What is the Sadhana of Love programme?
What is the main focus of the programme?
Why is love so important?
When do I start practising the Sadhana of Love?
What benefit do I get from practising the Sadhana of Love?
Who is the Sadhana of Love for?
Is this only to be practised until the Sathya Sai World Youth Festival?
Is the Sadhana of Love based on Swami's teachings?
What are the steps to Self-realisation?
Why is self-sacrifice in lower case and the other three steps capitalised?
How were the sadhanas allocated to each of Sathya Sai Baba's steps to Self-realisation?
What is sadhana?
How do I practise sadhana?
What is the most important sadhana?
Why are there so many different types of sadhanas?
Where have the sadhanas come from?
How do I choose sadhanas?
How many sadhanas do I choose?
Can I do more than four sadhanas?
Can I do less than four sadhanas?
I'm already doing sadhana. Do I need to choose four more sadhanas?
Can I choose sadhanas that are easier for me right now?
What do I do if my preferred sadhana isn't in the list?
Can someone else choose my personal sadhanas for me?
Can youth choose to do sadhanas as a group?
What is my conscience?
How do I listen to my conscience?
Why should I listen to my conscience to choose my sadhanas?
Why do I need to read Swami's teachings?
Is it enough to read the quotes for my selected sadhanas?
What should I monitor in my practice of the Sadhana of Love?
How can I monitor my daily practice?
What can I talk about with other youth who have chosen a different set of practices?
Why was the 2007 spiritual discipline programme not used for the 2016 festival?
Did youth help develop the Sadhana of Love?
Are there more opportunities for youth to help now?

It is a spiritual discipline programme that presents a universal path to Self-realisation through the practice of love.

Love is the focus of the programme. The aim is to manifest more and more love through the practice of your chosen sadhanas (spiritual disciplines).

Sathya Sai Baba said, “Cultivating love is the true spiritual practice” (SSS 33.10). “You may perform any number of spiritual practices ..., but love should form the undercurrent of all these practices. … Hence, give (the) highest importance to love. Love is important. Love is God. Live in love. This is the spiritual practice that we have to undertake” (SSS 40.21).

Start now. Swami advised, “Make right use of the present, and a good future is ensured. The aspirant should bear this truth in mind and concentrate his attention on the present” (SSS 26.29).

There are so many benefits from practising the Sadhana of Love! You will discover them for yourself as you go. Some examples of positive changes are:
  • you will become more aware of love
  • your thoughts, words and actions will become more loving
  • your relationships will improve
  • you will feel happier and more connected to everyone and everything around you
  • you will feel Swami's presence with you always
  • your false self or ego will be dissolved
  • you will experience peace and bliss
  • you will realise your inherent divinity
  • you will be an ideal exemplar of the divine teachings of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba.

The programme was specifically developed for Sathya Sai Youth. Spiritual seekers of all ages, from all faiths and traditions are welcome to undertake the Sadhana of Love. The practice of love is universal and for everyone.

You are strongly encouraged to practise your chosen sadhanas with loving consistency in the period leading to the Sathya Sai World Youth Festival in July 2016. This will cultivate love in your heart and help to still your mind. Both will enable you to have a deeper experience of Swami's Grace while in Prasanthi Nilayam.
You are also encouraged to continue your sadhanas after the festival. What you are really committing to is the practice of love, which you can enjoy for the rest of your life.

Yes. The Sadhana of Love programme is based entirely on Sathya Sai Baba's teachings. This includes:

Sathya Sai Baba's steps to Self-realisation form a universal pathway to liberation. The steps are Self-confidence, Self-satisfaction, self-sacrifice and finally Self-realisation. These steps are defined in the below figure. Everyone passes through these progressive stages on the journey to realising their inherent divinity.
Each step builds on the previous step. The steps progressively free us of limitations and allow us to manifest more fully the love that we already are. The first three steps gradually dissolve the false self, mind or ego. This process culminates in Self-realisation, where you realise your inherent divinity as infinite, selfless love.

Sathya Sai Baba's steps to Self-realisation

The word 'Self' in Self-confidence, Self-satisfaction and Self-realisation refers to your divine Self or God. For this reason, 'Self' in these three steps have a capital 'S'. The word 'self' in self-sacrifice refers to the false self, mind or ego that is sacrificed. This is why 'self' in self-sacrifice has a lower case 's'.

Sathya Sai Baba's teachings guided the allocation of sadhanas to the four steps of Self-confidence, Self-satisfaction, self-sacrifice and Self-realisation.
For some sadhanas, Swami clearly said this sadhana will develop one of the four steps. The sadhana was then placed under that step.
In other cases, Swami would describe the effect of the sadhana, without specifying the step. This was sufficient to match the sadhana with the step.
For others, a judgment was made based on Swami's teachings. The essence of the individual sadhanas and their outcomes were matched to the step. For example, the Ceiling on Desires sadhanas involve sacrificing your desires. It was then easy to match those sadhanas with the self-sacrifice step.

Sadhana or spiritual practice is undertaken specifically to purify and still the mind and support us in our journey to Self-realisation. Well-known practices include meditation, devotional singing, service and the study of scriptures. Swami told us that “love should form the undercurrent of all these practices” (SSS 40.21).

Sathya Sai Baba explained, “By making your outlook pure. … It is 'taking out' from within you what is bad and evil, your negative traits. It is also 'recognising and bettering' what is good and godly in you, your positive traits” (Sanathana Sarathi, July 1996). This process brings about mental transformation. It purifies your mind and heart so you know and experience your divine Self as Love.
Swami said, “Remember that you are that changeless original—the Atma. All your sadhanas should be directed towards establishing yourself in this firm conviction and unwavering faith” (SSS 24.1). This is known as Self-confidence, which leads to Self-satisfaction and self-sacrifice. “A time will come when the mind will be extinguished and the merger with the Divine (Self-realisation) achieved” (SSIB 1993.6).

Sathya Sai Baba said, “Cultivating love is the true spiritual practice” (SSS 33.10). “You may perform any number of spiritual practices ..., but love should form the undercurrent of all these practices. … Hence, give (the) highest importance to love. Love is important. Love is God. Live in love. This is the spiritual practice that we have to undertake” (SSS 40.21).

Everyone has different preferences and ways of loving divinity. The wide range of sadhanas gives you the opportunity to choose what will manifest the most love for you.
The sadhanas range from:
  • simple to more advanced
  • external to internal
  • work to worship to wisdom (service to devotion to knowledge; or karma yoga to bhakti yoga to jnana yoga)
  • duality to non-duality.

The 72 sadhanas in the Sadhana of Love were drawn from Sathya Sai Baba's teachings. Key references include: The sadhanas include practices from the:
  • Sri Sathya Sai World Youth Conference July 2007 Sadhana Programme for Sai Youth (used for the 2007 and 2011 world youth conferences)
  • Nine-point code of conduct
  • Nine paths of devotion
  • other sadhana frameworks from Swami's teachings.

Listen to your conscience and choose sadhanas that you feel will manifest the most love and:
  • cultivate the greatest faith and confidence in your divine Self—Self-confidence
  • cultivate the greatest satisfaction with your divine Self—Self-satisfaction
  • enable the sacrifice of the false self or ego—self-sacrifice
  • lead to the realisation of the Self—Self-realisation.

Four. It is recommended that you choose one sadhana from each of the four steps of Self-confidence, Self-satisfaction, self-sacrifice and Self-realisation.
Why four? The Sadhana of Love is a progressive sadhana programme. Each step builds on the previous step. The first three steps gradually dissolve your false self, mind or ego. This process culminates in Self-realisation, where you realise your inherent divinity as infinite, selfless love.

It is recommended that you focus on four sadhanas to start with. It's more effective to focus on a small number of new habits at any one time. You may choose additional sadhanas once your initial four sadhanas are well established in your daily life.

You'll need to listen to your conscience to determine this. You may be prompted to incorporate one or more of your current spiritual practices into your four selected sadhanas. Or you may be ready to build on your current routine with four new practices.
Whatever you decide, find out what Sathya Sai Baba said about your selected sadhanas and practise what He said. Importantly, practise your sadhanas with more love.

Firstly, please check out the answer to the previous question and see if that helps.
Secondly, review how you're doing your current sadhanas and what you're getting out of them. Swami said sadhanas need to be done with love and bring about mental transformation. Based on this advice, think about how can you make your current practices more effective and act on that.
As one idea to help with your transformation, Swami recommended identifying and correcting your faults. You could identify the flaws in your character that are blocking the flow of love in your life and choose remedial sadhanas. For example, if your speech is not as loving as it could be, you could choose 'Sadhana 2.5 – Speak softly, lovingly and sparingly, and avoid talking ill of others' to correct that flaw. This way you will see a direct benefit and be motivated to practise the sadhana. You will do it with enthusiasm and love, and be transformed into more loving person.

Yes, you can. Anything done with love is easier! Swami said, “Realise that the path of Divine Love is the easiest, the sweetest and surest path to God” (SSS 29.28). So pick the sadhanas that you love doing. These will bring about the greatest mental transformation and help make you a more loving person. Remember to let your conscience guide your choice of sadhanas.

You could find a sadhana in the list that is most like your preferred sadhana. For example, not every type of prayer or meditation is included in the Sadhana of Love. However, Sadhana 1.6 – Practise daily meditation and prayer covers a lot of different types of meditations and prayers. The most important criteria are loving consistency and mental transformation. Ask yourself, 'Will this sadhana help me to manifest more and more love in my life?'

No. It is recommended that you follow your own conscience, the voice of God within, to choose your personal sadhanas. This will develop your Self-confidence and help you on your journey to Self-realisation.
Swami said, “I never force anybody to do anything. What is the reason? The reason is that one has to follow the dictates of one's source, conscience. Force connotes external imposition. Source relates to the Atma which is verily love. So, cultivate love” (SSS 31.44).

Yes. In addition to the four personal sadhanas, youth can do sadhanas that are suitable as a group-based activity. Group-based sadhanas are intended to support youth in their practice of their personal sadhanas and foster love and unity. The sadhanas may include study circles, service and bhajans. Group-based sadhanas are not intended to replace the four personal sadhanas.

The conscience is the voice of God within. Sathya Sai Baba said, “The conscience is the form of the Divine within everyone” (SSS 29.4). Swami directed, “Above all, listen to the voice of God within. … it encourages you to discriminate between right and wrong; it is God” (SSS 12.42). It is your moral compass.
In addition, Swami said, “Everything that is associated with Divinity has its origin in the heart” (SSS 17.1). As “God is Love” (SSS 38.9), your conscience is also the voice of love within.
Swami further explained that this love is not separate to you, it is your own source. He advised, “… one has to follow the dictates of one's source, conscience. … Source relates to the Atma which is verily love. So, cultivate love” (SSS 31.44).
So your conscience is your beloved God, your only true friend, and your own loving Self speaking to you inside.
Your conscience's loving directives are always for your highest good and aim to keep you on the path of love. Have firm faith in your own conscience. The conscience is life's ultimate navigation system that will take you to the goal of Self-realisation.
Swami said, “Human life is governed by the four Fs: Follow the master, Face the devil, Fight to the end, Finish the game. Your conscience is your master, so follow your conscience" (SSS 32p1.5). "Finishing the game is mukthi (liberation). You have taken human birth and you have entered the sacred human life. You have to attain divinity in your life time. There is nothing more valuable than this” (SSS 31.19).
For more quotes, see Sadhana 1.16 – Learn to follow your conscience, the voice of God within and The Four Fs Follow the Master, Face the Devil, Fight to the End, Finish the Game.

Listening to your conscience is a fundamental spiritual discipline. While your conscience is always with you and guiding you, you may need to attune yourself to better hear it. Mental purity makes it easier to hear your conscience.
The conscience can be a soft, quiet and immediate knowing or certainty about what is right and wrong. The voice of God within can also be so loud and powerful that it's almost like a physical voice demanding your attention. Either way, it feels like it is arising from a space of stillness and peace within you; from a level deeper than your thoughts, from your fundamental nature itself. Swami said that the conscience will always give you the same advice and always from the level of the highest truth.
Your feelings can help you to distinguish between your conscience and your thoughts. For example:
  • when you listen to and act on your conscience, you feel strong, confident and satisfied within yourself. You feel at peace knowing that you are doing the right thing—and good results follow, which you feel good about
  • when you hear the conscience's warning but decide to follow your thoughts, which are based on the whims of your body, senses and mind or other people's ideas, you feel conflicted, hesitant and guilty—and bad results follow, which you feel bad about.
Swami said, “to ascertain the directive of the conscience you have to wait for some time. You should not be in a hurry. When you want to say something, you must consider for a moment whether it would be proper or not and then speak. When you want to listen to something, you must examine whether it is good or bad to listen and then decide what is proper” (SSS 29.4).
For more quotes, see Sadhana 1.16 – Learn to follow your conscience, the voice of God within.

If you follow your conscience:
  • you will feel confident and secure in your choice of sadhanas
  • you are then more likely to focus on them and practice them with love, faith and consistency
  • you will then be transformed into a more loving person
  • you will develop greater Self-confidence, which leads to Self-satisfaction, self-sacrifice and Self-realisation.
If you instead try to rely on your 'monkey mind' with its ever-changing whims and fancies or even other people's ideas to choose your sadhanas:
  • you are more likely to have doubts about the sadhanas you have chosen
  • you are then more likely to waver in your practice and not do anything whole-heartedly or consistently
  • you won't benefit as much from this opportunity to be transformed.
Swami said, “The body is like a water bubble; the mind is like a mad monkey; so do not follow the body; do not follow the mind; follow the conscience. This is the principle of Atma” (SSS 31.28). “To achieve liberation man has to go beyond the vagaries of the mind. He should follow the inner voice (conscience)” (SSS 30.26).

Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba's teachings provide you with invaluable guidance for every aspect of your life. This includes the proper practice of your sadhanas and how to live a life of love, service and fulfilment. As Swami's devotees, we all need to read and practise His teachings, and be exemplary in our conduct. This will help us to carry forward Swami's mission and preserve His message of love for future generations.
Sathya Sai Baba said, “If you follow the teachings with firm faith in Swami, you will achieve success in all your endeavours. You should have faith in Swami's teachings; love them, adore them and follow them” (SSS 40.22).
Swami also said, “Each member of the Sathya Sai Baba Centre should work very hard to purify the quality of his life, and the goal should be to lead a perfect life, an ideal life; to be an ideal exemplar of the divine teachings of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. The world will respond to the ideal life of a Sai devotee. The world is yearning for the ideal life and will, of its own accord, adopt such a life if it comes into view. They will respond, and they will follow such a life” (Conversations with Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba).
During the first Sai World Youth Conference in 1997, Swami said, “Young men and women! The prosperity and well-being of the world depend on the conduct of the youth. Only when their conduct is good, the world can have an ideal future” (SSS 30.14).

Reading the quotes under your selected sadhanas from the Sadhana of Love is a great start. The quotes have been selected to give you a broad understanding of the spiritual practices.
However, these quotes are usually only a small sample of what Sathya Sai Baba said about each sadhana. To get a deeper understanding, it is recommended that you research Swami's teachings more broadly. The Sadhana of Love key references are excellent resources.
Sathya Sai Baba said, “You think Swami's discourses are very simple. But, the entire essence of the Vedas is contained in them. The essence of all the sastras (spiritual texts) is to be found in Swami's words” (SSS 39.13).

The best measure of your progress in sadhana is the growth of love in your heart. You could monitor your:
  • practice of love
  • degree of transformation
  • progress with Sathya Sai Baba's steps to Self-realisation.
Practice of love
To refine your practice and grow the love in your heart, you could:
  • monitor your consistency in practising your sadhanas with love
  • determine how you can better “Start the day with love, Spend the day with love, Fill the day with love, End the day with love”
  • reflect on when love flowed through you freely during the day. Figure out what allowed this so you can do it more consistently
  • reflect on when the ego hindered the flow of love during the day. Figure out what caused this so you can stop doing it
  • finish your daily reflection with a loving prayer to manifest more and more love.
Degree of transformation
Swami said sadhanas need to be done with love and bring about mental transformation. Based on Swami's description of how to do sadhana, you could reflect on your progress:
  • in 'taking out' from within you what is bad and evil, your negative traits
  • in 'recognising and bettering' what is good and godly in you, your positive traits.
You could also use Swami's WATCH (Sadhana 2.7) technique to monitor your transformation:
  • How can you manifest more love in your Words, Actions and Thoughts every day?
  • Can you see your Character and Heart transforming over time?
You could also measure your increasing happiness in union with God (Sadhana 4.4). You could:
  • rank yourself daily on a smiley-face scale, with the view to upgrading your smiles!
  • reflect on the time you felt happy for no reason at all
  • consider how happy you felt making others happy
  • reflect on the time you were happy because you were with Swami
  • Swami said, "When the world melts away, when there is bliss or even when there is a temporary feeling of happiness, hold to that state and stay with it, and do not allow yourself to fall back into ego, emotions and thoughts" (Conversations with Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba).
Progress with Sathya Sai Baba's steps to Self-realisation
Reflect on your progress on Sathya Sai Baba's steps to Self-realisation:
  • Self-confidence – Is your conviction that you are the Atma (Self or love) becoming increasingly firm and steady?
  • Self-satisfaction – Are you becoming increasingly satisfied with your divine Self alone and are less tempted by what appear to be sources of joy in the external world?
  • self-sacrifice – Are you increasingly prepared for the loving sacrifice of all sense of ego and separateness to the Lord?
  • Self-realisation – Are the moments where you experience your true nature as infinite, selfless love becoming more frequent or constant?

The ways you can monitor your practice of love include:
  • self-monitoring
  • buddy methods
  • group methods.
Self-monitoring
Self-monitoring involves you monitoring your daily practice and progress. Ideas include:
  • checklists
  • writing yout experiences in a journal
  • phone or computer reminders
  • prayer
  • nightly reflection
  • Self-assessment worksheets from Jack Hawley's Roadmaps to Self-Realization – Based on The Bhagavad Gita: A Walkthrough for Westerners.
Buddy methods
Buddy methods involve you and your sadhana buddy supporting each other to stay on track. You may choose someone who is doing the same or different sadhanas. Ideas include:
  • daily or regular check-ins
  • discussing successes and challenges
  • doing your sadhanas together.
Group methods
Group methods involve a group of youth supporting members in their practice of love. Ideas include:
  • daily or regular check-ins
  • weekly or fortnightly study circles or discussion groups
  • using technologies such as Skype conferencing, WhatsApp Messenger and online forums.
You are free to come up with your own ways of monitoring your Sadhana of Love. The sharing of successful practices and positive outcomes is encouraged.

You have some very important things in common to talk about! These include: These elements need to be discussed along with the individual sadhanas.
Swami cautioned us not to regard spiritual practices as an end unto themselves, and to recognise that it is our love, faith and our purity that infuse these practices with spiritual potency (2007 world youth conference Resolution IV). Sadhanas are a way to remember divinity and manifest love. Divine love is the true focal point.

The spiritual discipline programme used for the 2007 world youth conference was the final programme before Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba left His body. Swami was pleased with the programme and the love, faith and purity that youth cultivated through the disciplines. It was resolved that all devotees continue the programme with love for God as the focus (Resolution IV).
The spiritual discipline programme used for the 2011 world youth conference was the same as the 2007 programme. It was resolved that the programme be continued and enhanced with additional sadhanas (Resolution I).
The 2016 Sadhana of Love programme includes and builds on the 2007 and 2011 resolutions in these ways: Future spiritual discipline programmes will continue to be refined based on youth feedback and global resolutions.

Yes. Youth helped to develop the Sadhana of Love programme in the following ways:
  • Youth evaluated the spiritual discipline programmes for previous world youth conferences. It was decided that the 2016 programme would help youth focus on manifesting more love for God through a smaller number of core disciplines. More experienced youth could build on their existing disciplines and practise them with love.
  • Swami inspired a youth to choose His four steps—Self-confidence, Self-satisfaction, self-sacrifice and Self-realisation—for the new programme. These steps became the framework of the Sadhana of Love programme and the basis of choosing only four sadhanas to practise.
  • Sathya Sai Youth alumni compiled the Sadhana of Love document.
  • A Sathya Sai Youth alumnus painted the symbols for Sathya Sai Baba's steps to Self-realisation.
  • Senior youth and adults around the world reviewed and provided feedback on the document at various stages of its development.
  • Youth prepared the PDF document.
  • A team of youth and adults developed the website.
  • The International Youth Coordinator oversaw the project.

Yes. There are many ways you can help. Some ideas are listed below.

Youth
  • Practise your sadhanas with loving consistency.
  • Purify the quality of your life and be an ideal exemplar of the divine teachings of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba.
  • Develop new mediums for communicating and monitoring the practice of the Sadhana of Love. Ideas include presentations, study circles, videos, apps and monitoring tools.
  • Do extra research into Swami's teachings in related topics that you and/or your youth group are interested in.
Youth coordinators
  • Figure out effective ways to share the understanding, practice and monitoring of the Sadhana of Love.
  • Evaluate what works well and what could be better.
  • Share your evaluations at the Sathya Sai World Youth Festival to inform the resolutions for future spiritual discipline programmes.
You can share successful practices and positive outcomes through your regional and zone youth coordinators. Your ideas may be added to the Sadhana of Love website and benefit people all around the world.