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.


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