Chapter 2, Sai Satcharita

In the previous chapter the writer of the original work in Marathi language has shed light on the grounds which inspired him to commence his unique Sri Sai Satcharita. Those who are deserving to read this book and the related matters are dealth with in this chapter.

The object of writing the book

Baba’s ‘Leela’ how he eradicated the cholera epidemic by wheat grinding and getting it scattered all over the village boundary has already been described in the first chapter. I heard other ‘leelas’ too, which enthralled my heart and the fountain of bliss blossomed forth into the composition of this book. I contemplated in my mind that the description of such ‘Leelas’ will prove to be entertaining and instructive to the devotees and their sins shall for ever be uprooted. Therefore, I commenced writing Baba’s life story and his nectar-like teachings, which is neither complicated, nor confined to any limits, but surely, it shows the real path to truth and spirituality.

Inability and boldness in commencement of the undertaking

Hemadpant felt that he was not competent and suitable to undertake this work of writing the book. He was bemused thus: I do not even know well the biography of my dear friend, nor am I familiar with his nature. Then, how a fool like me can dare to write the life story of a living great saint. Even Vedas fail to delineate the nature of incarnation (Avatar). It is absolutely necessary to be a saint oneself before one can attempt to understand another saint. Then I am entirely unsuitable to describe his glories. It needs a great deal of boldness to write the life story of a saint and it might happen that I become a laughing-stock before the people. Therefore, in order to get Sai’s grace, I began to pray God.

The jewel among the Marathi saints Sant Gyaneshwar Maharaj says that God is very much pleased with the one who writes the life-story of a saint. Sant Shiromani Tulasi Das also says thus:

“ Satcharit shubh saris Kapasu
Niras Vishad Gunmay Fal Jassu.
Jo Sahi Dukh Par chhidra Durva
Vandniya Jehi Jag Jas Pava.”

(Character of saints is auspicious like snow-white-cotton. He who describes their life-stories become virtuous and full of merits. Those who put a lid on the faults of others and are merciful even at great pains to themselves are adorable and their glory spreads far and wide in the world.

Devotees always entertain feelings of serving the saints and saints’ way of getting the work done are indeed wonderful. In reality, inspiration comes from the saints, and devotees are merely their instruments of accomplishing the work. For example, in 1700 Saka Sambat Poet Mahipati got the inspiration to write about the life of saints, God instilled the inspiration in the saints, and the work was accomplished. Likewise, in Saka Sambat 1800 Dasganu Maharaj’s service was accepted.

Mahipati composed four epics – Bhaktvijai, Santvijai, Bhaktlilamirita, Santlilamrita, Dasganu Mahraj composed only two – Bhaktlilamirta and Santlilamirta in which the life of some modern saints has been described. In chapter 31, 32 and 33 of Bhaktlilamirta and 57th. chapter of Santkathamrita nectar-like life of Sai Baba and his precious teachings have been described in the most beautiful and interesting way, which have been extensively quoted, in the 11, 12 and 17 issues of Sai Leela magazine. Readers perusal of theses books is earnestly urged. Likewise, description of wonderful Sai divine – sports is also given in another enhanting small book – “Sai Nath Bhajanamirtha” written by Mrs. Savitri Bai Raghunath Tendulkar of Bandra, Mumbai.
Dasganu Mahraj composed several sweet poems on Sai Babab. Another devotee Amidas Bhavani Mehta has published stories of Sai Baba in gujarathi language. Certain ‘Leelas’ of Sai Baba are published in Sai Prabha magazine too by Dakshina Bhiksha Sansthan of Shirdi. Now, the question arose, when such a vast literature is available, which throws light on the life of Sai Baba, then what necessity was of writing another book of Sri Sai Satcharita. The only answer to this is that the life of Sai Baba is like infinite ocean and if anyone dives deep into it then it is always easy to find pearls of wisdom (gyan) and devotion ( Bhakti), which shall be of immense benefit to the seeker.

The life of Sai Baba, his anecdotes and teachings are full of myriad great astonishments. The people afflicted with sufferings and misfortunes shall get happiness and peace in this world and merits in the other. If Sai Baba’s teachings, are contemplated upon with attention and sincerity, then devotees shall get the desired objective of their life and they shall easily attain indivisibility with od., in mind. I began to collect life stories of Sai Baba and I thought to myself that this is the best way of my spiritual practice ( Sadhana) available to me. This life-story of Sai Baba will prove to be of immense joy to those simple minded people who feel deprived of Sai Baba’s personal encountenance (darshan). I thought that now my job became rather easy and Baba shall make me happy in this life and in the other hereafter.

I myself could not gather courage to ask for permission of Sai Baba to write the book. Thereafter, I requested one of the devotees of his inner circle Madhavaro alias Shama for this purpose. Accordingly, he prayed Sai Baba with utmost humility thus: “This Anna Saheb is very curious to write your life-story; but please, for heaven’s sake, do not say like this that I am only a faqir and what is there any need to write my life-story at all. It is only with your permission and grace that he will be able to write the book; or may be it is the good merit of bowing at your holy feet that this work may be accomplished. Without your permission and blessing indeed nothing can be accomplished.”

Listening to this, Baba became very merciful and assured me by putting his hand on my head, and gave me ‘UDI’. He began to say, “let him go on collecting my stories and anecdotes. I will help him in doing so. I will myself fulfill desires of my devotees by writing my own autobiography. But he will have to give-up his ego and seek refuge in Me”.

The one who lives his life like this him I help the most. To write my life-story is simple and easy. I even help him variously when he remains at home. When his ego shall be totally annihilated, and there remains no trace of it to be found even by searching for it, I shall then be revealed in his inner-most-self and write my own autobiography and merely by listening to which shall be enkindled faith in the heart of devotees and they shall attain self-realization and bliss. While writing the book no attempt must be made to propound one’s views strongly and refute those of others and not get involved in vain controversies in favour or against any position on spiritual matters.

Bestowing Prophetic title of ‘Hemadpant’

Shri Kaka Saheb Dikshit and Nana Saheb Chandrokar were among by blossom friends. They had entreated me to go for Sai Baba’s darshan at Shirdi. I had even promised them to do so and go there with them. But due to some emergency and obstacle, I could not do so. The son of a close friend of mine fell ill in Lonawala and they tried all possible supernatural and spiritual means to get him cured; but no avail. At last they asked their preceptor to sit by the side of his head for a cure, but the result was the same as before. Looking at this event for their desperation, a thought came to my mind. When a preceptor is unable to save the life of the child of his disciple, then what is the benefit of having him at all? What avail is it to go to Shirdi for me indeed? I was assailed by such thoughts and thinking thus I postponed my journey to Shirdi. But there is a saying that whatever is to happen, does happen.

The officer of the area ( Mamaltar) Nana sahib Chandrokar was going on a tour of Basai. He reached Dadar from Thane and was waiting for the train going to Basai. At this time there arrived Bandra local train and travelling by it he reached Bandra and reprimanded me for postponing my journey to Shirdi. The reasoning of Nana Saheb appealed to me, and therefore, by preparing my bag and baggage I set-forth to Shirdi the same night. By reaching Dadar, I planned to take straight train for Manmad. According to this preplan, I enetered the compartment of the train going to Dadar. As soon as the train was to leave, a muslim entered my compartmentand on seeing my baggage he began to ask me where I was going to. I told him my plan. Then he told me that I should go straight to Borbhandar for getting the Manmad train. If this simple incident had not happened, my reaching Shirdi the next day as per my planwould not have been possible and I would have been assailed by many doubts and misgivings. But that was not to happen, and luck favored me. I reached Shirdi the next day before 9-10 o’clock.
This incident took place in 1890 when Sathe wada was the only place for the incoming devotees to stay. I was very desirous to have Sai Baba’s darshan as soon as I got down from the carriage there.

At that moment, the pearl among devotees Tatya Saheb Noolkar returned from the Mosque, and he told me that Sai Baba was at the turning of the Mosque at that time and told me to have his ‘darshan’ now, and thereafter go for meeting him later after taking bath etc. Hearing this I ran and prostrated at the Lotus feet of Sai Bai. My happiness knew no bounds then. What did I not gain at that moment? My body was thrilled and I lost my thirst and hunger. Ever since I touched his feet, there emerged a new wave of bliss inside me and my life was changed. I became indebted to him forever; I shall never be able to forget this benevolence of his in my life. I always salute him in my mind by remembering him, as I experienced, it is the special feature of Sai’s ‘darshan’ that change of thoughts and rooting out past birth’s actions indeed takes place yielding place to ‘vairagya’ in life. It is possible to have such ‘darshan’ only due to the accumulated merits of the past births.

Heated Discussion

On the very first day of my arrival at Shirdi a heated discussion took place between me and Bala Saheb. My view was that when one has to undergo effects of one’s own actions, then why is there need for Guru? Everyone must move forward by his own best efforts. What indeed does a Guru do for his disciple? He enjoys his sleep happily. Thus I advocated the side of freedom and Bala Saheb advocated the side of destiny. He reiterated that what is destined is bound to happen. In that, even the great man of the highest order failed as the proverb goes: “Man proposes and God disposes”. Advising me and he spoke thus: “Dear brother! Give up your mere intellectualism. Your ego shall be of no avail of you.” Thus about an hour was over in our propounding and demolishing one-another’s position and, as it is usually the case, there was no conclusion arrived at. On being thus tired of futile argumentation we had to put the discussion off.

The result was that I lost the peace of my mind and it appeared to me that so long as there is the wordly intellect and ego, there can never be possibility of avoiding a controversy, and if the same is uprooted, no controversy can take place on spiritual matters or otherwise. Indeed the sense of ego and self-superiority is the root cause of any controversy.

When along with other people, I reached the Mosque, then addressing to Kaka Saheb Baba asked: “What was going on in the Wada? What was the topic of discussion?”. Then by looking at me, he asked what this “Hemadpant” was saying? I was greatly astonished to hear all this. There was great deal of distance between Sathe Wada and the Mosque. Without being omniscient and omnipresent how could Baba have come to know of the discussion.

I began to think why Baba addressed me by the name of “Hemadpant” who was the well known minister of the king of Yadav Dynasty Mahadev of devgiri. He was a great intellectual of fine disposition and all round knowledge and well-versed in spiritual matters. He was the writer of excellect postry like ‘Rajprashashti’. He alone invented the new system of book-keeping and accountancy. Contrary to this, where I was an ignorant fool and idiot. Therefore, I could not understand what was the object of bestowing this title upon me?

At last, I reached the conclusion that Baba might have used this weapon to destroy my egoism so that I might become ego-less for all times to come or else it might be praising me for my sharpness of intellect and wit. When I dwelt upon the future, it became clear to me how meaningful it was for Baba to bestow upon me the title of ‘Hemadpant’. It is well-known, that in due course of time how intelligently and efficiently Dabholkar did the management of Sri Sai baba Sansthan and how well he maintained the accounts. At the same time, he composed the epic of Sri Sai Satchartita. In this treatise are included important spiritual gems of Gyan, Vairagya, Bhakti (Wisdom, detachment, devotion), surrender and self dedication.

Necessity of having a Guru

What views did Baba express on this sublime subject indeed there is no recod of any material or memos available that might have been written by ‘Hemadpant’. But Ka Saheb Dikshit has published his memo on this subject. The next day after ‘Hemadpant’ had gone to see Baba, kaka Saheb (on reaching the Mosque) asked permission to return home from Baba, which was granted.

Someone asked: “baba, where to go.”
Reply received: “Go high up”.
Question: “How is the Path?”
Baba: “There are many paths for reaching there. One path also goes from here. But this path is very difficult and there are tigers and wolves too in the jungle on the path.
Kaka Saheb: “What, if we take a guide with us?”
Baba: “Then there will be no difficulty. The guide shall take you straight to your destination by protecting from tigers and wolves, avoiding the pitfalls on the path. But in his absence there is possibility of getting astray or falling in the pits and alleys”. Dabhokar too was present at this occasion.

He thought that whatever Baba said was the answer to the question: “Why is there a necessity to have a Guru?” He firmly resolved once for ever that he will never be involved in any controversy how a free-man or a bounded-man fared in matters of spiritual concern. Contrarily, the real spiritual benefit lies in conforming to one’s Guru teachings.
-End of chapter 2


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