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Offline JR

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« on: April 04, 2007, 10:04:54 AM »
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  • Fiftyfour Years of Publication

    With this issue, Shri Sai Leela enters its fiftyfifth year of publication.  It would not therefore be out of place to recapitulate the history of its publication during the years gone by.

    The publication of Shri Sai Leela started in the year 1923.  The Ramnavmi is a very important festival at Shirdi.  This festival comes in the Hindu calendar in its very first month viz Chaitra.  Hence the Sai Leela magazine appears to have been started from the Chaitra of Shaka 1845 (1923 A. D.) The issues were published according to the Hindu calendar from Chaitra to Falgun every year.  Due to low cost of paper and wages, the annual subscription was as low as Rupees three and six annas while the cost of a single copy was six annas only.

    After five years of publication, Shri Sai Leela became a bi monthly magazine and brought out six issues in a year. The annual subscription continued to be as before.

    All Sai devotees might be aware that the first biography of Shri Sai Baba was written in Marathi in the verse form by Shri Govind Raghunath Dabholkar alias Hemadpant. Though this work was started with the consent and blessings of Shri Sai Baba, it took time for its completion and it had to be published some¬where.  Shri Sai Leela magazine was thought to be the proper medium for publication of the same and from the beginning some portion of Saisatcharita was published regularly in Shri Sai Leela.  The publication continued seriatim in Shri Sai Leela and by 1930 complete Saisatcharita was published. This book is considered very holy by all Sai devotees and like Gurucharitra Saptahas for reading Saisatcharita continuously for seven days are observed at several places according to our faith.

    Though from the beginning the name of Shri Laxman Ganesn Mahajani used to appear on Shri Sai Leela as the Editor, yet Shri Dabholkar (Hemadpant) also took keen interest in its publication.  In Shaka 1850 i. e. 1928 A. D. we find the addition of the name of Shri Ramchandra Atmaram Tarkhad as editor to the name of Shri Mahajani and from the next year i. e. 1929 A D. the name of Shri Tarkhad alone appears as the editor.  The name of Shri Tarkhad appears in Chapter IX of the Sai Satcharita as a staunch devotee of Shri Sai Baba and his experience has been narrated therein.

    Due to paucity of funds, the Shirdi Sansthan could not grant adequate subsidy towards the publication of Shri Sai Leela and for some time the publication of the magazine had to be sus¬pended.  Ultimately Dr. K. B. Gavankar became the Chairman of the committee at Shirdi and he revived the magazine in 1948 and started its publication as a quarterly. From that year the issues were published in January, April, July and October.  As there were only four issues in a year, the yearly subscription was only two and a quarter rupees, while a single issue used to cost annas ten only.

    The get-up of the magazine and the nature of articles pub¬lished therein did not change. According to the assurance given by Shri Sai Baba during his life time, he was rushing to the need of his devotees in their difficulties and the devotees were express¬ing their gratitude by visiting Shirdi and writing down their ex¬periences.  The unique experiences of the devotees had always been a special feature of this magazine and even now they are being published in it as and when they are received.

    Shri Nagesh Atmaram Sawant was a very sincere devotee of Shri Sai Baba.  He had a flare for undertaking some sort of ser¬vice to Shri Sai Baba.  Hence Dr. Gavankar gave him the oppor¬tunity of becoming the editor of Shri Sai Leela and we find his name as the editor in 1954, when the magazine had entered into the thirtyfirst year of its publication. Shri Ramchandra Mahadeo Rane appears as the joint editor along with Shri Sawant during the years 1957 and 1958.

    From April 1959 the magazine was again converted into a monthly and the name of Shri Nagesh Atmaram Sawant alone appears on it as the editor.  In this new form there were only fortyeight pages in each issue.  The annual subscription at that time was rupees five and a single issue used to cost eight annas only.  Soon after this the affairs of the Shirdi Sansthan changed hands.  The Court Receiver was appointed to manage the affairs of the Sansthan and hence we find the name Shri G. V. Kshirasagar as the editor of Shri Sai Leela from January 1961.  Shri Nagesh Atmaram Sawant appears to have therefore, shouldered the responsibility of editing the magazine for a pretty long time of nearly eight years.  Shri Sawant, the veteran editor of this magazine recently passed away at Nagpur at the mature age of 81 years.  His brief life sketch has been published in the issue of this magazine for the last month on page 40.
    We are now embarking more or less on the modern history of Shri Sai Leela, which might be known to many of our readers.  After the appointment of the first Court Receiver, Shri Kshirasagar, the subsequent Court Receivers were appointed from time to time and they respectively took over the editorship of the magazine, as a matter of course as shown below :—

    Shri Sreepad Balkrishna Darp  December 1962
    B. G. Potnis  December 1964      
    D. D. Patankar  July 1967
    K. S. Pathak  December 1970

    Since April 1959, the usual issue of Shri Sai Leela was hav¬ing fortyeight pages and the annual subscription was only rupees five; but the entire matter in the magazine used to be in Marathi.  The devotees of Shri Sai Baba who did not know Marathi felt that they had no enough opportunity to express their feelings and devotion to Shri Sai Baba and hence  in 1971, an English section was added to this magazine and the number of pages was increa¬sed to about 80.  Consequently the annual subscription was raised to rupees ten and a single copy started costing rupee one; but this arrangement could not continue for a long time.  The readers who knew only Marathi language, felt that the articles in English were of no use to them, while the readers who only knew English, thought that the articles in Marathi were an unnecessary burden on them.  This situation was properly judged by the Exe¬cutive editor Prof. D. D. Parchure and in consultation with Shri Pathak, the Court Receiver, who is always ready for giving a trial to any good suggestion, the Marathi and English sections were separated.  Thus from April 1973 the Sai Leela is being.published separately in English and Marathi.  The pages have been limited to fortyeight and the annual subscription was fixed at rupees six, a single copy costing only sixty paise.  Since April 1973 there has been tremendous increase in the cost of paper and printing.  The Sansthan has to grant an annual subsidy of nearly Rs. 20,000 in order to continue the publication of Shri Sai. Leela.  Recently in the gathering of the contributors to Shri Sai Leela, held at Shirdi during February 1976, a number of persons sug¬gested that we might increase the annual subscription and the cost of the single issue; but there is so far no proposal to increase the subscription of this magazine.

       In April 1974 we started a new series under the caption Saints of Maharashtra and have regularly published articles about the saints of Maharashtra during the last two years.  We hope our readers have liked the articles published in this series.  We hope to continue the series this year also.
    The publication of Shri Gurucharjtra, which describes the leelas of Shri Shripad Shrivallabh and Shri Narasimha Saraswati, who are the recent incarnations of Shri Datta, was started in April 1975 and we hope our readers are happy to read about these incarnations of Shri Datta. incidentally it may be mentionedthat some devotees also believed that Shri Sai Baba is an incarna¬tion of Shri Datta.  We are half way through Shri Gurucharitra and hope to continue its publication in this year also.

    Shri Sai Leela magazine was started and is continued with the idea of spreading the teachings of Shri Sai Baba among the masses and thus lead them to Moksha. The experiences of devo¬tees are also published in this magazine in order to give assurance to the devotees that Shri Sai Baba is fulfilling His promise which He gave to His devotees. The ultimate aim of spreading the Sai cult in the world will thus be achieved by this publication.

    Sai cult is spreading far & wide day by day. The number of Sai devotees is going up by leaps and bounds. Shri Sai temples are coming up at different places in the world. Sometimes it so happens that after returning from the visit to a town or a city, we come to know that a Sai temple existed in that city and then we feel sorry to have missed the opportunity to visit that temple. Hence we are going to publish every month an account of one Sai temple. Inquisitive readers will take advantage of these articles and pay their homage to Shri Sai Baba when there will be an occasion for them to visit these places. Apart from the personal visit of the devotees to these places it will help them to know how far Sai devotion and Sai cult are spreading.

    From Sai Satcharita and from the teachings of Shri Sai Baba as told by various devotees and a number of articles and poems that are being published in this magazine,  Sai devotees are now aware that because Shri Sai Baba was staying in a masjid, He was dear to the Muslims and they honoured Him.  Because He advocated the Hindu festivals like Ramnavami, Gokul Ashtami and Dassera, He was liked by the Hindus and hence the present wor¬ship, abhishek and aarti, etc. at Shirdi are being performed in the usual way in which they are being performed at other Hindu temples.  Similarly because of the Dhuni in the Dwarkamai, the fire worshippers i.e., the Parsi community also  adore Shri Sai Baba and take pride in calling themselves as the disciples of Shri Sai Baba.  It will thus be seen that the aim and teachings of Shri Sai Baba were to unify all the religions and create a feeling of well-being among them.  Secularism which was advocated strongly by Late Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and which is advocated now by the Indian Government can thus be seen deeply rooted in the teachings of Shri Sai Baba.  Shri Sai Baba was establishing this secular feeling among the masses, who came to Him as His devotees, a century ago when no political leaders thought about it and herein lies the greatness of Shri Sai Baba. In the gathering held at Shirdi in February 1976, Shri Pathaksaheb, the Court Receiver, assured the contributors and devotees that a magazine of this type devoted entirely to the propagation of Sai Baba’s teachings and the publication of information regarding other past and present saints and their message to mankind, will be continued at all costs so long as he continues to be in the office of the Court Receiver in addition to the above assurance from the Court Receiver our main support and inspiration comes from Shri Sai Baba and with that unfailing support we hope to continue the publication of this magazine with the active co-operation from our readers in future.
    सबका मालिक एक - Sabka Malik Ek

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