With the passing of Sathya Sai Baba, the pleasure of remembering those early days has been taken from me, because there is no longer anyone to remember with. Those ashram days are all but over for most of us that visited. It feels like losing my co-rememberer and like losing the memory itself, as if the things we’d done, back then, were less real and important to what the day holds for us now. I began the blog with my memories of Sathya Sai Baba, taking notes from my memory and writings to post on to this blog. I eagerly waited for each visit to come around, so I could jot down more experiences and events as they unfolded in his ashram. Mostly, I was lucky enough to have many stories to pass on to others with like-minds and who had shared experiences. Now Sai has gone, I’ve turned to creating YouTubes of Rumi poems, to add to my list of hobbies. Through Rumi poems and my photography, I’m able to create Youtubes that will keep both photos and the poems I love, alive and at my reach.
This is my first You Tube this year. I hope some of you will visit and take a few minutes to watch.
It is a sure thing that darkness and the light are equally sacred but that does not mean we benefit by becoming complacent about the darkness we may meet in ourselves or others. Others’ darkness is a constant reminder to ourselves that we need to overcome our own. Yet, often we are complacent about our darkness and oftentimes, we accept it as the way things are. Why hurry? we lament. What’s the point of life is there’s only suffering! And what does it matter if there’s a little dust on the mirror? Still, in the end we will need to cleanse our mirror. The all important mirror of perception will not cleanse itself, only we can purify ourselves. We must bring light into the darkness and that is no easy task. There has always been the path of consciousness and the flow of illumination or light. The coexistence of darkness and light indeed creates a crazy dance in which the clarity of light is invited to lead, but it does not create a higher order . ~Eve
“He who is in the sun, and in the fire and in the heart of man is ONE He who knows this is one with the ONE.” – Maitri Upanishad
One of the most beautiful meditations from Sathya Sai Baba.
“Let it be in the hours before dawn. This is preferable because the body is refreshed after sleep, and the dealings of daytime will not yet have impinged on you. Have a lamp or a candle before you with an open, steady, and straight flame. Sit in front of the candle in the lotus posture or any other comfortable sitting position. Look on the flame steadily for some time, and closing your eyes try to feel the flame inside you between your eyebrows. Let it slide down into the lotus of your heart, illuminating the path. When it enters the heart, imagine that the petals of the lotus open out by one, bathing every thought, feeling, and emotion in the light and so removing darkness from them. There is no space for darkness to hide.
The light of the flame becomes wider and brighter. Let it pervade your limbs. Now those limbs can never indulge in dark, suspicious, and wicked activities; they have become instruments of light and love. As the light reaches up to the tongue, falsehood vanishes from it. Let it rise up to the eyes and the ears and destroy all the dark desires that infest them and which lead you to perverse sights and childish conversation. Let your head be surcharged with light and all wicked thoughts will flee there from. Imagine that the light is in you more and more intensely. Let it shine all around you and let it spread from you in ever widening circles, taking in your loved ones, your kith and kin, your friends and companions, your enemies and rivals, strangers, all living beings, the entire world.
“Since the light illumines all the senses every day so deeply and so systematically, a time will soon come when you can no more relish dark and evil sights, yearn for dark and sinister tales, crave for base, harmful, deadening toxic food and drink, handle dirty demeaning things, approach places of ill-fame and injury, or frame evil designs against anyone at any time. Stay on in that thrill of witnessing the light everywhere. If you are adoring God in any form now, try to visualize that form in the all-pervasive light. For Light is God; God is Light.”
The beauty of the heart
is the lasting beauty:
its lips give to drink
of the water of life.
Truly it is the water,
that which pours,
and the one who drinks.
All three become one when
your talisman is shattered.
That oneness you can’t know
– Rumi, From: Mathnawi II, 716-718
Photos taken today with a lumix Camera on Macro setting – please click to enlarge for details. I am having a lot of difficulty with Word Press technology and especially with photos. I hope whatever you are using, ipad or iphone, lap-top or desk-top, this is okay. 🙂
To this day we use flowers to communicate feelings and messages. In reality, there are no rules to what flower represents a purpose for giving; it’s the sentiment and thought that represents each occasion. Sometimes a specific flower or color will trigger a memory, special event or personal meaning. Others love to send flowers specifically for their language or meaning. With Valentine’s day just around the corner, you might expect that red roses imply romance and love, pink roses as an expression of admiration, and yellow roses stand for friendship and devotion. But with the wide variety of flowers and colors available, different flowers represent different forms of affection and messages.
The following meanings from Blossom Town website:
Red Roses: A red rose is an unmistakable expression of love. Red roses convey deep emotions – be it love, longing or desire. Red Roses can also be used to convey respect, admiration or devotion. A deep red rose can be used to convey heartfelt regret and sorrow. The number of red roses has special romantic meanings associated with them. 12 red roses is the most popular of all which conveys “Be mine” and “I love you” White Roses: White is the color of purity, chastity and innocence. White flowers are generally associated with new beginnings and make an ideal accompaniment to a first-time bride walking down the aisle.
Yellow Roses: Yellow roses are an expression of exuberance. Yellow roses evoke sunny feelings of joy, warmth and welcome. They are symbols of friendship and caring. The yellow rose, like the other roses, does not carry an undertone of romance. It indicates purely platonic emotions.
Pink Roses: There are a lot of variations of the pink rose. Over all, pink roses are used to convey gentle emotions such as admiration, joy and gratitude. Light pink rose blooms are indicative of sweetness and innocence. Deep pink rose blooms convey deep gratitude and appreciation. Pink roses also connote elegance and grace.
A variety of meanings. Who knows!
“There are no coincidences in life. What person that wandered in and out of your life was there for some purpose, even if they caused you harm. Sometimes, it doesn’t make sense the short periods of time we get with people, or the outcomes from their choices. However, if you turn it over to God he promises that you will see the big picture in the hereafter. Nothing is too small to be a mistake.” ― Shannon L. Alder
The fire of Wisdom has the power to transform anything. Does not a piece of black coal when subjected to fire lose its natural form, and take the form of a piece of burning ember? Similarly, though God’s flames of compassion are cool, once they blend with the flames of bhakti, the heat thereby generated increases. Fire is born from water, which is a medium used to put down fire. The reason is when the water flows incessantly in circular motion, it generates a new power that we call electricity. Similarly when we think of the name of God and repeat it incessantly, power is generated from the friction. This is the essence. To procure that essence, practice is necessary for that practice, God’s name is the basis. ~Baba
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. ~Baba from the book Sathya Sai Sath Sambhashana
On Communicators: Swami knew everyone gathered close to him. He was aware of every feeling they carried in their hearts. Every sad thought. Every moment we cried or laughed. No matter what our moods joyous or angry, he was fully aware. He knew our doubts and in his own way often addressed them. There was nothing he did not know about us, wherever we sat for darshan. Darshan could not only be felt in the mandir in Puttaparthi but also when we were away in Bangalore, or even thousands of miles away from him, at home. I had my last darshan at home on 24th November, 2010. Swami never needed help in any way from a communicator/medium. How can we even entertain the thought that he would! He used to, when alive, speak directly to people or sometimes he used telepathy when he wanted to convey guidance or help. He is no diffent in that regard, than all the other saints, sages, avatars who have come before.
Following on from my previous post, The Old Mandir – Puttaparthi, here’s several more memorable photos and quotes posted above. The quotations come from the book Sathya Sai Sath Sambhashana. The book was published a few years ago, although its not sold in Puttaparthi as far as I know. The entire took is an authentic translation of Swami’s words written originally in his native Telugu, then translated “precisely” into the English language. Although at first glance, the words and sentences are not easily understood by English speakers, due to the phrasing used at the time the book was translated. But the book is all Swami. From my point of view, the simple and beautiful translation is more meaningful than many other translations of his collective works to date.
Here’s Sai Baba chanting the Gayatri Mantra in his soft beautiful voice. This You Tube is certainly worth watching. I remember being in darhsan many times while Swami or someone else chanted the mantra. I also have to thank Baba for being instrumental in my learning it. I remember one particular time in Brindavan, where all I could do was chant the “Gayatri” quietly to myself. I suspected at some level, Sai was prompting me to learn and recite it. I am so glad he did. Sai Ram
Photos and You Tube from Old Mandir-Puttaparthi page on Face book with thanks. People interested in the early years of the Sai Baba’s journey, might like to visit the page so lovingly set up with all details of that time including a wealth of very old photographs. During my stay in Puttaparthi in 1992, I visited the Old Mandir once or twice and was thoroughly delighted by the way it had been kept faithfully to those early days. Sadly a few years later they demolished the old Mandir to replace it with the modern one we see there today. I wish they had not ruined such a priceless piece of spiritual history, that would have been of such interest today, especially to a new generation of young people who never knew Sai Baba.
A day at the Old Mandir-1
During those days there were no rituals like omkaram,suprabhatam or nagarasankirtan. Swami was everything for devotees. At 3 AM one could hear farmers going to their fields, singing folk songs. That was the Omkaram for devotees those days. At 5 AM one could hear milk vendors saying ,”Please buy my curd, milk and flowers”. This was the suprabhatam for devotees. In any case they had to get up by daybreak.
At dawn, Swami would rise, wash himself and drink the hot beverage devotees offered to him, and move happily with them and talk to them also. At 9 Am devotees would offer him the breakfast they would have prepared. Swami would taste a bit from each, joke a bit and offer the same as prasadam for everyone.
After breakfast, anyone could do padapuja to Swami. There was a old cane-chair in the Old Mandir which would be placed in the hall. Requesting Swami to place his lotus feet on a plate, devotees would wash the feet with scented water, wipe with kumkum. Then they would offer Swami naivedhyem which he would partake a little.
Devotees would then offer harathi to Swami and everyone would do padanamaskar. While doing padapuja, Swami would ask devotees to sing with devotion, instead of mechanically.
Bhajans would start at 11 AM. There was no regular bhajans those days…..just long songs. Any person could sing during bhajans. Swami would sit on that red stone and also sing. The hall was very small and men and women sat on either side. Some men sat behind Swami fanning him. Despite that, Swami’s robe would be soaked wet due to the scorching heat. At the end of the session, Swami himself would do harathi to please his devotees and then distribute prasadam to everyone.
At 1 pm, everyone would assemble for lunch. Swami would take a little food from everybody, mix it, eat a little and distribute the rest as prasadam. Later he would rest for a while. Even in those days Swami never took sweets, ghee, milk or curds. When pressed for a reason, Swami said he had had enough during Krishnavatar.
THE GIFT DEED JULY-25 1945
When Subbamma heard of this offer, she quickly moved to invite Swami to move into a small hut on land owned by the Karnam family on the other side of the river.
Kamalamma then went to the ailing Subbamma and told her that their husband had planned to build a temple for the poor, but had died before he could get it built.
They agreed the land set aside for this could be given to Swami for his own use and the use of his devotees. A document writer was called and a deed of sale was drawn up. Next day, Kamalamma went to Bukkapatnam to have the deed registered.Swami went with her upto Chitravathi River. It was 25 July 1945.
Karanam Subbamma and Karanam Kamalamma gifted the land in presence of two witnesses.
THE SIGNIFICANCE OF PADAPUJA
In the Old Mandir anyone could do padapuja to Swami. There was a old cane-chair which would be placed in the hall. Requesting Swami to place his lotus feet on a plate, devotees would wash the feet with scented water, wipe with kumkum. Then they would offer Swami naivedhyem which he would partake a little.
When Swami went to the homes of devotees it was done with great reverence and devotion.
In Venkatagiri Padapuja was an elaborate ritual.They used to place Swami’s feet ina golden plate and wash them with rose water.Then sandlewood would be applied to his feet followed by kumkum.All this with the strains of music from the singers Raman and laxmanan.
When we were students we had our own version of Padapuja.We called it Padaseva.We would take turns massaging Swami’s feet in the interview room when we got the chance.
Once Swami was sitting with some of His students in the interview room and all the boys had the great opportunity to press Swami’s Feet. And Swami asked this question, what is Pada Pooja?
One of the boys seated next to Him said, Swami what we are doing is Pada Pooja.
Swami said, No, no… this is not Pada Pooja. And then someone had a little higher understanding of telling Swami – in fact our tears of gratitude are like ‘Toyam’ and ‘Patram’ and the Phalam are all our merits and demerits that we offer at Your Lotus Feet.
You know He wanted to give a little better understanding and Swami said no, no, no.
Swami went on to say that true Pada Pooja is when the Lord in human form leaves His Footprints – to walk in His Footprints.
During the foundation-stone ceremony of the Old Mandir a very strange incident occured.
When the servant, Gooni Venkata (Venkata with the hump) , dug at the spot indicated by Swami , so that consecrated stones could be laid as foundation, a large number of stone bases used as stands for lingams were discovered.
But strangely enough, no lingams could be found, though a vigorous search was made. Dozens of bases – but not a single lingam.
People gathered round Swami and sought the answer.
Swami told them, pointing a finger at his stomach, “The lingams are all here.”.
The first Lingodbhavam – 1947
This was the first time Swami manifested a Shiva Lingam.
There were less than a dozen devotees gathered at Puttaparthi on this auspicious day.
Swami was adorned in white and sat upright in his chair drinking plenty of water.
A swelling in his stomach was evident.
The ‘swelling’ moved up and emerged out of His mouth in time, as a Lingam.
“Today scientists are trying to understand this power of attraction in Nature. Take, for instance, a temple. Thousands of people go to the temple for worship. The magnetic power in the earth extends to the idol in the sanctum. The thoughts of the worshippers are also attracted by the idol. Thereby the power of attraction in the idol gets intensified. The rituals performed for the idol also enhance its power of attraction. This process can be noticed if a couple of nails are kept near a magnet. After two days it will be found that the nails also have been magnetised. In the same manner when worshippers go to a temple the power goes forth from thousands of worshippers, the power or action in the idol gets immensely intensified. The idol surcharged with this power is able to energize the worshippers.
Thus, in the world there is no object without this power. Atomic energy is present everywhere. It is only when the true character of this atomic power is understood that the power of the Divine can also be understood.”
“But to receive the sun, one must first have dwelt for a long while in its thrice-blessed courts. One must have gone to meet it for a while, must have long been its student. As to bad monuments, the sun has nothing to say to bad artists whom the open air of the work yards has not prepared with understanding.
Is it possible that everyone is oblivious to, or mistakes, the sun’s gifts? Does it not present the universe with majesty, making everything perceptible and living? Does it not inspire the poet, whether famous or obscure? The sun is responsible for the prosperity of the farmers, the joy of animals, the fertility of the land; and man’s thoughts perhaps have their hearth in its light and warmth. For a long time man believed he saw God’s truth blazing in its fires, and God wishes us to adore the sun. When it shines, the earth is modelled according to its divine flame.
Thus it is allowed, and, by patience and diligence, it is possible, to understand and feel the geometry of light. In this spirit tastes response in silence, drawing forth from it a new energy and generosity.”
I find myself every once in a while, searching through quotations for something to inspire and to light up my day. Here’s several such quotations from Schelling. I hope you enjoy them. Photos are from this Fall, and what an enchanting Fall it was too.
Schelling’s, – “CLARA”
One of the characters in this book says:
Oh, the true ruins are not those of ancient human splendor which the curious seek out in Persian or Indian deserts; the whole Earth is One great ruin, where animals live as ghosts and humans as spirits and where many hidden powers and treasures are locked away, as if by an invisible strength or by a magician’s spell.
Even in your own opinion nature is suffering from a hidden poison that she would like to overcome or reject, but cannot. Doesn’t she mourn with us? We are able to complain, but she suffers in silence and can talk to us only through signs and miens. What a quiet wistfulness lies in so many flowers, the mourning dew and in the evening’s fading colors.
“Certainly one who could write completely the history of their own life would also have, in a small epitome, concurrently grasped the history of the cosmos. Most people turn away from what is concealed within themselves just as they turn away from the depths of the great life and shy away from the glance into the abysses of that past which are still in one just as much as the present.”
“I now need friends who are not strangers to the real seriousness of pain and who feel that the single right and happy state of the soul is the divine mourning in which all earthly pain is immersed.”
Schelling, Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph
“A tree that draws strength, life, and substance into itself from the earth may hope to drive its topmost branches hanging with blossom right up to heaven. However, the thoughts of those who think from the beginning that they can separate themselves from nature, even when they are truly spiritually and mentally gifted, are only like those delicate threads that float in the air in late summer and that are as incapable of touching heaven as they are of being pulled to the ground by their own weight.”
Can anyone tell me: Does Word Press have an automatic “like” button feature anywhere? I am beginning to feel there has to be one, judging by the fast speed of the first few likes on each and every post, sometimes before I have published! ...