Beloved Swami has demonstrated His Divine presence in various ways. He says: My miracles are my calling cards. I give the people what they want so that they will give me what I want – namely, their love for God.

In all religions there are universal human values – emphasizing the importance of prayer, need for worship, the principle of the brotherhood of man and the fatherhood of God, and cultivation of love for all beings. Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Buddhists and Jews - each group has its own mode of prayer, but what all are seeking is the grace of God.

Let different faiths exist, let them flourish, and let the glory of God be sung in all languages and in a variety of tunes. That should be the ideal. Respect the differences between the faiths, and recognize them as valid as long as they do not extinguish the flame of unity. If all persons live the ideals propounded by the founders of their religion, unaffected by greed or hate, then the world will be a happy and peaceful habitation for man.

Beloved Swami gave this wonderful explanation regarding the importance of nama-smarana in the present age: This Kali Yuga is praised in the scriptures as incomparably conducive to the salvation of man, for he can now attain the Highest through the mere thought of God and remembering His Name. So, of all the Yugas this Yuga (era) is described as the most holy, the most beneficent.

Dhyana (meditation) was prescribed as a means of liberation for men in the Krita Yuga. Asceticism as the means during Tretha Yuga. Ritual worship in the Dwapara Yuga.

But for the people of this Kali Yuga, the simple remedy prescribed is just nama-smarana, the constant awareness of the Name of God. In spite of this, it is a pity that men do not care for this path and so make their lives a barren waste.

Beloved Swami gave Divine inspiration to ‘this Das’ to start the sadhana of Laksharchana and havan.


On 18 January 1967, a few days after the performance of our divine marriage by Baba, we were once again blessed with an interview. Swami talked to us at length about religions and related subjects. It was always my desire to acquire a mantra from Him and when I got the opportunity, I most humbly asked for a mantra. He tried to avoid this by distracting me and talking about other matters. But by His Will I persisted and, finally, He granted me the mantra Aum Sri Sathya Sai Krishnaya Namaha! He instructed me to use this mantra, which is for everyone, in sadhana. By His Grace, the unique sadhana called laksharchana is performed by chanting his mantra 100,000 times (laksh), collectively by all the participants, whilst offering (archana) rice grains at the Feet of our Beloved Lord, as described below

The meaning of each word in the mantra is given below:

Aum (Om) – refers to Parabrahman (God)
Sri – Goddess of wealth and prosperity
Sathya – Truth
Sai – Divine mother
Krishnaya – To Krishna(‘full’ avatar, like Sathya Sai Baba)
Namaha – Salutations.

A suitable venue is selected to accommodate all the participants. The larger the congregation, the laksharchana will benefit a larger number of people (and their families) and the duration of the ceremony will be shorter (see below). Each participant receives a plate with two compartments, a small photo of Sathya Sai Baba, a packet of vibhuti and a handful of rice. The plates and other items are prepared in advance before the arrival of the devotees.

A head count of the number of participants is taken and accordingly the number of rounds, using the japamala (rosary with 108 beads), to repeat the mantra is calculated. For example, if there are 100 participants, then one round of japamala will result in 100x100 (with a japamala of 108 beads, only 100 are counted as valid, with 8 “extras”) = 10,000 recitations of the mantra. With ten rounds, there will be 10,000 x 10 = 100,000 recitations. If there are only 50 participants, then twenty rounds of the japamala will have to be completed to reach the target of 100,000, and this will take twice as long as with 100 participants! Preferably two persons, with japamalas, should be nominated to do the counting while the chanting goes on, till the end.

Before starting, each participant puts the rice grains in one compartment of the plate and the small photo of Beloved Swami and vibhuti packet in the other. The programme starts with approximately half an hour of soul-stirring bhajans to raise the spiritual vibrations. The mantra Aum Sri Sathya Sai Krishnaya Namaha is chanted in unison, with full concentration, to derive the maximum benefit. At first, everyone repeats the mantra at a slow tempo, at the same time picking (with the right hand) some rice grains and allowing them to fall on the picture of our Beloved Lord or on the vibhuti packet. After a few such maneuvers, the hand adjusts to the distance between the rice grains and the picture, so that the devotee can close the eye, focus on the deity internally and continue with the action. The speed of chanting increases and, simultaneously, the offering of rice grains.

Just before commencing the last round (tenth or twentieth in the above examples), the chanting is interrupted in order to give further instructions, such as:

  1. This sadhana is a golden opportunity for the devotee to take concrete steps towards self-purification, and to pray for Baba’s Divine Blessings.
  2. The participants are invited to give up one bad habit (e.g. smoking, drinking alcohol, chewing tobacco) and to ask for Beloved Swami’s help in order to, for example, become a vegetarian, or put into practice His teachings such as Love All, Serve All – Help ever, Hurt never – Be good, See good and Do good!
  3. At the conclusion of the laksharchana, after the Aarati, the offered rice grains are put in an envelope or packet together with the photo and the vibhuti to be taken home. The plates are returned to the organizers for use in the next laksharchana. The portion of the sanctified rice grains can, later on, be distributed to those suffering from illness, etc. When this is mixed with normal rice grains, cooked and eaten, miraculous cures have taken place (see below). Some of the consecrated rice can be introduced into your rice box so that you will always be eating blessed rice, which helps in mental and spiritual growth.
  4. The Divine vibhuti may be mixed with other vibhuti and distributed to needy people.
  5. The photo that was used in laksharchana has cosmic power and may be placed in the shrine room, in the car, etc.

Laksharchana is a unique and very powerful sadhana. One has to participate to experience the divine vibrations throughout the chanting till the end. Many devotees reported that, after this sadhana, their problems were solved. Here are some examples.

One lady, while performing this sadhana, decided to give up something and mentally said to Baba, “Swami, please tell me what should I ask from You? My husband is suffering from cancer and I pray for his cure. But I must also pray for saubhagya (i.e. to keep him alive and well). “ The next day, when she went to the hospital she was told by the doctor, “I have good news! Investigation has proved that your husband’s ‘cancer’ is benign and not malignant. With treatment he will be completely cured.”

Another devotee prayed to Baba. “Swami, I will give up one thing. But please help my son who has been unconscious in hospital for many days. The doctors say they cannot determine the cause. “ The very next day, the son regained consciousness and, after proper treatment, was back to normal.

Dr Upadhyay, one of the best ophthalmic consultants in London and Beloved Swami’s devotee, gave me proof of the power of the sanctified rice grains after a laksharchana. One day, a devotee rushed to him and said, “Doctor, I have suddenly gone blind within the last two days, I can hardly see anything!” Upon investigation, Dr Upadhyay was surprised to see that both his eyes were cancerous and both eyeballs needed to be removed as soon as possible before the cancer could spread to his brain and kill the patient.

The patient, who was told to return the next day and prepare for the operation, was very upset and, at home, went straight to pray in his shrine room. His eyes fell on the packet of rice grains, which he has brought home after a laksharchana and he remembered being told that these rice grains were charged with cosmic power. He cooked all the rice grains and ate them. To his great astonishment, in the morning he could see everything quite clearly and, upon checking, Dr Upadhyay confirmed that the cancer had disappeared and the eyes seemed perfectly normal! The doctor requested me to tell devotees about his miracle through the sanctified rice grains.

One lady had great devotion for Swami but her husband did not have faith. He said, “Our fridge is out of order! Stick that photo of your God on it and if it starts working, I will believe in Baba!” To everyone’s surprise, the fridge worked and her husband developed faith and both became very happy. Another incident concerns a washing machine which was not working, but did so after the sanctified photo was stuck on it!

Thus, many devotees who participated in laksharchana have had proof of the benefits of this great sadhana – such as peace of mind, improved physical health, and spiritual growth. Many devotees who could not meditate due to their ‘monkey minds’, found that their concentration improved. Many went to Prasanthi Nilayam, received Baba’s darshan and soon came to recognize Him as God.

Laksharchana started becoming very popular in the United Kingdom and programmes were hosted right across the country; 840 were performed (until July 2003) and led to a big increase in the number of devotees and Sai Centres. The devotees in Coventry decided to perform one hundred laksharchanas, which is called shat – laksharchana. i.e. 100x100,000=10 million recitations of the mantra. This took place in the Krishna Temple in Coventry and was completed in three weeks, with Beloved Swami’s grace. This event was described in an article in the Sanathana Sarathi as follows: “Coventry devotees set up a record!” Thus, the United Kingdom is fast becoming a Sai Kingdom.

SOURCE: Chapter 37 from the book Sai Smaran – by Dr. Gadhia)


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