Saturday, March 14, 2009

||chapters sixteen and seventeen||

|| sri sai satcharitra ||

|| chapters sixteen and seventeen ||

|| instant brahma - jnana ||

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

In these two chapters, Hemad Pant tells us about a rich gentleman who wanted instant Brahma-Jnana and other matters.


Rajadhiraja, Chakravarty, Sadguru Sainath Maharaj, with utmost devotion we prostrate at Your divine feet. How can we, ordinary mortals, describe Your glory? You are seated high above on a throne in the hearts of Your devotees, with the two servants called as undivided devotion and unending patience fanning You for Your comfort. Four Vedas, six Shastras, eighteen Puranas are Your Aasthana Kavis. Your Durbar is always under the pleasant moonlight of Chinmaya. The eight ministers - virakti, bhakti, jnana, shravanam, mananam, dhyanam, renunciation and realization - always serve You with undivided attention. Your melodious voice enraptures us with honeyed stream of Upanishads. Your hand possesses the sharpest of sharp swords called as Brahma-Jnanam. The six vices such as Maya, moham are all scared of this sword. With this sword, please cut across the entwined bondages called as worldly attachments with which we are shackled and liberate us. For, You have incarnated only for the benefit of Your devotees.

Compared to what Baba gave, Cholkar’s offering was, indeed, very small. But He accepted it with deep affection and compassion. As a matter of fact, Baba accepted even the tiniest thing if offered with love and devotion. On the other hand, if any one gave Him anything with pride and haughtiness, He refused instantly. After all, He was the personification of Sat-Chit-Ananda (Truth, Knowledge and Bliss), and did not care for anything else. Baba never showed any inclination for outward formalities. Submissiveness and humility was His preference. Ever forgiving the shortcomings of His devotees, always affectionate towards them, it is not possible to find a sadguru who is more liberal and benevolent. Man has known only Chintamani (the Philosopher’s stone), Kalpatharuvu (the celestial tree) and Kamadhenu (holy celestial cow), which have the capacity to give whatever is asked for. These three are nothing compared to Sadguru Sai Baba as He gives us even those things which we do not even know to ask. Inconceivable and inscrutable are the ways in which He blesses us, just as He blessed the rich man who wanted to imbibe Brahma-Jnanam in an instant.


As Baba’s fame spread far and wide, it reached Gulzar also. He was a normal devotee but extraordinarily rich. He was living in a village near Malegaon. He had houses, lands, fields, money, servants and all those which very rich people usually possess. As he had almost everything, he thought that he did not need any more material possessions and that he should have darshan of Baba and ask for the Brahma-Jnan, which he knew was the ultimate any man could possess. That was the only thing which he did not have. He had also heard that Baba was very liberal and benevolent and would give anything anyone asked for.

Gulzar told his desire to his friend. The friend, who knew Gulzar very well, dissuaded him from going to Baba. He told him that it was very difficult to acquire Brahma-Jnana and particularly for a reputedly greedy person like him, whose only goals in life were wealth, wife and progeny. He did not heed his friend’s advice. Moreover, as he was in a hurry to get Brahma-Jnana and come back to his place at the earliest, he engaged a return journey Tonga and left for Shirdi.

He reached Shirdi, went straight to masjid and fell at the feet of Baba. Holding Baba’s feet in his hands, he prayed, “Baba, I heard that You are kind and liberal; that You give whatever the devotees ask for; that You grant Brahma-Jnana to even those who do not ask for it. Baba, I have come from a far off place and I am tired. If You give me Brahma-Jnana, I will take it and return back to my place.” Baba was very much amused and said, “My friend, don’t be anxious. I was also waiting for devotees like you. People come to Me and ask for all kinds of material things like health, wealth, power, progeny, and cure of diseases and so on. Rarely indeed has anyone asked for spiritual guidance. I will immediately give you Brahma-Jnana; I will show you Brahman with all the accompaniments and glory. But my dealings are always in cash, never in credit.”

Baba made him sit in front of Him and engaged him in some other conversation and made him forget his question. Then Baba called a boy and asked him to get Rs.5/- from one Nandu Marwadi. The boy returned empty handed and said that Nandu Marwadi had gone out. Then Baba sent him to the local grocer Bala to get the money. The boy again returned empty handed. Baba again sent him to someone else, the boy returned empty handed once again. This went on for three or four times more. Each time the boy returned empty handed.

Did Baba really need those Rs.5/-? If so, when anyone assembled in the masjid could have given it, why send the boy so many times and tire him? Being a sarvajna, did He not know that Nandu Marwadi and others were not available?

Baba, indeed, is a sarvajna. Not only did He know that Nandu Marwadi and others were not available, but He also knew that the man who wanted Brahma-Jnana had a roll of currency notes in his pocket. Baba was testing the awareness of that man. Had he been involved, it would not have been very difficult for him to remove the money from his pocket and give it to Baba. He proved to be a mere onlooker. Added to that, he was getting irritated that he was being delayed and requested Baba to show him Brahman immediately without any further delay. Then Baba said, “My friend, did you not see what I was doing? It was for making you see Brahman that I asked Rs.5/-. Five is not the currency I want. To know Brahman, one has to surrender the five - 1. Five pranas (vital forces) 2. Five senses (five of action and five of perception) 3. Mind 4. Intellect and 5. Ego. The path to see Brahman or self realization is not easy. It is like walking on a razor’s edge.” And then Baba gave a brilliant and superb exposition of the art of self realization; who can acquire it and how it can be achieved. The entire knowledge encompassed in the Vedas, the Upanishads and Bhagavat Gita was distilled, concentrated and given to the devotees in a form they can easily assimilate. Just as Sri Krishna preached Arjuna on the battlefield, Sai Baba has taught us how to fight our own ignorance.


To acquire Brahma-Jnana or to realize the self, certain pre-requisites have to be fulfilled. Only those having these pre-requisites are eligible to be initiated into the knowledge of Brahman. Having said this, Baba then enumerates the qualities that make up a person suitable to receive the initiation.

The first qualification is that he should be a Mumukshu. The person must have an intense desire or urge to become free. His mind should be constantly focused on one thought alone, to get free from this bondage, and should not care for anything else. With this in mind, he should continuously work towards that goal. Such a person qualifies himself for a spiritual life.

The second qualification is that he should be a Virakta. Virakti means aversion. The person should be totally disgusted with his life here in this world. He should be disgusted with the results that accrue from his actions, whatever they may be. Such a person qualifies himself for a spiritual life.

The third qualification is that he should be an Antarmukhi. Antarmukhi means introverted. Man possesses sense organs which interact with the outside world. The eyes see the beauty of the nature, the ears hear the melody of music, which are all external to the body. By his nature, man always looks to the outside world. For those who have embarked on a spiritual life, that external gaze should be directed inwards. The outside world should cease to have any relevance to the aspirant.

The fourth qualification is that there should be catharsis from sin. In the early part of our life we would have committed so many sins, knowingly or unknowingly. Once a person chooses a spiritual life, he should consciously stop doing anything bad. He should not even hurt anyone, kaaya, vaacha or manasa. He should compose himself, be alert and keep his mind always at rest and under control.

The next qualification is right conduct. It is not enough if one stops doing wrong things. Knowingly and consciously, he should start doing right things. He should always speak truth, do penance and lead a life of celibacy.

The sixth qualification is that he should prefer Shreyas, rather than Preyas. Shreyas means doing that which is good. Preyas means doing that which is pleasant. Several situations arise in one’s life where a decision has to be made as to choose that which is good for a given situation or doing something which pleases some one. The choices are not easy to make. The person who has embarked on the spiritual life must always choose that which is good even though it is most unpleasant to all concerned. The unwise person always prefers the pleasant because of greed and attachment.

The seventh qualification is the control of mind and senses. Baba gives a beautiful example here. The analogy of a chariot is given here for the sake of easy understanding of the subject. The Jeevaatma, the individual soul, who enjoys the fruits of his Karmas and is bound in this Samsara through this Avidya, ignorance, is the Lord of the chariot. Just as the chariot is drawn by the horses, so also this body-chariot is drawn by the horses of senses. Therefore, this body is compared to the chariot. Just as the chariot is carefully moved by the driver, so also this body-chariot is moved or guided by the driver intellect, which is endowed with the power of discrimination. Body does everything under the directions of intellect. The horses move when the driver grasps the reins in his hands. So also the senses perform their function when grasped by the mind.

The senses such as the ears, skin, eyes, tongue and nose are the horses, because they draw this body-chariot. The objects of sound, touch, form, taste, smell form the roads on which the horses of senses tread. The pure Atman cannot be the enjoyer. It is ever the silent witness (Sakshi). He can never be the agent. He is actionless (Nishkriya, Akriya). He is non-doer (Akarta).He appears as the agent or enjoyer when He is united with the mind, senses and the body through Avidya, ignorance. The mind acts and enjoys through the senses and the body. The attributes of the mind, senses, Prana and body are transferred to the pure Atman and the attributes of Atman are transferred to the mind and the body. This is called mutual super imposition (Anyonya Adhyasa). Through this superimposition, the insentient mind seems to be intelligent, and the impure and insentient body is mistaken for the pure and sentient atman. The pure Atman puts on the appearance of Jiva on account of this superimposition created by Avidya and undergoes apparently the pains of Samsara, birth and death. Jiva in essence is Satchidananda Svarupa. When Avidya is destroyed through the knowledge of the Self, he becomes identical with Brahman, Paramatman (the Supreme Self).

Any one, who has no understanding of this concept, cannot control his mind which is similar to the situation when the horses are allowed to choose their direction. The charioteer will never reach the destination. He will be simply going wherever his horses take him. Such a person will be going through the eternal cycle of birth and death and never achieve self realization. The charioteer who can control his horses will surely reach the destination which he has set for himself. In the case of the aspirant for spiritual life, his destination is the supreme abode of the all pervading Vishnu.

The eighth qualification is the purification of mind. A pure mind has no desires. This stage of purity of mind or desirelessness comes from properly discharging one’s duties in wherever he is situated. Greed, egoism and desire for sense objects are all the impurities of mind. These are removed by consciously doing one’s duties without harping on the consequences. Unless the mind becomes pure, self realization is not possible. The thought that ‘I am the body’ is the great seductress of an aspirant of spiritual life. That thought alone leads to all kinds of attachments and binds the person to this materialistic world. If the goal of self realization is to be achieved, then this thought should first be removed. With the mind becoming pure, Viveka (knowledge which discriminates between the Unreal and Real) and Vairagya (non attachment to the Unreal) take over and lead the aspirant to his goal of self realization.

The next requirement is the necessity of a Guru. In spite of all the above eight qualities, an aspirant will never reach his goal if he does not have a guru. The path to spiritual goal is strewn with so many obstacles that only some one who has already trodden this path can guide a new comer to avoid all the pitfalls and safely reach the goal. A Guru who has himself achieved the state of self realization will be in a position to explain the subtleties of the knowledge of self. What an enlightened Guru can give, nobody else can. It is only a Guru who can take the aspirant step by step on the ladder of spiritual life.

After all these requirements are met the last one, the most important of all, is the grace of God. If God is pleased, He will give Viveka and Vairagya, take him across the ocean of this samsara and lead the aspirant to the Brahman. The Kathopanishad says,

Na ayam aatma pravachanena labhyo
Na medhaya na bahudha shrutena
Yam yeva yesha vrunuthe tena labhyaha
Tasya esha aatma vrunuthe tanum svaam
Katha.Up Book I, Valli ii, Sl 23

This Atman cannot be attained by study of the Vedas,nor by intelligence, or by much hearing. He whom the Self chooses, by him the self can be gained. To him this Atman reveals its true nature.

This Atman cannot be attained by the study of the Vedas or by intelligence or retentive memory or by much hearing of the Srutis; but the Atman can be attained only by him who is free from desire and who seeks to know It. This Atman reveals Its real form or true nature to him. The Soul of him, who is desirous of knowing his own Soul, reveals its own truth. According to Shankaracharya, Yam means ‘which’ i.e., which Atman the aspirant seeks. Yesha means this ‘aspirant.’ ‘It is attainable by that aspirant alone who seeks this Atman.’ According to the Dvaitins, Yam means ‘Whom’; Yesha means ‘this’ (God). ‘It is attained by him alone whom God chooses, i.e., on whom God shows His grace, with whom He is pleased.’

As soon as He concluded the above dissertation, He turned to the man who wanted to get Brahma-Jnana immediately and said, “Well, Sir, Brahman is in your pocket in the form of fifty times Rs.5/- (Rs.250/-). Please take it out.” That gentleman immediately took out the bundle of currency notes and found that he had exactly twenty five notes of Rs.10/- each. He was wonderstruck with Baba’s knowledge, was moved deeply and prostrated at Baba’s feet and begged His mercy.

Then Baba told him, “Put your Brahman back in your pocket. To know Brahman, one should be without any desires. As long as there is desire, there is attachment. One whose thoughts are always on wealth, wife and progeny, cannot remove this attachment. The direction of the thoughts has to be changed. They have to be consciously guided into another lane, where the desire is not there. Unless the desire is absent, greed will not go. This desire for money is a great whirlpool. Greed and Brahma are on opposite poles. If one is South Pole, the other is the North Pole. They do not coexist. A greedy person does not have peace, contentment or steadiness of mind. With even a trace of greed, all the sadhanas are of no help. The greatest of sadgurus cannot help him in getting self realization. Even the most knowledgeable person cannot help one who is full egoism and always thinks about sense objects. The mind has to be purified. It should stop thinking about sense objects. It should stop desiring those sense objects. Unless this is done, all spiritual efforts are only show and pomp. So, take only what one can digest and assimilate.

My treasury is full. I can give what anyone wants, but I have to see that he is eligible to take what he asks. Listen to Me carefully, and you will benefit. I never speak untruth.”

All those present there were treated to a sumptuous treatise on spiritualism. This was the spiritual knowledge - distilled, condensed and concentrated from the Vedas, Vedantas, and the Hindu religious thought consistently flowing from centuries - which no other Guru has given to His devotees in an easily digestible form. It is our good fortune that Hemad Pant has stored this legacy in this invaluable form called Sri Sai Satcharitra. All those who read this treatise on atman will certainly be on the path towards self realization. Let us prostrate at the feet of such a noble, liberal and benevolent teacher, Sri Sai Baba.


Our country has seen great saints and sages, from generation to generation, who have achieved great spiritual levels and acquired extremely difficult knowledge, by leaving their families, houses, and going to secluded places. They have achieved these spiritual levels by undergoing great sacrifices and sufferings. Almost all of them strived for their own upliftment. Sai Baba is the only Sadguru who remained in the midst of this world, and strove for the betterment of His devotees. He had no wife, no progeny, no home, nor any relative - near or distant. In fact He did not have anything which could be called His own - except His devotees. He begged His food from four or five houses, lived underneath the Neem tree, carried on in this materialistic world and taught His devotees. His life story is the story of a totally selfless person who lived only for the sake of welfare of His devotees. He taught them the essence of the art of living and behaving in this world. He also took them, hand in hand and very affectionately, on to the difficult path to eternal bliss. Rare indeed are the saints and sages who after attaining God-vision, work for the welfare of the ordinary common ignorant people.

With extreme ecstasy, Hemad Pant says, “Blessed is the country, blessed is the family and blessed are the chaste parents where this Extraordinary, Transcendent, Precious, and Pure Jewel (Sai Baba) was born.”

With this the two chapters - sixteenth and seventeenth, called as Instant Brahma-Jnanam, are complete. In the next two chapters, Hemad Pant tells us about how he was accepted and blessed, and other matters.

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

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