Sai Baba Sri Sathya Sai Baba

    Home  Thought for the Day  |  Sai Inspires 

    Articles | Avatar | Bhajans | Experiences | Messages | Miracles | Prayers | Quotes | Stories | Service | Teachings

Modes of Worship by Swami and insights

From ancient times to today humanity cannot live without worship. The ways and methods of spiritual worship are different but the joyful peace in mind what one can receive from that is in core the same.

    There is a question arises. Our generation of human beings live at the same time with Avatar, present incarnation of previous Gods in different countries, in different times. As Swami, so His devotees honour and worship the ancient Divine incarnations. Swami modestly advices us to see one and the same God within, what is the basis of Atmic reality. But who is leading and guiding humanity today? It is not only Swami in his material form, but also His expanded Cosmic form, it is the Divine energy what shines through every His word, what shines through every devotee who shares his/her experiences. It illuminates through Sailogram (developed by Sailoptics team) and Swami's holographic and other pictures created with love by His devotees. Here Swami's Divine energy is entwined with faith of his devotees. It illuminates through His manifestations... It illuminates everywhere in the Nature. This illumination is as a call to look into own Self by the help of the real Divine power and vision.
     This illumination or Divine shining is real.  Recently I removed Swami's pictures from my flat and carried to the hall where a seminar (two days) about human values was.  My flat became cold and uncomfortable not only for me. All who visited me during these days were surprised and asked what has happened, why in my flat was such unfriendly atmosphere? The door to the rooms where the pictures were, was  shut and they did not know about absence of Swami's pictures.

    How can our generation to worship Swami, a real living Divine incarnation? Probably our worship should be directed on spiritual development of inner knowledge of the Atmic unity. This knowledge is the basis for development of all humanity and also the single persons who are carriers of eternal spirit, where all good or bad that is made by them you will leave a no erasable trace.

     Swami has properly analysed and described  modes of worship in His work "Sathya Sai Vahini" in the frame of Vedas and different sacred texts. 
     Below are excerpts of Sathya Sai Vahini. Chapter  "Modes of Worship" contains the most clear explanation about different methods of worship than the other scientific sources.  He stresses the role of idols, mantras, rituals and gives a pictorial conclusion that all modes of worship will become into one in Unity of Atmic reality. 

     The Veda is the most ancient as well as the most lasting knowledge (or Sastra) discovered by man. That is to say, man has not invented it; he has only recollected it in the serene silence of the soul. So, the Veda can lead man into the Vision of the Truth, unreachable by the senses and unrelated to the material world. It is inaccessible to human reason because it is transcendent.

     The Supreme Lord is All-seeing; He is the Person on whom all the hymns of the Vedas converge. The Vedas enable man to get the vision of that Lord and those who have earned that Vision are the Rshis. As a result, the Supreme Lord Himself is referred to as the Great Sage (Maharshi) in the Brahma-Sutra. Among the 108 Names of Siva, the Supreme Lord, we find Maha-rshi and Mukhya-rshi (the Chief Sage, the foremost Sage). Even the Veda is personified and referred to as Rshi, for the same reason. Brahmam (the Vast Expanse) is another word which denotes the Supreme Lord as well as the Veda. Hence, all acts, undertaken with no other desire than the attainment of Brahmam, are also known as Brahma activity - Brahmayajna. A Rshi yajna is a sacrificial act - with no desire to earn the fruit ensuing therefrom - designed to gain the Vision of Truth.

    The scriptures distinguish the Divine Body and the Material Body, which each entity and being possess. The Divine Body of every one cannot be cognised by the senses. When an oblation is given to it, it becomes sanctified. The Aahuthi is trans-substantiated into Havis.

    The oblation or Aahuthi is thus described in the Veda. The offering and offeree become one through the acceptance. (The Attha and the Adya). Who in this case is the offeree, the acceptor? It is Agni, the Divine Power inherent in Fire, in the Sun, in the Warmth of the Vital Air that sustains Life. When with the recitation of the appropriate ceremonial formulae, material oblations are placed in Agni with the phrase Swaaha, it is not a mere exclamation; it is expiation; it is realisation of the prayer, which the ritual represents.

     The sacred ceremonies and rituals which the Vedas expound confer joy not only on the participants but on the entire world and even on worlds beyond. The Supreme Lord who is the source of Bliss, is known in the scriptural text as Yajnaanga (having the Vedic ritual as His Limbs), Yajna-vahana (using the Vedic ritual as His Vehicle). When Godhead assumes Form the first manifestation is Hiranyagarbha (the Golden Womb). This too is embodied Bliss, having as vehicle the Bird with wings of Beauty, or Garuda. The Supreme Lord is also known as Vrsha-ratha, He whose chariot is the Bull, the symbol of Dharma (Righteousness). This is the reason why in temples we find the bird Garuda carved or kept as an idol before the shrine of Vishnu and the figure of the Bull or its idol placed before shrines of Siva.

     Chha or Chhaadana has as its root meaning another important aspect of the Vedas - shielding, fostering or promoting, promoting the welfare, the ultimate liberation of humans engaged in the unceasing round of worldly affairs. Humans are ever caught up in activities pursued with the profit available as the purpose. They have to be moulded as righteous men and women at the same time; the Tree of Life has to be guarded to offer them fruits and shade. The Veda has to shield from destruction the activist 'doers' (Karma lovers) from the evil temptation to court unrighteousness and, the inquiry-fond thinkers (Jnana seekers) from the evil temptation to pursue the pleasure-bound senses.

     There is a myth about the Vedic rituals, collectively known as Yajna. Once, Yajna fled from the gods taking the form of a black antelope; the gods went in pursuit, but they succeeded only in retrieving its skin. That skin became the Yajna, the symbol of the rite. The white, dark and tawny colours on that skin represent the Vedas, Rg, Yajur and Saama, and it was adored as sacred for this very reason. It was honoured as symbolising the Triple Knowledge, that is to say, Mastery of the three Vedas. The three colours are believed to represent the three worlds too and, therefore, he who is seated on the skin or wears it benefits the three worlds by his Vedic recitations and oblations.

     The master of the ceremonials at the Vedic yajna is described in the vedic scripture as the "Foetus in the Womb." As the foetus is safe and secure, with its fingers clasped and body prostrate enveloped in the mother, the priest initiate must be enveloped in the antelope skin symbolising Mother Veda. To human eyes, it is just a skin but during Vedic rites, it becomes a shield. This is the reason why, before wearing it, the initiate prays, addressing it, "You are the shield, Charma, shield me as Charma." Charma since it shields man from grief, injury, and wrong has come to mean happiness and bliss. Vishnu, the second of the Trinity, is the embodiment of Bliss. And Vedic sacrifices confer bliss. Vishnu is praised as Yajna itself (Yajno vai Vishnuh). The Lord Vishnu is the embodiment of the Triple Veda.

      Upasana means the acquisition of the Presence of the Divine, the achievement of the Bliss of adoration. Vedic tradition sanctions four paths as legitimate and fruitful to win this achievement. They are called Sathyavathi, Angavathi, Anyavathi and Nidaanavathi. We shall consider these in some detail.

      Sathyavathi: The scripture defines the Divine thus: "Sarva Vyaapinam Aatmaanam, Ksheere sarpith iva arpitham" - The Aatma is immanent everywhere, just as ghee interpenetrates every drop of milk. When the seeker pursues the Truth with this conviction urging his endeavour, his sadhana is called Sathyavathi (Truth-based). "Maaya thitham idam sarvam, jagadavyaktha moorthinaa," the Lord declares, "In My latent form, I am in entire Creation, operating the mystery. See in Me all this, see all this as Me". .

     Angavathi: The Universal being is the Fire, the Wind, the Sun, the Moon and all else. He is the Breath that sustains life in all beings. He is the Fire that illumines all. He is the Rain that feeds the plants that provide sustenance. So, He can be adored either as Fire (Agni) or as Wind (Vayu) or as Rain (Varuna), as having graciously assumed all those beneficent forms. This approach through the benign manifestation or Angas, is the Angavathi path. Anga means a 'limb', a 'fact', a 'feature'.

     Anyavathi: Picturing the many-faceted Divine and symbolising, in perceivable ways, the attributes that are evidenced in each facet, the seeker endeavours to acquire the Presence of the Divine. One form of the Divine, the Omnipresent (Vishnu) is pictured as having the Conch (symbol of the Primeval word or Sound), the Wheel (symbol of Time) and the Mace (symbol of Might and Majesty). With the facet to which is ascribed the power and willingness to overcome obstacles (Vighneswara), the single tusk symbolising sharpness and concentration is associated, Iswara or Siva (the facet of disintegration and dissolution) has the Soola or Trident (symbolising in its three prongs, the Past, the Present and the Future). Rama, the form of righteousness or Dharma is always pictured with the Kodanda, the bow which can send the arrow (will) straight to the target. Krishna, the manifestation of Universal love, has on His Crown a peacock feather, symbolising the thousand-eyed glance of Grace. He bears a flute on which He plays enthralling tunes; the flute is the symbol of the ego-less desire-less seeker. The facet of Wisdom pictured as the Goddess Saraswathi, has a Veena in Her hand; the Veena is a stringed musical instrument, symbolic of heart-strings responding with harmony and melody, to the gentle touch of the True, the Good and the Beautiful. Seekers meditate on these pleasing Personifications and the significance of the symbols of their attributes and adore the Divine in the Delight that wells up in their hearts.

     Nidaanavathi: This path is slow but progress is always achieved when each step is successfully negotiated. "Sravanam (Listening to the Glory of God), Kirtanam (singing joyously His unique graciousness), Vishnoh smaranam (keeping in memory and recapitulating always the Majesty and Mercy of the Lord), Paada sevanam (Aspiring to fall at the Feet of the Lord), Archanam (offering prayers to the image or idol of the Lord), Vandanam (offering gratitude for blessings received), Dasyam (Surrendering to the Will of the Lord), Sakhyam (Confiding completely in Him), Atma Nivedanam (Dedicating thought, word and deed to Him), Thanmaya-aasakthi (Longing to merge in Him) and Parama-viraha-aasakthi (Agony at the slightest separation from Him)" - these are the eleven stages which the seeker has to pass through to win the final Consummation in Bliss. Hence, the name for this path is 'slow and sure' (Nidaana).

     These four paths (Sathyavathi, Angavathi, Anyavathi and Nidaanavathi) are each one progressively more commendable than the previous ones, as far as simplicity and practicability are concerned. They award, in the end, Oneness with the Universal Will. Of the various other Upasanas or Sadhanas which are mentioned in the sacred texts and practised by seekers, Pratheekopasana (Idol adoration) or Prathiroopopasana (Image adoration) is included under Angavathi Upasana. "Sarvathah paani paadam thath, sarvathokshi Siro mukham" - "Everywhere His Hand and Feet, everywhere Head and Face". The Lord (Madhava) has His Hands everywhere, for He is in all. He sees through all the eyes. He thinks, plans and resolves in all heads. He eats through all mouths, hears through every ear. Through one Form, you can adore Him as all Forms. This is the highest ideal - He is latent in all beings; He operates unseen in and through all. This is the Prathiroopa-upasana, worshipping Him as present in each. 

     (In His book Swami describes many other upasanas (the acquisition of the Presence of the Divine) described in sacred texts. Among them are:

    Jainopaasana: (the Marwari community, in worshipping the Lord, adopt a Vaishnavite slant. Idols of Vishnu, with the traditional equipment of the Conch, the Wheel, the Mace and the Lotus, are found in Jain temples). The Jains have as their mantra:
     Salutations to the great heroes (Mahavira) who have conquered desire etc.,
     Salutations to the Siddhas (those equipped with supernatural powers),
     Salutations to the great Masters of Spiritual Wisdom,
     Salutations to the great Teachers who transmit the wisdom,
     Salutations to the good persons of all lands.
    This five-fold adoration helps remove the evil effects of all sinful acts. The Jains declare that when one merges in this universal adoration, one is liberated and attains Moksha.

     Sikh-upaasana: The Preceptor (Guru), who reveals the Atma and makes one conscious of Its Existence as one's Reality, has the highest place in this system of worship. The collection of the teachings of the Gurus - referred to as Granth Saheb - is extolled and revered by the Sikhs. It is derived from the spring of Bharathiya spiritual traditions. Its ideas form the very core of Bharathiya cultural traits.

    Christ upaasana: Lord Jesus is the Saviour. Man is by nature prone to fall into sin, knowingly or unknowingly. Jesus shed his heart-blood on the Cross to free man from sin and cleanse his soul. Follow this Lord and his teachings contained in the Bible and worship him - this is Christ upaasana. Sing his glory and adore him through hymns - this is the mode of worship which this Upaasana envisages.

     Muhammadan-upaasana: "Imaamdaaree khaidaa mey ho, Pygambar mey bharosa." Acquire self-confidence and place all burdens on God; have implicit faith in the Power of God every moment of living; recognise it at every step; - these are the rules for meaningful life. One has to evidence one's rectitude in the Durbar of the Lord, when one lays down his body. So, one has to follow the straight path laid down by the Lord until the very end. For this, the Holy Quran is the guide; it has to be revered and observed down to the very letter. This is the spiritual instruction to be observed in this Upaasana.

     All these upaasanas reveal that, since man initiated his age-long inquiry into his own truth, he has accumulated, especially in Bharath, a vast spiritual treasure which can save him from sorrow and bondage. The treasure is so vast and so deep that it has survived the passage of centuries as vast and as deep as ever it was, unaffected by the emergence of different modes or the influx of other forms of worship.


Best Resolution 1024x768 -- Copyright ? 2004-2015 SAIBABA.WS. All rights reserved. Please read Disclaimer.