Saturday, March 7, 2009

|| chapter eleven ||

|| sri sai satcharitra ||

|| chapter eleven ||

|| sai as saguna brahma ||

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

In this chapter, Hemad Pant tells us about Sai as the Saguna Brahman, how He was worshipped, how He controlled the elements and other matters.


When the mind becomes restless with unsolved problems, when the world around is crumbling with darkness all around, when the path becomes difficult to trudge and the mind cannot decide what is to be done, seek the shelter of Baba. Submit totally to Him and He will show the light. At Baba’s feet the tired mind will find lasting peace and solace. The powers of sadguru are limitless. He has the powers to pull anyone even from the jaws of certain death. The sadguru is more powerful than even the seven forms of God - an image, sthandali (sacrificial post), fire, illumination, sun, water and a dwija (twice born). A disciple, who serves his guru with all the humility and dedication, becomes stronger than the guru. He alone can experience paramaatma.

Brahman can be worshipped either as Saguna (having a form) Brahman or a Nirguna (formless) Brahman. The Saguna Brahman has a form, very much human, and is easy to worship. The Nirguna Brahman is formless. It is difficult in the earlier stages of sadhana to fix one’s attention on an abstract formless god. As Sri Krishna said in Bhagavad-Gita,

Klesho adhikataras tesham avyaktaasakta chetasaam
Avyaktaahi gatir dukham dehavadbhiravaapyate
Ch.12 Sl.5
For those whose minds are attached to the formless, impersonal feature of the supreme, advancement is very troublesome. To make progress in that discipline is always difficult for those who are embodied.

Though both the forms of worship are same and lead to the same goal, the Saguna Brahman has a form which can be easily meditated. With meditation comes Bhakti. Once Bhakti is firmly embedded, it becomes easy to worship the Nirguna Brahman. Till Bhakti is developed, till love towards god develops, worship of Saguna Brahman is better.

For worshipping a god with form, the seven objects of worship are - image, sthandali, fire, illumination, sun, water and a dwija. The worship of a sadguru is far easier than worshipping any or all of the above seven. The way a sadguru can interact with us, none of the above can do. And while searching for a sadguru, the mind does not go beyond the ever loving, divine Sai Baba. Fix that compassionate image of Baba in the mind, which is always forgiving, soft, tolerant and content beyond comparison, prostrate at His feet and worship Him. Invite Him to your mind, offer Him the seat of your faith in Him and let the abandonment of all desires be the Sankalpa. He will definitely come. Worship Him every day, every moment. Slowly and steadily, by His grace, the mind will turn to Nirguna Brahman. Baba encouraged worship of Nirguna Brahman among His devotees by several different ways depending on their nature. Though He liked them very much, He used to send some far away from Shirdi. He allowed some to be in Shirdi but away from Him. He asked some to remain in the Wada and read scriptures. After sufficient practice, their mind would remain focused on Baba. Whatever we may be doing, our mind will always go back to Baba. Some thought that Baba was a great Bhakta Himself. Others thought that He was a mahabhagavata. For us He is God, the Saguna Brahman.

The great river Ganga, on its way to merge into the ocean, quenches the thirsts of so many fields, gives life to the plants and trees, provides cool breeze to those affected with heat. Similarly, the great saints like Baba, even after they complete their mission, continue to guide us. By remembering their deeds, by constantly thinking about them, we achieve our own mission in our life. Sri Krishna told Uddhava, “The sages are My soul. They are My living image. I am in them. For their sake, I take the responsibility of the devotees. I prostrate to those who are the devotees of the sages.” That satchidaananda swaroopa has taken human form in Shirdi. Taittiriya Upanishad says that Brahman is bliss. People experienced the same bliss at the feet of Baba. Baba who held aloft the entire universe, who was propping the entire creation, did not need any props Himself. He who gave all the comforts to His devotees, did not enjoy any comfort Himself. Though He was Saguna, He was beyond all gunas. His only concern was His devotees. He loved them so much that He allowed them to worship Him in any way they liked. Some played musical instruments to Him, some waved fans, and some washed His hands and feet with water, and some applied scent and chandan to Him. Though He was with His devotees in Shirdi, He was all pervasive. To this all pervasive living God, we humbly prostrate.


Tatyasaheb Noolkar once brought his friend, Dr. Pandit, for Baba’s darshan. After going to masjid, Dr. Pandit fell at Baba’s feet and sat in the courtyard for some time. Baba called him and asked him to meet Dadabhat Kelkar. Dr. Pandit followed Baba’s instructions and met Dadabhat. He was well received. After some preliminaries, both of them went back to masjid to see Baba.

Dada worshipped Baba. He was applying chandan to Baba’s feet. Overwhelmed by devotion, Dr. Pandit took the plate of chandan from Dada’s hand and started applying chandan to Baba. Only difference was that, instead of applying it to the feet, he applied it to Baba’s forehead. There he drew three horizontal lines, called as tripundra, with chandan. Baba silently allowed him to do whatever he wanted. People around Baba were shocked. This was because Baba never allowed anyone to touch His forehead. Only Mhalsapathi applied chandan to Baba’s throat. All those around thought that, Baba would flare up with anger, and throw out Dr. Pandit. No such thing happened. Instead, Baba appeared to be happy. Dadabhat could not digest this. During the evening darshan, he asked Baba, “Baba, You shout at us if we apply chandan to Your forehead, why You allowed Dr. Pandit to do it?” Baba calmly replied, “His guru is a Brahmin by name, Raghunath Maharaj. He is also known as Kaka Puranik and lives in Dhopeshwar. Dr. Pandit saw his guru in Me. I am of the Muslim caste (mi jaticha mussalman-in Marathi), but he thought of me as his own guru and was performing ritual worship to the guru (guru pooja). He did not even entertain the thought that he himself was a pure Brahmin and that I was an unclean yavana. That was why I could not stop him.” Not content with this Dadabhat asked Dr. Pandit, later on, why he applied chandan paste to Baba’s forehead. Dr. Pandit told him that he was seeing his guru Kaka Puranik in Baba. He realized Baba as his guru. So, he applied tripundra on Baba’s forehead as he used to apply to his guru. That answer satisfied Dadabhat.

Normally, Baba allowed His devotees to worship Him as they liked. Some times, however, He got wild, threw away the pooja materials, and scolded those who were around. His eyes got red, and with His arms waving around, He looked like the reincarnation of God Narasimha. Almost immediately He used to cool down, become soft and all forgiving and once again, affection would flow like a cool perennial stream. He used to call His devotees and tell them that He never knew that He was angry with them. He also told them that as a slave of His devotees, He would always be with them; respond to them whenever they called and from wherever they called Him. His only desire was the love of His devotees. He also assured them that as long as the mothers did not kick their children or as long as the oceans did not allow the rivers to merge with them, He would protect His devotees.


Though Baba was so much attached to His devotees, it was not easy for any one to become His devotee. Baba accepted someone as His devotee depending only on His mood and sweet will. It happened in the case of Haji Sidik Falke. He was a Muslim from Kalyan and had already performed the pilgrimage of Hajj to Mecca and Medina. When he came to Shirdi, he stayed in the Chavadi facing north. He used to sit in the open space in the court yard as Baba never allowed him inside the masjid. Falke waited for nine long months for Baba’s call. It did not come. He was deeply anguished and did not know what to do. The other devotees who had seen him for all these days, told him not to lose heart and instead approach Baba through Shyama. They told him that as Lord Shiva could be approached through Nandi, Baba can also be approached through Shyama. Falke liked the suggestion and one day approached Shyama. He told Shyama about his miseries and begged him to provide him with Baba’s blessings.

Finding a suitable opportunity, Shyama told Baba, “Deva, so many people come to You for darshan and get Your blessing. Allow that old man Haji also to come inside the masjid and get Your blessing.” Baba did not lose His temper and calmly told Shyama, “Shamya, you are young. You do not understand many things. If the Fakir (Allah) does not allow him, what can I do? Without His permission, no one can enter the masjid. Any way, go and ask him if he can come to the narrow footpath near the Bavri (well).” Shyama went to Haji and came back with a positive reply. Again Baba told Shyama, “Ask him if he can give me four times Rs. 40,000/- in four installments.” Shyama came back and told Baba that he was ready to give even forty lakhs. For this, Baba told Shyama, “We will cut a goat in the masjid. Ask him if he would like to have the bones with flesh, or the haunch or the testicles.” After enquiry Shyama told Baba that Haji would be very happy to get a small crumb from Baba’s kolamba (mud pot). Hearing this, Baba was wild with anger, smashed the earthen pots to the ground, went to Haji, lifted His kafni above His elbow and shouted, “Posing like an old Haji, you boast like a great man! Is this the way you read Quran? You say you have gone to Mecca and still you do not know Me!!” Falke was dumbfounded. He could not understand what his mistake was.

Baba went back to masjid. As usual, His anger never lasted long. When He was normal once again, He bought few baskets of mangoes and sent them to Falke. Then He went to him, took out Rs.55/- from His pocket and gave it to him. From then on, Baba loved Haji and also invited him for meals. Haji used to go to the masjid whenever he liked, like other devotees. Getting angry was one of the methods Baba applied to correct His devotees. Internally, He was as forgiving as ever and as affectionate as ever. Baba wanted to remove Falke’s egoism as he was proud that he had visited Mecca and Medina. To that benign guiding Force, we prostrate with all humility.


Seasons were changing in Shirdi. One day, dark clouds gathered over the place. They intensified. Very shortly it began to rain. Then it poured. Then there was a torrent. There was no sign of the rain abating. Wherever the eye could see, there was water. The entire place was flooded with water. Birds and beasts were frightened. The poor and the impoverished did not know where to go, and, finally took shelter in the masjid. No one came to their rescue. With desperation, they begged Baba to help them. Baba was deeply anguished over the plight of the helpless people. He came out of the masjid and thundered, “Calm down. Don’t show your fury on the poor and helpless. Stop”. In a short while, the rains subsided. The sky became clear. Grateful people of Shirdi showed their gratitude to Baba and left for their homes.

In another incident, one afternoon, the fire in Dhuni started blazing. The fire went on leaping and became so intense that it reached up to the rafters of the masjid. People there were panicky and did not know what to do. Though Baba was physically there, His mind was somewhere else and the people could not muster up courage to ask Him to pour water. Soon after, Baba realized what was happening. He took His satka, struck it on a nearby pillar and shouted, “Go back, go back, and calm down”. With each stroke of the satka, the fire receded gradually and very shortly the Dhuni was normal. The people around also heaved a sigh of relief.

On another occasion, as we had seen earlier, Baba had converted saline water in a well to potable water for the Sri Ramanavami festival.

We prostrate with all the humility at the feet of the all powerful God, Sai Baba and surrender ourselves completely to Him. Hemad Pant says that those who read this chapter daily with faith and devotion will soon be relieved of their miseries; all their desires fulfilled and will be devoted to Sai and have God vision.

With this the eleventh chapter, called Sai as Saguna Brahma, is complete. In the next chapter, Hemad Pant tells us about Sai Leelas, experiences of Kaka Mahajani, Mrs Nimonkar, Moolay Shastri and other matters.

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

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