Sai Baba on Grace of God

When I am in the mandir at Sathya Sai Baba’s Prasanthi Nilayam Ashram, I am surrounded by beautiful souls. Some pray with heartfelt devotion.  Others chant mantras. But a few are like parrots repeating words that they may not even understand. Suddenly, I realise that if I’m watching others I am not focused on God.

Sathya Sai said, “Express your gratitude to God by chanting His Name. Chant from the depth of your heart; not as a mere musical performance. The demonic King, Ravana, constantly repeated the Shiva mantra, Namah Shivaaya without giving up any of his demonic qualities. It’s understandable that much of modern day praying is ineffective. People go to temple, church, mosque, bow their heads to the ground and come out and commit the same old sins of just a day or two ago. Swami Sai has no use for frauds. He taught, “The young boy Prahlada repeated the mantra, Om Namo Narayana with all his heart and soul.

This served to save him from all the terrible ordeals his evil father, Hiranyakashipu, subjected him to. His father cast him from a precipice, had him trodden by several elephants, got him bitten by venomous reptiles and pushed him into the sea, yet Prahlada emerged unscathed from all these ordeals. “Every instrument of torture turned into a blessing for young Prahlada! Hence chant the Name of the Lord from the bottom of your heart, with pleasing Him as the only goal. In this process, you must become one with the Divine. Never sing, pray or chant to earn the approbation of others or for show.”

 I believe if you cannot pray properly, it is perhaps better not to pray at all. When I am overrun with worldly concerns, I let go of formal prayers and just surrender my life, once again, to my Guru Sai.

According to our Beloved Avatara, “Things which have to happen will always happen. Even if you hide yourself in the forest you cannot save yourself from disease, death and old age. You are bound to go when the time comes, leaving behind everything. It is the Grace of God which alone is permanent.”

There have been times when Swami has just not showed up to help me when I’ve called out to him. He has forced me to rely on myself. These times are difficult. Yet, after I go through them, I understand that he is teaching me that I am one with God, not ever separate.

He spoke of the tribulations of the man Jesus when he was being transformed into being one with God. Our Puttaparthi Sai explained, “Jesus Christ declared: I am the Son of God.’ But when he was crucified, God did not come to his rescue. Christ even cried out in anguish: ‘Oh Father, why are you not coming to save me?’ But the Lord acts having regard to the time, place and circumstances. He accords to each person the honour and esteem that is due to him. Christ became a glorious figure in the moment of his crucifixion.

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