Importance of Baba's Punya Tithi

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Importance of Baba's Punya Tithi

Sai Ram. The following is an adaptation of a speech delivered at the behest of Baba at His Temple, Dilsukhnagar, Hyderabad, on 30th September, 2008. The original speech was delivered in Telugu and an English adaptation is presented here for the benefit of Sai devotees across the world. Sai Ram.

Sai Ram. I offer my prostrations to Sai Devotees, Sai Bandhus and to Sai Himself, Who is using me as a mere instrument to deliver this speech. Shri Hemadpant (Shri Annasaheb Dabholkar), the author of Shri Sai Satchrita, also wrote that it is Sai, Who inspired him to write about Himself. In my case too, it is Sai, Who inspired me to accept this assignment today and it is Sai, Who is speaking and Who is listening. While it is Sai, Who is inspiring me to speak, mistakes if any are due to the defects in my ego. Sai Ram.

October 18, 1918, lunar tithi - Vijaya Dasami – Dasara, 1918 is marked in golden letters. Shri Shirdi Sai BABA, our Master, Father, Mother & God, whatever name we revere HIM has left HIS mortal coil on the soil of Shirdi. He left behind a rich heritage of human values, showed us the path to love; be loved & to live harmoniously in a diverse community.

Before we take up the main topic, let us understand a little about the importance of human birth and importance of Sadguru. In chapter 8 of Sri Sai Satcharitra, Shri Hemadpant explains the purpose of human birth. Humans have been endowed with a special faculty of Jnana, Knowledge and using that faculty; one should try to attain Moksha
(Liberation) from the cycle of births and deaths, which is the result of Karma, one's deeds. Till one realizes the impermanence of this universe and realizes the permanence of Paramatma and one's inherent identity with Paramatma (just as a drop of water is identical with all the water of the universe), one is bound to the wheel of Samsara,
the worldly existence. This Moksha is easily obtained by worship of Guru. Sri Guru, imparts true knowledge and removes the illusions arising out of false knowledge (Avidya). That is why, He is called Sadguru (True Guru). Sat means Existence, Truth and hence good. Sai Ram.

The importance of Guru has been stressed in many scriptures and Guru Gita (told by Lord Siva to Goddess Parvati in Skanda Puran) and Sri Guru Charitra are excellent sources in addition to Sri Sai Satcharitra. Guru means One, Who dispels ignorance, Avidya and gives us the light of true knowledge, knowledge of our true nature. Sai Ram.

Sai showed us through several instances that He was not limited to His physical body. In Chapter 3 of Sri Sai Satcharitra, Sai tells His devotees: "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 envelop all the creatures, the movable and immovable world. I am the Controller - the wirepuller of the show of this Universe. 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, are My Body or Form".

In Chapter 7, we have this incident to show us that Sai Baba was not limited to His physical body: "In the year 1910 A.D., Baba was sitting near the Dhuni on Divali holiday and warming Himself. He was pushing firewood into the Dhuni, which was brightly burning. A little later, instead of pushing logs of woods, Baba pushed His arm into the Dhuni; the arm was scorched and burnt immediately. This was noticed by the servant Madhav, and also by Madhavarao Deshpande (Shama). They at once ran to Baba and Madhavarao clasped Baba by His waist from behind and dragged Him forcibly back ward and asked, "Deva, for what have You done this?" Then Baba came to His senses and replied, "The wife of a blacksmith at some distant place was working the bellows of a furnace; her husband called her. Forgetting that her child was on her waist, she ran hastily and the child slipped into the furnace. I immediately thrust My hand into the furnace and saved the child. I do not mind My arm being burnt, but I am glad that the life of the child is saved."

In Chapter 9, we have this beautiful story of Mrs. Tarkhad, where Baba tells her: "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."

Sai showed His Oneness with all Gods and Gurus. In Chapter 11 of Sri Sai Satcharitra, we have the beautiful story of Dr. Pandit from whom Baba accepted the Tripundra with sandal paste and showed His unity with Dr.Pandit's Guru Kaka Puranik and we have in Chapter 12, the story of Mulay Shastri, an orthodox Agnihotri Brahmin, to whom Baba
gave darshan as his Guru, Guru Gholap (a great disciple of Shri Akkalkot Maharaj, also known as Swami Samartha) and in the same chapter, we have the wonderful story of Baba's identity with Sri Ram as seen by a Rama bhakta (Doctor's story). Sai Ram.

In Chapter 28, Baba tells Megha, His great devotee, to whom He gave darshan in a closed room: Baba rejoined - "I require no door to enter. I have neither form nor any extension; I always live everywhere. I carry on, as a wire puller, all the actions of the man who trusts Me and merges in Me." In this connection, a similar wonderful story is narrated by Shri Paramahansa Yogananda in His book, Autobiography of a Yogi, in connection with Mahavatar Babaji, the founder of Yogananda's lineage of Gurus. Similar incidents are experienced by many devotees of Shri Guru Raghavendra Swami of Mantralayam.

In Chapter 31, we have this wonderful story of Balaram Mankar, to whom Baba gave darshan at Machindragarh and to whom, Baba told: "In Shirdi many thoughts and ideas began to rise in your mind and I sent you here to rest your unsteady mind. You thought that I was in Shirdi with a body composed of the five elements and three and a half cubits in length, and not outside of it. Now you see and determine for yourself whether the person you see here now is the same you saw at Shirdi. It is for this reason that I sent you here." Sai Ram.

Sai Ram. Thus it is clear that Sai was One with all Gods and Gurus and thus One with the Nirgun Para Brahma. Then, why did He take birth and why did He live in Shirdi for more than 60 years and why did He suffer from asthma, cough etc. and why did He pass away after suffering from fever for a few days? These questions are bound to arise in the minds of people like us, who are bound by the physical senses. Sai Ram.

Sai Ram. The answer to the above questions is simple: Since the Nirgun form of God (Para Brahma, Guru) is difficult to be meditated upon, the Guru takes the Sagun form as a human being and goes through the motions of eating, suffering and all aspects of life attached to a mortal body like us. But He is all the time aware of His true nature, that He is not His body, mind, ego etc., as beautifully expressed by Sri Adi Shankara in His Nirvana Shatkam: "Mano
Buddhyahamkara Chittani Naaham,…. Chidananda Rupa, Sivoham, Sivoham.

Baba also gave several instances of His true nature but lived and played with His devotees so that they get the benefit of His physical presence. Here we are reminded of the Bhramara – Keeta Nyaya – The Honey bee goes on buzzing around the cocoon of the Pupa and thus converts the Pupa into a honeybee itself – indicating that the disciple becomes one with the Guru by constant remembrance and association. We are reminded of the Bhaja Govinda Stotram, again bestowed lovingly to us by Sri Adi Sankara: "Satsangatve Nissangatvam, Nissangatve Nirmohatvam, Nirmohatve Nischala Tatvam,
Nischala Tatve, Jeevan Muktih, Bhaja Govindam…." Company of Saints is the best route to get detachment and get liberated. Sai Ram.

Sai Ram. In chapter 44, the author of Sri Sai Satcharitra says: "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 aspect. Sai ever lives, as also the previous Incarnation of God Datta, Shri Narasimha 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 Jayakar, 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 darshan. 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." And in addition to that beautiful portrait, Sai allowed His idols to be installed in many places (including the Samadhi Mandir at Shirdi) for the benefit of the devotees like us. Sai Ram.

Sai showered His grace on His devotees when He was in His body and continues to shower His grace and blessings even after His leaving behind His physical body. His Eleven Assurances (scattered throughout Sri Sai Satcharitra) are His gift to His devotees. Let us remember the eleven assurances:

1. Whoever puts his feet on Shirdi soil, his sufferings would come to an end.
2. The wretched and miserable would rise into plenty of joy and happiness, as soon as they climb the steps of my Samadhi.
3. I shall be ever active and vigorous even after leaving this earthly body.
4. My tomb shall bless and speak to the needs of my devotees.
5. I shall be active and vigorous even from the tomb.
6. My mortal remains would speak from the tomb.
7. I am ever living to help and guide all who come to me, who surrender to me and who seek refuge in me.
8. If you look to me, I look to you.
9. If you cast your burden on me, I shall surely bear it.
10. If you seek my advice and help, it shall be given to you at once.
11. There shall be no want in the house of my devotees.

Sai Ram. Readers of this article may be wondering at the motive behind the author's attempt of writing this long dissertation. It is humbly submitted that it is Sai, Who is the wirepuller and it is He, Who is getting it written and it is He, Who is enjoying through the readers, the babbling of His child, this writer. Also, just as Dasganu's Harikatha at Koupeeneshwar Mandir brought one Cholkar to Shirdi (Chapter 15), if this article brings even one reader closer to Sai in body, mind and spirit, the author would feel blessed. In any case, Sarvam Sri Sainatharpanamastu – every thing is offered to Sri Sai. Sai Ram.

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admin | Sat, 12/26/2009 - 13:12