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The Sunday Talk Given by Prof. Anil Kumar
January 10, 2010
With Pranams at the Lotus Feet of our most beloved Bhagavan,
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
first festival of the year - sankranthi
We are meeting specially to learn about the upcoming event, Sankranthi, which is the first celebration in the New Year 2010. In Prashanthi Nilayam we find the crowd that was quite big for Christmas has started dispersing, and now we have a new set of devotees gathering here in connection with Sankranthi celebration.
On January 11, we are going to have a Sports Meet of Sri Sathya Sai Educational Institutions: that is Sri Sathya Sai University spread over three campuses--Prashanthi Nilayam, Anantapur and Bangalore; Sri Sathya Sai Higher Secondary School, Sri Sathya Sai Primary School, Sri Sathya Sai Mirpuri College of Music and also Sri Sathya Sai Junior College for Women at Anantapur.
annual sports day preparation by students
All the students are very busy practising marching and other special events to be staged on January 11, which happens to be the Sports Day. I understand on the morning of January 11, we will have all institutions displaying their items, and in the afternoon we will have Sri Sathya Sai primary school children exclusively. That seems to be the arrangement.
As you must have come to know, this year we have an unprecedented winter—it is very, very cold this year, more than ever before. In North India, it is a lot worse; many flights have been delayed for hours and hours because of the fog. So winter seems to be very severe this year. Yet the boys, because of their love for Swami, get up at 5 a.m. and get ready to go to the Sri Sathya Sai Hill View stadium for their marching practice! They have military experts to train them. After 10:30 in the morning, they gather to practise their various athletic presentations in connection with the Annual Sports and Cultural Meet.
Therefore the stadium has a new look all together and we are also expecting Swami to visit the Hill View Stadium and supervise the practice. This also shows Swami’s keen interest in the Annual Sports and Cultural Meet. A visit from Bhagavan makes everybody very active and bubbling with enthusiasm to do their presentations more attractively, more dynamically, more actively than ever before: Sai’s presence matters much. Let us hope, wish and pray fervently for the thumping success of this event!
alumni meet session
Prior to that, on January 1, we had an alumni meet: 1200 alumni of Sri Sathya Sai University assembled here in Prashanthi Nilayam for the New Year’s day with their families. So during the period from January 1 to 3, the campus was full of old students and their families.
The alumni enacted a drama in which they clearly depicted their own sentiments and love for Swami. The drama was focused on the life of a boy named Karthik who joins Sri Sathya Sai Primary School as a student and experiences Swami’s love. Later Karthik goes to Sri Sathya Sai Higher Secondary School and has many experiences to share. From there he joins Sri Sathya Sai University. As a university student he enjoys proximity and the Divine grace of Bhagavan. We watch how Karthik’s illness is totally cured by Bhagavan, and how Karthik, hailing from a village, with a rural background and an illiterate, poor family, could become a civilised, ultramodern, highly sophisticated man, ready to face all the challenges of life with excellent communication skills, speaking ability and enterprise.
The drama of Karthik’s life focused on so many points of the philosophy of Sri Sathya Sai education. Everybody was thrilled and Swami was literally touched by the drama.
music programme by alumni
The drama was enacted on New Year’s Eve, followed by a music programme on the morning of New Year’s Day. Some of the old students were really outstanding--they rendered their own musical compositions. I am happy to tell you some of our students are settled in Mumbai as professional musicians. Some of them are professional singers in movies also. When these students started singing in front of Bhagavan, we all recollected their student days and their active participation in bhajans. The eyes of most of the people in the gathering were wet because they were touched by the emotional singing, sung with such depth of feeling, that all were thrilled. Bhagavan was deeply touched also.
That is, in brief, what happened in Prashanthi Nilayam over the past few days.
three day festival of sankranthi
Now we meet in a different context altogether as we are getting geared up for Sankranthi festival. Sankranthi festival falls on January 14. Sankranthi festival is a three-day festival. The first day is called “Bhogi”, the second day is “Sankranthi” and the third day festival is “Kanuma.” So it is a three-day festival.
Sankranthi always falls on January 14. Other festivals may not fall on the same day as per the English calendar, but surprisingly Sankranthi falls on the same day, January 14, every year unfailingly. This is really interesting.
sankranthi – harvest festival
This is a harvest festival: the residences are full of plenty and prosperity. The villagers and the farmers have their homes full of grains. The granaries are filled with grain for the whole year. There is plenty of grain and plenty of milk. Besides granary at home, we have greenery around: the whole area is green and full of blossoming flowers. The season is a festive season. It is a season of celestial dance. It is the season expressing Divine beauty and grace.
Moreover, it is a season where people meet. Family members assemble from different places. From all over the country, they assemble at their homes and celebrate the festival. So Sankranthi is a grand festival, from the point of prosperity, harmony, love at home, plenty of grains, beauty, splendour, and the glory of Nature as well!
poem composed by swami DESCRIBING the beauty of the season
Let me describe the season in the words of Swami. Bhagavan Baba is a Divine composer, as you all know. How wonderfully He has composed a poem speaking of the beauty of the season:
Dhinakarudu Shanthudai Toche
Dhinamulinka Kurachalayanu Chaligaali Churuku Hechhe
Dhinakarudu Shanthudai Toche
The sun appeared serenely peaceful, (meaning, you don’t feel hot during this season).
The day started to get shorter (we have short day and long night during this season).
Chaligaali Churuku Hechhe
You find the chill wind blowing fiercely.
Chill wind, short days, and a cool atmosphere all around!
Polamulan Reiyi Guddi Vennelalona
Kuppalannurchu Kaapulu Gonthulu Yetthi
Padamulan Paada Thodagiri
This is a season when all farmers jump in joy! They dance in their fields. The whole area of agricultural land is full of farmers collecting grain--heaps and heaps of grain. As they gather grain in heaps, they sing. There is music, there is dance and there is ecstasy in the field. The poor farmer, the illiterate and the innocent, sing the glory of God in the moonlight, during the long night time. What a wonderful sight it is, as described by Bhagavan! The fields are ripe with golden crop, while the farmers rejoice in singing!
Polamulan Reiyi Guddi Vennelalona
Kuppalannurchu Kaapulu Gonthu Yetthi
Padamulan Paada Thodagiri
They jump in joy! That is the season.
grains hang like pearls, diamonds, and rubies
Paaccha Poolu Janapa Chelaku Mutcyala Sarugulugurche
Mirapa Pandlu Kumkuma Merupudaalche
Mirapa Pandlu Kumkuma Merupudaalche
What a Divine composition this is! Now this is the stanza in the poem describing the beauty of Nature. You find flowers everywhere--daffodils and blossoming flowers swaying against the touch of the wind. They move this way and that with the touch of the cold wind. The chill wind adds to the beauty of the vicinity. How beautiful it is! The flower buds blossom on the banks of the rivers like garlands! And how does Swami describe the grain? The grains hang like pearls, diamonds, and rubies, He says! From a distance how beautiful the grains are, symbolising the speciality of the season. That is what Baba says.
red chillies look like vermillion
You must have heard of chillies, which are red in colour. When the red chillies hang from the plants in the fields, they look like vermilion, Baba says! Vermillion is the sacred dot on the forehead of a Hindu lady. Every Hindu lady has a vermillion or kum-kum dot at the centre of the two eyebrows. Some married women also have some kum-kum on the forehead, where the hair is parted. That symbolises auspiciousness, and speaks of wealth, safety and security of the family. So the red chillies look like the vermillion or the sacred dot on the forehead of a Hindu woman. What a wonderful comparison!
And then He says:
Banthi Poola Mogamulu Allannthavippee
Mana Gruhambula Dhanya Sampadhalu Nilpee
Chrysanthemums and dahlias, when fully bloom, look as if they are talking to us, as if they are greeting us! They smile, greeting every dawn of the day! How beautiful is Nature!
Gruhambula Dhanya Sampadhalu Nilpee
Every residence, every family is full of prosperity, is full of grain.
sankranthi season looks like an angel
Now Bhagavan says:
What a beautiful comparison this is!
Sarasuraalaina Pushya Maasambu Oachhe
Sarasuraalaina Pushya Sankranthi Panduga Oachhe
Bhagavan compares the festival Sankranthi to an angel with beauty! We have “Miss Universe” contests all over the world. All of Nature looks like Miss Universe! Nature looks like the most beautiful feminine form, like an angel. Therefore the season of Sankranthi looks like an angel, Sarasuraalaina, and that angel is romantic, attractive and feminine. Sankranthi festival is an angel of beauty, drawing the attention of everybody. That is how Bhagavan Baba describes the whole season and all of Nature during this period of time.
bhagavan blesses us with a life of bliss, joy and pleasure
Well my friends, Bhagavan blesses everybody, showering His choicest blessings. Sankranthi festival has special blessings and Bhagavan blesses every one. For your information I will quote Bhagavan’s words and give you a translation that follows.
Anuraaga Bhogaanu Rakthulai
Bhagavan blesses us that we live a life of pleasure, a life of bliss. Let the whole season, the whole New Year 2010 be blessed with bliss, joy and pleasure.
bhagavan blesses us to have yearning FOR spiritual knowledge
Sujnana Shakthulu Aguchu
Bhagavan also blesses us that we develop a kind of yearning and love for wisdom. Sujnana means ‘spiritual knowledge’. Jnana is worldly or secular knowledge; sujnana is spiritual knowledge; vijnana is scientific knowledge; prajnana is inner awareness. These are all different forms of jnana.
Sujnana Shakthulu Aguchu
This means you will have energy and interest in spiritual knowledge. May this year help us to cultivate that.
Swapara Bedhamu Veedi
Sarva Jeevulayandhu Sama Bhaavamu Choopu Sarasulaguchu.
Swapara Bedhamu Veedi: let us not have any differences in the coming year. There is nothing like mine and thine; there is nothing like my group and your group. Let us not be divided on silly grounds of region, caste, cadre, class, nationality, or language. Swapara Bedhamu Veedi, means, “Let us give up, shun immediately, all the differences amongst us.”
Sarva Jeevulayandhu Sama Bhaavamu Choopu Sarasulaguchu means let us have equanimity. Let us be balanced, let us be loving, let us be friendly and treat everybody equally. All are equal. Let us be balanced in such a way that we begin to love everyone. Let the whole year be like that.
have compassion towards the weaker sections of society
Kashta Jeevula Yandhu Karuna Chupinchuthu
Let us not exploit the weaker sections of the society; let us not exploit the illiterate. Let us not exploit the innocent. No! No exploitation! Let us be compassionate towards those who work hard, who labour under stress and strain, and struggle to eke out their living. Let us be compassionate towards them.
Thagina Saayammu Cheyu Dhaathalaguchu
Be not only compassionate, but also be ready to help them
Be ready to give them something they need to stand on their legs, to be independent. That is this blessing.
Swami also blesses our families.
bhagavan wants us to lead an ideal family life
Dhaampatya Dharma Sathyattwa Vilaasulai
Parulaku Adharshya Satbhaavuluaguchu
Swami wants us to lead an ideal family life so that other families would like to emulate, imitate, or copy our pattern of Sai families. How happy Sai families are! How balanced and full of wisdom they are! How devoted they are! Be examples to the neighbourhood--that is how Swami blesses us this season.
Jagathi Satkeerthi Gaanchi
Let us win popularity, let us be famous, and let us earn a good name.
Let us get a good name in society.
Sri Sai Krupatho
With the grace of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba
Saati Manavuldepudu Metiyeguchu
Let us reach heights of excellence in our lives
As a housewife or a professional, or as students—whatever may be our vocation, avocation, provocation,
Let us be ideal in our profession, ideal in our lives.
Nityamunu Dharma Jignyasa Nirathulaguchu
Let us be dharmic.
Let us be righteous every moment of our life in thought, word and deed.
Uttammottama Vyakthulai Undhurugaakaa
This is the highest blessing of Swami: He blesses every one of us to be ideal, rich, exemplary, and noble. That is the blessing of Bhagavan Baba on every devotee for this season of Sankranthi.
bhagavan blesses different classes of people
As you know, this society has different sections and Bhagavan blesses everybody in all the different sections: those interested in the spiritual upliftment, those interested in business transaction, those who will stand for the defence of the country, and those who are engaged in cultivation. Bhagavan blesses all the four classes of society during this season of Sankranthi.
Veda Samatulaina Viprulaara
The priestly class, who consider sacred scriptures important, who are supposed to preach and more importantly practice--let them be effective practitioners rather than mere preachers. Practice before you preach. Let the priestly class be both practitioners and effective preachers. That is the blessing.
Desambu Korakunai Dehamarpanachesi Reminchu Rajadhi Raajulaara
We have the warrior class called Kshatriyas who will defend the entire country. “Yes, you are ready to sacrifice your lives. I bless you all,” says Swami.
Dhana Dhanyambulukalgi Dharma Gunambutho Varaluchundedi Vaisyulaara
Then Swami confers His blessing on the third group, the business class, who maintain the economy of the country, who contribute to the per capita income, who are responsible for affluence. May you lead a righteous life, may you be rich enough to let you maintain your standard of living! This is a special blessing on the business class.
Then Bhagavan blesses the fourth group: the farmers or agriculturalists who are responsible for the food.
Vyavasaaya Vruttiche Vyavasaya Vruttiche
Aaharam Andhinchi Sukha Jeevanamucheyi Sudhrulaara
Without food, there is no life at all. As is the food, so is the head; as is the head, so is God. The very life depends on food and so Bhagavan blesses the group of agriculturalists.
do NOT WASTE time
“Oh, you four classes of people: the priestly class, the business class, the warrior class and agriculturalists--don’t waste your time.” Don’t waste your time in vain gossip and useless talk. Don’t do that.
Sarva Jana Sammathamagu Sarva Jana Sammathamagu
Sathyamaina Bhakthi Maargamukonudu
Follow the path which is of universal acceptance, which is so easy to practise, implement and adopt, which doesn’t need any kind of regulation or any expenditure or any strict adherence of austerities. That simple path is devotion.
Bhakthi Maargamu Konude
Follow the path of devotion
And Bhagavan gives a guarantee:
Sathyammuga Mimmu Saakunu Sai Baba, Sai Baba
Sai Baba, God, will take care of your welfare here on earth and hereafter. Here and hereafter, now and later, Baba will take care of you; so follow the path of righteousness! That is what Baba says.
having self-control is A pre-requisite for THE spiritual path
My friends, Sankranthi is also a season when people determine to do certain spiritual practices to follow a spiritual path. “Oh God, help me pursue this spiritual path. I have decided to do this particular spiritual path. I have decided to follow this spiritual path.” People make resolutions like that. People decide certain paths of spiritual values. Sankranthi season is a favourable period to decide, to resolve--but Swami tells you, Swami cautions you: You may follow any number of spiritual practices, My children, you may pursue any spiritual path, but remember one thing:
Sadhanamu Chesi Phalamemi Kshamamulekha
If you don’t have self-control, if you have no control over your body, of what use is this spiritual path? Therefore, while deciding to follow a spiritual path in this season of Sankranthi, let us also be aware of the prerequisite of having control over our body and mind.
patience is prerequisite for yoga
Yogamunu Pooni Phalamuemi Orpu Lekha
You may take up any yoga. My friends, today yoga has become a matter of fun, frolic and entertainment, even a point of publicity. Many people come and tell you, “You know I am following yoga; I do yoga everyday!”
What is yoga after all? What yoga are you doing? How do you know whether the yoga you are following is correct?
What does yoga require? It requires patience. If you have no patience, all this yoga is useless. How can you have patience? When you have purity, you can have patience. Patience takes you to what? Where does it take you? Patience takes you to Divinity: so purity, patience, then Divinity. Therefore patience is necessary. You follow any yoga, it doesn’t matter! This is what it is.
Japamu Chesiyu Phalamuemi Shanthi Lekha
Some people say, “I do japa.” We see many people holding a japamala, repeating, “Sai Ram, Sai Ram, Sai Ram.” But on their face, you don’t find any trace of peace. Why? When you are not at peace within yourself, what is the use of japa or penance or repetition of God’s name? How does it help you, questions Swami.
body and mind control is the prescription of spiritual practice
Savithi Bhoomini Dhunnina Chaaya Kaadhe
Barren land is unfit for cultivation. Just as we do not make use of the barren land for agricultural purposes, a barren heart is useless to grow the crop of spiritual grain. A barren heart is useless for growing the harvest of spiritual benefit. Therefore my friends, let us be aware of the fact that control of mind and body are like a diet for the prescription of sadhana or spiritual practice.
cure for cycle of birth and death is yoga and penance
Sadhana is the medicine, while self-control is the diet. Yoga is the medicine, while patience is the diet While penance is the medicine, peace is the diet. Without dietary regulation, no medicine will cure the afflictions. We are suffering from the afflictions of birth and death or bhavaroga, meaning the cycle of birth and death. To get rid of this disease, we need the medicine of yoga, the medicine of penance. We need the spiritual path, and we have to necessarily abide by the dietary regulation to make the medicine work, leading to a total cure!
Let me also tell you the kind of suggestions Bhagavan gives to help us adopt when we decide our spiritual path during this season of Sankranthi. You might say, “I want to do this,” or “I want to do that,” but Bhagavan tells you what to do. He gives us so many options because all our tastes are not identical; all our choices and preferences are not similar. Your ideology is different from my ideology. Your way of thinking is certainly different from my way of thinking. Therefore, depending upon the temperament or attitude, you can choose any option to your taste.
So Swami gives us options:
Anna Daanamu Kanna Adhika Daanambuyedi
You may offer anything in charity. No other charity is higher than feeding the poor. This is the first option given to us. Feed the poor, serve food to those who are hungry: that is one option-- because no other charity excels this act of offering food to those who are really hungry.
no god is greater than one’s own parents
Thalli Thandrula Kanna Daivamyedi
You want to worship this god or that god: “Oh God, this year of Sankranthi 2010, I will go to Shiva temple every day scrupulously.” “Oh God, I have decided to visit Ganesha temple every day.” Good, you may decide to visit any temple, you may decide to worship any god, but Baba tells us clearly:
Thalli Thandrula Kanna Daivamyedi
There is no other greater, higher Divinity or Divine personality than your parents.
Mathru Devo Bhava
Mother is God,
Pithru Devo Bhava
Father is God.
No other God is greater than your own parents, understand that. Serve them, make them happy, please them and make them smile. If parents shed a tear, you have to pay hundred times tomorrow. It is only a question of time.
I am reminded of an episode that my mother often used to tell me. The episode relates to St. Augustine. St. Augustine was a naughty boy in his childhood, a big nuisance, not behaving as expected by his mother and not at all on par with other children. St. Augustine’s mother used to go to church every day, kneel down in front of the cross and cry day and night, “Oh Lord help my child to come up. Oh God, rescue my child.” One day the mother heard an ethereal voice, “Go forth, oh woman, thy tears will never go in vain.” It means, “Oh woman, you are crying here, but don’t worry. Your tears will never be wasted. Your prayers will be answered.” That boy later became St. Augustine!
So the wishes and the blessings of the parents, the happiness that you give to your parents and the service that you extend to your parents, will never go in vain. They will shower upon you the choicest blessings of God. The pain that you incur will never be left unpaid, because life centres on reaction, reflection and resound, as Baba tells us very often. So there is no greater God than one’s own parents.
no path is greater than following the path of truth
Japa Thapambulakanna Sathya Sheelambyedi
More than tapas (penance), more than japa (repetition of God’s name), the path of Truth is greatest. Truth is greater than all types of japa and tapas. More than penance, more than God’s name, Truth is important. Why? Truth is God. God is Truth. Live in Truth, says Bhagavan.
Dayakante Yekkuva Dharmamyedi
You may say, “I have chosen this code of life, this path of life, and this way of life for the year 2010. I decide now during this sacred season of Sankranthi.” It doesn’t matter, my boy! Understand that there is no other royal path, there is no other greater dharma, than the path of compassion or daya.
But today we run after fashion, not compassion. Compassion is more important than fashion. Fashion is civilisation, while compassion is culture. Fashion is all show, while compassion is true value. Compassion is an eternal value, whereas fashion reflects changing patterns of society. So, compassion is most important.
no enemy is greater than your own anger
Krodhambu Kanna Satruttvamyedi
We all pray, “Oh God, Oh Swami! Help me in such a way that I do not get caught in the hands of my enemies. My enemies are conniving. My enemies are working hard to trap me. My enemies are trying to put me down. They will never allow me to prosper or advance in life.” But Baba says your enemy is not outside. There is no other greater or higher enemy than your own anger. Your anger is your worst possible enemy on earth. So conquer your enemy--that is important, Baba says.
Sujana Sangathi Kanna
Suguna Sangathi Kanna Chooda Laabambu Yedi
We pray, “Oh God, let this Sankranthi be a symbol of plenty and prosperity. Be with me forever and ever. Let the whole New Year be full of profits, gain and dividends.” We may pray like that.
Baba says there is no greater profit, no higher gain, than the company of good and noble people. The company of good and noble people is the highest profit in this life, understand it! That is how Swami instructs every one of us.
no ilLness is WORSE than the disease of indebtedness
Runamukantenu Narulaku Rogamyedi
We say, “Swami help me so that I do not have any kind of suffering. May Sankranthi bring Your blessings in such a way that I will never fall sick, that I will not have any kind of illness.”
Baba tells you, “What worse illness could there be, what more suffering could there be in this world than your loans, your indebtedness--because you are indebted to your parents, to your friends, to your teachers, to society, and to your motherland. Your indebtedness itself is enough of an ailment!” Come on, pay the debts; clear out all your loans by way of service, by way of your love, by expressing your gratitude in every way, so that you are free from the disease of indebtedness.
getting A bad name is death
Dharani Apakeerti Kantenu Maranam Yedi
We all pray for long life: “Swami may this year be full of safety and security. I don’t want to die.” “Please keep me safe, my Lord, in Thy hands,” could be your prayer. But Baba tells you that a bad name is death: if you fall into disrepute and get a bad name, that is death. Death is not just the last day of life. It is not giving up the physical body. Death is nothing but a bad name that one gets in society. Disrepute, notoriety and unpopularity is death. That is what Baba says.
Smarana Kantenu Smarana Kantenu Minchu Aabharnamu Yedi
“This year during Sankranthi, my Lord, let my husband buy some jewels that I don’t have. Let me have additional jewels, some more diamond necklaces or more diamond earrings.” Baba says, “There is no bigger, more attractive jewel than smarana, singing the glory of God. Namasmarna, bhajans are the greatest jewels, the highest, most attractive ornament for your life.” That is what Baba says.
Therefore my friends, as we think of Sankranthi, these thoughts come to our mind, collected from the ocean of Sai literature. Let us dive deep into that ocean of knowledge and collect these pearls of famous quotations, applicable and relevant to the occasion of the celebration of Sankranthi festival.
sankranthi appears in between margasira and pushyami
Therefore my friends, during this Sankranthi festival, we need to know some more interesting points associated with this festival. What are they? There are two months as per the lunar system: Margasira and Pushyami. Sankranthi appears in between the lunar months of Margasira and Pushyami.
Margasira is the most sacred period. Lord Krishna says in Bhagavad Gita, “Among months, I am Margasira.” So you can understand how important this Margasira month is, which leads to Pushyami. Pushyami is the month of Pushti, Santhushti or satisfaction, strength and health. Pushyami symbolises good health, strength, longevity, plenty and wonderful Nature. Therefore this Sankranthi festival falls in between Margasira and Pushyami months.
On this day of Sankranthi festival, during this sacred season, the teacher of teachers, the noblest and the greatest intellectual ever born in this world, Adi Sankara, took up sanyasa, the life of renunciation. Now you can understand how important this festival is!
sacred period to leave the body and to reach heaven
This period is so sacred that those who leave their body during this period are believed to go to higher worlds: call it heaven, or paradise, or God’s world, or God’s abode. Some religions speak of heaven, some speak of paradise. So this is a journey towards paradise, if one should leave his body during this sacred season.
In the great epic Mahabharatha, we come across a character named Bishma. Bishmacharya, the noblest and the greatest warrior, a man of sacrifice, who is granted a boon by his own father for the sacrifice he did. What is that boon? The boon is that he can withdraw from the body as and when he likes. As and when he decides, he can withdraw from the body. No one can kill him; no one can vanquish him in the battle--that is the boon granted by his father in recognition of his sacrifice.
What sacrifice did he make? That is a different story altogether. My point now is that Bishma in the battlefield was lying on a bed of arrows for 58 days, do you know that? He was waiting for this period, waiting for this auspicious season, this sacred period, so that he could reach heaven, so that he could go back to the feet of God and merge in Him. That is the sanctity and sacredness of this season of Sankranthi.
humanity should take sun as their example
Another point: during this season of Sankranthi the sun travels towards the north. This season is decided based on the movement of the sun. Why the sun? So that humanity can take the sun as their example, as the hero of their life! “Who is your hero?” “The sun is my hero.” Why?
First, the sun sheds light: the light of knowledge, the light of wisdom, the light of excellence, without which the world cannot exist. That is a heroic quality--the quality of a hero! So let us have that light of wisdom, the quality of the sun!
What is another quality of the sun? It is selflessness. Sun will never tell you, “It is time, my dear boy, to thank me. Don’t you know that I shed light? Why don’t you thank me?” He doesn’t say that. He doesn’t expect a word of thanks from anybody. He is a supreme example of selflessness. Daylight is the cause for the change of season. All seasons depend on sunlight. But the sun neither claims any gratitude nor does he expect any thanks from you. That is the quality of a hero! So let us have the sun as our hero during this season in being totally selfless.
The sun is tireless. Do you know how the sun rises? How the day begins? How the dawn begins? The dawn of the day is the beginning of the day of the celestial dance to follow. The joyful day begins with the dawn. So the hero should always be dynamic. He should be fast, dynamic, active and eternally young.
sun is the cause for the whole cosmos to operate
What is the age of the sun? He will never say, “I am retired.” He will never say, “I am tired.” He will never claim any pension or any promotion. He will never ask for any additional pay or dearness allowance. What is it that he does? His activity, his dynamism, his selflessness, his relentless effort is the cause for the whole cosmos, for the whole universe to function, operate, and vibrate, full of radiance, full of the intensity of the light of the sun. That is a lesson from the sun, a hero from whom we have to learn during this season of Sankranthi.
let our mind be illumined by intellect, as sun illuminates moon
Sunlight is the cause for the moonlight. Moon has no originality. Moon has only reflected glory. Therefore moon, as per the scripture, is the presiding deity of the mind. Sun is the presiding deity of the intellect or buddhi. Sun is buddhi or intellect, while moon is the manas or mind. Sunlight, in this analogy, directs and guides the intellect, which falls on the moon, the mind. So the mind should function as per the direction of the intellect; but our minds are not following our intellect. Our mind runs after the senses. Mind is sensual and passionate, full of desires, dual, cunning, political, deceiving, cheating and egoistic. Why? Because it is running after the body and the senses! Let this mind be illumined, guided by the sun!
Chandrama Manaso Jataha
Mind is the presiding deity,
Presiding deity is the moon for the mind.
Chakso Suryo Ajayata
Our vision is because of the sun. Baba says this season reminds you that you should be full of gratitude or kritagnya because the sun is the cause of this light, as well as our vision.
Chaksho Suryo Ajayata
It is because of the sun that you have your vision or eyesight. But if you don’t have gratitude, or if you are full of ingratitude or kritagnya (meaning you are an ungrateful wretch), then what will happen? The sun will withdraw from your life; it means, you will become blind. So that is another interpretation that Baba gives in His message meant for Sankranthi.
sun moves towards north
During Sankranthi, the sun moves towards the north. What do you find in North India? North India has the crown of India: the Himalayas.
Excuse me for my personal note and feelings: I consider that my life as an Indian is incomplete without seeing the Himalayan range of mountains. I consider that my life is incomplete if I do not visit Benaras or Kasi, where I have the opportunity to touch the Ganges, which has great tradition, culture, and history for this land. If one does not see the Allahabad Triveni Sangama, one cannot be a true Indian. I am ashamed to say, ashamed with tearful eyes, that I am not fortunate enough till this day to visit those sacred places and pilgrim centres. I am sure Baba will certainly bless me one day, before I complete my earthly sojourn, to visit those sacred places.
Why do I say this? Himalayas are located to the north. Sun travels towards the north, towards the state of Himachala Pradesh. Himachala has two words Hima plus Achala. Hima means ‘ice’ or ‘snow’, while achala means ‘motionless’. Hima represents snow or ice, and achala is steadiness. So your words should be sweet and soft like snow and your faith should be strong, and steady, achala--not jumping this way one day, that way another day! So Himachala meaning soft and sweet, yet firm and steady--that is the meaning behind the sun travelling towards the north. That is how Swami explains the beauty of the Sankranthi season.
change for better
The word Kranthi or Sankramana means ‘change’. The year has twelve months and each month has a name. The sun shifts from one month to another, and the name is given based on the name of the month. For instance, if the sun shifts to the month Makara then it is called Makara Sankranthi or Makara Sankramana.
Then Swami gives another meaning. Sankranthi is samyakithikranthi -- ‘san’ plus ‘yak’ plus ‘ithi’ meaning ‘a good change’.
Someone may say, “I have changed.”
You might ask, “What has changed?”
“I have become greedier.”
That is not a positive change. So change for good, change for better is Sankaranthi. May this period help us change in a new direction in our life--from earthly pursuits to heavenly goals, from sensual joy to transcendental happiness, from ever-changing pleasure to eternal bliss, from the point of ‘I’ to the point of ‘we’, from the point of human to the point of Divine: that is Samyakranthi or Sankranthi. That is the message of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba.
design of Rangoli – food for ants
During this season, we find women and girls get up in the early hours of the morning and they create some rangoli (patterns drawn on the ground with rice flour) in front of their houses. The girls compete with each other: this girl will look at the rangoli of the neighbour and that girl will look at the rangoli of this girl. It is a very healthy competition! They start in the early hours of morning. While designing their rangoli, they derive great pleasure: they talk to each other, they speak of special features of the season. What type of rangoli should they make next morning? The whole month will be full of rangolis with new designs! The patterns are made out of rice flour, which is eaten by ants. So this kind of rangoli is not only decoration for the house, but provides food to the ants!
On this rangoli they place three balls made out of cow dung, and they apply turmeric and kumkum and lime on the balls and decorate it with a pumpkin flower. So there are three cow dung balls, decorated with a pumpkin flower on top.
These three cow dung balls represent three things: the first ball represents ‘go’ a Sanskrit word meaning ‘cow’. Go means ‘cow’, but go has another meaning: ‘living beings’ or ‘living creatures’. So go represents the whole living organic world.
The second ball represents Gopala or Krishna: Go means ‘living creatures’ while pala means ‘the One who sustains’ or ‘the Life-giver’. That is Gopala, Lord Krishna Himself.
The third ball of dung represents Govardhana. Krishna could lift the Govardhana Mountain on His little finger. “Oh God, when You could lift the mountain with Your little finger, can’t you lift the mountains of my burdens, sorrows, miseries and endless difficulties?”
three dung balls – devotee, deity and mighty
So, one ball represents Govardhana--that is the power of God. Another represents God or Gopala, and the third represents living creatures who pray. So one is the devotee, another one is the deity, and the third is the Almighty. The devotee, deity and the Almighty are represented by the three balls made up of cow dung (which may look like something traditional, silly or cheap in the sight of people who live in cities). It is the city that has spoiled the culture of this country. You find love and friendship in the villages. In the cities, there is no love, and there is no friendship at all. Even if the neighbour dies, no one cares. I am sorry to make that remark, but the culture of India is in the villages, not in the cities. Culture is lost in the cities; but it has been built, sustained and is not yet completely polluted in rural India.
cow dung is antibacterial
Why do they use cow dung? Before they design the rangoli, the women sprinkle cow dung water (that is cow dung mixed with water) in front of their residences to prepare the ground for rangoli. Why do they sprinkle this cow dung water? Because cow dung is anti-bacterial; it is an insecticide and fungicide. Today there are bacteria and insects everywhere; that is why we need so many doctors! The natural, traditional practices were designed to lead a happy, healthy life--which many have given up in the name of modernisation, industrialisation and urbanisation. Therefore we are leading an unhealthy and miserable life today.
mango leaves keep off all flies and mosquitoes
In front of the houses, bunches of mango leaves are tied with a string. Mango leaves represent auspiciousness, the blessings of the Divine--and they keep off all flies and mosquitoes. Today we have dengue fever, swine flu, chikungunya because of these mosquitoes. Come on, let’s have mango leaves tied up near every door! No more dengue fever! But we embrace chikungunya and not the mango leaves. So diseases are not the gift of Nature. Diseases are caused because of man’s neglect of Nature, man’s exploitation of Nature, and his neglect of tradition and culture: that is what appears from our experiences in day-to-day life. That is what Bhagavan explains.
annual meeting of the family to bind the bonds of love
During this season of Sankranthi, sons-in-law spend their time at their in-laws’ residences. The newly married people are invited and the new son-in-law feels shy as everybody starts making fun of him, particularly his wife’s sisters. So when the new son-in-law arrives at the house, there is festivity everywhere. The in-laws are busy making cookies and breakfast for him, and the children are playing and having fun. So it is a festival of harmony, unity and love—a family re-union. At least once a year, we should gather! Is it not unfortunate that a grandson has to be introduced to his grandfather today? Is it not miserable that a granddaughter has to be introduced to a grandmother today? That is because we do not meet once in a while. There are families who have not met for decades! This Sankranthi is an annual meeting of the family to bind the bonds of love!
Also during this season you will find bulls nicely decorated. The trainer plays a trumpet-like instrument and the bull dances. People come out to watch and they offer him some rice. The trainer sings songs about Sita and Rama, and the bull dances! In a way, he is singing the praise of Rama the Creator, and Sita, the creation. So we celebrate the holy wedding of Rama and Sita, while the trainer sings and the bull dances!
purpose of eating festival food
There is a special rice pudding called pongal served during this season. It is made with rice and jaggery. Also some sweets are made with jaggery and til (sesame) seeds. Til seeds are good for health: they remove the phlegm and bile from the body: bile and phlegm are the cause of indigestion. Jaggery is very good for the blood.
festival of gratitude to god and Nature
Rice mixed with jaggery and pongal is offered to cows and spread on the field, in an expression of reverential, prayerful attitude to Mother Earth or Bhoomatha, as well as expressing gratitude to Gomatha, the cow and the bullocks that help in farming.
Therefore, Sankranthi is a beautiful festival expressing gratitude to the entire Nature. We thank the Creator, thank our family, and thank Mother Nature for the wonderful season of chill winds and short days, giving us plenty and prosperity.
May Bhagavan bless you on this auspicious occasion of the celebration of Sankranthi. I wish you all a Happy Sankranthi full of joy, full of dance, ecstasy and music! Sai Ram.
Asato Maa Sad Gamaya
Tamaso Maa Jyotir Gamaya
Mrtyormaa Amritam Gamaya
Om Samastha Loka Sukhino Bhavantu
Samastha Loka Sukhino Bhavantu
Samastha Loka Sukhino Bhavantu
Om Shanti Shanti Shanti
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