BABAâ€™S TEACHING TO CHILDREN
Thus far we have examined the motive for and manner of Babaâ€™s teaching. We may next examine more fully what his actual teachings were. None can pretend to give an exhaustive account of his teachings. He never wrote or dictated his teachings. He was mostly conferring his help on those who came to him in numerous ways, which did not contain any apparent teaching. But there was hardly a simple instance of his help, however, which did not actually educate and raise the recipient of such help. In numerous cases, he seemed to give advice to particular individual in particular circumstances. But these cases, when examined and studied closely, embodied valuable lessons. Students of case law would appreciate the deduction of principles from their cautious application to different sets of circumstances, with modifications suited to each set. Lovers of Baba note with joy how the advice and help given by Baba to particular persons suit others in similar circumstance-making; of course some allowance for points of difference. In a very few cases Baba has given express teachings, in the regular moralists style. Gathering together whatever is available of
all such teachings, we may note (1) What Baba taught different sets of persons, e.g., children, adults, females and males, rustics and the learned, the scoffers and believers, Hindus and Moslems; and (2) on different subjects of morality, religion and worldly wisdom. Taking up the subject of children and boys, one expects very little of teaching to this class; and none will expect higher spiritual teachings or help. Yet, Baba has given such teaching and rendered help for their sadgati. Here are a few instances. These may all be brought under Baba’s general principle, which cannot be better expressed than in the words of Gita: Swe swe karmani abhiratah Samsiddhim labhate paraam That is, each one should attend to the duties that appertain to his or her lot – i.e., his or her age, position, caste, community etc., Baba thus addressed Bapu Rao, the younger son of Nana Saheb G. Chandorkar, "Hearken to the words of your parents. Help your mother in her task. Speak truth and truth alone." Baba, however, did not confine himself to the enunciation of principles. The principles of truth, filial love and obedience are of such vital importance that Baba had several occasions to impress them upon his devotees in other ways also. A rich man had adopted a young boy and hoped to get love, obedience and regard from the latter. The young, however, was little disposed to pay any regard to his rich father or to his wishes, and indulged in smoking. Once, the old man started by train to Shirdi along with the boy. Instead of travelling with his fond parent, the young went away to a different compartment where he could smoke freely. Arriving at the Shirdi mosque, the youth felt the moral restraints of Baba’s Asram so much that he resolved to decamp, giving no intimation of his flight to the poor unsuspecting father. But there was another Father, the Argus-eyed Sai, who was watching him from within. When the boy made his resolve, Sai Baba issued out his order in loud tones that cowed down the boy. "No one" said Baba, "should leave this place without permission from me." The boy discovered that his secret plans were known to the great wizard Sai and dared not disobey Sai with impunity, whatever he may dare to do towards his adoptive father. He confessed his designs and thus Baba gave a much needed correction to such impetuous youths that they should hearken unto their parents. Baba’s own example, in his previous lives, was full of such implicit and obedience to parents; and he occasionally narrated reminiscences. In one birth, Baba had a grandfather, who had advanced leprosy. That old man lived outside the family house staying under a tree mostly. Baba, as a little boy, attended upon him and gave him constant help.
In another life, Baba’s father wedded a barmaid, who misbehaved. Worms developed on her feet. As she was his father’s wife (and his own step mother) Baba tended her feet and cured her. In another life, Baba pleased his father, a weaver, by assiduity in weaving shawls. The father was immensely pleased with him and gave him presents. Like these, Baba would narrate many in inspiring incident of his past lives. But Baba, though severe with himself, wanted young ones to be treated leniently. He rebuked the mother of Daulatshah (Nana Saheb D. Rasane of Ahmednagar and Poona) when that lady beat the boy. The boy, who was massaging Baba’s legs, was naturally attracted by Baba’s distribution of sweets to other children and slightly relaxed his efforts at massage, and his mother beat him and said, "You are thinking of sweets and neglecting the service of Baba". But Baba interposed on his behalf and said, "You, old woman! Why do you beat the boy?" The mother answered and said that the boy should be inspired by Baba with a love of service to Baba. "Yes", replied Baba, "The boy will serve me well. God will endow him with pure desires. Do not fear, do not beat him". As to how Baba corrected young men, who were developing drunkenness and other evil habits, mention will be made on a later occasion. But before closing this very brief account of Baba’s education of children and boys in good ways, we may note how he gave actual sadgati to a little child of a year or two. It is commonly believed that children have hardly any souls to lose or save. But most Hindus believe that souls are born into this world and die very young because they have only very little more of poorva karma or rinanubandha to clear off. In reference to the rare cases, where young children give an account of their past lives; the explanation is offered that they were advanced souls in their previous births and that power of remembering pre-natal incidents was one of their accomplishments. In any case, Baba gave spiritual help even to such tiny individuals for their sadgati and here is an instance of it. Says the esteemed North Indian Judge in Part I of "Devotees Experiences": "In August 1916, I lost my first son aged two years; When the child was in the womb and when my wife and I went for darsan, Baba said, "You have one of my gifts with you". Later when we took the child, Baba caressed it and said, "Is he mine or yours", "Yours" I replied. Baba then said, "Keep him with you, as a charge from me." A year and half later, the child got pneumonia and just when the doctors thought the danger was over, started sinking. I took the child to the worship room and prayed to Baba that since the child was His, He may take it and give the soul a rest in Him,
and that having given it its worldly existence, I would undertake the responsibility for its karma. I put my palm on the head of the child. There was a smile on its face, a last gasp; and the crown of the head was drawn in with a hiss-the child going the real way of yogis." "A couple of months later, I was at Shirdi. One afternoon, Baba pointing to me, asked "Who is he and where does he live?" People who know me gave my name and mentioned the place where I lived. "You are wrong", said Baba. "He is always here and I am with him." "Has he any children?" asked Baba next. The reply by others was that my child died recently. "Dead" Baba said, "No, I shall tell you what happened. The child was mine, and this man (pointing to me) agreed to keep it. One day, he said "You keep him with you and I shall take up his karma. I took him and kept him here (pointing to his heart) and he shall here eternally." Courtesy: HH Pujyasri B. V. Narasimha Swamiji