Friday, February 27, 2009

||chapter five||

|| sri sai satcharitra ||

|| chapter five ||

|| sai baba’s re-appearance in shirdi ||

|| Sri Ganeshaya Namaha || Sri Saraswatye Namaha ||
|| Sri Venkateshaya Namaha || Sri Sai Nathaya Namaha ||
|| Sri Sadgurubhyo Namaha ||

In this chapter, Hemad Pant tells us about the temporary absence of Baba from Shirdi, His reappearance in Shirdi with the marriage party, Baba’s wrestling match with Tamboli, residence in the masjid and other events.


Chand Patil, head of Dhoopkhed village in Aurangabad Zillah, had lost his horse couple of months back and could not find it even after intensive search. He came looking after his horse to a forest between the two villages Sindhun and Bindhun located at a distance of 9 miles from Aurangabad. From a distance, he saw a young fakir seated underneath a mango tree. This fakir had a cap on his head, wore a long sleeved shirt, kafni, and had a satka in his arm pit. The fakir was trying to smoke a chillum. He called the despondent Chand Patil by name as “Chand Bhai” and said, “Come here and have a puff of this chillum”. Chand Patil went and sat beside the fakir. The fakir was preparing the chillum. Chandbhai took the chillum from him and after powdering the tobacco leaf, packed it firmly into the chillum. He said, "I have filled and readied the chillum. But there is no fire. I have left my flints at home. What are we to do now?" The fakir laughed on hearing Chandbhai. He said, “Why are you worried that there is no fire?” Immediately, he hit the ground with his satka and a fire came up. With the same satka, he hit the ground once again and this time a spring of fresh water came up. The fakir soaked the cloth in the water, placed a twig on the fire and lit the chillum with the burning twig. He threw the twig away after the chillum was well lit and drawing satisfactorily, tasted a few puffs and gave it to Chand Patil and asked him to smoke. Chand Patil was stunned beyond speech by seeing the actions of the young fakir. The young fakir then asked Chandbhai about the saddle in his hand. He told the fakir that he had lost his horse couple of months back, and even after exhaustive search, could not find it. The fakir told him, “Why do you worry so much for the horse? Go and see beside that thicket. You will see your horse happily feeding on grass there.” Chandbhai went and searched in the place told by the fakir. To his great surprise, he found his horse there. Patil thought that this fakir was no ordinary fakir, and could only be an aulia (a great yogi). He brought the horse, came back and fell at the feet of the fakir. He invited the fakir to his village, Dhoopkhed. The fakir promised him that he would come later on, and later on he did visit and enjoy the hospitality of Patil.

Chand Patil’s wife had a brother. This brother’s son was of a marriageable age and his marriage was fixed with a girl in Shirdi. The entire marriage party was leaving for Shirdi from Dhoopkhed. The young fakir, at the invitation of Chand Patil, joined the marriage party and traveled with them to Shirdi. At the outskirts of Shirdi, the marriage party stopped near Khandoba temple. The young fakir got down from the cart and started walking towards the temple. Almost at the same time, the poojari of the temple, Mhalsapathi, came out of the temple and saw the young man walking towards him. For all outward appearance, the young man was looking like a Muslim fakir. Wandering Sufi fakirs were very common in those days and were known by their Persian generic name of sa’ih or sayyah. Mhalsapathi and his friends always greeted a gosavi with ‘Namo Narayan’, a bairagi was welcomed as ‘Jai Ram’ and if the visitor was a fakir, he was received with ‘Jai Sai’. “Ya Sai!” Mhalsapathi invited the young fakir and asked him to sit nearby. The young fakir sat there, and liked the surroundings immensely. He said, “How secluded and quiet is this Khandoba temple, best fitted for a fakir to stay”. Being a Hindu and the poojari of a temple which had the idol of Khandoba, Mhalsapathi was afraid that the young fakir’s desire to stay there may prove to be harmful as Muslims do not believe in idol worship. He told the young fakir, “Oh Sai! It is not fitting that you stay here. This is a temple for the Hindus. You look like a Muslim to me. You better go to the masjid or the takia!” The young fakir - who had no intention whatsoever of breaking the idol of Khandoba - was surprised by the words of Mhalsapathi. He said, “It is the same god who has created both these people. Hindu and Muslim are mere words - know this to be the truth. There are temples in this world and there are masjids too. God has not constructed any of them. Try to see the god who is one for all of us. He is Allah-I-llahi. He is the Maha Vishnu reclining on the serpent Adisesha! There is nothing which is other than your Khandoba. Know clearly as to who the real Khandoba is. Those who know the truth do not care for these differences based on religion. Oh pious one! Do not think that these temples or the masjids are the only ones to lead you to god. I will not trouble you. I will respect your feelings and have the darshan of Khandoba from afar. I hope you have no objection to that? ” The young fakir, being an extraordinarily intelligent person, understood that the reason behind Mhalsapathi not allowing him to stay in the Khandoba temple was fear of the young fakir’s religion. Religion, instead of uniting people, had become a divisive force. The fakir was a missionary and had, by concentration on God, achieved practically every siddhi that one can think of. The powers and the mission have a close relation. The mission has to be worked through the powers given and the powers are given only for carrying out the mission. His possession of vast powers both acknowledged and proved in Chand Patil’s case, was in need of a mission. That moment, precisely, defined the mission for the young fakir. It was the unification of the Hindu faith within itself and of Islam within itself, and, by purification and refinement of both, building up of one common central religion or faith that is fitted to be the world faith.

Mhalsapathi was filled with ecstasy of happiness on hearing these words of wisdom from the young fakir. Being highly detached and not governed by lust or other low urges, he could easily appreciate the wisdom of the young fakir, who had the same virtues of purity and non-attachment in a higher degree and therefore was drawn to him. He prostrated at his feet and bowed to him with devotion. He said, "You are truly the embodiment of wisdom. It is the accumulated merit of my past lives which has led me to you." He prayed, "Ya Sai! Please come to Shirdi and stay on in our village." The fakir agreed to do so. They both entered the village. From that day onwards people started calling the young fakir as “Sai Baba”. “Sai” also means God. Kabir used the word Sai to mean Lord, or God. In his book “Goraksha ki mayagar”, Ghoraknath used the word to mean Maha Vishnu. That was in the year 1858 AD.

Having the highest regard for Mhalsapathi, Baba, then, went to the dilapidated masjid in Shirdi and settled there. The process of unification of religions began by giving the masjid, a prayer place of the Muslims, a Hindu name – Dwarkamai.


Through Chand Patil’s story, Baba demonstrated that He could create two mutually incompatible elements like fire and water at the same place. By this, He also demonstrated that He had total control over nature. Both the elements fire and water exist together only in a human being- jatharagni and water. The human being here is represented by Chand Patil. The horse is compared to the wandering mind. Baba showed him how to regain the control over his mind. He showed that He is the sadguru. Guru is there to properly guide those who trust Him. Baba demonstrated that He truly is the God Himself.


Devidas, a sadhu, was living in Shirdi even before Baba’s arrival. He was living in the masjid where Baba made His residence. Both were happy with each other’s company and got on very well. Then one more saint, by name Janakidas, also joined them. They used to spend their time discussing about spiritual matters. Gangagir, a resident of Punatambe, came to Shirdi very frequently. He was a family man and a devout Vaishnavite. One day he saw Baba carrying heavy water pots and tendering plants. He was wonderstruck and commented, “He is now carrying water pots, but he is not an ordinary person. It is only because of the good fortune of the Shirdi people that this gem has come here.” Sri Anandswamy, a Gouda Brahmin belonging to Kudal area in Ratnagiri Zillah of South Konkan, was a follower of Akkalkot Maharaj and in charge of Yevala Math. He had seen Baba when Baba was very young and prophesied, “This young man is an invaluable asset. Though he is in this mud heap, he is not a stone. You will see that he will be doing great deeds in the future.”


When Baba was in His youth, He never cut His hairs short and used to dress like a wrestler. Whenever He went to Rahata, He got marigold, jai and juhi flower plants and put them in pots and tendered them. Vaman Tatya, a devotee of Baba, used to prepare earthen pots. He gave Baba two pots everyday. With those pots Baba used to draw water from a nearby well and water the plants. After His work was over, He threw those pots underneath the Neem tree. As they were not baked, the pots broke easily. Next day, Tatya used to give two more pots. This went on for three years and with Baba’s toil and hard work, a beautiful garden had come up. The present Samadhi Mandir, visited year after year by Sai devotees all over, was built in that garden only.


Bhai Krishnaji was a devotee of Akkalkot Maharaj. He worshipped the Maharaj’s photo everyday. Once he wanted to visit Akkalkot and offer his prayers to Maharaj’s Padukas. The night before his travel, the Maharaj appeared in his dream and said, “I am now in Shirdi. You come to Shirdi itself.” Following the instructions, he went from Bombay to Shirdi and stayed there for six months. As a commemoration of the extraordinary bliss he experienced there, he got Baba’s Padukas made and installed them under the Neem tree. The installation function was performed by Dada Kelkar and Upasani Baba on the Sravana Shuddha Pournami day in 1912. The entire function was organized by Sri Sagunameru Naik.


In 1912, Dr. Ramarao Kothari, a medical doctor by profession, came to Shirdi from Bombay for Baba’s darshan. His compounder accompanied him. Dr.Kothari’s friend, Bhai Krishnaji Alibagkar also joined them. While in Shirdi, Bhai Krishnaji and the compounder became intimate with Bhakta Saguna and G.K Dixit. They wanted to commemorate Baba’s first appearance in Shirdi by performing Paduka pratishta under the Neem tree. Bhai Krishnaji’s friend, the compounder, suggested that if this matter was brought to the notice of Dr.Kothari, he would get Baba’s Padukas engraved in beautiful stone. As soon as he was told about it, Dr.Kothari immediately agreed and took a sketch of the Padukas. Upasani Baba of the Khandoba temple suggested inclusion of a lotus, a Shanku and a chakram. He also suggested that the following verse describing the yogic powers of Baba and the greatness of Neem tree should be inscribed:

Sada nimbara vrikshasya mooladhi vaasaat,
Sudha sraavinam tikta mapya priyantam,
Tarum kalpavrikshadhikam saadhayantam
Namaami eswaram Sadgurum Sainaatham

I bow to the lord Sainath, who by His constant stay at the foot of the Neem tree, made it -which though bitter and unpleasant was yet oozing nectar (the oozing of this tree is called Amrit, (nectar) on account of its healing properties) - better than the Kalpavriksha.

As per the suggestions of Upasani Baba, the Padukas were prepared in Bombay and the compounder brought the stone carving to Shirdi. Baba instructed that the installation be done on the full moon day of the Shravana month. That day Dixit carried the stone on his head and came in procession from the Khandoba temple to Dwarakamai. Baba touched the stone Padukas and said that they were the Padukas of God and should be worshipped with great devotion after installing under the Neem tree.

A day before, Seth Pasta of Bombay had sent Rs. 25/- by money order. Baba gave this amount for installation of Padukas. The total expenditure for installation came to Rs. 100/- out of which the remaining Rs.75/- were collected from subscriptions. From then on Bhakta Saguna and Jakhade performed pooja everyday and lit lamps.

Bhai Krishnaji was earlier a devotee of Akkalkot Maharaj. During the Paduka pratishta, he had broken his journey to Akkalkot and halted at Shirdi. After the Paduka pratishta, he sought Baba’s permission to continue his journey to Akkalkot. Baba said, “The Maharaj who is in Akkalkot is here also. And that is I.” Having been thus reassured by Baba’s comforting words, Bhai Krishnaji stopped going to Akkalkot. He visited Shirdi many times. (Hemad Pant was not aware of some of the facts and hence did not include these details in the satcharitra.)


Mohiuddin Bhai Tamboli was a wrestler who sold betel nuts, betel leaves and tobacco in Shirdi. Once there was an argument between him and Baba. As the matter could not be settled and as Baba never used His powers for His own betterment, they decided to have a wrestling bout to resolve the issue. Being a novice, Baba lost the wrestling bout to Mohiuddin. From then on, Baba discarded His pehalwan like dress and resorted to a langoti, long sleeved shirt and a scarf over His head. He used the gunny bag as His seat. He used to say, “The title of Fakir is always superior to that of being called a Maharaj. Poverty is several times better than riches. Allah belongs to the poor. He will always be a friend and companion of the poor.”

Gangagir was also fond of taking part in wrestling bouts. Once when he was fighting a bout, he suddenly lost interest. At the same time, a siddha commented, “As long as the wrestling bout is with God, it does not matter even if the body is lost.” Gangagir heard this, was totally disillusioned with the material world and took to the path of self realization. On the banks of river Punatambe, he established a math and lived there with his disciples.


Sai Baba, on His own, never talked with anyone. He used to reply only when someone asked Him something. He used to sit everyday underneath the Neem tree, or on the banks of the nearby canal, or under a babul tree. Occasionally he walked up a mile to Neemgaon. There He used to visit Jagirdar Tryambak Dengle’s house. He used to talk with him for the entire day. Nanasaheb was Dengle’s brother. He married a second time as his first wife could not conceive. Even then, there were no issues. So, Dengle sent Nanasaheb to Baba. Baba blessed him and soon a son was born to Nanasaheb. From then on, people started visiting Baba. Sai’s fame spread far and wide. It spread up to Ahmednagar.

Nanasaheb Chandorkar had sufficient clout in government offices in Ahmednagar. Chidambar Keshav was a secretary in that Zillah. He invited Nanasaheb, with family and friends, to visit Baba at Shirdi. After Baba’s darshan, Nanasaheb also became one among His devotees. Like him, whoever came for the darshan of Baba became His devotee, and the family of Baba’s devotees went on growing. Though the devotees always thronged Him, Baba was totally aloof. He spent the day with them, and in the night, slept in the dilapidated masjid.


Baba always had with Him a chillum, tobacco and the satka. He draped Himself with the kafni. He covered His head with a white scarf, held in place by a knot over His left ear. He never bathed for days together. For weeks together He never washed His clothes. He used to walk barefoot as He never had any footwear. He sat always on a gunny bag. He never slept on a bed, nor used a pillow. He was always awake. He sat near Dhuni and warmed Himself. “Allah Malik” was constantly on His lips. Having sacrificed egoism and all desires, He sat facing south. The whole place in the masjid was of the size of only two rooms. Baba’s activities were confined to within that place. The floor was of mud, uneven and not leveled. He slept on the uneven floor itself. In the beginning, people were scared of coming to Baba. With the passing of each day, they never left Him alone. They realized the conditions in which Baba was living, and in one night they leveled the floor. Then they laid it with designed stones. All these changes took place in the year 1912. Before coming to this masjid, Baba stayed in ‘takia’ for a long time. Baba used to tie up ghungroo to His legs and dance beautifully and rhythmically to the rhythm of instruments. His singing also was very melodious.


In those days, Shirdi was a humble, poverty stricken village. There were very few shops in the village. Even those few were mostly the grocers. Sai Baba was very fond of burning lamps for pooja. He used to keep small diyas made of mud, and prepare the wicks with old torn cloth pieces. He carried a small tin box and begged for oil. Sai Baba would daily beg oil from the shopkeepers to light the lamps at the Masjid. In the same manner He would light lamps in the temples too. He used to conduct the festivals of lighting lamps at these places of worship. The shopkeepers were irritated at His begging for oil everyday from them. One day they all got together and discussed the matter. "From where can we give this man free oil everyday?" They decided not to give Him any more oil. When Baba went to beg for oil, He got the same answer everywhere. "There is no stock, we are out of oil"

Baba returned to the Masjid without speaking harshly to the merchants who, He knew, were telling lies. He then did a wonderful thing. He placed the earthen lamps all around the Masjid and placed wicks in them. The whole village had come to know by now and had gathered at the Masjid to watch the fun. They talked amongst themselves. How can lamps be lit without oil?

Baba took the tin, which had a little oil remaining at its bottom, and went back in to the Masjid. All were seated silently in the Masjid. Baba had enough oil to light only one lamp in his tin. Baba poured a little water, approximately half the volume of oil, into the tin of oil and closed his eyes in meditation. He took a little of the mixture of oil and water into his mouth and spat it back into the tin after gargling. He poured the mixture in to all the lamps. Incredibly, there was sufficient oil for all the lamps now. He lit the lamps and they burned brightly throughout the night. The people were stunned by this wonderful miracle of Baba. The merchants were taken aback by this miracle and repented for telling a lie. They begged Baba to pardon them. As Baba was above all such petty things, He pardoned them easily and advised them, “Behave always in the manner pleasing to the almighty. Never tell lies. If you stick to the truth, God will be pleased.” Baba had neither enemies nor friends; everyone was equal to Him. The people of Shirdi went back to their homes contentedly.


Five years after the wrestling bout with Mohiuddin, in or around 1890 AD, a fakir by name Jawahar Ali came to Rahata with his followers and camped in the open space near the Veerabhadra Temple. There were several Marathis in that place. One by name Bhagusadaphal became Jawahar Ali’s servant. Jawar Ali Maulana was a distinguished Maulana of that time. He had extraordinary ability and used to describe the entire Quran beautifully. The devotees in Rahata honoured him and respected him. Some considered him to be an aulia.He wanted to build an Idgah and started construction. Idgah is a wall used by Muslims for prayer. As it was built near a temple, people thought that he was desecrating the temple, stopped the construction work of Idgah and expelled Jawahar Ali from Rahata. Then he shifted to Shirdi and lived with Baba in the masjid. He was soft spoken and hence people of Shirdi also respected him.

Sai Baba’s mission in life was to unify Hindus and Muslims into one compact mass with common religious, spiritual and worldly interests. As His Hindu Guru, namely, Gopal Rao Deshmukh alias Venkatesa or Venkusa, had initiated him into all the Hindu scriptures and traditions, initiation into Islamic scripture - like the Quran and Shariat - and tradition by a Maulana was essential. Baba’s destiny had to be fulfilled by his getting a second Guru, a Muslim Maulana. Jawahar Ali initiated him into the mysteries of Islamic spiritual literature, by asking him to accompany him to Rahata. Baba lived there with this Guru for about two months. During this period, Baba did humble seva to the Guru, carrying water pots, fetching faggots, lighting up fire, doing hard physical work, which others would complain of. Baba accepted his position as the sishya of Jawahar Ali with perfect sincerity and underwent with sweet complacency. Jawahar Ali started telling everyone that Sai Baba was his disciple. Baba did not contradict him. The Guru never knew the greatness of his disciple; but the disciple knew everything about His guru. Still, Baba never humiliated him. He implicitly carried out all the duties of a disciple. Though Baba occasionally visited Shirdi, both of them stayed in Rahata only.

Baba’s devotees in Shirdi, headed by Mhalsapathi, thought that Baba had forgotten Shirdi, and despaired that He may not come back to Shirdi. They thought that somehow they should persuade and bring Him back to Shirdi. So they went to Rahata and when they asked Baba to return, He said, “This fakir is bad tempered. He will not leave Me. Do not ask him. Go back to Shirdi; otherwise the fakir will get angry.” Meanwhile Jawahar Ali heard the noise, came to the devotees and asked them, “What are you discussing? You cannot take this boy to Shirdi”. When the devotees requested, he acceded to their request and said, “You take me also with this boy”. Then they both came to Shirdi and lived there.

Devidas, a great man, lived in the Maruti temple of Shirdi. In the year 1846, twelve years before Baba came to Shirdi, he had come to Shirdi as a boy of 10 or 11 years old. He had lustrous eyes and was good to look at. Tatya Ba Patil and Kasinath became his disciples. Appabhillu and Mhalsapathi visited him frequently. Kasinath used to supply him with essential items. Seeing that Jawahar Ali had virtually held Baba captive, Jawahar Ali was drawn purposely into a dispute by Devidas. Devidas's questions cornered Jawahar Ali. The latter had to make so many admissions that the surrounding spectators were moved to laughter. Jawahar Ali resenting this humiliation left Shirdi and did not return there for long years to come. He went to Bijapur and stayed there. After several years, he came back to Shirdi and prostrated at Baba’s feet. He confessed that his delusion of Baba being his disciple had gone and repented for all that he had done. Baba respected him as before.

Baba showed, by example, how a disciple should behave towards his guru by discarding pride and working towards self realization. A disciple should submit himself totally to the guru; and the guru should accept the disciple completely. Those who dry up the vestiges of pride alone will attain fulfillment of life. Such persons, devoid of any egoism, can accept anyone as a disciple and can become anyone’s disciple. Guru and disciple are not distinct. One cannot exist without the other.

Baba’s good physique, the humility and disinterestedness at such a young age attracted people to Him. Great saints are freed of bodily requirements or discomforts. They are not bound by their actions. In them, duality does not exist. They see god everywhere and in everything. Hemad Pant heard the story of Jawahar Ali from Mhalsapathi and included in the satcharitra.

With this the fifth chapter, called Sai’s reappearance, is complete. In the next chapter, Hemad Pant tells us about the efficacy of Baba’s touch, Sri Ramanavami celebrations and the renovation of the masjid.

||Sri Sadguru Sainathaarpanamasthu ||Shubham Bhavatu||
Om Shanti Shanti Shanti

Thursday, February 26, 2009

||chapter four||

|| sri sai satcharitra ||

|| chapter four ||

|| sai baba’s advent in shirdi ||

|| Sri Ganeshaya Namaha || Sri Saraswatye Namaha ||
|| Sri Venkateshaya Namaha || Sri Sai Nathaya Namaha ||
|| Sri Sadgurubhyo Namaha ||

In this chapter Hemad Pant tells us about Sai’s advent in Shirdi, appearance of Vithal, Dasganu’s bath in Prayag, about the three Wadas in Shirdi and other events.


The life stories of saints and sages enthrall the listeners. Not only are they melodious to the ears, they also soothe the troubled mind. Among those stories, life story of Sai is like amrita. Sai devotees imbibe this amrita and go into raptures of ecstasy. The saints and sages are not born everyday. They are born only to resurrect dharma. Whenever righteousness dwindles, and whenever unrighteousness prevails, a saint will arise from the heart of unrighteousness to set right the dharma and guide people once again towards righteousness. Whenever the righteous are punished for doing the right; when people believe that wealth, wife and progeny are the goals of life; when religious instructions are ignored and everyone thinks that he is the most learned and wise; when in the name of religion, malpractices are carried out; during all those times adharma fosters and dharma perishes. To reinstate dharma to its pristine glory and to annihilate adharma, God takes birth again and again, age after age, in this world. Satpurushas and sadhus personify God’s will for perpetuation of dharma. They are born to give solace to the devout and once dharma is reestablished, they leave this world for their eternal home.

Sai, the causative force behind the sensory organs, was the inspiration for the writing of this story. It was He who suggested an orderly way of writing this story. No one else can describe His behaviour. When words fail, silence alone can do full justice. Only when the Sadguru makes up His mind, He inspires the devotees to experience the unusual. Every sensory organ can only enjoy that sense for which it is meant. The tongue enjoys sweetness by itself. It cannot share its pleasure with other organs. Similarly, every devotee experiences the bliss of Sai’s blessings all by himself. He cannot make any one else share his pleasure. It is only the Sadguru who, whenever He decides, can inspire a devotee to explain in detail His Leelas for the benefit of others.

Great saints and sages adopt certain places for carrying out the mission of their life. Because of the saints, those places achieve an aura and become places of attraction for the innumerable devotees. Narasimhawada, Ganagapur, Audumber and Bhillawadi are such places. Because of Baba’s stay there, Shirdi achieved an aura unmatched by any other place. Located near the banks of Godavari River, it is 3 km away from Neemgaon. Neemgaon is 6 km from Kopergaon in Kopergaon Taluqa of Ahmednagar District. Just as Mangalwada became famous due to Damaji; Sajjangarh became famous due to Samarth Ramadas; Narasimhawada became famous due to Narasimha Bharati, Shirdi achieved greatness because of Sai Baba.

Sai Baba chose Shirdi for propagating the message of universal love. He was generous, and treated rich and poor alike. Beyond misery and happiness, He had a compassionate mind and a consoling word for everyone. Baba was not constrained by religion or caste or creed. He was in everyone, yet He did not belong to anyone. Though He enjoyed flute or ghazals, though He was amidst people, His mind was always fixed on Allah Malik. He was never out of His Samadhi. When the world slept, He was wide awake; and when the world was awake, He was in deep Samadhi. At all times He arduously protected the interests of His devotees. To grant salvation from all worldly bondages to those who surrendered to Him totally was Baba’s mission in Shirdi.

For devotees of Baba, Shirdi itself embodied various pilgrim places like Pandharpur, Badri, Kedar, Puri Jagannath, Kashi, Rameshwaram, Nasik, Tryambakeshwar, Mahabaleshwar and Gokarna. Seeing Sai in Shirdi was the means to the Ultimate. They found Triveni Sangam at the divine feet of Baba. His soothing words are like the mantras of Vedas. Baba Himself is Sri Rama and Sri Krishna. Though Baba is all pervading, Shirdi is the focal point. He is present in Punjab, Calcutta, Gujarat, Deccan, India and other countries, yet having darshan of Sai Samadhi in Shirdi is the ultimate purpose of our life. Udi (Vibhuti Prasadam) offered by Baba is sacred. Baba glorified Shirdi as Eknath did Paithan and Jnandev did Aland. Though He was the enlightened, for all external appearances He behaved as if He knew nothing.

Initially, His devotees come to Baba for fulfilling their material wants. Once they are contented, they turn their minds towards spiritual progress. With Baba as their guide, they attain their supreme goal. Without any discrimination of religion, caste, creed, sex or region, providing spiritual shelter to those who surrender totally to Him is the primary objective of Baba’s incarnation. With Baba’s fame spreading far and wide, people came from all over to attain mental solace at Shirdi. The devotees get as much contentment by the darshan of Sai Baba at Shirdi as they get by seeing Vithal Rakhumai at Pandharpur. This is no exaggeration as the following example illustrates.


Goulibuva was a devotee of Vithal. He was a warkari. Warkaris are those devotees of Vithal, who follow a 600 year old tradition of travelling by foot from Aland to Pandharpur at least twice a year. He was 95 years old. He used to spend the chaturmasyam (four months from July to November) on the banks of Ganga River. He had an ass to carry his luggage and a Sishya as a companion. Every year during his journey to Pandharpur, he used to see Sai at Shirdi. Whenever he saw Baba, he used to say, “Baba is incarnation of Pandarinatha. He is the saviour of the poor and the orphans. Those who wear silk garments are not mahatmas. Baba alone is the personification of Pandarinatha. Devotees will know this by experience”.


One day, in 1916, while reciting Allah Malik, Baba asked Dasganu to perform Nama sapthaham. Dasganu agreed to do, if Vithal appeared on the last day. With a hand on His chest, Baba assured, “Vithal will definitely appear if strongly desired by a dedicated mind. Vithal’s Pandharpur and Sri Krishna’s Dwarka are all here itself. Vithal need not come from somewhere. He will definitely heed to the devotee’s call of love”. At the end of the week, Dasganu really had Vithal’s darshan. Kakasaheb Dixit also had Vithal’s darshan during one of his morning meditations. When he went to see Baba, Baba asked him, “Vithal Patil had come. Did you see Him? He is likely to vanish. Tie Him up securely. Even if you are slightly careless, He will escape.” Baba knew everything. Same day about 25 pictures of Vithal were for sale. Seeing the same posture in the picture as in his morning meditation, Kakasaheb was simply stunned. He bought one picture and securely tied it in his pooja mandir.


Bhagavant Rao’s father was a devotee of Vithal. His name was Kshirsagar. He used to go regularly to Pandharpur. He worshipped Vithal daily. With the death of his father, Bhagavant Rao stopped worship of Vithal. He also stopped offering naivedyam to God. He stopped visiting Pandharpur. When he visited Shirdi, Baba told him, “I have dragged him here as he is son of my friend. He has stopped pooja, naivedyam etc. He is keeping both Vithal and Myself hungry. I will make him start the ritual again.” Baba insisted that everyone should worship their family deities.


On a Mahashivaratri day, Ganpatrao Dattatreya Sahasrabuddhe, affectionately called as ‘Dasganu’ by Baba, wanted to have Gangasnaan (a holy bath in the confluence of Ganga and Yamuna at Prayag) by going to Singaba (about 5kms from Shirdi) and having a dip in Godavari river. Dasganu approached Baba for permission. Baba told him, “If you have unflinching faith, then both Ganga and Yamuna will flow here itself. One need not go that far for the sake of a bath”. With great reverence, Dasganu prostrated at Baba’s feet. The moment his head touched Baba’s feet, Ganga and Yamuna sprouted from both the toes of Baba’s feet and started flowing like rivers. Having witnessed what Baba could do, Dasganu could not contain his ecstasy and began singing Baba’s Leelas.


“Sadguru Baba, Your powers are immeasurable. Your Leelas are stupendous. You are the ferry to take us across the ocean of samsara. You made both Ganga and Yamuna flow from Your toes. You are the confluence of Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwara. At times You preach like Brahma, at other times You are ferocious like Rudra. And during some other time, You show us the childhood pranks of Sri Krishna. You are not Muslim, as You like sandal paste. You are not Hindu, as You stay in a masjid. You are not rich, as You accept alms. You are not poor, as Your generosity puts to shame even Kubera. Dhuni will always be burning for the sake of Vibhuti Prasadam. Devotees throng for Your Pooja right from the morning. They give You aarathi, fan You for comfort, and sing praises of You. At aarathi time You look like radiant sun, nearer Dhuni You appear like Shiva. By being with You, we experience the presence of Trimurthis.” Having worshipped thus, Dasganu prayed Baba to help him keep his mind fixed on Him.


The birth details of many great saints are not known. Both Namdev and Kabir did not have the usual parentage. Namdev was first sighted on Bhimrathi River by Gonayee. Kabir was first sighted on the Bhagirathi River by Tamal. Similarly, nobody knows the birth details of Sai Baba also.

Sri Sai Baba first appeared underneath a Neem tree in Shirdi at the age of 16 years. He was so radiant at that time itself that people accepted Him as a Brahma Jnani.

After seeing Baba underneath the Neem tree, Nana Chopdar’s mother, an old lady in Shirdi, described Baba as, “This young and handsome boy sat underneath the Neem tree in an asana. He used to be in deep meditation without being affected by sun or rain, heat or cold. He never mixed with anyone in the village. And when the villagers saw Him, love for the boy swelled up in their hearts. Though He was a young boy, His actions showed that He was a Mahatma. No one knew about the birth details of the boy.”


Mhalsapathi was a hereditary goldsmith of the village Shirdi. In addition, he was also a staunch devotee of Khandoba and was a poojari of the Khandoba Temple. He read Mhalsapathi Purana daily and at various gatherings. Every year he went on a pilgrimage of 150 miles to a distant place called Jejoori, carrying a Kavadi, to worship at the great temple of that deity. Mhalsapathi was a perfectly pure, straightforward, righteous, guileless and truthful person. His immense bhakti for Khandoba resulted in his getting that god’s obsession in trance, and oracular utterances came from that god through his lips. One day, when he was possessed by God Khandoba, people asked him about this boy. Answering them, the God showed a nearby place and said that if they excavated there, they may get details about the boy. Immediately, the villagers started digging up earth near the Neem tree. They found a layer of bricks, below which was a big stone. When the stone was removed, they found steps leading to a cavern below. Inside of the cavern was lined with lime mortar and there were four lamps glowing brightly. A small wooden seat and a necklace of beads were also found. Khandoba told them that this boy did profound meditation there for 12 years. To know more, the villagers questioned Baba about that place. He told them that the place belonged to His Guru and it should be secured as before and should be worshipped. Later Baba told, “Those who clean this place on Thursdays and Fridays in the evening and burn agarbathis, Sri Hari will be pleased with them and bless them.” From then on, people worship that place as the Gurusthan.


One of Baba’s devotees, Hari Vinayak Sathe, bought the place around the Neem tree. In 1908, he constructed a building there called as “Sathe Wada”. This was the first building which provided shelter to pilgrims coming to Shirdi. In subsequent years, two other buildings, Dixit Wada and Booty’s stone building also came up.

Kakasaheb Dixit, a solicitor by profession, went to London and in a rail accident injured his leg. From then on, he had difficulty in walking. Nanasaheb Chandorkar told him that his problem would be solved by Baba. When Kakasaheb met Baba on 2.11.1909, he prayed Baba that instead of treating his leg, Baba should treat him of the fickleness of his mind. A month later, on 10.12.1909, the night Aarathi was also started in the Chavadi. After seeing Baba, Kakasaheb Dixit decided, from the subsequent year 1910 onwards, to stay in Shirdi itself. With Baba’s permission, he laid the foundation stone for a building on 10.12.1910. The Dikshit Wada was completed in the year 1911 and was inaugurated on the Sri Rama Navami day of that year. Then, the rich man of Nagpur, Sri Gopalrao Mukund (Bapusaheb Booty) constructed a stone building. Lot of money was spent for this building. The money spent was well utilized as Baba’s Samadhi is located in it. With that, there are three Wadas in Shirdi. Earlier, Baba used to feed water to the plants in those sites. Vaman Tatya gave the earthen pots in which Baba nurtured the plants.

With this the fourth chapter, called Sai Baba’s advent in Shirdi, is complete. In the next chapter, Hemad Pant tells us about the temporary absence of Baba from Shirdi, His reappearance in Shirdi with the marriage party, Baba’s wrestling match with Tamboli, residence in the masjid and other events.

||Sri Sadguru Sainathaarpanamasthu || Shubham Bhavatu||
Om Shanti Shanti Shanti

Monday, February 23, 2009

||chapter three||

|| sri sai satcharitra ||

|| chapter three ||

|| baba’s permission and assurance ||

|| Sri Ganeshaya Namaha || Sri Saraswatye Namaha ||
|| Sri Venkateshaya Namaha || Sri Sai Nathaya Namaha ||
|| Sri Sadgurubhyo Namaha ||

In this chapter, Hemad Pant tells us about Sai Baba’s permission and assurance, assignment of work to other devotees and other matters.


Sai baba encouraged Hemad Pant and told “Do your work sincerely. Don’t be scared. Write My life story. By writing My Leelas, ignorance will vanish. By listening to My Leelas with devotion and dedication, all worldly attachments will go. Those who delve deep into My Leelas will be blessed with pearls of wisdom.” When Hemad Pant heard these encouraging words from Baba, he was pacified, prostrated at the feet of Baba and started writing Satcharitra. He was now confident that his task would be completed satisfactorily. God is always subservient to his devotees. He longs for the love and affection of the innocent. He never goes near the proud and haughty.

About His assurances to His devotees, Baba explained Shyama thus, “Fix your thoughts on Me; I will at all times protect you. To those who meditate My name with love, I will fulfill all their desires and enhance their love. To those who sing My Leelas and My story, I will bless them with unending bliss. To those who surrender to Me completely, I will give them peace and prosperity. I will uplift those who prostrate to Me and sing My devotional songs. How can those who always think of Me with devotion be distracted by worldly ways? All diseases will be cured by listening to My stories. I will protect My devotees even from death. Those who are dedicated and think of Me will always have a very pleasant countenance. By listening, meditating and thinking about Me, peace will dawn on them. All those sins accrued by speaking evil or listening to evil will be purified by reciting “Sai” namams. A single prostration will wash away all the sins”.


Being a sadguru, Baba assigned various tasks to His devotees so that they could earn His blessings. Baba got the Temple constructed through Bapusaheb Booty. He made Dasganu sing devotional songs. He asked Shyama to go on a pilgrimage. He decided that Hemad Pant should write His story. All these are examples of the guru kripa - blessings of the Guru. It was Baba’s blessings alone which gave Hemad Pant the courage to undertake such an arduous task. It was Baba who dispelled the haughtiness of Hemad Pant and made him write about His devotees and His Leelas. There is no exaggeration in saying that Baba Himself wrote the story. What could be attained in Krita yugam by Dhyanam; by Yagna and Yagas in Treta Yugam; and by Archanas in Dwapara Yugam, could be attained in Kali Yugam by singing devotional songs of the Guru. (Krita Yugam or Satya Yugam or Swarna Yugam consists of 17, 28, 000 years. Treta Yugam consists of 12, 96, 000 years and Dwapara Yugam consists of 8, 64, 000 years. Kali Yugam or the Iron Yugam consists of 4, 32, 000 years.) Hemad Pant’s thoughts ran like this, “I am an incompetent person. I undertake a work but cannot complete it properly. If I do not make any attempt, I will be disobeying Baba’s commands. If I want to follow His orders, I am afraid that I may not be competent. Unless Sai showers His mercy on Me, I may not be able to complete this task. Baba should accept this task Himself and complete it also by Himself.”

He further thought that though a Brahmin by birth, he was blind without the enlightening vision of Sruti and Smriti. He was a useless fellow and hence needs to be pitied. That was the reason why he was not able to write the Satcharitra. Why should he be scared? Baba is like a supporting stick to the blind. With the grace of God, a dumb person can talk like Bruhaspati. Even a lame person can cross a mountain. Baba will grant him sufficient wisdom to get his job done. Hemad Pant also prayed that as long as he was alive he would live by doing Baba’s work. Lifeless musical instruments like the harmonium or the flute come to life with melodious music because of the player. The waves that rise in sea are due not to the sea but to the moon. Like them, Hemad Pant thought that he was only an instrument and the actual person writing the Satcharitra was Baba Himself.


In order to help the ships to find their way while traveling in sea, lighthouses are constructed. Lighthouses prevent ships from losing their way. Similarly, Sai Baba’s stories help us in effectively crossing the deep ocean of Samsara. Baba’s Leelas and stories remove the feeling of duality in us. By listening to them, enlightenment dawns on us. By devotedly listening to Baba’s stories, salvation is provided by burning away all the sins. The easiest way to achieve salvation in Kali Yugam is by Sankeertanam. Anyone can follow this path. Listening to Guru Katha is the easiest way for all. Only those who are really blessed can do this. Other Methods of Yogam, Yaagam, Dhyanam and Reading are all difficult to follow. For Katha Shravanam, except attentive listening, nothing else is required. The ill effects of the five great sins - Consuming Liquor, Stealing Gold, Killing a Brahmin, Sleeping with Gurupatni (wife of guru is treated like one’s mother), association with any one of these - are removed and peace of mind is restored. By studying with devotion and attention, Sai’s image will be etched in the mind and it will remain calm and peaceful. The mind will remain still and undisturbed resulting in Self realization. That was why with Hemad Pant as the instrument, Sai wrote His story Himself.


Sai Baba’s love towards His devotees is like a mother’s love towards its child. Only a mother knows her child’s hunger even before it cries for food, and feeds it. Who else can feed a child without its asking for food? When the child grows up, the mother feels happy and satisfied by properly dressing the child with fancy clothes and ornaments. When the child comes of age, only the mother can understand its youthful ambitions. Like a mother, a sadguru also loves and cares for his devotees.

Hemad Pant narrates an example from his own experience about Baba’s motherly affection towards his devotees. He retired from government service in 1916 and after taking his pension, went to Shirdi. That was on a Guru Poornima day. All the devotees had thronged to perform Guru Pooja. Anna Chinchinikar, a devotee of Baba, suddenly felt that he should talk to Baba about Annasaheb. He said, “Deva, this Annasaheb has to shoulder the responsibility of a large family. The pension he gets is not sufficient for this purpose. Kindly get him a job”. Baba replied, “He will get another job. He will never suffer from shortage of food. All his difficulties will be solved if he continues to be under My shelter. He will get permanent happiness if he foregoes the company of bad people.”


Talking to Chinchinikar about Hemad Pant, Baba continued, “Nobody will come to us without any Rinanubandha. If you do My Pooja with devotion, God will grant you an akshayapaatra. This body is perishable. Brahman alone is imperishable, immortal. Worship only Brahman. That alone is the real Guru Pooja. In Geeta, Sri Krishna Bhagavan tells Arjuna the same thing. “I am pervading the entire universe in eight different forms,

Bhoomir apo analo vayuh kham mano buddhirevacha
Ahankara itiyam me bhinnaa prakritir ashtadaa
Ch.7 Sl.4

This Prakriti of Mine is divided eight-fold thus: earth, water, fire, air, space, mind, intellect and also egoism.

Different forms, different names all mean only Me. I am present in all things of this world. I am omniscient. I am the pranava ‘OM’. I am the all pervading Atman. Why desire other things when I am the Omnipotent? Desire for Me. Like the mist melting with the sun rays, all other desires will melt away with self realization. I am not the gross material body, nor am I the tiniest of the particles. I am only the ancient witness. I am beyond the trigunas and the sensory organs. There is no place, where I am not present. I do not do anything Myself. Nor do I make anyone do anything. I am the eternal bliss. I am the truthful form of Brahman. Understand that I am the Vasudeva who is eternal, pure and liberated. When the mind realizes that it is not bound by activity, and then turns towards God, that state of mind is called Bhakti. This alone is My pooja with devotion and dedication. Realize who I am, surrender to Me and become one with Me. Where will be the egoism if the mind is devoid of all activities and constantly thinks only of ‘Allah Malik’? Such a mind will always be balanced and will be completely at peace. To know that I am all pervading and then discard one’s pride at My feet is the only pooja that anyone can do. Those who surrender to Me, become one with Me. Thinking of the Guru constantly, singing songs in praise of the Guru makes one on par with the Guru. There cannot be a Guru without a Sishya, nor a Sishya without a Guru. They cannot live in isolation.” Both Chinchinikar and Hemad Pant were greatly satisfied by listening to this discourse. Sai Baba did not have any thought other than that of Allah Malik. And Sai never had any egoism. Sri Krishna has said that those who serve Him and those who surrender totally to Him would become one with Him. Thinking about that, Hemad Pant once again surrendered himself to Baba.


Ruhullah - one of Baba’s devotees - was strong and tall. He dressed in long shirts. He was attracted by Baba’s teachings and became a permanent resident in Shirdi’s Masjid. He never cared for anyone. Day and night he used to recite the kalmas in Quran very loudly, disturbing everyone. The villagers of Shirdi, having worked very hard in the fields during daytime, could not get any sleep in the night because of Ruhullah’s loud prayers. Baba never admonished him for anything. Because of Baba’s backing, Ruhullah used to pick up quarrels with the villagers. When they could no longer bear the loud prayers, all the villagers approached Baba and asked Him to stop this. Contrary to all expectations, Baba pacified them and said, “Don’t bother about Ruhullah. You continue with your own work”. Baba used to say that Ruhullah had a very unfortunate wife. Being a termagant she used to trouble not only Ruhullah but Himself also. She kept quite only because of Ruhullah’s loud prayers. He told the villagers that Ruhullah will become quiet once he gets tired and their problem would be solved. The villagers thought that if Baba could tolerate him being so near, they could as well reconcile.

In reality, Ruhullah never had a wife. He was one of the many wandering Sufi fakirs who came to Baba for spiritual guidance. He sang the kalmas as prescribed, and Baba had plenty of affection for him. Baba listened to Ruhullah’s kalmas attentively. He kept his company because He liked kalmas.


One afternoon, after the aarathi, when the devotees were getting ready to leave for their homes, Baba told them, “Remember, wherever you are, I know what you are doing. I am present in all of you. I pervade this universe. I am the one who is running this world. I am the mother of all. I control the sensory organs. I am the creator, destroyer and the preserver. Those who contemplate Me will never have any problems. Maya will consume those who forget Me. This entire universe is only one of My forms”. Thus Baba indicated that He was God.

There is no difference between a saint and God. Sai is in every being in this universe. This universe is the other form of Sai. His incarnation was only to uplift this world. To get immersed in Guru Tatvam one has to praise the Guru, sing his songs, and listen to him devotedly. With these, plenty of good takes place. Devotees can experience these personally. After listening to Baba, Hemad Pant decided to devote his entire time in serving the Guru.

Baba’s words to Chinchinikar materialized shortly, and Hemad Pant got another government job. However, this was only for a short duration. Subsequently, he became free and devoted his entire life in the service of Baba.

This world is one of the forms of God. He is beyond everything. There are eight ways of worshipping Him. They are idol, sacrificing post, fire, heart, sun, water, Brahmin and the teacher. Of these, the worship of the teacher is superior. Sri Krishna had told, “Contemplating Sadguru’s words will please Me. I will be happy to listen to the praise of a Sadguru rather than praise of Me.”

Listen to these stories and ennoble your life. They will see you through many difficulties of life. Ponder over them repeatedly. It was the inscrutable destiny which dragged Hemad Pant to Baba. Their meeting was also one of Baba’s Leelas. Those who read this Satcharitra and those who meditate on it are indeed blessed. Udyapanas, Vratas and Upavasams are all unnecessary. Reading Sri Sai Satcharitra alone is sufficient. Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, fix your mind on Sai.

With this the third chapter of Sri Sai Satcharitra called as Sai Baba’s permission and assurance is complete. In the next chapter Hemad Pant tells us about Sai’s advent in Shirdi, appearance of Vithal, Dasganu’s bath in Prayag, about the three Wadas in Shirdi and other events

|| Sri Sadguru Sainatha arpanamasthu | Shubam Bhavatu ||
Om Shanti Shanti Shanti

Saturday, February 21, 2009

||chapter two||

|| sri sai satcharitra ||

|| chapter two ||

|| the object of writing the book ||

|| Sri Ganeshaya Namaha || Sri Saraswatye Namaha ||
|| Sri Venkateshaya Namaha || Sri Sai Nathaya Namaha ||
|| Sri Sadgurubhyo Namaha ||

In this chapter, Hemad Pant tells us about the reasons that led him to undertake the work of writing of the book, people who are qualified to read it and other points.


In the previous chapter, Hemad Pant described the way in which Baba crushed the cholera epidemic and threw it out of Shirdi by grinding the wheat grains. The villagers explained the deeper meaning of the grinding of wheat grains to Hemad Pant. They also narrated Baba’s other Leelas to him. He was delighted by listening to these stories and decided to write the sacred life and teachings of Sai Baba. He thought that it would be interesting and instructive to His devotees. By reading and listening to Baba’s life story, all the sins will be washed away, and peace and harmony would prevail. But, writing the life stories of great saints is not an easy task. Their life is neither sequential nor easily understood. Those are indeed blessed who take upon themselves the task of interpreting the great lives to the ordinary men and women. Blessed indeed are those who constantly listen to and meditate on the stories of such great yogis.

After listening to many stories of Baba’s Leelas, though he was delighted, he understood that his task was not easy. He felt utterly incompetent. He prayed Baba, “Though I have spent days and nights with my friends, I can’t write a single word about them. Then, how can I write anything about an incarnation of God? When I cannot explain the working of my own mind, how can I make a mahatma’s life understandable to others? How is it possible to describe a form, even the four Vedas found it difficult to describe? Only a mahatma can understand and interpret other mahatmas. It may be possible to measure the waters in all the seven oceans, it may even be possible to tie up the entire sky in one single piece of cloth, but will it be possible to explain the meaning and purpose of Sai’s life? Explaining even one of His Leelas is fraught with difficulties. It was only Sai’s immense powers that inspired me to write this book. O Sai! Kindly bless me and see that this courageous effort of mine does not become a laughing stock.

“Jnaneshwar Maharaj, Maharashtra’s first and foremost poet and yogishwar, has said that those who write the life stories of mahatmas are dearer to the God. The idea of writing the life story of Baba was inspired by God Himself. So, God will see to it that some how His work will be completed. Why should I worry? God has a peculiar way of getting things done which He inspires in the devotees and which the devotees have been longing to do. Devotees are only the instruments to carry out His wishes. If Baba has chosen me to write His story, then it is His responsibility to see that the task is completed, just as, earlier Mahipathi wanted to write the stories of saints and the saints got it written by him in the year 1778 AD. He wrote four books - Bhakta Vijaya, Santa Vijaya, Bhakta Leelamrit and Santa Leelamrit. The same was the case with Dasganu Maharaj. By 1878 AD he wrote two books - Bhakta Leelamrit and Santa Kathamrit, which depict the lives of modern saints.

“In the book, Bhakta Leelamrit, Dasganu Maharaj has described beautifully the life and teachings of Sai Baba. These are covered in chapters 31, 32, 33. In chapter 57 of Santa Kathamrit also, Dasganu Maharaj has depicted the life and teachings of Baba. In addition to the above, Dasganu Maharaj has also composed several beautiful poems on Sai Baba. Baba’s life is also described in Vol. 17, numbers 11 and 12 of Sai Leela Magazine. Sri Raghunath Tendulkar and his wife Smt Savitribai, both of Bandra, have written gloriously about Baba’s life in the book, Sri Sainath Bhajan Maala. Some of Sai Baba’s stories have also been published in Gujarati language by the devotee, Sri Amidas Bhavani Mehta. Dakshina Bhiksha Sanstha of Shirdi has published some of Baba’s stories in their magazine, Sainath Prabha. When such vast literature is available, why one more? Any devotee will naturally ask this question.

“The only answer to that question is that Sai Baba’s life story is like a huge ocean without any limits. Whoever dives deep into it, will come out with unlimited number of gems of Bhakti and pearls of wisdom for distribution to all. These wonderful stories provide comfort and happiness to all those suffering from misery and mental agony. They also provide knowledge and wisdom and are as interesting and instructive as the Vedas. By listening to these stories and meditating on them, the devotees will be blessed with what all they have been aspiring. They will easily travel the path of self realization and bliss.” With these thoughts, Hemad Pant felt that by bringing together all the stories of Baba in one book, he would be offering his best service to his sadguru. He knew that such a book would be a delight, particularly, to those devotees who were not fortunate enough to see Baba in person. With these noble thoughts, Hemad Pant started writing Satcharitra. His mind was constantly telling him that it was Baba who inspired him to write and it would be Baba who would see that the work is completed satisfactorily. Hemad Pant had shed his egoism completely at Baba’s feet. At the age of 60, after completing his shastiabdi poorthi celebrations, he decided to dedicate the remaining part of his life at Baba’s divine feet.


Hemad Pant could not muster sufficient courage to seek Baba’s permission to write His story. He requested Shyama to talk to Baba. He agreed and pleaded with Baba, “Deva, this Annasaheb wants to write Your story, only if You agree. Don’t say that You are a begging fakir. Don’t say that it will be a laughing matter to write about a beggar. Only if You agree, he will write. It is not he who writes. You will have to write such a book for the benefit of the devotees. Without Your consent and blessing, nothing can be accomplished.” Sai Baba was moved by this request as it involved the benefit of the devotees. He blessed him by giving vibhuti prasadam, and placing His hand on Hemad Pant’s head, Baba said, “Let him shed his ego at My feet. When his ego is totally destroyed, and there is no trace of it, I will enter in him and shall write My story Myself. I should write My life story Myself and fulfill the wishes of My devotees. Hearing My stories and teachings will create faith in My devotees. Let him collect all the stories and experiences. Let him make notes. Let there be no insistence on establishing one’s own view. No attempt should be made to contradict other’s opinion. There should not be any discussions of pros and cons of any subject. It should be a simple narration of My story.” Baba used the word ‘discussion’ because of an earlier event in which Hemad Pant participated, and which in fact, got Govind Raghunath Dabholkar the title of Hemad Pant.


Annasaheb, as Hemad Pant was also known, was very talkative and used to hurt others by his words. He was also argumentative. Long before he went to Shirdi, he was a good friend of two of Baba’s great devotees, Kakasaheb Dixit and Nanasaheb Chandorkar. Both of them asked Dabholkar to go to Shirdi and have darshan of Sai Baba. He decided to follow their advice and when he was about to leave for Shirdi, his friend’s son fell ill at Lonavala. His friend tried all means, both physical and spiritual, to get his son treated. Still the fever did not come down. Then he brought his guru to sit by the bed side and comfort his son. Nothing worked and the boy passed away. That was a set back for Dabholkar’s plans to go to Shirdi. He thought that when a guru could not save his friend’s son, what is the use of having a guru? When the guru can’t do anything, why go all the way to Shirdi to see one more? With these thoughts, Dabholkar abandoned the idea of going to Shirdi. However, nobody can prevent destiny, and whatever has to happen will certainly happen.

Nanasaheb Chandorkar was a sub-divisional officer and once, had to go to Bassein on some official work. He had come from Thana, and was waiting at Dadar for a train to Bassein. Just then a local train to Bandra arrived. Nanasaheb got into it and went to Bandra, looked up for Dabholkar and took him to task for not going to Shirdi. Dabholkar told him about his predicament about a guru. Nanasaheb, because of his immense experience, could easily convince him that his thinking was wrong and made him commit to going to Shirdi. Dabholkar decided to go the same night. With the intention of going to Dadar and catching a train there for Manmad, he sat in the train. It was one of Baba’s miracles that just before the train started, a Mohammedan came hastily to Dabholkar and asked him where he was going. Dabholkar told him. The Mohammedan asked him to go straight to Bori Bunder as the Manmad Mail did not stop at Dadar. Had this information not been given to him, Dabholkar would not have gone to Shirdi next day, and his dilemma about a guru would have continued. As destiny would have it, such an eventuality did not happen and Dabholkar reached Shirdi next day around 9.00 AM. Bhausaheb Dixit (Kakasaheb Dixit) was waiting for him at Shirdi.

That was in the year 1910 AD. Dabholkar settled down in Sathe Wada and was very anxious to see Baba. Just then, Tatyasaheb Noolkar returned from the masjid and said that Baba was round the corner and that he could see Him immediately. Dabholkar ran and fell at the feet of Baba. The touch of the feet of Baba electrified him. It was an experience the like of which Dabholkar had never felt earlier in his entire life. He was lifted into a totally different plane. The bliss he enjoyed was several times greater than what Nanasaheb had earlier described to him. Dabholkar explains that by seeing Baba, our thoughts are completely transformed. The force of previous karma recedes, with detachment towards worldly affairs increasing gradually. And slowly and definitely, the entire world assumes the form of Baba. Dabholkar was consumed in that all pervading infinite form. Every fibre of his being was filled with joy and his mind was overflowing with gratitude to all those who made such an experience possible.


The very first day Dabholkar arrived in Shirdi, he picked up an argument with Balasaheb Bhate about the relevance of a guru. He defied the concept of submitting to someone else and foregoing one’s freedom of action. He wanted to know why a guru is required when ultimately it is we who have to perform the action. He asked teasingly, if we sleep without doing anything, will the guru help us? Dabholkar thus argued for exercising freewill. Bhate argued for the other side, namely destiny and the will of God. He told him to brush aside his cleverness. He also told him that pride or egoism won’t help. As it usually happens, there was no conclusion. Both were tired, and the argument was stopped. Dabholkar realized that egoism breeds discussion.

When they went to masjid, Baba asked Kakasaheb, “What happened at the Wada? What was the argument about? What did this Hemad Pant say?” and turned towards Dabholkar. Hearing these words, everyone was surprised. Even though the masjid was at a distance from the Wada, how could Baba know about the discussion, unless he is omniscient? Dabholkar thought that Baba called him Hemad Pant because of the discussion in the morning.


Hemad Pant is a short form of the well known name, Hemadri Pant. Hemadri Pant was a Minister during the reign of Kings Mahadev and Ramadev of Yadav dynasty at Devagiri. He was a great political strategist, generous and learned person. He wrote two books titled Chaturvarga Chintamani and Rajaprashasti. Hemadri Pant was of Srivatsa Gotram and belonged to the times of great saints, Jnaneshwar and Namdev. He also invented the Modi script used for accounting.

Dabholkar felt that he did not stand any comparison with Hemadri Pant. He considered himself a dull fellow of moderate intellect. He was of Bharadwaja, and not Srivatsa, Gotram. After sufficient thinking he concluded that Baba had called him Hemad Pant, sarcastically, to bring down his egoism. From then on he decided not to indulge in discussions.

Though Dabholkar thought that Baba had named him Hemad Pant sarcastically, future events proved that Baba’s words were prophetic. Hemad Pant managed the Sai Sansthan very efficiently and intelligently, kept all the accounts immaculately and above all, was instrumental in writing the book “Satcharitra” which deals with such abstract and complicated topics like Jnana, Bhakti, self-surrender and self-realization.

And more than anything else, Dabholkar had surrendered completely to the sadguru Sri Sai Baba. Hemad Pant also believed firmly in his Guru and dispelled all the doubts he had about a guru, from his mind. He learnt that without Shraddha (dedication) and Saburi (patience), he cannot attain self realization. Strange indeed are Baba’s methods of teaching His devotees.

With this the second chapter, called the objective of writing the book, is complete. In the next chapter, Hemad Pant tells us about Sai Baba’s permission and assurance, assignment of work to other devotees and other matters.

|| Sri Sadguru Sainathaarpanamasthu | Shubham Bhavatu ||
Om Shanti Shanti Shanti

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

||chapter one||

|| sri sai satcharitra ||

|| chapter one ||

|| the story of grinding wheat grains ||

|| Sri Ganeshaya Namaha || Sri Saraswatye Namaha ||
|| Sri Venkateshaya Namaha || Sri Sai Nathaya Namaha ||
|| Sri Sadgurubhyo Namaha ||


Hemad Pant begins this work traditionally with salutations to:

GANESHA - to remove any hurdles that may come and to make this work successful. He says that Sri Sai is Ganesha.

SARASWATI - the goddess of learning to inspire him in the writing of this work. He says that Sri Sai is same as goddess Saraswati. He further says that Sri Sai Himself is singing His story.

BRAHMA, VISHNU AND MAHESHWARA - the gods, who create, preserve and destroy. He says that Sri Sai is not different from the Trimurthis. He further says that Sainath is the sadguru who will ferry us across this ocean of samsara.

NARAYAN ADINATH - who manifested in Konkan and to the Adi Purusha of the family.

BHARADWAJA - in whose gotra (clan) he was born.

VARIOUS OTHER SAGES - Yagnyavalka, Bhrigu, Parashara, Narada, Vedavyasa, Sanaka, Sanandana, Sanatkumara, Shuka, Shounaka, Vishvamitra, Vasishta, Valmiki, Vamadeva, Jaimini, Vaishampayana, Nava Yogindra, etc and to modern saints Nivritti, Jnandev, Sopan, Muktabai, Janardan, Ekanath, Namdev, Tukaram, Kanha and Narahari etc.

HIS RELATIVES - His grandfather Sadashiv, his father Raghunath, his mother who left him in his infancy, his paternal aunt who brought him up, and to his loving elder brother.

READERS - to give their whole and undivided attention

HIS GURU SRI SAINATH - incarnation of Sri Dattatreya. Sai is his sole refuge, who will make him realize that Brahman alone is the reality and everything else is Maya.

The author then describes various methods of devotion according to Parashara, Vyasa and Shandilya. With this introduction, he starts narrating the story of Sri Saibaba.

See Sai with your eyes, smell the water which washes the feet of Sai with your nose, listen to Sai Leelaamrutam with ears, meditate the divine figure of Sai through the mind, and think constantly of Sai. That is the only way to get detached from the bondages of this materialistic world. ‘Om Sairam’ is our mantram. ‘Om Sairam’ alone is our meditation. For the sake of devotees, Brahma, who is Nirguna, has come into this world in the form of Sai. Prostration to Sai will remove all our difficulties. Sai is full of compassion. He is the one who will dispel all our worries and grant us eternal comfort. To fix our eyes on the Saguna Sai is all that we have to do. Immense pleasure is derived by looking at the face of Sai. All our sins will be washed away by looking at the eyes of Saguna Sai. The water that washes the feet of Sai is as sacred as the waters of Ganga River. Chanting ‘Sai’ constantly will give stability and prevent the mind from wandering. To know that one is not the cause of any action, and to know that he is not the one to enjoy the fruits of such actions is the Brahma Yoga. This knowledge alone leads to detachment from all actions. Only then can self realization be achieved. To work without aspiring for the results is the ultimate way to realization. Narada Bhakti Sutram tells us to dedicate the entire action to the god and keep one’s mind aloof from it. By the grace of the Sadguru alone, one can easily reach the other bank of this infinite ocean of samsara.


Sri Govind Raghunath Dabholkar (Hemad Pant) had just then gone to Shirdi. It was December of 1910. One of those days, he went to the masjid where Sai Baba was staying, for Baba’s darshan. Baba had named the masjid as Dwarakamai. At the time when Hemad Pant went, Baba was washing His mouth and face. After that, He spread a gunny bag on the floor, and placed a hand mill on the bag. The hand mill consisted of two heavy circular stones placed one on top of the other. The lower one had a spindle in the centre to support the upper one. The upper one had a peg attached at the periphery for holding it by hand. It also had an opening in the centre for grains to be poured into it. When the upper stone was rotated by hand with the help of the handle, the grains poured at the centre used to get down, and were crushed to powder. It was a slow manual process.

Baba folded the sleeves of his kafni up, sat comfortably near the mill, poured some wheat grains into the opening and started grinding them. The author, as well as the others who were there, were perplexed. They could not understand why Baba was grinding wheat, as He never prepared any rotis, nor did He store wheat flour for any future use. As far as they knew, He always ate from what He got as alms from the people of Shirdi. None of them, however, had the courage to ask Baba why He was doing it. The news of Baba grinding wheat spread like wild fire in the village. Most of them assembled near the masjid expecting something to happen. Four of the women folk went up to Baba and even at the risk of making Him angry, snatched the mill from Him and started grinding the wheat grains. They also began singing Baba’s Leelas. Though He was angry, by seeing their affection, Baba was touched and smiled.

While grinding, the women thought, “Baba does not prepare rotis, as He eats whatever He gets as alms. He does not have any wife or children or any one else to support. He won’t need this flour for Himself. After all, why does He need wheat flour? Being a very generous man, He wants to give us.” They finished grinding, and thinking as they did, divided the entire flour into four parts, so that each one of them could take one part. They packed the flour and were ready to leave for their homes.

Baba, who sat patiently watching them all the while, saw their actions and was wild with anger. He shouted loudly at them, “Is it your father’s property that you are taking away? Or do you think I owe you something? Just because it is freely available, you want to take it away, isn’t it? Take this flour immediately to the outskirts of the village and throw it there.” The women felt ashamed of their deeds, took the floor to the outskirts of the village and as per the instructions of Baba, spread it there.

Hemad Pant was curious. He asked the villagers around him why Baba did like that. They told him that cholera epidemic was rampant in Shirdi village. They also told him that what Baba was grinding was not wheat but cholera itself. Having ground it completely, He wanted it to be thrown outside the village. Baba was thus protecting the village by this act.

Hemad Pant’s curiosity increased further. What connection was there between the wheat grains and cholera? How can the epidemic abate by throwing the flour outside the village? He had many more questions but found after a few days that the epidemic did abate and general health of the village did improve. Fascinated by the actions of an ordinary looking fakir, who was being worshipped as a God by all the villagers and many of his friends, Hemad Pant decided to collect as many of Baba’s Leelas as possible, compile them in a book and call it Sri Sai Satcharita.

Hemad Pant sought Baba’s permission for Sri Sai Satcharita in 1917 through Shyama. Baba consented and blessed the effort with vibhuti prasadam. We will know more about Hemad pant in chapters 2 and 3.


It was not wheat alone that Baba was grinding. For 60 long years of stay in Shirdi, Baba used to grind out the ignorance, the blind faiths, and the sins of the devotees of Shirdi. Though it was a symbolic act, the grinding of wheat had a deeper meaning attached to it. The handle, peg on the upper stone, which gives a good grip, symbolizes knowledge. One must have knowledge very firmly in his grip. With this knowledge, the upper stone moves. The upper stone symbolizes Bhakti. With knowledge comes devotion. The bottom stone which is stable and does not move symbolizes the karma - our actions. With the knowledge in our grasp and with devotion, we perform our actions. For all these processes to function, a central spindle is necessary. This spindle which is fixed to the bottom stone but helps to keep the upper stone from falling away, and also helps in its easy movement, is the sadguru. Getting out of the eternal cycle of birth and death is moksha - liberation.

There is meaning in the use of wheat grains also. When poured through the opening in the upper stone, these grains get in between the two stones. Those grains which are at the periphery get crushed and become wheat flour. The flour is used in making rotis. These rotis get digested by living beings and after due course sprout again as wheat grains. Those grains which adhere to the axle remain unscathed. They do not participate in this transformation cycle. Those who surrender totally to the sadguru achieve self realization and do not get into the eternal cycle.

This was Baba’s method of telling Hemad Pant to approach a sadguru and get blessed. Hemad Pant, as he was also a divine soul, understood the implication and accepted Baba as his guru. Once he did this, the next step was implied - to tell us all about the Leelas of his guru. It was more with the intention of sharing with us the bliss he enjoyed and also show us the path - the path to easy salvation. With Baba’s consent and blessing, he was able to do it.

With this the first chapter, called the story of grinding wheat grains, is complete. In the next chapter, Hemad Pant discusses the objective of writing the satcharitra, title of Hemad Pant and the necessity of a guru and other matters.

|| Sri Sadguru Sainathaarpanamasthu || Shubham Bhavatu ||
Om Shanti Shanti Shanti



Sri Sai Satcharitra is a very sacred book. It is to be read with utmost devotion. Where ever it is read, that place becomes as sacred as the banks of Godavari River, as holy as Shirdi and invariably Sai will manifest there. He will mitigate all the sorrows and tribulations of those who read it. There is no necessity of performing any japa or tapas or any other difficult sadhanas. Mere reading of Sri Sai Satcharitra will please our beloved Baba. All Sai devotees are kindly requested to use the book in the following manner:

1. Get the book, 'Shri Sai Satcharitra' in whatever language one chooses to read. Neatly wrap it up in a piece of new cloth, and place it near Baba's photograph or idol with due sanctity.

2. Whether at home or elsewhere, one should always read a few pages of the book every night before going to sleep. Every devotee should try to keep Baba as the last thought before sleep.

3. During crisis it should be read devotionally for a week, as is mentioned in 'Shri Sai Satcharitra'. If possible, reading should begin on a Thursday or on some other auspicious day, such as Ramanavami, Dasara, Gurupoornima, Janmashtami, Mahashivratri, Navaratri, etc. After it's completion on the seventh day one should feed the poor and destitute either in the temple/home or wherever possible.

4. One should read it sitting in some isolated corner in the temple or in front of Baba's statue or Photograph/painting. If other people are present, then it should be read to them or with them as well. Group reading always enhances our love and devotion for Baba.

5. Wherever and whenever possible, it should be read continuously from sunrise to sunset in the temples on auspicious days. Devotees may be asked to read it by turn as is done in chanting the holy name i.e. Naamjap. Encourage children to read this book.

6. 'Shri Sai Satcharitra' should be read to the devotees - sick, old aged and those nearing death as much as possible. All of them will get peace.

At times, of distress and agony if one sincerely searches for the answers from 'Shri Sai Satcharitra' he will not only find the answers but also solace. His faith in Baba will grow. I pray Shri Sainath to reveal the divine knowledge and mysteries contained in this book to the devotees in the same manner in which he had inspired Hemad Pant to write this book sitting in his heart. Shri Sai Satcharitra should be read by all Sai devotees like Geeta or Ramayana or Bhagavata.


Patram pushpam phalam toyam yo me bhaktyaa prayachchati;

Tadaham bhaktyupahritamashnaami prayataatmanaha.
Bhagavad Gita, ch.9, sl.26

[Whoever offers me with devotion and a pure mind (heart), a leaf, a flower, a fruit or a little water—I accept (this offering)]


|| satchitananda sadguru sri sai baba ||

i dedicate

this work with myself.