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

No comments:

Post a Comment