Devotion is one of the three wings of the Sai Organization (the other two being selfless service (seva) and education in human values). This page will discuss various aspects of the devotion program, which includes devotional singing (bhajans), Study Circles, Nine-Point Code of Conduct and Ten Guiding Principles.
Devotional Singing (Bhajans)
Sing aloud the glory of God and charge the atmosphere with divine adoration. This is why I insist on group singing of the names of the Lord. (SSS, VI, 239)
Bhajan is the process of singing that originates in the heart, not from the lips or the tongue. It is the expression of the joyous thrill that wells up from the heart when the Glory of God is remembered. It is the spontaneous manifestation of inner ecstasy. No attention is paid to the blame or praise that others may give. It does not seek the admiration or the appreciation of the listeners. (SSS X, 84)
Remember, every song sung in praise of the Lord is a sword that cuts the knots of laziness. It is a fine piece of social service to remind all of their duty to the Almighty, who watches over them. (The Holy Man and the Psychiatrist, by Sam Sandweiss, 134)
God is omnipresent. He is the in-dweller of every heart and all names are His. So you can call Him by any name that gives you joy. You must not cavil at other names and forms, nor become fanatics, blind to their glory. When you sing bhajan songs, dwell on the meaning of the songs and the message of each name and form of God and roll on your tongue its sweetness. (The Holy Man and the Psychiatrist, by Sam Sandweiss, 134)
Take for example, there is a tree. It is full of birds. They make a mess all over. How to get rid of these noisy ones? You should clap loudly. Similarly, in this tree of life, there are birds of desire. The heart therefore becomes dirty. In order to cleanse it, do devotional singing. (Kodaikanal discourse, April 12, 1996).
What is a study circle? It is not just reading books. Study circle means taking a point and each person discussing what it means like a round-table conference. Each person gives their point of view, and finally values are derived from this. If there is just reading, there is doubt. But if each one gives his view, doubts will be answered. The topic is viewed; the study circle looks at different facets. It is like a diamond with its different facets, but there is one facet that is flat, the top facet, and from this all can be viewed. To discover the top facet is the task of the study circle.
“Swami’s talks may be taken, or other scriptures. Take a point. Have everyone think about it and discuss it, and come to the final point where doubt is decreased. If only one person reads, there will be only one meaning. All misunderstandings, all points of view – after these are brought out, the study circle members will get confidence. There is no doubt about this. Centers must have study circles in this way and none will note the passage of time. Each one listens eagerly and many will give their point of view. The Bible, the Koran, the Gita, and Swami’s books may be used. Each one must be given a chance.”
Conversations with Sai Baba, by Hislop: pp.125-126 in older edition; pp. 137-138 in new edition
Nine-Point Code of Conduct
The charter of the Sai Organization says that every member should undertake sadhana (spiritual discipline) as an integral part of daily life and abide by the following Code of Conduct :
- Daily meditation and prayer.
- Devotional singing/prayer with family members once per week.
- Participation in Sai Spiritual Education by children of the family.
- Participation in community service and other programmes of the Organization.
- Regular attendance at devotional meetings conducted by the Organization.
- Regular study of Sathya Sai Baba literature.
- Use of soft, loving speech with everyone.
- Avoidance of talking ill of others, especially in their absence.
- Practice of the principles of “ceiling on desires”, consciously and continuously striving to eliminate the tendency to waste time, money, food, and energy and utilizing any savings thereby generated for the service of mankind.
Ten Guiding Principles
Sathya Sai Baba also emphasizes that man has important obligations to society. He stresses the importance of performing one’s duty in society for the benefit of all. It is the society that can provide an environment and a foundation for people to grow spiritually more easily. His teachings on serving society are summarized in His “Ten Guiding Principles”. Members are expected to adhere to:
1. Treat as sacred the land in which you were born. Have patriotism to your nation – but do not criticize other nations or put others down. Not even in your thoughts or dreams should you think of bringing grief to your country.
2. Respect all religions equally.
3. Recognize humanity as one family – treat everyone as a family member – Love all.
4. Keep your house and surroundings clean – for this will promote hygiene and health.
5. Practice charity – but do not encourage beggars by giving money. Provide food, clothing, shelter and help them in other ways (do not encourage laziness).
6. Never give a bribe or take a bribe – never give in to corruption.
7. Curb envy and jealousy, expand your vision and outlook, treat all equally regardless of caste or creed.
8. Be self-reliant. You may be wealthy and have servants to do your bidding, but service to society must be done by yourself.
9. Have and cultivate “Love for God and fear of sin”.
10. Never go against the laws of the land; follow these diligently both in word and in spirit. Be an exemplary citizen.