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Scribblings of A Shirdi Sai Devotee by Suresh Chandra Gupta An offering at the Lotus Feet of the Master Shri Sai Baba of Shirdi The Apostle of Love & Compassion The Messiah of the poor & forlorn The One who scatters the bread of His Grace on all who surrender to Him, heart and soul. Dedicated to Late Shri Kameshwar Nath Yagnik of Jaipur who showed me the path of Sai Bhakti & My wife late Smt Vidya Gupta, an ardent devotee of Baba, who helped me at every step, in treading the path of Sai Bhakti. Swami Sivananda Saraswad of Divine Life Society, Rishikesh - on Baba "As the most illuminating illustrations of His Omnipresence, Omnipotence and Omniscience, Sri Sai Baba, the Mahayogin of Mahayogins, has daily demonstrated numberless proofs and miracles, and has appeared to Rama bhaktas as Sri Ram, to Krishna bhaktas, he has given darshan as Sri Krishna. Such is the yogashakti and spiritual eminence of Sai Baba that there is no greater Avatara among the Dasavatars, which He has not, in this Kaliyuga, to modern mankind, shown as Himself. He is Sri Krishna, Rama, Siva as Himself.


He is Sri Krishna-Rama-Siva-Marutya-roopa Sai. And, His utterances and promises are characterised by an extraordinary boldness and power which can be wielded only by a Puma - Avatara and every assurance of Sai Baba resembles closely, and is, in fact, a restatement of the assurances that Lord Krishna has left us. There is hardly any difference between what Sai said and what Sri Krishna had uttered, nor is there any difference between the Cosmic and the Infinite light that is expressive in Sai." (Written by Him on 15th Qct, 1958, in the Foreword, to Sri Sai Geeta, published bySri Sai Samaj, Calcutta) Contents Foreword

4

Introduction Preface Chapter -1

11

Sai Baba - The Saint of Shirdi Chapter – 2

17

Understanding Shirdi Sai through Baba's Own words. Chapter - 3

23

Sai Baba's coming into my life and building up of the Lodi Road Temple, New Delhi My first experience of Baba's Grace - My second experience of Baba's Grace My third experience of Baba's Grace - Urge to know Baba - Formation of Delhi Sri Sai Samaj - Receipt oflshta Mantra from Baba - My first visit to Shirdi - The Rashtrapati attends Ramnavmi celebrations 1961 - Meeting with Sri Sathya Sai Baba - Fragrance of bhakti - Paramhamsa Omkara Swamy - Sri Sivanesan Swamy of Shirdi -Functioning of Delhi Sri Sai Samaj - A parallel organisation comes up - Building of Lodi Road Temple - Installation ceremony of the Idol. Chapter - 4

67

Stray thoughts on various aspects of Sai worship. On Bhakti - On Gurus and the path of Baba - On Building Temples - On Miracles - Receiving messages from Baba - Foretelling events - New concepts in Sai


bhakti - Literature on Shirdi Sai Baba - Circulation of letters and other such activities -A thought. Chapter - 5

93

Offerings at the Lotus Feet of Shri Sai Nath A Hymn to Sai - Prayer - Ocean of Sai Bliss - The Ego in Me - land Sai - 1 Adore you Sai - No Desire for Mukti - A Devotee opens his heart - Lack of Faith - The Awareness - Battle of life - Strength of Sai Noam - An ode to Sai - An Offering of Love. Exhibits (due to constrain of space the exhibits could not be uploade)


Foreword 'What shall I gain by attaining Mukti Where you will not be there Where my soul would have merged in the Supreme. Where I shall cease to exist as I, And cease to experience your grace as before'. This is the supplication of an ardent and staunch devotee, addressed to Lord Sainath Maharaj, after totally surrendering {saranagathi) to Him. In order not to miss His Grace, even 'Mukti', the highest of the human goal, is spurned by Sri Suresh Chandra Gupta, in one of his poems : 'No desire for Mukti". This clearly indicates the Author's devotion to and love for Shirdi Sai Baba. Starting with a brief, but informative, life sketch of the Great Master, the Author lists His assurances, pledges, 'charters and sayings' - which remind a devotee of the vibhodi yoga in Bhagavat Gita wherein Lord Krishna proclaims His Divine glories, after asserting "Neither God nor the great sages know the secret of my truth, for I am the prime cause in all respects of gods as well as the great seers." Baba similarly declares: "I am not the body or the senses. I am the eternal 'Sakshi'." Just as Lord Krishna is a Poorna Avtar, Sainath is also a Poorna Avtar, besides Shiva, Rama, Maruthi, Dutta and many others. The Author explains his three thrilling personal Sai experiences, which transformed his life, instilling in him staunch faith in Baba, who saved a relative from the clutches of death, rid his daughter of high fever and brought about a marriage even after the negotiations had failed. The unique feature of this highly interesting book is an authentic account of how Baba came to Delhi, the genesis in I960, of the Delhi Sri Sai Samaj and Sri Sai Bhakta Samaj, in 1966, through the efforts of Sri Chitnis, and their growth. Baba was practically unknown in Delhi and the North before 1960. The great Apostle of Baba, H.H. Sri Narasihma Swamiji, Founder President of All India Sai Samaj, Madras (now Chennai), who took, Baba's name and fame out of Maharashtra, had also done stupendous Sai Prachar under trying circumstances and against all odds. He had succeeded in making Baba known in the then Madras Presidency and Andhra. He had also visited Calcutta and a few other places where small sections of people came to know about Baba.


H.H. Sri Saipadananda Radhakrishna Swamiji, Founder-Patron, and chief disciple, assisted his Master to some extent and carried on Sai prachar in Karnataka (then Mysore State) coming to Bangalore in 1952, deputed by his Master. Sri S.C. Gupta, the author, was the chosen messenger of Baba to carry His Form and Teachings to the people of Delhi, sweating and toiling, collecting funds and holding Pujas, attended by Rashtrapathi - Dr. Shri Rajendra Prasad; the Speaker of Parliament; Central Ministers and M.Ps. The Delhi Sri Sai Samaj, after doing solid prachar work and turning numerous devotees 'Babaward' and distributing Sai literature, was subsequently wound up. The author had the good fortune to be closely associated with all His work, besides taking active part in the construction and acquiring land for the now very popular, Lodhi Road Sai Temple, which attracts thousands of devotees these days. Details of the author's visit to Shirdi and meetings and darshans with Paramahamsa Omkara Swamy and Sri Sivanesan Swami, who served Baba with utter devotion and humility for 43 years, helped and blessed thousands of devotees from India and a few from abroad also, make interesting reading. There are comments, mildly critical in some cases, on Bhakti, Gurus and Sadgurus, miracles, building of new temples and new concepts in Sai Bhakti which are thought provoking. The poems addressed and offered to Baba are soul-stirring, reflecting the outpourings of a pining and loving heart. The book has Hindi section also, on which I have no competence to comment. Well designed, produced and reasonably priced, it will be a worthwhile acquisition for Sai devotees. August 22, 2002

R.SeshadriPresident, Sri Sai Spiritual Centre Thyagarajanagar Bangalore-560028


Introduction With the Blessings, Mercy and Grace of the Great Saint, Sri Sai Baba of Shirdi, we venture to pen down a few lines as an introduction to the "Scribbiings of a Shirdi Sai Devotee" written by the staunch devotee, Shri Suresh Chandra Gupta of New Delhi. Till early sixties of the last century, most people in North India had not heard about this great Saint In an around 1963, on my posting to Delhi, my wife and I had opportunities to attend Baba's prayer meetings being conducted in Shan Nagar (now Bharati Nagar). It is here we came in contact with Shri Suresh Ji, the author of this book. We have been observing for the last four decades, his ardent and selfless devotion to Shri Sai Baba of Shirdi and total involvement in establishing Baba's faith. We, like many others in and around Delhi,' are his admirers. Most literature available on Baba generally contains Baba's Life Story, His Leelas and Devotees experiences. The present book, we consider is unique in its contents. It lays stress on various aspects of Sai Bhakti as also the pitfalls encountered by devotees. The analysis of Baba's utterances in Chapter Two provides, in brief, a peep into the ways of working of Baba, and the assurances given by Him should provide impetus to Devotees to take to the sacred path of Sai Bhakti. Chapter Three leads us to an insight into the manner in which the seeds of Sai Bhakti germinated and blossomed in the heart of the author and provided him urge, strength and courage in pioneering to initiate Sai doctrines and teachings amongst citizens of Delhi. At a slow but steady pace, the awareness of the 'SatChit-Anand Swarup' of Baba gradually grew in Delhi. Soon after the establishment of Shri Sai Baba Temple on Lodhi Road in New Delhi, there was unusal awakening amongst citizens of Delhi and surrounding areas about Sai Bhakti. With Baba's Grace, the fragrance of His Bhakti has spread far and wide in North India and, today, many temples have come up not only in big towns, but even in far off and inaccessible places.


In Chapter Four, Shri Gupta has raised pertinent issues, which need devotees to look deep within the crevices of their own hearts to find answers. The author is of the view that the path of Bhakti, shown by Shri Sai Baba of Shirdi, is simple and easy to follow and should remain as such. Poetic compositions of the author show his complete surrender and dedication. Every syllable of his in praise of Shri Sai seems to have come out from author's heart spontaneously. The wordings have moved us emotionally and produced distinctive vibrations. It is suggested that these poems may also be published seperately in the form of a pocket size booklet, sutaible for devotees to carry in their pockets. Efforts put in by Shri Suresh Chandra Gupta in contemplating the book is laudable. He has accomplished this task within a very short period due to Shri Sai Baba's Grace. The contents of this book, we are sure, will inspire the readers and cement their faith in Shri Sai Baba, which is the aim of the author. August 21, 2002 Brig. (Retd.) Adi K. Sahukar Mrs. Nergish Adi Sahukar F-2/9, Salunke Vihar, Pune


Preface During the last 20 years or so, as more and more people are being drawn to the Great Saint of Shirdi, quite a number of devotees of Baba in Delhi have prevailed upon me to write down, 'How Baba came to Delhi', for the benefit of present and future devotees. Whenever I sat down to do so and as I proceeded further with the story, a thought would over-power me, "For whom do you want to write down this account. The One who should know, is already aware of every thing and of what use would it be for others to know". On the persistent demand of some of Baba's devotees and with His Kripa, I have now attempted to narrate the events. At every step, while doing so, I have been conscious if it was my ego which was prompting me to do so or was I projecting as true a picture of the events as possible. I could pray to my Baba not to allow my ego to prevail and merely make me an instrument to project the facts as truly as possible for an insignificant devotee of His. If I have failed at any step, I shall hold human weakness responsible for it and implore Baba's and your forgiveness for it. It would be highly impertinent to say that the foundation of Baba's work in Delhi was laid the day Shri Yagnik of Jaipur prompted me to do so and come out of my house, spread Baba's message and bring Sai devotees on one platform. Baba was being worshipped by a few of His devotees in Delhi even before and would continue to be so worshipped when water bubbles of my sort fade into oblivion. Today, I am fully convinced that Baba does His own work and requires no agents or gurus for this purpose. In our ignorance we may feel puffed up by our efforts, but not a blade of grass can move without His command. As Baba had said in His life time, He draws His devotees to Himself as a bird is drawn with a string tied to its feet. When I started on this path, not -many people knew about Baba in North India. In Delhi, one could not even find a small picture of Baba what to talk of Sai Satcharita. Today when I see pictures of Baba pasted on two wheelers, cars, buses and thousands of devotees flocking to Sai Mandirs coming up not only all over Delhi but the whole of North India, who could be happier than I. It is all His Grace.


I have perhaps been a littie harsh in my observations on various aspects of Sai Bhakti in Chapter 4 of the book entitled, 'Stray thoughts on various aspects of Sai worship.' While expressing my views, I have been fully conscious that a devotee should shun all criticism. I may assure the readers that whatever I have scribbled is based on my personal and practical experiences during the course of my working and has been written solely with the intention to make devotees conscious that we must all endeavour to adhere to the path shown by Baba in His life and living and discourage the emerging divergent trends. Unfortunately, no forum seems to exist for providing guidance to the ever increasing number of Sai devotees, particularly in the North. A devotee on experiencing the Grace of Baba in some way or the other, when takes to Him, he/she adopts the approach being followed by other devotees around him, or else goes to a Guru, who draws him more to himself rather than to Baba. I have even seen queries from foreigners as to who Baba was and what He stood for, which have remained unanswered. In my view there is a definite need for providing proper and organised guidance to the devotees, not only in India but all over the Globe, for creating awarness in them about the principles and precepts Baba advocated and lived for. In prompting me to pen down this story, as also in drawing me out from my seclusion, which I had taken to, after my resignation from the secretaryship of the Lodi Road Temple in June 1980, the contribution of my co-devotee Shri Motilal Gupta, Founder Chairman, Shirdi Sai Baba Temple Society, Sai Dham, Tigaon Road, Faridabad (Haryana) has been tremendous. In fact, it is his prompting alone and of course Baba's Grace, that it has been possible for these compositions to see the light of day. I am also grateful to him for providing all secretarial help in bringing out this book. My heartful thanks are also due to Shri Vijay R. Raghavan of Sai Security Printers Ltd. for having undertaken the task of printing this book. May Shri Sal's Grace be ever with all who have contributed to the compilation and publication of this book! 17th August, 2002


Suresh Chandra Gupta 'Sai Sadan' F-5, Green Park Main New Delhi- 110016 Phone :011 26865450 "They alone who are fortunate and whose sins have been washed away, take to My worship. If you always utter 'Sai Sai', I shall take you over the seven seas. Have faith in these words and you will certainly be benefited. I need no paraphernalia of worship - either eight - fold or sixteen - fold. I dwell where there is full devotion." – Baba


Chapter 1 Sai Baba -The Saint of Shirdi "Sri Sai Baba is the master of Existence, the Sat Guru, the bosom of Bliss, the ocean of Peace, the store-house of Power, the revealer of Truth, the masterbeing sporting the hearts of all beings mobile and immobile................ Take refuge in His oceanic compassion and be at perfect ease, leading care-free life. Remember the words of Sai who scattered the bread of Grace even to the poor, the wretched, the lowliest and the lost. 'Why should you fear when l am here. Cast all your burdens upon me and I shall bear them"'. - Swami Sivananda Saraswati. Sai Baba is not a myth or a non-historic personality. The Saint lived with us in flesh and blood till 15 Oct. 1918 - the Vijai Dashmi Day on which He took His Mahasamadhi. He has been and still is the all pervading living force that moulds and transforms the lives of million of His devotees regardless of their religion-Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians and Parsees alike. Who was Sai Baba? What was He? What did He live for? In fact Baba had no name. Mahalsapati, a devout Brahmin, when first saw Him, accosted Him as 'Sai' - a name by which he came to be known. His origin is unknown. As a young man about sixteen, He came to the village of Shirdi in the Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra near about 1854 and made His abode under a Neem Tree. Day in and day out people saw Him sitting on a rock talking little, meditating much. To many of the simple folk who passed that way, He appeared to be mad. It was not given to them to recognise His greatness, let alone divinity when they saw it. All the same, in the simple ways of villagers, they tried to give Him alms; He neither refused nor did He accept them. He lived within Himself. There was not much give and take between Him and the villagers. He did go out amongst them to take what was given, but never asked for more. Many times He came back empty handed. He held communion only with Himself and with God.


The first realisation that He was something out of the ordinary came when a miracle was seen. A few shepherd boys were playing near the 'Neem' tree under which He was sitting, and suddenly they saw a fullgrown cobra with raised hood, moving from the under-bush towards one of their playmates. There was pandemonium, each child trying to get away from the danger spot except the one for whom the cobra was making a bee-line; he was too paralysed with fear to move or to cry. Shri Sai saw the danger and in a split second before the cobra could strike, He gently unbraided the snake for trying to harm an innocent child. "Why do you want to harm an innocent child? Please go back," He told the snake. Poised to strike, the snake turned in its track and moved to where Shri Sai was sitting, touched His feet with its head and penitently moved away. These children and one or two elderly shepherds who had seen the whole incident, quite naturally went and spread the tale round the village. While there was no marked change after this in the general attitude towards Him, the villagers now looked upon Him with new respect, as one who was somewhat different from them. By ones and twos they came to Him, sometimes with wonder in their hearts but mostly out of curiosity. The Neem tree no longer gave Him the seclusion that He wanted and so Shri Sai moved into the quiet corner of a dilapidated old mosque which He called "Dwarkamai". He lived amongst its crumbling walls with only snakes, bats and owls as company. From one of the worm-eaten rafters He suspended a plank six feet above the ground where He used to sleep.: How He got up on the plank unaided remained a mystery, as much of a mystery- as how the torn rags with which He suspended it could hold His weight. But, all the same, He could still be seen sitting under the 'Neem' where-under he said, was enshrined His Guru's place. When dug up, two rooms with lights burning were found under the tree. One day, He went into the village and as usual asked for a little oil to burn lamps at His 'Dwarkamai'. But the shopkeepers had by then got tired of giving oil free to Him and after conferring with one another finally decided not to oblige Him any more. Empty handed but quite unperturbed, Sai Baba went back to His dilapidated old abode, to His snakes, and His owls and His bats, followed at a


respectful distance by a few people of the village. They saw Him put some water in the lamps, place cotton wicks in them and set aflame and lo, not only were the lamps lit but they remained alight spreading a heavenly glow throughout the night. It was then that realisation dawned on the people that here was not an ordinary mortal, nor a saint or fakir but some one divine, who had come to sanctify their village. From then onwards, like the fragrance of spring flowers, His fame wafted round and spread in the village, in the taluka, in the district and then in the entire region. Baba never preached any religion. He never even interfered in the religious practices of His devotees. Whatever religion they belonged to, it was all the same to Him. Caste, creed, colour or status of His devotees never mattered to Him, He only believed in the divine law of love and the attainment of Godliness through faith and love. He did not, therefore, found a new creed or a new sect. His 'Dwarkamai' was a meeting place of all religions. He gave His blessings in the form of 'Udi' (ashes) from the Sacred fire burning in the 'Dwarkamai' accompanied by the vocal blessing 'Allah Bhala Karega'. To Him the rich and poor, the high and the low, the learned and the ignorant, the Brahmins and the Sudras, the sick and the healthy were all alike. He was the embodiment of the concept of universal love of God, given by Bhagwan Krishna in Gita (I am the same to all beings. To Me there is none hateful nor dear. But those who worship Me with devotion, are in Me, and I too am in them.) Sai Baba was a 'Siddha Purusha'. He had command not only over the bodies and minds of people but even over the five elements. Once some people who had come to see Him were prevented from catching the night train for Bombay by a terrific storm which was raging. Without being told, Baba, who knew their difficulties, looked up towards the sky and said "Hey : enough of that, stop it now; My children have to go back". The storm abated. Sai Baba taught His devotees the value of truth, the value of faith and the value of love for attaining eternal salvation. He did perform miracles, not because He wanted to impress the people with His powers, but because He sometimes


found it was the simplest way to lead a non-believer to become a believer in God and His powers. He showed miracles, so that 'those who came to scoff may remain to pray". He showed them favours. He fulfilled their desires. He showered His blessings on all those who came to Him beaten and battered by life's buffets; so that through Him and His actions they could see the love and mercy of God. Outwardly Baba bestowed temporal benefits on His devotees but inwardly these were designed to lead them on to the path of spiritual progress. The sick were healed, the childless couples were blessed with children, the doubting acquired faith, the blind got eyes through His Grace. There was only a single thread running through all His actions, all His decisions, all His words; His efforts to help His devotees to rise above their ephemeral lives and to bathe in the immortal consciousness of the Inner Divine. Sai Baba neither wrote books nor read them. Yet time and again, He was found giving expositions of the Sanskrit and Arabic verses to His devotees. Despite this, He expressed His view point that theoretical knowledge did not help in the understanding of spiritual values. Divine knowledge had to be self-realised and could not be just imparted. To one of His devotees, He said, "In these books they want to find 'Brahman' (God). There is, however, only 'bhram' (delusion or confusion) in them. You are all right as you are. Do not read books but only keep me in your heart, and if you harmonise the head and the heart, it is enough". He spoke in parables and His teachings were symbolic. He taught in action and not in words. There was nothing secret or mysterious in His ways. Once when a rich man went to Baba and requested Him to give him 'Brahamjnan' (ultimate realisation of God), Baba spoke a few words to him on the need for god-realisation and suddenly broke off to call a boy and send him to a local shop-keeper to borrow five rupees. The boy came back as the shop-keeper was not at home. Baba sent the boy to another person and yet another, but without success. Meanwhile the visitor was becoming impatient and asked Baba about Brahamjnan. Shri Sai said to him, "I have been trying to give you Brahmajnan all this while, I want five rupees. That means, I want five things to be surrendered - (a) The five pranas or life forces, (b) The five senses, (c) The mind,


(d) The intellect and (e) The ego. Unless you surrender these five, you cannot tread the hard road to Brahmjnan. No one who is attached to things earthly can attain divine knowledge". Shri Sai told him that though he had Rs. 250/- in his pocket and knew that Baba wanted five rupees, he would not part with this small sum. He wanted the invaluable gift of Brahmajnan free and gratis. His attachment to earthly things stood in his way. Shri Sai would appear to His devotees in the form worshipped by them. Once a Brahmin doctor, a devotee of Rama, was persuaded to go to Shirdi but he warned his companions that he would not do obeisance to Shri Sai as the latter was a Muslim. When he reached 'Dwarkamai' he was surprised to see Hindu rituals being performed inside. The doctor who had earlier declined to bow to the 'Muslim' was suddenly found rushing in and falling at Baba's feet Asked later to explain his conduct, he said that he did not see Baba but only the form of Rama. Baba flouted the accepted concept of a saint and asked for Dakshina from His devotees. He started as a pauper in the morning. All day long wealth flowed to Him. But He distributed it all to His devotees and finished up as a pauper again in the evening. He would go begging for His food every morning and did not give up His begging bowl even upto the end. Baba accepted Dakshina to teach His devotees the lesson of charity and to remove their attachment to money and thus to purify their minds. Baba had an unaccountable and marvellous knowledge of things and events far removed from Him in time and space. Equally remarkable was His power to foretell coming events. He was both Trikal Jnani and Antar Jnani. He could tell all events of the past, present and future and also read the innermost secret thoughts of His devotees. His approach to the Great Reality was simple and unsophisticated. He preached no rituals in God Realisation. He said, "If you always say 'Sai Sai', I shall take you over the seven seas; have faith in these words. I do not want any paraphernalia of worship".


He came to this world to bear the burden of all those whose burdens were unbearable to them. He was sent to give God Realisation to those that wanted it. "Why should you fear, when I am here; cast all your burdens upon Me and I shall bear them." He said. It is only given to divine Prophets of all ages to pass the supreme test of divinity- resurrection. In 1886, Sai Baba le the mortal body but He left words with His pet disciple an friend that His body was not to be buried for three days He was going to Allah and might return. In spite of th insistence of the officer holding the inquest, His body not allowed to be interred. On the fourth day the "corpse"! came back to life. ' Evidently, Sai Baba had returned to fulfil the mission for which He had been sent to this world. Before His first Samadhi, He preferred seclusion; but after his resurrection He encouraged disciples to flock round Him and He went on with His divine mission of spreading the word of God for thirty-two more years. Even in death He lives. In His last moments on earth He assured His devotees, "My Samadhi will answer your prayers when I myself am no more in flesh and blood." And to-day the ever growing number of millions of His devotees know and experience the efficacy of His words. He lives with them every moment as their friend, guide and protector. On 15th October 1918, He attained Mahasamadhi. Today He is stronger in Nirvana than He was in mortal life. Om Tat Sat Bow to Sri Sai Baba - Peace and Plenty be to all This brief sketch of the life and leelas of Shri Sai Baba was written by the author and circulated by the then functioning 'Delhi Sri Sai Samaj' on Vijai Dashmi, 1961, with the object of spreading awareness amongst the public of Delhi about the Sage of Shirdi.


Chapter 2 Understanding Shirdi Sai in Baba's Own Words Certain truths were uttered by Shri Sai Baba of Shirdi in His life time during His talks with various persons on different occasions. These reflect on His 'Sat - Chit - Anand' Swarupa and his omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient character. These truths apart from revealing different aspects of Baba's philosophy and method of functioning, also convey the assurances given by Baba to His devotees: how one should take to Him; what Baba expects from His devotees and finally how one can merge in Him and become one with Him. A study of these passages again and again, reflecting on them in calmer moments and imbibing them in one's own life would certainly help an aspirant onto the path of Sai bhakti as also remove the doubts lurking in his mind. Selections from these utterances are reproduced below for the benefit of the aspirants: 1.

I am God. I am Mahalaxmi. I speak the truth sitting as I do in this

Dwarkamayee. I amVithoba. I am Ganapati. All offerings made to Ganapati have reached me. I am Dattatraya. I am Laxmi Narayan. Why go for Ganga elsewhere. Hold your palm at my feet, Ganga flows here. I am Maruti. 2.

I am the attributeless 'Nirguna'. I have no name and no residence.

3.

I embroiled myself in 'Karma' and got this body. 'Brahman' is my father and

'Maya' is my mother. I am formless and in everything. I fill all spaces and solitary wilderness. I am in the fire and ether. 4.

I am not the body or the senses. I am the eternal 'Sakshi'(witness).

5.

I require no doors to enter. I have no form nor do I have any limitations. I

am always existent in all animate and inanimate objects. I am the wire puller of all actions of the man who trusts me and merges in me and ultimately provide him Liberation. 6.

Be wherever you like; do whatever you choose; remember this well that all

what you do is known to me. I am the Inner Ruler of all and am seated in theii hearts. 7.

I need no paraphernalia of worship either eight-fold or sixteen-fold. I dwell

where there is full devotion.


8.

Meditate

always

on

my

formless

nature,

which

is

Existence,

Consciousness and Bliss Absolute. If you cannot do this, meditate on my form, from head to toe, as you see me here night and day. As you go on doing this, your 'Vrattis' (thoughts) will become one pointed and the distinction between the 'dhyata' (meditated upon) 'Dhyari, (meditation) and 'dhaya' (object) will be lost and the meditator will become one with consciousness and be merged in 'Brahma'. 9.

Those who are fortunate and whose sins have been washed away turn to

my worship. If you always utter 'Sai, Sai', I shall lake you beyond the Seven Seas. 10.

My master told me to give bounteously to all that ask. People come to me

asking for the petty things of life such as wealth, children, promotion and the like; but nobody comes to ask for the real treasures, I hold. My treasury is full; take away cartloads of it. Be the true sons of the Divine Mother and fully stock yourself. What is to become of us? This body will return to earth and the air we breathe will melt into air. This opportunity will not return. 11.

There shall be no dearth of food and clothing in the houses of my

devotees. It is my special characteristic that I always look and provide for the welfare of those devotees, who worship me wholeaheartedly. If you want to beg / anything, beg for the Lord Himself. 12.

Howsoever oppressed and troubled one , may be, as soon as he ascends

the steps of the Dwarkamayee, he is on the pathway to happiness. The 'Fakir' here is very merciful He provides protection to all with love and kindness. 13.

The Dwarkamayee' wards off all dangers and anxieties of its children

Once a personas its in its lap all his miseries come to an end. He who rests on its shade, gets bliss. 14.

Let anybody speak hundreds of thingr against you, do not express

resentment by giving a bitter reply. If you always tolerate such things, you will certainly be happy.


15.

I am the bonded slave of My devotee. I Iove devotion. He who withdraws

his heart from the world and loves Me, is My true lover and he merges in Me like a river in the sea. 16.

All creatures (such as; dogs, cats, flies, and pigs) ard My own form. He

who seas Me in them, is My belowed. So abondoning the sense of duality and distinction, continue to serve Me. 17.

If any one does any evil unto you, do not retaliate. If you wish to do

anything, do only good acts unto others. 18.

He, who carps and cavils at others, pierces Me in the he st and injures ,%,

but he who suffers and endurer, pleases Me mort. 19.

Do not entertain the sense of doer ship in performing good or bad act; be

entirely free from pride and ego in all actions. 20.

I feel in debted to him who surrenders himself completely to Me and

always remembers Me. I shall repay his debt by giving him salvation. I belong to him vho thinks of Me hungers after me and does not do anything without first offering to Me. Leaving aside pride and egotism completely, you should surrender to Me - who is seatedahn your heart. 21.

Mysterious is the path of action. Though I do nothing, people hold Me

responsible for their actions, which take place on account of destiny. I am merely an observer. The Lord is the sole doer and inspirer. 22.

How can the worldly desire and impure inclinations come near persons

who remember Me in their everyday life, worship Me and lovingly listen to and brood over My life stories. I shall draw them out from the jaws of death. 23.

Keeping your mind steady, continue to do your duty fearlessly and have

faith in My words. If My 'Leelas' (deeds) are written, 'avidya' (nescience/ ignorance) will vanish and if these are attentively and devotedly listened to, the consciousness of the worldly existence will abate, and strong waves of devotion will arise. If one dives deep into My 'Leelas', he shall obtain precious jewels of knowledge. 24.

My Guru never taught Me any Mantra, how could I then blow any Mantra

in your ears? Just remember that Guru's tortoise like loving glance gives us


happiness. Do not, therefore, try to get Mantra or sermon (Updesh) from any body. Make Me the sole object of your thoughts and actions and you will, no doubt attain 'Parmartha'-the spiritual goal of life. Look at Me whole heartedly and I, in turn, will look at you similarly. 25

Give (Charity) with faith and magnanimity (liberally); give with modesty,

sympathy and respectfully. 26.

He who loves me most, always experiences my presence. The whole

world is desolate to him without Me. 27.

If you spread your palms with devotion before Me, I shall immediately be

with you at any time of the day and night. Though I am here physically yet I know all that happens beyond the seven seas. Seated in your heart, I am in fact your Inner Self. Always worship Him alone who is seated in your heart as well as in the hearts of all beings. Blessed and fortunate indeed is he, who is aware of My omnipresent and omniscient form. 28.

If I accept one rupee from anyone as 'dakshina', I have to return many

more times of it. I never accept anything gratis from anybody nor do I ask for 'dakshina' indiscriminately. I only ask and take from him towards whom the 'Fakir' (God) points out. If anyone is indebted in his previous birth to the 'Fakir", then only 'dakshina' is received from him. The donor gives and sows the seeds to reap a rich harvest in future. Wealth should only be used to earn 'Dharma'. If it is used for personal enjoyment, it is wasted. Unless you have given charity before, you cannot, get it now. So, the best way to receive is to give. The giving of'dakshina' leads to Vairagya' (non-attachment) and thereby to 'Bhakti and' Gyan. 29.

Why should any fear when I am there. Cast all burdens on Me, I shall bear

them. 30.

Have faith in Me. Even though I give up this body, My bones in My

Samadhi will give you hope and confidence. Not only I but My Samadhi would be speaking, moving and communicating with those who surrender to Me whole heartedly. Do not feel disappointed that I would be away from you. You will hear my bones speaking and discussing your welfare. If you remember Me constantly and have faith in Me, heart and soul, you shall be greatly benefited.


From the assurances and commitments given by Baba the following facts emerge:(a)

Baba is an Avtar of Love and Compassion. If one car learn to have

unflinching faith in Him, Baba shal] assume full responsibility to look after him and provide him succour at every step in his life. In fact, His devotees have abundant experience of the truth of thij commitment. (b)

He has prescribed a code of conduct for His devotees which is simple and

easy to follow, yet capable of taking one to the supreme goal of 'Parmarth'. He doesn't want His devotees to take to assiduous practices such as observing fasts, going on pilgrimages, practising 'Ashtang Yoga' and the like. He lives in Bhakti alone. (c)

Baba's Samadhi is an ever living phenomenon. Baba may not be there in

His physical form today but His Samadhi actively lives, moves about, and answers the questions of His devotees. They need not seek answers to they problems elsewhere. (d)

Baba communicates directly with His devotees who have completely

surrendered to Him. He gives them guidance answers their questions and comes to their help in times of need in some way or the other, either in their waking or sleeping state. One surely need not seek Baba's Grace through intermediaries, as is being claimed and observed all around. (e)

Baba wants His devotees to demolish the wall of discrimination in every

walk of life which would facilitate their becoming one with Him. (f)

Baba has given great stress on 'Shrawari (hearing), and 'Manana'

(contemplation) of his leelas (deeds). He has again and again said that if His leelas are listened to and meditated upon, purity of head and heart will follow and the seeker will acquire oneness with Him. (g)

Baba had said, "I give to My devotees what they want, so that they may

learn to want what I want to give to them." Let us, therefore, refrain from asking from Baba the mundane things of life for which he has already taken responsibility and develop an urge to ask for a little chunk out of that great and sacred treasure, which He is holding and wants to share with us.


(h)

Let us not allow ourselves to be distracted from the path shown by Baba

by taking to and seeking the help of persons claiming nearness to Him. Baba is omnipotent and omnipresent and if He can hear the movement of even an ant, surely He can hear the voice of my and your heart and scatter on us the bread of His Grace, provided we have taken to Him heart and soul. Sai Brothers and Sisters! Baba is an ever living phenomenon. Let us learn to make Baba the focal point of all our thoughts and actions. Baba is our God; Baba is our Guru. Let us learn to live in Baba, think of Baba, breathe of Baba, dream of Baba, read of Baba, eat with Baba and become one with Him. Let us seek His Grace to make every pore of our body emit the fragrance of His love and bhakti. Whosoever smells it, should feel drawn to Him and in ecstasy exclaim, "Baba! you are indeed wonderful, great and unique. You are Love and Compassion Incarnate. It is only because of our 'Prarabdha' and your Grace that we have come in your Sharan'. Make us, your children surrender whole heartedly at your lotus feet in this life and in lives hereafter, if any.


Chapter 3 Sai Baba's coming into my life and building up of Lodi Road Temple, New Delhi Shri Sai Baba of Shirdi belongs to that category of Sages an Saints who are born 'Puma Siddha' and who are made t come down on this earth for a specific purpose. Their descen on earth is not governed by the ordinary rules applicable t human beings. So also, in the case of Sai Baba of Shirdi, nobody can say with certainty who his parents were, where He was born, what creed or community he belonged to, where did he receive his early grooming and who his Guru was. All such questions Baba allowed to remain buried in the garb of secrecy for reasons only known to him. But when he told Madhav Rao Deshpande (Nee Shama) that he had been living with him for 72 lives past, surely he wasn't referring to ordinary life as we live on earth. This statement had a deep significance. Baba had made similar such statements in the case of some other devotees also. During my last forty two years' contact with Baba's name, I too have had a vivid feeling at times that this self also had some contact or the other with its Master

in earlier births -may be merely as a creature in the dust beneath His feet. It is my firm belief that on the spiritual path, what we are today is the result of sadhna in lives past. This is how I establish my relationship with my Baba. I got the chance of seeing the picture of Shri Sai Baba of Shirdi for the first time in Nov. 1959, in the bed-room of my mother-in-law at Jaipur (Rajasthan), where I had gone to, a few weeks after the death of my mother on Vijai Dashmi, the 4Ih Oct. 1959. Sitting on the rugged stone, wearing a torn kafni, eyes full of compassion endeavouring to penetrate into the deep within you, Baba seemed to me the very epitome of Love and Mercy. My mind, however, refused to submit to him. It was, however, left for January 1960 for me to know more about the great Saint of Shirdi, who was to play a dominant part in the rest of my life and become the sheet anchor of my existence thereafter. In January 1960,1 had again to go to Jaipur on long leave to appear in an administrative rervice examination. One day while I was passing through the


Chandpol Bazar with my brother-in-law, who was studying medicine at SMS Medical College, Jaipur, at that time, we stopped at a chemist's shop to purchase some medicine. As we entered the shop, I found a big picture of Baba hanging in front. My brother-in-law told me that it was this chemist-Shri Kameshwar Nath Yagnik, who was instrumental in introducing Baba to their family. As Shri Yagnik, a short statured, fair complexioned, sombre looking, deep eyed, middle-aged gentleman, emerged from inside the shop, I asked him a straight question, "Who is this Saint"? Shri Yagnik looked at me with pensive eyes and quietly went inside the shop and after disbursing medicines to all the customers present, came out with a red book in his hand and told me, "You wanted to know who this Saint is.? Please read this book and you shall know all about him." Returning the book to Shri Yagnik, I told him that presently I had no time to go through the book. Hearing my words, Shri Yagnik said, "A time would soon come, when you shall know all about this Saint". About 10 days after this incident, one evening at about 10 p.m. when I returned after a dinner with Professor Dr. Sarnam Singh of Rajasthan University in that cold winter night of January, I found a black car parked in the compound of my father-in-law's house. He was then the Registrar of Rajasthan University. As I entered the verandah of the house, my father-in-law came out and informed me that Shri Yagnik had been waiting for me since 7 p.m. and was saying that it was Baba's order that he should talk to Kunwar Sahib (in Rajasthan a son-in-law is addressed thus) tonight From 10 p.m. to 12 p.m., Shri Yagnik kept on telling me about the life and leelas of Baba, his omnipotent and omnipresent character but I refused to accept his words saying that there were already far too many gods and goddesses in India and that I would not like to add one more name to that list. While parting, Shri Yagnik gave me a small silver locket of Baba with a small packet of Udi and told me to remember Him whenever I found myself in some trouble and that Baba would come to my rescue. It is a strange co-incidence that my mother died on the Vijay Dashmi Day in 1959 and so did Shri Yagnik on Vijay Dashmi 1962 - the day chosen by Baba himself for crossing the borders, on Vijay Dashmi, 15th Oct. 1918. When Shri


Yagnik was leaving his mortal coil, we were holding Baba's puja in a Dargah in New Delhi, which we had by then started performing in Delhi under his inspiration, My First Experience of Baba's Grace A few days after my return to Delhi from Jaipur in Jan. 1960, my motherin-law had to come to Delhi to see her ailing brother - Shri Guru Datta Govil of Khurja (District Bulandshahr), who had come to Delhi for treatment. Shri Govil was a known person of Khurja town of U.P. He was an M.A.L.L.B.; Head of the LawDeptt., N.R.E.C. College, Khurja; a land-lord and had also been the Chairman of the Municipal Committee, Khurja. At about 4 p.m., I along with my wife and mother-in-law, went to see Shri Govil. When we reached the place where he was staying, we found Shri Govil writhing in pain and gasping for breath. The whole atmosphere of the place was very gloomy. All sorts of medicines were being administered to him with no effect A thought came to my mind that if a person is to exhaust himself in this manner, what was then the use of living such an ostentatious life -full of deceit, untruth, acquisition and what not. Suddenly my eyes fell on my mother-in-law and I was reminded of the words of Shri Yagnik, "if you remember Baba in Times of need, He shall surely come to your succour� Within myself, l lmplore Baba that if He existed any where, I shall also accept His existence, if Shri Govil stopped crying at once. Immediately after, I looked into the eyes of the patient and found that he was still gasping for breath. Next moment I reached the conclusion within myself that this whole talk of providing relief, whenever needed, was merely a tall talk. And within seconds thereafter, I observed that a rhythmic difference had started in the breathing of the patient In a couple of minutes, his breathing became regular and he opened his eyes and exclaimed that he was now all right He asked his son as to what medicine was administered to him which had acted so well. His son named the medicine but Shri Govil said that earlier also he had taken this medicine but never got the relief as he had that day. A few minutes later, he remarked that a miracle had taken place. All this while, I was sitting quietly contemplating on what all had happened, completely dazed at the incident Quite some time later, I told


Shri Govil the whole story. Listening to it, Shri Govil also developed faith in Baba and lived for 4/5 months thereafter. This incident was the first of its kind experienced by me of Baba's Grace but, as I found soon, it wasn't enough to develop unflinching faith in me. My Second Experience of Baba's Grace My first experience of the presence of Baba completely shook me and subtly worked on my whole being in a manner that the 'Bhav' (expressions) on my face started changing. Three to four days after this incident, I again found an occasion to call Baba. My younger daughter – 11/2 years of age at that time in I960, who was 121/2 years younger to her elder sister, got fever at night. She was sleeping with me. Some time in the night, when my sleep broke, I found she was running high temperature. Immediately, I thought of Baba and entreated Him to give the child relief. As I fell asleep again, I saw in my dream a tall bearded white complexioned old man, flying into my room from the sky, and telling me, "Why have you called me? Only because the child has fever. Lo! the child is all right", And as I opened my eyes in a huff, I found the child had no fever at all. I did not at that time have any knowledge about the personality of Baba except that he had a beard. This was second experience of my Baba. My Third Experience of Baba's Grace Within 4/5 days of the second experience, I had a still more thrilling experience of Baba. A close friend of mine came to me one day and said that he wanted me to accompany him to Shahadra (a suburb of Delhi) to see a person with whose son he had fixed up his sister's marriage. Since this person {whom I shall call Lala) was asking for more dowry in marriage, he wanted this relationship to be broken. I told him that normally I did not like to interfere in matters of this nature but since he had come to me, I shall do as he wanted me to do. Next day, I along with him and a couple of his other friends reached Shahadra and kept on trying to persuade the Lala not to insist on more dowry as human relationships mattered more than money in life. He wouldn't, however, understand our point of view. The Lala did not even have the courtesy of offering


us a cup of tea even though we had been with him for more than 3 hours. At last, I lost my calm and shouted at the Lala saying that normally a man of my son would not even like to talk to a person of his type and that all our pleadings have had no effect on him as he was devoid of basic human qualities. We decided to break up the relationship. It was agreed that all of us should proceed to a common friend's house and there he would bring all that had been given to him from the bride's side so far and hand it over to us to break the engagement finally. On our way to that common friend's house, I felt extremely pained in my heart and prayed to Baba that this sort of world was not a fit place for me to live and implored His help to do something in the matter. By the time we reached the house of that person, we all felt very hungry and thirsty apart from feeling extremely aggrieved. We were offered tea and snacks. The Lala also came there some time later. Suddenly we found a person in white kurta and cap sneaking into the room. We told him to keep away for the time being as we were engaged in some serious matter. The gentleman, however, kept on sitting and asked us the reason for our being so unhappy. We told him that it wasn't his concern. But on his repeated requests, I had to tell him in brief the reason for our feeling so aggrieved. He requested me to allow him to talk to the Lala. He did so and to our astonishment within 15 minutes, we found that the Lala had not only agreed to continue the relationship, even the date of marriage was fixed. We all asked this person who he was and what was it that had brought him to this place. He merely said that as he was passing that way, he felt like coming to this gentleman's house whom he knew scantily and when he found us all in an agitated mood, felt helping us and the result was for us all to see. By now I was completely aghast on all that was appening in my life, In fact, Baba was pulling this little bird with a thread tied to its legs, towards Himself. Urge to Know Baba The three incidents narrated above which were experience, within a brief span of about 15 days or so, completely changed the course of my life. A feeling and a faith grew within me that Sai Baba was a living entity capable of responding to the call of His devotees, whenever required, as claimed by Shri


Yagnik at Jaipur. Suddenly I found a spiritual upsurge within me. My vibrations changed so also my body language. All day and night, I thought of Baba and Baba alone. Incessant tears flowed from my eyes and a peculiar bliss seemed to have enveloped my whole being. Some time later, I wrote to Shri Yagnik to apprise me more about the life and teachings of Baba and requested him to come down to Delhi to make me know who Baba is. The correspondence that followed is my prized possession. Shri Yagnik sent to me a small black and white passport size picture of Baba which I have with me even today, though completely worn out. In his letters, Shri Yagnik exhorted me to come out of my house and contact Sai devotees wherever they were in Delhi and bring them together and create a nucleus of Sai devotees for spreading awarness of Baba's teachings, so that more and more people could be the beneficiaries of His Grace. A peculiar sort of restlessness overpowered me and beyond my office hours and on holidays, I would go in quest of Sai devotees all over Delhi without wasting any time on any other activity of life. Through this process, I came to know of 4/5 persons, who had known Baba earlier and were His devotees. I now again wrote to Shri Yagnik to come over to Delhi and guide me in person. He agreed to do so provided I fixed up a puja of Baba which should be attended by good singers, radio artists, Qawali walas, Doctors, Engineers, M.Ps and persons of all levels of society. 21st August 1960, was fixed as the date for this puja on the lawns outside my house at C-112, Laxmibai Nagar, New Delhi. Earlier in my quest for Sai devotees, I had come into contact with one Shri C.S. Rao, an employee of the American Embassy. This gentleman was an old and ardent devotee of Baba. I attended two pujas of Baba in his house, which I found, as a complete novice on to the path, extremely thrilling. He would first recite Baba's 108 names, sing a few bhajans and at the end perform a small arti of Baba. These two pujas gave me a little inkling of how Baba was to be worshipped.


I was making all preparations for the ensuing puja on 21st Aug., 1960 (A copy of the invitation for this puja is at exhibit-I). Shri Yagnik would give out directions through his letters and I would run around to find radio artists, qawali walas and what not. Shri Yagnik sent to me one Baba's bhajan which was to be sung in the beginning of the puja. In my quest for a person who could render this bhajan, I went to Birla Mandir and arranged with Shri Man Mohan Pahari, a regular singer in Birla Mandir, to sing this bhajan, the first stanza of which was as undenShirdi Kanchan Khan hai, Nijpat Sant Mahan, Santan me aek Sant hai, Sai jako Nam. Shirdi mein Sai Nath Maha Sant ho gaey, Shirdi mein aek niraley hi mastana ho gaey. On the morning of 21st Aug., 60, when I was leaving for the station to receive Shri Yagnik, I found the lawns outside my house where a tent was to be pitched for the puja, full of water due to incessant rains during the preceding three days.

1

felt helpless and worried. Shri Yagnik got down from the train, with a bunch of pictures of Baba he had brought from Jaipur for the puja, looked at me and told me, "Kunwar Sahibj you are worried about the havoc done by the rains? Don't worry; all will be well even though a drizzle will disturb t puja today also." In the evening, it all happened as told u] Shri Yagnik. The puja was wonderful, the like of which I have not ever seen thereafter. The quality of bhajans, qawalis, ana all other renderings was superb. Shri Man Mohan Pahari began the puja with the singing of the aforesaid bhajan, As the strains of this bhajan fell into my ears while I was bringing a table for distributing 'Prasad' from somewhere, I was filled with bliss. If I have learnt of any thing of Baba till today, I can say with confidence that in this puja there was the divine presence of my Baba which was felt and experienced in great measure by every one present. Persons of all description, as desired by Shri Yagnik, including one M.P. from Andhra attended this puja. Shri Yagnik addressed this gathering of some 150 persons and apprised them of the life and leelas of Baba. Formation of Delhi Sri Sai Samaj


Next morning i.e. on 22nd Aug. 1960, Shri Yagnik held a meeting of Baba's devotees, I had been able to contact till then, and prevailed upon them to try and find more devotees of Baba and form an organisation to spread His message. It was in November 1960 that we held the first meeting of this group of devotees, under the name and banner of the 'Delhi Sri Sai Samaj', in the house of Shri C.S. Rao at 8, Lady Harding Road, New Delhi. This meeting was attended by nineteen persons (A photocopy of the minutes of this meeting is at exhibit-ID. By now, I had started Thursday pujas of Baba at my residence and also kept fast on this day. Often other devotees also joined my puja. Soon after, the Vijay Dashmi Puja in 1960 was also held on a small scale at 210, North Avenue, New Delhi, at the residence of Shri J.M. Gupta. Shri Yagnik sent me a form of membership of the Shirdi Sansthan and asked me to become its member by paying Rs. 5/- as the annual fee as also to get a copy of the Sai Satcharita in Hindi from the Sansthan. I became a member of the Sansthan in 1960 and also obtained a copy of the Sai Satcharita from there along with some pictures of Baba which were not then available in Delhi. I also came to know of another book on Baba in English by Arthur Osborne, entitled 'Incredible Shri Sai Baba'.

This book I obtained from the publishers in New

Delhi. I started distributing copies of this book to new devotees in Delhi along with a picture of Baba. Soon thereafter, I also came to know of another book on Baba 'Sai Leela Amrit' in Hindi. This book contained the address of Shri R.S. Chitnis of Delhi who later became the architect of the Lodhi Road Temple. I immediately went to see Shri Chitnis on the address given. I met his father who told me that his son was a devotee of Baba and had recently shifted to 27, Rajpur Road, Delhi. In a day or two thereafter, I cycled all the way to Rajpur Road to meet Shri Chitnis. His servant opened the door and told me that his Master wasn't in the house. When I told the servant about my mission to see him, Mrs. Chitnis rang up Shri Chitnis to tell him that somebody in Sai Baba's name had come to see him. He told her to tell me that I should see him later, after taking an appointment. He later came to our puja in Mar. 1961, attended by the then Rashtrapati - Dr. Rajendra Prasad, after reading in the newspapers about 't-


A detailed account of this puja will be given later. Ever smce I became 'a devotee of Baba, whenever any devotee as asked me for time to see me, it has always been my stark reply that for a Baba devotee, I am always available at time of the day and night. And by Baba's Kirpa, I have abided by my words in practice also, so far. Receipt of Ishta Mantra from Baba Baba's Grace descended on me torrentially. My life, my bearing and even my facial expressions completely changed. I was completely submerged in Baba's Bhakti. My eyes were filled with tears on the mere mention of the word 'Sal'. There was nothing but ecstasy all around me. A strange change was experienced in the body. As someone touched me, he got electric current and so did I. My body often emitted electric shocks. There was nobody to explain to me what this phenomenon was. All spiritual books in my cupboard which had been eating dust for years, started being dug out. Swami Vivekanand's book on 'Raj Yoga' which I had acquired as a student gave me lot of insight into what I was experiencing, A friend of mine, Col. B.S. lyagi, gave me a book entitled 'Dhyan Yoga' by Swami Sivananda of Rishikesh, bearing Swamiji's signatures on it. As per this book, the sadhak must have an 'Ishta mantra'. I told Baba that he wasn't physically present to give me an 'Ishta mantra'. Where and to who should I go to? And believe me, a wonder of wonders took place. Three days later, I received a packet of Udi from Shirdi wrapped in a paper containing the mantra, "Om Shri Sai Sharnam Mam". Never again have I, or anybody known to me, received Udi from Shirdi wrapped in a paper on which something is written. In fact, there was no occasion whatsoever for the receipt of this packet of Udi. I was overwhelmed to receive this Mantra. This incident made me a firm believer that Baba was a living force Sadguru or God, call him by any name you like, and that there was absolutely no need to look for a living guru elsewhere. The copy of this Mantra is reproduced below, in original, for the benefit of the readers:


"Om Shri Sai Sharnam Mam" During my last meeting with Sri SivanesanL Swami at Shirdi (who, in my view followed the principles Baba stood for in letter and spirit), a few months before he took Samadfc I asked him, "Swamiji it is said that 'Om Sai, Shn Sai, Jai ai Sai' is the Tarak Mantra of Baba and that every devotee should chant it as much as possible. Should I take to this Mantra and give up the Mantra so far being chanted by me?

lo mis Swamiji replied, "Guptaji, you are a blessed

person. Baba has Himself given you the Mantra, You should never even think of changing it." My First Visit to Shirdi Baba was calling me to Shirdi and my keenness to do so was increasing day after day. At last I reached Shirdi on 2 nd Dec I960, which happened to be Dattatreya Jayanti, as I came to know on reaching Shirdi. Till then I did not know anything about Lord Dattatreya, whose incarnation Baba is said to be. On my way from Manmad to Shirdi, I came to know in the bus that Shirdi Sansthan had been taken over by the Government only a couple of days before. As the bus from Manmad crossed Godavari River, the sight of the river and i little ahead of the peak of Baba's Samadhi Mandir filled me with abounding pleasure. The dream of my life was about to be realised.


On reaching Shirdi, I was allotted a room @ 25 paise pe day on the second floor of the four storied then recently buil building opposite to Shanti Kuteer. After taking a hurried ho water bath in the common bath rooms (there were no attached or even separate bath rooms in the building at that time), I rushed to the Samadhi Mandir to attend the noon arti, with a thali containing flowers and other puja materials. As I stood face to face with Baba, incessant tears rolled down; my cheeks. Wasn't it a dream come true? Haven't I reached the end of my tiresome journey? My whole being seemed to have been swept off my feet Every pore of my body was emitting the living grace of Baba whose eyes seemed to have penetrated deep into the crevices of my heart. What a joy; what a bliss it; was! Soon the noon arti began. There were not more than 20/ 25 participants in it. I could stand before Baba for hours, looking at Him, experiencing His grace, pouring out my heart j to Him uninterruptedly. ; Within minutes of my occupying the room, the Sansthan authorities sent one gentleman to stay in my room. He left; after the noon arti. Thereafter, they again sent another person to stay with me, I lost my temper on the Sansthan peon who had brought him to stay in my room saying that I hadn't come all the way from Delhi to stay with strangers and that if the Sansthan so wanted, I shall vacate the room straightaway. Hearing my outburst, the newly arrived gentleman told me with folded hands that he wouldn't cause me any inconvenience and that if I didn't like him, he shall immediately vacate the room. I told him that I had nothing against him as a person, and that my complaint was against the system followed by the Sansthan. This gentleman was Shri K. Ram Chandra Rao, a Custom's Superintendent at that time at Karimganar in Andhra Pradesh, who was visiting Shirdi on his way to Delhi to meet the Central Customs Authorities in connection with some injustice done to him in the matter of promotion. Shri Rao stayed with me at Shirdi for six days and came along with me to Delhi to be my guest for one full month. Since it was winter in Delhi and Rao didn't have woollen clothes, Baba made me to share my clothes with him. Baba also made me an instrument to help him in sorting out his matters with the Government through a devotee friend of mine. This gentleman and his whole family became my life long friends. He


came to Delhi to attend the weddings of both my daughters. His son - Sai Nath and his doctor wife, were regular visitors to our house while they stayed in Delhi in the I.I.T. Campus for doing Ph.D. in Engineering. I also had the privilege to go to Hyderabad along with my wife and enjoy their hospitality for a few days. Strange are the ways of Baba. Baba had arranged for the stay of this gentleman with me in my room in Shirdi as He wanted him to be helped in Delhi. As I entered the portals of the Dwarkamayee in the afternoon, the sight of the stone on which Baba sat thrilled me and filled my heart with abounding ecstasy. I placed my head with reverence on the stone on which Baba sat. I kissed it: I touched it with my eyes; and hugged it all the while, my eyes filled with tears of love and joy. No words could explain my feeling of joy on ascending the steps of the Dwarkamayee. I felt a sort of a "Noor� or call it Grace, raining from the roof and walls of the then old and dilapidated Dwarkamayee which had been and still is the abode of my Baba. It was an unforgettable experience which enveloped my 'atma' with bliss. I found myself sitting before the portrait of Baba sobbing, crying and unending tears flowing from my eyes, with a choked throat for a pretty long time. It was an old and decadent Dwarkamayee, not well lighted either and the western wall of which was inset with 'Chilums' used by Baba. There were not many visitors to break its holy silence filled with 'Noor'. That night, I along with Shri Rao, slept on the platform of the Dwarkamayee. It was an experience of sorts. A rhythmic sound of the tinkling of bells kept on pouring into my ears the whole night with a feeling of oneness with Baba. After visiting the Dwarkamayee, I went to Chawdi where Baba slept on alternate nights and enjoyed its vibrations to my heart's fill. At about 5.30 AM., I visited the Sarnadhi Mandir again. There I found a lean and thin Saint with a small beard standing near Baba's samadhi. Suddenly the sound of 'Om' emnated from the heart of this Saint and as it grew louder, it charged the whole atmosphere of the temple. I felt drawn towards this Saint not knowing who He was.


Next morning, we participated in the holy bath giving ceremony to Baba. I had taken several articles from Delhi for this purpose and participated in the ceremony to my heart's fill. Again and again I would climb up on the Samadhi and would rub various ingredients on Baba such as curd, lemon, milk, honey and scent. Nobody would disturb me in what I was doing. To me it was entirely a new experience. After giving bath to Baba, I and Mr. Rao decided to go to the nearby fields to have a feel of how Baba would have treaded that soil some years before. There we met a South Indian gentleman, who, we came to know from him, was accompanying the Swami whom we had seen in the Samadhi Mandir the previous evening. He offered to take us to the Swami. Soon we were ushered in his presence in a room opposite to the Gurusthan. This Swami was Paramhamsa Omkara Swamy from Madras who had come to Shirdi to participate in a Conference of World Religions on 3rd Dec., 1960. The conference started at 10 a.m. on the open platform in front of the Samadhi Mandir. Swamiji asked me to occupy a seat on the dais and after finishing with the conference accompanied me to the Dwarkamayee. In the Dwarkamayee, Paramhamsa Omkara Swamy recited before Baba the prayers he had composed and made us to repeat the same along with him. It was indeed a soul stirring experience to hear the deep voice of the Swamy reverberating in the stillness of the Dwarkamayee. Some items from his prayers were later incorporated by me in the prayer book printed for Baba's pujas in Delhi and are even today recited by innumerable devotees not only in Delhi but the whole of North India. More about this Swamy and the recitation of his prayers will form part of a chapter later in this book. In Shirdi, we met Ma Laxmi Bai twice and had a long chat with her about Baba but unfortunately we could not understand a major portion of what she said due to her typical Marathi accent and there being nobody to translate it to us. She gave to us with pride the cloth bag containing nine rupees, Baba had given to her prior to His taking Samadhi. We handled the rupees for quite a few seconds, touched them with our forehead and heard and felt the thrill and


vibrations of Baba's presence. We also went to Mahalsapati's house and prayed before his samadhi along his son. We met Abdul Baba. We roamed about in the lanes of Shirdi, conjecturing how it would have been like for Baba to ask for 'bhiksha' from a few houses. Even the dust of the lanes gave us the feel of Baba's presence. One morning we went to Sakori to visit the Kanya Kumari Sthan of Upasini Baba and Godavari Mata and spent half, day there. Every day of our stay, I would attend all the five artis in the temple and in the process picked up the tunes there of These were later introduced in our pujas in Delhi. When we went to the Samadhi Mandir to offer our parting 'Pranams' to Baba before leaving for Delhi, the Pujari exhorted me to climb up on the Samadhi and bow at thfe lotus feet of Baba, which has now become an almosl impossible task. My first visit to Shirdi was an extremely thrilling and satisfying experience. Even today when I recall this visit, feel emotionally charged. The Rashtrapati Attends "Ramnavmi Celebrations 1961" After the formation of the Delhi Sri Sai Samaj, we were assiduously endeavouring to increase its membership either by enrolling the old devotees of Baba as members or initiating new devotees. Most devotees were South Indians. At this stage in Jan/Feb, 1961, we decided to celebrate the ensuing Ramnavmi Utsav of Baba on 25th March with a lot of gusto on the lawns opposite 210, North Avenue. In association with Dr. Ganga Dhar Siva, a M.P. from Andhra, we invited the Rashtrapati, Dr. Rajendra Prasad, along with other leaders to attend this function. We also decided to collect, for the first time, some money for the function. With all our efforts, we were then able to raise Rs.110/- only. We sent invitations for this function to various Ministers of the Central Govt. as also to some other dignitaries. Our main stress was on the Rashtrapati attending the puja. Invitation cards were printed and sent. On each card3, 1 had written in my own handwriting that the President would be attending the function. Posters were printed and pasted by us at important points in the city at night. The then


Speaker of the Parliament, Shri Anantha Sayanam lyengar, the then Deputy Home Minister, Shri B.N. Datar and some other dignitaries accepted our invitation. Just a few days before the function, we received a letter from the Rashtrapati Bhawan intimating that Dr. Rajendra Prasad had agreed to attend our function for about 20 minutes. Shri Yagnik from Jaipur was coming to attend the function and deliver a talk on Baba. After a lot of discussions between ourselves and careful thought, we decided to receive the President in the manner of a devotee and to offer him a seat on the floor, on a platform made of Dunlop beds with two round pillows placed on the back. We also decided to present to the Rashtrapati a mounted picture of Baba with a copy of the Sai Satcharita in Hindi. The puja started at the appointed time, at 7:30 a.m. with Guru Mahima Sloka followed by Ashtotra - 108 names of Baba. The Rashtrapati, Dr. Rajendra Prasad, the Speaker of Parliament - Shri Anantha Shayam lyenger, the Home Minister - Shri B.N. Datar and a few M.P.s. arrived at the fixed time. It was our endeavour that the arrival of the Rashtrapati should cause as little commotion in the ongoing ua as possible. Shri Yagnik gave a talk on Baba in Hindi. gst the guests, Shri Anantha Sayanam Lyengar and Shri also gave talks. The Rashtrapati was scheduled to stay in the puja for 20 minutes but he continued to sit for about 1 l/2 hours. There were frenzied calls from the Rashtrapati Bhawan reminding the Rashtrapati about his other engagements, but he continued to ignore these calls. Before departing he, in his speech, said that he had heard a lot about Shri Sai Baba of Shirdi and was looking for an opportunity to know more about him, which he had found that day. There was a lunch break, and the puja continued in the afternoon. A few important points emerging from this puja were as under:(a) Having come to know about a few Maharashtrian devotees, I had met Shri A.K. Gavaskar, Manager, Photo Litho Wing, Govt of India Press, on the night of 24th March and invited him to attend the puja on the following morning. So far, only South Indian devotees were coming to attend our pujas. Shri Gavaskar attended the puja and, thereafter, became instrumental in introducing a large


number of Maharashtrian devotees to our pujas. Shri Gavaskar, thereafter, became an active participant in our pujas. He would also come to attend the Thursday pujas at my house accompanied by his wife. He could sing very well. Later, his residence, 40 Shan Nagar (later renamed Bharati Nagar) New Delhi, became the centre of Thursday pujas, monthly pujas and special pujas of Baba on Ramnavmi, Vijay Dashmi and Guru Poornima. (b) In the evening puja, Shri R.S. Chitnis came to our puja having read about it hi the engagement columns of newspapers. He did not, however, alight from his car and sent his Manager to see what all we were doing in the name of Baba. I accompanied his Manager to request him to join us in the puja but he did not oblige us on the plea that he was short of time. Later, this very Shri Chitnis played the most significant role in the coming up of the Lodi Road Temple, New DelhiThe Ramnavmi celebrations on 25th March 1961, were a landmark in Baba's work not only in Delhi but the whole of North India. Many more devotees of Baba came into contact vrith us. Our pujas on Thursdays became popular and so did the monthly pujas. We also started holding pujas in the houses of devotees, on their request, all over Delhi. After my Shirdi visit, the Arti pattern of Shirdi had been adopted. Bhajans / Kirtans would be sung by devotees and their families and not by any professionals as of today. Along with this, a negative factor also cropped up. Shri C.S. Rao and Shri R.S. Sharma, two of our important members did not like the interference of Shri Yagnik in the affairs Delhi of Sri Sai Samaj. Our pujas continued but the seeds of discord had started sprouting. In May 1961, Shri Yagnik fell ill and I along with Shri R.S. Sharma, Shri J.M. Gupta and Shri A.K. Gavaskar went to Jaipur to see him and stayed with him in his newly built house. Shri Yagnik held a big puja in a hall in Jaipur in our honour. He introduced us to those assembled and asked me to deliver a talk about my experiences of Baba to the audience. I, merely a child of Baba, who had never even thought of facing an audience in Baba's name, imploring Baba's help, spoke for 20 minutes. I did not know what all Baba was making me to say but everyone appreciated the talk. During this visit, Shri Sharma's attitude


towards Shri Yagnik was not very complimentary as the subsequent events also showed. Meeting with Sri Satya Sai Baba It was in June 1961, that I got a ring from one Shri N.G.K.Murthy, an Executive Engineer in CPWD and a devotee of Baba, asking me if I knew that Shri Satya Sai Baba was in the town. I told him that I had no knowledge of it, but if he was in Delhi, I shall soon find out After making a number of fphone calls to various persons, I came to know that Shri Satyaa Sai Baba had come to Delhi along with Shri B.Ramakrishna Rao, the then Governor of U.P, on his way back from Badrinath and was staying with Shri Venugopal, then Chairman, Railway Board in Canning Lane, New Delhi rang up my friends Shri C.S. Rao, Shri A.K. Gavaskar and Shri J.M. Gupta and all of us reached Canning Lane in at about 11.30 a.m. We found Shri Satya Sai Baba sitting on a chair in the main hall of the house singing bhajans before a gathering of some 30 / 35 persons, squatting on the floor In our presence, he sang two bhajans in a melodious voice one of which was as under: Radhey Radhey, Radhey Radhey, Radhey Govinda, Vrindavana Chanda, Anatha Natha Deen Bandhu, Radhey Govinda.... After the bhajans, the gathering was asked to disperse and to return in the evening at 5.30 p.m. when Baba would again give darshan and hold bhajans. All present left the room. Outside in the verandah, I found Shri Ramakrishana Rao sitting. I ventured to approach him and told him that we were doing Sai Baba's work in Delhi and if we could meet Shri Satya Sai Baba. He asked his ADC to go to Baba and ask him if he would like to meet us. The ADC came back in no time and told us to accompany him to the room of Baba who was waiting to meet us. Shri Satya Sai Baba came to the door to receive us. Three of my friends who entered the room ahead of me were given Udi, materialised by Baba, on their palms. When my turn came, Baba chose to apply Udi on my forehead as also tapped my forehead thrice. It was an experience of sorts for me. As we sat down on the carpet. Baba wanted to know in which language should he talk to us. It


was agreed that he would talk in Telugu and our frient Shri Rao, would translate it into English for our benefit. For 20 minutes or so, Baba gave us a discourse in an ecstatic and beautiful language. After the talk, I requested Baba to undertake a trip to Delhi some time to bless the Sai devotees here. Making a count on his fingers, he told us that it would be possible for him to visit Delhi after 9 months and that I should write to him well in time to enable him to plan his visit While parting also, he gave us Udi. All of us prostrated before him. In the evening, I again went to attend his bhajans and felt tremendous impact of his personality. Soon after Shri Satya Sai Baba left, I acquired a then recently published book on his leelas entitled 'Satyam, Shivam, Sundararri. I was thrilled to read it. I started thinking of arrangements for his forthcoming visit to Delhi nine months later. In Baba's name, I had by then acquired friendship with a Maharaja who was staying in a big bungalow in Friends Colony. I put to him the proposal to agree to Shri Satya Sai Baba staying with him. He not only accepted my request but also agreed to meet all expenses of his visit. Within 21/2 months of Shri Satya Sai Baba's leaving Delhi, it dawned somehow on me that I was a devotee of my Baba who lived like a Fakir amongst the poorest of the poor, wore a torn kafni, slept with a brick under his head and spent all His life in a dilapidated mosque. Why shall I now change my faith and take to a Baba, who wore silken clothes, rode limousines and gave preference to the rich and the high. I suddenly decided to let my father remain my father and not to change him by another one for whatever worth it was. I gave up the idea of inviting Shri Satya Sai Baba to Delhi. I understand that later when some devotees from Delhi met him, he told them that somebody in Delhi had met him and invited him to visit Delhi but hadn't written to him. It was several years later that Shri Satya Sai Baba visited Delhi. Some months later I also had the chance to meet one Shri Neel Kantha Baba who also claimed to be an Avtar' of our Baba. I don't know what happened to him later, but did not hear any news about him. Fragrance of Bhakti I had by now fully dedicated myself to Baba and it seemed that I had surrendered to Him heart and soul. At all hours of the day and night, I had a


strange feeling of ecstasy engulfing my soul. Incessant tears of love and joy flowed from my eyes. Even the mention of the word 'Sai' was enough to fill my eyes with tears. I started thinking that Baba's bhakti was extremely easy and blissful. I lived every moment of my life with Baba. As mentioned earlier, my body emitted electricity currents, whenever anybody touched it. Every night, in my dream, I would be taken to one temple or the other, be in the presence of some God or the other of our pantheon, and made to visit hills, forests and rivers. On seeing these sites, I would often cry in ecstasy. Where these sites exist, I do not know even today. Even now when I recall these dreams, I feel thrilled. In my dreams, I have been to two Mother temples. In the first case, Mother emerged out of the idol wearing a white Saree and lifting a handful of rose flowers lying in front of the statue, handed over, the flowers to me. In the second case, Mother threw the 'Palloo' of her Saree to cover my head while I was standing with other devotees on; the lower platform of a peculiar shaped temple. Surely, these; were Baba's blessings, in the form of Mother, on a child. The strangest dream that I saw was when on a cloudy day, I was taken to a hill. On this hill a few soldiers were camping, wearing steel helmets with spears in their hands; along with their mounted horses. Suddenly from some where the sound of the ringing of bells was heard. Every one including the soldiers ran towards an old stone building where an arti was being performed. After the arti was over, I asked the priest performing the arti as to whose puja was being held as I could see no idol there. Pointing to a big stone fish on the top of a niche in the wall, he told me that it was the Matsya Avtar of Vishnu which was being worshipped. Till then I was not aware of the fact that there had been a Matsya Avtar of Lord Vishnu. In another dream, travelling in a bus, after a long journey, I was taken to a town where there was a unique temple of Lord Siva and Parvati. On reaching the temple, I found that the idols of Siva and Parvati were in a reclining posture. Parvati was on the right and Siva to Her left and water was oozing out from the mouths of both. Before leaving the temple, I was given the 'Prasad' of Misri (Sweet) and Makkhan (White Butter). I went seeking for a place to stay over night


in this town. In the process I reached a huge Dharmshala, on the first floor of which, I found a large number of people engaged in chanting the name of Lord Krishna before a picture of Lord Krishna, in standing pose with a cow on the back. Just then I saw a person standing before me with a dark complexioned beautiful child of about 4 years of age in His lap. The child was so charming that I felt like taking him into my lap. Suddenly the child started laughing with a full open mouth wherein I saw a big blue ball inside. I came to know later that Lord Krishna had shown His 'Vishva Swaroop' in His childhood. In another dream, I saw two sadhus coming from the opposite direction in a jungle. The short statured sadhu was in the front and the tall one, who seemed to be the disciple of the sadhu in the front, on his back. The Guru told his disciple "You see this person coming from the opposite direction. He is always in 'Bhav Samadhi/ Much later, I came to know what 'Bhav Samadhi' meant. In one dream, I saw a big procession of sages and saints along with caparisoned elephants, decorated horses, chariots and lots of people in front. Some of them were carrying big Plaques of gold, silver and copper in their hands on long sticks with Sanskrit shlokas inscribed on them. I tried to remember two of the smaller inscriptions by heart but by morning, I had forgotten the same. An extremely thrilling dream, I saw in Oct. 1964, on the day on which ladies keep fast for the longevity of life of their husband. I had shifted to my present newly built residence (F-5, Green Park) on 7th March 1964. The 'Grah Pravesh' of this house was performed by a Sidhha Saint of about 150 years of age known as 'Maharaj Ji'. While the house was under construction, an opening had been left on the back of the house which opened on a vacant plot where construction material was stored. On completion of the house this opening had been closed. On 4th Oct. 1964,1 had fallen asleep with the newly acquired book 'Gospels of Rama Krishna' on my chest In the dream, I saw that it was a cloudy morning. I was in the bath room when I heard the voice of a Fakir asking for alms in the back lane of the house. I felt attracted towards this voice and had a feeling that if I were outside, I would have given some money to this Fakir. I decided


within me that if by the time I came out of the bath-room, this Fakir was available, I shall certainly give him some money. As I came out of the bath room, I found this Fakir passing from in front of the corner of the vacant plot on the back. I rushed out and shouted for him. He came back to the vacant plot. As I looked up at the face of this fakir, I cried in ecstasy, "Oh Baba, it is you who has come today". In that ecstatic state, I laid down with my back on the floor and my hands and feet extending up like a dog which lies down on his back before its master, with love. Baba was wrapped in a white single piece cloth. He was having penetrating eyes and a white beard. He commanded me to get up and pick up a stone and write on the wall what he dictated. It was a sort of a couplet, which He asked me to write with the stone on the wall and instructed me to keep on reciting it, whenever I found time. I wrote down the couplet as He told me to do. Baba went away. I got up from my sleep immediately and tried to jot down what Baba had dictated but unfortunately, I forgot the first few words. A few days later, Baba again appeared in the dream and completed the couplet. Almost every night for 2/3 years, I kept on experiencing this sleeping state. Innumerable dreams, I saw but a few of those which have left a deep impression on my mind have been recounted here. At this stage of my spiritual journey, I read a few books of some saints. Ramakrishna Paramhamsa has said that a person who develops a deep yearning for God can realise Him merely in three days' time. I had a strong feeling that, by my Baba's Grace, I could realise Him only in three hours, if I could sit down in a quiet corner to do so. Shri Yagnik had entrusted to me the sacred work of spreading Baba's name and leelas. Where was the time available to me for this self seeking? Moreover, I had family commitments to fulfill. Ramakrishna has also said that once God is realised, it becomes difficult for the seeker to remain in this world to fulfil family commitments. I developed a strong feeling at this stage by personal experience that Baba does confer supernatural powers on His devotees. I, however, begged Him of two boons, as under:


(a) Never to confer supernatural powers on me because if I misused them even once, the shame that would accrue to me will be too much to bear and at the same time be unworthy of a devotee. b) Never to test me, for I am a weak person and would surely fail in that test. Baba seems to have accepted both of my prayers. But, and again, whenever there has been a need for me to seek His mercy, He has never faltered. Many a time when of my own or for the benefit of a troubled devotee, I have been forced to seek His Grace, it seems to have descended in torrents. As the number of devotees thronging for Baba's Pujas kept on increasing, my activities and responsibilities as a devotee also increased. In this process, I took the following steps :1.

Started writing to Shirdi Sansthan off and on to send to me copies of the Sai

Satcharita and other books as also pictures of Baba for distribution to devotees in the North. 2.

Write to different Sai Samajams such as All India Sai Samaj, Madras; Sri Sai

Samaj, Calcutta and other institutions, connected with Baba's name and for copies of Souvenirs issued by different Samajams, at some time or other. A copy of a letter received from the Secretary All India Sai Samaj Madras in March 1961 is at exhibit-IV 3.

Became a member of Sai Leela magazine brought out by Shirdi Sansthan

and Sai Sudha by All India Sai Samaj, Madras. 4.

Publish the following books / articles on the platform of Delhi Sri Sai Samaj:-

(a) First Puja book printed in 1961, alongwith the English synopsis of the verses. (b) An Article in English on the life and teachings of Baba. This article entiled as 'Sai Baba - the Saint of Shirdi' is reproduced as Chapter-I of this book. (c) Issue the reprint of an article entitled, "Shirdi -Ka -Sai Durbar" in Hindi. This is reproduced as Chapter VI (III) Paramhamsa Omkara Swamy During the description of my first visit to Shirdi, I have already stated that when I visited the Samadhi Mandir at 5.30 pm on 2nd December I960, a saint was seen standing near Baba's Samadhi in contemplation. He was a slightly built person


with a small beard. Suddenly the vibrant sound of 'Om’ oozed out of his being and engulfed the whole atmosphere. I felt drawn to this simple looking Fakir with only one cloth wrapped around his body. To me he appeared different from the large number of Fakirs asking for alms on the streets of Shirdi. The Pujaris asked him to climb up on the Samadhi to pay his respects to Baba. In the evening, I expressed a desire to my newly acquired friend - Shri Rao, that I would love to meet this Saint. The next morning, after giving a bath to Baba and as we were roaming in the fields of Shirdi to have a feel as to how Baba would have looked when he roamed about that place in flesh and blood, a South Indian gentleman met us and told us that he was accompanying the Saint referred to above. He offered to take us to him, to which we gladly agreed. He took us to the room just opposite the Gurusthan, where we found this saint sitting on a bed spread on the ground. On talking to him, we found that he had come from Madras and was on that day holding a 'Conference of world Religions' to which he invited us also to attend. He stayed in Shirdi for two days more and during this period, I went to see him several times. He made me occupy a chair on the dais in the Conference. After the Conference, I took him round to show other places in Shirdi connected with Baba. In this process, as we reached the Dwarkamayee, the Saint sat down in meditation on the floor, eyes closed, and also asked us to do the same- After a few seconds the chant of 'Om' again came out from his being and left us in an ecstatic state. Thereafter, he chanted the prayers he had composed in Sanskrit / Telugu languages in an extremely melodious voice. Some of these were later adopted by me for Baba's puja in Delhi deluded in our Puja books and are even today being sung by thousands of devotees all over not only the Northern part of India but also in foreign lands. It may be of interest to devotees of today to know as to how these compositions came to be included in our Puja book. I reproduce below these renderings for the benefit of readers:


(The word 'Sai’ has been added, where necessary. A few other changes have also been made in the original). Certain other renderings of this Saint which could not find place in our Arti Book have remained unsung till today. These are also heart touching renderings and I am reproducing these below for the benefit of devotees.


Shri Omkara Swamy was only of about 50 years of age, with an emaciated body but a glowing face. Seeing the glow on his face, I asked him one day, "Swamiji do you apply oil on your face?" Guptaji this Sthula Sharir has not touched oil for the last 30 years" was his reply


The Swamy never used the word I for his own self. He would refer to it as Sthula Sharir. He would not touch food or money. An old lady by the name of 'Annapoornima Ma' always accompanied him and fed him like a child. He could sit for hours and hours on Siddhasan. When not in company of others, he would be lost in meditation. One night at about 2 a.m., when I woke up to meet the call of nature, I found him lying down on his back in Siddhasan. In Oct. 1962, on the occasion of Vijai Dashmi, he came to stay with me at Delhi with eight of his followers including an American lady journalist, who had funded his visit to Delhi and had accepted him as her Guru. They stayed in my small Government flat and ate with me whatever my wife could cook. I took him round to various places in Delhi where Baba's pujas would be held and he would be required to share his compositions with the public. Because of his simple and unassuming nature, he became very popular with the devotees. He was easily accessible to each and every devotee and shared their happiness and misery in an equal measure. The American lady also became very popular as she would serve her Guru as best as she could and had completely taken to Indian food and Indian way of living. I arranged for the Swamy to go on a sightseeing tour of Delhi in a taxi. A devotee who had promised to send his car for the purpose did not do so. The party left after eight days stay and left an indelible mark on my bhakti towards Baba. The Swamy would write to me letters, mostly postcards, always starting with "Blessings for a healthy life ..........". A couple of his letters are reproduced as exhibit V of this book. Paramhamsa Omkara Swamy paid another visit to Delhi 1966, again on the occasion of Vijai Dashmi. This he was accompanied by only 6 persons. I had by then shifted to my own house - F-5, Green Park, New Delhi. This he attended many functions of Baba but was not shown the same respect by some particular devotees of Baba. One evening, I begged his pardon for this. His reply was, "Guptaji respect or no respect what does it matter to this Sthula Sharir. Baba will forgive them for they know not, what they do". I shall never forget these words. While leaving Delhi, I took him to the station. This time he was travelling 3rd class.


He was sitting on the platform on a box waiting for the arrival of the train and I was standing beside him. He asked me to sit down. I sat down on my legs. He then told me, " Guptaji, you have served this Sthula Sharir very well. It cannot give you anything but remember, Baba will give you everything." These were his last words to me. The train arrived. The compartment was already full. I virtually lifted him bodily and made him to enter through the window. I then realized that his body was emitting heat. On about 15/16th January 1967,1 received a letter from the secretary of his ashram that the Swamy had given up his physical body on January 11th night and had appointed me to the Managing Committee of his organisation, an appointment which I never assumed. In Baba's name, I have come across a large number of sages and saints. In fact from 1961 to 1965, whenever any known saint came to Delhi, I was taken to meet him. But the deep impress of saindiness left on me by Paramhamsa Omkara Swamy has been unique. After my retirement from service in 1982, when I visited my daughter in Madras, I had been to his Ashram twice but even here the same simplicity of the Swamy as was discernable in his life time, reigns the place. Kindly permit me to recount one more incident in my relationship with the Swamy. In his second visit to Delhi, one night he told me to keep a puja thali ready for the next morning with full puja ingredients therein. I told him, "Swami Ji, to me my Baba is my God and my Guru, I don't intend to adopt another Guru." He replied that it was not his intention make me his disciple. Sitting on my back, he would merely pray for my spiritual emancipation. This he did and even today after 35 years of his leaving the mortal coil, I feel indebted for his blessings. Other Sages and Saints - Contact with Sri Sivanesan Swamy of Shirdi While recalling Baba's kripa on me, through Shri Parmahamsa Omkara Swamy, I would also like to mention a few more names of sages and saints. I was told by a young saint Krishnaji, who had stayed in Mehr Baba's Ashram for seven years and to whom Mehr Baba had given his Kafni, that I must visit Swami Sivananda at Rishikesh and Swami Ram Das at Kanhangad in Kerala before it


was too late to do so. Unfortunately, for me I couldn't visit any of these saints due to some reason or other. Both took Samadhi round about that period. It so happened that by Baba's kripa, I would be taken to meet all sages and saints who visited Delhi at that point of time. In this process, I met Swami Chidanand of Rishikesh; the Swami sitting on the Gaddi of Manik Prabhu; Ma Nirmala Devi, proponent of Sahaj Yog; Narayan Baba of Panvel, Swami Muktanand, Neel Kantha Baba and many others. When I first came into contact with Narayan Baba, he was still in service and the 'Bhiksha' pose of Baba' that he gave to me during our first meeting, is still with me. I also exchanged several letters with him. There was another saint devotee of Baba, known as Doctor Baba who visited my house in 1964 and later started sending to me a large number of postcards with Baba's name and message artistically written on them. Later, I don't know what happened to Doctor Baba, as I lost all contact with him. Two letters received from this saint are reproduced as exhibit VI of this book. During my second visit to Shirdi, I was made to stay in Samadhi Mandir itself, in the room on the first floor on the left side of Baba's idol. I spent two memorable nights in this room. I would sit in the verandah outside the room overlooking Baba's mosquito-net and spend quite some time, remembering Him and shedding tears of love. After two days stay in this room, we were shifted, on our request, to Room No. 1 behind the Gurusthan. Swami Sai Sharnanandji and his wife were occupying Room No.2, wherein the PRO's office was located till recently. It was my ill-luck that I did not utilise this opportunity to know more about the Swami and through him about Baba. We would merely offer our Namaskars to him. This visit was also significant for another reason. I met Sri Sivanesan Swamy for the first time. He was then doing seva in the Dwarkamayee. Somehow he took a liking for me and vice versa in our first meeting. We would sit together in the Dwarkamayee and talk about Baba, share coffee in a restaurant and roam about in the nearby fields. He would make me do Dhuni puja and would often purchase all ingredients for the purpose including ghee from out of his own pocket. When I visited Shirdi with my children in 1970, he would take us


round the village of Shirdi and make us do Baba's puja in the way he thought fit. In this process he introduced me to some people in Shkdi who had lived with Baba. He would send to me at Delhi rare pictures of Baba and books on him through Delhi devotees visiting Shirdi. On one occasion, he sent to me a 'flag’ of Baba, which is still with me. I always looked forward to my visits to Shirdi where I would spend quite some time in the company of Swamiji. I would seek from him answers to all my questions on the path of Sai Bhakti. I never knew till the last years of his life that he had been taken as a Guru by quite a sizeable number of devotees. During my last meeting with the Swami about a year before his leaving the mortal coil, I asked him answers to six questions agitating my mind. A whole crowd of people waiting outside his room in a queue to meet him but he wouldn't allow anybody to enter. One South Indian young man made several attempts to meet him. Every time, he would tell him that he was busy talking to his friend and that he should not be disturbed. When again and again, he tried to force his entry into the room, Swamiji lost his temper on him and asked him to leave the room. As earlier mentioned, I had asked Swamiji a question: "Swamiji, you say that 'Om Sai, Shri Sai, Jai Jai Sai' is the Tarak Mantra' of Baba. This mantra has come up during the last 10 years or so only. Earlier nobody knew this Mantra. I had been reciting a particular Mantra of Baba since 1960. Should I give up this Mantra and take to the new Mantra." Swamiji looked at me and said, "The Mantra you chant has been given to you by Baba Himself. You should never even think in terms of leaving it." What a sound advice he gave me ! In fact, this particular event has already been mentioned in this write-up earlier. I had undergone open heart surgery on November 16th , 1995. A friend of mine from Delhi went to see Swamiji just when he was leaving his room to go to the hospital never to return. Swamiji looked up at him and asked him as to how I was after my surgery on 16th November 1995. He remembered the exact date of my operation. How much concerned would he have remained, when I was being operated? Is it not Baba's kirpa' on me? Baba was Love and Compassion Incarnate and so are His devotees like Swamiji, who have surrendered to Baba


heart and soul. My friend told him that I was all right. Swamiji told him to convey to me his blessings. Saying so, he left the room, never to return. During myy last 42 years of life connected with Baba's I have done a lot of thinking about Baba's work. In this

process, I have often jotted down some

thoughts relating Baba's work. In 1991, I had thought of a plan to hold a Seminar on Sai Baba of Shirdi in Delhi for three days and reduced in writing complete details as to how it should be conducted; what subjects should be discussed in it, whol should read the paper on a particular subject, where it will be held and who all should participate in it. As I was financially not in a position to handle such a big project sent all my papers to Sri Sivanesan Swamy asking for help and guidance in the matter. He immensely liked this idea and passed on the papers to Smt. Zarine Taraporevala of Bombay to extend her help and cooperation to me in holding the Seminar. Mrs. Taraporevala wrote to me in the matter but it was only in 1997 that this idea could be translated into action in the form of an 'International Convention of Shirdi Sai Devotees', held in the premises of the newly built temple of Baba by Shri Motilal Gupta at Sai Dham, Faridabad (Near Delhi). The Convention was held from 19 October to 21 October 97 and was a unique event of its own kind, the like of which had not been held so far. This Convention was inaugurated by Shri Justice S.P. Kurdukar, then a presiding Judge of the Supreme Court of India. Sri Sivanesan Swami took Samadhi on 12, February 1996. In him, the Sai devotees visiting Shirdi have lost a friend, philosopher and guide, who led innumerable devotees on to , the path of Sai Bhakti and inspired them to come nearer Baba. Through his inspiration, many devotees took to various activities concerning Baba such as writing books on Baba, compose bhajans, carry out group chantings, and construct Baba's temples in their own towns. Once he entered the precincts of Shirdi, never left it till his passing away. In fact, the Swami has become immortal as a devotee of Baba and shall be remembered for all times to come.


The Samadhi Sthal along with a memorial of Sri Sivanesan Sawami has come up as a monument in Shirdi under the dedicated guidance of Smt. Zarine TaraporevalaFunctioning of Delhi Sri Sai Samaj The activities of Shri Sai Samaj Delhi kept on increasing. After 1962, weekly pujas of Baba started being held at the houses of different devotees, who would also offer food to all the participants. Monthly pujas were held at the house of Shri A.K. Gawaskar in Bharti Nagar, New Delhi, who had a big hall in his house to accommodate more people. The three special pujas on Ram Navmi, Gurupoornima and Vijay Dashmi were held in Shamianas on the lawns of Gavaskar's house. All our pujas were held in an extremely peaceful atmosphere and singing and chanting were done in low voices. These became popular with all people participating in them as they experienced peace and comfort in these pujas. Parties of Qwaliwalas and good singers were invited to perform in the special pujas. In all our pujas, high Government officials and known dignitaries of Delhi started participating. The participants in monthly and special pujas were required to leave their names and addresses on sheets of paper provided for the purpose. Going through these sheets now, it is seen that well-known persons of the country have participated in these pujas. To name a few, Justic J.R. Madholkar of the Supreme Court; Shri Nath Pai, MP., Shri O. Pulla Reddy, Defence Secretary, Shri B. Gopala Reddy, Information Minister, are some such persons whose signatures are available in the sheets in my possession. Nobody was, however, given a seat on a higher pedestal in our pujas. Everybody took his seat as he came. Two of our inaugural members Shri C. S. Rao and Snri R. s. Sharma, however, did not agree with our working mainly on the plea that Shri K. N. Yagnik of Jaipur should not be given a place in our organisation being an outsider and the affairs of the Samaj should be guided by C. S. Rao who was an old and mature devotee of Baba.


Since Shri Yagnik was the person who had inspired us to . up Baba's work in Delhi and since I owed all my devotion Baba to him, I and all other devotees did not agree with t view. The result was that in 1964 or so, both of them stopp attending the pujas. We did not like it, but it could not helped. The idea of building a temple of Baba was uppermost in our minds but we did not have the means of achieving our aim. Moreover, I was a complete novice in this regard without any experience of this scheming world. I was duped of my hard earned money on more than one occasion on the plea of procuring a good piece of land for the purpose of construction of Baba's temple. We were offered places in the existing temples where Baba's picture could be placed for regular worship. One such temple was the Hanuman Mandir near Ashoka Hotel in Chankyapuri. But we did not accept such offers, as also a few other offers to build a Baba temple on Government land in an unauthorised manner. A Parallel Organisation Comes Up It has already been stated earlier that Shri R.S. Chitnis, Proprietor of two cinema houses in Delhi, had come to the site of Baba's puja held on the lawns outside 210, North Avenue, on the evening of 25 March 1961, in which the Rashtrapati also participated, but he had not found it convenient to come inside the pandal. Shri Chitnis was an old devotee of Baba and had also got some literature on Baba printed. He founded another organisation of Baba in Delhi under the name and banner of, "Shri Sai Bhakta Samaj, Delhi" on the Vijai Dashmi day in 1966, with employees of his two Cinema houses and his personal friends as members. This organisation was initially holding two Sai Darbars in Delhi -on Ram Navmi and Vijai Dashmi, every year in some community hall. The employees of Shri Chitnis had formed a Qawali Group and they would sing Qawalis and gazals. No ritualistic puja as such was performed. On November 5,1968, this organisation got a constitution of the Samaj registered as a society with the idea of obtaining a piece of land from the Government for building a temple of Baba. Shri C. S. Rao and Shri R. S. Sharma who had left our organisation along with Shri K. C. Dhawan, a businessman, joined Shri Chitnis. The first meeting of


Shri Sai Bhakti Samaj along with the new entrants, was held at the residence of Shri Chitnis one morning in 1968 to which I was also invited. The Managing Committee of the Samaj was constituted that day with Shri R. S. Chitnis as the President, Shri C. S. Rao as the Vice President amd Shri K. B. Grover (the Manager of Shri Chitnis 'Cinema Halls') as the General Secretary. Shri Rao told me after the meeting that my name had not been proposed for the Managing Committee as I was running the other Samaj. I did not at all feel bad about it as I thought that some of these people who were rich, might help in raising a temple of Baba which was the need of the day and for which I too had a deep yearning. The new Managing Committee applied to the Government of India for the allotment of a plot of land for the temple and Shri Chitnis started collections for the purpose from distributors of pictures shown in his cinema houses, which were located in the heart of the city. Within a few months, 17, Institutional Area, Lodi Road, the land on which the temple now stands, was allotted to the Shri Sai Bhakt Samaj by the Government. The plot allotted, however, belonged to two different authorities of the Government - a part of it to the Defence and the other Part to the Central Public Works Department. The Managing Committee of the Samaj did its utmost to obtain the Possession of the land without any success. Months passed by but the possession was not forthcoming. One evening, Shri Chitnis came to my house, with lots of gifts of Baba, a day after Deepavali of 1971, and told me that all his efforts to get the possession of land had failed and he had reached the conclusion that even if he tried whole of his life, he would not be able to bring the different authorities of the Government together and obtain, possession of the land. He sought my help in the matter, I was completely bewildered. How could a petty man of my stature help in obtaining the possession of the land? I told Shri Chitnis so, but he insisted that he was sure that with my efforts, the possession of the land could be obtained. In right earnest, I started my humble efforts to this end next morning, after seeking Baba's blessings. And lo ! the marvel of marvels, by Baba's Grace, my


21/2 months' incessant efforts succeeded in bringing six different Government authorities together at the site of the temple land one morning. These authorities were Headquarters Delhi area, MES, Station HQ Delhi; QM.G's Branch, Army HQ; Lands and Cantonments Directorate and Central Public Works Department. All the formalities were completed on the site and a final report submitted to the C.P.W.D. The plot was finally allotted to Shri Sai Bhakta Samaj soon and its possession obtained. On this occasion, Shri Chitnis did not come to the site personally but deputed his Manager, Shri Bhatnagar, to look after the guests assembling at the site. Shri Bhatnagar took all present to Khan Market to offer them a cup of tea with snacks. Shri Chitnis was extremely pleased with this achievement. He rang me up to say that he would soon visit my house again to thank me and now seek my active participation in the project. He did come but my participation was not sought, as perhaps a couple of my friends did not like the idea of my association with this sacred work. The foundation laying ceremony of the temple took place in August 1972. I was also invited to this function and had the opportunity to place some earth in its foundation. Two more years rolled by. The temple was slowly coming but my services were not required by Baba. In the meantime, we were carrying on Baba's Pujas in all parts of Delhi and more and more people were coming to attend these. At times we found that Baba's devotees from other parts of the country, coming to Delhi for some work, would also attend our Pujas. It was in 1964 or so, that we also had the privilege of performing a puja in the house of Shri M. Rangachari who later shifted to Hyderabad after retirement. Many Sai devotees may remember that this same Shri Rangachari became a known figure in Baba's affairs later. It is only recently that Shri Rangachari has cast off his physical body and merged in Baba. Building of Lodi Road Temple in New Delhi Soon after the Bhoomi Puja, the construction work on the site started. Shri Chitnis had already been raising funds for the same and was carrying on the preliminary work pertaining to the construction of the temple with immense


dedication and in a systematic manner. At that time, there was no proper road in front of the temple and beyond the temple site there was nothing but a jungle, in which a small establishment of the Army was located. Baba had chosen to sit in a secluded place then, knowing full well that it would soon become the nerve centre of Delhi and Sai devotees from far and near would flock to it for His 'darshan' and to find solace at His feet. It was in October / November 1973, while returning from Allahabad I told my brother-in-law, who was accompanying jne in the train that I did not know why it was so but Baba had chosen to keep me away from the construction of the temple for which I had been yearning for a long time and the dream of which was about to materialise. My brother-iip law also had been a devotee of Baba for years and knew well how much I had been yearning for a temple of Baba in Delhi and how I had been duped at times in the matter. Later this gentleman also became a member of the managing committee of the temple and was instrumental in bringing out the first collection of Sai Bhajans, having himself compiled, typed and brought out the booklet. Baba heard my words uttered while in the train. When I reached my house at night, my wife told me that Shri Chitnis had come to our house that evening to meet me and since I was not available, he would again come on the following day. Shri Chitnis came the next day again with a lot of presents in Baba's name. He told me that the ground and mezzanine floors of the temple had already come up and the second floor was yet to be completed as also the flooring was still to be done. All their resources to collect funds had exhausted and that he wanted my help to complete the project. I told him that I was a petty person to whom nobody would give money enough to complete the project. Shri Chitnis told me the same thing as he had said earlier that he was sure that with my help the project would soon be completed. He left a receipt book with me. Next morning, I started my efforts in right earnest to collect funds. I still recollect that the first receipt issued by me was for Rs.151/-in the name of my above mentioned, brother-in-law. The second receipt was in the name of Shri S.D. Midha, owner ofLex Drycleaners in Defence Colony Market. Shri Midha told; me to fill in any


amount in the receipt that I thought was his capacity to pay in the name of Baba and that he would pay the same. Hesitatingly and not knowing as to what would be the correct thing to do, I filled in Rs 251/- in the receipt which was a huge amount those days. He paid the money immediately. Let me state here that this gentleman died in Rishikesh many years later, while feeding the poor with his own hands. In one week, by Baba's kripa, I had collected a sum of approximately Rs. 5000/-. This gave me the confidence that it was Baba who was helping me in my efforts. Every third day or so, Shri Chitnis would come to my house after covering more than some 20 kms distance from his house and collect the amount. He would issue monthly statements of collections made and my name a few months later came up to the second position in the list, the first being of Shri Chitnis himself. This was the first time, I have had some experience of collecting funds for a cause. Money flowed in, Baba alone knows where from. I have both good and bad experiences of this work. One morning, at about 7a.m. a car stopped outside my house. A young man came in and handed over to me eight cheques amounting to Rs. 20,000/-. Could one imagine the happiness this provided to me and the support to the construction activities. Such a huge amount in one lot. I wouldn't name the person who came, suffice to say that he is a Member of Parliament presently and the son of an Ex - Chief Minister. At that point of time, he was serving in a Government organisation. Another incident of a similar nature also comes to my mind. The temple was just ready. I received a telephone call from a friend who was an industrialist and a devotee of Baba, that a certain gentleman who had been the Chief Minister of a big State wanted to meet me. He asked me whether they should come to my house or would I agree to go to his house, where he was staying. I was baffled; an Ex - Chief Minister wanting to meet me.? I agreed to go to his house to meet him after knowing the purpose of our meeting. I had made a request to this gentleman about two years back for his help in raising funds for the temple since we were finding it extremely difficult to complete the project. He had asked


me to write to him I did so, but didn't receive a reply. I sent to him another letter but even then I did not receive a reply. I then gave the effort, thinking it was Baba's will that it be so. Later, I came to know that some time earlier this gentleman had visited Shirdi and in the lanes of Shird whenever a particular fakir came in front of him, he would abuse him at his face, and say ‘Rascals make promises but do not fulfil the same’ This happened several times. He was then reminded of the promise made to me years back and had now come to the same. I reached the house of my friend one morning along with Shri Chitnis. The particular gentleman referred to above came out with five bundles of Rs. 100/notes, took off his shoes, lighted two agarbattis before the idol of Baba in the drawing room, and came to hand over the money to me. I told him that since I had ceased to be the secretary of t temple, I wouldn't touch this money and that it should handed over to the President of the temple - Shri Chitnis who was accompanying me. The gentleman replied that the promise was made to me and that I should accept the mone to absolve him of the promise. I took the money from him and passed it on to Shri Chitnis. The top floor of the temple, Shri Chitnis told me later had come up from the funds collected by me. Even this exercise of fund raising had been a very sacred errand for me. I would never mix Baba's money with my own. I would not even change the notes received in donation. Even today; I carry this trait of character but the devotees of today do no agree with my view. To me even five paisa collected in Baba's name has been a very precious and a sacred trust and I have maintained the view that this collection should be spent very judiciously. In my collection campaign, there had been occasion

when to get a

donation of rupees eleven, I had to traverse a distance of 11 k.m. I shall narrate an interesting incident in this regard. One day, a devotee of Baba, a serving Major General, fixed up with me the time to take him to the temple under construction at 3.30 pm. The distance to his residence from my house was about 7 km and it would have taken me only 15/20 minutes to reach. At about 3.10 p.m., it started raining heavily. I thought Baba was putting me to test. I picked up


my scooter, put on my old rain coat, and reached the residence of the General exactly at 3.30 p.m., completely drenched. Looking at me he exclaimed, "Why have you come in this heavy rain"? I told him that I was performing Baba's duty which knew of no limitations. I took him to the temple to see what all we were doing. On return, the General gave me Rs. 11/- as his donation, which I very gladly accepted as the prasad of Baba. I would like to pen down my another experience in the collection of funds. One gentleman serving as an officer in the Ministry of Home Affairs, who was also a devotee of Baba, asked me to give him a Receipt book to enable him to collect funds from his office people. He collected some 250/- rupees and returned to me the used receipt book. He kept on making false promises with regard to the payment of the money received. Some six or seven months passed and the money was not forthcoming. Shri Chitnis was pressing me for the payment. I agreed to make the payment from my pocket and gave to him one instalment of it. Two days later the gentleman came running to me with the payment. I asked him as to how was it that he now had decided to make the payment. He said that Baba had the previous night, in his dream, climbed up on his chest and giving him a lot of thrashing, told him not to cheat me and to make the payment immediately. Look at our Baba ! how much concerned is He for His devotees. Can any one doubt His omnipresence and omnipotence?. Commencement of Puja at the Temple and placement of order for the Marble Idol The pujas of Baba started being performed in the basement of the building with a painting of Baba, presented by Shrj Chitnis and which is at present kept in the balcony of the temple on the first floor. Later, this very picture was moved to the Prayer Hall upstairs, while still under construction, and placed on the platform presently housing the statue of Baba. It remained there till the installation of the idol on 2nd October 1976. For quite sometime, I was not in any way connected with the management of the temple. One day, Mr Chitnis invited me, in writing, to attend a meeting of the managing committee as a guest. I told Mr. Chitnis that I would never like to be a part of the organisation and that I was happy and contented to remain a


mere servant of Baba. He told me that I was invited to attend the meeting merely as a guest without any commitment to join the organisation. In the meeting, Shri Chitnis prevailed upon me to join the Managing Committee. I turned down the offer with all humility saying that I had already had the experience of the working of such a body having worked in Delhi Sri Sai Samaj, for about 12 years and that I wouldn't like to be a part of any organisation again as it affected my bhakti. All the members of the Managing Committee got up and requested me to reconsider my decision as they wanted me to play an active role in the affairs of the temple. With folded hands, the then Vice-President of the Samaj, Shri K. C. Dhawan, requested me to accept the offer. Considering my refusal as imprudence on my part, I yielded to their request saying that if I were left out, I could be of greater service to them later. These were prophetic words as the subsequent events in the Samaj showed. Had I remained away from the management committee of the Samaj, I might have been of greater service to Baba. The samaj might not have, in that event, been riddled with unworthy politics and dissentions and Baba's work would have progressed much better, not only for the improvement of the temple but towards the coming up and spread of Baba's work in the whole of Northern India. Let me hasten to add that I am no angel in Baba's name but, knowing as we all do, when three persons meet on a platform, politics starts and, at that time an impartial entity is needed to sort out the affairs. Shri Chitnis was an extremely nice and a dedicated person but every man has his weaknesses. He was a doubting general who would easily lend his ears to what others said about their colleagues. And unfortunately, human nature as it is, we always have someone amongst us who is a past master in this act. Even today, I carry the conviction that a devotee should never actively entangle himself with the management work. Baba has created a cadre of administrators who are only suitable for the management of the place after it has come up and the management work should be left to them. Soon the question of carving out an idol of Baba at Jaipur for installation in the temple came up. I had some experience in this regard. In 1972, one Shri J.R. Muthialiah from Visakhapatnam, on the advice of one Shri A.N. Rao, Chief of


Accounts in the Ministry of External Affairs, had approached me to accompany them to Jaipur to place an order for Baba's statue to be installed at a temple in the Port area of Visakhapatnam. I along with Shri Muthialiah and Shri Rao went to Jaipur for the purpose. At that time the sculptors of Jaipur did not have any experience of chiselling idols of Baba. After roaming about the whole market and seeing the work most sculptors, we selected the 'Rajasthan Moorti Kala Kendra > for the purpose and placed with them an order for ' Baba's idol at a cost of Rs. 24, 000. For this propose I had to undertake several trips to Jaipur and also seek the help of my father-in-law, to prevail upon the sculptor to get a nice job done. This idol is installed in the temple at Visakhapatnam port though Shri Muthialiah, an excellent devotee of Bab who merged in Him within a few years of the temple comij up. I understand Mrs. Muthialiah is still there to look the temple. For placing an order for the idol of Lodi Road Temple, I along with Shri Chitnis and a few others went to Jaipur one morning in Shri Chitnis' car. We went through the whole market to see the work of almost all sculptors but ultimately again selected Rajasthan Moorty Kala Kendra for doing the job. This firm was being run by two brothers - Shri Manohar Lal Pandey and Shri Rameshwar Lal Pandey by name and had been responsible to do all sculpturing work for the Birlas all over India and their temple's coming up overseas. Since I already knew the proprietors, we had long discussions with them as to how a unique and a lifelike idol of Baba resembling the one at Shirdi could be carved out. It was agreed that Shri Rameshwar Lal Pandey would visit Shirdi and stay there, for as long as he desired, till he was satisfied that he was able to make a ditto copy of the Shirdi idol in clay. He brought a clay bust model after spending eight days in Shirdi but we did not find it anywhere near the Shirdi Idol. Shri Pandey told us that the Shirdi Idol was not made as per the specifications laid down in the 'Shastras'. And how could it be? It was in fact Baba's own guidance to Shri Talim which had made him to bring out that effect in the Shirdi idol which is unique. Baba's compassionate eyes looking at every one with love and smile and providing them solace in their life full of vicissitudes. He, however, put in his best efforts to create a mud prototype of the idol as nearer to Shirdi as possible. We haggled and


bargained with him to provide us a idol 5ft 4 in height, without any marks or blemishes in the front for a sum not more than Rs. 48,000/-, as far as I can recollect now. Some 14/15 trips to Jaipur had to be undertaken in the process of approving the finished work - first in clay, then in piaster of Paris and finally in stone. Many of the trips to Jaipur by road were memorable. In one trip undertaken in the rainy season, we were stranded some 65 km before Jaipur. The road was completely submerged in water and there was nothing but water as far as we could see. Truckloads of boulders were brought from Jaipur and the road made worthy of crossing the broken portion. We had to wait on this spot for over three hours. Even today, it gives me comfort and a sense of pride to recall the sincere, earnest and deep efforts made to analyse each and every part of the idol and put in our very best efforts to see that Baba's face and eyes reflected the effect which is His hallmark. We would insist on Shri Rameshwar Lal Pandey who had by now become a close friend, to put his heart and soul in the idol and instil life in Baba to make it look as if He would open his lips any moment It has been a very thrilling experience of life, the like of which I have never had again. A lot of effort, labour and time were put in to achieve our objective but the Shirdi effect could not be brought into the idol. What could be brought out is for all to see and judge in the idol installed at the Lodi Road Temple. It can, however, be said with certainty that this idol has provided inspiration and comfort to a very large number of devotees and drawn them towards Baba. Installation Ceremony of the Idol The idol was brought in a truck from Jaipur and placed on the pedestal, covered with a white sheet. Earlier we had been debating as to who should be invited to perform the mstallation ceremony of the Idol. It was suggested that Smt.Indira Gandhi or Shri Y. B. Chauan should be requested to do the job; I was, however, of the opinion that each and every devotee entering the portals of the temple was a very important person to us and that we should engage everybody in the installation ceremony. All the devotees should carry a pitcher full of Ganges


water on their heads shouting Baba's Jai and enter the temple. This suggestion was accepted and implemented. The unveiling ceremony of the idol was fixed for VijaiDashmi, 2nd October 1976. For three days prior to the installation ceremony, South Indian Pandits were carrying out Havan and Puja in the temple premises. The unveiling was done in the afternoon. As the 'Kalash' reached the pedestal, the cloth wrapped around Baba removed, and holy water poured on the idol, the divine sight of Baba filled everybody with ecstasy. I cried out full throatedly in ecstasy, tears flowing from my eyes. At long last, my dream of a Baba's place of worship in Delhi had materialised. Shri Chitnis and other members of the Managing Committee thought that I had lost my calm perhaps due to somebody saying something unpalatable to me. Every body ran towards me to calm me down little realising that it was the outburst of a heart full of ecstasy and gratitude to Baba which had made me cry out in this manner. After the installation ceremony, it was felt that the pedestal of Baba had been raised too high and Baba looked above the heads of devotees standing before him. Shri Chitnis decided to cut down the height of the pedestal. A few days after the installation ceremony, I got a ring from Shri Chitnis one morning to reach the temple premises immediately. On arrival at the temple, I found that the idol was bound in chains and raised from its pedestal by pully brought for the purpose. While this work was going on, Baba provided me an opportunity to hold Him in my arms for about two hours, till the job finished. I placed with my own hands beneath the seat of Baba, a few pieces of stone brought by me from Shirdi after the old Dwarkamayee redone in 1962. The first puja to the idol was performed by us based on the arti book compiled and published by the old Sai Samaj, Delhi. After the coming up of the Lodi Road temple, there seemed to be no need left for a separate organisation for Baba's work in Delhi. Shri A. K. Gawaskar, in whose house we were conducting Baba's pujas, had also by then left Delhi after his retirement from service and all puja articles alongwith Baba's picture had been shifted to my


house. Sri Sai Samaj Delhi, some time thereafter, stopped functioning under that name and banner. At this point of time, there were already quite a large number of devotees of Baba in Delhi but they were scattered all over Delhi. With the coming up of the temple, when people actually started experiencing Baba's Grace, there was a steady growth in the number of devotees and after the screening of the picture, 'Shirdi Ke Sai Baba' in 1983, there was a sudden spurt in the number of devotees. Even before the installation of Baba's idol, devotees from neighbouring towns such as Aligarh, Meerut and Ghaziabad, had started visiting the temple. Later, Baba's influence spread to the whole of North India. The situation as it stands today, there are many temples of Baba not only in Delhi but the whole of North India-even in far-flung and inaccessible places, and new and new temples are coming up every day. The Saint of Shirdi is today moulding and guiding the lives of millions of His devotees and providing them hope, cheer and impetus to live a purposeful life. He is redeeming His Pledge at every step, "Why should you fear, when I am there. Cast all your burdens on me and I shall bear them". Baba seems to be more alive today than while He was in flesh blood. Shri Sai Nath Maharaj Ki Jai.


Chapter Four Stray Thought! on Various Aspects of Sai Worship On Bhakti In pure 'Satvik' bhakti, there is no place for desires. When desires end, real bhakti starts. The desire to multiply temples; erect monuments in the chosen deity's name; count the holding of 'Nam Saptahs' and the number of idols installed; and the like, may form part of 'Rajsik’ bhakti but surely not of pure and unadulterated 'Satvik’ bhakti. ******* Pure bhakti generates absolute faith and faith leads to complete surrender. The joy of surrender is unique. It can only be experienced and not talked about. Blessed is the devotee who has acquired it through the grace of Baba. No treasure in the world, not even knowledge, can match it. If one is a bhakta and some unpleasant happening takes place in life which he attributes to Baba saying that while Baba was there, how could such a thing happen to him and consequently gives up his devotion to Baba, take it for certain that this person is not a true bhakta. He was merely bartering his bhakti with Baba's Grace. A true devotee will not, even in his dream, attribute this happening to Baba, what to talk of giving up his faith in Him. He would accept it a result of his 'Prarabdha'. This reminds me of a devotee of Baba who gave up his worship of Baba after his wife died of Cancer, saying that how could he have faith in Baba who could not save his wife who had served Him heart and soul. In His life time, when a lady told Baba as to how her son could die when He was there, Baba told her, "Mother ! please do not come to me if you feel there should be no deaths in your family. I cannot change the Prarabdha." ******* Baba prescribed the simple path of bhakti to His devotees. It is also laid down in our scriptures that in 'Kaliyug' God can be realised by doing mere 'Naam Japa'. Baba would tell His devotees that there was no need for them to indulge in other hard spiritual practices, such as Ashtang Yoga, Jap, Tap and sixteen fold


Bhakti. He lived in Bhakti alone. If they called Him even once whole heartedly, He would come running to their help even from beyond the seven seas. ******* Again and again in the Sai Satcharita, Baba has exhorted His devotees to listen to His life story and leelas. By merely doing so, devotees 'avidya' will vanish and pure Satvik bhakti would start flowing in their hearts. ******* In Bhakti, there is no giving or taking. The bhakta becomes one with his deity and exuberates His grace in every thought and action of His. Baba had said, "I give to my devotees, what they want so that they may learn to want, what I want to give to them". What was it that He wanted to give to His devotees? Pure Satvik Bhakti and the resultant love which could engulf the devotees' whole being. ******* If you come across a Guru who is arrogant and exhibits partiality towards some of His devotees, know for certain that this Guru is a mere show-piece and incapable of leading you on to the path of God Realisation. In Bhakti, love encompasses the whole being and every pore of the body of such a person should emit love and compassion. How could he display differentiation in the distribution of limitless love within him? ******* As per our scriptures, there are four paths to spirituality i.e Gyan, Yoga, Karma and Bhakti. Each path, in its own right is capable of taking the aspirant to the ultimate. In Sai Temples however, it has been observed that often the organisers mix up one path with the other, such as performing yagnas and practising Yoga. While each path has its own efficacy, the organisers should understand that on to the path of bhakti there is no need for adulteration or deviation. The path of bhakti is self sufficient. On Gurus and the Path of Baba All His life, Shri Sai Baba of Shirdi lived a most frugal, unassuming and simple life. He lived in a dilapidated mosque, wore a torn Kami, slept with a brick


under His head, begged His food from a few houses every day and shared it with the poorest of the poor and animals alike. All those claiming to be His Avtar or Guru / Sadguru in His name but who live a life absolutely contradictory to the life of Baba, could they be deemed to be near about Baba? These Avtars and Gurus ride big limousines, wear silken robes; live in splendour in big palatial buildings, remain inaccessible to an ordinary poor devotee and at every step differentiate between the rich and poor, the high and the low. Are they really espousing the principles Baba stood for? Let both the Gurus and the devotees ponder calmly on what they are doing. No aspersion or denigration of anybody is intended but doesn't it provide food for thought? ******* Towards the later part of His earthly life, Baba accepted Dakshina from devotees coming for His darshan. Large sums of money were thus collected. Baba distributed this money amongst those around Him and whatever was left, He would empty His pocket before going to sleep saying "Enough of it; go and bury yourself." The Gurus of today as also those running temples in Baba's name, are all collecting huge amounts of money from the public and in most cases piling these up in banks or spending them on adding more glamour to their temples / ashrams, to keep their name and fame going. They spend little, if any, on humanitarian activities for the upliftment of the poor and the needy who were so dear to Baba. Let us ponder calmly if this is the path shown by Baba? Moreover, the money so accumulated, becomes the cause of infighting amongst the management in temples and ashrams and an ordinary devotee who visits these places to find solace at the feet of Baba or to pray to Him and seek from Him answers to his problems of life, fails to experience the peace and serenity which such a place should exude, if there were no conflicts in the minds of the management. Surely even mental reservations pollute the atmosphere and affect the vibrations of the place. A thought has always agitated my mind as to how a Guru or Sadguru could bring himself round to accept the situation in which his own picture is kept and worshipped on the same pedestal as that of Baba? One must have taken to


the path of Baba by becoming a devotee initially and later elevated himself to the stature of Guru / Sadguru. It is unimaginable and beyond comprehension that a pure devotee would ever allow his own picture to be kept and worshipped on the same platform along with that of his Aradhya'. There has been a large galaxy of sages and saints in India who in their own life time reached godhood, for example; Ramana Maharishi, Ramakrishna Paramhamsa, Nam Deo, Tukaram, Eknath Maharaj, and many others. In their life time they did rot allow their own picture to be worshipped along with that of their chosen deity. According to our scriptures (in this case Sai Satcharita) only the one who is capable of making us dwell in the self and taking us beyond the ocean of wordly existence, is in fact capable of being our sadguru. Have the gurus of today reached this stage? Baba had, in His lifetime, stated that His Guru had not given Him any Guru Mantra. How could then He be expected to give one to any devotee. The gurus of today many a time give Guru Mantra to their followers. Are they following Baba in thought and deeds? I sometimes wonder if Baba's own way of living and functioning has lost relevance today or I, an ordinary person striving to be His bhakta, is unable to understand the purport of His life and living. I shall be extremely grateful if somebody could throw some light on this subject. My experience onto the path of Sai bhakti has instilled in me a feeling that it is easier to be a Guru but extremely difficult to be a Bhakta. I wish, I am wrong. This feeling of mine has been corroborated by a remark made by Shri Ramakrishna Paramhamsa and which has recently come to my notice: "Gurus can be had by the thousands, but rare is a disciple." In some temples, it has been seen that the Guru has a separate chamber furnished with relish, where he receives his disciples. While Baba in the same temple sits on a rugged stone, the Guru in his chamber sits on thick mattresses. What a splendid display of bhakti? *******


I have read in a book recently that a known Guru within no time of his accepting Baba in his life and experiencing His grace, turned into a Guru himself and many devotees started seeking his guidance. If a bull can be made to recite the Vedas through the Grace of God, surely a man could reach any heights in no time on account of his 'Prarabdha'. But in such a case, the change should be total and not partial. It is difficult for human beings to remain away from the snare of Maya. Human brain easily succumbs to the pleasantries of the make believe world of its own creation and falls prey to all that sounds pleasant to the ears. The path to godliness is very thorny and is difficult to tread without the Sadguru's Kripa. To quote a passage from my diary: "Beautiful words, shining ideas, attractive dreams and fine images are the golden lid which keep the face of Truth covered from our sight. Ifs this veil woven of the golden threads of human imagination and its fond hopes that hides the Sun of Truth from our view." The same way the Gurus of today get lost in Maya when their henchman talk of experiencing their potential in some way or the other. In actual fact, it is a mere camouflage of the reflection of guru's own ego. Let us give this matter a deep thought. Kindly allow me to recite a true story in this connection. A certain person, who had been selected to head an Ashram after the demise of its existing incumbent, was studying in Allahabad University. He was living in the hostel. Lots of pure ghee, dry fruits and other varieties of rich foodstuff were sent to him for his consumption by the Ashram. This young man would however, distribute all this stuff amongst his fellow hosteliers and himself ate very little out of it. When his friends asked him as to why he did so, his reply was that his guru had taught him to eat only a little and that too only satvik food, and since these eatables, were tamsik in nature, he was shunning their use. Later on when after the death of his Guru, this person took over that ashram, the first thing he did was to get the door of his room removed. According to him, this he did so, the reason that there should be absolutely nothing in the Iife of a person who led others, which should remain concealed from the public gaze. In fact, Sai Baba's life was also an open book for anybody to read.


The predecessor of this young Guru ate food sitting on a high pedestal along with other ashramites sitting on the floor and in gold and silver utensils. He gave up this practice. He would take his food in ordinary utensils sitting along with the ashramites as also serve them with his own hands. Later he consolidated all the funds of the Ashram and spent these on opening 30 schools where the poor children received free education. On Building Temples Very often, news is received that at such and such place a very big temple of Baba is coming up. Even those connected with the construction of such a temple do not hesitate to say, again and again, that their's would be the biggest temple in the whole of a particular region or even in the whole of India. A thought has often arisen in my mind, "Will Baba sitting in a huge temple shower greater largesse on His devotees and be more effective than the one sitting in a small temple or even under a tree?" "Will His devotees experience more grace from a bigger place than a small one.?" Some are building temples on a few yards of land while others talk of many acres of land, sometimes extending to more than 100 acres for the construction of the temple along with its ancilliaries. People seem to be engaged in a rat race. In my view, Baba's idol installed in a thatched hut by one person or a group of persons who have dedicated themselves to Baba heart and soul, may generate much better vibrations than the one built on a huge plot of land by an individual or a group of persons with a lot of money power at their command. Baba spent His whole life in a dilapidated mosque. To me it seems a little incongruous to make Him sit in a huge awe-inspiring building totally covered by marble and granite, with a gold canopy over His head, and wearing a diamondstudded gold crown on His head. An explanation to this flashy mode of Baba's worship is given that it is the devotees wish to see Him being worshipped as a 'Raja Dhiraj'. They contend that huge temples of other Gods/Goddesses have also similarly come up. But Baba is supposed to be an Avtar of Lord Siva, whose temples are generally small and unostentatious. Has Lord Siva lost his glamour by being worshipped in small temples? Should we not encourage building similar


small temples of our Baba and the money thus saved on the construction of lofty buildings becoming available to serve the poor and needy, who were so dear to Baba? I would humbly, request my worthy fellow devotees/ Gurus/ Avtars to give the matter a thought and throw more light on this subject. In the North, a tendency has been witnessed to erect more and more temples of Baba or to instal Baba's idol in the temples already functioning. As an humble devotee of Baba, I consider it my sacred duty to discourage such a tendency on the part of my fellow devotees which would result in a haphazard growth of Sai temples. A Baba temple should only be constructed by people who can ensure the spirit of Baba to flow in abundance in such a temple after it has been erected. During my visit to Jabalpur in September 2001, I was taken to a Baba temple where, in my humble view, things appeared appalling. The face of Baba seemed to be mutilated. Again and again stretching my eyes, it was found that the idol had a black scar on its nose. Hundreds of flies and ants were found on the 'Charan Padukas', on which prasad was scattered in abundance. The shawl wrapped around Baba was unclean. Only one young boy was sitting in a corner of the temple awaiting the arrival of somebody who would give Baba bath and clean the place. There seems to a definite need to avoid such situations. The decision to build a Baba temple should only taken-up by a devotee after deep and careful thought, take into account his own potentiality to take up and maintai such a project. If one looks into the history of spirituality, would be seen that great devotees of God, who have left mark of their spirituality, did not build a temple. They on occupied a particular place of God from where their spirituality developed and flowed. In my humble view, the building of a temple is not the only appropriate reflection of one's devotion to Baba, as seems to be the case today, when a large number of devotees all over are aspiring to build temples. Every heart is a temple of God. A small picture or idol of Baba placed in a corner of the house, where the devotee cries out his heart and soul to Baba, is a much better temple of Baba than an elegant building housing an image of Baba, where the organisers indulge in cut-throat competition to occupy the high seats in the management and which has become a hotbed of politics. The


vibrations emanating from that secluded corner of the house could be much more powerful and effective, than the temple which vibrates with jealousy, hatred and political pranks of its constituents. Building a temple to show one's gratitude to Baba, who has bestowed His Grace on him, may thus not be the only and appropriate way for a devotee. Early in my journey on Baba's path, I had read in a book written by a saint of Shri Ramakrishna order, "The success of a religious body depends, not on its external achievements, its efficient organisation, its buildings, the size of its membership or its philanthropic activities but upon the inner life of each of its members and the measure of their progress towards devotion and knowledge of God." These words have left an indelible mark on my mind. Before taking up a project for the building of a temple a lot of thought, planning, availability of funds for the running of the temple and most importantly, the constitution of the organisation have to be given a deep thought. Nothing should be done in haste, based on emotions. It is difficult to plan and build a temple but it is much more difficult to ensure its smooth, flawless functioning and to generate vibrations in the temple wherein even a non-believer should feel the presence of Baba. When a person or a group of persons decide to build a temple, more often-they have no previous experience of the task. They associate whosoever comes their way and who either seems to be a devotee or who is capable of generating funds. When the temple gets ready, invariably the administrators out of this crowd come up to administer the temple, making those who had given their life and blood to this work but who are sincere devotees and would not like to indulge in dirty politics, run away from the temple. From the experience gained, I would suggest that the following areas in building a temple should be given deep thought: 1.

The

temple does not mean merely the installation of an idol and ensuring its regular worship. It encompasses a whole lot of things, other than worship, such as: creating an atmosphere laden with Baba's way of life and leelas, the principles Baba cherished and lived for, regular reading of Sai Satcharita; delivering talks on Baba and revealing that which was peculiar in Baba; devise programmes for


the service of the poor and needy; and the like. Baba's emphasis, all through His life, was on the following three aspects of humanity; i) Oneness of man irrespective of caste, creed, religion, or geographical boundaries. ii) God is one and dwells in all living beings, iii) Service to the poor and needy. 2. Personal life of those associated with Baba's work, at every step, should reflect these strains and the temples built for Baba should vibrate with these feelings. 3. The constitution of the society should be drafted taking into account the need for its smooth functioning for at least the next 30 years. Generally people with feeling initially build a temple and once it starts functioning, the administrators come and ease them out. This aspect should be taken care of while drafting the constitution and it should be ensured that all those who have initiated the proposal or those who have translated their thoughts into action in the initial stages are not ignored or removed from the centre stage for quite some years to come. So also, the membership of the society has to be taken care of. Most founder members should not all be old, as in that event they would create a vacuum in the organisation within the next few years. There should be a judicious mixture of the old and the young in the society. 4. It has been observed that Baba's temples gather a lot of funds. The piling up of these funds is likely to provide an impetus to wrong persons to grab the seat of power in these temples. To curb this desire, huge amounts of money flowing to Baba's funds should be diverted at the earliest towards philanthropic activities of a permanent nature which can help in the improvement of the lot of the poor and needy people, who were dear to Baba. Also, great care should be taken in inducting new members in the institution and self-seekers should be eliminated to get an entry into the organisation. The form of membership should be drafted in such a manner that no non-devotee finds a place in the organisation. The following suggestions could be considered:a) The form should include a column in which the applicant should be asked to write 10 lines on Baba. This would show the depth of his devotion.


b) The applicant should be asked to state the reason for which he is seeking the membership of the institution along with information as to which field of functioning in the temple, he would be able to make his contribution. c) The form should be scrutinised by a committee of experienced members who should endeavour to find out the real motto of the person to seek membership and ultimately, the applicant interviewed to ensure his meaningful contribution to the institution. On Miracles Most devotees of Baba and almost every one who has known Baba from a distance, consider Him a Miracle Man. It hurts me to portray Baba as such. Calling Baba a Miracle Man is like calling the Sun, a Deepak. For a God-realised soul, all barriers of Time and Space come to an end. Even the elements of Nature accept its command. This has amply been demonstrated, time and again, by events in Baba's life as well as in the lives of all great Saints. Miracles take place in the following circumstances in a saint's life:a) According to Ramana Maharishi, "It is enough for the thoughts of a Gyani to be turned in any direction and the automatic divine activity begins", and seems to have caused a miracle. b) As stated above, all forces of Nature are at the command of the saint and whatever he utters becomes a reality. He need not employ any medium to achieve his purpose. c) When a devotee recites to a saint his tale of woe, its mere narration creates a feeling of compassion in him, resultantiy the devotee may be relieved of his misery. d) The Saint performs a miracle for a purpose. This may be to provide an impetus to the devotee to continue tread the path of godliness still more steadfastly or to draw a person towards God. Generally a sage or saint does not show a miracle just with the swing of his hand or merely for the purpose of impressing the onlookers. Rather they have decried the use of miracles on the path of divinity.


Of course, sages and saints have shown miracles but always for a purpose. This is true of our Baba also. Baba used the vehicle of miracles always for some specific purpose. When a person starts treading the path of Sadhana as he reaches the fourth chakra, the 'Riddhies' and 'Sidhhies' come to him and confer on him the particular boon asked for by him. Some ask for wealth, some for power to cure diseases, some for writing books on spirituality, some for foretelling events in life, some for 'Vaksiddhi' and the like. On attainment of any such power, they use it indiscriminately and get lost in its charm and make it a means to attract people to themselves and earn name, fame and wealth in life. Their further progress on the spiritual path comes to an end. Those Sadhaks who do not fall a prey to such an attainment and continue to tread the path of spirituality steadfastly and assiduously continue to make progress for the attainment of the Truth. There are two schools of thought according to our scriptures with regard to whether one can create something out of nothing or merely use occult powers to materialize a thing which has existed somewhere. Most thinkers have supported the latter theory. According to it, some unseen power, at his command, is employed by the media to bring a thing which has existed somewhere. Two such experiences of my life are narrated in the succeeding paragraphs. I was a student of class X in Gwalior in the year 1940. My friends asked me to join them at a particular place where a person was to demonstrate that he could produce whatever one desired. Some six to seven students collected at that place in the afternoon, where a rustic was sitting wrapped in a sheet of cloth. All of us sat on either side of him on the floor. This gentleman told us that he could produce whatever we desired to eat. After deliberations amongst us, we asked him to produce 'Pedas' (a particular sweet) of Mathura. Let me clarify that this particular sweet made in Mathura is of a smaller size and has a different taste than the one made by the sweet-sellers of Gwalior which is much' bigger in size and is wrapped in sugar. The gentleman brought out two packets - one in each hand, containing Mathura Pedas. We ate them to our satisfaction. We were amazed at his skill. Next we asked him to produce two orange like fruits, which I


had seen in the garden on the dam built on a local river, a day before. He produced them - one in each hand. All of us decided to ask him for something unique. We told him to show us the gold coins of Emperor Ashoka's time. He said that we should refrain from insisting on him to do so as if he produced them and we touched the coins, we would start bleeding. We did not, however, yield to his pressure. He attempted to do so but could not produce any gold coins. He merely made us to hear the tinkering sound of gold coins. Whatever he predicted about us was all totally incorrect. The other incident is of January 1983, after I had retired from service and had gone to stay for a few days at Ajmer with my brother-in-law, a doctor in the railways. One morning when I was having a walk on the lawns of his bungalow along with my father-in-law, he told me that he would have liked to show me the skills of one Nanaji who could produce anything desired from nowhere. I had already heard the story that when one of our relation's marriage was to be settled, this very Nanaji got both the boy and the girl garlanded from the space, which helped the boy and his father to accept this match. While we were still walking, I saw a lean and thin old man, wearing a 'dhoti' and a coat over it, walking into the house. My father-in-law accosted him saying that only a few minutes earlier he had been talking to me about him and requested him to show his skills to me. I found that Nanaji had met almost all V.I.Ps of the day and was carrying in his pocket the testimonials given to him by them. He also showed to me the paper cuttings from the then popular Journal 'Blitz' of articles written by its Editor, Shri Karanjia, about the miracles shown by Nanaji. Nanaji made us all sit on the carpet and chant a particular kirtan. He first produced two garlands, one for me and the other for my wife. These, he said, had been procured from the local Govindji Temple. Since we were eight persons sitting in the room, he next produced eight bananas for us to eat. He then asked me to name anything and that he would produce the same but suggested that it may not be costly since somebody has to pay for it. He then produced a big lock, which we still have in our possession.


The two incidents narrated above amply prove that the adepts of occultism who perform miracles merely utilize laws which are not known to common people. I shall end this narration by quoting a story from Shri Ramakrishna Paramhamsa's Gospels. A youngman from a village left his house to become a sanyasi. He returned to his village after doing sadhana for twelve years. The villagers asked him as to what he had achieved after doing Tapasya for twelve long years. He invited them all to come to the local river bank the next morning when he would show to them his attainments. People gathered on the river bank next morning. This Sanyasi came with his wooden slippers on and walked over the waters of the river as if he was walking on the road. Another Sadhak who was watching the scene came there and calling the boat-man crossed the river, paying one anna coin to the boat-man. He told the Sanyasi that it a pity that he had taken twelve long years to learn an art worth one anna only. The miracles performed by Baba were of a different type and reflected his omnipotent omnipresent and omniscient nature which a Brahm Gyani possesses. The miracles performed by Him fall in the following categories:a) Reflect His command over the elements of Nature. b) Sitting in the Dwarkamayee, He could appear in some form or the other whenever and wherever a devotee was in trouble and needed His help. c) Baba knew the past, present and future of all living beings and His approach towards a devotee was based on this knowledge. d) A few instances also exist in which He would use His powers to show some pranks to His devotees to provide them humour and make them laugh. Baba's devotees must not, therefore, encourage the projection of Baba's leelas as miracles as it will be far away from His true nature. No instance has come to notice in which Baba produced something with the wave of His hands. Baba was a Tatva-Gyani. Although apparently He did produce some miracles, behind every action of His there was a deeper purpose and a significance which became visible as the subsequent events unfolded.


Some excerpts from my diary on the subject of miracles are reproduced below which may help the reader to make a correct appraisal of this phenomenon :What is a miracle? Certain actions produce effects that are not rationally readily accountable because they do not fall into the usual pattern. 2.

On the path of Gyan, preoccupation and practice acquiring psychic powers

are not favoured by true masters. 3.

During Sadhana psychic powers may manifest spontaneously as a result of

practice performed previous lives but care should be taken not to them to impress an audience. 4.

Sri Ramana Maharishi: Self Realization may or not be accompanied by

occult powers depending whether the person concerned had sought these power before realization. They may also be sought and gaina after realization for a definite purpose, if called for by circumstances. 5.

The greatest miracle is brought about when throug sadhana we conquer all

desires including those for siddhis and endeavour to get pure consciousness which is the sub-stratum of the eternal miracle of creation. 6.

Sri Ramana Maharishi: The spiritual force is far more powerful than the use

of all occult powers. 7.

Realization comprises everything and a realized will not waste a thought on

powers. 8.

What is acquired is also lost in due course.

9.

A genuine devotee wants nothing else except His feet.

10. The greatest attainment is pure Existence, Knowledge and Bliss. 11. Sri Ramakrishna Paramhamsa had said that a man cannot realize God if he possesses one of the eight occult powers. Bhagwad Gita says: "Occult power is sure beget pride and pride makes one forget God". 12. What greater siddhi is there than that of the sage, who merely sitting on his couch, attracts thousands from four corners of the earth, hundreds of whom change their old mode of life and some even attain Godhood.


13. In these days of scientific inquiry and rationalism, God has'to be proved. "Except ye signs and wonders, ye will not believe", said Christ. This is what Siddha Prushas occasionally do. Through such deeds, they inspire the sceptics and scoffers with faith in God. 14. Performance of miracles should not be questioned as the display of miracles is meant to create and does create faith in the faithless. The faith, if thus created, would not be long lasting. 15. Psychic powers are obstcles to Samadhi, but these are powers in the worldly state. Receiving Messages from Baba Recently I have come across two books in which messages purported to have been received from Baba, have been reproduced. These are as under: a)

'How I found God - The life story of Yogi M.K. Spencer compiled and edited

by Dr. S.P. Rauhela. b) 'Sri Sai Sandesh' by Shri Uma Maheshwar Rao. Some time back, I was taken to a centre in a Sai temple, where, it was stated that Baba would descend on a medium after burning a lot of incense, who would then answer questions put to him. Much earlier, in my life as a Sai devotee, had met one Shri Bhagwat, a Maharashtrian gentleman, who would similarly answer devotees' questions after the presence of Baba. While I am not qualified, in any way, to comment on the Phenomenon, I may kindly be permitted to give vent to my Personal experiences on the subject As a young man also, I have had some experience this phenomenon. A childhood friend of mine would write to me about his spiritual pursuits. Later, he wrote that a friend of his had started receiving messages in spiritual matter from some spirit which called itself Babaji while sitting in Sadhana, and that spirit would also provide guidance as i how to proceed further. This continued for many years.' Babaji would fix a particular date when they would profound spiritual experiences. But not much spiritual progress was discerned. Years later I was told that the guiding spirit was of an eight hundred years old saint. My friend st continues his way of worship even though he is above eight, years of age. His


friend who was receiving messages from that spirit has since died of cancer in December 2000. I can recollect another such incident. I was instrument in getting a person recruited in the Army as Education Havildar. This person had a Master's Degree and wrote regularly write to me letters often enclosing poems written by him in Hindi. Suddenly he stopped writing to me. Later when he came to see me, he told me that suddenly Lord Hanuman had come into his life. In the beginning Hanumanji would appear to him in dreams and later he coould see Hanumanji and His retinue with open eyes also as his own assertion. The expressions on his face and eyes had also changed. Now this person has retired from the Army but I can say that he is no where near having achieved spiritual heights. So far as my knowledge goes there are innumerable spirits hovering all around us in the universe. A particular spirit chooses a particular person as its medium and acts through it. Sometimes these spirits could be of highly evolved souls while at other times, of souls of a lower denomination They may appear to the medium in the form of their choice. Certainly, these are not of Lord Hanuman or any other deity. This could also be the halucination of the individiual This is how I look at this phenomenon. May be, I am far away from truth. In 1964 or so, I had seen an illiterate young man who would lie flat on his back and cover himself with a sheet of cloth and within no time a spirit would enter his body and make him recite Sanskrit verses in the voice of some . particular Rishi and in another voice some one else would ask him questions. This process would last for full one hour, at the end of which this fellow would regain his consciousness and return to his original self - a complete illiterate. Researchers from U. K., USA, Japan and other countries came to see this person and would record whatever he said. I understand that slokas and verses recited by him could not be found in any of our written scriptures. I don't know what happened to this person later or to the research carried out on him. In my view the antenna of the brain of this person had caught the spirit of this Rishi and through this medium his voice was being reproduced. I understand that the voice never dies.


The aforesaid experiences have convinced me that it is generally some spirit which gives messages or provides guidance in such cases. It is neither Baba nor Hanumanji or any other deity. It is unthinkable to me that Baba who is omnipotent and omnipresent would come down to answer questions at such gatherings or provide messages pertaining to worldly matters of life. To me, my Baba is 'Parabrahma' and far above, from such mundane exhibits. I reiterate that I am not a 'Gyani' and whatever I have written is based on my personal experiences and limited knowledge. I would love to be enlightened on this aspect of spirituality. Moreover, to me such episodes are experiences of a much lower plane. Another such experience which has come to my knowledge and which I had forgotten to narrate earlier is of a lady disciple of a Saint in Allahabad. This lady would fill a plate with powdered 'Misri', (a product of sugar) and on surface of this 'Misri' would appear some writings, which were only visible to her and she would read them and scribble them on a piece of paper. Later, she stopped receiving these messages. On to the path of Bhakti, I am convinced that such diversions should not be allowed to disturb a devotee's 'Sadhna'. I would, however, not deny the fact that to His devotees Baba does provide guidance at the appropriate time, both in dreams or in the waking state. Foretelling Events In my quest as a devotee of Sai Baba, I have come across several devotees, who predict foretell the fortunes of other persons. This is not a new phenomenon, which has started after the name and fame of Baba has spread all over the country. I had come across such persons as early as in 1960. I remember having visited a place in Delhi where a lady on Thursdays was supposed to call the spirit of Baba and make predictions. Later, I have come across others also doing the same. Whenever I have seen this phenomenon being performed, I have felt pained. Will it be correct to bring down our Baba from the high pedestal of being God Incarnate and Parabrahama, on the plane of total worldliness with the sole object of impressing others? Let us give this matter


a thought. And today, we find a whole lot of people indulging in this practice. There is another class of people very often seen loitering on the streets of Delhi and foretelling the fortunes of people in the name of our Baba and collecting money. As true devotees of Baba, we should not encourage such practices. Of course, on the path of Bhakti, as a devotee advances in his Sadhana, he becomes clairvoyant but when this stage is reached, he wouldn't even think of using the powers received at that stage, to make a demonstration of the same . public. When a devotee engages in such pranks, it hurts me for the reasons: a)

Even if one predication of such a devotee goes awery, will it not be a

reflection on my Baba in whose name the prediction is being made? As a devotee, I have always maintained that one should never do anything which brings bad name to Baba. b)

When a devotee invokes Baba's help in making the predictions, will it not

cause inconvenience to Baba? Will a devotee ever do anything to cause inconvenience to his 'aradhya'? c)

If on the path of bhakti, we have learnt to surrender to Him, why should one,

as a devotee, be worried about his future. Is Baba not capable of changing the fate of His devotees? Moreover, if our Prarabdha is to happen, of what use would it be for a devotee to know his future and for the fortuneteller to make a prediction.? Surely it shows lack of faith in both. Baba in His life time had often given to His devotees an indication of the coming events. Evolved beings such as our Baba do know the past, present and future of every soul coming into their contact but they use this power sparingly and only when considered necessary or for the welfare of the devotee. All through the ages, the sages and saints have done so. But for ordinary devotees such as we are, it may not be Proper to do so nor should we encourage others to do so, otherwise there shall be no difference between them and the so called Muslim Fakirs who print Baba's pictures on the leaflets distributed by them soliciting clientage on the promise that they can get them anything desired by them in their lives. If they have such immense powers, why should they seek money from others and not become rich themselves.


On the path of Sadhana, as a Sadhak reaches the fourth chakra, 'Riddhis' and 'Siddhis' come to him and if the accepts these and uses these for either personal gain or for displaying his powers, he ceases to make further progress Most Gurus/Bhagwans of today are a living example of this, who have become a prey to this temptation. In our scriptures the use of these powers is forbidden but if the Sadhak reaches the peak, he becomes clairvoyant and may sometimes make use of this for the benefit of the suffering humanity out of compassion. In the case of, devotees of Baba, it has been seen that some devotees do acquire supernatural powers earlier because of Baba's Grace and their own Prarabdha They must not make a show of these as this would hinder their further progress on the path of spirituality. On this path, no generalisation is possible. Every individual carries his own Prarabdha with him. New Concepts in Sai Bhakti Till about 1980, Baba's way of worship and many other things associated with Baba, Shirdi, and the places now being visited by the devotees, were not what these are today. Some changes discernable are stated below: 1.

'Sai Ram' as a way of salutation The salutation 'Sai Ram' was first heard amongst the devotees of Shri

Satya Sai Baba in the late seventies. Some years later, a few devotees of Shri Sai Baba of Shirdi also started using this salutation. And today most devotees of our Baba have adopted this mode of salutation for greeting each other. The old devotees of Baba still find it difficult to use this salutation which has become so common now that even they cannot do without using it. It is difficult to appreciate as to why Baba has been associated with Bhagwan Ram only? Shri Ram is one cf the ten incarnations of Vishnu. If we consider Baba as an incarnation of God, why should His name be added to another Avtar's name? Then why should it be prefixed to the name of Ram alone? Why not Lord Krishna, Siva, or any other incarnation? In fact Baba's way of life and mode of working is more akin to Lord Siva. Till now the name of any other God, Avtar, sage or saint is not known to have become prefix or suffix to any other Supreme Entity. While there may be no harm in doing so, there seems to be a definite need to give this whole matter a


thought. We must not adopt blindly what others do. Simply "Om Sai' or "Jai Sai' could also have served the purpose. 2.

Om Sai, Shri Sai, Jai Jai Sai. This Mantra has been coined on the basis of the Mahamantra of Lord

Ram - 'Shri Ram, Jai Ram, Jai Jai Ram' which is a Siddha Mantra adopted by many sages and saints in -the ages past. It seems Revered' Shri Sivanesan Swamy of Shirdi is the person who has made this Mantra popular and contributed immensely to its chanting far and wide. Today this Mantra is chanted by Sai devotees not only in India but all over the world. In this Mantra, Baba's name is repeated thrice. Some twenty years back, nobody knew of this Mantra as the Tarak Mantra of Baba but some devotees had already coined it and they were chanting it along with other mantras in their pujas. Baba had said that if one merely chanted 'Sai, Sai', from the core of his heart, He shall come running even from across the Seven Seas. From this it follows, that in a Mantra what is more important is the name of Baba and the devotion with which it is chanted, and not the Prefixes and suffixes added to it, which seem to be aimed at making the Mantra melodious. As a particular Mantra is chanted by more and more people with devotion, it acquires more and more potentiality. I might venture to suggest that the choice of a Mantra (if given by a self-realised Guru) should be left to the devotee himself who may acquire one in a natural and according to his own temperament. It is experience that the chanting of mere Sai, Sai or ever 'Baba, Baba' putting heart and soul in the words, is much more blissful which no amount of melodious singing with accompanying musical instruments, is capable of providing. The 'Bhav' in chanting is more important than the words. 3.

Associating a visit to 'Shani' temple with visit to Snirdl Till about 1980, a visit to Shirdi was incomplete if the devotee did not pay

a visit to Sakori - the Kanya Kumaii Sthan of Sri Upasani Baba. The devotees then also included sometimes a visit to Gangapur and Pandharpui in their itinery.


I am not aware of any at that time visiting the Shani Mandir. How a visit to Shani Temple became all important, is not known. Likewise some other aspects have been added to worship during the last twenty years or so, such as making parikarmas of the Neem tree; burning candles and diyas in the Dwarkamayee and so on. It is an accepted fact that the devotees do seek newer avenues of showing their devotion to Baba. Whereas the addition of aforesaid deviations or additions may seem to harmless, the adoption of extra rituals may, in the long run, become cumbersome to a simple devotee. Baba's is a very simple way of worship and it may not prudent to make it complex. 4.

Pictures of Baba. Earlier pictures depicting Baba only in the undermentioned poses were

available: a) Baba sitting on stone b) The Dwarkamayee pose c) The Bhiksha pose d) The Samadhi picture Pictures such as money coming out of Baba's hands and rays of light flowing from His hands, were then not available. Now pictures of Baba's idol are being used more often. Most of the new pictures seem to be the figment of imagination of the artists and in my view, do not covey the true splendour of Baba. I also fail to appreciate the need to use the idol picture of Baba more often when his actual real life pictures are available in abundance. 5.

‘Sab ka Malik Ek’. This slogan was also not known earlier and seems to have been adopted

later. Literature on Shirdi Sai Baba Till about fifteen years back, there was not much literature available on Baba, particularly in languages other than Marathi. Whatever available, was based on Sri Sai Satcharita or on the personal experiences of devotees, either on their contact with Baba in their life time or on the testimony given by devotees


who had experienced Baba's Grace in some form or the other after Baba had taken Mahasamadhi. During the last few years, as more and more people are being drawn to the Sage of Shirdi, the demand for Sai literature has grown immensely. Whatever has been printed, has found a market instantaneously. The publishers who fought out books on Baba became rich overnight as many editions of their book were sold in no time. A stage has now come, when anything and everything written on Baba has a publisher. Some writers have made book writing on profession and found this an easy way to earn name, fame and money. Writing on Baba without caring the truths or the sentiments of Baba's devotees, has become a way of life with some publishers and writers, their quest for easy money. A number of so called research have sprung up who have earned name and fame for writing on Baba after presenting truths and half truths and even heresys and stories. They have proved beyond doubt Baba sacred words,"If you shall look for Brahm (God) in books you shall only find 'Bhram" (Delusion). The whole of His life after the age of adolescence, Baba spent in a small village named 'Shirdi', amongst the poor and illiterate villagers. He followed a peculiar technique to convey to His devotees the deep and hidden truths of 'Brahma Gyan' (knowledge of the Supreme) in a simple and easy to understand language and by living in practice a life symbolising what He preached. He never employed the medium of lectures, discussions and discourses for this purpose. The result was that beyond Sai Satcharitra (which was also published after Baba took Mahasamadi), and Das Ganu's renderings, almost no other authentic literatuii became available in His life-time. Of course after His leaving His mortal coil, some of His devotees, prominent amonst them being Shri B.V Narasimha Swamy and Swami Sharananand, wrote down about His life and times. Shri B.V Narasimha Swamy spent quite a few years of his life in contacting Baba's devotees, visiting the places associated wit His name, and collecting the devotees' experiences first hand The efforts made by Shri Narasimha Swamy, the labour put in by him and Sai literature produced as a result thereof will ever remain a land-mark in the history of Baba and Sai literature.


During the last ten years or so, some good literature come out on Baba, such as a)

The God who walked on Earth by Shri Rangaswami Parthasarathy.

b)

Shirdi Sai Baba by Shri Basavaraj Gunaki.

c)

Shirdi Sai Baba by Shri M. V. Kamath and Shri B. V. Kher. Of course the book written by Arthur Osborne earlier entitled 'The

Incredible Sai Baba' was a great work on Baba. In a few pages, this author has presented a synopsis of Baba's life and teachings admirably well, particularly for the Western world. Some other writers have also put in commendable efforts, such as Shri E. Bharadwaj, Shri M.V. Pradhan and Mrs Mani Sahukar. Some Western writers have also produced treatises on Baba based on their research work but because of their different background, they do not seem to have caught the depth of Baba's teachings and way of life. But along with these serious minded writers, a number of guileless mushroom writers have also come up who have made writing on Baba by presenting facts or fiction, on His life and leelas, their profession and producing books on Baba and getting these published by cheap publishers their mode of sustenance. It is a well known fact that Baba did not reveal certain truths about His coming into the world, such as who His parents were, where and when He was born, what His caste or religion was and how and where He spent His childhood, and the like. He allowed them to remain hidden in the veil of secrecy. He did not even encourage people to talk about them. Surely there must have been a purpose rather some spiritual need for Him to do so, unknown to us and which we are refusing to accept today. Did Baba know better what and when to reveal or are these modern researchers more knowledgeable than Baba Himself. One who was aware of the past, present and future of all living beings, would He not know what was necessary to reveal and what was not? I fail to understand what useful purpose served by excavating or bringing out these facts or fiction into the open? Will the knowledge of these facts in any measure add to the number of devotees of Baba or make them better devotees and make them experience His Grace in greater measure? Do these so called researchers have


a greater understanding of Baba and His leelas, which Baba was Himself unable to understand and appreciate? Will such knowledgeable person make an ordinary devotee like me, understand the logic behind such actions and the purpose these seek to serve? I have a definite feeling that these researchers have only succeeded in creating confusion in the minds of devotees. In times to come their so called researches and the literature produced by them will become the subject of controversy for future generations, far from doing any creative work. I have come across four different dates on which Baba is supposed to have been born. These are: 1828, 1835,1831 and 1838. Every writer has claimed authenticity for the date of birth brought out by him. How shall a devotee determine which date he should accept and which to reject? I have also come across the horoscopes of Baba. Based on what fact the date of birth and the life story of Baba and the new facts brought out by the researchers should be accepted by an ordinary devotee? With my limited knowledge and vision, I fail to appreciate these stories (even if these are facts) which are capable of distracting the minds of a sincere and ardent devotee. Most present day literature on Baba, particularly in Hindi, which has come to my notice, is based on facts narrated in Sai Satcharit and other available books. To date no literature has come to my notice, which reveals the philosophy behind Baba's actions and words; His way of and living; and their analysis. Certainly there is a need for writers, philosophers and researchers to delve deep into life and leelas of Baba; the experiencing of Baba's Grace by unkown persons all over the world; and the like. A mere narration of the miracles of Baba and and the experiences devotees will not suffice. I am certain, in time to come, the devotees will take to serious and deeper study of Baba and His leelas and produce literature giving deeper significance of His actions and words. Circulation of letters and other such activities During the last many years, a number of letters written in Baba's name, asking the recipient to circulate a particular number of its copies to other persons,


have come to my notice. In these letters, the benefits accruing to persons who have maintained the chain and the tribulations suffered by those who have broken the chain, are mentioned. As and when I have received such a letter, I have never responded to it and have invariably placed it in the bucket containing already offered flowers to Baba for being thrown into the river Yamuna. I have never found myself weak enough to continue the chain and succumb to the pressures brought out in such letters. No damage seems to have come my way by Baba's kripa. I am of the firm view that Baba is our merciful mother who is always worried about the welfare of its child and can never even think of doing him any harm. The floating of such a chain of letters is the handiwork of some petty minded, ignorant and unscrupulous persons. A devotee must not encourage such acts in Baba's name. It should be our endeavour to curb these practices as and when these come to our notice. Enquiries have also been made to me by a few devotees regard to the circulation of a bread received by them from some fellow devotee. They say that they have received half a piece of bread in Baba's name which when placed in water becomes double its size and they are supposed to send half a piece of this bread to each of two devotees. The taking up of this chain is supposed to bring ill-luck to theperson breaking it. My advice to these persons has been to throw away the bread in some river or well. In this context, I would also like to state that I have also seen Baba's pictures being used in their advertisements by Muslim, so called Sufi Saints, to seek clientage to their astrological predictions or in using Yantra and Tantra, Devotees must see to it that these unscrupulous persons are not allowed to use Baba's pictures for such cheap gimmicks. A Thought A good act done provides satisfaction to the soul and envelops it with bliss. The soul of the person feels grateful to Bal who has provided him the capacity and the will to do act. The admiration by others of this act, works on the ego the man and provides him impetus to do similar or still more purposeful acts in life. This could also act on his ego in the other way i.e. give him a feeling that


Baba has given him something more than others, who mostly want to 'take' from him rather than 'give' in their life. A thought is hammered into the mind of the 'Sadhak’ that a bhakta should give up his ego and the feeling doership. There can be no two opinions in the matter. But a bhakta becomes completely devoid of ego and the feel of doership, how shall he be able to make a distinc between the good and bad - the thoughts which motivate the act of doing good. There are examples of sages and who have raised themselves completely above the self, thus become incapable of determining the good and bad, so much so that they eat their own excreta. Ramakrishna Paramhansa has said again and again that if one gives up his ego completely, he cannot remain alive for more than 2' days and, therefore, it is necessary for the body to retain a little ego. Our Baba had an extremely practical view in such matters. When Nana Chandorkar desired to have another look at that young and pretty Muslim lady who had come to Dwarkamayee for Baba's darshan alongwith an elderly lady, Baba although made Nana aware of his impure feelings, did not rebuke him, but told him that it was the act of'indriyas' to appreciate beauty but the thought arising out of doing so should be diverted towards Him. By doing so, there shall be no harm in allowing indriyas to play their part. From what has been stated above, the following thoughts emerge: a)

When a satisfying act is performed, it cleanses the 'atma' and provides it

impetus to do still better. b)

When a bhakta has surrendered himself to his deity and even then baser

thoughts arise in his mind, he should not feel guilty of them but divert them to his God. He may even ascribe such a thought to his deity who hasn't been able to take him beyond such thoughts. Let him surrender this thought to Him and not bother about it being good or bad. He should not then be guilty of the effects of this thought and in course of time such thoughts, would cease bothering him. c)

If a thought is allowed to be suppressed, will it not do more harm to the

bhakta for he shall not then be able to concentrate on the higher things of life. Was not Acharya Rajneesh advocating this theory in what he preached and


asked his devotees to live down such thoughts and emerge calm and cool, so that these may cease to affect their Sadhana adversely? If and when the soul becomes completely devoid of ego, how shall it then be able to differentiate between good and bad? It shall then be beyond this concept and there shall remain no question of its doing good or bad. Even to imagine reaching such a state seems difficult to attain while living and moving in the world. Often I have wondered, if the soul can ever give up the 'ego' which is its sheath. If so, why indulge in its meaning analysis. Let a 'Bhakta' continue to tread the path of Baba unmindful of the thoughts of vice and virtue good or bad. When the Bhakta has surrendered himself 'Him', how can the effect of such thoughts remain his own The following utterances of Baba may be relevant in appreciating this thought: a)

"Do not entertain the sense of doership in perfor good or bad act; be entirely

free from pride and ego in all actions". b)

"How can the worldly desires and impure inclinations come near persons

who remember me in their ever life, worship me and lovingly listen to and brood over My life stories. I shall draw them out from the jaws of death. Shri Sai Nath Maharaj Ki Jai. *****


Chapter Five Offerings at the Lotus Feet of Shri Sai Nath A Hymn to Sai Why offer flowers to thee, Who art the creator of flowers. Why burn incense Why perform rituals And lie prostrate before thee. Why offer to thee food which is thy own creation What is this mockery of chanting hymns and mantras Is not, the light that flickers in thee Part of my own being Then why make thy own self prostrate before thee. 1. Prayer 0' bounteous Sai! You are my Father, You are my Mother, Bestow your grace on me. I may not be your worthy child, I may not have surrendered to you heart and soul, So what? I have certainly made you The sheet anchor of my life, I beseech your Grace Have mercy on me Lift me up to your bosom And make me one with you. 2. Ocean of Sai Bliss Come one, come all! And bathe in the ocean of Sai bliss.


The world has done you down, The worries of life stare you in the face, You have suffered patiently all along, But now you feel your back is broken, Life seems to be ebbing out of you! And you are left forlorn. Shake off your worries of life, -Shake off yo ur burdens, And listen! The Lord of Shirdi beacons you " Why should any fear, when I am there. Cast your burdens onto me, and I shall bear them." Have faith in these words, Sai will take you beyond the portals of pain and pleasure And make you bask in the sunshine of His Grace. 3. The Ego in Me The pigeon came and dipped its beak in water I was filled with joy I had kept that water for the birds to drink. What a foolish egoist feeling, O' Baba Could I who depends on Your mercy for every little thing Ever be the provider of water to the birds. You made the birds It is through your mercy water oozes out of the earth and springs, You not only made me but also made me The instrument of thy will in placing water It is merely through your grace The three combined to give the feeling of joy. And I, in my ignorance, Take the credit for providing water to the birds


0' Baba! I am your child! Why should the thoughts of this nature cross my mind Lift me up and take me up to the pedestal When the thoughts of I and You stop tormenting the mind Make me an instrument of thy will So that whenever I act The echo of thy name Should vibrate from every pore of my body. 4.1 And Sai Sai! You are my very own Baba! You are my very own. I am yours, you are mine I am in you and you are in me Our relationship extends to lives past. Sai! You are my very own. Baba! You are my very own. Let you no longer remain 'You' And I no longer remain I' Let the distinction between us cease to exist For, I am your very own Sai And you are my very own. The fragrance emanating from you Should also become a part of my body Sai, you are my very own. Baba, you are my very own. Whether my belief is true or a mere delusion Even if it be a delusion I beseech you Sai To let it remain as such. Sai you are my very own , Baba you are my very own. 5. I Adore you Sai


Sai I adore you from the core of my heart. Sitting in the Dwarkamayee, You cast a benevolent smile On me your devotee, Knowing full well Not only of my skin deep devotion But even of all my previous births . Sai! I adore you from the core of my heart..... I wash my body every day But never do I wipe off the dirt of my heart. Covered my body with a dirty sheet I come to you to seek your Grace. Sai! I adore you from the core of my heart. The dirt of my body I wash with water That of my heart with 'Sai kripa' Taking me as your ignorant child You rush to my help whenever needed. Sai! I adore you from the core of my heart. I implore you to give me a luscious charming body And immeasurable wealth with all luxuries of life But never do I ask from you A chunk from that great treasury You hold and wish to share with me. Sai! I adore you from the core of my heart. 6. No Desire for Mukti Sai! Ever since you have held my hand in your own Miseries of life seem to have forsaken me. And my life has acquired a new meaning, Hitherto unknown to me. You have become the be all and end all of my life.


Sai, you are the destination of my life You are the beginning, as also the end of my life I am your child. Oh! what a bliss, you have bestowed on me! I often find it difficult to live in this world And yet I do not want to leave it The desire to experience more and more of your Grace Still lurks in me. I know full well Onto the path ofbhakti Desirelessness is a pre-requisite But tell me What shall I gain by attaining Mukti Where You shall not be there Where my soul would have merged in the Supreme. Where I shall cease to exist as I, And cease to experience Your Grace as before. 7. A Devotee Opens His Heart Sai! Whether you are a saint or Bhagwan, Avtar or 'Parabrahm' Whatever you are, You are unique And my own. But if I say something to you Kindly do not take it amiss. You do discriminate between your devotees. On some you have bestowed the power of “Vaksiddhata� On some capacity to foretell events, Many you have turned into Gurus and Sadgurus in no time On others you have bestowed immeasurable wealth and luxuries of life


But on me,your humble devotee Who has endeavoured to serve you heart and soul. You have bestowed no such favours Neither do I have the capacity to see the future, Nor do I possess wisdom Nor even wealth. If nothing else, You could have given me your pure unadulterated devotion Even that you have not given me If I had even pure devotion I would have had the satisfaction, That pure Satvik Bhakti flows within my veins And encompasses my whole being. Even that I do not possess. Sai, I know That by attributing the charge of discrimination against you. I am committing a sin. I do accept, however, I have never asked you for all this But haven't you said, "Everyone asks from me wealth, progeny and luxuries of life, But nobody asks from me? A chunk from the great treasure, I hold And which I want to share with him." If having taken your words as a gospel truth I did not beg from you the objects of pleasure, Did I commit a sin? O' my Baba! I implore you not to mind my words


I am a petty human being Who hasn't risen above the limitations of the physical frame. I am your child Ignorant and uncouth, DO pardon me. You have given me something unique Filled my heart with abounding love and compassion Sai, I need nothing more I beseech you, Bestow'on me the unique honour That when I leave this transitory world, You shall take me in your own arms And merge me in your bosom, So that for all times to come, I become your own. 8. Lack of Faith1 Today is Vijay Dashmi The day chosen by you for crossing the barriers of this physical frame. On this day Shri Ram killed Ravan On this day Goddess Kali won over Bhasmasura Goodness triumphed over evil. The day has a unique significance for Sai devotees What a coincidence It was on this day that my mother merged in the Supreme And Shri Yagnik who brought you in my life took samadhi. Will i too, 0'Baba Merge in you on this day? should this thought torment me? should the worry of morrow bother your child? 1

whatever said comes out true.


Is it not my lack of faith? Pardon me Baba I know for certain The day I leave this mortal coil You shall take me in your arms And make me merge in you And become one with you. 9. The Awareness Baba! Bestow on me the awareness of the truth Behind my own existence And make me a fit instrument of thy Grace. Every person merely asks from you something or the other If I also seek from you the very same I shall have not known you at all, Baba! Good or bad, Whatever I am I am yours When you have accepted me as yours, How could I be bad, Baba! Lift me above the barriers of good and bad I am yours Let me remain yours And finally make me merge in thee, Baba! 10. Battle of life Sai! You make me to lose the battle of life But make me to win The battle of humanly qualities. Who won and who lost, Who shall decide? Do one thing in your court Baba,


Neither should I win nor lose / was yours, I am yours and I should remain yours, Bestow the feeling of conquest on him who needs it Defeat, nobody wants in life. To me, Baba! Give your pure unadulterated love, Feeling of nearness to you, Strength to chant your name, And abounding capacity to bring cheer Into the lives of the suffering and neglected 11. Strength of Sai Naam Sai! If I call thee, And you do not respond Could that be possible? If you do not respond to my call, It means, My call has no strength. How could I blame you for not responding. Baba! Fill my voice with firmness Hearing which the whole universe should tremble And when with perfect quietttude I utter the word 'SAI' The fire raging in burning hearts Should extinguish. The walls of discrimination all around should tumble down Religious strifes should end Man may understand man And absolute peace reigns all around. 12. An Ode to Sai Sai


You are Love and Compassion Incarnate. While still in flesh and blood, You assured your devotees, "Even though I give up this physical frame My bones will always worry for you And my Samadhi shall answer all your questions" Millions of devotees all over the world Experience the truth of your assurance And feel drawn to you. What a torture it must be for you To run to the help of innumerable seekers Whenever and wherever prayed for. Even the thought baffles me Little realising Sai is not the 31/2 cubic feet physical frame, But a 'Tatva', we your children, fail to perceive Dormant in everything existent and non- existent, Conscious and unconscious. Baba you are the Messiah of 'Kaliyug', Your treasury is full of priceless possessions Yet we ignorant humans Seek your help and blessings For providing mundane things of life, Glory, wealth, children, position, success in business And carnal comforts of life. Never wanting what you wish to give to us A place in the kingdom of God Where nothing but peace eternal reigns. Big and spacious temples Laden with marble and granite Come up in your name everyday Giving joy and name to the rich Many a time, I wonder


What for the creator of the universe Needs a marvelous place To install Himself into Baba! Should we not your devotees Take a cue from your own life? The giver of solace to millions Spent His life in a dilapidated mosque Wearing a torn kafni. Begging His food And sharing it with men and animals alike Sleeping with a brick under his head And making no discrimination between the rich and poor, High and low. Would someone answer the question Often agitating my mind Which God realised sage or saint To name a few Kabir, Nanak, Gyaneshwar, Ramana Maharishi, Ramakrishna Paramhamsa, Tukaram, Namdev, Built an ashram for himself And enjoyed the comforts of life Unlike the so-called gurus of today. Permit me to recite a tale of saintly splendour Swami Ramdas of Kanhangad, Kerela, Who took samadhi not long ago. While on a 'Deshatan' with his disciple Ramcharan, Walking in a jungle, Had nothing to eat for days Nobody offered them 'Bhiksha'. Feeling exhausted Ramcharan's patience broke down


With capacity to walk no more He sat down under a tree. "Ramcharan, Is your hunger overpowering you? Wait! Ram shall surely send you something to eat", Thus said Swami Ramdas. And lo! minutes later : A woman appears from nowhere With a plate full of delicious eatables in her hands To offer food to both to their heart's content. Unnoticed by his Guru, Ramcharan packs up the left over And slips into his bag to eat for the morrow. Soon both again started on their arduous journey. Swami Ramdas soon realized His legs would move no further "Ramcharan I find it difficult to walk further What could be the possible cause. Wonder! if you have done something Against the will of Ram". "Dev! I am carrying the left over food with me". Exclaimed Ramcharan. "Have you no faith in Ram If he could provide food today Shall he not provide food tomorrow? Throw it away and nave faith in him". Ramcharan threw away the packet And both walked ahead happily. Such is the power of faith and surrender. An example of a worthy Guru Taking his disciple onto the path ofgodhood. Unlike most Gurus of today


Basking in the sunshine of comfort and luxury Proclaiming their gurudom on every available occasion. Let we Baba, devotees, In word and deed, Follow our master's illustrious example And learn to be unostentatious Humble, modest, sacrificing And render service to the needy and the poor So dear to Baba And make ourselves worthy of His Grace. **** 13. An Offering of Love (Composed on the occasion of 66th Birthday on llth Dec. 1999 of Shri Moti Lal Gupta, Founder Chairman, Shirdi Sai Baba Temple Society, Sai Dham, Tigaon Road, Faridabad) On the threshold of sixtysixth year of your life, As you stand and look back You feel thrilled with the joy of living a meaningful life. You recollect that fateful day in 1986, When as you passed from infront of the Lodi Road Temple, A deep penetrating voice calling you 'Moti! I had been waiting for long Wouldn't you come to me ?' Fascinated by the sweetness of that melodious voice, Oblivious of what you were doing, You moved towards the Lodi Road Temple, And found yourself standing face to face with Baba. Not knowing who He was. A chill ran through your veins You felt you had been with Him in lives past


And instantaneously surrendered to Him heart and soul, And made Him the object of your life thereafter. Your flourishing business, the glitter of gold, the comfort of life. Had lost all meaning to you. What was it that made your life take a sudden turn, Was it the compassionate gaze in Baba's eyes ? Or was it His sitting on a rugged stone wearing a torn kafni ? Or was it His concern for the suffering humanity ? Whatever it is. Moti you are the blessed child of Sai, How otherwise could you be instrumental in raising this beautiful edifice in His name Where from the Ganges of Sai bhakti will flow, And drown many a seekers in the Ocean of Bliss. Keep up your devotion to Baba, Keep up your monumental efforts to serve Him, Keep up your service to humanity. But be vigilant of the pitfalls on the path of bhakti Which have taken the toll of many a budding devotee all through the ages

Beware of the I in you, And the anger born out of it Beware of the lust for name and fame. Beware of the charm for donning the robe of Guru

And be content to be a servant of Him, In word, deed and thought. And be sure, He shall take you further and further on to

the path. Into the realm ofSai bliss Where everything merges in Him. And from 'Moti'you shall turn into 'Heera'. Today as we gather to felicitate you,


In this beautiful mansion, the abode of the Lord of Shirdi, We all pray to Him in unison, To turn you into His Ankita Bhakta,

So that the fragrance emanating from your body, Could attract thousands to bask in the sunshine of Baba's Grace

Scribblings of a Sai Devotee - by Shri S.C.Gupta  

Scribblings of a Sai Devotee - by Shri S.C.Gupta

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