Sai Baba Sri Sathya Sai Baba

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Sri Sathya Sai Baba Miracles


The Story of the Narayana Necklace
Materialisation on July 3rd, 2005

Ever since Swami started the Veda chanting in Sai Kulwant Hall way back on September 18th, 2003 , there has been very good progress and interest in the Vedas. Not only do a majority of students in Swami's Institutions (including the primary school) chant the Vedas with the aplomb of learned Brahmin priests, but there is also a world-wide resurgence, with devotees in many countries learning to roll the ancient Sanskrit words on their Western tongues.

According to ancient lore, the body of knowledge was embodied as the four Vedas (Rig Veda, Yajur Veda, Sama Veda, and Atharvana Veda) by Lord Narayana Himself for the welfare of humanity. This very sacred body of knowledge was thus gifted to man by the Supreme Lord to help him evolve and elevate himself from the level of humanity to the level of divinity.

One of Swami's oft stated mission is veda poshana or nourishment of the Vedas and to restore its pre-eminence and pristine glory in human society. So while we devotees have made progress in learning the Vedas by rote and perhaps even chant it for the most part with an acceptable intonation, we still need to ask the question - is it enough? Is this all that Swami wants?

There is a story of a religious saint reciting a holy text loudly with intense feeling. Another learned saint, perhaps a little wiser, gently asks the first one whether he understood what he was reciting. The first one replied that he had no need to understand it, for he was reciting it for his God and his God understood it perfectly.

This quaint story perhaps best summarises our situation also. Are we smug in the belief that Swami is coming to sit in Sai Kulwant Hall and derives pleasure from listening to our chanting of the Vedas? Or perhaps, does He now want us to make the next step and actually understand the meaning. After all, this Veda chanting business is really for our own benefit not for the benefit or pleasure of the Lord. So while we now chant it blissfully thinking "He understands even if we do not", it is perhaps time to make the next step and understand the meaning so we can chant it with full feeling, intensity and involvement and derive the maximum benefit. The benefit of realizing our full divine potential! That we are God!

With this preamble, we would like to recount what happened in Sai Kulwant Hall in the afternoon of July 3rd. Swami came in as usual to the sound of Veda chanting by the students, staff and devotees. After He took His seat in the veranda, He started reading the letters that devotees usually hand Him. On opening one oversized envelope, He took out what seemed to be a booklet. Swami perused it carefully and then called one of our brothers, an alumnus of Swami's Institute now working for the Ashram, who is part of the group that leads the congregation in the Veda chants. Handing him the booklet at a page open to a "comic-book" strip on Vivekananda entitled I AM GOD, Swami told him that he should read it to understand the importance of the Vedas that they are chanting. Our brother took the booklet respectfully and resumed his seat.

After a few minutes, he was called again to the Divine Presence and given instructions by Swami for the Narayana Upanishad to be recited and the meaning to be explained to the assembly. The "Vedam Group" first chanted a couple of stanzas from this epic hymn, which were then translated by our brother for the benefit of the audience. And so on it went, a couple of stanzas at a time, till the entire Narayana Upanishad mantram was thus translated for the benefit of the congregation.

The Narayana Upanishad deals with the glory of Lord Narayana as extolled in the four Vedas. The opening stanzas deal with creation and describes what we learn from the Rig Veda - that from Narayana emerged the life principle, mind, all the senses, sky, fire, water and earth; which all combined together to form the Universe. Brahma, Maha Rudra, Indra, all the prajapathis and the other demi-Gods all emerged from Narayana. The twelve Adityas, the eleven rudras, the eight lords of directions, all the Vedas and all types of wealth were born from Narayana. Everything is sustained by Him and ultimately everything merges in Him.

From the Yajur Veda we learn that Narayana is the eternal principle. Brahma, Siva and Indra are all Narayana. Earth and Heaven, Time and Directions are all Narayana. Narayana forms the inner and outer worlds. Everything is the manifestation of Narayana. Past, and the future are all manifestations of Narayana. Narayana is blemishless, ever blissful, and non-dual. There is nothing which is not Narayana. Narayana is the very Supreme self, the one without a second. Narayana and Vishnu pervade the entire universe. It is Narayana alone who exists.

The Sama Veda declares that the primordial sound "OM" has to be uttered first followed by "Namo". Then comes the meditation on "Narayana". " Om " is single lettered; "Namo" is two lettered and "Narayana" is five lettered. All these together form the eight lettered mantra OM NAMO NARAYANA, which is the king of all the mantras. Those who chant this mantra with sincere faith and devotion, will attain good health, long life and prosperity. They will also attain the status of "Prajapathi". They will attain the immortal state of Narayana Himself.

The Pranava (" OM ") is made up of three syllables A, U, and M. Pranava is verily the life principle. Pranava is supreme bliss. It is the supreme state of Brahma or Atma. The masters of Yoga, who know this adore the Pranava chanting " Om " and attain the abode of liberation. Such yogis break the bonds of birth, life and death. Those who adore the mantra, "Om Namo Narayana" will attain the supreme abode 'Vaikunta'. Narayana is 'Parabrahma'. His seat is the lotus of the heart. Knowledge of this Lord is the highest wisdom. This wisdom shines like lightning. Sri Krishna, the son of Devaki, is the very embodiment of Brahma. He is also adored as Madhusudhana. He resides in all beings. He is the fundamental basis of everything. He Himself is causeless. He is the causeless cause of everything. This is what is pronounced in the Atharva Veda.

The last stanza of the mantram calls this Narayana Upanishad as the crest jewel of the essence of the four Vedas. If this Upanishad is chanted in the morning, it destroys the sin committed the previous night. If it is chanted in the evening, it removes the sin committed in the day. If it is chanted at noon , it pulverises the five great sins. One who chants this Upanishad will attain the merit of the study of the Vedas and ultimately attains oneness with Narayana.

When the translation was thus going on, explaining the importance of the OM NAMO NARAYANA mantra and how it would help us attain the supreme abode Vaikunta, Swami asked a question in English to our brother (doing the translation) in a voice just loud enough to carry to him, "What is the meaning of Vaikuntham?" Hah, a divine trick question! For most of us the answer would have been pat and along expected lines - Vaikuntha is the abode of Lord Vishnu. But this brother, better informed than most and with great presence of mind, remembered a definition that Swami had given in a discourse and answered, "Vaikuntham is anything that is not narrow, but broad and ever expansive". Swami beamed at this answer that He was looking for, and wore the proud smile of a teacher who realizes that Her students are finally "getting it".

At the end of the mantra, a pregnant silence prevailed in the entire hall. Swami raised His palm in the classical upward gesture that He so often makes to elevate everyone's mood. And then suddenly, without any warning Bhagavan waved His right hand vigorously and materialized a beautiful golden necklace. After undoing the clasp, He called the brother who had done the translation and handed the necklace to him. Bhagavan also told him something to which he listened very carefully.

By now the entire audience was electrified. The magnificence of the necklace was patently visible to all, even to those seated in the last rows. We also wondered if there was going to be a revelation and we were not disappointed.

The brother turned to the audience with the necklace held up. Hurriedly a mike was set up for him. He then explained to all the significance of the necklace, as explained to him by Bhagavan. Bhagavan had said that the necklace contained the power of the sacred mantra - "Om Namo Narayanaya." He went on to state that Swami explained to him that all the Vedas, Upanishads and the other scriptures illumine the path that man has to take to attain his final destination - Divinity. The mantra "Om Namo Narayanaya" contains the essence and power of all the scriptures. The fatherly and motherly aspect of divinity is contained in this mantra. Without either of them, there can be no creation. But, if one were to contemplate deeply, said Swami, one would realize that there is no difference between the two aspects- Purusha (God) and Prakruthi (nature), they are indeed one and the same.


After explaining the significance, our brother turned towards Swami and held the necklace to hand it back to Him. Swami asked him to keep it in his pocket and return it to Him later. What a signal honour! And what a delightful afternoon basking in the divine presence. How slowly and patiently Swami leads us back to Him. For all of us present there the Narayana Upanishad will come alive everyone time it is chanted, for then the divine images from this afternoon's happening will come before the mind's eye and thrill us to the very depths of our being. Clearly the time has come. And the time is right now. Let us arise, awake, aspire, adore and achieve God!

This brings to a conclusion the chronicles of another month at the divine Lotus Feet. It has been an exquisite month, full of surprises and spiritual gifts. And we are sure more is in store as we count down to the 80th Birthday. We, of course, will continue to report on all the activities for you, our dear reader.

So till next time, Sai Ram.

- H2H Team

Source: Radio Sai E-Magazine August 2005


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