SHRI SAI BABA OF SHIRDI
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The Supreme Being which causes creation, existence and destruction of the universe, the formless, the birth and deathless, the true existing bliss, took a human form, in Saibaba. As the Supreme Being and Datta are alike, Baba is revered as a complete incarnation of Dattatreya. He has also been variously termed as a mother, as an embodiment of all deities, as a Guru, and as 'Sai'. Several meanings are attributed to the word 'Sai' but linguists say that it took origin from 'Sahi'. As 'Saheb' changed into 'Saib' in colloquial usage, 'Sahi' was changed into 'Sai". Sahi means, Lord or god. The Lord of universe, the Supreme Soul is Sai.
"This entire universe is ruled by seventytwo Gurus. Five of them occupy the top most positions. Out of the five Sai is like an emperor" says Meher Baba. "It is impossible for anybody to ever know the greatness of Shirdi Saibaba. The ultimate perfection of spirituality is manifested in him. If you really know what I know of him, then you would be able to tell that he is the Guru of the whole universe, animate or otherwise," declares Meher Baba.
In creation nothing is bigger than or beyond Guru or Supreme Being (Parabrahma). Hence that Supreme Being became 'Guru'. It is the Supreme Being that manifested into the three forms Brahma, Vishnu and Siva. Hence the word 'Guru' quoted by Meher Baba clearly tells that Sai Baba was the manifestation of Datta.
Baba came in the middle of the 19th century, not as an ordinary man but as a walking divinity. He transforms the devotees, who surrender totally to him, who are pure in thoughts, words and action, those who worship him with diligence and devotion, into manifestation of divine power, empowering them with everything he has. In the tradition of Datta, there is no difference between Guru and sishya. There is oneness. The disciple feels oneness within with his Guru. He thinks always that 'Mera sakthi Guru ka bhakti'. He feels all the power in him belongs to his Guru. As a result of this belief in Guru, he draws more and more energy from the Guru. Day by day he increases his faith in his Guru. This is the real practice or sadhana. This is the real devotion towards Guru. Devotion without faith is like a song without music, a body without life. Faith is strengthened by knowing the competence of Guru either by our own experiences or learning from other's experiences. It is a continuous process. The purpose of books like 'Guru Charitra' is to make the disciple or devotee more diligent towards a Guru. 'Sai Satcharitra' also mentions that Saibaba instructed his devotees to do parayana of 'Guru Charitra' written in Marathi by Gangadhara Sarswathi. 'Parayana' (reading with diligence) firstly gives the understanding of 'Guru', secondly strengthens devotion and faith in Guru and thirdly accrues to them fruits of their faith and lastly as Baba clearly states that getting a favourable result or not depends upon the strength of their faith.
"All inverted pots are coming to me' Baba often lamented about his devotees. It further substantiates the things clarified above. The people who do not believe him completely, who could not understand his nature and teaching became his followers. Naturally they would not receive what he actually wanted to give them like inverted pots which cannot hold any water in them. Once, advising Radhabai Deshmukh Baba said, "Have faith in your Guru. Those are blessed who perceive the greatness of Guru and who believe him as the personification of god". These words stress the fact that a disciple should have faith like a rock in his Guru.
The era of Sai began in 1854. It began when SaiBaba made his first public appearance sitting under a neem tree in Shirdi as a harbinger of new spiritual era. "I choose my devotees on my own", said he. "I pull my devotees towards me like sparrows tied with strings on their legs." He was so caring and merciful.
Meher Baba said that, "People are not trying to understand his philosophy thoroughly or to assimilate it. They are contented with parayanas, bhajans, prayers, annadanam (distributing alms of food) and with pilgrimage to Shirdi. They consider doing all those things as devotion. They will become more virtuous with all these. But they must heed to the words of Baba who, time and again says, 'Blend your deeds with devotion and do exercise your wisdom in doing so - then it becomes yoga'. The devotees know that they have to ascend from the step of rituals and devotion to a higher mental plane, which leads them to the steps of further heights in spirituality. But they are not able to follow that Supreme Being, that homeless fakir whose abode was the neem tree. Does he need temples and mandirs other than our hearts? If he converted a dilapidated mosque into 'Dwarakamai' is it not to show that all evil should be transformed to good?"
Sri Gurucharana Seva Samithi,
Sreepada Vallabha Maha Samstan Trust, Srikshetra Ganugapur, Afzalpur Tq, Gulbarga Dt - 585212, Karnataka, India
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