Wednesday, March 11, 2009

|| chapter fourteen ||

|| sri sai satcharitra ||

|| chapter fourteen ||

|| ruttonji and the dakshina meemamsa ||

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

In this chapter, Hemad Pant tells us about Ruttonji Wadia of Nanded, Saint Moulisaheb, Dakshina Meemaamsa and other matters.


Stories of great saints and mahatmas are dulcet and mellifluous. They are like divine music to the ears. Whatever the saints do, their utterings, their Leelas are all pleasant to the sensory organs. Among them, Baba’s stories are to be listened repeatedly, till, not only the ears but eyes also start seeing the Leelas in front. Baba tells us what we have to do in a very easily understandable way. All the important principles of life are taught by examples and not in an abstract way. Knowing these rules of life, Baba desired that we should lead a good and righteous life. The goal of this life is to realize the self and God. It is only because of some good deeds done in the past life that we are born as human beings. Having been born thus, we should not fritter it away in the pursuit of sense objects. By acquiring Bhakti, we should strive for the four types of mukti;

1. Saaroopyam, to get the same form as god;

2. Saamipyam, being very close to god;

3. Saalokyam, to be in the company of god;

4. Saayujyam, to become one with the god. Saayujyam frees us from the eternal cycle of birth and death.

It is with the aid of this human life that one should aspire and reach the goals of life. Realizing that this life is short, knowing that death is always chasing us, we should not waste even a small moment of this life in activities other than for what it is meant - god realization. The path towards self realization is not easy.

It becomes easy by listening repeatedly to nectar like sweet stories of great saints like Sai Baba. By listening to these stories every day, we will see Him. Once the eyes start seeing Him, the mind will be firmly fixed on Him and will lose its fickleness. And then we will be on the path of god realization. Ultimately, we will be one with the pure consciousness.


Ruttonji Shapurji Wadia was a wealthy man living in Nanded, then in erstwhile Nizam State. He was a Parsi mill contractor and trader. He had amassed plenty of money and had acquired fields and lands also. He had cattle, horses and conveyances. In short, he was very prosperous. In addition to being all this, he was a good person and whoever went to him did not come out disappointed. He treated his guests very well. His friends also liked him very much. He was devoted to God. God, however, had not blessed him completely.

In His larger wisdom, God always leaves some deficiency in His devotees’ lives. In spite of blessing Ruttonji with everything a man could wish for, God had not given him progeny. Outwardly, Ruttonji was a very happy man, was very liberal and charitable. He helped anyone who came to him for help. Inwardly, the sorrow of lack of progeny was eating away his vitals. Just as - music without accompaniments; singing glories of God without love or devotion; a Brahmin without a sacred thread; proficiency in everything without common sense; pilgrimage without repentance ; ornamentation without a necklace - are ugly and useless, so is the life of a man without a male issue. Ruttonji was worried day and night about this and gradually he lost interest in life. But externally, he was the same jovial person.

Ruttonji had great regard for Dasganu Maharaj. When both of them met, he opened out his heart and told Dasganu Maharaj about his worry. He even told him whether God would ever bless him with a son. Dasganu Maharaj was moved. He told Ruttonji, “Go immediately to Shirdi and fall at the feet of Baba. If ever any one can help you, it is Baba alone. Baba is the living God on earth. He has incarnated Himself for the welfare of His devotees. He is kind and compassionate, so do not worry.” Because of the faith he had in Dasganu Maharaj, Ruttonji decided to go to Shirdi.

Ruttonji went to Shirdi, went to masjid, had Baba’s darshan and fell at His feet. Then he sat beside Baba and opened a basket, took out a beautiful garland and garlanded Baba. He took out some fruits and offered it to Baba. He prostrated at Baba’s feet reverently, and prayed, “Baba, You have removed the distresses of so many devotees. Who ever is in trouble, seek recourse to You. And You have never failed anyone. You have even saved people from certain death. People who were suffering from incurable diseases have been cured by You. Kindly bless me. God has given me everything except a son. Without a progeny, life is meaningless. Baba, have mercy on me.” So saying, he held Baba’s feet firmly in his hands. Baba looked at him in a kindly manner and with all the affection said, "Oh you have come? Very good. I was thinking about you. Your troubles are now over. Do not worry any more. That is all alright, but have you brought me any Dakshina?" Ruttonji replied with devotion, "Baba, you just have to command me and I will give any amount within my means as Dakshina." Baba said, "Do not worry; I do not want a big amount. Just give me five rupees. That will be enough. By the way, as you have already given me three rupees and twelve annas out of the five; you give me just a rupee and four annas. That will be fine". Ruttonji was perplexed. He thought, "I have never come to Shirdi or met Baba before this meeting. When did I ever give the three rupees and twelve annas to Him as Dakshina?" He did not say anything, but gave what Baba asked. Baba gave him vibhuti prasadam, placed His hand on his head and blessed him by saying that Allah is great and would fulfill his desire. Then Ruttonji went back to where he was staying.

The thought haunted his mind. He was raking his brains trying to understand Baba's meaning but to no avail. On the second day Baba said, "Rutton, what are you thinking? I came to your house on the day you were starting for Shirdi. You gave me a light feast and looked after me well." Ruttonji did not still understand what Baba meant. He took leave of Baba and returned to Nanded.

But he continued to think of Baba's words. He met Dasganu Maharaj and told him all that transpired in Shirdi. He told him that everything went on well, he got Baba’s blessings, but there was one thing which he could not understand. He said, “Baba told me that He got Rs. 3-12-00 from me earlier. I never went to Shirdi or met Baba earlier. How could I have given Him the money? Please tell me.” Dasganu also was puzzled. Then he remembered that Ruttonji had received Moulisaheb before he went to Shirdi.

At that time Ruttonji and all his friends were sitting with him at his house. Then, a mahatma came there. He was Moulisaheb, who used to roam along the banks of the Godavari River at Nanded, and was well known as the porter saint. Ruttonji knew him and loved him. The mahatma’s face was shining with the super natural glory of godhood. Ruttonji and his friends courteously welcomed Moulisaheb and made him sit in the seat of honor. They provided him with courteous hospitality. A party was arranged in honour of the saint. After the party was over, Ruttonji garlanded Moulisaheb to honor him with faith and devotion and presented him with a coconut. Dasganu reminded Ruttonji of this.

Next day, both Dasganu and Ruttonji went over the accounts and saw the account for the day of the tea party, when Ruttonji had honored Moulisaheb. The expenditure that day came to just the amount Baba said was received by Him. Nothing more, nothing less. Ruttonji was ecstatic with happiness. In due course of time, he was blessed with a son and Ruttonji was very happy. It is said that in all he had 12 children, of whom, only four survived.

We all come to know from the above story that though Baba lived in Shirdi, He knew what happened at places far beyond the limits of Shirdi. Not only the distance, in time also, He knew, the past, present and the future. Time and space could not inhibit Baba. He was beyond time and space. We also come to know that Baba is present in all of us. Otherwise, how could He have known about the party given in honour of Moulisaheb and the amount spent for the party? It is obvious that Baba identified Himself with Moulisaheb and was One with him.

In addition, Baba has taught us a moral in this incident. He has taught us that no matter where His devotees are, He will protect them and give them everything that is auspicious. He also taught us that the expenditure incurred in satsang and in the looking after the saints reaches Him. When we do the worship of saints and mahatmas it is as if we have worshipped Sri Sai Baba. That worship reaches Him too.

Rao Bahadur Hari Vinayak Sathe also did not have any children. When his first wife died, he was childless. He was very much worried that he did not have any sons. Baba asked him to marry once again. Following Baba’s advice, he married again. When his first two issues were girls, he was very much disappointed. His third issue was a son. Baba’s words were proved correct once again, and Sathe was a very relieved person.


In the beginning, Baba did not take anything from His devotees. He used to collect burnt match sticks and keep them in His pocket. He never asked anything from anyone. On their own if the devotees gave Him a pice(1/64 part of a rupee), He used to accept. He bought oil for the lamps or tobacco for His chillum. As seen earlier, He was fond of tobacco. Later on, the devotees thought that they should not go to a saint empty handed, gave Him some copper coins. If it was a pice, He would take it. Anything more than a pice, He used to return it. It was only after Baba’s reputation spread far and wide, and devotees came in numbers that Baba started accepting Dakshina. A question arises here: as Baba was a fakir and totally detached, why should He ask for Dakshina? Does it not indicate attachment to money?

These questions can also be answered on different planes. The simplest answer was that He never used the money for His own use. He collected the money to be distributed to the poor. Deeper meanings can be evolved as follows.

The Vedas say that pooja of a God is incomplete without the offering of Dakshina, usually a gold coin. Those who could not afford a gold coin could offer coins of lesser value. At the time of Vedas also there was an argument: if Gods were offered Dakshina, then why it should not be offered to the Saints? Ultimately, the Shastras decided that when one goes to see the God, a King, Saint or Guru, and a new born child, one should not go empty handed as all of them are various forms of God. Money, or fruits or anything else could be offered. In this connection, we can also see what the Upanishads say.

The Brihadaranyaka Upanishad says,

Trayah prajapatyah prajapatau pitari brahmacaryam usuh, deva manusya asurah, usitva brahmacaryam deva ucuh; bravitu no bhavan iti; tebhyo. haitad aksaram uvaca; da iti, vyajnasista iti; vyajnasisma iti hocuh, damyata, iti na attheti, aum iti hovaca, vyajnasisteti
Brihad.Up. (ii).sl.1-3

V-ii-1: Three classes of Prajapati’s sons lived a life of continence with their father, Prajapati (Viraj) – the gods, men and Asuras. The gods, on the completion of their term, said, ‘Please instruct us’. He told them the syllable ‘Da’ (and asked), ‘have you understood?’ (They) said, ‘We have. You tell us: Control yourselves’. (He) said, ‘Yes, you have understood’.

V-ii-2: Then the men said to him, ‘Please instruct us’. He told them the same syllable ‘Da’ (and asked), ‘Have you understood?’ (They) said, ‘We have. You tell us: Give’. (He) said, ‘Yes, you have understood’.

V-ii-3: Then the Asuras said to him, ‘Please instruct us’. He told them the same syllable ‘Da’ (and asked), ‘Have you understood?’ (They) said, ‘We have. You tell us: Have compassion’. (He) said, ‘Yes, you have understood’. That very thing is repeated by the heavenly voice, the cloud, as ‘Da’, ‘Da’, ‘Da’: ‘Control yourselves’, ‘Give’, and ‘have compassion’. Therefore one should learn these three – self-control, charity and compassion.

The celestials, the people in paradise, are supposed to be reveling in pleasures of sense. They are fond of enjoyment. There is no old age there. There is no sweating, no toiling, no hunger, no thirst, no drowsiness and nothing untoward as in this world. It is all pleasure and pleasure, honey flowing everywhere in paradise. They are addicted to too much enjoyment. So the instruction to those people was Da - 'Damyata'. In Sanskrit Damyata means, restrain yourself. Damyata comes from the word Dam, to restrain. Subdue your senses. Do not go too much in the direction of the enjoyment of the senses. That was Da to the celestials. Kaama is to be controlled by self-restraint.

Human beings are greedy. They want to grab everything. Hoarding is their basic nature 'I want a lot of money'; 'I have got a lot of land and property'; 'I want to keep it with myself'; 'I do not want to give anything to anybody'. This is how they think. So, to them 'Da' meant Datta - 'give in charity'. Do not keep with you more than what you need. Do not take what you have not given. Do not appropriate what does not belong to you. All these are implied in the statement - be charitable, charitable not only in giving material but also in disposition, in feeling, in understanding and in feeling the feelings of others. So, to the human beings this was the instruction Datta - give because they are not prepared to give. They always want to keep. Greed is to be controlled by charity.

And to the demons, who are very cruel, who always insult, injure and harm other people 'Da' meant 'Dayadhvam' - be merciful to others. The third 'Da' means Dayadhvam - be merciful. Do not be cruel and hard-hearted. Demons are hard-hearted people. They eat, swallow, destroy and demolish everything. Anger is to be controlled by mercy.

The human beings are required to practice charity; this is to facilitate them to conquer greed.

The teacher in the Taittiriya Upanishad says,

Shraddhayaa deyam || ahsraddhayaa adeyam |
shriyaa deyam | hriyaa deyam | bhiyaa deyam | samvida deyam|
Yesha aadeshaha | yesha upadeshaha | yesha vedopanishat |
Yetad anushaasanam | yevam upaasitavyam ||
yevam chaitadupaasyam ||
Book 1, Lesson 11, Sl.4

The offering should be with honour; the offering should not be with dishonour. The offering should be in plenty. The offering should be with modesty. The offering should be with awe. The offering should be with sympathy. This is the injunction. This is the instruction. This is the secret of the Vedas. This is divine behest. This is how the meditation is to be done. This is how this must be meditated on.

Sri Krishna says in Bhagavad-Gita,

yagna daana tapaha karma na tyaajyam kaaryameva tat
yagno daanam tapas chaiva paavanaani maniishinaam
Ch.18 Sl.5

The practice of sacrifice, charity and austerity is not to be abandoned; it is surely to be undertaken. Sacrifice, charity and austerity are verily the purifiers of the wise.

In order to teach the devotees the importance of charity and to remove their attachment to money and thus to purify their minds, Baba accepted Dakshina. For His own use, Baba never needed any money.

Baba had another peculiarity. He used to say, “Everyone in this world has someone or the other. I don’t have anyone except Allah. No one loves Me dearly. If someone gives Me something, I will return hundred fold.” This was another way of making the devotees whole heartedly ‘give’. There is an example of Ganpatrao Bodas, a film actor. When Baba asked him for Dakshina, he emptied whatever he had in his bag. The effect was that throughout his life he never lacked money. It just came to him. Baba hoped that at least in the hope of getting hundred fold benefits, people would partake of whatever they have with those who do not have anything.

There are other implications of Dakshina also. It was not always that Baba wanted money. This is illustrated in the following examples.

Once when Prof. GG Narke went for the darshan of Baba, Baba asked him to give Dakshina. Prof. Narke told Him that he did not have any money. Then Baba said, “I know that you don’t have money. Give Me Dakshina from the Yoga Vasishta you are reading.” Here Dakshina means - to understand the lessons taught in the book, make it part of the personality and keep it in the heart (where Baba resides) for putting into practice.

In another example, Baba once asked Mrs Tarkhad to give a Dakshina of Rs.6/-. She had great devotion for Baba and more than devotion, her love and affection for Baba was abundant. As seen earlier, Mrs Tarkhad was giving Baba some thing or other, even without His asking. At a time when Baba did ask for Dakshina, she did not have any money with her. She was very much pained. She did not know what to do. Then her husband explained her that what Baba wanted was not the currency, but the six great inner enemies - kaama (desire), krodha (anger), lobha (greed), moha (lust), mada (pride), and maatsarya (jealousy).

Ever forgiving, always affectionate and compassionate, Baba asked Dakshina for the welfare of His devotees only. For Him, rich or poor were all alike. In the name of Dakshina, He used to send even millionaires to the house of the poor and thus teach them humility. And though He collected thousands of rupees in Dakshina, He distributed the entire amount same day to the poor and by next day He was the same poor fakir once again. After His Mahasamadhi, only a few ruppees were left. Baba collected Dakshina only to teach renunciation to His devotees and not for His personal pleasure.


In an article in “Shri Sai Leela” magazine, Vol. VII, pp 6-26, Sri BV Deo, a retired Mamlatdar of Thana says:

“Baba did not ask Dakshina from all. Unasked, some gave Dakshina. He sometimes accepted it; and at other times refused it. He asked it from certain devotees only. He never demanded it, from those devotees, who thought in their minds that Baba should ask them for it, and then they should pay it. If anybody offered it against His wish, He never touched it. And if he kept it there, He asked him to take it away. He asked for small or bit amounts from devotees, according to their wish, devotion and convenience. He asked it, even from women and children. He never asked all the rich for it, or from all the poor.

Baba never got angry with those from whom He asked Dakshina, and who did not give it. If any Dakshina was sent, through some friend, who forgot to handover the same to Baba, He reminded him somehow of it and made him pay it. On some occasions, Baba used to return some sum from the amount tendered as Dakshina, and ask the donor to guard it or keep it in his shrine for worship. This procedure benefited the donor or devotee immensely. If anybody offered more than he originally intended to give, He returned the extra amount. Sometimes, He asked more Dakshina from some, than what they originally intended to give, and if they had no money, asked them to beg or borrow from others. From some, He demanded Dakshina three or four times a day.

Out of the amount collected as Dakshina, Baba spent very little for His own sake, namely, for Chillum and fuel for His Dhuni, and all the rest, He distributed as charity in varying proportions to various persons. All the paraphernalia of the Shirdi Sansthan was brought, by various rich devotees at the instance and suggestion of Radhakrishna Mai. Baba always used to get wild and scolded those, who brought any costly and rich articles. He told Nanasaheb Chandorkar, that all His property consisted of one koupin (codpiece), one stray piece of cloth, one kafni and a tumrel (tin pot) and that all the people troubled Him with bringing all these unnecessary, useless and costly articles.”

Dakshina was one of the two institutions Baba had established to test the caliber of the devotees for progress in the path of spiritualism. The other test was Radhakrishna Mai - also called by Baba as “School”. For spiritual progress, generally there are two obstacles: wealth and sex. Baba used to put the devotees to test regarding these two. He asked for money by way of Dakshina. After that he sent them to the house of Radhakrishna Mai, who was a young and beautiful widow. She used to make arrangements in her house for food for those devotees who came from far-off places. She completely devoted her energies in the services of Baba. Pleased with her devotion, Baba gave her some powers without her knowledge. She could read the thoughts of those who visited her. She used to caution those whose thoughts became perverted after seeing her beauty. Baba sent the devotees to her house at one time or other, just to test them. The devotees exercised utmost caution while in her house.

If the devotees ‘passed’ these two tests, then their spiritual progress was very rapid by the grace of ever forgiving, affectionate Baba. BV Deo has also quoted from Gita and Upanishads and shown that charity given in a holy place and to a holy person is good for the donor’s welfare. And Shirdi is the place where our presiding deity Sri Sai Baba is residing. Let us prostrate once again at the feet of our beloved Baba, give Him what all we have and beg for His everlasting mercy on us.

With this the fourteenth chapter, called as Ruttonji and Dakshina Meemaamsa, is complete. In the next chapter, Hemad Pant tells us about Naradiya kirtan paddhati, Mr. Cholkar’s sugarless tea, two lizards and other matters.

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

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