The following is compiled from Divine Guidelines of "Sri Sathya
Q. I have been doing Japa for
a number of years without any result, why is it so Swami?
A. If we wish to split a large
rock, we may have to strike it with a hammer twenty one times. The
final blow that achieves success is dependent on the twenty
unsuccessful attempts. Although no progress may be perceived until
the final victory, all of our efforts to that point are essential.
Remembrance of Gods Names also may require repeated attempts, but
progress is lost, whether seen or not, all efforts contribute to
success. Complete surrender and faith in the Lord require constant
effort. Results are not gained by superficial practice. The effort
must be persistent and it must reflect our total devotion for
achieving spiritual liberation. The Smarana ( repetition of the
Name) has to be constant. If you rub a bit of iron on a hard
surface, it develops heat. If you continue to rub it vigorously,
it can be made red hot, if you do so between long intervals, the
iron will become cold and all the effort up till then is a waste.
The work has to be repeated over again.
Q.What is the exact meaning of
A. "Bha" in the word "Bhajan"
means that which is bhaavyam (sacred or holy). What is bhaavyam?
The Atma Tathwa (Principle of Atma) which is divyam (self-effulgent).
The letters "Ja" in the word bhajan connotes japa (chanting of the
Lord's name). Hence Bhajan & Japa are one and the same.
Q. Some people argue that the
repetition of the Name, which is, after all, sound, cannot cleanse
or correct the mind of man.
A. Those who rely on reason alone
or on the limited laws of science, argue that the repetition of
the Name which is , after all, sound, cannot cleanse or correct
the mind of man. But the Name is not just 'sound'. You are sitting
quietly there, listening, but if someone merely says, 'scorpion',
you get frightened, or when some one says, 'the Juice of a lemon',
your mouth starts watering. You may be sitting before a plateful
of delicacies, but if some one speaks of something dirty or
disgusting, you are apt to refuse the food, the mere sound creates
so much of creation. When words referring to worldly situations
have such a transforming effect on the mind of man, words
conveying spiritual and elevated meaning will certainly help in
cleaning and correcting the mind of man. When we fill the air with
harshness, we become harsh in nature. When we saturate the air
with sounds full of reverence, humility, love, courage,
self-confidence and tolerance, we benefit from those qualities
Q. Are Bhajans sung to please
A. You must realise that Bhajan,
Namasmaran and Puja(ritualistic worship) are not for pleasing or
propitiating God, but, for your own spiritual progress. Frequently
people flatter the rich and powerful……. Especially when they are
in thei employment are beholden to them for some precious help….
In order to induce them to shower gifts on them. But God does not
shower Grace on people because they sing His praises. Nor does He
come down upon them because they do deify Him. Recitation of the
Divine attributes only enable us to dwell on elevating ideals and
approximate ourselves more and more to the Divinity that is our
Q. Why should we wave the camphor
flame at the end of the bhajan session?
A. The waving of the camphor
flame at the end of Bhajan session, is to remind y ou that your
sensual cravings must be burnt away, without leaving any trace
behind, and you must offer yourself to God as being merged with
Q. How will God yield to our
A. The tongue is the post, Bhajan
is the rope. With that rope, you can bring God Almighty near you
and tie Him up. God is kind and will yield to your prayers and get
bound. You have only to call on Him to be by your side, with you,
leading you and guiding you.
Q. I do not know anything
about raga and thaala, but I feel like singing the bhajan, what
should I do?
A. Bhajan must be a felt
experience. Do not sing with one eye on the effect that the song
makes on listeners, and the other on the effect it makes on God.
Let your heart pine for God, then raga and thaala will
automatically be pleasant and correct.
Q. How will clapping of hands
help us to root out the Vikaaras (bad traits or passions) from our
A. Clapping of hands will also
help because, just as it drives away birds perched on the trees
making noises and polluting the ground with their dropping, so too
these clapping add thythm to our thoughts and feeling, and help to
keep our mind properly tuned in harmony with the Name of God. The
truth is that, life is like a tree, where the various mental
Vikaaras or passions like anger, greed, hate, jealousy are the
birds infesting and contaminating our hearts and robbing us or our
peace and joy. Chant the Diving Names with love and rhythm: Rama,
Krishna, govinda, Narayana. These birds of evil vikaaras infecting
our minds and plaguing our lives will get a fright and fly away.
Hearing even the Names of ordinary material things like 'fire', 'snake',
or 'lemonade', causes strong reactions in our minds. How much more
strong and subtle would be the effect of uttering or hearing the
Name of Sarveshwara, who is the Creator and the Supreme Lord of
the Universe !
Q. What is the meaning of 'Dhal'?
A. The name Dhal, that you bear,
has another great significance. Dhal means the petal of a flower.
The lotus has as many as thousand petals. They all emanate from
the central Karnika (Pericarp). Each petal draws its strength,
sustenance, color, fragrance, and charm from the Karnika. Detached
from the Karnika the petal cannot service. That attachment and
that affection can be secured when the petals cling to the ideals
of Sai(God) and the lessons of Sai.
Q. What does the Japa maala
A. the Japa maala teaches you the
Unity; though it has 108 beads! It is a Sphatika maala (crystal
beads) you can see the string running in and through each bead,
the inner reality on which all this is strung. If the beads are
not transparent you will know that the string passes through,
holds together, and it is the basis for the maala to exist. Why
108 beads? It is the product when 12 is multiplied 9 times. 12 is
the number of Adityas, luminaries, that reveal the objective
world, and so symbols of the Saakar aspect ( the world of Name and
form of manifoldness, the fleeting pictures). 9 is the screen on
which picture appear, the basis, the rope which deludes you as the
snake in the dusk, Brahman, the nameless, the formless Eternal
Absolute. 9 is the Brahman number, for it is always 9, however
many times you multiply it ! It is immutable for 9 in to any
number adds up to 9 only. So, when you turn the beads, impress
upon yourself the fact that there is both truth and travesty in
the world, that the travesty attracts, distracts and delights in
deceiving you, diverts you into devious paths, the truth makes you
Q. What is the exact meaning
A· Dhyaana is the process by
which the positive and negative aspects of the mind are regulated
out of existence.
- It is a vision of and path to
- Dhyaana is not mere sitting
erect and silent. Nor is it the absence of any movements. It is
the merging of all your thoughts and feeling in God.
- Real Dhyaana (Meditation) is
getting absorbed in God as the only thought, the only goal.
- As long as he knows he is
meditating, one is not meditating. In the absorption of God one
puts aside every form and merges in God. In the process the mind
- Dhyaana is the discipline by
which the mind is trained to inner analysis and Synthesis.
- Dhyaana or meditation denotes
quiet introspection or absorption in the Divine. It means
exploring and expanding consciousness. Meditation can be the
awakening of inner energies or the discovery of
self-understanding. It may be repeating the Name of the Lord
with Love or simply collecting oneself for the day ahead. To all,
meditation means to concentrate within, to discover the inner
well springs of Love and wisdom, of joy and peace.
- Dhyaana stands for the
Saadhana or the practice by which the Saadhaka meditates upon
God, and thereby unifies the three constituents, namely, the
object of meditation - the process and the meditator himself.
The combination of oneness of these three is Dhyaana.
Q. I am a beginner in Dhyaana.
What should I go on thinking while sitting for Dhyaana or
A. After seating oneself in a
comfortable and stable posture, steadying the breath,
prathyaahaara (withdrawing of the senses from the sense objects )
and anga nyasa (purification of all the organs of the body). Light
is the greatest purifier, for it dispels all darkness. Light is
made to traverse throughout the body, purifying all the limbs and
senses, and is installed in the lotus of the heart in which is to
be enshrined the bhaavachithra (mental thought picture) of the
Form of the Lord for the purpose of dharana (concentration) which
would lead to Dhyaana and ultimately to Samaadhi ( the state of
super conscious bliss). First, when you sit for meditation, recite
a few shlokas on the Glory of God so that the agitated mind may be
calmed. Then gradually, while doing Japa, draw before the minds
and envision the Form which that Name represents. When your mind
wanders away from the recital of the Name, lead it into the
picture of the Form. When it wanders from the Form, lead it onto
the Name. Let it dwell either on that sweetness or this. Treated
thus it can be easily tames. The imaginary picture you have drawn
will get transmuted into the bhaava Chitra dear to the heart and
fixed in the memory. Gradually it will become the Saakshaathkaara
Chitra (vision of the actual form) when the Lord assumes that Form
in order to fulfil your desire. This Saadhana is called Japa
Sahitha Dhyaana (meditation cum recitation of Name) and I advise
you all to take it up, for it is the best form of Dhyaana for
beginners. Within a few days you will fall in line and you will
taste the joy of concentration. After about ten or fifteen minutes
of this Dhyaana in the initial stages; and longer after some time,
have some manana (contemplation) on the Shaanthi (peace) and the
Sawkhya (happiness) you had during the Dhyaana.
Q. What is the most effective
technique of Dhyaana? What is jyotirdhyaana? And why is it
A. For meditation, whichever Form
of the Lord you may choose, all these are Forms of the Lord. God
is essentially beyond all Names and Forms. Jyothi is a nearer and
truer representative of the Nature of God and is a better suited
object of meditation. God is of the nature of Effulgence and
Jyothi is thus the most appropriate symbol of His Real nature.
Further, light is Universally revered symbol, acceptable to people
of all Religions, faiths and countries. Further, if each one
begins taking out a glassful of water from a storage drum which is
filled to the brim, the drum will, sooner or later, run empty. But
such will not be the case with Jyothi. With one lighted candle, we
can light up innumerable candles, without the brightness of the
Flame of the first candle getting exhausted or even dimmed. That
is why Jyothi is taken as symbolising the Akhand Tathwa, the Para
Tathwa of Godhead. Jyothi is the giver of light, which dispels all
darkness as the Vedic chant, ' Asathomaa Sadhgamaya, Thamasomaa
Jyothirgamaya, Mrithyormaa Amrithamgamaya.." teaches us.
Meditation on light is real meditation. Light is formless, eternal
and Divine. It is the safe way and the sure way. But above all is
Love. Love is the royal high way to God, God is Love. Therfore,
use Jyothi (oil lamp or candle) for meditation. The first
pre-requisite is to train oneself to sit in a steady and
comfortable posture with the head erect, the back and the spine
straight and upright. Neither the back nor the head should be bent
or held in and inclined position. Seated in such a posture open
the eyes and look steadily (without straining the eyes) at the
flame placed in front. Then close your eyes and mentally picture
the flame as entering within you through the forehead. Thus
internally visualise the flame, let it move down into the center
of the lotus of your heart. Visualise the lotus opening up its
petals and the Jyothi burning bright, shedding out its light from
the center of the lotus. Now take the Jyothi into your eyes, to
your ears, to the throat and mouth, then along the hands and then
down to the legs. All the lims (sarva anga) should have been
touched and bathed by the light from the Jyothi. Havind done so,
bring the light into your forehead, within the line with the
center of the eyebrows and mentally fix it there. Try to bring
into your memory your kith and kin, even your enemies and feel
that the same light that is shining in you, is shining within them
also. You should extend and stretch out this feeling, widening
your heart so as to encompass all beings, animals, birds and all
creatures in the creation with your Love. This Jyothi pervades us,
all the beings, all creation, animates and inanimates and the
entire cosmos. We should loose ourselves in such a feeling i.e. a
feeling of oneness of all beings, of all creation, the feeling of
nonduality, the feeling of Ekathwa - the unity of all life and
existence. When no other feeling, no other consciousness is there,
that is the real state of Dhyaana : it is losing of oneself ( one's
individuality) into the Supreme Being and existence.
Q. How should the period of
meditation on the Jyothi be brought to a close?
A. First you are in the Light.
Then the Light is in you. Finally, you are the Light, and the
Light is everywhere. Enjoy for a whie, then bring the Light back
to the heart and hold it there for all the day. Th form of God may
also be included (Krishna, Rama, Jesus, Sai, as you wish). The
Form of God selected may be seen in the center of the flame
wherever it is carried, and then you are with God everywhere.
Q. Why has Swami given top
priority to Japa and Dhyaana in the Nine Code of conduct for a
A. Just as you attend to the
needs of the body, feeding it three times a day in order to keep
it in good running trim, so too, spend some time regularly
everyday to keep your inner consciousness also in good trim. Spend
one hour in the morning, another at night and a third in the early
hours of dawn, at Brahmamuhurtha as it is called, for Japa and
Dhyaana. You will find great peace descending on you and great new
sources of strength welling up within you as you progress in this
Saadhana. After sometime, the mind will dwell on the Name wherever
you are and whatever you are engaged in, and then, peace and Joy
will be your inseparable companions.
Q. What is the exact meaning
A. The implication of the word "GURU'
is al follows, "Gu" signifies "Gunatheetha", ie, one who has
transcended the Gunas. And 'Ru' means 'Rup Varjitham' i.e. one who
is beyong Form. Therefore Guru is one who has transcended his
individuality and attained cosmic consciousness i.e. fully
enlightened being. So, when speaking of Guru, we should not be
misguided and compare them with the ordinary teachers found in
schools and colleges. The word Guru has more sublime connotation.
Q. Why is Guru referred to
reverentially as Brahma, Vishnu, Mahesha ie. God?
A. "Guru" is referred to
reverentially as Brahma, the first Trinity entrusted with Creation;
as Vishnu, the second of the Trinity entrusted with Preservation
and Protection of Creation, and as Maheshwara, the last of the
Trinity charged with Destruction and Dissolution. This description
is symbolically correct, as we can see when we analyse the work
which the Guru is expected to carry out. The Guru sows the seeds
of virtue, of wisdom and of faith in the heart of the pupil. He is
therefore Brahma.. in the nature of the Creator. He is like the
farmer who plants saplings in the well prepared soil of his field.
But, the farmer does not sit with folded hands thereafter. He
takes incessant care to see that the saplings grow vigorously and
well, and is vigilant to water the growing crops and feed them
with fertilizers at the appropriae stages of growth. This is the
role of Vishnu so far as education and the educator are concerned.
The Guru cannot sit back and silently watch the fate of the pupil,
after the first few lessons. He has to guide the pupil at every
step, foster and encourage good habits, and reasoning and valid
emotions, and acts as Vishnu the Second of the Trinity. The Guru
has also the duty cast on him to watch every step of the pupil,
and warn him off, when he takes a false step, or develops a bad
habit, or entertains deleterious doubts. Like the farmer who has
to be vigilant against the growth of weeds or upsurge of pests,
the Guru too must be ever alert to destroy the pests of the vice
and weeds of sloth and unsteadiness. The Guru must always be
conscious of the Spiritual role which he has taken on and its
responsibilities and Values. Gurus are the lamps from which tender
hearts receive light and Love. By adherence to Truth, Righeousness,
Peace and Love, Gurus inspire these qualities in the children who
come to them and the homes from where they come.