WHO IS SAI BABA?
Bapusaheb Jog and Baba’s Leela
Bapusaheb Jog, a Sai devotee, retired in 1911. He was on furlough-leave from 1909. For many years he had worked in Thane District and intended to settle down in Kawad after retirement. He had already bought a small house over there.
Once Bapusaheb Jog thought of going to Shirdi. Bapu Vaidya, his friend from Bhiwandi, too wanted to accompany. So Vaidya went to Kawad to join Jog. Both of them visited Kawad-Ashram. Lele too was with them. They saw the mango trees laden with fruits, which were not yet ripe. Vaidya plucked a bunch of two. Laxman Lele was standing nearby. He saw it and said with a little anger, “You see; the fruits are big. But can’t you see they are still green which means unripe? Why did you pluck such raw fruits? I would not have objected if they were properly ripe”. Vaidya said, “Yes, I understand. But I am going to Shirdi; and I want to offer these to Baba. So I plucked this bunch of two”.
Though Lele did not approve of Vaidya’s act, the latter neglected him and took the bunch with him. On the way Jog purchased some other mango fruits, which were ready to eat. When Vaidya and Jog reached Shirdi and went to Dwarkamai for darshan, they kept those fruits before Baba. He put them aside and said, “I want those two mangoes that you brought from Kawad”. (He knew about those mangoes even though they had kept the fruits at Jog’s house in Shirdi.)
Both of them were surprised. Bapusaheb told Him that those were not fully ripe and He would not be able to eat them as would surely be sour. Baba insisted for the same fruits. Jog had to go to his house and bring the two Mangoes. Baba took fruits in His hand and kept staring at them lovingly. Tears of joy started rolling down His cheeks. He said, “Bapusaheb, you claim that these are raw fruits; don’t you?”
“Yes, Baba they are raw as they are still green. Even the inside stone is not yet formed” Bapusaheb replied. Baba said, “Doesn’t matter. Just cut them into pieces and give one to each person”. Bapusaheb obeyed Baba asked everybody as to how was the taste. All the people present there concurred to say that the fruits were very sweet and tasty. Baba asked in a lighter vein, “But they are green and raw; aren’t they?”
All of them agreed to that, though they were green they were fully ripe and sweet too. Baba turned to Bapusaheb and asked, “You were not giving Me the fruits because you thought them to be raw; isn’t it? Now, are you convinced that they were ripe?” Bapusaheb knew that it was Baba’s Leela. He told the whole story to Laxman Shastri Lele when he went back to Kawad. Jog and Vaidya then realized Baba’s omnipresence and omniscience.
Thereafter, whenever Jog went to Shirdi for Baba’s darshan, Lele used to send the Alphonso and Payari mangoes to Baba the hands of Jog, without fail. Baba used to distribute and eat the fruits most lovingly, as the fruits were begot from the trees grown by Sakharam Maharaj. That was the continuous practice of Bapusaheb Jog till 1909. Baba had sent two mangoes to Kashibai Kanitkar. It is quite possible that those fruits were from the same trees; and Bapusaheb might have brought those from Kawad, that year.
Now let us consider about the tomb of Baba’s Guru. His Samadhi (tomb) was in Shirdi and Baba had shown it to some devotees. Samadhi of Raghunath Bhattaji Moghe was in Nasik. Then how can Moghe be the guru of Baba? It does not seem to be logical.
Of course it is not necessary that one discipline have only one guru. For different subjects, there can be different gurus. God Dattatreya had accepted twenty-four Gurus. Sakharam Maharaj too had eight gurus. Baba had always referred to Venkusa as His Guru. His “Samadhi” (tomb) is now Venkusa Temple in Selu, a town in Parbhani Taluka. (In the “Sai Leela” magazine, of 1940 Kartik month issue, (year 17, issue 8), we find the photographs of this tomb.)
We have to believe that for the disciples like Baba or Sakharam Maharaj, a very short period was sufficient to acquire the knowledge from their Gurus. Only a momentary vicinity of the ears of the disciple and lips of the Guru was enough to transfer the knowledge to the disciple. If this theory is accepted then we can accept that Moghe (in astral form) is one of the Gurus of Sai Baba. Now let us first find out if Baba and Sakharam Maharaj were learning under the same guru. Were they Guru Bandhus? and secondly, if Baba participated in planting those mango trees. We can gather the information in two ways. One is, from the biographies and second way is Baba’s mystic references, which He gave to different devotees.
From the biography and the endorsement by Laxman Shastri Lele, (in 1852), Baba was about fourteen years old when Sakharam Maharaj and Avalia (Nizampur) used to meet. Their meetings took place in either mango grove near Powai-well or on the banks of river Kamodi. Both of them were studying Yoga together. Raghunath Bhattaji Moghe must be coming there in an astral form and solving their difficulties. This is the only possibility which we have to accept to co-relate the terms same guru and ‘Guru Bandhu’ With this acceptance we can further believe that the mango trees were planted by Sakharam Maharaj and Sai Baba together.
On the occasion, which took place in Tarapore, Sakharam Maharaj had requested Moghe Guruji and asked for his constant presence and nearness. Guruji, who had come in astral form, had answered, “We were never separate in the past, and will never be separate in the future. I am always with you”. This indicates that Moghe Guruji’s constant presence was there in the Kawad-Ashram. To solve this tangle, we should have full confidence in Baba’s omnipresence, omniscience and His omnipotence. He used to call some Saints as His ‘brothers’ to some He used to call ‘Dada’ (elder brother) and ‘Kaka’ or ‘Mama’ (uncles). Sometimes He would say, “That saint and I are one”. He used to convincingly prove it. There is one such example for instance.
In 1909, Baba told Bapusaheb Jog to leave Kawad and stay permanently at Shirdi. Baba said, “Stay here and be in My service”. Bapusaheb hesitated, not because of reluctance to service but to shift from Kawad. He indecisively said, “Baba, I am on pre-retirement leave (furlough). Also, I am getting promotion and frankly speaking You are not my Moksha guru. My Moksha-guru is PatankarBuva Murudkar. If I get his darshan here then I will stay. Otherwise I will go to Kawad”. Baba said, “Let it so happen”.
The very next day Bapusaheb Jog saw his guru in Sai Baba. He was convinced that Baba and his guru were one. He then left his insistence of going back to Kawad. The house he owned there was given to the Ashram. Jog then stayed at Shirdi in service of Baba. He was given the privilege of Aarti to Baba, which he carried out till the end of his life.
Two more such examples are stated below:
(1) Dhana Seth Sri Ratanji Parsi was from Nanded. One day he came to Shirdi. On the previous day, he had offered Naivedyam to saint Moulisaheb Hamal, who was staying at Nanded in astral form. The expenditure for Naivedyam was three rupees and fourteen annas. (Old coin, 16 annas = 1 Rupee and I anna = six paise now) Next day when Ratanji came to Shirdi, he offered some Dakshina to Baba, who said, “Whatever Dakshina you want to offer Me, exclude Rs. 3/- and Annas 14 from it and give Me rest of the amount”.
“Why?” Ratanji asked as he had totally forgotten about the Naivedyam and the amount.
Baba said, “That amount has already reached Me”.
This again indicates that Baba wanted to point that He and Moulisaheb were one.
(2) Harish Chandra Pitale from Mumbai went to Shirdi for darshan. Baba gave him three rupees and said, “I have given you two rupees before. Now take these three and worship these coins everyday”.
Pitale was in great confusion, as he had never come to Baba before. It was his first meeting with Him. “How could He give me two rupees in the past?” Pitale questioned himself.
When he went to Mumbai, his mother, the old lady, asked him about Shirdi. Pitale narrated the account and also about ‘Two rupees’. He expressed his confusion to his mother. The old lady said, “What Baba said is correct. In olden days, your father had been to Akkalkot. He took darshan of Swami Maharaj, who had given him two rupees and asked him to worship them everyday. So the coins were kept in the home-shrine for worshipping. But after some years there was an interruption. The coins were lost or spent, I am not sure”.
This narration shows that Baba and Akkalkot Swami were not separate entities. They were one. With the above examples we come to know that Baba has given assurance of Oneness with those Saints. Thinking on the same line Sakharam Maharaj and Baba also were one. So their Guru cannot be different.
Origin of Akkalkot Swami is also unknown. It is said that He came from the ‘Canna-Shrubbery’, the place where Sri Nrusinha Saraswati had disappeared. Nrusinha Saraswati was an Avatar of Sri Dattatraya and Swami was His next Avatar. Sri Krishna and Balaram too were Avatari Personalities. Still they had to learn under Guru Sandipani. So it is not at all surprising that Baba also learnt under some guru, as such a learning was traditional. This corroborates the statement, “Guru is higher and more important than even God”.
All the above elucidation makes it clear that Baba was not metamorphosed from Sadhaka to Siddha, but He was the direct descent of God. Seeing Baba’s Leelas and powers what is wrong in the assumption that Lord Sri Krishna Himself came to the Earth in the form of Baba? Baba always posed Himself as ‘sevaka’ (servant), and called himself ‘Banda’. He used to say, “AllahTera Bhala Karega” (God will see to your welfare). He never took any credit. He would say, “I have blessings of My Guru. It is by His grace that My devotees get rid of their calamities. I do nothing for them”. He never uttered the words “Un-ul-Haq” (i.e. I am God). Instead of that He would say, “Yad-e-Haq” (i.e. I remember God).
I, the author, (Dr. Gawankar), have tried to clear the doubt about Baba’s origin and to find the answer to the question “Who was Sai Baba?” according to my capacity. I found the reference to the above question in a Marathi book titled, “Bhagwant Dakshinet Avatarale” (`) written by Chakor Ajgaonkar. He writes, account of Sai Baba’s early life is not found anywhere in Maharashtra. But Sri Satya Sai Baba of Puttaparthi, Andhra Pradesh, unveils this mystery in His discourses. He says, “Pathri is a small town on the banks of river Godavari. Shirdi Sai Baba was born to mother Devgiri Amma and father Gangabhav. But the couple was yearning to be ascetic. So the infant was deprived of parental care and love. The roofless infant was found by a Muslim couple under whose patronage He was brought up. That is why He was known as fakir. This Boy always carried an oval sacred stone (Shiva Lingam), which was the symbol of Lord Shiva according to Hindu faith. The Boy used to wave lights to the Lingam with the lamp of water, and no oil was required”.
I, the author Dr. Gawankar, do not trust these statements as they have no firm foundation and therefore they are baseless. Sai Baba of Shirdi had no such Lingam. Dasganu Maharaj had deeply enquired about the life of Sai Baba. But he too could not state any information, which would support the statements of Sri Satya Sai Baba.
Once Shirdi Sai Baba led Kakasaheb Dixit to a Maruti temple. Pointing to the idol He said, “There are two idols and they are my Parents. Now do not ask me anything about it”. Lastly I, the author, can only say that the readers are free to accept whatever appeals to their reason.
END OF APPENDIX – E
© Author – Dr. Keshav Bhagwant Gavankar (Annasahib Gavankar) – Explicit Rights To Publish To Shirdi Sai Baba Books.com (Member of SaiYugNetwork.com)