Wednesday, June 30, 2010

|| chapter six ||

|| chapter six ||

|| sri ramanavami celebrations ||

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

In this chapter, Hemad Pant tells about Sri Ramanavami celebrations and the renovation of the masjid.

It was the year 1891. Plague was rampant in India. Vaccination had not yet become a way of life. People were scared of vaccination and thought that they would die of fever if vaccinated. When the government urged people to get vaccinated, no one came forward. At a very young age, Narayan Govind Chandorkar had risen to high position in the govern
ment hierarchy. The Collector, Chandorkar’s superior, asked him to get vaccinated and demonstrate that it was safe. That would, at least, induce others to follow him. Chandorkar, or Nana Chandorkar as Baba used to call him, was equally scared of the vaccination. Even though he was highly educated, he also felt that he may be in danger of life. He was in a dilemma – between duty and love of life. He did not know which to choose. After considerable thinking, it occurred to him to seek Baba’s advice. He left for Shirdi.

As soon as Nana fell at Baba’s feet, Sai said, “Nana, get vaccinated. You will not get fever and there is no fear of life”. That Sai should resolve his conflict even before he opened his mouth, made Nana realize that Baba was no ordinary fakir, but a divine
antaryaami. He got vaccinated and became an example for others to follow. Thus, Baba ensured that Nana followed his ordained dharma. Dharma is nothing but adhering to social or religious norms. Nana’s was an example of following the social or professional code of conduct.


Both Sadashiva Tarkhad and his wife were Sai devotees. In 1915, he lost his job. It was difficult to get a job in the higher rungs of management. He remained unemployed. During that period, he stayed in Shirdi with his wife for some time. Then, it was time to leave. He sought Baba’s permission. Baba told him, “Go to Bombay via Poona”. To Bombay via Manmad was cheaper than via Poona. Moreover Tarkhad , because of his unemployment, was not in a position to pay the higher fare. But Sai had told him to go via Poona. Tarkhad was in a dilemma. He could not tell Baba that he did not have sufficient money, nor could he ignore Baba’s advice. However, both husband and wife had total faith in Sai. So, they managed to reach Poona and stayed there with a friend. The owner of a mill there was on the lookout for someone who could manage the labour force in the mill, but could not get any suitable person. Tarkhad let it be known to the management that he could do the job. He was immediately offered the job. Both Tarkhad and his wife expressed their gratitude to Baba for his kindness. Though initially very difficult to implement Baba’s advice, it always yielded maximum benefits when followed. It is to be noted here that Tarkhad never asked Baba for a job.


Kama means desire – desire for sensory, physical or materialistic comforts.

GK Vaidya was a Sai devotee. He was staying in Dahanu with his elder brother and would visit Shirdi regularly for Baba’s darshan. He requested his brother also to visit Shirdi and have Sai’s darshan. His brother, Atmaram, saw Baba but did not talk about his domestic problems. He was married long back. During the marriage there were some disputes which were not resolved amicably, resulting in his wife going back to her parents. Mediation did not help. Did not Sai know this? Sai, directly or indirectly, did not enquire about his conjugal life. Baba gave him
udi and blessed him.

Exactly at the time Baba was giving
udi to Atmaram, his wife inspired by some unknown force, told her parents that she would be going back to her husband’s place and returned to Dahanu. When she returned, Vaidya was at home and was surprised to see his sister-in-law. She told him, “I have realized that this is my home”. Vaidya was very happy and replied, “Who can deny that?” By that time, Atmaram also returned from Shirdi and was immensely happy to see his wife. They thought that all this was due to Baba’s grace and blessings. The family of Sai devotees embraced another couple into their fold.

పరిణయము లేక సహచరి తరుణి
లేక, వేనవేనలుగా బిడ్డల బెంపనేర్చె
అరయగానేని లేక గృహంబు లేక
ఏలికల కేలకయ్యె సాయి విభుండు

says Sri Saisaaraswata Vaachaspati Shri Bapatla Hanumantha Rao. Though he was a bachelor, can’t Sai solve the problems of his children?!!! Should anyone ask for it?


RB Purandare’s wife was also a Sai devotee. She desired to see the
urus celebrations on Sri Ramanavami day at Shirdi. She had become weak because of fever, and was afraid that she may not be able to see those celebrations. Baba appeared in her dream and said, “Mother! Don’t cry. I will take you to the urus celebrations”. She woke up in the morning and told about the dream to her husband. Gradually, her fever also came down. On Sri Ramanavami day, however, she shouted, “Baba! Sai Baba!” and breathed her last. Her soul merged with that of Baba. Urus also means unification of atma with paramatma.

Though she did not desire moksham, Baba granted her one, pleased with her devotion. As Hemad Pant says, “If one surrenders body, mind and speech to Baba,
Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha will follow on their own”


Mahipati was a devotee of Panduranga. He was in the government service as a village revenue officer. One day while he was doing puja, a messenger from his superior came and said that the boss wants to see him immediately. Mahipati told him that he would come immediately after the puja. The messenger insisted that he should come before that. So, very unwillingly, he completed the puja quickly, went to his superior, did what was required and then told him that he is resigning his job. Mahipati came home. Having come home, he took a pledge in front of his deity that henceforth he would use his pen only in the service of god. He also added that not only he, but others from his family also would never go for a government service. And that really proved true over the generations.

His “Bhakta Vijay” became one of the immortal creations which compelled the readers towards spirituality. It is noteworthy that the subsequent generations also did not go for government service. Mahipati had dedicated himself towards writing only about god.


Dasganu got married at the age of 23 years. He did not have any job and spent his time with friends. For some reason, he ran away from the home, and during the wandering period, he met the District Superintendent of Police, Mr. Kennedy. Kennedy appointed him as a constable on a salary of Rs.9 per month. Dasganu took his job seriously and began working sincerely. He developed an ambition of becoming a sub inspector at some point in his career. He passed all the required tests, and carried out his duties very enthusiastically. Sai advised him to leave the constabulary. As his ambition was to become a sub inspector, he ignored the advice and began to dodge Sai. Dasganu was once caught absenting from duty and going on a pilgri
mage. He took a handful of Godavari water, pledged on it, and prayed, “Sai! Save me from this predicament and I will leave the job”. As usual, Sai lent him a helping hand and as usual, Dasganu conveniently forgot his pledge. While he was crossing Shirdi, without meeting Sai, Sai appeared before him and called, “O Ganu, the one who pledged with Godavari waters”. Dasganu calmly said, “What is there in it? I am in the process of leaving the job”. Baba replied, “All right! You will not learn, as long as things are going well”.

Next time, he was caught in a dilemma such that he had no alternative but to resign his job. He was suspended from the job and asked to choose between criminal punishment and resigning the job. He again prayed Baba, “I got into this situation ignoring your advice. Save me from this crisis and I will leave the job” Once again Sai came to the rescue and this time, true to his word, he left the job and dedicated his life in the service of Baba. He performed many
kirtans, all of which were on Baba.

He was a gifted, spontaneous poet. He had the ability to recite small couplets extemporaneously on any subject. He used all his talents in writing many books on the lives of great saints and sages. Many of Dasganu’s writings have stood the test of time. The fame and recognition he got from these works far exceeded what he would have got from being a sub inspector. His was one of the earliest writings on Sai Baba.

Hemad Pant says, “Leave aside whatever this world gives. Bow your head at the feet of god. Beg the god for your needs. Get his blessings.”

It means that the path to fame and recognition is Sai himself. The head is not for wearing the crown but for placing at the divine feet of Sai.


It is laudable that our destination is Sai, but how about the livelihood? Having resigned his job, Dasganu was faced with the same problem. Baba asked him to go to Nanded and stay there. “What about my food?” asked Dasganu. “Why fear when I am here?!” replied Baba. Dasganu went with his wife to Nanded. Some time later, his friend sold his agricultural land to Dasganu at a throwaway price. The earnings on that piece of land was sufficient for Dasganu to maintain himself and his wife. Baba had kept up his assurance.

It was not the livelihood alone. Dasganu earned a great reputation as a
kirtankar. According to the tradition of kirtankars, he also took the arati plate to all the assembled devotees. He specifically told them not to put any money in the plate. Had he collected even the money being put into the arati plate, Dasganu would have become a very rich man. Sai stresses that Sai bhakti should be to evoke devotion in others and not a means for earning money for oneself. Providing food and clothing is Sai’s job, we should not aspire for them.

Sri Venkatanarayana Raju was a poojari in the Sai Mandir at Mysore. In addition to the profession, he was also a great devotee of Sai Baba. Once, his wife had to go to a neighbouring place, on some work. Consequently, there was no provision for cooking food in his house. Added to that, he did not have any money with him. He was very hungry. Thinking that everything is provided by Baba, he tried to take a ten rupee note from the temple funds. Instantly, he felt a hard slap on his cheeks. He was stunned, and refrained from taking the money. Trusting Baba, he went out for a stroll. On the road, he met an old friend, who told him about old days, took him to an eatery and fed him sumptuously. Later on, when Raju made inquiries, he found out that the friend was not at all in town on that day. Raju felt that it is Sai alone who can slap him and also feed him.

To Sai Sevak Sri Sivanesan Swami, Sai was everything. Four annas were more than enough for him to spend for the day. When he could not get even that, he would be content with eating a bun and drinking a cup of tea. On days on which even this was a luxury, he would drink water from the well in Lendi Baug and feel contented. He never beg
ged anyone for money. When he could not control his hunger he used to pray Baba, “Baba! I do not want any wealth. Feed me or free me of hunger”. It is difficult to recount the days on which he starved. Even during those days, he neither stopped his service to Baba, nor did his faith waver in Sai!

Going without any food for many days, once, he suffered from acidity. He knew that taking curds was an antidote, but where was the money for that? He went to Shirdi Sai Stores but found that the regular person was not there that day. Swamyji thought that Sai is the last resort and went back to Lendi Baug and began to wash his face in the canal there. He saw some coins in the stream. He waited for someone to turn up to claim the money. As no one came, Swamyji took the coins and found that they were just sufficient for him to buy curds. Sw
amyji was grateful to Baba, bought curds and consumed it. The burning sensation in his stomach disappeared.

On another occasion, Swamyji’s clothes were all in tatters and he was left with the only cloth he was wearing. Even to wash this, he needed some other cloth. Unwilling to beg, Swamyji thought that Baba is the provider and began to meditate in Lendi Baug. During meditation, he felt that a stranger was presenting him with new clothes. Moments later, after the completion of his meditation, a stranger did come and tell him that Baba appeared in his dream and asked him to present a new set of clothes to the one who is meditating. Consequent to that, he had brought new clothes to give to Swamiji. Swamiji expressed his gratitude to the stranger and accepted the gift as a gift of Baba.

Hemad Pant says, “There is no shortage of food and clothing here”.


In this chapter, Hemad Pant describes three avatars of Sri Vishnu. One of them is the Krishnavataram. He further writes, “When Baba sat for listening Bhagavata, it appeared as though Sri Krishna was delivering Uddhava Gita for the welfare of his devotees.”

Uddhavesh Buva was a devotee of Sai Baba. He asked Baba, “Which book should I read for parayana?” Baba replied, “The one which contains dialogue between you and me”. Uddhavesh did not understand what Baba meant. He assumed that Sai was talking about Jnaneshwari, as it contained the dialogue between Sri Krishna and Arjuna. Then Sai told him, “Go to Bapusaheb Jog and get the book he is reading”.

He went to Jog and brought Eknath Bhagavata which he was reading. Sai opened the book at the 11 chapter. It contained the dialogue between Sri Krishna and Uddhava. Sai told Buva, “Read this. Read as it is, and, try to understand it when you are alone. Go now. Do namasmarana daily.” When Baba said earlier, “The one which contains dialogue between you and me”, he had to point out to Uddhavesh, that the dialogue between Sri Krishna and Uddhava was in Eknath Bhagavata and not Jnaneshwari, by asking him to get the book from Bapusaheb Jog. Uddhavesh Bua did not realize that his name was also Uddhava and Baba was none other than Sri Krishna. Realising this, he was in great ecstasy.


The Uddhava Gita forms a part of Bhagavata and is covered between chapters 6 and 29. It is about the dialogue between Sri Krishna and his friend and devotee, Uddhava. Therein, Sri Krishna tells about gurubhakti, divine love, how human beings can overcome their weaknesses, why different scholars have proposed various religions when bhakti alone could secure liberation, how liberation is obtained by following swadharma and many more topics.

Unlike Bhagavad Gita, Uddhava Gita is not a single entity. It is a compilation of four parts. They are

1. Aila Gita: It tells that “Association with bad people results in hell. Only remorse can break such a bondage”
2. Bhikshu Gita: It deals with the final stage of self realization – peace.
3. Hamsa Gita: It tells how Sriman Narayan, in the form of a swan, explained what Brahma could not, on dissociating mind from the sensory objects.
4. Yadu Avadhoota Samvaadam: It tells about the qualities of 24 gurus and why those qualities should be acquired.

For those who want to quench their spiritual thirst, Uddhava Gita is a great retreat. When his devotee, Hemad Pant is studying Uddhava Gita, Sai is none other than Sri Krishna. Hemad Pant has revealed this secret as experienced by him. Let us pray that Sai will grant all the other devotees also similar experience.


“God can be realized through the four ways – Karma, Jnana, Bhakti and Yoga. We can reach the destination from any of these four ways,” says Hemad Pant. Sai himself has said that, “There are many ways to reach god. There is one from here also. Going by other routes, we encounter many pitfalls, cruel animals and several hurdles. If we are complacent we will fall into the adjoining abysses.” Then Kakasaheb Dixit asked, “If we take a guide with us?” Baba said, “If the guide is there, there are no difficulties. The guide will protect us from the cruel animals and take us directly to the destination. Otherwise we may be killed by those cruel animals, or even miss the way.”

Bhavmaharaj Kumbhar was an example of one who attained liberation through the Karma path.

Sri Sai Sharanananda (Waman Pran Govind Patel) attained liberation through the Jnana path.

Meghashyam reached his destination through the Bhakti Path.

Baba normally advised the above three ways for his devotees. To devotees like Rambabu, he was the guide in the Yoga Marga. To BV Deo, he gave instructions on Yoga through the dreams. When there are examples of devotees attaining salvation through the above four ways, what did Sai mean when he said that “There is a way from here also”? Sai devotees have the choice of selecting any of the four ways. They have Sai’s blessings and guidance. To get this guidance, one has to totally surrender to Baba. In effect, whichever path the devotee takes, Sai will take him to his destination.


The three avatars that Hemad Pant mentions in this chapter are Krishnavatar, Ramavatar and Narasimhaavatar. We have already seen the first one. The second and the third are depicted during the Sri Ramanavami celebrations. In addition to these, there was one another occasion when Baba was ferocious like Lord Narasimha. It was when he grabbed the headgear of Tatya and threw it into the fire. Anger was never more ferocious than at that time. No particular cause can be attributed for that anger. Sri Ramanavami day, when gulal fell in his eyes, was the occasion on which Sai was wild with anger.

Sai was not an ordinary person to get wild for such a trivial reason as the gulal falling in his eyes. He was not a taamasi. Anyone reading Sri Sai Satcharitra will understand that Sai was very kindhearted and exhibited divine love towards all beings. He could not endure even the pain of a suffering dog on the road. His love was of such
divine nature that he even took upon himself the impending death of his devotee. All his anger here was thus focused on the evil forces. The masjid is Dwarakamai and it has to be protected from the onslaught of the evil forces. That was the assurance of Baba. The above incident is an example of the care that Baba took of Dwarakamai. This is also one of the points differentiating Shirdi from other pilgrim centres. As soon as the driving force behind any particular pilgrim centre left the scene, the place also gradually lost its aura and became an ordinary place. The aura of Shirdi, on the other hand, is becoming more and more powerful and is drawing millions of devotees day by day. It is also shining brightly like a spiritual beacon for the needy devotees. The steps Baba took during those days are the causes behind this increasing surge of pilgrims to Shirdi with each passing day. Burning of Tatya’s headgear, or getting ferocious when gulal fell in his eyes are only examples of Baba’s brahmastram against evil forces which threatened to attack Dwarakamai.


Gopal Rao Gundu was the first person in Sri Sai Satcharitra to get a son by Baba’s blessings. To express his gratitude to Baba, he wanted to organize celebrations commemorating the event. The celebrations were to take the form of a
urus in the Sufi tradition. However, these celebrations were to be held on Sri Ramanavami day. Gopal Rao consulted other Sai devotees about conducting the urus and they also wholeheartedly agreed.

In the Sufi tradition,
urus means the communion of soul with god. This union of soul with the god takes place at death and hence death is a cause for celebration. It can also be viewed as the marriage of the soul with the god. Thus, urus is usually conducted at the death or on the death anniversary of a great saint or sage following Sufi tradition. Here, the conduct of urus in Shirdi should be taken to mean the marriage of soul with the god, as it is not known whether it was also the day of passing away of any great Sufi saint. With the concurrence of all the devotees of Sai, the first urus was held in Shirdi in the year 1897. The Hindu devotees also participated with equal enthusiasm and hence it can be construed that it was fully a secular function. Secularity implies respect and tolerance to all the religions, which Sai followed and preached.

The poet, Krishnarao Jogeshwar Bhishma, who wrote Sai Sagunopasana, felt that as Sri Ramanavami was celebrated with a
urus, why not celebrate Sri Ram Janmotsavam also, for which actually Sri Ramanavami was famous. When Kaka Mahajani heard that, he liked the idea. While both of them were discussing this, Baba heard them and gave his consent immediately. When the celebrations began, Baba corrected some omissions made by the devotees. He decorated both the kirtankar Bhishma and Kaka Mahajani, who accompanied Bhishma on the musical instrument, with garlands. Though this was not done for the first time, the established tradition is to honour the kirtankar with a garland before the commencement of the kirtan. Baba corrected the error of omission, by the organizers, by garlanding them himself.

The second point is that, Baba indicated that the celebrations should be duly completed and not closed down in the middle. Kaka Mahajani wanted to remove the cradle even before performing “Gopal Kala”. Sai saw to it that the celebrations included “Gopal kala” also.

In a way, though the names are different –
urus and Sri Ramanavami – the essential part or the crux of the celebrations was the marriage. Urus is the marriage of soul with the god. On Sri Ramanavami day also, the marriage of Seeta with Rama is celebrated. Here Seeta is the soul and Rama is the god. Thus, both urus and Sri Ramanavami imply the communion of the soul with the god. On Sri Ramanavami day, the union of the soul and the god takes place physically, and on the urus day, it takes place spiritually after death.


The previous chapter, chapter 5, was
kalyanapradam. Eligible boys and girls seeking matrimony would do well by doing parayana of that chapter. Sai will ensure an early marriage. This chapter is santanapradam. Devotees desirous of issues would do well to do parayana of this chapter. They would be blessed by childbirth. Let us pray that Sai should grant us a mind to do well. Let us pray that there should be no hurdles in the path of any good deed that we may be doing. Hemad Pant says that if it is inspired by Sai, any writing would go on without undue stoppages. Let us pray that Sai grants us that inspiration, always.

With this the sixth chapter, called Sri Ramanavami celebrations, is complete In the next chapter, Hemad Pant discusses the point about Baba being a Hindu or a Muslim He also tells us about Baba’s Yogic Practices, His powers and other matters.

Sri Sadguru Sainathaarpanamasthu
Om Shanti Shanti Shanti

1 comment:

  1. I beg ur pardon but u have made compared Lord Vishnu and Lord Sai. But in essence they are the same. Seeing the Sai in everything and everything in Sai, is to really see Sai. Comparing Sai with anything is actually comparing Sai with Sai. If two compared are same then how can one be superior or even have a greater quality than other. If one sees Sai in everything then one does no nothing other Sai.
    Sai Om Tat Sat