Newsletter

N E W S L E T T E R
VOL19, JANUARY 2007

FROM SHRI C.B. SATPATHY'S MESSAGE 

……“An incarnation, even after He has left His human embodiment, one aspect of His mission continues in which He guides people in a subtler form. That is the role of Sadguru. Sri Krishna as an incarnation changed the social order through Mahabharat but thereafter, His role remains till today as a ‘Sadguru’ in Geeta. While following Geeta millions of Hindus are following the path laid down by the Sadguru aspect of Sri Krishna. Similarly, through Bible, Koran, Guru Grantha Saheb, Christ, Prophet Mohammed and the Sikh Masters continue their divine roles. The followers of these religions don’t worship numerous deities, they only pray to God, the Almighty and follow the path prescribed by the Prophets or Sadgurus and their preachings. Search of God, search of self and peace need not necessarily be a difficult or complicated process. The Incarnations/Sadgurus have always tried to offer the simplest path to humanity.

The easiest way to spiritual evolution is:

1. To believe that the Sadguru is the divine incarnation to lead people towards temporal and spiritual development.

2. To follow the path laid down by him, as reflected in his earthly conduct and preachings.

3. To understand that no man how ever he strives, can evolve in the spiritual field beyond a certain limit without the help and kindness of a Sadguru. Even incarnations like Sri Krishna and Sri Rama, in the process of experiencing the God state in them, had to be helped by Sandeepani and Vasishta, the Sadgurus of their time.

4. To focus the entire spiritual consciousness on the Sadgurus, both in Sakara (formed) or Nirakar (formless), and worship them.

5. To believe that the Guru is the repositor of all divine powers and therefore, He alone should be made the mainstay of one’s life. All needs, worries and questions should be projected towards him.

Experience has shown that the people devoted to Sadgurus, evolve faster in the spiritual field than those following other methods, because such devotees believe in surrender to divinity which is the ultimate requirement for spiritual evolution.

Every devotee of Shirdi Sai, therefore, on this New Year, should decide whether he wants to hold Baba as his ‘lshta’ - the only one to be prayed, worshipped and called in time of need. Personally, for me Sri Sai is the only one and the ultimate. I don’t seek anything from elsewhere. Who would like to join me?”…….


FROM "LIFE OF SAI BABA" BY NARASIMHA SWAMI   

……“The ordinary man has to remember that his gentle plant of devotion has to be grown and tended and hedged with considerable care and for that purpose the regular forms of worship and the usual directions for the growth of devotion by attending pujas, Bhajanas and other ceremonies must be followed for a long time before attaining full fruition of Bhakti. Especially the nine modes of worship mentioned in the Bhagavata and stressed by Sri Sai Baba often have to be attended to and followed. In setting out those nine forms, one can see how the external and internal are inextricably interwoven and combined and how one gradually progresses with lower and external forms till his inner kernel of devotion attains maturity and perfection.

The nine modes are,

Sravana Listenging to accounts of the deeds of God, his Avataras and Saints.

Kirtana of Vishnu, reciting these or repeating God’s names and praise.

Smarana constantly recalling these, especially uttering God’s names.

Padasevanam falling at the feet of God and Saints.

Archana formal worship, for example with flowers, water, food, scents and all the 16 upacharas.

Vadana prostration before God and the saints.

Dasya, for example service, doing every work for God or Saint.

Sakhya remaining in the company of God or Saint.

Nivedana that is, surrender of the self that is forgetting oneself entirely in the contemplation of God after formally offering the self as a gift to God.”……

 

ARTICLE

''IT WAS WELL DONE THAT IT WAS NOT WELL DONE''

While treading through the concepts of the eternal journey of an Individual Soul (Jeevatma) and its ultimate goal of regaining the consciousness that it is part of, the Supreme Soul (Shivatma), one finds that the Individual Soul passes through different bodies or forms during different births or incarnations, gradually updating and re-updating its consciousness. Somewhere in its eternal pilgrimage, the Soul gets guided by another experienced one, who has already attained the goal and beyond and filled with extreme level of compassion, takes the responsibility to guide the others in the desired path. This surely can be described as the most compassionate act in the whole universe. Probably for the Guide, the motto is "the Soul must go on......."

Here, we would not discuss more about the journey of the Soul. Rather, we would discuss about the relationship between the Guide and the Pilgrim as mentioned above, going through some incidents from the lives of some able Masters (Guide) and their great Disciples (Pilgrims). Here, we would try and delve into the nectar filled intricacies in their relationships, the eternal longing for each other and the greatest milestones set by them for others to look up to.

Saint Sarmad used to be a well-to-do Parsi business man, visiting various parts of northern India for trade. Once while in Bihar, he saw a very good looking young man and was spell bound by his charm. It automatically struck him ‘If the creation of God can be so beautiful, how beautiful the God himself would be?’ Then Sarmad wandered in search of the most Beautiful God and after some time, he met the great saint ‘Bhikha’. The Pilgrim had found his Guide, or rather the vice versa…

After his companionship of the gross body with the Master was over, Sarmad wandered in the streets of Delhi, praising his all compassionate Master. Sometimes he used to utter verses, expressing sheer joy and ecstasy at the thought of the Master; sometimes praising the glory of the Master; and at times pensively longing for the Master.

For many he was a revered one and yet for some, a mad man. On this, in one of his Rubaiyats, Sarmad said, ‘they say that my life was not well done; but I say it was well done that it was not well done.’ Thus he had aptly justified that if he had put himself into the mundane chores of the world, then he would have missed the most important companionship of his Master. Once, condemning the worldly contacts and looking up to the Master’s compassion, Sarmad said, ‘For my misdeeds, I bow my head in shame. I pass my life in worries and doing what I should not. But O’ Master, your reputation for grace and mercy is at stake; not my reputation for misdeeds.’

Such was the intensity of love and longing ness of Sarmad for his Master that at times Sarmad used to utter words of confrontation, challenging the Master to prove wrong, Sarmad’s own conviction of the supreme greatness of the Master. In one Rubaiyat, Sarmad said, ‘Tell me the cause of my broken-heartedness; Tell me how long I shall endure this pain; I know I am a sinner and a supplicant at the door of your grace; And if you can not forgive me, lead me then to the door of another one more compassionate than you.’

With the passage of time, when Sarmad’s popularity grew as a holy saint, the priests and the advisors of Aurangjeb, the then mogul emperor became jealous and charged Sarmad with the act of blasphemy of Islam. In Islam, idol worship is strictly prohibited, yet Sarmad was going on and on with worshipping and praising his Master. When Sarmad was confronted with this charge of idol worship, he said,

‘Why do you seek His abode in the chapel or the mosque? Can’t you see His creation above and below? Wherein does He not abide? The whole universe made by Him recites His tale. He alone is wise, who for Him is mad….’

‘I am an idol-worshipper and not among the believers. I go towards the mosque, though I am no Moslem…’

Thus, Sarmad, amidst all the chaos of the mundane world, kept on praising the glory of his Master and eventually when Sarmad left his gross body, none other than his Master appeared before him to greet him into the other world.

As the disciple longs for the Master, the Master also longs no less for the disciple. The relationship between Shri Sai Baba of Shirdi and probably His greatest disciple Shri Upasani Maharaj is an apt example of the same.

When Upasani Maharaj came to Shri Sainath for the first time in Shirdi, Shri Sainath was already waiting for the arrival of Upasani Maharaj. When Shri Sainath asked for ‘Dakshina’, Upasani Maharaj gave Shri Sainath a coin, which was no longer valid. Immediately, with all love and compassion, Shri Sainath gave a hint about Upasani Maharaj’s future. Shri Sainath said, ‘You have given me this coin, but I will give you the most precious one.’ This kind of strange behavior did not impress Upasani Maharaj much and he wanted to leave Shirdi as soon as possible.

Before leaving Shirdi, when Upasani Maharaj asked for Shri Sainath’s permission, Shri Sainatn said, ‘You will return to Shirdi in eight days.’ And thus happened, on the eighth day, Upasani Maharaj reached Kopergaon, a place just eight miles away from Shirdi, to his utter confusion. He realized that during the nine days, he had actually lost his path and was roaming around Shirdi. At that moment, Upasani Maharaj understood the ‘What’ and ‘Why’ of Shri Sainath’s words. Filled with insurmountable love for the Beloved, he returned back to Shirdi. The ‘Guide’ had found His able ‘Pilgrim’ and the journey of Upasani Maharaj towards the pinnacle had just begun to end.

Upon Shri Sainath’s instructions, Upasani Maharaj started living in the Kandoba Temple, just adjacent to Shirdi. Shri Sainath seldom used to meet Upasani Maharaj physically. Through many visions and mysterious instructions, Shri Sainath carved a Perfect Master, the highest of the high, out of Upasani Maharaj, in just about four years!

Under the active observation of his Master, Upasani Maharaj started the final phase of his pilgrimage, practicing greatest levels of penance and other spiritual practices. On one occasion, sitting amongst some devotees, Shri Sainath declared with divine love for Upasani Maharaj, ‘For me, the whole world is one side and Upasani, the other.’ That is probably the greatest level of performance evaluation any disciple can never even dream of from his Master.

When Swami Vivekananda met with Shri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa for the first time, Shri Ramakrishna abruptly started crying like a child. Tears of the pleasure of finding a missing one were rolling down his cheeks incessantly. The disciples of Shri Ramakrishna remained dumbfounded at the site. Then to add to everybody’s surprise, Shri Ramakrishna said, ‘Where had you been? I have been waiting for you for so long?’ At that point of time Vivekananda did not quite understand what the Master had said. It took him some time to understand that actually at that very moment, the Guide had found His long lost Pilgrim.

Once, Shri Yogananda was sitting with his Master Shri Yukteshwar Giri. There was something in Yogananda’s mind, that he had kept to himself for long, to be expressed to the Master. On this occasion, Yogananda could not restrain himself any more and asked the master, ‘Master, till now, never ever have you told that you love me.’ Hearing this, Shri Yukteshwar Giri remained silent for some time and eventually expressed His unfathomable love for the disciple by saying, ‘But why do you wish to bring the warm feelings into the purview of the coldness of vocabulary?’ Upon Yogananda’s insistence, the master eventually said’ ‘so let it be; I love you Yogananda.’ Then filled with gratitude, Yogananda said, ‘Ah Master that is my ticket to heaven.’

The above incident subtly describes the feelings the Master and the Disciple hold deep within their souls for each other. Those are never expressed and always understood and experienced with no words uttered and no questions asked.

The Master of the great Bullah Shah was revered Shah Inayat. Bullah Shah served the Master with great zeal and assiduousness. Complete surrender and service to the Master with a life bubbling with renunciation and unswerving devotion, gained for him the grace of the Master. With the passage of time, Bullah Shah, unable to control his joy, began expressing his divine experiences before the uninitiated. That displeased Shah Inayat and for a time, Bullah Shah was expelled from the hermitage of the Master.

With the separation, the whole universe fell crashing down on Bullah Shah. His state of mind was no better than a mad man, not having any control whatsoever over his behavior. He did not have any sense of pain and pleasure; the feeling of agony and joy were the same for him. During this period he once wrote, ‘What was my fault that you forsook me and went away? I pass my nights and days in tears. More tense and brutal are the shafts of love than the canon shots and swords. None is cruel like love, it is very deadly and painful……’

Completely ignorant about what is to be done about the problem, and filled with unquenchable thirst of love, Bullah Shah started learning traditional dances of a dancing girl to impress the Master. Soon, after he became proficient in it, disguised as a dancing girl, he went to a congregation of Sufis held at Shah Inayat’s place and melodiously sang the following:

‘My Lord, my Guru has left me, what shall I do? He has left me, I must pursue Him. The flames of the fire of separation are leaping without sight of Him. Without my preceptor, I have lost both my worlds…’

The melody of the voice, the depth of the meaning and the piercing agony of separation made Shah Inayat recognize His disciple Bullah Shah, despite the attire of Bullah Shah’s disguise. And when the Master interrogated, ‘Is it Bullah?’, the disciple answered, ‘Not Bullah but Bhullah (meaning literally ‘the erring one’).’ An embrace followed and once again Bullah Shah and Shah Inayat were together.

From the above one understands that once the Disciple finds the Master or vice versa, there is only room left for divine love and longing for each other. Irrespective of the physical proximity, both the emotions remain there till the Disciple and the Master become one and the same. For the Master, the divine welfare of the Disciple is the priority and for the Disciple, the Master prioritizes over the mundane world. All barriers with regard to the society, religion, custom and so on and so forth are of no relevance. Thus amongst and irrespective of all the chaos and anarchy, the Disciple is all concentration upon his Master. As the Disciple progresses in the path of love shown by the Master, his judgment towards the worldly life remains – ‘It was well done that it was not well done…’

Debabrata Satpathy

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DEVOTEE'S EXPERIENCE

I am 17 years old and I live in Malaysia. I would like to share with you my experience with Shirdi Sai Baba. A few months ago, I used to have an unbearable stomach ache. I had to visit the clinic thrice a week. On two occasions I was admitted to the Medical Centre. At times I felt very shy to see the doctor because I kept falling sick. One day, my friend’s father, Mr. Rajaram, who is a Baba devotee, prayed for me to Shirdi Sai Baba because I missed school and tuition classes almost for two months. After praying he asked Baba “What shall I do”, and Baba told to apply Udi (ashes from the Dhuni) to your forehead. Everything will be fine. So, on 20th July 2006 when I was going to school, his wife gave the Udi. I applied a bit of it on my forehead and kept the remaining Udi in my pocket. After recess, I my stomach started aching again and I felt like vomiting and both my legs started shivering. So, I decided to call my mother to take me back home. I needed some coins to use the public telephone. I put my hand inside my pocket, and instead of coins the Udi came into my hand. I was very surprised, and applied the Udi on my forehead and prayed to Baba. It was a miracle….. immediately the pain stopped and in few minutes I was fully alright. Since that day I never had the pain again. My faith in Baba started from that day onwards.

Thank you so much Baba…..

Navena Subramaniam, Malaysia

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DEVOTEES' FORUM

An Essence……

A little girl and her father were crossing a bridge. The father was kind of scared. So he asked his little daughter, “Sweetheart, Please hold my hand so that you don’t fall into the river.” The little girl said, “No, Father. You hold my hand.”

“What is the difference?” asked the puzzled father.

“There is a big difference,” replied the girl. “If I hold your hand and anything happens to me, chances are that I may let your hand go. But then, if you hold my hand, I know for sure that no matter what happens, you will never let my hand go.” I will be safe.

All of us wish to walk the path of life, holding Baba’s hand. But when difficulties occur, we might stumble and lose the hold. SO let us pray to Baba here and now that HE should rather hold our hand forever, for then we will be safe on every bridge of life. Even if we stumble and falter, He will be there with us always. All we need to do here is to stretch out our hand to our SADGURU with love and intense trust in eyes and with the Heart of a Toddler. For the essence of trust is not in its bind, but in its bond.

Pallavi Shankar

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READER'S REFLECTION


Thanking you for sending me wonderful and peaceful messages at the time I am my family are going through hard times . We wish by THY GRACE OF GOD SAI BABA to remove all the obstacles in the life we are at the moment experencing. We are great devotees of GOD SAI BABA and SAI BABA shall manifest in one form or the other to HELP US. BOW TO SAI BABA PEACE BE TO ALL.
OM SAI RAM

Manfred, Vimla and Meenakshi KAISER

I am very thankful for receiving "Heritage of Shirdi Sai" magazine and Sai Heritage E-Zine sent to me by some one who is so kind and loving. By getting Heritage of Shirdi Sai I feel like I am being blessed by Shri Sai Baba for showering his kind divine mercy and love on me. I also would like to thank each and everyone who is working so hard for this excellent web site. Please keep up the good work and may Sai Baba’s blessing be on you all in this world and the next. Please pray that I can soon do the darshan of Sai Baba in Shirdi. Thank you.

Pritam, Canada

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NEWS OF SHIRDI SAI ACTIVITIES

SAI KA AANGAN, GURGAON

As inspired by Shri C.B. Satpathy, Vasant Utsav is an annual feature of Sai Ka Aangan in Gurgaon. It is celebrated with customary gaiety and a riot of colours and festivity including cultural events and Mahaprasad. This is to inform all Baba devotees that the Vasant Utsav will be celebrated in Sai Ka Aangan on the 23rd of Jan 2007 for which all are welcome. You can contact us on 0124-4041378.

 

SHIRDI SAI BABA SANSTHAN, CANADA

THE RESOURCE CENTRE

Shirdi Sai Baba Sansthan, Canada is pleased to announce the establishment of it's first Resource Centre in Woodbridge, Toronto. All visits are by appointment only. Shri Sai Satcharita is available in all languages. The Resource Centre is open Mon to Friday between 10:00 - 5:00PM. Location: Maple Crest Private School - 28 Roytech Rd. Woodbridge, On L4L 8E4 Ph: 905 - 652-6666 For other Details call 416-294-4804 or visit http://www.shirdisainath.org/

 

SHIRDI SAI MANDIR, TORONTO, CANADA

The Shirdi Sai Mandir located at 2721 Markham Road, Toronto, Ontario, M1X 1L5 (Intersection of Markham and Nashdene) is open through out the day on Saturday, Sunday & holidays and in the morning and evenings on all weekdays. Baba's Kakad Aarti, Abhishek Puja, Madhyan Aarti, Dhoop Aarti, Satcharita Reading & Shej Aarti are performed everyday. Bhajans & Sai Naam Sankirtan in evening on Thursday & Saturday. For daily schedule, temple activities & events information please visit Mandir's website : http://www.theshirdisaimandir.com/ or send an email to info@theshirdisaimandir.com or call 647-444-4724.


PERSATUAN SHIRDI SAI BABA SELANGOR, MALAYSIA

I belong to the Shirdi Sai Group (registered as Persatuan Shirdi Sai Baba, Selangor), Malaysia. Sai Ram everybody. This to inform the Baba devotees in Malaysia and Singapore that every Thursday we conduct prayers in the morning at 9.00 am and bhajans and satsang in the evenings 7.30 pm onwards. Anyone who is interested in joining us may please contact SP Kannan at 012-2739486; or Usha at 012-2392911; or Res: 03-33717540. Also if you come across any Malaysian devotees, please direct them to us. Thank you and Sai Ram.

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