Sai, as Sagun Brahman – Dr. Pandit’s Worship – Haji Sidik Falke – Control over the Elements
Let us now, in this Chapter, describe the manifested (Sagun) Brahman Sai. How He was worshipped and how He controlled the elements.
Sai as Sagun Brahman
There are two aspects of God or Brahman: (1) the Un-manifested (Nirgun) and (2) the Manifested (Sagun). The Nirgun is formless, while the Sagun is with form, though both denote the same Brahman. Some prefer to worship the former, some the latter. As stated in the Gita (chapter XII) the worship of the latter is easy and preferable. As man has got a form (body, senses, etc.), it is natural and easy for him to worship the God with form. Our love and devotion do not develop unless we worship Sagun Brahman for a certain period of time, and as we advance, it leads us to the worship (meditation) of Nirgun Brahman. So, let us start with Sagun worship. Image, Altar, Fire, Light, Sun, Water, Brahman are the seven objects of worship, but Sadguru is better than all these. Let us, on this occasion, bring to our mind the form of Sai, Who was non-attachment Incarnate, and Who was a resting-place for His whole-hearted devotees. Our faith in His words is the Asan, and our Sankalpa (determination to start and finish the Puja) is the abandonment of all our desires. Some say that Sai was a Bhagwad-bhakta (devotee of the Lord), others say He was a Maha-Bhagwat (a great devotee), but to us He is God Incarnate. He was extremely forgiving, never irritable, straight, soft, tolerant and content beyond comparison. Though He looked embodied (as having the form), He was really dis-embodied, emotionless, unattached and internally free. The Ganges on its way to the sea, cools and refreshes the creatures affected with heat, gives life to the crops and trees, and quenches the thirst of many. Similarly, Saints (Souls) like Sai, while they live their own life, give solace and comfort to all. Lord Krishna has said that ‘the Saint is My soul, My living image, I am Him or He is My pure form (Being).’ This in-describable Shakti or Power of God, known as Pure Existence, Knowledge and Bliss, incarnated in the form of Sai in Shirdi. The Shruti (Taitiriya Upanishad) describes Brahman as Bliss. This we read or hear daily in the books, but the devout people experienced this Brahman or Bliss in Shirdi. Baba, the support of all, required no prop or support (Asan) from anybody. He always used a piece of sack-cloth for His seat, which was covered with a small beautiful bed arranged by His bhaktas and had a bolster placed by them, as a rest to His back. Baba respected the feelings of His devotees and allowed them to worship Him as they liked. Some waved Chamara or fans before Him, some played on musical instruments, some washed His hands and Feet, some others applied scent and chandan, some gave betel nut with leaves and other things, and some others offered naivedya. Though He looked like living in Shirdi, He was present everywhere. This all-pervasiveness of His ways were daily experienced by His devotees. Our humble prostration to this all-pervasive Sadguru.
Dr. Pandit’s Worship
One Dr. Pandit, a friend of Tatyasaheb Noolkar, once came to Shirdi for Baba’s darshana. After saluting Baba, he stayed in the Masjid for some time. Baba asked him to go to Dadabhat Kelkar. He went to Dadabhat, by whom he was well received. Then Dababhat left his house for Puja and Dr. Pandit accompanied him. Dadabhat worshipped Baba. Nobody until then dared to apply sandal paste on Baba’s forehead. Only Mhalsapati used to apply it to His throat. But this simple-hearted devout, Dr. Pandit, took Dabadhat’s dish containing Puja-materials and taking sandal-paste out of it, drew a Tripunda, i.e. three horizontal lines on Baba’s forehead. To the surprise of all, Baba kept silent without uttering a single word. Then Dababhat that evening asked Baba, “How is it, that though You object to the sandal-paste being applied by others to Your forehead, but You allowed Dr. Pandit to do so now?” Baba replied that Dr. Pandit believed Him to be the same as his Guru, Raghunath Maharaja of Dhopeshwar, known as Kaka Puranik, and he applied the paste to His forehead, as if he was doing to his Guru. Hence, He could not object. On enquiry, Dr. Pandit told Dadabhat that he took Baba as his Guru Kaka Puranik, and hence he marked the Tripunda on Baba’s forehead, as he did on his Guru’s head. Though Baba allowed the devotees to worship Him as they pleased, still sometimes, He acted in a strange way. Sometimes, He threw away the Puja-dish and was wrath Incarnate, then who could approach Him? Sometimes, He scolded the devotees; at times, He looked softer than wax, a statue of peace and forgiveness. Though He seemed to shake with anger and His red eyes rolled round and round, still, He was internally a stream of affection and motherly love. Immediately, He called out His devotees and said He would ever be angry with His devotees if mothers kicked their children and if the sea turned back the rivers, He cannot neglect the devotees’ welfare: that He, the slave of His devotees, always stood by them, and responded to them, whenever they called upon Him, and that He always longed for their love.
Haji Sidik Falke
There was no certainty, when Baba would accept a devotee. That depended on His sweet will. Sidik Falke’s story proves this point. One Mahomedan gentleman by name Sidik Falke of Kalyan, after making a pilgrimage to Mecca and Madina, came to Shirdi. He lived in a Chawdi, facing north, and sat in the open court-yard of the Masjid. For nine months, Baba ignored him, and did not allow him to step into the Masjid. Falke felt much disconsolate, and did not know what to do. Somebody advised him not to be disappointed, but to try to approach Baba through Shama (Madhavarao Deshpande), a close and intimate devotee of Baba. He told him that as they approach the God Shiva through his servant and devotee, Nandi, so Baba should be approached through Shama. Falke liked the idea and implored Shama to intercede for him. Shama agreed and on a convenient occasion spoke to Baba about him thus: “Baba, why don’t You allow the old Haji to step into the Masjid, while so many persons freely come and go, after taking Your darshan, why not bless him once?” Baba replied, “Shama, you are too young to understand things. If the Fakir (Allah) does not allow, what can I do? Without His grace, who will climb into the masjid? Well, go to him and ask him whether he will come to the narrow footpath near the Barvi well.” Shama went and returned with an affirmative answer. Again, Baba said to Shama, “Ask him whether he is willing to pay me the sum of Rs. 40,000/- in four instalments.” Shama went and returned with the answer that he was willing to pay even 40 lacs. Again, Baba said to Shama- “We are going to sacrifice a goat in the Masjid, so ask him, whether he would like to have mutton, haunch or testicles of the goat.” Shama returned with the answer that the Haji would be happy to receive a small crumb from Baba’s kolamba (mudpot). Hearing this Baba got excited and with His hands threw away the pitcher and kolamba and straightway advanced to the Haji and lifting His Kafni up with His hands said – “Why do you brag and fancy yourself great and pose yourself as an old Haji? Do you read Koran like this? You are proud of your pilgrimage to Mecca, but you do not know Me.” Being thus scolded, the Haji was confounded. Baba then went back to the Masjid, purchased a few baskets of mangoes and sent them to the Haji. Then again Baba went to the Haji and taking out Rs.55/- from His pocket, gave them to the Haji. From that time, Baba loved the Haji, invited him for meals and the Haji, thereafter, came into the Masjid whenever he liked. Baba gave him at times some rupees, and thus the Haji was enlisted in Baba’s Darbar.
Baba’s Control over the Elements
We shall close this chapter after describing two incidents showing Baba’s control over the elements.
(1) Once at evening time, there was a terrible storm at Shirdi. The sky was overcast with thick black clouds. The winds began to blow hard; the clouds reverberated, the lighting began to flash, and it started raining in torrents. In a short time, the whole place was flooded with water. All the creatures, birds, beasts and men got terribly frightened and they all flocked to the Masjid for shelter. There are many local deities in Shirdi, but none of them came to their help. So, they all prayed to Baba – their God, Who was fond of their devotion, to intercede and quell the storm. Baba was much moved. He came out and standing at the edge of the Masjid, addressed the storm in a loud and thunderous voice – “Stop, stop your fury and be calm.” In a few minutes the rains subsided, the winds ceased to blow, and the storm came to a stop. Then the moon rose in the sky, and people then went back home well-pleased,
(2) On another occasion at noon, fire in the Dhuni began to burn bright; its flames were seen reaching the rafters above. The people sitting in the Masjid did not know what to do. They dared not to ask Baba to pour water or do anything to quench the flames. But Baba soon came to realize, what was happening. He took up His Satka (short stick) and dashed it against a pillar in front, saying – “Get down, be calm.” At each stroke of the Satka, the flames began to lower and slow down; and in a few minutes the Dhuni became calm and normal. This is our Sai, an Incarnation of God. He will bless any man who will prostrate and surrender himself to Him. He, who will read the stories of this Chapter daily with faith and devotion, will soon be free from all calamities; not only this, but always attached and devoted to Sai, he will get very soon God-vision: all his desires will be fulfilled and being ultimately desire-less, he will attain the Supreme. Amen!
Bow to Shri Sai — Peace be to all
Observations – Chapter 11
Whatever happened with Haji Phalke was programmed by Baba. He made Haji repent until he realized his mistakes and forgot any arrogance he had – only then he was inspired to approach Baba via Shama (only then Baba relented, otherwise Haji would not have been allowed in). Haji’s repentance is evident from his humble responses.
From this one can learn that one really has to get rid of any pride/arrogance to approach Baba.
Some instances below provide more proofs for Baba’s control over “elements”:
Following statements were given by W. Pradhan at Santa Cruz, 19th October, 1936:
At my first visit to Shirdi, there were severe storm and rain for quarter of an hour when I was with Baba at the masjid. I then thought that if rain continued like this, river would swell and getting back to Bombay would be difficult and Baba would not grant me early leave to go away.
Baba then looked at the sky and said: “Oh God! Enough, stop the rain. My children have to go back home. Let them go back without difficulty.” As He spoke, the rain became gentler and feeble. I realised that Baba knew my innermost thoughts. Then He gave me leave to go and I took Udhi and Tirtha for my mother and took Punjab Mail. The night after my return my sister-in-law dreamt, that a fakir robed in a Kufni and wearing a towel on His head was in our house. This I realized what Baba said, “I will accompany you home,” was proved as Baba came to our house.
The following are from Sai Superman:
Once hay stacks in a Shirdi field caught fire and the crops of Shirdi people, collected in that place, were in danger of being burnt down, at the earnest entreaties of the Shirdi farmers, Baba went there and drew round the burning hay-stack a circle of water, stating, the fire would not then spread beyond that line, the farmers found that Baba’s control of fire was unique for the fire stopped so soon as the hay stack marked by Baba was burnt down.
Another instance of His control over elements occurred when one day He was taking His meals at the Dwarkamayee and some persons were sitting by, He bawled out, “Stop” and when after finishing His meals He had all His belongings removed outside the Dwarkamayee, the ceiling cracked and at once came down with a crash, splinting mortar bricks etc. all over the Dwarkamayee.
Sri Satchit Anand Satguru Sainath Maharaj ki Jai!