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Om Sai Mandir
Om Sai Mandir - Sai Baba Temple in New York NY

Volume 4, Issue 1; January 2007
The Official Monthly Newsletter of Om Sai Mandir
(A Non Profit Organization)

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In this issue


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A Letter from the President
From the Editor's Desk
Editorial: God Serves Us
Sai Wisdom
Sai Leela: Swami Doesn't Need Electric Fans
Beacon Lights: Vivekananda
Mind 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 ( 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 interviews.

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.

The statues
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.

Our volunteers
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 ( 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.

From the Editor's Desk

Sai Ram,

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 Mandir.

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 ( If your e-mail provider does not support HTML formats, or if you have difficulty reading the newsletter, please send an e-mail to the editor's attention at We will send you a text version immediately.

We are seeking feedback to evaluate the possibility of sending a print version of Sai Sandesh via regular mail. Please e-mail your opinions to us.

Devotees are also encouraged to read past issues from the archives section of our website (

Please add and to your e-mail provider's address book and "safe list". This will prevent the filtering of our e-mails.

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 Sandesh Team
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 farther.

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 us.

[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 to do."

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.
Sai Wisdom
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
Sai Leelas: Swami Doesn't Need Electric Fans
By A Sai Devotee, NY
Puttaparthi recently (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 peace.

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 welcoming Swami.

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 Sandesh Team
Narendranath Dutta (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 universe.

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 Memorial.

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 than alive."

"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."
Mind 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.
Chinna Katha: Fear of Death
Adapted from 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 Death.

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 last.
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Copyright (c) 2007, Om Sai Mandir. All Rights Reserved.

45 11 Smart Street
Flushing, NY 11355
Tel: 1.718.461.0454

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Daily Aratis:
8 AM, 12  PM, 6 PM, 8 PM
Every Thursday 7 PM to 8.30 PM
Every Sunday 2 PM to 3 PM

Prayers, stotras, and annadan:
Jan 01: New Year
Jan 13: Lodhi (Lohri)
Jan 14: Sankranti, Pongal
Jan 26: Republic Day
Feb 14: Valentine's Day
Feb 16: Mahashivaratri
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