Sri Sai Sachcharira - Chapter -9 - Part 1

Effect of touch of Guru's hand and Sai Baba's words, URS on Ramanavami Day, Chandan celebration, Arrangement for the fare, Inter-relatedness of US and Ramanavami, Renovvation of mosque.
Shirdi Sai Baba, Mylappore, Chennai

Effect of touch of Guru's hand and Sai Baba's words

The power of the touch of the hand of Sadguru is great and astonishing. The subtle body, which is indestructible even by the fire and it envelopes the world, is vanquished by the mere touch of the hand of Guru. Sins of innumerable births are washed away. The mind of such people who have no interest in religious and Godly matters become inclined to piety. The voice gets chocked by ecstasy at the mere 'darshan' of Sri Sai Baba's enchanting form, tears begin to flow and when the heart is overtaken by emotion, bliss of Atmic experience follows with the feelings of "I am that"(So_Aham).

When ego begins to be inflated in devotees, then Guru by annihilating it bestows his power and enables them to attain their final aim and make them worthy of eternal happiness and contentment. The one who takes refuge in Baba becoming humble easily attains virtue, prosperity, pleasures and liberation. There are four paths leading to God-realization works, wisdom, yoga and devotion. Of these the path of devotion is full of pitfalls, and thorns. But if by relying upon Sadguru and avoiding pitfalls and thorns one proceeds further the ultimate aim is easily attained. For the upliftment of devotees the following words of assurance given by Sri Sai Baba are memorable.

In the house of devotees there shall be no shortage of food and clothings'. This is my special attribute that whosoever takes refuge in Me and worships Me in his innermost being I am always worried about his welfare. Lord Krishna too dwelt upon this in Gita. So do not worry unnecessarily for food and clothings'. If you are desirous of asking for something then ask only for God. By giving up the wordly praises and titles, get grace of God and his boon of being fearless, keep on holding fat to your "Ishta"(particular chosen form of God). Engage all your senses and mind in contemplation of God. Do not be attracted to anything material and be immersed in Me so that the tendancies of your mind are not drawn towards senses, progeny, wealth, name and fame. Then your mind shall become steady, peaceful and fearless. Attaining this state is indicative of 'sthitpragya'. If the wavering of mind is not controlled then it cannot be concentrated upon and ultimate goal cannot be achieved".

URS on Ramanavami Day

There was one inspector Shri Gopalrao Gund in Kopargavon village. He was a great devotee of Baba. He had three wives, but none had a child. By the race of Sri Sai Baba he got a son. In the event of being so happy in 1897 he got an idea that a fare or urs should be held in Shirdi. He expressed his idea to other devotees - Tatya Patil, Dada Kote Patil and Madhav Rao. They all liked the idea and they got evev the approval of Baba.

For holding urs was required Government permission. So an application was sent to the collector. But permission was not granted due to objection by village official, but on trying a second time for it the permission was finally granted and with the approval of Baba holding urs on Ramanavami day was decided accordingly.

But now there was difficulty of getting water. There were only two wells in village of which one used to be dry and water of the other was salty. Baba turned salty water to sweet water by dropping a flower into the well. But for how many people water from one well suffice? So Tatya Patil arranged for getting water from outside. Temporary storage of woods and bamboo were put up and boats were arranged. A friend of Gopal Rao Damu Anna Kasar liven in Ahmednagar. He was grieved beacuse of having no child. He too was blessed with a son by the grace of Sri Sai Baba. Sri Gund asked him to offer a flag. Another flag was given by Shri Nana Saheb Nimonar. Both the flags were taken in procession with great gaiety through out the village, and at last they were hoisted on the corners of the mosque which was called Dwarakamai by Baba. This programme continues to be held as before even till to-day.
Ramanavami at Shirdi

"Chandan" Celebration

This celebration was the idea of muslim devotee of Korhal Shri Amir Shakkar Dalal. Normally such a celebration is observed in the honor of Muslim Pir. Lots of sandal paste is collected by rubbing it on a stone sill and placed along with perfumed sticks in large flat vessels. The sticks are lighted and taken in procession to the mosque where the celebration comes to an end. The 'sandal paste' and burning perfumed sticks are scattered on Neem tree and around the mosque. For the first three years arrangements for this celebration were made by ShriAmir Shakkar and after him, his wife did the same. So flag procession by Hindus and 'Chandan' procession by the Muslims were taken out together. This tradition continues even till to-day.

Arrangement for the Fare

The sacred day of Ramanavami is very dear to the devotees of Sri Sai Baba. The external and internal matters were managed by Tatya Pati and a great devotee of Sri Sai Baba Radhakishna mai respectively. On this occassion their residence used to be full of guests and they had to take care of all people who gathered there. At the same time they had to make all necessary arrangements for the fare. The other job she used to do with pleasure was to sweep and clean the mosque and white-wash it. The walls and courtyardof the mosque got blackened due to smoke coming out of constantly burning fire inside it. when Baba would go to Chawadi for taking rest there during night then she used to do all the work. Everyhting including burning pier had to be taken out of the mosque and after cleaning and white-washing they had to be placed in their proper places and properly decorated. The most dear activity of Baba was feeding the poor, which was a part of all the celebrations. For this purpose grand feast used to be arranged. All this job used to be done at the residence of Radhakrishna mai. Many rich persons helped by contributing money. Several volunteers also took active part in the arrangements of the fare.

Inner-relatedness of Ramanavami and URS

In 1911, a changed occured in this programme. A devotee KrishnaraoJogeshwar Bhishma, the author of Sagunopasana, stayed one day before the fare in the Dixit Wada at Shirdi along with Dada Saheb Khaparne of Amaravati. When he was lying in its corridor, Laxmanarao alias Kaka Mahajani was going towards the mosque carrying with him articles of worship. They both exchanged their views how to hold URS fare together with Ramanavami celebration?

......to be continued....

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