Sai Sandesh Volume
3; Mar 2008
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Experiences: Baba shows me the way
search of happiness
Oka Chinna Katha:
The greatest sin
Oka Chinna Katha:
God does everything for the best
Mahashivaratri will be celebrated at Om
Sai Mandir from Thursday, March 06, 6.00 PM to Friday, March 07, 6.00
AM. All-night vigil, bhajans, and pujas will be performed. A detailed
flyer can be viewed at
By The Sai Sandesh Team
The Shiva that is worshipped on
Mahashivaratri is not restricted to the deity with a name and form
assigned to Him--He is essentially the formless God depicted in His
supreme state of bliss. The infinite manifests in the form of Shakti
(nature) for the purpose of creation and Shiva and Shakti (nature) are
Donned in elephant skin, Lord Shiva is often depicted as a three-eyed
deity engrossed in deep meditation. The three eyes symbolize God's
knowledge of the past, present, and future--and God alone has all three.
The elephant skin indicates that powerful bestial traits in man can be
destroyed by the grace God. He makes them powerless, tears them to
pieces, and skins them to make them ineffective. His four faces
symbolize shaantham (peace), roudhram (fierceness), mangalam
(auspiciousness), and utsaaham (determination). Meditating on Shiva in
this form can help one rid of even the least traces of delusion.2
The origin. Shastras (traditional scriptures) attribute the
origin of Mahashivaratri (the night dedicated to Shiva) to various
stories. Some ascribe the holiness of this day to its being the birthday
of Lord Shiva. The Lord being the one without a beginning or an end can,
in reality, have no birthday. Another story commemorates the salvation
attained by a hunter who sat on a bilva tree on the look-out for animals
to kill, and without any intention to worship, unknowingly dropped some
of its leaves on a Linga that lay beneath. This story, however, does not
make clear why this day is especially sacred. Another story describes
this occasion as the night on which Shiva danced the taandava (cosmic
dance) in the ecstasy of His innate nature, with all the gods and sages
sharing and witnessing cosmic consummation.
To obtain amrita (divine nectar granting immortality), the ocean was
churned in ancient times. A byproduct of this effort was the emergence
of haalahala (deadly poison) that threatened to destroy the entire
creation. To save His devotees, Lord Shiva consumed this poison, but the
heat emanating from the poison was so intense, it was unbearable even
for Shiva. To serve the Lord, Ganga flowed uninterruptedly on His matted
locks, but this gave Him only partial relief. (It is for this reason
that abhishekam [ritual bathing ceremony] is performed on Shiva
incessantly. The ritual pouring, it is believed, is very pleasing to the
Lord.) When Ganga couldn't give relief, the moon was placed on His head.
This was of great help and Shiva then danced the taandava dance. All
these events, it is said, happened on the same night and so
Mahashivaratri was held in commemoration of this occasion.1
The Significance. Shivaratri falls not just once a year, but once
every month. Then why is this Mahashivaratri so important? Night is
dominated by the moon. The moon has 16 kalas (fractions of divine
glory), and each night, during the dark fortnight, one fraction is
reduced, until the entire moon is annihilated on new moon night. From
then on, each night, a fraction is added, until the moon is full circle
on full moon night. Chandra (moon) is the presiding deity of the mind
and hence the mind waxes and wanes like the moon. Chandramaamanaso
jaathah-out of the manas of the Purusha (Supreme Being), the moon was
In a like manner, during the dark fortnight of the month, sadhana
(spiritual activities) has to be done to eliminate each day a fraction
of the mind, for, every day, a fraction of the moon too is being taken
out of cognizance. On the night of Chathurdhasi, the 14th day, the night
of Shiva, only a fraction remains. If some special effort is made that
night, through more intensive and vigilant sadhana, like puja or japam
or dhyaana (ritual worship, one-pointed repetition, holy names, and
meditation), success is ensured. God alone has to be meditated upon that
night without the mind straying toward thoughts of sleep or food. This
has to be done every month; once a year, on Mahashivaratri a special
spurt of spiritual activity is recommended, so that what is shavam
(corpse) can become Shivam (God), by the perpetual awareness of its
Divine Indweller. The chief aim of all sadhana is to eliminate the mind.
It is only then that maaya (illusion) will be dispersed and the reality
The Lingam. Lingam is the symbolic form of the Godhead. Lingam
means that in which this jagath (creation) attains laya [mergence]; that
into which this jagath goes. The three gunas (primordial qualities) are
represented by the three-tiered peetha (platform); the lingam above
symbolizes the goal of life. Lingam means a symbol, the symbol of
creation, the result of the activity of the three gunas and of the
Brahman (supreme reality) which permeates and gives it meaning and
value. The worship of the Lingam must be done with faith in its symbolic
the Linga from Swami. Swami in His Mahashivaratri discourse, once
said: "This is a day dedicated to the Shiva that is in each of you. From
the Himalayan ranges down to Kanyakumari, the entire country is
resounding today to the authentic declaration "Shivoham," "Shivoham" and
to the adoration, "Om Namah Shivaya." Since thousands pray here and
elsewhere, in lakhs and crores, the Linga is emanating from Me, so that
you may derive the bliss that pervades the world through Lingodhbhava
(emergence of Linga).
The manifestation of the Linga is a part of My nature. The Linga emerges
as a result of prayer and grace. You have to recognize in this event, a
glimpse of Divinity, a sign of infinite grace. Just as Om is the sound
symbol of God, the Linga is the form symbol or the visible symbol of
most meaningful, the simplest and the least endowed with the appendages
of attributes. All forms merge in the formless at last. Shiva is the
principle of destruction of all names and forms, of all entities and
individuals. The Linga is the simplest sign of emergence and mergence."
Shivaraathri and Numerology. Based on numerology, every letter of
the alphabet has a specific numerical value. "Si" bears the value 4. "Va"
has the value of 5, "Ra", a value of 2. When the values of the three are
combined, you have a total of 11. This eleven represents the eleven
Rudras (negative or destructive principles).
Role of Rudras in man's life. What are the functions of these
Rudras? The Rudras, in association with the buddhi (the intellect),
enter the minds of people and cause them various types of difficulties
and worries. Of these difficulties, three types are predominant in the
world. They are aadhibhouthika, aadhyaathmika, and aadhidhaivika.
Aadhibhouthika refers to difficulties caused by the five elements
(ether, air, fire, water and earth) and the five sheaths (relating to
food, life, mind, awareness and bliss).
These sufferings are caused by human
beings, animals, insects or other creatures. Aadhyaathmika refers to
sufferings caused by vaatha (wind), pittha (bile), and kapha (phlegm).
Aadhidhaivika refers to the calamities caused to man by floods, drought,
storms, earthquakes, and similar natural disasters. The eleven Rudras
are the cause for all these sufferings. The whole world is permeated by
the Rudras. Only Aadhidaivika has an element of security. Whatever
emanates from Rudra is fraught with fear. The name itself testifies to
the dangerous power implicit in it. Rudhram means that which induces
fear. The eleven Rudras are dreadful in form. These dreadful entities
enter the minds of human beings and subject them to all kinds of
afflictions. While the Rudras are inflicting sufferings on mankind in
various ways, by the control of the senses, if humans turn their minds
towards God and devote themselves to Godly pursuits, they will find
their path to moksha (liberation).3
Rudras and sense-control. The Mahashivaratri festival has been
designed to subdue these Rudras. With sense control the Rudras can be
controlled. Control of senses is, however, not easy. Even if evil
impulses from external sources are controlled, those arising from within
cannot be easily controlled. But if, at least on one night out of 365
days in a year, the senses are brought under control, then peace may be
experienced and the quest for liberation may be initiated. When the
entire night is dedicated to the chanting of the Lord's name, one's
mind, speech, and senses all get centered on God. This is a form of
sense control. When this is done, people can realize the Supreme.
The Lord is experienced as Sath-Chith-Aananda. Sath is Being,
that which is eternally present. Chith is awareness (or consciousness).
Chith is like water. When sath (as sugar) is combined with chith (as
water) you have neither sugar not water, but syrup. The combination of
sath and chith results in aananda (Bliss). When the unchanging, eternal
Divinity unites with the changing and inert prakrithi (nature), you have
aananda. The significance of Mahashivaratri is that it is an auspicious
occasion when sath-chith-aanandha can be experienced.
Let us resolve, on this holy Shivaratri, in the Presence of Shiva Sai,
to visualize Shiva as the inner power of all. With each breath, you are
even now, asserting "Soham," "I am He," not only you, but, every being
that breathes, every being that lives, everything that exists. It is a
fact which you have ignored so long. Believe it from now on. When you
watch your breath and meditate on that magnificent truth, slowly, the I
and the He will draw nearer and closer, until the feeling of
separateness will fade away-and the Soham will be transformed into OM,
the pranava, the primal sound, the fundamental formula for God. That Om
is the swaswaruupa--the reality behind this "relative reality.".
1. Shivaraathri Day Discourse, February 1969.
2. Prashanthi Nilayam, Mahashivaratri, July, 02, 1959.
3. Discourse, March 11, 1994.
Abhishekam - 11 Times Daily
For the welfare of humanity,
Sri Rudra Abhishekam is being performed eleven times a day. The prayers start at 8.00 A.M. and continue until 11.30
A.M. All are welcome to participate.
Baba shows me the way
A Sai Devotee, New York
In 2006, I visited Puttaparthi to attend
the Athi Rudra Maha Yagnam. It was an experience that one cannot
describe adequately in words. One afternoon, I wanted to visit the Kalpa
Vriksha (the wish fulfilling tree blessed by Swami) and do meditation
Unfortunately, I did not know how to reach there, so I was wandering
around a hill within the ashram itself. I did know the tree was not in
the ashramís premises.
Just then, a middle-aged man appeared there and without my disclosing,
asked me if I wanted to visit the Kalpavriksha. He then gave me the
directions to go there. He also gave me a picture of Swami and asked for
two rupees in exchange. He claimed to be a heart patient--it was much
later that I realized He was a heart doctor, a divine doctor who treats
many broken hearts.
At first, I refused to accept the picture from a stranger but on seeing
that it was my favorite, I accepted it and gave him the two rupees he
Godís maya is so powerful, little did I realize it was Baba Himself
guiding me to the wish-fulfilling tree. The fact that He had asked for
two ruppees (a symbolic token often asked by Sai Baba of Shirdi), gave
me my favorite picture (the one in Om Sai Mandir), and also gave me
directions even without my asking--all of these were signs that it was
Baba Himself, but I couldnít see through the veil of maya.
When I called my guru that night, it was revealed to me that the person
I had met was none other than Baba Himself. I chided myself and visited
the spot again but could never find the man who claimed to work there
everyday--yes, He does work there but not in that form.
Strange are the ways of God. He blesses us in so many mysterious ways
and forms--all forms are His, all names are His, all living creatures
are His manifestations. What a wonderful lesson I learnt that day: God
is in everyone.
A Sai Devotee, New
The Lord has endowed man with the
body and so, every limb and every sense organ is worthy of
reverent attention. Each must be used for His Glory. The ear
must exult when it gets a chance to hear the wonderful glories
of God. The tongue must exult when it can praise Him. The human
body has been given to you for the grand purpose of realising
the Lord within. If you have a fully equipped car in good
running condition, would you keep it unused in the garage? The
car is primarily for going on a journey; get into it and go!
Only then is it worthwhile to own it. So too, with the body.
Proceed towards the goal. Learn how to use the faculties of the
body, senses, intellect and mind for achieving the goal, and
Source: Thought for the day, Prashanti Nilayam, March 02, 2008
In search of happiness
By The Sai
Ask any person about the reason
behind their involvement in certain activities or works and pat
will come the response: "I am hoping it will make me happy."
From work to vacations to social engagements, one central
theme--the desire to be permanently happy--drives all our
actions. Yet, there isn't a single person who can claim to be
completely happy. All our efforts produce temporary
satisfaction, but never permanent joy. Isn't that an irony?
Securing happiness, it appears, is like trying to hold water in
our palms--it just slips away through the cracks of our fingers.
Where is happiness
Swami illustrated the story of an old man who lost his needle in
his own house, but out of ignorance went in its search outside.
After spending extreme lengths of time, he couldn't find his
needle outside but when he finally decided to search for it in
his own house, he was amazed to find easily. We are all like
that-always trying to find happiness in the external world, when
true happiness, our own inner self, has been our constant
companion through countless births.
It is an irony that we continue our old ways without inquiring
into the reasons for our grief. We move from activity to
activity, relationship to relationship, and disappointment to
disappointment with the fond hope of securing lasting joy. How
tired and frustrated we feel when our attempts give us moments
of gaiety, neatly packaged like wrapping paper over an unopened
box of sorrow. Even while going through sorrows, we fail to
grasp the hidden message: true joy is within us, not outside.
Making us unhappy, it is our mind that constantly weaves
countless thoughts and desires and causes misery. When we offer
this mind to God and center all our thoughts around Him, He will
surely release us from its vagaries. We are not helpless or
weak, within us is the infinite power of God. Why should we give
room to weakness when our true self is all-powerful?
Swami asks us to evaluate our lives. We will then realize we
suffer for only a quarter of our life-the rest is happiness.
Yet, even this short time appears unbearable. The desire to
avoid pain keeps us on a constant emotional roller coaster-we
are elated with good things and become despondent in tough
times. By acting thus, we are allowing external situations to
control us and not vice versa.
How to escape sorrows
It is only through constant practice of equanimity-remaining
unaffected by circumstances-that we can remain in bliss
regardless of what happens around us. Prahalada was one devotee
who had achieved this state even when he was a mere child. At
the orders of the demon, Hiranyakashyapa, Prahlada was subjected
to unbearable torments, such as being thrown from the top of a
hill, subjected to harassment from terrifying demons, thrown in
blazing fire, and many unmentionable atrocities. Even at that
tender age, he bore all these inflictions with a smile on his
face, bliss in his heart, and the incessant chanting of his
favorite mantra "Om Namo Narayana". Can we compare our troubles
to the ones faced by this tender child? It was God's name that
protected this child, and constant chanting of God's name is all
we also need to tide through our lives.
Molded and purified
The painful circumstances are like the purifying fire. A slab of
gold when passed through a furnace becomes malleable and worthy
of molding into precious ornaments. Our essence is like pure
gold and when we pass through painful situations, we are molded
into worthy instruments for the Divine. During the time of
Shirdi Sai Baba, Kashinath came to Him in search of
enlightenment. Baba asked him to stay in Shirdi for four years,
during which he was subjected to numerous difficulties. When he
would complain to Baba about this, the latter would revert: "The
more you suffer now, the better it is for your future. I am with
you." Kashinath was transformed from an ordinary human being to
a great master, Upasani Maharaj, within a short span of four
years. He was molded into a perfect master by being subjected to
the fire of innumerable trials, tribulations, and tests.
Although we worry so much for our sufferings, the span of human
life is nothing when compared to cosmic time. In fact Swami says
that when compared to cosmic time, our life on earth is not even
an infinitesimal fraction of a second. If such be the case, what
difference does it make whether we live in a hut or a palace.
True and permanent happiness comes from loving God and from
realizing our own inner self and only turning inwards can save
us from unhappiness and free us from all our shackles
Chinna Katha: The greatest sin
By Oka Chinna Katha
Once Jesus was walking along the
streets of a city. It was a slum area. He saw a young man
rolling in dirt, dead drunk. He went to him, sat by his side and
woke him up. The young man opened his eyes and saw Jesus. Jesus
asked him: "Son! Why are you wasting your precious youth in
drinking?" The young man replied: "Master!, I was a leper. You
cured me of my leprosy. What else can I do?" Jesus heaved a sigh
and walked away.
In another street he saw a man madly pursuing a beautiful woman.
Jesus caught hold of him and asked him: "Son! Why do you
desecrate your body by indulging in such a sinful act?" The man
replied: "Master! I was really blind. You gave me vision. What
else can I do?"
Jesus trudged along another street. He saw an old man crying
bitterly. Jesus approached him and gently touched him. The old
man wiped his tears and looked at Jesus. Jesus questioned him:
"Why are you weeping old man?" The old man said: "Master! I was
nearly dead. You granted me life. What else can I do except weep
in this old age?"
In times of difficulty and distress, we cry out for God's help.
But when God, out of His boundless love and compassion, responds
to our prayer, we ignore Him and fall back into our
self-centered life. One must guard oneself against this greatest
sin of ingratitude towards God.
Oka Chinna Katha: God
does everything for the best
There was once a Minister to a
King who was in the habit of declaring whatever happened was for
one's good. One day the King cut his finger while slicing a
piece of sugar cane. Seeing the bleeding finger the Minister
said as usual "God does everything for the best". The King flew
into a rage and said "Here I am suffering with the pain of a
bleeding finger and you say God does everything for the best.
Enough of your philosophy. How can this be for the best? The
King immediately committed the Minister to prison. Even then the
Minister said calmly "This sentence is for my best."
A few days later, the King went alone for hunting in a forest.
When the hunting expedition was over the King was resting under
a tree. Just then the servants of a certain tribal chief of the
forest seized the King, bound his hand and foot. The King
questioned them: "Why do you bind me? What are you going to do
with me?" The tribesmen replied: "We are going to sacrifice you
at the altar of our goddess Kali. It is the custom to offer her
a human sacrifice once a year. The time has arrived. We have
been looking out for a human being. We are fortunate in having
found you." The King remonstrated: "Let me go, I am the King of
the realm, you cannot kill me for the sacrifice." The tribesmen
laughed and said: "We are glad that this year's sacrifice would
be unique and our goddess will be highly pleased because we are
going to offer as sacrifice a great personage."
The King was carried and duly placed on a sacrificial altar.
Things were ready for the death blow; the priest noticed the
bandage on his left hand forefinger. They removed the bandage
only to find that a portion of it was cut. The priest said:
"This man is not acceptable. A man with a defect in his body is
not fit for sacrifice. Set him free."
The King remembered the words of the Minister uttered when his
finger was cut "God does everything for the best." He realised
that the injury to his finger alone had saved him from death. He
at once hurried home and went straight to the prison to set the
Minister free. He said, "I seek your forgiveness for the rash
and cruel treatment accorded to you." The Minister said: "Your
Majesty; you have done no harm. There is nothing to forgive."
The King once again questioned: "Why did you say that my sending
you to prison is for your good?" The Minister replied: "If I had
not been confined in prison, I would have accompanied you when
you went for hunting. I would have been in your Company. When
the tribesmen came to know that you were unfit for sacrifice,
they would have chosen me and offered me as a
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