Functions occupy a special and important role in spiritual life. Generally these functions are not like other festivals and celebrations. In the form of these functions as our training days, we have been provided with an opportunity by Rev. Master. They are meant for transformation of our life as well as living. In the real sense, they are intended to serve highest purpose, although they apparently look like festivals. What prevails here, is only silence, simplicity and peace. All participants appeared to be busy doing nothing. That’s why we call it satsang.

There was a custom that our Master used to invite all of us to participate in such functions. Before I express my personal views about its speciality and importance, let us look at what was taking place earlier, so that the picture becomes clear.

It was Rev. Bhai Saheb Shri. Raghavendra Rao who happens to be Bhageeratha in introducing a new method of yogic practice called ‘Sahaj Marg’ to South India. The system aims to evolve and uplift the humanity. In 1955, Bhai Saheb undertook the practice under this system, after testing the Master from all possible angles for eight months and satisfying himself with full conviction and faith. He happens to be the first preceptor in South India. Gulbarga got the first training centre established because of him alone. He also happens to be instrumental in spreading the precepts of the system. Consequently, many persons took up the practice. It necessitated establishment of many training centres in other parts. Our Master prepared and appointed the preceptors in each training center. They imparted the training to the aspirants as per instructions of the Master and prepared the abhyasis. At that time, importance was being given to the quality of the aspirants, not the numbers. That was the prevalent practice before they were introduced to the system. That’s why our Master used to appreciate the abhyasis of Gulbarga branch. The entire credit goes to Shri. Raghavendra Rao of Raichur and S.A. Sarnad of Gulbarga.

There was a convention followed at that time. Whosoever approached us, showing interest in our practice, was requested to purchase our books for study and information and to revisit after twothree weeks. In case the concerned person happened to come back, there used to be an interaction in the form of question and answer to access his curiosity and interest in God realization. Only on being satisfied, the trainer used to introduce the person to our method. In first two sittings, cleaning of his heart was taken up so as to sow the seed of spirituality. After two to three days, the third sitting was given and the seed of Ultimate Reality was sown in his heart. Further, he was explained to practise regularly as per the instruction already given and report the feedback after a fortnight. Only after that, he was permitted to participate in general Satsangh. In the course of time, the trainer of each centre used to submit a report regarding abhyasis interest in Goal achievement and his love, devotion and faith towards our Master. This practice was confidential. Such recommendations were presented to the Master, either during or function or His tour of South India. That was the importance of our functions. That was the reason, why all trainers and abhyasis were eagerly waiting to participate in the functions. There used to be an evaluation of the work done by the trainer and the practice put in by the abhyasi. Then our Master used to give elevations in the spiritual field happily to the trainers and abhyasis. Only during our functions, intensive training was being given to abhyasis, whom Master liked. There used to be a special meeting of all the trainers. Master personally used to discuss all subject matters and further clarity the doubts with more information regarding the training aspect. Stress was given during the discussions especially on Master, Mission and the Method. Every one used to feel encouraged. There was a sort of glow on the participants face during the function. Peace of mind, heart full of enthusiastic love, a sense of brotherhood and happiness was predominant in the encouraging festive atmosphere among all the participants.

In 1966, Rev. Master stopped the celebration of Shri. Krishna Janmashtami. Only the Basant Panchami, in honor of His Master’s Birth Day was being celebrated till 1947. All of us were invited by the Master for participation.

On account of love and submission by the abhyasis, our Master consented to celebrate His Birth Day on 30th April every year. From 30th April 1974 onwards, Master’s Birth Day has been / is being celebrated.

In addition, the Founder’s Day celebration started at Raichur on completion of the Ashram building. All of us felt extremely happy because all were anxiously waiting for higher training and spiritual progress during these functions, after undergoing regular training at our respective centres. As the time passed, the training aspect at each center gradually came to halt. They remained as sitting centers.  As a result, the idea of higher training and progress disappeared from the scene of our functions. They continued to be observed as mere functions only.

Whenever abhyasis of a particular center desired to conduct a function, they used to consult senior brothers. Only on their consent the function, its date and venue were fixed. Accordingly all other centers were informed to seek the number of desirous participants. It was the practice for making arrangement of their boarding and lodging. Further, the transport from railway station and bus stand to the venue was being arranged. The selected venue (in the absence of Ashram building at the centre), was properly washed and cleaned a day before the function. In addition, the polluted atmosphere at the selected venue including the mediation hall, dining hall and the kitchen were thoroughly purified. This type of work takes place in our system only. A special atmosphere gets created. It denotes that things like selfishness, self-projection, fanaticism, materialistictendency, sensual pleasure seeking tendencies etc. were removed from the prevailing atmosphere there and further purified. At times, the entire city was subjected to through cleaning. Usually it is not understood by the people. But, it is discernible by those who observe minutely.

Generally this type of cleaning work is undertaken by the functionaries in nature like Vasus and Munis. They need to be requested for the cleaning of the atmosphere. In case, the cleaning work is not effected properly by them, the higher functionaries like Dhruvas and Dhruvadhipathies are requested for the purpose. All these functionaries are obedient only to our Master Shri. Babuji Maharaj, whose orders become binding on them. That’s why this type of work is done through them only. It is not the work of Tom, Dick and Harry.

Meditation hall was given prime importance with a special attention. A sort of atmosphere, pregnant with vibrations of a thought that all are getting attracted towards the Goal of human life and touching each and everyone’s heart, used to be created in the meditation hall. In addition the Divine Grace through our Master used to be focused in the form of shows right from the beginning to the end of function, so as to facilitate the abhyasis in removing the obstacles and pitfalls during their abhyas.

During morning and evening meditation sessions, the preceptor concerned undertakes transmission as per his willed suggestion and personal capacity.

All the participating abhyasis used to contemplate and decide themselves in respect of the following aspects:

  1. Preparations were undertaken at the centre nearly a month before the function. Each abhyasi devoted much time in keeping his heart and mind clean and pure. Most of the time, the abhyasi was remaining in the remembrance of Master of Goal. The abhyasis were also concerned with the advantage and progress in attending the function.
  2. There was no useless talk during the function. They always remained in silence.
  3. The abhyasis were fully attempting to observe the activities in the heart during the time of meditation. They were remaining silent for 10 to 15 minutes after the meditation. They were observing the mental condition to develop the practice of introspection. Thus, they were getting introvert from the extrovert tendency. As a result, there was clarity in understanding the system and the practice. That was leading to not only enhancing his interest in sadhana but also in the development of faith in Master’s power and capability. While so remaining – swimming and drowned in the Divine shower of Grace, as well as restless condition to achieve the Goal, there was no scope for taking and giving additional sitting by others during the function.
  4. Whosoever is found indulging in nuisance and making noise in meditation hall, during the meditation, speeches or question answer sessions, deserves to be sent out without hesitation. Ours is a spiritual function, not a social or political. Keeping in view of the general benefit of all the participants, this type of action was in practice without any consideration towards the person concerned.
  5. The purpose of participation in the function should always / invariably be for self-evolution / realization. The organizers arrange the different activities with an intention of spiritual benefit to all participants. Therefore, it is our bounden duty to participate in such activities. The purpose of such activities would not be served, if we resort to cross talking (chit chat). One should always ensure to fully utilise such opportunities rather than wasting them.
  6. As per the instructions of our Master, infants and children were not taken to the function. In case, children happen to be in the function, our attention would get diverted. The very purpose of attending the function would be lost. Further, in presence of children there, our Master could not undertake powerful transmission as per His will and wish since it could result in harming them. We were also given to understand that such transmission would sometimes endanger the children’s life. Therefore, there was no permission to taken the children.
  7. Our purpose of attending the function could not fructify, if indulged in discussing the subjects other than our practice, experience, feeling and problems of sadhana. That’s why they always observed silence. So, the abhyasis felt that, it was their bounden duty to maintain the atmosphere there free from any pollution.
  8. Many a seminar, speech, question and answer session, workshop took place in the function. There was no feedback and follow up. It did not give rise to the expected result. Moreover, less of abhyasis participation, Shri. Raghavendra Rao stopped the activity calling it as mere noise.
  9. There used to be a public meeting during Shri. Babuji’s period. Its main purpose was to provide additional information about our training and method to those who were interested. As the time passed, the outsiders were not turning up for the meeting. Hence, the practice was stopped. It simply means that, having put in so many years of practice, we cannot attract others. This deficiency gets highlighted in society, as there is no perceptible transformation on our part. It is not to claim only from a platform that the Goal of our life remains the highest. We have totally forgotten that we should achieve it ourselves and attract others later on. Why others? In fact, our own children have not shown any inclination towards the Goal of life. It is because they have seen a clash between our living and dealing. As a result, they turn away from our method out of rejection. They are not showing any interest / inclination towards this aspect. This subject deserves to be seriously thought over.
  10. A new problem has crept in recently. Abhyasis have been practising the head bath and wearing new clothes during the birthday function of Shri. Lalaji Maharaj or Shri. Babuji Maharaj. In order to avoid inconvenience, our people have started to sell new clothes in function itself, thereby passing on their time throughout the day. How can we expect them to adopt spirituality? It is a matter for consideration.
  11. There was a rule to celebrate only three functions in a year during the time of Shri. Babuji Maharaj. i.e., Rev. Lalaji Maharaj’s Birth day (Basanth Panchami), Rev. Master’s Birthday (30th April) and founder’s day, which was confined to local abhyasis only. There was also permission to invite a preceptor from the nearby centre in the absence of one locally. After the physical veiling of our Master, Founder’s day at Raichur was being celebrated regularly every year during the month of October, as we had our own Ashram building there with all the facilities. During the birth centenary year of Revered Master i.e. April 1999 to March 2000, our elder brother Rev. Raghavendra Rao instructed to celebrate the birthday functions of the Master at different centres each month. He himself participated in them. It was confined to that year only. However, the same practice is still continued even after the lapse of the centenary year. Here, we need to practically ponder over whether such functions are beneficial if continued.

Now a days, it is generally observed that the tradition of garlanding a photograph pertaining to the deceased has come to stay as a mark of respect. It has been a routine activity following the death of a person. In case, if we continue this tradition, it amounts to public announcement that we have lost our revered one. Though, we claim during our speeches that our revered one is with us and still helping, it turns out to be a matter of laughing stock. That is the reason why Rev Raghavendra Rao got the garlanded photograph of our Master shifted and kept reverse once at Raichur Ashram during the founder’s day celebration. On another occasion, he refused to enter the meditation hall at Shorapur (Surpur) function until and unless the photograph of our Rev. Master was removed. The memory of that incidence is still fresh in us. It amounts to idol worship, though we have taken up spiritual practice keeping the highest Goal in view, without stagnation whatsoever. It is not a get ourselves diverted from our smooth path of practise.

We come across certain situations during religious ceremony and puja activity in our society. We perform the worship of Lord Ganesha before taking up the main item of puja in order to succeed in our attempt without any obstruction. That is why something like an areca nut, turmeric root or a coin is taken to infuse the power of Lord Ganesha in it.  It is followed by a prayer as follows: Vakratunda Mahakaya Surya Koti Samaprabha Nirvighna Kurumedeva Sarva Karyeshu Sarvada.  Only then we undertake the main puja. After its completion, the power of Ganesha is withdrawn. It is called Uttara puja (Post worship activity). Here, the point to be considered is whether the power of Ganesha is superior or the person, who invokes it.

Let us take another aspect. We have seen many a temple or place of worship newly constructed in our lifetime. There also a special programme takes place. The idol brought in for installation is subjected to Prana - Pratishthapana (charging). The concerned God / Goddess, is invoked and power infused into the idol of that particular God / Goddess permanently. Now a days, this procedure of Prana – Pratishthapana replaced by the Murti Pratishthapana (Idol charging) since, there is dearth of persons who are capable of doing it. It has been just a mechanical procedure. If the devotees happen to visit such a temple for worship, the question arises whether they derive any benefit. In our religious programmes, Prasad is distributed to all participants so as to get desired benefit. Participants feel blessed when they consume the Prasad with pleasure, respect and faith. Here also a point is to be noted.

Generally, people offer eatables to God. It is taken as Prasad. It is very important to make out whether God touches the eatable or accepts it or just the left over part. In the real sense, offering the Prasad is also an equivalent act of Prana – Prathishthapana. It pertains to the capacity of a person who offers it. It is taken up by a person specifically permitted to offer the Prasad. It is conversion of eatables offered in to its original state of purity and converting it into energy and then sublimating it in to the Divine Power and again infusing it into eatables. This reconditioned eatable becomes Prasad.  It ceases to be Prasad if it is carried out without this reconditioning. It is just like an idol without Prana – Prathishtha. Prasad occupies a special importance in our system. In fact, it is the disciple who prays to the Master to infuse the life force into the offering. It is a secret affair between the disciple and the Master. As a result, there occurs an action and reaction in the offering. The effect corresponds to the level of devotion present in the person, who offers it. It becomes effective because it contains the power of the Master. Puja refers to the love affair between the devotee and the Master. It remains beyond the common concept as it happens to be a secret subject. The devotee, so gifted by the Master, offers the Prasad with a heart full of love for spiritual uplift of all, with an idea Sarveh Janah Sukhino Bhavantu.

There remains no doubt regarding its spiritual benefit, if this type of Prasad is consumed. Here, it is worthwhile to remember what Master has stated “It is rare to find the capacity of offering the Prasad among all abhyasis and preceptors”.

On consuming such Prasad, the Divine energy disseminates to all parts including each and every cell and exhibits its effect at the physical, mental, vital and spiritual level. Further it results in transformation and evolution – mental, spiritual as well as the way of life. It has been an obvious observation. Hence, lot of importance is attached to the Prasad in our system.

Through the medium of Prasad, our Master has introduced a revolutionary method of spiritual renaissance so as to benefit the aspiring mankind regarding the Goal of life and its awareness. It happens to be a unique movement for the spiritual benefit of all the aspirants. That is the reason, why the children are offered the Prasad in first place as advocated by our Master.

Usually, our function concludes with a recitation of an ode dedicated in the memory and honour of Sri. Lalaji Maharaj. This recitation was collectively sung earlier and used to get absorbed fully in its condition. Now, it is recited by going through the book. The singing party usually consists of 5 to 6 persons. It is originally in Urdu language. It is translated in various languages, though it does not match the effectiveness of the original. The Urdu ode has been charged by our Master. So far, majority of the singers have not memorised it. It should be an endeavour of all to understand the meaning of each word, feel its effect and then attempt to achieve the condition therein. Otherwise, it amounts to recitation like any other song, thereby losing its importance. It becomes a mechanical ritual without any benefit. That is why it is to be recited in a proper and practical way.

It is a blunder to compare ourselves with the Master. Or relationship with Him is like that of Master and slave. Therefore, it is improper to copy Him. It goes to mean that we should follow the spirit behind His action after careful contemplation. I have attempted to bring before the readers, what I observed, understood and experienced during the last thirty-eight years of my practice. I apologize if anything is found erroneous in this article. Please follow them if they are found to be correct.

  1. We have given up the practice of conducting ‘Havan’ during Basant function, since we could not make out the purpose behind it.
  2. We have stopped even the practice of ‘Shanti-Path’, through out the day on Basant, as we have not realised its significance.
  3. It has been given to understand that Prasad used to be offered by or Master to five members namely Lord Krishna, Shri. Lalaji Maharaj, Shri. Swamy Vivekananda, Shri. Goutam Budha and Shri. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu of our Mission. The purpose remains unknown. Even now, some of us are following the same custom. It is beyond our understanding. In fact, we owe our allegiance only to the Special Personality / Master / our beloved Shri. Babuji Maharaj and none else. Therefore nobody needs to tell to whom we should offer Prasad.
  4. Rev. Master Shri. Babuji Maharaj used to conduct the morning meditation at 6.30 AM and evening meditation also at 6.30 PM, during the Basant function. Why not the same practice is followed now?
  5. It is better that organizers of any function prepare a report pertaining to the purpose and its resultant effect. It should consist of following.
    • Number of participants
    • Number of children
    • Names of the speakers along with their subject matter
    • The feeling and experiences of the participants along with any new observations and its subsequent spiritual progress
    • A statement regarding the contribution, expenditure and balance amount
    • Any other thing of importance worth to be mentioned

Under the circumstances, as mentioned above, it is better to conduct only three main functions in a year. There is no doubt that they prove to be genuine as well as beneficial to all aspirants. They may turn out to be a mechanical and valueless, if any change is introduced out of any individual curiosity and interest. All of us stand to get benefited provided we abstain from giving any scope to mechanical practice. In addition, let us celebrate our function with love and devotion with full faith in our Master.

I pray to Master to bestow wisdom in this regard as per His liking.