Friday, March 20, 2009

||chapter twenty-four||

|| sri sai satcharitra ||

|| chapter twenty-four ||

|| baba’s wit and humour ||

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

In this chapter, Hemad Pant tells us about Baba’s wit and humour and other matters.


There is no one who does not like wit and humour. Everyone likes jokes only as long as they are on others, never on themselves. However, when Baba told jokes, it was different. People wanted Him to tell about them. This was because, Baba’s method was unique. He used to tell each of the jokes with many expressions on His face and movements of His hands and feet. His jokes were also not meant to hurt anyone, but were more in the nature of education. People understood the idea behind the joke and knowing their shortcomings, tried to improve. This was one of the techniques employed by Baba, for the welfare of His devotees.

Listening, reading and meditating His Leelas or stories, and assimilating them will get us nearer our objective of self realization. Though we are not as fortunate as Hemad Pant, Shyama, Mhalsapathi or other great devotees who lived with Baba and served Him, we are still fortunate enough to have Satcharitra, which gives a graphic description of each of the Leelas. It is as if we are witnessing them happen in front of our eyes. Let us fix these images in our mind, focus on them and worship the only God who cared for His devotees, by giving them whatever they ask till they ask what He wants to give. Let us prostrate at the divine feet of this kind, merciful, affectionate God - Sai Baba.


Every Sunday a special bazaar was held in Shirdi. Such bazaars are held even now in many towns and villages. In addition to the local vendors, vendors from other neighbouring places also come on that day, erect special booths and stalls in an open area and sell their commodities. The buyers have greater choice in such bazaars. People from all the neighbouring villages also come to such bazaars to buy fancy items. On regular week days, even without these bazaars, every noon the masjid was crowded. On Sundays, it was overcrowded to the extent of suffocation.

On one such Sunday afternoon, Hemad Pant was carefully massaging Baba’s legs and chanting God’s name. Shyama was on the left side of Baba and Vaman Rao was on the right. Bapusaheb Booty and Kakasaheb Dixit were also present among others. Shyama was intently looking at Hemad Pant and suddenly started laughing and told him, “Some grains have struck to your coat sleeve.” He gently touched Hemad Pant’s sleeve. To see what the matter was Hemad Pant straightened his left forearm. To the surprise of all, few grains, nearly twenty five of them, rolled down and people near by picked them.

This became a topic for immediate discussion. People began to wonder how the grains could have found a way to the sleeve of the coat and how they could remain there for so long. Hemad Pant could not get even the faintest idea of how it happened. Every one had their say, but none of them could offer a convincing explanation. Then, Baba humorously said, “Today is the bazaar day. He came here chewing chana (gram dal). These grains prove that. This fellow has the bad habit of eating alone, I know his habit.”

Hemad Pant was simply stunned by this allegation. Defending himself he said, “Deva, I never eat alone. Why do you heap this allegation of bad habit on me? I have never seen the Shirdi Bazaar till now. Today also I did not go out. Then how could I buy chana, and how could I eat alone? I never eat alone and whenever I eat, I share it with those present around me.”

Baba teased him further, “You give to those present, but if nobody is nearby, what could you or I do? Do you think of Me before eating? Am I not always with you? Do you offer Me anything before you eat?”


Here Baba clearly advises us that before we eat anything, we should offer that to Him. The word ‘eat’ here has a much wider connotation and includes everything, not eatables alone. As all these are sense objects and our senses enjoy these sense objects, He should be remembered. In other words, before the mind, intellect and senses enjoy the sense objects, we should make an offering to Him. There is great significance in this concept. If we have any sense object with us to enjoy, and if we have to offer it to someone, we naturally think whether it is worth offering, particularly if that someone happens to be our beloved Sai Baba. Then, the next question that immediately arises is when it is not worth offering to someone, why consume it ourselves. Better we discard it. So, gradually we start enjoying only those sense objects which are fit to be offered to our beloved Sai Baba. In this way, slowly, all our vices will disappear. Our character will improve. Our mind becomes pure and love for the Sadguru will increase. One by one, all our attachments will also fall by the wayside. Our path to self realization and becoming one with the Guru will become smooth and easy. When the love for the Guru increases, the difference between Guru and God also ceases to exist. Bliss and contentment engulf us. This state of mind is described in Katha Upanishad as:

Yada pancha avatishtante jnaanaani manasa saha |
Budhihi cha na vicheshati taam aahuhu paramaam gatim ||
Katha Up book 2 valli 6 sl.10

When the five organs of knowledge are at rest together with the mind, and when the intellect ceases functioning (becomes calm), that they call the highest state.

To put it in a nutshell, before we enjoy any sense object, we should remember Baba. By training our mind in this way, we will always be reminded of Baba. Our meditation of Baba will also become more intense. The Saguna form of Baba will always be in front of our eyes. With Baba’s form firmly fixed before our mental vision, we forget hunger, thirst, and this world. Once the consciousness of worldly pleasure diminishes, our mind attains peace and happiness.


When narrating the above story, Hemad Pant was reminded of Sudama’s story, which also tells us the same principle of offering God before we enjoy the sense objects.

Those were the days of Sri Krishna’s schooling. He was studying with his elder brother Balarama, in the ashrama of Sandipani. The brothers had a friend called Sudama. One day the Gurupatni asked Sri Krishna and Balarama to fetch firewood from the nearby jungle. As they did not return even after quite some time, the Gurupatni sent Sudama in search of them. Fearing that they may be tired, she also sent some chana with Sudama. He met the brothers in the jungle. Sri Krishna was feeling thirsty. He asked Sudama to get some water. Sudama told Him that taking water on an empty stomach was not good. It would be better if they take some rest. They took rest underneath a tree. As He was very much tired, Sri Krishna lay down on the ground with His head in the lap of Sudama. On seeing Sri Krishna snoring, Sudama opened the packet of chana and began eating. Pretending to be asleep, Sri Krishna asked, “Dada, what are you eating?” He replied, “What is there to eat? Because of the cold, my teeth are chattering and I am shivering. ” Still pretending to be sleeping, Sri Krishna said, “I just dreamt that one man was eating what belonged to the other. When asked, he replied, ‘What earth (dust) can I eat’ implying that he did not have anything to eat. The other man said ‘Let it be so’. Dada, it was only a dream. I know that you won’t eat anything without giving Me.” And He started snoring again. Had Sudama known even a little about Sri Krishna being omniscient, he would have behaved differently. Though he was a close friend of Sri Krishna, he had to spend most of the later part of his life in abject poverty because of this incident. It was only after he offered a handful of parched rice, earned by his wife with her own labour, to Sri Krishna and He was pleased with it, that Sudama’s life changed for the better. Sri Krishna offered him a golden city to enjoy. This story emphasizes what Baba had told regarding offering to God before we enjoy anything.


Hemad Pant tells us another humorous story in which Baba acted as a peace maker between two warring parties - Anna Chinchinikar and Mausibai. Annasaheb Chinchinikar was a simple, slightly rough and straight forward person. Except Baba, he did not care for anyone and was always plain speaking. Though he was outwardly harsh and uncompromising, he was good natured and guileless. So, he was one of Baba’s favourite devotees. (He willed all his property to the Shirdi Sansthan of Sri Sai Baba.)

Venubai Koujalgi was an old widow who loved Baba very dearly. Baba called her as ‘Maayi’ (mother) and others called her as Mausibai. She was an elderly woman of pure heart and served Baba in her own way.

One day Baba was sitting in the masjid with His left hand on the railing. Anna was standing behind Baba and massaging His left hand. While doing this, Anna’s face also moved up and down. Mausibai was on the right side of Baba and massaging his abdomen with both her hands clasped around his trunk. As she was doing this, she was also moving up and down. During one of these movements, it so happened that Mausibai’s face came very near Anna’s. Being a witty woman and disposed to humour, she said, “This Anna is lewd. In spite of grey hair, he wants to kiss me.” Anna was wild. He did not like to be belittled in front of his guru. He shouted loudly, “Am I a fool to kiss you? You want to quarrel with me so you are picking one.” The argument continued along these lines. All the people sitting there were enjoying this friendly quarrel. Baba who liked both of them wanted to pacify them. So very lovingly He said, “Oh Anna, why are you quarreling? What is the impropriety or harm in kissing a mother?!” Hearing these words, both of them as well as others, laughed and enjoyed Baba’s wit and humour.


On another occasion, Mausibai was kneading Baba’s abdomen as if it was dough of atta. Seeing the immense force and fury she was using, all those who were sitting there became very anxious. They thought that Baba’s nerves and veins may snap. One of the staunch devotees of Baba, Shantaram Balwant Nachne, said, “Oh Mayi, careful! Please do it softly, other wise Baba’s nerves and veins may snap.” Baba suddenly got up, jerked His satka and went to the nearest pillar. He was enraged and His eyes were blazing red. He took one end of the satka and with both hands pressed into the hollow of His abdomen. He fixed the other end of the satka to pillar and began to press His abdomen into the satka by moving towards the pillar. The satka which was about two or three feet in length, now looked almost lost between the pillar and Baba’s abdomen. Every one became tense and worried that Baba’s abdomen may rupture any moment. Fortunately for all, soon Baba’s anger subsided and He went back near the railing and sat there.

Baba always allowed His devotees to serve Him in any way they liked. He did not like any one else to interfere with this. When Mausibai was serving Him, and the people around tried to tell her how to do, Baba did not like and to show them that His abdomen was not as weak as they thought, He performed this Leela. Though Nachne advised Mausibai in good faith, he understood that Baba did not like it and from then onwards, did not meddle with other devotees’ seva. The devotees also understood that Baba alone was capable of gauging the worth of the service rendered to Him.

With this, the twenty-fourth chapter called as Baba’s wit and humour is complete. In the next chapter, Hemad Pant tells us about Damu Anna Kasar of Ahmednagar, the mango miracle and other matters.

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

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