- Chapter XXVII
Favour Shown by Giving Bhagwat and Vishnu-Sahasra Nam - Dixit's
Vitthal Vision - Gita Rahasya - Khapardes.
This Chapter describes, how Sai Baba favoured His devotees by granting
them religious books after he had touched and consecrated them,
for parayana (reading regularly) and certain other matters.
When a man takes a plunge into the sea, he gets the merit of bathing
in all the Tirthas and sacred rivers. Similarly when a man takes
refuge at the feet of the Sad-guru, he gets the merit of bowing
to the Trinity, i.e. Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh and also Para-Brahma.
Victory be unto Shri Sai the wish-fulfilling tree and the ocean
of knolwedge, who gives us self-realisation. Oh Sai, create in us
regard for Your stories. Let the readers and audience devour them
with the same relish with which the chatak bird drinks the water
from the clouds and becomes happy.
While listening to Your stories, let them and their families get
all the sattwik emotions, viz. let their bodies perspire, let their
eyes be full of tears, let their prana be steady, let their minds
be composed, let their hair stand on end, let them cry, sob and
shake, let their hostilities and their distinctions, great and small
vanish. If these things happen, that is a sign of the grace of the
Guru dawning upon them. When these emotions develop in you, the
Guru is most pleased and will certainly lead you on to the goal
of self-realisation. The best way, therefore, to get free from the
shackles of Maya is our complete and whole-hearted surrender to
Baba. The Vedas cannot take you across the ocean of Maya. It is
only the Sad-guru, who can do so and make you, see the Lord in all
Granting Consecrated Book
The variety of imparting instructions followed by Baba has already
been noticed in the previous Chapters. In this, we shall deal with
one aspect of it. It was the habit of some devotees to take some
religious books, of which they wanted to make a special study, to
Baba and to receive the same back from Him, after they were touched
and consecrated by Him. While reading daily such books, they felt
that Baba was with them. Once, Kaka Mahajani came to Shirdi with
a copy of Ekanathi Bhagwat. Shama took that book to read and taking
it with him went to the Masjid.
There Baba took it from him, touched it and turning some pages
here and there gave it back to Shama and asked him to keep it with
him. When Shama said that it belonged to Kaka and had to be returned
to him. "No, no", said Baba. "As I have given it
to you, better keep it with you for safe custody; it will be of
use to you." In this way many books were entrusted to Shama.
Kaka Mahajani after a some days came again with another copy of
the same Bhagwat and gave it in Baba's hand. Then Baba gave it back
as Prasad and asked him to preserve it well and assured him that
it would stand him in good stead. Kaka accepted it with a bow.
Shama and Vishnu-Sahasra-Nam
Shama was a very intimate devotee of Baba and Baba wanted to favour
him in a particular way by giving him a copy of Vishnu-Sahasra-Nam
as Prasad. This was done in the following way. Once a Ramadasi (follower
of Saint Ramadas) came to Shirdi and stayed for some time. The routine
he followed daily was as follows : He got up early in the morning,
washed his face, bathed and then after wearing saffron-coloured
clothes and besmearing himself with sacred ashes, read Vishnu-Sahasra-Nam
(a book giving a thousand names in praise of Vishnu, and held second
in importance to Bhagwad Geeta) and Adhyatma-Ramayana (Esoteric
version of Rama's story) with faith. He read these books often and
often and then after some days Baba thought of favouring and initiating
Shama with Vishnu-Sahasra-Nam. He, therefore, called the Ramadasi
to Him and said to him that, He was suffering from intense stomach-pain,
and unless He took Senna-pods (Sona-mukhi, a mild purgative drug)
the pain would not stop; so he should please go to the bazar and
bring the drug. The Ramadasi closed his reading and went to the
Then Baba descended from His seat, came to the Ramadasi's place
of reading, took out the copy of Vishnu-Sahasra-Nam, and coming
to His seat said to Shama- "Oh Shama, this book is very valuable
and efficacious, so I present it to you, you read it. Once I suffered
intensely and My heart began to palpitate and My life was in danger.
At that critical time, I hugged this book to My heart and then,
Shama, what a relief it gave me! I thought that Allah Himself came
down and saved Me. So I give this to you, read it slowly, little
by little, read daily one name at least and it will do you good."
Shama replied that he did not want it, and that the owner of it,
the Ramadasi who was a mad, obstinate and irritable fellow would
certainly pick up a quarrel with him, besides, being a rustic himself,
he could not read distinctly the
Sanskrit (Devanagari) letters of the book.
Shama thought that Baba wanted to set him up against the Ramadasi
by this act of His, but he had no idea of what Baba felt for him.
Baba must have thought to tie this necklace of Vishu-Sahasra-Nam
round the neck of Shama, as he was an intimate devotee, though a
rustic, and thus save him from the miseries of the worldly existence.
The efficacy of God's Name is well-known. It saves us from all sins
and bad tendencies, frees us from the cycle of births and deaths.
There is no easier sadhana than this. It is the best purifier of
our mind. It requires no paraphernalia and no restrictions. It is
so easy and so effective. This sadhana, Baba wanted Shama to practise,
though he did not crave for it. So Baba forced this on him. It is
also reported that long ago, Eknath Maharaj, similarly, forced this
Vishnu-Sahasra-Nam on a poor Brahmin neighbour, and thus saved him.
The reading and study of this Vishnu-Sahasra-Nam is a broad open
way of purifying the mind, and hence Baba thrust this on His Shama.
The Ramadasi returned soon with the Seena-pods. Anna Chinchanikar,
who was then present and who wanted to play the part of Narada (the
Celestial Rishi who was well-known for setting up quarrels between
Gods and demons and vice versa), informed him of what had happened.
The Ramadasi at once flared up. He came down at once on Shama with
all fury. He said that it was Shama who set Baba to send him away
under the pretext of stomach-ache for bringing the medicine and
thus got the book. He began to scold and abuse Shama and remarked
that if the book be not returned, he would dash his head before
him. Shama calmly remonstrated with him, but in vain. Then Baba
spoke kindly to him as follows - "Oh Ramadasi, what is the
matter with you? Why are you so turbulent? Is not Shama our boy?
Why do you scold him unnecessarily. How is it that you are so quarrelsome?
Can you not speak soft and sweet words?
You read daily these sacred books and still your mind is impure
and your passions uncontrolled. What sort of a Ramadasi you are!
You ought to be indifferent to all things. Is it not strange that
you should covet this book so strongly? A true Ramadasi should have
no 'mamata' (attachment) but have 'samata' (equality) towards all.
You are now quarrelling with the boy Shama for a mere book. Go,
take your seat, books can be had in plenty for money, but not men;
think well and be considerate. What worth is your book? Shama had
no concern with it. I took it up Myself and gave it to him. You
know it by heart. I thought Shama might read it and profit thereby,
and so I gave to it him."
How sweet were these words of Baba, soft, tender and nectar-like!
Their effect was wonderful. The Ramadasi calmed down and said to
Shama that he would take 'Panch-ratni' Geeta in return. Shama was
much pleased and said - "Why one, I shall give ten copies in
So the matter was ultimately compromised. The question for consideration
is "Why should the Ramadasi press for Pancha-ratni Geeta, the
God in which he never cared to know, and why should he, who daily
read religious books in the Masjid in front of Baba, quarrel with
Shama before Him?" We do not know how to apportion the blame
and whom to blame. We only say that, had this procedure been not
gone through, the importance of the subject, the efficacy of God's
name and the study of Vishnu-Sahasra-Nam would not have been brought
home to Shama. So we see that Baba's method, of teaching and initiating
was unique. In this cases Shama did gradually study the book and
mastered its contents to such an extent, that he was able to explain
it to Professor G.G. Narke, M.A. of the College of Engineering,
Poona, the son-in-law of Shriman Booty and a devotee of Baba.
One day, while Kakasaheb Dixit was in mediation after his morning
bath in his Wada at Shirdi he saw a vision of Vitthal. When he went
to see Baba afterwards, Baba asked him - "Did vitthal Patil
come? did you not see Him? He is very elusive, hold Him fast, otherwise
He will give you the slip and run away". Then at noon a certain
hawker came there, with 20 or 25 pictures of Vitthal of Pandharpur
for sale. Mr. Dixit was surprised to see that the form of Vithal
he saw in his mediation exactly tallied with that in the picture
and he was also reminded of Baba's words. He therefore, bought one
picture most willingly and kept it in his shrine for worship.
Baba always loved those who studied Brahma-vidya (metaphysics) and
encouraged them. To give an instance - Once Bapusaheb Jog received
a post-parcel. It contained a copy of Geeta-Rahasya by Lokamanya
Tilak. Taking it under his armpit he came to the Masjid and prostrated
himself before Baba, when the parcel fell at Baba's Feet. Baba enquired
what it was. It was opened then and there and the book was placed
in Baba's hand. He turned some pages here and there for a few minutes
and took out a rupee from His pocket placed it on the book and handed
the same with the rupee to Jog and said to him - "Read this
completely and you will be benefited".
Mr. and Mrs. Khaparde
Let us close this Chapter with a description of the Khapardes. Once
Dadasaheb Khaparde came with his family and lived in Shirdi for
some months. (The diary of his stay has been published in English
in the Shri Sai Leela Magazine first Volume.) Dadasaheb was not
an ordinary man. He was the richest and the most famous advocate
of Amraoti (Berar) and was a member of the Council of State, Delhi.
He was very intelligent and a very good speaker. Still he dared
not open his mouth before Baba. Most devotees spoke and argued with
Baba off and on, but only three, viz. Khaparde, Noolkar and Booty
kept always silent. They were meek, modest, humble and goodnatured.
Dadasaheb, who was able to expound Panchadashi (A well-known Sanskrit
treatise on the Adwaita Philosophy by the famous Vidyaranya) to
others, said nothing or uttered no word when he came to the Masjid
before Baba. Really a man, however learned he may be even in Vedas,
fades away before one, who was realised Brahman and become one with
Learning cannot shine before Self-reaisation. Dadasaheb stayed
for four months, but Mrs. Khaparde stayed for seven. Both were highly
pleased with their Shirdi stay. Mrs. Khaparde was faithful and devout,
and loved Baba deeply. Every noon she brought naivedya herself to
the Masjid, and after it was accepted by Baba, she used to return
and take her meals. Seeing her steady and firm devotion, Baba wanted
to exhibit it to others. One noon she brought a dish containing
Sanza (wheat-pudding), purees, rice, soup, and kheer (sweet rice)
and other sundry articles to the Masjid. Baba, who usually waited
for hours, got up at once, went up to His dining seat and removing
the outer covering from the dish began to partake of the things
zealously. Shama then asked Him - "Why this partiality? You
throw away dishes of others and do not care to look at them, but
this You draw to You earnestly and do justice to it. Why is the
dish of this woman so sweet? This is a problem to us." Baba
then explained - "This food is really extra-ordinary. In former
birth this lady was a merchant's fat cow yielding much milk.
Then she disappeared and took birth in a gardener's family, then
in a Kshatriya family, and married a merchant. Then she was born
in a Brahmin family. I saw her after a very long time, let Me take
some sweet morsels of love from her dish." Saying this, Baba
did full justice to her dish, washed his mouth and hands, gave out
some belches as a mark of satisfaction, and resumed His seat. Then
she make a bow and began to shampoo Baba's legs and Baba began to
talk with her and knead her arms which were shampooing His Legs.
On seeing this reciprocal service Shama began to joke and said
- "It is going on well, it is a wonderful sight to see God
and His Bhakta serving each other. "After being pleased with
her sincere service, Baba asked her in low and fascinating tone
to chant 'Rajarama, Rajarama' then and always, and said - "If
you do this, your life's object will be gained, your mind will attain
peace and you will be immensely benefited." To persons unfamiliar
with spiritual matters, this might appear as affair, but really
it was not so. It was a case of, what in technically called, 'Shakti-pat',
i.e. transference of power from the Guru to the disciple. How forcible
and effective were Baba's words! In an instant, they pierced her
heart and found lodgement there.
This case illustrates the nature of the relations that should subsist
between the Guru and the disciple. Both should love and serve each
other as One. There is no distinction nor any difference between
them. Both are One, and one cannot live without the other. The disciple
placing his head on the Guru's feet is a gross or outward vision;
really and internally they are both one and the same. Those who
see any difference between them are yet unripe and not perfect.
Bow to Shri Sai - Peace be to all