Tuesday, 31 January 2012

What to pray to God

Prayers for worldly ends do not reach God. They will reach only those deities who deal with such restricted spheres. But, all prayers arising from pure love, unselfish eagerness to render service and hearts that are all-inclusive will reach God. 

                                           -- Sathya Sai Speaks (http://sssbpt.info/ssspeaks/volume14/sss14-60.pdf)

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Yet another coinSAIdence!

Look at this!

At the same time that these ladies were singing their hearts out in Kulwant Hall in Prasanthi Nilayam today (from 5 pm onwards), I was seated in Sri Sathya Sai Nivas, Perambur, Chennai participating in the convocation of the Skills School (which conducts tailoring and ITES courses for ladies from weaker sections of the society). We started with Vedam at 5 pm and then bhajans from 5.15 pm.

Guess what color saree I was wearing? The same as these ladies in the picture - a similar yellow saree with red pallu. :) Now, this is certainly not a coincidence. I happened to take this saree from my wardrobe after ages only today. It is Swami who put that thought into my head. No doubt abt that!

I am thankful to Swami for allowing me to lead Vedam today in the function today and also play harmonium for the bhajan and the Arathi song. That too, we have a huge Kulwant Hall cutout in front of the altar in the bhajan hall in Sai Nivas. This really recreates the grandeur of Kulwant Hall in our Sai Nivas bhajan hall. 

When I saw this picture at The Prasanthi Reporter web site (pls visit http://www.theprasanthireporter.org/2012/01/republic-day-concert-by-delhi-mahila-youth/), I felt really blessed, because I know Swami's always watching me and whatever I do. 

So what if I'm not able to go to Parthi? I'm at least blessed to be able to take part in the Sai activities in the nearby center and thereby dedicate my work to Him. He reaffirmed it for me today. Thank you Swami!

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Sai - The Omniscient Lord

Here are a couple of small incidents but they meant a lot to me and showed Swami's omniscience.

On Sunday morning, I went to a nearby temple to break a coconut, as an offering to Lord Ganesh. That temple has a lovely idol of Shirdi Sai Baba, which was installed a couple of months ago. There is also a photo of Sathya Sai Baba and also a huge, really lovely framed painting of Shirdi Sai.

There's a small shop outside the temple that sells lamps, matchboxes, kumkum, and other such stuff. The owner of the shop regularly plays devotional songs on a player attached to a speaker. 

When I happened to visit the temple on Sunday, just for the few mins that I was there, ‘Sai divya roopam’ was played on the speaker. It’s a song that I’m familiar with since 1998, but haven’t heard in a long time, except maybe just once a few years ago on Radio Sai. I was surprised but very happy to hear that song in the temple. I felt Swami reaffirming that He’s with me all the time. And I felt He wanted to show me His presence. Beautiful experience!

The second incident is an experience I had today. I went out with my parents to a temple somewhere near Porur. I did see the word ‘Sai’ in many places and also the photo of Shirdi Sai and Sathya Sai in our journey back and forth. But, what struck me was this -– as our bus went on a bridge, just casually, I just looked out of the window. I was thinking “Swami, I’m thinking of you now.” 

At first, my eyes were blankly looking at something at the same level. But just as I moved my eyes down to see what was below, a small van with the word ‘Sai’ on the front passed under the bridge. I felt really blessed. 

It’s amazing how Swami confirms His omniscience and makes things happen in such a way that you know that He’s with you all the time, and that He knows every movement you make. In this case, I felt that He made the truck move exactly at the time I chose to lower my eyes to that level, so that I could spot the word ‘Sai’. Indeed, it is He who is the traffic policeman for the entire cosmos, controlling the movement of every being! What perfect sync and planning! Awesome!

I never get tired of experiencing His omnipresence and omniscience all the time. I pray for many more such wonderful and enriching experiences. Thank you Swami!

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Lovely quote for today

I bring tears and I wipe tears, some one has sung. 
Yes, I bring tears of joy into your eyes and I wipe the tears of grief. 

I am said to make people mad and also to cure madness. 
Yes, I make them mad about God and about the Saadhana needed for that. 

I cure the madness which makes people run frantically after fleeting pleasures 
and fall into fits of joy and grief.

-- Sathya Sai Baba, 29th Sep 1960, in Prasanthi Nilayam

Saturday, 21 January 2012

God does not make mistakes!

Trust in My wisdom. I do not make mistakes.
Love My uncertainty, for it is not a mistake. It is My intent and will.
-- Bhagawan Baba

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

The greatest gift, the greatest wealth, and the best relationship

Health is the greatest gift, contentment is the greatest wealth, faithfulness is the best relationship. - Buddha

(From http://saidivineinspirations.blogspot.com/2012/01/cny2012-002.html)

Monday, 16 January 2012

I am your mother!

I ask only that you turn to Me when your mind drags you into grief or pride or envy. 
Bring Me the depths of your mind, 
no matter how grotesque, how cruelly ravaged doubts or disappointments. 
I know how to treat them. I will not reject you, I am your mother.
-- Bhagawan Baba

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Simple way to sanctify life and earn God's grace

I do not prescribe elaborate Japam and Dhyaanam for you to win Grace. 
Control your tongue, make it sweet and soft. 
Do not yield to the whims of the senses. 
Dwell always in the thought of God. 
Remind yourself always of the glory and majesty of God. 
That is enough religious discipline for you. 
Spend all the time that you can command in the recitation of His name. 
That is sufficient Saadhana for you.

-- Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba

Saturday, 7 January 2012

A beautiful quote from Bhagwan Baba's divine discourses

He is in you, and it is He that has prompted you to project Him into the outer world, as this idol or that image, to listen to your outpouring and give you peace

Without the inspiration, solace, and joy that He confers from within, you will be raving mad, as one who has lost his moorings and is tossed about, rudderless on a stormy sea. 

Hold on to Him in the heart, hear Him whisper in the silent words of counsel and consolation. Hold converse with Him, guide your footsteps as He directs, and you reach the goal, safe and soon.

The picture before which you sit, the flowers which you place on it, the hymns you recite, the vows you impose on yourselves, the vigils you go through--these are activities that cleanse, that remove obstacles in the way of your getting aware of the God within.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

What's in a name?

Although my name is spelt as 'Aarthi' and is pronounced as 'Aar-thee', over the years, I have noticed that some people used 'Aarathi' too and pronounced my name that way (as 'Aa-ra-thee').

Is there a difference in the meaning of the two? I guess there is. In fact, there is one line in the Sai Ashtottara Namavali that says 'Om Sri Sai Aarthi haraaya namaha'. In this context, 'Aarthi' actually means 'distress' and Swami is hailed as the 'Remover of distress'. The actual 'Aarathi' signifies the waving of camphor as an offering to God, in Hindu rituals and poojas. 

I'm sure my parents did not intend to give me a name that had a negative meaning, when they named me as a child. However, now, when I delve deeper into the significance of the name, I feel there are two ways of interpreting it.

Once, during my college days, when I had to meet the principal for some approval, he asked my name and how it was spelt. That time, he remarked that my name had a negative connotation and that I should probably consider adding another 'A' and make it 'Aarathi', so that the positive meaning was conveyed. I just shrugged and didn't give much thought to it.

I even remember how one of my lecturers always called me 'Aa-ra-thee' and never as 'Aarthi'. I used to get bugged, as I felt 'Aarthi' was the right way my name should be pronounced. In fact, one of my close friends always used to tease me about this and he would first say 'Aa-ra-thee' and then say 'Oh sorry! I mean, Aarthi' and then he would proceed to talk to me. Sometimes, I used to get angry with him. At other times, I used to laugh it off. Even now, in his emails, sometimes, he uses 'Aarathi' only. :)

Now, when I ruminate over the name and its meaning, I realize that I am Swami's child and I should feel very grateful that my parents chose a name that has such a profound meaning. I'm firmly convinced that I must strive to become the perfect offering for Him. As if to resonate my thoughts, a Google search led to this on Wikipedia — Aa means 'towards or to', and 'rati' means 'right or virtue' in Sanskrit. 

It is a well-known practice in Hindu rituals to offer the Aarthi with camphor. There is an inner significance to the use of camphor. Have you noticed that there is no trace left behind when the camphor burns?

"The waving of the camphor flame at the end of the bhajan sessions or any pooja is to remind you that your sensual cravings must be burnt away without leaving any trace behind, and you must offer yourself to God for being merged with His Glory." – Baba

I don't claim to be the perfect offering to God. In fact, most often, I find myself lacking in so many aspects. But, yes, Swami has touched my life and has turned it around. He is slowly but surely transforming me. And I am confident that eventually, He will make me merge in Him.

Although I cannot change the way my name is spelt, I can definitely try to achieve the goal of living up to the phrase 'offering to God'. Just as the camphor burns itself out and is reduced to nothing, I pray to Swami to help me slowly burn away all the vices and desires within me and transform myself from 'Aarthi' to the perfect 'Aarathi', worthy of being offered to Swami.