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Shri Sai Satcharitra - Chapter 08

Importance of Human Birth-Sai Baba Begging Food - Bayajabai's    Service - Sai Baba's Dormitory - His Affection for Khushalchand.

As hinted in the last Chapter, Hemadpant now explains at length,  in his preliminary remarks, on the importance of human birth; and then  proceeds to relate how Sai Baba begged His food, how Bayajabai served  Him, how He slept in the Masjid with Tatya Kote Patil and Mhalsapati  and how He loved Khushalchand of Rahata.

Importance of Human Birth

In this wonderful universe, God has created billions (84 lacs1 according  to Hindusastra calculation) of creatures or beings (including  Gods, demigods, insects, beasts and men) inhabiting heaven, hell, earth,  ocean, sky and other intermediate regions. Of these, those creatures or  souls, whose merits preponderate, go to heaven and live there till they  enjoy the fruits of their actions, and when this is done, they are cast  down while those souls, whose sins or demerits preponderate, go down  to hell, and suffer the consequences of their misdeeds for so long a time  as they deserve. When their merits and demerits balance each other,  they are born on earth as human beings, and are given a chance to work  out their salvation. Ultimately when their merits and demerits both drop  down (are got rid of) completely, they get their deliverance and become  free. To put the matter in a nutshell, souls get their births or transmigrations  according to their deeds and intelligence (development of their  minds).

Special Value of the Human Body

As we all know, four things are common to all the creatures, viz.  food, sleep, fear and sexual union. In the case of man, he is endowed  with a special faculty, viz. knowledge, with the help of which he can  attain God-vision, which is impossible in any other birth. It is for this  reasons that Gods envy man's fortune and aspire to be born as men on  earth, so as to get their final deliverance.

Some say, that there is nothing worse than the human body, which  is full of filth, mucus, phlegm and dirt, and which is subject to decay,  disease and death. This is no doubt true to a certain extent; but inspite  of these drawbacks and defects, the special value of the human body is  - that man has got the capacity to acquire knowledge: it is only due to  the human knowledge that one can think of the perishable and transitory  nature of the body itself, and of the world and get a disgust for the senseenjoyments  and can discriminate between the unreal and the real, and  thus attain God-vision. So, if we reject or neglect the body because it is  filthy, we lose the chance of God-vision, and if we fondle it, and run  after sense - enjoyments, because it is precious, we go to hell. The proper  course, therefore, for us to pursue is the following; that the body should  neither be neglected nor fondled, but should be properly cared for, just  as a traveler on horse-back takes care of his pony on the way till he  reaches his destination and returns home. Thus the body should ever be  used or engaged to attain God-vision or self-realization, which is the  supreme end of life.

It is said that though God created various sorts of creatures he was  not satisfied, for none of them was able to know and appreciate His  work. So he had to create a special being - Man, and endow him with a  special faculty, viz. Knowledge and when He saw that man was able to  appreciate His Leela - marvellous work and intelligence. He was highly  pleased and satisfied. (Vide, Bhagawat 11-9-28). So really it is good  luck to get a human body, better luck to get birth in a Brahmin family,  and best one, to get an opportunity of having recourse to Sai Baba's Feet  and surrendering to Him.

Man's Endeavour

Realizing how precious the human life is, and knowing that Death  is certain and may snatch us at any time, we should be ever alert to  achieve the object of our life, we should not make the least delay but  make every possible haste to gain our object, just as a widower is most  anxious to get himself married to a new bride, or just as a king leaves no  stone unturned to seek his lost son. So with all earnestness and speed,  we should strive to attain our end, i.e., self-realization. Casting aside  sloth and laziness, warding off drowsiness, we should day and night  meditate on the Self. If we fail to do this, we reduce ourselves to the  level of beasts.

How to Proceed?

The most effective and speedy way to gain our object is to approach  a worthy Saint or Sage - Sadguru, who has himself attained  God-vision. What cannot be achieved by hearing religious lectures  and study of religious works, is easily obtained in the company  of such worthy souls. Just as the sun alone gives light, which all the  stars put together cannot do, so the Sad-Guru alone imparts spiritual  wisdom which all the sacred books and sermons cannot infuse. His  movements and simple talks give us 'silent' advice. The virtues of forgiveness,  calmness, disinterestedness, charity, benevolence, control of  mind and body, egolessness etc. are observed by the disciples as they  are being practiced in such pure and holy company. This enlightens their  minds and lifts them up spiritually. Sai Baba was such a Sage or Sad-  Guru. Though He acted as a Fakir (mendicant), He was always engrossed  in the Self. He always loved all beings in whom He saw God or Divinity.  By pleasures He was not elated. He was not depressed by misfortunes.  A king and a pauper were the same to Him. He, whose glance would  turn a beggar into a king, used to beg His food from door to door in  Shirdi, and let us now see how He did it.

Baba Begging Food

Blessed are the people of Shirdi, in front of whose houses, Baba  stood as a beggar and called out, "Oh Lassie, give Me a piece of bread"  and spread out His hand to receive the same. In one hand He carried a  Tumrel (tinpot) and in the other a zoli or choupadari, i.e., a rectangular  piece of cloth. He daily visited certain houses and went from door to  door. Liquid or semi-liquid things such as soup, vegetables, milk or  butter-milk were received in the tinpot, while cooked rice, bread, and  such solid things were taken in the zoli. Baba's tongue knew no taste, as  He had acquired control over it. So how could He care for the taste of  the different things collected together? whatever things He got in His  zole and in the tinpot were mixed together and partaken by Baba to His  heart's content. Whether particular things were tasty or otherwise was  never noticed by Baba as if His tongue was devoid of the sense of taste  altogether. Baba begged till noon, but His begging was very irregular.  Some days He went a few rounds, on other days up to twelve noon. The  food thus collected was thrown in a kundi, i.e. earthen pot. Dog, cats  and crows freely ate from it and Baba never drove them away. The woman  who swept the floor of the Masjid took some 10 or 12 pieces of bread to  her house, and nobody prevented her from doing so. How could, He,  who even in dreams never warded off cats and dogs by harsh words and  signs, refuse food to poor helpless people? Blessed indeed is the life of  such a noble person! People in Shirdi took Him in the beginning for a  mad Fakir. He was known in the village by this name. How could one,  who lived on alms by begging a few crumbs of bread, be revered and  respected? But this Fakir was very liberal of heart and hand, disinter49  ested and charitable. Tough He looked fickle and restless from outside.  He was firm and steady inside. His way was inscrutable. Still even in that  small village, there were a few kind and blessed people who recognised  and regarded Him as a Great Soul. One such instance is given below.

Bayajabai's Brilliant Service

Tatya Kote's mother, Bayajabai, used to go to the woods every noon  with a basket on her head containing bread and vegetables. She roamed in  the jungles koos (about 3 miles) after koss, trampling over bushes and shrubs  in search of the mad Fakir, and after hunting Him out, fell at His feet. The  Fakir sat calm and motionless in meditation, while she placed a leaf before  Him, spread the eatables, bread, vegetables etc. thereon and fed Him forcibly.  Wonderful was her faith and service. Every day she roamed at noon in  the jungles and forced Baba to the partake of lunch. Her service, Upasana  or Penance, by whatever name we call it, was never forgotten by Baba till  his Maha Samadhi. Remembering fully what service she rendered, Baba  benefited her son magnificently. Both the son and the mother had great  faith in the Fakir, Who was their God. Baba often said to them that "Fakir  (Mendicacy) was the real Lordship as it was everlasting, and the so called  Lordship (riches) was transient". After some years, Baba left off going into  the woods, began to live in the village and take His food in the Masjid.  From that time Bayajabai's troubles of roaming in the jungles ended.

Dormitory of Trio

Even blessed are the Saints in whose heart Lord Vasudeo dwells,  and fortunate, indeed, are the devotees who get the benefit of the company  of such Saints. Two such fortunate fellows, Tatya Kote Patil and  Bhagat Mhalsapati, equally shared the company of Sai Baba. Baba also  loved them both equally. These three persons slept in the Masjid with  their heads towards the east, west and north and with their feet touching  one another at the centre. Stretching their beds, they lay on them, chitchatting  and gossiping about many things, till late at midnight. If any  one of them showed any signs of sleep, others would wake him up. For  instance, if Tatya began to snore, Baba at once got up and shook him  from side to side and pressed his head. If it was Mhalsapati, He hugged  him close, stroked his legs and kneaded his back. In this way for full 14  years, Tatya, leaving his parents at home, slept in the Masjid on account  of his love for Baba. How happy and never to be forgotten were those  days! How to measure that love and how to value the grace of Baba?  After the passing away of his father, Tatya took charge of the household  affairs and began to sleep at home.

Khushalehand of Rahata

Baba loved Ganpat Kote Patil of Shirdi. He equally loved  Chandrabhanshet Marwadi of Rahata. After the demise of the Shet, Baba  loved his nephew Khushalchand equally or even perhaps more, and  watched his welfare, day and night. Sometimes in a bullock cart, at other  times in a tanga with intimate friends, Baba went to Rahata. People of  that village came out, with band and music, and received Baba at the  Ves or gate of the village and prostrated before Him. Then He was taken  into the village with great pomp and ceremony. Khushalchand took Baba  to his house, seated Him on a comfortable seat and gave Him a good  lunch. Then they talked freely and merrily for some time, after which  Baba returned to Shirdi, giving delight and blessing to all.

Shirdi is midway between and equidistant from Rahata on one  side (south) and Nimgaon on the other (north). Baba never went beyond  these places during His life time. He never saw any railway train nor  travelled by it. Still, He knew exactly the timing of arrival and departure  of all trains. Devotees who acted according to Baba's instructions (re :  their departure)which were given by him at the time of taking His leave  fared well, while those who disregarded them suffered many a mishap  and accident. More about this and other matters will be told in the next  Chapter.

::: Bow to Shri Sai -- Peace be to all :::

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