|| chapter one ||
|| the story of grinding wheat grains ||
|| Sri Ganeshaya Namaha || Sri Saraswatye Namaha ||
|| Sri Venkateshaya Namaha || Sri Sai Nathaya Namaha ||
|| Sri Sadgurubhyo Namaha ||
GANESHA - to remove any hurdles that may come and to make this work successful. He says that Sri Sai is Ganesha.
SARASWATI - the goddess of learning to inspire him in the writing of this work. He says that Sri Sai is same as goddess Saraswati. He further says that Sri Sai Himself is singing His story.
BRAHMA, VISHNU AND MAHESHWARA - the gods, who create, preserve and destroy. He says that Sri Sai is not different from the Trimurthis. He further says that Sainath is the sadguru who will ferry us across this ocean of samsara.
NARAYAN ADINATH - who manifested in Konkan and to the Adi Purusha of the family.
BHARADWAJA - in whose gotra (clan) he was born.
VARIOUS OTHER SAGES - Yagnyavalka, Bhrigu, Parashara, Narada, Vedavyasa, Sanaka, Sanandana, Sanatkumara, Shuka, Shounaka, Vishvamitra, Vasishta, Valmiki, Vamadeva, Jaimini, Vaishampayana, Nava Yogindra, etc and to modern saints Nivritti, Jnandev, Sopan, Muktabai, Janardan, Ekanath, Namdev, Tukaram, Kanha and Narahari etc.
HIS RELATIVES - His grandfather Sadashiv, his father Raghunath, his mother who left him in his infancy, his paternal aunt who brought him up, and to his loving elder brother.
READERS - to give their whole and undivided attention
HIS GURU SRI SAINATH - incarnation of Sri Dattatreya. Sai is his sole refuge, who will make him realize that Brahman alone is the reality and everything else is Maya.
Sri Sai Satcharitra is closest to the heart of every Sai Devotee. It tells the story of the God who walked on earth. Sai Baba’s life did not possess any of the ingredients that would make a worthwhile biography. In the normal sense, He did not have any extraordinary physical life. It was made up of several events which were inimitably linked to His devotees. When Govind Raghunath Dabholkar saw Baba grinding wheat grains, meant to save the village of Shirdi from cholera, he realized that these events should not be lost in the abyss of history. He felt that at least some of the events should be chronicled and preserved for the posterity. By Baba’s grace, Sri Sai Satcharitra was thus born. Over the years, it has not only found a place among the daily parayana granthas, but has also become a classic par excellence.
Moreshwar Vishwanath Pradhan was another devotee who went into raptures at the sight of Baba. He says, “The way in which Baba washes his face, hands and legs is only seen to be believed. It can’t be described in words. It is a pleasant and memorable sight for the eyes to behold. With water in his palms he sprinkles it on his face, eyes, ears and legs. That action is simply divine. His bath is also one such sight.” Maybe it was because of this that Sri BV Narasimha Swamy describes Sai as “Suroopa Sundaraya Namaha.” Let us pray that the divinely glowing face of Sai would free us from the worldly bondages.
Hemad Pant narrates one such Leela of Baba – grinding of wheat grains - in the first chapter of Sri Sai Satcharitra.
WHY SHOULD BABA GRIND WHEAT GRAINS?
Once, Alagamma visited Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi. She knew that Bhagavan liked papads very much in his childhood. This time she came with all the paraphernalia to prepare papads and feed them to Bhagavan. She asked Him to help her in the preparation of papads. He not only refused to help but was very adamant not to do so. She tried to cajole Him. Yielding to her requests, Bhagavan said, “OK, you prepare your papads and I will prepare my papads”. Then He began singing about papads. By the time she completed her papads, Bhagavan also completed His singing. Seeing the papads, He said, “You eat your papads and I will eat my papads.” Bhagavan’s song on papads had the gist of the entire Vedanta. Not only that, it subsequently became part of a daily parayana schedule. That was how a very ordinary event called as preparation of papads gave birth to one of the great philosophical treatises.
For an adibikshu who lived in a dilapidated masjid and spent his entire life begging for food, where is the necessity for Sai to grind wheat grains? Ashtasiddhi and Navanidhis were already under his command.
Even when Sai was not so well known, Golagamudi Venkaiah, the Andhra Avadhoota used to say, “My brother is there in the North. He also performs agnihotram by maintaining Dhuni”. Avadhoota Venkaiah would go to any extent and worked incessantly for the welfare of all, irrespective of whether he was invited or not, whether the other person was his devotee or not.
The actions of great saints like Sai Baba defy human logic. The meanings of their leelas vary depending on the spiritual growth attained by the seeker.
RESULT OF KARMA
At the end of each chapter, he calls this epic as Sri Sai Samartha Satcharitra instead of Sri Sai Satcharitra. Samartha Sai is our only mantram, yantram and everything. Anyone who is capable, worthy, efficient, benevolent, and also who can give instant liberation from the worldly bondages is called as Samartha. Let us bow to such a Samartha – our beloved Sai.
Every word in this epic is highly efficacious.
Let us pray that Sai would eradicate diseases like cholera, whenever they strike any place, as he did in Shirdi.