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|
|Chapter 4||Part 2||Stray Thought – On Gurus and the Path of Baba|
|Chapter 4||Part 3||Stray Thought – On Building Temples|
|Chapter 4||Part 4||Stray Thought! On Bhakti|
|Chapter 4||Part 5||Stray Thought on Receiving Messages from Baba|
Stray Thought on Foretelling Events
In my quest as a devotee of Sai Baba, I have come across several devotees, who predict foretell the fortunes of other persons. This is not a new phenomenon, which has started after the name and fame of Baba has spread all over the country. I had come across such persons as early as in 1960. I remember having visited a place in Delhi where a lady on Thursdays was supposed to call the spirit of Baba and make predictions. Later, I have come across others also doing the same. Whenever I have seen this phenomenon being performed, I have felt pained. Will it be correct to bring down our Baba from the high pedestal of being God Incarnate and Parabrahama, on the plane of total worldliness with the sole object of impressing others? Let us give this matter a thought. And today, we find a whole lot of people indulging in this practice. There is another class of people very often seen loitering on the streets of Delhi and foretelling the fortunes of people in the name of our Baba and collecting money. As true devotees of Baba, we should not encourage such practices.
Of course, on the path of Bhakti, as a devotee advances in his Sadhana, he becomes clairvoyant but when this stage is reached, he wouldn’t even think of using the powers received at that stage, to make a demonstration of the same public. When a devotee engages in such pranks, it hurts me for the reasons:
a) Even if one predication of such a devotee goes awery, will it not be a reflection on my Baba in Whose name the prediction is being made? As a devotee, I have always maintained that one should never do anything which brings bad name to Baba.
b) When a devotee invokes Baba’s help in making the predictions, will it not cause inconvenience to Baba? Will a devotee ever do anything to cause inconvenience to his ‘aradhya’?
c) If on the path of bhakti, we have learnt to surrender to Him, why should one, as a devotee, be worried about his future. Is Baba not capable of changing the fate of His devotees? Moreover, if our Prarabdha is to happen, of what use would it be for a devotee to know his future and for the fortuneteller to make a prediction? Surely it shows lack of faith in both.
Baba in His life time had often given to His devotees an indication of the coming events. Evolved beings such as our Baba do know the past, present and future of every soul coming into their contact but they use this power sparingly and only when considered necessary or for the welfare of the devotee. All through the ages, the sages and saints have done so. But for ordinary devotees such as we are, it may not be Proper to do so nor should we encourage others to do so, otherwise there shall be no difference between them and the so called Muslim Fakirs who print Baba’s pictures on the leaflets distributed by them soliciting clientage on the promise that they can get them anything desired by them in their lives. If they have such immense powers, why should they seek money from others and not become rich themselves
On the path of Sadhana, as a Sadhak reaches the fourth chakra, ‘Riddhis’ and ‘Siddhis’ come to him and if the accepts these and uses these for either personal gain or for displaying his powers, he ceases to make further progress. Most Gurus/Bhagwans of today are a living example of this, who have become a prey to this temptation. In our scriptures the use of these powers is forbidden but if the Sadhak reaches the peak, he becomes clairvoyant and may sometimes make use of this for the benefit of the suffering humanity out of compassion. In the case of, devotees of Baba, it has been seen that some devotees do acquire supernatural powers earlier because of Baba’s Grace and their own Prarabdha They must not make a show of these as this would hinder their further progress on the path of spirituality. On this path, no generalisation is possible. Every individual carries his own Prarabdha with him.
Stray Thought on New Concepts in Sai Bhakti
Till about 1980, Baba’s way of worship and many other things associated with Baba, Shirdi, and the places now being visited by the devotees, were not what these are today. Some changes discernable are stated below:
1. ‘Sai Ram’ as a way of salutation:
The salutation ‘Sai Ram’ was first heard amongst the devotees of Shri Satya Sai Baba in the late seventies. Some years later, a few devotees of Shri Sai Baba of Shirdi also started using this salutation. And today most devotees of our Baba have adopted this mode of salutation for greeting each other. The old devotees of Baba still find it difficult to use this salutation which has become so common now that even they cannot do without using it. It is difficult to appreciate as to why Baba has been associated with Bhagwan Ram only? Shri Ram is one cf the ten incarnations of Vishnu. If we consider Baba as an incarnation of God, why should His name be added to another Avtar’s name? Then why should it be prefixed to the name of Ram alone? Why not Lord Krishna, Siva, or any other incarnation? In fact Baba’s way of life and mode of working is more akin to Lord Siva. Till now the name of any other God, Avtar, sage or saint is not known to have become prefix or suffix to any other Supreme Entity. While there may be no harm in doing so, there seems to be a definite need to give this whole matter a thought. We must not adopt blindly what others do. Simply “Om Sai’ or “Jai Sai” could also have served the purpose.
2. Om Sai, Shri Sai, Jai Jai Sai
This Mantra has been coined on the basis of the Mahamantra of Lord Ram – ‘Shri Ram, Jai Ram, Jai Jai Ram’ which is a Siddha Mantra adopted by many sages and saints in the ages past. It seems Revered’ Shri Sivanesan Swamy of Shirdi is the person who has made this Mantra popular and contributed immensely to its chanting far and wide. Today this Mantra is chanted by Sai devotees not only in India but all over the world. In this Mantra, Baba’s name is repeated thrice.
Some twenty years back, nobody knew of this Mantra as the Tarak Mantra of Baba but some devotees had already coined it and they were chanting it along with other mantras in their pujas.
Baba had said that if one merely chanted ‘Sai, Sai’, from the core of his heart, He shall come running even from across the Seven Seas. From this it follows, that in a Mantra what is more important is the name of Baba and the devotion with which it is chanted, and not the Prefixes and suffixes added to it, which seem to be aimed at making the Mantra melodious. As a particular Mantra is chanted by more and more people with devotion, it acquires more and more potentiality. I might venture to suggest that the choice of a Mantra (if given by a self-realised Guru) should be left to the devotee himself who may acquire one in a natural and according to his own temperament. It is experience that the chanting of mere Sai, Sai or even ‘Baba, Baba’ putting heart and soul in the words, is much more blissful which no amount of melodious singing with accompanying musical instruments, is capable of providing. The ‘Bhav’ in chanting is more important than the words.
3. Associating a visit to ‘Shani’ temple with visit to Shirdi.
Till about 1980, a visit to Shirdi was incomplete if the devotee did not pay a visit to Sakori – the Kanya Kumaii Sthan of Sri Upasani Baba. The devotees then also included sometimes a visit to Gangapur and Pandharpui in their itinery. I am not aware of any at that time visiting the Shani Mandir. How a visit to Shani Temple became all important, is not known.
Likewise some other aspects have been added to worship during the last twenty years or so, such as making parikarmas of the Neem tree; burning candles and diyas in the Dwarkamayee and so on. It is an accepted fact that the devotees do seek newer avenues of showing their devotion to Baba. Whereas the addition of aforesaid deviations or additions may seem to harmless, the adoption of extra rituals may, in the long run, become cumbersome to a simple devotee. Baba’s is a very simple way of worship and it may not prudent to make it complex.
4. Pictures of Baba.
Earlier pictures depicting Baba only in the undermentioned poses were available:
a) Baba sitting on stone
b) The Dwarkamayee pose
c) The Bhiksha pose
d) The Samadhi picture
Pictures such as money coming out of Baba’s hands and rays of light flowing from His hands, were then not available. Now pictures of Baba’s idol are being used more often. Most of the new pictures seem to be the figment of imagination of the artists and in my view, do not covey the true splendour of Baba. I also fail to appreciate the need to use the idol picture of Baba more often when his actual real life pictures are available in abundance.
5. ‘Sab ka Malik Ek’.
This slogan was also not known earlier and seems to have been adopted later.
On to the path of Bhakti, I am convinced that such diversions should not be allowed to disturb a devotee’s ‘Sadhna’. I would, however, not deny the fact that to His devotees Baba does provide guidance at the appropriate time, both in dreams or in the waking state.
Continued…Part 7 of Chapter 4
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