Continued CHAPTER 16
The Method Of Baba’s Instructions
 Sitting in wada, Balasaheb Bhate and I were reading ‘Eknathi Bhagwat’ (a sacred book). Bapusaheb Buti who had brought message from Maharaj, came there. Baba wanted sixteen and a half rupees from me. Maharaj had insisted on bringing the exact amount, sixteen and half and not only sixteen. Maharaj had also instructed Bapusaheb, to sit by Kakasaheb to listen to what he was saying. That time I had only one rupee and that too was given by Maharaj. So I requested Bapusaheb to tell Maharaj about my condition. I asked him to sit and listen to Bhagwat, as per Maharaj’s instruction. I started reading further and came to a stanza (Shloka) which stated ‘Kayen wacha….‘
In ancient days, eight ‘Brahmanishtha’ brothers came to the court of Raja Janak. When Raja Janak asked the question about Bhagwat Dharma, eldest of the nine ‘Brahmanishtha’ brothers had given the interpretation of it. The essence of his interpretation was found in the above stanza. The Sanskrit terms in this stanza are Kayen, Wacha, Mansa, indriyai, Va, buddhya, atmana, Va anusrut, swabhavat; Karomi, yad, sakalam, parasmai, Narayanay, iti, samarpayami. Meaning of the stanza: “Whatever (Karma) I do with the help of body, voice, mind, organs, intellect, ego and according to my natural instincts, I offer it to Narayan Who is beyond all these, beyond everything and superior to everything else”. Eknath Maharaj had given detailed explanation the question and moral comments on this stanza.
We had finished reading these comments in Eknathi Bhagwat and started thinking whether we find any reference of sixteen and a half rupees that Maharaj asked for. We again went through the commentary with that angle. And we came to know that the sum of the terms mentioned was fifteen and half. Detailed breakup is as follows.
Kaya – 1, Vacha (Voice) -1, Mind – 1, Organs-10 (5 senseorgans +5 organs of Acton); intellect – 1, ego-1, Prakruti (Swabhav) – ½i.e. half. Thus the sum comes to fifteen and half. But Maharaj had demanded Rupees Sixteen and a half, and there was no chance of Him making a mistake. Then we again read Eknath’s commentary. Eknath had included ‘Chitta’ (Conciousness) together with mind, intellect and ego (These four together constitute Antahkaran). Eventhough Chitta is not mentioned in the above stanza; Eknath Maharaj had removed that short coming, by including it in his comments. Thus it was exactly sixteen and half. Maharaj had indirectly taught to offer everything to Narayan, i.e. to God Himself.
Then I thought Maharaj had insisted on the ‘half’. He did not want only sixteen. I immediately found the answer. “All the Karmas (actions) done by the above sixteen instruments are always intentional. Therefore those perhaps can be offered to God easily. But the Karmas which are done by nature (swabhav) are difficult to be offered. When one becomes disireless (Nishkam), intention is dissolved and Karmas can cease. But Swabhavik Karmas do not cease. They will go on continuously till the last breath. Then what is the way to easily offer these Karmas to God? Eknath Maharaj has given a key to solve the problem. Do not say “I have done this Karma and I am offering it to You, Oh Lord” Remember and understand that ‘I’ do not and cannot do any Karma (action). Only He, the Lord is the doer. He is doing the Karma through me. I am only His instrument”.
Suppose a manager of some company has traded for million of rupees, still it is not his money. It belongs to the owner of the company. Similarly, whatever Karmic actions are done by me, are not mine. They belong to Him; as He is the owner of this world and the universe. To reach that stage one must be desireless and simultaneously egoless. Then all Karmas will be ‘His’ Karmas. So the question of offering will not remain at all.
 A group of young persons came for Maharaj’s darshan. They were eager to take His photographs. They had specially brought a camera with them. In those days camera and photography were the novel things. After two days of stay, when their purpose was not served, they approached Madhavrao Deshpande to request for his help. He agreed. He knew Maharaj would pass Sathe-Wada on the way while coming back from Lendi garden. Madhavrao planned that these young people would wait there and take the photo when Maharaj would arrive. According to the plan they all waited near Sathe Wada with their camera ready.
When Maharaj reached them, He asked, “Shamya, what is all this?” Madhavrao said, “Deva, these people wish to take your photograph. Please keep standing for a moment”.
Maharaj said “Ask these youngsters not to take any photo or anything. Tell them to break the wall. That is sufficient”. Saying so, Maharaj walked away without waiting.
Of course, photo would only be the impression of the body. But in case of Maharaj, body was not his real ‘Swarup’. He was embodiment of Param Atmatatwa. Maharaj was asking to break the wall of ignorance in order to know His true reality. He wanted His devotees to imprint His real aspect on their hearts.
Once a person who had worked in a famous photographic studio in Mumbai came to Maharaj for darshan. He too had brought a camera with him. He thought he would take Maharaj’s photo without His knowledge and he did as per his wish. But when he saw the glass on which he had taken the photograph; he saw his own Guru’s face in place of Maharaj’s face. His Leela was amazing. He understood what message Maharaj wanted to give. He (Baba) wanted him (the person) to continue with his Sadhana and the person did so.
 A person had come to Shirdi and stayed there for few months. He also tried for a photograph. But did not get any chance. Then he asked for Baba’s permission through Madhavrao. Baba said, “Take a photograph of my feet only”. That person requested with an urge, “Baba, I am a very good photographer. Will You, please, give me a pose as I require?”
Baba agreed and said, “OK”
Next day, when Baba came near Raobahadur Sathe Wada which was on the way to Lendi Baug, He paused there and gave a desired pose. The person was happy that he got a chance to capture Baba in his camera. But when he saw the result, all other persons in Baba’s paraphernalia were clearly seen in the photograph except Baba. Only His feet were seen in the photograph as per His wish. (For those who are interested, copy of the above photograph is still there with the author.)
The photographer was astonished to see Baba’s Leela. Devotees should always concentrate on the Lotus feet of God. It is also written in Vedashastras that the ‘Feet’ is the centre (Adhishthan) of Saguna Deha i.e. the Body.
That theory was highlighted by this Leela of Baba. Why should the devotees be at the feet of God? There is a simile. A fisherman stands and throws a net in the water to catch fish. Those which are away from him get easily entangled in the net but those which are near his feet, remain safe. Similarly, those who are at the feet of The Lord with true devotion do not get deceived by the Maya and remain away from the snare of illusion. In the Sanskrit Ashtaka, which is recited at the time of Aarti of Maharaj, we pray that, may our minds be always focused on Your feet.
© Author – Dr. Keshav Bhagwant Gavankar (Annasahib Gavankar) – Explicit Rights To Publish To Shirdi Sai Baba Books.com (Member of SaiYugNetwork.com)