Friday, July 9, 2010

|| chapter eight ||

|| chapter eight ||

|| importance of human birth ||

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

In this chapter, Hemad Pant tells us the importance of human life, Sai Baba’s taking alms, Bayajabai’s service, His love for Khushalchand, and other matters.

With this the eighth chapter, called importance of human birth, is complete. In the next chapter, Hemad Pant tells us the effect of compliance and non-compliance of Baba’s instructions, mendicancy and its necessity, Tarkhad’s family and other matters.

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

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

|| chapter seven ||

|| chapter seven ||

|| wonderful incarnation ||

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

In this 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 BV Narasimha Swamy, in his “Sahasra Naama Archana”, praises Sai as,”Om Sri Lakshmin
arayanaya Namaha”. Comparing Sai to Lakshminarayana, Sri Narasimha Swamy further says that Sai is,”Avyaaja Karuna Sindhuve” and”Ahetuka Krupa Sindhave”. To come to the rescue of a devotee who is desperately praying for redemption is an overwhelming aspect in both Sai and Lakshminarayana.

The Telugu and Sanskrit poet Bommera Pothana (1450-1510), says, “సిరికింజెప్పడు శంఖు చక్రయుగముం చేదోయి సంధింపడు”. A rough translation means that whenever Mahavishnu is in a hurry to rescue his devotee, he does not tell even his consort Lakshmi (Siri) where he is going and does not even carry his Shanku and Chakram. Of course, as he is Mahavishnu, his weapon chakram follows him like a shadow wherever he goes. It was this chakram which saved the famed elephant Gajendra.

When it comes to the protection of a devotee, Sai is no less, even more than Mahavishnu. In protecting the blacksmith’s child, like Mahavishnu, Sai also forgot everything and just thrust his hand into the burning fire, without caring f
or the fact that his hand would get burnt, and scooped out the child. However, there are points of difference in Mahavishnu rescuing Gajendra and Sai pulling out the blacksmith’s child. Before Mahavishnu came to the rescue of Gajendra, the elephant had to keep on praying till some action was taken. Initially, Mahavishnu was very calm and aloof. He took his own time to respond. It was only when Gajendra became skeptical about Mahavishnu’s existence that the latter hurriedly went for his rescue. In Sai’s case, nobody asked him to rescue. The child, who was in the fire, could not even talk. He might not even be aware that he should pray. That could be the reason for Sai to act like lightening. Maybe, in an earlier life, the child might have worshipped Sai with golden flowers.

Though we may not have that child’s devotion, let us pray Sai that he should not forget us!!

Was it not in Dwapara Yuga that a similar incident took place?!!


The day Kaliya Mardana took place, Sri Krishna, Yashoda and other gopis and gopikas were still on the banks of Yamuna River. It was mid night. Then, suddenly, a forest fire began engulfing all the greenery around. It was fast approaching the sleeping people in Gokula. People had assumed,”Where is the disaster when we are at Sri Krishna’s feet?!” and slept peacefully. Sri Krishna understood the situation in an instant. Raging in front was the forest fire, and Yamuna River made any retreat impossible. Donning his Universal form, he swallowed the entire forest fire as if a thirsty person quenches his deep thirst by drinking even the last drop of water. That is, he undertook on himself the tribulations of all those who would otherwise had been burnt by the fire, and gave them the comfort he was enjoying!!!


The children of two sisters decided to churn the ocean. Mount Mandara was used as churning
rod and Vasuki, the King of Serpents, became the churning rope. When the Mountain began to sink, Mahavishnu assumed the form of Kurma, went underneath it and lifted it. Due to the friction of the Mountain and Vasuki, the serpent king began to emit deadly poison. The effect of the poison was so toxic that it would have destroyed the entire creation. When there was no one to counter the poison and save the innocent, everyone sought the shelter of Parameshwara. Assuming that Paropakaaram is the ultimate dharma - and out of compassion for all living beings - Parameshwara drank all the poison, like a syrupy fruit juice. However, Parvati, Lord Shiva’s consort, pressed his neck so that the poison did not reach his stomach. Thus, it stayed in his throat neither going up nor going down and Shiva remained unharmed. The poison was so potent that it changed the color of Parameshwara’s neck to blue, and it became an abharana for him.

That was in Kruta Yuga. To Sai – who is called as Kaliyuga Parameshwara – protecting devotees in need of help is but an ordinary task. To the Parameshwara who drank poison his throat had an abharana, and to the present day Parameshwara, the bandage on his right hand for eight years was a decoration. Ages may pass by, but Sai never forgets his dharma of helping the devotees in distress.


In Gajendra Moksham, Mahavishnu’s responsibility ended with rescuing Gajendra from the crocodile. In rescuing the child from fire, Sai’s Leela did not end. That single act, gave way to multiple results.

One of them was to grant the favour of seva. The luck of serving a divine incarnation does not befall on everyone. Though the scarred hand would have set right in a few weeks, Bhagoji Shinde’s dedicated service impressed Sai to such an extent that he allowed Bhagoji to caress his hand for eight years. People called Bhagoji as “Bhagya” and Sai really made him the fortunate one!!!

When Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa was suffering from throat cancer
, Doctor Mahendralal Sarkar treated him. He did not like Sri Ramakrishna being called as an Avatarapurusha by his devotees. He used to smile in a careless way and kept quite, but he loved Sri Ramakrishna very much. The devotees visited the doctor everyday and got medicines for Sri Ramakrishna. The disease did not abate. On one morning, the doctor told the devotees that he spent the entire night thinking of their guru and what medicine to give him. The devotees took the medicine he gave and told what the doctor told to Sri Ramakrishna. He just smiled and said that he was taking medicines from the doctor only to make him think of him. Sri Ramakrishna had bestowed on the doctor the blessing of darshana and smarana.

Doctor Paramananda also had similar blessing of having Sai’s darshan for four days. The doctor came from Bombay exclusively to treat Sai’s scarred hand. Sai, however, never took any medicine from him. Darshan, of incarnations like Sai, by itself is a great blessing. How can one imagine the wealth of spiritual experiences brought about by that darshan?!!!


Sai Baba never gave any speeches. He did not write any books. He did not build any buildings. As long as he was in Shirdi, he did not construct any temple (except participating in the Paduka Pratishta). Sai’s building activity did not include construction of new buildings but renovation of old and dilapidated temples. He involved himself in the renovation of Ganapati, Umamaheshwara and Maruti temples in Shirdi. Hemad Pant calls it “Jeernoddharana Yoga”.

Was it only the renovation of dilapidated Hindu temples?!


Anwar Khan was aged 65-70 years. He wanted to renovate the masjid at Teli Ka Koot. He came to Baba and asked for funds. Sai refused to give him any money. He said, “Masjid does not accept money either from me or from anyone. It creates whatever money it requires”. A doubt may arise as to how a masjid can create its own money, and if nobody contributes, how can the renovation work go on?! Sai immediately clarified,”There is a treasure, 3 feet below the nimbar. Use that treasure”. Anwar Khan went back and after digging underneath the nimbar for exactly 3 feet, he found the treasure. The renovation work of masjid went on smoothly.


A mad person b
y name Marthaand broke the Paadukas in Gurusthan. The devotees thought that the broken Padukas were unsuitable for worshipping and sought Baba’s permission to make new ones. Baba refused to agree with their proposal and said that doing shanti with annadanam would be enough. Sai’s method of renovation was not confined to temples alone.


Ramachandra Atmaram Tarkhad and his family worshiped the idols of gods in their home. Once, the Ganesha idol was found to have a broken arm. Traditionally, such an idol is considered unsuitable for worship. The family went to Shirdi to consult Baba on this issue. Sai said, “Come near. Let us say, the arm of our child is fractured. We do not throw away the child. Do we?! In fact, we look after the child with greater care and affection.” Sai’s words were like command to the listeners. The family is worshiping the same idol even to this day. How can the one who is infinite, one who is an integrated whole, break? It is only our concept that needs repair.

Let us also utilize any occasion, if it arises, of renovating dilapidated temples in the footsteps of our beloved Baba.


Baba Madhav Das was a follower of Chaithanya Mahaprabhu. With rigorous discipline, he survived only on mirchi and ghee for 12 long years, at the end of which he acquired rare powers. He was also called as Mirchi Baba. Ramachandra Atmaram Tarkhad visited him frequently to have his darshan.

On one such occasion when Tarkhad was with Mirchi Baba, a female devotee came. Tarkhad saw that instantaneously Mirchi Baba converted himself to a woman. After the devotee left, Mirchi Baba once again reverted back to his original self. “How did this happen?” asked Tarkhad. Mirchi Baba did not evade his question. He told him that by pulling a particular muscle in the thigh, a person could change his sex. Tarkhad then asked him about Khanda Yoga. Mirchi Baba replied that it does exist and that it was not possible for him to attain that level in this life and that he has to wait for the next one. Tarkhad told him about Sai’s Khanda Yoga.

When Sai was practicing Khanda Yoga, Tarkhad was not present to witness that wonderful act. Appa Bhil and Shivamma Tayi were fortunate enough to see. We may ask whether Baba was practicing Khanda Yoga only to amaze the devotees. There are reasons also for that. We have seen earlier that to get moksham devotees could follow one of the three ways – karma, bhakti and jnana. We have also seen that there is one more way – yoga – which is difficult. Though Sai advised only the earlier three ways, there were some devotees who wanted to follow the fourth way, though it was difficult. In order to guide them properly, Sai had perfected this technique also. This is evident in the chapter 23 of Sri Sai Satcharitra, wherein Hemad Pant explains that Sai removed the doubts of a Yoga follower. There could be another reason also.

It is well known that Sai was well versed in Sufi tradition. Ghouse Yogis of the Sufi tradition divided their body, during night, into its various components and spread them at various places. Each part would then be chanting the name of Allah independently. This practice was exclusive to India and was prevalent only in some parts of India, like Punjab, Sindh and South India. Sai was an adept in this system also. Sai practiced this technique not to stun the viewers but to chant Allah’s name from each part of his body and that too continuously. It was not with any intention of proclaiming himself as a Yogeeshwara! When viewers were scared by seeing the parts separately, how could they wait and hear the chanting that was going on?

Though we cannot divide our body into its component parts, let us pray that Yogeeshwara, Yogiraj Sri Sai Baba, to make us chant his name at least during the time we are awake!!


Hemad Pant says in this chapter that whoever held Sai’s feet seeking protection, Sai would lift them to his level. This is not an honour conferred by Hemad Pant, it was the reality. Just as a lamp lights another lamp, Sai always encouraged others.


Upasani is considered by many to be the spiritual successor and upholder of the immensely powerful tradition of Sri Sai Baba. In fact Sai himself had told, “There is no difference between you and me” to Upasani. He further said, “What ever I have, has already been given to him” and , “I will come with you personally, buy your ticket, get you into the train and see that you reach your destination” He made these statements many times. He advised Upasani to “Plant 14 aswattha (banyan) trees which would last for centuries” On a Gurupurnima day, Sai even asked his devotees to go and worship Upasani.

The first of the trees planted by Upasani was Meher Baba and the secon
d was Godavari Mata. Though both Upasani and Meher Baba became great spiritual teachers, they never forgot Sai Baba. Upasani said, “Sai is like a huge mountain. I am only a small pebble at the foot of that mountain” and Meher Baba said, “You (devotees) can never estimate how great Sai was. He was personification of spiritual perfection. If you know as much about him as I know, you would say that he is the Universal Master”


In chapter 41, Hemad Pant says that, “Sri Sai Baba was compassion personified. He dedicated his everything in the service of his devotees.” Hemad Pant has given some glimpses of Baba’s benevolence in the present chapter. First of these is getting his hand burnt while protecting the blacksmith’s child. Second was inflicting bubonic plague on himself to give relief to Khaparde’s son.

It is normal to get a doubt at this stage. If Sai Baba was as powerful as is made out, then why did he inflict on himself the sufferings of his devotees rather than just relieving them of the distress? Sai could easily have prevented Khaparde’s son from getting the plague instead of allowing him to get it and then taking it on himself. Sai’s philosophy does not allow anyone to escape from the outcome of their karma. The human body is formed because of the effects of karma. And because of that karma, the body also has to undergo various experie
nces, some pleasant and some unpleasant. Unless the results of karma are experienced, the accumulated karma does not decrease. Though great saints and sages like Sai can eliminate the karma by their will, by doing so, they would be interfering with the implementation of natural justice. The saints out of their overflowing compassion for the devotees take upon themselves the sufferings of their devotees. In stead of the devotees, the saints undergo the sufferings and thus neutralize the effects of the devotees’ karma. This is the most significant and unique feature of Sai Baba, not found in any other Avatar of mythology. Dr. Vimala Sharma says that even mothers do not make such sacrifices for their children.


Sai, once, had a boil on his hip. It was difficult for him to either sit or stand. Mhalsapathi was with him at that time. Baba told him, “Arre Bhagat! Will I allow my devotees to suffer from such a boil? See, how much I am suffering, but, it will heal quickly.” He suffered this pain for another 2, 3 days and then Sai was once again his normal self. Everyone heaved a sigh of relief.

A few days prior to Baba suffering from the boil, Mhalsapathi’s wife went to her brother’s place, at Nandoor Singota. She wrote a letter to her husband from there, saying that she was suffering from intense pain due to a boil on her hip. She also wrote that as soon as she prayed Sai to relive her of the pain, it vanished. The boil, however subsided after another 2, 3 days. It was then that Mhalsapathi understood that Baba was actually suffering the pain to relieve his wife of the pain. Tears flowed from his eyes with the realization that Sai was taking care of not only himself but his family as well.


People could understand only when Sai himself revealed whose distress he had taken on himself. Otherwise no one would know. It would come out only after several days.

In 1915, Sai sent his photograph in Dixitwada to Balakram and Muktaram in Halda. They performed puja to the photograph and organized annadanam. Muktaram wanted to hoist the ochre coloured flag on top of the temple. He climbed the steep climb and was pulling the string containing the flag. Because of the height, pulling was difficult. When he had pulled it half the way, his arms began to pain and he was almost in tears as he felt that he may fall down any moment and break his limbs. Then he prayed Baba to save him. At that time, Baba in Dwarakamai, asked someone sitting next to him to massage his arm as it was aching and said, “Allah is all powerful”. Almost instantaneously, Muktaram’s pain in Halda was relieved and he could easily hoist the flag.


From Akkalkot, Mahadev Vaman Sapatnekar, along with his wife Parvathibai and sister-in-law, came to Shirdi for Sai’s darshan. Baba was returning from Lendi Baug. Parvathibai was stunned to see Baba, as Baba and the fakir, she saw in her dream, were alike. The moment Baba saw her, he held his stomach and cried out, “Mai! Stomach Pain! Back Pain” and began to twist due to the acute pain. Parvathibai was very much upset by Baba’s suffering. The devotees assembled there tried to comfort her by saying that whenever Baba suffered like this, he was taking on th
e pain of others and the devotee suffering from such pain would be relieved of the distress. She was surprised. The way Baba was suffering made her actually laugh, as she assumed that Baba was acting out the pain.

Then they had darshan of Sai, Sai blessed them and they returned to Akkalkot. Time was passing and without their noticing it, three months had passed away. Suddenly, Parvathibai realized that for the last three months, she did not suffer from either stomach pain or back pain during these three months. Then she realized that three months back, what she saw was not an act, but Baba was actually suffering from the stomach and back pain she had endured earlier, and thereby had relieved her of the suffering. She repented for laughing at Sai’s discomfiture. Sai had undertaken her pain and suffering on himself.


Hansraj was an asthmatic patient. While in Shirdi, Sai had warned him not to take sour curds. He was, however, very fond of sour curds and wanted to take it everyday. Every time he went for the arati, a cat would come and eat away the sour curds. One day, Hansraj waited in his room and when the cat came, he beat it violently. That day, when he went to arati, Sai told the devotees assembled there, “There is a stupid fellow here who wants to eat sour curds every day. But, I am trying to take care of him by going as a cat and eating the sour curds. Today, when I was on that job, he not only abused me but beat me with a stick on the shoulder” and bared his shoulder to show the swelling caused by the stick. In addition to protecting his devotees, Sai has to bear with their abuses and beatings!!


By Sai darshan alone, many bad characters got transformed to good beings. It is not wise to categorize someone as totally good or totally bad. By calling someone as bad, it should be understood as having bad character or bad thoughts or bad behaviour, rather than imagining that someone as a snake full of poison. A bad person need not be the personification of all the evil in this world. These bad characters never help the individual either in the spiritual path or in the materialistic world. Sai eradicates the evil thoughts in a person by his very look itself.


Shantaram, Gondu Jagannath Naik’s friend, became alcoholic. Though he knew that drinking alcohol would spoil his health, he could not abstain from it. Once he went to Shirdi for Sai darshan. He went there on a leave of three days. Sai made him stay there for six days. After that he returned to Bombay. From then on, he never touched alcohol. How can one go for alcohol when one has tasted the immortal ambrosia of Sai’s darshan?

Not just that –
Sri Sai Darshan brought about all the wealth one needs. Poor become wealthy, patients recovered their health and in short, Sai brought about transformation not only in the mental outlook but also in the material outlook of a person.


Abdullah Jaan was an Islamic fanatic. When he came to Sai, he believed that H
indus were his enemies. He was with Sai for three years. When he left Shirdi, he was of the opinion that Hindus are his brothers. In Bombay, when Hindus wanted to attack the Muslims and the Muslims wanted to attack the Hindus, when each of them were keen on destroying the religious places of the other, Abdullah Jaan wept for both of them. Abdullah Jaan's is one example sufficient to show how Baba works on the mind of an individual.


He was a poor goldsmith and a great devotee of Baba, and was always with him. His material belongings were very few as he was inclined more towards paramartha rather tha
n artha. Once, someone stole his blanket. Mhalsapathi’s daughter saw the blanket with a poor woman. She went to the village head and complained. As the complaint was found to be justified, efforts were on to put the old woman behind the bars. When Mhalsapathi came to know about this, he went to the village head and said that the blanket was not his and that it belonged to the old woman herself. The poor old woman was saved from the prison life. This is another illustration of the level to which Sai develops an individual’s mind.

In addition to praising the benefits of Sai Darshan, let us also pray that he should eradicate all the evil thoughts from our mind as well.


Swamy Ramdas of Anandashram went to Dakshineshwar and saw the room occ
upied by Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa. On a cot inside the room, there was bed with two pillows. This was the bed on which Sri Ramakrishna had slept. It was preserved as a sacred relic for the sake of posterity. When Swamy Ramdas touched them with his forehead, as a mark of respect, waves of bliss began to engulf him and he rolled over the entire floor with ecstasy. The floor which was sanctified by the touch of Sri Ramakrishna’s divine feet, kept him in a trance for significant time. When he came out of the trance, his face was radiant with a divine glow.

Hemad Pant wrote that, “Because of the accumulated effect of some good deeds done in the past, these items (the wheat bag, the hand mill, Tulasi Brindavan, the wooden chariot and other items in Dwarakamai) were sanctified by the touch of the god who walked on this earth. If similar items are stored deeply in the treasure chest of our heart, we will not fall short of anything till death”

Sri Sai is sacred.

The place where Sai set his feet is sacred.

Every item used by Sai is sacred.

That is why, Sri Bapatla Hanumantha Rao says,

కర్మధూమ పత్రంబులగాల్చు చిలుము
శతృషట్క భయం బాపజాలు సటక
అక్షయ సిధ్దిని గూర్చు భిక్షపాత్ర
శరణమిడు పాదుకల నెంతు సాయి దేవ?!!!

A rough translation of the above is that, “How do I surrender at the padukas, Saideva, when there is the chillum which burns the karma leaves, when there is satka which spells fear in the hearts of the six enemies, and when there is bhiksha patra which gives never ending siddhis?” To Sai devotees, every item connected with Sai is as sacred as the brick given to Sai by his guru.


The fifth chapter is for kalyanaprapti, sixth is for santanaprapti, and now let us pray that for those who do the parayana of the seventh chapter, Baba should protect their children!

Let us pray that Sai should always be enshrined in our hearts!

Let us pray that Sai should root out all the evil thoughts in us and develop noble thoughts.

With this the seventh chapter, called Wonderful Incarnation, is complete In the next chapter, Hemad Pant tells us the importance of human life, Sai Baba’s taking alms, Bayajabai’s service and His love for Khushalchand, and other matters.

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