Attending an event with Sai Maa in India0
Downloadable and printable PDF: 2_BEING AT AN EVENT WITH SAI MAA IN INDIA
OM JAI JAI SAI MAA
Protocol: Attending an event with Sai Maa or Living in Sai Maa’s and Satuwa Baba’s Ashram in India
While in India, Maa is addressed as Mataji not Sai Maa or Maa.
Maa has asked that we all wear white Indian style clothing while at a Sai Maa event in India or at Sai Maa’s and Satuwa Baba’s Ashram. Ladies may wear long skirts and tops or Punjabi shirts and pants; men should wear Kurta shirts and pants or dhotis. The knees shoulders should always be covered.
When arriving to India please remember if you will be landing and meeting a group of Sai Maa students please take a change of proper clothing on the plane so you can change before landing.
General clothing protocol:
- Indian Style clothing preferable for both gents and ladies
- Ladies are to tie long hair back
- Ladies are to have modest clothing– arms and legs are to be covered
- Ladies must always wear a duppata (scarf which covers the breasts)
- Gents are not to wear jeans or shorts when in Maa’s presence.
Cleaning clothes: There are “dobi’s” (clothes washers) available who wash and iron your clothes:
- This is relatively inexpensive and worth it.
- Please ask the program lead where the local dobi is and how much the charge is per piece.
- Please do not give under garments to the dobie
- Washing clothes through a dobie usually takes at least two days and is recommended for longer trips to India
Tilak and Tulsi Mala
Out of respect for Maharaji, Maa has asked that we wear Tilak while at a Sai Maa event in India or at Sai Maa’s and Satuwa Baba’s Ashram. In addition, a Tulsi Mala is advisable.
- Tilak is U shaped stamp on the forehead that denotes being from the Krishna lineage that can be applied every morning.
- Tulsi mala is a mala (prayer beads) made out of tulsi
- Both are out of respect for Satuwa Baba’s lineage and allow us to follow the protocol and customs of the people we are living with.
- If you do not have either one, please contact your group lead who will make proper arrangements. Generally you are provided Tilak upon arriving when with a group.
- We eat sitting on the floor in India
- We eat with our right hand only (due to the fact that in India one washes with the left hand after using the bathroom)
- We wait until all the food is served before eating
- There is usually some sort of chant that will commence the eating process. Simply be aware of those around you
- When food is being served you do not touch the food. You do not put your hand out to receive any food. The food should be placed directly on tplate.
- Many times we will be served by a plate called a “patel” which is made from leaves. It is recommended you place a few drops of clean water on the plate to wash the dust from the plate
- When being offered food if you do not want something you simply place your hand over your plate
- Throughout the meal you will be offered more food. At times they will be persistent for this is part of the culture to be sure everyone eats. If you do not want more food put your hand over your plate and say vas (“stop”) when necessary.
- There are ATMS available to retrieve funds from however they are not always working and there is a charge of $7 average each time withdrawing funds so this can add up
- While with the group, if you have any needs to exchange currency, purchase train, taxi, or plane tickets please contact the lead of the group.
- When exchanging funds always ask for smaller rupee notes (10’s, 20’s, 50’s and 100 notes) Very often you will find it difficult to use the larger rupee notes (500 and 1000) “NO Change”
- Hugging, touching, standing too close to the opposite sex is not appropriate in India. Please use your discernment.
- Physical contact between members of the same sex is very common in public, however physical contact between members of the opposite sex is not appropriate.
- Ladies do no touch any Indian male person
When staying in Varanasi
- When first arriving to an ashram it is tradition to bring an offering to the Guru. A garland, basket of fruit, sweets etc. When visiting as part of group, this is generally arranged by the group lead ahead of time. You may be asked to contribute to the offering if you choose. If you are visiting Satuwa Baba’s ashram by yourself, you may choose to purchase a garland or box of sweets to give to Maharaji upon arrival.
- When leaving the ashram after staying there, one should offer Dakshina (money offering), a garland etc. It is tradition to for the Guru not to ask for money, simply the student will provide dakshina/money at the end as they choose.
- Please check with the group lead what is an appropriate amount of Dakshina
- Every morning around 8-8:30am there is a bell rung at which time everyone goes to Maharaji’s room to receive three servings of ”panch amrit”, pranam, and Prasad
- It is important to Pranam every morning out of respect for Maharaji
- When coming and going from the Ashram when Maharaji is present we also pranam
- Some boys in the Ashram will ask for money to purchase things DO NOT give any boy funds. If one boy has assisted with much seva and you would like to give something please check with group lead first as to what is appropriate. DO NOT make this decision on your own it can cause many problems.
- The burning Ghat is right by Maharajis Ashram and is a huge tourist trap. You are not to take directly photos or film of the burning bodies. First this is very disrespectful and unnecessary. There are many people who will want to take you for a tour do this at your own risk. They will want some “dakshina”. You can give between 50-100RS NO MORE. If you have any problem with a particular person return IMMEDIATELY to Ashram and tell someone
When Mataji is present
- We will go each morning to pranam
- When going to the Guru it is customary to offer dakshina every morning (100RS - 1000RS is appropriate, approximately $2 – $20)
- Every day the first time you see Mataji you pranam. Eg If Mataji has just arrived, if Mataji is working around.
- Please do not make Mataji wait, pranam quickly and move on
- At any time while in India there is a chance to pranam do not wait for someone to tell you to, simply act
When in the presence of other Gurus, Saints, Sadus
- Never pranam to any other Guru etc unless Mataji gives permission
- When asked to garland a Guru never touch the guru
- Brahmacharis are never to Garland anyone but their Guru
- Always be very respectful, do not stand directly in front of or pass in front of a Guru
- Ladies especially have to be very respectful because men are not use to ladies being close to them
Purchasing Items while traveling with the group in Kashi
- There are many people who know our group now and know Mataji. They will ask you to come to their shop.
- DO NOT trust anyone in the street who is saying “they know us”, “so and so is my friend” these are ploys
- DO not go to any shop before checking with group lead
- There are those shop keepers who we have formed a relationship with and can trust
Dakshina: Money offering to the Guru
Pranaming: Bowing to the Guru, offering yourself, receiving the shakti from the feet of the Guru
Addressing Mataji: In India it is not respectful to call Mataji “Maa” or “Sai Maa” we must always use Mataji
*When traveling to India and with the group for the first time it is highly recommended you arrive at the same time as the core group. This way we can have time to orient you as well as you will have time to get acclimated before our seva begins.
*In India you will here people using the word ‘ji” at the end of someone’s name for example Mata “Ji” this denotes a sign of respect
*If you forget anything do not worry most everything you need is available in India these days you must simply say what you need and we can arrange for you to purchase it.
Toiletries, Power converters, clothing, batteries etc.
Health Tips: “Health is Wealth” His Holiness Satuwa Baba
Items to bring to support Health
Black Walnut Extract
Antibiotic (personal choice)
Protein powder and green powder if diet is very sensitive
*Please if you are suffering in any way from illness etc in any way notify the group lead. Do not allow things do persist for this could cause more problems
Antibacterial Hand wipes
Band aids with Neosporin
Food and Water
Be sure to always drink and use bottled water.
If seal is broken on bottle do not accept
Avoid fresh fruit and vegetables which have not been peeled
Fresh/Seasonal fruits are readily available if you can peel it you can eat it.
There are several places to eat in each area which we have established a relationship with. We will give you this information on site
Please be very careful when eating outside the Ashram