Sai Satcharitra Chapter 26

Preliminary

All the things that we see in the universe are nothing but Maya’s games− the creative power of the Lord. These things do not really exist. What really exists is the Real Absolute. Just as we mistake a rope for a garland or a stick for a serpent in the darkness, we always see things as they outwardly appear and not as what underlies all those visible things. It is only the Sadguru who opens the eyes of our understanding and enables us to see things in their true light and not as they appear. Let us therefore worship the Sadguru and pray to him to give us true vision, which is God-vision.

Inner Worship

Hemadpant has given us a novel form of worship; Let us, he says, use warm water in the form of tears of joy to wash the Sadguru’s feet, let us besmear His body with the sandal paste of pure love, let us cover His body with the cloth of true faith, let us offer eight lotuses in the form of our eight Sattwik emotions and fruit in the form of our concentrated mind and let us apply to His head bukka (black-powder) in the form of devotion and tie the waistband of Bhakti and place our head on his feet.

After decorating the Sadguru with jewelry in this way, let us offer our all to Him and wave the fan of devotion to ward off the heat. After such blissful worship, let us pray thus: “Introvert our mind, turn it inward, help us to discriminate between the Unreal and the Real and attain non-attachment for all worldly things and thus enable us to attain Self-realization. We surrender ourselves, body and soul (body-consciousness and ego), to You. Make our eyes Yours, so that we shall never feel pleasure and pain. Control our body and mind as You wish. Let our mind attain peace at Your Feet.”

Let us now turn to the stories of this Chapter.

Bhakta Pant

Once it so happened that a devotee named Pant, a disciple of another Sadguru, had the good fortune of visiting Shirdi. He had no desire to go to Shirdi, but man proposes one way and God disposes the other. He was travelling in a train where he met many friends bound for Shirdi. They all asked him to accompany them and he could not refuse. They alighted at Bombay, while Pant got down at Virar. There, he asked his Sadguru for permission to go to Shirdi and after arranging for the expenses, left with his friends for Shirdi. They all reached the place in the morning and went to the Masjid at about 11 A.M. Upon seeing the concourse of devotees assembled for Baba’s worship, they were all pleased, but Pant suddenly had a fit and fainted. They were all frightened but they tried their best to bring him to his senses. With Baba’s grace and with pitchers of water poured over his head, he regained his consciousness and sat upright, as if he had just been awakened from deep sleep. The omniscient Baba, knowing that he was a disciple of another Guru, assured him fearlessness and confirmed his faith in his own Guru, by addressing him as follows, “Come what may, stick to your Bolster (support, i.e. his Guru) and always remain steady and in union with him.” Pant at once knew the significance of this remark and thus he was reminded of his Sadguru. He never forgot Baba’s kindness in this regard.

Harishchandra Pitale

There was a gentleman named Harishchandra Pitale who lived in Bombay. He had a son who suffered from epilepsy. He tried many allopathic and Ayurvedic doctors, but was unable to cure his son’s epilepsy. There remained only one remedy− resorting to the saints. It has been stated in Chapter 15 that Das Ganu, by his inimitable and splendid kirtans (songs in praise of the Lord), spread Sai Baba’s fame in the Bombay Presidency. Mr. Pitale heard some of these kirtans in 1910 and learnt therefrom and from others that Baba, by His touch and mere glance, cured many incurable diseases. Then a desire arose in his mind to see Sai Baba. After making the necessary preparations, which included presents and fruit-baskets for Baba, Mr. Pitale came to Shirdi with his wife and children. He then went to the Masjid with them, prostrated before Baba and placed his sick son at Baba’s Feet. As soon as the child was placed before Baba, the child immediately rolled his eyes and fell down senseless. His mouth began to foam and his whole body began to perspire profusely and it seemed as if he had breathed himself out. Seeing this, the parents became very nervous. The boy used to get such fits very often, but this fit seemed to last much longer. Tears began to flow ceaselessly from the mother’s eyes and she began to wail, crying that her condition was like that of a person, who being afraid of robbers ran into a house which collapsed on him; or like a cow who, fearing a tiger, ran into the hands of a butcher; or like a traveler who, being tormented by the heat of the sun, took refuge under a tree which fell on him. Then Baba comforted her saying, “Do not wail like this; wait a bit and have patience. Take the boy to your lodging, he will come to his senses within half an hour.” They did as directed by Baba and found that His words came true. As soon as he was taken to the Wada, the boy recovered and the whole Pitale family was very delighted and all their doubts disappeared. Then Mr. Pitale came with his wife to see Baba and prostrated himself before Baba. He very humbly and respectfully sat shampooing Baba’s legs, mentally thanking Baba for His help. Baba then smilingly said, “Aren’t all your thoughts, doubts and apprehensions calmed now? The Lord will protect those who have faith and patience”. Mr. Pitale was a rich and well-to-do gentleman; He distributed sweets on a large scale and gave Baba excellent fruits and pan (betel-leaves). Mrs. Pitale was a very simple, loving and faithful lady. She used to sit near the post staring at Baba with tears of joy flowing from her eyes. Seeing that she had an amicable and loving nature, Baba was very pleased with her. Like Gods, Saints are always dependent on their devotees who surrender and worship them with their heart and soul. After spending a few happy days in Baba’s company, the Pitale family came to the Masjid to ask for Baba’s leave. Baba gave them Udi and blessings and called Mr. Pitale close and said to him, “Bapu, I had given you two rupees a while back and now I give you three; keep these in your shrine for worship and you will be benefited.” Mr. Pitale accepted these as Prasad, prostrated himself again before Baba and prayed for His blessings. He was puzzled by the fact that this was his first trip to Shirdi and could not understand what Baba meant, when He said that He had given him two rupees previously. He was curious to have this mystery solved, but Baba never explained it. When Mr. Pitale returned to Bombay, he narrated to his old mother all that had happened at Shirdi and the mystery about Baba giving him two rupees previously. The mother too did not understand the mystery initially, but upon thinking about it more seriously, she was reminded of an old incident which solved the mystery. She said to her son, “As you now went to Sai Baba with your son, so had your father; he took you to Akkalkot, for the darshana of the Maharaj, many years ago. That Maharaj was also a Siddha, a perfect Yogi, omniscient and liberal. Your father was pure and devout and his worship was accepted. He then gave your father two rupees to keep in the shrine and worship. Your father worshipped them accordingly till his death, but thereafter the worship was neglected and the rupees were lost. After a few years, the memory of these two rupees also disappeared. And now, as you are very fortunate, the Akkalkotkar Maharaj has appeared to you in the form of Sai Baba, just to remind you of your duties and worship, and to ward off all dangers. Now beware henceforth, leave off all doubts and bad thoughts, follow the path of your ancestors and behave well; go on worshipping the family gods and the rupees and take pride in the blessings of the Saints. Sai Samartha has kindly revived the spirit of Bhakti in you. Cultivate it to your benefit.” Hearing his mother’s remarks, Mr. Pitale was very delighted. He was convinced about Baba’s all-pervasiveness and the significance of His darshan. From that time on, he became very careful about his behavior.

Mr. Ambadekar

Mr. Gopal Narayan Ambadekar of Pune was Baba’s devotee. He worked for ten years in the Abkari department in the Thana District, from where he had to retire. He tried to get another job, but did not succeed. He was overtaken by other calamities and his condition grew from bad to worse. He endured 7 years in this condition, visiting Shirdi every year and placing his grievances before Baba. In 1916, his situation got to its worst point and he decided to commit suicide in Shirdi. So he came there with his wife and had been living there for two months. One night, while sitting in a bullock cart in front of Dixit’s Wada, he decided to end his life by throwing himself into a nearby well. He proposed to do one thing, but Baba had other plans for him. Just a few paces from this place, there was a hotel whose proprietor was a man named Mr. Sagun. Just as Mr. Ambadekar was thinking about ending his life, Sagun approached Ambadekar with a book in hand and said, “Have you ever read about the Akkalkot Maharaj’s life?” Ambadekar took the book from Sagun and began to read it. Casually, or we may say providentially, he came across a story which was to this effect: During the lifetime of Akkalkot Maharaj, a certain devotee suffered very much from an incurable disease. And when he could no longer endure the agony and pain, he became desperate and to end his miseries, threw himself into a well one night. Immediately, the Maharaj appeared and took him out with his own hands and advised him thus, “You must enjoy the fruit, good or bad, of your past actions; if the enjoyment is incomplete, suicide won’t help you. You will have to take another birth and suffer again. So, instead of killing yourself, why not suffer for some time, exhaust the store of fruit of your past deeds and be done with it once and for all?”

Upon reading this appropriate and timely story, Ambadekar was very surprised and moved. Had he not got Baba’s hint through the story, he would have been no more. On seeing Baba’s all-pervasiveness and benevolence, his faith in Baba was confirmed and he became a staunch devotee. His father was a devotee of Akkalkot Maharaj and Sai Baba wanted him to walk in his father’s footsteps and continue his devotion to Him. He then got Sai Baba’s blessings and his prospects began to improve. He studied astrology and gained proficiency in it and thereby improved his lot. He was able to earn sufficient money and passed his later life in ease and comfort.

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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