PUJYA ACHARYA EKKIRALA BHARADWAJA
Born: October 30, 1938
Bapatla, Andhra Pradesh, India
Attained Samadhi: April 12, 1989 (aged 50)
Ongole, Andhra Pradesh
Occupation: Spiritual Master, English Lecturer, Author, Philosopher, Acharya
Parents: Sri Ekkirala Anantacharya and Smt. Buchamma
Spouse: Divyajanani Alivelu Mangatayaru
Children: Adidam Vedavathi, Ekkirala Dwarakanath Jnaneshwar
Birth and Childhood
Quest for Truth
Sai Baba- His Guru
Marriage and Children
The Acharya- His Teachings
The Acharya- His Philosophy
To Whom The Sages Bow
Sayings of the Acharya
In Praise of Acharya’s Books
The Acharya’s Legacy
Books Authored by Pujya Sai Master
Ekkirala Bharadwaja (October 30, 1938 – April 12, 1989) fondly remembered as ‘Pujya Sai Master’ was a Hindu spiritual master, venerated by his legion followers as an incarnation of Lord Dattareya (the avatar of Guru-as-God). He was a rare and magnificent blend of a siddha and a gnani experiencing the non-dual and absolute in Himself. His omnipresence and omnipotence have been unmistakably experienced by countless devotees, and continue to do so even today. A personification of pure love, the immense peace and tranquillity that emanated from him drew thousands to him as bees to a flower. His simple life style, humility, generosity and care towards every person captivated everyone’s heart. The spiritual seeker, the materialistic hoarder and the truly needy all came to him with equal eagerness for they knew that refuge would be readily given and their needs lovingly fulfilled.
The most distinctive aspect of his teaching was that he corroborated modern scientific principles with spiritual wisdom. Having extensively read several philosophical and sociological texts and similarly scientific literature of physiscts, biologists, neurologists, psychologists and anthropologists he logically proved the reality of mystic wisdom and the necessity of spiritual discipline to the individual and social life of man.
Sri Sai Master was the essence of the sanatana dharma and embodied the ideals of brahmacharya and grihastashrama and the vedic way of living which is the hallmark of the Indian subcontinent. In the current society where the institutions of bachelorhood and married life have degenerated to abysmal levels, he came to resurrect and to re-define the sanctity and purpose of these stages in one’s life. Pujya Sai Master symbolized the harmony between the Vedic tradition and urban civilization.
The mission of Pujya Sai Master was to bestow complete unfoldment of human potential for the progress of mankind, which can only be pursued through spiritual wisdom. Sri Sai Master elucidated that a human beings needs and aspirations stem from his innate desire for peace and contentment in life. He stated that the only means of annihilating sorrow and attaining eternal peace and bliss is to live righteously to cause ‘an inner awakening of a life of inquiry” The Supreme Master pg ix. He dwelt no end on the importance of a Guru in the path of spiritual awakening. He writes, “In the path mystical, the value of contacting an accomplished mystic or saint has been recognized in all of world’s religions. ……….. He is the direct witness to the truth of mystic wisdom. He embodies the promise that any mortal who is sufficiently motivated can indeed achieve the goal (liberation) by his efforts.(The Supreme Master pg xi)
In this context Pujya Sai Master found that Sri Sai Baba of Shirdi stands at the very pinnacle of spirituality. The uniqueness of this great saint of Shirdi as considered by him was that he belonged to all religions and spiritual traditions, and he preached wisdom chiefly through action and direct experience, bringing about a subtle but definite transformation in people’s attitudes and conduct. Pujya Sai Master worked tirelessly to spread the eternal message of Sri Sai Baba and today his efforts can be observed in the thousands of temples that have emerged all over the world, and the innumerable devotees that throng to Shirdi.
Followers of Pujya Sai Master were inspired by Divyajanani Alivelu Mangamma to offer gratitude to their beloved Guru for initiating them into true spirituality, for giving a purpose to their lives, for advocating and reinstating spiritual and ethical values to modern civilization and for simply and smoothly resolving the many trials and tribulations big and small by his innumerable divine miracles which continue to this day, even 25 years after his Samadhi.
The year 2013-2014 was declared the – “Kritgnyata Mahotsava Sanvatsram” (Year of Tribute Celebrations) and was celebrated with much grandeuryoutube. The year 2013-2014 was special as it marked the Silver Jubilee (April 12, 1989) of his Samadhi, Golden Jubilee (February 9, 1969) of self-realization and Platinum Jubilee (October 50, 1938) of his birth anniversary. During the course of this year several spiritual gatherings and retreats had been organized, several books authored by Divyajanani Alivelumangamma were released and many thousands of free books by Pujya Sai Master were distributed.
The 20th century is marked as period of great upheaval in the history of India. Patriotism was at its peak and efforts to gain Independence from the British had unified and gathered momentum on all fronts- political, social and economic. Yet, at the very same time imperialism had left its mark on the Indian psyche. The post-Independence era was a time of chaos and confusion on the social and administrative structure. The British system of education had succeeded immensely in amputating the new generation from its roots. Pride in the nation with its rich cultural and intellectual heritage, the glory that had been hers because of the deep philosophy and spiritual attitude of its people had all but disappeared. Scientific and technological advancement had side-lined religion and spirituality, which were considered unfashionable and embarrassing. The few who believed and had faith did so in secrecy.
The appearance of Pujya Acharya Sri Ekkirala Bharadwaja at such a time in the Indian landscape can be seen as a spiritual renaissance, the resurrection of the ancient Indian philosophy of life, which had always bestowed on us spiritual advancement, peace and contentment and glory throughout the world. The task was monumental. It needed tremendous courage, grit, a powerful intellect, wit and skill, a task worthy of the manifestation of the Paramatma- Pujya Acharya Sri Ekkirala Bharadwaja.
BIRTH AND CHILDHOOD
Sri Ekkirala Bharadwaja was born on the 30th of October in the year 1938 in Bapatla, then a vibrant coastal town of Andhra Pradesh. He was the last of the four sons born to the devout Vaishnavite couple Sri Ekkirala Anantacharya and Smt. Buchimamba. At that point of time Sri Anantacharya was deeply absorbed in studying and interpreting the Vedas and substantiating them with modern scientific concepts. In our ancient scriptures Sage Bharadwaja the vedic seer, is said to have had an insatiable thirst for learning the Vedas. He is also credited with being the father of modern medicine and science, hence the name was fittingly chosen for the new born by his father.
Unfortunately, Sri Bharadwaja lost his mother at the tender age of two to a prolonged illness. Sri Anantacharya bore this tragedy with courage and fortitude. As Sri Bharadwaja mentions in his book Pariprasna, “…….. he became mother, father, doctor and teacher to raise us”. Sri Anantacharya was a multi-faceted personality- an erudite scholar of international acclaim, renowned in the scriptures and other philosophical treatises, an ayurvedic medical practitioner, freedom fighter and an accomplished wrestler. His eminence though was almost overshadowed by his humility and his keen sense of service to society. Born to such an illustrious father, the progeny were bound to make their mark on the world which they surely did, especially as Sri Ananthacharya raised them very differently. Sri Anantacharya was careful to minimize outside influences on his children and so they were home-schooled under his adept tutelage. The boys studied and played together, but pulled pranks on outsiders much to their chagrin! Under their father’s guidance all four brothers practiced many spiritual practices like garudopasana and hanumanopasana, which afforded them protection against poison and bestowed physical and mental discipline and strength (personal communication EDJ).
QUEST FOR TRUTH
Even as a young child Sri Bharadwaja exhibited tremendous courage both physical and mental. He had an inquisitive attitude, a questioning mind, strong determination and phenomenal powers of concentration. Young Bharadwaja took his matriculation exam directly at the age of 12 years at Varanasi. By the time he had attained 19 years, he was a post-graduate in English Literature and teaching at the Sarma Degree College in Ongole, a town in Andhra Pradesh. Once, with the objective of confirming to himself that he could complete any job that he set for himself, however difficult, Sri Bharadwaja took up his brother Sri Veda Vyasa’s challenge to clear the UPSC examinations.(Mahatmula Muddu Biddadu). Unsurprisingly, he got through with a mere 3 months preparation, which for most people takes at least an year of tough preparation. However, he gave up the resulting prestigious and luxurious career as it was against his personal goals. It was his firm belief that the evanescent period of youth was precious and was not to be frittered away in schools and colleges in the pursuit of aimless scholastic knowledge without developing the spirit of inquiry and analysis which is the basis of education. Instead, right ideals, the correct approach to knowing, respecting and cultivating our culture and tradition should be imparted. As a lecturer, Sri Bharadwaja would often incorporate life’s values and its guiding principles while explaining the subject which was of far more practical use later in their lives. Almost all his time after college hours was spent in discussing their needs and wants out of life, the spiritual basis of the human life, its correlation to ancient wisdom and modern day science, for which the students gathered in increasing numbers and heard with rapt attention and awe. Several of them were so inspired that they even practiced spiritual discipline under the able guidance of Sri Bharadwaja (Maro Nandadeepam).
After Sri Bharadwaja’s stint as a Lecturer at the college of Ongole, he taught for a short while at the Viveka Vardhini evening college in Hyderabad and then moved to Bapatla College. Here too he resigned after a brief period and stayed at the ashram of the Mother of Jillelamudi for an year. Later, he moved to the Vidyanagar College at Vidyanagar.(Mahatmula Muddu Biddadu)
The origin for Sri Bharadwaja’s theistic outlook of life however had its beginning many years before. Endowed with an inquisitive mind, sharp intellect, keen observation and logical deduction, steadfast determination and a highly developed sense of integrity, truthfulness and wit, his dynamic spirit urged him on the quest for the ultimate truth, the meaning of life and death, which was instigated by the sudden demise of his beloved nephew at the very moment of Sri Bharadwaja’s Brahmopadesam during the sacred thread ceremony in 1955. The auspicious occasion had been selected by those who were stalwarts in such divine matters, the Vedic syllables chanted during the ceremony were highly powerful as were the spiritual observances that his brother had undertaken prior to the ceremony and yet, all came to naught! The child’s life could not be saved! This brought about a transformation in Sri Bharadwaja like no other. In his own words, “…I became deeply atheistic; moreover a spirit of quest dawned in me. I thought endlessly and deeply about the nature of life, the highest goal of life, about Atma-Anatma, the nature of birth and death, which lasted very strongly uptil the year 1961.”Sai Baba the Master Taught never to accept anything blindly, he went about enquiring from learned people regarding the nature of the universe and its relation to man and society. None could answer him satisfactorily, most derided him for his irreverential attitude. He then fed himself on books, reading extensively on topics ranging from western philosophy to scientific thought, modern scientific advancements, latest studies in physical and biological sciences and their correlations given by various highly acclaimed scientists.Speech Much later he brought out a book on his findings entitled Vignyan Veechikalu (Scientific Essays). This intense study brought about a shift in his belief towards believing in the existence of God. Yet again he did an extensive research into the principle world religions of Buddhism, Islam, Christianity, Hinduism and Toaism. He also studied some of the lesser known and ancient religions and also the lives and teachings of saints of these religions. The quest gained impetus after he came across a book by name The Way of Zen (Sai Baba the Master) and culminated finally at the sight of Sri Sai Baba’s majestic idol at the Samadhi Mandir in Shirdi when on a chance trip in the year 1963 as a companion to his elder brother Sri Veda Vyas.
SAI BABA –HIS GURU
Sri Sai Master’s first visit to Shirdi and his second glimpse of the idol on the morning of the 9th of February, was a momentous occasion not only for him, but equally for his devotees. This experience is best explained in Sri Bharadwaja’s own words, “What does his face, especially his look and smile, indicate of his attitude? Was he elated that so many visited him to pay their homage, adore and worship him? Or was he overwhelmed with compassion for them? Or, in that mood, was he oblivious of his separate existence, his gaze fixed on the divine mystery, the one omnipresent spirit? Or was it a look of recognition of that ancient spirit, of his contacts with those teeming crowds that had contacted him through their countless previous lives? And, was that smile of reunion pregnant with his joy of their future possibility of reaching the spiritual summit? Or was he just oblivious of all this, lost in his ceaseless contemplation of the one spirit, in his at-one-ment? And is the mysterious Monalisa-smile a manifestation of that peace which passeth understanding? Or is there a possibility that at a higher level of consciousness all these attitudes could coexist without the one interrupting the other?”
This last thought flashed with a particular intensity and my spirit leapt forth to comprehend how, in that state, he was viewing all this existence: “Is the universe of myriad forms an image projected in his consciousness? And am I, then, too, a thought in his Mind and are all these my thoughts parts of it?” The intuition took off and wafted my being into far-off states. I knew of nothing else. My being was still, taut with a particular illumination and my thoughts were both existent and non-existent. I am aware how absurd these words must look to anyone. But what else can they be when I verbalize what cannot be conveyed?” (Sai Baba the Master)
After this life-changing experience of Samadhi in Shirdi on February 9, he began to travel extensively, both to gather as much information as possible about this marvelous saint Sri Sai Baba and also to contact mahatmas in various places in the hope of finding such a powerful saint as Shirdi Sai Baba so as to dedicate his entire life to his service. He spent 12 long years in investigating into the life and times of Sri Sai Baba of Shirdi, met many devotees in different towns and cities who had been his contemporaries and had benefitted by his presence and blessings, and were still fortunately alive to share their memories, reminiscences and divine miracles of this mahatma. Sri Bharadwaja personally met many of the devotees of Baba like Sri Marthand Mahalsapathi, Sri Booty, etc. and carefully noted down their experiences. Thereafter, he validated their narratives by re-visiting them after a short gap to capture any afterthoughts and impressions as also to ascertain their authenticity. At the end of this consistent, arduous, labour of love he brought out the book named, Sri Sai Leelamrutham in Telugu, Sri Bharadwaja’s native language and subsequently rewrote it in English as Sai Baba the Master in which Sri Sai’s biography and divine miracles are explained in the context of a unique spiritual Master appropriate to this age. Every word and every phrase of these books is profound in depth and meaning. Now translated into several other Indian languages this book serves as the single most sacred book in many homes in India and abroad.
Meanwhile Sri Bharadwaja also contacted many saints throughout the length and breadth of the country, Sri Ma Anandmayee, Sri Swami Purnananda of Srisailam, Sri Rakhadi Baba of Ganeshpuri, Sri Samartha Narayan Maharaj of Harihar, the Saint of Poondi, etc. to name a few. Characteristically, every saint gave him a special reception, however, Sri Bharadwaja’s humbleness and his devotion to his chosen Guru is personified in the following statement where he states that, “…….I could win their (saints’) gracious attention only after specifically praying to Baba for the same.” Sai Baba the Master Due to which, “……my faith in Baba, if anything grew deeper and has been constant all through.”Sai Bab the Master Most of these meetings and his experiences with different saints were published as a series of books under the title, The Saints that I have Visited.
MARRIAGE AND CHILDREN
Sri Bharadwaja mentions that apart from directing his spiritual life, Sai Baba “…….has been actively guiding me in my material life also” Sai Baba the Master, which is apparent in the issue of his marriage. Having mentally and physically trained himself to a life of celibacy, Sri Bharadwaja was completely opposed to marriage and even considered it an obstacle to his life’s goal. Chirala Swami, the Swami of Chintapalli forests and finally Baba himself steered him into accepting holy matrimony which in retrospect turned out to be a boon for mankind. Accordingly, Sri Bharadwaja entered wedlock on March 6, 1975 with Alivelu Mangatayaru garu. She was an ideal consort for Sri Bharadwaja in every way. Coming from a devout family and from a town (Mannava) that was famous for its reverential hospitality to many a saint, the town itself being the birthplace of several saints, Alivelu Mangamma was a disciple of the Holy Mother of Jillelamudi having spent several years in her service.
Sri Sai Master and Smt. Alivelu Mangamma’s life is unique in that the grihastha ashrama was resurrected by their marriage as is evident even today in their lives. In the ideal grihasta ashrama the husband was trained and assigned the role of a guru and the wife was the disciple, she understood his aspirations and selflessly performed her duties just as the ideal disciple. The same was the case too with our beloved Sai Master and his wife Divyajanani Alivelu Mangatayaru.
Their life is exemplary of the ideal household with their residence being ever vibrant and dynamic. Everyone irrespective of caste and creed was invited and welcomed to their home especially during their hours of worship. Such was the love and warmth offered that there were not less than a score people on any given day during meal times. There was also a plateful of food kept outside the house for any stray animal to appease its hunger. Charity was their middle name. Any student who was in need of books or money for paying the college fees was immediately taken care of. Nobody who came there left their home empty handed. At the same time though they would certainly be introduced to Sri Shirdi Sai Baba and his greatness in a manner that would be of far more value in dealing with travails big and small that would traverse their lives. Sai Master would often be called to different towns for discourses, lectures, foundation laying ceremonies of temples, pilgrimages with his devotees etc. which were unfailingly attended by him and more often than not at his own expense. Two young children and an ailing wife did not make for a comfortable living even at the best of times. Yet, there was nigh a line of worry on their radiant faces, their faith in the Lord so firm and his grace shown bright through the many divine miracles which occurred every day in their lives. Divyajanani Alivelu Mangamma assisted Sai Master in all the books that he wrote, proof-reading and even re-writing some portions where required. She never attempted to restrict his frequent trips out of town, inspite of her illness as she was completely aware that his was a cosmic mission for the welfare of all beings, so she never by thought, word or deed tried to tie him down. For his part he tried any and every form of medicine to relieve her of her illness. It was always with her willing consent that he left on his tours openly acknowledging her cooperation. This divine couple’s two children were brought up with great love, patience and care. Giving and sharing were encouraged which was not difficult in such a large household. The children’s antics and pranks were joyously shared with all many times over just as the kids were encouraged to repeat their lessons to all for which they were much rewarded with adulation. Because of the parents reverence, regularity and punctuality towards God and worship, the children naturally imbibed the same love for their chosen diety.
As can be perceived this couple led very ordinary lives. There was nothing spectacular or extraordinary in their seemingly mundane existence. The daily chores of cooking meals, housecleaning, preparing for worship, caring for children, nursing the ill, looking after house-guests, etc. were all acts which strengthened relationships and human bonds, enhanced togetherness, co-operation, discipline -qualities typical for carrying out these tasks. These activities were tangible and meaningful, brought joy to all and it was thus very fulfilling. It also subtlely played the cosmic drama on a smaller scale- that of birth and death, the cycles of growth and decay that we see everyday in the natural environment. It was very much in harmony with the dynamism displayed by the universe.
THE PUJYA ACHARYA- HIS TEACHINGS
Pujya Sri Acharya Ekirala Bharadwaja says in the Sree Guru Charitra that ‘…….human life (is) a search for lasting contentment, peace and bliss and (is) a struggle for complete unfoldment of its vast spiritual potential.(Sree Guru Charitra) The Acharya has pointed out essentially five paths for achieving these goals.
One way is the path of bhakti or devotion. In this regard he has shown us an invaluable sadguru, a saint par excellence, whose biography has been detailed in the Sai Baba the Master authored by the Acharya. He describes Sri Shirdi Sai Baba as being a manifestation of Lord Dattatreya who is a representation of the holy Trinity- Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwar; or in other words- Creation, Sustenance and Dissolution. In him we see an avatar in keeping with the times. In these times religious discord and communal disharmony, of war and strife and decline in humanitarian values, we see a saint who showed through word and deed and many, many divine miracles- the oneness of all beings on this earth. He reinterpreted the religious scriptures so as to be easily implementable by all. His deep love for all creatures won people’s hearts and brought about a remarkable change in their lives and attitudes. Indeed, devotion for such a glorious being as Sri Shirdi Sai Baba springs up spontaneously in our hearts.
The second path is that of meditation. The Acharya authored two books on meditation and its methods- Dhyana Yoga Sarvaswam and Budha Dhyana Hridayam. The first book gives simple ways which can be followed during the course of a day, for focusing our attention and the five senses either on our chosen object of devotion or the One consciousness that pervades all creation. Meditation is a core part in the path towards enlightenment in Buddhism and the Buddha enumerated several methods to increase mindfulness, concentration, tranquility and insight, which are described in the Acharya’s second book on meditation.
The third way is the art of questioning and searching for the Ultimate Truth or satyanveshna. Edi Nizam deals entirely with this concept. The opening lines of this small but invaluable book are universally pertinent. Any aim or goal needs a complete understanding of the following three components which are : ‘1) The nature of the goal desired (2) Training the mind and thereby the five senses and body in keeping with the goal desired (3) Understanding the obstacles in the path of such a training and accordingly overcoming them. ‘
The fourth way: The Dattatreya tradition holds all sadgurus, prophets, sufi saints and such in high esteem. They are regarded as guides, helping all mortals to attain to God. The Acharya says about them, ‘He (Sadguru) is the direct witness to the truth of mystic wisdom.’ (Swami Samarth). The many saints that the Acharya has brought to light for us like Sri Pakalpati Guru of Chinthapalli forests, the Swami of Chirala, Sri Rakhadi Baba, etc through his series of books entitled The Masters that I have Visited, have shown that they are the One Spirit of Wisdom. These Masters incarnate on earth from time to time to reinterpret the scriptures and religion so as to make it intelligible and easy for laymen of that time and place to follow them. The sadguru sampradayam or study of the lives and teachings of these Masters is thus invaluable.
The fifth way: Self-styled Gurus abound in today’s society misleading many a naïve population into a pseudo-spiritual world. The true and real Guru’s do not lend themselves favourably either to fame or organization. To be fortunate enough to recognize a true saint requires stalwarts in the same field. In the absence of such exponents there is a time honoured tradition of being directed towards the right Guru through sincere and devoted reading of the Sri Guru Charitra. Such a distingiuished work, originally available only in Marathi and Sanskrit has been brought out it in many other languages solely due to the efforts and grace of Acharya Bharadwaja.
The Acharya has left the choice of the path to be taken to us, and yet, ultimately the goal achieved is only One, that of liberation, which is nothing but everlasting joy. These five paths thus become the prominent hallmarks of the venerable Acharya’s teachings.
THE PUJYA ACHARYA- HIS PHILOSOPHY
Sri Sai Master states in his book, Sri Sai Prabhodamrutham, “spiritualism should not be restricted to being an individualistic devotion, rather it has to be instituted as a distinct philosophy. There lies no room for an individuals’ personality however great a personage he might be. That is why Sanatana Dharma has no father figures. The Vedas and the Upanishads were revealed to the sages and are more important than the sages themselves.” Following in the same lines when Sri Sai Masters ideology and succinct explanations on religious and spiritual matters gained him respect the world over, True to this manifestation, Pujya Sai Master humbly directed it towards his Vedic upbringing by his esteemed father and to his reverend Guru Sri Sai Baba.
Every moment of his was spent in the integration of the human spirit. He endeavoured to make people understand that all branches of knowledge converged at a single point. All the fine arts, the sciences, reasoning, religious and spiritual treatises all culminated at the concept of a single and Universal Consciousness. It is an irrefutable truth expressed by the worlds’ greatest physicists, the spiritual stalwarts and the greatest artists which he brought out in his various books through intensive empirical research. In his personal life he followed the same principle. In a society like the townships in the interior of Andhra Pradesh, the distinctions of caste and creed play an important part in the day to day lives of people. Yet, in Sri Sai Masters house all were welcomed warmly much to the disgust and contempt of the orthodox.
Pujya Sai Master stressed the importance of the family system. He desired that all the members of the family should live together in harmony since he believed that a good family structure with relatives assisting and co-operating with each other is the foundation of a good society. Sri Sai Master attributed the moral downfall, depravity, crime and fear in society to the absence of true love in homes. He advocated love towards children to be of paramount importance in the process of raising them to be strong, courageous, humane and wise members of the future society. He also pointed out that correct education was to instil in the child a sense of enquiry.
Morality and ethics have to be inculcated in our lives as it forms the bedrock on which spirituality makes a foothold and allows people to lead peaceful, stress-free lives. For accomplishing this formidable task, Sri Sai Master targeted the youth and childrenMahanandi speeches. He dedicated his life to imparting the importance of morality to the younger generation, in the tradition of the spirit of Lord Dattatreya, forsaking his influential career as an IAS officer as a mere trifle. Moral education he often said should be imparted to children in the form of stories from our epics, the Ramayana, Bhagavatham, the Mahabharata, and the like. Education should be in the vernacular with indigenous examples. The inspiring lives of great saints like Sri Ramana Maharshi, Sri Vivekananda, our freedom fighters like Bhagat Singh, Rani Jhansi Lakshmi Bai, and such others should form an integral part of their education. Along with modern scientific principles children should also be taught faith in God.
Pujya Sai Master laid special laid special emphasis on the importance of play in child upbringing. He expounds at length on the virtues of physical exercises like Kung-fu and Karate in Sai Prabhodamrutham, which inculcate non-violence while simultaneously promoting unity and righteousness in society. Thereby the youth of the country would become self-reliant, independent and have minimum needs so as to be able to willingly extend help to the weak and destitute sections of the society. It was his desire that in course of this health care should become cheaper. Naturopathic and ayurvedic home remedies should be encouraged while homeopathy which requires lesser infrastructure and is financially less burdensome on the patient should be actively practiced. Sri Sai Master firmly believed that these and many more such social changes would bring about a society that would bring out the meaning in our Vedic saying, “Sarveh Janah Sukhino Bhavanthu”.
Pujya Sai Master read extensively and was a repository of knowledge on different cultures, castes, creed and religions. He gleaned the teachings of various religious and spiritual leaders and philosophers of all times as also their effects on mankind through the generations. He exerted himself selflessly to impart this valuable knowledge effectively to mankind so that it might attain its perpetual search for peace and contentment
Pujya Sai Master was deeply concerned about common folk being led astray by fake Gurus. He felt it imperative to educate people regarding the characteristics of true gurus, saints, avadhuta’s, sannyasi’s tec. He would often say with certainty, “It is my duty to apprise people about true spirituality.”(Sai Baba Volume 12, Issue 31 pg 12-24) A true Guru never considers himself to be a Guru. It is always his disciples that declare him to be their Guru. Towards this end too he wrote a series of books under the title The Masters That I Have Visited, describing the biographies, teachings and his personal anecdotes with those saints.
Pujya Sai Master endeavoured to resolve the utter confusion in the field of spirituality and to bring about a reformation in the myriad elements of spirituality. The importance of temples, the significance of the holy ash that is applied on the forehead, worship, devotional singing, regular and repeated readings of sacred texts, the rosary, meditation, service were endlessly and repeatedly elucidated by him. He further cautioned that effectiveness and benefits of daily observances and rituals accrue not from ostentatiousness but rather from the attitude with which they are performed.
Being an atheist himself in his younger days, Sri Sai Master was able to lucidly discuss, debate and explain the presence and nature of God, quoting extensively from a wide range of scriptures and correlating them with current scientific evidence (Edi Nizam, Vignyaan Veechikalu) convincingly to the disbelieving and cynical youth he encountered in his chosen profession as a lecturer. It also became the subject matter of many a discourse that he gave amongst the scientific elite such as in the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi. Several debates were conducted by the Sri Venkateshwara University on theism vs atheism (Asti Nasti Speeches).
A striking feature of Pujya Sai Master’s personality was his earnestness in aiding those on the spiritual path. He would evince keen interest in their spiritual progress and warn them of impending pitfalls.Sai Baba the Master.His care would not be restricted to serious spiritual sadhakas. A common man would only have to mention his interest in visiting a particular pilgrimage site and Pujya Sai Master would be ready with a flood of information on the travel route, mode of transport, accommodation, food facilities and other useful advice. Scores of people came from far and wide to get their personal problems resolved. His advice was free for asking at any time of the day or night. Yet he never insisted on his suggestions being implemented nor did he begrudge them. “To impart the right teaching is the only responsibility of the Guru….” (Sai Baba Volume 12, Issue 31), was Pujya Sai Master’s philosophy.
TO WHOM THE SAGES BOW (Bhagwan Sri Bharadwaja and Mahapurushudu)
Sri Gulavani Maharaj a prominent disciple of Sri Vasudevananda Saraswati or Tembe Swamy welcomed Pujya Sai Master into his ashram saying, “Oh! The child of Sai Baba has come.”
In the village of Anantasagar in Chitttoor District lived an avadhuta by name Sri Naagamuneendra Swamy. He once said to a devotee regarding Pujya Sai Master, “Sir! That Ongole Brahmin is baba’s man, isn’t he! He is like cool pot of water. Thieves have gathered around him. He says he is going to transform them. Have thieves ever been reformed?”
Sri Ram Sharan(Yaajli): ”Sri Bharadwaja is a great spiritual leader.”
Sri Chivatam Amma: “The arrival of this boy is of great significance.”
Sri Malik Baba: “Look into his eyes, he is verily Sai Baba.”
Sri Anasuya Mata of Jillelemudi: She often held Pujya Sai Master in high esteem by referring to him as, “Niashthika Brahmachari (lifelong celibate)”, “A True devotee”, A True Brahmin”.
Sri Venugopal Swami (Kalahasti Avadhuta): “Who is Bharadwaja? He is akin to God.”
Ari Anandamayi Mata: This great saint from Bengal was visited by Pujya Sai Master for the first time at Naimisharanya. In accordance with his wishe Si Anandamayi Mata graced him twice more with her darshan, once at Pune and another time at Kalki Gardens in Chennai.
Sri Rami Reddy Taatha: “He is a great one. He is enlightened. He is verily Dattatreya.”
Sri Sivanesan Swamy, a great yogi who resided for 40 years at Shirdi, said about Pujya Sai Master, “No one can guage the greatness of Bharadwaja. He is like the burning embers which get covered by ash. He never reveals himself and that is why it is easy to misunderstand him. What to do when people search for faults in him who has apprised all to see Baba in everyone!
Sri Sivanesan Swamy was a great help to him in the writing of Sri Sai Leelamrutham. Sri Sai Baba blessed this mahayogi with his darshan and praised Pujya Sai Master’s book saying, “Are you reading Bharadwaja’s book? Read it. It is good!”
Sri Tadepalli Raghavanarayanan Sastri, a Dattopasaka (worshipper of Lord Dattatreya) was asked by Pujya Sai Master for his blessings, to which he replied, “Who competent enough to bless you?”
Sri Suddheendra Babugaru of Tenali said of Pujya Sai Master, “He merits the title of Acharya. He is swimming against the tide of time.”
The Guru of Pkalpadu who lived in the forsts of Chintapalli wrote to Sri Anatacharaya, “I had a vision of Bharadwaja with the conch and the disc (meaning Sri Venkateshwara). I am very eager to see him. Please tell him to visit me immediately.”
SAYINGS OF THE ACHARYA (Bhagwan Sri Bharadwaja)
1. Satsang is one of the methods of making appropriate use of the presence of the sadguru.
2. The goal of all sacred scriptures is one- to transform our inner selves, raising it from the state of ignorance to the state of knowledge and awareness.
3. When God’s grace is fully on a person, all shall be stolen away from him. Constant reflection will transform our very life into a spiritual practice.
4. When the mind is lovingly centered on its goal, the sense organs will be restrained of their own accord.
5. The mind becomes deserving of experiencing the divine presence of the sadguru when it is able to constantly remain in his thought. He will then assuredly attain the sadguru’s presence.
6. Whatever has to happen to us has to happen either according to our fate(karma) or else according to the wishes of God.
7. Bhajan is the effort of overcoming the inner diffidence and hesitation.
8. Mere repetition of the Lord’s name serves no purpose. There has to be constant reflection. It is only effective if the repetition is aiding the process of persistent contemplation.
9. We should bring our mind and our emotions both into our control. After doing so, try to make the mind and the emotions work in cooperation on a singular purpose. By and by with meticulous deliberation the emotions will be ennobled until finally the quality of aspiring only for benevolence is firmly established in us. The mind is no longer perturbed by the unvirtuous.
From Devotees Diaries
June 18, 1980: I pray that only after all have attained salvation should I be liberated. It is enough if I can be of use as the gangplank for all to cross over to the land of the liberated. Let the last person to cross the bridge take me along with him.
It is burdensome to us when a person whom we dislike desires to keep a small bag in our room, however, we are delighted to accommodate our friend’s tons of luggage. The mind verily is the root of our suffering – not the circumstances. Only by overcoming such feelings of love and hate can we progress spiritually. Merely meditating for months together without addressing and overcoming such feelings will bring down all our spiritual practice like a building without foundation. We will be destined to fall inspite of the long duration of our practice.
IN PRAISE OF PUJYA SAI MASTER’S BOOKS (Bhagwan Sri Bharadwaja and Mahapurushudu)
Sai Baba the Master
“It is really excellent… to me your writings are the best yet on Sai Baba”
-C. Gordon Westerlund
I am reading your book Sai Bab the Master for the third time. This is the Truth that it has taught me: We are manifestations of the divine, all those around us are fascimiles of ourselves, we are continually and completely residing in the Paramatma. Achieving such an inner transformation increases our moral strength more rather than by merely being able to perform a few miracles. Kindly send me several copies of any books that you may write in English on Sri Sai Baba.
October 9, 1981
Dear Sri Bharadwaja,
I am grateful to you for sending me the books Dattatreya and The Supreme Master. You are undoubtedly a loving gift of God to mankind. I shall be glad to receive a photocopy of at least one of your hitherto unpublished book.
The Supreme Master
“The accounts …. Are presented in such a way that his (Swami’s) idiosyncratic antics are always seen in context of the immense radiant spiritual power which transformed the lives of so many people.”
-The Mountain Path
“I really enjoyed reading your book. It’s very uplifting and I wish everyone can read the biography. It is really a blessing.”
-C. Gordon Westerlund
The world sadly lost his physical presence when Sri Sai Master attained Mahasamadhi at 7.30 am on April 12, 1989 at Ongole at his residence. His mortal remains were put to rest in the premises of the Sai Baba temple at Ongole on the 13th of April 1989.
Sri Sai Master had foretold this event to one Sri Aakondi Vishwanaadham and to many others he had all through the last year mentioned in passing about his weariness and exhaustion and his plan to take some rest soon, but none then fathomed the hidden, deeper meaning in his words.
THE DIVINE MIRACLES OF PUJYA SAI MASTER (Mahapurushudu)
R. Ramachandra Reddy, a Hindi pundit visited Pujya Sai Master and revealed the problems he was facing because of his joblessness. Pujya Sai Master responded by saying, “You shall surely get a job. Please do inform me once you get it.”
A little while before, Ramachandra Reddy’s friend had procured a picture of Sai Baba from Pujya Sai Master with his blessings and had offered the same to him. Ramachandra Reddy had however, declined it because he wanted to receive it unasked from Pujya Sai Master.
Subsequent to the talk about his job Pujya Sai Master wondered, “Have you got a picture of Sai Baba with you?” When the reply was in the negative Pujya Sai Master immediately gave him one and said, “Keep it in your puja room.” Ramachandra Reddy was immensely happy his unuttered wish had been granted. He also got a job soon.
Once a Sai devotee was faced with a complex problem and he resorted to his higher officials in order to resolve it. However, he was not offered any help moreover he was treated contemptuously. He came to Pujya Sai Master and appealed to him upon which Pujya Sai Master blessed him saying, “There is nothing to fear. Go and meet your superiors tomorrow.” The devotee acted as advised. This time, to his surprise not only was he treated warmly but even his issue was resolved immediately.
Rami Reddy Gopal Reddy’s daughter had slipped and fallen as an infant and had incurred a head injury because of which she could not walk even at the age of five. One day Pujya Sai Mastre went to their house for satsang and the child crawled upto him. The anguished parents put forth the sad plight of their child. Pujya Sai Master made her drink a little of the pudding he was having. From the next day onwards, to the delight of all the child began to walk.
Chowdayya was suffering for long with bloody stools. Pujya Sai Master once went ot his town for satsang. Chowdayya visited him then and disclosed his ailment. Pujya Sai Master named an item and asked him to eat it. When Chowdayya followed the instruction he was cured of his ailment.
A person who was facing an unendurable circumstance came to Pujya Sai Master after firmly resolving to commit suicide. He revealed nothing to Pujya Sai Master and sat quietly. After a while Pujya Sai Masterwent into a meditative state. Sometime later he lloked at the person. It appeared to him as if some unexplicable energy was emerging from Pujya Sai Master’s eyes and entering him. Meanwhile Pujya Sai Master said reflectively, “Why should a human being wish to die? Instead of dyingit would be better to dedicate one’s life to the service of mankind! Or else spend time in contemplation of God!” At this the man’s resolve to take his life was completely shattered.
P. Shyam Prasad was a frequent visitor of Pujya Sai Master since his youthful days. He once came across some books on Pranayammam and began to practice the technique. One day when he came Pujya Sai Master asked him, “Are you practicing Pranayaman nowadays?” When he replied in the affirmative Pujya Sai Master explained a length that dietary restrictions and other regulations that had to accompany the practice which could otherwise lead to ill health when not under the supervision of an experienced teacher. He further added that it could sometimes result in madness. Shyam Prasad then asked him about his next course of action upon which Pujya Sai Master asked him to practice ‘Soham’ and even explained the technique in detail.
Shyam Prasad eagerly tried it for a while but finding it a little tedious, lost patience went off to his hometown a few miles away. That night as he drifted off to sleep he heard the sound ‘Soham’. He observed that exactly as Pujya Sai Master had explained the sound was emanating from his own breath!Listening to it and observing it he went off to sleep. When he stirred in his sleep in the middle of the night he noticed that the practice was continuing. Scared and anxious he set off early the next morning to meet Pujya Sai Master.
After paying obeisance to him Shyam Prasad explained his predicament. Pujya Sai Master merely said, “Oh! Is that so?” and asking him to accompany him, started to walk towards his college, all the while discussing the welfare of all the members of his family. They reached the college and Shyam Prasad continued towards his house. A while later he realized that Pujya Sai Master had not spoken about his predicament. Even as he was thinking so, he noticed that the sound had stopped! Shyam Prasad was gratified for being granted such a unique experience of the practice and for taking it away when he could no longer bear it. What is impossible for a sadguru?
THE ACHARYA’S LEGACY
Pujya Sai Master gave several speeches, lectures and discourses on various aspects of spirituality, on the greatness of Sri Sai Baba, his teachings, the Bhagavadgita and also held several debates on topics such as Theism vs Atheism, Science and Spirituality, etc., throughout the length and breadth of the country.
Pujya Sai Master authored more than 30 books with many others still in manuscript form. He started a bi-monthly magazine which continues even today, 30 years after its inception.
He inspired the construction of several Sai Mandirs at various towns and cities including one at Ongole. The foremost temple of Sri Sai Baba that was constructed under the aegis of Pujya Sai Master however, was at Vidyanagar, the installation ceremony of which was held on March 12, 1981.
BOOKS AUTHORED BY PUJYA ACHARYA SAI MASTER