Gurur-Brahma Gurur-Vishnu Gurur-Devo Maheshwarah.Guru-sakshat Para-Brahma tasmai Shri Gurave Namah. Gurur - Guru; Brahma – Creator; Gurur - Guru; Vishnu – Sustainer; Gurur - Guru; Devo – the divine; Maheshwarah – the Destroyer; Guru Sakshat – the Guru is verily; Para-Brahma – the transcendental divinity (which is the very basis of all the three); tasmai – to that; Shri – glorious; Guruve – Guru; Namah – my salutations.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Manika Prabhu

Manika Prabhu(1817 -1865 A.D.)

Manohara Nayaka Harakude, a Srivatsa gotra, Desastha Brahmin and Baya Devi of Ladavanti were the parents of Manik Prabhu, their illustrious son. Harakude and Baya Devi were very pious and they did Parayana of Guru Charitra for over sixteen years continously with rigid observance of the rules of worship indicated in Guru Charitra. Afterwards Lord Dattatreya appeared in a dream gave darshan to Harakude and Baya Devi and asked them to choose a boon. Both like Atri and Anasuya, desired to have a son like the Lord and nothing else. Thus the birth of Manika Prabhu came into existence in the world in the year 1817A.D. From the very childhood Manika Prabhu was known for his worth in yoga, enrap­turing his mother Baya Devi like Yasoda Devi, the mother of Lord Krishna by his divine nature. When on Thursdays people flocking together and approaching the child for something or other and their wishes being fulfilled was an exciting scene. Child Manika Prabhu, though he never attended a school, learnt many lan­guages like Kanarese, Urdu, Marathee, Persian, San­skrit by himself and even acquired proficiency in them.

Baya Devi was widowed just when Manika Prabhu was ten years old and so his maternal uncle was his guardian. Manika Prabhu was found wandering here and there doing things quite contrary to the sacred traditions of Hindu religion. For instance, once Manika Prabhu was found putting all his clothes and his chappals on the head of Maruti idol in a temple. His settlement at Manikanagar is quite interesting. Once a certain Brah­min family started for Darshana of Manika Prabhu. On their way at Humnabad there was a temple and there they were resting for the night without knowing that it was the meeting place of thieves. That night a batch of dacoits visited the temple as usual and finding the family resting therein, wanted to loot them. The Brahmin family startled by their presence began crying out "Hei ! Manika Prabhu, Manika Prabhu" for helping them out of the great danger they could sense.

Soon a miracle happened and the thieves saw a. great yogi, bedecked with gorgeous jewellery in front, standing at the threshold of the temple. The thieves preferred to loot the person with plenty of jewellery over his body than the humble brahmin family. When the thieves ran after him he disappeared and they found 'themselves benumbed completely, and slowly they sneaked out away, lest something more harm should happen to them. In fact, Manika Prabhu appeared in person there soon after and made the place his permanent abode. The forest surounding the temple was cleared and soon a township sprang up. The place became in a little time, a centre where people saw both renunciation and enjoyment harmoniously blended. Manika Prabhu never ate the rich food prepared for the devotees thronged, but always lived on Madhukari food brought by his disciples, begging from house to house. Some times he went for alms in that way.

The paradox was people could see a rich beggar with all his royal pomp was full of simplicity and humil­ity. In him one could see, the effulgence of a saint with the halo of worldly luxury, completely detached. An unbroken celibacy even amidst women and wealth was conspicuous in him strictly avoiding association with ladies in loneliness. He showed to the world that even ladies with proper direction could attain the highest knowledge of Atman the Absolute, if the director is careful about his ownself.

He could freely mix with non Hindus, specially Mohammedans, for he evinced equal care and interest in the welfare of one and all. Thus like Nrisimha Saraswati he influenced both the Hindus and Mohammedans alike. The founder of Sikhism has considered Manika Prabhu as "an incarnation of Dattatreya", while Col.Alkot. of Theosophical Society, Basaveswara the founder of Lingayat sect, gave glorious accounts of Manika Prabhu, as an incarnation born in the world for the good of the people. His wisdom, catholicity and foresight in han­dling different kinds of people under one banner, is strikingly, significant. In fact his whole life passed in such activity of longing in a fusion of so called opposites in faiths and cults. It is (Sakalamata sthapana) univer­sally of religions, his seeing no conflict between activity (Pravitti) and inaction (nivritti) was his greatest contri­bution to the society and mankind.

Manika Prabhu had many contemporaries. Of course the followers and disciples of each saint consider them as different Avataras of Dattatreya. For instance, Sri Baka Prabhu among Lingayats, Sri Alam Prabhu among Yavanas, Sri Swami of Akkalkot were all illustri­ous in their own way. These saints who were contemporary always considered the worth of one another and never talked of their own greatness. They never cared for fame. Though, inspite of their dislike for it, it came to them and clung to their names even after their departure from the world. They were born for a particular mission and they accomplished it in their own way by giving things to the needy and enlightenment to those who sought for it. For instance, Manika Prabhu in the task of enhancing the power of Sidhas, helped Hamsaraja Swami in his pursuit of self realisation. Manik Prabhu's con­nection with Sidhas, like Alam Prabhu, Revana Siddha, Suraja Sadananda was mysteriously startling.

Manika Prabhu wrote a book called kalpataru which contains the knowledge he desired to impart. Moreover many padas, Artis were composed by him. The subject of Gopi Krishna's equisitively inter-woven in many of his padas in great depth. Manika Prabhu took Samadhi at Manikanagar in 1865, at the age of 48, the news of which was kept a secret at the behest of Manika Prabhu at the time of his taking Samadhi, to allow the people gathered for Datta- Jayanthi to celebrate without marring their joy which would have been upset if the news of his passing away was made public. Manikanagar has become place of pilagrimage, where people throng from all parts of country for the fulfilment of their cherished desires.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Anandamayi Ma

Anandamayi Ma 1896 -1981

Anandamayi Ma was born in East Bengal (now Bangladesh) in 1896. Her father, Bipin Behari Bhattacarya, sang Vaisnava songs often appearing to be intoxicated. He would rise at 3 AM and sing songs, and was given to wandering for long periods. His wife would go searching for him and bring him back home. On one occasion, during a storm, the roof blew off the house and he continued singing in the rain.
Anandamayi's mother, Moksada Sundari Devi, was also known for her states of bhava or religious emotion. She was visited by avatars and deities who shown with light as she performed her household duties. While pregnant with Nirmala (Anandamayi's given name), she would see visions of sages and statues of deities which would appear, and then suddenly disappear. She later took vows and became a female renunciant.

Anandamayi Ma was very sensitive to religious ritual as a child, and the sound of religious chanting would bring about ecstatic feelings in her. At temples, she would also see religious figures emerging from religious statues and reentering them. She was often distracted and would be seen gazing into space, her eyes not focused on outer objects. Her education was very limited and her writing skills were minimal.

She married at 13 years of age to Ramani Mohan Cakravarti or Bholanath. It was a celibate marriage though not by her husband's choice. When thoughts of sexuality occurred to Bholanath, Anandamayi's body would take on the qualities of death and she would grow faint. He had to repeat mantras to bring her back to normal consciousness. Sometimes in such situations, her body would become distorted in various ways or it would stiffen. She later said that she had given her husband spontaneous electrical shocks when he touched her the wrong way. Bholanath thought the situation was temporary but it proved to be permanent. His relatives said he should remarry but he did not follow their advice. Later, Bholanath took initiation from her and accepted Anandamayi as his guru.
In 1916, she became ill and moved back to her parent's home in Vadyakuta. In 1918 she and her husband moved to Bajitpur where she began to do Shaivite and Vaisnavite spiritual practices. Inner voices would tell her what actions to perform and which images to visualize. Her yogic practices (kryias) were spontaneous and she described them as occurring much like a factory where the various machines all worked automatically and in perfect sequence to produce a product. Anandamayi would shed profuse tears, laugh for hours, and talk at tremendous speed in a Sanskrit-like language. Other unusual actions included rolling in the dust and dancing for long periods whirling like a leaf in the wind. She would also fast for long periods and at other times consume enough food for eight or nine people.
In the history of Indian devotional traditions, changes in bodily structure and state are considered to be spontaneous expressions of religious emotion. Anandamayi's changes were more extreme than these more common sattvika bhavas (sweating, crying, change in skin color, hair standing on end, etc.) which also normally indicate strong religious emotion. Some respected Indian saints of the past were described as having had similar bodily changes. Anandamayi went on various pilgrimages traveling throughout India stopping in ashrams and attending religious festivals. She had a temple built for her by disciples in Dacca but left the day it was completed. She traveled to Dehradun where she lived in an abandoned Shiva temple for almost a year without money and often in freezing temperatures without blankets.
She was known for her siddhis or yogic powers where she could read her devotee's thoughts and emotions at a distance, make her body shrink and expand, and cure the sick. One disciple claimed that she was saved from death after a car accident when Anandamayi grasped her "life substance" and brought it back into her dead body. When Paramahansa Yogananda met Anandamayi Ma and asked her about her life, she answered: "Father, there is little to tell." She spread her graceful hands in a deprecatory gesture. "My consciousness has never associated itself with this temporary body. Before I came on this earth, Father, 'I was the same.' As a little girl, 'I was the same.' I grew into womanhood, but still 'I was the same.' When the family in which I had been born made arrangements to have this body married, 'I was the same.' ... And, Father, in front of you now, 'I am the same.' Ever afterward, though the dance of creation change[s] around me in the hall of eternity, 'I shall be the same.'" Anandamayi was a holy woman without formal religious training or initiation whose status was based entirely on her ecstatic states. She did not have an outer guru, though she did hear voices that told her what religious and meditative practices to perform. She emphasized the importance of detachment from the world and religious devotion. She also encouraged her devotees to serve others. She did much traveling and wandering, at times refusing to stay at the ashrams her devotees provided for her. While her parents worshiped Krishna, she could not be placed in any definite tradition. An ecstatic child of ecstatic parents, she became a famous saint who like many other female Indian saints stood on the edge of several religious traditions, and in the midst of none. She influenced the spirituality of thousands of people who came to see her throughout her long life, and died in 1981.


Godavari Mataji was born on the 24th of December 1914 at the virginal hour just 23 - 1/2 minutes after sunrise, when night meets the day in the unspeakable serenity of dawn. Her parents, like the parents of many Avatars were pious and God-fearing. Godavari’s mother Ramabai had an extraordinary vision which gave clear indication of her daughter’s exalted destiny. One night, while Ramabai was sleeping between her two infant daughters, she suddenly saw a white and unearthly glow fill the whole room with its dazzling radiance. Out of this strange luminosity a lovely apparition appeared, dressed in pure white. his ethereal form came up to them and caressed both the girls and then bending down whispered something in the child Godavari’s ears. Ramabai woke up with a strange elation and conviction that this was not just a dream, but an actual vision. She felt that the radiant visitation was no less than a Goddess who had come down to bless her elder daughter.

This early and portentous sign heralding an unusual destiny was further strengthened by Godavari’s extraordinary qualities, even as a child. Pre-occupied and sensitive, mother took delight in creating for herself with her child’s imagination images of Gods from pieces of stones, and then showed a premature inclination to be absorbed in worship and adoration of these symbols of her creation. Moreover, she had a magic touch, and the food that she touched seemed to grow in abundance. Indeed her touch would unlock, as it were, the Divine storehouse of unlimited resources. The child Godavari’s prodigious memory was another of her assets. She had an amazingly retentive memory which enabled her to recite any poem or passage that was read out to her only once. Another notable feature of Mataji’s early childhood was her instinctive attraction to all holy men, and the reciprocal affection and interest she immediately provoked in the hearts of great Yogis and Mahatmas who probably recognized in this young child great dimensions of spiritual realization. In fact one of these great ones even went so far as to tell her parents: “This daughter of yours is not an ordinary soul. One day she will meet a great Yogi through whom she will realize her exalted status and lead hundreds of souls to their goals”. Indeed the prophecy has been abundantly fulfilled. The full moon day in February 1924 was the starting point, for, it was on that day that Godavari Mataji went to Sakori at the tender age of ten. She was taken there as a visitor, but she recognized in the holy soil of the Sthan her own spiritual abode, and stayed their for the rest of her life as a devotee and disciple, and later as the presiding Mother of the Kanya Kumari Sthan.

In 1941 Sati Godavari Mataji assumed the mantle of her Guru Shri Upasani Baba Maharaj with the strength, simplicity and dignity of a realized being. When she ascended the ‘Gadi’ of spiritual eminence, Mataji was only 26 years old. In the freshness of youth, Mataji had a rare and ethereal beauty of face and form. Today, though she looks deceptively frail and simple, there is a quiet radiance and strength, the strength and radiance of immaculate purity stored up in her. The life eternal flows through her spirit, mind and body, cleansing healing and restoring all those look up to her as the manifestation of Shakti. Soft spoken and gentle, with nothing spectacular about her personality and preaching, Mataji nevertheless encloses in her frail form a dynamic fulfillment of God as Mother.

Tantric philosophy gives great importance to the Shakti aspect of the creator. This aspect is represented in Bharat in the forms of Durga, Chandi, Tara, Kali, Bhuvneshwari and Jagatdhari. According to this branch of philosophy, Shakti represents the manifested aspect of the Divine, where God, is looked upon as personified Divine Mother. To this school of thought we owe the evolution and development of the whole concept of Shakti wherein God asserts himself more powerfully as a female presence. It is maintained that God can become infinitely more lovable, approachable and intimate if He chooses to manifest as Mother. Even at the ordinary human level the mother is looked upon as the embodiment of perfect love. There is scarcely a person who has not, to a greater or lesser degree, experienced the peerless purity of a mother’s heart and the sacrifices she alone is capable of making for her children. There is almost an instinctive and universal turning to the mother’s love as providing a solace for all suffering. Consequently, when the Divine manifests as Mother, that being becomes ever more powerful and irresistible. When Godavari Mataji was born on 24th December 1914, another para-shakti was created in this land. It is no wonder that in his last years Shri Upasani Baba should have told many bhaktas who were about to prostrate themselves before him: “Do not bow to me, worship her, for she is the supreme Shakti and her very darshan will wash away the sins and impurities of men and women”. This was indeed a magnificent tribute of the Guru to one who recognized as his supreme successor.

The moment of meeting between Shri Upasani Baba and the child Godavari was filled with ecstasy for both of them. The Master recognized his completion in her who stood before him, looking at him with her child’s gaze of acceptance, and she even at that age, from some ineluctable stillness of her mature self, knew that she confronted her Guru, the one who would be the medium for releasing the imprisoned splendor of her true identity.

Godavari Mataji’s unique out pouring of devotion to her Guru, and the many incredible hardship she suffered with great fortitude and humility in the service of the Master are inspiring examples of what a true sadhana means. As a matter of fact, she suffered calculable hardships and persecution due to the petty jealousies of some women at the Ashram. These women resented Baba’s exalted opinion of this young disciple, and because they could not transcend their own lower natures, they resented mother’s innate purity, and did their best to break it by pouring on her all the scorn and contumely they could viciously devise. But Mother towered over all these difficulties. Her sensitive spirit knew that it was only through the conquest of such fierce ordeals that she could ascend to the heights which her Guru expected and demanded of her.

Not that the mother needed a sadhana to find herself; she was born in liberation, and her birth and apparent efforts were just a leela of her manifested divinity to serve as an example and inspiration to others. Her early life is a moving saga of surrender and devotion which cannot fail to inspire those who seek salvation through the path of Para Bhakti. But, once when asked by a devotee when exactly she had obtained that bliss which is inseparable from self-realization, Godavari Mataji blurted out in a declaration of unguarded spontaneity: “When! there never was a moment when I did not have it!”

Today, Godavari Mataji is perhaps the greatest living apostle of the path of Devotion. She advocates the practice of God-adoration in any way suitable to the temperament and caliber of the aspirant. ‘Japa Siddhi’, according to Mother, has been given to us as a special and easy method of attainment in this difficult Yuga. Mother lays great stress on the powers of the Mantra Shastra, and she usually initiates deserving sadhakas by giving them appropriate Names or Mantras. Those who have been blessed with such initiation by Mataji, know the powerful impact of these mantras on their inner lives and perceptions. Herself the personification of purity, the Mother lays great stress on the gradual cleansing of one’s thoughts, motives and actions. She gives tremendous push to those who seek her Grace for spiritual progress, but at the same time she enjoins on the sadhakas the necessity of persistent effort. Guru’s Grace does not operate until it is drawn down by the persistent hunger and effort. Mataji says: “The highest state man can aspire to is that of God, and to attain it, he has to exert himself. By self-effort man becomes God. Effort can make even God descend on earth, or those of the earth attain heaven”.

Though nurtured in almost monastic traditions of ascetic living, Mataji has had the courage and the vision to reject all formal manifestations of austerities. She has ushered in an era of gracious living, where ‘tyag’, according to her, is to be practiced to control one’s inner life, thoughts and desires.

To look well-groomed and attractive, and to live with beauty, without getting attached in moha, is Godavari Mataji’s way of life. Not for her the arid philosophy of frugal living. The Divine Beloved is the king of Kings, avows Mother, so why go to him in mortification, in ugliness and woe! Thus Godavari Mataji has met the challenges of progress by re-affirming old intuitions in new ventures, in the comprehensive outlook of religion tempered with love. Broad-minded and progressive, indulgent to the minor frailties of her bhaktas, Mataji can none-the-less be exacting in the demands she makes on her disciples. Her demands are almost always for the bhakta’s genuine love, faith and loyalty to the chosen Ishta. The rest will be taken care of is Mataji’s assurance. This adoration of God in his supreme personality gets for the bhakta, not only the knowledge of the nirguna aspect of the Divine, but also brings him the bliss and ecstasy of a union with the personal aspect of God as Ishwara.

Herself a true votary of Beauty, both in its visual and subtler creations, Mother favours ritualism. She strongly advises against a scornful attitude of these humbler methods of worship. On the contrary, Mother encourages the performance of poojas, and maintains that to worship and adorn idols with flowers, jewels and sandal paste is an outlet of man’s primitive aesthetical impulse.

The Kanya Kumari Sthan has sometimes been the target of an unenlightened criticism. It is said that the Ashram and its inmates do nothing in way of social service. But each Avatar has his or her own unique way of spreading the Light. Godavari Mataji feels that the most pressing need of this Yuga is to fashion self-realized Souls. The purpose of saints like Godavari Mataji, Shri Upasani Baba and Shri Sai Baba is two-fold Not only do they uphold dharma, but they make men and women conscious of their own latent Divinity and help them to find it.

Sati Godavari Mataji is a living Incarnation. In a secluded corner of India, in the remote village of Sakori, Mataji is pre-occupied with the Herculean task of creating and maintaining such conditions as may usher in the birth of a greater India.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Adi Sankaracharya


One of the greatest philosophers and savants of Bharat. Though he lived for only thirty-two years, his achievement was unparalleled. He propounded the vedantic tenet that Brahman the Supreme and man are of one essence and that all people should strive to cultivate this vision of oneness. He established four spiritual centres in the four corners of the country, thus' upholding the underlying unity of the holy land of Bharat.

God's Grace

It is stated that Sri Shankaracharya was born of God's Grace to his parents. Kalati is a beautiful village Kerala. Even today this fine village may be seen on the bank of river Poornaa. There lived a couple It name Shivaguru and Aryamba. Theirs was an orthodox Namboodri brahim family. Though rich, they led simple life Both the husband a wife were well educated. More than that, they were devoted to God. They were worried only about not having any children even after long time. They made vows an appeals to all gods. At last, suggested by close friends, they we to Trichtir for rendering devotional service to God Vrishaachaleshwara. The divinely graceful idol of the God attracted them. They spent many days there with a feeling that serving Him is the only way known to them One night Vrishaachaleshwara appeal in their dream. It was a wonder experience.. God posed a question to them.. I am pleased with your steadfast devotion. I shall- grant your prayer. But there is one question, Does it suffice if you are given only one son of short life who will be a great teacher of the whole world, or do you want many children of long life but dull wits?"

Would the God who is not easily accessible put an easy question? The couple who had such boundless faith in God found completely a different way out. They left everything to His decision only. Then the Lord said, "Your son, born as an aspect of Shiva, will become an universal teacher." So, saying, He disappeared. Shivaguru and Aryamba felt very happy and stayed there for several more days offering their worship and service to god Ishwara. Afterwards they returned home.

A son was born to Aryamba by the full Grace of Ishwara. The baby was named Shankara. Calculating according to solar calendar, the auspicious day has been said to be the fifth day of the bright fortnight of the month of Vaishakha. The devotees celebrate - "Shankara Jayanti On that- day every year.

Shankara, being a divine incamation grew up right from his childhood as a prodigy in every respect. It is said that at the age of eight he had understood the four Vedas. By the time he was twelve years of age, he had understood all branches ofknowledge. And by sixteen he had written commen- taries on those Vedanta which are considered to be his major works. Sharp as his intellect was, so was his heart very broad. Even at a young age Shankara, had become proficient in Prakrit Magadhi and Sanskrit languages. At The first year of his age he had learnt both Malayali, his mother tongue, and Sanskrit, the language of the Vedas. During his second year he was able to read and write in these languages. During his third year he was able to read and explain epics and mythology. Thus is it stated in some books written about him. Considered from an ordinary standpoint, one might feel that much of this may be an exaggeration. But instances of child prodigies endowed with a divine gift of brilliance are not uncommon.
Shankara, the Ascetic

There is not the slightest doubt about an unseen hand shaping the life of Shankara. As if to confirm this, there happened an incident.

One day Shankara was bathing in the river Poornaa. A crocodile caught his leg and began to pull him into the river. However strong one might be one can't fight with a crocodile in water and succeed. What could the plight of boy Shankara be then? He felt that his life had come to an end. He loudly called out to his mother. She came running. He told her, "Death isapproaching, mother, as I have been caught by a crocodile. I am unable to free myself from its grip. I see only one way out. I must take sannyasa before I die. Please permit me to take 'instant sannyasa'. (Taking sannyasa in essence means to give up one life' and get a new one. So by the decision to take sannyasa he would get over the death caused by the crocodile. Either way he would attain an exalted state. If he survived he would have a new life. If he should die, even then he would have a new life after casting away his body.) The son’s plight and his pathetic appeal moved the heart of the mother. She wasconfused. If he could live at least by becoming a monk, may it be so. She only wanted him to live. So, with a firm faith in Ishwara she gave her consent saying, "My child, may it be according to His will."

Probably it was the will of God that Shankara should be freed from worldly life. The crocodile left Shankara unhurt and swam away in the water! Shankara. Crossed over the sorrow and misery of worldly life. By mere resolution of the mind, he became a Sannyasi and attained a new life.

Mother was grieved about his becoming an ascetic. A few days after this incident, the boy-monk told her about his life’s mission.

He requested her to permit her to leave Kalati.

He was her only son. And was a gift of God to her.

But when she realised that he was born only to render service both to God and to humanity, she blessed him and bade him farewell saying, "Attain great fame, my dear son."

Shankara requested the elders and his dear friends of neighborhood to have good care about his mother and then he got ready to leave Mother could not control her grief "Shankara," she said, "will I see yet again once at least before I die? Shankara, having understood mother., heart, assured her, "Mother, remember me at the time death. I will come to you wherever I may be. I am praying to God to grant me the ‘good fortune of serving my mother during her last days." This was a reply of one who had supreme faith in God. To divert his mother's attention towards God, he installed at home an idol of Sri Krishna. Leaving his mother to his gracious care, Shankara left Kalati.

The Guiding Light

It cannot be said definitely where the Acharya spent his last days. It is common and natural for people everywhere to take pride in saying that such and such a Mahatma was born in their own town or visited their town and sanctified that place by walking on it, or that he entered eternal peace in their place.

People claim the signs of Shankara’s Mahasamadhi in the holy towns of Kanchi, Trichur and Kedar. There is nothing surprising in this. The Acharya was in all such sacred places and he had gone beyond them. If the samadhi of the Southern Acharya is in Kedar of the North, it only signifies that his personality had extended over the whole of Bharat.

Acharya Shankara, at the early age of 32, cut asunder all bonds of relation with the ‘world and attained the state of Brahman. Ordinary people will have to spend 32 years even for being able ask "What is the meaning of life?" But the Acharya during his brief life-time had brought about a great religious renaissance all over Bharat. By his memorable works on religion and philosophy he had pointed out the unique feature of our ancient religion. He found fulfilment of his life by consolidating the history of Bharat from the point of view of culture. He gave a concrete form to the truth that the whole of India was one by establishing spiritual centres in various zones.

May the divine life of such great men be a guiding light to us.

SRI Ganapathi SAchchidananda Swamiji

His Holiness Sri Sri Ganapathi Sachchidananda Swamiji of Mysore, one of the greatest spiritual leaders of the present day is an asset to India and the world at large. He is an incarnation of the Great Cosmic Power. Revival of culture, reformation of society and establishing peace and happiness among mankind and transforming into godly men is his mission. His methods include: establishing Dharma.* and Bhakti.* by singing devotional hymns, by reciting the names of the Lord Almighty and inculcating the masses by instilling into them love of God through chorus singing of Bhajans and listening to his meditation-music.
Sri Swamiji is traveling the world to help seekers discover that everything is God. In Him devotees find compassion, love and divine wisdom as He guides them on the path of Yoga sadhana - to discover and realize their true Self. Sri Swamiji conveys an important part of His message through His music, being noted for His namasankirtan. Sri Swamiji's music is devotional and used for spiritual energy transmission. This great master sings self-composed bhajans in Sanskrit, Hindi, Telugu, Kannada and English and plays ayurvedic healing ragas on an electronic synthesizer, accompanied by musicians on classical Indian instruments. Devotees around the world claim to have received immense benefit through his concerts, everything from physical healing to spiritual guidance, and great outpourings of divine love.

It is easier to describe what He does than to say who He is. To begin to know who he is one must experience him, one must adopt the attitude of a seeker of God. Sri Swamiji speaks simply and to the heart in fact He is a silent teacher who teaches through your own love and devotion . To experience Him is to begin to know one's own true self.

Swamiji speaks

Some people ask what is the purpose of Swamiji. Swamiji's purpose is always in God's hands. Who am I? What do I want? What do I follow?

In my innermost heart I am looking for some good souls. I don't want any new organisation and I don't like conversion from one religion to another. My way is very different. I don't belong to any association. I am my own association. I believe in my heart. I am not a messenger, or priest or God.

Who is your Guru? People ask. I say that I am my own Guru - Dattatreya, the incarnation of the Trinity. I believe, adore, serve and revere my Lord Datta.

What is your religion? I have no religion, but I follow Hindu religion because I am born a Hindu.

Some people are attracted by so -called miracles. They ask me, do you perform miracles? What is the meaning and use of these miracles? My final answer is that they have no use, it is only play. I materialise objects sometimes at the request of devotees only to strengthen the bond of friendship between you and Swamiji. I possess all siddhis. I have many powers but what about your position? I am all right but what about you? You must recognise your own problems, decide what you need and take good advice. In India so many people are performing miracles, but these are not important. What is important is the removal of your ignorance and suffering.

Keep your mind steady and pray to God. In Swamiji's method you are yourself Guru. Just be calm, and follow your own methods and believe in them. Your Self is God, your self is Guru. Also take good advice from friends and saints but stay with one Guru.

He who opens your heart and gives you knowledge of God, he is Guru. Don't use intellect but use only heart to heart feelings to know who is Guru. Believe in your heart.

You know, God is not the property of Swamis or priests, he belongs to everyone. Try to maintain a life of Truth and happiness. Always be satisfied within yourself.
May the choicest blessing of Lord Dattatreya be on you.

Sathya Sai Baba

Sathya Sai Baba

Sathya Sai Baba is a highly revered spiritual leader and world teacher, whose life and message are inspiring millions of people throughout the world to turn God-ward and to lead more purposeful and moral lives. His timeless and universal teachings, along with the manner in which he leads his own life, are attracting seekers of Truth from all the religions of the world. Yet, he is not seeking to start a new religion. Nor does he wish to direct followers to any particular religion. Rather, he urges us to continue to follow the religion of our choice and/or upbringing.

Sathya Sai Baba publicly declared his mission in 1940, at the age of 14. Since then, he has daily exhibited in practical and concrete terms the highest ideals of truth, right conduct, peace, love, and nonviolence. He has often stated, "My life is my message." Each day, hundreds of pilgrims make their way to the tiny hamlet in southern India where Sathya Sai Baba's ashram (spiritual headquarters) is located. They come not only from India but from virtually every country of the world. Over the years, followers have organized to foster the construction of a variety of buildings and facilities to house and otherwise accommodate the ever-increasing number of visitors. The name of Sathya Sai Baba's ashram is Prasanthi Nilayam, which means "abode of the highest peace".

Sathya Sai Baba interacts with all people on a heart-to-heart basis. There are no intermediaries between himself and those who yearn for knowledge and experience of God. Every day for more than 50 years, Sathya Sai Baba has walked among and talked with the spiritual pilgrims who gather around him in increasing numbers. He offers solace and inspiration to all sincere seekers of truth.

Education. Sathya Sai Baba places great importance on proper education for young people. Parents and community leaders are urged to concern themselves with the informal as well as the formal experiences to which their children and young adults are exposed.

He has established a model education system, which includes primary schools, secondary schools, and an accredited university with three campuses, offering undergraduate, Masters, and Ph.D. degrees. No fees are charged to students, and admission is open to all, regardless of race, religion, or economic condition.

In addition to emphasizing the pursuit of academic excellence, Sathya Sai Baba's system of "integral education" is designed to foster self-discipline and pro-social conduct. Students are required to take courses on morality and spirituality and to devote several hours each week to some form of community service. Sathya Sai
Baba says that "the end of education is character".

Health care. Sathya Sai Baba has built an ultra-modern 300-bed hospital close to the university and ashram. Highly specialized operations, including open-heart operations and kidney transplants, are performed routinely. There is absolutely no charge to the patient for professional or hospital expenses. Motivated by the desire to serve humanity, doctors, nurses, and workers in the hospital render extraordinary, compassionate, and loving care to all patients.

Service to those in need. Recently, Sathya Sai Baba initiated a project to provide an adequate supply of pure water to 1.5 million inhabitants of the State of Andhra Pradesh (India) who were living in drought conditions. The Prime Minister of India traveled to Prasanthi Nilayam (Sathya Sai Baba's main ashram) in order to inaugurate the project. Sathya Sai Baba demonstrates that it is the duty of society to ensure that all people have access to the basic requirements for the sustenance of human life.

Sathya Sai Baba has given his life, selflessly and magnanimously, to the service of mankind.

If there is righteousness in the heart, there will be beauty in the character.
If there is beauty in the character, there will be harmony in the home.
If there is harmony in the home, there will be order in the nation.
When there is order in the nation, there will be peace in the world.

Sathya Sai Baba -- His Message

Sathya Sai Baba encourages us to recognize who we are. We are not these minds. We are not these bodies. We are the eternal spirit that temporarily occupies these minds and bodies. We can appreciate and become who we really are by turning inward with faith in God and an intense yearning to know Him. Our conscience is a reflection of the eternal spirit. Sathya Sai Baba tells us that our conscience is our master. When we follow our conscience, our thoughts, words, and deeds will be noble and consistent. Spirituality is having the courage and determination to follow our conscience in all things and at all times. In doing so, we recognize that we are all united in God. We are bound together by divine love.

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 come to tell you of this universal, unitary faith, this spiritual principle, this path of love, this duty of love, this obligation to love. Every religion teaches man to fill his being with the glory of God and to evict the pettiness of conceit. It trains him in the methods of unattachment and discernment, so that he may aim high and attain spiritual liberation. Believe that all hearts are motivated by the one and only God; that all faiths glorify the one and only God; that all names in all languages and all forms man can conceive denote the one and only God. His adoration is best done by means of love. Cultivate that attitude of oneness between men of all creeds and all countries. That is the message of love I bring. That is the message I wish you to take to heart.
Let the different faiths exist, let them flourish, and let the glory of God be sung in all the languages and a variety of 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 flame of unity.

Sathya Sai Baba -- The Essence Of His Teachings

At the age of 14, Sathya Sai Baba declared to his parents that he had come to this world with a mission to re-establish the principle of Righteousness, to motivate love for God and service to fellow man. Since then, he has consistently called on all mankind to Love All, Serve All and has repeatedly asserted that the essence of all scriptures is Help Ever, Hurt Never!

Through his speeches and writings, Sathya Sai Baba has offered a veritable ocean of knowledge and guidance on all aspects of spiritual, religious, and value-oriented living. He has often repeated that it is not necessary to drink the whole ocean to know its taste, that it is not necessary to read all scriptures to live a life of joy, peace, and love. It is enough to put into practice one aspect of spiritual teaching.

A few drops of the ocean of Sathya Sai Baba's teachings, an attempt to encapsulate its essence, follows. Sathya Sai Baba urges mankind to:

  • Believe in God --for there is only ONE GOD for all mankind, though He may be called by many names.
  • Follow sincerely their respective religions and live their daily lives in consonance with the teachings of good behavior and morality.
  • Respect all other religions --for no religion advocates the negative and lower qualities of man.
  • Perform selfless service to the poor, the sick, and the needy without thought of reward or fame.
  • Cultivate in their lives the values of truth, divine love, right conduct, peace, and nonviolence and promote these values among all.
  • Be patriotic and respect the laws of the country in which they live.

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

Shankar was born to Venkat Ratnam, a scholar of languages, and Vishalakshi. His parents named him Shankar since his birthday matched that of the 8th century CE Hindu saint, Adi Shankara According to his biographies, at the age of four he could recite verses from the Bhagavad Gita. He was said to be often found in deep meditation even at a young age. Some of his followers of the Art of Living movement claim he received an advanced degree in physics at the age of 17.

Shankar is a former disciple of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi At his early age, his father delegated him to the care of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Shankar joined Maharishi's entourage, taught the Vedic pundits at Maharishi's charities, and soon became the Maharishi’s favorite disciple. In the early 1990s, Shankar added the honorific Sri Sri to his own name Ravi Shankar after the renowned sitarist Ravi Shankar objected that the guru was capitalizing on the latter's fame.

In an interview, Shankar said that in 1982, after a ten-day retreat into silence on the banks of the Bhadra river in Shimoga in Karnataka, India, the "Sudarshan Kriya" --a rhythmic breathing exercise-- came to him "like a poem, an inspiration". He added, "I learned it and started teaching it." Shankar says that every emotion has a corresponding rhythm in the breath, and believes that regulating breath could help people with their suffering.

Shankar founded the Art of Living Foundation in 1982 to spread the breathing technique. Along with Dalai Lama and , he founded in 1997 the International Association for Human Values (IAHV) to "to foster on a global scale a deeper understanding of the values that unite us as a human community."

Philosophy and Activities

Shankar emphasizes breath as the link between body and mind and therefore a tool to relax the mind. He also emphasizes service to others, besides meditating. According to him, science and spirituality are linked and consistent. His stated vision is to create a world which is free of stress and violence through acquisition of wisdom, and his programs aim to offer practical tools to accomplish wisdom. In his view, "Truth is spherical rather than linear; so it has to be contradictory." "Anything that is spherical is always contradictory," says Shankar.

In 2001, after the "9/11" attack on the World Trade Center towers in New York city, Shankar's organization offered courses in stress reduction, free of cost, to New Yorkers. A relief program has been successfully run in Kosovo, for the war ravaged population and the Public Health System , University and UN personnel. The organization also started an operation in Iraq in 2003, aimed at relieving the war-ravaged Iraqi population of stress. A Program was implemented in Afghanistan from 2003 to 2006 teaching to war victims, UN and ngo personnel. In 2007, Shankar visited Iraq at the invitation of Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki, and also met with Sunni, Shia, and Kurdish leaders. He visited Pakistan in 2004 and met with some political and religious leaders there as a part of his efforts to promote global peace. Many volunteers have assisted the tsunami victims and hurricane Katrina victims. There is a Prison SMART (Stress Management And Rehabilitation Techniques) Program assisting prisoners and prison staffs around the world.

Sudarshan Kriya

Sudarshan Kriya is the core component of the Art of Living courses. Persons enrolling for the courses are required to sign non-disclosure agreements, so that specifics of the Sudarshan Kriya technique are not made public . However, some of the starting "asanas" and exercises have been disclosed in a newspaper article

Sudarshan Kriya is said to infuse the body with energy and harmonize the natural rhythms of the body, mind, and emotions. There have been several independent studies published on the effects of the technique.

Mata Amritanandamayi

Mata Amritanandamayi

On the morning of the 27th of September 1953, in a small poor fishing village, Parayakadavu in the Quilon district of Kerala, a baby girl was born. Her parents gave her the name Sudhamani. She came into this world not in tears as babies usually do, but with a beaming smile on her face, as if prophesying the joy and bliss she was to bring to the world.

Sudhamani spent the years of her childhood and teens immersed in intense spiritual practices in order to present a living example for the world. Even as a small child, she could often be found absorbed in deep meditation, totally oblivious of her surroundings. By the age of five, she had already begun composing devotional songs laden with deep mystical insight.

Another quality that was clearly manifest in Sudhamani from this tender age was her love and compassion toward her fellow human beings. Though only a child, Sudhamani did whatever she could to ease the suffering of her elderly neighbors. She washed their clothes, bathed them and even brought them food and clothing from her own home. This habit of giving away things from her family’s house landed her in deep trouble. However, no amount physical abuse or punishment could stop the expression of her inborn compassion. She later said, " An unbroken stream of Love flows from me towards all beings in the cosmos. That is my inborn nature."

‘Amma’ as she is known all over the world today, has inspired and started innumerable humanitarian services. She has earned international recognition for her outstanding contributions to the world community. She is recognized as an extraordinary spiritual leader by the United Nations and by the people all over the world.

Though Amma makes no claims herself, those who watch her closely notice that she is the greatest example of her teaching. Her disciples and believers imbibe her teachings by just watching her.

For the past 35 years Amma has dedicated her life to the uplifting of suffering humanity through the simplest of gestures – an embrace. In this intimate manner Amma had blessed and consoled more than 25 million people throughout the world.

When someone asked Amma why she receives every person who comes to her in a loving embrace Amma replied, “ If you ask the river,' why do you flow?' what can it say?”

Amma spends most of her waking hours receiving the distressed and all who come to her for comfort, day after day without a break.

Once a press reporter asked Amma how was it possible for her to embrace each and every one in the same loving way, even if they were diseased or unpleasant. Amma replied, “ When a bee hovers over a garden of varied flowers, what it beholds is not the difference between the flowers but the honey within them. Similarly Amma sees the same Supreme Self in each and every one.”
As Dr. Jane Goodall, while presenting Amma with the 2002 Gandhi-King Award for Non-violence said,
" She stands here in front of us. God's love in a human body."


Amma has time and again emphasized that the duty of every human being is to realize his true Self, or in other words,' know who we really are.' She does not favor any particular religion. When asked to which religion she belongs, she says, “My religion is love and service.”

“ Love is the foundation of a happy life. Knowingly or unknowingly we are forgetting this truth” she says. Amma on several occasions has said that it is important not only to feel love but also to express it. “ After all, love is our true nature. When we do not express love in our words and actions it is like honey hidden in a rock. “ she says, “ It is of no use to anyone. This mutual sharing and expressing of love should begin at home between married couples and between parents and children. Only then will there be peace and harmony at home and in the society.”

Once when someone asked Amma as to whom she would term as a true disciple, Amma said that, “One whose legs rush to offer help, whose lips utter comforting words of love and whose eyes shed tears of compassion on hearing the cry of the distressed, such a person I would call a true disciple."


Amma's life is her message. In other words, Amma does not teach anything that she herself does not practice. Living from moment to moment in a constant state of supreme happiness, Amma warmly embraces thousands of people day after day, wiping their tears, giving them her divine guidance and offering solace to all who come to her. Amma recommends the path of selfless-service through the example of her own life.

Amma says, "The beauty and charm of selfless love and service should not die away from the face of the earth. The world should know that a life of dedication is possible, that a life inspired by love and service to humanity is possible.

Meditation and studying the scriptures are like two sides of a coin. The engraving on that coin is selfless service, and that is what gives it its real value. Our compassion and acts of selflessness take us to the deeper truths. Through selfless action we can eradicate the ego that conceals the Self. Detached, selfless action leads to liberation. Such action is not just work; it is karma yoga."

Amma always points out that the purpose of one's life is to realize who we really are. She says, "By realizing our own Self we become full, with nothing more to gain in life. Life becomes perfect."

To attain this goal, Amma says that no particular path or spiritual practice can be recommended for all. "Just as a doctor gives different dosages or even different medications to patients with the same ailment according to their constitution, so does a Spiritual Master prescribe different methods to different people to reach the same goal. Spirituality is the practical science of life. Apart from taking us to the ultimate goal of Self-realization it also teaches us the nature of the world, and how to understand life and live fully in the best way possible."

However, Amma says that the path of devotion and selfless-service is the safest and most conducive path for many people.

Swami Vivekananda

SWAMI VIVEKANANDA' inspiring personality was well known both in India and in America during the last decade of the nineteenth century and the first decade of the twentieth. The unknown monk of India suddenly leapt into fame at the Parliament of Religions held in Chicago in 1893, at which he represented Hinduism. His vast knowledge of Eastern and Western culture as well as his deep spiritual insight, fervid eloquence, brilliant conversation, broad human sympathy, colourful personality, and handsome figure made an irresistible appeal to the many types of Americans who came in contact with him. People who saw or heard Vivekananda even once still cherish his memory after a lapse of more than half a century.

In America Vivekananda's mission was the interpretation of India's spiritual culture, especially in its Vedantic setting. He also tried to enrich the religious consciousness of the Americans through the rational and humanistic teachings of the Vedanta philosophy. In America he became India's spiritual ambassador and pleaded eloquently for better understanding between India and the New World in order to create a healthy synthesis of East and West, of religion and science.

In his own motherland Vivekananda is regarded as the patriot saint of modern India and an inspirer of her dormant national consciousness, To the Hindus he preached the ideal of a strength-giving and man-making religion. Service to man as the visible manifestation of the Godhead was the special form of worship he advocated for the Indians, devoted as they were to the rituals and myths of their ancient faith. Many political leaders of India have publicly acknowledged their indebtedness to Swami Vivekananda.

The Swami's mission was both national and international. A lover of mankind, be strove to promote peace and human brotherhood on the spiritual foundation of the Vedantic Oneness of existence. A mystic of the highest order, Vivekananda had a direct and intuitive experience of Reality. He derived his ideas from that unfailing source of wisdom and often presented them in the soulstirring language of poetry.

The natural tendency of Vivekananda's mind, like that of his Master, Ramakrishna, was to soar above the world and forget itself in contemplation of the Absolute. But another part of his personality bled at the sight of human suffering in East and West alike. It might appear that his mind seldom found a point of rest in its oscillation between contemplation of God and service to man. Be that as it may, he chose, in obedience to a higher call, service to man as his mission on earth; and this choice has endeared him to people in the West, Americans in particular.

In the course of a short life of thirty-nine years (1863-1902), of which only ten were devoted to public activities-and those, too, in the midst of acute physical suffering-he left for posterity his four classics: Jnana-Yoga, Bhakti-Yoga, Karma-Yoga, and Raja-Yoga, all of which are outstanding treatises on Hindu philosophy. In addition, he delivered innumerable lectures, wrote inspired letters in his own hand to his many friends and disciples, composed numerous poems, and acted as spiritual guide to the many seekers, who came to him for instruction. He also organized the Ramakrishna Order of monks, which is the most outstanding religious organization of modern India. It is devoted to the propagation of the Hindu spiritual culture not only in the Swami's native land, but also in America and in other parts of the world.

Swami Vivekananda once spoke of himself as a "condensed India." His life and teachings are of inestimable value to the West for an understanding of the mind of Asia. William James, the Harvard philosopher, called the Swami the "paragon of Vedantists." Max Muller and Paul Deussen, the famous Orientalists of the nineteenth century, held him in genuine respect and affection. "His words," writes Romain Rolland, "are great music, phrases in the style of Beethoven, stirring rhythms like the march of Handel choruses. I cannot touch these sayings of his, scattered as they are through the pages of books, at thirty years' distance, without receiving a thrill through my body like an electric shock. And what shocks, what transports, must have been produced when in burning words they issued from the lips of the hero!''



This is the gist of all worship - to be pure and to do good to others. He who sees Siva in the poor, in the weak, and in the diseased, really worships Siva, and if he sees Siva only in the image, his worship is but preliminary. He who has served and helped one poor man seeing Siva in him, without thinking of his cast, creed, or race, or anything, with him Siva is more pleased than with the man who sees Him only in temples.

It is impossible to find God outside of ourselves. Our own souls contribute all of the divinity that is outside of us. We are the greatest temple. The objectification is only a faint imitation of what we see within ourselves.

To succeed, you must have tremendous perseverance, tremendous will. "I will drink the ocean," says the persevering soul, "at my will mountains will crumble up." Have that sort of energy, that sort of will, work hard, and you will reach the goal.

Stand up for God; let the world go.

Giving up all other thoughts, with the whole mind day and night worship God. Thus being worshipped day and night, He reveals himself and makes His worshippers feel His presence.


Tadviddhi pranipatena pariprashnena sevaya'If you wish to know the truth of the Paramatman you must seek such Masters who have an awareness of it themselves. Learn from them by surrendering unto them, by devoted service and by right questioning. Thus will you come to know the Supreme Truth.'