|NA||NA||Introduction, Preface, Forward and About The Second Edition|
|Chapter 1||NA||Sai Baba – The Saint of Shirdi|
|Chapter 2||NA||Understanding Shirdi Sai In Baba’s Own Words|
|Chapter 3||Part 1||Sai Baba’s Coming Into My Life And Building Up Of Lodi Road Temple, New Delhi|
Urge to Know Baba
The three incidents narrated in the last posts which were experiences, within a brief span of about 15 days or so, completely changed the course of my life. A feeling and a faith grew within me that Sai Baba was a living entity capable of responding to the call of His devotees, whenever required, as claimed by Shri Yagnik at Jaipur. Suddenly I found a spiritual upsurge within me. My vibrations changed so also my body language. All day and night, I thought of Baba and Baba alone. Incessant tears flowed from my eyes and a peculiar bliss seemed to have enveloped my whole being. Some time later, I wrote to Shri Yagnik to apprise me more about the life and teachings of Baba and requested him to come down to Delhi to make me know who Baba is. The correspondence that followed is my prized possession. Shri Yagnik sent to me a small black and white passport size picture of Baba which I have with me even today, though completely worn out.
In his letters, Shri Yagnik exhorted me to come out of my house and contact Sai devotees wherever they were in Delhi and bring them together and create a nucleus of Sai devotees for spreading awarness of Baba’s teachings, so that more and more people could be the beneficiaries of His Grace. A peculiar sort of restlessness overpowered me and beyond my office hours and on holidays, I would go in quest of Sai devotees all over Delhi without wasting any time on any other activity of life. Through this process, I came to know of 4-5 persons, who had known Baba earlier and were His devotees. I now again wrote to Shri Yagnik to come over to Delhi and guide me in person. He agreed to do so provided I fixed up a puja of Baba which should be attended by good singers, radio artists, Qawali walas, Doctors, Engineers, M.Ps and persons of all levels of society. 21st August 1960, was fixed as the date for this puja on the lawns outside my house at C-112, Laxmibai Nagar, New Delhi.
Earlier in my quest for Sai devotees, I had come into contact with one Shri C.S. Rao, an employee of the American Embassy. This gentleman was an old and ardent devotee of Baba. I attended two pujas of Baba in his house, which I found, as a complete novice on to the path, extremely thrilling. He would first recite Baba’s 108 names, sing a few bhajans and at the end perform a small arti of Baba.
These two pujas gave me a little inkling of how Baba was to be worshipped.
I was making all preparations for the ensuing puja on 21st Aug., 1960 (A copy of the invitation for this puja is at exhibit-I). Shri Yagnik would give out directions through his letters and I would run around to find radio artists, qawali walas and what not. Shri Yagnik sent to me one Baba’s bhajan which was to be sung in the beginning of the puja. In my quest for a person who could render this bhajan, I went to Birla Mandir and arranged with Shri Man Mohan Pahari, a regular singer in Birla Mandir, to sing this bhajan, the first stanza of which was as under –
Shirdi Kanchan Khan hai, Nijpat Sant Mahan,
Santan me aek Sant hai, Sai jako Nam.
Shirdi mein Sai Nath Maha Sant ho gaey,
Shirdi mein aek niraley hi mastana ho gaey.
On the morning of 21st Aug., 1960, when I was leaving for the station to receive Shri Yagnik, I found the lawns outside my house where a tent was to be pitched for the puja, full of water due to incessant rains during the preceding three days. 1 felt helpless and worried. Shri Yagnik got down from the train, with a bunch of pictures of Baba he had brought from Jaipur for the puja, looked at me and told me, “Kunwar Sahib you are worried about the havoc done by the rains? Don’t worry; all will be well even though a drizzle will disturb puja today also.” In the evening, it all happened as told by Shri Yagnik. The puja was wonderful, the like of which I have not ever seen thereafter. The quality of bhajans, qawalis, and all other renderings was superb. Shri Man Mohan Pahari began the puja with the singing of the aforesaid bhajan, As the strains of this bhajan fell into my ears while I was bringing a table for distributing ‘Prasad’ from somewhere, I was filled with bliss. If I have learnt of any thing of Baba till today, I can say with confidence that in this puja there was the divine presence of my Baba which was felt and experienced in great measure by every one present. Persons of all description, as desired by Shri Yagnik, including one M.P. from Andhra attended this puja. Shri Yagnik addressed this gathering of some 150 persons and apprised them of the life and leelas of Baba.
Formation of Delhi Sri Sai Samaj
Next morning i.e. on 22nd Aug. 1960, Shri Yagnik held a meeting of Baba’s devotees, I had been able to contact till then, and prevailed upon them to try and find more devotees of Baba and form an organisation to spread His message. It was in November 1960 that we held the first meeting of this group of devotees, under the name and banner of the ‘Delhi Sri Sai Samaj’, in the house of Shri C.S. Rao at 8, Lady Harding Road, New Delhi. This meeting was attended by nineteen persons (A photocopy of the minutes of this meeting is at exhibit-ID). By now, I had started Thursday pujas of Baba at my residence and also kept fast on this day. Often other devotees also joined my puja.
Soon after, the Vijay Dashmi Puja in 1960 was also held on a small scale at 210, North Avenue, New Delhi, at the residence of Shri J.M. Gupta.
Shri Yagnik sent me a form of membership of the Shirdi Sansthan and asked me to become its member by paying Rs. 5/- as the annual fee as also to get a copy of the Sai Satcharita in Hindi from the Sansthan. I became a member of the Sansthan in 1960 and also obtained a copy of the Sai Satcharita from there along with some pictures of Baba which were not then available in Delhi.
I also came to know of another book on Baba in English by Arthur Osborne, entitled ‘Incredible Shri Sai Baba’. This book I obtained from the publishers in New Delhi. I started distributing copies of this book to new devotees in Delhi along with a picture of Baba. Soon thereafter, I also came to know of another book on Baba ‘Sai Leela Amrit’ in Hindi. This book contained the address of Shri R.S. Chitnis of Delhi who later became the architect of the Lodhi Road Temple. I immediately went to see Shri Chitnis on the address given. I met his father who told me that his son was a devotee of Baba and had recently shifted to 27, Rajpur Road, Delhi. In a day or two thereafter, I cycled all the way to Rajpur Road to meet Shri Chitnis. His servant opened the door and told me that his Master wasn’t in the house. When I told the servant about my mission to see him, Mrs. Chitnis rang up Shri Chitnis to tell him that somebody in Sai Baba’s name had come to see him. He told her to tell me that I should see him later, after taking an appointment. He later came to our puja in Mar. 1961, attended by the then Rashtrapati – Dr. Rajendra Prasad, after reading in the newspapers about a detailed account of this puja will be given later. Ever since I became a devotee of Baba, whenever any devotee asked me for time to see me, it has always been my stark reply that for a Baba devotee, I am always available at time of the day and night. And by Baba’s Kirpa, I have abided by my words in practice also, so far.
Receipt of Ishta Mantra from Baba
Baba’s Grace descended on me torrentially. My life, my bearing and even my facial expressions completely changed. I was completely submerged in Baba’s Bhakti. My eyes were filled with tears on the mere mention of the word ‘Sal’. There was nothing but ecstasy all around me. A strange change was experienced in the body. As someone touched me, he got electric current and so did I. My body often emitted electric shocks. There was nobody to explain to me what this phenomenon was. All spiritual books in my cupboard which had been eating dust for years, started being dug out. Swami Vivekanand’s book on ‘Raj Yoga’ which I had acquired as a student gave me lot of insight into what I was experiencing, A friend of mine, Col. B.S. lyagi, gave me a book entitled ‘Dhyan Yoga’ by Swami Sivananda of Rishikesh, bearing Swamiji’s signatures on it. As per this book, the sadhak must have an ‘Ishta mantra’. I told Baba that He wasn’t physically present to give me an ‘Ishta mantra’. Where and to who should I go to? And believe me, a wonder of wonders took place. Three days later, I received a packet of Udi from Shirdi wrapped in a paper containing the mantra, “Om Shri Sai Sharnam Mam”. Never again have I, or anybody known to me, received Udi from Shirdi wrapped in a paper on which something is written. In fact, there was no occasion whatsoever for the receipt of this packet of Udi. I was overwhelmed to receive this Mantra. This incident made me a firm believer that Baba was a living force – Sadguru or God, call Him by any name you like, and that there was absolutely no need to look for a living guru elsewhere. The copy of this Mantra is reproduced below, in original, for the benefit of the readers:
During my last meeting with Sri SivanesanL Swami at Shirdi (who, in my view followed the principles Baba stood for in letter and spirit), a few months before he took Samadfc I asked him, “Swamiji it is said that ‘Om Sai, Shri Sai, Jai ai Sai’ is the Tarak Mantra of Baba and that every devotee should chant it as much as possible. Should I take to this Mantra and give up the Mantra so far being chanted by me? Swamiji replied, “Guptaji, you are a blessed person. Baba has Himself given you the Mantra, you should never even think of changing it.”