NEWSLETTER - 2nd Quarter - 2020

Sai Ram Jai Maruthi Jai Maruthi! The quarter started off with Ram Navami, brought the scorching heat of Agni Nakshatram, and saw the continuation of the Covid-19 pandemic which has affected everyone worldwide, since March. Love, happiness, positivity, and hope, continue to reverberate in our ashram!

Ram Navami fell on April 2nd. This is the day that Lord Sri Ram was born, and we celebrated this day at the Ram Darbar in our ashram temple.  The festivities included paal (milk) abishekam, followed by neermoru (buttermilk) and paanagam (jaggery water spiced with cardamom, ginger, and lemon). We celebrated this auspicious day with bhajans, which filled the air with joy and devotion!

May brought Agni Nakshatram. The peak heat of the summer was finally here. The heat from the sunny skies mixed with the humidity, was simply overwhelming at times, and it felt like the heat would never ease. The upside of the lack of cool air was the plentiful mangoes, jackfruits, papayas, and chikkus in our ashram! So perhaps due to the abundance of these sweet fruits, it made the heat a little more bearable. As always, with so many mangoes in our ashram, we were sure to make lots and lots of oorgai(achaar), and varieties of dishes made with the sweet and raw mangoes!

Continued on from the previous quarter, Covid-19 has affected people globally. India went through an extended lockdown, which started on March 24th, but has slowly been lifted in many states with restrictions still in place. However several states remain under strict lockdown, to curb the steeply rising number of cases. Everyone should remember to maintain social distance when going out as well as to always wear a mask to cover your mouth and nose if going outside.

As a reminder, various measures have been prescribed by Baba and Maa, to be followed everyday. As outlined in the previous newsletter, these instructions include the water & powder mixture which is to be taken twice a day, haldi water/milk, chanting of 3 Oms, 21 Dhanvantari Mantras, and 5 Hanuman chalisas, and the reading of Chapter 73 of the Shrimad Bhagavtam as well as Chapter 1 of the Sai Satcharitra, all of which should be done daily. Since then, few more measures have been instructed by Maa.

1)    Likhita Japam of the Dhanvantari Mantra, should be done 11 times, daily. This should be written and finished by noon everyday. If one notebook is finished, another new notebook should be used, and this Japam should continue to be written until further notice.
2)    Maa’s prayer addressing the coronavirus, should be done daily. “You have come with a purpose, for what purpose, we as humans do not know and are not able to understand and appreciate. But now we have learned our lesson, and you have fulfilled your purpose. So we humbly request you, to peacefully take your leave.” This prayer is to address the virus as well as to remind ourselves that we must approach the current situation with peace and calmness within ourselves, and to spread positivity to one another. This will help us face this virus as well, with strength, positivity, and acceptance.
3)    Incorporate Maa’s Points into our daily lives. We must remember that although the coronavirus may not be permanent, there will be other situations that come up in life, that we must learn to adapt to, and learn how to face. This begins with a change in our lifestyles and having an open minded approach, with acceptance, optimism, positivity, and love for one and all. Maa’s points include to develop a positive outlook on everything, forgive and forget, avoid all outside food, maintain personal hygiene, and to love everyone.
4)    Personal hygiene must be maintained, and be taken very seriously in order to block out any infection.

•    Bath must taken twice a day.
•    Everyone must clean their navels, everyday.
•    Coconut oil-A small dab of oil should be placed around the eyes and nose (both nostrils at once), clockwise and anti-clockwise, 3 times each. This should be done after bathing in the morning.
•    Oil pulling-Coconut or til oil should be swished in the mouth for 20 minutes every morning and then spit out, followed by saltwater gargling/rinsing, and brushing.
•    Salt Water Gargling
•    Brush teeth and clean tongue well.

It is important to remember throughout all this that Baba’s and Maa’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 Maa and Baba, and let’s remain positive, optimistic, and continue to channel our energy to pray for each other and our world’s welfare!

On the charity front, Sri Sai Darshan Trust (SSDT) donated 1.5 lakh 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.

Next, SSDT donated 1.5 lakh rupees to the Cancer Institute of Chennai. This donation will go towards research in the field of cancer and for funding treatments for patients, as well as meals for the patients in the institute.

Lastly, SSDT has been donating on average 30,000 rupees worth of groceries to people in surrounding villages, since the beginning of the lockdown. In this time of lockdown, access to basic necessities and groceries is tough for many people in villages. Each Thursday, when our ashram annadhanam would usually be taking place, volunteers from SSDT, distribute packages of groceries which include rice, oil, 2 types of dal, sugar, soap, noodles and jaggery. These groceries are distributed to approximately 60 families each week!

Our newest family member, Krishna, continues to thrive, explore the ashram, and love everyone he meets! He has so much love and happiness to offer, especially in these uncertain days. He radiates with positive energy, and is a constant reminder to also just stay positive and to love everyone!

And as always, it goes without saying that the Poornima pooja, Pradosham pooja,  are taking place without fail. Medical camps which occur on every second Saturday have been placed on hold for the time-being due to the pandemic. As Annadhanam also cannot take place in the ashram, as explained above, packaged groceries are being distributed to people in surrounding villages, by SSDT. We thank you, all devotees and well-wishers, for your continuous support. Here’s to another wonderful quarter filled with love and happiness!

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