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  Anil Kumar's Sunday Satsang at Prasanthi Nilayam
September 8, 2002

“Happy Vinayaka Chathurthi!”

September 8th, 2002


Sai Ram.

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 its importance.

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 be the-day-after-tomorrow.

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 distress.”

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 respond.

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 friend.

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 discrimination.

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 memory.

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 problems.

'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 ‘Vishnum’.

'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! ” He said.


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 spare you.

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 Bhagavan.

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 the same!

'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 important.”

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 for?

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 anything.

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 special preparation.

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 excuse me!”

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 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 wisdom.

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!

Sai Ram!

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!

Thank You!

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