Devotee readers who have missed earlier chapters can read from the links below.
Devotee readers who have missed earlier chapters can read from the links below.
|Introduction||NA||Introduction & Preface|
|Chapter 1||Part 1||Sai Baba – The Saint of Shirdi|
|Chapter 1||Part 2||Sai Baba – The Saint of Shirdi|
|Chapter 2||NA||Understanding Shirdi Sai In Baba’s Own Words|
|Chapter 3||Part 1||Building Up Of Lodi Road Temple, New Delhi|
|Chapter 3||Part 2||Urge to Know Baba|
|Chapter 3||Part 3||First Visit to Shirdi|
|Chapter 3||Part 4||Meeting with Sri Satya Sai Baba|
|Chapter 3||Part 5||Paramhamsa Omkara Swamy|
|Chapter 3||Part 6||Functioning of Delhi Sri Sai Samaj|
|Chapter 3||Part 7||Building of Lodi Road Temple in New Delhi|
|Chapter 3||Part 8||Commencement Of Puja At The Temple|
|Chapter 4||Part 1||Stray Thought! On Bhakti|
Stray Thought – On Gurus and the Path of Baba
- All His life, Shri Sai Baba of Shirdi lived a most frugal, unassuming and simple life. He lived in a dilapidated mosque, wore a torn Kami, slept with a brick under His head, begged His food from a few houses every day and shared it with the poorest of the poor and animals alike. All those claiming to be His Avtar or Guru/Sadguru in His name but who live a life absolutely contradictory to the life of Baba, could they be deemed to be near about Baba? These Avtars and Gurus ride big limousines, wear silken robes; live in splendour in big palatial buildings, remain inaccessible to an ordinary poor devotee and at every step differentiate between the rich and poor, the high and the low. Are they really espousing the principles Baba stood for? Let both the Gurus and the devotees ponder calmly on what they are doing. No aspersion or denigration of anybody is intended but doesn’t it provide food for thought?
Towards the later part of His earthly life, Baba accepted Dakshina from devotees coming for His darshan. Large sums of money were thus collected. Baba distributed this money amongst those around Him and whatever was left, He would empty His pocket before going to sleep saying “Enough of it; go and bury yourself.” The Gurus of today as also those running temples in Baba’s name, are all collecting huge amounts of money from the public and in most cases piling these up in banks or spending them on adding more glamour to their temples/ashrams, to keep their name and fame going. They spend little, if any, on humanitarian activities for the upliftment of the poor and the needy who were so dear to Baba. Let us ponder calmly if this is the path shown by Baba? Moreover, the money so accumulated, becomes the cause of infighting amongst the management in temples and ashrams and an ordinary devotee who visits these places to find solace at the feet of Baba or to pray to Him and seek from Him answers to his problems of life, fails to experience the peace and serenity which such a place should exude, if there were no conflicts in the minds of the management. Surely even mental reservations pollute the atmosphere and affect the vibrations of the place.
A thought has always agitated my mind as to how a Guru or Sadguru could bring himself round to accept the situation in which his own picture is kept and worshipped on the same pedestal as that of Baba? One must have taken to the path of Baba by becoming a devotee initially and later elevated himself to the stature of Guru/Sadguru. It is unimaginable and beyond comprehension that a pure devotee would ever allow his own picture to be kept and worshipped on the same platform along with that of his Aradhya’. There has been a large galaxy of sages and saints in India who in their own life time reached godhood, for example; Ramana Maharishi, Ramakrishna Paramhamsa, Nam Deo, Tukaram, Eknath Maharaj, and many others. In their life time they did rot allow their own picture to be worshipped along with that of their chosen deity.
According to our scriptures (in this case Sai Satcharita) only the one who is capable of making us dwell in the self and taking us beyond the ocean of wordly existence, is in fact capable of being our sadguru. Have the gurus of today reached this stage?
Baba had, in His lifetime, stated that His Guru had not given Him any Guru Mantra. How could then He be expected to give one to any devotee.
The gurus of today many a time give Guru Mantra to their followers. Are they following Baba in thought and deeds?
I sometimes wonder if Baba’s own way of living and functioning has lost relevance today or I, an ordinary person striving to be His bhakta, is unable to understand the purport of His life and living. I shall be extremely grateful if somebody could throw some light on this subject.
My experience onto the path of Sai bhakti has instilled in me a feeling that it is easier to be a Guru but extremely difficult to be a Bhakta. I wish, I am wrong. This feeling of mine has been corroborated by a remark made by Shri Ramakrishna Paramhamsa and which has recently come to my notice: “Gurus can be had by the thousands, but rare is a disciple.”
In some temples, it has been seen that the Guru has a separate chamber furnished with relish, where he receives his disciples. While Baba in the same temple sits on a rugged stone, the Guru in his chamber sits on thick mattresses. What a splendid display of bhakti?
I have read in a book recently that a known Guru within no time of his accepting Baba in his life and experiencing His grace, turned into a Guru himself and many devotees started seeking his guidance. If a bull can be made to recite the Vedas through the Grace of God, surely a man could reach any heights in no time on account of his ‘Prarabdha’. But in such a case, the change should be total and not partial.
It is difficult for human beings to remain away from the snare of Maya. Human brain easily succumbs to the pleasantries of the make believe world of its own creation and falls prey to all that sounds pleasant to the ears. The path to godliness is very thorny and is difficult to tread without the Sadguru’s Kripa. To quote a passage from my diary: “Beautiful words, shining ideas, attractive dreams and fine images are the golden lid which keep the face of Truth covered from our sight. If this veil woven of the golden threads of human imagination and its fond hopes that hides the Sun of Truth from our view.” The same way the Gurus of today get lost in Maya when their henchman talk of experiencing their potential in some way or the other. In actual fact, it is a mere camouflage of the reflection of guru’s own ego. Let us give this matter a deep thought.
Kindly allow me to recite a true story in this connection. A certain person, who had been selected to head an Ashram after the demise of its existing incumbent, was studying in Allahabad University. He was living in the hostel. Lots of pure ghee, dry fruits and other varieties of rich foodstuff were sent to him for his consumption by the Ashram. This young man would however, distribute all this stuff amongst his fellow hosteliers and himself ate very little out of it. When his friends asked him as to why he did so, his reply was that his guru had taught him to eat only a little and that too only satvik food, and since these eatables, were tamsik in nature, he was shunning their use.
Later on when after the death of his Guru, this person took over that ashram, the first thing he did was to get the door of his room removed. According to him, this he did so, the reason that there should be absolutely nothing in the Iife of a person who led others, which should remain concealed from the public gaze. In fact, Sai Baba’s life was also an open book for anybody to read.
The predecessor of this young Guru ate food sitting on a high pedestal along with other ashramites sitting on the floor and in gold and silver utensils. He gave up this practice. He would take his food in ordinary utensils sitting along with the ashramites as also serve them with his own hands. Later he consolidated all the funds of the Ashram and spent these on opening 30 schools where the poor children received free education.
Continued…Part 3 of Chapter 4
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