Life History of Shirdi Sai Baba
The actions of Baba seems impossible to believe sometimes and at times strange. No one understands why Baba did thus.
Baba’s Strange Actions
In the early days when the holy fire ( Dhuni ) was started in Dwarakamai, Baba collected used matchsticks and stored them carefully. He took dakshina half-anna ( equivalent to three paise) from the devotees who visited him. He smoked from a mudpipe called chillum.
With thin and weak cloth pieces measuring five feet in length and one and half feet in width, Baba used to hang a wooden board four inches thick, to the rafters of Dwarakamai. He put four lamps at the four corners of the wooden board, and slept on the board. While it was surprising as to how the cloth pieces withstood the weight of the wooden board, it was more surprising as to how they withstood the weight of Baba also.
In the afternoons, between 1 and 2 p.m. devotees were not allowed inside the mosque. During this period Baba would take out 15 to 20 old coins from his bag and rub them with his fingers, saying aloud, "This coin is Nana’s, this coin is Kaka’s." Perhaps by doing like this Baba was removing their desires.
Everyday, after watering the plants in Lendi Bagh, Baba would put the earthen pots with their mouths down. Once a person named Kolambi, observing this crazy action of Baba, asked him why he was doing like that. To this Baba replied that people who were coming to him were like the earthen pots with their mouths down, meaning they were not able to receive carefully what Baba wanted to give them.
Baba’s Knowledge of Past, Present and Future (Ruthambara Prajna)
Baba used to tell his devotees frequently:
"Whether you are before me or at far off place, whatever you do and think will be known to me." He used to tell the devotees who visited him, their past, present and future. This is called Ruthambara Prajna in Yoga Shastra. This is found in saints in a limited capacity. But Baba’s power was limitless, covering the entire world and beyond imagination.
Baba sometimes brought to life some persons who were dead. But he did not revive some persons. One day a woman, whose child died, came to Baba and asked for udi. Inspite of her repeated pleas, he declined to give it. When Kaka Saheb Dixit intervened in the matter, Baba told him "Baav! Do not interfere in this matter. Whatever happened has happened for the good. The dead boy has already taken birth in another body in which he will do many good things. If I bring the boy here now, the new body will perish and this body will live. If I do this for your sake, will you accept the consequential responsibility?"
Baba would immediately answer any question that was put to him. Though the answer appeared to be coincidental, his word turned into absolute truth. Though he would appear to be seeing and talking like us, he would always be in a state of Samadhi. He was a confirmed bachelor like Hanuman. Lust feared to approach him. His eyes were like burning lamps and penetrated like searchlights the hearts of many.
How Baba saved Nana Chandorkar
Baba always looked after those who believed in him. One day, Chandorkar and his friend Shastri were travelling in a tonga from Poona. Suddenly the horse pushed back the tonga with the result that the tonga fell upside down. Both men fell down. This was a serious accident. In the ordinary course there was danger to the life of the passengers . At the same hour at Shirdi, putting his hands together like a conch , Baba made sounds like that emanating from a conch. It was an indication of imminent danger. Baba cried aloud, "Nana is falling down! But I will not let it happen." Because of this leela Nana and his friend escaped unhurt and completed their journey safely.
One day, Nana Chandorkar was climbing the Harischandra hill to see a temple there. Another friend and two servants accompanied him. After climbing for sometime, he felt very thirsty due to severe heat from the sun. Becoming tired, he rested. There was no water nearby. To get water, either one had to go down or else go up the hill. He rememberd Baba. He thought that if Baba were to be here, he would have somehow provided him water. But he was 80 miles away at Shirdi. At the same hour, Baba sitting in Dwarakamai told Shama and others, "Nana is very thirsty. The climate is very hot. He was also tired. I should give him some water." Shama and others could not understand what Baba said.
On the hill, Nana sat silently for sometime. A Bhil (of the forest-dwelling tribe) happened to come there. Coming near Nana he told him that if he was thirsty, water could be had from the water hole under the big stone on which he was sitting. When the stone was shifted, pure drinking water was found. Nana quenched his thirst by drinking the water. After some days, when Shama told Chandorkar what Baba had said a few days back, he recollected the incident and concluded that Baba himself had come in the form of the Bhil to quench his thirst.
Baba taught Nana about Mind Control
One day, a Muslim family from Bijapur came to visit Baba. There were two ladies in their veils. They came to Baba, and removing their veils saluted him. One of the ladies was very beautiful. Nana was sitting next to Baba and at the sight of the beautiful lady, his mind went astray. He wished to see her face again.Observing this Baba hit him gently on the thigh. After the ladies left Baba asked Nana if he know why he had hit him. Nana replied that having noticed his agitated mind, Baba must have hit him. Baba said, "The lady you saw was very beautufil. God had created her so beautifully. When a person created by God is so beautiful, then how much more beautiful would be the creator? Did you ever think of this ?"
We should always think of the creator of this beautiful world and not the things created . We go to a temple to worship God and not to see the sculptures. When mind merges with senses then only one gets excited. Our body is like a chariot. The mind is the driver (sarathi) and the senses are horses. If the charioteer holds the reins firmly, then one can safely reach one’s destination. Instead, if the charioteer loses control over the horses, they would run wildly and one cannot reach one’s destination. Instead, if the Charioteer loses control over the horses, they would run wildly and one cannot reach one’s destination. Those who can control their senses with mind, alone can advance spiritually. Those who become slaves to the senses, will use their mind only to achieve their desires. If we tempt the senses with anything, they will desire to have it. Because of this nature of the senses, you desired to see that lady again and again. You can stop that desire by controlling with your mind. Then you can utilise all your leisure time for spiritual purposes. Otherwise, the entire life time will be spent on achieving our desires, and where then is the time to think of God?"
Baba’s Control over all the Five Elements
The entire world is made up of five elements (I) earth (ii) water (iii) fire (iv)air and (v) sky. This was known to Indians even before the ancient Puranas. According to the latest science, the entire creation is a combination of one or more of these elements. Baba had full control over these elements. There were several instances to prove this.
One day, there was a heavy downpour in Shirdi due to cyclonic conditions. The roofs of some thatched houses were about to be blown off. There was knee-deep water in the entire village. All the villagers young and old came to the mosque and pleaded with Baba to save them. The kind-hearted Baba came out of the mosque and commanded the wind and rain to reduce their intensity by saying "Stop! Slow down!" In a few minutes, the rains stopped . In the same way, Baba stopped the rain on an earlier occasion when Nana Chandorkar wanted to return home.
One day the flames in the Dhuni in the mosque, went high up all of a sudden touching the wooden rafters. The Baba, striking the floor with his sataka,ordered the flames to come down. On one summer day the haystack of a farmer caught fire, and was burning, assisted by the blowing wind. There was no sufficient water in the village to put out the fire. All feared that the flames would spread to the neighbouring haystacks and to the nearby houses. Some ran to Sai Baba and begged him to save them from the calamity. Immediately, Baba went to the raging fire and with a small vessel containing water sprinkled it around the haystack and ordered the fire not to go beyond that boundary. The fire subsided after sometime without spreading.
In the first year of the celebration of Ramanavami in Shirdi, there was acute water shortage. To tide over this shortage, Baba threw flowers into the dried up village well. Immediately water oozed and filled the well. This is another instance to prove Baba’s control over the elements.
Megashyam, a native of Vivergaon, was the Brahmin cook of Sathe. He was a very orthodox person. In the early days of Sathe’s visit to Shirdi, Megashyam was given the work of a pujari and also to serve Baba. Over a period, Megashyam saw several of Baba’s leelas and fully believed that Baba was the incarnation of Lord Shiva. He used to daily drink the water with which Baba’s feet were washed. Baba bruoght about a change in him and made his devotion permanent.
On one Shankranthi, Meghashyam wanted to apply sandalpaste all over Baba’s body and bathe the body with Ganga water ( water from nearby Godavari river). He sought permission of Baba who reluctantly gave it. He walked to and fro 18 miles and brought the water in a pot on his head. It was noon time. He made Baba sit on a low wooden stool. Baba put his head a little forward and told Megashyam that since the head was important part of the body, it was enough if the water was put on his head only instead of on the entire body. But Megashyam crying out ecstatically "Har Ganga" emptied the water from the pot on the entire body . But to his surprise, Baba’s advise, only Baba’s head got wet as Baba desired.
From the above two leelas, it is evident that Baba had complete control over water also.
A very rich man Gulzar was residing near Malegaon. On hearing about the powers and leelas of Sai Baba, he decided to go to Shrdi to get Brahma Jnana from Baba. He engaged a tonga for the journey. After reaching Shirdi, he approached Baba, and asked him to teach him Brahma Jnana without delay, as he had engaged a tonga for the journey. Baba told him, "Friend, do not get worried. I will show you Brahman just now. All my transactions are for cash only and no account. All who come to me are with selfish desires. Very few ask for Brahma Jnana like you." So saying, Baba diverted the topic. He called for a boy and asked him to get five rupees as loan from Nandu Marwadi. The boy returned after sometime stating that the house was locked. Baba sent him to some other house, with the same result. He sent him to two more places, but without success. Then Baba looked at Gulzar who had come for Brahma Jnana and said, "There are fifty currency notes of five rupees denomination in your pocket. Attaining Brahma Jnana urgently is not materialistic. I have been sending the boy to get a loan of five rupees, with the intention that you should observe. You did not volunteer to give that five rupees to me, that too as a loan,even though you have a lot of money. Such a miser cannot understand Brahma Jnana. You were in a hurry because, if there was delay the tongawala would charge you more."
Baba then added, Oh friend! Brahma Jnana means realisation of Self (Atma). There is no difference between Atma and God. If you want to realise Atma in your body, then you have to surrender to God the following five things: (1) five pranas (2) five senses (3) mind (4) intellect and (5) ego. All these are inside a person. It is easy to surrender the enternal things. But to surrender those which are inside a person is very difficult. It is like walking on the edge of a sharp knife. Those who cannot surrender even the external things are deemed to be fully under delusion. Such persons cannot understand the five inside matters.
A person who wants Self-realisation or Atma Jnana, should be careful in the following matters:
1. A strong desire should be there for moksha or freedom from worldly matters.
2. One should have detachment from all things of this world and also desires about the other world ( paraloka ).
3. All the senses of a man are accustomed to seeing external things only. One should make these senses see the self or Atma.
4. When he cannot divert his mind from bad and undesirable things and not be able to control his mind, he cannot get Atma-Sakshatkara even if he gets Jnana.
5. One should always speak the truth under all circumstances and remain a bachelor.
6. Man should choose only that which will do him good and not that which gives him pleasure. Worldly matters give pleasure. Spiritual matters do him good. Instead of going for temporary or momentary pleasures, one should prefer spiritual matters only, which do good to him.
7. Man should have under control, the mind and sensory organs. If he goes for pleasures, the senses also will keep the mind occupied with these matters and there will not be any room for spiritual matters.
8. He must keep his mind pure. He should do his duties in a proper and satisfactory way, without expecting reward for his actions. Then the mind will be pure. Knowledge comes out from a purified mind and increases detachment, leading to self-realisation. Unless greed, delusions and desires are removed, man cannot get Jnana.
9. If all the above-mentioned thing are practised rigorously he will achieve results. After this stage, the need for a ‘Guru’ arises. A Guru should be one who has attained Atma-Jnana, otherwise no useful purpose will be served.
10. The first eight are one’s own efforts. To this, if the help of a Sadguru is also there, then God’s blessings will also be there. Knowledge of the Vedas, or riches or great intelligence will not get us Atma-Jnana."
The above lengthy speech of Baba was not only directed to Gulzar but to all other Sai devotees and readers of this life history. May the readers do parayana of the portion of this chapter dealing with Brahma Jnana. Those who read this with devotion will have Sai Baba as their Sadguru permanently. Let their lives journey be towards Atma Sakshatkara.
What are the needs of a man? Happiness, peace, food and clothing and bodily requirements. Sai Baba has said, "In my devotees house, nothing will be wanting." So we should not waste our life for the sake of food and clothing, name and fame. Attachments to mother, father, brother,wife, husband, etc. are limited to this birth only, but the attachment to Sai will be there for several births (janmas) to come.
Let us wish that through the parayana of this sacred Life History of Sai Baba, Sai will be a part of our family and our lives shall be tied up with Sai Baba.
"Om Shanti! Shanti! Shantihi"
END OF SECOND DAY'S PARAYAN"