SAI LOVE HAS NO LIMIT…..
SAI GRACE HAS NO MEASURE….
SAI POWER HAS NO BOUNDRIES…
MAY U HAVE SAI’S ENDLESS BLESSINGS FOR EVER…….
THANK YOU SAI FOR YOUR GRACE ON ME। I LOVE YOU MY BABAJI FROM CORE OF MY HEART….
बुधवार, 7 जुलाई 2010
SAI LOVE HAS NO LIMIT…..
शुक्रवार, 2 जुलाई 2010
Stories of (1) Kakasaheb Dixit (2) Shri Tembye Swami (3)Balaram Dhurandhar.
Chapter 50 of the original Satcharita has been incorporated in Chapter 39, as it dealt with the same subject matter. Now, Chapter 51 of the Satcharita has been treated here as Chapter 50. This Chapter gives the stories of (1) Kakasaheb Dixit (2) Shri Tembye Swami (3) Balaram Dhurandhar.
Victory be unto Sai Who is the main-stay of the Bhaktas, Who is our Sadguru, Who expounds the meaning of the Gita and Who gives us all powers. Oh Sai, look favourably on us and bless us all.
The sandal-wood trees, grow on the Malaya mountains and ward off heat. The clouds, pour their rain-water and thereby, cool and refresh all the people. The flowers, blossom in the spring and, enable us to worship God, therewith. So the stories of Sai Baba come forth, in order to give solace and comfort to the readers. Both, those, who tell; and those who hear the stories of Baba, are blessed and holy, as also the mouths of the former and the ears of the latter.
It is well-established fact, that though we try hundreds of means or sadhanas, we do not attain the spiritual goal of life, unless a Sadguru blesses us with his grace. Hear the following story in illustration of this statement
Kakasaheb Dixit (1864-1926)
Mr. Hari Sitaram alias Kakasaheb Dixit was born in 1864 A.D., in a Vadnagara Nagar - Brahmin-family, at Khandwa(C.P). His primary education was done at Khandwa, Hinganghat, and secondary education at Nagpur. He came to Bombay for higher eduaction and studied first in the Wilson College and then in the Elphinstone College. After graduation in 1883 A.D., he passed his LL.B. and solicitor's examination; and then served in the firm of the Govt. Solicitors, Messrs Little and Co., and then, after sometime started a solicitors' firm of his own.
Before 1909 A.D., Sai Baba's name was not familiar to Kakasaheb, but after that he soon becomes His great devotees. While he was staying at Lonavla, he happened to see his old friend. Mr. Nanasaheb Chandorkar. Both spent some time, in talking about many things. Kakasaheb described to him, how when he was boarding a train in London, he met with an accident, in which his foot slipped and was injured. Hundreds of remedies gave him no relief. Nanasaheb then told him that if he wished to get rid of the pain and lameness of his leg, he should go to his Sadguru-Sai Baba. He also gave him all the particulars of Sai Baba and mentioned to him Sai Baba's dictum "I draw to Me My man fram far off, or even across the seven seas, like a sparrow with a string fastened to its feet." He also made it clear to him that if he be not Baba's man, he would not be attracted to Him and given a darshan. Kakasaheb was pleased to hear all this, and said to Nanasaheb that he would go to Baba, see Him and pray to Him to cure not so much his lame leg, but bring round his lame, fickle mind and give him eternal Bliss.
Some time after, Kakasaheb went to Ahmednagar; and stayed with sirdar Kakasaheb Mirikar in connection with securing votes for a seat, in the Bombay Legislative Council. Mr. Balasaheb Mirikar, son of Kakasaheb Mirikar, who was a Mamalatdar of Kopergaon, also came at that time to Ahmendnagar in connection with a Horse-Exhibition there. After the election business was over, Kakasaheb Dixit wanted to go to Shirdi and both the Mirikars, father and son were also thinking in their house about a fit and proper person, as a guide, with whom he should be sent there. There Sai Baba was arranging things for his reception. Shama got a telegram from his father-in-law at Ahemdnagar, stating that his wife was seriously ill, and that he should come to see her with his wife. Shama with Baba's permission went there, and saw his mother-in-law and found her improving and better. Nanasaheb Panshe and Appasaheb Gadre happened to see Shama, on their way to the Exhibition Dixit there and take him to Shirdi along with him. Kakasaheb Dixit and the Mirikars were also informed of Shama's arrival. In the evening Shama came to Mirikars, who introduced him to Kakasaheb. They arranged that Shama should leave for Kopergaon with Kakasaheb by the 10 O'Clock night train. After this was settled, a curious thing happened. Balasaheb Mirikar threw aside the veil or covering on Baba's big portrait and showed the same to Kakasaheb. He was surprised to see that He, Whom he was going to meet at Shirdi, was already there in the form of His portrait to greet him, at this juncture. He was much moved and made his prostration before the portarit. This portrait belonged to Megha. The glass over it was broken and it was sent to Mirikars for repairs. The necessary repairs had been already made; and it was decided to return the portarit with Kakasaheb and Shama.
Before ten O'Clock, they went to the station and booked their passage; but when the train arrived, they found that the second class was overcrowded; and then there was no room for them. Fortunately, the guard of the train turned out to be an acquaintance of Kakasaheb; and he put them up in the first class. Thus they travelled comfortably and alighted at Kopergaon. Their joy knew no bounds when they saw there Nanasaheb Chandorkar, who was also bound for Shirdi. Kakasaheb and Nanasaheb embraced each other, and then after bathing in the sacred Godavari river they started for Shirdi. After coming there and getting Baba's darshan, Kakasaheb's mind was melted, his eyes were full of tears and he was overflowing with joy. Baba said to him, that he also was waiting for him; and had sent Shama ahead to receive him.
Kakasaheb then passed many happy years in Baba's company. He buit a Wada in Shirdi which he made as his, more or less, permanent home. The experiences he got from Baba are so manifold, that it is not possible to relate them all here. The readers are advised to read a special (Kakasaheb Dixit) No. of 'Shri Sai Leela' magazine, Vol 12, No. 6-9. we close this account with the mention of one fact only. Baba had comforted hi by saying that in the end "He will take him in air coach (Viman)", (i.e., secure him a happy death). This came out true. On the 5th of July 1926 A.D., he was travelling in the train with Hemadpant and talking about Sai Baba. He seemed deeply engrossed in Sai Baba. All of a sudden he threw his neck on Hemadpant's shoulder, and breathed his last with no trace of pain and uneasiness.
Shri Tembye Swami
We come to the next story, which shows how Saints love aech other with fraternal affection. Once Shri Vasudevanand Saraswati, known as Shri Tembye Swami encamped, at Rajamahendri (Andhra Country), on the banks of Godavari. He was a devout, orthodox, Jnani and Yogi Bhakta of the God Dattatreya. One, Mr. Pundalikrao, pleader of Nanded (Nizam State) went to see him, with some friends. While they were talking with him, the names of Shirdi and Sai Baba were casually mentioned. Hearing Baba's name, the Swami bowed with his hands; and taking a coconut gave it to Pundalikrao, and said to him, "Offer this to my brother Sai, with my pranam and request Him not to forget me, but ever love me." He also added that the Swamis do not generally bow to others, but in this case an exception had to be made. Mr. Pundalikrao consented to take the fruit and his message to Baba. The Swami was right in calling Baba a brother, for as he maintained an Agnihotra (Sacred fire) day and night, in his orthodox fashion; Baba too kept His Agnihotra, i.e., Dhuni ever burning in the Masjid.
After one month Pundalikrao and others left for Shirdi with the coconut, and reached Manmad, and as they felt thirsty they went to a rivulet for drinking water. As water should not be drunk on an empty stomach, they took out some refreshments, i.e., Chivda (flattened rice mixed with spice). The Chivda tasted pungent and in order to soften it, some one suggested and broke the coconut and mixed its scrapings with it. Thusthey made the Chivda mare tasty and palatable. Unfortunately the fruit broken, turned out to be the same, that was entrusted to Pundalikrao. As they neared Shirdi, Pundalikrao remembered the trust, i.e., the coconut and was very sorry to learn that it was broken and utilized. Fearing and trembling, he came to Shirdi and saw Baba. Baba had already received a wireless message, regarding the coconut, from the Tembye Swami, ad Himself asked Pundalikrao first to give the things sent by His brother. He held fast Baba's Feet, confessed his guilt and negligence, repented and asked for Baba's pardon. He offered to give another fruit as a substitute, but Baba refused to accept it saying that the worth of that coconut was by far, many times more, than an ordinary one and that it could not be replaced by another one. Baba also added- "Now you need not worry yourself any more about the matter. It was on account of my wish that the coconut was entrusted to you, and ultimately broken on the way; why should you take the responsibility of the actions on you? Do not entertain the sense of doership in doing good, as well as for bad deeds; be entirely prideless and egoless in all things and thus your spiritual progress will be rapid." What a beautiful spiritual instruction Baba gave!
Balaram Dhurandhar (1878-1925)
Mr. Balaram Dhurandhar belonged to the Pathare Prabhu community, of Santacruz, Bombay. He was an advocate of the Bombay High Court and sometime Principal of the Governament Law School, Bombay. The whole Dhurandhar family was pious and religious. Mr. Balaram served his community, and wrote and published an account of it. He then turned his attention to spiritual and religious matters. He studied carefully Gita, and its commentary Jnaneshwari; and other philosiphical and other metaphysical works. He was a devotee of Vithoba of Pandharpur. he came in contact with Sai Baba in 1912 A.D.. Six months previous, his brothers Babulji and Vamanrao came to Shirdi and took Baba's darshan. They returned home, and mentioned their sweet experiences to Balaram and other members. Then they all decided to see Sai Baba. Before they came to Shirdi, Baba declared openly that - "To-day many of my Darbar people are coming." The Dhurandhar brothers were astonished to hear this remark of Baba, from others; as they had not given any previous intimation of their trip. All the other people prostrated themselves before Baba, and sat talking to Him. Baba said to them- "These are my Darbar people to whom I referred before" and said to the Dhurandhar brothers- "We are acquainted with each other for the last sixty generations." All the brothers were meek and modest, they stood with joined hands, staring at Baba's Feet. All the Sattwic emotions such as tears, horripilation, choking, etc., moved them and they were all happy. Then they went to their lodging, took their meals and after taking a little rest again came to the Masjid. Balaram sat near Baba, messaging His Legs. Baba Who was smoking a chillam advanced it towards him and beckoned him to smoke it. Balaram was not accustomed to smoking, still he accepted the pipe, smoked it with great difficulty; and returned it reverentially with a bow. This was the most auspicious moment for Balaram. He was suffering from Asthma for six years. This smoke completely cured him of the disease, which never troubled him again. Some six years later, on a particular day, he again got an attack of Asthma. This was precisely the time when Baba took his Mahasamadhi.
The day of this visit was a Thursday; and the Dhurandhar brothers had the good fortune of witnessing the Chavadi, Balaram saw the lusture of pandurang on Baba's face and next morning at the Kakad-Arti time, the same phenomenon - the same lusture of his Beloved Deity- Pandurang was visible again on Baba's face.
Mr. Balaram Dhurandhar wrote, in Marathi, the life of the Maharashtra Saint Tukaram, but did not survive to see its publication. It was published, later on, by his brothers in 1928. In a short note on Balaram's life given in the beginning of the book, the above account of Balaram's visit has been fully corroborated therein (Vide page 6 of the book).
Bow to Shri Sai - Peace be to all
Stories of (1) Hari Kanoba - (2) Somadeva Swami - (3) Nanasaheb Chandorkar.
The Vedas and the Puranas cannot sufficiently praise (describe) Brahma or Sad-guru; then how can we, who are ignorant, describe our Sad-guru Shri Sai Baba? We think that it is better for us to keep quiet in this matter. In reality the observance of the vow of silence is the best way of praising the Sad-guru; but the good qualities of Sai Baba make us forget our vow of silence and inspire us to open our mouth. Good dishes taste flat if there be no company of friends and relations to partake of the dishes with us, but when they join us, the dishes acquire additional flavour. The same is the case with the Sai Leelamrit - the nectar in the form of Sai's leelas. This nectar we cannot partake 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. Practising penance is better than pilgrimage, vow, sacrifice, and charity. Worshipping Hari (Lord) is better than penance, and meditation on the Sad-guru is the best of all. We have, therefore, to chant Sai's name by mouth, think over His sayings in our mind, meditate on His form, feel real love for Him in our heart and do all our actions for His sake. There is no better means than this for snapping the bondage of samsar. If we can do our duty on our part as stated above, Sai is bound to help and liberate us. Now we revert to the stories of this chapter.
A gentleman of Bombay named Hari Kanoba heard from his friends and relations many Leelas of Baba. He did not believe in them as he was a doutbing Thomas. He wanted to test Baba himself. So he came to Shirdi with some Bombay friends. He wore a lace-bordered turban on his head and a new pair of sandals on his feet. Seeing Baba from a distance he thought of going to Him and prostrating himself before Him. He did not know what to do with his new sandals. Still going to some corner outside in the open courtyard, he placed them there and went in the Masjid and took Baba's darshan. He made a reverential bow to Baba, took udi and prasad from Baba and returned. When he reached the corner he found that his sandals had disappeared. He searched for them in vain and returned to his lodging very much dejected.
He bathed, offered worship and naivedya and sat for meals, but all the while he was thinking about nothing but his sandals. After finishing his meals, he came out to wash his hands when he saw a Maratha boy coming towards him. He had in his hand a stick, on the top of which was suspended a pair of new sandals. He said to the men who had come out to wash their hands that Baba sent him with this stick in hand and asked him to go on the streets crying - "Hari Ka Beta. Jari Ka Pheta" and told him that "If anybody claims these sandals, first assure yourself that his name is Hari and that he is the son of Ka, i.e., Kanoba, and that he wears a lace-bordered turban and then give them to him." Hearing this, Hari Kanoba was pleasantly surprised. He went ahead to the boy and claimed the sandals as his own. 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 wondered in his mind saying that his lace-bordered turban was visible to all and Baba might have seen it, but how could he know his name 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 a great Satpurush. He got what he wanted and returned home well-pleased.
Now hear the story of another man who came to try Baba. Bhaiji, brother of Kakasaheb Dixit was staying at Nagpur. When he had gone to the Himalayas in 1906 A.D., he made an acquaintance with one Somadeva Swami of Haradwar at Uttarkashi down the Gangotri valley. Both took down each other's names in their diaries. Five years afterwards 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. After passing Manmad and Kopergaon, he took a tanga and drove to Shirdi. As he came near Shirdi he saw two high flags floating over the Masjid in Shirdi. Generally we find different ways of behaviour, different modes of living and different outward paraphernalia with different saints. But these outward signs should never be our standards to judge the worth of the saints. But with Somadeva Swami it was different. As soon as he saw the flags flying, he thought - "Why should a saint take a liking for the flags, does this denote sainthood? It implies the saint's hankering after fame." Thinking thus he wished to cancel his Shirdi trip and said to his fellow travellers that he would go back. They said to him - "Then why did you come so long? If your mind gets restless by 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 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 started to return. The fellow-travellers pressed him not to do so, but to proceed. They asked him to stop his crooked way of thinking and told him that the Sadhu, i.e., Baba did not care a bit for the flags and other paraphernalia, nor for fame. It was the people, His devotees that 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 went and 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 - 'that is our abode and place of rest 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 cried aloud - "Let all our humbug (paraphernalia) be with us, you go back to your home, beware if you come back to this Masjid. Why take the darshan of one who flies a flag over his Masjid? Is this a sign of sainthood? Remain here not a moment." The Swami was taken aback by surprise. He realized that Baba read his heart and spoke it out. How omniscient He was! He knew that he was least intelligent and that Baba was noble and pure. He saw Baba embracing somebody, touching someone with his hand, comforting others, staring kindly at some, laughing at others, giving udi prasad to some and thus pleasing and satisfying all. Why should he alone be dealt with so harshly? Thinking seriously he came to realize that Baba's conduct responded exactly to his inner thought and that he should take a lesson from this and improve; and 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.
Hemadpant concludes this chapter with a story of Nanasaheb Chandorkar. When Nanasaheb was once sitting in the Masjid with Mhalasapati and others, a Mahomedan gentlemen from Bijapur came with his family to see Baba. Seeing gosha (veiled) ladies with him, Nanasaheb wanted to go away, but Baba prevented him from doing so. The ladies came and took the darshan of Baba. When one of the ladies removed her veil in saluting Baba's feet and then resumed it again, Nanasaheb, who saw her face, was so much smitten with her rare beauty that he wished to see her face again. Knowing Nana's restlessness of mind, Baba spoke to him after the lady had left the place as follows - "Nana, why are you getting agitated in vain? Let the senses do their allotted work, or duty, 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 by the back one? When the heart is pure, there is no difficulty, whatsoever. Why should one be afraid of any one if there be 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 - "That our mind is fickle by nature, 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 their objects. By slow and gradual practice retlessness can be conquered. We should not be swayed by the senses, but they cannot be completely controlled. We should curb them rightly and properly according to the need 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. Only we should never entertain evil thoughts. Making the mind desireless, observe God's works of beauty. In this way the senses will be easily and naturally controlled and even in enjoying objects you will be reminded of God. If the outer senses are not held in check and if the mind be 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 things 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, our real Home from which there is no return."
Bow to Shri Sai - Peace be to all
Warding off Devotee's Calamities
Stories of (1) Shevade and (2) Sapatneker
At the commencement of this chapter, some one asked Hemadpant whether Sai Baba was a Guru or Sad-guru. In order to answer the question Hemadpant describes the signs or marks of a Sad-guru as follows:-
Signs of Sad-guru
He who teaches us Veda and Vedanta or the six Shastras (systems), he who controls the breath, or brands his body with Mudras (metallic marks of Vishnu's weapons) or gives pleasing discourses regarding Brahma, he who gives mantras (sacred syllables) to the disciples and orders them to chant the same a certain number of times, but does not assure them any result in a definite time, he who by his spacious wordy knowledge explains beautifully the Ultimate Principle, but has himself got no experience or self-realization is not a Sad-guru. But he, who by his discourse creates in us, a distaste for the enjoyments of this world and the next, and gives us a taste of self-realization, who is well-versed in both the theoretical and practical knowledge (self-realization) deserves to be called a Sad-guru. How can he, who is himself devoid of self-realization, give it to the disciples? A Sad-guru does not, even in his dream, expect any service or profit from his disciples. On the contrary he wishes to serve them. He does not think that he is great and the disciple small. Not only he loves him as his son but regards him as equal to himself or as Brahma. The main characteristic of a Sad-guru is that he is the abode of peace. He is never restless nor ruffled. He has no pride of his learning. The poor and the rich, the small and the great, are the same to him.
Hemadpant thinks that on account of the store or accumulation of merits in his past births, he had the good fortune of meeting and being blessed by such a Sad-guru as Sai Baba. Even in full youth He hoarded nothing (expect perhaps chillim). He had no family, no friend, no home, nor any support. Since He was eighteen, His control of mind was perfect and extra-ordinary. He lived then fearless in a secluded place and always abided in His Self. Seeing the pure attachment of His devotees He always acted in their interests and hence He was in a way dependent on them. What experiences He gave to His devotees while he was living in flesh, are even to-day, after His Mahasamadhi, obtained now by those who attach themselves to Him. What the devotees have to do is this - They have to trim their heart-lamp of faith and devotion, and burn in it wicks of love, and when this is done, the flame of knowledge (self-realization) will be lit up and shine brighter. Mere knowledge without love is dry; nobody wants such knowledge. Without love there is no contentment; so we should have unbroken and unbounded love. How can we praise love? Everything is insignificant before it. Without love our reading, hearing and the study are of no avail. In the wake of love follow devotion, dispassion, peace and liberation with all their treasures. We do not get love for anything unless we feel earnestly about it. So where there is real yearning and feeling, God manifests Himself. It includes love and is the means of liberation.
Now let us revert to the main story of this chapter. Let a man go to a true saint with a pure mind, otherwise (fraudulently) and hold his feet; ultimately he is sure to be saved. This is illustrated by the following stories.
Mr. Sapatneker of Akkalkot (Sholapur District) was studying for law. A co-student Mr.Shevade met him. Other fellow students also gathered together and compared notes of their study. It was found by the questions and answers amongst themselves, that Mr.Shevade was the least prepared of all for the examination, and therefore all the students derided him. But he said that though he was not prepared, he was sure to pass the examination, as his Sai Baba was there to get him through it successfully. Mr.Sapatnekar was surprised at this remark. He took Mr.Shevade aside and asked him who this Sai Baba was whom he extolled so high. He replied - "There lives in a Masjid in Shirdi (Ahmednagar District) a fakir. He is a great Sat-purusha. There may be other saints, but this is unique. Unless there is a great store of merits on one's account, one can't see Him. I fully believe in Him, and what He says will be never untrue. He has assured me that I will pass definitely next year and I am confident that I will get through the final examination also with His grace." Mr.Sapatneker laughed at his friend's confidence and jeered at him and Baba.
Mr.Sapatnekar passed his examination, settled at Akkalkot and practised as a pleader there. Ten years after this, i.e., in 1913 he lost his only son on account of a throat disease. This broke his heart. He sought relief by making a pilgrimage to Pandharpur, Ganagapur and other holy places. He got no peace of mind. Then he read Vedanta, which also did not help him. In the meanwhile he remembered Mr.Shevade's remarks and his faith in Baba, and he thought that he too should go to Shirdi and see Baba. He went to Shirdi with his younger brother Panditrao and was much pleased to see Baba from a distance. When he went near and prostrated himself and placed a coconut before Baba with pure feeling (devotion), the latter at once cried out "Get away." Saptnekar hung down his head, moved back and sat aside. He wanted to consult somebody who would advise him how to proceed. Somebody mentioned Bala Shimpi's name. Sapatnekar saw him and sought his help. They bought Baba's photos and came with them to the Masjid. Baba Shimpi took a photo in his hand, gave it to Baba and asked him whose photo it was. Baba said that this photo was the 'Yara' (Lover) of him, pointing to Sapatnekar. Saying this Baba laughed and all others joined. Bala asked Baba the significance of the laugh and beckoned Sapatnekar to come forward and take darshan. When Saptnakar began to prostrate himself, Baba again cried "Get out." Sapatnekar did not know what to do. Then they both joined their hands and sat before Baba, praying. Baba finally ordered sapatnekar to clear out immediately. Both were sad and dejected. As Baba's order had to be obeyed, Sapatnekar left Shirdi with a heavy heart praying that he should be allowed to take darshan next time.
One year elapsed. Still his mind was not at peace. He went to Gangapur, where he felt more restless. Then he went to Madhegaon for rest and finally decided to go to Kashi. Two days before starting, his wife got a vision. In her dream she was going with a pitcher to Lakadsha's well. There a fakir with a piece of cloth round his head, who was sitting at the foot of the Neem tree, came close to her and said - "My dear lassie, why get exhausted for nothing? I get your pitcher filled with pure water." She was afraid of the fakir and hastened back with the empty pitcher. The fakir followed her. At this she was awakened and opened her eyes. She told this vision to her husband. They thought that this was an auspicious sign and they both left for Shirdi. When they reached the Masjid, Baba was absent. He had gone to Lendi. They waited till His return. When He returned, she was surprised to see that the fakir she saw in her vision, resembled exactly Baba. She reverentially prostrated herself before Baba and sat looking at him. Seeing her humility Baba was much pleased and began to tell a story in his peculiar characteristic fashion to a third party. He said - "My arms, abdomen and waist are paining for a long time. I took many medicines, the pains did not abate. I got sick of the medicines as they gave me no relief, but I am surprised to see now that all the pains have disappeared at once." Though no name was mentioned it was the story of Mrs.Sapatnekar herself. Her pains, as described by Baba, left her soon and she was happy.
Then Mr.Sapatnekar went ahead to take darshan. He was again welcomed with the former "Get out." This time he was more penitent and persevering. He said that Baba's displeasure was due to his past deeds and resolved to make amends for the same. He determined to see Baba alone and ask his pardon for his past actions. This he did. He placed his head on Baba's feet and Baba placed His hand on it and Sapatnekar sat stroking Baba's leg. Then a shepherdess came and sat massaging Baba's waist. Baba in his characteristic way began to tell the story of a bania. He related the various vicissitudes of all his life, including the death of his only son. Sapatnekar was surprised to see that the story which Baba related was his own, and he wondered how Baba knew every detail of it. He came to know that He was omniscient and knew the hearts of all. When this thought crossed his mind, Baba still addressing the shepherdess and pointing to Sapatnekar said - "This fellow blames Me and charges Me with killing his son. Do I kill people's children? Why does this fellow come to the Masjid and cry? Now I will do this I will again bring that very child back in his wife's womb." WIth these words He placed His blessing and on his head and comforted him saying - "These feet are old and holy, you are care-free now; place entire faith in Me and you will soon get your object." Sapatnekar was much moved with emotion, he bathed Baba's feet with his tears and then returned to his residence.
Then he made preparations of worship and naivedya and came with his wife to the Masjid. He offered all this to Baba daily and accepted prasad from Him. There was a crowd in the Masjid and Sapatnekar went there and saluted Baba again and again. Seeing heads clashing against heads Baba said to Sapatnekar - "Oh, why do you prostrate yourself now and then? The one Namaskar offered with love and humility is enough." Then Sapatnekar witnessed that night the chavadi procession described before. In that procession Baba looked like a veritable Pandurang (Vithal).
At parting next day, Sapatnekar thought that he should first pay one rupee as dakshina and if Baba asked again, instead of saying no, he should pay one more, reserving with him sufficient amount as expenses for the journey. When he went to the Masjid and offered one rupee, Baba asked for another as per his intention and when it was paid, Baba blessed him him saying - "Take the coconut, put it in your wife's oti (upper fold of her sari), and go away at ease without the least anxiety." He did so, and within a year a son was born to him and with an infant of 8 months the pair came to Shirdi, placed it at Baba's feet and prayed thus - "Oh, Sainath, we do not know how to redeem Your obligations, therefore we prostrate ourselves before You, bless us poor helpless fellows, henceforth let Your holy feet be our sole refuge. Many thoughts and ideas trouble us in waking and dream states, so turn away our minds from them to Your bhajan and bless us."
The son was named Murlidhar. Two others (Bhaskar and Dinkar) were born afterwards. The Sapatnekar pair thus realized that Baba's words were never untrue and unfulfilled, but turned out literally true.
Bow to Shri sai - Peace be to all
Story of Veerbhadrappa and Chenbassappa (Snake and frog)
The last chapter described Baba's reminiscences about two goats. This describes more such reminiscences and relates the story of Veerbhadrappa and Chenbassappa.
Blessed is the face of Sai. If we cast a glance at Him for a moment, He destroys the sorrow of many past births and confers great bliss on us; and if He looks at us with grace, our bondage of Karma is immediately snapped away and we are led to happiness. The river Ganges washes away the dirt and sins of all people who go to her for a bath; but she intently longs for the saints to come to her and bless her with their feet and remove all the dirt (sins) accumulated in her. She knows for certain that this accumulation can only be removed by the holy feet of the saints. Sai is the crest-jewel of the saints, and now hear from Him the following purifying story.
The Snake and the Frog
Sai Baba said - "One morning after taking My breakfast I strolled along till I came to a small river bank. As I was tired, I rested there, washed My hands and feet and had a bath and felt refreshed. There was a foot-path and a cart-track sheltered by shady trees. The breeze was also blowing gently. As I was preparing to smoke chillim (pipe), I heard the croaking of a frog. I was striking the flint and lighting the fire, when a traveller turned up, sat by My side, bowed to Me and politely invited Me to his house for meals and rest. He lit up the pipe and handed it over to Me. The croaking was heard again and he wanted to know what it was. I told him that a frog was in trouble and was tasting the bitter fruit of its own karma. We have to reap now the fruit of what we sow (do) in our past life, and there is no use in crying about it. Then he smoked and handed over the pipe to Me and said that he would go there in person and see for himself. I told him that a frog was caught by a big snake and was crying. Both were very wicked in their past life and were now reaping the fruit of their actions in these bodies. He went out and found that a huge black serpent was holding a big frog in its mouth.
He turned to Me and said that in about 10 or 12 minutes the frog would be eaten up by the snake. I said, "No, this can't be. I am its father (protector) and I am here now. How shall I allow the snake to eat it up, am I here for nothing? Just see how I release it."
After smoking again, we walked on to the place. He was afraid and asked Me not to proceed further as the snake might attack us. Not minding him, I went ahead and addressed the creatures thus:- "Oh Veerbhadrappa, has not your enemy Bassappa yet repented though he has been born as a frog, and you too, though born as a serpent, still maintain bitter enmity against him? Fie upon you, be ashamed, give up your hatred now and rest in peace."
Hearing these words, the snake left the frog quickly and dived into the river and disappeared. The frog also jumped away and hid itself in the bushes.
The traveller was much surprised; he said that he could not understand how the snake dropped the frog and disappeared at the words uttered, who was Veerbhadrappa and who was Basssappa, and what was the cause of their enmity. I returned with him to the foot of the tree and after sharing a few puffs of smoke with him I explained the whole mystery to his as follows:-
There was ancient holy place sanctified by a temple of Mahadev about 4 or 5 miles from My place. The temple was old and dilapidated. The residents of the place collected funds for its repairs. After a large amount was collected, arrangement for worship was made and plans with estimates for repairs were prepared. A rich local man was appointed the Treasurer and the whole work was entrusted to him. He was to keep regular accounts and be honest in all his dealings. He was a first class miser and spent very little for the repairs, which consequently made very little progress. He spent all the funds, swallowed some amount himself and spent nothing from his pocket. He had a sweet tongue and was very clever in offering plausible explanations regarding the poor and tardy progress of the work. The people again went to him and said that unless he lent his helping hand and tried his best, the work would not be complete. They requested him to work out the scheme and again collected subscriptions and sent the amount to him. He received it, but sat as quiet as before without making any progress. After some days, God (Mahadev) appeared in his wife's dream and said to her - "You get up, build the dome of the temple, I will give you a hundred-fold of what you spend." She told this vision to her husband. He was afraid that it would involve him in some expenses and therefore laughed it out saying that it was a mere dream, a thing not to be relied and acted upon, or else why did not God appear to him and tell him? Was he far off from her? This looks like a bad dream, having for its object the creation of ill feeling between husband and wife. She had to remain quiet.
God does not like big subscriptions and donations collected against the wishes of the donors, but He likes ever trifling amounts given with love, devotion and appreciation. Some days after, God again appeared in her dream and said - "Do not bother yourself about your husband and the collections with him. Don't press him to spend any amount for the temple. What I want is, feeling and devotion. So give, if you like, anything of your own." She consulted her husband about this vision and decided to give God her ornaments given by her father. The miser felt disconcerted and decided to cheat even God in this item. He undervalued the ornaments at Rs.1,000/- and bought them himself and in lieu of the amount gave a field to God as endowment or security. The wife agreed to this. The field or land was not his own, it belonged to one poor woman named Dubaki who mortgaged it to him for Rs.200/-. She was not able to redeem it for long. So the cunning miser cheated all, his wife, Dubaki and even God. The land was sterile, uncultivated and worth nothing and yielded nothing, even in best seasons.
Thus ended this transaction and the land was given in the possession of the poor priest who was pleased with the endowment. Sometime later on, strange things happened. There was a terrific storm and heavy down-pour of rain; lightning struck the house of the miser, when he and his wife both died. Dubaki also breathed her last.
In the next life, the rich miser was born at Mathura in a Brahmin family and was named Veerbhadrappa. His devout wife was born as the daughter of the priest of the temple and was named Gouri. The woman Dubaki (the mortgagor) was born as a male in the family of the Gurav (attendent) of the the temple and was named Chenbassappa. The priest was a friend of Mine, He often came to Me, chatted and smoked with Me. His daughter Gouri was also devoted to Me. She was growing fast and her father was seeking a good husband for her. I told him not to worry about this as the bridegroom himself would come seeking her. Then there came a poor boy named Veerbhadrappa of their caste, wandering and begging his bread to the priest's house. With My consent Gouri was given in marriage to him. He was also at first devoted to Me as I recommended his marriage with Gouri. Even in this new life he was hankering after money and asked Me to help him to get it as he was leading a married man's life.
Strange things happened. There was a sudden rise in prices. By Gouri's good luck, there was a great demand for land and the endowment land was sold for one lakh of rupees (100 times the worth of her ornaments). Half the amount was paid in cash and the remaining was to be paid in 25 instalments of Rs. 2,000/- each. All agreed to this transaction, but began to quarrel over the money. They came to Me for consultation. I told them that the property belonged to God and was vested in the priest and Gouri was his sole heiress and proprietress and no amount should be spent without her consent and that her husband had no right whatsoever to the amount. Hearing my opinion Veerbhadrappa was wroth with Me and said that I wanted to establish Gouri's claim and embezzle her property. Hearing his words, I remembered God and kept quiet. Veerbhadrappa scolded his wife (Gouri) and she came to Me at noon and requested Me not to mind the words of others and not to discard her as she was My daughter. As she thus sought My protection I gave her a pledge that I would cross seven seas to help her. Then that night Gouri had a vision. Mahadev appeared in her dream and said - "The whole money is yours, do not give anything to anybody, spend some amount for temple purposes in consultation with Chenbassappa and if you want to use it for some other purpose, consult Baba in the Masjid (Myself)." Gouri told Me the vision and I gave her the proper advice in the matter. I told her to take the principal or capital amount to herself, give half the amount of interest to Chenbassappa and that Veerbhadrappa had nothing to do in the matter. While I was thus talking, both Veerbhadrappa and Chenbassappa came there quarreling. I tried My best to appease them and told them God's vision to Gouri. Veerbhadrappa got wild and angry and threatened to kill Chenbassappa cutting him to pieces. The latter was timid, he caught my feet and sought my refuge. I pledged Myself to save him from the wrath of his foe. Then after some time Veerbhadrappa died and was born as a snake and Chenbassappa died and was born as a frog. Hearing the croaking of Chenbassappa and remembering my pledge, I came here, saved him and kept My word. God runs to His devotees for help in times of danger. He saved Chenbassappa (the frog) by sending Me here. All this is God's Leela or sport."
The moral of the story is that one has to reap what one sows, and there is no escape unless one suffers and squares up one's old debts and dealings with others, and that greed for money drags the greedy man to the lowest level and ultimately brings destruction on him and others.
Bow to Shri Sai - Peace be to all
Baba's gaya Trip - Story of Goats.
This Chapter describes Shama's strip to Kashi, Prayag and Gaya and how Baba (in the Form of His portrait) was there ahead of him; it also describes Baba's reminiscences of the past birth of two goats.
Blessed, Oh Sai, are Your Feet, blessed is Your remembrance and blessed is Your darshana which frees us from the bond of Karma. Though Your Form is invisible to us now, still if the devotees believe in You, they get living experiences from You. By an invisible and subtle thread You draw Your devotees from far and near to Your Feet and embrace them like a kind and loving mother. The devotees do not know where You are, but You so skillfully pull the wires that they ultimately realize that You are at their back to help and support them. The intelligent, wise and learned folk fall into the pit of the samsar on account of their egoism, but You save, by Your power, the poor, simple and devout persons. Inwardly and invisibly you play all the game, but show that you are not concerned with it. You do things and pose yourself as a non-doer. Nobody ever knows Your life. The best course therefore for us is to surrender our body, speech and mind to Your Feet and always chant Your name for destroying our sins. You fulfill the wishes of the devotees and to those who are without any desire You give bliss supreme. Chanting Your sweet name is the easiest sadhan for devotees. By this sadhan (means), our sins, Rajas and Tamas qualities will vanish, the Sattwa qualities and righteousness will gain predominance and along with this, discrimination, dispassion and knowledge will follow. Then we shall abide in our Self and our Guru (who are one and the same). This is what is called complete surrender to the Guru. The only sure sign of this is that our mind gets calm and peaceful. The greatness of this surrender, devotion and knowledge is unique; for peace, non-attachment, fame and salvation etc., come in its train.
If Baba accepts a devotee, He follows him and stands by him, day and night, at his home or abroad. Let the devotee go anywhere he likes, Baba is there ahead of him in some form in an inconceivable manner. The following story illustrates this.
Sometime after Kakasaheb Dixit was introduced to Sai Baba, he decided to perform the thread (Upanayan) ceremony of his eldest son Babu at Nagpur. At about the same time Nanasaheb Chandorkar decided to perform the marriage ceremony of his eldest son at Gwalior. Both Dixit and Chandorkar came to shirdi and lovingly invited Baba for these functions. Baba asked them to take Shama as His representative. When He was pressed to come in person. Baba told them to take Shama with them and that "after doing Banares and Prayag He would be ahead of Shama." Now mark these words for they show Baba's all-pervasiveness.
Taking the permission of Baba, Shama decided to go to Nagpur and Gwalior for these functions and ceremonies and thence to Kashi, Prayag and Gaya. Appa Kote made up his mind to accompany him. They both went first to Nagpur for the thread ceremony. Kakasaheb Dixit gave Shama Rs.200/- for his expenses. Then they went to Gwalior for the marriage ceremony. There Nanasaheb Chandorkar gave Shama Rs.100/- and his Vyahi (relation) Mr.Jather gave him also Rs.100/-. Then Shama went to Kashi, and then to Ayodhya where he was well received in Jather's beautiful temple of Laxmi-Narayan at Kashi (Varanasi or Banares) and in the Rama-Mandir at Ayodhya by Jathar's manager. They (Shama and Kote) stayed for 21 days in Ayodhya and two months in Kashi (Banares). Then they left for Gaya. In the train they felt a little uneasy on hearing that plague was prevailing in Gaya. At night they alighted at Gaya station and stayed in the Dharmashala. In the morning the Gayawala (the Priest who arranges and provides for the lodging and boarding of the pilgrims) came there and aid - "The pilgrims have already started, you better make haste." Shama casually asked him whether there was plague in Gaya. "No" said the Gayawala. "Please come without any fear or anxiety and see yourself." Then they went with him and stayed in his house which was a big and commodious Wada. Shama was pleased with the accommodation provided for him, but what pleased him most, was the beautiful big portrait of Baba fixed in the central and front portion of the building. Seeing this portrait Shama was overwhelmed with emotion. He remembered Baba's words, viz., "After doing Kashi and Prayag He would be ahead of Shama" and burst into tears. His hairs stood on end, his throat was choked and he began to sob. The Gayawala thought that he was afraid of plague prevailing there and therefore was crying. But Shama enquired of him whence he got Baba's portrait there. He replied that he had 200 or 300 agents working at Manmad and Punatambe for looking to the convenience of the pilgrims to Gaya and from them he heard about Baba's fame. Then about 12 years ago he went to Shirdi and took Baba's darshana. There he wanted Baba's portrait hung in Shama's house and with Baba's permission Shama gave it to him. This was the same protrait. Shama then remembered this former incident. The Gayawalas's joy knew no bounds when he learnt that the same Shama who obliged him before, was his guest then. Then they both exchanged love and service and were most delighted and happy. The Gayawala gave him a right royal welcome. He was a very rich man. He sat in a palanquin and made Shama ride an elephant and attended to all his comforts and conveniences.
The moral of the story is this:- That Baba's words came out true to the letter and unbounded was His love towards the devotees. But leave this aside. He also loved all creatures equally, for He felt that He was one with them. The following story will illustrate this.
Baba was once returning from Lendi, when He saw a flock of goats. Two of them attracted His attention. He went to them, caressed and fondled them and bought them for Rs.32/-. The devotees were surprised at this conduct of Baba. They thought that Baba was duped in this bargain, as the goats would fetch Rs.two each, at the most Rs.3/- or 4/- each, i.e., Rs.8/- for both. They began to take Baba to task for this, but Baba kept calm and cool. Shama and Tatya Kote asked Baba for an explanation. He said He should not store money as He had no home, and any family to look after. He asked them to purchase at His cost 4 seers of 'dal' (lentil) and feed the goats. After this was done, Baba returned the goats to the owner of the flock and gave out of the following reminiscences and story of the goats.
"Oh, Shama and Tatya, you think that I have been deceived in this bargain. No. Listen to their story. In their former birth they were human beings and had the good fortune to be My companions and sit by My side. They were uterine brothers, loving each other at first, but later on, they became enemies. The elder brother was an idle fellow while the younger one was an active chap and earned a lot of money. The former became greedy and jealous and wanted to kill his brother and take away his money. They forgot thier fraternal relations and began to quarrel with each other. The elder brother resorted to many devices to kill his younger brother, but all of his attempts failed. Thus they became deadly enemies and finally on one occasion the elder gave a deadly blow with a big stick on the latter's head while the latter struck the former with an axe, with the result that both fell dead on the spot. As the result of their actions, they were both born as goats. As they passed by me, I at once recognized them. I remembered their past history. Taking pity on them I wanted to feed them and give them rest and comfort and for this reason I spent all the money for which you reprove me. As you did not like My bargain I sent them back to their shepherd." Such was Sai's love for the goats!
Bow to Shri Sai - Peace be to all
Kakasaheb's Doubt and Anandrao's Vision - Wooden Plank Baba's bed-stead and not Bhagat's.
We have described in the last three chapters Baba's Passing away. His physical or finite form has no doubt disappeared from our view; but the infinite or spiritual form (Spirit of Baba) ever lives. The Leelas which occurred during His lifetime have been dwelt upon at great length up till now. Ever since His passing away, fresh Leelas have taken place and are even now happening. This clearly shows that Baba is ever-living and helping His devotees as before. The people who got the contact of Baba when He was living, were indeed very fortunate, but if any of them did not get a dispassion for the things and enjoyments of the world and had not their minds turned to the Lord, it was sheerly their ill-luck. What was then wanted and is now wanted is the whole-hearted devotion to Baba. All our senses, organs, and mind should co-operate in worshipping and serving Baba. It is no use in engaging some organs in the worship and deflecting others. If a thing like worhsip or meditation is to be done, it ought to be done with all our mind and soul.
The love that a chaste woman bears to her husband is sometimes compared to that which a disciple bears to his master (Guru). Yet the former falls far short of the latter, which is incomparable. No one, whether he be father, mother, brother or any other relation, 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 things and enjoyments of this world and the next, control our senses and mind, and aspire for liberation only. 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 our passion for worldly things becomes less and less, and ultimately we get dispassion or non-attachment for them. Then we know that the Brahma which is no other than our Guru is the sole reality and as It transcends and besets the seeming universe, we begin to worship It in all creatures. This is the unitive Bhajan or worship. When we thus worship the Brahma or Guru whole-heartedly, 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
It is well-known, that Sai Baba had enjoined Kakasaheb Dixit to read daily two works of Shri Ekanath: (1) Bhagawat and (2) Bhawartha Ramayan. Kakasaheb read these daily while Baba was living and he followed the practice even after Baba's passing away. Once in Kaka Mahajani's house in Choupati, Bombay, Kakasaheb was reading Ekanathi Bhagawat in the morning. Madhavarao Deshpande alias Shama and Kaka Mahajani were then present and listened attentively to the portion read, viz., the 2nd Chapter, 11th skandha of the book. Therein the nine Nathas or Siddhas of the Rishabha family, viz., Kavi, Hari, Antariksha, Prabuddha, Pippalayan, Avirhotra, Drumil, Chamas and Karabhajan expounded the principles of the Bhagawat Dharma to King Janak. The latter asked all the nine Nathas most important questions and each of them answered them satisfactorily. The first, i.e., Kavi explained what is Bhagawat Dharma; Hari, the characteristics of a Bhakta (devotee); Antariksha, what is Maya; Prabuddha, how to cross Maya; Pippalayan, what is Para-Brahma; Avirhotra, what is Karma; Drumil, the incarnations of God and their 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 the remembrance of Hari's (Lord's) or Guru's feet. After the reading was over, Kakasaheb said in a despondent tone to Madhavarao and others - "How wonderful is the discourse of the nine Nathas on Bhakti or devotion. But at the same time how difficult it is to put it into practice! The Nathas were perfect, but is it possible for fools like us to attain the devotion as delineated by them? we won't get it even after several births, then how are we to get salvation? It seems that there is no hope for us." Madhavarao did not like this pessimistic attitude of Kakasaheb. He said - "It is a pity that one who by his good luck got such a jewel (Guru) as Baba, should cry out so disparagingly; If he has unwavering faith in Baba, why should he feel restless? The Bhakti 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 Hari's and Guru's name confers salvation? Then where is the cause 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 over how to get the powerful Bhakti of the Nathas. Next morning, the following miracle took place.
One gentleman, named Anandrao Pakhade came there in search of Madhavarao. The reading of the Bhagawat was then going on. Mr.Pakhade sat near Madhavarao and was whispering something to him. He was mentioning in low tone his dream-vision. As there was some interruption in the reading by this whispering, Kakasaheb stopped the reading, and asked Madhavarao what the matter was. The latter said - "Yesterday you expressed your doubt, now here is the explanation of it; hear Mr.Pakhade's vision which Baba gave him, explaining the characteristic of 'saving' devotion and showing that the devotion in the form of bow to, or worship of, Guru's feet is sufficient." All were anxious to hear the vision specially Kakasaheb. At their suggestion Mr.Pakhade began to relate the vision as follows.
I was standing in a 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 water. I was most pleased and satisfied with the Form of Baba. The vision was so realistic that I never thought that it was a dream. Curiously enough Madhavarao was also standing there. He said to me feelingly - 'Anandrao, fall at Baba's Feet.' I rejoined - "I also wish to do so, but His Feet are in water, how can I place my head on them? I am helpless." Hearing this he said to Baba - "Oh Deva, take out Your Feet which are under water." Then Baba immediately took out His feet. I caught 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 order, Mr.Pakhade brought the dhotar and requested Kakasaheb to hand it over to Madhavarao; 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 the invariable practice of Kakasaheb to cast lots in all dubious matters and to abide by the decision as shown by the picked up chit or lot. In this particular case two chits, 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' chit 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 give respect to the words of other saints, but at the same time asks us to have full faith in our Mother, i.e., the Guru, and abide by His instructions: for he knows our welfare better than any other person. Carve out on your heart, the following words of Baba - "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 whole-heartedly, surrender to Him completely and prostrate yourselves before Him reverentially and then you will see that there is no sea of the mundane existence before you to cross, there is no darkness before the sun."
Wooden plank Baba's Bed-Stead, and not Bhagat's
In His earlier days, Baba slept on a wooden plank, 4 arms in length and only a span in breadth with panatis (earthen lamps) burning at the four corners. Later on He broke the plank into pieces and threw it away (Vide Chapter X). 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 again suspend or hang up one in the Masjid again for You to sleep at ease." Baba replied - "I won't like to sleep up, leaving Mhalasapati down on the ground." Then Kakasaheb said - "I will provide another plank for Mhalasapati." Baba - "How can he sleep on the plank? It is not easy to sleep up on the plank. He who has many good qualities in him can do so. He who can sleep 'with his eyes wide open' can effect that. When I go to sleep I ask often Mhalasapati to sit by My side, place his hand on My heart and watch the 'chanting of the Lord's name' there, and if he finds Me sleepy, wake Me up. He can't do even this. He himself gets drowsy and begins to nod his head. When I feel his hand heavy as a stone on My heart 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 asana (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 - "What (whether good or bad) is ours, is with us, and what is another's is with him."
Bow to Shri Sai - Peace be to all
Baba's Passing Away (Continued)
Preparation - Samadhi-Mandir - Breaking of the Brick - 72 Hours' Samadhi - Jog's Sannyas - Baba's Nectar-like Words.
Chapters 43 and 44 continue the story of Baba's Passing away, and therefore they are taken together.
It is the general practice amongst the Hindus that when a man is about to die, some good religious scripture is read out to him with the object that his mind should be withdrawn from worldly things and fixed in matters spiritual, so that his future progress should be natural and easy. Everybody knows that when king Parikshiti was cursed by the son of a Brahmin Rishi and was about to die after a week, the great sage Shuka expounded to him the famous Bahagwat Puran in that week. This practice is followed even now and Gita, Bhagawat and other sacred books are read out to dying persons. Baba being an incarnation of God needed no such help, but just to set an example to the people, He followed this practice. When He knew that He was to pass away soon, He ordered one Mr.Vaze to read Ramavijaya to Him. Mr.Vaze read the book once in the week. Then Baba asked him to read the same again day and night and he finished the second reading in three days. Thus eleven days passed. Then again he read for three days and was exhausted. So Baba let him go and kept Himself quiet. He abided on His Self and was waiting for the last moment.
Two or three days previous, Baba had stopped His morning peregrinations and begging rounds and sat in the Masjid. He was conscious to the last and was advising the devotees not to lose heart. He let nobody know the exact time of His departure. Kakasaheb Dixit and Shriman Booty were dining daily with Him in the Masjid. That day (15th October) after arati, He asked them to go to their residence for dining. Still a few, viz., Laxmibai Shinde, Bhagoji Shinde, Bayaji, Laxman Bala Shimpi and Nanasaheb Nimonkar remained there. Shama was sitting down on the steps. After giving Rs. 9/- to Laxmibai Shinde, Baba said that He did not feel well there (in the Masjid) and that He should be taken to the Dagadi (stone) Wada of Booty, where He would be alright. Saying these last words, He leaned on Bayaji's body and breathed His last. Bhagoji noticed that His breathing had stopped and he immediately told this to Nanasaheb Nimonkar who was sitting below. Nanasaheb brought some water and poured it in Baba's mouth. It came out. Then he cried out loudly 'Oh Deva.' Baba seemed just to open His eyes and say 'Ah' in a low tone. But it soon become evident that Baba had left His body for good.
The news of Baba's passing away spread like a wild fire in the village of Shirdi and all people, men, women and children ran to the Masjid and began to mourn this loss in various ways. Some cried out loudly, some wallowed on in the streets and some fell down senseless. Tears ran down from the eyes of all and every one was smitten with sorrow.
Then the question arose - How to dispose off Baba's body? Some (Mahomedans) said that the body should be interred in an open space and a tomb built over it. Even Khushalchand and Amir Shakkar shared this opinion. But Ramachandra Patil, the village officer said to the villagers with a firm and determined voice, "Your thought is not acceptable to us. Baba's body should be nowhere placed except in the Wada." Thus people were divided on this point and discussion regarding this point went on for 36 hours.
On Wednesday morning Baba appeared to Laxman Mama Joshi in his dream and drawing him by His hand said - "Get up soon; Bapusaheb thinks that I am dead and so he won't come; you do the worship and the Kakad (morning) arati." Laxman Mama was the village astrologer and was the maternal uncle of Shama. He was an orthodox Brahmin and daily first worshipped Baba in the morning and then all the village deities. He had full faith in Baba. After the vision he came with all the pooja materials and not minding the protests of the moulvis, did the Pooja and the Kakad arati with all due formalities and went away. Then at noon Bapusaheb Jog came with all others and went through the noon-arati ceremony as usual.
Paying due respect to Baba's words the people decided to place His body in the Wada and started digging the central portion there. In the evening of Tuesday the Sub-Inspector came from Rahata and others from other places turned up and they all agreed to the proposal. Next morning Amirbhai came from Bombay and the Mamlatdar from Kopergaon. The people seemed divided in their opinion. Some insisted on interring His body in the open field. The Mamlatdar therefore took a general plebiscite and found that the proposal to use the Wada secured double the number of votes. He, however, wanted to refer the matter to the Collector and Kakasaheb Dixit got himself ready to go to Ahmednagar. In the meanwhile, by Baba's inspiration there was a change in the opinion of the other people and all the people unanimously voted for the proposal. On Wednesday evening Baba's body was taken in procession and brought to the Wada and was interred there with due formalities in the garbha, i.e., the central portion reserved for Murlidhar. In fact Baba became the Murlidhar and the Wada became a temple and a holy shrine, where so many devotees went and are going now to find rest and peace. All the obsequies of Baba were duly performed by Balasaheb Bhate and Upasani, a great devotee of Baba.
Breaking of the Brick
Some days before Baba's departure, there occurred an ominous sign foreboding the event. There was, in the Masjid an old brick on which Baba rested His hand and sat. At night time He leaned against it and had His asan. This went on for many years. One day, during Baba's absence, a boy who was sweeping the floor, took it up in his hand, and unfortunately it slipped from thence fell down broken into two pieces. When Baba came to know about this, He bemoaned its loss, crying - "It is not the brick but My fate that has been broken into pieces. It was My life-long companion, with it I always meditated on the Self, it was as dear to Me as My life, it has left Me to-day." Some may raise here a question - "Why should Baba express this sorrow for such an inanimate thing as a brick?" To this Hemadpant replies that saints incarnate in this world with the express mission of saving the poor helpless people, and when they embody themselves and mix and act with the people, they act like them, i.e., outwardly laugh, play and cry like all other people, but inwardly they are wide awake to their duties and mission.
72 Hours' Samadhi
Thirty two years before this, i.e., in 1886 A.D., Baba made an attempt to cross the border line. On a Margashirsha Pournima (Full moon) day, Baba suffered from a severe attack of asthma. To get rid of it Baba decided to take His prana high up and go into samadhi. He said to Bhagat Mhalasapti - "Protect My body for three days. If I return, it will be alright; if I do not, bury My body in that open land (pointing to it) and fix two flags there as a mark." Saying this, Baba fell down at about 10 P.M. His breathing stopped, as well as His pulse. It seemed as if His prana left the body. All the people including the villagers came there and wanted to hold an inquest and bury the body in the place pointed by Baba. But Mhalasapati prevented this. With Baba's body on his lap he sat full three days guarding it. After three days passed, Baba showed signs of life at 3 A.M. His breathing commenced, the abdomen began to move. His eyes opened and stretching His limbs, Baba returned to consciousness (life) again.
From this and other accounts, let the readers consider whether Sai Baba was the three and a half cubits' body that He occupied for some years and that He left thereafter or He was the Self inside. The body, composed of the five elements is perishable and transient, but the Self within is the thing - Absolute Reality which is immortal and intransient. The pure Being, Consciousness or Brahma, the Ruler and Controller of the senses and mind is the thing Sai. This pervades all things in the universe and there is no space without it. For fulfilling His mission He assumed the body and after it was fulfilled, He threw away the body (the finite aspect), and assumed His infinite aspect. Sai ever lives, as also the previous Incarnation of God Datta, Shri Narsimha Saraswati of Ganagapur. His Passing away is only an outward aspect, but really He pervades all animate and inanimate things and is their Inner Controller and Ruler. This can be, and is even now experienced by many who surrender themselves completely to Him and worship Him with whole-hearted devotion.
Though it is not possible for us to see Baba's form now, still if we go to Shirdi, we shall find His beautiful life-like portrait adorning the masjid. This has been drawn by Shamrao Jaykar, a famous artist and well-known devotee of Baba. To an imaginative and devout spectator this portrait can give even to-day the satisfaction of taking Baba's darshana. Though Baba has no body now, He lives there and everywhere, and will effect the welfare of the devotees even now as He was doing before when He was embodied. Saints like Baba never die, though they look like men, they are in reality God Himself.
Bapusaheb Jog's Sannyas
Hemadpant closes this chapter with the account of Jog's sannyas. Sakharam Hari alias Bapusaheb Jog was the uncle of the famous Varkari Vishnubuva Jog of Poona. After his retirement from Govt. Service (He was a Supervisor in the P.W. Department) in 1909 A.D., he came and lived in Shirdi with his wife. He had no issue. Both husband and wife loved Baba and spent all their time in worshipping and serving Baba. After Megha's death, Bapusaheb daily did the arati ceremony in the Masjid and Chavadi till Baba's maha-samadhi. He was also entrusted with the work of reading and explaining Jnaneshwari and Ekanathi Bhagawat in Sathe's Wada to the audience. After serving for many years, Jog asked Baba - "I have served you so long, my mind is not yet calm and composed, how is it that my contact with Saints has not improved me? When will You bless me?" - Hearing the Bhakta's prayer Baba replied - "In due time your bad actions (their fruit or result) will be destroyed, your merits and demerits will be reduced to ashes, and I shall consider you blessed, when you will renounce all attachments, conquer lust and palate, and getting rid of all impediments, serve God whole-heartedly and resort to the begging bowl (accept sannyas)." After some time, Baba's words came true. His wife predeceased him and as he had no other attachment, he became free and accepted sannyas before his death and realized the goal of his life.
Baba's Nectar-like words
The kind and merciful Sai Baba, said many a time the following sweet words in the Masjid - "He who loves Me most, always sees Me. The whole world is desolate to him without Me, he tells no stories but Mine. He ceaselessly meditates upon Me and always chants My name. I feel indebted to him who surrenders himself completely to Me and ever remembers Me. I shall repay his debt by giving him salvation (self-realization). I am dependent on him who thinks and hungers after Me and who does not eat anything without first offering it to Me. He who thus comes to Me, becomes one with Me, just as a river gets to the sea and becomes merged (one) with it. So leaving out pride and egoism and with no trace of them, you should surrender yourself to Me Who am seated in your heart."
Who is this ME?
Sai Baba expounded many a time Who this ME (or I) is. He said "You need not go far or anywhere in search of Me. Barring your name and form, there exists in you, as well as in all beings, a sense of Being or Consciousness of Existence. That is Myself. Knowing this, you see Me inside yourself, as well as in all beings. If you practise this, you will realize all-pervasiveness, and thus attain oneness with Me."
Hemadpant, therefore, makes a bow to the readers and requests them humbly and lovingly that they should love and respect all Gods, saints and devotees. Has not Baba often said "He who carps and cavils at others, pierces Me in the heart and injures Me, but he that suffers and endures, pleases Me most." Baba thus pervades all beings and creatures and besets them on all sides. He likes nothing but love to all beings. Such nectar, pure auspicious ambrosia always flowed from Baba's lips. He therefore, concludes - Those who lovingly sing Baba's fame and those who hear the same with devotion, both become one with Sai.
Bow to Shri Sai - Peace be to all
Baba's Passing Away
Previous Indication - Averting Death of Ramachandra Dada Patil and Tatya Kote Patil - Charity to Laxmibai Shinde - Last Moment.
This chapter describes the Passing away of Baba.
The stories given in the previous chapter have shown that the light of Guru's grace removes out fear of the mundane existence, opens the path of salvation and turns our misery into happiness. If we always remember the feet of the Sad-guru, our troubles come to an end, death loses its sting and the misery of this mundane existence is obliterated. Therefore those who care for their welfare should carefully listen to these stories of Sai Samarth, which will purify their minds.
In the beginning, Hemadpant dwells on Dr.Pandit's worship and his marking Baba's forehead with Tripundra, i.e., three horizontal lines; but as this has been already described in chapter XI, this has been omitted here.
The readers up till now heard the stories of Baba's life. Let them now hear attentively Baba's Passing away. Baba got a slight attack of fever on 28th September, 1918. The fever lasted for 2 or 3 days, but afterwards Baba gave up his food and thereby He grew weaker and weaker. On the 17th day, i.e., Tuesday, the 15th October 1918, Baba left His mortal coil at about 2-30 p.m. (Vide Professor G.G. Narke's letter, dated 5th November 1918, to Dadasaheb Khaparde, published in "Sai Leela" magazine, Page 78, first year). Two years before this, i.e., in 1916, Baba gave an indication of His Passing away, but nobody understood it then. It was as follows:- On the Vijayadashmi (Dasara) day Baba at once got into wild rage in the evening when people were returning from 'Seemollanghan' (crossing the border or limits of the village). Taking off His head-dress, kafni and langota etc., He tore them and threw them in the Dhuni before Him. Fed by this offering, the fire in the Dhuni began to burn brighter and Baba shone still brighter. He stood there stark naked and with His burning red eyes shouted - "You fellows, now have a look and decide finally whether Iam a Moslem or a Hindu." Everybody was trembling with fear and none dared to approach Baba. After some time Bhagoji Shinde, the leper devotee of Baba, went boldly near Him and succeeded in tying a langota (waist-band) round His waist and said - "Baba, what is all this? To-day is the Seemollanghan, i.e., Dasara Holiday." Baba striking the ground with His satka said - "This is my Seemollanghan (crossing the border)." Baba did not cool down till 11-00 p.m. and the people doubted whether the chavadi procession would ever take place that night. After an hour Baba resumed His normal condition and dressing Himself as usual attended the chavadi procession as described before. By this incident Baba gave a suggestion that Dasara was the proper time for Him to cross the border of life, but none understood its meaning. Baba gave also another indication as follows:-
Averting Death of Ramachandra and Tatya Patil
Some time after this, Ramachandra Patil became scriously ill. He suffered a lot. He tried all remedies, but finding no relief, despaired of his life and was waiting for the last moment. The one midnight Baba suddenly stood near his pillow. Patil held His Feet and said - "I have lost all hopes of life, please tell me definitely when I shall die." Merciful Baba said - "Don't be anxious, your hundi (death-warrant) has been withdrawn and you will soon recover, but Iam afraid of Tatya Patil. He will pass away on Vijayadashami of Shaka 1840 (1918 A.D.). Do not divulge this to anybody, nor to him, for he will be terribly frightened." Ramachandra Dada got well, but he felt nervous about Tatya's life, for he knew that Baba's word was unalterable, and that Tatya would breathe his last within two years. He kept this hint secret, told it to none but one Bala Shimpi (a tailor). Only these two persons - Ramachandra Dada and Bala Shimpi were in fear and suspense regarding Tatya's life.
Ramachandra Dada soon left his bed and was on his legs. Time passed quickly. The month of Bhadrapad of Shaka 1840 (1918 A.D.) was ending and Ashwin was in sight. True to Baba's word, Tatya fell sick and was bed-ridden; and so he could not come for Baba's darshana. Baba was also down with fever. Tatya had full faith in Baba and Baba in Lord Hari, who was His Protector. Tatya's illness began to grow from bad to worse and he could not move at all but always remembered Baba. The predicament of Baba began to grow equally worse. The day predicted, i.e., Vijayadashami was impending and both Ramachandra Dada and Bala Shimpi were terribly frightened about Tatya and with their bodies trembling and perspiring with fear, thought that as predicted by Baba, Tatya's end was nigh. Vijayadashami dawned and Tatya's pulse began to beat very slow and he was expected to pass away shortly. But a curious thing happened. Tatya remained, his death was averted and Baba passed away in his stead. It seemed as if there was an exchange. People said that Baba gave up His life for Tatya; why He did so? He alone knows as His ways are inscrutable. It seems, however, that in this incident, Baba gave a hint of His passing away, substituting Tatya's name for His.
Next morning (16th October) Baba appeared to Das Ganu at Pandharpur in his dream and said to him - "The Masjid collapsed, all the oilmen and grocers of Shirdi teased me a lot, so I leave the place. I therefore came to inform you here, please go there quickly and cover me with 'Bhakkal' flowers." Das Ganu got the information also from Shirdi letters. So he came to Shirdi with his disciples and started bhajan and kirtan and sang the Lord's name, all through the day before Baba's samadhi. Himself weaving a beautiful garland of flowers studded with Lord Hari's name he placed it on Baba's samadhi and gave a mass-feeding in Baba's name.
Charity to Laxmibai
Dasara or Vijayadashami is regarded by all the Hindus as the most auspicious time and it is befitting that Baba should choose this time for His crossing the border-line. He was ailing some days before this, but He was ever conscious internally. Just before the last movement He sat up erect without anybody's aid, and looked better. People thought that the danger had passed off and He was geeting well. He knew that He was to pass away soon and therefore, He wanted to give some money as charity to Laxmibai Shinde.
Baba Pervading All Creatures
This Laxmibai Shinde was a good and well-to-do woman. She was working in the Masjid day and night. Except Bhagat Mhalasapati, Tatya and Laxmibai, none was allowed to step in the Masjid at night. Once while Baba was sitting in the Masjid with Tatya in the evening, Laxmibai came and saluted Baba. The latter said to her - "Oh Laxmi, Iam very hungry." Off she went saying - "Baba, wait a bit, I return immediately with bread." She did return with bread and vegetables and placed the same before Baba. He took it up and gave it to a dog. Laxmibai then asked - "What is this, Baba, I ran in haste, prepared bread with my own hands for You and You threw it to a dog without eating a morsel of it; You gave me trouble unnecessarily." Baba replied - "Why do you grieve for nothing? The appeasement of the dog's hunger is the same as Mine. The dog has got a soul; the creatures may be different, but the hunger of all is the same, though some speak and others are dumb. Know for certain, that he who feeds the hungry, really serves Me with food. Regard this as an exiomatic Truth." This is a ordinary incident but Baba thereby propounded a great spiritual truth and showed its practical application in daily life without hurting anybody's feelings. From this time onward Laxmibai began to offer Him daily bread and milk with love and devotion. Baba accepted and ate it appreciatingly. He took a part of this and sent the remainder with Laxmibai to Radha-Krishna-Mai who always relished and ate Baba's remnant prasad. This bread-story should not be considered as a digression; it shows, how Sai Baba pervaded all the creatures and transcended them. He is omnipresent, birthless, deathless and immortal.
Baba remembered Laxmibai's service. How could He forget her? Just before leaving the body, He put His hand in His pocket and gave her once Rs.5/- and again Rs.4/-, in all Rs.9/-. This figure (9) is indicative of the nine types of devotion described in chapter 21 or it may be the Dakshina offered at the time of Seemollanghan. Laxmibai was a well-to-do woman and so she was not in want of any money. So Baba might have suggested to her and brought prominently to her notice the nine characteristics of a good disciple mentioned in the 6th verse of chapter ten, skandha eleven of the Bhagwat, wherein first five and then four characteristics are mentioned in the first and second couplets.* Baba followed the order, first paid Rs.5/- and then Rs.4/- in all Rs.9/-. Not only nine, but many times nine rupees passed through Laxmibai's hand, but Baba's this gift of Nine, she will ever remember.
Being so watchful and conscious, Baba also took other precautions in His last moment. In order that He should not be embroiled or entangled with love and affection for His devotees, He ordered them all to clear off. Kakasaheb Dixit, Bapusaheb Booty and others were in the Masjid anxiously waiting upon Baba, but He asked them to go to the Wada and return after meals. They could not leave Baba's presence, nor could they disobey Him. So with heavy hearts and heavy feet they went to the Wada. They knew that Baba's case was very serious and that they could not forget Him. They sat for meals, but their mind was elsewhere, it was with Baba. Before they finished, news came to them of Baba's leaving the mortal coil. Leaving their dishes, they ran to the Masjid and found that Baba rested finally on Bayaji's lap. He did not fall down on the ground nor did He lie on His bed, but sitting quietly on His seat and doing charity with His own hand threw off the mortal coil. Saints embody themselves and come into this world with a definite mission and after that is fulfilled they pass away as quietly and easily as they came.
Bow to Shri Sai - Peace be to all
Story of the Picture - Stealing the Rags and Reading of Jnaneshwari.
As stated in the last chapter, we continue here the story of the picture.
Nine years after the occurrence of the incident depicted in the last chapter, Ali Mahomed saw Hemadpant and related to him the following story.
One day while wandering in the streets of Bombay he bought the picture from a street-hawker; then he framed and set it on a wall in his house at Bandra (suburb of Bombay). As he loved Baba, he daily took darshana of it. Three months before he gave the picture to Hemadpant, he was suffering from an abscess or swelling on his leg for which an operation was performed and he was convalescing in the house of his brother-in-law, Mr. Noor-Mahomed Peerbhoy in Bombay. For three months his house in Bandra was closed; and nobody was living there. Only the pictures of the famous Baba Abdul Rahiman, Moulanasaheb Mahomed Hussain, Baba Sai, Baba Tajudin and other saints (living) were there. The wheel of time did not even spare these. He was lying sick and suffering in Bombay. Why should the pictures suffer there (in Bandra)? It seems that they have also their ins and outs (births and deaths). All the pictures met their fate, but how Sai Baba's picture escaped it, nobody had been able to explain to me up till now. It shows the all-pervasiveness, omnipresence of Sai and His insrutable power.
He got a small picture of Saint Baba Abdul Rahiman from Mahomed Hussain Thariyatopan many years ago. He gave it to his brother-in-law, Noor-Mahomed Peerbhoy and it was lying on his table for eight years. Once the latter saw it, took it to a photographer and got it enlarged to life-size and distributed copies of the same amongst his relations and friends, including Ali Mahomed who fixed it up in his Bandra house. Noor-Mahomed was a disciple of Saint Abdul Rahiman and when he went to present the picture to his Guru in an open darbar held by him, the Guru got wild and ran to beat him, and drove him out. He felt very sorry and dejected. He thought that he lost so much of his money, and incurred his Guru's displeasure and anger. As his Guru did not like image-worship, he took the enlarged picture with him to the Appollo Bunder and, after hiring a boat, went in it and drowned it in the sea. He requested the friends and relations to return their copies and after getting them (6 in all) back, had them thrown by a fisherman in the Bandra sea. At this time Ali Mahomed was in his brother-in-law's house. He was told by him that his suffering would come to an end if he would soon drown the pictures of the saints in the sea. Hearing this, Ali Mahomed sent his Mehta (Manager) to his Bandra house and got all the pictures of the saints in his house thrown into the sea.
When Ali Mahomed returned home after two months, he was surprised to find Baba's picture on the wall as before. He did not understand how his Mehta took away all the pictures except this. He immediately took it out and kept it in his cupboard, fearing that if his brother-in-law saw it, he would do away with it. While he was thanking how it should be disposed of, and who would keep it and guard it well, Sai Baba Himself as it were, suggested to him that he should see and consult Moulana Ismu Mujavar and abide by his opinion. He saw the Moulana and told him everything. After mature consideration they both decided that the picture should be presented to Annasaheb (Hemadpant) and that he would protect it well. Then they both went to Hemadpant and presented the picture in the nick of time.
This story shows how Baba knew all the past, present and future, and how skillfully He pulled the wires and fulfilled desired of His devotees. The following story shows that Baba liked very much those persons who took real interest in matters spiritual and that He removed all their difficulties and made them happy.
Stealing the Rags and Reading of Jnaneshwari
Mr.B.V.Deo who was Mamlatdar of Dahanu (Thana District) wished for a long time to read Jnaneshwari - (the well-known Marathi commentary on the Bhagawad-Gita by Jnaneshwar), along with other scriptures. He could read daily one chapter of the Bhagawad-Gita, and some portion of other books; but when he took Jnaneshwari in hand, some difficulties cropped up and he was precluded from reading it. He took three months' leave, went to Shirdi and thence to his home at Pound for rest. He could read there other books but when he opened Jnaneshwari, some evil or stray thoughts came crowding in his mind and stopped him in the effort. Try however he might, he was not able to read even a few lines of the book with ease. So he resolved in his mind that when Baba would create love for the book and would order him to read it, he would begin and not till then. Then in the month of February 1914 he went with his family to Shirdi. There Jog asked him whether he daily read Jnaneshwari. Deo said that he was desirous of reading it, but he was not successful and that only when Baba would order him to read it, he would commence. Jog then advised him to take a copy of the book and present it to Baba and to start the reading after it was consecrated and returned by Him. Deo then replied that he did not want to resort to this device, as Baba knows his heart. Would He not know his desire and satisfy it by giving him a clear order to read?
Deo then saw Baba and offered one rupee as Dakshina. Baba asked for Rs. 20/- which he gave. At night, he saw one Balakram and enquired how he secured Baba's devotion and grace. Balakram told him that he would communicate everything next day after arati. When Deo went for darshana next day, Baba asked for Rs.20/- which he gave willingly. As the Masjid was crowded, Deo went aside and sat in a corner. Baba asked him to come close and sit with a calm mind, which Deo did. Then after the noon-arati was over and after the men dispersed, Deo saw again Balakram and asked him his previous history, what Baba told him and how he was taught meditation. Balakram was going to reply when Baba sent one Chandru, a leper devotee to call Deo to Him. When Deo went to Baba, the latter asked him when and with whom and what he was talking. He said that he talked with Balakram and heard from him His fame. Then Baba asked again Rs.25/- as Dakshina which Deo gladly gave. Then Baba took him inside and sitting near the post charged him saying - "You stole away My rags without My knowledge." Deo denied all knowledge of the rags, but Baba asked him to make a search. He searched but found none. Then Baba got angry and said - "There is nobody here, you are the only thief, so grey-haired and old, you came here for stealing." After this Baba lost His temper, got terribly wild, gave all sorts of abuses and scoldings. Deo remained silent and watching, and thought that he might get a beating also. After about an hour or so, Baba asked him to go to the Wada. He returned to the Wada and told Jog and Balakram all that had happened. Then in the after-noon Baba sent for all and Deo also, and said that His words might have pained the old man (Deo) but as he committed the theft, He could not but speak out. Then Baba asked again for Rs. 12/- Deo collected the amount, paid it and prostrated himself before Him. Then Baba said to him - "What are you doing?" "Nothing" replied Deo. Then Baba - "Go on daily reading the Pothi (Jnaneshwari), go and sit in the Wada, read something regularly every day and while reading, explain the portion read, to all with love and devotion. I am sitting here ready to give you the whole gold-embroidered Shella (valuable cloth), then why go to others to steal rags, and why should you get into the habit of stealing?"
Deo was much pleased to hear the words of Baba, for He asked him to start reading Pothi (Jnaneshwari). He thought that he got what he wanted and that he could read the book with ease thenceforth. He again prostrated himself before Baba and said that he surrendered himself to Him and that he should be treated as a child and be helped in his reading. He realized then what Baba meant by 'stealing the rags'. What he asked Balakram constituted the 'rags' and Baba did not like his behaviour in this respect. As He was ready to answer any question, He did not like him to ask others and make unnecessary enquiries and therefore He harassed and scolded him. Deo thought that He really did not 'harass and scold' him but taught that He was ready to fulfill his desires, and there was no use asking others in vain. Deo took these scoldings as flowers and blessings and went home satisfied and contented.
The matter did not end here. Baba did not stop with only issuing an order to read. Within a year He went to Deo and enquired about his progress. On 2nd April 1914, on Thursday morn, Baba gave him a dream-vision. He sat on the upper floor and asked him whether he understood the Pothi. "No" answered Deo. Baba - "Then when are you going to understand?" Deo burst into tears and said, "Unless You shower Your grace, the reading is mere worry and the understanding is still more difficult. I say this definitely." Baba - "While reading you make haste, read it before Me, in My presence." Deo - "What shall I read?" Baba - "Read Adhyatma (spiritualism)." Deo went to bring the book when he opened his eyes and was awakened. We leave the readers to imagine what ineffable joy and bliss Deo felt after this vision.
Bow to Shri Sai - Peace be to all
Stories of Baba
(1) Attending Mrs.Deo's Udyapan Ceremony as a Sannyasi with two Others (Trio) and - (2) Hemadpant's House in the Form of His Picture.
In this chapter we give two stories; (1) How Baba attended the Udyapan ceremony of Mr.B.V.Deo's mother at his house at Dahanu and (2) How Baba attended the Shimga dinner-party in Hemadpant's house at Bandra.
Blessed is Shri Sai Samartha who gives instructions in both temporal and spiritual matters to His devotees and makes them happy by enabling them to achieve the goal of their life, - Sai He who when places His hand on their heads transfers His powers to them and thus destroying the sense of differentiation, makes them attain the Unattainable Thing. - He who embraces the Bhaktas who prostrate themselves before Him with no sense of duality or difference. He becomes one with the Bhaktas as the sea with the rivers when they meet it in the rainy season and gives them His power and position. It follows from this that he who sings the Leelas of God's Bhaktas is equally or more dear to Him than one who sangs the Leelas of God only. Now to revert to the stories of this chapter.
Mrs.Deo's Udyapan Ceremony
Mr.B.V.Deo was a Mamlatdar at Dahanu (Thana District). His mother had observed 25 or 30 different vows and a Udyapan (concluding) ceremony in connection therewith was to be performed. This ceremony included the feeding of 100 or 200 Brahmins. Mr.Deo fixed a date for the ceremony and wrote a letter to Bapusaheb Jog asking him to request Sai Baba on his behalf to attend the dinner of the ceremony, as without His attendance the ceremony would not be duly completed. Bapusaheb Jog read out the letter to Baba. Baba noted carefully the pure-hearted invitation and said - "I always think of him who remembers Me. I require no conveyance, carriage, tanga, nor train nor aeroplane. I run and manifest myself to him who lovingly calls me. Write to him a pleasing reply that three of us (the trio), Myself, yourself and a third will go and attend it." Mr.Jog informed Mr.Deo of what Baba said. The latter was much pleased, but he knew that Baba never went to any place except Rahata, Rui and Nimgaon in person. He also thought that nothing was impossible to Baba as He was all-pervading and that He might suddenly come, in any form He likes and fulfill His words.
A few days before this, a Sannyasi with Bengali dress and professing to work for the cause of the protection of the cows, came to the station-master at Dahanu to collect subscriptions. The latter told him to go into the town and see the Mamlatdar (Mr.Deo) and with his help collect funds. Just then the Mamlatdar happened to come there. The station-master then introduced the Sannyasi to him. Both sat talking on the platform. Mr.Deo told him that a subscription-list for some other charitable cause had already been opened by the leading citizen Rao Saheb Narottam Shetti and so it was not good to start another subscription-list and that it would be better if he would visit the place after 2 or 4 months. Hearing this, the Sannyasi left the place.
About a month afterwards, the Sannyasi came in a tanga and stopped in front of Mr.Deo's house at about 10 a.m. Deo thought that he came for subscriptions. Seeing him busy with the preparations of the ceremony, the Sannyasi said that he had come not for money but for meals. Deo said - "Alright, very glad, you are welcome, the house is yours." The Sannyasi - "Two lads are with me." Deo - "Well, come with them." As there was time (2 hours) for dinner, Deo enquired where he should send for them. He said that it was not necessary as he would come himself at the appointed time. Deo asked him to come at noon. Exactly at twelve noon, the Trio came and joined the dinner party and after feeding themselves went away.
After the ceremony was finished, Deo wrote a letter to Bapusaheb Jog complaining of Baba's breach of promise. Jog went to Baba with the letter, but before it was opened Baba spoke - "Ah, he says that I promised him to come but deceived him. Inform him that I did attend his dinner with two others, but he failed to recognize Me. Then why did he call me at all? Tell him that he thought that the Sannyasi came to ask for subscription money; did I not remove his doubt in that respect and did I not say that I would come with two others, and did not the Trio come in time and take their meals? See, to keep My words I would sacrifice my life, I would never be untrue to My words." This reply gladdened Jog's heart and he communicated the whole of the reply to Deo. As soon as he read it, he burst into tears of joy, but he took himself to task mentally for vainly blaming Baba. He wondered how he was deceived by the Sannyasi's prior visit and his coming to him for subscriptions, how he also failed to catch the significance of the Sannyasi's words that he would come with two others for meals.
This story clearly shows that when the devotees surrender themselves completely to their Sad-guru, He sees that the religious functions in their houses are duly executed and complied with all the necessary formalities.
Hemadpant's Shimga Dinner
Now let us take another story which shows how Baba appeared in the form of His picture and fulfilled the desire of His devotee.
In 1917 on the full-moon morning, Hemadpant had a vision. Baba appeared to him in his dream in the form of a well-dressed Sannyasi, woke him up, and said that He would come to him for meals that day. This awakening constituted a part of the dream. When he fully awoke, he saw no Sai nor any Sannyasi. But when he began to recollect the dream, he remembered each and every word the Sannyasi uttered in his dream. Though he was in contact with Baba for seven years and though he always meditated on Baba, he never expected that Baba would come to his house for meals. However, being much pleased with Baba's words, he went to his wife and informed her that being the Holi day, a Sannyasi guest was coming for meals and that some more rice should be prepared. She enquired about the guest, who he was and whence he was coming. Then not to lead her astray and not to cause any misunderstanding he gave her the truth, i.e., told her about the dream. She doubtingly asked whether it was possible that Baba should come there (Bandra) from Shirdi, leaving the dainty dishes there for accepting their coarse food. Hemadpant then assured her that Baba might not come in person but He might attend in the form of a guest and that they would lose nothing if they cooked some more rice.
After this, preparations for the dinner went on and it was quite ready at noon. The Holika-worship was gone through and the leaves (dishes) were spread and arranged with 'Rangoli' marks around them. Two rows were put up with a central seat between them for the guest. All the members of the family - sons, grandsons, daughters and sons-in-law etc., came and occupied their proper seats and the serving of the various articles commenced. While this was being done, everybody was watching for the guest, but none turned up though it was past noon. Then the door was closed and chained; the anna-shuddhi (ghee) was served. This was a signal to start eating. Formal offering to the Vaishwadeva (Fire), and Naivedya to Shri Krishna were also over and the members were about to begin, when foot-steps in the staircase were distinctly heard. Hemadpant went immediately and opened the door and saw two men there: (1) Ali Mahomed and (2) Moulana Ismu Mujavar. These two persons, seeing that meals were ready and all the members were about to begin eating, apologized to Hemadpant and requested him to excuse their interference. They said - "You left your seat and came running to us, others are waiting for you, so please take this your Thing and I shall relate all the wonderful tale about it later on at your convenience." So saying he took out from his arm-pit a packet wrapped in an old newspaper cover and placed it on the table. Hemadpant uncovered the packet and saw, to his great wonder and surprise, a big nice picture of Sai Baba. Seeing it, he was much moved, tears ran from his eyes and hair stood on end all over his body, and he bent and placed his head on the feet of Baba in the picture. He thought that Baba had blessed him by this miracle or Leela. Out of curiosity he asked Ali Mahomed whence he got this picture. He said that he bought it from a shop and that he would give all the details about it some time afterwards and wished that as all the members were waiting for him, he should go and join them. Hemadpant thanked him, bade them good-bye and returned to the dinning-hall. The picture was placed on the central seat reserved for the guest and after the due offering of the Naivedya, the whole party commenced eating and finished it in proper time. Seeing the beautiful form in the picture everybody was extremely pleased and wondered how all this happened.
The is how Sai Baba kept up and fulfilled His words uttered by Him in the dream of Hemadpant. The story of the picture with all its details, viz., how Ali Mahomed got it, why he bought it and gave it to Hemadpant, is reserved for the next chapter.
Bow to Shri Sai - Peace be to all