Object of Writing the Work - Incapacity and Boldness in the Undertaking - Hot Discussion - Conferring Significant and Prophetic Title of Hemadpant - Necessity of a Guru.
In the last Chapter, the author mentioned in the original Marathi book that he would state the reason that led him to undertake the work, and the persons qualified to read the same and such other points. Now in this chapter, he starts to tell the same.
Object of Writing the Work
In the first chapter, I described Sai Baba’s miracle of checking and destroying the epidemic of Cholera by grinding wheat and throwing the flour, on the outskirts of the village. I heard other miracles of Sai Baba to my great delight, and this delight burst forth into this poetic work. I also thought, that the description of these grand miracles of Sai Baba would be interesting, and instructive to His devotees; and would remove their sins, and so I began to write the sacred life and teachings of Sai Baba. The life of the saint is neither logical nor dialectical. It shows us the true and great path.
Incapacity and Boldness in Undertaking the Work
Hemadpant thought that he was not a fit person to undertake the work. He said, "I do not know the life of my intimate friend nor do I know my own mind, then how can I write the life of a saint or describe the nature of Incarnations, which even the Vedas were unable to do? One must be a saint himself, before he could know other saints, then how can I describe their glory? To write the life of a saint is the most difficult, though one may as well measure the depth of the water of the seven seas or enclose the sky with cloth-trappings. I knew, that this was the most venturous undertaking, which might expose me to ridicule. I, therefore, invoked Sai Baba’s grace.
The premier poet-saint of Maharashtra, Shri Jnaneshwar
Maharaj, has stated that the Lord loves those who
write the lives of saints; and the saints also have
a peculiar method of their own of getting the service,
which the devotees long for, successfully accomplished.
The saints inspire the work, the devotee becomes
only an indirect cause or instrument to achieve
the end. For instance, in 1700 Shaka year, the poet
Mahipati aspired to write the lives of saints. Saints
inspired him, and got the work done; so also in
1800 Shaka year, Das Ganu’s service was accepted.
The former wrote 4 works-Bhakta Vijaya, Santa Vijaya,
Bhakta Leelamrit and Santa Kathamrit, while the
latter wrote two - "Bhakta Leelamrit and Santa
Kathamrit", in which the lives of modern Saints
were described. In chapters 31,32,33 of Bhakta Leelamrit
and in chapter 57 of Santa Kathamrit, the sweet
life and teachings of Sai Baba are very well depicted.
The answer is plain and simple. The life of Sai
Baba is as wide and deep as the infinite ocean;
and all can dive deep into the same and take out
precious gems (of knowledge and Bhakti), and distribute
them to the aspiring public. The stories, parables,
and teachings of Sai Baba are very wonderful. They
will give peace and happiness to the people, who
are afflicted with sorrows and heavily loaded with
miseries of this worldly existence, and also bestow
knowledge and wisdom, both in the worldly and in
spiritual domains. If these teachings of Sai Baba,
which are as interesting and instructive as the
Vedic lore, are listened to and meditated upon,
the devotees will get, what they long for, viz.,
union with Brahman, mastery in eight-fold Yoga,
Bliss of meditation etc.
I could not myself ask Sai Baba to give me permission
for this work; so I requested Mr. Madhavrao Deshpande
alias Shama, Baba’s most intimate devotee,
to speak to Him for me. He pleaded for my cause
and said to Sai Baba, "This Annasaheb wishes
to write Your biography, don’t say that You
are a poor begging Fakir, and there is no necessity
to write it, but if You agree and help him, he will
write or rather, Your feet (grace) will accomplish
the work. Without Your consent and blessing, nothing
can be done successfully." When Sai Baba heard
this request, He was moved and blessed me by giving
me His Udi (sacred ashes) and placing His boon-bestowing
hand on my head said :- "Let him make a collection
of stories and experiences, keep notes and memos;
I will help him. He is only an outward instrument.
The word ‘discussion’ put me in mind
of my promise to explain the story of my getting
the title of Hemadpant and now I begin to relate
the same. I was on close friendly terms with Kakasaheb
Dixit and Nanasaheb Chandorkar. They pressed me
to go to Shirdi and have Baba’s darshana,
and I promised them to do so. But something in the
interval turned up, which prevented me from going
to shirdi. The son of a friend of mine at Lonavala
On the first day of my arrival in Shirdi, there was a discussion between me and Balasaheb Bhate regarding the necessity of a Guru. I contended, "Why should we lose our freedom and submit to others? When we have to do our duty, why a Guru is necessary? One must try his best and save himself. What can the Guru do to a man who does nothing but sleeps indolently?" Thus I pleaded freewill, while Mr. Bhate took up the other side, viz., Destiny, and said, "Whatever is bound to happen must happen; even great men have failed, man proposes one way, but God disposes the other (contrary) way. Brush aside your cleverness; pride or egoism won’t help you." This discussion, with all its pros and cons went on for an hour or so, and as usual no decision was arrived at. We had to stop the discussion ultimately as we were exhausted. The net result of this was that I lost my peace of mind and found that unless there is strong body-consciousness and egoism, there would be no discussion; in other words, it is egoism which breeds discussion.
Then when we went to the Masjid with others, Baba asked Kakasaheb Dixit the following:-
Hearing these words, I was much surprised. The Masjid was at a considerable distance from Sathe’s Wada where I was staying and where the discussion was going on. How could Baba know our discussion unless He be omniscient and Inner Ruler of us all?
Significant and Prophetic Title
I began to think why Sai Baba should call me by the name Hemadpant. This word is a corrupt form of Hemadripant. This Hemadripant was a wellknown Minister of the kings Mahadev and Ramadev of Devgiri of the Yadav dynasty. He was very learned, good-natured and the author of good works, such as Chaturvarga Chintamani (dealing with spiritual subjects) and Rajprashasti. He invented and started new methods of accounts and was the originator of the Modi (Marathi Shorthand) script. But I was quite the opposite, an ignoramus, and of dull, mediocre intellect. So I could not understand why the name or title was conferred upon me, but thinking seriously upon it, I thought that the title was a dart to destroy my ego, so that, I should always remain meek and humble. It was also a compliment paid to me for the cleverness in the discussion.
Looking to the future history, we think that Baba’s word (calling Mr. Dabholkar by the name Hemadpant) was significant and prophetic, as we find that he looked after the management of Sai Sansthan very intelligently, kept nicely all the accounts and was also the author of such a good work "Sai Satcharita", which deals with such important and spiritual subjects as Jnana, Bhakti and dispassion, self-surrender and self-realization.
About the Necessity of a Guru
Hemadpant has left no note, no memo about what Baba said regarding this subject, but Kakasaheb Dixit has published his notes regarding this matter. Next day after Hemadpant’s meeting with Sai Baba, Kakasaheb went to Baba and asked whether he should leave Shirdi. Baba Said, "Yes". Then someone asked - "Baba, where to go?" Baba said, "High up." Then the man said, "How is the way?" Baba said, "There are many ways leading there; there is one way also from here (Shirdi). The way is difficult. There are tigers and wolves in the jungles on the way." I (Kakasaheb) asked - "But Baba, what if we take a guide with us?" Baba answered, - "Then there is no difficulty. The guide will take you straight to your destination, avoiding wolves, tigers and ditches etc. on the way. If there be no guide, there is the danger of your being lost in the jungles or falling into ditches." Mr. Dabholkar was present on this occasion and he thought that this was the answer Baba gave to the question whether Guru was a necessity (Vide Sai Leela Vol. I, No.5, Page 47); and he thereupon took the hint that no discussion of the problem, whether man is free or bound, is of any use in spiritual matters, but that on the contrary real Paramartha is possible only as the result of the teachings of the Guru, as is illustrated in this chapter of the original work in the instances of great Avatars like Rama and Krishna, who had to submit themselves to their Gurus, Vasishtha and Sandipani respectively, for getting self- realization and that the only virtues necessary for such progress are faith and patience. (Vide Sai Satcharita, Ch. II, 191-92).
Bow to Shri Sai - Peace be to all