hile, any ordinary or sufficiently experienced hypnotist with a command of blissful thought could fill his mind with blissful thoughts over a considerable period, and Baba's yoga sampoorna state enabled him to keep several people in such happy state, as they themselves have recorded in their experiences. Mrs. Tarabai Sadasiva Tarkhad says that though she had physical pains in her body and mental worries all making life quite miserable, yet when she went and sat before Baba, that very moment she felt steeped in Lethe, and all her anxieties, pains, cares, physical and mental, vanished. Till her departure from Dwarakamayee, she was enjoying a happy state.

A similar record is made by Mr Jehangir, who is called in the 'Devotees1 Experiences', a Blerk. This Jehangir, a Parsi, though not acquainted with the holy books that Mrs. Tarabai and Khaparde had read, and though he had no ideas on the subject of yoga, still enjoyed this state mentioned by Mrs. Tarabai. When he went to Baba, he had his miseries and anxieties about the difficulty of getting his sister married, and the difficulty of getting his insane brother cured. As he sat before Baba for hours, all these thoughts completely left him. He was in Lethe and bathed in Baba's aura, the sense of perfect safety, and the feeling of happiness overcame him. This has been recorded in his statement, and he says that even after Baba left the body, he appeared in his dreams, and he had the same experience. All these go to show that Baba's powers over the mentality of others, which may be included in his yoga sampath, were used by him to confer happiness of the highest sort known to us, namely, freedom from all anxieties and physical pains.

Thus far we have dealt with the Ashta Maha siddhis. Proceeding to deal next with the ten major and five minor siddhis recited in Srimad Bhagavata, Skanda XI, Chapter 15, stanzas 6 to 8, we shall take up Anurmimatrvam.

Anurmimatrvam means freedom from hunger and thirst, sorrow and delusion, old age and death, etc. Baba exercised various powers, and he had no delusions and sorrows so far as we know and never suffered from the pangs of thirst or hunger. As for old age and death this was inevitable in his physical existence, as also to Avatars like Rama and Krishna. In Srimad Bhagavata, Krishna is said to have been attacked by jara (old age) at the age of 125. and according to the well established law that all things that have a beginning must have an end, bodies which have had their commencement must have their end. and so death and decay being the end, are the necessary consequence of physical existence.

The next siddhis are Durasravana darsanam, ability to see or hear things at very great distances in spite of obstacles hiding the view, etc. This can be called, when exercised by petty human beings, claivoyance. When exercised by Baba, these are the results of his laya in God to whom there was nothing like dura or distance or space limitation. At the same moment Baba could be at Bombay and also at Shirdi, and Machendragad and Jejuri. Therefore, there was no question of distances for him. It was not necessary for him to see or hear. Without seeing or hearing he had the power to know, for his nature was pure Chit; and his Pratibha, the power of illumination, unrestricted by the ordinary limitations that bind other men, enabled him to see or hear at the same time what went on at different places and make use of that knowledge for the benefit of his devotees.

For instance, when the son of Thakersay Sait, the master of Kaka Mahajani, was talking to him at Bombay about the necessity of Kaka Mahajani going straightaway to Shirdi to ask Baba for his advice whether the Sait should or should not continue at Nasik for his health, Kaka Mahajani replied that Dixit was at Shirdi, that he could be written to, and that he would get Baba's answer. The son's reply was that would not suffice, and that the Sait would be satisfied by nothing short of Mahajani's personal questioning of Baba. Baba knew the whole of this talk and told Dixit at that time at Shirdi, 'What talk is going on there? What deliberation?' When the next day Mahajani came, Baba informed Dixit that he was referring to this particular visit of Mahajani when he made his remarks the previous day. Dixit and Mahajani compared notes and found how Baba could simultaneously see and hear what went on at Bombay and Shirdi. So, this is referred to as a case of Durasravana darsanam. But as stated already, it is hardly worthwhile to try and classify Baba's powers under the heading we find in books like one mentioned above, or the Mantra Sastras. Baba is one vast mass of power, and, therefore, there is no use in analysing further. Still as there may be persons not convinced of the uselessness of such classification, we shall give some more instances of Baba's exercise of powers and see whether they can be brought under any of the headings mentioned in the above stanzas.

Leaving Manojava aside, we shall proceed to Kamarupam, that is, taking on any form or body, and also Apratihata gati, that is ability to go anywhere and ability to assume any form that one wants. Baba had undoubtedly all these powers. Baba appeared before Nachne's brother in the hospital in one form, at his house in another form, and at Shirdi, when Nachne saw him first, in a third form. Yet, Baba at Shirdi said, 'I went to this man's house. He did not give me Eendibaji:. That convinced Nachne that though the rupa or form that he saw at his house on the occasion of his brother's medical operation was different from Sai Baba's Shirdi rupa or form, it was still his. kamarupa, a form assumed by Baba at will. Similarly Baba assumed various other forms with various other people. Balakrishna Upasani states in his experience that at the Tapovan near Haridwar, he met a Sadhu who showed his rinanubandha with his family and used certain Hindustani phrases, meaning that there were two persons on the same tree or branch, one went up and the other came down. Baba, when he (Balakrishna Sastri) met him at Shirdi, used the same phrases to remind him of his identity with the Tapovan Sadhu. Thus, Balakrishna Sastri who found that the figure of the two was the same, though the dress was different, concluded that Baba, who said never to have left Shirdi to go to Tapovan, could assume Kamarupa, that is, any shape in any place.

There are other occasions also in which Baba took up forms, suiting the occasion. The best instance, perhaps, of this taking up a form was that which is mentioned by himself, on the occasion of B.V. Dev's udyapana dinner, samaradhana, which he got up, after finishing a study. Dev had written to Shama and invited Baba for the dinner to be held at his place. Baba agreed. Later, not finding Baba at the dinner, he wrote to Shama complaining of Baba's breach of promise. When the letter came, even before it was read, Baba exclaimed, 'What! He complains that I did not go and attend the dinner? Tell him that I did come along with two others, and that I told him that I came not for money'but only for the dinner'. Then Dev remembered how a Sanyasi with two sishyas attended his dinner, and how he had said exactly the same thing and realised that Baba had appeared in the form of that Sanyasi to partake of his dinner.

These will suffice for the present to show that Baba could take Kamarupa. In fact, his visiting Mrs. T's house at Bandra to take the naivedya in laghima form or Anitna form, entering into the puja room to taste the naivedya. is another instance of kamarupa.

Amongst the 10 powers noted next in Srimad Bhagavata, llth Skanda, Chapter XV, the 6th is Parakaya pravesanam, i.e., actually entering into the bodies, living or dead, of other creatures. We have no information of this power being exercised by Baba, and that may be due to the fact that there was no necessity for Baba to enter into others' bodies. As he declared, he was not the mere body called 'Sai', but the Antaryami, the innermost soul of every creature, especially of his bhaktas. As stated in Sainatha Manana,

Ahamatma his chandorkar, sarabhutascaya stitah,

Pipilikamukhena aaddmi, makshikasya mukhenacha.

which means, 'O, Chandorkar! I am the Atman or Antaryami residing in the heart of all creatures. I eat through the mouth of the ant that eats and the fly that eats'. Sai Baba is the Antaryami of all. To teach Chandorkar this, Baba once asked Chandorkar to bring 'polis' as Naivedya. When "polis" were brought to Baba, and placed before him, flies and ants settled on the "polis". Baba then said that he had eaten the polis and that Chandorkar might remove the plates. Chandorkar could not believe that Baba had eaten the naivedya, because the polis kept on the plate before Baba were not even touched by Baba. Baba declared that he was the Antaryami of ants and flies that settled on the polis, and he had taken the polis as ants and flies. This statement appeared to Chandorkar as something out of scriptural text or a philosophical doctrine, and not an actual fact. Nana Chandorkar asked Baba, therefore, to enabe him (Chandorkar) to perceive Baba's Antaryamitva. And Baba raised his hands and made some gestures, which revealed to Chandorkar that Baba knew the innermost secrets of Chandorkar's heart, and therefore, must be his Antaryami, and consequently the Antaryami of every creature in the Universe. It is this same Antaryamitva that Baba was meaning, when he said that Hansraj had beaten him, when he went as a cat to drink away his curds in order to save Hansraj from his disease, Asthma, (jfor which Baba had asked him not to take curds). Baba showed a weal on his shoulder corresponding to the stroke on the cat's shoulder by Hansraj. This must also be the meaning when Baba said that he went on the first day as a sickly Sudra to Khandoba temple seeking food from Upasani Maharaj who, however, did not give food but drove away both. Upasani Maharaj asked Baba whether he could be a sickly Sudra. Baba's answer was that he was in all these and beyond, a statement reminiscent of Purusha Sukta, Sa bhumim viscvato avrutva, atyatishtat dascangulam. That is, 'He the Supreme (God) premeates the Universe and stands beyond by 10 inches'. This refers to God's immanence in and transcendence of the Universe.

That must therefore be the meaning of Baba who said, 'Maim Allahum, I am God’.

The seventh item in the list of 10 siddhis is Swachanda Mrityu, i.e. power to depart from the world and one's mortal body at will. In 1886, Baba exercised this power and left the body. For three days, his body lay as a corpse as proved by a judicial document (the inquest report). Thereafter, like Sankaracharya, he returned to the body and lived for 32 years, i.e. upto 1918, which power to return may be included in the 9th or 10th of the above list of siddhis. The 9th is calledy yatha sankalpa samsiddhih, i.e., achievement of everything at one's will.

The 10th item is Aajna Apratihata Gatih, i.e., having one's command carried out everywhere without fail. Almost ever)' one of Baba's mystic achievements, which does not come under any other heading, may be brought under these two. Baba himself said when he saved Balwant Khaparde from plague, 'My orders are supreme'. Similarly, he said to Nandram Marwadi in 1917 that he would not be allowed to die. BCS clearly shows Baba's sankalpa or will was supreme. Also when the danger of (B.C. & S.l-3) being killed by a cobra was awaiting Buty or Mirikar, Baba said, 'Strike, let me see how you can strike and kill!'. Baba's will was supreme not­withstanding all the 'ganda' astrologers could read from his horoscope, notwithstanding all the cobras that approached the devotees (the children of Dwarakamayee).

Taking up the final list of 5 minor siddhis, the first is said to be "Traikalika Jnana" knowledge of the past, present, and future, and the third is Parachithabhijnata i.e., knowing the contents of other people's minds in which the past and present are sure to be included. This power of reading thought from others' minds has become very common, and many persons are able now to exercise this power to a smaller or greater extent.

The further power not merely to note the contents of somebody's mind but to note the state of things at any particular place at the present time or at any previous time, which is called the power of "clairvoyance," is also to be found widely prevalent though not to the extent that thought-reading is prevalent. That may be the reason why these siddhis are assigned a lower position in Srimad Bhagavata and included in a minor list. Any person with a sufficient degree of calmness getting into a trance intentionally or unintentionally not infrequently discovers that he has a capacity to reflect, like a mirror, the minds of other persons and not infrequently the state of things in any particular place at that particualr time or at previous times. So many persons calling themselves 'thought readers", "astrologers", "mantravadis", and "nadi yogis", make use of this knowledge and not infrequently they read into their nadi granthams what they have recently discovered about the past or present. In the Madras City, for instance, there appear to be numerous persons with Nadi Granthams now. These facts show that very probably these faculties may develop in man more and more till they become a common accomplishment with the coming race. At present the performances of these have defects, and they are mostly failures when they venture into the future and try to foresee coming things. Sometimes poeple are tempted to compare these performers with great saints like Sri Sai Baba, who have Trikalajnatva and parachittadabhijnata. But this is like comparing fireflies or glowworms with the SUN.

The best performer that has exhibited these powers in recent times under these headings to Sai bhaktas is found to be very petty, very weak, very low and limited when compared to Sai. If they dare to compare themselves with Sai, one feels that one should address them thus, 'Jyoti Rinkana Na Kirn nu manyase, Yat tvam eva timireshu lakshyase'. This means, 'O, glow worm, do you not know that your light in darkness serves merely to show where you are? Can man make use of its light?' One thing with these professional practitioners or incipient sadhus is that they make an effort to get into a trance, and while in the state of trance and only then they can reveal the past or present, or know of things, and that too, to a very limited extent. While they are in their trance, their normal consciousness cannot work and after some time the trance ends and their normal consciousness resumes its sway, and in their normal consciousness, they can exercise no power.

In the case of Sri Sai Baba, his Trikalajnatva and parachita-abhijnata were there all the time when he was normally conscious and required no effort, and the extent to which he could see and know was unlimited. It was not merely the minds of persons present that he knew, it was also of persons, thousands of miles away. It was not only places near him that he could view with clairvoyant powers; he could see things hundreds of miles away. What is more, he can appear there with material form and also do things necessary for the benefit of devotees there, such as, applying udhi to Babalkar's son and assuring Babalkar himself that the boy would recover in the morning, and should be brought over to Shirdi later, and then to disppear at will. He could also reveal the past 2000 or 10,000 years back and reveal the future that is to operate fiften years later.

These powers of Tirodana or Avirbhava, i.e., disappearance or appearance, referred to in Patanjali's Yoga Sutra are stated by Patanjali to be the ordinary result of adoption of a certain procedure, though, of course, in Sutra 50, Patanjali states that Samyama or concentration on the Purusha (with a difference) will give one any power he wants, i.e., omnipotence and any knowledge he wants, omniscience.

This is practically the same as yatha sankalpa samsiddhih and Trikalajnatva. For knowledge in the phenomenal world is knowlege always of things or events at some time, past, present or future, and at some place, near or remote. Therefore, Trikalajnatvam (Verse 8) for practical purposes would be the same as Omniscience and Yatha Sankalpa Samsiddhih and 'Ajna apratihatagati' in verse 7 of Chapter XV of Bhagavata, would be the same as omnipotence practically.

The third of the minor powers is what is know as Sthambana in mantric books and what verse 8 describes as, Agni arka ambu vishaadinam pratishthambhah. This means, arresting the force of (1) fire, (2) the Sun (3) water, (4) Visha (poison), etc. Baba's wide exercise of powers has included many cases that can be brought under each of these heads. He specifically ordered the flames of the dhuni within Dwarakamayee which once shot up so high as almost to catch up and burn the rafters above to come down. He then took his little stick and struck a pillar near the fire uttering the words, 'Sabur, Sabur - Hat Mage, Hat Mage', that is, 'Moderate yourself, get back, get back'. The fire within a very short time moderated itself and got back, There was no further danger to the building. This can be brought under the minor head or under the above words of verse 7, Yathasankalpa Samsiddhih • Ajna apratihata gatih. He ordered Agni (fire) and the winds that were fiercely blowing not to spread the fire from Kondaji's stack of hay to the neighbouring stack in the village hay yard. And nothing but Kondaji stack was burnt.

The following is a very interesting incident of arkasthambhan. On a hot summer noon, the atmospheric heat became unbearable, and as soon as puja arti was over, the devotees left the Dwarakamayee, where the puja was done and only 3 or 4 were left behind. Baba told them to remain and sit near the fire. Within a very short time, a cool breeze was felt to be blowing where the men sat. This is the Sthambanam of, (agni, arka, vayu) Sun, Fire and also Vayu included in aadhinaam, i.e. etc".

As for control of water, water might be in the cloud as rain or in a vessel, and Baba controlled both these. Once when Megha was to take only a little of Godavari water brought by him in a pot all the way from Godavari for Baba's bath and to sprinkle just a few drops on the head, as the chief organ of the body, Megha in his over-enthusiasm turned down the whole of the pot on the head of Baba. But wonder of wonders, the water wetted his head only and fell on the ground without touching his clothes or body. This is jala sthambanam.

When M.W. Pradhan wished to start from Shirdi, the sky was cloudy, and it was drizzling. There was a downpour near Shirdi and on the Shirdi Kopergaon road the streamlets on the roads were sure to be filled with flood water and prevent the passage of tongas. When Pradhan feared that Baba would consequently not give him permission to start, Baba uttered the following words, 'Allah! barsati pura kar, Mere bache garko jane wallai hai, Vsko sukse janede'. This means, 'O, God. Stop the rain. My children wish to go home. Allow them to go home safely and easily'. Accordingly in a very short time the rains stopped and Pradhan and party to whom permission was given to go to Kopergaon on their way to Bombay, had no difficulty. This is obviously sthambanam of a storm-wind and rain put together. On another occasion a fierce storm with thunder and rain filled the Shirdi lanes with water and the villagers ran to Baba to pray for safety. Baba spoke fierce words and bade the storm cease. In a few minutes, it ceased.

About arresting poison, there are numerous cases when Baba arrested the poison of snakes and scorpions. Even now his udhi is used effectively in the case of scorpion and other poison. But the following is a striking instance of Visha Sthambana. Shama was bitten by a snake of the venomous class (which is in plenty at Shirdi). He was advised to go to Biroba's temple as was the usual custom in those parts to get rid of the poison. Biroba and all Gods to him were in Sri Sai, and so he came up to the Mosque. But as he approached the three steps leading up to the Dwarakamayee, Baba in a furious tone threatened and swore and uttered the following words in Hidustani:- 'Brahminvar Mat Aav, hat mage, hat mage'. This meant 'Do not get up Brahmin, get down'. The furious face of Baba made Shama think at first that these words were addressed to him and that Baba meant that he should not get up the Dwarakamayee and that he should go back to his house. He was shocked and perplexed at being so treated by his only resource and Palladium, His God, Deva Sai. But in a minute Baba calmed down and said, 'Come up. That fakir (God) is kind. You will be cured'. Baba then told Shama's companions, Tatya and others, to take him home and see that he was kept awake and moving and not allowed to go to sleep for 24 hours. On their following that advice, the poision was arrested, and Shama was cured. The words in the above sentence were addressed to the poison, and it was the poison that was not to go up the Brahmin, but to get down, (brahminvar-mat Aav, hat mage}.

Under the heading Sthamban sub item (5) above referred to, any number of cases may be cited, but we shall just refer to the following and stop.

'Lagudo Uddhrita Rohilla Sthambhanath dharpanasakah\ mentioned in Sai Sahasranama refers to the following facts. A hefty, and strong fanatic whom people at Shirdi called Rohilla (Muslim Jat of Rohilkand) was reciting Kalam at nights before Baba's Masjid and carrying on other orthodox Muslim practices. He was greatly puzzled about Baba. On the one hand, Baba's vast knowledge and power made him think that Baba was Parvadhigar, God on Earth. But Baba's permitting himself to be worshipped at the Mosque to the accompaniment of the noisy drums, pipes, and the recital of Mantras, and his acceptance of offerings made to Vittal, Datta, and other Gods, whom orthodox Muslims regarded as Satan, this Rohilla thought to be opposed to Islam. He felt shocked by Baba's saying that all these i.e. Vittal, Datta, etc., were all Allah. In accordance with the Islamic traditons that the destroyer of Religion should he destroyed, he determined to kill Baba who was in his view destroying Islamic religion by such irreligious practices. Therefore, one day he came behind Baba with uplifted club in his hand and determined to end with a single stroke Baba and all his heterodoxy. Baba, who, of course, knew everything, knew this man's mind and power also. Baba suddenly turned and faced this Rohilla, and fixing him with a glance, touched his left wrist (the right one was held aloft with the cudgel). The effect was immediate. The man lost all power to hold his cudgel or stand. He fell down all of a heap. Baba left him there and went away. For several minutes the Rohilla lay there. When asked to get up by others he declared that Baba had robbed him of all his powers. So he had to be lifted up. This was an excellent instance of Sthambanam or Pratistamba mentioned above.

Instances of sthambana may take various shapes. When boys from Bombay tried to take a photograph of Baba, they found that the photo showed only his feet and not his body.

Perhaps the prevention of Upasani Baba for the seven or eight days after his first visit from thinking of going home and making him return on the eighth day, (though he had declared that was impossible) might be treated as a case of sthambana coupled with Akarshana and Mohana, which are minor siddhis mentioned in the Mantra Sastra.

The above classification has followed Srimad Bhagavata. But many of our readers would probably be familiar with the miracles of Jesus and would like to see how Sai's miracles are to be viewed in the light of Jesus's sayings about miracles and his performing them.

One common feature of both Sai's and Jesus' lives is that people always had to be convinced of the divine nature of the two only through the miracles they performed. Miracles are a concession that divinity allows for human blindness. When Jesus said to Nilko... 'I saw you under the fig tree before Thomas talked to you there,' the conclusion was at once drawn by the addressee, 'Surely thou art the Son of God'. Jesus said that he would see more wonderful things indicative of divine power. Again when Jesus cured a person stricken with palsy and unable to rise from his bed, saying 'Arise, take up thy bed and walk', and the man with palsy rose up and walked, the conclusion was drawn that the miracle was a token of Jesus's divinity as also when Jesus cured a man of leprosy.

Some reader might desire to know whether similar incidents happened in Sai's history. First about palsy, a Marwadi had a young daughter of eight years or so with palsyed legs. She could not walk to Baba, and therefore had to be carried in a chair, palki or stretcher. She remained with Baba for three days. Suddenly her legs which she could not bend at all till then were stretched out and the second day she could stand. Thereafter, before she left Shirdi on the third day she could walk back. No application, medical or surgical, was made to her. This cure was purely by Baba's will power with his blessings offered with udhi applied to her. Again there was a patient who was suffering for years from inflammation of ulcer in his stomach or bowels, and he could not eat any food. He was brought to Baba. Baba ordered sweetmeats to be purchased and brought and placed before the patient. Strange to say, the man was able to eat them.

Bagoji who was suffering from leprosy, was allowed by Baba to shampoo his leg. People were afraid that Baba would be infected by his leprosy. On the other hand, Bagoji's advanced leprosy left him with only scars and marks. In the presence of both Sai and Jesus, evil spirits, obsessions (abhicharas) were terror-stricken. The devils said that Baba would beat them. Persons like Mrs. Tipnis, Mrs. Mantri, etc., overcame their spirit obsessions purely by Baba's blessings. In all these cases it was pure divine blessings that operated, while we see in Kusa Bhav's statement that he could overcome these evil spirits with yantras, mantras, tantras, etc., the process known to Mantra Sastra as Uchchatana.

Proceeding to Aparajaya, the 5th of the minor siddhis, mentioned in the said verse, any one reading Baba's Charters would note how his powers are supreme, not only in his curing Balwant Khaparde of .plague but also in so many other cases.

In Srimad Bhagavata itself, after mentioning 23 powers, verse 9 of Chapter XV says, "what is there impossible for one who has perfectly surrendered and got absorbed in God?" Baba's powers are inumerable; we have here given only a brief outline. Any student of Sai's life and leelas can learn about his other leelas in detail.

Therefore it is hardly necessary to further lengthen this already long chapter; and we shall close it by saying that Sainath was a Yoga Sampoorna Avatar (as the South African doctor declared) and a Samartha Sadguru and that when he is pleased he draws all of us to him, not merely by his ancient leelas but also by his recent ledas such as those at Ramachandrapuram, Thotapalli Hills, Shanti Ashram and Ahmedabad. We should no longer ignore this splendid opportunity and the splendid messages, especially that which was addressed to this very author through the Ahmadabad vakil for the purpose of this book itself in the following words, 'Write and tell him Narasimhaswamji that / am always looking after my devotees'.

chapter XI

Baba's Recent Lilas in the South and Their Purpose

After 1935-36, that is, after the broadcasting of Baba's wondrous nature, powers and lilas - through Madras 'Sunday Times' and through many books and booklets, etc., faith in Sai Baba spread like wildfire throughout the country, especially in South India. Numerous persons were anxious to start their contact with Sai Baba and were helped on therein by remarkable experiences gained by them or occurring in their neighbourhood. The single experience of an instant cure of fits, for instance, in Velampatti, a village near Vellore, converted the entire village to Sai faith. Instances of this sort abound, the earliest of which in the South was perhaps that of Nagabhairva Venkataratnam of Ventrapragada near Vijayawada. He and his wife had been married seventeen years and all that time she had not conceived even once. By making vows to Baba and visiting Shirdi they obtained the blessing for issue in the shape of a daughter whom they gratefully named Sai Prasada (i.e., gift of Baba). To further immortalize the fame of Baba and his wondrous lilas, with the help of friends they constructed at Ventrapragada a pucca Sai Mandir with Dhuni (ever burning fire as at Shirdi in front of Baba) and accommodation for guests, and this has been attracting crowds all these dozen years and more. This and the Tenali Mandir at Tenali built by the exertion of the veteran bhakta Dr. Ramana Ammal, (whose methods of curing patients were not always medical, but included also prayers to Baba) were the main big Sai Mandirs till three years ago in Andhra Desa. Then the star-shaped Kurnool Sai Mandir was built by Veeraswami, a bus contractor at a cost of over Rs.2 lakhs.

In 1942, Coimbatore, famous for its salubrious climate and numerous mills became yet more famous by reason of the development of, and its becoming the chief centre for, Sai bhakti. Captain Devaraj, a Military Medical Captain, a native of Coimbatore, had to serve in the Mediterranean during the War on board a ship, which was bombed by the enemy. Though the ship suffered damage by the bombing, this Sai bhakta was perfectly safe, and returned safe to his country and home. Sundararajan, a fellow townsman of his, built a small cottage (temporary hut) as a Sai Mandir, and had Sai bhajan conducted there as also at his house in R.S. Puram. In January 1943, Baba began to show his lilas there at the Mandir. One evening at about 5 p.m. Sai bhajan was going on there and a snake moved up fairly near the assembled crowd and was facing the picture of Sai Baba and remained listening to the music of the bhajan. From 5 p.m. it continued to be there frightening none and harming none, neither frightened nor harmed by any.

After 9 p.m. the bhaktas went back to their homes, and when they arrived in the morning, they were surprised to see that the snake was still there near Baba's picture. Knowing full well that Baba appeared in various forms including serpents, they got a thousand chrisanthemum flowers, and standing on all sides close to the Snake (cobra) Baba, did their Ashtotra puja, showering the flowers on the cobra. This went on for a time and all the while the cobra did not budge. Then they prayed that the Baba snake should not move until a photographer came and took a photo of the Snake Baba in the midst of the flower heaps to immortalize his (Baba's) visit to Coimbatore in the form of a snake. After some hours, a photographer turned up and had an excellent snap of the cobra with uplifted hood in the midst of the puja flowers. Then the Snake Baba was given milk naivedya, which was tasted, and camphor light also was offered. It was only at 11 a.m. next day, that the cobra that had arrived at 5 p.m. the previous day, left the premises. During these 18 hours the news of Naga Sai's visit to the shrine went round the town and a great number of people came and had darsan of Sainath, and thus Coimbatore town, with its tens of thousands of population, drank deep the Sai faith. On the above mentioned spot, a building costing over Rs.40,000/- has been built, and further lands and structures have been added thereto, the total cost running up to six figures. All journals, including Sai journals, spread this Naga Sai manifestation throughout India, and the local earnestness of devotion was strong enough to support the Sai Baba mission with a Girls' school accommodated in a grand building with vast grounds.

Baba's lilas abound throughout India, and our selecting only a few of them for mention here, especially South Indian places, might appear invidious but in view of recent messages of Baba, mention of a few lilas seems to be necessary. In any case, after mentioning two more Andhra Desa lilas, specially attractive to the curious and scientific mind, we shall wind up this chapter with a lila in the North, that is, north of Andhra Desa.

Let us take Ramachandrapuram, a place 24 miles away from Rajahmundry in East Godavari District. There Srimati Krishnabai, the wife of Sri K. Seshagtri Rao, Superintendent of the office of the Accountant General, Posts and Telegraphs, Simla, had very extraordinary experiences and special favour granted by Baba. She had studied only up to I Form. When she and her husband were living at Nagpur, he had remarkable experiences. He was in charge of the special treasury keys, which he kept locked up in a drawer in his office, and the key of that drawer alone was taken away and kept by him. One morning when he came, the keys were missing, and despite hectic searches by himself and his peons, he could not trace the keys. Then he suddenly prayed to Baba to save him from the effect of such loss, and he once again went to the drawer and opened, when lo and behold! Right in front of him in the drawer were the very keys he was searching for all the time, and which could not have escaped his sight if they were there earlier. How they disappeared and reappeared Baba alone knows, but the main favour and lilas of Baba relate to his wife.

Srimati Krishnabai's father, a retired station master (Hanumantha Rao by name) was living at Ramachandrapuram. When her husband came from Nagpur to Ramachandrapuram, and was starting back to Nagpur, the lady suddenly took ill. What the illness was could not be discovered. But she was positively apprehensive of death and pointed to some invisible figure in the room saying that that person was the Yamaduta, and so there was no use giving her medicines. Yet some medicine was given, and the husband placed Sai Baba's picture beneath her pillow. Suddenly she awoke at night and cried that she was being dragged away. Her father found that a part of her body was dragged away and her legs were dangling. He restored the body back to the cot, and later she told her father that Sri Raghavendraswami, the family deity, and Sri Sai Baba were protecting her, and that they had left under the pillow a packet that would save her. The father looking under the pillow discovered that there were tulsi leaves of large size and sacred earth (like that at Mantralaya, Raghavendraswami's place). These were applied to her. Again when her husband was downstairs, and she was alone in her room, she was found talking, and she declared that Sri Raghavendraswami and Sai Baba had given her advice and teachings. Sai Baba began to protect her as they could easily see.

At her puja of Baba, miraculous events were taking place. At the close of the puja, she would deliver for more than 45 minutes pravachanams far beyond the capacity of a first form student. Again the plantains and flowers, that were offered to Baba, were covered over with inscriptions. For instance, when the Joint Registrar of Co­operative Societies, Sri G.V. Chetty, took a Nilamala (a huge garland of about a thousand roses) and placed the same on Sai's picture, thousands of 'Sai' in Telugu or 'Om Sai' were found on all the petals in a very short time written by some invisible hand. The naivedya she placed before Baba were accepted and consumed by Baba, a fact evidenced by a part of the offerings missing after puja. On the plantain fruits placed before Baba, inscriptions appeared in Tamil, Telugu, Hindi or Gujarati or English and these were mostly answers to questions by bhaktas visiting her puja room. The inscriptions included Sanskrit verses from Yoga Vasishta, Gita, etc., which were far beyond the capacity of that lady to understand or repeat.

A most remarkable fact is that Baba appeared and said that she had eight more births to take, and that he would exhaust the karma of those births by making her die and get back to life eight times in this very life. So during her periods, she turned a vivid blue, and persons near her thought her dead. On each of these occasons, the Kolam marks, (i.e. border lines) around her cot with Baba's udhi would mysteriously appear, disappear and then reappear after Baba's reviving her. Baba invariably revived her, and he enabled her to develop clairvoyance and power to read the past lives of herself and other bhaktas that came there, and report Sai's reply to people's questions. She is adopted as the Guru or Sadguru by a number of people from far and near, from places like Nagpur, etc. She not merely gives them instructions and upadesa but also manifests chamatkars for protecting them.

One Ramachandra Rao of Nagpur came along with Seshagin Rao and lectured at the All India Sai Samaj during 1953 giving a full account of all the above. The mounting bhakti roused by that lady has helped in the construction of a Sai Mandir at Ramachandrapuram with a marble idol of Baba with Radha and Krishna installed on the occasion of the last Ram Navami (1954).

We may next proceed briefly to Baba's lilas at Shanti Ashram, Thotapalli Hills, which had long been famous as the residence of His Holiness Sri Omkar Swami who toured America and other places and is conducting two Ashrams, one at the foot of the hills and the other at Visakhapatnam town, and publishing the organs of the Ashrams, 'Peace' in English and 'Shanti' in Telugu. This Swamiji has written valuable works, like 'Cosmic Flashes' etc. While the Swamiji was largely believed to be interested in and developing the philosophical side, suddenly from March last a wave of Sai bhakti began to manifest itself in his Ashram. By Sai's Grace his Ashram at the foot of the Thotapalli Hills, when visited by Srimati Ratnamma Garu of Rajahmundry (Mother of Kaku Rama Rao) and her friends, became a place of great bhakti development. In March last these ladies with others were conducting 'Sai puja' with intense devotion in the Thotapalli Shanti Ashram. Noticing their earnestness, and the miracles of Sai, His Holiness Sri Omkar Swami devoted his own meditation room for Sai puja and called it 'Sai Mandir'. At first it was a weekly puja on Thursdays to Sri Sai's pictures, and on the first two puja days, Baba accepted (consumed) pan of the coconut offering placed before him. But this was not sufficiently impressive. Ratnamma Garu and others prayed to Baba to write his name on the offerings made. Accordingly when flowers and other things were placed before Baba, and the door of the room was closed as per custom, Baba's writings or inscriptions in Telugu of the letters 'Sai' appeared on the flowers, fruits, and coconuts that were there and also on cashewnuts. Sri Rajaji, who was taking a very active part at the Ashram, offered his gold ring and prayed to Baba that 'Sai Nama' should appear on the ring also. (That ring is now with His Highness The Maharaja of Mysore). Others offered their chains, watches, and other jewels and placed them before Baba. The Telugu letters 'Sai' appeared on all these. The Sai Pracharaka P. Viswanatham from Rajahmundry went up to Thotapalli Hills Shanti Ashram and placed his silver watch and prayed that Baba might write his name clearly so that he may show the same to others and thus intensify his pracharak work. By Baba's grace, 'Sai', appeared on the lid of the watch in Telugu. Then at the request of on ardent bhakta who placed before Baba a ball of udhi, Baba's writing appeared as 'Sai Mandu' (Medicine of Sai Baba) on the udhi. A bit of this was administered to a patient who was suffering from high fever. He was immediately cured. There was a cow in the Ashram with udder disease yielding brackish milk. After the udhi was smeared on the body of the cow, the milk given by the cow was no more brackish. It became sweet. Sai Mandu has been used at various places with good results.

His Holiness Sri Omkar Swami himself was so much impressed with Sai's lilas that he determined to have a picture of Sai Baba, and began worshipping it, as Sai is only a form of God. In his own private worship also Baba's lilas were exhibited. Once he placed an Australian apple before Baba in the cupboard and a good portion of the apple was found eaten up. When he placed a bottle of honey tightly corked before Baba and retired from the room, he found on his return that the cork had been extracted and that about 2 ounces of honey were not found there evidently accepted by Baba.

The Ashram inmates began to have great faith in Baba. When a lady was returning from Swami's chamber to her own quarters, on the way she trod on a snake, and at once cried out 'Om Sai'. The snake did not hurt her, but quietly moved away and disappeared. The Swami on Rama Navami day dictated an article in which he explained to his devotees and the public the phenomena that were taking place in his Ashram and gave a general invitation to any one who had Sai bhakti to go to the Shanti Ashram[2] and have their communion with Baba. He appears to have issued subsequently a second invitation (both of which appeared in the Telugu 'Shanti' dealing with Sai lilas at Thotapalli Shanti Ashram). What is the purpose of the Sai lilas in these places in Andhra Desa? One marked feature of Andhra Desa is that it is full of social and political ferment, and easily catches up new ideas and gets them widely circulated and absorbed. Sri Sai Baba has evidently found just a few places suitable here to respond to his call which may act as nerve centres from which all surrounding parts could receive quickening of life. Not only the above places, but Kurnool and Repalle have quickly responded by building Sai Mandirs, and sent abroad messages of inspiration and faith to even distant places. That is sure to have a very gratifying response in the near future.

There is a very simple indication of the effect of the stimuli given in South India and Andhra Desa, Mysore and adjoining parts, and that is a tide of passengers in the trains proceeding to Shirdi, Kopergaon, and the daily crowd visiting the Sai Mandir at Shirdi, Abdulla Jan in 1939, when he gave his statement, said 'There was usually vast crowd at Shirdi preventing people from approaching Dwarakamayee, and all that has gone now'. Obvisouly he implied that even Baba's splendour like that of so many Maharajas had faded away and could not endure. Now, if Abdulla Jan visited Shirdi on any day, especially a Thursday, he would find that the crowds are again there. This time the crowds are in thousands and include persons from distant South India and Andhra Desa, who form probably the majority of the crowds of every day. This fact may give the clue to Baba's display of his lilas in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Desa as stated above. It was a Tamilian that was chiefly used by Baba for starting the huge wave of Sai bhakti that State after State in India covered so many towns and villages.

The Southerners' bhakti to Baba has evidently still an important part to play in moulding the future of Sai faith and in the progress of the spiritual field. It is Madrasis, Andhraites and Mysoreans, Southerners as a whole, who have carried the 'Leaven of Sai bhakti' to all distant corners of the country such as Assam, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bengal, Bihar, Bombay, etc., and have even carried it across the seas to Rangoon, Singapore, Aden, West Africa, South Africa, Europe and America.

There is very probably an important part for Southerners to play in getting Sai movement more extensively and intensively carried forward everywhere. Though one cannot be dogmatic in these matters, one may presume that there may be such a purpose for Sai in his choice of places in his manifestation of the lilas in Andhra Desa and Tamil Nadu. None should draw the conclusion that other parts of India have not been favoured with Baba's chamatkars and lilas. Ahmedabad, which is far north of Madras, about a thousand miles away, has been the scene of Baba's bhakti spreading and lilas manifesting. Sri Ratilal Shah and other bhaktas, who have also their contact with Adoni Sai devotees (Adoni is in Andhra Desa) have established Sai bhakti in and around Ahmedabad. They have published books in Gujarati dealing with Sai, and they have also built a Sai Mandir at Ahmedabad.

chapter XII

Baba's Teaching as to Siddhis

Baba had bhaktas at various statges of advancement, and he certainly knew at what stage and in what manner siddhis appeared. Baba gave some advice to his bhaktas which might be recorded here. In the course of concentration on one's Guru or God or any other form of God, one gets more and more calm, placid, and in a certain number of cases, the latent powers of reflecting the minds of others, and the light of objects is spontaneously acquired. The first effect of such powers is to make a man proud and next full of desires for use of the powers to achieve earthly ends, and consequently tends to dip him deeper in the world of samsara and take him farther away from the main object of all sadhana, namely, God.

This is well known to students of Mahabharata Shanti Parva, where a certain sadhaka named Konganava acquired the power to use his glance as a terrible weapon by which he could burn up creatures or objects. Another acquired the immobility of body where­by birds in the air were induced to use tufted hair on his head as a place for building their nests. The latter was highly elated and jumped with joy that birds could nest in his head, and had to be taught later that this species of pride could only tend to degrade him and take him away from God. As for the former, Konganava, it is narrated that when he went under a tree to practise yoga, he saw a bird, up above him, and by darting a glance at it killed it and it fell down dead. Thinking no worse of himself for this performance, he proceeded as advised by a teacher, to two great jnanis so that he might learn jnana. One of these was a lady living with her husband and her children. When this Konganava arrived at her house, she took no note of him except bidding him 'be seated', and continued her anxious attendance on her husband and daily household duties. The man considered himself slighted and thinking very highly of himself on account of his powers, felt it was extremely improper on the part of that lady to treat him with such scant respect. While he was thinking so, the lady came near and he darted a fierce glance at her. At once the lady calmly asked 'O, Konganava, do you think I am the crane in the forest, that is, the crane wich you killed in the forest?' The man was aghast. He could not imagine that a lady in a household could have the powers of knowing what happened to him and to the crane far away from her ken. He was duly humiliated by her utterance and then learnt that the duty a woman owed to her husband was primary, and those due to guests, beggars, etc., were only secondary, and that a man who indulged in anger was far inferior to those who were able to keep their temper, and that the real end of life was to attain calmness by concentrating on God and one's primary duties with anasakti in a detached manner.

Corresponding to this there was a teaching by Baba, which we find in Baba's Charters & Sayings 338. A sishya of his, by pranayama and concentration, had developed clairvoyance. While he was in his puja room, he could see distinctly that his distant mill hidden away from his room by so many walls, streets, etc., was aflame. Naturally he felt exultant at the acquisition of this power. When his peon on his opening the door broke the news that his mill was on fire, he answered, 'Yes, I know it'. Some time later, this devotee went up to Shirdi along with his wife. Baba then addressed him 'Why are you gazing at the strumpet's performance? I can never exhibit tricks. It does not behove us to dally with a strumpet'. The wife understood nothing about Baba's references which were really to the meretricious attractions of siddhis acquired by pranayama. She thought that Baba referred to a fleshy concubine or a woman of the town. But the devotee fully undersood that Baba referred to his being charmed by the acquisition of clairvoyant powers by the use of pranayama, and that Baba was giving him the warning which Gurus, as a rule, gave against people being carried away by Siddhis. In Patanjali's Yoga Sutra 52 and Sutra 38 the advice is given by the author of the Yoga Sutras that the ordinary worldly use of siddhi powers are really obstacles to Samadhi (which must of course be on God), though these powers are useful in the worldly state. This is expressed in Sutra 38, Te samadhow Upasargah Vyuttane Siddhayah.

Baba's Teaching as to Siddhis     

Sutra 52 runs thus —

Sthanyupa nimantrane sanga smayakarnam punah anishtaprasangat.

This means, 'The yogi should not feel allured or flattered by the overtures of celestial beings for fear of evil again'. Sutra 52 has special reference to siddhis one of which says that a person having a particular siddhi can enjoy the pleasures of Gods in their celestial regions. Hence it is easy to see from both the Sutras and in Baba's advice, the use of siddhis may be good or bad and both are referred to not only in Bhagavata, Skanda XI, but also in Baba's advice and actions. Baba gave a warning to a devotee who was just beginning to develop powers, which is just the stage at which curiosity, ambition and other worldly motives or desires arise from the appearance of siddhis within the grasp of the sadhaka or devotee. As for Baba's action, any one who has gone through this book would note that Baba made ample use of innumerabe siddhi powers and, therefore, there is nothing wrong in the use of siddhi powers. All great ones including Sri Krishna have used their divine powers or siddhis. It is wrong to suppose that the use of superhuman powers by those is condemned as worthy of condemnation. But it is their use possessing them in such a way as to promote worldiness or cause degradation to the soul that is objected to. A man like Konganava or like the man on whose hair birds sat, gets elated and angry and thus loses is soul. That is the result of gazing at the meretricious attractions of siddhis with a worldly heart. Only in that case siddhis are strumpets and not in any other case. This is the chief point of Baba's teaching.

A man has a Guru; and he may be his Kula Guru without any siddhi powers. When the man finds other Gurus possessed of siddhi powers, he is often tempted to give up his former Guru and resort to the latter. Baba's advice on this matter is 'Do not give up your Guru whatever may be the attractions of other Gurus.' If one has implicit faith in one's Guru and an earnest desire to pull oneself upward with that Guru, free from worldly attachments, one will have siddhi and satisfactory progress. Therefore, to a man called Pant, who came to Baba, having already a Guru (who had objected to his going to Baba because of the fact of his already having a Guru), Baba said, 'Pant, do not give up your Guru. Whatever may be the merits of other Gurus, we must never give up our own'. There are a few people who have studied the lives of great saints who led holy lives and have given the warning that meretricious attractions of siddhis should not be heeded. Their sishyas are sometimes apt to draw the conclusion that saints who exhibit powers arid magicians who exhibit such powers for worldly objects are both in the same class, and that the saints mentioned above are not worthy of regard. This is due to a confusion of ideas. Unfortunately a certain number of educated, even amongst Sanyasis, have not escaped this fallacy, and some of them occasionally asked this author whether Sai Baba who exhibited these chamatkars could be a Parama Jnani. The answer is Parama Jnana is not taken away when the Parama Jnani happens to be a Samartha Sadguru and has to use his divine powers for promoting the interests of his sishyas and other devotees. It is hardly necessary to labour this point, but the author has met a few well intentioned devotees of good saints who fell into this error, and that is why this has been written. There is no question of inferiority or superiority amongst saints merely by reference to the possession of siddhis. Possession of siddhis merely indicates advancement in concentration and sometimes they are an indication of poorna laya in Parabrahman. Therefore it is safest to avoid drawing hasty conclusions from their mere presence or absence in a saint.

Thinking that it would enhance the glories of Baba to put forward fantastic notions about his being an ayonija, that is, one who came into this world without entering into the womb of a woman, some people fall into the unfortunate habit of creating stories about Baba. The Ayonija theory, as already stated, has no shadow of support for it amongst the statements made by Baba himself in respect of his parents either in this Janma or any previous Janma.

Coming to siddhis also some people have circulated stories about Baba's use of various forms of siddhis. For instance, it is said that he performed Kandayoga, that is, separated the various parts of his body and kept them far apart and appeared as a dead body, and later on reunited those parts. It is unnecessary to discuss whether kandayoga is a case of mass hypnotism or individual hypnotism creating the impression in the mind of the beholder that the body is in pieces. Physiologically the body cannot be cut into a dozen pieces and kept apart for a Jong time and reunited at pleasure so as to form one organic whole, and hence the probabilities are very much in favour of this siddhi being the same as or similar to the obstruction to seeing - antardhana - following which heading, Patanjali says, a similar antardhana of ideas takes place. That is, a yogi can make his entire body invisible to people or he can black out their ideas about his body.

We have seen magicians performing these tricks by mass hypnotism and suggestion, for example, the rope trick and stabbing the boy in the box. These are all cases of mass hypnotism and suggestion. But whether in the case of Baba there was really any kandayoga and what exactly it represented, are matters about which definite information is not available. Again it is said that Baba performed other yogic feats, that is, that he took out his entire entrails and placed them on a tree for drying up. These confound our notions of physiology and serve no useful purpose. We shall not discuss these further. About Ashtanga Yoga, it is not known whether Baba performed pranayama, etc., but very probably these would have come to him easily by faith in his All-powerful Guru. Various siddhis or mystic powers are shown by various sadhakas or Siddhas or magicians who use disembodied spiritis or evil spirits or petty elves, etc., for their purposes. The question has been raised what Baba's views were on this subject, and what Baba said about spirits at all. A young devotee asked Baba, 'Are there evil spirits that would harm us?' Baba's answer was that there were spirits but we had nothing to do with them. Those who are under the care of Baba or leading proper lives have nothing to fear from these unseen spirits. Baba has mentioned not infrequently several things about disembodied bodies, that is, pretax. That is, those recently died pass into a linga sarira and keep on life in that state for a certain time. Such spirits are not infrequently used by magicians like Mohamad Bay for giving them information about the contents of the minds of those they meet for their own worldly purposes. Baba referred to the existence of the spirits of disembodied persons, that is, spirits of those who recently died, and mentioned interesting facts about them.

The spirits of deceased people who are his bhaktas or who belong to his bhaktas families were drawn to Baba at the time of death, even though they may be dying very far away from Shirdi, where he lived when in the flesh. All the same, he drew them to himself, and he said of Sri M.B. Rege's child, 'That child is here (pointing to his heart), and it shall live here eternally'.

He said of Sri Upasanai Baba's third wife, who died about the beginning of February 1912, that she had come to him, and there was no necessity to do anything further to give her sadgati, as Upasani Baba was offering some Rs.10 for some ceremonies to be done by Baba to give her Sadgati, following evidently his usual Vaidiki ideas of funeral rites. Baba declined to receive the amount saying that she had already come to him and that all that had to be taken from Upasani, had already been taken. As for Mrs. S.B. Dhumal, some months after she died, Baba advised Mr. Dhumal to perform her Masik at Shirdi and promised to give her Sadgati on that occasion. That was accordingly done.

As for other spirits, Baba said that some spirits haunted tombs. There was a young girl, a playmate of Baba, who had died and who was haunting her tomb. Baba passed by that side and found her spirit there. Then he said that he spent some time by the side of the tomb, and then took her away with him to a pipal tree at or near Shirdi and placed her spirit there evidently for purposes of betterment of her soul.

As for evil spirits, fiends, etc., Baba knew of their existence and kept them at bay. No fiend could approach him, and persons possessed by fiends got released from such possession by being near Baba. Baba therefore advised his bhaktas to be free from all fear of spirits of any sort. When Baba was near, what had his children, the children of Dwarakamayee, to fear, whether from the living or from the spirits of the dead or from evil spirits like elves, Brahma Rakshas, etc.? His own Guru Gopal Rao Deshmukh had given salvation to a Brahma Rakshas that had formerly been a Brahmin miser, and Baba's vast powers and charity should have certainly enabled him to render similar help to any of his devotees who may have been placed in that same predicament.

Jai Sri Sai Ram



(Referred to in Part-1)

appendix I

Baba is inscrutable—a sphynx

More Babaku marma na Janare Koi                                                          (More)

1.         Koi Kahe donge Koi pakhandi

koi kahe divaana re                                                                          (More)

2.         Koi kahe lobhi koi kahe bhogi

koi kahe bade syana re                                                                    (More)

3.         Koi kahe yogi koi kahe Tyagi

koi sadhu janare                                                                                (More)

4.         Koi Guru sadguru Vako

koi Iswara jaana re                                                                            (More)

5.         Sri Babaki Siddhavasta

Koi Virala pahchana re                                                                    (More)

6.         Apana Apana sab phala pave

jisne jaisa jaana re                                                                            (More)

7.         Mehbub, Sabaki suni para,

Turn mat dhoka khanare                                                                  (More)

Which means

None knows the inwardness or secret of my Baba

1.     Some called him hypocrite; some, heterodox; some called him mad

2.     Some called him greedy, some sensualist; some called him a wise sage

3.     Some termed him a yogi, some a self sacrificer, some a sadhu

4.     Some called him a Guru, a Sadguru, some knew him to be (Iswara) (.Divine.

5.     Sri Baba's state is that of the siddha. Some alone see him as different (from all)

6.         Each gets a reward suiting his own idea (of Baba)

7.         Oh Mehbub (author of this song). Do not get confounded by listening to (i.e. accepting) the views of all.

appendix II

The Bhikshu's Ways of facing insult and trouble

In Srimad Bhagavata, Bhikshu Gita, Chapter XXIII we find the rationale or the intellectual basis of one's equanimity in the face of insult, trouble, etc., set out in great detail. We may refer to the essence of what is said therein. A rich Brahmin miser, on account of miserliness, got into bitter terms with his relations, friends, and almost every one and his property also was lost. Then he began to realise the absurdity of relying upon riches for happiness and determined to adopt a monk's role, and he took up his danda (staff), kamandalu (begging bowl), etc., and went about. But several people recognised who he was originally and began to give him trouble in various ways. Some mocked at him, some others plucked away his staff, begging bowl, etc. and professing to return them plucked them back. Some passed water in his begging bowl and took delight in tormenting him in various ways. But these tapatrayas, troubles of all three sorts, coming from the animal kingdom or from the body or from finer forces, he was able to endure philosophically being assured in his mind that they were all the result of his karma and so inescapable by him. He convinced himself that the pains he endured just like the pleasures he had were all due to his mentality and not to any other causes. Therefore he resolved that his only course was bravely to appeal to God, completely surrender to him, and face all pain and pleasure with thorough indifference based on surrender to God. He found that the persons who gave him trouble, who were considered to be the cause of his pain, were really not the cause of his pain. He analysed the situation thus: the causes of the trouble given may be stated to be one of six things, namely, (1) the body of the troublesome persons, (2) the finer forces, Gods, etc. presiding over the organs with which they gave trouble, (3) the Atma or the spirit that ensouled those people, (4) the trouble might be due to planetary positions in his horoscope, (5) previous karma, and (6) to Kala or Time. He thus dealt with each of these six causes. (1) So far as their bodies were concerned, they were insentient and it was the bodies of the troublers that troubled his body; and if the troublers were treated to be mere bodies and he also should be treated as a mere insentient body, then there was nothing to complain. It is one part of insentient nature troubling another part, though both together form one nature. In a particular organism sometimes the teeth bite the tongue, and his present trouble was in no way different. If the teeth bite the tongue, what is the person to do? Whom is he to blame? (2) Again, if their organs which trouble his organs be considered to be the movement or action of the Gods presiding over their organs, for example, Indra presiding over the hand or the Moon presiding over the mind, what does that matter? He himself was not an organ but the Pure Atman. The hand of those persons was striking his hand. So it is Indra striking Indra, Sometimes even our own hand may beat the other hand in our own body. Who is to complain against whom? All together form one. (3) As for the third consideration that the troublers should be treated neither as their bodies nor as the Gods presiding over their organs, but as the Pure Atma alone, what is there to complain of? Atma cannot injure itself. There is nothing besides Atman to hurt the Atman. Therefore, there is no matter for complaint. (4) Taking up the fourth cause of trouble, namely, planetary action, that is the position of the planets at the time the injured or suffering person was born, this also is inapplicable. The planets can only affect that which is born, namely the body. But I am not born. I am the soul and so the planets cannot give me pleasure or pain. Besides books on astrology say that some planets fight with others by Padavikshanyam, Ardha Vikshanyam, etc., and they take the position of the Sun, etc., in the 8th or 12th house from the Lagna. If one planet fights against another, what is that to me, the Atman? (5) Next, if karma is the cause of all pleasure and pain, who does what karma? The body cannot perform any Karma. It is insentient. The Atma being Pure Intelligence cannot do karma either. Therefore there is no cause for pleasure and pain to me, the Atman, who is independent. (6) Taking the last, that is the question of Kala or Time, I, as the Atman, am the soul of Kala or Time. Does fire burn itself or ice chill itself? So, there is no reason for anger or discontent. So, the fully realised person, that is, the person who has fully surrendered himself at the feet of God, has no one to blame because his mind is not turning to the  question  of troubier  or  blamer  but  sees  only  the  Supreme Person, Iswara in every one including the Troubier. Hence full faith in and surrender to God is the best basis for titiksha (endurance) and the wise man must control his mind by concentrating it upon the feet of God.

appendix III

Derivation of Guru

I.      Guru means 'Great’, or Mahan,

II.    Guru Gita stanza 44

Gukaarascha andhakaro hi Rukaras teja uchyate

Ajnaanagraasakam brahtna Gurureva Na Samscayah

This means: Gu means darkness and Ru is light. As light swallows up darkness, Guru is Brahman, the Swallower of darkness, without doubt.

Stanza 46

Gukaarascha gunaatito, Rupatito Rukarakah

Gunarupa vihinatvat Gururityabhidiyate.

This means: Gu means Gunatita, that is, beyond the senses, Ru means Rupatita, that is beyond all form.

As the Guru is beyond all gunas and forms, the Guru is so termed.

Stanza 47

Gukaarah Pratamo varno Maayadi Gunaabhasakh

Rukaro Asti param Brahma Maayabhranti Vimochakam.

This means, Gu is the first letter, and that is Maya appearing as Gunas. The next Ru is Param Brahman, which removes Maya bhranti, that is, the delusions of Maya.

Sanza 91

Gukaaram Cha gunaatitam Rukaaram Rupavarjitam

Gunatitam arupam cha yo dadyat sa Guru smritah

This means, Gu is Gunatita (beyond the gunas) Ru is Rupa Varjita, (that is free from form). Guru is so called because he is Gunatita and Arupa and enables us to be Gunatita and Arupa i.e. to realise our self as beyond form and all attributes.

appendix IV

Question of Caste

It has been noticed in Chapter XV (Part I) that amongst the objections raised to Sai Baba's worship, one is based upon caste. Some objectors say that Baba is not a Brahmin but a Muslim, and so he should not be taken for a Guru nor worshipped by Brahmins and other Hindus. Such objections have generally been driven out by personal approach to Sai Baba even apart from B.C.S. 57 & 505, 506. His very darsan has made sensitive or suitable people feel that Sai Baba is a divine agent to show a way out of all temporal and spiritual difficulties. Feeling thus, the visitors to Baba bowed, prostrated and surrendered their Tan-Man-Dhan to Baba. This was prapatti. To such a person a discussion about Baba's caste would be absurd, for he has already followed the direction in Srimad Bhagavata, Skanda Purana, Brahma Vidyopanishad 334 and Guru Gita, that the Guru must be treated as all the Gods put together (Sarvadevamayo Guruh) including Brahma, Vishnu, Siva, and all the pantheon of Hindu Gods. Even after His Mahasamadhi some have had such contact. It is those who have not been fortunate enough to have such contact, mental or physical with Baba, that have to struggle with the question of caste, and for their benefit, we mention the following:—

Even supposing that they do not feel that Baba is God, still there is no basis for the assumption that Baba is not a Brahmin. Baba himself said that he was a Brahmin, that his masjid was a Brahmin's Masjid (BCS 57) and he also said that his parents were Brahmins of Patri and that his Guru was also a Brahmin (Venkusa or Gopal Rao Deshmukh of Selu). This is enough to prove Baba's Brahmin birth and initiation or Brahminism according to ordinary ideas. But, as a child, for four or five years he was brought up by a Fakir and lived all his adult life in a Mosque at Shirdi, and so he passed for a Muslim. He was totally indifferent whether people called him a Hindu or Muslim. But some would-be Bhaktas are   making enquiries,  and  therefore  the  question  seems  to  be


The authorities are very clear that about Parama Jnanai or a Parama Bhagavata or saint, especially with remarkable siddhis, psychic powers and spending all his time and energy for the benefit of mankind, the question of origin, i.e., whether he is a Hindu or Muslim by caste, is not permissible. For instance, verse 14 of the Guru Gita says—

Sva asramam cha Sva jatim cha

Sva Kinitn pushti vardhanam

Etat sarvam Parityajya

Gurum eva samascrayet

This means, 'Brush aside your ashrama, your caste, your reputation and all glory and take refuge with a Guru'. There are many more authorities of the same sort. The feeling of this caste or kulam in a disciple is false pascam or bond, one of the eight which the Guru in his kindness cut off (See G. Gita verse 129). The enquiry into the origin is generally discouraged, for example, by the motto—

Rishi mulam nadi mulam na vicharyam

Kabir also gives the same direction.

Sant Ka Jat Mat pucho. i.e. 'Do not ask for the caste of a saint'

Narada Bhakti Sutra 72 says, (Among them prevails no distinction of caste, erudition, beauty) lineage, wealth, profession.

Anyhow, what is the definition of a Brahman? Is it a question of birth or parentage? The answer is, 'No'. Manu is a great authority, and Mahabharata is another great authority. Both say 'No'. Manusmriti, X, 65 says—

Sudro brahmanatam eti brahmanaschaiva sudratam

Kshatriyat jatam evamtu vidyat vaiscyat tathaiva cha

Manusmriti, II, 157, 168 say—

Yatha kashtamayo hasti yatha charma mayo mrigha

Yashcha vipro anadhiyanath trayaste namadharakash

Yo anadhitya dvijo vedam anyatra kurute scramam

Sa jivan eva scudratvam ascu gachchati sanvayah

This means, (Manusmriti, X 65) 'The Sudra becomes a Brahmana and a Brahmana a Sudra (by conduct). Know this same (rule to apply) to him who is bom of a Kshatriya or of a Vaiscya'.

Manusmriti, II 157, 168 mean 'A wooden elephant, as a leather patched deer (of the Taxidermist), such is an unlearned Brahmana; the three are but Nominal Brahmins etc., Only in name are they Brahmins etc.'

'The Brahmana who, not having studied the Vedas, labours elsewhere, becomes a sudra in that very life together with his descendants.'

In Mahabharata, Vana parva, Chapter 313, verse 108 say— 'It is not birth nor samskaras nor Vedic studies nor one's kulam nor ancestry that form the cause or basis of one's being a Brahmin or Dvija or twice-born. M.B.V.P. ch (80) v-21, 25, 26 say that the cause or basis is mere vrittam i.e. behaviour or conduct. A Brahmin's conduct should be (1) truth (2) a disposition to give (daana), (3) Kshama, (forgiveness), (4) sceelam or virtue (5) gentlemanliness, (6) tapas, and (7) mercy. These make a man a Brahmin. If these are seen in a man, whatever his birth may be, he is a Brahmin, and if these are not seen in one, whatever his birth may be, he is not Brahmin. Vishnu Bhagavata says that Bhakti makes a man a Brahmin and only Bhakti. Other authorities say Brahma Jnana, God-realization makes a man a Brahmin.

As to Truth, Chandogya Upanishad IV (4) says that truth speaking to one's own disadvantage indicates Brahminhood. Baba was the soul of Truth

The question is, 'Was Baba a Jnani? 'Baba who said 'Maim Allah hum'—I am God and I am all - was undoubtedly a Jnani of the highest order and he had all siddhis resulting from concentration on God, and he was always remembering God. So undoubtedly Baba was Brahmin and necessarily a Brahmin.

Manu, Vishnu Bhagavata VII (II) 35, reads:

Yasya yallakshanam proktam, pumso vArnabhi vyanjakam

Yad anyatrapi driscyeta tat tenaiva vinirdiscet.

This means, 'Whatever qualities are said to be indicative of a caste will, if found in any person, entitle that person to be considered of that caste'. Sridhara's comment on the above is, 'Brahmins and other dvijas are recognised by Scama (peace) chiefly—and not by birth'.

Brahmavidyopanishad, verses, 2, 3, and 4, are as follows:

2.         Hamsa vidyam imam labdhva Guru scuscrushaya Narah,

3.         Atmanam Atmana Sakshat Brahma Budhva Sunischalam

Dehajatyadi sambandhan varnascrama samanvitam

4.     Vedasscastrani chanyani padapamsumiva tyajet. Gurubhaktim soda kuryat screyase bhuyase Narah. Gurureva Harih Sakshat Na anya iti abravit scrutih.

These mean:—

2.     By service to the Guru, Hamsa Vidya is obtained.

3.   (Thereby) one realises oneself as Brahman steadily. Let one ignore the body, its caste; etc., varnas and asramas, etc., and

4.   The injunctions of Vedas and Sastras and others treat them as the dust of his feet. Let him have devotion to the Guru. That will benefit him greatly. The Guru is no other than God—the Vedas declare.

[1] Jo saducha ankita Jeeva Jlialci Tyacha use 8tiara Niranjanala CArti Song), i.e.. the burdens of the person marked oui as his own by the Sadguru arc borne by that Samartha Sadguru.