Volume 14 - Issue 06
June 2016
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Posted on: June 25, 2016


Guru Poornima Special Offering
(Daily Episode)

Part - 17

In 2006, eager to start a service which will help everyone to connect with Bhagawan's teachings on a daily basis, Radio Sai began 'Sai Inspires'. All who subscribed to this service, received an email from us which had a concise message of Baba accompanied with His image. This daily offering was received well, and soon the subscriptions grew. Today nearly 100,000 people from all corners of the world wait for this message to help them tide over their day with peace and ease. The power inherent in these discourse capsules is indeed tremendous. How much we benefit from it and how best we harness this energy depends purely on how seriously we ruminate over these words and how sincerely we put our learning into action. To help us in this noble and elevating exercise, Prof. G. Venkataraman has taken time out to elaborate on these messages. His reflections will not only give us a deeper understanding into what the Lord is communicating to us but also give us tips to translate them into our daily practical life with more ease.

The best way to value the Master is to master His values. As we prepare to celebrate Guru Poornima (July 19), when we pay our respects and obeisance to the Divine Master, let us work to offer Him the tribute that the Lord loves the most from us - to make our lives His message, to make His love and wisdom shine in us. To aid us in this endeavour we have this series where Prof. Venkataraman for the next 26 days from June 9, 2016 shares his insights on select Sai Inspires messages. We hope this will help us to understand His teachings better and bolster our determination to walk on the sacred path.

Sai Inspires Message


God's love is pure and simple. His greatest gift is His love... Do not calculate what you have offered to God in terms of money or otherwise. Whatever you offer, consider only the feeling with which you offered it. Even a small tulasi leaf offered with love becomes a great offering to the Lord. Offer anything with a full and loving heart. By offering with love, you become the embodiment of love... Identify yourself with the name and form of the Divine of your choice. You may carry on all your normal daily duties, but keep in mind always the name of the Lord. That is the injunction of Lord Krishna.

• Divine Discourse, August 25, 1997.


Sai Ram. The above Sai quote is extremely important because it illustrates several important truths that most of us hardly understand or bother about. Before I start discussing the implications of the quote itself, let me start with some background.

Swami reminds us again and again that in His Ultimate aspect, God is Infinite, Eternal, Formless and Nameless. If one has to worship God, this is the way one really has to. However, it is a tough job to worship the Infinite and the Formless; if you and me were to try that, we would find it simply impossible. In fact, it would be worse than asking a five-year old kid to straightaway do a Ph. D in mathematics.

Keeping such difficulties in mind, Krishna offered a simple alternative to Arjuna about getting started the easy way. Translated to our language, it means the following: Join kindergarten first; study hard and work your way through school and college; after you go through all this, you would be ready to enter a University to do a Ph. D. Obviously, that was not the way Krishna said it, but Swami did say something similar in His most memorable Discourses on the Gita delivered in 1984. By the way, in that series Bhagawan gave 35 Discourses and together, they form the treasure of the Kali Age. One of these days, we hope to offer it as a comprehensive package, complete with interpretation and all that.

Meanwhile, getting back to the remark of Swami that I just referred to, what He actually means is the following: Start by worshipping God with Form; it could be any God with Form you like – Rama, Krishna, Ganesha, Shiva, Jesus, Buddha or whatever; doesn’t matter at all. OK, we accept that; after that what? How must one worship this God? It is in answering that question that Avatars play a key role.

Swami says that one could start with standard, regular, ritualistic worship. In the Indian tradition that would include chanting Mantras, offering various items as Naivedyams as they are referred to, and ending by waving incense and the flame, followed of course by the singing of Arathi. However, all this is but the beginning. Few remember that, that is why they go on doing this sort of thing all their lives, till it becomes a drill and set routine. Once that happens, worship operates on auto-pilot, with the mind free to wander all over the place. At that stage the worship ceases to have any meaning, at least for God.

You might ask, “If there is that danger, why then did Krishna advice Arjuna to start by worshipping God with Form?” For several reasons; firstly of course, a God with Form is easy to visualize and relate to. Thus, when going through the rituals, one’s mind is expected to be focused all the time on the Form of God one has adopted. Focussing the mind thus, one must then saturate it with the feeling, “God, I love and adore You and am doing all this just to please You. Look, here is a beautiful rose that I have got specially for You, which, I hope You would like; please accept it. Next, here is something I have cooked; please accept it since I prepared it solely for You and with so much love.” That is the way a devotee worships when he feels a strong one-to-one relationship with God. And that happens when the devotee does not see a mere idol before him but God as he visualizes.

The point really is that Form is a means of building up one’s Love for God in a very personal and intimate way. That Love can be called intimate only if God dominates the devotee’s life, is always present before his mind’s eye, making him hum bhajans while talking a walk, and so on. Remember Swami saying, “Start the day with Love, fill the day with Love and end the day with Love?” That is what worship must do to the person.

Saint Tyagaraja who lived between 1767 and 1847 was one such person. Early in life, he adopted Rama as his favourite God, which happened after he completed chanting the name of Rama 90 million times! Of course he started this chanting very early in life and boy, did his life change after that? You bet it did. Every morning, Tyagaraja would wake up Rama with a song specially composed by Him for this purpose. He would then get ready for the regular worship which he would go through as if Rama was directly before him and receiving it all. After that he would then sing for Rama for a while, then offer food and allow the Lord some rest. And so on, the day would pass, till Rama was put to sleep at night! Incidentally, in all this, Tyagaraja composed hundreds of amazing songs that came straight from his Heart. No wonder he subsequently became one of the great pillars of classical South Indian Music known as Carnatic Music; his songs remain highly popular and are adored to this day.

Understandably, you might shake your head and mutter, “Come on! This is the 21st century, the twitter age when life moves at jet speed and one has juggle with the i-phone for personal work, the Blackberry to be in touch with the office 24/7, the i-pad and laptop and what not. Maybe somebody took care of Tyagaraja’s meal ticket; I would starve if I tried anything like that,” so on the argument would go.


Everyone knows that kind of counter-argument and I really do not have to go through it. As a matter of fact, anticipating such objections Krishna said over five thousand years ago, “Dear devotee, don’t be scared! I really do not wish to be an obstruction to your normal life. There is a simple alternative, and maybe you can give it a try. This way, you can jolly well go through life as you ought to, and yet remain devoted to Me. Want to hear about it?”

Actually, this is an ideal recipe but since it is old, most people have forgotten it altogether. Swami has therefore revived under the banner, Convert Work into Worship, and made it very simple.

Swami says: “You are a pilot. I know it is a tough job and you have to concentrate a lot. So, just say a small prayer before take-off. After that, you can be busy about flying. And just before landing, say another small prayer, thanking God. This way, the entire flight of 3 or 5 hours, gets credited to your Bhakti account. How about it?”

If you are a doctor, He says similarly, “Offer a small silent prayer just before surgery and one more after it is all over while the patient is being wheeled away to the ICU. You are through, because your entire surgery which is really My work being done for Me by you, becomes your worship of Me!” So you see, the busiest person on earth can still be an ardent devotee of God when he/she does all the work not only in a sincere and truthful manner but also as an act of worship.

The doubting Thomas might still argue, “Listen, I feel this is all trickery. Take the doctor. He just prays for one minute at the beginning and a few seconds at the end giving thanks. Fine. But do those sixty to ninety seconds of prayer convert the entire 3 hour surgery into worship? I do pujas and I know what doing puja for 3 hours means. I feel there is a shady conversion or exchange rate operating here, which is totally unfair to us, the loyal and disciplined devotees.”

But Swami has the answer. He says, “The worship of Form is merely meant to inculcate love. If it ends in making you believe that God is just that idol and nothing more, then you have got it all wrong. Forgetting that God is Omnipresent, you have reduced God to a mere idol! On the other hand, using the idol as a stepping stone, you must see God everywhere. When the pilot concentrates on his flying, he is serving Me through the passengers; that is how he sees Me everywhere. Likewise, when a doctor is performing a surgery and is intensely concentrating on it, he is really seeing Me in the patient. This is how his work is transformed into worship. This is how the devotee must take Sathya and Dharma from the puja room to the class room, the court, the office, the bank or wherever it is that he is serving. And remember, Krishna told Arjuna, “When you fight, think of Me and do so; thereafter, this war ceases to be a fight over a mere kingdom; instead, it becomes a war against adharma with you being a soldier of God! If it were not so, do you think I would be here acting as your Charioteer?”

With all that preamble, let us return to the Sai quote and pay particular attention to the following words which we read earlier:

You may carry on all your normal daily duties, but keep in mind always the name of the Lord. That is the injunction of Lord Krishna.

That exactly is what I was trying to explain, by mixing the pilot, the doctor and the Gita together.

Just imagine what a change there would be if even 30% of the people in the world did their work in this spirit. There would be a sea change; so much less of corruption and so much sincerity in work and the quality of service rendered. Also, so much courtesy and kindness offered to those served, and so on. Children and old people in particular, would receive so much special attention instead of being pushed around. In other words, this simple injection would do so much to improve the social climate, reducing tension as well as stress in the process.

This is what Swami refers to as practical spirituality. Rituals are fine for a start, but one should not get stuck in them forever, refusing to see God beyond the idol worshipped. If the world is to be improved – and who can deny it needs fixing – then one must move on from mere worship to work and do it in the spirit of worship of the Omnipresent God.

I have done my reflection and now, it is your turn to reflect on what I have said! Thanks for reading. Jai Sai Ram.

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Radio Sai Team

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