Some prefer to worship the former and some the latter. As stated in the Gita chapter XII , the worship of the latter is easy and preferable; As man has got a form body, senses, etc. Our love and devotion do not develop unless we first worship Sagun Brahman for a certain period of time, and as we advance, it leads us to the worship of the Nirgun Brahman. So let us start with Sagun worship; An image, an altar, fire, light, sun, water and the Brahman are the seven objects of worship; But the Sadguru is better than all these.
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According to the ancient and revered custom, Hemadpant begins the work, Sai Satcharitra, with various salutations. First, he makes obeisance to the God Ganesha to remove all obstacles and make the work a success and says that Shri Sai is the God Ganesha. Then, to the Goddess Saraswati to inspire him to write out the work and says that Shri Sai is one with this Goddess and that He is Himself singing His own life.
Then, to his tutelary Deity Narayan Adinath who manifested himself in Konkan - the land reclaimed by Parashurama, Rama in the Hindi version from the sea; and to the Adi Original Purusha of the family.
Then, to his grandfather Sadashiv, father Raghunath, his mother, who left him in his infancy, to his paternal aunt, who brought him up, and to his loving elder brother. Then, to the readers and prays them to give their whole and undivided attention to his work. After describing in brief the various modes of devotion according to Parashara, Vyasa and Shandilya etc.
I was wonder-struck to see the following phenomenon. After washing His mouth and face, Sai Baba began to make preparations for grinding wheat. He spread a sack on the floor; and thereon set a hand-mill.
He took some quantity of wheat in a winnowing fan, and then drawing up the sleeves of His Kafni robe ; and taking hold of the peg of the hand-mill, started grinding the wheat by putting a few handfuls of wheat in the upper opening of the mill and rotated it. While they were grinding, they began to think that Baba had no house, no property, no children, none to look after, and He lived on alms, He did not require any wheat-flour for making bread or roti, what will He do with this big quantity of flour?
Perhaps as Baba is very kind, He will distribute the flour amongst us. Thinking in this way while singing, they finished the grinding and after putting the hand-mill aside, they divided the flour into four portions and began to remove them one per head.
Baba, Who was calm and quiet up till now, got wild and started abusing them saying, "Ladies, are you gone mad? Have I borrowed any wheat from you, so that you can safely take the flour? Now please do this. Take the flour and throw it on the village border limits. I asked the Shirdi people - "What was this that Baba did? From this time onward, the Cholera Epidemic subsided and the people of the village were happy. I was much pleased to know all this; but at the same time my curiosity was also aroused.
I began to ask myself - What earthly connection was there between wheat flour and Cholera? What was the casual relation between the two? And how to reconcile them? The incident seems to be inexplicable.
Philosophical Significance of Grinding Apart from the meaning that the people of Shirdi put on this incident of grinding wheat, there is, we think, a philosophical significance too.
Sai Baba lived in Shirdi for about sixty years and during this long period; He did the business of grinding almost every day - not, however, the wheat alone; but the sins, the mental and physical afflictions and the miseries of His innumerable devotees.
The two stones of His mill consisted of Karma and Bhakti, the former being the lower and the latter the upper one. The handle with which Baba worked the mill consisted of Jnana. It was the firm conviction of Baba that Knowledge or Self-realization is not possible, unless there is the prior act of grinding of all our impulses, desires, sins; and of the three gunas, viz.
Sattva, Raja and Tama; and the Ahamkara, which is so subtle and therefore so difficult to be got rid of. This reminds us of a similar story of Kabir who seeing a woman grinding corn said to his Guru, Nipathiranjana, "I am weeping because I feel the agony of being crushed in this wheel of worldly existence like the corn in the hand-mill. In the last Chapter, the author mentioned in the original Marathi book that he would state the reason that led him to undertake the work, and the persons qualified to read the same and such other points.
Now in this chapter, he starts to tell the same. I heard other miracles of Sai Baba to my great delight, and this delight burst forth into this poetic work. I also thought, that the description of these grand miracles of Sai Baba would be interesting, and instructive to His devotees; and would remove their sins, and so I began to write the sacred life and teachings of Sai Baba.
The life of the saint is neither logical nor dialectical. It shows us the true and great path. Incapacity and Boldness in Undertaking the Work Hemadpant thought that he was not a fit person to undertake the work. He said, "I do not know the life of my intimate friend nor do I know my own mind, then how can I write the life of a saint or describe the nature of Incarnations, which even the Vedas were unable to do?
One must be a saint himself, before he could know other saints, then how can I describe their glory? To write the life of a saint is the most difficult, though one may as well measure the depth of the water of the seven seas or enclose the sky with cloth-trappings.
I knew, that this was the most venturous undertaking, which might expose me to ridicule. The premier poet-saint of Maharashtra, Shri Jnaneshwar Maharaj, has stated that the Lord loves those who write the lives of saints; and the saints also have a peculiar method of their own of getting the service, which the devotees long for, successfully accomplished.
The saints inspire the work; the devotee becomes only an indirect cause or instrument to achieve the end. For instance, in Shaka year, the poet Mahipati aspired to write the lives of saints.
In chapters 31,32,33 of Bhakta Leelamrit and in chapter 57 of Santa Kathamrit, the sweet life and teachings of Sai Baba are very well depicted. These have been separately published in Sai Leela Magazine, Nos. Savitribai Raghunath Tendulkar of Bandra. Das-Ganu Maharaj also has composed various sweet poems on Sai Baba. Then the question of objection comes in, that while so many works regarding Sai Baba are extant, why should this Satcharita be written?
And where is its necessity? The answer is plain and simple. The life of Sai Baba is as wide and deep as the infinite ocean; and all can dive deep into the same and take out precious gems of knowledge and Bhakti , and distribute them to the aspiring public. The stories, parables, and teachings of Sai Baba are very wonderful. They will give peace and happiness to the people, who are afflicted with sorrows and heavily loaded with miseries of this worldly existence, and also bestow knowledge and wisdom, both in the worldly and in spiritual domains.
If these teachings of Sai Baba, which are as interesting and instructive as the Vedic lore, are listened to and meditated upon, the devotees will get, what they long for, viz. So I thought, that I should call these stories together that would be my best Upasana. It was Sai Baba, who inspired me in this matter; in fact, I surrendered my ego at His feet, and thought that my path was clear; and that He would make me quite happy here, and in the next world.
I could not myself ask Sai Baba to give me permission for this work; so I requested Mr. Without Your consent and blessing, nothing can be done successfully. He is only an outward instrument. I should write Myself My autobiography and satisfy the wishes of My devotees. He should get rid of his ego, place or surrender it at My feet. He who acts like this in life, him I help the most. What of My life-stories?
I serve him in his house in all possible ways. When his ego is completely annihilated and there is left no trace of it, I Myself shall enter into him and shall Myself write My own life.
I was on close friendly terms with Kakasaheb Dixit and Nanasaheb Chandorkar. But something in the interval turned up, which prevented me from going to Shirdi.
The son of a friend of mine at Lonavala fell ill. My friend tried all possible means, physical and spiritual, but the fever would not abate. At length he got his Guru to sit by the bedside of his son, but this too was of no avail. Nanasaheb Chandorkar, who was a Prant Officer, was going on tour to Bassein.
From Thana he came to Dadar and was waiting for a train bound for Bassein. In the meanwhile, a Bandra Local turned up. He sat in it and came to Bandra; and sent for me and took me to task for putting off my Shirdi trip. I packed up my luggage and started for Shirdi. I planned to go to Dadar and there to catch the train for Manmad, and so I booked myself for Dadar and sat in the train. While the train was to start, a Mahomedan came hastily to my compartment and seeing all my paraphernalia, asked me where I was bound.
I told him my plan. He then suggested that I should go straight to Boribunder, and not get down at Dadar, for the Manmad Mail did not get down at Dadar at all. If this little miracle or Leela had not happened, I would not have reached Shirdi next day as settled, and many doubts would have assailed me.
But that was not to be. As fortune favoured me, I reached Shirdi the next day before 9 or 10 A. Bhausaheb Kaka Dixit was waiting for me there. This was in A. After alighting from the Tonga, I was anxious to have darshana, when the great devotee, Tatyasaheb Noolkar returned from the Masjid and said that Sai Baba was at the corner of the Wada, and that I should first get the preliminary darshana and then, after bath, see Him at leisure. Hearing this I ran and prostrated before Baba and then my joy knew no bounds.
I found more than what Nana Chandorkar had told me. All my senses were satisfied and I forgot thirst and hunger. I felt myself much obliged to those who spurred and helped me to get the darshana; and I considered them as my real relatives, and I cannot repay their debt. I only remember them and prostrate mentally before them. It is by the merit of actions in many past births that such darshana is got, and if only you see Sai Baba, really all the world becomes or assumes the form of Sai Baba.
Hot Discussion On the first day of my arrival in Shirdi, there was a discussion between me and Balasaheb Bhate regarding the necessity of a Guru. I contended, "Why should we lose our freedom and submit to others? When we have to do our duty, why a Guru is necessary? One must try his best and save himself. What can the Guru do to a man who does nothing but sleeps indolently?
Sai Satcharitra Chapter 11
Shri Sai Baba