Sai Baba

HIS MISSION

An Introduction
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The Sathya Sai Baba Central Council
Of United States Of America

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We offer this information to introduce you to Sathya Sai Baba, His teachings, and the programs of Sathya Sai Baba Centers. Since this is only a brief overview, we encourage you to explore further the content and intent of the Center programs with any of your local Sathya Sai Baba Center officers or members.*

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* This is an html version of a document that was originally printed by the Sathya Sai Baba Central Council of the USA. The original printed booklet can be obtained from the official USA Sathya Sai Baba Book Center. Here is the address, phone and fax of the Book Center. The content of this document below this notice has not been altered from its original version.

The Divine directives and teachings of Sathya Sai Baba presented in this booklet are either displayed indented or written in italics, within quotation marks. Sanskrit terms or names have been included in the text in parenthesis preceded by their English equivalent word(s).



Table of Contents

I. Who Is Sathya Sai Baba?

II. Mission of Sathya Sai Baba

III. The Teachings of Sathya Sai Baba

IV. "My Life Is My Message"
V. The Sathya Sai Baba Organization
VI. Protocols and Customs
VII. Devotional Programs
VIII. Educational Program
IX. Service Program
X. Young Adult Program
XI. Supporting Programs
XII. Membership in the Organization
XIII. Recommended Publications
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I. Who is Sathya Sai Baba?

Sathya Sai Baba is one of the most revered spiritual teachers in the world today. He is quietly transforming the world by reestablishing the eternal values of Truth (Sathya), Right Conduct (Dharma), Peace (Santhi), Love (Prema) and Nonviolence (Ahimsa) in everyday living.

He is also known as Sri Sathya Sai Baba, Sai Baba, Swami, Bhagavan, or simply as Baba to millions of people in the world. His followers come from all faiths and races and meet regularly for devotional singing, to study His teachings, and to engage in service activities in order to practice His message of Love and Peace to unite all mankind.

Sathya Sai Baba was born on November 23, 1926, in Puttaparthi, a remote village in the state of Andhra Pradesh in Southern India. He is the fourth child of a humble and pious couple, who named Him Sathya Narayana Raju. As a child, He demonstrated exceptional qualities of wisdom, compassion, and generosity. When He was seven years old, He composed devotional songs that were sung in religious festivals. At the age of fourteen, He announced that His name was Sathya Sai Baba and proclaimed His mission: to bring about the spiritual regeneration of humanity by demonstrating and teaching the highest principles of Truth, Right Conduct, Peace, Love and Nonviolence. With that announcement, He left His childhood home and began His mission.

From an early age, Sathya Sai Baba began demonstrating extraordinary powers. He quickly became known for the miracles that He performed such as materializing objects, especially a holy ash called vibhuti, assisting people in distress, and letting those who came to Him for advice know that He was aware of even the most intimate details of their lives. Yet, He has always maintained that His miracles are to be treated only as His calling cards. They are for the purpose of inspiring and encouraging people to begin their own spiritual journey of personal transformation.

In 1950, His devotees built a temple and residential quarters about a mile away from His birthplace in the village. He named this ashram 'PraSanthi Nilayam' (Abode of Peace). Today, this ashram can accommodate and feed many thousands of devotees who come to see and hear Sathya Sai Baba. Under His care and guidance, Puttaparthi has evolved to have high quality schools, an accredited university, a spiritual museum, a well-equipped modern hospital, and a jet airport.

Sathya Sai Baba's followers regard Him as an incarnation of God in human form (Avatar). He is the ideal of goodness: One who manifests all human virtues in their purity and perfection; One who shows power, wisdom and knowledge beyond the comprehension of humans; and One in whom immense powers lie at His will.

You are welcome to ask questions about Him, read His books, and attend Center activities. A list of books and publications is included at the end of this booklet.

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II. Mission of Sathya Sai Baba

Sathya Sai Baba has come to this world at this time to offer moral and spiritual sustenance and to lead us from the darkness. His mission is best described in His own words:

"I have come to light the lamp of love in your hearts, to see that it shines day by day with added luster. I have not come on any mission of publicity for any sect or creed or cause; nor have I come to collect followers for any doctrine. I have come to tell you of this universal unitary faith, this path of Love. Believe that all hearts are motivated by the One and Only God, that all names in all languages, and all forms man can conceive, denote the one and only God. Cultivate the attitude of oneness between people of all creeds, all countries, and all continents. This is the message of Love I bring."

Sai Baba is not seeking to establish a new religion or to direct people to a particular creed or religion. He proclaims:

"Let the different faiths exist and let the glory of God be sung in all languages and tunes. That should be the ideal. Respect the differences between the faiths and recognize them as valid as long as they do not extinguish the flames of unity. If each person lives the ideals propounded by the founders of their religion, unaffected by greed or hate, then the world will be a happy and peaceful habitation for mankind."

Sathya Sai Baba says that He has come for all mankind and not for any particular community, religion, country, or interest. His teachings are universal and not sectarian, attracting devotees and seekers of all faiths and nationalities.

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III. The Teachings of Sathya Sai Baba

Sathya Sai Baba teaches that man's basic nature is divine and that the purpose of life is the realization of this divinity. This will occur, He says, by leading a moral life, by rendering selfless service to those in need, by engaging in devotional practices, and by developing love, respect, and compassion for all life. As one strives to transform the worldly life of self-centered desires and attachments into a higher spiritual life of selflessness and devotion, the foundation is built for receiving God's Grace. It is this Grace that will reveal our true nature to each of us.

He reminds us that mankind is unique among all of God's Creation; human beings are capable of recognizing that they emanate from God. We have the capacity to commune with God by turning inward. Ultimately, it is our destiny to merge with God. Sathya Sai Baba teaches that all religions are expressions of these same universal principles.

"All men are of one lineage, of one divine origin.
Therefore, recognize the divinity in each being and
banish all limiting thoughts and projections."
"There is only one Caste, the Caste of Humanity;
There is only one Religion, the Religion of Love;
There is only one Language, the Language of the Heart;
There is only One God and He is Omnipresent."

Sathya Sai Baba does not recommend that we become ascetics and retreat from the world. Instead, He teaches us that the world is our school, that the five human values (Truth, Right Conduct, Peace, Love, and Nonviolence) are our curriculum, and that the realization of the unity of Godliness in the diversity of Creation is our ultimate lesson.

"Love in thought is Truth;
Love in action is Right Conduct;
Love in understanding is Peace;
Love in feeling is Nonviolence."

Sathya Sai Baba urges all His devotees to comply with the "Nine-Point Code of Conduct" and to practice a "Ceiling on Desires" for their spiritual development, as described below:

bullet   The Nine-Point Code of Conduct

  1. Daily meditation and prayer.
  2. Group devotional singing or prayer with family members once a week.
  3. Participation in Sai Spiritual Education by children of the family.
  4. Participation in community service work and other programs of the organization.
  5. Regular attendance at the Center's devotional meetings.
  6. Regular study of Sathya Sai Baba literature.
  7. The use of soft, loving speech with everyone.
  8. Not speaking ill of others, especially in their absence.
  9. Practicing placing a ceiling on desires "consciously and continuously striving to eliminate the tendency to waste time, money, food, and energy" and utilizing the savings for service of mankind.

bullet Ceiling on Desires

Sathya Sai Baba teaches that one should not waste time, food, money, or energy. A program called "Ceiling on Desires" has been created to encourage aspirants to practice these principles.

"The object of the program is to prevent waste of money, time, food or other resources and to use all these for the welfare of the people. The money that is saved need not be kept for the Sathya Sai organizations. It may be used in the best way you choose for the benefit of others. Do not waste time. Time wasted is life wasted. Time is God. Sanctify all the time at your disposal by undertaking service (seva) activities in a pure and unselfish spirit."

Sathya Sai Baba also emphasizes that man has important obligations to society. He stresses the importance of performing one's duty in society for the benefit of all. It is the society that can provide an environment and a foundation for people to grow spiritually more easily. His teachings on serving society are summarized in His "the ten guiding principles":

bullet The Ten Guiding Principles

1. Love and Serve your country. Do not be critical of others' countries.

"Have a sense of pride in your motherland. Just as your mother has given birth to you, so too the land has given birth to you. Whatever country you belong to, you should have a sense of patriotism. You should not indulge in criticizing other countries or people belonging to other nations. Having trust and faith in your own country, you won't try to put down any other country. Never bring grief or sorrow to your country. To have pride in one's own motherland is important."

2.  Honor and respect all religions as pathways to God.

"Never have hatred toward any religion. Honor and respect all religions equally. Even as you are a citizen of your motherland but respect all countries, also respect all religions equally."

3. Love all humanity as part of your family.

"Develop a sense of the brotherhood of man. Look upon each person as your own brother. There is only one caste, the caste of humanity. All of us belong to the human race, so everyone is equal. Therefore, love each one equally."

4.  Keep home and surroundings clean.

"Keep your own house and its surroundings pure and clean. This hygiene will keep you healthy and benefit your worldly life."

5.  Help the needy with food, clothing, and shelter. Help them become self-reliant when possible.

"Be discriminating when dispensing charity. In the name of charity or philanthropy, we tend to do injustice to this country. Charity does not mean that the land should be full of beggars. We can provide some support and means for the beggars, but provide food, clothing, and other conveniences in such a way that you are not encouraging laziness and begging."

6.  Be examples of honesty.  Do not participate in any corruption such as bribery.

"Never give or take a bribe. Giving bribes, or accepting bribes, is contrary to the very name of the Sri Sathya Sai organizations. Bear this in mind continuously."

7.  Curb jealousy, hatred and envy.

"We must seek ways to solve difficulties such as hatred, envy, and jealousy. To curb this sense of envy and jealousy, we must develop a broader outlook. Do not differentiate on the basis of race, caste, creed, or country. Follow your cultural and religious customs in your own home, but do not attempt to impose them on society. Rather than this, love each person as your own brother, not seeing him as belonging to another creed, religion, or country."

8.  Develop self-reliance.

"Members of the Sri Sathya Sai Organizations should do things by themselves; they should not depend on others. You may be very wealthy and have servants and assistants to help in a few tasks, but your own work you must do yourself. If you wish to be of service to society, serve yourself first. One who will not serve society has no right to belong to a Sri Sathya Sai organization."

9.  Observe your country's laws and be exemplary citizens.

"Never ever go against the law of the land. Follow the letter of the law. The members of the Sri Sathya Sai organizations should follow the law in spirit also, and be models for the government."

10.  Adore God, abhor sin.

"You must love God and avoid sin. Love God incessantly. As long as you keep committing sins, God will never be yours."
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IV.  "My Life Is My Message"

While Sathya Sai Baba teaches that we must find God within our own hearts, many feel drawn to Prashanthi Nilayam to see and hear Him and receive His blessings. He walks daily among the assembled people who come to see Him in an activity called darshan (sight of a holy person). During this time, He takes letters, gives advice, and grants personal interviews. He touches the hearts of all who come, some through personal interactions and others by the powerful impact of simply being in His presence. Often, people come to see Him with doubts and apprehensions and return home with love in their hearts, peace in their minds, and the capacity to live a more giving, spiritual life.

As people are inspired by His love, they seek to emulate the example He sets. In fact, He invites people to study and observe Him as He lives a life of selfless service for all.

"You can observe Me and My activities; note how I adhere to righteousness, moral order, truth, and universal compassion. That is what I desire you to learn from Me ... My Life is My Message."

In addition to His constant service on an individual basis, He has undertaken a number of massive projects for the benefit of mankind.

bullet Education Program

Sathya Sai Baba places immense value on education. In order to demonstrate the Five Human Values and exemplify the practice of His teachings, He has built a number of elementary and secondary schools as well as a complete university system in India for both men and women. The education offered at these schools is provided free of charge. [Look here for more information.]

"Education must impart elevating ideals and kindle the lamp of wisdom. Character is the most precious gift of education."

Baba's schools teach a curriculum of science, business, and arts as well as a character building program called Sathya Sai Education in Human Values, or Sathya Sai EHV. This program stresses the importance of service to society and tolerance for people of other races, cultures, nationalities, and religions.

"Politics without principle, education without character, science without humanity, and commerce without morality are not only useless but positively dangerous."

bullet Medical Services

Sathya Sai Baba is also demonstrating to us that medical care of the highest quality can also be provided free of charge, even in highly specialized fields such as cardiology, nephrology, and urology. He has established a General Hospital at the ashram, which provides free medical care to the residents and visitors. In 1991, He opened a Specialty Hospital, which is equipped with the latest equipment for the diagnosis and treatment of diseases and is supported by a team of highly qualified surgeons, physicians, technicians, and nursing staff. Hospital services are free of charge to anyone in need, especially for the poor. [Look here for more information.]

bullet Drinking Water Project

Sathya Sai Baba has also undertaken a large project to bring drinking water, the very life source, to millions of people who live in chronically drought-stricken areas in villages and towns of the state of Andhra Pradesh. This monumental project covers 20,000 square kilometers and more than 750 villages hitherto without water. [Look here for more information.]

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V. The Sathya Sai Baba Organization

bullet Objective

The fundamental objective of the Organization as laid down by Sathya Sai Baba is to "Awaken in man the Divinity inherent in him" by propagating, through practice and examples, the basic principles of Love (Prema), Truth (Sathya), Right Action (Dharma), Peace (Santhi), and Nonviolence (Ahimsa).

bullet Structure

The Sathya Sai Baba Organization consists of a worldwide network of Sathya Sai Baba Centers. They are found in over 145 countries worldwide. In the United States, there are more than 160 Centers, which are coordinated by the Sathya Sai Baba Council of America established in 1975. These Centers are administratively grouped under one of the ten regions of the country. Each region has its own officers and activities. The regional officers consult with national coordinators for the United States. Coordinators from fifteen international regions make up a Central Council, which is directed by Sathya Sai Baba. The headquarters is located in PraSanthi Nilayam in Puttaparthi, India, where Sathya Sai Baba lives.

"The main goal of the Sai Organization is to enable members, workers, and officers to lead ideal, perfect, and happy lives ... Sai Organization should live in Love. Exchange hearts with Love, give Love and take Love, and flourish in Love. Both money and power have no place in our organization."

bulletEmblem

Until early 1996, the emblem of the Organization was the 'Sarva Dharma' (symbol of Unity of Religions and Basic Values), depicted by an open lotus with six petals and six leaves. There is a lamp in the center. The six petals show different symbols representing world's six major religions. The 'Om' at the top represents Hinduism, the cross depicts Christianity, the crescent and star are for Islam, the star of David is for Judaism, the fire represents Zoroastrianism, and the wheel is for Buddhism. This is the Sai Emblem to show the unity of all faiths and the common basis for the values of all religions.

old sarva dharma logo

At the 6th World Conference of the Sathya Sai Organization, held at Prashanthi Nilayam during 18-21 November 1995, a decision was reached to replace the present emblem of the Organization with a new emblem depicting The Five Human Values: Truth, Right Conduct, Peace, Love and Nonviolence. The new organizational emblem is presented below. More discussion of these emblems can be found here.

new sarva dharma logo

bullet Sathya Sai Baba Centers

The purpose of a Sathya Sai Baba Center is to foster and support the spiritual activities of its members. The Center is a focal point for individuals to learn and practice Sathya Sai Baba's teachings and message of Love and to lead disciplined, spiritual lives.

"The organizations named after Me are not to be used for publicizing My Name or for creating a new cult around my worship. They must try to spread interest in prayer, meditation and other spiritual practices which lead man Godward. They must demonstrate the joy that can be derived from singing and remembering the Lord's name, the peace that one can draw from good company. They must render services to the helpless, the sick, the distressed, the illiterate and the needy. The service must seek no reward."

Centers are accredited by the Central Council. Each Center has a president, vice president, service coordinator, devotion coordinator, and education coordinator.  The president is responsible for the Center and is assisted by the vice-president. Each Center organizes its programs under three areas: service, devotion, and education. The service coordinator promotes and organizes service projects within the Center and the community. The devotion coordinator is responsible for organizing and overseeing the devotional meetings, devotional singing classes, study circles and guest events. The education coordinator develops and coordinates a value-based spiritual education for children.

 
 
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VI.  Protocols and Customs

bullet Attire

Please wear clean and modest clothing that is comfortable and loose-fitting. Revealing clothes or shorts are not appropriate.

bullet Shoes

Generally, shoes are removed and left at the entrance to the Center. This is a common custom in many countries and also signifies a sign of respect for leaving the "dust of the world" behind. The removal of shoes upon entering the facility is optional in the U.S. Sathya Sai Baba Centers' functions.

bullet Greetings and Good-byes

Many devotees say "Sai Ram" to say hello and good-bye. This conveys the acknowledgment of the divinity in each other.

bullet Silence

We ask that you speak softly or maintain silence while in the Center. This helps to maintain spiritual calmness and will not disturb others in prayer or meditation.

"Practice silence, for the voice of God can be heard in the region of the heart only when the tongue is still. Silence is the speech of the spiritual seeker."

bullet Seating

Men and women sit separately. This is needed to minimize distractions arising from curiosity or subtle attractions between members of the opposite sex. This protocol is followed in all Sathya Sai Baba functions throughout the world.

"At Bhajans and at other meetings, men devotees should sit apart from women devotees. The rule should be applicable to all members - whether they are Indians or non-Indians, in India or elsewhere. It is part of the spiritual discipline that is necessary for devotees ... mixing freely and sitting together do not promote a peaceful atmosphere. In sitting separately, sensory thoughts do not arise so easily."

Often, seating is on the floor. Chairs are provided for those who may need them. When sitting on the floor, it is proper for men and women to sit with their legs crossed. Select the seating option that is comfortable to you.

bulletTime

Please plan to arrive on time to quietly and comfortably seat yourself before the program begins.

bulletMoney

There is no cost to attend a Sathya Sai Baba Center or to become a member. There are no membership or annual dues. No one is permitted to ask for money. Sathya Sai Baba urges utmost caution and honesty in all dealings involving money. Center service projects are run on voluntary and anonymous contributions from the members.

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VII.  Devotional Programs

Sai Baba emphasizes the path of devotion (bhakti). The following quote by Sathya Sai Baba defines devotion and its importance in our lives.

"We can describe devotion as the promotion of a sacred mind in a selfless manner, in the thought of God. The path of devotion will take along your mind, body and action toward God. As the river flows into the ocean, the river of your life should flow into the ocean of God. Human nature should have this as the sacred objective. Truly, having attained human birth, if we are unable to take ourselves toward God, it is useless attaining this birth."

Devotional activities include study circle, devotional singing, prayer, and meditation, as well as observing spiritual festivals. Schedules for devotional activities vary from Center to Center. Please contact the devotion coordinator or other Center members for schedules. You are welcome to participate in any of the devotional programs.

bullet   Study Circle

This spiritual activity of the devotional program is designed for adult members. It is usually held weekly for one hour either just before or after devotional singing. The devotion coordinator or a designated member may serve as the moderator to maintain productive discussions. Members read, reflect, and discuss topics from selected books of discourses or writings of Sathya Sai Baba, together in a group. These discussions are meant to improve members' understanding of Baba's teachings and their meaningful application in daily life and to foster love, peace, and harmony. As with other center activities men and women sit separately. Some centers may occasionally hold separate study circles for men and women.

"Study Circle is not just reading books. It means taking a point and each person discussing what it means to them. Like a round-table conference... The study circle looks at the different facets ... but, as in a diamond, there is one facet that is flat, and from it all can be viewed. To discover the top facet is the task of the study circle."

"The proper plan of study is reading, reflection and regular application in life."

bullet   Devotional Singing

Devotional songs in praise of God are sung with love and devotion. The singing of these songs has always been at the heart of spiritual practice for Sathya Sai Baba's followers. At the beginning of each song (called bhajans in Hindi) , the leader sings a line which is repeated by all participants in unison. This "call and response" format continues until the entire song is finished. Generally, each line is sung twice the first time and once at a faster pace the second time before the song concludes. Other songs of praise to God from any religion may also be sung, and they need not follow the "call and response" format.

The songs are usually sung in English --the preferred language in the U.S. Centers--, Hindi, or other Indian languages. Many devotees enjoy the devotional atmosphere arising from the rhythm, vibrations, and spirit of these songs. Indian language bhajans consist largely of the Sanskrit names of the various aspects and forms of God. Deities and saints of all the major religions of the world are also honored in these songs. The first song is traditionally sung to Lord Ganesha, an aspect of God who is regarded as the remover of obstacles and difficulties.

"When you dwell on the names of the Lord, His Majesty, His Grace, His Omnipotence, His All Persuasiveness, get fixed in your consciousness; and your own capacities and capabilities get eclipsed in the Divine. So, humility develops and a spirit of surrender sprouts in the heart. This takes the devotees nearer to God and prepares him/her to merge in His Glory. The mind is gradually liberated from all distracting thoughts, desires and imagery that give free play to all the senses. All accumulated impurities that veil the bliss (ananda) within are removed, and the latent divinity manifests Itself."

bullet   Prayers

A number of selected prayers in English and Sanskrit are generally recited in unison following the conclusion of devotional singing. The selection and sequence of these prayers may vary from Center to Center; please follow the Center protocol. The following prayers are listed in alphabetical order. Center worship services repeat prayers from this list in varying orders.

bullet2   Arati Prayer (Singing His Glory):  At the conclusion of the devotional songs, a song praising Sathya Sai Baba may be sung. In India, during this singing, a flame is lit in a small vessel and is waved around Sathya Sai Baba's picture in circular movements. This ritualistic waving of light is not practiced in the U.S. Sathya Sai Baba Centers. The spiritual significance of the waving of the light is described as follows. Light dispels darkness, and fire always surges upward, signifying auspiciousness. Light is the illumination of divine Consciousness within. When Arati is performed with camphor, there is no remainder. When the individual is united with the Almighty, all impurities are burnt away and there is no more individual identity (or remainder) left. The Arati prayer with its singable translation is generally included in the song book.
bullet2 Asathoma Prayer: This may recited in unison at the end of meditation or prayers. This is an ancient Vedic prayer seeking to be led to Truth, Light, and Immortality. Most Centers recite both the Sanskrit and the English versions.
Asatho Maa Sad Gamaya
Thamaso Maa Jyothir Gamaya
Mrithyur Maa Amritham Gamaya
Om Santhi Santhi Santhihi
From untruth lead us toTruth,
From darkness lead us to Light,
From death leadus to Immortality
Om, Peace, Peace, Peace.
bullet2 Gayathri Mantra Prayer: The Gayathri Mantra is a universal prayer enshrined in the Vedas for the illumination of the mind and dispelling of ignorance.

There are first a few moments of silence, which are followed by reciting the Gayathri at least three times in unison. The Gayathri may be considered as having three parts: praise, meditation, and prayer. First, the Divine is praised; then, meditating upon the Divine radiance in reverence, an appeal is made to the Divine to awaken and strengthen the intellect, which is the discriminating faculty of man. Sai Baba has said that the Gayathri reflects the essence of the Vedas, the most ancient scriptures on earth. The Gayathri is followed by chanting "Om, Santhi (Peace), Santhi, Santhi". This invocation of peace three times is for the body, mind, and soul. The Sanskrit mantra and English meaning are given below.

Om Bhur Bhuva Suvaha
Tat Savitur Varenyam
Bhargo Devasya Dheemahi
Dhiyo Yo Nah Prachodayat
Oh Mother! Who subsists in all the three kallas (time -- past, present, and future), in all three lokas (worlds - Heaven, Earth and lower or nether regions) and in all the three gunas (attributes sathva, rajas, and thamas -- universal qualities of harmony, agitation, and inertia), I pray to you to illumine my intellect and dispel my ignorance just as the splendorous sunlight dispels all darkness. I pray to you to make my intellect serene, bright and enlightened.
bullet2 Om (Aum) Chant: "Om" is the primordial sound out of which all other sounds originate. It is the all-pervading Divinity in the form of sound. Om is chanted, often three times, at the beginning of devotional singing and at the beginning of study circle or any spiritual program.
bullet2 Sacred Ash Song (Vibuthi Song ):  Sacred ash (vibuthi) is distributed at the end of the Arati as devotees sing the vibhuti prayer. Hold out your right hand and receive the vibhuti in it. You may place it on your forehead between the eyebrows and a small portion on the tongue.
Paramam Pavitram Baba Vibhutim
Paramam Vichitram Leela Vibhutim
Paramartha Ishtartha Moksha Pradanam
Baba Vibhutim Idamashrayami
Sacred, Holy and Supreme is Baba's vibuthi;
Pouring forth in endless stream this play of vibhuti;
So auspicious is its might it grants liberation;
Baba's vibhuti its power protects me.

Vibhuti is a reminder that ash is the end product of all matter. Vibhuti has also an aspect of immortality, which makes it a fit offering for worshipping God. Only the vibhuti remains unchanged, since it is the final result of the annihilation of the five elements of creation. It is symbolic of the ultimate reality that remains when our ego is burnt away by the fire of illumination.

"The vibuthi that you smear on your forehead is intended to convey the basic spiritual lesson that everything will be reduced to ashes, including the brow that wears it".
bullet2 Universal Prayer (Sarvadharma): This prayer is sung in unison in adoration of the divinities represented by various religions. The prayer (Om Tat Sat Sri Narayana Tu...) is lengthy and is included in your song book, along with an English translation. Please ask your Center officer for a copy of this book. [You can find this prayer and its meaning here; choose "Sarvadharma Prayer" and hit the "Get Prayer" key.)
bullet2 World Peace Prayer (Samastha Lokha): This prayer may be sung in unison three times.
Samastha lokha Sukhino Bhavantu
May all the beings in all the worlds be happy.

This peace prayer, which is closed with "Om, Santhi, Santhi, Santhi", generally marks the closing of the devotional service. At this time, some Centers may have announcements regarding Center programs, schedules, and upcoming regional events.

bullet Meditation (dhyana)

Sathya Sai Baba teaches two forms of meditation: a light meditation (jyothi meditation) and a breath meditation (so-hum meditation).

In the light meditation, one focuses first on the flame of a candle and then takes that image inside and moves it to different parts of the body as a means of purification. [You can find Swami's words on the light meditation here.]

In the breath meditation, one gently focuses attention on one's breathing and repeats "Soooo" with the inhalation and "Hummm" with the exhalation.

If you are not familiar with these forms of meditation, please approach the devotion coordinator for additional guidance.

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VIII.  Educational Program

Sathya Sai Baba initiated the Spiritual Education Program (Sai Spiritual Education, formerly known as bal vikas) to facilitate the spiritual growth of children in the ages 6 through 16 who attend the Sathya Sai Baba Centers. This program is designed to teach the children five basic human values (Love, Truth, Peace, Right Conduct ,and Nonviolence), basic teachings of world's religions, and spiritual lessons based on Sathya Sai Baba's writings. Teachers receive training as set forth by Sathya Sai Baba.

"From the most impressionable years the children should be taught to cultivate love for all. Love leads to unity. Unity promotes purity. Purity leads to Divinity."
"To instill in the minds of the young the values of prayer, humility, and loving service to others, the homes where they have grown should be the first schools. The parents have to be imbued with faith in the basic truths of this Universal Religion."
"Children's minds are innocent and pure. Each child is like a white marble for the teacher and the parents to sculpt the image of God, a bud to be helped to blossom in all its Divine glory so that it becomes a worthy offering to God."

Currently, there are three age groups in the Sai Spiritual Education Program: Group I (ages 6-9), Group II (ages 10-12), and Group III (ages 13-16). The teaching techniques and lesson plans are targeted to suit the age of each group. Anyone interested in enrolling children in the Sai Spiritual Education is requested to contact the education coordinator.

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IX.  Service Program

Sathya Sai Baba strongly emphasizes selfless service to those in need as the highest means for enhancing one's own spiritual growth and development. He teaches that it is not enough to simply do good works --but of equal importance is one's attitude during the service activity. The service worker must have an attitude of humility and appreciation for the opportunity to do any service activity. The opportunity itself is a gift from God. One should not dwell on the good that they are doing, or that activity will strengthen one's ego rather than help to reduce it.

"Selfless service is the fragrant flower of altruistic love. It is not to be performed for the satisfaction of the person rendering the service or the person at whose bidding it is done. Man should regard selfless service as the purpose for which he was given life. This feeling should flow through his very nerves and bloodstream and permeate every cell of his body. Whatever the work we do, we should do it as an offering to God for His pleasures. We should take up service activities for the purification of our own hearts."
"When you offer a meal to a hungry child, or a blanket to a shivering brother on the pavement, you are placing a gift of God into the hand of another gift of God."
"God serves; He allows you to claim that you have served! Without His will, no single blade of grass can quiver in the breeze. Fill every moment with gratitude to the Giver and the recipient of all gifts."

Sathya Sai Baba Centers around the world are performing selfless service projects such as feeding the hungry, clothing the poor, visiting the aged, helping build schools and reaching out to those in need. You are welcome to join in the service projects. Please speak with the service coordinator if you wish to participate. A national newsletter entitled Sathya Sai Service Opportunities includes reports and articles giving an insight into the wide range of service activities in which members of the Organization are involved through-out the nation. The newsletter can be obtained with a subscription to the Sathya Sai Newsletter, U.S.A.

[Here is the Guide to Service in American Sathya Sai Baba Centers.]

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X.  Young Adult Program

During the Sixth World Conference, Sathya Sai Baba laid emphasis on the formation of Youth Wings. This was the impetus for launching a formal Young Adults Program in all ten regions of the U.S., in 1996. Baba enunciates the challenges and the potential of this critical stage of youth in life:

"Youth is the stage in life when the slightest turn toward the wrong will spell disaster. Thoughts shape the career. You plan to earn much wealth because you imagine that rich people are very happy. The rich have plenty to eat, but they have no appetite. The rich wield power over others, but they are held down by disease. The rich can have many servants, but they cannot live in peace. So, plan to be rich in virtue, in devotion and dedication to good causes. Be rich in sovereign character. What exactly is character? Steady adherence to truth, renunciation, genuine love, selfless service --these are the essential components of character."
"Youth should imbibe the right ideals and plunge into society with the thirst for service as a spiritual duty, and this will make their humanness worthwhile. They should cultivate basic human traits like humility, readiness to serve and commiseration at the suffering of others."

The program is designed for young adults (16 to 30 years age) such as those who have participated in Sai Spiritual Education or others, to transition into the Sai Organization. The young adults programs operate on a regional basis, involving young adults from all of the Centers in the region. There is a young adults advisor for men and another for women, who provide overall guidance to the program. Two young-adults representatives (one for women and another for men) provide the leadership to plan, develop and direct various group programs relating to service, devotion, and education. The young adults meet regularly, at least once a month, to plan and conduct their activities. The young adults enthusiastically share their ideas, ideals and highlights of their spiritual journey in a national quarterly newsletter titled Sai Students' Bulletin. You can obtain a free copy at any Sathya Sai Baba Center.

For more information about the young adults program, please contact the center president or young adults advisors of the region.

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XI.  Supporting Programs

bullet Workshops for Devotional Singing

Some Centers hold periodic workshops to provide coaching in devotional singing to the desiring members. The frequency and timing of these workshops are determined by each center to suit their needs. Please contact the devotion coordinator if you are interested.

bullet Orgnizational Meetings

Centers hold regular meetings (monthly, quarterly, etc.) to plan and discuss various center and Regional programs. Decisions are made by the members, but non-members may attend with the president's approval. Members are urged to actively participate in these meetings to make contributions toward the Center objectives.

bullet Annual Conference

Weekend retreat/ conferences are conducted by Sathya Sai Baba Centers, in each of the ten regions across the United States, and are announced in the Sathya Sai Newsletter, U.S.A. They are usually held over the Memorial Day or Labor Day weekends because of the national holidays at those times. They are open for participation to all. Members are urged to attend and lend a helping hand when possible. This is a good program to meet devotees from other centers, listen to national and international speakers elaborating on Sathya Sai Baba's teachings, and see videos on Sai Baba. Announcements of the annual conferences and details of registration and accommodations are made available at the Centers. While there is no conference fee to attend the meeting itself, some charges may be associated with facility use and for providing room and board.

bullet Books and Literature

Centers offer a selection of Sathya Sai books, audio tapes of Baba's discourses, devotional songs (bhajans), photographs etc. for sale. Some Centers may also have a lending library. A more extensive set of materials may also be obtained from the Sathya Sai Baba Book Center of America in Tustin, California, which is the official bookstore for the United States and is approved by the Sathya Sai Central Council of America.

Please refer to the last section in this booklet for the address of the Tustin bookstore, along with a list of national and international periodicals, and some of the most well-known books and publications on the life and teachings of Sathya Sai Baba.

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XII.  Membership in the Organization

bullet How To Become A Member

Please attend the program in a Sathya Sai Baba Center a few times to observe and understand the activities. If these interest you in joining the Center as a member, please talk to one of the Center officers or members.

bullet Membership Qualifications and Responsibilities

A member progresses along the spiritual path with faith in their relationship with Sathya Sai Baba, and practicing His teachings will lead to a deepening of spiritual experience. It signifies a willingness to dedicate oneself to a life of good thoughts, words, and deeds, toward the goals of recognizing the unity in creation and becoming established in one's true reality.

  1. A member must be at least 18 years old or have completed the Sai Spiritual Education Program.
  2. An individual may join a Center after becoming familiar with its purpose and the guidelines under which it functions. In joining, the individual acknowledges having carefully read the Guidelines, agrees to honor them, and makes a commitment to work in harmony with other members to achieve the Center's goals.
  3. Members strive to practice "The Nine-Point Code of Conduct", recommended by Sathya Sai Baba.
  4. Members work together to enhance their understanding of, and put into practice, the principles of the spiritual life taught by Sathya Sai Baba.
  5. Members are urged to study Sathya Sai Baba books and literature regularly for their spiritual growth and to stay informed on current developments.
  6. Members are encouraged to participate in the service and devotion activities. The level of participation is dependent on the individual.
  7. Members are expected to render a helping hand to run the Center smoothly and according to Sathya Sai values.
  8. Any questions and disagreements arising in a Center should be discussed in a spirit of unity, harmony, and cooperation.
  9. Membership shall cease if a member resigns, ceases participation in Center activities, or engages in conduct deemed a discredit to the Center.
"The qualifications for membership are to be an eager aspirant for spiritual progress, to have full faith in the name that the organization bears... and recognition as a good person. That is all the qualification needed; nothing else counts."

Sathya Sai Baba urges all His devotees to comply with "The Nine-Point Code of Conduct" for their spiritual development and observe "The Ten Guiding Principles" to ensure a fruitful and harmonious life in society (please see, Section III, The Teachings of Sathya Sai Baba).

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XIII.  Recommended Publications

A large selection of publications is available on the teachings and life of Sathya Sai Baba. Some of the most well-known writings are listed below along with the addresses of the sources.

A current catalog of available books, audio cassettes, and photographs can be obtained at no charge from:

Sathya Sai Book Center of America
305 West First Street
Tustin, CA 92780, U.S.A.
Telephone: (714) 669-0522
FAX: (714) 669-9138

[Here is an online catalogue for the Sathya Sai Book Center of America. Here is a list of Sai bookstores throughout the world.]

bullet Sathya Sai Newsletter, U.S.A.

This is a quarterly newsletter of the Sai Organization of the United States. It covers Sathya Sai Baba's teachings, articles and life applications. Order from:

Sathya Sai Newsletter, U.S.A.
C/O Sathya Sai Book Center of America
305 West First Street
Tustin, CA 92780, U.S.A.
Telephone: (714) 669-0522
FAX: (714) 669-9138

bullet Sai World: A Newsletter for Children and Youth

This quarterly magazine is dedicated to bolster the learning of children from Sai Spiritual Education, through stories, articles and personal experiences. Order from:

Sathya Sai Newsletter for Children
P.O. Box 7722, San Diego, CA 92107

bullet Sanathana Sarathi (Eternal Charioteer)

This monthly publication, from PraSanthi Nilayam, is devoted to the moral and spiritual uplift of humanity. It contains Sathya Sai Baba's recent discourses, other inspirational articles and news about organizational activities throughout the world.

Subscriptions are on a year-only basis and can be obtained through an international bank draft, money order or a personal check in the amount of $8 (1998 subscription price). Mail the payment with a cover letter to:

The Convenor
Sri Sathya Sai Books and Publications Trust
PraSanthi Nilayam P.O. Puttaparthi
Anantapur Dist., A. P. 515134, INDIA

bullet Recommended Books for Reading

  1. The Vahini Series (16 books written by Sathya Sai Baba. Here are some of them; refer to the Tustin Book Center Catalog for a complete listing of this series.)
  2. Sathya Sai Speaks, Vols. 1 - 28 (Four decades of discourses by Sathya Sai Baba; refer to the Tustin Book Center Catalog for a complete listing of this series.)
  3. Summer Showers Series (spiritual discourses by Sathya Sai Baba given to college students during summer schools; refer to the Tustin Book Center Catalog for a complete listing of this series.)
  4. Sathya Sai Baba, Parts 1-4 (Series on the Life of Sai Baba)
  5. Conversations with Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, by Jack Hislop
  6. Essence of Divinity, by Elaine Gries
  7. Finding God, by Charles Penn
  8. Journey to Sathya Sai Baba ... A Visitor's Guide, by Valmai Worthington
  9. Loving God, by Professor N. Kasturi
  10. My Baba and I, by Jack Hislop
  11. Pathways To God, by Jonathan Roof
  12. Sai Baba, Holy Man and the Psychiatrist, by Samuel Sandweiss
  13. Sai Baba, Man of Miracles, by Howard Murphet
  14. Sai Baba The Ultimate Experience, by Phyllis Krystal
  15. Uniqueness of Swami and His Teachings, by A. Adivi Reddy

These books may be available in your Center or can be ordered from the Sathya Sai Book Center of America, Tustin, CA.

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