The Organizations named after Me are not to be used for publicizing My Name or creating a new cult around My worship. They must try to spread interest in recitation of God’s Name, meditation and other spiritual exercises that lead man God ward. They must demonstrate the joy derivable from devotional singing and remembering the Lord’s Name, the peace that one can draw from good company. The main objective of the Sathya Sai Organization is to help humanity recognize its inherent divinity.
– Sri Sathya Sai Baba [February 23rd, 1968]
In order achieve this objective, the Devotional wing of the Sri Sathya Sai Baba Organization facilitates spiritual activities such as devotional singing, weekly readings from Sai literature, study circle and reflection, meditation, and workshops on spiritual topics, all in the spirit of equality and unity of all faiths known to mankind.
Sathya Sai Baba advises us that it is our duty to take up spiritual activities and demonstrate by example to the younger generation that spiritual effort and study have made us more joyful and courageous in the adventure called life. Sai Baba teaches us that it is the responsibility of all pious men and women, parents and grandparents, to demonstrate in and through their lives that piety is not weakness but strength; that it opens up a vast spring of power and that a person with faith in God can overcome obstacles much more easily than a person who does not have faith in God.
In essence, Devotion according to Baba is “the ability to treat joy and grief, gain and loss, with equal fortitude”.
The Nine Forms of Devotion
Baba teaches us that one could connect with one’s chosen name of God using any of the nine forms of devotion. They are:
- Listening to stories about God (sravanam)
- Singing the name (kirtanam)
- Remembrance of God (vishnu-smaranam)
- Serving the holy feet (paada-sevanam)
- Reverence toward nature and all life (vandanam)
- Worship (archanam)
- Dedication, servitude (daasyam)
- Befriending (sneham)
- Surrender to the Self (atma-nivedanam)
Thus, an important activity of Sai centers is group devotional singing (Bhajan) or Remembering God’s Name (namasmarana). Bhajan is the process of singing one’s prayers to God, praising His glory and compassion, and pleading that He may fill one with His Grace. A good resource for Bhajans is the Radiosai web site.
You can use the Devotional Songs Portal to search for and learn devotional songs.
Given below are two important quotes from Swami on how to participate in the bhajan sessions at Sai Centers:
“Bhajan should not be gone through, as a painful necessity; it has to be a thrilling experience, which must leave the participants full of pure energy and elevated enthusiasm. Sing familiar Bhajans, so that all can share in the joy. (Ananda). Pay attention to the tune, the meaning, the variety, the voice, the raaga, the thaal (the tune and the beat) and other fine points of the Bhajans.”
“If your voice is not pleasant or sweet, keep quiet; that is the best service you can do. Do not cause discontent, discord and disharmony, insisting on singing, because you are an office-bearer, or something! The Bhajans must be sweet to the ear, arousing pictures of the glory and grandeur of Godhead, in the mind of the singers and listeners; they must refer to various Names and Forms of God, so that the Bhajan Sessions might fill every one with ecstasy. Bhajan is a Saadhana for all who share in it; that is why it is prescribed, for every Unit.”
– From Baba’s Divine Discourse on January 15th 1972
Another important activity of Sai centers is the weekly Study Circle, readings from Sai literature, and reflection and practice of the values learnt in daily lives.