That Sai Satcharita is a consequence of Baba’s grace is evident in the fact that several Chapters of this holy book including this one include the word “Grace” in the title. The use of this word represents the writer’s sense of joy and pure love for his Sadguru Baba Malik, his complete surrender to Him and the humility with which he acknowledges this mercy. Baba’s grace became instrumental in the composition of the stories that adorn the pages of the treatise, the fountainhead to Baba, the only one of its kind!. And if the great Hemadpant could create only after receiving Baba’s blessings can anyone of us claim otherwise? This learner too eagerly looks at Baba’s idol, bows to Him and seeks His loving mercy to pen every single word that is typed on the page!
It’s a beautiful Thursday morning! What better than Ch. 21 (auspicious number) to summarise and interpret this lovely morn! Here it comes😊:
The book: Shree Sai Satcharita Author: Shri Govind Raghunath Dabholkar alias Hemadpant alias Annasaheb
Chapter 21 Bestowing Grace.
SUMMARY: One of the meanings of ‘Bestowing’ is ‘donating’ and every Sai bhakt can vouch for the fact that none can donate the way Sai does, be it the wealth of love or that of material things! Don’t we know and acknowledge just how much each one of us has grown ever since we sought shelter in Baba’s holy feet. This chapter which shares a few stories about the growth in devotion to Baba epitomises the Sadguru’s kindness and his gracious love for all those who are willing to surrender to Him.
Hemadpant reminds his readers that only the blessed one receives a saint’s darshan and that again with the saint’s will.
Ovi 11 emphatically states, “….the unfortunate can never reach the vicinity of the saints. This most difficult of meetings can be accomplished only by God’s grace.”
Citing his own example, Hemadpant states that he was not fortunate enough to receive the grace of Pir Maulana (Sufi spiritual guide) who resided in Bandra despite being posted as a Magistrate in the court there. And this despite the fact that Inus, the Pir’s Mujawar (the one who takes care of the Dargah and serves) met him several times all because he thought otherwise. Hemadpant admits that thousands went for the Pir’s darshan, but he did not want to spoil his name. Moreover, “I was, as it were, afraid of my own shadow and somehow ill luck came on the way.” (Ovi 10). It was only many years later that lady fortune shone on him and he got attached to Shirdi.
Likewise, another gentleman, who was well educated and went on to become a Mamlatdar and then Assistant Collector was posted in Vadgaon (near Belgaum). He had the good fortune of meeting a holy man who informed him that when he moves northward he would meet a great saint who would be his actual guide and Guru. This gentleman was transferred from Vadgaon to Junnar. To reach the destination, he had to negotiate a precarious and steep climb (Nane ghat) on a buffalo back since that was the only mode that worked in that region. The man was next posted to Kalyan where he made friends with Nana Saheb Chandorkar. Observe Baba’s leela, the manner in which he was pulling his ‘sparrow’ with a string. Chandorkar told him about Sai Baba and suggested he take his darshan. But since the Asst Collector had to attend a court case he dilly-dallied and Nana Saheb himself left for Shirdi. As chance would have it the court hearing got postponed and the man repented having lost a chance to visit Shirdi with Nana Saheb. Nonetheless, he chose to travel on his own and arrived in Shirdi hoping to bump into Nana Saheb. But Sai had other plans. Nana had left and it was another friend who brought him to Sai’s masjid. A mesmerising darshan was interrupted by Baba’s words, “The path of this place is not so easy as the teachings of the Kanarese Appa or even the buffalo ride in the ghats.” Baba was aware of all that was happening in the Assistant Collector’s life even though he was taking his first darshan! Leave you to imagine this scene and the expression on the visitor’s face!
It is essential to read what Hemadpant has written with reference to the high posts we strive for: “Outwardly these posts look very attractive, like mountains from a distance but if you go nearer to them, they are found surrounded by trees which give an itch…”
The next incident is about Anantrao Patankar who came to Shirdi from Pune seeking Sai’s benevolence and mercy to calm his rather restless mind. He had read many holy books and chanted mantras but to no avail. When he begged Baba for this boon, Baba narrated a humorous story about a merchant. The merchant whose horse passed stools nine times was alert enough to deftly collect the dropping in his wrap each time! Sai’s short but meaningful story perplexed Patankar. But Baba helped him through His bhakt, Dada Kelkar. Dada apprised Shri Patankar that the horse who led the path represents God and the nine droppings are the nine forms of worship. These forms are: Singing God’s praise, Listening to it, Remembering Lord Vishnu, Serving at His feet, Offering Prayer, Bowing down before him, Being humble, Developing affection and Surrendering the Atma (soul). In a nutshell, absolute surrender with mind, body, and soul.
The chapter’s closing story is about a lawyer who visited Shirdi and while taking darshan was greeted with the words, “What frauds people are! They touch my feet, offer Dakshina also, and abuse me in the heart of hearts….” (Ovi 109)
The lawyer recalled that he had once been party to bad mouthing a colleague, a Sai bhakt who had complete faith in Baba’s Udi as a medication. Having understood the true import of Sai’s words, he gratefully acknowledged that what Sai said “was not a scolding but a blessing in itself.”
INTERPRETATION: The title speaks of Baba Sai’s generosity, His giving nature, His kindness despite the past misdemeanours of the bhakts. A loving mother, Sai forgives every mistake and is okay with His children snuggling in His lap to experience the safety and warmth of His loving embrace.
Hemadpant’s narration of his own imperfections when he avoided meeting the Pir reveals his humility and ability to publicly acknowledge a mistake. Why does he do so? For the benefit of his readers so that they may not end up making such transgressions and learn from his mistakes. The writer’s kindness comes through loud and clear. When he mentions he was afraid of his own shadow he unveils his hidden fears which kept him away from the saints and which were gradually overcome in Baba’s company. Remember Hemadpant mentioned his unhappiness relating the Gurucharitra in an earlier Chapter?
In the story of the Assistant Collector we learn that no matter how many miles separate Baba and His bhakts (Vadgaon and Shirdi), he is aware of every little detail of our life! It reveals both Sai’s Omnipresence and His omniscience. Another revelation is about saints who ay never meet yet connect in the spiritual plane! And one can ignore an eternal truth –Baba’s large-heartedness! Though the highly placed official delayed his arrival in Shirdi, Baba welcomed him with His characteristic welcoming nature. No anger in this God. No displeasure too. Just torrents of pure love and consequent bliss. Hence, can there ever be fear in worship? And if there is no fear of anger and strong reactions, but contrarily only a loving response of the Guru, then isn’t it natural that hordes and thousands and millions seek Baba’s shelter to this day!
The next story! Shri Patankar’s experience has been narrated for a very direct benefit: Simple straightforward worship, no rituals, no external paraphernalia just complete surrender to God, Loyalty to Him and whole-hearted, spirited worship of Him! No need to accumulate anything for puja, no jewels or gold crowns, no fancy garments or grand ostentation, simple, humble faith and ceaseless remembrance of the Lord’s name is sufficient to take us peacefully to Him.
And the lawyer? Several points to ponder on, in this short story. One, Baba’s all-knowing nature comes forth and is reiterated. Secondly, the fact that no matter how much we may relish and enjoy back-biting and gossip, we tend to distance ourselves from the love of Sai in doing so. These are best refrained from. Third, Baba in his unique manner apprises bhakts of his knowledge of every occurrence and this serves as a gentle warning to bhakts. Never does Sai directly reprimand or preach what to do or not to do. He makes clear his unhappiness about past situations, leaving it to us to mend our ways. If we choose to do otherwise, we should be prepared to lose Sai and His loving grace or a least accept the growing distance between Him and us! How about the lawyer’s response? Is there a lesson for the readers? Certainly! 😊 Prompt to understand Baba’s words, he did not feel disgruntled or embarrassed, rather he was candid enough to admit his grave error. It also shows his love for Sai and the open declaration of his wish to remain in Baba’s divine refuge.
Sai’s refuge is the most secure! Come, let us seek His holy feet! Sai Om! 🙏😇
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 Chapter 18 Chapter 19 Chapter 20