NEWSLETTER - Newsletter Apr 2020


Sai Ram Jai Maruthi Jai Maruthi! Welcome dear Sai brothers and sisters to thefirst newsletter of the year and the new decade! It has been quite the quarter, starting with Pongal, all the way till Maa’s birthday celebrations, and includes the Covid-19 pandemic that has had an effect on everyone in the world.

             To begin, the first day of Pongal fell on January 15th this year and is essentially known as the “Happy Pongal!” day, on which people all over Tamil Nadu decorate earthen pots and prepare pongal (a South Indian kichadi) in celebration of the new year’s harvest that God has provided us with. It was traditionally celebrated by farmers, but over time has become reason for celebrate for everyone-especially the children who get excused from going to school for these few days! Day 2 of the Pongal celebration fell on January 16th and is known as “Mattu Pongal.” On this day, the mattu (cows) are worshipped and celebrated, as they are essentially the sole reason for the successful new harvest and agriculture, as without the cows, we would not have milk and oxen to plow the fields for crops to grow into. For this reason, on this day, the cows are worshipped and honored with great reverence. The main event of course, was the outdoor cookout. Our own Gurumaa sat under a tree, just outside the Goshala, and with an old fashioned pot placed atop bricks and logs for fuel, Maa cooked an irresistible, mouth-watering “Chakkarai Pongal (sweet pongal).”

                         “Om Namashivaya!” Shivaratri fell on February 21st this year. We all joined together to worship the destroyer of time, Lord Shiva at our “Atma Lingam,” the shrine dedicated to Him, located in front of the main prayer hall. All those who attended, kept vigil and a fast and participated in performing a “naalu kal” pooja (pooja done four times throughout the night), at 6 PM, 9 PM, 12 AM, and 3 AM. Rudrabishekam and Puja were performed 4 times throughout the night as well. The puja was done with milk curd, honey ghee panchamritham,pancha gavyam, lemon juice, chandan, tender coconut, vibhuti, and sugarcanejuice.

             February 26, 2020 was a very special day for everyone. It marked Sri Sai Darshan Trust’s 24th year in service to Baba.  A wonderful reminder and inspiration for us, to continue living with the purpose of serving. Congratulations to all the devotees on completing 24 years!

             Our beloved Gurumaa’s birthday fell on March 31st. A few members of the ashram performed Padha Puja for Maa while simultaneously chanting Maa’s ashtotram. It was a day, simply full of devotion and love.

             On the charitable front, Sri Sai Darshan Trust was active in donating to two charities this quarter. Firstly, a donation of 50,000 rupees was made to a cancer institute for further research and treatments. Sri Sai Darshan trust also donated 50,000 rupees to Shankara Nethralaya for the  purpose of education and awareness about visual health, and to raise money to build learning centers for underprivileged children, as well as further research and intervention for those who are suffering from visual ailments.

             One of the newest additions to the ashram is Sandipani Muni’s shrine and statue near the Nagamma tank. The location of the shrine symbolizes that Sri Sai Darshan is located on the land that Sanipani Muni once taught Lord Krishna! This shrine and statue are in reverence of Lord Krishna’s guru, Sandipani Muni.

             One of the biggest parts of this quarter as we all know is the global pandemic, Covid-19, also known as the novel coronavirus. People from all around the world have been affected by the repercussions of this virus, with many nations like India being under lockdown to try to contain the spread. The 21-day national lockdown began on March 24 and will continue until April 15, unless an extension is further mandated. Few measures have been prescribed by Baba and Maa, to be followed everyday. A mix of black pepper, kala jeera, cinnamon, cardamom, tulsi leaves/powder, dried ginger, coriander seeds, kasaksa (poppyseed), is ground into a powder and boiled with water. 2 tablespoons of this water is to be taken once in the morning and once before going to bed. As per Baba’s and Maa’s instructions, this mixture should be taken daily without fail. Another instruction is to take 1 heaped teaspoon of haldi powder boiled into water, or with milk. This can be taken 2-3 times per day; a glassful each time. These are vital to improve our immunity, to rid our bodies of all toxins, and to keep us strong and healthy! Another vital instruction by Baba and Maa is to chant 3 Oms, 21 Dhanvantri Mantras, and 5 Hanuman Chalisas everyday. This prayer is to spread positivity and to pray for everyone around the world, for their upliftment, healing, and strength. Finally, Baba and Maa have instructed all devotees to read Chapter 73 of the Shrimad Bhagavatam as well as Chapter 1 of the Sai Satcharitra, daily without fail. It is important to remember throughout all this that Baba’s unwavering grace is with us and Maa is continually praying for us and our protection. We are fortunate to have this divine grace with us at all times, and to be able to pray for the wellbeing and strength of all other beings. Let us abide by the instructions given to us by Baba and Maa, and let’s remain positive, optimistic, and continue to channel our energy to pray for eachother and our world’s welfare!

             Sri Sai Darshan and our ashram family, suffered an irreparable loss this past quarter. Our beloved dog, Mickey, passed away on the 10th of January. With Baba’s grace, Mickey didn’t suffer in his last moments, and passed away silently. Mickey was a daily reminder and lesson to all of us that nothing is permanent, except for the mark that we leave on this Earth and on others. Mickey left a profound mark on all of us and our hearts, and the void without him and Lily running around the ashram, can be felt strongly. May we always remember him for his sweet disposition, his calming presence, companionship, and most of all his unconditional love for all those around him. Mickey was laid to rest next to Lily and a memorial for them has been constructed, and includes a Brindavan, with a shrine and a tulsi plant in between.

             A note of joy in regards to the newest addition of our Sai Darshan family! Close to a week ago, an orphaned baby squirrel, was found in our ashram, injured and hungry. Maa has sweetly given him the name, Krishna. He was nursed back to health, and now spends his time, playing, sleeping in Maa’s pockets, running up and down the trees, and exploring the world around him! A warm welcome to the newest and smallest addition to our family!


            Aside from the special events, our regular monthly projects continue, including the medical camps, weekly annadhanam, Purnima Puja, and Pradosham Puja.


            May Baba’s grace and Maa’s blessings be showered on us all. Jai Sai Ram Jai Maruthi Jai Maruthi!