Monday, March 30, 2009

||chapter thirty-three||

|| sri sai satcharitra ||

|| chapter thirty - three ||

|| the greatness of udi ||

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

In this chapter, Hemad Pant tells us about how Baba cured Scorpion Sting and plague cases, the Jamner Miracle, Narayan Rao’s sickness, Balabuva Sutar, Appasaheb Kulkarni, Haribhau Karnik and other matters.


Baba has always stressed the need for a guru to show us the right way in small or great matters. In this great jungle of life, various doctrines, dogmas and philosophies have grown like the wild trees, so close and tall that any ray of intelligent and understandable thought cannot penetrate through them, as far as an ordinary uninitiated person is concerned. In such a jungle of contradictions and arguments, is there no way out for the honest and sincere seeker of self realization? Baba points out that only a loving and affectionate sadguru can lead us to the light. On the way, he will provide us with food and water also, thus taking care of our physical and spiritual requirements. What all is required from us is only a complete faith in the guru. To qualify to be a disciple, it is not necessary to know the Vedas or the Vedantas by heart, nor is it necessary to have the intelligence to dissect various arguments and reach conclusions. Faith and patience are the only attributes required of us. The guru will lead us to our destination. Baba has also pointed out that with the guiding hand of the sadguru, realization will flash on us, without effort or study. We do not have to even seek anything; everything will become clear to us like broad daylight. Such is the power of sadguru, and it is the effect of our past good deeds that we have a Sadguru like Sri Sai Baba, who is always anxious for His devotees and for whom, He always keeps His treasury open and says, “Take, take.” Let us prostrate at the divine feet of this kind, benevolent, affectionate and ever forgiving our beloved Baba.


It is well known that whoever went to the masjid and prostrated at the feet of Baba and got His blessings, got the Udi prasadam from Baba. To many He gave the Udi by hand. To some others, He affectionately smeared it on their forehead. Why did Baba attach so much importance to Udi?

The Sadguru that He is, Baba teaches us so many things through this Udi prasadam. Udi is nothing more than ash. Ash is what remains after anything is burnt. Whether it is a rich man, or poor, old or young, male or female, a great jnani or an ordinary bhakta, a sinner or a devotee, all are turned to ash once they are burnt. There is no discrimination as far as ash is concerned. Not just humans composed of five elements, but anything if burnt becomes ash. Ash is Brahman. Baba teaches us that Brahman is the ultimate reality.

Udi is the ash taken from Dhuni - the sacred Fire. Baba kept the Dhuni fire ever burning from the day He came to Shirdi. It is well known that Baba took Dakshina from all. Out of the amount thus collected, He spent a large part on charity and purchased firewood with the balance left with Him. He used this fuel to keep the fires of Dhuni burning. The ash from Dhuni was distributed as Udi prasadam by Baba at the time of their departure from Shirdi. Udi symbolizes the fact that this universe is ephemeral, and that no one in this world, whether it is father, son, mother, or wife, is really ours. We have come into this world alone, and alone we have to go out of this world. When we came into this world, we did not bring anything with us and we cannot take anything when we go out of this world. Baba teaches us the principle of discrimination between the Unreal and the Real by the Udi prasadam. He also teaches us the principle of non attachment to the Unreal by taking Dakshina. Unless we learn these two principles of discrimination (Viveka) and non attachment (Vairagya), it is not possible for us to cross the limitless sea of samsara.

In addition to the spiritual implications of Udi, there are material benefits also. Udi has conferred health, prosperity, freedom from anxiety and many other worldly gains. Whenever He was in a cheerful mood Baba used to sing a song about Udi.

Ramate Raam aavoji |
Udiyon Ki goniya laavoji ||

Playful Rama, come, come, bring with you sacks of Udi.

How many bags of Udi have come out of Dhuni, nobody knows. How many have gained health, prosperity and progeny from this Udi, no one knows. Baba always fulfilled the desires of the devotees before turning them on to the path of spiritualism.


Ramachandra Vaman Modak was a devotee of Baba. Narayan Motiram Jani was working under him and was also a devotee of Baba. Once, when Narayan went with his mother to Shirdi for Baba’s darshan, Baba told his mother that her son should not work under any one any more. Baba asked him to start independent business. Knowing his financial condition better, Narayan wondered whether Baba’s words would ever come true. Few days later, Narayan Jani had to leave the service of Modak and started a boarding house named, “Anandashram”. It thrived well and Narayan was very happy that Baba’s words had come true and his devotion to Baba increased several folds. Narayan Jani had total faith in Baba now.

Once, a friend of his was stung by a scorpion. The pain due to the bite was severe and unbearable. Having total faith in Baba, Narayan wanted to apply Udi at the point of scorpion bite. He searched the entire house but could not locate Udi. Not knowing what to do, Narayan stood before Baba’s picture and invoked Baba’s help and chanted Baba’s name. He took a pinch of the ashes fallen from the joss stick burning in front of Baba’s picture. Thinking it to be Baba’s Udi prasadam, he applied it on the seat of pain and where the scorpion had stung. As soon as he took out his fingers after applying the Udi, the pain vanished. Both Narayan and his friend were happy.


During 1904-05 AD, Nanasaheb Chandorkar was a Mamlatdar at Jamner, in Khandesh District. Jamner is more than 100 miles away from Shirdi. His daughter Mainatai was pregnant and was about to deliver. Her case had become serious as she was suffering from labour pains for the past two to three days. Nanasaheb tried all medicines but were not helpful. He then prayed Baba and asked for His help. Let us see what was happening in Shirdi.

Ramgirbuva, whom Baba called as Bapugirbuva, wanted to go to his native place in Khandesh. Baba called him and told him to go to Jamner, hand over Udi and arati to Nanasaheb, take some rest and then go to his place. Ramgirbuva told Him that he had just two rupees with him and it was sufficient to go from Shirdi to Jalgaon. He did not have money to go from Jalgaon to Jamner, which is about 30 miles. Baba assured him that he need not worry as everything would be taken care of. Then Baba asked Shyama to write down a well known arati composed by Madhav Adkar on a sheet of paper and give it to Ramgirbuva. (This is given at the end of the chapter.) With full faith in Baba, Ramgirbuva left Shirdi. He reached Jalgaon at the early hours of next morning, around 02.45 AM. He had only two annas with him and did not know what to do.

As soon as he got down into the platform, someone was calling, “Who is Bapugirbuva from Shirdi?” Ramgirbuva identified himself. Then the person took his luggage and led him to an excellent Tonga with a pair of very good horses. The Tonga was going very fast and at the dawn, they were near a small river. The driver took the horses for watering and Ramgirbuva washed his face and was ready to travel. The driver offered him some thing to eat. Seeing the dress and the beard with the moustache, Ramgirbuva thought that he might be a Muslim and politely declined the offer. Then the driver told him that he was a Kshatriya of Garhwal and was sent by Nanasaheb. Even the eatables were sent by Nanasaheb. Then they both ate the food together and started on their journey. They reached Jamner just when the day was breaking in. Ramgirbuva alighted to attend to the nature calls. When he returned after a few minutes, he found that his luggage was left on the roadside and there was no trace of either the driver or the Tonga. Both had disappeared. Ramgirbuva did not know what to do. He went to a nearby office and found out the address of Nanasaheb. They told him that he was at home only. Ramgirbuva went to Nanasaheb’s house and told him that he had come from Shirdi.

Nanasaheb was in a very anxious state as his daughter’s condition had become very serious. The moment he received the Udi and the arati from Ramgirbuva, he felt a great relief. He called his wife and asked her to give Udi mixed with water to his daughter to drink and sing Baba’s arati. Within few minutes, the birth of the baby was joyfully announced and the crisis was over. Nanasaheb profusely thanked Ramgirbuva for taking the trouble of bringing the Udi and also taking the detour for his sake. Then it was the turn of Ramgirbuva to thank him for the beautiful Tonga, the courteous driver and the excellent food that Nanasaheb had sent for him.

Nanasaheb was perplexed. He confessed that he had not sent anyone anywhere, and for that matter did not even know that Ramgirbuva was coming. Both were astounded by the deep interest shown by Baba in the welfare of his devotees.

Later on in the Sai Leela Masik Magazine, vol 13, nos. 11, 12, 13, Mr. BV Deo of Thana, Retired Mamlatdar has written an article, partly in prose and partly in poetry, about this episode. He contacted Ramgirbuva and also Bapurao Chandorkar, son of Nanasaheb Chandorkar. BV Deo’s article is very exhaustive and interesting to read. Pujya Sri. BV Narasimhaswami has also taken down the statements of 1. Mainatai (No.V page 14), 2. Bapusaheb Chandorkar (No.XX page 50) and 3. Ramgirbuva (No.XXVII, page 83) dated 1st June 1936, 16th September 1936 and 1st December 1936 respectively and published them in his ‘Devotees’ Experiences Part III’. The following is quoted from Ramgirbuva’s statement:

“One day Baba called me to him, and gave me a packet of Udi and copy of Baba’s Arti. I had to go to Khandesh at the time. Baba directed me to go to Jamner, and told me to deliver the Arti and the Udi to Nanasaheb Chandorkar at Jamner. I said to Baba, that all I had was Rs.2/- and asked Him, how that could take me by train from Kopergaon to Jalgaon, and next by cart from Jalgaon to Jamner. Baba said, “God will give”. That was a Friday and I started at once. I reached Manmad at 7.30 PM and Jalgaon at 02.45 AM. At that time plague regulations were in force, and I had much trouble. I was to discover what I should do to get to Jamner. At about 03.00 AM, a peon in boots, turban and well equipped with other details of good dress, came to me and took me to a tanga and drove me on. I was in panic. On the way at Baghoor, I took refreshments. We reached Jamner early in the morning and by the time I attended my call of nature, the tanga and its driver had disappeared (page 83).”


Nanasaheb Chandorkar was, once, traveling in a train with his wife to Kalyan. He came to know that a friend of his in Bandra had a problem. The friend’s daughter who was in some other place was down with bubonic plague. The friend wanted to send Udi to his daughter but did not have any with him. He went to Nanasaheb. Nanasaheb also did not have any Udi with him in the train. So, as soon as the train reached Thana, he got down from the train. He took some earth from the platform, meditated Baba, invoked His help and applied the earth to his wife’s forehead. The friend saw all this and when he went to his daughter’s place, he was happy to learn that his daughter, who was suffering for three days, began to improve from the very moment Nanasaheb applied the earth on the fore head of his wife by invoking Baba’s help.


Among the several devotees who were fortunate to see Baba in the human form before His Mahasamadhi, Narayanrao was one of them. He could see Him twice in Shirdi. Within a year of Mahasamadhi, he fell sick and suffered very much. All normal medicines were of no avail. So he meditated Baba day and night. One night he had a dream in which Baba came through a cellar and comforted him saying, “Don’t be anxious. You will improve from tomorrow. In a week, you will be on your feet.” Narayanrao got well within the period specified by Baba. For those who thought that Baba was alive till 1918 only, this episode should be an eye opener. Baba is so great that He does not require a human body to help His devotees. Whether in the human form or outside it, Baba is always by our side. There is no stipulation that one should be a staunch devotee of Baba. Any one can call Him for help and He immediately responds. We humans make discrimination, but Baba does not. He always says, “Take, take”.


Balabuva Sutar was a saint in Bombay. On account of his piety, devotion and Bhajan, he was called as ‘Modern Tukaram’. He came to Shirdi for the first time in 1917 AD. He went to masjid and prostrated at the feet of Baba. Baba said, “I know him since four years.” Balabuva was wonderstruck, as it was his first trip to Shirdi. After sufficient thinking, he recollected that, four years ago, he had prostrated at Baba’s portrait in Bombay. He was then convinced of Baba’s words. He thought, “How omniscient and all pervading are the saints and how kind they are to their Bhaktas! I merely bowed to His photo, but this fact was noticed by Baba and in due time made me realize that seeing His photo is equivalent to seeing Him in person!”


In 1917 AD Appasaheb Kulkarni was transferred to Thana. He began worshipping Baba’s photo presented to him by Balasaheb Bhate. He worshipped Baba very earnestly. He offered flowers, sandal paste and naivedyam every day. He wanted to see Baba very much. This desire became almost an obsession for him.

When he was in Thana, he had to go on official tour to Bhivandi. He was not expected to return within a week. On the third day after he left for tour, a fakir looking exactly like Baba in the photo, came to Appasaheb’s house. Kulkarni’s wife and children were so much taken aback that they asked the fakir if he was Sai Baba. He told them that he was not Baba but was an obedient servant of Baba. He also told them that he had come to enquire about the health of the family. Then he asked for Dakshina and the lady gave him one rupee. He gave her a small packet containing Udi and asked her to keep it in the pooja room with the photo for worshipping. After some time he went his way.

Appasaheb could not proceed with his trip as planned. This was because his horses fell sick at Bhivandi. He returned home that afternoon and was told by his wife that a fakir looking similar to Baba in the photo had visited them. He was furious in his mind for having missed seeing Baba. He asked her for more details. When she told him that she gave Dakshina of one rupee, he was very angry. He felt that one rupee was not sufficient for Baba. He would have given at least ten rupees. Saying this, he went out in search of the fakir. He looked for him in masjids and other places as well. His quest was not successful. He then came home and took his food. Baba had said always that no quest can be carried out successfully on an empty stomach. After meals, Appasaheb went out for a walk with his friend Mr Chitre. After going for some distance, they observed that a man was approaching them rapidly. Appasaheb immediately recognized him as the fakir who had visited his house. He completely resembled Baba in the photo he was worshipping. The fakir immediately extended his hand and asked for Dakshina. Appasaheb gave him one rupee. The fakir pocketed the rupee and again extended his hand. This time Appasaheb gave him two rupees. The fakir once again pocketed the two rupees and again extended his hand. Then Appasaheb borrowed Rs.3/- from his friend and gave it to the fakir. The fakir wanted more. Appasaheb requested him to come to his house where he would give the Dakshina which the fakir wanted. After going home, Appasaheb gave him three rupees. The fakir pocketed the three rupees and asked for more. Appasaheb told him that he did not have change and that he had a currency note of Rs.10/-. The fakir asked for the same. When Appasaheb gave him the note, he pocketed it and returned the nine coins which he had earlier taken from Appasaheb. The nine coins were thus consecrated by Baba’s hand and given to Appasaheb. Baba also gave nine coins to Laxmibai Shinde and nine also signifies the Nava Vidha Bhakti.

After the fakir left, Appasaheb opened the Udi packet. He found some flower petals and akshata. Subsequently when he went to Shirdi, he was able to get a hair from Baba. He put the Udi packet and the hair in an amulet and wore it always on his arm. Appasaheb realized the power of Udi in a few days. Earlier, though he was intelligent and hard working, his pay was only Rs.40/-. After he got the Udi prasadam from Baba, he got many times more than forty rupees as earnings and his power and influence also grew rapidly. Along with his materialistic growth, his spiritual growth was also assured. Let us all be also fortunate like Appasaheb and everyday after bath, apply the Udi to our forehead and take some part of it mixed with water as holy Teertha. If we follow this routine without fail everyday, no fear can come anywhere near us. Baba will protect us always.


Haribhau Karnik of Dahanu (Thana District) had another beautiful experience. He came to Shirdi in 1917 on the Guru Poornima day in the month of Ashadha and worshipped Baba with all the formality. He offered clothes and Dakshina to Baba. After that, through Shyama, he sought permission from Baba to leave. He got the permission and was climbing down the steps when a thought came to him that he should have given one more rupee as Dakshina to Baba. When he turned around to climb up the steps, Shyama, understanding his predicament, informed him by signs that as he had got the permission from Baba, he should leave.

So Haribhau left for home. On his way home, he went inside the temple of Kala Rama at Nasik for Darshana. Saint Narsing Maharaj, who was sitting inside the big door of the temple with his devotees, stood up, came to Haribhau, extended his hand and said, “Give me my one rupee.” Haribhau was surprised. He gave the one rupee very happily and his adoration for Baba increased many times. What he had decided in his mind, Baba recovered it through the Saint Narsing Maharaj.

The power of Udi prasadam is all pervading. We will see some more instances where in Udi has granted material and spiritual benefits to the devotees in the subsequent chapters. Let us bow at the divine feet of our beloved Baba and pray that His grace will always be with us. Sadguru Sainath Maharaj Ki Jai!


This arati song written by Madhav Adkar is similar to ‘Arati Jnanaraja’ written by Ram Janardan. The tunes of both the songs are same. Madhav Adkar wrote this arati song at the divine inspiration. Baba loved this song very much. Without this arati, Baba’s pooja is incomplete.

Aarati Sai Baba| Soukhya daataara jeevaa |
Charanarajaa taalim| dyava daasaam visaava |
bhaktaa visaava ||
Jaaluniya ananga | svasva rupeem raahe danga |
Mumukshu jana daavee | nijadolaam sriranga |
dolaam sriranga ||
Jaya maneem jaisaa bhaava | taya taisaa anubhava |
Daavisee dayaaghanaa | aisee tujheehi maava | tujheehi maava ||
Tumche naama dhyaataam | hare sanskriti vyathaa |
Agaadha tava karini | marga daaveesee anaathaa |
daavisee anaathaa ||
Kaliyugeem avatara | saguna brahma sachaaraa |
Avateerna jaahalaase | swami dattaa digambara |
dattaa digambara ||
Aathaam divasaam guru vaareem | bhakta kareeti vaaree |
Prabhupada pahavayaa | bhava bhaya nivaaree |
bhava bhaya nivaaree ||
Maajhaa nijaa dravya thevaa | tava charana raja sevaa |
Maagane henchi aataam | tumhaa devadhi devaa |
devadhi devaa ||
Ichchita deena chaataka | nirmala toya nija sukha |
Paajaave maadhavaa yaa | sambhaala aapooli hee bhaaka | aapooli hee bhaakaa ||

Oh Sai Baba, we wave arati before You, the bestower of happiness to the Jivas. Give us - Your servants and devotees rest under the dust of Your feet, burning (destroying) desire. You remain absorbed in Your self and show the Lord (God) to the aspirants. As one feels intently, You give him experiences or realizations accordingly. Oh kind hearted Your power is such! Meditation of Your name removes our fear of the samsara. Your method of word is really unfathomable as You always help the poor and the helpless. In this Kaliyuga, You the all pervasive Datta have really incarnated as Sagun Brahma. Ward off the fear of samsara of the devotees who come to You every Thursday, so as to enable them to see the feet of the Lord. Oh God of Gods, I pray that let my treasure be the service of Your feet. Feed Madhav (and Gadhij also) with happiness as the cloud feeds the chaataka bird with pure water, and thus keep up Your word.

With this, the thirty third chapter, called as The Greatness of Udi, is complete. In the next chapter, Hemad Pant tells us about the Malegaon Doctor, Dr.Pillai, Shyama’s sister in law, Irani girl, Harda gentleman, Bombay Lady and other matters.

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

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