The knowledge and understanding of Avataric lives is liberating. The contemplation of its glory and the implementation of its ideals in one’s life is the surest path to the Ultimate. It is a matter of great good fortune that we have been recepients of this precious gift of knowledge and wisdom from the Sathya Sai Avatar. It is rare in history, when one Avatar speaks about another. But, it is an unparalleled occurrence when an Avatar elaborates and expounds on the lives, message and mission of all the previous Avatars.
Since His 32nd year, when He commenced His Upadesh Karya (the task of spreading the Divine teachings), for over half a century, Swami has delighted devotees with unique and hitherto unknown details from the lives of many Avatar Purushas. Through His Divine Discourses and writings, Swami has uncovered a fascinating range of issues and ideals relating to Avataric lives; and has emplasised on the need for mankind to emulate their example in daily life and conduct. The Ramakatha Rasavahini and the Bhagavata Vahini are two landmark texts in this context. The innumerable Discourses that Swami gave on the occasions of Rama Navami and Krishna Janmashtami, Navaratri and Shivaratri, Vaikuntha Ekadashi and Onam, and many other festivals also provide a veritable treasure house of Sai insights on Avataric lives. Swami used His interactions with students at Prasanthi Nilayam, Brindavan, Kodaikanal and Ooty as wonderful opportunities to share many facets of Avataric lives that are applicable to the youth of today. The Summer Courses in Indian Culture and Spirituality held for the youth of the Sathya Sai Organisations (between 1972 and 1979) and for the students of Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning (from 1990 onwards) were grand platforms from which Swami extolled Avataric lives. In the years 1996 and 2002 the theme of the Summer Course was Ramayana, and in the years 1976 and 1995, it was Bhagavatam. The Divine Discourses given on the occasion of the Buddha Pournima festival celebrated in the Divine presence from the mid-1990s at Brindavan and subsequently at Prasanthi Nilayam provide exhaustive details from the life of the Buddha and also the universality of His Message.
Way back, in the mid-1990s, the very first attempt was made by the students and staff of the Sri Sathya Sai Hostel for Senior Students, Prasanthi Nilayam, to delve into this ‘goldmine’ of Sai literature and bring forth vignettes of wisdom on Avatar Purushas. The very first compilation received Divine Benediction in 1995 and was named by Swami as ‘Sai Vani’. Two decades later, an attempt has been made to expand and enlarge the scope of the previous compilation to cover many more facets of Avataric lives as shared by Swami since then. This compilation has meticulously followed the rigour of a research document with appropriate references and bibliographical details of the source, date and location of each of the Discourses and writings from which excerpts have been taken.
The main focus of this Book is to concisely put forth before the readers, the lives of various Avatars in the words of the Sathya Sai Avatar. These include: Vamana, Parashurama, Rama, Krishna, Buddha and the Sai Trinity. While brevity has been given priority, the variety of instances, their contexts and the inner significance as highlighted by Swami have been covered in ample depth. The lessons learnt from each Avataric life as enumerated by Swami on multiple occasions have been sufficiently elaborated. The main objective is to provide greater clarity to the readers about each Avataric life. This, we believe, would simplify the effort and process of implementing Avataric ideals in our daily life and conduct.
This Book would form an ideal reading for students of the Sathya Sai Educational Institutions in India and abroad and also for the members of the youth wing of the Sri Sathya Sai Organisations. It is also a perfect reading for students of the Sri Sathya Sai Bal Vikas Programme, the Sai Spiritual Education (SSE) Programme and the Sri Sathya Sai Education in Human Values (SSSEHV) Programme. We are sure that the Bal Vikas and SSE teachers would find this Book very handy for narrating instances from Avataric lives in Swami’s own words. This Book would also aid Study Circle discussions on the theme of Avatars, Ramayana, Bhagavatam andBuddha. It would make very good reading for the various moral class and spiritual awareness class sessions that are conducted in various Sathya Sai Educational Institutions in the country and even abroad.
DETAILED TABLE OF CONTENTS
01 AVATARS: AN INTRODUCTION
- Who is an Avatar?
- The Descent of God is for the Ascent of Man
- Different Avatars of the Lord
- Mysteries of an Avatar
- What can we learn from the Avatars?
- The Glory of Bharat and its Culture
- The Story of Vamana
- Inner Significance of the Vamana Avatar
- The Story of Parashurama
- The Interaction between Parashurama and Rama
- Author of the Ramayana
- The Ramayana: Inner Significance
- The Personality and Qualities of Rama
- Instances from the Life of Rama
- The Ideal King
- Lessons from the Rama Avatar
- Significance of the Advent
- Leelas of Balakrishna
- The Love of Gopis and Gopas
- The Pandavas
- The War of Mahabharata and the Bhagavad Gita
- Other Leelas
- Lessons from the Krishna Avatar
06 GAUTAMA BUDDHA
- Birth and Early Years
- Quest for the Supreme
- Lessons for all through Personal Experiences
- Message for Humanity
- Attainment of Nirvana
- Causes behind the decline of Buddhism in India
- Celebrating Buddha Pournima
07 SHIRDI SAI BABA
- Birth and Parentage
- Early Life
- Advent in Shirdi
- Messages through Actions and Miracles
- Prophecy of the Future Avatar as Sathya
- Last Days and Miracles after Mahasamadhi
08 SATHYA SAI BABA
- Story behind the Advent
- Advent and Childhood
- On Himself and His Divinity
- Prophecies and Declarations
- Messages for Mankind
- Sathya Sai Projects and Institutions
09 PREMA SAI BABA