Nine-point code of conduct and Ten Principles
Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba while placing the Sai movement throughout the world on a firm footing with established Universal principles such as those shown below has also proclaimed as a guiding light for a devotee’s spiritual and personal development-the Nine Point Code of Conduct and the Ten Principles.
- Daily meditation and prayer (japa).
- Group devotional singing (bhajan) or prayer with family members once a week.
- Participation in Sai Spiritual Education (Bal Vikas Programme) by children of the family.
- Participation in community service work and other programs of the organization.
- Regular attendance at the Center’s devotional meetings (Bhajan Or Nagar Sankirtan).
- Regular study of Sathya Sai Baba literature.
- The use of soft, loving speech with everyone.
- Not speaking ill of others, especially in their absence.
- Practice placing a ceiling on desires – consciously and continuously strive to eliminate the tendency to waste time, money, food and energy – and utilize the savings for service to mankind.
“It is the Code of Conduct which is responsible for the Organisation moving forward, growing from strength to strength. The office bearers should exercise maximum care to see that the Code of Conduct is adhered to and guide others also in the right path… There should be no scramble for power or position. What matters is the purity, intensity of devotion and the spirit of self sacrifice.”
1) Daily meditation and Prayer
Whatever religion one belongs to, whatever our spiritual heritage, the necessity to still the mind to control the vagaries of thoughts, to make the “monkey mind” do our bidding and not what it wills, is a basic spiritual practice.
Divinity resides and reflects in man – but we are unable to see this reflection of Divinity in the pool of our consciousness because the lake of our mind is subject to incessant storms, its surface ripped apart by wild lashing waves. Only when the waters of the lake are still, can the reflection of the moon be seen on its surface – likewise the reflection of divinity on the calm surface of our consciousness.
But if we merely do meditation and still our mind – is this enough? The reflection of the moon will not be seen even in the still water if the waters of the lake are filled with dirt and pollutants. Thus, two qualities are required to see the reflection of the moon:
a) The surface of the water must be still and
b) The lake must be free of dirt, debris, froth and pollutants
Baba has placed meditation as the first code for those who wish to glimpse the Divine within; however, stilling the mind (the waters of the lake) is not enough – a recycling plant must be erected beside the lake to clean the water. Much of the other codes of conduct relate to this process of “cleansing the water” not only of ourselves, but for our family members also.Baba in various discourses has instructed devotees on various techniques of meditation.
Pray in whatever way familiar to you…this will reinforce your meditation.
You can chant mantras, sing bhajans, hymns, kirtans, or just speak to God in your own way– whatever makes you feel close to Him and makes you truly feel that you are communicating with Him.
2) Devotional – Singing/Prayer with members of family once a week
There is an age old axiom, “the family that prays together stays together.” Bhagawan is merely trying to remind us of this forgotten truth. In the early days families used to eat together and pray together – today – modern times, the notion of everyman for himself seems to have crept into families too.
Some Sai devotees have expressed this problem – “I am the only Baba devotee in my house –the rest refuse to accept Him – how can I keep this code?” Bhagawan does not say pray to Him! Have your family prayers in the traditional method of worship be it Hindu, Christian or whatever. You need not even have Baba’s photo there, if this will help achieve the objective of weekly family prayer.
Also, it does not matter if all refuse to join. Start the family prayer with whoever is willing. Keeping to a fixed date and time and continue with faith – let Baba do the rest. Many such family prayers that started with one or two now include the whole family. If need be start alone and leave the “door” open for others to hear your prayer and to join.
The important thing to remember is not to be disheartened by the attitudes of others who do not join. Give them time! Not all buds bloom at the same time when the sun shines – but the sun does not give up – it shines daily and silently, and over time all will bloom!!
Your family members should see the visible, positive transformation in you– that your sadhana has made you more loving, kinder, gentler, and more understanding. This will have greater effect on non-participating family members and urge them to join you.
Make your whole day an extension of your morning and evening prayers. Slowly, they will be drawn to the power that has transformed you and will join you.
Moderation and love should be your key guiding factors.
3) Participation in Educational Programs (Bal Vikas) Sai Spiritual Education organised by the Centre for children of Sai devotees.
The reason for this code is obvious when one becomes aware that what is taught to the children in the Bal Vikas classes are:
a) One’s own religion – chanting of prayers, songs, hymns, lives of saints etc.
b) Knowledge and respect for other religions.
c) Human values – respect for parents and elders, cleanliness, good conduct, confidence, cooperation, self help etc.
d) The life and message of Bhagawan Baba.
All these are taught through sophisticated, dynamic programs where only gurus who have undergone a specific training program will be qualified to teach.
4) Participation in community work and other programs of the Organization
Bhagawan Baba has prescribed that the qualification of membership of Sai organisation is not just to attend Bhajans and to love Baba, but to accept the 9 Codes as part of our life and to perform 4 hours of service every week to the poor, the sick and the needy.
Bhagawan has declared, “Hands that help are holier than lips that pray”.
Devotees/members realise that this service aspect is a part of the Divine formula for salvation and God’s Grace.
5) Attend at least once a month Group devotional singing organised by the Center.
Bhagavan has called for, is to still the agitations of the mind, and flush out the insects of excessive desire or lust, anger, greed, jealousy and attachment. This Sadhana can lead devotees towards greater internal peace, expanding love and unity of vision.
Adopting the concept of “once a month bhajan” should not end there – once a month or once a week, the sincere aspirant must constantly be “tuned in” to devotional songs, analyzing the meaning of the songs and the messages, and using it as a guide, and as a beacon of love in their daily lives.
Bhajans bring about the necessary results, in the form of, the softening of the heart, the gentleness of speech, the kindness of thoughts, the yearning to serve. If the name and message of God is constantly in the mind, the cleansing effect will most certainly take effect, and devotees will see their lives, their character and behaviour transformed.
6) Regular study of Sai literature
All Sai devotees are expected to study the life, messages and teachings of Swami. However, the literature of all the great religions and saints should also be a part of our reading material .In short, “Sai literature” should be interpreted as literature that helps provide Spirituality, Awakening and Inspiration.
The “regular study” refers not merely to individual study but also participation in “Study Circles” organized by the Centre.
Sravana (listening or absorbing), Manana (reflecting, digesting), Nidhidyasana (putting into practice or acting on the message) are three stages in spirituality.
It is not the quantity of knowledge you absorb, but the quality and the degree you reflect and integrate the message into your life.
7) Speak softly and lovingly to everyone
must be soft and loving. Words once uttered can never be retrieved. Hence care has to be taken to ensure that no harm is caused by our words. Irrespective of who the person to whom we are speaking, words have to be obliging and loving. Scars left behind by harsh words cannot be erased. Swami says, ’You may not always oblige, but speak obligingly’.
8) Not to talk ill of others especially in their absence
Backbiting, character assassination, falsehood about another, trying to belittle or bring down the esteem of one in the eyes of the other, is a deadly cancer that has destroyed many groups, even great movements and most certainly must be considered an anathema to any spiritual body.
It simply means that if we do talk about others, than it should only be in a genuine positive manner where we want to help, to improve and elevate not to degrade and condemn.
9) Ceiling on Desires and to utilise savings generated for service to mankind
Do not waste Money People who want to have a measure of peace and contentment in their lives, must have a ‘Ceiling on Desires’ … a ceiling on Food, Energy, Time and Money.
In summary the Divine call is as follows:
Do not waste Food … do not overindulge in food.
Do not waste Energy … electricity, water, your own energy, (too much talking,
anger, jealousy and other negative expressions are equally a waste of Divine energy).
Do not waste Time …. and whatever genuine knowledge you have, use it well.
Do not waste Money
Ten Guiding Principles from Sathya Sai Baba
- Love and serve your country. Do not be critical of other countries.
Have a sense of pride in your motherland. Just as your mother has given birth to you, so too the land has given birth to you. Whatever country you belong to, you should have a sense of patriotism. You should not indulge in criticizing other countries or people belonging to other nations. Having trust and faith in your own country, you won’t try to put down any other country. Never bring grief or sorrow to your country. To have pride in your own motherland is important.
- Honor and respect all religions as pathways to God.
Never have hatred toward any religion. Honour and respect all religions equally. Even as you are citizens of your motherland but respect all countries, also respect all religions equally
- Love all humanity as part of your family.
Develop a sense of the brotherhood of man. Look upon each person as your own brother or sister. There is only one caste, the caste of humanity. All of us belong to the human race, so everyone is equal. Therefore, love each one equally.
- Keep home and surroundings clean.
Keep your own house and its surroundings pure and clean. This hygiene will keep you healthy and benefit your worldly life.
- Help the needy with food, clothing and shelter. Help them become self-reliant when possible.
Be discriminating when dispensing charity. In the name of charity or philanthropy, we tend to do injustice to one’s country. Charity does not mean that the land should be full of beggars. We can provide some support and means for the beggars, but provide food, clothing and other conveniences in such a way that you are not encouraging laziness and begging.
- Be examples of honesty. Do not participate in any corruption such as bribery.
Never give or take a bribe. Giving bribes, or accepting bribes, is contrary to the very name of the Sri Sathya Sai Organizations. Bear this in mind continuously.
- Curb jealousy, hatred and envy.
We must seek ways to solve difficulties such as hatred, envy and jealousy. To curb this sense of envy and jealousy, we must develop a broader outlook. Do not differentiate on the basis of race, caste, creed, or country. Follow your cultural and religious customs in your own home, but do not attempt to impose them on society. Rather than this, love each person as your own brother or sister, not seeing him or her as belonging to another creed, religion, or country.
- Develop self-reliance.
Members of the Sri Sathya Sai Organizations should do things by themselves; they should not depend on others. You may be very wealthy and have servants and assistants to help in a few tasks, but your own work you must do yourself. If you wish to be of service to society, serve yourself first. One who will not serve society has no right to belong to a Sri Sathya Sai Organization.
- Observe your country’s laws and be exemplary citizens.
You should never go against the law of the land. We must follow the letter of the law. The members of the Sri Sathya Sai Organizations should follow the law in spirit also and be models for the government.
- Adore God, abhor sin.
You must love God and avoid sin. Love God incessantly. As long as you keep committing sins, God will never be yours.