In last post we covered introduction, foreword, preface of the book and a word about the second edition of the divine book “Scribblings of Shirdi Sai Baba” written by an ardent and staunch devotee Shri Suresh Chandra Gupta ji from New Delhi. Moving further on the same subject line, i am posting herewith a part of Chapter 1 of the same book. Chapter 1 has scribblings from life of Sai Baba when He was seen walking and talking in flesh and blood. Before moving further let us turn few pages of history (which might be new to new devotees and readers) to bring out an overview to understand this book in its real sense.
|Introduction, Preface, Forward and About The Second Edition
Sai Baba – The Saint of Shirdi
“Sri Sai Baba is the master of Existence, the Sat Guru, the bosom of Bliss, the ocean of Peace, the store-house of Power, the revealer of Truth, the master-being sporting the hearts of all beings mobile and immobile. Take refuge in His oceanic compassion and be at perfect ease, leading care-free life. Remember the words of Sai who scattered the bread of Grace even to the poor, the wretched, the lowliest and the lost. “Why should you fear when l am here. Cast all your burdens upon me and I shall bear them”. – Swami Sivananda Saraswati.
Sai Baba is not a myth or a non-historic personality. The Saint lived with us in flesh and blood till 15 Oct. 1918 – the Vijai Dashmi Day on which He took His Mahasamadhi. He has been and still is the all pervading living force that moulds and transforms the lives of million of His devotees regardless of their religion-Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians and Parsees alike.
Who was Sai Baba? What was He? What did He live for?
In fact Baba had no name. Mahalsapati, a devout Brahmin, when first saw Him, accosted Him as ‘Sai’ – a name by which he came to be known. His origin is unknown. As a young man about sixteen, He came to the village of Shirdi in the Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra near about 1854 and made His abode under a Neem Tree. Day in and day out people saw Him sitting on a rock talking little, meditating much. To many of the simple folk who passed that way, He appeared to be mad. It was not given to them to recognise His greatness, let alone divinity when they saw it. All the same, in the simple ways of villagers, they tried to give Him alms; He neither refused nor did He accept them.
He lived within Himself. There was not much give and take between Him and the villagers. He did go out amongst them to take what was given, but never asked for more. Many times He came back empty handed. He held communion only with Himself and with God.
The first realisation that He was something out of the ordinary came when a miracle was seen. A few shepherd boys were playing near the ‘Neem’ tree under which He was sitting, and suddenly they saw a fullgrown cobra with raised hood, moving from the under-bush towards one of their playmates. There was pandemonium, each child trying to get away from the danger spot except the one for whom the cobra was making a bee-line; he was too paralyzed with fear to move or to cry. Shri Sai saw the danger and in a split second before the cobra could strike, He gently unbraided the snake for trying to harm an innocent child. “Why do you want to harm an innocent child? Please go back,” He told the snake. Poised to strike, the snake turned in its track and moved to where Shri Sai was sitting, touched His feet with its head and penitently moved away. These children and one or two elderly shepherds who had seen the whole incident, quite naturally went and spread the tale round the village.
While there was no marked change after this in the general attitude towards Him, the villagers now looked upon Him with new respect, as one who was somewhat different from them. By ones and twos they came to Him, sometimes with wonder in their hearts but mostly out of curiosity. The Neem tree no longer gave Him the seclusion that He wanted and so Shri Sai moved into the quiet corner of a dilapidated old mosque which He called “Dwarkamai”. He lived amongst its crumbling walls with only snakes, bats and owls as company.
From one of the worm-eaten rafters He suspended a plank six feet above the ground where He used to sleep.: How He got up on the plank unaided remained a mystery, as much of a mystery- as how the torn rags with which He suspended it could hold His weight. But, all the same, He could still be seen sitting under the ‘Neem’ where-under he said, was enshrined His Guru’s place. When dug up, two rooms with lights burning were found under the tree.
One day, He went into the village and as usual asked for a little oil to burn lamps at His ‘Dwarkamai’. But the shopkeepers had by then got tired of giving oil free to Him and after conferring with one another finally decided not to oblige Him any more. Empty handed but quite unperturbed, Sai Baba went back to His dilapidated old abode, to His snakes, and His owls and His bats, followed at a respectful distance by a few people of the village. They saw Him put some water in the lamps, place cotton wicks in them and set aflame and lo, not only were the lamps lit but they remained alight spreading a heavenly glow throughout the night.
It was then that realisation dawned on the people that here was not an ordinary mortal, nor a saint or fakir but some one divine, who had come to sanctify their village. From then onwards, like the fragrance of spring flowers, His fame wafted round and spread in the village, in the taluka, in the district and then in the entire region.
Baba never preached any religion. He never even interfered in the religious practices of His devotees. Whatever religion they belonged to, it was all the same to Him. Caste, creed, colour or status of His devotees never mattered to Him, He only believed in the divine law of love and the attainment of Godliness through faith and love. He did not, therefore, found a new creed or a new sect. His ‘Dwarkamai’ was a meeting place of all religions. He gave His blessings in the form of ‘Udi’ (ashes) from the Sacred fire burning in the ‘Dwarkamai’ accompanied by the vocal blessing ‘Allah Bhala Karega’. To Him the rich and poor, the high and the low, the learned and the ignorant, the Brahmins and the Sudras, the sick and the healthy were all alike. He was the embodiment of the concept of universal love of God, given by Bhagwan Krishna in Gita –
समोअहम् सर्वभूतेषु न मे द्वेष्योअस्ति न प्रियः ये भजन्ति तु माँ भक्त्याँ मयि ते तेषु चाप्यहम (I am the same to all beings. To Me there is none hateful nor dear. But those who worship Me with devotion, are in Me, and I too am in them.)
Sai Baba was a ‘Siddha Purusha’. He had command not only over the bodies and minds of people but even over the five elements. Once some people who had come to see Him were prevented from catching the night train for Bombay by a terrific storm which was raging. Without being told, Baba, who knew their difficulties, looked up towards the sky and said “Hey : enough of that, stop it now; My children have to go back”. The storm abated.
Sai Baba taught His devotees the value of truth, the value of faith and the value of love for attaining eternal salvation. He did perform miracles, not because He wanted to impress the people with His powers, but because He sometimes found it was the simplest way to lead a non-believer to become a believer in God and His powers. He showed miracles, so that ‘those who came to scoff may remain to pray”. He showed them favours. He fulfilled their desires. He showered His blessings on all those who came to Him beaten and battered by life’s buffets; so that through Him and His actions they could see the love and mercy of God. Outwardly Baba bestowed temporal benefits on His devotees but inwardly these were designed to lead them on to the path of spiritual progress. The sick were healed, the childless couples were blessed with children, the doubting acquired faith, the blind got eyes through His Grace.
There was only a single thread running through all His actions, all His decisions, all His words; His efforts to help His devotees to rise above their ephemeral lives and to bathe in the immortal consciousness of the Inner Divine.