Sai Satcharitra Chapter 20

In this Chapter, Hemadpant describes, how Das Ganu’s problem was solved by Kakasaheb Dixit’s maid


Sai was originally formless; He assumed a form for the sake of His devotees. With the help of the actress Maya, He played the part of the lead actor in the big drama of the universe. Let us remember and visualize Shri Sai; Let us go to Shirdi and watch carefully the programs after the noon Arati. After the Arati ceremony was over, Sai used to come out of the Masjid, stand at its edge, distribute Udi (ashes from the fire Baba kept burning all day in the Masjid) to His devotees with very kind and loving looks. The devotees also got up with equal fervor, clasped His Feet and stood there staring at Him, enjoying the shower of Udi. Baba passed handfuls of Udi into the palms of His devotees and marked their foreheads with Udi with His fingers. The love He bore for them was boundless. Then He addressed each of the devotees individually as follows, “Oh Bhau; go have your lunch; Anna; go to your lodgings; Bapu, enjoy your dishes”. In this way, He accosted each and every devotee and sent them home. Even now, one can enjoy these sights. If one brings into play their imagination, they can visualize and enjoy them. Now bringing Sai before our mental vision, let us meditate on Him, from His Feet up to His face and prostrate before Him humbly and lovingly. Let us now respectfully revert to the story of this chapter.

The Ishavasya Upanishad

Das Ganu once started to write a Marathi commentary on the Ishavasya Upanishad. Let us first give the readers a brief summary of this Upanishad before proceeding further. It is called a Mantropanishad, as it is embodied in the Mantras of the Vedic Samhita. It constitutes the last Chapter of the Vajasaneyi Samhita (Yajurveda) and it is, therefore, called the Vajasaneyi Samhitopanishad. Since it is embodied in Vedic Samhitas, it is regarded as superior to all other Upanishads, which occur in the Brahmanas and Aranyakas (explanatory treatises on Mantras and rituals). Other Upanishads are considered to be commentaries on the truths mentioned briefly in the Ishavasya Upanishad. For instance, the biggest of the Upanishads, the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, is considered by Pandit Satwalekar to be a running commentary on the Ishavasya Upanishad. Profesor R.D. Ranade says, “The Ishopanishad is quite a small Upanishad and yet it contains many hints which show an extraordinarily-piercing insight. Within the short compass of 18 verses, it gives a valuable mystical description of the Atman, a description of the ideal sage, who stands unruffled in the midst of temptations and sorrow, and the adumbration of the doctrine of Karma-Yoga as later formulated. And finally a reconciliation of the claims of knowledge and work. The most valuable ideas that lie at the root of the Upanishad, are that of a logical synthesis between the two opposites of knowledge and work, which are both required according to the Upanishad. ” (page 24 of the Constructive Survey of the Upanishad Philosophy). In another place, he says that “The poetry of the Ishopanishad is a co-mixture of moral, mystical and metaphysical.” From the brief description given above, anyone can see how difficult it is to translate this Upanishad from Sanskrit into a vernacular language and summarize its exact meaning. Das Ganu translated it into Marathi, verse by verse, but as he did not comprehend the gist or essence of the Upanishad, he was not satisfied with his performance. He therefore consulted some learned men regarding his doubts and difficulties and discussed it with them at great length. They did not solve his doubts and nor did they give him any rational and satisfactory explanation. So Das Ganu was a little restless about this matter.

The SadGuru is the Only One Competent and Qualified to Explain

As we have seen, this Upanishad is the quintessence of the Vedas; It is the science of self-realization; it is the weapon, which can rend asunder the bondage of life and death and set us free. Therefore, Das Ganu thought that only He who has himself attained self-realization could give him the true interpretation of this Upanishad. When nobody could satisfy Das Ganu, he resolved to consult Sai Baba about this. When he got an opportunity to go to Shirdi, he saw Sai Baba, prostrated before Him and mentioned his difficulties about the Ishavasya Upanishad and requested Baba to give him the correct solution. Sai Baba blessed him and said, “You need not be anxious, as there will be no difficulty in this matter; Kaka’s (Kakasaheb Dixit’s) maid will solve your doubts at Vile Parle(in Bombay), on your way home”. The people who were there heard this and thought that Baba was probably joking and said, “How could an illiterate maid solve difficulties of this nature?” But Das Ganu thought otherwise; He was sure that whatever Baba said must come true, as Baba’s word was the decree of Brahma (the Almighty).

Kaka’s Maid

Since Dasganu fully trusted Baba’s words, he left Shirdi and came to Vile Parle (a suburb of Bombay), and stayed with Kakasaheb Dixit. The next day, when Das Ganu was enjoying a nap (some say when he was engaged in worship), he heard a poor girl singing a beautiful song in a clear and melodious voice. The subject matter of the song was a crimson-colored Sari, how nice it was, how fine its embroidery was, how beautiful its ends and borders were etc. He liked the song so much that he came out of his room and saw that it was being sung by a young girl, the sister of a servant of Kakasaheb’s. The girl was cleaning vessels and only had a torn rag on her person. On seeing her impoverished condition and her jovial temperament, Das Ganu felt pity for her and when Rao Bahadur M.V.Pradhan gave him a pair of dhotars the next day, he requested Mr.Pradhan to give the poor little girl a Sari. Rao Bahadur bought a good Sari and presented it to her. Like a starving person getting good dishes to eat, her joy knew no bounds. The next day she wore the new Sari and with great joy and merriment, whirled, danced and played with the other girls. The following day, she kept the new Sari in her box at home and came with the old and torn rags, but she looked just as merry as she did the previous day. On seeing this, Das Ganu’s pity was transformed into admiration. He thought that since the girl was poor, she had to wear a torn rag; but now she had a new Sari which she kept in reserve and, despite wearing the old rag, showed no trace of sorrow or dejection. Thus, he realized that all our feelings of pain and pleasure depend upon the attitude of our mind. On thinking deeply about this incident, he realized that man ought to enjoy whatever God has bestowed on him, with the firm conviction that God besets him on all sides and that whatever is bestowed on him by God must be for his good. In this particular case, the impoverished condition of the poor girl, her torn rag, the new Sari, the donor and the acceptance were all pervaded by the Lord. Hence, Das Ganu got a practical demonstration of the lessons of the Upanishad− the lesson of contentment with one’s own lot, in the belief that whatever happens is ordained by God and is ultimately good for us.

Unique Method of Teaching

From the above incident, the reader will see that Baba’s method was unique and varied. Though Baba never left Shirdi, He sent some to Machhindragad, Kolhapur or Sholapur to practice sadhanas. To some He appeared in His usual form, while to others He appeared when they were awake or dreaming and satisfied their desires. It is impossible to describe all the methods that Baba used in imparting instructions to His devotees. In this particular case, He sent Das Ganu to Vile Parle, where he solved Dasganu’s problem through the maid’s sister. To those who say that it was not necessary to send Das Ganu to Vile Parle and that Baba could have personally taught him, we say that Baba followed the best course. How else could Das Ganu have learnt such a great lesson? How could he have learned that the poor maid and her Sari were pervaded by the Lord, in such a practical way? Now we close the Chapter with another beautiful extract about this Upanishad.

The Ethics of the Ishavasya Upanishad

“One of the main features of the Ishavasya 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 everything. As a corollary from this metaphysical position, the ethical advice it offers is that man ought to enjoy whatever God bestows on him, in the firm belief that whatever is bestowed on him by God must be 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 is divinely ordained and it is hence good for us. Another moral lesson is that man must spend his lifetime always performing actions, especially the karmas enjoined in the Shastras, with a mood of resignation to His will. Inactivity, according to this Upanishad, would be the canker of the soul. It is only when a man spends his lifetime 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, sees the Self as existing in all beings and for whom everything that exists has become the Self, can never suffer infatuation. What ground would such a man have for grief? Anger, 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. (Page 169-170 of “The Creative Period” by Messrs. Belvalkar and Ranade).

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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