SHREE SAI THANTHRAM
SEVEN STEPS TO SAI
G. V. SUBBA RAO
LOVE ALL AND SERVE ALL
The triad of Sai Manthra, Sai Yanthra and Sai Thanthra constitute the essence of the worship and contemplation of the Sai Avathaar. The three Gaayathree Manthras dedicated to Shree Sathya Sai have been explained in the booklet "Sai-Three", the composite name given by Bhagavaan Baba (also published in Sanaathana Saarathi, September 1999). The Sathya Sai oriented holy "potentised" diagrammatic Yanthra portrayal has also been explained in the article on Shree Sai Chakra or Yanthra. This article deals with the third aspect, "Shree Sai Thanthra".
The Sai Thanthra consists of the principles of praxis or the methodology of Sai Worship; It outlines the steps for the "internalisation" of the Sai epitomy of Love and other powers; Such internalisation is also a prerequisite in the "external" spread of the Sathya Sai message for the benefit of humanity. In its external meaning 'Thanthra' connotes a manual of worship. Thanthra Shaasthra, the Science of Thanthras states that, generally speaking, such worship consists of the four elements: Vijnaanam (the wisdom or metaphysics), Dhyaanam (meditation), Karma (the procedures) and Charya (the daily practice and experience).
Bhagavaan Baba attaches more importance to internal contemplation than external ritual-bound actions; His emphasis is on experience based on actual practice, not ritual or philosophy; From this stand point, Sai-Vijnaanam is to cultivate equal mindedness and unitive or equal vision, with a universal inlook and outlook of "LOVE ALL - SERVE ALL". Sai Meditation is marked by the practice of Divine LOVE (Dhaiva Preethi); God is LOVE and live in Love, says Baba. Morality in society (Sangha Neethi) is the essence of the "Karma". Selfless, loving, ego-free service to the needy is the path of daily action. The above four elements are possible only if there is an underlying fear of sin (Paapabheethi).
The Lalithaa Sahasra Naama or the Thousand Names of the Universal Divine Mother Goddess says that She is easily accessible or attainable through inner contemplation; It is very difficult to realise Her through outer worship. As Baba says, our life's journey begins in the realm of Nature (Prakrithi); moves on to attachment to worldly activities (Pravritthi). We must then step out into Nivritthi - inner detachment from worldly matters; and then enter the realm of Nirvrithi - the pure spiritual transcendental state (Thureeya). Therefore, in Sai spirituality, we should move away gradually from usual ritualistic worship towards the contemplation of the Supreme Self, the patent embodiment of which is the latest Divine Advent, Shree Sathya Sai Baba. It is to be noted that Baba calls not only Himself as Aaathma-Avathaari, but also, all conscious living entities possessing Aaathmik power although in a latent form.
SAI TRIPLES AND SEPTETS
In Svaami's words, His incarnational principle is symbolised by Triples and Septets, Thrayee Sapthamayee. Thrayee signifies the Vedhik essence of triple threes:
These are Baba's inner, inherent characteristics (Svaruupa Lakshana). The Sai Septets are Sathya Sai Baba's outer or manifested aspects (Thatastha Lakshana). On the Shree Sai Chakra, nine-septets have been inscribed. These are:-
Baba declares that all the nine types of seven fold powers are in fact latent in all of us. Also, He states that our own inherent nature is Sath-Chith-Aanandha, ie Being, Awareness, Bliss. However, in order to manifest these latent powers and energies it helps to undertake the recitation of Sai Gaayathree Manthras, the contemplation of the Shree Sai Yanthra (or Chakra) and the practice of the Shree Sai Thanthra. Such worship consists in the inner installation of Shree Sai Chakra followed by the practice of Sai Thanthra system of seven-fold disciplines (Sai Kriyaa Yoga Sapthakam). It must be stated here that SAI is universal and so is His message. Therefore, any person - without distinction - can have equal access to Sai Manthras, Sai Yanthra and Thanthra.
As Bhagavaan Baba says, "We should accept one's own breath as the Manthra, one's heart as the Yanthra and one's body as the Thanthra. There is no need to seek them outside of one Self".
SEVEN STEPS OF SAI THANTHRA
Basically, Shree Sai Thanthra is the proper use of the body, senses, mind, intellect, heart, the ego-complex and in fact our very Being. For this purpose, the Sai-three Manthras (inscribed within the Yanthra) are combined with the Sanskrith verses written outside the perimeter of the square in the Yanthra in order to formulate a seven-fold schema for Sai contemplation and praxis for inner and outer transformation leading to Liberation and Oneness with DIVINITY.
First: Body related transformation
"Bend the body by the performance of our daily and occasional duties and obligations with disciplined character." This is the essence of Sai Karma Yoga.
For the proper discharge of our obligatory duties, we need a healthy body and mind. We therefore need to seek the grace of Sai Dhanvanthari, the Divine Doctor of doctors by repeating, verbally and then mentally, three times the following verse which was graciously blessed by Baba at the time of the installation of the idol of Dhanvanthari, the Divine Physician - an Avathaar of Vishnu:
Dhakshine Hastha Chaalana Vibhuuthim
Vaame Bhaktha Lekha Lasath Karam
Sai Dhanvanthareem Upaasmahe
Purport: We contemplate on Shree Sathya Sai who holds in His left hand a big bunch of letters collected from devotees seeking His divine grace to cure their illnesses of body, mind, intellect and ego; and, at the same time creates Vibhuuthi (sacred ash) merely by waving of His right empty palm and distributes it to the needy and suffering. May this Sai Dhanvanthari bestow on us health and longevity!
Second: Senses related transformation
"Sanctify the senses with dedicated selfless loving service to the needy." This is the essence of Sai Dharma Yoga, the key to welfare and progress of the Society.
In order to increase our capacity and faculties for the performance of loving, selfless- service activities, it is appropriate that we repeat at least three times, both mentally and verbally, the following meditative verse composed by the Seer of Shree Sathya Sai Gaayathree, Shree Ghandikota Subrahmanya Shasthry:
Yo Dhevassathya Saayinah
Buddhim Dharmaadhi Gocharaam
Prerayeth Thasya Yatthejah
Purport: Let the effulgent energy of Shree Sathya Sai which pervades my heart as pure consciousness inspire, guide and actually direct our senses to perform Dhaarmik or altruistic service activities with Selfless Love. We meditate on this Self-effulgent Divine Personality.
Third: Mind related transformation
"Mend the mind to make it steady and strong through Manthra and meditation". This is the essence of Sai Dhyaana Yoga.
By repeating three times verbally as well as mentally, the following verse, frequently declared by Bhagavaan Baba, we attain unity of thought, word and deed, thereby gaining peace, bliss and spiritual energy.
Sarvaruupa Dharam Shaantham
Sarva Naama Dharam Shivam
Sath Chith Aaanandham Advaitham
Sathyam, Shivam, Sundharam
Purport: This Shiva Sai bears all names. He is the very form of Peace. He is the embodiment of the non-dual principle of Being, Awareness and Bliss. He is the Shiva Shakthi characterised by Truth, Goodness and Blissful Beauty.
Fourth: Intellect related transformation
"Awaken the Intellect by the proper use of the sense of discrimination between wrong and right and pursue the right course with determination". This is the essence of Sai Buddhi Yoga.
For the above purpose, we need to pray to Sai Suurya who dispels our darkness of ignorance, bestows the eye of wisdom and discrimination and also the strength and stamina to pursue the spiritual goal with determination. This is achieved by repeating seven times both verbally and mentally - the Shree Sai Suurya Gaayathree Manthra. The inspiration for this Manthra came on the morning of 22nd September 1977 when Svaami rode on the Golden Sun Chariot in Prashaanthi Nilayam.
Om, Bhaaskaraaya Vidhmahe
Saayi Dhevaaya Dheemahi
Thannah Suuryah Prachodhayaath
Purport: We know that Sathya Sai is the effulgent Supreme Divine personality. We install and meditate on that Personality in our heart. We pray that this Sai Sun-God dispel our darkness of ignorance, remove our animalistic tendencies, and bestow on us vitality, health and strength and intellect.
Fifth: Transformation of Inner Conscience
"Purify the heart and fill it with faith and selfless devotion towards God and His creation". "Love All and Serve All" says Baba. This is the essence of Sai Bhakthi Yoga - the devotional communion, which bestows God's grace on us.
In order, therefore, to increase manifold our capacity to LOVE God and His creation, there is no better Manthra than verbally and mentally reciting at least seven times a day the Shree Sai Hiranyagarbha Gaayathree. The inspiration for this Manthra came in the morning of 15th February 1999 (Mahaa Shiva Raathri Day when Svaami took out the Golden Lingam from His Mouth).
Om Premaathmanaaya Vidhmahe
Purport: We come to understand that this Shree Sathya Sai is the incarnation of Divine LOVE. We meditate on this Golden-Wombed Divine Personality (while taking out of his mouth the Golden Lingam). Let this God of Truth weed out demonic qualities and multiply our capacity and power of Divine Love and thereby lead us on the path of liberation, through the path of Devotional Service with LOVE.
Sixth: Transformation of the ignorant Ego-Complex
"Give the go bye to the Ego which is the last to go, by self-surrender and sacrifice and above all, by the acquisition of experiential knowledge of the Supreme Self". This is the essence of Sai Jnaana Yoga - egolessness and selflessness with spiritual knowledge. The ego is the biggest obstacle to Self-realisation. Body identification should go. The process of Aaathmik discovery and identification with Aaathma (God) is the unfailing path for liberation.
For removal of the ego, self-surrender and sense of detachment from bodily and worldly desires are necessary. The feeling that there is One Paramaathma, the Supreme omniself which abides in all of us, should be steadily cultivated and experienced.
For strengthened conviction of this knowledge, it is appropriate to keep repeating verbally and mentally at least seven times a day the holy Shree Sathya Saayeeshvara Gaayathree Manthra. This Manthra was revealed by the revered Shree Ghandikota Subrahmanya Shasthry on Christmas Eve, 1977 in the holy presence of Bhagavaan Baba in Thrayee Brindhaavan, Bangalore.
Om Saayeeshvaraaya Vidhmahe
Sathya Dhevaaya Dheemahi
Thannah Sarvah Prachodhayaath
Purport: We have come to recognise through scriptures, preceptors and our own experience that Shree Sathya Sai is God Himself. Let this universal, eternal effulgent Supreme Divine Personality inspire us in such wise that all our energies, thoughts and deeds are spiritually oriented. We meditate with all our faculties on this Sathya Sai as the embodiment of all divinities who pervades our heart! May He liberate us from the bonds of ignorance and worldly attachments. (The Seer and elaborator of this holy Manthra is the late revered Ghandikota Subrahmanya Shasthry, vide Sanaathana Saarathi, March 1979 issue).
Seventh: Total Unitive Transformation
"Live in constant integrated awareness of Supreme Reality culminating in a state of identity of the individualised Self with the Supreme omniself." This is the essence of Sai Brahma Yoga.
For achieving this integral state of Braahmik consciousness, the seeker constantly remembers and dwells on the five-lettered, non-dual holy formula of Sai Shivoham: I am Sai Shiva. He attains Saayujya, the state of oneness with Divinity in transcendental Bliss (The inspiration for this non-dual formula came during Mahaa Shiva Raathri, 1996).
To sum up, Shree Sai Thanthra implies:
~~~~~ OM THATH SATH~~~~~