Sri Sathya Sai reminisces Stories of Shirdi Sai Baba and His Devotees

June 18, 1992
Sri Sathya Sai in Trayee Brindavan
On the 18th of June, speaking to the students, Swami said that the senses are to be made proper use of. Making use of this opportunity, one of the teachers asked Swami what conquering of senses really meant. Swami gave the answer to this question in a discourse in Trayee Brindavan as follows…
"Each sense organ is covered by the same skin, but performs only a specific function. For example, the function of tasting is given only to the tongue. Making proper use of all these senses amounts to conquering the senses.

The conquering of senses in turn implies the conquering of the mind, which is the master of all senses. The senses cannot discharge their duties unless they are commanded by the mind. Hence if the mind is pure, all the senses through which duties are discharged will be pure.
Sai Baba of Shirdi explained the same to Nana, a great devotee. A newly married couple had come to seek Baba’s blessings. The woman had a veil over her face. When she uncovered it to take Baba’s Padanamaskar, Nana, who was seated at Baba’s feet, stared at her face. Baba silently observed it and later told Nana, “You have seen this now. But divert your intellect immediately away from your vision. Who is a Buddhi-Heena? (One who lacks intellect) He is one who allows his intellect to follow the objects seen. Conquer the mind hence. Everything is then conquered.” 
An ardent Shirdi Sai Devotee
All bodies have the same five common faculties (Shabda) sound, (Sparsha) touch, (Roopa) form, (Rasa) taste, and (Gandha) smell. Why should attachment be cultivated towards bodies then?  The same 5 elements are present in all. Then why desire the body? All the relations like mother, father, brother, sister, wife and husband etc., are based on bodily feelings. These relations are not Atmic. Truth is one; it is manifest in several ways. There is only one, not many. The Vedas taught these same noble truths.

In the town of Nanded there lived a beggar by the name Kaldas.  He was always in control of his mind and was often found talking and smiling to himself. In the same town lived a wealthy man called Wadia, who had no children. Due to this, he was always worrying about what would happen to his vast property and the large amount of wealth after his demise. One day, Wadia poured his heart out to Das Ganu and sought his advice. Das Ganu consoled him saying, “In the village of Shirdi, there is a person who can solve your problems and fulfill your wishes. His name is Sai Baba. At first sight He might look like a madman, but never forget that He is Divinity Himself. There is nothing in the world that He cannot do. Go and seek His advice and Grace.” Das Ganu advised Wadia to go to Shirdi on a Thursday.
Das Ganu Maharaj
A few days before the planned journey, Wadia called Kaldas to his house and gave him a sumptuous meal. The following Thursday, Wadia left for Shirdi. At Shirdi, Wadia propitiated Baba as his Guru and worshipped Him. This went on for 3 days. Then, Wadia wished to offer Guru Dakshina and prayed to Baba that He accept five rupees. Baba said, ‘‘ No, No, No! You have already paid me ₹ 3 and 14 annas. You can now give me the rest of it. That will be enough.’’ Wadia was taken aback. This was his first visit to Shirdi. Then how could he have already given ₹ 3 and 14 annas to Baba? However, he did not wish to argue with his Guru and so, quietly paid the balance amount of ₹ 1 and 2 annas as instructed by Baba.  Students must learn from this example.  Present-day students would have counter-argued, ‘‘What is this that Baba is talking? Doesn’t He know that I am coming for the first time?  Will He return the change if I give Him ……etc.’’ But Wadia obeyed implicitly.

After Wadia returned to Nanded, Das Ganu  enquired from him about his pilgrimage to Shirdi. Wadia narrated the incident and asked Das Ganu  if he could understand what Baba meant. Das Ganu  thought it over and then told Wadia, ‘‘All forms in this creation are Baba’s. Whatever you do to others reaches Baba. He exists in everyone. Before your journey, did you give any money to some needy person?’’  Wadia recalled that he had given a nice meal to Kaldas.

Now, Wadia being a businessman was very good at keeping accounts. He verified his accounts and found to his bewilderment that the amount spent on the meal for Kaldas amounted to exactly ₹ 3 and 14 annas. When this was discovered, Wadia realised that Baba was the Absolute Brahman.

There was one Tarkhad who used to work in the treasury. He was an active member of the Brahmo Samaj and did not believe in the Divine as one with names and forms. He had an only child, a son aged 17 years. Tarkhad’s son and wife were ardent devotees of Baba. He however did not object to their devotion though he continued on his own path. This was a good quality in him. Once every month, the mother and son would visit Shirdi. The son in particular had immense devotion for Baba and never cared for his studies. His time was spent in worshipping Baba. But, being the only son, Tarkhad  used to worry about this negligence of his son towards his studies.  His wife used to console him, ‘‘ He is getting joy in what he is doing now.  After all, he is doing nothing wrong in worshipping Baba, who is God himself.  We should worship God at all times.  Due to his good deeds in past lives, he has such devotion at this tender age.’’

The father (R.A. Tarkhad) and son Jyotindra Tarkhad
One month, the son did not mention anything about the trip. His mother enquired about the scheduled trip and the son replied, ‘‘Mother, I am already thinking about it. I am ready to come. But here, everyday after my Pooja, I make an offering (Naivedya) to Baba’s photograph. Baba never accepts it directly, but I can at least leave the Naivedya in front of his photograph.  If I go, who will continue to keep the sacred offering before Baba’s photograph? Father does not take any interest in such rituals. That is my worry.’’

When Tarkhad heard about this, out of immense love for his son, he assured him that although he did not have faith in these rituals, he would definitely place the offering before Baba’s photographs everyday without fail. But the son said, ‘‘If one is hungry, it can be satisfied only if he himself takes food, not someone else.  If I am diseased, I must take the medicines and not you. If someone is hurt, the bandage must be on the wound of that person and not on someone else’s. So, I will not go to Shirdi unless you agree to perform the Pooja everyday to Baba with full faith and feeling, as I do, and then place the offering. ’’

Tarkhad then gave a promise and felt proud of his son’s devotion and discipline at such a young age. This must be the quality of an ideal son. Usually, it is the father who is expected to mould the son, but nowadays they spoil their children. On the contrary, in this case the son changed the father! To get an opportunity to correct the father is a great boon for the son. On hearing Tarkhad ’s solemn words, the son gladly left for Shirdi along with his Mother.

Tarkhad  then faithfully woke up early, the next morning and took his bath. He got flowers for worship and offered sugar candy, as he had seen his son doing. Later on, he partook of the offering as Prasadam and only then had his breakfast.

Since, the father was attending to the rituals, the son stayed on happily at Shirdi for almost a month. Days passed this way. One full moon night, the mother and son sat on either side of Baba. Baba started speaking to the lady, ‘‘Mother, yesterday I was very hungry and went to your house. But I found that no food was offered there! So I had to return hungry.’’ The perturbed son asked, ‘‘Baba when we are here, why must you go there to our house?’’ Baba said, ‘‘Well, you were offering food to me everyday there. I got used to it and out of habit, went there again.’’ The son realised that his father would have forgotten to make the sacred offering the previous day. He at once dashed off a strongly worded letter to his father adding a note, ‘‘If you had not made the promise, I would not have come to Shirdi at all.’’

The father came back from office and saw the letter. He at once checked with his cook if he had placed the offering at the altar that day. The cook reminded Tarkhad that he was busy that day and had hence forgotten to make the offering. He had in fact closed the Pooja room itself and left for work. Thus reminded of his folly, Tarkhad  was very sad.

What you must all understand from this is that when something is done regularly and with devotion, it definitely reaches God. You chant Brahmarpanam only at Puttaparthi or Brindavan. But in the outside world, you do ‘Lokarpanam’ and ‘Swayarpanam’! When you feed a dog everyday at a time, after 90 days, it will come there and wait for you to feed it. When a dog can come in time, why wouldn’t God come?

After this experience, Tarkhad resented and left ‘Brahmo Samaj’ to join ‘Sahaj Samaj’. 
In particular, three people were close to Baba. They were Lakshmi Bai, Shyama and Bapusaheb Booty. Shyama always used to be at the feet of Baba. Booty was always at Baba’s side, with a fan in his hand.
Laxmibai Shinde (in her later years)
One day Baba told Lakshmi Bai, ‘‘Lakshmi Bai, I am feeling very very hungry.’’ She at once ran to her house, prepared a rice-dish, and served it on a clean plate. Covering the full thing with a plantain leaf, she approached Baba and prayed, ‘‘Baba, please eat this. You said that you were very hungry.’’ Baba showed her a spot on the ground and said, ‘‘Keep it there.’’ Lakshmi Bai did so and waited nearby.  Suddenly a black dog strolled in, caught sight of the dish and proceeded to finish it off!  The alarmed Lakshmi Bai hastened to drive away the dog, when Baba calmly said, ‘‘Don’t disturb the dog. Let him eat.’’ Lakshmi Bai felt very sad that she had not been blessed enough for Baba to partake of what she had cooked.  She thought she had erred somewhere.

Baba read her thoughts and lovingly told her, ‘‘Why are you feeling sad?  See, I ate your preparation - you can smell my hand.’’ The surprised lady did so and was astonished that Baba’s hand did smell of the rice she had made ‘‘How is this possible, Baba?’’, she asked. Baba smiled and told her, ‘‘Lakshmi Bai, understand this. Know the Truth - All forms are Mine.’’
Shirdi Sai Baba with devotees
One full moon night Nana performed worship and thereafter visited several Brahmins of the neighbourhood, along with several guests. It was lunchtime; the leaves for serving food were arranged. All of a sudden, a buffalo belonging to a neighbour caught sight of the leaves. It made a beeline to the laid out feast, and started devouring the leaves. Nana was horrified. He called out to some of his people. They came with sticks, beat the poor buffalo, and chased it away. They then proceeded to pick a quarrel with the neighbour regarding his buffalo’s intrusion, and extracted an apology. Nana succeeded in making his point with the neighbour, but he was somehow not too happy about this. A week later, Nana made a pilgrimage to Shirdi. There, he started to tell Baba, ‘‘Baba, on the Poornima (full-moon) night, I performed worship.  Many Brahmins and guests were served food. But I feel that I have still made a mistake somewhere.’’ Baba at once said, ‘‘Yes, Yes, I know, I know. They all did come. You invited me too. But when I came there, you chased me off.’’ Nana realised what Baba was saying. Baba then continued, ‘‘You must remember that when food is offered to God, He will come in any form and partake of it because all forms are His. Hence, if any being is ill treated, it is an ill treatment meted out to God Himself. (Sarva Jeeva Tiraskaram Keshavam Prati Gachhati). You must develop at a young age this feeling of Unity in Diversity, that, all are one. You must constantly contemplate on the truth, ‘Divinity is within me. My aim in life is to know Him.’’

It is for this reason that in the days of yore, great men always advised people who came to see them, ‘‘Find out who that I is?’’ Nowadays, if such a question is asked, people reply, ‘‘I am so and so. What is there to know in that?! ’’

You must first enquire, ‘‘Who named me? To whom is the name given? Who am I, then? I do not have birth or death.’’ All names are like passing clouds. The Manas, Buddhi, Chitta and Ahamkara are all your instruments.  You make use of them. Without You there is no use for the existence of these instruments. So know thyself.  Know that you and God are one and the same. What is Vedanta?  The end of all names and forms is Vedanta.  Veda has a name and form.  Hence, the ending of this name and form is the Vedanta."

No comments:

Post a Comment

Back to Top