Sunday, January 31, 2016

Shri Sat Charitra Ch3 - Baba's love for devotees

Key takeaways, condensation of Ch3

Baba confirms his assent to Hemadpant to write his story saying that reading his Leelas attentively would remove Avidya and give rise to Virakti, Bhakti and Jnana.

Then turning towards Shama, Baba said, "If a man utters My name with love, I shall fulfill all his wishes, increase his devotion. And if he sings earnestly My life and My deeds, him I shall beset in front and back and on all sides. Those devotees, who are attached to Me, heart and soul, will naturally feel happiness, when they hear these stories. Believe Me that if anybody sings My Leelas, I will give him infinite joy and everlasting contentment. It is My special characteristic to free any person, who surrenders completely to Me, and who does worship Me faithfully, and who remembers Me, and meditates on Me constantly. How can they be conscious of worldly ob- jects and sensations, who utter My name, who worship Me, who think of My stories and My life and who thus al- ways remember Me? I shall draw out My devotees from the jaws of Death. If My stories are listened to, all the dis- eases will be got rid of. So, hear My stories with respect; and think and meditate on them, assimilate them. This is the way of happiness and contentment. The pride and ego- ism of My devotees will vanish, the mind of the hearers will be set at rest; and if it has wholehearted and complete faith, it will be one with Supreme Consciousness. The simple remembrance of My name as ‘Sai, Sai’ will do away with sins of speech and hearing".

The Lord assigns to each devotee a different work depending on their inclinations. They are but the instrument - the Doer is the Lord. Like the flute is but an instrument for the flutist to produce music.
Hence Hemadpant says, "So, when I took up the pen in my hand, Sai Baba took away my egoism and wrote Himself His stories. The credit of relating these stories, therefore, goes to Him and not to me."
As the mantra goes - "kayenu vacha manasa indraiyava.... karomi yadyat...narayanayeti samarpayami."

Baba's stories are like beacons of light that help "to avoid rocks and dangers, and make them sail safely. the ocean of worldly existence." When we hear them - "the body - consciousness or egoism and the sense of duality vanish;"

"The description of Baba’s pure fame, and the hearing of the same, with love, will destroy the sins of the devotee and, therefore, this is the simple Sadhana for attaining salvation."

In different Yugas there were different methods for God Realization. In Satya it was Tapas, penance; in Treta - Yajna i.e. sacrifice; in Dwapara it was worship while in Kali it is singing the name and glory of the lord. This is also the mode considering spiritual evolution of an individual soul. A highly evolved soul can do tapas which is jnana marga like Ramana Maharishi did. Lesser evolved souls resort to Karma or Bhakti yoga, but for the least evolved, uneducated souls it has to be a much simpler mode i.e. constant remembrance of God. But even this is not easy as it seems.

The devotee can now read Sai Sat Charita and while doing so he should, "meditate on Him, His form and thus attain devotion to Guru and God (Sai Baba), get detachment and self-realization."

Sai Baba loves his devotees like a mother loves its child. Even if the child doesnt take care of itself, the mother devotes her attention, lavishes her love on the child to ensure its welfare.

Baba ensured that Hemadpants financial difficulties were removed.
He supported a Rohilla who was causing disturbance to others by his loud recitation of Koran, so that the Rohilla is spiritually uplifted. By constant repetition of prayers that man was able to keep "durbuddhi" or bad judgment at bay.

Once when the arti was over, Sai Baba said to all, "Be wherever you like, do whatever you choose, remember this well that all what you do is known to Me. I am the Inner Ruler of all and seated in their hearts. I envelope all the creatures, the movable and immovable world. I am the Controller - the wire-puller of the show of this Uni- verse. I am the mother - origin of all beings - the Harmony of three Gunas, the propeller of all senses, the Creator, Preserver and Destroyer. Nothing will harm him, who turns his attention towards Me, but Maya will lash or whip him who forgets Me. All the insects, ants, the visible, movable and immovable world, is My Body or Form."

Concluding this chapter Hemadpant urges the devotees "to leave out the various hindrances viz. indolence, sleep, wandering of mind, attachments to senses, etc. and turn their whole and undivided attention to these stories of Sai Baba. Let their love be natural, let them know the secret of devotion; let them not exhaust themselves by other Sadhanas, let them stick to this one simple remedy, i.e.listening to Sai Baba’s stories. This will destroy their ignorance and will secure for them salvation."

May Sai be forever enshrined in our heart.

Om Sadguru Shri Sainathaya Namaha
Hari Om Tat Sat

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Sai Sat Charita Ch2 - Its need, how it helps devotees, Necessity of Guru

Shri Annasaheb i.e. Hemadpant, the author of this work, on seeing and hearing about the innumerable Sai Leelas felt inspired to make a poetic work about Baba's life which would be "interesting and instructive to His devotees". However a saints life story cannot be a "logical and dialectical" exposition. IMHO the above line could mean that one shouldnt debate on the outward mannerisms, but try to understand the inner purport of every Leela with a sincere, devoted heart so as to draw the right lessons. What is "right"? - if we surrender our ego and pray sincerely to Sai Baba, he will let us know what is right.

Hemadpant, in his humility, considers himself unfit to write this book. As writing about a saint's is a most difficult task, hence he invokes Baba's grace.
It is always important to seek Guru's permission and grace before any major undertaking.

Sant Jnaneswar says that the Lord loves those who write about saints. The saints also use devotees as a medium - "The saints inspire the work, the devotee becomes only an indirect cause or instrument to achieve the end".

Hemadpant also directs us towards several others works on the lives of saints, many about Sai Baba himself. "Bhakta Leelamrit and Santa Kathamrit" by Shri Das Ganu have chapters on the life of Sai Baba. "So also Sai Baba’s wonderful Leelas are described in a small decent book named Shri Sainath Bhajana Mala by Mrs. Savitribai Raghunath Tendulkar of Bandra."

Hemadpant himself asks that when there are so many works, where is the necessity for another book. The answer is - "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 pub- lic. 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 spir- itual domains......This collection would be most delightful to those simple souls, whose eyes were not blessed with Sai Baba’s darshana."

It was Sai Baba who inspired him, when he surrendered his ego at Baba's feet.
When Hemadpant sought Baba's permission through Shama i.e. Shri Madhavrao Deshpande's help, Baba blessed Hemadpant's with His Udi and gave permission. Baba told him to surrender his ego to Baba - "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. Hearing my stories and teachings will create faith in devotees’ hearts and they will easily get self - realization and Bliss; let there be no insistence on establishing one’s own view, no attempt to refute other’s opin- ions, no discussions of pros and cons of any subject."

Hemadpant then describes how his first meeting with Baba came about. Two great devotees of Baba, Kakasaheb Dixit and Nanasaheb Chandorkar, who were also good friends of Hemadpant had repeatedly urged him to meet Baba. He had even planned for the same. But he got disillusioned when neither medical nor Divine help could cure the fever ravaging a son of his close friend. However sometime later fortuitously Nanasaheb met him and chided him for not going to meet Baba. Convinced by Nanasaheb's reasoning, Hemadpant started for Shirdi the same night travelling through train. Here is what happened then -

"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 to. I told him my plan. He then suggested that I should straight go to Boribunder, and not get down at Dadar, for the Manmad Mail did not get down at Dadar at all. If this little mir- acle or Leela had not happened, I would not have reached Shirdi next day as settled, and many doubts would have as- sailed me. But that was not to be."

Next morning when he reached Shirdi, fortunately Baba was visiting the same lodge where he was to be put up. He immediately ran and fell at Baba's feet. This is what he felt -
"All my senses were satisfied and I forgot thirst and hunger. The moment I touched Sai Baba’s feet, I began a new lease of life. I felt myself much obliged to those who spurred and helped me to get the darshana;...The peculiarity of Sai Baba’s darshana, as I found it, is that by His darshana our thoughts are changed, the force of previous actions is abated and gradually non-attachment of dispassion towards worldly objects grows up. 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."

The author then describes how discussion and debates cause a spirit of egoism to rise and one loses peace of mind. While at the lodge, the author had debate with another gentleman on the necessity of Guru, the author opining that Guru cannot help one who doesnt help himself while the other man emphasized on the need of Guru and importance of Destiny. Miraculously Sai Baba who was at the Masjid percieved this debate and next morning asked about the matter, referring to the author as Hemadpant. Hemadpant was 13th century statesman serving the Devagiri kings. He was learned and had authored a spiritual treatise.
Baba's title of Hemadpant to Annasaheb was prophetic because in future Annasaheb effeciently managed the administration of Sai Sansthan and also wrote this gem of a book on Sai Leelas.

On the necessity of Guru, Sai Baba says that when the soul has to spiritually evolve, it has to go through great difficulties, its like travelling through a forest with tigers, wolves and deep pits (these dangers are the senses, ahamkara, the six evils). The Guru is like a guide who takes the disciple straight to the destination without getting lost in the jungle or falling in ditches, "real Paramartha is possible only as the result of the teachings of the Guru,"


Friday, January 29, 2016

Sai Sat Charita Ch 1 - The Grinding down of evil

I am a very low spiritually evolved person enmeshed in my struggle in worldy existence, unable to cross the Samsaric ocean, as I am not having proper self control to walk the right path shown by Gurus. In a desperate situation, this lowly soul, turns to Sadguru Shri Sai Baba of Shirdi for deliverance from these struggles and spiritual upliftment. May that great saint show compassion to this soul who has lost his way.

Sai Sat Charita is a wonderful book written due to the immeasurable kindness of Baba, througn the medium of the foremost amongst devotees Shri Govindrao (Annasaheb) Dabholkar whom Baba christened as Hemadpant. This was written in Marathi and it has bern translated into English by Shri Nagesh V Gunaji.

I have read a Parayana of this book for a week and it is indeed spiritually lifting. But I realize that for people like me are so far away from Truth, that daily practice for a long time is required. So I now resolve to read a chapter daily and write below the key takeaways that my limited intellect can understand. This is from a selfish desire to keep meditating on the contents and get them deeply embedded in the psyche.

May Baba bless me.

At the beginning of any undertaking, its important to make a resolution and seek blessings.

Bless me O Lord Ganapati remover of obstacles and ensure successful completion of my resolve.

Bless me O Shaktis who represent fortune, wisdom and compassion, 

Bless me O Trimurtis, Bless me O Devas of elements especially Sun God,
Bless me O Lord Venkateswara, my kuladevata

I seek blessings from my mother and father, my grandparents and forefathers.

Last but foremost, I seek blessings of Sai Baba who is Guru, God and parents too.

I humbly bow and seek blessings of all other Gurus, I revere like Swami Sivananda, Ramana Maharishi, Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, Kanchi Paramacharya, Swami Chandrasekhara Bharati of Sringeri and Adi Shankara. 

Chapter 1

In 1910, once Sai Baba grinds huge quantity of wheat in his chakki. People wonder why, as he is a fakir and generally begs for alms. Some women take over the work, not wanting to see Baba labouring. Baba allows them, but when after doing the task they wish to divide the flour amongst themselves, Baba vehemently objects and asks them to throw the flour outside the village. For Baba was not grinding wheat but the Cholera epidemic ravaging the village and he got it thrown out of the village. Soon the impact of the epidemic wanes down. Its incredible and one of innumerable Sai Leelas. This one inpires Hemadpant to write about Sai Leelas. In the end all of us got benefited by getting this illuminating Sai Sat Charita.

At a deeper level, as Hemadpant beautifully points out, Baba wants us to grind down our desires, ahamkar, impulses in the chakki of Karma and Bhakti, whose handle is Jnana. It also shows that if we are devoted to Sai, he will enable us to grind them down, but we deluded souls still have attachment and have the tendency to keep these impulses. But as Sai directs us, we have to throw these grinded evil, well outside of us, so that it doesnt find its way in.
Lets pray to Baba to enable us to do that.

Another interpretation is through Sant Kabir's dialogue with his Guru Nipathiranjana who advises him to hold fast to handle of Jnana of the chakki and stay close to the centre (i.e. turn inwards) to avoid getting grinded by the stones i.e. worldly desires, sins, ahamkara. Getting grinded in this parlance is getting enmeshed in the Ocean of Samsara and degrading spiritually.
May Sai Baba protect us.

Om Sadguru Shri Sai Nathaya Namaha

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Thodudaiya seviyan - With ear rings

"thOdu udaiya seviyan vidai ERi Or thU veN madhi sUdik 
kAdu udaiya sudalaip podi pUsi en uLLam kavar kaLvan 
Edu udaiya malarAn munai ~nAL paNi~ndhu Eththa aruL seydha 
pIdu udaiya piramApura[m] mEviya pemmAn ivan andRE"

Composer by the saint Thirugnanasambandhar (popularly known as Sambandhar)

When the saint Sambhandar
Was but a three year old toddler
Went one day to the pond
Accompanied by his father

On the steps of the tank
Leading down to the water
"Be here son, as I finish my bathe"
Smilingly said the father

As the child waited, soon
It suffered pangs of hunger
Started crying, child that it was
Craving affection from mother

The child's cries were heard at Kailas
Abode of the Divine Mother and Father
Then Mother Parvati, whose heart melted
At the sight of the saintly toddler

Pleaded to the Merciful Lord Siva
"The poor child cries, we must go thither"
Lord assented, and mounted on the bull,
At the pond, in a trice, they did appear

At the sight of the Divine Couple
The saint gaped awestruck
As the kind Mother of Universe beckoned him,
Couldn't believe his luck

With the milk of kindness and love
From her breasts overflowing
Poured out in a golden cup,
Sambandhar quenched his thirst

While the child gulped the divine Nectar
His father returned after his bath
Seeing drops of milk on his son's cheeks
And no one around, concerned he asked.

"Son, who gave you this milk,
that you seem to have drunk ample?"

"They" the child cried, "Who" exclaimed the father.
Who could not see - the Divine Couple

And then with happy tears flowed
The nectar of Sambandhar's sublime verse

"With ear rings gem studded....
sang the son

"With ear rings gem studded?
Asked the surprised father

"Yes, and on His majestic bull well seated...

"On a majestic bull, you said?"

"Yes, indeed...
With ear rings gem studded
on His majestic bull well seated.
The pure white moon has come down
As a crescent to be His crown

His body smeared with ashes
from the cremation ground,
That Thief has stolen a treasure
For my heart is not to be found

The glorious forefather Brahma
Who was on lotus petals seated
Worshiped that Lord ages ago
By whom he has been Blessed

This town PiramApura
Well found is its fame
For this Lord who Resides here
Is of great acclaim"

"The God with a ring in His ears appear on the Holy Bull (creation), He has the moon on his head ( protection*), 
He wears the ash of the burnt bodies in the cremation ground (destruction),
He- that thief- has stolen my heart (Hiding),
He blessed the Brahma, who is on the Lotus, when he prayed the God in the past (blessing),
He is that Peruman of the great Piramaapuram*".

Another Translation:
The one with the ear ring. The one on a bull; The one who wears a pure white moon. The one who is smeared with the holy ash. The thief who stole my heart. The one who blessed brahma when he worshipped him long ago. The lord who resides in the famous town of sIrgAzhi. It is he indeed.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Nannu vidachi kadalakura Ramayya Rama

Beautiful kriti by Thyagaraja in that ever melodious soulful Reetigowla raga

Detailed translation can be found courtesy the following link based on which I have been able to versify as below

Attaining the fortune of reaching your blessed feet
Is like the shade of wish fulfilling Kalpa tree

Its like holding one's breathe to find
The most precious pearl in deep sea

Its like digging deep into the bowels of earth
To find vast unimaginable treasury

Its like being relieved of years of drought
With your Grace raining heavily

After this suffering, now dont deny me your love
This body is but your property

I cant bear separation for even a second
Dont move away abandoning me

O Rama the entrancing
O Rama the warrior
O Rama the munificent
O Rama the Lord of all