Sai Satcharitra Chapter 14

In the last Chapter, we described how Baba’s words and grace cured many incurable diseases. Now, we shall describe how Baba blessed Mr. Ruttonji Wadia with a child.

The life of this Saint is naturally sweet inside and outside. His various actions and His natural sayings are also sweet. His life is Bliss incarnate; Sai told His devotees stories, as a means for them to remember Him. He gave them various stories of duty and action, which ultimately led them to true religion. His object may be to help people live happily in this world, but also to ensure that they are always cautious and gain the object of their life: self-realization. We get a human body as a result of merits in our past births and it is worthwhile, with its aid, to attain devotion and liberation in this life. So we should never be lazy, but should always be on the alert to gain our end and aim of life.

If you hear daily the Leelas (stories) of Sai, you will always see Him. You will remember Him all day and all night. When you assimilate Sai in this way, your mind will lose its fickleness and if you go on in this manner, your mind will finally be merged in pure Consciousness.

Ruttonji from Nanded

Now let us come to the main story of this Chapter. In Nanded, in the Nizam state, there lived a mill-contractor and trader named Ruttonji Shapurji Wadia. He had amassed a large amount of money and had acquired fields and land. He had cattle, horses and conveyances and was very prosperous. To all outward appearances, he looked very happy and content. But inwardly he was not so; Providential dispensation is such that no one in this world is completely happy and rich, and Ruttonji was no exception to this. He was liberal and charitable, gave food and clothing to the poor and helped everyone in various ways. People took him to be a good and happy man, but Ruttonji was miserable as he had no children. Just as Kirtan (singing glories of the Lord) without devotion, music without rhythmical accompaniments, proficiency in the arts without common-sense and a pilgrimage without repentance are incomplete, so is the house of a man without a child. Ruttonji always brooded over this issue and thought, “Will God ever grant me a son?” He thus looked morose and did not relish his food. Day and night, he was enveloped with anxiety about whether he would ever be blessed with a son. He had great regard for Dasganu Maharaj. He saw him and told him about all his issues. Dasganu advised him to go to Shirdi, receive Baba’s darshan, fall at His Feet and seek His blessings. Ruttonji liked the idea and decided to go to Shirdi. After a few days, he went to Shirdi, received Baba’s darshana and fell at His Feet. Then opening a basket, he took out a beautiful garland of flowers and placed it around Baba’s neck and offered Him a basket of fruits. With great respect, he then sat near Baba and prayed to Him saying, “Many persons who find themselves in difficult situations come to You and You relieve them immediately. Hearing this, I have anxiously sought Your Feet; please do not disappoint me.” Sai Baba then asked him for Dakshina of five rupees which Ruttonji intended to give, but added, that He had already received 3 rupees and 14 paise from him, and that Ruttonji should only pay the balance. Hearing this, Ruttonji was rather puzzled; This was the first time he had been to Shirdi, so how had Baba previously received 3 rupees and 14 paise from him? He could not solve the riddle. But he sat at Baba’s Feet and gave Baba the balance of the Dakshina asked for; He explained to Baba why he had come to seek His help and prayed that Baba bless him with a son. Baba was moved, told him not to be worried and that his bad days had ended. He then gave him Udi, placed His hand on his head and blessed him saying that Allah (God) would satisfy his heart’s desires.

Then after taking Baba’s leave, Ruttonji returned to Nanded and told Dasganu everything that took place at Shirdi. He said that everything went well there and that he had received Baba’s darshan and blessings. But there was one thing which he could not understand; Baba said that He had received 3 rupees and 14 paise from him before. He said to Dasganu, “This was my first trip to Shirdi;then how could I have given Him that sum of money?” Dasganu was also puzzled and he pondered over it for a long time. Sometime afterwards, it struck Dasganu that Ruttonji had received, a few days prior to the Shirdi trip, a Muslim Saint named Moulisaheb and had spent some money for his reception. Moulisaheb was a Saint well-known to the people of Nanded. Before Ruttonji decided to go to Shirdi, Moulisaheb happened to visit Ruttonji. Ruttonji knew him and loved him, so he gave a small party in his honor. Dasganu got from Ruttonji, the memo of expenses of this reception and everybody was wonder-struck to see that the expenses amounted to exactly 3 rupees 14 paise— nothing more, nothing less. They all came to know that Baba was omniscient and that though He lived in Shirdi, He knew what happened everywhere. In fact, He knew the past, present and future and could identify Himself heart and soul with anybody.

Ruttonji was satisfied with this explanation and his faith in Baba was confirmed and increased. In due course, he was blessed with a son and his joy knew no bounds. It is said that he had 12 children in total, out of which only four survived.

Dakshina – Mimansa

Now we shall close this Chapter with a few remarks about Dakshina. It is a well-known fact that Baba always asked for Dakshina from people who went to see Him. Somebody may ask a question: “If Baba was a Fakir and perfectly detached from worldly possessions, why should he ask for Dakshina and care for money?” We shall consider this question broadly.

For a long time, Baba did not accept anything; He stored burnt match sticks and filled His pockets with them. He never asked for anything from anybody−whether they were devotees or otherwise. If anybody offered Him a paise or two, He purchased oil or tobacco. He was fond of tobacco, for He always smoked a bidi or Chilim (an earthen pipe). Then people thought that they could not see Saints empty-handed and they therefore placed a few coins before Baba. If a paise was placed before Him, He used to pocket it and if it was a two paise coin, it was returned immediately. Then after Baba’s fame had spread far and wide, people began to flock in numbers and Baba began to ask for Dakshina from them. It is said in the Shruti (Veda) that the worship of God is not complete, unless a gold coin was offered. If a coin was necessary when worshipping God, why should it not be so when worshipping a Saint? Ultimately, the Shastras said that when one goes to see God, a King, a Saint or a Guru, he should not go empty-handed; He should offer something. In this connection, we may notice the precepts recommended by the Upanishads. The Brihadaranyak Upanishad says that the Lord Prajapati advised the Gods, men and demons with one letter “Da”. The Gods understood by this letter that they should practice “Dama” (self-control), while humans understood that they should practice “Dana” (charity) and the demons understood that they should practice “Daya” (compassion). The teacher in the Taittiriya Upanishad exhorts his pupils to practice charity and other virtues. Regarding charity he says, “Give with faith, give with magnanimity, give with modesty, with awe and with sympathy. In order to teach the devotees the lesson of charity and to remove their attachment to money, and thus purify their minds, Baba asked for Dakshina from them. But there was this peculiarity; Baba said that He had to give back to the devotee a hundred times or more of what He had received. There are many instances in which this has happened. To quote an instance, Mr. Ganpatrao Bodas, the famous actor, says in his Marathi autobiography, that when Baba pressed him frequently for Dakshina, he emptied his money bag before Him. The result of this was, as Mr. Bodas says, that later in life he never lacked money, as it came to him abundantly.

There were also secondary meanings of Dakshina. In many cases, Baba did not want any money; To quote two instances: Baba asked for 15 rupees as Dakshina from Prof. G.G.Narke, who replied that he did not have even a have a single paise on him. Then Baba said, “I know you have no money, but you are reading the Yoga-Vashistha. Give Me Dakshina from that.” Giving Dakshina in this case meant deriving lessons from the book and lodging them in the heart, where Baba resides. In another case, Baba asked a certain lady (Mrs. R. A. Tarkhad) to give Him 6 rupees as Dakshina. The lady felt embarrassed, as she had nothing to give. Then her husband explained to her that Baba wanted her to surrender the six inner enemies (lust, anger, avarice etc.) to Him. Baba agreed with this explanation.

It is to be noted that though Baba collected a lot of money as Dakshina, He would distribute the whole amount the same day, and the next morning He would become a poor Fakir again. When Baba took His Mahasamadhi, after receiving thousands and thousands of Rupees as Dakshina for about ten years, He only had a few Rupees in His possession.

In short, Baba’s main object in taking Dakshina from His devotees was to teach them the lessons of Renunciation and Purification.

Post-script

Mr. B. V. Deo of Thana, retired Mamlatdar and a great devotee of Baba, has written an article on this subject (Dakshina) in the Shri Sai Leela magazine. In this he says, among other things, the following:

“Baba did not ask for Dakshina from everyone. If someone gave Dakshina without being asked, He sometimes accepted it and at other times He refused it. He only asked for it from certain devotees. He never demanded it from those devotees who thought that they would offer Dakshina only if Baba asked. If anybody offered it against His wishes, He never touched it; and if they still left it there, Baba asked them to take it away. He asked for small or big amounts from devotees, according to their wishes, devotion and convenience. He asked for it even from women and children. He never asked all the rich or all the poor.”

“Baba never got angry with those whom He asked for Dakshina and did not give it. If a devotee sent Dakshina through a friend who forgot to hand over the same to Baba, He somehow reminded him of it and made him pay it. On some occasions, Baba used to return a certain sum from the amount tendered as Dakshina and asked the donor to guard it or keep it in his shrine for worship. This procedure benefited the donor immensely. If anybody offered more than he originally intended to give, Baba returned the extra amount. Sometimes, He asked for more Dakshina from some than what they originally intended to give and if they had no money, asked them to get or borrow it from others. From some, He demanded Dakshina three or four times a day.”

“Out of the amount collected as Dakshina, Baba spent very little for His own sake− to buy tobacco for His Chilim (a clay pipe) and fuel for His Dhuni (sacred fire). 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 Radha-Krishna-Mai. Baba always used to get angry and scolded those who brought him expensive articles. He said to Mr. Nanasaheb Chandorkar that His property consisted of one koupin (codpiece), one stray piece of cloth, a Kafni(robe) and a tinpot, and that people troubled Him by bringing all these unnecessary, useless and costly articles.”

Lust and wealth are the two main obstacles in the way of our Paramartha (spiritual life) and Baba provided in Shirdi two institutions− Dakshina and Radha-Krishna-Mai. Whenever they came to Him, He demanded Dakshina from them and asked them to go to the SCHOOL (Radha-Krishna-Mai’s house). If they stood these two tests well and if they showed that they were free from attachment for women and wealth, their progress in spirituality was rapid and assured by Baba’s grace and blessings.

Mr. Deo has also quoted passages from the Gita and Upanishads and shown that charity given in a holy place and to a holy personage, benefits the donor’s welfare to a great degree. What is more holy than Shirdi and its Presiding Deity, Sai Baba?

Adapted from the original Marathi Book SHRI SAI SATCHARITA By Govind Raghunath Dabholkar alias ‘Hemadpant’

Om Sai Om Sai Sadguru Sai

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