Sunday, February 28, 2010



Bannu Mai, a young Muslim girl of 20, lived in a village, Bodegaon, 50 miles away from Ahmednagar. She was a highly inspired soul and was a saint. She was of great beauty. However, she had the local reputation of being a mad girl. She behaved most erratically and wandered anywhere and everywhere without dress, amidst bushes and thorns, and did not show the least sign of observing the rules of propriety demanded of women. Her mother thought she was hopelessly mad. Most of the villagers also thought the same. Nana wanted to have darshan of her and asked Baba for permission. Baba, though he first objected, finally granted the permission saying, 'Go, you will have darshan'. That darshan was no easy joke. Nana went with plenty of preparations, taking a tent, bathing materials, ornaments, food, sari etc. Setting these up, he waited for her. He could not find out where she was, and nobody could tell him anything about her. Some people even got angry at Nana, a young officer questioning about the whereabouts of a lady who mostly went naked. Finally, worried in his mind, Nana thought of Baba and prayed to him. When he opened his eyes, Bannu Mai was right in front of him on the road. He made his prostration with a feeling of reverence and without the least touch of the sexual urge. He began to take out the thorns that were found on her feet, but in a second, the saint, who did not care for such good offices, got up and went away. Again Nana was in great difficulties. He wanted that she should come, have a bath, wear the cloth and the ornaments he had brought for her, and should taste the naivedyam which he had placed inside the tent. He waited and waited, and at last prayed to Baba. Suddenly Bannu Mayi appeared, entered the tent, had her bath, put on new clothes, the ornaments and the tali or token of Saumangalya, as Goddess Parvati must wear a tali specially prepared for her, and ate some of the naivedyam. Nana fell at her feet, treating her as Mother Goddess, and at once she disappeared. Nana spent the night in a temple within closed doors, and early morning, before starting to go away, he just thought that it would be a special blessing if Bannu Mai should give him one more darshan before he departed. In a second, Bannu Mai was there, within closed doors, right in front of him. Nana fell at her feet. Obviously Bannu Mai was a highly advanced Siddha and perfectly pure, and Nana with perfect purity, thought only of falling at her feet, and had not the least touch of sex urge at the presence of a young and beautiful lady in solitude within closed doors. Thus, Bannu Mai's case is a fairly good proof that Nana had conquered his sex urge at least to the extent possible.

In the case of Nana, Baba used to demand, off and on, various sums, and so Nana was accustomed to take with him large sums, like Rs. 300 or Rs. 400, whenever he visited Shirdi. Whenever Baba asked for money, Nana would give him money. This constant giving of money to Baba would naturally reduce his attachment to wealth.

Nana was under the delusion that he was the great supplier of Baba, and that Baba had to depend upon him for money. Nana had to be disabused of that idea. So, Baba made use of Sri M. B. Rege for this purpose. On one occasion, when Rege visited Baba, Baba exhausted all the funds he had by taking them out as dakshina, and when Rege said that he had no more money, Baba said, 'Borrow'. 'From whom' asked Rege. Baba sent him first to Shama who was a very poor man and had no money at all. Shama's explanation of Baba's demand was that Baba wanted him and not his cash, and, therefore, Baba wanted him to feel the want of cash was nothing. So saying, he sent his namaskars through Rege to Baba. Then Baba sent Rege to Kakasaheb Dixit who also did not have the money with him at that time. He explained Baba's demand to Rege thus: 'You must not feel begging at all to be a shame, much less begging for the sake of your master'. Then Baba sent him to Nana Chandorkar. Nana then explained his policy to Rege. He used to leave one half of his money at Kopergaon and come with the balance to Shirdi, and when this was exhausted, he would send for the reserve at Kopergaon. When Rege reported this, Baba sent for Nana Chandorkar and took from him, by repeatedly asking for dakshina all the money he had in his possession. Then he again asked him for dakshina, before the reserve from Kopergaron arrived. Nana felt humiliated. His moha received a blow. The subjects of moha and dakshina are closely connected with daana.

Baba had to give Nana instructions on daana to reduce lobha, moha and mada especially through increasing contact with God. The first advice was that alms giving should be straightforward. No one, when asked for alms, should utter falsehood and say 'I have not got it' when he has got it, but only decline to give it in polite terms and say that circumstances do not allow the giving. No crooked ways should be adopted. Yet after this advice was given, some time later, Nana, who had promised to pay Rs. 300 for charity at the Kopergaon Datta temple, did not bring the money and therefore avoided a visit to the temple, which was on his way to Shirdi. With the approval of his ‘Sadu’ - husband of his wife’s sister - Sri Biniwalle, Nana took a detour through a very thorny path, as a result of which he and Biniwalle ran thorns in their bodies. When they reached Shirdi, they found that Baba was very angry with Nanasaheb and did not talk to him.

Nana: Why don't you talk to me?

Baba: Nana, when a man says he will remember the lessons I taught him but really does not, how can I talk to him?

Nanasaheb was perplexed. He sat silently without talking.

Baba: Even after being with Me for so many years, how can you do like this? Tell Me, when did you come to Kopergaon? Where did you engage the Tonga and what happened on the way?”

Then Nanasaheb understood the folly he had committed. He said, “As Biniwalle was also with me, we engaged a Tonga at Kopergaon to come to Shirdi for Your darshan. We took bath in the holy Godavari. Biniwalle is a devotee of Bhagavan Dattatreya. He wanted to visit the Datta temple near the Godavari banks. As I was interested in coming here at the earliest, I told him that we could visit the temple on our way back. After taking bath in the Godavari, my foot trod on a big thorn and pained me very much throughout the journey.”

Being an Antaryami, Baba knew everything.

Baba said, “You gentleman, you avoid seeing 'Sarcar' (God Datta) and take a detour. Why? You thought that the sadhu will ask you for Rs. 300. Is this the way to remember my lesson? If you do not have the money, if it was not easy to arrange to get it, you have only to tell him the fact. Will that sadhu eat you? But what device is this to avoid the temple of God for fear of the sadhu demanding money? Well then, have not thorns pierced your feet and body and the posterior part of your sapient friend? How can I talk to such a person?”

Baba definitely looked unhappy.

He said, “Being pricked by a thorn is a very small punishment. How can you ignore Datta Bhagavan when He is on the way?”

Again Baba advised Nana to give his alms without any arrogance or anger. If the beggar was not pleased and wanted more, then the beggar should be answered suavely. Wrath and official authority should not be flung at him. Nana thought this quite easy. On one occasion, his wife was being pestered at Kalyan by a Brahmin beggar woman, who was not content with one-eighth of a measure, one-fourth of a measure, one-half of a measure, or one measure, or even 2 measures, of Bhajani, fried and seasoned rice. She threatened not to leave the house till the whole stock of four measures in the possession of the lady was handed over to her. Nana's wife lost patience and sent for her husband. Nana came and gave it hot to the beggar woman. 'Either you take what is given or the peon will neck you out', he remarked stiffly. Then the beggar woman left. When later Nana went to Baba, Baba again refused to talk to him. "Mitra Dandam Abhashanam" is the well known saying. That means, the way to punish a friend is by refusing to talk to him. When Nana asked for an explanation, Baba said, 'You forgot the lesson I gave. When that beggar woman was asking you for more and more bhajani, why did you show your anger and official authority, and threaten to neck her out? What mattered if you suavely refused to give more? The woman would have remained for some time longer, and left of her own accord'. Nana recognised that this mysteriously over watching guardian angel of his was watching him every moment and anticipating the temptations and evils that would befall him, and that he should be more careful in carrying out Baba's instructions. Thus, Lobha by leading to arrogance, insolence etc. in Nana was put down by Baba, and Nana recognised more and more what true daana was.

Baba's help in the case of Minatai's difficult labour has already been narrated. Unfortunately, within a few months after its birth, her child died. A short time before delivery, the husband of Minatai also had died. Minatai was very young. The whole family was in gloom. They went to Shirdi and sat in silence before Baba.

Baba asked, 'why are you so silent?’

Then Nana said, 'Baba, you know everything. While we are under your care, these calamities have befallen us. We are bereft of child and son-in-law'.

Baba answered, "If you care for child and son-in-law and come to me for that, you are mistaken. You should not come to me for these. These are not in my power. The birth of a child and the death of relatives are dependent on poorva karma. Even Parameswar, the Great God, who has created this world, cannot alter this. Do you think he can tell the Sun or the Moon, 'Rise some two yards farther away from your usual or appointed place?' No, He cannot and will not do that. That would produce disorder and chaos".

Nana asked “if that is so, Baba, how is it that you tell someone, ‘You will have a son’ and he gets a son, and you tell another ‘You will get employment’ and he gets it? Are these not chamatkars of yours?”

Baba answered, 'No, Nana. I do not do any chamatkars. You have your village astrologers. They work at three or four days ahead and give out their predictions, some of which come true. I look just further ahead. What I say happens. My art also is a sort of astrology.

But you do not understand this. To you, my words look like chamatkars, because you do not know the future. So, you regard events as proofs of my power to do miracles, and you worship me. I, in my turn, turn your reverence for me on to God and see that you are really benefited”.

Baba thus weakened his moha or unconditional and excessive attachment to relations.

It was during 1900-02 AD. Nanasaheb Chandorkar used to come to Shirdi frequently for Baba’s darshan. Nanasaheb, being a religious minded person, used to read Gita everyday and had also read the various commentaries on it. In addition, he knew Sanskrit very well and had read several books on Indian Philosophy. He was also a good student of Vedanta and took pride in his knowledge of it. The pride of learning and caste was in him, and it had to be duly toned down. That which is the hardest to conquer is the pride of learning. This over-attachment to learning is called 'Vidya Vasana'. When we have to shake off vasana (tendency) after vasana to get into pure Satva of Brahman, one serious obstacle is this Vidya vasana, the idea 'I am a learned man', ‘I know all the Vedas', 'I must consider everything in my own style and cannot accept somebody else's dictum.' These are all traces of Vidya vasana, and all of them are fatal to one's chance of attaining Mukti. So, Baba had to put down this pride of learning in Nanasaheb. Nana was not very offensively parading his learning, but still had an idea that his knowledge of Sanskrit and the Gita, with Sankara Bhashya, placed him high above the ordinary run of men in knowledge. Baba wanted, at one stroke, to pull him by the heels and show him how dangerous his conceit was and at the same time teach him the duties of a sishya and lay the foundation for Brahma-realization. The 'Vidya Vasana’ ego is an almost insuperable barrier standing in the way of the educated, the cultured, and the intellectual set that approached and still approach Baba. Nanasaheb was the first and foremost of these intellectuals. His Vidya vasana was very powerful. He believed that he could understand and, by his understanding, reach Moksha. This, being a very powerful obstacle, had to be overcome, and the first step or mark of overcoming is humility and preparedness to surrender the ego or egotism.


No comments:

Post a Comment