Anil Kumar's Sunday Satsang at
September 8, 2002
“Happy Vinayaka Chathurthi!”
September 8th, 2002
OM… OM… OM…
With Pranams at the Lotus Feet of Bhagavan,
Dear Brothers and Sisters!
Vinayaka Chathurthi Festival
I welcome you all to this morning’s session. I am going to talk
about the Vinayaka Chathurthi festival, which falls on the 10th of
this month. I thought that if we were aware of what Bhagavan says
about the festival of Vinayaka Chathurthi and its inner
significance, we would be able to participate with more devotion,
fully understanding its implications and in full realization of
For the sake of convenience, the topic is divided into six
divisions The first section deals with the festival and why it is
celebrated. The second deals with the different names of Vinayaka.
Vinayaka has so many names. You have probably heard them during
our bhajans. The third aspect we will discuss today is prayer - a
special prayer offered to Lord Vinayaka. Fourth, we will explore
the purpose behind this celebration. The fifth division deals with
special offerings, special prasad, special food preparations for
the occasion and its importance. And last, the mythological
episodes - one or two - connected with the festival. I hope that I
will be able to touch on all the topics this morning because I
don’t want to leave it incomplete, as the celebration happens to
Let me begin by wishing you all a Happy Vinayaka Chathurthi!
Vinayaka Chathurthi is the first festival that will be followed by
a series of festivals to come in the calendar year. I don’t mean
the English calendar year. As per the calendar year of the lunar
system, Vinayaka Chathurthi is the beginning of many festivals to
come. That is its importance.
The second point is that Vinayaka Chathurthi is an age-old
celebration. Vinayaka, the deity, is prominently mentioned in
several of the sacred texts. There are many references to Vinayaka
in our Vedas, Upanishads and in Tantric lore (Tantra Shastra). In
other words, the name Vinayaka is age-old, quite ancient. In
particular, there are certain Upanishads like Narayana Upanishad
and Taittiriya Upanishad, and in fact there is a special Ganapathi
Gayathri manthra, written in praise of Vinayaka.
This brings us to the third point of today’s discussion. Vinayaka
Chathurthi happens to be the fourth day in the bright half of this
month. Every month, as you know, has two halves - the dark half
and the bright half. Vinayaka Chathurthi falls on the fourth day
of the bright half of this month. The English calendar has
January, February, March and so on. This month is called
‘Bhadrapada’ (August and September) on the Indian calendar. What
is its importance? What is its speciality? On the fourth day of
this month (Bhadrapada), the constellation of all the planets
assumes the shape of an elephant. The planetary conjunction almost
looks like an elephant, and therefore it is a special day.
The Meaning Of ‘Gajanana’
So, having understood the festival to some extent, I will move on
to the different names of Vinayaka and their inner significance.
My friends, Bhagavan insists we perform rituals with the full
understanding of their significance, irrespective of the religion
we follow. We may perform several rituals at festivals, but they
must be done with a full understanding of the inner significance
so as to realize the purpose and know its value.
So, what are the names of Vinayaka? The first name is ‘Gajanana’.
What does it mean? It literally translates to ‘Elephant-head’. God
has the head of an elephant. You can find this "Gajanana" at the
entrance to various places - God with an elephant head. One may
wonder, ‘Why not portray the beautiful faces of other creatures in
this world? What is so special about the elephant?’
Bhagavan has said that all creatures are basically Divine. Birds,
animals and beasts are all Divine. Science indicates that matter
is also Divine. Matter is composed of atoms. Atoms are made up of
electrons that are full of energy, which make it Divine. So there
is nothing that is not Divine in this Universe. That’s the reason
why Bhagavan says that the Universe (Visvam) is nothing but the
reflection of God: “Sarvam Vishnu Mayam” meaning, “Everything is
Divine.” So Visvam, the Universe, is Vishnu Mayam or Divine. Let
us not question why Vinayaka has an elephant head, or why this
head or that head is used - because all heads are His; all are
Divine. We only have to understand that.
We could also explain this scientifically. Many of you are aware
of the food chain. Non-vegetarians eat the meat of animals. When
this body is dead and gone, other animals, insects and bacteria
eat it. So in the food chain, I am the product of so many
organisms. This dead body must have been eaten away by insects. So
I became the form of an insect. Bacteria must have decomposed this
dead body, so I became the bacteria. Then these bacteria and
insects present in the soil would naturally nourish the plant.
So, I became a tree. Then animals ate the leaves of this tree.
Well, then I must have become a part of an animal! If a human
being ate this animal, then I would become a human being. So who
am I? Once a rock, then an insect, a bird, a beast at one time -
and a tree! I may look like a human being now, but in the food
chain there is an organic cycle and we are also a part of it.
Therefore, ladies and gentleman, let’s not make a mistake. How is
it that God is given the head of an elephant? Why not? We can have
the head of any organism in this world because we have passed
through and will be passing through this cycle - this organic
cycle of life. In fact we should develop a close affinity with
Nature and understand that the whole Universe is One Family. We
are all One Family - the birds, bees, rocks, and trees. All of us
belong to one large family.
This concept is beyond our thinking because we fight for petty
issues like river water distribution and border disputes.
Therefore, it is beyond our comprehension. But actually speaking,
we belong to One Family, the Family of the Universe. Once you
understand that you belong to the Family of the Universe, you will
develop Cosmic vision, the Cosmic experience. Since we don’t have
a sense of belonging to the Cosmos - always fighting about silly
issues - we have end up in chaos.
We are in chaos. Our condition is chaotic, full of confusion,
competition and in- fighting. Why? We have not gone into the state
of Cosmos - of realizing One Entity, of understanding that we
belong to a single Family, the organic whole.
Recognising Divinity In All Beings
The Whitefield campus had a very big tree where devotees used to
sit every evening. It used to be known as ‘Sai Ram Shed.’ I think
most of you probably remember it. In those days, Ramabrahman was
in charge of the Whitefield campus. To construct a huge new hall,
they started cutting off the branches of the tree. They wanted to
remove the tree completely. Bhagavan sent instructions to
Bangalore: “Don’t cut off that tree. Wait.” What happened? That
tree was cut! They cut off one of the branches. Today you see a
huge hall, Sai Ramesh Hall, at that spot in Bangalore!
My friends, this is subject for verification - you can ask
anybody. I'm not given to concocting stories, no! I'm not capable
of that. There in Bangalore, when the branches were cut off,
people saw Baba’s picture on one end!! And from the other cut end
of the branch, people saw water coming out!
Immediately the news was conveyed to Bhagavan. Bhagavan said,
“Stop cutting, wait until further orders.” And He said, “That tree
was crying because it is going to be removed. It is going to be
substituted by a huge building. It was enjoying the Divine touch
until now. It was giving shelter to many of the devotees. It
doesn’t want to separate itself from the company of the Lord and
the devotees, so it is an expression of anguish, of agony, of
The tree was totally miserable, so it started crying. But we are
not prepared to watch the tears of a tree because we are so hard,
so rough and tough, that even human tears will not touch us. Some
sensitive, receptive people will understand the tears that the
tree shed. So my friends, please belong to our One Family, our
Family of sensitivity, our Family of receptivity and readiness to
Recent experiments have also revealed another truth. Gardeners
periodically prune trees and plants so that the hedges look
beautiful. Experiments have proven that when a gardener is close
to a tree with clippers in hand, the plant starts shivering. If
you connect it to a neuron motor system or an electrograph, you
will find it full of sensitivity. The graph will be highly
irregular, something like ECG -- chuk, chuk, chuk, chuk!
The plant may be thinking, “This dirty fellow is approaching me!
(Laughter) He’s ready to cut me. He’s a violent fellow. He’s an
idiot. He’s going to cut me. Let me - given the chance - let me
break his head!” (Laughter) That is probably what the tree would
be thinking when the gardener approached it to prune it, cutting
off its branches to make it beautiful. On the other hand, when a
lover of flowers or a friend of trees goes close to the tree and
watches the beautiful blossoming flowers on the tree, the plant
simply goes on nodding its head, dancing in ecstasy, recognising a
So, in summary my friends, I can say trees are Divine; animals are
Divine; mineral matter and rocks are Divine. Why not? When we have
the power to know, the strength to comprehend, the depth of
experience, we will understand the manifestation of Divinity at
various levels of consciousness.
Qualities of an Elephant
So, ‘Gajanana’ means ‘elephant head’. But why pick an elephant’s
head? An elephant stands for intelligence. Bhagavan pointed out in
one of His discourses - there are so many cars parked outside, but
Sai Geeta (Swami’s elephant) can identify Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai
Baba’s car immediately! There are so many cars in the parking lot.
A human would have to decide which car is the latest model, which
one is costly, which car is more beautiful, its colour, who
manufactured it... (Laughter). But here is an elephant that is not
aware of the price or colour or model, nothing! It can identify
Baba’s car and run after it. An elephant will always identify its
master. The master may be in a huge crowd but the elephant will be
able to know its master. So, the elephant stands for intelligence.
An elephant also stands for discrimination: what to eat, what not
to eat, what is good and what is not? An elephant is known for its
wisdom. It is known for its physical strength and mental
An elephant, though majestic with its mighty personality, is fully
aware of its surroundings, sounds, events and dangers. It is easy
to trap a human being, but it is definitely not that easy to trap
an elephant. An elephant is ever-conscious of its surroundings.
An elephant has a very strong memory. It doesn’t need a computer.
Its brain is a computer. The moment anyone goes near it, it will
be able to identify that person, “That fellow met me last year.”
(Laughter) The moment anyone touches it, “This is the touch of a
fellow whom I should kick out right now.” (Laughter) It will be
able to identify the person immediately and is gifted with a sharp
An elephant is sathwic, a pure vegetarian for your information. It
is pious in nature. It moves majestically, unmindful of its
surroundings. But when you disturb it, well, there starts the
trouble! If we don't disturb it, just pass by and watch it, yes,
you can enjoy its beauty. It is sathwic. It won't harm anybody. It
won't attack anybody unless provoked.
Ganesha Clears the Way
The elephant is a path-maker helping others. You probably have
heard about places that have not been inhabited by mankind, like a
thick, dense forest for instance. We don’t know what dangers are
present there in that forest. But, when an elephant leads a
caravan through such a place, it will clear the way so that we can
tread along the path easily, comfortably, nicely, without losing
our way. We can walk along the path because the footprints of the
elephant are so big that it will guide us like a guidepost. So we
can say that an elephant is a path-maker.
Then we pray to God: “Ganesha, oh God, take the form of an
elephant, laying the path for me in this forest of life this
morning. Perhaps the regular forests are much better than the
forest inhabited by man. This forest has tigers that jump
unnecessarily. We have serpents that are waiting to bite at any
moment. Oh God, please protect me! But the forest of human beings
has wild animals of attitude. In the forest of life, I do not know
which person is going to fight with me, who is going to kick me
out, who will push me, who is going to write a petition against
me, I do not know! My Lord Ganesha, please protect me! Please be a
path-maker and clear the way so that I can walk all the way!"
'Gajanana' - Realisation of Divinity Within
‘Gajanana’ has a wonderful meaning. ‘Ga’ means goal, while ‘ja’
means life; so, ‘gaja means ‘the goal of life’. ‘Anana’ means
‘face’. We are given a face to tread along the right path and to
lead a good life that will take us to the goal. So, a face
symbolises a personality, an individuality that will take anyone
to his or her life’s goal. That is the meaning of ‘Gajanana’ - a
‘face-lifting’ process. Face-lifting is not achieved by applying
cosmetics or face powder, no, no, no, no! You can lift up your
face with pride if you reach the goal of life. That goal is the
realisation of Divinity within.
What is the goal of life? Realization of Divinity within is the
goal. It is not that God is in the Himalayas or in Cape Cameron,
and we will see Him after retirement. That is not the goal of
life! The goal of life is to realize the Divinity within. That’s
the meaning of ‘Gajanana’.
'Ganapathi' - Head Of the Ganas
‘Ganapathi’ is another term or another word used to describe the
head (chief) of the ganas. What and who are these ganas? Ganas are
spiritual entities. Everyone is a spiritual entity; everyone is a
spiritual being; everyone is basically Divine. So, God is the
master of all of these spiritual entities or ganas.
There is another meaning for the word ‘ganas’. We have ten senses
- five senses of action and five senses of perception. Ganesha or
Ganapathi is the head of the ten senses. Ganapathi is the head of
five life sheaths. What are they? You must have heard from
Bhagavan’s discourses that everyone has five life sheaths. The
first sheath of life is the sheath of food, annamaya kosha. The
second is pranamaya kosha, the sheath of life. The third one,
manomaya kosha, is the sheath of the intellect. The fourth one is
vijnanamaya kosha, the sheath of awareness. The fifth one is
anandamaya kosha, the sheath of bliss.
So, there are five life sheaths. Just as we wear a shirt and a
coat, the individual soul has five layers. After all, I have only
three layers of clothing, but the individual soul of each and
every one of us has five life sheaths - annamaya, pranamaya,
manomaya, vijnanamaya, and anandamaya. So, Ganapathi is the Lord
of these five life sheaths.
As mentioned, Ganapathi is the head of the ten senses. They are
called ganas. There is another meaning: ‘ga’ means intellect, ‘na’
means wisdom. God is the Lord of the intellect and wisdom. We are
given an intellect to discriminate. What is the intellect? The
intellect is an instrument given to man by which he is be able to
discriminate, to use his discretion, by which he would be able to
decide and judge. So judgment, decision-making, discretion,
discrimination -- they are all the duties of the intellect, which
is a gift to mankind. So Ganapathi is the Lord of the intellect.
By using this intellect, we acquire wisdom. Wisdom means spiritual
knowledge, the eternal knowledge, the knowledge of the being, the
knowledge of the Self. Self-knowledge is wisdom. It is not secular
knowledge, not bookish knowledge, not material knowledge, and not
physical knowledge. The knowledge of the Self is wisdom, and can
be acquired with the help of the intellect - ‘ga-na’, meaning
intellect and wisdom.
'Parvathi Tanaya' - Son of Mother Earth
Then comes the third name - ‘Parvathi tanaya’. You must have heard
these names during the bhajans – ‘Gajanana’ and ‘Ganapathi’. These
are names that you must have listened to during bhajans quite
often. ‘Parvathi tanaya’ means ‘son of Parvathi’. Who is Parvathi?
Parvathi is Mother Earth. ‘Parvathi tanaya’ means the ‘son of
Mother Earth’. All of us are children of Mother Earth. No one
moves about in the sky! We are not in space. We are on Earth,
don’t you agree with me? So, ‘Parvathi tanaya’ means ‘O son of
Mother Earth’. That is the meaning - the child of Mother Earth.
'Vinayaka' - the Master of All
Another name for Ganesha is Vinayaka. Vinayaka means ‘one who is
the boss’. He has no master above him. He is the master of all. He
is the master of all, the Self, the Spirit, the Consciousness in
you. He is supreme. There is no master above Him.
The mind is the master of the senses. The intellect is the boss,
and is superior to the mind. Above the intellect lies the Atma,
which is the highest. It is like a soldier, a senior officer, a
captain, a major, and major general, the highest-ranking official.
Atma is the highest rank. Vinayaka is the topmost. There is no
boss above him.
'Buddhi Pradayaka' - Illuminates Our Mind
Buddhi pradayaka, ‘that which illumines our mind’, is another name
for Ganesha. We are sometimes absent-minded. We are also sometimes
evil-minded, full of manipulation, spreading rumours, creating
stories, gossiping, or entertaining evil thoughts. Well, that is
evil-mindedness. By praying to Vinayaka, our mind becomes noble
and good. This broadmindedness is possible by praying to Buddhi
pradayaka: “ Oh God, lead my intellect, my buddhi!”
Gajanana, Ganapathi, Parvathi tanaya, Vinayaka, Buddhi pradayaka -
these are the various names of Ganapathi.
God’s 'Council of Ministers'
Every deity has a special prayer, a specialization, like a special
degree or doctorate, MBBS General Medicine, MB Cardiologist,
super-speciality. God is One, while deities are many. So there is
a general prayer to God, and there are also special prayers
offered to the deities.
Goddess Saraswathi is found in most of the educational
institutions. She is the ‘Education Minister’ in the ‘Government’
headed by God Himself. Business people worship Goddess Lakshmi,
the ‘Finance Minister’. (Laughter) And in certain factories and
some industries, there is a separate goddess, the ‘Minister for
Atomic Energy’ – Durga, who is specially worshipped there.
We have another ‘Minister’ who is in charge of the whole thing -
the ‘Planning Commissioner’, Lord Brahma himself. Another
‘Minister’ who is responsible for our sustenance and maintenance
is Lord Vishnu. And the ‘Minister’ in charge of the dispatch work,
Lord Shiva! (Laughter)
So we have so many ‘Ministers’, forming a ‘Council of Ministers’.
Each Minister has his own portfolio and agenda. The Leader is God,
who is formless, immortal, eternal, nectarine, unsullied,
unpolluted, blemishless, hidden, and incomprehensible. These are
all the attributes of God, who is incomprehensible, mysterious,
and inexplicable - a hidden Divinity, who is formless and
attributeless, functioning with this Council of Ministers.
A Special Prayer Offered To Ganesha
There is a special prayer offered to Ganesha. You probably have
heard this prayer many times. Artists on the dais or stage begin
their performance with this prayer. Why? An artist starts with
this prayer so that audience will respect him: He hopes that his
piece of art will be appreciated by the audience and prays that
thunder or rain will not occur during the concert. When it rains,
no one will stay to watch the performance. So every artist prays,
“Oh God, please see that my program is successful, uninterrupted,
that the audience will be receptive and will invite me again next
time." We pray to God in the hope that we will not have any
'Shuklam Bara dharam'
‘Suklam bara dharam’ is the first line in this special prayer.
What does it mean? It translates into wearing a white vesture.
Vinayaka’s clothing is white. The uniform of the students of the
Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning is white. White dress
– white stands for purity. “Oh God, You stand for purity. Oh God,
You symbolise purity.”
There is another meaning. ‘Ambara’ means ‘sky’. Where is the sky?
God shines in the human heart, which is like the sky. So, “Oh God,
I pray to You who shines in the heart, which is space. The space
in my heart is where You shine. Oh Lord, my obeisance to You! Oh
God, You wear white clothing that symbolises purity.”
Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba in His discourses on various
occasions of Vinayaka Chavithi has dealt at length with these
points. As a teacher I have collected this data and am presenting
it to you, that’s all. There is nothing original here. I have no
false claims of scholarship, not in this lifetime. We have plenty
of books. I just refer to these sources and repeat them verbatim.
'Vishnum' - Everywhere
Let’s work on the second word, ‘Vishnum’. What do you mean by
‘Vishnum’? It means being everywhere at all times. Let us not
think that God is present at a particular place only on Sundays.
Let me not think that God is present, waiting for me every
Saturday. He is everywhere at all times. That is the meaning of
'Sashi Varnam' - Ash Complexion
‘Sashi varnam’ means ‘ash complexion’. I should say, like
vibhuthi. His complexion is the colour of vibhuthi. Why? Vibhuthi
stands for spiritual splendour, spiritual grandeur, and spiritual
heights. The complexion of vibhuthi speaks of the mystery of the
Divinity. The whole of Creation is a mystery.
If you go through the Bhagavad Githa, you will certainly
understand that God is in all, and all are in Him. One chapter of
Bhagavad Githa explains how God is in everyone. Another chapter
explains how all are in Him, with the result that ‘He and I are
One’. Thath Thwam Asi (literally, ‘I am That.’) - He and I are
One. Aham Brahmasmi (literally, ‘I am Brahman.’) - He and I are
One. So, the name of one chapter is ‘Vibhuthi Yoga’; while the
other chapter is ‘Viswa Rupa Sandarsana Yoga’.
These are the two chapters of Bhagavad Githa where one chapter
says that He is in all, meaning Thath Thwam Asi, ‘That Thou Art’,
He and you are One. The other chapter, Viswa Rupa Sandarsana Yoga
says, you and He are One - Aham Brahmasmi. One entrance is this
way, and other entrance is that way. Anyway, this is the only way.
(Laughter) So we have to understand that God is in everyone and
everyone is in Him.
'Chatur Bhujam' - Four Hands
‘Chatur bhujam’ means ‘He has four hands’. If you can see anybody
with four hands, you will find his photograph on the main page of
the daily newspaper! It is not so interesting to see a person with
four hands. We probably will be afraid of him. What are these four
hands? Two hands are visible. Two hands are invisible. Two hands
are seen and two hands are unseen. What are those unseen hands?
The blessing hand is unseen.
Many people say, “Sir, I enjoy Baba’s blessings.” How do you know
that? Many people say, “Swami is blessing my effort.” Well, I did
not see it. How can I believe you? The unseen hand of God gives
blessings to you. They are felt; they are experienced but not
seen. Some are perceptible. Some are imperceptible. Some are
expressible. Some are inexpressible. We should be able to
understand this. So God's blessings are avyaktha, hidden. They are
felt and experienced, not seen, not visualised. So one hand is the
hand that blesses, another is the hand that protects.
So, we also don’t see the protecting hand. Let me give you an
example. A four-story building was under construction long ago. An
engineer was supervising the construction. Bhagavan was physically
in Bangalore at that time. Construction work was going on here at
East Prashanti. What happened?
It was midday, 12 o’clock. The roof slab work was going on in full
speed. An engineer, a seva dal man, Saiji, was supervising the
work. That young engineer, Saiji, suddenly fell from the fourth
floor (the roof). What was on the ground? Gravel, stones, and
rocks. If he had fallen on the heap of stones, well, he would have
been nicely forgotten that day. Instead, he fell at a different
place, on a heap of sand, which cushioned his fall!
Some of the elders probably remember this incident. It has gone on
record! At Swamis 50th Birthday Celebration, we received special
journals that were published, giving an account of this incident
written by the engineer, describing how he fell down from the top
floor escaping death - how he fell on the sand heap which was
nowhere nearby. Civil engineers can draw and compute angles. They
can calculate: if he fell at 80 degrees, what would happen at this
particular angle? Two pieces at that angle, four pieces…(Laughter)
But he fell conveniently at a particular angle, and nothing
happened to him.
This gentleman went the next week to thank Bhagavan. “Swami, thank
You for protecting me! You came all the way and saved my life.”
Baba said, “You are wrong. I did not come all the way. I was
already there!” Let us understand it: Swami does not have to go
anywhere because He is already everywhere. “I was already there! ”
Let me tell you another episode. The captain of a ship was
proceeding on his journey, moving towards his destination.
Suddenly, there was a downpour of heavy rain, a thunderstorm and
the ship was going to sink. At that time what happened?
The captain happened to be a devotee of Shirdi Bhagavan, Shirdi
Sai. What did he do? He took out Shirdi Baba’s photo from his
pocket and prayed to that photograph.
“Swami, save the ship! Save the lives of these people who are
here! Please save us, Swami!”
Slowly the storm calmed down, the rain stopped, and they reached
their destination, safe and secure. Simultaneously what was
happening in Shirdi? The whole masjid, the whole temple was filled
with water. The clothes Baba was wearing at the time were fully
wet, as if he had just bathed! But Shirdi Baba was so strict and
so serious; nobody dared to ask him why he was wet. When Shirdi
Sai spoke to you, if He suspected that you had not heard him, you
would get one or two (blows) immediately. (Laughter) He would not
After some time somebody asked, “Swami, how come there is so much
water here? Why are your clothes wet?” And Shirdi Bhagavan said,
“My devotee in the ship started praying for my help and refuge. I
had to lift the whole ship and so the water came into the masjid.”
And then somebody asked, “Swami, when did you go?” (Laughter) “ I
didn’t have to go anywhere. I was already there,” said Shirdi
I will repeat this beautiful statement again for the benefit of
those who were not here last week. Swami was talking to the
students and He said, “While talking here, I'm moving everywhere.
While moving here in Prashanti Nilayam, I'm watching everywhere.”
What a statement it is! We cannot be away from the magnetic field.
We cannot be away from the area of His supervision, of His Divine
inspection. Everything comes under the Divine magnetic field. You
cannot get out of it. It is impossible! Why? He is already there.
He is everywhere with His two invisible hands, the one that
protects and the other that blesses.
'Prasanna Vadanam' -
Bright Countenance of Inner Calm
Then comes ‘Prasanna Vadanam’. What does it mean? It means ‘a
bright countenance of inner calm, happiness, Grace, mercy,
strength, sovereignty’. Who can maintain the Prasanna Vadanam, the
face of dignity, the face of majesty, that face that reflects
inner calmness, sovereignty, strength, blessing and mercy? Well,
that is a reflection of His inner Divinity. We always find Swami’s
face bright and shining. We don’t see Him tired, no! He goes on
working. He goes on moving everywhere. He talks to everybody all
day, but He is still very, very fresh. It is impossible for any
one of us because we have to apply face powder every hour! There
are some people who carry a kit bag with them, and apply makeup
whenever they find time because we look horrible without these
things. (Laughter) Nobody can be near us! But it is unbelievable
how Swami looks fresh all the time!
I have said this earlier but will repeat it again. Once we started
at 5 o’clock from Bangalore and reached Kodaikanal at 6:30 in the
evening. That was more than 12 hours of continuous travel! Of
course, we stopped at two or three places for coffee and lunch -
only for the party’s sake, not for Bhagavan. He looked so fresh!
Whenever we stopped, we refreshed ourselves. (Laughter) But God
doesn’t take anything; He doesn’t go anywhere. He doesn’t go to
restrooms or anything like that, and yet He looks so fresh!
That is a miracle. Seeing how energetic He is, is an experience in
itself! Though we fill the stomach, we find it empty and we need
to fill it up again and again. But He has no thirst. He has no
hunger. He is not tired because He is beyond all - Prasanna
Vadana, so calm and composed. The President of India can visit;
the President of Sri Lanka too; the Home Minister can come. Let
anyone come any day, at any time, but our dear Lord’s routine is
'Very Important People' - VIP’s
I will not mention the name, but a very important VIP, a very,
very, very, very important person, happened to visit here a few
days ago. He sent a message, “I’ll be reaching the ashram at 12
o’clock. At 12:30 I want to see Swami and leave there at 1:30 to
fly back.” This was communicated to Swami.
Luckily, I was there at that time. (Laughter) Why? As I have told
you earlier - you’ve heard of BBC, the British Broadcasting
Corporation? Here is ABC, Anil-Kumar Broadcasting Corporation.
(Laughter and Applause) Yes! I hear and broadcast. What happened?
I saw and I heard Bhagavan giving instructions.
“Let him be here at 12:30 or 11:30, or 10:30, it doesn’t matter.
He should come here at 2 o’clock and sit along with the devotees.
Or he can come at 11:30 and leave at 12:30. But if he wants Me,
let him come and sit along with the devotees. I come to the hall
at 2. It does not matter whether he is the topmost man or anybody
The cadre and the class mean nothing in front of Swami. He goes by
the same routine, the same program. Furthermore, if any fellow
feels that he is very important, He will delay more. (Laughter) He
will also make extra rounds of the hall!
I don’t know how relevant it is, but I shall try to maintain
secrecy about his identity for my own safety. (Laughter) Why?
Because that man is known for his violence. He’s a very powerful
Minister from this area - not necessarily from this place, but
from this area in the adjoining, neighbouring districts. I will
not tell you directly because he is known for violence and he is
reputed to send people to the other planet! (Laughter) So I don’t
want to mention his name, such a powerful man! He was a minister
for a short while. And he came here for Bhagavan’s darshan. What
When Bhagavan started the Drinking Water Supply Project in the
Anantapur District, that Minister came here and said, “Swami, you
are ready to give 200 crores for the project. I have come here to
collect the money.” (Audience intones “OHHHHHHHH!”) Since you are
ready to do that, I will proceed.” Our good God did not say
I believe it was some festival time here. This gentleman came in
the afternoon around 2 o’clock, followed by so many people because
such people will have many followers. They were all running after
him, and I wanted to see what the tamasha (joke) was about.
(Laughter) Suddenly we got instructions from Bhagavan. The
students from all the three campuses were here since it was
festival time. Swami announced, “I'm going to give Padanamaskaar
to all the students.” (Laughter) There were three thousand
students! He started moving slowly until bhajan time (Laughter)
and then He went straight to the bhajan hall! You can imagine what
happened to that fellow! He had to leave, that’s all. It doesn’t
matter who comes here, Swami will not lose his poise and
composure. He will be always peaceful!
Reasons for Celebrating Vinayaka Chathurthi
What is the purpose behind celebrating Vinayaka Chathurthi? It is
done to incur God’s Grace, to prevent lapses and promote progress.
When we pray to the Lord, all our lapses will be forgiven and
success is conferred.
The second reason is that God becomes a guide and then He removes
all the obstacles. ‘Vighna’ means ‘obstacle’. ‘Vighna vinasaka’
means the remover of ‘vighnas’ or obstacles. He removes all the
obstacles that are in the way, so that our journey is a safe one.
Third, the message of Vinayaka Chathurthi is to avoid bad company
and seek good company.
The fourth purpose is to develop the noble quality of gratitude.
Finally, Bhagavan said that a MBA degree does not merely mean
‘Master of Business Administration’, no! It is much more than
that: “Master the mind, be a mastermind.” ‘M’ for ‘mind’, ‘B’ for
‘buddhi’ or intellect and ‘A’ to realise the Atma - that is the
purpose behind it.
Lastly, we make a special offering, a special preparation for
prasad on Vinayaka Chathurthi. What is it? It has the following
ingredients: rice flour, jaggery and till seeds (sesame seeds). A
special offering called ‘undralu’ is made on an ordinary stove,
steaming these ingredients without using any oil. This is the
What is the purpose behind it? It is free from oil. It is steamed.
It is very good for the eyesight. It is a preventive measure for
asthma. It improves your health. That is the significance of
offering this special prasad on Vinayaka Chathurthi Day.
Everything Has Its Own Value
I will leave you with a couple of mythological episodes regarding
this festival. This is just a story, so please take it just at
face value. Parvathi and Parameswara (Lord Siva), the Lord and His
consort, were playing dice and Nandi happened to be the umpire. He
had to decide who won the game. Though Parvathi won, Nandi said it
was the good Lord Siva who won the game and not Parvathi. There
was male domination even in those days! (Laughter)
Well, Parvathi was very serious. She took objection to the
umpire’s judgement. “What do you mean? I won the game! Why do you
say Siva won the game?” she asked vehemently. Then Nandi replied,
“Oh Mother, please understand. I am the servant of the Father.
(Laughter) I have to please Him. Today if I say you won the game,
tomorrow He may remove me from His service. (Laughter) So, since I
am His servant, I have to say that He’s correct.”
Then Parvathi cursed him: “This is not correct. I’ll see that you
are out of here!” Nandi went on praying to Her: “I had to support
Him because I'm his subordinate. Though I am not your subordinate,
you are removing me from service. What am I to do, Mother? Please
Then Parvathi said, “All right, you should offer something that
pleases my son, Vinayaka.” (Vinayaka is the son of Parvathi and
Siva.) “You offer that which is very much relished and accepted by
my son. Something that you really like must be offered to my son.”
Nandi, the bull, likes grass. So he offered grass to Vinayaka. So
now, Lord Vinayaka is offered grass in prayer!
And then while worshipping Vinayaka, this manthra is used: ‘Arka
Drona Priya’. The flowers and the leaves of certain weeds that are
neglected are offered to Him. It only proves that nothing is
useless in this world. God is ready to accept even the meanest of
the mean, the worst of the bad. He is ready to accept anything.
GANAPATHI = KNOWLEDGE
Ganapathi is known for knowledge and wisdom, so children place
their books in front of Ganapathi and offer their prayers on this
day, “Oh God, see that I pass the examination, even if I didn’t
read it! (Laughter) See that my memory is good.” Ganesha is the
presiding deity of knowledge and learning.
There is a story associated with this aspect of Ganesha -
knowledge and learning. You must have heard the name of sage Vyasa
who composed the eighteen epics. He has composed all four Vedas.
People say that Vyasa is an Incarnation of Vishnu, God Himself.
Veda Vyasa was a great scholar.
Well, he could not write fast enough because he was writing so
many books and so many compositions. So he wanted a steno
(assistant) to take his dictation. He advertised, “Steno required,
contact Vyasa." He had one condition: the steno should write
continuously, non-stop. No ink supply, no refills, nothing. He
should write non-stop. "There will be no warning bells, nothing!
As long as I am dictating, you should go on writing.”
Vinayaka applied for this position. “I'm ready to take notes.” He
came and Vyasa started dictating. Vinayaka started writing,
scribbling the notes on the writing pad. But it so happened that
one of his pens was out of order! (Laughter) What should he do?
That happens frequently to students during exam time! So what
should he do?
If you observe, Ganesha has a broken tusk. Normally, an elephant
has two tusks. He broke off and used one of his tusks, starting to
write with it on the paper. That is why he is called ‘Eka Danta’,
since he has only one tusk, not two. One was removed and used as a
pen. The inner meaning is that one should acquire knowledge
uninterruptedly, incessantly, continuously, and should grow in
This, in brief, is the inner significance of Vinayaka Chathurthi,
which we will be observing the day-after-tomorrow. I understand
that we have a specially designed program both in the morning and
in the evening.
This date also happens to coincide with the 30th Anniversary of
Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust. There will be a presentation by a
number of people, elders and youngsters, on the activities of the
Central Sai Trust in the evening, and in the morning we will have
Bhagavan’s Divine Discourse on the occasion of Vinayaka Chavithi.
I am just divulging this information to you with absolute
confidence that you will keep it secret until that day! (Laughter)
May Bhagavan Bless you!
Happy Vinayaka Chathurthi!
Om Asato Maa Sad Gamaya
Tamaso Maa Jyotir Gamaya
Mrtyormaa 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!