Friday, May 8, 2009

||chapter forty-nine||

|| sri sai satcharitra ||

|| chapter forty-nine ||

|| testing sai baba ||

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

In this chapter, Hemad Pant describes stories of Hari Kanoba, Somadeva Swami, Nanasaheb Chandorkar and other matters.


Hemad Pant expresses his inability to describe the Sadguru and says that when both Vedas and Puranas got exhausted in praising the glory of Brahman or Sadguru, how can he, being a very ordinary person describe the multifaceted glory of Sai Baba? Instead of making a half hearted attempt and failing miserably, it is better to remain silent. In fact, silence alone is the most eloquent description of the grandeur of the Sadguru. But the many great qualities that the Sadguru has, hardly allow us to remain silent. If delicious dishes are prepared and are not eaten in company with friends and relatives, then the dishes hardly taste delicious. When the same dishes are shared with friends and relatives, then the togetherness adds a special flavour of its own to the dishes. Similar is the case with the Sai Leelamrit. This can never be tasted in solitude. Only when shared with relatives and friends, it gives greater happiness. By His own desire, Sri Sai Baba Himself is narrating these stories through Hemad Pant. Hence, it becomes our duty to whole heartedly surrender to Him and meditate. Hari Bhakti is superior to Tapas - Sadhana, pilgrimage, Vratam, Yagna or Dana. Profound contemplation of Sadguru is superior to even Hari Bhakti. With His name always on our lips, reflecting always on His teachings, fixing His image in our vision, with love and devotion for Him in our heart, we should dedicate all our actions at His divine feet. There is no better way than this to get liberated from the Bhavabhandhana. If we do our duties properly in the prescribed way, then Sai will be compelled to come to our aid and grant us liberation. Let us prostrate at His divine feet so that His blessing should always be with us.


Bombay’s Hari Kanoba had heard many Leelas of Baba from his friends and relatives. But, he refused to believe any of them as he was a non believer. Mistrust was deep rooted in his heart. After some time, he decided to personally test Baba and so left for Shirdi with some of his friends. He had a new zari embroidered turban on his head and was wearing a pair of new sandals. When he went to masjid, he saw Baba from a distance and wanted to bow at His feet, but his new sandals prevented him from doing this. He was scared that some one will knock away his new sandals and was hence reluctant to leave them outside the entrance. After searching for a long time, he found a safe corner, removed and kept his sandals there and went inside. He had darshan of Baba and prostrated lovingly at His feet, but all the while his attention was fixed on his new sandals only. With great reverence he bowed to Baba, accepted udi prasadam and came back. When he went to the ‘safe’ corner, he found that his sandals were missing. What he had feared all along did indeed happen. He searched everywhere, asked some, but could not get back his pair of new sandals. Dejectedly, he went back to his lodging.

He took bath, did pooja, offered naivedyam and finally sat for taking food but, all the time his mind was thinking only of his new pair of sandals. After finishing his meals, when he came out to wash his hands, he saw a young Maratha boy coming towards him with a stick in his hand. Suspended high above on the stick was his new pair of sandals. The boy was telling everyone who was coming out after the meals, “Baba had given me this stick and asked to go round shouting loudly, ‘Hari ka beta, zari ka pheta’ (son of Hari with zari turban). If anyone says that the sandals are his, then to ask if his name is Hari and his father’s name is ‘Ka’. Baba has also asked me to see whether that person wears a zari turban or not. Only then I am to give these sandals.” Hari Kanoba was both happy and surprised to hear what the boy said. He went to the boy, told him that he was Hari, that his father’s name was Kanoba and showed him the zari embroidered turban he wore. The boy was happy and gave him his new pair of sandals and went away.

Hari Kanoba was in deep thought. About zari turban, well, as he was wearing it, many persons including Baba might have noticed it. This being his first visit to Shirdi, how did Baba know that his name was Hari? His father’s name was Kanoba and only people very intimate to him, called him ‘Ka’. How did Baba know of the short form of his father’s name? He had come to Shirdi with the intention of testing Baba and this small event convinced Hari Kanoba of Baba’s omniscience. His desire fulfilled, Hari Kanoba went back to Bombay and thereafter became a staunch devotee of Baba.


This is the story of another person who wanted to test Baba. Kakasaheb Dixit’s brother, Sri Bhaiji was staying in Nagpur. When he went to Himalayas in 1906 AD, he met one Somadeva Swami in Uttar Kashi, near Hardwar in the valley of Gangotri. Both of them took each other’s address. Five years later, Somadeva Swami came to Nagpur and stayed with Bhayiji. There he heard of Baba’s fame and was greatly pleased. He wanted to go to Shirdi and have darshan of Baba. Bhaiji gave him a letter of introduction to his brother Kakasaheb. He got down from the train at Kopergaon and engaged a Tonga to go to Shirdi.

When he entered Shirdi, from a distance he saw that two flags were fluttering high on top of the masjid. Though the saints are one and same on the spiritual plane, they usually differ externally in their dress or behaviour and are quite individualistic. It would be a great folly to estimate their worth by their outer appearances. Somadeva Swami’s thoughts were different. When he saw the flags fluttering in the air, he thought, ‘Being a saint, why does Sai Baba take so much interest in these flags? Does He want to exhibit that He is a saint? It looks as if Sai Baba is fond of His fame. What is the use of seeing such a saint?’ Then and there he decided to cancel his trip to Shirdi and told his fellow passengers the same thing. They chastised him by saying, ‘Why did you unnecessarily come all the way? If by seeing the flags alone you are getting so excited, then what will happen when you see the chariot, palki, horse and other items in Shirdi?’ Hearing this, Somadeva Swami was even more perturbed. He said, ‘I have seen many saints and sages, but this saint appears to be different and interested in collecting such affluent items. It is better not to see such a saint.’ He started going back. Then the fellow passengers stopped him and said, ‘Get rid of this narrow mindedness. The saint in the masjid never thinks of these items even in His dreams. All these things are presented to Him by His devotees with love and devotion.’ Somadeva Swami, after sufficient persuasion, decided to find out for himself by going to the masjid.

When he went inside the masjid and saw Baba, he was deeply moved. Tears rolled down his cheeks. His voice was choked. All his criticisms against Baba disappeared. He was reminded of his guru’s saying, ‘Where your mind is completely at peace, think of that place as your resting place.’ His mind had become calm after seeing Baba. He wanted to bow at Baba’s feet with great reverence, but as soon as he bent to touch Baba’s feet, Baba shouted, “Leave My things alone with Me. Go back to your home. Be careful, if you come again to the masjid. Why should such a saint be visited, who flies flags on the masjid? Is this the quality of a saint? Don’t stay here even for a moment.” Somadeva Swami was astounded. He realised that Baba knew what was going on in his mind, even when he was very far from Baba. He now experienced Baba’s omniscience. He was amused at his own level of thinking and realised how pure and great Baba was. He saw that Baba embraced some, consoled some with His hand and gazed some with deep affection. He also saw that Baba gave udi prasadam to some and removed all their difficulties. He began to think, ‘Why this harsh and angry behaviour only with me?’ Then he realised that the cause was his own way of thinking. Taking this as a punishment, he understood that he should change his behaviour and thinking. He took Baba’s scolding as a blessing and surrendered himself completely to Baba.


Once, Nanasaheb Chandorkar was sitting in the masjid with Mhalsapathi and other devotees. A rich gentleman came from Vaijapur, with his family, to have darshan of Baba. Seeing that all the ladies were clad in burkhas, Nanasaheb wanted to make way for them and go. Baba asked him to stay. The ladies went further, had Baba’s darshan and bowed at His feet. One of them, while prostrating at Baba’s feet, removed the veil from her face, touched Baba’s feet and then covered her face again. Nanasaheb was attracted by her face and wanted to see that face again. His desire to see her again was so much that he could not control his mind and was in a dilemma as to how to behave at that moment. He was diffident to look at her openly but very much wanted to. He felt ashamed in Baba’s presence, and hung his head but his eyes wandered. Knowing Nanasaheb’s baffled state of mind, Baba wanted to bring him back to his normal self. After the ladies went away, Baba said, “Nana, why are you getting agitated unnecessarily? The body is full of desires, which spring up as soon as a sense object approaches. Allow the senses to do their duty. We should not hinder them from doing their tasks. God has made this beautiful creation. It is our duty to appreciate its beauty. This mind will gradually become steady, but when the front door is open, why should we enter through back door? As long as the mind is pure, there is no difficulty. As long as there is no evil thought in our mind, we need not be afraid of anyone. Let the eyes do their work. You need not be ashamed, or become restless because of this.” Shyama was also there at that time. He did not understand the gist of Baba’s sayings. So, when they were returning to the Wada, he asked Nanasaheb the meaning of what Baba told him.

Though initially reluctant to discuss his weaknesses, Nanasaheb subsequently explained how he was attracted by the extraordinary beauty of the woman and how he wanted to see her face again. Gazing at her publicly was an indecent behaviour. But, his mind had become a slave of the sense organ, eye. Thus, when he was baffled, Baba explained that it was futile and gave the advice. Then Nanasaheb told Shyama, ‘Our mind, by its very nature, is always wavering. But, we should not allow it to degrade. Even though the senses become fickle, we should always exercise total control over the mind and not allow it to become restless. Senses are always after the sense objects, but we should not be enslaved by them and take them nearer the sense objects. Gradually, by practice, this restlessness can be controlled. Though it is not possible to completely control the senses, we should not become their slaves. We should curb them properly in a systematic way according to the need of the occasion. Beauty is for the eyes to behold. So, we should see beauty without any fear. When we go to a temple, do we care for the beauty of the exterior or the image of the Paramatma inside? There is nothing wrong with looking at the exterior, but as one looks at it, he must think how clever and powerful is the God that produced such a beautiful abode, how He resides therein, and how nicely ornamented He is. As long as there is no evil thought, we need not be afraid of anyone nor feel ashamed. If you make your mind desireless, and behold the beauty created by God, the senses naturally will come under our control and even while seeing beauty, we are reminded of God. If you allow the mind to run after the senses and get immersed in the sense objects, you will never get released from the eternal cycle of birth and death. Sense objects are always meant to distract the senses from their rightful path. That is why we should make Viveka as our driver and holding the reins of the mind in our control, prevent the sense horses from straying towards the sense objects. Such a driver like Viveka will take us to the divine feet of Lord Vishnu, which is ultimately our residence and going where, no one will ever come back.’

Hemad Pant completes this chapter with this narration. Let us once again prostrate at the divine feet of our beloved Baba and pray that He should grant us the Viveka which is so essential to control our senses. Samarth Sadguru Sainath Maharaj Ki Jai!!!!

With this, the forty ninth chapter, called as Testing Sai Baba, is complete. In the next chapter, Hemad Pant describes stories of Kakasaheb Dixit, Sri Tembye Swami, Balaram Dhurandhar and other matters.

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

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