The “Sai Ram” Greeting
Devotees of Sathya Sai Baba frequently say “Sai Ram” when greeting each other. The beautiful inner meaning of this tradition originating with Sathya Sai Baba over 50 years ago is given below. Today as we serve the public, let us consider how the terms we devotees use among ourselves may sound to the public.
In public audiences will be those who have not heard of Sathya Sai Baba or the ancient message of Sanathana Dharma. Terms like “Sai Ram” and “bhajans” from the Bharatiya culture may sound strange and may turn away potential spiritual seekers. The Divine is in the heart of everyone in the form of love. Let us reflect on our words and actions when reaching out to the public. Are we fostering love in those we address?
The fundamental core of Sathya Sai Baba’s message is realising our inherent Divinity. To help others take His message to heart, we are best guided by His saying, “Love All Serve All.” Let us speak to them in the language of love in familiar terms.
Origination of the “Sai Ram” Greeting among Devotees
When you meet each other, do not shout hello or bye-bye, or some silly chatter.
Let the moment of meeting be sanctified by the remembrance of God.
Say, Ram Ram, or Om, or Hari Om, or Sai Ram.
Sathya Sai Speaks, Vol. 10, Ch. 14
The quote from Swami (above) states in a nutshell why we greet someone with "Sai Ram". It is a remembrance of God, the one God that IS the other person and ourselves.
In Bavaria, southern Germany, many people greet each other with "Gruess Gott", which means "Greet God". Same idea!
When greeting someone with "Sai Ram", try to think of greeting not only the worldly body that you see but our SAI in that person. We could use any name of God; it is the intent and feeling that counts. We have happened to choose "Sai Ram" because of the universal appeal of that name as a mantra. (Some devotees do repetition of the name --namasmarana-- with "Om Sri Sai Ram", repeating "Om Sri" on the inbreath and "Sai Ram" on the outbreath.)
The word "Sai" can be split into two: "Sa" and "Ai". We have been told that "Sa" means universal father, while "Ai" stands for universal mother. Sathya Sai Baba, our Sai, is our mother and father.
"Ram" can be viewed as a shortening of "Rama". One interpretation of this word is that "Ra" is the Fire Principle, which burns all to ash, while "ma" stands for maya or illusion, so together, they mean the destruction of illusion.
Sai Baba has said also that "Rama" means "He who pleases, fills with bliss, causes delight", that "Rama" means the joy that comes from love.