Om Sai Jai Jai Sai Shri Sai
"Sai Baba does not belong to any single tradition but to all mankind on the path of goodness, love and understanding"
The Saint of Shirdi, Sri Sai Baba , is the great Master whose idol or portrait is worshiped by millions of people around the world. I consider myself extremely fortunate to be one of them. It is the good deeds of the past lives that lead one to Sai. Once there, it is up to us to fully gain from his blessings and divine influence. We are lead to the door, now it is up to us to make an effort to open and enter. Of course, Baba is there to helps us through all our travails. "Look to Me and I will look to you", He always said. I can feel His benign presence protecting me all the time .
In the Satcharitra the life of Sai Baba has been compared to a measureless and boundless ocean from which people can get immense peace and happiness and relief from their sorrows and miseries. His Leelas are like a lighthouse in the deep ocean of worldly existence. Reading or listening to them provides one with wisdom and knowledge in worldly and spiritual realms. It increases the strength of devotion and faith of a bhakta .
Baba’s method of preaching was completely different to other saints. He would do so by metaphoric actions. This is very well illustrated by a remarkable phenomenon of collecting ‘Daksina’ from the devotees or visitors to his masjid. This was not because he needed the money. It was more a symbolic gesture to stress on the devotees not to get too attached to the worldly things and to learn the value of giving charity. His method of collecting daksina was also unique. Interestingly, he would not ask from all the devotees who visited him but only from some. Infact, sometimes if a person tried to give some without being asked, he would often refuse to accept. This habit of collecting daksina started in 1908 when large crowds started visiting Shirdi. Symbolically, the number of rupees indicated a specific teaching. One rupees usually stood for ‘Jiva’ or Brahman. Two rupees as daksina, meant ‘shradha’ and ‘saburi’. He always reiterated that to overcome the burden of life one had to develop absolute faith and patience in God , even in face of adversity. Infact, in some cases he helped his devotees initially and continues to do so till they developed complete faith. He also likes to test their faith . This is well brought out in the Satcharitra where Baba insisted that Kaka Dikshit , a confirmed Brahmin , slaughter a lamb. Four rupees indicated the ‘ego’ complex, (i.e. Mana, Budhi, Chitta and Ahankar ) which should be surrendered at the Guru’s feet. Six referred to the six internal enemies, lust, anger, greed, pride, delusion and jealousy. Finally Nine stood for navavidhya bhakti, or nine steps to bhakti marga !
Baba believed strongly in Religious tolerance. This is brought out very significantly by the fact that he made the devotees celebrate Ram Navmi festival and Urus on the same day. Thus he successfully ensured working harmony between Hindus and Muslims. Sai Baba always said that one can choose whatever path he wanted to, but he must always remember that God is one; implying that all religions strive for the same spiritual objective. He strongly dissuaded people from changing their religion. Devotees were discouraged from having a narrow-minded attitude in the name of religion. This is illustrated in Sri Sai Satcharitra, where Sainath virtually forced one of his Hindu devotees to taste onions, which was forbidden according to his religion.
Sainath always had a dhuni going in the dwarka mayi. Even this was a significant action. It was symbolic of surrendering your ego and ahankar. Also the Udi was to keep reminding the people the fact that the body would ultimately be turned to ash and it was the soul which mattered.
Sai Baba favoured the marga of Bhakti to salvation. Chanting or dwelling on his name being all that was required. He would oft repeat that he was a humble slave of his devotee. This has been verified again and again. Even eighty years after shedding his mortal coil he continues to help his devotees in their difficulties and saves them from all sorts of miseries, material and spiritual. All that is required is a simple sincere prayer.
To get bliss and nirvana we should practice the teachings of Sai Baba as described in the SatCharitra. This is more important than mere ritualistic practices. Infact, I feel that mere reading (parayan) of the Satcharitra without putting it into practice is not enough. The feeling of devotion and seva towards mankind should be prevalent and is all important as Baba believed in ‘Love all , Serve all’. ‘Seva bhavna’ (service and devotion)should replace any desire to merely lead and control.
He would always stress that we should see God in everyone and everywhere , then we reduce the scope for hatred and dissension.
"Let none hate and let none forget that I , you and all the world are parts of the Lord," said Baba.
We should pray to this apostle of peace to always keep us under his protection.
‘Sai raham nazar karana , bachon ka palan karana.’
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