Sai Satchritra - Chapter
XLIII & Chapter XLIV
Preparation - Samadhi-Mandir - Breaking of
the Brick - 72 Hours' Samadhi - Jog's Sannyas - Baba's Nectar-like
Chapters 43 and 44 continue the story of Baba's Passing away, and
therefore they are taken together.
It is the general practice amongst the Hindus that when a man is
about to die, some good religious scripture is read out to him with
the object that his mind should be withdrawn from worldly things
and fixed in matters spiritual, so that his future progress should
be natural and easy. Everybody knows that when king Parikshiti was
cursed by the son of a Brahmin Rishi and was about to die after
a week, the great sage Shuka expounded to him the famous Bahagwat
Puran in that week. This practice is followed even now and Gita,
Bhagawat and other sacred books are read out to dying persons. Baba
being an incarnation of God needed no such help, but just to set
an example to the people, He followed this practice.
When He knew that He was to pass away soon, He ordered one Mr.Vaze
to read Ramavijaya to Him. Mr.Vaze read the book once in the week.
Then Baba asked him to read the same again day and night and he
finished the second reading in three days. Thus eleven days passed.
Then again he read for three days and was exhausted. So Baba let
him go and kept Himself quiet. He abided on His Self and was waiting
for the last moment.
Two or three days previous, Baba had stopped His morning peregrinations
and begging rounds and sat in the Masjid. He was conscious to the
last and was advising the devotees not to lose heart. He let nobody
know the exact time of His departure. Kakasaheb Dixit and Shriman
Booty were dining daily with Him in the Masjid. That day (15th October)
after arati, He asked them to go to their residence for dining.
Still a few, viz., Laxmibai Shinde, Bhagoji Shinde, Bayaji, Laxman
Bala Shimpi and Nanasaheb Nimonkar remained there. Shama was sitting
down on the steps.
After giving Rs. 9/- to Laxmibai Shinde, Baba said that He did
not feel well there (in the Masjid) and that He should be taken
to the Dagadi (stone) Wada of Booty, where He would be alright.
Saying these last words, He leaned on Bayaji's body and breathed
His last. Bhagoji noticed that His breathing had stopped and he
immediately told this to Nanasaheb Nimonkar who was sitting below.
Nanasaheb brought some water and poured it in Baba's mouth. It came
out. Then he cried out loudly 'Oh Deva.' Baba seemed just to open
His eyes and say 'Ah' in a low tone. But it soon become evident
that Baba had left His body for good.
The news of Baba's passing away spread like a wild fire in the
village of Shirdi and all people, men, women and children ran to
the Masjid and began to mourn this loss in various ways. Some cried
out loudly, some wallowed on in the streets and some fell down senseless.
Tears ran down from the eyes of all and every one was smitten with
Then the question arose - How to dispose off Baba's body? Some
(Mahomedans) said that the body should be interred in an open space
and a tomb built over it. Even Khushalchand and Amir Shakkar shared
this opinion. But Ramachandra Patil, the village officer said to
the villagers with a firm and determined voice, "Your thought
is not acceptable to us. Baba's body should be nowhere placed except
in the Wada." Thus people were divided on this point and discussion
regarding this point went on for 36 hours.
On Wednesday morning Baba appeared to Laxman Mama Joshi in his
dream and drawing him by His hand said - "Get up soon; Bapusaheb
thinks that I am dead and so he won't come; you do the worship and
the Kakad (morning) arati." Laxman Mama was the village astrologer
and was the maternal uncle of Shama. He was an orthodox Brahmin
and daily first worshipped Baba in the morning and then all the
village deities. He had full faith in Baba. After the vision he
came with all the pooja materials and not minding the protests of
the moulvis, did the Pooja and the Kakad arati with all due formalities
and went away. Then at noon Bapusaheb Jog came with all others and
went through the noon-arati ceremony as usual.
Paying due respect to Baba's words the people decided to place
His body in the Wada and started digging the central portion there.
In the evening of Tuesday the Sub-Inspector came from Rahata and
others from other places turned up and they all agreed to the proposal.
Next morning Amirbhai came from Bombay and the Mamlatdar from Kopergaon.
The people seemed divided in their opinion. Some insisted on interring
His body in the open field.
The Mamlatdar therefore took a general plebiscite and found that
the proposal to use the Wada secured double the number of votes.
He, however, wanted to refer the matter to the Collector and Kakasaheb
Dixit got himself ready to go to Ahmednagar. In the meanwhile, by
Baba's inspiration there was a change in the opinion of the other
people and all the people unanimously voted for the proposal. On
Wednesday evening Baba's body was taken in procession and brought
to the Wada and was interred there with due formalities in the garbha,
i.e., the central portion reserved for Murlidhar. In fact Baba became
the Murlidhar and the Wada became a temple and a holy shrine, where
so many devotees went and are going now to find rest and peace.
All the obsequies of Baba were duly performed by Balasaheb Bhate
and Upasani, a great devotee of Baba.
Breaking of the Brick
Some days before Baba's departure, there occurred an ominous sign
foreboding the event. There was, in the Masjid an old brick on which
Baba rested His hand and sat. At night time He leaned against it
and had His asan. This went on for many years. One day, during Baba's
absence, a boy who was sweeping the floor, took it up in his hand,
and unfortunately it slipped from thence fell down broken into two
pieces. When Baba came to know about this, He bemoaned its loss,
crying - "It is not the brick but My fate that has been broken
It was My life-long companion, with it I always meditated on the
Self, it was as dear to Me as My life, it has left Me to-day."
Some may raise here a question - "Why should Baba express this
sorrow for such an inanimate thing as a brick?" To this Hemadpant
replies that saints incarnate in this world with the express mission
of saving the poor helpless people, and when they embody themselves
and mix and act with the people, they act like them, i.e., outwardly
laugh, play and cry like all other people, but inwardly they are
wide awake to their duties and mission.
72 Hours' Samadhi
Thirty two years before this, i.e., in 1886 A.D., Baba made an attempt
to cross the border line. On a Margashirsha Pournima (Full moon)
day, Baba suffered from a severe attack of asthma. To get rid of
it Baba decided to take His prana high up and go into samadhi. He
said to Bhagat Mhalasapti - "Protect My body for three days.
If I return, it will be alright; if I do not, bury My body in that
open land (pointing to it) and fix two flags there as a mark."
Saying this, Baba fell down at about 10 P.M. His breathing stopped,
as well as His pulse.
It seemed as if His prana left the body. All the people including
the villagers came there and wanted to hold an inquest and bury
the body in the place pointed by Baba. But Mhalasapati prevented
this. With Baba's body on his lap he sat full three days guarding
it. After three days passed, Baba showed signs of life at 3 A.M.
His breathing commenced, the abdomen began to move. His eyes opened
and stretching His limbs, Baba returned to consciousness (life)
From this and other accounts, let the readers consider whether
Sai Baba was the three and a half cubits' body that He occupied
for some years and that He left thereafter or He was the Self inside.
The body, composed of the five elements is perishable and transient,
but the Self within is the thing - Absolute Reality which is immortal
and intransient. The pure Being, Consciousness or Brahma, the Ruler
and Controller of the senses and mind is the thing Sai. This pervades
all things in the universe and there is no space without it. For
fulfilling His mission He assumed the body and after it was fulfilled,
He threw away the body (the finite aspect), and assumed His infinite
Sai ever lives, as also the previous Incarnation of God Datta,
Shri Narsimha Saraswati of Ganagapur. His Passing away is only an
outward aspect, but really He pervades all animate and inanimate
things and is their Inner Controller and Ruler. This can be, and
is even now experienced by many who surrender themselves completely
to Him and worship Him with whole-hearted devotion.
Though it is not possible for us to see Baba's form now, still if
we go to Shirdi, we shall find His beautiful life-like portrait
adorning the masjid. This has been drawn by Shamrao Jaykar, a famous
artist and well-known devotee of Baba. To an imaginative and devout
spectator this portrait can give even to-day the satisfaction of
taking Baba's darshana. Though Baba has no body now, He lives there
and everywhere, and will effect the welfare of the devotees even
now as He was doing before when He was embodied. Saints like Baba
never die, though they look like men, they are in reality God Himself.
Bapusaheb Jog's Sannyas
Hemadpant closes this chapter with the account of Jog's sannyas.
Sakharam Hari alias Bapusaheb Jog was the uncle of the famous Varkari
Vishnubuva Jog of Poona. After his retirement from Govt. Service
(He was a Supervisor in the P.W. Department) in 1909 A.D., he came
and lived in Shirdi with his wife. He had no issue. Both husband
and wife loved Baba and spent all their time in worshipping and
serving Baba. After Megha's death, Bapusaheb daily did the arati
ceremony in the Masjid and Chavadi till Baba's maha-samadhi.
He was also entrusted with the work of reading and explaining
Jnaneshwari and Ekanathi Bhagawat in Sathe's Wada to the audience.
After serving for many years, Jog asked Baba - "I have served
you so long, my mind is not yet calm and composed, how is it that
my contact with Saints has not improved me? When will You bless
me?" - Hearing the Bhakta's prayer Baba replied - "In
due time your bad actions (their fruit or result) will be destroyed,
your merits and demerits will be reduced to ashes, and I shall consider
you blessed, when you will renounce all attachments, conquer lust
and palate, and getting rid of all impediments, serve God whole-heartedly
and resort to the begging bowl (accept sannyas)." After some
time, Baba's words came true. His wife predeceased him and as he
had no other attachment, he became free and accepted sannyas before
his death and realized the goal of his life.
Baba's Nectar-like words
The kind and merciful Sai Baba, said many a time the following sweet
words in the Masjid - "He who loves Me most, always sees Me.
The whole world is desolate to him without Me, he tells no stories
but Mine. He ceaselessly meditates upon Me and always chants My
name. I feel indebted to him who surrenders himself completely to
Me and ever remembers Me. I shall repay his debt by giving him salvation
(self-realization). I am dependent on him who thinks and hungers
after Me and who does not eat anything without first offering it
to Me. He who thus comes to Me, becomes one with Me, just as a river
gets to the sea and becomes merged (one) with it. So leaving out
pride and egoism and with no trace of them, you should surrender
yourself to Me Who am seated in your heart."
Who is this ME?
Sai Baba expounded many a time Who this ME (or I) is. He said "You
need not go far or anywhere in search of Me. Barring your name and
form, there exists in you, as well as in all beings, a sense of
Being or Consciousness of Existence. That is Myself. Knowing this,
you see Me inside yourself, as well as in all beings. If you practise
this, you will realize all-pervasiveness, and thus attain oneness
Hemadpant, therefore, makes a bow to the readers and requests
them humbly and lovingly that they should love and respect all Gods,
saints and devotees. Has not Baba often said "He who carps
and cavils at others, pierces Me in the heart and injures Me, but
he that suffers and endures, pleases Me most." Baba thus pervades
all beings and creatures and besets them on all sides. He likes
nothing but love to all beings. Such nectar, pure auspicious ambrosia
always flowed from Baba's lips. He therefore, concludes - Those
who lovingly sing Baba's fame and those who hear the same with devotion,
both become one with Sai.
Bow to Shri Sai - Peace be to all