Home > Words of Power > “Om Sai Ram” A Thousand Times

“Om Sai Ram” A Thousand Times

September 22, 2009

by Patricia Bralley

Om Sai Ram a Thousand Times, by Patricia Bralley
Click on image to see a larger version.

Over twenty years ago my mother brought from India samples of the sacred ash, vibhuti.

Ash is all that remains after wood is burnt away. And in a similarly manner, God as imperishable Truth is that which remains when all names and forms are dissolved.

Sathya Sai Baba, considered by many to be an incarnation of the divine, is fond of materializing vibhuti for his devotees. This ash is carefully wrapped in small paper packets constructed from sheets of paper upon which devotees have inscribed Om Sai Ram — a thousand times, ten thousand times — in their longing to find God.

This image is of one such packet that has been in my dresser drawer all these years.

While not a follower of Baba, I do regard the vibhuti as something of a modern day miracle not unlike blood appearing on the crucifix or tears from a Madonna.

Here’s a link to my mother’s kitchen where vibhuti is materializing from Sai Baba’s picture.

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Patricia Bralley lives in Atlanta and blogs at Seeing For My Self.

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  1. September 22, 2009 at 11:15 am

    This is fascinating! I want to know more! I want some vibhuti. What does Om Sai Ram mean, exactly?

    This is turning out to be one of my favorite qarrtsiluni issues, ever!

  2. September 22, 2009 at 11:33 am

    Hi Jill, thanks! I too wondered what it meant and have had a hard time finding out! The closest I’ve been able to come is that this combination of words is a mantra recommended by Sathya Sai Baba. “Om” is a universal mantra. “Sai” is a name for God; one source said that “Sai” can be divided into “Sa” and “Ai”, where “Sa” means universal father and “Ai” means universal mother; the guru is also considered to be both mother and father to the devotees. “Ram” is an abbreviated form of “Rama”. I read that “Ra” is the Fire Principle, which burns all to ash, while “ma” stands for maya or illusion, so together, they mean the destruction of illusion – which all sounds plausible but I can’t vouch for any of these explanations, and Patricia is away – when she comes back maybe she can tell us more. In any case: “Om Sai Ram” are definitely words of power for those who repeat them! The sites I consulted stated firmly that it’s the repetition that is considered more important than the actual meaning.

    • September 22, 2009 at 11:40 am

      In English translations of Indian devotional (bhakti) poetry, Ram/Rama is often rendered simply as “God.”

  3. September 23, 2009 at 11:51 am

    Such a powerful image and personal note. The contrast of the handwritten mantras and the ash structure and the folding is amazing.

    Thanks so much for sharing.

  4. September 23, 2009 at 11:57 am

    And now i just looked for “Om Sai Ram” as audio — and came across this:

    Shirdi Sai Baba – Om Sai Ram: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hck551bMw28&feature=related

    watching it, it made me think of Om Mani Padme Hum (one of the base mantras in buddhism) – seems there are indeed clips of many mantras up in youtube.
    here Om Mani Padme Hum in a tibetan short form – only 108 repetitions. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NPszteX0z7k&feature=related

  5. pat
    September 26, 2009 at 8:26 am

    What a sweet and appropriate link from Dorothee – the chanting of Om Sai Ram along with the image of Shirdi Sai Baba – whom devotees believe to be the previous incarnation of the current Sathya Sai Baba.

    What more to say?

    Perhaps that ultimately it’s not about words. With sacred language the heart transcends the surface meaning and delivers the celestial.
    Sometime ago I did a blog on sacred language… when “phonology becomes physics”


    … for those who want a few more words. :)

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