Sai Sandesh Volume
5, Issue 8; Aug 2008
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You Can Accomplish
the Impossible by Chanting God's Name
What is the
Purpose of Life
Teaches a Beautiful Lesson
Mango from Sand
Mind Over Matter
The Practice of
You Can Accomplish the
Impossible by Chanting God's Name
By The Sai Sandesh Team
In every incarnation, God allots some
service to Hanuman. In the Rama avatar, Lord Rama commanded Hanuman to
spearhead his army in a war against demonic forces. In the Krishna
avatar, too, The Lord sought Hanuman's service. Krishna observed that
His kinsfolk, after achieving many victories in worldly battles, had
become blinded by pride and arrogance. Not wanting his beloved devotees
to fall in the clutches of egoism, Sri Krishna commanded Hanuman to help
them regain their humility. It is a well-known fact that Pavan Putra
(another name for Hanuman, the son of Wind God) does not lose a second
when obeying God's dictates.
On receiving Krishna's holy order, he instantly flew to Dwaraka (Lord
Krishna's kingdom at the center of the ocean). There, he feigned
temptation for luscious fruits and began uprooting trees in order to
satisfy his hunger. Immediately, an army of soldiers came to the scene
to stop the giant monkey. They were vanquished in a trice. Finally, the
news reached Balarama's (Lord Krishna's elder brother) ears and he
rushed to subdue the mischievous trespasser. Soon a battle ensued
between Hanuman and Balarama and the latter was defeated and humbled as
if in child's play. Balarama was unable to bear the insult of this
defeat and experienced intense sorrow. The Lord, who was witnessing this
play invisibly, appeared on the scene to pacify Balarama.
Krishna then explained that the monkey was none other than Hanuman
himself. Krishna then asked Hanuman how he could defeat Balarama, who
was none other than the divine power who sustains the universe and keeps
it in balance. Pat came the reply, "Lord, I am your humble servant.
Ordinarily, I would have never been able to defeat the invincible
Balarama, but, as always, I adopted a simple stratagem. I was
ceaselessly chanting your divine name, because of which none of
Balarama's blows could hurt me. It was your name that had made the
Balarama was humbled by Hanuman's conduct. Not only did Krishna achieve
the purpose He intended, but also taught the world the importance of
chanting God's name and how the divine name could make the impossible,
possible. This has been tried and tested by numerous devotees.
Jnaana Dev and Naama Dev were once walking through a forest. They felt
thirsty but could not catch sight of a well or a lake anywhere. At last,
they saw a well and ran towards it. They eagerly looked into it. There
was water in the well, but how could they drink? There was neither a
rope nor a vessel to draw water. There was no question of going into the
well. Jnaana Dev simply closed his eyes. Soon he was transformed into a
bird. He flew into the well and drank water to his fill. Naama Dev began
chanting the name of Lord with intense devotion. The water level began
to rise slowly until at last it was within reach. He just put his hands
into the well and drank water. Such is the power of the Name.
Young Raamadas (a well-known Saint) was once challenged to prove his
archery skills. He was asked to shoot down a flying bird; intent on
proving his abilities, he immediately shot a flying bird with an arrow.
Killing of life, however, is a great sin and a few priests asked him to
repent for this deed. Raamadas promptly closed his eyes and prayed to
God wholeheartedly, repenting for his sin and asking for His
forgiveness. Then he opened his eyes and pointed out to the priests that
the dead bird had not regained life, in spite of his repentance. The
priests, not knowing God's power, said reprovingly, "How crazy you are!
Repentance cannot undo what is done; but its purpose is to enable you to
make up your mind not to repeat such misdeeds." "That is no repentance
in my humble view;" countered Raamadas, "God and His name are so
powerful that if we pray sincerely, His grace will bring the bird back
to life." So saying, he picked up the dead bird, hugged it to his bosom,
and with tears flowing down his cheeks, he wholeheartedly prayed, "O
Raama, if I have been chanting your name with all my mind, heart and
soul and if it is a fact that I have killed this bird out of ignorance,
may your grace either revive this dead bird, or take away my life also
along with that of the bird."
As he concluded his prayer, the bird fluttered in his hands. Then he
opened his eyes, thanked the Almighty and released the bird into the
sky. Astonished at this miracle, the priests exclaimed in one voice,
"Revered sir, forgive us for not recognizing your greatness. Since you
have the capacity to kill a flying bird with a single arrow, and also
the capacity to revive the dead bird, you will hereafter be known by the
worthy name of 'Samartha Raamadhas.'"
One can chant any Divine Name of any form. It must be chanted with
devotion and in an uninterrupted manner. Whether at work, at play, or in
the midst of travel, the divine name can be chanted in the mind or aloud
with utmost ease. Let us make a firm resolution to hold fast to this
easy remedy for attaining happiness.
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.
What is the Purpose of
The Sai Sandesh Team
Human birth is precious. Scriptures
declare that after going through 8.4 million species, the soul assumes a
human form, the holiest of forms which even the Bible likens to "God's
own image". If after acquiring such a precious state of existence man
fritters it on fleeting pleasures and transient objects then it is a
waste of a golden opportunity indeed.
If life were merely for enjoyment, eating, sleeping, and union, even
animals could claim to have lived purposeful lives. Nay, the lower forms
of enjoyment do not fulfill the true purpose of human life. Life has a
purpose, the higher purpose of securing liberation and serving society
at large. It is the higher purpose of leading a God-centered existence
that impelled Buddha, Gandhi, Mother Theresa, and Baba, and other great
masters to dedicate their lives to the supreme cause of serving
humanity. Unfortunately, the life of modern man is not in sync with
their lofty ideals and can be compared to the parable of an old man.
Once, an elderly man lost his golden needle. To recover the precious
treasure, he made a frantic search outside his house but despite the
long and hard exertion he could not find his treasured possession.
Finally, a wise and compassionate sage asked him to search inside the
house. Needless to say, he succeeded in his quest and was overjoyed at
having recovered his cherished prize.
The parable personifies how we are constantly searching for happiness in
the outside world. Everyone wants happiness, most search for it, but
rarely does anyone find it. Like the old man, we are all looking for it
externally, in far-off places. All through, however, the fountain of
happiness, the source of eternal bliss, God, our own inner self, has
always been within us. It is only by searching our own inner self that
we can discover eternal joy that will set us free forever.
So, should we give up everything and pursue this "purpose"? No! Baba
never discourages the performance of basic duties associated with a
family life, nor does He advocate devotees to retire to forests in
solitude. Baba's philosophy is very simple, practical, and easy. His
teachings, "Help ever, hurt never," "Love all, serve all," "Heads in the
forest, hands in the society," "Chant the Holy Name, always," "Ceiling
on Desires," are guideposts for healthy and purposeful living.
Baba wants us to include God in every aspect of our lives. God is like
sweet sugar. When we add him to our lives, our lives will become
suffused with sweetness and success. An illiterate laborer had
recognized this truth. During the days of the British rule in India,
there was a laborer who was tasked with the duty of filling street lamps
with oil (they didn't have electricity then). During every audit it was
discovered that the lamps this man filled outlasted everyone else's even
though he was allocated the same amount as everyone else. The superiors
couldn't understand this mystery and decided to investigate. A spy
followed this laborer on every street and found that whenever he filled
a lamp, he would utter the following words: "Man mein Ram, Haath mein
Kaam." (Chant God's name in the heart, while performing one's allocated
The laborer, though illiterate, had discovered the truth that life
without God is empty and when God is remembered in any task, that
undertaking is sure to be a success. Mother Theresa, in her work of
serving the downtrodden, followed a very simple philosophy: she saw
Jesus in every suffering soul and served the destitute as if she were
serving Jesus Himself.
So much time is spent in activities associated with acquisition of
possessions. If even a fraction of this time were spent in the
performance of prayers and selfless service to others, the purpose of
life could be fulfilled in this birth itself. It is time to wake up and
mold our lives in this direction. If Vivekananda were to write this
article, he would surely quote his famous call: "Arise, awake, and stop
not till the goal is reached."
Only those who have filled
themselves with love and have lived in the light of that love
are called men. Those devoid of love are demons. Those saturated
with love are incapable of spite, selfishness, injustice, wrong
and misconduct. But in those who have no love, the above
qualities are predominant. By love is meant love which is
unsullied, unselfish, steadfast and devoid of impurity. -- Baba
Thought for the Day, July 31, 2008
Lord Buddha Teaches a
By The Sai Sandesh Team
Buddha had gained fair renown as
an ascetic-saint with remarkable qualities. Many visited him
daily. Some came to resolve their spiritual questions and to
know truth, some came to ask for material benefits, while others
came to see the new phenomenon that was defying the way
spiritualism was perceived until then.
Amongst the crowds, most individuals fell in love with the
compassionate saint but, as is always the case, a few began to
feel jealous of His fame and did everything within their power
to tarnish His glory. Of course, they failed. On one occasion, a
person bearing extreme malice toward Buddha visited Him under
As soon as he saw Buddha, he hurled a volley of abuses at the
saint. Out of sheer hatred and ignorance, the man let loose a
fury of the choicest of superlatives against the enlightened
one. Through all this, Buddha sat tranquil and undisturbed,
smiling all along. Lord Buddha was not only unperturbed, he
appeared to be enjoying his usual state of unalloyed bliss as if
nothing were happening. The man was extremely agitated at the
indifference shown by Buddha and soon felt tired and weak.
Finally, after exhausting his vocabulary of evil words, the man
fell at Buddha's feet and asked how He could remain unconcerned
when being abused for no reason or fault whatsoever. The master
immediately forgave the man and replied with infinite compassion
"My dear child, what do you do when an uninvited guest appears
at your doorstep? If you welcome him, he will make himself
comfortable in your house. But, what if you were to ignore him
and not show any hospitality nor make any attempt to receive
him? The guest will just leave after realizing that he is
unwelcome. In the same way, I did not receive
any of the abuses you hurled at me. Because I chose not to
be affected by them, they lost their power to affect me and
returned to you unused. It is because of my indifference to pain
or pleasure, to honor or insult, to heat or cold … to all the
pair of opposites, that I am always established in a state of
equanimity. I am undisturbed by external circumstances and
always enjoy infinite bliss."
The man was enraptured by Buddha's sweet and soothing words and
sought pardon for his behavior. He changed his ways thenceforth
and became an ardent follower of Buddha.
What a beautiful lesson Buddha has taught us. In life, so many
troubles, insults, painful moments, unfavorable circumstances,
bad thoughts, and other unwanted events approach us. If we pay
attention to them and allow them to stay in our house (our
heart) then they make room forever and disturb us for prolonged
periods of time. But, if we follow Buddha's example and keep our
concentration on Baba and remain indifferent then none of these
things will impact us and we will also be able to remain happy
through all situations-good and bad.
Baba Produces Mango
By The Editor, Sai Sandesh
This miracle of Baba is not only
mind boggling, it is very instructive. During Swami's younger
days he once visited the local beach with some of His followers.
One among them asked Sai whether He was really Sai Baba and if
so, could He prove it by producing a mango (which was not
ordinarily available in the area at that time)?
Swami smiled as the devotee asked where he should dig in the
sand. Baba responded by saying he could dig wherever he wanted.
The man started digging enthusiastically and after a few feet
stopped with disappointment. He asked Baba if he should dig in
another place because the promised mango was not found. Sai,
however, asked him to continue by saying that it is the duty of
man to labor. It is up to God to reward results at the
With Swami's assurance, the man continued his work. No luck,
though. When he looked at Sai, Baba asked him to chant God's
name while continuing to use human effort. The devotee then
started chanting Sai Ram, Sai Ram and continued his efforts.
Finally, he could feel something cold, as if the object had just
come out of a refrigerator. He panicked because the place also
housed a burial ground and he feared that he may have uncovered
a corpse. Swami assured him, however, that there was no reason
to fear. Finally, the man pulled out the fruit and, lo, it was
the very mango he was seeking.
Then, he thought they were five. How could one mango suffice
everyone? Out of nowhere Swami pulled out a knife and cut the
fruit and distributed it to everyone. Needless to say, it was
the most luscious and sweet fruit they had ever eaten and
despite eating to their fill, half the fruit still remained to
Swami brought out beautiful lessons through this episode: a) God
always grants the desired object of His devotees at the right
time, b) it is the duty of man to do his part and labor for the
fruit he desires, and c) by chanting God's name the object is
obtained sooner than its normal course.
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Mind Over Matter
Swami's followers may have heard
the expression "die-mind". The uncanny coinage is not just a
creative expression; it is a profound teaching epitomizing the
essence of all spiritual practices, a description of the ideal
state where the mind merges with God and all that remains is
bliss and love.
What is mind after all? Psychology may fumble at the question.
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 cloth with
individual threads as its basic constituents. Unloosening each
thread (desire) is what sadhanä (spiritual practice)
accomplishes until the mind is 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 -- power of
mind 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 and 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 equanimity that allows one to
experience both joy and sorrow as God's grace. It 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.
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
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.
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 should be rejected as unhealthy,
just the way bad food is rejected.
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
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.
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
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