Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Guruvaar Prarthna

Guruvaar Prarthna 

 

Our Beloved Sadguru Sainath, please accept our humble prayers on this Holy day of Guruvaar. How long do You put us to live a life of duality? A life of restlessness and discontent? How long do You want us to continue a life of ignorance, hatred, bitterness? How long do You want us to continue our own selfish struggles? How long do You want us to behold differences and distinctions? How long do You want us to keep the barriers between You and ourselves? Baba all the days you taught us the above are forbidden, but we are living in a society where all those evils are being practiced by many and our efforts to get rid of these evils are unsuccessful. We don't like to live such life as You will not  dwell in our hearts with these characters. Baba bless this day be our first day to lead a life filled with  sacredness and sanctified. We commence our Guruvar Prarthna by reading Your words and follow Your advice as prescribed.

 

The work of the mind is to think. There is not a single moment when one does not think. If the subject is the senses, the mind will think of the senses; but if it is the Guru, it will think of the Guru.

 

By listening with concentrated attention (turning all senses into ears) whatever you have heard about the greatness of the Guru, that is effortless "smaran" (remembrance), and " kirtan " (stories in praise of the Lord) of Sai.

 

" Panchagni-sadhan" (rituals), performing sacrifices and burning sacrificial fires, recitations of 'mantras', 'tantras' (chants and spells), practising "ashtang" yoga, are only possible for the Brahmins, Kshatriyas and Vaishnavas. What is the use of these for others?!

 

Such are not the stories of the Saints. They put everyone on the path of righteousness. They remove the worldly fears and miseries and appear themselves for the welfare of the others, in attaining the goal of life.

 

By listening and reflecting over the stories of the Saints, by their studious application and intent contemplation, the Brahmins, the low-castes and the women are purified.

 

There is no person (human being) without attachment. It is not possible for such a being to exist. Some are attached to certain things and some others to something else. But a human being is looking for attachment.

 

For some, the object of attachment is children; for some, money –honour – riches; some are attached to the body, the house or popularity; some in attaining knowledge.

 

Whatever the attachments for different objects, if all such love is collected and poured in a mould at the feet of the Lord, then it appears in the form of devotion.

 

Therefore, the easy way out for the householder is to surrender his mind to the feet of Sai Then he will bless you.

 

If with such little efforts such great good can be achieved, then why should there be indifference to achieve this gain?

 

Naturally, a doubt may occur in the minds of the listeners, that if such great gain is there, then why don't many people practise it?

 

There is only one reason for this. The ardent desire does not arise without the Lord's Grace. Only when the Lord chooses to bless (grace) the desire to listen (to his praises) is awakened.

 

Therefore, surrender to Sai. God will bless you. The ardent desire to listen to his praises will arise. This is the easy means to God.

 

Hold on to the good company of the Guru and the virtuous. Disentangle from the worldly ties. Definitely herein is your fulfillment. Have no doubts.

 

I bow down to Sree Ganesh

I bow down to Sree Saraswati

I bow down to the Guru

I bow down to the Family Deity

I bow down to Sree Sita-Ramachandra

I bow down to Sree Sadguru Sainath.


-(from Shri Sai Samartha Satchrita, Chapter 10, Ovi 121 - 134)

SIXTEEN SANSKARAS

SIXTEEN SANSKARAS

(Sacraments)

 

(i) Meaning of Sanskara (Sacrament)

 

What is sanaskara? Sanskara means the act of purifying, reforming or bringing out refinement. Every person wishes to see that his child grows up to be a person who is cultured and of good character. The religious ceremonies that are intended to ensure that the individual follows the path of righteousness in life are called sanskaras. There are sixteen sanskaras.

 

Sanskara also means the act of making an impression that would determine the future quality of life. The influence of the environment and associations affect the character of the child. Good influences are conducive to right living while undesirable influences have an adverse effect on character. The sixteen sanskaras are intended to ennoble the life of an individual and prevent him from joining undesirable company, and influence him to become a useful citizen.

 

(ii) Importance of Sanskaras

 

When one wants a comfortable chair one does not nail together pieces of rough and badly shaped wood from the forest. The rough wood is cut, stripped, rounded, smoothed, polished and made into an attractive article of furniture for the house.

 

We sweep and polish and dust our homes. We wash and keep our clothes clean. We are not happy if our home and clothes are not clean.

 

We also keep our body clean by taking our daily bath. Thus it becomes a part of our nature to keep ourselves clean for we know that if we don't do this, the body will emit unpleasant odours and it will invite disease-carrying germs. We will thereby bring harm to ourselves. We are therefore mindful of keeping our home, our clothes and our body clean. External cleanliness forms only a part of one's life but purity of mind, intellect and the atma (soul) are more important. The mind must show an eagerness to seek the truth; one's heart must become kind and liberal; the intellect must be characterized by purity; and the soul must be free of all sins. In this way human life can be raised to a nobler place.

 

For the achievement of the higher ideal of purity of the mind, intellect and soul, the rishis have formulated a system of religious ceremonies known as sanskaras. There are sixteen of them. The initial sanskara marks the beginning of life and the final sanskara is performed at the time of death. The sanskaras are meant to invoke the blessings of God to make the individual an embodiment of truth and goodness. The sanskaras form a system of elevated status of a truly noble person.

 

THE SIXTEEN SANSKARAS

 

1. Garbhadana

 

This sanskara follows the wedding ceremony when the couple decide to be blesses with a child. In this sanskara they pray for a healthy and noble child.

 

2. Punsavana

 

Three months after conception, the Punsavana sanskara is performed. The parents pray for the grace of God to ensure the sound development of the child in its embryo stage.

 

3. Simantonnayana

 

This sanskara is performed at the end of the sixth or eighth month after conception for the full developments of the organs.

 

4. Jatakarma

 

On the day of birth the child is welcomed into the world with the Jatakarma sanskara.

 

5. Namakaran

 

On the eleventh day after birth the Namakaran sanskara is performed and the child is given a name. The name chosen is intended to be a source of inspiration in the life of the individual.

 

6. Nishkramana

 

After the fourth month the Nishkramana sanskara is performed and the child is taken out in the open air for its acquaintance with nature. The child is exposed to the health-giving rays of the sun and there is a prayer for long life. From now onwards, the child would be nurtured in the lap of nature.

 

7. Annaprashana

 

The time for this sanskara is when the teeth begin to appear between the sixth and eighth month. It is at this stage that the child is introduced to solid food.

 

8. Choodakarma

 

From the first to the third year is the period for this sanskara, when all the hair from the child's head is removed for the first time. At this time there is a prayer for good health and sound mental development.

 

9. Karnavedha

 

When the child is three years of age, this sanskara is performed by piercing the lower lobes of his ears, and a prayer is said for the child's physical well-being.

 

10. Upanayana

 

This sanskara is performed any time from the age of five to eight years. Upanayana means getting closer to someone. With this sanskara, the child is placed in the care of the guru (teacher). It is given yajnopavit (sacred thread), which consists of three separate strands. The sacred thread symbolizes the vow of the child to follow a path of life as laid down by the scriptures. Brahmacharya, or celibacy, is of prime importance in the life of a student. He has to exercise self-restraint and abstain from all forms of indulgence. The formal education commences immediately after this sanskara. The three strands of the sacred thread represent the three letters of AUM. They also denote the three disciplines of life, namely, knowledge, action and devotion. The student adopts a rigorous code of conduct for the attainment of life that is virtuous and noble.

 

11. Vedarambha

 

Immediately after the Upanayana the Vedarambha sanskara is performed. At this stage he commences with the study of spiritual knowledge as contained in the Vedas and Shastras. All the branches of knowledge including science become his field of interest and study. In this way he prepares to seek progress in the material world while at the same time strengthening his spiritual life. The teacher explains to him the Gayatri Mantra and its significance. The student fervently prays for the attainment of a sound intellect.

 

12. Samavartana

 

This sanskara is performed between the twenty-first and twenty-fifth year, when the student has completed his studies. The guru confers the appropriate degree on him. The graduate of the Gurukul is then on threshold of a new life of self-reliance and independence. Henceforth he participates fully in the social and the economic life of the community.

 

13. Vivaha (marriage)

 

After having completed the stage of Brahmacharya, the student may decide to marry and move to the next stage in life, which is that of the householder (Grihastha ashrama). It is at this time that the Vivaha sanskara is performed. The male is expected to be about twenty-five years of age while the female should have attained the age of sixteen years. Two individuals who had lived who had lived independently now form a life-long companionship. It becomes a life of unity based on perfect harmony. After marriage when children are born of them the continuity of the family tree is maintained.

 

14. Vanaprastha

 

This sanskara marks the completion of the Grihastha ashrama at the age of fifty-one years and the  commencement of the Vanaprastha ashrama. A person renounces all occupations from which personal benefits accrue. He hands over all his family responsibilities to his son and thus makes way for the succeeding generation. He is then free to follow a life of austerity and meditation. There is no limit, however, to the actions he may perform in the service of mankind.

 

15. Sannyasa

 

Although the holy order of a Sannyasa is taken at the age of seventy-five years, a person could enter the Sannyasa ashrama whenever his self-discipline and spirituality enable him to renounce all worldly attachments. At the time of the sanskara, he renounces his wealth, family ties and desire for fame. The saffron robe of a sannyasi is a symbol of a life of austerity. He does not belong any more to a particular family or community and he has no fixed abode. His outlook becomes completely universal.

 

16. Antyeshti

 

When a person dies his body is cremated. This takes the form of the Antyeshti sanskara. The soul is immortal. When the body is consumed by the fire, the five elements, namely, earth, water, fire, air and ether once more become a part of nature. The prayers that are recited are for the peace of the departed soul and for the comfort of the members of the bereaved family. Cremation is the best way for the disposal of the dead body.

 

Bedtime Prayer

Oh Lord, kindly forgive my wrong actions done knowingly or unknowingly, either through my organs of action (hand, feet, speech) or through my organs of perception (eyes, ears) or by my mind. Glory unto Thee O Lord, who is the ocean of kindness.

karacharaNa kR^itaM vaakkaayajaM karmajaM vaa.
shravaNanayanajaM vaa maanasaM vaaparaadhaM.
vihitamavihitaM vaa sarvametatkshamasva.
jaya jaya karuNaabdhe shriimahaadeva shambho.




.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Realize Your True Potential

Once there was a king who received a gift of two magnificent falcons. They were peregrine falcons, the most beautiful birds he had ever seen. He gave the precious birds to his head falconer to be trained. 

Months passed, and one day the head falconer informed the king that though one of the falcons was flying majestically, soaring high in the sky, the other bird had not moved from its branch since the day it had arrived. 

The king summoned healers and sorcerers from all the land to tend to the falcon, but no one could make the bird fly. He presented the task to a member of his court, but the next day, the king saw through the palace window that the bird had still not moved from its perch. 

Having tried everything else, the king thought to himself, "May be I need someone more familiar with the countryside to understand the nature of this problem." So he cried out to his court, "Go and get a farmer." 

In the morning, the king was thrilled to see the falcon soaring high above the palace gardens. He said to his court, "Bring me the doer of this miracle." 

The court quickly located the farmer, who came and stood before the king. The king asked him, "How did you make the falcon fly?" 

With his head bowed, the farmer said to the king, "It was very easy, your highness, I simply cut the branch where the bird was sitting." 

We are all made to fly and to realize our incredible potential as human beings. But at times we sit on our branches, clinging to the things that are familiar to us. The possibilities are endless, but for most of us, they remain undiscovered. We conform to the familiar, the comfortable, and the mundane. So for the most part, our lives are mediocre instead of exciting, thrilling and fulfilling. Let us learn to destroy the branch of fear we cling to and free ourselves to the glory of flight!

 

Similar story, Baba narrated for us in His Satcharita.

 

There are many such stories. If listened to with faith and devotion, they have the power to remove sorrow, greed and other overwhelming calamities of the devotee immediately. 

A pig finds a small puddle, filled with tremendously foul smelling water, an overwhelming pleasure. 

The Atman of a human being and the parrot have the same thing in common. One is bound in the body while the other is imprisoned in a cage. Though the parrot has lost its freedom, he is quite happy in captivity. 

The parrot is like a frog in a well. Its happiness is within the cage. A man caught in the web of desires is like this parrot who has forgotten the wonders of freedom. 

 'How beautiful is my cage and the golden bar for swinging in it! Even if I hang upside down, I am fine if my foot does not slip! 

But outside one has to wash one's hands off the happiness of eating pomegranate seeds and delicious red chillies. I will myself be responsible for losing these pleasures.' 

When the opportune time comes for the parrot, the improbable occurs. That gives it a loving awakening (by a slap) and applies the collyrium (of knowledge) to its eyes. 

The awakening by the 'shaktipat' (The power given by the Guru to his disciple through a mantra) causes the eyes to open and it gets out of the cage. It uses its wings to fly. Who will then control it? 

The vast universe is before him. There are plenty of orchards of pomegranates and guavas. The sky is free for him to fly wherever he desires, rejoicing in his freedom. 

Similar is the state of this Atman. When he gets God's grace and a Guru, with the help of both he gets a release and experiences the joys of freedom.

 

-(from Shri Sai Samartha Satchrita, Chapter 23, Ovi 21 - 30)

 

 

A Prayer What God Looks

God looks not at the oratory of your prayers,

How elegant they may be,

Nor at the geometry of your prayers,

How long they may be,

Nor at the arithmetic of your prayers,

How many they may be,

Not at the logic of your prayers,

How methodical they may be,

But the sincerity of your prayers.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Allow few minutes of silence

Once, there was a farmer who discovered that he had lost his watch in the barn. It was no ordinary watch because it had sentimental value for him.

 

After searching high and low among the hay for a long while; he gave up and enlisted the help of a group of children playing outside barn.

 

He promised them that the person who found it would be rewarded.

 

Hearing this, the children hurried inside the barn, went through and around the entire stack of hay but still could not find the watch. Just when the farmer was about to give up looking for his watch, a little boy went up to him and asked to be given another chance.

 

The farmer looked at him and thought, "Why not? After all, this kid looks sincere enough."

 

So the farmer sent the little boy back in the barn. After a while the little boy came out with the watch in his hand! The farmer was both happy and surprised and so asked the boy how he succeeded where the rest had failed.

 

The boy replied, "I did nothing but sit on the ground and listen. In the silence, I heard the ticking of watch and just looked for it in that direction."

 

Baba said that a contented mind is the surest sign of association with the holy, further He continued how can a wandering mind be considered as being surrendered to God? In Shri Sai Samarth Satchrita, chapter 6 Ovi 41. Let us try to control our wandering mind towards the One Holy in silence and try to find out God's watch ticking sound.