New SSSIO Logo has an Old Story
The new logo for the Sri Sathya Sai International Organisation (SSSIO) is now being used worldwide to express unity within the Organisation and present a consistent symbol of the SSSIO to the public across all countries. Did you know that this new logo has an old story? A story that has been graced and directed by Sri Sathya Sai Baba (Swami as devotees call Him).
In 1997 the English words for the five human values first appeared on the SSSIO logo. Until then the logo contained the symbols of six major religions in the world. Even before this the original logo that Swami drew only had five major religions and later the Jewish symbol of the Star of David was added with blessings from Sri Sathya Sai Baba.
Before creation of the new human values-based logo, the logo used by the Sri Sathya Sai Organisation incorporated religious symbols, no words. This was drawn by Swami Himself. Professor N. Kasturi tells the story. Professor N. Kasturi was the editor of the monthly newsletter Sanathana Sarathi (ancient charioteer) published beginning in 1958 in Prasanthi Nilayam, the ashram and residence of Sri Sathya Sai Baba. Professor Kasturi describes in Sathyam Shivam Sundaram Part II, p. 231, how Sri Sathya Sai Baba drew what may be the first drawing of the design that came to be known as the Sarva Dharma symbol, depicting how all religions are paths to the same goal. Sri Sathya Sai Baba’s comments to Professor Kasturi at the time also illustrate how even those who are not religious are motivated by God.
“When I approached Him for directions about a cover design for the 1967 Sivarathri Special Number of the Sanathana Sarathi Magazine, Baba seized His pen and drew on a piece of paper a five-disc design, with petals in between, enclosing a circle, inside which I could print His own portrait. On the discs, He himself drew the symbols of the five major religions of mankind. The Pranava or Om to indicate the Hindu faith; the Wheel to symbolise the religion taught by the Buddha; a sheaf of flames , the Sacred Fire, which the Zoroastrians worship; the Crescent and the Star, as a reminder of Islam, and the Cross as the symbol of Christianity! He said, ‘All faiths are facets of the same Truth, which can be spelt as Love, as Purity, as Charity, as Sacrifice or as Surrender of the Will. Even those who deny God or decry morality, love some one or some thing; they speak the truth so that they may be believed; they have to be pure so that they may satisfy their consciences and the conventions of society. They seek peace and joy. That truth, that love, that peace, that joy is God.’”
You will see this original logo today on the front face of the marble Mahasamadhi in Sai Kulwant Hall, Prasanti Nilayam.
Five Values Instead of Four
Prior to 1997 in Sai literature the four values of Sathya (Truth), Dharma (Righteousness), Santhi (Peace), and Prema (Love) were frequently mentioned together. Ahimsa (Nonviolence) was grouped with these four values at times by Sai Baba in His discourses, but the general perception by devotees at the time was focused on the grouping of the four values. When the logo was changed to include five values, perception of devotees also adjusted to five values.
Dr. Adivi Reddy, author of Nine Gems addressed the inclusion of nonviolence with the group of four values. In Volume 4, p. 153. “Can a person who adheres to Sathya, Dharma, Santhi, and Prema indulge in violence? Moreover, in the earlier Sai literature, only these four values have been mentioned. For that matter, even till today we find in the inner page of the front cover of Sanathana Sarathi, the following inscription: "Devoted to the moral and spiritual uplift of Humanity through Sathya, Dharma, Santhi, Prema.”
At the time of the change to the logo, Sri Sathya Sai Baba pointed out the importance of nonviolence. In His discourse of 15 May, 1997 he emphasised the supreme status of nonviolence amongst the values:
People should bear in mind that non-harming is the supreme virtue. Do not cause harm to anyone by thought, word or deed.
This is the logo with five values as it first appeared in the SSSIO in 1997. The focus on values represents the unity of all religions and the basis of all religions. As Sri Sathya Sai Baba has said, “Unity is Divinity—Purity is Enlightenment.”