Volume 8 - Issue 10
October 2010
Other Articles

 

LOVING LEGEND -- LIVING LEGACIES

October 20, 1940. It was on this day, seventy years ago, that Bhagavan Baba unveiled the mystery surrounding His birth, life and mission.  He declared to the people around, and through them to the entire mankind, that He indeed is the Supreme Consciousness embodied in a diminutive and delightful form. “I am no longer your Sathya, I am Sai…I have My work; My devotees are calling Me…” He announced candidly on that day.

Ever since, this eternal reservoir of energy and empathy, hope and happiness, solace and succor, light and love, has nursed and nurtured, and ensured that the tiny seed of goodness latent within every individual grows into a gigantic tree of love and serenity.  And like a perfect teacher, He has demonstrated this more by living that principle in every moment of His own life. The result is a luminescent legacy that will continue to illumine the dark alleys of humanity’s collective consciousness, elevating it to a state of absolute sublimity for generations to come.

“Loving Legend – Living Legacies” seeks to capture a few salient highlights of this glorious saga of Pure Love. This 30-episode radio documentary starts on October 20, 2010 on Radio Sai to continue daily till November 19, 2010.

Below is the textual adaptation of this audio series embellished with pictures, audio and video clips!

Let us immerse ourselves in the story of His glory and more important strive to make our little lives shine with the sacred glow of purity, nobility and genuine compassion.

 

 

Episode 10: The Mission Had Begun

 
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Sathya Sai Baba, after having declared Himself the Avatar, now set about implementing everything on His agenda to bring about the Golden Age. The Dussera celebrations of 1960 presented a platform for the profound declarations that Baba made about Himself and His Mission.

 

He announced that He had come again to proclaim the same principles laid out in the Bhagavad Gita: To give up the fruit of one’s actions and live a life of surrender. “Just as the clouds hide the glory of the Sun, the clouds of doubt and delusion hide My Glory from your understanding,” He said. What Baba wants of all is release from the shackles of “I” and “mine,” just like Arjuna who gave up his ignorance when liberated by Krishna. He informs us that love is the seed, devotion the sprout, faith the manure, good company the rain, surrender the flower, and merging with the lord the fruit.

There is no one in this world who does not belong to Me- Baba

“You are all more fortunate,' He said, “than men of previous generations, for you have Me as your guide and guardian, watching over you and warning you when your steps go wrong. Make the best use of this rare chance; do not leap about like frogs, ignoring the lotus that blooms by their side, but be like the bees that swarm from far and near to drink the nectar in plenty.”

On Maha Shivaratri day, He emphasised the Universal Aspect of His Message and declared that it was for all humanity that He had come. "There is no one in this world who does not belong to Me; all are Mine; they may not call out My name or any Name; still they are Mine."

 

At Coimbatore on 26 February 1961, Baba installed the marble image of the former Avatar Shirdi Sai Baba at the Naga Sai Mandir. This was the first occasion on which Baba was formally installing, for daily worship, an idol of His Previous Manifestation. Devotees were thereby expecting some important pronouncement from Baba that day.

Nor were they disappointed! Baba said, "It is really amusing, is it not, that I should install this idol of Myself in another manifestation. I am doing so for a very valid reason.”

Baba revealed that the only other instance of an Avatar installing an idol of the Lord is that of Rama installing the Iswaralinga at Rameswaram. That was done as a preliminary to the downfall of the evil Ravana and the demons in accordance with the Divine task of Dushta-nigraha or the destruction of the wicked. However, Baba said this time around it was Dharma-sthapana or the Establishment of Dharma in the world.

Baba Visits Temples in North India

Baba has often said that the holiness of a place of pilgrimage is proportionate to the devotion which the aspirants bring with them and the sincerity of the prayers they pour forth before the shrine. Nevertheless, when Baba Himself visits a temple or place of worship, the effect is more profound. It, therefore, made the hearts of devotees in those early days glad to hear that Baba planned a tour to Ayodhya and Benares after a short stay at Madras, now Chennai.

 

The Governor of the North Indian state of Uttar Pradesh took advantage of this trip to the North. Governor B. Ramakrishna Rao called upon Baba to speak to a handful of gatherings in the city of Lucknow. Next, the holy city of Ayodhya was the lucky destination of the Sai Avatar. And, Baba brought a group of lucky devotees to accompany Him.

There, the Lord’s one-pointed attention showered itself upon the Ramayana’s central sites: The Rama Temple, the temple of Hanuman, and the Sarayu River. Then, the traveling party went to Sarnath and Benares – where Baba visited the Vishwanath Temple.

Professor Kasturi tells us about that amazing experience.

 

“The Lingam inside this Temple has been bathed reverentially by millions of pilgrims for thousands of years with the sacred water of the Ganges. Baba watched the ceremonial pouring of Ganges water on the Lingam, and the recitation of the traditional mantras. Then, as though impelled by a sudden decision, He moved forward and materialising the Kailasa Vibhuti in His palm, He applied it in three broad lines to about three quarters of the rounded image, making it shine with a peculiar splendour.

He then created some sandal paste of an otherworldly perfume and consistency, and patting it into a round shape, He approached the Lingam again and applied it to the centre of the triple-lined Vibhuthi. Then, with another wave of the Divine Hand, Baba materialised a priceless jewel of rubies, diamonds, and gold. He placed the jewel on the sandal paste He had already put on the face of the Lingam and asked that arati or worship with camphor flame be performed. Those who observed this ceremony that morning, in the most historic of India’s temples, can never forget it.

Subsequently, Baba’s party arrived in Allahabad to witness the holy Triveni Sangam, the confluence of three of India’s holiest rivers: the Ganga, the Yamuna, and the invisible Saraswati that flows underground for most parts of its course.

On His way back to Puttaparthi, Baba stopped at Tirupathi, the shrine dedicated to Lord Venkateshwara. There, he spoke of the real meaning of idol worship.

 

He said: “Many people laugh at those who worship idols and condemn it as blind superstition. But, reason is rendered dumb before the testimony of an actual experience.

All the arguments that logic can frame, all the tricks that dialectics can formulate, are powerless to nullify the effect of that inner evidence. The idol is not a mere external adjunct or apparatus or object. It is part of the inner mechanism of realisation. If worship is carried out in the confidence that the idol is saturated with consciousness, it can bestow the Highest Bliss.”


Following a short stay in Puttaparthi and then the Nilgiri mountains, Bhagawan returned north to visit the Himalayan treasures. The sites he visited included Haridwar, Srinagar, Nainital, and Badrinath.

Baba left for Mysore City during the month-end, for the devotees there wanted Him to be with them for Guru Poornima, the full moon dedicated to the worship of one's spiritual preceptor. That evening, He reminded a gathering of 20,000 that Mysore was famous for the fragrance of its sandalwood and the musical attainment of its people. Baba went on to say the fragrance of Prema or divine love should fill each act of ours. The harmony and melody of music must permeate “every sprout of thought, every tendril of emotion, every bud of speech.”

Dussera Celebrations at Prashanti Nilayam

Dussera in 1961 commenced with the first great sacrificial fire or yajna at the Mandir. Following is an excerpt from Mrs. Vijayakumari’s written record of the event:

 

“In Prasanthi Nilayam, under the direct supervision of the Emperor of Puttaparthi, under the direction of the indweller of all manifestations, the ‘Jnana Yajna’ was performed. The pits for the sacrificial fire were arranged on the altar. A large pandal or tent was raised behind the Nilayam.

Work was going on briskly. Hundreds of devotees were working round-the-clock. We too joined hands in this task. Mother Sai did not have a moment’s leisure. Vedic scholars, eminent poets, distinguished learned men, veteran chief pundits, constitutional experts, educationists, leading devotees, theists and atheists - all took part in this great sacrifice.

“As a prelude to commencing the Dussera celebrations, Swami hoisted the Prashanti Flag and caused flowers to rain on us. He said, ‘Serenity is not something you can command to be present or leave. It is not at your beck and call. Even as the Flag flutters over the Nilayam, so should it in the edifice of your body. All those who have come to witness the yajna are truly blessed. I do not have words to estimate in how many births their accumulated good deeds have borne this fruit.’

 

“Then Baba cautioned, ‘Do not waste a second. Give up mundane thoughts. Drink in Ananda. Time, once past, does not return again.’

“Festoons of green leaves and flowers, flags of many colors, ornamental designs on the floor, the dais with sacrificial pits decorated with turmeric and vermillion – all these made Prashanti Nilayam shine splendidly, like a new bride. Everyone was running around like a sucking calf. Every tree, mound, and hillock became a camping site for the devotees.

“At dawn the next day, the mahayajna was to start. Heavy rain poured while thunder and lightning dazzled. As if this weren’t enough, swift thunderbolts, like the blowing of conch shells, with the reverberation sending shivers through our bodies, seemed to strike the earth and play large drums. The earth’s surface was washed clean and refreshed. Mighty trees beat time, nodding their heads. The flutter of the flags mingled with the music of the shehnai. Sai, the eternal, the giver of boons of fearlessness to the devotees, appeared as the very eyes of the devotees. He gladdened the lotuses of our hearts. Hundreds of hands rose as one, and thousands of eyes became ecstatic and offered countless salutations to Sai the Supreme.”

Mrs. Vijayakumari describes the rich pageant of the rites, readings, and rituals of the fire sacrifice with each passing day. Of her experience regarding the culmination of the yajna, she writes:

“It was about time for the total oblation Poornahuti. The God of Fire rose upwards, as if stretching out His thousand tongues, and blocked the view of Baba’s handsome figure. Baba raised His right hand. Hematerialised the nine kinds of gems and flowers of gold and poured them into the sacrificial pit. Saffron rice rained down. He offered as oblation the materials in the golden plate. Vedic chants touched the sky. The victory shouts of devotees surged in all directions. The God of Fire too, as if conveying gracious complete acceptance of the total oblation and his own pleasure, blazed with his seven faces and tongues. All the priests circumambulated and prostrated to Baba.”

Birth of Sathya Sai Seva Samithi

A long time devotee from Mysore, Mrs. Karunamba Ramamurthy, also recorded the event in her book “Sri Sathya Sai Anandadayi” and with it Baba’s important announcement:

 

“On the last day of this week-long yajna, Baba arrives as the Vedapurusa, materialises and offers nine types of grains, ghee and navaratnas to the sacrificial fire for the welfare of the world. The year 1961 was also important for the Sri Sathya Sai Service Organisations.

After the poornahuti or the final oblation, Sai Baba came to the Mandir and addressed the huge assembly with the words, ‘I am starting a Seva Samithi. The persons who become members of this samithi and perform selfless service will be liberated from the cycle of birth and death; not only they, but also their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. But the test will be severe. I will see how many will withstand this trial and emerge victorious in the end.’”

The Samithi, thenannounced by Baba, has today developed into a worldwide organization encompassing more than 125 countries.

 

Mrs. Karunamba continues, “Baba also said, ‘For every act of Grace that you know this Form has done, there are thousands you do not know! Rama was the embodiment of Sathya and Dharma; Krishna of Santhi and Prema. Now, when skill is skipping faster than self-control, when science laughs at Sadhana, when hate and fear have darkened the heart of man, I have come, embodying all the four which is, Truth, Peace, Love, and Spiritual Growth.’”

After the final oblation of the sacrificial fire, it was time to anoint the silver idol of Shirdi Sai. Once again, we refer to Mrs. Vijayakumari’s account:

“He materialised with a wave of His hand a Crystal Lingam along with its base, placed it on the head of Shirdi Sai and began anointing it with Vibhuti. The sacred ash came out steadily and continuously like a downpour and fully covered Shirdi Sai. The recitation of the Vedas and the bhajan echoed while Sai glowed with the Vibhuti adorning His every limb. This can only be experienced, and is not to be written in mere words.”

Mrs. Vijayakumari finally sums up her thoughts about Dussera 1961:

“Passing through childhood and the stage of fun, frolic and diversion, our dear Sai entered the stage of upadesa or instruction. To speak the truth, this lay buried in Himfrom the beginning. But He had been waiting for the right time, for the maturing of mankind. Do we look for a harvest after sowing seeds in a saline soil? Earlier, He had sowed only a few seeds.

But this day, in a manner easily understood by the entire world, He is tilling the fields of men’s hearts, sowing seeds of peace, sending down showers of love, growing the crops of bags full of boons—of the highest happiness—turning all mankind into the path of right conduct. He is making an all-out effort to render their lives evergreen. His descent is for the well-being of humanity. For our sake, He labours hard, with no rest. In this incarnation, there is only loving protection and no punishment at all. We extol Him saying, ‘Sathya Sai Rama! Rain down the nectar of love! Rain down the nectar of peace!’”

Can Man Fathom God’s Ways?

 

Finally, on 21 October, He announced that the Mission of the Revival of Dharma for which He had come has begun. "Until now, it was in the preparatory stage; from now on, the work will proceed without slackening speed. It is now for you to share in this campaign for the liberation of man from ignorance. In no previous era have men got so many and so clear intimations of the Advent of the Avatar, as now."

On the holy day of Shivaratri in 1962, which fell on 4 March, Baba advised the thousands who had witnessed the emergence of two golden Lingas from Him, "Why do you discuss and debate among yourselves about My nature, My Mystery, My miracle, My reality? Fish cannot gauge the sky; the gross can grasp only the gross.

"The eye cannot see the ear, though it is so near. When you cannot reach down to your own reality, why waste time trying to explore the essence of God? You are like a Telugu audience sitting through a Tamil picture, or a Malayali sitting through a Japanese film. The nuances, the subtler significances, the deeper meanings and interrelationships, the inner patterns of the fabric, are beyond your understanding. Sit through the entire film; master the language and the technique; watch earnestly and vigilantly and try to imbibe the meaning of every gesture, act and word; then, you may know Me, a little."

The re-establishment of dharma or righteousness had begun! In our next installment we will learn the holy details of how Baba recharged the spiritual potency of the holy temple of Badrinath.

(To be continued)

- Heart2Heart Team

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