Thursday, March 12, 2009

||chapter fifteen||

|| sri sai satcharitra ||

|| chapter fifteen ||

|| sugarless tea and the two lizards ||

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

In this chapter, Hemad Pant tells us about Naradiya kirtan paddhati, Mr. Cholkar’s sugarless tea, two lizards and other matters.


It is only because of some good deeds done in the previous life that one can have darshan of Sri Sai Baba. Those who get the darshan of Baba can attain great things in spiritual life. Baba is ever forgiving and always full of love and affection. Those who listen to His stories repeatedly and fix His image in their minds can also see Him. To facilitate such listeners, kirtans are performed. It was earlier seen that during Sri Ramanavami celebrations at Shirdi, kirtans were performed.

Kirtans are stage shows in which the artiste tells glorifying stories of great mythological heroes, partly in prose and partly in poetry with the help of music. He will have a ‘chiplis’ in his hands. The musical accompaniments will be a harmonium, tablas and a violin. The programme would start around 8 or 9 pm and go on for several hours, extending into early morning hours. The artiste who performs the kirtan is called as ‘Haridas’ or Kirtankar. The tradition of singing the glories of God, started with the mythological figure - Narada. As the description goes, Narada had only a dhoti, a bare torso, with garlands of rudraksha maalas and flowers. He had long overflowing trusses of hairs which were neatly tied and arranged in the form of a turban above his head. He had a veena around his shoulders which he plucked from his right hand and ‘chiplis’ in his left hand.

Over the years, the dress became more and more glamorous, with the kirtankars putting on a pheta or a turban on the head, a long flowing coat with a shirt inside, an uparani (short dhoti) on the shoulders. They had plenty of garlands also. Dasganu Maharaj also dressed like that and performed.

When Baba entrusted the task of performing kirtan to Dasganu Maharaj during Sri Ramanavami celebrations, Dasganu dressed as described above and went to Baba for His blessing. Baba was amused and said, “Well, well, bride groom! Where are you going dressed like this?” Dasganu replied, “For singing kirtans.” Smilingly Baba said, “Why all these decorations - the coat, the uparani, pheta etc? Remove all these things and be simple.” Dasganu immediately took off all the extra decorations and laid them at the feet of Baba. He was bare bodied above his waist, had a garland and ‘chiplis’ in his hand. This is not the common practice, but it is the purest and best form as ordained by Baba. Singing the glory of God is more important than the outer decorations. Whenever and wherever Dasganu Maharaj performed, the audiences were spell bound. He had that rare quality of holding the attention of the audiences with his story telling art.


Baba was not so widely known in the earlier days. He was known only in Poona and Ahmednagar Districts. It was mostly because of Nanasaheb Chandorkar and Dasganu Maharaj that Baba came to be known in the Konkan (Bombay) area. Nanasaheb Chandorkar talked about Baba in his speeches. Dasganu Maharaj performed kirtans singing the glories of Baba. He used to perform at various places and at all those places, he sang about Baba.

Kirtans attract many people. During those days, it was one of the very few sources of entertainment mixed with education. The story was always from mythology, glorifying God. Some came for the music; some came for the erudition with which the kirtankar spoke and many came just to spend time. Very few came for getting benefited from the moral of the kirtans. Dasganu was one of the best kirtankars of that time and attracted huge crowds wherever he performed. And the topic was invariably about Baba. The effect of listening to Dasganu was electrifying. In one of those performances, among the spectators, there was an ardent listener called Cholkar.

Dasganu Maharaj was once performing in Koupineshwar temple in Thana. The topic was, as it always happened, the glory of Baba. Cholkar was listening with rapt attention. He was a temporary employee in the Civil Court. His job would become permanent only if he passed the departmental examination. He had already made an attempt and failed. Supporting his large family was proving to be beyond his means. Dasganu’s kirtan was so effective on Cholkar’s mind that he vowed then and there that if he passed the examination and became permanent, he would go to Shirdi, fall at the feet of Baba and distribute sugar-candy.

With Baba’s grace and blessing, he passed the examination and became a permanent employee. Cholkar was happy and wanted, more than ever, to go to Shirdi and fall at the divine feet of Baba and to fulfill the vow at the earliest. Even in those days making a trip to Shirdi, with a family as big as Cholkar’s, was a heavy burden for anyone. But Cholkar had made up his mind. As far as he was concerned, there was no alternative. He decided that he had to cut down his expenses and save money. So he thought of a plan to save enough money to take his family to Shirdi. He decided not to use any sugar in his daily consumption of tea and take it without sugar. It was a self-imposed punishment for the delay in meeting his benefactor.

Once again with Baba’s blessing, very shortly, he was able to save enough money to take his family to Shirdi. He went to Shirdi, had Baba’s darshan and prostrated at His feet. He offered a coconut and distributed sugar-candy along with it very happily. He told Baba that he was fortunate to have Baba’s darshan and because of Baba his desires were fulfilled. He had come to the masjid with his host, Bapusaheb Jog. When they were about to leave, Baba told Jog, “Give your guest plenty of tea saturated with sugar.” Jog did not understand what Baba meant, but Cholkar who understood, was astounded and deeply moved. With doubled up faith and tears streaming down his eyes, he fell at Baba’s feet and prayed that Baba should continue to look after his welfare. Cholkar understood that Baba, being a sarvajna, had known about his determination to cut down sugar from his daily consumption. He narrated the entire episode to Bapusaheb Jog later on.

Baba had told several times, “Ask Me, I will give you. Call Me, I will respond instantly. Open your heart to Me and I will reside there. Once there, I am always with you wherever you are. I know what you are doing, even though I am here and you are beyond the seven seas. Worship Me and I will always protect you. Blessed and fortunate indeed are those who give their love and affection to Me.” Let us open our hearts and invite Baba. He will come. Once He is there, let us surrender ourselves totally to Him and prostrate at His divine feet.


There is a strong belief in some of us that the clicking of a lizard or its fall on any part of our body portends either good or bad. To ward off the evil effects, people visit the famous pilgrim centre Kanchivaram in Tamil Nadu. Those who have not gone, touch the feet of those who have visited the temple.

Once, a devotee was sitting near Baba. At that time a lizard was moving on the nearby wall and making ‘click’, ‘click’ sound. The devotee wanted to know what it portended for him and asked Baba. Very patiently Baba explained him that the lizard was expressing its happiness over the news that its sister was coming from Aurangabad. The devotee could not understand anything that Baba said.

Almost immediately, another devotee of Baba came for His darshan from Aurangabad. He was actually going to some other place on horse back. As the horse was tired and hungry, he wanted to feed it. He removed the bag with the horse feed from his shoulder and struck it on the ground so that any dirt could be removed clean. Right at that time, a lizard came out from the bag. With every one seeing it, it mounted the nearby wall and went very fast towards the other lizard. Baba, to eliminate all doubts the devotee may have had because of His earlier reply, asked him to observe the lizard carefully. The Aurangabad lizard went to its sister. Both the lizards met. They danced happily, kissed each other and then embraced. It was obvious that they were meeting after a long time. Some questions do arise after this two lizard episode.

Why should the Shirdi lizard show happiness? Why did the horse rider come to Shirdi from Aurangabad? Why did the horse feel hungry near Shirdi itself? Why should the devotee hear the clicking sound of the lizard? How could Baba explain the Shirdi lizard’s feelings? How could He predict that the Aurangabad lizard was coming? How did He know about the relationship of the lizards? And how could Baba’s prediction prove to be correct almost immediately?

All the above questions have only one answer. It was an extraordinary coincidence. The entire episode took place only to make the devotees aware of the awesome powers of Baba. He could not only understand the language of beings other than human, but He could also see far ahead in time, a capability no human possesses. It establishes once again, if at all required, that Baba is omniscient - a sarvajna.

The more we listen to Baba’s stories, we can understand better Baba’s ever forgiving, affectionate and all pervasive nature. The more we understand Baba’s love for us, our desires become less and less. Once the desires decrease, we are on the path of self realization. Once he surrendered totally to Baba, Hemad Pant did not leave Him even for a moment.

Those who read this chapter daily with devotion and affection, will have all their miseries and difficulties removed by the grace and blessing of Baba.

With this the fifteenth chapter, called as Sugarless tea and two lizards, is complete. In the next two chapters, Hemad Pant tells us about a rich gentleman who wanted instant Brahma-Jnana and other matters.

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

No comments:

Post a Comment