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Sai Sandesh                                                                               Volume 4, Issue 7; July 2007

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Editorial: Mind Over Matter
Sai Wisdom
Sai Leela: Resources Arranged
Mind Boggling Miracles of Sai Baba: Sai's saving grace
Sri Rudram Abhishekam - 11 times a day for 121 days (daily)
With Sai's infinite blessings, we will be performing Rudra Abhishekam for a period of 121 days. Abhishekam, accompanied by the chanting of Rudram, will be performed 11 times a day for 121 days. This is a very auspicious event and is being performed for the benefit of all mankind. All are welcome to attend from 9.00 AM to 11.15 AM daily.
Editorial: Mind Over Matter
By The Sai Sandesh Team
Swami's followers may have heard the expression "die-mind". The uncanny coinage is not just a creative expression; it is a profound teaching that epitomizes the essence of all spiritual practices. The coined word is essentially a description of the ideal state where the individual mind merges with God and all that remains is bliss and pure love.

What is mind after all? Psychology may fumble at the question or provide a theoretical construction of the mind as defined by experts or professional associations. Spirituality, however, provides a definite answer: the mind is nothing but a bundle of thoughts and desires weaved by the individual soul over many lifetimes. It is like a piece of cloth with individual threads as its basic constituents. Unloosening each thread (desire) is what sadhanä (spiritual practice) accomplishes until the mind is conquered and merged completely.

Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa would often assume different roles while worshipping the Divine Mother. Sita, Radha, Hanuman--these were some of the many devotional attitudes he adopted during his quest for the divine. During one of his devotional moods, he was worshipping God in the servant-master spirit as epitomized by Hanuman. In that state, he developed a real tail. SucMind over matter.

In the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna has declared that for the one who has conquered the mind, it is the best friend, but for the one who blindly follows its dictates, it is the worst enemy possible. In order to befriend the mind and use its powers for the seeker's benefit, He has advocated the eight-fold path of yoga: abstention from evil actions, various observances, postures, breath control, sense control, concentration, meditation, and absorption in the ätmä (soul).

The mind constantly seeks to acquire objects and possessions that grant temporary pleasure. The moment these objects are lost, one experiences grief again. What is the use running after such objects, then? God, the source of bliss, can grant permanent bliss, one that never diminishes for eternity. Taking us away from this goal, it is our mind that prompts us to enjoy objects of desire and thus cause our downfall. Like a pendulum, it sways from one thought to another, from one desire to the next, from joy to sorrow, and from pleasure to pain. Fueling the mind's vagaries are the five senses: sound, touch, form, taste, and smell. It experiences the external world through these five and subsequently enjoys joy or grief that arises therefrom. In order to escape the alternating phenomenon (duality) of joy and sorrow, one should cultivate unconcern or equanimity that allows one to experience both joy and sorrow as God's grace. Such an attitude leads to the state of bliss.

The mind also has a powerful effect on the body. Modern man suffers from many incurable diseases, many of which can be attributed to the mind. Excessive stress and a lack of spiritual discipline have weakened the mind and thus the body.

It is imperative, therefore, to bring the mind under control by freeing ourselves from the entire process of mental agitation. Constant agitation is the mind's natural state, however. Manana sthithihi manaha (the state of cogitation or remembrance is the mind). Through constant rumination over one's sensory experiences and desires, the mind acquires a form and by relating the experiences to the "I" as the experiencer, the consciousness of a distinctive individual (ego) arises. The process of merger with God therefore requires the elimination of all desires, which serve to impede our path to divinity.

Sri Sathya Sai Baba once explained this principle through a beautiful illustration. Chaitanya Mähäprabhuji once visited Brindavan, the holy place where every dust particle was a sacred reminder of his beloved Lord, Krishna, who had walked there many centuries ago. The divine environment's effect was electrifying and Sri Mähäprabhuji became completely oblivious to everything, including food and water. Yet, he relished the desire to have food that was consecrated in Krishna's temple. God appeared in his dream one night and admonished him for entertaining even that desire. Chaitanya immediately gave up even that desire and experienced complete union with the Lord.

Lord Buddha, before attaining Nirvana (self realization), called his brother, Ananda, to his side in order to impart his last message. The brother was in tears, but Buddha told him: "Ananda! It was for realizing this blissful state that I had striven all these years. Why do you shed tears at this moment? How many are able to secure such bliss? Few at all. You are looking only at my earthly body; you cannot know the internal bliss I am experiencing at this moment. I suffered a great deal over the past thirty years because of the aberrations of my mind. It was the mind that stood between me and self realization. Today, I am free from the hold of my mind. That is the cause of my bliss. When the mind is absent there is bliss."

If mind is the monarch, senses are its ministers. For peace and security to prevail in the kingdom, the king has to control the ministers, not vice versa. It is very critical, therefore, for every spiritual aspirant to gain control over the senses. Once the senses come under control of the mind, the next step should be conquest of the mind and ultimately its elimination. Next, the aspirant uproots all väsanäs (innate tendencies) and strives to attain jnäna (spiritual wisdom). The branches are the senses; the trunk, the mind; the roots, the innate tendencies. All three have to be overcome and destroyed so that the awareness of the ätmic reality can be gained.

Conquest of the mind
Despite our best efforts, the mind escapes just the way water slips through the cracks of one's fingers. Conquest of the mind, though seemingly difficult, is facilitated by the availability of sankalpa bala (will power motivated by God), a power that can be easily developed through concentration and japa (chanting of the divine name). Baba has also given us the acronym WATCH (W = watch your words, A = watch your actions, T = watch your thoughts, C = watch your character, H = watch your heart).

Our buddhi (intellect) helps us discriminate between right and wrong. When the mind desires an object, the buddhi should serve as a gatekeeper and say: "O, mind! Don't play your pranks with me." Examine every desire using discrimination to determine if the object is conducive to our progress. When the mind is trained in this way, just like a monkey, it loses its potency and comes under the sway of its master. Ancient seekers also advocated the practice of concentrating all thoughts on God. This causes one to reach the state of sushupti (deep sleep), a state of equanimity in which one looks upon pain and pleasure and joy and grief with equal indifference and thus remains unaffected by either.

There is also a strong connection between mind and food. The mind is extremely subtle and derives energy from food. Pure food shapes good thoughts, while impure food gives rise to unholy thoughts. Every bad thought that arises in the mind should be rejected as unhealthy, just the way bad food is rejected.

For the one intent on his quest, nothing is impossible. If a devotee is sincere, God will certainly grant His grace and then even the most difficult, even impossible, tasks will become easy.

Once, Lord Vishnu sent Sage Närada to earth. The sage went to a priest and was offered a grand welcome. During their conversation, the priest asked Närada what God was doing. He responded by saying that God was passing an elephant through a needle's eye. The priest burst into laughter and disclaimed the statement as mere folly on the sage's part. Närada left immediately and visited many self-proclaimed scholars and devotees. None could believe what he had to say. Finally, Närada saw a simple cobbler engaged in work while chanting God's name. When Närada told him about God's activity, the cobbler burst into tears and said nothing was impossible for God. Why just an elephant, He could pass the entire creation through a needle's eye.

For the one who has faith and determination, God will do even the impossible. The elephant in the above parable could also symbolize the mind, which is often compared to an uncontrollable elephant. Passing it through the needle's eye is like concentrating on the self. God's grace can certainly accomplish that. An ant that has determination can travel any distance, but an eagle without the will to fly will be confined to the ground. Let us make a firm determination to continue our journey Godward and make serious attempts toward that goal. God will certainly do His part and take care of the rest.

Sai Wisdom
Enduring bliss can be got only by overcoming trials and tribulations. Gold cannot be made into an attractive jewel without being subjected to the process of melting in a crucible and being beaten into the required shape. When I address all of you as Bangaru (gold), I consider you as precious beings. But only by going through the vicissitudes of life with forbearance can you become attractive jewels. You should not allow yourselves to be overwhelmed by difficulties. Develop self-confidence and have firm faith in God. With unshakeable faith, dedicate yourselves to the service of your fellowmen and lead exemplary lives.

Source: Thought for the day, Prashanti Nilayam, July 03, 2007
Sai Leelas: Resources Arranged
By A Sai Devotee, NY
Swami had made the divine declaration that He would undertake the construction of a super specialty hospital within the small hamlet of Puttaparthi. Devotees were jubilant on hearing the announcement, but some were perplexed as to how such an impossible-sounding feat could be accomplished without a very large amount of money.

As a devotee was pondering over this thought, Swami put His beautiful hand into a huge pile of letters and randomly pulled out a letter. He handed the sealed envelope to the concerned devotee and ordered him to open it. When the envelope was opened, there was a check that was sufficient to cover most of the initial expenses associated with the project.

As always, Swami did not lose the opportunity to impart a lesson and explained to the devotee that any noble project will not suffer from a lack of resources. When any project is undertaken with faith in God, noble intentions, and for the benefit of humanity, God bears the entire responsibility for providing resources. All we need to do is perform our part; God will surely take care of the rest.
Mind Boggling Miracles of Sai Baba: Sai's saving grace
Once, Swami was traveling with a group of devotees. Their car was on a very narrow road when devotees noticed a huge truck heading their way. The truck was approaching at such a rapid speed that all thought it would be impossible to prevent a collision.

Even in that tense situation, Baba acted as if He were blissfully unaware of what was happening around Him. The devotees' hearts were pounding rapidly, however. They did not anticipate surviving the crash, but a miracle happened at the last moment, much to the surprise of everyone.

Within a second they saw behind them the very truck that was heading toward them. It was as if the car had passed through the truck. None could explain what had happened, but Swami's naughty smile appeared to say it all.

What a wonderful play by the Divine.
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