Volume 4, Issue 1; January 2007
Monthly Newsletter of Om Sai Mandir
(A Non Profit Organization)
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Letter from the President
the Editor's Desk
Editorial: God Serves Us
Leela: Swami Doesn't Need Electric Fans
Beacon Lights: Vivekananda
Boggling Miracles of Sai Baba: The Crucifix
Chinna Katha: Fear of Death
A Letter from the President
Om Sai Ram,
The Year 2006 was a blessed year at Om Sai Mandir. When one is
at the lotus feet of Sai one hardly notices the quick passage of
time. 2006 was no exception, but it left behind wonderful
memories and innumerable tokens of Swami's blessings and grace.
During 2006, our temple witnessed a consistent growth in regular
spiritual activities. Aratis, bhajans, pujas, annadan, prayers,
and service activities are being performed with ever-increasing
enthusiasm and participation. Over the last year, we have made
significant progress in the cause of spreading Sai's message
through all available means, including one-on-one conversations,
newsletters, and the temple's newly redesigned website (omsaimandir.org).
With Baba's blessings our site has gained top rankings in all
the major search engines and has witnessed a phenomenal growth
in the number of daily visitors.
Om Sai Mandir gets recognition as a non profit organization
from the IRS
With Baba's blessings we received our tax exempt status from the
IRS on Easwaramma Day (May 06, 2006). Miraculously, the letter
came at the very moment we finished chanting Sai Sahasranamavali
(1008 names of Sri Sathya Sai Baba). This is indeed a great
blessing as the IRS recognizes Om Sai Mandir as a non profit,
tax exempt organization.
A holy visit
The spiritual vibrations of the mandir were intensified by the
visit of His Holiness, Sri, Sri Viswayogi Viswamji, who is
considered the ninth incarnation of Lord Datta. He delivered an
inspiring discourse and blessed the gathering with one-on-one
The balloon miracle
Many of you may have read about the balloon miracle that took
place at Om Sai Mandir. I will briefly recount it for the
benefit of those who may have missed it. On November 23, 2006,
we celebrated the 81st birthday of Sri Sathya Sai Baba. 81
helium balloons were decorated on the temple's ceiling. When we
opened the temple on the following day, all the balloons had
neatly lined up (like obedient children) near Swami's feet.
Helium balloons have a property of floating in air. How they
managed to reach His feet is inexplicable in the physical sense,
but the incidence provides ample testimony of Swami's continued
presence, blessings, and protection.
I am delighted to inform devotees that the carving of statues
has been completed with Sai's divine blessings. The statues
cannot be brought to the temple, however, until pending
financial formalities have been completed. It is my humble
request to devotees to generously support this cause and
expedite the release of the statues.
Swami's blessings find ample expression through the tireless
service of our dedicated team of young volunteers, a taskforce
that has grown remarkably well during the last year. We are
thankful to them.
Despite the steady progress over the past three years, a lot
remains to be accomplished, and I would like to request the
continued participation, support, and blessings of devotees.
We are very eager to unwrap all the blessings Swami has in store
for all of us in 2007. Many exciting initiatives are being
planned for the upcoming year. For regular updates, be sure to
check the temple's website (omsaimandir.org) regularly.
I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a Very
Happy New Year. May Sai's blessings fill your lives, and the
lives of your loved ones, with ever lasting bliss. Loka samastha
sukhino bhavantu. Jai Sai Ram.
- Gangadhar Rao Chalasani, M.D.
Yet another year has
gone by in Sai Seva. Thanks to our loyal readers, our subscriber
base has grown remarkably well over the past year. Do continue
telling your friends and loved ones about Sai Sandesh and Om Sai
In 2006, we redesigned Sai Sandesh and added a new column
"Beacon Lights," which has received a favorable response from
all readers. Starting this month, we will be adding another
column "Mind Boggling Miracles of Sai Baba," where we will
feature one mind boggling miracle of Sai in every issue.
In order to support the needs of our growing reader base, we
will now be e-mailing Sai Sandesh in HTML format. The newsletter
can be read in both HTML and PDF formats on our website (omsaimandir.org).
If your e-mail provider does not support HTML formats, or if you
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We are seeking feedback to evaluate the possibility of sending a
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your opinions to us.
Devotees are also encouraged to read past issues from the
archives section of our website (omsaimandir.org).
Please add firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com
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As always, we welcome suggestions, articles, and experiences
from all devotees. Wish you all a Very Happy New Year! Sai Ram.
In Sai Seva,
The Editor, Sai Sandesh
Editorial: God Serves Us
By The Sai
Many live with the
mistaken notion that devotees serve God and God just sits and
enjoys all these offerings and prayers. The truth couldn't be
If one were to get a sneak peek into God's office, we are sure
there would be an endless pile of prayers and requests awaiting
God's [immediate!] attention. Add to that God's daily duties --
making sure the universe runs in order (sun, moon, solar system
… the entire universe, basically), ensuring all His children are
well-fed and well taken care of, taking incarnations on earth
and other places, patiently listening to our constant complaints
and suggestions about how the world (and our lives) should be
run, making sure His ministers (angels and demigods) are doing
their jobs in compliance with allotted job descriptions,
resolving universal problems, keeping the devils in check …
phew, the list appears to be endless. He does all this
single-handedly, and despite such a busy work schedule, God,
surprisingly, finds time to connect with each and every one of
[Oh, did we mention that He survives on strictly voluntary
compensation (our love and gratitude) that He rarely receives.]
Compare this with our easy nine-to-five work schedules, limited
job descriptions, fat paychecks, small problems, and ample
support from God, friends, and family members.
An interesting story comes to mind. A follower once requested
Sai Baba to grant him the view from God's eyes. Baba sternly
refused. The devotee was adamant, however, and refused to move
until his request was fulfilled. The compassionate Lord finally
acceded to his prayer and gave him the vision for a split
second. The disciple's fancy soon turned into a nightmare, for
he could now see the entire universe with millions of creatures
seeking succor from Baba -- some crying, some praying for the
fulfillment of their desires, some holding His robe …. This
almost maddened the devotee and he cried to make the vision
vanish; the merciful Sai complied immediately.
The view from God's eyes was unbearable for the devotee to
withhold for even a fraction of a second. Imagine, Swami does
all this (in addition to serving devotees, running hospitals,
educational institutions, and many mammoth projects) quietly and
yet remains ever cheerful, acting as if He does nothing.
A devotee asked Swami: "Swami who are you?" Baba replied, "I am
the servitor of all." Prompted by pure love, the devotee burst
into tears chiding Swami for talking about Himself in that
manner. Prompt came the response: "But, everyone gives me a job
This truth has been exemplified in the life of every avatar,
saint, and prophet. Krishna spent every moment of His life for
annihilating evil forces and for providing succor to His
devotees; Rama enacted the drama of His exile (for fourteen
years) to rid the world of the demon, Ravana; Shiva saved the
world by drinking poison that emerged from the churning of the
ocean; Jesus allowed his crucifixion to save countless souls
from their sins.
At the end of Mahabharata war, all the brave warriors were
egotistically boasting of having destroyed many demons. A
devotee who had been blessed with divine vision appeared there
and corrected their folly. He immediately revealed to them that
all the tasks they were boasting of, were invisibly accomplished
by the sudarshan chakra of the Lord, and not by their own might
as they so arrogantly proclaimed.
God, out of His merciful compassion, tirelessly takes care of
all His children and serves them in all possible ways. Boons,
miracles, grace, protection -- these are just a few of the many
instruments He uses to accomplish the purpose of serving His
children. The truth of the matter is that it is God who is
constantly serving us.
Tell me your company and I shall tell you what you are. When you
associate yourself with ephemeral things, the results also are
bound to be so. You should develop friendship with Divinity,
which alone is true and eternal. Divinity is very much present
in you. The external world is subject to change. The world is
nothing but a combination of matter. Everything in this world is
transitory. Nothing is permanent. The unseen Atmic principle
alone is true and eternal.
Source: Thought For The Day, December 21, 2006
Swami Doesn't Need Electric Fans
By A Sai
(August 09 to August 20, 2006) witnessed the performance of a
grand Athi Rudra Mayayagna (holy ritual where Rudram is chanted
thousands of times) -- an event so great, it happened only once
before in the history of mankind when Lord Shiva Himself
performed it, many thousands of years ago, to promote world
We are very fortunate to be living in present times when Sai
Shiva re-established the glory of this holy rite by performing
it in the midst of thousands of devotees.While the yagna was
being performed many strange incidences were reported throughout
the world, including a report of sea water tasting sweet.
Whether the occurrences had a direct correlation with the yagna
is known only to Baba, but it is worth mentioning that many such
phenomena were reported during the same time span.
Reverting to the place of the yagna, Puttaparthi, among the many
miracles that devotees experienced at the event, the author was
humbled by a unique experience that sheds some light into the
divine glory of Sri Sathya Sai Baba.
Throughout the event, Sai Kulwant Hall was packed to capacity,
and the heat emerging from the flames of the mahayagna was
intensified manifold by the presence of the large gathering.
Aggravating the unbearable heat was the afternoon sun that
relentlessly tested the patience and enthusiasm of the
gathering. Despite the physical ordeal, we were all craning our
necks to witness the magnificent prayer orchestrated by none
other than the Lord.
All along I was joking in my mind: "Swami you should install
fans in this hall." Much to my surprise, one afternoon, we
experienced a sudden drop in the oven-like temperatures. A
strong gush of cool breeze caused the beautiful decorations to
dance in a wave-like fashion. I was thrilled to get some relief
but was immediately distracted by the Vedic chants that were
At first, I failed to correlate Swami's entry with the gift of
breeze, but this incidence repeated itself over the next few
days with impeccable precision -- as soon as Swami would enter
the hall, a cool wind would start blowing. My observation was
confirmed by fellow-devotees nearby, who had experienced the
same act of grace. Swami doesn't need fans that run on
electricity -- the Lord of Wind himself is a slave to the
commands of Bhagavan.
Beacon Lights: Swami Vivekananda
By The Sai
(whose monastic name was Swami Vivekananda) was born on January
12, 1863 in Kolkata, India as the son of Viswanath Dutta and
Bhuvaneswari Devi. In addition to being the chief disciple of
Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, Naren, as he was fondly addressed,
is credited with founding the Ramakrishna Math and the
Ramakrishna Mission. Vivekananda is, perhaps, the only monk who
gained recognition among the youth as the undisputable icon of
courage and strength. He was the superman of the times.
Even during his early years, Naren displayed unusual prowess. He
was very good at studies and also took an active part in
meditation, sports, games (wrestling, fencing, and rowing), and
music (instrumental and vocal). His leadership qualities found
expression through the founding of an amateur theatrical company
and a gymnasium. Even at that tender age, he voiced opposition
against superstitious customs and discriminatory practices.
Narendra pursued his higher education at the Presidency College,
Calcutta, followed by the Scottish Church College, where he
studied philosophy, western logic, and the history of European
nations. Vivekananda was fast blossoming into a fine young man
who was very curious about God. In order to satisfy his urge for
the divine, he joined the Brahmo Samaj. During the Samaj's
meetings, he would often question senior leaders whether they
had seen God with their own eyes. They could not satiate the
young lad's zeal satisfactorily. It was then that Professor
Hastie of Scottish College Church informed Naren about Sri
Ramakrishna of Dakhineswar.
The divine meeting
Vivekananda met Ramakrishna for the first time in November 1881.
The same question was put forth to Ramakrishna: "Have you seen
God with your own eyes?" The instant response was, "Yes, I see
God just as I see you here, only much more intensely." Although
plagued by doubts, the young monk felt instantly drawn to
Ramakrishna, and he visited the saint regularly thereafter.
During one of his meetings, Ramakrishna touched Narendranath's
heart. The touch had a magnetic effect and Naren could
intuitively perceive the divinity that pervades the entire
In due course, Vivekananda became an ardent follower of
Ramakrishna. During the five years with the Paramahamsa,
Vivekananda metamorphosed into a remarkable young monk who had
spiritual enlightenment and the service of humanity as the sole
objectives of his life. Around 1886, the master utilized throat
cancer as an excuse to merge with the divine. The young
Vivekananda was left to shoulder the responsibility of all his
disciples. Narendra and the remaining disciples took vows to
become monks and renounced the world.
On a mission
With torn rags and a begging bowl as his only possessions,
Vivekananda traveled the length and breadth of India. During his
travails, he stayed in king's palaces and huts alike. He was
unhappy to see the imbalance of society and desired to remedy
the situation. He finally reached Kanyakumari on December 24,
1892 and swam the ocean to reach a rock, where he meditated for
three consecutive days. It is said that during these three days,
the young master had meditated on the past, present, and future
of India. The rock where he meditated has now become the famous
Vivekananda was a well-recognized orator and also a prolific
writer. While at Madras, he delivered a powerful speech to the
youth. His ideas about Hinduism and India left an indelible
impression on the young minds and they urged him to go to United
States to represent Hinduism in the World Parliament of
Religions -- the invitation was initially sent to Bhaskara
Sethupathi, Raja of Ramnad.
Vivekananda won the hearts of the attendees at the World
Parliament of Religions with the famous words: "Sisters and
brothers of America." What followed was a fiery speech that held
the audience spellbound. The address marked Hinduism's official
entry into the minds and hearts of the Western world.
Vivekananda immediately received invitations to speak at
numerous universities and gatherings. He was an overnight
success, a hero-monk who inspired the establishment of Vendantic
centers in New York and London.
Vivekananda's published works include extensive treatises on all
the four yogas -- Raja Yoga, Karma Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, and Jnana
Yoga. In 1897, Narendranath returned to India where he was
accorded a warm reception from his many admirers and followers.
Vivekananda toured the West once again from 1899 to 1900. The
superman monk after accomplishing many impossible feats, merged
with the divine on July 04, 1902.
Vivekananda’s famous quotes
"Each soul is potentially divine. The goal is to manifest this
divinity within, by controlling nature, external and internal.
Do this either by work, or worship, or psychic control, or
philosophy - by one, or more, or all of these - and be free.
This is the whole of religion. Doctrines, or dogmas, or rituals,
or books, or temples, or forms, are but secondary details."
"It may be that I shall find it good to get outside of my body
-- to cast it off like a disused garment. But I shall not cease
to work! I shall inspire men everywhere, until the world shall
know that it is one with God."
"This is the gist of all worship - to be pure and to do good to
others. He who sees Siva (God) in the poor, in the weak, and in
the diseased, really worships Siva, and if he sees Siva only in
the image, his worship is but preliminary. He who has served and
helped one poor man seeing Siva in him, without thinking of his
caste, creed, or race, or anything, with him Siva is more
pleased than with the man who sees Him only in temples."
" All power is within you, you can do anything and everything.
Believe in that, do not believe that you are weak... You can do
anything and everything, without even the guidance of any one.
All power is there. Stand up and express the divinity with
you... Arise, awake, sleep no more. With each of you there is
the power to remove all wants and all miseries. Believe in this,
that power will be manifested. "
"He alone lives who lives for others. The rest are more dead
"Aye, who ever saw money make the man? It is man that always
make money. The whole world has been made by the energy of man,
by the power of enthusiasm, by the power of faith."
"It is a tremendous error to feel helpless. Do not seek help
from anyone. We are our own help. If we cannot help ourselves,
there is none to help us."
Boggling Miracles of Sai Baba: The Crucifix
Adapted from My Baba and I by John Hislop, pp. 17-21
Starting this month, we will attempt to present one mind
boggling miracle of Sai in every issue.
Although Swami does not give much importance to His miracles,
they do have a beneficial role in devotees' lives -- fostering
faith and hope, for instance.
What appear to be miracles to human understanding are merely
manifestations of divine will -- miniscule glimpses into what
the Divine will can accomplish. Swami often reiterates that He
is beyond space and time and hence can accomplish what
transcends the earthly laws of physics. The materialization of a
crucifix is a case in point.
The crucifix materialized by Swami is not of an ordinary kind.
The cross was materialized on Mahashivaratri 1973. The previous
evening, Swami had intimated a few chosen devotees that they
would be taken for a trip during the early hours of the
following day. The Bandipur Game Sanctuary in the Mysore State
was to be the destination of choice.
As the party crossed a bridge, Swami declared it to be the
sacred spot where all devotees were to gather. On crossing a
bush, Swami broke off two twigs, placed them together and asked
John Hislop, from among the band of devotees, "What is this
Hislop?" "The cross," answered John. Baba then closed His
fingers over the twigs and blew into His fist. When He opened
His hand there was a figure of Christ crucified on a cross.
Swami said, "This shows Christ as he really was at the time he
left his body, not as artists have imagined him or as historians
have told about him. His stomach is pulled in and his ribs are
showing. He had no food for eight days." "The cross is wood from
the actual cross on which Christ was crucified. To find some of
the wood after 2,000 years took a little time!
The wood of this crucifix is the same wood that was used to
crucify Lord Jesus 2,000 years ago -- mind boggling indeed.
Katha: Fear of Death
Oka Chinna Katha
There was once a
Raja, who had transferred all responsibility of ruling to his
manthri (minister), and who was spending his time in ease. He
never worried about anything, be it big or small. He had a
personal companion, whom he had always by his side, more or less
as a bodyguard. This fellow was very wise, for he never did
anything without deep deliberation, about the how and the why
and the wherefore.
The Raja took all this deliberations to be just foolishness and
he nicknamed the companion, "Avivekasikhamani" or "The
Crest-Jewel of Fools". He went to the length of actually
engraving the title on a plate of gold and compelling him to
wear it on his forehead for all to see! Many people were mislead
by this and they took him to be an ignoramus at court; they did
not heed to his words.
Meanwhile, the Raja fell ill and took to bed. The kingdom was
combed for physicians who could heal the king. Messengers went
to the eight corners, seeking drugs and doctors. Hundreds were
busy around the royal patient, but, all efforts failed; the
illness worsened day by day. The Raja was at the very door of
The Raja suspected that his end was near, so he hurriedly made
some dispositions, spoke to all those whom he wanted to meet,
and was immersed in sorrow. He had no thought of God or any
other auspicious Power. He was in terrible fear of Death and
could not think of anything else.
One day, he called Avivekasikhamani to his bedside and whispered
feebly in his ear, "Well, I am going soon, my friend!" Then, the
Fool asked without any compunction, "What? You are weak and
cannot walk a few steps; I shall order a palanquin, please wait
till it is ready." "No palanquin can take me there," said the
Raja. "Then, I shall order a chariot," entreated the Fool. "The
chariot too is of no use," replied the Raja. "Of course, then,
the horse is the only means of journey," wailed the companion,
who seemed eager to come to the rescue of his master, and spare
him the toils of travel.
The Raja said that the horse too could not enter there. The Fool
was at his wit's end. Then suddenly an idea struck him, he said,
"Come on master! I shall carry you there." The Raja became sad;
he said, "My dear friend, one has to go alone to that place,
when one's time has come. No companion can be taken." The Fool
was thrown in great doubt; he asked the Raja, "It is curious, is
it not? You say that the palanquin won't reach there, that the
chariot can't go there, nor the horse; you say that no second
person can join you! Well can't you tell me at least where that
place is?" The Raja replied, "I do not know."
Immediately, the Fool unwound the Golden Plate with the
engraving of the title, 'Avivekasikhamani', and tied it round
the brow of the Raja, saying "Raja! You know so much about the
place, even, which things cannot go there, but, you do not know
where it is, and still you are going there soon. O, you deserve
this title much more." The Raja was overcome with shame. "Alas,"
he said to himself, "I wasted my years in eating and sleeping
and pursuing pleasures, never caring to inquire who I am, whence
I came, what I am doing, whither I am going, and why I came.
The precious time allotted to me has come very near its end.
There is no time for me any more for all that inquiry. Death is
knocking at the door; children have started weeping; my subjects
are in great anxiety. Can I, under such conditions immerse
myself in inquiry? Can a thought that I never entertained
throughout my life suddenly arise now, during my last moments?
It is impossible.
Yes, I deserve the title, Avivekasikhamani more than anyone
else, for I wasted my life in useless pursuits; without any
thought of the reality." The Raja let it be proclaimed that
inquiry is the best means of knowing the Truth, that the inquiry
must be directed to separating the true from the untrue, the
eternal from the temporary, that people should arrive at the
conclusion that, 'God is the only true and eternal Entity' and
that by their own independent investigation, his subjects must
not only grasp the entity intellectually but must also attain
the Grace of God, by their pure lives.
Announcing this lesson to his subjects, the Raja breathed his
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