Heart to Heart Communion

Sai Bhajans as Prayers - O. P. Vidyakar

In the last issue, the meanings and implications of the words in the Bhajan, ‘Prema Mudhitha Manse Kaho Rama Rama Ram’ was discussed; here those of the Bhajan ‘Sai Bhajan Bina’ which is also one of the Bhajans most frequently sung by Bhagawan Baba are sought to be elaborated. May Bhagawan Baba’s grace help and guide us in this endeavour!

Rather than beginning from the first line of the song and following the same order, it will be more appropriate to dwell on the lines in the order here chosen:

1) Bhagawan Bina Koi Apna Nahi

In the course of their lives, human beings realise at one stage or another that it is very rare to have relationships or friendships that are permanent in their intensity or extent of involvement and interest. A man may vow allegiance to his wife forever and ever but when she dies, he may soon marry another or think of her less and less as days pass on. The same is true of a woman. Other interests and concerns develop and overshadow the former memories. Similarly, parents shower affection on their children and vice versa but a time often comes when mutual expectations are belied and they take to different paths and goals of life. Indeed this is the fate of all relationships and friendships - At the most, they may be maintained in one birth. In the succeeding births, new experiences are sought with different persons for self-realisation or spiritual progress. That is why it is pointed out in this line that except God, there is no one whom you can claim as your own forever and forever. He alone is permanently yours (because He is the essential Self of yourself) and the one on whom you can depend upon for all your needs all the time.

2) Sai Nath Bina Paramatma Nahi

If God is our true and sole source of support and sustenance, how to relate to him? If He is formless and nameless, an abstract invisible entity only, it will be very difficult for human beings who seek to have God’s love demonstrated at their own level. Hence, God takes human form as in the present Avatar of Sathya Sai Baba. It is wonderful to listen to him proclaiming and assuring us that but for Sai there is no one who is the Avatar of God in the present age. Paramatma means the Highest soul or super-soul. Essentially He is formless like the water vapour in the air. We know water is there in air as vapour but we cannot quench our thirst with it! It has to condense enough and become liquid water! And just as it assumes the shape of the container, God assumes a form and name and a set of characteristics perceived by Him as the most appropriate for the needs of mankind at a particular period and peace. Now that Bhagawan is here on earth, one can relate to him as one’s true mother or true father or true brother, friend etc and find him perfectly reciprocating our love and affection!

3) Prabhu Darshan Bina Pragnana Nahi

The Avatar is on earth with the specific purpose of lifting up people from the morass of materialism since they themselves cannot come out of it with their own efforts. What the Avatar does when He gives Darshan to people is to shower high-energy spiritual vibrations on them that activate their inner potential for higher consciousness (Pragnan) beyond the mental level. Without this consciousness, faith in the invisible forces in this universe, faith in the Self or Soul that is the driving force behind the mind-body complex etc is virtually impossible to attain and maintain. This is corroborated in the Bhagavad Gita too (II: 59). Even St. Paul became a Christian only after he had the darshan of Jesus Christ in his divine form. Hence, the first step in spiritual progress is to have darshan of the Avatar or the Lord (Prabhu) either physically or mentally through reading books about Him etc.

4) Daya Dharma Bina Satkarma Nahi

Bhagawan says that His darshan is very powerful but its effect can be sustained only if the person follows it up with good actions (Sat Karma) in general and with Daya Dharma i.e., Compassionate service to the less fortunate fellow-beings. If one wants help from the Lord, one has to help others; if one wants forgiveness from the lord, one has to begin forgiving others!

5) Japa Dhyana Bina Samyoga Nahi

The more we know about the Avatar, the more we love Him and seek to be united with Him or be like Him in as many ways as possible. This goal is denoted by the word Samyoga and consists of four steps namely Salokya, Sameepya, Saroopya and Sayujya i.e., to be in the same place where the Lord is, to be as near Him as possible, to be like him as much as possible and to be one with Him so that the difference between Him and the devotee no longer exists: The devotee becomes a limb so to say of the extended body of the Avatar. A little thought and imagination will show that this process is not possible with the habitual tendencies of our physical senses and mental faculties to reach out to the material world and grab as much of it as possible for selfish enjoyment. Rather, a diametrically opposite tendency namely an inward orientation has to be developed for the purpose. For this, not jumping for a variety of experiences but restricting to and concentrating on the experience of the Lord’s peace and bliss become imperative i.e., Japa and Dhyana are essential to achieve ultimately the union with the beloved lord.

6) Sai Bhajana Bina Sukha Shanti Nahi

Japa and Dhyana are quite difficult to the mind, which is accustomed to overt activity. So to get the mind turn inward towards intuition and insight, what is to precede Japa and Dhyana is Bhajan. It is an overt activity and at the same time, its focus is not on the external world but on the inner realms. It is an appetiser taken before the dinner of Japa and Dhyana, and, to the beginner it gives great pleasure and peace (Sukha and Shanti).

7) Prema Bhakti Bina Uddhar Nahi

Devotees, according to the Gita, are of four types: Those who seek succour for relief from physical problems; those who seek help to get more money, status, fame etc; those who seek to know the ‘why and what for’ of human life; and, those who seek the Lord for His own sake, for the abiding peace and bliss and ultimate wisdom that is gained through Him. In the fourth type of devotion God is not a Means to some worldly Ends but the End or the Goal itself for which human life is only a means. Such devotion is known as Prema Bhakti. Until this devotion dawns, there is no possibility of ‘Uddhar’ i.e., liberation from the cycle of births and deaths in this world of dualities.

8) Hari Nama Bina Ananda Nahi

God is also known as Hari - the destroyer (of evil or evil qualities or of starkly materialistic tendencies). When Prema Bhakti dawns, all such qualities and tendencies are destroyed and the devotee derives immense bliss (Ananda) by remembering and repeating the name of the Lord. That is why it is said that in Heaven, devotees untiringly praise the Lord, singing His name.

9) Guru Seva Bina Nirvana Nahi

Bhagawan Baba once spoke about Vibhishana (brother of the Demon Ravana) and Hanuman (the monkey-faced lieutenant and devotee of Lord Rama): It seems Vibhishana asked Hanuman the reason for the bountiful grace of Rama showered upon him though both were devotees of Rama. Hanuman seems to have said: it is not enough to express the devotion through Japa, Dhyana, Bhajan etc; one must serve the lord in activities that will help others or help the spread of his mission. Since Hanuman did so, Rama favoured him more than Vibhishana.

In Chandogya Upanishad also, Satyakama, Jabala is ordered by his guru to look after the cows and calves of the Ashram for many years. This service to the Guru made him eligible for Self Realisation or ultimate liberation known as Nirvana.

That is why Bhagawan Baba also advises the devotees to engage in selfless service activities in poor villages and slums and other places. This also accumulates enough merit that qualifies for the grant of Nirvana. Without Guru Seva, one can be happier, peaceful, and wise than others but still bound to the world. Only seva according to the direction of the Guru can ensure ultimate merger with the divine - the attainment of the summum bonum of human life.

In this context it will be appropriate to recall an incident in the life of Swami Vivekananda: He was pestering his master (Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa) for bestowing upon him the experience of Samadhi in which the non-duality of all is palpably felt. One day the master did induce in him that experience for a short while. When he came out of the sublime state of samadhi, the Guru said, "you have to serve me and through you my mission has to spread. So, I am locking up the door to your Nirvana through Nirvikalpa Samadhi. When you complete the work, the door will be opened by me." It so happened indeed.