Saibaba The Master
Written by Pujya Acharya Sri Ekkirala Bharadwaja
The spiritual perfection of a sadguru consists in realizing his essential identity with the One spirit of all existence which is god. All the gods of the Hindu pantheon are its different aspects. Thus the perfect Master is one who can demonstrate that he is all the gods, as Sai Baba did.
The father of Bhagwantrao worshipped Vithal regularly with great devotion. But after his death, his son Bhagavantrao neglected the worship and the annual pilgrimages to
Pandharpur. When Bhagwantrao came to Shirdi, Sai Baba said to the other devotees, pointing at him, “His father was my friend, so I drew him here. This fellow never offered naivedya (i.e. offering of food to the Lord) and so he starved Vithal and Me; I have drawn him to this place so that I could remonstrate him and set him to carry on the worship regularly.” Bhagwantrao marvelled at Baba’s words and his faith was revived.
A mamlatdar, who was a devotee of Sai Baba invited his friend, a doctor to accompany him to Shirdi. The doctor was a devotee of Sri Rama and was unwilling to see Sai Baba who, he thought was a moslem. He was afraid that he might be obliged to bow to Sai if he went to Shirdi. The mamlatdar then assured him that no one would force him to bow to Baba. So he came to Shirdi.
To the devotees of Lord Dattatreya, Sai Baba was Datta. Once two visitors came from Goa for Baba’s darshan. Baba asked one of them for Rs. 15/- as dakshina and the man gave it. The other man volunteered to offer Rs. 35/- but Baba did not accept it. Later Shama made bold to ask him why he made such distinction between the two visitors. Baba said, “Shama, you do not know anything. I do not take anything from anyone. Musjidimai (i.e. mother musjid) calls for her debt and the debtor pays it and becomes free. Have I any home, property or family to care for, that I should need money? I require nothing. At first the man was poor and could not secure any job. He then took a vow that if he got a job he would offer his first month’s pay to Lord Datta. He soon got a job and his first month’s pay was Rs. 15/- Later he was promoted and his pay rose up to Rs.790/- p.m. But in his prosperity he cleanly forgot all about his vow. Debt, enmity and murder have got to be atoned for. The force of his karma has driven him here and I asked for the amount from him as dakshina”. The visitor in question confirmed that Baba’s words were nothing but the truth. By revealing his knowledge of his vow and the circumstances in which it was made and also demanding it Baba showed that he was Lord Datta.
Somanath Deshpande, the son of Nanasaheb Nimonkar had the fortune of serving Baba for four days when his father had to remain at Ahmednagar to attend the court. Within that short period Somanath had a blessed vision. Baba was seated in his usual place and Shama was sitting on the steps of the mosque. Suddenly Baba appeared to Somanath in the form of Maruthi. “There was no longer Sri Baba’s usual figure. There was the Maruthi body. Only I did not see if he had a tail. Seeing that form I at once said to Madhav Rao (i.e.,Shama), “Take his darshan; see, he is Maruthi!”, so writes Somanath.
M.V. Sahasra Buddhe of Satara learnt of Baba only after the later’s mahasamadhi, in about 1931 and had several divine experiences. The crowning experience was, in his own words, as follows: When I was at Paltan, I had a vision one night of a Satyanaarayana image (i.e., an idol) and a pandal put up (above it) and worshipped in the Shirdi samadhi front hall. The offerings made to the image were passing straight into the tomb to Sai Baba seated within the tomb. The tomb was transparent. To verify the truth of this, I wrote at once to Shirdi to see if Satyanarayana puja was conducted at the time and place mentioned above. I got a reply in the affirmative. Baba has thus shown me that he is Satyanarayana and that puja to Satyanaayana is puja to Sai Baba”.
A housewife was suffering from severe and chronic headache. All medical aid proved futile. At last she resorted to Baba. As soon as she bowed to him and sat in his presence her ailment vanished quite mysteriously. When she told Sai Baba about it, he said, “Mother, you have been feeding me sumptuously. I have been watching you since you were a girl.” The lady was surprised and said, “Baba I am blessed with your darshan just now, how could I have fed you sumptuously?” Sai smiled most benignly and said, “Whom do you worship at your home?” She said that she had been a devotee of Lord Ganapathi and that she worships Him every day. “At your mother’s place?” Baba asked. “There too I used to offer flowers, fruits and sweetmeats to the same deity,” she replied. Sai said, “All those offerings of your have reached me. That’s how I have known you since your younger days.” Mythologically, Ganapathi is a deity who is fond of sumptuous food and Baba had identified himself with him. This miracle demonstrated that hearty offerings and worship rendered even to an ‘inanimate idol’ in a true spirit of devotion and faith are sure to reach the Spirit which prevails all Saints, animals and even idols. It is the spirit behind the worship that is of prime importance. Hence Baba did not condemn idol worship. It is a valid form of spiritual practice for those who are by nature made for it.
Sadasiva Joshi of Sholapur accompanied his friend Gadgil to Shirdi. There he used to attend the daily arti to Baba’s picture in Sathe’s wada. On three days in succession Sadasiv had darshan of Lord Narasimha in Sai’s picture. Later when he took leave of Baba to return home, the later gave him udi and sweetmeat as prasad to be taken home. Sadasiv found that the prasad was too small in quantity to be distributed to all the members of his family. Baba then gave him eight annas (i.e., fifty paise) and told him to purchase more sweetmeats from any shop at Shirdi and that it was indeed his prasad. This experience of Sadasiv demonstrates that Sai Baba is not different from Lord Narasimha. Besides, it shows that by the blessed presence of the godman, the whole of the village got so sanctified that sweetmeat purchased from any shop there is equivalent to prasad given by him. Baba offering the needed money is a tacit way of acknowledging that the mystic vision which Sadasiv had was specifically granted by Him.
Once Sri Marthand, the son of Mahalsapathy, was seated at the threshold of Khandoba’s temple. Baba came there and Marthand reverentially stood up. But quite astonishingly, even before his very eyes, Baba appeared smiling and walked towards the idol of Khandoba and merged in it. In amazement Marthand peeped behind the idol but there was none there. While he looked on in panic Baba again walked out of the idol and left the temple, smiling at him. Henceforth, Marthand took it that Baba wanted him to worship the idol as Baba’s form and so he did till the last.
Introduction | 1. The Master Calls Me | 2. Sri Sai Baba – A Sketch of His Life (I) | 3. A Sketch of His Life (II)
4. The Call of The Guru | 5. The Refuge of His Devotees | 6. I am ever with you | 7. The Guru Is All Gods
8. Sai Baba is in all Saints and Sadhus | 9. Baba is all creatures and things | 10. Baba’s Omniscience | 11. Sai Baba’s Daily Life
12. Sai Baba The Man and The Master | 13. The Master and His ways of Teaching | 14. The God-man and Tradition | 15. Sayings of Sai Baba
16. At the Threshold of Eternity | 17. The Off-shoots of Sai Baba | 18. The Tomb that Speaks and Moves | 19. The Power of Satsang
20. The Harbinger of Grace | 21. Sai Baba the Eternal Symbol | 22. Appendix I to Appendix VI
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