Wednesday, March 18, 2009

||chapter twenty-two||

|| sri sai satcharitra ||

|| chapter twenty-two ||

|| about snakes and scorpions ||

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

In this chapter, Hemad Pant tells us how Baba rescued Balasaheb Mirikar, Bapusaheb Booty and Amir Shakkar from snake bites and other matters.


For meditation, one needs to fix and concentrate his attention on a single, focused point. One can meditate on something about which one knows. How can we meditate on Baba, who is all pervading and whom nobody has been able to describe? Is it ever possible to define God? The Vedas could not contain Him in words. Nor could Adisesha bring out clearly how the God whom he carries looks like. And we are ordinary mortals. Moreover, the devotees are hardly concerned with the entire form of the Almighty. When Sugriva brought Sita’s ornaments for identification to Sri Rama, he asked Lakshmana to identify them. Lakshmana could identify only the anklets, as he was prostrating daily at the lotus feet of Sita. He told Sri Rama that he does not know anything about the other ornaments. We always concentrate on the lotus feet only as that alone leads us to our salvation. In this connection, Hemad Pant has a suggestion.

In every month there are two Pakshas (fortnights) - Krishna and Shukla. In the Krishna Paksha the moon wanes and on the new moon night we cannot see the moon at all. From the next day onwards, moon comes out slowly. For those of us who are anxious to see the moon, we do not see at all on the first day. Second night moon appears as a tiny speck. Elders used to suggest that if we want to see moon, we should concentrate and see between the two branches of any particular tree. When we see in this small aperture, moon appears in a crescent shape and slowly comes into our field of view.

Applying this analogy, let us look at Baba’s sitting pose. He is sitting with His right leg across His left leg. The right leg supports the left hand. The fingers of His left hand are relaxed and spread on the right foot, particularly the index and the middle fingers of the left hand. In the space between His left hand index and middle fingers, can be seen the right toe. It is as if Baba is telling us that if you want to see Me: shed your egoism; be humble and concentrate your thoughts on My right toe. That point is our Dhyana Bindu. We should focus all our thoughts on that single point and meditate. Banish all other thoughts. Only then we can see the light. That alone is the easiest way of acquiring devotion. After meditating Baba and prostrating at His divine feet, let us go to Shirdi.

Shirdi became a place of pilgrimage only because Baba lived there. People came from all parts of the country. Whoever came to Shirdi, rich or poor, benefited in some form or the other. And all of them invariably got one particular asset from Baba - that was the boundless love He has for His devotees. Everyone who came for Baba’s darshan experienced His all pervasiveness, His immense knowledge and of course, His unlimited love and affection. Blessed indeed are those who could experience either one or all of the above. And to each, He taught the lessons of spiritual path in His own inimitable way, in a way they could clearly understand and make it part of their own personality. To some, He taught in silence. He used to observe long spells of silence. To some others He spoke in parables. There were occasions when He indulged in wit and humour. To many He was unambiguous and with some He got angry. He usually gave His teachings in a nutshell, in the form of pearls which we could treasure for a whole life time. His life was not easily understandable. It is beyond our mind, intellect or concept. What remains with us is the abundant love and affection He has given us. It is because of this alone that we want to see Him again and again. The thirst never quenches. It is this love, this care for the welfare of His devotees and the eternal watch He keeps over us that is evident in the following stories.


Balasaheb Mirikar was son of Sardar Kakasaheb Mirikar. He was Mamlatdar of Kopergaon. Once, he had to go to Chitali on some official work. While going there, he stopped over at Shirdi and went to the masjid for Baba’s darshan. He prostrated at His feet, and then asked for Baba’s permission to leave. Baba suddenly asked him, “Do you know our Dwarakamai?” Balasaheb did not understand the implication of the question. As it was, he knew Dwarakamai as he had come several times, but when Baba asked specifically, he did not dare to reply and kept silent. Then Baba Himself continued, “This is our Dwarakamai. She wards off all dangers and anxieties of her children who sit in her lap. This Masjidmai is very merciful. She is the mother of simple devotees. She will save them from all calamities. Once you sit in her lap, your troubles are over. He, who rests in her shade, gets bliss.” Then Baba blessed him with Udi prasad and slowly and affectionately caressed his head with His protecting hand. When Balasaheb was about to leave, Baba again asked, “Do you know the ‘lamba baba’ (namely the snake)?” To make him understand more clearly, Baba half-closed His left fist, brought it near the left elbow and moved His left arm like a hooded serpent. Then He continued, “He is so terrible, but when Dwarakamai protects, what can he do.”

None of those who sat there, including Balasaheb, understood anything of what Baba said, particularly the relationship between the serpent and Balasaheb. No one dared ask Baba about this. Later, Balasaheb and Shyama left the masjid. When they were near the entrance, Baba called Shyama and asked him to accompany Balasaheb for the Chitali trip. Shyama went back to Balasaheb and on the way told him that Baba wanted him to go with Balasaheb for the Chitali trip. Balasaheb felt delicate and asked Shyama not to take the trouble as the journey was not comfortable. Shyama returned to Baba and told the same. Then Baba said, “Alright, don’t go. Whatever is destined to happen, will happen.”

Meanwhile, Balasaheb thought again and felt that as Baba wanted Shyama to go with him; His instruction should be respected and obeyed. So he called Shyama back and asked him to accompany. Shyama went again to Baba and told Him about Balasaheb’s revised decision. Baba gave him permission to leave. Shyama went with Balasaheb in a Tonga and reached Chitali by 9.0pm. The office people had not yet come to receive them. So, they camped in the Maruti temple there. Balasaheb was reading a newspaper. His uparani was spread across his waist. Unobserved by anyone, a snake was sitting on one part of the uparani. It started moving with a rustling sound. The peon who was nearby heard the sound, brought a lantern, and started shouting ‘snake’, ‘snake’. Balasaheb was shaking with fear. Shyama was also stunned. Soon he gathered courage and along with others, waited for the snake to climb down. As soon as it came down they killed it. Thus the calamity which Baba had anticipated was averted with His blessings only. Balasaheb’s love for Baba increased many fold.


When Bapusaheb Booty was in Shirdi, his friend Nanasaheb Dengale was also there. Nanasaheb knew astrology. One day he told Bapusaheb that he had to be careful that day as it was inauspicious for him. As per astrological calculations, Bapusaheb’s end was indicated on that day. Naturally, Bapusaheb was disturbed. Then they both went to the masjid for Baba’s darshan. Baba told Bapusaheb, “What does this Nana say? He predicts death, isn’t it? Tell him boldly, ‘Let us see how death comes’”. In the evening when Bapusaheb went for toilet, a snake was sitting there. As it was an open toilet, his servant, Lahnoo saw the snake first. He lifted a stone to crush the snake, but Bapusaheb stopped him, and asked him to bring a stick instead. Before the servant could come, the snake wriggled away and disappeared. Bapusaheb remembered Baba’s encouraging words of fearlessness with gratitude and joy.


In Kopergaon Taluqa, there is a village called Korale. To that village belonged a person by name Amir Shakkar. Though he was of the butcher caste, he went to a distant place, Bandra, and became a well known commission agent. He was suffering from rheumatism. Because of that, he had to endure plenty of pain. When he could not find any treatment from his doctors, he decided that God alone was his doctor. So, he left his business and went to Shirdi. He saw Baba, fell at His feet and begged Him to relieve him of his disease. Baba’s methods are always unusual. He asked Amir Shakkar to stay in Chavadi.

Chavadi was built around 1597 AD during the times of Mallik Ambar (a prime minister of Murtaza Nizam Shah II of Ahmednagar). Practically no efforts were made to renovate it during the intervening period. Of late, it had become a resting place for lizards, snakes and scorpions. It had earthen flooring. The roof had so many leaks that in the rainy season, water used to log. The building and floor were damp. Stray dogs had their resting place there. In short, at that time, it was not in a good condition. It was unhealthy even for a healthy person to stay in it. People suffering from rheumatism have aggravations under such conditions. As Baba’s words are commands for His devotees, Amir Shakkar did not complain and lived in the Chavadi. Though the conditions were not healthy, he had some great advantages living there. Every morning and evening, Baba passed through Chavadi. In addition, every alternate day, Baba went there in procession and slept. Thus Shakkar had regular contacts with Baba. Amir Shakkar lived there for nine months. Then slowly he developed a dislike for the place. Somehow or other he wanted to get away from Chavadi.

One night when everyone was sleeping, he got away. He went to Kopergaon and stayed in a Dharmashala (Inn). He saw an old fakir lying there. The fakir asked him for water. Shakkar brought some water and gave him. The old fakir gulped a sip of water and then fell dead. Shakkar did not know what to do. He knew that if he informed the authorities, they would immediately accuse him of murder as he was the only person to be with the fakir before the death occurred. He was in a panic. Flight was the only way out that he could think of. He ran back to Shirdi, chanting Baba’s name all the way. He also repented having left Shirdi without informing Baba. Somehow, he managed to reach Shirdi before the day break. He got into Chavadi before anyone could see him. His anxiety also reduced completely. He then lived there strictly according to Baba’s instructions. Subsequently, he was cured of his disease also.

One night when Baba and he were sleeping in Chavadi, Baba got up and shouted, “Oh Abdul, come immediately. Some devilish creature is dashing against My bed.” Abdul came with a lantern and a stick but found nothing. Baba was not satisfied and asked him to examine more carefully. He also started hitting the ground with His satka. By now, Amir Shakkar had become very familiar with Baba’s ways and thought that Baba might have seen a snake but never knew what Baba saw. Baba had seen a snake moving near Amir’s bed. Abdul immediately brought the lantern; found that a snake was coiled near the bed moving its hood up and down ready to strike. It was immediately killed, and once again, Baba had protected His devotee, Amir Shakkar because of His eternal vigil.


Following Baba’s instructions, Kakasaheb Dixit was reading every day, the two works of Eknath Maharaj - Bhagavat and Bhavartha Ramayana. Kaka used to read so melodiously that people would forget everything and concentrate only on the story. Hemad Pant also attended the readings. On that day the topic was the first meeting between Sri Rama and Hanuman. Hanuman saw Sri Rama and Lakshmana coming with their bows and arrows, and thought they could be Sugriva’s enemies. He went in the form of an old Brahmin and met them. How Hanuman tested his mother’s assurance, and how Sri Rama identified him without Hanuman revealing his identity was the story being read. Everyone was listening spellbound and there was pin drop silence.

No one knew from where it came from, a big scorpion jumped on to the right shoulder of Hemad Pant and sat on his uparani. Nobody noticed it also. There is a saying that God protects those who listen to His stories. Hemad Pant slowly turned towards his right and found a big scorpion sitting on his shoulder. Without disturbing the audience, Hemad Pant slowly brought the two ends of the uparani and enclosed the scorpion inside the uparani. He then threw it outside.

On another occasion, some persons were sitting on the upper floor of Kakasaheb’s Wada and talking. It was just before nightfall. Something shiny crept through the hole in the window frame and sat there coiled. The people brought a light and to their horror found that it was a snake moving its hood up and down. They wanted to kill it but as it was not accessible, they just waited, ready to strike if it came out. May be because of the noise, the snake went back silently through the same hole from which it had come. The people there felt relieved. Hemad Pant was one among those present there.


Muktaram, a devotee, said that it was good that the snake escaped as otherwise it would certainly have died. Hemad Pant did not agree. He was of the view that such creatures should be killed immediately as and when found. The discussion went on till late in the night without reaching any conclusion. Next day, when they went to Baba, the question was referred to Him. Baba said, “God lives in all beings. He is the sutradhar of this world. Without His order, nobody can harm another. No one is independent. Pity and love all beings. Leave off fights and killings. God is the protector of all.”

With this the twenty-second chapter called about snakes and scorpions, is complete. In the next chapter, Hemad Pant tells us about yoga and onion, how Baba rescued Shyama, ordeal of guru-bhakti and other matters.

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

No comments:

Post a Comment