Sai Satcharitra Chapter 31

Preliminary

The last thought that a man has at the moment of death, determines his future course. Shri Krishna has said in the Gita (VIII-5-6), “He who remembers Me in his last moments, comes verily to Me, and he that meditates otherwise at that time goes to what he meditates on.” We cannot be certain that we can entertain a particular good thought at our last moment, for we are most likely to be terrified by many things. Hence, constant practice is necessary to enable us to fix our mind on any desired good thought at the time of our death. Saints therefore recommend that we always remember God and chant His name, so that we are focused when the time for our departure comes. The devotees surrender themselves completely to the Saints, with the firm belief that the omniscient Saints will guide and help them in their last moments. A few such cases will be noted here.

Sannyasi Vijayanand

Sannyasi named Vijayanand started on a pilgrimage to Manasa-Sarovar. On the way there, upon hearing of Baba’s fame, he halted at Shirdi. There he met Somadevaji Swami of Hardwar and asked him about the particulars of the Manasa-Sarovar trip. The Swami told him that the Sarovar was 500 miles from the Gangotri and described to him the difficulties of the journey: plenty of snow, the change of dialect every 150 miles and the suspicious nature of the people of Bhutan, who harassed the pilgrims. Hearing this, the Sannyasi was dejected and cancelled the trip. Then, when he went to meet Baba and prostrated before Him, Baba got enraged and said, “Drive out this useless Sannyasi! His company is of no use!” The Sannyasi did not know Baba’s nature; He was upset by this, but sat there watching things that were happening in the Masjid. It was the morning Darbar and the Masjid was crowded. Baba was being worshipped in various ways. Some were washing His Feet, some were drinking the holy water from washing His feet, others were swabbing their eyes with it, while some were applying scents and sandal paste to His body. Everyone was doing these things with no distinction of caste and creed. Though Baba got enraged with him, he was filled with affection for Baba and he did not want to leave the place.

He had been in Shirdi for two days when he got a letter from Chennai(Madras) stating that his mother was very ill. He was very dejected and wanted to be by his mother’s side, but he could not leave without Baba’s permission. So he saw Baba with the letter in hand and asked for His permission to return home.The omniscient Baba, who knew the future, said to him, “If you loved your mother so much, why did you accept Sannyas? Fondness or attachment is not part of a Sannyasi’s life. Go and sit quietly in your lodging and wait patiently for a few days. There are many robbers in the Wada, bolt your doors and be very vigilant, otherwise the thieves will steal everything. Wealth and prosperity are transient and the body is subject to decay and death. Knowing this, do your duty and forget all attachment to the things of this world and the next. He who does this and surrenders himself to the Feet of Hari (Lord) will be free from all troubles and will attain bliss. The Lord runs to help the devotee who remembers and meditates on Him with love and affection. Your store of past merits is considerable and thus you have come here. Now imbibe what I say and realize the aim of your life. With a desire-less mind, begin from tomorrow the study of the Bhagwat. Do three saptahas (one reading every week) conscientiously. The Lord will be pleased with you and will destroy your sorrows. Your illusions will vanish and you will get peace.” Seeing that his end was approaching, Baba prescribed that remedy and made him read the Ramavijaya, which is believed to please the God of death. The next morning, after bathing and other purifying rites, he started reading the Bhagwat in a secluded part of the Lendi garden. He completed two readings and thereafter felt very exhausted. He returned to the Wada and stayed in his lodging for two days and on the third day he breathed his last on Fakir Bade Baba’s lap. Baba asked people to preserve the body for a day− for a very good reason; The police came later and on making proper inquiries, gave permission for the disposal of the body. It was cremated in a proper place with due rites. In this way, Baba helped the Sannyasi and ensured that he attained salvation.

Balaram Mankar

There was a devotee named Balaram Mankar. When his wife passed away, he was rather dejected. So after entrusting his household to his son, he left his home and came to Shirdi and lived with Baba. Baba was pleased with his devotion and wanted to give a good turn to his life. He gave him 12 Rupees and asked him to go and live in Macchindragad. Mankar was first unwilling to go and stay away from Baba, but Baba convinced him that he was suggesting the best course of action and asked him to practise meditation thrice a day. With full faith in Baba’s words, Mankar came to Macchindragad. He was very pleased with the lovely sights, pure water, healthy air and the surroundings of the place, and began to assiduously meditate as recommended by Baba. After a few days, he had a revelation. Usually devotees get revelations in their trance states, but in Mankar’s case he got it when he came back to his ordinary consciousness. Baba appeared to him in person; Mankar asked Baba why he had been sent there. Baba replied, “In Shirdi, many thoughts and ideas began to arise in your mind and I sent you here to rest your unsteady mind. You thought that I was in Shirdi with a body only composed of the five elements and three and a half cubits in length. Now see and determine for yourself whether the person you see here is the same as the person you saw at Shirdi. It is for this reason that I sent you here.” Then after living there for a while, Mankar left Macchindragad and proceeded to his native place, Bandra. He wanted to travel by rail from Poona to Dadar, but when he went to the booking office to get a ticket, he found it very crowded. He was not able to get a ticket, when suddenly a villager, wearing a piece of cloth around his waist and a thin blanket on his shoulders, turned up and said, “Where are you going?” “To Dadar.” replied Mankar. Then he said, “Please take this ticket of mine, as I have some urgent business here. I have cancelled my Dadar trip.” Mankar was very glad to receive the ticket and was just about to pay the villager, when the rustic suddenly disappeared into the crowd. Mankar tried to look for him in the crowd, but it was in vain. He waited for him till the train left the station, but found no trace of him. This was the second revelation Mankar got in a strange form. Then Mankar, after visiting his home, again returned to Shirdi and remained there at Baba’s feet. He always followed Baba’s instructions and advice. In the end, he was very fortunate to leave this world in the presence, and with the blessings of Baba.

Tatyasaheb Noolkar

Hemadpant gives no particulars regarding Tatyasaheb Noolkar, except mentioning the fact that he gave up his ghost in Shirdi. A brief summary of an account, that appeared in the Sai Leela magazine, is given here:

Tatyasaheb was a Sub-Judge at Pandharpur in 1909, when Nanasaheb Chandorkar was Mamalatdar (district official). The two men met often and talked. Tatyasaheb did not believe in saints, while Nanasaheb loved them. Nanasaheb often told him about the Leelas of Sai Baba and pressed him to go to Shirdi and see Baba. He finally agreed to go to Shirdi on two conditions: That he must get a Brahmin cook and that he must find good Nagpur oranges to give Baba. Both these conditions were providentially fulfilled.

A Brahmin came to Nanasaheb looking for work and he was sent to Tatyasaheb and a fruit parcel containing 100 beautiful oranges was received by Tatyasaheb (the consigner was unknown). As the conditions were fulfilled, Tatyasaheb had to go to Shirdi. At first, Baba was enraged with him; But soon enough, Tatyasaheb got such experiences that he was convinced that Baba was God incarnate. Thus, he was enamored of Baba and stayed there till his death. As his end was approaching, sacred literature was read out to him and during his last few minutes, Baba’s Pada-tirth was brought and given to him to drink. Baba on hearing of his death said, “Tatya went ahead of us, he won’t be reborn.”

Megha

Megha’s story has already been described in Chapter 28. When Megha died, all the villagers followed the funeral procession and Baba also accompanied them and showered flowers on Megha’s body. After the obsequies were performed, tears flowed from Baba’s eyes and like an ordinary mortal, Baba showed Himself overcome with grief and sorrow. Then covering the body with flowers and crying like a close relative, Baba returned to the Masjid.

Many Saints have been helping humans attain salvation, but Baba’s greatness is unique. Even a cruel animal like a tiger came to Baba’s feet to be saved. It is this story which will be narrated now.

The Tiger

Seven days before Baba passed away, a wonderful incident occurred at Shirdi. There came a country-cart that stopped in front of the Masjid. A tiger was on the cart, fastened with iron chains, with its fierce face facing the rear. It was suffering from some pain or agony. Its keepers, three Derveshis, were taking it from place to place and making money by exhibiting it. It was the means of their subsistence. They tried all sorts of remedies to cure it, but everything was in vain.

Then they heard of Baba’s fame and came to Him with the animal. They led it off the cart with the chains in their hands and made it stand at the door. It was naturally fierce, disease ridden and restless. People began to look at it with fear and amazement. The Derveshis went in, told Baba everything about the animal and with His consent, brought it before Him. As it approached the steps, it was taken aback on account of the luster of Baba and bowed its head. Baba looked at the animal and it climbed the steps and looked at Baba with affection. Immediately, it moved the tuft of its tail and dashed it thrice against the ground and then fell down senseless. On seeing it dead, the Derveshis were at first very dejected and full of sorrow, but on contemplating it later, they came to their senses. They reasoned that as the animal was diseased and nearing its end, it was very meritorious on its part that it should meet its end at Baba’s feet. It was their debtor and when the debt was paid off, it was free and met its end at Sai’s Feet. When any creature bows its head at a saint’s feet and meets its death, it is saved; and unless it has a good store of merits in its account, how could it get such a happy end?

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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