Page 1


2


|| sri sai satcharitra || or the glorious life and teachings of ||sri shirdi sai Baba||

||adapted from the original marathi version|| by ||Sri Hemad Pant||

by srivatsa 3


4


|| dedication ||

Patram pushpam phalam toyam yo me bhaktyaa prayachchati; Tadaham bhaktyupahritamashnaami prayataatmanaha. Bhagavad Gita, ch.9, sl.26 Whoever offers me with devotion and a pure mind (heart), a leaf, a flower, a fruit or a little water—I accept (this offering).

to || satchitananda sadguru sri sai Baba || this work with myself.

5


SRI GOVIND R DABHOLKAR (HEMAD PANT) 6


|| sri sai satcharitra || foreword

Sri Sai Satcharitra is a very sacred book. It is to be read with utmost devotion. Where ever it is read, that place becomes as sacred as the banks of Godavari River, as holy as Shirdi and invariably Sai will manifest there. He will mitigate all the sorrows and tribulations of those who read it. There is no necessity of performing any japa or tapas or any other difficult sadhanas. Mere reading of Sri Sai Satcharitra will please our beloved Baba. All Sai devotees are kindly requested to use the book in the following manner: 1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

6.

Get the book, 'Shri Sai Satcharitra' in whatever language one chooses to read. Neatly wrap it up in a piece of new cloth, and place it near Baba's photograph or idol with due sanctity. Whether at home or elsewhere, one should always read a few pages of the book every night before going to sleep. Every devotee should try to keep Baba as the last thought before sleep. During crisis it should be read devotionally for a week, as is mentioned in 'Shri Sai Satcharitra'. If possible, reading should begin on a Thursday or on some other auspicious day, such as Ramanavami, Dasara, Gurupoornima, Janmashtami, Mahashivratri, Navaratri, etc. After it's completion on the seventh day one should feed the poor and destitute either in the temple/home or wherever possible. One should read it sitting in some isolated corner in the temple or in front of Baba's statue or Photograph/painting. If other people are present, then it should be read to them or with them as well. Group reading always enhances our love and devotion for Baba. Wherever and whenever possible, it should be read continuously from sunrise to sunset in the temples on auspicious days. Devotees may be asked to read it by turn as is done in chanting the holy name i.e. Naamjap. Encourage children to read this book. 'Shri Sai Satcharitra' should be read to the devotees - sick, old aged and those nearing death as much as possible. All of them will get peace.

At times, of distress and agony if one sincerely searches for the answers from 'Shri Sai Satcharitra' he will not only find the answers but also solace. His faith in Baba will grow. I pray Shri Sainath to reveal the divine knowledge and mysteries contained in this book to the devotees in the same manner in which he had inspired Hemad Pant to write this book sitting in his heart. Shri Sai Satcharitra should be read by all Sai devotees like Geeta or Ramayana or Bhagavata.

7


|| sri sai satcharitra || || contents || CHAPTER

1

2

3

4

5

6

TITLE THE STORY OF GRINDING WHEAT GRAINS Salutations, Spreading the wheat flour, Philosophical meaning of grinding of wheat. THE OBJECTIVE OF WRITING THE BOOK Objective of writing the book, Baba’s permission to write “Satcharitra”, Hemad pant’s first introduction, the title of Hemad Pant, Significance of the title BABA’S PERMISSION AND ASSURANCE Sai Baba’s permission and assurance, Baba assigns various tasks to his devotees, Listening to Baba’s story - means to salvation, Baba’s love is like mother’s love, Sai Baba’s advice, Rohilla’s story, Baba’s appealing discourses. SAI BABA’S ADVENT IN SHIRDI Mission of the saints, Goulibuva’s story, Baba appears as Vithal to Dasganu and Kakasaheb, Bhagavant Rao’s story, Dasganu’s story, Dasganu worships Baba, Sri Sai Baba’s first advent in Shirdi, Declaration of Gurusthanam, the three Wadas in Shirdi. SAI’S RE-APPEARANCE IN SHIRDI Chand Patil’s story, philosophical meaning of Chand Patil’s story, Baba and the other sadhus, Baba’s dress, Installation of Padukas by Bhai Krishnaji, Paduka pratishta as in 11th edition of “Sai Leela”, Wrestling bout with Mohiuddin Tamboli pehalwan, Grant of progeny to Dengle’s relative Nanasaheb, Baba’s daily routine, singing and dancing, Baba’s first miracle - burning lamps with water, Jawahar Ali’s story. SRI RAMA NAVAMI CELEBRATIONS Sri Sai Baba’s touch and assurance, Philosophy of Brahma, Baba’s assurance, Sri Ramanavami celebrations, Chandanotsavam, Sri Ramanavami celebrations after 1913, Renovation of the masjid.

PAGE

15 21 29

37

45

57

8


7

8

9

10

11

12

13

WONDERFUL INCARNATION A unique incarnation, Baba’s deposition before the commissioner, Sai Baba’s habits and medical care, Baba’s yogic practices, rescuing a blacksmith’s child, Bhagoji Shinde’s story, relieving master Khaparde of plague, Baba’s trip to Pandharpur. IMPORTANCE OF HUMAN BIRTH Importance of human birth, Baba as sadguru, Baba’s schedule of mendicancy, Bayajabai’s service, dormitory of three, Khushalchand’s story. SHIRDI PILGRIMAGE AND OTHER STORIES Importance of Shirdi pilgrimage, a European’s story, Hemad Pant’s experience, necessity of mendicancy, Babasaheb Tarkhad’s story, Mrs Tarkhad feeds Baba, Mrs Tarkhad’s brinjal story, Mrs Tarkhad’s pedha story, moral. SAI BABA’S WAY OF LIVING AND OTHER STORIES Think of Baba with love, Baba’s sleeping habits, Saguna Brahman as Sai, Baba’s birth details, Baba’s teachings, Sadguru Sai Baba, Baba the all pervading god, Nanavalli’s story, Listen to the divine stories. SAI AS SAGUNA BRAHMA Sai as Saguna Brahman, Dr. Pandit applies chandan, Haji Sidik Falke’s story, The elements under Baba’s control. SAI LEELAS Mission of the saints, Kaka Mahajani’s story, Bhausaheb Dhumal’s return journey, Mrs. Nimonkar’s story, Moolay shastri sees his guru, Story of a doctor. SOME MORE SAI LEELAS The power of Maya, Bhimaji Patil’s story, Bala Ganpat Shimpi’s story, Bapusaheb Booty’s story, Alandi Swami’s story, Kaka Mahajani’s story, Dattopant’s story.

67

77

83

93

105 113

121

9


14 15 16,17 18,19

20

21

22

23

24

25 26

RUTTONJI AND DAKSHINA MEEMAAMSA Life of a saint, Ruttonji’s story, Dakshina Meemaamsa, Sri B.V. Deo’s post script. SUGARLESS TEA AND THE TWO LIZARDS Naradiya Kirtana Paddhati, Cholkar’s sugarless tea, The Two Lizards. INSTANT BRAHMA-JNANA Sai Durbar, Gulzar’s story, Brahma-Jnana, Uniqueness of Baba. ACCEPTANCE OF HEMAD PANT Sadguru Sai Baba, Sathe’s story, Mrs. Radhabai Desmukh’s story, Baba’s advice regarding our behaviour, Encouraging good thoughts, Variety in Upadesh, Remuneration for labour. ISAVASYA UPANISHAD Sadguru Sai Baba, Isavasya Upanishad, Sadguru alone is competent, Kaka’s maid servant, The Ethics of the Upanishad. NAVA VIDHA BHAKTI Institution of Saints, V.H. Thakur’s story, Anantrao Patankar’s story, Nava Vidha Bhakti, Pandharpur pleader ABOUT SNAKES AND SCORPIONS Dhyana Bindu, Balasaheb Mirikar’s story, Bapusaheb Booty’s story, Amir Shakkar’s story, Hemad Pant’s story, Baba’s opinion. YOGA AND ONION Jeevaatma, Yoga and Onion, Shyama’s story, Cholera epidemic, Bade Baba’s story, Ordeal of Guru-Bhakti. BABA’S WIT AND HUMOUR Baba’s wit and humour, Chane-ka-leela, Moral, Sudama’s story, Anna Chinchinikar vs. Mausibai, Baba’s dependence on his devotees. AMRA LEELA Sadguru Sai, Damu Anna’s story, Grain dealing, Amra leela, Baba’s assurance, Prayer ASSURANCE OF A NEW LIFE Inner worship, Bhakta Pant’s story, Harishchandra Pitale’s story, Gopal Ambadekar’s story.

131 143 149 159

175 185 191 199 207 215 223

10


27

28

29

30

31

32 33

34

35

36

MAMATA AND SAMATA Baba’s stories, Consecrating books, Vishnu Sahasranama, Vision of Vithal, Gita Rahasya, Khaparde’s story. SPARROWS DRAWN TO SHIRDI Sadguru Sai, Lakhamichand’s story, Sanza, Evil eye, Burhanpore lady’s story, Megha’s story, Ganga Abhishekam, Trishul and the Linga. WONDERFUL VISIONS Baba’s charities, Madrasi Bhajan mela, The Vision, Tendulkar’s story, Captain Hate’s story, Waman Narvekar’s story. SOME MORE SPARROWS Sadguru Sai, Kakaji Vaidya’s story, Shyama’s story, Khushalchand’s story, Punjabi Ramlal’s story. DARSHANA MAHIMA The last wish, Vijayanand’s story, Balram Mankar’s story, Tatyasaheb Noolkar’s story, Megha’s story, Tiger’s story. IN QUEST OF GURU AND GOD Ashvattha tree, The Quest, Mrs Gokahale’s story, Baba’s Sarkar. THE GREATNESS OF UDI Sadguru Sai Baba, Udi Prasadam, Scorpion Sting, The Jamner Miracle, Bubonic plague, Narayan Rao’s story, Balabuva Sutar’s story, Appasaheb Kulkarni’s story, Haribhau Karnik’s story, Baba’s arati. THE GREATNESS OF UDI-2 Doctor’s nephew’s story, Dr Pillay’s story, Shyama’s sister-in-law, Irani’s daughter, Gentleman from Harda, Lady from Bombay. THE GREATNESS OF UDI-3 Sectarianism, Kaka Mahajani’s friend, Kaka Mahajani’s master, Case of insomnia, Balaji Patil Newaskar’s story, Radhakrishnamai’s story, Sai appears as serpent. THE TWO WONDERFUL STORIES Sai stories, Two gentlemen from Goa, Mrs Aurangabadkar’s story.

231 239 249 259 267 277 287

299 307

317 11


37 38

39 40 41 42 43,44 45 46 47 48 49 50

51

CHAVADI PROCESSION Baba’s life, Chavadi Procession. DESCRIPTION OF THE HANDI Sadguru Sai, Annadanam, Baba’s Handi, Dadasaheb Kelkar’s story, Kala or Hotch-Potch, Nanasaheb’s story, Hemad Pant’s cup of buttermilk. BABA’S KNOWLEDGE OF SANSKRIT Shirdi and Sai, Baba and Bhagavad-Gita, Construction of Samadhi Mandir. UDYAPANA AND OTHER STORIES Sadguru Sai, B.V. Deo’s story, Hemad Pant’s story. THE STORY OF A PICTURE Sadguru Sai, Ali Mohammad’s story, BV Deo’s story. THE MAHASAMADHI Sadguru Sai, Seemollanghan, Ramachandra Patil’s story, Laxmibai’s story. THE MAHASAMADHI (CONTD) Breaking of the brick, Prior intimation, Bapusaheb Jog’s story, Baba’s Sayings. ANANDRAO’S VISION Sadguru Sai, Kakasaheb’s story, Anandrao’s vision, Story of the wooden plank. THE STORY OF THE GOATS Sadguru Sai, Baba’s Gaya trip, The story of the two goats. BABA’S REMINISCENCES Sadguru Sai, Serpent and the Frog, Moral. WARDING OFF DEVOTEE’S CALAMITIES Sadguru, Shevade’s story, Sapatnekar’s story, Mrs Sapatnekar’s story. TESTING SAI BABA Sadguru Sai, Hari Kanoba’s story, Somadeva Swami’s story, Nanasaheb’s story. THE STORY OF THREE DEVOTEES Sadguru Sai, Kakasaheb Dixit’s (1864 - 1926) story, Sri Tembe Swamy’s story, Sri Balaram Dhurandhar’s story. PHALA-SHRUTI Sadguru Sai, Prayer, Phala-Shruti, Prayer.

325 333

343 355 362 369 377 389 395 401 409 417 425 433 12


13


14


|| sri sai satcharitra || || chapter one ||

|| the story of grinding wheat grains || || Sri Ganeshaya Namaha || Sri Saraswatye Namaha || || Sri Venkateshaya Namaha || Sri Sai Nathaya Namaha || || Sri Sadgurubhyo Namaha ||

SALUTATIONS: Hemad Pant begins this work traditionally with salutations to: GANESHA - to remove any hurdles that may come and to make this work successful. He says that Sri Sai is Ganesha. SARASWATI - the goddess of learning to inspire him in the writing of this work. He says that Sri Sai is same as goddess Saraswati. He further says that Sri Sai Himself is singing His story. BRAHMA, VISHNU AND MAHESHWARA - the gods, who create, preserve and destroy. He says that Sri Sai is not different from the Trimurthis. He further says that Sainath is the sadguru who will ferry us across this ocean of samsara. NARAYAN ADINATH - who manifested in Konkan and to the Adi Purusha of the family. BHARADWAJA - in whose gotra (clan) he was born. VARIOUS OTHER SAGES - Yagnyavalka, Bhrigu, Parashara, Narada, Vedavyasa, Sanaka, Sanandana, Sanatkumara, Shuka, Shounaka, Vishvamitra, Vasishta, Valmiki, Vamadeva, Jaimini, Vaishampayana, Nava Yogindra, etc and to modern saints Nivritti, Jnandev, Sopan, Muktabai, Janardan, Ekanath, Namdev, Tukaram, Kanha and Narahari etc.

15


HIS RELATIVES - His grandfather Sadashiv, his father Raghunath, his mother who left him in his infancy, his paternal aunt who brought him up, and to his loving elder brother. READERS - to give their whole and undivided attention HIS GURU SRI SAINATH - incarnation of Sri Dattatreya. Sai is his sole refuge, who will make him realize that Brahman alone is the reality and everything else is Maya. The author then describes various methods of devotion according to Parashara, Vyasa and Shandilya. With this introduction, he starts narrating the story of Sri SaiBaba. See Sai with your eyes, smell the water which washes the feet of Sai with your nose, listen to Sai Leelaamrutam with ears, meditate the divine figure of Sai through the mind, and think constantly of Sai. That is the only way to get detached from the bondages of this materialistic world. ‘Om Sairam’ is our mantram. ‘Om Sairam’ alone is our meditation. For the sake of devotees, Brahma, who is Nirguna, has come into this world in the form of Sai. Prostration to Sai will remove all our difficulties. Sai is full of compassion. He is the one who will dispel all our worries and grant us eternal comfort. To fix our eyes on the Saguna Sai is all that we have to do. Immense pleasure is derived by looking at the face of Sai. All our sins will be washed away by looking at the eyes of Saguna Sai. The water that washes the feet of Sai is as sacred as the waters of Ganga River. Chanting ‘Sai’ constantly will give stability and prevent the mind from wandering. To know that one is not the cause of any action, and to know that he is not the one to enjoy the fruits of such actions is the Brahma Yoga. This knowledge alone leads to detachment from all actions. Only then can self realization be achieved. To work without aspiring for the results is the ultimate way to realization. Narada Bhakti Sutram tells us to dedicate the entire action to the god and keep one’s mind aloof from it. By the grace 16


of the Sadguru alone, one can easily reach the other bank of this infinite ocean of samsara. SPREADING THE WHEAT FLOUR: Sri Govind Raghunath Dabholkar (Hemad Pant) had just then gone to Shirdi. It was December of 1910. One of those days, he went to the masjid where Sai Baba was staying, for Baba’s darshan. Baba had named the masjid as Dwarakamai. At the time when Hemad Pant went, Baba was washing His mouth and face. After that, He spread a gunny bag on the floor, and placed a hand mill on the bag. The hand mill consisted of two heavy circular stones placed one on top of the other. The lower one had an axle in the centre to support the upper one. The upper one had a peg attached at the edge for holding it by hand. It also had an opening in the centre for grains to be poured into it. When the upper stone was rotated by hand with the help of the peg, the grains poured at the centre used to get down, and were crushed to powder. It was a slow manual process. Baba folded the sleeves of his kafni up, sat comfortably near the mill, poured some wheat grains into the opening and started grinding them. The author, as well as the others who were there, were perplexed. They could not understand why Baba was grinding wheat, as He never prepared any rotis, nor did He store wheat flour for any future use. As far as they knew, He always ate from what He got as alms from the people of Shirdi. None of them, however, had the courage to ask Baba why He was doing it. The news of Baba grinding wheat spread like wild fire in the village. Most of them assembled near the masjid expecting something to happen. Four of the women folk went up to Baba and even at the risk of making Him angry, snatched the mill from Him and started grinding the wheat grains. They also began singing Baba’s Leelas. Though He was angry, by seeing their affection, Baba was touched and smiled. While grinding, the women thought, “Baba does not prepare rotis, as He eats whatever He gets as alms. He does not 17


have any wife or children or any one else to support. He won’t need this flour for Himself. After all, why does He need wheat flour? Being a very generous man, He wants to give us.” They finished grinding, and thinking as they did, divided the entire flour into four parts, so that each one of them could take one part. They packed the flour and were ready to leave for their homes. Baba, who sat patiently watching them all the while, saw their actions and was wild with anger. He shouted loudly at them, “Is it your father’s property that you are taking away? Or do you think I owe you something? Just because it is freely available, you want to take it away, isn’t it? Take this flour immediately to the outskirts of the village and throw it there.” The women felt ashamed of their deeds, took the floor to the outskirts of the village and as per the instructions of Baba, spread it there. Hemad Pant was curious. He asked the villagers around him why Baba did like that. They told him that cholera epidemic was rampant in Shirdi village. They also told him that what Baba was grinding was not wheat but cholera itself. Having ground it completely, He wanted it to be thrown outside the village. Baba was thus protecting the village by this act. Hemad Pant’s curiosity increased further. What connection was there between the wheat grains and cholera? How can the epidemic abate by throwing the flour outside the village? He had many more questions but found after a few days that the epidemic did abate and general health of the village did improve. Fascinated by the actions of an ordinary looking fakir, who was being worshipped as a God by all the villagers and many of his friends, Hemad Pant decided to collect as many of Baba’s Leelas as possible, compile them in a book and call it Sri Sai Satcharita. Hemad Pant sought Baba’s permission for Sri Sai Satcharita in 1917 through Shyama. Baba consented and blessed the effort with vibhuti prasadam. We will know more about Hemad pant in chapters 2 and 3.

18


PHILOSOPHICAL MEANING OF GRINDING OF WHEAT:

It was not wheat alone that Baba was grinding. For 60 long years of stay in Shirdi, Baba used to grind out the ignorance, the blind faiths, and the sins of the devotees of Shirdi. Though it was a symbolic act, the grinding of wheat had a deeper meaning attached to it. The peg on the upper stone, which gave a good grip, symbolized knowledge. One must have knowledge very firmly in his grip. With this knowledge, the upper stone moves. The upper stone symbolizes Bhakti. With knowledge comes devotion. The bottom stone which is stable and does not move symbolizes the karma - our actions. With the knowledge in our grasp and with devotion, we perform our actions. For all these processes to function, a central axle is necessary. This axle which is fixed to the bottom stone but helps to keep the upper stone from falling away, and also helps in its easy movement, is the sadguru. Getting out of the eternal cycle of birth and death is moksha liberation. There is meaning in the wheat grains also. When poured through the opening in the upper stone, these grains get in between the two stones. Those grains which are at the periphery get crushed and become wheat flour. The flour is used in making rotis. These rotis get digested by living beings and after due course sprout again as wheat grains. Those grains which adhere to the axle remain unscathed. They do not participate in this transformation cycle. Those who surrender totally to the sadguru achieve self realization and do not get into the eternal cycle. This was Baba’s method of telling Hemad Pant to approach a sadguru and get blessed. Hemad Pant, as he was also a divine soul, understood the implication and accepted Baba as his guru. Once he did this, the next step was implied - to tell us all about the Leelas of his guru. It was more with the intention of sharing with us the bliss he enjoyed and also show us the path the path to easy salvation. With Baba’s consent and blessing, he was able to do it. 19


With this the first chapter, called the story of grinding wheat grains, is complete. In the next chapter, Hemad Pant discusses the objective of writing the satcharitra, title of Hemad Pant and the necessity of a guru and other matters. || Sri Sadguru Sainathaarpanamasthu || Shubham Bhavatu || Om Shanti Shanti Shanti

Shraddhavaan labhate jnanam matparaha samyatendriyaha Jnaanam labhdwa param shantim achirena adhigachchati Ch.4 Sl. 39 He, who has faith, is diligent and has control over the organs, attains Knowledge. Achieving Knowledge, one soon attains supreme Peace. Tadviddhi pranipaatena pariprashnena sevayaa Upadekshyanti te jnaanam jnaaninas tatvadarshinaha Ch. 4 Sl. 34 Acquire this knowledge by prostrating at the feet of the guru, clarifying your doubts by asking questions, and by serving the guru constantly. Those who have already acquired knowledge will also teach you. Bhagavad-Gita

20


|| sri sai satcharitra || || chapter two ||

|| the object of writing the book || || Sri Ganeshaya Namaha || Sri Saraswatye Namaha || || Sri Venkateshaya Namaha || Sri Sai Nathaya Namaha || || Sri Sadgurubhyo Namaha ||

In this chapter, Hemad Pant tells us about the reasons that led him to undertake the work of writing of the book, people who are qualified to read it and other points. OBJECTIVE OF WRITING THE BOOK: In the previous chapter, Hemad Pant described the way in which Baba crushed the cholera epidemic and threw it out of Shirdi by grinding the wheat grains. The villagers explained the deeper meaning of the grinding of wheat grains to Hemad Pant. They also narrated Baba’s other Leelas to him. He was delighted by listening to these stories and decided to write the sacred life and teachings of Sai Baba. He thought that it would be interesting and instructive to His devotees. By reading and listening to Baba’s life story, all the sins will be washed away, and peace and harmony would prevail. But, writing the life stories of great saints is not an easy task. Their life is neither logical nor easily understood. Those are indeed blessed who take upon themselves the task of interpreting the great lives to the ordinary men and women. Blessed indeed are those who constantly listen to and meditate on the stories of such great yogis. After listening to many stories of Baba’s Leelas, though he was delighted, he understood that his task was not easy. He felt utterly incompetent. He prayed Baba, “Though I have spent days and nights with my friends, I can’t write a single word about 21


them. Then, how can I write anything about an incarnation of God? When I cannot interpret my own mind, how can I make a mahatma’s life understandable to others? How is it possible to describe a form, even the four Vedas found it difficult to describe? Only a mahatma can understand and interpret other mahatmas. It may be possible to measure the waters in all the seven oceans, it may even be possible to tie up the entire sky in one single piece of cloth, but will it be possible to explain the meaning and purpose of Sai’s life? Explaining even one of His Leelas is fraught with difficulties. It was only Sai’s immense powers that inspired me to write this book. O Sai! Kindly bless me and see that this courageous effort of mine does not become a laughing stock. “Jnaneshwar Maharaj, Maharashtra’s first and foremost poet and yogishwar, has said that those who write the life stories of mahatmas are dearer to the God. The idea of writing the life story of Baba was inspired by God Himself. So, God will see to it that some how His work will be completed. Why should I worry? God has a peculiar way of getting things done which He inspires in the devotees and which the devotees have been longing to do. Devotees are only the instruments to carry out His wishes. If Baba has chosen me to write His story, then it is His responsibility to see that the task is completed, just as, earlier Mahipathi wanted to write the stories of saints and the saints got it written by him in the year 1778 AD. He wrote four books - Bhakta Vijaya, Santa Vijaya, Bhakta Leelamrit and Santa Leelamrit. The same was the case with Dasganu Maharaj. By 1878 AD he wrote two books Bhakta Leelamrit and Santa Kathamrit, which depict the lives of modern saints. “In the book, Bhakta Leelamrit, Dasganu Maharaj has described beautifully the life and teachings of Sai Baba. These are covered in chapters 31, 32, 33. In chapter 57 of Santa Kathamrit also Dasganu Maharaj has depicted the life and teachings of Baba. In addition to the above, Dasganu Maharaj has also composed several beautiful poems on Sai Baba. Baba’s life is also 22


described in Vol. 17, numbers 11 and 12 of Sai Leela Magazine. Sri Raghunath Tendulkar and his wife Smt Savitribai, both of Bandra, have written gloriously about Baba’s life in the book, Sri Sainath Bhajan Maala. Some of Sai Baba’s stories have also been published in Gujarati language by the devotee, Sri Amidas Bhavani Mehta. Dakshina Bhiksha Sanstha of Shirdi has published some of Baba’s stories in their magazine, Sainath Prabha. When such vast literature is available, why one more? Any devotee will naturally ask this question. “The only answer to that question is that Sai Baba’s life story is like a huge ocean without any limits. Whoever dives deep into it will come out with unlimited number of gems of Bhakti and pearls of wisdom for distribution to all. These wonderful stories provide comfort and happiness to all those suffering from misery and mental agony. They also provide knowledge and wisdom and are as interesting and instructive as the Vedas. By listening to these stories and meditating on them, the devotees will be blessed with what all they have been aspiring. They will easily travel the path of self realization and bliss.” With these thoughts, Hemad Pant also felt that by bringing together all the stories of Baba in one book, he would be offering his best service to his sadguru. He knew that such a book would be a delight, particularly, to those devotees who were not fortunate enough to see Baba in person. With these noble thoughts, Hemad Pant started writing Satcharitra. His mind was constantly telling him that it was Baba who inspired him to write and it would be Baba who would see that the work is completed satisfactorily. Hemad Pant had shed his egoism completely at Baba’s feet. At the age of 60 years, after completing his shastiabdi poorthi celebrations, he decided to dedicate the remaining part of his life at Baba’s divine feet. BABA’S PERMISSION TO WRITE “SATCHARITRA”: Hemad Pant could not muster sufficient courage to seek Baba’s permission to write His story. He requested Shyama to 23


talk to Baba. He agreed and pleaded with Baba, “Deva, this Annasaheb wants to write Your story, only if You agree. Don’t say that You are a begging fakir. Don’t say that it will be a laughing matter to write about a beggar. Only if You agree, he will write. It is not he who writes. You will have to write such a book for the benefit of the devotees. Without Your consent and blessing, nothing can be accomplished.” Sai Baba was moved by this request as it involved the benefit of the devotees. He blessed him by giving vibhuti prasadam, and placing His hand on Hemad Pant’s head, Baba said, “Let him shed his ego at My feet. When his ego is totally destroyed, and there is no trace of it, I will enter in him and shall write My story Myself. I should write My life story Myself and fulfill the wishes of My devotees. Hearing My stories and teachings will create faith in My devotees. Let him collect all the stories and experiences. Let him make notes. Let there be no insistence on establishing one’s own view. No attempt should be made to contradict other’s opinion. There should not be any discussions of pros and cons of any subject. It should be a simple narration of My story.” Baba used the word ‘discussion’ because of an earlier event in which Hemad Pant participated, and which in fact, got Govind Raghunath Dabholkar the title of Hemad Pant. HEMAD PANT’S FIRST INTRODUCTION: Annasaheb, as Hemad Pant was also known, was very naughty, talkative and used to hurt others by his utterings. He was also argumentative. Even before he went to Shirdi, he had good friendship with Kakasaheb Dixit and Nanasaheb Chandorkar. Both of them asked Dabholkar to go to Shirdi and have darshan of Sai Baba. He decided to follow their advice and when he was about to leave for Shirdi, his friend’s son fell ill at Lonavala. His friend tried all means, both physical and spiritual, to get his son treated. Still the fever did not come down. Then he brought his guru to sit by the bed side and comfort his son. Nothing worked and the boy passed away. That was a set back for Dabholkar’s 24


plans to go to Shirdi. He thought that when a guru could not save his friend’s son, what is the use of having a guru? When the guru can’t do anything, why go all the way to Shirdi? With these thoughts, Dabholkar postponed his trip to Shirdi. However hard one may try, nobody can prevent destiny, and whatever has to happen will certainly happen. Nanasaheb Chandorkar was a sub-divisional officer and once, had to go to Bassein on some official work. He had come from Thana, and was waiting at Dadar for a train to Bassein. Just then a local train to Bandra arrived. Nanasaheb got into it and went to Bandra, looked up for Dabholkar and took him to task for not going to Shirdi. Dabholkar told him about his predicament about a guru. Nanasaheb, because of his immense experience, could easily convince him and made him to commit going to Shirdi. Dabholkar decided to go the same night. With the thought of going to Dadar and catching a train there for Manmad, he sat in the train. It was one of Baba’s miracles that just before the train started, a Mohammedan came hastily to Dabholkar and asked him where he was going. Dabholkar told him. The Mohammedan asked him to go straight to Bori Bunder as the Manmad Mail did not stop at Dadar. Had this information not been given to him, Dabholkar would not have gone to Shirdi next day, and his dilemma about a guru would have continued. As destiny would have it, such an eventuality did not happen and Dabholkar reached Shirdi next day around 9.0 AM. Bhausaheb Dixit (Kakasaheb Dixit) was waiting for him at Shirdi. That was in the year 1910 AD. Dabholkar settled down in Sathe Wada and was very anxious to see Baba. Just then, Tatyasaheb Noolkar returned from the masjid and said that Baba was round the corner and that he could see Him immediately. Dabholkar ran and fell at the feet of Baba. The touch of the feet of Baba electrified him It was an experience the like of which Dabholkar had never felt earlier in his entire life. He was lifted into a totally different plane. The bliss he enjoyed was several times greater than what Nanasaheb had told him. Dabholkar 25


explains that by seeing Baba, our thoughts are completely transformed. The force of previous karma recedes, with detachment towards worldly affairs increasing gradually. And slowly and definitely, the entire world assumes the form of Baba. Dabholkar was consumed in that all pervading infinite form. Every fibre of his being was filled with joy and his mind was overflowing with gratitude to all those who made such an experience possible. THE TITLE OF HEMAD PANT: The very first day Dabholkar arrived in Shirdi, he picked up an argument with Balasaheb Bhate about the relevance of a guru. He argued that why should one submit to someone else and forego one’s freedom of action. He wanted to know why a guru is required when ultimately it is we who have to perform the action. He asked teasingly, if we sleep without doing anything, will the guru help us? Dabholkar thus argued for exercising freewill. Bhate argued for the other side, namely destiny and will of god. He told him to brush aside his cleverness. He also told him that pride or egoism won’t help. As it usually happens, there was no conclusion. Both were tired, and the argument was stopped. Dabholkar realized that egoism breeds discussion. When they went to masjid, Baba asked Kakasaheb, “What happened at the Wada? What was the argument about? What did this Hemad Pant say?” and turned towards Dabholkar. Hearing these words, everyone was surprised. Even though the masjid was at a distance from the Wada, how could Baba know about the discussion, unless he is omniscient? Dabholkar thought that Baba called him Hemad Pant because of the discussion in the morning. SIGNIFICANCE OF THE TITLE: Hemad Pant is a short form of the well known name, Hemadri Pant. Hemadri Pant was a Minister during the reign of Kings Mahadev and Ramadev of Yadav dynasty at Devagiri. He was a great political strategist, generous and learned person. He 26


wrote two books titled Chaturvarga Chintamani and Rajaprashasti. Hemadri Pant was of Srivatsa Gotram and belonged to the times of great saints, Jnaneshwar and Namdev. He also invented the Modi script used for accounting. Dabholkar felt that he did not stand any comparison with Hemadri Pant. He considered himself a dull fellow of moderate intellect. He was of Bharadwaja and not Srivatsa, Gotram. After sufficient thinking he concluded that Baba had called him Hemad Pant sarcastically, to bring down his egoism. From then on he decided not to indulge in discussions. Though Dabholkar thought that Baba had named him Hemad Pant sarcastically, future events proved that Baba’s words were prophetic. Hemad Pant managed the Sai Sansthan very efficiently and intelligently, kept all the accounts immaculately and above all, was instrumental in writing the book “Satcharitra” which deals with such abstract and complicated topics like Jnana, Bhakti, self-surrender and self-realization. And more than anything else, Dabholkar had surrendered completely to the sadguru Sri Sai Baba. Just as Sri Rama, though He was an incarnation of God, had Vasishta as Guru and just as Sri Krishna, though He was also an incarnation, did anything for His guru Sandeepani, Hemad Pant also believed firmly in his Guru and dispelled all the doubts he had about a guru, from his mind. He learnt that without Shraddha (dedication) and Saburi (patience), he cannot attain self realization. Strange indeed are Baba’s methods of teaching His devotees. With this the second chapter, called the objective of writing the book, is complete. In the next chapter, Hemad Pant tells us about Sai Baba’s permission and assurance, assignment of work to other devotees and other matters. || Sri Sadguru Sainathaarpanamasthu | Shubham Bhavatu || Om Shanti Shanti Shanti

27


28


|| sri sai satcharitra || || chapter three ||

|| Baba’s permission and assurance || || Sri Ganeshaya Namaha || Sri Saraswatye Namaha || || Sri Venkateshaya Namaha || Sri Sai Nathaya Namaha || || Sri Sadgurubhyo Namaha ||

In this chapter, Hemad Pant tells us about Sai Baba’s permission and assurance, assignment of work to other devotees and other matters. SAI BABA’S PERMISSION AND ASSURANCE: Sai Baba encouraged Hemad Pant and told “Do your work sincerely. Don’t be scared. Write My life story. By writing My Leelas, ignorance will vanish. By listening to My Leelas with devotion and dedication, all worldly attachments will go. Those who delve deep into My Leelas will be blessed with pearls of wisdom.” When Hemad Pant heard these encouraging words from Baba, he was pacified, prostrated at the feet of Baba and started writing Satcharitra. He was now confident that his task would be completed satisfactorily. Sri Hari’s Leelas can be understood only by Himself and no one else. God is always subservient to his devotees. He longs for the love and affection of the innocent. He never goes near the proud and haughty. About His assurances to His devotees, Baba explained Shyama thus, “Fix your thoughts on Me; I will at all times protect you. To those who meditate My nama with love, I will fulfill all their desires and enhance their love. To those who sing My Leelas and My story, I will bless them with unending bliss. To those who surrender to Me completely, I will give them peace and prosperity. I will uplift those who prostrate to Me and sing My devotional songs. How can those who always think of Me with 29


devotion be distracted by worldly ways? All diseases will be cured by listening to My stories. I will protect My devotees even from death. Those who are dedicated and think of Me will always have a very pleasant countenance. By listening, meditating and thinking about Me, peace will dawn on them. All those sins accrued by speaking evil or listening to evil will be purified by reciting “Sai” namams. A single prostration will wash away all the sins”. BABA ASSIGNS VARIOUS TASKS TO HIS DEVOTEES Being a sadguru, Baba assigned various tasks to His devotees so that they could earn His blessings. Baba got the Temple constructed through Booty. He made Dasganu sing devotional songs. He asked Shyama to go on a pilgrimage. He decided that Hemad Pant should write His story. All these are examples of the guru kripa - blessings of the Guru. It was Baba’s blessings alone which gave Hemad Pant the courage to undertake such an arduous task. It was Baba who dispelled the haughtiness of Hemad Pant and made him write about His devotees and His Leelas. There is no exaggeration in saying that Baba Himself wrote the story. What could be attained in Krita yugam by Dhyanam; by Yagna and Yagas in Treta Yugam; and by Archanas in Dwapara Yugam, could be attained in Kali Yugam by singing devotional songs of the Guru. (Krita Yugam or Satya Yugam or Swarna Yugam consists of 17, 28, 000 years. Treta Yugam consists of 12, 96, 000 years and Dwapara Yugam consists of 8, 64, 000 years. Kali Yugam or the Iron Yugam consists of 4, 32, 000 years.) Hemad Pant’s thoughts ran like this, “I am an incompetent person. I undertake a work but cannot complete it properly. If I do not make any attempt, I will be disobeying Baba’s commands. If I want to follow His orders, I am afraid that I may not be competent. Unless Sai showers His mercy on Me, I may not be able to complete this task. Baba should accept this task Himself and complete it also by Himself.” 30


He further thought that though a Brahmin by birth, he was blind without the enlightening vision of Sruti and Smriti. He was a useless fellow and hence needs to be pitied. That was the reason why he was not able to write the Satcharitra. Why should he be scared? Baba is like a supporting stick to the blind. With the grace of God, a dumb person can talk like Bruhaspati. Even a lame person can cross a mountain. Baba will grant him sufficient wisdom to get his job done. Hemad Pant also prayed that as long as he was alive he would live by doing Baba’s work. Lifeless musical instruments like the harmonium or the flute come to life with melodious music because of the player. The waves that rise in sea are due not to the sea but to the moon. Like them, Hemad Pant thought that he was only an instrument and the actual person writing the Satcharitra was Baba Himself. LISTENING TO BABA’S STORY - MEANS TO SALVATION

In order to help the ships to find their way while traveling in sea, lighthouses are constructed. Lighthouses prevent ships from losing their way. Similarly, Sai Baba’s stories help us in effectively crossing the deep ocean of Samsara. Baba’s Leelas and stories remove the feeling of duality in us. By listening to them, enlightenment dawns on us. By devotedly listening to Baba’s stories, salvation is provided by burning away all the sins. The easiest way to achieve salvation in Kali Yugam is by Sankeertanam. Anyone can follow this path. Listening to Guru Katha is the easiest way for all. Only those who are really blessed can do this. Other Methods of Yogam, Yaagam, Dhyanam and Reading are all difficult to follow. For Katha Shravanam, except attentive listening, nothing else is required. The ill effects of the five great sins - Consuming Liquor, Stealing Gold, Killing a Brahmin, Sleeping with Gurupatni (wife of guru is treated like one’s mother), association with any one of these - are removed and peace of mind is restored. By studying with devotion and attention, Sai’s image will be etched in the mind and it will remain calm and peaceful. The mind will remain still and 31


undisturbed resulting in Self realization. That was why with Hemad Pant as the instrument, Sai wrote His story Himself. BABA’S LOVE IS LIKE MOTHER’S LOVE Sai Baba’s love towards His devotees is like a mother’s love towards its child. Only a mother knows her child’s hunger even before it cries for food, and feeds it. Who else can feed a child without its asking for food? When the child grows up the mother feels happy and satisfied by properly dressing the child with fancy clothes and ornaments. When the child comes of age, only the mother can understand its youthful ambitions. Like a mother, a sadguru also loves and cares for his devotees. Hemad Pant narrates an example from his own experience about Baba’s motherly affection towards his devotees. He retired from government service in 1916 and after taking his pension, went to Shirdi. That was on a Guru Poornima day. All the devotees had thronged to perform Guru Pooja. Anna Chinchinikar, a devotee of Baba, suddenly felt that he should talk to Baba about Annasaheb. He said, “Deva, this Annasaheb has to shoulder the responsibility of a large family. The pension he gets is not sufficient for this purpose. Kindly get him a job”. Baba replied, “He will get another job. He will never suffer from shortage of food. All his difficulties will be solved if he continues to be under My shelter. He will get permanent happiness if he foregoes the company of bad people.” SAI BABA’S ADVICE Talking to Chinchinikar about Hemad Pant, Baba continued, “Nobody will come to us without any Rinanubandha. If you do My Pooja with devotion, God will grant you an akshayapaatra. This body is perishable. Brahman alone is imperishable, immortal. Worship only Brahman. That alone is the real Guru Pooja. In Geeta, Sri Krishna Bhagavan tells Arjuna the same thing. “I am pervading the entire universe in eight different forms, 32


Bhoomir apo analo vayuh kham mano buddhirevacha Ahankara itiyam me bhinnaa prakritir ashtadaa Ch.7 Sl.4 This Prakriti of Mine is divided eight-fold thus: earth, water, fire, air, space, mind, intellect and also egoism Different forms, different names all mean only Me. I am present in all things of this world. I am omniscient. I am the pranava ‘OM’. I am the all pervading Atman. Why desire other things when I am the Omnipotent? Desire for Me. Like the mist melting with the sun rays, all other desires will melt away with self realization. I am not the gross material body, nor am I the tiniest of the particles. I am only the ancient witness. I am beyond the trigunas and the sensory organs. There is no place, where I am not present. I do not do anything Myself. Nor do I make anyone do anything. I am the eternal bliss. I am the truthful form of Brahman. Understand that I am the Vasudeva who is eternal, pure and liberated. When the mind realizes that it is not bound by activity, and then turns towards God, that state of mind is called Bhakti. This alone is My pooja with devotion and dedication. Realize who I am, surrender to Me and become one with Me. Where will be the egoism if the mind is devoid of all activities and constantly thinks only of ‘Allah Malik’? Such a mind will always be balanced and will be completely at peace. To know that I am all pervading and then discard one’s pride at My feet is the only pooja that anyone can do. Those who surrender to Me, become one with Me. Thinking of the Guru constantly, singing songs in praise of the Guru makes one on par with the Guru. There cannot be a Guru without a Sishya, nor a Sishya without a Guru. They cannot live in isolation.” Both Chinchinikar and Hemad Pant were greatly satisfied by listening to this discourse. Sai Baba did not have any thought other than that of Allah Malik. And Sai never had any egoism. Sri Krishna has said that those who serve Him and those who surrender totally to Him would 33


become one with Him. Thinking about that, Hemad Pant once again surrendered himself to Baba. ROHILLA’S STORY: Rohilla - one of Baba’s devotees - was strong and tall. He dressed in long shirts. He was attracted by Baba’s teachings and became a permanent resident in Shirdi’s Masjid. He never cared for anyone. Day and night he used to recite the kalmas in Quran very loudly, disturbing everyone. The villagers of Shirdi, having worked very hard in the fields during daytime, could not get any sleep in the night because of Rohilla’s loud prayers. Sai Maharaj never admonished him for anything. Because of Baba’s backing, Rohilla used to pick up quarrels with the villagers. When they could no longer bear the loud prayers, all the villagers approached Baba and asked Him to stop this. Contrary to all expectations, Baba rebuked them and said, “Don’t bother about Rohilla. You continue with your own work”. Baba used to say that Rohilla had a very unfortunate wife. Being a termagant she used to trouble not only Rohilla but Himself also. She kept quite only because of Rohilla’s loud prayers. He told the villagers that Rohilla will become quiet once he gets tired and their problem would be solved. The villagers thought that if Baba could tolerate him being so near, they could as well reconcile. In reality, Rohilla never had a wife. He used to sing the kalmas as prescribed. He was a mad person. Still Baba had plenty of affection for him. He listened to Rohilla’s kalmas attentively. Baba used to explain that Rohilla’s wife was actually his sick mind. And yet, He kept his company because He liked kalmas. BABA’S APPEALING DISCOURSES One afternoon, after the aarathi, when the devotees were getting ready to leave for their homes, Baba told them, “Remember, wherever you are, I know what you are doing. I am present in all of you. I pervade this universe. I am the one who is running this world. I am the mother of all. I control the sensory 34


organs. I am the creator, destroyer and the preserver. Those who contemplate Me will never have any problems. Maya will consume those who forget Me. This entire universe is only one of My forms”. Thus Baba indicated that He was God. There is no difference between a saint and God. Sai is in every being in this universe. This universe is the other form of Sai. His incarnation was only to uplift this world. To get immersed in Guru Tatvam one has to praise the Guru, sing his songs, and listen to him devotedly. With these, plenty of good takes place. Devotees can experience these personally. After listening to Baba, Hemad Pant decided to devote his entire time in serving the Guru. Baba’s words to Chinchinikar materialized shortly, and Hemad Pant got another government job. However, this was only for a short duration. Subsequently, he became free and devoted his entire life in the service of Baba. This world is one of the forms of God. He is beyond everything. There are eight ways of worshipping Him. They are idol, sacrificing post, fire, heart, sun, water, Brahmin and the teacher. Of these, the worship of the teacher is superior. Sri Krishna was a jagadguru. Even then, He studied under Sandeepani. Sri Krishna had told, “Contemplating Sadguru’s words will please Me. I will be happy to listen to the praise of a Sadguru rather than praise of Me.” Those who do not like the praise of a Guru are, indeed, unfortunate. Listen to these stories and ennoble your life. They will see you through many difficulties of life. Ponder over them repeatedly. It was the inscrutable destiny which dragged Hemad Pant to Baba. Their meeting was also one of Baba’s Leelas. Those who read this Satcharitra and those who meditate on it are indeed blessed. Udyapanas, Vratas and Upavasams are all unnecessary. Reading Sri Sai Satcharitra alone is sufficient. Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, fix your mind on Sai.

35


With this the third chapter of Sri Sai Satcharitra called as Sai Baba’s permission and assurance is complete. In the next chapter Hemad Pant tells us about Sai’s advent in Shirdi, appearance of Vithal, Dasganu’s bath in Prayag, about the three Wadas in Shirdi and other events || Sri Sadguru Sainatha arpanamasthu | Shubam Bhavatu || Om Shanti Shanti Shanti

I will at all times protect the interests of those who fix their thoughts on Me. To those who meditate My nama with love, I will fulfill all of their desires and enhance their love. To those who sing My Leelas and My story, I will bless them with unending bliss. To those who surrender to Me completely, I will give them peace and prosperity. I will uplift those who prostrate to Me and sing My devotional songs. How can those who always think of Me with devotion be distracted by worldly ways? All diseases will be cured by listening to My stories. I will protect My devotees even from death. Those who are dedicated and think of Me will always have a very pleasant countenance. By listening, meditating and thinking about Me, peace will dawn on them. Matkarmakrunmatparamo madbhaktasanga varjitaha Nirvairasarvabhooteshu yassamaMethi Pandava Ch. 11 Sl 55 O son of Pandu, he who works for Me, accepts Me as the supreme Goal, is devoted to Me, is devoid of attachment and free from enmity towards all beings-he attains Me.

36


|| sri sai satcharitra || || chapter four ||

|| sai Baba’s advent in shirdi || || Sri Ganeshaya Namaha || Sri Saraswatye Namaha || || Sri Venkateshaya Namaha || Sri Sai Nathaya Namaha || || Sri Sadgurubhyo Namaha ||

In this chapter Hemad Pant tells us about Sai’s advent in Shirdi, appearance of Vithal, Dasganu’s bath in Prayag, about the three Wadas in Shirdi and other events. MISSION OF THE SAINTS: The life stories of saints and sages enthrall the listeners. Not only are they melodious to the ears, they also soothe the troubled mind. Among those stories, life story of Sai is like amrita. Sai devotees imbibe this amrita and go into raptures of ecstasy. The saints and sages are not born everyday. They are born only to resurrect dharma. Whenever righteousness dwindles, and whenever unrighteousness prevails, a saint will arise from the heart of unrighteousness to set right the dharma and guide people once again towards righteousness. Whenever the righteous are punished for doing the right; when people believe that wealth, wife and progeny are the goals of life; when religious instructions are ignored and everyone thinks that he is the most learned and wise; when in the name of religion, malpractices are carried out; during all those times adharma fosters and dharma perishes. To reinstate dharma to its pristine glory and to annihilate adharma, God takes birth again and again, age after age, in this world. Satpurushas and sadhus personify God’s will for perpetuation of dharma. They are born to give solace to the devout and once dharma is reestablished, they leave this world for their eternal home. 37


Sri Sai Baba is the Guru, He is God personified. All the four Vedas together could not define Him. Neither the six Darshanas - Sankhya, Yoga, Nyaya, Vaisheshika, Meemamsa, and Vedantas - nor the six Shastras - Shiksha, Chandas, Vyakarana, Nirukta, Jyotisha and the Kalpas - were able to clearly explain Him. Even the eighteen Puranas - Brahma, Padma, Vishnu, Shiva, Linga, Garuda, Narada, Bhagavat, Agni, Skanda, Bhavishya, Brahmavaivarta, Markandeya, Vamana, Varaha, Matsya, Kurma and Vayu - could not establish His identity. He who surrenders - by word, deed and mind - to Sai will be blessed with eternal pleasures. Sai, the causative force behind the sensory organs, was the inspiration for the writing of this story. It was He who suggested an orderly way of writing this story. No one else can describe His behaviour. When words fail, silence alone can do full justice. Only when the Sadguru makes up His mind, He inspires the devotees to experience the unusual. Every sensory organ can only enjoy that sense for which it is meant. The tongue enjoys sweetness by itself. It cannot share its pleasure with other organs. Similarly, every devotee experiences the bliss of Sai’s blessings all by himself. He cannot make any one else share his pleasure. It is only the Sadguru who, whenever He decides, can inspire a devotee to explain in detail His Leelas for the benefit of others. Great saints and sages adopt certain places for carrying out the mission of their life. Because of the saints, those places achieve an aura and become places of attraction for the innumerable devotees. Narasimhawada, Ganagapur, Audumber and Bhillawadi are such places. Because of Baba’s stay there, Shirdi achieved an aura unmatched by any other place. Located near the banks of Godavari River, it is 3 km away from Neemgaon. Neemgaon is 6 km from Kopergaon in Kopergaon Taluqa of Ahmednagar District. Just as Mangalwada became famous due to Damaji; Sajjangarh became famous due to Samarth Ramadas; Narasimhawada became famous due to Narasimha Bharati, Shirdi achieved greatness because of Sai Baba. 38


Sai Baba chose Shirdi for propagating the message of universal love. He was generous, and treated rich and poor alike. Beyond misery and happiness, He had a compassionate mind and a consoling word for everyone. Baba was not constrained by religion or caste or creed. He was in everyone, yet He did not belong to anyone. Though He enjoyed flute or ghazals, though He was amidst people, His mind was always fixed on Allah Malik. He was never out of His Samadhi. When the world slept, He was wide awake; and when the world was awake, He was in deep Samadhi. At all times He arduously protected the interests of His devotees. To grant salvation from all worldly bondages to those who surrendered to Him totally was Baba’s mission in Shirdi. For devotees of Baba, Shirdi itself embodied various pilgrim places like Pandharpur, Badri, Kedar, Puri Jagannath, Kashi, Rameshwaram, Nasik, Tryambakeshwar, Mahabaleshwar and Gokarna. Seeing Sai in Shirdi was the means to the Ultimate. They found Triveni Sangam at the divine feet of Baba. His soothing words are like the mantras of Vedas. Baba Himself is Sri Rama and Sri Krishna. Though Baba is all pervading, Shirdi is the focal point. He is present in Punjab, Calcutta, Gujarat, Deccan, India and other countries, yet having darshan of Sai Samadhi in Shirdi is the ultimate purpose of our life. Udi (Vibhuti Prasadam) offered by Baba is sacred. Baba glorified Shirdi as Eknath did Paithan and Jnandev did Aland. Though He was the enlightened, for all external appearances He behaved as if He knew nothing. Initially, His devotees come to Baba for fulfilling their material wants. Once they are contented, they turn their minds towards spiritual progress. With Baba as their guide, they attain their supreme goal. Without any discrimination of religion, caste, creed, sex or region, providing spiritual shelter to those who surrender totally to Him is the primary objective of Baba’s incarnation. With Baba’s fame spreading far and wide, people came from all over to attain mental solace at Shirdi. The devotees get as much contentment by the darshan of Sai Baba at Shirdi as 39


they get by seeing Vithal Rakhumai at Pandharpur. This is no exaggeration as the following example illustrates. GOULIBUVA’S STORY: Goulibuva was a devotee of Vithal. He was a warkari. Warkaris are those devotees of Vithal, who follow a 600 year old tradition of traveling by foot from Aland to Pandharpur at least twice a year. He was 95 years old. He used to spend the chaturmasyam (four months from July to November) on the banks of Ganga River. He had an ass to carry his luggage and a Sishya as a companion. Every year during his journey to Pandharpur, he used to see Sai at Shirdi. Whenever he saw Baba, he used to say, “Baba is incarnation of Pandarinatha. He is the saviour of the poor and the orphans. Those who wear silk garments are not mahatmas. Baba alone is the personification of Pandarinatha. Devotees will know this by experience”. BABA APPEARS AS VITHAL TO DASGANU AND KAKASAHEB: One day, while reciting Allah Malik, Baba asked Dasganu to perform Nama sapthaham. Dasganu agreed to do, if Vithal appeared on the last day. With a hand on His chest, Baba assured, “Vithal will definitely appear if strongly desired by a dedicated mind. Vithal’s Pandharpur and Sri Krishna’s Dwarka are all here itself. Vithal need not come from somewhere. He will definitely heed to the devotee’s call of love”. At the end of the week, Dasganu really had Vithal’s darshan. Kakasaheb Dixit also had Vithal’s darshan during one of his morning meditations. When he went to see Baba, Baba asked him, “Vithal Patil had come. Did you see Him? He is likely to vanish. Tie Him up securely. Even if you are slightly careless, He will escape.” Baba knew everything. Same day about 25 pictures of Vithal were for sale. Seeing the same posture in the picture as in his morning meditation, Kakasaheb was simply stunned. He bought one picture and securely tied it in his pooja mandir. 40


BHAGAVANT RAO’S STORY: Bhagavant Rao’s father was a devotee of Vithal. His name was Kshirsagar. He used to go regularly to Pandharpur. He worshipped Vithal daily. With the death of his father, Bhagavant Rao stopped worship of Vithal. He also stopped offering naivedyam to God. He stopped visiting Pandharpur. When he visited Shirdi, Baba told him, “I have dragged him here as he is son of my friend. He has stopped pooja, naivedyam etc. He is keeping both Vithal and Myself hungry. I will make him start the ritual again.” Baba insisted that everyone should worship their family deities. DASGANU’S STORY: On a Mahashivaratri day, Ganpatrao Dattatreya Sahasrabuddhe, affectionately called as ‘Dasganu’ by Baba, wanted to have Gangasnaan (a holy bath in the confluence of Ganga and Yamuna at Prayag) by going to Singaba (about 5kms from Shirdi) and having a dip in Godavari river. Dasganu approached Baba for permission. Baba told him, “If you have unflinching faith, then both Ganga and Yamuna will flow here itself. One need not go that far for the sake of a bath”. With great reverence, Dasganu prostrated at Baba’s feet. The moment his head touched Baba’s feet, Ganga and Yamuna sprouted from both the toes of Baba’s feet and started flowing like rivers. Having witnessed what Baba could do, Dasganu could not contain his ecstasy and began singing Baba’s Leelas. DASGANU WORSHIPS BABA: “Sadguru Baba, Your powers are immeasurable. Your Leelas are stupendous. You are the ferry to take us across the ocean of samsara. You made both Ganga and Yamuna flow from Your toes. You are the confluence of Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwara. At times You preach like Brahma, at other times 41


You are ferocious like Rudra. And during some other time, You show us the childhood pranks of Sri Krishna. You are not Muslim, as You like sandal paste. You are not Hindu, as You stay in a masjid. You are not rich, as You accept alms. You are not poor, as Your generosity puts to shame even Kubera. Dhuni will always be burning for the sake of Vibhuti Prasadam. Devotees throng for Your Pooja right from the morning. They give You aarathi, fan You for comfort, and sing praises of You. At aarathi time You look like radiant sun, nearer Dhuni You appear like Shiva. By being with You, we experience the presence of Trimurthis.” Having worshipped thus, Dasganu prayed Baba to help him keep his mind fixed on Him. SRI SAI BABA’S FIRST ADVENT IN SHIRDI: People usually go to Ganga to cleanse themselves of all their sins. But Ganga always desires to be at the feet of great Saints and Sages. Such saints come to this earth only to uplift the ordinary. The birth details of many such great saints are not known. Both Namdev and Kabir did not have the usual parentage. Namdev was first sighted on Bhimrathi River by Gonayee. Kabir was first sighted on the Bhagirathi River by Tamal. Similarly, nobody knows the birth details of Sai Baba also. When Mahavishnu came to this earth as Lord Venkateswara, He married Padmavathi, daughter of Akasharaju. Before giving his daughter in marriage, Akasharaju wanted to find out about the parentage of Lord Venkateswara. He found out that nobody knew anything about Lord Venkateswara’s birth. At that time Narada said that He, whose birth details are not known, is God Himself. Sri Sai Baba first appeared underneath a Neem tree in Shirdi at the age of 16 years. He was so radiant at that time itself that people accepted Him as a Brahma Jnani. After seeing Baba underneath the Neem tree, Nana Chopdar’s mother, an old lady in Shirdi, described Baba as, “This young and handsome boy sat underneath the Neem tree in an 42


asana. He used to be in deep meditation without being affected by sun or rain, heat or cold. He never mixed with anyone in the village. And when the villagers saw Him, love for the boy swelled up in their hearts. Though He was a young boy, His actions showed that He was a Mahatma. No one knew about the birth details of the boy.” DECLARATION OF GURUSTHANAM: One day, when someone in Shirdi was possessed by God Khandoba, people asked him about this boy. Answering them, the God showed a nearby place and said that if they excavated there, they may get details about the boy. Immediately, the villagers started digging up earth near the Neem tree. They found a layer of bricks, below which was a big stone. When the stone was removed, they found steps leading to a cavern below. Inside of the cavern was lined with lime mortar and there were four lamps glowing brightly. A small wooden seat and a necklace of beads were also found. Khandoba told them that this boy did profound meditation there for 12 years. To know more, the villagers questioned Baba about that place. He told them that the place belonged to His Guru and it should be secured as before and should be worshipped. Later Baba told, “Those who clean this place on Thursdays and Fridays in the evening and burn agarbathis, Sri Hari will be pleased with them and bless them.” From then on, people worship that place as the Gurusthan. THE THREE WADAS IN SHIRDI: One of Baba’s devotees, Hari Vinayak Sathe, bought the place around the Neem tree. In 1908, he constructed a building there called as “Sathe Wada”. This was the first building which provided shelter to pilgrims coming to Shirdi. In subsequent years, two other buildings, Dixit Wada and Booty’s stone building also came up. Kakasaheb Dixit, a solicitor by profession, went to London and in a rail accident injured his leg. From then on, he 43


had difficulty in walking. Nanasaheb told him his problem would be solved by Baba. When Kakasaheb met Baba on 2.11.1909, he prayed Baba that instead of treating his leg, Baba should treat him of the fickleness of his mind. After seeing Baba, from the subsequent year onwards, he decided to stay in Shirdi itself. With Baba’s permission, he laid the foundation stone for a building on 10.12.1910. Same day, the night Aarathi was also started in the Chavadi. The Dikshit Wada was completed in the year 1911 and was inaugurated on the Sri Rama Navami day. Then, the rich man of Nagpur, Booty constructed a stone building. Lot of money was spent for this building. The money spent was well utilized as Baba’s Samadhi is located in it. With that, there are three Wadas in Shirdi. Earlier, Baba used to feed water to the plants in those sites. Vaman Tatya gave the earthen pots in which Baba nurtured the plants. With this the fourth chapter, called Sai Baba’s advent in Shirdi, is complete. In the next chapter, Hemad Pant tells us about the temporary absence of Baba from Shirdi, His reappearance in Shirdi with the marriage party, Baba’s wrestling match with Tamboli, residence in the masjid and other events. ||Sri Sadguru Sainathaarpanamasthu || Shubham Bhavatu|| Om Shanti Shanti Shanti One day, in his morning meditation, Kakasaheb Dikshit was blessed with the Darshan of Vithal. ………………………………………………………………………… Bhaktyaa tvananya shakya ahamevam vido Arjuna Jnatum drashtum cha tatvaina pravestum cha parantapa 11 ch. 54 sl But, O Arjuna, by single-minded devotion am I-in this form-able to be known and seen in reality, and also be entered into, O destroyer of foes. 44


|| sri sai satcharitra || || chapter five ||

|| sai Baba’s re-appearance in shirdi || || Sri Ganeshaya Namaha || Sri Saraswatye Namaha || || Sri Venkateshaya Namaha || Sri Sai Nathaya Namaha || || Sri Sadgurubhyo Namaha ||

In this chapter, Hemad Pant tells us about the temporary absence of Baba from Shirdi, His reappearance in Shirdi with the marriage party, Baba’s wrestling match with Tamboli, residence in the masjid and other events. CHAND PATIL’S STORY:

Chand Patil, head of Dhoopkhed village in Aurangabad Zillah, had lost his horse couple of months back and could not find it even after intensive search. He came looking after his horse to a forest between the two villages Sindhun and Bindhun located at a distance of 9 miles from Aurangabad. From a distance, he saw a young fakir seated underneath a mango tree. This fakir had a cap on his head, wore a long sleeved shirt, kafni, and had a satka in his arm pit. The fakir was trying to smoke a chillum. He called the despondent Chand Patil by name as “Chand Bhai” and said, “Come here and have a puff of this chillum”. Chand Patil went and sat beside the fakir. The fakir was preparing the chillum. Chandbhai took the chillum from him and after powdering the tobacco leaf, packed it firmly into the chillum. He said, "I have filled and readied the chillum. But there is no fire. I have left my flints at home. What are we to do now?" The fakir laughed on hearing Chandbhai. He said, “Why are 45


you worried that there is no fire?” Immediately, he hit the ground with his satka and a fire came up. With the same satka, he hit the ground once again and this time a spring of fresh water came up. The fakir soaked the cloth in the water, placed a twig on the fire and lit the chillum with the burning twig. He threw the twig away after the chillum was well lit and drawing satisfactorily, tasted a few puffs and gave it to Chand Patil and asked him to smoke. Chand Patil was stunned beyond speech by seeing the actions of the young fakir. The young fakir then asked Chandbhai about the saddle in his hand. He told the fakir that he had lost his horse couple of months back, and even after exhaustive search, could not find it. The fakir told him, “Why do you worry so much for the horse? Go and see beside that thicket. You will see your horse happily feeding on grass there.” Chandbhai went and searched in the place told by the fakir. To his great surprise, he found his horse there. Patil thought that this fakir was no ordinary fakir, and could only be an aulia (a great yogi). He brought the horse, came back and fell at the feet of the fakir. He invited the fakir to his village, Dhoopkhed. The fakir promised him that he would come later on, and later on he did visit and enjoy the hospitality of Patil Chand Patil’s wife had a brother. This brother’s son was of a marriageable age and his marriage was fixed with a girl in Shirdi. The entire marriage party was leaving for Shirdi from Dhoopkhed. The young fakir, at the invitation of Chand Patil, joined the marriage party and traveled with them to Shirdi. At the outskirts of Shirdi, the marriage party stopped near Khandoba temple. The young fakir got down from the cart and started walking towards the temple. Almost at the same time, the pujari of the temple, by name Mhalsapathi, came out of the temple, saw the young fakir and exclaimed, “Oh Sai! It is not fitting that you come here. This is a temple for the Hindus. You look like a Moslem to me. You better go to the Masjid or the takia!” The young fakir was surprised by the words of Mhalsapathi. He said, “It is the same god who has created both these people. Hindu and Moslem are mere words - know this to be the truth. There are 46


temples in this world and there are masjids too. God has not constructed any of them. Try to see the god who is one for all of us. He is Allah-I-llahi. He is the Maha Vishnu reclining on the serpent Adisesha! There is nothing which is other than your Khandoba. Know clearly as to who the real Khandoba is. Those who know the truth do not care for these differences based on religion. Oh pious one! Do not think that these temples or the masjids are the only ones to lead you to god. I will not trouble you. I will respect your feelings and have the darshan of Khandoba from afar. I hope you have no objection to that?” Mhalsapathi was filled with ecstasy of happiness on hearing these words of wisdom from the young fakir. Being highly detached and not governed by lust or other low urges, he could easily appreciate the wisdom of the young fakir, who had the same virtues of purity and non-attachment in a higher degree and therefore was drawn to him. He prostrated at his feet and bowed to him with devotion. He said, "You are truly the embodiment of wisdom. It is the accumulated merit of my past lives which has led me to you." He prayed, "Ya Sai! Please come to Shirdi and stay on in our village." The fakir agreed to do so. They both entered the village. From that day onwards people started calling the young fakir as “Sai Baba”. That was in the year 1858 AD. Sai Baba then made his residence in the masjid of Shirdi. The name Sai literally means God. Kabir used the word Sai to mean Lord, or God. In his book “Goraksha ki mayagar”, Ghoraknath used the word to mean Maha Vishnu. PHILOSOPHICAL MEANING OF CHAND PATIL’S STORY:

Through Chand Patil’s story, Baba demonstrated that He could create two mutually incompatible elements like fire and water at the same place. By this, He also demonstrated that He had total control over nature. Both the elements fire and water exist together only in a human being- jatharagni and water. The human being here is Chand Patil. The horse is compared to the 47


wandering mind. Baba showed him how to regain the control over his mind. He showed that He is the sadguru. Guru is there to properly guide those who trust Him. Baba demonstrated that He truly is the God Himself. BABA AND THE OTHER SADHUS: Devidas, a sadhu, was living in Shirdi even before Baba’s arrival. He was living in the masjid where Baba made His residence. Both were happy with each other’s company and got on very well. Then one more saint, by name Janakidas, also joined them. They used to spend their time discussing about spiritual matters. Gangagir, a resident of Punatambe, came to Shirdi very frequently. He was a family man and a devout Vaishnavite. One day he saw Baba carrying heavy water pots and tendering plants. He was wonderstruck and commented, “He is now carrying water pots, but he is not an ordinary person. It is only because of the good fortune of the Shirdi people that this gem has come here.” Sri Anandswamy, a gouda Brahmin belonging to Kudal area in Ratnagiri Zillah of South Konkan, was a follower of Akkalkot Maharaj and in charge of Yevala Math. He had seen Baba when Baba was very young and prophesied, “This young man is an invaluable asset. Though he is in this mud heap, he is not a stone. You will see that he will be doing great deeds in the future.” BABA’S DRESS: When Baba was in His youth, He never cut His hairs short and used to dress like a wrestler. Whenever He went to Rahata, He got marigold, jai and juhi flower plants and put them in pots and tendered them. Vaman Tatya, a devotee of Baba, used to prepare earthen pots. He gave Baba two pots everyday. With those pots Baba used to draw water from a nearby well and water the plants. After His work was over, He threw those pots underneath the Neem tree. As they were not baked, the pots broke easily. Next day, Tatya used to give two more pots. This went on 48


for three years and with Baba’s toil and hard work, a beautiful garden had come up. The present Samadhi Mandir, visited year after year by Sai devotees all over, was built in that garden only. INSTALLATION OF PADUKAS BY BHAI KRISHNAJI:

Bhai Krishnaji was a devotee of Akkalkot Maharaj. He worshipped the Swamyji’s photo everyday. Once he wanted to visit Akkalkot and offer his prayers to Swamy’s Padukas. The night before his travel, the Swamyji appeared in his dream and said, “I am now in Shirdi. You come to Shirdi itself.” Following the instructions, he went from Bombay to Shirdi and stayed there for six months. As a commemoration of the extraordinary bliss he experienced there, he got Baba’s Padukas made and installed them under the Neem tree. The installation function was performed by Dada Kelkar and Upasani Baba on the Sravana Shuddha Pournami day in 1912. The entire function was organized by Sri Sagunamer. PADUKA PRATISHTA AS IN 11th EDITION OF “SAI LEELA”:

In 1912, Dr. Ramarao Kothari, a medical doctor by profession, came to Shirdi from Bombay for Baba’s darshan. His compounder accompanied him. Dr.Kothari’s friend, Bhai Krishnaji Alibagkar also joined them. While in Shirdi, Bhai Krishnaji and the compounder became intimate with Bhakta Saguna and G.K Dixit. They wanted to commemorate Baba’s first appearance in Shirdi by performing Paduka pratishta under the Neem tree. Bhai Krishnaji’s friend, the compounder, suggested that if this matter was brought to the notice of Dr.Kothari, he would get Baba’s Padukas engraved in beautiful stone. As soon as he was told about it, Dr.Kothari immediately agreed and took a sketch of the Padukas. Upasani Baba of the Khandoba temple suggested inclusion of a lotus, a Shanku and a chakram. He also suggested that the following verse describing the yogic powers of Baba and the greatness of Neem tree should be inscribed: 49


Sada nimbara vrikshasya mooladhi vaasaat, Sudha sraavinam tikta mapya priyantam, Tarum kalpavrikshadhikam saadhayantam Namaami eswaram Sadgurum Sainaatham I bow to the lord Sainath, who by His constant stay at the foot of the Neem tree, made it -which though bitter and unpleasant was yet oozing nectar (the oozing of this tree is called Amrit, (nectar) on account of its healing properties) - better than the Kalpavriksha. As per the suggestions of Upasani Baba, the Padukas were prepared in Bombay and the compounder brought the stone carving to Shirdi. Baba instructed that the installation be done on the full moon day of the Shravana month. That day Dixit carried the stone on his head and came in procession from the Khandoba temple to Dwarakamai. Baba touched the stone Padukas and said that they were the Padukas of God and should be worshipped with great devotion after installing under the Neem tree. A day before, Seth Pasta of Bombay had sent Rs. 25/- by money order. Baba gave this amount for installation of Padukas. The total expenditure for installation came to Rs. 100/- out of which the remaining Rs.75/- were collected from subscriptions. From then on Bhakta Saguna and Jakhade performed pooja everyday and lit lamps. Bhai Krishnaji was earlier a devotee of Akkalkot Maharaj. During the Paduka pratishta, he had broken his journey to Akkalkot and halted at Shirdi. After the Paduka pratishta, he sought Baba’s permission to continue his journey to Akkalkot. Baba said, “The Maharaj who is in Akkalkot is here also. And that is I.” Having been thus reassured by Baba’s comforting words, Bhai Krishnaji stopped going to Akkalkot. He visited Shirdi many times. (Hemad Pant was not aware of some of the facts and hence did not include these details in the satcharitra.)

50


WRESTLING BOUT WITH MOHIUDDIN TAMBOLI PEHALWAN:

Mohiuddin Bhai was a wrestler who sold betel nuts, betel leaves and tobacco in Shirdi. Once there was an argument between him and Baba. As the matter could not be settled and as Baba never used His powers for His own betterment, they decided to have a wrestling bout to resolve the issue. Being a novice, Baba lost the wrestling bout to Mohiuddin. From then on, Baba discarded His pehalwan like dress and resorted to a langoti, long sleeved shirt and a scarf over His head. He used the gunny bag as His seat. He used to say, “The title of Fakir is always superior to that of being called a Maharaj. Poverty is several times better than riches. Allah belongs to the poor. He will always be a friend and companion of the poor.” Gangagir was also fond of taking part in wrestling bouts. Once when he was fighting a bout, he suddenly lost interest. At the same time, a siddha commented, “As long as the wrestling bout is with God, it does not matter even if the body is lost.” Gangagir heard this, was totally disillusioned with the material world and took to the path of self realization. On the banks of river Punatambe, he established a math and lived there with his disciples. GRANT OF PROGENY TO DENGLE’S RELATIVE NANASAHEB:

Sai Baba, on His own, never talked with anyone. He used to reply only when someone asked Him something. He used to sit everyday underneath the Neem tree, or on the banks of the nearby canal, or under a babul tree. Occasionally he walked up a mile to Neemgaon. There He used to visit Jagirdar Tryambak Dengle’s house. He used to talk with him for the entire day. Nanasaheb was Dengle’s brother. He married a second time as his first wife could not conceive. Even then, there were no issues. So, Dengle sent Nanasaheb to Baba. Baba blessed him and soon a son was born to Nanasaheb. From then on, people started visiting Baba. Sai’s fame spread far and wide. It spread up to Ahmednagar. 51


Nanasaheb Chandorkar had sufficient clout in government offices in Ahmednagar. Chidambar Keshav was a secretary in that Zillah. He invited Nanasaheb, with family and friends, to visit Baba at Shirdi. After Baba’s darshan, Nanasaheb also became one among His devotees. Like him, whoever came for the darshan of Baba became His devotee, and the family of Baba’s devotees went on growing. Though the devotees always thronged Him, Baba was totally aloof. He spent the day with them, and in the night, slept in the dilapidated masjid. BABA’S DAILY ROUTINE, SINGING AND DANCING:

Baba always had with Him a chillum, tobacco and the satka. He draped Himself with the kafni. He covered His head with a white scarf, held in place by a knot over His left ear. He never bathed for days together. For weeks together He never washed His clothes. He used to walk barefoot as He never had any footwear. He sat always on a gunny bag. He never slept on a bed, nor used a pillow. He was always awake. He sat near Dhuni and warmed Himself. “Allah Malik” was constantly on His lips. Having sacrificed egoism and all desires, He sat facing south. The whole place in the masjid was of the size of only two rooms. Baba’s activities were confined to within that place. The floor was of mud, uneven and not leveled. He slept on the uneven floor itself. In the beginning, people were scared of coming to Baba. With the passing of each day, they never left Him alone. They realized the conditions in which Baba was living, and in one night they leveled the floor. Then they laid it with designed stones. All these changes took place in the year 1912. Before coming to this masjid, Baba stayed in ‘takia’ for a long time. Baba used to tie up ghungroo to His legs and dance beautifully and rhythmically to the rhythm of instruments. His singing also was very melodious. BURNING LAMPS WITH WATER:

In those days, Shirdi was a humble, poverty stricken village. There were very few shops in the village. Even those few 52


were mostly the grocers. Sai Baba was very fond of burning lamps for pooja. He used to keep small diyas made of mud, and prepare the wicks with old torn cloth pieces. He carried a small tin box and begged for oil. Sai Baba would daily beg oil from the shopkeepers to light the lamps at the Masjid. In the same manner He would light lamps in the temples too. He used to conduct the festivals of lighting lamps at these places of worship. The shopkeepers were irritated at His begging for oil everyday from them. One day they all got together and discussed the matter. "From where can we give this man free oil everyday?" They decided not to give Him any more oil. When Baba went to beg for oil, He got the same answer everywhere. "There is no stock, we are out of oil" Baba returned to the Masjid without speaking harshly to the merchants who, He knew, were telling lies. He then did a wonderful thing. He placed the earthen lamps all around the Masjid and placed wicks in them. The whole village had come to know by now and had gathered at the Masjid to watch the fun. They talked amongst themselves. How can lamps be lit without oil? Baba took the tin, which had a little oil remaining at its bottom, and went back in to the Masjid. All were seated silently in the Masjid. Baba had enough oil to light only one lamp in his tin. Baba poured a little water, approximately half the volume of oil, into the tin of oil and closed his eyes in meditation. He took a little of the mixture of oil and water into his mouth and spat it back into the tin after gargling. He poured the mixture in to all the lamps. Incredibly, there was sufficient oil for all the lamps now. He lit the lamps and they burned brightly throughout the night. The people were stunned by this wonderful miracle of Baba. The merchants were taken aback by this miracle and repented for telling a lie. They begged Baba to pardon them. As Baba was above all such petty things, He pardoned them easily and advised them, “Behave always in the manner pleasing to the almighty. Never tell lies. If you stick to the truth, God will be pleased.� 53


Baba had neither enemies nor friends; everyone was equal to Him. The people of Shirdi went back to their homes contentedly. JAWAHAR ALI’S STORY:

Five years after the wrestling bout with Mohiuddin, a fakir by name Jawahar Ali came to Rahata with his followers and camped in the open space near the Veerabhadra Temple. There were several Marathis in that place. One by name Bhagusadaphal became Jawahar Ali’s servant. Jawahar Ali used to describe the entire Quran beautifully. The devotees in Rahata honoured him and respected him. He wanted to build an Idgah and started construction. Idgah is a wall used by Muslims for prayer. People thought that he was desecrating the temple, stopped the construction work of Idgah and expelled Jawahar Ali from Rahata. Then he shifted to Shirdi and lived with Baba in the masjid. He was soft spoken and hence people of Shirdi also respected him. Jawahar Ali started telling everyone that Sai Baba was his disciple. Baba did not contradict him. He took Baba to Rahata and lived there once again. The Guru never knew the greatness of his disciple; but the disciple knew everything about His guru. Still, Baba never humiliated him. He implicitly carried out all the duties of a disciple. Though Baba occasionally visited Shirdi, both of them stayed in Rahata only. Baba’s devotees in Shirdi thought that Baba had forgotten Shirdi, and despaired that He may not come back to Shirdi. They thought that somehow they should persuade and bring Him back to Shirdi. So they went to Rahata and when they asked Baba to return, He said, “This fakir is bad tempered. He will not leave Me. Do not ask him. Go back to Shirdi; otherwise the fakir will get angry.” Meanwhile Jawahar Ali heard the noise, came to the devotees and asked them, “What are you discussing? You cannot take this boy to Shirdi”. When the devotees requested, he acceded to their request and said, “You take me also with this boy”. Then they both came to Shirdi and lived there. 54


Devidas, a great man, lived in the Maruti temple of Shirdi. In the year 1846, twelve years before Baba came to Shirdi, he had come to Shirdi as a boy of 10 or 11 years old. He had lustrous eyes and was good to look at. Tatya Ba Patil and Kasinath became his disciples. Appabhillu and Mhalsapathi visited him frequently. Kasinath used to supply him with essential items. Seeing that Jawahar Ali had virtually held Baba captive, Devidas engaged Jawahar Ali in a spiritual discussion. Jawahar Ali lost the argument and left Shirdi. He went to Bijapur and stayed there. After several years, he came back to Shirdi and prostrated at Baba’s feet. He confessed that his delusion of Baba being his disciple had gone and repented for all that he had done. Baba respected him as before. Baba showed, by example, how a disciple should behave towards his guru by discarding pride and working towards self realization. A disciple should submit himself totally to the guru; and the guru should accept the disciple completely. Those who dry up the vestiges of pride alone will attain fulfillment of life. Such persons, devoid of any egoism, can accept anyone as a disciple and can become anyone’s disciple. Guru and disciple are not distinct. One cannot exist without the other. Baba’s good physique, the humility and disinterestedness at such a young age attracted people to Him. Great saints are freed of bodily requirements or discomforts. They are not bound by their actions. In them, duality does not exist. They see god everywhere and in everything. Hemad Pant heard the story of Jawahar Ali from Mhalsapathi and included in the satcharitra. With this the fifth chapter, called Sai’s reappearance, is complete. In the next chapter, Hemad Pant tells us about the efficacy of Baba’s touch, Sri Ramanavami celebrations and the renovation of the masjid. ||Sri Sadguru Sainathaarpanamasthu ||Shubham Bhavatu|| Om Shanti Shanti Shanti 55


56


|| sri sai satcharitra || || chapter six ||

|| sri ramanavami celebrations || || Sri Ganeshaya Namaha || Sri Saraswatye Namaha || || Sri Venkateshaya Namaha || Sri Sai Nathaya Namaha || || Sri Sadgurubhyo Namaha ||

In this chapter, Hemad Pant tells about Sri Ramanavami celebrations and the renovation of the masjid. SADGURU SAI BABA: It is only the sadguru who can take us safely across this endless ocean called samsara. Whether it is a material wish or a spiritual goal, if we submit to the sadguru, he will lead us to the destination. Whenever the thought centres on sadguru, we think only of Sai Baba. Sai Baba is always with us. It is as if He is standing in front of us, and applying the vibhuti prasadam to our forehead with extreme love and care. And when He places His hand affectionately on our head and caresses, tears of love swells from the eyes. An unknown, incomprehensible feeling overwhelms the entire body, gross as well as the miniscule. We lose sense of our ambience, the time in which we are living and are transformed to a totally different level. We become one with Him. The miniscule body, which carries all that we call as our own - emotions, feelings, pride - and is the cause of making us come to this world again and 57


again, dissolves permanently. That is the effect of Baba’s touch. It is a feeling, an emotion, which can only be experienced, a bliss which is beyond description by any man made words. The very sight of Baba’s stately and majestic figure, the benign “I am here to take care of you” look of Baba is enough to overwhelm us with an indescribable joy. All the eight different states of ecstasy - immobility, sweating, joy, incoherent speech, shivering, paleness, and losing awareness of the surroundings and unending flow of tears - are experienced at the sight of Baba’s divine figure. He comes to us as Rama, as Krishna and persuades us to listen to His stories. He compels us to quote His examples even in our normal daily conversations. That is the all pervading effect of a sadguru. If we start writing, not a single word comes out. If He wants us to write, the words come out in a never ending stream. Whenever the egoism raises its head in us, He crushes it mercilessly, gives us real power and takes us to our destination of self realization. By prostrating at His feet and submitting ourselves humbly to Him, all the four purusharthas - dharma, artha, kaama, and moksha - are ours without ever asking for them. It is that easy. To reach Him, there are four ways - karma, Jnana, bhakti and yoga. All these paths lead us to our destination of moksha. Among these, the Bhakti way is the difficult one to travel. It is like the uneven path in a forest, full of thorns, pits and other hazards. It is only a sadguru who can take us through a smooth and safe way. That was how Baba used to advice the devotees. PHILOSOPHY OF BRAHMA: When the mind is cleaned of all its impurities, detachment results. Knowledge accrues. The fear of birth and death vanishes and what remains is pure happiness. That eternal happiness, joy is Brahman. Brahman is God. His power is Maya. He created this world with Maya. The Creator, the Created and Maya - the power of the Creator - are all one and same. The Creator came into the world He created as Baba. 58


BABA’S ASSURANCE: Sai Baba said, “My devotees will not suffer from shortage of food or clothing. Do not strive for them. I will always protect those who fix their attention on me, those who are devoted to me, and those who worship me.” Lord Krishna also said the same in Bhagavad Geeta. Ananyas chintayanto maam Ye janaaha paryupaasate Tesham nityabhi yuktaanaam Yogakshemam vahaamyaham Ch. 9 Sl. 22 I will take care of the interests (yoga and kshema) of those who think of me with single minded devotion. Leaving aside name, fame and desire, one should stand near the entrance to the court of God and beg Him with the mind turned towards Him and only Him. Only then His mercy will flow. Do not crave for worldly entrapments. Seek only the divine grace and blessings. Fix the mind only on Baba. Only then the mind will attain eternal bliss. Only then one should assume that one is in the right company. If the mind deviates, peace will disappear. Listening to Sai satcharitra will fill the mind with devotion. The ever wandering mind will get solace and peace. SRI RAMANAVAMI CELEBRATIONS: Sri Ramanavami is celebrated with great pomp and gaiety in Shirdi. Gopalrao Gund, a circle inspector in Kopergaon, was a staunch devotee of Baba. He spent his time chanting Baba’s name. Though he married three times, he was not blessed with a progeny. With Baba’s blessings, he got a son. Because of his happiness, he desired to perform an urus (fair) in Shirdi. That was in the year 1897. He discussed his intentions with other Sai devotees like Tatya Patil, Dada Kote Patil, Madhavarao Deshpande (Shyama). All of them gave their concurrence. Baba’s approval and blessings were also obtained. 59


To carry out a fair or to take out a procession, it was necessary to get the Collector’s sanction. The devotees applied for permission, but because of the village Kulkarni, it was denied. With Baba’s blessings, they applied once again and succeeded in getting the sanction. By mutual consent the day of the urus was fixed to be on Sri Ramanavami. Though Collector’s sanction was obtained, there were other difficulties. One of them was the acute shortage of water in Shirdi. As Shirdi was a small place, the entire water supply was from two wells there. One of them used to dry up in the summer every year. The water in the other well was not drinkable. Baba dropped some flowers in the well and made the water potable. Even then, the quantity was not sufficient. So, Tatya Patil arranged transportation of water in mavots (leather bags) from a distant place. With the major hurdles over, the preparations for the urs started in earnestness. Major attractions of any fair are the shops - toy shops for children, shops for utensils, clothes and other varieties - as well as entertainment places for children and grown ups. All these shops were erected under the supervision of Tatya Kote. For the entertainment, wrestling bouts were planned. A big procession with band and music was planned. Two new flags were to be brought in procession and hoisted at the two corners of the masjid. Gopalrao persuaded his friend Damu anna Kasar to present a new flag. This Damu anna belonged to Ahmednagar and had a similar problem, like Gopalrao, about progeny. He was also blessed by Baba and got a son. So, when Gopalrao asked him, he was very happy to present the flag. Gopalrao also succeeded in persuading Nanasaheb Nimonkar in presenting the other embroidered flag. Both the flags were taken in a procession with great pomp and accompaniment of music and band. They were erected at the two corners of the masjid, called as Dwarakamai by Baba. On the Sri Ramanavami day, urus was thus celebrated grandly. This is being done even now. 60


The celebrations on Sri Ramanavami gained importance with the passing of each year from the time they were initiated in 1897. In the year 1912, certain changes were made to these celebrations. The poet, Krishnarao Jogeshwar Bhishma, who wrote Sai Sagunopasana, felt that as Sri Ramanavami was celebrated with a urus, why not celebrate Sri Ram Janmotsavam also, for which actually Sri Ramanavami was famous. When Kaka Mahajani heard that, he liked the idea. They decided to seek Baba’s approval and blessing. The highlight of such a celebration would be the ‘kirtan’ singing the glories of Sri Rama who was born on that day. The question that faced the organizers was to find the person who could sing the ‘kirtan’. After considerable consultations, Bhishma agreed to sing the ‘kirtan’ and it was decided that Kaka Mahajani should play harmonium. They also persuaded Radhakrishna Mai to provide the ginger powder prasadam. Then, all of them went to Baba to seek His blessings. When Kaka was offering pooja to Baba, Baba asked, “What is happening in the Wada?” Kaka could not grasp the import of Baba’s question. Baba then turned to Bhishma and asked him the same question. By this time Kaka got alerted and he narrated everything about Sri Rama Janmotsavam to Baba. Baba gladly consented to the celebrations. Everyone was happy and actively started making preparations for celebrating the birthday of one of the two greatest persons of our country - Sri Rama. Next day, the masjid was decorated with flowers etc. A cradle was provided by Radhakrishna Mai and thus a beginning was made for one of the unique celebrations in not only Shirdi but elsewhere also. Bhishma got up for singing ‘kirtan’. Kaka Mahajani had already started playing harmonium. Audiences had also assembled in sufficient number for the ‘kirtan’. At that time, Baba came from Lendi and called Kaka. Kaka Mahajani was worried. He did not know what had gone wrong. Scared and anxious, he approached Baba. “Why this cradle is here?” Baba asked him. On hearing that it was for the ‘kirtan’, Baba felt very happy. He picked up a garland from nearby collection and 61


garlanded Kaka. He gave another one to Bhishma. All those assembled were very happy. Then the ‘kirtan’ commenced. At the completion of the ‘kirtan’ people showed their happiness by shouting ‘Jai Sri Ram’. Everyone was overjoyed. They threw gulal (red powder) all around to mark the completion of the celebrations. Almost immediately they heard a roar. It was Baba who was shouting and scolding everyone. He was red with anger, and people started running helter skelter. Those who were close to Baba went to Him and found out that some of the gulal had entered Baba’s eyes. The devotees thought that the gulal was only an excuse and Baba was really angered at the hardships Sri Rama had to undergo because of Ravana. They also thought that in His anger, He may break the cradle. On insistence of Radhakrishna Mai, Kaka went to unfasten the cradle. Baba stopped him. After some time, Baba cooled down. In the afternoon, when they went to seek His permission to remove the cradle, He did not agree. He told them that the celebrations were not yet over; they would be completed only when ‘Gopala Kala’ is performed after two days and that the cradle could be removed at that time. It was only after the ‘Gopala Kala kirtan’ was performed after two days, that Baba permitted the dismantling of the cradle. Thus, both the Sri Rama Janmotsavam and the urus were celebrated on the same day with pomp and gaiety every year. Poor feeding was very dear to Baba. During these celebrations, it was done on a very grand scale. In all these programmes, many of the devotees actively participated. On every Sri Ramanavami day, the procession of the flags was taken out in the morning and the Chandanotsavam was done in the evening. CHANDANOTSAVAM: Along with the urs on the Sri Ramanavami day, one more procession was also started. Called as the Chandanotsavam, it was started by a Muslim devotee, Amir Shakkar Dalal belonging to Korhala in honour of great Muslim saints and fakirs. Sandal paste 62


and scrapings were placed in wide plates. These plates were then carried on head in a procession starting from the masjid. With the accompaniments of band and incense burning, the procession went round the village and came back to masjid. After reaching the masjid, the sandal paste was applied to the walls of masjid and its ‘nimbar’. It was organized for the first three years by Amir Shakkar and subsequently by his wife. The procession of the ‘flags’ by Hindus and the procession of ‘chandan’ by Muslims were harmoniously carried out on the same day of Sri Ramanavami. It is being done even to this day. SRI RAMANAVAMI CELEBRATIONS AFTER 1913: After 1913, the number of programmes on the Sri Ramanavami day increased. From Chaitra Shuddha padyami (9 days before Sri Ramanavami - on Ugadi day) itself, Radhakrishna Mai started Rama nama Sapthaham -mass chanting of Rama’s name everyday for all the days. All the devotees invariably participated in it. As the entire nation celebrates Sri Ramanavami, it was difficult to find a Haridas who could sing ‘kirtans’ glorifying Sri Rama. As Bhishma was not available, Kaka Mahajani persuaded his friend Bala Buva Mali, known as modern day Tukaram, to do the ‘kirtan’ for that year. In the next year, Mahajani wanted to request Balabuva Satarakar of Brihadsiddha Kavate in Satara District to do the ‘kirtan’. He acceded to the request as he could not perform in his own place. It was attacked by the epidemic plague. With Baba’s consent having been obtained by Kakasaheb Dikshit, Balabuva Satarakar performed in Shirdi. All the devotees were immensely happy with the celebrations. Baba presented Satarakar with Rs.150/- which was five times more than what he normally got in Kavate. Satarakar was also happy. Baba solved the difficult issue of finding a different Haridas each year, due to non availability of the earlier one, by 63


entrusting the task to Dasganu Maharaj. He carried out the task as long as he was alive. From then till now, these celebrations are conducted with great pomp and gaiety. Poor feeding is a regular feature and is carried out with utmost dedication. Joyous shouts of ‘Sai’ name reverberate everywhere. Even elephants were brought for the celebrations. With the efforts of Radhakrishna Mai, Shirdi was transformed into a Sansthan. In spite of all these grand celebrations going on, Baba was as aloof as ever. It was under His shelter that both Hindus and Muslims celebrated their functions so grandly without any hitch or quarrel. And it was because of His blessing that even though hundreds of persons assembled, there were no cases of fights or diseases. RENOVATION OF THE MASJID: Gopalrao Gund wanted to renovate the masjid. He had ordered dressed stones for re-laying the floor. Baba, however, did not consent to that. Though it was against His wishes, after repeated requests and intervention of Mhalsapathi He gave His consent for relaying the floor. One night when Baba slept in Chavadi, the entire flooring of the masjid was re-laid. From then on, Baba discarded the gunny bag and used a quilt for sitting. The court yard (Sabhaa mantap) where Baba used to receive His devotees, was also renovated in 1911, with great effort. The space in the court yard was small. Dikshit wanted to enlarge it and put a roof over it. With considerable expenditure, iron columns were brought and work started. Columns were erected during day time. When Baba returned next morning from His sleep in Chavadi, He used to pull them out and throw them away. One day it so happened that while pulling out one of the columns, He saw Tatya Patil. Baba was so excited that with the column in one hand, He grabbed the neck of Tatya with the other hand. Tatya had a pheta (head wear) on his head. Baba forcibly caught hold of the pheta, set fire to it and threw it into a pit. 64


Baba’s eyes at that moment were blazing like embers. No one had the courage to talk to Him or even look at Him. Baba took out a one rupee coin and threw it in the burning pit as if it was an auspicious offering. Tatya was shivering with fright. No one thought of getting Tatya released from Baba’s grip. One of Baba’s devotees, Bhagoji Shinde, who was a leper, tried to go near Baba, but Baba beat him up. Even Shyama had the experience of being hit by brick pieces. After some time, however, Baba cooled down. He got a new embroidered pheta and placed it Himself on Tatya’s head, as if He was conferring an honour. Everyone assembled there were spellbound by Baba’s strange behaviour, and could not understand why Baba did like that. We have to understand that Baba did this only to save Tatya from a grave danger and to subsequently bless him. Hemad Pant says, “There are so many events like the above. Do not know what to write and what not to write. I will write only what I can recollect. Baba will do the rest”. With this the sixth chapter, called Sri Ramanavami celebrations, is complete In the next chapter, Hemad Pant discusses the point about Baba being a Hindu or a Muslim He also tells us about Baba’s Yogic Practices, His powers and other matters. Sri Sadguru Sainathaarpanamasthu Om Shanti Shanti Shanti Yasmanno dwijathe loko lokanno dwijathe cha yaha Harshaa marsha bhayedvairaihi mukto yaha sa me preyaha Ch.12 Sl. 15 He who does not torture others, he who does not get excited by anyone, he who is not jealous, afraid and is unaffected by changes, such a devotee is dear to me. I will look after the welfare of my devotees.

65


66


|| sri sai satcharitra || || chapter seven || || wonderful incarnation || || Sri Ganeshaya Namaha || Sri Saraswatye Namaha || || Sri Venkateshaya Namaha || Sri Sai Nathaya Namaha || || Sri Sadgurubhyo Namaha ||

In this chapter, Hemad Pant discusses the point about Baba being a Hindu or a Muslim. He also tells us about Baba’s Yogic Practices, His powers and other matters. A UNIQUE INCARNATION: Baba’s incarnation was not only unique it was enigmatic also. To those who thought that He was a Hindu, He appeared like a Muslim. To the others who thought that He was a Muslim, He appeared like a Hindu. No one knew exactly whether He was a Hindu or a Muslim. Like a Hindu, Baba fully participated in the Sri Ramanavami celebrations. He used to get the cradle fastened for Sri Rama Janmotsavam. He got the ‘kirtans’ performed. On the Gokulashtami day he participated in the ‘Gopala Kala kirtans’. At the same time, like a Muslim, He also participated in the ‘sandal’ procession. On Id days, He allowed Muslims to offer ‘namaz’ in the masjid. Once during the Mohurrum festival, He allowed the construction and keeping of the ‘Tabut’ for four days in the masjid. Unlike the Muslims, His ears were pierced. Unlike the Hindus, He advocated circumcision, though He Himself was not circumcised. Unlike the Hindus, He lived in a masjid. Unlike the Muslims, He always had the Dhuni - the sacred fire. Unlike the Muslims, He practiced grinding on the hand mill, blowing of Shanku, oblation in fire and above all, He allowed washing of His feet by arghya (water). Both Hindus and Muslims worshipped 67


Him alike. Whoever went to ask Him about His religion, were captivated by His handsome figure. When Baba showed so many contrasting forms, it was indeed, impossible for anyone to say whether He was a Hindu or a Muslim. Some said that He was born in a Muslim family. Some others said that He was born to a Brahmin family. For Him, all religions were same, all castes were equally important. He used to sit with fakirs and eat fish and meat. When dogs licked His plate while He was eating, He never bothered. He had stored the masjid with all the tools required for treating the grains, which the farmers brought. In addition, there was a Brindavan with Tulsi, and a wooden chariot. It was only due to some good deed done in a previous birth by all the devotees that Baba was available to them. So many got happiness, joy and peace of mind, at Shirdi. Even today so many are getting blessed. Those who had Baba as Guru are indeed very blessed. All those who came to test Baba, forgot everything when they saw Him and prostrated at His feet. Baba never liked arguments. ‘Allah Malik’ was the only words He used to say. Rich or poor, both were alike for Him. He knew the innermost secrets of His devotees and yet He never told anything to anyone. Though He was the storehouse of all knowledge, He always behaved as if He knew nothing. He never liked personal glorification. Though He was human, people thought that He was divine. They thought that God had come down to Shirdi to live with them. BABA’S DEPOSITION BEFORE THE COMMISSIONER: Once, a person was charged with theft of golden ornaments and was brought to the court at Dhulia. He told the court that the ornaments he had were not stolen, but given by Sai Baba to him. The court passed summons to Baba to be present to give witness. Baba ignored the summons. He used to throw the entire summons to the fire in Dhuni. Exasperated, the court sent a warrant. It was received by a head constable, Ganapati Ramji, of Kopergaon. He showed it to Baba, and Baba as usual, told him to 68


shove it into the dustbin. The head constable did not know what to do. Ganpatrao Dattatreya Sahasrabuddhe (Dasganu Maharaj) was there at that time, and told the head constable to contact the Deputy Collector of Ahmednagar, Nanasaheb Chandorkar. At the instance of Nanasaheb Chandorkar, all the devotees prepared an appeal. They appealed that as Sai Baba was God, it was sacrilegious to call Baba to attend a court. Instead, they said, a commission could be deputed to Shirdi and whatever information was needed, could be elicited from Baba. The court appointed Nana Joshi as the commissioner and sent him to Shirdi. Three hours before the commission arrived, Baba organized seating accommodation in front of Dwarakamai. The following is the text of the interrogation: Commissioner: What is your name? Baba: Everyone calls me by the name of ‘Sai Baba’ Com: What is your father’s name? Baba: He is also called as ‘Sai Baba’ Com: What is your guru’s name? Baba: Venkusa Com: Your religion? Baba: Kabir’s religion Com: Your caste? Baba: Divine caste Com: Your age? Baba: Millions of years Com: Promise that you will tell only the truth Baba: I have never told untruth before, nor will I tell in the future Com: Do you know the accused? Baba: There is no one whom I do not know Com: He says that he is your devotee and that he knows you Baba: All are mine Com: Did you give the ornaments to the accused? Baba: In this world, whoever wants anything, they get it only from me Com: With what authority you gave him the items? 69


Baba: In this world, all items are mine Com: This is a serious case of theft. The accused says that you have given him the ornaments Baba: What is this nuisance? I am in no way connected with this case. The commissioner was scared and based on the village diary, he gave a report that the accused never visited Shirdi and Sai Baba never left Shirdi; as such the statement of the accused was incorrect. The thief was subsequently caught and duly punished. The commissioner did not even take Baba’s signature. By His replies, Baba made it clear that He was God. This incident is narrated by Narasimha Swamyji in his book on ‘Devotees Experiences’. It was told to him by Dasganu Maharaj in 1936. SAI BABA’S HABITS AND MEDICAL CARE: Baba got the temples of Ganapati, Shani, Shankara, Parvathi, Maruti and other Gramadevatas renovated through Tatya Patil. All the money He got from the devotees, He used to distribute among the poor. Whatever amount occurred to Him, like Rs.10, 15, 20, 30 or even 50, He gave it to each of them. The poor always used the money they got from Baba for something good only. With Baba’s darshan, the bad among them turned good. Those who were blind regained their vision. The lame got back their limbs. People heard about Baba’s powers and came from far and away places, to get His darshan. After bath, Baba always sat meditating near the Dhuni. At times He did not bother about taking bath also. Baba used to dress in white. He had a beautiful headwear. He wore a long sleeved shirt and a dhoti. He was very fond of treating people of their diseases - physical as well as mental. Initially, He treated with roots. People found that Baba’s treatment was effective. Once, someone had a red eye. It was swollen also. As no other doctor was available, they brought the patient to Baba. He powdered some Beebe seeds, applied it to the 70


eye and tied a cloth over it. Other doctors usually applied camphor, or cow’s milk. With Baba’s treatment, however, the redness had vanished the very next day and the swelling also had come down considerably. Though the eyes are delicate, the Beebe cured the inflammation. Baba treated several other cases also in a very unorthodox way. BABA’S YOGIC PRACTICES: Baba was a yogi. He had practiced yoga from His infancy and acquired unsurpassed mastery over it. The powers He derived from this practice was also immeasurable. Nobody could estimate the proficiency He had possessed. Following are two examples of His yogic prowess. 1. Dhauti or cleaning process: Normally, Dhauti is performed by gulping down a wet cotton piece of cloth, 3” broad and 22’6” long through the mouth. It is allowed to remain in the stomach for half an hour and then slowly removed. Baba’s method was unique. He went considerable distance away from the masjid, picked up a well near a banyan tree, washed His mouth and took bath. Then He used to vomit out His intestines, clean them thoroughly, and hang them for drying on a nearby Jamb tree. No human being could possibly ever have done this process. And Baba did this every third day. People who saw this were spellbound by this display of immense yogic power. They thought that He was a very accomplished Siddha. 2. Khanda Yoga: This was another unique yogic process that Baba practiced and perfected. Just as He cleaned His intestines by Dhauti, he cleaned the joints of His limbs by removing them separately and spreading on the ground for drying. This He used to do it at night in the masjid. When someone inadvertently saw Baba’s limbs spread all over, he was struck with grief as he thought that someone had murdered Baba. He could not complain to anyone for fear of being branded as the murderer himself. He spent the entire night shivering. Next day morning when he saw 71


in broad daylight inside the masjid, he found Baba sitting hale and healthy. In spite of such stupendous powers, Baba never even once used them for His own sake. Even when His arm was burnt, He did not use His powers to get healed, nor did He take the normal medical help. Instead, He just allowed it to heal by itself. He always used His extraordinary powers for the benefit of the devotees only. For devotees’ sake, He was ready to do anything, suffering even unbearable and untold pain and misery. RESCUING A BLACKSMITH’S CHILD: A day prior to the Deepavali day in the year 1910, Baba was sitting near Dhuni and warming Himself. The fire in the Dhuni was burning brightly. Baba was pushing firewood into the fire. The flames were raging high. Then, suddenly, instead of firewood, Baba thrust his own arm into the fire and kept it there for some time. The arm was immediately scorched and burnt. Everyone around was shocked. Shyama was very near Baba, put his arms around Baba’s waist and pulled Him away. He asked Baba why He had done that. Baba, who seemed to be in a trance, quickly regained His senses and said, “With her baby in her lap, the blacksmith’s wife was blowing the bellows. When her husband called her, she forgot about the baby and got up to go. The baby slipped in to the furnace. I thrust My arms into the fire to save the child. My devotee’s child was saved. It does not matter even if My arm gets burnt.” For the sake of the devotees, Baba risked getting His own arms burnt. And that too for the sake of a devotee who was very far away. This is an example of Baba’s kind-heartedness and His being all pervasive. BHAGOJI SHINDE’S STORY: Shyama wrote to Nanasaheb Chandorkar that Baba’s hand was badly burnt and needs immediate treatment. Nanasaheb promptly came to Shirdi with a noted doctor, Dr.Paramananda of Bombay and all the required medicines. He prostrated at Baba’s 72


feet and begged Him to show His arm to the doctor. Baba refused. Nanasaheb pleaded several times to show His arm to the doctor, but Baba did not yield. He told him, “My doctor is Allah Malik”. Baba preferred the services of Bhagoji Shinde, a leper, to that of a medical doctor. Shinde used to massage Baba’s arm and bandage it everyday. On this count at least Dr. Paramananda had Baba’s darshan. Even after the arm was cured of the burns, Shinde used to apply ghee to Baba’s arm, massage it and bandage it. In reality, Baba did not need this service, as He was omnipotent. He endured it only to bless Bhagoji Shinde, and free him from the bondages of his previous life. It was indeed the greatest good fortune that Shinde could ever have asked for. When Baba went to Lendi garden, it was Shinde who held the umbrella for Baba. Shinde was the first servant of Baba. The moment Baba sat near Dhuni, Shinde used to start caring for Baba’s arm. Though his fingers were oozing pus, he was dearest to Baba. It was his immense good fortune that he got an opportunity to serve Baba. Though he was suffering from leprosy due to some ill deeds in the previous birth, he must have also done something extraordinarily good then to deserve such proximity with Baba. Baba provided him an opportunity to wash away the sins he might have committed earlier. RELIEVING MASTER KHAPARDE OF PLAGUE: In His desire to be of help to His devotees, there was no extent to which Baba would not go. Not only did He burn His arm, He used to invite various diseases on to His body so that the devotees could be free from their suffering. Dadasaheb Khaparde was a resident of Amaraoti. His wife had come to Shirdi with her young son for Baba’s darshan. While they were in Shirdi, bubonic plague struck. The young boy was affected by the epidemic. Seeing the boy suffering, the mother’s tears swelled up and she wanted to go back to Amaraoti. In the evening, she decided to get Baba’s permission for leaving Shirdi. 73


Baba came to the Wada on His way to Lendi. The mother fell on Baba’s feet and began crying. She narrated her woes. Baba silently lifted His kafni slightly above the waist and showed her four fully developed buboes, each the size of an egg, and said, “The sky is now overcast with clouds. They will drift away after the rains. Why are you worried? Look, for your sake I have taken over your sufferings. Your sufferings are Mine.” Seeing this, people around were dumbfounded. Great saints and sages always take upon themselves all the difficulties of their devotees. Knowing fully well that they are in no way benefited, they still love their devotees very dearly. The devotees are their children. Baba did not gain anything by taking on the bubonic plague on to Himself, except severe suffering, yet He did it for the sake of the young boy. His heart bleeds for the welfare of the devotees. Being one among the ordinary, sharing all their miseries, kindle a spark of devotion in their hearts and then take them onto the path of self realization was the objective of Baba’s incarnation. BABA’S TRIP TO PANDHARPUR: Nanasaheb Chandorkar, a staunch devotee of Baba, was a mamlatdar at Nandurbar in Khandesh. He was transferred to Pandharpur. For Baba’s devotees, Pandharpur is like heaven on earth. Everyone considered Nanasaheb to be very fortunate to get such a posting. As soon as he got the orders, he thought that he should go to Shirdi with family, get Baba’s blessings and then report at Pandharpur. With this in mind, he neither wrote any letter to Shirdi, nor sent any message. But Baba was a sarvajna. Nothing could be hidden from Him. When Nanasaheb was approaching Neemgaon, Baba was sitting in the masjid with His devotees, Kashiram, Mhalsapathi, Appa Shinde and others. Suddenly Baba told them, “The doors of Pandhari are open. Let us do Bhajan”. When Nanasaheb entered Shirdi, he found Baba singing Bhajans happily. The lines of the Bhajan were: 74


I will go to Pandharpur, I will go, Will stay there, I will, I will be there only, I will be, I will be in my lord’s residence. The other devotees around Baba also joined in the singing. Everyone’s mind was full of devotion and love towards Pandhari Vithal. By that time Nanasaheb had reached the masjid and immediately prostrated at the feet of Baba and requested Him to come to Pandharpur. When he came to know that Baba was singing about going to Pandharpur even before his asking, Nanasaheb could not contain his happiness and felt that his wish had been granted. With Baba’s blessings and the vibhuti prasadam he left for Pandharpur. With this the seventh chapter, called Wonderful Incarnation, is complete In the next chapter, Hemad Pant tells us the importance of human life, Sai Baba’s taking alms, Bayajabai’s service and His love for Khushalchand. and other matters. || Sri Sadguru Sainathaarpanamasthu || Shubham Bhavatu || Om Shanti Shanti Shanti

75


76


|| sri sai satcharitra || || chapter eight ||

|| importance of human birth || || Sri Ganeshaya Namaha || Sri Saraswatye Namaha || || Sri Venkateshaya Namaha || Sri Sai Nathaya Namaha || || Sri Sadgurubhyo Namaha ||

In this chapter, Hemad Pant tells us the importance of human life, Sai Baba’s taking alms, Bayajabai’s service, His love for Khushalchand, and other matters. IMPORTANCE OF HUMAN BIRTH: It is man’s firm belief that there is a heaven above and a hell below the earth on which he lives. God has created the earth as a karmabhoomi and those who do good deeds on this earth go to heaven and those who do evil deeds go below to the hell. In this wonderful universe of heaven, earth and hell, God has created billions of beings, which are in continuous state of transmigration. The people, who do good work on earth, create a punya account and start enjoying from that account in the heaven. Once the balance of their account becomes zero, they come back to earth and once again indulge in doing karma. Similarly those who do evil deeds create a paapa account and spend this account in hell. Once the balance of this account also reaches zero, they come back to earth and indulge in doing karma. The transmigration of souls is dependent on the karma they do on this karmabhoomi. Hence that part of the life spent on the earth is of utmost importance. As said earlier, there are billions of beings in this universe. All the beings have four things in common - food, sleep, fear and sexual union. Man also shares these with the other beings. But, what separates him from others is the invaluable thing he 77


possesses - knowledge. It is this knowledge, which can transform him to a state of godliness. Hence it is important that man should use his knowledge properly. Knowledge tells a man that his life on this earth is limited. He has to face death at the end of his life. The time between birth and death has to be utilized sagaciously. In spite of this awareness, half the lifetime is spent in sleep. In other words, if a man lives for 100 years, 50 years are spent in sleep. Even the remaining 50 years are not spent wisely. The first 15 years are lost in childhood. The last 15 years are spent in diseases and infirmity. The remaining 20 years are spent in procreation and protecting the creation. Where, then, is the time for God or selfrealization? This is where the necessity of a sadguru arises. Only he can guide us through this maze and take us to our ultimate destination. Knowledge also tells us that the human body is perishable. After death, it is consumed by flames. Even during lifetime, it houses various disease worms, filth, urine, pus and many undesirable elements. It also decays with time. With all these drawbacks, it is still the only vehicle through which God can be realized. This is the only vehicle, which gives us knowledge. Hence this human body should be taken care of properly and utilized properly. We have to use this vehicle as a skilled rider would use his horse to reach his destination. It should neither be ignored because of its undesirable contents, nor should it be pampered too much so as to forget its purpose. The human body, which is obtained after several good deeds in earlier births, should be used to realize God and to see that we escape from this eternal cycle of punarapi jananam punarapi maranam punarapi janani jathare shayanam. This effort has to be made in this life itself. To think that it could be done in the next life would be foolish. There is no certainty that we will be granted a human body in the next life. The next life depends on the knowledge acquired in this life and the use to which that knowledge is applied. 78


“Yatha praajnaam hi sambhavaha� Birth depends on the knowledge acquired (in the previous birth). Knowledge can be properly acquired with the guidance of a sadguru. There is no other sadguru than Sri Sai Baba. God first created this universe with sun, moon, stars and other beings. But none of them could either understand or appreciate His play or Him. So, He created a human being and endowed him with knowledge in order to understand Him. His objective was to create a universe which could be understood by an intelligent being and admire His immense powers and creative abilities. Hence, this life should be used to acquire that understanding. One should not strive for the gratification of sensory organs alone. Earning money is not the only goal of life. With Bhakti one comes to know that Guru and Brahma are not separate. Only such persons have an opportunity to escape from the grip of maya. There is no better vehicle other than human body to achieve the four purusharthas - dharma, artha, kaama and moksha. Till the time the body decays and disintegrates, we should strive only for self-realization. Only a sadguru, to whom we should submit totally, can help. Only when the sadguru accepts the responsibility, does our life realize its goal. BLESSED INDEED TO HAVE BABA AS SADGURU: Our aim should be to surrender absolutely to the sadguru, who has realized God. A sadguru can do what preaching, scriptures, discussions and others cannot do. Any number of stars in the sky cannot produce the same illumination, as does a sun. That is the importance of a guru. Among the sadgurus, Sai Baba is the foremost. To get a sadguru like Sai Baba is our fortune. Baba had all the virtues of a sadguru like compassion, piety, humility and detachment. He treated both the prince and the pauper alike. He also treated comfort and discomfort alike. 79


BABA’S SCHEDULE OF MENDICANCY: Baba went for collecting alms daily. He carried with Him a tin pot and a jholi (a rectangular piece of cloth with all the four corners tied together in a knot) hung over His shoulder. He stood before each door and shouted, “Maayi (mother), roti de (give me roti - a circular eatable prepared with wheat flour)”. All those householders in front of whose thresholds Baba shouted like that were indeed very blessed. He collected all the dry items in the jholi and the wet items like soup, milk or buttermilk in the tin pot. The food collected thus, He used to throw in an earthen pot. Baba did not follow any particular schedule. Some days He went only for a few rounds, and on some other days He used to beg till 12.0 noon. The food in the mud pot could be taken by anyone. Crows, cats and dogs used to eat freely. The maid who cleaned the masjid took 10 to 12 rotis with her. Baba never stopped anyone from the food. How would He stop a poor servant maid, when He did not mind dogs eating from His own plate? The mixed up food had a different taste altogether. But as Baba had controlled the sense of taste, He never bothered about it. Initially, the people of Shirdi thought that He was a mad fakir, going from house to house begging for food. Soon they realized that He was far from being mad and what He was doing was also far from begging. They realized that He was a mahatma and what He was doing was collecting the sins, committed by them, in the form of begging. By giving Him alms, they were not doing any favour but freeing themselves of the many sins they committed in their previous lives. BAYAJABAI’S SERVICE: Tatya Kote’s mother, Bayajabai, used to prepare rotis and curry and carry them on her head and walk miles and miles in the forest in search of the mad fakir. The mad fakir sat somewhere in the forest and was in deep meditation. After locating the fakir, she 80


used to spread the eatables on a leaf and pampered Baba to eat. Everyday she used follow up this routine of walking for miles in the forest and forcibly feeding Baba. He used to say, “Being a fakir is grander than being a king. Poverty is a faithful friend, riches are treacherous.” The forest path was never smooth. It was paved with thorns, small stone pieces and Bayajabai’s legs would have pained. Still because of the immense love she had for Baba, she did not mind her own discomfort. Probably to relieve her of her discomfort in walking up the forest area, Baba stopped going there and took His food in masjid itself. Her service was indeed great. Both Bayajabai and her son believed that Baba was God. DORMITORY OF THREE: Blessed are the devotees who get the good fortune of the companionship of the great saints. Blessed indeed were Tatya and Mhalsapathi who had the companionship of Baba. Baba immensely loved both of them. All the three used to sleep in the masjid. Each one of them had their heads in the north, east and west, so that their feet touched at the centre. If Baba had His head in the north direction, Tatya slept with his head in the east and Mhalsapathi with his head in the west. They spent their time in discussions and disturb the sleep of the other two. If Tatya started snoring, both Baba and Mhalsapathi woke him up. If Mhalsapathi slept then the other two woke Him. Baba used to pull him to His side, press his legs softly with both hands to give him comfort, and then gently massage his back. How happy they were in each other’s company! For 14 years, Tatya did not go to his house at all for sleeping. Such was his love for Baba. He used to sleep in the masjid, till 1912 when his father passed away. From then on, as he had to shoulder the responsibility of the family, he slept in the house. To those who have dedication, Baba’s grace will always be there. To such people, Baba used to go even if not invited.

81


KHUSHALCHAND’S STORY: Chandrabhan Seth was a rich man in Rahata. Baba loved him very much. When he passed away, his nephew Khushalchand became dearer to Baba. In fact He loved him as much as Tatya Kote Patil of Shirdi. Baba used to visit him in Rahata, going at times by a bullock cart and at other times in a Tonga - a cart pulled by a horse. People of Rahata used to come with all the pomp of band, music and receive Baba at the outskirts of Rahata. Then Khushalchand took Baba to his house. Baba used to have His food, spend some time discussing about his welfare and return back to Shirdi. Shirdi is midway and equidistant from Rahata in the south and Nimgaon in the north. Sai Baba never went beyond these two places throughout His life. Baba did not ever travel by train. In fact, He had not even seen one. Still, whenever any devotee wanted to leave Shirdi to distant places, Baba used to tell them the arrival and departure timings of the train. Whenever some one was in a hurry to catch a train, He used to say, “There is no hurry, have some food and go”. Those who heeded His words were happy and those who ignored did so at their own peril. With this the eighth chapter, called importance of human birth, is complete. In the next chapter, Hemad Pant tells us the effect of compliance and non-compliance of Baba’s instructions, mendicancy and its necessity, Tarkhad’s family and other matters. || Sri Sadguru Sainathaarpanamasthu || Shubham Bhavatu || Om Shanti Shanti Shanti

82


|| sri sai satcharitra || || chapter nine || || shirdi pilgrimage and other stories || || Sri Ganeshaya Namaha || Sri Saraswatye Namaha || || Sri Venkateshaya Namaha || Sri Sai Nathaya Namaha || || Sri Sadgurubhyo Namaha ||

In this chapter, Hemad Pant tells us the effect of compliance and non compliance of Baba’s instructions, pilgrimage to Shirdi, mendicancy and its necessity, Tarkhad’s family and other matters. IMPORTANCE OF SHIRDI PILGRIMAGE:

Shirdi is the place where Baba lived for more than 60 years. And it was because of this that Shirdi has gained a special aura in the minds of devotees. Going to Shirdi is considered a pilgrimage. The distinctive feature is that no one can enter or leave Shirdi without Baba’s permission - even today. It is only if Baba desires that anyone can go to Shirdi, and all those who have left Shirdi without His permission, have done so at their own peril. It was like that then, and it is so even now. Once, Tatya Kote Patil was to go to Kopergaon to attend bazaar. He hurriedly went to Baba for His permission. Baba said, “Don’t worry about the bazaar. You can go later on. Don’t leave Shirdi now.” Tatya was in no mood to listen. Baba told him to take at least Shyama with him. Tatya told Him that he did not have time for all that and left. Tatya was going in a Tonga driven by two horses. One of the horses was very active. As soon as the Tonga crossed the well in Sawul, the horse slipped, sprained and fell down. Because of Baba’s blessing nothing happened to Tatya, but he immediately recollected Baba’s warning. On one other occasion while going to 83


Kolhar in a Tonga, he disregarded Baba’s precaution, and met with another accident. Once again, he was protected by Baba’s blessing, but had to return from Babulishwarm itself. A EUROPEAN’S STORY:

A European, living in Bombay, wanted to have darshan of Baba. He secured an introductory letter from Nanasaheb Chandorkar and arrived in Shirdi. He pitched a tent and stayed in it. His one great desire was to touch Baba’s feet in prostration and lightly kiss Baba’s hand. He attempted three times but was refused each and every time. Baba asked him to be seated in the courtyard below and have His darshan. The European was frustrated and wanted to leave Shirdi. He sought Baba’s permission to go. Baba asked him not to be in a hurry and wait till the next day. The others, assembled there, also gave him the same advice. His frustration was so much that he did not heed their advices. He left Shirdi same day in a Tonga. Initially the journey was smooth. The moment it crossed the well in Sawul, a bicycle came in front of the Tonga, the horses got frightened and the Tonga turned upside down. The European was dragged for some distance. Nothing serious happened to him, but he had to stay for some days in the hospital at Kopergaon for treatment. The result of disregarding Baba’s words was that he neither remained in Shirdi nor could he go to Bombay. All those who heeded Baba’s words, were able to catch a train even when the departure time had long passed. Their journey was always smooth and comfortable. Those who chose to follow their own advice always ended up in discomfort. HEMAD PANT’S EXPERIENCE:

Initially, Hemad Pant also did not pay attention to Baba’s precautions. Once, he had come with his family for Baba’s darshan. After his stay was over, he wanted to go back. Baba told him to have food and then leave. As the departure time for the train was fast approaching, he left Shirdi immediately in a bullock 84


cart. Because of the short time, the cart was driven fast. One of the wheels got disengaged and by the time they could get the wheel fixed and bring the cart into action once again, time was running fast and they reached the station after the train had left. They had to find food in some small place and were made to wait in adverse weather till the next train arrived. Had they followed Baba’s advice, not only would they have got good food, but could have been more comfortable. NECESSITY OF MENDICANCY:

If Baba was such a great saint, even God Himself, and He was granting the wishes of all His devotees, then why should He resort to begging for His own food? This doubt could arise in the minds of some of the devotees. The answer can be given at two different levels. The first level is to consider who are eligible to beg. According to our scriptures, those householders who have got rid of or are free from the three desires of progeny, wealth and fame cannot cook food. Hence they are eligible to beg and the responsibility of feeding them rests on the other householders who are still after the three desires. Sai Baba was a sanyasi and did not come under this category. But, Baba showed that the entire universe was His home and hence He was eligible to beg. God Shiva Himself was a beggar, indeed, the first one - Adi Bhikshu. The second level is to consider the five sins and their expiation. The preparation of food involves five processes Kandani or pounding, Peshani or grinding, Udukumbhi or washing pots, Marjani or sweeping and cleaning, and Chulli or lighting the fire. During all these processes, unknowingly or knowingly, lot of small insects and creatures are destroyed. Because of this, the householders accumulate some sins. To expiate these sins, five sacrifices have to be done - 1.Brahma Yagna or offerings to Brahma, Vedaadhyana or study of Vedas, 2.Pitru Yagna or offerings to the ancestors, 3.Deva Yagna or offerings to gods, 4.Bhoota Yagna or offerings to beings and 85


5. Atithi Yagna or offerings to uninvited guests. By doing these Yagnas, the householders effectively washed away their sins, purified themselves and acquired knowledge and self-realization. By offering alms to Baba, the householders of Shirdi were performing Atithi Yagna and by being magnanimous enough to accept their alms Baba was purifying them of their sins and making them eligible for self-realization. Like the king Bali, blessed indeed are those who are able to give alms to God! Anything offered with devotion and love is accepted by God. Patram pushpam phalam to yam yo me bhaktyaa prayachchati Tadaham bhaktyupahrutam asnami prayataatmanaha Ch.9 Sl.26 Whoever offers me leaves, flowers, fruits or fresh water with loving devotion, I accept the devotional offering with affection from that pure hearted being Baba not only accepted whatever was offered, but he reminded the devotees if they intended to offer something and later forgot about it. He made them offer the same and then blessed them. BABASAHEB TARKHAD’S STORY:

Ramachandra Atmaram, also known as Babasaheb Tarkhad, was a member of Prarthana Samaj. He first visited Shirdi in 1910 AD and since then he and his family became staunch devotees of Baba. He used to describe his experiences by beautiful gestures. His son, Jyotindra, had a mandir made of sandalwood, in which he kept a portrait of Baba and used to worship Him three times a day. He never touched food before he offered naivedyam to Baba. Ramachandra Tarkhad’s wife, Satyabhama Bai, wanted to visit Shirdi once. As her husband was busy otherwise, it was decided that Jyotindra Tarkhad should accompany his mother. He was unwilling to go to Shirdi, as he was sure that if he went to Shirdi, no one would perform Baba’s pooja in the house. His 86


father being a member of Prarthana Samaj did not believe in idol worship. Only after the father promised that he would not touch food before doing Baba’s pooja, the son agreed to go. He and his mother left for Shirdi on Friday evening. The next morning, as he had promised his son, Tarkhad got in the Brahmi muhurtham (90 minutes before sunrise), took bath and performed pooja exactly as his son used to do. He offered crystal sugar as naivedyam and requested Baba, “Baba, I am doing pooja as my son does. Please see that it is not a formal affair.” The naivedyam was distributed at lunchtime. This continued till Monday evening. On Tuesday, when Tarkhad came for lunch he found that the crystal sugar was not there. He asked the servant about the naivedyam and was told that the naivedyam was not offered in the morning. Tarkhad was full of remorse. He fell at the feet of Baba’s portrait, asked Baba to forgive him and also blamed Baba for not guiding him properly in spite of his request earlier. Then he wrote a letter to his son telling him all the facts and also requested him to ask Baba’s pardon for his lapse. This took place on Tuesday noon at Bandra. At the same time in Shirdi, noon arati was to begin. Mrs Tarkhad and her son were present for the arati. Baba called Mrs Tarkhad and told her, “Mai, like every day, today also I went to your house in Bandra. The doors were locked. Even then I managed to go inside. Bhau (brother) had not left anything for me to eat. I returned hungry as before.” Mrs Tarkhad did not understand a word of what Baba said. But the son understood everything. He felt that there was something wrong at his house and requested Baba to permit him to go home. Baba did not agree and instead, accepted his pooja there itself. The son then, wrote a letter to his father telling him about whatever happened in Shirdi that day and begged his father not to ignore the pooja at home. Both the letters crossed each other and were delivered next day to the father and the son. They both realized that Baba really keeps a track of His devotees. Nothing could be hidden from Him. 87


Ram Chandra Tarkhad forgot to offer Naivedyam to Baba in this photograph 88


MRS TARKHAD FEEDS BABA: During one of her earlier visits to Shirdi, Mrs Tarkhad had to stay with a friend there. Things were getting ready for the afternoon meals and she was about to start eating. At that time, a dog came there and it was hungry. Mrs Tarkhad gave the dog a roti. After the dog ate the food and went away, a pig totally covered with mud entered the dining place. Though it was not a good sight, Mrs Tarkhad gave the pig also a roti. The pig ate the food and went away happily. Mrs Tarkhad completely forgot about the incident. As usual, when she went to masjid to see Baba, Baba affectionately called her to Him and told her, “Mai, today you have fed me sumptuously. My pangs of hunger have been satiated. Follow this always. It will do you immense good. Eat only after the hungry have been fed. Remember this and be blessed. I will not tell an untruth.” Mrs Tarkhad did not understand a word of what Baba said. She confessed her ignorance to Baba. She said, “When did I feed You? As You know, I am not free to cook here, and I eat whatever I get for money.” Baba’s affection for her increased. He said, “The delicious roti you gave Me today really satisfied My hunger. The compassion you showed when you fed the hungry dog and the dirty pig filled me with happiness and contentment. Know that the atman, which is in those animals and the atman that is in Me is one and same. I assume various forms. Those who see Me in all those forms without any distinction are very dear to Me. Abandon the duality and the distinction and worship Me as you did today. That alone can please Me.” Listening to these words replete with knowledge and wisdom, Mrs Tarkhad’s eyes dimmed with tears of emotion. She understood that she was indeed blessed by Baba. MRS TARKHAD’S BRINJAL STORY:

Another devotee of Baba, Raghuvir Bhaskar Purandare of Bandra, once went to Shirdi for Baba’s darshan. As Mrs Tarkhad 89


knew Mrs Purandare, she took two brinjals (egg plant) to her and requested her to prepare bharta (roasted brinjals mixed with curd and spices) with one of the brinjals and kachariya (fried brinjal curry) with the other and feed Baba with them. Mrs Purandare agreed and took those brinjals to Shirdi. During one of those days she prepared bharta with one of the brinjals and took it to Baba after noon arati. Baba found it very tasty and remarked that it would have been wonderful if kachariya was also there. Radhakrishna Mai was told to bring the kachariya. She did not know what to do, as it was not the season of brinjals in Shirdi. She found out that one Mrs. Purandare had brought the bharta. Radhakrishna Mai went to her and asked if she had kachariya. Mrs Purandare explained her that Mrs Tarkhad had given her two brinjals, one for preparing bharta and the other for preparing kachariya. She had prepared bharta that day and wanted to prepare kachariya the next day. She told Radhakrishna Mai the reason for not making kachariya that day. She felt that as Baba liked brinjals, He may like to have the brinjal dishes on two separate days to double the pleasure of eating brinjals instead of eating both on the same day. Everyone was satisfied with this reply. This is another example of how Baba kept a watch on His devotees and reminded them of their intentions. MRS TARKHAD’S PEDHA STORY:

In 1915 AD, one Govind Balram Mankar, wanted to go to Shirdi to perform the obsequies of his father. He met Tarkhad before his journey. As he was going to Shirdi, Mrs Tarkhad wanted to offer something to Baba. Even after a thorough search, she could not find anything. She saw a pedha, which was already offered, as naivedyam. She was in a dilemma. Those who are in the mourning period of eleven days, after the day of death, are prevented from touching anything connected with pooja items as they are supposed to be impure. She did not know whether Baba would accept anything from such a person. But her devotion for 90


Baba outweighed all other emotions and she sent the pedha with Govind. Govind went to Shirdi and saw Baba. As he was tainted by death, he did not take the pedha fearing that Baba would be angry. Baba waited, but Govind gave him nothing. When he went again in the afternoon, empty handed, to Baba, Baba could no longer wait and asked Govind if he had brought anything for Him. ‘Nothing’ was the reply. Once again Baba asked the same question and got the same answer. As He could not contain Himself any further, He asked directly, “Did not Mai give you something when you started?” The boy felt ashamed, ran to his lodging, brought the pedha with him and gave it to Baba. Baba was very happy to get the pedha and swallowed it immediately. Thus, Baba overrode all the prevailing social customs and acknowledged Mrs Tarkhad’s devotion and affection. Ye yatha maam prapadyante taam stataiva bhajamyaham Mama vartmanuvante manushyaha partha sarvashaha Ch.4 Sl.11 Whoever surrenders to me in whatever way, I accept them in that way. Hey Partha, all the people strive in all the ways to achieve me only. MORAL: ‘Perceive Me in all beings’ was what Baba taught us in this chapter. By innumerable examples, some mentioned here and many not mentioned, Baba showed us how the precept of seeing God in all beings without any distinction or discrimination as taught in Upanishads, Bhagavad-Gita, and other scriptures could be put into practice in actual life.

91


With this the ninth chapter, called the importance of Shirdi pilgrimage and other stories, is complete. In the next chapter, Hemad Pant tells us about Sai Baba’s mode of life, His teachings, His miracles and other matters. || Sri Sadguru Sainathaarpanamasthu || Shubham Bhavatu || Om Shanti Shanti Shanti

92


|| sri sai satcharitra || || chapter ten ||

|| sai Baba’s way of living and other stories || || Sri Ganeshaya Namaha || Sri Saraswatye Namaha || || Sri Venkateshaya Namaha || Sri Sai Nathaya Namaha || || Sri Sadgurubhyo Namaha ||

In this chapter, Hemad Pant tells us about Sai Baba’s way of living, His teachings, His miracles and other matters. THINK OF BABA WITH LOVE: Baba is a never ending stream of love for His devotees. He is always anxious to do anything for the sake of devotees, even undergoing immense pain and suffering. If there is anyone interested in the welfare of the devotees, it is Baba. Call Him anytime, anywhere and He will respond. And in return, can we give Him anything? What can we give to Him who gives His everything to us? Our hearts should bleed with love and affection for Him. We should desire Him with every miniscule part of our body mind, and soul. Showing our affection for Him does not cost us anything. Baba is the sadguru who can change the destiny, as He is the destination. Indulging in His service will liberate us from all materialistic bondages. Study of Logic or Law is not what is required for us to tide over this life. What is needed is unflinching loyalty and faith in sadguru. Just as we have faith in the boatman who takes us across the river in his ferry, we must have faith in the sadguru who can take us across this ocean of samsara. It is the sadguru who can condense the entire infinite knowledge into small assimilable parts and instill in us. Contemplate on such a sadguru, reflect on a sadguru like Baba and always think of Baba with love. 93


BABA’S SLEEPING HABITS: Nanasaheb Dengale had brought a wooden plank, which was 4 arm spans long, and only 1 arm span in width. He wanted Baba to sleep comfortably on this plank. Baba did not follow the normal practice of laying it on the ground and sleeping on it. Instead, He hung it to the rafters of the masjid by tattered cloth pieces tied together like a rope and used it like a swing. Baba slept on this swing. Whoever saw this wondered that how could these so called ropes sustain the added weight of plank and Baba, when they can not sustain the weight of the plank itself. People were wonderstruck about how He mounted or dismounted the plank. To those, who knew about Baba’s Yoga Siddhi, this was no wonder. His array of Yogic Powers included the ashta siddhis and nava nidhis. Siddhi is a Sanskrit term for spiritual power (or psychic ability); it literally means perfection. The mystic perfections of yoga are acquired by a yogi who has conquered his senses, steadied his mind, conquered the breathing process and fixed his mind on God. Among the eight primary mystic perfections, the three by which one transforms one's own body are anima, (becoming smaller than the smallest); mahima, (becoming greater than the greatest); and laghima, (becoming lighter than the lightest). Through the perfection of prapti one acquires whatever one desires, and through prakamya-siddhi one experiences any enjoyable object, either in this world or the next. Through isitasiddhi one can manipulate the intricacies of maya, and through the controlling potency called vasita-siddhi one is unimpeded by the three modes of nature. One who has acquired kaamavasaayita-siddhi can obtain anything from anywhere, to the highest possible limit. Through nava nidhis, one acquires the powers of freeing oneself from hunger, thirst and other bodily disturbances, hearing and seeing things far away, moving the body at the speed of the 94


mind, assuming any form one desires, entering the bodies of others, dying when one desires. The power to know past, present and future; tolerance of heat, cold and other dualities; knowing the minds of others; checking the influence of fire, sun, water, poison, and so on; and remaining unconquered by others are the other perfections acquired. The ashta siddhis are: 1. Anima (Becoming Small): Reducing one's size to the point of an atom (anu). It is said that Lord Hanuman used the Anima Siddhi for entering Lanka. He made his body so small that no one could trace him. 2. Mahima (Becoming Big): Expanding one's size to unimaginably giant proportions, as was done by Sri Krishna. 3 Laghima (Weightlessness or Levitation): Making oneself light in weight so as to float or fly about in air without any support like a feather in the wind. 4. Garima (Heaviness): Making one incredibly weighty so that nobody can move the Sadhaka. 5. Praapti (Pervading): Also known as Vyaapti` penetrating through barriers and obstacles. 6. Praakaamyam (Materializing or Apport): To bring unseen objects within the view of all. 7. Eesitvam (Lordship): Having control over others. 8. Vasitvam (Subjugation): Attracting others. The nava nidhis are: 1. Parkaaya Pravesh: It means one’s soul entering into the body of some other person. Through this knowledge even a dead body can be brought to life. 2. Haadi Vidya: This Vidya or knowledge has been mentioned in several ancient texts. On acquiring this Vidya, a person feels neither hunger nor thirst, and can remain without eating food or drinking water for several days at a stretch. 95


3. Kaadi Vidya: Just as one does not feel hungry or thirsty in Haadi Vidya, similarly in Kaadi Vidya a person is not affected by change of seasons, i.e. by summer, winter, rain, etc. After accomplishing this Vidya, a person shall not feel cold even if he sits in the snow-laden mountains, and shall not feel hot even if he sits in the fire. 4. Vaayu Gaman Siddhi: Through this Siddhi a person can become capable of flying in the skies and traveling from one place to another in just a few seconds. 5. Madalasa Vidya: On accomplishing this Vidya, a person becomes capable of increasing or decreasing the size of his body according to his wish. Lord Hanuman had miniaturized his body through this Vidya while entering the city of Lanka. 6. Kanakadhara Siddhi: One can acquire immense and unlimited wealth through this Siddhi. 7. Prakya Sadhana: Through this Sadhana a Yogi can direct his disciple to take birth from the womb of a woman who is childless or cannot bear children. 8. Surya Vigyan: This solar science is one of the most significant sciences of ancient India. This science has been known only to the Indian Yogis; using it, one substance can be transformed into another through the medium of sun rays. 9. Mrita Sanjeevani Vidya: This Vidya was created by Adi Shankaracharya. Through it, even a dead person can be brought back to life. For a person who was a consummate master of all the Yogic practices, getting on to a wooden plank was indeed a very small feat. These powers came to Baba naturally. Though He had immense power at His command, Baba never used these Yogic powers for His own use. So, when people started assembling to see Baba mount and dismount the wooden plank, He removed it, broke it into two pieces and threw it away.

96


SAGUNA BRAHMAN AS SAI: Just as Baba presented an enigmatic appearance, with some thinking that He was a Hindu and others thinking that He was a Muslim, His being also was a riddle. Though He was enclosed in a frail human frame, He was in the hearts of everyone. Though He was outwardly doing everything for the welfare of His devotees, inwardly He was totally disinterested and detached. Though internally He was totally at peace, externally He was very restless. He was a God inside, outwardly He was a devil. Internally He was an exponent of Advaita; externally He got entangled with the outside world. At times He embraced people, at other times, He threw stones at them. Though He sat in one place and never traveled anywhere, yet He was all pervasive and omniscient. He was a repository of knowledge, yet He looked like an ordinary beggar. He always said, “Allah Malik”, and carried a small stick in his hand. Always calm and serene, He never discriminated among His devotees. Poor or rich, all were same to Him. Those who understood the enigma that was Baba were fortunate and able to understand the Saguna Brahma. Those who took Him to be an ordinary, mad fakir missed the essence of the concept of Brahman and are really very unfortunate. BABA’S BIRTH DETAILS: This Kaliyuga consists of 4, 32,000 years. Of these, 5000 years are over. Baba took birth then. In reality, nobody knows any details regarding the birth of Baba. Some say that He was born to a Muslim couple and many others say that He was born to Devagiriamma and Ganga Bhavajya. They also say that He belonged to the Bharadwajasa Gotram. A rough estimate of the year of birth can be made by considering His stay in Shirdi. Baba attained Mahasamadhi in the year 1918 AD. Prior to that, He had an uninterrupted stay at Shirdi for 60 years. It means that He came to Shirdi with Chand Patil in the year 1858 AD when He was of 20 years of age. From 97


this, His year of birth can approximately be fixed at 1838 AD. It can further be deduced that He first came to Shirdi in the year 1854 AD at the age of 16 years. He then disappeared for the period 1854 AD to 1858 AD. Some say that Baba was born on September 28, 1835 in a dense forest. It is generally believed that Baba spent 80 years on this earth. However, it is very difficult to assess the birth details of someone who had time firmly under His control. BABA’S TEACHINGS: During the years 1608 AD and 1681 AD, our country was reeling under the reign of Mohammedans (they were also called as ‘yavanas’). Saint Ramadas through his disciple Chatrapati Shivaji undertook to protect Hinduism. Brahmins and innocent cows were able to live freely once again. Two centuries later, the rift between the communities widened still further and there were frequent and regular fights and quarrels. It was during these turbulent years that Baba’s incarnation took place. He bridged the gap between them by saying, “Ram and Rahim are one and the same. Then why should Ram’s devotees and Rahim’s disciples fight with each other?” He used to teach both the communities, “Instead of fighting with each other, come together. Join hands. Work together for the betterment of the country. That way alone leads to peace and prosperity. Arguments and disputes do not lead us anywhere. Consider your own interest and welfare more than fighting for someone. If some one hurts you, do not take revenge. If possible, do some good to them. Knowledge, sacrifice, penance and yoga alone can take us nearer God. He will protect all.” Baba’s sane preachings were sound and legitimate then as well as now or at any other time. They are applicable both for spiritual as well as materialistic achievements. SADGURU SAI BABA: Not all those who look like gurus are real gurus. Most of them teach mantras and give religious sermons for the sake of money. 98


They go from house to house with a veena in their hands and god’s name on their lips. These people say that they teach spirituality but are themselves highly unreligious. How can such fake gurus take their disciples towards the path of self realization and bliss? All their dresses and make up are only for cheating others. Gurus are basically of two types - Niyata (appointed or fixed) and Aniyata (not appointed or general). The Niyata type of gurus remove the sense of duality in us and make us realize ‘tat tvam asi’ (you are that) resulting in advaitam. They teach spirituality without taking into consideration specific requirements of each and every disciple. The Aniyata types of gurus provide specific advice to enhance our virtues, purify our hearts and take us on to the path of moksha. There are many gurus who can preach the general philosophy but only very few who can identify our requirements, tell us what we lack and then provide guidance towards self realization. These are the sadgurus. Among these sadgurus, Baba was the most prominent. The moment someone went for His darshan, He gave them a clear picture of their past, present and future without their asking. He then took them into His fold and guided them towards their goals. He had no preference for anyone. He had no friend or foe. He saw divinity in all. He did not brood retaliation even on those who hurt Him. He blessed them with all his compassion. Even though He took the form of a human being, He did not have any body consciousness. He was free from its shackles. The body never acted as a barrier for His activities. He was disembodied though embodied. For people of Shirdi, there was no other God. Sai Baba was their living God. Those people were blessed indeed, as they thought only of Baba at all times. They thought of Him while they ate, while they worked and even while they were sleeping. They loved Him dearer than themselves. And how gratifying was the love of those women of Shirdi! They were uneducated, could not compose erudite lyrics, but they sang about Baba from their hearts full of love. Poetry springs from such spontaneous heartfelt 99


songs. A collection of such folk songs would be an invaluable tribute to those innocent lovable people. BABA THE ALL PERVADING GOD: The concept of a formless god took shape in the form of Baba. God had come down to this earth in the form of Baba for the sake of His devotees. Baba had in Him all the six attributes a god should possess - fame, wealth, detachment, knowledge, grandeur and munificence. Baba came to this earth for the benefit of His devotees. He assured them that He would give them whatever they ask till they asked Him what He wanted to give. For their sake, He went to the extent of humility to which no one could go. It was Baba who said, “I am the servant of your servants. I am indebted to you. I have come here for your darshan. I will consider it a great privilege if I am born as an insect in your excreta.” How humble was Baba! The above sentence is included to show Baba’s greatness and not for any other purpose. Baba was totally detached from this world. Though He ate, He never had any taste. Though He saw, He was not attached to what He saw. Though He saw and loved women, it was only the love of a child towards its mother. He was a total celibate like Lord Hanuman. He was perfection personified and a personification of pure consciousness. NANAVALLI’S STORY: Nanavalli was a strange person of Shirdi. He used to lose his temper for all petty things and used to pick up quarrel with anyone. Still, he looked after Baba and served Him. One day, while Baba was seated on His seat, Nanavalli went to Him and asked Him to vacate His seat. Immediately, Baba got up from His seat and moved away. Nanavalli sat on Baba’s seat for some time and then moved away allowing Baba to occupy His seat. Then he prostrated at Baba’s feet and left. During the entire episode, Baba was totally unmoved. He was as comfortable sitting on His seat as 100


in vacating it for some one else. He did not mind in the least, being asked by someone to get away. Nanavalli, however, loved Baba very much. He looked after Him as mother looks after her child. He attended to every small needs of Baba. When Baba attained Mahasamadhi, unable to bear the grief, he also left his mortal remains on the thirteenth day after Baba’s Mahasamadhi. Nanavalli’s Samadhi is also located in the Lendi garden. LISTEN TO THE DIVINE STORIES: Listening to the divine stories of great saints, and thus associating oneself with their company, is the shortest and easiest path for salvation. Baba’s story is the most mellifluous of all. Baba is like a lotus flower in a pond called Shirdi. Only His devotees enjoy this scenic beauty. They are the blessed ones. With a kafni on, and a gunny bag as the seat, Baba used to listen to the woes of His devotees with a totally detached mind. He did not tell them any lengthy sermons, nor did He ask them do any rigorous asanas. Neither did He utter any secret mantras in their ear, nor did He give them any talismans or amulets. He told them to discard cleverness, simplify their lives and chant ‘sai’ always. That alone would take them across even the most dreaded and complex problems of life. That alone is the definite path for eternal freedom. The mind knows only one thing to do and that is to think. Invariably, it thinks only of sense objects. Give it a sense object, it will keep thinking about it. It is like giving a toy to a child. Whatever toy it has, it will play with it. Change the toy, the child will play differently. Similarly, instead of a sense object, give the mind a guru. It will think only of the guru. Feed it with the divine stories of Baba. The mind will think only of Baba. It is not at all difficult to listen to the stories of great saints like Baba compared to other sadhanas like pranayama (regulation of breathing), eight fold yoga, offering sacrifices, the five-fire sadhanas ( to sit in the middle with four fires burning around at exactly noon with 101


overhead sun and fix attention on the goal one desires), etc. His stories will take us to the path of righteousness and dispel all the fears about the worldly matters. To listen to the stories of Baba, there is no constraint of caste, creed or sex. If it is so simple and easy, then why does not everyone do it? The answer is simple. The effect of the deeds of the previous lives follows us in the present life also. In addition, there should be God’s grace. If the past lives were full of bad deeds, then God’s grace will not be there and the mind reverts to its lower state whenever guru’s name is given to it. It requires that much more effort for such persons to push the mind to a higher level of accepting a guru. But, this effort is not a waste. With continuous practice and effort, slowly and steadily the mind attains the higher level. Udhdharet aatman aatmaanam naatmaanamavasadayet Aatmaiva hyaatmano bandhuraatmaiva ripuraatmanaha Ch.6 Sl.5 The mind should not get degraded, it should uplift itself As the mind is its own enemy and its own friend Asamshayam mahabaho mano durnigraham chalam Abhyasena tu Kounteya vairagyena cha gruhyate Ch.6 Sl.35 Hey mahabaho, it is true that mind is fickle, it is also true that it is difficult to control it, but hey Arjuna, through practice and detachment it can be controlled. Once the mind starts hearing Baba’s stories, the sadguru takes us into His fold and blesses us. Listening to stories of the great saints is same as being with them. We are blessed with their company. Such a companionship, also known as ‘satsang’, sets us free from the materialistic bondages. It removes our body consciousness and egoism. It delivers us from the eternal cycle of birth and death. Because of satsang, the mind attains a very blissful state. Even if we do not 102


practice any rigorous sadhanas, if we just recite the names of great saints, they will carry us across this great ocean called samsara. Great saints take birth in this world to redeem those who have lost their way to righteousness. All those who are stranded in wilderness will be brought back in to the mainstream so that they can also attain the peace of mind, bliss, and moksha. People take bath in sacred rivers like Ganga, Yamuna, Godavari, Krishna, Kaveri etc, to wash away their sins. Even those rivers desire that great saints and yogis should take bath in them so that they will get some of the saints’ purifying powers. That is the greatness of saints. It is only because of some great deeds done in the previous lives that we are able to touch Baba’s feet by our hands and get blessed by Him. Hemad Pant concludes this chapter by prostrating before the divine figure of Baba - the beautiful, handsome gracious and benevolent Sai Baba standing near the courtyard of the masjid, bending slightly; to give the vibhuti prasadam to the devotees for whose welfare He always strives. With this the tenth chapter, called Sai Baba’s way of living and other stories, is complete. In the next chapter, Hemad Pant tells us about Sai as the saguna Brahman, how He was worshipped, how He controlled the elements and other matters. || Sri Sadguru Sainathaarpanamasthu || Shubham Bhavatu || Om Shanti Shanti Shanti

103


104


|| sri sai satcharitra || || chapter eleven || || sai as saguna brahma || || Sri Ganeshaya Namaha || Sri Saraswatye Namaha || || Sri Venkateshaya Namaha || Sri Sai Nathaya Namaha || || Sri Sadgurubhyo Namaha ||

In this chapter, Hemad Pant tells us about Sai as the Saguna Brahman, how He was worshipped, how He controlled the elements and other matters. SAI AS SAGUNA BRHAMA: When the mind becomes restless with unsolved problems, when the world around is crumbling with darkness all around, when the path becomes difficult to trudge and the mind cannot decide what is to be done, seek the shelter of Baba. Submit totally to Him and He will show the light. At Baba’s feet the tired mind will find lasting peace and solace. The powers of sadguru are limitless. He has the powers to pull anyone even from the jaws of certain death. The sadguru is more powerful than even the seven forms of God - an image, sthandali (sacrificial post), fire, illumination, sun, water and a dwija (twice born). A disciple, who serves his guru with all the humility and dedication, becomes stronger than the guru. He alone can experience paramaatma. 105


Brahman can be worshipped either as Saguna (having a form) Brahma or a Nirguna (formless) Brahma. The Saguna Brahman has a form, very much human, and is easy to worship. The Nirguna Brahman is formless. It is difficult in the earlier stages of sadhana to fix one’s attention on an abstract formless god. As Sri Krishna said in Bhagavad-Gita, Klesho adhikataras tesham avyaktaasakta chetasaam Avyaktaahi gatir dukham dehavadbhiravaapyate Ch.12 Sl.5 For those whose minds are attached to the formless, impersonal feature of the supreme, advancement is very troublesome. To make progress in that discipline is always difficult for those who are embodied. Though both the forms of worship are same and lead to the same goal, the Saguna Brahman has a form which can be easily meditated. With meditation comes Bhakti. Once Bhakti is firmly embedded, it becomes easy to worship the Nirguna Brahman. Till Bhakti is developed, till love towards god develops, worship of Saguna Brahman is better. For worshipping a god with form, the seven objects of worship are - image, sthandali, fire, illumination, sun, water and a dwija. The worship of a sadguru is far easier than worshipping any or all of the above seven. The way a sadguru can interact with us, none of the above can do. And while searching for a sadguru, the mind does not go beyond the ever loving, divine Sai Baba. Fix that compassionate image of Baba in the mind, which is always forgiving, soft, tolerant and content beyond comparison, prostrate at His feet and worship Him. Invite Him to your mind, offer Him the seat of your faith in Him and let the abandonment of all desires be the Sankalpa. He will definitely come. Worship Him every day, every moment. Slowly and steadily, by His grace, the mind will turn to Nirguna Brahman. Baba encouraged worship of 106


Nirguna Brahman among His devotees by several different ways depending on their nature. Though He liked them very much, He used to send some far away from Shirdi. He allowed some to be in Shirdi but away from Him. He asked some to remain in the Wada and read scriptures. After sufficient practice, their mind would remain focused on Baba. Whatever we may be doing, our mind will always go back to Baba. Some thought that Baba was a great Bhakta Himself. Others thought that He was a mahabhagavata. For us He is God, the Saguna Brahman. The great river Ganga, on its way to merge into the ocean, quenches the thirsts of so many fields, gives life to the plants and trees, provides cool breeze to those affected with heat. Similarly, the great saints like Baba, even after they complete their mission, continue to guide us. By remembering their deeds, by constantly thinking about them, we achieve our own mission in our life. Sri Krishna told Uddhava, “The sages are My soul. They are My living image. I am in them. For their sake, I take the responsibility of the devotees. I prostrate to those who are the devotees of the sages.� That satchidaananda swaroopa has taken human form in Shirdi. Taittiriya Upanishad says that Brahman is bliss. People experienced the same bliss at the feet of Baba. Baba who held aloft the entire universe, who was propping the entire creation, did not need any props Himself. He who gave all the comforts to His devotees, did not enjoy any comfort Himself. Though He was Saguna, He was beyond all gunas. His only concern was His devotees. He loved them so much that He allowed them to worship Him in any way they liked. Some played musical instruments to Him, some waved fans, and some washed His hands and feet with water, and some applied scent and chandan to Him. Though He was with His devotees in Shirdi, He was all pervasive. To this all pervasive living God, we humbly prostrate.

107


Dr. PANDIT APPLIES CHANDAN: Tatyasaheb Noolkar once brought his friend, Dr. Pandit, for Baba’s darshan. After going to masjid, Dr. Pandit fell at Baba’s feet and sat in the courtyard for some time. Baba called him and asked him to meet Dadabhat Kelkar. Dr. Pandit followed Baba’s instructions and met Dadabhat. He was well received. After some preliminaries, both of them went back to masjid to see Baba. Dada worshipped Baba. He was applying chandan to Baba’s feet. Overwhelmed by devotion, Dr. Pandit took the plate of chandan from Dada’s hand and started applying chandan to Baba. Only difference was that, instead of applying it to the feet, he applied it to Baba’s forehead. There he drew three horizontal lines, called as tripundra, with chandan. Baba silently allowed him to do whatever he wanted. People around Baba were shocked. This was because Baba never allowed anyone to touch His forehead. Only Mhalsapathi applied chandan to Baba’s throat. All those around thought that, Baba would flare up with anger, and throw out Dr. Pandit. No such thing happened. Instead, Baba appeared to be happy. Dadabhat could not digest this. During the evening darshan, he asked Baba, “Baba, You shout at us if we apply chandan to Your forehead, why You allowed Dr. Pandit to do it?” Baba calmly replied, “His guru is a Brahmin by name, Raghunath Maharaj. He is also known as Kaka Puranik and lives in Dhopeshwar. Dr. Pandit saw his guru in Me. Though a Hindu, Dr. Pandit did not bother to think even a minute about worshipping a Mohammedan Baba in a masjid. He worshipped Me as he did his guru. That was why I could not stop him.” Not content with this Dadabhat asked Dr. Pandit, later on, why he applied chandan paste to Baba’s forehead. Dr. Pandit told him that he was seeing his guru Kaka Puranik in Baba. He realized Baba as his guru. So, he applied tripundra on Baba’s forehead as he used to apply to his guru. That answer satisfied Dadabhat. 108


Normally, Baba allowed His devotees to worship Him as they liked. Some times, however, He got wild, threw away the pooja materials, and scolded those who were around. His eyes got red, and with His arms waving around, He looked like the reincarnation of Narasimha. Almost immediately He used to cool down, become soft and all forgiving and once again, affection would flow like a cool perennial stream. He used to call His devotees and tell them that He never knew that He was angry with them. He also told them that as a slave of His devotees, He would always be with them; respond to them whenever they called and from wherever they called Him. His only desire was the love of His devotees. He also assured them that as long as the mothers did not kick their children or as long as the oceans did not allow the rivers to merge with them, He would protect His devotees. HAJI SIDIK FALKE’S STORY: Though Baba was so much attached to His devotees, it was not easy for any one to become His devotee. Baba accepted someone as His devotee depending only on His mood and sweet will. It happened in the case of Haji Sidik Falke. He was a Muslim from Kalyan and had already performed the pilgrimage of Hajj to Mecca and Medina. When he came to Shirdi, he stayed in the Chavadi facing north. He used to sit in the open space in the court yard as Baba never allowed him inside the masjid. Falke waited for nine long months for Baba’s call. It did not come. He was deeply anguished and did not know what to do. The other devotees who had seen him for all these days, told him not to lose heart and instead approach Baba through Shyama. They told him that as Lord Shiva could be approached through Nandi, Baba can also be approached through Shyama. Falke liked the suggestion and one day approached Shyama. He told Shyama about his miseries and begged him to provide him with Baba’s blessings. Finding a suitable opportunity, Shyama told Baba, “Deva, so many people come to You for darshan and get Your blessing. 109


Allow that old man Haji also to come inside the masjid and get Your blessing.” Baba did not lose His temper and calmly told Shyama, “Shamya, you are young. You do not understand many things. If the Fakir (Allah) does not allow him, what can I do? Without His permission, no one can enter the masjid. Any way, go and ask him if he can come to the narrow footpath near the Bavri (well).” Shyama went to Haji and came back with a positive reply. Again Baba told Shyama, “Ask him if he can give me four times Rs. 40,000/- in four installments.” Shyama came back and told Baba that he was ready to give even forty lakhs. For this, Baba told Shyama, “We will cut a goat in the masjid. Ask him if he would like to have the bones with flesh, or the haunch or the testicles.” After enquiry Shyama told Baba that Haji would be very happy to get a small crumb from Baba’s kolamba (mud pot). Hearing this, Baba was wild with anger, smashed the earthen pots to the ground, went to Haji, lifted His kafni above His elbow and shouted, “Posing like an old Haji, you boast like a great man! Is this the way you read Quran? You say you have gone to Mecca and still you do not know Me!!” Falke was dumbfounded. He could not understand what his mistake was. Baba went back to masjid. As usual, His anger never lasted long. When He was normal once again, He bought few baskets of mangoes and sent them to Falke. Then He went to him, took out Rs.55/- from His pocket and gave it to him. From then on, Baba loved Haji and also invited him for meals. Haji used to go to the masjid whenever he liked, like other devotees. Getting angry was one of the methods Baba applied to correct His devotees. Internally, He was as forgiving as ever and as affectionate as ever. Baba wanted to remove Falke’s egoism as he was proud that he had visited Mecca and Medina. To that benign guiding Force, we prostrate with all humility.

110


THE ELEMENTS UNDER BABA’S CONTROL: Seasons were changing in Shirdi. One day, dark clouds gathered over the place. They intensified. Very shortly it began to rain. Then it poured. Then there was a torrent. There was no sign of the rain abating. Wherever the eye could see, there was water. The entire place was flooded with water. Birds and beasts were frightened. The poor and the impoverished did not know where to go, and, finally took shelter in the masjid. No one came to their rescue. With desperation, they begged Baba to help them. Baba was deeply anguished over the plight of the helpless people. He came out of the masjid and thundered, “Calm down. Don’t show your fury on the poor and helpless. Stop”. In a short while, the rains subsided. The sky became clear. Grateful people of Shirdi showed their gratitude to Baba and left for their homes. In another incident, one afternoon, the fire in Dhuni started blazing. The fire went on leaping and became so intense that it reached up to the rafters of the masjid. People there were panicky and did not know what to do. Though Baba was physically there, His mind was somewhere else and the people could not muster up courage to ask Him to pour water. Soon after, Baba realized what was happening. He took His satka, struck it on a nearby pillar and shouted, “Go back, go back, and calm down”. With each stroke of the satka, the fire receded gradually and very shortly the Dhuni was normal. The people around also heaved a sigh of relief. On another occasion, as we had seen earlier, Baba had converted saline water in a well to potable water for the Sri Ramanavami festival. We prostrate with all the humility at the feet of the all powerful God, Sai Baba and surrender ourselves completely to Him. Hemad Pant says that those who read this chapter daily with 111


faith and devotion will soon be relieved of their miseries; all their desires fulfilled and will be devoted to Sai and have God vision. With this the eleventh chapter, called Sai as Saguna Brahma, is complete. In the next chapter, Hemad Pant tells us about Sai Leelas, experiences of Kaka Mahajani, Mrs Nimonkar, Moolay Shastri and other matters. || Sri Sadguru Sainathaarpanamasthu || Shubham Bhavatu || Om Shanti Shanti Shanti

112


|| sri sai satcharitra || || chapter twelve || || sai leelas || || Sri Ganeshaya Namaha || Sri Saraswatye Namaha || || Sri Venkateshaya Namaha || Sri Sai Nathaya Namaha || || Sri Sadgurubhyo Namaha ||

In this chapter, Hemad Pant tells us about Sai Leelas, experiences of Kaka Mahajani, Mrs Nimonkar, Moolay Shastri and other matters. MISSION OF THE SAINTS: As seen earlier, incarnation of God takes place on this earth, whenever righteousness dwindles and unrighteousness reigns supreme. Whenever the people deviate from the righteous path of offering pooja and sacrifices to the gods, whenever they start believing that wife, progeny and wealth are the objectives of life, anarchy begins. As Sri Krishna said, Yada yada hi dharmasya glaanirbhavati Bhaarata Abhyuthanam adharmasya tadaatmaanam srujamyaham Ch.4 Sl.7 Whenever there is a decline of righteousness, O descendent of the Bharata race, and rise of unrighteousness, then I manifest myself! Paritraanaaya saadhunaam vinaashaayacha dushkrutaam Dharma samsthaapanaarthaaya sambhavaami yuge yuge Ch.4 Sl.8 For the protection of the good, for the destruction of the wicked, and for the establishment of righteousness, I take birth age after age.

113


To save the righteous from the tyranny of the wicked and to destroy the unrighteous or the evil doers, God manifests era after era. When the incarnation of God takes place, it is an indication that all other methods of correcting the wicked and bringing them on to the path of righteousness have failed. Destruction is the only option left. To weed out the evil doers and to establish peace and tranquility on earth, God comes. Destruction, however, is not the mission of a saint’s life. For a saint, the options are still open. He tries to bring the wicked by all possible methods to the path of righteousness. It is only when the saint fails, and becomes a victim himself, God incarnates and destroys evil. The saint is like the boatman who takes us from one shore to the other of this endless ocean of samsara. He does not discriminate between the good and the bad. He feels for the wicked and uses several methods to set them on to the path of righteousness. Just as sunrays drive away the darkness, however dark it may be, the saints dispel the ignorance of their devotees. They are the repository of knowledge. In this firmament of saints, none shines brighter than Baba. Supreme in knowledge, enshrined with divine lustre, Baba incarnated for the welfare of the devotees. Ever loving, always forgiving, never irritable, soft and contented beyond comparison, Baba gave His everything for His devotees. He still does. In spite of His extreme attachment to His devotees, they can never approach Him without His willingness. He doesn’t even hear their ardent prayers, if He does not want to. If their turn did not come, Baba did not even remember them. Some wanted to have Baba’s darshan, they waited their entire lifetime but could not come anywhere near Shirdi as He did not want them. Such devotees can only listen to His Leelas and quench their thirst. 114


Even the other devotees, who are lucky to have His darshan, can not stay as long as they desire. Nobody could go there without His willingness. Nobody could stay longer without His willingness and nobody could come and go back whenever they wanted without His consent. Being with Baba happens only with His will and pleasure. One can only wait for an opportune moment to arrive and make the best use of it. For that opportune moment to come at the earliest, let us prostrate at the divine feet of our beloved Baba. KAKA MAHAJANI’S STORY: Kaka Mahajani was one of Baba’s intimate devotees. Once he came from Bombay to Shirdi to stay for a week so that he could participate in the Sri Krishna Janmashtami celebrations. On the Sri Krishna Janmashtami day, the Chavadi is decorated tastefully and a swing is arranged for putting the child Krishna in the swing and rocking it. All the devotees assembled there would sing songs in praise of Sri Krishna and dance around the swing. All this would be done with Baba present for the celebrations. Kaka Mahajani wanted to enjoy all these celebrations. As usual, he went for Baba’s darshan as soon as he set his foot in Shirdi. The moment He saw him, Baba asked him, “When are you going back?” Kaka was taken aback and crestfallen, he told, “Whenever You want me to”. Without wasting any time Baba said, “Tomorrow morning”. Baba’s words were commands to the devotees. So next day Kaka returned to Bombay. To his surprise he found that his employer was anxiously waiting for him. Not only that. The employer had written a letter to Shirdi asking Kaka to come back immediately, but the letter had not reached. The manager was ill and Kaka’s presence was required. The letter reached him in Bombay. Inscrutable are the ways in which Baba takes care of His devotees.

115


BHAUSAHEB DHUMAL’S RETURN JOURNEY: Bhausaheb Dhumal was working in Nasik. Once, he had to go to Niphad on an official work. As Shirdi was on the way, he planned to get down there to get Baba’s blessings and then immediately to proceed onwards to Niphad. After getting Baba’s blessings and the vibhuti prasadam, he sought Baba’s permission to leave. Baba asked him to stay for some more time. Every time he went to Baba for permission to leave, Baba simply asked him to stay for some more time. Finally, when Baba agreed for his departure, a week or more had already passed. Bhausaheb Dhumal reached Niphad anxiously. To his surprise he found that the magistrate whom he was supposed to meet had intense abdominal pain and had adjourned the hearing of the case. This went on for some months and the case was tried by four different magistrates. Finally, Bhausaheb Dhumal won the case with Baba’s blessings. This was another example of how a devotee could not leave Shirdi, even if he wanted to, as Baba was not willing to allow him to go. In both the cases, it was in the interests of the devotees only that Baba behaved as He did. Mrs. NIMONKAR’S STORY: Nanasaheb Nimonkar was another of Baba’s intimate devotees. He was a landlord of Nimon and an Honorary Magistrate there. He was elder brother of Shyama’s father and aged also. Once, he had come with his wife to Shirdi for Baba’s darshan. Both the husband and wife used to spend the entire day serving Baba in one way or the other. It so happened that when they were in Shirdi, their son fell ill at Belapur. With Baba’s consent, the mother decided to visit Belapur and spend some time there visiting other relatives. Her husband, however, did not like her to be away from him for a long time and asked her to return the next day. Mrs Nimonkar did not know what to do. While she was preparing to leave, she found that Baba was talking to her 116


husband in front of Sathe Wada. She immediately went to Baba and fell at His feet. Baba told her, “Mai, do not worry. Be calm, go to Belapur, stay comfortably there for four days, see all your relatives and then come back here.” Baba’s words were music to her ears. He had pleasantly overruled Nanasaheb’s orders to his wife. MOOLAY SHASTRI SEES HIS GURU: Moolay Shastri was an orthodox, agnihotri Brahmin of Nasik. He had studied the six sastras and was proficient in astrology and palmistry. He had some work with Bapusaheb Booty in Shirdi and so he went there. After the work was done, both of them with others went to the masjid to have darshan of Baba. Baba bought various fruits, with His own money, and distributed to all those present in the masjid. Baba used to soften the mangoes so skillfully that those who sucked it got the entire pulp easily. The seed and the skin were thrown away. Baba used to peel the bananas, give the fruit to others and retain the skin for Himself to eat. As Moolay Shastri was proficient in both astrology and palmistry, he wanted to see Baba’s palm and feet. He was curious as it is said that the signs of a flag, a diamond (Indra’s weapon), and a goading instrument would be found in the feet of an incarnated person. It was well known that Baba was incarnated form of God. So, Moolay Shastri requested Baba to extend His palm so that he could examine it. Baba feigned that He did not hear him and instead gave him four bananas. Then they all left for Wada. Moolay Shastri took his bath, wore sacred saffron coloured cloths and sat down to perform his daily routine of agnihotri. As per His routine, Baba left for Lendi garden and told those who followed, “Dye our clothes, we will wear saffron today.” No one understood what Baba meant by what He said. After His return to masjid, preparations for the noon aarathi began. At the Wada, Bapusaheb Jog asked Moolay Shastri 117


whether he would come for the noon aarathi. Shastri told him that he would meet Baba later that afternoon. At the masjid, Baba occupied His seat, was worshipped by the devotees and the noon aarathi started. Suddenly, Baba said, “Get some Dakshina from the new Nasik Brahmin.” As Baba’s words were commands for His devotees, Booty himself ran to Wada. When he saw Shastri, he told him about Baba’s message. Moolay Shastri was perplexed. Though he knew that Baba was a great saint, Shastri still felt that Baba was a Muslim living in a masjid. He thought, “I am a pure agnihotri Brahmin, why should I give Dakshina? Baba may be a great saint, but I am not dependant on Him”. He did not dare refuse as the person who asked for Dakshina is a great saint, and the person who has come to collect that Dakshina is a millionaire. So, Moolay Shastri decided to go personally with Booty to masjid and find out the actual fact. They left the Wada for the masjid. Moolay Shastri had left with his work unfinished and still in his saffron clothes. When he approached the masjid he realized that he still had his saffron clothes on and hence was holy. The masjid was not. So, he stood at a distance and after joining both his palms in veneration, he threw flowers at Baba’s feet. For a second he closed his eyes in reverence and when he opened them again, he could not see Baba. Sitting in Baba’s seat was his Guru late Gholap Swami in saffron clothes. Moolay Shastri was simply bewildered. How could the late Guru come here? Shastri checked himself to see if he was daydreaming. No, he was not. He was wide awake. For quite some time he was speechless. Then, casting off all doubts, he went to his Guru and fell at his feet. He got up, folded his hands and started chanting his Guru’s name. All the others around were singing the noon aarathi. At the end of his chanting, he once again fell at the feet of his Guru and out of reverence for the Guru closed his eyes once again. When Moolay Shastri opened his eyes again, he found that his Guru had vanished. With outstretched hand asking for Dakshina, and with a broad smile on His benign face, Baba was 118


sitting in front of him. Seeing the blissful figure of Baba, experiencing His inconceivable power, Moolay Shastri was overwhelmed with emotion. Tears rolled down from his eyes. He prostrated at Baba’s feet and offered the Dakshina. Moolay Shastri confessed that all his doubts were cleared when he saw his Guru Gholap Swami. Those who went with Baba to Lendi gardens now understood what Baba had said about wearing saffron coloured clothes. They and all those around were also thrilled to watch Baba performing the Leelas. Blessed indeed were those who witnessed this miracle, blessed indeed are those who described it for us to experience this bliss once again, and once again let us prostrate ourselves at the divine feet of Baba. STORY OF A DOCTOR: Among Baba’s various devotees, there was a mamlatdar (revenue officer). He wanted to have Baba’s blessings and hence wanted to go to Shirdi. He asked his doctor friend also to accompany him. The doctor did not want to bow before a mohemmadan and hence refused to go to Shirdi. The mamlatdar told him that no one would force him to do anything which he did not want to do, but he could travel up to Shirdi with him, so that the mamlatdar had company. They both went to Shirdi and there also the doctor told everyone about his condition. No one forced him. Both of them were going near the masjid when suddenly the doctor went inside and fell at the feet of Baba of his own accord. The mamlatdar as well as the friends around could not believe what they saw. For a few moments they were speechless. Then they asked the doctor why he fell at the feet of Baba. Now it was the turn of the doctor to be stunned. He told them that he saw his favorite deity Sri Rama and fell at Sri Rama’s feet. When the doctor turned around and saw again, he saw Baba smiling with his benign smile. The doctor could not contain his emotion and exclaimed, “How could He be a Muslim? He must be a Yoga sampanna avatara!” 119


Next day the doctor put himself to a severe test. He decided that until he got Baba’s blessings, he would not take any food. That day passed without any thing happening. The next day and the day after that also passed. The doctor continued to be firm and did not take any food. On the fourth day, one of his friends came to see him from Khandesh. Seeing his friend after nine long years, the doctor was very happy and took his friend to the masjid for Baba’s darshan. Both fell at Baba’s feet. Then Baba asked the doctor, “How did you come here? Did anybody bring you here?” The doctor was overwhelmed with emotion. That night, in his sleep, he was blessed by Baba. The doctor experienced a kind of bliss which he had not experienced anytime earlier. Next day, after getting Baba’s consent, the doctor left for his village. There also he experienced the same bliss for another fortnight. His devotion to Baba increased several times. The moral of all these Leelas of Baba, specially the story of Moolay Shastri, is that we must have unwavering faith in our guru, whoever he may be. That guru, in turn, must have love and affection for the disciples. He should know our shortcomings and should be able to guide us in a way we can understand. Baba taught us all those things which are already there in the scriptures, nothing new. The difference was that He did not preach, but made us learn by live examples. Let us prostrate once again at the feet of such a kind and loving Guru, Sri Sai Baba. With this the twelfth chapter, called as Sai Leelas, is complete. In the next chapter, Hemad Pant tells us some more Sai Leelas, experiences of Bhimaji Patil, Bala Shimpe, Bapusaheb Booty, Kaka Mahajani and other matters. || Sri Sadguru Sainathaarpanamasthu || Shubham Bhavatu || Om Shanti Shanti Shanti

120


|| sri sai satcharitra || || chapter thirteen || || some more sai leelas || || Sri Ganeshaya Namaha || Sri Saraswatye Namaha || || Sri Venkateshaya Namaha || Sri Sai Nathaya Namaha || || Sri Sadgurubhyo Namaha ||

In this chapter, Hemad Pant tells us some more Sai Leelas, experiences of Bhimaji Patil, Bala Shimpe, Bapusaheb Booty, Kaka Mahajani and other matters. THE POWER OF MAYA: Whenever Baba spoke, He never wasted words. His sayings were always short, crisp and full of meaning. They were always well directed and fully balanced. His words were never meant to hurt anyone, even by intonation. His voice and the selection of words had always the love and affection of a caring mother towards her child. Except for His devotees, He never cared for anything. In fact, He had no attachments with this materialistic world. He was fully contented. Still, He used to say, “Maya teases Me. I may forget Myself, but I cannot forget Her. She is always after me, even though I am a fakir, even though I do not have a house or a wife. When even God Brahma and others could not escape her clutches, what about an ordinary fakir like Me? Only those who seek refuge in God by continuous bhagavannama smarana can escape from Her grip.� The power of Maya is, indeed, inscrutable. To escape from the clutches of Maya, ordinary mortals like us have only one way out - to submit completely to 121


Baba. Sri Krishna had told Uddhava that saints are dear to Him and they are His own images. For the welfare of His devotees, Baba further says, “Only those who are fortunate and whose sins have been washed away by good deeds can take to My worship. If you keep saying ‘Sai, Sai’ with complete belief I will take you over the seven seas. You will be certainly benefited. I do not need any eight fold yogas or sixteen fold poojas to please Me. I reside where there is love and devotion.” What Baba did to those who submitted to Him completely, is illustrated in the following stories. BHIMAJI PATIL’S STORY: This is the story of a person whose misdeeds in the previous life cast a long shadow in his present life. However much a person may try to avoid the effects of such misdeeds, Maya does not release Her strangle hold so easily. A deeper understanding of this story will help us get over the eternal cycle of birth and death. Bhimaji Patil was a resident of Narayanagaon in Junnar Taluqa of Poona District. He was a happy man and used to take good care of whoever visited him. Slowly and steadily, the effects of the good deeds he had done earlier waned off, and the effects of the misdeeds overtook him. Initially he became slightly unwell. He tried all kinds of medicines, none of which cured him. The disease ultimately settled down in his lungs as tuberculosis. In the year 1909 AD there was no treatment for that disease. When he realized that there was no hope for him, as a last resort, he prayed, “Narayana, help me!” It is a fact that we remember Him only in adversity. And God inspired him to write a letter to Nanasaheb Chandorkar. He wrote in his letter that he was suffering from tuberculosis and all the treatments he tried were useless. He also wrote that he had lost all hopes and would like to meet Nanasaheb before he breathed his last. Seeing this letter, Nanasaheb was deeply moved and wrote that Patil should immediately meet Baba 122


at Shirdi as He alone can save him. With a great deal of hope, Bhimaji Patil was taken to Shirdi. Not satisfied with the letter alone, Nanasaheb also went to Shirdi. Patil was carried to the masjid and placed in front of Baba. Shyama was also present there. After seeing Patil, Baba told him that the disease was the effect of misdeeds in the previous life and that He did not want to interfere. Hearing these words, Patil was completely heartbroken and began to cry. He pleaded mercy from Baba and told Him that he had come to Him as the last resort. If Baba did not help him, then death alone was the option for him. Kind hearted and always at the behest of His devotees, Baba said, “Don’t worry, My child. The moment you entered the masjid, your sufferings have come to an end. The Fakir here is kind and will cure the disease. He will protect all with love and kindness.” Before he entered Baba’s presence, Bhimaji Patil used to vomit blood every five minutes. From the moment Baba uttered the above words, Patil was on the way of improvement, and he did not vomit at all. The very sight of Baba gave him a new energy and he was able to stand up and move on his own. Baba asked him to stay at Bhimabai’s house. It was not a convenient and healthy house. The floor was not properly laid, it was an uneven earthen floor and damp. Patil spread a gunny bag on the floor and slept in that house. He had decided to follow Baba’s words as if they were commands. While he was staying there, Baba cured Bhimaji Patil’s disease with two dreams. In the first dream, Patil saw himself as a boy. His class teacher was flogging him for not reciting ‘Sawai-poetry’ lesson. The flogging was causing him severe unbearable pain. In the second dream, the pain was even more severe and intense as some one was rolling a very heavy stone up and down over his chest. As he endured such severe and intense pain in the two dreams, Bhimaji Patil was cured of his tuberculosis. With 123


tears of joy overflowing down his face, he laid his forehead on Baba’s feet. He had not imagined that the aftermath of so much beating and suffering could be so blissful. He went home happily and used to come to Shirdi, gratefully remembering what Baba did for him. Baba also did not expect anything in return from His devotees, except gratitude, unflinching faith and devotion. People in our country perform Sri Satyanarayana Vratam once in a fortnight or a month. It was Bhimaji Patil who first started a new vratam called as Sri Sai Satya Vratam. He regularly performed this vratam in his village on every Thursday and he used to read the three chapters of Bhakta Leelamrit written by Dasganu Maharaj which contained Sai Baba’s stories. BALA GANPAT SHIMPI’S STORY: Another staunch devotee of Baba, Bala Ganpat Shimpi once fell ill. It started with ordinary fever. Then it took a turn for worst and became a very malignant form of malaria. Shimpi tried various medicines from allopathy, homeopathy, ayurveda etc. There was no benefit from any and the fever did not subside at all. Then leaving everything aside, he went to Dwarakamai, and fell at the feet of Baba. This time Baba’s treatment was different. He told Shimpi, “Mix rice (cooked) and curd and feed a black dog in front of the Lakshmi Temple”. Bala Shimpi did not know how to implement this. When he went home, he found cooked rice and curd readily available. He mixed the two and took the curd rice to the Lakshmi Temple. The moment he went there, a black dog came to him, wagging its tail. Bala Shimpi fed the curd rice to the dog. After eating the curd rice completely, the black dog gave a grateful look to Shimpi and left. The moment the black dog completed eating curd rice, Bala Shimpi’s fever started receding. Very shortly he was normal once again. Baba’s treatment varied with each devotee and was never orthodox. 124


BAPUSAHEB BOOTY’S STORY: Once Bapusaheb Booty was suffering from dysentery and vomiting. The purging and vomiting were so frequent that Booty became very weak. He could neither get up nor walk. Because of this, he could not even go for Baba’s darshan. One day, Baba sent for him. Baba saw that Booty had become very weak. So, He made him sit in front of Him and told very strongly, “Take care! No more purging from now on.” Then Baba raised His index finger and pointing at Bapusaheb Booty said, “Vomiting also should stop”. The power of Baba’s words was so much that both the diseases simply vanished, leaving Bapusaheb Booty completely healthy. There was not even a trace of Booty having suffered those diseases. On another occasion, Bapusaheb Booty became a victim of cholera and suffered from acute thirst. His doctor Dr. Pillai gave him almost all the medicines he had in his almirah, but nothing happened and Booty continued to suffer. So, one day he went to Baba, fell at His feet and prayed that Baba should do something to stop his suffering. Baba, this time, gave a totally different prescription. He asked Booty to finely powder few almonds, walnuts, pistachios, and mix them thoroughly. This mixture was to be added to boiling milk. Sugar was to be added for taste. Booty was asked to drink this milk shake. The moment he took a glassful of this milk shake, his long standing thirst and cholera both just disappeared. When Dr. Pillai came to know about it, he was shocked as the above dispensation was fatal for cholera. It was only the power of Baba which treated the patients and not the prescriptions He gave. Had any other doctor given the same prescriptions, the patients would have long ceased to exist. Great saints and sages who possess great powers are very miserly in using their powers. But Baba was so compassionate and kind towards His devotees that He just did not care for anything. To Him His devotees came first. To such an affectionate and 125


considerate sadguru, let us submit ourselves completely and prostrate at the feet of Baba. ALANDI SWAMI’S STORY: Once, a swami from Alandi came to Shirdi for Baba’s darshan. He was suffering from severe earache. Before coming to Shirdi, he underwent an operation also. Still, there was no relief. Because of the earache, he could not sleep. When he went for Baba’s darshan, Shyama was also there. He requested Baba to do something so that the pain in the ear of the swami would subside, and he could be normal again. Baba told Shyama, “Allah will cure all diseases.” The moment Baba uttered these words, swami felt an improvement. Later on the swami went to Poona and wrote a letter to Shirdi that the pain in his ear had come down, but the swelling was still there. Then he went to Bombay to get the swelling operated upon. When the surgeon saw the ear, he said that surgery was not at all required and that the swelling would also reduce very shortly. Baba’s words were so effective and powerful. KAKA MAHAJANI’S STORY: Kaka Mahajani was one of the intimate devotees of Baba. Once, he was suffering from diarrhoea. It did not abate even after a week. He did not tell Baba, as he thought that Baba knew everything, He did not ask Baba to help him as he knew that when time came Baba Himself would treat him. He was so devoted that his only desire was that his service to Baba should not be interrupted because of his disease. So, he kept a pot of water in the masjid for use when ever required. He was participating in the daily aarathis also. During that period Baba had permitted the relaying of the floor of the courtyard in the masjid. He had asked the work to commence after His return from Lendi garden. As was His routine He went to Lendi garden. He came back after some 126


devotees from Kopergaon and some from Bombay came for His darshan. Patil had come from Andheri. He worshipped Baba with flowers. At that time the workers were digging the earth to level it. Kakasaheb was softly pressing Baba’s feet. Suddenly, Baba became wild with anger and started shouting. All those who were there got scared and ran away helter-skelter, leaving behind whatever they were having. Among the left outs was a bag containing roasted groundnuts. Kaka also wanted to run away. As soon as he got up to go, Baba caught hold of him and made him sit. He took the bag of groundnuts, took out a handful of them, blew the husk and gave the clean nuts to Kaka for eating. With Kaka, Baba also ate some. In between He was shouting. This process of eating groundnuts and shouting continued for some time. After all the groundnuts were consumed, Baba told Kaka that He was thirsty and wanted some water. Kaka brought a pot of water. Baba drank some and made Kaka also drink some. After the drinking of water was over, Baba told Kaka, “Now your diarrhoea is cured. Go and supervise the flooring work.” When they saw Baba in a pleasant mood once again, all those who had ran away, came back and the flooring work continued. Kaka Mahajani was normal once again. If we assume that groundnuts are a treatment for diarrhoea, we will be making a big mistake. Groundnuts aggravate diarrhoea. What cured Kaka was Baba’s power. His immense love for His devotee was the real treatment. DATTOPANT’S STORY: A resident of Harda, Dattopant was suffering from stomach pain for 14 long years. No medicine, either from allopathy or homoeopathy or ayurveda could relieve him of his pain. He was totally resigned to his fate. It was during that time that he heard someone take Baba’s name. Immediately he rushed to Shirdi and fell at Baba’s feet and prayed, “Baba, I am suffering from this pain for 14 years. I can’t bear it any more. To the best of 127


my knowledge, I have not troubled anyone. I did not ill treat my parents. I do not know what misdeeds I committed in my previous life to suffer so much pain in this life. Have mercy on me, Baba. You are my last resort.” Baba was very much moved. He gave him vibhuti prasadam and blessed him by slowly caressing his head with His hand. Baba asked him to stay in Shirdi for some days. Dattopant’s stomach pain had not only subsided, but cured also. He did not get stomach pain again any time. Gangadhar Pant, elder brother of Kaka Mahajani, also suffered from stomach pain for several years. When he heard about Baba’s reputation, he immediately came to Shirdi and prostrated at Baba’s feet. Gangadhar Pant told Baba about his pain and prayed Baba to relieve him of his pain. Very compassionately Baba touched a particular spot on his stomach and asked him, “Does it pain here, Allah will cure you.” From that moment onwards, Gangadhar Pant did not have any stomach pain. Nanasaheb Chandorkar also suffered from stomach pain. He was restless entire day and night. His doctors gave him injections but to no avail. Next day he went to Baba. Baba casually asked him to eat burfi - a sweet preparation of milk and sugar. Being an ardent devotee of Baba, Nanasaheb immediately took burfi and was relieved of the pain. It was not the prescription but Baba’s power of divine love that cured all the diseases. Shyama learnt this lesson in a hard way. Once he suffered from piles and Baba treated him with decoction of sonamukhi. After two years, the pain relapsed. Knowing that Baba had prescribed decoction of sonamukhi earlier, Shyama took the same again, without consulting Baba. That immediately aggravated the disease. He went once again to Baba, and because of His love, Shyama was cured.

128


As Shyama learnt the bitter lesson, we should also remember that it was Baba’s power of divine love that was behind all the treatments. What He gave the patients was only superficial. Groundnuts or burfi have never been known to cure any disease. The compassion, the love, affection and the concern for the welfare of His devotees was the real medicine that cured the patients. To that divine figure, to that graceful figure we prostrate and submit ourselves completely. With this the thirteenth chapter, called as Some More Sai Leelas, is complete. In the next chapter, Hemad Pant tells us about Ruttonji Wadia of Nanded, Saint Moulisaheb, Dakshina Meemaansa and other matters. || Sri Sadguru Sainathaarpanamasthu || Shubham Bhavatu || Om Shanti Shanti Shanti

129


130


|| sri sai satcharitra || || chapter fourteen ||

|| ruttonji and the dakshina meemamsa || || Sri Ganeshaya Namaha || Sri Saraswatye Namaha || || Sri Venkateshaya Namaha || Sri Sai Nathaya Namaha || || Sri Sadgurubhyo Namaha ||

In this chapter, Hemad Pant tells us about Ruttonji Wadia of Nanded, Saint Moulisaheb, Dakshina Meemaamsa and other matters. LIFE OF A SAINT: Stories of great saints and mahatmas are dulcet and mellifluous. They are like divine music to the ears. Whatever the saints do, their utterings, their Leelas are all pleasant to the sensory organs. Among them, Baba’s stories are to be listened repeatedly, till, not only the ears but eyes also start seeing the Leelas in front. Baba tells us what we have to do in a very easily understandable way. All the important principles of life are taught by examples and not in an abstract way. Knowing these rules of life, Baba desired that we should lead a good and righteous life. The goal of this life is to realize the self and God. It is only because of some good deeds done in the past life that we are born as human beings. Having been born thus, we should not fritter it away in the pursuit of sense objects. By acquiring Bhakti, we should strive for the four types of mukti; 1. - Saaroopyam, to get the same form as god; 2. - Saamipyam, being very close to god; 3. - Saalokyam, to be in the company of god; 4. - Saayujyam, to become one with the god. Saayujyam frees us from the eternal cycle of birth and death. It is with the aid of this human life that one should aspire and reach the goals of life. Realizing that this 131


life is short, knowing that death is always chasing us, we should not waste even a small moment of this life in activities other than for what it is meant - god realization. The path towards self realization is not easy. It becomes easy by listening repeatedly to nectar like sweet stories of great saints like Sai Baba. By listening to these stories every day, we will see Him. Once the eyes start seeing Him, the mind will be firmly fixed on Him and will lose its fickleness. And then we will be on the path of god realization. Ultimately, we will be one with the pure consciousness. RUTTONJI’S STORY: Ruttonji Shapurji Wadia was a wealthy man living in Nanded, then in erstwhile Nizam State. He was a Parsi mill contractor and trader. He had amassed plenty of money and had acquired fields and lands also. He had cattle, horses and conveyances. In short, he was very prosperous. In addition to being all this, he was a good person and whoever went to him did not come out disappointed. He treated his guests very well. His friends also liked him very much. He was devoted to God. God, however, had not blessed him completely. In His larger wisdom, God always leaves some deficiency in His devotees’ lives. In spite of blessing Ruttonji with everything a man could wish for, God had not given him progeny. Outwardly, Ruttonji was a very happy man, was very liberal and charitable. He helped anyone who came to him for help. Inwardly, the sorrow of lack of progeny was eating away his vitals. Just as - music without accompaniments; singing glories of God without love or devotion; a Brahmin without a sacred thread; proficiency in everything without common sense; pilgrimage without repentance ; ornamentation without a necklace - are ugly and useless, so is the life of a man without a male issue. Ruttonji was worried day and night about this and gradually he lost interest in life. But externally, he was the same jovial person. 132


Ruttonji had great regard for Dasganu Maharaj. When both of them met, he opened out his heart and told Dasganu Maharaj about his worry. He even told him whether God would ever bless him with a son. Dasganu Maharaj was moved. He told Ruttonji, “Go immediately to Shirdi and fall at the feet of Baba. If ever any one can help you, it is Baba alone. Baba is the living God on earth. He has incarnated Himself for the welfare of His devotees. He is kind and compassionate, so do not worry.” Because of the faith he had in Dasganu Maharaj, Ruttonji decided to go to Shirdi. Ruttonji went to Shirdi, went to masjid, had Baba’s darshan and fell at His feet. Then he sat beside Baba and opened a basket, took out a beautiful garland and garlanded Baba. He took out some fruits and offered it to Baba. He prostrated at Baba’s feet reverently, and prayed, “Baba, You have removed the distresses of so many devotees. Who ever is in trouble, seek recourse to You. And You have never failed anyone. You have even saved people from certain death. People who were suffering from incurable diseases have been cured by You. Kindly bless me. God has given me everything except a son. Without a progeny, life is meaning less. Baba, have mercy on me.” So saying, he held Baba’s feet firmly in his hands. Baba looked at him in a kindly manner and with all the affection said, "Oh you have come? Very good. I was thinking about you. Your troubles are now over. Do not worry any more. That is all alright, but have you brought me any Dakshina?" Ruttonji replied with devotion, "Baba, you just have to command me and I will give any amount within my means as Dakshina." Baba said, "Do not worry; I do not want a big amount. Just give me five rupees. That will be enough. By the way, as you have already given me three rupees and twelve annas out of the five; you give me just a rupee and four annas. That will be fine". Ruttonji was perplexed. He thought, "I have never come to Shirdi or met Baba before this meeting. When did I ever give the three rupees and twelve annas to Him as Dakshina?" He did not say anything, but gave what 133


Baba asked. Baba gave him vibhuti prasadam, placed His hand on his head and blessed him by saying that Allah is great and would fulfill his desire. Then Ruttonji went back to where he was staying. The thought haunted his mind. He was raking his brains trying to understand Baba's meaning but to no avail. On the second day Baba said, "Rutton, what are you thinking? I came to your house on the day you were starting for Shirdi. You gave me a light feast and looked after me well." Ruttonji did not still understand what Baba meant. He took leave of Baba and returned to Nanded. But he continued to think of Baba's words. He met Dasganu Maharaj and told him all that transpired in Shirdi. He told him that everything went on well, he got Baba’s blessings, but there was one thing which he could not understand. He said, “Baba told me that He got Rs. 3 -12-00 from me earlier. I never went to Shirdi or met Baba earlier. How could I have given Him the money? Please tell me.” Dasganu also was puzzled. Then he remembered that Ruttonji had received Moulisaheb before he went to Shirdi. At that time Ruttonji and all his friends were sitting with him at his house. Then, a mahatma came there. He was Moulisaheb, who used to roam along the banks of the Godavari River at Nanded, and was well known as the porter saint. Ruttonji knew him and loved him. The mahatma’s face was shining with the super natural glory of godhood. Ruttonji and his friends courteously welcomed Moulisaheb and made him sit in the seat of honor. They provided him with courteous hospitality. A party was arranged in honour of the saint. After the party was over, Ruttonji garlanded Moulisaheb to honor him with faith and devotion and presented him with a coconut. Dasganu reminded Ruttonji of this. Next day, both Dasganu and Ruttonji went over the accounts and saw the account for the day of the tea party, when Ruttonji had honored Moulisaheb. The expenditure that day came to just the amount Baba said was received by him. Nothing more, 134


nothing less. Ruttonji was ecstatic with happiness. In due course of time, he was blessed with a son and Ruttonji was very happy. It is said that in all he had 12 children, of whom, only four survived. We all come to know from the above story that though Baba lived in Shirdi, He knew what happened at places far beyond the limits of Shirdi. Not only the distance, in time also, He knew, the past, present and the future. Time and space could not inhibit Baba. He was beyond time and space. We also come to know that Baba is present in all of us. Otherwise, how could He have known about the party given in honour of Moulisaheb and the amount spent for the party? It is obvious that Baba identified Himself with Moulisaheb and was One with him. In addition, Baba has taught us a moral in this incident. He has taught us that no matter where His devotees are, He will protect them and give them everything that is auspicious. He also taught us that the expenditure incurred in satsang and in the looking after the saints reaches Him. When we do the worship of saints and mahatmas it is as if we have worshipped Sri Sai Baba. That worship reaches Him too. Rao Bahadur Hari Vinayak Sathe also did not have any children. When his first wife died, he was childless. He was very much worried that he did not have any sons. Baba asked him to marry once again. Following Baba’s advice, he married again. When his first two issues were girls, he was very much disappointed. His third issue was a son. Baba’s words were proved correct once again, and Sathe was a very relieved person. DAKSHINA MEEMAAMSA: In the beginning, Baba did not take anything from His devotees. He used to collect burnt match sticks and keep them in His pocket. He never asked anything from anyone. On their own if the devotees gave Him a pice, He used to accept. He bought oil for the lamps or tobacco for His chillum. As seen earlier, He was fond of tobacco. Later on, the devotees thought that they should not go to a saint empty handed, gave Him some copper coins. If it 135


was a pice, He would take it. Anything more than a pice, He used to return it. It was only after Baba’s reputation spread far and wide, and devotees came in numbers that Baba started accepting Dakshina. A question arises here: as Baba was a fakir and totally detached, why should He ask for Dakshina? Does it not indicate attachment to money? These questions can also be answered on different planes. The simplest answer was that He never used the money for His own use. He collected the money to be distributed to the poor. Deeper meanings can be evolved as follows. The Vedas say that pooja of a God is incomplete without the offering of Dakshina, usually a gold coin. Those who could not afford a gold coin could offer coins of lesser value. At the time of Vedas also there was an argument: if Gods were offered Dakshina, then why it should not be offered to the Saints? Ultimately, the Shastras decided that when one goes to see the God, a King, Saint or Guru and a new born child, one should not go empty handed as all of them are various forms of God. Money, or fruits or anything else could be offered. In this connection, we can also see what the Upanishads say. The Brihadaranyaka Upanishad says, Trayah prajapatyah prajapatau pitari brahmacaryam usuh, deva manusya asurah, usitva brahmacaryam deva ucuh; bravitu no bhavan iti; tebhyo. haitad aksaram uvaca; da iti, vyajnasista iti; vyajnasisma iti hocuh, damyata, iti na attheti, aum iti hovaca, vyajnasisteti Brihad.Up. Ch.5.br. (ii).sl.1-3 V-ii-1: Three classes of Prajapati’s sons lived a life of continence with their father, Prajapati (Viraj) – the gods, men and Asuras. The gods, on the completion of their term, said, ‘Please instruct us’. He told them the syllable ‘Da’ (and asked), ‘have you understood?’ (They) said, ‘We have. You tell us: Control yourselves’. (He) said, ‘Yes, you have understood’. 136


V-ii-2: Then the men said to him, ‘Please instruct us’. He told them the same syllable ‘Da’ (and asked), ‘Have you understood?’ (They) said, ‘We have. You tell us: Give’. (He) said, ‘Yes, you have understood’. V-ii-3: Then the Asuras said to him, ‘Please instruct us’. He told them the same syllable ‘Da’ (and asked), ‘Have you understood?’ (They) said, ‘We have. You tell us: Have compassion’. (He) said, ‘Yes, you have understood’. That very thing is repeated by the heavenly voice, the cloud, as ‘Da’, ‘Da’, ‘Da’: ‘Control yourselves’, ‘Give’, and ‘have compassion’. Therefore one should learn these three – self-control, charity and compassion. The celestials, the people in paradise, are supposed to be reveling in pleasures of sense. They are fond of enjoyment. There is no old age there. There is no sweating, no toiling, no hunger, no thirst, no drowsiness and nothing untoward as in this world. It is all pleasure and pleasure, honey flowing everywhere in paradise. They are addicted to too much enjoyment. So the instruction to those people was Da - 'Damyata'. In Sanskrit Damyata means, restrain yourself. Damyata comes from the word Dam, to restrain. Subdue your senses. Do not go too much in the direction of the enjoyment of the senses. That was Da to the celestials. Kaama is to be controlled by self-restraint. Human beings are greedy. They want to grab everything. Hoarding is their basic nature 'I want a lot of money'; 'I have got a lot of land and property'; 'I want to keep it with myself'; 'I do not want to give anything to anybody'. This is how they think. So, to them 'Da' meant Datta - 'give in charity'. Do not keep with you more than what you need. Do not take what you have not given. Do not appropriate what does not belong to you. All these are implied in the statement - be charitable, charitable not only in material giving but also in disposition, in feeling, in understanding and in feeling the feelings of others. So, to the human beings this was the instruction Datta - give because they are not prepared to give. They always want to keep. Greed is to be controlled by charity. 137


And to the demons, who are very cruel, who always insult, injure and harm other people 'Da' meant 'Dayadhvam' - be merciful to others. The third 'Da' means Dayadhvam - be merciful. Do not be cruel and hard-hearted. Demons are hardhearted people. They eat, swallow, destroy and demolish everything. Anger is to be controlled by mercy. The human beings are required to practice charity; this is to facilitate them to conquer greed. The teacher in the Taittiriya Upanishad says, Shraddhayaa deyam || ahsraddhayaa adeyam | shriyaa deyam | hriyaa deyam | bhiyaa deyam | samvida deyam| Yesha aadeshaha | yesha upadeshaha | yesha vedopanishat | Yetad anushaasanam | yevam upaasitavyam || yevam chaitadupaasyam || Book 1, Lesson 11, Sl.4 The offering should be with honour; the offering should not be with dishonour. The offering should be in plenty. The offering should be with modesty. The offering should be with awe. The offering should be with sympathy. This is the injunction. This is the instruction. This is the secret of the Vedas. This is divine behest. This is how the meditation is to be done. This is how this must be meditated on. Sri Krishna says in Bhagavad-Gita, yagna daana tapaha karma na tyaajyam kaaryameva tat yagno daanam tapas chaiva paavanaani maniishinaam Ch.18 Sl.5 The practice of sacrifice, charity and austerity is not to be abandoned; it is surely to be undertaken. Sacrifice, charity and austerity are verily the purifiers of the wise. In order to teach the devotees the importance of charity and to remove their attachment to money and thus to purify their minds, Baba accepted Dakshina. For His own use, Baba never needed any money. 138


Baba had another peculiarity. He used to say, “Everyone in this world has someone or the other. I don’t have anyone except Allah. No one loves Me dearly. If someone gives Me something, I will return hundred fold.” This was another way of making the devotees whole heartedly ‘give’. There is an example of Ganpatrao Bodas, a film actor. When Baba asked him for Dakshina, he emptied whatever he had in his bag. The effect was that throughout his life he never lacked money. It just came to him. Baba hoped that at least in the hope of getting hundred fold benefits, people would partake of whatever they have with those who do not have anything. There are other implications of Dakshina also. It was not always that Baba wanted money. This is illustrated in the following examples. Once when Prof. GG Narke went for the darshan of Baba, Baba asked him to give Dakshina. Prof. Narke told Him that he did not have any money. Then Baba said, “I know that you don’t have money. Give Me Dakshina from the Yoga Vasishta you are reading.” Here Dakshina means - to understand the lessons taught in the book, make it part of the personality and keep it in the heart (where Baba resides) for putting into practice. In another example, Baba once asked Mrs Tarkhad to give a Dakshina of Rs.6/-. She had great devotion for Baba and more than devotion, her love and affection for Baba was abundant. As seen earlier, Mrs Tarkhad was giving Baba some thing or other, even without His asking. At a time when Baba did ask for Dakshina, she did not have any money with her. She was very much pained. She did not know what to do. Then her husband explained her that what Baba wanted was not the currency, but the six great inner enemies - kaama (desire), krodha (anger), lobha (greed), moha (lust), mada (pride), and maatsarya (jealousy). Ever forgiving, always affectionate and compassionate, Baba asked Dakshina for the welfare of His devotees only. For Him, rich or poor were all alike. In the name of Dakshina, He 139


used to send even millionaires to the house of the poor and thus taught them humility. And though He collected thousands of rupees in Dakshina, He distributed the entire amount same day to the poor and by next day He was the same poor fakir once again. After His Mahasamadhi, only a few ruppees were left. Baba collected Dakshina only to teach renunciation to His devotees and not for His personal pleasure. SRI B.V. DEO’S POST SCRIPT: In an article in “Shri Sai Leela” magazine, Vol. VII, pp 626, Sri BV Deo, a retired Mamlatdar of Thana says: “Baba did not ask Dakshina from all. Unasked, some gave Dakshina. He sometimes accepted it; and at other times refused it. He asked it from certain devotees only. He never demanded it, from those devotees, who thought in their minds that Baba should ask them for it, and then they should pay it. If anybody offered it against His wish, He never touched it. And if he kept it there, He asked him to take it away. He asked for small or bit amounts from devotees, according to their wish, devotion and convenience. He asked it, even from women and children. He never asked all the rich for it, or from all the poor. Baba never got angry with those from whom He asked Dakshina, and who did not give it. If any Dakshina was sent, through some friend, who forgot to handover the same to Baba, He reminded him somehow of it and made him pay it. On some occasions, Baba used to return some sum from the amount tendered as Dakshina, and ask the donor to guard it or keep it in his shrine for worship. This procedure benefited the donor or devoted immensely. If anybody offered more than he originally intended to give, He returned the extra amount. Sometimes, He asked more Dakshina from some, than what they originally intended to give, and if they had no money, asked them to beg or borrow from others. From some, He demanded Dakshina three or four times a day. 140


Out of the amount collected as Dakshina, Baba spent very little for His own sake, namely, for buying Chillum and fuel for His Dhuni, and all the rest, He distributed as charity in varying proportions to various persons. All the paraphernalia of the Shirdi Sansthan was brought, by various rich devotees at the instance and suggestion of Radhakrishna Mai. Baba always used to get wild and scolded those, who brought any costly and rich articles. He said to Mr. Nanasaheb Chandorkar, that all His property consisted of one koupin (codpiece), one stray piece of cloth, one kafni and a tumrel (tin pot) and that all the people troubled Him with bringing all these unnecessary, useless and costly articles.” Dakshina was one of the two institutions Baba had provided to test the caliber of the devotees for progress in the path of spiritualism. The other test was Radhakrishna Mai - also called by Baba as “School”. For spiritual progress, generally there are two obstacles: wealth and sex. Baba used to put the devotees to test regarding these two. He asked for money by way of Dakshina. After that he sent them to the house of Radhakrishna Mai, who was a young and beautiful widow. She used to make arrangements in her house for food for those devotees who came from far-off places. She completely devoted her energies in the services of Baba. Pleased with her devotion, Baba gave her some powers without her knowledge. She could read the thoughts of those who visited her. She used to caution those whose thoughts became perverted after seeing her beauty. Baba sent the devotees to her house at one time or other, just to test them. The devotees exercised utmost caution while in her house. If the devotees ‘passed’ these two tests, then their spiritual progress was very rapid by the grace of ever forgiving, affectionate Baba. BV Deo has also quoted from Gita and Upanishads and shown that charity given in a holy place and to a holy person is good for the donor’s welfare. And Shirdi is the place where our presiding deity Sri Sai Baba is residing. Let us prostrate once again at the feet of our beloved Baba, give Him what all we have and beg for His everlasting mercy on us. 141


With this the fourteenth chapter, called as Ruttonji and Dakshina Meemaamsa, is complete. In the next chapter, Hemad Pant tells us about Naradiya kirtan paddhati, Mr. Cholkar’s sugarless tea, two lizards and other matters. || Sri Sadguru Sainathaarpanamasthu || Shubham Bhavatu || Om Shanti Shanti Shanti

142


|| sri sai satcharitra || || chapter fifteen ||

|| sugarless tea and the two lizards || || Sri Ganeshaya Namaha || Sri Saraswatye Namaha || || Sri Venkateshaya Namaha || Sri Sai Nathaya Namaha || || Sri Sadgurubhyo Namaha ||

In this chapter, Hemad Pant tells us about Naradiya kirtan paddhati, Mr. Cholkar’s sugarless tea, two lizards and other matters. NARADIYA KIRTANA PADDHATI: It is only because of some good deeds done in the previous life that one can have darshan of Sri Sai Baba. Those who get the darshan of Baba can attain great things in spiritual life. Baba is ever forgiving and always full of love and affection. Those who listen to His stories repeatedly and fix His image in their minds can also see Him. To facilitate such listeners, kirtans are performed. It was earlier seen that during Sri Ramanavami celebrations at Shirdi, kirtans were performed. Kirtans are stage shows in which the artiste tells glorifying stories of great mythological heroes, partly in prose and partly in poetry with the help of music. He will have a ‘chiplis’ in his hands. The musical accompaniments will be a harmonium, tablas and a violin. The programme would start around 8 or 9 pm and go on for several hours, extending into early morning hours. The artiste who performs the kirtan is called as ‘Haridas’. The tradition of singing the glories of God, started with the mythological figure - Narada. As the description goes, Narada had only a dhoti, a bare torso, with garlands of rudraksha maalas and flowers. He had long overflowing trusses of hairs which were neatly tied and arranged in the form of a turban above his head. 143


He had a veena around his shoulders which he plucked from his right hand and ‘chiplis’ in his left hand. Over the years, the dress became more and more glamorous, with the Haridasas putting on a pheta or a turban on the head, a long flowing coat with a shirt inside, an uparani (short dhoti) on the shoulders. They had plenty of garlands also. Dasganu Maharaj also dressed like that and performed. When Baba entrusted the task of performing kirtan to Dasganu Maharaj during Sri Ramanavami celebrations, Dasganu dressed as described above and went to Baba for His blessing. Baba was amused and said, “Well, well, bride groom! Where are you going dressed like this?” Dasganu replied, “For singing kirtans.” Smilingly Baba said, “Why all these decorations - the coat, the uparani, pheta etc? Remove all these things and be simple.” Dasganu immediately took off all the extra decorations and laid them at the feet of Baba. He was bare bodied above his waist, had a garland and ‘chiplis’ in his hand. He became simpler than Narada as he did not have veena. This is not the common practice, but it is the purest and best form as ordained by Baba. Singing the glory of God is more important than the outer decorations. Whenever and wherever Dasganu Maharaj performed, the audiences were spell bound. He had that rare quality of holding the attention of the audiences with his story telling art. CHOLKAR’S SUGARLESS TEA: Baba was not so widely known in the earlier days. He was known only in Poona and Ahmednagar Districts. It was mostly because of Nanasaheb Chandorkar and Dasganu Maharaj that Baba came to be known in the Konkan (Bombay) area. Nanasaheb Chandorkar talked about Baba in his speeches. Dasganu Maharaj performed kirtans singing the glories of Baba. He used to perform at various places and at all those places, he sang about Baba. 144


Kirtans attract many people. During those days, it was one of the very few sources of entertainment mixed with education. The story was always from mythology, glorifying God. Some came for the music; some came for the erudition with which the Haridas spoke and many came just to spend time. Very few came for getting benefited from the moral of the kirtans. Dasganu was one of the best Haridasas of that time and attracted huge crowds wherever he performed. And the topic was invariably about Baba. The effect of listening to Dasganu was electrifying. Spectators were simply spellbound. In one of the performances, among the spectators, there was an ardent listener called Cholkar. Dasganu Maharaj was once performing in Koupineshwar temple in Thana. The topic was, as it always happened, the glory of Baba. Cholkar was listening with rapt attention. He was a temporary employee in the Civil Court. His job would become permanent only if he passed the departmental examination. He had already made an attempt and failed. Supporting his large family was proving to be beyond his means. Dasganu’s kirtan was so effective on Cholkar’s mind that he vowed then and there that if he passed the examination and became permanent, he would go to Shirdi, fall at the feet of Baba and distribute sugarcandy. With Baba’s grace and blessing, he passed the examination and became a permanent employee. Cholkar was happy and wanted, more than ever, to go to Shirdi and fall at the divine feet of Baba and to fulfill the vow at the earliest. Even in those days making a trip to Shirdi, with a family as big as Cholkar’s, was a heavy burden for anyone. But Cholkar had made up his mind. As far as he was concerned, there was no alternative. He decided that he had to cut down his expenses and save money. So he thought of a plan to save enough money to take his family to Shirdi. He decided not to use any sugar in his daily consumption and take tea without sugar. It was a self-imposed punishment for the delay in meeting his benefactor. 145


Once again with Baba’s blessing, very shortly, he was able to save enough money to take his family to Shirdi. He went to Shirdi, had Baba’s darshan and prostrated at His feet. He offered a coconut and distributed sugar-candy along with it very happily. He told Baba that he was fortunate to have Baba’s darshan and because of Baba his desires were fulfilled. He had come to the masjid with his host, Bapusaheb Jog. When they were about to leave, Baba told Jog, “Give your guest plenty of tea saturated with sugar.” Jog did not understand what Baba meant, but Cholkar who understood, was astounded and deeply moved. With doubled up faith and tears streaming down his eyes, he fell at Baba’s feet and prayed that Baba should continue to look after his welfare. Cholkar understood that Baba, being a sarvajna, had known about his determination to cut down sugar from his daily consumption. He narrated the entire episode to Bapusaheb Jog later on. Baba had told several times, “Ask Me, I will give you. Call Me, I will respond instantly. Open your heart to Me and I will reside there. Once there, I am always with you wherever you are. I know what you are doing, even though I am here and you are beyond the seven seas. Worship Me and I will always protect you. Blessed and fortunate indeed are those who give their love and affection to Me.” Let us open our hearts and invite Baba. He will come. Once He is there, let us surrender ourselves totally to Him and prostrate at His divine feet. THE TWO LIZARDS: There is a strong belief in some of us that the clicking of a lizard or its fall on any part of our body portends either good or bad. To ward off the evil effects, people visit the famous pilgrim centre Kanchivaram in Tamil Nadu. Those who have not gone, touch the feet of those who have visited the temple. Once, a devotee was sitting near Baba. At that time a lizard was moving on the nearby wall and making ‘click’, ‘click’ sound. The devotee wanted to know what it portended for him 146


and asked Baba. Very patiently Baba explained him that the lizard was expressing its happiness over the news that its sister was coming from Aurangabad. The devotee could not understand anything that Baba said. Almost immediately, another devotee of Baba came for His darshan from Aurangabad. He was actually going to some other place on horse back. As the horse was tired and hungry, he wanted to feed it. He removed the bag with the horse feed from his shoulder and struck it on the ground so that any dirt could be removed clean. Right at that time, a lizard came out from the bag. With every one seeing it, it mounted the nearby wall and went very fast towards the other lizard. Baba, to eliminate all doubts the devotee may have had because of His earlier reply, asked him to observe the lizard carefully. The Aurangabad lizard went to its sister. Both the lizards met. They danced happily, kissed each other and then embraced. It was obvious that they were meeting after a long time. Some questions do arise after this two lizard episode. Why should the Shirdi lizard show happiness? Why did the horse rider come to Shirdi from Aurangabad? Why did the horse feel hungry near Shirdi itself? Why should the devotee hear the clicking sound of the lizard? How could Baba explain the Shirdi lizard’s feelings? How could He predict that the Aurangabad lizard was coming? How did He know about the relationship of the lizards? And how could Baba’s prediction prove to be correct almost immediately? All the above questions have only one answer. It was an extraordinary coincidence. The entire episode took place only to make the devotees aware of the awesome powers of Baba. He could not only understand the language of beings other than human, but He could also see far ahead in time, a capability no human possesses. It establishes once again, if at all required, that Baba is omniscient - a sarvajna. The more we listen to Baba’s stories, we can understand better Baba’s ever forgiving, affectionate and all pervasive nature. 147


The more we understand Baba’s love for us, our desires become less and less. Once the desires decrease, we are on the path of self realization. Once he surrendered totally to Baba, Hemad Pant did not leave Him even for a moment. Those who read this chapter daily with devotion and affection, will have all their miseries and difficulties removed by the grace and blessing of Baba. With this the fifteenth chapter, called as Sugarless tea and two lizards, is complete. In the next two chapters, Hemad Pant tells us about a rich gentleman who wanted instant Brahma-Jnana and other matters. || Sri Sadguru Sainathaarpanamasthu || Shubham Bhavatu || Om Shanti Shanti Shanti

148


|| sri sai satcharitra || || chapters sixteen and seventeen || || instant brahma - jnana || || Sri Ganeshaya Namaha || Sri Saraswatye Namaha || || Sri Venkateshaya Namaha || Sri Sai Nathaya Namaha || || Sri Sadgurubhyo Namaha ||

In these two chapters, Hemad Pant tells us about a rich gentleman who wanted instant Brahma-Jnana and other matters. SAI DURBAR: Rajadhiraja, Chakravarty, Sadguru Sainath Maharaj, with utmost devotion we prostrate at Your divine feet. How can we, ordinary mortals, describe Your glory? Seated high above on a throne in the hearts of Your devotees, with the two servants called as undivided devotion and unending patience are fanning You for Your comfort. Four Vedas, six Shastras, eighteen Puranas are Your Aasthana Kavis. Your Durbar is always under the pleasant moonlight of Chinmaya. The eight ministers - virakti, bhakti, knowledge, shravanam, mananam, meditation, renunciation and realization - always serve You with undivided attention. Your melodious voice enraptures us with honeyed stream of Upanishads. Your hand possesses the sharpest of sharp swords called as Brahma-Jnanam. The six vices such as Maya, moham are all scared of this sword. With this sword, please cut across the entwined bondages called as worldly attachments with which we are shackled and liberate us. For, You have incarnated only for the benefit of Your devotees. Compared to what Baba gave, Cholkar’s offering was, indeed, very small. But He accepted it with deep affection and compassion. As a matter of fact, Baba accepted even the tiniest thing if offered with love and devotion. On the other hand, if any 149


one gave Him anything with pride and haughtiness, He refused instantly. After all, He was the personification of Sat-ChitAnanda (Truth, Knowledge and Bliss), and did not care for anything else. Baba never showed any inclination for outward formalities. Submissiveness and humility was His preference. Ever forgiving the shortcomings of His devotees, always affectionate towards them, it is not possible to find a sadguru who is more liberal and benevolent. Man has known only Chintamani (the Philosopher’s stone), Kalpatharuvu (the celestial tree) and Kamadhenu (holy celestial cow), which have the capacity to give whatever is asked for. These three are nothing compared to Sadguru Sai Baba as He gives us even those things which we do not even know to ask. Inconceivable and inscrutable are the ways in which He blesses us, just as He blessed the rich man who wanted to imbibe Brahma-Jnanam in an instant. GULZAR’S STORY: As Baba’s fame spread far and wide, it reached Gulzar also. He was a normal devotee but extraordinarily rich. He was living in a village near Malegaon. He had houses, lands, fields, money, servants and all those which very rich people usually possess. As he had almost everything, he thought that he did not need any more material possessions and that he should have darshan of Baba and ask for the Brahma-Jnan, which he knew was the ultimate any man could possess. That was the only thing which he did not have. He had also heard that Baba was very liberal and benevolent and would give anything anyone asked for. Gulzar told his desire to his friend. The friend, who knew Gulzar very well, dissuaded him from going to Baba. He told him that it was very difficult to acquire Brahma-Jnana and particularly for a reputedly greedy person like him, whose only goals in life were wealth, wife and progeny. He did not heed his friend’s advice. Moreover, as he was in a hurry to get Brahma-Jnana and come back to his place at the earliest, he engaged a return journey Tonga and left for Shirdi. 150


He reached Shirdi, went to masjid and fell at the feet of Baba. Holding Baba’s feet in his hands, he prayed, “Baba, I heard that You are kind and liberal; that You give whatever the devotees ask for; that You grant Brahma-Jnana to even those who do not ask for it. Baba, I have come from a far off place and I am tired. If You give me Brahma-Jnana, I will take it and return back to my place.” Baba was very much amused and said, “My friend, don’t be anxious. I was also waiting for you only. People come to Me and ask for all kinds of material things like health, wealth, power, progeny, and cure of diseases and so on. Rarely indeed has anyone asked for spiritual guidance. I will immediately give you Brahma-Jnana; I will show you Brahman with all the accompaniments and glory. But my dealings are always in cash, never in credit.” Baba made him sit in front of Him and engaged him in some other conversation and made him forget his question. Then Baba called a boy and asked him to get Rs.5/- from one Nandu Marwadi. The boy returned empty handed and said that Nandu Marwadi had gone out. Then Baba sent him to the local grocer Bala to get the money. The boy again returned empty handed. Baba again sent him to someone else, the boy returned empty handed once again. This went on for three or four times more. Each time the boy returned empty handed. Did Baba really need those Rs.5/-? If so, when anyone assembled in the masjid could have given it, why send the boy so many times and tire him? Being a sarvajna, did He not know that Nandu Marwadi and others were not available? Baba, indeed, is a sarvajna. Not only did He know that Nandu Marwadi and others were not available, but He also knew that the man who wanted Brahma-Jnana had a roll of currency notes in his pocket. Baba was testing the awareness of that man. Had he been involved, it would not have been very difficult for him to remove the money from his pocket and give it to Baba. He proved to be a mere onlooker. Added to that, he was getting irritated that he was being delayed and requested Baba to show 151


him Brahman immediately without any further delay. Then Baba said, “My friend, did you not see what I was doing? It was for making you see Brahman only that I asked Rs.5/-. Five is not the currency I want. To know Brahman, one has to surrender the five - 1. Five pranas (vital forces) 2. Five senses (five of action and five of perception) 3. Mind 4. Intellect and 5. Ego. The path to see Brahman or self realization is not easy. It is like walking on a razor’s edge.” And then Baba gave a brilliant and superb exposition of the art of self realization; who can acquire it and how it can be achieved. The entire knowledge encompassed in the Vedas, the Upanishads and Bhagavat Gita was distilled, concentrated and given to the devotees in a form they can easily assimilate. Just as Sri Krishna preached Arjuna on the battlefield, Sai Baba has taught us how to fight our own ignorance. BRAHMA-JNANA: To acquire Brahma-Jnana or to realize the self, certain pre-requisites have to be fulfilled. Only those having these prerequisites are eligible to be initiated into the knowledge of Brahman. Having said this, Baba then enumerates the qualities that make up a person suitable to receive the initiation. The first qualification is that he should be a Mumukshu. The person must have an intense desire or urge to become free. His mind should be constantly focused on one thought alone, to get free from this bondage, and should not care for anything else. With this in mind, he should continuously work towards that goal. Such a person qualifies himself for a spiritual life. The second qualification is that he should be a Virakta. Virakti means aversion. The person should be totally disgusted with his life here in this world. He should be disgusted with the results that accrue from his actions, whatever they may be. Such a person qualifies himself for a spiritual life. The third qualification is that he should be an Antarmukhi. Antarmukhi means introverted. Man possesses sense organs which interact with the outside world. The eyes see the beauty of 152


the nature, the ears hear the melody of music, which are all external to the body. By his nature, man always looks to the outside world. For those who have embarked on a spiritual life, that external gaze should be directed inwards. The outside world should cease to have any relevance to the aspirant. The fourth qualification is that there should be catharsis from sin. In the early part of our life we would have committed so many sins, knowingly or unknowingly. Once a person chooses a spiritual life, he should consciously stop doing anything bad. He should not even hurt anyone, kaaya, vaacha or manasa. He should compose himself, be alert and keep his mind always at rest and under control. The next qualification is right conduct. It is not enough if one stops doing wrong things. Knowingly and consciously, he should start doing right things. He should always speak truth, do penance and lead a life of celibacy. The sixth qualification is that he should prefer Shreyas, rather than Preyas. Shreyas means doing that which is good. Preyas means doing that which is pleasant. Several situations arise in one’s life where a decision has to be made as to choose that which is good for a given situation or doing something which pleases some one. The choices are not easy to make. The person who has embarked on the spiritual life must always choose that which is good even though it is most unpleasant to all concerned. The unwise person always prefers the pleasant because of greed and attachment. The seventh qualification is the control of mind and senses. Baba gives a beautiful example here. The analogy of a chariot is given here for the sake of easy understanding of the subject. This beautiful analogy is very often quoted by lecturers and writers. The Jeevaatma, the individual soul, who enjoys the fruits of his Karmas and is bound in this Samsara through this Avidya, ignorance, is the Lord of the chariot. Just as the chariot is drawn by the horses, so also this body-chariot is drawn by the horses of senses. Therefore, this body is compared to the chariot. 153


Just as the chariot is carefully moved by the driver, so also this body-chariot is moved or guided by the driver intellect, which is endowed with the power of discrimination. Body does everything under the directions of intellect. The horses move when the driver grasps the reins in his hands. So also the senses perform their function when grasped by the mind. The senses such as the ears, skin, eyes, tongue and nose are the horses, because they draw this body-chariot. The objects of sound, touch, form, taste, smell form the roads on which the horses of senses tread. The pure Atman cannot be the enjoyer. It is ever the silent witness (Sakshi). He can never be the agent. He is actionless (Nishkriya, Akriya). He is non-doer (Akarta).He appears as the agent or enjoyer when He is united with the mind, senses and the body through Avidya, ignorance. The mind acts and enjoys through the senses and the body. The attributes of the mind, senses, Prana and body are transferred to the pure Atman and the attributes of Atman are transferred to the mind and the body. This is called mutual super imposition (Anyonya Adhyasa). Through this superimposition, the insentient mind seems to be intelligent, and the impure and insentient body is mistaken for the pure and sentient atman. The pure Atman puts on the appearance of Jiva on account of this superimposition created by Avidya and undergoes apparently the pains of Samsara, birth and death. Jiva in essence is Satchidananda Svarupa. When Avidya is destroyed through the knowledge of the Self, he becomes identical with Brahman, Paramatman (the Supreme Self). Any one, who has no understanding of this concept, cannot control his mind which is similar to the situation when the horses are allowed to choose their direction. The charioteer will never reach the destination. He will be simply going wherever his horses take him. Such a person will be going through the eternal cycle of birth and death and never achieve self realization. The charioteer who can control his horses will surely reach the destination which he has set for himself. In the case of the 154


aspirant for spiritual life, his destination is the supreme abode of the all pervading Vishnu. The eighth qualification is the purification of mind. A pure mind has no desires. This stage of purity of mind or desirelessness comes from properly discharging one’s duties in wherever he is situated. Greed, egoism and desire for sense objects are all the impurities of mind. These are removed by consciously doing one’s duties without harping on the consequences. Unless the mind becomes pure, self realization is not possible. The thought that ‘I am the body’ is the great seductress of an aspirant of spiritual life. That thought alone leads to all kinds of attachments and binds the person to this materialistic world. If the goal of self realization is to be achieved, then this thought should first be removed. With the mind becoming pure, Viveka (knowledge which discriminates between the Unreal and Real) and Vairagya (non attachment to the Unreal) take over and lead the aspirant to his goal of self realization. The next requirement is the necessity of a Guru. In spite of all the above eight qualities, an aspirant will never reach his goal if he does not have a guru. The path to spiritual goal is strewn with so many obstacles that only some one who has already trodden this path can guide a new comer to avoid all the pitfalls and safely reach the goal. A Guru who has himself achieved the state of self realization will be in a position to explain the subtleties of the knowledge of self. What an enlightened Guru can give, nobody else can. It is only a Guru who can take the aspirant step by step on the ladder of spiritual life. After all these requirements are met the last one, the most important of all, is the grace of God. If God is pleased, He will give Viveka and Vairagya, take him across the ocean of this samsara and lead the aspirant to the Brahman. The Kathopanishad says, Na ayam aatma pravachanena labhyo Na medhaya na bahudha shrutena Yam yeva yesha vrunuthe tena labhyaha 155


Tasya esha aatma vrunuthe tanum svaam Katha.Up Book I, Valli ii, Sl 23 This Atman cannot be attained by study of the Vedas, nor by intelligence, or by much hearing. He whom the Self chooses, by him the self can be gained. To him this Atman reveals its true nature. This Atman cannot be attained by the study of the Vedas or by intelligence or retentive memory or by much hearing of the Sruits; but the Atman can be attained only by him who is free from desire and who seeks to know It. This Atman reveals Its real form or true nature to him. The Soul of him, who is desirous of knowing his own Soul, reveals its own truth. According to Shankaracharya, Yam means ‘which’ i.e., which Atman the aspirant seeks. Yesha means this ‘aspirant.’ ‘It is attainable by that aspirant alone who seeks this Atman.’ According to the Dvaitins, Yam means ‘Whom’; Esha means ‘this’ (God). ‘It is attained by him alone whom God chooses, i.e., on whom God shows His grace, with whom He is pleased.’ As soon as He concluded the above dissertation, He turned to the man who wanted to get Brahma-Jnana immediately and said, “Well, Sir, Brahman is in your pocket in the form of fifty times Rs.5/- (Rs.250/-). Please take it out.” That gentleman immediately took out the bundle of currency notes and found that he had exactly twenty five notes of Rs.10/- each. He was wonderstruck with Baba’s knowledge, was moved deeply and prostrated at Baba’s feet and begged His mercy. Then Baba told him, “Put your Brahman back in your pocket. To know Brahman, one should be without any desires. As long as there is desire, there is attachment. One whose thoughts are always on wealth, wife and progeny, cannot remove this attachment. The direction of the thoughts has to be changed. They have to be consciously guided into another lane, where the desire is not there. Unless the desire is absent, greed will not go. This desire for money is a great whirlpool. Greed and Brahma are on 156


opposite poles. If one is South Pole, the other is the North Pole. They do not coexist. A greedy person does not have peace, contentment or steadiness of mind. With even a trace of greed, all the sadhanas are of no help. The greatest of sadgurus cannot help him in getting self realization. Even the most knowledgeable person cannot help one who is full egoism and always thinks about sense objects. The mind has to be purified. It should stop thinking about sense objects. It should stop desiring those sense objects. Unless this is done, all spiritual efforts are only show and pomp. So, take only what one can digest and assimilate. My treasury is full. I can give what anyone wants, but I have to see that he is eligible to take what he asks. Listen to Me carefully, and you will benefit. I never speak untruth.� All those present there were treated to a sumptuous treatise on spiritualism. This was the spiritual knowledge distilled, condensed and concentrated from the Vedas, Vedantas, and the Hindu religious thought consistently flowing from centuries - which no other Guru has given to His devotees in an easily digestible form. It is our good fortune that Hemad Pant has stored this legacy in this invaluable form called Sri Sai Satcharitra. All those who read this treatise on atman will certainly be on the path towards self realization. Let us prostrate at the feet of such a noble, liberal and benevolent teacher, Sri Sai Baba. UNIQUENESS OF BABA: Our country has seen great saints and sages, from generation to generation, who have achieved great spiritual levels and acquired extremely difficult knowledge, by leaving their families, houses, and going to secluded places. They have achieved these spiritual levels by undergoing great sacrifices and sufferings. Almost all of them strived for their own upliftment. Sai Baba is the only Sadguru who remained in the midst of this world, and strove for the betterment of His devotees. He had no wife, no progeny, no home, nor any relative - near or distant. In 157


fact He did not have anything which could be called His own except His devotees. He begged His food from four or five houses, lived underneath the Neem tree, carried on in this materialistic world and taught His devotees. His life story is the story of a totally selfless person who lived only for the sake of welfare of His devotees. He taught them the essence of the art of living and behaving in this world. He also took them, hand in hand and very affectionately, on to the difficult path to eternal bliss. Rare indeed are the saints and sages who after attaining God-vision, work for the welfare of the ordinary common ignorant people. With extreme ecstasy, Hemad Pant says, “Blessed is the country, blessed is the family and blessed are the chaste parents where this Extraordinary, Transcendent, Precious, and Pure Jewel (Sai Baba) was born.� With this the two chapters - sixteenth and seventeenth, called as Instant Brahma-Jnanam, are complete. In the next two chapters, Hemad Pant tells us about how he was accepted and blessed, and other matters. || Sri Sadguru Sainathaarpanamasthu || Shubham Bhavatu || Om Shanti Shanti Shanti

158


|| sri sai satcharitra ||

|| chapters eighteen and nineteen || || acceptance of hemad pant ||

|| Sri Ganeshaya Namaha || Sri Saraswatye Namaha || || Sri Venkateshaya Namaha ||Sri Sai Nathaya Namaha || || Sri Sadgurubhyo Namaha ||

In these two chapters, Hemad Pant tells us about how he was accepted and blessed, and other matters. SADGURU SAI BABA: In the previous chapter we saw that, the sadguru tests the disciples whether they are eligible to receive what they ask for. The sadguru also tests to what extent they can assimilate his teachings. Based on this, he gives further instructions which they can easily assimilate. The instructions so assimilated would lead the devotees on to the path of self realization. There is a saying that whatever the guru tells the disciple, it is a privileged dialogue and should not be divulged to the others. It is also said that by telling others, the efficacy of guru’s teachings will be ineffective. This is totally baseless. The teaching of a sadguru is meant for the welfare of all. We should completely assimilate guru’s teachings and only then tell others without any reservation. And as sadguru takes care of us at all times, he teaches us also at all times, waking as well as sleeping. One of the earlier rishis, Budhakowshik Rishi wrote his famous work Rama-raksha Stotra, based on the instructions he got in his dreams. Children usually do not like medicines - syrupy or otherwise. If it is bitter, then they put up all kinds of bad temper. Still, keeping their health in mind, the mother lovingly ensures that the medicines go down their throats. She does not stop 159


administering the medicines because the children do not like bitter medicines. Similarly, Baba also taught spiritual lessons to His devotees. His methods were direct and effective. He did not use any subtle or veiled techniques. There was no way in which the devotees could misunderstand His instructions. The instructions were clear and the devotees understood the objectives immediately. Sadguru Sai Baba’s instructions are always like beacons of light guiding along the dark and difficult path of spiritual progress. He is our living deity. He is Brahma, He is Vishnu and He is Maheshwara. Baba is our mother, He is our father, He is our relative and He alone is our friend. He is the one who protects us even if the entire world is against us. He is the one who gives us Viveka (discrimination) and Vairagya (detachment) by correcting us from the path of desire for sense objects. With Viveka and Vairagya, He ensures that we acquire knowledge. To the sadguru who does so much for us, let us prostrate at His divine feet and serve Him with all our energy and enthusiasm. We should serve Him to such an extent that we become eligible for his love and affection. We should always be after Him, question Him as frequently as we can, and get His blessings. Let us once again fall at His feet so that His tender and loving look falls on us. SATHE’S STORY: Lord Reay was the Governor of Bombay during 18851890 AD. He put down the Crawford Regime during his reign. Mr. Sathe (not the Rao Bahadur Sathe, who built Sathe Wada in Shirdi) attained sufficient publicity during the Crawford Regime. He suffered severe losses in his business. Other aspects were also not so very good, with the result that his mental condition became very depressed and dejected. He wanted to leave his family and home and go away to some far off place. It is usual that when in comfort and happiness, no one thinks of God. When distresses pile up, we remember that God exists and pray for His intervention. It was the effect of some 160


good deed done in the previous life that he had good friends in this life, who advised him to go to Shirdi and fall at the feet of Sai Baba. Sathe did that. Seeing Baba, radiant, self luminous, spotless and pure, his mind became calm and composed. He decided to do parayana saptaha of Sri Gurucharitra for one week. At the end of the week, Sathe had a dream. In that dream, Baba with Sri Gurucharitra in His hand was explaining the same to Sathe who was seated in front of Baba, and attentively listening. When he woke up, Sathe remembered the dream very well and was happy. He considered himself very fortunate that Baba should come in his dream and explain the Sri Gurucharitra in a very mellifluous manner. While talking to Kakasaheb Dixit next day, he narrated his dream and requested Kaka to ask Baba about the meaning of the dream. He also wanted to know if parayana of one week was sufficient or should he continue for one more week. When a suitable opportunity presented, Kaka told Baba, “Deva, what is the meaning of Sathe’s dream? Should he continue parayana for one more week? Please bless him.” Baba replied that he should continue for one more week. By studying the book carefully, the mind will become pure and he will be benefited. Allah would rescue him from the bondage of this materialistic world. At that time, Hemad Pant was there. He was caressing Baba’s legs and softly massaging them. Baba’s words set off a chain of thoughts in Hemad Pant’s mind and made him dejected. He thought, “I have been reading the book for forty years and nothing has happened. This Sathe comes here and reads the same book for a week and gets rewarded.. I am here for the last seven years doing Seva and waiting like a Chataka pakshi for Baba’s blessings. Still Baba has not blessed me with His instructions. He comes here only for a week, reads a book and is rewarded.” As soon as these thoughts crossed his mind, Baba read his thoughts. Being a sarvajna, He understood everything. Baba’s devotees knew very well that Baba could read their thoughts and guide them properly. 161


Baba told Hemad Pant, “Go to Shyama’s place immediately, get Rs.15/- as Dakshina from him. And don’t return immediately. Talk with him for some time, and only then, come back.” In the guise of Dakshina, Baba sent Hemad Pant to Shyama only to bless him. And Baba’s words were commands for the devotees. Hemad Pant followed Baba’s instructions and went to Shyama’s house. Shyama had just then completed his bath. He was adjusting his dhoti and chanting Hari’s name. Seeing Hemad Pant, he was surprised and asked, “How is it that you are here? You seem to have come from masjid but look very restless and dejected. Why are you alone? Please sit down and relax. Have paan-beeda (betel leaves and nuts). Meanwhile I will complete my pooja and then we can sit and talk.” He went inside and began his pooja. Hemad Pant was alone in the verandah. While he was strolling in the verandah, he saw a Marathi book ‘Nath Bhagavat’. Nath-Bhagavat is a commentary by Sant Eknath on the eleventh skanda (chapter) of Srimad Bhagavatam in Sanskrit. Baba had suggested Bapusaheb Jog and Kakasaheb Dixit to read the following books in Shirdi: Bhavartha Deepika - a commentary in Marathi on Bhagavad-Gita Jnaneshwari (A dialogue between Sri Krishna and His friend and devotee Arjuna) Nath-Bhagavat (A dialogue between Sri Krishna and His servant and devotee Uddhava) and Bhavartha Ramayana by Sant Eknath Kakasaheb was a great devotee of Baba. Every morning he performed pooja of Baba and other deities. After naivedyam, he used to take some milk and then sit for reading the above scriptures. He read Nath Bhagavat in the morning and Bhavartha Ramayana in the night. Bhavartha Ramayana is said to be the 162


second great book in Marathi after Jnandev’s Jnaneshwari. It is said that Sant Tukaram read Bhavartha Ramayana one thousand times on top of mountain Bhandara. When devotees came to Baba and asked questions, at times He used to give complete answers and at other times He used to give partial answers and ask the devotees to read the above books. With the matter given in the above books, the devotees got completely satisfactory replies for their questions. Hemad Pant also was reading Nath-Bhagavat every day. He had not finished that day’s apportioned part completely as he had to accompany some devotees to the masjid. Hemad Pant picked up the book and as soon as he opened it, the unfinished part came up. He thought that Baba had sent him very kindly to Shyama’s house so that he could complete his daily reading. As soon as he completed reading, Shyama also completed his pooja and came out. Hemad Pant told him, “Baba has asked me to get Rs.15/as Dakshina from you. He also asked to spend some time talking to you and then return to masjid with you.” Shyama said with surprise, “I don’t have any money. Instead of that please take my 15 namaskaras (prostrations) as Dakshina to Baba.” Hemad Pant said, “Alright, your 15 namaskaras are accepted as Dakshina. Tell me some Leelas of Baba, so that our sins are washed away.” Shyama told him, “Wonderful are the Leelas of Baba. Most of them, you already know. Some Leelas you have seen after coming here. You are an enlightened person. I am a village rustic. How can I describe them to you? Please take these betel leaves, nuts, chunam and eat pan-beeda. Meanwhile I will change my dress and we can go back to masjid.” Soon he came out and sat with Hemad Pant. He started telling Hemad Pant, “Inscrutable are the ways of this God (Baba). His Leelas are never ending. He plays the Leela, yet is unaffected by it. Take this example itself. Why should Baba send a learned 163


man like you to a village rustic like me? What do I know so as to tell you? Baba Himself could have told the stories. His ways are inconceivable. I can only say that His methods are divine.” With this introduction, Shyama continued, “I will now tell you a story which I remember. I know it personally. If the devotee is determined and resolute, Baba’s response is immediate. At other times, Baba subjects the devotees to severe tests. After they are thoroughly tested, then He gives them the ‘Upadesh’ (instruction).” As soon as he heard the word ‘Upadesh’, a flash of lightening crossed Hemad Pant’s mind. He remembered the entire episode of Sathe’s parayana and Baba’s advise. He also recollected his own thoughts at that time. Then he realized that Baba had read his thoughts and had sent him to Shyama in order to pacify his restless mind. He, however, kept these thoughts to himself and listened to Shyama’s stories. All of Shyama’s stories told one thing - Baba’s intense love for his devotees. Hemad Pant felt great happiness by listening to those stories. Shyama’s first story was that of Mrs. Radhabai Desmukh. MRS. RADHABAI DESMUKH’S STORY: Mrs Radhabai Desmukh was Khashaba Desmukh’s mother. She was an old lady and when she heard Baba’s name and fame, she came with the people of Sangamner to Shirdi. She had Baba’s darshan and was very happy. From that moment onwards she developed a love for Baba and decided that He will be her guru. As she had accepted Him as her guru, she also decided to take ‘Upadesh’ from Him. Till Baba gave her Upadesh, she decided not take any food or water. She stayed in her lodging and did not take any food or water on the first day. Nothing happened. Second day also she continued her fast. Still nothing happened. This went on for the third day. The old lady was becoming weak. I was frightened by her condition and went to Baba and sat next to Him. Baba said, “What is the news, Shyama? That Narayan Teli (oil merchant) is troubling Me.” But I was not in a mood for the general talk. My mind was thinking of 164


only the old lady and her condition. My anxiety increased with every moment. Finally, I could not contain myself and blurted out, “What is this Deva! You drag people from far off places and then ask us about their welfare. No one can understand Your Leelas. You have dragged that old woman Mrs. Radhabai Desmukh from her place to here. She is very firm and determined and not taken any food or water for the last three days. Why are You troubling her like this? She may even lose her life. Then people will say that Baba killed her when she went to get His Upadesh. Kindly give her Upadesh and bless her. I am unable to see her plight. Please take mercy on her and give her Upadesh.” Seeing the firmness of her resolve, Baba sent for her and gave her Upadesh as follows. “Oh Maayi, you are My mother and I am really your child. Please take pity on Me and listen to Me. I will tell you My own experience. Listening to this will do you good. I had a guru. He was a great saint and very merciful. I served him long, very long; still he did not utter any secret mantra in My ears. I had made up My mind to be with him and serve him; and at any cost, receive Upadesh from him. But, he had his own methods. He first got My head shaved. Then he asked Me two pice (64 pice = Re.1/- in those days) as Dakshina. I gave them at once. You may ask Me, You say Your guru is perfect then why does he ask for money? How can he be desire less, if he asks for money? I tell you that he never cared for money. His two pice were 1. Firm Faith and 2. Perseverance or patience. I gave these two pice to him and he was pleased. “I served My guru for 12 years. He brought Me up from My childhood. There was no shortage of food or clothing at any time. He was full of love. I can say he was love incarnate. How can I describe? He loved Me most. Rare is a guru like him. Whenever I looked at him, he was in deep meditation, and then we both were filled with bliss. Day and night I gazed at him without hunger or thirst. Without him, I was restless. I had no other subject for meditation except My guru. Nor did I have 165


anything to attend to except My guru. He was My sole refuge and My mind was totally fixed on Him. This was the first pice of the Dakshina. “Saburi (perseverance or patience) was the second pice. I waited patiently and for very long on My guru and served him. Saburi will take you across this mundane existence. Saburi is the manliness in man, removes all sins and afflictions, gets rid of calamities in various ways, dispels all fears and ultimately gives you all successes. Saburi is the mine of all virtues and consort of good thought. Nishta (Faith) and Saburi (perseverance) are like twin sisters, loving each other very intimately. “My guru never expected anything else from Me. He never neglected Me and protected Me at all times. Most of the times I lived with him, sometimes away from him; still I never felt the want or absence of his love. He always protected Me by his glance. Just as the mother tortoise feeds her young ones by her loving looks, whether they are near her or away from her on the other side of the bank of the river. “Oh, Maayi, when My guru did not give Me any mantra, how can I utter any mantra in your ears? Just remember that guru’s tortoise like loving glance gives us happiness. Don’t try to get mantra or Upadesh from anybody. Make Me the sole object of your thoughts and actions; and you will attain Paramartha (the spiritual goal of life). Look at Me whole heartedly and I will, in turn, look at you similarly. I speak the truth and nothing but the truth. No sadhanas, nor proficiency in six Shastras, are required. Have faith and confidence in your guru. Believe fully that guru is the sole actor and doer. Blessed is he who knows the greatness of his guru and thinks him to be Hari, Hara and Brahma incarnate.” Radhabai Desmukh was convinced, prostrated at Baba’s feet and gave up her fast.” After listening to the story, Hemad Pant started recollecting all the incidents that happened on that day and tried to correlate this story with what happened earlier. He recollected Kakasaheb Dixit telling Baba about Sathe and his parayana; then 166


he recollected his own anguish after hearing Baba’s words; then he recollected Baba reading his thoughts and asking him to go to Shyama; and he also recollected Baba’s insistence that he should spend some time talking to Shyama and then return, not before. Finally, he recollected the story of Radhabai Desmukh. Putting all these events together, he got a clear picture of one of the most wonderful Leelas of Baba which had just unfolded in front of his own eyes. Reading Hemad Pant’s thoughts and understanding that his mind had become restless, Baba got the story of Radhabai Desmukh told to him through Shyama. It was actually Baba’s story only which He had told Radhabai. On understanding the complete implications, Hemad Pant was filled with joy and his eyes overflowed with tears at the love and affection Baba had shown him. Shyama, on seeing Hemad Pant in this condition, asked him, “What happened? Why are you silently crying? Shall I tell you some more of Baba’s innumerable Leelas?” Just at that time, the bell in the masjid started ringing. It was an indication that time for noon worship had come and that arati had begun. Both Shyama and Hemad Pant hurried to the masjid, lest they miss the arati. Bapusaheb Jog had already started the worship. Women were up in the masjid and men were in the open courtyard below. Shyama sat to the right of Baba and Hemad Pant in front of Him. On seeing Hemad Pant, Baba asked him for the Dakshina he was to collect from Shyama. Hemad Pant told Baba that Shyama gave namaskaras instead of the money and he was present personally for any further enquiry. Then Baba asked, “Now tell Me if you had a talk with him. If so, tell Me all about it.” Hemad Pant was anxious to tell Baba what had transpired and when Baba Himself asked, he was in great joy. So, in spite of the heavy sounds of the bell and the loud prayers sung by the devotees, Hemad Pant narrated the complete sequence of events. Baba was also anxious, so He left the bolster, bent forward and listened attentively. Hemad Pant told Him all that happened and said, “The story of the old lady was wonderful. Your Leelas are inexplicable. Under the guise of that story, I 167


thought You have blessed me.” Baba replied, “That story is wonderful. How were you blessed? Tell Me in detail.” Hemad Pant told Him the complete story which had made a deep impact on his mind. Then Baba asked him whether he could catch the significance of the story. Hemad Pant told Him, “Yes, Baba, the restlessness of my mind has gone. I have peace of mind now, and have come to know the true path.” Then Baba told him, “My methods are unique. Remember this one story very well. It will be very useful. For self realization, Dhyana (meditation) is necessary. Practice it continuously and thoughts will subside. Become desireless and meditate on the Lord who is in all beings. When the mind is focused, goals will be achieved. Always meditate on My formless nature. It is the knowledge, consciousness and bliss. If you cannot do this, meditate on My form from top to toe as you see Me here day and night. As you do this, all your thoughts will focus into a single point and the distinction between, the Dhyata (meditator), the Dhyana (act of meditation) and the Dheya (the object of meditation) will vanish. The Dhyata will become one with the consciousness and merge with Brahman. The young ones of a tortoise do nothing but meditate on their mother. The mother tortoise may be on the other bank of the river and unable to give milk or even warmth. Her glances alone are sufficient to give nutrition to the young ones. For them that glance alone is a down pour of nectar, only source of sustenance and happiness. Similar is the relation between a guru and his disciples.” Exactly at that time, the aarathi songs had come to an end and every one shouted in a chorus, “Sri Satchidananda Sadguru Sri Sainath Maharaj Ki Jai.” Let us all imagine that we are in Shirdi, participating in that aarathi and let us also say loudly, “Sri Satchidananda Sadguru Sri Sainath Maharaj Ki Jai.” After the aarathi, prasadam was distributed. Bapusaheb Jog went to Baba, prostrated at His feet and gave Him a fistful of sugar-candy. Baba took it and then gave all of it to Hemad Pant. He told him, “Remember this story well, your state will be as 168


sweet as this sugar-candy. All your desires will be fulfilled and you will be happy.” Hemad Pant was overwhelmed with emotion and with tears streaming down, he begged, “Baba, please favor me always like this. Kindly bless me and protect me always”. Baba assured him, “Remember this story, contemplate on it and assimilate. Then you will always remember and meditate the Lord. He will appear before you.” The sugar-candy he got then, Hemad Pant has distributed to all of us in the Satcharitra. Let us all drink this nectar of happiness and follow Baba’s instructions - remember this story, meditate on it and assimilate it. Let us all prostrate at the divine feet of our beloved sadguru Sai Baba. BABA’S ADVICE REGARDING OUR BEHAVIOUR: For our good conduct and behaviour, Baba has further said, “Nobody goes to anyone unless there is some relationship or connection. If some being comes to you, receive them well and treat them with respect. Do not drive them away. Give water to the thirsty; food to the hungry; clothes to the naked and your verandah to the strangers for sitting and taking rest. God will be pleased. If some one comes to you for money, and you do not want to give, don’t give; but don’t bark at them like a dog. Don’t react to adverse comments. Tolerate them and you will be happy. Stand firmly wherever you are and witness the show of all things passing before you. Demolish the wall of difference between you and Me, and then the path for our meeting will be clear. The sense of differentiation, as I and you, is the barrier that keeps away the disciple from the Master. Once that wall is destroyed, union can take place. ‘Allah Malik’ - God is the sole proprietor, no one else. Inscrutable, invaluable and extraordinary are His ways. He knows how to implement His will; He will show us the way and fulfill our heartfelt desires. Rinanubandha (former allegiance) brings us together; let us love, serve each other and be happy. He who 169


attains the supreme goal of life is immortal and happy. All others live so long as they breathe.” ENCOURAGING GOOD THOUGHTS: Some saint has said that if you get a good thought immediately after you awaken from sleep, and if it is developed during the day, your intellect will unfold and the mind will attain calmness. Hemad Pant wanted to try this. On a Wednesday night he thought, “Tomorrow is Thursday, an auspicious day. And Shirdi is a holy place. Let me spend the entire day in chanting Rama Naama.” With this noble thought in mind, he slept. When he woke up the next morning, he remembered Rama’s name. He was happy. After finishing his morning duties, he collected some flowers for offering to Baba and left for masjid. On his way he heard a beautiful song sung by one Aurangabadkar. He was singing in front of Baba in the masjid. The song was, “Guru Kripanjan payo mere bhai” by Eknath. In this song Eknath says: Guru Kripanjan payo mere bhai | Ram bina kachu maanat naahi | Andar Rama, bahar Rama | sapneme dekhat Seetarama || Jaagat Rama, sovat Rama | jaha dekho vaha pooran Rama || Eka Janardan anubhav aneka | jaha dekhe vaha Ram sarikha|| He could see Rama here, there, everywhere, in sleep and in waking state, only because of the anjan (a lotion applied to the eyes) called guru kripa (guru’s grace) that he had applied to his eyes. Then, he urges others also to get this anjan. When there are so many songs, why did Aurangabadkar chose this song only? He chose it because Baba wanted to encourage the determination of Hemad Pant to sing Rama Naama the entire day. One has only to surrender oneself to Baba, with love and devotion, to see in how many ways He will help us even in small things.

170


VARIETY IN UPDESH: Once, a devotee of Baba was talking ill of his brother in a gathering. Instead of telling the nice qualities of his brother, he was pointing out only the mistakes, that too, when the brother was not present there to defend himself. Up to a certain extent the onlookers enjoyed the show and then they were also fed up. Scandalizing others in public is a common tendency which should be avoided. It breeds ill-will and hatred. The saints view it differently. They say that there are several ways of removing dirt, say, by water, soap etc; the scandal monger uses his tongue to clean the dirt of the other person. In this way, he is doing a service to the other person and hence should be thanked. Baba had his own method. He knew what the scandal monger had said. When He met him near Lendi, Baba showed a pig which was eating filth near the fence and told him, “See, how gladly it is eating dung. Are you any better than that? It is only after performing many good deeds in the past that you are born as a man. By reviling your brother, are you in any better condition? Use this life for doing something good. Don’t waste it.” The devotee was immediately corrected and never made the same mistake again. Baba’s teachings were always aimed at making us realize the usefulness of the human life and to see that we do not fritter away this opportunity by doing irrelevant things. By keeping his sayings in mind and acting upon them, we will be that many steps nearer self realization. In the spiritual path, the more effort we put in nearer will be to our goal. Baba is omnipresent, omnipotent and omniscient. He pervades this entire space - land, air and sea. He is present at all times - past, present and future. He knows everything - past, present and future. Anyone meditating on Him with complete submission will experience total bliss of being one with Him, just as sweetness is of sugar, waves are of ocean, and lustre is of the eye. He, who wants to escape from the eternal cycle of birth and death, should lead a righteous life. His mind should be calm and 171


composed. He should not hurt others by Kaaya, Vaacha or Manasa. He should always engage himself in good deeds. He should do his duties and surrender himself to Him. He, who trusts Him entirely, listens and expounds His Leelas, and does not think of anything else, is sure to attain self realization. Baba guided His devotees in a number of ways on to the path of spiritualism. To some, He advised chanting His name; to some, he advised Shravanam (study) and mananam (meditation); to some others, He advised worship of His feet; to some, He advised studying Adhyatma Ramayana, Jnaneshwari and other sacred scriptures; to some others, He advised visiting Khandoba temple; to some He advised study of Chandogya Upanishad and Gita; to some others, He advised chanting Vishnu Sahasranamams. Many of the instructions, He gave in person; some in dreams. To some one who was addicted to drinking, He appeared in a dream, sat on his chest and started pressing it hard. He did not leave until the person promised that he would not touch liquor in future. To some, He gave the meaning of the mantra, ‘Gurur Brahma’ in a dream. One of His devotees was practicing Hatha Yoga, got a message from Baba to stop immediately and wait with saburi. Innumerable are the ways in which He interacted with His devotees, all for their own welfare and progress. REMUNERATION FOR LABOUR: Radhakrishna Mai was, once, down with malaria. Baba was passing through her house one afternoon. He immediately asked someone to bring a ladder. It was brought and set against a house as directed by Baba. He climbed up on to the roof of Vaman Gondkar’s house, passed the roof of Radhakrishna Mai’s house and then got down on the other side. Nobody could understand why Baba did like that. It could possibly have been to drive away the malaria from which Mai was suffering. As soon as He got down, He paid Rs.2/- to the persons who had brought the ladder. Usually, no one had the courage to ask Baba anything, but 172


this time some one asked Him why He paid so much. Baba replied that no one should take other’s labour free of cost. The worker should be paid his dues promptly and liberally. By following Baba’s principle, one can ensure that workers will turn out better work and both the workers and their employers would be benefitted. There will not be any ill feeling between the Labour and the Capital. With this the two chapters - eighteenth and nineteenth, called as Acceptance of Hemad Pant, are complete. In the next chapter, Hemad Pant tells us about how Dasganu’s problem was solved, and other matters. ||Sri Sadguru Sainathaarpanamasthu ||Shubham Bhavatu|| Om Shanti Shanti Shanti

173


174


|| sri sai satcharitra || || chapter twenty || || isavasya upanishad || ||Sri Ganeshaya Namaha || Sri Saraswatye Namaha || || Sri Venkateshaya Namaha || Sri Sai Nathaya Namaha || || Sri Sadgurubhyo Namaha ||

In this chapter, Hemad Pant tells us about how Dasganu’s problem was solved, and other matters. SADGURU SAI BABA: Sai is Nirguna, Nirakara or formless Brahman. He took a form only for the sake of His devotees. With the help of Maya, He also became an actor on the theater of this Universe. The very sight of Him fills us with immense pleasure. Let us go to Shirdi, hundred years ago, and see what He is doing. The noon arati is just now over. Baba has come out of the masjid. He is standing near its edge, slightly bending over. All the devotees who had come to the masjid for the arati are overjoyed. One by one, they are coming to Baba, clasping His feet with both their hands and touching His feet with their forehead with deep respect and reverence. The enormous love and affection He has for the devotees is clearly visible in His eyes. He is slowly caressing the head of each of the devotee and giving them the Udi prasadam. To some He is telling, “Bhau, have your lunch.” To some, He is telling, “Anna, go to your lodging and take rest.” To some 175


others, He is jocularly telling, “Hey Bapu, enjoy your dishes.� Thus He is treating everyone with affection as if they are His own near and dear. Internally for Him, all are same. He is not attached to any one of them. Though He is in this Samsara, attachments do not come anywhere near Him, just as a seasoned stage artist performs his role knowing fully well that he is different from the role he is portraying. But, we still have attachments. The very sight of Baba standing there, slightly bent, giving Udi prasadam to us, softly caressing our head fills our hearts with unknown bliss. We feel that Baba is ours. Let us prostrate at the divine feet of our Baba. Let us recollect, meditate and assimilate His stories. ISAVASYA UPANISHAD: Let us have a brief idea of this most beautiful Upanishad before proceeding further. The God, intent on the regeneration of the world, communicated Vedas through Hiranyagarbha (Brahma) and Hiranyagarbha, in turn, passed them on to his ten Manasa-puthras, including Athri and Marichi. From them, the Vedas spread among humanity, handed down from one generation to another. As time passed, ages accumulated and continents moved, some Vedas got lost, or were neglected as too difficult for comprehension, and only four have survived into modern times. These Four were taught by Vedavyasa, the greatest among the exponents of the Vedas, to his disciples, in the Dwaparayuga. When Vyasa was thus expounding the Vedas, engaged in spreading the sacred scripture, one of his disciples, Yajnavalkya by name, incurred his wrath and as a punishment, he had to regurgitate the Yajurveda that he had already learned, into the custody of his guru and leave the place. Just then, the Rishis who revere the Vedas flew into the place in the shape of Thiththiri birds and ate up the regurgitated Yajurveda. That particular section of the Veda is called "Thaithiriyam". Yajnavalkya then took refuge in Suryadeva, the treasurehouse of the Vedas. Suryadeva was pleased with the devotion 176


and steadfastness of the unfortunate Yajnavalkya. He assumed the form of a Vaji or Horse and blessed the sage with renewed knowledge of the Yajurveda. The sections thus taught by the Vaji came to be called 'Vajasaneyi'. The Yajurveda as promoted by Vedavyasa is called Krishnayajurveda and that handed down by Yajnavalkya as the Suklayajurveda. In these, the first few chapters are Manthras connected with the Karmakanda and the last few sections deal with Jnanakanda. The Isavasya Upanishad is concerned with this Jnanakanda. The Upanishad, though apparently simple and intelligible, is in reality one of the most difficult to understand properly. The aspirant should sit at the feet of an experienced teacher, a Brahma-Srotri, a Brahma-Nishtha, and study this Upanishad with one-pointed and pure mind. Then everything will become quite clear. Out of the eighteen mantras in this Upanishad, only the first two deal directly with the problem of Liberation and its solution. The other sixteen elaborate this solution and serve as commentaries thereon. In the first manthra of the Isavasya, the Jnana-nishta characterised by the absence of craving of any sort is expounded. This is the primary Vedartha; but, those who have cravings will find it difficult to get stabilised in that Nishta or state of mind. For such, the second manthra prescribes a secondary means, the Karmanishta. The rest of the manthras elaborate and support these two nishtas - based on Jnana and Karma. Karma-nishta has Desire and Delusion as the cardinal urges; Jnana-nishta has Vairagya (Renunciation), the conviction that the world is not Atma, that is to say, not true, and therefore, it is profitless to have any dealings with it. Renunciation here does not mean negation of life. It is not some morose and lifeless experience. We should not renounce life because of despair or depression arising out of our fears, frustration or personal failures. True renunciation arises out of intense longing for the divine, out of a state of mind in which attachment with the Divine alone makes sense and out of a sense of freedom and fearlessness that stem from unflinching faith in God and His supreme will. We 177


should not renounce life because we do not like it. We renounce life because we love God intensely and live our life with a sense of gratitude and self-surrender. The life of renunciation is a carefree life, utterly devoid of all pretension and seeking and free from the cares and the struggle that accompany all manners of seeking. Man has the right to enjoy his life. There is a divine sanction for it. Life has to be enjoyed, but without seeking, without coveting, and without struggling to get things done or get things for oneself. It is the renunciation of seeking and of desiring things which is the central feature of a life of true renunciation. Those who renounce life truly, in fact, enjoy life better than those who do not, because the true sanyasis are not troubled by the fear of loss or the possibility of gain. They accept their lot, what comes to them without struggle and seeking and remain indifferent to what does not come to them or what has departed from them. Such an attitude to Vairagya is the gateway to Jnana-nishta. From the third to the eighth manthra, the real nature of the Atma is depicted, through the condemnation of the Avidya, which prevents the understanding of the Atma. Thus the Isavasya teaches the lesson of renunciation through the first manthra and the lesson of 'liberating activity' (through Karma devoid of Raga and Dwesha) in the second manthra. In the fourth and fifth manthra, it speaks of Atmathathwa and later of the fruits of the knowledge of that Atmathathwa. In the ninth manthra, the path of progressive liberation or Karmamukthi (useful for those who are too weak to follow the path of total renunciation but who are adepts in acts that are conducive to moral development and inner purification) is laid down; this is the path which co-ordinates all Karma on the principle of Upasana. Those who are engaged in acts contrary to Vidya are full of Ajnana. It says; those who confine themselves to the study and practice of divine forms are even worse, for their desire is for powers and skills. Vidya leads to Deva-loka, Karma leads to Pithr-loka it is said. So, the Jnana that results in 178


Atmasakshathkara or Self-realisation is something quite distinct from these, no attempt to co-ordinate the two can succeed. Thus, Isavasya Upanishad is also called as, ‘Mantropanishad’. It constitutes the last or the 40th chapter of the Vajasaneyi Samhita. Being embodied in Vedic Samhita, it is regarded as superior to all other Upanishads. In fact, the other Upanishads are considered to be commentaries on the truths mentioned briefly in the Isavasya Upanishad. Prof. RD Ranade (1886 - 1957 AD) one of the greatest philosophers India has produced, says, “The Isopanishad is quite a small Upanishad; and yet it contains many hints which show extraordinarily piercing insight. Within the short compass of 18 verses, it gives a valuable mystical description of the Atma, a description of the ideal sage, who stands unruffled in the midst of temptations and sorrows; an adumbration of the doctrine of Karma-Yoga as later formulated and finally a reconciliation of the claims of Knowledge and Works. The most valuable idea that lies at the root of the Upanishad is that of a logical synthesis between the two opposites of Knowledge and Works, which are both required according to the Upanishad, to be annulled in a higher synthesis.” (Page 24; Constructive Survey of the Upanishadic Philosophy). In another place, he says that “The poetry of the Isopanishad is a co-mixture of moral, mystical and metaphysical knowledge.” (Page 41, ibid.) Dasganu Maharaj undertook the difficult task of translating this Upanishad into Marathi, entitled ‘Isavasya Bhavartha Bodhini’, and bringing out its exact meaning. For this purpose, he used the ‘Ovi’ metre, verse by verse. As he did not comprehend the essence of the Upanishad, he was not happy with his performance. So, he consulted some learned men to clarify some of his doubts, discussed with them for great lengths of time, but the doubts remained as doubts. Dasganu was becoming restless.

179


SADGURU ALONE IS COMPETENT: As seen already, the Isavasya Upanishad teaches us the science of self realization. It gives us a weapon which can cut the bondage of life and death and set us totally free. When nobody could resolve his doubts, Dasganu thought that he should ask someone who has himself achieved self realization. He thought that Sadguru alone is competent to resolve his doubts. When a suitable opportunity presented itself, Dasganu prostrated at the feet of Baba and asked for guidance. Baba blessed him and told him, “Don’t worry. The maid servant of Kaka (Kakasaheb Dixit) will clear all your doubts at Vile-Parle.” Those who had assembled there, thought that Baba was joking as “How could an illiterate maid servant clear the doubts about Isavasya Upanishad, which she may not even know exists.” Dasganu, however, knew better and was certain that whatever Baba spoke came true. Baba’s words were like the orders of Brahma. KAKA’S MAID SERVANT: Obeying Baba’s instructions, Dasganu left for Vile-Parle and stayed with Kakasaheb Dixit. Next day when he was doing his daily morning worship, he heard a beautiful and melodious song. The song was in praise of a crimson coloured saree, about its pallu, border and the embroidery on it. The song was so appealing that Dasganu came out to see the person who was singing the song. The singer was a young girl of about eight years of age. She was sister of Namya, Kaka’s male servant. She was cleaning the vessels and was dressed in torn clothes. Dasganu immediately took a liking to the girl and felt pity for her. He also observed that though she was impoverished, she was in a very jovial mood. Next day, when Rao Bahadur MW Pradhan presented him with a dhoti, Dasganu requested him to give a sari to the young girl. Rao Bahadur bought a good Chirdi (small sari) and presented it to the girl. Seeing the Chirdi, the girl’s face beamed with 180


happiness and uncontrolled joy. Next day, she wore the new sari, whirled, danced and played ‘Fugadi’ with her friends and was very happy. The following day, she kept the sari in her box at home, came in the same old torn clothes and was singing and playing as on the previous day, when she was in the new sari. Seeing her so jovial, Dasganu had admiration, in stead of pity, for the girl. He thought that she had kept the new sari in her trunk to be worn on some festival day; and as she was poor, she had to be in torn clothes. Then something flashed in his mind. Dasganu had observed that the girl was happy in the torn clothes, she was happy when in a new sari, and she continued to be happy even when she had to revert to the old torn clothes. Her dress did not affect her state of mind at any time. Her happiness of mind was not affected by the changes that were taking place to the dress on her body. She believed that whatever happened to her was the blessing of God, accepted the changes and was happy. She had not, of her own accord, asked for any of these changes. This was exactly what the first sloka of Isavasya Upanishad propounded. Isavaasyamidam sarvam yathkincha jagathyaam jagath Thena thyakthena bhunjeethaah, maa gridhah kasyaswid-dhanam All this-whatsoever moves in this universe (and those that move not) is covered (indwelt or pervaded or enveloped or clothed) by the Lord. That renounced, enjoy. Do not covet the wealth of any man. Dasganu was very happy. His doubts were clarified. Sadguru had guided him through an illiterate servant maid. Once again we see the unique method of Baba’s teachings. Though He Himself did not go anywhere outside Shirdi, He used to send His devotees to places like Machchindragad, Kolhapur or Sholapur. It is never possible to say which method he would adopt in case of any particular devotee. To Dasganu, He asked him to go to Vile-Parle, where he would be enlightened by an 181


illiterate servant maid. Some say that He need not have sent him there, but could have explained Himself in Shirdi. What they do not realize is that if Baba had explained; Dasganu would have listened to His words. It would not have made any impact on his mind. By the method Baba adopted, nobody told Dasganu anything. Dasganu himself realized the meaning of Isavasya Upanishad. Making the devotees realize by themselves the answers to their questions, was the methodology followed by Baba. Before this chapter comes to a close, let us see another beautiful extract about the Isavasya Upanishad. THE ETHICS OF THE UPANISHAD: On pages 169 - 170 of The Creative Period, Belvalkar and Ranade say, “One of the main features of the Isha Upanishad is the ethical advice it offers, and it is interesting to note that the ethics of the Upanishad are definitely based upon the metaphysical position advanced in it. The very opening words of the Upanishad tell us, that God pervades every thing. As a corollary from the metaphysical position, the ethical advice it offers is, that a man ought to enjoy whatever God bestows on him in the firm belief that as He pervades everything, whatever is bestowed on him by God is good. It follows naturally that the Upanishad should forbid us from coveting another man’s property. In fact, we are fittingly taught here a lesson of contentment with one’s own lot in the belief that whatever happens, it is divinely ordained and it is hence good for us. Another moral advice is that man must spend his life-time always in doing action, specifically the Karmas enjoined in the Shastras, in a mood of believing resignation to His will. Inactivity, according to this Upanishad, would be the canker of the soul. It is only when a man spends his life-time in doing actions in this manner that he can hope to attain the ideal of Naishkarmya. Finally, the text goes on to say that a man, who sees all beings in the Self and sees the Self as existing in all beings; in fact, for 182


whom all beings and everything that exists have become the Self how can such a man suffer infatuation? What ground would such a man have for grief? Loathfulness, infatuation and grief verily proceed from our not being able to see the Atman in all things. But a man, who realizes the oneness of all things, for whom everything has become the Self must ipso facto, cease to be affected by the common foibles of humanity.� With this the twentieth chapter called as Isavasya Upanishad, is complete. In the next chapter, Hemad Pant tells us about VH Thakur, Anantrao Patankar, a Pandharpur Pleader and other matters. ||Sri Sadguru Sainathaarpanamasthu ||Shubham Bhavatu|| Om Shanti Shanti Shanti

183


184


|| sri sai satcharitra || || chapter twenty-one || || nava vidha bhakti || || Sri Ganeshaya Namaha || Sri Saraswatye Namaha || || Sri Venkateshaya Namaha || Sri Sai Nathaya Namaha || || Sri Sadgurubhyo Namaha ||

In this chapter, Hemad Pant tells us about VH Thakur, Anantrao Patankar, a Pandharpur Pleader and other matters. INSTITUTION OF SAINTS: Seeking the company of saints and benefiting from their teachings does not come to everyone. It will be bestowed on only those who have done good deeds in their previous lives. Rare indeed is the good fortune of meeting such saints and spending time at their divine feet, as an opportune moment should also come. Hemad Pant quotes his own example. When he was a resident magistrate of Bandra, a famous Mohemmadan saint by name Pir Moulana was living there. Irrespective of their religion, Hindus, Muslims, Parsis visited the saint every day and got his blessings. Pir Moulanasaheb had a Muijavar (priest) by name Inus. Hemad Pant knew him very well. Inus was requesting Hemad Pant, day and night, to visit the Pir saheb and get his blessings. As the opportune time had not come, he could not see him despite several efforts. Hemad Pant’s time came when he got the call, went to Shirdi and became a permanent member in the glorious Sai Durbar. As seen earlier, saints have a mission to fulfill during their stay on this earth. Ours is a ‘Karma Bhoomi’ where there have been many saints. There is no restriction of time or place for them. It is not necessary that one should come after the other. There have been times when several saints were present at the same time. They can exist either in the same place or at different places. Each saint has a specific mission to be carried out as 185


instructed by the God. As long as they are on this ‘Karma Bhoomi’, they work in unison. Even though they do not meet each other, every saint knows what the other is doing and invariably they supplement each other’s work. Let us see how this happens. V.H. THAKUR’S STORY: Thakur was a clerk in Revenue Department. He had passed his graduation earlier. Because of some official work, he had to go to Vadgaum, near Belgaum (Karnataka State) with his survey party. There he had the good fortune to meet a saint by name Appa. He went to Appa and fell at his feet. At that time, Appa was explaining a portion from the book, ‘Vichar Sagar’ by Nishchal Das (Hindi translation of Vidyaranya’s “Panchadasi”) to the audience. After he got Appa’s blessing, Thakur sought his permission to leave. Then Appa told him, “Study this book, your desires will be fulfilled. By your good fortune, you will meet a great saint when you go to north. He will show you the future path, bring peace to your mind and make you happy.” Few days later Thakur forgot this episode completely. Subsequently he was transferred to Junnar for which he had to cross the Nhane Ghat. This Ghat was very steep. There was no other conveyance to cross the Ghat except by a buffalo ride. It was very inconvenient and pained him very much. After Junnar, Thakur was transferred to Kalyan. In Kalyan he met Nanasaheb Chandorkar. By this time, Thakur had heard of Sai Baba’s name and fame. He told Nanasaheb about his desire to meet Baba. So, when he next went to Shirdi, Nanasaheb asked Thakur to accompany him. As the opportune time had not yet come, he could not go with Nanasaheb, because he had to attend to a civil case at Thana Civil Court. He expressed his regret to Nanasaheb and went to Thana. Nanasaheb went alone to Shirdi. After going to Thana, he found that the case was postponed to a future date. Thakur felt happy and decided to go to Shirdi alone. He thought that he could meet Nanasaheb there and 186


through him, he could have darshan of Sai Baba. When he reached Shirdi, he found that Nanasaheb had left the previous evening. However, he met some other friends there. With them, he went to the masjid, saw Baba and fell at His feet. He was so thrilled by seeing Baba that tears rolled down his cheeks and he was all attentive. Baba told him, “The path to this place is very difficult. It is not easy as the teachings of the Kannada Saint Appa, or even the buffalo ride in the Nhane Ghat. The spiritual path is difficult; you have to work very hard.” Thakur remembered Appa’s words and felt happy that they had come true. He prostrated once again at Baba’s feet and begged to be accepted and blessed. Then Baba told him, “Reading alone will not help. What Appa said is alright; practice what you read. Think before practicing. Other wise it is useless. Reading without Guru’s grace is also useless.” Thakur was regularly reading ‘Vichar Sagar’. Now he got the invaluable advice of how to practice what he had read. Thus, Appa knew what Baba would do and Baba knew what Appa had told. Though they were separated in time and space, they worked in conjunction for the welfare of the devotees. ANANTRAO PATANKAR’S STORY: Anantrao Patankar came from Poona to Shirdi for Baba’s darshan. After seeing Baba, he was overjoyed and fell at Baba’s feet. Clasping both His feet with his hands, he said, “Deva, I have studied Vedas, Upanishads and Puranas. Still my mind is restless. Simple, ignorant and devout people are better than me. Learning from books is of no use if the mind continues to be restless. People have told me that by a mere glance, You give peace of mind. I am at Your feet. Please take pity on me and bless me.” Then Baba told him a parable about the Nava Vidha Bhakti. 187


NAVA VIDHA BHAKTI: ‘A saudagar (merchant) came here once. Before him, a mare passed her stools (nine balls of stool). The merchant intent on his quest spread the end of his dhoti and collected all the nine balls of stool. Thus, he got concentration and peace of mind.’ Patankar could not make anything out of this story. However hard he tried, still nothing entered his brain. Then he went to his friend Ganesh Damodar, also known as Dada Kelkar, and asked him the meaning of the parable. Dada said, “I also do not know all that Baba says. With His inspiration, I will tell you this much. The mare in the parable is God’s grace. Saudagar is the devotee. The nine balls of stool are the Nava Vidha Bhakti. They are: 1. Shravana (hearing): 2. Kirtana (praying): 3. Smarana (remembering): 4. Padasevana (worship of the feet): 5. Archana (worship): 6. Namaskara (bowing): 7. Dasya (service): 8. Sakhyata (friendship): and 9. Atma nivedana (surrender of the self). These are the nine types of Bhakti. If any one of these is followed sincerely, then Lord Sri Hari will manifest in the home of the devotee. All the other sadhanas like Japa (vocal worship), Tapa (penance) and Yoga practice, as well as reading the scriptures and expounding them are useless, unless they are accompanied by Bhakti. Any amount of reading of Vedas, Upanishads is of no use if devotion is absent. Consider yourself as the merchant seeking the truth and be anxious to collect or cultivate any of the nine modes of devotion. Only then can you get peace of mind.” When he went to Baba the next day, He asked him, “Did you collect the nine balls of stool?” Patankar replied, “Deva, I am an ordinary person. I can do anything only if you bless me.” Baba blessed him and assured him that he would attain peace of mind. Patankar was overwhelmed with happiness.

188


PANDHARPUR PLEADER: Baba is omniscient. For Him time and space are no constraints. And He will always be having a watch on His devotees, wherever they are. If they do anything wrong, He will immediately correct them and set them on the right path. A pleader from Pandharpur came to Shirdi for Baba’s darshan. He saw Baba, fell at His feet, placed Dakshina and sat nearby. At that time Baba was explaining certain things to the devotees there. The pleader wanted to listen to Baba’s words, so he sat quietly listening. After some time, Baba turned in his direction and remarked, “People are cunning. They abuse at the back. Then fall at the feet, and give Dakshina also. Isn’t it wonderful?” None of those present understood what Baba said. The pleader understood, as it was meant for him. Still, he did not say anything and remained silent. He returned to Wada with Kakasaheb Dixit. On the way, he told Kaka that Baba’s remark was meant for him. He continued, “When the sub-judge (or munsiff) of Pandharpur, Sri Noolkar, came to Shirdi and stayed here for improvement of his health, a discussion went on in the bar-room. People were discussing whether his ailments could be cured by merely going to Sai Baba. They wondered whether he could be cured without recourse to medicines. They even commented whether it was appropriate on the part of an educated person like the sub-judge to have such blind faith. Both the sub-judge and Sai Baba were severely criticized. I also took an active part in the discussion. Today, Baba showed the impropriety of my act. I did not feel that it was a rebuke. On the contrary, I felt that it was an advice for me not to indulge in slandering others and not to interfere unnecessarily in others’ affairs.” Shirdi is about 480 kms away from Pandharpur. As we know, Baba never left Shirdi. How could He know what transpired in a bar-room at Pandharpur? This vast distance of 480 kms with the intervening rivers, jungle and mountains were no barrier for Baba. Time and space were no constraints at all for 189


Him. Seated in His place in the masjid, He could easily read what was going on in the minds of His devotees. Far or near, everything was as clear to Him as broad daylight. Far or near, nobody could avoid the gaze of all pervading Baba. Because of this, the pleader was corrected by Baba and set on the right path. This story is applicable to all of us. If we search our hearts, we will find that at some time or other, we would have slandered some one and criticized a saintly figure. Baba wanted to correct not just the pleader, but all of us also. We should remember, contemplate and assimilate these stories and benefit by them. Baba’s greatness is unfathomable. To such a kind sadguru, let us prostrate at His divine feet once again and beg Him to have mercy on us. With this the twenty-first chapter called as Nava Vidha Bhakti, is complete. In the next chapter, Hemad Pant tells us how Baba rescued Balasaheb Mirikar, Bapusaheb Booty and Amir Shakkar from snake bites and other matters. ||Sri Sadguru Sainathaarpanamasthu ||Shubham Bhavatu|| Om Shanti Shanti Shanti

190


|| sri sai satcharitra || || chapter twenty-two || || about snakes and scorpions || || Sri Ganeshaya Namaha || Sri Saraswatye Namaha || || Sri Venkateshaya Namaha || Sri Sai Nathaya Namaha || || Sri Sadgurubhyo Namaha ||

In this chapter, Hemad Pant tells us how Baba rescued Balasaheb Mirikar, Bapusaheb Booty and Amir Shakkar from snake bites and other matters. DHYANA BINDU: For meditation, one needs to fix and concentrate his attention on a single, focused point. One can meditate on something about which one knows. How can we meditate on Baba, who is all pervading and whom nobody has been able to describe? Is it ever possible to define God? The Vedas could not contain Him in words. Nor could Adisesha bring out clearly how the God whom he carries looks like. And we are ordinary mortals. Moreover, the devotees are hardly concerned with the entire form of the Almighty. When Sugriva brought Sita’s ornaments for identification to Sri Rama, he asked Lakshmana to identify them. Lakshmana could identify only the anklets, as he was prostrating daily at the lotus feet of Sita. He told Sri Rama that he does not know anything about the other ornaments. We always concentrate on the lotus feet only as that alone leads us to our salvation. In this connection, Hemad Pant has a suggestion. In every month there are two Pakshas (fortnights) Krishna and Shukla. In the Krishna Paksha the moon wanes and on the new moon night we cannot see the moon at all. From the next day onwards, moon comes out slowly. For those of us who are anxious to see the moon, we do not see at all on the first day. Second night moon appears as a tiny speck. Elders used to suggest that if we want to see moon, we should concentrate and 191


see between the two branches of any particular tree. When we see in this small aperture, moon appears in a crescent shape and slowly comes into our field of view. Applying this analogy, let us look at Baba’s sitting pose. He is sitting with His right leg across His left leg. The right leg supports the left hand. The fingers of His left hand are relaxed and spread on the right foot, particularly the index and the middle fingers of the left hand. In the space between His left hand index and middle fingers, can be seen the right toe. It is as if Baba is telling us that if you want to see Me: shed your egoism; be humble and concentrate your thoughts on My right toe. That point is our Dhyana Bindu. We should focus all our thoughts on that single point and meditate. Banish all other thoughts. Only then we can see the light. That alone is the easiest way of acquiring devotion. After meditating Baba and prostrating at His divine feet, let us go to Shirdi. Shirdi became a place of pilgrimage only because Baba lived there. People came from all parts of the country. Whoever came to Shirdi, rich or poor, benefited in some form or the other. And all of them invariably got one particular asset from Baba that was the boundless love He has for His devotees. Everyone who came for Baba’s darshan experienced His all pervasiveness, His immense knowledge and of course, His unlimited love and affection. Blessed indeed are those who could experience either one or all of the above. And to each, He taught the lessons of spiritual path in His own inimitable way, in a way they could clearly understand and make it part of their own personality. To 192


some, He taught in silence. He used to observe long spells of silence. To some others He spoke in parables. There were occasions when He indulged in wit and humour. To many He was unambiguous and with some He got angry. He usually gave His teachings in a nutshell, in the form of pearls which we could treasure for a whole life time. His life was not easily understandable. It is beyond our mind, intellect or concept. What remains with us is the abundant love and affection He has given us. It is because of this alone that we want to see Him again and again. The thirst never quenches. It is this love, this care for the welfare of His devotees and the eternal watch He keeps over us that is evident in the following stories. BALASAHEB MIRIKAR’S STORY: Balasaheb Mirikar was son of Siridar Kakasaheb Mirikar. He was Mamlatdar of Kopergaon. Once, he had to go to Chitali on some official work. While going there, he stopped over at Shirdi and went to the masjid for Baba’s darshan. He prostrated at His feet, and then asked for Baba’s permission to leave. Baba suddenly asked him, “Do you know our Dwarakamai?” Balasaheb did not understand the implication of the question. As it was, he knew Dwarakamai as he had come several times, but when Baba asked specifically, he did not dare to reply and kept silent. Then Baba Himself continued, “This is our Dwarakamai. She wards off all dangers and anxieties of her children who sit in her lap. This Masjidmai is very merciful. She is the mother of simple devotees. She will save them from all calamities. Once you sit in her lap, your troubles are over. He, who rests in her shade, gets bliss.” Then Baba blessed him with Udi prasad and slowly and affectionately caressed his head with His protecting hand. When Balasaheb was about to leave, Baba again asked, “Do you know the ‘lamba Baba’ (namely the snake)?” To make him understand more clearly, Baba half-closed His left fist, brought it near the left elbow and moved His left arm like a hooded serpent. Then He 193


continued, “He is so terrible, but when Dwarakamai protects, what can he do.” None of those who sat there, including Balasaheb, understood anything of what Baba said, particularly the relationship between the serpent and Balasaheb. No one dared ask Baba about this. Later, Balasaheb and Shyama left the masjid. When they were near the entrance, Baba called Shyama and asked him to accompany Balasaheb for the Chitali trip. Shyama went back to Balasaheb and on the way told him that Baba wanted him to go with Balasaheb for the Chitali trip. Balasaheb felt delicate and asked Shyama not to take the trouble as the journey was not comfortable. Shyama returned to Baba and told the same. Then Baba said, “Alright, don’t go. Whatever is destined to happen, will happen.” Meanwhile, Balasaheb thought again and felt that as Baba wanted Shyama to go with him; His instruction should be respected and obeyed. So he called Shyama back and asked him to accompany. Shyama went again to Baba and told Him about Balasaheb’s revised decision. Baba gave him permission to leave. Shyama went with Balasaheb in a Tonga and reached Chitali by 9.0pm. The office people had not yet come to receive them. So, they camped in the Maruti temple there. Balasaheb was reading a newspaper. His uparani was spread across his waist. Unobserved by anyone, a snake was sitting on one part of the uparani. It started moving with a rustling sound. The peon who was nearby heard the sound, brought a lantern, and started shouting ‘snake’, ‘snake’. Balasaheb was shaking with fear. Shyama was also stunned. Soon he gathered courage and along with others, waited for the snake to climb down. As soon as it came down they killed it. Thus the calamity which Baba had anticipated was averted with His blessings only. Balasaheb’s love for Baba increased many fold.

194


BAPUSAHEB BOOTY’S STORY: When Bapusaheb Booty was in Shirdi, his friend Nanasaheb Dengale was also there. Nanasaheb knew astrology. One day he told Bapusaheb that he had to be careful that day as it was inauspicious for him. As per astrological calculations, Bapusaheb’s end was indicated on that day. Naturally, Bapusaheb was disturbed. Then they both went to the masjid for Baba’s darshan. Baba told Bapusaheb, “What does this Nana say? He predicts death, isn’t it? Tell him boldly, ‘Let us see how death comes’”. In the evening when Bapusaheb went for toilet, a snake was sitting there. As it was an open toilet, his servant, Lahnoo saw the snake first. He lifted a stone to crush the snake, but Bapusaheb stopped him, and asked him to bring a stick instead. Before the servant could come, the snake wriggled away and disappeared. Bapusaheb remembered Baba’s encouraging words of fearlessness with gratitude and joy. AMIR SHAKKAR’S STORY: In Kopergaon Taluqa, there is a village called Korale. To that village belonged a person by name Amir Shakkar. Though he was of the butcher caste, he went to a distant place, Bandra, and became a well known commission agent. He was suffering from Rheumatism. Because of that, he had to endure plenty of pain. When he could not find any treatment from his doctors, he decided that God alone was his doctor. So, he left his business and went to Shirdi. He saw Baba, fell at His feet and begged Him to relieve him of his disease. Baba’s methods are always unusual. He asked Amir Shakkar to stay in Chavadi. Chavadi was built around 1597 AD during the times of Mallik Ambar (a prime minister of Murtaza Nizam Shah II of Ahmednagar). Practically no efforts were made to renovate it during the intervening period. Of late, it had become a resting place for lizards, snakes and scorpions. It had earthen flooring. The roof had so many leaks that in the rainy season, water used to 195


log. The building and floor were damp. Stray dogs had their resting place there. In short, at that time, it was not in a good condition. It was unhealthy even for a healthy person to stay in it. People suffering from rheumatism have aggravations under such conditions. As Baba’s words are commands for His devotees, Amir Shakkar did not complain and lived in the Chavadi. Though the conditions were not healthy, he had some great advantages living there. Every morning and evening, Baba passed through Chavadi. In addition, every alternate day, Baba went there in procession and slept. Thus Shakkar had regular contacts with Baba. Amir Shakkar lived there for nine months. Then slowly he developed a dislike for the place. Somehow or other he wanted to get away from Chavadi. One night when everyone was sleeping, he got away. He went to Kopergaon and stayed in a Dharmashala (Inn). He saw an old fakir lying there. The fakir asked him for water. Shakkar brought some water and gave him. The old fakir gulped a sip of water and then fell dead. Shakkar did not know what to do. He knew that if he informed the authorities, they would immediately accuse him of murder as he was the sole informant. He was in a panic. Flight was the only way out that he could think of. He ran back to Shirdi, chanting Baba’s name all the way. He also repented having left Shirdi without informing Baba. Somehow, he managed to reach Shirdi before the day break. He got into Chavadi before anyone could see him. His anxiety also reduced completely. He then lived there strictly according to Baba’s instructions. Subsequently, he was cured of his disease also. One night when Baba and he were sleeping in Chavadi, Baba got up and shouted, “Oh Abdul, come immediately. Some devilish creature is dashing against My bed.” Abdul came with a lantern and a stick but found nothing. Baba was not satisfied and asked him to examine more carefully. He also started hitting the ground with His satka. By now, Amir Shakkar had become very familiar with Baba’s ways and thought that Baba might have seen a snake but never knew what Baba saw. Baba had seen a snake 196


moving near Amir’s bed. Abdul immediately brought the lantern; found that a snake was coiled near the bed moving its hood up and down ready to strike. It was immediately killed, and once again, Baba had protected His devotee, Amir Shakkar because of His eternal vigil. HEMAD PANT’S STORY: Following Baba’s instructions, Kakasaheb Dixit was reading every day, the two works of Eknath Maharaj - Bhagavat and Bhavartha Ramayana. Kaka used to read so melodiously that people would forget everything and concentrate only on the story. Hemad Pant also attended the readings. On that day the topic was the first meeting between Sri Rama and Hanuman. Hanuman saw Sri Rama and Lakshmana coming with their bows and arrows, and thought they could be Sugriva’s enemies. He went in the form of an old Brahmin and met them. How Hanuman tested his mother’s assurance, and how Sri Rama identified him without Hanuman telling his identity was the story being read. Everyone was listening spellbound and there was pin drop silence. No one knew from where it came from, a big scorpion jumped on to the right shoulder of Hemad Pant and sat on his uparani. Nobody noticed it also. There is a saying that God protects those who listen to His stories. Hemad Pant slowly turned towards his right and found a big scorpion sitting on his shoulder. Without disturbing the audience, Hemad Pant slowly brought the two ends of the uparani and enclosed the scorpion inside the uparani. He then threw it outside. On another occasion, some persons were sitting on the upper floor of Kakasaheb’s Wada and talking. It was just before nightfall. Something shiny crept through the hole in the window frame and sat there coiled. The people brought a light and to their horror found that it was a snake moving its hood up and down. They wanted to kill it but as it was not accessible, they just waited, ready to strike if it came out. May be because of the noise, the snake went back silently through the same hole from which it 197


had come. The people there felt relieved. Hemad Pant was one among those present there. BABA’S OPINION: Muktaram, a devotee, said that it was good that the snake escaped as otherwise it would certainly have died. Hemad Pant did not agree. He was of the view that such creatures should be killed immediately as and when found. The discussion went on till late in the night without reaching any conclusion. Next day, when they went to Baba, the question was referred to Him. Baba said, “God lives in all beings. He is the sutradhar of this world. Without His order, nobody can harm another. No one is independent. Pity and love all beings. Leave off fights and killings. God is the protector of all.” With this the twenty-second chapter called about snakes and scorpions, is complete. In the next chapter, Hemad Pant tells us about yoga and onion, how Baba rescued Shyama, ordeal of guru-bhakti and other matters. ||Sri Sadguru Sainathaarpanamasthu ||Shubham Bhavatu|| Om Shanti Shanti Shanti

198


|| sri sai satcharitra || || chapter twenty-three || || yoga and onion || || Sri Ganeshaya Namaha || Sri Saraswatye Namaha || || Sri Venkateshaya Namaha || Sri Sai Nathaya Namaha || || Sri Sadgurubhyo Namaha ||

In this chapter, Hemad Pant tells us about yoga and onion, how Baba rescued Shyama, ordeal of guru-bhakti and other matters. JEEVAATMA: The Jeevaatma is beyond the trigunas, Satva, Rajas and Tamas. However, enshrouded by Maya, it forgets its true nature of Existence, Knowledge and Bliss. The Jeevaatma starts thinking that it is the doer and enjoyer, thus entangling itself in the eternal cycle of birth and death. And in between birth and death, it suffers untold miseries without knowing how to extricate itself. It is only when the first ray of guru’s kindness comes through that the darkness dispels. Total dedication to guru alone can lift the Jeevaatma from the inextricable web of Maya that it had sunk itself. It is sadguru Sai Baba alone who can give us Moksha and make us one with Himself. Though generations after generations of devotees believe that Baba is God incarnate, He never said that He was God. He always said that He was the servant of God - ‘Allah Malik’. He never emulated anyone, nor did He ask anyone to do anything for Him. He believed and preached that God was in every being and should be respected as such. He never disregarded or disrespected anyone. Humility was His prime quality. He also preached humility to others. Great Saints like Sai Baba are incarnated only to liberate the ignorant and entangled souls like us. It is only because of 199


some divine things done in our previous lives that we come in contact with such saints. Greater is our good fortune that we are able to listen and meditate on their Leelas. We may not have seen Baba as did Hemad Pant or other great devotees, but they have left us an invaluable and inexhaustible treasure house called ‘Satcharitra’ from which even if we draw the pearls any number of times, the treasure house continues to be full. After bowing at the divine feet of Baba, let us draw some more pearls and enjoy the perennial bliss. YOGA AND ONION: Nanasaheb Chandorkar had a friend by name Swami RamBaba. He had read exhaustively on Yoga, including Patanjali’s Yoga-Sutras and had acquired great knowledge in Yoga. Due to lack of practical experience, he could not attain samadhi of even a minute’s duration. Learning of Baba’s name and fame, he felt that Baba could help him in attaining samadhi for a longer duration. So, he requested Nanasaheb to take him to Baba. In Feb, 1914 both of them went to Shirdi. After going there, they went to the masjid for Baba’s darshan. At that time, Baba was eating a dry roti with raw onions. The poor and the lower class people eat in this simple way. The moment RamBaba saw Baba eating roti with onion; he thought “This man who is eating stale roti with onion, can he teach me about attaining samadhi?” Baba’s external appearance was not very encouraging for the newcomer. Baba being a sarvajna, read his thoughts and told Nanasaheb, “Oh Nana, tell your friend that only those who can digest onions, should eat them.” RamBaba immediately realized his mistake and understood that Baba’s external appearance and what was concealed behind that appearance were totally different. He fell at Baba’s feet and submitted himself to His wishes completely. With an unbiased mind he asked his questions and got helpful replies. Having satisfied himself, he got Baba’s blessing and the Udi prasadam and left Shirdi. 200


SHYAMA’S STORY: Hemad Pant begins this story with a beautiful comparison between Jeevaatma and a parrot. Both are encaged, one in the body and the other in a metallic cage. Both think that their present state is the ideal one and outside of their cage, everything is dark and unknown. Both think a world of their bound cages. It is only when a guru comes, by God’s grace and by the past deeds in the previous lives that the Jeevaatma and the parrot realize how beautiful life is outside the cage. Their eyes are opened to a greater and larger life compared to which their earlier life was nothing. One early morning, when Shyama was in his house, a snake bit him on the little finger of his hand. The snake was poisonous. The poison started spreading fast. The pain was becoming unbearable. Shyama thought that he had reached the end of his life. His friends wanted to take him to the temple of Viroba, where such cases were attended to. Knowing that he had only a few moments to live, he wanted to have the last darshan of his god, Sai Baba. So, he ran with all the energy still left in him to the masjid. As he was climbing the steps, Baba shouted from inside, “Oh, wily Bhaturdya (priest), don’t climb up. How dare you do it?” and then roared, “Come down, get away, GO!” Baba’s face had become completely red because of anger. Seeing Baba thus, Shyama was perplexed and disheartened. He had loved Baba more than his own life and had thought that masjid alone was his home. If Baba Himself drives him away, where could he go? Having lost all the hopes, he thought that even if Baba drives him away, it is better to die at His feet rather than elsewhere. So, he coolly entered inside the masjid and sat near Baba, waiting for his last moments. By this time, Baba had calmed down. He had become normal. He put his hand benevolently on Shyama’s head and tenderly caressing it, told Shyama, “Don’t fear, My child. Don’t worry a bit. Nothing will happen to you. Allah Malik will save you. Go home and sit quietly. Don’t go out anywhere. 201


Believe Me, be brave and don’t have any anxiety.” Saying these soothing words, Baba sent him home. As soon as he left, Baba immediately called Tatya Patil. He told him to see that Shyama should eat whatever he liked, could move around in the house, but in no case should he lie down and sleep. When the night fell, He sent word to Kaka that even if Shyama dozes, not to allow him to lie down and sleep. With such intensive care and affection, it was not long before Shyama recovered completely and was back once again in the masjid to serve his God - Sai Baba. Blessed indeed was Shyama who got so much of care and attention from the God Himself. Blessed indeed was the snake which aroused so much of emotion in Baba to make Him red with anger, and which proved, if at all proof was ever required, of Baba’s colossal love for His devotees. It is only an indication of the immense powers He had that even the deadliest of the poisons of a poisonous snake came down by the utterance of His words. How dare the snake induct poison in someone whom Baba loved so dearly! Will we be able to make ourselves eligible for such love from Him? We have only to ask for it. Baba is there to give it to us in abundance, in quantities no one has ever given! Let us then ask for it and bow at His divine feet. CHOLERA EPIDEMIC: It was very common in those days that villages were frequently ravaged by epidemics like cholera and plague, due to very unhygienic conditions prevailing. Shirdi was no exception. When the cholera epidemic struck, the residents were frightened and did not know what to do. The village panchayat met and passed two ordinances that 1. no fuel cart should be allowed to come inside the village, 2. no goat should be killed in the village. There was no rationale behind these decisions. They were promulgated only as a meek measure to check the spread of the disease. Anyone who violated these orders had to pay a fine to be decided by the village panchayat. Baba knew that these were orders passed in mere superstition, and did not care much for 202


them. In spite of the strict vigil of the village panchayat, one fuel cart did indeed come and wanted to enter the village. People were desperate as their piled up stocks of the firewood were fast dwindling, and because of the ordinances, there was no hope of getting any fuel in the near future, unless the cholera epidemic abated. Afraid of the consequences of violating the ordinances, people started driving away the fuel cart, even though they wanted the fuel. Having heard about the disturbances, Baba came there and asked the cart to be driven to the masjid and unload the fuel there. He paid the price of the fuel then and there. Nobody dared to say anything against Baba’s action. People thought that as Baba was very fond of Dhuni, He bought the firewood for burning in the Dhuni. Like a true Agnihotri, He kept the fire burning day and night. For this purpose, He kept a stockpile of firewood always. But, for some one who had all the elements under His control, and who could create fire with the mere jerk of His satka, where is the necessity of firewood? Everyone knew that the doors of the masjid were always open to all. And Baba knew that there was an acute shortage of firewood in the village because of the ordinances. As expected, people gradually came to the masjid and started taking away the firewood in small quantities. Baba never objected. BADE BABA’S STORY: Bade Baba’s full name was Pir Mohammed Yasin Mia. He was also called as Fakir Baba. He had no particular place of his own. He was always roaming. In 1909, he came to Shirdi. Sai Baba asked him to stay in Chavadi and read Quran. It is said that before he came to Shirdi, he was in Aurangabad, where Sai Baba initiated him into the spiritual path. After some time he went to Neemgaon. Though he stayed there, he came in the morning to Shirdi and remained till the lunch. Sai Baba had great respect for Bade Baba. As long as Bade Baba was in Shirdi, Sai Baba never took lunch without him. It was only after Bade Baba had his puff of chillum, Sai Baba took His. Bade Baba was always treated like 203


Atithi. According to our tradition and custom, Atithi is always treated like a God. By treating thus, all our sins will be cleansed. From the amount He collected as Dakshina, Baba always gave Rs.50/- to Bade Baba. And when Bade Baba left Shirdi, Sai Baba used to accompany him to at least a few yards and see him off. During the onslaught of the cholera epidemic, Bade Baba was with Sai Baba. ORDEAL OF GURU-BHAKTI: While the cholera ordinances were in operation, somebody brought a goat to the masjid. It was old, weak and about to die. Sai Baba asked Bade Baba to behead the goat with a single stroke and offer it as a religious offering. In spite of all the respect he had for Sai Baba, he flatly refused. Then Baba asked Shyama to behead the goat. He went to Radhakrishna Mai’s house and brought a knife. He placed it at Baba’s feet. When she came to know of the purpose for which the knife was taken, she immediately asked the knife to be returned to her. Shyama went to bring another knife, but stayed back in the Wada and did not come back. Then Baba called Kakasaheb Dixit. He asked Kaka to bring a knife and behead the goat. Kaka went to Sathe Wada and brought a knife. Kakasaheb Dixit was born in a pure Brahmin family, and had never killed even an ant till that day. He had not even seen a goat beheaded. He was simply following Baba’s instructions. People who had gathered there were wondering that when Bade Baba, a Muslim by birth refused to kill a goat, how could a pure Brahmin like Kaka had agreed to do so. Meanwhile, Kaka rearranged his Dhoti, turned around and lifted the knife high up above his head, to bring it down on the neck of the goat. When the knife was about to land on the goat, Baba said, “Stop! How cruel are you? Being a Brahmin, you want to kill a goat!!” Kaka obeyed Baba’s instructions and placed the knife on the ground. With folded hands he told Baba, “Deva, Your word is law for us. We do not know any other ordinance. We remember Your words, meditate on Your form, and obey. We do not know if it is right or 204


wrong to kill. We do not want to reason or discuss. Implicit and prompt compliance of Guru’s orders are our only duty and dharma.” Then Baba told Kaka that He would do the killing and offering Himself. They decided to take the goat to Takkya, a place where fakirs used to sit. While they were taking the goat there, it died on the way itself. Inspired from the above episode, Hemad Pant categorizes the disciples, in general, into three groups: 1. First or the best 2. Second or the average and 3. Third or the ordinary. Disciples belonging to the first category are those who anticipate the requirements of the guru, and carry them out without waiting for guru’s orders. The disciples in the second category wait for the guru’s orders and carry them out without any delay and to the satisfaction of the guru. The disciples of the third category go on delaying the implementation and make mistakes at every step. The disciples should have firm faith in the guru. With patience added to their faith and dedication, the spiritual goal will not be far off. When they are ready for further instructions, the Guru appears of his own accord and leads them on to spiritual perfection. With this, the twenty-third chapter called as Yoga and onion is complete. In the next chapter, Hemad Pant tells us about Baba’s wit and humour and other matters. ||Sri Sadguru Sainathaarpanamasthu ||Shubham Bhavatu|| Om Shanti Shanti Shanti

205


206


|| sri sai satcharitra || || chapter twenty-four ||

|| Baba’s wit and humour || || Sri Ganeshaya Namaha || Sri Saraswatye Namaha || || Sri Venkateshaya Namaha || Sri Sai Nathaya Namaha || || Sri Sadgurubhyo Namaha ||

In this chapter, Hemad Pant tells us about Baba’s wit and humour and other matters. BABA’S WIT AND HUMOUR: There is no one who does not like wit and humour. Everyone likes jokes only as long as they are on others. Never on themselves. However, when Baba told jokes, it was different. People wanted Him to tell about them. This was because, Baba’s method was unique. He used to tell each of the jokes with many expressions on His face and movements of His hands and feet. His jokes were also not meant to hurt anyone, but were more in the nature of education. People understood the idea behind the joke and knowing their shortcomings, tried to improve. This was one of the techniques employed by Baba, for the welfare of His devotees. Listening, reading and meditating His Leelas or stories, and assimilating them will get us nearer our objective of self realization. Though we are not as fortunate as Hemad Pant, Shyama, Mhalsapathi or other great devotees who lived with Baba and served Him, we are still fortunate enough to have Satcharitra, which gives a graphic description of each of the Leelas. It is as if we are witnessing them happen in front of our eyes. Let us fix these images in our mind, focus on them and worship the only God who cared for His devotees, by giving 207


them whatever they ask till they ask what He wants to give. Let us prostrate at the divine feet of this kind, merciful, affectionate God - Sai Baba. CHANE-KA- LEELA: Every Sunday a special bazaar was held in Shirdi. Such bazaars are held even now in many towns and villages. In addition to the local vendors, vendors from other neighbouring places also come on that day, erect special booths and stalls in an open area and sell their commodities. The buyers have greater choice in such bazaars. People from all the neighbouring villages also come to such bazaars to buy fancy items. On regular week days, even without these bazaars, every noon the masjid was crowded. On Sundays, it was overcrowded to the extent of suffocation. On one such Sunday afternoon, Hemad Pant was carefully massaging Baba’s legs and chanting God’s name. Shyama was on the left side of Baba and Vaman Rao was on the right. Bapusaheb Booty and Kakasaheb Dixit were also present among others. Shyama was intently looking at Hemad Pant and suddenly started laughing and told him, “Some grains have struck to your coat sleeve.” He gently touched Hemad Pant’s sleeve. To see what the matter was Hemad Pant straightened his left forearm. To the surprise of all, few grains, nearly twenty five of them, rolled down and people near by picked them. This became a topic for immediate discussion. People began to wonder how the grains could have found a way to the sleeve of the coat and how they could remain there for so long. Hemad Pant could not get even the faintest idea of how it happened. Every one had their say, but none of them could offer a convincing explanation. Then, Baba humorously said, “Today is the bazaar day. He came here chewing chana (gram dal). These grains prove that. This fellow has the bad habit of eating alone, I know his habit.” 208


Hemad Pant was simply stunned by this allegation. Defending himself he said, “Deva, I never eat alone. Why do you heap this bad habit on me? I have never seen the Shirdi Bazaar till now. Today also I did not go out. Then how could I buy grams, and how could I eat alone? I never eat alone and whenever I eat, I share it with those present around me.” Baba teased him further, “You give to those present, but if nobody is nearby, what could you or I do? Do you think of Me before eating? Am I not always with you? Do you offer Me anything before you eat?” MORAL: Here Baba clearly advises us that before we eat anything, we should offer that to Him. The word ‘eat’ here has a much wider connotation and includes everything, not eatables alone. As all these are sense objects and our senses enjoy these sense objects, He should be remembered. In other words, before the mind, intellect and senses enjoy the sense objects, we should make an offering to Him. There is great significance in this concept. If we have any sense object with us to enjoy, and if we have to offer it to someone, we naturally think whether it is worth offering, particularly if that someone happens to be our beloved Sai Baba. Then, the next question that immediately arises is when it is not worth offering to someone, why consume it ourselves. Better we discard it. So, gradually we start enjoying only those sense objects which are fit to be offered to our beloved Sai Baba. In this way, slowly, all our vices will disappear. Our character will improve. Our mind becomes pure and love for the Sadguru will increase. One by one, all our attachments will also fall by the wayside. Our path to self realization and becoming one with the Guru will become smooth and easy. When the love for the Guru increases, the difference between Guru and God also ceases to exist. Bliss and contentment engulf us. This state of mind is described in Katha Upanishad as: 209


Yada pancha avatishtante jnaanaani manasa saha | Budhihi cha na vicheshati taam aahuhu paramaam gatim || Katha Up book 2 valli 6 sl.10 When the five organs of knowledge are at rest together with the mind, and when the intellect ceases functioning (becomes calm), that they call the highest state To put it in a nutshell, before we enjoy any sense object, we should remember Baba. By training our mind like this, we will always be reminded of Baba. Our meditation of Baba will also grow. The Saguna form of Baba will always be in front of our eyes. With Baba’s form firmly fixed before our mental vision, we forget hunger, thirst, and this world. Once the consciousness of worldly pleasure diminishes, our mind attains peace and happiness. SUDAMA’S STORY: When narrating the above story, Hemad Pant was reminded of Sudama’s story, which also tells us the same principle of offering God before we enjoy the sense objects. Those were the days of Sri Krishna’s schooling. He was studying with his elder brother Balarama, in the ashrama of Sandipani. The brothers had a friend called Sudama. One day the Gurupatni asked Sri Krishna and Balarama to fetch firewood from the nearby jungle. As they did not return even after quite some time, the Gurupatni sent Sudama in search of them. Fearing that they may be tired, she also sent some chana with Sudama. He met the brothers in the jungle. Sri Krishna was feeling thirsty. He asked Sudama to get some water. Sudama told Him that taking water on an empty stomach was not good. Better they take some rest. They took rest underneath a tree. As He was very much tired, Sri Krishna lay down on the ground with His head in the lap of 210


Sudama. On seeing Sri Krishna snoring, Sudama opened the packet of chana and began eating. Pretending to be asleep, Sri Krishna asked, “Dada, what are you eating?” He replied, “What is there to eat? Because of the cold, my teeth are chattering and I am shivering. I can’t even recite Sri Vishnu Sahasranama properly.” Still pretending to be sleeping, Sri Krishna said, “I just dreamt that one man was eating what belonged to the other. When asked, he replied, ‘What earth (dust) can I eat’ implying that he did not have anything to eat. The other man said ‘Let it be so’. Dada, it was only a dream. I know that you won’t eat anything without giving Me.” And He started snoring again. Had Sudama known even a little about Sri Krishna being omniscient, he would have behaved differently. Though he was a close friend of Sri Krishna, he had to spend most of the later part of his life in abject poverty because of this incident. It was only after he offered a handful of parched rice, earned by his wife with her own labour, to Sri Krishna and He was pleased with it, that Sudama’s life changed for the better. Sri Krishna offered him a golden city to enjoy. This story emphasizes what Baba had told regarding offering to God before we enjoy anything. ANNA CHINCHINIKAR vs. MAUSIBAI: Hemad Pant tells us another humorous story in which Baba acted as a peace maker between two warring parties - Anna Chinchinikar and Mausibai. Annasaheb Chinchinikar was a simple, slightly rough and straight forward person. Except Baba, he did not care for anyone, was always plain speaking. Though he was outwardly harsh and uncompromising, he was good natured and guileless. So, he was one of Baba’s favourite devotees. (He has willed all his property to the Shirdi Sansthan of Sri Sai Baba.) Venubai Koujalgi was an old widow who loved Baba very dearly. Baba called her as ‘Maayi’ (mother) and others called her as Mausibai. She was an elderly woman of pure heart and served Baba in her own way. 211


One day Baba was sitting in the masjid with His left hand on the railing. Anna was standing behind Baba and massaging His left hand. While doing this, Anna’s face also moved up and down. Mausibai was on the right side of Baba and massaging his abdomen with both her hands clasped around his trunk. As she was doing this, she was also moving up and down. During one of these movements, it so happened that Mausibai’s face came very near Anna’s. Being a witty woman and disposed to humour, she said, “This Anna is lewd. In spite of grey hair, he wants to kiss me.” Anna was wild. He did not like to be belittled in front of his guru. He shouted loudly, “Am I a fool to kiss you? You want to quarrel with me so you are picking one.” The argument continued along these lines. All the people sitting there were enjoying this friendly quarrel. Baba who liked both of them wanted to pacify them. So very lovingly He said, “Oh Anna, why are you quarreling? What is the impropriety or harm in kissing a mother!” Hearing these words, both of them as well as others, laughed and enjoyed Baba’s wit and humour. BABA’S DEPENDENCE ON HIS DEVOTEES: On another occasion, Mausibai was kneading Baba’s abdomen as if it was dough of atta. Seeing the immense force and fury she was using, all those who were sitting there became very anxious. They thought that Baba’s nerves and veins may snap. One of the staunch devotees of Baba, Shantaram Balwant Nachne, said, “Oh Mayi, careful! please do it softly, other wise Baba’s nerves and veins may snap.” Baba suddenly got up, jerked His satka and went to the nearest pillar. He was enraged and His eyes were blazing red. He took one end of the satka and with both hands pressed into the hollow of His abdomen. He fixed the other end of the satka to pillar and began to press His abdomen into the satka by moving towards the pillar. The satka which was about two or three feet in length, now looked almost lost between the pillar and Baba’s abdomen. Every one became tense and worried that Baba’s abdomen may rupture any moment. Fortunately for 212


all, soon Baba’s anger subsided and He went back near the railing and sat there. Baba always allowed His devotees to serve Him in any way they liked. He did not like any one else interfering with this. When Mausibai was serving Him, and the people around tried to tell her how to do, Baba did not like and to show them that His abdomen was not as weak as they thought, He performed this Leela. Though the devotee advised Mausibai in good faith, he understood that Baba did not like it and from then onwards, did not meddle with other devotees’ seva. The devotees also understood that Baba alone was capable of gauging the worth of the service rendered to Him. With this, the twenty-fourth chapter called as Baba’s wit and humour is complete. In the next chapter, Hemad Pant tells us about Damu Anna Kasar of Ahmednagar, the mango miracle and other matters. ||Sri Sadguru Sainathaarpanamasthu ||Shubham Bhavatu|| Om Shanti Shanti Shanti

213


214


|| sri sai satcharitra || || chapter twenty-five || || amra leela || || Sri Ganeshaya Namaha || Sri Saraswatye Namaha || || Sri Venkateshaya Namaha || Sri Sai Nathaya Namaha || || Sri Sadgurubhyo Namaha ||

In this chapter, Hemad Pant tells us about Damu Anna Kasar of Ahmednagar, the mango miracle and other matters. SADGURU SAI: Ever forgiving, omnibenevolent Sai Baba is God incarnate. He is the Poorna Para Brahma. To this compassionate God, let us do Saashtaanga Pranamam. Sadguru Sainath Maharaj Ki Jai ho! As we have seen so many times in this Satcharitra, Baba is the ultimate refuge of His devotees. Baba is always full of compassion, mercy and kindness. He is always willing and eager to fulfill the desires of His devotees, whatever they may be. To be eligible to get our desires fulfilled by Him, to become eligible for His kindness, compassion and mercy, we must have complete faith and devotion in Him. When he saw Baba driving away the cholera epidemic by grinding wheat grains, a desire arose in Hemad Pant’s mind to chronicle Baba’s Leelas for the benefit of Baba’s devotees; Baba immediately got it written by him. When Baba blessed him, Hemad Pant was inspired; words started flowing from his pen like an unending stream of nectar. Because of Baba’s blessing, Hemad Pant could summon all his reserve strengths and boldness to undertake and complete this divine akshaya patra full of amrita, called as Satcharitra. Any number of devotees can draw from this immortal nectar storehouse any number of times. It will never get 215


emptied. There will always be some divine nectar left for the next person. Let us see once again, how Baba stood by the devotee who had shown complete faith in Him and had surrendered to Him totally. DAMU ANNA’S STORY: Damodar Savalaram Rasane Kasar, Damu Anna’s complete name, belonged to Ahmednagar. Subsequently he shifted to Poona. We already know him, in chapter six, during the Sri Ramanavami celebrations. Damu Anna went to Shirdi in the year 1895 AD. From then on he was a staunch devotee of Sai Baba. Though he married thrice, he did not have any progeny. With Baba’s blessings he had a son. In 1897 AD when the Sri Ramanavami celebrations were started, he sent an ornamental flag for the procession. Since that time he has been providing an ornamental flag for every Sri Ramanavami celebrations. He also fed the poor and the fakirs who came there for the festival. Once a friend of his wrote from Bombay that they should do some speculation business in cotton in partnership. He also suggested that they may get a profit of about Rs. Two lakhs. (Subsequently in an interview in 1936 AD, to Sri BV Narasimha Swami, Damu Anna said that the proposal was from a broker. In that proposal, Damu Anna was to be the sole investor and there was no talk of any partnership. Vide p.75 of Devotees’ Experience, Part II). The broker assured him that it was a very safe deal, no risk was involved and that such a great opportunity should not be lost. As the investment was heavy, Damu Anna could not blindly plunge into dark waters. He thought a great deal about it and being a staunch devotee of Baba, decided at last to seek Baba’s advice. He wrote a detailed letter to Shyama and requested him to seek Baba’s opinion in this regard. Next day, after he got the letter, Shyama read it and went to the masjid with the letter. Seeing him with the letter, Baba asked him what was the matter and what did that letter contain. Shyama told Him that 216


Damu Anna wants to consult Him about something. Then Baba said, “He is not content with what God has given him. He wants to reach the sky. What he has written, read the letter.” Shyama was surprised. He said, “The letter contains what you have told. Deva, if You know the contents, why do You ask me to read it? You sit here calm and composed; and agitate the devotees. When they get restless, You drag them here.” Baba said, “Shyama, please, read the letter. I am an old man and speak randomly. Who will believe Me?” After Shyama read the letter, Baba said with feeling, “The seth (Damu Anna) has gone mad. Write to him that nothing is wanting in his house. Let him be content with the half loaf of bread he has and not bother about lakhs.” Shyama conveyed the same to Damu Anna. He hinted in his letter that there could be communication gap between what Baba said and what he had written, suggesting further that Damu Anna could personally come and talk to Baba. When he read the letter, Damu Anna’s hopes of making a profit of two lakhs were dashed to the ground. After thinking coolly, he felt that Shyama’s advice of going over to Shirdi and talking to Baba personally was to be followed. He immediately went to Shirdi, saw Baba and prostrated at His divine feet. He started slowly massaging Baba’s legs. Damu Anna did not have the courage to ask Baba directly regarding his problem. Instead, he thought that it would be better if he could assign some part of the business to Baba. In case Baba agreed he also wanted to give some share of the profits to Baba. Baba, as we all know, is a sarvajna and even before Damu Anna could complete his thoughts, Baba had read his thoughts fully. Reading other’s thoughts was karatalamalaka (embolic fruit in the palm) for Baba. He told Damu Anna, “Damya, I don’t want to be involved in worldly things (sharing profits)”. Hearing Baba’s words, Damu Anna reluctantly dropped the proposal.

217


GRAIN DEALING: After few days, Damu Anna got an idea of trading in rice, wheat and other groceries. Baba read these thoughts also and told him, “You will be buying at five seers a rupee and selling at seven seers a rupee.” So, Damu Anna had to forego this idea also. The prices of food grains were rising and profits were increasing. It appeared as if Baba’s words would be proved wrong. After two months, there were abundant rains and the prices crashed. Those who had hoarded grains suffered heavy losses. The speculation deal in cotton, for which the broker hooked some other merchant, also collapsed with severe and irrecoverable losses to the merchant. After being saved from two near disasters, Damu Anna’s faith in Baba increased many folds. The next Leela also pertains to Damu Anna. AMRA LEELA: Once Rale, a mamlatdar, sent a packet of 300 mangoes, from Goa to Shirdi, as an offering to Baba. The packet was sent in the name of Shyama. Shyama collected the packet from Kopergaon, brought it to Shirdi and opened it in front of Baba. All the mangoes were in good condition. Baba retained four mangoes and gave the rest to Shyama for keeping. Baba told Shyama, “These four are for Damu Anna. Let them be here.” As we know Damu Anna had three wives. (Subsequently, in the above mentioned interview he said that he had only two wives and not three) He did not have any children from any of his wives. He consulted several astrologers, who told him that as there was a malignant planet situated in one of the houses of his kundali, there was no chance at all of his begetting a child in this life. This desire for an offspring was burning within him, but he never showed it outside. He did not even ask Baba for children. Damu Anna went to the masjid a couple of hours after the mangoes were received. As was his normal practice, he prostrated at Baba’s feet and started massaging His legs. Baba lovingly told, 218


“People are asking for these mangoes. But they are Damya’s. He, whom it belongs, should ‘eat and die’”. Damu Anna was shocked. He never expected that Baba would conduct such tests on him. Mhalsapathi, who was near by, explained him that ‘die’ referred to the death of the egoism in him and not himself. He also explained that it was better to shed one’s egoism at the feet of Baba rather than elsewhere. Hearing these soothing words, Damu Anna took the mangoes for eating. Baba however prevented him and told him, “Don’t eat. Give them to your youngest wife. This Amra-Leela (miracle of four mangoes) will give her four sons and four daughters.” Damu Anna followed Baba’s instructions and in due course of time, Baba’s words proved correct, confounding all the astrologers. Let us now see what Damu Anna told in the interview to Sri BV Narasimha Swami. “Once when I sat at His feet along with many others, I had two questions in my mind and He gave answers to both. 1. There are so many crowding to Sai Baba. Do they all get benefit from Him? To this He replied orally, “Look at the mango tree in blossom. If all the flowers brought fruit, what a splendid crop it would be. But do they? Most fall off (either as flowers or as unripe fruits) by wind etc. Very few remain.” 2. The second question was about me. If Baba were to pass away, how hopelessly adrift I would be and how am I to fare then. To this Baba answered that He would be with me when and wherever I thought of Him. That promise He had kept up before 1918 and has been keeping up after 1918 also. He is still with me. He is still guiding me. This was about 1910-11 when my brothers separated from me and my sister died and there was a theft and police enquiry, all of which incidents upset me very much. When my sister died, my mind was much upset. I did not care for life and enjoyments. When I went to Baba, He pacified 219


me with His Upadesh and made me eat a feast of Pooran Poli at Appa Kulkarni’s house and get pasted with sandal. There was a theft in my home. A thirty year’s friend of mine stole my wife’s jewel box, including her auspicious Nathi (nose ring). I wept before Baba’s photo. The next day, the man returned the jewel-box and prayed for pardon.” BABA’S ASSURANCE: Baba’s words were effective when He had the human form, and are even more effective when He is formless. His words are, “Believe Me. Even when I am formless, My bones from the Samadhi will give you hope and confidence. Not only Myself, My Samadhi will speak, move and communicate with those who surrender to Me. Don’t worry that I am not with you. My bones will speak and care for your welfare. Remember Me always, believe in Me and you will benefit.” PRAYER: Let us now pray to Baba. “Oh Sai Sadguru, the Kalpavriksha of the Bhaktas, listen to our prayer. Make us never forget Your divine feet. We have been troubled by the cycle of birth and death. Liberate us from this cycle. Restrain our senses from going out and turn them inwards to see the atman. Neither son, nor wife nor friend will be of any use in the end. Only You can give us salvation and happiness. Grant our tongue the passion of chanting Your name. Drive out our thoughts, make us lose consciousness of our body and remove our egoism. Make us remember only Your name and forget everything else. Remove the restlessness of our minds, make it steady and calm. If You hold our hands and lead us, the darkness of our ignorance will vanish and we will move into the light of wisdom. You made us drink the nectar of Your Leelas, and awakened us from slumber. Forgive our sins and shower Your blessings on us always.”

220


With this, the twenty-fifth chapter called as Amra Leela is complete. In the next chapter, Hemad Pant tells us about Bhakta Pant, Harishchandra Pitale, Gopal Ambadekar and other matters. ||Sri Sadguru Sainathaarpanamasthu ||Shubham Bhavatu|| Om Shanti Shanti Shanti

221


222


|| sri sai satcharitra || || chapter twenty-six || || assurance of a new life || || Sri Ganeshaya Namaha || Sri Saraswatye Namaha || || Sri Venkateshaya Namaha || Sri Sai Nathaya Namaha || || Sri Sadgurubhyo Namaha ||

In this chapter, Hemad Pant tells us about Bhakta Pant, Harishchandra Pitale, Gopal Ambadekar and other matters. PLAY OF MAYA: God has created this universe with the power of Maya. Thus the play of Maya is there everywhere in this world. In the twilight of morning or evening, a rope is mistaken for a serpent. Only when the light increases, do we see the rope as a rope and serpent as a serpent. This light can be provided only by a guru. Similarly, in ignorance we crave for sensory objects thinking that they will be permanently with us. Time and knowledge will reveal that all those are transitory. What we desire to eat to fulfill our taste buds, lasts only till it slips through our throat. The beauty that we desire so much to please our sense of vision, is only skin deep. All the sense objects are affected by change. Unaffected by time or changes, shines atman alone. Only a sadguru can lead us towards that realization. Sri Sai Baba has incarnated only for the purpose of holding our hand and taking us gently and steadily towards God realization. For this, we should also help Him by cooperating with Him, by having total faith in Him and surrendering ourselves completely to Him. If we do not cooperate, still, He will not let us down. He will continue to lead us; only, we will take more time to reach the destination. Even by mistake, if we take His name at least once, He will ensure that we will reach our destination. Baba is so full of compassion and love. 223


Let us bow our heads in deep reverence at the divine feet of benevolent Baba. INNER WORSHIP: Hemad Pant suggests one way of totally surrendering ourselves to Baba. Let us visualize the saguna form of Baba in front of our eyes. Baba is sitting majestically with His right leg folded across His left leg. His left hand is resting on the right foot. His right hand is in an abhaya mudra. His face is glowing with the mesmerizing smile. His eyes are showering love and affection for us. He is waiting for us. By seeing such a divine figure, our mind is filled with joy and hot tears swell from our eyes. With these tears, let us wash Sai’s lotus feet. These tears come only when the heart is filled with love. With this sandal paste of pure love, let us smear His feet, hands and face. Having done this let us offer Him a new dress for wearing - made of unwavering faith. Now, we will offer Him flowers - eight lotus flowers consisting of our eight satvic emotions. Then, comes the time for offering fruit as naivedyam. We offer Him our unwavering mind as the fruit of naivedyam. Let us apply the black tikka of our devotion on His forehead. We will then offer our Bhakti as the waistband. After decorating Him with all the ornaments, it is likely that Baba is slightly tired. Let us fan Him slowly with a fan made of peacock feathers. Now we will worship Him with chandana akshata in eight stages - Archana, snana (bath), chandana, flowers, dhoop, arati, naivedyam and pradakshina. Finally, let us offer our prayers-“Oh Deva, please turn our minds inwards. Give us the vision to discriminate between the real and the unreal. Break the shackles of worldly attachments that are strangling us. We surrender our body and soul to You. Control them as You will and wish. Please enable us to attain self realization. Give us peace of mind and shelter us at Your divine feet.”

224


BHAKTA PANT’S STORY: Bhakta Pant was a staunch devotee of another sadguru. He did not have any intention of going to Shirdi. But, how can an ordinary mortal outpace destiny? He was once traveling in a BB&CI (Bombay, Baroda and Central India) train. (Now it has become Western Railway). He entered a compartment where most of his friends and relatives were sitting. They were all traveling to Shirdi and insisted so much on his accompanying them that he could not say no to them. They got down at Bombay. He went up to Virar, met his guru and sought his permission to go to Shirdi. He adjusted some money for his expenses and joined the party. Though his guru permitted him, his mind, however, was reluctant. He thought that by going to another sadguru, he was not being fair with his own sadguru. There was a conflict in his mind. They reached Shirdi in the morning and by 11.00 AM they were in masjid. Seeing the big gathering assembled there for Baba’s darshan, the entire party was happy. Suddenly, Bhakta Pant had an attack of epilepsy and fell down unconscious. Everyone was frightened and tried their best to revive him. With Baba’s grace and after sprinkling of water, he sat upright, as if just woken up from sleep. Knowing that he was a follower of another sadguru, Baba asked him to be fearless and confirmed His own faith in the sadguru. He told him, “Come what may, stick to the bolster (support, guru), don’t leave it. Remain steady and always be one with him.” Pant understood the significance of the statement and was reminded of his guru. He never forgot this kindness of Baba throughout his life. Baba had removed the conflict in his mind. HARISHCHANDRA PITALE’S STORY: We had seen earlier that Dasganu Maharaj sang kirtans in the Bombay Presidency. In every kirtan, he used to sing Baba’s Leelas. His rendering of the kirtans was so magical that the audiences were spellbound. His exposition of Baba’s Leelas was also so profound that not even one among the audience was left 225


untouched. Every one was greatly moved and before they left, mentally they prostrated at the feet of Baba. People like Cholkar went one step further, visited Shirdi and became Baba’s devotees. There was one another gentleman from Bombay, Harishchandra Pitale, who was deeply affected by Dasganu Maharaj’s exposition. Pitale’s son suffered from epilepsy. He had tried all types of medicines, allopathy, homoeopathy and ayurveda. None of them benefited his son. When everything fails, God alone comes to our rescue. God made him attend the kirtan of Dasganu Maharaj. After listening to Baba’s Leelas, a faint ray of hope started glowing in his mind. He wanted to see Baba. He made all the preparations and took presentations and fruit baskets. He reached Shirdi with his wife and children. He went with his family to the masjid and prostrated at Baba’s feet. Then he placed his son at Baba’s feet. Baba saw the boy. As soon as He saw, a miracle happened. The boy’s eyes rolled over and he fell down unconscious. Foam started coming from his mouth and the entire body was drenched in perspiration. It looked as if he had taken his last breath. Seeing the condition of the boy, the parents became nervous and anxious. Earlier also the boy had fits several times, but not like this. The mother was immersed in sorrow. Tears started coming down and she began wailing. She started telling that her condition was like that of a man who afraid of robbers went into a house, only to have the roof collapse on him. Next, she compared herself to a cow which, afraid of a tiger ran into a butcher. Then she cried loudly that her condition was like a man who, afraid of the summer heat went into the shade of a tree, only to see that the tree got uprooted and fell on him. Her grief was inconsolable. After listening to her wails for some time, Baba comforted her, “Maayi, don’t cry. Have patience. In half an hour your son will be all right. Take him to your lodging and give him rest.” Baba’s instructions were followed and within half an hour’s time the boy was normal once again. Pitale, his wife and other members of his family were very happy. All their doubts vanished. 226


Then Pitale went with his wife to the masjid, fell at Baba’s feet very humbly and respectfully. Very softly he started massaging His legs. His mind was full of gratitude to Baba. Smilingly Baba said, “Has your mind calmed down? Sri Hari will protect those who have faith in Him and patience.” Pitale was a rich and well to do person. He distributed sweets lavishly and gave Baba some more fruit baskets and paan-beeda. His wife was a pious lady, simple, loving and loyal. She sat near a post and was looking only at Baba, with tears flowing from her eyes. Her eyes were not seeing anything or anyone other than Baba. Her gaze was fixed only on Him. Baba was pleased with her. Gods and Saints are always pleased with devotees who surrender themselves completely and worship them. After passing some happy days serving Baba, the Pitale family came to masjid to seek Baba’s permission to leave Shirdi. Baba gave them udi prasadam and when they were leaving, He called Pitale alone and told him, “Bapu, I gave you Rs. Two earlier. Now, take these Rs. Three. Keep them in pooja room and worship. You will benefit.” Pitale took those three rupees, prostrated once again at Baba’s feet and prayed that He should always protect him. After coming out of masjid, Pitale’s mind was busy solving the riddle. This was his first visit to Shirdi. He was meeting Baba for the first time. Then what was the meaning of Baba’s saying that He had given him two rupees earlier. Through out the trip to Bombay he was thinking of this alone. When he went home, he narrated everything that happened to his aged mother. He told her the mystery of two rupees. She also could not give any reasoning. After a few days, she recollected an old incident. She told her son, “Just as you went to Shirdi with your son, your father also had gone with you to Akkalkot for the darshan of the Maharaj, many years ago. That Maharaj also was a perfect yogi, omniscient and benevolent. Your father was pure, pious, devoted and his worship was accepted. The Maharaj had then given two rupees to your father and asked him to keep those rupees in the pooja room and worship. Your father kept those 227


coins in the pooja room as instructed and worshipped till his death. Thereafter, the worship dwindled, and the coins were also lost. And with the passing of time, the memory of the two rupees also was lost. You are very fortunate, as Akkalkot Maharaj has appeared to you as Sai Baba and reminded you of your duties. Revive the worship so that all evil could be warded off. Leave off all doubts, bad thoughts, follow your traditions and worship family deities and the rupees. Take pride in the Saints. Sai Samarth has kindly revived Bhakti in you, cultivate it and benefit.” Hearing his mother was like drinking nectar and he did not waste any time in following her instructions. He was delighted that Baba had taken care of him for all these years and made him go to Shirdi. He submitted himself to the omniscient Baba. GOPAL AMBADEKAR’S STORY: Gopal Narayan Ambadekar of Poona worked for ten years in Abkari department (excise department) in the Thana district. He had to take retirement after that. He tried to get some other job but did not succeed. Miseries piled on him and his condition went from bad to worse. He spent seven years in a state of utter destitution. He was a staunch devotee of Baba and in all those seven years, he went to Shirdi every year. Every year he pleaded with Baba about his condition. In 1916 AD, his condition became unbearable. He decided to end his life in Shirdi itself. He went there with his wife and stayed there for two months. He was sitting in a bullock cart in front of Dixit’s Wada. It was night. He had already located a well nearby. In the night when everyone was asleep, he wanted to jump into the well and bring his life to an end. He preferred night because no body would persuade him to come back and revive his miserable life. Man proposes and Baba disposes. Even in that pitch darkness, when Ambadekar did not expect to see anyone, one gentleman came out of darkness with a book in his hand. Ambadekar recognized him as Sagun, proprietor of a nearby hotel. Both of them walked a few yards, 228


then Sagun asked him, “Did you read Akkalkot Maharaj’s life story? Everyone should read it.” He offered the book to Ambadekar. The moment he touched the book, Ambadekar’s life was changed. He wanted to thank Sagun, but could not find him in the darkness. He had gone. Ambadekar went back to his lodging and started reading the book immediately. Akkalkot Maharaj had many devotees; one of them was suffering from an incurable disease. The pain and agony became so much that it was difficult for him to bear. He became desperate and wanted to end his life by jumping into a well. He chose the darkness of the night so that nobody would rescue him back to the miserable life. And he jumped into the well. The next moment he found himself being lifted from the depths of the well by a kind, loving hand. Akkalkot Maharaj had come there and pulled him up from the well. The Maharaj advised him, “One must enjoy the fruits of the deeds done in the previous life - good or bad. By terminating your life now, you are leaving the enjoyment incomplete. To complete it, you have to take birth once again. You have to then complete the balance of enjoyment. You cannot escape from the results of the deeds of previous life- good or bad. So, instead of ending this life earlier, why not suffer for some more time, complete the store of the fruit of past deeds and be done with it once for all? Live till god takes you away. Don’t end your life yourself.” Reading this story, Ambadekar was surprised. It was timely and appropriate. Without Baba’s intervention, he would have been no more. He felt that when he did not expect anyone in the night, Baba had come as Sagun to rescue him. Ambadekar became aware of Baba’s all pervasiveness and benevolence. His faith in Baba increased several folds. His father was a devotee of Akkalkot Maharaj and Baba wanted him to follow his father and continue his worship. Next day, he got Baba’s blessings and his life underwent a change. He studied astrology and became a proficient astrologer. He was able to earn sufficient money and passed his later life in comfort. Let us once again fall at the divine 229


feet of Baba and seek his blessings. Sadguru Sainath Maharaj Ki Jai!! With this, the twenty-sixth chapter called as Assurance of a new life is complete. In the next chapter, Hemad Pant tells us about Bhagavat, Vishnu Sahasranama, Geeta Rahasya and other matters. ||Sri Sadguru Sainathaarpanamasthu ||Shubham Bhavatu|| Om Shanti Shanti Shanti One should wish to live for one hundred years; this is the longest period of life for a man in Kaliyuga, continually doing Karma and not otherwise. Leading an idle, easy-going life will not do. He should do the religious rites daily and also he should do constant selfless, disinterested service to the humanity with Atman-Bhava. Then only he will get purification of heart (Chittasuddhi). Then only Atma-Jnana will dawn in his heart. By such performance of works without any motive, one will not be bound to works. Kurvannevaha karmani jijivishechchtan samaha | Evam tvayi nanyatheto asti na karma lipyate nare || Isavasya Up.Sl.2 Performing verily works in this world one should wish to live a hundred years. Thus it is right for thee and not otherwise than this. Action will not bind that man.

230


|| sri sai satcharitra || || chapter twenty-seven || || mamata and samata || || Sri Ganeshaya Namaha || Sri Saraswatye Namaha || || Sri Venkateshaya Namaha || Sri Sai Nathaya Namaha || || Sri Sadgurubhyo Namaha ||

In this chapter, Hemad Pant tells us about Bhagavat, Vishnu Sahasranama, Geeta Rahasya and other matters. BABA’S STORIES: All the sacred rivers ultimately end up in the sea. When a man takes a plunge in the sea, he gets the benefit of having taken a bath in all of those rivers. Similarly, if we bow at the feet of the sadguru, we get the benefit of prostrating at the feet of the Trimurthis - Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwara. Whenever we prostrate at the feet of our sadguru, Sri Sai Baba, we not only get the benefit of prostrating at the feet of the Trimurthis, but we also get the benefit of being guided by the sadguru. He will lead us into the path of spiritual progress. By careful methods, He will take us through a path which does not have any pot holes or thorny bushes. With Him holding our hand, we will definitely reach our destination of self realization. The kalpavriksha of the devotees, the jnanasamudra of all the knowledge in the universe, Sainath Maharaj has shown us the easiest way of approaching Him - by reading and listening to His Leelas as described in the Satcharitra. Just as the Chataka bird anxiously waits for the first drop of rain, and then devours it the moment it falls, we also are eager to listen to Baba’s stories. While listening to each of the stories, we get all the true emotions. Our mind will be full of joy, our eyes will swell up with tears, our body will perspire, and we forget all our hostilities and distinctions. Hemad Pant says that 231


when these things happen, it is a sign of grace of the guru dawning on us. When these things happen, the guru is very near us and waiting eagerly to help us. Once He is there, the shackles with which Maya is strangling us are broken to pieces, and we are on our way to fulfill the mission of our life. CONSECRATING BOOKS: Baba adopted various methods of imparting spiritual knowledge to His devotees, depending on their capabilities. Some of these methods we have seen in the earlier chapters. We will see Baba adopt a different method here. Devotees came to Baba with various wishes. Some came for progeny, some for cure from diseases and some others, seeking success in their ventures. However some, who were in the habit of reading spiritual books daily, came for a different purpose. They used to bring books which they intended to read, give it to Baba for His blessing and then after Baba touched them, used to take the book back from Baba. It was their faith and belief that if Baba touched the book, it was consecrated, and thus holy. They also felt that because of this, when they were reading the book, Baba was with them. Once, Kaka Mahajani brought a copy of Eknathi Bhagavat to the masjid, as he liked Bhagavat very much and read it regularly every morning. Shyama was also there in the masjid at that time. When he saw the book, he took it from Kaka and was going through it. Baba saw this, took the book from Shyama, turned a few pages and gave it back to him. He asked Shyama to keep the book with himself. Shyama did not understand the logic. He told Baba that the book belonged to Kaka and had to be returned to him. Baba said, “No, no. I gave the book to you, you keep it. It will be useful to you.” Like this, Baba gave many books to Shyama for safe keeping. Kaka, who knew Baba’s methods, did not say anything. When he came next, he brought another copy of the same book and gave it to Baba. Baba blessed the book, and asked Kaka to preserve it. He assured that the book will 232


be of immense help to Kaka. Kaka gracefully accepted the book and prostrated at the feet of Baba. VISHNU SAHASRANAMA: Once, Ramdas Buva, a follower of Saint Ramadas, came to Shirdi. Followers of Saint Ramadas were also called as Ramadasis. This Ramdas Buva used to get up early in the morning, take bath, wear saffron coloured clothes, apply vibhuti to his forehead and then perform sandhyavandanam. He did Archana also. After that he would study Sri Vishnu Sahasranama and Adhyatma Ramayana with great devotion and dedication. Sri Vishnu Sahasranama contains one thousand names glorifying God Vishnu. It is held in high esteem by the devotees and is considered to be next in importance to only Bhagavad Gita. Regular recitation of Sri Vishnu Sahasranama is believed to fulfill all the desires of the devotees. He continued this practice in Shirdi also. However, he read the devotional books in the masjid. Baba was watching Ramdas Buva everyday. One day, He called him and told, “I am suffering from severe stomach pain. Unless I take Sona Mukhi, this pain will not subside. Please get Me the medicine from Bazar.” Ramdas Buva closed the book he was reading, kept it aside and went to get the medicine. Baba got down from His seat, went to where Buva was sitting, took the book with Him to His seat. After sitting down, He turned a few pages and called Shyama. When Shyama came near Him, Baba said, “Shamya, this book is very valuable and efficacious. I am giving it to you to read it. Once, I suffered intensely and My heart began to palpitate. My life was in danger. At that critical time, I hugged this book to My heart. Shamya, what a relief it gave Me! I thought that Allah had come down and saved Me. So, I am giving this to you. Read it slowly, little by little. Read at least one name daily and it will do you good.” Shyama was scared, as Ramdas Buva had the reputation of being, obstinate, irritable and picking up quarrels at the slightest provocation. He told Baba that he did 233


not want the book as a rustic like him could not read Sanskrit properly. He also told Baba about Buva. Shyama was under the impression that Baba wanted to set him up against Buva and watch the fun. He could never imagine the esteem in which Baba held him. As Shyama was His intimate devotee, He wanted to save him from the miseries of the worldly existence. Baba would have thought that reciting at least one name of God everyday would benefit Shyama much more. The efficacy of reciting God’s name is well known. There is no better method than this of purifying one’s mind. There is no easier sadhana than this. There is no paraphernalia, nor any restrictions. Baba wanted to give this sadhana to Shyama as it saves one from the cycle of repeated birth and death. Recitation of Sri Vishnu Sahasranama would also save us from all sins and bad behaviour. With all this in mind, Baba forced Shyama to accept the book. Eknath Maharaj also did a similar thing. He had a Brahmin neighbour who had forgotten all the ways of worship and was virtually doomed. Eknath Maharaj caught hold of him, in spite of his reluctance, forced him to learn at least one name per day and finally made him proficient in reciting all the thousand names fluently. The Brahmin was totally grateful to Eknath Maharaj for showing him the path to self realization. By this time, Ramdas Buva returned from Bazar with the medicine and gave it to Baba. Anna Chinchinikar who had witnessed all that had happened between Baba and Shyama was waiting for an opportunity to tell everything to Buva. Narada, the great rishi who was known to set up quarrels even among friends, had perfected this art. He used to do this at the behest of Sri Vishnu for the benefit of all concerned - loka kalyana arthaaya. As soon as Anna saw Buva, he recited everything to him. It was like adding ghee to Agni. Buva flared up and started blaming Shyama. He told him that it was Shyama who had set Baba to send him away under the pretext of getting medicine for stomach pain and as soon as he had gone, to take away the book. He scolded Shyama to his heart’s content and told him that if the 234


book was not returned to him, he would break his head then and there. Shyama did not know what to say, but still made a valiant effort to convince Buva, which was in vain. Then Baba called Ramdas Buva to Him and spoke very kindly, “Oh Ramdasi, what happened? Isn’t Shyama our boy? Why do you scold him unnecessarily? Speak soft and sweet words. Though you read these books, your mind is still impure and passions are uncontrolled. Being a Ramdasi, you should be indifferent to all these petty things. Why do you covet this book? A true Ramdasi should have only ‘samata’ and no ‘mamata’. You are now quarreling with Shyama for a book. Books can be had in plenty, but not men. Shyama did not ask the book. I took it Myself and gave it to him. I thought Shyama might read it and benefit. You know it in your heart.” This was how Baba taught the concepts of samata and mamata to Ramdas Buva. Baba conceptualized the entire philosophy of detachment in to this simple episode and made it easy to understand for everyone. We should practice letting go all those objects which we desire most. These words of sweetness like nectar had immediate effect on Buva. He calmed down and told that Shyama could keep Sri Vishnu Sahasranama with him and he would take ‘Panch ratni’ Gita in return. Shyama was also happy that everything ended peacefully and agreed to give Buva, Panch ratni Gita. Some of the questions that arise from this episode are why did Buva ask for Panch ratni Gita, the God in which he never cared to know, and why should he come to masjid and read religious books in front of Baba, if he had to quarrel with Shyama in front of Baba? It is difficult to find answers to these questions, but two distinct effects could be observed. One was that Ramdas Buva understood the meaning of mamata and samata. The second was that Shyama also understood the importance of Sri Vishnu Sahasranama. He studied the book and mastered it to such an extent that he was able to explain it to Prof. Ganesh Govind Narke, son in law of Bapusaheb Booty, and a professor in the College of Engineering at Poona. 235


VISION OF VITHAL: After his morning bath, Kakasaheb used to meditate in his Wada at Shirdi. One day, during the meditation, he saw a vision of god Vithal. When he went to Baba, later on, Baba asked him, “Vithal Patil had come. Did you see Him? He is likely to vanish. Tie Him up securely. Even if you are slightly careless, He will escape.” Baba knew everything. Same day about 25 pictures of Vithal were for sale. Seeing the same posture in the picture as in his morning meditation, Kakasaheb was simply stunned. He bought one picture and securely tied it in his pooja mandir. GITA RAHASYA: Baba had a special love for those who studied about Brahma Jnana. He always encouraged them. Bapusaheb Jog, like Kakasaheb was in the habit of studying spiritual books in the morning every day. He once ordered by post, Lokamanya Tilak’s Gita Rahasya. He received the post while he was on his way to the masjid. So, he kept it under his armpit, entered masjid, and prostrated at Baba’s feet. When he bent for touching Baba’s feet, the parcel fell down on Baba’s feet. Baba asked him what it was. Bapusaheb opened the parcel and gave the book to Baba. He turned some pages for a few minutes. Then He took out a rupee from His pocket, placed it in the book and gave the book back to Bapusaheb. Then He said, “Read this completely. You will be benefited.” KHAPARDE’S STORY: Dadasaheb Khaparde was not an ordinary man. He was the richest and most famous advocate of Amaraoti (Berar) and was a member of the Council of State, Delhi. He was very intelligent and a very good speaker also. He first visited Shirdi on 05 Dec 1910 AD. He had Baba’s darshan and became a devotee. He next came to Shirdi exactly a year later, with family, and stayed for some months. The diary of his stay has been published 236


in English, in a book form, by Shri Sai Baba Sansthan, Shirdi. Though he was intelligent and well read, he never opened his mouth in front of Baba. Along with Noolkar and Booty, he formed a trio who never talked in front of Baba. All the three were meek, humble and good natured. Dadasaheb Khaparde could expound Panchadasi (a well known Sanskrit treatise on Advaita philosophy by the famous Vidyaranya) to others. But before Baba, he was like a dumb person, capable of only hearing. Any amount of learning cannot equal the brilliance of self realization. Dadasaheb stayed for four months, but his wife stayed for seven months. She was very devoted to Baba, loved Him very much and was very loyal to Him. Every noon she brought naivedyam to the masjid herself, and after it was accepted by Baba, she went back to have her meals. On seeing her unwavering devotion, Baba wanted to show it to the other devotees. The next day, as usual, Mrs Khaparde brought Sanza (wheat pudding), puris, rice, soup, kheer and other sundry items in a plate covered with a cloth for naivedyam. All the other days, Baba used to delay eating and would get up only when others forced Him to. On this day, the moment He saw Mrs Khaparde keeping the plate on the table, Baba went there, removed the outer covering and started eating the items, one by one. Everyone who was observing this was amazed. Shyama said, “Why this partiality? You simply throw away the food given by others, without caring even to look at them. And now You are eating all alone, not giving even a small piece to any of us. What is so special about this lady’s preparations?” Baba replied, “I saw her after a long time. In one of her former births, she was a merchant’s fat cow yielding abundant milk. Then she took birth in a gardener’s family. After that she was born in a Kshatriya family and married a merchant. Later on she took birth in a Brahmin family. Let me taste the sweets of love and devotion she has prepared so affectionately.” So saying, Baba completed eating all the dishes, washed His mouth and hands. Then He gave out a 237


belch to indicate that He was happy with the food and resumed His seat. Mrs Khaparde sat near Baba’s feet and softly and caressingly massaged His legs. As she was pressing Baba’s feet, Baba also started pressing and kneading her arms. Shyama saw this and was greatly amused. He said, “What a sight to see! God and the devotee serving one another!” Baba was immensely pleased with her devotion and told her in her ears, “Chant ‘Rajarama, Rajarama’ always. Your life’s object will be achieved. You will get peace of mind and you will be immensely benefited.” Those who are not familiar with spiritual matters, and whose thinking is still immature may construe this episode as something other than a Guru and Sishya relationship. It was a case of ‘shaktipat’ - transfer of power from guru to the disciple. Baba’s words were so powerful that the words immediately lodged in Mrs Khaparde’s heart. This is the type of relationship that should exist between a guru and a disciple. Both should love and serve each other. There is no difference between the two. They are not mutually exclusive. The disciple places his head at the feet of the guru and the guru bends and places his hands on the head of the disciple, thus completing the circle of power transfer. With this, the twenty-seventh chapter called as Mamata and Samata is complete. In the next chapter, Hemad Pant tells us about Lakhamichand, the Burhanpore lady, Megha and other matters. ||Sri Sadguru Sainathaarpanamasthu ||Shubham Bhavatu|| Om Shanti Shanti Shanti

238


|| sri sai satcharitra || || chapter twenty-eight || || sparrows drawn to shirdi || || Sri Ganeshaya Namaha || Sri Saraswatye Namaha || || Sri Venkateshaya Namaha || Sri Sai Nathaya Namaha || || Sri Sadgurubhyo Namaha ||

In this chapter, Hemad Pant tells us about Lakhamichand, the Burhanpore lady, Megha and other matters. SADGURU SAI: Though we are delighted to have the image of Baba sitting on a stone, with His right leg across the left, and His left hand resting on the right foot, always in our field of view, Sai is not confined to this form alone. Sai is in this form and outside this form also. Sai is present in the smallest of the beings like the ants and insects as well as in the sun, moon, mountains, rivers and everywhere. Sai is all pervading. He is the atman in every being. He is the beginning, the middle and the end of all beings. He is in movable as well as immovable beings. He is in all those objects which the senses can perceive, as well as in all those objects which are beyond the perception of the senses. There is no place, no object, no being in which Sai is not present. Sai is everywhere. Sai is Parabrahma. Sai is Poornabrahma. Only Sai is our sadguru. He alone can lead us to our destination. A father gives birth to the body alone; the sadguru takes us beyond birth and death. He is more kind and merciful than any father. In this connection Baba used to say that wherever His devotee is, however distant the place may be, he would be drawn to Shirdi like a sparrow pulled by a string tied to its feet. Here we will see three such sparrows being pulled by Baba to Shirdi, some even against their will. That is the affection 239


and love Baba has for us. Let us prostrate at His feet with all humility before seeing how He pulled the sparrows. LAKHAMICHAND’S STORY: Lakhamichand worked as a munshi (clerk) in the Sri Venkateswara Press at Bombay. Subsequently he got a better job in the Railway Department. When a private firm, Messrs. Ralli Brothers & Co., offered him a higher salary, he joined the firm. A couple of months before Christmas of 1910 AD, he saw a dream when he was in Santa Cruz (a suburb of Bombay). In that dream, he saw an old man with a beard and surrounded by His devotees. The old man had a long sleeved shirt and a scarf tied round his head with a knot near his left ear. He was slightly stooping, may be because of age. Lakhamichand did not know who he was, and where he was. He tried to find out from his friends, but nobody could help him. A few days later, he attended a kirtan performed by Sri Dasganu Maharaj in the house of Lakhamichand’s friend, Sri Dattatreya Manjunath Bijur. As was his regular practice, Dasganu Maharaj had kept a big portrait of Sai Baba. In every performance, he did pooja to the portrait first and then started his kirtan. That day also he did the same. The topic was about Sant Tukaram. To his utter bewilderment, Lakhamichand saw that the old man who was in his dream and the person in the photo were one and the same. Later he learnt the name of the old man to be Sri Sai Baba and also came to know that He was living in Shirdi. As we have seen so many times earlier, Dasganu Maharaj’s kirtans were always electrifying. Whatever may be the subject of the kirtan, the audiences were just spellbound. We also saw earlier that Cholkar and Pitale were so much moved by the kirtan that they decided then and there to visit Shirdi and have darshan of Baba. Lakhamichand was no different. Bowing to the feet of Baba, at the end of the kirtan, he decided that he must visit Shirdi and get Baba’s blessings. 240


Every devotee has experienced, and is experiencing, that whenever a spiritual decision is taken, God immediately helps. This can be practically verified even today. The night Lakhamichand decided to go to Shirdi, when he went home after the kirtan, found that a surprise was waiting for him. One of his friends, Shankar Rao knocked at his door to find out if he would accompany him to Shirdi. Lakhamichand’s joy knew no bounds. He borrowed Rs.15/- from his cousin and left for Shirdi. When he and his friend Shankar Rao boarded the train, they found that many of their friends and relatives were also in the compartment and were going to Shirdi. After singing some Bhajans, Lakhamichand enquired about Baba with some fellow passengers. They were four Muslims. They told him that Sai Baba was a great saint and was living in Shirdi for many years. This discussion went on till the train reached Kopergaon. When he got down from the train, Lakhamichand wanted to buy some good guavas for offering to Baba. While he was looking for the vendor, he was also seeing the local scenery, and was so fascinated that he forgot about the fruits. The friends engaged a Tonga for going to Shirdi. On the way, Lakhamichand remembered about the guavas. He repented for his action of not buying them at the station. Then he saw that an old woman was coming to them running behind the Tonga. She was carrying a basket of guavas on her head. Lakhamichand stopped the Tonga and bought four of the best guavas. When he was about to pay the money for them, she said, “Please take the other fruits also and offer them to Sai Baba on my behalf.” The friends were surprised. Lakhamichand thought that the old woman might be a relative of the old man he saw in his dream. They reached Shirdi and got down from the Tonga near the masjid. When they saw the flags on the masjid, they folded their palms in respect. After buying the pooja materials, they went inside and prostrated at the feet of Baba. They completed pooja and were in indescribable bliss after seeing Baba. Then Baba 241


spoke, “Wily fellows! Do Bhajans on the way and ask others? Why ask others? One should see with one’s own eyes. Why ask others? Was the dream false? Find out now. Why borrow money and come here? Is the wish fulfilled now?” Lakhamichand was wonderstruck by Baba’s omniscience. He could not understand how Baba could know what all happened on the way. The most important thing for us to know is that Baba never liked devotees to come to Shirdi, borrowing money from others. He never wanted His devotees to be in debt for seeing Him. SANZA: After the noon arati, everyone sat for meals. One of the devotees offered some Sanza to all as prasadam with the meals. Lakhamichand liked the Sanza very much. As it was the first time, he thought that Sanza was offered as prasadam everyday at Shirdi. So, next day when there was no Sanza for the meals, he was disappointed. He was eagerly looking forward to the time when Sanza would be served again. On the third day, Bapusaheb Jog asked Baba what naivedyam should be prepared. Baba told him to get Sanza. The devotees brought two big pots of Sanza. By noon arati, Lakhamichand was very hungry. He also had some pain in the back. Then Baba told him, “It is good that you are hungry. Eat Sanza. Take some medicine for your back pain.” Once again Lakhamichand was stunned. He wondered how Baba could know all that was going on in his mind without his telling. EVIL EYE: Lakhamichand then saw the night procession to Chavadi. Baba was mildly coughing. Seeing Baba thus inconvenienced, Lakhamichand thought that some one must have cast an evil eye on Baba. Next day, when he went to meet Baba, Baba was telling Shyama, “Yesterday I had some cough. Some one must have cast an evil eye on Me, that is why I am suffering.” For the third time, Lakhamichand was stunned. He just did not know how Baba knew all his thoughts. 242


Then he slowly understood Baba’s omniscience and kindness to his devotees. He prostrated at Baba’s feet and prayed, “Deva, there is no other god to me than You. Bless me and protect me always. Allow me to chant Your name always and sing Your Bhajans. Allow me to be always at Your divine feet.” Baba duly blessed him with udi prasad and Lakhamichand returned home. From then on he became a staunch devotee of Baba. He always sent garlands of flowers, camphor and Dakshina when anyone among his acquaintances went to Shirdi. BURHANPORE LADY’S STORY: Let us see how Baba pulled the string of the other sparrow. A lady in Burhanpore (present Berhampore, in Orissa) had a dream one night. In that dream, she saw Baba asking her for ‘Khichdi’ - rice cooked in dal with salt added. She woke up immediately and checked outside her house, found that nobody was there. Still, she narrated the entire dream to everyone she met, including her husband. He was employed in the Postal Department. Within a short time, he was transferred to Akola. When they settled down in Akola, both the husband and wife being devoted decided to visit Shirdi and get Baba’s blessings. On a suitable day they started their journey. On their way they visited Gomathi Teertha and then went to Shirdi. They stayed in Shirdi for two months. Both of them went to masjid everyday and served Baba to their hearts’ content. They spent time happily. For the first fourteen days, the purpose for which they came to Shirdi was not achieved. They had come with the intention of preparing ‘Khichdi’ and offering it as naivedyam to Baba. The lady was getting restless and on the fifteenth day, she prepared the ‘Khichdi’ and after noon arati took it to the masjid. As she reached slightly late, everyone was already sitting for the meals, and Baba had gone inside the curtain and about to start the meals. When once Baba goes inside the curtain, nobody dares enter, but this lady was keen on serving Baba. So she entered inside and found that Baba was eagerly awaiting the ‘Khichdi’. The lady 243


served the dish in Baba’s plate and He ate it with great relish. The people who had assembled there were surprised and once again saw how much Baba loved His devotees. MEGHA’S STORY: The third sparrow, Megha was a simple illiterate Brahmin cook of Rao Bahadur HV Sathe. Megha was a devotee of Shiva and always chanted the Panchakshari - ‘Om Namah Shivaya’ He did not know how to perform Sandhyavandanam or recite its chief mantra the Gayatri. Beyond Shiva Panchakshari he did not know anything. Sathe somehow liked him and taught him both the Sandhyavandanam and the Gayatri. Sathe also told him that Shiva has incarnated in Shirdi and that he should go and see Baba. Sathe accompanied Megha up to the Broach railway station. At the railway station, Megha came to know that Baba was a Muslim. He was a very orthodox Brahmin and his mind was perturbed at the thought of prostrating at the feet of a Muslim. He begged his master not to send him to Shirdi. Sathe, however, was equally keen that he should go to Shirdi. He also gave Megha a letter of introduction to his father -in -law, Ganesh Damodar, also known as Dada Kelkar at Shirdi, to introduce Megha to Baba. Next day he reached Shirdi and with his letter went to the masjid. As soon as He came to know that Megha is entering the masjid, Baba came out and shouted, “Kick out this rascal! You are a high caste Brahmin and I am a low caste Muslim. You will lose your caste by coming here. Go away.” Baba did not allow him to enter the masjid. Megha was stunned about how Baba could know what was passing in his mind. Megha stayed for some days in Shirdi, serving Baba in his own way. But, in his heart he was not happy. After a few days, he went home and then visited Tryambak in Nasik District. Tryambakeshwar or Tryambak is one of the twelve places where Jyothirlingas are worshipped. It is the chief place among the twelve. Megha stayed there for a year and a half. 244


At the end of that period, he came back to Shirdi. This time, Dada Kelkar and others intervened and Baba allowed Megha inside the masjid. Externally, Baba did not influence Megha by performing any miracles. Baba was working on Megha internally through his mind. After he came back from Tryambakeshwar, he was a changed person and considerably benefited. He began to look upon Sai Baba as an incarnation of Shiva. It is said that Shiva is very fond of being worshipped with Bilvapatri (Bela leaves). Megha used to go miles and miles to collect these leaves for worshipping his Shiva, namely Sai Baba. He followed a procedure of worshipping all the gods in the village first and then come to the masjid. There he worshipped Baba’s seat (gadi). Then he caressingly massaged Baba’s legs. Then he washed Baba’s feet and took the water which passed through Baba’s feet as Teertha. In short, he worshipped Sai Baba as though he was worshipping Shiva Linga. Once it so happened that when Megha went to Khandoba temple, it was closed. So he went to masjid without worshipping Khandoba. Then Baba told him, “Complete the worship of the remaining god and come.” Megha told him that the temple was closed. “Go now and see” was Baba’s reply. When Megha went to Khandoba temple, he was surprised to see it open. After worshipping Khandoba, Megha went back to masjid and worshipped Baba. GANGA ABHISHEKAM: There is a saying that Shiva is abhisheka priya and Vishnu is alankara priya. The Shiva Bhaktas perform Rudra abhishekam regularly. Megha being a staunch Shiva Bhakta, wanted to perform Ganga abhishekam to Baba. The procedure was to initially apply sandal paste to the body and then do the abhishekam. Baba was reluctant, but on repeated requests from Megha, agreed to his request. Happy with this, Megha traveled 8 koss (24 miles) to Gomathi river and brought water. He made all the preparations and requested Baba to come to the abhishekam 245


place. Baba once again requested him to leave him alone, as He was a fakir and had nothing to do with Ganga water. Megha was firm. Then Baba told him that as the head is the most important organ of the body, he should pour water only on the head. Megha agreed. Baba sat down, and amidst chanting of slokas, Megha began to pour water on Baba’s head. During that process, he was so overcome with love that he shouted ‘Har Har Gange’ and poured the water over the entire body. After emptying the pot, he kept the pot aside and looked at Baba. His mind which was till now full of joy at the abhishekam was suddenly surprised. He saw that only Baba’s head was wet and the rest of the body was completely dry. TRISHUL AND THE LINGA: Megha worshipped Baba at two places. He worshipped Him in person at the masjid and His photo at the Wada. This big picture of Baba was given to him by Nanasaheb Chandorkar. He continued Baba’s worship for twelve months. Happy with his devotion, Baba decided to show His appreciation. Early in the morning, one day, when Megha was still in his bed with his eyes closed, he saw Baba’s form. Baba knew that he was awake. He sprinkled akshata on the bed and said, “Megha, draw a trishul”, and disappeared. Hearing Baba’s voice, Megha got up and searched for Baba but did not find Him. To confirm that Baba had come, there were the rice grains of akshata. He then went to Baba, told Him about the vision and asked His permission to draw the trishul. Baba was slightly irritated. He said, “Did you not hear My words, asking you to draw the trishul? It was not a vision but a direct order. My words are always pregnant with meaning and never hollow.” Megha told about his predicament. He said, “I thought you woke me up, but found that all the doors were closed. So I thought that it was a vision.” Baba said, “I require no doors to open. I have no form. I live everywhere. Like a sutradhar, I carry out all the actions of the one who trusts Me and becomes one with Me.” 246


Megha went back to Wada and drew a trishul on the wall near Baba’s picture. Next day, a Ramdasi bhakta came from Poona, prostrated at the feet of Baba and offered Him a Shiva Linga. At the same time, Megha also came to the masjid. Baba told him, “See, Shankara has come. Take care of Him now,” and gave the Shiva Linga to him. Megha was surprised to see the Shiva Linga so immediately after he drew the trishul. Here in the Wada, Kakasaheb had finished taking bath and was having a towel over his head. He was chanting Sai nama. Then he saw a vision of a Shiva Linga. He began to wonder how a Shiva Linga could come in his mind when he was thinking only of Sai. A few minutes later, Megha showed him the Shiva Linga presented by Baba. Kakasaheb was taken aback to see that it resembled the Linga he had seen in his vision. After a few days, Baba installed the Shiva Linga near the big picture which Megha was worshipping. Worship of Shiva was very dear to Megha. By arranging the drawing of the trishul and the installation of the Shiva Linga, Baba confirmed His faith in Megha’s mode of worship. After serving Baba for many years, Megha passed away in 1912 AD. Baba passed His hand over the body and said, “This was a true devotee of Mine.” Baba also arranged, at His own expense, the funeral dinner to be given to the Brahmins. The entire order was carried out by Kakasaheb Dixit. With this, the twenty-eighth chapter called as Sparrows drawn to Shirdi is complete. In the next chapter, Hemad Pant tells us about Madrasi Bhajan Mela, Tendulkars, Dr Captain Hate, Waman Narvekar and other matters. || Sri Sadguru Sainathaarpanamasthu || Shubham Bhavatu || Om Shanti Shanti Shanti

247


BABA HUGGED THIS PHOTOGRAPH AND THEN GAVE TO VISHNU B.PITHALE

248


|| sri sai satcharitra || || chapter twenty-nine || || wonderful visions ||

|| Sri Ganeshaya Namaha || Sri Saraswatye Namaha || || Sri Venkateshaya Namaha || Sri Sai Nathaya Namaha || || Sri Sadgurubhyo Namaha ||

In this chapter, Hemad Pant tells us about Madrasi Bhajan Mela, Tendulkars, Dr Captain Hate, Waman Narvekar and other matters. BABA’S CHARITIES: We saw earlier that Baba collected Dakshina from devotees. Almost all the amount He collected was distributed among the devotees only. After He had something to eat in the morning, Baba used to sit near the Dhuni, reclining against a nearby post. At that time, a small girl aged three years used to come to Him and sit in His lap. Her name was Amani and she was the daughter of a devotee, Bhakta Kondaji. She had a small tin box and pestered Baba to put some coin in that box. After playing with her for some time, Baba used to drop a rupee coin in the box and close its lid. Then the girl happily took the box and went home. Again, when Baba went to Lendi, He gave her another rupee coin. Thus, He was giving her two rupees every day. In addition to Amani, Baba gave Rs.6 to her mother Jamali, Rs. 2 to 5 to some, Rs. 10 to 20, and at times Rs.50 also, to some other Bhaktas who were in need of money. By the end of the day, He was hardly left with any money. Baba used to encourage artists also. Whenever some one gave a good performance, either music or dance, Baba gave them some money to encourage them. Gradually this aspect of Baba’s personality also gained wide 249


currency. Before we embark on some more Leelas of Baba, let us prostrate at the divine feet of this benevolent, charitable Sadguru. MADRASI BHAJAN MELA: It was in the year 1915 AD. Samarth Ramdas’s disciples were spread throughout the length and breadth of the country. Some of the followers were in the South also. People had also heard about a great sage, who lived at Shirdi in Kopergaon Taluqa of Ahmednagar District, by name Sri Sai Baba. It was also known that this sage was very calm and composed, was very liberal and distributed money to all His devotees and also to the people who exhibited some skill of their own in the field of fine arts. So, a party consisting of a man, by name Govind Swamy, his wife Adilakshmiammal, daughter and sister-in -law started out on a pilgrimage to Kashi (Varanasi) and decided to visit Shirdi on the way, and have darshan of the great sage. Because of their performances, this group was called as the Madrasi Bhajan Mela. As planned, they came to Shirdi on 23. August 1915 and stayed there for some time. They sang Bhajans very well and people were appreciative of their songs also. The Mela wanted recognition and money. Three, of the party, were very greedy, but the lady was of a different type. She had love and devotion for Baba. Once it so happened during the noon arati that, everyone was chanting Baba’s namavali, tears were rolling down the eyes of this lady. She was loudly chanting the names of Sitapati Sri Rama. People all around were perplexed. They did not know what had happened to her. They were wondering at her joyful mood. Later on in the afternoon, she told all, that when they were singing Baba’s name and seeing Him, Baba had appeared to her like Siyavar Sri Ramachandra. Sri Rama was her favourite deity. Seeing her beloved god in person, she was delighted and tears of joy were flowing from her eyes and she was chanting Sri Rama’s name. She told this vision of hers to her husband also. Being a man of the world and thinking only of money, he did not believe 250


her story. He thought that as women are usually sentimental she was imagining things, otherwise, when everyone was seeing Baba, how could she alone see Sri Rama? The lady however did not resent his belittling her vision. She knew that Baba had graced her with the darshan of her beloved deity. From that day her mind became even more composed and free from avarice. THE VISION: Few days later, when he was fast asleep, the man had a dream, a dream he would never forget. He was in a big city. The police had just arrested him, tied his hands behind with a rope and took him to a lock-up room in a nearby police station. The police tightened the grip and were about to start softening him. The man looked outside the cage and was surprised to find Baba standing there and looking at him with very kind eyes. Being very cunning, he told Baba, “Deva, it was because of your fame that I came to visit You. Why should this calamity fall on me when You are standing so near me?” Baba smiled and said, “You cannot escape from the consequences of your actions.” The man was surprised, “I have not done anything now, so why this misfortune?” Baba, still smiling, said, “If not now, you must have committed some sin in your previous life.” The man was becoming desperate. He said, “I don’t know anything about my previous life. Even if I have done some wrong, why the consequences are not burnt away and destroyed because of Your presence? Like a dry grass burning in the fire.” Then Baba smiled some more and asked, “Do you have that much faith in Me?” The man had to reply, “Yes”. Then Baba asked him to close his eyes and think of Him. As soon as he closed his eyes, he heard a thumping sound of something falling down. He opened his eyes and saw that he was free. He also saw that the police constable who had held him had 251


fallen down and was bleeding. The man was frightened and looked at Baba. Baba was still smiling, He said, “Now you are well caught. The officers will take good care of you!” This time, the man’s intention was very clear. He prayed Baba to pardon all his sins and save him. He said, “You are my only saviour. There is no one else. Please save me”. Baba asked him to close his eyes once again. The man obeyed His instructions. When he did open his eyes, he found that he was free; there was neither the police nor the police station. Only he and Baba were standing in space. He fell at Baba’s feet. Then Baba asked him, “Is there any difference between this namaskara and the earlier ones? Think well and then reply.” The man replied, “My earlier namaskaras were with the intention of getting money from You. The present one is because You are god. Besides, I thought earlier that You, being a Muslim, were spoiling us, the Hindus.” Then Baba asked him, “Do you believe in Mohemmadan gods?” The man was honest enough to say, “No”. Baba, who is a sarvajna, one who knows everything, then asked him, “Don’t you have a panja in your house? Don’t you worship the same during Tabut in your house? Don’t you have another deity, Kadbibi, in your house whom you worship on marriages and other festivals? Don’t you appease her also?” The man admitted all these. Then Baba smilingly and conclusively asked him, “What more do you want?” The man, being a follower of Saint Ramadas, was thinking of seeing his guru. Baba read his thoughts and said, “Look behind”. To his amazement he saw his guru standing behind him. As soon as he tried to prostrate at the feet of his guru, Samarth Ramadas vanished. Then the man turned around. He had a doubt. He asked Baba, “You look to be old. How old are You?” 252


Laughingly Baba said, “You say that I am old! Just run a race with Me and see who wins!” Saying thus, Baba started running and vanished in the dust raised by His foot steps. The man woke up from his dream After waking up from the dream, he started thinking seriously about the dream and particularly about the questions and answers. His attitude changed and started realizing how great Baba was. The mind which was seeking external objects turned to inner peace and calmness. The man realized that this peace and equanimity could be obtained only at the divine feet of Baba. Next morning when he went to the masjid for the arati and had Baba’s darshan, Baba gave him sweets worth Rs.2/- and also Rs.2/- from His pocket. He asked them to stay for some more time. When time came for them to leave, He blessed them by saying, “Allah will give you plenty and He will do you good.” Though the man did not get any more money, he got far better things than money, namely, Baba’s blessings. This alone helped the party in completing successfully their pilgrimage. Later on, they got plenty of money also. They always thought of Baba’s words and the bliss they enjoyed at His feet. TENDULKAR’S STORY: The Tendulkar family lived in Bandra (a suburb of Bombay). All the members of the family were very staunch devotees of Baba. Mrs Savitribai Tendulkar has published a Marathi book named ‘Shri Sainath Bhajan Maala’ consisting of 825 abhangs and padas, describing Baba’s Leelas. This is a book which gives immense delight to all the Sai devotees. The son, Babu Tendulkar was studying very hard day and night for his medical examinations. One day, somehow, he consulted some astrologers. They checked his horoscope and told him that the planets were not favourable to him that year and he may not pass the examination. Next year, however, would be favourable to him and he would definitely be successful. He was disheartened and became restless. 253


Few days later, his mother went to Shirdi and had darshan of Baba. She prostrated at the feet of Baba and told Him about the condition of her son and the astrologers’ prediction. She also told Him about her son being very morose and gloomy. Then Baba told her, “Tell your son to believe in Me. Ask him to throw aside all the horoscopes and the predictions of astrologers and palmists. Ask him to study well, write the examination with a calm mind. He will surely pass this year. Ask him to trust Me and study.” The mother went home and conveyed Baba’s message. Heeding to Baba’s advice, he studied well and did his written examinations very well. By the time he completed the written examinations, his earlier doubts started haunting him. Thinking that he may not pass the written examinations, he did not appear for the oral examinations. But Baba’s will was something totally different. The examiner did not leave him. He sent a message through his class mate that he had passed the written examinations and as such he should appear for the oral examinations also. Having been encouraged thus, Babu Tendulkar appeared for the examinations and passed with credit, by Baba’s grace. Baba proved astrologers wrong time and again. During difficult periods only we are engulfed with doubts and uncertainties. It is to overcome these doubts that we go to astrologers and palmists. Baba taught us here that what ever may be the compulsions, we should never lose faith in Him. As long as we are doing something good, we should have complete faith in Him and proceed. The difficulties surrounding us will disappear like the mist as soon as the sun warms up. Both the mist and the darkness will vanish with the sun’s first rays. The father of the boy, Raghunath Rao was serving in a foreign mercantile firm in Bombay. In due course of time he became old and was unable to continue to work. He took leave of absence for a few days and ultimately had to seek retirement. As he was a very reliable employee who had served the organization for a long time, the chief manager decided to retire him with pension. He was getting a salary of Rs.150/- per month and a 254


pension half that amount, Rs.75/- was hardly sufficient for him to run his family. So the entire family was anxious about the matter. Fifteen days before the final settlement, Baba appeared in Mrs Tendulkar’s dream, and asked, “I wish that the pension be fixed at Rs.100/- per month. Are you happy?” She had immense faith in her god, Sai Baba and knew that somehow He would take care of them. So she replied fittingly, “Deva, why ask me? You are the best judge. Whatever You decide will be in our welfare only.” Though Baba told Rs.100/-, still the firm decided to give him Rs.110/- as a special case. This is another of the several examples of Baba’s intense love and care for His devotees. It is only fitting that we should prostrate at His divine feet and pray that we also become eligible for such affection and love and deserve His blessings. CAPTAIN HATE’S STORY: Captain Hate, a resident of Bikaner, was a great devotee of Baba. Once, Baba appeared in his dream and asked him, “Have you forgotten Me?” Hate was surprised and said, “How can a child forget its mother?” Then he went into the garden, picked out fresh walpapdi, arranged ‘shidha’ (ghee, wheat flour, dal etc) and Dakshina and was about to offer as naivedyam to Baba, when he awoke from the sleep. He decided to send all these to Baba. After some days he went to Gwalior. From there he sent a money order to Kakasaheb Dixit with instructions that Rs.2/- should be spent in buying shidha articles and walpapdi and those should be offered to Baba with Rs.10/- as Dakshina. The friend went to Shirdi and purchased all the items except walpapdi which was not available. When he was about to return disappointed, a lady came with a basket containing only walpapdi. After purchasing it, the friend offered all these with a Dakshina of Rs.10/- to Baba, on behalf of Captain Hate. Next day Nimonkar prepared the naivedyam with rice, walpapdi etc and offered to Baba. Baba was so pleased that He took only the walpapdi and nothing else. 255


Hate’s joy was unlimited as he came to know of all these things from his friend. On another occasion, Captain Hate wanted to have a rupee coin consecrated by Baba. He felt that a rupee coin touched by Baba would be very auspicious for him. Just at about that time, one of his friends, Sawal Ram, was going to Shirdi. Hate gave him a rupee coin to his friend and requested him to get it consecrated by Baba. The friend went to the masjid, prostrated at Baba’s feet and gave Dakshina. Baba pocketed the amount. Then the friend gave Hate’s one rupee coin. Baba took the coin, stared at it for some time, tossed it with His right thumb and played with it for some more time. Then He told the friend, “Give it to its owner with the udi prasad. Tell him that I don’t want anything from him. Ask him to live in peace and contentment.” The friend returned to Gwalior and gave the consecrated coin to Hate. He also gave him Baba’s message. Hate was once again very happy and realized that Baba encouraged good thoughts. Baba had fulfilled Hate’s desire. WAMAN NARVEKAR’S STORY: This is a story different from the above. Waman Narvekar was another devotee of Baba. He loved Baba very much. He once brought a rupee coin to Baba. On one side were the engraved figures of Sri Rama, Lakshmana and Sita and on the other side was the engraved figure of Maruti with folded hands. He offered it to Baba with the hope that He would consecrate it and give it back to him. But Baba liked it so much that He pocketed it. Shyama, who was nearby watching all this, requested Baba to return the coin as Narvekar had given it to Him for consecration. Baba said, “Why should it be returned? We will keep it for ourselves. If he gives Rs.25/- for it then it will be returned.” Narvekar somehow managed to collect Rs.25/- and placed them before Baba. Then Baba replied, “The value of that coin far exceeds Rs.25/-. Shyama, take this coin, keep it in your pooja room and worship it daily.” Nobody dared ask Baba why He did 256


like this, but inscrutable are the ways of Baba. He alone knows everything. Let us prostrate at the divine feet of Baba, the ocean of mercy. With this, the twenty-ninth chapter called as Wonderful Vision is complete. In the next chapter, Hemad Pant tells us about Kakaji Vaidya of Vani, Punjabi Ramlal of Bombay, and other matters. || Sri Sadguru Sainathaarpanamasthu || Shubham Bhavatu || Om Shanti Shanti Shanti

257


258


|| sri sai satcharitra || || chapter thirty || || some more sparrows || || Sri Ganeshaya Namaha || Sri Saraswatye Namaha || || Sri Venkateshaya Namaha || Sri Sai Nathaya Namaha || || Sri Sadgurubhyo Namaha ||

In this chapter, Hemad Pant tells us about Kakaji Vaidya of Vani, Punjabi Ramlal of Bombay, and other matters. SADGURU SAI: Before proceeding further, let us bow at the divine feet of the ocean of kindness and ever forgiving, our beloved Baba and pray that all our mistakes and sins be pardoned. He is the one who understands our problems, our miseries and He alone is the one who can grant us peace of mind. When the mind becomes turbulent with increasing worries, and when darkness engulfs us all around, and we do not know what to do or where to go, that is the time we should think of our beloved Baba. He alone is powerful enough to provide us succour. He alone can take us safely across this never ending ocean of samsara. Sai Baba has incarnated only for the sake of devotees. What was before a formless Nirguna Brahma, seeing the devotees helplessly sinking into the bottomless ocean of samsara and being strangled by the creatures in that ocean, the Nirguna Brahma took the form of Sai Baba and came to the rescue of everyone who cried for help. By mere bringing of His image before our eyes, the fear of this samsara is dispelled. Those who take refuge at His feet will always find complete relief from miseries and troubles. Those who chant His name will get enormous strength and would be able to easily distinguish between the real and the unreal. Without this strength, we are of no consequence. Whatever may be our 259


failures, whatever may be our shortcomings, we know that even if everyone deserts us, Sai will never forsake us. He is the only ray of hope in a world which is increasingly becoming darker and darker with each passing day. We are ever grateful to Sai, as He alone understands us and fulfills our desires even without our asking for it. It was Sai who fixed the pension of Raghunath Tendulkar, without his asking, at an amount comfortable for him to maintain his family. It was Sai who favoured Hemad Pant to complete the monumental task of writing Sri Sai Satcharitra. It was only after Sai took over the responsibility that Hemad Pant’s job became easy and he never felt the burden. Hemad Pant was only the pen through which Baba wrote His own stories. This could happen to Hemad Pant because of the accumulated virtues of all of his previous births. The stories narrated in this chapter, or for that matter in the entire Satcharitra, are meant for those who have belief and faith in the positive aspects of life. Only they can appreciate these stories. The agnostics or those who criticize and doubt everything under the sun cannot enjoy these stories. What happens here in these stories is beyond the realm of human reasoning and logic. The innumerable coincidences that take place are beyond the comprehension of an ordinary doubting mind. These coincidences happen because they are made to happen by the will of a super intelligent and ever alert god called as Sai Baba. Learned, devoted and faithful devotees of God alone can like and appreciate the concept behind the incidents narrated in the Satcharitra. Drinking this nectar of Sai Leelas will give liberation to the ignorant Jivas, satisfaction to the householders, and a sadhana to the aspirants. KAKAJI VAIDYA’S STORY: There is a place called Vani in Nasik District. In that place lived a god fearing, devoted man by name, Kakaji Vaidya. He was the priest of the local temple of goddess Sapta-Shringi. Everyday he used to go to the temple early in the morning and 260


worship the goddess. After offering naivedyam to the goddess, he used to go home and have his food. Thus he served the goddess Sapta-Shringi for several years. Then life took a turn. His comfortable life was rocked and afflictions and tribulations started overwhelming him. Difficulties piled up to such an extent that he did not know what to do. His mind became very restless and was almost contemplating ending his life. Then one evening, he went to the temple of the goddess whom he had worshipped almost for a life time and prayed Her from the depths of his heart to relieve him of his anxieties. The goddess was pleased with his devotion and appeared that night in his dream. She said, “Go to Baba. Your mind will become calm and composed.” Kakaji wanted to find out from the goddess who this Baba was and where He could be approached. Before he could ask anything, his dream was over and he was awake. He enquired some of the people in the village, but could not get any satisfactory information. Then he thought over the matter. Lord Shiva is also called as Baba Bholenath. And Shiva was in Tryambakeshwar. As Sapta-Shringi is another form of Devi Durgamata, Kakaji thought that She wanted him to go to Tryambakeshwar, and went there. Kakaji stayed there for ten days. Everyday during this period, he took bath early in the morning in the river and performed ‘Rudra abhishekam’. He did other religious rituals also, but found out that he was as restless as before. The condition of his mind had not changed even slightly. So, after ten days, he returned back to his village. Desperate and not knowing how to come out of his afflictions, he went to the temple once again and invoked the goddess. Once again, She appeared in his dream and said, “Why did you go to Tryambak? By Baba I meant, Sri Sai Samarth of Shirdi.” Kakaji was keen to implement the orders of the goddess, but the question was how and when to go to Shirdi, and how to see Baba? If the desire is in earnest and the intention is pure and clear, then it does not take long before the wish is fulfilled. God will come to the aid of such devotees. To see a saint is a very 261


noble desire. For such a desire to be fulfilled, in addition to God, the saint will also help. The more anxious a devotee is to meet the saint, the more devout and faithful he is, the more speedily and effectively is his wish satisfied. If someone invites us, that someone will also make all arrangements for the reception and stay. And so it happened in the case of Kakaji Vaidya. When Kakaji was thinking about his visit to Shirdi, unexpectedly, a guest came to his house. He was none other than Shyama, the most intimate devotee of Baba. SHYAMA’S STORY: When he was very young, Shyama was severely ill. Seeing that he did not improve even with medication, his mother took a vow that if her son got well, she would bring him to the family goddess Sapta-Shringi at Vani and dedicate him to Her. Because of various reasons, she could not fulfill the vow even after a few years. Subsequently, she was also not well. She had developed ring worm on her breasts and suffered very much. The she prayed her family goddess Sapta-Shringi at Vani, that if she was cured of the ringworm, she would offer two silver breasts to Her as an offering. She got well. The urgency which is there when we are in difficulties will vanish once we get out of the problems. Soon, Shyama’s mother also forgot her vows. It was only at her death-bed that she called her son Shyama and told him that these two vows have to be fulfilled. She breathed her last only after Shyama promised her that he would carry out her wishes. And as it usually happens, with the passing of time, Shyama also forgot about the vows. Within no time, thirty years also slipped away. It was around this time that a famous astrologer came to Shirdi. Bapusaheb Booty and others consulted him and found his predictions quite accurate. Shyama’s younger brother, Bapaji, also went to the astrologer. The astrologer told him about his mother’s vows. He also told that as the vows were not yet fulfilled by his brother, the goddess was unhappy and if the present difficulties of Bapaji have to end, the goddess has to be 262


appeased. Bapaji told this to his brother Shyama. Without adding any further delay, Shyama called a goldsmith and got a pair of silver breasts made. With the silver items in his hand, he went to the masjid, prostrated at the feet of Baba and offered the silver items to Him. Shyama requested Baba to accept them and relieve him of the vows. He also told Baba that He was his goddess Sapta-Shringi. Baba did not accept and insisted that Shyama should go personally to the temple and submit the offerings to the goddess and get her blessings. Then Shyama took Baba’s permission and the udi prasadam, and went to Vani. After reaching Vani, he went in search of the priest so that the offerings could be made to the goddess Sapta-Shringi. That was how Baba’s most intimate devotee reached someone who desperately wanted to see Baba. What a wonderful coincidence and how beautifully Baba had interlaced the lives of so many of His devotees! Shyama did not go to Kakaji a day later or a day earlier than required. Those who surrender everything to Baba need have no fear of anything. He will take care of us and guide us. When Shyama knocked on the door of Kakaji, Kakaji asked him who he was and where from he had come. The moment Shyama told him, Kakaji embraced him and was overwhelmed with Baba’s love for him. They both talked for some time about Sai Leelas. Then Kakaji took Shyama to the temple of goddess Sapta-Shringi and helped him fulfill the vows. After Shyama completed his task, they both left for Shirdi. On reaching the masjid, Kakaji prostrated at the feet of Baba. As goddess SaptaShringi told him, the moment he saw Baba, Kakaji’s mind lost all its restlessness and became very calm and composed. In that state of mind, his only thought was, “What a wonderful power! There is no question asked and no answer given. Baba has not even spoken anything. No benediction given. The mere darshan itself is like pouring oil over a turbulent sea. Everything has become very quiet. Consciousness of joy has come over me. This is called ‘the greatness of darshan’.” Fixing his gaze on Baba’s feet, he 263


surrendered himself completely to Baba. He lived in Shirdi happily for twelve days and after taking Baba’s permission and the udi prasadam, returned home. KHUSHALCHAND’S STORY: It is said that dreams which come in the early hours of the morning usually come true. As far as Baba’s dreams are concerned, there is no constraint on time. On one afternoon, Baba asked Kakasaheb Dixit to go to Rahata and bring Khushalchand to Shirdi, as He had not seen him for a long time. Accordingly, Kakasaheb took a tonga and went to Rahata. He met Khushalchand and gave him Baba’s message. Khushalchand was surprised. Just before Kakasaheb arrived, Khushalchand was having his afternoon nap. He had his meals earlier and was relaxing, when sleep overtook him. During that nap he had a dream. Baba appeared in the dream and asked him to come to Shirdi immediately as He had not seen him for a long time. He was also eager to go but he did not have his horse nearby. So he had asked his son to go to Shirdi and inform Baba that his father would be visiting Him shortly. Khushalchand went with Kakasaheb in his tonga and prostrated at the feet of Baba. Everyone was pleased. Seeing Baba’s Leela, Khushalchand was also deeply moved. PUNJABI RAMLAL’S STORY: A Punjabi Brahmin of Bombay by name Ramlal once had a dream. A mahant (saint) appeared in the dream and asked him to go to Shirdi. He did not know who this mahant was or where from he came. He wanted to contact this mahant but could not find him. He did not know what to do. It usually happens that He who calls for interview also makes all the necessary arrangements. That afternoon, when Ramlal was strolling in the street, he saw the picture of the mahant, who had appeared in his dream, in a shop. He enquired the shop owner about the person in 264


the photo and was told that it was none other than Sri Sai Baba of Shirdi. Ramlal then went to Shirdi and stayed there till the Mahasamaadhi of Baba. In this way Baba brought His devotees to Shirdi for darshan and fulfilled their desires, both material and spiritual. Before leaving this chapter, let us bow to the ever loving and always forgiving, graceful, kind and benevolent Baba. With this, the thirtieth chapter called as Some more sparrows is complete. In the next chapter, Hemad Pant tells us about passing away in the presence of Baba of Sanyasi Vijayanand, Balram Mankar, Noolkar, Megha, a tiger, and other matters. || Sri Sadguru Sainathaarpanamasthu || Shubham Bhavatu || Om Shanti Shanti Shanti

265


266


|| sri sai satcharitra || || chapter thirty - one || || darshana mahima || || Sri Ganeshaya Namaha || Sri Saraswatye Namaha || || Sri Venkateshaya Namaha || Sri Sai Nathaya Namaha || || Sri Sadgurubhyo Namaha ||

In this chapter, Hemad Pant tells us about passing away in the presence of Baba of Sanyasi Vijayanand, Balram Mankar, Noolkar, Megha, a tiger, and other matters. THE LAST WISH: God is indeed very benevolent. Having given us the human form so that we will do satkarma, and guiding us throughout our lives, He ensures that our last wish is also fulfilled. Our future will be guided by the thought or wish that we have at the hour of death. Sri Krishna assures, Antakaale cha maameva smaran muktwaa kalevaram| Yah prayaati sa madbhaavam yaati naastyatra samshayah|| Ch.8.Sl.5 And at the time of death, anyone who departs by giving up the body while thinking of Me alone, he attains My state. There is no doubt about this. Yam yam vaapi smaran bhaavam tyajatyante kalevaram| Tam tamevaiti kaunteya sadaa tadbhaavabhaavitah|| Ch.8.Sl.6 O son of Kunti, thinking of any entity whichever it may be one gives up the body at the end, he attains that very one, having been always engrossed in its thought.

267


If we fix our mind on a sense object during the last hour, we will attain that object in the next life. Jada Bharata was thinking of a deer during his last moments, and in his next life, he was born as a deer. If we concentrate our mind at the feet of the Lord during the last moments, we will become one with Him and will be relieved from this eternal cycle of birth and death. To achieve this fixation of purpose, constant practice is necessary. That is the reason all the saints and sages advise us to chant God’s name always, so that we may not be confused and scared at the actual time of departure. Only a sadguru can guide us properly to our destination. A true devotee submits at the divine feet of the sadguru, so that He would guide him when time comes. Before we start this chapter, let us prostrate at the feet of our beloved Baba, so that our minds also will be fixed at His divine feet when the last moment comes. VIJAYANAND’S STORY: Vijayanand was a sanyasi living in Madras. Once, he saw details of Manas Sarovar with a Japanese tourist. After seeing those details, he also felt the desire to go to that place. This was in the year 1911 AD. By now Baba’s name and fame had already spread throughout the country. Vijayanand thought that on the way to Manas Sarovar, he could also visit Shirdi and have darshan of Sai Baba. He came to Shirdi. There he met a person from Hardwar, by name Somadevaji Swamy. He asked the Swamy about Manasa Sarovar. The Swamy told him that it was 500 miles above Gangotri and that the journey to that place was not easy. The terrain was rough and some parts of the track always had land slides and were covered with snow. He also told Vijayanand that the dialect changed every 50 koss (150 miles) and the local Tibetan people were also not trustworthy. They troubled the pilgrims in any number of ways. On listening to all 268


these details, Vijayanand cancelled his trip to Manas Sarovar and decided to continue his stay at Shirdi. Next day he went to the masjid and prostrated at the divine feet of Baba. Baba was greatly enraged and shouted, “Send this fellow out. His company is of no use.” As it was his first visit, Vijayanand did not understand why Baba was saying this. He felt very uncomfortable, but sat in a corner watching what all was happening. It was the morning Durbar, and Baba was worshipped with morning devotees in various ways. Some were fanning Him, some others were washing His feet and taking Teertha and drinking the water to purify their lives, some others were applying sandal paste. Seeing all these different forms of Seva, Vijayanand was immensely pleased by the darshan of Baba, though Baba had shown anger. He did not leave the place. He stayed in Shirdi for two days. Every day he visited the masjid, had Baba’s darshan, prostrated at His feet and used to sit quietly at one corner observing all that was happening. On the third day he got a letter from Madras stating that his mother was very ill. The thought of his mother departing pained his mind. He wanted to be with her at the time of her passing away. Before leaving, he went to Baba to seek His permission to go. He went to the masjid, prostrated at Baba’s feet and told Him that as his mother was seriously ill, he wanted to leave for Madras and be with her during her last moments. Baba, being a sarvajna, who knew the past, present and the future, said, “If you love your mother so much, why did you take Sannyasa? Attachments and the saffron coloured dress do not go well with each other. Wait with patience for a few days. Till that time, sit quietly in the Wada. Also remember, in the Wada there are many robbers. Bolt your doors and be very vigilant. The thieves will carry everything. Wealth and prosperity are transient. This body decays and dies. Leaving all the attachments of this world and the next, do your duty. He who does this and surrenders at the feet of Sri Hari, will be freed from all troubles and attain bliss. God will come running to him, who remembers and meditates Him with love and 269


affection. You have come here because of the immense good deeds done in your previous lives. Do as I say, and, realize the end of your life. Study Bhagavat from tomorrow. Do three saptahas (three readings during three weeks) conscientiously. The God will be pleased with you and will destroy your sorrows. Your illusions will vanish and you will get peace of mind.” When His own Mahasamaadhi was nearing, Baba had arranged for the reading of ‘Ramavijaya’. Paraayana of ‘Ramavijaya’ pleases the god of death. Next morning after taking bath and performing other morning purifying rituals, Vijayanand started reading Bhagavat in a secluded place in Lendi baug. He completed two readings and then felt very exhausted. He went back to the Wada and stayed in his room for two more days. On the third day, while talking to Bade Baba, he fell in his lap and breathed his last. Baba asked the people to preserve the body for one more day. The police came next day and after making proper enquiries permitted the body to be disposed. It was buried in a proper place after conducting the rites. Baba, who knew the moment He saw Vijayanand that his end was imminent, helped him to attain sadgati. BALRAM MANKAR’S STORY: Baba’s devotees consisted of all types - rich, poor, young, old, male, female, healthy, diseased etc. Without any discrimination of caste, creed or sex, they served Baba, whole heartedly and in a way they liked most. Among the householder devotees, there was a devotee named Balram Mankar. With the passing of time, his wife also passed away. Mankar, who was very much attached to her, could not bear the pain of separation. He handed over the family responsibilities to his son and came to Shirdi. He stayed there and served Baba very devotedly. Baba was very pleased with his love and affection and wanted to give a good turn to his life. Baba gave him Rs.12/- and asked him to go to Machchindragad (District Satara). Initially Mankar did not agree. 270


He thought that without Baba being near him, how he was going to face life. Without Baba’s guidance, he was utterly helpless and useless. Baba, however, convinced him that that was the best course for him. He told him to practice meditation thrice a day. Being a true devotee, he did not want to disobey his guru’s instructions and Mankar went to Machchindragad. He liked the beauty of the nature there with pure water, fresh air and thanked Baba for sending him there. He did not waste any time and immediately started implementing Baba’s advice of practicing meditation three times daily. After a few days, he had a revelation. Usually, these revelations come when the devotee is in samadhi state or while in trance. In Mankar’s case, he got it while he was wide awake and in broad day light. When he had completed meditation and opened his eyes, he found Baba standing in front of him. Mankar’s surprise and happiness knew no bounds. Recovering after some time, he asked Baba why He had sent him there. Smiling, Baba replied, “I sent you here so that your restless mind could rest. In Shirdi, you had many thoughts and doubts. You thought of Me only in this body of five elements and three and a half cubits in length. You never thought that I could exist outside this body. See for yourself now and decide. Decide for yourself whether the person you saw in Shirdi and I are one and the same or not. It is for this reason that I sent you here. I am not constrained by the body. I exist everywhere.” And then Baba disappeared. Mankar stayed in Machchindragad for some more time and decided to go back to his place, Bandra. He wanted to go by train from Poona to Dadar. When he went to the booking counter, he found that there was huge crowd in waiting. He could not get his ticket and was standing there without knowing what to do. A villager approached him. This villager had only a langoti on his body with a kambal (shawl) on his shoulder. He asked Mankar where he was going. Mankar replied, “Dadar”. Then the villager pulled out something from his kambal and gave it to Mankar. It was the railway ticket 271


to Dadar. The villager told him, “Please take my ticket to Dadar. I have some urgent work here so I have cancelled my journey.” Mankar felt very elated. He removed his purse to pay for the ticket, but found that the villager had disappeared. Mankar tried valiantly to find him but could not. He waited for him till the train left, but there was no trace of the villager. This was the second revelation Mankar had. He understood then that Baba could be anywhere and in any form to help His devotees. After going to Bandra, he stayed there for some time. By now he had become so much accustomed to live with Baba that he decided to go back to Shirdi and spend his lifetime there. He served Baba as long as he could and finally when the end came, he was fortunate to leave this world with the blessings of Baba and in His presence. TATYASAHEB NOOLKAR’S STORY: When Nanasaheb Chandorkar was a Mamlatdar in Pandharpur, Tatyasaheb was a Sub-judge there. Those were the days of 1909 AD, and Tatyasaheb had not yet visited Shirdi. He and Nanasaheb used to meet frequently and discuss about saints and sages. Tatyasaheb did not believe in them whereas Nanasaheb had already become a staunch devotee of Baba. Very often, he used to tell Tatyasaheb about Baba’s Leelas and press him to go to Shirdi and have darshan of Baba. After hearing Nanasaheb speak so many times about Sai Baba, he decided to go to Shirdi provided two of his conditions were fulfilled. The first condition was that he should get a brahmin cook. The second was that he should get good Nagpur oranges for presenting to Baba. Both these conditions were fulfilled providentially. A brahmin came to Nanasaheb for service. Nanasaheb sent him to Tatyasaheb. Then a parcel containing 100 beautiful oranges were received by Tatyasaheb. The sender’s name was not known. Now that the two conditions were fulfilled, he had to go to Shirdi. Seeing him at the masjid, Baba was greatly enraged. Slowly and steadily, Tatyasaheb had so many experiences that he was convinced 272


beyond all reasonable doubts that Baba was indeed God incarnate. Once convinced, he grew increasingly fond of Baba with each passing day. And then he decided to stay in Shirdi itself. With passing of time, the time for leaving his mortal remains also approached. Sacred literature was read out to him every day. At the last hour, Pada Teertha of Baba was brought and given to him. When he passed away, Baba said, “Tatya has left us behind. He won’t be born again.” That was the affection He had for Tatyasaheb Noolkar. (The above account is given in the Sai Leela magazine). MEGHA’S STORY: When Megha died, in the year 1912 AD, as described in Chapter 28, the entire village followed the funeral procession. Baba also accompanied the procession. He placed flowers on the body. After the obsequies were performed, Baba wept like any other mortal. Tears rolled down his eyes. It was one of those rare occasions when Baba was overcome with grief and sorrow. He cried as though He had lost a near relative. With a very heavy heart He returned to the masjid. For a very brief duration, Maya seems to have engulfed Him. Baba had given sadgati to so many of the devotees. What came as a great surprise to His devotees was that even cruel animals like a tiger came to Him seeking refuge and protection. TIGER’S STORY: Once it happened that a country cart came and stopped in front of the masjid. There were three men around the cart. Inside the cart was a ferocious tiger chained by iron chains. Its face was towards the rear of the cart. The tiger was used by the men to earn their livelihood. The three men took the tiger through every village and collected money by showing it to the villagers. After some years, it developed some disease and was making small growling sounds as it was suffering from some pain or agony. They tried to treat its ailment by various methods, but none of 273


them worked. Meanwhile, they heard of Baba’s fame and thought that He could cure the tiger. With that intention they brought the animal to the masjid. Leaving the cart outside, they went inside the masjid and narrated their woes to Baba. People had gathered around the tiger and were looking at it with awe and fun. Baba asked the tiger to be brought in. The three men brought the tiger tightly secured. As soon as it approached the steps, the tiger saw Baba, and was taken aback by the lustre radiating from Baba’s body. The tiger immediately hung its head down. When both looked each other in the eyes, the tiger climbed one step and looked very affectionately at Baba. With great love, it moved its tail vigorously and then hit the ground three times with the tail. With everyone seeing it, the tiger fell down senseless. The three men were shocked to know that the tiger was dead. Initially they were sad that their livelihood has gone. On second thoughts, they realized that it was suffering from disease and also that it had reached the end of its life. They were also wonderstruck at the way in which the tiger behaved in front of Baba. They considered it meritorious that it preferred to die in front of a saint. Seeing their grief, Baba said, “Don’t bereave. The tiger had to die here, so it came here. It has now attained peace. Bury it behind takiya in the Shivalay near Nandi. By doing this yourself, you will be releasing it from your Rinanubandha. It owed you a debt in the previous life. To clear off that debt, it had to take the birth of a tiger and serve you. After you bury it, it will attain higher worlds.” The three men and other devotees together buried the tiger at the place indicated by Baba. To cast off the mortal remains in the presence of great saints, is indeed very fortunate. Only those who have accumulated the results of extremely good deeds in the previous lives, become eligible for such a divine ending. They become one with the God and will never have a rebirth.

274


The tiger died exactly a week before Baba attained Mahasamadhi. With this, the thirty first chapter called as Darshana Mahima is complete. In the next chapter, Hemad Pant tells us about how Baba met His Guru and through him God, Mrs. Gokhale and other matters. || Sri Sadguru Sainathaarpanamasthu || Shubham Bhavatu || Om Shanti Shanti Shanti

275


276


|| sri sai satcharitra || || chapter thirty - two || || in quest of guru and god || || Sri Ganeshaya Namaha || Sri Saraswatye Namaha || || Sri Venkateshaya Namaha || Sri Sai Nathaya Namaha || || Sri Sadgurubhyo Namaha ||

In this chapter, Hemad Pant tells us about how Baba met His Guru and through him God, Mrs. Gokhale and other matters. ASHVATTHA TREE: This samsara has been compared, at various times by various persons, to the Ashvattha (banyan) tree. The Katha Upanishad says Oorvdha moolaha avaak shaakaha, yeshaha ashvattaha sanatanaha| tat yeva shukram tad brahma, tat yeva amrutam uchyate|| tasmin lokaaha shritaaha sarve| tat vu na atyeti kashchana|| yetat vai tat|| Kath Upanishad, Book II, Valli 6, Sl.1 (Yama said): There is that ancient Asvattha tree whose root is upwards and branches are down. That indeed is pure. That is Brahman and that alone is called Immortal. Upon that all the worlds depend and no one goes beyond that. This is verily That. Asvattha tree, the tree of Samsara extends from the Avyakta down to the immovable. This has its root in Brahman. From Brahman only the whole universe proceeds. Just as the tree can be cut down by an axe, so also, the tree of Samsara can be cut down by the axe of non-attachment or sword of Atman-Jnana, knowledge of the Self.

277


In Bhagavad-Gita, Sri Krishna says: Oordhwamoolam adhahshaakham ashwattham praahuravyayam| Cchandaamsi yasya parnaani yastam veda sa vedavit|| Ch.15, Sl.1 They say that the peepul Tree, which has its roots upward and the branches downward, and of which the Vedas are the leaves, is imperishable. He who realizes it is knower of the Vedas. In the next five slokas, Sri Krishna further says that the branches of that tree, extending down-wards and upwards, are strengthened by the qualities and have sense-objects as their shoots. And the roots, which are followed by actions, spread down-wards in the human world. Its form is not perceived here in that way; or its end, or beginning, or continuance. After felling this Peepul (banyan) tree whose roots are well developed, with the strong sword of detachment, that State has to be sought for, going where they do not return again: I take refuge in that Primeval Person Himself, from whom has ensued the eternal Manifestation. The wise ones who are free from pride and nondiscrimination, who have conquered the evil of association, (Hatred and love arising from association with foes and friends) who are ever devoted to spirituality, completely free from desires, free from the dualities called happiness and sorrow, reach that undecaying State. Neither the sun nor the moon nor fire illumines That. That is My supreme Abode, reaching which they do not return. To cut this tree of samsara, and to gain that sharp sword called detachment with which this tree can be cut, the guiding hand of a guru is essential. However learned one can be, however deep the study of Vedas and Vedantas be, one cannot go through this jungle without the guiding beacon of a guru. For the guru to successfully guide, the devotee must have complete faith and patience in the guru. If this faith is not there, we will be going round and round in the jungle, without ever coming out of it. 278


The same philosophy Baba expounds in this chapter in the form of a story from His own life. By following this story sincerely, we will be bestowed with faith, devotion and salvation. Let us listen to Baba. THE QUEST: Once, four of us were studying religious scriptures and other books. Being thus enlightened, we began to discuss the nature of Brahman. One of us said that we should raise Self by the Self, and should not depend on others. To this the second said that he who controls his mind is blessed. We should be free from thoughts and ideas and there is nothing in the world without us. The third one replied that the phenomenon (world) is always changing, the formless is eternal. So, we should discriminate between the Unreal and the Real. To this the fourth one (Baba Himself) urged that the bookish knowledge alone is worthless and added, ‘Let us do our prescribed duty and surrender our body, mind and five pranas (life) at the Guru’s feet. Guru is God, all pervading. To get this conviction, strong unbounded faith is necessary.’ While discussing in this way, we four learned men began to ramble through the woods in quest of God. The three wanted to make the search with their free and unaided intellect. On the way, a Vanjari (roaming trader) met us and asked us, ‘It is hot now, where and how far are you going?’ We replied, ‘To search the woods.’ He enquired, ‘On what quest are you bound?’ We gave him an ambiguous and evasive reply. On seeing us rambling aimlessly, he was moved and said, ‘Without knowing the woods fully, you should not wander at random. If you want to walk through forests and jungles, you should take a guide with you. Why do you exert yourselves unnecessarily in this hot noon sun? You may not tell me the secret of your quest. Still, you can sit down, eat food, drink water, take rest and then go. Be always 279


patient at heart.’ Though he spoke tenderly, we rejected his request and marched on. We thought that we were self contained men and needed nobody’s help. The woods were vast and trackless; the trees therein grew so close and tall that sun’s rays could not penetrate through them. So, we lost our way and wandered here and there, for a long time. Ultimately, through sheer good luck, we came back to the same place from where we started. The Vanjari saw us again and said, ‘By relying on your own cleverness, you missed your way. A guide is always necessary to show us the right way in small or great matters. And no quest can be successfully carried out on an empty stomach. Unless God wills it, no one meets us on the way. Do not discard offers of food; served food should not be thrust away. Offers of food should be regarded as auspicious signs of success.’ Saying this, he again offered us food and asked us to be calm and patient. Once again we did not like this good hospitality, rejected his offer and went away. Without doing any quest and without taking any food, the three began to move out. They were very obstinate. I was hungry and thirsty. I was moved by the Vanjari’s extraordinary love. We thought ourselves very learned, yet we were quite strangers to pity and kindness. The Vanjari was illiterate, unqualified, and belonged to a low caste. Still, he had love in his heart and asked us to eat the food. In this way, he who loves others disinterestedly is really the enlightened one. And I thought that acceptance of his hospitality was the best beginning of getting knowledge. So very respectfully, I accepted the food he offered ate it and drank water. Then lo! The Guru at once came and stood before us. He asked, ‘What was the dispute about?’ I told him everything that had happened. Then he said, ‘Would you like to come with me? I will show you what you want, but he alone, who believes in what I say, will be successful.’ The others did not agree to what he said and left him. I bowed to him reverently and accepted his dictum. Then he took Me to a well, tied My feet with a rope. He hung Me with My head downwards and feet upwards from a tree into the 280


well. I was suspended three feet above the water. I could not reach the water with My hands and the water also could not go into My mouth. After suspending Me in this manner, he went away, no one knew where. After 4 or 5 hours (10 or 12 Ghatakas) he returned and took Me out quickly. Then he asked Me how I fared. I replied, ‘In Bliss supreme I was. How can a fool like Me describe the joy I experienced?’ On hearing My reply, the Guru was very much pleased with Me, drew Me near him. He stroked My body with his hands and kept Me with him! He took care of Me as tenderly as a mother bird does of her young ones. He put Me into his school. How beautiful it was! There I forgot My parents. All My attachments were snapped and I was liberated easily. I thought that I should embrace his neck and remain staring at him always. If his image was not fixed in My pupils, I would prefer to be blind. Such was the school! No one who entered it once could return empty handed. My Guru became My all-in-all, My home, My property, mother, father and everything. All My senses left their places and concentrated in My eyes. My sight was centred on him. Thus was My Guru, the sole object of My meditation, and I was conscious of none else. While meditating him, My mind and intellect were stunned. I had thus to keep quiet and bow to him in silence. There are other schools where you see an altogether different spectacle. The disciples go there to seek knowledge and spend their money, time and labour. Ultimately they have to repent. The Guru there boasts of his secret knowledge and his straight forwardness. He makes a show of his sacredness and holiness. He is not tender at heart. He speaks a lot and sings his own glory. But, his own words do not touch the hearts of the disciples and they are not convinced. As for as self realization is concerned, he has none. How can such schools be of any use to the disciples, and how can they be benefited? My master (Guru) was of a different type. By his grace, realization flashed upon Me of itself, without effort or study. I did not have to seek anything. 281


Everything became clear to Me like broad daylight. The Guru alone knows how the topsy-turvy suspension, ‘with head down and feet up’ can give happiness!” Among the four, one was a Karmatha (ritualistic), who only knew how to observe, and abstain from certain rites; the second was Jnani, who was puffed up with pride of knowledge; and the third was a Bhakta, who surrendered himself completely to God, believing that He was the sole Doer. When they were discussing and arguing, the question of God turned up. All the three depending on their unaided knowledge went in search of Him. The fourth one was Sai Himself - discrimination and dispassion incarnate. Some may ask, “Why did He mix with them and act foolishly?” He did this for the purpose of enlightening us, and setting us an example to follow. As He was an incarnation, He respected a low Vanjari, by accepting his food and showed His firm belief in the saying, “Food is Brahman (annam para brahmam)”. He showed us how those who rejected Vanjari’s hospitable offer suffered. He also showed us how it was impossible to get Jnana without a Guru. The Taittiriya Upanishad says Deva pitrukaaryaabhyaam na pramaditavyam | matru devo bhava | pitru devo bhava | aacharya devo bhava | Atithi devo bhava | yaanya na vadyaani karmaani | taani sevitavyaani | no itaraani | yaanyasmaakaha soocharitaraani | taani tvayopaasyani | no itaraani || 2 || Tat.Up 11anu.Sl.2 Never swerve from the duties to the gods and to the manes. May the mother be thy God. May the father be thy God. May the preceptor be thy God. May the guest be thy God. Let only those actions that are free from blemishes be done, and not others. Only those that are good acts to us should be performed by thee and not others.

282


By worshiping one’s father, mother, teacher and guests as veritable gods without regarding them as mere men, paying them due reverence and serving them with great respect will purify our minds. Unless this purification is done, self realization is not possible. The senses, the mind, or the intellect cannot take us to the self. Deductive or intuitive logic, such as perception and inference, or learning Vyakarana (grammar) will not help us in the matter. It is the grace of Guru alone which can take us to our destination. Out of the four Purusharthas - Dharma, Artha and Kama can be attained by our effort. The fourth, namely Moksha, can be attained only by the grace of a Sadguru. In the Durbar of our beloved Baba, many personalities make their presence and play their part. Astrologers, princes, noblemen, ordinary and poor men, Sannyasins, yogis, singers come for Baba’s darshan. Jugglers, Gondhalis (who sing devotional songs), the blind, the lame, Nath panthis, dancers come and get blessed by Baba. Like them, the Vanjari also played an important part. We will now see what Mrs. Gokhale will do. MRS GOKAHALE’S STORY: Baba never fasted Himself. He did not allow others also to fast. The mind of a person, who fasts, is never at ease. With an unsteady mind how can one attain one’s Paramartha (goal of life)? As the Vanjari said, “No quest can be successfully carried out on an empty stomach!” The soul has to be appeased first. It is only when the stomach is full that the eyes can see God, the tongue can describe the greatness of God and the ears can listen to what the tongue is extolling. It is only when all the sense organs get their proper nutrition, can we practice devotion and sadhanas. Neither fasting nor overeating is good. Moderation in diet is wholesome, both to the body and the mind. Mrs Gokhale came to Shirdi to get Baba’s darshan and blessing. She brought with her a letter of introduction from a devotee of Baba, Mrs Kashibai Kanitkar to Dada Kelkar. She came with a determination to sit at Baba’s feet and observe fast 283


for three days. A day before she arrived in Shirdi, Baba had told Dada Kelkar that He would not allow Dada’s children to fast during Shimga (festival of Holi) and if they had to fast, why was He there? With this background, when Mrs Gokhale came next day with Dada Kelkar and sat near Baba’s feet, Baba said, “Why fast? Go to Dadabhat’s house, prepare pooran polis (wheat rolls with gram flour and jaggery), feed his children and yourself.” It was the period of Shimga holidays and Mrs Kelkar was undergoing her monthly periods. There was nobody to cook in Dadabhat’s house and the children were without food. Baba’s advice was thus very timely and Mrs Gokhale implemented it. She went to Dadabhat’s house, prepared pooran polis, fed everyone in the house and herself. What a beautiful story and how divine is its meaning! BABA’S SARKAR: Baba narrates another story from His boyhood days as follows: “When I was young, I went to Beedgaum in search of livelihood. There I did some embroidery work. I worked hard and spared no pains. The employer was very much pleased with Me. There were three other boys who worked with Me. The first one got Rs.50/-, the second got Rs.100/- and the third got Rs.150/-. I was given twice the sum of all the three amounts, namely Rs.600/-. After seeing My cleverness, the employer loved Me, praised Me and honoured Me with a full dress- turban for the head, shell for the body etc. I kept this dress intact without using it. I thought that what a man gives does not last long, and is always imperfect. What My Sarkar (God) gives, lasts till the end of time. No other gift from any man can be compared to what He gives. My Sarkar says, ‘Take, take’. Everybody comes to Me and says, ‘Give, give.’ Nobody listens carefully to what I say. My Sarkar’s treasury (spiritual wealth) is full, it is overflowing. I say, ‘Dig out and take away this wealth in cartloads. Every blessed son of a 284


mother should fill himself with this wealth’. The skill of My Fakir, the Leela of My Bhagwan and the aptitude of My Sarkar is quite unique. What is there for Me? This Body will mix with earth, breath with air. This moment of time won’t come again. I go somewhere, sit somewhere. This cruel Maya troubles Me much, still I always feel anxious for My men. He who does something (spiritual endeavour) will reap its benefit and he who remembers these words of Mine will get invaluable happiness.” Before we end this chapter, let us prostrate once again at the divine feet of our beloved Baba and pray that His treasury should be kept open always for us. Om Sri Sadguru Sainath Maharaj Ki Jai!! With this, the thirty second chapter, called as In quest of Guru and God, is complete. In the next chapter, Hemad Pant tells us about how Baba cured Scorpion Sting and plague cases, the Jamner Miracle, Narayan Rao’s sickness, Balabuva Sutar, Appasaheb Kulkarni, Haribhau Karnik and other matters. || Sri Sadguru Sainathaarpanamasthu || Shubham Bhavatu || Om Shanti Shanti Shanti

285


286


|| sri sai satcharitra || || chapter thirty - three || || the greatness of udi ||

|| Sri Ganeshaya Namaha || Sri Saraswatye Namaha || || Sri Venkateshaya Namaha || Sri Sai Nathaya Namaha || || Sri Sadgurubhyo Namaha ||

In this chapter, Hemad Pant tells us about how Baba cured Scorpion Sting and plague cases, the Jamner Miracle, Narayan Rao’s sickness, Balabuva Sutar, Appasaheb Kulkarni, Haribhau Karnik and other matters. SADGURU SAI BABA: Baba has always stressed the need for a guru to show us the right way in small or great matters. In this great jungle of life, various doctrines, dogmas and philosophies have grown like the wild trees, so close and tall that any ray of intelligent and understandable thought cannot penetrate through them, as far as an ordinary uninitiated person is concerned. In such a jungle of contradictions and arguments, is there no way out for the honest and sincere seeker of self realization? Baba points out that only a loving and affectionate sadguru can lead us to the light. On the way, he will provide us with food and water also, thus taking care of our physical and spiritual requirements. What all is required from us is only a complete faith in the guru. To qualify to be a disciple, it is not necessary to know the Vedas or the Vedantas by heart, nor is it necessary to have the intelligence to dissect various arguments and reach conclusions. Faith and patience are the only attributes required of us. The guru will lead us to our destination. Baba has also pointed out that with the guiding hand of the sadguru, realization will flash on us, without effort or study. We do not have to even seek anything; everything will become clear 287


to us like broad daylight. Such is the power of sadguru, and it is the effect of our past good deeds that we have a Sadguru like Sri Sai Baba, who is always anxious for His devotees and for whom, He always keeps His treasury open and says, “Take, take.� Let us prostrate at the divine feet of this kind, benevolent, affectionate and ever forgiving our beloved Baba. UDI PRASADAM: It is well known that whoever went to the masjid and prostrated at the feet of Baba and got His blessings, got the Udi prasadam from Baba. To many He gave the Udi by hand. To some others, He affectionately smeared it on their forehead. Why did Baba attach so much importance to Udi? The Sadguru that He is, Baba teaches us so many things through this Udi prasadam. Udi is nothing more than ash. Ash is what remains after anything is burnt. Whether it is a rich man, or poor, old or young, male or female, a great jnani or an ordinary bhakta, a sinner or a devotee, all are turned to ash once they are burnt. There is no discrimination as far as ash is concerned. Not just humans composed of five elements, but anything if burnt becomes ash. Ash is Brahman. Baba teaches us that Brahman is the ultimate reality. Udi is the ash taken from Dhuni - the sacred Fire. Baba kept the Dhuni fire ever burning from the day He came to Shirdi. It is well known that Baba took Dakshina from all. Out of the amount thus collected, He spent a large part on charity and purchased fuel with the balance left with Him. He used this fuel to keep the fires of Dhuni burning. The ash from Dhuni was distributed as Udi prasadam by Baba at the time of their departure from Shirdi. Udi symbolizes the fact that this universe is ephemeral, and that no one in this world, whether it is father, son, mother, or wife, is really ours. We have come into this world alone, and alone we have to go out of this world. When we came into this world, we did not bring anything with us and we cannot take anything when we go out of this world. Baba teaches us the 288


principle of discrimination between the Unreal and the Real by the Udi prasadam. He also teaches us the principle of non attachment to the Unreal by taking Dakshina. Unless we learn these two principles of discrimination (Viveka) and non attachment (Vairagya), it is not possible for us to cross the limitless sea of samsara. In addition to the spiritual implications of Udi, there are material benefits also. Udi has conferred health, prosperity, freedom from anxiety and many other worldly gains. Whenever He was in a cheerful mood Baba used to sing a song about Udi. Ramate Raam aavoji | Udiyon Ki goniya laavoji || Playful Rama, come, come | bring with you sacks of Udi || How many bags of Udi have come out of Dhuni, nobody knows. How many have gained health, prosperity and progeny from this Udi, no one knows. Baba always fulfilled the desires of the devotees before turning them on to the path of spiritualism. SCORPION STING: Ramachandra Vaman Modak was a devotee of Baba. Narayan Motiram Jani was working under him and was also a devotee of Baba. Once, when Narayan went with his mother to Shirdi for Baba’s darshan, Baba told his mother that her son should not work under any one any more. Baba asked him to start independent business. Knowing his financial condition better, Narayan wondered whether Baba’s words would ever come true. Few days later, Narayan Jani had to leave the service of Modak and started a boarding house named, “Anandashram”. It thrived well and Narayan was very happy that Baba’s words had come true and his devotion to Baba increased several folds. Narayan Jani had total faith in Baba now. Once, a friend of his was stung by a scorpion. The pain due to the bite was severe and unbearable. Having total faith in Baba, Narayan wanted to apply Udi at the point of scorpion bite. He searched the entire house but could not locate Udi. Not 289


knowing what to do, Narayan stood before Baba’s picture and invoked Baba’s help and chanted Baba’s name. He took a pinch of the ashes fallen from the joss stick burning in front of Baba’s picture. Thinking it to be Baba’s Udi prasadam, he applied it on the seat of pain and where the scorpion had stung. As soon as he took out his fingers after applying the Udi, the pain vanished. Both Narayan and his friend were happy. THE JAMNER MIRACLE: During 1904-05 AD, Nanasaheb was a Mamlatdar at Jamner, in Khandesh District. Jamner is more than 100 miles away from Shirdi. His daughter Mainatai was pregnant and was about to deliver. Her case had become serious as she was suffering from labour pains for the past two to three days. Nanasaheb tried all medicines but were not helpful. He then prayed Baba and asked for His help. Let us see what was happening in Shirdi. Ramgirbuva, whom Baba called as Bapugirbuva, wanted to go to his native place in Khandesh. Baba called him and told him to go to Jamner, hand over Udi and arati to Nanasaheb, take some rest and then go to his place. Ramgirbuva told Him that he had just two rupees with him and it was sufficient to go from Shirdi to Jalgaon. He did not have money to go from Jalgaon to Jamner, which is about 30 miles. Baba assured him that he need not worry as everything would be taken care of. Then Baba asked Shyama to write down a well known arati composed by Madhav Adkar on a sheet of paper and give it to Ramgirbuva. (This is given at the end of the chapter.) With full faith in Baba, Ramgirbuva left Shirdi. He reached Jalgaon at the early hours of next morning, around 02.45 AM. He had only two annas with him and did not know what to do. As soon as he got down into the platform, someone was calling, “Who is Bapugirbuva from Shirdi?” Ramgirbuva identified himself. Then the person took his luggage and led him to an excellent Tonga with a pair of very good horses. The Tonga 290


was going very fast and at the dawn, they were near a small river. The driver took the horses for watering and Ramgirbuva washed his face and was ready to travel. The driver offered him some thing to eat. Seeing the dress and the beard with the moustache, Ramgirbuva thought that he might be a Muslim and politely declined the offer. Then the driver told him that he was a Kshatriya of Garhwal and was sent by Nanasaheb. Even the eatables were sent by Nanasaheb. Then they both ate the food together and started on their journey. They reached Jamner just when the day was breaking in. Ramgirbuva alighted to attend to the nature calls. When he returned after a few minutes, he found that his luggage was left on the roadside and there was no trace of either the driver or the Tonga. Both had disappeared. Ramgirbuva did not know what to do. He went to a nearby office and found out the address of Nanasaheb. They told him that he was at home only. Ramgirbuva went to Nanasaheb’s house and told him that he had come from Shirdi. Nanasaheb was in a very anxious state as his daughter’s condition had become very serious. The moment he received the Udi and the arati from Ramgirbuva, he felt a great relief. He called his wife and asked her to give Udi mixed with water to his daughter to drink and sing Baba’s arati. Within few minutes, the birth of the baby was joyfully announced and the crisis was over. Nanasaheb profusely thanked Ramgirbuva for taking the trouble of bringing the Udi and also taking the detour for his sake. Then it was the turn of Ramgirbuva to thank him for the beautiful Tonga, the courteous driver and the excellent food that Nanasaheb had sent for him. Nanasaheb was perplexed. He confessed that he had not sent anyone anywhere, and for that matter did not even know that Ramgirbuva was coming. Both were astounded by the deep interest shown by Baba in the welfare of his devotees. Later on in the Sai Leela Magazine, vol 13, nos. 11, 12, 13, Mr. BV Deo of Thana, Retired Mamlatdar has written an article, partly in prose and partly in poetry, about this episode. He 291


contacted Ramgirbuva and also Bapurao Chandorkar, son of Nanasaheb Chandorkar. BV Deo’s article is very exhaustive and interesting to read. Mr BV Narasimhaswami has also taken down the statements of 1. Mainatai (No.V page 14), 2. Bapusaheb Chandorkar (No.XX page 50) and 3. Ramgirbuva (No.XXVII, page 83) dated 1st June 1936, 16th September 1936 and 1st December 1936 respectively and published them in his ‘Devotees’ Experiences Part III’. The following is quoted from Ramgirbuva’s statement: “One day Baba called me to him, and gave me a packet of Udi and copy of Baba’s Arti. I had to go to Khandesh at the time. Baba directed me to go to Jamner, and told me to deliver the Arti and the Udi to Nanasaheb Chandorkar at Jamner. I said to Baba, that all I had was Rs.2/- and asked Him, how that could take me by train from Kopergaon to Jalgaon, and next by cart from Jalgaon to Jamner. Baba said, “God will give”. That was a Friday and I started at once. I reached Manmad at 7.30 PM and Jalgaon at 02.45 AM. At that time plague regulations were in force, and I had much trouble. I was to discover what I should do to get to Jamner. At about 03.00 AM, a peon in boots, turban and well equipped with other details of good dress, came to me and took me to a tanga and drove me on. I was in panic. On the way at Baghoor, I took refreshments. We reached Jamner early in the morning and by the time I attended my call of nature, the tanga and its driver had disappeared (page 83).” BUBONIC PLAGUE: Nanasaheb Chandorkar was, once, traveling in a train with his wife to Kalyan. He came to know that a friend of his in Bandra had a problem. The friend’s daughter who was in some other place was down with bubonic plague. The friend wanted to send Udi to his daughter but did not have any with him. He went to Nanasaheb. Nanasaheb also did not have any Udi with him in the train. So, as soon as the train reached Thana, he got down from the train. He took some earth from the platform, meditated 292


Baba, invoked His help and applied the earth to his wife’s forehead. The friend saw all this and when he went to his daughter’s place, he was happy to learn that his daughter, who was suffering for three days, began to improve from the very moment Nanasaheb applied the earth on the fore head of his wife by invoking Baba’s help. NARAYAN RAO’S STORY: Among the several devotees who were fortunate to see Baba in the human form before His Mahasamadhi, Narayanrao was one of them. He could see Him twice in Shirdi. Within a year of Mahasamadhi, he fell sick and suffered very much. All normal medicines were of no avail. So he meditated Baba day and night. One night he had a dream in which Baba came through a cellar and comforted him saying, “Don’t be anxious. You will improve from tomorrow. In a week, you will be on your feet.” Narayanrao got well within the period specified by Baba. For those who thought that Baba was alive till 1918 only, this episode should be an eye opener. Baba is so great that He does not require a human body to help His devotees. Whether in the human form or outside it, Baba is always by our side. There is no stipulation that one should be a staunch devotee of Baba. Any one can call Him for help and He immediately responds. We humans make discrimination, but Baba does not. He always says, “Take, take”. BALABUVA SUTAR’S STORY: Balabuva Sutar was a saint in Bombay. On account of his piety, devotion and Bhajan, he was called as ‘Modern Tukaram’. He came to Shirdi for the first time in 1917 AD. He went to masjid and prostrated at the feet of Baba. Baba said, “I know him since four years.” Balabuva was wonderstruck, as it was his first trip to Shirdi. After sufficient thinking, he recollected that, four years ago, he had prostrated at Baba’s portrait in Bombay. He was then convinced of Baba’s words. He thought, “How omniscient and all pervading are the saints and how kind they are to their 293


Bhaktas! I merely bowed to His photo, but this fact was noticed by Baba and in due time made me realize that seeing His photo is equivalent to seeing Him in person!” APPASAHEB KULKARNI’S STORY: In 1917 AD Appasaheb Kulkarni was transferred to Thana. He began worshipping Baba’s photo presented to him by Balasaheb Bhate. He worshipped Baba very earnestly. He offered flowers, sandal paste and naivedyam every day. He wanted to see Baba very much. This desire became almost an obsession for him. When he was in Thana, he had to go on official tour to Bhivandi. He was not expected to return within a week. On the third day after he left for tour, a fakir looking exactly like Baba in the photo, came to Appasaheb’s house. Kulkarni’s wife and children were so much taken aback that they asked the fakir if he was Sai Baba. He told them that he was not Baba but was an obedient servant of Baba. He also told them that he had come to enquire about the health of the family. Then he asked for Dakshina and the lady gave him one rupee. He gave her a small packet containing Udi and asked her to keep it in the pooja room with the photo for worshipping. After some time he went his way. Appasaheb could not proceed with his trip as planned. This was because his horses fell sick at Bhivandi. He returned home that afternoon and was told by his wife that a fakir looking similar to Baba in the photo had visited them. He was furious in his mind for having missed seeing Baba. He asked her for more details. When she told him that she gave Dakshina of one rupee, he was very angry. He felt that one rupee was not sufficient for Baba. He would have given at least ten rupees. Saying this, he went out in search of the fakir. He looked for him in masjids and other places as well. His quest was not successful. He then came home and took his food. Baba had said always that no quest can be carried out successfully on an empty stomach. After meals, Appasaheb went out for a walk with his friend Mr Chitre. After going for some distance, they observed that a man was 294


approaching them rapidly. Appasaheb immediately recognized him as the fakir who had visited his house. He completely resembled Baba in the photo he was worshipping. The fakir immediately extended his hand and asked for Dakshina. Appasaheb gave him one rupee. The fakir pocketed the rupee and again extended his hand. This time Appasaheb gave him two rupees. The fakir once again pocketed the two rupees and again extended his hand. Then Appasaheb borrowed Rs.3/- from his friend and gave it to the fakir. The fakir wanted more. Appasaheb requested him to come to his house where he would give the Dakshina which the fakir wanted. After going home, Appasaheb gave him three rupees. The fakir pocketed the three rupees and asked for more. Appasaheb told him that he did not have change and that he had a currency note of Rs.10/-. The fakir asked for the same. When Appasaheb gave him the note, he pocketed it and returned the nine coins which he had earlier taken from Appasaheb. The nine coins were thus consecrated by Baba’s hand and given to Appasaheb. Baba also gave nine coins to Laxmibai Shinde and nine also signifies the Nava Vidha Bhakti. After the fakir left, Appasaheb opened the Udi packet. He found some flower petals and akshata. Subsequently when he went to Shirdi, he was able to get a hair from Baba. He put the Udi packet and the hair in a amulet and wore it always on his arm. Appasaheb realized the power of Udi in a few days. Earlier, though he was intelligent and hard working, he got only Rs.40/as pay. After he got the Udi prasadam from Baba, he got many times more than forty rupees as earnings and his power and influence also grew rapidly. Along with his materialistic growth, his spiritual growth was also assured. Let us all be also fortunate like Appasaheb and everyday after bath, apply the Udi to our forehead and take some part of it mixed with water as holy Teertha. If we follow this routine without fail everyday, no fear can come anywhere near us. Baba will protect us always.

295


HARIBHAU KARNIK’S STORY: Haribhau Karnik of Dahanu (Thana District) had another beautiful experience. He came to Shirdi in 1917 on the Guru Poornima day in the month of Ashadha and worshipped Baba with all the formality. He offered clothes and Dakshina to Baba. After that, through Shyama, he sought permission from Baba to leave. He got the permission and was climbing down the steps when a thought came to him that he should have given one more rupee as Dakshina to Baba. When he turned around to climb up the steps, Shyama, understanding his predicament, informed him by signs that as he had got the permission from Baba, he should leave. So Haribhau left for home. On his way home, he went inside the temple of Kala Rama at Nasik for Darshana. Saint Narsing Maharaj, who was sitting inside the big door of the temple with his devotees, stood up, came to Haribhau, extended his hand and said, “Give me my one rupee.” Haribhau was surprised. He gave the one rupee very happily and his adoration for Baba increased many times. What he had decided in his mind, Baba recovered it through the Saint Narsing Maharaj. The power of Udi prasadam is all pervading. We will see some more instances where in Udi has granted material and spiritual benefits to the devotees in the subsequent chapters. Let us bow at the divine feet of our beloved Baba and pray that His grace will always be with us. Sadguru Sainath Maharaj Ki Jai! BABA’S ARATI: This arati song written by Madhav Adkar is similar to ‘Arati Jnanaraja’ written by Ram Janardan. The tunes of both the songs are same. Madhav Adkar wrote this arati song at the divine inspiration. Baba loved this song very much. Without this arati, Baba’s pooja is incomplete. Aarati Sai Baba| Soukhya daataara jeevaa | Charanarajaa taalim| dyava daasaam visaava | bhaktaa visaava || 296


Jaaluniya ananga | svasva rupeem raahe danga | Mumukshu jana daavee | nijadolaam sriranga | dolaam sriranga || Jaya maneem jaisaa bhaava | taya taisaa anubhava | Daavisee dayaaghanaa | aisee tujheehi maava | tujheehi maava || Tumche naama dhyaataam | hare sanskriti vyathaa | Agaadha tava karini | marga daaveesee anaathaa | daavisee anaathaa || Kaliyugeem avatara | saguna brahma sachaaraa | Avateerna jaahalaase | swami dattaa digambara | dattaa digambara || Aathaam divasaam guru vaareem | bhakta kareeti vaaree | Prabhupada pahavayaa | bhava bhaya nivaaree | bhava bhaya nivaaree || Maajhaa nijaa dravya thevaa | tava charana raja sevaa | Maagane henchi aataam | tumhaa devadhi devaa | devadhi devaa || Ichchita deena chaataka | nirmala toya nija sukha | Paajaave maadhavaa yaa | sambhaala aapooli hee bhaaka | aapooli hee bhaakaa || Oh Sai Baba, we wave arati before You, the bestower of happiness to the Jivas. Give us - Your servants and devotees rest under the dust of Your feet, burning (destroying) desire. You remain absorbed in Your self and show the Lord (God) to the aspirants. As one feels intently, You give him experiences or realizations accordingly. Oh kind hearted Your power is such! Meditation of Your name removes our fear of the samsara. Your method of word is really unfathomable as You always help the poor and the helpless. In this Kaliyuga, You the all pervasive Datta have really incarnated as Sagun Brahma. Ward off the fear of samsara of the devotees who come to You every Thursday, so as to enable them to see the feet of the Lord. Oh God of Gods, I pray that let my treasure be the service of Your feet. Feed Madhav (and Gadhij also) with happiness as the cloud feeds the chaataka bird with pure water, and thus keep up Your word. 297


With this, the thirty third chapter, called as The Greatness of Udi, is complete. In the next chapter, Hemad Pant tells us about Dr.Pillay, Shyama’s sister in law, Irani girl, Harda gentleman, Bombay Lady and other matters. || Sri Sadguru Sainathaarpanamasthu || Shubham Bhavatu || Om Shanti Shanti Shanti

298


|| sri sai satcharitra || || chapter thirty - four ||

|| the greatness of udi - 2 || || Sri Ganeshaya Namaha || Sri Saraswatye Namaha || || Sri Venkateshaya Namaha || Sri Sai Nathaya Namaha || || Sri Sadgurubhyo Namaha ||

In this chapter, Hemad Pant tells us about Dr.Pillay, Shyama’s sister in law, Irani girl, Harda gentleman, Bombay Lady and other matters. DOCTOR’S NEPHEW’S STORY: There is a place called Malegaon in Nasik District. In Malegaon, there was a doctor by name Dr. DM Mulky. He was qualified and had a medical degree. His brothers were also doctors. His nephew, a young boy, suffered from tubercular bone abscess. Being doctors themselves, all of them tried to treat the boy. They tried all sorts of remedies, even a surgical operation was carried out, but without any use. There was no relief and the boy’s suffering only increased. Well meaning friends and relatives told them that only divine intervention could help and in this connection, they could try meeting a saint in Shirdi. He was known by the name of Sri Sai Baba and was known to cure many incurable diseases. Many of the complicated cases, He cured by His mere glance alone. The parents, along with the boy went to Shirdi. They took the boy in their arms to the masjid and placed the boy at the divine feet of Baba. The parents pleaded humbly and respectfully and implored Baba to save their son from further suffering. Kind hearted and merciful Baba comforted them, saying, “Don’t worry. Those who have come to this Masjidmai shall never suffer anything in this life or till the end of time itself. Be 299


care free. Apply Udi on the abscess, and in one week he will recover. Believe in God. This is no masjid, but Dwarawati. Whoever steps in, will soon get health and happiness. His sufferings will come to an end.” The parents made the boy sit near Baba. With very loving care and tenderness, Baba caressed the affected part with His hands. Love was exuding from His eyes and the boy forgot the pain completely and was feeling very pleasant. With the regular application of Udi, the boy recovered within the time specified by Baba. The parents then sought Baba’s permission to leave Shirdi. Baba blessed them once again and gave them Udi prasadam. The grateful parents worshipped Baba throughout their life. The doctor came to know about the improvement in the health of his nephew. Being a professional doctor, he was wonderstruck at the miracle and desired very much to see Baba. He planned to go to Shirdi when he went to Bombay for some business. Just before he left, some one told him some things against Baba at Malegaon itself and again when he reached Manmad, there also some one spoke critically about Baba. Having been thus poisoned in the mind, he dropped going to Shirdi. Instead, he went directly to Bombay and after completing his work there, he wanted to spend his holidays at Alibaug. However, when he was in Bombay, every night he used to hear a voice, “Still, do you disbelieve Me?” After hearing this voice for several days, he changed his mind and decided to go to Shirdi. In Bombay, he was attending to a case of infectious fever, which did not show any signs of abatement. As the case was getting complicated, the doctor thought that his Shirdi trip may have to be postponed. Then he got an idea. He put a test to his mind. He thought that if the patient got better that day, he would leave for Shirdi next day. The most wonderful thing was that just at the time the doctor was thinking of his idea, the fever started subsiding. When the doctor went to see the patient, the temperature had become normal. As planned, the doctor immediately went to Shirdi, 300


prostrated at the feet of Baba and got His blessings. Then Baba made him go through so many varied experiences that ultimately, the doctor became one of the staunch devotees of Baba. The doctor stayed there for four days, and then returned home with Baba’s Udi prasadam. Within a fortnight of his coming home, he got a promotion and was posted to Bijapur. Dr PILLAY’S STORY: Dr Pillay was one of the intimate devotees of Baba. Baba loved him very much. He used to call him as ‘Bhau’ and discussed so many issues with him. Invariably, Pillay used to sit next to Baba in the masjid. Once, Pillay suffered from an attack of guinea worms. One after another, he had seven boils on his body. The pain had become unbearable, and chanting Sai nama smarana was almost impossible with that suffering. So, when Kakasaheb Dixit visited him one day, Pillay told him, “The pain has become unbearable. I prefer death to this pain. I know that this is because of the misdeeds in the past lives and I cannot escape the effects of those misdeeds. Please go to Baba and request Him to transfer these effects to ten future births. Suffering so much of pain in this birth alone is becoming impossible for me.” Kakasaheb duly went to Baba and told him of Pillay’s request. Hearing about Pillay’s plight, Baba said, “Tell him not to worry. Why should he suffer for ten births? In ten days, he can complete the sufferings and consequences of his past Karma. When I am here to give him all the help, why should he pray for death? Bring him here on someone’s back. We can finish his sufferings once and for all.” Somebody brought Pillay on his back and he was made to sit on Baba’s right side. Baba gave him His bolster and told him, “The true remedy is that the results of the past actions have to be suffered and got over. Our Karma is the cause of our happiness and sorrow. Therefore, put up with whatever comes your way. Allah is the only Dispenser and Protector. Think of Him always. He will take care of you. Surrender to Him completely, with body, mind, speech and wealth. Then see what He does.” Pillay 301


told Baba that Nanasaheb had applied a bandage over the leg. Even then, he did not find any relief. Baba replied, “Nana is a fool. Take off that bandage or you will die. Now a crow will come and peck you. Then you will recover.” It was evening. That was the time when Abdul comes for trimming the lamps and lighting them. In addition, Abdul also cleaned the masjid. Baba had just completed talking to Pillay. Pillay was trying to relax by stretching his leg. While carrying out his work, Abdul accidentally stepped on Pillay’s outstretched leg. The leg was already swollen and when Abdul stepped on it with all his weight and almost crushed the leg, Pillay let go a huge death cry. For some time to come, he was shouting. Then, he began to sing and shout. Baba was amused and said, “See, our bhau has become alright. He is singing.” Then Pillay asked Baba, “When will the crow come and peck?” Baba replied, “Did you not see the crow? It won’t come again. Abdul was the crow. Now go and take rest in the Wada. You will be all right soon.” When Abdul stepped on the leg and almost crushed it, he had squeezed out all the seven guinea worms. With the source of the infection gone, it was only a short time before Pillay recovered fully. The cure was completed by administering a dose of Udi prasadam everyday taken internally by mixing it with water. The disease was completely cured in ten days as Baba had told. SHYAMA’S SISTER-IN-LAW: Shyama’s younger brother, Bapaji was married and was living near the Sawul well. Once, his wife suffered bubonic plague. She had high fever and developed two buboes in her groins. Bapaji immediately went to Shirdi to meet his brother. He told Shyama everything about the suffering of his wife and requested his help. Shyama was frightened and decided to go to Sawul with his brother and render whatever help he could. Before leaving he went to masjid to seek Baba’s permission. He prostrated at Baba’s divine feet and told Him everything and sought his permission. Baba said, “Don’t go there at this late 302


hour. Send her the Udi. Why care for the fever and the buboes? God is our father and master. She will be alright easily. Go there in the morning and return immediately.” Nothing in this world was more important to Shyama than Baba’s words. When Baba told him not to go in the night and send only Udi, he implicitly followed Baba’s instructions. He sent the Udi with his brother Bapaji and also told him the instructions for dispensing the Udi. So, Bapaji mixed some part of the Udi with water and gave it to his wife. As soon as she took the Udi in water, she had heavy perspiration and the fever started subsiding slowly. She had a good sleep in the night. Next day morning, Bapaji found that his wife had woken up earlier than him and was actively engaged in doing her daily routine work. She was already at the fireplace and preparing tea. When Shyama went there in the morning, he was surprised at the development. His brother told him that it was all the Mahima of Udi. Udi had completely cured his wife of the plague. Then Shyama recalled Baba’s instructions to return back immediately. After taking tea offered by his sisterin-law, he promptly came back to Shirdi and went to the masjid. He prostrated at the feet of Baba. Shyama asked, “Deva! What is this Leela! You raise a storm and make us restless. Then You only will remove the storm and make us calm and peaceful.” Baba replied, “Mysterious are the ways of the consequences of Karma. I don’t do anything. Still, people hold Me responsible. The actions take place because of adrishta (destiny). I am only a passive observer. The Lord is the only doer and inspirer. He is the most merciful also. I am not God. I am only His obedient servant and remember Him often. He who submits to Him totally, will have his shackles removed and will get liberation.” IRANI’S DAUGHTER: In Bombay there was an Irani gentleman. He had a daughter, who was young. The daughter was cute and good looking but had a problem. She got fits every hour. Whenever the convulsions came, she moved her limbs violently, was unable to 303


speak and fell down unconscious. No doctor could cure her of this disease. Some well meaning friends suggested that Baba’s Udi was very effective and hence should be applied. They also told the Irani that Udi would be available with one Kakasaheb Dixit staying at Vile Parle (suburb of Bombay). Next day the Irani went to Vile Parle and met Kakasaheb Dixit. Kakasaheb was only too eager to help and gave him Baba’s Udi prasadam. The Irani applied some part of the Udi to the forehead of the girl and mixed some with water and gave it internally. Initially, because of the effect of Udi, the convulsions which were coming at every hour now came at every seven hour intervals. A few days later, the convulsions stopped completely. GENTLEMAN FROM HARDA: There was an old gentleman in Harda (Central Provinces presently UP). Due to age, he was suffering from stones in his kidney. Oral medicines are not very effective for this ailment. The stones are removed by surgery. As this gentleman was old and infirm, surgery could not be performed. He felt that he was destined to suffer the pain till his death. May be because of his good deeds, the Inamdar (City Officer) of that city happened to be a firm devotee of Baba. He always had a stock of Udi prasadam. The old man’s son came to know through some friends the power and efficacy of Udi. He took some Udi from the Inamdar and gave it to his father. Within five minutes of administering the Udi, the stones were dissolved and came out in the urine. The old man felt a great sense of relief. LADY FROM BOMBAY: A Kayastha Prabhu caste lady in Bombay suffered extreme pain during delivery. She was very much frightened and because of labour pains did not want any children at all. In due course of time, she again became pregnant and was scared. Sri Ramamaruti of Kalyan, who was a staunch devotee of Baba, suggested the lady’s husband that she may be taken to Shirdi for a 304


painless delivery. The husband and wife went to Shirdi and stayed there for some months. They worshipped Baba everyday and were benefited by His company. When the time for delivery came, there was the usual obstruction in the passage from the womb. She began to suffer labour pains and started chanting Baba’s name. Some neighbouring women came for help and gave her Baba’s Udi prasadam mixed with water. After that the delivery was very comfortable. The child, because of its fate, was still born. The mother, of course, got rid of her anxiety and pain and was ever grateful to Baba. Before closing this chapter, let us once again prostrate at the divine feet of the ever merciful and always forgiving our beloved Baba. With this, the thirty fourth chapter, called as The Greatness of Udi-2, is complete. In the next chapter, Hemad Pant tells us about Kaka Mahajani’s friend and master, Bandra Insomnia case, Bala Patil Newaskar and other matters. || Sri Sadguru Sainathaarpanamasthu || Shubham Bhavatu || Om Shanti Shanti Shanti

305


306


|| sri sai satcharitra || || chapter thirty - five || || the greatness of udi - 3 || || Sri Ganeshaya Namaha || Sri Saraswatye Namaha || || Sri Venkateshaya Namaha || Sri Sai Nathaya Namaha || || Sri Sadgurubhyo Namaha ||

In this chapter, Hemad Pant tells us about Kaka Mahajani’s friend and master, Bandra Insomnia case, Bala Patil Newaskar and other matters. SECTARIANISM: Sectarianism implies a narrow minded adherence to a single concept. To cite an example, some of the people who practice Nirguna Brahma form of worship, are heard to comment that Saguna form of worship is not ideal. Their method of worship alone is superior. Such dogmatic approaches are always big barriers in the path of spiritual progress. Everyone is free to follow his own path depending on his requirements. There are some others who hold the view that saints are, after all, only human beings. Every saint has proved time and again that in this human form itself God realization could be achieved. Similarly, some comment bitterly about the Dakshina taken by the saints. They say that if the saints take Dakshina, then where is their sainthood? We have seen in the discussion on Dakshina Meemaamsa that the saints accept Dakshina, not because they need money but because by accepting Dakshina they are liberating us from the effects of the misdeeds of out previous lives. There are others who boast that they would never visit Shirdi and even if they visit, they will never bow to a human being or they would never give Dakshina. It is the same people 307


who do visit Shirdi, when their turn comes, and it is the same people who bow at the divine feet of our beloved Baba and ultimately offer Dakshina. Some instances of this are narrated in this chapter. KAKA MAHAJANI’S FRIEND: Though Kaka Mahajani was a staunch devotee of Baba, he had friends who had different ideas. One of them had a firm view that idol worshipping was no good and spiritual progress can be achieved only by worshipping the Nirguna form of God. He also did not believe in giving Dakshina to saints. So, when Kaka wanted to go to Shirdi and asked this friend to join him, he agreed to accompany on two conditions. 1. He would not bow to Baba and 2. he will not give any Dakshina to Baba. Kaka agreed for both the conditions and took him to Shirdi. They left Bombay on Saturday night and reached Shirdi by next morning on Sunday. They went to the masjid and as soon as they neared the entrance, Baba came out and addressed Kaka’s friend, “Oh, please come, Sir.” Though it did not mean much, the tone with which Baba welcomed the friend was so sweet that the friend was reminded of his departed father. It was as if his father was calling him to come inside. The friend was so much thrilled by hearing his father’s voice that he forgot the entire surroundings, went up at once and forgetting all his resolutions, fell at the feet of Baba and washed His feet with the tears of joy from his eyes. As soon as Kaka prostrated at Baba’s feet, Baba asked him for Dakshina. Baba again asked for Dakshina in the afternoon, when they came to Baba to seek His permission to leave. The peculiarity was that both the times, Baba asked Dakshina only from Kaka. He did not ask his friend. The friend thought it odd. He thought that as he had accompanied Kaka, Baba should have asked from him also. So, he nudged Kaka and asked, “Baba asked Dakshina only from you. Why did He omit me?” Kaka replied, “Ask Baba yourself.” Then the friend asked Baba whether he should also pay any Dakshina. By now he had 308


forgotten his second condition also. Baba replied, “You had no mind to pay, so you were not asked. If you want to pay, you may do so.” As Kaka had paid Rs.17/- the friend also paid the same amount. Baba then gave him a piece of advice, “Destroy the Teli’s wall (sense of difference) between us. Only then, we can see each other face to face.” Baba then gave them permission to leave and though the weather was cloudy and threatening to rain, Baba assured their safe journey. They reached Bombay safely. When the friend reached home and opened the door and windows of his house, one sparrow flew away and two were dead on the floor. He thought that if he had kept the windows open, the two sparrows could have been saved. He again thought that anyway they had met their fate and Baba had sent them back soon to save the third sparrow. KAKA MAHAJANI’S MASTER: Kaka Mahajani was working as a manager in the firm of Thakkar Dharamsey Jethabhai, solicitors in Bombay. Both the manager and the master were on very intimate terms. Thakkar had observed that Kaka used to go to Shirdi frequently and would stay there indefinitely, saying that he could not get Baba’s permission to return. Though Thakkar did not grudge Kaka the leave, he became curious and wanted to test Baba. With that intention, he accompanied Kaka to Shirdi during the Shimga (Holi festival) holidays. He asked Kaka if he was coming back with him. Kaka said that once he went to Shirdi, returning from there was at the discretion of Baba. Knowing that Kaka’s return was uncertain, Thakkar took another friend also with them. Whoever goes to Shirdi, whether to test Baba or with devotion to Baba, they will always return with contentment and peace of mind. Thakkar knew that when visiting a saint or a God, something has to be offered. So, he bought two seers of grapes (with seeds) to be offered to Baba. With this, they reached Shirdi. All the three went to the masjid for Baba’s Darshan. As soon as he entered inside the masjid, Thakkar was surprised to see 309


Tarkhad there. He asked Tarkhad why he had come. Tarkhad told him that he had come for Baba’s Darshan. Then, Thakkar said, “I heard that miracles are performed here.” Tarkhad replied, “I didn’t come here for miracles. I came for seeing Baba. If someone is interested in miracles, then miracles will also take place.” By that time, Kaka had prostrated at the feet of Baba and offered Him the grapes brought by Thakkar. Baba distributed the grapes to all, and Thakkar also got some. Thakkar was in a dilemma. He preferred only the seedless variety of grapes. His doctor had advised him that he should not eat grapes without washing them thoroughly with water. In a public place like the masjid, where every one is just eating, he alone washing grapes would look odd. Disposing off the seeds in a public place was equally embarrassing. As the grapes were offered by Baba, he could not refuse also. Very reluctantly, he ate the grapes and pocketed the seeds. While eating the grapes, he thought, “People say that Baba is Omniscient. Does He not know that I do not like the grapes with seeds? Why should Baba embarrass me like this?” Baba immediately called him and gave him some more grapes. Thakkar accepted them and kept in his hands only. Baba saw this and told him to put them in his mouth. Thakkar was hesitating. Then Baba said, “Come on, eat them, they are sweet.” Thakkar had no other way than to eat the grapes. To his utter bewilderment he found that there was not a single seed in those grapes. As Tarkhad was sitting next to him, Thakkar asked him, “What variety of grapes did you get?” Tarkhad replied, “The one with seeds.” When he had brought a variety with seeds, how could they become seedless? Thakkar understood that Baba had clarified all his doubts without saying anything. He wanted a miracle and Baba gave him one. Not satisfied with this, he wanted to test Baba some more. He thought that if Baba was a real saint, the grapes should be given this time to Kaka first. To his bewilderment once again, Baba ordered that distribution of grapes should start with Kaka. Thakkar was astounded. Shyama introduced him to Baba as Kaka’s master. Baba said, “How could 310


he be Kaka’s Master? He has a different Master.” Kaka liked this very much. Thakkar forgot his resolve, and fell at the divine feet of Baba. They all returned to Wada. All the three of them again went of the masjid for the noon arati. On the way, Thakkar told Kaka that he and his friend would not ask for permission to leave and that Kaka alone should ask for himself. Shyama who was with them told them that Baba would not permit Kaka at least for a week; hence it is better if they asked for permission to leave. After the noon arati was over, they all went to Baba to seek His permission to leave. Baba said, “There was a fickle minded person. He had health, wealth and was totally free from any physical or mental afflictions. He took on unnecessary burdens and anxieties on himself and wandered here and there. In this process, he lost his peace of mind. At times, he dropped those burdens, and at other times, picked them again. His mind was not steady. On seeing him thus, I took pity on him and said, ‘Focus your faith on any single point you like. Why wander around? Stick to one place.’” Thakkar realized at once that Baba was speaking about him. He wanted Kaka also to return with him, but nobody expected that Baba would permit him. But, contrary to all expectations, Baba allowed Kaka also to return. Thakkar was convinced once again that Baba understood his thoughts. When they were about to leave, Baba took Rs.15/- as Dakshina from Kaka. Then He told, “I don’t take Dakshina from anyone. If I take one rupee, I have to give back ten fold. I never take any gratis. I ask only from him whom the Fakir (My Guru) points out. The Fakir also points only those who are indebted to Him, either in this life or the previous ones. Giving Dakshina is like sowing seeds, only to reap a rich harvest in the future. If you don’t give now, you don’t get in the future. Wealth should be used as a means to spread Dharma. If you use it for personal enjoyment, it is wasted. Giving Dakshina develops Vairagya (non attachment) and thus, Bhakti and Jnana. Give one and take ten.” Listening to these divine mellifluous words, Thakkar also gave 311


Rs.15/- as Dakshina. He thought that coming to Shirdi was the best thing he did in his life. He had become very much wiser. Depending on their attitudes and their mental capabilities, Baba used to guide them in their own way to attain what they aspired. Though every one of the devotees who came to Him had his own mental frame, Baba was same for all of them. He was totally non- attached to them. Whether any one bowed to Him or not, whether anyone gave Him Dakshina or not, He was always equanimous. He never disrespected those who did not worship Him or those who did not give Him Dakshina. He was Dwandvaatheeta. He was beyond the dualities of good-bad, painpleasure, and worship-denigrate etc. His mind was steadily focused on ‘Allah Malik’ and His only thought was the welfare of His devotees. Let us all prostrate once again at the divine feet of such a magnificent God and seek His blessings. CASE OF INSOMNIA: A gentleman in Bandra had a strange problem. He belonged to Kayastha Prabhu sect, and whenever he went to sleep, his departed father appeared in his dream. Not content with that, the father used to abuse him severely and made him restless. The son’s sleep was always incomplete. This upset his health and he did not know what to do as night after night his father haunted him. One of his friends was a devotee of Baba and he suggested that Udi was the only solution. The friend told him to apply a small quantity of Udi on the forehead before he went to sleep and also to keep a small quantity of Udi beneath the pillow. He followed the advice sincerely and found that he got sound sleep. Due to his immense happiness at this development, he got a picture of Baba and started worshipping. He soon started offering flowers and naivedyam and was greatly benefited.

312


BALAJI PATIL NEWASKAR’S STORY: Balaji Patil Newaskar was a great devotee of Baba. Though he was in this samsara, like a lotus flower, he was aloof from it. He was a farmer who tilled his land and when the produce was available, gave it entirely to Baba and took only what Baba gave him. Newaskar thought that Baba was the owner of everything. Wherever Baba went in Shirdi, Newaskar used to clean all those streets, everyday. After him, this work was carried on by Abdul. Once it happened that at one of Newaskar’s death anniversary day, some guests were invited. The food was prepared only for the limited guests. But at meal time, it was found that three times that number had actually come. Newaskar’s daughter in law was in a very embarrassing position. She was worried whether the food would be sufficient or not. Then Newaskar’s wife consoled her and said, “Don’t worry. It is not our food, it is Sai’s. Put some Udi in each vessel and cover it cloth. Serve from the same vessels without opening the cover. Sai will save us from ignominy.” She did as advised and found that the food not only sufficed but plenty of it also remained after serving. This was an instance of ‘yad bhaavam tad bhavati.’ As one feels intently, so he realizes. When Sai is there, why worry? RADHAKRISHNAMAI’S STORY: After Newaskar, it was Radhakrishna Mai who served Baba. Her name was Sunderbai Kheersagar. She used to call everyone by the same name ‘Radhakrishna’. So people started calling her Radhakrishna Mai. She had a small idol of Balakrishna. She kept the idol always with her. Baba called her ‘Ramakrishni’. Everyday, when He sat for taking meals, He used to send two rotis to her. She was a child widow and hence never entered inside the masjid. She was a staunch devotee of Baba. She used to sing Bhajans also. Like Newaskar, she used to get up very early in the morning and clean the streets on which Baba set his 313


foot. She passed away in 1916 AD. After her demise, Abdul was doing her work. SAI APPEARS AS SERPENT: Once, Raghu Patil of Shirdi went to Balaji Patil at Newase. In the evening, people found a snake hissing in the cowshed. Whoever saw it was frightened. All the cattle and also those who were in the house were scared. Balaji, however, had different ideas. He thought that Baba had visited his house. Without being scared, he brought a cup of milk and placing it before the snake said, “Deva! Why do you hiss and make noise? Please accept this cup of milk, drink it and bless us.” Saying this, he calmly sat next to the snake totally unperturbed. The snake drank the milk and then slowly went its way. Balaji had two wives and some children. Whenever they visited Shirdi for Baba’s Darshan, Baba presented them with saris and other clothes and blessed them. Sri Sai Satcharitra is a very sacred book to be read with utmost devotion. Where ever it is read, that place becomes as sacred as the banks of Godavari River, as holy as Shirdi and invariably Sai will manifest there. He will mitigate all the sorrows and tribulations of those who read it. There is no necessity of performing any japa or tapas or any other difficult sadhanas. Mere reading of Sri Sai Satcharitra will please our beloved Baba. Bow to Sai everyday. Keeping His divine feet fixed in your mind, apply Udi to your forehead. As we have seen in these three chapters, Udi is very powerful. All your desires will be fulfilled. Sincere devotion is all that is required. Before ending this chapter, let us once again prostrate at the divine feet of our beloved Baba who has made the spiritual path so easy and comfortable for all of us. Sri Samarth Sadguru Sainath Maharaj Ki Jai!!! 314


With this, the thirty fifth chapter, called as The Greatness of Udi3, is complete. In the next chapter, Hemad Pant tells us about the wonderful stories of two Goa gentlemen, Mrs Aurangabadkar and other matters. || Sri Sadguru Sainathaarpanamasthu || Shubham Bhavatu || Om Shanti Shanti Shanti

315


316


|| sri sai satcharitra ||

|| chapter thirty - six ||

|| the two wonderful stories || || Sri Ganeshaya Namaha || Sri Saraswatye Namaha || || Sri Venkateshaya Namaha || Sri Sai Nathaya Namaha || || Sri Sadgurubhyo Namaha ||

In this chapter, Hemad Pant tells us about the wonderful stories of two Goa gentlemen, Mrs Aurangabadkar and other matters. SAI STORIES: Stories of our beloved Baba, as told in Sri Sai Satcharitra or elsewhere are always very sweet and mellifluous to listen. Listening to each story is like drinking nectar. These stories mitigate the difficulties of the devotees who do parayana of the stories with great devotion and dedication. Those who prefer Shreyas should invariably read Sai stories. Those who tell these stories and those who listen to them are both benefited as both are blessed by our beloved Baba. TWO GENTLEMEN FROM GOA: As Baba’s name and fame spread far and wide, people came from several places to have darshan of Baba. Some of them came from far off places also. Once, two devotees came from Goa to have darshan of Baba. They reached Shirdi after traveling some distance. They took lodging in the Wada. After completing bath etc, they went to masjid for darshan. They saw Baba and prostrated at the divine feet. Baba asked only one of them to give Rs.15/- as Dakshina and got it. The other man, on his own, offered Rs.35/- as Dakshina, but Baba rejected it. Shyama, who was nearby, was astonished and asked, “Deva! What is this? To one you ask Dakshina, and the other one, even if he gives 317


voluntarily, you reject. Why this discrimination?” Baba replied, “Shamya, you don’t know anything. I don’t take anything from anyone. The Masjid Mayi (the presiding deity of the masjid) asks for debt repayment. The debtor pays and becomes free. I don’t need money. Do I have any home, property or family to look after? I am a free soul. Debt, enmity and murder have to be compensated. There is no way of escape.” Baba then narrated the following story. “There was a poor man. He took a vow to God that if he got a job, he would pay the first month’s salary to the God. Then he got a job with a monthly salary of Rs.15/-. He steadily got promotions, from Rs.15/- his salary increased to Rs.30, 60, 100, 200 and ultimately Rs.700/- per month. While he was prospering, he forgot his vow. The force of his karma has brought him here, so I asked that amount Rs.15/- from him as Dakshina.” Then Baba narrated another story. “While wandering on a sea shore, I saw a huge bungalow and sat on its verandah. The owner was a Brahmin and invited Me inside. He gave Me a good reception and fed Me sumptuously. After food, he gave Me a nice place to sleep near a cupboard. As I was tired, I went into deep sleep. When I was thus asleep, the owner removed a slab from the wall and entered into the room. He took away all the money from My pocket. When I woke up I found that all of My Rs.30, 000/was stolen. I was greatly distressed and sat weeping and moaning. The money was in currency notes and I thought that the owner had stolen it. I lost all interest in food and drink and sat for a fortnight on the verandah. After the fortnight was over, a passing fakir saw Me crying. He asked Me the reason for My crying. I told him everything. He said, ‘If You do what I say, You will recover Your money. Go to a fakir whose whereabouts I will give, and surrender Yourself completely to him. He will get back Your money. Meanwhile, give up one of Your favourite eatable till You recover Your money.’ I followed the fakir’s advice and got My money back. Then I left the Wada and went back to the sea shore. A steamer was there, ready to leave. I could not get into 318


it as it was overcrowded. A good natured peon interceded for Me and I got in luckily. The steamer brought Me to another shore. I caught a train and came to Masjid Mayi.” After completing the story, Baba asked Shyama to take the guests and arrange for their food. All the while, Shyama was perplexed. He took the guests home and fed them. While they were having their food, he asked them if they understood what Baba told. As far as he was aware, Baba had never gone to a sea shore, never had any money, never travelled by train, never lost any money and never recovered any money. The guests were, however, deeply moved and were in tears. They told Shyama that Baba was a sarvajna, the infinite God, the Parabrahma and was incomparable. What Baba told was their own story and they would tell him the complete story after the meals. After the meals all the three sat together and were having pan beeda. One of the guests started telling his story. “My native place is a hill station on the ghats. I went to Goa in search of a job. I took a vow in front of God Datta, that if I got a job, I would offer Him my first month’s salary. By His grace, I got a job for a salary of Rs.15/- and then got my promotions regularly as Baba said. I completely forgot my vow. Baba has only reminded me and recovered the Rs.15/- from me. It is not Dakshina, but a repayment of an old debt and fulfillment of a long forgotten vow.” Baba never begged for money. He did not allow even His devotees to beg. He considered money a danger to spiritual progress and never allowed His devotees to get into its clutches. To quote an instance, Mhalsapathi was very poor and could hardly make both ends meet. Baba never gave him anything from the Dakshina collected, nor did He allow him to make any money. Once, a kind and liberal merchant named Hansraj gave a large amount of money to Mhalsapathi in Baba’s presence. Baba did not allow him to take it. After the first guest completed his story, the second one started. “My brahmin cook served me faithfully for 35 years. 319


Then, unfortunately, he fell into bad ways and he robbed me of my treasure. While we were all asleep, he removed a slab from the wall, where my cupboard is fixed, and carried away all accumulated wealth of Rs.30, 000/- in currency notes. I sat crying day and night. All my enquiries ended without any clue. I spent a fortnight in great anxiety. As I was sitting on the verandah, a passing fakir, saw me crying and asked for the reason. I told him everything. He told me that an aulia by name Sai lives in Shirdi, Kopergaon Taluqa. He asked me to take a vow to Him and give up any eatable that I liked best and tell Him, mentally that ‘I have given up eating that food, till I have Your darshan.’ Then I decided to give up eating rice and said, ‘Baba, I will eat rice only after recovering my property and having Your darshan.” He continued his story further. “Fifteen days later, the brahmin, of his own wish came to me, returned my money and apologized, saying, ‘I went mad and acted in that way. I am at your feet now; please forgive me.’ Everything ended well. I could not see again the fakir who helped me. But an intense desire arose in me to see Sai Baba. I thought that it was Sai Baba Himself who had come to my house and helped me. It was only natural that when I offered a Dakshina of Rs.35/- Baba rejected it. He, who has done so much to His devotees, would He ever take Rs.35/-? He always thinks of only the welfare of His devotees without expecting anything in return. When I recovered my money I was very happy and in that frame of mind, forgot all about my vow. One night, when I was in Colaba, I saw Baba in my dream. I was reminded of my promised visit to Shirdi. I went to Goa and from there wanted to take a steamer to Bombay and come to Shirdi. When I came to the harbour, the steamer was crowded. There was no place for me. Because of the intervention of a peon, who was a stranger to me, I was allowed to get into the steamer. From Bombay I came by train. Baba is all pervading and all knowing. What are we? Because of what relationship between Him and us, should He come to our rescue? Baba is indeed the incarnation of God. We 320


did not even utter His name. Still, He took pity on us and came to help us. How great is our good fortune that He has drawn us here to Himself? You in Shirdi must be infinitely great as Baba has lived with you, played here and talked with all of you for so many years. Sai is our Datta. He ordered the vow; He gave me a seat in the steamer, and brought me here, and thus giving ample proof that He is omniscient and omnipotent.” Mrs AURANGABADKAR’S STORY: Sakharam Aurangabadkar stayed in Sholapur. His wife, though married for 27 years, could not conceive. There were no issues. She had prayed to almost all the gods and taken all kinds of vows. Still nothing happened. When she had almost lost all her hope, someone suggested that she should visit a saint in Shirdi who had created hope for so many of His devotees. Thinking that it was the last attempt she would ever make, she went to Shirdi with her step son Vishwanath and stayed there for two months. During this period, she served Baba to her satisfaction. Her only complaint was that she wanted to narrate her woes to Baba when he was alone and in all these two months, she did not get a single occasion for this purpose. Every time she wanted to go near Baba, He was surrounded by several devotees. When she could not contain herself anymore, she requested Shyama to intervene on her behalf and help her. He did not give any promise but said that he would definitely make an attempt. On one day, he asked her to be ready, during Baba’s meals, with a coconut and joss sticks. He told her that whenever he beckoned, she should come. As soon as Baba completed His meals and washed His hands, Shyama was wiping the wet hands of Baba. Then playfully, Baba pinched Shyama’s cheeks. Pretending to be angry, Shyama said, “Deva! Is it proper for You to pinch like this? We don’t want a mischievous God who pinches us.” Baba replied, “Oh Shamya, for the last 72 generations that you were with Me, I never pinched you. It is only now that I have touched you. Are you finding fault with Me for that?” Then Shyama said, 321


“We want a God who will give us sweets to eat and kiss us. We don’t want any respect from You. Allow us to have our faith in Your divine feet always.” Baba affectionately replied, “Yes, I have indeed come for that. I have been feeding and nursing you and have love and affection for you.” Then, Baba went and sat on His seat. Shyama beckoned the lady to come up. She came, presented the coconut and the joss sticks. Baba took the coconut and shook it. The coconut was dry and the kernel inside rolled and made noise. Baba said, “Shamya, see what the kernel says.” Shyama who was waiting for an opportunity, grabbed it instantly and said, “The woman prays that a child should similarly roll and make noise in her womb. So, give her the coconut with Your blessing.” Baba asked, “Will the coconut give her any child? How people are foolish and fancy such things!” Shyama was not to be shrugged off so easily. He said, “I know the power of Your word and blessing. Your word will give her a string of children. You are simply haggling instead of giving Your blessing.” This continued for some more time with Baba asking Shyama to break the coconut and Shyama pleading for giving the entire coconut to the lady with the blessing. Finally, Baba yielded and said, “She will have a child.” Shyama did not let Him go at that. He asked, “When?” Baba replied, “In 12 months”. At this Shyama broke the coconut into two parts, one was eaten by Shyama and Baba, and the other was given to the lady. Then, Shyama turned to the lady and said, “Mayi, you are a witness to my words. If you do not beget any child within 12 months, I will break a coconut against this Deva’s head and drive Him out of this masjid. If I fail in this, my name will not be Madhav.” She delivered a child in one year’s time. She brought the child in its fifth month to Baba. Both the husband and the wife prostrated at the divine feet of Baba and placed the child at Baba’s feet to be blessed. The husband also gave a Dakshina of Rs.500/-. It was spent in constructing a shed for Baba’s horse 322


‘Shyama-karna’. Let us prostrate once again at the divine feet of our beloved Baba and pray that His blessings should with us always. With this, the thirty sixth chapter, called as The Two Wonderful Stories, is complete. In the next chapter, Hemad Pant tells us about the Chavadi Procession and other matters. || Sri Sadguru Sainathaarpanamasthu || Shubham Bhavatu || Om Shanti Shanti Shanti

323


BABA EXPLAINING BHAGAVAD GITA

324


|| sri sai satcharitra ||

|| chapter thirty - seven || || chavadi procession ||

|| Sri Ganeshaya Namaha || Sri Saraswatye Namaha || || Sri Venkateshaya Namaha || Sri Sai Nathaya Namaha || || Sri Sadgurubhyo Namaha ||

In this chapter, Hemad Pant tells us about the Chavadi Procession and other matters. BABA’S LIFE: Baba’s life was very difficult for anyone to understand. His life was an enigma and full of riddles. At times He appeared totally immersed in brahmananda (divine joy). At other times He appeared content with self knowledge. Some of the times, He appeared to be doing several things at the same time, but He also appeared to be totally unconnected with the things He was doing. At some other times, He looked calm and quiet like a deep sea, doing practically nothing, but He was not idle or sleeping. He was always thinking of the welfare of His devotees. How can anyone describe His ineffable nature? He always considered women as sisters or mothers, and men as brothers. He never discriminated his devotees on the basis of sex, creed or caste. He treated all alike. He was equally interested in the welfare of all. Protection of His devotees was the only criterion for Baba. After protecting them from difficulties and dangers, He gives what all they ask from Him. And then, depending on their individual capabilities, gives them knowledge, guiding them finally on to the spiritual path. We are also helped to a great extent in acquiring the knowledge by reading Satcharitra. Most complicated and complex philosophical concepts are 325


326


explained by very simple stories of people who underwent these experiences. Hemad Pant then narrates lengthy discussions on some of the abstract concepts of Vedanta. He himself considers this as a digression and then describes one of the grandest scenes, the Chavadi procession. CHAVADI PROCESSION: Baba followed the practice of sleeping one night in the masjid and then one night in the Chavadi (a small building containing one or two rooms near the masjid). Thus, on alternate nights He slept in the Chavadi. He maintained this practice till His Mahasamadhi. From 10 December 1909, devotees began worshipping Baba in the Chavadi and the tradition of the Chavadi procession was started. On the night on which Baba slept in the Chavadi, devotees carried out Bhajans for more than two hours and when it was time for Baba to sleep, the devotees took Baba in a grand procession from the masjid to the Chavadi. It is a scene which remains permanently etched in the memories of all Sai devotees. Come; let us also join the procession. People have gathered near the masjid. Some are performing Bhajans in the courtyard. Behind them is a beautiful Ratha (chariot). To the right is the Tulsi brindavan In front is Baba. All those interested in Bhajans are coming and joining the group. Both men and women are there. Some have Tal, some have chiplis, and others have kartal, mridang, khanjari and ghol (all are musical instruments) in their hands and are in frenzy doing Bhajans. Baba is the prime force drawing all the devotees to Him here. Outside of this group there are some persons who are holding divatyas (torches made of heavy cloth wrapped at the end of stick and soaked in oil) and are trimming it so that the flame is uniform. There are some others who have gathered round the palki (palanquin). They are decorating it tastefully with flowers and some leaves which give it a very beautiful look. There are 327


some who have sticks in their hands and trying to control the crowds, so that when Baba comes out, the passage is clear. They are also shouting ‘Sainath Maharaj Ki Jai’. Small earthen lamps with small wicks and oil in them are kept all around the masjid and are giving a strange glow to the masjid. In the dark night, these lamps are twinkling like the bright stars in the sky. Baba’s horse, ‘Shyamakarna’ is standing near the door fully decorated. Someone is tying small trinkets around its legs, so that when it paces forward, musical sounds are heard. All the children are in new clothes, and their mothers are in new sarees. Tatya Patil has just entered the masjid. He has gone to Baba and is asking Him to be ready. Baba told him that He is ready and is waiting for him. Baba is wearing the usual kafni. He has His satka under the armpit. He took a small puff from His chillum, kept it in His hand. Then He put a shawl over His shoulder. After finding out that everything is fine, Tatya Patil came back to Baba and said, “Mama, shall we go?” Baba said, “Yes”. Tatya placed a beautiful gold embroidered shawl over the shoulders of Baba. With the shawl draped over both the shoulders, Baba is looking very attractive. Baba got up and with His right toe moved the firewood burning in the Dhuni further inside. With His right hand He has extinguished the burning lamp. When Baba Himself is self illuminating, where is the necessity of the lamp? He has come to the threshold of the masjid and is waiting for come one. Seeing Baba come out, all those playing musical instruments, baaja, band etc have raised their pitch higher. The noise made by the shouting of ‘Sainath Maharaj Ki Jai’ is reaching the sky. Slightly further away, some one has started fireworks. The night is illuminated by the multi coloured hues of the crackers, and other fireworks. All the devotees, both the male and female, have started moving ahead singing Baba’s name and performing Bhajans to the accompaniment of mridang and veena. Baba is slowly getting down the steps of the masjid and the uniformed escorts are loudly announcing Baba’s name. Tatya has 328


come back and is holding Baba’s left hand. He is tenderly guiding Baba down the steps. Mhalsapathi has come just now and has taken Baba’s right hand. Bapusaheb Jog is behind Baba and is holding the chhatri (umbrella) over Baba’s head. Long folded sheets of white cloth have been spread on the ground from the threshold of the masjid to the threshold of the Chavadi. Baba will walk on these sheets. Devotees do not want that the feet of their God should get dirty by walking on the road. With the fully decorated Shyamakarna leading the way and all the others, the Bhajan singers, music players, and the crowd of devotees coming behind, Baba slowly walked down the steps of the masjid towards the Chavadi. The Hari Nama chanted to the accompaniment of music rent the skies. Everyone is shouting ‘Sadguru Sainath Maharaj Ki Jai’ deliriously at the top of their voice. With this entire joyous atmosphere, the procession has slowly moved up to the corner of the masjid. People are happy and delighted. The procession has stopped now. Why is it not moving further? Let us see why. Baba has stopped suddenly. He is facing the Chavadi with great lustre radiating from every inch of His body. His face is shining like the glory of the morning sun. He is facing north and looks like He is searching for someone. Yes, there is Kakasaheb Dixit with a silver plate in his hand. The plate contains various flowers and gulal (coloured soft powder). Everyone is keenly watching. Kaka has taken the flowers and has started sprinkling on Baba. He is also sprinkling the gulal. Baba has again started moving slowly towards the Chavadi with His right arm moving up and down. The musical instruments have once again picked up the high pitch and are blowing at their zestiest. Baba’s face is beaming with steady radiance and beauty. All the people around are very happy and preserving this image of Baba safely in their hearts, thus purifying their lives. Words just fail to describe the happiness prevalent in the atmosphere. Mhalsapathi is so excited that he has started dancing small slow steps in circles with his hands clapping to the rhythm of the Bhajans. With all this noise 329


and Bhajans etc, it is surprising that Baba’s concentration has not changed even slightly. Meanwhile, Tatya who had left the procession earlier has secured a lantern and is holding it in his hand and walking on the left side of Baba and is very near to Him. Mhalsapathi has stopped his dancing and is walking behind Baba holding the hem of Baba’s garment. What a beautiful procession and such adulation and devotion! Everyone in this procession is really very lucky to participate. Baba is walking slowly and the procession has now reached the Chavadi. There is joy and only joy everywhere in the air. The Chavadi is very tastefully decorated. The ceiling has been recently whitewashed. Many lamps are decoratively hanging from the ceiling. Big mirrors have been placed all around on the walls. With the reflections coming from the mirrors of the hanging lamps, the place appears to be illuminated like a moonlit night of the full moon. Let us welcome the procession, which has come near the doorstep. Tatya has come inside the Chavadi. He is spreading an asan (seat cushion) for Baba to sit. He has also placed a bolster on the asan for Baba to rest his back. Mhalsapathi has brought Baba inside and Tatya has also joined them. Both Tatya and Mhalsapathi are helping Baba to sit comfortably on the asan. Sitting on the asan, Baba is looking relaxed. There is a mild smile on His face. Tatya has draped another shawl on Baba’s shoulders. The devotees are slowly coming, one by one, to worship Baba. This is the most beautiful scene. Some one has placed a crown with a tuft of peacock feathers on Baba’s head. He is now looking like Lord Sri Krishna. A devotee has brought plenty of garlands. Baba is now being garlanded. Some one is decorating Him with a necklace of jewels. With all these decorations, Baba is really looking very stunning. Oh, another devotee has come forward and is applying musk mixed vertical lines and a circle below, typical of Vaishnavite tradition. That devotee has moved slightly to the left and seeing how Baba looks. Satisfied and happy, he has now gone back. Baba understands the devotees’ 330


enthusiasm and is meekly submitting to all of their whims and fancies without a single objection or disapproval. He looks completely at ease and extremely beautiful. Nanasaheb Nimonkar has taken over the Chhatri from Bapusaheb Jog. Nanasaheb is behind Baba. He is occasionally turning the Chhatri round so that the small trinkets attached to it will make pleasant sounds. Bapusaheb has brought a silver plate and kept it below Baba’s feet. He is slowly lifting Baba’s feet and keeping it in the plate. Now that Baba’s feet are in the plate, Bapusaheb is washing the feet with water and offering ‘arghya’. He is now chanting Sai Namas and formally performing pooja to Baba. He is applying chandan paste to Baba’s arms, cheeks and feet. With that over, Bapusaheb is offering tambulam (betel leaves). He is now prostrating at the feet of Baba. It is now the turn of Tatya to prostrate. He has completed it and has moved slightly back. Others are coming one by one and falling at the feet of Baba. Some of the devotees are fanning Him with chaamaras on either side of Baba. Meanwhile, Shyama has prepared the chillum and given it to Tatya. He has drawn a flame out of it by inhaling a deep breath through it and is giving it to Baba. Baba took a puff from that and handed over the chillum to Mhalsapathi. Mhalsapathi has inhaled it, it is being passed around for others. Some more devotees have brought garlands. They are garlanding Baba now. Some are applying scent on His hand. Some have offered Him flowers. Except submitting to their various worships, Baba is as aloof as ever. Being totally dispassionate and completely non-attached to any of these adulations, Baba is in perfect equanimity. Out of real love to His devotees, He is allowing them to have their own way. All are standing aside, after the prostrations at the feet of Baba are over. Bapusaheb has brought the arati and is offering to Baba. The entire atmosphere, with the cool breeze of the night flowing and the musical instruments playing the devotional arati, was filled with a divinity unparalleled. Everyone’s heart was singing in chorus and praying that Baba should bless them all and protect 331


them always. The arati is over. The devotees are coming to Baba and taking leave of Him. One by one everyone has left, only Tatya is there. Tatya is offering the chillum, and then attar (perfume) and rose water. He is getting up to go. Baba has stopped him and saying something to him. Let us go slightly closer. Baba is saying, “Go, if you want. But, come back sometime in the night and look after Me.” Assuring Him that he would, Tatya has left the Chavadi and went home. Being left alone, all the devotees having gone, Baba is preparing the bed Himself. He spread 50 or 60 bedspreads one on another. He is testing if it is comfortable. Having satisfied, He is lying down on the bed, prepared by Himself, and begun to take rest. That scene and those days are gone for ever, never to come back. We cannot see any of them now or in the near future. We can only recall those scenes, think of those people who had unflinching faith in Baba and surrendered everything to Him and showed us what devotion and dedication is. By refreshing those scenes everyday, we can bring solace and comfort to our minds. Let us read this chapter and think of Baba before going to bed in the night, so that one of these nights, Baba will bless us by coming in our dream. He is our only solace in this turbulent and vicious world. Sri Samarth Sadguru Sainath Maharaj Ki Jai!!! With this, the thirty seventh chapter, called as Chavadi Procession, is complete. In the next chapter, Hemad Pant tells us about Baba’s Handi, disrespect of shrine, Kala or hodge-podge, the cup of buttermilk and other matters. ||Sri Sadguru Sainathaarpanamasthu || Shubham Bhavatu|| Om Shanti Shanti Shanti

332


|| sri sai satcharitra ||

|| chapter thirty - eight ||

|| description of the handi || || Sri Ganeshaya Namaha || Sri Saraswatye Namaha || || Sri Venkateshaya Namaha || Sri Sai Nathaya Namaha || || Sri Sadgurubhyo Namaha ||

In this chapter, Hemad Pant tells us about Baba’s Handi, disrespect of shrine, Kala or hodge-podge, the cup of buttermilk and other matters. SADGURU SAI: With Baba’s blessing we were able to witness the grand scene of the Chavadi Procession in the last chapter. We also saw that when everyone had gone and Baba was alone, He prepared His bed Himself by spreading 50 to 60 bed spreads, one on top of another and slept. We bow once again to the sadguru who had given everything to His devotees. Baba had taken birth only for the purpose of doing good to others. His life was dedicated for the betterment of His devotees. It is only because of satkarmaphala of the previous births that one can get in contact with the divine feet of the sadguru. Once we take recourse to the divine feet of the sadguru, He removes all our afflictions and liberates us from all our bondages. Sai is the abode of all eternal bliss. He is the destination of our search. He is the ever blazing, radiating pure self. He is Atmarama Himself. Like a mother who knows what her child should eat, and what it should not, and then feeds her child with the required food, Sai knows what is best for us. Initially enticing us by giving what we ask, Sai finally takes us on to the path of spiritual progress and self realization.

333


ANNADANAM: The sadhanas for attaining spiritual progress, as described in various religious scriptures, depend on the age in which the aspirant is living. In Kruta Yuga, the prescribed sadhana was tapas (penance). When the Kruta Yuga gave way to the Treta Yuga, the sadhana became Jnana. In the Dwapara Yuga, the aspirant had to perform Yagnas. In Kali Yuga the prescribed sadhana for spiritual progress is Dana (charity). Among the various types of Dana, like Vitta Dana, Vidya Dana, Kanya Dana, Vastra Dana, Anna Dana, and other Danas, Anna Dana is the best and greatest. The Taittiriya Upanishad says: annaadvai prajaha prajaayante | yaaha ka cha pruthivi shritaaha | atho anne naiva jeevanti | athainadapi yantyantataha | annam hi bhootanaam jyeshtam | tasmaat sarvaushadhamuchyate | sarvavaite annamapnuvanti | yeh annam brahmopaasate | annah hi bhootanaam jyeshtam | tasmaat sarvaushadhamuchyate | annad bhootani jaayante | jaataan annayena vardhante | adhyate atti cha bhootani tasmatannam taduchyata iti | tasmaadda yetasmaad anna rasamayaat | Tai. Up. Br.Valli. Anu. 2 All beings that exist on earth are born of food; then they live by food, then again to the food they go at the end. So verily food is the eldest of all creatures. Therefore, it is called the medicament of all. All those who worship food as Brahman obtain all food. Food is indeed the eldest of all creatures. Therefore, it is called the medicine for all. From food all beings are born, having been they grow by food. Food is eaten by the beings and it also eats them. Therefore, it is called food (Anna). For all Danas other than Anna Dana, the Data (giver) has to think of the eligibility of the receiver. Annadana can be made to any 334


one - rich or poor, male or female, young or old, diseased or healthy. By Mid day, around noon, if we do not have anything to eat, we feel miserable. We have to think that all the other beings are also similar to us. If timely food is not available, they also feel utterly miserable. Feeding the guests, whether invited or uninvited, is the primary duty of a grihasta. Let anyone come to our doorstep at noon, he should be served with food immediately. The lame, crippled, blind and diseased persons should be served first and then the able bodied persons, our relatives etc. Even other forms of Dana are incomplete, if not accompanied by Annadana. Any Dana without Annadana is compared to: a sky in the night with only the stars and no moon, or a necklace without its pendant, or a crown without its pinnacle, or a tank without a lotus, or Bhajan without any love for the God, or a married lady without the kumkum, or a song sung without a sweet voice, or a butter milk without salt. Just as Varan (soup prepared with dal) excels all other dishes, Annadana is the best of all merits. BABA’S HANDI: Knowing that Annadana is the best of all merits, Baba also indulged in regular Annadana programmes. For Himself, he required very little food. And as we saw earlier, what little food He needed, He obtained by begging from a few houses. When He wanted to arrange Annadana, He made very elaborate preparations. If He had wished, the villagers would have got Him plenty of cooked food, but He did not depend on anyone and troubled none in this regard. He went to the market Himself, bought all the items He needed from His own money, by paying cash. He bought these items after comparing prices at different shops and carefully checking their quality. He even haggled for the best price and only then bought the items. He did all the required grinding alone. In the courtyard of the masjid, He had

335


prepared a hearth. He had also built Himself the room where the firewood was stored. After keeping the firewood in the hearth and 336


lighting it, He used to place a big Handi over it. Baba had two Handis with Him. The smaller one provided food for 50 persons. The bigger one could cater to 100 persons. Depending on the guests He planned to invite, He used to keep either the smaller or the bigger Handi. He knew the recipes for almost all the dishes He liked to prepare. At times, He prepared ‘Mitha Chaval’ (sweet rice) and at other times He prepared ‘Pulav’ with mutton. To enhance the taste, He used to drop small pieces of bread while preparing soup. For the soup, He prepared all the needed spices Himself. He ground the various spices on a stone slab and put the ground paste into the Handi. He was also very keen to make the dishes very tasty and palatable. One of His specialties was preparation of ‘Ambili’. For this He boiled jawar flour in water and then added butter milk to the hot paste. Then He used to boil both together. He served this as a dessert to the main food. Once, when the broth was boiling, Baba wanted to stir it and could not find a ladle nearby. He rolled up the right sleeve of His kafni and put His bare hand inside the Handi and stirred the boiling contents slowly from side to side and top to bottom, without any thought of what would happen to His hand. And indeed, nothing did happen to His hand as He was the divinity personified. When the cooking of the items was over, Baba got the food duly consecrated by the moulvi. Only after sending the first part of the consecrated food to Mhalsapathi and Tatya Patil, Baba served the food to others. He followed this practice always. He used to serve the food to all the poor and helpless people Himself with His own hands. He made them sit in a row and after distributing plantain leaves, He first served ghee. Then followed other items He had prepared with love and care. At every stage of serving the items, He used to say, “Please have some more! Don’t hesitate. Eat slowly.” Blessed and fortunate indeed must be those people who got food prepared and served by Baba. Some may get a doubt, “Did Baba distribute nonvegetarian food also as prasadam to all His devotees?” The 337


answer is simple. Baba was very particular about respecting the conscience of the devotees. For those who were not accustomed to non-vegetarian food, He never allowed them to even touch the non-vegetarian food. As a matter of fact, He never even created a wish or desire in the minds of the devotees for such food. When a Sishya implicitly follows the instructions of guru, the burden of responsibility lies on the guru to give only those instructions which the devotee can follow and about which a conflict does not arise in the mind of the Sishya. Nobody understood this better than Baba. It was not just food alone; Baba did not allow His devotees to even worship any god other than the gods they were used to. He told time and again that one should worship only their family deities. DADASAHEB KELKAR’S STORY: When the Guru gives prasadam, with his own hands, the Sishya does not think whether it should be accepted or not. He simply takes it and consumes it. Anyone who thinks about the propriety of acceptance ends up in perdition. An ideal Sishya implicitly follows the instructions given by the guru. Though Baba did everything for His devotees, He occasionally tested the amount of faith the devotees had in Him. Only those who passed these tests could become His intimate devotees. Once, on an Ekadasi day, Baba gave some money to Dadasaheb Kelkar and asked him to buy meat from a shop in Korhala. Dada was extremely fond of Baba and loved Him very much. In addition, Dada was a very orthodox, religious Brahmin who followed all the rituals prescribed in the scriptures. His mind was always steady and never wavered in loyalty to Baba. For him pleasing the guru was the ultimate in life. So, he immediately changed his dress and got ready to go in spite of the fact that he was a strict vegetarian and never even touched meat. When he was about to cross the threshold of the masjid, Baba called him back and asked him to send some one else. Dada sent his servant Pandu. When Pandu was about to go, Baba again called him back 338


and postponed the purchase to some other day. Baba was really not interested in buying meat. He only wanted to know how Dada would react. On another occasion, Baba had prepared Pulav without mutton. He asked Dada how was the taste of Pulav. Dada, assuming that it contained mutton, did not taste it. However as Baba had asked the question, for the sake of courtesy replied that it was alright. Then Baba said, “Neither have you seen it with your eyes, nor have you tasted it with your tongue. Then, how can you say that it is alright? Just take out the lid and see.” While saying these words, Baba caught hold of Dada’s arm and thrust it into the pot and said, “Draw out your arm and taking a ladle, put some quantity in the plate without caring for your orthodoxy and without blustering.” This was another occasion on which Baba had tested Dada. Baba knew very well what was inside the pot. Just as a mother pinches her child naughtily and then hugs it when it cries, Baba also had slightly pinched Dada. No saint or guru will ever force his disciple to do things he does not want to do. Leave alone eating, even touching mutton was unthinkable for Dada. How could Baba allow him to defile himself? As seen earlier, till 1910 AD, Baba was not so well known outside Shirdi. It was because of Nanasaheb Chandorkar’s speeches and Dasganu Maharaj’s kirtans that Baba’s fame spread far and wide, including Bombay. Hence, people coming to Shirdi for Baba’s darshan prior to 1910 AD were also less in number. Subsequently, the number increased several times. The devotees brought with them various articles for presentation. They also brought several food items for offering as naivedyam to Baba. The quantity of naivedyam was so much that the fakirs and the poor in Shirdi could easily feed themselves to their heart’s content. Because of this, after 1910 AD Baba stopped preparing food in the Handis.

339


KALA OR HOTCH-POTCH: After arati, everyday, Baba used to give Udi prasadam to all the devotees and bless them individually. When everyone had left, Baba went inside and sat behind a curtain to take His meals. In addition, there were two rows of devotees sitting on either side of Baba for the naivedyam. All the offerings brought by the devotees, like Puris, Mande, Polis, Basundi, Sanza, fine rice etc were mixed in Handi and placed before Baba. Baba used to consecrate it by offering it to the God. Those who were waiting outside were offered part of this mixture as naivedyam. After they were fed, the devotees sitting inside were served this naivedyam. Baba sat in the centre and asked Nanasaheb Nimonkar and Shyama to serve those sitting inside and care for their individual needs. They did this job very willingly and efficiently. Every morsel was holy and auspicious. Every morsel was divine and consecrated. Every morsel had the extra ingredient of Baba’s affection and love for His devotees. NANASAHEB’S STORY: Once, Nanasaheb Chandorkar came to Shirdi with his ‘Sadu’ - husband of his wife’s sister, Mr. Biniwalle. They went inside the masjid and after prostrating at the feet of Baba; all the three sat together and started talking. Baba always advised that alms giving should be straightforward. When asked for alms, no one should utter falsehood and say 'I have not got it' (the money or other things asked for), when he has got it, but only decline to give it in polite terms and say that circumstances do not allow the giving. No crooked ways should be adopted. Yet after this advice was given, some time later, Nanasaheb, who had promised to pay Rs. 300 for charity to be done at the Kopergaon Datta temple, did not bring the money and therefore avoided a visit to the temple, which was on his way to Shirdi. With the approval of his relative, he took a detour through a very thorny path, as a result of which 340


he and his relative ran thorns in their bodies. Baba was suddenly very angry with Nanasaheb. He said, “Even after being with Me for so many years, how can you do like this?” Nanasaheb was perplexed. He sat silently without talking. Baba asked, “Tell Me, when did you come to Kopergaon? Where did you engage the Tonga and what happened on the way?” Then Nanasaheb understood the folly he had committed. He said, “As Biniwalle was also with me, we engaged a Tonga at Kopergaon to come to Shirdi for Your darshan. We took bath in the holy Godavari. Biniwalle is a devotee of Bhagavan Dattatreya. He wanted to visit the Datta temple near the Godavari banks. As I was interested in coming here at the earliest, I told him that we could visit the temple on our way back. After taking bath in the Godavari, my foot trod on a big thorn and pained me very much throughout the journey.” Being an Antaryami, Baba knew everything. He said, “You evade seeing 'Sircar' (God Datta) and take a detour. Why? You thought that the sadhu will ask you for Rs. 300. Is this the way to remember my lesson? If you do not have the money, or if it was not easy to arrange to get it, you have only to tell him the fact. Will that saint eat you? But what device is this to avoid the temple of God for fear of the saint demanding money? Well then, have not thorns pierced your feet and body and the posterior part of your sapient friend?” Baba definitely looked unhappy. He said, “Being pricked by a thorn is a very small punishment. How can you ignore Datta Bhagavan when He is on the way?” Baba never liked ignoring the presiding deities. HEMAD PANT’S CUP OF BUTTER-MILK: Once, Hemad Pant had an opportunity to sit with the devotees for partaking of the naivedyam, described earlier. He had eaten his full share of the naivedyam and was even feeling slightly uncomfortable. Then, Baba offered him a cup of butter 341


milk. The cool butter milk, rich with cream and froth, was very much tempting. Hemad Pant wanted to drink it but was not sure whether his stomach could accommodate it. As he could no longer resist the temptation, he took a sip and immensely liked it. Seeing his dilemma, Baba said, “Drink it all. You won’t get an opportunity later on.” Hemad Pant drank the butter milk but could not understand the import of Baba’s words. Two months later, Baba attained Mahasamadhi. That cup of butter milk was not only cool, creamy and frothy; it gave immortality to Hemad Pant. His Satcharitra will be read as long as there are mountains in the country and rivers are flowing. Just as Valmiki wrote the first authoritative story of Sri Rama, Hemad Pant wrote the first authoritative story of Sai Baba. Several versions of Ramayana have come, several thousands may still come, but Valmiki Ramayana will always have its own pride of place. So is Hemad Pant’s Satcharitra. Every one of the Satcharitra which has come afterwards, and the multitudes which will definitely come later on, will always be indebted to Hemad Pant. Let us prostrate, once again, at the divine feet of our beloved Baba, who has granted immortality to every one of His devotees, and pray sincerely to bless us always. Sri Sadguru Sainath Maharaj Ki Jai!!! With this, the thirty eighth chapter, called as Description of the Handi, is complete. In the next two chapters, Hemad Pant tells us about Baba’s interpretation of a verse from Gita, construction of the Samadhi Mandir and other matters. ||Sri Sadguru Sainathaarpanamasthu || Shubham Bhavatu|| Om Shanti Shanti Shanti

342


|| sri sai satcharitra ||

|| chapters thirty - nine and fifty ||

|| Baba’s knowledge of sanskrit || || Sri Ganeshaya Namaha || Sri Saraswatye Namaha || || Sri Venkateshaya Namaha || Sri Sai Nathaya Namaha || ||Sri Sadgurubhyo Namaha ||

In these two chapters, Hemad Pant tells us about Baba’s interpretation of a verse from Gita, construction of the Samadhi Mandir and other matters. This chapter deals with Baba’s interpretation of a verse in Bhagvad Gita. Some people believed that Baba did not know Sanskrit and the interpretation given was Nanasaheb Chandorkar’s. Refuting this belief, Hemad Pant wrote chapter 50, which also deals with the same subject. Hence these two chapters are combined together. SHIRDI AND SAI: Shirdi was a small village. After Baba came to Shirdi, it attracted plenty of attention and subsequently became a Teertha or a holy place of pilgrimage. Blessed is Shirdi and blessed indeed is the Dwarakamai, where Sai lived. Blessed are the people of Shirdi, for whose welfare Sai came there. The people also gave everything they had, to Him. Their love for Him and their implicit faith in Him was unparalleled. Every family in Shirdi treated Him as their own family member. For them, Baba’s words were commands which had to be implemented. They never thought of any other option. Such was their devotion. The women of Shirdi sang His glories all the time, while bathing, grinding, pounding grains, or doing other house hold work. The lyrics were simple, easy to sing and the lines spoke of their abundant love for Baba. 343


Expression of undivided affection for Baba was the sole purpose. The songs not only did this, but always soothed the troubled mind. Blessed indeed are the people of Shirdi. BABA AND BHAGAVAD-GITA: It was during 1900-02 AD. Nanasaheb Chandorkar used to come to Shirdi frequently for Baba’s darshan. Nanasaheb was born of highly respected parents, who were good and pious Hindus, held in high esteem in their social circles and following the sastras to the best of their ability. His father was a retired Government officer, and had built a decent building in Kalyan, called the Chandorkar Wada. Nanasaheb’s capability and talents could be seen from the fact that by twenty he was already a graduate, and that entering Government service , he at once rose to the position of a Gazetted officer, a Deputy Collector, in seven years, which was in those days considered (and must be considered even now) to be an exceptional or marvelous feat. His conduct, character, and spiritual fitness were those of a good Hindu. He had taken up Philosophy for his special subject for the B. A. degree and supplemented his college study by careful attention to the Bhagvad Gita with Sankara Bhashya. He was anxious to get the best out of the Hindu sastras for his own moral and spiritual equipment and progress. His basic equipment being so good, what was needed was only the hand of a perfect master to turn him into a brilliant apostle, one high up in the spiritual ladder. Nanasaheb had no idea of his previous births. But his Guru Sri Sai Baba knew everything. Being a sarvajna, He knew that in the past four janmas, Nanasaheb was His sishya. So He was determined to make the pupil continue the contact and derive further benefit till he achieved life's goal. That is why He sent for him even though He did not care ordinarily to meet persons in high official position which, in His eyes, counted for nothing at all. Baba wanted to coach His dear devotee Nanasaheb in respect of the shadripus and show how they were impediments for self 344


realization. Baba's work (like most divine work) is subtle (sukshma), unseen, easily forgotten, and not properly interpreted. The shadripus are Kaama, Krodha, Moha, Lobha, Maatsarya and Mada. Mada is pride, conceit, vanity, or display of one's ill-conceived high opinion of oneself in a way displeasing and disgusting to others. That pride may be based upon caste or wealth or learning or physical strength, etc. In the case of Nanasaheb, being a religious minded person, he used to read Gita everyday and had also read the various commentaries on it. In addition, he knew Sanskrit very well and had read several books on Indian Philosophy. He was also a good student of Vedanta and took pride in his knowledge of it. The pride of learning and caste was in him, and it had to be duly toned down. That which is the hardest to conquer is the pride of learning. This over-attachment to learning is called 'Vidya Vasana'. When we have to shake off vasana (tendency) after vasana to get into pure Satva of Brahman, one serious obstacle is this Vidya vasana, the idea 'I am a learned man', ‘I know all the Vedas', 'I must consider everything in my own style and cannot accept somebody else's dictum.' These are all Vidya vasana traces, and all of them are fatal to one's chance of attaining Mukti. So, Baba had to put down this pride of learning in Nanasaheb. Nanasaheb was not very offensively parading his learning, but still had an idea that his knowledge of Sanskrit and the Gita with Sankara Bhashya placed him high above the ordinary run of men in knowledge. Baba wanted, at one stroke, to pull him by the heels and show him how dangerous his conceit was and at the same time teach him the duties of a sishya and lay the foundation for Brahma-realization (which cannot coexist with Ego and Egotism). The 'Vidya Vasana’ ego is an almost insuperable barrier standing in the way of the educated, the cultured, and the intellectual set that approached and still approach Baba. Nanasaheb was the first and foremost of these intellectuals. His Vidya vasana was very powerful. He believed that he could understand and by his understanding reach Moksha. This, being a 345


very powerful obstacle, had to be overcome, and the first step or mark of overcoming is humility and preparedness to surrender the ego or egotism. Those were the days when Baba’s fame had not yet spread far and wide. Devotees, who came for Baba’s darshan, could easily spend some time alone with Baba. On one such afternoon, Baba was relaxing and Nanasaheb was tenderly and lovingly massaging Baba’s legs with utmost care. To spend time purposefully, Nanasaheb was trying to repeat and recollect something. He did not want to disturb Baba’s peace, so he was muttering in a low voice. It was a sloka from Bhagavad-Gita: Tadviddhi pranipaatena pariprashnena sevayaa; Upadekshyanti te jnaanam jnaaninas tatvadarshinaha. Chap.4, Sl.34 Know that through prostration, inquiry and service. The wise ones who have realized the Truth will impart the Knowledge to you. Although people may be wise, some of them are apt to know Truth just as it is, while others may not be so. Hence the qualification, 'who have realized the Truth'. The considered view of the Lord is that Knowledge imparted by those who have full enlightenment becomes effective, not any other. Baba knew what he was mumbling and caught him exactly at the point He wanted. It dealt with the Guru teaching the sishyas, and that is what Baba wanted—to disabuse him of his conceit and pride based on an ego which barred God-realization or jiva brahma-aikya. Baba asked, “Nana, what are you muttering?” Nana: A sloka in Sanskrit. Baba: Which Sloka? Nana: From Bhagavad-Gita. 346


Baba: Say it loudly. Let Me also hear it. Nanasaheb then recited the above sloka from Bhagavad-Gita. Baba: Have you understood it? Nana: Yes. Baba: Then, tell Me. Nana: It means, “Making Saashtaanga Namaskar, that is, prostration, questioning the Guru, serving him, learn what this Jnana is. Then, those Jnanis who have attained the real knowledge of the Sadvastu (Brahman) will give you Upadesh (instruction) of Jnana.” Baba: I don’t want the gist of the sloka. Tell Me the meaning of each word and its grammatical significance. Then Nanasaheb explained it word by word with meaning and its import. Baba: Mere prostration is enough? Nana: I don’t know any meaning other than ‘making prostration’ for ‘pranipata’. Baba: What is ‘pariprashna’? Nana: To ask questions. Baba: What does ‘prashna’ mean? Nana: Same, asking questions. Baba: If ‘pariprashna’ and ‘prashna’ meant the same, why did Vyasa add the prefix ‘pari’? Was he mad? Nana: I don’t know any other meaning for ‘pariprashna’. Baba: ‘Seva’. What kind of ‘Seva’ is meant? Nana: Just what we are doing always. Baba: Rendering such service is sufficient? Nana: I don’t know what else is signified by the word ‘Seva’. Baba: In the next line, ‘Upadekshyanti te jnanam’, is it possible to read any word other than ‘jnanam’? Nana: Yes. Baba: What is it? Nana: ‘Ajnanam’. Baba: Using that instead of ‘jnanam’, can any meaning be made of the sloka? 347


Nana: No. Sankara Bhashya doesn’t give such a meaning. Baba: Never mind if it doesn’t give. Is there any objection to using ‘ajnanam’ if it gives a better meaning? Nana: I don’t understand how to construe a meaning using ‘Ajnanam’. Nana could not understand how the Guru's giving Ajnanam could make a better meaning. In that way Baba puzzled him word after word and phrase after phrase. Baba finally asked, “Why does Sri Krishna refer Arjuna to Jnanis or Tattwadarshis to do his prostration, interrogation and service? Was not Sri Krishna Himself a Tattwadarshi and a Jnani?” Nana: Yes, He was. But I don’t understand why He referred Arjuna to Jnanis. Baba: Did you not understand this? Nanasaheb Chandorkar was thoroughly humbled. He understood that he was in front of a giant who knew Sanskrit, who knew the Upanishads, and who knew everything. He then asked Baba himself to explain, and Baba's answers to His own questions revealed a wealth of knowledge of Upanishadic material and mastery of that knowledge in twisting the words to provide a new meaning. Nanasaheb’s pride was knocked on the head. He was deceived by Baba’s external appearance. He knew that Baba came to Shirdi when He was very young and did not have any formal education. So, he thought that Baba’s knowledge was based purely on intuition and as such, He did not know Sanskrit or for that matter the theoretical aspect of any religion. Nanasaheb assumed that Baba’s knowledge grew out of His experiences alone. The way Baba asked sharp, pointed questions and answered them revealed a depth of mind which was totally new to Nanasaheb. Then Baba began to explain the real significance of the sloka:

348


“1. It is not enough to merely prostrate before the Jnanis. We must make Sarvasva Sharanaagati (complete surrender) to the Sadguru. 2. Mere questioning is not enough. The questioning should be serious and with a view to achieve spiritual progress or Moksha. The questioning should never be made with a view or attitude to trap the Guru or out of idle curiosity or with any other improper motive. 3. Seva is not rendering service. Rendering service implies that one is free to offer or refuse service. Seva implies that one is not the master of the body, that the body is Guru’s and that it exists only to render service to him. If this is done, the Sadguru will show what the Jnana is, as referred to in the sloka.” Nanasaheb was perplexed. Earlier Baba had asked to use ‘Ajnana’ for ‘Jnana’ in the sloka. He could not understand whether the Sadguru teaches ‘Jnana’ or ‘Ajnana’. How does a teacher teach ‘Ajnana ’? He asked Baba. Then Baba replied: “How is Jnana-Upadesha done? It is done by removing the veil of ignorance over Jnana. Only a Jnani knows that he is a Jnani. For all others, the fact that they are Jnanis is not known to them. A veil of Ajnana covers their Jnana. A Sadguru removes this veil. Commenting on Gita 18-66, Ovi-1396 of Jnaneshwari says, ‘Removal of ignorance is like this, oh Arjuna. If dream and sleep disappear, you are yourself. It is like that.’ Gita 5-15 says, Ajnaanenaavritam jnaanam tena muhyanti jantavah. Knowledge is enveloped by ignorance, thereby beings are deluded. The next sloka says, Jnaanena tu tad ajnaanam yeshaam naashitam aatmanah; Teshaam aadityavaj jnaanam prakaashayati tatparam

349


But, to those whose ignorance is destroyed by knowledge of the Self, like the sun, knowledge reveals the Supreme (Brahman). Destroying this ignorance means acquiring knowledge. Expelling darkness means light. Destroying duality (dwaita) means advaita. Whenever we speak of destroying Dwaita, we speak of Advaita. If we have to realize the Advaita state, the feeling of Dwaita in ourselves has to be removed. Once this is done, what remains is Advaita. That is the realisation of the Advaita state. Only the one who has attained the stage of Advaita can teach others about it. How can anyone speak of Advaita while remaining in Dwaita? The Sishya, like the Guru, is also an embodiment of Jnana. The difference is that he does not know it. The Guru, on the other hand, knows that he is a Jnani: he has an attitude, high realisation, marvelous super human Satva, unrivalled capacity and Aishwarya Yoga (divine powers). The Guru is formless, Nirguna, Sat-Chit-Ananda. He has taken human form only to uplift the mankind. By taking the human form, his Nirguna nature is not destroyed. His divine powers, wisdom and beingness remain unchanged. The Sishya also is in fact of the same Swaroopa. But, this Swaroopa is covered by the effect of samskaras of innumerable births in the form of various layers of ignorance. These layers of ignorance prevent him from knowing that he is Shuddha Chaitanya. With each layer of this ignorance, he gets the impression, ‘I am Jiva, a creature, humble and poor.’ The Guru has to root out these offshoots of ignorance by giving proper instructions. To the Sishya who is bound by the ideas of his being a creature, humble and poor for endless generations, the Guru has to teach him for hundreds of births that ‘You are God, you are mighty and opulent.’ When the Guru destroys this ignorance, layer by layer, the Sishya becomes increasingly aware of the fact that he is indeed God. The delusion that he is Jiva, and that God and the world are separate from him, is an error inherited from innumerable past births. To remove this delusion, or error, he must seriously start intense questioning - how did this ignorance 350


arise? Where is it? The answer to these questions, provided by the Guru, is the Guru Upadesha. Examples of the Ajnana of the Sishya are: 1. I am a Jiva (creature) 2. I am the body (body is the soul) 3. God, world and Jiva are separate 4. I am not God 5. Not knowing that body is not the soul 6. Not knowing that God, world and Jiva are not separate, but one. Unless these errors are brought to his notice, the Sishya cannot learn what is God, Jiva, body and world; how they are interrelated and whether they are different or are one and the same. To teach him these and destroy his ignorance is the instruction in Jnana or Ajnana. Upadesha is merely to show him the error and destroy his ignorance. Why should Jnana be imparted to Jiva, who is a Jnanamurti?� Baba further added: 1. Pranipata implies surrender 2. Surrender must be of body, mind and wealth. One must feel that he is nothing. The Guru is everything, and, therefore, thorough humility is involved in pranipata. Regarding the question, why should Krishna refer Arjuna to other Jnanis? A sadbhakta believes everything to be Vasudeva. Gita says, Bahoonaam janmanaamante jnaanavaanmaam prapadyate; Vaasudevah sarvamiti sa mahaatmaa sudurlabhah Ch.7, Sl.19 At the end of many births the wise man comes to me, realising that all this is Vasudeva (the innermost Self); such a great soul (Mahatma) is very hard to find. The Guru also takes the Sishya to be Vasudeva. And Sri Krishna treats both as His prana and atma. Gita says, 351


Udaaraah sarva evaite jnaanee twaatmaiva me matam; Aasthitah sa hi yuktaatmaa maamevaanuttamaam gatim Ch.7, Sl.18 Noble indeed are all these; but I deem the wise man as my very Self; for, steadfast in mind, he is established in me alone as the supreme goal. As Sri Krishna knows that there are such Bhaktas and Gurus, He refers Arjuna to them so that their greatness may increase and be known.” CONSTRUCTION OF SAMADHI MANDIR: Bapusaheb Booty, as we know, was a multi millionaire of Nagpur. After he became an intimate devotee of Baba, he started living in Shirdi with his family. For some reason, he felt that he should have a building of his own in Shirdi and was waiting for an auspicious moment to seek Baba’s permission. Once, when he was sleeping in Sathe Wada, he got a vision. Baba appeared in his dream and ordered him to build a Wada of his own with a temple. Baba, being a sarvajna, understood the desires of all His devotees. When these desires were legitimate and useful to everyone, Baba’s blessings were always there. Shyama was also sleeping in Sathe Wada at that time. When Bapusaheb was having the vision, Shyama also had a vision. Baba appeared in his dream and told him exactly the same thing. When Bapusaheb Booty woke up, he found Shyama also awake and crying. Bapusaheb asked him why he was crying. He replied, “Baba had come in the dream. He said, ‘Build the Wada with the temple. I shall fulfill the desires of all.’ On hearing Baba’s sweet and loving words, I was overpowered with emotion. My throat was choked and my eyes were overflowing with tears. I was crying.” Bapusaheb was astounded by the identical visions the two of them had. Having no difficulties with money resources, he decided to build the Wada with the temple. He and Shyama together 352


prepared the plan for the building. After the plan was ready, it was placed before Baba for His final approval. Baba immediately gave His blessings for the project. The construction work started without any delay. Under the able supervision of Shyama, the ground floor, cellar and the well were completed. Every time Baba passed that place on His way to Lendi Baug, He suggested some modifications which were immediately carried out. Bapusaheb Jog carried out the supervision of the building after the ground floor was ready. Bapusaheb Booty was always present at the site of construction. One day, seeing the building which was half completed, Bapusaheb got an idea. He felt that the building should have an open room or platform. In the centre of that wide space, he felt that an idol of Muralidhara (Sri Krishna with flute) should be installed. He requested Shyama to seek Baba’s opinion regarding this matter. When Baba came next time to the site of construction, Shyama asked Him His opinion regarding Bapusaheb’s proposal. Baba immediately gave His consent. Seeing the way the building was shaping up, Baba said, “After the Wada is complete; I will come here and stay. We shall use it for ourselves. We will move, play, live and embrace each other here. We will be very happy here.” Then Shyama asked Baba whether that moment was auspicious for beginning the foundation work for the central room of the Shrine. Baba answered in the affirmative. Then Shyama immediately brought a coconut and broke it, symbolizing the start of the work. Very shortly, the building was completed. An order for making of a marble idol of Muralidhara was also given. Before 353


the idol could be completed, the events took a different turn. Baba became seriously ill and everyone around were afraid that He may pass away. Bapusaheb, who loved Baba very much, was greatly dejected. He thought that if Baba was not there, then for whom was that building? Who would consecrate it? He had built it very tastefully so that Baba would come and live in it. Without Him, it was like a temple without an idol. Understanding Bapusaheb’s feelings of love and affection for Him, just before He attained Mahasamadhi, Baba said, “Place Me in the Wada.” His last words were a small consolation for Bapusaheb, who had dreamed of a Mandir with Baba and not a Samadhi for Baba. In due course of time, Baba’s holy body was placed and preserved in the central shrine meant for Muralidhara and Baba Himself became Muralidhara. With Baba’s blessings, the building became Samadhi-Mandir of Baba. And, as Baba said, whoever comes to the Samadhi Mandir will always be happy. Blessed and fortunate indeed is Bapusaheb Booty who was able to build a permanent resting place for our beloved Baba. Let us prostrate, surrendering our everything, to our beloved Baba. Sadguru Sainath Maharaj Ki Jai!!! With this, the thirty ninth and fiftieth chapters, called as Baba’s knowledge of Sanskrit, is complete. In the next chapter, Hemad Pant tells us about Stories of Baba - attending Mrs Deo’s Udyapana, Hemad Pant’s house and other matters. ||Sri Sadguru Sainathaarpanamasthu || Shubham Bhavatu|| Om Shanti Shanti Shanti

354


|| sri sai satcharitra || || chapter forty ||

|| udyapana and other stories || || Sri Ganeshaya Namaha || Sri Saraswatye Namaha || || Sri Venkateshaya Namaha || Sri Sai Nathaya Namaha || || Sri Sadgurubhyo Namaha ||

In this chapter, Hemad Pant tells us about Stories of Baba attending Mrs Deo’s Udyapana, Hemad Pant’s house and other matters. SADGURU SAI: Blessed are the devotees who prostrate at the divine feet of our beloved Baba. The moment we place our head at His feet, He caresses our head lovingly with His hand and lifts us up. By placing His hand on our head, Baba transfers His powers to us, destroying the ignorance that Jiva and the world are separate. The sense of duality is removed for ever. Sai becomes one with us and we become one with Sai. It is like the sea welcoming the rivers. When rivers join the sea, the river and the sea become indistinguishable. To become one with Baba and to get the immense powers, we do not have to labour very hard. Listening to Baba’s stories is enough to make us attain the unattainable. Nothing pleases Baba more than the devotees singing songs of these stories. The God likes those who sing the praise of His devotees more than Himself. By listening to these stories and describing them to others, various sins accrued from the misdeeds of all previous lives will be washed away. B.V. DEO’S STORY: BV Deo was a Mamlatdar in Dahanu (Thana District). His mother was a religious lady. She had taken 25 to 30 different 355


vows and performed all the poojas. It is a tradition that with the successful completion of a vow and the pooja, an Udyapana has to be performed. This includes feeding the Brahmins and all the other invited guests. Deo’s mother combined all the 25 to 30 Udyapanas into a single one and invited about 100 to 200 guests for the lunch. Deo, who was a staunch devotee of Baba, felt that it would be nice if Baba would also attend the lunch. He knew that Baba always stayed in Shirdi and never went anywhere except Rahata, Rui and Nimgaon in person. Still, his love for Baba was such that he desired His presence on that happy occasion. So, he wrote a letter to Bapusaheb Jog, to request Baba on his behalf to attend the ceremony. He also wrote that without Baba’s presence, the function would remain incomplete. Bapusaheb Jog duly read out the letter to Baba. Baba said, “I always think of him who remembers Me. I don’t need any conveyance like tanga, train or airplane to go from one place to another. I manifest Myself to him who calls Me lovingly. Write to him a pleasing reply that the three of us (Myself, yourself and a third) will attend the function.” Deo was immensely happy to read the letter. He knew that Baba would not come in person. Still, he thought that nothing was impossible for Baba and He may suddenly turn up in any form He likes and fulfill His promises. A few days earlier to the Udyapana day, a sanyasi dressed like a Bengali got down from a train and went to the station master at Dahanu. He introduced himself as a volunteer working for the promotion of welfare of cows. He wanted to know if the station master could help him in collecting donations for this noble purpose. The station master felt that he was not the competent person for this and suggested that the gentleman should contact the mamlatdar of the place. By a coincidence, Deo who was also the mamlatdar, walked into the station master’s room. The station master introduced the sanyasi to Deo. Both of them discussed about the welfare of cows. Deo liked the idea very much and really wanted to help. He told the sanyasi that as Rao Saheb Narotham Shetty was collecting donations for some other 356


purpose, it would be better to wait for a couple of months and then start the movement on cow welfare. Sanyasi agreed and told him that he would come back after some time and left. On the day of Udyapana, the sanyasi dressed as before, came in a Tonga, got down in front of Deo’s house. The time then was about 10.0 AM in the morning. Deo was very busy organizing the Udyapana. Seeing him again within such short notice, Deo felt that he had come for the charity work, and was slightly irritated. Reading Deo’s expression on his face the sanyasi said, “Sir, I did not come for charity. I want to take food in your house today.” Deo was immensely happy as uninvited guests are treated as God. He said, “Please come. It is my good fortune that you have come today to my house. Please treat this as your own home.” The sanyasi told him that two of his friends were also with him. Deo replied, “Please tell me where they are staying. I will bring them here.” The sanyasi told him not to bother and that all the three of them would come exactly at the time of lunch. Deo told him that food would be ready to be served around noon. Exactly at noon, the trio came and joined others for the Udyapana meals. Deo served them as though he was offering naivedyam to the God. After completing the lunch, the three accepted tambulam from Deo and left. Deo waited the entire day for Baba, and at the end of the day when Baba did not turn up, he felt very unhappy. After completion of the function, Deo wrote a letter to Bapusaheb Jog, complaining of the way in which Baba disappointed him. Jog went to Baba with the letter. Even before he could read the letter, Baba said, “He says that I promised him to come, but deceived him. Write to him that I did attend the Udyapana lunch with two others. He didn’t recognize Me. He thought that the sanyasi had come for the charity. I told him that I did not come for charity, but for lunch. I also told him that there were two more with Me. All the three of us came in time and took our lunch. Look, to keep up My promise, I would even sacrifice My life. I am never untrue to My words.” 357


Jog was very happy with Baba’s reply and wrote the entire conversation to Deo. As soon as he read the letter, Deo was extremely happy that Baba did visit his house and had food. He also cursed himself for not recognizing Baba in spite of all the indications provided. He was also unhappy that he wrote very uncharitable words about Baba to Jog. Whenever someone calls Baba affectionately and lovingly, He never disappoints. He would go to any extent to make them happy. To such a benign God, let us prostrate once again and invite Him to visit our houses. HEMAD PANT’S STORY: In Deo’s story, Deo invited Baba for lunch; Baba accepted the invitation and attended the lunch. Here is a slightly different variation. On a full moon morning in 1917 AD, when Hemad Pant was in Bandra, he had a vision. In that vision, he found himself fast asleep. Baba appeared in the dream, in the form of a well dressed sanyasi, woke him up and told him that he would come to him for meals that day. When he finally woke up, he could not find either the Sanyasi or Sai. What surprised Hemad Pant most was that he could remember every word spoken in the dream very distinctly. Another surprise for him was that, though he was with Baba for the past seven years, Baba never expressed any desire to come to his house and Hemad Pant also never expected that Baba would come for meals. Those were the Shimga days. So, he went to his wife and told her that being the Shimga day, a sanyasi guest was coming for meals and that she should prepare sufficient food items. Being curious, she asked him who the guest was and wherefrom was he coming. Not to create any misunderstanding, he told her the entire story of his dream. She doubted if Baba would leave the nice dishes at Shirdi and come to Bandra to take the ordinary food they were preparing. Hemad Pant told her that Baba may not come in person, but may attend in any other form as a guest. They would lose nothing by preparing additional food items. 358


All the food items were prepared with great care and were ready for serving by noon. The Holika pooja was also over and plantain leaves were spread for taking food. Rangoli was drawn around the leaves. Two rows with a central seat for the guest were arranged. All the family members - daughters, their husbands, grandsons - came and occupied their respective places. Serving of food also commenced. Still there was no trace of the guest. Naivedyam was also offered to Sri Krishna. When they were about to begin, foot steps were heard near the door and someone knocked on the door. Hemad Pant anxiously went to the door and opened it. He found that two persons, Ali Mohammad and Moulana Ismu Mujavar, were standing near the door with a packet in their hand. They saw that meals were served and that everyone was ready to begin. They immediately apologized to Hemad Pant and said, “Pardon us for disturbing you like this when you are about to begin eating. Others are also waiting. Please take your packet and open it immediately. We will tell you about it afterwards, at your convenience. Please go and have your food.� Ali Mohammad took out a packet wrapped in an old news paper and placed it on the table. Hemad Pant opened the packet immediately and to his great surprise and wonder, found that it was a nice, big portrait of Baba. Hemad Pant was so much moved by seeing the picture that tears rolled down his eyes and without wasting any time, he prostrated at the divine feet of Baba. He thought that Baba was true to His word and came there to bless him. Unable to contain his curiosity, he asked Ali Mohammad how he got that picture. Ali Mohammad was already feeling guilty for having disturbed their lunch. He said that he would tell him all the details at a later date, and that they should continue with their lunch. Hemad Pant thanked them, bade them good bye and joined other for the lunch. The picture was placed in the seat reserved for the guest. After offering naivedyam to the guest, Hemad Pant and others commenced their lunch. Everyone was extremely pleased and wondered at the miracle wherein Baba told in advance that He 359


BABA’S PORTRAIT GIVEN BY ALI MOHAMMAD TO HEMAD PANT

360


would come for lunch and at the correct time, appeared as a picture and accepted the pooja and naivedyam. From then on, Hemad Pant kept that photograph in his pooja room along with the photographs of other gods and goddesses. On every subsequent Holi day, he used to offer special pooja to Baba’s portrait. Whether in dream or in reality, Baba always kept up His promise to the devotees and made them happy. To that beloved Baba, our beloved Baba, let us prostrate again. With this, the fortieth chapter, called as Udyapana and other stories, is complete. In the next chapter, Hemad Pant tells us about Story of a picture, Stealing the Rags, Reading of Jnaneshwari and other matters. ||Sri Sadguru Sainathaarpanamasthu ||Shubham Bhavatu|| Om Shanti Shanti Shanti

361


|| sri sai satcharitra ||

|| chapter forty - one ||

|| the story of a picture || || Sri Ganeshaya Namaha || Sri Saraswatye Namaha || || Sri Venkateshaya Namaha || Sri Sai Nathaya Namaha || || Sri Sadgurubhyo Namaha ||

In this chapter, Hemad Pant tells us about Story of a picture, Stealing the Rags, Reading of Jnaneshwari and other matters. SADGURU SAI: The effects of good or bad deeds, accrued because of the karma done by this body, do not disappear with the perishing of the body. The effects persist long after the doer disappears. To escape from this, one should realise that Jiva is not the body. Once this realisation is attained, the effects of karma do not bind the Jiva as Jiva is not the doer. For this realisation to dawn, one must surrender at the divine feet of Baba. Once this is done, the Sadguru will lift us and make us go through such divine experiences which we can never even imagine. The easiest way to get the Sadguru’s blessings is by repeated parayana of Satcharitra. We should forget our egoism and bow at the feet of Baba, endowed with the divine Shadgunas - Fame, Affluence, Munificence, Knowledge, Detachment, and Tranquility. Baba is always kind. Even if we are not devoted to Him, even if we do not worship Him, if we just call Him once, He will respond immediately. ALI MOHAMMAD’S STORY: We saw how Baba kept up His promise to His devotees and made them happy. To Hemad Pant, He told in the dream that He would come for lunch. At the stroke of the time for lunch, He 362


appeared as a portrait and accepted Hemad Pant’s pooja and naivedyam. Hemad Pant was curious to know how Ali Mohammad came to know of him and how he got the photograph of Baba. Ali Mohammad had told him that he would tell the story when they next meet. That meeting occurred nine years later. Once, when Ali Mohammad was going through the streets of Bombay, he saw the big portrait of Baba with a hawker. As he was a devotee of Baba, he liked the photograph immensely, bought it and framed it. He took the framed picture to his home in Bandra and hung it on a wall. Everyday he used to bow to the portrait. Three months before he visited Hemad Pant, he developed an abscess on his leg and suffered acute pain. The doctors suggested that surgery was necessary. He duly got operated and stayed in the house of his brother-in-law, Noor Mohammad Peerbhoy for post operative care. Ali Mohammad stayed there for three months. During these three months, nobody took care of his house in Bandra. The home contained the photographs of famous saints like Baba Abdul Rahman, Moulanasaheb Mahomed Hussain, Baba Tajuddin, Sai Baba and few others. The way in which Ali Mohammad got the photograph of Baba Abdul Rahman was also strange. Ali Mohammad had obtained a small picture of Baba Abdul Rahman from Mahomed Hussain Thariyatopan some years ago. Hoping that it would bring good luck, he gave the picture to his brother-in-law, Noor Mohammed. The picture was lying in the drawer of Noor Mohammad’s table for eight years. One day, he saw it and then took it to a photographer, got it enlarged to life size, made several copies of it, framed them and distributed them to his relatives and friends. He gave one photograph to Ali Mohammad also. Noor Mohammed was a disciple of Baba Abdul Rahman and wanted to give one photograph to his guru in an open durbar. The moment the guru saw his own photograph in the hands of Noor Mohammad, he was wild with anger, ran to beat him and drove him away. Baba Abdul Rahman did not like image worship. 363


Noor Mohammad felt very sorry and dejected. In addition to losing so much money in making enlarged copies and framing them, he had lost the confidence of his guru and also incurred his wrath and displeasure. Following his guru’s belief, he took the big photograph with him to Apollo Bunder (in Bombay), hired a boat and drowned it in the sea. He asked his friends also to return the photographs, six in number, and when he got them, gave it to a fisherman to throw them in the Bandra sea. Ali Mohammad was convalescing in Noor Mohammad’s house. Ali Mohammad was told that all his suffering would come to an end if he also took the photographs of all the saints in his house and drowned them in sea. On hearing this, Ali Mohammad sent his manager to his house in Bandra and asked him to drown all the photographs in the sea. After two months, when he returned back to his house, Ali Mohammad had a surprise waiting for him. The moment he opened the doors and entered inside, he saw the photograph of Baba looking at him. He was surprised how his manager could have missed Baba’s picture. Afraid that if Noor Mohammad saw it, he would take it and dump it in the sea, he immediately removed it and kept it in his cupboard. Ali Mohammad had a special love for Baba’s portrait. He was now in a dilemma as he could neither hang it on the wall, nor throw it away. While he was worried about what to do, Baba inspired an idea that he should meet Moulana Ismu Mujavar and follow his advice. Next day he met the Moulana and told him the complete story about the photograph. After mature consideration, the Moulana suggested that the photograph should be given to Annasaheb Dabholkar (Hemad Pant) who would protect it well. Then both went to Hemad Pant’s house and presented him with Baba’s photograph at the most opportune time. The above story shows how carefully Baba interlaced the lives of His devotees and brought happiness and cheer to every one of them. Such interaction is possible only for someone who 364


knows the past, present and the future. For Baba, time and space were no constraints. BV DEO’S STORY: Sant Jnaneshwar, the well-known saint of Maharashtra, was not only a realised soul but a gifted poet. At a very early age (around 19 years), he wrote his masterpiece, ‘Jnaneshwari’, a commentary on the Gita in Marathi in exquisite poetry. He has explained the Gita not by recourse to rational arguments but by the profuse use of similes, metaphors and illustrations. ‘Jnaneshwari’ was one of Baba’s favourite books. He called it ‘Pothi’. BV Deo, the Mamlatdar of Dahanu, wanted to read ‘Jnaneshwari’ from a long time. He was able to read completely one chapter of Bhagavad-Gita and some parts of other scriptures every day, but when he took up ‘Jnaneshwari’ for reading, some difficulties always cropped up and was prevented from reading further. He took three months’ leave and went to Shirdi and then to Poud for taking rest. In Poud also, he was able to read other books but not ‘Jnaneshwari’. Whenever he opened the book, some evil or stray thoughts came crowding in his mind and stopped him from further reading. However hard he tried, he just could not make any progress. Finally, he decided that he would read ‘Jnaneshwari’ only when Baba created some love for it and ordered him to read it. In 1914 AD he went with his family to Shirdi. When he met Bapusaheb Jog, on his way to the masjid for Baba’s darshan, Jog asked him whether he read ‘Jnaneshwari’ daily. Deo told his story to Jog. He told him of the innumerable attempts he made to read the book, but his inability to read. He also told that he would read the book only after Baba orders him to read. Jog advised him to take a copy of the book and present it to Baba, so that He would consecrate and give it back. Then he could start reading it. Deo told him that he did not want to do like that as Baba knew his desire and would wait till Baba ordered him to read. 365


Subsequently, Deo had darshan of Baba and offered Re 1/as Dakshina to Baba. Baba asked him Rs.20/- as Dakshina which Deo gave happily. That night, he met one Balakram and asked him how he became a devotee of Baba and how he was able to secure the confidence of Baba. Balakram told him to wait till arati next day, when he would tell him everything. As usual, Deo went for Baba’s darshan next day. Baba asked him a Dakshina of Rs.20/- which he gave willingly. It was arati time and the masjid was overcrowded, so Deo went to a corner and sat there. Baba called him to come closer and sit with peace of mind. Deo followed his instructions. Noon arati was over and people had dispersed. The masjid was almost empty. Deo saw Balakram there and asked him the same questions again. When Balakram was about to answer, Baba sent Chandru, a leper devotee, to bring Deo to Him. Deo went to Baba with all submissiveness. Baba asked him what he was talking, with whom and when. Deo told him that he was talking with Balakram and heard from him about Baba’s fame. Then Baba asked for a Dakshina of Rs.25/-. Deo gave it happily. Baba took him inside and sitting near the post, charged him, “You stole My rags, without My knowledge.” Deo, who was shocked with this allegation, denied all knowledge of any rags. Baba asked him to make a search. He searched and found nothing. Baba was getting increasingly angry and shouted, “There is nobody here. You are the thief. You are grey haired and old; still you come here for stealing.” After that Baba lost his temper totally, gave all sorts of abuses and was about to beat him. Some time later, Baba cooled down and asked him to go to Wada. Deo returned to Wada. There he met Jog and Balakram. He told them what all had transpired. They also did not understand why Baba got so angry. After some time, Baba sent for all of them. When all reached the masjid and bowed at the feet of Baba, Baba said that his words might have pained the old man (Deo) but as he had committed the theft, He could not keep quiet. He asked him for a Dakshina of Rs.12/-. Deo did not have the two 366


coins. He had only currency notes. He collected the amount and gave it to Baba and prostrated at His feet. Then Baba told him, “Read Pothi (Jnaneshwari) daily. Sit in the Wada and read some part regularly everyday. While reading, explain what you read to all with love and devotion. When I am sitting here to give you gold embroidered Shella (shawl), why go to others to steal rags? And, after all, why should you get into the habit of stealing?” Deo was immensely pleased with these words, as he got what he wanted. He was happy that Baba had asked him to read ‘Jnaneshwari’. He could now read his favourite book with ease. He again prostrated at the feet of Baba and requested Him to treat him as a child and help him in his reading. Deo surrendered himself totally to Baba. He then understood what Baba had meant by ‘stealing the rags’. What he had asked Balakram constituted ‘rags’. Trying to know about the fame of Baba without His knowledge, was stealing. When Baba was ready to answer any question, He did not like anyone to know about Him through some one else. Hence He had scolded and harassed. Deo realised that it was not really ‘harassing and scolding’, but a lesson taught to him. He learnt that it was useless to ask someone else about Baba, when Baba Himself is present to fulfill all his desires. Deo considered Baba’s scolding as blessings and went home satisfied and contented. As we have seen in earlier cases, Baba always kept a watch on His devotees. Their welfare was His prime and only concern. Within one year, He went to Deo to find out about the progress made by him in ‘Jnaneshwari’. On 02 April 1914, Thursday morning, Baba appeared in Deo’s dream. He sat on the upper floor and asked him whether he understood the Pothi. Deo told Him that he did not. Baba asked, “Then, when are you going to understand?” Deo was in tears and said, “Unless You shower Your grace, reading it is a problem. Understanding is very difficult.” Then Baba said, “Read slowly. Read it before Me, in My presence.” Deo asked Him, “What shall I read?” Baba told him, “Read Adhyatma.” Deo went to bring the book, Adhyatma 367


Ramayana, but found that he had already opened his eyes and was wide awake. The immense joy and bliss he felt after this is indescribable. If we surrender to Him, Baba will guide us even in the smallest detail possible. With Sadguru’s guidance and blessings, it is not at all difficult to cross this endless ocean of ‘Bhavasagara’. All the miseries and difficulties will vanish and life will be smooth and happy. By bowing at the divine feet of the Sadguru everyday, all the obstacles will disappear. Sadguru Sai can snatch us even from the jaws of certain death. The power of Sadguru Sai is inestimable. Let us all prostrate at the divine feet of our beloved Sadguru Sai Baba and pray that His blessings should always be with us and that He should protect us from going astray and guide us to our destination. Sadguru Sainath Maharaj Ki Jai!!!! With this, the forty first chapter, called as The story of a picture, is complete. In the next chapter, Hemad Pant tells us about Baba’s Mahasamadhi and other matters. ||Sri Sadguru Sainathaarpanamasthu ||Shubham Bhavatu|| Om Shanti Shanti Shanti

368


|| sri sai satcharitra || || chapter forty-two ||

|| the mahasamadhi || || Sri Ganeshaya Namaha || Sri Saraswatye Namaha || || Sri Venkateshaya Namaha || Sri Sai Nathaya Namaha || || Sri Sadgurubhyo Namaha ||

SADGURU SAI: Hemad Pant begins this chapter with the description of Dr. Pandit’s worshipping of Baba in his own way. Pandit was a friend of Tatyasaheb Noolkar and once he came to Shirdi. He had darshan of Baba and when his turn came, took the sandal paste from Dadabhat and applied it on Baba’s forehead, drawing a tripundra - three horizontal lines. Till then Baba had never allowed anyone to touch his forehead. Even Mhalsapathi did not dare touch Baba above His throat. He used to apply sandal paste to Baba’s throat. To the surprise of all, when Pandit applied the tripundra, Baba patiently allowed him to do it. Then Baba told that Pandit saw his guru in Baba and followed his normal method of worship. Thus, Baba allowed each devotee to worship Him in his own way. SEEMOLLANGHAN: On the Vijayadashami day of the year 1916 AD, people in Shirdi were celebrating ‘Seemollanghan’. On the ‘Seemollanghan’ day the people cross the border (seema) of their village, spend the day in the other village and return back to their homes in the evening. On that day, when they were returning, they had a very unexpected experience. As they crossed the masjid on their way home, they saw Baba standing stark naked, eyes burning and shouting, “You fellows, have a look now and 369


decide finally whether I am a Muslim or a Hindu.” All those who saw Him thus, were totally shocked and were scared to go anywhere near Him. They were trembling with fear. Then, Bhagoji Shinde, the leper devotee, went boldly near Baba and tied a langoti to His waist and said, “Deva, what is this? Today is the Seemollanghan day”. Baba jerked His satka and angrily said, “This is My Seemollanghan day.” It was late in the night, around 11.0pm, that Baba could be pacified and became calm. Earlier in the day, Baba had got into a wild rage, took off His head dress, the Kafni, langoti etc. He tore them to pieces and threw the rags in the Dhuni. The fire in Dhuni was reflecting Baba’s anger and was flaring up higher and higher. When Bhagoji Shinde tied the langoti to Baba’s waist, it was already 9.00pm and people were worried whether the Chavadi Procession that day would take place or not. By 11.0 pm Baba was dressed as usual and the Chavadi Procession took place with all its grandeur. In the din and noise of the procession and celebrations, people forgot Baba’s words. RAMACHANDRA PATIL’S STORY: Some time after the above incident, the head of the Shirdi village, Ramachandra Patil became seriously ill. He suffered very much. In spite of taking all the varieties of medicines, there was no improvement and he was gradually sinking. He knew that his end was near, but did not know how long he had to endure the suffering. Then, one midnight, Baba appeared to him and stood near his pillow. Patil mustered all his physical strength and fell at the feet of Baba and begged, “Deva, I have lost all hopes of life. Please tell me, definitely, when it will end.” Merciful as ever, Baba said, “Don’t worry. Your hundi (death warrant) is withdrawn. You will recover. But, I am worried about Tatya. He will pass away on the Vijayadashami day of Shaka 1840 (year 1918 AD). Don’t tell this to anyone. He will be terribly frightened if knows.” Ramachandra Patil recovered soon enough. Baba’s words were eating away his mental peace as he was very fond of 370


Tatya. It was a truth which he could neither tell anyone nor live with it. Under some forcing circumstances, he told it only to Bala Shimpi. Now, two persons were counting the days with fear and suspense - Ramachandra Patil and Bala Shimpi. Time does not wait for anybody. Ramachandra Patil had resumed his normal activities, the month of Bhadrapada of Shaka 1840 (1918 AD) had passed and the subsequent month was on its way. True to Baba’s words, Tatya fell sick and was bed ridden. Because of his illness, and as he was too weak to get up and walk, he could not go to masjid to have darshan of Baba. Curiously, Baba also fell sick at the same time. He was down with fever. Tatya had always trusted Baba implicitly. For him, Baba was not just God but his everything. Tatya’s illness took a turn for the worse. He could not move even on the bed. He had to lie down in one position only. But, not a single moment went without his remembering Baba. Simultaneously, in the masjid, Baba’s health was also deteriorating. Both Ramachandra Patil and Bala Shimpi were spending sleepless nights. During daytime, their only thought was about Tatya. With Vijayadashami fast approaching, Tatya’s pulse slowed down and he was expected to breathe his last anytime now. Vijayadashami day finally dawned. Most of Baba’s devotees were with Tatya near his bedside. His pulse had almost stopped beating. The day was 15 October 1918, Tuesday, and the time was nearing 2.00pm. Almost miraculously, Tatya’s health started improving. The pulse was beating faster and acquiring the normal rate. People heaved a sigh of relief that Tatya had crossed the perilous moment and was on the way to recovery. 371


Within an hour, people got the news that their beloved Sai Baba had breathed His last at 2.30pm. Entire Shirdi, and all the devotees, world wide, were plunged in deep sorrow. Many thought that Baba had exchanged His life for Tatya’s. Dasganu Maharaj was away in Pandharpur at that time. The next morning, on 16th, Baba appeared in his dream and said, “The masjid has collapsed. All the oilmen and grocers of Shirdi teased Me very much, so I am leaving the place. I have come to inform you. Please go there quickly and cover Me with ‘Bhakkal’ flowers.” Almost at the same time, he got letters from Shirdi mentioning about the sad event. Dasganu left for Shirdi immediately. He started singing Bhajans and kirtans throughout the day near Baba’s samadhi. He weaved a beautiful garland of flowers studded with Sri Hari’s names and placed it on the samadhi. He also performed anna daanam in the name of Baba. LAXMIBAI’S STORY: Baba’s illness started with a slight attack of fever on 28 September 1918. Though the fever subsided, Baba gave up taking food and became weaker day by day. He suffered like this for 17 days. On the 17th day was the fateful Vijayadashami day. Dasara or Vijayadashami day is considered by all Hindus to be the most auspicious day, and it was only appropriate that Baba selected this day for His ‘Seemollanghan’. Till the last moment, He was very conscious though His body was suffering. At the last moment, He sat up erect and the very few who were around thought that the danger had passed. He put His hand in the pocket of His kafni, removed five coins of one rupee and gave it to Laxmibai. He again put His hand in the pocket and removed another four coins of one rupee and gave them to her. In all He gave her nine coins of one rupee. Laxmibai was a good and well to do woman. She was not poor. It was because of pure love for Baba that she was working in the masjid day and night. Baba never allowed anyone other than Mhalsapathi, Tatya and Laxmibai to remain in the masjid 372


during night time. Once, it happened that Laxmibai came in the evening and prostrated at the feet of Baba. Baba told her, “Laxmi, I am very hungry.” She said, “Deva, wait a minute. I will get you bhakri (roti prepared with jawar flour)” and immediately left for her home. She came back within no time and gave the rotis to Baba. Baba took those rotis and fed them to the dog which was resting there. Laxmibai felt hurt. She said, “What is this Deva, I took so much trouble to prepare the rotis fast and you are feeding the dog, without even taking a small bite? Unnecessarily You troubled me.” Baba replied, “Why do you complain? Appeasement of the dog’s hunger is same as appeasing My hunger. Like Me the dog also has a soul. Creatures may be different, but hunger of all is same. Know that he, who feeds the hungry, really serves Me. Regard this as an axiomatic truth.” Though this is an ordinary incident, Baba explained a great spiritual truth and showed its practical application. From then onwards, Laxmibai started bringing milk and roti everyday to Baba with great devotion and love. Baba ate a part of this and sent the remaining to Radhakrishna Mai, who considered it as prasadam and ate it. Baba never forgot any service rendered to Him. As He said frequently, if He took one rupee, He had to repay ten rupees. When He was leaving His body, He gave nine coins of one rupee to Laxmibai. The figure nine could mean Nava Vidha Bhakti as explained in Chapter 21. It could also mean the Dakshina offered during Seemollanghan. As Laxmibai was not in need of any money, it could also mean the nine characteristics of a good disciple as mentioned in the Skanda11, Chapter 10 and Sloka 6 of the Bhagavatam: amāny amatsaro disco nirmamo drdh a-sauhrdah asatvaro 'rtha-jijñāsur anasūyur amogha-vāk The servant or disciple of the spiritual master should be free from false prestige, never considering himself to be the doer. He should be active and never lazy and should give up all sense of 373


proprietorship over the objects of the senses, including his wife, children, home and society. He should be endowed with feelings of loving friendship toward the spiritual master and should never become deviated or bewildered. The servant or disciple should always desire advancement in spiritual understanding should not envy anyone and should always avoid useless conversation. Here also, the first couplet lists 5 characteristics and the second mentions the remaining 4. Sri Krishna told Uddhava the various ways in which the disciple should behave with his guru. He also tells the five ways first and then the four. The 5 and 4 has many layers of significance. Baba indicated all these when He gave the coins to Laxmibai. This was her prized possession. Baba also took other precautions. As He did not want His love for the devotees to entangle Him in the last moment, He told all of them to go away. He asked Kakasaheb Dixit, Bapusaheb Booty and others who were with Him, to go to Wada and come back after their lunch. Knowing Baba’s condition, they did not want to leave Him. As it was Baba Himself who had asked them to go, they could not ignore His orders also. Very reluctantly, they went to Wada and sat for taking food. Before they could finish the meals, news came of Baba’s Mahasamadhi. They ran to the masjid. There they saw their beloved Baba resting peacefully on Bayaji’s (Appa Kote) lap. He did not fall to the ground, nor did He lie on His bed. He sat quietly on His seat and breathed His last while giving charity with His own hand. Saints come to this earth with a definite mission to accomplish. Having accomplished, they go back to their heavenly abode as silently as they had come. Sai Baba had come to Shirdi without any fanfare. He had come as a total stranger. When He left this world, not many were there with Him. He was always alone, taking on the unbearable responsibility of anyone who called Him for help. For all that He did to everyone, He did not ask anything from anyone except love, affection and a few kind 374


words. Whether in human form or beyond it, He has been giving everything His devotees asked Him. To this great soul, to this most kind and merciful god let us shed a drop of tear of pure love and affection. That is the only way we can express our gratitude to Him. With this, the forty second chapter, called as The Mahasamadhi, is complete. In the next two chapters, Hemad Pant continues the story of Baba’s Mahasamadhi and other matters. ||Sri Sadguru Sainathaarpanamasthu ||Shubham Bhavatu|| Om Shanti Shanti Shanti

375


376


|| sri sai satcharitra ||

|| chapters forty-three and forty-four || || the mahasamadhi (contd) ||

|| Sri Ganeshaya Namaha || Sri Saraswatye Namaha || || Sri Venkateshaya Namaha || Sri Sai Nathaya Namaha || || Sri Sadgurubhyo Namaha ||

It is a common tradition among the Hindus that whenever someone is on the deathbed, continuous reading of Ramayana or Bhagavata or Bhagavad Gita is resorted to. This is done with a view to allow the dying person to withdraw his mind from the material world and fix his attention on God so that his subsequent journey to the other world would be smooth and easy. When King Parikshit, descendent of Pandavas, incurred the wrath of rishi Samika’s son and was cursed to die because of a snake bite within a week, the great sage Shuka narrated the Bhagavata Purana during the entire week. Listening to Bhagavata, Parikshit was able to focus his attention on the God and attain moksha. This practice is in vogue even now. Baba did not need any such supports. As people usually follow the path set by great people, and to induce them to continue this practice, Baba requested one Mr Vaze to read Ramavijaya to Him everyday. Vaze read the entire book in one week. Baba asked him to read it day and night. This time, Vaze finished the book in three days, thus completing eleven days of parayana. Baba asked him to read again. This time also he completed reading in three days and was totally exhausted. Baba allowed him to go. Baba started withdrawing all His attention from outside and focussed on Self. A couple of days earlier, He stopped His morning walk and also His begging rounds. He simply sat in the masjid. Always conscious, He advised the devotees not to lose their peace and calm. Kakasaheb Dixit and Bapusaheb Booty were having their daily meals with Baba at the masjid. On Tuesday, 15th October, after the arati was over, He asked them to go to their homes and 377


have their lunch and come back. Laxmibai Shinde, Nanasaheb Nimonkar, Bayaji, Laxman Bala Shimpi and Bhagoji Shinde were in the masjid. Shyama, who followed Baba like a shadow, sat desolately on the steps. He was dreading what would happen any moment. Inside the masjid, after giving nine coins to Laxmibai, Baba said that He was feeling suffocated there and asked to be taken to the Dagadi (stone) Wada of Booty, where He said that He could breathe freely. While saying these, He leaned on Bayaji’s body. Bhagoji put his hand near Baba’s nose and felt that the breathing had stopped. He told the same to Nanasaheb Nimonkar, who was sitting. Nanasaheb immediately brought holy water and trickled it into Baba’s mouth. The water dribbled out. Nanasaheb could no longer contain his emotions. He gave out a deep cry of anguish, “Oh, Deva”. It appeared as though Baba heard this and seemed to open His eyes and say, “Ah” in a very low tone, but by that time, Baba had already discarded the worn out body and had become omnipresent. From a single human form, He spread Himself to millions and millions of beings, all not necessarily human. The people of Shirdi reacted very emotionally. The news spread like wild fire, and within no time everyone knew what had happened. They left everything behind them and ran to the masjid. They did not bother whether they had left their food half eaten, or even whether they were completely dressed or not. Their only thought was that the light in their life had gone and there was total darkness. Many worried that they could not be beside their guardian angel during His last moments. Others consoled them that it would not have mattered much. Some cried out loudly, and some others who were delicate, fell down unconscious. Some others who could not control their emotions wallowed on the street. Everyone was in deep shock and grief and everyone was crying miserably with tears flowing down like a deluge. 378


Someone in the crowd remembered Baba’s words. They said that Maharaj (Baba) had told that He would come back and this time He would come as a boy of eight year old. These were the words of a saint and nobody need doubt them. Earlier, Lord Vishnu did exactly like this. He had told Devaki in a dream that He would come to her as an eight year old boy. When Sri Krishna appeared before her, He was eight year old. Lord Krishna incarnated to lighten the burden of the mother earth. Sai Baba had incarnated for uplifting the devotees. The relationship of Baba with His devotees was not confined to this generation alone. This relationship has been going on for the last 72 generations. It looked as if the Maharaj had gone for a tour and the devotees had a firm belief that He would come back. That was the love Baba had given the people of Shirdi and that was the way they were responding to with abundant love at the Mahasamadhi of their Maharaj. Once they reconciled to the fact that the Maharaj will not return to the same body, the next question arose - disposal of the body. The very thing which Baba struggled hard to remove, throughout His lifetime, reared up its ugly head now. There was a difference of opinion between the Hindus and the Muslims. The Muslims wanted to inter the body in an open space and build a tomb over it. Khushalchand and Amir Shakkar supported that view. But Ramachandra Patil, the head of Shirdi village, did not agree. He insisted, “Baba’s body should be placed only in the Wada.” People were divided on this issue and the body was kept waiting for 36 hours. On Wednesday morning, Baba appeared in Laxman Mama Joshi’s dream and drawing him by His hand said, “Get up. Bapusaheb thinks that I am dead. So, he won’t come. Perform the pooja and the Kakad Arati.” Laxman Mama was the village astrologer and maternal uncle of Shyama. He was an orthodox Brahmin and only after worshipping Baba everyday in the morning, he used to worship other deities. For him, Baba was the God. After the vision was over, he took all the pooja material and 379


immediately went to the masjid. In spite of strong protests from everyone there, performed the pooja and the Kakad Arati and after prostrating at the feet of Baba left that place. This raised a new hope in the hearts of the bereaved devotees. They felt that Baba had not gone anywhere, and is very much with them. Bapusaheb Jog came at noon and performed the Noon Arati as usual and as if nothing had happened. All the devotees thought that they should respect and honour Baba’s wishes, and decided to place Baba’s body in the Wada and started digging the central portion there. In the evening of Tuesday, a sub-inspector from Rahata came. Devotees from other places also arrived in Shirdi. Amir bhai came from Bombay and Mamlatdar came from Kopergaon. They all agreed to the proposal to place the body in the Wada. Some, however, persisted with the idea of interring the body in the open space. The Mamlatdar took the opinion of all present there and found that the Wada proposal secured double the number of votes. To be on the safe side, the Mamlatdar thought of referring the matter to the Collector. Kakasaheb Dixit was prepared to meet the Collector and explain the matter. Meanwhile, by Baba’s intervention, the opinion of the people changed and everyone supported unanimously the Wada proposal. On Wednesday evening, Baba’s body was taken in full procession with the chanting of ‘Sadguru Sainath Maharaj Ki Jai’ and Bhajans of Baba’s namavali and brought to the Wada. The central portion, the garbha, was already prepared. The body was interred with all formalities and poojas there. Baba occupied the place meant for Muralidhara. In fact, Baba became Muralidhara. The Wada became a temple and Baba’s words, “After the temple is complete, I will stay there” proved true. The place Bapusaheb Booty built for Baba to stay 380


became a shrine where millions and millions of people are visiting to find rest and peace. Balasaheb Bhate and Upasani performed the obsequies with all formality and devotion. Professor Narke observed that even after the body was exposed for more than 36 hours, it did not become rigid and was as elastic as earlier and Baba’s Kafni could be taken out without any difficulty. BREAKING OF THE BRICK: Baba had an old brick with Him. He loved that brick more than anything else. When He slept, He used the brick as the pillow. Baba used to say that the brick was presented to Him by His guru. Because of that, it was more valuable to Him than anything else in the world. Some days before Baba’s departure a young boy, Madhav False, was sweeping the floor, took the brick in his hand to clean the area below it. Unfortunately, it slipped from his hands and the brick broke into two pieces. This happened in Baba’s absence. When Baba came to know of this, He was totally grief stricken. He cried, “It was My life-long companion. With it I always meditated on the Self. It is not the brick which has broken. My fate has broken to pieces. It has left Me today.” To those devotees who get the doubt as to why Baba grieved so much over an ordinary brick, Hemad Pant says that though Baba was God incarnate, He was still in human form. And as Baba Himself used to say, sometimes Maya overtook Him in spite of being alert always. Maya did not leave even Brahma. Under the spell of Maya, the God incarnate also laughs and cries like ordinary human beings. THIRTY TWO YEARS BEFORE: Thirty two years before, in 1886 AD, Baba had crossed the border line first time. On a Margasira Poornima day, Baba suffered from a severe attack of asthma. Baba decided to go into samadhi. Mhalsapathi was with Baba at that time. Baba told him, 381


“Protect My body for three days. If I do not return, bury My body in that open land (pointing to the space) and fix two flags as a mark.” After saying this, at about 10.0 pm Baba slept in the lap of Mhalsapathi. His breathing stopped. Then His pulse also stopped. For all external appearances it looked as if Baba had breathed His last. Next morning, people coming to masjid for Baba’s darshan were shocked to see Baba lying lifeless in the lap of Mhalsapathi. The entire village came, completely grief stricken, and felt that darkness had enveloped them. By evening of that day, they decided that after conducting an inquest, the body should be buried in the place shown by Baba. No one believed Baba’s words. But, Mhalsapathi strongly opposed all these attempts. He said that Baba had asked him to wait for 3 days and only then they could think of something else. For full three days, with Baba’s body in his lap, Mhalsapathi did not even move slightly. For full three days, he guarded Baba’s body better than he would have guarded his own life. In addition to being confined to the same place, Mhalsapathi had to face severe provocations from the people, from the devotees and from the civilian authorities. For any one who came with an alternate solution, his only reply was, “Wait for three days.” Time does not wait for anyone. The stipulated three days finally came to an end. Almost every one in the village was at the masjid, trying to see the greatest miracle. Then at 3.00 am on the third day, the miracle finally happened. Breathing started once again in the body, the abdomen began to move. Baba slowly opened His eyes and stretched His limbs. Baba had returned back to life and consciousness. Every one assembled in the masjid, heaved a sigh of relief and gave a loud cry of ‘Sainath Maharaj Ki Jai’. This time a greater miracle happened. From a body of about three cubits, Baba moved into millions and millions of such bodies, some six feet, some less than that and many even much less than that. From the smallest of the small to the biggest of the big, Baba has assumed all the forms. The human body is composed of the five elements and is perishable. The human form 382


of Baba served Him loyally for nearly eighty years and had to be discarded as it had become old. The divine light that was inside, the eternal flame of knowledge and wisdom and the beacon of kindness and mercy that was inside, found a larger expression than the mere three cubits of body. This divine light cannot fade away with the transient body. Baba’s mission is still incomplete. To fulfill the mission, Baba has assumed the infinite form. He has only discarded the frail human body. Like God Dattatreya, or Sri Narasimha Saraswati of Ganagapur, Baba is always alive. Though some may feel that it is not possible for them to see Baba’s form now, many others have felt Baba’s presence through the generations. By closing the eyes and concentrating the mind, one can still see the benign face of Baba. Devotees are recounting innumerable ways in which Baba has come to their rescue whenever they just called His name in distress. To other devotees to whom the form is important, they can go to Shirdi and visit the Samadhi Mandir. The Mandir is built with stones and Baba’s Samadhi is built with white marble stones. A railing is built in marble around the Samadhi and is full of ornamental decorations. Just behind the Samadhi is the marvelous, life like statue of Baba made of Italian marble. It shows Baba majestically seated on a throne. The sculptor, Balaji Vasant Talim was only an instrument like Hemad Pant. The statue, installed on 7 October 1954, appears as if Baba, for the sake of His beloved devotees, had transposed Himself from a transient human body to an immortal form in the marble stone. Every devotee who sees the idol will feel that Baba is alive 383


and sitting. Every devotee is filled with the satisfaction of Baba’s Darshana. In Dwarakamai, we will also find the life like beautiful

384


portrait which adorned the Mandir, before the idol was installed. Drawn by Shamrao Jaykar, a famous artiste and well known devotee of Baba, this portrait even today gives the same satisfaction that we would have got by seeing Baba in the human form. Being less fortunate than the people who lived a hundred years ago in Shirdi, we have to seek contentment in whatever is available to us today. To those without faith, he is invisible. To the faithful devotees, He appears wherever they may be. In the chavadi, His presence is invisible; in Dwarakamai, it is in the form of Brahman; in the Samadhi Mandir, in a state of samadhi, while everywhere else, it is the bliss of His presence. BAPUSAHEB JOG’S STORY: Sakharam Hari, also known as Bapusaheb Jog, was the uncle of the famous Warkari Vishnubuva Jog of Poona. Bapusaheb did not have any children. He was working as a supervisor in the PWD. In 1909 AD, he sought retirement and with his wife settled down in Shirdi. Both the husband and wife loved Baba very dearly and spent all their time in worshipping and serving Baba. After Megha passed away, Bapusaheb performed the daily Arati in the masjid and at Chavadi till Baba’s Mahasamadhi. Baba had asked him to read and explain Jnaneshwari and Eknathi Bhagavat to audience in Sathe Wada. One day, Bapusaheb asked Baba, “I have served You for so many years. Why my mind is still restless? Has my contact with Saints not improved me? Please bless me.” Baba replied, “Shortly your karmaphala will be neutralized. Conquer lust and sense of taste. Get rid of all impediments. Serve God whole heartedly and accept sanyas. When you renounce all attachments, I will consider you as blessed.” Baba’s words came true shortly. His wife predeceased him and he had no other attachments. He was free to accept sanyas and before his death, he realised the goal of his life.

385


BABA’S SAYINGS: “He, who loves Me most, sees Me always. To him, who tells no stories other than mine; to him, who ceaselessly meditates Me and always chants My name; the whole world is desolate to him without Me. I feel indebted to him, who surrenders himself completely to Me and remembers Me always. I shall repay his debt by giving him salvation. To him, who thinks and hungers after Me, who does not eat anything without first offering it to Me, I am always dependent. He, who thus comes to Me, becomes one with Me, just as a river gets to the sea and becomes one with it. With no trace of pride or egoism, you should surrender yourself to Me, seated in your heart.” Baba expounded several times who this Me is. “You need not go far in search of Me. Other than your physical form and name, there exists in you, as well as in all beings, a sense of Being or Consciousness of Existence. That is Myself. Know this and see Me, inside yourself, as well as in all beings. If you practice this, you will realise all pervasiveness, and thus attain oneness with Me.” Hemad Pant makes a bow to the readers and requests them humbly and lovingly that they should love and respect all Gods, Saints and devotees. Has not Baba often said, “He who carps and cavils at others, pierces Me in the heart and injures Me. He that suffers and endures pleases Me most.” Baba pervades all beings and creatures, and besets them on all sides. He likes nothing but love to all beings. Baba always spoke of such words, imbibing which any man can become immortal. Hemad Pant, therefore, concludes - those who sing affectionately Baba’s fame and those who hear the same with devotion, both become one with our beloved Baba. Let us once again prostrate at the divine feet of our beloved Baba and say, “Sadguru Sainath Maharaj Ki Jai!!!!”

386


With this, the forty third and forty fourth chapters, called as The Mahasamadhi (Contd), are complete. In the next chapter, Hemad Pant describes Kakasaheb’s doubt, Anandrao’s vision, wooden plank, Baba’s bedstead and other matters. ||Sri Sadguru Sainathaarpanamasthu ||Shubham Bhavatu|| Om Shanti Shanti Shanti

387


388


|| sri sai satcharitra || || chapter forty-five ||

|| anandrao’s vision || || Sri Ganeshaya Namaha || Sri Saraswatye Namaha || || Sri Venkateshaya Namaha || Sri Sai Nathaya Namaha || || Sri Sadgurubhyo Namaha ||

In this chapter, Hemad Pant describes Kakasaheb’s doubt, Anandrao’s vision, wooden plank, Baba’s bedstead and other matters. SADGURU SAI: We saw how our beloved Baba transcended the three cubits of human form and acquired a form which is not bound by time or space. The Leelas which were described earlier had taken place because of the three cubits of body. After the transformation also, Leelas have been taking place in countless numbers. With devotees multiplying, Leelas also have increased several folds. Baba is always watchful and is protecting His devotees at all places and at all times. People, who were there in Shirdi a hundred years ago, were indeed really very fortunate. If any of them did not achieve detachment for the sense objects, it was very unfortunate of them. What is required is the whole hearted devotion to Baba. All our senses, body and mind should be focussed at the divine feet of Baba. It will serve no purpose, if some organs are worshipping and other organs are diverting attention. Meditation should be done with all the senses, body and mind thinking of only Baba. The relation between a disciple and the Guru is often compared to that of a pativrata with her husband. This is 389


inadequate as the disciple’s relationship far exceeds the other one in scope. The Guru gives the disciple what nobody else gives. Not even mother, father, brother or any other relation can help the disciple in attaining the goal of life, which only a Guru can do. The Guru teaches us to discriminate between the real and the unreal and discard the unreal. He also teaches us to renounce, control the mind and senses and aspire for liberation. When realisation dawns on us that Brahman is none other than the Guru, we begin to worship the Brahman in all the beings, human and otherwise. This is the unifying worship. When we thus worship Brahman or Guru whole heartedly, we become one with Him and attain Self-realization. Chanting the name of the Guru, and meditating Him, enables us to see Him in all beings and confers us eternal bliss. KAKASAHEB’S STORY: Baba had asked Kakasaheb Dixit to read daily the two works of Sant Eknath namely: 1. Bhagavat and 2. Bhavartha Ramayana. Kakasaheb followed this practice regularly. Once, Kakasaheb was reading these books in Kaka Mahajani’s house in Chowpati, Bombay. He was reading Bhagavat that day. Shyama (Madhavarao Deshpande) was also there with him. Both Madhavarao Deshpande and Kaka Mahajani were listening very attentively to what Kakasaheb was reading. It was the eleventh skanda and second chapter. The chapter describes how the nine Nathas or Siddhas (Kavi, Hari, Antariksha, Prabuddha, Pippalayana, Avirhotra, Drumil, Chamas and Karabhajan) of the Rishabha family explained the principles of Bhagavat Dharma to King Janaka. King Janaka asked most important questions to all of them and everyone answered satisfactorily. Kavi explained what Bhagavat Dharma was. Hari explained the qualities of a Bhakta. Antariksha defined Maya. Prabuddha told how to overcome Maya. Pippalayana explained Parabrahma. Avirhotra told in detail what Karma was. Then Drumil told Janaka about the incarnations of God and the deeds done in each incarnation. 390


Chamas explained in detail how a non devotee fares after death. Lastly Karabhajan told King Janaka the different ways of worshipping God in different ages. In Kali Yuga, the prescribed form of worship was the chanting of Sri Hari’s or Guru’s name and prostrating at the divine feet. After reading the above passage, Kakasaheb was in a despondent mood. He told Madhavarao and others, “How wonderful is the discourse of the Nathas on Bhakti! The Nathas were perfect, but is it possible for ignorant people like us to attain the levels described by them? How difficult it is to practice these methods? When we can’t reach those levels of Bhakti, even after several births, how are we to get salvation? It looks like there is no hope for us!” Shyama did not like this pessimistic attitude. He questioned, “Why should we feel dejected, when we have unwavering faith in Baba? The Bhakti of Nathas may be strong and powerful, but so is our love and affection for our Guru. Has not Baba told us authoritatively that remembering and chanting Hari’s and Guru’s name confers salvation? Where is the cause for fear and anxiety? It is a pity that when, by our good luck, we have such a Guru as Baba, we should feel dejected.” Kakasaheb was not satisfied by Madhavarao’s explanation. He continued to be anxious thinking about how to get the powerful Bhakti of the Nathas. Next morning the following miracle took place. ANANDRAO’S VISION: A gentleman by name Anandrao Pakhade came in search of Madhavrao. Kakasaheb’s reading of Bhagavat was going on and Anandrao went and sat next to Madhavrao. He was whispering something in low tone to Madhavrao. As this disturbed the concentration of Kakasaheb, he stopped the reading and asked Madhavrao what the matter was. Madhavrao said, “Yesterday you expressed your doubt. Here is the explanation for that. Hear about Mr Pakhade’s vision. It explains the devotion which can save the devotee and tells us that bowing to or 391


worshipping of Guru’s feet is sufficient.” Everyone was very anxious to hear about the vision, particularly Kakasaheb. Anandrao Pakhade started telling about his vision. “I was standing in a deep sea at a place where the water was waist deep. All of a sudden, I saw Sai Baba. He was sitting on a beautiful throne studded with diamonds. His feet were in water. This form of Baba was most satisfying and pleasing to me. The vision was so real that I never thought that it was a dream. Curiously enough, Madhavrao was also standing there. With feeling, he told me, ‘Anandrao, fall at Baba’s feet.’ I replied, ‘I also wish to do so, but His feet are in water. How can I place my head on them? I am helpless.’ Hearing this, Madhavrao told Baba, ‘Oh Deva, please take out Your feet which are in water.’ Then Baba immediately took out His feet. I caught them immediately and bowed to them. On seeing this, Baba blessed me and said, ‘Go now. You will attain your welfare. There is no cause for fear and anxiety.’ He also said, ‘Give a silk bordered dhoti to my Shyama. You will benefit.’” In compliance with Baba’s order, Anandrao had brought the dhoti and requested Kakasaheb to give it to Madhavarao. Madhavarao refused to accept it saying that unless Baba asked him to take it, he would not accept. After some discussion, Kakasaheb decided to cast lots. Kakasaheb invariably followed the practice of casting lots in all doubtful matters and to follow the decision as shown by the picked up chit or lot. In this case, two chits were written, ‘To accept’ and ‘To reject’. Both the chits were placed at the feet of Baba’s picture and a child was asked to pick one of them. ‘To accept’ chit was picked up. The dhoti was handed over to Madhavrao. Thus both Anandrao and Madhavrao were satisfied. Kakasaheb’s doubts were also clarified. This story tells us to give respect to the sayings of other saints, but at the same time we must have full faith in our Guru and follow his instructions. This is because only he knows our 392


welfare better than any other person. The following words of Baba should be etched in our hearts, “There are innumerable saints in this world. But, our Guru is the Father (real Guru). Others may say many good things, but we should never forget our Guru’s words. In short, love your Guru whole heartedly, surrender to him completely, and prostrate before Him reverentially. Then you will see that there is no Bhavasagara for you to cross, just as there is no darkness for the Sun.” STORY OF THE WOODEN PLANK: As we saw earlier, in Chapter 10, Baba slept on a wooden plank, four arms in length and only a span in breadth with small diyas (earthen lamps) glowing brightly at the four corners of the plank. Later on, He broke it into pieces and threw it away. Some time later, Baba was describing the importance of the plank to Kakasaheb. After hearing it, Kakasaheb said, “If You still love the wooden plank, I will again suspend one in the masjid, so that You can sleep comfortably.” Baba replied, “I don’t like to sleep above, leaving Mhalsapathi lying down on the ground.” Then Kakasaheb said, “I will provide a plank for Mhalsapathi also.” Baba said, “How can he sleep on the plank? It is not easy to sleep on the plank high above. Only he, who has many good qualities in him, can do that. He, who can sleep with his eyes wide open, can do that. When I go to sleep, I often ask Mhalsapathi to sit by My side, place his hand on My heart and watch the chanting of the Lord’s name there. If he finds Me sleepy, I told him to wake Me up. He can’t do even this. He gets drowsy and begins to nod his head. When I feel his hand becoming heavy as a stone on My heart and cry out, ‘Oh Bhagat’, he moves and opens his eyes. How can he, who can’t sit and sleep well on the ground, and whose asana (posture) is not steady; and a slave to sleep, can sleep high up on a plank?” On other occasions Baba, out of love for His devotees, used to say, “What is ours (good or bad) is with us, and what is another’s is with him.” 393


With this, the forty fifth chapter, called as Anandrao’s vision, is complete. In the next chapter, Hemad Pant describes Baba’s Gaya trip, story of the goats and other matters. ||Sri Sadguru Sainathaarpanamasthu || Shubham Bhavatu|| Om Shanti Shanti Shanti

394


|| sri sai satcharitra || || chapter forty-six ||

|| the story of the goats || || Sri Ganeshaya Namaha || Sri Saraswatye Namaha || || Sri Venkateshaya Namaha || Sri Sai Nathaya Namaha || || Sri Sadgurubhyo Namaha ||

In this chapter, Hemad Pant describes Baba’s Gaya trip, story of the goats and other matters. SADGURU SAI: Hey Sai! Blessed are Your divine feet! How comforting is the remembrance of those lotus feet! Blessed is the darshan of Your divine form, which destroys the fear of this mundane world. It is because of You that all our bondages due to Karma are cut to pieces! Although we are not able to see Your Saguna form, even then if the devotees focus their attention at Your divine feet, You grant them a living experience. By an invisible attractive force, You pull the devotees, whether they are near or far off, to Your presence and embrace them like a new mother. Hey Sai! Devotees do not know where You reside, but You inspire them with such dexterity that because of it they feel that Your protective hand is always on their head and it is only because of Your Kripa-Dhrishti that they are always getting help from unknown sources. Engulfed by egoism, even people of highest level of intelligence and cleverness get sucked into the whirlpool of this Bhavasagara. But hey Sai! You, with only Your power, can pull out the helpless and dedicated 395


devotees from this whirlpool and protect them. Being behind the screen, You are doing justice to all. Even then, You act as though You are not connected at all. Nobody could understand Your life. So, it is beneficial to us that we should surrender totally at Your divine feet, and to rid us of our sins, keep chanting only Your Nama smarana. You fulfill all the desires of Your desireless devotees and give them bliss. Reciting Your name alone is the easiest path for the devotees. By this method, the Rajas and Tamas qualities in them will decline and Satva and Dharmik qualities will develop. Simultaneously with this, Viveka, Vairagya and Jnana will come one after the other. Then, Self-realization will dawn and they will feel oneness with the Guru, which also implies surrendering to the Guru completely. A conclusive proof of this is that then our mind will become steady and calm. The importance of this surrender, devotion and Jnana is unparalleled because along with this the attainment of tranquility, detachment, fame, liberation etc, will naturally follow. When Baba blesses His devotees, then He will always be near them. Wherever the devotee may go, somehow or other, Baba will always reach that place earlier than the devotee. The following story makes it clear. BABA’S GAYA TRIP: Sometime after Kakasaheb Dixit came to know Baba, he decided to perform the Upanayana (thread ceremony) of his eldest son, Babu at Nagpur. At about the same time, Nanasaheb Chandorkar also decided to perform the marriage of his eldest son at Gwalior. Both Kakasaheb and Nanasaheb went to Shirdi and requested Baba to attend the functions. Baba asked them to take Shyama as His representative. Both Kakasaheb and Nanasaheb were unrelenting and insisted on Baba coming personally to the two functions. Baba said, “Take Shyama. After Kashi and Prayag, I will reach earlier than Shyama.” These words show Baba’s all pervasiveness, if any proof was ever required. 396


Shyama went to Baba and after prostrating at His feet, sought His permission to go to Nagpur and Gwalior for the functions and then visit Kashi, Prayag and Gaya. On 25 February 1912, Shyama engaged a tonga and went to Kopergaon. There he met Appa Kote. Appa was going somewhere else, but when he heard about Shyama’s programme, he also decided to join Shyama. Their first halt was at Nagpur. They attended the Upanayana ceremony of Kakasaheb’s son. Kakasaheb was very happy that they were able to come and participate. He presented Rs.200/- to Shyama towards their travel expenses. From there they proceeded to Gwalior to attend Nanasaheb Chandorkar’s son’s marriage. The function was performed very well and was also largely attended. After the marriage was over, Nanasaheb gave Rs.100/- to Shyama. Nanasaheb’s relative Mr Jathar also gave him Rs.100/-. After attending these two functions, both Shyama and Appa Kote went to Kashi. They were very well received at Jathar’s beautiful Laxmi Narayana temple at Kashi. They stayed in Kashi for two months. When they went to Ayodhya, Jathar’s manager received them and treated them very well at the Ram Mandir there. Shyama and Kote stayed for 21 days in Ayodhya. Then they left for Gaya. While they were traveling in the train, they heard that plague was wide spread in Gaya. They felt slightly uneasy because of this news, but felt comforted by the thought that Baba was always with them. On arriving at Gaya, they got down from the train and stayed in a Dharmashala for the night. Early in the morning, a poojari of Gaya (Panda) came and told them that as all the other passengers have left, they should also make haste. This man usually took care of the needs of the pilgrims who came to Gaya. Quite casually Shyama asked whether there was plague in Gaya. Then the Panda said, “No. Please come to my house without any hesitation and verify the conditions yourself.” Then they both went to his house. Was it a house! It was indeed a spacious bungalow wherein many transit pilgrims could comfortably stay. Shyama was very happy with the 397


accommodation provided. He was greatly surprised that in the prime place of the building, a big portrait of Baba was beaming at him. On seeing this portrait, he was overwhelmed with joy. He remembered Baba’s words that He would be ahead of Shyama and tears started rolling down his cheeks. His throat choked and he began to sob. The Panda thought that he was scared of the plague and hence was crying. Sobbing, Shyama surprised him by asking him from where he secured the portrait of Baba. The Panda told him that he had some 200 to 300 agents working in Manmad and Punatambe for taking care of the comforts of pilgrims coming from those places to Gaya. He had heard from them about the fame of the saint Sai Baba who was in Shirdi. He also told them that about 12 years back he had gone to Shirdi and was fortunate to have the darshan of Sai Baba. In addition, he had also met a devotee of Baba by name Shyama. In Shyama’s, house he was attracted by this portrait and with Baba’s permission, Shyama had given it to him. Shyama recollected the event and when the Panda realised that this is the same Shyama who had given him the portrait and who is standing in front of him as a guest, his joy knew no bounds. Mutual exchange of love and affection took place and subsequently, the Panda treated Shyama like an emperor. He was a very rich man. He sat in a palki and made Shyama ride an elephant and together they went round the place. The Panda attended to all the comforts and conveniences of both of them personally. After spending some time in Gaya, both Shyama and Appa Kote returned to Shirdi. The above story clearly illustrates how much love Baba had for His devotees and how much care He took of them. As He said, He was ahead of Shyama, and even though there was news of plague in Gaya, He ensured that both His devotees were very comfortable and were even treated like royal guests. The next story tells us that not only humans, but other beings also shared Baba’s infinite love. Baba’s love was universal. 398


THE STORY OF THE TWO GOATS: Once, when Baba was returning from the Lendi Baug, a flock of goats crossed His path. Two among the flock looked at Baba desolately. Baba saw them, went to them, caressed and fondled. He bought both of them for Rs.32/- and brought them with Him. The devotees who saw this were aghast at His behaviour. Both the goats could have been bought for Rs.4/- or at the most Rs.8/-. The devotees thought that Baba was definitely duped in this bargain. Each of the devotees took Him to task, but Baba remained calm and cool. When Shyama and Tatya asked Baba why He had bought the goats, Baba said, “I have no home or wife for whom I need to save money.” Then He bought four seers of dal and fed the goats. After the goats happily consumed the food and Baba’s affection, Baba returned the goats to their earlier owner. Then Baba told the story of the goats as follows: “Shyama and Tatya, you think that I have been duped in this bargain. Listen to their story. Both of them were human beings in their previous birth, and fortunately, were very close to Me. Both were brothers and loved each other profoundly. Gradually, with the coming of age, the love changed to dislike and then hatred. They became bitter enemies. The elder brother was lazy and the younger one was hard working and earned lot of money. Because of this, the elder one was jealous and greedy. He decided to kill his younger brother and usurp all his property. They forgot their fraternal links and began to quarrel with each other. The elder one made several attempts to kill the younger one but was not successful. Thus they became deadly enemies. One day, the elder one gave a deadly blow on the head of the younger one. The younger one felled the elder one with an axe and both fell dead on the spot. Because of their actions, they took birth as goats. As they passed Me, I recognized them at once and remembered their history. Pitying them, I wanted to feed them, give them rest and comfort. For this reason, I spent the money which appeared to you as exorbitant. As you did not like the 399


transaction, I sent them back to their shepherd.� Baba had abundant love for even animals like the goats. With this, the forty sixth chapter, called as The Story of the Goats, is complete. In the next chapter, Hemad Pant describes story of Veerabhadrappa and Chennabassappa and other matters. || Sri Sadguru Sainathaarpanamasthu | Shubham Bhavatu || Om Shanti Shanti Shanti

400


|| sri sai satcharitra ||

|| chapter forty-seven ||

|| Baba’s reminiscences || || Sri Ganeshaya Namaha || Sri Saraswatye Namaha || || Sri Venkateshaya Namaha || Sri Sai Nathaya Namaha || || Sri Sadgurubhyo Namaha ||

In this chapter, Hemad Pant describes the story Veerabhadrappa and Chennabassappa and other matters.

of

SADGURU SAI: Hey Jnanavatar Sri Sai! Beyond the reach of trigunas, how magnificent and beautiful is Your form! Hey Antaryami! We are ever grateful to Your form. By a mere glance at Your form, all our karmaphalas of the previous lives will be destroyed and the doors of permanent happiness will be wide open! But, Oh our beloved Sai! This can happen only if You direct Your natural benign look over us. By Your look alone, all our bondages are broken loose and happiness accrues to us. By taking bath in river Ganga, all our sins will be washed away, but, Ganga Mayi will also be eagerly awaiting the coming of great saints with the hope that they would come and purify her with the touch of their holy feet. And Sai is the crown jewel among the saints.

401


SERPENT AND THE FROG: Once, Baba was sitting in the masjid amidst devotees. Thinking of some recent events, Baba started telling the following story. Let us hear the story in Baba’s words. “One day around 8.00 in the morning, after finishing My morning nourishment, I went for a stroll. Walking along, I reached the banks of a small river. As I was tired, I sat there and rested awhile. After some time, I washed My hands and feet and then took bath. Only then, My fatigue vanished and I was feeling refreshed. A track for carts and a small foot path for walkers passed from there. Both sides of this road were covered by dense and huge trees. Cool breeze was flowing gently. While I was filling up the chillum, I heard the wailing sound of a frog. When I was about to ignite the chillum, a passerby saw Me. He came near and sat beside Me. He bowed to Me and then started insisting that I should go to his house, have food and rest. He ignited the chillum and extended it to Me. The wailing sound of the frog was heard once again. The frog was no where in sight and the stranger was curious to know its significance. I told him that the frog was in trouble and was experiencing the karmaphala of its previous life. I also told him that it had to undergo the karmaphala and there was no use of wailing. He took one puff from the chillum and said, “Let me go and see what the matter is.” When he wanted to go in search of the frog, I told him that the frog was wailing as a huge serpent had held it in its mouth. Both were very wicked in the previous life and are reaping the benefits of their past life now. He went in search of the frog and saw that a huge serpent had indeed held it in its mouth. He came back and informed Me that in about 10 or 12 minutes, the serpent would swallow the frog. I said, “No. This can never happen. I am its protector and present here. How dare the serpent swallow the frog? Come and see how I will protect it.” After having a second puff, we both went to the place where the serpent and the frog were there. The stranger was scared that the serpent may attack us and tried to prevent Me going further. 402


Ignoring him, I went near the two and said, “Arey Veerabhadrappa! Has not your enmity ended even after you have become a snake and Chennabassappa has become a frog? At least now shrug off your hatred. This is very shameful. Discard your jealousy and leave in peace.” Hearing this, the serpent let off the frog and slid into the river. The frog also jumped into the nearby bushes. The stranger was very much surprised and several questions arose in his mind. He did not understand why the serpent let off the frog after listening to Me and who were Veerabhadrappa and Chennabassappa. What was the reason for their rivalry? I took him back to the same tree where we had sat earlier and made him sit. It was the same river bank and cool breeze was flowing slowly. I started telling him. ‘About 4 to 5 miles from My residence, there was a holy temple of Mahadev. The temple was old and dilapidated and the local residents had started a charity collection for the renovation of the temple. After enough money was collected, arrangements for daily pooja were made initially and then plans with estimates were prepared for the building reconstruction. A rich local man was made Treasurer and entrusted with the responsibility of looking after the entire project. The Treasurer had to keep an account of the progress, expenses and was expected to be honest in all his dealings. The man selected was a great miser. He spent minimum amount for the repairs of the building because of which the renovation was also of a very poor quality. The man showed that the entire collected amount was spent, usurped enough funds and did not spend anything from his own purse. He was a glib talker and some how or other convinced the residents that everything was alright. The temple, however, remained more or less as it was before. The residents were worried. They again went to the rich man and said, “Seth saheb, without your efforts, this work can never be completed. Please make fresh plans for the temple. We will collect some more money.” The seth took the collected money, but remained without doing anything. The 403


temple, even after the second charity collections, remained more or less as it was before. After some days, his wife had a vision. Lord Shankara appeared in her dream and said, “Get up and build the Kalash on the temple. Whatever money you spend for this purpose, I will give you hundred times that amount.” The wife was a simple lady. Next morning she told her husband about the vision. The seth was scared that this would involve more money and expenses, so he laughed and told his wife, “This was only a dream. Does anyone believe in dreams? If it was so, Lord Mahadev would have appeared before me and told me the same. Was I far away from you? This dream does not augur well for us. It is meant only to disrupt the relationship between the husband and wife. So be completely at peace. After all, where is the necessity of such money to God, which has been collected against the wishes of the giver? God always hungers after love and will gladly accept even a small copper coin offered with love and devotion.” Lord Shankara again appeared in her dream and said, “Don’t listen to your husband’s idle talk. Don’t think of the collected money and don’t insist on him to renovate the temple. I am indeed thirsty of your love and devotion. Whatever you want to spend, do it from your own money.” The lady decided to talk to her husband and use the ornaments her father had given her for this noble purpose. The husband became restless and this time decided to cheat the God also. He bought the complete set of his wife’s ornaments for an undervalued price of Rs.1, 000/- and in lieu of the amount gave part of a barren land for the temple as endowment or security. The wife agreed to this without any complaint. The land which the seth had given was not his own. It belonged to a poor lady ‘Dubaki’ who had mortgaged it to the seth for Rs.200/-. That lady could not repay the amount and get her mortgage released. The seth thus cheated his wife, Dubaki and even God. As the land was full of boulders, nothing could be cultivated there, even at the best of times. Thus the transaction 404


ended. The land was given to the poojari of the temple who was happy with getting it as endowment. After some time a miracle took place. There was torrential rain with lightening and thunderstorms. A bolt of lightening fell on the Seth’s house. Both the husband and wife died instantly. Dubaki also died. Subsequently, the seth was born to a brahmin couple in Mathura. The baby was named ‘Veerabhadrappa’. The wife was born as a daughter to the poojari of the temple and was named ‘Gauri’. Dubaki took birth as a baby boy in the Gurav family of the servant of the temple and was named ‘Chennabassappa’. The poojari was a friend of Mine. He often came to Me for discussions and shared chillum with Me. His daughter was also a devotee of Mine. The girl was growing up fast and the parents were worried about finding a suitable groom for her. I told them that they need not worry as the groom will come to their doorstep asking for the bride. Few days later a boy of their sect by name Veerabhadrappa came begging to their house. With My approval Gauri’s marriage was fixed with Veerabhadrappa. Earlier, he was also My devotee, but subsequently he became very ungrateful. His lust for money did not subside in his new birth also. As he was married, he asked Me to suggest a livelihood for him. Then another miracle happened. Suddenly the prices of commodities began to rise. Because of Gauri’s fortune, the prices of the lands also shot up. The entire land she inherited from her father was sold for Rs. 1, 00, 000/- which was nearly 100 times the value of her ornaments in her earlier life. It was decided that Rs. 50, 000/- would be paid in cash immediately and the remaining in 25 installments of Rs.2, 000/- each. Though the transaction was agreeable to all, division of the funds raised problems. The husband wanted a greater share. Then they came to Me for advice. I told them that the land belonged to the God and was given to the poojari as endowment. The real owner of the land is Gauri and not even a pice could be spent against her wishes. I also told them that the husband had no right over the 405


funds. Veerabhadrappa was angry with Me and commented that I wanted to embezzle the money by being soft to Gauri. I closed My ears, took God’s name and remained silent. The husband beat Gauri severely. One afternoon, Gauri came to Me and said, “Please don’t get offended by their words. I am after all your daughter. Please have a benign look on me.” When she said this and surrendered to Me, I promised her that even if I had to cross the seven seas, I would protect her all the times. That night she had a vision. Lord Shankara appeared in her dream and said, “All the money is yours. Don’t give anything to anyone. With Chennabassappa’s advice, spend some money for the temple. If you want to spend for some other purpose, go to masjid and seek Baba’s advice.” Gauri told Me about her vision. I advised her to keep the principal amount with her and give a part of the interest amount to Chennabassappa. I also told her that Veerabhadrappa does not have any share in this. When we were talking these things, both Veerabhadrappa and Chennabassappa came there quarrelling with each other. I tried to pacify both of them and explained them about Gauri’s vision. Veerabhadrappa was mad with anger and threatened that he would slice Chennabassappa to pieces. Chennabassappa was timid. He caught hold of My feet and begged for protection. Then I got him released from his enemy. Some time later, both of them died. Veerabhadrappa was reborn as the serpent and Chennabassappa was born as the frog. Hearing Chennabassappa’s wailing for help, and remembering My earlier assurance; I came here and kept up My word by saving him from the serpent. In times of his distress, God always speeds to the rescue of His devotees. By sending Me here, God has saved Chennabassappa. All these are God’s Leelas.’”

406


MORAL: The moral of the story is that ‘As you sow, so you reap till the harvest is exhausted.’ Until all the balance of payments and dealings with others are satisfactorily completed, there is no possibility of redemption. Lust for money pulls a man down to the lowest level and destroys him ultimately. With this, the forty seventh chapter, called as Baba’s Reminiscences, is complete. In the next chapter, Hemad Pant describes stories of Shevade and Sapatnekar and other matters. || Sri Sadguru Sainathaarpanamasthu | Shubham Bhavatu || Om Shanti Shanti Shanti

407


408


|| sri sai satcharitra ||

|| chapter forty-eight ||

|| warding off devotee’s calamities || || Sri Ganeshaya Namaha || Sri Saraswatye Namaha || || Sri Venkateshaya Namaha || Sri Sai Nathaya Namaha || || Sri Sadgurubhyo Namaha ||

In this chapter, Hemad Pant describes stories of Shevade and Sapatnekar and other matters. Before beginning this Chapter, some one asked Hemad Pant whether Sai Baba was a Guru or a Sadguru. As an answer to that question, Hemad Pant describes the qualities of a Sadguru. SADGURU: He, who is an expert in providing education of Vedas and Vedantas as also the six Shastras and can give a beautiful commentary on Brahman, is not a Sadguru. He, who can control the inhale and exhale of breath and in a natural way give ‘mantropadesh’ and tell how many times to chant it in a given time is not a Sadguru. He, who by sheer manipulation of words teaches the ultimate goal of life but has not experienced self realization himself, is not a Sadguru. On the other hand, he, who by his behaviour shows detachment from the activities of this or the next world and makes us experience the bliss of self realization, is a Sadguru. He, who can make his devotees experience the self realization in a constructive and practical way is a Sadguru. How can he, who has not experienced self realization himself, make his devotees experience it? Even in his dreams, a Sadguru does not desire any benefit or service from his devotees. On the contrary, he will always be eager to serve 409


them. A Sadguru never feels that he is superior and his devotees are inferior to him. In fact, he considers the disciple as a mirror image of himself or even as Brahma. The significant quality of a Sadguru is that he is always completely at peace in his heart. He never becomes unstable or restless and is never proud of his knowledge. For him, rich or poor, educated or uneducated, high caste or low caste, male or female, great or small, all are same. Hemad Pant says that it was because of the result of good deeds in the past life that he was fortunate enough to worship the divine feet of a Sadguru like Sai Baba and get His blessings. In His younger days, Baba did not accumulate any material wealth (except perhaps chillum). He did not have any family, children or even friends. He did not have any shelter or support. At the age of 18 years itself, He had an astonishingly perfect control over his mind. At that age itself, He lived without any fear in dense jungles and places where nobody dared to even enter, and was always immersed in the welfare of His devotees. For Him, His devotees were everything. Baba always observed His devotees. It was only after seeing the selfless devotion of the devotees that He acted in their interests. Baba used to say that He was always under the control of His devotees. Whatever experiences His devotees experienced, while Baba was in human form, the same experiences are being experienced even today by those, who have surrendered to Him totally. Devotees have only to make their heart a ‘diya’ of devotion and faith and light it with the flame of love, then Jnana Jyothi will illuminate on its own. Jnana or knowledge without Love is dry and waste. Such knowledge will not benefit anyone. Without Love, there is no happiness. Because of this, our love should be boundless and unchanging. Who is capable of singing the glory of love, compared to which all other things are trivial! Once the seed of love sprouts, then devotion, detachment, tranquility, munificence, will naturally accrue. As long as love for anything does not spring, the desire to acquire it also does not arise. Where there is love and pining, God will manifest Himself. Love is implicit in the feeling and that alone 410


leads to liberation. By falling at the divine feet of a Saint, even he, who has impure thoughts, is saved. The following story illustrates this point. SHEVADE’S STORY: Sri Sapatnekar of Akkalkot (Sholapur District) was studying Law. One day he met his classmate Sri Shevade. Several other students also met at the same place and tested how much each had learnt. After sufficient question and answer sessions, it was evident that Shevade had learnt the least and was most unprepared to write the examinations. When all his friends made fun of him, he said, “Even though my study is incomplete and I am not prepared, I will still write the examinations and definitely pass. It is my Sai Baba who gives success to everyone.” Sapatnekar was astonished by this statement and he took Shevade aside and asked, “Who is this Sai Baba about whom you speak so highly?” He replied, “He is a fakir in Shirdi (Ahmednagar) and resides in a masjid. He is a great Saint. There are other saints also, but He is different from them. As long as the results of good deeds in the past life do not accrue, it is impossible to meet him. I have total faith in him. The words which come out of his mouth are never false. He has assured me that I will definitely pass the examinations next year. I am also confident that I will certainly pass the examinations with His blessings.” Sapatanekar was amused by the blind faith of his friend and made fun of Sai Baba also. He was still more surprised when Shevade did pass the examinations in the subsequent year. SAPATNEKAR’S STORY: After passing the examinations, Mahadev Waman Sapatnekar settled down in Akkalkot and started his legal practice there. He lost his wife and his only son due to a throat disease. At the age of 33 years, he married Parvathi Bai, aged 13 years. Even after 4-5 years of marriage, she could not give him any children. Because of all these depressing events, he was totally shattered. 411


He lost his peace of mind. In 1913 AD, his father advised him to go to Shri Sai Baba at Shirdi. As he did not have any faith in Sai Baba, he did not go to Shirdi. Instead, to regain at least some peace of mind, he went to Pandharpur, Ganagapur, and other pilgrim centres, but the restlessness continued. He read plenty of Vedanta, but that was also of no avail. When in Ganagapur, he suddenly remembered his conversation with Shevade. Also, as he did not want to disobey his father’s advice completely, he felt that he should go to Shirdi and have darshan of Sai Baba. He went to Shirdi with his younger brother Pundit Rao. After he had darshan of Baba, he found that his mind was completely at peace. He went near Baba and when he offered fruits to Baba, He said, “Get out from here”, and pushed him with such force that his headwear fell down. Sapatnekar hung his head and went back a few steps and sat down. He wanted to know how he should present himself to Baba. Some one suggested that he should contact Bala Shimpi. Sapatnekar met Bala Shimpi and requested him to help him. They bought a portrait of Baba on their way to masjid. Bala Shimpi took the portrait to Baba and asked Him whose portrait was it. Baba indicated towards Sapatnekar and said, “This is My friend’s.” After saying this, He began to laugh loudly. Other devotees also laughed with Baba. Following Bala Shimpi’s gestures, Sapatnekar bowed at Baba’s feet. Then Baba shouted, “Get out”. Sapatnekar did not know what to do. He folded both his hands reverentially, and sat down. But, Baba again asked him to go out immediately. Sapatnekar was disappointed. How can anyone ignore Baba’s orders? Both Sapatnekar and his brother left Shirdi with a heavy heart. On the way, Sapatnekar prayed in his mind, “Oh Baba, I beg for Your mercy. Please assure me that at least some time in the future, You will permit me to have Your darshan.”

412


MRS. SAPATNEKAR’S STORY: One year passed, even then Sapatnekar’s restlessness did not subside. He went to Ganagapur, where his restlessness increased. Then he went to Madhegaon for rest and from there thought of going to Kashi. Two days before his planned departure to Kashi, his wife had a vision. From the time her father – in – law asked her husband to visit Shirdi, Parvathi Bai had nourished a desire to go to Shirdi and have darshan of Sri Sai Baba. In her vision, she saw a very bright flash. During those days, there was acute shortage of water in Madhegaon. Parvathi Bai realised that there was not a drop of water in their house. So, she took a pitcher and went towards a nearby well known as Lakkadsha’s well. She was in a great hurry as women were not supposed to go out of the house alone. When she went near the well, she saw a fakir standing there, with a cloth tied over his head. He came near her and said, “My child, why are you taking so much trouble? I will fill your pot with pure water.” Scared of the fakir, she ran away with the empty pot, without taking any water. Fakir followed her and continued to say, “Do not run away, you will regret later. I have come to give you something.” On reaching home, she closed the door, but the fakir came to the door and continued to say, “I have come to give you something.” She did not know what to do and was about to shout, when she woke up from her dream. Next morning when her father – in - law heard about her dream, he thought that there was some divine purpose in Parvathi Bai’s vision. He told Sapatnekar to take her to Shirdi. With this auspicious sign, both left for Shirdi. When they went to the masjid, Baba was not present. He had gone to Lendi Baugh. Still, both sat in the masjid waiting for Baba. When Baba returned, Mrs. Sapatnekar was astonished by seeing Baba. He was the same fakir who had appeared in her dream. With great reverence and devotion, she bowed to Baba, sat near Him and looked at Him continuously. Looking at her, holding His abdomen with both hands, Baba started yelling, “Oh! Mother dear! How much my abdomen is paining and waist is aching too.” Mrs. Sapatnekar was 413


baffled by this and wanted to know what was wrong with Baba. Devotees who were near her, told her that Baba acted like this whenever one of His devotees was suffering and subsequently, the devotee was cured. After 2 – 3 months, when the pain in her abdomen and waist disappeared on its own, she realised that Baba’s acting was for her sake only. Baba was very happy with her humility and devotion. In His own inimitable way, He started telling a story to a third person. “From a long time, I suffered pain in My hands, abdomen and back. I tried treatment, but it did not help. I was fed up with medicines as they did not help. But, I am surprised that all My pains are vanishing one by one.” Though no name was taken, the matter referred to Mrs. Sapatnekar. As Baba said, all her problems vanished and she was very pleased. When she placed her head on His feet, she was overjoyed and forgot everything. Then Baba took handful of Udi, rubbed it on her head and said, “Take one, two, three or four. How many you want?” Then Sapatnekar proceeded for Baba’s darshan, and again Baba said, “Get out”. But this time, he had come with lot of perseverance, humility, and repentance. He understood that Baba was unhappy with him because of his past actions, and he had decided to improve his behaviour. He decided not to leave Shirdi unless and until he received Baba’s blessings. He once saw Baba sitting alone in the masjid and immediately ran and held Baba’s feet firmly and prostrated at His divine feet. All the while tears were rolling down his eyes. He apologised to Baba regarding his past actions. Baba blessed him by caressing his head with His hand and made him sit next to Him. Sapatnekar sat beside Baba and was tenderly massaging His legs. Then a shepherdess came and started massaging Baba’s back and waist. As He did always, Baba started telling a story about a bania. He was narrating the various ups and downs of the bania’s life and when he told about the loss of bania’s only son, Sapatnekar felt that it was his own story. He was astounded how Baba could know every detail of his life. He was convinced that Baba was an Antaryami and knew the details of everyone’s life. 414


Just as this thought was passing through in Sapatnekar’s mind, talking to the shepherdess and pointing to Sapatnekar, Baba said, “This great man is accusing Me that I killed his son. Do I kill people’s children? Then, why does this gentleman come to the masjid now and shout? I will do one thing. I will bring the same boy again into his wife’s womb.” Saying this, Baba placed His protective hand on Sapatnekar’s head and consoled him. Baba said, “These feet are very ancient and sacred. When you become free from worries and trust Me completely, only then you will achieve your aim.” Sapatnekar was deeply moved. Tears rolled down his cheeks and with those tears he washed Baba’s feet and then returned to his lodging. After some time, he collected all the pooja material and came with his wife to the masjid. Both of them worshipped Baba and offered naivedyam. They followed this practice every day and accepted prasadam from Baba. Even when the masjid was overcrowded, they used to go and prostrate at Baba’s feet. When heads were colliding with each other in the anxiety to bow to Baba’s feet, Baba said, “If performed with love and devotion, even a single namaskara is acceptable to Me.” The same night the Sapatnekar couple had the good fortune of seeing the Chavadi Procession. There Baba appeared to them as Panduranga. Next day they decided to leave Shirdi. On the way, while going to see Baba, Sapatnekar told his wife, “I shall offer Re. 1/as Dakshina to Baba. If Baba asks for more, then I will offer one more rupee. But if He asks for more, I shall have to sell my gold ring and your bangles also.” To their great surprise, when they went to the masjid and prostrated at Baba’s divine feet and offered Dakshina of Re. 1/- Baba understood Sapatnekar’s intentions and asked for one more rupee and said, “I shall not ask for more since you will have to sell your ring and wife’s bangles”. When he happily gave the rupee, Baba blessed him, gave him a fruit and said, “Take this fruit. Keep it in your wife’s oti (upper fold of her sari), and go home without any worry.” Sapatnekar followed Baba’s instructions and within a period of one year, in 415


1915 AD, his wife delivered a baby boy. When the child was of eight months old, the couple brought the baby to Baba and placed it at His feet. Then they prayed, “Hey Sainath! How can we repay Your obligations? We prostrate at Your divine feet again and again. Kindly protect both of us always. Otherwise, we don’t know how many doubts arise in our minds. Kindly bless us that our minds should always indulge in Your Bhajans only.” They named their son as ‘Muralidhara’. Subsequently they had two more sons (Bhaskar and Dinkar). Thus the Sapatnekar couple surrendered themselves completely at the divine feet of our beloved Baba. Let us also submit ourselves at those divine feet and pray the ever merciful Baba to bless us that our minds also should indulge always in His Bhajans only. Samarth Sadguru Sainath Maharaj Ki Jai!!!! With this, the forty eighth chapter, called as Warding off Devotee’s Calamities, is complete. In the next chapter, Hemad Pant describes stories of Hari Kanoba, Somadeva Swami, Nanasaheb Chandorkar and other matters. || Sri Sadguru Sainathaarpanamasthu | Shubham Bhavatu || Om Shanti Shanti Shanti

416


|| sri sai satcharitra ||

|| chapter forty-nine || || testing sai Baba ||

|| Sri Ganeshaya Namaha || Sri Saraswatye Namaha || || Sri Venkateshaya Namaha || Sri Sai Nathaya Namaha || || Sri Sadgurubhyo Namaha ||

In this chapter, Hemad Pant describes stories of Hari Kanoba, Somadeva Swami, Nanasaheb Chandorkar and other matters. SADGURU SAI: Hemad Pant expresses his inability to describe the Sadguru and says that when both Vedas and Puranas got exhausted in praising the glory of Brahman or Sadguru, how can he, being a very ordinary person describe the multifaceted glory of Sai Baba? Instead of making a half hearted attempt and failing miserably, it is better to remain silent. In fact, silence alone is the most eloquent description of the grandeur of the Sadguru. But the many great qualities that the Sadguru has, hardly allow us to remain silent. If delicious dishes are prepared and are not eaten together with friends and relatives, then the dishes hardly taste half as delicious. When the same dishes are shared with friends and relatives, then the togetherness adds a special flavour of its own to the dishes. Similar is the case with the Sai Leelamrit. This can never be tasted in solitude. Only when shared with relatives and friends, it gives greater happiness. By His own desire, Sri Sai Baba Himself is narrating these stories through me. Hence, it becomes our duty to whole heartedly surrender to Him and meditate. Hari Bhakti is superior to Tapas - Sadhana, pilgrimage, Vratam, Yagna or Dana. Profound contemplation of Sadguru is 417


superior to even Hari Bhakti. With His name always on our lips, reflecting always on His teachings, fixing His image in our vision, with love and devotion for Him in our heart, we should dedicate all our actions at His divine feet. There is no better way than this to get liberated from the Bhavabhandhana. If we do our duties properly in the prescribed way, then Sai will be compelled to come to our aid and grant us liberation. Let us prostrate at His divine feet so that His blessing should always be with us. HARI KANOBA’S STORY: Bombay’s Hari Kanoba had heard many Leelas of Baba from his friends and relatives. But, he refused to believe any of them as he was a non believer. Mistrust was deep rooted in his heart. After some time, he decided to personally test Baba and so left for Shirdi with some of his friends. He had a new zari embroidered turban on his head and was wearing a pair of new sandals. When he went to masjid, he saw Baba from a distance and wanted to bow to His feet, but his new sandals prevented him from doing this. He was scared that some one will knock away his new sandals and was hence reluctant to leave them outside the entrance. After searching for a long time, he found a safe corner, removed and kept his sandals there and went inside. He had darshan of Baba and prostrated lovingly at His feet, but all the while his attention was fixed on his new sandals only. With great reverence he bowed to Baba, accepted udi prasadam and came back. When he went to the ‘safe’ corner, he found that his sandals were missing. What he had feared all along did indeed happen. He searched everywhere, asked some, but could not get back his pair of new sandals. Dejectedly, he went back to his lodging. He took bath, did pooja, offered naivedyam and finally sat for taking food but, all the time his mind was thinking only of his new pair of sandals. After finishing his meals, when he came out to wash his hands, he saw a young Maratha boy coming towards him with a stick in his hand. Suspended above on the stick was his new pair of sandals. The boy was telling everyone who was 418


coming out after the meals, “Baba had given me this stick and asked to roam about shouting loudly, ‘Hari ka beta, zari ka pheta’ (son of Hari with zari turban). If anyone says that the sandals are his, then to ask if his name is Hari and his father’s name is ‘Ka’. Baba has also asked me to see whether that person wears a zari turban or not. Only then I am to give these sandals.” Hari Kanoba was both happy and surprised to hear what the boy said. He went to the boy, told him that he was Hari, that his father’s name was Kanoba and showed him the zari embroidered turban he wore. The boy was happy and gave him his new pair of sandals and went away. Hari Kanoba was in deep thought. About zari turban, well, as he was wearing it, many persons including Baba might have noticed it. This being his first visit to Shirdi, how did Baba know that his name was Hari? His father’s name was Kanoba and only people very intimate to him, called him ‘Ka’. How did Baba know of the short form of his father’s name? He had come to Shirdi with the intention of testing Baba and this small event convinced Hari Kanoba of Baba’s omniscience. His desire fulfilled, Hari Kanoba went back to Bombay and thereafter became a staunch devotee of Baba. SOMADEVA SWAMI’S STORY: This is the story of another person who wanted to test Baba. Kakasaheb Dixit’s brother, Sri Bhaiji was staying in Nagpur. When he went to Himalayas in 1906 AD, he met one Somadeva Swami in Uttar Kashi, near Hardwar in the valley of Gangotri. Both of them took each other’s address. Five years later, Somadeva Swami came to Nagpur and stayed with Bhayiji. There he heard of Baba’s fame and was greatly pleased. He wanted to go to Shirdi and have darshan of Baba. Bhaiji gave him a letter of introduction to his brother Kakasaheb. He got down from the train at Kopergaon and engaged a Tonga to go to Shirdi. When he entered Shirdi, from a distance he saw that two flags were fluttering high on top of the masjid. Though the saints 419


are one and same on the spiritual plane, they usually differ externally in their dress or behaviour and are quite individualistic. It would be a great folly to estimate their worth by their outer appearances. Somadeva Swami’s thoughts were different. When he saw the flags fluttering in the air, he thought, ‘Being a saint, why does Sai Baba take so much interest in these flags? Does He want to exhibit that He is a saint? It looks as if Sai Baba is fond of His fame. What is the use of seeing such a saint?’ Then and there he decided to cancel his trip to Shirdi and told his fellow passengers the same thing. They chastised him by saying, ‘Why did you unnecessarily come all the way? If by seeing the flags alone you are getting so excited, then what will happen when you see the chariot, palki, horse and other items in Shirdi?’ Hearing this, Somadeva Swami was even more perturbed. He said, ‘I have seen many saints and sages, but this saint appears to be different and interested in collecting such affluent items. It is better not to see such a saint.’ He started going back. Then the fellow passengers stopped him and said, ‘Get rid of this narrow mindedness. The saint in the masjid never thinks of these items even in His dreams. All these things are presented to Him by His devotees with love and devotion.’ Somadeva Swami, after sufficient persuasion, decided to find out for himself by going to the masjid. When he went inside the masjid and saw Baba, he was deeply moved. Tears rolled down his cheeks. His voice was choked. All his criticisms against Baba disappeared. He was reminded of his guru’s saying, ‘Where your mind is completely at peace, think of that place as your resting place.’ His mind had become calm after seeing Baba. He wanted to bow to Baba’s feet with great reverence, but as soon as he bent to touch Baba’s feet, Baba shouted, “Leave My things alone with Me. Go back to your home. Be careful, if you come again to the masjid. Why should such a saint be visited, who flies flags on the masjid? Is this the quality of a saint? Don’t stay here even for a moment.” Somadeva Swami was astounded. He realised that Baba knew what was 420


going on in his mind, even when he was very far from Baba. He now experienced Baba’s omniscience. He was amused at his own level of thinking and realised how pure and great Baba was. He saw that Baba embraced some, consoled some with His hand and gazed some with deep affection. He also saw that Baba gave udi prasadam to some and removed all their difficulties. He began to think, ‘Why this harsh and angry behaviour only with me?’ Then he realised that the cause was his own way of thinking. Taking this as a punishment, he understood that he should change his behaviour and thinking. He took Baba’s scolding as a blessing and surrendered himself completely to Baba. NANASAHEB’S STORY: Once, Nanasaheb Chandorkar was sitting in the masjid with Mhalsapathi and other devotees. A rich gentleman came from Vaijapur, with his family, to have darshan of Baba. Seeing that all the ladies were clad in burkhas, Nanasaheb wanted to make way for them and go. Baba asked him to stay. The ladies went further, had Baba’s darshan and bowed at His feet. One of them, while prostrating at Baba’s feet, removed the veil from her face, touched Baba’s feet and then covered her face again. Nanasaheb was attracted by her face and wanted to see that face again. His desire to see her again was so much that he could not control his mind and was in a dilemma as to how to behave at that moment. He was diffident to look at her openly but very much wanted to. He felt ashamed in Baba’s presence, and hung his head but his eyes wandered. Knowing Nanasaheb’s baffled state of mind, Baba wanted to bring him back to his normal self. After the ladies went away, Baba said, “Nana, why are you getting agitated unnecessarily? Allow the senses to do their duty. We should not hinder them from doing their tasks. God has made this beautiful creation. It is our duty to appreciate its beauty. This mind will gradually become steady, but when the front door is open, why should we enter through back door? As long as the mind is pure, there is no difficulty. As long as there is no evil thought in our 421


mind, we need not be afraid of anyone. Let the eyes do their work. You need not be ashamed, or become restless because of this.” Shyama was also there at that time. He did not understand the gist of Baba’s sayings. So, when they were returning to the Wada, he asked Nanasaheb the meaning of what Baba told him. Though initially reluctant to discuss his weaknesses, Nanasaheb subsequently explained how he was attracted by the extraordinary beauty of the woman and how he wanted to see her face again. Gazing at her publicly was an indecent behaviour. But, his mind had become a slave of the sense organ, eye. Thus, when he was baffled, Baba explained that it was futile and gave the advice. Then Nanasaheb said, ‘Our mind, by its very nature, is always wavering. But, we should not allow it to degrade. Even though the senses become fickle, we should always exercise total control over the mind and not allow it to become restless. Senses are always after the sense objects, but we should not be enslaved by them and take them nearer the sense objects. Gradually, by practice, this restlessness can be controlled. Though it is not possible to completely control the senses, we should not become their slaves. We should curb them properly in a systematic way according to the need of the occasion. Beauty is for the eyes to behold. So, we should see beauty without any fear. As long as there is no evil thought, we need not be afraid of anyone nor feel ashamed. If you make your mind desireless, and behold the beauty created by God, the senses naturally will come under our control and even while seeing beauty, we are reminded of God. If you allow the mind to run after the senses and get immersed in the sense objects, you will never get released from the eternal cycle of birth and death. Sense objects are always meant to distract the senses from their rightful path. That is why; we should make Viveka as our driver and holding the reins of the mind in our control, prevent the sense horses from straying towards the sense objects. Such a driver like Viveka will take us to the divine feet of Lord Vishnu, which is ultimately our residence and going where, no one will ever come back.’ 422


Hemad Pant completes this chapter with this narration. Let us once again prostrate at the divine feet of our beloved Baba and pray that He should grant us the Viveka which is so essential to control our senses. Samarth Sadguru Sainath Maharaj Ki Jai!!!! With this, the forty ninth chapter, called as Testing Sai Baba, is complete. In the next chapter, Hemad Pant describes stories of Kakasaheb Dixit, Sri Tembye Swami, Balaram Dhurandhar and other matters. || Sri Sadguru Sainathaarpanamasthu | Shubham Bhavatu || Om Shanti Shanti Shanti

423


424


|| sri sai satcharitra || || chapter fifty ||

|| the story of three devotees || || Sri Ganeshaya Namaha || Sri Saraswatye Namaha || || Sri Venkateshaya Namaha || Sri Sai Nathaya Namaha || || Sri Sadgurubhyo Namaha ||

Chapter 50 of the original Marathi version of the Satcharita has been incorporated in chapter 39, as it dealt with the same subject. Chapter 51 of Satcharita is presented here as Chapter 50. In this chapter, Hemad Pant describes stories of Kakasaheb Dixit, Sri Tembye Swami, Balaram Dhurandhar and other matters. SADGURU SAI: Hey Sai! You are our Sadguru and our mainstay! You give us strength by teaching us the dharma prescribed in the Gita. Kindly bless us by bestowing on us Your benign look. Just as the chandana trees in the Malayagiri ward off all the heat or just as the clouds provide coolness and pleasure by dispersing water, or just as the flowers blooming in the spring season are useful for worship of God, Your stories provide strength and solace to the readers and listeners. Blessed are both the teller and the listener. Both the mouth, by telling the stories, and the ear, by listening, becomes pure. Sadguru’s blessings are obtained simply by listening to His stories. It is universally accepted that even if we practice hundreds of sadhanas, none of them will take us to our spiritual destination as long as the blessing of the Sadguru is not available to us. The following stories reveal the part played by the blessings of our Sadguru.

425


KAKASAHEB DIXIT (1864 - 1926)’S STORY: Sri Hari Sitaram, also known as Kakasaheb Dixit was born in the year 1864 AD in a Naagar Brahmin family of Vadanagar at Khandwa. His primary education was in Khandwa and Hinganghat. After completing the secondary education at Nagpur with distinction, he went to Bombay for higher education. He studied first in Wilson College and then in Elphinstone College. In 1883 AD, after obtaining his graduation, he completed his degree in law (LL.B) and passed the examination of legal advisor (Solicitor). Then he started working in the Government firm of Messrs Little and Company. Subsequently, he started his own firm as a Solicitor. Prior to 1909 AD, he had not heard of Baba’s fame, but subsequently he became a very staunch and intimate devotee of Baba. When he was staying in Lonavala, by a strange coincidence, he met his old friend, Nanasaheb Chandorkar. They spent their time talking about various topics of the earlier days. During one of those conversations, Kakasaheb told his friend in detail how he slipped from a train in London, how his foot was injured and how the pain persisted. He also told Nanasaheb how he tried various treatments and how none of them proved effective. Then Nanasaheb told him that if he wanted relief from lameness and pain, he should meet his Sadguru - Sri Sai Baba. He gave Kakasaheb all the particulars of Baba and repeated what Baba had told, “I will pull My devotees, like pulling a sparrow with a string fastened to its feet, even if they are across the seven seas.” Nanasaheb also explained that if one is not Baba’s own person, then he will neither be attracted by Baba, nor can he have Baba’s darshan. Kakasaheb was very much pleased by this and said that he would go to Shirdi and pray to Baba that instead of treating his lame leg, he would be very happy if Baba could make his mind lame, which was always wandering.

426


Few days later, in connection with securing votes for the Legislative Assembly, Kakasaheb Dixit went to Ahmednagar and stayed with Sardar Kakasaheb Mirikar. Sri Balasaheb Mirikar, who was son of Kakasaheb Mirikar and also Mamlatdar of Kopergaon, was also in Ahmednagar to watch an exhibition of horses. Kakasaheb Dixit expressed that after the election work was over, he was very eager to go to Shirdi and have darshan of Baba. Both the father and the son were thinking in the house about whom to send to Shirdi with Kakasaheb Dixit. Baba also had his own thoughts about bringing him to Shirdi. Shyama got a telegram that his mother in law was seriously ill and that he should come immediately to Ahmednagar with his wife. Obtaining Baba’s permission, Shyama went there and saw that there was an improvement in his mother in law’s health. By a strange coincidence, both Nanasaheb Panshe and Appasaheb Gadre spotted Shyama near the station. They met him and told him to go to Mirikar’s house and take Kakasaheb Dixit with him to Shirdi. They also informed Mirikar and Kakasaheb Dixit about Shyama’s presence in Ahmednagar. Shyama went to Mirikar’s house in the evening. Mirikar introduced him to Kakasaheb Dixit and it was decided that Kakasaheb will go with him in the night 10.00 O’clock train to Kopergaon. It was only after this decision was taken that an unusual event took place. Balasaheb Mirikar brought a big portrait to show to all of them and then gradually removed the cloth covering the portrait. It was a portrait of Baba. Kakasaheb Dixit was surprised that the one whom he wanted to meet in Shirdi was already there to welcome him. Kakasaheb became emotional after seeing the portrait and tears started rolling. He prostrated at Baba then and there. That portrait was Megha’s and was brought there for mounting a new glass sheet as the earlier one was broken. Mirikar got the new glass sheet mounted and made arrangements for it to be taken to Shirdi with Kakasaheb and Shyama. 427


Both Shyama and Kakasaheb reached the station much before 10.00 pm and bought second class tickets. When the train arrived on the platform, they found that the second class compartment was overcrowded and there was absolutely no space even to enter inside the compartment. Fortunately, the guard of the train was known to Kakasaheb and he took both of them to a first class compartment and made them sit there. They travelled comfortably to Kopergaon and got down from the train. There was another surprise awaiting them on the platform. They were immensely happy to see Nanasaheb Chandorkar also there and going to Shirdi. Kakasaheb and Nanasaheb embraced each other. After taking a bath in the Godavari, they started for Shirdi. They engaged a Tonga and reached Shirdi. In the masjid, they had darshan of Baba. All the three of them prostrated at the divine feet of Baba. Then Baba said, “I was waiting for you from a long time. I sent Shyama to bring you.” Kakasaheb was filled with deep emotion. Tears rolled down, uncontrolled, over his cheeks. His throat was choked and he could not say anything. His mind was overflowing with joy, the like of which he had never experienced before. After this, Kakasaheb spent several happy and memorable years serving Baba. He built a Wada (Dixit Wada) in Shirdi which became, more or less, his permanent residence. The experiences he had with Baba are so many and so varied that it is very difficult to recount all of them here. The readers are requested to read the Special (Kakasaheb Dixit) Issue of Sri Sai Leela magazine Vol.12 No. 6 to 9. Only one example to illustrate the abundant and very special love Baba had for Kakasaheb is narrated here. Baba had assured him that when the time came, He would take him in an airplane. On 5 July 1926, Kakasaheb was traveling with Hemad Pant in a train. Both were discussing matters related to Baba. Kakasaheb was deeply immersed in Baba’s thoughts, when suddenly his head rested peacefully on Hemad Pant’s shoulders. Without any trace of fear or pain, Kakasaheb Dixit had breathed his last. One of Baba’s most intimate devotees became one with Baba. 428


SRI TEMBE SWAMY’S STORY: Once, Sri Vasudevananda Saraswati, also known as Sri Tembe Swamy, came to Rajahmundry (in Andhra Pradesh), on the banks of Godavari, and camped there for some time. He was a ritualistic, jnani and yogic devotee of Lord Dattatreya. Pundaleeka Rao, a lawyer from Nanded (in Maharashtra State) came with his friends for the darshan of Tembe Swamy. During their conversation, the topic of Sri Sai Baba also came up. The moment Sri Sai Baba’s name was mentioned, Tembe Swamy folded both his hands with reverence, gave a coconut to Pundaleeka Rao (the lawyer) and said, “Please go to my brother Sri Sai and offer Him this Sriphala with my respectful pranamas. Please request Him not to be angry, but always be kind to me.” Tembe Swamy later explained that generally one saint does not offer pranamas to the other saint. Sri Sai Baba’s case was unique. Pundaleeka Rao accepted the coconut and assured Tembe Swamy that he would definitely have darshan of Sri Sai Baba and offer Him the coconut and the message of Tembe Swamy. It was only appropriate that Tembe Swamy called Baba as his brother. Being a ritualistic devotee, Tembe Swamy maintained the Agnihotra (fire) burning day and night. Baba also always kept the Dhuni fire burning day and night. A month later, Pundaleeka Rao with his friends left for Shirdi along with the coconut. When they reached Manmad, being very thirsty, they took water from a canal. It is often said that one should not drink water on an empty stomach. So, they ate some chivda. May be because of some added masala, the chivda was quite hot. To make it less hot, somebody broke a coconut and added the scrapings to the chivda, making it tastier. Unfortunately, the coconut that was broken was the coconut given by Tembe Swamy to be offered to Baba. They realised this fact when they were approaching Shirdi and were very repentant. They were scared of the consequences. 429


However, they had the darshan of Baba and all of them prostrated at the feet of Baba. Meanwhile, Baba had already known about the coconut. The saints have their own means of communication. The first thing He asked Pundaleeka Rao was, “Give Me what My brother has sent.” Pundaleeka Rao caught hold of Baba’s feet and told Him that they had committed a mistake and that the coconut was broken. He expressed repentance and asked Baba to pardon him. He then offered, if Baba permitted, to replace it with a new coconut. Baba said, “The value of that coconut is several times more than that of a coconut and an ordinary coconut can never replace that coconut.” After some time Baba consoled them saying, “Don’t worry now. Because of My own wish to see you, the coconut was given to you and was broken on the way. Why are you trying to own the responsibility? Whenever you are doing a big or small task, don’t think of yourselves as the doer. Discard pride and egoism and then perform the action. Then your spiritual progress will be rapid.” How beautiful was Baba’s spiritual advice! SRI BALARAM DHURANDHAR’S STORY: Balaram Dhurandhar, of Santa Cruz (Bombay) was a gentleman of a community called Pathare Prabhu. He was an advocate of Bombay High Court and also had been Principal of Government Law School. His entire family was very religious and satvic. He served his community well and published a book also in this connection. After this, his mind turned towards religious and spiritual topics. With great devotion he read Bhagavad Gita and its commentary, Jnaneshwari, and several other philosophical books. He was a staunch devotee of Lord Vittoba of Pandharpur. During the year 1912 AD he was fortunate to have the darshan of Baba. Six months earlier, his brothers Babulji and Vaman Rao had come to Shirdi and had darshan of Baba. They had gone back and explained their pleasant experiences to their family. Balaram 430


and family were thrilled by the narration and the entire family decided to go to Shirdi and have Baba’s darshan. Even before they reached Shirdi, Baba told, “Many members of My durbar are coming today.” The Dhurandhar family was astounded to hear this from others. They had not given any intimation of their coming to Shirdi to anyone. All the family members prostrated at the divine feet of Baba and sat around Him. Baba introduced them as “These are the members of My durbar, about whom I told earlier.” Then He turned to the family and said, “The relationship between you and Me goes back to the previous 60 lives.” Every one of the family was gentle and polite, and with folded hands were looking at Baba. All of the satvic feelings like welling up of tears, excitement, choking of the throat etc began to manifest in them and they were very happy. Then they went to their lodging for taking meals. They returned back to the masjid after meals, and tenderly massaged Baba’s legs. Baba was having His chillum. He gave the chillum to Balaram and insisted on him having a puff. Balaram had never tasted tobacco till now. With great difficulty, he took a puff and reverentially handed the chillum back to Baba. This was the most auspicious experience for Balaram. He was suffering from asthma for the last six years. The moment he took the puff from the chillum, he was relieved of his disease. He never faced the problem again. Six years later, he once again had this problem. That was the day of Baba’s Mahasamadhi. Balaram had come to Shirdi on a Thursday. Fortunately for him, he was able to see the Chavadi Procession that night. During Arati at the Chavadi, Baba’s face appeared to him like Lord Panduranga. He once again saw his favourite God Panduranga on the face of Baba next morning during the Kakad Arati. Sri Balaram Dhurandhar wrote a book in Marathi about the life story of the great Maharashtrian Saint Sant Tukaram. Unfortunately, he did not survive to see the book published. His relatives published the book in 1928 AD. In a short note on 431


Balaram’s life, given in the beginning of the book on page 6, there is a complete account of his visit to Shirdi. Let us all once again submit ourselves at the divine feet of our beloved Baba and prostrate at His feet. Satchidananda Sadguru Sainath Maharaj Ki Jai!!!! With this, the fiftieth chapter, called as The story of three devotees, is complete. In the next chapter, Hemad Pant describes greatness of Sadguru Sai Baba, Phala-Shruti and other matters. || Sri Sadguru Sainathaarpanamasthu | Shubham Bhavatu || Om Shanti Shanti Shanti

432


|| sri sai satcharitra || || chapter fifty-one || || phala-shruti ||

|| Sri Ganeshaya Namaha || Sri Saraswatye Namaha || || Sri Venkateshaya Namaha || Sri Sai Nathaya Namaha || || Sri Sadgurubhyo Namaha ||

In this chapter, Hemad Pant describes greatness of Sadguru Sai Baba, Phala-Shruti and other matters. This is the Chapter 52 of the original Marathi version of Sri Sai Satcharita. As an index is provided in all sacred spiritual literature of Marathi language, Hemad Pant wanted to provide an index for Sri Sai Satcharita also. Unfortunately, in spite of extensive search of all of Hemad Pant’s papers, the index was not found. Then, Baba’s able, worthy and pious devotee, Sri B.V.Deo (Mamlatdar of Thane) prepared an index for the book. As it is the current practice to include a table of contents at the beginning of the book, and provide a gist of each chapter at its beginning, the same practice is followed here also. It would be appropriate to consider this chapter as an epilogue. Unfortunately, Hemad Pant did not survive to revise the manuscript of the last chapter of the work and make it ready for publication. It was published as it was found. SADGURU SAI: “Hey Sai! I prostrate at Your divine feet and beg You to take me under Your refuge, as You are the only mainstay of this entire universe.” If we pray the Sadguru with such humility, it is assured that all our desires will be fulfilled at the earliest and we will attain our ultimate goal of life. Even the strong roots of the tree of fortitude have been uprooted because of the tempest of Maya and Moha on the banks of the contaminated thoughts. Because of the strong winds of egoism, there is a storm in the ocean of our 433


heart, in which alligators called anger and hatred are moving fearlessly. In the continuous whirlpool of desires and counter desires, amidst egoism and hatred fishes called censure, hatred and jealousy are swimming merrily. Even though this ocean is so dreadful, our Sadguru Sai Maharaj is like Agastya. That is why; there is no necessity for the devotees to be afraid even in the least. Our Sadguru is like a ship and will skillfully take us over this dreadful Bhava sagara and leave us safely on the other bank. PRAYER: By doing Saashtaanga namaskaras to Sri Satchidananda Sadguru Sai Maharaj and holding his feet firmly, we pray, for the welfare of all the devotees, that, “Hey Sai! Kindly banish our fickle mindedness and worldly attachments. Hey Prabhu! Except your divine feet, let there be no ambition for anything else. Let this narration of yours reach each and every house and let it be read everyday. Let all the troubles of those devotees, who read this sacred book with love and devotion, be warded off.” PHALA-SHRUTI: Let me say a few words about the benefits obtained by studying this book. By studying this sacred book, all the desires of the mind will be fulfilled. After taking bath in the sacred Godavari River, and after having a darshan of Baba’s samadhi in the Samadhi Mandir at Shirdi, if you do parayana of this sacred book, all the three fold afflictions will be warded off. By 434


frequently reading Baba’s stories, you will unknowingly develop interest in the spiritual life, and by continuing to read regularly, all your sins will be washed away. If you want to escape from the eternal cycle of birth and death, or coming and going, read daily Sai’s stories, recollect them and develop deep love in the divine feet of Baba. Churn this sea of Sai’s stories and whatever nuggets you get, distribute them to others by which you will experience new kind of happiness everyday and those who listen to you will be saved from future misery. If the devotees submit themselves to Baba, then they will shed their attachments and become one with Him just as a river merges with the sea. If you immerse yourself in Sai’s thoughts in any one of the three states (awake, dream and sleep) then you will escape from the materialistic cycle. Those who, after taking bath and with love and devotion, complete reading this sacred book in a week will find that all their calamities have disappeared. Those who read this sacred book daily will have all their fears removed instantly. By studying this sacred book everyone will get benefits depending on their dedication and devotion. Without any dedication or devotion, no benefits can be obtained. If you study this book with respect and reverence, then Baba will be pleased and relieve you of your ignorance and poverty and grant you knowledge, money and affluence. If you read at least one chapter with concentration, then you will get unlimited comforts. You should read this book in your house definitely on Guru Poornima, Gokulashtami, Sri Ramanavami, Vijayadashami (Baba’s Mahasamadhi day) and Deepavali days. If you daily read with concentration this sacred book alone, then you will get happiness and comfort. By doing thus, the divine feet of Sri Sai will always be fixed in your conscience and you will be able to overcome this Bhavasagara. By doing parayana of this sacred book, the sick will become healthy, poor will become rich, and those who are in distress and are troubled will get solace. All 435


the aberrations of the mind will disappear and they will get peace of mind. My dearest devoted readers and listeners, prostrating at your feet, I have a humble request. The one whose stories you have read and listened all these days, never allow His image to fade away from your memory. More fervently you read these stories with interest, dedication and determination; Sri Sai will similarly bless us with the will to serve others. Let both the writer and the readers be blessed by our beloved Baba. PRAYER: In the end, before completing this book, we pray the omnipotent God that, “Hey Eashwar! Kindly bless the readers and the devotees with complete and whole hearted devotion in the divine feet of Sri Sai Baba. Let the graceful form of Baba be ever present in their vision and let them be able to see Devadhi Deva Sri Sai Bhagavan in the entire beings. Evamastu!!� With this, the fifty first chapter called Phala-Shruti is completed. With Phala-Shruti, Sri Sai Satcharitra, is also complete. || Sri Sadguru Sainathaarpanamasthu | Shubham Bhavatu || || Om Sri Sai Yashahakaaya Shirdivaasine Namaha || Om Shanti Shanti Shanti

436


|| aarathi ||

Aarati Sai Baba, saukhya daataara jeevaa. Charana rajaatalee Dhyaava daasaan visaava, bhaktaa visaava. Aarati Sai Baba || Aarati Sai Baba || We do Aarati to Sai Baba, the soul that and the giver of happiness to all. Give refuge to the downtrodden devotees who are at your feet. We do Aarati to you Sai Baba. Jaaluniyaan aananng swaswaroopee raahe dhanga Mumukshu janaan daavee nija dolaan Sreeranga, dolaan Sreeranga || Aarati Sai Baba || To the seekers of Self, teach them the way to get Moksha (state of pure bliss). With their own eyes they see the Lord Vishnu (Sriranga). We do Aarati to you Sai Baba.

437


Jayaa manee jaisaa bhaava tayaa taisaa anubhava Daavisee dayaaghanaa aisee tujzee hee maava tujzee hee maava || Aarati Sai Baba || You grant suitable experiences to everybody in accordance with their Faith and devotion. O, merciful one, such is your way. O kind one. We do Aarati to you Sai Baba. Tumche naama dhyaataan hare sanskriti vyathaa Agaadha tava karanee maarga daavisee anaathaa, daavisee anaathaa || Aarati Sai Baba || Meditation of your name removes the worldly sufferings. Your actions are unfathomable. Show the path to unfortunate ones. We do Aarati to you Sai Baba. Kaliyugee avataara saguna parabrahm sachaaraa Avateerna jhaalase swami Datta digambara, Datta digambara || Aarati Sai Baba || In this age of Kaliyuga (The dark and troublesome age of present), you are true incarnation of Brahma, that has taken form and descended on this earth. You are also Swami Datta digambara (Three-headed deity who is considered as combined incarnation of Brahma-Vishnu-Mahesh). Datta digambara. We do Aarati to you Sai Baba. Aattan divasaan guruwaaree bhakta karitee waaree Prabhupada pahaavayaa bhavabhaya nivaaree, bhaya nivaaree || Aarati Sai Baba || On Thursdays, every week, the devotees take a trip (to Shirdi), to 438


have a glimpse of the Lord’s feet and to avert their worldly fears. We do Aarati to you Sai Baba. Maajan nija dravya tteewaa tav charan rajasevaa Maagane hechiyaataa tumhan devaadhideva, Devaadhideva || Aarati Sai Baba || The only wealth I desire is to serve at thy feet. O Lord of Lords. We do Aarati to you Sai Baba. Ichchita deena chaatak nirmala toya nijasookha Paajaave maadhavaa yaa saambhal aapulee bhaaka, aapulee bhaaka || Aarati Sai Baba || Just as the chaataka bird desires to drink pure raw water, so O Lord! And kindly give me your assurance (that I will receive such direct knowledge). We do Aarati. || sri sainatha mahima stotram || Sadaa satswaroopam chidaananda kandam Jagat sambhavasthaana samhaara hetum Swabhaktechhayaa maanusham darsayantam Nameeswaram Sadgurum Sainaatham. Let us bow down to the God Sadguru Sainath, who is Truth Incarnate and is always in Consciousness and Bliss; the God who is the cause of creation, existence and destruction of the world; and, who has come in to this world in a human form for the sake of his own devotees. Bhavadwaantha vidhwamsa maarthaanda meeddyam manovaagateetam munir dhyana gamyam Jagadvyapakam nirmalam nirgunam twaam 439


Nameeswaram Sadgurum Sainaatham. Let us bow down to the God Sadguru Sainath, who is the bright sun whose light destroys the darkness of worldly desires; who is beyond the realm of speech and mind, but accessible to the sages who are engrossed in Thy meditation – One who pervades the whole world, pure and devoid of all attributes. Bhawaambhodi magnaarthitaanaam lanaanaam Swapaadaasritaanaam swabhakti priyaanaam Samuddhaaranaartham kalow sambhavantam Nameeswaram Sadgurum Sainaatham.

Let us bow down to the God Sadguru Sainath, who has manifested in this kaliyug (The dark and the troublesome age of present) for the salvation of those who believe in devotion to Him and those who have taken refuge at his feet as they are drowning and tormented by the ocean of worldliness. Sadaa nimba vrikshasya mooladhivaasaat Sudhaasravinam tiktamapya priyantam Tarum kalpa vrikshaadhikam saadhayantam Nameeswaram Sadgurum Sainaatham Let us bow down to the God Sadguru Sainath who, By His constant abode under the margosa tree, whose juice though by nature is bitter and distasteful, has turned it nectar-like sweet, because He has exalted the tree above the legendary Kalpavriksh (the wish-fulfilling tree)

440


Sadaa kalpavrikshyasya tasyaadhi moole Bhawadbhava budhyaa saparyaadisevaam Nrinaam kurwataam bhukti mukti pradantam Nameeswaram Sadgurum Sainaatham. Let us bow down to the God Sadguru Sainath, whom people go to worship and render devotional services, knowing Him to be Himself the kalpavriksha always; for those people he satisfies their worldly desires and grants them salvation Anekaashrutaa tarkya leelaa vilaasaeih Samaavishkruteshaana bhaasvat prabhaavam Ahambhaava heenam prasannathma bhaawam Nameeswaram Sadgurum Sainaatham. Let us bow down to the God Sadguru Sainath, whose innumerable and wonderful Leelas (divine play), unheard of and unimagined, have displayed His divine splendorous glory; yet who is devoid of ego and is happily absorbed in the Self. Sataam Vishramaaraama mevaabhiraamam sadaa sajjanaih samsthutam sannamadbhih Janaamodadam bhakta bhadrapradantam Nameeswaram Sadgurum Sainaatham. Let us bow down to the God Sadguru Sainath, who is the perennial abode of rest, repose and refuge for the virtuous people and to whom praises are directed by good and pious persons- He who is the bestower of happiness and welfare to His devotees. Ajanmaadhyamekam param brahma saakshaat Swayam sambhavam raamamevaavateernam Bhawadharshanaathsam puneetah praboham Nameeswaram Sadgurum Sainaatham. Let us bow down to the God Sadguru Sainath, who is the Selfmanifested, the Absolute Brahman, verily the Supreme Creator Incarnate, the Being without beginning or end, who has 441


descended on this earth in the Ram avatar (Incarnation). O lord, I have been sanctified by your darshan. Sree Sayeesa kripaanidhe akhilanrinaam sarwaartha siddhi prada Yushmatpaadarajah prabahavamatulam dhaataapi vaktaakshhamah Sadbhakthyaa saranam kritaan jali putah samprapthithosmi prabho Shrimath Sayi paresa paada kamalaa naanya ccharanyam mama O Lord Sai, treasure-house of mercy, the bestower of all wealth, success and inspiration, even the creator is unable to describe the incomparable power of the dust of your feet. With my folded hands and true devotion, I surrender to you O Lord. There is no refuge for me, except the lotus feet of Shrimat Sainath, the Lord. Sayiroopadhara raaghavottamam, Bhakta kaama vibhuda dhrumam prabhum Maayayopahata chitta shudhayae, Chintayaamyahamaharnisam mudaa Lord Sai is the avatar of Raghava (Incarnation of Ram), the Lord who fulfils the desires of His devotees for the purification of their infatuated and deluded hearts and minds – to whom I pray, day and night, untiringly and blissfully. Sharat sudhaamsu pratrima prakaasam, kripatapaatram tava Sainaatha Twadeeya paadaabja samaashritaanaam, Swachhaayayaa taapamapaa karothu Lord Sainath, the canopy of your mercy is like the intense lustre of the autumn moon. Grant the cool shade (from that canopy) from the blazing heat of the three-fold calamities of life to those who have taken shelter at your feet. Upaasanaa Daivata Sainaatha, Sthavairmayopaasaninaasthu sthatwam Ramenmaromne tava paadayugme bhrungo, Yathaabji makarmda lubdhah

442


Lord Sainath you are my God, whom I worship. I extol your praises. Let my mind dwell lovingly at your lotus feet, just as the bee hovers over the lotus flowers enticed by the desire of honey. Aneka janmaarjita paapasamkshayo, Bhavet bhawatpaada saroja darshanaat Kshamaswa sarvaanaparaadha poonjakaan, praseeda Sayeesa Sadguro dayaanidhe Lord Sai, Guru Ocean of compassion, bless me and pardon me for all my innumerable faults. May my boundless sins which have accumulated over several cycles of life be destroyed by the darshan of your feet Sri Sainatha charanaamrita putachithaah, Sthwatpaada seva natrataah satatamcha bhaktyaa Samsaara janya duritaagha vinirgataaste, kaivalya dhaama paramam samavaapnuvanti Those whose minds become purified by the nectar of tirth (Water deemed to be Holy from the washings of Lord’s feet) of Shri Sainath, those who are constantly absorbed in His service with – devotion they get freed from the distress caused by worldliness and attain salvation. Strotrame tatpatte bhakthyaa yonara athanmanaahsadaa Sadguroh Sainaadhasya kripa paatram bhaveddhruham. Whosoever always recites this hymn with devotion and absorption will certainly be the recipient of the grace of Sadguru until he lives. || mantra pushpam || Hari Om yagnena yagnamayajanta devaastaani dharmaani prathamaabyaasan Tehanakam mahimaanah sachanta yatra poorve sadhyaa santi Devaah Hari Aum.(Invocation of Primordial sound) in the beginning the Devas (Celestial beings) worshipped Lord Vishnu by means of a 443


sacrificial fire(yagyan) by such religious deeds they attain greatness in heaven (the abode of the divine, Celestial beings). Aum rajaadhiraajaaya prasahya saahine namo vayam Vaishravanaaya kurmahe Sa me kaaman kaama kaamaya mahyam kameswaro Vaishravano tathatu. Kuberaraya Vaishravanaaya Mahaaraajaaya namah. “Aum! Salutation to Vaishravan (Celestial being in heaven in charge of wealth). He is the King of Kings, who is help. May he thy grant me my desires as Vaishravan, the lord of all my desires. Om swasti saamrajyam bhojyam swaaraajyam vairaajyam, paarameshtyam Raajyam mahaarajya maadhi patya mayam Samantaparyaa yeesyat Saarvabhoumah saarvayushya aantaadaaparaaraadhaat prithivyai Samudraparyanthaayaa ekaraalithi Aum! Let there be well being! Let he attain universal sovereignty eternally, enjoyment (of pleasures), independence, perfect detachment, distinction and position of a great king, and supreme Lordship, so that he rules the universe and become the paramount ruler of the whole earth all his life, possessed of longevity and fullness of life, and be the absolute king of the earth stretching up to its oceanic shores. Tadapyesha slokobhigeeto marutah parivestaaro marutah pariveshtaaro maruttasyaavasan gruhe Avikshitasya kamaprer Visvedevaah sabhaa sada ithi It is a prayer for Marutt, the son of Avikshit excelling in the four qualities of knowledge, righteousness, detachment and longevity whose abode all Celestial deities visit.

444


Shri Naarayana Vaasudevaaya Sri saccidananda Sadguru Sainath Maharaja Ki Jaya O! Shri Narayan Vasudev Sachchidananad! Sadguru Sainath Maharaj!

Karacharanakritam vaakkaayajam karmajam vaa Shravananayanajam vaa maanasam vaaparadham Viditamaviditam vaa sarvame tatshkamasva For the sins done by the hands and the feet, by the tongue and the body, or by the ears and the eyes, or those done in thought, or any other follies, known or unknown - for all these, forgive me. Jaya Jaya karunaabdhe shri prabho Sainaatha Hail! Hail! O compassionate one, Shri Prabhu Sainath! Shri Naarayana Vaasudevaaya Sri Saccidananda Sadguru Sainaatha Maharaja Ki Jai! Shri Narayan Vaasudevaaya Sri Sachchidananada Sadguru Sainath Maharaj Ki Jai! Shri Satchitaanand Sadguru Sainaath Maharaaj Ki Jai! Shri Sachchidananda Sadguru Sainath Maharaj Ki Jai! 445


Raajaadhiraaja Yogiraaja Parabrahma Sainaath Maharaaj Shri Satchitaanand Sadguru Sainaath Maharaaj Ki Jai! Aum! King of Kings! King of Yogis! Absolute Brahman! Sainath Maharaj! Hail! Shri Sachchidananda Sadguru Sainath Maharaj!

|| Om Shanti Shanti Shanti ||

446


Copies can be had from: 1. msrivatsa@yahoo.com 2. 3600, Alma Road #2426, Richardson, Texas 75080. USA 3. 1-8-479, Chikkadapalli Hyderabad. 500020. India

447


448


449


450

Shirdhi Sai Baba Sat Charitra  

Sai Charitra

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you