"The Veda is the Mother of all the Sastras. The Veda emanated from God Himself as inhalation and exhalation. The great sages, who were the embodiments of the treasure gained by long ascetic practices, received Veda as a series of sounds and spread it over the world by word of mouth from preceptor to pupil."(Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. Sathya Sai Vahini. Eternal Truths). - Baba
"VetthiithiVedah"; Knowing, knowledge is Veda. That is to say, man can know from the Vedas, the Code of Right Activity and the Body of Right Knowledge. The Vedas teach man his duties from birth to death. They describe his rights and duties, obligations and responsibilities in all stages of life - as a student, householder, recluse and monk. In order to make plain the Vedic dicta and axioms and enable all to understand the meaning and purpose of the do's and don'ts, the Vedangas, Puranas and Epic texts appeared, in course of time. Therefore, if man is eager to grasp his own significance and true reality, he has to understand the importance of these later explanatory compositions also.
The stream of Indian culture always emphasized the authority of the Vedas as the supreme authority for deciding the values of human living. Of the Vedas, the first is the Rg-veda -hymns in praise of God under the names of Agni, Indra, Marut, Ushas, etc., are found.
The second of the Vedas is the Yajurveda. This Veda refers to the Ganga River and its region. The Yajurveda has seven sections called Aranyakas or Forest Texts, indicating by that very name, that it refers more to disciplines and spiritual exercises which can be practiced only in the seclusion and silence of the forest.
The third Veda is the Sama-Veda. In this collection, many of the hymns (riks) of the Rg-Veda are repeated, but, with additional musical notes so that they may be sung during Vedic rituals and ceremonies. So, the Sama-Veda is mainly Swara or musical notation.
The fourth is the Atharvan or Atharva Veda. In this Veda, the possibility of man acquiring certain powers and mysteries by his own effort and exercises are mentioned. Hatayoga, thiraskaranividya, ashtayoga - these are made available for man only in this Veda. Of course, by winning the Grace of God, man can acquire even skills that are otherwise impossible of attainment.
In short, it must be realized that the Vedas are very important for man and that they cover the entire range of knowledge. They are the source and spring of Bharathiya culture. They are the recordings of visions and divine experiences; their source cannot be attributed to one single person. They were revealed by God Himself, of His own innate Mercy. The Vedic inheritance has been preserved pure and unsullied even to this day, because, it was handed down from the master to the disciple, in regular succession. Since it is timeless and authorless, it is worthy of acceptance by all.
Whatever may be the diversities in contents, the commentators agree that the essential teaching of all the four Vedas is the same. The sections dealing with rites, modes of worship and the conclusions of inquiry help man to achieve the four goals of life - Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha. Since it is very hard to master the Vedas, we have developed a vast Smrithi literature to expound the Sruthi texts - the Puranas and the Ithihasas. Farsighted seers composed these out of historical and legendary incidents and events.
Karma and Jnana are related as cause and effect, and so, the Karma sections of the Sruthi and Smrithi, which emphasized activity, led to the discovery of new facets of Truth and rendered the ideas of a transcendent God clearer and nearer. So too, the discovery of clearer concepts of God through spiritual inquiry along the Jnana marga fed "activity" with better meaning and higher purpose. The benefit of Karma was proportionate to the faith and the faith in Karma was in proportion to the awareness of God, won through Jnana. For involving oneself in good activities, Jnana is an essential pre-requisite. That Jnana has ultimately to be derived from the Vedas; it is based on the teachings of the Vedas.
Karma is nothing but the practice of Dharma. The Upanishads give us guidance on what has to be done and what has to be avoided, in the spiritual journey. They direct us to revere the mother as God, revere the father as God, revere the preceptor as God, revere the guest as God and also, warn us that truth shall not be neglected, Dharma shall not be neglected. So, there are both positive and negative instructions - follow these counsels not others. Whatever is conducive to your progress in goodness, accept; avoid other counsels - thus do the Upanishads instruct.
Dharmorakshatirakshitah; Dharma protects those who protect it, says the Sruthi. If people come forward to foster the sources of Dharma, that good act, by itself, will help foster those who do it.
Swami established the Veda Paatashala not for training priests, but to expose Swami's students to the importance of the Vedas and understanding the need to preserve them. Incidentally, there were no restrictions, and anyone who had a serious interest in the Vedas and a keenness to learn it, was admitted to Swami's Veda Paatashala. Immensely thankful to the pioneering effort of late Kamavadhani, Vedic scholar, that we see so many students effortlessly chanting various portions of the Vedas almost every day during Darshan, both in the morning and in the evening.
Baba, who is the Veda Purusha, has educated all time and again on the supreme benefits of chanting Vedas. Veda classes are conducted by Vedic scholars, at various centers which enable many people to attend. Every occasion gets started with Vedic chants which leaves the whole place charged with divine vibrations. The Sri Sathya Sai Veda Poshanaprograms are conducted at various places. The Sri Sathya Sai Veda Poshana Program aims at adopting a formal and structured approach to learn, chant and teach Veda in the Sri Sathya Sai Organization.
Train the Trainers
The objectives of the Sri Sathya Sai Veda Poshana program are as follows:
Increase awareness of Vedam as a spiritual discipline for Lok Kalyana in the organization and in the society at large.
Create a pool of high quality chanters in the organization who have knowledge of the Meaning of the Veda Mantras.
Motivate and facilitate Veda chanters to become Veda Gurus who can then serve the Avataric mission of Veda Poshana in the Society.
Be Good, Do Good, See Good, this is theway to God
The objectives of the program will be realized through regular workshops on the different Vedic Hymns.
Each workshop focuses on a particular Vedic Hymn and targets to:
Train chanters to become new trainers of the Hymn
Attract new aspirants to the Hymn.
The curriculum of the program and the method of instruction used in the workshops will align completely with the Vedic education system created by Bhagwan in HIS educational institutions.
Bhagawan's teachings are a treasure trove which needs to be elaborated to understand how man can tune his life to reach his goal. This needs proper understanding through discussions and clarification with appropriate elaboration to digest and absorb. Only correct and proper assimilation of His teachings can result in adhering and following the right path to reach the Divine.
Swami says that the spiritual growth of a person is best achieved through an integrated practice of devotion, study, and service. The purpose of a study circle is made explicitly clear by Baba as follows: "It is not just reading books make a Study Circle. Study circle means taking a point and each person discussing what is the meaning of the point to them-like a round table conference. Each person gives his point of view, and finally values are derived from this. If there is just reading, there is doubt, but if each one gives his view, doubts will be answered. The topic is viewed; the study circle looks at the same point in different facets. It is like a diamond with its different facets, but there is one facet that is flat, the top facet, and from this all can be viewed. To discover the top facet is the task [purpose] of study circle".
Sathya Sai Baba further tells us, "Not information, but transformation, not instruction but construction should be the aim. Theoretical knowledge is a burden, unless it is practiced, when it can be lightened into wisdom and assimilated into daily life. Knowledge that does not give harmony and wholeness to the process of living is not worth acquiring. Every activity must be rendered valid and worthwhile by its contribution to the discovery of Truth, both of the Self and of nature."
The study circle carries many benefits to participants. The primary benefit is the acquisition of Self-knowledge. Swami says, "In the study circle you can learn a lot of things, but the most important thing to be learnt is your own true nature - your atma-tatwa. Learning all about external things without knowing your real Self is like studying the branches of a tree, ignoring its roots."
Swami also cautions us with the following statement not to turn the study circle into a reading group, study with faith and devotion. Delve into the significance and the meaning of what you read, and always have before you the goal of putting into practice what you read. Unless you do so, the study circle will remain a half-circle forever; it cannot be a full circle."
Study circles can be arranged for three categories of members
For Sadhakas or Devotees
For Professionals and Educationalists
For Rural and Industrial members
Study Circle Topics for Sadhakas or Devotees
Power of Bhajans and Prayers
Bhakti, Jnana, Karma synthesis
Namasmarana - Highest Sadhana
Bhagavad Geeta - its message to Sai devotees/Sevaks
Sai Teachings and practice by us
Sai Seva - a powerful Sadhana
Sathya Sai Education and Personality Development
Karma Yoga & which is stronger Karma(action) or Prarabhdhya (fate)?
Purity, Patience, Perseverance
Discipline, Duty, Devotion
Vedic Heritage of India
Need for Satsang and Sadhana
Secret of Success
Sathya, Dharma, Shanti, Prema - 4 pillars
Self-confidence, Self-sacrifice as steps of Self Realization
Sai Literature, its importance and a plan for its study
Why Baba is called Avatar or Bhagawan?
Bhagawan's mission & Sri Sathya Sai Organizations
Festivals at Parthi
Spirituality in day to day life
The purpose of Religion
Love of God, Fear of Sin and Morality in Society
Science and Spirituality
Who is a devotee?
Nine forms of Bhakti
Nine-pointcode of conduct
All religions lead to the same goal
One who protects Dharma will in turn be protected by Dharma
Study Circle Topics for Professionals and Educationalists
The end of education is character
The triple purity of thought, word and deed
The end of knowledge is love
Spirituality and Science
The end of wisdom is freedom
Role of parents and teachers in reforming student generation
Health is Wealth
Need for value education
Role of Yoga and Meditation
Sri Sathya Sai Education
Morality - foundation for progress
Unity of Faiths
Self-confidence, as basis for faith in God
True love for all beings brings us closer to God
Love for the Mother Land
Ceiling on Desires
Love lives by giving and forgiving
Study Circle Topics for Rural and Industrial members
"Devotional singing (Bhajan) is one of the processes by which you can train the mind to expand into eternal values. Teach the mind to revel in the glory and majesty of God; wean it away from petty horizons of pleasure. Devotional singing induces in you a desire for experiencing the truth, to glimpse the beauty that is God, to taste the bliss that is the Self. It encourages man to dive into himself and be genuinely his real Self." -Baba
When Swami was barely 8 or 9 years old He collected His classmates and a few others and formed the PandariBhajan Group. This ebullient troupe of teenagers danced in devotion and glee in the hamlet of Puttaparthi. Not only were the souls of all who witnessed this overflowed with joy, their bodies were healed too! When the epidemic cholera arrived and caused catastrophe in so many villages around, it just could not enter this sacred settlement. That is how powerful were the vibrations created by Swami's little group. And devotees witnessed a glorious magnification of this ecstatic feeling whenever in the later years Swami lead a bhajan and the multitude joining Him in superlative joy. And in the process they became oblivious to everything around and lost their body, mind and heart in it completely. It was no more a bhajan, it became a supremely sanctifying sadhana. That is how bhajans should be, Swami has demonstrated it time and again.
Community singing or Bhajans alone can create an opportunity to illuminate the spark of divinity within every heart and also unite people in and around the vicinity through the light of Love .Only internal purity can destroy mountains of sins and bring about real transformation in man. -Baba
Aim of Bhajan ..Bhajans sung Soulfully...
Elevates Divine Consciousness in everyone
Enlighten participants appreciate the Beauty and Grandeur of Divinity
Realize the emptiness and futility of materialism
Motivate to tread on the path of Love and Selfless Service
Inspire to commence spiritual journey towards self-realization.
Spiritual Benefits of Bhajan
Relieves from sorrow
Anxiety, fear, hesitation are driven away from one's heart
Gives relief in pain and reduces the stress
Elevates the depressed to happy state
You will shed differences and achieve unity
Electromagnetic waves generated from the bhajan purify the atmosphere
Greed for power, name, fame, wealth, knowledge and comforts will vanish
Removes the veil of illusion
Elevates the mind to a higher consciousness
Cleanses the understanding
Inculcates good habits and cultured behavior
Activates every part of the brain
Contributes to character building
Melody, Tempo, Tone and rhythm improve Multitasking abilities
Ensures social and intellectual growth of students
Motivates at-risk students
Has an honorable designation "Healing without Medicine"
Power of Namasmarana
Namasmarana is the best antidote for overcoming anger & sorrow.
Namasmarana instills faith that everything is God's will and teaches you that you have no right to exult or despair
Namasmarana purifies the mind, senses and we enjoy continuous, un-alloyed peace and bliss
Nama is packed with infinite potential to purify, sublimate and transform the mind and the heart
Namasmarana is the best medicine. Only you do not believe that it can cure or save you
In the Kali age, Namasmarana is the spiritual discipline to attain liberation
Namasmarana is the best means for correcting and cleansing the mind. This is like a raft which will take us across hate & fear, churned by anxiety & terror
Namasmarana knows no failure, overcomes all obstacles and leads one to the ultimate goal
Namasmarana gives strength to bear our sorrows & tears
Namasmarana makes His majesty, His grace, His potency and His pervasiveness fixed in the conscious of the devotee to achieve humility and surrender.
Namasmarana is the easiest means to cross the ocean of delusion, bondage and attachment.
Namasmarana has infinite power and potential to become one with the infinity
Nagarsankeerthana There is no greater joy than coming together like a flock of birds and taking the melodious name of the Lord in unison. Groups of devotees get together in the wee hours of the morning, every day/week and make their way across the bylanes near the temple and sing bhajans in unison, spreading the sacred name of the Lord.
AkhandaBhajan As part of the birthday celebrations of Bhagawan Baba, on the second Saturday-Sunday in November and on Shivarathri day Bhajans (devotional singing) are conducted continuously for 24 hours at all Sathya Sai Centres on a global level praying for peace, harmony and bliss to all mankind.
'BHAJAN' or 'NAAMSAMARNA' means group devotional singing of the glory of God. When and wherever His glory is sung, He is always there. Unless you sing bhajans for your own ecstacy, you cannot bring joy to others, thus preventing them from sharing 'ANANDA' i.e. bliss. With each bhajan sung the mind must be rendered purer, free from passion and stronger in faith.
When the chanting of the Name is done in community singing, it should be in a form in which the entire group can participate easily. The tune, the rhythm, etc. should be such that all can follow the bhajan. If the lead singer takes up a song that is not familiar to others, the response from the group will be poor. There will be no enthusiasm or genuine participation. Their minds will be distracted. When all the devotees participate in the bhajan, the vibrations that are produced will generate joy and harmony.
In this 'KaliYuga' the remembrance of the Lord's name is enough to win His grace and attain liberation from the cycle of life and death.
Many who organize mass singing on special occasions are not aware what kind of bhajans should be sung then. A person who has an individual style of his own may sing as he likes in private, but he is not suitable for community singing.
There are some rules to be observed in conducting community bhajans. Alapana (elaboration of a raga) may be done in keerthana (individual singing), but it is wholly out of place in community bhajans. Hence, in such bhajans the accent should be entirely on the Name
Everybody should be seated a few minutes prior to start of the bhajan.
Men should sit on one side of the prayer hall and women on the other.
Bhajan leader and instrumentalists must be seated in the front few rows.
Devotees arriving late must not disturb those already seated. They must quietly seat themselves behind the already seated devotees.
Do not look around greeting one another, nor talk during the bhajan.
Maintain perfect silence and restrict your movements to a minimum while sitting in the prayer hall.
Sing sweet, familiar and devotional bhajans in any language which can be understood and sung by other devotees.
Musical instruments used during bhajans should not drown the voices of the singers and those who follow, thus maintaining a balance between the instruments and singing.
Do not clap out of tune
Do not monopolise the time in bhajans by singing one bhajan for six or ten minutes repeating the same lines again and again.
Bhajans should be sung in two speeds: slow and fast. In the slow speed, sing each line twice and, in the fast speed only once except the last line which should be sung twice to signal the conclusion of the bhajan.
Let those with a good voice and musical talent lead; the devotional singing must be pleasant and it should not jar on the ear. If your voice is not sweet or pleasant, it is best to remain silent; that is the best service you can do.
Keep devotional songs as simple as you can, without competitive pomp or show. When you sing devotional songs, dwell on the meaning of the songs, and the message of each name and form of God, and roll on your tongue its sweetness.
Bhajans are best held on Thursday evenings and Sunday evenings - but that is no unbreakable rule, for it is not the day that counts. It is the heart that must be ready and eager to sing the joy and share it.
Some persons attending bhajans do not move their lips at all. They may say that they are singing the songs mentally within themselves. This is not proper - You must sing the names aloud, full-throated, as far as the voice can reach. Only then the Divine will respond in full measure and shower His grace. No one will go to the rescue of a drowning man if his cries are feeble.
After bhajans there should be meditation for five to ten minutes.
People should return from bhajan carrying the elevated, uplifted and sublime mood created by the atmosphere at the bhajan. Therefore, after the bhajan people should disperse quietly, maintaining silence. Then the joy and peace derived at the bhajan will linger and abide in the heart.