Sai Baba Sri Sathya Sai Baba

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Sri Sathya Sai Baba Teachings

  Frequently Asked Questions

The following is compiled from Divine Guidelines of "Sri Sathya Sai Baba".

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 Bhajan?

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 ourselves.

Q. Are Bhajans sung to please God?

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 nature.

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 His Glory.

Q. How will God yield to our prayers?

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 minds?

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 teach us?

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 free.

Q. What is the exact meaning of Dhyaana?

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 the Divine.
  • 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 naturally stops.
  • 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 meditation?

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 preferred Swami?

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 devotee?

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 of Guru?

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.

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