SILVER JUBLIEE SOUVENIR

SIXTIETH MAHASAMADHI YEAR OF SRI SAI BABA

INSTALLATION CEREMONY OF THE MARBLE IDOL

OF

SAI BABA

 

EDITORS

R.SESHADRI

B.S.NARAYANA MURTHY


 

SILVER JUBLIEE YEAR

OF

SRI SAI SPIRITUAL CENTRE

BANGALORE

 

 

Message from

Shri Sai Baba Sansthan, Shirdi                                 Date 5th April, 1978

 

"He who Loves Me most, always sees Me in his heart"

BABA

Shri Radhakrishna Swamiji Bangalore

Dear Sir,

I am happy to know that a full-size statue of Shri Sai Baba is being installed in the Sai Mandir at Bangalore on the auspicious day of Akshayya Tritiya (10th May, 1978). I would have liked to attend the function personaly but due to the office work over here, it is not possible to do so. I wish the function all success. I hope that this temple will be looked up with the same faith and devotion by the people of Karnataka State with which the people of Maharashtra State are lucking up at the temple at Shirdi.

Thanking you,

Yours Sincerly,

(K. S. PATHAK)

Court Receiver,

Shri Sai Baba Sansthan, Shirdi

 

Message from

All India Sai Samaj, MyJapore, Madras-4

15 April 197f; The President

Sri Sai Spiritual Centre Bangalore- 2 8

Dear Sir,

The members of the All India Sai Samaj send their heartfelt good wishes to the members of the Sai Spiritual Centre on completing twentyfive years of noble service to the cause of Sri Sai Baba. We are extremely glad to know that on this happy occasion a marble statue of Baba is being installed at the Centre. As this year happens to be the sixtieth Mahasamadhi year of Baba, installation of his idol by our President Sri Radhakrishna Swamiji is indeed very auspicious and befitting-

On behalf of the All India Sai Samaj we wish the installation Ceremony and the Silver Jubilee Souvenir all success.

Yours faithfully,

Vice-presidents, Secretaries, Treasurer and

Members of the Managing Committee

All India Sai Samaj, Madras

 

PREFACE

Shining as a beacon light radiating the benign grace of Sri Samartha Sadguru Sainath Maharaj of Shirdi, stands Sri Sai Spiritual Centre of which the Silver Jubilee is now being celebrated. The Silver Jubilee is, by itself, quite an unique occasion in the history of any institution, but when this synchronises with the 60th Anniversary of the Mahasamadhi of, Sri Sai Baba and also the fulfilment of the long cherished ambition of the devotees to instal a marble Statue of Sri Sai Baba, the occasion certainly deserves to be recorded in golden letters in the annals of the institution.

It is therefore befitting that this Souvenir is ;being brought out as a memento on this most memorable occasion. Every effort has been made to include in it, interesting and instructive articles dealing with the infinite grace of Sri Sai Baba, the movement for the propagation of the 'Subhara Marga’ organised by Sri Narasimha Swamiji and the wonderful manner in which the work of Sai Bhakthi Prachar is being continued by Sri Saipadananda Radhakrishna Swamiji, the Founder-Patron of the Centre-

It is now appropriate to give a bird's eye view of the inception and development of the institution. It was in 1952 that Sri Narasimha Swamiji, the apostle of Sri Sai Baba and the Founder-President of All-India Sai Samaj, Madras, deputed his trusted disciple Sri Radhakrishna Swamiji, who was then Vice President of the Samaj, to organise the 'Sai Bhakthi Prachar' in and around Bangalore. The arrival of Sri Radhakrishna Swamji at Bangalore, on this noble mission, may be deemed to mark the inception of Sri Sai Spiritual Centre.

Sri Radhakrisbna Swamiji entered upon his mission with selfless dedication and indefatigable zeal. He started his activities in the Cantonment area and until a suitable independent accommodation could be secured for housing the institution, he used to stay with the devotees themselves organizing and participating in functions like Bhajans, recitation of 4Vishnu Sahasranama', 'Ashtakshari Mantra japa and Homa', 'Geetha Parayana Saptaha and Homa', etc., In the course of these activities, the Sri Rama Navami celebrations organised by devotees at South End Road, Bangalore, was inaugurated on 4th April 1954 by Sri Radhakrisbna Swamiji. This was the formal inauguration of Sri Sai Spiritual Centre at Bangalore.

In the early stages, the place of activities of the centre was located at the residence of Sri B. S.   Krishnamurthy in N. R. Colony.    After some time, this was shifted to the first floor of a house near the N. R. Colony bus stand. As the activities of the centre expanded, the devotees felt the imperative need for a spacious and independent accommodation for the effective functioning of the Centre.   The most surprising manner in which this need was fulfilled, is an eloquent testimony of the infinite grace and keen interest evinced by Sri Sai Baba and Sri Swamiji in meeting the genuine needs of the devotees.   Sri Domlur Krishnamurthy, Retd. Asst. Comptroller of the Govt of Mysore, owner of the plot  of land  measuring about 1000 sq. yards in which the magnificent building of the Centre now stands, had earmarked the site for the propogation of the teachings of Sri Sai Baba.   Sri V. S. Sastri who held the site in trust, had  collected some funds and laid the foundation for the construction of "Prayer Hall" with two rooms.   Influenced by the effective manner in which  the activities of Sri Sai Spiritual Centre being carried on under the able guidance of  Sri Radhakrishna Swamiji, Sri V. S. Sastry felt that the objective of the donor would be best implemented if the site was granted to the Centre and the transferred the ownership of the site to the Centre.   With the liberal contributions received from numerous devotees, of whom Sri B. C. Patel deserves special mention, the building was completed and was formally opened by Sri Swamiji on 17th June 1965.   The building was extended from  time- to time and consists at present of the Prayer Hall,  with the two adjoining rooms, a verandah on three sides of the hall, a kitchen and dining "hall block, and a separate room for the use of Sri Swamiji.

With a view to streamline the administration on constitutional lines, the Centre was registered on 6th-May 1970 under the Mysore Societies Registration Act, 1960. The management of the Centre vests in a Governing Body which is elected by the members annually. Sri G. Narayana Rao, as the first Hon. President and Sri B. S. Krishnamurthy as the first Hon. Secretary, have rendered yeoman service in organising the administration of the centre on systematic lines.

Although the general administration of the Centre is carried out by the Governing Body, Sri Radhakrishna Swamiji, as Founder-Patron and Spiritual Head, guides the activities of the Centre.

The daily programme of the Centre consists of mainly pooja, recitation of 'Vishnu Sahasranama', bhajan, arathi and reading of Bhagavadgita. In addition, Rudrabhisheka and special poojas are conducted on Mondays and Thursdays and worship of the Cow on Fridays. On special occasions like Guru Poornima, Sri Ramanavami, Baba's Samadhi Day, etc , special poojas, havanas and homas, appropriate to the occasion, are conducted and messages explaining the significance of the occasion and how it could help in the progress of the spiritual evolution of the devotees, are issued by Sri Radhakrishna Swamiji.

The magnificent life size colour portrait of Sri Sai Baba installed in the 'Sanctum Sanctorum' in the eastern wing of the Prayer Hall, was donated by a devotee and was unveiled on 23rd April 1967 by Smt. Saraswathi Bai Giri in the presence of Sri V. V. Giri (then Governor Karnataka State).

The exquisite marble idol of Sri Radhakrishna ensconced in a beautifully made 'mantap' on the western side of the compound, was donated by Sri Harshad Patel and was installed by Sri Swamiji on 23rd March 1972.

As regards the artistically sculptured life size marble statue of Sri Sai Baba which is being installed at the Centre on this auspicious-occasion, late Sri N. Balu, an ardent devotee, had expressed a desire that such a statue should be installed but, since he died before he could do anything in the matter, his father Sri S. Narayanan came forward with a liberal contribution to fulfill the desire of his deceased son, and a few other devotees also offered liberal donations for this cause. It is hardly necessary to say that  the installation of this statue will naturally enhance the sanctity of the Centre and it may be expected to extend the beneficial influence of Baba's grace to more and more people.

During the 25 years of its existence, the Centre has incessantly endeavoured to bring material and spiritual solace to thousands of devotees and if today, it has become possible for the Centre to celebrate the Silver Jubilee! on a grand scale in its own building, the credit goes entirely to the Founder Patron, Sri Radhakrishna Swamiji who, by his spiritual stature, magnetic1, personality, solicitude for the well being of the devotees and loving kindness towards all, has endeared himself to such an extent that he is looked upon as the living manifestation of Baba Himself.

May Sri Radhakrishna Swamiji continue to be our "Friend, Philosopher and Guide" for many more years to come !

May Baba's grace descend on all the innumerable devotees who by their selfless devotion and zeal have served directly or indirectly for the prosperity of the Centre!

May Baba shower His choicest blessings on the authors, advertisers, printers and others who have helped in bringing out this Souvenir!

B. S. Narayanamurthy

R. Seshadri

CONTENTS

1.       Who is Sai Baba of Shirdi .                             Sri Narasimha Swamiji

2.       Man can outgrow Environments             Swami Sivanandaji

3.       Sri Narasimha Swamiji and Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi

A. R. Natarajan

4.       Scriptures and Saints                           N. Subramanian

5.       Sri Saibaba as I understood Him            K. B. Gavankar

6.       Shri Sai Baba-The Great Saint of Shirdi  S. D. Parcure

7.       Shri Sai Baba of Shirdi                          G. J. Chitambar

8.       My association with Sri Narasimha Swamiji      P. Panini Rao

9.       That Abiding Grace                               Thandaveswara
and C. K. Gopala Rao

10.     Baba is Immortal                                  V. R. Deshpande

11.     The Saint of Shirdi                                D. V. Rao

12.     Thyagarajanagar Sri Sai Spiritual Centre as I know

K. S. Krishnaswamy

13.     Love is His Miracle                               R. Seshadri

14.     Some Messages given by Sri Radhakrishna Swamiji

B. S. Narayana Murthy

15.     Our Guru, Our God                               Rajamma and

Parthasartthy

16.     Dr. K. B. Gavankar—A brief sketch        C. D. Samant

17.     Sri Avasthi Maharaj                               S. G. Tiwari

18.     Letters of a Saint                                  B. K. Raghu Prasad

19.     Advice to Devotees                               A diary

20.     Sree Rama Samartha                           Rupa Krishnaswamy

21.     O Mother Liberate Us                            C. N. Mangala

22.     Swamiji's Gospel of Love                       P. S. Narayana Rao

23.     Devotion                                              C. V. Bhaskar Rao

24.     Gita comes to my rescue                      M. Subbaramaiya

25.     My Contact with Swamiji                       D. S. Gopala Rao

26.     At the feet of the Master                        M. S. A. Narayana

27.     A peep into Sai's world                          S. Natarajan

28.     The Modern Trend                                 V. S. Shantamani

29.     My Lord                                               V. Varadarajan

30.     Swamiji through a Devotee's Eyes          K. R. Rajagopalan

31.     God-Man                                             Roopa Krishnaswamy

32.     Experience of a Devotee                        A. Ramachandran

Who is Sai Baba of Shirdi ?

Sri Narasimhaswamiji

Sai Baba of Shirdi is a name to conjure with. In fact, his name is used as a sacred and powerful mantra by thousands of persons. He is not a non-historic or remote personality, but one who was with us in the flesh till 1918, moving familiarly with tens of thousands and that for decades. A short account of Sri Sai Baba will be interesting and will also prove in many cases the turning point in the lives of numerous readers as it has done in the past.

2.       Of Sai Baba's birth, parentage and antecedents no person that we have met can give any account, But Baba himself gave some hints which have been verified and worked upon. He seems to have been born sometime between 1820 and 1850 A. D. in the village Pathri, in the Nizam's State. His parents were Brahmins who handed him over at a tender age to a fakir. After the fakir's death, some five years later, the child passed into the care of his Guru Deva, Gopal Rau Deshmukh, a great bhakta of God Venkateswara of Tirupati. After a splendid period of ten years of intense love and devotion towards his Guru-God, the boy obtained the Guru's grace. As directed by the Guru, he went westward and came to Shirdi in the Bombay Presidency, (Ahmednagar District) and after some wanderings, settled and spent the rest of his life there. He passed away on the 15th October, 1918 (3 P. M. Vijaya Dasami Day, after Ekadasi began). The tomb erected over his remains is now the Sai Mandir, attracting the devotion of persons from all parts of the country.

3.       No body dies; least of all, a self-realised soul like Sai Baba. Atmajnanis or Jivanmuktas are said to become Vidhehamuktas or nirakara Parabrahman when the fleshy sheath is cast off- Exceptions to this rule are mentioned in the Brahmasutras Bhrugu, Narada and other eminent devotee jnanis, have, instead of merging in the Absolute when they cast off the body, continued to remain in their subtle body (Sukshma sarira, which however could be rendered gross and visible or sthula at will) in order to co-operate with divine leelas, rendering service to humanity. The e are styled apantaratmas. Sai Baba is now an apantaratma. Before shuffling of his mortal coil, he said that his devotees need not be sad or frightened at his casting off his fleshy gown (kupni), and that whatever and whereever any devotee should think of him he would be present and attend to him. This has been found indeed to be true by innumerable persons; and earnest souls can still take Baba at his word and prove its truth from their own experience.

4.       Sai Baba, the soul of truth and reality, has never spoken untruth. "Anrutam noktapurvam me, nacha vakshye kadachana. " -(Untruth, I have never uttered, nor will I utter it at anytime), was the remark of Ayodhya Rama as also of this Shirdi Rama.

5.       The early decades spent by Baba at Shirdi are almost wholly forgotten. He was first living under a margosa tree leading the life of a perfect ascetic. Next he moved to a dilapidated mosque? in the village, and resided there to the end of his life. He had nothing that he could call "mine. " For thirty years and more, he was leading the life of holy poverty, and then, his devotees whom he affectionately termed his children, pressed the pomp and show of royalty upon him. For the last ten years of his life he appeared as a prince though he behaved throughout like a poor fakir, who either owned nothing or everything in the world. His was the life of perfect celibacy (Naishtika brahma-charya with askalitha urdhvarethus) a fact which was beaming out of his brilliant tiger-like eyes. His virtues were numerous—Anantha-kalayanaguna and would naturally sink into the hearts of those coming in contact with him, and thus raise them gradually on to the highest. "Apana sarika karita tatkal," is a saying of Tukaram, which means that great souls raise the devotees to their own level; vide Bhagavata, where Lord Krishna says, "Though devotees do not wish to be one with me, I pull them into myself."

6.Amongst his qualities, the most notable was of course, love— uniform, all-embracing, intense love—showered on all and at all times, without any idea of the extent of sacrifice involved or any idea of recompense, truly maternal love at its highest. God is love and the means to reach God is also love. Baba was nothing but the embodiment of love. This love was perpetually manifesting itself in every act, word and thought of his, though at times hidden by his ascetic modes of life. In the beginning he would move and talk with none except under strict necessity. However, when there was any suffering in the village, he would run to relieve it and would accept no recompense.

7.       'Satsangatve nissangatvarri1 was the other exception to his rule of asceticism. Where there were saints or holy people, he would be found in their company. Some of these saints like Janki Doss and Devi Doss were the first to discover his merits; and in the early eighties of the last century? some of them revealed the fact that Baba was like a diamond lying on a dung hill, and that the world would one day discover, what a great Rama Bhakta he was. The world has since discovered that fact, and more—has identified him with Rama, Krishna, Maruthy,  Datta, etc.

8.       At the time of his arrival at Shirdi, Baba appears to have been a thorough adept in the premamarga, the path of love and evidently possessed of all power, which naturally issues from such love. He seldom cared to use his power, but once, a manifestation was wrung out of him. The shopkeepers who supplied him gratis with oil, one day refused the supply, and gathered in a scoffing mood to see what the "mad fakir" as they styled him, would do without oil for his lamps. Baba simply filled up his empty earthen lamps with water, and the wicks inserted in the water were burning all night! This gave a rude shock to the villagers' notion that Baba was a negligible and mad fakir.

9.       Baba however was never negligible. From the very beginning he was always helping humanity at first by dispensing medicine, and later by dispensing 'udhi' i. e. vibuthi or ashes from the fire that he always kept burning by him. Udhi has played a very important part in the grace shown by Baba to people for all these years, and it is still being sought and used by people all over the country. But as Baba explained, it is not the udhi itself that works the wonder[1] 'The devotees' bhakti (faith and devotion), for instance, has always to take its part in the good results, produced by the udhi. The udhi was generally the material with which his blessings were issued. The udhi is the cup enshri­ning the really valuable blessings of Baba. But these blessings often came and do come without the udhi.

10.     When people came to him, he would give them the udhi and say ''Allah bale karega" (i. e. God will bless) and everything he uttered proved effective. Once he said "I go on speaking things here, and things happen there." Baba's words were words of authority. When he said that there should be water on a waterless rock, water was found there.[2]

When he addressed the elements they obeyed him. Fire, water and air were seen by several devotees to obey his orders. He ordered high flames to sink down and they did[3]. He ordered the rain and storm to cease and they ceased[4]. He willed a cool breeze to blow near the fire on a blazing summer day and cool breeze blew there[5]. The dead were revived. The heart of every one present or absent, he knew without effort and he could control it. He was realised to be a sarvantharyami. He himself declared :

tAham Attma hi Chandorkar Sarva bhutasaya sthithah*

(i. e.,   "O Chandorkar,  I am in the hearts of all creatures.")

11.     Of the many 'miracles' performed by Baba and witnessed by many eminently respectable persons (many of them still living), it is sufficient to give but a few instances to show how and why they were resorted to. Baba identifying himself with God and gods declared that there was never any miracle performed by him. Really, there are no 'miracles' in the universe if 'miracles' mean the violation of the laws of Nature or 'of God. People begin to generalise about the laws of Nature from the few facts known to them and when a strange phenomenon suddenly, appear in aparent contradiction of their artificial 'law of Nature,' it is declared to be 'miracle'—a violation of the so-called law. A truly scientific mind would rather add the new fact to the old facts and try to remould the old law so as to include the new fact observed. Mankind is not omniscient. One day, the science of the future will give scientific explanations for the so called 'miracles' of all times.

12.     But beyond the miracles of Baba, there is one bright, marvellous fact, worthy of people's adoration and that is, his golden heart of love with its message of universal love, Baba loved all— Hindus, Moslems, Christians and Buddhists, the learned and the illiterate, the poor and the rich, the priest and the criminal—alike. His Message to all his devotees is, 'Love ye, one another, as I love you all.'

13.     Baba declared that if people hated one another his heart was smarting with pain and sorrow and if persons forgive enemies and endured the ill-treatment, he was highly pleased. This is the most valuable lesson for this day and for all time. A story is told in Bhagavatha of the world going as a cow to Brahma, groaning under the weight of the cruel Asuras harassing innocent people. That is just the spectable all over the world to day. Hatred, destruction, plunder and absolute disregard for truth and virtue are the predominant features in the daily history of the world to-day. Man's claws and teeth are red with the gore of brother man; and the criminal is not apologetic but blatant. Civilisation is in imminent danger of being submerged in pools of human blood and devastating fire leaving the human form a fossil to be discovered within some rocks by some later race. The only thing that can avert this doom is love a revival of the very ancient message to Asuras from God. ^Dayadhwam" i.e., "Be merciful."

14.     Baba's whole life was an illustration of how this divine message could be carried out in life and the more Baba's message is heeded, circulated, and preached the greater is the hope for humanity avoiding the threatened catastrophe. Incidentally, it may be noted that while the Kshatriyabalam of Akbar failed, the Brahmathejobalam of Baba is steadily achieving the benefit of the people. 'Digbalam Kshatriyabalam Brahmathejobalam balam~ “Fie upon Kshatrya's power. Spiritual power alone is power", was said by the King Viswamitra when he found that all the arrows showered by him upon Vasishta were of no avail, by reason of the Brahmadanda which Vasishta had placed by his side as protection. "Ekena brahmadandena astrah sarvah vinishkrtah."

15.     One species of miraculous achievements wrought by Baba for the benefit of his devotees is the blessing given for issue. Whenever Baba blessed anybody and said that there would be issue, invariably the lady brought forth the child either male or female, in twelve months, exactly as stated by Baba. Here are a few examples : — Damodar S. Rasane had two wives, but no issue. His horoscope showed a papi or cruel planet in the putrasthana and astrologers declared that he would have no issue in this birth. But Baba gave him four mango fruits and directed him to give them to his junior wife. Baba assured him that he was going to have eight children through that wife, the first two being males. The lady ate the fruits and had just eight children, with their sexes as mentioned by Baba. This would remind one, of the issueless monarch Dasaratha, consulting his kulaguru Vasishta. According to the directions of that Guru, Aswa-medha and Puthrakameshti'yagas were celebrated on a grand scale (even though it was not stated that there was any papi in putrasthana of Dasaratha) and four sons were brought forth by his queens. la Rasane's case, there was no Vasishta nor any yagas. Evidently,Vasis-htajVamadeva, Risyasringa, Bhrugu, Puthrakameshti and Ashwamedha. were all inside Sai Baba who declared that the devotee would have eight children.

16.     Another case is more interesting. One Sindhe had seven daughters and no sons. He went up to the temple of Dattatreya at Gangapur, 200 miles away from Shirdi and prayed -there for male issue. He vowed that if he were granted a son within twelve months, he would bring the child to Gangapur and make his offer­ings. He had his prayers answered and obtained a son in twelve months. But for about six years, he did not go to Gangapur at all. Then he came to Shirdi. Baba looked at him and spoke fiercely, "Are you so conceited and stiff-necked? Where was there any male progeny in your prarabdha karma? I tore up this body (pointing to his own body) and gave you a male child, (in answer to your prayer.)" This was not the only occasion when Baba declared that he had overridden the workings of prarabdhakarma. A third case is interesting from another standpoint. A pleader of Akkalkote had reviled and mocked at Baba in his student days and had subsequently lost his only son. Fancying that the loss was the result of his irreverence towards Baba, he came to Shirdi. Baba blessed him and declared that he (Baba) himself would fetch the soul of the deceased son and place him within the womb of the Vakil's wife. In twelve months thereafter, she was delivered of a male child.

17.     Incidently, it may be mentioned that it was the blessings for issue more than anything else that made the educated, especially from towns, to go to Baba. One Gopal Rao Gundu, a Revenue Inspector who had two wives but no issue, sought and obtained Baba's blessings and the fruit of those blessings, a son. He broadcasted the kindness of Baba and his wonderful powers abroad and a large number of educated people including Deputy Collectors, Collectors and political leaders   like   Lokamanya   Tilak, flocked to Shirdi.

18.     In 1886, Baba died his first death. One day when sitting along with his devotee Mahlsapathy in the Dwaraka Mayi (as his mosque was named by him), Baba said that he was going to Allah and that consequently for three days, his body was to be looked after, for after that period he might return to the body, and that in case he did not do so, the body, should be interned near the mosque.  Presently Baba's body became a corpse.   An inquest was held over the same, and the officer holding the   inquest   insisted   on Mahlsapathy   burying   the   body. But Mahlsapathy vehemently opposed the proposal and succeded  in preventing the internment.  On the fourth day,   Baba's   body revived and for thirty-two years thereafter, Baba worked through that living fleshy case and finally left it on the 15th    October,     1918,   with   the same prescience and clear control over all the circumstances which he showed in 1886.    This leaving the body at will and returning to it at pleasure is an art, a siddhi, described in the Yoga sastras; and Baba's   exercise   of   such powers convinced   and   would   convince many of the truth   of the Sastras.

"Dharmasamsthapanarthaya sam-bhavami yuge yuge" (i.e., I am born in each age for establishing Dharraa) said Krishna of Dwapara Yuga to Arjuna. And this divinity of the twentieth century A.D., in Kaliyuga, like other men of God (Devatmas) of the same period has frequently by his conduct proved the truth of and confirmed belief in Dharma and Sastras.

19.     One noticeable feature of Baba's life after his return to the body was that he began to encourage the arrival of bhaktas to his feet Evidently the object of his return to his body was to carry out his mission more fully and fora longer period on earth, especially with reference to the devotees and others bound to him by former ties, rina-nubandha. This is well illustrated by his call to Narayan Govind Chandorkar, B.A., Personal Assistant to the Collector of Ahmed-nagar, to come to his feet.

20.     When N. G. Chandorkar or "Nana" as Baba affectionately called him, was halting at Kopergaon, Baba sent word to him repeatedly to go to Shirdi for a visit. Nana after much hesitation came up to Shirdi and asked Baba why he was sent for. Baba replied that for four previous births, Nana had been intimate with Baba and that therefore in this life also, he should get into similar close contact. Again Nana hesitated. But Baba, by the exercise of his wonderful powers and his kindness especially, filled Nana's heart with faith and gratitude for numerous miraculous favours showered upon him. On one occasion when Chandorkar was stranded on a hot day on a waterless hill (Harischandra Hill) unable to climb up or get down, he suddenly exclaimed; "If Baba were here, he would give me water." Baba who was then at Shirdi forty miles away, mentioned to the people there that Nana was thirsty and should be provided with a palmful of water. At that time, a Bhil appeared on that hill and pointed out a palmful of water to Chandorkar, under the very rock over which the latter was seated. Later when Nana visited Shirdi, Baba informed him that it was he who provided water on the waterless rock. Similarly, on another occasion, when the thirsty Chandorkar prayed to Baba in the midst of a forest for tea being given him after he should emerge from the forest, tea was suddenly provided in the middle of the night in a forlorn place. Again when Nana's daughter was undergoing the tortures of prolonged parturition, Baba sent a gosavi from Shridi with udhi to be used for easing the parturition. The gosavi wanted to know how he could go to Jamnere-which was N. G. C's camp, across thirty miles of country road from the railways without funds. Baba simply answered that everything would be provided. At the station, the gosavi found a tonga, and a liveried peon waiting for him, professing to have been sent by Sri Chandorkar. When the gosavi went up in that tonga and delivered the udhi, its use was quickly followed by safe and comfortable delivery. Then he mentioned the tonga, horse and the liveried peon to Chandorkar, who wondered, as he had not sent any of these and nobody else could have sent these. Both the goiavi and N.G.C wondered at Baba's power to provide everything he wanted at any place and at any time, and at the depth of Baba's love for his devotees.

21.     Nana had innumerable proofs of Baba's vast, nay, unlimited powers, his perpetual watch over his beloved devotees, his invariable kindness towards all that approached him, and summed them all up in the phrase that Baba was omnipotent, omniscient and universally kind- No word aptly expresses the sum total of these attributes except "God". Chandorkar was convinced that Baba was God and worshipped him as God; and by reason of Chandorkar's vast influence Baba's greatness and glory became known to all in the various parts of Maharashtra.

22.     One Ganpat Rao Sahasra-buddhe, a constable attending on N. G. G. was similarly turned into a devout Bhakta and made to quit Government service (in 1903) substituting therefor the service of God or Baba. Sri Sahasrabuddhe has thenceforward been known as Das Ganu Maharaj, and as a Kirtankar devotee of Baba all through these forty years. By his powerful Harikatas and his talents, he has carried Baba to the homes of tens of thousands in Maharashtra. His works on Baba are the earliest authorities on the life of Baba. The above mentioned two gentlemen with others like H. S. Dixit and Anna Dabolkar, may be regarded as Baba's apostles, who carried the faith in Baba to the length and breadth of Maharashtra.

23.     Baba's own miraculous personality surviving his release from his physical body has however been the principal reason- for the success of all this propaganda. His power is still working and by reason of that alone, myriads in Madras and other Presidencies have become firm adherents and worshippers of Baba. The faith is well grounded in the experiences showered upon them now as liberally and miraculously, as they were showered before Baba's passing away. Baba's figure is occasionally seen by and and his wondrous powers are manifested to those that have the necessary faith, at any place, as Baba has no partiality and his grace cannot be the monopoly of any person or place. Wonders are being worked by him today at various places and therefore Sai Mandirs have sprung up in many of them.

24.     Baba, however, is not a mere worker of miracles. He is a Samartha Sadguru. He applies miracles or miraculous means to fill with faith and gratitude, the hearts of devotees. Gratitude soon turns into love and then Baba's real work -is seen. Baba purifies the hearts of all, of the dross of low attachments and their consequences, and gradually raises the devotees' souls to loftier and still loftier stales of being, till they finally merge into himself. People begin with the notion that Baba is a kind provider of all that they need and in fact resort to him to have their temporal needs satisfied. But they discover (at least many do) that Baba is after all their Ishta-murthi, their own Rama or Siva, the God of their fathers that has now taken a new shape to carry out the ancient divine plan of the Universe, and that "God fulfils himself in many ways lest one good custom should conupt the world."

25.     The question is often asked whether Baba was a Hindu or Moslem. The first remark to make about this question is that the cause for this question should be looked into before it is answered. There is a strong feeling on the part of the Hindus that they should not go near a Moslem whose views run counter to their cherished ideas, and who would destroy their religious emblems and idols. Similar is the repugnance on the part of the Moslems to accept purely Hindu traditions which they consider too idolatrous and unholy. When we come to take an impartial view, we find, whether we are Hindus or Moslems, that the above question is irrelevant or of very little importance. First about the irrelevancy. The Sufi and the orthodox Hindu, both agree that when a person has reached perfection, i. e., the level of Brahman, the question of caste does not arise at all. Caste (or "Jathi" as it is called in vernaculars) refers to that which was born that which has "Janma". The self-realiser who is identical with God is not born, though his body was born. But the body is not 'he' and there is no need to go into the question as to whether the body arose from parents who were Hindus or Moslems, or was trained and brought up among either of them. Sri Sankara's well-known phrase about the realised soul is "Jati Niti Kula Gotra duuragam"—that it is far above questions of caste, family clan etc., and Sankara's Manisha Panchaka repeatedly closes with the line, "Chaandaalostu Dwijostu sadgururityeshau manaishaamama" —Let him be a chandala, or Brahmin, he (the realised soul) is my Guru. What does it matter whether the Kohinoor is lying on a dung hill or in a palace! The Sufis too have exactly the same view as regards these distinctions. However, the reason for raising the question is a strong feeling regarding the necessity of protecting one's own religious sentiments adequately, from being harsassed violently by a person of an opposite sect. On this matter, it may be pointed out that whether Baba was a Hindu or a Moslem, he allowed every sect to keep its own method of approaching God. To Hindus, he said : "Continue your Rama worship, and worship the stones which 'your fore fathers worshipped." He even presented some lingamsf silver padukas, pictures and coins for worship by Hindus. To Moslems, he never gave any of these but allowed them to follow their nirakara (formless) form of worship, as far as it is possible. So the real cause for raising the question about one being a Hindu or a Moslem does not arise in this case on account of the extreme catholicity of Baba's views and practice. But prejudices die hard and in spite of all. that is said> persons still hanker to know whether Baba was a Hindu or a Moslem. It may be pointed out that though his original antecedents were unknown, his continued residence for about 50 years in a mosque was considered a sufficient reason for most people to consider him to be a Moslem. There is a Tamil proverb that if one drinks anything, even milk under a palmyra tree, he will be taken to have drunk toddy.

26.     Let us examine the real facts. Baba's antecedents as mentioned already were revealed by himself. Even after they are fully considered, still the question must be deemed doubtful whether he was a Hindu or a Moslem. But (Janma or Jathi) by actual birth, he was of Brahmin parents and hence by a very large number of persons he is considered to be a Brahmin. But, according to Baba's own statement he was handed over in his very infancy to a fakir who brought him up for about five years according to Islamic faith. After the death of the fakir, Baba was handed over to a Brahmin Guru by name Sri Gopal Rao Deshmukh or "Venkusa." The stay of ten years under this Guru and the marvellous initiation into divinity by the Guru's purnakripa, ought to clear all doubts, and establish that Baba was Brahmin or at least a Brahmin. But, as fate would have it, the Guru after conferring upon .Baba, his purnakripa and raising him to divinity, directed him to go west wards and Baba had to spend the rest of his life in a mosque moving with all alike as an ativarnasrami, i. e., one beyond all caste rules.

We do not know what an expert lawyer would conclude as to Baba's caste in these circumstances. But whatever that may be to those who considered him a Moslem, he responded as a Moslem, and to those who cared to treat him as a a Hindu; he responded as a Hindu; and he expounded the Koran to the former and the Sastras to the latter. By the Hindus, he has been worshipped as Ramavatara or Sriman Narayana for so many decades while others treated him as merely human. This reminds us of an incident about Krishna. When Sri Krishna went with Balarama and others to yagasala and wanted food, the Brahmins were wondering whether they could offer the food prepared for gods to Krishna who appeared to have been born in a Kshatriya family but brought up among (Vysias) cowherds. He was regarded as God by many but the Brahmins were doubtful about his caste. By reason of their ignorance (ajnana), they offered no food at all to Krishna. Then Sri Krishna sent word to the ladies who ran up all at once with great devotion and gave up all that they had prepared for the Gods to him whom they considered as the God of Gods. Exactly the same thing happens now. Persons whose pious leanings render them easily attracted to such great souls as Baba run up to Baba and never bother their heads over questions of his Jail, caste, and like the brahmin ladies, deserve and obtain the highest blessings, while many doubting Thomases (samsayatma) even of the highest castes, go on debating endlessly about the question of the caste to which a holy man belongs and lose their chance of benefiting themselves here and hereafter. It depends a great deal upon once's poorva sambanda or rinanubhanda, whether one is attracted by Sri Krishna or Sri Sai; it may be noted that persons wish to discuss this question of caste only when their feelings have not been roused. But when one is in intence pain or great trouble, his heart leaps out with the request "Baba, help me," never minding a brass pin as to where Baba was born or how he was brought up; and once he receives innumerable and miraculous benefits, he gets perfectly convinced that Baba is god to him, whatever he may be to others and he cares not for discus-sions as to the legal position regarding Baba's caste. Baba himself used to say at times to such Hindus as considered him a Moslem : "I am a Moslem, don't come to me" and to persons who regarded him as Sat Guru or Guru-God: "lam a Brahmin. Give me dakshina. This place wherein I am sitting is not a mosque; it is a Brahmin's mosque, it is Dwaraka Mayee". He was everything to everyone[6].

27.     Apart from Baba's caste, some persons raise the question whether he was a Brahmajnani and if so how he happened to perform miracles. Persons who raise such curious doubts would do well to analyse their own question and find out its implications. Can it be very seriously contended that he who performs miracles must be an ajnani? Will Sri Krishna and Shankara be labelled ajnanis by these people? If these people analyse their own minds, they will discover the reason for their doubts. Spiritual aspirants (sadhakas) are often decidedly to lose by attending to the thaumaturgic powers, or siddhis derived from their sadhana and many Gurus have warned their devotees from hankering after siddhis. It is also pointed out by such gurus that there is a waste of accumulated powers in the exhibition of Siddhis and the performance of siddhis is generally attended with the danger of increasing one's passions especially the rajas and tamas, which are embedded in one's nature. But can these objections ever arise in the case of one like Sai Baba? The difference between miracle-mongers and the souls like Sri Krishna and Sai Baba are these:—Firstly, in the case of the latter, power arises not by the repetition of mantras or by the adoption of tantras, but simply as part and parcel of their divine nature. Secondly, these high souls have no hankering for the results of the siddhis. They do not ask for recompense, nor do they try to attain ulterior aims of theirs by having recourse to siddhis. Thirdly the siddhi power, being part of their nature, does not exhaust itself by any number of miracles. Fourthly, they are prompted by pure love, karuna, and their employment of powers is a means for achieving the highest temporal or spiritual ends for themselves and others. None of these statements will apply to miracle mongers.

28.     In this short introduction we cannot possibly   give even a very rough outline of the various activities of Baba. It is enough to say that he was a paramajnani and samartha sadguru. A guru is one that teaches; a sadguru is one that teaches and draws one to God; a samartha sadguru is one who draws people to God employing all his siddhis and other high powers for the purpose. It is not all jnanis, who have realised God that perform these miracles or chamathkaras. It is not the dehaprarabdha of several jnanis to exhibit any such power or to assume the role of samartha sadguru, while it is the dehaprarabdha of others to serve humanity as such samartha sadgurus and exhibit such powers. No comparison ought to be made about these two sets of jnanis. Baba ought not to be compared with any other guru. Comparisons are always odious and hardly necessary for the benefit of any aspirant. If any person feels drawn to Baba by learning about Baba's qualities and activities either from one's own experience or of others, well-known to him, he may at once proceed to have further contact with Baba and get the fullest benefit of such contact. There is no need for him to worry as to how Baba is to be be classed—as an avatar or avalia, devatatma or alwar, etc. One may simply feel the taste of sugar and use it without raising the question as to whether it is derived from beetroot, sugarcane or palmyra juice. No wise men ever worry about such matters. They do not attempt to classify various jnanis. We must all be always humble in our approach to God and divine persons. Any other attitude will simply thwart our endeavours to reach divinity or to attain the highest benefit by spiritual exercise.

29.     We may very well close this short pamphlet with the practical questions (l) what are the benefits that Baba can confer? and (2) what has one to do in order to obtain these benefits? The first may be met by a counter question. What benefits does one expect when he is approaching Baba? Are they temporal or spiritual? Whatever they may be, there is no benefit that is beyond the power of Baba to confer. He is worshipped every day With phrases like "All-powerful" (sarvasakthi murthaye namah) etc. and the experience of devotees proves that he is able to confer benefits of every sort—curing disease, both physical and mental, giving relief to departing and de­parted spirits and to those who are suffering from obsessions or infirmities, removing domestic troubles, etc.

30.     One more word about these lables and comparisons. People are sometimes unconsciously assuming in themselves ability to judge of all grades of spiritual nature and power and say that Krishna is superior to Rama, Buddha is superior to Chaitanya, etc., and cause irritation to others and confusion in their own minds. If we find the water in one creek or bay saltish should we say this creek or bay is superior or inferior to the ocean? God is one. Divinity manifests itself in innumerable places and ways and according to the needs of the times and each god-man does the work of alleviating man's miseries and raising him upward. When the question is asked, why should one give up his Siva or Rama worship and go to Sai, the answer is that there is no need. If one feels Sai is different from Rama or other Ishta Devata and that the latter serves all the purposes of the devotees, if one is thus satisfied and contented, Sai Baba has never asked and does not ask such a person to change his position. Baba is highly conservative and wants each man to stick to his religion, caste, guru, ishta devata idol, mantras and sampradaya. It is only if one feels that he is still left with a desire for further benefits which his customary contact with his ishtamurthi, guru, mantras, etc., does not acquire for him, and if he is disposed to place faith in Baba's powers to grant these or other benefits, that Baba allows or directs him to come to his feet. Baba does not interfere with his loyalties. Faith in Baba is added on to the old loyalties. That Faith works miraculous benefits and tends to strengthen itself. Gratitude and love follow faith and the resultant benefits. Through these, Baba purifies the heart and draws the devotee higher and higher up the spiritual ladder. That man who came for worldly goods finds his desires purified, hii mentality changed and thinks more and better of Baba till at last, finding that Baba is only one of the numerous names and forms assum­ed by God, resigns himself to Baba. He then realises the absurdity of instituting comparisons between Sai and other names or forms and of asking why one should go to Sai. It is only those who are specially blessed by poorvakarma that can be drawn by each of these

personalities, and when so drawn no question arises, and all doubts are driven off. One huge wave of faith, love and knowledge drowns the soul and draws it to the feet of God. in Sai form and in all forms,

31.     What are we to do to obtain our desired ends with the help of Baba? There are some who raise questions even preliminary to this. Is it not better not to desire at all? Is it not degrading to go on praying or asking for this or that? To persons who really care for nothing i. e., to advanced virakias this questions really will not ari:e. They are not compelled or induced to go to Sai Baba. See Bhagavatha :— "Nirgrantinopi... Iththam bhutha guno Harih"— i. e., viraktas are attracted by the nishkamya leelas of, the Lord. Sai Baba' leelas were purely unmotivated by desire. His whole life in the flesh was one continuous self-sacrifice for the sake of humanity. In serving Man, he was serving God; and he advised his devotees to do the same-

32.     Undoubtedly it is better not to desire than to have desires and to seek for their gratification through the help of Sai Baba, etc. But how many are there who can calmly reason thus and find power to crush the roots of desire in their hearts? If there are any such among the readers, they are not asked to seek Baba's help or God's help, if that is different, to attain any objects. Even the desire for mukti (liberation)—is a desire; and even to attain that, people pray and seek the aid of experts, i.e., sages who know the way to liberation and who are gracious enough to extend their help to those who seek help.

33.     The vast majority want benefits, temporal and spiritual, temporal first and then spiritual. The body and its adjuncts, a family, etc., have to be maintained with sufficient provision for health and some degree of comfort before people can think of spiritual things Sai Baba may be approached by all who feel the need for this urgent help. The more impassioned their appeal, the more faith they have in Baba, the quicker will be the results, other things being the same. To these we may suggest the ways and means of contacting Baba.

34.     There are no special ways for approaching Baba, i e., way different from those adopted for approaching other high and noble personalities. How do we approach our mother? It looks ridiculous for us to ask such a question. The mother has showered her love on the child long before it is aware of such love. Thus Baba has similarly played the part of an unseen mother showering benefits on her children, the devotees, even from their previous biiths. But how are they to approach 'Baba now? Let them sincerely wish to do so. At once the approach has been started. They are improved from that very instant. They get more and more enthusiastic and get more and more benefits. These produce gratitude first and finally strong love. Let the reader daily think of Baba, seeing his figure in the medals, pictures etc., he keeps with himself and let him read about Baba's great deeds 'more strong than all poetic thought.' Baba's 108 Namavali is a mnemonic device for forcibly recalling these qualities. Let him attend bhajanas and poojas where sincere devotees gather. One song from a sincere devotee one artless song, will thrill the hearer and fill him with awe, joy, piety and lofty sentiments that will lost a long time. Let one always go in for service to humanity or to lower creatures for the sake of Baba, i e., viewing Baba as existing in each individual person or creature that he sees. Baba himself will direct the further steps of the earnest enquirer. Ways and means for further contact and further growth will be disclosed by Baba in himself in innumerable ways to each ardent devotee. The manner in which he imports these varies. Some of highly emotional nature see him at times even today and some talk with him, during, waking hours. Others get such contact in their dreams. Others earnestly wanting some response and piously opening some book with a prayer, find their response in that book Others resort to chits, others simply rely on the correctness of iheir intuition that the thought suggested to them at a particular time is the thought given by him. In these and other ways, people get their contact and benefits from Sai. Sai is not different from God. Are not all these ways adopted by devotees in various religions to get access to and a response from their God or ishta devatal The same app­lies to Sai Baba. There are numerous Sai bhakthas who have such intense faith in him as their God and who get their response and benefits from him. If any reader is very earnest and wishes to pursue this matter further it must be very easy for him or her to ascertain who are the Sai bhaktas in their district or province with such bhakti and if these are noted for their pure and lofty nature they can and might be approached with perfect safety and advantage.

Man can outgrow Environments

H. H. Sri Swami Sivanandaji

It is often said that man is the resultant product of his environ­ments. This is not true. We cannot believe this, because the facts always prove the contrary. Many of the world's greatest men have been born in poverty and in adverse circumstances. Many who have been born in the slums and in filthy surroundings have risen to the highest status in the world. They have won laurels of fame and distinguished themselves in politics, literature and poetry. They have become brilliant geniuses and beacon-lights of the world. How do you account for this?

In the West, sons of cobblers and fishermen have risen to very high positions. Boys who did polishing of boots in the streets, who were selling beer in bars and who were cooking in hotels have become famous poets and able journalists. Johnson was placed in quite adverse environments. Sir Walter Scott was very poor. He had no place to live in The life of James Ramsay MacDonald is worth mentioning. He was a man of great Purushartha. He rose from poverty to power, from a field-labourer to the status of Prime Minister of Britain. His first job was addressing envelopes for JO shillings a week. He was too poor to buy tea; so he drank water instead. His main meal every day for months was a three penny beef-steak-pudding. He took great interest in politics and science. He was a journalist. He gradually through Purushartha (right exertion) rose to the position of a Prime Minister,

Every man is born with his Samskaras. The mind is not a blank sheet of paper. It contains the impressions of thoughts and actions of the previous births. Samskaras are the latent potentialities. These good Samskaras are, valuable assets for a man. Even though he is placed in unfavourable environments, these Samskaras give him protection from extraneous, undesirable hostile influences. They help his growth and evolution. In the Gita Lord Krishna says: "There he recovereth the characteristics belonging to his former body and with these he again laboureth for perfection."

Dr. Hafiz Syed M.A., Ph.D., writes in the 'Hindu Mind' as follows: "There is nothing which has wrought so much havoc in the practical life of the Hindus, as the misconception of the law of Karma —the eternal law of cause and effect—that works with unerring precision in all the departments of human life. It is said it is a gloomy doctrine and that it tends to paralyse human effort, and closes the spring of all right action. In popular language this doctrine means predestination, pure and simple. It is believed that a man is a creature of his past actions and all his present life with its varied activities, joys, sorrows, pain and pleasure, success and failure, gain and loss, are predetermined by his past doings over which he has no control, and therefore he should be utterly resigned and waste no time in improving his or neighbour's lot.

"There is only an element of truth in this attitude: in other words, it is only half a truth that is understood and followed; unless the whole truth is grasped with regard to this doctrine; it will always prove a source of confusion and cause a great deal of harm. If Indian people are to rise from their present state of degradation and shake off the fetters of their thralldom, it is time, that they should clearly try to understand the true meaning and philosophy of actions and the reign of the law of Karma under which the whole of the human race has to evolve.

"It is true that a man's present abilities or disabilities are the direct outcome of his own thoughts and actions in the past: his con­genital endowments, his physical heredity, his moral and mental instincts and capacities are the results of his own thoughts and feelings of his previous births. A farmer reaps rich harvest only when he labours in his field for a long time. Unless he cares to till the ground, sow the seeds, water and manure it, he would not be in a position to enjoy the fruit of his toil.   What he sows today he will reap tomorrow. This is an immutable law and holds good  in everything without an exception.    To say that one's capacity  for fresh effort, and new lines of action, is paralysed or doomed by one's past doings is as futile and groundless as to say that because one sowed yesterday   one cannot   sow  fresh seeds in new grounds today.     The fact of the matter is that free-will is never choked and stifled by any past action.   The only thing is that a   man   cannot achieve what he wants   all   at once, without any delay.   The good law pays every person according to his need and in due time.   The law runs its own course.   The result of past actions, thoughts and feelings appear to us as effects of causes we set up from our own free choice and similarly we are equally free and unfettered to choose a line of action which is sure to bring its fruit in due time. A man is bound by the past debts he incurred or contracts he made. As soon as he pays up his liabilit­ies he is once more free to choose whether he should incur fresh debt or not.     Over the  inevitable he has no control and if the law is to be   justified,   he should have no reason to complain against it. It is always open to him to mould the Karma which is in the course of making in any way he likes. Under the security of the changeless law of cause and effect a man can serenely proceed to achieve anything he desires to accomplish. Sooner or later he is sure to succeed in his well-directed efforts. In nature nothing is lost."

Karma is jada. There must be a dispenser to allot the fruits for the thoughts and actions of Jivas. An overseer knows how much wages are to be given to various workers in the contract-work according to the ability and nature of work turned out by the coolies. Even so, the Lord of the universe knows the actions and motives of the Jivas and accordingly allots fruits for their actions.

Remember that in your weakness lies the strength, because you will be always on your alert to safeguard yourself. Poverty has got its own virtues. Poverty infuses humility, strength, power of endurance and the spirit of struggling and preserving. Whereas, luxury begets laziness, pride, weakness, inertia and all sorts of evil habits.

Therefore,. do not grumble of bad environments. Create your own mental world and environ­ments. That man who tries to evolve or grow in adverse environments will be a very strong man indeed- Nothing can shake him. He will be of a sterner stuff. He will have strong nerves. Man is certainly not a creature of environments or circumstances. He can control and modify them by his capacities, character, thqughts and actions. Right exertion can change the des. tiny. Dear brothers, exert. Conq­uer the nature" Rejoice in the eter­nal Sat-Chid-Ananda Atman

Courtesy:

THE DIVINE LIFE SOCIETY

P. O. Shivanandanagar— 249 192,

Dt. Tehri-Garhwal, U. P., India

 

Sri Narasimha Swamiji and Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi

A. R. Natarajan
Bangalore

The devotees of Sri Sai Baba of Shirdi are deeply indebted to Sri Narasimha Swamiji for having discovered Sri Sai Baba for them and for the World. The devotees of Baghavan Sri Ramana are equally indebted to Sri Narasimha Swamiji for his wonderful biography of the Maharshi under the title, "Self-Realisation" because, this book has drawn thousands to the Maharshi.

All the subsequent biographies of Bhagavan are based upon this biography of Sri Swamiji which one cannot keep down once one begins to read. It is, therefore, obvious that Sri Swamiji was a unique instrument of God for broadcasting to the world the message and teachings of Baghavan Ramana and for being apostle of Sri Sai Baba of Shirdi. Every one knows the Swamiji's role in bringing the Shirdi Sai Baba into the homes of a vast multitude of persons. But, many may not know about the connection between the Swamiji and Baghavan Ramana.

Sri Swamiji, after a brilliant educational career became an eminent Advocate in Salem, Tamil Nadu, and was also a legislative councillor. He was a man noted for his uprightness of character and was associated with several good activities and in particular, with the improvements to Lakshmi Narayana Temple at Salem.

At the height of his career and popularity, he lost two of his children, a boy and a girl, who accidentally got drowned in a well in his own compound. This great tragedy made the Swamiji realise with great force the transience of all things of the world and he decided to renounce home and hearth after completing the work connected with the Lakshmi Narayana Temple. The fact that the Swamiji did not leave his home because of his desire to complete the work connected with the Lakshmi Narayana Temple, brings out a very important trait in him. He was essentially and at the core of his heart, a bhaktha, par excellence.

After completing the temple work and renouncing the home, Swamiji went to Tiruvannamalai where he stayed with Baghavan Sri Ramana for a period of three years from 1928 to 1930. It was in this period that he wrote his monumental biography of Sri Ramana and to any one who reads it, it will be evident that he had the full inspiration and blessings flowing from the benign Grace of Baghavan Sri Ramana.

Baghavan, as every one knows, was a great exponent of the jnana Marga after Adi Sankara. His method of Vichara or 'Enquiry' into the source of one's identity was not really suited to one of the temperament and background of the Swamiji for whom the bhakthi marga was ideal.

Therefore, after three years, after having received in full and abundant measure the Grace of Baghavan, he set out on a path of his own which led him ultimately to discover for himself and to the world the greatness of Shirdi Sai Baba. It is said that a Sadguru knows all the needs of a disciple/devotee and directs one, according to the needs of the person. Therefore, one can say that Sri Baghavan himself led the Swamiji to Shirdi Baba as he was aware that Swamiji with his temperament could find only the spiritual fulfilment only at the feet of Shirdi Baba.

Take what  comes.    Be   contented and   cheerful.     Never worry.    Not a leaf moves but by His consent and will.

—Baba

 

Scriptures and Saints

N. Subramanian
Madras

Hinduism, the Sanatana Dharma, is based on the Vedas. The Veda is ageless, very vast in range, unfathomable in depth and volu­minous in size. The Sruti—the four Vedas, with the sub-divisions of Samhita, Brahmana and Upani-shads, and the fifth Veda, consisting of 18 main puraanas and 18 upa— puraanas; the two itihasas, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata; the Smriti— 18 Dharma Shastras; six sciences (shadanganii; and the six systems of philosophy (shad-darshanas), with all their texts and commentaries; Agama sastras, mantra sastras and yoga sastras— all these and many more scriptures constitute the foundation of Hinduism.

Not many of these are in their original shape in the 20th century and some of the valuable texts have been irretrievably lost. They have undergone their own evolution through ages. What is today practised as religion by the Hindus has its links with the dim and distant past, though what has survived today is only a fragment, in theory and practice. Nevertheless, the essence of Hinduism is still with us in our blood.

Who can, at any given time, claim to have understood or mastered all these scriptures? Is it possible for any single individual to read, grasp and assimilate all these scriptures ? A life-time is not sufficient to gain mastery over the Bhagavad Gita and to lead the Gita life ! So much is packed in it.

The texts of scriptures in cold print are perplexing to our limited understanding because what was produced by intuition and inspirat­ion can be understood clearly only by intuition and inspiration. No doubt all our rituals, ceremonies, temple worship, poojas, japa and yoga keep us in living touch with some of our scriptures but we can­not claim to follow the scriptures in their entirety in daily life.

What we actually do to satisfy religious rules may well become a dull routine but to live according to our scriptures, all the twenty-four hours of the day, from birth to death, is most difficult. Our religious part of daily life is also conditioned by several factors like peace and prosperity of the land where we live, social conditions, cultural growth, civilisation of the times, etc.

The scriptures may leave us cold but the saints, from time to time, help and guide us to live the true life ordained by the scriptures. They remove the wheat from the chaff and dish out to us what we exactly require to uplift ourselves. They know our sufferings and surroundings; and with compassion, lay down to us what is possible and practical, keeping in mind scriptural injunctions. Their spiritual recipes will be in accordance with our physical, mental and economic conditions. Their prescriptions suit not only the patient's ailment but also the patient's condition. It is the dosage and the timing that matter, not the actual medicine itself. They are clear in their minds about the intentions of God, by virtue of their tapas and contemplation, and their mission is to help us live a godly life.

The lives of saints are, therefore, the living scriptures. The saints interpret the spirit of the scriptures without dogmatically clinging to the letter, in order to suit the times and the conditions of the people from age to age. They influence the lives of the common people by their own conduct, character, humility, spirit of service and spiritual discipline. They strengthen our faith in the Lord's infinite mercy and love and comfort us during our trials in life and in our hours of sorrow and despair.

They make our prayers meaningful and purposeful, and teach us the art of reverentially combining religion with our daily life in a manner which suits our convenience. They maintain contacts with the masses and speak to them in their own simple language on a common subject in an intelligible way. The outpourings of their hearts are based on concrete spiritual experience, and not mere repetitions of texts from scriptures.

For example, the immortal epic 'Periya Puraanam' containing the biographies of 63 Saivite saints of Tamil Nadu in more than 4,000 verses in Tamil larfguage, is the precious gift of Sekkizhaar to humanity. The lives of saints here reveal their simple and austere living, high degree of piety, service to the Lord in manifold ways, service to the servants of the Lord, pilgrimages to holy places, worship at shrines, singing of hymns of soul-captivating character, spirit of selfless service to the people and the miracles performed by them.

They clearly demonstrate that the Lord showers His Grace on all the high and the humble, the lowliest and the lost, alike-as a reward, of their single-minded devotion to him. The lives of all saints belonging to all religions have the same characteristics and their words have universal appeal.

Their language is a common langu­age and they do not reveal in panditry. Living saints like Sai-padananda Sri Radhakrishna Swamiji are strength to the week, prosperity to the poor and grace to the fallen.

The saints mix the essence of the scriptures incur lives just as we add spices to our food to make it tasty. By following the saints, we follow the scriptures and understand the meaning and purpose of life. A saint actually takes the load off our heads and leads us on the path to godhead. The saints are, in short, the embodiment of our scriptural wisdom. In the saints, we se^e the spirit of the scriptures, not the letter, and it is the spirit .that culminates in self-fulfilment.

'Shri Saibaba as I understand Him*

K. B. Gavankar
Bombay

The human body is composed of For diseases and disturbances the untrue elements derived of the body or brain, medically from food, the effects of which tranquillisers are prescribed as a disturb the mind of a man. cure, but in spiritual life there are disturbances from within and from without for which chanting the name of 'Saibaba' is the best tranquiliser.

The age into which we are born is fundamentally opposed to tranquillity and every decade increases the antagonism between the two. The present times would therefore seem to be the very antithesis of the cult of tranquillity. Yet perhaps at no time more than today are men so filled with long­ing for stillness and so ready to yield themselves to it, if they could only know where to find it.

The reverberations of our own technical progress would deafen us; while our sensitivity to noise is heightened by restricted space and time, few can escape the harsh sound of voices trying to drown each other, surely a most forcible expression of the inner and outer distress in every sphere of life.

However, the very omnipresence of these destructive powers, which threaten man from without and poison him from within, arouses a natural desire for what is inde­structible, in so far as his nature itself is still unharmed. Similarly his senstivity to noice arouses a desire for tranquillity such as reflects an accomplished life and not the silence of death. In actual fact both are aiming at the same thing, a desire for what is indestructible and desire for the blessing of true tranquillity.

Deep in the heart of man there exists a hidden knowledge that true tranquility such as the soul desires is something more than a mere beneficial lack of noice, more than the mere counterpoise of rest, as opposed to restlessness and overtaxed strength, that it is even more than the presupposition of spiritual life, or mere precondition of mental fitness. Man knows that true tranquillity supersedes all this and is not just something that presupposes a happy life, it is the actual experiencing of fulfilment of life. Even our own times have not fully overshadowed the innate experience that when man is genuinely happy he becomes tranquil and conversely when he achieves genuine stillness it is only then that he discovers true happiness.

All the times people have experienced the joys of tranquillity and have sought to establish it within themselves.

Undoubtedly, the mind is fickle and difficult to curb, still it can be brought under control by chanting the name of Shree Saibaba.

Lord Shree Krishna said to Arjuna in IX Chap. Verse 22 "To those men who worship Me, thinking of no one else and who are always fully devoted, I secure both gain and safety". Shri Saibaba also used to say "look to me and I will look to you", "worship me with faith and patience".

If you remove (from conduct) the purpose of the mind, the bodily act is but as rotten wood. Wherefore, regulate the mind and the body of itself will go right.

Not nakedness, not plaited hair, not fasting or lying on the earth, not rubbing with dust, no* sitting motionless, can purify a mortal who has not overcome desires.

He who, though dressed in fine apparel exercises tranquillity, is quiet, subdued, restrained, chaste and has ceased to find fault with other beings he indeed is a Brahmana, an asectic and afriar.

He, who by continual control, as conquered himself has, by this one conquest gained so great a victory that that even the rest of mankind could not add to it. Self is the Lord of self. What other lord could there be? He -who has become master of himself cuts off all bonds.

Our deeds, whether good or evil, follow us as shadows. Who is the (true) Spiritual teacher? He who having fgrasped the essence of things, ever seeks to be] of use to other beings.

"Sai Baba" is the answer. He is incarnation of Lord Shri Krishna and so He enlights the hearts directly by fantastic ways.

Once while Shri Kakasaheb Dixit was reading with a few devotees, a well known verse on dedication of senses from "Eknathi Bhagwat" with a view to draw Dixit's attention to one more internal sense of human body mentioned by Eknath in his commentary, Baba sent Shrimant Bapusaheb Booty to Shri Dixit to fetch from him Rupees Sixteen and a half. Baba said:—"Bapu! go to Dixit in Wada and demand Rs. 16½ , I want 16½ and not merely Rs. 16/—and also listen to what Dixit is reading". Booty narrated all to Dixit and sat nearby. No sooner comments on the Stanza finished, Baba called Bapusaheb. Dixit being a learned man—a solicitor, at once realised that Baba did not want from him the material coins but He was drawing his attention to the several senses mentioned in the verse he was reading. Counting up these senses, however, the total arrived at was fifteeen and a half, at first viz. Body-1, Speech-1, Mind-1, Senses-10, Intellect-1, Egoism-1 and Prakriti one's own nature i = 15½ These were all that were mentioned in the verse, so Kaka Dixit was at a loss to understand why instead of 15½ Rupees Baba had demanded 16½, so he got up, stood before Baba's Photo he had prayed for the solution of his difficulty. At once it occurred to him that Eknatha's commentary should be referred to for this purpose. On doing so, he found that Eknath had mentioned one more sense, viz. Chitta, the sense of thinking though there was no mention of the same in the verse itself. Adding this to the 15½ above mentioned, Shri Dixit found to his joy the propriety of Baba's demand for 16J Rupees. Thus Baba wanted him to realise the real meaning of the verse. Baba's teaching is "you may surrender the deeds which you intend to do, but the natural deeds of the body remained. So you should surrender all deeds with Body, when you prostrate fully with Body (complete surrender) you will get the real eternal happiness."

Once Shri Ram on seeing Hanuman amongst the sages that had assembled before him, asked "Well how do you look upon me?". Hanuman seeing some great purpose behind this question replied:

"When I think of myself as the body then I am thy servant, when I think as the "Jivatma" (the Individual soul) I am thy part, and when I think myself as the Atman I am thy self". This is my conclusive opinion.

Complete surrender to Shri Sai Baba is the real faith for eternal happiness.

 

 

Shri Sai Baba—The great saint of Shirdi

Dr. S.D. Parchure
Shirdi

Though the birth and the early life of Shri Sai Baba upto the age of sixteen is shrowded in mystery, still his life for nearly sixty years from round about 1858 to 1918, till his Mahasamadhi, is known and a part of it has been described in the Sai Satcharita, which is the only authentic book on the life of Shri Sai Baba. Shri Gurucharitra, which describes the life of Shri Guru, was composed nearly one hundred years after the Mahasamadhi of Shri Guru, while the case of the Sai Satcharita is altogether different- Shri Hemadpant stayed with Shri Baba for a number of years and knew him for nearly eight years from 1910 to 1918. The work was undertaken with His permission and blessing and His instructions to keep notes were followed. Some of the Leelas of Shri Sai Baba were personally seen and noted by the author and his brother deovtees like Shri H. S.

Dixit and others. After Shri Baba's Mahasamadhi in 1918, Shri Hemad-pant completed the work in right earnest and by 1923, its publication was started in seriatim in the "Sai Leela" magazine. By 1930, the whole biography was published in Sai Leela. It will thus be seen that Shri Sai Satcharita is quite historic and reliable. The posterity should really be thankful to Shri Annasaheb Dabholkar alias Hemad-pant for having composed the work diligently and placed before us the real Sai Baba through it. The English version, published later on has helped the people, not knowing the Marathi language, to understand the life and teachings of Shri Sai Baba. The ceaseless work of both these authors is really commendable.

From the Sai Satcharita, we know a good many details about Shri Baba's life and behaviour. Shri Baba lived a very simple life. He ate whatever food he got by begging once in the morning. He never stored anything for the next day. Shri Baba was sympathetic with all the devotees that come to him and He tried His best to give relief to the devotees, who came to him with some complaint or the other. Shri Baba knew the past and future of everyone and He helped everyone to improve one's prospects. Shri Baba was fond of wit and humour and He solved the problems of many persons amicably by his wit and humour. Shri Baba had acquired all the siddhis and he was well-versed in the Yoga practices. He was omnipresent, Omnipotent and Omniscient. Though apparently he did not appear to move out of Shirdi, still he remained present at places far away from Shirdi in different forms if he willed. He had respect for all religions and gods and He always advised the people to follow the path, that they have been following before meeting Him. He had profuse knowledge of all the religious books and the philosophy contained in them was at his finger tips. He cared so much for his devotees that He always warned them about the future calamities and helped them to come out of them successfully.

He had no desire of any sort and distributed all the money (even more) that he collected by way of Dakshina. He had a very soft corner for the poor and always worked for them. He was not at all fond of publicity, because He had absolutely no ego. He had powerful will power due to which He could cure people of snake-bite by his mere order. Similarly He could cure so many people of physical disorders originally by certain medicines and later on by means of the Udi from the Dhuni, which he maintained in the Dwarkamai.

Incarnation of god

In the Shrimadbhagavadgeeta the Lord has made it very clear why He manifests himself in the world by his incarnation. Pulling down the bad elements and promulgating the spread of religion are the two main objects of god's incarnation on the earth. In some past incarnations, we find that destruction of the bad elements, was the main job accomplished by that incarnation, while later on there have been several incarnations meant only for the spread of religion. The incarnation of god in the form of Shri Sai Baba, was meant for the spread of religion and for doing away with the calamities of the people so as to help them in living a happy life. In the Marathi language there is saying in verse form the meaning of which is, " the personalities of saints are born on this earth for the well-being of the people and they suffer bodily pains by obliging the "devotees." If we look at the behaviour of Shri Sai Baba, which is described above at length, we see that Shri Sai Baba satisfies this description to the last letter. Nobody will therefore have a doubt that He is an incarnation of God in the form of a saint.

His teachings

Many saints have their teachings recorded in book form and those books, composed by them, are being studied by the devotees and disciples day by day. From the discourse about one verse from the Bhagwadgeeta, which is described at length in the Sai Satcha-rita, we find that Shri Sai~Baba had full knowledge of religious and philosophical books and he could have written a book containing his philosophy of life; but he must have observed the scanty respect shown by his devotees to the religious books written by other saints in the past. The reasons for this want of respect may be genuine. The struggle for existence in life becomes more and more acute with the advancement of civilization and this results in encroaching on the spare time of the people, which they can devote to spiritual and religious matters. This and such other things might have discouraged Shri Sai Baba from composing one more book of religious ethics, though he certainly had the capacity for doing it.

In the absence of such an authentic book from the pen of Shri Sai Baba, we have to search for his teachings in the discourses that have been noted down in Shri Sai Satcharita. We find from that book that Shri Sai Baba was not in favour of elaborate rituals. In the beginning He did not even accept the Aarati and Padapuja from the devotees in spite of their conti­nuous entreties. Later on however he started accepting the same, as He perhaps felt that non-acceptance of the same, may also. prove to be egoistic.

In this connection we have to bear in mind some of His words, which are the keynotes to his teachings.  

They are "If you will look at me, I will look at you."

"Why fear when lam here." t

His main advice was to have faith and patience. It will be seen from our usual experience that many of our works are not accomplished because of our hurry and want of faith. On the other hand, those who have faith and patience get all their matters settled without any difficulty.

His advice and teachings on the whole are very simple, He always advised the devotees to speak the truth and have sympathy for the poor and oppressed. He wanted that everyone should enjoy the pleasures of this life without any reservation. For that purpose, He was asking his devotees to put the burden of all their troubles on his shoulders and remain absolutely carefree. He also wanted his devotees not to envy others and at the same time not to talk ill about others. To remain quiet and unruffled was His another piece of advice. To observe one's own religion and to continue the worship of the family god was his other advice, which shows that he knew that it was quite difficult to change your faith overnight.

Future of Sai cult

There is a saying that "To know a saint, you must yourself be a saint." This saying is quite true-If we look to the persecution, that came to the share of the prophets and saints of the world, we feel that it is mighty difficult for the ordinary people to recognise a saint very easily. Jesus Christ was crucified. Shri Dhyaneshwar, Tukaram, Kabir and so many other saints had to suffer a lot at the hands of their contemporaries. Though Shri Baba was given some trouble at the beginning of his advent in Shirdi, the position improved later on ;but few people only recognised him as a saint during his life-time. After his Mahasamadhi, however, his fame has started spreading far and wide and his temples have come up not only in India, but they have also been built up at places like London, out of this country. From the constant increase in the number of His devotees every year, we may conclude that Shri Sai Cult is spreading far and wide and that it has a distinct future. We, Sai devotees, aie lucky in having the umbrella of Shri Sai Baba's grace on our heads, we should therefore master Shri Sai Baba's teachings, have absolute faith in him and wait with patience for the shower of his future blessings.

Shri Sai Baba of Shirdi

G. J. Chitambar

Ahmednagar

It is a matter of great pleasure for me to be asked to put on paper some of my memories about Sai Baba whom I not only saw but also came in direct contact. It was because of the fact that I was born at Shirdi on 22nd August 1914 and that I had been sitting in the Masjid or Masheed as then the building was called, for hours together, day and night, in time and out of time, by or near Sai Baba whom I addressed only as 'Baba' and talked with him and played with him as if he was a relative of mine. I did not know the relationship. I did not care to know it. I did not think in that direction. Simply that I could not-I was just a child of four when Baba left this world, in 1918 on the Dasara day. I remember, to have seen his last procession which went round the village, Shirdi starting from Masheed—Masjid to the then half built temple, now known as Samadhi Mandir, which previously in old days was known as Sai Baba's Temple. It was under construction and I have seen it being built.

I came to love Sai Baba as does any child his mother, father or grand father. I cannot say how and when the process took place. It was simply a 'Course of Nature.' whenever I was not at home, my mother found me in the Masjid sitting by and chatting with Baba.

One evening when I was sitting by him, my mother came there and took me up and started going home. While on way home, she gave me a slap on my back and scolded me to the effect that I began to cry. Sai Baba heard this and called back my mother and told her something which then I could not understand. I came to realise it when I was about twelve years old. There was a swelling in the upper part of my nose on the right side. A doctor from Bombay had been in Shirdi and was staying there for a few days to improve his health. I don't know why,—but he took fascination for me and used to call on me every evening while going out for a walk. My mother asked me to consult him about the nose trouble. The doctor told me that it had to be operated and in those days, it could only be operated in Bombay. It was a worry to my parents as the size of the pimple was increasing day by day. Being very poor, my father could not arrange to go to Bombay for the operation. My mother remembered the words of Sai Baba on the occasion when she had beaten me. He had said to her, "This boy, your son, is your father reborn. He and I were friends during our previous life. Hence you should never beat him again.- She had reported this talk, the very day to my father as soon as she went home. Days passed by and the incident was forgotten. However, the swelling in my nose reminded my mother of the incident and talk, as she recalled that there was exactly the same defect in the nose of her father. So, my father, on a Thursday evening, when a lamp (Samai) was lighted in our home in front of the photograph of .Sai Baba, took 'Udi' applied it, on my forehead and told Sai Baba looking at his photograph in our house, that both of them, my mother and father, would call me by the name 'Appa' the name of my mother's father. It was as if a sacred ceremony of changing my name as per Sai Baba's advice. Sugar was distributed to the people staying in the Wada or house, near the neem-tree, now known as Guru Sthan. To our great surprise the swelling subsided slowly during the next three days and ultimately vanished and could never be traced. The disease was cured without any medicine or operation-

Many such instances are narrated or described by many devotees as experienced by them. Readers or listeners may believe or not, I for one, would only say that whatever he spoke or expressed came to be true.

Outworldly he looked like a Fakeer with a white gown Kafnee on his body and a piece of cloth round his head, as is seen in his photograph in the Masjeed now called Dwarkamai. He never wore any coloured clothes, not even red Bhagwi or Kesaii. As I always saw him in white dress only, I do not and cannot appreciate or like his photographs in coloured clothes.

It is my faith that deeds or actions carry more weight than words. Hence message conveyed through a good and pious deed has an everlasting impression on the mind of one who is benefited or bestowed. Mere words of advice or preaching do not go a long way. Perhaps abundant words, many times, prove futile but only one soothing, consoling or helping act goes a long way to mould the character and through that media the life of a man, who is a devotee is enriched and becomes meaningful. The pious behaviour of the saints has a salutary effect on their disciples. It is because of this, that unequivocal or uncomparable place is given to the co-existance and co-operative life with the saints. Hence, Indian culture pays unique importance to the informal get together of ordinary men and saints like Shri Sai Baba.

A man's culture is proved by his action. His acts depend on his nature and the human nature depend on the human mind. Mind must be healthy. Mind makes the body work. Mind stimulates the body. Strong mind makes a weak body work hard. An idle mind makes even a strong body lazy. Healthy or pious mind will make the body do pious acts. The mind is well trained in the company of saints like Sai Baba. Thus, if we reverse the process we can see that when a man (human being) comes in contact with saints like Sai Baba, his mind is purified, with the result that he acts accordingly, does good and pious deeds for the society which ultimately creates high standard of humanity and culture which tends to bring satisfaction of heart and peace to the soul of the doer. The saints are the human forms of God reborn on earth to give solace to the distressed who have lost all peace of mind. Sai Baba is one of the Saints or Awa-tars of God.

It is very difficult to describe different facets of Sai Baba. The more one tries to see through, the more one is puzzled. The effort is just like looking at light through a prism, when a prism is held in different angles to see through, we see different colours or shades of light. Thus quite different aspects are seen every time when we try to understand Him. It is Just like diving in the ocean to find out what lies at the bottom of the ocean, Having found fourteen Ratnas we still find gasses or oils or petrol etc. The deeper we dive and at different places and depths, we find new things. It is just like searching 'The Blue' i. e. the sky. One may not be surprised if some new planet is traced one day. It is easy to trace the way to the planet namely Guru (Jupiter), and know everything about the guru in the sky but it is well nigh impossible to know the Sadguru who stands before us, here on earth and to understand 'Him' fully and measure the depth of his thoughts and wisdom. It is beyond human efforts. To work for and devote one's life to the good of the humanity without expecting any return, is their motto-

Though one comes in contact with a Sadguru one cannot interpret his acts. Various and innume­rable devotees describe variety of experiences of their own- How ever the underlying crurent is "The welfare of Humanity or of any being of any species." This is 'The Fundamental, Truth' on which 'Faith' of different religious principles is based.

Sai Baba   never   differentiated between men of different castes, religion, or country, and between man or a woman, young or old, educated or uneducated and rich or poor- He loved all his devotees alike, regardless of education, religion, country, sex, age or wealth-and health. Devotees of Sai Baba, are found all over the world, in different countries on the globe. They go to Shirdi from far and near. The fact that Sai Baba himself never prohibited any one to go near him, sit by him, touch his feet, bow down to him, so to say have his Darshan has created the right tradition which is rightly continued to this day and every one has a free access to the Samadhi even now. The intellectuals also are spell-bound to wit-ness this scene.

What is the under current of this social and religious fervor, intensity or assiduity ? It is Devotion or Bhakti.

Men having craving for science, intellect and logic my argue that devotion (or Bhakti ) makes men blind of reason- Is it true ? Let us see-

From the 'Dark Ages' to this day, man has travelled through differ-rent 'Ages' and stages- Any con­notation or synonym may be used, say, 'Age of Machines or of Science or of Atom.' The under, lying sense is the same. The scientific experiments and progress might have yielded sufficient food, medicine, clothes, shelter and entertainment also- In many of the countries on the globe, Science might have helped them to stop the increase in population. The 'Atom Bomb' might have given them the deadliest weapon to be used in war and certainty of success in the war. But have all these scientific experiments given them peace which they have been hankering after ? The answer is 'No". On the contrary progress in Scientific experimentation has created new problems before them to face and these new problems and new situations have added to their miseries, worries and anxieties for which they can't find solutions- In-stead of self-control, the scientific means of birth control have vitiated the sanctity of the society. And even those having more than enough stalk of food and atomic energy are themselves afraid of the total destruction of nations and with them, the humanity as well-Knowing this full well these inventors and scientists ultimately pray Him to enable themselves to reach their goal. Is this not an irony ?

It is only love towards each other that brings men together. For this selflessness must take place of selfishness. For this men must understand each other- This could be possible only through 'Cultural Understanding'-

If a man learns to get satisfaction or peace of mind in making an-other man happy, he must be pre­pared to give away what he has to the other man who is needy. It is easier said than done. Just go to Sai Baba. Look at him. Look into his eyes. Let there be proper understanding. With all the devotion abandon pride and all other vices, and after purification of heart, do only good deeds. One is sure to get peace of mind. Many learned men following various 'faiths' i.e- 'Religions', go to Him. They come from different parts of the globe. In Sai Baba, followers of different religions see the founder of their 'Faith'. They feel that He is an incarnation of purity, selflessness, charity? generocity and wisdsom- He is above all differences, always helping the needy and thus giving peace of mind to his devotees-Only if one listens to the songs composed by saints, like Tukaram, Dyaneshwar, Ramadas or Meerabai, Janabai and Tulusidas and the like, one can endure sorrows of life. But this is true if one has faith in it. Sai Baba never composed any song, Abhang, ovi,' sloka or any sonnet. He never wrote anything. He never gave any lecture. Still he has left behind Him the imprint of his actions or behaviour. Actions do speak louder than words. Thus a minute observation of His acts or deeds in every-day routine, has a salient and unique effect on the minds of the persons around him. What were his pos­sessions? A pot of tin to drink water with, an aluminum plate for food, a pipeto smoke and a pair of Kafnees and a piece of cloth. That was all he had. What­ever was offered to him by his devotees, was distributed to the poor and needy. Even food that was offered to him, he did not eat. I very well remember to have seen every day, as a part of his routine that, after the Arati at noon, he distributed the food from every plate or dish of the offerings to the other needy persons who were then around him. And when all the people left Masheed, he went round the village, visited just a few houses and asked for alms when he accepted only a piece of bread. He never accepted rich food. It was only this bread and onion and a little salt and 'Chatni' that he ate. I had fortune to be by him when he ate his food in the noon. All good and rich food offered to him by way of sacrifice or off­erings was imparted to the poor. The rich offered him a lot of money which was all given away by him to the poor and needy, keeping not a pie (farthing) for himself. Leading a poor life as a result of poverty is different and refusing to enjoy good food, good and rich clothing and re­fusing even money offered with devotion is different. This requires a state of mind that has reached a stage of 'Abandonment' which bri­ngs peace of mind. He did reach this stage and so I say, he is an incarna­tion of purity, selflessness, charity, generosity and Wisdom. It is because of this that people go to Shirdi, bow down to Him, put the head on his feet, look at his idol and try to gel peace of mind.

Go to Him with conscience and pure heart, and He will bless you. Let us learn to imbibe the above mentioned virtues in Him so that we can get peace of mind as desired-With these words I bow down to Shri Sai Baba and take adieu.

My association with Sri Narasimha Swamiji

P. Panini Rao
Madras

It is my great good fortune to have enjoyed the trust, confidence, love and blessings of two great savants - Sri Satyadhyana Teertha Swamigalu, the remarkable pontiff of Sri Uttaradi Mutt, and Sri Narasimha Swamiji, the founder and guiding spirit of the Sai Bhakti Movement— both, alas, no more with us.

Here, on the occasion of the installation of the statue of Sai Baba in the Sai Spiritual Centre in Bangalore, I recall with reverence and gratitude my association with Sri Narasimha Swamiji.

Decades ago I read an announce­ment in the Engagements column of The Hmdu as follows :

Lecture on Sri Sai Baba of Shirdi by Sri Narasimha Swamiji at the Maharashtra Association Building, Mowbrays Road.

I did not know who Sri Narasimha Swamiji was; and I knew much less about Sai Baba. But as the venue of the lecture was very near my place and since I was inte­rested in topics of this nature, I attended the lecture Like the otheis in the audience I was greatly impressed by the venerable personality of the lecturer, and his genuine enthusiasm and devotion. It was easy to see that his surrender to Baba was total and absolute.

After the lecture, I accompanied Sri Narasimha Swamiji to his son's place in Gopalapuram. On the way we had a long talk and the subject was, of course, Baba. That was my first encounter with Sri Narasimha Swamiji. Thereafter we met several times and had discussions.

Swamiji had evolved an effective system for the propagation of the Sai Movement. Each Thursday devotees would gather in the house of one chosen devotees by turns. On each occasion Swamiji would present a picture of Baba to the host of the day. There would be bhajan and nama sankirtan followed by a talk by Swamiji extolling Sai mahima. That was the humble and simple way he carried on the Sai bhakti movement, gathering, since devotees in mere handfulls here and there.

Both Baba and Swamiji must have got tired of their intinerent life and Swamiji was longing to have a permanent abode for Baba in Madras. Indeed for some time the Sai library was located in my house on Eldams Road. Around this time I came to know that a house in Mylapore had fallen vacant, the tenants having vacated it in a hurry when they found a dead cat in it. With some hesitation I passed on the information to Swa­miji and suggested that the house could be rented if there was no objection. Swamiji jumped at the idea and shifted to the house with­out a moment's hesitation.

When it was found that this house was not sufficient for the increasing number of bhaktas that were gathering for bhajans, parti­cularly on Thursdays, the Swamiji moved over to the house of the late Dr. Nanjunda Rao on what was then known as the North Mada Street but now called Rarnakrishna Mutt Road. When Dr. Nanjunda Rao's grandson retired from service and wanted the house back for his own occupation, Swamiji began to look for a suitable place for Baba.

At this time, Sri Thyagarajan, the well-known advocate, offered the use of the open space in front of his house^ in Venkatesha Agra-haram. A pukka pandal was put up here and Baba stayed here till he moved to the more spacious abode on the ground adjoining the canal in the same locality. This was sub­sequently purchasedand a big buil­ding was raised on it.

I visited Shirdi in 1941 with family by previous arrangement when Swamiji was there. He had taken the trouble to make all arra­ngements for our stay in the holy place. We saw the place where Baba used to live and move and work his wonders, his samadhi; and the neem tree which bore sweet leaves at one end and bitter leaves at another. We also met Abdul, Baba's faithful attendant, who used to occupy himself with arranging flowers on the Samadhi of his beloved master.

After Shirdi Sri Narasimha Swa­miji took us to Sakori to meet the famous Upasani Baba. I offered the Baba the customary fruit, flowers, clothes and some money. "Why all this?" asked Upasani Baba. "But", I protested, "surely I cannot come empty-handed to see you." At this Upasani Baba asked me to spread out my palms and looking at the lines on them, remarked, "Why do you say you have come with empty hands ? The lines on your palm give a different im­pression."

When I told Upasani Baba that all I wanted was his grace, he remarked, "This is like lighting a lamp and then asking that darkness would disappear." I pondered over this remark. Probably Upasani Baba meant that since I could not have gone to him without his grace, where was the need to ask for his grace? The grace was already given.

Sri Upasani Baba wanted me to stay at least for three days and said he would give me what was necessary by way of spiritual instruction. Unfortunately I could not stay as my entire pilgrimage programme had been finalised and fixed weeks ahead and any change would have meant causing great inconvenience to a number of people and hosts all along the line. So relunctantly we left Sakori and moved on to Nasik, our next halt, where at the behest of Sri Satya-dhyana Teertha Swamiji, arrange­ments had been made for us.

At Sakori we parted company with Sri Narasimha Swamiji. Back in Madras, our contacts, meetings and discussions were resumed. In fact, during festival days in Mylapore, Swamiji used to come to our house and sleep, to escape the noise and bustle of the festivities.

I can cite several instances of Sri Narasimha Swamiji's kindness and grace. Once in his old age my father had a boil which was giving him great pain. The doctor decided to perform an operation. Somehow I was not happy with this and approached Sri Narasimha Swamiji. He asked me to pray at bed-time and go to sleep ; and then as I woke up the next morning, I would get some indication about the course of action. I did as advised by Swamiji and the next morning I got the indication that operation was not advisable, (at this distance of time I am unable to recall how exactly this was conveyed to me.)

But father wanted to follow the doctor's advice and accordingly the operation was fixed for 3 p.m. on a certain day. I returned from the court early to receive the doctor.

The doctor made all preparations for the operation. Then, scalpel in hand, when he was about to make am incision, he suddenly checked himself and announced that he was not proceeding with the operation as it might lead to com­plications- He said the boil would very well be cured by the appli­cation of poultices and administ­ration of medicines. Well, this was what eventually happened, much to our relief and happiness. Now, how would you explain the sudden, last-minute change in the doctor's decision, when he was on the point of making the incision, except in terms of divine interven. tion through Swamiji?

Once I was laid up with fever and the temparature was rather on the high side and I was feeling very restless. A moment after my tempe­rature had been taken, Sri Swamiji dropped in to see me. How he came to know of my indisposition we do not know. But there he was as if in answer to a request, as if someone had sought his presence.

"Well, Panini Rao", he said in his gentle voice. "How are you feeling ? Tell me at what tempera­ture you will feel comfortable.1'

Without much thought I simply said, "100 degrees, Swamiji."

"Well, take the temperature now. Let us see what it is", he said.

"But they took the temperature only a minute ago, Swamiji, and it was 104", I said.

The Swamiji would not listen-And again the temperature was taken- To everybody's surprise the thermometer recorded 100 degrees. Needless to say, from the moment of his arrival I had begun to feel better and quite cheerful.

That was the way Sri Narasimha Swamiji worked. Never did he say he would do this or do that. He never promised anything as origi­nating from him. He never asked the devotees to do this or that. He always had one invariable advice: PRAY TO GOD. Pray to Baba, and Baba will certainly respond." Sri Swamiji always worked in the name of Baba ; or, if you will, Baba worked through Swamiji. At this point of this narration, I recall how the large number of children in our compound would gather roundSri Narasimha Swamiji when-ever he visited us. The children would keep chanting, "Sai Baba has come!"

In those days I used to be associated with the activities of the All-India Sai Samaj and for a time I also served as its Vice-President at the instance of Sri Swamiji. Now I am in my 86th year and for quite some years I have not been moving around much. But I know that the Sai Samaj has been in safe and sure hands and that its affairs run smoothly.

The other day my friend, M. Ramamurti of Deccan Herald, Bangalore, sent me a copy of Samarpanam, the excellent souvenir brought out in honour of Sri Radhakrishna Swamiji by his devotees in Bangalore. It contains a number of valuable articles and photographs. As I was glancing at the photographs, for a moment I mistook Sri Radhakrishna Swamiji for Narasimha Swamiji; so striking is the resemblance.

But more important than the physical resemblance is the fact that Sri Radhakrishna Swamiji, like his mentor and Guru, the revered Sri Narasimha Swamiji, does not believe in performing miracles and does not claim or promise that he would do this or that. Like his Guru, Sri Radhakrishna Swamiji lays great emphasis on the recitation of Vishnu Sahasranama and sincere devotion. Also like his Guru, Sri Radha­krishna Swamiji does not wear Kashaya robes. Without any dis­respect for such robes or those who wear them, Sri Narasimha Swamiji used to say, quoting the Gita Chap. 18.2—"Sanyasa is giving up actions prompted by desire. This is real renunciation, i.e., giving up of Kamya Karma." This was Sri Narasimha Swamiji's reply when he was asked why he did not wear Kashaya.

Sri Radhakrishna Swamiji and myself have known each other for a number of years; in fact, many decades. Whenever I see him, I feel I am with Sri Narasimha Swamiji. A couple of years ago when I had severe stomach trouble, Sri Radhakrishna Swamiji was kind enough to visit me and recite Vishnu Sahasranama and blessed me.

It is by divine grace that we have in Sri Radhakrishna Swamiji a supremely worthy successor to Sri Narasimha Swamiji to guide and bless the devotees-

That Abiding Grace

Thandaveswara and G. K. Gopala Rao

Bangalore

"A man may read many books before he dies and yet not be a pandit; he is a Pandit who under­stands the two and a half letters which form the word Love — Kabir Panth.

Who is a Guru?

Sri Shankaracharya raises and answers this question in a short couplet in his Prashnothara Malika (Garland of Questions and answers).

The couplet reads :

The great Acharya enumerates two characteristics which together make the Guru. The first is that he has attained the truth. One cannot be Guru just by being learned, well read, eloquent, impressive or even excelling in supernatural powers. He has to have attained the Truth. The word adhigata is highly signi­ficant in this context, deriving from adhigam, i-e., reach or attain. It is the experience of truth that is clearly specified- The Guru is one who has experienced brahmabhava

Sri Thandaveswara within himself- No less a testimony is considered adequate for the Guru.

But that is not enough either. Having realised the truth himself, he has nothing to ask for himself. But he does not on that account go into seclusion. On the contrary, he engages himself continually without rest or brake, in the uplift of all who seek refuge in him. The com­passionate dynamism, which moves the Guru to the endless pursuit of the sishyas welfare is what com­pletes and gives fulfilment to the Guru himself. This is the exacting standard our ancient heritage sets for the Guru.

The holy Sai Baba of Shirdi is Guru, in every sense of this description-Appearing before a magistrate and asked to state his age, Baba is said to have answered "Lakhs of years. Therein he was being modest! What are lakhs of years against the :eternity from out of which he came? He merely teased the magistrate by putting a random and unverifiable count on the ancient and the ageless.

Apparently the magistrate did not ask. "Lakhs of years ! Fine So? old man, how many years do you expect to live ?'' Baba was not asked, and so had not the chance to answer. But we know the answer ;HE ABIDES FOR EVER.

For by his blessing came Shri Upasani Baba and Shri Narasimha Swamiji whom many among us have seen in person. And now we, have the same divine and compas­sionate Baba working for the good of all of us through Bangalore's apostle of love, H. H. Shri Radha-krishna Swamiji.

Through this illustrious Param-para as well as through his own direct guidance and vision to many disciples, Shri Sai Baba is with us, right in our midst and will remain so for ever, no matter what magis­trates ask or record.

It is now some 25 years since H. H.Radhakrishna Swamiji made a little niche in Bangalore where devotees could gather and enjoy the presence, grace and blessing of Sri Sai Baba. As a fervent and loving disciple—for he insists that he is just that and nothing more, although we know ! H.H. Radha-krishna Swamiji made it his mission to develop this centre as a place of shooting, comforting and uplifting spiritual ministration to all who may need it. Here people may come during the day and join the Puja that goes on; or visit in the evening and join in the Vishnu Sahasranama recitation, Bhajan and Arati, all of which take place in the benign presence of Swamiji. More individual seekers can freely have special audience when they can discuss their particular prob­lems. Loving help and counsel are there for each and all of them.

Love is the basis of the ashram in Bangalore, as it is of the Sai Baba tradition right from the beginning H.H. Narasimhaswami cites Baba's figurative Visualisation of What Baba's Guru did for Baba.

"Then he took me to a well, tied up my legs with a rope, and suspended me, head downwards, from a tree by a side of the well. My bead was about three feet off the water which I could not reach. And my guru left me there and went away ; God knows where. He returned after four or five hours and asked me how I fared. In great bliss was my time passed, I answered The Guru, mightily pleased with me, drew me near him passed his palm over my head and body, and spoke to me tender words dripping with love, and he put me into his school where I entirely forgot my father and mother, and ail attachments and desires.

I loved to gaze at him. If he were not there to see I would not like to have eyes at all. 1 did not wish to go back- I forget all other things but the Guru. My life was concentrated in my sight and my sight in him. That was the object of my meditation. I bowed.

Meanwhile, realisation flashed upon me of the self without effort or study, purely by his grace. Guru's grace is the only sadana. Jnana comes as experience (or in its wake).

In another con text H.H. Nara-shimhaswamiji observes :

"In Baba all the virtues were the efflorescence of the central root in him with which he began as a little child) namely love for the Guru, love that knows no bounds of time, place or circumstance, and love that sacrifice anything and everything at its altar. Gratitude, service, equality, justice & so many other good qualities that were in him and taught by him were the direct issue of the love, and could not have all been sustained with­out this love This enables the sishya to get more and more like unto the Guru, and by constant meditation on him become the soul of the Guru —The sishya grows in love, absorbs the love from the Guru, and returns it with all his soul and body, and does not con­sider himself as anything except as the lover and the beloved of the Guru".

So it is the culture of love that stands at the root of this great and vibrant tradition. Let us note how values like justice and equality which mankind is vainly trying to achieve through rights and law, are derived in this tradition as a natu­ral emergent of sheer love. Where love prevails, equality and justice emerge of their own accord. Visit the ashrama at Bangalore any day and you see equality and justice. None is superior, none is inferior, and none is denied what he looks for. How does this happen ? It happens just because the Swamiji loves us all. He enjoys the love of his guru, he has imbibed it within him­self, and he dispenses love to one and all. In the process, without effort he is just to all and makes us all epual.

In contrast are the vast and laborious structures of rights, remedies, law and punishment with which mankind is straining to achieve justice and equality for people among whom, obviously, love has yet to take its birth. How can we be equal where we do not love?

There is a variety of activities that goes on in the ashrama, but the undercurrent beneath them all is satsang i.e. fellowship for good. Sri Shankaracharya describes in Bhajagovinda Stotra. He says Satsangatva Nisangatvam." Satsangatva is the kind of fellowship which leads Nisangatva. Fellowship is not of the good characteristically evokes the greed for more and more of the companionship of the gross and gay. But the effectiveness of good fellowship lies in making us ask for less and less of sanga. The more we enjoy this kind of fellow­ship, the less we care for the lesser, ego based, selfish companionship we otherwise crave.

Those of us who have enjoyed satsang at the ashram will testify to this. An hour or so with the loving group of satsang is you see every evening and with the un-obstrusive and yet dynamic inputs of the loving swamiji himself, you emerge an edge or two nearer nisangtwa than you went in. That indeed is the continuing trans­mission of the impulse of this great parampara of love.

Through the years the ashrama has grow a in popularity and use­fulness. Its following has increased and includes men and women of all age, and social groups-Everyone who visits? decides to come again and to bring a few more people. Radhakrishna Swamiji is the soul and spark of this simple place of solace and inspiration, with a umility, well—wishing and simplicity which cannot be described in words, he welcomes everyone, and spends himself out helping each to move towards a more satisfying way of life. There is not only puja and parayana, but doubt and dispelling, question and answer, and the transmission of the great Indian tradition through simple homily and home truth, such that even little children can enjoy.

And today, the Ashram acqui­res a new fascination, the holy Sai Baba in marble. We will now see the Baba in beautiful sculpture-It is a charming piece, executed with not skill alone. Love and dedication have gone into it as all can see.

Writing about Baba's gaze H.H- Narashimaswamy recounts ;

"Mrs. Sadashiv Tarkhunde says that one felt that Baba's gaze was reading one through and through as nothing could be concealed from him. Baba was not merely in one's heart but in every particle of one's body. That is what one felt when Baba was gazing. This power seems to extend even to the eye in Baba's picture in Dwaraka Mayee."

Looking at the sculpture in the Ashram, one sees the searching inquisitive and penetrating eye. But one sees something moie. There is in Baba's gaze in this sculpture the twilight kindle of a kindly eye, something looking on you with compassion. It is a searching gaze all right, but a gaze that is search­ing and through and through to find where it hurts and then to heal. And in this ceaseless ministration Baba's grace abides.

Baba is Immortal

V. R. Deshpande

Bombay

This is a very auspicious occa­sion- We are full of joy and happiness because our 'Baba' has come to stay with us. Some say that 'Baba' is dead and it is only his statue that we see here ins­talled. No. This is ignorant man's attitude and is not cor­rect- We—His children and devotees—know what is the truth. Our 'Baba' is immortal and the fact is He comes at our invitation and leads His erring children to desti­nation by putting them on the right path. We are always attacked by "Vasanas and Kamanas" on all sides and make our life miserable. There is no peace and Shanti. We are afflicted with grief and sorrow. However, much we try to extricate ourselves from these dangerous enemies, we are helpless and no body comes to save us. At such critical moment, we remembered our beloved 'Baba' and entreated him to save us from these enemies.

We fervently prayed. Just as Rukmini sent a letter to Krishna to save her from marrying Shishoo-pala. The letter was carried by a Brahmin and Krishna came and fulfilled her wish. In the same way we prayed 'Baba' and by the efforts of our dear Radhakrishna Swamiji, Baba heard our prayers and has come to stay with us. Now that he has come in our midst we are glad and happy. Under his pater­nal protection, we are free from all anxieties and fears. We are sure now that no enemy can molest us- We are safe under the protection of our beloved 'Baba'. It is now our duty to act like an obedient child and please our 'Baba'. We must try to act according to His precepts so that our life will be full of joy and happiness. Diffi­culties will come obstacles in our path will come, but we have our Baba in our midst who will surely remove them and put us on the right track so that we may reach our destination surely, safely and without any trouble. 'Baba' has shown His "pure road". We must first pure our heart by devotion to the God. We must surrender our-self to Him by eliminating all Vasanas and Kamanas by sthavana, archana and Japa. As soon as we are awake we must chant God's name such as Vishnu Sahasranama or other holy names of God. Then we should make pooja and then japa. In this way we engage our Tongue, Body and Mind in the service of Almighty God. This purifies our heart and when once the heart is purified, knowledge will dawn in the purified heart and you will attain liberation from bondage—This is the Shubra Marga easy path shown by our beloved 'Baba' and now He is with us to lead His children by the hand of this 'marga' (path). It is for us now to assure Him that we-His obedient and dutiful children-will obey Him and do and act as He directs us. This will please Him and He will be always with us. fweactcon-trarily, we will incur His displea­sure and He will forsake us. We pray Sai Baba to give us strength to act accordingly and attain Truth, Knowledge and Happiness. Sal-chit-Ananda.

The Saint of   Shirdi

D. V. Rao

Bangalore

The more one identifies him­self with this world, the more he will be dissatisfied and miserable. And many a time when one is thwarted with temporal difficulties and misery, he tries to find a righteous way to obtain peace of mind.

The everlasting peace can only be obtained by aspiring and earnestly striving for spiritual happiness. The study and understanding of teachings of great saints are primary steps in that direction ; and by visiting places where they lived and preached, one may get inspiration and some consolation.

Shirdi—a village in Ahmed-nagar District of Maharashtra, is one among many such places in our country. It was here that Sri Sai Baba lived from 1872 to 1918 A.D. and was a source of spiritual happiness for many troubled souls. His creed was universal love and happiness. Hundreds of devotees of all castes and creed from all over the country visit Shirdi every day to pay their homage to the great Saint.

I left Poona by bus on an early morning of a mid summer day. The overcrowded bus sped its way —a distance of 135 miles—along the winding ghats and plains on the Agra Trunk Road ; reached Shirdi at 11 a.m. On getting down at the bus station I was greeted by an one armed Khadi-clad youngster, a self-appointed guide. The dusty village was bustling with pilgrims. After a wash at the clean bathroom of the lodge managed by the temple committee, I went into the main shrine.

The samadhi of Sri Sai Baba lies in a magnificent mansion constructed of black stone. Inside, at one end of the spacious hall, facing east, is the samadhi and a life size and life like marble statue of Sri Sai Baba. Devotees may worship by themselves or may take the available help of Purohits to perform pooja according to vedic rites. The feeling of devotion, love and laughter seems to be infectious. I became one with the crowd of ardent devotees and joined them in Bhajan and prayer.

Sri Sainath was still in his teens when he appeared at Shirdi village some time during 1872. No body knew his parents, or his caste or where he came from. He was to become a great saint of Maha­rashtra, and so destiny paved the way for its fulfilment. During latter years Sri Sai Baba used to talk about many places, then in the Nizam Territory, and particu­larly in detail about a place called Pathri ; so it was inferred by some that probably it was his birthplace.

Since the time he came to Shirdi he used to live in a dilapi­dated hut called Dwaraka Mai Masjid, and it is said that rarely he went out of Shirdi. Rags to wear and nothing to care, he would sit days together where he chose rain or shine. For many people, he appeared to be mad. As the years passed by, people began to observe and feel his "unaccountable and marvellous knowledge of events, things and persons who were far removed from him in the sense of time and space ; and his remarkable power to foretell com­ing events, or sometime to force events to come to pass in accordance with his supreme will".

Miracles brought about by him were not due to Animadi Ashta Siddhis, and were only to help those who were in dire distress. His acquisition of Divine Powers was through self-realisation or "Atrna-Siddhi." His mission was to make his devotees experience perfect calmness of mind thus helping the devotee to secure spiritual happi­ness Day by day he was found to be one with great sanctity and worshipped by Hindus and non-Hindus alike.

On Tuesday, October 15, 1918 "Vijaya Dasharai day", he died and his mortal remains were buried in the magnificient mansion already constructed. Every year special poojas and utsavas are held on 'Vijaya Dashanai day' and Sri Rama Navami Day", "Gokulashtami day" and 'Gurupoornima day".

To the rear side of the Samadhi Mandir is a small platform and mantap around a neem tree under which Sri SaiBaba used to sit to hold discourses with his disciples. The sacred being worshipped by him is still continued and kept alive ; and it is believed that its ashes even to­day possess much austerity and potentiality. His non—attachment to this world and renunciation were so complete he never named a successor ; he was one who was completely merged in his self-realisation.

After the "Mahamangalarathi" at noon, I roamed around the village and left by bus at 3 p.m. reaching Poona by 9 p.m. Surpri­singly, I never felt tired by the journey of 270 miles in 12 hours. How correct is the following passage by the late Justice Ranade

"................We may believe the miracles ascribed to those saints or disbelieve them, but we cannot disbelieve their emphatic statements on this point. All the love that in Christian lands circles round the life and death of Christ Jesus, has been in India freely poured upon the intense realisation of the everyday presence of the Supreme God in the heart, in a way more convincing than eyes and ears and sense of touch can realise. This constitutes the Glory of the Saints, and it is a possession which is treasured up by our people high and low, men and women, as a solace in life beyond all values. (courtesy—Deccan Herald)

Thyagarajanagar Sri Sai Spiritual Centre As I  Know

K. S. Krishnaswamy

Bangalore

In a quite unostentatious corner of an extension of Bangalore, Thyagarajanagar, a Spiritual Centre known as "Sri Sai Adhyathmika Kendra" is carrying out its sacred mission day in and day out over the past nine years or more- Any one that passes by the centre will not fail to hear the soothing sound of the chant of Vishnu Sahasra-nama both in the morning and in the evening daily.

When one enters the sanctum and the prayer hall of the Centre, which is as simple and devoid of show, one can observe the large portrait of Bhagavan Sai Baba, placed in the centre of a specially built graceful but simple mantap. Rows and rows of devotees, men, women and children, engage them­selves in quiet prayer or in reciting Sahasranama over and over again. Peace prevails in the prayer hall and the faces of devotees are lit up by the serene glow that comes out of deep faith and spiritual uplift-ment.

Presiding over and actively part­icipating in all these proceedings is the spiritual head of the mission, Sri Saipadananda Radhakrishna Swamiji who is the preceptor and the soul of the centre. For his seventy-six years, Sri Swamiji is remarkably active and agile posses, sing a tough constitution which comes of leading a severely austere and strictly disciplined life. As can be expected of his constitution and spiritual frame of mind, Sri Swamiji appears much younger than his actual age. His flowing white beard and his attire, his kindly demeanour all remind us of the sages of yore, who formed the back bone of the rich spiritual heritage of India.

Born  in   a   very   respectable family   in  Poyyamozhi of Tiru-chirapally District, he was adopted by a wealthy relative who   gave him a good education during his younger days.    Had he chosen, he would easily   have   led   a  life of affluence and ease.   But God had willed it otherwise, and submitting himself to   the  Divine   Will,  he renounced his title and bondage to material   well-being   and  instead took up the difficult path of Spiritual life.    He got the deep inner urge to give up the selfishness which is the hallmark of affluence, and to take to the selfless service of Humanity by dissemination of spiritual message to one and all around him.   He is a simple straightforward soul perpetually wishing the well-being of all humanity and promoting a spiritual attitude on the part of all those who come in contact with him, and delivering soothing messages to the suffering humanity.

Sri Radhakrishna Swamiji, in his early spiritual life accepted Sri H. H. Narasimhaswamiji as his Preceptor and as the latter was the disciple of Sri Sai Baba of Shirdi, the great sage naturally became the Guru of Swamiji. As the devotee of Sri Sai Baba, Sri Swamiji has taken up the onerous task of foun­ding and conducting several Sai Spiritual Centres, in several parts of India. Sri Swamiji succeeded late Sri H. H. Narasimhaswamiji as the President of the all India Sai Samaj.

Bangalore is indeed fortunate that Sri Swamiji has selected Thayagarajnagar centre as his main base and has been endowing a large part of his time to the deve­lopment of this Bangalore Centre. Sri Swamiji came to Bangalore somewhere in 1952 to organise the activities of the Samaj in the Can­tonment area. While on this work, he visited several parts of the City to select another suitable area to start one more centre- It is due to the singular good fortune of the people of South end of the City that he selected Narasimha Raja Colony initially for the start of his activities.

During the days prior to 1964 he lived in a small room in the first floor of a building belonging to Sri B. S. Krishnamoorthy. Though the place was small, Sri Swamiji attracted a large num­ber of devotees, and spiritual aspi­rants, by the sheer force of his personal magnetism, and ascetic attainments. Very soon the num­ber of devotees grew to such large proportion as to need a permanent spacious mandir to accomodate the daily activities of the Spiritual Centre, where the devotees could gather together and propagate the spiritual activities on a large scale so dear to Swamiji's heart. The desire of the Swamiji was fulfilled when a piece of vacant land in Thyagarajanagar earmarked for this purpose by the late Sri Domlur Krishnamoorthy, another devotee of Sai Baba, was handed over to the newly formed Sai Spiritual Centre, by the late Sri V. S. Sastri who was holding the said land in trust.

In deference to the wishes of Swamiji and mainly due to his personal magnetism, several devo­tees from all parts of India came in voluntary readiness to subscribe to the construction of a mandir on the land donated by Sri Domlur Krishnamoonhy. The mandir which at the beginning consisted of a large hall, a room for the Swamiji and a small kitchen block is now enlarged by adding a room to the last mentioned. There is also a wide verandah round the prayer hall. Needless to say, the spiritual centre whose construction as well as activities are growing day by day, needs further improve­ment of accomodation.

As a branch of the All India Sai Saraaj, the institution is being administered by a committee of trustees headed by Sri C V. Bhaskar Rao. The efficient and orderly management of the financial and social aspects of the centre re­counts to the credit of the dedi­cated members of the trust as well as the constant and careful gui­dance afforded to the Trust by Sri Swamiji.

Sri Swamiji's ministrations are not confined to any one caste, creed or age. Men, women and children of all ages and groups, persons very highly placed or the lowliest of the lowlies are all trea­ted by him equally- Special prayers and poojas are arranged regu­larly. The timings and duration of pooja meetings are so arranged as to be convenient for persons of different walks of life to be able to attend- There is no compul­sion or restriction on any one in regard to the time or observation of prayers or offerings to the diety. In fact, any casual visitor to the Mandir is inexorably drawn to be a permanent devotee by the simp­licity and sincerity with which all programme in the mandir are conducted.

Sri Swamiji is a personal friend, philosopher and guide to all those that seek his help. He is deeply moved by the sufferings confided in him by the affected person and offers prayers on behalf of the stricken. People come away from him with peace of mind and comfort after they listen to his soft spoken advice or solace.

The centre has rightly arran­ged this year to celebrate the Silver Jubilee of the founding of the Centre in Thyagarajanagar. This is an occasion of great importance and spiritual significance to all the devotees and well wishers who have spared no pains or financial offer­ings m building up the centre to its present stage of development during the past 25years. A landmark in the proposed Silver Jubilee celeberation is the installation of a beautifully executed life size marble statue of Sri Sai Baba in the Mandir. It is appropriate to remember in this connection the dedicated services rendered by the late Sri G. Nara-yana Rao and Sri N. Subbaramaiah who were formerly Chairmen of the Committee of Trustees.

My association with the centre and that of my wife, Smt, Sreeran-ganayaki have been of the greatest benefit to us, in our hours of trial and tribulations. I have no doubt whatever that a host of other men and women have been deriving the same benefit from the Centre.

Above all in the present day materialistic world, life with greed, pomp and corruption, the Sai Spi­ritual Centre at Thyagarajanagar has been doing yeoman service in inculcating in the minds of the people the crying need for adopting human and ethical values for the common good.

Love is his Miracle

R. Seshadri

Bangalore

Bharata has produced great saints, seers and God-men. Each of them had a specific mission in life, besides evolving himself spiritually. All of them had some­thing in common. That was their noble effort to elevate their fellow humans to a higher state of cons­ciousness. The means they employ­ed were different, but the goal was the same.

Sri Sai Baba of Shirdi, who attained mahasamadhi in 1918, was unique in that he was human and humane. Unlike most others, he fulfilled the material aspirations also of his devotees so that they could turn God ward once their legitimate desires were satisfied. After all most of them were gri-hasthas.

Baba seemingly performed 'miracles' (very much in demand these days to assess a -saint) by imposing small penalties on his disciples and devotees before granting their prayers for good health and material benefits. Their devotion and faith become steadfast and they were spiritually evolved by the grace of the Guru. The unfailing miracle of Baba was love. He lived for others and strove for the 'happiness' of his devotees, denying himself comforts.

The great lawyer-turned re­cluse Sri Narasimha Swamiji, who has immortalised himself by dis­covering for our benefit here and hereafter, 'Shirdi' Sai Baba, incu­lcated in Sai devotees the value of discipline and love. Because of his strenuous and hazardous work for the propagation of the Sai cult in South India, there are now thousands of ardent devotees steep­ed in the bliss of Sai Ram and Sai Nam.

H. H. Sri Saipadanada Radha-krishna Swamiji, the chief disciple of Sri Narasimha Swamiji, who had initiation from Sri Narayan Maharaj earlier, is the logical and appropriate successor of Sri Nara-simha Swamiji. Sri Swamiji has all the great and divine qualities of all these great saints : Self-abne­gation, a total absence of ego, modesty and love.

Sri Radhakrishna Swamiji's captivating smile, compassionate look and positive thinking make immediate impact on even stran­gers who go to him. All visitors, devotees, people with an open mind and those with prejudices, who meet him derive the same ex­perience : quietude and tranqua-llity. Even without mentioning their personal problems, they feel light at heart, the depressing load of their nagging troubles being re­moved from them inexplicably.

The Swamiji shuns publicity and ostentation. He instructs his devotees not to make much of their spiritual experiences through his grace. It is a very common occurrence in the Sai Mandir for people (even strangers) to mention to him the Swamiji appeared in their dreams to give them 'manthropadesa' or some wholesome advice. He stops them and disarmingly says "It is all the Lord's play." He commands recitation of Sahasranama to one all and all for peace, plenty and prosperty.

The Swamiji is always a gene­rous giver and rarely a taker. Whatever edible is offered by visitors, he at once distributes it to all those present and occasionally takes a bit of it if the devotees in­sist, taking it as Narayana 'pra-sadam'. His intake of food is minimum and he says that "distri­bution of food to others and group recitation of Sahasranama keep my stomach full and satisfied."

The Swamiji obeys his master-— Baba—implicitly and immedia­tely. That is why his plans of visits and tours are changed in the last minute. Entraining at the City Railway Station for Madras and detraining at Cantonment cancelling the journey, the Swamiji comes back to the ashram baffling his devotees. This has happened many a time. The same is the case in regard to air travels also. All this is just because he gets a message or signal from the Saint of Shirdi. The Swamiji does not make any discrimination among the numerous devotees or visitors from all walks of life and different social strata, who go to him, I foolishly asked him about 20years back whether the Swamiji was not partial in 'bestowing his attention on-those who went to him.

He replied with an affectionate smile ; "Partiality is only in your mind. I am impartial. Each one gets what he deserves, depending on his sincerity and the legitimacy of his desire. He must be receptive also. When I sometime try to pass on my grace to some individuals, it comes back to me failing to register itself. When I am given a few good seeds to raise healthy, big trees, how can I sow them in concrete soil ? I must ensure that the soil is also fertile, So each gets what he should."

Sai Baba had said on some occasion; "When I can grant oceans of bliss, he (the seeker) comes with a small pot upside down. What can he carry from me ?"

Some three years back, when I entered the Swamiji's cottage one evening, he was intently listening to an American Professor of Philo­sophy, who was enthusiastically narrating the miracles of some saints. I intervened to say that I had the privilege of knowing the greatest saint, who was capable of all miracles but cast them away as obstscles to spiritual progress. He was the greatest because he had refrained from using his abundant Siddhis.

The curious American Profes­sor asked me to name him so that he could meet him. I just pointed at the Swamiji, who laughed out.

The Swamiji "my mentor and benefactor” the "Karuna Sagara" (ocean of compassion) has relieved innumerable people, of all castes and communities, of their suffer­ings, fulfilled their wishes, ensured their material and spiritual well-being, effecting revolutionary transformations through his potent, unfailing and benevolents weapon: Love. His love is universal, exten­ding to birds and animals, inclu­ding wild one's- There were many such occasions when these recipi­ents had respond to the Swamiji's call in their own characteristic way. The devotees had witnessed every one of these phenomena.

May the Lord keep him with us for long so that he can elevate people and serve humanity.

Some Messages given by Sri Radhakrishna Swamiji

B. S. Narayana Murthy

Bangalore

The daily programme of the Sai Spiritual centre consists in conducting poojas at the shrine, that is, Sri Sai Baba's life size portrait and statuettes and pictures of other deities installed in the "sanctum sanctorum" where the magnificent marble statue of Sri Sai Baba is now being installed-Recitation of Sri Vishnu Sahasra-nama, reading of the Bhagavadgita, Bhajan and Arathi also form part of the daily routine. Rudrabhi-sbeka on Mondays and Thursdays and "Go-pooja" on Fridays are special features.

On special occasion such as Guru poornima- Vyasa Poornima, Baba's Mabasamadhi Day, Sri Ram Navami, Gita Jayanthi, Sri Jayanthi etc., special poojas, homas and havanas appropriate to the occasion are performed in addition to the daily routine.

On each such occasion, Sri Radhakrishna swamiji issues a "Message" explaining the spiritual significance of the occasion and also giving practical guidance to the devotees, as to how the occasion could be availed of to improve their temporal and spiritual attain­ments.

A few messages issued on such occasions are reproduced here.

Vyasa Purnima Message

" Tatova Imani Bhutani Jayante

Tena Jatani Jeevanti

Tat Prayanti Abhisam Viscanti

Tad Brahma"

That is, God is That from which all these things, or beings arise; That which maintain all That into which all are withdrawn ultimately. Therefore, this tendency to Unity draws us to the main outlines of the God idea. And So, this god idea, as expressed in the above sloka is not a simple or absolute idea. It is three in one and one in three. One will do well not to overemphasize this so called Unity of God, at least to the extent of abhorring religions stressing other features of godhead. Prima­rily God is that which has unlimited power, thereby contrasted with man who has limited power. God is that which has unlimited exce­llences of perfection, etc, whereas man has only a few good qualities and abundance of limitations. God is the perfection not merely of power but also of kindness and grace that come to the rescue of man, and help him out of his helplessness; God is thus essentially omnipotence, omniscience and all perfect love. In evolving these ideas, mankind had always to utilise those great souls, the prophets, the seers, the saints, etc., through whom such stores of the above ex­cellences were manifested in claim­ing to bless the men that approached them. It is through men and men's excellences that the god idea was formed primarily, and these men were the god-men. They were the men of light and leading and were the destroyers of darkness- Therefore, they were gurus in every sense-Guru means the great one, the per­fect one. Guru also means the dest­royer of darkness, intellectual or spiritual. Therefore, as a matter of fact these leading lights of humanity were worshipped as gurudevas, and guru worship may have been the ori­gin of all worship next in each parti­cular group of human beings, the forms of worship multiplied and de­veloped into worship and religion. It is the wisest for all sane people not to despise the religion that is practised by others, if, especially the results of adoption of religion in the concerned communities is as good as might be expected in any group of human beings. Monotheist must respect the best religious thought and practice developed amongst polytheist or pantheists. One of the best institutions deve­loped amongst polytheists is Guru worship. To some with western ideas this may seem strange. The guru is after all a human being who is seen and handled ; where as God is something unseen and too great to be handled, and ergo, the guru cannot be god, say some. To such logicians, one should point out that human nature does not proceed by logic but by actual experiences of various sorts, and that abstractions derived from our practice if fumbled together in the form of syllogisms, may lead to conclusions totally wrong. We must test our conclu­sions from time to time by the actual facts of experience. Adapt­ing this pragmatic test, every honest man must declare that in the records of history many great names of eminent spiritual giants can be found where guru worship has lead to the best results. Sri Rama Krishna Paramahamsa is one standing instance. Sri Chaitanya, Sri Nittai, etc., form other instance. Kabir, Samartha Ramadas, Sri Sai Baba and others form excellent instances to show that guru wor­ship has been a very important fact, if not the sole important fact, in deciding the spiritual destiny of such great souls. Baba in fact said, 'We need no other sadhana; the guru is only our sadhana'. And his method was absolute surrender and implicit faith in everything uttered by the guru. The result was a life of harmony of ideas, a life of brilliant service to humanity, a life that developed into a personality with full powers of siddhis utilised almost wholly to the cause of service to humanity.

Guru Gita defines Guru Marga as that form of Bhakti Marga in which faith in and devotion to the Guru is the only sadhana for achie­ving every end including salvation, mukti or Brahmaikya, conquest of samsara and also all yoga siddhis and temporal welfare.

Baba's stress on Guru—

1.       A realised guide is needed to show the path of spirituality, who is but Guru himself.

2.       Mere talk with bookish know­ledge will be of no use at all to help one to realise God and himself.

3.       On the path of spirituality, humility, receptivity, and a powerful desire to reach the goal with the aid of a Guru and surrender everything to the Guru, is absolutely nece­ssary-

4.       Guru's grace only is one's sadhana. Jnana -or wisdom comes as experiences or in the wakes of Guru's grace.

5.       He alone succeeds who feels the Guru is the one thing need­ful.  In short, 'studies do not suffice,' without a guru, there is no relisation,   says, Rev. Narasimha Swamiji. Baba favours the true religion based   on   'Love,    equality   and justice', the religion that raises us above the flesh on to the spirit, the absorption into which, must be the goal of all religious endeavour. In his presence all religions were treated with equal respect and consideration and the feelings of all visitors were carefully respected. Thereby, he stuck to the essence of all religions and drew people by his wondorous love and mysterious powers as also by his supreme wisdom to adopt a common-course promoting alike the temporal and spiritual advancement of all de­votees and of the nation.

Baba-~"Guru God" is all in all! There is no one higher than Guru. He is real and Infinite.

May the ever glowing spiritual light of Shirdi bless all with His benign grace.

Baba's Maha Samadhi Message

People very often forget the true nature of the realised human beings and are carried away by external forms of appearances their environ­ments etc. 5 rather than go deep into the real personality of the realised being concerned. Just for instance, in our short study, we take Sri Sai Baba of Shirdi. At the outset people generally ask why Sri Sai Baba should be idolised, worshipped and offered prayers etc., as if he him­self is a God.

Students of philosophy will know the great significance that underly the upanishad sentence—"That Thou Art"—which explains the complete identity of the individual Self and the Universal Self. Every being in the universe is inherently Divine ; which aspect is very latent and the very purpose of evolution consists in the unfoldment of the inherent divinity through the medium of matter. This inherent Divinity of each being is completly forgotten due to the powerful influence of Divine Illusion (called by various names as Maya etc.)

Every now and then, the Divine sends forth persons with vast powers, knowledge and bliss of the Supreme to deal with individual Jivas and help them out of their involution to evolve into the Supreme being. As one Master of Wisdom observes that the Guru God is not confined to the small human body but extends far beyond-covering the entire uni­verse on one side and on the other, very subtle and therefore enters as "Sarva Antaryami" into all hearts-We may add that the work of Sad-Guru consists in giving all possible help to the Aspirants from within and without, in their attainment of Self-Realisation-Sri Sainath is one such Sad-Guru who descended to the world with all powers, knowledge and bliss of the supreme to help the masses, to create a feeling of intense devotion in their hearts, in order to drag them on in the spiritual path. Sai Baba used to cater to their material needs also, with the only idea that the people, should understand the very purpose of life's existence and take their own efforts, of course, with the help of the Guru to attain Self-Realisation.

The Self-realisation is attained by the complete eradication of Vasanas, the ego mentality, the con­quest of the cravings of the senses, verily seeing in all beings the Lord, transcending the pairs of opposites. Living ever in a tranquil mood being ever absorbed in the contem­plation of the Self, in complete disregard for the external forces that generally drag the attention of even the most enlightened ones and at the same time working for the betterment of mankind as a whole without associating himself either in action or in the result of action but, dedicating all to the Lord with the idea that he is not the doer, but only the instrument in His hands to work out His Will. Therein consists the glory of Self-realisation and one who attains that state, becomes indeed a fit instrument to work out the Divine will in all its Glory and delight. Such a one is Sri Sai Baba.

For the realised ones, all powers and knowledge reveal as it were, a matter of course. By their control over the forces that sway in Microcosm (i.e., in the body) they verily can control forces that sway in the macrocosm (i.e., in the universe). Such realized ones can assume any form, God or other nature. As they have become one with the Absolute, they really, as already observed, enter into the hearts of all beings as "Sarva Antaryami". Such a one is Sri Sai Baba.

When such realised ones leave the human body, when the purpose of their taking the human form is over, they again merge in the Absolute.

Sri Sai Baba preached the Gospel of Love and truth and his life was mainly dedicated for the removal of ignorance in the minds of men and help them all in the Living of Universal Brotherhood without having any hatred because of caste, colour, creed  or natio­nality.

In conclusion we may observe that there is no distinction at all between the realized being and the God, as both become One.

And as such there is no harm or discredit in the worship of rea­lized ones such as Sri Sai Baba as Guru-God.

As Bhagavan Krishna observes in Geeta that He, in whatever form or in whatever name is worshipped, it is He that is really being wor­shipped and that it is He that confers the necessary boons to the devotees concerned coming to them if necessary, in the form of their own choice. It is needless to say, that form and name do not matter at all, but, what matters is the sincere devotion to the cause taken and the complete faith and self-surrendered to the Will Supreme dedicating everything to Him and to Him only-Glory to Sri Sainath and His mission ! May Sri Sainath holiest of holies bless us all with such wisdom and humility to attain the everlasting peace and plenty in the world.

May the Universal spirit of Sri Sainath, pervade and permeate the very cells of our beings and may our lives continue to be a source of inspiration and blessing to all His children everywhere, spreading Life Light and Love ever and ever. Gita Jayanthi Message

Mattah Parataram Naanyat Kinchidasti Dhananjaya ; Mayi Sarvamidam Protam Sootre Manigana Iva.

"Nothing there is beside Myself, I hold all like the thread holds the beeds." says the Gita. The Divine Himself became the many. To find all—embodied Lord within, to fix one self in the Atman which He is, is the real way of conscious eternal unity. Until that unity in the self is achieved no social gathering, no preaching, no external mental or vital means can bring about perma­nent unity in the humanity. Humanity is blindfolded with the divided mentality and is wandering here and there aimlessly to reach unity.

There is but ONE, the only one that is. It is the Brahman which is Sat (Existence), Chit (Knowledge or awareness), Ananda (Bliss)." Brahman is God Paramathma, Purushothama Kshethiagna.   He expands Himself through His su­preme Prakriti or Paramashakti every where embracing all, all His becomings. He is the life of lives, the fulfilment of all lives. He is the fount of Peace, Bliss and Beauty in life. Variously do men paint Him. In every   several guise,   He is the only one that is.    He is knowing's essence.  He is the Transcendent, the Universal,  the Individual. He is the Paramathma,   Vishwathma and Jivathma.    He is the highest, the purest,  the most blissful, the Truth—Light, Life, Love, Freedom and Beauty in all. He sheds His Graceful Light equally upon all. The pure and the awakened  one embrace Him  and enjoy His em­brace.

To find that Paramathma is to find yourself. He is within you as your Supreme Self in your heart's Sanctum. To possess Him in the self is to possess and enjoy Him in all- He is the one in the many. Real Love and Real Union is found in the self. Everything is dear to you for the soul is dear to you. When you are conscious of the self, You can be conscious of the self in all—the All-Self   and expand your self, your love, your power, peace, joy etc., to all that lives. Then alone your love is a living love embracing all that lives. Then   you   see   lives as   moving temples; you see yourself in all. The whole Macrocosm lives in you and you as the  Macrocosm live in all.    You are then yourself and all the  selves.   This harmonious and real inner and eternal unity dissolves your seperate, egoistic individuality in the collective individuality. You are then inseperable from all. Such a self-union in God —awareness or cosmic conscious­ness is the real unity, real bond of love in real peace and bliss.     It is upon this rock of peace that the harmony of the multifaced Human existence can stand firm upto aeons. It is towards this peace, bliss and beauty in existence that we go find­ing and expanding our self.  If that fountainhead of Truth is attained, then alone we can transform by it our mental, vital and the material life too.

Our ideal is to be ever ener­getic, active, agile and divine sol­diers of God. We have to embrace God in earth life with all our spiritual richness. Divine, Dyna­mic energism in a life of eternal peace, bliss and beauty is our pur­pose. We aspire to perfect our­selves and be a centre of self-perfecting force. Our purified be­ing can draw that force from everywhere for, that God force fills all the space, You will know what that force is when your inner be­ing awakens. That force is pouring into you ; flows into your self. To receive that force you have to completely give your self upto the Lord? Paramashakti (Sai) and open inner communion with Him. All our hearts we must consecrate and make into a garland for Him. We must have our being in God. This spi­ritual communion of all with one Supreme raises our human con­sciousness to God consciousness and we all find ourselves united into one Divine Communion, one Universal Nation of God's child­ren. Our kingdom on earth is then God's kingdom where we live in perfect self-consummation, Self-Union, a life of the soul in this body, a life of Supreme Peace, Bliss and Beauty for it is the All-peaceful, All-blissful consecrated life. It is towards the divine life of peace, bliss and beauty, towards a new dawn of the spiritual com­munism that we have set our foot. Let us head on that ocean fount of Divinity and fertilise all our lower members with its abun­dance. Our very body must be radiant with divine beauty ; our nerves must overflow with pure Divine energy ; our mind must be ablazed with dazzling Divine ; our senses must embrace in Divine Ananda- Our heart must be a perennial stream of Biiss. When thus our body, life, mind and heart divinely transform them­selves then alone we are divine and dynamic centre of Divinity. Then our life will be rooted in the divine consciousness and we can enjoy the kingdom of God within and without.

See thyself in all and be free from fear and weakness Shrink not from aught.

Expand thyself,

No grief shall be when oneness is seen everywhere

Know the Truth and live the Truth and be the Truth-

We are one and He many. We are the whole as well as the part. We are individuals in collec­tive body. We need not fear birth and death- We need not shrink from life and society. We shall embrace God in the Self as well as in the wider self, and the Universe. We must possess? enrich, expand and enhance life's empire.

Know you must the self in you The God in all that lives ;

To embrace your wider—you Be your self all that is.

Sri Rama Navami Message

In Kali, Name alone is the easiest means ; there is no other path. The chanting of Lord's Name reduces all sins even as fire, all dross. Once Narada asked Brahma thus-How could one cross Kali,—to which Brahma answered. "One can cross or shake of Kali only by reciting the Name of 'Lord Narayana' the Prime Being." The Japa Yajna or chanting of Lord's Name incessantly does not involve even an injury to any being in the form of sacrifice ; it is an "Ahimsa Yajna". For the performance of it, one need not even collect men, money or material, nor observe any particular time, place or procedure.

The Vishnu Parana says : "Medi­tation in Kritayuga sacrifices in Treta, worship in Dwapara,—what these give, that one attains in Kali by merely uttering the name of the Lord. There is the Lord's name, there is the tongue to chant the name.   Why should we not use the same and be benefited thereby ?

Sri Rama Navami is the Jayanthi the birth date of the one of the Avathars of Sri Maha Vishnu the day of great rejoicing. The world from the by-gone ages and is still worshipping Sri Rama-chandra so devoutly and dearly as a sole protector and preserver of Dharma. It goes to prove the truth in its existence. Sri Rama-chandra is the friend of the uni­verse, is the source of life, is the giver of happiness, is the remover of grief and delusion, pain and misery is the ruler of time, is the teacher of all men and is the ocean of mercy.

The Name 'Rama' is a synthe­sis of the essence of the 'Narayana Astakshari and the 'Siva Panchak-shari its two letters being extrac­ted from the two mantras (Rama Rahasyopanishad).

'If the elixir of 'Rama-Nama', which is the seed or root of all mantras or sacred formulas, enters the heart one shall not be afraid of entering a pool of deadly poison, or a devastating fire or even the jaws of Death" (Maha-Sambu-Samita}.

"It is Repha and Bindu of 'Rama Nama' pervading in Pranava which is alleged to be pointed out to the adepts by the Sadguru in the above verse. In reality Pranava is same. Both are one and the same without distinction. (Kapila Gita Padma Purana).

Lord Siva says to the Divine Mother Parvati Devi thus : The Mystic syllable OM (Pranava) which is the bestower of salvation and a symbol of the formula That Thou Art' (Tatwamasi) the foremost doctrine of the Vedas, is derived from 'Rama Nama'.    (Maha Rama-yand).

"The one-syllable Brahma 'Ram', is the origin of Pranava OM. That is why Brahma, Vishnu, Siva and the Yogis adore it (Ekak-shara (one syllable) Brahaman, (Pulastya Samhita) 'There are seven crores (seventy millions) of such major mantra, 'Rama Nama' is their very soul and their illuminator' - Moreover, their Bija (seed) of each and every mantra must necessarily be supported by Bindu as in 'Hrim', Klim', Hroung etc., (Maha Ramayana).

Lord Siva says : Rama Nama is pervaded by (composed of) six elements-viz., Jiva (individual soul Brahman (Absolute, Afahanadha the great cosmic sound), and three more which are enumerated below:

viz., Svara. 'Bindu and Divya Maya. The Repha (Ra) of the word Rama is the symbol of Para Bramha (the ultimate Reality), the vowel 'a' in the syllable (ma) stands for Jiva the vowel 'si' involved in the syllable 'Ra' is a symbol of Nada (Cosmic Sound) and the long vowel 'sir' in the same letter is known as Svara. The consonant V (ma) is another name for Bindu and the root of Pranava is Sabdha Brahma, the root cause of Sabdha-Sastra. Rama uttara Jopini says that Rama Mantra is called Taraka, as it enables one to cross over the Samsara as Taraka Namadheye, 'He whose name saves one.' Taraka is Brahman and Rama is Brahman. This is constantly chanted and praised by Lord Siva in 'Vishnu Sahasranama also. Siva expounded to Parvathi thus— 'SRI RAMA RAMA RAMETI RAME RAAME MANORAME SHASRANAMA TATTULYAM RAMA NAMA VARA-ANANE,"

Is it possible for anyone to describe the Ananda one derives from chanting 'Rama Nama'? Who knows its measure, quantity and quality? Only true and great devo­tees like Prahlada, Sri Maruthi, Sri Thyagaraja, Purandaradasa and other holiest of holies know it.

Blessed are those that ever remain immersed in the thought of Lord Sri Ramachandra. Glory to Sri Rama and His Name and to the devotees who bathe in the Amrut (Nectar) of 'Ram Nam' the unfailing source of Bliss, 'Satchidananda'. May we all live in the abode of 'Ram Nam' through constant remembrance     and Lord's Name utterance    of Prostration's to Sri Rama­chandra, the abode of all happi­ness. May happiness, prosperity and peace be unto the Universe.

May Lord Sri Sitarama shower His choicest Blessings on us. OM.

Our  Guru,   Our   God

Rajamma and Rangaswamy Parthasarathy

Madras

In this age of Kali there are many saints in our land known and unknown to us. As one thinks of writing about Sri Radhakrishna Swamiji, disciple of Sri Narasimha Swamiji, who enabled us to know about Ramana Maharishi and Sai Baba through his writings and dis­courses, his grace, love and compas­sion stand before our eyes. It is not easy to write about Sri Radha­krishna Swamiji. Every one has to feel his influence from his own experience. But one may try for his own self-satisfaction.

Bright like the sun and soft and pleasant like the moon through his grace many things happen in a man's life from morning to even­ing. To think of his qualities and to hear and talk about them is sweeter than nectar. Ordinarily people understand their guru and following his commands get his blessings. But our Guru, our God treats the rich and poor equally and impartially and has the gift of moving with them according to their temperament. No one who has once seen this great saint, who pours his love on all irrespective of their status or position, can resist the desire to see him again. A man of grace and love, he is also the personification of humility and virtue. He is patience personified and has never been known to raise his voice while talking to anyone. His greatest achievement is to hear patiently the trials and tribulations of those who come to him and speak to them words of comfort and solace which would give them peace of mind and courage. He has the ability to solve the knottiest problems with ease.

When we pray to him his response always is : "God is great, let us pray to him". But the won­derful thing is the moment we open out our hearts to him, we feel our burden lightened and our minds freer. He is a disciplinarian like a parent but his love and affection are those of a mother. He is a Guru par excellence. He uses the weapon of love to lead people on the righteous path. He is the greatest example of the truth that God can come to earth and live among us as an equal and understanding our minds be one of us. To those who ask us: What can your Guru do, can he give us all that we ask, our reply is : "There is nothing that he cannot do." But before we ask him for anything we must assure him of two things, patience and confidence. A child demands of its mother so many things but she decides what is good for him and gives it to him. So also our Guru understands our true needs and circumstances and satis­fies us without hesitation.

What a great saint he is ! He moves with the innocence of a child drawing all those who come to him with his love and simplicity. His message is that if everyone shows love to others there can be no greater happiness in this world. Love is the only weapon he knows, none other. He hates to be praised or talked about and would rather remain in the background. He likes to give everything to others, he does not want anything for himself. In these days there are people who are misled by imposters and false gums and get lost in the battle of life. The real saints, who are like unrefined gold are undiscovered and unutilised. It is our duty to find them through our own efforts and seek their blessing, they by them­selves will not come forward. To get their blessing we have to steady our mind, this mind which behaves like a monkey and is restless all the time, like a sandalwood which spreads its sweet smell from wher­ever it is so also our Guru sheds his blessings to his devotees from wherever he is. He protects us and guards over us and all our troubles scatter away as the mist before the rays of the sun. Each experience reveals afresh the glory of our Guru. In this uncertain and trou­bled world our Guru's grace, pour­ing like rain, brings peace to tortu­red minds and solace to hearts in despair. He has one mantra which he wants all of us to chant as many times a day as possible and that is Vishnu Sahasranamam.

We are fortunate that although we could not see Sai Baba or Sri Narasimha Swamiji in person we are able to get the blessings of these great saints through the grace of Sri Radhakrishna Swamiji. Let us always deserve his blessings.

Dr. K. B. Gavankar—A brief Sketch

G. D. Samant

Bombay

At seventytwo today, Dr. Keshav Bhagwant alias Annasaheb Gavankar is one of those very few living persons who had the rare privilege and fortune of seeing Shri Saibaba himself, a few months before his Mahasamadhi in October 1918.

Dr. Gavankar was born on Saturday, the 28th April 1906 at Arnala, near the historic Janjira Fort north of Bombay, in Thane District. He received his primary education at Ratnagiri and his secondary education at his birth place. He came down to Bombay for appearing for his matriculation examination and has, since then, settled in Bombay itself. Once while return­ing from his school, he had an opportunity of having a "darshan" of Shri Sadguru Satam Maharaj who was at that time considered to be an avatar of Lord Dattatreya and who continues to this day, to be a household name in the Konkan region. Shri Satam Maharaj called him near himself and offered him a bottle of beer, which actually tasted like plain water. This meeting with a saint was a forerunner of many more such meetings with different saints in the life of Dr. Gavankar and in fact, it laid the foundation of his spiritual life in times to come.

In the first week of January 1918, Dr. Gavankar, at the age of 12 years, accompanied his uncle to Shirdi for the first time to fulfil his mother's vow undertaken by her during her son's illness at the tender age of seven years. Shri Saibaba, on seeing the child called him near himself and to the surprise of all present, reminded the visitors of the vow. Shri Baba fondled young Gavankar and fed him with a plantain with his own hands.

Later, he asked for "Two Paise" from the child. The child was confused but Shri Madhavrao Deshpande alias "Shyama" came to his rescue. He took young Gavan-kar's right hand in his own and put it firmly in Shri Baba's out stretch­ed hands with the words "take these 2 paise". Shri Baba promptly put those 2 symbolic paise representing "Faith" and "Patience" in the right hand pocket of his kafani. As a momento of that historic occasion, Shri Baba presented that Kafani to Dr. Gavankar which has been preserved by him as a valuable treasure to this day.

Dr. Gavankar also owes his spiritual progress to the .blessings of his Moksha-Guru Dr. T. V. Samant who was an ardent devotee of lord Ganesha. Dr. Gavankar has, like a true disciple inherited his Ganesh-bhakti from his Guru.

In 1932, Dr. Gavankar decided to dedicate his body and soul to the service of Shri Saibaba and has, all along spent every moment of his active life towards that end.

He served as the chairman of the Board of Trustees of Shri Sai-Baba Samsthan, Shirdi between 1950 and 1955. He was the Editor of "Shri Sai Leela" for 8 years from 1948. He has been the author of 2 informative books in Marathi on Shri Sai Baba and has contributed over 100 articles on thought provo­king subject to "Shri Sai leela". He had undertaken a short trip to USA in June 1975 at the invitation of the local residents to enlighten them about the teachings of Shri Sai Baba- His residence at Kurla in Bombay is a solace for all those who are undergoing one kind of agony or the other and his views on Shri Sai Baba are eagerly sought by all whose deity is Shirdi's Shri Sainath. May Shri Baba bless him with a long and healthy life to carry on his mission !

Sri Avasthi Maharaj

S. G. Tiwari

Bangalore

Among the select few who assisted Sri Narasimha Swamiji in his quest for authentic information about Shirdi Sai Baba was Sri Narayan Purushottam Avasthi, popularly known in the Sai Circle as "Kakasaheb." Sri Avasthi was born on April 12, 1897 in a highly respected well-to-do family. The Avasthi family had migrated to Pune from Uttar Pradesh and had made it their home town for gene­rations. Sri Purushottam Avasthi, Sri Narayan's father, had served as a District and Sessions Judge in the holy towns of Ujjain, Gwalior and Indore, and he was the first member of the Avasthi family to visit Shirdi.

Sri Narayan Avasthi was attracted to Shirdi Sai Baba even at the early age of 18 because of his association with Justice M.B. Rege, and remained a life-long devotee of Baba. He was a constant visitor at Shirdi in spite of his old age, and some times he visited the shrine even three or four times a year. His meeting with Sri Nara-simha Swamiji, another great devotee of Baba led to a fruitful association as a result of which, eventually, Baba's life story came to be written and the All India Sai Samaj formed. Can there be any doubt that the meeting between the two devotees took place by the blessings of Baba. Subsequently, Sri Avasthi came in contact with Sri Radhakrishna Swamiji also, an equally ardent disciple of Baba.

So great was Sri Avasthi's devotion to Baba that he visited distant places like Bangalore in connection with the work of Sai institutions established there. No wonder that his sons and daughters imbibed from him a deep bhakti towards Baba. Old age takes its toll. But to die without being bedridden is a blessing that only Baba can confer. As gradually his limbs became weakened due to old age, Sri Avasthi used to pray to Baba to take him away without making him bedridden and without making him dependent on others however devoted they might be and however willing they might be to serve him. In fact Sri Avasthi had a premonition of his impending death. On August 31, 1976, he came back from his bath and felt some restlessness. Observing this, his daughter-in-law offered him some lemon juice. He declined the juice and asked for "Sai Udhi". As soon as he took it, he uttered the name of Sai Baba and breathed his last.

Thus Baba granted Kakasaheb's wish and Sri Avasthi died without being bed ridden for a moment. He died in peace with Baba's holy name on his lips. What more can one ask ?

Letters of a Saint

(A Collection)

B. K  Raghu Prasad

Bangalore

10-1-1972

Blessed Children of Baba :

After our routine read this message to our comrades in spiri­tuality. Here are a few thoughts to think and rethink to mould ourselves-

The Lord simply prompts the Jivas to act in conformity with their nature. All activities carried on during the day time are condu­cted in the light of the Sun. The Sun, however, is not responsible for the virtuous or sinful acts of anyone. Action is not the main factor which contributes to one's bondage; it is the motive attending it which binds us. He performs his legitimate duties as enjoined by the scriptures in conformity with his nature never incurs sin- The Lord prompts us to perform only legiti­mate acts; He never incites us to perpetrate sins. Only such actions as are performed with a selfish motive and out of attachment or repulsion lead to virtue or sin.

Attraction and repulsion are rooted in all sense objects. Man should never come under this sway, because these are two main stumbling blocks in his way.

This proves that the Lord prompts us to act in conformity with our nature, free from partiality and prejudice and that man is free to obey or disobey His commands. That is why he experiences pleasure and pain and hence it is his actions which are swayed by likes and dislikes are classified as good or bad.

Just as robbers and thieves enter the house unawares so evil thoughts enter the mind unawares. Once we become critical of all such thinking, it will be impossible for any such thought to enter our mind or, if it enters, to stay there. Drop by drop, the ocean is filled, so too, gradually a new conscious­ness is built up by self effort. The Spiritual freedom for which a man aspires does not come as a gift of any being, it comes by self effort.

Pains and miseries teach us the lesson of relinquishing the life of degradation and raising ourselves high.

Yours sincerely

Radhakrisna Swamiji

12-1-1972

Blessed Children of Baba :

Actions are born of thoughts. As we think, so do our lives be­come. To live, therefore, in a high plane of thought is to make our life noble. Each thought is a force. This force goes on accumulating from day to day. At one time it becomes very powerful and then it bursts forth into actual overt actions.

A thought affects one's life to the extent to which it arouses feel­ings. Knowing is a matter of the conscious level, feeling belongs to the realm of unconscious. The thought gets a feeling tone when we again and again bring it to the mind. The constant meditation upon an idea creates a feeling about it or it releases some impri­soned feeling. Hence the more we dwell upon a healthy thought the better. Similarly the more we think unhealthy thoughts the lower do we bring our lives.

When the undesirable thoughts get control of our mind, that is when they become inhabitants of our inner mind, it is not possible to drive them out easily.

"This world is like a market place where the wise man increa­ses his capital gains four fold and manifold while the idiot loses it entirely".

Prevention (as elsewhere) is better than cure.

 

Yours sincerely,

Radhakrishna Swamiji

Lord's Loving Blessings,

15-1-1972

Blessed Devotees of the Lord :

The more the Love becomes pure? the more will it turn God-ward ; and where there is divine love, fearlessness and the sense of security will grow to such an ex­tent that in the performance of duty, in the utterance of truth, in doing good to others, in rendering service sacrificing his all, and in facing the greatest trails of life, man will not experience the least amount of fear, while, remaining strongminded wise powerful, brave, heroic, he will be, at the same time exceptionally humble, polite, sweet in words, judicious jn action and peaceful by nature. He will cause not the least injury to another. He w ill be wholly un­selfish, possessed of faith in God ever depending on God's grace and constantly merged in an ocean of joy.

To him God is Light, and "God is Love",—it is always darkest be­fore the dawn, and the Light will disperse the darkness and Love shall prevail, for God is all in all.

If we love Him and are devo­ted to Him in the true sense of ths word, our greatest joy and greatest privilege should be to do His bidding and do everything in his name.

The Supreme Self abides in all hearts. He is the only reality in the changing world. This self in the form of Sri Krishna dwells equally in every human heart. There is nothing moving or un-moving that may exist bereft of Him

Radhakrishna Swamiji

Advice to Devotees

(From the dairy of a devotee)

15 April 1974

It is around 7 O'clock   in the evening.   Even   at   the   gate  the Sahasranama chanting is audible-Swamiji has returned from Madras to day. He seems to be in deep me­ditation. After the Sahasranama, the Rudra abhishekam has started. Swamiji is talking with me casually. Meanwhile, two devotees have come and are prostrating before Swamiji. They seem to be eager to talk with Swamiji. In the course of the conversation, it is learnt that one of them is from Bhadra-vati. He is a doctor by name G.

The other gentleman is his friend employed in Bangalore-"I had been to Shirdi recently" G. is telling Swamiji. "I learnt about you there. I have come to receive your blessings- lam very much interested in spiritual practices. Swamiji. please bless me for my success in this." Swamiji is silent. He seems to be thinking about something very intently. Now he is answering slowly : "You had been to Shirdi- Baba's blessings are on you already. Do not worry." G., is describing his spiritual experi­ences to Swamiji.

G : "Once in meditation I could not locate whether it was morning or night. I forgot even the day. Some times I become afraid and get upset after such ex­periences. What shall I do ?"

S: -"Don't worry- You see the Lord is existing as the antarya-min. He will look after all these things.    How  long   were   you in meditation ?"

G : "May be -about an hour or an hour and a half."

Swamiji is carefully listening and noding his head.

G : "Swamiji, sometimes sud­denly some sounds are heard in the ear. Then the mind also tries to go with them. Is this all right ?"

S: "Oh yes. That is good. You meditate on that itself."

G : "I do pranava japa. But while doing my other works and attending to the patients, I am unable to repeat the long omkara. Does this matter ?"

S: "No, no. It does not matter. While you are busy with other things, even if it becomes hrasva (short) it is all right."

All through the bhajans Swamiji sat with his eyes closed. It seemed as though the world did not exist­ing as for as he was concerned. After the final arati, Swamiji is gradually adjusting himself. Now he is voluntarily talking with the devotees sitting nearby :

"As we meditate the mind gradu­ally enters a blank state.   This is what is generally referred to as brahmi-jnana. Once this level is reached, there is no necessity to turn towards the world. This is what happened to me today. In that state I could have stayed for a very long time. There, all the modes of the mind would have vanished. Ramana Maharshi used to stay in that state only for long periods. Some people like to be at the level of the gunas. This is also perfectly all right. Shehsadri Swami was fond of staying at the level of the gunas.

In these things,  there  is no­thing like higher or lower.    Saints live at the places and   levels   best suited to them.   One living in the gunas enjoys the play of the Lord.... Yesterday in the train   a  funny incident took place.   A Tamil film actor by name R., travelled with me. He asked me many things. It seems he was a  devotee   of Baba    for about two years.   Afterwards he had lost his   faith.   He   told   me  "Baba has left my hands."   I laug­hed at his words and said "Baba has not left either your hands or legs ! due to lack of faith you only have left him."   You,  see some times people ask   me  'you  have   done sadhana all  these years. What is it that you   have   achieved-   What siddhis have you acquired ?' What one can say for these questions. The mind of our people has decended to such a low level. As a Government official says I have made ten thousand rupees', should one say even on the spiritual path that one has so many siddhis ? Some people ask me 'why don't you wear saffron clothes ?' How to answer this. What is the use of this external dress. The most im­portant thing is vairagya. Without that, what is the use of just wearing an ochre robe and holding a staff? That actor asked me what shall I practise ? When do I get realizatition ?' I told him 'you get realization only when all the blood in the body gets sub­limated.' You see, as Baba has said ; kama, krodha and lobha should vanish. Till then one can not get the vision of the Lord. There was a lady also by his side. I don't know whether or not she was his wife. He kept on asking me 'what sadhana shall I do?' In the beginning he was somewhat arrogant, but, after some time he sat on the floor and asked. 'Swamiji now tell me.' (All are laughing) What can be achieved till anger and lust are not won ? How much energy is wasted if one gets angry. I need not talk about the other one. To win over kama, control of food is the most impor­tant discipline. For intellectuals it is said that three morsels of food is sufficient. Also, for our com­pany we should, like a bee going after flowers, choose satsanga. Such company gradually improves us.

Now Swamiji is explaining his Madras trip.   "... ........You know I had been to Madras recently. There at the Damodara temple a Bhaghavatha saptaha was celebrated-I was invited to that function. That temple of Damodara is very beautiful. Do you know the meaning of that word. Dama means rope. When the child Krishna's mischief could not be controlled, Yashoda tied him to a mortar with a rope.

That is how Krishna got the name Damodara- We are also bound. -to what ? Tell me let me see...." All are silent. After much coaxing from Swamiji, is answering in a whisper : 'to the world.' "Ah, if you think like that" Swamiji is saying "you will have to be bound to the world only. Instead, you must think that you are tied to the Lord.. ..Well, anyway, do you know what happened there. There is a young elephant in that temple.

As the mahout was bringing the elephant, suddenly the elephant began to scream loudly.    I do not know what happened ; he had an angry look, with the trunk swaying in all directions.   The assembled devotees ran away   helter   skelter. However I thought within  myself 'aye, Vinayaka, why do you get angry like this? No, be peaceful' and  I stroked   his   trunk   gently. Gradually   the    elephant   cooled down.  Look, this is what is called the human touch.   Through this, one can set right the   mind   of others. But one gets this only through the grace of the  Guru........You know something. The disciple derives help from the Guru in five ways ; namely through shabda, roopa, rasa, sparsha and gandha. First comes shabda. Many doubts get cleared by hearing the preachings of the Guru. If the Guru gives a mantra, it should be repeated as suggested by him with full faith.

"The things the Guru has said should be borne in the mind and reflected upon often by the shisya- Next take roopa. The figure of the Guru should always be held in the mind. At all times whatever one may be 'doing it should be as though the Guru is in front of the eyes. Then comes rasa. This rasa is not like what people call fruit juice. Ananda is called rasa. By moving with the Guru and by talking with him one derives happiness. This is called rasa. Sparsha is not the touch­ing of the legs of the human Guru. If the time is ripe the Guru can give through a mere touch the highest knowledge to the disciple. This is what happened to Vivekananda. When Ramakrishna touched his back the external world was totally forgotten by Viveka-nanda. Lastly we come to gandha. Gandha means smell, that is desire. While sitting near the Guru too many bad thoughts do not arise in the mind. (Laughing) But of course he may get them once he goes out. You see, people possessed by evil spirits are taken to some temples for curing. The patient would be all right inside. But as soon as the person comes out of the gate of the temple the spirits catch him again.

"The conclusion is this. The company of the Guru is essential-The disciple gets transformed gra­dually by this contact. To get this again guru kirpa is essential. To earn the grace, one should be waiting patiently, with the heart up­turned and open receptively. The cup should not be kept upside down. Who is the reference and authority for us on these issues? (pointing to Krishna's idol) He, He only is the authority. What has he said?

Pranipata does not mean just physi­cal prostration. The mind and the ego should also bend. Pariprashna means clearing the doubts by questioning humbly again and again. Seva does not refer to washing the clothes of the guru; it means that one should please the Guru by various means. This way the egoism decreases."

16 April 1974

The bhajan and final arati are over. A few devotees are remaining. Swamiji is talking in a very happy manner : "Some people say habit­ually bhagavadiccha, bhgavatsankalpa etc. what is the meaning of these things? This means one should give away everything to God True, but we can say like this if only we have totally surrendered ourselves to God. We should not say like this even if a little amount of ego is left in us. This is so because many times we may do a bad act and fall into the habit of saying that it was His will. So we have to be careful while speaking also. There is a story to illustrate this point. A pious bhagavatha was living in a town. He had the habit of saying for every act of his 'god's will, god's will'. Once a cow ate away the rice he had spread in sun light for drying. The bhagavatha saw this and got wild. He had arranged a feeding of the brahmins in a ceremony and the rice was needed for this function. In a fit of anger he beat the cow left and right. After the cow went away he thought of his act and concluded 'it was after all His will'. After a few days the bhagavatha was supervising the arrangements for the feeding of the Brahmin guests, when a boy in rags came to the pandal and sat in the first row for food. The gentleman felt slighted in front of the guests and ordered the boy to get up. The boy asked 'why do you say like this, who serves the food today?' The man arrogantly replied 'aye, I am the host; I have every right to turn you out.' 'Oh, I see' the boy said, 'the other day you caned the cow mercilessly and that was according to His will, but today the feeding is according to your will. All right I am going away. The boy was none other than Lord Krishna Himself. He had come to teach that person a lesson."

The talk has gradually chang­ed to the topic of Guru and his grace. Swamiji is explaining "every­one can get help from the Guru. But for this one has to bend one's mind at least a little bit. The disciple benefits a lot by merging his mind with that of the Guru. This is what is called Samyama by Patanjali in his Yoga Sutra.

"Everywhere one should look to the sat only. It is not right to find fault and criticize others. You can find both good and bad in the world. It is always better to take these things with dispassion. This is so because we are not the doers. We should surrender ourselves and all our belongings to the Lord. We should strive hard to bring our mind to such a level. True, this is very difficult, but with effort it is possible. You might have seen the bow shaped top frame of a palanquin. Do you know how such bamboos are obtained ? The bamboo plant generally grows straight upwards.

It should be bent while the plant is still young. Not only that it should be heated and at various places heavy stones should be hung. You see, it is quite a difficult operation. In a similar way the mind should also be shaped gradu­ally in a systematic manner. The mind is like a dog which wags its tail at the sight of food. Even at the very sight, the mind runs after sense objects. Let us take to the path of Bhakthi and proceed slowly but steadily- We should be stead­fast and unflinching in this. The goal is sure to be reached. During the Gokulashtami celebrations in some places devotees observe what is called uriyadi.

A pot with butter, sweets and money will be tied to the top of a tall pole. The pole will be made slippery by smearing oil- Someone would be spraying water on the pole continuously. The onlookers would be making awful lot of noise also. Against all these odds some people having great concentration climb the pole and get the prize. They climb a little, slip by a foot, again climb and again slip but somehow they manage to reach the top. I have seen this at Varahoor. Like this let us also proceed in the path we have chosen."

Sree Rama Samartha

Miss. Rupa Krishnaswamy

Bangalore

Let us prostrate at the lotus feet of Vigneshwara, the cause of destruction of sorrow whois the son of Uma Maheswara. Vigneshwara who has an elephant's face who partakes the essence of Kapitha, is served by several Bhutaganas.

May Goddess Saraswathi, wearing a garland as white as the kunda flower or the moon or the snow, adorned with pure white clothes, playing a veena, seated on a white lotus, worshipped by Brahma, Vishnu, Maheswara and others who wards off inertness and laziness, protect us all.

Let us prostrate before Sadguru, who has no beginning, no ending, no form, no name, no lineage, no caste, no colour, no sex, no brith or death, no vice or virtue, who is all truth and who is the homo­genous essence.

I have been  trying to describe the ocean of peace and love embodied  in  the beloved "Swamiji" who is identified  as Sri  Saipada-nanda Radhakrishna Swamiji. Our elders knew the future of the child by premonition and by astro­logical calculations and named the child appropriately. Radhakrishna, the name itself indicates that he is in  himself  a   mother   as   Radha (Prem incarnate) and Lord Krishna (Para  Brahma), who   established Dharma, who gave love as given to Gopis, who imparted knowledge to Arjuna, philosophy to Uddava, moral to Vidhura, ethics and Geetha (the song divine) to humanity. All these qualities manifest themselves in his talks to his disciples.   Many a time these   casual   talks   dispel doubts that arise in our minds and throw light in  a close perspective. "We   need   not   even   voice   our doubts.

Whenever a devotee comes to Swamiji to unburden his mind, he listens to him patiently, contemp­lates and suggests suitable remedy which when followed, brings about the desired result. Swamiji has a wonderful memory- He can recognise a devotee and remember his problem even after a lapse of time. The rare quality of having every devotee close to his internal vision endears him to every devo­tee, be he big or small. A calf though fully fed and satisfied never lets the cow go faraway from it. So is the relationship between the devotees and Swamiji.

The world would be saved from misery if we set ourselves as examples and give a proper lead to others. We should continue in the path of devotion even after we attain perfection. This Swamiji does as a duty enjoined by religion and commends the same to his devotees. The wise should lead the ignorant to a sense of right and wrong. It is the tendency of the people to follow whatever stan­dards great men set.

The essence of religion is to do good to all and hate none. The sense organs are places where lust and anger originate. The senses give rise to action. Therefore the senses must be controlled and conquered. Then the mind will not wander and lust and anger cease to exist. When the knowledge of the self is attained the soul enjoys bliss. The secret of the truth of the relationship between the preceptor and disciple is called the meeting of the true being and the soul in which state the soul remains peace­ful and undisturbed.

This sort of talk wherein the Swamiji consoles the aspirant is commendable. We have never seen him in a state of anger. The senses may cease functioning but the taste continues to exist. This also disappears when man realises the Supreme. This quality can be seen whenever an eatable is offered to the Swamiji by his devotees. He first distributes it to those who are around him and he himself par­takes a little just to satisfy the ardent devotee.

His peaceful poise is of one who is free from desire, attach­ment, egoism and thirst for plea-sure. Swami Ramadas in his 'Manachi Slok' says about saints. "A devotee who has fixed his mind on the Lord or Guru and who converses with him> has his rajasic and tamasic attitudes dispelled and moves from darkness to light."

Very rarely we meet such great souls who are in direct contact with the high spiritual force.

Maya often snares such god-men and tries to impose illusion on them. These godmen carefully keep away from these illu­sions and never harbour those sundry forces but are always on the look out for the perennial Supreme force in line with a pure satvic mind and the life Divine. The satvic mind as mentioned by Lord Krishna in his song divine is immaculate, illuminating and flawless. It combines self-identi­fication with happiness and wis­dom. This practice of pure satva in thought, word and deed is above the tint of the three gunas. Such a person feels no aversion to light and is only a witness to actions suggested or made by the sense organs in a completely unattached manner.

He who has control over his senses is exclusively devoted to spiritual practice and has complete faith in his Master. Such a person attains perfect knowledge and supreme peace in the from of realisation of God. Souls which are of satvic nature like our Poojya Swamiji are not content with the bliss they experience themselves,      acquired their own sadhana and penance, but spread knowledge among deserving devo­tees and pray for their happiness and redemption.

Often Swamiji's actions are unfathomable and appearas if be is not sure of what he is doing. When questioned, he replies that his inner force (Baba) had not approved of his original plan and he had to simply follow the 'Commands of his master. He gives darshan to all devotees who long for it how­ever far or near he or she may be. Baba has always provided him with all facilities to answer the desires of his devotees. This he does either physically or through visions. He performs many good actions with sincere regard for the well being of the people.

His actions are always dedi­cated to Baba. While doing so, he selects suitable time and place. If there were to be any doubt regar­ding an action, he decides the issue in harmony with the Scrip­tures. He practices and preaches self control and restraint over the senses. He never looks to physical comfort and never feels the pangs of hunger. He rids himself of laziness. He is averse to egoistic thought and   deed and    is always dominated by satva quality.

I could consider Swamiji as Baba himself as I cannot think of any other person an avatara born to elevate the Bbaktas. Every creature is a manifestation of a spark of Lord's effulgence’s The lord says in Geetha "Suffice to say that I stand holding the entire universe by a spark of my yogic power" (Chap X Sloka 42) The glory could be attributed to the highest virtue drawn by the Guru parampara—Baba, Narasimha Swamiji to the present charged battery—Swamiji.

Great souls are born again and again to uplift spiritually depres­sed and the down trodden. Con­tact with such great souls is needed to become spiritually full. Spiritual wisdom which when fully blosso­med renders to fill up deserving and yearning devotees to fullness. The pupil and the Master are filled to the brim and can share this prem with the world.

Our Swamiji is one such per­son who is amongst us by our good tapas of the past to guide us in the right path in the direction of the Lord. He may be placed in line with stitha pragnas as expounded by Sri Krishna in the 'Geetha' The qualities required for an aspirant to be Stitha (firm) pragna (knowle­dge) are explained by Him (in Chap. II Slokas 55-71) in reply to Arjuna's questions.

A man with a stable mind abandons all craving and is always content. He does not fall a pray to the sense organs. His mind is absorbed in bliss. In the words of Dyaneshwar—He who encounters diverse qualities of good and evil feels no attachment and he neither rejoices in one nor loathes the other, His discernment is really perfectly poised. In this way the desire of the mind is completely subdued. This can be experienced whenever a devotee approaches and makes a tempting offer at the feet of the benefactor.

He leads a simple and unos­tentatious life. His luggage is minimum, just a spare cloth. "Less luggage more comfort" is not what he aims but satisfaction to what­ever is bestowed by God and non attachment to the show of dress. The disc of the sun appears no bigger than a palm, still the three worlds prove too small for the compass of his light. In the same way, satsang with godmen, the spotless virtue in the hearer and the beauty of words full of apt meanings naturally blossom in the hearer and his identity merges with the unitary being. Why should the bitter juice of neem be taken when the disease can be cured by a dose of mere sugar and milk? The final release from the miseries of the world will automatically be got by hearing these narratives without restraining the mind.

Peace of mind, restraint of the senses, purity, austerity, for­bearance, knowledge, realisation and spiritual faith are the qualities that dominate an absolute Brah­man. These inherent qualities keep our master young in spirit and fit for all times.

This is how this humble ser­vant of the Lord has been seeing Swamiji. I have still a lot to know about his greatness and simplicity and I pray I may be excused for not giving a full picture of the great soul. I know him thus and wish he know me as a simple dutiful and humble servant of his.

O Mother—Liberate us

C. N. Mangala

Bangalore

Aum

Bhuh Bhuvah Svah

Tat Savitur Varenyam

Bhargo Devasya Dheemahi

Dhiyo To Nah Prachodayat.

The actual Mantra, its pronun­ciation, its spirit and its grace to be received only from a Guru.

The Gayathri is a prayer for illumination for the march of man from darkness to light, from the unreal to the real. When a major part of the world inhabited by human beings was ignorant of even cooked food and stiched clothes, our motherland Bharat had realised the highest truths of life.

The Gayathri is a glorious symbol of the rich spiritual tradit­ion of Mother India.

The Gayathri, considered to be the essence of the Vedas is a uni­versal prayer for the realisation of the Eternal Truth through the medium of the human intellect. Intellect the greatest gift, conferred on man by the Divine. Gayathri is a prayer invoking the Divine for the awakening of this gift bestowed so bountifully on human beings.

The Gayathri Mantra is composed in a metre consiting of twenty four syllables. It forms the tenth mantra in the sixtieth sutra of the third mandala of the Rig Veda. Gayathri means 'that which protects' Gayantam Trayate iti. Gayathri is the protector, the preserver. This protective force has been personified as the Univer­sal Mother. Gayathri—the supreme Goddess, Panchamukhi, ever cleansing, purifying, awakening.

The Gayathri Manthra is divided into three sections. The first section consists of the Pranava and the Mahavyah rites-the earth, ether, and heaven. It contemplates on the glory of light that permeates the three. The second section portrays the glory of light that ema­nates from that light. The third is a prayer for the liberation through intellect a prayer for the dispelling of all darkness through light.

Tradition says that one should repeat the Gayathri 108 times or at least thrice a day. But, one can utter the Manthra as many times as possible to derive light from the Divine to dispel the darkness, within and without.

The famous scientist, J. B. S-Haldane is reported to have written The Gayathri Manthra' should be carved on the doors of every labo­ratory in the world'- But that alone is not enough. The prayer for light should emanate from within the soul of every individual. The Mother's graceful light of love alone can liberate us from darkness and death.

Swamiji's  Gospel of  Love

P. S. Narayana Rao
Bangalore

It is again the familiar scene at the Mandir. You hear Swamiji speaking thus; ''Shall we recite Vishnu sahasranama for one more round?" Now, Vishnusahasranama starts. Suddenly a child from the group of devotees runs towards Swamiji and stands near him. Swamiji hands over a piece of chocolate to the child. The child runs away and Swamiji laughs. An elderly devotee now comes and does pranatns to Swamiji at the end of the first round of Vishnusahas­ranama recitation. Swamiji gives him Udhi packets and sweets and tells him, "Take this Udhi, you will be all right." The distressed devotee's face beams with joy as he departs with profuse salutations to Baba and Swamiji.

Swaraiji is thus ceaselessly en­gaged in the recitation of the one thousand names of the Lord and talking to the devotees and listening to their woes and worries and giving them encouragement and rilling their minds with confi­dence, hope and cheer. Swamiji's faith in Vishnusahasranama reci­tation is matchless. He declares "We speak of the influence of the Nava-grahas and the evil days. Why fear about all these, when we have in our reach the all-rescuing Sahasra-nama ? The Lord will surely be pleased with us when we recite the Sahasranama. Any one, familiar or otherwise is welcome to Swami­ji's presence which fills one immediately with peace and joy. The tense mind at once calms down and the restless attains peace under the spell of Swamiji"s love. One feels perfectly at home with Swamiji who readily identifies himself with one's difficulties and suffering. He is full of compassion and its very embodiment. For him, there is no distinction between the poor and the rich, the young and the old and the devotee and the agnostic. It is the same love and compassion that flows towards every one, irres­pective of caste, creed and race. He says "How much suffering you find? Tell me who is really happy? We meet those who have something to say about their difficulties and anxieties. Let us at least listen to them and that will relieve them of some of their suffering, Let us also pray for them. The Lord will help them. He will grant them the much needed relief."

Swamiji avers that when one suffers on account of the worldly problems, recourse should be had to "prayer. According to Swamiji, one is in a much better position to face diifficulties with the support of prayer to the; Supreme Lord." He states: "If we are incapable of helping others, we shall at least pray for them." This is what Swamiji himself does, sitting in the prayer hall of the Mandir. On hearing from the devotees that they have overcome their anxieties and problems with the blessings of Swamiji, he attributes that to the grace of the Lord.

Swamiji, with his constant religious ministration, is essentially a god man, having always a deep concern for the suffering humanity.

His concern for those who come to him is such that when they take leave of him in a hurry? he runs after them to hand over sweets and fruits which they would have forgotten to receive from him before. His love and affection for others is such that if any devotee offers him fruits and sweets for his own use, he readily distributes them to all those present at the moment, keep­ing only a bit for himself. This is a great lesson for those who are wholly selfish and are prone to keep everything to themselves with least consideration for others.

Swamiji's boundless concern for people and in particular the poor and the suffering, reminds us of the deep love which Baba himself had for such people. Even as Sri Sai-nath of Shirdi lived, striving cease­lessly day and night for the allevi­ation of all human ills of body and mind, Swamiji's mission has been his constant and continual concern for the suffering lot. We are natu­rally reminded of Sri Sainath's appeal to people to help the dist­ressed and of his readiness to go their rescue. Swamiji is indeed the true follower of Baba. In his message on the occasion of one of Baba's Mahasamadhi celebrations, he says; "As his true followers, let us follow him,  make all possible sacrifices and do every bit in our power to propagate the two lessons on his life, viz., to help the dist­ressed and be the united children of Mother India first and then of the world." Swamiji further states : "Cultivate the quality of respect­ing with love all creatures what­ever they may be, even if he be the lowliest. Baba will be pleased with this.   Hate the sin and not the sinner."   Swamiji cannot see   the defects of people and their imper­fections.    This brings to our mind the great message of Sri Sharada Devi,   the divine consort of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa. Call­ing one of the lady devotees from her death-bed she told her thus: "My child, do not seek fault in any one in this world.    But try to seek faults -in    yourself."     With   this outlook, the Holy Mother could never find   fault   with   even   the worst sinneis to whom she bestowed spiritual blessings in abun­dance as she did in the case of the virtuous.

The true basis for such all-con­suming love is God realisation. The realized souls see Brahman in every one and every where. For them names and forms do not matter but the divinity in them alone matters. Swamiji looks upon all with an equal eye. His love also extends to the dumb beasts and birds. He is indeed a living illustration of the verse in Geeta; "The Jnani views with equal eye the learned person, the elephant, the dog and the lowliest". Once when he happened to visit the zoo in Baroda in the company of a couple, who were his hosts, he was attracted particularly by the lion in the den. He was visibly moved by its plight. He mentally add­ressed the lion thus : "My friend, the only difference between you and me is that whereas I have only one cage, i.e., the physical body, you have two, i.e., your body and the outside cage." He then add­ressed his prayer for the sake of the animal : "O ! Lord Sainath, relieve this animal from his suffer­ing and grant him Mukti." Stran­gely, the lion was also particularly attracted towards Swamiji. It stood in the den conti­nuously staring at Swamiji. The love pouring forth from Swamiji's heart, moved the lion. As he had to leave for Bombay the same night, Swamiji instructed his hosts to keep a special watch on the condition of the lion and report to him about it after his return.

On his return a week later he learnt that the lion had died after giving up food and water for a few days.

It must have attained Mukti. This was exactly what had happe­ned in Baba's own lifetime, in res­pect of a diseased circus-tiger which was brought to his presence in Dwarakamayi, for being cured of its disease. On noticing that its end had come near, Baba looked at it and within minutes, it fell down dead. Baba granted salva­tion to the suffering animal. A grand act of loving kindness !

Swamiji's gospel of love took the shape of prayer at his hands at Dwaraka which he offered it to the presiding Deity, Lord Krishna. The following is that prayer:

May the wicked turn good ; May the good attain peace ; May the peaceful be freed from all bondages and May the liberated redeem others.

May every body be happy ; May everybody be free from disease;

May everybody have goodluck ; May none fall on evil days.

May everybody surmount difficulties ; May every body have good fortune ; May everybody realise his ambitions ;

May everybody rejoice everywhere.

Significantly, this prayer is recited daily in the Mandir at the close of the evening Bhajan.

Devotion

C. V. Bhaskara Rao

Bangalore

"Postrate to the Sadguru the Brahman who is bliss, who is the giver of supreme happiness, who is the absolute form of know­ledge who is beyond the pairs of opposites, who is vast like ether, who is attainable through asser­tions like "Tat-Twam-Asi", who is one eternal pure, changeless and who is the witness of all the states of the mind who transcends modi­fication who is devoid of the three modes of Prakriti".

Such a Sadguru always leads us to contemplate on the pure allpervading Omkara (Pranava) which can be known only through the Vedas, which is the essenca and support of the Vedanta, which is the taintless cause of the creat­ion, preservation and destruction of the universe, which includes the whole universe within itself which is the saviour of the universe which is proclaimed by countless shrutis and which is the pure truth, knowledge, and infiinity in one.

The subject matter for discus­sion is "Devotion"- ; Devotion is strong love which we hold in our mind without giving place to any thing else but love to one whom we adore. We offer our devotion to money, family, relatives etc., but this devotion is not pure and sincere, It is partial "Vyabbichara Bhakti." We should offer our faith­ful devotion to the Lord in "Av-yabhichara" way as the Gopis of Vraja offered to the Lord Krishna.

Sage Narada in his Bhakti Sutra (21) says: 'Yatha Vraja Gopikanam.' The Devotion of the Gopis of Vraja may be taken as an example for bhakti- Lord Krishna himself says "O Gopis you have broken the hard iron chians of the household ties and clung to me with love- I cannot repay this debt of yours by serving you even for the life time of a celestial be­ing. You will please discharge me from this liability out of your own generosity (Bhagavatha X. XXXII-22.)

"O Uddava, Gopis have offered their hearts to me. I am their life-breath,, they have given up all the activities of their body for my sake-"

The Gopis stand as an emb­lem of love, they who won the hearts of Krishna. Merged in divine love the Gopis are incomparable among women. They are dear as life to Govinda whose eyes re­semble the lotus. The Gopis are like crest jewels among the saints who are free from envy- The strong current of their spotless love swept away all barriers in the shape of social conventions and rules of decorum. Those who sing of the bewitcher of hearts throwing off all barriers like this why should they not attain the supreme bliss and joy of divine love. He who has developed dispassion towards all objects of enjoyment of the world alone can experience this love for which every one of us should aspire. To get into this state of pure devoied raind we should train the same by many ways. The mind will have to be detached from the world and attached to the lotus feet of the Lord. "Tatu Vishaya thyagat Sanga Thaygacha". Man is governed by faith. It is a defi­nite doctrine of philosophy of the absolute self that which ever dieties or guru or a symbol you worship or adore fix in your con­templation and concentration with whatever desire in your heart, giving ihe fruit of that worship is not in the bands of the diety but with that of all pervading Para-meswara and with this .import in mind the blessed Lord has said "Sradha Mayo Yam Purushaha Yo Yat Sradha Saeva saha (Gita 17-3) Whatever may be symbol which is taken as his faith "so does the man become. So taking the Guru Vakya or the preceptor's command as a symbol he does become one as the godman. "Yo Yatha-man Prapad an the tham thathiva Bhajamyaham" (G. 4-11) in this way those who have full devoted faith in Guru and treat him as his Lord himself, Guru also treats the diciple as Himself. The fruit is our faith and not the symbol, the same is the reason for the ordinary practice of instilling life into an image (Prana Prathista) before taking the image for worship. No one worships any image without believing that it is inhibited by the Parameswara in a form thought out by him.

Faith and devotion is inculca­ted into our mind by the Guru in whom we surrender totally and unconditionally. Bhakti sutras of sages of yore lead us to these paths. Yoga Vasista says—"As pieces of stones are arranged before the child in order to acquaint it with letters, so are the idols of wood, stone, or earth are shown in order to acquire the knowledge of the pure and knowledgeable Parabrahman. This could be achieved by pure divine love. The stream of love flows naturally through every heart because the 'Jiva' is eternally a part of the totality of consciouness of God, the embodiment of supreme bliss and love. But that love being directed to worldly objects the flow has been vitiated. That is why the love is transformed into lust, which produces only sorrow. Ordinarily there is no manifestat­ion of tte Divine or Godward aspect of love. It is necessary to turn its direction from the world to God. There are two methods through which we can proceed : (1) renunciation of worldly objects as such (2) renunciation of attach­ment to wordly objects. Those who hold that devotion may be gained even while they are attach­ed to worldly objects or even while they are engaged more and more in the accumalation and enjoy­ment of worldly objects are labour­ing under delusion.

When the spirit of devotion is developed there remains nothing in the world for enjoyment. When none remains as the enjoyer, how can there be existence of .obje­cts of enjoyment, when God becomes the sole enjoyer and the devotee with the whole of his body, senses, and possession becomes the object of enjoyment of God. God is then realised as the sole purusha and all the rest as Prakruti of whome He is the enjoyer. Lord says in Bhagavatha: "Through meditation of wordly objects, the mind gets attached to wordly ob­jects but through repeated rememb-ronce of 'Me' mind gets dissolved in Me."

Wherever you fix the mind it will get attached to there. This fixing has to be done through the senses. The kind of sight we repeatedly see, the words we hear, the food we take, the object we smell and touch the mind revolves round them, and the more it revol­ves on the object the more it deve­lops attachment of it. If we attend a theatre and hear music the mind will get attached to this. Simi­larly, if we attend to a performance representing the lives and activities of devoted persons and hear kirtans the mind will be attached to them. He who aspires to make any progress in the path of devotin should renounce all objects that»are averse to God. This is renunciation of wordly objects which tend to draw the mind away from God and drag it towards objects of enjoy­ment and this ephemeral world.

The body  arid mind should be ardently engaged and the thirst should be increased for activities like meditation, rememberance of God, kirtana, worship, service to holy men, satsang etc. Wordty objects whose acquirement or en­joyment is absolutely necessary for the maintenance of the body or of dependents, may be acquired or enjoyed to the extent they are in­dispensable.

But that also should be done under the control of the scriptures taking that to be the command of God. Objects enjoyed like this are known to be as good as their renunciation. On the other hand, when an object is renuounced and yet there is mental craving for it, renunciation, is not true. That is why the aphorism mentions that with renunciation of an object it is necessary to renounce the attach­ment for it. In Mahabharatha, Vana Parva, it is said "True renu-ciation means renouncing of ob­jects of enjoyment as well as the attachment for them." It is through this form of renunciation that the craving of the mind for enjoyment will be over come.

A mind thus freed from all cravings of enjoyment can alone become the receptacle for holding divine love.

Through ceaseless bajanas success is attained. In practice of devotion bajana is the primary factor. This is both dicipline and goal. For all who have attained Divine love ceaseless uninterrupted bhajana becomes natural and one who aspires to develop divine love should begin to practise ceassless Bhajana. Sant Tulsidas says: "Butter may be rather churned out of water and oil may be pressed out of sand but without bhajana none can cross the ocean of birth and rebirth' this truth is unsha­kable".

Therefore bhajana is indispen­sable- It has again a special value and significance so far as the sadaka, following the path of de­votion, is concerned. Renunciation of wordly things is "Viragya" (dispassion) and Bhajana is Abhyasa. Divine love in its fer­vent form is obtained by practice of these two virtues-

Patanjali Maharshi says, a practice becomes rooted when it is ceaselessly carried on with reve­rence for a length of time. Reali­sation of God becomes easy through such ceaseless rememb­rance of God The Lord Himself says in Geetha: "O Arjuna, he who con^antly thinks of Me, without any other thought I am easily reached by that yogi who is thus ceaselessly attached to Me." Kabir says: "Remember God through every breath ; this is in­deed the best method." A Bhajana is remembering and singing Gods form, glory, secrets, qualities, sports and the name. The remembrance should be like the ceaseless flow of oil. By this bhajana and meditating on God even for a moment, the most sinful person becomes pure and acquires the capacity to satisfy even those who purify by their very presence.

Raso-y-saha

It is though bhakti alone that one can percieve God, the embodi­ment of Rasa-Through Bhakii alone one can attain supreme bliss which even sages and Gods can scarcely attain. Therefore all should take recourse to bhakti and bhakti alone, The Bhagavata says: . "The life of man is frittered away with the daily rising and setting of the sun.

Only the time that is spent in discoursing upon Sri Hari is use­fully spent. Do not trees live; do not the bellows also breathe ? and do not the domestic beasts and other animals live, eat, and procreate? He who has never heard the glories of Sri Krishna is worse than a beast. The ears of one who does not hear his stories are like holes where snakes live. The tongue of one who does not sing the prai­ses is like that of a frog and the heart which does not melt with the utterance of Sri Hari's name as indicated by the effusion of tears andhoripilation etc. is adament indeed."

Man is apprehensive about his possessions and his near and dear ones and is in the clutches of of sorrow, desire, and greed and the eeroneous notion "this is mine this is mine", which is the root of all suffering. To overcome this mireofMaya we have to devote and surrender ourselves to the lotus feet of the Lord- Sage Narada says "Bhaktirityabhidhiyate" that is, devotion is supreme love directed towards God and it is nectarian in character by practice of which man attains siddhi, per-fectionand immortality and gets thoroughly satisfied. He alone who hasdrunk the nectar of divine ove is a siddha (one who has attained perfection).

The word siddhi here does not mean possession of supernatural powers mentioned in yoga. Let alone these powers the devotee in in the path of love seeks not tin: highest siddhi or achievement known as moksha or liberation.

The Sai Spiritual Centre foun­ded by the penance of His Holiness Sri Saipadananda Radhakrishna Swamiji, is a shelter to many of of the aspirants, who seek to prac­tise the above mentioned virtues with unallowed devotion. Out of the many, this writer, the humble servant of the Centre, is one who is at the feet of the master. Let His benevolent and blissful grace be on all.

Gita Comes to My Rescue

M. Subba Ramaiya
Bangalore

I have the good fortune of H. H. Sri Sai Padananda Radha-krishna Swamiji's contact for the last quarter century and I am very grateful to Him for what all he has done for me and the members of my family.

I had the privilege of being initiated by him in some siddha mantras which have always helped me in times of need. To mention one, he suggested to me Gita Saptaha 108 times (reading 100 siokas every day) and at its conclusion a homa was performed in Kaiwara for three days commencing on 11-5-1957.

This upadesh of Gita has come to my rescue when I most needed it. A few months ago I heard a commanding voice in my dream repeating the figure "Eighteen" several times. As I could not understand the significance of it I approached my Guru Sri Radha-krishna Swamiji to unravel the meaning of the message. He ex­plained to me that I should read the eighteenth chapter of the Gita which is an epitome of all that is said in other 17 chapters of the Gita. I did it by reading both the text and the meaning for several days. It is needless to state that, that gave me courage and confidence to face boldly a crisis which came immediately afterwards and which was totally unexpected.

My Contact With Swamiji

D. S. Gopala Rao

Bangalore

March-April 1954 was a very bad period both for my family and myself. I had to undergo many sufferings and odds. I had absolutely no peace of mind. At that time a wellwisher and a colleague came to know of my plight and con­vinced me in a soothing way saying "don't worry, I am sure that the time is near when you shall have better and bright days ahead." I was wondering how this gentleman could predict my future. However I was curious and hoped for such a time. Sri Ramanavami celebrations were going on in my friend's (Sri M. Subramiah) house during the same period. In that season, One day when I went home after attending the duties entrusted to me by the breadgiver for 8 hours, my friend told me that a pious gentle­man was coming to his house and I might also have his darshan and guidance if interested, somehow I decided to meet him. At about 8-30 p.m. that day, I went to Sri Subbaramiah's house and sent a slip indicating my desire to see the visiting gentleman. As I could see from the other side, by that time many of the Mad People like me had the opportunity of his darshan and guidance already. I too was called in and when I went in, to my surprise, I saw only a person with unshaved head and white beard wearing a kachhe dothi and angavastra sitting calmly in an easy chair. He asked me to sit down. I do not remember whether I offe­red my respects to him or not. He enquired about my welfare etc., and in turn I told him all about what was happening both in my family and official life. On that day, his only advice to me was to chant some Namasmarana, every­day for a few minutes. I came out after spending with him some time. Though not very regular, I was following his advice only for a few seconds in the day. I am happy to say that by carrying out his advice, it has resulted in my overcoming many obstacles. This, I take it, is purely due to the grace of the Almighty and the blessings of this grsat man.

I wish to cite a few of my and my   family's  experiences.

In April 1954; my  second son was born.     As I had already the the acquaintance of this gentleman I   went   to   him   to    convey this message    Before I could say any­thing he said   "A son."  But  I said no and it is otherwise (because I was mis-informed by  one of my relatives.)  Thea he enquired about the welfare of the mother and the child.    To my surprise, the next day the correct information came and  I had to  request   the 'Dadi' gentleman to excuse me for my giving wrong information.   Imme­diately he told me "I Thought Baba might   have  erred."     His   words became true and I became convinced that he was really a great Yogi.

Again in 1955 May, I was laid up with enteric fever. After a couple of days, the fever subsided, but all of a sudden severe stomach­ache started. I could not bear it and had to sutler a lot. As the darkness clears away by the entry of light, this pious light whom I am referring to came to my house all of a sudden and saw me suffering. He asked me not to worry and asked me to turn to a side and take rest. Immediate­ly with his two or three devotees, who had accompanied him, he sat on a mat and conducted some japa for a few minutes. While his concentration grew stronger and stronger, the acute stomach pain I had, went on subsiding slowly and by the time he complet­ed his japa, I was completely free from the sufferings and I feel it is only his divine spirit which gave me relief which no medicine or Doctor could do.

In 1954-55, some of the devo­tees including myself, were fortu­nate enough to go with Pujya Svva-miji to a Vasantapura and chant Astakshari japa—Om Namo Nara-yanaya—before Lord Vallabharaya for about an hour every day for nearly 30 days. One day even after chanting 'Om Namonarayanaya', with full concentration, Lord did not grant us the pushpaprasad. Then -Swamiji uttered the following:—"Yenna Swamy even with such a cry of all these children you do not seem to hear and what wrong these children have done? Unless you answer, I shall not leave this place today "

Suddenly to the wonder of every one there, the flowers from the Lord's rightside fell down and Pujya Swamiji's joy was so much that tears (Ananda-bhaspa) came out of his eyes. This I am citing only to show the greatness ofSwamiji and the spirit behind him and how he takes care of his devotees.

In 1970, I had to under go a major operation. Before my gett­ing into the operation theatre in the nursing home, Pujya Swamiji sent word with Prasad through the then beloved President Late Sri G. Narayana Rao, as he had to leave for Madras on some urgent work, to inform my people and myself not to get worried and everything would be allright. The operation was over and I was taken to the ward after 24 hours after the operation. In the early hours of the next day, I had a dream that I was taken to Sai Mandir. I saw Pujya Swamiji sitting in front of Baba with a panchapatra of thirtha (holy waters), beckoned me to come nearer offer thirtha and udhi and patted on, my back. This gave me great relief. This was such a sweet dream which I cannot forget in my life time. Such instances made me believe more and more of our Swamiji's greatness and spiri­tual awakening and how 'Baba' is taking care of his devotees' children in every walk of life.

There are many such instnaces in these 24 years of my acquainta­nce with His Holiness Pojya Swa­miji. Sometimes with love and affection he calls me and introduces me as 'Major Gopal. Swamiji is my divine light.

My experiences with him made me to believe that he is really a mahapurtssha, who has been deputed by Sai Baba of Shirdi to throw light on suffering humanity. He is a saint- full of knowledge, and love.

"Love ye all and hate none" are his watchwords. He has come out from the worldly attachment to spend his days purely in the spiritual and devotional field.

One thing which any one could appreciate in him is that he never attaches any importance to a particular type of people, religion, community or the way of worship­ping. He feels all are one and he advises anyone and everyone who approaches him, to be God minded and to chant Namasmarana in any form, (Rama, Krishna, Narayana, Shiva or Baba etc) to carry on the day to day chores so long one exists.

His Guru was the late Sri Narasimha Swamiji, the founder President of the All India SaiSamaj at Madras. Now the saint, to whom have been referring to is no other than His Holiness Sri Sai-padananda Radhakrishna Swamij, President of All India Sai Samaj, Madras ; Founder Patron of Sai Spiritual Centre, in Bangalore. He is clearing the darkness of his devotees and throwing divine light on them.

At the Feet of the Master

M, S. A. Narayana

Bangalore

It was on the 15th April 1954 that divine grace descended on me: that was the day I had the great good fortune of meeting Revered Sri Saipadananda Radhakrishna Swamiji for the first time. That day Swamiji visted our house to inaugurate the Sri Ramanavami celebrations and thus sowed the seed for the great Kalpatharu Vriksha i.e., Sri Sai Spiritual Centre under the cool, blissful shade of which many, many people are to day enjoying spiritual solace.

From 1954 till the end of 1959 I was blessed with the unique privilege of being a very close associate of Revered Swamiji, du­ring which period I was benefited to a very great extent spiritually. I wish to place below the remini­scences of this memorable period for the benefit of my brother-devotees.

Rev. Swamiji used to visit Tumkur almost every Saturday for conducting "Sai Prachar" work, and as a part of this propagation work, Bhajanas were held in the houses of different devotees there, On one such occasion Rev. Swamiji was given a brief account of the events leading to the instal­lation of 'SriChakra' at the Hebbur Math near Tumkur. It appears that the 'Sri Chakra' was got made by a devotee in an elaborate manner, but the devotee was not in a position to satisfy the spirit of the 'Devi' and therefore, he had dropped the 'chakra' in a tank.

The then Matadhipathi of the Hebbur Mutt got a vision of the Mother, who asked him to take Her out of the tank and to instal Her in the Mutt. After hearing this interesting incident from Mr-Srinivasa Rao, Tumkur (faher-in-law of Mr. D. S, Gopal Rao, the present Secretary of the Centre) Swamiji at once decided to visit the Hebbur Mut. It was around 5-30 p.m. we all left in a car for the 'Abode of the Mother' and we reached the place around 6 p.m. We had darshan of the Swamiji of the Hebbur Mutt and had a short Bhajan.

When our Swamiji prostrated before the Hebbur Swamiji and sought his blessings, the latter said "You are already fully blessed by the Mother." While return­ing after taking leave of this Swamiji of the Mult, Mr. Srini­vasa Rao, who was responsible for this memorable visit, revealed to our Swamiji the dailogue he had with the Hebbur Swamiji when our group was engaged in the Bhajan. It appears that in the early morning the Hebbur Swamiji had a vision of the Mother who had informed him of the visit of Her Son (our Swamiji) to the Hebbur Mutt &had also asked him (Hebbur Swamiji) to look after Her son well- It seems the Hebbur Swamiji was anxiously waiting (even without having his food) for the arrival of the illustrious son of the Mother and his anxiety inc­reased with the setting of the sun. When he was preparing to go for his bath (to offer Sandhya Vandana), a car drew up at the portico of the Mut, the announcing visit of the illustrious son !

Another interesting incident was a visit to Devarayana Durga, again near Tumkur. During the weekly visits to Tumkur, Swamiji made a dash to Devarayana Durga on a Sunday morning which happe­ned to be 'Ekadashi'. When we were on the hills Mr. Chandra-shekaraiah, a retired Tahsildar, a devotee, requested Swamiji to initiate him in "Sudarshana Mantram" as forecast earlier by H.H. Sri Chandrasekhara Bharathi Swamiji of Sringeri. Swamiji was very much thrilled at this incident and he readily agreed to initiate him in the mantram in the cave of Sudarshna Thirtha, situated on the top of the hills.

Swamiji has always been opposed to the performance of miracles. Once, a sadhaka came to the Swamiji and wanted to offer him a lemon which he wanted to produce through a miracle. Even when he was holding his palm closed with the object inside, Swamiji warned him that he (sadhaka) was not ripe enough to peform miracles. When the sadhaka opened his palm, he himself was disappointed to see that the lemon that he wanted to produce was un­ripe. He begged for Swamiji's pardon.

One of the devotees of Swamiji, on account of frustration, had decided to drown himself in the Ulsoor lake. As the surroundings were completely isolated, he attempted to commit suicide by about 11 p.m. when suddenly he heard the voice of Swamiji asking him not to end his life. It was a surprise to him since he could see no human being in the vicinity but later realised that it was the invisible spirit of Swamiji that prevented him from ending his life.

Another interesting incident was that of the direct blessings given by Baba to Rev. Swamiji during the performance of Ashtakshari Yajna. As a part of the yajna, Swamiji and many devotees used to visit Vasanthapura every even­ing and would chant the Asthak-shari Mantra-"Om Namo Naraya-naya"~at the feet of Lord Vasantha Vallabharayaswamy. On one such visit, when Swamiji and a couple of other devotees, including my­self, were travelling in a car, just after Banashankari we suddenly saw an aged person right in front of our vehicle. Had the car moved one inch more, would have hit the person, but, of course it would not have been possible, because he was none other than Baba himself. As soon as the car stopped, the old man showed his abhaya hasta to us and disappeared. And as the blessings were given, the Yajna went on successfully and many devotees reaped the fruits of this yajna through the blessings of Swamiji.

These are   a    few   incidents which just give us a glimpse of the towering personality of Swamiji. He has been a perpetual and peren­nial source of spiritual inspiration to one and all who come into con­tact with him. He has proved to the world that spiritualism is the only shortcut to peace, progress and prosperity. Perhaps, there is no one who has gone back without receiving spiritual solace under the shelter and warm protection of Swamiji. Volumes can be written about Swamiji's personality, but the very fact that the ease and speed with which the Sai movement has taken roots in India, after the exit of Rev. Narasimha Swamiji from the scene, gives us a glimpse of the Guruji whom we love and with whom we long to live.

May   Baba's    blessings   and Swamiji's grace be ever on us.

A Peep into Sai's World

S. Natarajan

Bangalore

A mini Shirdi has come up in Bangalore and we offer our humble salutations to Sai Bhagwan and Saipadananda Maharaj. Even offering one's salutations is possi­ble only by the grace of the Master. His grace and benedict­ion is the switchgear for anyone to divert his mind towards the Sad-guru. Sai Baba himself had once said that not a blade of grass moves but by His consent. So, the devot­ees must consider it fortunate that in this birth Baba has given us an opportunity to serve him, sing his praise and surrender to him. The rest he will loook after.

First, the Sachidananda Sat-guru   can   become  your  grahavasi (one who adorns the home). Then one must make Him his guhavasi (by possessing Him in his heart) by the everflowing thought, natna-smarane, of His presence. The merciful guru takes charge of the individual and provides him all the temporal needs. Bestowing motherly affection, he acts as a purifier, path finder, protector arid projector of the devotees future. He is the Sakshi of all his actions.

Once, the Sidda Purushas Sai Baba, said that thousands had come to him but those who sought Him for purely spiritual needs could be counted on finger tips. Even so, help to material needs was given as He said such help would eventu­ally make people spiritual minded. I give people what they want in the hope that they will begin to want what I want to give them," he said. He is a 'Trikala Jnani' keeping divine supervision averting dangers and troubles, on all his bhakthas. Sai Maharaj is a Gnaw Swaroopi, he welcomes all to his fold He had the milk of wisdom like TMru Gnana Sambandar, one of the foremost Saivaite saints. He also insisted on lighting lamps in the place of worship like Gnana Sambandar who preached lighting lamps in the temple as one of the methods of service to God.

Gnana Sambandar, an avatar of Lord Muruga, had the darshan of Lord Siva and His consort, Uma, and was fed with the milk of divine wisdom in his infancy by the Universal Mother. Similarly, one day, Gopal Rao Deshmukhi, known as Venkusa, of Sailu village 160 miles east of Shirdi wanted to impart to his disciple, Sai Baba, his Ashta siddis. He ordered Baba to get a cup of milk from a cow standing nearby. As the cow was barren at that time, Baba could not get the milk but with a gentle touch of the cow by Venkusa, our Sadguru was able to get the milk and thus he drank the milk of wisdom.

According to the meagre in­formation we have (as told by Baba himself to one his devotees Maha-Isapathy) Baba was born in a Brahmin family in Pathri village of Nizam State. His parents in his early age, left him to the care of a muslim Fakir. He also died within four years ordering his wife to take the boy to one Mr. Gopal Rao Deshmukh, a Brahmin Zamindar in Sailu village. Thus the boy became the disciple of Venkusa.

Gopala Rao was a great man. He was supposed to be Ramananda of Kasi in his previous birth. He had the full grace of Lord Venka-teswara and was well versed in AshtaSiddis. Devotees are aware how people are drawn tothe sadguru Baba through divinely grace and the experience of the late Mr. M.B. Rege, of Icdore, a direct disciple of Sai Ram, is interesting.

Mr. Rege's Kula devatha was Durga Devi of Goa. He used to meditate on Dhruva Narayanan in his room. At the age of 21 in 1910, Mr. Rege had three dreams one experiencing that he was stan­ding aloof from his body in the cot and near him he felt the prsence of Lord Narayana,

The second one brought him to Baba's f old. He saw a sadhu by the side of Narayana. Lord Narayanamurty pointing out to Rege said that the sadhu was Shri Sai Baba and ordered his devotee to accept him as his guru.

In the third dream, he was descending on Shirdi village and rushed to the mosque where Baba was living.   Thus, he joined the Sai's world.

Mahalsapathy, who later be­came the disciple of Baba, would not in the beginning give the Sad-guru a place in Kandoba temple. He was the first to call Baba as Sai. So Baba took refuge under the neem tree and them moved to the mosque. The neem leaves have no bitter taste.

Baba says : "I am attribute-less, absolute, nirguna. I have no name and no residence. I am form­less and I am in everything." Baba gives dharshans in the form and shape of the devotee's Istha Deva­tha and proves that guru is the embodiment of all Gods. His miracles are inumerable.

Our PujyaGuru, Saipadananda RadhakrisbnaSwamiji, the embodi­ment of Shidi Baba, gives us solace in any divine form we wor­ship him. When we think of Swamiji, Sai Maharaj rushes to our help add instances are not wanting to prove this.

The Modern Trend

V. S.Shanthamani
Bangalore

I am   very   thankful to    the Sai   Spiritual   Centre   for giving me   an    opportunity   to   express a few of my thoughts-    I am one of those    who    feel    that     our present    generation     particularly the students lack mental discipline and religious fervour.   We cannot blame them totally for this state of affair.   There is no scope for men­tal development in these directions in our present system of education. With the exception of some parents who inculcate this type of discip­line in children, from early child­hood,   we    hardly   see   children growing in this type of disciplined environment.    I   am   sure   many elders will endorse my statement, that the present   day   adolescents have   no   respect and   regard for elders, forget their duties and res­ponsibilities, argue in a -stupid way, the negative list can go in­definitely. Our  children  have become victims   of many of the present day undesirable amuse­ments. Though partly parents are to be blamed, partly they are helpless.

It is rather humanly difficult, if not impossible to remove all the vices in this world- Under this circumstances we can still help and train our children in the develop­ment of the mind in the right direction, so that they should be able to identify good from bad. One of the aims of our education system should be in this direction-

Hardly I have come across students discussing about our immortal works, such as Ratna-yana, Mahabaratha, Bhaghawad Geeta, Bhaghavatham etc.- If one happens to travel in our city buses, one would not have missed hearing all sorts of comments, starting from abusing one's own parents and teachers to certain undesirable and unimaginable description of a scene in a movie etc. They do not know how to behave themselves I only hope that sensitive few should put an end to this state of affairs to continue, I am happy at least a few great people like our revered Swamiji is showing the path in the right direction. Just one Swamiji may not be enough to spread this type of work all over the country to the full extent. All of us who are devotees of Swamiji must make an effort to fulfil his mission. He has taken lot of strain, both mental and physical, to build this Sai Spiritual Centre which is doing yomen service and many devotees are benefitted by the activities of this Centre. Daily "Vishnu Sahasranamam" is chanted apart from special Bhajans, reli­gious functions, which has full significance.

Here may I also add that our present day children, are defini­tely in a better position than the past in many respect including the scope for developing one's mental faculty. They want a logical ans­wer for all the queries they pose, if they get a convincing answer they accept and are happy. With this bent of mind, some of our rituals might look strange and stuppid to them. if they do not understand the real significance behind them. Under such circumstances persons who are aware of its importance and significance should explain and convince them.

To give an example the other day, a girl was laughing when a yoke was placed on the head of the bride during the mariage, latter when she was explained about its significance (significance is that the husband and wife should move in the same direction like a pair of bullocks, when bound by the yoke). She felt very sorry for her ignorance. We have many such customs and habits which might have lost its true significance and meaning. That is why present generation makes fun of it,

I only wish that the activities of the Centre be many sided and should be utilized to the full ex­tent by one and all. I am very confident that the message of our Swamiji would be carried through­out the country and all who hear him will bound to become a new and reformed person.

With Prem and Om I remain at the feet of Almighty.

My Lord

V. Varadarajan

Madurai

I was in Bangalore from 1963, working in the Canara Bank. After office hours, I used to spend all my time in participating in Bajans wherever held in the city.  In many a bajan, our Swamiji was invited and along with others, I also used to prostrate before Him and be aloof. I am too reserved a person that I do not myself take any initi­ative to move with others freely. So, whenever I saw Swamiji in a bajan, my meeting him ended with my prostrations. Five long years went like that.

Meanwhile, Sri R. T. Chari of Firestone Tyre and Rubber Co. Ltd. Bangalore, a friend, came to my room and informed me that Sri Saipadananda Radhakrishna Swa-rniji wanted me to meet Him at Sri Sai Spiritual Centre. It was a Sunday, I was surprised and, tak­ing it as the call from the Supreme Lord. I immediately rushed to Sri Sai Spiritual Centre. So it was, that I saw Swamiji as if a holy cow was peeping at its calf. I, as usual, prostrated and stood before Him.

After speaking to me and advi­sing me several Divine matters from Puranas, Geetha etc., for over three hours, he asked me to perform my evening Sandyavandana and participate along with others in Sri Vishnu Sahasranama Parayana, bajan and arathi till 9 p. m. After all people left, Swamiji, in the presence of some asdent disciples who were staying there itself, directed that I should make it a point to be present daily without fail at Sri Sai Spiritual Centre in the evening, parti­cipate in the parayanam and bajans and I could leave the Centre only when I was directed by him at any time in the night.

I was able to follow his directions as long as I was in Bangalore. It had been the greatest fortune for me to participate along with hundreds of Baba devotees every day at the holy Centre in parayanam and bajans on Ugadi, Sivarathri and Vaikunta Ekadasi days, Sri Vishnu Sahasranam by hundreds of devo­tees for several times and Divya Nama Sankeerthana Bajanas throughout day and night were the very special feature and everyone who participated? and full peace of mind atleast on those days.

I am very poor in devotion. I have not studied puranas or itihasas, much less the holy history of Shirdi Sai Baba or Sri Narasimha Swamiji. Plainly speaking, I did not know anything about such great Lord's representatives, rather, holy saints. But, from the day I started comming to the holy Spiritual Centre, the birth of divine life was infused in me and it grew gradually day after day.

Later, my son Raman who got a job in the Bank at Bangalore, also joined me in all these actions. One instance that could prove the unlimited affection and love of Swamiji .for his devotees indiv-dually was, that Swamiji at the close of all functions in the Centre every night, would advise my son Raman to go to his hotel, take his food and go to room ; but would not allow me to go out to take my food.

Swamiji's arrangement was ta divert even two-thirds of the eatab­les that had come for him in the night from devotees, to me at his Asramam after the day's functions were over. Even though that was not normally enough to satisfy my hunger, it was his Spiritual Upadesas that filled up not only my stomch but also put me in bliss.

I had told him that I was in ths first instance dragged into devotional Bajanas by revered Guruji Sri RajagopalaSwamiji of Madurai in 1947. During my stay in Bangalore, it was Baghavan Sri Radhakrishna Swamiji who took the form of my Guruji and guided my life-path for four full years in Bangalore. Swamiji did not like my leaving Bangalore, but I had to do my duty to the family at Madurai given by Lord- I had fully experienced what a Heavenly life was, during the four yerrs, I was with Swamiji. He was very kind enough to take me whenever he was invited, and to whichever holy places he visited to enable me to have such holy experiences.

Once a devotee rushed to Swamiji at about 6 P.M. to report the seriousness of his child, get his prasadam and blessing and rush back home to save the life of the child. But, as Sri Vishnu Sahasranama Parayanam was going on and with Swamiji immersed in it, he could not speak to him.

Swamiji by signs, asked him to coolly sit down and join the parayana for three times. He did so, forgot everything and at the end, it was Swamiji who called him .gave viboothi prasadam and asked him to take it to his child blessing him without hearing anything from him. He returned home to see his child laughing and playing quite all right in health.

One more instance was that our revered Swamiji had his lunch at the same time on the same day in four houses of his devotees, all of whom confirmed Swamiji's pre­sence at each one of their residen­ces at the same time.

My pranamams at his holy lotus feet. He is the saviour of people even unknown to him !

Swamiji Through A Devotee's Eyes

K. R. Rajagopalan

Bangalore

Sadguru Sai Baba of Shirdi is a great benevolent living force. His^, encouraging message, "You look to me, I look to you, and "Cast your burden on me and I shall bear them," is true and Baba has been carrying it out, as has been the experience of numerous devotees.

Whe one thinks of Shirdi Baba one cannot but think of our rever­ed Guru, Poojya Radhakrishna Swamiji. He has simple but inimitable ways of inculcating in the minds of people devotion for and faith in Baba. He has attained inner peace and Ananda which he is trying to share with his devotees.

We being grihasthas, living in this materialistic world facing various domestic problems and consequent responsibilities, are forced to look to Baba for help and relief in our day-to-day life. Baba definetely listens to our sincere prayers and also comes to our rescue. In order to be recipients of Baba's kindness and graces all that is required of us is sincerity, complete faith and total surrender. If these requirements are fulfilled Baba will always be with us extending his protective hands over each and every act of ours be it a simple, or complicated one. In my life, I have experien­ced this in abundant measure.

One day, at midnight, my wife got severe unbearable stomach ache followed by extreme nervous trou­ble making it impossible for her even to lie down. At that hour no medical relief was possible. Left with no way out, I prayed to Baba for relief. Immediately, two beams of light came inside the room and almost within seconds, my wife was relieved of her agony and she was able to lie down and sleep.

Once in my profession as Advocate, I was placed in a very awkward situation, when I was compelled to proceed with a very important case for which I had not prepared. Seated in the Court Hall, and not knowing what to do, I looked to Baba and prayed. Immediately, a gush of Vibhuthi smell came and the case was adjourned, giving me complete relief.

To be associated with Poojya Radhakrishna Swamiji is in itself a privilege. Unless there is poorva punya one will not be drawn to him. My own case is ample proof of this- At a time when my mind was in turmoils when all the materialistic comforts at my com­mand could not give me peace of mind when everything around presented a spectacle of intease sorrow, I along with another ard­ent devotee of Sri Saibaba and Swamiji, Sri C. D. Srinivasan, went in search of several Gurus and Mahatmas. Though we were privileged to meet many holy men, I was not able to get shanthi which I was very strenously seeking.

Finally, my friend took me to our Swamiji. The moment I sat before him, the powerful and radiating look of Swamiji im­mediately gave me that peace which was elasive so far. From that moment onwards, when­ever I am in the august presence of Swamiji, I feel completely at peace and immensely happy.

I feel Swamiji's ways of leading one to the path of Bhakthi is simple and effective. He asks us to chant the age old Vishnu Sahasranama. When we heed his advice and sin­cerely repeat Vishnu Sahasranama we can be sure that the divine grace would discend on us and we would be on a safe path. Added to this, Swamiji's unfailing care and sym­pathy for every one of his devotees gives us all the required energy and courage to face any situation, be it simple or serious. It may not be out of place to narrate a few of several experiences by the grace of our Swamiji.

My wife was an aesthema pati­ent for three or four years. Alo-pathic, Ayurvedic and other systems of treatment only made her condi­tion worse. With no way left to relieve her suffering, I took her to Swamiji, who after hearing her troubles, gave three packets of some powder with detailed instructions for oral use. When the three pack­ets were consumed, my wife was relieved of her agony. During the whole of 1977 she never got the attack even once and she is now completely relieved of the same. Swamiji's ways   of relieving his devotees' troubles are wonder­ful and amazing. My daughter who was studying in P.U.C., was afraid of facing Hindi examin­ation. This was due to her study­ing in a Convent School earlier. However, she wrote Exmination after some private tuition in that subject. But, unfortunately for her the first examination was can­celled and a re-examination orde­red. She, therefore, became extremely nervous and was not able even to prepare for the examinat­ion. At that stage, she sought my advice. My only advice was to pray to Baba and Swamiji, which she did.

However, three days prior to the examination she was again in a state of nervousness and unable to do anything. But on the same day, a voice she heard in her dream, in­structing her to prepare certain specified lessons, which she implici­tly obeyed. When she attended the examination and received the Question Paper, it was a wonder of wonders to find all the questions were based on the lessons presc­ribed in her dream. She was able to score very good marks in Hindi and pass creditably.

Our Swaraiji is always watch­ful of his devotees, going to their help in the hours of need like Lord Vishnu   helping   Gajendra.     On 16th March 1978, my  friend Shri G. D.  Srinivasan hired an   auto-riksha to go to his house in the Civil Station.    On getting into the vehicle, the Driver demanded Re. 1/-—even though the actual charges would have been less than 75 paise but my friend agreed. After starting the vehicle and driving a few yards he   started  to  go   at  break-neck speed.   Alarmed at the speed, my friend requested the Driver to slow down, but the Driver said that as passengers   after getting into the riksha     picked   up   quarrels   and would go to the Police Station, he determined to put an end to my friend's life as also his by over-speeding.  He was therefore conti­nued to go at a very high speed and almost collition with every other vehicle or person coming in the opposite    direction.     When    my friend was completely shaken  and found himself in an helpless position, he prayed to Swamiji for help. Belive it or not, within a few seconds there was a loud burst and the vehicle came to a dead stop-When the Driver got down to exa­mine the Engine, my friend also got down and ran for his life. On the same night, Swamiji who was on that day at Bombay, appeared in his dream and blessed him.

Instances like these can be multi­plied but everyone of them show that sincerity in prayer, complete surrender to Baba and unshakable faith in him will makeBaba merci­ful, watchful and come to the help of his devotees. It is only we, entertaining doubts and reservat­ions, do not understand him pro­perly. All that is required to realise Baba is complete and total surrender to him.

Swamiji gives such comfort and solace to every one of his de­votee. His only prescription, re­cital of Vishnu Sahasranama, opens a new life to us, which ensures complete peace and happiness in our life. Let us, therefore, follow the golden path set by our revered Swamiji and realise the otherwise unrealisable.

God - Man

Miss Roopa Krishnaswamy

Bangalore

I have the good fortune of being -at the feet of Poojya Radhakrishna Swamiji through my grandfather, who is a Ramadasi. My parents are also devotees of Swamiji. I have known Swamiji since my childhood. He initaited me by 'Aksharabhyasa' I have been greatly benefited by the blessings of Swami­ji throughout my scholastic career. I am still a Second Year Degree student. Swamiji is a very great soul and I am too small (insignificant) a person to discuss such a great personality. Still I shall make an effort to write about Swamiji as I have seen and known him.

"OM-TAT-SAT"-This is the threefold designation of the Abso­lute. It is the root of the Universe and it is the form of Para Brahma from! which it has been created. Even God Brahmadev secured his power of creating this Universe by chanting this formula only once, Brahmanas, Vedas and sacrifices were created by it at the begin ing of creation. Therefore, Sacrifices, and penance performed in accor­dance with the scriptures always commence with the word 'OM' by all those entitled to chant the vedas. 'Om' effects deliverance from fettering actions. Actions per­formed properly are supported by omkar. When these actions show signs of bearing fruit ‘TAT' is put into application. Defective action is made perfect by the word SAT. The acts of sacrifice penance and making gifts performed by those seeking liberation without expecting anything in return, with the faith that everything belongs to the Lord is called 'TAT', The divine term SAT is also used in the sense of truth, goodness and charity. Any other action done or oblation offered without faith is considered ASAT. OM-TAT-SAT is the supreme Brahman itself.

The inherent faith of men is of three kinds-Sattvic, Rajasic and Tamasic. The faith of each depends upon his own mental conditions. Faith essentially constitutes the very being of man. Man is imbibed with faith; whatever a man believes in, he becomes just that. Men of Sattvic nature worship Gods. Those of Rajasic inclination worship Yakshas and demons, while those of Tamasic disposition worship spirits and ghosts. Food, sacrifice, penance, and charity all are of three kinds and are classified into the three gunas.

Here let us deal with the Sattvic nature exclusively. Foods enhancing intelligence, strength, health, happiness, foods that are sweet and nourishing are dear to Sattvic men. Sacrifice offered, as enjoined by the holy scriptures, by men having no desire for the fruit, having the firm belief that it is a duty that must be performed is the Sattvic type of sacrifice. Yogis following austerity of the body, mind and speech are Sattvic. A gift made without ex­pecting anything in return, with the greatest regard, with the con­viction that it is one's duty to give after considering the propriety of the place, time and the receiver is said to be Sa'tvic.

Arjuna asks Krishna in the "Song Divine" (Ghap. II sloka 54) as to who is a Stithapragna (steeped in mental absorption). How he talks and walks.    He asks the Lord how to  recognise a God realised soul and a stable  mind established  in Samadhi. Lord Krishna replies that a man is called stable minded when he has completely   given  up   the craving of the mind and mastered his senses and the joy of the self. A person whose mind is in equilibrium   even   in    sorrows,   whose mind   is   free     from     emotions, free    from    egoism   and    thirst for peace    is    a    man   of per­fectly   poised   discernment.     He who  neither rejoices in joy, nor recoils in sorrow and full with the self, has a stable mind.   He who steers free his senses of the sense objects has a stable mind.   Sense objects may  cease   for   him  who does not enjoy with his senses, but the sense of taste prevails. This also is  automatically  conquered when the Supreme is realised. The power­ful senses forcibly disturb the mind of even the wisest exercising the greatest self-control. Therefore, for controlling the mind, the sadhaka should devote himself  heart and soul  in the  service of the Lord. When   a   person     abandons    all desires   and is pleased   with self contentment in himself he is called a 'Stithapragna'. He who is devoid of fear, wrath, longing, he who is not agitated amidst calamities, he who feels no exaltation or aversion to things that befall him is a Stitha­pragna. Food feeds the senses. Hence, when a person does not like food, senses are weakened and thus incapable of enjoying their objects. But this way of ridding one self of enjoyment of objects of sense is an action of enforced weakness. The relish for objects is not reduced. Therefore acquisition of knowledge of the Brahman is needed. When a man has experienced the Brahman, his mind and senses will automati­cally be controlled. No external agency is required. Even the sligh­test desire for sense objects destroys right thinking even as a minute quantity of lemon juice or curds tra­nsform of whole quantity of milk.

A person indulging in joy provided by the senses, develops attachment for them. From this attachment springs up the desire to possess the objects of senses. From desire ensues anger. Anger gives rise to indiscrimination, indiscrimination to confusion of memory, confusion to loss of reason which results in (he complete destruction (ruin) of the man. On the .contrary a self controlled man enjoys the sense objects through disciplined senses which are free from likes and dislikes and attaining placidity of mind which puts an end to all sorrows. The intellect of such a person firmly establishes itself in God, A wandering mind renders a man the incapable of reason. Control of the senses through control of the mind is a primary requisite for reaching perfection. Close associ­ation with God is another. A person who has neither reason nor fixed discerning faculty has no tranquality. He who has no trans-qullity has no happiness. A person who has no mastery over his senses may not believe in God. An atheist has no peace of mind and happiness and contentment are lost to him. Even as a boat in water is carried away by the wind, the wandering senses take away a man's dis­crimination. When senses disinte­grate it is not possible for a man even to aspire for self knowledge. Therefore, senses must be complet­ely restrained from the objects. He who is ever awake to the Supreme state and he who shuts off sense objects only is the person of per­fectly poised discernment and proves himself a great sage.

That which is night to all beings keeps a God realised soul awake and the transient worldly happi­ness in which all beings keep awake is night to Yogis. What is light for the ignorant is 'darkness' to Jnanis i.e., they do not want it. When the waters from different rivers join the ocean, the ocean though full remains undisturbed. In the same way, a person in whom all pleasures and objects of senses merge, attains peace and not he who goes in search of such plea­sures.

He who has experienced bliss of the self hardly values worldly glory. He does not even care for heavenly bliss. Such is the state of a God realised soul. He is totally united with the Universe. Having attained this state, delusion is over­come and Brahmic bliss is attained and established even at the last moment (moment of death). Only ordinary people are confused by the desire of fruit and their peace of mind is destroyed by the action they perform. But the mind of a man who has reached the state of perfection is not distressed by his hope of fruit. When the state of Brahmic bliss is reached, there is no more ignorance and he attains release in the form of 'Brahnia Nirvana'. If a man is not in this state at the moment of death, he cannot escape rebirth according to the wish he may have at the moment of death. It naturally follows that to annihilate desires at the moment of death, it must be practised before the point of death is reached. This is impossible except by special divine blessings. A true devotee should think it is God who com­mands his destiny. It is God that is responsible for his well or ill-being. It is God who controls all his actions. So, he must surrender himself to the will and direction of God.

Many of these great qualities can be attributed to our beloved Swamiji who has been an embodi­ment of these qualities for the benefit of his devotees. His path can be called('Shubra Marga')whico could be experienced as said by Baba himself about the path and pure personality. I prostrate at his lotus feet-our Swamiji, who is both a Yogi and a Sanyasi (without saffron robes) as is mentioned in the Gita He who carries out his duty without resorting to the fruit of action, is both a Sanyasi and Yogi.

Experience of A Devotee

A. Ramachandran

Bangalore

Miracles still happen—Persons afflicted with some trouble or other come to seek solace from Swamiji. Swamiji's method of solving their problems are peculiar. He does this with loving affection, unattached, that the devotee does not know the change he undergoes. At first Swamiji calmly hears their versions. Even at this stage the devotees get relief taking light by narrating their problems. Then Swamiji asks them to join the group around him in chanting Vishnu Sahasranama. Swamiji asks some of them to attend the Rudra Abhisbekam on Mondays and Thursdays and to continue Chanting the Vishnu Sahasranama- In this the devotees slowly forget their problems or they melt away. A transformat­ion takes place. A devotee who seeks job, gets it those who come to him afflicted with sicknes are cured by the application of UDI passed on from Swamiji's hand after consecration. Many such diffi­culties are overcome, marriage, promotion, success in studies etc., —successfully overcome while Swamiji remains unattached in all these cases. With a message of courage : BABA will help you, you don't worry. Gradually devotees realise the change and their desires are fulfilled in due course. No fast prescriptions are made. The same prescription was made by BABA with soothing words— "Allah Acha Karinga". The devo­tees got relief and all their desires fulfilled- Now Baba has come to Sri Sai Spiritual centre, Banga­lore, in the form of a beautiful life size marble Statue, to be the guid­ing light along with H. H. Sai-padananda Radhakrishna Swamiji in fulfilling the desires of all the devotees for a peace and happiness living at the feet of the Lord—Sri Sainath.

I am living in a rented house.

This house has been sold and the new owner wanted me to vacate. He started construction in front of my entrance. While the constru­ction was going on, he dumped heaps of mud debris deliberately blocking the entrance. The owner is also well aware that I have a handicapped son who depends on a crutch. My son came from his work in the evening one day and could not easily get inside the house. Somehow, he managed with the help of his mother's hand and got inside. The trouble—makers were watching the scene laughing and mocking while he got inside. My wife got annoyed at their be­haviour and wanted to complain to the police, she started for the police station to see that the obstruction was removed, she picked up on Auto. The driver looked more like a sikh with a beard and a pleasing personality. She directed him to go to the police station [Kalasipalayam P. S ] Via my work spot closeby and narrated to him her trouble on the way. The driver told her not to worry about meeting me as she herself could give the complaint and added, goondas should be taught a lesson.

They reached the police station and gave a oral complaint.    The Inspector sent a constable to book the culprits. The same Auto driver waited and brought the constable and my wife to our house. The constable took the culprits to the station. She got down and requested the driver to wait and take her back home, where she could pay Auto fare. The driver agreed and she went inside the police station. After completing the formalities, she came out to see that the Auto driver had disappeared.

Generally the Auto drivers do not wait and insist on immediate payment and disposal. The charges in this case should have been at least Rs. 7/— to Rs. 8/— Just imagine who this Auto driver should have been to come to our aid at the critical hour and disappeared without claiming any remuneration for the service rendered? We thought that he would call on us later to claim his fare. But so far he has not called on us. We now conclude that how Divine (BABA) has played this drama to help his beloved Children. This is simi­lar to the instance experinced by "Ramgirbuva Babugirbuva in the Jamner episode"—Ref : Jamner Miracle in Sri Sai Satcharitra,

Gurumahatma

D. V. Krishnamurthi

Bangalore

Only the knowledge imparted by a guru is powerful and useful. He who attains knowledge by pleas­ing his gum with every attention readily obtains success therein. His holiness Sri Radhakrishna Swamiji who is an embodiment of mercy and love knows only to give without asking for anything in return. There is no doubt that guru is father, mother and God. So guru ought to be worshipped as otherwise there can be nothing auspicious. We must serve the guru to wipe out our Karrnas. The guru who lifts the jivas from samsara, remoes all doubts, fear, lust, anger greed etc., and opens our inner eye to realise the Truth.

The syllable ‘Gu' dentoes darkness and 'Ru' signifies removal. The guru is therefore the remover of darkness. The head that touches the Furu's feet is furified and sacred as Gaya. Meditate always on guru's form, on the lips of the guru always resides God Brahma.

The first and formost need is to meditate on guru's form. Do pooja or worship guru's lotus feet. The sacred mantra is utterance of his name and that of liberation is grace. To get a Sadguru is very difficult- It is my great fortune that I have been with Sri Swamiji for the past 25 years- He is my guide, father, mother and God to me and my family- It is my perso­nal experience and as well as every one's that we forget all our worries and day to-day problems and get happiness and calmness when we are with him-

Mr. M. S. Srinivasan (Retd.) Accountant of M/S Simpson& Co. Ltd., Bangalore, under whom I was employed took me to Rev. Swamiji in 1953. The Swamiji had come to Sri Sai Samaj, Ebrahim Saheb Street, (now shifted to Someswara-puram) from Madras. Sri Swamiji's affectionate, motherly, smiling look and spiritual grace attracted me. This made me go to him daily without fail- I would like to mention how his grace has helped me and my family to overcome difficulties and hereby strengthened my faith and devotion to Shirdi Sri Sainath Maharaj.

In 1953, my mother-in-law, (Smt. Lalithamma)a staunch devo­tee of Baba and Swamiji, residing at ‘F' st. Cleveland Town, Bangalore was seriously ill. She refused to get admitted to hospital as she was orthodox. We were all worried as she was very weak, with high temperature for a week. One evening at about 6-30 in a loud voice she told us: "Swamiji has come, all of you prostrate before him". I said that Swamiji had not oome. She asserted that Swamiji came out of Baba's photo (Dwara-kamaye) consoling her saying, "why fear when I am here". After sometime her whole body started perspiring and the temperature came down to normal and was all right within a few days.

I would like to mention an­other inisdent.    In 1955 my father was admited in the Bowring Hospi­tal for an operation. We were afraid that since he was old and highly anenic, he could not with­stand the operation, though the doctors gave hopes. One evening on an Ekadasi day,—at 7.30, we prayed before Baba's and Swamij's partraits kept in the pooja room, to save my father, to rny surprise I saw in Baba's photo that the whole body became drenched with perspiration, I removed the glass and cleaned it with a cloth and refrained it. Within a few minutes again, the same thing happened. Then I thought Sri Baba indicated something and that I should go to hospital immediately.

That night (ekadasi) chanting "Sri Ram," my father entered Baba's abode, Thus even Baba's photo speaks to his devotees though we could not claim to have completely surrendered to Sai Baba. He looks after us like a mother if one surrenders completely to him, he will take us into his samrajya of immortality.

In 1973 when I was returning from office one evening, I saw a boy being beaten by a man on Kasturba Road, near Ganapathi Temple. The boy had stolen a few gova fruits. I asked the man not to beat the boy. If he wanted the value of the fruits, I would pay him and also take the fruits, I told him.

As a punishment I made the boy to do Topikaranam before Gana -pathi 21 times and then the boy was let off. When I came to the mandir, Sri Swamiji asked me to do Topikaranam," 21 times before Ganapathi's photo, without asking me anything else. After complet­ing 21 times, Sri Swamiji asked what right I had to punish the boy—Thus he made me realise my mistake. It is evident that Sri Swamiji knows every action of mine wherever I am, and whatever I do.

On one occasion in 1969-70, Sri Swamiji was staying in a small room of a house in N. R. colony. Once I forgot to tell Mr. Shesha-giri Rao (who was bringing food to Sri Swamiji daily) about Sri Swamiji's arrival in Bangalore from Bombay to bring food to Sri Swa­miji. Swamiji had to starve on that day without his little food. Food was denied to me the same day in a funny way. I had kept my tiffen carrier in the Cycle. When I went to take my food in the noon the carrier was missing. Later I came to know that a monkey took away my carrier on the road. A passer by handed over the empty carrier, to me seeing name engraved on the carrier.

These prove that God-(Baba) will not tolerate anything wrong done to his devotee. There are so many thrilling experiences like this. Many other devotees also have had such experiences.

My prostration to the Lotus feet of my Guru. I pray to Baba to keep Swamiji for long to guide and elevate his devotees.

 

 



[1] What can the Udhi do ? Neverthless, take the udhi as it is wanted” Said Baba to G.G.Narke

[2] Charters 350

[3] Charters 343

[4] Charters 342

[5] Charters 344

[6] "Ye yatha maam prapadyante, thaamsthathaiva bhajaamyaham"—Gita.