751 Manifestations of Ganesha at Prasanthi Nilayam

Friday, September 1, 2000 to 
Thursday, September 07, 2000

Ganesh Chaturthi was celebrated at Prashanti Nilayam between 1st and 7th September 2000. Apart from regular celebrations in Sai Kulwant Hall, 751 different manifestations of Lord Ganesha were displayed in a big decorated pandal, opposite North Indian Canteen. Puja, Homam and Bhajans were conducted for 7 days at this venue. This grand programme was organised as part of Bhagavan’s 75th Birthday celebrations, by Sri Sathya Ganapathi Sangha, Bangalore. 
Bhagavan blessed the gathering with His Darshan and Discourse in Sai Kulwant Hall at 7.05 am, on 1st morning. Excerpts from the Divine Discourse are given below:

“On this day of Vinayaka Chaturthi, it is the practice of the Bharatiyas to prepare delicacies and offer them to Vinayaka. These offerings are unique and special. Til (seasame) seeds, rice flour and jaggery are mixed, made into balls, cooked in steam and offered to Vinayaka. You should enquire into the purpose of making such an offering. These steam-cooked preparations are good for the eyes and are beneficial to people suffering from Asthma and Eosinophilia. These offerings are meant to improve health and confer happiness on man. They are not to be treated as mere ritualistic practices. All that is related to God has sacred inner meaning. Man, unable to understand this truth, treats everything in the worldly perspective.

Man is endowed with Pashu Lakshanas (animal qualities) as well as Pashupati Lakshanas (divine qualities). Pashu Lakshanas originate from the head. Worldly education and intelligence are related to the head. The scientists make use of their intelligence to study things, which are related to the world. This corresponds to the Pravritti Marga. Virtues like love, compassion and forbearance, which originate from the heart, lead man to Nivritti Marga. Today man wants to be intelligent, not virtuous. The Gita declares: Anityam Asukham Lokam Imam Prapya Bhajasva Maam (as the world is temporary and is full of misery, attain divinity by ceaseless contemplation on God). Give up Pravritti and take to Nivritti. Only then can you redeem yourself. 

Today we find elders teaching the children matters that are related to Pravritti, not Nivritti. Right from a child to a decrepit old man, everyone is interested in Pravritti. But is there anyone who could experience peace in life by treading the path of Pravritti? How can one attain peace? Where is peace? Keeping an atom bomb in hand, people give lectures on the need for peace. Such people may be able to reach the moon, but can never attain peace and happiness. There is no need to search for peace in the external world. All that you get in the external world is only restlessness. Peace is within you. It is your form. Try to manifest it from within.

All Are Sparks Of The Divine

There is no power greater than that of love. You can attain peace by cultivating love. Peace is your birthright. External peace is temporary. Man should try to attain inner peace, which alone is pure, unsullied, eternal and immortal. For this, it is necessary that man should make proper use of time. It is therefore his foremost duty to utilise time in a sacred manner. Today man is wasting a lot of time in vain gossip and talking ill of others.

The Atmic principle that exists in you also exists in people whom you consider as ‘others’. Understand that all are sparks of the Divine. Isavasyam Idam Jagat (the whole world is the manifestation of God). Deho Devalaya Prokto Jeevo Deva Sanathana (body is the temple and the indweller is God). As all are divine, you should love all and hate none. Do not observe differences on the basis of your likes and dislikes. Treat everyone alike. Understand that Divinity is one. Ekatma Sarvabhutantaratma (the same Atma is the indweller of all beings). Once you understand this truth, you will lead your life with peace and happiness.

Cultivate Purity Of Heart 

Today, devotees from Bangalore have brought 750 idols of Lord Ganapati to worship, as this year happens to be the commencement of the 75th year of Swami’s physical body. One may bring 750 idols or 7 crore idols, but Ganapati is only one. No benefit accrues from offering worship to a number of Ganapati idols without purity of heart. It is enough if you offer worship to one Ganapati idol with the feeling of oneness. What is the purpose of doing pujas and vratas (austerities)? These rituals are prescribed to cultivate purity of heart. Chittasya Shuddhaye Karmah (the objective of actions is to purify the heart). All the nine paths of devotion, namely, Shravanam (listening), Kirtanam (singing), Vishnu Smaranam (contemplating on Vishnu), Pada Sevanam (serving the Lotus Feet), Archanam (worship), Vandanam (salutation), Dasyam (servitude), sneham (friendship), Atma Nivedanam (self-surrender) are meant to confer purity of heart. Sweets like mysore pak, gulab jamoon, burfi, etc., vary in name and form, but the sugar present in them is the same. Likewise, the principle of love is the undercurrent of all the paths of devotion. So, spend your life with love and end your life with love. This is the true spiritual practice. You are not separate from God. 

Divinity is the basis of human life. You can divinise your life by your Karma (action). Offer salutations to Karma before undertaking it. A driver, before taking his seat, offers salutations to the steering wheel. A dancer pays obeisance to her anklets before she wears them and starts her dance performance. A devotee pays his respects to the Gita before reading it. The purpose of offering prayer to Karma is to see that you perform only good actions which yield good results. This is the teaching of our ancient culture. You should offer Karma and its fruit to God before undertaking it. An illiterate lorry driver pays obeisance to the work he does, but not a scientist who is endowed with knowledge. Ego is the main cause for this. Such a scientist may consider himself to be very wise, but actually he displays ignorance. Just as our shadow follows us, ignorance follows one who is bloated with ego. Human life is a combination of wisdom and ignorance. It is a big mistake to consider yourself one of wisdom. Ignorance follows you like a shadow in all that you do. In order to get rid of this ignorance, you should consider Sarvam Vishnumayam Jagat (whole world as the manifestation of Vishnu). There is nothing in this world which is not divine. On this basis, Thyagaraja sang,”O Rama, right from a Cheema (ant) to Brahma, You are present in everyone in the form of love.” How can one ignore such an all-pervasive Divinity?

Consider Every Moment As Divine

Consider every day as a sacred day. You do not need to wait for Vinayaka Chaturthi or Navaratri to worship God. Consider every moment as divine and make proper use of it. People do Bhajans without understanding their significance. Instead of focusing their attention on God, they are bothered too much about the tune and rhythm. No doubt, the tune and rhythm are also essential in bhajans. But once you fill your heart with Divine love, the tune and rhythm will automatically be taken care of. If you concentrate too much on the tune and rhythm, you will not be able to think of God.

Just as the iron ball cast in fire becomes one with it, your mind should become one with God. Water cannot be separated from milk; likewise, your mind should get merged with God. You should not think that you are separate from God. One who realizes this principle of unity is a true human being. Do not limit worship of God to festival days alone. Each and every moment should be spent in the contemplation of God. You may think, “If every moment is spent in the contemplation of God, then how is it possible to do our work?” Do not distinguish between your work and God’s work. Your work is God’s work as God and you are one. It is a mistake to think that all that you do in the prayer hall is God’s work and outside it is your work. You should not entertain such feelings of separateness. Consider your heart as the altar of God and turn your vision inward. One who understands this truth and acts accordingly is a true human being. 

Love Towards God Alone Is True Love

You think that you love your family and friends, but that cannot be called love in the true sense of the term. That is only attachment. Love towards God alone is true love. If you call yourself a devotee of Swami, act according to Swami’s expectation. Do not count the number of bags of rice and the number of saris and dhotis that you have given away in charity to the poor. You may submit such accounts to the Income Tax Department, not to God. God wants quality, not quantity. He sees the feeling behind your acts of charity.

Even a small act of charity will assume immense significance in the eyes of God, if it is done with purity of heart. One teaspoonful of cow’s milk is better than barrels of donkey’s milk. God is pleased even if you offer a teaspoonful of milk with love. God always observes your feelings. God’s valuation is always perfect; none can match Him in this respect. 

Conduct Yourself In Accordance With God’s Wish

Many students worship Vinayaka to secure high marks in the examination, to attain high qualifications and great reputation. But they do not aspire for good conduct and good behaviour. They should cultivate qualities, which are dear to God. Before undertaking any task, enquire whether it is pleasing to God. You are bound to attain success if God is pleased with your actions. Do not go by your own likes and dislikes. Conduct yourself in accordance with God’s wish. Eschew selfishness and self-interest. Cultivate sacredness and steadfastness. This is the teaching of Lord Ganapati. Ganapati confers on you Buddhi (intellect) and Siddhi (fulfilment). One can attain Siddhi only when one has good Buddhi. You have to love God wholeheartedly and offer Him all that you do. Then even a simple task performed by you will become significant.
In this land of Bharat, Ganapati is highly venerated. Ganapati worship is prevalent in all parts of India. Lord Ganesh shines in every heart. Who is Bhagawan (God)? ‘Bha’ means effulgence. One whose effulgence spreads everywhere is Bhagawan. Having self-effulgent God in your heart, why should you search for Him outside? Look into your heart. Divinity can be attained only through pure and selfless love. You may chant hundred and eight names or thousand and eight names of God. But without selfless service, it is of no use. All these are sterile activities. Service alone is fruitful.”

Thereafter, Bhagavan arrived at the special pandal at 8.40 am in a procession, led by a Yaksha Gana Cultural Troupe. He was received with Poorna Kumbham by the priests. Bhagavan lit the lamps and unveiled a six-foot long Sanathana Sarathi Ganapathi Idol, placed in a chariot. Bhagavan then proceeded to the galleries of the Pandal, where 751 forms of Ganapathi were displayed. Bhagavan blessed the organisers and materialised a gold chain for one of the ladies. Bhagavan then performed Poornahuti amidst Vedic chanting. The programme concluded with Mangala Arati at 8.55 am. Sri R. K. Prasanna Kumar of Bangalore presented a classical vocal music programme that evening. Bhagavan materialised a gold chain for him. Bhagavan blessed the idols of Ganesha that were assembled in Sai Kulwant Hall on 3rd afternoon. He posed for photographs with each group before the idols were taken for immersion.

On 7th, Bhagavan came to the pandal at 7.15 am, and performed Poornahuti. In the afternoon, the Shirdi Sai Ganapati Idol was taken out in a grand procession to Sai Kulwant Hall. Bhagavan broke coconuts in front of the idol, before it was taken for immersion. He posed for photograph with the members of Sri Sathya Ganapathi Sangha.

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