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Shri Sai Satcharitra - Chapter 09

Effect of compliance and Non-compliance with Baba's Orders    at the Time of Taking Leave - A few Instances - Mendicancy and Its  Necessity - Devotees' (Tarkhad family's) Experiences - Baba fed sumptuously  - How?

At the end of the last chapter, it was barely stated that the Bhaktas,  who obeyed Baba's orders at the time of taking leave, fared well and  those, who disobeyed them, suffered many a mishap. This statement  will be amplified and illustrated, with a few striking instances; and by  other matters dealt with in this Chapter.

Characteristic of Shirdi - Pilgrimage

One special peculiarity of Shirdi-pilgrimage was this, that none    could leave Shirdi, without Baba's permission; and if he did, he invited  untold sufferings, but if any one was asked to quit Shirdi, he could stay  there no longer. Baba gave certain suggestions or hints, when Bhaktas  went to bid good-bye and take leave. These suggestions had to be followed.  If they were not followed or were departed from, accidents were  sure to befall them, who acted contrary to Baba's directions. We give  below a few instances.

Tatya Kote Patil

Tatya Kote was once going in a tanga to Kopargaon bazar. He    came in haste to the Masjid, saluted Baba, and said that he would go to  Kopargtaon bazar. Baba said, "Don't make haste, stop a little, let go the  bazar, don't go out of the village". On seeing has anxiety to go, Baba  asked him to take Shama (Madhavrao Deshpande) at least with him.  Not minding this direction, Tatya Kote immediately drove his tanga. Of  the two horses one, which cost Rs.300/- was very active and restless.  After passing Sawul well, it began to run rashly, got a sprain in its waist  and fell down. Tatya was not much hurt, but was reminded of Mother  Sai's direction. On another occasion while proceeding to Kolhar village,  he disregarded Baba's direction, and drove in a tanga, which met with a  similiar accident.

European Gentleman

One European gentleman of Bombay once came to Shirdi, with an    introductory note from Nanasaheb Chandorkar, and with some object  in view. He was comfortably accommodated in a tent. He wanted to    kneel before Baba and kiss His hand. Therefore, he tried thrice to step  into the Masjid, but Baba prevented him from doing so. He was asked to  sit in the open court-yard below and take Baba's darshan from there. Not  pleased with this reception he got, he wanted to leave Shirdi at once and  came to bid good-bye. Baba asked him to go the next day and not to  hurry. People also requested him to abide by Baba's direction. Not listening  to all this, he left Shirdi in a tanga. The horses ran at first all right,  but when Sawul well was passed, a bicycle came in front, seeing which  the horses were frightened and ran fast. The tanga was turned topsyturvy  and the gentleman fell down and was dragged some distance. He  was immediately released; but had to go and lie in Kopargaon hospital  for the treatment of the injuries. Because of such experiences all people  learnt the lesson, that those who disobeyed Baba's instruction met with  accidents in one way or the other, and those who obeyed them were safe  and happy.

The Necessity of Mendicancy

Now to return to the question of mendicancy. A question may    arise in the minds of some that if Baba was such a great personage -  God in fact, why should He have recourse to the begging bowl, all His  lifetime? This question may be considered and replied from two standpoints.  (1) Who are the fit persons, who have a right to live by the begging-  bowl? Our Shastras say that those persons, who, getting rid of, or  becoming free from the three main Desires, viz. (1) for progeny, (2) for  wealth, (3) for fame, accept Sannyas, are the fit persons to live by begging  alms. They cannot make cooking arrangements and dine at home.  The duty of feeding them rests on the shoulders of house-holders. Sai  Baba was neither a house-holder nor Vanaprastha. He was a celibate  sannyasi, i.e., sannyasi from boyhood. His firm conviction was that the  universe was His home, He was the Lord Vasudeo - the Supporter of the  universe and the Imperishable Brahman. So He had the full right to  have recourse to the begging-bowl. (2) Now from the standpoint of (1)  *Pancha-soon - five sins and their atonement. We all know that in order  to prepare food-stuffs and meals, the householders have to go through  five actions or processes, viz. (1) Kandani-Pounding, (2) Peshani-Grinding,  (3) Udakumbhi - Washing pots, (4) Marjani - Sweeping and cleaning,  (5) Chulli-Lighting hearths. These processes involve destruction of  a lot of small insects and creatures, and thus the householders incur a lot  of sin. In order to atone for this sin, our Shastras prescribe five kinds of  sacrifices, viz. (1) Brahma-Yajna, (2) vedadhyayan - offerings to Brahman  or the study of the Vedas. (3) Pitra-Yajna-offerings to the ancestors,  4)Deva-Yajna - offerings to the Gods, (5) Bhoota-Yajna-offerings to the  beings, (6) Manushya-Atithi-Yajna-offerings to men or uninvited guests.  If these sacrifices, enjoined by the Shastras are duly performed, the purification  of their minds is effected and this helps them to get knowledge  and self-realiz

Devotee's Experiences

Now to return to the other more interesting subject. Lord Krishna    has said in the Bhagawadgeeta (9-26) "Whosoever devoutly offers to  me a leaf, a flower, or a fruit or water, of that pure-hearted man, I accept  that pious offering." In the case of Sai Baba, if a devotee really longed to  offer anything to Sai Baba, and if he afterwards forgot to offer the same,  Baba reminded him, or his friend about the offering, and made him  present it to Him, and then accepted it and blessed the devotee. A few  instances are given below.

Tarkhad Family (father and son)

Mr. Ramachandra Atmaran alias Babasaheb Tarkhad, formerly a    Prarthana-Samajist, was a staunch devotee of Sai Baba. His wife and  son loved Baba equally or perhaps more. It was once proposed that  Master Tarkhad should go with his mother to Shirdi and spend his May  vacation there, but the son was unwilling to go, as he thought that in  case he left his home at Bandra, the worship of Sai Baba in the house  would not be properly attended to, as his father being a Prarthana  Samajist, would not care to worship Sai Baba's enlarged portrait. However,  on his father's giving an assurance of oath, that he would perform  the worship exactly as the son was doing, the mother and the son left for  Shirdi on one Friday night.

Next day (Saturday) Mr. Tarkhad got up early, took his bath    and before proceeding with the Puja, prostrated himself before the  Shrine and said - "Baba, I am going to perform the Puja exactly as  my son has been doing, but please let it not be a formal drill." After he  performed the Puja, he offered a few pieces of lump-sugar as naivedya  (offering), which were distributed at the time of the lunch.

That evening and on Sunday, everything went on well. The following    Monday was a working day and it also passed well. Mr. Tarkhad,  who had never performed Puja like this in all his life, felt great confidence  within himself, that every thing was passing on quite satisfactorily  according to the promise given to his son. On Tuesday, he performed  the morning Puja as usual and left for his work. Coming home at noon,  he found that there was no Prasad (sugar) to partake of, when the meal  was served. He asked the servant - cook, who told him that there was no  offering made that morning, and that he had completely forgotten then  to perform that part of the Puja (offering naivedya). After hearing that  he left his seat and prostrated himself before the Shrine, expressed his  regret, at the same time chiding Baba for the want of guidance in making  the whole affair a matter of mere drill. Then he wrote a letter to his  son stating the facts and requested him to lay it before Baba's feet and  ask His pardon for his neglect.

This happened in Bandra at Tuesday noon.

At about the same time, when the noon Arati was just about to    commence in Shirdi, Baba said to Mrs. Tarkhad, "Mother, I had been to  your house in Bandra, with a view to having something to eat. I found  the door locked. I somehow got an entrance inside and found to My  regret, that Bhau (Mr. Tarkhad) had left nothing for Me to eat. so I have  returned from there without eating anything."

The lady could not understand anything; but the son, who was    close by, understood that there was something wrong with the Puja in  Bandra and he, therefore, requested Baba to permit him to go home.  Baba refused the permission, but allowed him to perform Puja there.  Then, the son wrote a letter to his father, stating all that took place at  Shirdi and implored his father not to neglect the Puja at home.

Both these letters crossed each other and were delivered to the    respective parties the next day.

Is this not astonishing?

Mrs. Tarkhad

Let us now take up the case of Mrs. Tarkhad herself. She    offered three things, viz. (1) Bharit (roasted brinjal egg plant mixed  curds and spice). (2) Kacharya (circular pieces of brinjal fried in ghee),  (3) Peda (sweetmeat ball). Let us see how Baba accepted them.

Once Mr. Raghuvir Bhaskar Purandare of Bandra, a great devotee    of Baba started for Shirdi with his family. Mrs Tarkhad went to Mrs.  Purandare, and gave her two brinjals and requested her to prepare Bharit  of one bringal and Kacharya of the other, when she went to Shirdi and  serve Baba with them. After reaching Shirdi, Mrs. Purandare went with  her dish of Bharit to the Masjid when Baba was just about to start his  meals. Baba found the Bharit very tasty. So He distributed it to all and  said that He wanted Kacharyas now. A word was sent to Radha Krishna-  Mai, that Baba wanted Kacharyas. She was in a fix, as that was no season  of brinjals. How to get brinjals was the question? When an enquiry  was made as to who brought the Bharit, it was found that Mrs. Purandare  was also entrusted with the duty of serving Kacharyas. Everybody then  came to know the significance of Baba's enquiry regarding Kacharyas,  and was wonderstruck at Baba's all-pervasive knowledge.

In December 1915 A.D., one Govind Balaram Mankar    wanted to go to Shirdi to perfrom the obsequies of his father. Before  he left, he came to see Mr. Tarkhad. Then Mrs. Tarkhad wanted  to send something with him to Baba. She searched the whole house  but found nothing, except a Peda, which had already been offered  as naivedya. Mr. Mankar was in mourning. Still out of great devotion  to Baba, she sent the Peda with him, hoping that Baba would  accept and eat it. Govind went to Shirdi and saw Baba, but forgot  to take the Peda with him. Baba simply waited. When again he  went to Baba in the afternoon, he went empty-handed without the  Peda. Baba could wait no longer and, therefore, asked him straight,  "What did you bring for me?" "Nothing" was the reply. Baba asked  him again. The same reply came forth again. Then Baba asked  him the leading question, "Did not the mother (Mrs. Tarkhad) give  some sweetmeat to you for Me at the time of your starting?" The  boy then remembered the whole thing. He felt abashed, asked  Baba's pardon, ran to his lodging, brought the Peda and gave it to  Baba. As soon as Baba got it in His hand. He put it into His mouth  and gulped it down. Thus the devotion of Mrs. Tarkhad was recognized  and accepted. "As men believe in Me, so do I accept them"  (Gita, 4-11) was proved in this case.

Baba Fed Sumptuously, -- How?

Once, Mrs. Tarkhad was staying in a certain house in Shirdi. At    noon, meals were ready and dishes were being served, when a hungry  dog turned up there and began to cry, Mrs. Tarkhad got up at once and  threw a piece of bread, which the dog gulped with great relish. In the  afternoon, when she went to the Masjid and sat at some distance, Sai  Baba said to her, "Mother, you have fed Me sumptuously up to my throat,  My afflicted pranas (life-forces) have been satisfied. always act like this,  and this will stand you in good stead. Sitting in this Masjid I shall never,  never speak untruth. Take pity on Me like this. First give bread to the  hungry, and then eat yourself. Note this well." She could not at first  understand the meaning of what Baba said. So she replied -- "Baba, how  could I feed You? I am myself dependent on others and take my food  from them on payment." Then Baba replied -- "Eating that lovely bread  I am heartily contended and I am still belching. The dog which you saw  before meals and to which you gave the piece of bread is, one with Me,  so also other creatures (cats, pigs, flies, cows etc.) are one with Me. I am  roaming in their forms. He, who sees Me in all these creatures is My  beloved. So abandon the sense of duality and distinction, and serve Me,  as you did today." Drinking these nectar-like words, she was moved, her  eyes were filled with tears, her throat was choked and her joy knew no  bounds.

Moral

"See God in all beings" is the moral of this chapter. The Upanishads,    the Geeta and the Bhagwat, all exhort us to perceive God or Divinity in  all the creatures. By the instance given at the end of this Chapter and  others too numerous to mention. Sai Baba has practically demonstrated  to us how to put the Upanishadic teachings into practice. In this way Sai  Baba stands as the best Exponent or Teacher of the Upanishadic doctrines.

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

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