Introduction – Shree Sai Baba of Shirdi by Rao Bahadur M. W Pradhan

Introduction To The First Edition 

My dear Babasaheb Tarkhad, 

I am very glad to learn that you wish to publish an English rendering of the Marathi memo left by our late lamented friend Kakasaheb Dixit about our Sadguru Sai Maharaj of Shirdi, who to my mind represented perfection so far as it can possibly be conceived by an imperfect being like myself. No praise that I can bestow is too high for him, nay, I am afraid, I cannot say anything that will really come up to the mark. I count it as the greatest piece of good fortune that circumstances led me to his feet, and the moment I approached them as humbly as I could, all the load of my worldly cares disappeared though only a few minutes before it was felt to be exceedingly oppressive and such as to excite disgust of life. 

This is not only my experience but of tens of thousands of others whom I met there during a rather prolonged stay. Among them were many highly educated gentlemen, and ladies, a large number of hard-headed businessmen, many who had renounced the world and led a life of devotion and piety. The whole of the countryside worshipped him and gathered round with the instinct with which ants surround a big lump of sugar. While many came from long distances at great expense and trouble, each went away satisfied and anxious to repeat his or her visit as often as it could be managed. It was a sight to see and enjoy. 

The wonder of wonders is, that, of the personage so universally admired and worshipped, not even a single human being knew the real name. He dropped into the village so to say from the blue, helped a person to find his lost horse and took up his residence there for a whole lifetime, helping everybody that came along without any distinction, securing the love and reverence of all without exception. He appeared to know the innermost thoughts of everybody, relieved their wants, and carried comfort to all. He fulfilled my idea of God on earth. 

It appears to me that the idea that you have conceived of publishing something about him, comes really from higher regions. India, and for the matter of that, our whole planet of the earth appears to be approaching a characteristically catastrophic period, when changes, of which we can form no idea, are likely to be brought about as in the twinkling of an eye, and to help mankind through it, influences, other than material, appear to be necessary, and Kind Providence is providing them beforehand. At present man trusts too much to what we call reason, and appears to forget, that, as instinct in living animals, so intuition in human beings has a place in his composition. To fulfil the purpose of his existence, he must cultivate both, with humility and not pride, and should aim not at worldly wealth and power, but knowledge and identification with all. God of Nature has hither to accomplished tremendously great things with small and obscure beginnings, and this may be one of them. Sai Maharaj always impressed me as one who believed all religions to be true and helpful to those born to them, in their further evolution. So he insisted on each following his own ritual, without interfering with that of another. The basic virtues are one and the same everywhere, and due abstention and constantly wakeful discrimination supply the necessary impetus to further progress. Your humble publication may under Providence, in its own way, contribute to the desired result. So I heartily welcome it and wish it all success. 

With kindest regards 

I am, 
Yours sincerely, 
Amaraoti, Sd/-8th January, 1933 
G. S. Khaparde

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Introduction To The Second Edition 

Ever since the beginning of 1933, when the first edition of this book was published, devotees from all over India have been, as before, continuously going to Shirdi, more especially from Southern India. This attraction of South India to Shirdi, has completely exhausted the stock of books of the first edition. Therefore, the Shirdi Sansthan Committee, has perforce, to go in for the second edition, during the present war time, as the demand for the book is very keen. 

During the last ten years, Sai Baba’s omnipresence, omnipotence and omniscience, are being unabatingly realised and experienced as before, by thousands of devotees, who concentrate on Sai Baba with love and devotion, whether they be in Shirdi or thousands of miles away in their own abodes. To broadcast all the experiences and the inner joy of such countless people individually is physically impossible. However, the real facts about Sai Baba’s divinity contained in the first edition, were spread, far more extensively by the devotional propaganda of Mr. B. V. Narasimhaswami, who by his innumerable publications about Sai Baba’s divinity in English, Tamil, Telugu, Sanskrit, Canarese, Malayalam, Hindi, Urdu, Gujarati and Bengali, and by his personal tours throughout the length and breadth of India, has been carrying the knowledge of the peculiar Avatar of Sai Baba to all the classes and creeds of India. 

Similar propaganda is carried on also by Mr. J. N. Bose, M.A., A.C-W.A- (Lond.) and Master Himadri Bose, his II years old son in Calcutta, and his friend Mr. S. P. R. Naidu at Matunga, Mumbai. 

Messrs. B. A. Chowgule and B. V. Manjeshwar (at present sub-judges in Ahmednagar district) have been devotionally spreading the divinity of Sai Baba wherever they go. 

Other significant feature in the worship of Sai Baba as a deity is the appearance of several Temples, Maths, and Bhajan Melas, established far and wide throughout the country, not only in South India, the suburbs of Mumbai, and further North e.g. Bhivpuri, but also in Calcutta. 

The South India people have donated to the Sansthan, through Mr. Durgia Naidu, a building plot and some funds for the construction of more housing accommodation – an undertaking made very prohibitive by war conditions at present. 

The above phenomena have very considerably added to the work of the Shirdi Sansthan Committee, as regards correspondence & etc., but more especially with regard to the housing and catering of devotees, who being inspired by their devotion, rush from thousands of miles away to Shirdi throughout the 24 hours of the day. Most of these devotees come as a rule inadequately provided even with the bare necessaries of life. To meet the wants of-such devotees, the Sansthan Committee has been making strenuous efforts to the best of its ability. 

To provide for more accommodation eight more rooms have since been constructed in the Navalkar’s Wada and the late Mr. Dikshit’s Wada has been renovated, and more building site has been purchased by the Sansthan. Two more water-wells have been dug to provide for adequate water supply. The credit for these improvements, to a certain extent, goes to the ex. Hon. Secretary Mr. S. N. Kharkar. 

In order to facilitate the working of the Sansthan, the Sansthan Committee consolidated the Sansthan Rules in a separate pamphlet published on 1.10-1941.

As the preamble in the said rules might be of some interest to the new devotees of Sai Baba the same is appended to this volume.

The present war times, as said before, are unfortunately a very great hindrance to undertake any further improvements e.g. construction of more housing accommodation and to maintain a provision of various kinds of victuals, which a pronounced diversity of devotees may desire.

The Sansthan Committee, therefore, sincerely prays, that Sai Baba should very soon restore the normal times of peace and tranquility and thus enable it to administer to the reasonable wants of the devotees of Sai Baba, especially during their stay in Shirdi.

Sai Pradhan Baug,
9th October, 1943
Moreshwar W. Pradhan


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