Shri Guru Pournima and Significance of Guru
The importance of a Guru has been appropriately explained in the 17th Chapter of Shri SaiSatcharita by Hemadpant. Wherein, it was stated that one should regularly listen to the excellent scriptures, abide by the words of Sadguru and while remaining alert all the time should choose his way to salvation never losing the sight of the objective. From the doctrines of Sadguru, a large number of devotees reach the level of salvation and their path to emancipation gets easier. Shirdi, a place adorned by millions of devotees around the world as an abode of Shri Saibaba with an unblinking faith, celebrates Guru Pournima every year with total fervour. The festivities this year will be celebrated at Shirdi between 4th and 6th July, 2020. Shri Saibaba has been held at the highest esteem as a GURU by millions of devotees worldwide. On the occasion of Guru Pournima, we would like to present the historical perspective for the benefit of devotees.
Initiation of Guru Pournima by Nulkar
Shri TatyasahebNulkar was an ardent devotee of Shri Saibaba and had arrived at Shirdiwith his mother and mother-in-law. As it was an occasion of Guru Pournima, TatyasahebNulkar performed Shri Saibaba worship as his Guru. After TatyasahebNulkar had moved away, Baba summoned for TatyaPatilKote. When the message arrived, TatyaPatilKote was working in his fields. Receiving the message he immediately rushed to Baba. At that time Baba asked TatyaKotePatil , “ Why is he alone worshipping me and why you are not performing a worship?”. Actually devotees were always eager to worship Baba but did not dare to request Baba for worship as he might get angry. However, now that Baba himself had indirectly permitted, TatyaKotePatil and those present at the time like Madhavrao Deshpande were immensely happy. As the senior most of the persons from devotees, Dada Kelkar was provided the honor to perform worship on the Guru Pournima day. Dada Kelkar performed a fully traditional worship of Baba at Dwarakamai with all the essentials. Since then, Sai Devotees started to celebrate the festivities on Guru Pournima.
Guru an Ocean of Wisdom
The importance of a Guru has been appropriately explained in the 17th Chapter of Shri Sai Sat Charita by Hemadpant. Where in, it was stated that one should regularly listen to the excellent scriptures, abide by the words of Sadguru while remaining alert all the time and should choose his way to salvation without losing the sight of it. From the doctrines of Sadguru, a large number of devotees reach the level of salvation and their path to emancipation gets easier. Unless a disciple submits humbly before Guru and seeks refuge with a heart full of devotion, faith and humility, the Guru does not bestow priceless gift of wisdom. A Guru should be worshipped and servedby renouncing everything in one’s possession. The meaning of the bondage and salvation needs to be understood from a Guru. Guru should be questioned about knowledge and ignorance so that sumptuous returns are received from Him. No one else would be able to explain concepts like Soul and Supreme Being. A Guru would not bestow even a bit of wisdom unless the devotee completely surrenders to Him. Knowledge provided by anyone else will not be helpful in securing the freedom from the world and cannot bestow the fruits of salvation as it will not reside in the mind for a long time. It is due to this reason that everyone understands that there is no wisdom without a Guru. One has to reach only the lotus feet of Guru to experience the resonance between the spirit and soul. Without going astray and renouncing the ego, oneshould fall flat at the lotus feet of the Guru. With a totally resolute attitude if one utters these words; “Oh! Guru, I bow before you as your servant and trust your lotus feet”, then just observe the divine sport Guru plays! Guru the ocean of compassion will start showering His blessings and carrythe disciples safely across the mundane world. With His blessings, disciples would be able to ward off all the evils that would have otherwiseaffected them badly. With the holy and sacred ash, He will burn off all the sins of His devotees.
Guru Sainath, The Caring Mother
In the 18th Chapter of Shri Sai Satcharita, Hemadpant has said that Saibaba does not keep any forms of anger and others and guides everyone according to the levels they have reached. Many people have an opinion that if the blessings from Guru are divulged to anyone else, it loses its effect. However, this is totally nothing but the figments of one’s imagination. In fact, whether the blessings are received directly or during a dream, these should be carried to everyone. Those who say that this has no proof, one can relate to the saints Budh and Kaushik. ‘RamrakshaStotra” was received by them through a dream and they made the same available for everyone. Many people recite this every day. Sadguru is like the clouds during rainy season drenching us through water and sets us on the path of enlightenment. One should quench the thirst first and attempt to quench the thirst of others. Baba had this knack of care just like a caring mother who makes the child to consume a bitter medicine to be healthy. He did not have any secret ways of advice to His devotees. He used to fulfil every wish of His devotees in whatever way possible.
The company of Guru is in itself a gratification, which no one can describe. While remembering the words of Guru one just gets hugely inspired to describe those words and the experiences. If the Almighty is praised and worshipped with total devotion and if a Guru is just served and worshipped, one receives knowledge from Him. All other instruments of worship are of no use. The way to progress in this world full of different kind of afflictions is to follow the rays of advice from a Guru which ensures that all obstacles on the way are crossed without much difficulty. Guru Himself is the Almighty like that of Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwar. Guru alone is the transcendent spirit. This is why Shri Guru Geeta states, “GURU is verily the representative of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. He creates, sustains knowledge and destroys the weeds of ignorance. I salute such a GURU. It is said that Guru is both a mother and a father as well. If Almighty gets angry, Guru can save you, however if Guru gets angry with you, take it that no one can ever save you. Guru is the one who guides you the way towards family responsibilities, provides information about the pious religious locations and traditions as well as preaching us on the retirement, religion and adverse religious activities, disinterest in worldly possessions as also on the Vedas and Shruti.
The Abode of Babs’s Guru
At Shirdi, Baba was first seen under a Neem tree where he used to sit in meditation. Baba used to say that the place belonged to His Guru and was naturally and truly fond of that place. Speaking about the importance of this, Baba had said that either on a Thursday or a Friday if anyone comes here, cleans the surface and burns Loban that person would experience all the happiness of life. Baba used to bow down every time He went past that place. Shri Saibaba described the importance of a Guru in a truly detailed manner many a time. On his own accord, Baba never ever preached any one. However, every word that would come out naturally from his mouth would open up the solutions for the issues that the devotees were battling with in their minds.
During His physical embodiment in Shirdi devotees used to worship him in many ways and one of the ways was to apply sandalwood paste to the forehead. However, Baba did not allow anybody to perform such worship in the earlier period. Only Mahalasapati used to worship Baba by applying the sandalwood paste to Baba’s forehead. Other devotees used to apply sandalwood paste to the lotus feet of Baba. Other than Mhalasapati, the person to apply sandalwood paste to Baba’s forehead was one by nameBapu, the son of NanasahebChandorkar. One day, one Doctor Pandit who was a close friend of TatyasahebNulkar arrived for Baba’s darshan. He anointed Baba’s forehead fully with sandalwood paste and then created a symbol of Shiva’s “Tripundra” with the paste. Dada Bhat who was accompanying Doctor Pandit was stunned with the action and worried whether Baba would get enraged with this. However nothing of the sorts happened and devotees heaved a sigh of relief. On the same evening Dada Bhat anxiously expressed the morning incident in front of Baba and awaited a response. Baba was calm and said that Doctor had worshipped him as his Guru.
Significance of Guru as Described in Sai Sat Charita
Hemadpant has described another story of an old woman Radhabai who had total faith and firm devotion for Baba during the latter part of Chapter 18 and beginning part of Chapter 19. The description is all about the importance of Guru. Radhabai was mother of KhashabaDeshmukh from Sangamner. She had learnt about the fame of Saibaba and had arrived at Shirdi for darshan of Saibaba. After having darshan, she had an inner instinct to serve Baba and had a huge urge to have Baba, Sai Samarth as her Guru. She was hopeful that after accepting her as a disciple, Baba would bless her in an appropriate way to the divine truth. Although Radhabai was aged, she had full faith on Baba and she made a firm decision not to return home from Shirdi unless Baba provides her with a mantra as a blessing. She renounced all food and water for three continuous days. She had decided to receive the blessings only from Saibaba and no one else as anything else would not be pious enough. Shri Saibaba is most pious saint and He alone would be able to provide me His blessings. She was so resolute and would not budge an inch from her decision.
Considering Radhabai’s firm decision, Baba graced her with blessings but effectively brought a shift in her thoughts. He called her lovingly and said, “Mother, why did you have to take such a decision? Why did you have to remember death? Why are you torturing yourself? I am just a Fakir begging for pieces of bread. Look at me with all the love. I am your son and you are my mother”. Now listen to me, I shall divulge some important information to you. You would be very happy indeed after looking at this. My Guru was one in a million and also an ocean of compassion. I got tired of serving Him. However He would not provide any mantra to me. I had a firm wish not to leave Him but obtain this mantra from Him. In the beginning he looted me. He asked for some money and I gave the same to Him at once and earnestly kept on requesting Him for the words of mantra. My Guru was one for whom all His wishes had been fulfilled. What would he do with that small amount from me? How can a person be called desireless when he demands money from disciple? But let this suspicion not arise in your mind. He did not desire for money even in His dreams. He did not have anything to do with money. The two paisa that he demanded was Faith and Patience and nothing else. I gave Him both immediately. My Guru was delighted with me. Courage makes people not to lose patience. Never leave it aside. Whenever and in whatever way the circumstances may test you, the patience will carry you across the ocean safely. Patience in itself is the masculinity of a man. It removes anger as well as helplessness, wards off problems with verve and sets aside all the fear that you may have. Success arrives on way to patience and disasters run away to all the twelve directions. Patience is a goldmine of virtue and Queen of the King in the form of positive thoughtfulness. Faith and Patience are real sisters and almost life to one another. Condition of a human being gets miserable without patience. Whether he is a learned or a genius, his life is futile without patience. Even though the Guru is capable of doing everything, he expects a sharp intellect, empowered loyalty and patience laden with courage from His disciples. If a stone and a diamond are rubbed on to polish,thenboth will become clean. However, stone will remain stone and diamond will reflect an aura. The method for shine used by both is the same. However the stone will not be able to compete with a diamond. A diamond will shine and stone will remain a smooth stone only.
Sainath at Guru’s Abode
Baba said, “I stayed at the feet of my Guru for 12 years and He reared me all through. Guru had a huge love for me and I had no dearth of food and clothes. My GURU was actually a statue of love and devotion. He had real inner feelings for his disciples. A Guru like my Guru is really hard to find and one cannot describe the happiness you rejoice in his company. What can I say about this love supreme? My eyes used to go into meditation as soon as I saw him. Both of us used to be very happy and I would not need to see anything else other than my Guru’s form for entire day and night. I did not crave for anything either material things or food. I used to feel unwell without Guru. I meditated only about Him and no one else. There was only one goal for me and that was Guru. Guru became the object of my research and the skills of a Guru cannot be conceptualized.
My Guru also had the same expectations and did not wish anything else. He never neglected me and always protected me from adversaries. Sometimes I used to be at the feet of my Guru and at other times away from him,however I never ever got distanced from being with him as my thoughts are always centred on him. He was totally caring for me with blissful vision. The method of my Guru was similar to a mother tortoise who feeds her off-springs just with her glance. He used to take care of His disciples just through a glance across. Oh! Mother! Consider whatever I say sitting here in this Masjid. When Guru did not enlighten my ears, how could I do the same for you? The blissful glance of a mother Tortoise alone brings happiness and satisfaction to her off-springs. Oh! Mother! Why do you want to cling on to sadness? I do not really know anything about preaching or else I would have done it. When Mother Tortoise is on one side of the River, her off-springs on the other side of the River get reared only with her glances. That is the reason I say that futile efforts of mantra are just not needed. Now you move and take food. Do not place your life in danger. Just keep an eye on me and you would reap highest spiritual knowledge. “You follow me exclusively and I shall do the same for you”. My Guru did not teach me anything else other than this. There is no need for expertise in six avenues of sciences. The only thing needed is a firm confidence that Guru is the only one who makes or breaks things as per His will. Guru is verily the representative of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. The one, who considers this as the existence of Guru, is really blessed. When Baba explained in this way, it reached the inner mind of Radhabai, she gave up her firm resolve of fasting till she gets the mantra from Baba and placed her head on the Lotus feet of Baba.
Teachings of Shri Saibaba
The Almighty exists and there is nothing greater than Him. He is the one filling the aggregate of all created things whether animate or inanimate and is overwhelming. His grace is supreme. He is the one to create, sustain and destroy. Therefore we must stay as he sustains us, be happy at his will and need not long for anything. Even a leaf from tree does not move unless he wishes so. Everyone should behave with integrity and honesty, should not enter into controversies. Stay alive with consciousness. Provide our duty to the Almighty and also surrender the fruit of labour to Him. This way we would remain detached and our acts and the resultant consequences would not adversely affect us.
Behave with love for each and every living creature on earth, without any controversies. You should listen to everyone as words do not physically harm you in anyway. Never try to equate with anyone and never condemn anyone. Just ignore what anyone else does. Let his work be with him and our work with us. Never remain idle. Recite the name of that Almighty. Read scriptures, never leave the rituals and be regular in whatever you do.If behaviour of a person is degrading or worthy of a reprimand, have a soft corner for him and do not wish any bad thing to happen to him.Similarly never ever criticize, ridicule or discuss his behaviour and do not take part in any such discussions. Baba equated the behaviour of those people who enjoy ridiculing others as that of a pig that would feast on the excreta happily.
Blissful Words of Shri Saibaba
Even if I die, consider my words an epitome of correctness. Even my bones would assure you from my grave and even my grave would keep speaking to you. It would happily oscillate with those who surrender to me. Do not worry that I would be out of your sight. You will listen to my bones speaking to you and whispering in your ears. Just keep remembering me, have total confidence and faith in me in your heart of hearts and recite my name without any strings attached. With this you would be able to take care of yourself without any difficulty.Be anywhere and do anything you desire, however always remember that I have full knowledge of each and every action of yours and that I am your true Master residing in the hearts of everyone. I occupy the entire universe both animate and inanimate world. The entire system has already been set by the Almighty and I am the prime mover of this system.I am the one to activate all the senses and I am the one who creates sustains and destroys everything. The one who concentrates on me does not have any perils but the one who forgets me is tortured by Maya (supernatural power). Whatever is seen is my form alone. Let it be a tiny insect, a poor person or even a King, all this movable and immovable world that cannot be fathomed is pervaded by me.
Blessed are the devotees of Shri Saibaba and their family members. Let us always remember the merciful Sai and His teachings and keep spreading them for the good of the humanity at large.