SARVA DEVATHAATHEETHA SWAROOPA SRI SATHYA SAI VRATHA KATHA-Chapter 5-BODHA KAANDA (Swami’s Universal Teachings)
Sri Sathya Sai Bhagawan is deep as the ocean of love and kindness, He is everything, full and complete, leaving no vacuum, He is like father and mother to this world, He has no beginning, no end, He is the personification of Parabrahmah, He is Omniscient, He encapsulates the entire corpus of gunas (characteristics) as well as the 64 fine arts /crafts (kalas) within himself. The thousand-hooded divine serpent, Adisesha, the master of all learning-nay, even a billion Adisesha cannot fully describe the innumerable Leelas and Mahimas of Sri Sai. One never gets satiated whatever number of times one might hear the Divine story of the Lord which is indescribably beautiful. Every move of His generates immense happiness as well as wonderment in the onlooker. Even as He is busy delivering his elevating message to the thousands of devotees who throng to Him on the Maha Shivaratri day (on which day Lord Siva had taken form), He simultaneously materializes Atma Lingas (i.e. self-generated emblems of Siva) from his stomach, which emanate from his mouth. And astonishingly there is immense variety in the Lingas so produced. Some are shaped like Saligramas, some are of natural crystal, some of gold and some are Jyotirlingas (of pure light). This manifestation is the grandest of His endless Leelas. Such a marvelous Leela had never been witnessed during the period of any previous Avatars. We can never gauge the measure of this Avatar’s greatness but it is a fact that whatever words emerge out of those Divine lips make the listeners bewitched, spellbound and enthralled. Our hearts resonate in consonance with the tunes of the celestial Veena in His hands. Whatever He does with His Divine Shakti (power), every one of His deeds is meant for the welfare and progress of the world. He has established many an educational institution and set before them noble ideas and objectives. One does not find in these bodies of learning, boys and girls intermingling freely without let or hindrance doing whatever they please. On the other hand, we meet children of both sexes imbued with deep spirituality, disciplined conduct and abiding love of God, much in the time honoured traditions of Bharat. The trainees learn to understand what the venerable sages of this land had taught in regard to social conduct; and when they go out, they are thus properly equipped to lead well-ordered and productive lives by adhering to the noble principles of Sathya (truth) Dharma (duty), Shanthi (peace) and Prema (love).
Let us hear from the Lord’s own lips His message to the students:
“You must first of all recognise the essence of humanness (manavathva) before you choose the code of conduct appropriate and well suited to it. One should intensely search for the Cosmic Being who is the basic link between one’s self and creation. One should not act just on his own whims and fancy but within the bounds of scriptures. Both the field (Kshetra) and the power (Kshethrajna) are but the same Parabrahmah; and the same celestial principle (“Sarvam Brahma Mayam”) permeates the whole universe. One should fully realise this absolute truth by unbroken and unsparing practice. Man can achieve, through perseverance (i.e. sadhana) the cosmic experience of identity with the Supreme Being, and the resultant supreme sense of bliss (ananda), which are both transcendental in nature, way beyond and above the human mind’s range of physical senses. Students should dedicate themselves to their duty in the single-minded manner of Arjuna of the Mahabharatha. Performance of one’s duty requires from faith and undivided attention, which can be acquired through selfless service. Every single person is entitled to raise himself and quality to occupy the throne of the realm of the Atma.
“Man has within him the capacity to inspire great courage and enthusiasm in the hearts of those around him. The noblest message from this land of Bharat to mankind is that man’s highest virtue is absolute faith in himself. The educational system now prevailing distances itself from the noble message and therefore deserves top be discarded forthwith.
“We urgently need to install and altogether different system. The new system should emphasise that truthful conduct is itself a strict spiritual austerity (sadhana), which has to be practiced for attaining higher goals. The most sacred activity is to do good to others. One’s Mother is God, so is one’s Father, one’s Teacher is God, so is one’s Guest – these are wonderful ideals deserving to be cherished both in percept and practice. They would certainly lead to immense collective happiness of humanity. Education is not meant merely for the sake of livelihood (jeetham); it is meant for the sake of life itself (jeevitham). Mere temporal education devoid of spirituality can yield no peace or happiness or welfare. Modern civilisation coarsens the human heart; it turns even the finest brain to worthless clay and induces man to take to false and incorrect ways in life. In the present educational system there is no provision or programme capable of encouraging a student to strive for physical, mental and spiritual well being. Wildly pursuing the means of finding physical enjoyment man is losing sight of humanness (manavathva). It is only in this sanctified land of Bharat that the techniques of spiritual procedures of Sadhana have developed to reach very high levels. Therefore the people of this land have the advantage of having, within their easy reach, the highest principles of spiritual development and advancement. You may have immense knowledge, knowledge of the physical world and everything materialistic. But of what use is this knowledge if you do not know who you really are, from where exactly you have come here, what ultimate destination you are headed for? Is it not foolish to waste your entire life making no effort to find satisfying answers to these vital questions – answers which are certainly bound to benefit you enormously? Self-confidence, abiding faith in one’s self, is the root of the tree of life; devotion is its flower, ananda (bliss) is its fruit; good character is the sweet fruit juice. On your shoulders rests the duty to defend, to protect and enhance the honour of yourselves, of your country and of Sanathana Dharma (the ageless creed)”.
Those were the ringing words in which Sri Sathya Sai Bhagawan couched his soul-stirring message to the young scholars. Such exhortations were given not only to students but to those engaged in other fields of activity too. He conveys his views and directions in numerous ways; with both hands he bounteously distributes in valuable gems from his inexhaustible treasure of jnan, bound in packages of Sanathana Dharma. Everyone without exceptions receives these lovely tokens of tender love. Sri Sai plants in the hearts of all the peoples of the world the seeds of absolute faith in God, thirst for spirituality and keen desire to do service; and he diligently waters those seeds with the sweet nectar of his love and compassion.
Through in numerable Samithis, Samajams, Sanghams, Mandalis and Sabhas in every corner of the country, Sri Sai is spreading his divine messages and extortions (Upadesh) for the benefit of mankind. Resurrection of imperiled Dharma is the principal purpose of his Avatar. For furthering his agenda, he desired to have a suitable focal point. The choice fell on Mumbai, capital of Maharashtra, the state, which had been his field of action in the earlier avatar. The name he chose for the proposed centre was “Dharma Kshethram”. Armed with his blessings members of Mumbai Sri Sathya Sai Seva Samithi took up the project. Sri Bhagawan himself laid the foundation stone. Well ahead of schedule an imposing edifice arose fully equipped with every facility and complete in all respects including guest rooms. All were happy and agreeably surprised at the phenomenal progress of the project blessed as it was by the Lord himself. They gratefully took it as another instance of Sri Sai Bhagawan’s spontaneous demonstration of his love and Leela. The structure was christened “Sathya Deepam” (the lamp of truth) by Sri Sai. In Sathya Deepam’s prayer hall, a lamp (Jyothi) has been picturised. It has the capacity to attract all the diverse thoughts of the devotees and turn them in one single direction and to immerse the praying devotees in a tranquil sea of concentrated meditation (Dhyana). The celebrated line from the Upanishads, “Thamasoma Jyothirgamaya”, meaning, “Lead me from the enveloping darkness into Enlightenment”, fully reflects the agonized cry of the suffering humanity. The merciful response to that prayer, the hand of compassion reaching out to the desperate humanity of the world is the blessing of Sri Sai in the shape of Sathya Deepam and the splendorous symbol of Jyothi incorporated therein. To the rear of the prayer hall, there is a cylindrical structure, which houses a winding staircase with marble steps. Sri Sai uses this to reach the upper floor. The central pillar supports the upper structure called ‘Eighteen Petalled Lotus’ (Ashtadasa dala kamala) is the sanctified residence of Sri Sathya Sai Bhagawan. Mumbai is India’s gateway. Dharma Kshetra has been rightly established in this city. In this beautiful building so aptly named “Sathya Deepam” the Lord himself resides in person. Both directly and indirectly, Sri Bhagawan carries on His three-pronged programme of preaching of Dharma (Dharma Bodha), resurrection of Dharma (Dharmoddharama) and installation of Dharma (Dharma Prathoshtapana). All the people of Bharat offer their homage, with hearts overflowing with happiness and spiritual zeal, to the Lotus Feet of Sai Bhagawan who is the inspirer of all these fruitful activities.
Every single individual should begin somewhere and gradually develop spiritual sadhana (practice). The degree of his application to sadhana should be steadily enhanced. Supreme Divinity lies dormant in every individual. One should endeavor to recognize it. This is the message of Sri Bhagawan. He once declared, “Through this Dharma Kshethram my message will get more widely spread throughout the world”. To constantly think of God, to dedicate to God the fruits of one’s labours, to be absolutely devoted to God at all times – these qualities can achieve for man, genuine spiritual liberation from bondage. One’s life span is to be utilized purposefully for doing sadhana to secure Moksha (release from the cycle of birth and death). On the other hand, man is squandering it through indulgence of the physical senses. The heart of every human being is his own working field, for the practice of Dharma. It is the Dharma Kshethram (field of Dharma) as well as Kuru Kshethram (field of action) the word “Kuru” means, “do”, do Karma (action). One’s duty is therefore, to follow the path of Dharma, to perform good deeds and to attain salvation. It is wrong to turn to bad ways, commit evil deeds and thus lay one’s precious life to waste. That is also the gist of the Bhagavad Gita. Right in the first verse (Sloka) of the Gita, there is a question from Dhritharashtra: “In the field of Dharma Kshethram, which is Kuru Kshethram, what is being done by Mamakah and Pandavah?”. Let us look at these words carefully. Mamakah means ‘my people’, that is to say, an army enveloped by the veil of Ahamkara (ego) and Mamakara (possessiveness). In other words, it an army tainted by the deadly characteristics of Tamas (darkness, evil, impurity) and of rajas (insolence, passion, ambition). Contrast this with the other word. Pandu means white. Pandavah are the untainted ones, of placid, unruffled sathvic disposition (of goodness, wisdom, purity). This battle is truly the eternal battle raging in every age – the battle between the sathvic forces and Tamasic and Rajasic forces. But it is the sathvic forces, which alone will ultimately triumph, because they alone receive God’s grace and give decisive victory and finally salvation. A river takes its birth really from the sea. Irrespective of every obstacle in its way and overcoming all of them, it flows and flows on until it reaches the bosom of its mother, the sea. In the same relentless manner, man should travel single-mindedly towards his true origin, that is Madhavatathvam (the Supreme Being), from he had taken his birth originally. Whoever adopts the sathvic characteristics and strengthens them sufficiently, will be showered with God’s grace as in the case of the Pandavas and he will attain complete success. This Sri Sai’s inspiring message.
Additional facilities like hutments for the Sadhakas, prayer halls, a Bhajan hall to seat thousands of devotees and also a printing press are being planned for Dharma Kshethram. To help Sadhakas from abroad there is a special package. These foreigners have a deep thirst for devotion, cosmic consciousness (jyan) and detachment (Vairagya). They are eager to undergo arduous spiritual practices and austerities. (Sadhanas) They want to imbibe deeply the nectar of Sri Sai’s preaching, which are reputed to be trans-denominational and attain self-fulfillment at His Lotus Feet. Now these eager seekers require to be properly received and housed, given appropriate facilities, and preparatory instructions to help them in their spiritual quest. so, an International Centre has been established within dharma Kshethram. There, special devotional programmes are arranged on festival days and religious occasions pertaining to all religions without distinction, in addition to normal daily Bhajans. On the day of inauguration of Dharma Kshethram, in the palatial building of “Sathya Deepam”, Sri Bhagawan, with His own Divine Hand, lit the eternal lamp (Akhanda Jyothi). That lamp is meant to shine for ever and ever eternally giving out its light all around. The flame diffuses the effulgence of spiritual jnan all over the world and offers salvation to entire mankind. Devotees lit their own lamps from that Akhanda Jyothi and carried them to far off lands. Those little lamps are now installed in several Sri Sathya Sai Kendrams and Yoga Sadhana Shikshana Kendras for the benefit of Sadhakas, who practice Jyothi Dhyana Abhiyas rituals prescribed by Sai Bhagawan. Sri Sai granted full permission to install such subsidiary Akhanda Jyothis. While blessing their efforts, He advised; that every devotee’s heart should evolve into Dharma Kshethram (field of virtuous action) and a Prashanthi Nilayam (Abode of Spiritual Tranquility); that Sanathana Dharma, acclaimed by the Vedas, constitutes a sublime doctrine which is trans-denominational (encompassing the predominant precepts of all major religions) and that all people should learn it, practice it and attain happiness.
To sump up, Sri Sai Bhagawan is verily the Supreme Divine Being without a beginning or end. His Divine Shakti (power) is boundless. How is it possible to enumerate and describe His Mahimas of immense variety and significance? “Anoraneeyaan, Mahatho Maheeyaan”, goes a profound description: tinier than the tiniest particle, vaster than the vastest. I have tried to put it down in words, to the best of my limited capability. Sri Sai’s greatness, His supremacy has neither beginning nor end; it is extensive beyond imagination, outstripping the farthest bounds of the Universe. Realising this and being aware of their own limitations, devotees should worship Sri Sathya Sai Bhagawan to the best of their ability and with sincere faith, love and devotion in their hearts. In accordance with the prescribed procedure, they should perform this Sri Sathya Sai Vratham and obtain fulfillment of their heartfelt desires. May all devotees continue constantly, to perform good deeds, which are worthy of Sri Sai’s approval, affection and love, imbibe jnan and attain salvation.
End of chapter 5 [Last chapter – ending the Pooja]