From this day, our Sanathana Sarathi is on the march, as the head of the spiritual cohorts – the Vedas, the Upanishads and scriptures – to subdue the evil ego brood–injustice, anarchy, falsehood and licence. May this “Charioteer” fight for world prosperity and, by making the drum of victory sound and resound, spread joy among all mankind.

Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai
at the launch of the first issue of Sanathana Sarathi during Mahashivarathri, 1958
With the media and press revolutionising the world at large with their aggressive make or break attitude, with a touch of sensational journalism, here is a magazine carrying home the word directly from The Lord, with a pure intention of spreading His message of Truth, Righteousness, Peace, Love and Non-violence to build a better world. Sanathana Sarathi has been reaching homes of devotees across the world carrying His Words of Wisdom, ‘Direct To Home’ for the past five decades. How do the devotees around the world treat this ‘Home Coming?’ Upon enquiring as to how he would comment on the magazine, a senior devotee from London summarised his view in just one sentence that “Sanathana Sarathi is not a magazine; It is a Love Letter from Bhagawan”. We have an interesting write-up received from a devotee whose view, we are sure, would definitely match with the views of other readers of Sanathana Sarathi.

When Bhagawan comes home every month...

Sanathana Sarathi is yet another manifestation of Bhagawan’s ‘deergadarshan(foresight). Fifty years ago, He knew that when the flocking of devotees would swell and cover the entire globe – His mission, which He so loves to personally administer, needed to reach the home of every devotee as a reminder, energiser and connector. Today the world is talking of ‘Direct to Home’. Bhagawan had already put down – not the fibre optic pipeline or the satellite, but the saiheartic cabling down to every devotee’s household with Sanathana Sarathi.

To most, it is Swami coming home every month. Sitting at our table and gently prodding us from our slumber, to wake up and take heed; To not let the mundane overwhelm us. To me personally, Sanathana Sarathi brought and still does, the answers to the questions crowding my mind and helps me deal with life positively. It is my spiritual thesaurus. I never read it at a stretch. I read it and still do so, in bits and pieces so that the ‘saara’ or the nectar seeps into my addled brain and being.

I remember that years ago, not everyone subscribed to Sanathana Sarathi, may be because it was in English. So the study circles took it upon themselves to delineate Bhagawan’s message in the local language at the Samithis.The Sanathana Sarathi was also circulated amongst Samithi members. It never occurred to many of us that we could subscribe for this chariot. In retrospective this looks like having been Pennywise and pound-foolish.

This DTH brought home celebrations, discourses, special messages and wonderful photographs of Bhagawan. It still continues to do so and that too in colour. Those who were not fortunate enough to go to Puttaparthi for the special celebrations – did not miss much. All of the splendour was brought home in graphic detail by our very own Kasturi Ji, who was often the butt of Swami’s pranks and jokes.

This may sound rather strange – I always read the synoptic message on the back cover first because I am always sure that I will find that nugget which will enrich my life or course correct it.

Swami’s grace is so vast that He does not put you or me in a bind as to how we need to read or how not to. He merely puts the book into your hands. And if one is indeed fortunate, the messaging or in today’s terminology, the signals are strong.

Somewhere along the line, Chinna Katha became an integral part of the Sanathana Sarathi. This spiritual DTH has something for everyone in the family. And today this treasure house of wisdom, is also multi lingual!

In His inimitable manner, Bhagawan is gently prodding us to become literate too! At least literate enough to read this chariot of Bhagawan that’s so carefully put together and comes to our very own doorsteps. The large picture in the beginning refreshes all of us. Earlier when technology was not advanced enough to us have darshan of Bhagawan, via television or the internet, this picture was the darshan that we all got. It is still so precious!

If someone were to ask me –“What has Sanathana Sarathi done to your life” – I may not be able to get into the specifics. It has done so much that one cannot really put it down in black and white. When I carry it with me I feel protected. I can read it any number of times to find new meanings and messages evolve – guiding me every step of the way. I believe it is that personal letter which my Sai Pita and Mata, send to me month on month. It is my umbilical chord connection to Bhagawan! My personalised DTH connection with Beloved Bhagawan!

Dr. Vinayak Krishna Gokak, the first Vice Chancellor of Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning, now, Sri Sathya Sai University, during his visit to the United States in 1974 on a mission to speak about The Sai Mission, was interviewed by The Movement, The California Newspaper. Here we have excerpts from the interview published in Sanathana Sarathi, January 1975.

Movement Newspaper: What does Baba say of the different religions?

Dr. Gokak.: The first thing he says is that there is only one religion, the religion of Love. There is only one language and this is the language of the Heart. There is only one caste and this is the caste of Humanity. There is only one God and He is omnipresent. I am quoting Baba's own words. He stands for this universality of outlook; his ashram flag contains the symbols of all great religions of the world. Those people that want to believe in their own religion should never be disturbed. They should practise their religion spontaneously, but with proper understanding; they should not practise it in a blind manner. One should be guided through his studies.

There are people who don't want many rituals to bind them on their way. They want to feel free. They want to live a life of psychological awareness. They don't want to be bound down by any particular rituals. Their hearts prompt them to turn their whole life into a pilgrimage. If one wants to turn his life into a ritual and be a free person not professing any religion but speaking only of the Divine, then this also is welcome. Just as Baba doesn't want rituals to be discarded, he doesn't want rituals to be adopted either. It depends on a person's needs in his life. If one needs a religion then he takes it with understanding. If one needs the other life style then he takes that with understanding.

Movement Newspaper: Is there a reason why Baba is always seen in crowds?

Dr. Gokak: This is His role. The 24 hours of every day are directed toward liberating the common man, setting him free his bondage, wherever He may be from. All the methods, techniques, and exposition of his philosophy are directed toward this particular purpose.

His methods are those for redeeming the common man. His bhajans, which are sung with concentration on their rhythm, music, meaning, and imagery, can liberate the heart and release these springs of life. He has transformed the lives of millions of Indian people and thousands from all parts of the world.