like a jeweler who takes raw gold and molds it into perfect jewels worthy of being worn by God Himself (through life’s experiences). All that is needed on our part is patience and faith in His wisdom.
Once, the author was serving Baba and was marveling at all the transcendental spiritual qualities described by great saints. He was wondering how to gain control over one’s mind and achieve that super-transcendental stage when Baba called for him and asked “What is the most important quality a spiritual aspirant should have?” Baba knows how to prick the bubble at the right time and He does so in His own beautiful way. Along with the question, Baba sent two people to the author. These individuals behaved in a manner that would be enough to elicit an angry response from any reasonable person. With Baba’s grace, the author was able to maintain his composure and he did not respond to their behavior but at the same time, he was strained by the situation.
It was then that he was reminded of Mother Sai’s saying: “One cannot oblige always, but one can always speak obligingly.” As he pondered over this saying, it flashed on him that the most important quality a spiritual aspirant should have is “LOVE!” Isn’t that what Baba teaches us “Love ALL, Serve ALL!” As he conveyed his response to Baba’s question, Swami smiled and agreed. Love is indeed the most important quality a Sai devotee should have.
Why worry about complex spiritual concepts when the simple practice of “love” is enough to help us win Baba’s grace.
Sometimes, years of penance does not move the Lord even slightly, but the slightest selfless gesture moves Him, the ocean of bliss, into tears. At Om Sai Mandir, we have experienced numerous leelas of Baba and His constant presence and guidance. We are sharing a wonderful experience that left us completely in awe of Baba’s magnificent powers and His boundless love for all of us.
About five years back, Om Sai Mandir received a call from a South Indian school dedicated to blind, orphan children. They were visiting the US for a performance and wanted our assistance with transportation, food, accommodation, and the like. Since the group consisted of small children who had none except Sai, we decided to do our part and serve them in accordance with Baba’s teachings (“Love All, Serve All”). The volunteers at the mandir are ever-eager to render selfless service and so everyone started preparing for the kids’ arrival. We picked them from the airport and arranged for their overnight stay at the local YMCA. In the morning, our volunteers picked them up and brought them to the mandir. During the day, they were served in all possible ways. Some volunteers helped them put on their shoes, others carried their bags around, still others arranged for their food and other comforts. During their stay, we did everything in compliance with Swami’s teachings. We continued serving the children during their stay and finally helped them back to the airport.
The children were treated as we treat our own family members and we could tell they were very happy. Everyone’s eyes were filled with tears because these children were so beautiful and so talented. Their physical challenge did not deter their spirit in the least.
Little did we know (or expect) the big surprise Baba had in store for us. Seva is never rendered with the expectation of any reward or recognition (even by God) and all this was done silently without any public display.
The Thursday immediately after the event is when we discovered the impact of our small seva. That day, we heard literally hundreds of stories of Baba’s intervention, grace, and help to the devotees who come regularly to the mandir. In addition to miracles that happened at the mandir, some recovered from long-term (otherwise incurable) health issues, others told of Baba’s dreams and visions, still others had their legal problems solved … these were not isolated occurrences … every single person who came to the mandir that day — every single person — came with good news. Most talked about “obstacles” that had been nagging them for years and felt that they were miraculously resolved on that particular day.
It is very normal to witness Baba’s leelas at Om Sai Mandir, but what was significant about that day was the collective wave of leelas that every single person had to share. A wise elder then explained that Baba was indeed pleased to see the visiting children happy. These differently-abled children had none except God and since they were served, God, too, was happy and He was displaying His happiness in this manner — by providing grace to His devotees.
We have witnessed many similar incidences when Baba has expressed His happiness with acts of selfless service. His presence is also felt very strongly during group bhajans and devotional gatherings.
During both Sai avatars, Baba has taught us the importance of selfless service. One afternoon, Mrs. Tarkhad, a devotee of Baba saw a hungry dog and felt great mercy for him. She immediately fed him with a piece of bread. When she met Baba that day, He said:
“Mother, you have fed Me sumptuously up to my throat, My afflicted pranas (life-forces) have been satisfied. Always act like this, and this will stand you in good stead. Sitting in this Masjid I shall never, never speak untruth. Take pity on Me like this. First give bread to the hungry, and then eat yourself. Note this well.” She could not at first understand the meaning of what Baba said. So she replied, “Baba, how could I feed You? I am myself dependent on others and take my food from them on payment.” Then Baba replied, “Eating that lovely bread I am heartily contended and I am still belching. The dog which you saw before meals and to which you gave the piece of bread is one with Me, so also other creatures (cats, pigs, flies, cows, etc.) are one with Me. I am roaming in their forms. He, who sees Me in all these creatures is My beloved. So abandon the sense of duality and distinction, and serve Me, as you did today.”
God is like a child. He does not need complicated rituals and expensive gifts. What really pleases Him are heartfelt prayers and selfless service. Selfless service is the royal expressway to God!