Chapter 17 is an off-shoot of the earlier Chapter 16 which posed a challenge as does this one. An appeal, a CTA (Call to Action) to all of you to share your noble thoughts in the comment section below.
The book: Shree Sai Satcharita Author: Shri Govind Raghunath Dabholkar alias Hemadpant alias Annasaheb
Chapter 17. The Narration of the Knowledge of Brahman
Resonating the idea of the previous one, Ch 16, Hemadpant talks even more about Self-realisation or Brahman. This Chapter appears to engage the stream of consciousness technique wherein the writer briskly moves from one thought to another weaving a pattern of what an ideal life and living entails, the role and absolute necessity of the Guru’s grace, Baba’s words which are a treasure trove of infinite wisdom and the must-haves, absolute pre-requisites for attaining salvation. Moving from one idea to another, Anna Saheb leaves the readers with more than several mouthfuls to chew on simultaneously. In fact, rumination might be a better way to understand what he puts across to all seekers of spiritual life.
Let’s split the Chapter into 3 parts. The first part deals with reassuring the listeners/readers that a restless mind keeps one away from salvation or Mukti from the cycle of life and death. Calming the mind, the senses and innumerable resurgent desires is the way forward on the spiritual road. Even a slight wavering sets you back by miles!
The middle section of Ch. 17 reverts to the story of the wealthy man who wants a quick-fix Brahman from Baba and visits Shirdi with this motive. (for the complete story refer to Ch. 16. In this part Baba addresses each one of us, albeit speaking with this wealthy visitor, how attaining Brahman is extremely difficult and a path only a few can take since it comes attached with requirements like complete purity of mind, absolute surrender in mind, body and soul to the Almighty and single-minded devotion. However, for those of us who may feel overwhelmed with such expectations, Baba’s words of reassurance are bound to offer comfort: “My treasury is full, I can give anything anyone asks for but I have to take into account the receiver’s capacity…..”(Ovi 78) Sai’s words are a soothing balm: “If you heed all that I have said you will be benefitted…..” (Ovi 79).
In the final section of Ch. 16, Hemadpant tells us that since the path to Mukti is very difficult for most of us, it would be best if we seek refuge in the Guru, our Baba Sai, who would relieve us of our past and present karmas, thereby freeing the spiritual path of its usual hurdles. Baba’s darshan, remembering Him each day, chanting His holy name incessantly and reading the Satcharita or even listening to it routinely are the best ways for us to secure our goal of being attaining salvation. To most of us, practising the austerities, reading the Vedas, Upanishads and scriptures might pose a great challenge, what with our limited understanding! But the Satcharita is our saviour. Reading Sai’s stories are a sure-fire way of upliftment to the realm of spirituality promises Anna Saheb specially because Baba is Himself the writer of this holy book!
Another tough one! Once again this humble writer seeks your help for analysis of Ch. 17. It’s a CTA (Call to Action) to all kindly ones to share their noble thoughts in the comment section below. 😊😊
The miniscule that this ignorant writer understands is stated below:
What may have been the thought behind this chapter considering most of what had to be said about attaining Supreme Knowledge had been stated in the previous one? For one Ch 16 was about the story and Baba’s profound words that freedom from births and deaths is not for those held back by attachments. Ch. 17 spells out the writer’s views, his intent being reinforcement and further strengthening the previous knowledge. Ch 16 informed us that Brahman can’t be attained in a hurry, it may require multiple births and unfathomable amounts of efforts on the part of the seeker together with the more important guidance of an accomplished saint, the Guru. Ch 17 elaborates on the processes of the same, it defines the path itself! How one may access the path to spirituality.
Interestingly, Hemadpant tells us that this supreme state can’t really be found! Why? Since, “When all doubts of the mind are cleared, it then appears before you on its own.” (Ovi 36) What the writer might want to tell us is that quite like when the mist lifts to reveal the true colour, shape and size of things it concealed or obscured, creating fear in the variation so also, when dubiety of the mind is erased, the veil lifts, all unnecessary questions dissolve, then appears the clarity of thought, a realisation what exactly the truth is. Such truth is the ultimate one; it helps us realise our individual self, our true intent and purpose in life and then as if on cue, all shackles break, relieving us from bonds that had held us back. These bonds may vary from riches and accumulated wealth to unceasing doubts and even ties to the near and dear ones. Only when one understands that this journey and the subsequent ones entail only the traveller that is the individual himself/herself, does this journey of realisation actually begin. It is at such a time when one becomes unmindful of the body, quells the demands of the mind and begins to live in and for the soul, the sole eternal object/being, that one starts on the path towards attaining Brahman.
Certainly, for such an exalted state of being, the person needs to bear a steady, focussed mind, exercise complete self-control and nurture no desires except that of becoming one with the Almighty. And to be in such a state on one’s own isn’t an easy one. One definitely needs the guidance of the Divine say a saint, or a Guru. His ceaseless worship helps us inch closer to our goal (this goal becomes the Guru’s goal too) that of realisation/salvation/Mukti/freedom from the cycle of birth and death!
Sai Om! 🌹
P.S. Pssst…Please answer this query: Is this post easier to understand? Is it short enough to be read? Your honest views guide. 🙏🙏
For Summary and Interpretation of: Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Chapter 5 Chapter 6 Chapter 7 Chapter 8 Chapter 9 Chapter 10 Chapter 11 Chapter 12 Chapter 13 Chapter 14 Chapter 15 Chapter 16