Saturday, February 27, 2010



Nana Chandorkar and Das Ganu, a kirtankar, were both at Shirdi, and both had to be at Ahmednagar the next day, and so had to catch a train, the scheduled time of which required their immediate leaving of Shirdi. So, they went to take leave of Baba. Baba quietly told them both, 'You had better take your meal and then go for your train'. Nana, having implicit reliance on his Guru did so, though it took some time for him to take his meal. Dasganu did not wish to risk the loss of money which he would get at the next day's engagement, and so, remembering the scheduled time and not Baba's words, started off immediately without food, reached Kopergaon station, and waited there. The train was late by some hours. Baba, knowing the delay, gave the benefit of his knowledge to Nana, who went up leisurely after meal, and found Dasganu waiting at the station with a hungry stomach. Nana was in time to catch the train, and the kirtankar learnt a lesson, which he no doubt would preach to others but did not practise himself, namely, that one must have implicit faith in Great Souls like the Guru Sai Deva, and not throw aside their words and rely upon one's own wisdom.

Another incident also may be quoted here. Nana was staying with Baba at Shirdi and wanted to start one morning to go to Kopergaon, where he had an appointment to meet the Collector. When he went to take leave of Baba in proper time, Baba simply said, 'Go tomorrow'. That meant, leave was denied. Others with less faith than Nana would have simply brushed aside Baba's advice and started off. But Nana had full faith in Baba, and consequently the advantage of staying one more day with Baba. Having been stopped for that day, he took leave of Baba the next day. Baba then said, 'You now go and meet the Collector' When Nana went to Kopergaon and enquired of the office staff there as to what happened the previous day, they said that the Collector had sent a telegram that he was not coming that day but only on the following day. Baba did not receive a copy of the telegram, but by his own antarjnana knew of the postponement of the appointment and gave Nana the benefit of it, with the resulting benefit of an extra day's stay with his Guru. Thus even in the most important official matters, Nana's faith made him follow Baba's words with great advantage to himself, temporally and spiritually.

Nana's benefit in temporal matters from Baba was not merely for himself but also for persons connected with him. Baba who saved Nana from the pangs of hunger and thirst in hill and forest would certainly not leave his disciple when his life was in danger. Such a juncture arrived one day when Nana and Lele Sastri were starting from Poona in a Tonga. They had gone a few miles when suddenly the horse reared, and the carriage capsized. That was a perilous moment. Both the occupants of the carriage were corpulent elderly people who would in such an accident ordinarily suffer serious damage to life and limb. Baba, however, who was watching over Nana wherever he went, at that very moment blew the conch — for at death, people blow on the conch - keeping his hands in front of his mouth as though the hands were a conch. This is a signal of danger and distress.

Baba saved Nana's life, just as Baba's Guru saved Baba's life. There is a saying that the string of a garland borrows its scent from the flowers. Similarly Lele Sastri, who was not himself a staunch bhakta of Baba, derived his safety from his company with Nana Chandorkar.

It is not merely the friend of a devotee that Baba saves. Baba's interest is in every one in whom a devotee is interested. Nana was deeply interested in the fate, health, and life of his daughter Minatai. During 1904-05 AD, Nana Chandorkar was Deputy Collector at Jamner in Khandesh District, then unconnected by train. Shirdi is more than 100 miles away and the nearest railway station was at Jalgaon. His pregnant daughter was with him at Jamner. Her pregnancy was in a very advanced state. Unexpectedly the delivery, being the first one, proved troublesome and risky. The pains were prolonged for many long hours, and the poor young lady suffered torture. What could poor Nana do? He knew that Baba was aware of everything, and that there was no necessity to send a telegram or letter to him. So, he must do what he could in his own place. Being a very orthodox and pious Brahmin, he started a Kashtanivaarana Homa with the help of his purohit. Still no relief was obtained.

All the while, Baba was fully aware of what was going on at Jamner. He called Ramgir Bua, a Gosavi whom he called 'Bapugir Bua', at evening. Ramgir Bua, wanted to go to his native place in Khandesh. Baba called him and told him to go to Jamner, take some rest and then go to his place. Baba commissioned him to deliver to Nana Chandorkar a packet of udhi and a set of papers containing Bhishma's Aratis for the puja of Baba, modelled on the Pandharpur Aratis. Some one present handed over Rs. 2/- to the Gosavi to enable him to perform this journey. Ramgirbuva told Him that he had just two rupees with him and it was sufficient to go from Shirdi to Jalgaon. He did not have money to go from Jalgaon to Jamner, which is about 30 miles. Baba assured him that he need not worry as everything would be taken care of. Then Baba asked Shyama to write down a well known arati composed by Madhav Adkar on a sheet of paper and give it to Ramgirbuva. With full faith in Baba, Ramgirbuva left Shirdi. That was a Friday and he started at once. He reached Manmad at 7.30 PM and Jalgaon at 02.45 AM. He got down at Jalgaon and did not know what to do. At that time plague regulations were in force, and Railway officials were troubling visitors coming by train from infected areas, with a view to enforce quarantine rules, and there was no method by which he could escape them and go to Jamner. At about 03.00 AM, a peon in boots, turban and well equipped with other details of good dress, came to him and asked, "Who is Bapugir from Shirdi?" Then Bua said, "I am 'Bapugir'. And I am from Shirdi". Bua was in panic. The peon said that he had been sent by his "master" with a Tonga to fetch him to Jamner. Then the person took his luggage and led him to an excellent Tonga with a pair of very good horses. The Tonga was going very fast and at the dawn, they were near a small river. On the way at Baghoor, the driver took the horses for watering and Ramgirbuva washed his face and was ready to travel. The driver offered him some thing to eat. Seeing the dress and the beard with the moustache, Ramgirbuva thought that he might be a Muslim and politely declined the offer. Then the driver told him that he was a Kshatriya of Garhwal and was sent by Nanasaheb. Even the eatables were sent by Nanasaheb. Then they both ate the food together and started on their journey. They reached Jamner just when the day was breaking in.. Babugir fancied that Baba had sent word or wired to Chandorkar, and thus provided conveyance and food for him. When they were very near Nana's quarters the carriage stopped, Ramgirbuva alighted to attend to the nature calls. When he returned after a few minutes, he found that his luggage was left on the roadside and there was no trace of either the driver or the Tonga. Both had disappeared. Ramgirbuva did not know what to do. He could not understand how they could disappear so soon on a clearly visible road. He went to a nearby office and found out the address of Nanasaheb. They told him that he was at home only. Ramgirbuva went to Nanasaheb’s house and told him that he had come from Shirdi.

Nanasaheb and his wife had heard the rumble of horses and carriage and were anxiously waiting. Bapugir handed over to Nana the udhi saying, 'this is Baba's udhi sent to you for your daughter's sake’. Nanasaheb was in a very anxious state as his daughter’s condition had become very serious. The moment he received the Udhi and the aarati from Ramgirbuva, he felt a great relief. He called his wife and asked her to give Udhi mixed with water to his daughter to drink and sing Baba’s aarati. Within few minutes, the birth of the baby was joyfully announced and the crisis was over. Nanasaheb profusely thanked Ramgirbuva for taking the trouble of bringing the Udhi and also taking the detour for his sake. Then it was the turn of Ramgirbuva to thank him for the beautiful Tonga, the courteous driver and the excellent food that Nanasaheb had sent for him.

Nana was taken aback. He said he was not aware of anybody coming from Shirdi and so he did not send anything. Both Bua and the Deputy Collector then understood what Baba meant when he said, 'Bapugir, go, God will give’. It was Baba's extraordinary powers that provided the carriage, the horses, the liveried peon and the meal, without Chandorkar knowing anything about them. This shows how deeply Baba was interested in the welfare of Nana's family, and how he took upon himself and used his mysterious powers to help him in such extremities are a difficult parturition in a far off place like Jamner at a time when no proper medical aid was available. Thus Baba saved not merely Chandorkar's life but also the life of those connected with or dependent on him, by the use of his superhuman powers.

Merely saving the physical life of Nana and those dependent on him would not suffice. Baba's work was to save his soul and train it to enable it to reach its goal. Baba used every little occasion to help him. Even in temporal matters, Baba's interference and help had a very good spiritual effect. Nana who noted how Baba's powers were vast, how he was watching him and his people from enormous distances and provided the necessary help in mysterious and apparently superhuman ways, soon began to get deeper and deeper realisation of Baba's divine nature. Baba's powers were far above the human level or limit just as Baba's love and supervision of many were far above the human level. None of us can take interest in even a dozen at a time and look after their affairs. Baba, however, was looking after the interests of hundreds or thousands of devotees, disciples and bhaktas and keeping watch over them all at all times and in distant and different quarters that they occupied. This sort of power to know and power to protect can only be called divine. No other term would fit for this omnipotence, omniscience and ubiquity. Thus, while Nana was getting temporal help, he was also at the same time getting spiritual help, as he derived a very strong impression that Baba was nothing but God. God in the abstract dealt with in the Upanishads is not really accessible or available to people, even if they worshipped Him in the form of images and that, unless and until God took the form of a Gurudeva like Sai Baba, God was a remote unrecognizable or practically unfelt object. Nana noted how his poorva punya had crystallised itself into the very powerful and highly loving Sai Baba.

Nana was a very respectable, married gentleman, having children and having family traditions and a position to maintain. Further, his training had given him excellent qualities of self-restraint and propriety of behaviour. So, he was not ordinarily what one would call a lustful, lewd, or lecherous person. He was on the other hand a very properly behaved and excellent head of a family. Yet, the saying goes 'Even an elephant may slip'. Baba, who was watching Nana wherever he was, and at every moment, noticed that he needed to be taught and trained in the matter of lust also.

Once, Nanasaheb Chandorkar was sitting in the masjid with Mhalsapathi and other devotees. A rich gentleman came from Vaijapur (a place near Shirdi), with his family, to have darshan of Baba. Seeing that all the ladies were clad in burkhas, Nanasaheb wanted to make way for them and go. Baba asked him to stay. The ladies went further, had Baba’s darshan and bowed at His feet. Nothing happened when the elderly lady removed her veil and took her darshan. But when the younger did the same, her face struck Nana as remarkably beautiful. The sheen of the eyes, the brilliance of the countenance, the perfect proportion of the features, and the indescribable charm of the whole person, were such that Nana was at once smitten with her beauty. She removed the veil from her face, touched Baba’s feet and then covered her face again. Nanasaheb was attracted by her face and wanted to see that face again. His desire to see her again was so much that he could not control his mind and was in a dilemma as to how to behave at that moment. He was diffident to look at her openly but very much wanted to. He felt ashamed in Baba’s presence, and hung his head but his eyes wandered. Knowing Nanasaheb’s baffled state of mind, Baba wanted to bring him back to his normal self. Baba at once slapped him on the thigh. Then the ladies departed. Baba asked him, 'Do you know why I slapped you?' Then he said, “Nana, why are you getting agitated unnecessarily? Allow the senses to do their duty. We should not hinder them from doing their tasks. God has made this beautiful creation. It is our duty to appreciate its beauty. This mind will gradually become steady, but when the front door is open, why should we enter through back door? As long as the mind is pure, there is no difficulty. As long as there is no evil thought in our mind, we need not be afraid of anyone. Let the eyes do their work. You need not be ashamed, or become restless because of this. Are there not lovely temples with well coloured exterior? When we go there, do we admire the exterior beauty or the God within? When you are seeing God within, do you ever care for the outside beauty of the building? Similarly, remember God is not only in temples. He is found in every creature.

"Therefore when you see a beautiful face, remember that it is a temple and the image of the God within is the Jiva, a pre¬eminent part of the Universal Soul. So, think at once of God—or the Universal Soul in every object, whether beauteous or ugly. These forms reveal the God within. There is nothing wrong in admiring beauty, but the thought must follow at once, ‘If this object is so beautiful, how much more beautiful and powerful must be the God who made this object and inhabits it?’ Thinking thus, you will not get smitten by a Muslim beauteous face hereafter". Shyama was also there at that time. He did not understand the gist of Baba’s sayings. So, when they were returning to the Wada, he asked Nanasaheb the meaning of what Baba told him.

Though initially reluctant to discuss his weaknesses, Nanasaheb subsequently explained how he was attracted by the extraordinary beauty of the woman and how he wanted to see her face again. Gazing at her publicly was an indecent behaviour. But, his mind had become a slave of the sense organ, eye. Thus, when he was baffled, Baba explained that it was futile and gave the advice. Then Nanasaheb said, ‘Our mind, by its very nature, is always wavering. But, we should not allow it to degrade. Even though the senses become fickle, we should always exercise total control over the mind and not allow it to become restless. Senses are always after the sense objects, but we should not be enslaved by them and take them nearer the sense objects. Gradually, by practice, this restlessness can be controlled. Though it is not possible to completely control the senses, we should not become their slaves. We should curb them properly in a systematic way according to the need of the occasion. Beauty is for the eyes to behold. So, we should see beauty without any fear. When we go to a temple, do we care for the beauty of the exterior or the image of the Paramatma inside? There is nothing wrong with looking at the exterior, but as one looks at it, he must think how clever and powerful is the God that produced such a beautiful abode, how He resides therein, and how nicely ornamented He is. As long as there is no evil thought, we need not be afraid of anyone nor feel ashamed. If you make your mind desireless, and behold the beauty created by God, the senses naturally will come under our control and even while seeing beauty, we are reminded of God. If you allow the mind to run after the senses and get immersed in the sense objects, you will never get released from the eternal cycle of birth and death. Sense objects are always meant to distract the senses from their rightful path. That is why we should make Viveka as our driver and holding the reins of the mind in our control, prevent the sense horses from straying towards the sense objects. Such a driver like Viveka will take us to the divine feet of Lord Vishnu, which is ultimately our residence and going where, no one will ever come back.’

Nana was naturally self-controlled, and with Baba's guidance, he developed so much of reverence for the female form that even when alone in a sequestered chamber, within closed doors with a young, beautiful person, he still would retain reverence for the lady and not have thoughts of sex. This was demonstrated in the case of Bannu Mai.

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