Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Shri Sai Satcharita Ch 4 - Baba's advent in Shirdi

Lord Krishna in the Gita says - "Yada yada hi dharmasya...." - Whenever Dharma degenerates, Adharma becomes stronger, then to protect the righteous, destroy the wicked and reestablish the code of Dharma, I incarnate in age after age.

We have been blessed with saints like Jnaneswar, Nivrittinath, Namdev, Ekanath, Tukaram etc. The saints also grace this world throughout the ages to guide mankind through this ocean of Samsara.

Shirdi, which is in Ahmednagar district, few miles away from Kopergaon and the banks of holy Godaveri river, has become famous because of Sai Baba. In the same way as Alandi became famous because of Jnaneswar and Paithan due to Ekanath.

Hemadpant the  goes on to describe Sai Baba's unique personality. He was mentally peaceful and calm. He was the abode to his devotees, most liberal.  His Antarang, inner psyche "was clear as mirror", and He was always engrossed in Self-realization. He interacted with everyone equally and treated everyone the same. "He swerved not an inch from Samadhi (mental equilibrium)." He was vigilant for the sake of His devotees. He had truly crossed this Samsara.

Contact with Him, was like understanding the Vedas as Tantras - "it quieted our Samsara (world consciousness) and rendered self-realization easy. The darshana of Shri Sai was our Yoga-Sadhana, and talk with Him removed our sins. Sham- pooing His Legs was our bath in Triveni Prayag, and drinking the holy water of His Feet destroyed our desires. To us, His commands were Vedas, and accepting (eating) His Udi (sacred ashes) and Prasad was all purifying."

"By mere darshan, minds of people, whether, pure or impure, would become at once quiet. They got here the same sort of unparalleled joy that devotees get at Pandharpur by seeing Vithal Rakhumai." Many devotees like the aged Goulibuwa, Das Ganu etc have attested to it. Once Baba asked Kakasaheb Dixit to do Namasaptaha of Lord Vitthal with devotion. On the seventh day, Kakasaheb got a vision of Vitthal. Later that day a hawker came unexpectedly to sell pictures of Vitthal and they were the same form which Kakasaheb had seen in his vision. Baba urged devotees to have Vitthal bhakti.

Once Das Ganu wished to go to Prayag to take a dip in the holy confluence of rivers. Baba said that Prayag was in Shirdi itself and when Das Ganu bowed his head at Baba's feet miraculously water of Ganga Yamuna came from Baba's toes.

Nobody knew who Baba's parents were, which caste he belonged to. Like Kabir and Namdev, he appeared mysteriously out of nowhere. He was first seen as a sixteen year old boy meditating under a Neem (Margosa) tree at Shirdi.

"Even then He seemed to be full with the knowledge of Brahman. He had no desire for worldly objects even in dream. He kicked out Maya; and Mukti (deliverance) was serving at His feet."

The people were wonderstruck that this boy with a divine aura, who was doing such hard penance suffering such hardships - they were curious to know more about him. Then through the blessings of Lord Khandoba, they came to know of an underground chamber with wooden boards, rosaries were kept underneath a slab, where the boy had been doing penance for 12 years. The boy told the villagers that it was his Guru's place and to guard it well. The villagers accordingly covered the chamber. The Neem tree was sacred to Baba and it is considered as Samadhi Sthan, memorial for Baba's Guru.

Hemadpant ends this chapter by telling the background of 3 wadas or mansions which were built as resting houses for pilgrims. The first wada was constructed by Sh. Hari V Sathe who bought the place arround the Neem tree. A platform around the tree was built and there is a niche on the south side. Anyone who sits here facing north and burns incense on Thu and Fri will be happy, by Gods grace. Sathe's wada was very useful for the early pilgrims of Shirdi as this was the only place to stay then. Then Kakasaheb Dixit constructed a wada. Kakasaheb had injured his leg and used to limp, then Nanasaheb Chandorkar advised him to meet Baba. However when Kakasaheb met Baba, he asked Him to cure the lameness of his mind, rather than the leg. The day on which the foundation of this wada was laid i.e. 10th Dec 1910 was also the day when the Arti at chavdi was commenced. The last wada was built by Sh. Booty who was a rich and ardent Baba devotee from Nagpur. This is now the resting place, Samadhi mandir of Baba.

Thus ends this 4th chapter.
Om Sadguru Shri Sainathaya Namaha