Sai Satcharitra Chapter 45

Preliminary

In the last three chapters, we described Baba’s passing away. His physical or finite form has undoubtedly disappeared from our view, but the infinite or spiritual form always lives. We have largely spoken about the Leelas which occurred during His lifetime. However, even after He passed away, fresh Leelas have taken place and are even now happening. This clearly shows that Baba is always alive and continues to help His devotees. Those who met Baba when He was alive, were indeed very fortunate. But if any of them did not develop a dispassion for the material objects and enjoyments of this world and did not have their minds turned to the Lord, it was truly unfortunate. What was expected, then and now, is wholehearted devotion to Baba. All our senses, organs and mind should co-operate in worshipping and serving Baba. It is of no use if one engages some organs in worship and deflects the others. If worship or meditation is to be done, it ought to be done with all our mind and soul.

The love that a chaste woman bears for her husband is sometimes compared to that which a Guru has towards his disciples. Yet the former falls far short of the latter, which is incomparable. No one comes to our aid in attaining the goal of life (self-realization). We have to chalk out and traverse the path of self-realization ourselves. We have to discriminate between the Unreal and the Real, renounce the material enjoyments of this world and the next, control our senses and mind and aspire for liberation. Instead of depending upon others, we should have full faith in ourselves. When we begin to practice discrimination, we come to know that the world is transient and unreal, and thus our passion for worldly things decreases. Ultimately we attain complete dispassion or non-attachment for worldly objects. Then we realize that the Brahma, which is our Guru, is the sole reality. And as It transcends and besets the universe, we begin to worship It in all creatures. When we thus worship the Brahma or Guru wholeheartedly, we become one with Him and attain self-realization. In short, always chanting the name of the Guru and meditating on Him, enables us to see Him in all beings and confers eternal bliss on us. The following story will illustrate this.

Kakasaheb’s Doubt and Anandrao’s Vision

Sai Baba had instructed Kakasaheb Dixit to read from two works of Shri Ekanath—The Bhagawat and the Bhawartha Ramayana— every day. Kakasaheb read these daily while Baba was alive and followed the practice even after Baba’s passing away. Once, in Kaka Mahajani’s house in Bombay, Kakasaheb was reading the Ekanathi Bhagawat in the morning. Madhavarao Deshpande, alias Shama, and Kaka Mahajani were also there and listened attentively to the portion being read. In this portion, the nine Nathas or Siddhas of the Rishabha family− Kavi, Hari, Antariksha, Prabuddha, Pippalayan, Avirhotra, Drumil, Chamas and Karabhajan− expounded the principles of Bhagawat Dharma to King Janak. The latter asked all the nine Nathas very important questions and each of them answered these questions very well. The first, Kavi, explained what Bhagawat Dharma is; Hari, the characteristics of a devotee; Antariksha, what Maya is; Prabuddha, how to overcome Maya; Pippalayan, what Para-Brahma is; Avirhotra, what Karma is; Drumil, the incarnations of God and His deeds; Chamas, how a non-devotee fares after death; Karabhajan, the different modes of worship of God in different ages. The substance of all the exposition was that in this Kali age, the only means of liberation was remembering The Lord or the Guru’s feet. After the reading was over, Kakasaheb said in a despondent tone to Shama and the others, “How wonderful is this discourse about devotion by the nine Nathas. But at the same time, it is so difficult to put it into practice! The Nathas were perfect, but is it possible for fools like us to attain the devotion as described by them? We will not get it even after several births; how are we to attain salvation? It seems that there is no hope for us.” Shama did not like Kakasaheb’s pessimistic attitude. He said, “It is a pity that one who, by his good luck, got such a Guru as Baba should cry out so disparagingly; If one has unwavering faith in Baba, why should one feel restless? The devotion of the Nathas may be strong and wonderful, but is not ours’ loving and affectionate? And has not Baba told us authoritatively that remembering and chanting the Lord’s and the Guru’s name confers salvation? Then, what cause is there for fear and anxiety?” Kakasaheb was not satisfied with Madhavarao’s explanation. He continued to be anxious and restless the whole day, thinking and brooding about how to get the powerful devotion of the Nathas. The next morning, the following miracle took place.

A gentleman named Anandrao Pakhade came there in search of Shama. Kakasaheb was reading the Bhagawat. Mr.Pakhade sat near Shama and was whispering something to him. He was describing his dream to Shama. As this whispering interrupted the reading, Kakasaheb stopped reading and asked Shama what the matter was. The latter said, “Yesterday you expressed your doubts and now here is the explanation for it. Hear Mr.Pakhade’s vision, which Baba blessed him with. Baba explained the characteristic of “saving” devotion and showed that devotion in the form of bowing to or worship of the Guru’s feet is sufficient.” Everyone was anxious to hear the vision, especially Kakasaheb. At their suggestion, Mr.Pakhade began to relate the vision as follows.

“I was standing in the deep sea in waist-deep water. There, I saw Sai Baba all of a sudden. He was sitting on a beautiful throne studded with diamonds, with His Feet in the water. I was very pleased and satisfied upon seeing Baba. The vision was so realistic that I never thought that it was a dream. Curiously enough, Shama was also standing there. He said to me with great emotion, ‘Anandrao, fall at Baba’s Feet.’  I replied, ‘I wish to do so, but His Feet are under water; how can I place my head on them? I am helpless.’ Hearing this, he said to Baba, ‘Oh Deva, please take Your Feet out from under the water.’ Then Baba immediately took His feet out. I held them without delay and bowed to them. On seeing this, Baba blessed me saying, ‘Go now. You will attain your welfare; there is no cause for fear and anxiety.’ He also added, ‘Give a silk-bordered dhotar to my Shama, you will profit, thereby.’”

In compliance with Baba’s orders, Mr.Pakhade brought the dhotar and requested Kakasaheb to hand it over to Shama; but the latter refused to accept it, saying that unless Baba gave a hint or suggestion for acceptance, he would not accept it. Then after some discussion, Kakasaheb decided to cast lots. It was Kakasaheb’s invariable practice to cast lots in all dubious matters and to abide by the decision as shown by the piece of paper picked up. In this particular case, two pieces of paper− on one of which was written “To accept” and on another “To reject”− were placed at the feet of Baba’s picture and an infant was asked to pick one of them. The “To accept” piece was picked up and the dhotar was handed over to and accepted by Madhavarao. In this way, both Anandrao and Madhavarao were satisfied and Kakasaheb’s difficulty was solved.

This story exhorts us to respect the words of other saints, but at the same time asks us to have full faith in our Mother, the Guru, and abide by His instructions; For He truly knows our welfare better than any other person. Carve into your heart, Baba’s words, “There are innumerable saints in this world, but Our father (Guru) is the Father (Real Guru). Others might say many good things, but we should never forget our Guru’s words. In short, love your Guru wholeheartedly, surrender to Him completely and prostrate yourselves before Him reverentially and then you will see that there is no sea of mundane existence before you to cross, just as there is no darkness before the sun.”

The Wooden Plank is Baba’s Bed and Not Bhagat’s

When Baba was younger, He slept on a wooden plank, four arms in length and only a span in breadth with small earthen lamps burning at the four corners. Later on, He broke the plank into pieces and threw it away (as mentioned in Chapter 10). Once, Baba was describing the greatness or importance of this plank to Kakasaheb. Hearing this, the latter said to Baba, “If You still love the wooden plank, I will hang another one up in the Masjid for You to sleep on.” Baba replied, “I wouldn’t want to sleep up there, leaving Mhalasapati down on the ground.” Then Kakasaheb said, “I can get a plank for Mhalasapati too.” Baba, “How can he sleep on the plank? It is not easy to sleep up on the plank. Only He who has many good qualities in him can do so; Only he who can sleep ‘with his eyes wide open’ can do that. When I go to sleep, I often ask Mhalasapati to sit by My side, place his hand on My heart and hear the chanting of the Lord’s name there. I also ask him to wake me up if he finds Me falling asleep; He can’t even do this. He himself gets drowsy and begins to nod his head. When I feel his hand, as heavy as a stone, and cry out, ‘Oh Bhagat!’, he moves and opens his eyes. How can he, who can’t sit and sleep well on the ground and whose posture is not steady and who is a slave to sleep, sleep high up on a plank?” On many other occasions, Baba said, out of love for His devotees, “Whatever (whether good or bad) is ours, is with us and what is someone else’s is with 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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