Sai Satcharitra Chapter 24

Preliminary

To say that we shall state a specific thing in this Chapter, is a form of egoism. Unless we surrender our ego to the feet of our Sadguru, we will not succeed in our undertaking. If we become ego-less, then our success is assured.

By worshipping Sai Baba, we attain objects, both worldly and spiritual, and are fixed in our true nature and attain peace and happiness. Therefore, those who are concerned about their welfare should respectfully hear Sai Baba’s stories and meditate on them. If they do this, they will easily attain the object of their life and get Bliss.

Generally, people like wit and humor; but they do not like it when jokes are cut at their expense. But Baba’s method was peculiar; When it was accompanied by gestures, it was very interesting and instructive, and people therefore did not mind if jokes were made at their expense. Hemadpant gives his own instance below.

Chanak-Leela

In Shirdi, the bazaar was held every Sunday and people from neighboring villages came there, erected stalls on the street and sold their wares. Every noon, the Masjid was crowded; but on Sunday, it was crowded to suffocation. On one such Sunday, Hemadpant sat in front of Baba, shampooing His Legs and chanting God’s name. Shama was on Baba’s left, Vamanrao to His right and Shriman Booty, Kakasaheb Dixit and others were also present there. Then Shama laughed and said to Hemadpant, “Look, a few grains seem to have stuck to the sleeve of your coat”. Saying this, he touched the sleeve and found that there were a few grains stuck there. Hemadpant straightened his left fore-arm to see what the matter was, when to everyone’s surprise, a few grains of gram fell off and were picked up by the people who were sitting there.

This incident supplied the subject-matter for a joke. Everybody present began to wonder and said something or the other about how the grains found their way into the sleeve of the coat and had remained there so long. Hemadpant also could not guess how they had found their way in and stayed there. When nobody could offer a satisfactory explanation, Baba explained:

Baba: “This fellow (Annasaheb) has got the bad habit of eating alone. Today is a bazaar day and he was there chewing grams. I know his habit and these grams are a proof of it. What wonder is there in this matter?”

Hemadpant: “Baba, I have never eaten things alone; then why do you thrust this bad habit on me? I have never even seen the Shirdi bazaar and I never went to the bazaar today, then how could I buy grams and how could I eat them if I had not bought them? I never eat anything unless I share it with others present near me”.

Baba: “It is true that you give to the persons present, but if none be nearby, what could you or I do? But do you remember Me before eating? Am I not always with you? Then do you offer Me anything before you eat?”

Moral of the Story

Let us note carefully what Baba has taught us by this incident. He has advised us that before the senses, mind and intellect enjoy their objects, he should first be remembered; and if this is done, it is in a way an offering to Him. The senses can never remain without their objects, but if those objects are first offered to the Guru, our attachment to them will naturally vanish. In this way, all the Vrittis (thoughts) regarding Desire, Anger and Avarice should first be offered and directed to the Guru and if this practice is followed, the Lord will help you in eradicating all the Vrittis. When you think of Baba before the enjoyment of such an object, the question of whether the object is fit to be enjoyed will at once arise. Then the object that is not fit to be enjoyed will be shunned and in this way our vicious habits or vices will disappear and our character will improve. Then love for the Guru will grow and pure knowledge will sprout. When this knowledge grows, the bondage of body-consciousness (we are the body) will snap and our intellect will be merged in spirit-consciousness (we are the spirit). Then we shall get eternal bliss and contentment. There is no difference between the Guru and God. He who sees any difference in them, sees God nowhere. So leaving aside all ideas of difference, we should regard our Guru and God as one. And if we serve our Guru as stated above, the Lord (God) will certainly be pleased. He will purify our minds and give us self-realization. To put the matter in a nut-shell, we should not enjoy any object with our senses without first remembering our Guru. When the mind is trained in this way, we will always be reminded of Baba and our meditation on Baba will grow apace. The physical form of Baba will always be before our eyes and then devotion, non-attachment and salvation will be ours. When Baba’s form is thus fixed before our mental vision, we forget hunger, thirst and this samsara. The consciousness of worldly pleasures will disappear and our mind will attain peace and happiness.

Sudama’s Story

When the above story was being narrated, Hemadpant was reminded of a similar story about Sudama. This story illustrates the same principle and therefore it is given here.

Shri Krishna and His elder brother, Balarama, were living with a classmate named Sudama at the ashram of their Guru, Sandipani. Once, Krishna and Balarama were sent to the forest to bring firewood. Sandipani’s wife sent Sudama with them, with some quantity of grams for the three to eat. When Krishna met Sudama in the forest, he said to him, “I want water; I am thirsty”. Sudama replied, “No water should be drunk on an empty stomach; so it is better to rest a while”. He did not tell Krishna that he had grams with him and never offered Him some. As Krishna was tired, He lay down to rest with his head on Sudama’s lap and soon appeared to be snoring. Seeing this, Sudama took the grams out and began to eat. Then Krishna suddenly asked him, “What are you eating? Whence is the sound?” Sudama replied, “What is there to eat? I am shivering because of the cold and my teeth are chattering. I can’t even clearly chant the Vishnu-Sahasra-Nama“. Hearing this, the Omniscient Krishna said, “I just had a dream in which I saw a man eating things of another; and when asked about this, the man said, ‘What earth is there to eat?’ The other man said, ‘Let it be so’. Dada, this is only a dream; I know that you won’t eat anything without Me. Under the influence of the dream, I asked you what you were eating” If Sudama had known about the Omniscient Shri Krishna and His Leelas, he would not have acted as he did. Therefore, he had to suffer for what he did; Though he was a friend of Shri Krishna, he had to pass his later life in utter poverty. But when he later offered Krishna a handful of parched rice, earned by his wife with her own labor, Krishna was pleased and gave him a golden city to enjoy. This story should be remembered by those who have the habit of eating things alone without sharing them with others.

The Shruti also emphasizes this lesson and asks us to offer things first to God and then enjoy them afterwards. Baba has also taught us the same lesson in His inimitable and humorous ways.

Anna Chinchanikar Versus Mavsibai

Hemadpant now describes another witty incident in which Baba played the part of a peace-maker. There was a devotee named Damodar Ghanashyama Babare, alias Anna Chinchanikar. He was simple, rough and straightforward. He cared for nobody, always spoke plainly and carried all dealings in cash. Though he looked harsh and uncompromising on the outside, he was good-natured and guileless. Thus, Sai Baba loved him. One day at noon, like others serving Baba in their own way, Anna was standing and shampooing Baba’s left arm, which rested on the railing. On the right side, an old widow named Venubai Koujalgi, whom Baba called mother and everyone else called Mavsibai, was serving Baba in her own way. Mavsibai was an elderly woman with a pure heart. She wrapped her hands around Baba’s trunk and was at this time kneading Baba’s abdomen. She did this so forcibly that Baba’s back and abdomen became flat and Baba rocked from side to side. Anna on the other side was steady, but Mavsibai’s face moved up and down with her strokes. Once it so happened that her face came very close to Anna’s. Being of a witty disposition, she remarked, “Oh my! Anna is a lewd fellow; he wants to kiss me. Despite being so old and grey, he feels no shame in kissing me.” These words enraged Anna and he pulled up his sleeves and said, “You say that I am an old bad fellow; Am I a fool? It is you who has picked a quarrel with me!”. Everyone present there was enjoying this encounter between them. Baba Who loved both of them equally and wanted to pacify them, managed the affair very skillfully. He Lovingly said, “Oh Anna, why are you unnecessarily raising this hue and cry? I do not understand the harm or impropriety in kissing the mother?” Hearing Baba’s kind words, both of them were satisfied and everyone laughed merrily.

Baba’s Dependence on His Bhaktas

Baba allowed His devotees to serve Him in their own way and did not like anyone else interfering in this. To quote an instance, Mavsibai was, on another occasion, kneading Baba’s abdomen. Seeing the amount of force she was using, all the other devotees felt rather anxious; They said, “Oh mother, please be more gentle, otherwise you will break Baba’s arteries and nerves”. As soon as Baba heard this, He got up from His seat and dashed His satka on the ground. He got enraged and His eyes became red like live coal. No one dared to stand before or face Baba. Then He took hold of one end of the Satka with both hands and pressed it into his abdomen. He pressed the other end against a post and began to push hard into it. The satka, which was about two or three feet in length, seemed to go into the abdomen and people feared that the abdomen would rupture at any moment. The post was fixed and immovable and Baba began to get closer and closer to it and clasped the post firmly. The rupture was expected at any moment and they were all dismayed and did not know what to do. They stood around anxiously with wonder and fear. Baba suffered this ordeal for the sake of His devotees. The other devotees wanted only to give a hint to Mavsibai to be moderate in her service and not cause any trouble or pain to Baba. They did this with good intentions, but Baba would not even tolerate this. They were shocked to see that their well-intentioned efforts had resulted in this catastrophe and they could do nothing but wait and watch.

Fortunately, Baba’s rage subsided; He let go of the satka and resumed His seat. From this time onwards, the devotees learnt the lesson that they should not meddle in anybody’s service, but should allow them to serve Baba as they chose, since Baba was capable of gauging the merits and value of the service rendered unto Him.

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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