Tuesday, November 3, 2009



Ganpat Rao then came to Baba and said, 'I have now left my service. My wife and I have to beg in the streets, as we have no property or income'. Baba said, “Ganu, I shall provide for you and your family”. Baba then asked him to go on with his Brahminical duties, puranic studies, and kirtans at which he was excellent. From the day of his loss of service in 1903, till his last day, Ganpat Rao was never in want either for food or clothing, and had even become the owner of some lands yielding him sufficient support. In 1919, his wife died issue less, leaving him without any encumbrances. Baba told him to attend to his kirtans. Das Ganu was especially good at kirtans. He had a fine metallic voice and could hold an audience of over 2,000 people spellbound in rapt attention. As he never asked for any money, his kirtans were very popular. In all his kirtans, he would place Baba's picture next to him and even though his katha was about Tukaram or Namdev or Jnanadev, he would always refer to Sai Baba as the living Satpurusha, as the present Great Saint. Dasganu would emphasise that it would be a great blessing for people to have darshan of Sai, as the very darshan would purify and benefit the visitor. As soon as his kirtans ended, people started in numbers to go to Shirdi and see Baba. These numbers included high officials of good and great position, as also the poor. Thus he was the means of sending some tens of thousands of people to Baba. He was justly styled Hari Bhakta Parayana Kirtankar. Baba developed his nature and purified it by making him spend his time whenever he went to Shirdi in reading Vishnu Sahasranama at a temple there. Das Ganu Maharaj thus got highly purified and was highly devoted to Baba. His purification and development are marked in various ways, and Baba's favour to him on the spiritual side is so vast and varied that it is impossible to sketch them out. However, mention may be made of a few facts showing how Baba favoured him in addition to relieving him of the two great hampering curses upon him, namely, the dance mania and the Foujdar mania. Baba gave him a special capacity to understand things which others could not ordinarily understand. Baba gave him special hints on special occasions. Two of these instances are given below.

Das Ganu Maharaj wished to write a Marathi commentary on Amritanubhava, a famous Marathi religious treatise, which was considered to be impossible. A pundit told him that he could not possibly catch all the meaning of Jnana Dev, the author, and express it in his work. Das Ganu went to Baba, prayed for and immediately got his blessing. Then, he began to write his explanations of the riddles, seeming contradictions and apparently meaningless dicta of Amritanubhava. He found the heart of the author and brought it out by a number of illustrations. He drew these illustrations mostly from Baba's talk which he heard at Shirdi. He thus succeeded in presenting Amritanubhava in such a way as to satisfy even keen critics; and the pundit who first considered it impossible was of the opinion that Das Ganu's work was satisfactory.

After Amritanubhava, Das Ganu was anxious to render a Sanskrit Upanishad, Isavasya Upanishad, into Marathi. Before proceeding further, here is a brief idea of this most beautiful Upanishad. Isavasya Upanishad consists of only 18 verses. It is full of great thoughts and has been considered by Mahatma Gandhi to be peculiarly important.

It is believed that the God, intent on the regeneration of the world, communicated Vedas through Hiranyagarbha (Brahma) and Hiranyagarbha, in turn, passed them on to his ten Manasa-puthras, including Athri and Marichi. From them, the Vedas spread among humanity, handed down from one generation to another. As time passed, ages accumulated and continents moved, some Vedas got lost, or were neglected as too difficult for comprehension, and only four have survived into modern times. These Four were taught by Vedavyasa, the greatest among the exponents of the Vedas, to his disciples, in the Dwaparayuga.

When Vyasa was thus expounding the Vedas, engaged in spreading the sacred scripture, one of his disciples, Yajnavalkya by name, incurred his wrath and as a punishment, he had to regurgitate the Yajurveda that he had already learned, into the custody of his guru and leave the place. Just then, the Rishis who revere the Vedas flew into the place in the shape of Thiththiri birds and ate up the regurgitated Yajurveda. That particular section of the Veda is called "Thaithiriyam".

Yajnavalkya then took refuge in Suryadeva, the treasure-house of the Vedas. Suryadeva was pleased with the devotion and steadfastness of the unfortunate Yajnavalkya. He assumed the form of a Vaji or Horse and blessed the sage with renewed knowledge of the Yajurveda. The sections thus taught by the Vaji came to be called 'Vajasaneyi'. The Yajurveda as promoted by Vedavyasa is called Krishnayajurveda and that handed down by Yajnavalkya as the Suklayajurveda. In these, the first few chapters are mantras connected with the Karmakanda and the last few sections deal with Jnanakanda. The IsavasyaUpanishad is concerned with Jnanakanda.

The Upanishad, though apparently simple and intelligible, is in reality one of the most difficult to understand properly. The aspirant should sit at the feet of an experienced teacher, a Brahma-Srotri, a Brahma-Nishtha, and study this Upanishad with single-pointed and pure mind. Then everything will become quite clear. Out of the eighteen mantras in this Upanishad, only the first two deal directly with the problem of liberation and its solution. The other sixteen elaborate this solution and serve as commentaries thereon. In the first mantra of the Isavasya, the Jnana-nishta characterised by the absence of craving of any sort is expounded. This is the primary Vedartha. However, those who have cravings will find it difficult to get stabilised in that Nishta or state of mind. For such, the second mantra prescribes a secondary means, the Karmanishta. The rest of the mantras elaborate and support these two nishtas - based on Jnana and Karma. Karma-nishta has Desire and Delusion as the cardinal urges; Jnana-nishta has Vairagya (Renunciation), the conviction that the world is not Atma, that is to say, not true, and therefore, it is profitless to have any dealings with it. Renunciation here does not mean negation of life. It is not some morose and lifeless experience. We should not renounce life because of despair or depression arising out of our fears, frustration or personal failures. True renunciation arises out of intense longing for the divine, out of a state of mind in which attachment with the Divine alone makes sense and out of a sense of freedom and fearlessness that stem from unflinching faith in God and His supreme will. We should not renounce life because we do not like it. We renounce life because we love God intensely and live our life with a sense of gratitude and self-surrender. The life of renunciation is a carefree life, utterly devoid of all pretension and seeking and free from the cares and the struggle that accompany all manners of seeking. Man has the right to enjoy his life. There is a divine sanction for it. Life has to be enjoyed, but without seeking, without coveting, and without struggling to get things done or get things for oneself. It is the renunciation of seeking and of desiring things which is the central feature of a life of true renunciation. Those who renounce life truly, in fact, enjoy life better than those who do not. The true sanyasis are not troubled by the fear of loss or the possibility of gain. They accept their lot, what comes to them without struggle and seeking and remain indifferent to what does not come to them or what has departed from them. Such an attitude to Vairagya is the gateway to Jnana-nishta. From the third to the eighth mantra, the real nature of the Atma is depicted, through the condemnation of the Avidya, which prevents the understanding of the Atma.

Thus the Isavasya teaches the lesson of renunciation through the first mantra and the lesson of 'liberating activity' (through Karma devoid of Raga and Dwesha) in the second mantra. In the fourth and fifth mantra, it speaks of Atmathathwa and later of the fruits of the knowledge of that Atmathathwa. In the ninth mantra, the path of progressive liberation or Karmamukthi (useful for those who are too weak to follow the path of total renunciation but who are adepts in acts that are conducive to moral development and inner purification) is laid down; this is the path which co-ordinates all Karma on the principle of Upasana. Those who are engaged in acts contrary to Vidya are full of Ajnana. It says that those who confine themselves to the study and practice of divine forms are even worse, for their desire is for powers and skills. Vidya leads to Deva-loka, Karma leads to Pithr-loka. So, the Jnana that results in Atmasakshathkara or Self-realisation is something quite distinct from these, no attempt to co-ordinate the two can succeed.

Isavasya Upanishad is also called as, ‘Mantropanishad’. It constitutes the last or the 40th chapter of the Vajasaneyi Samhita. Being embodied in Vedic Samhita, it is regarded as superior to all other Upanishads. In fact, the other Upanishads are considered to be commentaries on the truths mentioned briefly in the Isavasya Upanishad.

Prof. RD Ranade (1886 - 1957 AD) one of the greatest philosophers India has produced, says, “The Isopanishad is quite a small Upanishad; and yet it contains many hints which show extraordinarily piercing insight. Within the short compass of 18 verses, it gives a valuable mystical description of the Atma, a description of the ideal sage, who stands unruffled in the midst of temptations and sorrows; an adumbration of the doctrine of Karma-Yoga as later formulated and finally a reconciliation of the claims of Knowledge and Works. The most valuable idea that lies at the root of the Upanishad is that of a logical synthesis between the two opposites of Knowledge and Works, which are both required according to the Upanishad, to be annulled in a higher synthesis.” (Page 24; Constructive Survey of the Upanishadic Philosophy). In another place, he says that “The poetry of the Isopanishad is a co-mixture of moral, mystical and metaphysical knowledge.” (Page 41, ibid.)

Dasganu Maharaj undertook the difficult task of translating this Upanishad into Marathi, entitled ‘Isavasya Bhavartha Bodhini’, and bringing out its exact meaning. For this purpose, he used the ‘Ovi’ metre, verse by verse. As he did not comprehend the essence of the Upanishad, he was not happy with his work. So, he consulted some learned men to clarify some of his doubts, discussed with them for great lengths of time, but the doubts remained as doubts. Dasganu was becoming restless.

As seen already, the Isavasya Upanishad teaches us the science of self realization. It gives us a weapon which can cut the bondage of life and death and set us totally free. When nobody could resolve his doubts, Dasganu thought that he should ask someone who has himself achieved self realization. He thought that Sadguru alone is competent to resolve his doubts. When a suitable opportunity presented itself, Dasganu prostrated at the feet of Baba and asked for guidance. Baba blessed him and told him, “Don’t worry. The maid servant of Kaka (Kakasaheb Dixit) will clear all your doubts at Vile-Parle (a suburb of Mumbai).” Those who had assembled there, thought that Baba was joking as “how could an illiterate maid servant clear the doubts about Isavasya Upanishad, which she may not even know exists.” Dasganu, however, knew better and was certain that whatever Baba spoke came true.

Obeying Baba’s instructions, Dasganu left for Vile-Parle and stayed with Kakasaheb Dixit. Next day when he was doing his daily morning worship, he heard a beautiful and melodious song. The song was in praise of a crimson coloured saree, about its pallu, border and the embroidery on it. The song was so appealing that Dasganu came out to see the person who was singing the song. The singer was a young girl of about eight years of age. She was sister of Namya, Kaka’s male servant. She was cleaning the vessels and was dressed in torn clothes. Dasganu immediately took a liking to the girl and felt pity for her. He also observed that though she was impoverished, she was in a very jovial mood.

Next day, when Rao Bahadur MW Pradhan presented him with a dhoti, Dasganu requested him to give a sari to the young girl. Rao Bahadur bought a good Chirdi (small sari) and presented it to the girl. Seeing the Chirdi, the girl’s face beamed with happiness and uncontrolled joy. Next day, she wore the new sari, whirled, danced and played ‘Fugadi’ (a traditional dance played by the women during Vinayaka Chaturthi in Maharashtra) with her friends and was very happy. The following day, she kept the sari in her box at home, came in the same old torn clothes and was singing and playing as on the previous day, when she was in the new sari. Seeing her so jovial, Dasganu had admiration, in stead of pity, for the girl. He thought that she had kept the new sari in her trunk to be worn on some festival day; and as she was poor, she had to be in torn clothes. Then something flashed in his mind.

Dasganu had observed that the girl was happy in the torn clothes, she was happy when in a new sari, and she continued to be happy even when she had to revert to the old torn clothes. Her dress did not affect her state of mind at any time. Her happiness of mind was not affected by the changes that were taking place to the dress on her body. She believed that whatever happened to her was the blessing of God, accepted the changes and was happy. She had not, of her own accord, asked for any of these changes. This was exactly what the first sloka of Isavasya Upanishad propounded.

Isavaasyamidam sarvam yathkincha jagathyaam jagath
Thena thyakthena bhunjeethaah, maa gridhah kasyaswid-dhanam

All this-whatsoever moves in this universe (and those that move not) is covered (indwelt or pervaded or enveloped or clothed) by the Lord. That renounced, enjoy. Do not covet the wealth of any man.

Then Das Ganu understood the Upanishad. He knew that the girl's happiness lay not in the external sari which she had 'thrown away' (tena tyaktena, which means, that being thrown away) but in herself. And Isavasya Upanishad says the same thing. 'Tena Tyaktena' means being content with what God gives you. The girl was happy as she was contented. Thus Baba taught Isa Upanishad to Ganu through a young maid servant of eight years age. Dasganu was very happy. His doubts were clarified. Sadguru had guided him through an illiterate servant maid. Baba's ways of teaching were and are peculiar and different in the case of different individuals.

When he thought there was nothing for him to depend upon, Baba provided everything, and Das Ganu had always been very well off temporally. The properties he acquired subsequently, he got them transferred to his adopted son. As for the spiritual uplift, it is impossible to conceive of any greater benefit than wrenching one away from the two great ropes that were dragging Ganpat Rao downwards, namely, the lewd village dramas which Ganpat Rao was playing in and the soul-destroying police work, the wickedness of which would be heightened by the ambition to rise to Sub Inspectorship in double quick time. The way in which Baba responded to prayers and saved him, time and again, from dismissal or punishment would quite suffice to impress the mind of Ganpat Rao with the fact that Baba is omnipotent, is everywhere, watching and attending to his prayers, and is ever looking after him. Baba watched him at every place to which he went and took the appropriate measure that was urgently needed for his welfare. What else can be God, other than the one who watches us everywhere, and further takes adequate steps to see that harm does not befall us but real benefit is conferred on us? What is God other than the one who hears and grants prayer?

Even though Das Ganu sang of Baba as God in fine terms and set to excellent music, his conviction was superficial and not deep. His faith in Baba's divinity was very poor and very weak. In order to make Dasganu and other disciples realise Him properly, Baba exhibited some miracles, one of which is as follows.

On a Mahashivaratri day, Dasganu wanted to have Gangasnaan (a holy bath in the confluence of Ganga and Yamuna at Prayag) by going to Singaba (about 5kms from Shirdi) and having a dip in Godavari River. Godavari river, in ordinary parlance, is termed 'Ganga' (the Ganges, the most sacred river). Dasganu approached Baba for permission. Baba told him, “If you have unflinching faith, then both Ganga and Yamuna will flow here itself. One need not go that far for the sake of a bath”. Ganu felt very much dissatisfied. Without showing his displeasure, Dasganu prostrated at Baba’s feet. The moment his head touched Baba’s feet, Ganga and Yamuna sprouted from both the toes of Baba’s feet and started flowing like rivers. Having witnessed what Baba could do, Dasganu could not contain his ecstasy and began singing Baba’s Leelas.

Baba asked Das Ganu to read Vishnu Sahasranama and retreat from the crowds of the Dwarakamai. He asked him to go to a sequestered temple like the Vittal temple in the village and continue recitals or repetitions of Sahasranama. The Vishnu Sahasranama is so vast and the import of the thousands of Names, is so great that any one who goes through them carefully with the help of Sankara or other Bhashya thereon must be struck by the fact that powerful material imbedded in Vishnu Sahasranamam must suffice for the purification of any soul. The experience of thousands justifies them in the belief that what is claimed in the Vishnu Sahasranama stotra itself is right. That stotra says at the end that a person making a parayana thereof will obtain issue if he is issueless, wealth if he has no wealth, power, fame, glory and success if he is without these and, it adds that sins of ages would be washed off. In order to give the benefit of the Sahasranama to those who have unfortunately not the time nor the opportunity to repeat, the bare repetition of one name contained therein, namely, the name 'Rama' would be equivalent to the merit of repeating all the thousand names.

Sri Raama Raama Raameti
Rame Raame Manorame
Sahasranaama tattulyam
Raamanaama Varaanane.

One who repeats only the name of Rama will obtain the merit of repeating the Sahasranama itself.

Whatever Baba did, Das Ganu stuck mostly to his old set of ideas which formed the foundation for his spiritual progress. He could not get rid of the idea that the great thing for him to do was to go to Pandharpur, the Bhooloka Vaikuntam as it is called, in Asvin and Kartik months and see the holy image of Vittal there and worship it. That Vittal alone was God. And if he was to get vision of God it must be by that form appearing before him in a vision.

When he was in this mentality, Nanasaheb Chandorkar, his former master (for this was in 1912 or so when Ganu had retired from service) was asking him to stay on for Asvin at Shirdi and do his kathas there. At once Das Ganu thought that Baba was compelling him, through Nanasaheb, to keep off from visiting Vittal at Pandharpur. His thought then was "How is Baba a God, when He keeps me away from God (Vittal) at Pandharpur?" Baba noting his thought told Nana Chandorkar to send him away to Pandharpur, and so he went and returned later on to Shirdi. Then he came to Baba and said, 'When will you give me Sakshatkar?' Baba said, 'You see Me. This is Sakshatkar. I am God'. Then Das Ganu said, 'I expected you would say so. But I am not satisfied with it'. Das Ganu considered that Vittal of Pandharpur alone was God, and not the Sai form that he saw at Shirdi. He concluded that it was not in his destiny to have Sakshatkara of Vittal.

Some more examples of how Baba helped Das Ganu temporally and spiritually are given here. Once when Das Ganu and Bere, an agricultural inspector, were to leave Shirdi for Kopergaon to catch a train for which there was plenty of time, they went to take Baba's leave. Baba in giving the leave, said "Start at once, don't stop but go straight to Kopergaon." They acted on his advice. Other tongawallahas told them to wait and go with them on that dangerous road to have the benefit of their company. They, however, followed Baba's advice and drove straight on and arrived safe at the Kopergaon station. The other tongawallahs who came up later were in time to catch the train but they were waylaid by highway robbers. Baba's advice had saved Bere and Ganu from that mishap.

Baba similarly tried to save Das Ganu from being attacked by the inner enemies (Kama, Krodha, Lobha, Moha, Mada, Matsarya) also. Baba set before him the ideal of being totally free from those six enemies. That, however, was no joke. Like so many other devotees, this apostle also had his slips. But Baba very kindly pulled him up and corrected him off and on. For instance, on one occasion there was a feast at Shirdi where sira (a sweet dish prepared with wheat rava) was prepared and distributed. Baba asked Ganu, "Did you get sira at that person's house?" "No, Baba" said Ganu, "that man is my enemy and did not invite me." Baba, at once rebuked him and said, “What is this sira and who eats it? Do not say of anyone that he is your enemy". Baba wanted to point out to him that he is the soul which neither eats nor has any other physical function and that all souls are in essence one and the same, namely, Paramatma. To one who has realised himself as Paramatma, there can be no enemy at all.

Das Ganu Maharaj was a very severe critic and occasionally uttered words that wounded the hearts of others and produced other evil effects. On one occasion, he had used hard words and defamatory language against a devotee living at Shirdi, who had done splendid work to make Sai Samsthan highly attractive and who drew numerous influential and other people to Baba's feet. When Das Ganu vented one of his frequent abuses against that devotee, Baba sent for him and pointed out that the work of attracting devotees to Baba's feet was rightly prized and practised by Das Ganu himself on a vast scale and yet he was defaming a person who carried on the same work and he thereby hindered that work. Baba thus made him acknowledge his error and insisted on his prostrating himself before that devotee and begging pardon. So Das Ganu adopted that advice and prostrated himself before that devotee and prayed for pardon. He thus gained more self-control and more humility.

This peculiar lack of faith of Das Ganu was not noticed by himself till after Baba left the body. In 1919, that is, a year after Baba shed his mortal coil, Das Ganu was at his usual place, Nanded, where there was a saint, with wonderful spirituality, on a rock. When others went to see that saint, he received them. But whenever Das Ganu tried to see him, he avoided him. On one occasion in 1919, when his wife died, he sent some food to that saint and saw him later. Das Ganu wanted to know why the saint was evading him. Then the saint answered, 'You call yourself a Kirtankar. Why then have you "Ahamkar" (Egotism)?' Das Ganu pleaded that every one had Ahamkar, and that it was impossible to avoid it. Then that saint said, 'Shall I tell you what sort of Ahamkar you have? Is not Sai Baba your Guru? And shall I say what you have done with him?' Das Ganu said, 'Yes'. The saint asked, 'Did not Baba produce water from his feet, and what did you do with it? You sprinkled it on your head, but would not put it into your mouth, because you are a Brahmin and the Ganga was coming from the feet of the mosque dwelling Baba. Is it not Ahamkara of yours?' Das Ganu felt the force of the saint's observations. Das Ganu's inability to think of Baba as pure Vittal or God is an instance where a person gets very great benefits from Baba but something or other hinders his deriving the fullest benefit as prejudices die hard and old habits cannot be easily erased.

Even during Baba's life in the flesh, Ganu was the person to deliver the annual Harikathas (from 1914) at Shirdi at Baba's Urus, the Ramanavami Utsavam; and had kept up the tradition of conducting that Utsavam for a major part of his life. Das Ganu Maharaja's regular kirtans throughout Maharashtra have raised him in the estimation of all whether they are devoted to Sai Baba or not. His eminence may be seen from the fact that he was the President of the All India Sai Devotees' Conference held at Coimbatore in 1948.

Das Ganu Maharaj passed away at the ripe old age of 95 years on 23 October 1962. It was also an Ekadashi Day in the lunar month of Kartik . Baba gave this Ekadashi death to his devotees Kasiram, and Appa Bhil. We may also note here that Mhalsapathi died on an Ekadashi day as also Nanasaheb Chandorkar, Tatya Patel, Kakasaheb Dixit and other Baba’s devotees.

||Sri Sainaathaarpanamasthu||

Monday, November 2, 2009


||Om Sri Sainaathaayanamaha||

Sai raham nazar karanaa,
bachchonka paalan karana
Jaanaa tumane jagat pasaara
sabahi jhuta zamaana

||Sai raham najar karna||

My andhaa hoon bandaa aapaka,
mujhako prabhu dikhalaana

||Sai raham najar karna||

Daasa ganu kahe aba kyaa bolum,
thaka gayee meri rasana

||Sai raham najar karna||

O Sai show your mercy, protect this little baby. The expansive Universe, you know is a mass of deception. I, your slave, am blind. Reveal the Lord to me. Says Ganu, What can I say more? Exhausted is my tongue.

Raham najar karo
ab more Sai,
tum bina Nahi mujhe
maa baap bhaayi
Mai andhaa hoon
bandaa tumhaara
Mai naajanoo
Khalii zamaanaa
myne gamaaya
Saathi aakharakaa,
kiya na koyi

||Rahama najara karo||

Apne masid kaa
jhaadoo Ganoo hai
malik hamaare,
tum Baaba Saayi

||Rahama najara karo||

Show me, Now Your mercy, for, except You I have nobody. No father, mother, brother. Sightless is my eye, Your slave am I. I do not know, Aught of the Deity. I have lost the entire society. For my last moment, no friend I made. Ganu is but the broomstick of your mosque.
You are our Lord and Master O Sai Baba.

These are the two brilliant, immortal, prayers in Hindi embodied in the Shirdi Arti and sung daily, in the Sai baba Mandir, at Shirdi. The Shirdi Arti includes several other bits, which have sunk deep into the hearts of devotees and which will continue as long as the Shirdi Shrine and Arti last. For instance:

Shirdi Maajhe Pandharpura Sai Baba Ramaa Vara,
Suddha Bhakti Chandra Bhaaga Bhaava Pundalika jaga,
Yaho yaho avaghe Jana Kara Babasi Vandana,
Ganu Mhane Baba Sayee Dhamva Pava Majhe Ayi

Shirdi is my Pandharpur, and God worshipped there is Sai Baba. The holy river called Chandrabhaga found at Pandharpur is represented at Shirdi by pure devotion, and in that river the holiest spot, Pundalika Temple is represented at Shirdi, by intense concentration. All you people, come up, come up and do reverence to Sai Baba. Ganu says. Oh Sai Baba, Mother mine, run up and catching me in your arms, caress me."

These timeless gems were composed by Ganapat Rao Dattatreya Sahasrabuddhe, affectionately called as Ganu by Sai Baba, and more popularly known as Dasganu Maharaj.

He was not only a composer and writer of saintly lives, but also a performer of Kirtans (Harikathas) with great ability. His literary skill made him produce fine verses on Shivaji, the national hero, for use at the Ganapati Utsava in Maharashtra. As verses on Shivaji rouse up patriotism and the National spirit, which the foreign rulers, then in power dreaded, he was called on by his Inspector to explain how he, a Government servant, took this prominent part in helping on a national movement. His answer was that he was an "Asukavi”, that verses in Lavani metre flowed out of him at the barest request of anybody and that the request of some one made him sing impromptu the song or verses on Shivaji. As a proof, he offered to compose impromptu verses on the officer himself. The officer wished to test the truth of the statement and asked him for verses on himself. Ganu's Asukavitva or poetic genius was equal to the occasion. At once, he sang the high qualities, real or fancied, of the officer, in Lavani metre. In a few minutes, there were numerous verses on the excellences of the officer who was greatly pleased and dropped the charge against Ganu, then known merely by his police No. 808. By steady practice, he acquired considerable mastery of his mother tongue Marathi. Some of his works were prescribed as text books by the Bombay University. All his works are on noble topics. Mostly, he wrote biography of the saints. His command of Ovi, Dindi and other metres was excellent. An abundant use of alliteration and other figures of speech adorned his sonorous writings. Kirtankars who wished and wish to deliver kathas on famous saints could easily pick up one of his innumerable stories and please their audiences with parrot-like repetition of it. Even now, any one anxious to spend his time over saintly biography cannot do better than going through Das Ganu’s following works,

(1) Sant Kathamrita
(2) Arvachina Bhakta Leelamrit and
(3) Bhakta Saramrita

which have earned for him the title of modern Mahipati. Mahipati was the famous composer of the works dealing with ancient or medieval saints, in his works Sant Lilamrita etc.

Dasganu began these works almost from 1903 when he quit service. And in these he incorporated the seven chapters (or kathas) which embodied Sai Baba's Leelas or life and teachings. He is responsible for the discovery and publication of Sai Baba's early life and tutelage at Selu under Venkusa. He found out that Venkusa was another name for Gopal Rao Deshmukh, ruler of Selu in Jintur Pargana. Baba had said that he had been delivered by his fakir foster mother to the Selu ruler, who became his master, Guru and all-in-all. Freed from service shackles, Ganu started his research, ran up to Selu and discovered from Srinivas Rao, the Subedar of Selu in 1903, the ballads and family papers referring to the Subedar’s grandfather's grandfather, namely, Gopal Rao Desmukh. These papers revealed the wonders performed by Gopal Rao’s Bhakti, the conquests achieved by his military prowess and the Muslim woman's child that became his devoted attendant and disciple. It was to this child that Gopal Rao gave initiation. These papers and the ballads also revealed the fact that at Gopal Rao's passing away or Ascension, the remains had to be interred and that they were indeed interred in the garba gruha of Venkatesa temple which was erected thereon, as Gopal Rao was identified with Venkatesa or "Venkusa". It still stands and attracts the devotees of the surrounding places.

As this early history is very highly prized by Sai devotees and is essential for a proper understanding of Baba, their obligation to Das Ganu Maharaj is very deep. The earliest books on Sai Baba were the three chapters that Ganu produced and published in 1906 with financial help from Sri H. V. Sathe.

Das Ganu’s importance for the Sai movement lies in the fact that the rapid spread of Baba's name in Maharashtra was due very largely to his efforts. Baba fully well foresaw or ordained it. In 1890, Das Ganu was a Constable and a small time actor of village plays enacting female characters. Baba drew him to Himself for the double purpose of improving Ganu’s own spiritual condition and thereafter rendering signal service to the public for the spread of Sai faith. When he first came to Shirdi, he came as the "orderly" (a constable attending on) of Nana Saheb Chandorkar, and whenever Chandorkar visited Shirdi, Das Ganu followed him as his constable. It was definitely not out of faith in, or love for, Sai, but because his master compelled him to go with him.

For a very long time, Das Ganu could not appreciate Baba. Up to the end, he could not realise Baba as God or as his Guru, though he had high regard for him and his powers and wrote or sang of him with poetic skill describing Baba as Ramaavara. That was why he went to one Islampurkar, a Brahmin Guru, to get his initiation long after he met and dealt with Baba. Baba naturally did not object to this step when Das Ganu reported the fact to Baba. Baba made a remarkable change in the personality of Das Ganu, and Das Ganu also realised how powerful Baba's influence on him was.

It was mostly an unwilling submission on the part of Das Ganu to Sai Baba. From his very earliest advent to Shirdi, the nature of Ganpat Rao was noted by Baba. Das Ganu’s nature then was just that of a Police Constable who had hardly any education, but who was very clever in composing impromptu Lavani metre songs in Marathi and in taking a female's part in village dramas. He would put on female dress and dance about in the village and take great pleasure in that achievement. His great ambition was to become a “Foujdaar (Sub Inspector)” in his profession. The Police Department by itself was not a particularly moral department, and for one who was ambitious to advance in it, one's regard for truth, righteousness, fair dealing, etc. would practically be nil, and scruples, conscience, and character were unwanted hindrances to efficiency. Knowing all their dangers and the real dormant capacity of the man, Baba, from the very beginning, told Das Ganu to give up both his attachments, namely, (1) attachment to the village dance and drama and (2) attachment to the police profession. Nanasaheb Chandorkar also pressed this upon Ganpat Rao. With great difficulty Ganpat Rao was weaned away from drama. But as for the profession, he was not willing to give up at any cost. The charm of holding the position of Sub Inspector (Foujdar) and bossing over people was too powerful for him to resist. When Baba said, 'Ganu, give up your police service', Das Ganu replied, 'Baba, let me become a Sub Inspector for which position I have passed the departmental examination. I will hold the appointment for only one year, and thereafter, I will give it up'. Baba replied that he was not going to get the Sub Inspector’s post, and that He would see to it that he did not get it. So, Baba's work was to bring in difficulty after difficulty, pressure after pressure to bear upon Ganpat Rao. Even otherwise Ganpat Rao had innumerable difficulties without Baba adding to them.

He was fond of touring distant places of pilgrimage outside his official limits. Many times he would go without taking the permission of his superiors, as permission for such unofficial trips was not easily granted. On one such occasion, he had gone to a shrine in the erstwhile Nizam's State and was returning. His fellow constables were highly jealous of him, and wanted to see that he was humiliated. So, when he was returning to his place, and when he was still on the Nizam's side of the river Godavari, the envious constables were ready on the other side to catch him. He noted their presence and felt that he would surely be dismissed. So, he took up the Godavari water in his palms and swore by that "Ganga" water, as it is called, "Baba, let me escape this time. I shall certainly give up my police service". Baba immediately responded and there was proof of Baba's Grace! As soon as he went a short distance back into the Nizam's State, a village Munsif came to him and told him that certain dacoits were sharing their booty secretly and all that the Village Munsif wanted was a police gentleman with authority to arrest them. So Ganpat Rao went, seized the dacoits and the booty, and proudly returned to his own station on the other side of the Godavari. When questioned how he went out without permission, his reply was that he had gone there for the seizure of dacoits and property—no doubt a falsehood. Thus, he not only escaped punishment, but thought that he had a very good chance of rising in his profession. With that thought uppermost in his mind, he was riding past Shirdi to go somewhere. Just as his horse came to Shirdi, and when he did not want to alight there but to pass on without seeing Baba, Baba came on the road and made him alight. Then Baba asked, 'Are, who swore with a palm full of water in his hand, man?' Then Das Ganu's unabashed reply was, “So what? Baba, I am going to resign after all, after I get the Fouzdarship”. Baba said that he would see to it that he resigned, and added 'Until a peg is driven into you, (i.e. pressure becomes painful), you will not obey'.

And pressure did come. Das Ganu along with three other Constables was sent on duty to capture a notorious dacoit, Khana Bhil by name. This dacoit was a terror to the whole countryside, and his organisation was so vast and wonderful that even the Police Department was in his pay. With prior information from those of the Police Department who were in his pay, he could checkmate their movements. Das Ganu went to Lonivarni, a place which Khana Bhil was visiting. But, Khana Bhil was a man of extraordinary abilities. He shot the other three persons nominated along with Ganpat Rao to catch him, and was determined to deal with Ganpat Rao in the same way. Disguising himself as a Ramdasi, Ganpat Rao made use of the village children to learn from them details about the visits of these robbers, and communicated the information of their movements to the police headquarters. Suddenly one day, Khana Bhil turned up, seized Ganpat Rao by his neck, and said, 'You fellow, you are going to catch me! Do you know that it is Khana Bhil who has now caught you? I am going to shoot you now, as I have already shot your three companions.' Ganpat Rao was in mortal fear of death. He was standing close to Sri Rama's image. He suddenly fell at its feet and, thinking of Sai, said 'Save me. Save me. I will give up all my police efforts'. Khana Bhil was softened. Instead of shooting Ganpat Rao he said, 'I will let you off this time. But if you interfere again in my affairs, you will be a dead man. Remember this.' The ambition of becoming a Sub Inspector was so great that Ganpat Rao was not to be deterred so easily. Once again, he obtained information about Khana Bhil's movements and communicated it to the authorities. As a result, a police force armed with carbines, etc., was sent to surround the hillock on which Khana Bhil and his men had pitched their camp. A fierce battle was fought between the dacoit gang and the police, and Khana Bhil managed to escape. Ganpat Rao knew that his life was doomed. So he went up to Nanasaheb Chandorkar, and with his good offices secured a medical certificate and got relieved of his detective duties. Thus for a second time his prayer to Baba to save his life was effective. Once again, he refused to resign. He thought that having successfully duped Baba so far, he was safe and could pursue his ambition of becoming a Sub Inspector, without any further hindrance. But, he hardly knew how many strings Baba had to his bow.

The third occasion came and then Das Ganu was in a tight fix. When he was the second in command at the Station, the station Officer left him in charge. And Das Ganu in a lordly way wanted to enjoy his time, and went home leaving a constable in charge of the station. Just at that time, a village munsif sent a servant with a fine collected from some other person against whom a warrant had been sent for collection. The servant gave that amount, Rs. 32/-, to the constable there in charge. There was no one to witness this transfer of money. The constable told the servant that the Station Officer was on leave, that no receipt would be issued then, and that the receipt would be sent to the village in due course. So, the poor servant went away, and the constable pocketed the money. Ganpat Rao knew nothing of it. However the authorities, finding that Rs. 32 had not been collected, sent a second warrant for the collection of the fine. The party showed the receipt from the Village Munsif. The Village Munsif, when asked, said that he had sent the money to Ganpat Rao's Station. The enquiring officer came to the Station and asked the Station Officer who pointed out that at the particular time and date when the money came, he was on leave. As Ganpat Rao was in charge, the enquiring officer came to the conclusion that Ganpat Rao was the one who swallowed the fine amount of Rs. 32. Ganpat Rao was asked for an explanation. He said he knew nothing. But there was no escaping the fact that money had been sent that day, and was paid at the station as the servant testified. Then Ganpat Rao, finding that there was not only no chance of his becoming the Sub Inspector, but a good chance of his getting into the jail, solemnly swore to Baba that this time he would positively quit service. He went further and mentioned his willingness to resign to the enquiry officer. The officer made him pay Rs. 32, and then discharged him after taking his resignation letter. Thus, Baba succeeded in making Ganpat Rao quit that service, a service, which would prevent Ganpat Rao from becoming the high spiritual personage that he was subsequently to develop into.


Tuesday, June 23, 2009



When Baba's life left His body in October 1918, it was a great blow to all His devotees. But there was further danger of confusion and conflict about the disposal of Sai's body. The proper disposal of the Sai body was essential for the carrying out of His mission, because Baba had said, 'Even from the tomb, I will be active'. Where was this tomb to be? Who was to build it? In whose charge was it to be? The almost universal belief of people (Hindus and Muslims alike), when Baba passed away was that Sai Baba, living in the Mosque, was a Muslim, and so the Muslims including Bade Baba gathered the body, and they wished to be in charge of his tomb. Baba was a famous Avalia. His tomb would be visited by innumerable people, and miracles would be performed there. The offerings by the visiting pilgrims would be abundant. The tomb would be a very important place. Hence the Muslims thought and said that they should be in charge of the tomb. Unfortunately, they were few in numbers, and they had neither the influence nor the means to erect a suitable tomb for the Avalia. The Hindus stressed the fact of custom that the vast mass of people that worshipped Baba was Hindus, and, therefore, they were the proper persons to arrange for the tomb to be worshipped.

The Kopergaon Mamlatdar arrived on the scene and asked each party to put forward its representation with largely signed mahazars. The Hindus were in larger number, and their mahazars also were numerous. The Muslim signatories to the Musim mahazar were very few. As for Baba's own wishes in the matter, it was not well known. He never talked about it. But during His last illness He said 'Carry me to the Wada', (i.e. Buty wada). Buty was quite willing that his building should become the tomb of Baba. The Mamlatdar pointed out his difficulties. He said that if all parties agreed, he could give directions for the disposal of the body in accordance with the terms of the agreement. If they did not, he said, they should go to Ahmednagar, and get the District Magistrate's decree, and he (Mamlatdar) would have to act upon that decree. Kakasaheb Dixit was willing to go to Ahmednagar. As he was a solicitor of high repute, the Muslims thought that if he went to Ahmednagar, he would get the District Magistrate's order in his own favour, and they would be nowhere. So, they came to an agreement with the Hindus that Baba's body should be in Buty wada, and the management of the tomb would also be with the Hindus, but Muslims should be allowed free access even though it was in a Hindu gentleman's house, and that mamul should continue. So, the Mamlatdar himself passed an order, and Baba's body was buried without any difficulty at Buty wada, where it still remains. That was only a temporary settlement.

The more important matter was as to the guidance of the future. It should be according to a scheme sanctioned by the District Court of Ahmednagar. Kakasaheb Dixit with his remarkable legal ability, his worldly wisdom, and great devotion, drew up a scheme and presented it with the signatures of number of influential devotees. It was sanctioned by the District Court in 1922. The scheme governs the Shirdi Sai Sansthan and Baba's tomb and other affairs. The property of the Sansthan vested in a body of trustees with managing committee of fifteen. Dixit contented himself with being the Honorary Secretary, and his able management pleased all parties. Kakasaheb Dixit thus laid firm foundation for the success of the Shirdi Sai Sansthan, and he must be given the credit for its present position. This may be ranked as one of his great services to Sai and to the public or to humanity.

The other assurance Baba gave to Kakasaheb Dixit was "Mi tula vimaanaatoon ghevoon jaayin (I will take you in a vimana)". Taking in a vimana is what occurs in puranas. When holy persons like Tukaram die, their souls go to Heaven in a vimana. So, Baba's words were understood to mean that Kaka would have excellent Sadgati. Kaka was assured of his future and also that his death would be happy and peaceful. Let us see how Baba fulfilled this assurance also.

It is commonly believed that death on an Ekadashi Day carries a man to Heaven. Kaka Dixit had that belief, and he mentions it in his preface to Sai Satcharitra. Page 4 of Sri Sai Lila Masik contains the preface of the earliest part of Sai Satcharitra, Volume I No. I of year 1923, where he says, 'It is fitting that the death of Hari bhaktas should be on Hari's own day, that is, Ekadashi' (because Ekadashi is devoted to Hari bhajan). Dixit notes that Baba gave this Ekadashi death to Kasiram, Appa Bhil and other bhaktas. We may also note here that Mhalsapathi died on an Ekadashi day as also Nanasaheb Chandorkar, Tatya Patel, and others. Therefore, it is most fitting that Dixit should die on an Ekadashi day according to the current belief of the virtues of death on that day.

He had excellent company in Anna Saheb Dabholkar, the author of Sai Satcharitra, and Tendulkar, the composer (along with his wife) of innumerable songs on Sai Baba (found in the Sai Bhajanamala) both of whom were very deeply attached to Sai Baba and prized Dixit's company on that account. The portions, which in his daily pothi, Dixit had to study on 4-7-1926 were Gajendra Moksha, that is, the giving of Moksha to an Elephant by God (Sundarakanda, 21st Adhyaya of Eknath Bhavartha Ramayana). This book was studied by Dixit every night, and on the night preceding his death, 4-7-1926, he had a dream. In that dream he had a vision of Sai Baba and noticed that Baba came up and got into the upper part of Annasaheb's body, and Annasaheb was holding Baba in a fast embrace with great love. This dream he communicated early morning after waking to Annasaheb, Deshpande, Legate, and others. His parayana of Eknath Bhagavata also on that very day of his departure was of the portion which dealt with the Ashta Maha Siddhis in Chapter XV of Ekadasa Skanda, especially verse 23. It says

Parakaayam Vis can siddhah Aatmanam Tatra Bhaavayet,
Pindam hitva Viscef pranaah Vaayu bhutah shadanghrivat.

When a siddha wishes to enter into the body of another creature, he has only to mentally carry himself into the body of that other creature, giving up mentally his own body, carrying himself in an aerial body, just as a bee leaves one flower and flies into another.

The commentary of Eknath's stanza is extremely brilliant and Kakasaheb read that with overflowing heart and as described in that stanza, he himself, like a bee, flew from his body to some other body arranged for him by Baba's Grace at the time of death in accordance with Baba's promise.

On 5-7-1926, the Ekadashi day, he was starting from Ville Parle (suburb of Bombay) to go to Dr. Deshmukh's dispensary at Bombay to see his ailing son Ramakrishna. Annasaheb Dabholkar had spent with him some time in excellent bhajan and pothi and was starting to go to his own station. When both of them, alongwith Tendulkar, came to the platform after the scheduled time, they found the train also was late. The train came just in time for them to catch it. All the three of them got into the train, and the words which came from Kakasaheb were, 'Annasaheb, Just see! How merciful Baba is! He has given us this train this minute. He has not made us wait even a minute.' He then looked into his pocket time table and said, "Baba has made the train come late and enabled us to catch it. Or else we would have to be stranded at Colaba and be frustrated. So, this is Sai's grace". Thus, sitting facing Anna Saheb, Kakasaheb remembered Baba's loving grace and appeared to fall asleep. Dabholkar first thought be was sleeping. When he went near him to hold his head and asked him, “Are you sleeping?” there was no reply. Then Dabholkar feared that Kakasaheb had fainted. Making Kaka lie down, Dabholkar noted the apparently hopeless condition of Kakasaheb. The train was speeding from station to station. Annasaheb told his friend Tendulkar in the carriage that he should tell the Guard so that they may carry down Kaka's body from the carriage. But as there was a big crowd and heavy rain, he could not do this at Bandra (suburb of Bombay), and so only at Mahim (another suburb of Bombay) he got down and told the Guard. The Guard arranged to phone to Parel (suburb of Bombay) for a stretcher and doctor, and at Parel, the body was taken out. The doctor examined the body and said that life was extinct. On account of the suddenness of death, there would have been difficulties of inquest. But luckily they got the doctor's certificate, and the body was committed to the care of Annasaheb. The main point for us to see is how Baba carried out his undertaking to carry Kaka in a Vimana. Tukaram was carried to Heaven in a Vimana, and that was a fine, blissful, and excellent end. But that was a miracle - Without any miracle, Baba had given Kaka a very high end.

There was no pain or fear before life departed from his body. His was a happy death even from the worldly standpoint. But from the spiritual viewpoint it was a highly blissful end. The death in such circumstances meant Sadgati to the Soul. According to the Gita, what a man thinks of at the time of his death, he becomes, in his next birth. Here Kaka was thinking of his Guru at the close of life as "That wonderful God that delayed the train for him." So, the mood of gratitude and love towards Sai was the mood in which he passed away. Dixit would go to his Gurudeva, and live along with him after his death. Baba has stated, "God has agents everywhere. They have vast powers. I have vast powers”. He has mentioned how he is exercising those powers. He says 'Sit quiet, Uge Muge. I will do the needful. I will take you to the end.' Baba refers to himself thus, 'This is a Brahmin, a white Brahmin, a pure Brahmin; this Brahmin will lead lakhs of people to the shubra marga and take them to the goal right up to the end'. He says, 'I draw my devotee to me at the time of his death, even though he may die a thousand miles away from Shirdi. I will not allow my devotee to be lost. I will account to God for all those that have been given to me'.

A study of the life of Kakasaheb Dixit might be of greater help to most of us than the lives of other devotees. Dixit was a worldly solicitor or businessman and was not marked out for any extraordinary spiritual career like that of a Sadguru. What is important in Dixit's life is that from his ordinary level of a businessman, he made the very best use of his life after 45 years of it were over, and by the kindness of Baba, he was able to surrender himself more and more to his Sadguru and to attain, as a result thereof, perfect reliance on Baba's assurance that every responsibility of his would be borne by Baba, and the consequent fullness of peace and calmness. He could and did carry on his affairs, spiritual and temporal, with total
nishta and saburi in his Master, being assured of getting the best out of his life. This is all that most of us can aim at. We can see that Kaka had first a brilliant worldly life and an equally brilliant or even more brilliant success in the spiritual line, and that he died a happy death, 'being taken in a Vimana' by the Guru. Every one of us, though we are not face to face with Sai Baba as Dixit was between 1902 and 1918, can still have, even now, the same faith, the same surrender and the same assurance from Sadguru Sai that he will look after all our concerns and the consequent fearlessness and calm with the certainty of happy death like Kaka's. Sai Baba is not dead. He is God, and cannot die. When his body was lying in the Dwarakamayee, he appeared to and told Lakshman, 'Jog thinks I am dead; no, I am alive. Therefore do pooja and arati'. He has repeatedly said that his tomb will speak and move with those who make him their sole refuge. Baba said, 'I shall be active and vigorous from the tomb also. Even after my Mahasamadhi, I shall be with you, the moment you think of me at any place. As soon as a devotee calls unto me with love, I will appear.'

||Sri Sainathaarpanamasthu||

Monday, June 22, 2009



The greatest interest in a saint for any serious minded person is, and ought to be, spiritual interest. So, though originally Dixit's idea was to go to Baba for the cure of his lameness, he soon gave up that idea and said 'Lameness of the body does not matter much’, and wanted Sai to cure the lameness of his soul.

Dixit's vairagya developed steadily along with his love of the Guru. His Guru, both by example and precept, showed him the absurdity of the worldly man's desire for wealth and how unnecessary it was even to an ordinary sadhaka. Especially after Baba had assumed all his responsibilities, he noted how needless it was for him to spend attention and time or energy as before to acquire or preserve wealth. Two instances may be cited as typical of this teaching of Baba. In the early years of Kakasaheb's contact with Baba, he earned large fees. On one occasion when he came to Shirdi, he came along with a trunk full of rupees, which he had earned. He came to Baba, placed the trunk before him, showed him the rupees, and said, 'Baba, all this is yours'. Baba at once said, 'Is that so?' and plunged both his hands in the box full of rupees and gave away heaps of rupees to the people who crowded round him like bees for honey. In a few moments, the trunk became empty. This incident is narrated by Garde, a Sub Judge friend of Kakasaheb Dixit, who was watching all the time the face of Dixit to study the reaction on his face to the rapid scattering of his hard earned money by Baba. Though any other person in his position would have felt the loss of money very bitter, Kakasaheb was unmoved. That showed how he had hardened in his vairagya at the feet of Baba. He learnt again that the silver so highly valued by the world was but mud to the Sadguru.

Thus Kakasaheb was confirmed in his absolute belief in the divine protection of Sai Baba, and the absolute truth of every word that Baba uttered. This faith is called 'Nishta', one of the two coins which Baba insisted on being given by the disciple as Dakshina to the Guru - namely, ' Nishta' and 'Saburi'. Saburi means patience, courageous, cheerful and persevering.

These qualities were steadily developing in Dixit, and he gave these two coins (Nishta and Saburi) to Sai Baba, his Gurudeva. There were frequent occasions to revive and strengthen these qualities in Kaka. For instance, on one occasion, Kaka went to Baba thinking he should present him a garland and Rs. 25. But he first presented only the garland. Then Baba said 'This garland calls for Rs. 25'. Kaka gladly noted Baba's Antaryamitva (knowledge of all minds). On another occasion, he had gone on with his pooja to Sai Baba in his quarters but he forgot to offer the usual betel and nut after naivedyam. When later he went to Baba, Baba asked for the betel and nut. This convinced Dixit that Baba was watching him every moment of his life and his every act.

Baba once tested some of his devotees. Bade Baba, Shama, and Radhakrishna Mayi all shrank from carrying out Baba’s order. Let us see what happened at that moment.

A famished old goat, just about to die, entered the mosque. Seeing it, Sai Baba said to Bade Baba, “Cut that goat with one stroke”.

Bade Baba: (Looking at it with pity) How are we to kill this?

So saying, he went away from the mosque. Then Sai Baba called Shama and said, “Shama, you cut it. Fetch a knife, from Radhakrishna Ayi”.

Radhakrishna Ayi sent a knife, but learning the purpose, recalled it.

Shama: I will go home to fetch a knife.

Shama went home and stayed away there. Then Baba called Kakasaheb and said, “You fetch a knife and kill it”.

Kakasaheb went and fetched a knife, and asked, “Baba, shall I kill it?”

Baba: Yes.

Kakasaheb lifted the knife and held it up in hesitation.

Baba: What are you thinking of? Strike.

Dixit obeyed and was bringing the knife down, when Baba said, “Stop. Let the creature remain. I will kill it myself but not at the mosque”.

Then Baba carried the goat a few yards, after which it fell dead. Kakasaheb Dixit alone stood the test of implicit obedience to an apparently horrid command.

Dixit was a perfect gentleman with excellent manners and a very good heart. Dixit would not scandalise any one. But on one occasion, it happened that he joined a group in scandalising Jesus Christ. A little while after, he went to Baba for massaging him. Baba was angry and said, 'Do not massage'. At once Dixit remembered that he had scandalised Jesus Christ, and that Baba was therefore angry. He repented his mistake and resolved never to commit such mistakes again. Kaka had the immense advantage of "practicing the presence of God." In Kaka's case, the presence of the divine watching him and directing him every instant of his life was evident, too patent for him to ignore and the consequent elevation and freedom from fear and care, quite easy and natural for him. Whether he was talking ill of Christ or resolving to fast or whether he failed to offer betel nut to Baba at his private pooja to Baba's photo, Baba was on the watch, and when Kaka went to Baba later, there was the appropriate rebuke or demand.

Baba was watching not only over Kaka, but over all his relatives also. One day Kaka received a letter that his younger brother at Nagpur was ill. Then he said to Baba, 'I have received this letter and I am of no service to him.' Baba said, 'I am of service'. Kaka could not make out why Baba said so. But at that very moment, at Nagpur, a sadhu came to attend upon his brother, and cured him of his illness, and used the very words of Baba, namely, 'I am of service'. Kaka thus found that across 1,000 miles, Baba could see what went on and could carry out what was necessary for his sishya's relatives.

On one occasion, Kaka at Shirdi got fever, and then when he went to Baba, Baba told him, 'You better get away to your bungalow at Ville Parle. This fever will last only "four" (a few) days. But have no fears. It will pass away, and you will get all right. Do not allow yourself to be bedridden. You can go on eating sira (semolina pudding), as usual'. Kakasaheb accordingly went away to Ville Parle. His fever was increasing. Dr. Demonte was called and he diagnosed the fever as Navajvara and he directed the patient to remain in bed and take the prescribed medicine. Baba had told him, 'Padighevun Nakos’ (Avoid lying in bed). So, Kaka sat up on a swing and went on eating sira, a dish full of ghee and semolina, which fever patients are medically advised to avoid. The fever steadily increased, and the doctor was aghast at Kaka's throwing his instructions to the winds. He called on a fellow doctor to diagnose, and both of them said that things would take a very serious turn, if Kakasaheb kept on violating medical advice. But Kaka told his doctor Demonte that he had sent for him to have friendly and cheerful company and that he was sure, as Baba said 'This fever would pass away in a few days" and that the doctor would not be blamed as he (Kaka) was sure to recover. Dr. Demonte thought that Kaka was being fooled by some fakir. But to his surprise and that of others, Kaka's health, though it went on from bad to worse, suddenly regained normality on the ninth day.

With Kakasaheb, who had the benefit of being in England for some time, differences of Hindu and Muslim did not count. One instance of this may be cited here. After Sai Baba's passing away, Bade Baba, or Fakir Baba, wished to live at Shirdi, but the houses being mostly Hindu houses, no one was willing to rent a room to him. Strong was the prejudice to allow a Muslim into a Hindu house. Then Kaka determined that he should give and did give Fakir Baba accommodation in his wada in spite of the protests of the Hindu pilgrims. Even Nanasaheb Chandorkar protested against the accommodation being given to Fakir Baba. Kaka brushed aside even that objection. Dixit's samatva was of a very high order and was based upon the high principles, which he imbibed from Baba, that he should see God in all creatures and things. Nanasaheb Chandorkar and Upasani Maharaj were also taught this aspect by Baba.

To Dixit's mind nothing was low or bad, and if there was any trouble in any creature or person, his sympathy was excited. He was known from very early days as a very liberal host inviting all people to his table and even at Shirdi at his wada, a mess was run and many people including Upasani Maharaj were fed free at Kaka's expense. At Ville Parle as at Lonavla, he would daily invite all persons, not merely friends but also fresh acquaintances to dine with him. His bungalow was described aptly as Annadana or Dharmadana Hindu hotel; and this prevented many from starting a hotel business at Lonavla during Dixit's lifetime. But apart from human feeding, Kaka had his atithis (guests) in cats, dogs, ants, flies, etc. Baba's instruction to Chandorkar in regard to atithis was that atithi feeding is best done by taking some food and throwing it out where cattle, ants, dogs, etc., will come at their own time and eat the food. These are the real atithis.

Kakasaheb at Ville Parle had a number of cats and dogs feeding with him, and his bungalow was always full of these cats and dogs. Even at Shirdi when he sat for his meal, cats would come, and he would offer them rice with ghee with the fullest feeling that God was inside them. Baba had instructed Nanasaheb Chandorkar on (1) how Nana should see and revere the soul within each body, which is but a part of the Universal soul, and (2) how Namdev ran to offer ghee to a dog that had picked up a slice of roti, (dry flat bread), from his plate (thereby polluting the plate) and was running away. Kakasaheb's sympathies were powerfully attracted to all creatures. This is a highly important step for expanding one's sympathies to all, thus overcoming mamata and ahankar. Once indeed, he yielded to the common frailty of thinking that serpents were the cause of many human deaths and. therefore, at the sight of serpents, one must kill them (an advice found in books and pamphlets issued by Government). He asked Baba whether people should not kill serpents to save themselves from snake bite (and death). Baba's answer was, 'No, you should not kill it. The serpent will not kill us unless it is ordered by God; and if God so orders, we cannot escape it.' But this doubt was at Kaka's earliest stage. As days went on, his outlook changed completely. He would not kill snakes or scorpions, both of which infested Shirdi.

On one occasion when Kaka and a number of others were together, a big black scorpion was approaching and some people brought a shoe to kill it. Kaka stopped them, and brought a long stick and placed it in front of the scorpion. The scorpion got on to the stick, and Kaka carried the scorpion and the stick outside, and left the scorpion at a safe place. He would not kill ants, bugs, and flies. As for bugs, there was an exuberant supply of bugs at Shirdi, especially at Kaka's wada. Kaka himself was a very sound sleeper, and his sleep was never disturbed by bugs. Others were not equally hardy, or insensitive, and when insecticide powder was brought by others to kill the bugs on Kaka's bed also, he stopped those friends, and said, 'Don't spread the powder. Human blood is the natural food provided for bugs. My sleep is not disturbed by them. At best they drink only half an ounce of blood and my body can easily make up that loss. Is not God in bugs also?' he asked. His friends were stunned by his remarks. So, this habit of seeing God in all creatures was an excellent course for Kaka and thus he was able to think of God always.

As for upadesa, Baba gave no upadesa mantra but every word, act, and omission of Baba was full of instruction and inspiration. For 10 years, 1909-1918, Dixit studied every word, every act, and every deed of Baba. Kakasaheb treasured these utterances, and deeds of Baba. His notes of them have been compressed into articles in the Sai Lila Masik which Kakasaheb started around 1923, and they are found under the headings 'Maharaj's Anubhav', 'Bodha paddhati' and 'Bol'. Almost every serious devotee going to Shirdi contacted Kakasaheb, and communicated his experiences to him. Kaka's services through starting Sai Lila Masik, and recording the experiences are undoubtedly great and valuable service to Sai and the Sai movement.

About Kaka Dixit, at the very outset, Baba had said, 'Kaka Tula Kaiji Kasli; Mala Sara Kalji Ahe', (Kaka. why should you have any care? All care is mine). Baba, having said this, would be the last person to break his promise of bearing the entire responsibility for Kaka and his relatives. Several incidents could be mentioned to show that before the Mahasamadhi of Baba in 1918 and after, Baba did bear all that responsibility.

In 1913 Kaka Dixit's son was reading at Bombay at Ville Parle, and Kaka was with Baba at Shirdi. Just a month or two before the examination, the boy had continuous fever. So Kaka's brother wrote to him to come up and look after the boy, but when the letter was shown to Baba, he told Kaka not to go, but, on the other hand to send for his son to Shirdi, where there was neither doctor nor medicine available. So, the boy's uncle sent him up to Shirdi unwillingly, and strange to say, without hospital, doctor, and medicine, the boy improved in health and got alright at Shirdi. Then the uncle wrote that the examination was on 2-11-1913, and the boy must be sent up for studies. But Baba did not allow it, not even for attending the examination on 2-11-1913, though the boy's uncle wrote that the boy should be sent up. Kaka asked for leave. But Baba did not allow him to start. It looked as though Baba was seriously injuring the boy's prospects. But what happened at Bombay? The examination to be held on 2-11-1913 had to be postponed to 6-11-1913 as a plague rat was found in the examination hall. Again for the 6th, the boy was requisitioned. Again Baba forbade the boy's departure. The boy did not go up. The explanation appeared soon. Again there was a plague rat in the examination hall, and the examination had to be postponed to the 13th. Baba ordered the boy to be sent up for that date, and he attended the examination and passed.

We have already seen how Baba looked after Kaka's daughter Vatsali when an almirah tumbled down upon her. How did the fall of the almirah, with the heavy articles inside, not hurt the girl? Baba said, “I will not allow my devotees to come to harm. I have to take thought for my devotees. I stretch out my hands, four, four hands, at a time to support them”. There were some cases, however, in which Baba found himself prevented from doing anything, and that is what happened finally in the case of Vatsali. When she was in Shirdi, she got fever and Dixit was simply trusting to Baba. But this time instead of saving her, when the fever had far advanced, Baba appeared to her in her dream, and said. 'Why should you be down here? Come and be lying under the margosa tree'. This was ominous, and the very next morning, Baba asked Shama, 'Is Kaka's girl dead?' Shama replied, 'O, Deva, why are you speaking so inauspiciously?' Then Baba replied, 'She will die in the afternoon'. She died accordingly at that time. To enable Dixit to bear the blow, Baba gave him a prescription. Kaka took in his hands Bhavartha Ramayana and handed it over to Baba. Baba then dipped his hands into the book, and opening it, at the page in Kishkinda Kanda, where Rama kills Vali and consoles his widow, asked Kaka to read and digest the same. When death is inevitable, Baba wants his devotees to be strong-minded enough to recognise the fact of its inevitability and bear the separation. Death is not always an evil. Baba conveyed this truth to Kaka at least on one other occasion.

An old woman with her only son was at Shirdi, and a cobra bit that boy. The old woman ran to Baba, and asked for udhi to save the life of her son. Baba did not give any udhi. Then the woman went out. But soon she returned beating her breast wailing aloud that her son was dead. She implored Baba to revive her son. Baba gave neither udhi, nor other help, and said nothing. But Dixit was there. His sympathy was very much excited, and he requested Baba to help her, and said, “The woman's plight is heartrending. Please revive her dead son for my sake”. Baba replied, 'Bhav, do not get entangled in this. What has happened is for good. He has entered a new body. In that body, he will do especially good work which cannot be accomplished in this body, which is seen here. If I draw him back into this body, then the new body he has taken will die, and this body will live. I will do this for your sake. Have you considered the consequences? Have you any idea of the responsibility, and are you prepared to take it up?' Kakasaheb desisted from pressing his request. The current idea of the worldly man that death is always evil is incorrect and the wise man is he who cares for life only as long as it lasts and meets death without fear when it comes.

As for Dixit's own financial position, there was, for a long time, a period of depression, but there was no positive distress. Contentment was ingrained in Dixit. He was generally contented and retained his mental peace in the midst of lack of funds and income. However, special occasions arose and his faith in Baba was tested and confirmed. Some time after Baba passed away, Kaka had to meet a heavy obligation of Rs. 30,000 to be paid to a Marwadi. The day for payment was drawing near, and Kaka could not see how to get funds for meeting this large demand. One night, as he was sleeping, he had a dream, and in his dream, his creditor was pressing him for payment. In the dream, he assured the creditor, 'Oh, don't you fear. I have my friend Sir Chunnilal, Sir Chimanlal etc. all of them knights, and they will provide the money'. Suddenly, he woke up and remembering the dream, he bitterly repented his stupid folly in relying upon 'Sir' this and 'Sir' that who are just the persons who will fail to help at the crucial moment. He felt that the only person on whom he could rely for getting help was Baba, and cursed his folly in relying upon such useless human help. He resolved not to think of these 'Sirs' at all, and to rely confidently and boldly upon Sai Baba alone to furnish him with the funds and that too in time.

He sat up in his office room on a chair and was waiting and waiting till the actual date of payment came. Till the last date and last moment, no money was forthcoming. But at the last moment, a young man, the son of a rich friend of his, came asking for his advice. He said that after his father's death, he was managing his property, and had to find an investment for his money. He said, just then he had brought with him Rs.30,000/- and wanted to know from Dixit what would be the best investment. Kaka, after explaining the pros and cons of other investments, finally told him that he himself was in urgent need of Rs. 30,000/- and he would be glad to have it on any reasonable terms, but that it was his duty to explain to the lender that his practice had gone down, that his income was very low, though his properties in the shape of bungalows were there, and that it was his duty to point out the danger and disadvantage of lending to such a person. The young man, however, made up his mind to lend the money to him on account of his need and on account of his being his father's friend, and thus the creditor of Dixit was paid in time. But who could know that the sum of Rs. 30,000 was with a person with a mind to be influenced to lend it to Dixit? Baba alone could know. Baba alone could influence the possessor of the funds. It is this Baba, who knows all facts and grips all minds, who brought Kaka's friend's son in time with Rs. 30,000 to clear off Kaka's debt, and Kaka had many instances like this confirming him in his attitude of utter childlike reliance on his Guru even in financial matters.

After Baba left the body, Dixit, like several other staunch devotees, intently concentrated on Sai Baba, and after prayer cast chits before Baba, and asked some child to pick up a chit at random, and the directions of the chit were Baba's orders and were safe to follow always. One instance may be cited of Dixit's trust in consulting Baba through chits and it’s proving a reliable method and Baba's proving a reliable helper of himself and his relations. After Baba's Samadhi, Dixit tried to revive his practice especially for the sake of others. His brother Sadashiv Dixit, BA, LLB, tried to practice at Nagpur, and failed to secure any practice or appointment. Dixit then consulted Baba through chits and acting on the chit-accrued order brought Sadashiv over to Bombay. But even at Bombay, Sadashiv failed to secure any success. Kaka wondered how Baba's order of advice should prove so useless. He was thinking of sending his brother away from Bombay, but as Deepawali festival came in, the brother was detained for that festival. Just at that time, leading persons from the Kutch Sansthan came to consult Kaka Dixit as to which person should be selected as a sufficiently reliable officer on a high pay of Rs. 1000. When Kaka suggested Sadashiva's name, that was readily accepted, and he became Dewan of that State.


Sunday, June 21, 2009


||Om Sri Sainaathaayanamaha||

'Kaka, tula kalji kazli? Mala sara kalji ahe' ('Kaka, why should you have any anxiety or care? All care and responsibilities are mine') was one of the assurances Sai Baba gave to Kakasaheb Dixit. Baba gave him indisputable proof that the undertaking, though vast and unlimited in the context of time and circumstances, was real. No ordinary man with human powers will or can give such an undertaking. But it was Baba, possessed of divine powers that gave it. When Baba gave this undertaking at Shirdi, Kaka's daughter, aged about eight, was in his bungalow at Ville Parle, and was playing close to a huge almirah with a large number of big dolls in it. She climbed up the almirah and the same, with all the dolls, fell on her, but strangely enough, no doll fell on her. And, no damage was done to her by the fall except the breaking of her bangles and the consequent scratch. Kaka learnt of this incident only later, and understood what divine power and kindness were in Sai, when he gave the undertaking, which he fulfilled thus at once at Ville Parle. Dixit could never forget that Sai's powers and nature were divine, that all responsibility for him and his family rested on Baba's divine shoulders, and that there was no need to apprehend any harm.


Hari Sitaram Dixit, whom Sai Baba always called 'Kaka' (uncle), was Baba’s ankita sishya. Kakasaheb Dixit was born in 1864 to high caste Nagari Brahmin parents enjoying a high position and affluence at Khandwa. His academic career was bright as he secured a first class in Matric and good marks in F.A., B.A, and LL.B. He very soon settled himself as a leading solicitor at Bombay. His name frequently appeared in the Law Reports and in the press, distinguishing himself as an able advocate in sensational cases namely, Bhavnagar Exposures, Sedition trials against Poona Vaibhava, Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak, and Globe and Times of India, among others. He attained great fame and wide popularity and commanded high esteem both with the people and the then British Government. He had numerous public activities, political, social, municipal, by means of which he was rendering good and valuable service to the public. In politics, he was in the Indian National Congress, and was a redoubtable follower of Sir Pherozesha Mehta. He was an elected member of the Bombay Legislative Council from 1901 till he gave it up to devote himself to spiritual progress under Sai Baba. He was also an elected fellow of the Bombay University, a public Notary, and Justice of the Peace. He achieved great fame by his bold speeches (by being the sole protestor against Valedictory address to H. E. Lord Sandhurst who prosecuted Lokmanya Tilak) and action in the Councils. He helped bodies by serving on Committees with his keen intellect and strenuous observation and study. He was Secretary of the Indian National Congress of 1904 at Bombay wherein Dadabhai Nowrojee stated its goal to be attainment of Swarajya. He rapidly rose by his influence and ability to greater and greater positions of honour and, had he continued in that line, he would surely have achieved a Knighthood, membership of the Executive Council and appointment as Commissioner of some Province with ample emoluments and gunfire salutes. But his destiny and rinanubandha drew him to other lines, and the turning point was what looked like a mischance.

Around 1906 he went to England. There he had some accident in which his leg was injured. In spite of repeated efforts, the injury could not be cured. The limping impeded free movement, as there was pain whenever he walked even a few furlongs. Not only did it make him look awkward, but it also made him less fit for his numerous activities - personal, domestic, political, legal and public - and thus had the double effect of giving him an inferiority complex and disgust for these aspects of life, thus preparing him for the nobler and holier life. Around 1909, Nanasaheb Chandorkar advised him to go and see Sai Baba, the wonderful personality at Shirdi, who might cure his lameness. The same year he went to Ahmednagar in connection with some Council election business to the residence of Sardar Kakasaheb Mirikar, who was a Sai devotee, and who had with him a huge picture of Sai Baba. Dixit saw the picture and his reverence heightened.

Learning of Dixit's desire to go to Baba, Sardar Mirikar sent for Shama (Madhava Rao Deshpande), who had gone to Ahmednagar, and asked him to take Dixit to Baba. Accordingly, Shama took him to Baba in 1909. Dixit, in 1909, was a leading solicitor with a highly lucrative practice and had made his name in notable trials. He had abundance of social contact and great influence in social and political matters. In 1909 he was only 45 years old, and he had a very good prospect of amassing much wealth and achieving many honours in social and political matters also. Perhaps due to early contact with saints, such as Datta Maharaj, his mind, however, was drawn away from worldly attractions, and the meeting with such a wonderful personality as Baba gave a powerful impetus. He went to Shirdi frequently, and in 1910 resolved to have a building of his own there. So the foundation stone was laid for a wada there in December 1910, popularly known afterwards as Kakawada or Dixit wada. The work was pushed through and completed in April 1911, within five months of beginning of construction. Kaka wanted only a small room for him in upstairs, for Ekanta Dhyana (solitude and meditation). The rest of the building was used by pilgrims for lodging.

Almost from the beginning of his contact with Baba, he decided to embark on a spiritual career under Baba’s guidance, whatever may be its consequence on his worldly affairs. Though his income was ample, his generosity and liberality left very little fluid resources remaining with him and, barring his three bungalows at Bombay, Ville Parle, and Lonavla, which did not yield any income, he had no other property. Yet, Sai's attraction being so strong, his attention to the legal practice diminished. The effect of this diminution of interest was that his partners in the solicitor business, Rao Bahadur S. Narayandas and Dhanji Shah, broke up their partnership with him. He formed a new firm with a newly enrolled advocate, Purushotham Rai Markhad for his partner. That gentleman also, on account of Dixit's frequent absence and lack of interest, withdrew from his partnership. Other partners also, like Maneklal, left him very soon. Or rather, he left them very soon, and his income from law became precious little. From 1911 onwards, his practice may be said to have been nil, though Baba asked him to go to Bombay to practice. He obeyed Baba and went to Bombay, but returned soon as his heart was only at Shirdi. All his friends, acquaintances, and admirers were astonished when he closed his lucrative practice in 1912. Several people were saying that 'A Fakir called Sai Baba had cast a fascination on him that pushed him to Shirdi and made him crazy'.

His heart was free from anxiety, fear or worry even though lucrative practice, with high social and political position and prospects, was lost. Ordinarily the change from affluence to poverty would be painful. But in the case of Kakasaheb, his habits were very simple. He reduced his needs to the minimum, and avoided every sort of luxury or unnecessary expenditure.

When he settled down in Shirdi, Kakasaheb had already 25 years of
Grihastha Ashrama and was ripe therefore for Vanaprastha Ashrama. In his case, however, he had no necessity to go to a forest. His life at Shirdi from 1912 onwards may be considered to be his Vanaprastha Asrama. To make that effective, Baba told him, 'Kaka, remain in your wada upstairs. Do not go here or there. Do not come here, even to the Dwarakamai', as it was crowded and distracting. Kaka obeyed this injunction strictly. Then he found his absence at 2 O' Clock Arti very painful, as that was the time he could have darshan of Baba. Through Shama he prayed and obtained permission to attend it and the Arti at Chavadi. Thus Baba kept him for nine months in solitude. This was strict Vanaprastha or Vanavasa. Alarmed by the change, his wife at Ville Parle tried to give him her company and came to Shirdi. At Kaka wada, ladies were not allowed to go upstairs. That was the rule. When Shama asked Baba whether during his wife's stay downstairs, Kaka should go down for sleep or sleep upstairs only, Baba emphatically said that Kaka must sleep upstairs. Thus Kaka's Brahmacharya and rigorous tapas were maintained, and his wife returned quickly to Ville Parle. One the occasion of her departure, Sai Baba repeated his assurance that he was entirely responsible for Kaka Dixit. He told her ‘Have no fears at all about Kaka, I will look after him myself.’

The regular study by Kaka, as prescribed by Baba, was an excellent purificatory preparation for self-realisation and God-realisation through bhakti and jnana. Kaka had gone through Harivarada, a Marathi commentary on the 10th Skanda of Bhagavata. He then went to Baba and asked, 'This is finished. Should I read this again or read any other pothi?' Baba said, 'Go on with the parayana of Eknath Brindavan pothi'. After completing the pothi, Kakasaheb again went to Baba and asked if he should study Bhagavad Gita with commentaries. Baba ordered him to go on with concentrated study of only two works, Bhagavata and Bhavartha Ramayana. He had not merely to study but also do Mananam (meditation) and observe Acharanam. After the nine months were over, Baba stopped his severe practice of seclusion, and Dixit was permitted to go and visit Bombay also.