Sai Satcharitra Chapter 18 and 19

In the last two Chapters, Hemadpant described how a rich gentleman, aspiring for quick Brahma-Jnana, was treated by Baba. And now in these two Chapters, he describes how Hemadpant was accepted and blessed by Baba, how Baba encouraged good thoughts and fructified them and gives His teachings regarding Self-improvement, slander and remuneration for labor.


It is a well-known fact that the Sadguru looks first at the qualifications of his disciples and then gives them suitable instructions, without unsettling their minds in the least. And he leads them on towards the goal of self-realization. In this respect, some say that what the Sadguru teaches or instructs, should not be divulged to others. They believe that these instructions become useless if they are published. This view is not correct; The Sadguru is like a monsoon cloud; He pours down profusely, his nectar-like teachings. These, we should enjoy and assimilate to our heart’s content and then serve others with them, without any reserve. We should apply this rule not only to what he teaches us when we are awake, but to the visions he gives us in our dreams. To quote an instance, Budhakowshik Rishi composed his celebrated Ram-raksha stotra based on what he had seen in his dreams.

Like a loving mother forcing bitter but wholesome medicines down the throats of her children, for the sake of their health, Sai Baba imparted spiritual instructions to His devotees. His method was not veiled or secret, but quite open. Devotees who followed His instructions attained their objective. Sadgurus like Sai Baba broaden our intellect and show us the divine beauty of the Self, and fulfill our tender longings of devotion. When this is done, our desire for sense-objects vanishes, the twin fruits of Viveka (discrimination) and Vairagya (dispassion or non-attachment) are attained and knowledge sprouts up even in our sleep. We get all this when we come in contact with Saints (Sadgurus), serve them and secure their love. The Lord who fulfills the desires of His devotees, comes to our aid, gets rid of our troubles and sufferings and makes us happy. This progress or development is entirely due to the help of the Sadguru, who is regarded as the Lord Himself. Therefore, we should always be eager to meet the Sadguru, hear His stories, fall at His Feet and serve Him. Now we come to our main story.

How Hemadpant was Accepted and Blessed:

Mr. Sathe’s Story:

There was a gentleman named Mr. Sathe who had attained some publicity many years ago during the Crawford Regime. Lord Reay, the Governor of Bombay at the time, quashed Mr. Sathe’s popularity and Mr. Sathe suffered severe losses in his trade. Other adverse circumstances also gave him a lot of trouble and made him sad and dejected. Restless, he thought of leaving home and going to a distant place. Man does not generally think of God, but when difficulties and calamities overtake him, he turns to God and prays for relief. If his evil actions have come to an end, God arranges his meeting with a Saint, who gives him proper directions regarding his welfare. Mr. Sathe had a similar experience. His friends advised him to go to Shirdi, where so many people were flocking to receive Sai Baba’s darshan, which helped them attain peace of mind and the satisfaction of their wants. He liked the idea and at once came to Shirdi in 1917. Upon seeing Baba’s Form, which was like Eternal Brahma− Self-luminous, Spotless and Pure− his mind lost its restlessness and became calm and composed. He thought that it was the accumulation of merits in his former births that had brought him to Baba’s Holy Feet. He was a man of strong will; He at once began to study the Guru-charitra. When the reading was finished in seven days, Baba gave him a vision one night. It was to this effect: Baba with the Guru-charitra in His hand was explaining its contents to Mr. Sathe, who was sitting in front of Baba and listening carefully. When he woke up, he remembered the dream and felt very happy. He thought that it was extremely kind of Baba to awaken souls like his that were snoring away in ignorance, and make them taste the nectar of the Guru-charitra. The next day, he informed Kakasaheb Dixit of this vision and requested him to consult Sai Baba regarding its meaning or significance, and whether one week’s reading was sufficient or whether he should begin again. Kakasaheb Dixit, when he got a suitable opportunity, asked Baba, “Deva (Oh God), what did you suggest to Mr. Sathe by this vision? Should he stop or continue the saptaha? He is a simple devotee, his desires should be fulfilled and the vision explained to him; he should be blessed.” Then Baba replied, “He should read one more saptaha of the book; If the work is studied carefully, the devotee will become pure and will be benefited. The Lord will be pleased and will rescue him from the bondage of mundane existence.”

At this time, Hemadpant was present there; He was shampooing Baba’s Legs. When he heard Baba’s words, he thought to himself, “What! Mr. Sathe read for just a week and got a reward and I have been reading it for forty years with no result! His seven day stay here becomes fruitful, while my seven year stay (1910 to 1917) is worth nothing! Like a Chatak bird, I am always waiting for the Merciful Cloud (Baba) to pour its nectar on me and bless me with His instructions.”  No sooner did this thought cross his mind that Baba knew what Hemadpant was thinking. It was the experience of Baba’s devotees that Baba read and understood all their thoughts, and that He suppressed the negative thoughts and encouraged the good ones. Having read Hemadpant’s mind, Baba at once asked him to get up, go to Shama (Madhavrao Deshpande), get 15 rupees as Dakshina from him, sit and chat with him for a while and then return. Mercy dawned in Baba’s mind and so he issued this order. And who could disobey Baba’s orders?

Hemadpant immediately left the Masjid and went to Shama’s house. Shama had just bathed and was wearing a dhotar. He came out and asked Hemadpant, “How is it that you are here now? It seems that you have come from the Masjid. Why do you look restless and dejected? And why are you alone? Please sit and rest, while I do my worship. In the meanwhile, please help yourself to pan-vida (leaves with betel nuts) and let us then have a pleasant chat.” After saying this, he went inside and Hemadpant sat alone in the front verandah. He saw a well-known Marathi book named “Nath-Bhagwat” on the window sill. This is a commentary by the Saint Ekanath on the eleventh chapter of the bigger Sanskrit work, the Bhagwat. At Sai Baba’s suggestion, Bapusaheb Jog and Kakasaheb Dixit read daily in Shirdi, the BhagwadGeeta with its Marathi commentary named “Bhawartha-Deepika” or “Jnaneshwari” (A dialogue between Krishna and His devotee and friend, Arjuna), “Nath Bhagwat” (A dialogue between Krishna and His servant-devotee Uddhava) and also Ekanath’s other big work,  “Bhawartha Ramayana”. When devotees came to Baba and asked Him certain questions, He sometimes answered them in part and asked them to go and listen to the readings of the above-mentioned works, as these are the main treatises of Bhagwat-Dharma. When the devotees went and listened, they got full and satisfactory replies to their questions. Hemadpant also used to read daily a few portions of the book “Nath-Bhagwat”.

That day, he had not completed the daily portion of his reading, but had left it unfinished in order to accompany certain devotees who were going to the Masjid. When he took the book from Shama’s window sill and casually opened it, he found, to his surprise, that the unfinished portion turned up. He thought that Baba had sent him very kindly to Shama’s house to enable him to complete his daily reading. So he went through the unfinished portion and completed it. As soon as this was over, Shama, after performing his worship, came out and the following conversation took place between them.

Hemadpant: “I have come with a message from Baba. He has asked me to return with 15 Rupees as Dakshina from you, and also to sit with you for a while, have a pleasant chat and then return to the Masjid with you.”

Shama (surprised): “I have no money to give. Please take my 15 Namaskaras (bows) in lieu of Dakshina

Hemadpant: “Alright, your Namaskaras are accepted. Now let us chat for a while; Tell me some stories and Leelas of Baba which will destroy our sins.”

Shama: “Then sit here for a while. Wonderful is the Leela of this God (Baba). You know it already; I am a village rustic, while you are an enlightened citizen. You have seen some Leelas since you came here. How could I describe them to you? Well, eat the pan-vida, while I go in and get dressed.”

In a few minutes, Shama came out and began talking to Hemadpant. He said, “The Leela of this God (Baba) is inscrutable. There is no end to His Leelas; Who can really see them? He plays with His Leelas and yet He is unaffected by them. What do we rustics know? Why does Baba not tell stories Himself? Why does He send learned men like you to fools like me? His ways are inconceivable. I can only say that they are not human.”

With this preface, Shama added, “I now remember a story, which I shall relate to you. I know it personally; As a devotee is resolute and determined, so is Baba’s immediate response. Sometimes Baba puts the devotees to severe test and then gives them Upadesh (instructions).”

As soon as Hemadpant heard the word Upadesh, a flash of lightning crossed through his mind. He at once remembered the story of Mr. Sathe’s Guru-charitra reading and thought that Baba might have sent him to Shama in order to bring peace to his restless mind. However, he curbed this feeling and began to listen to Shama’s stories. They all showed how kind and affectionate Baba was to His devotees. Hemadpant began to feel a sort of joy while hearing them. Then Shama began to tell the following story.

Mrs. Radhabai Deshmukh’s Story

“There was an old woman named Radhabai. Upon hearing of Baba’s fame, she came to Shirdi with the people of Sangamner. She received Baba’s darshan and was very satisfied. She loved Baba dearly and resolved in her mind that she would accept Baba as her Guru and get some Upadesh(spiritual advice) from Him. She knew nothing else; She was determined to fast herself unto death, until Baba accepted her and gave her some Upadesh or Mantra. She stayed in her lodging and stopped eating any food or drinking water for three days. I was frightened by this ordeal of the old woman and interceded with Baba on her behalf. I said, “Deva, what is this You have started? You drag so many people here. You know that old lady; She is very obstinate and depends on You entirely. She has resolved to fast unto death, if You don’t accept and instruct her. If anything worse happens, people will blame You and say that Baba did not instruct her and she thus met her death. So please have some mercy on her, bless her and instruct her.” On seeing her determination, Baba sent for her and changed her mind by addressing her as follows:

“Oh mother, why are you subjecting yourself to unnecessary tortures and hastening your death? You are really My Mother and I am your child. Take pity on Me and hear Me through. I shall tell you My own story, which if you listen to it carefully, will do you good. I had a Guru; He was a great Saint and was very merciful. I served him for very long and yet he still would not blow any Mantra into My ears. I had a keen desire never to leave him but to stay with him and serve him, and at all costs receive some instructions from him. But he had his own way; He first got my head shaved and asked Me for two paise as Dakshina. I gave the same at once. Since My Guru was perfect, why should he ask for money and how should he then be called desire-less? I replied that he never cared for coins; What had he to do with them? His two paise were Firm Faith and Patience or perseverance. I gave these two paise or things to him and he was pleased. I resorted to My Guru for 12 years. He raised Me; There was no dearth of food and clothing. He was full of love and was love incarnate. How can I describe it? He loved Me the most. Rare is a Guru like him. When I looked at him, he seemed as if he was in deep meditation and then we were both filled with Bliss. Night and day, I gazed at him with no thought of hunger and thirst. Without him, I felt restless. I had no other object to meditate on, or any other thing than My Guru to attend to. He was My sole refuge. My mind was always fixed on him. This is one paise of the DakshinaSaburi (Patience or perseverance) is the other paise. I waited patiently and very long on My Guru and served him. This Saburi will ferry you across the sea of mundane existence. Saburi is the manliness in man, it removes all sins and afflictions, gets rid of calamities in various ways and casts aside all fear, and ultimately gives you success. Saburi is the mine of virtues and the consort of good thought. Nishtha (Faith) and Saburi (Patience) are like twin sisters that love each other very intimately.”

“My Guru never expected any other thing from Me. He never neglected Me, but protected Me at all times. I lived with him and was sometimes away from him. Yet I never felt the want or absence of his love. He always protected Me by his glance, just as the tortoise feeds her young ones; whether they are near her or away from her on the other side of the river bank. Oh mother, My Guru never taught Me any Mantra, then how can I blow any Mantra into your ears? Just remember that the Guru’s tortoise-like loving glance gives us happiness. Do not try to get a Mantra or Upadesh from anybody. Make Me the sole object of your thoughts and actions and you will no doubt attain Paramartha (the spiritual goal of life). Look at Me wholeheartedly and I in turn look at you similarly. Sitting in this Masjid, I speak the truth and nothing but the truth. No Sadhanas or proficiency in the six Shastras are necessary. Have faith and confidence in your Guru. Believe fully that the Guru is the sole Actor or Doer. Blessed is he who knows the greatness of his Guru and thinks him to be HariHara and Brahma (Trimurti) Incarnate.”

Instructed in this way, the old lady was convinced. She bowed to Baba and gave up her fast.

Hearing this story carefully and attentively, and noting its significance and appropriateness, Hemadpant was moved from top to toe; he was overflowing with joy, his throat was choked and he was unable to say a single word. Shama, on seeing him in this condition asked him, “What is the matter with you? Why are you silent? How many Leelas of Baba do you want me to describe!”

Just at that time, the bell in the Masjid began to ring, announcing that the noon-worship and Arati ceremony had begun. Therefore Shama and Hemadpant hurried to the Masjid. Bapusaheb Jog had just started the worship. Women were standing inside the Masjid, men were standing below in the open courtyard and they were all singing the Arati loudly in chorus to the accompaniment of drums. Shama walked up, pulling Hemadpant with him. He sat to the right and Hemadpant in front of Baba. On seeing them, Baba asked Hemadpant to give the Dakshina brought from Shama. He replied that Shama gave Namaskaras in lieu of Rupees and that he was there in person. Baba said, “Alright, now let Me know whether you both had a chat. And if so, tell Me all that you talked about.” Not minding the sounds of the bells, the drums and the singing, Hemadpant was eager to tell Baba what they had talked about and started to narrate it. Baba also appeared anxious to hear about it and so He leaned forward to listen. Hemadpant said everything that they talked about was very pleasant and that the story of the old lady was especially wonderful. He said that on hearing it, he thought that Baba’s Leelas were inexplicable and that under the guise of that story, he had in fact received a blessing. Baba then said, “Wonderful is that story; How were you blessed? I would like to know everything in detail from you, so tell Me all about it.” Then Hemadpant related, in full, the story which he had heard a little while before and which had made a lasting impression on his mind. Hearing this, Baba was very pleased and asked him, “Did the story strike you and did you catch its significance?” He replied, “Yes Baba; the restlessness of my mind has vanished and I have got true peace and rest, and come to know the true path.”

Then Baba spoke as follows, “My method is quite unique. Remember well, this one story, and it will be very useful. To get the knowledge (realization) of the Self, Dhyana (meditation) is necessary. If you practice it continuously, the Vrittis (thoughts) will be pacified. Then, being quite desire-less, you should meditate on the Lord Who is in all creatures. And when the mind is concentrated, that goal will be achieved. Meditate always on My formless nature, which is knowledge incarnate, consciousness and bliss. If you cannot do this, meditate on My Form from top to toe, as you see here. As you go on doing this, your Vrittis will concentrate on one point and the distinction between the Dhyata (meditator), Dhyana (act of meditation) and Dhyeya (the object meditated upon) will be lost and the meditator will be one with the Consciousness and will be merged in the Brahman. The (mother) tortoise is on one bank of the river and her young ones are on the other side. She gives neither milk nor warmth to them. Her mere glance gives them nutrition. The young ones do nothing but remember (meditate upon) their mother. The tortoise’ glance is, to the young ones, a down-pour of nectar; their only source of sustenance and happiness. Similar is the relationship between the Guru and His disciples.”

As Baba finished saying these last words, the chorus of the Arati stopped and everyone shouted out loudly in one voice, “Victory to our Sadguru Sai Maharaj, Who is Existence, Knowledge and Bliss!” Dear readers, let us imagine, that we are at this time, standing among the crowd in the Masjid and let us join them in this Jayajayakar.

After the Arati ceremony was over, Prasad was distributed. Bapusaheb Jog advanced as usual and after bowing to Baba, gave into His hand a handful of sugar-candy. Baba gave this entire quantity to Hemadpant and said to him, “If you take this story to heart and remember it well, your state will be as sweet as the sugar-candy; all your desires will be fulfilled and you will be happy.” Hemadpant bowed before Baba and implored, “Do favor me like this; bless and protect me always.” Baba replied, “Hear this story, meditate on it and assimilate its spirit. Then you will always remember and meditate on the Lord, Who will manifest Himself to you.”

Dear readers, Hemadpant got the Prasad of sugar-candy then and we now get the Prasad of this sugar-candy (this story). Let us drink it to our heart’s content, meditate on it, assimilate it and be strong and happy by Baba’s grace.

Towards the end of the 19th Chapter, Hemadpant has dealt with some other matters which are given below.

Baba’s Advice Regarding Our Behavior

The following words that Baba said are general and invaluable; if they are remembered and acted upon, they will always do you good.

“Unless there is some relationship or connection, nobody goes anywhere. If any men or creatures come to you, do not discourteously drive them away. But receive them well and treat them with due respect. God will certainly be pleased if you give water to the thirsty, bread to the hungry, clothes to the naked and give strangers a place to rest. If anybody wants any money from you and you are not inclined to give, do not give; but do not bark at them like a dog. Let anybody speak hundreds of things against you, do not resent by giving them any bitter reply. If you always tolerate such things, you will certainly be happy. Let the world go topsy-turvy; you remain where you are. Standing or staying in your own place, watch calmly the show of all things passing before you. Demolish the wall of difference that separates you from Me and then the road for our meeting will be clear and open. The sense of differentiation, as I and thou, is the barrier that keeps the disciple away from his Guru. And unless that is destroyed, the state of union or atonement is not possible. “Allah Malik” (God is the sole Proprietor); nobody else is our Protector. His method of work is extraordinary, invaluable and inscrutable. His will, will be done and He will show us the way and satisfy our heart’s desires. It is on account of a past relationship that we have come together, thus let us love and serve each other and be happy. He who attains the supreme goal of life is immortal and happy, while all others merely exist.”

Encouraging Good Thoughts

It is interesting to note how Sai Baba encouraged good thoughts. You have to surrender yourself completely to Him with love and devotion, and then you will see how He helps you with so many things. A Saint once said that when you get a good thought immediately after awakening from your sleep and if you cultivate the same thought during the day, your intellect will unfold and your mind will attain calmness. Hemadpant wanted to try this; On a Wednesday night, before going to bed, he thought, “Tomorrow is Thursday—an auspicious day— and the place, Shirdi, is so holy. So let me remember and chant the Rama-nama (various holy names of Rama) all day.” When he woke up the next morning, he remembered without any effort, the name of Rama and was very pleased. Then, after finishing his morning duties, he went to see Baba with flowers. When he left Dixit’s Wada and was passing by Booty’s Wada (the present Samadhi-mandir) he heard a beautiful song that was being sung in front of Baba in the Masjid, by Aurangabadkar. The song was “Guru-kripanjan payo mere bhai” by Ekanath, in which Ekanath says that he got bliss in the form of the Guru’s grace, which opened his vision and made him see Rama, in his dreams and everywhere. There were so many songs and yet why was this particular song chosen by Aurangabadkar? Is this not a miracle, arranged by Baba, to feed Hemadpant’s desire to sing Rama-nama all day?

All Saints agree on and stress the efficacy of chanting God’s name; It is effective in fulfilling devotees’ ambitions and in protecting and saving them from all calamities.

Variety in Upadesh: A Slanderer is Corrected

Sai Baba required no special place or special time to give instructions. Whenever any occasion demanded it, He gave them freely. Once it so happened that a devotee reviled another behind his back; forgetting merits, he dwelt on the faults of his brother and spoke so sarcastically, that those who heard him were disgusted. Generally, we see that people have a tendency to scandalize others unnecessarily and this brings on hatred and ill-will. Saints see scandal in another light. They say that there are various ways of cleansing or removing dirt− but a scandal-monger has a way of his own. He removes the dirt (faults) of others by his tongue. Thus, in a way, he obliges the person whom he reviles and for this he is to be thanked. Sai Baba had his own method of correcting the scandal-monger. He knew, by his omniscience, what the slanderer had done and when He met him at noon near the Lendi, Baba pointed out to him a pig that was eating filth near the fence and said to him, “Behold how, with relish, it is gorging dung. Your conduct is similar; You go on reviling your own brethren to your heart’s content. After performing many deeds of merit, you are born a man; and if you act like this, will Shirdi help you in any way?” Needless to say, the devoteetook the lesson to heart.

In this way, Baba gave instructions whenever necessary. If these are borne in our minds and acted upon, our spiritual goal (self-realization) is not far off. There is a proverb which says, “If my Lord exists, He will feed me on my cot.” This proverb is only true with respect to food and clothing. If anyone trusts in this and sits idly and does nothing in spiritual matters, he will be ruined. One has to exert himself to the utmost, in order to attain self-realization. The more he endeavors, the better for him;

Baba said that He was omnipresent and was not limited. To resolve the misunderstanding of those who thought that Baba was only His body, He incarnated Himself in this form. And if any devotee meditated on Him day and night, with complete self-surrender, he experienced union with Him. He who wants to get rid of the cycle of births and deaths, should lead a righteous life with his mind calm and composed. He should always engage himself in good actions, should do his duties and surrender himself, heart and soul, to Baba. He need not then be afraid of anything. He who trusts Baba wholeheartedly, hears and expounds His Leelas and does not think of anything else, is sure to attain Self-realization. Baba asked many to remember His name and to surrender to Him, but to those who wanted to know who they were, He advised Shravanam (study) and Mananam (meditation). To some, He advised remembering God’s name; to others hearing His Leelas and to some the worship of His Feet; while to others reading and studying Adhyatma RamayanJnaneshwari and other sacred scriptures. He made some sit near His Feet, while He sent some to Khandoba’s temple, and to others He advised the repetition of the thousands names of Vishnu; and to some the study of Chhandogya Upanishad and The Geeta. There were no limits or restrictions to His instructions. To some, He gave them in person and to others through visions in their dreams. To one addicted to alcohol, He appeared in his dreams, sat on his chest, pressed on it and only let him go after the devotee promised not to touch liquor anymore. To some, He explained Mantras like Gurur Brahma in their dreams. To other devotees, who were practicing Hath-Yoga, He sent word that they should stop Hath-Yoga practices, sit quietly and wait (Saburi). It is impossible to describe all His ways and methods. In ordinary worldly dealings, He set examples by His actions, one of which is given below.

Remuneration for Labor

One day at noon, Baba walked up to Radha-Krishna-Mai’s house and said, “Bring Me a ladder.” A few men brought one and leaned it against a wall, as directed by Baba. He climbed up on the roof of Vaman Gondkar’s house, walked over the roof of Radha-Krishna-Mai’s house and then climbed off from the other side. No one knew why Baba did this; Radha-Krishna-Mai was, at that time, suffering from Malaria. It may have been to drive off that fever that He climbed on the roof. Immediately after getting off the ladder, Baba paid two rupees each to the persons who brought the ladder. Somebody asked Baba why he paid so much for this. He replied that nobody should take the labor of others in vain. The worker should be paid his dues, promptly and liberally.

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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