(In the Words of the Authoress)
"... First of all, I had no intention of writing this Vratha Kalpam, Then I happened to come across a Vratha Kalpam in respect of the past avatar of Sri Shirdi Sai. It occurred to me that if there could be a Vratha Kalpam for an avatar long past, it should be more appropriate to have one for the living avatar who is currently captivating and fascinating the whole world....
When I made up my mind to write this I was staying with Dr. Saraswati in Amalapuram. Swami appeared to me in a dream and proffered a few directions in this regard. At that time I was planning to follow the pattern of the popular Sri Sathya Narayana Vratha Kalpam, begin Sri Sathya Sai Vratha Kalpam with Nava Graha Sthaapana, etc. In my dream Swami asked me why I was thinking of writing on those lines. I replied, "I know no other way. Kindly guide me and I will follow". Gesticulating with his hands in his characteristic way, Swami told me to make the whole thing simple, commence with Ganapathi Pooja, follow it up with his own Pooja and conclude with the Katha (story) Section. This book is thus patterned on the lines indicated by Swami.
The Katha Section of Sri Sathya Narayana Vratha Kalpam comprises stories of five devotees. Which five devotees should I select for my book? In my dream I had forgotten to seek Swami's directions in this regard. So I placed my problem before Sri Kasturi and sought his help. He said, "Whose stories will you pick up? This may lead to unpleasantness all around. Let me think over it". That night Swami appeared in my dream and said, "You stupid, do you think that I have but a mere five devotees only? There are lakhs of them. If you pick up any five individuals, the others will be after you. Choosing a time when I am away, they will twist your neck and throw your body in the Chithraavathi river. Don't pick up any particular individual's story; write only mine own". That settled my problem.
Next day, I was mulling over the appropriate shape to be given to the Katha Section and how to apportion it into five chapters. In Sathyam, Sivam, Sundaram (Swami's life story) Swami had declared that in the first 16 years he would display his leelas, in the next 16 his mahimas and thereafter he would deliver his message and exhortations (upadesh) and carry out his divine programme. To my great relief, that came to my mind and offered me a clear-cut plan of action. The Katha Section thus fell into a logical and beautiful sequence; the first chapter is Leela Kaanda, the second Mahima Kaanda, the third Raksha Kaanda, the fourth Siksha Kaanda, the fifth and final one Bodha Kaanda. My path was clear and I completed the book on those lines. The finished manuscript I kept in my box.
Then a strange thing happened. When I opened the book one day I found that numerous additions and alterations were made in red ink. They were all in the unmistakable hand of Swami himself. For instance, wherever I had used the words, "Sarva Devathaa Swaroopa", they were altered in beautiful script in red, to read, "Sarva Devathaatheetha Swaroopa". Similarly, where I had written that "led by him groups of children would go round the village singing devotional songs and bhajans", it was amended to read, "go round the village, street by street, singing devotional songs and bhajans". Elsewhere, he added in clear and beautiful hand that "Dharma is eternal and immutable", I found that the entire text had been gone through and amended by Swami. Unbelievable as it may appear to readers, it is indeed the simple, plain truth. What more is needed by way of proof to declare that Sri Sathya Sai Vratha Kalpam, as it now stands, has the full approval of Swami? At the end, in Swasthi, I had written that those who performed this Vratham would be rewarded with Swami's protection. Swami amplified it saying that Swami would grant them fulfilment of their hearts' desires and take complete care of them at all times and with immense love.
I must add here that I had never informed Swami that I had completed this book nor did I give him the manuscript.
Astonished at what I found, I mentioned it to Sri Kasturi. He remarked, "Centuries ago, when Saint-composer Pothana was translating the epic Maha Bhagavatham from Sanskrit to Telugu, Sri Rama himself, it is said, contributed to his text. Blessed are you. Please safeguard your manuscript". I have accordingly kept it in safe custody..."
- Extracts from the
Autobiography of Pedda Bottu (Smt. Gali Sarada Devi) Prasanthi
AT THE LORD'S LOTUS FEET
There are a thousand ways to hail the Glory of Sri Sathya Sai Avatar. There are songs and slokas to extol the Sai Lord of Love and Leelas. There are prayers and poojas to intone Sai Gita, invite Sai Spirit and invoke Sai Mercy.
As Sadhaks of the Sai Bangaru Centre, it is our treasured privilege to be instrumental in disseminating the Divine information on the Procedure of Worship of Sri Sathya Sai Baba, much on the lines of the age-old Sathya Narayana Vratham. A great soul and an ardent devotee of both Sri Shirdi Sai Baba and Sri Sathya Sai Baba, Srimathi G. Sarada Devi, endearingly known as "Pedda Bottu", had authored Sri Sathya Sai Vratha Kalpam containing the procedure of Pooja and five stories of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba.
As the authoress herself mentioned, Swami desired that the whole thing should be made simple so that devotees would be able to perform it with ease.
After she completed the manuscript, she did not inform Swami about it. But to her utter surprise she found one day that it was touched up in different places by the unmistakable hand of Swami. In fact the conviction of the authoress that Swami would grant protection to those devotees who perform the Vratham was amplified by Him. He wrote that Swami would grant them fulfilment of their hearts' desires and take complete care of them at all times and with immense Love.
It is hoped that the devotees will take advantage of the holy book and perform the Pooja with pure hearts and Divine Love and be thus entitled to Swami's Grace and Protection.
We have initiated plans to translate the Vratha Kalpam into some Indian and foreign languages, besides English. We also propose to bring out audio-casettes to help the devotees to conform to the correct pronunciation of Sanskrit words.
The English translation of the holy book has been rendered smooth by the Sai Lord, His chosen instrument being a gifted writer and a Sai enthusiast-devotee, Sri M.S.B. Prasad. Sri Prasad had experienced thrills and bliss in the sadhanic role assigned to him and we in the Centre are proud of his contribution. We are most indebted to him.
Srimathi Molly Thomas has shown exemplary Sraddha (dedication) and Saburi (patience) in undertaking the computer work. We are grateful to her.
We humbly dedicate the holy book to the Lotus Feet of our beloved Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba.
Om Sri Sai,