Sai Satcharitra Chapter 27

This Chapter describes how Sai Baba blessed His devotees by granting them religious books, after he had consecrated them, and a few other stories.

Preliminary

When a man dives into the sea, he gets the merit of bathing in all the sacred rivers. Similarly, when a man takes refuge at the feet of the Sadguru, he gets the merit of bowing to the Trinity (Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh) and also the Para-Brahma. May victory be unto Shri Sai, the wish-fulfilling tree and the ocean of knowledge who gives us self-realization; Oh Sai, create in us a regard for Your stories and let the readers devour them with the same relish with which the chatak bird drinks water from the clouds and becomes happy. While listening to Your stories, let them and their families get all the sattwik emotions; let their bodies perspire, let their eyes be full of tears, let their prana be steady, let their minds be composed, let their hair stand on end; let them cry, sob and shake and let their hostilities and distinctions vanish. If these things happen, that is a sign of the grace of the Guru dawning upon them. When these emotions develop in you, the Guru is greatly pleased and will certainly lead you on to the goal of self-realization. The best way therefore, to free yourself from the shackles of Maya, is complete and wholehearted surrender to Baba. The Vedas cannot take you across the ocean of Maya; It is only the Sadguru who can do so and make you see the Lord in all creatures.

Granting a Consecrated Book

The variety of the methods by which Baba imparted advice has already been mentioned in the previous Chapters. In this one, we shall deal with one such method. It was the habit of some devotees to bring religious books they wanted to study, to Baba and to have them consecrated by Him. While reading such books every day, they felt that Baba was with them. Kaka Mahajani came to Shirdi with a copy of the Ekanathi Bhagwat. Shama borrowed the book to read it and took it with him when he went to the Masjid. There, Baba took it from him, touched it and after flipping through a few pages, gave it back to Shama and asked him to keep it with him. When Shama said that it belonged to Kaka and that it had to be returned, Baba said, “No, No. I have given it to you and you better keep it with you for safe custody. It will be of use to you.” In this way, many books were entrusted to Shama. Kaka Mahajani, after a few days, brought another copy of the Bhagwat and gave it to Baba. Baba then gave it back as Prasad and asked him to preserve it well, and assured him that it would benefit him greatly. Kaka accepted it with a bow.

Shama and the Vishnu-Sahasra-Nama

Shama was a very close devotee and Baba wanted to bless him by giving him a copy of the Vishnu-Sahasra-Nama as Prasad. This was done in the following way. Once, a Ramadasi (follower of the Saint Ramadas) came to Shirdi and stayed there for some time. Every day, He woke up early in the morning, washed his face, bathed and then after wearing saffron-colored clothes and besmearing himself with sacred ashes, read the Vishnu-Sahasra-Nama (a book that gives a thousand names in praise of the Lord Vishnu−held second in importance to the Bhagwad Geeta) and the Adhyatma-Ramayana (the esoteric version of Rama’s story) with faith. After a few days, Baba thought of favoring and initiating Shama with the Vishnu-Sahasra-Nama. He therefore called the Ramadasi and said to him that He was suffering from intense stomach-pain and that unless He took Senna-pods (a mild purgative drug) the pain would not stop. And thus he requested the Ramadasi to go to the bazaar and bring the drug. The Ramadasi closed his book and went to the bazaar. Then Baba descended from His seat, came to where the Ramadasi had been sitting and took the copy of the Vishnu-Sahasra-Nama. Then he returned to His seat and said to Shama, “Oh Shama, this book is very valuable and efficacious, so I present it to you; you must read it. I once suffered intensely and My heart began to palpitate and My life was in danger. At that critical time, I hugged this book close to My heart and then, Shama, what relief it gave me! I thought that Allah Himself had come down and saved Me. So I give this to you; read it slowly and read one name at least daily and it will do you good.” Shama replied that he did not want it and that its owner, the Ramadasi, who was a mad, obstinate and irritable fellow, would certainly pick a quarrel with him for taking the book. Besides, as he was a rustic, he could not clearly read the Sanskrit letters in the book. Shama thought that Baba wanted to set him up against the Ramadasi by this act of His, but he had no idea of what Baba felt for him. Baba wanted to tie this necklace of the Vishu-Sahasra-Nama around Shama’s neck, as he was an intimate devotee and thereby save him from the miseries of this worldly existence. The efficacy of God’s Name is well-known; It saves us from all sins and bad tendencies and frees us from the cycle of births and deaths. There is no easier sadhana than this; It is the best purifier of our mind. It requires no paraphernalia and no restrictions. It is so easy and so effective. Baba wanted Shama to practice this sadhana. So Baba forced this on him. It is believed, that long ago, Eknath Maharaj similarly forced the Vishnu-Sahasra-Nama on a poor Brahmin neighbor and thus saved him. The reading and study of this Vishnu-Sahasra-Nama is a broad and open way of purifying the mind and hence Baba thrust this on His Shama. The Ramadasi soon returned with the Senna-pods. Anna Chinchanikar, who was then present and who wanted to play the part of Narada (the celestial sage who was notorious for setting up quarrels between Gods and demons), informed the Ramadasi of what had happened. The Ramadasi at once flared up; He came down on Shama with all his fury. He said that it was Shama who had asked Baba to send him away under the pretext of a stomach-ache and thus took the book. He began to scold and abuse Shama and remarked that if the book was not returned, he would dash his head before him. Shama calmly remonstrated with him, but in vain. Then Baba spoke kindly to him as follows, “Oh Ramadasi, what is the matter with you? Why are you so turbulent? Is not Shama our boy? Why do you scold him unnecessarily; How is it that you are so quarrelsome? Can you not speak soft and sweet words? You read these sacred books daily and yet your mind is impure and your passions uncontrolled; What sort of a Ramadasi are you! You ought to be indifferent to all things. Is it not strange that you should covet this book so strongly? A true Ramadasi should have no mamata (attachment) but should have samata (equality) towards everything. You are now quarreling with Shama for a mere book. Go and take your seat; books can be had in plenty, but not men. Think carefully and be considerate. What is your book worth? Shama had no concern with it; I took it Myself and gave it to him. You know it in your heart. I thought Shama might read it and profit thereby and so I gave it to him.” How sweet were Baba’s words; soft, tender and nectar-like! Their effect was wonderful. The Ramadasi calmed down and said to Shama that he would take the Panch-ratni Geeta in return. Shama was very pleased and said, “Why one, I shall give ten copies in return”. So the matter was ultimately settled. The question for consideration is: Why should the Ramadasi press for the Pancha-ratni Geeta, the God in which he never cared to know. And why should he, who read religious books in the Masjid every day in front of Baba, quarrel with Shama? We do not know how to apportion the blame and whom to blame. We can only say that had this not happened, the importance of the subject, the efficacy of God’s name and the study of the Vishnu-Sahasra-Nama, would not have been brought home to Shama. So we see that Baba’s method of teaching and initiating was unique. In this case, Shama gradually studied the book and mastered its contents to such an extent that he was able to explain it to Professor G.G. Narke, the son-in-law of Shriman Booty and a devotee of Baba.

Dixit’s Vitthal-Vision

One day, while Kakasaheb Dixit was meditating, after a morning bath in his Wada at Shirdi, he saw a vision of Vitthal. When he went to see Baba afterwards, Baba asked him, “Did Vitthal Patil come? Did you not see Him? He is very elusive; hold Him fast, otherwise He will give you the slip and run away”. Then at noon, a hawker came there to sell pictures of Vitthal. Mr. Dixit was surprised to see that the form of Vitthal he saw in his vision exactly matched that in the picture, and he was also reminded of Baba’s words. He therefore bought a picture willingly and kept it in his shrine for worship.

Geeta-Rahasya

Baba always loved and encouraged those who studied Brahma-vidya (metaphysics). Bapusaheb Jog once received a parcel via post; It contained a copy of the Geeta-Rahasya by Lokamanya Tilak. Carrying it under his armpit, he came to the Masjid and prostrated himself before Baba. The parcel accidentally fell at Baba’s Feet. Baba asked him what it was. It was opened and the book was placed in Baba’s hands. He paged through the book casually for a few minutes and took a rupee from His pocket, placed it on the book and handed both to Jog and said to him, “Read this in its entirety and you will benefit greatly”.

Mr. and Mrs. Khaparde

Let us close this Chapter with a description of the Khapardes. Dadasaheb Khaparde once came with his family and lived in Shirdi for a few months (The diary of his stay has been published in English in the Shri Sai Leela Magazine Volume 1). Dadasaheb was not an ordinary man; He was the richest and most famous advocate in Amraoti and was a member of the Council of State, Delhi. He was very intelligent and a very good speaker. Yet he dared not open his mouth before Baba. Most devotees spoke and argued with Baba, but only three of them −Khaparde, Noolkar and Booty− always kept quiet. They were meek, modest, humble and good-natured. Dadasaheb, who could expound the Panchadashi (A well-known Sanskrit treatise on the Adwaita Philosophy, by the famous Vidyaranya) to others, said nothing when he came to the Masjid and was before Baba. In reality, a man, however learned he may be, fades away before one who has realized the Brahman and become one with it. Learning cannot shine before Self-realization. Dadasaheb stayed for four months, but Mrs. Khaparde stayed for seven. Both were highly pleased with their Shirdi stay. Mrs. Khaparde was faithful and devout, and loved Baba deeply. Every noon, she brought naivedya to the Masjid and after it was accepted by Baba, she used to return and have her meals. Seeing her steady and firm devotion, Baba wanted to acknowledge it in front of everyone. One day, she brought a dish containing Sanza (wheat-pudding), pooris, rice, soup, kheer (rice pudding) and a few other items to the Masjid. Baba, who usually waited for hours before eating anything, immediately got up, went up to His dining seat and removing the outer cover from the dish, began to partake of the food zealously. Shama then asked Him, “Why this partiality? You throw away the dishes others bring and do not care to look at them, but this You draw to You earnestly and do justice to it. Why is the dish of this woman so sweet? This is a problem for us.” Baba then explained, “This food is really extraordinary; In a former birth, this lady was a merchant’s fat cow that yielded a lot of milk. Then she passed on and took birth in a gardener’s family, then in a Kshatriya family and then married a merchant. Later she was re-born in a Brahmin family. I am meeting her after a very long time, so let Me take some sweet morsels of love from her dish.” Saying this, Baba did full justice to her dish, washed his mouth and hands, belched as a mark of satisfaction and resumed His seat. Then she bowed before Baba and began to shampoo Baba’s legs and Baba began to talk to her and knead her arms which were shampooing His Legs. On seeing this reciprocal service, Shama began to joke and said, “It is going on well; it is a wonderful sight to see the God and His devotee serving each other.” Pleased with her sincere service, Baba asked her in a low and fascinating tone to constantly chant the words, “Rajarama, Rajarama”. And then Baba said, “If you do this, your life’s object will be gained, your mind will attain peace and you will benefit immensely.” To persons unfamiliar with spiritual matters, this might appear to be an affair. But this was not so. It was a case of what is technically called, “Shakti-pat”− the transference of power from the Guru to the disciple. How forcible and effective were Baba’s words! In an instant, they pierced her heart and found a place there. This case illustrates the nature of the relations that should exist between the Guru and the disciple. Both should love and serve each other as One. There is no distinction or difference between them. Both are one and the same and one cannot live without the other. The disciple placing his head on the Guru’s feet is an outward vision; in reality they are both one and the same. Those who see any difference between them are yet unripe and not perfect.

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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