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

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