Devotion has been defined as supreme single-pointed intense attachment to the Lord. It is the easiest way to win His Grace and to realize that He is, in fact, everything. Devotion is the easiest and most effective path, for it is a spiritual discipline of the heart.
Sathya Sai Baba
The Devotion Wing focuses on group devotional singing, study circle, prayers, meditation, retreats, and other activities designed to strengthen one’s faith, devotional fervour, and understanding and practice of spiritual principles.
“One can be liberated now by the spiritual practice of singing the glory of the Lord and listening to the Name being sung. It can help the process of liberation not only for the members of the group … the whole world can benefit by the vibrations. I insist on group singing of the Names of the Lord. The Lord has said, 'Where my devotees sing, there I seat myself."
Sathya Sai Baba, 27/9/1960
"Group devotional singing has a different purpose from silent individual prayers. It is a mutual effort of spiritual practice to overcome the six foes of man: lust, anger, greed, attachment, conceit, and hatred."
Sathya Sai Baba, 1/4/1975
“Singing the name by a group of people can help the process of liberation not only for the members of the group. It will benefit those who listen and even those beyond the circle of listeners; the whole world can benefit from the vibrations.”
Sathya Sai Baba, 26/1/1982
"Devotional singing (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
"Devotional singing (bhajan) is one of the processes by which you can train the mind to expand into eternal values. Teach the mind to revel in the glory and majesty of God; wean it away from petty horizons of pleasure . . . Devotional singing induces in you a desire for experiencing the truth, to glimpse the beauty that is God, to taste the bliss that is the Self. It encourages man to dive into himself and be genuinely his real Self."
SSS, VII, 497-498
The weekly devotion meeting, with its devotional singing, is the highlight of the week for many devotees. It can be an intensely spiritual activity in which the focus on each song and its meaning brings one closer to the Lord.
If you would like to know more about devotional singing at a centre near you, click here to get a list of centres.
"What is a study circle? It is not just reading books. Circle, study circle means taking a point and each person discussing what is the meaning of the point to them. 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. Swamís 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 of this. If each one only reads, this may go on for a year or two, then an allergy to reading develops. 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, Swamís books may be used. What is wanted is a study circle; rotating. Each one must be given a chance."
Conversations by Hislop: pp.125-126 in older version; pp. 137-138 in new version
"Study with faith and devotion. Delve into the significance and the meaning of what you read; and, always have before you the goal of putting what you read into practice. Unless you do so, the Study Circle will remain a half-Circle forever; it cannot be a full Circle."
Sathya Sai Speaks, p. 59 in American version
Some of the benefits of study circles are:
Learn how Swami's teachings have affected others. This can inspire us, help remove doubts we may have, give us a firmer belief.
Clarify what we "think" we know; clear up misconceptions.
Support each other in spiritual endeavors.
Discover practical applications of Swami's teachings.
Get deeper inside Baba’s teachings.
Learn how to put Sai's teachings into practice.
Install good values in ourselves.
Find answers to problems (through discussion).
Learn how to handle situations where we disagree with others.
Learn to express oneself, overcome shyness.
Click here to check the centre calendars for more information about study circles.
Sai Baba advocates two types of meditation; the Jyothi (Light) meditaion and So Hum meditaion.
"As regards the technique of meditation, different teachers and trainers give different forms of advice. But I shall give you now the most universal and the most effective form. This is the very first step in spiritual discipline. At first, set a few minutes every day for meditation, and extend the time as you feel the bliss that you get.
"Let it be in the hours before dawn. This is preferable because the body is refreshed after sleep, and the dealings of daytime will not yet have impinged on you. Have a lamp or a candle before you with an open, steady, and straight flame. Sit in front of the candle in the lotus posture or any other comfortable sitting position. Look on the flame steadily for some time, and closing your eyes try to feel the flame inside you between your eyebrows. Let it slide down into the lotus of your heart, illuminating the path. When it enters the heart, imagine that the petals of the lotus open out by one, bathing every thought, feeling, and emotion in the light and so removing darkness from them. There is no space for darkness to hide. The light of the flame becomes wider and brighter. Let it pervade your limbs. Now those limbs can never indulge in dark, suspicious, and wicked activities; they have become instruments of light and love. As the light reaches up to the tongue, falsehood vanishes from it. Let it rise up to the eyes and the ears and destroy all the dark desires that infest them and which lead you to perverse sights and childish conversation. Let your head be surcharged with light and all wicked thoughts will flee therefrom. Imagine that the light is in you more and more intensely. Let it shine all around you and let it spread from you in ever widening circles, taking in your loved ones, your kith and kin, your friends and companions, your enemies and rivals, strangers, all living beings, the entire world.
"Since the light illumines all the senses every day so deeply and so systematically, a time will soon come when you can no more relish dark and evil sights, yearn for dark and sinister tales, crave for base, harmful, deadening toxic food and drink, handle dirty demeaning things, approach places of ill-fame and injury, or frame evil designs against anyone at any time. Stay on in that thrill of witnessing the light everywhere. If you adore God in any form now, try to visualize that form in the all-pervasive light. For Light is God; God is Light.
"Practice this meditation as I have advised regularly every day. At other times repeat the name of God (any Name fragrant with any of His many Majesties), always taking care to be conscious of His might, mercy, and munificence."
SSS, X, 348
"Real meditation is getting absorbed in God as the only thought, the only goal. God only, only God. Think God, breathe God, love God. Concentration means, when all senses and desires fall away and there is only God. In between concentration and meditation, like a separation between the two, is contemplation. Concentration to contemplation, then meditation. As long as one thinks "I am meditating" that is the mind and not meditation. As long as one knows he is meditating, he is not meditating. In absorption in God, one puts aside every form and merges into God. In that process the mind naturally stops."
Conversations with Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba by Dr. John Hislop, 145-156
The centres of the Sathya Sai organisation observe and celebrate the major festivals of the major religions. Some of the festivals are held at a regional level that brings the centres together in celebration.
Click below to view the calendar for festivals celebrated in your region or go to your centre page to view the calendar for events in that centre.