Sai Satcharitra Chapter 16 and 17


The last Chapter described how Mr. Cholkar’s vow of a small offering was completed and accepted. In that story, Sai Baba showed that He would accept, with appreciation, any small thing offered with love and devotion. But if the same thing was offered with pride and haughtiness, He would reject it. Being Himself full of Sat-Chit-Anand (Existence, Knowledge and Bliss) He did not care much for mere outward formalities. But if an offering was made in a meek and humble spirit, the same was welcomed and He accepted it with pleasure and enthusiasm. In fact, there is no one more liberal and benevolent than the Sadguru. He cannot be compared to the Chintamani jewel (the Philosopher’s stone which satisfies desires), the Kalpataru (the Celestial Tree which fulfills our desires) or the Kamadhenu (the Celestial Cow which yields what we desire), for they give us only what we desire. The Sadguru gives us the most precious thing that is inconceivable and inscrutable: reality. Now let us hear how Sai Baba disposed of a rich man, who came to Him and implored Baba to give him Brahma-Jnana.

There was a rich gentleman (unfortunately his name and whereabouts are not mentioned) who was very prosperous in his life. He had amassed a large quantity of wealth, houses, fields and land, and had many servants and dependents. When Baba’s fame reached his ears, he said to a friend of his, that he was not in want of anything else and so he would go to Shirdi and ask Baba to give him Brahma-Jnana. If he got this, it would certainly make him happier. His friend dissuaded him saying, “It is not easy to know the Brahman and especially so for an avaricious man like you, who is always engrossed in wealth, wife and children. Why would anyone satisfy your quest for Brahma-Jnana, when you won’t even give away a rupee in charity?”

Not heeding his friend’s advice, the fellow hired a tanga(small horse-drawn carriage) and came to Shirdi. He went to the Masjid, saw Sai Baba, fell at His Feet and said, “Baba, hearing that You show the Brahman instantly to all those who come here, I have come from a distant place. I am fatigued by the journey and if I get the Brahman from You, my troubles will be rewarded.” Baba then replied, “Oh, My dear friend, do not be anxious; I shall immediately show you the Brahman. All My dealings are in cash and never on credit. So many people come to Me and ask for wealth, health, power, honor, position, cure of diseases and other temporal matters; Rare is the person who comes here and asks Me for Brahma-Jnana. There is no dearth of people asking for worldly things, but as persons interested in spiritual matters are very rare, I think it is a lucky and auspicious moment when persons like you come and press Me for Brahma-Jnana. So I show to you with pleasure, the Brahman with all its accompaniments and complications.”

Saying this, Baba started to show him the Brahman; He made him sit there and engaged him in some other talk or affair and thus made him forget his question for the time being. Then He called a boy and told him to go to Nandu Marwari and get from him a loan of five rupees. The boy left and returned immediately, saying that Nandu was absent and that his house was locked. Then Baba asked him to go to Bala the grocer and get from him the said loan. Again, the boy was unsuccessful. This experiment was repeated twice or thrice, with the same result.

Sai Baba, as we know, was the living and moving Brahman Incarnate. Then someone may ask, “Why did He want the paltry sum of five rupees and why did He try so hard to get it on loan?” In fact, He did not want that sum at all. He omnisciently knew that Nandu and Bala were absent and he seemed to have adopted this procedure as a test for the seeker of the Brahman. That gentleman had a bundle of currency notes in his pocket and if he was really earnest, he would not have sat quietly and been a mere onlooker, when Baba was frantically trying to get a paltry sum of five rupees. He knew that Baba would keep His word and repay the debt and that the sum wanted was insignificant. Yet, he could not make up his mind and advance the sum. Such a man wanted from Baba, the greatest thing in the world, Brahma-Jnana! Any other man who really loved Baba would have, at once, given Baba five rupees, instead of being a mere onlooker. This man did not advance any money and didn’t remain silent either. Instead, he began to be impatient, as he was in a hurry to return and implored Baba saying, “Oh Baba, please show me the Brahman soon.” Baba replied, “My dear friend, did you not understand the procedure I went through, to enable you to see the Brahman? In order to see the Brahman, one has to surrender five things: the Five Pranas (vital forces), the Five senses (five of action and five of perception), the mind, the intellect and the ego. This path of Brahma-Jnana is as hard to tread on as the edge of a razor.”

Sai Baba then gave a rather long discourse on the subject, the purport of which is given below:

Qualifications for Attaining Brahma-Jnana(Self-Realization)

All persons do not see or realize the Brahman in their lifetime. Certain qualifications are absolutely necessary:

Mumuksha, an intense desire to be set free: He, who thinks that he is bound, that he should be free from bondage and thus works earnestly and resolutely to that end; He who does not care for any other thing, is thus qualified for a spiritual life.

Virakti, or a feeling of disgust with the things of this world and the next: Unless a man feels disgusted with the objects, emoluments and honors, which his actions would bring in this world and the next, he has no right to enter into the spiritual realm.

Antarmukhata (introspection): Our senses have been created by God with a tendency to move outward and so man always looks outside himself and not inside. He who wants self-realization and an immortal life, must turn his gaze inwards and look to his inner Self.

Catharsis of sins: Unless a man has turned away from wickedness, stopped doing wrong actions and has entirely composed himself; Unless his mind is at rest, he cannot gain self-realization, even by means of knowledge.

Right Conduct: Unless a man leads a life of truth, penance, insight and a life of celibacy, he cannot attain union with God.

Preferring Shreyas (the Good) to Preyas (the Pleasant): There are two kinds of things: the Good and the Pleasant. Both of these approach man for acceptance; He has to think and choose between them. The wise man prefers the Good to the Pleasant, but the unwise, through greed and attachment, chooses the Pleasant.

Control of the mind and the senses: The body is the chariot and the Self is its master; The intellect is the charioteer and the mind the reins; the senses are the horses and sense-objects their paths. He who has no understanding and whose mind is unrestrained, his senses unmanageable like the vicious horses of a charioteer, does not reach his destination (get self-realization). Instead, he goes through rounds of births and deaths. But he who has understanding, whose mind is restrained, his senses under control like the good horse of a charioteer, reaches that place, (the state of self-realization); from this place he is not born again. The man who has understanding as his charioteer (guide) and is able to rein in his mind, reaches the end of the journey. This destination is the supreme abode of the all-pervading Vishnu (lord).

Purification of the mind: Unless a man discharges satisfactorily and disinterestedly the duties of his station in life, his mind will not be purified. And unless his mind is purified, he cannot get self-realization. It is only in the purified mind that Viveka (discrimination between the Unreal and the Real) and Vairagya (Non-attachment to the unreal) emerge and lead to self-realization. Unless egoism is dropped, avarice is destroyed and the mind made desire-less (pure), self-realization is not possible. The idea that “I am the body” is a great delusion and attachment to this idea is the cause of bondage. Forget the idea of attachment if you want to get to Self-realization.

The necessity of a Guru: The knowledge of the self is so subtle and mystical that no one could, by his own individual effort, ever hope to attain it. So the help of another person− the Teacher− who has himself attained self-realization, is absolutely necessary. What others cannot give with great labor and pains, can be easily gained with the help of such a Teacher; For he has walked on the path himself and can easily take the disciple, step by step, on the ladder of spiritual progress.

And lastly, the Lord’s Grace is the most essential thing. When the Lord is pleased with anybody, He gives him Viveka and Vairagya and takes him safely beyond the ocean of mundane existence. “The Self cannot be gained by the study of Vedas, nor by the intellect or by lots of learning. He, whom the Self chooses, by him It is gained. To him, the Self reveals Its nature”, says the Katha Upanishad.

After the dissertation was over, Baba turned to the gentleman and said, “Well sir, there is in your pocket, the Brahma in the form of fifty-times five rupees (250 rupees). Please take that out.” The gentleman took out from his pocket the bundle of currency notes and to his great surprise found, on counting them, that there were 25 notes of 10 rupees each. Seeing Baba’s omniscience, he was moved and fell at Baba’s Feet and craved for His blessings. Then Baba said to him, “Roll up your bundle of Brahman (money). Unless you completely get rid of your greed, you will not attain the real Brahman. How can he, whose mind is engrossed in wealth, progeny and prosperity, expect to know the Brahman without destroying his attachment for the same? The illusion of attachment or the love for money is a deep eddy (whirlpool) of pain and it is full of crocodiles in the form of conceit and jealousy. Only He who is desire-less can cross this whirlpool. Greed and Brahma are as poles asunder— they are eternally opposed to each other. Where there is greed, there is no room for thought or meditation on the Brahman. Then how can a greedy man get dispassion and salvation? For a greedy man, there is no peace, contentment or certainty. If there is even a little trace of greed in one’s mind, all spiritual endeavors are of no avail. Even the knowledge of a well-read man who is not free from the desire of the reward of his actions and who has no disgust for the same, is useless. This learning can’t help him in attaining self-realization. The teachings of a Guru are of no use to a man who is full of egoism and who always thinks about sense-objects. Purification of the mind is absolutely necessary and without it, all our spiritual endeavors are nothing but useless show and pomp. It is therefore better for one to take only what one can digest and assimilate. My treasury is full and I can give anyone what he wants; but I have to see whether he is qualified to receive what I give. If you listen to Me carefully, you will certainly be benefited. Sitting in this Masjid, I never speak anything but the truth.”

When a guest is invited to a house, all the members of the household are entertained along with the guest. So all those who were present in the Masjid at this time, could partake of the spiritual feast that was served by Baba for the rich gentleman. After receiving Baba’s blessings, everyone left the place quite happy and content.

Baba’s Special Characteristic

There are many Saints who abandon their houses, live in forests, caves or hermitages and while remaining in solitude, try to attain liberation or salvation for themselves. They do not care for other people and are always self-absorbed. Sai Baba was not such a saint; He had no home, wife, progeny or relatives. Yet, He lived within society; He begged His bread from four or five houses, always lived at the foot of the (Neem) tree, carried on worldly dealings and taught everyone how to act and behave in this world. Rare are saints who, after attaining divine-vision, strive for the welfare of their people. Sai Baba was the foremost of these and therefore, Hemadpant 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.”

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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