SARVA DEVATHAATHEETHA SWAROOPA SRI SATHYA SAI VRATHA KATHA- Chapter 4- AADHYATHMIKA SIKSHA KAANDA (Swami’s Spiritual Discipline)
The Parabrahmah, which the Vedas have chanted about, the Supreme Being without a form (avyaktha) and without characteristics (Nirguna), has assumed form and come down to earth in flesh and blood with the name of Sathya Sai Baba. In the present day world, in this Kali Age, people are suffering from lack of proper direction. With no thought of the past or for the future, with no consideration of what is good and what is evil, with no value system demarcating papa from Punya, they are totally ignorant of the noble traditions of Bharat, blind to the time-honoured principles of their own respective creeds and of Sanathana Dharma. There is no one who is competent to reveal the Truth to them and guide them to the path of God. People have come to believe that ostentation, indulgence in comforts and opulence are everlasting and they alone are life’s ultimate goal and salvation. They are immersed in this sort of Ajnana (lack of true knowledge). They freely indulge in evil (Adharma), unjust (anyaaya) and improper (akrama) activities throughout their lives. The principal objective of Sri Sai Bhagawan is to demonstrate the supreme heights scaled by Bharathiya culture; to reveal the true substance and nature of the four principles of Sathya (truth), Dharma (duty), Shanthi (peace) and Prema (love); to bring out the inner meaning of the respective codes of conduct of the Varnashrama (four Varnas and four Aashramas); to clarify the disciplines of the Sanathana Dharma which has its roots in the Vedas themselves. He intends to reach his Message to the unlettered, the uneducated in the remotest corner of the land of Bharat. He aims at providing peace, harmony and happiness to all the peoples of the world. This is also the divine purpose of his Avatar. “Wherever and whenever Adharma gains ascendancy I will assume form, destroy the forces of evil and restore Dharma to its due position of pre-eminence”, is how God promised in the Bhagavad Gita. In the earlier Avatars, He actually demonstrated the fulfillment of this promise. In the Avatar of Sri Rama, he destroyed Ravana. After ascending the throne, as described in the epic Ramayan by Tulsidas, Sri Rama assembled his people, explained to them the principles of Sanathana Dharma and exhorted them to dedicate themselves to the practice of Dharma. Such good fortune was granted only to Sri Rama’s subjects. There is no book, which refers to similar luck having been extended to people anywhere else. In the Avatar of Sri Krishna, the Divine Doctrine was given to only his closest devotees besides Gopas and Gopikas among whom he moved. The outstanding aspect widely noticed was destruction of evil forces and rescue of the devout.
In this Kali age, the ways of the divine Avatar of Sri Sathya Sai are quite different. This marvelous Avatar is especially praise-worthy. For he is emperor of the world without empire; he is victorious hero without weaponry; general without soldiery; of simple but effulgent form without any ornamentation whatsoever. He is the very ocean of spontaneous love and mercy; veritable Sun of cosmic consciousness (jnan) shining everywhere; untrammeled by earthly qualities (Nirguna). He is most powerful, can masquerade in every form at will, all pervading, and impregnable bastion of protection to the oppressed. His form is of enchanting beauty, which bewitches the world. By displaying his unmatched form, by casting a spell with the magnetic smile playing on his lips, he can enslave all the worlds and immerse them in the sea of infatuation. He is personification of all Punya (merit acquired through performance of good deeds and austerities); he can wipe away fear and grief at the mere remembrance of his divine name. He is the ocean of love and compassion and mercy, and can bestow every kind of benefit by a mere look of compassion. He looks upon every single being in creation with absolute evenness (sama Drishti) without discrimination. Adherents of every creed love him. He is the encapsulation of every God. He is the embodiment of every power, of every mantra (incantation credited with divine force). In short, he is everything. By virtue of his own inherent powers, he is teaching the principles of devotion (Bhakthi); cosmic consciousness (jnan) and detachment (Vairagya), he is drawing people to himself and making them follow his bidding. By the strength of his own inherent divine force, he is binding all countries with the bond of devotion. By the same force, he is fulfilling the desires of thousands of people; he is taking innumerable forms and masquerades at will and protecting and saving devotees far and wide; he is healing disease of every description; he is materialising all kinds of objects at will; he is displaying unbroken Leelas and Mahimas; he is performing supra-natural deeds delighting people everywhere; he has planted the glorious flag of dharma (dharma dhwaja) everywhere in all corners of the world and lording over it all. His divine force is unrivalled, unreachable, unimaginable, indescribable, and unfathomable. Even the most elevated among Gods, like Brahma (the creator), cannot comprehend his powers. By the divine power inherent in him, being the Parabrahmah without beginning (Anaadi), and also because of his abounding love, Sri Sai Bhagawan has convened conferences of scholars to which are invited participants from all corners of the country. Sri Sai himself selected the invitees. Through such conferences, knowledge of spiritual and religious principles, diverse ways of spiritual practice, basics of order and discipline, code of conduct governing the Varnaashramas – these are to be propagated widely so that people learn to lead their lives in peace, harmony and happiness. The main purpose of organising such conferences is to inculcate among people devotion to God, faith, moral discipline and spiritual outlook in life.
In numerous countries all over the world, thousands of devotional institutions have been established enfolding people speaking different languages. These institutions are named Sri Sathya Sai Seva Sanghams and Samajams. The main objective of these bodies is to follow the directions of Sri Sai in all respects, to treat fellow humans not as inferiors but as perfect equals. Sri Sai Bhagawan has emphasised to all these institutions that they should function in a disciplined way; they should dedicate themselves to the time-honoured virtues of purity, unostentatiousness, simplicity, modesty, generosity and truthfulness; they should observe the noble teachings of our ancient Rishis (sages) which constitute the very foundation of Bharathiya culture; every hearth and every home should be clean and pure; they should constantly endeavor to establish peacefulness among all the peoples of the world; they should remember that our ancient culture aimed at realising Truth through continuous sadhana; they should demonstrate to others the sanctity and specialty of our ancient culture through personal example, i.e. through members’ own behaviour and conduct, practice of good qualities like detachment (Vairagya). The exceptional feature of the Sai Organisations is that they do not allow malice or jealousy to tarnish their mutual relations. Nor do they allow such evils to poison relations with other spiritual Organisations. They set aside pride and ego altogether and immerse themselves in dedicated selfless service. Each and every member of Sathya Sai institutions will on arising in the morning, heartily intone Pranava (i.e. Om) and only thereafter begin daily chores. He will take a vow that whatever he is going to do during the day will be done with love and devotion and with no selfish interest, and invoke God to grant the necessary ability and mental sharpness and to guide him to proceed along the right path. When he retires for the night, he will review whatever had been done during the day, identify any lapses that had occurred due to common human failings, or due to anger, ego and selfishness. He will pray to God to help him to avoid such lapses in future. Such are the guidelines issued by Sri Sai to his institutions. All of them are following those directions meticulously and are carrying on their work in a disciplined and well-organised manner.
Sri Sai is communicating to the whole world lessons in spiritual practices of the purest kind through members of these institutions. One of the important items of these spiritual activities is Nagarasamkirtan. Members should wake up in the Brahma Muhoortha (before sunrise), mentally intone the name of God, and also do it loudly so that others will hear it. All are to be woken up with God’s name. All daily chores and disciplines should be carried out in God’s name. Each member should encourage other members also to follow this ritual so that collectively all will dedicate their lives and work to God. This comprehensive programme of service is Nagarasamkirtan. This sacred programme should be carried out in every hamlet, village, town and city. At dawn no other sound but the name of God should be heard. This will yield immense benefit. It purifies the mind as well as the environment. On waking, if one loudly intones the divine names of Rama, Krishna, Govinda, Damodara, Sankara, Durga and Lakshmi, one’s heart gets cleared of impurity. Sathya (truth), Dharma (duty), Shanthi (peace) and Prema (love) get firmly implanted there. Moreover, waking up in the Brahma Muhoortham is itself a wholesome habit. It is good for health; mind gets alert; heart is filled with happiness; all the organs are purified. Sri Sai Bhagawan has given instructions that all devotees should assemble at one place, conduct intonation of Pranava (i.e. Om), and recite Suprabhatham. Afterwards they should go about on the streets of the town from 5 to 7 A.M. singing soulful devotional music with appropriate Bhava (content), raga (tune) and thaala (rhythm in sounds which is reflected by cymbals, Mrithangam, tamboora etc)
There are some other Organisations known as “Sri Sathya Sai Sathsangams”. Members there, carry out spiritual sadhanas of higher order like regular Dhyana (meditation), japas (repetition of Mantra) and study of sacred books.
Sri Bhagawan designed all these Sadhanas (practices) and activities with a noble ideal. It is his desire that these should attract and encourage not only members of these institutions but also the general public at large to take up such activities. Thereby, they too will learn to adopt the attendant austerities, rules to be observed, regulated conduct and discipline.. In course of time they too will develop into adept Sadhakas, turn to God, realise Truth, dedicate themselves to the observance of Dharma, lead peaceful and happy lives and finally qualify for God’s Love and Reward. These institutions of Sadhana are endowed with the power and ability to develop the spiritual qualities of devotion (Bhakti), cosmic consciousness (Jnana) and detachment (Vairagya) and dharma as expounded by our ancient Rishis – which are the very foundation of Bharathiya culture. Such Organisations have been established in large numbers not only all over India but also in many foreign countries. There are several persons who have appreciated the noble role of these Organisations, renounced everything and adopted Sanyas. Hundreds of such persons including foreigners are converging on Puttaparthi eager to have a Darshan of Sri Bhagawan and to serve Him. Once they set eyes on the Divinely beautiful figure of Sri Sai, and hear his sacred message directly from Him, they forget everything else. Unable to veer themselves away from His ennobling presence, they decide to stay here for good. There are any numbers of such persons. Sri Sai Bhagawan is the very embodiment of love; these foreigners care to imbibe, to their hearts’ content, the nectar of love flowing from His adorable lips. How much more fortunate are we, His own countrymen, who are able to see Him, feel Him and hear Him! We are able to worship God incarnate, who is available at our beck and call, who is no other Satchidananda Parabrahmah Moorthy Himself. How immeasurably fortunate are we! So, may all people worship this Sai Bhagawan with pure heart and with abiding love according to the prescribed procedure and obtain His blessings and fulfillment of their desires.
End of Chapter 4
Once again Pooja will be performed. A coconut or fruit will be offered as naiveidya and Aarti will be offered. Thereafter, recitation of the Katha will be resumed.