Chapter 1 of Sri Sai Sachacharitra

Wheat- grinding event and significance of grinding

'Hemadpant' commences his treatise with obeisance to Sri Ganesh, Saraswathi, divine trinity, family deity, parents and rishis. Thereafter, Sri Sai Satcharita has been described in the various chapters. the gist of all this is presented here while keeping the essence in tact in all respects.

The wheat-grinding event

In 1910, one day in the morning, I reached the mosque to have 'darshan' of sai baba. i was astonished beyond bounds to countenance strange scene. After washing his mouth and hands, Sai Baba instantly set-out for grinding-wheel on it and began grinding wheat.

I thought what is baba to do with grinding-wheat? He has none of his own to depend on him, and he has begging-bowl for his living. At that time, people present there also had similar thoughts. But who could care to enquire about it from baba? The news of Baba grinding wheat spread like a wild fire in the village. Soon after groups of men and women ran to the mosque and gathered there to see this unique 'leela'.

Four women moving through the crowd, came forward and pushed aside Baba from there and began to grind the wheat by singing his glories loudly. At first baba was enraged, but afterwards seeing their devotion he smiled. while grinding the wheat those women contemplated that Baba has neither family, nor has he anyone to depend upon him. He himself lives on the begging-bowl. Therefore, what is the need for his of the wheat-flour? baba is the mercy-incarnate, may be, he will distribute this wheat-flour among us. By contemplating thus they grinded the whole lot of wheat in no time. Then they put aside the grinding-wheel, divided the flour into four parts, and began to move away by taking each one her share.

Instantly, Baba began to shout using foul words who was so far engrossed in quietness,"Women, have you gone mad? Whose father's wealth have you usurped and are going away? Is it anyone indebted to you, so you are taking it away easily? Well, do now one thing. Take away this flour and sctter it on the borders of the village."

I asked the people of Shirdi what was the significance of all this that Baba did just then. they told me that the epidemic of cholera had reached its height and this is the remedy of baba for its eradication. Just now what you saw being grinded was not wheat but indeed it was cholera which Baba grinded. After this event the epidemic of cholera had indeed sub-sided and the villagers gained their health.

My happiness knew no bounds by knowing this and my curiosity was aroused. i began to ask myself,"what link could there be between the epidemic cholera and the flour?" how to solve this mystery? It appeared impossible. contemplating on this 'Leela' I was enthrilled, and thus I was inspired and it hardly needs to be emphasized that this work got accomplished by the grace and blessings of Baba.

Significance of grinding-wheat

What meaning the people of Shirdi attributed to this wheat-grinding incident is generally known to true. But besides this, there is another meaning and that is that Baba lived in Shirdi and almost daily did his job of grinding wheat. this grinding does not refer to wheat as a matter of fact, but refers to sins, misfortunes, mental and physical affiliations of devotees and Baba's way of eradicating them. The upper part of his grinding wheel is of devotion and the lower part is of action ('Karma'). The handle by holding which he used to do the grinding refers to the wisdom-consciousness('gyan'). It was Baba's firm belief that until man's tendencies of attachment, hatred and ego are not uprooted, which is almost impossible, the attainment of wisdom-consciousness('gyan') and self-realisation is utterly impossible.

This event reminds of a similar episode in the life of non-dualist saint Kabir who told his preceptor thus, " I am weeping bitterly because I am feeling pain of being grinded between the two parts of the wheel of worldly-life in the same way as the wheat is grinded into flour. His preceptor replied thus, "Be not afraid. Hold on fast to the handle of wisdom consciousness ('gyan') fixed at the center of the grinding wheel of worldle-life as you been seeing me to do. Go not afar from it and graviate to its epicentre. then it is certain that you shall be able to save yourself from this grinding wheal of worldly-life as the grains that are attached to the center of the grinding-wheel indeed are saved".

-End of chapter 1

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