Sai Sandesh Volume 4, Issue
6; June 2007
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Editorial: You are not who you think you are
Leela: How Sai helps His children
Boggling Miracles of Sai Baba: Sai's omnipresence
Beacon Lights: The divine life of Sri Chaitanya Mahapraphuji
You are not
who you think you are
By The Sai
The quest to
understand the secrets of the universe--and hopefully get a
glimpse of the divine glory thereby--has been an eternal one.
From the very beginning of time, the human race has made
countless attempts to understand the purpose and origin of
Yet, after the collective inquiry of billions, man does not have
the answer to a simple question: Who am I? When asked, most give
vague answers, such as "I am Tom," or "I am Lakshmi," or "I am a
doctor," or "I am a father" …. The truth, however, is that all
of these answers fall short and do not offer a plausible
explanation or describe man's true identity. If I am Tom, what
happens to me after death? Do I cease to exist? Am I erased from
the canvas of the universe? If I am a doctor, what happens to me
when I retire? Do I cease to be? If I am a father, what happens
when my son disowns me? Do I lose identity? No, the role of a
father was relative and identified me only as long as the son
was in existence, but that's not who I really am. The true "I"
does not change based on temporary associations we bring upon
Earthly associations often mislead us into identifying ourselves
with bodies, professions, roles, or emotions. When faced with
emotions (disappointment, fear, defeat, etc.), we call ourselves
"failures," "sinners," "disappointments" and what not. We place
such strong faith in our own judgment that these labels soon
transform into a belief of what we perceive as our own reality.
The truth is that we are none of these. When we make a statement
like "this is my book," we are essentially declaring that the
book is separate from us. Similarly, when we say "this is my
body," who is the "my" we are referring to. It is obvious that
the "my" is different from the body. So, if I am not my body or
one of the temporary states, who exactly am I?
An ocean's wave appears to take on a form, but the reality of
the wave is its original constitution: water. As the wave
approaches the shore, its form slowly dissolves and it becomes
one with the ocean. Our perceptions about ourselves and others
can be likened to the forms assumed by waves. They are temporary
illusions. As these "form waves" approach the shore of Divinity,
false egos and imaginary personalities disappear and reveal
their real pristine nature, the true self--God's own image.
Another example: If we fill a red bottle with water, does the
water become red? What if the same were filled in a blue bottle?
Nay, the composition of water, its essence, will not change no
matter what container is used to hold it. Our true being is like
that. It may be molded in different bodies, but its reality is
unchanged, unaffected, and untainted. As long as the bottle is
closed with the seal of body-consciousness, one is limited to
being a little self. The moment the ignorance is removed, the
space within the bottle becomes one with the universal space.
Self realization is like that. It is the realization that our
spirit is one with God.
During the process of life, our bodies undergo numerous changes
and we are subjected to processes like childhood, youth, and old
age, and opposites, such as pain, pleasure, health, disease,
heat, cold, etc. While the body is experiencing these changes,
the spirit remains unchanged. It is like a movie screen. Many
images are projected on the screen, but the screen itself does
not undergo any change. If we learn to identify ourselves with
the spirit and disassociate with the body, we, too, will not
feel any sorrow. Take the example of Prahlada. When he was
tortured at the hands of terrifying demons, he resorted to the
ceaseless chanting of the divine name. The result was that he
could enjoy bliss despite the pain he was being subjected to.
Unfortunately, we often sway like a pendulum from joy to sorrow.
If only we keep steady and hold on to our own reality, external
circumstances will cease to hold power over us. We are not
helpless or weak. Within us is a vast storehouse of power: God.
Why should we give room to weakness or sorrow when our true self
is all-powerful. If only we were to tap into our inner strength,
we could actually control situations and not vice versa.
So, if we are nothing but God, why aren't we able to realize it?
Swami often answers this with an illustration: A man lost a
needle in his own house, but went outside to search for it. Our
search for our true identity is like that. We attempt to find
happiness outside, when all bliss is within us. It is only when
we undertake sädhanä (spiritual practices) and turn our vision
Godward (inward) that we can discover our true identity.
Our body is like a wave in the ocean of God. So long as it
retains individuality, it remains insignificant, but the moment
it merges with the ocean, it becomes a mighty power. Oh children
of God, wake up! You are not any of the imaginary labels you
have painted on your real self. You are a child of God, His own
The one effective
way to conquer all sources of physical and mental disease and
debility is awareness of one's Atmic Reality. That will bring
about an upsurge of Love and Light, for, when one recognizes
that one is the Atma, one cognizes the same Atma in all. He
shares the joy and grief of all and partakes of the strength and
weakness of all. He sees God in everyone. Every act will be a
pure, sincere and sacred offering to God. When one yearns for
the happiness and prosperity of all mankind, one is blessed with
the wisdom and strength to mark out the way and lead men towards
Source: Thought for the day, Prashanti Nilayam, May 30, 2007
How Sai helps His children
By A Sai
When I was a
student, Thursdays and Sundays were always reserved for Sai. One
chilly Thursday, despite a serious illness, I visited the temple
to perform seva. A group of devotees were discussing Baba's
stories after the bhajans and I couldn't resist the temptation
of joining in. It was almost 11.00 PM and my roommate who
happened to visit the temple that day took me to task for
neglecting my health. I asked him to have faith in Baba.
The winter was at its peak and there was hardly anyone on the
road that night. My friend chided me yet again for being so
careless with my health, especially since the buses were not
running on schedule that night. While we were waiting for our
bus, a white car suddenly came to a screeching halt. The
occupant of the car, a young man in his early 20's, approached
us and asked us if we wanted a ride. My roommate was so shocked
to hear the offer, he almost fainted. We had traveled through
that route almost every single day and no one had ever offered
us a ride. Why that night?
The young man was wearing a saffron tilak, a holy mark worn by
devotees of God. We hesitatingly agreed to accept the ride but
were pleasantly surprised to learn that he was a fellow-student
at our university. It was a strange coincidence considering the
fact that we had never met each other before--even stranger was
the fact that we never saw him after that day. Sai leelas are
very strange indeed.
Boggling Miracles of Sai Baba: Sai's omnipresence
group of youth-devotees approached Swami to request His presence
at a function that was to be held millions of miles away from
Puttaparthi. The merciful Lord agreed and asked the youth to
continue with the preparations.
As the day of the function arrived, there was rising anxiety
about Swami's arrival and all wondered how and when He would
come. The performance had started and yet Swami was nowhere to
be seen. They were disappointed but continued with the program
as they had already dedicated the same to Swami.
After the event, when they were browsing through the pictures
that had been taken on that day, they found not one but seven
gigantic forms of Swami all across the hall. The miracle brought
tears to their eyes and they realized Swami's power and
Katha: The practice of dharma. Adapted from Chinna Katha II, 143
Prahlad was not only
a devotee of Lord Narayana but also a very righteous and
bountiful king. He would never say no to anyone who approached
him for a favor, gift, or help.
Once, Indra intending to test Prahlad, came to him in the guise
of a brahmin. Prahlad offered his respects to him and asked:
"What do you seek of me? How can I make you happy?" The brahmin
replied, "Oh king! I want you to gift me your sheela
(character)." Prahlad said, "So be it. Your wish is fulfilled. I
am gifting away my sheela to you." The brahmin left the court.
No sooner did the brahmin leave, then a charming young man was
seen walking away from the royal court. Prahlad questioned him:
"Sir! Who are you?" The young man replied, "I am fame. I cannot
stay with you any longer since sheela has left you." Prahlad
permitted him to leave.
A few seconds later, yet another handsome man was seen walking
away from the court. Prahlad asked, "May I know who you are?"
The man replied, "I am valor. How can I be with you without
sheela and fame? I am therefore leaving." Prahlad permitted him
Soon, a charming lady was leaving the court in hurried steps.
Prahlad asked her, "Mother, may I know who you are?" "I am
Rajyalakshmi, the presiding deity of this kingdom." She replied
and added, "I can't live here without sheela, fame, and valor."
Then a lady was seen moving away with tears in her eyes. Prahlad
ran towards her and asked, "Mother, who are you?" She said,
"Son! I am Dharma Devatha (righteousness). I don't have a place
where there is no sheela, fame, and valor. Even Rajyalakshmi has
Prahlad fell at her feet and said, "Mother, I can live without
sheela, fame, valor, and Rajyalakshmi, but I cannot live without
you. How can I send you anywhere. It is the duty of the king to
protect Dharma. Dharma alone is the basis of the entire world.
Please stay with me. Do not forsake me."
Dharma Devatha agreed to stay. When Dharma Devatha agreed to
stay, all the others also returned to the court and said: "We
cannot exist without Dharma Devatha. Let us please be with you."
Lord Indra tested Prahlad only to illustrate to the world the
greatness of Prahlad, which was founded only on his practice of
Lights: The divine life of Sri Chaintanya Mahaprabhu
Lord Krishna, in the
form of Sri Chaitanya Mähäprabhuji, ushered Kaliyugä (Age of
Darkness) into an age where the divine nectar of God's name
would be sufficient to grant liberation even to the most sinful
of men. Chaitanya initiated mankind into the easiest and most
potent of all sädhanäs (spiritual practices): näma smarana
(contemplation of the divine name).
On the full moon night of February 04, 1486 A.D., Sri
Mähäprabuji was born to holy parents, Jagannäth Misrä (Purandar
Misrä) and Sachi Devi, both pious Brahmins residing at Nadia
(Nabadwip), seventy five miles north of Calcutta. The divine
qualities of the newborn child were not hidden from great men of
the village and he was named Viswambar. He was also known as
Nimai (derived from the Neem tree), Gaur, and Gaurangä
(fair-complexioned). The child would cry ceaselessly but would
stop if the name of Sri Hari was chanted with devotion. For this
reason, the house of Gaurangä would constantly reverberate with
the recitation of Hari's name.
Gaunrangä was a child prodigy. Within a short time of his
schooling under Vasudev Sarvabhauma, he mastered all forms of
learning. At the age of sixteen, he had gained recognition as a
scholar par excellence and his intellectual powers were feared
and admired by scholars far and wide. During the course of his
education, Chaitanya lost his father. He married the daughter of
Vallabhächäryä but lost her to a snake bite. He was then forced
to marry Vishnupriyä.
While on a pilgrimage to Gayä, the young saint was initiated
into the divine path by Isvar Puri, a sänyäsin of the
Mädhavächärya order. This was a turning point in the lad's life
and all his time was now spent in the chanting of Krishna's
divine name. While constantly chanting the divine name, he would
often swoon in ecstasy or dance with tear-filled eyes. In the
blissful, God-intoxicated state, Chaitanya would urge his guru
to initiate him into the mysteries of the prema rasa (divine
love) of Rädhä.
Nityänanda (Nitäi), a Brahmin by birth, had renounced the world
at the age of twelve and was on a constant quest to find Lord
Krishna. By divine providence, Gaurangä discovered Nitäi and
took him under his care. Together, the duo would lead local
residents in sankirtan (group singing of the divine name), as a
result of which the area would constantly resound with the
sweetness of Krishna's name. It is said that the mere touch or
conversation with Chaitanya was sufficient to send even the most
ordinary soul into the highest state of samädhi (transcendental
At the young age of twenty-four, Gourangä resorted to sanyäsa
and assumed the name of Krishna Chaitanya. He dedicated the rest
of his life for the welfare and emancipation of humanity. This
act was like a thunderbolt on the tender heart of his loving
mother, but Chaitanya managed to console her and continued with
his spiritual quest with an ever-increasing zeal. Her tears did
not dissuade him from his undertaking, but despite adopting
sanyäsa, Chaitanya always respected and loved his mother.
The sanyäsa of Gourangä was of the highest order and the extent
of his dispassion was evident by the fact that he never
entertained the company of women or the rich and forsook
material comforts completely. It was Chaitanya who rejuvenated
the Vaishnava principles and tirelessly explained the precepts
to thousands of devotees, prominent among which were Nityänanda,
Sanätan, Rupa, Swarup Dämodar, Advaitächarya, Sribas, Haridäs,
Muräri, Gadädhar, etc.
His compassion was not restricted to the noble ones. In the
village there were two brothers, Jagai and Madhai, who were
considered irreparable sinners of the worst order. These were
individuals who had committed the worst of sin. Despite their
heinous crimes, Chaitanya did not abandon them, but rather
instructed his followers to chant the divine name near the tent
of these two brothers. Nityänanda led the procession and on
reaching the residence of the two brothers requested them to
chant the divine name of Sri Krishna. This inflamed Madhai who
struck the renunciate, causing blood to flow profusely. As
Madhai was about to make another strike, Jagai held his hand and
forbade him from attacking a sanyäsin. The Mähäprabhu arrived on
the scene immediately and with his own cloth nursed the wound of
his beloved disciple. Next, he hugged Jagai for preventing the
attack. Almost immediately, Jagai fell into a trance.
On seeing this
miracle, Madhai realized his folly and sought forgiveness from
the two bright saints. Nityänanda hugged Madhai and the latter,
too, fell into a trance. The holy association, though momentary,
had transformed the two brothers completely. They had transmuted
to a saintly state.
The association with Chaitanya was very contagious. Everyone who
came in contact with him would immediately bathe in the divine
nectar of Krishna's bliss. Once, Gourangä accosted a washerman
and asked him to chant "Hari Bol". Fearing that the young sage
would charge for this benediction, the laborer refused. He said
he was a poor man who had to continue beating the cloth, his
only source of sustenance. Mahäprahbuji was adamant, however,
and offered to do the washing instead. The washerman relented
finally and said "Hari Bol". This was very delightful and he
continued chanting the name in a divine state of ecstasy. When
his wife arrived there, she was surprised to see the spectacle
and thinking that her husband was possessed, she sought the help
of local villagers. Most were afraid of this strange behavior
but one among them made a bold move and tried to hold the
washerman. This man, too, was transported to bliss and he
started chanting "Hari Bol". Within moments, the entire village
was chanting the name with intense fervor.
Before settling at Puri, Gaurangä had visited many holy places.
At Puri, he would conduct daily bhajans and discourse on
religious matters. Once, a strange miracle happened. During the
car festival, the car of Jagannath did not move despite the
combined effort of millions of devotees and even gigantic
elephants. Just then, Chaitanya happened to come there. He
touched the car with his head and, lo, wonder of wonders, the
car started moving.
Chaintanya performed many such miracles. There is an instance
where he healed the leprosy of a devoted Brahmin by the name of
Vasudeva. Vasudeva was suffering from an advanced stage of the
disease. When Chaintanya was visiting the temple of Kurma at
Jagannath, this brahmin made an attempt to secure his darshan.
When he arrived at the temple, however, he learnt that the
master had left the place. This news broke his heart and he
fainted with devotional fervor. Immediately, Chaitanya arrived
on the scene and hugged this humble devotee. The leprosy
vanished at once.
During his travails, Sri Chaitanya converted many non-believers
into staunch devotees of the Lord. When Sarvabhauma
Bhattacharya, a well-known vedäntic scholar, witnessed Gaurangä
faint in an attempt to hug the idol of Lord Krishna, he took the
young saint to his own house. The vedäntic scholar was very
proud of his learning and thought Chaitanya to be an
uncontrolled young man. He made a futile attempt to convert the
great sage into a scholarly proponent of vedänta. Chaitanya was
a patient disciple and heard all that the self-proclaimed master
had to say. It was time to break the pride of false learning,
however, and Mähäprabhuji surprised his preceptor by explaining
Sanskrit verses in great detail. When the guru was humbled,
Gaurangä hugged the scholar with love and instantly sent the
guru in samädhi. The humbled master then fell at the feet of his
great pupil and begged for his blessings. In this manner,
Chaintanya humbled many scholars and initiated them to the
secrets of devotion.
Chaitanya had given many hints of his divinity, including giving
a vision of his six-handed form (signifying his oneness with
Rama and Krishna) to many. After teaching millions of followers
the treasure of chanting the divine name, Gaurangä merged with
his absolute form on June 14, 1533.
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