Anil Kumar's Sunday Satsang at
January 6, 2002
Anil Kumar Sunday Talks - 06.01.2002
Happy Sankranti or Pongal
OM… OM… OM…
Sai Ram to Everybody!
With Pranams at the Lotus Feet of Bhagavan,
Dear Brothers and Sisters!
The Spiritual Implications of Sankranthi
Welcome back to this Sunday
morning’s session! I'm extremely happy to greet you all with a
Happy Pongal, or what is also called ‘Sankranthi’. The festival
ahead of us is called Sankranthi or Pongal. Having had Christmas
and having had a lovely New Year celebrated in a new, spiritual
way - welcoming the New Year with Akhanda bhajan right from
morning till evening at the Divine Lotus Feet - basking in love in
the immediate Presence of Bhagavan with this especially unique
style this year 2002, we are now heading for Sankranthi or Pongal
Let my talk to you be about this Pongal or Sankranthi, which falls
on the 14th of January. The festival extends from January 11th
till 14th; it is a three-day festival. So some of you may be
wondering why I have chosen to speak about it right now. No,
Sankranthi is not a festival to be celebrated in a day. It is a
season, something like Christmas season. Though 25th of December
is the day of Christmas, we really observe the whole month as
Christmas season. I think you all agree with me that the whole
Christmas season is full of festivity, gaiety, festoons,
celebrations, what not. Likewise, this is Sankranthi season, the
season of Sankranthi. It is not only a day-long celebration.
Therefore, I thought it necessary to speak about it this morning.
What is Sankranthi? What is all about it? All the following
thoughts are collected from Bhagavan’s discourses, given on
various occasions, especially during Sankranthi. They’re not given
in a chronological order, but I'm trying to explain the inner
significance as expounded by Bhagavan Baba.
Bhagavan Baba wants every one of us to observe all festivals not
as rituals, but as a celebration with spiritual implications. A
ritual is mechanical; a ritual is routine; a ritual is monotonous;
a ritual is repetition; hence, a ritual is boredom. But when a
ritual turns into something spiritual, then that spiritual aspect
is something novel, evergreen, fresh, heart stirring, surprising,
which is quite new. Therefore, brothers and sisters, let us
observe every festival in a spiritual way, rather than bringing it
down to the level of a mere ritual.
So, in order to understand the spiritual implications of
Sankranthi, I want to draw your attention to certain important
points. This is a season, a very special season, with a special
way. After all, you may say, “But the whole year is sacred; so,
why this month?” No, no, no! It is just as we have our own
preferences: we have winter; we have summer; we have rainy season;
we have harvest season. We have different seasons, each possessing
their own charm and their own beauty. We have different dresses
and saris of different colors. Well, I may like a blue suit to be
worn on a special day. Or, I may want a biscuit-colored suit to be
worn on another special occasion. We have many special occasions,
so we have got special dresses for each – an example, the jogging
suit, yes, for jogging, the track suit, why not? So we have got
our own preferences, our own choices.
Like that, this Sankranthi is a special season, which is unique,
one of its own kind. This is a period meant more for spiritual
activity, more for spiritual exercise, or what you call sadhana.
People start doing sadhana during this season. They begin sadhana
in a particular way, enter onto a new path, a new spiritual path,
or they receive a new spiritual directive or instruction. We start
making a new spiritual endeavor, a new spiritual attempt, from now
on. So, this is the time to begin at least.
Years have passed by. So many years we have spent; birthdays have
been celebrated annually. We have been felicitated, receiving
gifts of trinkets. But what is it that I have done for my soul? It
is my body that celebrates the birthday. It is my mind that is
happy about my birthday. But how about my soul?
So the thing to be done for the soul, the celebration of the soul,
is this Sankranthi festival. Sankranthi activity is a spiritual
activity for the soul, while the rest of the activities that we do
are for the body and the mind. Therefore, we pray to God
especially during this season of Sankranthi.
Lead Me from Darkness to Light
“O God, lead me from darkness to
light!” From darkness to light: what is this darkness? The
darkness of ignorance; the darkness of innocence; the darkness of
identification; the darkness of the identification with the mind;
the darkness of pleasure; the darkness of power and pelf; the
darkness of positions; the darkness of tinsels and trash; the
darkness of gossip; the darkness of pride, pomp, advertisement: “O
God, help me to come out of this darkness of ignorance, so that I
would come into the light of brilliance, the light which is
radiance, the light which is effulgence, the light of wisdom, the
light of Self-knowledge, the light of awareness, the light of
alertness, the light of wakefulness. The light - that is the
delight! That is my first prayer.
The second prayer during Sankranthi, which is a spiritual prayer
for the soul, is this: “O God, help me to travel from untruth to
Truth: Asato Maa Sad Gamaya.” The first prayer is “Tamaso Maa
Jyotir Gamaya: Lead me from darkness to light.” The second prayer,
“Lead me from untruth to Truth“ is “Asato Maa Sad Gamaya.”
It is most unfortunate: “O God, I'm considering this life as
permanent. O God, I do admit that everything belongs to me. What a
fool I am! Now I recognize my error. O God, please forgive me that
I think that this whole life is permanent and eternal and that
power will be seeking me, position will be with me and properties
will follow me. Forgive me that I have been craving for
recognition, name and fame all over, O God.”
“O God, kindly forgive me for this because I have had faith in
untruth all along. Position, life, influence, power, properties,
relationships - that is all untruth. God, I have not known this
till now. Now I pray to You, O God, to help me come out of this
untruth of delusion, this untruth of illusion and mistaken
identity, so that I will get back into that Truth of Eternity, the
Truth of Immortality, the Truth that is with me, the Truth that:
what I am, really I am. I am the Truth. So God, help me to know
that I am the Truth, that I'm eternal and immortal.” That is my
My third prayer to God during Sankranthi is: “O God, I think that
my life may end sometime. Life may come to a full stop someday.
Therefore, I am so busy with sensual activity. I spent time in the
world drinking, eating, talking, dancing, merry-making, and what
not because my life may end at any moment. No, no! God, help me to
know that life is really one of continuity to Eternity. Life is
one of continuity to Eternity: it is not a short-term affair, not
just a gap or a mere span of time, not just a period of years.
Life is continuous and eternal. It is an endless journey; it is a
pathless land. It is Infinite. But I have been thinking that this
life is short. But that is certainly untruth. So Bhagavan, help me
to come out all of this nonsense!”
“O Baba, help me to come out of all this foolishness that birth
and death are there for me.” I'm beyond both birth and death. I
have neither beginning nor ending. After all, the beginning or
ending relate to the body only. It is the body that is born; it is
the body that dies. But I am neither born nor would I ever die. I
simply change my dress. That doesn’t mean that I'm dead and gone.
Whenever I change my dress, it doesn’t mean that I die or that I'm
dead. No! Death is the dress of life.
“God, help me to come out of this nonsensical idea of death. Let
me come out of this stupidity of the fear of death.” I'm such a
fool because I have fear of death or fear that I may die someday.
No, no, no! God help me to welcome death as the dress of life. Let
me welcome death as the dress of life, because I'm simply moving
from one chamber to another. If an 80-year old man were to be
again youthful, he would not cry; he would welcome it!
Similarly, when I'm to take another new body, when I'm to take a
fresh body, it is like a fading flower or a dropping fruit being
born again as a young bud ready to blossom. Exposed to the
radiance of sunlight, which is a welcoming thing, a joyful thing,
a thing of dance, death is also a celebration. It is not
melancholic, no, never tragic. It is only our misunderstanding the
situation that gives the problem. “Bhagavan Baba, during this
period of Sankranthi, let me give up this idiotic idea of death
and fear towards death, so that I could realize that I'm immortal
and eternal: Mrtyor Maa Amrtam Gamaya.”
My friends, these are the three important prayers that we have to
offer, that we have got to repeat during this season of
Sankranthi, it being the beginning of all spiritual pursuits and
paths. In other words, during this period of Sankranthi, we
develop a new attitude to sanctify our life. We have got an
attitude so far to glorify our life. We have got an attitude so
far to make our life remembered, recognized, facilitated, and
appreciated. No, no. “My God! Please help me to sanctify my life,
to make my life sacred, not glorify my life.” No, no my God! I'm
not such a fool as to want to glorify my life. God, please help me
to sanctify my life, so that my life from now on and hereafter
would be sacred.
Sankranthi is the climax of what we have been doing till now. We
have been following different paths of devotion till now. I don’t
think that anyone would say that he has not followed any path till
now. The pathlessness again is a path. (Laughter) Yes! “I'm not
doing anything” is also an act of doing because you have
determined not to do. So, each one of us is always, most
necessarily, in one way or another traveling along the road,
pilgrims walking on and on.
A Call for Surrender
So, this Sankranthi takes us to the
top of our pilgrim travels. During this season, what is to be
done? Sankranthi wants us to surrender unconditionally. It is a
call for surrender. “God, I have been praying to You for my health
for so long. Oh Bhagavan, I have been praying to You for a better
position. Swami, I have been praying to You to give me a beautiful
house - one which no one has so far! (Laughter) I have been
praying to You so that I could dominate everybody. Swami, I'm
tired of all those desires. I'm tired of all these prayers that I
have been offering to You. For my glory, for my selfishness, I
have been, Baba, an ego incarnate!” (Laughter) It is pride
personified; the body, just bestial.
“O God, now I realize during this Sankranthi, no, no, no! I do not
pray for any worldly things. I don’t pray for my health, position
or power. I don’t pray for my children, no, no, no, no! O God,
Bhagavan Baba, I pray that I learn to pray from now on. Prayer is
a learning process, or else prayer is just an appeal or a
memorandum. Prayer is an appeal, a request, a memorandum or a
plea. No, no! What is real prayer?
Baba, let me learn how to pray to You now. Jesus taught us how to
pray. Christ the Lord taught us how to pray. Bhagavan, You also
taught me how to pray. I pray in such a way that I pray for that
which is acceptable to You. I have nothing whatsoever, Swami. “Thy
Will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven.” Whatever pleases You
Bhagavan, please grant me. Whatever is good for me Bhagavan, let
me submit to Your Hands.
I don’t ask You to give me that and this. I pray that I should be
a collector of Your Mercy. You make me a collector. Or else next
month, because of my wrong instructions, comfortably and nicely I
may find that I will be dismissed. By merely asking without
deserving, I'm facing danger; I'm facing accidents. So I don’t ask
God. “You know everything. What is it that I should ask for? What
is it that You do not know? Do to me what is good for me. Do for
me what You think is best for me. I won’t ask anything.”
This is called ‘Atmanivedanam’ or ‘call for surrender’. “Thy Will
be done on Earth as it is in Heaven.” God, let Your Will prevail.
I have no preferences, Swami, because You know what is best for
me. You know and You’re interested in me. Like a fool, I'm simply
carried away by the whims and fancies, the vagaries of the times
and the people. No, no!
So that all the spiritual exercises could be internalized during
Sankranthi, let us know that all spiritual exercises have got to
be internalized. Unfortunately, we have not done so. If I had
really internalized spiritually, I would never tell anybody, “I
did so many yagas and I did so many yajnas. I repeated God's name
1,000 times or 3,000 times,” as if it is a cricket score.
“O Baba, I repeated Your name three crore times as a donation to
You!” (Laughter) He’s a real madcap, there’s no doubt about it.
You sing the glory of Baba neither as an act of charity, nor as an
act of vanity, nor for publicity. You do it for your own bliss;
you do it for your own happiness. You do it for your own peace;
you do it for your own comfort. That’s all. It is not a charity
unto Bhagavan Baba!
Let me know how to change my attitude, how to change every
activity, so that it would be internalized. Every festival has got
an internal, inner significance, which, when understood, makes the
spiritual activity really fruitful, meaningful and purposeful.
Otherwise, it is just foolishness. That’s all. So let me
internalize so that I'll develop unconditional surrender, so that
I would accept whatever comes along the way in my life.
Ungrudgingly and uncomplainingly I invite the Lord to serve me
whatever is kept in store for me. That is the special prayer that
we have to offer, that we have to do during this season of
Sugarcane is Our Life
Bhagavan Baba gave us a beautiful
example. Sugarcane is here. The sugarcane is like our life: The
sugarcane has got knots here and there. The knots here and there
are the problems, the difficulties, the obstacles, the opponents,
and the enemies that we have in our lives. So, sugarcane is life
with the knots of problems.
Then this sugarcane has to be crushed. This process of crushing
means to get over the problems, to win over our enemies, to resist
our difficulties, to be courageous during calamity, to be brave
during tragedy. Tragedy or comedy, I'm unruffled. Obstacle or
opposition, I'm not ruffled. No! This sort of process is crushing,
crushing. It means that we will be ready to face anything, ready
to face and overcome all.
So, the sugarcane of life has got many knots or problems. By
crushing the sugarcane, we try to overcome these problems. By that
crushing process, we get the jaggery or the sugar that is so
sweet, which represents the bliss of life. This bliss of life is
not available near the bus stand or on the street, readymade. The
sugar has to be obtained only by crushing the sugarcane. Crushing
is a process of breaking down resistance. It is a process of
courage, one of conviction. It means one is brave enough to face
all problems. Life is made sweeter by this crushing process. The
knots of the sugarcane are the obstacles, while the sugarcane
itself is life.
Dear Fellow Devotees!
Let us pray for problems, which might come in the way of our life.
“O Bhagavan, see that I don't have any problems!” If you pray like
that, the whole life becomes a problem! (Laughter) Yes! Why?
Because when you have no problems, you don’t have any pleasures
either. As Bhagavan often says, “Pleasure is an interval between
two pains.” Therefore, I invite Bhagavan, but I pray for only one
“Swami, it is not to make me free from problems, no! It is not to
make me blissful throughout my life, no, no! Bhagavan, I only pray
for one thing - that I will never lose faith in You so that I’ll
always have the courage to face all the different problems, ups
and downs, and bumps and jumps of life. That is our prayer.
The third point is that Sankranthi
is a season when people have new aspirations and new goals. Shall
I start a new business? Yes, this is the best season. I’ve got new
projects? This is the best season. I have new plans? Yes, this is
the best season. We begin new projects, new plans, new
aspirations, and new goals, as this is the best season. “Why,
sir?” If you start during rainy season, the next day will be a
holiday. (Laughter) Yes! If you start during summer, the next day
you’ll be tired. This is the best season, when you’ll be bubbling
with activity and dynamism. Therefore, this is the best season to
begin all activities.
How shall I begin? “Lord, I pray to You. I submit to You so that
You’ll give me success in every plan that I begin, every project
that I undertake, the new business I start, the new political
party I start, yes, and the new targets I have fixed for myself.
Please bless me, O God, so that I’ll be victorious in this life.
In this game of life, I want to be successful, so please bless me.
Hence, this is one aspect of Sankranthi - the beginning of new
plans and projects.
Sankranthi has got a special significance from the point of
astronomy, from the point of planetary conjunctions. You may be
wondering why this man is speaking of astronomical calculations in
a space age, in an age of electronic gadgets. Why do we still
speak of that? With all science, we have our own sentiments. With
all science, we have our own feelings, our own pride, our own
prejudices. And therefore, now I speak on the planetary
conjunctions, the astronomical calculations, of Sankranthi.
What is the specialty now? During this season, the sun travels
towards the north. To a student of science, I may look like a
totally ignorant, rustic fellow because actually the sun would
never move. It is only earth that moves. “How is that this man is
speaking that the sun moves?” No, no! I said it is only a zodiac
system. The zodiac system speaks of certain centers, the zodiac or
planetary system, which have planetary conjunctions; all this is
called astronomy. We interpret like this from that point of view,
though scientific experience is different.
A tank of water is steady (without ripples), but when you pelt a
stone, it becomes unsteady (full of ripples). Now, is the tank
steady or unsteady? It is both steady and unsteady. It is steady
so long as you don’t interfere. It becomes unsteady when once you
interfere. Am I right? When you drop a stone in a well or when you
throw a stone into a tank, there will be ripples of water all
around. That is unsteadiness. So there is unsteadiness in
steadiness and there is steadiness in unsteadiness. Duality is the
beauty of life. Duality is the glamour of life. Duality is the
flavor of life. To understand non-duality is the purpose of life.
To experience non-duality is the purpose of life. It is the goal
of life. That’s what Bhagavan says: “Unity in diversity.”
The Sun Represents Our Intelligence
So, during this season, the sun
travels towards the north side. Why not south? Why not? (In the
recent times, as a result of modern education, we have learned to
ask, “Why not?” but not, “Why?”) “Why not to the south?” “No, my
boys!” Here one point is told: “In the northern direction, there
are the Himalayas. The sun travels towards the northern direction
where there are the Himalayas.” Oh, I see. What shall I do now? If
sun travels, it is his job! If sun travels or if he doesn’t
travel, it is his job, after all! What does it matter?
I'm not referring to the sun as any planet, no! The sun represents
our intelligence. “Chandrama Manaso Jataha, Chaksho Suryo
Ajayata.” I'm able to see, to have vision, because of the
presiding deity of our vision, which is the sun. If the sun’s
grace is not there, we’ll be totally blind. “Why? How do you say
that? The sun is there and I see here, so what is it?”
A simple example: A blind man has eyes, but he cannot see, whereas
I have eyes and I can see. Both of us have eyes. So a blind man
has eyes and a normal man has eyes. One cannot see, whereas the
other one sees. So, it is not the eye that sees. We are mistaken.
It is the seer that sees. The process of seeing is called ‘vision’
and for vision, the sun is the presiding deity. Why? Without the
sun, everything is in darkness and you don’t see anything. But we
want only ‘sons’ to give us problems, and we forget the real
So the point is, the sun represents our intelligence. The sun
stands for selfless activity. The newspapers say, “So-and-so has
done so much for this place.” But the sun never gave any newspaper
advertisement or TV telecast or radio broadcast. (Laughter) The
sun never asked for knighthood to be conferred on it or ‘Bharath
Ratna’ (an honorific title in India) at least to be given to him,
though he does almost everything. The sun god sustains the whole
living world, the whole organic world. There would be no food and
grain if there were no sun. No seasons would be there if there
were no sun. There would be no life without the sun.
So, in other words, the sun stands for selfless service. We just
ignore the sun. We walk alone, but the sun is not bothered.
“You’re a fool, so please go! I'm not bothered.” If you wish, say
to the sun, “Thank you.” If you don’t wish him thanks, so many
buffaloes also pass by the same way. (Laughter) Yes.
We are Buffaloes and Donkeys!
I remember in our college days,
there was one principal by the name of Dr. T. S. Paulus. While he
was coming to the college, he noticed one thing, which he wanted
to share with the boys. There at the college assembly he said,
“The Andhra Christian College where I served has a strength of
5,000 students, with six post-graduate courses there.”
While speaking, that Dr. Paulus said, “While I was coming in the
car to the college, I saw a couple of buffaloes passing by, a few
donkeys passing by and few students of our college, and I did not
find any difference!” (Laughter) He only meant, “Why don’t you
say, ‘Hi, how are you? Good morning.’ Why don’t you say that? Are
you a buffalo or a donkey?”
So, we are buffaloes and donkeys if we don’t thank the sun god,
who gives the light, who gives our food, who is responsible for
our heat, or else we are finished! Without the sun, the whole
universe would be a cemetery or a graveyard! So, the sun stands
for selflessness, egolessness. The sun never says, “I did this, I
did this!” No!
And also the sun sheds light on all equally. There is no sunlight
in India exclusively. (Laughter) Nor does America have the patent
on sunlight! Nor is sunlight an incorporated corporation. Sunlight
cannot be monopolized. There is no copyright on sunlight, no, no,
no, no! Sunlight is equally for everybody. This lesson of equality
we have to learn from the sun; this egolessness and selflessness
we have to learn from the sun; and also the sun is tireless – sun
never takes a holiday.
Like Bhagavan Baba, “Koti Surya Sama Prabha”: God is equal to one
crore of suns - not just one sun, but one crore of suns. So also
like the sun, Bhagavan Baba takes no rest. He works without
resting; He works unceasingly; He works throughout the day. Sunday
is a holiday for all of us, but that makes Him all the busier on a
Sunday! The hill resorts offer a vacation to all of us, so let's
go to Darjeeling, Mussorie and Nannitol in the North; or let's go
to Ooty or Kodaikanal in the South. Going to a hill station is a
vacation for all of us, but our God gives five discourses a day
when He goes to Kodaikanal! Work, more work, all work, that’s all!
That is the timetable of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. So He’s the
model. There are nothing like mean or low feelings. All are alike.
So my friends, our sun represents these values.
So, when our intelligence or buddhi (mind is related to the moon,
while intelligence is related to its presiding deity, the sun),
when this buddhi or intellect or intelligence travels towards the
north, well…why not? Traveling towards the north is the godward
journey. For example, if you go this way, you reach Anantapur. But
if you go that way, you will reach Hyderabad. No, I want to go to
Anantapur; so I will go this way. Well, there is no other way for
you. Anyway, you have to proceed in one way or the other.
Therefore, the northward journey means going in the godward
direction. It means that you are turning towards God. Why? There
are the Himalayas in the north. “The Himalayas? What do you mean?”
The Himalayas stand for purity. They are white and pure. Plus they
are so cold, full of ice and snow. So they are cool and steady.
Even if I stand in front of Himalayas and say, “You foolish
Himalayas! What is it, after all? Do you think you’re so great?”
They’ll simply smile at me. So the Himalayas represent peace. The
Himalayas will never move; they’re never shaken. They are steady.
That is the human heart.
So the intellect is the sun, while the human heart is the
Himalayan range. Moving towards the north means moving in the
godward direction. That is the significance of Sankranthi. In
Sankranthi, the sun moves towards the north, meaning the human
intellect moves towards the north, signifying going in the godward
direction. There one finds the Himalayas, which symbolize purity,
coolness, peace and steadiness. I think I'm clear.
Now, when once my intelligence moves towards this peace, then that
gives me an experience of the Divinity within. There lies the
heroism in life. “Are you are hero?” “Yes!” “Why?” “I have
murdered five people.” “No, no! You are a zero!” “Are you are a
hero?” “Yes, I have acted in fifty films.” “No, no, no, there are
many more heroes. Sit down.”
So, who is the real hero? A real hero is the one who has
experienced Divinity within. So this travel northward makes you
really a hero in the film of your life. Then you are a hero in the
drama of life, a hero and a victor, triumphant in this game of
life. That is the indication of the sun moving in the northern
Sun Enters into Capricorn
The next point is that there are
certain houses in terms of the zodiac system. The zodiac - I'm not
referring to zodiac neckties of Great Britain. Zodiac neckties we
have enough. This is zodiac points: there are several houses and
the sun shifts from one house to another house. There are 12
months in a year. The sun shifts from one house to another in the
Now, the sun shifts during this period into a zodiac sign, which
we call Capricorn. Capricorn is the 12th house of the sun. The sun
moves into this house, Capricorn. The sun moving to this house, or
any shifting of sun from one house to another house, is called
‘Sankramana’. ‘Sankramana’ means the sun’s entry into each house
of the zodiac. As the sun enters from one house to the next house,
this shifting from one house to another house is called
During this Sankranthi season, it is named ‘Makara Sankramana’.
Makara Sankramana refers to the zodiac sign of Capricorn. ‘Makara
Sankramana’ means the sun enters into this Capricorn zodiac sign
during this season. I think I'm clear. ‘Sankramana’ means the sun
is entering into one of the houses of the zodiac; ‘Makara
Sankramana’ means it is entering into the twelfth house of
Now this Capricorn happens between two months: one is Margasira
(December) and the following month is Pushyami (January). I have
given their equivalents also: December is Margasira; Pushyami is
January. So this sun entering into Capricorn happens between these
“Ah! So? If it enters, what happens?” There will be the
resplendent beauty of nature. The whole nature dances a celestial
dance, a cosmic dance, a universal celebration, with beauty,
enthusiasm and activity all over; with richness, affluence, milk,
grain, and food everywhere. Nature is full of offerings. Nature is
full of stuff to give to its own children. So, it is resplendent
with the beauty of nature. When the sun god enters into Makara or
Capricorn, called ‘Sankramana’, happening during the season
between Margasira and Pushyami (December and January), this period
is resplendent with the beauty of nature.
We Are Happy During This Season
How do you say? Margasira this
month, December, as declared by Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita, is
so dear to Him: “Of all the months, I'm Margasira,” said Krishna
in the Bhagavad Gita. Why? We are happy during that season, so
He’s happy. Bhagavan says, “If you are happy, I am happy.” We are
happy during this season, so He’s happy.
Why are we happy? It is the season of harvest. It is the season of
food grains. Our granaries are all full. All our granaries are
full of food grains, so anyone would be happy. If all our
granaries and kitchens are empty, you cannot be happy. If there’s
no food available, if there is rationing for grain, you cannot be
happy. If there is a shortage of food, you will never be happy.
This is the time when you have food plentifully in abundance.
Therefore you are happy.
Plus the weather is so cool and pleasant. Those of you who have
stayed here in the summer, particularity in Puttaparthi, will find
what summer is here! (Laughter) You are almost living in a frying
pan! Your life is almost a blasting furnace! But during this
Sankranthi season – ah – it is cool and pleasant, so we are very,
When our brothers and sisters, coming from foreign countries, go
with their candles, singing Christmas carols, walking along the
way with the cool breeze as we meet the dawn, as the birds make
their humming sounds, perching on the branches of the trees across
the way…ah, what beauty it is! The daffodils smile at you and the
roses invite you. The dewdrop tells you how fresh you can afford
to be. The chill and cold make you feel delighted, make you feel
like dancing and merry-making, like celebrating and enjoying a
banquet. It makes you feel like togetherness, like entertaining
friends and guests. This is the beautiful season, one that is so
cool and pleasant.
Also, this is the period when we can take rest and enjoy because
the grain is there and is fine. Nature is beautiful. It is time to
enjoy. I cannot enjoy other seasons because of the rain or severe
heat. This is the period I don’t need the air-conditioners to be
put on. Even if there is a power breakdown, I am not disturbed as
it is quite cool enough. So this is such a beautiful period.
Therefore it is called ‘Makara Sankranthi’, when the sun enters
into Capricorn. So, Sankranthi is a period of festival.
A Very Holy Period
Also, this is a very, very holy
period. Therefore it is called ‘Uttarayana Punyakala’. ‘Punyakala’
means a period of merit or a period of virtue. ‘Uttarayana’ means
traveling towards the north or traveling towards God. So
‘Uttarayana Punyakala’ means the 'most auspicious time’ is that
when we think of God, which is ‘Makara Sankranthi’ or Uttarayana
Punyakala. Mind turned godward, mind turned inward in deep
contemplation, mind attuned in deep concentration, mind plunged in
deep mediation on God – all this is meritorious time. It is really
a blessing and a benediction. That is what is called ‘Uttarayana
Now, ‘Kranthi’ means ‘change’. This festival is called
‘San-kranthi’. Why ‘Sankranthi’? ‘Kranthi’ is ‘change’, so
‘Sankranthi’ is a sacred change. The change should be sacred. Let
us say that you find me along the way. You have observed me over a
period of time. Tomorrow, when you see me with a cigar, when you
see me with a bottle, you will say, “Hey! What a change in you,
Anil Kumar!” This is not a sacred change. It is a shameful change!
(Laughter) It is a change in the direction of shame and
humiliation or of being and feeling insulted. So, a change should
be towards sacredness. That is what ‘Sankranthi’ means: a ‘sacred
change’. ‘Kranthi’ means change and ‘Sankranthi’ means sacred
Moreover, this is the season when we wish for health and
happiness. Many of us don’t fall sick during this season. We fall
sick during rainy season, due to bacteria and viruses. That is
their good period because there is a lot of stagnated water then.
We are very healthy now. So this is also a period of health and
Rather, to put it this way… (There is a long pause while A.K.
writes on the board.) Please bear with me as I haven’t lost my
teacher’s habit of writing on the board! (Laughter) What to do?
Yes. So the sun god travels towards the north, there where you
find the presence of the Himalayas. I think I'm clear. (Laughter)
So, our intelligence moves towards the north, where there is
peace, serenity, and steadiness. This northern movement is named
‘Sankramana’, which means a sacred change, when one enters into
Capricorn or Sankranthi. That is the meaning of this period.
Also during this season, some
beautiful practices or traditions are followed. What are they? Now
during this period, there is a special practice. If you watch in
front of the houses in towns and villages (rarely in cities,
unfortunately), even to this day, you will find special drawings
made with rice flour, what you call ‘rangoli’. Rangoli is a
special design or a special drawing in front of every house.
But it is not like that in the cities. In the cities, we begin
with the newspaper or we begin with the TV news. Start the day
with hatred, spend the day with envy, fill the day with pride, and
end the day with pills for blood pressure and diabetes! (Laughter)
Unfortunately that is the life in the cities, the life that we
think we want and about which we feel proud.
But in towns and villages (particularity in 100% of the villages)
in front of every house, there will be a rangoli, a beautiful
diagram or design with rice flour. Why use rice flour? We have
chemicals, so why don’t we use them? Chemicals are useful to
manufacture bombs, but not for rangoli! Rice flour is used so that
ants will come and eat. You should know that you’re part of life,
that you’re a part of Creation, that you’re a unit in this organic
life of vitality. In this life, you’re a unit and ants also are
units. So let ants come and eat that rice flour. But our mental
poverty has gone so low today that instead of the rice flour, we
use lime or chalk pieces. We are not even useful to the ants in
So during this season, the villagers set aside this one month for
drawing beautiful designs. Even the girls compete with each other.
Right from four o’clock in the morning, they start doing it. Of
course, the scripture has promised them that, if they do so, these
unmarried girls would have handsome husbands. (Laughter) The
promise is that unmarried girls will have handsome, well-settled
husbands. If the fellow is handsome and useless, no, no! He can
remain there in the showcase! He should be earning also.
So, a handsome man, one who will certainly earn his bread, well,
any bride will certainly have him. That is the promise given to
the girls. Hence, they start designing. Ah-ha! The greater the
design, the better the husband! (Laughter) That’s right! What
about the bigger the design? Oh! It means the more rich he will
be! So, this is one practice that what we find here.
There what they do is (of course, ladies do much better, but
anyway let me try…. (Laughter, as Anil Kumar draws a rangoli) Am I
doing OK? (The audience answers, “Yes!” as they admire his rangoli
drawing, and A.K. laughs delightedly. More laughter.) Now, it is
not bad! Of course, I'm glad that my wife is not here so that she
would not ask me to do it at home tonight! (Loud laughter) That is
the greatest danger! Now, this is the design. So there are many
kinds of designs like this made during this month.
Gobbilu: Three Cow Dung Balls
Then particularly on Sankranthi,
they make three balls or rounded masses with cow dung. And on the
top on this cow dung, they put pumpkin flowers. Is that OK? I
think so! The ladies should certify. If they’re kind to me,
they’ll say it’s always nice anyway.
Now, the point is that three cow dung masses or balls with pumpkin
flowers are kept at the center of this rangoli or design. Why? Why
is it done? It is done because as it is told here, this is the
symbol of health and happiness. How? We call these three cow dung
balls as ‘gobbilu’. Gobbilu are the name given to these three cow
dung balls. These balls are made up of cow dung with the pumpkin
flowers kept on that. It is called here ‘gobbilu’.
Why are there three balls? One cow dung ball represents Gopala,
the protector of the cows. The second ball represents Govardhana,
the one who has demonstrated His Divinity to the world. And the
third cow dung ball represents ‘go’ or the cow. So, to repeat once
again, the three cow dung masses or cow dung balls, each
represents something. One represents Gopala, Krishna. Another
represents or demonstrates the Divinity of Krishna (Govardhana).
The third represents ‘govu’ or the cow that supplies milk for the
sustenance of our health and life. So these three cow dung balls
represent these three values as a symbol of health and happiness.
The Season of Love and Friendship
Then, the next point is that this is the season of love and
friendship. During this season, what people do is they mix jaggery
and till (sesame) seeds. Jaggery and till seeds make a sweet
mixture. They then start distributing this to everybody. What does
it mean? Jaggery stands for love, while till stands for
friendliness. So, friendliness and love, jaggery and till, are
offered to everybody during this season as a mixture.
Now, everything has got its own inner significance. Take prasadam.
Why do we eat that there? Is it that we have no food supply or
what? No! You take prasadam because it is sanctified. It has got a
special meaning. Similarly, during this season this jaggery and
till mix speak of love and friendship.
The next thing is that during this
season you will find, particularly in villages, one person, a
trained man, who is wearing a special dress with a turban. By his
side there will be a beautiful, though sometimes quite funny to
look at, decorated bull. During this season that decorated bull is
called ‘Gangi’. That bull will be by the side of this nicely
dressed trainer man.
This man takes the bull house-to-house, singing songs and making
this bull dance in front of every house. There were no video games
or video parlors as you have today. Those spoil people and ruin
their culture and their tradition. See, as this bull starts
dancing in front of every house to the tune and to the command of
the man who is very well dressed by its side. That speaks of
harmony, unity, and fellow feelings. There is a kind of harmony, a
kind of togetherness and coordination. There is a sort of
cooperation and integration, whereas in modern things, everything
moves toward disintegration. So, this Gangi bull dancing in front
of every house stands for integration, coordination, and harmony.
Then Baba goes further and tells us that this Gangi bull in
Sanskrit is called ‘pasu’. It means it is a bull, an animal. This
bull you must have noticed in any Siva temple. Please go to any
Siva temple anywhere in the world. You’ll find the bull (Nandi)
looking straight at Siva. That’s all. The bull will have the two
eyes centered on the Siva Linga, looking on Siva only.
Thus, this bull represents concentration, continuous
concentration. He is one in deep meditation. In that way we
worship bulls so that at least we’ll have the same concentration,
one-pointed concentration, in order that our life, which is pasu
or almost that of an animal, will start growing and marching
toward the ‘Pasu Pathi’, who is God Himself. So, from ‘pasu’ to
‘pasupathi’, from the animal stage to the Divine life, that is the
inner significance of this, along with generating fellow feelings
Celebration of Harvest
The tenth point is this: This is the
season of the celebration of harvest. As the grains are harvested
and returned home, as the houses are full of milk and curd, plenty
and prosperity, we celebrate all of this. How do we celebrate? We
mix rice and jaggery and then feed all the cows with this mixture
of rice and jaggery. This is a practice in Tamil Nadu in
particular. This rice and jaggery mix is fed to all the cows on
the first day - that is, on the twelfth of this month.
On the 13th, the second day of the festival, they just spread this
rice jaggery mix all over the fields, all across the agricultural
land, thanking Mother Earth for the harvest. And on the third day,
they start cooking the rice and jaggery for themselves and
celebrate blissfully by eating and partaking that sweet.
In Tamil Nadu, this preparation is called ‘Mattupongal’. ‘Mattu’
stands for the cow and ‘pongal’ means the preparation. So
‘Mattupongal’ is a special preparation where you have the rice and
jaggery mix, specially cooked and distributed; first fed to the
cows; second day, spread along the field; and third day, partaken
and distributed as holy Prasadam. So, this is the message of
‘Mattupongal’ of Tamil Nadu.
Then Bhagavan goes a step further and gives another meaning of
Pongal. ‘Pongal’, what do you mean by that? Baba is the presiding
deity of all the knowledge and of all the languages. Somebody
asked me, “Sir, does Bhagavan know all the languages?” I said,
“How is it that you do not know till today?” (Laughter) Why do I
say that? Whether it is a group from Japan, a group from Germany,
or a group from France, they’re granted interviews day-after-day,
but there is no translator. These people who go do not know any
Indian languages. As they come out of the interview room, we find
them dancing, jumping, floating, but not walking. (Laughter) Why?
Swami knows all languages, as He’s the Mother of all the tongues.
So, all mother tongues are known to the Mother of mothers,
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. Therefore, He knows all mother
Therefore, this is a celebration of the harvest season, where
Mattupongal, which is a special preparation and offering of rice
and jaggery, is distributed to everybody.
My friends, I should also draw your attention to certain important
points that Bhagavan wants us to know during this season. We may
have to cultivate all this, yes! This is the point. (I was
thinking what is it that I'm likely to miss? Good! If I leave out
one or two points, I fail to be a successful teacher. OK?) Now,
this is the point, so please listen to me.
Creator and Creation
As I said, you find a decorated
bull, Gangi, with a well-dressed trainer. They start singing and
the bull starts dancing in front of every house. What is the song
about? The song is about Rama and Sita. This charmer or trainer
goes on singing about that happy wedlock, the happy wedding of
Rama and Sita. Why? Sita symbolizes Nature, while Rama symbolizes
the Creator. Sita is the Creation and Rama is the Creator. So, the
Creator plus the Creation is equal to Rama plus Sita. That is
equal to holy wedlock. So, the holy wedlock, the spiritual
matrimony for the welfare of the entire mankind, is the wedlock
between Rama and Sita - Rama, being the Creator and Sita, being
Creation Herself. Together they make life enjoyable, blissful,
plentiful and prosperous, going hand-in-hand.
Friends! I take leave of you with this simple note that festivals
are not celebrated in a mechanical way. Festivals are not to be
celebrated by merely purchasing new clothes for the occasion, or
by drinking and dancing. Festivals are celebrated in order to
march on and on, from one step to another step, from one step to a
higher step, along the spiritual ladder. They are for our own
advancement, for our own progress, and for our own inner spiritual
May Bhagavan be with us and help us in this spiritual travel, in
this spiritual journey, higher and higher day-by-day, so that we
all prove to be heroes by realizing and experiencing the Divinity
(Anil Kumar closed his satsang by leading the bhajan, “Jayaho
Happy Pongal / Sankranthi to everybody!
Thank you very much!
Om Asato Maa Sad Gamaya
Tamaso Maa Jyotir Gamaya
Mrtyor Maa Amrtam Gamaya
Om Loka Samastha Sukhino Bhavantu
Loka Samastha Sukhino Bhavantu
Loka Samastha Sukhino Bhavantu
Om Shanti Shanti Shanti
Jai Bolo Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba Ji Ki Jai!
Jai Bolo Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba Ji Ki Jai!
Jai Bolo Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba Ji Ki Jai!