PRAYER SHREE GANESH VANDANA SHASHI VARNAM CHATURBHUJAM PRASANNA VADANAM DHYAYETH SARVA VIGHNOPA SHANTAYE AGAJANANA PADMASANAM GAJANANA MAHIRSHAM ANEKA DANTAM EKA DANTAM UPASMAYEM BHAKTANAM Mushikavaahana Modaka Hastha, Chaamara Karna Vilambitha Sutra, Vaamana Rupa Maheshwara Putra, Vighna Vianayaka Paada Namasthe GANESHA GAYATHRI Thath Purushaya Vidhmahe Vakrathundaaya Dheemahee Danno Ganesha Prachothayad Sainatha Sainatha Sainatha Sadgurum Yogiraja Yugapurusha Bhaktakoti Vanditham Kripanidhim Tapodhanim Sainatha Pahimaam Divyateja Bhavyamoorthi Punyacharita Poojitam yadâ yadâ hi dharmasya glânir bhavati bhârata abhyutthânam adharmasya tadâtmânam srjâmy aham yadâ yadâ -- whenever and wherever; hi -- certainly; dharmasya -- of religion; glânih -- discrepancies; bhavati -- become manifested; bhârata -- O descendant of Bharata; abhyutthânam -- predominance; adharmasya -- of irreligion; tadâ -- at that time; âtmânam -- self; srjâmi -- manifest; aham -- I. Meaning: Whenever and wherever it is sure that one weakens in righteousness and a predominance of injustice does manifest, o descendant of Bharata, at that time I do manifest Myself. paritrânâya sâdhûnâm vinâsâya ca duskrtâm dharma-samsthâpanârthâya sambhavâmi yuge yuge paritrânâya -- for the deliverance; sâdhûnâm -- of the devotees; vinâsâya -- for the annihilation; ca -- and; duskrtâm -- of the miscreants; dharma -- principles of religion; samsthâpana-arthâya -- to reestablish; sambhavâmi -- I do appear; yuge -- millennium; yuge -- after millennium. Meaning: To liberate the seekers of truth, to take the power away from the wicked ones and to reestablish the way of the human principles I do appear age after age. ELEVEN DECLARATIONS OF SAI BABA 1. Whoever puts his feet on Shirdi soil, his sufferings would come to an end. 2. The wretched and miserable would rise into plenty of joy and happiness, as soon as they climb the steps of my Samadhi. 3. I shall be ever active and vigorous even after leaving this earthly body. 4. My tomb shall bless and speak to the needs of my devotees. 5. I shall be active and vigorous even from the tomb. 6. My mortal remains would speak from the tomb. 7. I am ever living to help and guide all who come to me, who surrender to me and who seek refuge in me. 8. If you look to me, I look to you. 9. If you cast your burden on me, I shall surely bear it. 10. If you seek my advice and help, it shall be given to you at once. 11. There shall be no want in the house of my devotees. SHRI SAI SATCHARITA By Hemadpant CHAPTER I Salutations -- The Story of Grinding Wheat and Its Philosophical Significance According to the ancient and revered custom, Hemadpant begins the work, Sai Satcharita, with various salutations. First, he makes obeisance to the God Ganesha to remove all obstacles and make the work a success and says that Shri Sai is the God Ganesha. Then, to the Goddess Saraswathi to inspire him to write out the work and says that Shri Sai is one with this Goddess and that He is Himself singing His own life. Then, to the Gods; Brahma, Vishnu and Shankar - the Creating, Preserving and Destroying Deities respectively; and says that Sainath is one with them and He as the great Teacher, will carry us across the River of Worldly Existence. Then, to his tutelary Deity Narayan Adinath who manifested himself in Konkan - the land reclaimed by Parashurama, (Rama in the Hindi version) from the sea; and to the Adi (Original) Purusha of the family. Then, to the Bharadwaja Muni, into whose gotra (clan) he was born and also to various Rishis, Yagyavalakya, Bhrigu, Parashara, Narad, Veda Vyasa, Sanak, Sanandan, Sanatkumar, Shuka, Shounak, Vishwamitra, Vasistha, Valmiki, Vamadeva, Jaimini, Vaishampayan, Nava Yogindra etc, and also modern Saints such as Nivritti, Jnanadev, Sopan, Muktabai, Janardan, Ekanath, Namdev, Tukaram, Kanha, and Narahari etc. Then, to his grandfather Sadashiv, father Raghunath, his mother, who left him in his infancy, to his paternal aunt, who brought him up, and to his loving elder brother. Then, to the readers and prays them to give their whole and undivided attention to his work. And lastly, to his Guru Shri Sainath - an Incarnation of Shri Dattatreya, Who is his sole Refuge and Who will make him realize that Brahman is the Reality and the world an illusion; and incidentally, to all the Beings in whom the Lord God dwells. After describing in brief the various modes of devotion according to Parashara, Vyasa and Shandilya etc., the author goes on to relate the following story: "It was sometime after 1910 AD that I went, one fine morning, to the Masjid in Shirdi for getting a Darshan of Sai Baba. I was wonder-struck to see the following phenomenon. After washing His mouth and face, Sai Baba began to make preparations for grinding wheat. He spread a sack on the floor; and thereon set a hand-mill. He took some quantity of wheat in a winnowing fan, and then drawing up the sleeves of His Kafni (robe); and taking hold of the peg of the hand-mill, started grinding the wheat by putting a few handfuls of wheat in the upper opening of the mill and rotated it. I thought ‘What business Baba had with the grinding of wheat, when He possessed nothing and stored nothing, and as He lived on alms!’ Some people who had come there thought likewise, but none had the courage to ask Baba what He was doing. Immediately, this news of Baba's grinding wheat spread into the village, and at once men and women ran to the Masjid and flocked there to see Baba's act. Four bold women, from the crowd, forced their way up and pushing Baba aside, took forcibly the peg or handle into their hands, and, singing Baba's Leelas, started grinding. At first Baba was enraged, but on seeing the women's love and devotion, He was much pleased and began to smile. While they were grinding, they began to think that Baba had no house, no property, no children, none to look after, and He lived on alms, He did not require any wheat-flour for making bread or roti, what will He do with this big quantity of flour? Perhaps as Baba is very kind, He will distribute the flour amongst us. Thinking in this way while singing, they finished the grinding and after putting the hand-mill aside, they divided the flour into four portions and began to remove them one per head. Baba, Who was calm and quiet up till now, got wild and started abusing them saying, "Ladies, are you gone mad? Whose father's property are you looting away? Have I borrowed any wheat from you, so that you can safely take the flour? Now please do this. Take the flour and throw it on the village border limits." On hearing this, the women felt abashed and whispering amongst themselves, went away to the outskirts of the village and spread the flour as directed by Baba. I asked the Shirdi people - "What was this that Baba did?" They replied that as the Cholera Epidemic was spreading in the village and this was Baba's remedy against the same; it was not wheat that was ground but the Cholera itself was ground to pieces and pushed out of the village. From this time onward, the Cholera Epidemic subsided and the people of the village were happy. I was much pleased to know all this; but at the same time my curiosity was also aroused. I began to ask myself - What earthly connection was there between wheat flour and Cholera? What was the casual relation between the two and how to reconcile them? The incident seems to be inexplicable. I should write something on this and sing to my heart's content Baba's sweet Leelas. Thinking in this way about this Leela, my heart was filled with joy and I was thus inspired to write Baba's Life - The Satcharita. And as we know, with Baba's grace and blessing this work was successfully accomplished. Philosophical Significance of Grinding Apart from the meaning which the people of Shirdi put on this incident of grinding wheat, there is, we think, a philosophical significance too. Sai Baba lived in Shirdi for about sixty years and during this long period, He did the business of grinding almost every day - not, however, the wheat alone; but the sins, the mental and physical afflictions and the miseries of His innumerable devotees. The two stones of His mill consisted of Karma and Bhakti, the former being the lower and the latter the upper one. The handle with which Baba worked the mill consisted of Jnana. It was the firm conviction of Baba that Knowledge or Self-realization is not possible, unless there is the prior act of grinding of all our impulses, desires, sins; and of the three gunas, viz. Sattva, Raja and Tama; and the Ahamkara, which is so subtle and therefore so difficult to be got rid of. This reminds us of a similar story of Kabir who seeing a woman grinding corn said to his Guru, Nipathiranjana, "I am weeping because I feel the agony of being crushed in this wheel of worldly existence like the corn in the hand-mill." Nipathiranjana replied, "Do not be afraid; hold fast to the handle of knowledge of this mill, as I do, and do not wander far away from the same but turn inward to the Centre, and you are sure to be saved." Bow to Shri Sai -- Peace be to all ***** SATHYAM SIVAM SUNDARAM - Part I The Life of the Divine Avatar Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba Written by N. Kasturi M.A., B.L. He is the sub-stratum, the substance; the separate and the sum, the Sath; the SATHYAM He is the awareness, the activity, the consciousness, feeling, the willing and the doing, the Chith; the SIVAM He is the light, the splendor, the harmony, the melody, the Ananda; the SUNDARAM Words of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba taken from this Biography "MY MISSION is to grant you Courage and Joy, to drive away Weakness and Fear. Do not condemn yourselves as sinners; sin is a misnomer for what are really errors, provided you repent sincerely and resolve not to follow Evil again. Pray to the Lord to give you the strength to overcome the habits which had enticed you when you were ignorant." "Worry, greed and needless agitation and anxiety, these cause even bodily disease. Mental weakness is the biggest cause of disease. Dis-ease is a want of ease; the contented mind is the best drug." "Be good, be joyful, be bold, be honest, be temperate, be patient. These are the rules of good health." "I refuse to call anyone an atheist or an unbeliever, for all is the Creations of the Lord and repositories of the Grace. In everyone's heart there is a spring of Love, a rock of Truth. That Love is God, that Truth is God. Divinity is there in the depths of everyone's Inner Being." "The Lord is above and beyond all limits of caste and color, of wealth and poverty; it is foolish to believe that the Lord asks for this gift or is angry when it is not offered." "I have come to guide and bless those who undergo the discipline and practice leading to Divine union. I am neither man nor woman, old or young, I am all these." "Do not praise Me. I like you to approach Me without fear, as a right. You do not extol your father. You ask for something from him, as a right, is that not so?" "You may be seeing Me today for the first time, but you are all old acquaintances for Me. I know you through and through. My task is the spiritual regeneration of Humanity through Truth and Love. If you approach one step nearer to Me, I shall advance three steps towards you." "I am happiest when a person carrying a heavy load of misery comes to Me, for he is most in need of what I have." "It is not mentioned anywhere that the Grace of God is available only for certain classes or races or grades of people. From the smallest to the biggest all are entitled to it. The Lord is everywhere, everything." "The world can achieve prosperity and peace only through such persons whose hearts are pure and whose minds are free of prejudice and passion, lust and greed, anger and envy." "I have not started the work for which I have come for I am still in the stage of preliminary reconnaissance. When I start my campaign the whole world will know of it and benefit by it." "Whensoever there is the fading of the Dharma and the uprising of unrighteousness, then I loose myself forth into birth. For the deliverance of the good, for the destruction of the evil-doers, for the enthroning of the Right, I am born from age to age." The Gita - Fourth Chapter (Verses 7&8) These verses in the Bhagavad Gita of Order, Sanskrit, word for word and translation: yadâ yadâ hi dharmasya glânir bhavati bhârata abhyutthânam adharmasya tadâtmânam srjâmy aham paritrânâya sâdhûnâm vinâsâya ca duskrtâm dharma-samsthâpanârthâya sambhavâmi yuge yuge The Author Writes I was born in an obscure village in North Travancore when the nineteenth century had still three years and a few days to run. I had my schooling in the Cochin State under a great Headmaster who had met Swami Vivekananda and who lit in our little lamps the flame of prayer and contrition. I attended College at Trivandrum and, after finishing my M.A. and B.L., I secured a job as Lecturer in History at a college in Mysore. The country boat, in which I, my wife and my mother journeyed along the canals and backwaters of the West Coast on the first lap of the trip to catch the train at Ernakulam, was halted past midnight in the middle of a dark backwater by a Coast Guard, who shouted orders from the shore. He called out in the black night, "Where are you going?" and waited for an answer. My boatman had a fine sense of humor. He shouted back, "We are going to Mysore!" (We all knew Mysore was inland!) The Coast Guard did not reprimand him for his impertinence, for he, too, was in a humorous mood. He laughed and asked, "Why do you say Mysore? Don't you know a place beyond Mysore?" Little did we know then, that there was a place beyond Mysore, a couple of hundred miles to the north of that City, a place called Puttaparthy which was to provide us harborage from the turbulent storms of the sea. There I was to get the Teacher I wanted, when my career as a university teacher and principal was about to come to a close. Yogi Suddhananda Bharathi, the famous mystic poet of Tamilnadu, said, in April 1959 when addressing a religious conference at Venkatagiri Town over which Sri Sathya Sai Baba presided, "I have practiced Yoga for over 50 years; I once observed the vow of silence continuously for over 20 years; I have come in contact with Sri Shirdi Baba, Sri Ramana Maharshi, Sri Aurobindo, Sri Meher Baba and others; now, as a result of all this discipline, I have met Sri Sathya Sai Baba." I served as the Secretary of the Sri Ramakrishna Mission at Mysore for over seventeen years; I came in contact with Sri Siddharooda Swami, Sri Ramana Maharshi, Sri Meher Baba and Sri Narayana Guru; I was initiated into Japam, the recitation of the Name of the Lord, by Mahapurushji, the direct disciple of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, and President of the Mission; and I am now convinced that, as a result of all this, I sat at the Feet of Sri Sathya Sai Baba in 1948. After I retired from the service of the University of Mysore, I have since rejoiced in Baba's Presence, except for a short period when I worked with All India Radio as a producer. I have had the good fortune of mingling with many of His devotees who have had longer and closer associations with Him. I have availed myself of every opportunity of witnessing events illustrating His Divine Power and listening to His discourses. I trust this book will reveal to the reader some of the reasons for the extraordinarily intimate loyalty that binds me and others to Him. Baba is an open book, with no mystery or pomp or abstruseness about Him. Everyone can approach Him and secure His Grace. I have great sympathy for those who are unaware of Baba's stature, for I, too, demurred, doubted, and disbelieved Baba's validity with all the sarcasm and satire found in the novels, dramas, and essays which I wrote and published on various subjects. For many years I, too, in my stupid pride, did not make any effort to meet Him. I invite everyone now, to come and share His Grace and Mercy and stand witness to the Divine Power that He personifies. N. Kasturi THE WONDERMENT OF SAI BABA This is the story of the Lord, come in human form. He was born at sunrise on November 23, 1926, in a quiet little village called Puttaparthy in Southern India. Puttaparthy has carved a niche for itself in the hearts of the people of the area because of the inspiring legends that sanctify its memory and surround its name. Putta is the native word for "an anthill in which a snake has taken up its abode," and Parthi means "multiplier." These words are part of an exciting legend that explains the origin of this place-name. Long, long ago the village was known as Gollapalli or "Home of the Cowherds," a designation reminiscent of the playful boyhood of Krishna, the Cowherd Lord. Gollapalli was a place redolent with the music of the flute and the laughter of the cowherds. It was the abode of prosperous cowherds, for, the cattle of this place where sleek and strong. The cows yielded copious quantities of milk, thick and sweet beyond compare; every home was rich in butter and ghee. However, one day a cowherd noticed that his favorite cow had no milk in her udder when she returned from the grazing grounds on the hills. He became determined to find the solution to this mystery by watching the cow's movements. Later, hiding himself from view, the cowherd observed the following astonishing behavior. The cow, leaving her calf to wander about with her sisters, walked out of the shed and proceeded in a beeline to an anthill on the outskirts of the village. The cowherd followed her to this rendezvous, only to witness an even more astounding spectacle. A cobra issued forth from the mound, raised itself on its tail, applied its lips gently to the cow's teats, and gleefully drank all the milk! The cowherd, enraged at the loss to which he was subjected by this wily trick, lifted a large stone over his head and, taking good aim, heaved it directly on the cobra. Writhing in pain, the serpent threw an angry curse on all the cowherds of the village; the cobra's last words foretold that the place would be full of anthills, which would multiply endlessly and become the homes of snakes. And so indeed it happened! The cattle declined in health and in numbers; they could no longer be raised successfully at Gollapalli. Anthills spread all over the place and the name was soon changed to Valmikipura, meaning "anthill city" in Sanskrit. This gave some satisfaction to the elders of the village since Valmiki is none other than the immortal poet and saint who wrote and sang the great epic poem of Sri Ramaand showed mankind the Path to Perfection. The "anthill city" is called Puttaparthy in common parlance. The villagers still show, as proof of this tragic legend, the very stone, thick and round, with a slight jam on one side, which the enraged cowherd aimed at the wonder-snake. The stone has a long reddish streak, which is pointed out as the mark of the cobra's blood. This stone became an object of worship, probably in an effort to avert the curse and help the cattle to prosper. It is looked upon as a symbol of the Lord of the Cowherds, Krishna. The village chieftains built a temple where this stone is installed, and generations of men and women have reverentially bowed before it. Strangely enough, Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba revealed a feature of the stone some years ago. He directed some people to wash the stone and to smear sandal paste on the jammed side. When this was done, they could discern the clear outline of a sculptured picture of Krishna leaning on a cow, with the captivating flute at his lips. Local rustics swear that they can hear the melody of Krishna's Breath passing through the straight and hollow reed in the sculpture. From that day the curse lost its evil power and cattle began to thrive once more at Puttaparthy! The bastion of the old Fort, which still raises its hoary head in the eastern part of the village, is evidence of Puttaparthy's mastery over the surrounding area and the power and majesty of the chieftains of the place. "With the Chitravathi River descending the gorges and flowing as a moat on one side, set like a green gem in a ring of hills, with temple bells pealing on all the eminences around, enriched by the reservoir built by King Chikkaraya, adjacent to the town that bears the name of Bukka (the far-famed Emperor of the City of Vijayanagara), Puttaparthy is the abode of the Goddess of Fortune and the Goddess of Eloquence." Such is the eulogy showered on this place by an anonymous poet of the past. Puttaparthy was the cradle of poets and scholars as well as heroes and philanthropists. The Raju family to which Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba belongs was noted for its piety since the days of the renowned sage Venkavadhootha. Not only did the Rajus build and endow Gopalaswami Temple, but the devout Sri Ratnakaram Kondama Raju, grandfather of Sathya Sai Baba, dedicated a temple to Sathyabhama, a consort of Lord Krishna. This homage is seldom offered in any part of India to such a deity. Kondama Raju used to say in explanation of this unusual tribute to Sathyabhama, that he was inspired to erect the temple because of the events that occurred during a strange dream. Tears of joy would run down the wrinkled cheeks of this centenarian, Sri Kondama Raju, whenever he recollected that enthralling dream experience. In his dream Kondama Raju saw "Sathyabhama alone, expectant, and forlorn, waiting anxiously for her Lord who had gone on an errand to bring to her from Paradise the much-coveted Parijatha flowers. The minutes increased to hours and the hours to days, but still there was no sign of Krishna! Sathyabhama broke into tears. There ensued a raging storm bringing thunder, lightning, and a heavy downpour of rain. Fortunately her eyes fell on Kondama Raju who was passing near the place where she stood. She asked him to provide some shelter." This dream led to his determination to build a temple for the Consort of the Lord. Kondama Raju lived out his hundred and ten years of earthly existence in the contemplation of the Lord. He was a master of music and the histrionic art. He knew by heart the Lepakshi version of the entire Ramayana, the Great Epic poem in Sanskrit about Rama. This version was a series of songs composed by a poet from the City of Lepakshi. They depicted the incidents in dramatic imagery and artistic luxuriance. Kondama Raju played the role of Lakshmana; the devoted brother of Rama, in all the Ramayana plays enacted at Puttaparthy and other villages. Requests for him to play this role were received even from far-off places. His depiction of the steadfast devotion and unquestioning dedication of Lakshmana touched the hearts of all who witnessed his performance. He appeared hundreds of times on many stages until age prevented him from further repetition of the role. He was a strict vegetarian, prone to observe the holy vows of the Hindu calendar. His cottage, a short distance from his sons and grandchildren, was a veritable abode of holy homage. He took delight in gathering around his cot the children of his sons and relating to them the tales of Gods and God-men. The children loved to be with him, for he made every character and adventure live before their eager eyes through the enchantment of song and drama. We can be certain that among those children it was his grandson Sathyanarayana (the birth name of Sathya Sai Baba) who was his favorite, for the little boy could sing in a charming musical voice and could give even the venerable old gentleman a lesson or two in the art of drama! There was another reason why Kondama Raju exhibited special affection for Sathyanarayana. The little boy disliked non-vegetarian food and would not stay even in the neighborhood when such dishes were being prepared. At the tender age of seven, he was also a remarkably good cook! He was so intelligent and resourceful that he was able to prepare the tastiest dishes from the meager larder of his grandfather's cottage. All this he did most willingly and very quickly! (Sai Baba says that He would go into the kitchen of the old man and complete the cooking - rice, curries, chutney and all - in much less time than was needed by the mother, even when she had her daughters helping her to finish her cooking assignment at her own place!) In his later days Sri Kondama Raju was visited by all the devotees who came to seek the blessings of Sri Sathya Sai Baba, and when the revered old man struggled to stand erect to accept their homage, one could see a twinkle of joyful gratitude in his eyes that the Lord had taken birth in his family. He lived until 1950 and passed away peacefully singing to himself aloud stanzas from the Ramayana. Truly a life worthy to be recorded in the annals of saints. Sri Kondama Raju's wife, Sri Lakshamma, had died about twenty years earlier. Her life was regulated by the religious calendar with its rotation of Holy Fasts, Vows, and Vigils. She observed these very punctiliously, despite the worry, expense, and inconvenience. Her aim was only to become worthy of the blessings of the Divine Forces which the scriptures promised in return for the regimen. Sri Kondama Raju had two sons named after the sage Venkavadhootha. They were called Pedda Venkapa Raju and Chinna Venkapa Raju. They inherited their father's musical, literary, and dramatic capabilities, as well as his piety and simplicity. Of the two brothers, the younger was gifted with a greater variety of skills, which covered the fields of literary composition and the preparation of drugs and talismans with the aid of traditional formulas. His parents took once Pedda Venkapa Raju to a village named Kolimigundla, in the Kurnool District, where they had some lands, which had been given on long lease. While enroute, and as they were entering the Parlepalli Forest, some good men warned them to take a strong protective escort, because two days prior a family of six had been murdered in the forest by robbers and assassins. The visit was primarily intended to acquaint Pedda Venkapa with the area and the tenants, but his father had a second aim in mind. He desired to bring his distant relatives, Subba Raju and family, nearer to Puttaparthy where they would be safe from the danger they faced daily as they went to earn their living near the forest. In order to persuade Subba Raju to move to a village on the bank of the river Chitravathi, opposite Puttaparthy, it was necessary for Kondama Raju to offer him a substantial "bribe!" This was nothing less than the "acceptance" of Subba Raju's daughter, Easwaramma, as bride for Kondama Raju's elder son, Pedda Venkapa. Thus came about the auspicious marriage of Pedda Venkapa to Easwaramma. This divinely inspired union was blessed with a son, Seshama Raju, and two daughters, Venkamma and Parvatamma. Some years passed and Easwaramma longed for another son. She prayed to the village gods and observed Satyanarayana Puja, a special vow to win the favor of the Lord, in the Name and Form of Satyanarayana, and she faithfully kept a number of other rigorous vows which required vigil and abstentions from food.