Significance of Dasarā

The whole world is the embodiment of the three guṇas (attributes). In a worldly sense, Dēvi means Strī liṅgamu (feminine). However, in this word Strī (woman), there are three letters: sa, ta and ra. Sa means sa-kara, ta is ta-kara and ra is ra-kara. The first and foremost in Strī is Sāttvic. This Sāttvic nature is the very first to emerge in man. It is in the proximity of the mother – the womb, that love begins to develop. She transmutes her blood into love and offers it to her children. Therefore, it is not possible to define a mother’s love. 

The second is ta. Ta does not mean tatva or Tamas quality as in sleeping, eating and other such activities that are said to be characteristics of Tamas. The ta syllable in Strī means bashfulness, shyness and pride. They have a lot of shyness and remain modest for the sake of their honour and respect. Because of such pure qualities, ta-karam develops. But unfortunately, assuming ta-karam to mean eating, sleeping and repeating this cycle, women earn the title of Kumbakarna’s¹ sisters! 

The third and final is Rajas. In truth, the qualities of sacrifice, generosity, etc. are represented by the letter ra in Strī. When the time comes, they sacrifice their very own life and will try to protect and uphold honour, without thinking of pain, losses and sadness. They are ever prepared to eliminate those Tamas tendencies which invade the Sāttvic

Dēvi, the embodiment of Shakti (Primal Energy), uproots bad qualities by adorning the Rajo guṇa and nourishing the Sāttvic. In this world, the bad qualities of  injustice, illegality, immorality and untruth have monstrously developed and wreaked havoc. When society was drowned in selfishness and self-interest, and humans were behaving mercilessly, devoid of love, the Ātmic principle embodied itself in the form of Shakti. When the Dēvi was continuously exterminating these bad qualities, she adorned a very fierce form. For the sake of pacifying this form, all women, who are considered to be her progeny, worship her with the red kuṅkum (vermilion). The Mother, on seeing this blood-like kuṅkum, is pacified thinking that all the bad-doers have been extinguished. Therefore, the symbolic meaning of worshipping the Dēvi with this kuṅkum is to pacify her fierceness. In these 10 days, the demon-like bad qualities which have further developed in this world are eradicated. Demons are not the ones with any particular form. Our bad qualities and feelings themselves are demons; the ego itself is a demon.  



¹Kumbakarna is the brother of the demon-king, Ravāṇā. Legend goes that Kumbakarna ate for six months and slept for six months.

²Sometimes translated as purity (Sathwa), activity (Rajas) and inertia (Tamas) but contextually, these terms assume different meanings.

³Sa as in Sun / Ta as in Thursday / Ra as in Run

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Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu

Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu

Divine lessons based on the life and teachings of this great Saint from Bengal


Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu (1486 – 1534 CE) is one of the most celebrated Saints of India, who hailed from the eastern state of Bengal. His life and teachings are a great inspiration for seekers of Truth, specially through the path of devotion. There are traditions in India that consider Sri Chaitanya as a reincarnation of Bhagavan Sri Krishna Himself, who had come to experience and share the sweetness of devotion and Divine Love.  In this article, we are fortunate to explore some known as well as rare insights from the life of this great Saint through the Divine words of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba.

Note: This work presents the direct words of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba in Telugu in the form of audio-visual along with english sub-titles. The sub-title text can be accessed through the tab next to the video. A translation of the discourse clip is provided below the clip that retains all the non-translatable Sanskrit/Telugu words with an approximate contextual english translation in brackets. There is an ‘English only’ translation provided for those who are not comfortable with words in Indian Languages. Translations have been made by the volunteers and members of  SSSCHV, Prasanthi Nilayam.

Divine Love

Loving God

“Impact of mother’s thoughts on children”, Sathya Sai Speaks, V 33, November 19 2000, Prasanthi Nilayam


Once, Sachidevi took Chaitanya to a holy temple to have the Darśan of Chaitanya Mūrti (consecrated idol). During Darśan, Chaitanya glorified the Lord as the ruler of the universe and the world, the master of life and all beings, as the one who has the capacity to nurture all. Chaitanya neither had the desire for the body nor did he have desire for the knowledge that confers mōkṣa sought by spiritual aspirants. Instead, Chaitanya prayed for nothing else but the strength to love Chaitanya (supreme consciousness) because consciousness is love. That love is verily our life, and everything is within love. Having been born in love and growing up in love, to be conferred with the grace of love is the greatness of love. 

Hearing her son’s prayers, Sachidevi asked Chaitanya why he prayed thus and not for necessities like food and shelter. Chaitanya explained the divine principle that everything is within God’s love; love is the form of Brahman (manifest creation), and that Brahman is love itself. All, including the universe, are God’s love alone. Therefore, if we have that one love, everything else we need will be fulfilled. We should not waste our lives desiring petty things. Because that same love is in everyone, all are able to live in this world as part of this universal family. Having prayed thus, Chaitanya went street-to-street singing the praises of Lord Krishna. Some wicked people would come and grab his wooden clappers, but Chaitanya was not affected.

Good and bad, purity and impurity, light and shadow, all coexist. Good people will face difficulties, and those difficulties will further develop the good in us.

With this faith and strong will, Chaitanya continued doing bhajan (devotional singing). Over time, a few children would join him as well, bringing cymbals and wooden clappers. Despite their parents’ scolding, these children did not leave the path of Chaitanya. Chaitanya would make them sit and impart to them the teachings of the coexistence of good and bad. In this world, without good, bad cannot happen. Similarly, without bad, good cannot happen. Both exist together, and none can achieve to separate them. Pleasure cannot be seen exclusively without bearing difficulties. So, all our sukhamu (pleasures) lie within kaṣṭamu (difficulties). Chaitanya went on preaching thus.

Due to the influence and satsaṅkalpa (Divine will) of the mother, the son transformed into a satpuruṣuḍu (Divine Being). Therefore, in today’s world, mothers should develop exalted ideals. They should have satsaṅkalpa and noble conduct. Only then will they beget exemplary sons.

True education one must acquire (Ādhyātmika Vidya is the only Vidya)

“Unity in diversity – the fundamental Truth”, Sathya Sai Speaks, V 35, November 4 2002, Prasanthi Nilayam


Once, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu sought mother Sachidevi’s permission to pursue education.

Mother Sachidevi told Chaitanya that although there are various fields of study, all of them are limited and come to an end at some point. They are not subject to their further development. All these vidyalu (studies) have limited standards. Ādhyātmika Vidya (Spiritual education) is the only vidya (education) that is deathless, limitless, and exists everywhere in all periods of time. Sachidevi advised Chaitanya to pursue such Ādhyātmika Vidya.

Therefore, Chaitanya incessantly chanted Krishna’s name, 

He traversed  from village to village, street to street contemplating and chanting Krishna’s name;


in the forest, in the sky,

in a village, in a city,

on the hill, in deep rivers,

he always chanted the name of Lord Krishna.

Ultimately, he gave beautiful teaching to the common man, using laukika (transactional), bhautika (material), and prākr̥ta (natural) words. 

His message to mankind was simple, yet profound.

Charity of food- Is there a greater charity?

Parents- Is there a greater God?

Living in the world as penance – Is there a greater Character?

Compassion- Is there a greater dharma?

Company of the good- Is there a greater gain?

Enmity- Is there a greater danger?

Therefore, the most fundamental of all is to distance enmity and develop friendship.

This vidya is of the highest priority. Chaitanya went to his Lord Narayana for Darśan and praised that He resides in all the worlds, that he is not only Lōkanātha (master of the world) but also Jīvanātha (master of all beings) and Prāṇanātha (master of Life). Chaitanya was not at all interested in either Kailāsa (abode of Lord Shiva), Vaikuṇṭha (abode of Lord Vishnu) or even Mōkṣa (liberation). He wanted only one thing – Love, the kind of love by which he can love the Lord himself. When Chaitanya desired thus, an ethereal voice said tathāstu (let it be so).

Chaitanya continued praying to Lord Krishna that how many ever types of vidya (knowledge), strengths, and great achievements one has, all are bound to slip away in the middle. Only love has life; it is changeless. In this world, everything is temporary – anityaṁ sarvaṁ, but Chaitanya desired that truthful and eternal love principle from Krishna. He continued that the Lord’s Mōkṣa (liberation), Svarga (heaven), Kailāsa (abode of Lord Shiva), and Vaikuṇṭha (abode of Lord Vishnu) are all the Lord’s branch addresses. Chaitanya did not want all these. He knew very well that the Lord’s permanent address was his heart where He resides in an unwavering – acan̄cala, imperceivable – apramāṇa, and steady – sthiraṁ – manner. That was the only thing Chaitanya desired.


Transform everything into Love through Sādhana

Chant the divine name always”, Sathya Sai Speaks, V 32, July 28, 1999


Like Prahalada, you should incessantly do Nāmasmaraṇa (meditative remembrance of God’s name). Jayadeva, Gauranga, Tukaram and Ramakrishna Paramahamsa who practiced spiritual disciplines and were content, always desired for God’s love. Like Sakkubai and Meerabai, unable to bear the separation from the Lord, you must wail and cry. Because of that agony of separation, God manifested and conferred His grace on them.  

But, due to the effect of this Kali age, people want God’s grace to simply fall into their laps without doing any sādhana (spiritual practice), stepping foot outside the threshold, or spending a penny. Today, because the expression of love in man is diminishing, wherever you look, the evil ways, violence, and griefs are wreaking havoc. Even if anger or jealousy arise in you, transform that into love. Be convinced that whatever happens in the jagat (world) is love.

Incessant sādhana manifests God

“Investment in devotion”, Sathya Sai Speaks, V 29, November 23, 1996


If you want God, then incessantly do smaraṇa (meditative remembrance) like Prahlada who always chanted “Ōṁ Namō Nārāyaṇa!”; constantly sing like Radha and Meera; continuously pray to God like Jayadeva, Gauranga, and Tukaram; ceaselessly wail and cry for the Lord’s Darśan like Ramakrishna. Then, God will manifest in that very instant.

In union with the Self while still in society

Detachment is possible for one and all”, Summer Showers in Brindavan, May 30 1973


Yōgaratōva bhōgaratōva

saṅgaratōva saṅgavihīnaḥ

yasya brāhmaṇi ramatē cittaṁ

nandati nandati nandatyēva

Translation of shloka: Whether one is given to yogic way of life or one is given to a luxurious way of life, whether one has renounced the world or is still in it, one whose Citta (awareness) revels in the Brahman (supreme consciousness) will only be in bliss at all times.

Shankara’s disciple, Nithyananda, wrote this Ślōka (verse). 

Few people do sadhana by staying in society – saṅgaratōva – and few others by leaving the society – saṅgavihīnaḥ.

Even while staying in society, great and sacred individuals like Thyagaraja, Pothana, Vemana, Jayadeva, Gauranga, Tukaram, Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, Kabir, and Ramdas immersed themselves in Ātma tatva (identification with the Ātma ) through nāmasmaraṇa  (meditative remembrance of God’s name) and gave Ānanda (pure bliss) to all.


Everything is God’s Līlā

“Chanting divine names gives eternal bliss”, Sathya Sai Speaks, V 29, July 19, 1996


Many saints like Jayadeva, Gauranga, and others have expressed their devotion to the Lord in myriad ways, through līlāgānaṁ (singing the glories of the divine play; Līlā– divine play ; gānaṁ-singing). Though they derived great satisfaction through this form of devotion, even that was just their bhrama (delusion). They ultimately realized the truth and transcended this delusion. Mira, Sakkubai and the likes, in the same manner, were doing līlagānaṁ. Mira finally realized that this līlāgānaṁ is of no use to her. When the jagat (world) itself is His Līlā and the entire sr̥ṣṭi (creation) is also His Līlā, can there be any differentiation of one experience being God’s Līlā and the other not? She recognized thus and thereafter continued the smaraṇa (meditative remembrance of the true nature of divinity).

Nāmasmaraṇa : The pathway to realize God

Purify the world by sankeerthana”, Sathya Sai Speaks, V 25, March 3 1992


Chaitanya was foremost in doing nāma sankirtana (devotional singing of God’s name).

All names are Yours. A jagat (world) without your nāma (name) or your form, cannot be seen in this Viśvamu (universe), Chaitanya prayed thus. 

Sarvarūpa Dharam Śāntaṁ (the one who embodies all forms is peace) Sarvanāma-dharam Śivam (the one who bears all names is auspiciousness) Saccidānanda Rūpaṁ Advaitaṁ (the one who is in the form of existence-awareness-bliss is non-duality) Satyaṁ Śivam Sundaraṁ (truth, auspiciousness, beauty).”

Chaitanya praised that all the beauty of this jagat (world) is only the Lord’s name and form. Convinced that each material, each atom, and each cell is God’s very form and nature, Chaitanya attained realization through the means of nāma (name).

The sweetness of nāmasmaraṇa

“Experience oneness with God”, Sathya Sai Speaks, V29, September 5 1996


The Dēha tatva (physical element), indriyamulu (senses), or Bud’dhi tatva (element of intellect) present in the human system cannot comprehend this Ātma tatva (identification with the Ātma). Therefore, Bud’dhigrāhyamatīndriyaṁ; only when the realm of senses and intellect is transcended, then this Ātma tatva can be understood.

For example, assume there is fruit juice in the tumbler. Swami is not accustomed to fruit juice but let us assume it to be fruit juice. The tumbler is full of juice, but the tumbler does not know the taste of the juice. If you put a straw in this and sip the juice inside with your mouth, the juice will flow fully through the straw. But even the straw does not know its taste. Once it reaches the tongue, only there can you determine if the juice is sour or sweet.

Likewise, our body is the tumbler. Divinity or God is the nectarine juice present in this body; God is in the form of the essence of the juice, but the body does not know. We use our senses, which are like straws, to experience divinity, but even the straw – or senses – does not know. The Bud’dhi (intellect) is like the jihva (tongue).

It was the devotee Chaitanya who proclaimed this.

Jihvē Rasajñe Madhura Priyētvaṁ

Satyaṁ Hitaṁ Tvāṁ Āvarṇayethā Madhurākṣarāṇi

[Translation for the shloka: My tongue! You are fond of sweet things and can discriminate taste; I tell you the highest truth, which is also the most beneficial. Please just recite these sweet syllables.]

What are those sweet letters? The tongue, the knower of taste and experiencer of sweetness, is taking in the rasa (taste) that is external. This rasa will not give satisfaction; it only shows the taste, but there is one rasa that is sweetest of all – Gōvindā Dāmōdara Mādhavēti. Think about this nāma (name). This name is not the one that wears out, melts, moves, nor is intimidated. In the heart, the name will stay determined, serene, selfless, and constantly share the sweetness of God. 

Chaitanya transforms a thief

Text from Discourse (Sathya Sai Speaks Volume 20 discourse 12; no audio available)

Krishna Chaitanya was once moving about, dancing and singing ecstatically, oblivious to everything, being immersed in the contemplation of the Lord. He entered Navadhveep, where the leaders of the town joined him in his Bhajan with equal ecstasy. A thief also joined this group. He had been a thief all his life and an arrant liar. He joined in their dance and thought that as there were many rich men in the group, who were wholly lost in their singing and dancing, he could easily pick their pockets. While this was his intention, what happened was entirely different. The moment he joined the devout group, he forgot himself and began to sing and dance with the same fervour as others. After the others had left, he sat apart for a while, watching Chaitanya. A small group of children were listening to Chaitanya’s discourse.

The thief ran towards Chaitanya and said: “Swami! You are giving advice to so many persons. Please impart some holy name to me.” Chaitanya replied, “Tell me first of all who you are and what is your life story? I shall then give you a message.” The man confessed: “Swami! I am a thief. I have been leading the life of a thief and a liar. My name is Rama. People call me as Rama the Thief.” Chaitanya said: “What a pity! I shall, however, give you a message. What will you give me as Guru dakṣiṇa (offering to the teacher)?” The thief replied: “I shall give you a share in the booty I get from stealing.” Chaitanya said: “I have no need for any such thing. Give me as an offering a promise that you will not commit theft in future.” He replied: “Swami! I am prepared to offer you anything, but I cannot agree to give up stealing.” Chaitanya then said: “If that is so, I shall impart the sacred name to you on one condition. Whichever place you may choose for thieving you must recite the sacred name 108 times before you break into the place.”

Chaitanya then drew the thief near to him. The thief’s heart had considerably softened after listening to Chaitanya’s words. Sambhāṣaṇaṁ (conversation with a holy person) saṅkaṭa nāśanaṁ (removes distress). The thief was getting rid of the fear. He neared Chaitanya. Sparśanaṁ (the touch of a holy person) Karma Vimōcanaṁ (redeems one from the effects of past deeds). Chaitanya held the thief’s head and whispered in his ear three times the mantra: “Ōṁ namō bhagavatē vāsudēvāya“. The Darśan of Chaitanya destroyed the sins committed by the thief. His words dispelled the worry felt by the thief. The touch of the saint freed him from the bonds of past deeds. The thief went back with a purified heart. As he was leaving, he saw large numbers of people going to Chaitanya. Many rich persons were amongst them. The thief thought that this was a good opportunity for him to break into their houses. The richest man in the building had taken his wife and children to meet Chaitanya, leaving his house unguarded. The thief broke into the house and entered the safe-room in which all the valuables were kept. He saw gems of all kinds. He was resolved not to touch any of the valuables till he had completed recitation of the mantra given to him by Chaitanya. But before he completed the mantra japa (recitation of holy formula), the master of the house and others arrived there.

The lady of the house, who had gone with all her jewels, wanted to replace them in the safe. She saw a stranger in the room engaged in deep meditation. She thought it must be some great sage who had come into the house in their absence and was meditating on God. She called her husband. The stranger continued to be immersed in meditation. He did not appear like a thief. They thought he must be some saintly person who had honoured their home by his visit. All of them began to offer worship to him and prostrate before him. They thought that in the wake of the saint Chaitanya other saintly persons were also visiting their village. Meanwhile, on the completion of the recitation of the mantra, the thief opened his eyes and to his astonishment found a large group of people standing reverently before him. The master of the house asked him: “Oh sir! Who are you? Where from have you come? We have been sanctified by your visit. Please take your food in our home and redeem our lives by doing us this honour.” A great change came over the thief. He thought: “If the mere recitation of the Lord’s name can bring me so much honour and respect, although I had come here only to steal, how many greater things may be in store for me if I genuinely recite the Lord’s name for its own sake? I may hope for the highest position by the grace of the Lord.” That very moment he decided to give up stealing. He prostrated before the master of the house and his wife and said: “Mother! Let me tell you the truth. I am a thief. Let me go to a forest. I shall spend the rest of my days contemplating on God and leading my life of a true ascetic.” Listening to his words of truth, the elders present were deeply moved and they arranged to carry him in a palanquin in procession round the village and to leave him in a forest as desired by him. Later, the man went to Chaitanya and reverently requested him to bless him so that he may become a real sage worthy of respect from the people.

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