Saturday, March 28, 2009

||chapter thirty-one||

|| sri sai satcharitra ||

|| chapter thirty - one ||

|| darshana mahima ||

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

In this chapter, Hemad Pant tells us about passing away in the presence of Baba of Sanyasi Vijayanand, Balram Mankar, Noolkar, Megha, a tiger, and other matters.


God is indeed very benevolent. Having given us the human form so that we will do satkarma, and guiding us throughout our lives, He ensures that our last wish is also fulfilled. Our future will be guided by the thought or wish that we have at the hour of death. Sri Krishna assures,

Antakaale cha maameva smaran muktwaa kalevaram|
Yah prayaati sa madbhaavam yaati naastyatra samshayah||

And at the time of death, anyone who departs by giving up the body while thinking of Me alone, he attains My state. There is no doubt about this.

Yam yam vaapi smaran bhaavam tyajatyante kalevaram|
Tam tamevaiti kaunteya sadaa tadbhaavabhaavitah||

O son of Kunti, thinking of any entity whichever it may be one gives up the body at the end, he attains that very one, having been always engrossed in its thought.

If we fix our mind on a sense object during the last hour, we will attain that object in the next life. Jada Bharata was thinking of a deer during his last moments, and in his next life, he was born as a deer. If we concentrate our mind at the feet of the Lord during the last moments, we will become one with Him and will be relieved from this eternal cycle of birth and death. To achieve this fixation of purpose, constant practice is necessary. That is the reason all the saints and sages advise us to chant God’s name always, so that we may not be confused and scared at the actual time of departure. Only a Sadguru can guide us properly to our destination. A true devotee submits at the divine feet of the sadguru, so that He would guide him when time comes. Before we start this chapter, let us prostrate at the feet of our beloved Baba, so that our minds also will be fixed at His divine feet when the last moment comes.


Vijayanand was a sanyasi living in Madras. Once, he saw details of Manas Sarovar with a Japanese tourist. After seeing those details, he also felt a desire to visit that place. This was in the year 1911 AD. By now Baba’s name and fame had already spread throughout the country. Vijayanand thought that on the way to Manas Sarovar, he could also visit Shirdi and have darshan of Sai Baba. He came to Shirdi. There he met a person from Hardwar, by name Somadevaji Swamy. He asked the Swamy about Manasa Sarovar. The Swamy told him that it was 500 miles above Gangotri and that the journey to that place was not easy. The terrain was rough and some parts of the track always had land slides and were covered with snow. He also told Vijayanand that the dialect changed every 50 koss (150 miles) and the local Tibetan people were not trustworthy. They troubled the pilgrims in any number of ways. On listening to all these details, Vijayanand cancelled his trip to Manas Sarovar and decided to continue his stay at Shirdi.

Next day he went to the masjid and prostrated at the divine feet of Baba. Baba was greatly enraged and shouted, “Send this fellow out. His company is of no use.” As it was his first visit, Vijayanand did not understand why Baba was saying this. He felt very uncomfortable, but sat in a corner watching what all was happening. It was the morning Durbar, and Baba was worshipped with morning devotees in various ways. Some were fanning Him, some others were washing His feet and taking Teertha and drinking the water to purify their lives, some others were applying sandal paste. Seeing all these different forms of Seva, Vijayanand was immensely pleased by the darshan of Baba, though Baba had shown anger. He did not leave the place.

He stayed in Shirdi for two days. Every day he visited the masjid, had Baba’s darshan, prostrated at His feet and used to sit quietly at one corner observing all that was happening. On the third day he got a letter from Madras stating that his mother was very ill. The thought of his mother departing pained his mind. He wanted to be with her at the time of her passing away. Before leaving, he went to Baba to seek His permission to go. He went to the masjid, prostrated at Baba’s feet and told Him that as his mother was seriously ill, he wanted to leave for Madras and be with her during her last moments. Baba, being a sarvajna, who knew the past, present and the future, said, “If you love your mother so much, why did you take Sannyasa? Attachments and the saffron coloured dress do not go well with each other. Wait with patience for a few days. Till that time, sit quietly in the Wada. Also remember, in the Wada there are many robbers. Bolt your doors and be very vigilant. The thieves will carry everything. Wealth and prosperity are transient. This body decays and dies. Leaving all the attachments of this world and the next, do your duty. He who does this and surrenders at the feet of Sri Hari, will be freed from all troubles and attain bliss. God will come running to him, who remembers and meditates Him with love and affection. You have come here because of the immense good deeds done in your previous lives. Do as I say, and, realize the end of your life. Study Bhagavat from tomorrow. Do three saptahas (three readings during three weeks) conscientiously. The God will be pleased with you and will destroy your sorrows. Your illusions will vanish and you will get peace of mind.” When His own Mahasamaadhi was nearing, Baba had arranged for the reading of ‘Ramavijaya’. Paraayana of ‘Ramavijaya’ pleases the god of death.

Next morning after taking bath and performing other morning purifying rituals, Vijayanand started reading Bhagavat in a secluded place in Lendi baug. He completed two readings and then felt very exhausted. He went back to the Wada and stayed in his room for two more days. On the third day, while talking to Bade Baba, he fell in his lap and breathed his last. Baba asked the people to preserve the body for one more day. The police came next day and after making proper enquiries permitted the body to be disposed. It was buried in a proper place after conducting the rites. Baba, who knew the moment He saw Vijayanand that his end was imminent, helped him to attain sadgati.


Baba’s devotees consisted of all types - rich, poor, young, old, male, female, healthy, diseased etc. Without any discrimination of caste, creed or sex, they served Baba, whole heartedly and in a way they liked most. Among the householder devotees, there was a devotee named Balram Mankar. With the passing of time, his wife also passed away. Mankar, who was very much attached to her, could not bear the pain of separation. He handed over the family responsibilities to his son and came to Shirdi. He stayed there and served Baba very devotedly. Baba was very pleased with his love and affection and wanted to give a good turn to his life.

Baba gave him Rs.12/- and asked him to go to Machchindragad (District Satara). Initially Mankar did not agree. He thought that without Baba being near him, it was impossible for him to face life. Without Baba’s guidance, he was utterly helpless and useless. Baba, however, convinced him that that was the best course for him. He told him to practice meditation thrice a day. Being a true devotee, he did not want to disobey his guru’s instructions and Mankar went to Machchindragad. He liked the beauty of the nature there with pure water, fresh air and thanked Baba for sending him there. He did not waste any time and immediately started implementing Baba’s advice of practicing meditation three times daily.

After a few days, he had a revelation. Usually, these revelations come when the devotee is in samadhi state or while in trance. In Mankar’s case, he got it while he was wide awake and in broad day light. When he had completed meditation and opened his eyes, he found Baba standing in front of him. Mankar’s surprise and happiness knew no bounds. Recovering after some time, he asked Baba why He had sent him there. Smiling, Baba replied, “I sent you here so that your restless mind could rest. In Shirdi, you had many thoughts and doubts. You thought of Me as only this body of five elements and three and a half cubits in length. You never thought that I could exist outside this body. See for yourself now and decide. Decide for yourself whether the person you saw in Shirdi and I are one and the same or not. It is for this reason that I sent you here. I am not constrained by the body. I exist everywhere.” And then Baba disappeared. Mankar stayed in Machchindragad for some more time and decided to go back to his place, Bandra. He wanted to go by train from Poona to Dadar.

When he went to the booking counter, he found that there was huge crowd in waiting. He could not get his ticket and was standing there without knowing what to do. A villager approached him. This villager had only a langoti on his body with a kambal (shawl) on his shoulder. He asked Mankar where he was going. Mankar replied, “Dadar”. Then the villager pulled out something from his kambal and gave it to Mankar. It was the railway ticket to Dadar. The villager told him, “Please take my ticket to Dadar. I have some urgent work here so I have cancelled my journey.” Mankar felt very elated. He removed his purse to pay for the ticket, but found that the villager had disappeared. Mankar tried valiantly to find him but could not. He waited for him till the train left, but there was no trace of the villager. This was the second revelation Mankar had. He understood then that Baba could be anywhere and in any form to help His devotees.

After going to Bandra, he stayed there for some time. By now he had become so much accustomed to live with Baba that he decided to go back to Shirdi and spend his lifetime there. He served Baba as long as he could and finally when the end came, he was fortunate to leave this world with the blessings of Baba and in His presence.


When Nanasaheb Chandorkar was a Mamlatdar (revenue officer) in Pandharpur, Tatyasaheb was a Sub-judge there. Those were the days of 1909 AD, and Tatyasaheb had not yet visited Shirdi. He and Nanasaheb used to meet frequently and discuss about saints and sages. Tatyasaheb did not believe in them whereas Nanasaheb had already become a staunch devotee of Baba. Very often, he would tell Tatyasaheb about Baba’s Leelas and press him to go to Shirdi and have darshan of Baba. After hearing Nanasaheb speak so many times about Sai Baba, he decided to go to Shirdi provided two of his conditions were fulfilled. The first condition was that he should get a brahmin cook. The second was that he should get good Nagpur oranges for presenting to Baba. Both these conditions were fulfilled providentially. A brahmin came to Nanasaheb for service. Nanasaheb sent him to Tatyasaheb. Then a parcel containing 100 beautiful oranges were received by Tatyasaheb. The sender’s name was not known. Now that the two conditions were fulfilled, he had to go to Shirdi. Seeing him at the masjid, Baba was greatly enraged. Slowly and steadily, Tatyasaheb had so many experiences that he was convinced beyond all reasonable doubts that Baba was indeed God incarnate. Once convinced, he grew increasingly fond of Baba with each passing day. And then he decided to stay in Shirdi itself.

With passing of time, the time for leaving his mortal remains also approached. Sacred literature was read out to him every day. At the last hour, Pada Teertha of Baba was brought and given to him. When he passed away, Baba said, “Tatya has left us behind. He won’t be born again.” That was the affection He had for Tatyasaheb Noolkar. (The above account is given in the Sai Leela magazine).


When Megha died, in the year 1912 AD, as described in Chapter 28, the entire village followed the funeral procession. Baba also accompanied the procession. He placed flowers on the body. After the obsequies were performed, Baba wept like any other mortal. Tears rolled down his eyes. It was one of those rare occasions when Baba was overcome with grief and sorrow. He cried as though He had lost a near relative. With a very heavy heart He returned to the masjid. For a very brief duration, Maya seems to have engulfed Him.

Baba had given sadgati to so many of the devotees. What came as a great surprise to His devotees was that even cruel animals like a tiger came to Him seeking refuge and protection.


Once it happened that a country cart came and stopped in front of the masjid. There were three men around the cart. Inside the cart was a ferocious tiger chained by iron chains. Its face was towards the rear of the cart. The tiger was used by the men to earn their livelihood. The three men took the tiger through every village and collected money by showing it to the villagers. After some years, it developed some disease and was making small growling sounds as it was suffering from some pain or agony. They tried to treat its ailment by various methods, but none of them worked. Meanwhile, they heard of Baba’s fame and thought that He could cure the tiger. With that intention they brought the animal to the masjid. Leaving the cart outside, they went inside the masjid and narrated their woes to Baba. People had gathered around the tiger and were looking at it with awe and fun. Baba asked the tiger to be brought in. The three men brought the tiger tightly secured.

As soon as it approached the steps, the tiger saw Baba, and was taken aback by the lustre radiating from Baba’s body. The tiger immediately hung its head down. When both looked each other in the eyes, the tiger climbed one step and looked very affectionately at Baba. With great love, it moved its tail vigorously and then hit the ground three times with the tail. With everyone seeing it, the tiger fell down senseless. The three men were shocked to know that the tiger was dead. Initially they were sad that their livelihood has gone. On second thoughts, they realized that it was suffering from disease and also that it had reached the end of its life. They were also wonderstruck at the way in which the tiger behaved in front of Baba. They considered it meritorious that it preferred to die in front of a saint.

Seeing their grief, Baba said, “Don’t bereave. The tiger had to die here, so it came here. It has now attained peace. Bury it behind takiya in the Shivalay near Nandi. By doing this yourself, you will be releasing it from your Rinanubandha. It owed you a debt in the previous life. To clear off that debt, it had to take the birth of a tiger and serve you. After you bury it, it will attain higher worlds.” The three men and other devotees together buried the tiger at the place indicated by Baba.

To cast off the mortal remains in the presence of great saints, is indeed very fortunate. Only those who have accumulated the results of extremely good deeds in the previous lives, become eligible for such a divine ending. They become one with the God and will never have a rebirth.

The tiger died exactly a week before Baba attained Mahasamadhi.

With this, the thirty first chapter called as Darshana Mahima is complete. In the next chapter, Hemad Pant tells us about how Baba met His Guru and through him God, Mrs. Gokhale and other matters.

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

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