Sai Baba: A Summary of His Life,
Mission and Organization
Who is Sathya Sai Baba?
Sathya Sai Baba is one of the most revered spiritual teachers in
the world today. He is quietly transforming the world by
reestablishing the eternal values of Truth (Sathya), Right Conduct
(Dharma), Peace (Shanti), Love (Prema) and Nonviolence (Ahimsa) in
everyday living. He is also known as Sri Sathya Sai Baba, Sai
Baba, Swami, Bhagavan, or simply as Baba to millions of people in
the world. His followers come from all faiths and races and meet
regularly for devotional singing, to study His teachings, and to
engage in service activities in order to practice His message of
Love and Peace to unite all mankind.
Sathya Sai Baba was born on November 23, 1926, in Puttaparthi, a
remote village in the state of Andhra Pradesh in Southern India.
He is the fourth child of a humble and pious couple, who named Him
Sathya Narayana Raju. As a child, He demonstrated exceptional
qualities of wisdom, compassion, and generosity. When He was seven
years old, He composed devotional songs that were sung in
religious festivals. At the age of fourteen, He announced that His
name was Sathya Sai Baba and proclaimed His mission: to bring
about the spiritual regeneration of humanity by demonstrating and
teaching the highest principles of Truth, Right Conduct, Peace,
Love and Nonviolence. With that announcement, He left His
childhood home and began His mission.
From an early age, Sathya Sai Baba began demonstrating
extraordinary powers. He quickly became known for the miracles
that He performed such as materializing objects, especially a holy
ash called vibhuti, assisting people in distress, and letting
those who came to Him for advice know that He was aware of even
the most intimate details of their lives. Yet, He has always
maintained that His miracles are to be treated only as His calling
cards. They are for the purpose of inspiring and encouraging
people to begin their own spiritual journey of personal
In 1950, His devotees built a temple and residential quarters
about a mile away from His birthplace in the village. He named
this ashram 'Prashanti Nilayam' (Abode of Peace). Today, this
ashram can accommodate and feed many thousands of devotees who
come to see and hear Sathya Sai Baba. Under His care and guidance,
Puttaparthi has evolved to have high quality schools, an
accredited university, a spiritual museum, a well-equipped modern
hospital, and a jet airport.
Sathya Sai Baba's followers regard Him as an incarnation of God in
human form (Avatar). He is the ideal of goodness: One who
manifests all human virtues in their purity and perfection; One
who shows power, wisdom and knowledge beyond the comprehension of
humans; and One in whom immense powers lie at His will.
You are welcome to ask questions about Him, read His books, and
attend Center activities. A list of books and publications is
included at the end of this booklet.
II. Mission of Sathya Sai Baba
Sathya Sai Baba has come to this world at this time to offer moral
and spiritual sustenance and to lead us from the darkness. His
mission is best described in His own words:
"I have come to light the lamp of love in your hearts, to see that
it shines day by day with added luster. I have not come on any
mission of publicity for any sect or creed or cause; nor have I
come to collect followers for any doctrine. I have come to tell
you of this universal unitary faith, this path of Love. Believe
that all hearts are motivated by the One and Only God, that all
names in all languages, and all forms man can conceive, denote the
one and only God. Cultivate the attitude of oneness between people
of all creeds, all countries, and all continents. This is the
message of Love I bring."
Sai Baba is not seeking to establish a new religion or to direct
people to a particular creed or religion. He proclaims:
"Let the different faiths exist and let the glory of God be sung
in all languages and tunes. That should be the ideal. Respect the
differences between the faiths and recognize them as valid as long
as they do not extinguish the flames of unity. If each person
lives the ideals propounded by the founders of their religion,
unaffected by greed or hate, then the world will be a happy and
peaceful habitation for mankind."
Sathya Sai Baba says that He has come for all mankind and not for
any particular community, religion, country, or interest. His
teachings are universal and not sectarian, attracting devotees and
seekers of all faiths and nationalities.
III. The Teachings of Sathya Sai Baba
Sathya Sai Baba teaches that man's basic nature is divine and that
the purpose of life is the realization of this divinity. This will
occur, He says, by leading a moral life, by rendering selfless
service to those in need, by engaging in devotional practices, and
by developing love, respect, and compassion for all life. As one
strives to transform the worldly life of self-centered desires and
attachments into a higher spiritual life of selflessness and
devotion, the foundation is built for receiving God's Grace. It is
this Grace that will reveal our true nature to each of us.
He reminds us that mankind is unique among all of God's Creation;
human beings are capable of recognizing that they emanate from God.
We have the capacity to commune with God by turning inward.
Ultimately, it is our destiny to merge with God. Sathya Sai Baba
teaches that all religions are expressions of these same universal
"All men are of one lineage, of one divine origin.
Therefore, recognize the divinity in each being and
banish all limiting thoughts and projections."
"There is only one Caste, the Caste of Humanity;
There is only one Religion, the Religion of Love;
There is only one Language, the Language of the Heart;
There is only One God and He is Omnipresent."
Sathya Sai Baba does not recommend that we become ascetics and
retreat from the world. Instead, He teaches us that the world is
our school, that the five human values (Truth, Right Conduct,
Peace, Love, and Nonviolence) are our curriculum, and that the
realization of the unity of Godliness in the diversity of Creation
is our ultimate lesson.
"Love in thought is Truth;
Love in action is Right Conduct;
Love in understanding is Peace;
Love in feeling is Nonviolence."
Sathya Sai Baba urges all His devotees to comply with the "Nine-Point
Code of Conduct" and to practice a "Ceiling on Desires" for their
spiritual development, as described below:
The Nine-Point Code of Conduct
1. Daily meditation and prayer.
2. Group devotional singing or prayer with family members once a
3. Participation in Sai Spiritual Education by children of the
4. Participation in community service work and other programs of
5. Regular attendance at the Center's devotional meetings.
6. Regular study of Sathya Sai Baba literature.
7. The use of soft, loving speech with everyone.
8. Not speaking ill of others, especially in their absence.
9. Practicing placing a ceiling on desires "consciously and
continuously striving to eliminate the tendency to waste time,
money, food, and energy" and utilizing the savings for service of
Ceiling on Desires
Sathya Sai Baba teaches that one should not waste time, food,
money, or energy. A program called "Ceiling on Desires" has been
created to encourage aspirants to practice these principles.
"The object of the program is to prevent waste of money, time,
food or other resources and to use all these for the welfare of
the people. The money that is saved need not be kept for the
Sathya Sai organizations. It may be used in the best way you
choose for the benefit of others. Do not waste time. Time wasted
is life wasted. Time is God. Sanctify all the time at your
disposal by undertaking service (seva) activities in a pure and
Sathya Sai Baba also emphasizes that man has important obligations
to society. He stresses the importance of performing one's duty in
society for the benefit of all. It is the society that can provide
an environment and a foundation for people to grow spiritually
more easily. His teachings on serving society are summarized in
His "the ten guiding principles":
The Ten Guiding Principles
1. Love and Serve your country. Do not be critical of others'
"Have a sense of pride in your motherland. Just as your mother has
given birth to you, so too the land has given birth to you.
Whatever country you belong to, you should have a sense of
patriotism. You should not indulge in criticizing other countries
or people belonging to other nations. Having trust and faith in
your own country, you won't try to put down any other country.
Never bring grief or sorrow to your country. To have pride in one's
own motherland is important."
2. Honor and respect all religions as pathways to God.
"Never have hatred toward any religion. Honor and respect all
religions equally. Even as you are a citizen of your motherland
but respect all countries, also respect all religions equally."
3. Love all humanity as part of your family.
"Develop a sense of the brotherhood of man. Look upon each person
as your own brother. There is only one caste, the caste of
humanity. All of us belong to the human race, so everyone is equal.
Therefore, love each one equally."
4. Keep home and surroundings clean.
"Keep your own house and its surroundings pure and clean. This
hygiene will keep you healthy and benefit your worldly life."
5. Help the needy with food, clothing, and shelter. Help them
become self-reliant when possible.
"Be discriminating when dispensing charity. In the name of charity
or philanthropy, we tend to do injustice to this country. Charity
does not mean that the land should be full of beggars. We can
provide some support and means for the beggars, but provide food,
clothing, and other conveniences in such a way that you are not
encouraging laziness and begging."
6. Be examples of honesty. Do not participate in any corruption
such as bribery.
"Never give or take a bribe. Giving bribes, or accepting bribes,
is contrary to the very name of the Sri Sathya Sai organizations.
Bear this in mind continuously."
7. Curb jealousy, hatred and envy.
"We must seek ways to solve difficulties such as hatred, envy, and
jealousy. To curb this sense of envy and jealousy, we must develop
a broader outlook. Do not differentiate on the basis of race,
caste, creed, or country. Follow your cultural and religious
customs in your own home, but do not attempt to impose them on
society. Rather than this, love each person as your own brother,
not seeing him as belonging to another creed, religion, or
8. Develop self-reliance.
"Members of the Sri Sathya Sai Organizations should do things by
themselves; they should not depend on others. You may be very
wealthy and have servants and assistants to help in a few tasks,
but your own work you must do yourself. If you wish to be of
service to society, serve yourself first. One who will not serve
society has no right to belong to a Sri Sathya Sai organization."
9. Observe your country?s laws and be exemplary citizens.
"Never ever go against the law of the land. Follow the letter of
the law. The members of the Sri Sathya Sai organizations should
follow the law in spirit also, and be models for the government."
10. Adore God, abhor sin.
"You must love God and avoid sin. Love God incessantly. As long as
you keep committing sins, God will never be yours."
V. "My Life Is My Message"
While Sathya Sai Baba teaches that we must find God within our own
hearts, many feel drawn to Prashanthi Nilayam to see and hear Him
and receive His blessings. He walks daily among the assembled
people who come to see Him in an activity called darshan (sight of
a holy person). During this time, He takes letters, gives advice,
and grants personal interviews. He touches the hearts of all who
come, some through personal interactions and others by the
powerful impact of simply being in His presence. Often, people
come to see Him with doubts and apprehensions and return home with
love in their hearts, peace in their minds, and the capacity to
live a more giving, spiritual life.
As people are inspired by His love, they seek to emulate the
example He sets. In fact, He invites people to study and observe
Him as He lives a life of selfless service for all.
"You can observe Me and My activities; note how I adhere to
righteousness, moral order, truth, and universal compassion. That
is what I desire you to learn from Me ... My Life is My Message."
In addition to His constant service on an individual basis, He has
undertaken a number of massive projects for the benefit of mankind.
Sathya Sai Baba places immense value on education. In order to
demonstrate the Five Human Values and exemplify the practice of
His teachings, He has built a number of elementary and secondary
schools as well as a complete university system in India for both
men and women. The education offered at these schools is provided
free of charge. [Look here for more information.]
"Education must impart elevating ideals and kindle the lamp of
wisdom. Character is the most precious gift of education."
Baba's schools teach a curriculum of science, business, and arts
as well as a character building program called Sathya Sai
Education in Human Values, or Sathya Sai EHV. This program
stresses the importance of service to society and tolerance for
people of other races, cultures, nationalities, and religions.
"Politics without principle, education without character, science
without humanity, and commerce without morality are not only
useless but positively dangerous."
Sathya Sai Baba is also demonstrating to us that medical care of
the highest quality can also be provided free of charge, even in
highly specialized fields such as cardiology, nephrology, and
urology. He has established a General Hospital at the ashram,
which provides free medical care to the residents and visitors. In
1991, He opened a Specialty Hospital, which is equipped with the
latest equipment for the diagnosis and treatment of diseases and
is supported by a team of highly qualified surgeons, physicians,
technicians, and nursing staff. Hospital services are free of
charge to anyone in need, especially for the poor. [Look here for
Drinking Water Project
Sathya Sai Baba has also undertaken a large project to bring
drinking water, the very life source, to millions of people who
live in chronically drought-stricken areas in villages and towns
of the state of Andhra Pradesh. This monumental project covers
20,000 square kilometers and more than 750 villages hitherto
V. The Sathya Sai Baba Organization
The fundamental objective of the Organization as laid down by
Sathya Sai Baba is to "Awaken in man the Divinity inherent in him"
by propagating, through practice and examples, the basic
principles of Love (Prema), Truth (Sathya), Right Action (Dharma),
Peace (Shanti), and Nonviolence (Ahimsa).
The Sathya Sai Baba Organization consists of a worldwide network
of Sathya Sai Baba Centers. They are found in over 145 countries
worldwide. In the United States, there are more than 160 Centers,
which are coordinated by the Sathya Sai Baba Council of America
established in 1975. These Centers are administratively grouped
under one of the ten regions of the country. Each region has its
own officers and activities. The regional officers consult with
national coordinators for the United States. Coordinators from
fifteen international regions make up a Central Council, which is
directed by Sathya Sai Baba. The headquarters is located in
Prashanti Nilayam in Puttaparthi, India, where Sathya Sai Baba
"The main goal of the Sai Organization is to enable members,
workers, and officers to lead ideal, perfect, and happy lives ...
Sai Organization should live in Love. Exchange hearts with Love,
give Love and take Love, and flourish in Love. Both money and
power have no place in our organization."
Until early 1996, the emblem of the Organization was the 'Sarva
Dharma' (symbol of Unity of Religions and Basic Values), depicted
by an open lotus with six petals and six leaves. There is a lamp
in the center. The six petals show different symbols representing
world's six major religions. The 'Om' at the top represents
Hinduism, the cross depicts Christianity, the crescent and star
are for Islam, the star of David is for Judaism, the fire
represents Zoroastrianism, and the wheel is for Buddhism. This is
the Sai Emblem to show the unity of all faiths and the common
basis for the values of all religions.
At the 6th World Conference of the Sathya Sai Organization, held
at Prashanthi Nilayam during 18-21 November 1995, a decision was
reached to replace the present emblem of the Organization with a
new emblem depicting The Five Human Values: Truth, Right Conduct,
Peace, Love and Nonviolence. The new organizational emblem is
presented below. More discussion of these emblems can be found
Sathya Sai Baba Centers
The purpose of a Sathya Sai Baba Center is to foster and support
the spiritual activities of its members. The Center is a focal
point for individuals to learn and practice Sathya Sai Baba's
teachings and message of Love and to lead disciplined, spiritual
"The organizations named after Me are not to be used for
publicizing My Name or for creating a new cult around my worship.
They must try to spread interest in prayer, meditation and other
spiritual practices which lead man Godward. They must demonstrate
the joy that can be derived from singing and remembering the
Lord?s name, the peace that one can draw from good company. They
must render services to the helpless, the sick, the distressed,
the illiterate and the needy. The service must seek no reward."
Centers are accredited by the Central Council. Each Center has a
president, vice president, service coordinator, devotion
coordinator, and education coordinator. The president is
responsible for the Center and is assisted by the vice-president.
Each Center organizes its programs under three areas: service,
devotion, and education. The service coordinator promotes and
organizes service projects within the Center and the community.
The devotion coordinator is responsible for organizing and
overseeing the devotional meetings, devotional singing classes,
study circles and guest events. The education coordinator develops
and coordinates a value-based spiritual education for children.
VI. Protocols and Customs
Please wear clean and modest clothing that is comfortable and
loose-fitting. Revealing clothes or shorts are not appropriate.
Generally, shoes are removed and left at the entrance to the
Center. This is a common custom in many countries and also
signifies a sign of respect for leaving the "dust of the world"
behind. The removal of shoes upon entering the facility is
optional in the U.S. Sathya Sai Baba Centers' functions.
Greetings and Good-byes
Many devotees say "Sai Ram" to say hello and good-bye. This
conveys the acknowledgment of the divinity in each other.
We ask that you speak softly or maintain silence while in the
Center. This helps to maintain spiritual calmness and will not
disturb others in prayer or meditation.
"Practice silence, for the voice of God can be heard in the region
of the heart only when the tongue is still. Silence is the speech
of the spiritual seeker."
Men and women sit separately. This is needed to minimize
distractions arising from curiosity or subtle attractions between
members of the opposite sex. This protocol is followed in all
Sathya Sai Baba functions throughout the world.
"At Bhajans and at other meetings, men devotees should sit apart
from women devotees. The rule should be applicable to all members
- whether they are Indians or non-Indians, in India or elsewhere.
It is part of the spiritual discipline that is necessary for
devotees ... mixing freely and sitting together do not promote a
peaceful atmosphere. In sitting separately, sensory thoughts do
not arise so easily."
Often, seating is on the floor. Chairs are provided for those who
may need them. When sitting on the floor, it is proper for men and
women to sit with their legs crossed. Select the seating option
that is comfortable to you.
Please plan to arrive on time to quietly and comfortably seat
yourself before the program begins.
There is no cost to attend a Sathya Sai Baba Center or to become a
member. There are no membership or annual dues. No one is
permitted to ask for money. Sathya Sai Baba urges utmost caution
and honesty in all dealings involving money. Center service
projects are run on voluntary and anonymous contributions from the
VII. Devotional Programs
Sai Baba emphasizes the path of devotion (bhakti). The following
quote by Sathya Sai Baba defines devotion and its importance in
"We can describe devotion as the promotion of a sacred mind in a
selfless manner, in the thought of God. The path of devotion will
take along your mind, body and action toward God. As the river
flows into the ocean, the river of your life should flow into the
ocean of God. Human nature should have this as the sacred
objective. Truly, having attained human birth, if we are unable to
take ourselves toward God, it is useless attaining this birth."
Devotional activities include study circle, devotional singing,
prayer, and meditation, as well as observing spiritual festivals.
Schedules for devotional activities vary from Center to Center.
Please contact the devotion coordinator or other Center members
for schedules. You are welcome to participate in any of the
This spiritual activity of the devotional program is designed for
adult members. It is usually held weekly for one hour either just
before or after devotional singing. The devotion coordinator or a
designated member may serve as the moderator to maintain
productive discussions. Members read, reflect, and discuss topics
from selected books of discourses or writings of Sathya Sai Baba,
together in a group. These discussions are meant to improve
members' understanding of Baba's teachings and their meaningful
application in daily life and to foster love, peace, and harmony.
As with other center activities men and women sit separately. Some
centers may occasionally hold separate study circles for men and
"Study Circle is not just reading books. It means taking a point
and each person discussing what it means to them. Like a
round-table conference... The study circle looks at the different
facets ... but, as in a diamond, there is one facet that is flat,
and from it all can be viewed. To discover the top facet is the
task of the study circle."
"The proper plan of study is reading, reflection and regular
application in life."
Devotional songs in praise of God are sung with love and devotion.
The singing of these songs has always been at the heart of
spiritual practice for Sathya Sai Baba's followers. At the
beginning of each song (called bhajans in Hindi) , the leader
sings a line which is repeated by all participants in unison. This
"call and response" format continues until the entire song is
finished. Generally, each line is sung twice the first time and
once at a faster pace the second time before the song concludes.
Other songs of praise to God from any religion may also be sung,
and they need not follow the "call and response" format.
The songs are usually sung in English --the preferred language in
the U.S. Centers--, Hindi, or other Indian languages. Many
devotees enjoy the devotional atmosphere arising from the rhythm,
vibrations, and spirit of these songs. Indian language bhajans
consist largely of the Sanskrit names of the various aspects and
forms of God. Deities and saints of all the major religions of the
world are also honored in these songs. The first song is
traditionally sung to Lord Ganesha, an aspect of God who is
regarded as the remover of obstacles and difficulties.
"When you dwell on the names of the Lord, His Majesty, His Grace,
His Omnipotence, His All Persuasiveness, get fixed in your
consciousness; and your own capacities and capabilities get
eclipsed in the Divine. So, humility develops and a spirit of
surrender sprouts in the heart. This takes the devotees nearer to
God and prepares him/her to merge in His Glory. The mind is
gradually liberated from all distracting thoughts, desires and
imagery that give free play to all the senses. All accumulated
impurities that veil the bliss (ananda) within are removed, and
the latent divinity manifests Itself."
A number of selected prayers in English and Sanskrit are generally
recited in unison following the conclusion of devotional singing.
The selection and sequence of these prayers may vary from Center
to Center; please follow the Center protocol. The following
prayers are listed in alphabetical order. Center worship services
repeat prayers from this list in varying orders.
Arati Prayer (Singing His Glory): At the conclusion of the
devotional songs, a song praising Sathya Sai Baba is sung. In
India, during this singing, a flame is lit in a small vessel and
is waved around Sathya Sai Baba's picture in circular movements.
This ritualistic waving of light is not practiced in the U.S.
Sathya Sai Baba Centers. The spiritual significance of the waving
of the light is described as follows. Light dispels darkness, and
fire always surges upward, signifying auspiciousness. Light is the
illumination of divine Consciousness within. When Arati is
performed with camphor, there is no remainder. When the individual
is united with the Almighty, all impurities are burnt away and
there is no more individual identity (or remainder) left. The
Arati prayer with its singable translation is generally included
in the song book.
Asathoma Prayer: This is recited in unison at the end of
meditation or prayers. This is an ancient Vedic prayer seeking to
be led to Truth, Light, and Immortality. Most Centers recite both
the Sanskrit and the English versions.
Asatho Maa Sad Gamaya
Thamaso Maa Jyothir Gamaya
Mrithyur Maa Amritham Gamaya
Om Shanti Shanti Shantihi
From untruth lead us toTruth,
From darkness lead us to Light,
From death leadus to Immortality
Om, Peace, Peace, Peace.
Gayathri Mantra Prayer: The Gayathri Mantrais a universal prayer
enshrined in the Vedas for the illumination of the mind and
dispelling of ignorance.
There are first a few moments of silence, which are followed by
reciting the Gayathri at least three times in unison. The Gayathri
may be considered as having three parts: praise, meditation, and
prayer. First, the Divine is praised; then, meditating upon the
Divine radiance in reverence, an appeal is made to the Divine to
awaken and strengthen the intellect, which is the discriminating
faculty of man. Sai Baba has said that the Gayathri reflects the
essence of the Vedas, the most ancient scriptures on earth. The
Gayathri is followed by chanting "Om, Shanti (Peace), Shanti,
Shanti". This invocation of peace three times is for the body,
mind, and soul. The Sanskrit mantra and English meaning are given
Om Bhur Bhuva Suvaha
Tat Savitur Varenyam
Bhargo Devasya Dheemahi
Dhiyo Yo Nah Prachodayat
Oh Mother! Who subsists in all the three kallas (time -- past,
present, and future), in all three lokas (worlds - Heaven, Earth
and lower or nether regions) and in all the three gunas
(attributes sathva, rajas, and thamas -- universal qualities of
harmony, agitation, and inertia), I pray to you to illumine my
intellect and dispel my ignorance just as the splendorous sunlight
dispels all darkness. I pray to you to make my intellect serene,
bright and enlightened.
Om (Aum) Chant: "Om" is the primordial sound out of which all
other sounds originate. It is the all-pervading Divinity in the
form of sound. Om is chanted, often three times, at the beginning
of devotional singing and at the beginning of study circle or any
Sacred Ash Song (Vibhuti Song): Sacred ash (vhibuti) is
distributed at the end of the Arati as devotees sing the vibhuti
prayer. Hold out your right hand and receive the vibhuti in it.
You may place it on your forehead between the eyebrows and a small
portion on the tongue.
Paramam Pavitram Baba Vibhutim
Paramam Vichitram Leela Vibhutim
Paramartha Ishtartha Moksha Pradanam
Baba Vibhutim Idamashrayami
Sacred, Holy and Supreme is Baba's vibhuti;
Pouring forth in endless stream this play of vibhuti;
So auspicious is its might it grants liberation;
Baba's vibhuti its power protects me.
Vibhuti is a reminder that ash is the end product of all matter.
Vibhuti has also an aspect of immortality, which makes it a fit
offering for worshipping God. Only the vibhuti remains unchanged,
since it is the final result of the annihilation of the five
elements of creation. It is symbolic of the ultimate reality that
remains when our ego is burnt away by the fire of illumination.
"The vibhuti that you smear on your forehead is intended to convey
the basic spiritual lesson that everything will be reduced to
ashes, including the brow that wears it".
Universal Prayer (Sarvadharma): This prayer is sung in unison in
adoration of the divinities represented by various religions. The
prayer (Om Tat Sat Sri Narayana Tu...) is lengthy and is included
in your song book, along with an English translation. Please ask
your Center officer for a copy of this book. [You can find this
prayer and its meaning here; choose "Sarvadharma Prayer" and hit
the "Get Prayer" key.)
World Peace Prayer (Loka Samastha): This prayer immediately
follows the Asathoma prayer and is sung in unison three times.
Loka Samastha Sukhino Bhavantu
May all the beings in all the worlds be happy.
This peace prayer, which is closed with "Om, Shanti, Shanti,
Shanti", generally marks the closing of the devotional service. At
this time, some Centers may have announcements regarding Center
programs, schedules and upcoming regional events.
Sathya Sai Baba teaches two forms of meditation: a light
meditation (jyothi meditation) and a breath meditation (so-hum
In the light meditation, one focuses first on the flame of a
candle and then takes that image inside and moves it to different
parts of the body as a means of purification. [You can find
Swami's words on the light meditation here.]
In the breath meditation, one gently focuses attention on one's
breathing and repeats "Soooo" with the inhalation and "Hummm" with
If you are not familiar with these forms of meditation, please
approach the devotion coordinator for additional guidance.
VIII. Educational Program
Sathya Sai Baba initiated the Spiritual Education Program (Sai
Spiritual Education, formerly known as bal vikas) to facilitate
the spiritual growth of children in the ages 6 through 16 who
attend the Sathya Sai Baba Centers. This program is designed to
teach the children five basic human values (Love, Truth, Peace,
Right Conduct ,and Nonviolence), basic teachings of world's
religions, and spiritual lessons based on Sathya Sai Baba's
writings. Teachers receive training as set forth by Sathya Sai
"From the most impressionable years the children should be taught
to cultivate love for all. Love leads to unity. Unity promotes
purity. Purity leads to Divinity."
"To instill in the minds of the young the values of prayer,
humility, and loving service to others, the homes where they have
grown should be the first schools. The parents have to be imbued
with faith in the basic truths of this Universal Religion."
"Children's minds are innocent and pure. Each child is like a
white marble for the teacher and the parents to sculpt the image
of God, a bud to be helped to blossom in all its Divine glory so
that it becomes a worthy offering to God."
Currently, there are three age groups in the Sai Spiritual
Education Program: Group I (ages 6-9), Group II (ages 10-12), and
Group III (ages 13-16). The teaching techniques and lesson plans
are targeted to suit the age of each group. Anyone interested in
enrolling children in the Sai Spiritual Education is requested to
contact the education coordinator.
IX. Service Program
Sathya Sai Baba strongly emphasizes selfless service to those in
need as the highest means for enhancing one's own spiritual growth
and development. He teaches that it is not enough to simply do
good works ? but of equal importance is one's attitude during the
service activity. The service worker must have an attitude of
humility and appreciation for the opportunity to do any service
activity. The opportunity itself is a gift from God. One should
not dwell on the good that they are doing, or that activity will
strengthen one's ego rather than help to reduce it.
"Selfless service is the fragrant flower of altruistic love. It is
not to be performed for the satisfaction of the person rendering
the service or the person at whose bidding it is done. Man should
regard selfless service as the purpose for which he was given
life. This feeling should flow through his very nerves and
bloodstream and permeate every cell of his body. Whatever the work
we do, we should do it as an offering to God for His pleasures. We
should take up service activities for the purification of our own
"When you offer a meal to a hungry child, or a blanket to a
shivering brother on the pavement, you are placing a gift of God
into the hand of another gift of God."
"God serves; He allows you to claim that you have served! Without
His will, no single blade of grass can quiver in the breeze. Fill
every moment with gratitude to the Giver and the recipient of all
Sathya Sai Baba Centers around the world are performing selfless
service projects such as feeding the hungry, clothing the poor,
visiting the aged, helping build schools and reaching out to those
in need. You are welcome to join in the service projects. Please
speak with the service coordinator if you wish to participate. A
national newsletter entitled Sathya Sai Service Opportunities
includes reports and articles giving an insight into the wide
range of service activities in which members of the Organization
are involved through-out the nation. The newsletter can be
obtained with a subscription to the Sathya Sai Newsletter, U.S.A.
[Here is the Guide to Service in American Sathya Sai Baba
X. Young Adult Program
During the Sixth World Conference, Sathya Sai Baba laid emphasis
on the formation of Youth Wings. This was the impetus for
launching a formal Young Adults Program in all ten regions of the
U.S., in 1996. Baba enunciates the challenges and the potential of
this critical stage of youth in life:
"Youth is the stage in life when the slightest turn toward the
wrong will spell disaster. Thoughts shape the career. You plan to
earn much wealth because you imagine that rich people are very
happy. The rich have plenty to eat, but they have no appetite. The
rich wield power over others, but they are held down by disease.
The rich can have many servants, but they cannot live in peace.
So, plan to be rich in virtue, in devotion and dedication to good
causes. Be rich in sovereign character. What exactly is character?
Steady adherence to truth, renunciation, genuine love, selfless
service ? these are the essential components of character."
"Youth should imbibe the right ideals and plunge into society with
the thirst for service as a spiritual duty, and this will make
their humanness worthwhile. They should cultivate basic human
traits like humility, readiness to serve and commiseration at the
suffering of others."
The program is designed for young adults (16 to 30 years age) such
as those who have participated in Sai Spiritual Education or
others, to transition into the Sai Organization. The young adults
programs operate on a regional basis, involving young adults from
all of the Centers in the region. There is a young adults advisor
for men and another for women, who provide overall guidance to the
program. Two young-adults representatives (one for women and
another for men) provide the leadership to plan, develop and
direct various group programs relating to service, devotion, and
education. The young adults meet regularly, at least once a month,
to plan and conduct their activities. The young adults
enthusiastically share their ideas, ideals and highlights of their
spiritual journey in a national quarterly newsletter titled Sai
Students' Bulletin. You can obtain a free copy at any Sathya Sai
For more information about the young adults program, please
contact the center president or young adults advisors of the
XI. Supporting Programs
Workshops for Devotional Singing
Some Centers hold periodic workshops to provide coaching in
devotional singing to the desiring members. The frequency and
timing of these workshops are determined by each center to suit
their needs. Please contact the devotion coordinator if you are
Centers hold regular meetings (monthly, quarterly, etc.) to plan
and discuss various center and Regional programs. Decisions are
made by the members, but non-members may attend with the
president's approval. Members are urged to actively participate in
these meetings to make contributions toward the Center objectives.
Weekend retreat/ conferences are conducted by Sathya Sai Baba
Centers, in each of the ten regions across the United States, and
are announced in the Sathya Sai Newsletter, U.S.A. They are
usually held over the Memorial Day or Labor Day weekends because
of the national holidays at those times. They are open for
participation to all. Members are urged to attend and lend a
helping hand when possible. This is a good program to meet
devotees from other centers, listen to national and international
speakers elaborating on Sathya Sai Baba's teachings, and see
videos on Sai Baba. Announcements of the annual conferences and
details of registration and accommodations are made available at
the Centers. While there is no conference fee to attend the
meeting itself, some charges may be associated with facility use
and for providing room and board.
Books and Literature
Centers offer a selection of Sathya Sai books, audio tapes of
Baba's discourses, devotional songs (bhajans), photographs etc.
for sale. Some Centers may also have a lending library. A more
extensive set of materials may also be obtained from the Sathya
Sai Baba Book Center of America in Tustin, California, which is
the official bookstore for the United States and is approved by
the Sathya Sai Central Council of America.
Please refer to the last section in this booklet for the address
of the Tustin bookstore, along with a list of national and
international periodicals, and some of the most well-known books
and publications on the life and teachings of Sathya Sai Baba.
XII. Membership in the Organization
How To Become A Member
Please attend the program in a Sathya Sai Baba Center a few times
to observe and understand the activities. If these interest you in
joining the Center as a member, please talk to one of the Center
officers or members.
Membership Qualifications and Responsibilities
A member progresses along the spiritual path with faith in their
relationship with Sathya Sai Baba, and practicing His teachings
will lead to a deepening of spiritual experience. It signifies a
willingness to dedicate oneself to a life of good thoughts, words,
and deeds, toward the goals of recognizing the unity in creation
and becoming established in one's true reality.
A member must be at least 18 years old or have completed the Sai
Spiritual Education Program.
An individual may join a Center after becoming familiar with its
purpose and the guidelines under which it functions. In joining,
the individual acknowledges having carefully read the Guidelines,
agrees to honor them, and makes a commitment to work in harmony
with other members to achieve the Center's goals.
Members strive to practice "The Nine-Point Code of Conduct",
recommended by Sathya Sai Baba.
Members work together to enhance their understanding of, and put
into practice, the principles of the spiritual life taught by
Sathya Sai Baba.
Members are urged to study Sathya Sai Baba books and literature
regularly for their spiritual growth and to stay informed on
Members are encouraged to participate in the service and devotion
activities. The level of participation is dependent on the
Members are expected to render a helping hand to run the Center
smoothly and according to Sathya Sai values.
Any questions and disagreements arising in a Center should be
discussed in a spirit of unity, harmony, and cooperation.
Membership shall cease if a member resigns, ceases participation
in Center activities, or engages in conduct deemed a discredit to
"The qualifications for membership are to be an eager aspirant for
spiritual progress, to have full faith in the name that the
organization bears... and recognition as a good person. That is
all the qualification needed; nothing else counts."
Sathya Sai Baba urges all His devotees to comply with "The
Nine-Point Code of Conduct" for their spiritual development and
observe "The Ten Guiding Principles" to ensure a fruitful and
harmonious life in society (please see, Section III, The Teachings
of Sathya Sai Baba).
XIII. Recommended Publications
A large selection of publications is available on the teachings
and life of Sathya Sai Baba. Some of the most well-known writings
are listed below along with the addresses of the sources.
A current catalog of available books, audio cassettes, and
photographs can be obtained at no charge from:
Sathya Sai Book Center of America
305 West First Street
Tustin, CA 92780, U.S.A.
Telephone: (714) 669-0522
FAX: (714) 669-9138
[Here is an online catalogue for the Sathya Sai Book Center of
America. Here is a list of several Sai bookstores throughout the
Sathya Sai Newsletter, U.S.A.
This is a quarterly newsletter of the Sai Organization of the
United States. It covers Sathya Sai Baba's teachings, articles and
life applications. Order from:
Sathya Sai Newsletter, U.S.A.
C/O Sathya Sai Book Center of America
305 West First Street
Tustin, CA 92780, U.S.A.
Telephone: (714) 669-0522
FAX: (714) 669-9138
Sai World: A Newsletter for Children and Youth
This quarterly magazine is dedicated to bolster the learning of
children from Sai Spiritual Education, through stories, articles
and personal experiences. Order from:
Sathya Sai Newsletter for Children
P.O. Box 7722, San Diego, CA 92107
Sanathana Sarathi (Eternal Charioteer)
This monthly publication, from Prashanti Nilayam, is devoted to
the moral and spiritual uplift of humanity. It contains Sathya Sai
Baba's recent discourses, other inspirational articles and news
about organizational activities throughout the world.
Subscriptions are on a year-only basis and can be obtained through
an international bank draft, money order or a personal check in
the amount of $8 (1998 subscription price). Mail the payment with
a cover letter to:
Sri Sathya Sai Books and Publications Trust
Prashanti Nilayam P.O. Puttaparthi
Anantapur Dist., A. P. 515134, INDIA
Recommended Books for Reading
1. The Vahini Series (Written by Sathya Sai Baba; refer to the
Tustin Book Center Catalog for a complete listing of this series.)
Gita Vahini (Writings on the Bhagavad Gita)
Prema Vahini (Writings on Divine Love)
Dharma Vahini (Writings on Morality)
Jnana Vahini (Writings on Wisdom)
Dhyana Vahini (Writings on Meditation)
2. Sathya Sai Speaks, Vols. 1 - 28 (Four decades of discourses by
Sathya Sai Baba; refer to the Tustin Book Center Catalog for a
complete listing of this series.)
3. Summer Showers Series (Summer spiritual discourses by Sathya
Sai Baba given to college students; refer to the Tustin Book
Center Catalog for a complete listing of this series.)
Summer Showers in Brindavan, 1972
Summer Showers in Brindavan, 1979
Summer Showers in Brindavan, 1990
Summer Showers in Brindavan, 1993
4. Sathya Sai Baba, Parts 1-4 (Series on the Life of Sai Baba)
5. Conversations with Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, by Jack Hislop
6. Pathways To God, by Jonathan Roof
7. My Baba and I, by Jack Hislop
8. Sai Baba, Holy Man and the Psychiatrist, by Samuel Sandweiss
9. Sai Baba, Man of Miracles, by Howard Murphet
10. Sai Baba the Ultimate Experience, by Phyllis Krystal
11. Loving God, by Professor N. Kasturi
12. Finding God, by Charles Penn
13. Uniqueness of Swami and His Teachings, by A. Adivi Reddy
14. Journey to Sathya Sai Baba ... A Visitor's Guide, by Valmai
These books may be available in your Center or can be ordered from
the Sathya Sai Book Center of America, Tustin, CA.