Tuesday, December 24, 2013 0 comments

Amma Amma


Thursday, December 19, 2013 0 comments

Sri Datta Jayanthi Celebrations - 17th December 2013

Let us recall the 'essential spirit of Datta', the purpose of study 'Sree Guru Charitra' everyday and take his name (see video)
Lord Dattatreya
Lord Dattatreya

Sree Guru Charitra

Saturday, November 30, 2013 0 comments

Mastergaru's Birthday function as per tithi - 9th November 2013

On 30th Oct 2013, Mastergaru's birthday function was in progress. Babugaru requested Sadghoshti by Ammagaru. In the course of her talk, unexpectedly Ammagaru, declared Nov 9th, Mastergaru's birthday as per tithi, an open day. She announced that this was a private celebration Ammagaru, had since the very beginning conducted at home exclusively. However, this year all were welcome. That is, Ammagaru invited personally every devotee of Master to come, be part of the family!!!

This amazing declaration set in motion the form of the days to come. Immediately on the 31st Babugaru, spoke to different devotee groups representatives at Hyderabad about ways in which they could contribute to and participate in the event. Nagoleites were concerned about stepping up the scale of auditorium/stage and other arrangements. Another opportunity to better ourselves and create an event worthy of the Master!

On the eve of the 9th, there was something of the calm before a storm. The ladies prepared chappatis and curry to boost the guys working through the night. The younger children were cooperative without having to be told. After the Shej aarati, usually silence pervades. But not this night, in the quiet of the night, within the white cloth walls of the Tent erected for the function, a hum of joyous voices could be heard.  Babugaru sat in front of the dias on his coffee-coloured bean bag and surrounded by the Boys designed and directed.

The chill of November nights was slowly seeping. Masses and masses of flowers were brought in for the alankaram (decoration). It took more than a dozen people to merely unbox the flowers and soak them in water to keep them fresh for the next day. 

Babugaru sat admist all the durries, lights and other stage paraphernalia. While a few guys worked on hanging up rows and rows of round, coloured paper lamp shades, Babugaru sketched out The Plan. Others chipped in excited. There were to be two daises. The one in the front for the morning and another behind to be unveiled in the evening. We ladies were to prepare simple bouquets to attach the stage background randomly. At the very top there would a thick panel of bouquets and grass. The latter alone took half the night. 

The morning birds began to chirp. The cold began to sting a little. A few people, who had gone back at night to rest, drifted in now, freshly washed and dressed and wondering at the progress. Others got busy with the regular morning chores - washing the yard & steps of Ammagaru's residence and  drawing powder rangoli designs. Ah! miraculously with Babugaru's encouragement and presence, all the work appeared done. Then the hunting for brooms!began to furiously clear up the area in readiness for guests. 

And there was an important task remaining. Master Himself had to be readied for event. Standing up on tables a few of us got the wonderful opportunity to apply tilakam to Master on this auspicious day and arrange a huge rose garland and flowers. At 6 am, just as the strains of the morning aarati could be  heard, Master ascended the stage.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013 0 comments

Sayings of Master

Sunday, October 13, 2013 0 comments

Deeksha Satghoshti (Discussions)

 Yesterday evening Babugaru continued from day before yesterday and spoke on remaining in the correct 'Zone' with regard to our Spiritual practice. That is we neither be in too much of a hurry to reach our goal, nor to complacent. Like the strings of a musical instrument, correct tension has to be maintained to make good music in life. We need to set our practice in such as way as to make it not so easy that we get bored, nor so difficult that it is too difficult to attain.

One of the ways Babagaru suggested to do the above is to refrain from monotony of 'parayana' and open the books randomly to read a few paragraphs/leelas and contemplate on the same. We could see its application in our current behaviour or look for connections or explanations and so forth in our works by Pujya Saimaster or other Mahatmas.

Today I randomly opened Prabodhamritam and came across the following passages.

Ammagaru gave a homework: Think on 'What is spirituality?'

Monday, August 19, 2013 0 comments

3 Things to do- 'Surrender, Serve and Question' II

Rough Translation:
 '...try for jnanam.  In the episode of public disrobing of Draupadi  (in The Mahabharata), when Draupadi tried to save herself on her own, it did not work. But when she recalled Sri Krishna, putting her burdens on him, she obtained protection. Therefore, in that slokam everything is mentioned. Instead of using that slokam to prevent other thoughts from entering his head, if Nana learns from it to surrender, renders service and questions the Sadguru then, he will attain brahmajnana. Hence Baba asked Nana to explain it. Since Nana was unable to do so, Baba himself explained the correct way of doing the above three. If we think a little further, we can understand the origin of The Bhagwatgita. Arjuna has surrendered to Sri Krishna who is the witness to the Lord's nature (cosmic consciousness) within Himself and without i.e. a manifestation of the Lord himself. (On the battlefield) Arjuna is caught up in confusion over his Dharma; what is right and what is wrong and he questions Sri Krishna regarding this ('pariprasna'). Because Arjuna did this, The Bhagwatgita was born. Therefore I understood why Baba is saying that this slokam is so significant.  Thinking further, only this slokam reveals to us how to obtain satva gunam, daivee gunam; that satva gunam, daivee gunam without which yagya, dana, tapas, karma will be meaningless; without which we have no other way, but to obtain which there is  stated no other way, other than the one stated in this slokam only. That is why, Baba explained only this slokam.

Therefore what we have to do in Ammagaru's Sannidhi is clear. 
Jai Sai Master


3 Things to do - 'Surrender to the sadguru, render service and question him...' I

Looking back it is difficult to spot the turning point? How did we happen to eschew the mundanities of our previous life to come into the direct presence of  Mahatmas? The physical move was just a few years ago. But the journey had to have started long, long back with the first introduction, the chance meeting or the accident of being born to devoted parents.

What is our prime duty once we have come to Their presence? 

"Why have you come here?"  That is oft heard question from the Guru Kutumbam. If you do not keep asking yourself this question, this time shall pass like many other  and later we will go back to our previous mundane way of life, perhaps even regretting this time as time wasted. This time in their presence is limited and precious. What is to be our take away, our learning depends entirely on us.

Often having come into their presence, our problems are mostly solved while our desires and dreams continue to belong to our previous state of mind. They are a product of our birth tendencies, family upbringing and social conditioning. So we knowingly or unknowingly create our own universe, based on our likes and dislikes, in their divine presence - very much like a little India or a little Italy abroad. Then we are not learning anything and worse we are self-deluded. 

So what is it that we really have to do now? Today I came across this passage from Sri Saimaster Pravachanalu  (Chapter 25, 'Trigunalu') elaborating on the episode of Baba  questioning Nana Chandorkar on what he was mumbling while sitting in His presence in the Shirdi's Dwarakamayi (pg 224-227, 'The God-man and Tradition', Chapter 14, Sai Baba the Master):


Saimaster's Teaching's

Thursday, August 15, 2013 0 comments

On Emptiness - Sri Sai Master - Letters II

Note the assurance  "I am ever with you". And then at the end the humility of this Great Master, "...by Baba's grace."

This so much similarity to the Letters of Swami Vivekananda...

On Emptiness - Sri Sai Master - Letters I

Letters are personal by nature. Sri Saimaster's letters available as Sri Saimaster Amrutha Lekhavali (Telugu and English letters) are a beautiful living voice of the Master. In the letter I am sharing below, not only are His words and thoughts profound, from His writing style I can feel the love for the addressee with which he writes, the inclusiveness of that love for all humankind, the precise diagnosis of the complaint, like a brilliant doctor and the clarity and authority of the instruction. How clearly and lovingly He instructs even how to acquire the book... It makes me believe that a spiritual life is possible, the confidence that the 'seeing' He is suggesting we do, can indeed be done by us... Do you feel the same?

Source: www.srisaibharadwaja.org 

PS: I believe there is are some typos in this. Read 'dwell' for 'will', compassion for 'corruption'!

Children's upbringing and schooling

Here at Nagole, we devotees are not an isolated/insulated lot. We live amongst a lot of other non-devotees of Pujya Sai Master. Naturally there is a degree of curiosity, speculation and general non-understanding. More so in the first couple of years of Ammagaru taking up residence at Nilayam.

Once someone who is well used to us rushing to our numerous 'functions', daily evening 'satsangs', cook-overs and meetings asked, what do you do with your children? Where do they figure in all this? And as all Nagolites reading this will do, I could only shake my head with laughter. 

Because it all began with the kids!!!  As Ammagaru once noted, we adults so-called devottees do not seem much concerned about improving ourselves (despite all Their efforts). However, we do want The Best for our children and we are completely sure that they will get it nowhere else, only in  Ammagaru's Sannidhi.

Kids - the future - are always at the forefront of every activity here. They are not 'instructed' or 'taught' or 'disciplined' in the conventional sense. That is not to say that they are left free to do and behave as they wish. Since this sounds a little beyond the comprehension of us, modern parents, you guessed it  - all that training and discipline is for us! 

Parenting today is one of the biggest challenges of life. There is no training whatsoever to the new parents, the older generation unlike the previous generations is also quite unequipped to handle grandchildren. Usually they neither have the energy, inclination or resources. What is worse, often they are quite plainly wrong. For instance, the insistence of that generation on scoring marks, competing for government jobs or MNC jobs to settle overseas has led to highly specialized adults of today who cannot easily switch careers according to the need of the hour, lost career opportunities in allied fields of medicine and non-computer related engineering fields, lack of good faculty for educational institutions, poor vocational training, rapid population influx to cities, ...........the list is endless. If you think this is all obvious, you belong to the elite few. This 'marks', 'ceritificates', 'doctor' or 'engineer' mind-set of has been passed on to our generation of parents quite effortlessly. Hence the queues for 'certificates' and 'visas' are growing longer. 

If we take out some time to think, we would realise that our grandparents, ie those born in 1920s or later were an insecure post world wars, post independence struggle generations. No one  can fault them for seeking monetary security or making the choices they made. Our parents, ie. those born in 1940s or later were the generation after them, who faced the transitions from wood stoves to gas -stoves, national change to metric measurement and Rupee currency system, women leaving home to work outside, break up of the joint family system, telephones and mobiles and computers and emails versus telegrams and post.

All of these we take for granted today. If everything has changed then why are we still clinging to our colonial past in terms of education for our children? And how we want to educate them, which school or college we want them to attend, what we want them to become, determines how we bring them up today. 

The School is our new God today. The going rates of School admission and tuition fees determines how many children we will have. The School admission process asks for a nuclear family photo (police requirement??) and the income bracket to which we belong.  'Oh, wake up, its time for school' is our new Suprabhatam. We put in eco-friendly tiffin boxes what the school nutritionist recommends for each day of the week. We have to take our children to a popular holiday destination or his/her holiday homework essay will not be good enough. We have to dress up in our Sunday best for the PTA and our children's report cards are Our Performance reports. After all, what if the School counsellor says my child has ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) or Dyslexia?

The question is, 'Will you give in to the 'System'?' or 'Do something about it?'. There is a lot of thought provoking and forthright inputs and discussions by Babugaru in a very valuable discussion thread in SaiMaster Forums, 'Pillala pempakam' - from 2009 which is wonderful read. It is linked in this post. You will need to log in.

Happy Reading and Happy Independence Day
Wednesday, August 14, 2013 0 comments

Said the donkey to the crocodile -- fables and fairy tales are not a waste of time

HHi, here is a sample of the kind of kid's education discussions we have at Nagole and with the world. Babugaru's post on Facebook:

Some of my favourites are the Panchatantra tales, Russian Folk tales, Tales and Parables for Children by Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, Great Indian Women and other Ramakrishna Mission publications for children and Tales for Children by Sri Rama Teertha. Do add any more you prefer in your comments. 

The best way to use these tales I have discovered, is not to merely relate one every day but relate a relevant when a discussion comes up.

Schooling versus Education

Schooling versus Education has been question of great discussions, debates, learnings, some tears and many joys at Nagole in the past five years.

Initiated by Babugaru, it lead to the Home schooling of a group of children of devotees, who had been up to then going to regular, well-established public schools in the city. As Babugaru laughingly puts it, coming from a family background of no schooling,( his father and grand father did not have formal schooling - and who are well known erudite scholars and doctors, to say the least), he was the first to experience the misery of going to school. It is in his very genes to oppose formal schooling.  Sri Ananthacharya Gurukulam, in the line of ancient, advanced education system practiced in our country, came into existence. The students of this Gurukulam are our pride and joy of our lives. Touch wood and Amen!

There is a lot of social, parental conditioning to be unlearnt in this regard and a joyous journey of knowledge with our children to be undertaken. I know to be joyous as I have begun to question many of my beliefs, confront many common fears originating from my school experience (such as the fear of numbers, fear of being laughed at, fear of being singled out, fear of failure - owing to competitive fish-bowl schooling system) which still influence my life. When I rediscover the world of practical knowledge with my child, I experience the joy of learning vis-a-vis the burden of having to learn.

This desire to learn and natural curiosity is fundamental to being human kind points out Mastergaru. It is fundamental to leading a fulfilling, satisfying life. And therefore it is fundamental to spirituality. And when we go about our routinely busy lives, book travel in order to escape boredom or be 'in', plan to enjoy, plan the birth of our children,  plan sick leave  ...........!! 


I still don't feel like doing Parayana

'I still don't feel like doing Parayana'.

After all the 'gyan' I put in my previous posts, we usually come back to the above refrain. That is, I am a repeat, repeat re-exam candidate. I am growing old and still in college like our beloved film actors. Actually  in spiritual education, I am still in Kindergarten. So what do we do?

Ammagaru comes to our rescue again and suggested that at any time, even if we do not feel like doing parayana, we may feel like doing other acitivities like japam or bhajan. So we should do those. Eventually, we will feel like doing Parayana again. Or else we can sit and reflect on our readings so far. That would be 'mananan' which is good. Or else we can just sit and gaze at Baba's or Master's photo. That is also 'dhyanam'. If we do not want to do any of the above then it does not bode well for our state of mind/spiritual life.

As Mastergaru has explained and Babugaru elaborated, the problem is in our state of mind. We obviously want to do Parayana (because we are stating our problem) but we don't feel like doing it!!! It is very much like all our other problems in life. We want to be healthy and look great, of course one needs to exercise for that, but naturally, we don't feel like doing it. We even part with our hard earned money to gyms and dietitians to 'make us do it'. Many people pay money to pujaris and temples to perform their worship for them in absentia

Now this is where Ammagaru says we need to curb that trend of mind. Are we willing to pay for our movie tickets and enjoy our movies in absentia? Or our very precious (i.e.holy) holidays? So that kind of logic is unextendable. It is merely laziness. Therefore our daily, every minute, all- pervading, contagious laziness is a far greater malaise than corrupt politicians. And in this case, mere talk won't suffice.

If our mind rebels strongly again parayana (perhaps parental influence led you to start it etc), you can even leave it off. With time - it may take years- we begin to want what we experienced while we did parayana and will definitely come to take it up ourselves again. This is the experience of many who started parayana years ago and my experience too.
Tuesday, August 13, 2013 0 comments

FAQ - How should we do Parayana? - II

Master wrote more than 45 books and in His life time discoursed almost ceaselessly (even through His meals). Once when some one asked Him to summarize, He said that if we are really trying to be true followers of Sri Sai Baba, Parayana and leaving food outside before meals are the two key, central practices to be followed compulsorily.

Babugaru recommends, 'Read and reread the oft neglected Introductions, Prefaces, Forewords, Appendices & Glossaries if any to all of Saimaster's writings especially the main parayana granthas, Sri Sai Leelamrutham (Telugu), Sri Guru Charitra (Telugu), Sai Baba the Master (see Appendix 'A Note on Devotion to the Guru'), Sri Swami Samarth (English) to begin with'. These are concise writings answer many of our questions and dilemmas of daily life. For example:
  • what are the benefits of having a spiritual life and does it take away from our worldly life  
  • what are the benefits of doing Parayana
  • a brief introduction to the great culture and tradition of Parayana in our country beginning with Srimad Bhagwatham. why this tradition is still relevant today and the future, and should become the central point in our lives
  •  what is the Dattatreya tradition and what is its uniqueness
  •  how does Shirdi Sai Baba fit into the Dattatreya tradition and why Sri Guru Charitra and Sri Sai Jeevitha Charitra (same as Sri Sai Leelamrutham) should be read side by side.
This wealth should be imprinted in on our minds. 

Babugaru further says, 'Be an active reader.  i.e. do not just swallow what Master says in the books, because that is going against what Master himself believed in.'  Having promised us all that he has said, in say the Introduction to Sri Sai Leelamrutham, while reading the book, we should see if it delivers. Do you actually experience the 'benefits'?; if not why and if yes to what extent. In either case this is what we should bring to the discussion table in the numerous talks at Nagole and outside, online forums, regular home discussion groups (satsangs) etc.

Moreover we should not read these books in isolation. We should cross-reference (atleast where Master himself refers to other books) all the time. 

We should simultaneously read books by and on other mahatmas, especially Swami Vivekananda, Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and Sri Ramana Maharshi,

Reading Sri Sai Prabodhamrutam is a must, especially for those who have been reading Sri Sai Leelamrutham for years. Have you actually put into practice what Master mentions in the first para, in the first ten pages?? As Sri Sai Baba to the devotee who make the difficult buffalo ride across the Nanhe Ghat, 'Mere reading without practice is of no use'.

Sunday, August 11, 2013 0 comments

FAQ - How should we do Parayana? - I

A frequently asked and answered question here at Nagole talks is that our Parayana (regular reading in a way that 'paraayatha chendadam' occurs, as per Pujya Saimaster) has become a matter of mere routine and we no longer enjoy it the way we did in the beginning.

From my meagre study so far of Pujya Saimaster's books and speeches, I have found that he has himself stated in patient detail, numerous and unique ways in which we in the first place identify whether our readings are working or not, and how to rectify it (refer Sri Sai Prabodhamrutam, Saimaster Pravachanamulu, Dhyana Yoga Sarvasvam etc). However, for the failing student who is unable to hold Master's books (for that matter, any other useful book) in his/her hands for more than a few minutes or worse uses his book as a favoured possession on his showcase, this is no answer.

Since I belong to the above category, I have put down a few of my learnings in the last few years of my stay at Nagole for immediate reference:
1. Babugaru advised me, 'Ask the question (to yourself), 'Why should I read?', not 'Why am I not able to read?.' Do this again and again till you are sure.

2. As per Ammagaru, while reading we should visualize everything. Visualize exact location of each item in Dwarakamayi, Baba sitting there and visitors coming  in, Lendi Garden etc. ( Photos and actual visits to Shirdi etc help us in this). Think of Baba's unpredictible and terrible anger, how the devotees used to run away from Dwarakamayi. Only to return, when he calmed down. Why would they come back, if not for His love?

3. Imagine you are each devotee who approaches Baba. Imagine (like an actor) you have that particular  problem (you have an incurable disease, in dire need of money etc. what would be your state of mind? When you approach Baba, how would Baba's behaviour or response affect you?

4. Try to understand Baba's state of mind, based on his responses to his devotees, his daily routine, his actions etc.  For example, if Baba knew the past, present and future of every devotee, what was His state of mind? If with that state of mind all the time, were He to tell us something almost casually, the way He told his closest devotee Shama, will we make the same mistake as Shama and others did - not take Him seriously and suffer for it? Are we doing the same thing with what Ammagaru tells us?

5. In Sai Baba the Master, Chapter 1, Master has described what went through his mind, before his experience of Samadhi at Shirdi on 9th February, 1963. " The look captured my gaze. "What does his face, especially his look and smile, indicate of his attitude.... (end of para)" .As per Babugaru (EDJ), we can do readings using each line in that paragraph as a basis.

6. Smt. Vedamma garu suggests that when we sit down for parayana, imagine that Baba is before you  and listening while you read. Take this further and just imagine, His condition when you postpone your reading everyday to late night when it become unavoidable, and He has to be awake to listen while you nod over your book!!

7. For every problem we face at every stage in life, the solution (i.e. the way we should think and approach the problem) has been given in the leelas and sayings of Sri Shirdi Sai Baba. Look out for these when you read. Reflect on how you have approached these same issues and can you do what is suggested?

Tuesday, August 6, 2013 0 comments

Ammagari Bodha

"Proper worldly life is real Spirituality"

"సరైన్ లౌకీక్ జీవితామే నిజమైన ఆధ్యాత్మికతా"

Monday, July 1, 2013 0 comments

Ammagari Bodha

Monday, June 17, 2013 0 comments

Chivatam Amma Aradhana Utsavam June 15th 2013

There is a good post covering this event by fellow blogger. Read his post on June 16th 2012 here : http://saimastermessage.blogspot.in/.

Sri Chivatam Amma

Ammagaru going through Sri Chivatam Amma's Charitra
Thursday, May 30, 2013 0 comments

Gangapur and Maniknagar Yatra with Divyajanani April 2013

This is one yatra where all the memories are in the heart and where I went sans camera. Go here http://saimastermessage.blogspot.in/ posts on May 15th and 16th 2013 for a beautiful photostory.

This yatra was special and a first in many many ways. Our community living, while cooking our own food on efficient wood stoves under the expert guidance of Ammagaru and Babugaru is making waves in the world of Permaculture!  An auto-driver driving us back from a nearest town to Maniknagar was obilivious to the greatness of the 'jiva - samadhi' pf Sri Manik Prabhu which he passes by every day but was struck that  our group of 80+ people (20 +families) including young children seem to have happily left behind the 'madding crowd', jobs et al to come to this quiet place where literally racoons and peacocks rule the roost.

Every evening the abhangs chosen for every day of the week by the Mahatmas, are played on the temple premises. They take one to the world of complete peace.


Note - more posts later as I relive the memories
Thursday, April 11, 2013 0 comments

The name Mastergaru - Pujya Acharya Ekkirala Bharadwaja invokes... (telugu)

Source: 'Sai Baba' Magazine
Friday, March 1, 2013 0 comments

Margazhi masam muggulu (kolams) at Nagole

In the month of Margazhi, after all the brilliance of lights of Karthika masam, the winter starts truly setting in. The mood becomes a bit more sombre as the New Year and Mandala Deekshas approach. However, the festive cheer continues with all the ladies and  children digging into colours and adorning a long stretch of road before Ammagaru's residence. 

The colourful floor designs (Kolams/Rangavalli/Muggulu) of South India, are a fast diminishing traditional art form. Most urban households with little front yard space relegate the task to the ubiquitous maid. Here, in Ammagaru's sannidhi, with unique designs and colour combinations for each day, provided by Ammagaru and Smt. Vedavathi, this tradition is given a fresh life.

Ammagaru is a master at designing vast, intricate dotted kolams with intertwining lines (melikalu muggulu) wherein a a single, unbroken, continuous line travels all over the design to finish back at the beginning. A sound background of mathematics is the basis for it! So much for those who think women's art is all feather-brained.

Saturday, February 9, 2013 0 comments

Ammagari Bodha

Friday, February 8, 2013 0 comments

A Beautiful Prayer for us by Pujya Ammagaru

Do we know how to Pray? Indeed we do not. The compassion of our Mother is so much that she gifted us this beautiful, simple prayer teaching us Gratitude.

Source: printed on Back Cover, Sai Baba Magazine February 2013
Thursday, January 24, 2013 0 comments

Deeksha - Spiritual Discipline & Community Living, in Ammagaru's Sannidhi

First stoves designed for common cooking during deeksha. Babugaru (seated) supervising.
Smaller stove - nivedana being prepared

Uppu and Madhu heavy -lifting!

Babugaru roasting chapatis while discoursing. More than a 100 chapathis done this way!

Our Home -  Pandiri next to Ammagaru's Sivapuri Residence. Babugaru (in red, turned back) talk in progress.

Following the Mandala Deeksha started several years ago, which extends for 40 days  from 1st January to 9th Feb every year, another Deeksha was announced, where we would try to expand our sense of family by removing ourselves from the familiar home terrain, and spend maximum time together following the given routine.  We were extremely fortunate in that to make this easier for us and to enable us to be in Her proximity, Ammagaru moved to her Sivapuri residence.

Pujya Ammagaru says that "Deeksha is nothing but Daksha (Be careful)". It is the single word upadesam given by Shirdi Sai Baba to Sri Sai Saradanandaji.  (pg 270, Sai Baba the Master by Acharya Ekkirala Bharadwaja, 14th Edition). It is useful to refer to Pujya Bharadwaja garu's explaination of the same (Sai Master Pravachanamulu (Telugu)).

That one week was unforgettable in that everyone unanimously felt a sense of spiritual high as well as ease together. Every Nagole devotee felt the presence of others not to be an obstacle to their individual disciple - rather a boost. The Nagole 'Bachelor (beehive)' team sprung into action from day 1 (actually Babugaru brought forward the D-day by another day so that we could acclamatize to the new environment) and overnight raised a shelter for us and also took charge of providing hot bathing water as well as the cooking. This was so as to leave the ladies entirely free from conventional duties (and rethink their definition of chores vs seva). The girls did the serving and cleaning up and all the we middle -aged were left to do was our own dish-washing. Mind you the dish-washing exercise was minutely planned and supervised by Babugaru to our traditional (and international) enivironment friendly standards. 

So much happened and was experienced that one post is too meagre.. if fact this is posted so late just coz while I crazily jotted in spare minutes, blogging or photography was the last thing on anyone's minds.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013 0 comments

'Live' Puja @ Nagole

Pujya Mastergaru has explained to us how to perform puja to Sri Sainath in the book Sainatha Puja (telugu). The book blurb reads, 'Sainatha pooja establishes the correct way of doing pooja while giving meanings for all the vedic namas of the god uttered in pooja. Pujya Mastergaru presents the objective of doing pooja and the right bhavam needed by the aspirant destined to the ultimate goal. This great little book has the namavali written by Pujya Mastergaru'.

Most of us who have grown up with 'modern' school education and working parents the whole concept of puja is an 'unknown' therefore 'not relevant' category. Some are generally devotional without much understanding while some are quite firm in the rituals to be followed. Within the last group, there is often a debate on the precise detail of the ritual. 

Whatever the attitude, I have not known anybody who delights in Puja the way one delights in watching a cricket match 'live' on Television. There is already much said in the media about the rituals of cricket fans at home and on the turf. Here in Nagole however, whenever there is Puja, it is in that sense that we are asked to participate. And one can see it here live. It is perhaps not something which one can broadcast but it is something which can be gleaned from observing the details. Here is a living saint. Someone we can physically see, hear and talk to. Someone who like the waves of sea, wakes every morning at the same time and goes on working for us every minute with no expectations. Someone who is every minute setting an example, indeed an ideal and is open to be tested. Someone who believes in us (more than our parents who created us); who says we have it in us to become great, that the future is glorious. Someone who is watching over us while we sleep and forgives us when we forget to call. You don't have to believe me. Just come and see for yourself.

When we are unable to join others in watching a match or a great movie, we are told, ' You missed it'. That is, you may get to see a replay but it will not be the same. That is what is happening here in Ammagaru's sannidhi. If we are not here, we haven't even made it to the theatre and are still stuck in traffic. And if we are in Nagole and yet not here, we are watching the movie and still missed the 'special appearance' because we slept off or went for a drink!

Jai Sai Master

Saturday, January 19, 2013 0 comments

Vegetable Garden for Nagole Common Kitchen - Naandi

On 23rd December 2013, with inspiration and blessings from Ammagaru and Babugaru, Nagole Sai Master devotees group unanimously started a Sunday Common Kitchen.

 The main goals are to learn to mingle and work together as desired by Mahatmas and to take this forward in
Common Kitchen cooking!
such a way that Mahatmas themselves desire to visit and bless us. Indeed there is no greater blessing than the great, wandering Lord Datta coming in any form at meal time and accepting the offer of bhiksha. May our endeavour  be worthy of this event.

Babugaru (left) planting seedlings for the Common Kitchen produce
The following Sunday, 30th December, Babugaru and his team planned out a vegetable garden based on permaculture design at Prof. G. V. Rao's residence towards the Common Kitchen.

Drawing beds in the heaped compost and coco-peat mix and Staking
Jai Sai Master

Nagole Notes - Deeksha

For several years past, a Deeksha (a set of guidelines primarily for the mind) was initiated in Ammagaru's presence, to be observed for 40 days from the January 1st (beginning of the New Year) to February 9th (the day on which Pujya Mastergaru had his first experience of samadhi at Shirdi, refer Sai Baba the Master, 'The Master Calls Me'). The Deeksha guidelines are published in previous issues of Sai Baba (fortinightly Telugu Magazine, started by Pujya Mastergaru). 

This year, Babugaru advised us to set our own rules as per our circumstance and focus. Ammagaru in yet another gesture of compassion, initiated for us the reading of  the great book God lived with Them published by the Advaita Ashrama (in Telugu 'Daivam tho Sahajeevanam') in her holy presence. She is even blessing us by her continuous darshan during this reading, in the evening satsang.

It is to be noted that though majority of our group here are householders, this book details the life stories of sixteen monastic disciples of Sri Ramakrishna, including Swami Vivekananda. As we read along, interestingly some of these monks were married!

Jai Sai Master
Thursday, January 10, 2013 0 comments

Sri Datta Jayanthi 2012 in Pujya Ammagaru's Sannidhi

In the early days of the All India Radio and  Gramaphone records, some stalwarts of Indian Classical Music strongly refused to get their voices recorded. Their rationale was that their singing was the creation of that particular moment, a result of many cosmic forces, within and without, working simultaneously, directed towards the divine. Hence when the rendition was over, the song effectively ceased to exist. How could it be 'recorded' and repeated ad-nauseum?

Similarly, can we really ever 'record' a 'darshan'? That inspiration or elation or even guilt, which comes when we see our beloved Ammagaru, hear her speak, has multiple echoes. Sometimes it is like a million cells in our body, with all their zillions of atoms, all vibrating with a particular energy; of future possibilities, courses of action or nuances.

It is said that like everything else, our devotion too has its crests and troughs. Whenever I have become aware of a crest, a flow of positivity, in me, I have  tried to record my thoughts, in order to try and revive them in the 'trough' periods. So far this has rarely worked. Everything seems to lie in re-creating that 'sphurana' (inspiration) and 'samanvayam'  which comes spontaneously in the presence of Ammagaru.

It is then, I believe, a great act of compassion on the part of Ammagaru, to consent for her videos to be taken. Just like Shirdi Sai Baba who blessed us with his photographs and his assurance through his leelas (read Sai Baba the Master, 'Baba is in all creatures and things)' that his photos will be his very presence, Ammagaru's videos assure us that She will always be there for us as a 'living force'.

Thank you SMF online Satsang channel (you tube) for bringing to us yet another glorious video of Sri Datta Jayanthi 2012 Celebration a@ Nagole. (December 27th 2012)

Jai Sai Master

Thursday, January 3, 2013 0 comments

Ushering in the new year 2013 @ Nagole in Ammagari Sannidhi

The Indian New Year,  'Ugadi' for Andhraites, occurs in March-April. Regretfully, as in other things, the Western New Year celebration has taken precedence over our own. The balance has been reset for us here by Ammagaru. Yet, perhaps in deference to the current climate, the New Year celebration is a unique one in Ammagaru's presence. 

Once again on Dec 31st,we gathered post the evening Satsang, at around 9:30pm, @ Nilayam, to spend the last few hours of the year gone past with our minds concentrated on the One Essence that is God, that is Sai Baba, that is Mastergaru-Ammagaru. At about 11:30pm we were blessed with Ammagaru's darshan.

Babugaru spoke a few precious words. Quoting the great philospher-teacher Socrates, 'Be beautiful internally.. ' he said, only when we (inidivually) fight the six internal enemies will the world be lovable....

Later sitting around a campfire outside, he spoke for long, 'only if we are willing to work hard, does it mean we have a purpose'...

While perhaps the world outside shouted in abandon, drank and kissed or watched others do so on T.V. in New Year revelry, we spent those moments of transition to renewed resolutions in blessed devotional singing. If ours is madness then so be it.

Jai Sai Master