As the state of Victoria is under a six-week lockdown due to COVID-19, we asked some of our members from Victoria on how/if they have been able to utilise this time to intensify their sadhana (spiritual discipline). The questions we put forward to them were:
Question 1: How have you used the lockdown period to intensify you Sadhana?
Question 2: What particular Sadhana have you focussed on?
Questions 3: How has Covid-19 affected/improved your Sadhana?
The wide variety of responses on how members are making the most of the lockdown period is provided below.
SSC Epping – Davendra Prasad
The Covid-19 has affected all our centre members to be locked-down in their homes. At a centre level we have used the Zoom online facility to chant mantras like Swami’s 108 names and/or chanting specific mantras like Samastha Lokah Sukhino Bhavantu 108 times. Through this online facility in addition to being able to pray together as a group it has also allowed us to check that all our members are ok from a physical and mental perspective. We’ve encouraged all members to hopefully do 108 times chanting of Samastha Lokah mantra daily at a personal level.
On a family level the lockdown opportunity has allowed Shimla and myself to be able to pray together on a daily basis and perform Linga abhishek at all our prayer sessions, in addition to other prayers and chants. As will be the case with many others the opportunity for family prayers is limited in normal days because each one of us have varying work commitments requiring us to rush in/out at different times.
At a personal level I have been able to do a whole japa mala at least once daily. Sometimes I have managed to do 2 or 3 japa malas a day.
The lockdown, whilst it has its own challenges, has provided the opportunity to us to intensify our prayers at both a family and individual level. Covid-19 has definitely improved our Sadhana as described above.
SSC Melbourne –Nitin Akune
The lockdown made me realise that how uncertain life can be, if you have to do something do it now don’t leave it for later. This reminds me of Swami how he has been repeatedly giving us all the necessary tools and ways to attain our spiritual goal.
Dear brothers and sisters the time is now to enhance our spiritual life or it will be never.
SSC Caroline Springs – Vijay Sairam Kambhampati
Before Covid situation I was having regular routine of doing gayatri chanting before leaving to office. But from the time the pandemic started I was able to do Gayatri chanting both in the morning and evening regularly. During my Balvikas days I was doing regular Omkaram, Sri Sathya Sai Suprabhatham and Nagarsankeertanam as we used to live near Sivam, Hyderabad India. I was able to revive this activity after 20 long years and was successful in doing it regularly. It gave me calm composed mind during this lockdown period. Frankly speaking Swami showed us an opportunity to fully utilise time in good work without disturbing our daily activities.
SSC Hoppers Crossing – Kiran Chebolu
Before the lockdown started, life has always been busy and with so many things going on – had not been able to dedicate time to all the aspects. Thought, would surely catch up some day.
Knowing that awareness is the key and using it in every little detail of the activity. It not only intensifies the activity but also makes it a sadhana by itself.
Yoga, AUM chanting, Namah Smarana and Meditation are few Sadhana I have undertaken.
COVID has surely slowed down not just the pace of life outside but also effected collective energy that we all rely on. Without the constant drive to move – Sadhana does become a uphill task and starting it is a big challenge. Once started, maintaining it becomes easy.
SSG Geelong – Selva
It has been a virtual lockdown since my retirement few years ago. But that period has been very helpful in catching up with Swami’s literature. The current lockdown is no different to this. Great opportunity to be more closer to Swami.
SSG Wyndham Vale –Vijay Kumar Kondepudi
Over the past few months, COVID-19 has completely changed the way we live and work. One day, even when we eventually have a vaccine and are out of the woods, the world would no longer be the same as pre-COVID.
The “Lockdown” and “Social Distancing” have indeed provided us a great opportunity for self-introspection – To turn our thoughts inwards and seek within.
Though we might not be able to physically attend all the devotional activities such as Bhajans or the various service programs, this has been a blessing in disguise to “connect” virtually – Way beyond the boundaries of our local Sathya Sai Centers. We have been able to participate in the Satsangs, devotional bhajans, Vedam, and Akhanda Gayatri chanting across geographies. Through these sessions, we feel that Swami is with us and guiding us every moment of our lives.
This has been a period where the entire community has come together to help one another. Swami says that each one has a direct relationship with God. The sadhana for each of us is to rekindle that relationship.
SSC Mill Park – Devotee 1
I have found that during this lockdown I have been doing more self-reflection and become more focused on Baba and his teachings.
I have been listening to Bhajans daily and practising them. I have found the Sunday monthly Suprabhatham very beneficial. Through self-reflection over this time, with Baba’s grace and blessing, I hope this will help me become a better person.
SSC Mill Park – Devotee 2
Covid 19 changed my lifestyle. My routine of getting up at 5.30 am has been shifted to 7 am. I still do my routine mantra japa’s and short meditation for 20 minutes. I asked myself, is that sadhana?
I miss my bhajan singing while driving to work. Instead I move from the breakfast table straight to the office within 10 steps. My working life is speaking to my clients through telehealth and case managing; getting annoyed at my family for not sharing the daily household chores; hanging the clothes on my tea breaks and making lunches during my lunch break. There is no weekend break from routine. My evenings are spent on online seminars to maintain professional developments and by the weekend I am too tired of online spiritual discussions
I asked myself, is that what we call virtual sadhanas?
I said to myself, I did not intensify my sadhanas during this lock down but Swami, I have not forgotten you. I am confident you will guide me in the right path but Swami, having full faith in you in this unpredictable time is it Sadhana?
Swami’s answer: That conviction of having faith in god itself is the result of many lives spent in spiritual practice. (Prashanti Report July 10 2012).
But Swami is that sadhana?
No Daughter that is not sadhana.
“Seven-tenths of Sadhana is ENQUIRY.”
With Covid 19 at our doorsteps, I am sure most of us have questioned who am I? how can we improve the state of my soul and experience divinity within my temple – the body.
The answer is:-
- Loving and being loved.
- Self-esteem, a sense of my own worth.
- Tapping into inner peace and joy.
- Being of service to others even if it is virtual
- Generosity of spirit.
In conclusion, Swami says that Sadhana or Spiritual Exercise is the Inward Path to Divinity. Man, while traversing his spiritual journey often fumbles, failing to understand the purpose of the term ‘Sadhana’ to the fullest extent.
Thanks to COVID19, I am able to apply Swami’s teachings to start this journey of Enquiry.