Shirdi Saibaba Tour from Rajesh Chopra
II 11 Sayings of Sai Baba II
1. Whoever puts his feet on Shirdi soil, his sufferings would come to an end.
2. The wretched and miserable would rise into plenty of joy and happiness, as
soon as they climb steps of my samadhi.
3. I shall be ever active and vigorous even after leaving this earthly body.
4. My tomb shall bless and speak to the needs of my devotees.
5. I shall be active and vigorous even from the tomb.
6. My mortal remains would speak from the tomb.
7. I am ever living to help and guide all who come to me, who surrender to me
and who seek refuge in me.
8. If you look to me, I look to you.
9. If you cast your burden on me, I shall surely bear it.
10. If you seek my advice and help, it shall be given to you at once.
11. There shall be no want in the house of my devotees.
THE GLORY OF ANCIENT BHARAT
The fascinating life and “leelas” of Shri Krishna Bhagwan are often taken with a pinch of salt by those who are skeptics. Once when Godavari Mataji, who was accepted by Shri Sai Baba as her “param Guru”, was asked whether she believed in Shri Krishna to be a historical figure or just a poetized creation of what a saint should be, the Mother’s reply was characteristic. “Supernatural Beings”, said Mother, “ can well afford to transcend the ordinary presentations of historical research for the ’sadhak’. The life of Shri Krishna, as depicted in the immortal poems of the ‘puranas’, is sufficient reality”. Similarly, we feel that whether Shri Sai Baba was born in the ordinary way or whether he was a supreme Manifestation does not in any way interfere with our presentation of his extraordinary life and way of life, his unusual ‘leelas’ and supreme knowledge of metaphysical subtleties as embodied in the ‘Purusha’, and his equally supreme understanding of the frailties and the infinite potentialities of the manifested ‘Prakriti’ make one feel that Baba was the modern prototype of the ancient ‘Vedic Rishis’.
Consequently, the writer strongly feels that by diving into the past traditions of Bharat, by describing the ancient Glory of this vast continent which is our motherland, one can add considerable stature to this, the revised edition which comes out now as the fourth edition of the “Saint of Shirdi”.
As a matter of fact, history has not given due importance to Bharat’s early periods which according to Shri Aurobindo were the most brilliant and creative, inspired as they were by the intuitive vision of Bharat’s early seers and sages. The early civilization was unique and people were happy because spiritual values formed the very basis of national life, art, literature and philosophy.
In those early days, politics too was infused with sound ethical principles. The rulers of the states were expected to discharge their duties while preserving the ‘Dharma’, so that the laws of the state were regarded in those days as the expression of the best and the highest I the individual.
Since man is considered by all spiritual Masters to be the supreme creation of God, God sees to it that ultimately man reaches his true nature. As a matter of fact, the spark of divinity that is already implanted in the human soul is like a restless urge smouldering within him. The fulfillment of material desires does not bring lasting happiness. Frustrations and misery remain intact. Slowly but surely man stumbles to the truth that the fulfillment of material cravings bring only fleeting pleasures. What man needs is an enduring happiness. The compassion of the spiritual Masters of the past lay in their effort to turn men away from futile longings of the flesh and so raise them to a higher level of fulfillment. One cannot but recall Shri Sai Baba’s wistful cravings to find souls who had come to him for the real treasures of life. Baba’s own poignant words make us realize the depth of his longings. He often said: “I give bounteously to all that ask; but, alas no one asks with wisdom. My treasury is open, but no one brings carts to carry away the real treasures. I say: dig and search but no one wants to take any pains. be the true sons of the Divine Mother and fully stock yourselves. What is to become of us? This body will return to earth and the air we breath will melt into nothingness. This opportunity will not return.” That Mahatama of Shri Sai Baba’s caliber should have been compelled to say this could well give us an inkling of the power of the evil wielded by the ‘Kali Yuga’. Though today the manifestation of misery, wickedness and suffering in all the countries of the world is alarming, they are not fatal; they are not fatal because man in the ultimate analysis is potentially divine, and, therefore, sooner or later Goodness and Godliness are bound to assert themselves to destroy darkness and evil. This indeed is our staunch faith.
To revert to our text regarding the splendour of our ancient tradition, we can confidently say that Hinduism, being several thousand years old, has now been recognized to be more ancient than any other religion of the world. It is difficult to understand and estimate Bharat’s closely woven mysticism. The unfoldment of Bharat’s ancient culture is a source of reverie which fuses together infinite complexities of man’s dreams, fears and longings into some sort of unity. But in trying to evaluate this vast continent with its manifold strands of culture, beliefs, races, creeds, languages, art and religions, one has to take cognizance of the powerful impact which India’s spiritual sages have had on its ancient civilization. Bharat’s unbroken tradition of more than 5000 years can be favorably compared with the ancient civilization of Egypt, Greece and Mesopotamia, each of which has been swept away ultimately with the winds of Time. The survival of Bharat’s hoary wisdom through strange vicissitudes of good and bad fortunes is indeed a miracle, or a manifestation of Divine Grace.
Bharat has been blessed with ‘shastras’ like the immortal ‘bhagwad geeta’. The inspiration of ‘Geeta’ extends beyond time and space to that which is perennial. Aldous Huxley has declared: “The ‘Gita’ is one of the clearest and most comprehensive summaries of the perennial philosophy ever to have been made. Hence its enduring value, not only for Indians, but for all mankind”. Like Sri Aurobindo and many other saints, Shri Sai Baba too gave great importance to this ancient treatise which according to him shows to mankind a way out of bondage. Shri Sai Baba had complete mastery of this ancient text, and he could quote from chapter and verse to illustrate and emphasize his arguments often putting into shade the so-called scholarship of many learned pundits.
But, today, though the march of science has increased the scope of luxurious living, there is a danger of man forgetting his higher self to the detriment of his spiritual destiny. In India, however, the danger of complete spiritual stagnation is constantly warded off by the reappearance of sages and 'avatars’ who see to it that ‘Bharatvasis’ are ever kept on the path of spiritual awareness.
The age-long assertion of man’s potential divinity initiated by the ancient ‘shastras’ of Bharat gave a new dimension to the human personality -- a dimension beyond the reach of such human beings who like animals are content to live at the lowest sensual level. Actually, however, no human being remains always in this primitive stage. Everyone receives at some time or the other in his life, “intimations of immorality” as the poet Wordsworth expressed it.
The virtues of India’s wise and ancient civilization are blessed with divine sanction. The vastness and the depth enshrined in Bharat’s scriptures and the precepts and ‘shrutis’ revealed by the mighty Rishies of old are unique features of this great land of ours which are irresistible to those who have come under their spell. The Vedas not only declared that every human being is divine, but also asserted that every liberated person becomes an infinite source of strength and inspiration. Moreover, the hallmark of Bharat’s spiritual teachings has been completely devoid of intolerance and bigotry. This quality gives to the ancient religion a stamp of universal appeal.
The early ‘Vedic’ scriptures have emphasized that the truth or God can be found by going inwards through a subjective experience of regeneration and not by projecting oneself outward in a thought process. Truth being deeply subjective, one’s intuitive faculties must be developed and employed to discover it. Such reflection leads one in time to accept the role of Faith which is a spontaneous turning of the individual to God as an indwelling presence. In such a pattern of thinking, the doubter or the skeptic cannot prevail. The very declaration -- “I exist” -- is in itself an inexorable assertion of faith. For, obviously, though I may doubt everything, I have to accept the existence of “I” the doubter. Faith such as this is not a bequest from one generation to another. It is a conquest. Thus, one has to renew one’s vision silently to mysticism. For, the faith that emerges from man’s intuitive faculty assumes the stature of a ‘shruti’. It is of this quality of faith that Sri Aurobindo said that faith is not dependent on reason but is prior to Reason.
According to the sage of Pondicherry: “Faith is the soul’s witness to something not yet manifested, achieved or realized, but yet the knower within us, even in the absence of all indications, feels to be true or supremely worth following”. Thus, Sri Aurobindo makes explicit the unflickering wisdom of the ancient tradition of religious background in Bharat which has inspired thinkers in many parts of the world.
One of the most alluring of Bharat’s theistic concepts is the concept of Divine Grace, and this ideology has its roots in certain basic emotional and intellectual assumptions, which can be called ‘shrutis’ or revelations of spiritual premises handed down to us by the mighty rishis of ancient Bharat. In this sense these assumptions are neither rational nor irrational -- they are irreparable -- they are rooted in eternity and as such are beyond the scope of the mind and its faculties, lying deeply embedded in the very structure of the human soul.
In Bharat it has been an age long tradition to accept certain revelations which are further nourished by our immortal scriptures. The descent of God as the ‘Avatar’ and the ascent of man to the structure of Bharat’s ancient wisdom rests on these mighty ‘shrutis’ which cannot be challenged.
The integral and harmonious realization where the seeker rises to higher and higher level of consciousness is the ultimate goal of the ‘Vedic’ and the ‘Upanishad’ teachings. This fact can well be summed up by quoting the beautiful words of Dr. Radhakrishnan, one of India’s most enlightened philosophers -- “Liberation is not the isolation of the immortal spirit from the mortal human life; man’s life, body and mind are not dissolved but are rendered pure and made the means and mould of the divine light and Man becomes his own masterpiece”. Thus, the genius of Dr. Radhakrishnan has condensed into a few exquisite lines the wisdom of ancient Bharat.
Of the many original theological axioms of Bharat, the concept of the ‘Avatar’ is the most fascinating. The ‘Avatar’ can be defined as manifested God who out of infinite compassion assumes a human form. This descent of God is indeed a supreme sacrifice, for the Divine accepts voluntarily the limitations and suffering of the human body in order to fulfill the role of a Saviour. Each ‘Avatar’ has his own unique mission and role. Shri Sai Baba whose heart was full of tenderness appeared in 1856 to assuage the suffering of humanity. The rest of the book is devoted to this supreme Manifestation of Love and Compassion.
Vithal Himself Appeared
Sai Baba was very fond of remembering and singing God’s name. He always uttered Allah Malik(God is Lord) and in His presence made others sing God’s name continuously, day and night, for 7 days. This is called Namasaptaha. Once He asked Das Ganu Maharaj to do the Namasaptaha. He replied that he would do it, provided he was assured that Vithal would appear at the end of the 7th day. Then Baba, placing His hand on his breast assured him that certainly Vithal would appear, but that the devotee must be ‘earnest and devout’. The Dankapuri (Takore) of Takurnath, the Pandhari of Vithal, the Dwarka of Ranchhod (Krishna) is here (Shirdi). One need not go far out to see Dwarka. Will Vithal come here from some outside place? He is here. Only when the devotee is bursting with love and devotion, Vithal will manifest Himself here (Shirdi).
After the Saptaha was over, Vithal did manifest Himself in the following manner. Kakasaheb Dixit was, as usual, sitting in meditation after the bath, and he saw Vithal in a vision. When he went at noon for Baba’s darshana, Baba asked him point-blank - "Did Vithal Patil come? Did you see Him? He is a very truant fellow, catch Him firmly, otherwise, he will escape, if you be a little inattentive." This happened in the morning and at noon there was another Vithal darshana. One hawker from outside, came there for selling 25 or 30 pictures of Vithoba. This picture exactly tallied with the figure, that appeared in Kakasaheb’s vision. On seeing this and remembering Baba’s words, Kakasaheb Dixit was much surprised and delighted. He bought one picture of Vithoba, and placed it in his shrine for worship.
Bharat’s ancient seers also gave considerable importance to the concept of Guru. The “Vedas”, which incidentally are the oldest of all “Shastras”. are often called “Shrutis”. because the “Vedas” are supposed to have been Revelations given by the Vedic Rishis. The authority of these scriptures is undisputed. According to these ancient vedic seers, the concept of the Guru is like the fundamental axiom for any spiritual path. It may be that some seekers do not consider it necessary to have a personalized Guru or a transcendent Guru. They feel that the self in one’s own Being acts as the immanent Guru. Nevertheless, whether transcendent or immanent, the Guru is the supreme reality in all our endeavors for seeking absolute salvation.
Since, however, we have given great importance to Bhakti Yoga in which the transcendent Guru is the pivot of progress, it would not be amiss to describe the Guru-Bhakti relationship according to the traditional demands.
The Guru is necessarily the perfect spiritual preceptor, but the disciple too must fulfill his obligations by cultivating in himself a true spirit of dedication to the Guru. The entire matrix upon which the relationship is founded is the familiar idea of reciprocity. The gracious act of giving by the Guru would lose much of its benefits, if the acceptance of such gifts was not equally gracious and spontaneous.
The human soul, even though initiated in the spiritual path, cannot love an abstract power; and it is for this reason that the scriptures advise us not to venerate those who lead us to God and to love their physical presence as the Divine manifesting itself in human form. The Guru’s physical body is just a receptacle of the mighty Divine, and as such worthy of the utmost devotion and reverence. The central principle is that the Almighty and his medium of manifestation are identical. The art of being the perfect disciple is in itself an arduous sadhana in India. The spiritual impulse is certainly latent in every man, but it needs great inspiration to bring it to the surface, and that inspiration can come only through inspired contacts with the great Seers and Saints who have taken birth among men to conscientiously fulfill this sacred purpose. Theoretical knowledge derived from books can never achieve what the Guru’s compassionate guidance can do.
It is said that an intense hunger for God in a sadhak inevitably summons a supreme force that responds from above -- and lo! The genuine Guru tenderly manifests himself to help and guide him (the sadhak). The sadha’s task then is to lay himself exclusively open to the Guru’s power, protection and love. Once this divinely ordained contact is established, the relationship between the Master and the disciple becomes a thing of beauty, where each completes the other to bring about a rare and lyrical fusion. It must be remembered that the Guru too has his needs and longings, because once the link is established, once the Guru admits a sadhak into his heart, the Guru actually craves to sustain the link for life, if not for eternity. Such indeed is the Guru’s infinite compassion. On the other hand, the indulgence that seasoned sadhaks shower on their sadgurus is no less moving. If the sadhak succeeds, achieve or gain in any field, they attribute it to the Guru’s Grace: If they fail and falter, they accept it as just retribution for their own shortcomings. Such self-effacing dedication, however, is also a gift bestowed by the Divine Himself!
But, initially, the Guru is cautious and slow in bestowing his Grace. He stands aloof, and displays a certain sensitive diffidence to enter into the Bhakta’s heart.............Yes, indeed the Guru is shy -- he respects the bhakta’s privacy and hesitates to enter his heart as an uninvited guest! But, once the Guru is sure of the bhakta’s surrender, the Guru with great love and labor guides his disciple in his efforts, and does not leave the bhakta till he too is able to experience the utter wonderment of the cosmic Realization.
The Guru’s mission is two-fold -- the first and the more important is to help the aspirant to achieve a total surrender to himself as God’s true representative. Knowing full well that the human mind cannot be awakened without an alter of dedication, the Guru projects himself as an ideal. For, to constantly contemplate on some Divine embodiment establishes a divine channel of reflection which automatically leads to meditation. Thus to awaken, elevate and transform are the Guru’s sacred mission. But the second purpose of the Guru is paradoxically to help the sadhak to transcend this state of complete dependence which he (the Guru) himself in partnership with the sadhak took such pains to foster. For, the final spurt of Realization is exclusively the bhakta’s job, and the Guru withdraws his tangible hold on the one who is now ready to go beyond all that is personal and individual to a universal realization of Truth.
The concept of the Guru is a very ancient one in Bharat, for, it dates back to the ancient Puranic age. Possibly, the doctrine of Brahma manifesting as Iswara who is a sadguna aspect of God attributes predicated of Him, gave rise in time of a belief in the possibility of God Incarnate. In fact, it was this faith in the visitations of God as persons incarnate that was considered a great contribution of the Puranic period. This belief in Incarnations was further strengthened by actual appearances from time to time on this holy soil of ours of spiritual Giants endowed with extraordinary qualities. Through a great faith in Incarnations and the traditional respect accorded to all teachers of spiritual knowledge was created a happy fusion of ideals that had created the concept of the Guru. The Gurus, in India initiate their chosen bhaktas in many different traditional methods -- they are (1) by Look (2) by Touch (3) by Speech --or all them combined. Very often the Guru bestows a holy and a secret Mantra which generates a tremendous help in the sadhak’s spiritual evolution; for the Mantra is bestowed as the outcome of a penetrating scrutiny of the recipient’s vital psychic needs. An attempt to analyze this exquisite relationship can never be complete or satisfying, for, it is replete with inexhaustible possibilities. Almost every Guru enriches its lyrical composition with some delicate nuances, some subtle touches from perennial beauty of his own Impersonality.
Thus, an ancient Bharat gifted to mankind through its mighty seers an incredible depth of scholarship which is as profound as it is beautiful and which has not been duplicated in any other civilization or culture.
In the writer’s humble opinion,
Bharatvasis themselves today need to go back to this ‘ancient Cradle of
Knowledge and Wisdom’ in order to rejuvenate their values.
|HIS CHARTER AND SAYINGS
The sayings of a Sat Purush are self-validating. There is no need to explain them; no is it necessary to comment on or interpret these few intimate charters of the great Master. They have come down to us as the priceless heritage of spiritual wisdom, happily preserved by his devoted and loyal disciples. We owe a debt of gratitude to these bhaktas for giving us these cherished maxims in their original form, particularly to the great Shri Narasimha Swamiji and Shri Annasaheb Dabolkar from whose works these maxims have been culled and reproduced.
Shri Sai Baba did not give any sermons, nor did he write any spiritual thesis, though his scholarship was profound and he could surpass the knowledge of the many pandits and moulanas who often came to him for elucidation of the texts. The source of Sai Baba’s mastery over the scriptures of all religions was as unfathomable as his entire personality was enigmatic. No one knew how this incredible avatar was able to amass so much knowledge and that too in all its immaculate details! Sai Baba had settled in Shirdi at the tender age of 20, and after that no one saw him studying or reading a single book. In him was manifested the innate genius who had fathomed the profundities of that luminous Reality, knowing which everything else becomes self-revealed. Just as Baba was Guru Incarnate, he was also Knowledge Incarnate. Sai Baba, however, preferred to transmit knowledge and teachings through the spoken word in the age-long tradition of Bharat. Not only spiritual masters but venerated teachers of classical nritya and sangeet preferred this method of transmitting knowledge in the ancient past and many of them do so now. Like the rishis of old, Sai Baba also believed in a close and intimate association of the teacher and the taught. Each sadhaka’s spiritual and material problems were peculiar only to him; therefore, Baba preferred a very individual transmission of Grace and instruction to his flock of disciples. He neither gave any formal talks nor wrote any books.
Shri Sai Baba’s conversation and sayings were not delivered with the purpose of dazzling a handfull of intellectuals with technical discussions of philosophy; his aim was to rouse the moral insight of the average seeker. Often employing analogies and similies drawn from experiences that are common to all men and women, the Master was able to carry conviction and inspiration to those who came to him. Using simple stories and clothing great truths in simple parables like Jesus Christ, Baba was able to create a pyramid of perceptions in the listener.
Somehow, when a Satpurush speaks, subtle forces are at work, and the words of these great Masters acquire a strange power, which perhaps is not inherent in the words themselves. Even the familiar stock-in-trade of ethical admonishments and moral reflections assume a compelling power which again is not inherent in them, for, the same words issuing out of the mouths of ordinary men would sound common place and platitudinous. Hundreds of disciples, however, would listen to Baba’s word’s in rapt wonderment which soon changed to conviction. This is because one knows that the truths uttered by realized persons have been actually experienced by them; their words consequently carry authority and conviction. One Mr. Francis Brabazon in an introduction to one of Avatar Meher Baba’s brochures very succinctly confirms this in the following sentence: “The words of (Ordinary) men are like candles which burn out leaving both the speaker and his audience in darkness; but the message of the Divine Incarnatiom, both at the time of utterance and for posterity, is a sun which never sets and is always available if one will but pull up the blind of prejudice and partake of its light.”
Some of Sai Baba’s sayings reveal the hunger in his heart for true and selfless adoration. The Master’s yearning for the love, freindship and understanding of the bhaktas who belonged to him with a touching and lovely fact of his relationship with his disciples.
As a matter of fact, Sai Baba often hinted that he had not come to teach but to awaken. He sought to bring about this awakening through the impact of his love. Through the centuries men had read volumes of philosophy, but so long as there is no integration between thought and practice, sadhakas do not grow in spiritual Grace. Sai Baba, therefore, simplified his teachings so that the bhaktas may get down to the sheer practice of spiritual sadhanas. As the Master repeatedly told his followers, all great work for God is done first in the individual soul of the worker.
The Saint of Shirdi was one
of the most compassionate of the avatars. He accepted all the self-imposed
limitations, restrictions and sufferings that the ordinary human body is
heir to, so that he may inspire men by the example of his magnificent life.
He descended from that eternal abode of peace to embroil himself in the
affairs of men. This was his supreme act of redemption for humanity which
he loved so tenderly. The living thoughts of a saint who has taken samadhi
have constantly to be restated, reinterpreted and reassessed, and, thus
to use Plato’s lovely words, “restored to youth and beauty”.
SAI BABA’S CHARTERS
His wistful longing.
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