Sai Sandesh Volume 4, Issue
3; March 2007
Click here to download this issue
in PDF format
In this issue
Devotees are requested to e-mail suggestions, articles,
experiences, etc. to
to your e-mail address book and "safe list". This
will prevent the filtering of our e-mails.
e-mail address changed? Please enter your new address on our
or send an e-mail to
Editorial: From Pain Comes Pleasure
Leela: Om Sai Mandir Obtains Non Profit Status
Boggling Miracles of Sai Baba: Time is His Slave
Beacon Lights: Sri Gajanan Maharaj of Shegaon
Editorial: From Pain Comes Pleasure
By The Sai
Life has its ups and
downs. Events in life occur in an almost circular fashion,
periodically alternating between pain and pleasure and joy and
sorrow -- mimicking a merry-go-round as if. Despite their
unpopularity, unhappy moments of our lives play an important
role in furthering -- almost shaping -- the spiritual growth of
the jivätmä (individual soul).
The darkest phase of night occurs just before sunrise, welcoming
the light that is to shatter the reign of darkness. Painful
moments in our lives, too, serve as precursors to their happier
counterparts, and the peak of their intensity is a sure
indication that the light of God is going to fill our lives with
unending happiness and bliss.
When Swami, as a lad, made the divine declaration proclaiming
His divinity, many disbelieved Him and even went to the extent
of tormenting His physical form. They subjected His body to
untold, unbearable suffering that cannot be described in words.
Through the entire ordeal, Swami smiled to prove to the world --
and to set an example -- that He is beyond pain and pleasure.
Through this suffering, however, Swami's divinity shone like a
million suns and He is now worshipped in every corner of the
The Guru Charitra narrates the wonderful account of a devotee
whom the Lord Dattatreya visited in His physical form. The Lord
appeared at the doorstep of the devotee in the form of a monk
begging for food. The devotee was not at home and his wife
attended to the needs of the Guru. On His way out, the Lord
uprooted a vegetable plant that was the only source of meals for
the family. When the wife discovered this, she was petrified and
The devotee returned to find his wife bemoaning the loss. He was a true devotee, however,
and explained to her the importance of equanimity in the wake of
pain and pleasure, both products of our own actions. After the
explanation, he tried to replant the tree and in the process
discovered a pot of gold that was buried there. Had the Lord not
inflicted the momentary pain, could the family have discovered
the buried treasure?
Lord Krishna gave a unique demonstration about this truth as
well. A brahmin devotee once came to seek His blessings. On
securing Krishna's blessings, the brahmin's cow (his only source
of sustenance) died immediately. Arjuna was by Krishna's side
when this happened and he did not lose the opportunity to
question the strange occurrence.
The Divine One immediately explained that He wanted to grace the
brahmin with divine blessings, a pre-requisite for which would
be unconditional reliance on God. Reliance on one's own
possessions would only hinder the divine blessings that were to
fill the brahmin's life. In the worldly sense this event would
be considered a tragedy, but in reality it served as blessing in
disguise, for the brahmin's responsibility was being borne by
the merciful Lord Himself.
In all the above stories, pain was the seed that planted the
tree of happiness. In addition to serving as a fertile soil for
long-term happiness, suffering has another benefit.
Ancient wisdom and seers often liken suffering to a furnace that
molds gold. In order to mold raw gold into fine jewelry, it is
subjected through the intense heat of a furnace. The intensity
of the heat plays a critical role in softening and shaping the pure metal.
Once it softens, it becomes very easy to mold it into fine
jewelry. Swami often calls His devotees "bangaru". In His eyes
we are pure gold and in order to soften us and carve us into
beautiful jewels that can be adorned by Divinity, we are often
challenged with the worldly fire of trials and tribulations.
As painful as these challenges appear, however, they play a beneficial
role in carving us into wonderful instruments of God. One need
not go far to look for proof of this. Reviewing our own lives,
we will find that the best of our qualities express themselves
after the worst of circumstances.
Night and day, summer and winter, joy and sorrow, pain and
pleasure, suffering and happiness -- all of these represent
opposites that constitute the dual nature of this universe.
One follows the other unfailingly, repeatedly reminding us about
the fleeting nature of things and carefully reiterating the
importance of equanimity (undisturbed state of mind in joy and
sorrow) in our lives.
The happiness that
man can derive out of worldly comforts is limited. It is utter
foolishness to think that wealth and property, comforts and
conveniences can bestow unlimited joy on you. None of these can
give true happiness. Then how can it be attained? It cannot be
attained from outside. It originates from the heart. The heart
is the dwelling place of God. To experience true happiness, man
should develop firm faith in God. Where there is faith, there is
love. Only when man has love in him can he practise
righteousness. Righteousness leads to truth which in turn leads
Source: Thought for the day, Prashanti Nilayam, February 19,
Om Sai Mandir Obtains Non Profit (Tax Exempt) Status
By A Sai
Swami has His way of
favoring devotees. Om Sai Mandir has witnessed
and experienced numerous acts of grace since its inception, and
sincere desires of devotees have been fulfilled in myriad ways.
On May 06, 2006, the mandir witnessed another act of grace that
will be cherished (with gratitude) in our hearts for years to
It was Easwaramma Day and the morning had started with
abhishekam (ritual bathing of deities), Kakad Arati, (morning
arati) and Rudram. This was followed by the chanting of Sai
Sahasränämavali (1008 names of Sai Baba). As soon as we finished
chanting the 1008 names, the mailman arrived with a letter from
the Internal Revenue Service.
We had received official recognition from the IRS as a non
profit organization. The mandir was filled with excitement. The
cause of all the excitement was not so much the tax exempt status, but
rather the timing of the letter. Not only did the letter arrive
on Easwaramma Day, it came at the precise moment we finished
chanting Sai Sahasränämavali.
Boggling Miracles of Sai Baba: Transported to Australia in a Trice
Adapted from Adapted from "Tapovanam" by Jandhyala Venkateswara
In the physical
world, we are all bound by the laws of time and space. An avatar
is not subject to such restrictions, for He not only transcends
time, He actually rules over it.
A young Christian boy from Colombo, Sri Lanka, traveled to India
for higher education. He enrolled himself in the Madras
Christian College. During his stay in Madras, he happened to
visit Sri Ramakrishna Mission and was instantly attracted to
the image of Mother Kali.
After giving up all his possessions and severing ties with his
family members, he set out on a divine quest. He literally
adopted sanyäsä (renunciation) and dedicated his entire life to
his favorite deity.
Genuine sädhakäs (spiritual aspirants) always succeed in
securing the grace of God, and this sädhakä was no exception to
this rule. Within a few years, he visited Puttaparthi. Swami
immediately called the boy to His interview room. While they
were in the room, devotees assembled outside heard a distinct
Apparently, as soon as the lad had entered the interview room,
Swami materialized a forest within the interview room and
ordered him to walk in it. The young man started walking through
it and continued to do so for decades together. After he had
traversed a significant distance, Swami ordered him to stop.
When he turned around, he saw the vision of his favorite deity:
He could not hold his excitement any longer and cried in
ecstasy. It was his long cherished desire to retire to the
forests and undertake severe penance. Swami not only fulfilled
this desire, he also helped him secure the vision of his
Swami, the master of time, had packed the time span of decades
within an hour. Yes, the young boy had actually walked for
decades, but Swami controls time and he condensed all these
years into just one hour. After the vision, Swami spoke the
following words: "My dear man, there is no need for intense
penance in the Kali Yuga (The Age of Darkness). It is enough if
you remember your favorite deity's name and incessantly intone
it mentally. Only through nama smaran will you attain
fulfillment." After declaring this truth, Swami materialized a
lot of vibhuti, poured it over the young boy, and blessed him.
Swami exhorts His
devotees to follow two wonderful teachings: Love all, serve all
and help ever, hurt never. These simple teachings summarize the
essence of all religious precepts in the most practical and
A student of Swami had deeply imbibed these lessons and soon got
the opportunity to practice them. It was the day of an important
exam and the young student was on his way to the exam hall. On
the way, he found a helpless patient.
The condition of this person was grave, and he was in immediate
need of medical attention.
For the student, this test was bigger than the one he was on his
way to, for he would have to make a choice between his future
and the life of a stranger. The smart lad chose the latter and
rushed the patient to the hospital.
After ensuring the safety of the stranger, he nervously hurried
to the exam hall. He was very late for the test, but with faith
in Swami, he tried to complete the exam to the best of his
abilities. When he went for darshan, Swami immediately
congratulated him on his choice and assured him of success on
The results were declared shortly thereafter and the young lad,
true to Swami's words, had passed with flying colors.
This was an excellent lesson to demonstrate the truth that God
always helps those who follow the right path. What a wonderful
way to drive this truth.
Lights: Sri Gajanan Maharaj of Shegaon
Since ancient times,
the holy land of India has been sanctified by the presence of
spiritual powerhouses. Since early 1800s, a galaxy of spiritual
luminaries has been manifesting on earth, preparing us as if for
the advent of the Divine in human form -- Lord Sainath.
Shining in this constellation of spiritual lights was Sri
Gajanan Maharaj of Shegaon. The account of Gajanan Maharaj's
birth is as mysterious as the many miraculous acts of the saint.
While different theories have been postulated to explain the
origins of Sri Maharaj, records indicate that he first appeared
in Shegaon as a young lad on February 23, 1878.
[It is noteworthy to mention that Gajanan Maharaj was a
contemporary of over fifteen powerful saints, and there isn't
much information available about the origin of all of these
saints. Some well-known divinities of the time include Shirdi
Sai Baba, Narsing Maharaj, Tajjuddin Baba, Madhavnath Maharaj,
Anant Maharaj, Tembe Swami, etc.]
In stark resemblance to the life of Shirdi Sai Baba, Gajanan
Maharaj, too, was discovered by a blessed devotee. A moneylender
by the name of Bankatlal Agarwal discovered Maharaj while the
saint was finding food from a heap of leftover paträvalis (leaf
plates used in olden days). The saint's act was a practical
lesson to illustrate the importance of respecting food.
Believers claim that Gajanan Maharaj was at the ashram of
Akkalkot Swami Samartha (incarnation of Dattatreya) for some
time. It is said that when the young lad was still on his way to
Akkalkot, the incumbent Maharaj said, "Ganapati aala re aala" (Ganapati
has come). After the initial meeting, Gajanan Maharaj was asked
to seek training from Yashwant Deo Mamlatdar in Nasik. In Nasik,
Gajanan Maharaj came in contact with the brightest of saints and
spiritual scholars. He also came in contact with Narsing Baba of
While the Maharaj was performing sädhanä (spiritual
austerities), Balshastri Gadge of Laad was impressed by the
young boy and waited to invite him to Lad Karanjya in Vidhabha,
a prayer that the young saint gracefully acceded to.
Gajanan Maharaj then spent a few years with Narsing Baba, a
saint that fearlessly wandered in forests that were inhabited by
wild animals. It is said that even the wildest of animals would
become meek and loving in the presence of Narsing Baba. In his
company, the Maharaj's yogic powers were fully awakened and he
could perform many divine feats. Once, the Maharaj used his
yogic powers to raise the water level of a well. Gajanan Maharaj
soon moved to Shegaon.
Once, Bankatlal invited the Maharaj to his farm to eat corn
stalk. Many devotees had assembled there to bask in divine
company. A fire was soon lit to roast the corn. In the merriment
that ensued, none (except Gajanan Maharaj) noticed that the
fumes were reaching a bee hive on the tree. Disturbed by the
heat, hundreds of bees started swarming out. The devotees were
panic-struck and ran for safety. Sri, however, was unruffled and
did not move from his seat. The bees soon settled on his body
and stung him in hundreds of places. This disturbed the devotees
who were observing their beloved deity sitting undisturbed even
in pain. As Bankatlal rushed to aid his lord, Maharaj ordered
the bees as follows: "You go back to your own place. My dear
devotee Bankatlal should suffer no pain." The bees obeyed.
All the devotees returned to their seat but were terrified at
the sight of the Maharaj's body, for millions of stings had
covered the saint's beautiful form. In consideration for their
devotion, Gajanan Maharaj took a deep breath and wonder of
wonders, all the stings fell out of his body.
Once, a group of [false] sages, in the pretense of earning
money, were discoursing on the Bhagavad Gita. The group leader
started his discourse by explaining that neither weapons could
destroy the soul, nor could fire burn it. It was the [futile]
intention of the band to divert the devotees of Gajanan Maharaj.
While the lecture was in progress, a strange miracle happened.
The Maharaj's bed suddenly erupted into flames. As the flames
were rising, devotees started making rescue arrangements.
Gajanan Maharaj dissuaded these attempts, however, and sat
unruffled in the midst of the flames.
Addressing the group
leader who was apparently enjoying the sight, the Maharaj said,
"Since you have been telling people for the last one hour that
neither weapon can destroy nor fire can burn the soul, please
come and prove it by sitting on fire." The leader ignored this
order, so Maharaj asked some of his disciples to bring him by
force. By now, the fake sädhu's ego was completely shattered and
he sincerely repented for his behavior. Maharaj not only forgave
him, but also gave him spiritual instructions. The fire
extinguished as mysteriously as it appeared.
Sri Gajanan Maharaj shed his mortal coil in 1910. Two years
before this, he had warned his devotees of the samädhi. Before
giving up the physical form, however, he consoled the grieving
devotees with the following words: "Don't think I am gone. I
will always be there whenever you think of me. I will rest
here." These were not hollow words. Even today, many devotees
experience the continued presence and protection of the Maharaj.
[It is worth mentioning here that Sri Sai Baba of Shirdi always
held Gajanan Maharaj in high esteem. When the Maharaj took
samädhi, Baba told his followers "Aaj mazaa Gaja gela" (my Gaja
left today). There were incidences where Baba and Gajanan
Maharaj fondly addressed each other as spiritual brothers. In
reality, they were the same divinity functioning in two
different forms. A leelä only they would understand.]
Click Here to Read Past Issues
Sai Mandir - Sai Baba Temple in New York NY
(c) 2007, Om Sai Mandir. All Rights Reserved.