This is an old post from long ago. I have updated it with new images and also added several quotes from From Sathya Sai Sath Sambhashana, a new translation into English of a book Sai Baba wrote a long time ago. The book ‘Sathya Sai Sath Sambhashana’ is an authentic translation of Swami’s words written originally in his native Telugu, then translated “precisely” into the English language. At first glance, the words and sentences are not easily understood by English speakers, because of the phrasing used at the time the book was translated. But the book is all Swami. Indeed it is! From my point of view, the simple and beautiful translation is more meaningful than many other translations of his collective works.
Here are a collection of Sai’s quotations, where he touches on the idea of flowers. It is an interesting theme for Sai devotees who enjoy studying Sai’s collection of spiritual books.
1.The most complete explanation of Ashta Pushpam is in: ‘Sathya Sai Speaks,’ Vol. 15. Chapter 9, “The Flowers that God Loves.” All chapters are a beautiful explanation of the meaning of the flowers used for worship.
2. “Of course, floral offerings are commendable. The sixteen items are good. But, one should progress from this stage to the awareness of the Aathma. Flowers fade and wither. The effect of offering flowers may not last long. What God loves more are the flowers blossoming on the tree of man’s own life, fed and fostered by his own skill and sincerity. They are the flowers of his virtues grown in the garden of his heart.” (‘Sathya Sai Speaks,’ Vol. 15. Chapter 25, “The Garden of The Heart”). In this chapter Swami clearly explains the properties of flowers from the heart’s garden.
3. “Eight types of flowers can be offered to God, viz, (1) Ahimsa (Non-violence), (2) Indhriya Nigraha (Control of senses), (3) Sarvabhootha Dhaya (Compassion towards all beings), (4) Sathyam (Truth), (5) Dhyaanam (Meditation), (6) Shaanhti (Peace), (7) Vinaya (Humility), (8) Bhakthi (Devotion).” (‘Sathya Sai Speaks,’ Vol. 16. Chapter 3, “Ceiling on Desires – 1″).
4. “Since you cannot swim across the flooded stream, you board a raft. So also, since you cannot master the Nirguna (formless), you resort to the Saguna (form with attributes) and struggle to swim across to the Nirguna through Araadhana and Upaasana (worship and contemplation).
But it is not advisable to remain ever on the raft, amidst the currents and whirlpools, is it not? You must discard this conventional Araadhana some day and reach higher. Pathram, Pushpam, Phalam, Thoyam, (leaf, flower, fruit, water) – are all primers for the initial stages when children join schools. Clean the mind of all the animal and primitive impulses which has shaped it from birth to birth. Otherwise, just as milk poured into a pot used for keeping buttermilk curdles quickly, all the finer experiences of truth, beauty and goodness will get tarnished beyond recognition.”
(Sathya Sai Baba. Discourse) ” Primers of Spiritual Education.” 26 Oct 1961, Prasanthi Nilayam;
The inherent joy derived in the process of performing karma is not found in its fruits. The immense joy that one derives while performing karma is like a stream of joy. Will an artist stop painting if money is offered to him? If you offer money to a poet to stop composing poetry, will he do so? Do real artists submit themselves to these kinds of deals? They derive purest joy in expressing their art. That joy is the true fruit of those karmas. In comparison, its external fruit is negligible. The word karma is used in the sense of swadharma. (ones particular duty. We eat, drink and sleep. All these are karmas, but not in the way the word “karma” is referred to in the Gita. There, the word means “to follow one’s path or dharma.” In this way, those karmas performed in introspection, is referred to as vikarma in the Gita. Karma is the solid state, (Sthoolarupa), or to follow one’s Dharma. Concentrating is chitta (consciousness), while external karma is “vikarma.” When we offer our salutations to somebody, if we do not bow our heart along with the head, the external salutation has no value. The external and the internal should be unified.
From Sathya Sai Sath Sambhashana
Whether one remains in the affairs of the world (samsaara) or renounces it thinking that everything depends on God’s will, and offers everything to God and performs one’s karma, there is nothing one can do beyond this. Just as the quantity of bread depends on the quantity of flour, so is it jnana of the divine realm that one attains, and depends on the devotion (bhakthi) that one has gained. It is an act of insanity to search for jnana in a place where there is no dedication or true worship to God. Undeterred faith is essential for God to reveal himself. Undeterred faith in chanting His name and is essential for the revelation of God. Discriminate between the permanent and the transient. To kill others, one may require swords and spears, but to kill oneself – is not a small needle enough? In order to preach to others, one has to study many scriptures (shastras) in order to attain revelation of God; repetition of a single mantra is enough.
From the book Sathya Sai Sath Sambhashana