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Offline PiyaSoni

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Why Shirdi Sai Baba motivated His Devotees to do


of Holy Books …

“Every Scripture is inspired by God, and is useful for teaching, for convincing, for correction of error, and for instruction in righteousness.”

Religious Texts, also known as Scripture or Holy Books, are the Texts which various religious traditions consider to be Sacred, or of central importance to their religious tradition. Many religions and spiritual movements believe that their Sacred Texts are divinely or supernaturally inspired.

There used to stay a great Sanyasi in Benares (Varanasi) by the name Shantashram Swami. Hailing from Karad in Maharashtra, he had performed weekly Parayan (revisions) of the Shrimad Bhgwat Puran continuously for 40 years in Kashi. By his constant austerities and the devoted study of the Bhgwat, he had attained communion with the God. It is said when on occasions he overslept and did not wake up at the usual hour of 4 a.m. in the morning, the Lord of Kashi Himself used to knock at his door to wake him up !  

Shirdi Sai Baba encouraged His devotees to pray, chant God’s Name, and make Parayan (reading) of Holy Scriptures.

 Reciting the Name of the Lord and doing Parayan (reading) of Holy Books can not be copyrighted or trademarked by people of one religion alone.

Baba would often persuade the devotees to recite the Holy Books and would plead with them out of compassion to do so, for their own good. Incomprehensible is Baba’s skill of teaching !

He pushed the Muslims to study the Holy Qur’an, and the Hindus to study Texts such as the Ramayan, the Vishnu Sahasranam, the Bhagvad Gita, the Guru Charitra, the Eknathi Bhagwat, the Bhavartha Ramayan, the Harivarda, the Dasbodh, the Dnyaneshwari and the Yoga Vasishtha.

The story of one Rohilla illustrates Sai Baba’s approval of the all-embracing recitation of the Holy Qur’an. This Rohilla came to Shirdi, and was enamoured of Sai. Day and night he used to recite in a loud, harsh and dissonant tone Kalma (verses from Holy Qur’an) and shout Allah-Ho-Akbar (God is Great). Most people of Shirdi were working in their fields by day, and when they returned to their homes at night, they were welcomed with the Rohilla’s harsh cries and raucous shouts. They could get no sleep, and felt much trouble and inconvenience. They suffered in silence this nuisance for some days, and when they could stand it no longer, they approached Baba, and requested Him to check the Rohilla and stop the irritant. Baba did not attend to their complaint. On the contrary, Baba took the villagers to task, and asked them to mind their own business, and not the Rohilla.  As Baba liked the recitation of the Holy Qur’an and cries to God better than anything else, He took the side of the Rohilla.

Baba used to ask educated devotees like Kakasaheb Dixit and Bapusaheb Jog to read out Dnyaneshwari, Eknathi Bhagwat and Bhavartha Ramayan to others regularly and send other devotees to hear them.  

The Dnyaneshwari is the commentary on the Bhagvad Gita written by the Marathi saint and poet Dnyaneshwar during the 13th century at age of 16. The original name of the work is Bhavartha Deepika.

The contents of the Dnyaneshwari reflect a detailed knowledge of Kundalini, metaphysics and astrology. The commentary lays importance on God as energy. It emphasizes that although there may be many different living forms, they all breathe oxygen (even fishes under water and reptiles deep inside the earth) and have the same life force within them, which is a part of God, Who is energy and intelligence. It states that people can use energy and intelligence to connect with the Supreme and provides methodologies to achieve the same.

 B. V. Dev, an ardent devotee of Sai Baba, had a desire to read Dnyaneshwari. But, whenever Dev started to do Parayan, some obstacles crept in and he had to abandon the Parayan. The main reason for this was that he could not fully comprehend the inner meanings. He went to Shirdi with unyielding and firm determination and perseverance, without any mental reservation or doubts to complete the Parayan; and no sooner did he sit before Baba than he started reading the Dnyaneshwari and completed the Parayan without any obstacles.

Sant Eknath is one of the greatest saints of Maharashtra. His most important work is the Eknathi Bhagwat. It is his commentary on canto XI of the Bhagwat Mahapuran - the dialogue between Lord Krishna and Uddhava. Composed between 1570 and 1573, it was begun in Paithan and completed in Varanasi.

There is an interesting story behind the Eknathi Bhagwat. After the first five preliminary chapters had been completed, one of his disciples took them to Varanasi and recited them on the banks of the Ganges river. The Pundits of Varanasi took umbrage at what they called the ‘pollution’ of the Holy Text in the language of the Shudras (the lowest caste). Eknath was summoned to Varanasi and asked for an explanation. He requested that he be given an opportunity to present his work before judgment was passed. This was given reluctantly. In fact, the chief Pundit even kept a curtain between himself and Eknath, so that he would not be polluted. Then Eknath started reciting his poem. So beautiful was the melody, so profound the philosophy and so moving the mystical imageries created by him, that the audience of learned Pundits became ecstatic. The chief Pundit tore down the curtain and requested him to complete the work in Varanasi on the banks of the Ganges. After completion, the work was paraded on the back of an elephant, through the streets of Varanasi.

Once, in the Dixit Wada, Kakasaheb Dixit and Balasaheb Bhate were reading the Eknathi Bhagwat as instructed by Baba. At that time, Bapusaheb Buti arrived and said, “Baba has sent me with the instructions, ‘Go and sit near Kaka ! Listen what he says and bring sixteen and a half rupees from him. They must be exactly sixteen and a half rupees and not sixteen.’ ’’

Kakasaheb replied to Buti, “At this moment, I only have the one rupee, given to me by Baba. However, He has sent you to be with me when I am reading the Eknathi Bhagwat. Therefore, His intention must be that you should listen to what I am reading.”

The reading was resumed by Kakasaheb and he arrived at the Shloka “Kayen Wacha.....” Kakasaheb felt that the ‘sixteen and a half rupees’ must have some relation with the Shloka. He realized that Kaya (body) = 1, Wacha (speech) = 1, Mana (mind) = 1, Indriya (senses) = 10, Buddhi (wisdom) = 1, Ahankar (ego) = 1, Prakriti (nature) = 1/2 make up fifteen and a half.

After further study of the Pothi, Kakasaheb realized that elsewhere in the same Pothi, Chitta is mentioned though not in the same Shloka. These make total of sixteen and a half.

On another occasion, while chitchatting with Kelkar, Baba casually said, “This Vaze (a devotee) reads only one chapter. I have been telling him to read the Pothi (Eknathi Bhagwat) through out the night.”

These words were heard by Vaze and he enquired, “Baba, should I really read the Pothi through out the night ?”  Baba replied, “Yes !” From that day, Vaze started reading the Pothi every night from 10 p.m. to 4-5 a.m. Even though Vaze did not sleep during night, he did not feel tired.

Once, Sai Baba made Kakasaheb Dixit sit in his own Wada for a period of nine months. His intention was to provide him solitude, and thus give an impetus to his spiritual studies. Dixit got ample time to read religious books. He completed reading of Krishnadayarnav Swami’s Harivarada.  

A brief introduction to the Harivarada will certainly stimulate the imagination of the readers of this article and delight devotees of Lord Sai.

Krishnadayarnav (1674-1740 A.D.) is famous saint poet of Marathi literature.  His major work is titled as Harivarada (Bestower of Lord Hari’s grace). This is a monumental Marathi commentary on the 10th canto of Bhagwat with 42000 couplets (Ovis) and 90 chapters (Adhyayas) in two parts (Purvardh and Uttarardh) originally. It is very famous in Maharashtra and is recited in many houses regularly. It is also studied for specific contribution for Marathi literature in terms of poetry, coining of new words, spiritualism, description of the socio-economic conditions in ancient times and in the lifetime of the poet, description of Shivaji’s battle with Moghuls indirectly in the form of battle of Krishna with Kansa, etc.

After completing Parayan (reading) of the Harivarada, Kakasaheb Dixit enquired with Baba, “Baba, what shall I read next ? Or, should I continue reading the same book once again ?” Baba replied, “Now read Eknath’s Vrindavana’s Pothi.” Dixit had never heard of any book by that name. So, he got confused to hear this instruction.  He felt that Baba might be referring to the Eknathi Bhagwat, and decided to leave it to his Lord Sai Baba to solve this problem. Therefore, he took a copy of Krishnadayarnav  Swami’s  Harivarada  and went to the Dwarkamai-Masjid. Baba scanned through the book and returned it back to Dixit saying - “Yes ! This is the book. Read it !”

Dixit was still confused as to why Baba called it Vrindavana’s Pothi. It was because the name was more appropriate for Harivarada which narrated various childhood acts of Lord Krishna.

As Dixit began reading and suddenly he came to an Ovi which referred to ‘Ektisa Khananche Vrindavan’. This explained the whole matter.

After completing reading of the ‘Vrindavana’s Pothi’, Kaksaheb took a massive religious book (given to him by a friend of his) to Baba. But, Baba said, “Kaka, our two books (Eknathi Bhagwat and Bhavartha Ramayan) are sufficient for us.” Abiding by the directive of his Sadguru Sai, Kakasaheb did not hold any other religious book in his hands till the end of his life. During the day, he used to read one chapter of Eknathi Bhagwat and during the night of Bhavartha Ramayan. He never discontinued this practice.    

Hemadpant says - “In the company of Dixit, I also developed a liking for these two books. He used to be the speaker and I used to be his listener. This speaker - listener relationship continued for a couple of years. I consider myself very lucky indeed !”

 The construction work of Dixit Wada was complete at Shirdi in the year 1912.   Kakasaheb shifted his family from Vile Parle (Mumbai) to Shirdi. His wife and two children (Ramkrishna alias Babu and little Vatsala) were getting adjusted to their new habitat. However, Vatsala suddenly fell ill and soon succumbed to her ailment at the tender age of 8 years. This was a grievous shock to the parents. Nonetheless, Kakasaheb maintained stoic expressions on his face. In the afternoon on the same day, a copy of Sant Eknath’s Bhavartha Ramayan arrived by post, which Kakasaheb had ordered earlier. As per his usual practice, he placed the book in the hands of Baba, begging His permission to start its Parayan (reading).  Surprisingly Baba held the book upside down. He then scanned through it and, took out a specific chapter, which read :

‘‘It is necessary to remember that the death is constantly near us. And even then, one has to use his mortal body - though it is despicable - as a tool and reach the destination of immortality. Therefore, one should not get involved with attachment to his body.’’

Baba asked Kakasaheb to go through it. It was the best piece of advice Lord Ram had given to Tara, the widowed queen of the monkey king Bali.  This was Baba’s consolation therapy in disguise needed by the grief-stricken Kakasaheb.

Once, Kaka Mahajani came to Shirdi with a copy of the Eknathi Bhagwat. Shama took that book to read, and taking it with him went to the Masjid. There Baba took it from Shama; touched it and turning some pages here and there gave it back to Shama with the instructions to keep it with him. Even on Shama telling Baba that the book actually belonged to Kaka and had to be returned it to him, Baba didn’t relent. “No, no”, said Sai, “As I have given it to you, better keep it with you for safe custody; it will be of use to you.” In this way many books were entrusted to Shama. After some days Kaka Mahajani came again with another copy of the same Bhagwat and placed it in Baba’s hands. This time Baba returned it to Kaka Mahajani as Prasad and commanded him to preserve it well, assuring that it would stand him in good stead. Kaka accepted it with a bow. (Shri Sai Sat Charita, Chapter 27)

Once, Baba asked 15 as Dakshina from Professor G. G. Narke.  Narke replied that he did not have even a pie. Then Baba said, “I know you have no money; but you make Parayan of the Yoga Vasishtha. Give me Dakshina from that Scripture.’’ Giving Dakshina in this case meant – ‘Deriving lessons from the book and lodging them in the heart where Baba resides’.

Yoga Vasishtha, also known as Vasishtha’s Yoga, is a Hindu Spiritual Text, traditionally attributed to Valmiki. It recounts a discourse of the sage Vasishtha to a young prince Ram, during a period when the latter is in a dejected state. The content of Vasishtha’s teaching to Ram is associated with Advaita Vedanta, the illusory nature of the manifest world and the principle of non-duality. The Book has been dated between 11th and 14th century A.D., and is generally regarded as one of the longest Texts in Sanskrit, after the Mahabharat and an important Text of the Yoga. The Book consists of around 32,000 Shlokas including numerous short stories and anecdotes used to help illustrate the content. In terms of Hindu mythology, the conversation in the Yoga Vasishtha takes place chronologically before Ramayan.  

Sai Baba knew that the Yoga Vasishtha dispels delusion and enables one to realize that (when one rests inwardly in the infinite consciousness) ordinary life itself is the Supreme State. The Yoga Vasishtha offers clarity to the disillusioned, and for rigorous thinkers. That’s why Baba impressed upon Narke, who was a Professor of Earth Science [Geology] in Poona Engineering College, to study at least a small part of the Yoga Vasishtha daily for the purpose of bringing reconciliation of spirituality and science in his thoughts.

"नानक नाम चढदी कला, तेरे पहाणे सर्वद दा भला "

Offline PiyaSoni

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Recitation of God’s glories eradicates evil in us and gives us a chance to reconnect with the divine within. Vishnu Sahasranam Mahatmya aptly illustrates the benefits of Sahasranam’s recital:

“That man who with devotion and perseverance recites these names wholeheartedly every day, after having purified himself, succeeds in acquiring great fame, a position of eminence among his kinsmen, enduring prosperity, and emancipation. Such a man never meets with fear at any time, and acquires great prowess and energy. Disease never afflicts him; splendor of complexion, strength, beauty, and accomplishments become his. The sick become hale, the afflicted become freed from their afflictions; the affrighted become freed from fear, and he that is plunged in calamity becomes freed from calamity.

That man who with devotion and faith recites this hymn succeeds in acquiring felicity of soul, forgiveness of disposition, prosperity, intelligence, memory, and fame. Neither wrath, nor jealousy, nor cupidity, nor evil understanding ever appears in those men of righteousness.”

Once, Sai Baba insistently told Shama to read Vishnu Sahasranam, and said, “Oh Shama, this Book is very valuable and efficacious. So, I present it to you; you read it ! Once, I suffered intensely and my heart began to palpitate and my life was in danger. At that critical time, I hugged this Holy Book to my heart, and then, O Shama ! what a relief it gave me ! I thought that Allah Himself came down on the soil of Shirdi and saved me. So, I give this to you; read it slowly, little by little, read daily one Name at least and it will do you good.” (Shri Sai Sat Charita, Chapter 27)

Interestingly, once a Sikh lady, whose planet mercury was badly disposed or inflicted, came to her Guru for consultancy. The Guru asked her if she could recite the Vishnu Sahasranam. She nodded and started reciting…

“Achut Parabrahma Paramesur Antarjami II

Madhusudan Damodar Suaami II

Rikhikes Govardhandhari Murali Manohar Hari Ranga II”

It is from the famous Sikh Scripture ‘Sunder Gutka’, by the 5th Sikh Guru Arjan Devji. It is a highly popular Sikh Scripture which contains a lot of holy verses - both for spiritual progress and for remedies.

Kusha Bhau is a name, which has remained hidden in pages of history with reference to life tales and details of closest devotees of Sai Baba. Kusha Bhau was one such name given to a devotee by Sai Baba, whose original name was Krishnaji Kashinath Joshi.

Kusha Bhau served his Guru, Shri Datta Maharaj and learnt Yogic Asanas, Pranayam and rousing of Kundalini Shakti. Being young and motivated by the societal madness to accumulate power, he was not satisfied with what he was learning, and coaxed his Guru to impart him occult and psychic powers, through Mantras.

His Guru showed him the way for it, though reluctantly. Kusha Bhau wore an iron bangle and repeated the Mantras meant to attain occult skills like mysterious transference of material objects. He could produce sweetmeats from ‘nowhere’ by a wave of his hand with the power of the Mantra and distribute the same to amazed devotees as ‘Prasad’.

At one stage, he started pestering his Guru to teach him black magic with which he could harm his opponents who ridiculed him as a fraud.

The wise Guru realized that it was not good for either of them to stay together any longer. He directed his disciple to seek spiritual guidance henceforth from Sai Baba of Shirdi, perfection.

In the year 1908 Kusha Bhau came to Shirdi. On seeing him Sai Baba was wild with rage and would not allow him to enter the mosque, unless the visitor chose to give up his weird practices and leave off the power at the holy river Godavari. Kusha Bhau vacillated for some time and, after much inner struggle, had to give in. He went to the Godavari, threw away the iron bangle on his right hand, and taking the holy water in his palms, he vowed to give up all his occult powers as directed by Sai Baba. To his amazement, he discovered that he could no longer produce such material objects by a wave of his hand. Henceforth, Sai Baba allowed him to visit him at the mosque, and asked him to sit in a corner of the Masjid and make the Parayan of the Dasbodh. Sai Baba said, ‘‘Parayan of the Sacred Text is what will come to his rescue in the end.’’ Sai Baba later blessed him with the powers to produce Sacred Udi from his bare arm.

Dasbodh is a well-known magnum opus of Ramdas Swami (1608-81). It is an independent treatise which took 50 years of his life. It is a dialogue between a teacher and a disciple, illustrating the path of Bhakti (devotion). Consisting of 20 parts, with 7751 Ovis (verses), Dasbodh deals with a lot of conventional philosophical issues like the nature of Atman (self), Dnyan (knowledge), Bhakti (devotion), death and renunciation.

Sai Baba then instructed him to do 108 Parayans of Shri Guru Charitra, taking 3 days for each Parayan, and Kusha Bhau did this at Gangapur and stayed there for 10 months for this purpose. 

Shri Guru Charitra is the life of Shri Guru Dattatreya (Brahma, Vishnu, and Mahesh Incarnate). It was originally written in Ovi form (a Marathi metre) by one Saraswati Gangadhar, whose ancestor Sayamdeo had personally lived and served with devotion, Shri Guru Narasinha Saraswati, about 500 years ago. 

This volume is regarded as a greatly divine work, and adored in almost all devotees’ houses. It is much respected and is very popular like the Vedas, the Ramayan, the Mahabharat, the Bhagwat and the other Puranas in Sanskrit and the Dnyaneshwari, the Dasbodh, the Eknathi Bhagwat etc. in Marathi.

There was a gentleman named Sathe [not Rao Bahadur Hai Vinayak Sathe who built Sathe Wada in Shirdi]. He suffered severe losses in trade. Other adverse circumstances tended only to add fuel to the fire.  Being on edge, he thought of leaving home; and going out to a distant place.  His friends advised him to make holy a pilgrimage to Shirdi, where so many people were regularly flocking to get Sai Baba’s Darshan, for getting peace of mind and the fulfilment of their wants. He at once came to Shirdi in 1917. Seeing Sai Baba’s Form - which was like Eternal Brahma - Self-luminous, Spotless and Pure - his mind lost its restlessness and became calm and composed. He thought that it was the amassing of merits in his former births, which brought him to the Holy Feet of Sai Baba. He, at once started to make a Parayan (study) of Shri Guru Charitra. When the Parayan was complete in seven days, Sai Baba gave him a vision that night. It was to this effect : Sai Baba with the Shri Guru Charitra in His hand was explaining its contents to Sathe, who was sitting in front and listening carefully. When he woke up, he remembered the dream and felt very happy. He thought that it was extremely kind of Sai Baba, Who awakens souls, like his, that are snoring in ignorance, and makes them taste the nectar of the Shri Guru Charitra. Next day, he told Kakasaheb Dixit about this vision, and requested him to confer with Sai Baba regarding its meaning or significance - whether one Saptaha (week’s reading) was sufficient or he should begin again. Kakasaheb Dixit requested Sai Baba - “Deva   (Oh God) ! what did you suggest to Sathe by this vision ? Whether he should stop or continue the Saptaha ? He is a simple devotee, his desire should be fulfilled by explaining the significance of the vision to him, and he should thus be blessed.” At this, Sai replied - “He should make one more Saptaha (one - week reading) of the Book; if the work be studied carefully, the devotee will become pure and will be benefited, the Lord will be pleased, and will rescue him from the bondage of the mundane existence.” (Shri Sai Sat Charita, Chapter 18) 

Hearing these words of Baba, Hemadpant soliloquized, ‘For the last seven years (1910-17), I have been serving Baba and never got a vision, and this man (Sathe), only after a week’s stay at Shirdi gets such a divine vision. Like a Chataka bird, I am waiting for Baba to pour His nectar on to me and bless me with His instructions’.

The truth was that Hemadpant had succumbed to envy flu, becoming quite forgetful of the fact that Sai Baba had already rewarded him by showering His torrential blessings on him by providing him with the required stimulus for making Shri Guru Charitra’s non-stop Parayan for four decades, ultimately resulting in getting the go-ahead signal from Baba to write out a complete study of His own Leelas. This biographical study would be on the lines of Saraswati Gangadhar’s  Shri Guru Charitra, and would give peace and happiness to people afflicted with sorrows and heavily laden with miseries of worldly existence. This would also give them Dnyan (knowledge) and wisdom on temporal and spiritual matters. The Leelas would be both instructive and interesting like the Vedas, and, if meditated upon, they would bring about Laya (union) with Brahman and mastery of Yoga and Yoga Anand. Baba’s blessings soon bore fruits. Hemadpant gave the monumental work, Shri Sai Sat Charita to the world. 

Shri Sai Sat Charita is the powerful divine tool through which devotees are connected with Sai. Baba Himself said, “Hearing and reading (Parayan) my stories and teachings will create faith in devotees’ hearts and they will easily get self-realization and bliss”. (Shri Sai Sat Charita, Chapter 2)

“And has not Baba told us authoritatively that remembering and chanting Hari’s and Guru’s name confers Nava Nidhis [‘the nine Jewels’, i.e. Mahapadma (divine lotus), Padma (lotus), Shankha (conch-shell), Makar (crocodile), Kachhapa (tortoise), Mukund (quick silver), Kund (jasmine), Neelam (blue sapphire), and Kharva (a dwarf)]. Then, where is the cause for fear and anxiety ?” - Madhavrao Desphande alias Shama to Kakasaheb Dixit (Shri Sai Sat Charita, Chapter 45)

The path of the Shri Sai Sat Charita is simple. Wherever it is read,  the place becomes Dwarkamai, and Sai definitely appears there.  There itself are the banks of the Godavari, there itself are the nearby pilgrimage places of Shirdi; there itself is Sai together with the Dhuni. Where the Shri Sai Sat Charita is regularly recited, Sai resides there always. If the Shri Sai Sat Charita is repeatedly read with full faith, it pleases Him, in all respects. By the Parayan of Shri Sai Sat Charita, a man wishing for wealth will get it; and a pure trader achieves success in his life. One will get the reward according to one’s faith and devotion. Without these two, there will be no gain of any kind. If one makes the Parayan with absolute Shraddha (faith) and Saburi (patience), the Lord of Shirdii will be pleased. He will give His devotees knowledge, wealth and prosperity. If one reads one Chapter of Shri Sai Sat Charita per day with concentrated mind, it will give unbounded happiness to the reader. One, who has his/her welfare at heart, should study it carefully and then he/she will ever remember Sai gratefully and joyfully in birth after birth. This Pothi should be read at home especially on Guru Poornima (Ashadha Poornima), Gokul Ashtami, Ram Navami and Dussehra. If one makes careful Parayan of this Holy Pothi, all desires of the devotee will be fulfilled. By its Parayan, the diseased and sick will get health, the poor wealth, the mean and afflicted prosperity, and the mind will get rid of all ideas and get steadiness.
"नानक नाम चढदी कला, तेरे पहाणे सर्वद दा भला "


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