On Reaching The Sixth Anniversary Of the Passing Of Sathya Sai Baba – Make Yourself A Light!

Swami in his 40’s

“I need only one ‘Mandir’ – Your Hearts!

Preserve the purity of your hearts, so that SAI may reside therein

….

We are coming up to the sixth anniversary of the passing of Sathya Sai Baba. To honour his most sapient teaching, I have written a small article called  “The Source.” It is posted below.  Sai Baba may have been the most high-lighted guru of his day, but his message is no different from other distinguised Teachers who have lived, taught and left a remarkable legacy of a time-honoured practise to go within. He always stressed the need for inner reflection. He stressed that spiritual practises can only be done with the help of the body. All education obtained is through the body. Everything we are is due to the facility of the body. Both our merit and demerit are the result of  actions performed with the help of our bodies. And that all important incessant search for peace is a heartfelt attempt to find the God Source inside our own bodies. Let’s make no mistake about it. – Moi

WHY FIGHT OVER BODY PARTS? – THE SOURCE IS WITHIN.

Someone said something extraordinary to me the other day, while we were discussing Sathya Sai baba and the Muddenahalli splinter group. The now infamous group who have forged ahead in Sai Baba’s name. They said why be attached to body parts when you can seek the Source within? True, why do we hang onto body parts or a body form, when the wisest teachers tell us clearly we are not a body. The source of wisdom is love and that is something we can all find within ourselves. All spiritual teachers speak with one voice, when they say that a flesh and blood temporary body is just a vehicle to be used while on Earth. We are all just body-parts with the potential of finding the eternal truth within us. Best to focus and find that sacred place in our hearts where the in-dweller resides. Yes, it takes a lot of determination and dedication but it is not without merit, that we eventually find out that our spiritual teacher’s guidance is both wise and compassionate. But as always in cases of well-known spiritual teachers, once they pass from this world, those pivotal devotees who once held positions or power within their late teachers setup, struggle over the right to carry his/her name on in their own chosen way. They claim power and possession over their late teacher’s movement and cause confusion and division among followers. Power struggles are part of every religion and almost all sects. Such power struggle are normal in this ego-centric world, often going against everything their late teacher had taught. When hard nosed egos decides they are the one and only “Source of Light and Knowledge,” and they are the chosen ones, they literally go out of their way to be deliberately spiteful and vengeful to others, who do not see them as the “new mouth-piece” for their late teacher.


SO LISTEN TO THE WISDOM OF THE TEACHER AND DON’T ALLOW BODY PARTS TO INTERFERE WITH YOUR SEARCH FOR THE INNER SOURCE.

 

 

The early days in the old Mandir

 

 

Here’s a you tube from last years visit to California, USA, by the Muddenahalli representatives with Madhusudan who appears here to have morphed into Sai Baba, himself! He no longer mentions the “Light Body” nor denies he is  “Swami.” To my way of thinking this is totally against the real teachings of the late Sathya Sai Baba. It belittles his name, his memory and his legacy. Perhaps those representatives from Muddenahalli should think about a new name for their new “Swami.”  Why not Madhu Baba? – At least by using his own name, he is not mis-representing the name of the original Sathya Sai Baba of Puttaparthi.  

 

And to end: What was it that Sathya Sai Baba said so well ?

“You are not the body.” “Drop all attachments to the body and its desires.”  I feel that includes all physical attachment to Sai Baba’s form also. ~  Now ain’t that the hardest thing for people to do!!!  More importantly He said and I quote: 

“At first, name and form are essential, that is the reason why Avatars come, so that God can be loved, adored, worshiped, listened to and followed, and finally realized as nameless and formless.” – 

Sai Ram

Love Is My Form – Memories of Sai Baba

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Himy, an old friend of mine on FaceBook and a great supporter of this blog, wrote the following account for this blog,  back when Swami was alive. I loved it so much, I am re-posting it today.

I understand exactly how Himy felt that far off day in 1999, when Swami gave him close Darshan. I often felt the same way too during darshan! 

In this small story, Himy tells how he had mentally told Baba earlier that day, “I don’t want anything” and Swami, as always, knew exactly what Himy had thought. Himy tells us in this story, “I didn’t even get a bit of the vibuthi  Swami made”.  Likewise, I, too, was always telling Sai Baba, “I do not want anything”, then while at Darshan, I would end up at the back of the hall, often where I could not see him!  Often in those early days, I would end up crying because of his lack of attention towards me. I never much thought that Swami was giving me exactly what I’d asked him for! Although, there’s never “nothing” with Swami – the Darshans were deep and  always filled with light and wonder. He was always, until the very end, radiant and sublime, and as a result, we came away from Darshan filled to the brim. – Eve

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I Only Wanted Swami To Talk To Me! – Himy’s Darshan Story

On one of my visits to Puttaparthi, I had a really great experience with Swami. (I think it was during 1999). I was feeling very down and out.
I was feeling very small and insignificant and unworthy, even when talking to people.  I was just keeping to myself. Then I prayed to Baba to talk to me because that would make me feel better and worthy of being talked to by others also. With that thought, I went inside Sai Kulwant hall after having drawn 4th token (or something near to that number.) And I was sitting in the second row in darshan on the men’s side.

Then the music started and Baba  came out from the Poornachandra Auditorium. He used to walk then. He shuffled forward taking letters, blessing sweet trays. Finally he was opposite my row. He spoke to someone there.  Then He suddenly turned towards our side. There was a Russian sitting  in front of me.  Baba said something to him. Then suddenly He was looking at me and  saying something  in Telugu (I think – because I heard something like “neevu” which is a Telugu word). My head was spinning. I couldn’t believe Baba was talking to me !! At the same time the thought passed though my head “could Baba be mistaking me for some other guy, some Telugu guy”? I dismissed that thought as soon as it came because I knew that  Baba knows everything. He doesn’t make mistakes. Then Baba repeated what he must have said earlier, in English.  He said “Where have you come from ?” I was still too stunned to reply. Baba spoke a third time.  This time in Hindi. He said “Keedhar se aayaa?” meaning again  “where  had I come from.” I managed to say:  “SAI, Mumbai”. Then Baba threw up His hands in the air as if I had given the wrong answer and He said “Oh!! Bombay!”

Then He proceeded to make vibhuti right in front of me and gave some to a Telugu farmer sitting next to me. Others nearby  stretched out their hands and Baba kept giving vibhuti to all. Finally, I also picked up the courage to stretch my hands out for vibhuti. But Baba just turned away. When i was praying to Baba earlier in the day, I had told him that “I dont want vibhuti or anything else,  Baba,  please just talk to me.”

By turning away Baba displayed His omniscience. He proved to me that He knew my thoughts.  What a proof !! I sat there with tears flowing down my cheeks and couldn’t stop crying long after darshan. People would just look at me and I was not able to say anything. They just nodded, knowingly, and said “Ananda” meaning bliss! Baba does hear and answer our prayers. He knows everything.

From Himy

Old Mandir – Puttaparthi – History and Photographs

 

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.

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my photo taken this year in the garden of rocks where there are several wonderful painted rocks. Here is one of Sai Baba. the garland, I could not quite place over the rock as I would have liked.
my photo taken this year in the garden of rocks where there are several wonderful painted rocks. Here is one of Sai Baba. the garland, I could not quite place over the rock as I would have liked.

 

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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.

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the ten rupee note. The beginning of the Old Mandir
the ten rupee note. The beginning of the Old Mandir

 

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.

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The backyard of the simple house where Swami was born.
The backyard of the simple house where Swami was born.

 

 

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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.

 

 

The Sathyabhama temple in the early years
The Sathyabhama temple in the early years

 

 

Sai Baba as a young man -
Sai Baba as a young man –

 

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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.

Old photos of Sathya Sai baba - Old Mandir
Old photos of Sathya Sai baba – Old Mandir

 

Darshan on the men's side, Puttaparthi Ashram
Darshan on the men’s side, Puttaparthi Ashram – before the new huge Sai Kalwant Hall was built

 

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“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.”

– Sathya Sai Baba

Remembering Sathya Sai – More Sathya Sai Memories

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Sathya Sai Baba with Dear Sai Geeta – now passed on.

 

 

I do hope Sai devotees and others will enjoy this sweet letter from Ted Henry. (with thanks.) 

 



Love as Thought is Truth.
Love as Action is Right Conduct.
Love as Understanding is Peace.
Love as Feeling is Non-violence.

Duty without love is deplorable.
Duty with love is desirable.
Love without duty is Divine. -Baba

 

 

 

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~ THE MAIN EVENT

All is well here. Sai Baba is everywhere and his hand hand can be seen here in everyone’s lives. From dawn to dusk people talk of amazing first person experiences, from dawn to dusk my head spins from what I hear, see, learn and understand. Enough said.

~ LIFE IS BUT A BREEZE

Somewhere from deep within the Deccan Plateau comes an evening breeze that regularly cools off the still tiny town of Puttaparthi. Following the evening bhajans and darshan, the walkway back to Round House 1 is a good place to catch the breeze that always seems to bring the day’s best relief from the hot winter sun. Yes, it is winter here, but who would know? Daily the temp climbs to the high 80s with seldom a cloud in sight.

I do tend to go on about the ambiance of Sai Baba’s beautiful ashram. Actually I can’t help it. The late day’s devotional singing in the open air prayer hall clearly sets the stage for the brief program that remains at the end of each day here, a good dinner and a long read of one of the hundreds of Baba books available in the ashram. Jody is the chief reader in our apartment, but I manage to get in some good reading as well. And to my credit, as of heading into our sixth week here, I have yet to read a single word in any of the novels I brought to India with me.

The evenings are anything but lively here. You’ve got the sound of the crickets outside, the occasional howling dog off in the distant, and the ever present whirring of the two ceiling fans in our flat.

 

~ SOULJOURNS INTERVIEWS

We spent time with Jay Jethna yesterday. Jay is from Austrailia and works for the United Nations. On video he told us three amazing stories, not the least of which occurred back in 1968.

Jay was 13 at the time living in Uganda, where he was born. A friend told him that he had heard that God was coming to town in two days. Jay couldn’t wait and was extremely excited even though he had no idea if  “The Blessed One”  had a name or what he looked like. Jay and his family showed up to wait for Baba at the 6 pm appointed hour. It wasn’t until 1 o’clock in the morning that the country’s important guest finally arrived. Several people got out of the car but there was no sign of Him. When Jay asked someone about this he was told that the man in the orange clothes with fuzzy hair was who everyone was waiting for and that his name was Sai Baba. Jay had seen this man get out of the car earlier but thought he was one of the security guards.

The next day Jay sneaked into the backyard of the people hosting Sai Baba trying to get another view of the important visitor. Baba was blessing people in the yard when he spotted Jay in the back. When he went up to Jay, Baba told Jay that he was not well, which was true since Jay had suffered from a serious life long asthma condition.

And then Baba said, “Go”, but Jay thought this meant Baba wanted him to leave, to go back to school. But Baba wanted to see Jay for an interview, of course and later, once inside the host’s home Baba produced a fluid from the palm of his hand and applied it to Jay and said, “Go, no more sickness”.

Jay left and from that day forward he has never suffered from asthma again in his life. Twenty two years passed before Jay gave much thought to Baba again. At the age  of 33,  he was visiting a shopping mall with his wife in Hong Kong. On the sign board were the words,  “Sai Baba and this made him think.”  This prompted Jay and his wife to visit the tenth floor offices of the local Sai Baba center. As they entered, bhajans were underway, something Jay and his wife, Julie had never been exposed to, but they stayed anyway and thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

Needless to say, Jay reconnected with Sai Baba in his life and has become an ardent devotee coming to Prasanthi countless times since turning 33. Jay has two additional stories to share on Souljourns, both of which are blockbusters. Look for them soon at vimeo.com/souljourns and/or youtube.com/souljourns.

Also look for the many other Souljourns interviews we’re recording in India. So far we have about 30 of them recorded, and in their own way they’re all powerful. Many of them include useful guidance for additional spiritual growth.

 

 

 

Every Moment The Guru – Inspirational Quotations

aswamirose2 23 November 1926 – 24 April 2011

“Life always gives us
exactly the teacher we need
at every moment.
This includes every mosquito,
every misfortune,
every red light,
every traffic jam,
every obnoxious supervisor (or employee),
every illness, every loss,
every moment of joy or depression,
every addiction,
every piece of garbage,
every breath.

Every moment is the guru.”

~ Charlotte Joko Beck

 


 

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During the 1990’s, when darshans were daily and much more personal, I wrote down my treasured moments, knowing that time was marching on and that we were reaching the end of those special moments with Sai Baba. Here is  a glimpse into the  past from my old notebook of stories.

“On my second visit in 1991, a huge beautiful butterfly flew into my room and landed on the floor where it died. It was such a beautiful thing, the wings, of shimmering orange, red and black, glowed in the afternoon sunshine, that filtered through the small  window. The size of a small bird, the butterfly had unusual markings on its wings. It was too beautiful to die, I thought, ’something like that should live forever’.  I could not bring myself to remove the dead butterfly from the floor, I left it there and went to darshan. While seated for darshan, I glanced round at the ladies seated near me, all of them resembled colourful butterflies. Their saris looked every bit as beautiful and shimmering as the butterfly wings. The afternoon passed, as usual, with Sai Baba giving darshan, taking letters, throwing sweets, and taking people for interviews. It seemed to me, at the time, this would last forever.


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Returning to the room after darshan, I was shocked to see that the dead butterfly on the floor had already lost its lustre and was being eaten by ants. In just a few hours, it had been reduced from its previous luminance form of radiance, to a crumbling mass of dead cells. It was sad to see, although the lesson of the butterfly had not been lost on me. We only have so much time when we are young and life is a dream. Old age, loss of health and death are inevitable. We fall and die just like that butterfly. Best to use our time well, because who knows what  tomorrow will bring.”

Swami the Driver – Early Devotees

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For readers who enjoy stories about Sri Sathya Sai Baba, here is one from an old devotee.

The Early days: The playful Swami

In those days many prominent people from cities like Bangalore and Madras came to Swami and were attracted to him, they became his devotees. Some of them owned cars and they would leave the car with Swami in Puttaparthi for Swami’s personal use.

Many times Swami would himself drive from Puttaparthi to Bangalore, He would travel in those cars of the 1940’s which barely gave 2-3 kms a litre and on those mud filled and rugged roads, it was not always a pleasant experience.   The distance from Puttaparthi to Bangalore is 154 kms, yet he would take just 90 minutes to get there.

Swami would drive at incredible speed. The car would sometimes be “off the ground.”  Yet, there were never any accidents on the way nor would he ever skip a signal. Many times, a scared Seshagiri Rao who travelled with him, would fold his hand during the journey, mutter a prayer and close his eyes throughout the journey.

Sri. Kasthuri had once written that Swami drove a car all by Himself all the way from Chennai to Hyderabad. It was an overnight trip and pretty scary but Swami wanted to reach the residence of Sri. B.Ramakrishna Rao, before he breathed his last.

His highness Sri Gopala Krishna Yachendra of Venkatagiri Royal family says:


“We used to come to Puttaparthi by car always. One incident is still fresh in my mind..   Once in Puttaparthi I asked Swami, “Swami why don’t you teach me to drive. I would also like to see you drive”. Swami said, “Let us go.” He got into the driver seat and drove off from the old Mandir at the outskirts of Puttaparthi to the new Mandir – a distance of 300 yards. The new Mandir was still under construction. I sat next to him terrified at this unexpected turn of events. The last stretch was uphill. Then Swami suddenly took his hands off the wheel and sat cross-legged and I almost fainted  from shock. The car went so fast. The gears changed on their own and it finally stopped without Swami touching the pedals. Swami smiled at me, after we got out of the now stationary car… I never asked him to drive again although, I was thrilled to accompany him on that short and eventful journey.”


Many readers will now wonder whether Swami had a Driving licence. Yes he did. It was the Road Transport Officer Mr. Ramachandran, who issued a driving license to Swami in Chennai when he was barely 17 year old. Finding the young lad very skilled in driving, he subjected him to many tests when he was asked to test drive a car. He then issued a driving license to Swami.

With Love & Regards, Mumbai Srinivasan

acarswami


Sheaths Within Sheaths – Early Devotees

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Sheaths Within Sheaths

Swami tells us that it is only in the depths of silence that the voice of God can be heard. There is another story that speaks of this profound silence that is the Divinity. Rama, Sita and Lakshmana, while in the forest, came into an Ashram where there were many rishis and their wives assembled. Rama and Lakshmana joined the men, Sita sat with the ladies. As all the men were sanyasins, they all looked pretty much the same. Even Rama and Lakshmana wore the same simple bark dress as these forest dwellers, and they had their hair in matted locks, as did most of the men there. Sita was of a royal family, brought up in a secluded atmosphere; she was the very embodiment of modesty and morality. In the presence of these sages, Sita bowed her head in humility and did not look up.

One of the rishis’ wives asked Sita, “Did you come alone or with your husband?” Sita indicated that her husband was there and that he was seated among the sanyasins; then she remained silent. When Sita gave no further information, the lady asked her, “Is that one with the knot of hair on his head your husband?” Sita only moved her head a little from side to side to intimate that, no, that was not her husband. “Then is it the one with the long beard?” Again Sita discretely motioned her head to indicate a negative answer. “Is it the one with the long whiskers?” Again a negative movement of the head. “Is it the one with the long nails?” One by one, she was saying ‘no’ with a little movement of her head. When finally the question clearly pointed to Rama, the splendorous one with the bow and the blue skin, Sita remained motionless and silent. Paramatma can be known only in silence.

We are born as human beings. Are we the body? Are we the life-force? Are we the mind? Are we the intelligence? Swami reminds us of the Vedantic answer, ‘Not this, not this, not this.’ When every question, one after the other, has been answered like this in the negative, then at the end one last question alone remains, ‘Are we the Atma?’ Then there will be no answer, only the silent recognition of the great truth. So, the meaning of Sita’s response, Swami says, is to reveal the True Self; and when that Atmic Truth was pointed out she confirmed it by answering ‘yes’ through her silence.

Swami often speaks of the five sheaths, each of which is successively more subtle, fitting one within the other:

First, there is the Annamaya or food sheath, the most outward sheath, which makes up the grossest aspect of the being and relates to the physical body.

Secondly, there is the Pranamaya or vital sheath, sometimes also called the astral body, which accounts for the coursing of the life energy and makes up the densest part of the subtle body of the being.

Thirdly, there is the Manomaya or mental sheath which is associated with the projecting power of the mind, and is also included in the subtle body of the being.

Fourthly, there is the Vignanamaya or the intellectual sheath, associated with the Buddhi, the intuitive and deliberating faculty, and which makes up the finest aspect of the subtle body.

Fifthly, there is the Anandamaya or bliss sheath, the most subtle aspect of being, which makes up the causal body and is associated with the veiling power of the mind.

The gross, the subtle and the causal bodies, made up of these five sheaths, are each associated with one of the three states of consciousness, the waking, the dream and the deep sleep states. They also correspond to each of the three letters making up the AUM, the primal sound, out of which the mind has projected the universe. All these sheaths within sheaths, make up the Upadhis, the limiting physical and mental equipment of the individual soul, the Jiva. They also make up the physical and subtle aspects of the world. They are the stuff of Maya, the illusory fabrications of the illusory mind. Beyond all these is the basis for all these; that is what is called the fourth, the Turiya, and what is also called the Mahakarana, the primal cause. It is the Atmic Principle which is the one true reality… the one unchanging existence on which all these illusory projections come and go.

The five sheaths making up the three states of experience, the five gross and subtle elements, the five senses of perception, the three gunas, and the various aspects of mind, are all different ways of speaking of Maya, and different ways of accounting for the grand illusion of names and forms that make up the multitude of beings and things in the world. Maya is another name for mind, which in turn is born of ignorance. Vedanta teaches us that ignorance is the grand delusion that gives rise to the grand illusion of world. All the names and forms making up this illusion of world, play on their basis, the infinite ocean of Sat-chit-ananda, just like the ever-changing waves and bubbles play on the surface of the deep unchanging sea.

The story of Shiva and Parvarti, as also the wonderful story of the enlightenment of Brighu, which is given in the Taittariya Upanishad, illustrate the successive removal of these sheaths, one overlaying the other, as soon as the spiritual aspirant is ready for the highest wisdom. The presence of the guru catalyzes this process of penetrating deeper and deeper through one’s levels of illusion, until one reaches the very source, the unchanging truth of the Self. In the story given, the clear, pure breath was associated with the vital plane, the beautiful image of the Lord was associated with the purified mental plane, the splendorous light was associated with the effulgent Sun of the Gayatri, which wakes up the intuitive intellect, and is related to the plane of Buddhi, and the OM, the pure sound of creation was associated with the causal plane. Beyond all these is the silence of reality, the eternal Divine Principle, the Immortal Self.

When the sishya, the student, is ready for the final beatitude, the guru instructs him to search out That which, when known, all else will be known… That, by which all is seen but which itself can never be seen… That, by which all is heard but which itself can never be heard… That, out of which everything arises, in which everything exists, and into which everything again dissolves. As he discovers for himself these layers within layers, the guru urges him to go on, not to remain stuck in any place, but to go deeper and deeper.

When all the sheaths are stripped away the answer reveals itself in the silence of reality. The guru doesn’t instruct on what truth is; he points out what is not truth, and goads the sishya on. If the sishya bogs down at some level and strays away, the guru will seek him out to keep him moving on the path, until he reaches the highest wisdom.

~source Al Drucker

1994 Group Interview – More Sathya Sai Memories

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An American Interview on Ganesha’s Birthday

Saturday, September 10, 1994

“The Ceremonies”

Ganesha’s birthday was the previous day and I had just loved the entire event. The crowd was huge and we sat for a very long time in the mandir courtyard through all the ceremonies of Swami breaking the coconut in front of Ganesha’s new statue, placed on a pedestal inside the central arch of the mandir. Parade after parade of students passed in front of Swami as He sat in his swivel chair on the ladies’ side by the verandah. Each group proudly displayed its float of Ganesha. There was nearly an hour and a half of the most beautiful bhajans ( many of them Ganesha, I think ) with each voice sweeter than the last. The sound system was fantastic and so were the musicians.

The tablas (small drums ) were fabulous and all the lead singers had beautiful voices.

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By the end of the day, I was feeling a tremendous satisfaction and a deep peace settled over me. I was so carried away, I even faxed a girlfriend in California about the wonderfulness of the day’s events so that they would remember Ganesha’s birthday at our Marin County Friday night bhajans.

Upon awakening on Saturday, I was still feeling the sense of peace and satisfaction. When leaving my room for morning Darshan, I looked at my two U.S.A. group scarves, one red and the other white with U.S.A. embroidered on it and the other one, white with blue and red U.S.A. embroidered on it. I just couldn’t get interested in wearing a scarf. I figured there would be huge crowds still and no interviews. Usually I took both scarves with me, but this day I deliberately left the white scarf behind and wore only the red scarf because it could be seen so easily through the crowds and none of us had as yet found each other to regroup. I was even late for Darshan because I just had no energy.

I got in the late line and ended up by sitting on the side of the mandir sort of near Swami’s old room, where the chair ladies sit. I realized I wouldn’t get very near him, but I observed that I was very close to the place outside his old bedroom window where I had prayed and prayed and wept to Him in the dark morning hours in August of 1990 and I felt very contented to be in this sacred spot.

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My Panic Sets In

Suddenly I was aware of some men way in front of me and off to the left, wearing green scarves from Spain. They were getting up and I was absolutely electrified. I sat bolt upright and the word INTERVIEW exploded in my mind. My head snapped around to the left and I saw Lila and Nalini standing up talking to a Seva Dal. Oh, Vip’s I thought. Then I saw Glenn standing behind them and they were beginning to walk toward me and the verandah and I knew it was us.

I grabbed my things and got up and started climbing over people, stepping in their laps, tripping on their feet. People were saying Sit down and I just kept saying over and over,’My group, my group’.

There was no aisle near me and about 20 rows of women in front of me, but I managed to arrive at the aisle just as Nalini, Lila and Glenn were passing and so walked with them to the verandah. Then the Seva Dal said White scarves only. I was stunned. I had left my white scarf in my room!

The Seva Dal hissed at me Hide your red scarf. I turned my head over my left shoulder while frantically trying to tuck it into my punjabi and saw about forty women with red scarves being turned back by the Seva Dal!

Lila sat cross-legged next to the building, to her left sat Nalini, and Glenn sat on the outside. I crouched down behind Nalini and Lila and tried to shrink into myself and look invisible so I wouldn’t be noticed and turned back. A couple of other women sat down behind me. I whispered urgently to Nalini and Lila to put on their red scarves too, and Nalini spoke quickly over her shoulder Don’t say anything more! I shut up.

Swami came over to us and looked down at Glenn wearing both scarves, ‘You wear two scarves, not good. If the white group is called you come, and if the red scarves are called you also come. That is cheating! You speak with forked tongue.’ His glance passed over Nalini who was wearing a white scarf and rested on Lila who had no scarf on. ‘Where is your scarf?’ He asked. In my bag, Swami, she replied. ‘Put it on’, He said. He gave me a dark look and turned toward the men. He reached out to Michael, wearing a white scarf, and gestured for him to go back and then patted Michael on the head and shoulder. Another young man wearing a red scarf was there, too, but Swami just indicated he should go into the room. We arose and went in.

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Inside At Last

I was the last of our group inside the door. Swami stood inside the door as each of us passed by Him. I was still terrified He would turn me back. We sat on the floor near His chair and He closed the door and immediately waved His hand in a circle making vibhuti. I was closest to Him and put my hand out and was the first to receive vibhuti. In my head, I thought this was a good sign and maybe I wouldn’t be sent away.

Swami went to sit on His chair and then leaned forward and made three jerks with His hand and a beautiful gold chain link bracelet appeared. He indicated to a man in the back to come forward.

The man leaned forward ( somewhat supported by the other Spaniards) and, urged on by Swami, put his hand across Swami’s knees and Swami started to put the bracelet on. Then He stopped and held the bracelet up in both hands and gave two little jerks to it to make it bigger than before. Looking satisfied, He placed it around the man’s wrist.

Next, He asked another man, ‘Where is your wife?’ I’m single, the man replied. ‘You have friend’, Swami said. The man tentatively replied ‘Yes’. ‘Good friend’, Swami said. Sort of embarrassed, the man said ‘yes’ again. ‘Get married’, Swami said. ‘Marriage is good. Friend not good. Get married.’ Then Swami made three swift jerks with His right hand and materialised a gold ring almost like a wedding band for the man who leaned forward and Swami placed it on his hand and said ‘Perfect fit’.

Swami motioned for those men to go into the small interview room and looking back as He followed them in, He said to Lila, ‘Where is bender?’ She said, ‘What?’ He repeated ‘Where is bender?’ She continued to look puzzled ( I was too ) and then He said louder ‘Husband. Where is husband?’ Lila said something like ‘He is gone’ and Swami came back with something like ‘He left’ to which Lila replied, ‘No, I left him!’ Swami and the rest of us laughed and He disappeared behind the curtain of the small room.

Lila then remarked that it was hot and asked one of the men to turn on the overhead fan. He did, but another man thought the rotors were making too much noise and told the man to turn it off, which he did. The people from the private interview room came back into the room followed by Swami who sat down in His chair. He then looked up at the ceiling at the fan, got up from His chair and slowly made His way through the men to the wall and personally turned the ceiling fan on and then returned to His chair. ( I thought this was very sweet. He could have asked someone to do it for Him. ) Then it was our turn to go into the private room.

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The Small Room

This time Lila was sitting next to the arm of the chair with Nalini and Glenn to her left and me behind them between Lila and Nalini. During most of this time, Lila held hands with Swami rubbing her thumb up and down His thumb.

Occasionally, He would disengage to make gestures and then He would reach back for her hand. Nalini mostly kept her hands on His feet after first kissing them.

At some point I squeezed in between them and Nalini lifted her hands off His feet and I put my hands on both His feet. It would have been too awkward from where I was sitting to try to kiss them or put my forehead on them.

First, Swami spoke to Lila Youngs about her family and told her He would get her a good job. Next, He spoke to Nalini about her family and also told her He would get her a good job.

Then I got up on my knees and, putting my hands together in prayer toward Swami, I said, ‘Please heal my arms.’ He reached out and took my elbows in both His hands and rubbed both my arms up and down and around my wrists and hands and fingers and thumbs and said ‘No peace in mind. Worry too much. I will heal.’

I immediately worried that He was going to heal my mind rather than my arms and said quickly. ‘It’s from typing on computers! I want to be able to keep working!’ He said, ‘Oh, typing, typing (and made typing motions in the air with His hands). You worry about making mistakes’ (He hit me on the head). ‘That is past, now is present! Even in Bangalore you worry, telling everyone Swami does not pay attention to me; Swami is ignoring me; Swami is not talking to me!’ (He hit me on the head again.) I said, ‘Swami, other people suffer from this, maybe you will help them also?’ He said, ‘Yes, I will help everybody.’‘Yes, yes, and I love you too.’ I love you Swami,’ I replied. To which He said, “I love everyone.”

Then He turned to Glenn and talked to her. Lila spoke up once more and asked Him something about how she could always know He was near her and He replied, ‘I am in you, around you, beside you. I am omnipresent.’ Then He stood up abruptly and patted Lila on the head and said, ‘You are mine’ and then turned to me and said ‘You are mine’ and Nalini, ‘You are mine.’ Glen quickly asked, ‘Swami, am I yours, too?’ He replied dragging out the word ‘Yeeese,’ and we got up and went to join the others.  He kept the man with the red scarf inside for a few minutes more alone.

When Swami returned to us, He handed out small packets of vibhuti to everyone. Nalini asked for more packets for her Sai Centre, and He gave her more, and said something about keeping some for herself. I also wanted more, but I could not quite manage to ask, the words would not come. Perhaps they did, but Swami ignored them.

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The Healing Is Within

Anyway, I’ve read where He has said that He can heal the mind and when the mind is healed, everything else ( the body ) is also healed. Now I am rather thrilled at the idea He will heal my mind. He has said that healing occurs when there is reciprocity of devotion from the devotee. This I must learn to do. I have enjoyed many interviews with Sai Baba and Lila and Nalini even more. Now we must all learn to appreciate our good fortune and put more trust in ‘the innerview.’ I know many of you have not enjoyed the interview experience, but perhaps for you, there is no need. Many times during my life I have been alone and down, and am now a recovering alcoholic. I am beginning to appreciate life again. But it has been a hard uphill battle. Lastly, I had given Swami a letter the week before at Brindavan. I had asked Him to heal my arms, but to do it however He felt best. He could do it instantaneously or use slower methods such as physical therapy or desk and chair adjustments or new types of keyboards, and so on. So, I feel all my prayers are now answered. Everything I asked for in that letter I have now received. For me, He has fulfilled my wishes.

Ganesha’s Birthday afterall

While it was Saturday, September 10, 1994 in India, it was Friday, September 9, 1994, Ganesha’s birthday, in the U.S.A. My Sai Centre meets on Friday nights, so while I was in the interview room with Swami, my centre was singing bhajans and celebrating Ganesha’s birthday. Therefore, by U.S.A. time in my own Centre, I had an interview on Ganesha’s birthday! What a present for me, Ganesha represents the removal of obstacles.