Sai Sandesh Volume
5, Issue 11; Nov 2008
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God's Actions are
Mysterious, but Always Beneficial
Never Give Up!
Who is the Best
Amongst Men? -- a Special Tribute to Swami on His 83rd Birthday
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God's Actions are
Mysterious, but Always Beneficial
By The Sai Sandesh Team
"Love my uncertainty," says Baba. These
three profound words are a gospel to those who have understood and
experienced their significance. Baba has a mysterious way of bringing
out the best outcome from what appear to be life's most catastrophic and
Recently, when I was in Puttaparthi I heard the story of a woman who was
desperately trying to give a letter to Baba. The letter was an
outpouring of her deepest feelings, for she had sought relief from many
troubling circumstances and had requested Baba to save her little
daughter who was to undergo a dangerous heart operation. When Baba came
her way, He took the letter from her outstretched hands, crumpled it,
and threw it back at her without even looking at it.
The woman was very disappointed that Baba did not even read her letter
but was consoled by others that she was at least fortunate enough to
receive something that had touched Baba's divine hand. She was in for a
surprise, though. When she visited the hospital after this incidence a
strange miracle happened. The very doctors who had diagnosed her
daughter's condition were discussing a mind-boggling miracle. A series
of tests revealed that the child was absolutely normal. There was no
need for surgery, since her heart ailment had been cured mysteriously,
nay, miraculously. It was then that the mother realized why Baba had
thrown away the letter. The outward act of throwing the letter was
nothing but an indication that He had canceled the ailment that was
troubling the little child. How merciful, how compassionate. Not only
Baba, all saints act in this manner.
Once, two devotees, husband and wife, visited the ashram of Swami
Nityananda. The two were unable to have children. Every time the wife
would conceive, the pregnancy would terminate inexplicably. When the
wife was carrying again, the couple decided to visit Swami Nityananda
and seek His divine blessings. They dutifully made up a temporary home
within the ashram's premises and would devotedly serve the Master every
single day. Much to their dismay, however, the wife lost the baby again
and the couple lost all hope.
Someone in the ashram said, "I wish this hadn't happened here." At this,
the sage calmly replied, "You cannot understand divine mysteries. Due to
karmic forces, the same soul was repeatedly being forced to manifest in
the lady's womb. The soul was intent on deliverance (liberation) but was
being dragged down due to previous bonds. His desire for liberation was
so intense, he was trying to escape birth repeatedly. This time, I
dragged them to my feet and as a result of my grace the soul was
liberated easily. From hereon, the couple will be able to have children
easily." What appeared to be a tragic event in the human realm was
really a beneficial outcome for not one, but three individuals.
A brahmin devotee was a follower of Akkalkot Maharaj (an incarnation of
Lord Dattratreya). At that time, the Maharaj used to live on a tree. The
devotee would often visit the saint and offer food at the foot of the
tree. For some time, the saint accepted these offerings but left to live
at another place. The devotee continued submitting his daily offerings,
however. Unbeknownst to the devotee, a demon was devouring these
offerings daily. Pleased with his devoted service, Maharaj asked the
devotee to seek a boon. The brahmin did not have children for a very
long time and so he sought a child from the saint. Akkalkot Maharaj (Sri
Samarth) said, "A child will come, but he will go away."
The brahmin's wife soon gave birth to a son. When the child grew up, the
father took him to visit Sri Akkalkot Maharaj's temple. As soon as they
reached within the precincts of the temple, the child became terrified
and refused to go closer to the deity. The father persisted, however,
and dragged the boy to the sanctum sanctorum, but much to his dismay,
the boy died in the Swami's presence and the father was grief-stricken.
Immediately, the saint appeared there and consoled the wailing devotee
by reminding him of what he forewarned (A child will come, but he will
go away). The Maharaj then explained that the son was really the demon
who had partaken of the holy food. By bringing the son in the saint's
holy presence, Akkalkot Maharaj had liberated him from his painful
existence. The brahmin finally realized God's workings and sought
blessings to have another child. Due to God's grace a son did take birth
in a very short period of time and the entire family lived happily.
Such are God's workings. Always mysterious, but always beneficial.
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 wailed inconsolably. 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
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 none other than the merciful Lord Himself.
When we are surrounded by difficult circumstances, we often experience
pain and disappointment, but it is only when we look back at the course
of events that we realize that all did happen for a good reason, for our
own good. Our vision is short-sighted but God has an aerial view of
things and so He knows what is best for us and always does what is best
for us in the long run.
Love is Divine. To render an act fit to be
offered to God and pure enough to win His Grace, it has to be a
manifestation of love. Love is not affected or modified by
considerations of caste, creed, or religion; it cannot be tarnished by
envy, malice or hate. Preserve love from being poisoned by these evils;
endeavour to cultivate a broad mind, uncontaminated by feelings of
hatred and parochialism. The root of all religions, the substance of all
scriptures, the destination of all paths, the inspiration of all
individuals is the Principle of Prema (Love). It is the firmest
foundation for man's mission of Life. It is the Light that ensurespeace
and prosperity in the world. -- Baba
Never Give Up!
While in school, a young boy, all
of ten, and with no athletic background, once decided to
participate in a marathon-like race. The competition was open to
all ages but was considered the exclusive domain of only
well-built, strong, and athletic, fifteen-year-olds. Undeterred
by traditional rules and with a resolute determination, the
young lad participated in preliminary selection rounds. They
were challenging indeed. Seven boys were selected from hundreds,
and he was the youngest in the school's history to ever
participate at that level, and that too against athletes twice
The excitement of participating in a sports competition for the
first time was too much for the boy to handle. Without an
athletic background or a coach, he did not even consider
preparing for the event. All that mattered was running the race.
The annual sports meet finally arrived. He woke up early that
morning, polished his best running shoes, and arrived at the
stadium hours before the crowds.
Presided by a nationally-recognized sportsman, the proceedings
commenced. It was soon time for the most-anticipated competition
of the day, the very moment he had been waiting for. All seven
open race participants gathered at the start line. The youngest
was naturally excited but was soon overwhelmed by the sheer size
of his opponents. He could barely reach the trunk of the
remaining six runners. How was he to compete against such
As these thoughts were racing through his mind, the gunshot was
fired. The race had commenced. He started off very well but was
soon outpaced by his professionally-coached competitors. Of the
six, three gave up mid-way and the remaining three went on to
finish the race while this lad was still halfway. Blood gushed
through his cheeks as his untrained body experienced intense
fatigue and disappointment. That didn't matter, though. All that
mattered was the intense desire to complete the race and finish
what he had embarked on. Two rounds were over and he was
dragging himself to finish the other two.
The crowd was amazed at the determination of the young athlete.
The stadium was roaring in a thunderous applause and all he
could hear was everyone screaming his name. Classmates, parents,
teachers, everyone arose in standing ovation. He couldn't
understand why the crowd was cheering and applauding someone who
had apparently lost a race. It was beyond his powers of
comprehension. The race continued, though. The last few laps
were the hardest as his legs refused to cooperate. He was asked
several times whether he would like to give up. Pat came the
response, "No. I can do it. I will do it." At last, he crossed
the finish line and collapsed. Ah, the ordeal was over.
The stadium gates flung open and
crowds came rushing to congratulate him. The three winners were
standing in one corner, completely ignored and forgotten, while
someone who had supposedly lost had become an overnight hero. He
ignored all the accolades thrown his way and rushed to his
mother who was waiting for him in the stands. "Mom," he said, "I
am sorry to have let you down. I couldn't win the race. I won't
participate in one ever again." The kind mother hugged him and
said, "You won, my son. I am very proud of you." He was puzzled.
At first, he was being carried around by his peers and now his
mother was congratulating him for some abstract victory. "Wait,
didn't I just lose the race?" he thought. Like most of us, he
was conditioned to the words "winner" and "loser."
As the prizes were being given out, the boy's name was called
out and, much to his surprise, he was given an honorary gold
medal. "Wow! A medal for finishing last," he thought, "What's
wrong with everyone?" This was his first medal, though, and he
treasured the coin around his neck with extreme excitement. The
guest of honor delivered his concluding remarks and honored the
boy as an example for others to follow. A new trend had now
started in school. Runners were now encouraged to participate at
a much younger age and compete with bigger and stronger
opponents. What mattered was the spirit of participating.
Everyone had realized that it was far more important to not give
up against the most formidable of foes, even in the midst of the
most difficult challenges.
In the race of life, the ones asking us to give up are the
demons in the form of temptations, desires, and troubles. They
will repeatedly ask us to give up but our answer must always be
the same-NO! The cheering spectators are like well-meaning loved
ones who can wish us well but cannot run the race for us. Only
God is like the kind mother, who is constantly cheering,
nurturing, and helping little ones like you and me. He knows
that ones of great merit and superior qualities will finish the
race and win medals of life. It is only little children like us
who need His help.
All that is needed at our end is persistence on the spiritual
path and the undefeatable desire to continue against all odds.
Being little children in the eyes of God, we will naturally make
mistakes and fail and fall repeatedly, but like the phoenix we
must rise again and continue our march toward self realization.
Sai Maa doesn't judge us based on our standards of winning and
losing or sin and merit. Her unconditional love accepts even the
smallest of attempts as great steps toward victory. And, of
course, there is a special gold medal waiting for all of us in
the form of His grace.
Brothers and sisters, don't ever give up in life. As Vivekananda
would summarize: "Arise, awake, and stop not till the goal is
Surrender to Baba
By The Sai Sandesh Team
In 2000, I was in the midst of
making a life-changing decision. There were two [confusing]
options and both would seriously impact my future forever. Not
knowing the direction, I visited Puttaparthi to seek Swami's
advice. Every single day, I would impatiently await Swami's
arrival and as He would pass by me, I would hold out my request
in the form of a letter. No response. One day, He did take the
letter but walked away as if it meant nothing. As days were
going by, the suspense was becoming unbearable, and I was
getting seriously anxious about the course of action that had to
be taken. The deadline was just a few days away and I was unable
to make up my mind.
One afternoon, I felt impelled by a strange urge to walk to the
ashram's bookstore. There were thousands of books across
innumerable shelves. My hand, almost automatically, reached out
to a certain book and opened a random page. Strange! There was
the story of a woman who was facing the same predicament as me.
She was to choose between two options, each with a serious
impact on her life. She, too, tried to get an answer from Swami
but Swami would just smile. One day, she just burst into tears
and sought Swami's merciful intervention. "Chant the divine
name," she heard.
She took the advice seriously and resorted to ceaseless chanting
of Swami's name. Just the way butter melts at the slightest
contact with heat, her confusion just melted away as if it never
existed. I took the clue from the book and started chanting
God's name ceaselessly. I soon realized that there was no
confusion and all the apparent dilemmas were nothing but weaved
by my own mind.
When you are in Puttaparthi, you stand in one of many lines.
Just before darshan, each line is given a token number and those
standing in that line would be seated in a row correspondence to
that number. Up until then, I was choosing the darshan line to
stand in-each day, expecting to be seated in the first row. That
day, however, I had tears in my eyes and I said, "Swami, not
this way, not that way, but your way. Thy will shall be done." I
closed my eyes and told Swami to guide me to the line He wanted
me to stand in. Surprise! I went and stood in a line that won
token number one. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to sit
so close to Swami.
As if that wasn't enough, Swami came straight to me that day and
stood near me for a few seconds. He raised His blessing hand and
assured me of His continued protection. As soon as I went back
home, I was in for one more surprise. All the arrangements had
been made and the decision I was so strongly fighting to make
had already been taken and all the resources arranged
Who is the Best Amongst
Birthday--November 23, 2008!
Beloved Lord, We wish you a Very Happy Birthday! Our humble
prostrations at your holy feet. Always keep us in your heart,
dear Lord. This article is a special tribute to your holy
A beautiful temple was the
central hub in an ancient land and it was here that the citizens
of the country would gather to offer their prayers. God was
worshipped in myriad forms and all would gather in unison to
offer homage to the Supreme Lord of the Universe. Some would
sing praises of God, others would sing holy songs, while still
others would chant mystic formulae, all in an attempt to win the
favors of the Divine One.
As things were progressing in this fashion, one day a golden
plate dropped from the heavens and with that was heard a divine
voice that declared the following words: "He who is my true son
and he whose heart is of gold shall glorify the luster of this
plate by his mere touch." The priests were astonished to witness
this miracle and soon the word spread all over the country.
The first to come were the rich and well-connected. Each amongst
them touched the plate but, lo, the plate would just become dark
beyond imagination at their mere touch. They were disappointed
but soon realized that God's grace could not be won through
wealth and power.
Then came those donning a holy garb and delivering discourses
for a living. They were confident that the plate would shine at
their touch but much to their misery the plate became darker
still. They, too, realized that God could not be won by merely
wearing holy robes and displaying their holiness.
From priests to ordinary citizens, every one tried their luck
but the plate would just not shine despite their best efforts.
On seeing such a large galaxy of men, the poor and downtrodden
of the country gathered outside the temple in the fond hope that
they would be able to further their survival there. Many found
the sight of lepers and physically challenged individuals to be
disgusting and some vocally complained about this to temple
When every one was complaining about why the plate was not
shining, a simple-looking man walked toward the temple. Though
impoverished, he appeared calm and unruffled. It was as if
external circumstances had no power over him. As he walked
toward the temple, his eyes were filled with tears at the sight
of so many suffering souls waiting outside the temple. He didn't
have a lot of money, but with what little he had, he bought food
for the hungry and gave away some clothes to those shivering
with extreme cold.
He raised the elders to safe places and offered to carry some
on his shoulders. He washed the pus-filled bodies of the lepers
and nursed their bleeding wounds. To those whom he could not
help, he spoke sweet words and offered solace and comfort.
Despite doing all he could to alleviate their suffering, he was
not satisfied. With a heavy heart and tear-filled eyes, he
walked into the temple and fervently prayed to the deity to
grant solace and happiness to all the suffering souls he had
Though barely clad, the man displayed a strange aura, an aura
that made him look like a prince in that august assembly. His
peaceful countenance and kind demeanor stole the hearts of all.
He smiled at even those who mocked and ridiculed him.
As he walked toward the sanctum sanctorum, the deity started
shining in the brightest splendor the country had ever
witnessed. The golden plate flew of its own accord toward this
man and fell into his hands-the rightful and most deserving
recipient at last.
Lo, it shone with double the splendor. It was as if the sun had
assumed a miniature form in his hands. All rejoiced at the sight
and it was then that they realized who was truly the best
For those of you who have read the
Srimad Bhagavat, you may have come across the story of Gajendra,
the King of Elephants. This elephant was a mighty beast who was
treated as the king of the entire jungle. From lions to ants,
everyone respected him and held him in awe and respect.
As he was enjoying his royal power, he felt the uncontrollable
urge to slake his thirst so visited a lake that was the center
of all activity in the forest. No sooner had he enjoyed the cool
and refreshing water for a few moments, he found his feet
gripped very firmly. No matter what he tried, he was unable to
shake off the grip. He then realized that a big crocodile (far
more powerful than him) was feasting on his legs. Feeling
completely helpless and on the brink of destruction, he
fervently prayed to Lord Narayana and sought His protection and
grace. He was ceaselessly chanting, "Narayana, Narayana,
How could the compassionate Lord resist the call of true
devotion? He immediately appeared at the scene and with the help
of His discus, severed the crocodile into pieces. The elephant
was free at last and garlanded the Lord as a token of gratitude.
The Bhagavat provides a detailed explanation about the
antecedents of the two animals' past lives and also describes
how they were cursed to assume those forms. The author, however,
feels there is a much deeper significance to the story and
interprets it as follows:
The elephant personifies our beastly desires (attachments,
physical cravings, material desires, and the rest). The lake
personifies the samsara sagara (the ocean of worldliness) that
is surrounded by the forest (illusion and ignorance), and when a
human being, overpowered by desires, attempts to satisfy worldly
cravings either in the form of human relationships or material
pursuits, he is quickly caught in the grip of attachments,
karmic consequences, and the ensuing cycle of births and deaths
(symbolized by the crocodile).
Gripped by suffering in this manner, he makes desperate attempts
to release himself but fails miserably. It is then that he
remembers the Lord and chants His name ceaselessly. Unable to
bear His devotee's suffering, the Lord immediately comes to the
rescue and with the help of time, knowledge, and His divine
powers (symbolized by the discus), he severs worldly bonds,
releases the devotee, and grants him eternal peace and happiness
in the form of moksham (liberation). Thenceforth, the devotee
clings to the Lord's heart for eternity (as symbolized by the
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Significance of Diwali
The Sai Sandesh Team
India's most important festival, Diwali,
the festival of lights, is recognized as the festival that leads us into
truth and light. It symbolizes that age-old culture of a country that
teaches us to vanquish ignorance that subdues humanity and to drive away
darkness that engulfs the light of knowledge. The word "Diwali" is the
corruption of the Sanskrit word "Deepavali" -- Deepa means light and
Avali, a row. It means a row of lights. Diwali is very enthusiastically
celebrated for five continuous days. Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, is
also appeased during Diwali.
Light is significant in Hinduism because it signifies goodness. The
significance of burning lamps during Diwali is to ward off darkness and
evil. Diwali is generally celebrated on the last day of the last month
of the lunar calendar. This week-long festival is a tradition in every
household around the world. It is the beginning of a new year, a fresh
start. The festival is celebrated for five days; each day having its own
significance and ritual. Although each region celebrates Diwali
differently, the general order for these five days is: Dhanteras, the
first day; Narak Chaturdashi or Choti Diwali, the second; Diwali, the
third; New Year, the fourth; and finally, Bhai Duj, the fifth.
Many legends and myths are also associated with each day, allowing every
Indian region to add their own flavor and attach their own significance
to this festive occasion.In Northern India, Diwali is dedicated to the
worship of Rama, who had returned to His kingdom after fourteen years of
exile on this very day. Whereas, in Bengal, Kali, the goddess of
strength is worshipped.
Mother Lakshmi is also worshipped across the country as it is believed
that She confers wealth and prosperity on all who worship Her during
this time. Another practice during Diwali is "Bhai Dooj" or "Bhai Beej".
On this auspicious day, women receive special gifts from brothers and
in-turn pray for their brothers' welfare. Married women invite their
brothers for meals.
Each of the five days in the festival of Diwali symbolizes a deep
cultural significance and calls for worship to specific deities in all
pomp and glory. A common thread through these days, however, is the
prayer, symbolized by lights, requesting the Lord to guide us from
darkness to light; from mortality, to immortality.
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Prayers, stotras, and annadan:
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Nov 08-Nov 09: Akhanda (24-hour) Bhajans
Nov 13: Katika Poornima
Nov 16: Ladies' Day
Nov 23: Swami's 83rd
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