Realised souls, saints, seers and Divine personages are born to remove the cloud of ignorance that veils the Supreme Truth and illumine the spiritual path for man. The teachings of wise sages and saints are akin to a specific medicine, which serves to cure the deadly disease of man’s bondage to sensual and mundane desires. They appear from time to time in all lands, inspiring and motivating mankind for achieving higher ideals and the desire for God and His grace. In this context, Sri Sathya Sai narrates a conversation between Lord Sri Krishna and Arjuna, in which Arjuna prays to Krishna to explain the meaning of true listening. Sri Krishna says that pure (Satvic) listening is listening to the stories, experiences and messages of sages and saints who aspired for God and realised Him. (Chapter XXVI, Gita Vahini)
For more than five decades, Sri Sathya Sai has expounded the teachings and lives of Mahapurushas through His Divine Discourses and Writings, enlightening all with His wisdom, and inspiring us to follow the footsteps that these great personages have left behind on the sands of time.
The Discourses that He gave on the birth anniversaries of the Mahapurushas are important sources for understanding their lives. The Discourses delivered to students of Sri Sathya Sai Educational Institutions serve as valuable reference point for comprehending the significance of the teachings of the exemplary devotees of the Lord. The Summer Courses in Indian Culture and Spirituality held for the youth of the Sri Sathya Sai Organisations (between 1972 and 1979) and for the students of Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning (between 1990 and 2002) were opportunities for delving into the lives of some of the Mahapurushas. For instance, in the year 1973, the theme of the Summer Course was Bhaja Govindam by Sri Adi Shankaracharya.
After the release of ‘Sai Vani, Avatar on Avatar Purushas’, which was offered on Guru Poornima 2013, it was felt that there is an opportunity to collate and disseminate the accounts and teachings of Mahapurushas in Swami’s words, similar to the compilation on Avatar Purushas. This book fulfills that very purpose.
For facilitating ease of reference and convenience for the reader, the Mahapurushas have been classified in this book into three sections: Acharyas, Prophets and Saints. While brevity has been given priority, the variety of instances, their context and the inner significance as highlighted by Swami from each Mahapurusha’s life have been covered in sufficient depth. The intention is to provide greater clarity about their life and their message for the benefit of humanity. This, we believe, would simplify the effort and process of implementing in our daily life and conduct, the ideals these great personalities espoused and placed before mankind.
We hope that this book would act as an anchor for further study of these exemplary and well-lived lives. 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 selected.
This book would form an ideal reading for students of the Sri Sathya Sai Educational Institutions in India and abroad, and also for members of the youth wing of the Sri Sathya Sai Organisations. It is also a valuable resource for students of 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 confident that the Bal Vikas and SSE teachers would find this book very useful for narrating instances from the lives of these Mahapurushas in Swami’s own words. This book would also aid Study Circle discussions on the themes of Mahapurushas, Unity of Religions and Devotion. It would be a useful compilation for teachers and students for the moral class and spiritual awareness class sessions that are conducted in Sathya Sai Educational Institutions in India and abroad.
Detailed Table of Contents