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