Here comes the third chapter from the Satcharita, Govind Raghunath Dabholkar’s unparalleled record of Shirdi Sai Baba’s amazing life journey and beyond.
Sai’s Leelas are absolutely stunning. Baba has a plan chalked out for each of us and these as per our receiving potential and ability. So then, for this bhakt, it is writing Baba stories. The journey began with sharing experiences and graduated to understanding the content of the Satcharita at a deeper level. Learning has grown from an exploration of Chapter 1 to Chapter 2. This Thursday let us visit Chapter 3.
Ya Sai! Take us forward on this enriching journey! Help more people join the conversation, Baba.
The book: Shree Sai Satcharita Author: Shri Govind Raghunath Dabholkar alias Hemadpant alias Annasaheb
Shree Sai Satcharita: Chapter 3, The Consent Given to Write this Book
Summary: It is Anna Saheb’s forte to present totally different ideas and stories weaved together by a common thread. Absolutely amazing! In the third Chapter, Annasaheb explores Baba’s omniscience and generosity when He not only assures him about the writing of the book but also takes care of the unvoiced anxiety pertaining to family sustenance after Anna Saheb’s retirement. The writer was not entitled to any pension.
Hemadpant begins by eulogising virtues of the Guru, Baba Sai. Despite few spoken words, Baba assures him of His constant divine presence. After comforting the writer that He Himself would write the Satcharita, Baba says, “Listen to the story with due reverence, meditate fully upon it, intently contemplate upon it and you will attain peace” (Ovi 18).
Adeptly, Hemadpant blends Baba’s words with those of Lord Krishna. The reference is to Krishna’s conversation with the reluctant though valiant charioteer, Arjuna. Krishna’s omnipresence and omniscience are detailed via words from the Gita and the same is then extended to the loveable and accessible Baba Sai. Malik refers to listening to His stories with a focussed attention to be rid of the sins of this life and overcome the vices housed within us. This so we may attain a state of bliss and eventually merge with Him. This idea tunes into Hemadpant’s own financial concern, which takes the shape of a story, whose narrator is not the writer but a well-wisher, Annasaheb Chinchanikar. Shri Chinchanikar presents Shri Dabholkar’s concern before Baba seeking redressal. Baba responds in His characteristic fashion that it will be taken care of and Shri Dabholkar who should simply focus on serving Him i.e. Baba!
Baba’s emphasis on the presence of God in every particle is emphasised throughout the chapter Consequently, we must focus all attention and divert all energies in worshipping Him in earnest. To give credence to this idea comes the story of the ‘hefty’ like a ‘male-buffalo’ Rohilla (pathan) who surrenders to Baba. This ‘self-willed’ man has the complete support of Baba and sings verses from the Koran at the top of his voice taking away the peace, tranquillity and along with that the sleep of the hard-pressed villagers. When these troubled simpletons turn to Baba for succour, Baba gently brushes their complaints away. In fact He mildly reprimands them too citing an allegorical narration! Sai Baba informs them that the moment the singer ceases to sing in praise of God, ‘his (Pathan’s) wife’, who is a nasty lady, would begin to bother him day and night and he would go crazy meeting her requests. Baba adds that not only the Rohilla, but Baba too would be troubled by the vicious ‘lady’. And then Sai demolishes all arguments with the fact that He enjoys listening to the singing as the man is praising God and what better way can one keep busy day and night! There end all pleas and complaints and the villagers resign to their state.
The chapter concludes with words similar to the ones stated earlier by Shri Krishna. Baba reiterates that worshipping God, who knows everything and seeking refuge in the Guru is the best way forward in life. In Baba’s words: “Wherever you are, and whatever you may be doing, always bear it in mind that I shall continue to be informed of the minutest details of your deeds.” (Ovi 143)
Essence: Annasaheb through this chapter acknowledges the greatness of Shirdi Sai Baba and likens Him and His words to Shri Krishna helping the reader understand the unity between the two. Not only that, Baba’s wisdom, His knowledge of the Gita become evident, despite none having seen Him read the book at any point in time. Baba’s omnipresence and His all-knowing aspect have been explored to show that one needn’t state one’s anxieties or needs to Baba, for He is aware of exactly what each one of us needs.
That Baba has nothing but the welfare of everyone in mind is expressed via the narration of Anna Saheb’s financial concerns. Once again, the Guru and His supremely essential role in a bhakt’s life are explored, reinforcing the thoughts of Chapter 2. Furthermore, absolute devotion becomes the fulcrum of our life, rather than worldly things. Worldly concerns recede to the background and assume little significance. The Rohilla story shows that Baba gives precedence to anyone who places a priority on God’s worship. The thread that runs through this chapter is the worship of the Divine and leaving everything to Him. Further, all those who worship the Almighty sincerely are dear to Baba! In Anna Saheb’s words: “In this manner, Baba conveyed to one and all that he liked the Rohilla’s company because he loved God’s name.” (Ovi 140)
And what of the ‘wicked wife’? Could that be a reference to Maya, the delusionary temptress who has a hold over each one of us? Baba via the sturdy and committed Pathan’s dedication shows how the temptations of life can be warded off: by constantly chanting God’s name.
In the end, would like to draw your attention to the paradox which as a literary device nails the understanding of an idea and provokes thought through its shock value. Annasaheb uses this device a lot. The final Ovi (185) is an exemplar: As a miser, wherever he is, has his mind fixed on his hidden treasure, day and night, in the same easy way Sai should dwell in our minds.” As we would understand Hemadpant points at the drive, zeal and dedication of a miser and nothing else.
Hope you enjoyed reading the summary and analysis of Chapter 3 as much as the writer. Please do share your thoughts. 🙏❤ All you need to do is follow Baba’s blog to have access to comment.
Till next Thursday, Sai Ram! 🙂 🌹