Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Chapter 7

Highlights of this chapter:

  • Several short stories.

Was Shri Sai a Hindu or Muslim ? Where was he born and who were his parents. These questions remains unanswered till today, never did Shri Sai himself spoke about it and no one could ever find it. Lot of people used to come to Shirdi, look at his ways but could never determine his religion or origin. They used to  get awestruck on seeing Shri Sai and used to forget all the things going in their mind and with all respect revered Shri Sai. Shri Sai during his entire lifetime never made any distinction between Hindu, Muslim or followers of any religion. He supported and allowed his Hindu devotees to celebrate various festivals like Ramnavami, Gopal kala etc. He allowed the devotees to wash his legs, bow before  him, perform aarati in the masjid and supported all the other rituals which any ardent Hindu devotee would follow in those time. However in the similar way he had a large followers from Muslim religion and they too celebrated their festivals like Id, Muharram etc with Shri Sai. For instance, on the day of Ramnavami there were celebrations throughout day like singing of God Ram's song and stories; Shri Sai even allowed to tie a cradle in front of the masjid to enact the birth of Sri Ram. At the same evening there were Sandal procession throughout the village by the Muslim devotees which culminates in Masjid. Here the devotees used to dip their hands in the sandal paste and imprint it on the walls of the masjid. This was the tradition then and till this day its been followed through out the temples of Shri Sai. 

Shri Sai used to always utter "Allah Malik", he totally detested the qualities of arguments and fights. He  used to be always in a sublime state and his presence inspired good qualities in all the people around him. He speech used to recite all that is Vedant. He never differentiated a bit between a rich and a poor, an educated and ignorant, he always saw them with equanamity and treated everyone with equal measure. He knew the thoughts of all and everyone was pleasantly delighted when he spoke to them about it in his own cryptic way. He was never interested in any high rank or social standing or following. He set up an example to the worldly people on how to live a god centered life. So whats the point in putting a religion tag on such a great soul. Shri Sai taught us the universal qualities of love, equality, non-hatredness towards our fellow being, care and support. 

No wonders his teachings are so relevant in our time, it gives us so much hope and solace in reading his stories and following the path he laid down during his entire life time. One thing which stands out is he never preached anyone, he lead by examples and helped enormous amount of people in his life time and beyond.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Chapter 6

Highlights of this chapter:

  • Shri Sai's assurance
  • Ramnavami celebrations
  • Masjid renovation
This chapter starts with a sweet assurance, reproduced as is:

Line 1:
असो पर्मार्थु वा संसारु 
जेथे सदगुरु कर्णधारु 
तेंचि तारु पैलपारू 
नेउनी उतारू लावील 

In simple terms it means that one should make Sadguru captain of his life. The way we rely on a ship or aircraft captain to see us through our journey, in the same manner in the journey of this life our beloved Sadguru should be the captain. Its one thing to say, but its a real challenge throughout the devotees life to let go of his judgement and ego and the same time rely on the direction given by his Sadguru. Shri Sai was indeed such a sadguru who by mere glance could arise in all the devotees a feeling of eternal joy, peace and one-ness. Shri Sai used to take the udi (ashes from the dhuni) and apply it on devotees forehead and then keep his hand on the head of the devotees, imparting his blessing. What a wonderful feeling that is and how lucky were the devotees. Even today the picture of Shri Sai in Dwarkamayee or the Samadhi mandir idol imparts the same experience, one can feel the presence of Shri Sai's grace. If we let go of our thoughts, worries, anxiety and quietly look at Shri Sai picture, even today we can have similar experience. We can feel his touch and presence around us and that gives us comfort and peace. Many times we face challenges and problem on both the personal and professional front, and then the solutions magically appear to us. This happens only when we are steadfast in our devotion and yes whenever we keep Shri Sai on the captain seat of our life. He has assured multiple times that he will take care of the devotees and their family and friends, he will make sure they are safe, there is no deficiency of cloth,food or any necessities which arise.

Line 33:
मज भजति जे अनन्यपणे 
सेवती नित्यभियुक्तमने 
त्यांचा योगक्षेम चालविणे 
ब्रीद हें जाणें मी माझें

There was a devotee named Gopal Gund, he was a devout of Shri Sai and used to always chant Shri Sai's name. He didn't had a kid, but later on due to Shri Sai's blessing his family was gifted with a son which obviously made them extremely happy. He once thought that in the village of Shirdi there should be an annual fair or similar function. He got support from other devotees and eventually this idea was supported by Shri Sai. In those days too permit was required from the local government to carry out any public activities so the same was sort out. However one of the local representative of the government didn't support the idea and he went against it. As a result the permission was denied. However Shri Sai had given his support, so all the devotees tried whole-heartedly again and eventually got the permission to conduct an annual fair and it was decided to be on the auspicious day of Ramnavami, that was way back in year 1897. 
That's more than 100 years back, but till this day this festival is pompously celebrated in Shirdi and across various temples of Shri Sai throughout the world. I was lucky enough to once go to Shirdi on the eve of Ramnavami and was surprised to see the crowd and their enthusiasm. They carried the photo or idol of Shri Sai in a decorated palanquin and walked all the way from their distant village to Shirdi, taking Shri Sai's name, dancing, throwing colors and celebrating it in all fervor. All the roads leading to Shirdi was full with devotees and they filled the air with the pious name of Shri Sai.  Looking at their devotion really moved me, we could just imagine how it would have been when Shri Sai was in Shirdi in his physical form.

Shri Sai used to stay in Masjid (or Dwarkamayee) and every alternate days used to go to Chavadi to sleep. This masjid was an old dilapidated structure which Shri Sai made his abode and he never cared to repair or renovate it. Gopal gund had a thought of renovating the masjid and for that he arranged stones to build up the new structure. However it was not his turn, this task was later ordained by Shri Sai to Nanasaheb Chandorkar and Kakasahed Dixit. It was a tough task to get Shri Sai's permission, however the devotees kept pressing and they had to make Mhalsapati the mediator to get Shri Sai's permission. Everyone worked extremely hard to get the work done when Shri Sai either left to Lendi baugh or when he went to Chavadi. But the moment Shri Sai was back in masjid, he used to shake the pillars with anger and uproot it from the ground. The same sequence happened for few days, all the devotees used to toil hard to get something done and when Shri Sai is back he used to take all those things down. Once in this fit of anger Shri Sai got hold of Tatya Patil, his eyes were fuming red and everyone was terrified to see such form of Shri Sai. Several tried to rescue Tatya but in vain. Shri Sai was so angry that he removed the turban from Tatya's head, burnt it and threw it away. But after some time Shri Sai got normal and he immediately ordered a new turban for Tatya and then by his own hand worn it to Tatya. 

This was the nature of Shri Sai, he used to be in great mood most of the time, but he used to get really angry for no obvious reason. No one dared to approach Shri Sai when he got angry, but devotees knew that he will be back to his self in a short time and they marveled at such leela's of Shri Sai.

Jai Shri Sai !

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Chapter 5

                                                                ।। ॐ साईं राम ।।
  • श्री साईं बाबांचे शिर्डी येथे पुनरागमन 
बाबा काही  काळ  शिर्डी  येथून गुप्त  होते आणि बाबांनी पुन्हा शिर्डित आगमन केले ते  शिर्डित आलेल्या मुसल्मानाच्या  व्हाराद्यात. श्री साईंच्या आधी संत गोपीदास आणि संत देविदास यांचा सहवास शिर्डी  येथे लाभला होता. औरंगाबाद जिल्ह्यात धुप या खेडेगावामध्ये एक चांद पाटील नावाचे भाग्यशील गृहस्थ राहत होते. चांद पाटील गेल्या दोन महिन्या  पासून आपल्या एका हरवलेल्या घोडीचा शोध घेत होते.  पाटील पूर्ण निराश होउन  घोडी मिळण्याची आशा सोडून,  खोगीर पाठीवर मारून माघारी फिरले. औरंगाबाद सोडून चार कोस अंतर जाता एका आंब्याच्या वृक्षा खाली बाबा  आसनस्थ होते. त्यांच्या डोक्यावर टोपी, अंगात कफनी, खाकेस खटका होता. बाबांनी पाटील यांना सावलीत बसवले  आणि चिलीम पिऊन मग पुढे निघ असे सांगितले. पाटील यांनी आपल्या हरवलेल्या घोडीचे विषयी बाबांना सांगितले. बाबांनी उपदेश केला की जा त्या नlळीत शोध आणि त्यानुसार पाटील यांना घोडी तेथेच सापडली. पाटील यांना बाबांच्या  महानतेचा अंदाज आला होता. ते बाबा न जवळ बसले होते. बाबांनी चिमटा मातीत खुपसला आणि निखारा काढला. पुढे  बाबांनी जमिनीवर सटका आपटून त्यातून पाणी काढले. पाटील यांना बाबांची महती कळली आणि त्यांनी बाबांना घरी चलण्यास विनंती केली. चांद पाटील यांच्या बायकोच्या भाच्याचा विवाह शिर्डी येथे जुळला होता. बाबा थोडे दिवस पाटील यांच्या घरी राहिले आणि मग वऱ्हाडा समवेत शिर्डीत आले.
  • श्री साई बाबांचे "साई" नामाभिमान 
शिर्डीत आलेले वऱ्हाड खंडोबाच्या देवळापाशी म्हलासापातिच्या अंगणात उतरले. मोठ्या मानाने भगत "या साई" म्हणून साईंच्या सामोरे गेले. त्या पुढे बाबांचे नाव "साई" जन समुदायात रूढ झाले.

शिरडी येथे पुणतांब्याचे  एक  गृहस्थाश्रामी थोर वैष्णव यांचे वरचेवर येणे होत असे. त्यांची जेव्हा बाबांशी समोरासमोर भेट  झाली तेव्हा त्यांच्या तोंडून उद्गार निघाले, "धन्य ते शिर्डीचे भाग्य की, असले श्रेष्ठ रत्न मिळाले" . त्या प्रमाणेच आनंदनाथ  नावाचे दुसरे संत यांनी श्री साई बाबांची महती भाकीत केली की "हे अद्भुत कर्तृत्व करतील".
अक्कल्कोट स्वामींचे एक भाई नावाचे अत्यंत निष्ठावंत भक्त होते. त्यांना इच्छा झाली की, अक्कल्कोतला जावे आणी स्वामींच्या पादुकांचे दर्शन घ्यावे. त्यांनी अक्कल्कोटला  जाण्याचा बेत ठरवला. उद्या जाणार, तर त्यांना आज स्वप्नात स्वामी समर्थ आले आणि त्यांनी आज्ञा केली की सध्या माझा निवास शिरडी येते आहे, तर तु तेथे जा. आज्ञे  प्रमाणे त्यांनी शिरडी येथे निम्ब वृक्षा खाली श्रावणातील  शुद्ध पक्षाच्या पुण्य काळी पादुकांची स्थापना केली. भाईंनी केलेल्या पुढील योजने नुसार, दिक्षित् नावाच्या ब्राम्हणांनी पूजा करावी आणि सगुन नावाच्या भक्ताने इतर व्यवस्था पाहावी.  बाबा सदा म्हणत "गरीबी म्हणजेच खरी बादशाही आहे, श्रीमति पेक्षा गरिबी लाख पटीने श्रेष्ठ आहे, गरीबांचा अल्ला भाई असतो". 

निमगावाचे जहागिरदरी प्रसिद्ध त्रिंबक डेण्गाळ्याच्या घराण्याकडे होती. त्यातील बाबासाहेब डेण्गाळ्यावर बाबांचे भारी  प्रेम होते. निमागावाच्या फेरिवर निघाले की बाबा त्यांच्या घरी जात आणि अति प्रेमाने दिवसभर त्यांच्याशी बोलत असत.  त्यांना नाना साहेब नावाचा छोटा भाऊ होता. ते मनाने खूप खिन्न होते. कारण त्यांना दोन लग्नातूनही मूल बाळाचा योग नव्हता.  बाबा साहेबांनी नाना साहेबांना साई दर्शनसि पाठवले.  त्यांना बाबांचा आशीर्वाद लाभून पुत्र प्राप्त झाला. त्या नंतर साई बाबांची महिमा असा वाढत गेला, त्यांच्या दर्शना साठी अनेक लोक शिर्डीस येउ लागले. जसा बाबांचा लौकिक वाढत गेला, तसा त्यांचा भक्त परिवार ही वाढत गेला. साई बाबांचा पोशाख म्हणजे, अंगात पायगोळ कफ़नि आणि डोक्याला एक पांढरा कपडा. पोत्याच्या एका तुकड्यावर त्यांची नित्य बैठक असे. थंडी पासून रक्षण म्हणून, बाबांकडे फक्त धुनिच तेवढी होती. सकळ प्रपंच वृतीच्चे (राग, द्वेष, सुख, दुख, भय, भीति) हवन धुनि मधे ते नाना प्रकारच्या युक्त्यांनी करत. त्यांच्या तोंडी सदैव "अल्ला मलिक" असे आणि ते सदा त्यांचे गुणगान गात. आरंभी  साईना दिवे लावण्याची आणि रोषणाईची  खुप् हौस होती. त्यासाठी ते स्वत दुकानदाराकडे तेल मागण्या साठी जात. तेलाची भिक्षा मागत आणि ते तेल आणून पणत्यात भरत आणि मशिदीत, देवळात पणत्या पेटवित असत. परंतु एकदा  वाण्याच्या मनात कपट आले आणि त्याने तेल देण्यास नकार केला. बाबा काहीही न बोलता परत आले. तेल नसता आता  ते  काय  करतात  याची  मजा वाणी पाहू लागले. बाबांनी मशिदीतील चौथारयावरील टमरेल उचलून घेतले. त्यात  थोडेसे  तेल होते.  मोठ्या कष्टाने तेल वात पेटवली जाईल त्या तेलात त्यांनी पाणी घातले आणि ते स्वतः पिउन टाकले. अशा प्रकारे ब्रह्मार्पण करून त्यांनी निव्वळ पाणी घेतले आणि मग ते पणत्यात ओतून बाबांनी दिवे पेटविले. अगदी थोडेसेही तेल नसतांना त्या पणत्या रात्रभर जळल्या. धन्य ते बाबा!
मूळ अहमदनगर येथे राहणारा एंक फकीर ज्याचे नाव जव्हार अली होते, तो शिर्डीस आला आणि बाबां जवळ मशिदीत राहिला. हा फकीर मोठा गोड बोलणारा होता. गाव त्याच्या भजनी लागला. बाबांना देखील त्याने काही कारणी करून मोहिनी घातली, असे लोक म्हणू लागले. तो फकीर बाबांना म्हणाला, "तू माझा चेला हो". बाबांनी हो म्हणाताल्यावर त्यांना खूप आनंद झाला.बाबां सारखा खंबीर शिष्य अंड जव्हार अली त्यांचे गुरु झाले. दोघांचा राहत्यास राहण्याचा विचार झाला. गुरूला शिष्याच्या कलेची कल्पना नव्हती आणि शिष्याला गुरुह्या अव्कालेची कल्पना नव्हती. परंतु बाबांनी केवाही उपमर्द केला नाही आणि आपला शिष्य धर्म पाळला. गुरु मुखातून जे जे वाचन बाहेर पडत, त्याची योग्यता किंवा अयोग्यता पहिली नाही आणि ते वरच्यावर झेलेले. बाबांनी गुरूच्या घरी पाणी देखील वाहिले. शिर्डी गावकरी विचार करत की बाबा फकिराच्या नादी लागले आणि शिर्डीला अंतरले. पण साई बाबांची कळा वेगळीच होती, ते आपल्या देहाचा अभिमान जाळीत होते. त्यांचे हे आचरण लोकसंग्रहा करिता होते. शिर्डीत बाबांच्या प्रेमळ भक्तांना बाबांपासून अलिप्त राहणे अयोग्य वाटले.  पुढे शिर्डी येथे आलेल्या देविदासांनी जव्हार अली यांचा भ्रम दूर केला. हे गुरु शिष्याचे आचरण श्री म्हाळसापती यांनी कथित केले.
                                                     || श्री सदगुरू साई नाथार्पान्मस्तुं ||

Jai Shri Sai !

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Chapter 4

Highlights of this chapter

  • Reason behind Sai Baba's incarnation
  • Sai Baba and Vitthal (deity from Pandharpur)
  • Sai Baba's arrival in Shirdi
  • Importance of Shirdi
This chapter starts with a discussion of why Shri Sai Baba (and generally other saints) incarnate. There are times in human civilization where people in general start living predominantly in an un-ethical manner.   People do not believe in the scriptures, they think they have all the necessary knowledge, they are always eager to argue and dominate others, they act in selfish manner and not think before carrying out any act, they eat any kind of food without thinking whether its fit or unfit. Making religion or caste as the reason, people are divided which eventually results in brutal atrocity and aggression against each other. The poor and weak suffer tremendously. This are the times when a saint incarnates and brings order to the prevailing chaos. They re-instate belief in God, remind people the teachings of their religion, also make everyone realize that God is one and is not divided by a country or state's boundaries. Throughout their life the saints endure lots of hardship and sets an example for others to live a un-selfish, healthy, successful and a peaceful life. This is not an ordinary task by any means, however the saints are free from the affect of Maya, they are an epitome of selfless action. God through them shower grace and blessings and brings order to this world. Once their work is done the saints sheds their human body and return to God and continue their service even when they are in spirit form. 

सकलजगदानंद करू
प्रत्यगात्माची परमेश्वरू
जो परमेश्वरू तोचि गुरु 
तोचि शंकरु सुखकरू 

Shirdi where Shri Sai decided to stay and show his leela's became one of the sacred places similar to Gangapur, Narsobachi wadi, Audumbar and Bhilawadi. Shirdi is located on the banks of Godavari river. Godavari is one of the holy rivers and many saints have incarnated in its surrounding region and there are several pilgrimages around it. Godavari is located in Ahmednagar district and in Kopargaon taluka (now its Rahata taluka) it gives way to Shridi. After crossing this river, at a distance of around 3 miles is the village of Shirdi.

There are few short stories in this chapter which shows the similarities between Shri Sai & God Vitthal (Lord Krisna) from Pandharpur.
  1. There was a staunch Vitthal devotee named Gollibuva. He used to spent the 4 holy months (chaturmaas) on the banks of holy river Ganga and the remaining months in Pandharpur. He used to continuously chant the name of God, "RamKrishna Hari". He used to stop at Shirdi which was on his way and take Shri Sai's darshan. Looking at Baba he used to get mesmerized, he used to see Vitthal in Shri Sai Baba. He used to tell other devotees that its an extremely difficult task to be a saint, one has to work hard and do several sacrifice and he Shri Sai is true saint and no different than Vitthal. He told other devotees to not get distracted by the worldly things and realize that Shri Sai and God are the same.
  2. Sai Baba was utterly fond of chanting and used to always utter "Allah Malik". He used to encourage his devotees to do the same and used to get naam saptah (discourse carried for a week) done regularly.  Once he asked his devotee Dasganu (he used to write songs, literature on saints etc) to organize such a saptah. Dasganu got excited to receive this command directly from Baba, he agreed and joyfully asked Baba that Vitthal should come out in open when the devotees are taking his name. Baba gave him guaranteed assurance, "Yes why not, Vitthal will come out provided all the devotees will chant sincerely and passionately. This Shirdi is no different than other sacred places and there is no need to visit this distant places. Vitthal always respond to devotees love and shows up no matter where the devotee is." People say that Dasganu indeed see Vitthal after the saptah.
  3. Once Kakasaheb Dixit after his morning bath was meditating and he clearly saw Vitthal's face. He was extremely happy and when he went to take Sai's darshan, Sai Baba who knew everything, in his own humorous way asked him did Vitthal patil came and met him. He told Kakasaheb to keep an eye on Vitthal continuously since he has to tendency to hide as soon you look away from him. Kakasaheb was  ecstatic since he got confirmation from Baba. Later that afternoon, a man from some other village came to Shirdi and brought with him few photos of Vitthal to sell. Kakasaheb found the same photo which he saw during his meditation. Remembering Baba's word, he immediately bought that photo and kept it for his daily prayer.
  4. Another short but sweet story is about Bhagwantrao Kshirsagar, whose dad was a great Vitthal devotee. After his dad's death the family completely forgot about it and they stopped offering prayer and food (naivedya) to Vitthal. Once this gentlemen came to Shirdi for the first time, Shri Sai said, "His father was my friend. That's why I brought him to meet me. He is not offering naivedya and keeps me hungry. He also keep Vitthal hungry. Thats why i got him here. Now he will remember this and correct his behavior".
Once Dasganu thought of going on a pilgrimage to Prayag and as a tradition there he wanted to bathe in Holy Ganga river. So he came to take Baba's permission. Shri Sai told him whats the use of going so far, all the pilgrimage are right here in Shirdi, just have full trust in mind. And what a surprise, as soon as Dasganu bowed on Baba's feet, lo and behold! water started flowing from both the toe's of Baba. Seeing this miracle Dasganu was left speechless, tears started flowing from his eyes, he couldn't comprehend the love and mercy of Shri Sai. In this state he started singing praise to Shri Sai.

Line 107:
अगाध शक्ति अघटित लीला तव सद्गुरुराया 
जडजीवातें भवीं ताराया तूं नौका सदया ||
वेणीमाधव आपण होउनि प्रयाग पद केलें 
गंगा यमुना द्वय अंगुषठी प्रवाह दाखविले ||
There are total 14 stanza in this poem and its beautiful !

Shri Sai first appeared in Shirdi at an young age of 16. He was all alone and used to sit and meditate below one Neem tree. All the villagers were utterly surprise to see such a young kid on its own and they realized that though young he is an evolved soul. They tried to get more information regarding his parents, village etc. but with no luck. Nobody knew from where and how Baba came to Shirdi. But the villagers were attracted to the brightness and majesty of young Sai Baba and they grew fond of him. People from neighboring village started visiting Shirdi just to get a glimpse of Shri Sai. Once couple of villagers got possessed by Khandoba, who is village deity. Other villagers sought this opportunity to enquire about Shri Sai and who he was. Khandoba, told the villagers to dig a hole at a spot under the Neem tree. The villagers did as said and they were astonished to see a small chamber under and there were 4 burning lamps in it. Khandoba further told that at this place this kid has done penance for 12 years. Villager knew that this kid was not a normal one, so they started asking again to Shri Sai from where he came and what place is that. Shri Sai replied that this place belongs to his Guru and they should take proper care of it. Later the villagers covered the hole and restored it back to its previous form and they started revering that place of Shri Sai's guru.

Later one of Shri Sai devotee, Mr. Sathe bought all the place surrounding the Neem tree and made a lodging place for all the devotees who used to visit Shirdi. He made a platform surrounding the Neem tree and this location became a place of worship for the devotees. Later on Kakasaheb Dixit also constructed a big house around that area which was used by the visiting devotees as a lodging area.

Kakasaheb Dixit was a spiritual person and his interest in spiritual matter was developed when he was in England. Kakasaheb came from a rich family, highly educated and had travelled all over India. Once in England he got involved in an accident and one of his leg got handicapped. Kakasaheb was a good friend of Mr. Chandorkar, another great and close devotee of Shri Sai. Chandorkar urged Kakasaheb to visit Shirdi and meet Shri Sai and was confident that Shri Sai can cure Kakasaheb completely. However Kakasaheb being more spiritual minded was more interested in getting rid of handicap nature of mind rather than his leg. Because he knew that this body is a temporary thing and it changes every moment, he was much interested in the spiritual matters.

On 2nd Nov 1909 Kakasaheb first came to Shirdi and met Shri Sai. In the next month Kakasaheb thought of constructing a building for the devotees and he got Baba's permission on 9th Dec. Another great devotee of Baba, Mr. Khaparde was in Shirdi at the same time and he was not getting permission from Baba to return home. However Khaparde got the permission on 10th Dec and on the same day Kakasaheb also started construction for the building. Another significance of 9th Dec is, aarati in Chavadi was started on this day.

Shri Sai didn't stayed in Shirdi for long, he disappeared for a long time but re-appeared along with a marriage party, more stories in the coming chapter.

Jai Shri Sai !

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Chapter 3

Highlights of this chapter:

  • Objective of this religious text
  • Baba's permission
  • Rohilla's story

Sai Baba gave his complete permission to Hemadpant to write this text. Shri Sai gave direct instruction to Hemadpant to continue this work with single pointedness and inspired him to have complete faith in him and not lose courage at any instant. He further assured that if he writes his story all the affects from his sins will cease to exist and whoever listens to these stories wholeheartedly will find peace and comfort in their life.

Shri Sai further gave assurance to everyone of us, "whoever takes my name with love, i'll fulfill all their wishes and increase their devotion towards me. I'll always take care of my people, my stories and my name will give them happiness, peace and success in their efforts. You have to have complete faith in me, its my duty to look after my devotees. My stories will not only remove the obstacles and pain on the material pane but also help resolve all doubts and help devotees realize God. Just remember "Sai Sai", that's the medicine to all the problems of Kalyug".

Well what an assurance, its so simple yet makes me wonder why we fail to comply. I sincerely pray to Shri Sai that he grant his grace so we all remember his name with our every breath.

Shri Sai knew the limitations of a normal average person, he therefor has laid path for a simple approach to attain peace & God realization. Throughout this chapter he is re-iterating the power of these stories and urging everyone to listen, remember and implement the learning from these stories.

Line 17:
कथा करा सादर श्रवण 
त्यावरी करा पूर्ण मनन 
मननावरी निदिध्यासन 
समाधान पावाल

Shri Sai further described in detail the discussion between Shri Krishna and Arjuna as mentioned in Bhagvad Gita. God is present everywhere around, in me, in you, all the moveable creature and also in immovable things. Those who realize this reaches the God state and merges in Him.

Once a Rohilla (Pathan) came to Shirdi and stayed along with Baba. He was a huge, strong guy and completely bullheaded. He had lot of respect for Baba but was completely indifferent to all the villagers in Shirdi. Whenever he felt he used to recite very loudly the scriptures from the Holy Quran and used to get completely engrossed in it. He had a harsh and a very loud voice, but Baba never got disturbed because of it. But that was not the case with villagers, they used to toil all day in the fields and in the evening when they returned home and during nights they were greeted by this loud voice of Rohilla. They let it go for few days, but because of lack of sleep they lost their patience. They didn't want to confront the Rohilla directly, so they decided to talk to Baba instead. On hearing this complaint from villagers, Shri Sai unexpectedly and in a quiet humorous way parted side with Rohilla. Baba warned the villagers that the moment Rohilla stops the recitation, Rohilla's wife will come and harass him like anything. He is continuing the readings just to stay away from his cruel wife. In fact the wife will harass Baba too if she gets hold of Rohilla, so Baba politely told the villagers to accept this situation. The villagers were awestruck and left empty handed. They knew that Rohilla was not married and there is no such wife who is harassing Rohilla and Baba. They later realize that by cruel wife, Baba was in fact referring to Maya. Those who forgets God name, Maya attacks them from all sides and those who remembers God and lovingly take his name, he whom the God protects. 

One day after the afternoon prayers Shri Sai Baba made some extraordinary statements, which every devotees should always remember; "Wherever you are, whatever you do, but always remember i am completely aware of all your actions.

Line 142:
कुठेही असा काहींही करा 
एवढें पूर्ण सदैव स्मरा
कीं तुमच्या इत्यंभूत कृतिच्या खबरा
मज निरंतरा लागती

Those of you experience me so closely, always remember I stay in your heart, I can travel anywhere and I am your Swami. I have transcended all the living and non-living things and yet I'm much more than that. This all is the organization of God and I'm the main driver of all. I am the originator of these universe and the bearer of balance condition of the 3 tendencies (satva, raja, tama). I am the driver of all the sense organs and I am responsible for the creation, preservation and destruction. Those who aim their attention towards me, I take away all their problem. And those who forget me, they have to face the wrath of Maya. 

Hence in this chapter Shri Sai Baba has clearly mentioned his original form and laid down simple steps to reach Him. He re-iterated that just by listening to his stories and learning from them is enough to realize peace, happiness, success, good health and most importantly realize God. Lets fill our heart with the name of Sai, Sai..

Jai Shri Sai !

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Chapter 2

Highlights of this chapter:

  • Inspiration behind writing Sai Satcharitra
  • Author's first visit to Shirdi
  • How the author was named Hemadpant
  • Importance of Guru
As we all know Govind Raghunath Dabholkar (Govindrao) is the author of Sai Satcharitra. He arrived in Shirdi in year 1910, he had a government job with an important position. Initially he was apprehensive of visiting Shirdi and have a Guru, but as was the fate or indeed Shri Sai's blessing he came, stayed and got inspired to write Sai leela's . He soon realized that Shri Sai is a true Sadguru and his devotion towards Shri Sai grew no bounds. He found it hard to resist the urge of singing the name & glory of his dear Sai. He thought of collecting the stories as well as experiences from Sai's devotees and compose a life story of Shri Sai.

He knew that he was not at all qualified to undertake such responsibility. However he had complete faith in Shri Sai, he knew if Sai Baba gave his blessings he would succeed in it. He took help from Madhavrao Deshpande ( an intimate devotee of Shri Sai) to get Sai's permission. Initially Sai Baba declined, however looking at their loving persistence eventually agreed to it. Shri Sai gave his blessings to the author and guided him to start this work. Shri Sai knew all the thoughts going in Govindrao's mind, he ensured the author that he would be just an instrument to write the stories. Shri Sai further said that he himself will write the stories, he himself will tell the stories and the devotees wish to write the stories will be granted by him only. The devotee only has to keep his pride aside. Once this is done the devotees will have all the assistance from Shri Sai. Following assurance was given by Shri Sai himself, its reproduced as is.
करीता माझ्या कथाचे श्रवण
त्यांचे कीर्तन आणि चिंतन
होईल मद्भाक्तिचे जनन 
अविद्यानिर्सन रोकड़े 
जेथे भक्ति श्रद्धान्वित 
त्याचा मी नित्यांकित 
ये अर्थी न व्हावे शंकित 
इतरत्र अप्राप्त मी सदा 
सद्भावे या कथा परिसता
निष्ठा उपजेल श्रोत्यां चिता 
सहज स्वानुभव स्वानंद्ता
सुखावस्था लाधेल

The author was also know by another name, Hemadpant. This name was given by Shri Sai himself and there is a short story behind it. Govindrao used to stay in Bandra, Mumbai and was close to two great devotees of Shri Sai, Kakasahe Dixit and Nanasaheb Chandorkar. They persisted Govindrao to visit Shirdi and meet Shri Sai. Govindrao agreed to it, but during the same time one of his close friend's only son got sick. His friend took all the steps to cure his son but nothing seemed to work. In the meantime his son's health deteriorated. His friend had a spiritual guru and he asked guru to bless his son, he even got the guru to his place and made him sit next to his son. But that didn't worked too and his friend lost his son. This incident brought lot of grief to Govindrao and he wondered what's the use of the guru if he can't save the only son of a devotee. If fate or karma is so strong that it can't be changed, then why go behind a guru and lose all our independence. He lost his motivation to visit Shirdi and his meeting with Sai got postponed. 

Once Nanasaheb was in Mumbai for some work and he by a chance happened to meet Govindrao. Govindrao told the reason why he put off the visit to Shirdi, however Nanasaheb affectionately persuaded to get Shri Sai's darshan and left. Govindrao felt an excitement to meet Shri Sai and he decided to leave for Shirdi on same evening. He took a train to Dadar and decided to board the Manmad passenger from there. During his travel to Dadar out of nowhere a person approached him and started enquiring about his travel. He gave a timely advice to Govindrao, to not get down at Dadar since the Manmad passenger doesn't halt there. He should instead go to Boribandar. Govindrao did as advised and reached Shirdi the next morning where his friend Kakasaheb Dixit was waiting for him. What a luck !! Or Sai's blessing.

Upon reaching Shirdi, they happen to meet Shri Sai who was on his way back from Lendi bagh. Govindrao & Kakasaheb felt on Baba's feet and took his blessings. Govindrao was seeing Baba for the first time, his joy knew no bounds, he felt blessed. After this quick darshan they left to lodging and there they met Balasaheb Bhat. The normal chit chat took the form of heated argument and went on and on, with Govindrao insisting that one should not put their complete faith in a guru and lose their independence. Govindrao was sincere, hard working and always believed in fruit from action, rather than depending on a guru's grace. He was of the opinion that one should carry their assigned duties and responsibilities whole heartedly and intelligently. No guru can help a person who is lazy or careless. On the other hand, Balasaheb was of the opinion that no matter how much intelligent a person is, he is not free from the bondage and has no control on the outcome. Balasaheb was a strong believer in fate whereas Govindrao didn't like the idea of leaving everything on fate. As with any arguments, Govindrao thought he was absolutely right and took lot of pride in maintaing his stance. He lost all the peace which he had experienced from Sai Darshan.
अंगी दुर्धर देहाभिमान 
तेणेच वादावादिचे जनन 
अह्मभावाची ही खुणा 
नाहीं त्यावीं वाद जगीं 

In the evening when they went to take Sai Darshan, Sai Baba who knew everything pointedly asked the people what argument was happening in the lodging. He looked at Govindrao and taunted what this Hemadpant is saying. Govindrao felt ashamed and he regretted his previous argument. He knew that 'Hemadri' was a smart and capable minister from 13th century and Sai Baba by calling him Hemdpant was instead ridiculing him and trying to teach him that argument should be avoided. Sai Baba explained to all that the tendency to argue indicate that we have unnecessary ego and pride in us and because of such bad qualities we don't let the grace of God to flow into our life.

जेथे वादावादिची बुद्धि 
तेथे अविद्या मायासमृद्धि 
नाहीं तेथें स्वहितसमृद्धि 
सदा दुर्बुधि कुतर्की
तों ना आत्मज्ञानासी पात्र
त्यासी ग्रासी अज्ञान मात्र
नाहीं तयासी इहपरत्र
असुख सर्वत्र सर्वदा
नको स्वपक्षस्थापन
नको पर्पक्षनिराकरण
नको पक्षद्वयात्मक विवरण
काय ते निष्कारण सायास

Govindrao was open minded, he accepted and learned from this advice. He accepted the new name of Hemadpant so he always knew that he has to refrain from argument.  Through this story Shri Sai taught this valuable lesson to all of us. Govindrao realized that Sri Rama as well as Sri Krishna accepted the discipleship of their gurus, even though they were the incarnation of God. So what's the question for ordinary people like us. All the religious text have clearly mentioned that its not possible to gain knowledge or God realization without the help of a Guru.

Jai Shri Sai !

Monday, February 27, 2012

Chapter 1 : Salutations

This chapter begins with salutations to Lord Ganesha who is the remover of all the obstacles. The author offers his salutations to Saraswati, Bhrama, Vishnu, Shiva and other deities to have their goodwill. He then offers salutation to all the modern saints including Nivrutti, Dyaneshwar, Mukta, Sopana, Eknath, Swami Janardana, Tukaram, Kanha & Narhari.

He then bows and surrender's himself at Sadguru Sai's feet and ask for his blessings.

There are several lines in the original Sai Satcharitra which are so full of nectar that it's magic would be lost if its translated. I will reproduce few of them as is, so it can be enjoyed and remembered in its original form.

ऑम नमो सद्गुरूराया 
चराचराच्या विसाविया 
अधिष्ठान विश्वा अवघिया 
अससी सदया तू  एक...

परमात्मा सुख परमात्मा प्राप्ती 
ब्रह्मानंदा स्वरूपस्तिथी 
इत्यादी हि शब्दजालाची स्तिथी 
आनंद वृत्ति पाहिजे 
जयासी बांधली हि एक वृत्ति 
सदा सर्वदा हि एक स्तिथी 
सुख शांती समाधान चित्ती  
परम प्राप्ती ती हीच 

पाहता  श्री साईंनचे मुख
हरुन जातसे तहान भूक 
काय तयापुढे  इतर सुख 
पड़े भवदुःखविस्मृत्ति 
पाहता बाबांच्या नयनांकडे
आप आपणा विसर पडे 
आंतुनी येती जें प्रेमाचे उभडे 
वृत्ति बुडे रसरंगी 

One morning Shri Sai Baba after finishing his morning rituals decided to grind grains with his own hand. He rolled up his sleeves and sat around a grinding stone with a bag full of grains to grind. Everyone around was pleasantly surprised to see this act of Baba and they knew that behind this action there is some other significance. However no one dared to ask or interrupt Baba. Baba was completely engrossed in this work when four village ladies came up and lovingly took away the grinding handle to themselves and started grinding the grains. They were taking turns and singing Baba's songs while they finished with the grinding. Baba was quiet all the time. After they finished with the grinding, the ladies thought that Baba does not have any family, he doesn't cook and always likes to share and help others. They distributed the grounded flour among themselves and were about to collect it and leave. Till now Baba was quiet but he got enraged when he saw the selfish act of the ladies and mocked them for acting in such a way. The villagers loved Baba a lot and they never minded with the scoldings of Baba, they had full faith in Baba and were always enthusiastic to follow Baba's advice. Baba told them to take this flour and throw it outside the village boundaries. The ladies promptly followed Baba's advice and left.

For a person who is new and visiting Shirdi for the first time would never get a hang of these actions. However the fortunate villagers of Shirdi knew in their hearts that these act of Baba was to eliminate the disease of plague which was spreading in the village. Baba was not grinding the grains but with this generous act he was in fact grinding the disease so his loving people doesn't have to face the wrath of the disease. Sai Baba always took care of the villagers and his devotees even though they remember him or not.

Such are the stories of Shri Sai Baba, who always taught life's useful lesson through his actions.

Jai Shri Sai !