|| sri sai satcharitra ||
|| chapter twenty-six ||
|| assurance of a new life ||
|| Sri Ganeshaya Namaha || Sri Saraswatye Namaha ||
|| Sri Venkateshaya Namaha || Sri Sai Nathaya Namaha ||
|| Sri Sadgurubhyo Namaha ||
|| Sri Venkateshaya Namaha || Sri Sai Nathaya Namaha ||
|| Sri Sadgurubhyo Namaha ||
In this chapter, Hemad Pant tells us about Bhakta Pant, Harishchandra Pitale, Gopal Ambadekar and other matters.PLAY OF MAYA:
God has created this universe with the power of Maya. Thus the play of Maya is everywhere in this world. In the twilight of morning or evening, a rope is mistaken for a serpent. Only when the light increases, do we see the rope as a rope and serpent as a serpent. This light can be provided only by a guru. Similarly, in ignorance we crave for sensory objects thinking that they will be permanently with us. Time and knowledge will reveal that all those are transitory. What we desire to eat to fulfill our taste buds, lasts only till it slips through our throat. The beauty that we desire so much to please our sense of vision, is only skin deep. All the sense objects are affected by change. Unaffected by time or changes, shines atman alone. Only a sadguru can lead us towards that realization. Sri Sai Baba has incarnated only for the purpose of holding our hand and taking us gently and steadily towards God realization. For this, we should also help Him by cooperating with Him, by having total faith in Him and surrendering ourselves completely to Him. If we do not cooperate, still, He will not let us down. He will continue to lead us; only, we will take more time to reach the destination. Even by mistake, if we take His name at least once, He will ensure that we will reach our destination. Baba is so full of compassion and love. Let us bow our heads in deep reverence at the divine feet of benevolent Baba.INNER WORSHIP:
Hemad Pant suggests one way of totally surrendering ourselves to Baba. Let us visualize the saguna form of Baba in front of our eyes. Baba is sitting majestically with His right leg folded across His left leg. His left hand is resting on the right foot. His right hand is in an abhaya mudra. His face is glowing with the mesmerizing smile. His eyes are showering love and affection for us. He is waiting for us. By seeing such a divine figure, our mind is filled with joy and hot tears swell from our eyes. With these tears, let us wash Sai’s lotus feet. These tears come only when the heart is filled with love. With this sandal paste of pure love, let us smear His feet, hands and face. Having done this let us offer Him a new dress for wearing - made of unwavering faith. Now, we will offer Him flowers - eight lotus flowers consisting of our eight satvic emotions. Then, comes the time for offering fruit as naivedyam. We offer Him our unwavering mind as the fruit of naivedyam. Let us apply the black tikka of our devotion on His forehead. We will then offer our Bhakti as the waistband.
After decorating Him with all the ornaments, it is likely that Baba is slightly tired. Let us fan Him slowly with a fan made of peacock feathers. Now we will worship Him with chandana akshata in eight stages - Archana, snana (bath), chandana, flowers, dhoop, arati, naivedyam and pradakshina. Finally, let us offer our prayers-“Oh Deva, please turn our minds inwards. Give us the vision to discriminate between the real and the unreal. Break the shackles of worldly attachments that are strangling us. We surrender our body and soul to You. Control them as You will and wish. Please enable us to attain self realization. Give us peace of mind and shelter us at Your divine feet.”BHAKTA PANT’S STORY:
Bhakta Pant was a staunch devotee of another sadguru. He did not have any intention of going to Shirdi. But, how can an ordinary mortal defy destiny? He was once traveling in a BB&CI (Bombay, Baroda and Central India) train. (Now it has become Western Railway). He entered a compartment where most of his friends and relatives were sitting. They were all traveling to Shirdi and insisted so much on his accompanying them that he could not say no to them. They got down at Bombay. He went up to Virar, met his guru and sought his permission to go to Shirdi. He adjusted some money for his expenses and joined the party. Though his guru permitted him, his mind, however, was reluctant. He thought that by going to another sadguru, he was not being fair with his own sadguru. There was a conflict in his mind. They reached Shirdi in the morning and by 11.00 AM they were in masjid. Seeing the big gathering assembled there for Baba’s darshan, the entire party was happy. Suddenly, Bhakta Pant had an attack of epilepsy and fell down unconscious. Everyone was frightened and tried their best to revive him. With Baba’s grace and after sprinkling of water, he sat upright, as if just woken up from sleep. Knowing that he was a follower of another sadguru, Baba asked him to be fearless and confirmed His own faith in the sadguru. He told him, “Come what may, stick to the bolster (support, guru), don’t leave it. Remain steady and always be one with him.” Pant understood the significance of the statement and was reminded of his guru. He never forgot this kindness of Baba throughout his life. Baba had removed the conflict in his mind.HARISHCHANDRA PITALE’S STORY:
We had seen earlier that Dasganu Maharaj sang kirtans in the Bombay Presidency. In every kirtan, he used to sing Baba’s Leelas. His rendering of the kirtans was so magical that the audiences were spellbound. His exposition of Baba’s Leelas was also so profound that not even one among the audience was left untouched. Every one was greatly moved and before they left, mentally they prostrated at the feet of Baba. People like Cholkar went one step further, visited Shirdi and became Baba’s devotees. There was one another gentleman from Bombay, Harishchandra Pitale, who was deeply affected by Dasganu Maharaj’s exposition. Pitale’s son suffered from epilepsy. He had tried all types of medicines, allopathy, homoeopathy and ayurveda. None of them benefited his son. When everything fails, God alone comes to our rescue. God made him attend the kirtan of Dasganu Maharaj. After listening to Baba’s Leelas, a faint ray of hope started glowing in his mind. He wanted to see Baba. He made all the preparations and took presentations and fruit baskets. He reached Shirdi with his wife and children.
He went with his family to the masjid and prostrated at Baba’s feet. Then he placed his son at Baba’s feet. Baba saw the boy. As soon as He saw, a miracle happened. The boy’s eyes rolled over and he fell down unconscious. Foam started coming from his mouth and the entire body was drenched in perspiration. It looked as if he had taken his last breath. Seeing the condition of the boy, the parents became nervous and anxious. Earlier also the boy had fits several times, but not like this. The mother was immersed in grief. Tears started coming down and she began wailing. She started telling that her condition was like that of a man who afraid of robbers went into a house, only to have the roof collapse on him. Next, she compared herself to a cow which, afraid of a tiger ran into a butcher. Then she cried loudly that her condition was like a man who, afraid of the summer heat went into the shade of a tree, only to see that the tree got uprooted and fell on him. Her grief was inconsolable. After listening to her wails for some time, Baba comforted her, “Maayi, don’t cry. Have patience. In half an hour your son will be all right. Take him to your lodging and give him rest.” Baba’s instructions were followed and within half an hour’s time the boy was normal once again. Pitale, his wife and other members of his family were very happy. All their doubts vanished.
Then Pitale went with his wife to the masjid, fell at Baba’s feet very humbly and respectfully. Very softly he started massaging His legs. His mind was full of gratitude to Baba. Smilingly Baba said, “Has your mind calmed down? Sri Hari will protect those who have faith in Him and patience.” Pitale was a rich and well to do person. He distributed sweets lavishly and gave Baba some more fruit baskets and paan-beeda. His wife was a pious lady, simple, loving and loyal. She sat near a post and was looking only at Baba, with tears flowing from her eyes. Her eyes were not seeing anything or anyone other than Baba. Her gaze was fixed only on Him. Baba was pleased with her. Gods and Saints are always pleased with devotees who surrender themselves completely and worship them. After passing some happy days serving Baba, the Pitale family came to masjid to seek Baba’s permission to leave Shirdi. Baba gave them udi prasadam and when they were leaving, He called Pitale alone and told him, “Bapu, I gave you Rs. Two earlier. Now, take these Rs. Three. Keep them in pooja room and worship. You will benefit.” Pitale took those three rupees, prostrated once again at Baba’s feet and prayed that He should always protect him.
After coming out of masjid, Pitale’s mind was busy solving the riddle. This was his first visit to Shirdi. He was meeting Baba for the first time. Then what was the meaning of Baba’s saying that He had given him two rupees earlier. Through out the trip to Bombay he was thinking of this alone. When he went home, he narrated everything that happened to his aged mother. He told her the mystery of two rupees. She also could not give any reasoning. After a few days, she recollected an old incident. She told her son, “Just as you went to Shirdi with your son, your father also had gone with you to Akkalkot for the darshan of the Maharaj, many years ago. That Maharaj also was a perfect yogi, omniscient and benevolent. Your father was pure, pious, devoted and his worship was accepted. The Maharaj had then given two rupees to your father and asked him to keep those rupees in the pooja room and worship. Your father kept those coins in the pooja room as instructed and worshipped till his death. Thereafter, the worship dwindled, and the coins were also lost. And with the passing of time, the memory of the two rupees also was lost. You are very fortunate, as Akkalkot Maharaj has appeared to you as Sai Baba and reminded you of your duties. Revive the worship so that all evil could be warded off. Leave off all doubts, bad thoughts, follow your traditions and worship family deities and the rupees. Take pride in the Saints. Sai Samarth has kindly revived Bhakti in you, cultivate it and benefit.” Hearing his mother was like drinking nectar and he did not waste any time in following her instructions. He was delighted that Baba had taken care of him for all these years and made him go to Shirdi. He submitted himself to the omniscient Baba.GOPAL AMBADEKAR’S STORY:
Gopal Narayan Ambadekar of Poona worked for ten years in Abkari department (excise department) in the Thana district. He had to take retirement after that. He tried to get some other job but did not succeed. Miseries piled on him and his condition went from bad to worse. He spent seven years in a state of utter destitution. He was a staunch devotee of Baba and in all those seven years, he went to Shirdi every year. Every year he pleaded with Baba about his condition. In 1916 AD, his condition became unbearable. He decided to end his life in Shirdi itself. He went there with his wife and stayed there for two months. He was sitting in a bullock cart in front of Dixit’s Wada. It was night. He had already located a well nearby. In the night when everyone was asleep, he wanted to jump into the well and bring his life to an end. He preferred night because no body would persuade him to come back and revive his miserable life. Man proposes and Baba disposes. Even in that pitch darkness, when Ambadekar did not expect to see anyone, one gentleman came out of darkness with a book in his hand. Ambadekar recognized him as Sagun, proprietor of a nearby hotel. Both of them walked a few yards, then Sagun asked him, “Did you read Akkalkot Maharaj’s life story? Everyone should read it.” He offered the book to Ambadekar. The moment he touched the book, Ambadekar’s life was changed. He wanted to thank Sagun, but could not find him in the darkness. He had gone. Ambadekar went back to his lodging and started reading the book immediately.
Akkalkot Maharaj had many devotees; one of them was suffering from an incurable disease. The pain and agony became so much that it was difficult for him to bear. He became desperate and wanted to end his life by jumping into a well. He chose the darkness of the night so that nobody would rescue him back to the miserable life. And he jumped into the well. The next moment he found himself being lifted from the depths of the well by a kind, loving hand. Akkalkot Maharaj had come there and pulled him up from the well. The Maharaj advised him, “One must enjoy the fruits of the deeds done in the previous life - good or bad. By terminating your life now, you are leaving the enjoyment incomplete. To complete it, you have to take birth once again. You have to then complete the balance of enjoyment. You cannot escape from the results of the deeds of previous life- good or bad. So, instead of ending this life earlier, why not suffer for some more time, complete the store of the fruit of past deeds and be done with it once for all? Live till god takes you away. Don’t end your life yourself.”
Reading this story, Ambadekar was surprised. It was timely and appropriate. Without Baba’s intervention, he would have been no more. He felt that when he did not expect anyone in the night, Baba had come as Sagun to rescue him. Ambadekar became aware of Baba’s all pervasiveness and benevolence. His faith in Baba increased several folds. His father was a devotee of Akkalkot Maharaj and Baba wanted him to follow his father and continue his worship. Next day, he got Baba’s blessings and his life underwent a change. He studied astrology and became a proficient astrologer. He was able to earn sufficient money and passed his later life in comfort. Let us once again fall at the divine feet of Baba and seek his blessings. Sadguru Sainath Maharaj Ki Jai!!
With this, the twenty-sixth chapter called as Assurance of a new life is complete. In the next chapter, Hemad Pant tells us about Bhagavat, Vishnu Sahasranama, Geeta Rahasya and other matters.
||Sri Sadguru Sainathaarpanamasthu ||Shubham Bhavatu||
Om Shanti Shanti Shanti