Tuesday, March 3, 2009

||chapter seven||

|| sri sai satcharitra ||

|| chapter seven ||

|| wonderful incarnation ||

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

In this chapter, Hemad Pant discusses the point about Baba being a Hindu or a Muslim. He also tells us about Baba’s Yogic Practices, His powers and other matters.


God does not belong to any individual, society, caste, sect, party, people or country. Men-women, poor-rich, unhappy-happy, foolish-wise, bad-good, atheist-theist, all these believe in God in some form or the other according to their own nature and temperament. Baba’s endeavour was to emphasise the similarities in human behaviour, and purge the mind of devotees from concentrating on the differences of social customs and practices by planting seeds of love and cooperation. Towards this mission, Baba practiced both Hinduism and Islam to create, nurture and stabilize the feeling of equal respect among his devotees. His incarnation, thus, was very unique. However, it also proved to be enigmatic to many of his devotees. To those who thought that He was a Hindu, He appeared like a Muslim. To the others who thought that He was a Muslim, He appeared like a Hindu. No one knew exactly whether He was a Hindu or a Muslim. Like a Hindu, Baba fully participated in the Sri Ramanavami celebrations. He used to get the cradle fastened for Sri Rama Janmotsavam. He got the ‘kirtans’ performed. On the Gokulashtami day he participated in the ‘Gopala Kala kirtans’. At the same time, like a Muslim, He also participated in the ‘sandal’ procession. On Id days, He allowed Muslims to offer ‘namaz’ in the masjid. Once during the Mohurrum festival, He allowed the construction and keeping of the ‘Tabut’ for four days in the masjid.

Unlike the Muslims, His ears were pierced. Unlike the Hindus, He advocated circumcision, though He Himself was not circumcised. Unlike the Hindus, He lived in a masjid. Unlike the Muslims, He always had the Dhuni - the sacred fire. Unlike the Muslims, He practiced grinding on the hand mill, blowing of Shanku, oblation in fire and above all, He allowed washing of His feet by arghya (water). Both Hindus and Muslims worshipped Him alike. Whoever went to ask Him about His religion, were captivated by His handsome figure. When Baba showed so many contrasting forms, it was indeed, impossible for anyone to say whether He was a Hindu or a Muslim.

Some said that He was born in a Muslim family. Some others said that He was born to a Brahmin family. For Him, all religions were same, all castes were equally important. He used to sit with fakirs and eat fish and meat. When dogs licked His plate while He was eating, He never bothered. He had stored the masjid with all the tools required for treating the grains, which the farmers brought. In addition, there was a Brindavan with Tulsi, and a wooden chariot. It was only due to some good deed done in a previous birth by all the devotees that Baba was available to them. Many got happiness, joy and peace of mind, at Shirdi. Even today, so many are getting blessed. Those who had Baba as Guru are indeed very blessed. All those who came to test Baba, forgot everything when they saw Him and prostrated at His feet. Baba never liked arguments. ‘Allah Malik’ was the only words He used to say. Rich or poor, both were alike for Him. He knew the innermost secrets of His devotees and yet He never told anything to anyone. Though He was the storehouse of all knowledge, He always behaved as if He knew nothing. He never liked personal glorification. Though He was human, people thought that He was divine. They thought that God had come down to Shirdi to live with them.


Once, a person was charged with theft of golden ornaments and was brought to the court at Dhulia. He told the court that the ornaments he had were not stolen, but given by Sai Baba to him. The court passed summons to Baba to be present to give witness. Baba ignored the summons. He used to throw the entire summons to the fire in Dhuni. Exasperated, the court sent a warrant. It was received by a head constable, Ganapati Ramji, of Kopergaon. He showed it to Baba, and Baba as usual, told him to shove it into the dustbin. The head constable did not know what to do. Ganpatrao Dattatreya Sahasrabuddhe (Dasganu Maharaj) was there at that time, and told the head constable to contact the Deputy Collector of Ahmednagar, Nanasaheb Chandorkar. At the instance of Nanasaheb Chandorkar, all the devotees prepared an appeal. They appealed that as Sai Baba was God, it was sacrilegious to call Baba to attend a court. Instead, they said, a commission could be deputed to Shirdi and whatever information was needed, could be elicited from Baba. The court appointed Nana Joshi as the commissioner and sent him to Shirdi. Three hours before the commission arrived, Baba organized seating accommodation in front of Dwarakamai. The following is the text of the interrogation:

Commissioner: What is your name?
Baba: Everyone calls me by the name of ‘Sai Baba’
Com: What is your father’s name?
Baba: He is also called as ‘Sai Baba’
Com: What is your guru’s name?
Baba: Venkusa
Com: Your religion?
Baba: Kabir’s religion
Com: Your caste?
Baba: Divine caste
Com: Your age?
Baba: Millions of years
Com: Promise that you will tell only the truth
Baba: I have never told untruth before, nor will I tell in the future
Com: Do you know the accused?
Baba: There is no one whom I do not know
Com: He says that he is your devotee and that he knows you
Baba: All are mine
Com: Did you give the ornaments to the accused?
Baba: In this world, whoever wants anything, they get it only from me
Com: With what authority you gave him the items?
Baba: In this world, all items are mine
Com: This is a serious case of theft. The accused says that you have given him the ornaments
Baba: What is this nuisance? I am in no way connected with this case.

The commissioner was scared and based on the village diary, he gave a report that the accused never visited Shirdi and Sai Baba never left Shirdi; as such the statement of the accused was incorrect. The thief was subsequently caught and duly punished. The commissioner did not even take Baba’s signature. By His replies, Baba made it clear that He was God. This incident is narrated by Sri BV Narasimha Swamyji in his book on ‘Devotees Experiences’. It was told to him by Dasganu Maharaj in 1936.


Baba got the temples of Ganapati, Shani, Shankara, Parvathi, Maruti and other Gramadevatas renovated through Tatya Patil. All the money He got from the devotees, He used to distribute among the poor. Whatever amount occurred to Him, like Rs.10, 15, 20, 30 or even 50, He gave it to each of them. The poor always used the money they got from Baba for something good only. With Baba’s darshan, the bad among them turned good. Those who were blind regained their vision. The lame got back their limbs. People heard about Baba’s powers and came from far and away places, to get His darshan. After bath, Baba always sat meditating near the Dhuni. At times He did not bother about taking bath also.

Baba used to dress in white. He had a beautiful headwear. He wore a long sleeved shirt and a dhoti. He was very fond of treating people of their diseases - physical as well as mental. Initially, He treated with roots. People found that Baba’s treatment was effective. Once, someone had a red eye. It was swollen also. As no other doctor was available, they brought the patient to Baba. He powdered some Beebe seeds, applied it to the eye and tied a cloth over it. Other doctors usually applied camphor, or cow’s milk. With Baba’s treatment, however, the redness had vanished the very next day and the swelling also had come down considerably. Though the eyes are delicate, the Beebe cured the inflammation. Baba treated several other cases also in a very unorthodox way.


Baba was a yogi. He had practiced yoga from His infancy and acquired unsurpassed mastery over it. The powers He derived from this practice was also immeasurable. Nobody could estimate the proficiency He had possessed. Following are two examples of His yogic prowess.

1. Dhauti or cleaning process: Normally, Dhauti is performed by gulping down a wet cotton piece of cloth, 3” broad and 22’6” long through the mouth. It is allowed to remain in the stomach for half an hour and then slowly removed. Baba’s method was unique. He went considerable distance away from the masjid, picked up a well near a banyan tree, washed His mouth and took bath. Then He used to vomit out His intestines, clean them thoroughly, and hang them for drying on a nearby Jamb tree. No human being could possibly ever have done this process. And Baba did this every third day. People who saw this were spellbound by this display of immense yogic power. They thought that He was a very accomplished Siddha.

2. Khanda Yoga: This was another unique yogic process that Baba practiced and perfected. Just as He cleaned His intestines by Dhauti, he cleaned the joints of His limbs by removing them separately and spreading on the ground for drying. This He used to do it at night in the masjid. When someone inadvertently saw Baba’s limbs spread all over, he was struck with grief as he thought that someone had murdered Baba. He could not complain to anyone for fear of being branded as the murderer himself. He spent the entire night shivering. Next day morning when he saw in broad daylight inside the masjid, he found Baba sitting hale and healthy.

In spite of such stupendous powers, Baba never even once used them for His own sake. Even when His arm was burnt, He did not use His powers to get healed, nor did He take the normal medical help. Instead, He just allowed it to heal by itself. He always used His extraordinary powers for the benefit of the devotees only. For devotees’ sake, He was ready to do anything, suffering even unbearable and untold pain and misery.


A day prior to the Deepavali day in the year 1910, Baba was sitting near Dhuni and warming Himself. The fire in the Dhuni was burning brightly. Baba was pushing firewood into the fire. The flames were raging high. Then, suddenly, instead of firewood, Baba thrust his own arm into the fire and kept it there for some time. The arm was immediately scorched and burnt. Everyone around was shocked. Shyama was very near Baba, put his arms around Baba’s waist and pulled Him away. He asked Baba why He had done that. Baba, who seemed to be in a trance, quickly regained His senses and said, “With her baby in her lap, the blacksmith’s wife was blowing the bellows. When her husband called her, she forgot about the baby and got up to go. The baby slipped in to the furnace. I thrust My arms into the fire to save the child. My devotee’s child was saved. It does not matter even if My arm gets burnt.” For the sake of the devotees, Baba risked getting His own arms burnt. And that too for the sake of a devotee who was very far away. This is an example of Baba’s kind-heartedness and His being all pervasive.


Shyama wrote to Nanasaheb Chandorkar that Baba’s hand was badly burnt and needs immediate treatment. Nanasaheb promptly came to Shirdi with a noted doctor, Dr.Paramananda of Bombay and all the required medicines. He prostrated at Baba’s feet and begged Him to show His arm to the doctor. Baba refused. Nanasaheb pleaded several times to show His arm to the doctor, but Baba did not yield. He told him, “My doctor is Allah Malik”. Baba preferred the services of Bhagoji Shinde, a leper, to that of a medical doctor. Shinde used to massage Baba’s arm and bandage it everyday.

On this count at least Dr. Paramananda had Baba’s darshan. Even after the arm was cured of the burns, Shinde used to apply ghee to Baba’s arm, massage it and bandage it. In reality, Baba did not need this service, as He was omnipotent. He endured it only to bless Bhagoji Shinde, and free him from the bondages of his previous life. It was indeed the greatest good fortune that Shinde could ever have asked for. When Baba went to Lendi garden, it was Shinde who held the umbrella for Baba.

Shinde was the first servant of Baba. The moment Baba sat near Dhuni, Shinde used to start caring for Baba’s arm. Though his fingers were oozing pus, he was dearest to Baba. It was his immense good fortune that he got an opportunity to serve Baba. Though he was suffering from leprosy due to some ill deeds in the previous birth, he must have also done something extraordinarily good then to deserve such proximity with Baba. Baba provided him an opportunity to wash away the sins he might have committed earlier.


In His desire to be of help to His devotees, there was no extent to which Baba would not go. Not only did He burn His arm, He used to invite various diseases on to His body so that the devotees could be free from their suffering.

Hon’ble Ganesh Srikrishna Khaparde, also known as Dadasaheb Khaparde, was a resident of Amaraoti. His wife had come to Shirdi with her young son, Balwant, for Baba’s darshan. While they were in Shirdi, for three months from Dec 1911, bubonic plague struck. The young boy was affected by the epidemic. Seeing the boy suffering, the mother’s tears swelled up and she wanted to go back to Amaraoti. In the evening, she decided to get Baba’s permission for leaving Shirdi. Baba came to the Wada on His way to Lendi. The mother fell on Baba’s feet and began crying. She narrated her woes. Baba silently lifted His kafni slightly above the waist and showed her four fully developed buboes, each the size of an egg, and said, “The sky is now overcast with clouds. They will drift away after the rains. Why are you worried? Look, for your sake I have taken over your sufferings. Your sufferings are Mine.” Seeing this, people around were dumbfounded.

Great saints and sages always take upon themselves all the difficulties of their devotees. Knowing fully well that they are in no way benefited, they still love their devotees very dearly. The devotees are their children. Baba did not gain anything by taking on the bubonic plague on to Himself, except severe suffering, yet He did it for the sake of the young boy. His heart bleeds for the welfare of the devotees. Being one among the ordinary, sharing all their miseries, kindle a spark of devotion in their hearts and then take them onto the path of self realization was the objective of Baba’s incarnation.


Nanasaheb Chandorkar, a staunch devotee of Baba, was a mamlatdar at Nandurbar in Khandesh. He was transferred to Pandharpur in 1907. For Baba’s devotees, Pandharpur is like heaven on earth. Everyone considered Nanasaheb to be very fortunate to get such a posting but Nanasaheb was in a dilemma. Being in Pandharapur, he cannot avoid having a darshan of Pandharinath. Will there not be a conflict between his devotion to Sai Baba and his devotion to Pandharinath? As soon as he got the orders, he thought that he should go to Shirdi with family, get Baba’s blessings and then report at Pandharpur. With this in mind, he neither wrote any letter to Shirdi, nor sent any message.

But Baba was a sarvajna. Nothing could be hidden from Him. When Nanasaheb was approaching Neemgaon, Baba was sitting in the masjid with His devotees, Kashiram, Mhalsapathi, Appa Shinde and others. Suddenly Baba told them, “The doors of Pandhari are open. Let us do Bhajan”. When Nanasaheb entered Shirdi, he found Baba singing Bhajans happily. The lines of the Bhajan were:

I will go to Pandharpur, I will go,
Will stay there, I will,
I will be there only, I will be,
I will be in my lord’s residence.

The other devotees around Baba also joined in the singing. Everyone’s mind was full of devotion and love towards Pandhari Vithal. By that time Nanasaheb had reached the masjid and immediately prostrated at the feet of Baba and requested Him to come to Pandharpur. When he came to know that Baba was already singing about going to Pandharpur even before his asking, Nanasaheb could not contain his happiness and felt that his wish had been granted. With Baba’s blessings and the vibhuti prasadam he left for Pandharpur.

With this the seventh chapter, called Wonderful Incarnation, is complete In the next chapter, Hemad Pant tells us the importance of human life, Sai Baba’s taking alms, Bayajabai’s service and His love for Khushalchand. and other matters.

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

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