New Year 2021 - The Six Spiritual Practices
December 30, 2020
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I wish all of you a happy and holy New Year 2021, filled with love, peace, and bliss. We are blessed and fortunate to be the contemporaries of the Kaliyuga Avatar, Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, who is an incarnation of love and who has shown us the goal and purpose of human life. He has taught us that we are the embodiments of divine love and showed us how-to live-in love.
Swami is Our Solace and Foundation
This is a time to look back at 2020 and express our gratitude to our Lord for being our rock-solid foundation, our solace, and our guide in these trying times. One may wonder how to express gratitude for 2020 in view of all the challenges we faced – as the scripture says, whatever happens is by God’s will and it is only for our good. If we have faith and trust in Swami, who has always been with us, we can live without fear, accepting everything as His gift. He bestows fearlessness. Spirituality is not immunity from difficulties but having peace during difficulties through divine grace.
Sadhana during the Pandemic: Service to Man is Service to God
Swami says that Sadhana is an inward path. Many people took the current situation of the pandemic as an opportunity to go inwards – for SAI stands for See Always Inside, and then we find BABA: Being, Awareness, Bliss, Atma. During the pandemic, as an Organization, we served society in every way we could, thanking God for the opportunity provided to us.
Our volunteer team of Sai doctors and nurses provided healthcare for many sick people, as instruments of Sai’s love. Mental healthcare professionals provided much-needed support to young adults and others to cope with depression, anxiety, fear, and stress – helping to save lives in some cases.
In addition, Sai devotees offered food for the hungry and other necessities. In Africa, for example, several tons of food were distributed in 11 countries, serving thousands of needy people. Food, potable water, and essential supplies were offered by the SSSIO in Russia, Venezuela, USA, Canada, Nepal, Brazil, and numerous other countries. Home-made masks and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) were distributed in Australia, Canada, USA, UK, New Zealand, Thailand, and many other countries by volunteers to prevent the transmission of Coronavirus.
Online Programs: Fostering Love and Unity
To provide information about the pandemic, the SSSIO arranged an online conference for sharing state-of-art information with healthcare professionals, and with the public to dispel myths and provide facts about COVID-19, and how best to avoid this serious disease.
Swami also gave us the opportunity to hold global online programs, which brought together hundreds of thousands of people, sharing Swami’s love, His message, His works, stories of transformation, and various cultural and musical presentations. These virtual programs started with Akhanda Gayatri in June 2020 which was repeated three times in 2020. This was followed by Guru Poornima celebrations, Akhanda Bhajans, Ladies Day, Swami’s 95th Birthday, and Christmas programs. These inspirational online celebrations connected people from all corners of the globe who felt united with Swami, enjoying His presence, love, and grace.
Purity is Enlightenment
Swami urges us that purity is enlightenment and always to be in tune with God. But sometimes we are not in tune with Swami due to the six inner enemies which block divine love – lust, greed, anger, attachment, jealousy, and pride. But Swami has also shown us how to get rid of these six enemies through six spiritual practices.
Six Spiritual Practices
- First is the repetition of the divine name, Om Sri Sai Ram. One who has the name of Sai on the tip of the tongue will be liberated while alive (jeevanmukta).
- Second is meditation. One can meditate on the beautiful form of Swami, or on His formless aspect as love and light.
- Third practice is singing His glories – bhajans. Swami says wherever His name is sung, He manifests Himself, like the recent online Akhanda Bhajans.
- Fourth practice is service, participating in the divine mission – doing His work. He assured us that those who serve selflessly with love will be liberated from the cycle of birth and death.
- Fifth practice is to dwell on His leelas – divine sports. In His Shirdi Avatar, Baba assured us that just by contemplating on His leelas, we will realize the goal of life.
- Sixth and most valuable practice is diving deep into the teachings of Bhagawan and practicing them in our daily lives. Swami has assured us that following His teachings immediately, implicitly, and completely will grant us the summum bonum of life – Self-Realization.
Brothers and sisters, let us sanctify every moment of our lives with divine thoughts, words, and deeds and offer ourselves at the lotus feet of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba.
Jai Sai Ram.
Lovingly in the Service of Sai,Narendranath Reddy, M.D.
Sri Sathya Sai International Organization.