Ovi 9-“ If the listener is keen and has due respect, the speaker also gets the right enthusiasm and his heart overflows with love. It is enjoyable for both of them.” So says the truly gifted and blessed Anna Saheb Dabholkar whom Baba addressed as ‘Hemadpant’! Anna Saheb echoes the sentiment of every speaker and in hindsight, every writer too. Holds true for this humble learner too!
Do read, dive in and thereafter, share your suggestions to help this writer navigate through these holy waters; she, having dived into their depths, will resurface with the hidden treasures collected during a deeply enriching submersion! 😊
Let’s take the leap of faith, into Ch 18!
The book: Shree Sai Satcharita Author: Shri Govind Raghunath Dabholkar alias Hemadpant alias Annasaheb
Chapter 18, Grace that was Bestowed on Me
SUMMARY: A brief synopsis is a challenge as far as Baba’s stories are concerned, yet trying helps, doesn’t it? 😊
Beginning on a note of gratitude, the writer, Anna Saheb, launches into the most superior praise for the Sadguru, Baba Sai: “Hail, hail to you without beginning or end!” (Ovi 2). He goes on to encourage those who have had experiences, not to hold them back, rather share them with the others so that the listeners may benefit, experience a calm mind! How does sharing about the Guru Leela help? Anna Saheb reiterates what our scriptures say: “Guru is actually God Himself. He is Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwar. Guru in reality is God Almighty. Guru is the Supreme Brahman.”(Ovi 20).
Several charming stories crisscross Ch. 18 and keep the readers engaged. To read them in detail do click here. The first occurrence is about Shri Sathe, (the owner of Sathe Wada) and is intertwined with Hemadpant’s own experience. Towards the end of the chapter, we arrive at a third story, but it leaves us seeking more since Hemadpant leaves it off midway promising to take it forward in the next Chapter.
To begin with, let us take a look at Shri Sathe’s story. It happened around the time when overthrowing the Crawford regime, Lord Reay became the governor of the State says Hemadpant giving it a historical and time context. When Shri Sathe became extremely restless, experiencing a major loss in business his friends advised a visit to Shirdi stating that bowing “in the dust of Sai’s feet” (Ovi 35 ) is the most glorious experience one can ever have. Restless, Sathe took Baba’s darshan and felt bathed in tranquillity.
In Shirdi, Shri Sathe began reading Guru Charita daily, till he completed it in seven days. Then, in a dream, Shri Sathe saw Baba seated before him reading and explaining the Guru Chaitra! New to Baba’s way, he did not know what to do. So he asked his friend, Kaka Saheb Dixit, to place his dilemma before Sai. Kaka asked his Guru lovingly if Sathe should read the book again and immediately the Guru suggested another reading for seven days. “Let there be more recitation.”(Ovi 56)
A story within a story follows. While Kaka Saheb was asking what Sathe should do, Anna Saheb was massaging Baba’s feet and heard Baba’s advice. This triggered Anna’s thought process! Says he, “The mind can imagine that which even an enemy cannot think of.” (Ovi 65). He begins to wonder how Sathe who was a mere seven days old in his worship had received Baba’s upadesh while he had spent seven fruitless years and received no benefit at all! Further, he had been reading the Charita for forty years, but to no avail! At this point, Anna Saheb diverts our attention to how Baba advised different sacred texts to different people based on their requirements and ability. Kaka Dixit was led to Nath Bhagwat in the mornings and Bhavartha Ramayana in the evenings. Bapu Saheb Jog was assigned the pothi and he alternated between Dyaaneshwari and Nath Bhagwat and so on. But Hemadpant’s inner feelings add a twist to this story! The omniscient Baba knew what was playing in his bhakts mind. He sent Anna Saheb on an errand to Shama’s house, asking to bring back a dakshina of Rs 15 but before that talk to him for a while. Shama who was finishing his morning prayers was astonished to see Anna Saheb at his door that early but welcomed him, asking him to wait. While Shama went inside his house, Anna Saheb picked the Bhagwat and opening it randomly, began reading. He was stunned because the page where he had abandoned the book in his hurry to go to the masjid was the one that he had opened by default. Immediately it struck Anna Saheb that Baba wanted him to finish the daily reading! Hence, while Shama finished his prayers, Anna finished the reading! To fulfil the second command Baba had given, the men began talking. Shama shared several Sai stories of which Anna Saheb tells one that about a steadfast elderly lady, Radhabai who came to Shirdi and sought a mantra from Baba. The mother of a devotee, Khashaba Deshmukh she decided to go on a fast till Baba conceded the mantra and upadesh to her. (Shama’s use of the word upadesh, stunned Anna Saheb. He too had thought about it in the masjid). The lady and Baba stood their grounds, till one day Shama decided to reason with Baba. Shama told Sai that if something were to happen to the frail, aging and sickly lady, it would bring infamy to Shirdi and to Baba too and so he must answer her prayers. At this juncture Hemadpant hurriedly brings the chapter to a close informing his eagerly waiting readers that the rest of the occurrence would be talked about in Ch. 19!
So wait it is, for each of us- You and this writer till we meet again next time. But here is the analysis of Ch 18
INTERPRETATION: Words of praise for Baba Sai pour in a torrent evoking bliss in the listener/reader. That is exactly the writers intent. To give joy! Also, he wishes to show his own love and devotion for Sai, to share his good fortune for being in proximity to this great saint whom not everyone had the privilege of meeting, serving and listening to in person. Anna Saheb expresses his gratitude to Baba at the beginning of each chapter by hailing Baba’s glory since it is Baba who is writing the stories through Anna and thereby ensuring the completion of the book. Left to his own devices, says Anna Saheb, he might be lost in the maze and beauty of the occurrences, ignorant of where to place them in the book, where to begin and take things forward. I guess this is quite true for most of us who nurture the secret wish of writing about Baba. Sai gives us direction.
Let us step into the world of more Sai stories. Shri Sathe’s story tells us of several aspects, the first being that anyone who comes to Baba with pure faith and love is received with as much love, irrespective of the duration of this faith or the time spent in proximity to Baba. The seeker with a pure heart and intent receives what he deserves. That is why every devotee is advised a different pothi to read.
The second learning from the Sathe incident is that each one is destined to receive something different based on his potential and need for learning. Once gain the time spent in bhakti or service is immaterial. The third and perhaps final is that no matter what, Baba always responds. One has to simply ask and if the request is genuine it is bound to be met. (haven’t we all experienced this innumerable times in our journey to and with Sai?)
The second story in which Anna Saheb is the protagonist and he feels bad about not being told anything by Baba pertaining to his daily reading, Baba does not respond directly. He plays His sport, sending Anna Saheb on an errand.-15/-rupees was a tidy sum in those days. Could it be that Anna Saheb has to walk that distance of 15 miles (figuratively) before he receives upadesh from Sai? Was he restless and needed to compose himself and so Baba sent him on this errand to a seasoned devotee, Shama? Could 15 entail the nine forms of worship, the surrendering of all five senses and finally the most important aspect, the self (heart, mind, soul) to Baba? 9+5+1=15! Just a thought! 🙂 And who can illustrate absolute surrender better than Shama himself whose very breath, whether asleep or awake uttered Sai’s name? Baba apprised Anna Saheb that every individual is different and is dealt with accordingly.
To wind up, the incident related to Radhabai. Though we know this one only in part, could it show that one can’t approach the Guru with a fixed mindset and then expect to receive exactly that? Guru is God, He knows what is best. If we reach Him it is because He wants us there, not because we want to be with Him! Extending this thought, we cannot make demands of Him, for what we seek may not be as beneficial s we think. With our limited knowledge, we ask for that which we know about. Totally oblivious of its repercussions. But the Guru, Baba Sai, knows what is best and is bound to give us that which proves beneficial and fruitful to us in the long run, on an eternal scale!
Cling to the Guru’s feet and wait for His Kripa! Sabka Malik Ek!
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 Chapter 17