Written by Mohanji
Nobody knows where He came from. Everybody knows that He is still very much Alive and Omnipresent. He answers to people’s calls. He still appears in physical form. He instantaneously grants boons and blessings. He conveys messages through dreams as well as through various mouths of His. A true master of masters. Words cannot justifiably explain the phenomenon called Shirdi Sai Baba. I humbly bow to this avatar. I prostrate at His feet.
He lived in a dilapidated mosque in a village called Shirdi in Maharashtra, constantly attributed everything to the Lord by repeating “Allah Maalik” and never took any ownership. The whole ownership, of every thought, word, action and miracles always stayed with Allah. He never had anything to do with it. He was an avadhootha – a renunciate who always reveled in his omnipresence and was always in tune with the Universal consciousness.
They are born to bless the world. Baba explicitly conveyed His universality while He existed in His physical body and even more, after exiting it. He never bothered to explain where He came from and what His mission was. His pedigree was immaterial to the brilliance of His stature. He confused many people with His ordinary, unassuming fakir looks, yet extra ordinary presence. His major mission seemed to be to unite the warring Hindus and Muslims, while the British policy was to divide and rule.
In that sense, he was uniting what the British were separating. He worked in a subtle, but sure way. Like any great master ahead of his time, He was also misunderstood by the then society. Many considered him as mad. Many thought He was fake. Many objected to Him collecting dakshina (offering or donation to express gratitude to Guru or Lord, in the micro sense). The fact remained that what ever He collected each day, was distributed on the same day. He never saved anything. He never accumulated wealth. He mostly took from the rich and distributed to the poor. He took money and removed karmas of seekers. In the end, all that remained in His pocket was sufficient money to bury His body. He only kept that saving always. He saved nothing else. Just like any true master, He had no needs of His own
Baba is not to be understood intellectually nor to be worshiped mechanically. Baba has to be felt. Baba works subtly through many bodies or takes any form at will. He gets the show moving in the most unexpected way, and keeps His devotees guessing. His purpose is to destroy expectations and increase faith. To many, at the most unexpected moment, Baba has appeared as a beggar, a wandering monk, a fakir, a dog, a cat, a pigeon, a crow or even a snake.
Nobody can say in which form He will appear and when. Baba wants us to respect all creation. We should not kill either. We should be compassionate to all beings. We should share our food with other beings. Blessings happen through various bodies. We should never underestimate any creation of God. Baba always teaches us love and compassion. He lives and works through many creatures so that we always stay benevolent for His sake. Life cannot be taken for granted.
Significance of Dakshina (Offering/Donation to express gratitude)
As mentioned earlier, Shirdi Sai Baba used to collect donations and distribute it to the needy on the same day. He never stored any money, except what was required for his funeral. He also over-paid for all services rendered to him. He never ever bargained. Those who tried to cheat him, used to experience great difficulties in their life ahead. This is the same with all spiritual masters. All those who hurt, cheated or harmed spiritual masters, suffered many troubles over lifetimes. They accumulated huge karma by such deeds. Masters were not perturbed by any wrong doings nor took any revenge against anyone.
Through his action, Baba was teaching us that accumulation of anything is bad, including karma. Money becomes alive when it is transacted. Stagnant money is of no use for anyone. This was one significant lesson that he wanted us to learn. When accumulated, it is a burden and when released, it liberates us. When we try to accumulate, we distance from God because tendency for accumulation is a result of our insecurity.
A man with firm faith is never insecure. When our faith increases, accumulation decreases. It liberates us. Liberation is the sign of proximity to God. In the same way, a person with his eyes constantly focused on future is prone to tremendous insecurity. Astrologers and fortune tellers will be ruling his life. Pardon the slight deviation. So, we should keep sufficient money for our purposes and use the rest for the good of others, including environment, animals and birds.
Thus we stay light and liberated. I am sure you would have read in Sai Satcharitra about the rich man who came for moksha and, even though he had plenty of money in his pocket, he was not willing to share a fraction of it with Baba. Baba then tested him by pretending to be in urgent need of money. How can such binding to money help moksha or liberation? Look into ourselves, most of us are of the same nature. We do not care about others. Our comfort is the only important thing for us. Some people do not even care for their families. That again, is besides the point, but we definitely need to be aware.On a physical level, what ever calories you accumulate need to be burned or else, obesity and disease will happen. What ever we eat also should be excreted on the same day or else constipation will happen and toxins will be released into our system, which in turn, could get blocked. The water that we drink goes out of our body as sweat or urine without much delay. But if it stagnates? Thus, in physical level, we are constantly accumulating and releasing. We have to, or else, we will die. Body does not allow health and accumulation together. Either good health or accumulation. Internal accumulation of food becomes fat.Weight is a problem for many. We are constantly told to watch our weight. However, even if nobody reminds us, we become watchmen to our own wealth, afraid to spend and afraid of theft. The same way we crave for money, we crave for food. We eat emotionally. We accumulate emotionally. Only when intellect takes over, we become moderate. BUT, when do we allow intellect to function??? So, just like Baba collected Dakshina and distributed it on the same day, we have to eat only what we need and burn it out on the same day. Unemotional eating habits and limited consumption will ensure and maintain good health.
Similarly, on the emotional plane, we accumulate a lot of emotional garbage while experiencing various situations during our waking hours. Emotion plus thought, word or action creates karma. Hence, we have to trash all emotions that we accumulate each day, on the same day itself. How do we do it? Through replaying incidents and forgiving, meditating, chanting mantras, or attending bhajans or poojas.
This is why traditionally, people were asked to wake up in the most subtlest of times of the day – Brahma Muhoortha – between 3 and 6AM – and do yoga, chant mantras and meditate. This will strengthen their minds, reinforce it and make it impregnable for emotions to easily penetrate and establish within. When we do that, there will not be much accumulation of emotional trash each day.
Hence, before going to bed, it is enough to forgive and forget and surrender all thoughts, words and actions at the feet of the Lord. We will then get emotionally purified. This is like an internal bathing or cleansing. Since through everyday life, we allow emotions to run wild quite unconsciously and we create emotional trash as we live an emotional existence, the elimination of it is equally important. If this cleansing is not done regularly, just like we stink if we do not take bath twice a day, our mind will become contaminated with emotional filth. This increases our karma and invites catastrophes. Moreover, it ensures confusion in our life. Hence, it is important to trash all emotions each day and cleanse ourselves internally.
On the intellectual plane, we accumulate knowledge each day. It also has to be converted into purposeful and benevolent action immediately. Knowledge is raw dough until it is baked and made usable. So, intellectual knowledge, if it remains like unused wealth, becomes a burden. This burden can also be called EGO. Ego beyond a reasonable limit is useless as well as dangerous. It distances us from God.
Faith and surrender takes us closer to God, while ego separates us from God. So, a man who is proud of his intellect and knowledge is like a prisoner who is proud of his prison cell. These are words of Fr. Anthony D’Mello. Therefore, what ever intellectual matter we accumulate each day, it must be processed and made useful for others on the same day. Otherwise, it contaminates and isolates us.
This adds to repeated births and deaths, until ego is broken and nullified like a coconut at the feet of the Lord, through various hardships of life. Ego is the shell of the coconut. Only once it is broken can we taste the sweet kernel and nourishing water of divinity. So, Baba shows us how we should also take care of our intellect. Baba is a supreme master and His ways of teaching are quite unique and inimitable.
Grace is not easy. It needs perfect surrender. Once Grace flows, life becomes very easy. We have heard many lectures where people talk about awareness. What is awareness? How does one become aware? It is easy. Look at the children. Small children. They start their life through feeling. They feel the ground, they feel their mother, father, a flower, a comb, a brush; they feel heat, cold, clothes, bed, etc, etc. When they grow older and their senses starts to co-ordinate with their mind, they start forming concepts. Then, they detach from feeling to knowing. We have to get back to feeling first. Become a child. Feel everything. Feel food, feel relationships, feel weather, feel sunshine, feel flowers, birds, animals or their behaviorism. When we start feeling, our mind is in the present – because, you need your conscious mind to feel. When you establish in feeling, emotions are at check.
You will start accepting realities as they are, without resistance. Resistance breeds emotions. Emotions breed karma. So, when we shift ourselves to the feeling mode, we shift to the non-karmic existence mode which is quite liberating. When we are well established in the feeling mode, we will be “wonder-fueled”, like a child. And this helps awareness. Feeling will lead to awareness.
It expands our consciousness to that level where we feel rather than depending on our senses to know. Dependency on senses is quite limiting. Awareness makes us unlimited. Please understand that those who talk about awareness are sometimes only aware of their wallet. Hence, do understand that this is a self-help path. Nobody else can increase or reduce your level of awareness. The benefits of “feeling” are plenty.
By feeling, I do not mean emotions. If you feel and become emotional, it is anti liberation. This feeling is the feeling related to wonder. This is how the child feels the world. When emotions are overflowing with feeling, understand that mind is having a field day. It is dragging you with it. So, use the wonder aspect in you and feel everything. Even feel happiness or sorrow. Do not get drowned in both. If you are constantly operating in the feeling mode, even negativity will not stay within your mind.
There is much more to say about Sai. A life time will not be sufficient. I shall narrate my experiences later. If you have a Sai Satcharitra with you, please read it everyday, at least one chapter per day, and surrender your thoughts, words and actions at His feet. If you do not have a copy, please buy one and start reading it. May Sai Bless You with Deep Peace, Prosperity and Strength to make your world a better place. Sai Bless YOU.
Aum Sai Ram