Sai Satcharitra Chapter 49

Preliminary

The Vedas and the Puranas cannot sufficiently praise or describe Brahma or the Sadguru. Then how can we who are ignorant, describe our Sadguru, Shri Sai Baba? Thus, we feel that it is better for us to keep quiet in this matter. In reality however, the observance of the vow of silence is the best way of praising the Sadguru. But the divine qualities of Sai Baba make us forget our vow of silence and inspire us to open our mouths. Good dishes taste dull if our friends and relatives are not there to partake of the dishes with us. But when they join us, the dishes acquire additional flavor. The same is the case with the stories of Baba’s Leelas . We cannot partake of this nectar alone. Friends and brothers have to join us−the more the better.

It is Sai Baba Himself that inspires these stories and gets them written as He desires. Our duty is to surrender completely to Him and meditate on Him. Practicing penance is better than pilgrimage, taking vows, making sacrifices and charity. Worshipping The Lord is better than penance and meditation on the Sadguru is thus the best. Therefore, we should chant Sai’s name, think about His sayings, meditate on His form, feel real love for Him in our hearts and do all our actions for His sake and by His inspiration. There is no better means than this to terminate the bondage of samsar. If we do our duty, as stated above, Sai is bound to help and liberate us. Now we return to the stories of this chapter.

Hari Kanoba

A gentleman from Bombay named Hari Kanoba heard about Baba’s miracles from many of his friends and relatives. He did not believe them, as he was a “doubting Thomas”. He wanted to test Baba himself. So he came to Shirdi with a few friends from Bombay. He was wearing a lace-bordered turban on his head and a new pair of sandals on his feet. Seeing Baba from a distance, he wanted to go up and prostrate himself before Baba. He did not know what to do with his new sandals though. He went to a corner of the open courtyard, placed them there and went into the Masjid and received Baba’s darshan. He made a reverential bow to Baba, received some udi and prasad from Baba and returned. When he came back to the corner, he found that his sandals had disappeared. He searched for them in vain and returned to his lodging very dejected.

He bathed, prayed and offered naivedya and had his meals; but all he could think about was his sandals. After finishing his meals, he came out to wash his hands, when he saw a boy walking towards him. He had a stick in his hand, on top of which was suspended a pair of new sandals. The boy said to the men who had come out to wash their hands that Baba sent him with this stick and asked him to walk the streets shouting out loud, “Hari Ka Beta. Jari Ka Pheta” and told him that “If anybody claims these sandals are his, before you give him the sandals, assure yourself that his name is Hari, that he is the son of Ka( i.e., Kanoba) and that he wears a lace-bordered turban.” Hearing this, Hari Kanoba was astonished. He went to the boy and claimed the sandals. He said to the boy that his name was Hari and that he was the son of Ka (Kanoba) and showed him his lace-bordered turban. The boy was satisfied and returned the sandals to him. Hari Kanoba knew that his lace-bordered turban was visible to everyone and Baba might have seen it; However, how could Baba know his name was Hari and that he was the son of Kanoba, as this was his first trip to Shirdi? He came there with the sole object of testing Baba and with no other motive. He came to know by this incident that Baba was indeed a great soul. He got what he wanted and returned home very pleased.

Somadeva Swami

Now hear the story of another man who came to try Baba. Bhaiji, Kakasaheb Dixit’s brother, lived in Nagpur. When he visited the Himalayas in 1906, he met Somadeva Swami of Haradwar, at Uttarkashi. Both took down each other’s names and addresses in their diaries. Five years later, Somadeva Swami came to Nagpur and was Bhaiji’s guest. There, he was pleased to hear the Leelas of Baba and a strong desire arose in his mind to go to Shirdi and see Him. He got a letter of introduction from Bhaiji and left for Shirdi. When he reached Kopergaon, he took a tanga to Shirdi. As his tanga neared Shirdi, he saw two flags flying over the Masjid in Shirdi. Every saint has a different mode of living and different outward paraphernalia. But these outward signs should never be our standards to judge the worth of a saint. But Somadeva Swami didn’t see it that way. As soon as he saw the flags, he thought, “Why should a saint take a liking for flags? Does this denote sainthood? It implies the saint’s hankering after fame!” Thinking thus, he didn’t want to go any further and said to his fellow travelers that he would go back. They said to him, “Then why did you come so far? If your mind gets restless at the sight of the flags, how much more agitated would you be on seeing in Shirdi the Ratha (car), the palanquin, the horse and all the other paraphernalia?” The Swami got more confounded and said, “Not a few such Sadhus, with horses, palanquins and tom-toms have I seen and it is better for me to return than see such Sadhus.” Saying this, he was about to return. The fellow-travelers pressed him not to do so, but to proceed. They asked him to stop his crooked ways of thinking and told him that Baba did not care a bit for the flags and other paraphernalia, or for fame. It was the people, His devotees, who kept up all this paraphernalia out of love and devotion to Him. Finally, he was persuaded to continue his journey, go to Shirdi and see Baba. When he saw Baba from the courtyard, he was melted inside, his eyes were full of tears, his throat was choked and all his evil and crooked thoughts vanished. He remembered his Guru’s saying that, “Our abode and place of rest is where the mind is most pleased and charmed.” He wished to roll himself in the dust of Baba’s Feet and when he approached Baba, the latter got wild and shouted, “Let all our humbug (paraphernalia) be with us, you go back to your home; beware if you come back to this Masjid. Why receive the darshan of one who flies a flag over his Masjid? Is this a sign of sainthood? Remain here not a moment longer!” The Swami was taken aback; He realized that Baba was truly omniscient. The Swami knew that he was stupid in thinking those thoughts and that Baba was noble and pure. He saw Baba embracing somebody, touching someone with his hands, comforting others, staring kindly at some, laughing at others, giving udi prasad to some and thus pleasing and satisfying everyone. Why should he alone be dealt with so harshly? He came to realize that Baba’s conduct was a result of his inner thoughts and that he should take a lesson from this and improve. He realized that Baba’s wrath was a blessing in disguise. It is needless to say that later on, his faith in Baba was confirmed and he became a staunch devotee of Baba.

Nanasaheb Chandorkar

Hemadpant concludes this chapter with a story about Nanasaheb Chandorkar. When Nanasaheb was once sitting in the Masjid with Mhalasapati and a few others, a Muslim gentleman from Bijapur came with his family to see Baba. Seeing veiled ladies with him, Nanasaheb wanted to leave, but Baba prevented him from doing so. The ladies came forward and received Baba’s darshan. When one of the ladies lifted her veil, when bowing at Baba’s feet, and then resumed it again, Nanasaheb saw her face. He was so smitten with her rare beauty that he wished to see her face again. Knowing Nana’s restlessness, Baba spoke to him after the lady had left. Baba said, “Nana, why are you getting agitated in vain? Let the senses do their allotted work, we should not meddle with their work. God has created this beautiful world and it is our duty to appreciate its beauty. The mind will get steady and calm slowly and gradually. When the front door was open, why go through the back door? When the heart is pure, there is no difficulty whatsoever. Why should one be afraid of anyone, if there is no evil thought in us? The eyes may do their work, why should you feel shy and tottering?”

Shama was there and he could not follow the meaning of what Baba said. So he asked Nana about this, on their way home. Nana told him about his restlessness at the sight of the beautiful lady, how Baba knew it and advised him about it. Nana explained Baba’s meaning as follows, “Our mind is fickle by nature and it should not be allowed to get wild. The senses may get restless, the body however, should be held in check and not allowed to be impatient. Senses run after objects, but we should not follow them and crave for these objects. By slow and gradual practice, restlessness can be conquered. We should not be swayed by the senses, but they cannot be completely controlled. We should curb them properly according to the needs of the occasion. Beauty is the subject of sight; we should fearlessly look at the beauty of objects. There is no room for shyness or fear. We should never entertain evil thoughts; Making the mind desire-less, observe God’s works of beauty. In this way, the senses will be easily and naturally controlled and even when enjoying objects, you will be reminded of God. If the outer senses are not held in check and if the mind is allowed to run after objects and be attached to them, our cycle of births and deaths will not come to an end. Objects of sense are harmful; With Viveka (discrimination) as our charioteer, we will control the mind and will not allow the senses to go astray. With such a charioteer, we reach the Vishnu-pada; the final abode and our real Home, from which there is no return.”

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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