AN HOUR AND HALF WITH YOGI Who got mention in Shri Sai Satcharitra Chapter 23 – SWAMI RAM BABA
Four years ago during my visit to Shirdi for the Guru Purnima Utsav, I happened to see a very tall, fair and bearded figure in ochre robe briskly walking towards the Samadhi Mandhir. I was immediately impressed and on enquiry learnt that he was Swami Rambaba from Bombay. Later when he came to Gurus than, I noticed that he did not allow people to bow down and touch his feet, but instead asked them to bow to Shri Sai Baba. My respect was doubled. Next year by chance I learnt about his place of stay ‘SAI NIVAS’ at Shirdi, and visited him in his room. I was received cordially and blessed pleasantly. Since then I continued to visit him in his room every year at Shirdi during Guru purnima Utsava and get this blessings.
This year again I met him as usual at Shirdi on 3rd July during Guru Purnima Utsava and having learnt of his stay at Pune, called on him on 8th July. I was fortunate to have a close and undisturbed meeting with him over an hour and a half and was indeed blessed with the narration of his personal experiences with Sri Sai Baba and his views on religion and other spiritual matters.
Rambaba is a great worshipper of Shri Sai Baba and had the good fortune of first meeting Shri Sai Baba in AD 1914. Rambaba was then practising yoga and wanted to get some clarifications from Baba. But he saw Baba eating onions with bread (which is taboo for a yogi) and immediately thought in his mind that he had come to a wrong and unworthy person. But when Baba shouted, ‘Nana: Drive that dog of a yogi. He does not know that onion should be eaten only by a person who is strong enough to digest it”, Rambaba’s ego was stripped down immediately and he realised the greatness of Shri Sai Baba. (This story is narrated in Ch. 23 of Shri Sai Satcharitra). Since then Rambaba’s only place of worship and devotion is Shri Sai Baba and since then Rambaba has been invariably visiting Shirdi on Guru Purnima Day to pay homage to his Sadguru.
Rambaba has renunciated life since 1910. He does not answer question of his previous life and hence one cannot know his exact age. However during talks he mentioned once that he renunciated life after full enjoyment and satisfaction. If his age at that time (1910) is very conservatively estimated to be 40 years then Rambaba’s age should be at least 115 yrs. But he does not look his age at all, except that his beard and other hair are snow-white. There is no sign of any wrinkles on his very fair and soft skin of hands and feet and only two years ago I had seen him walking very upright and briskly at Shirdi. Probably this is possible on account of his practice of Yoga and penance for a long time. However recently Rambaba due to an attack of paralysis has become a little infirm and unable to walk independently. However his energy and talk are still vigorous as ever.
This is what Rambaba has to say about his worship of Shri SAI BABA:-
“For Ram (i.e. Rambaba himself—he does not use the word ‘I’) to love Him is to love God, the Creator or whatever words one may use. There are millions who offer their worship and homage to Shri Sai Baba, the great Master, the wonderful Sage, the true Fakir, the King without Kingdom and Monk without Monastry. One, like Meera, would find HIM with celestial music that swells up in the hearts of a lover. If one had the enlightenment
of Shri Kabir, then one could reveal to the world the hidden glory of his mystic life. If one had the courage and fearless love like Guru Gobind Singh, then one could give his head as an offering. If one is fortunate to be blessed with the love that St, Francis had for God and man, then One’s offering could form the life of service of one and all. By the grace of Shri Sainath of Shirdi, it is possible to be intoxicated with Divine Love like Mother Rabia and then there is nothing left to offer by way of worship.
As to Shri Sai Baba’s grace and gift to humanity Rambaba says:
“His grace and blessings are precious, both to the Sinner and to the Saint. Everything else may fail to save the world at this crucial period of human history, but His Grace is the power to bring humanity together in love which one can go to Shirdi and observe. The day is not far for the triumph of love and truth. Everything in nature proclaims God’s infinite love for His Beings, and God has given man the capacity to love and live as one family – which is for Shri Sai Baba, His Main philosophy, or say a gift to humanity.
But alas : Ram must say with all love and due respect and regard to everyone, that it is a tragic period we are passing through, not only for our mother land but for the whole world that the so-called great Personalities of this age do not care to dedicate their lives to the removal of the barriers that divide humanity. Most of the national and religious leaders today (are blind with and for power)
As to religion Rambaba said:
“The truth is that religion cannot afford to be exclusive. The happiness of one depends on the happiness of the many and vice versa. Therefore the true religion can be neither orthodox nor heterodox. For Ram one in Love, one in Truth and one in God is man”.
As to Shri Sai Baba’s method of preaching Rambaba [narrated]:—
“The Enlightened one does not belong to any close group of nation, and such a sage, or say phenomenon on truth, is capable to bring humanity together dissolving all differences in His infinite Love for one and all. Such a one need not give sermons or expound any philosophy, old or new. This is proved by Sri Sai Baba’s philosophy and by His living in the humblest way and on the other hand life of wisdom much more than a King. In silence He receives the love His lovers and in silence He loves those who deny Him. (the word ‘IS’ is used deliberately because for Ramababa Shri Sai Baba always ‘IS’).
As to our behavior in this world, Rambaba explained, advised and prayed:-
“All that we send into the lives of others come back to our own. May noble, loving and humble thoughts come to us from every side? May all of us serve mankind as one’s large self?”
What a wonderful concept, what a wonderful TRUTH and what a wonderful religion:
To conclude, my most vivid impression about Swami Rambaba is that he is true and very sincere devotee of Shri Sai Baba. Like many other exalted Sai Devotees, Rambaba does not care to heighten his own prestige and fame in the name of Shri Sai Baba. He considers himself the most humble disciple of Shri Sai Baba and hence he does not allow visitors to touch his feet or present garlands. Instead he asked them to bow and garland Shri Sai Baba, his guru. Most of all Rambaba like a true disciple has imbibed the teachings of Shri Sai Baba in himself in toto. For instance Sai Baba always preached removal of one’s ego-without which no progress is possible in spiritual matters. Rambaba therefore has cast off the word ‘I’ forever. In his conversation he refers to himself only as ‘Ram’. Secondly Sai Baba incessantly told His devotees to look for Him in every person or even in a beast or a bird. Rambaba follows the same principle and hence while addressing the listeners he used the word “Dear selves (plural of self)” which means that the listeners and Rambaba are one and the same. In short Rambaba is Sai Baba’s preaching and philosophy in life and blood and I consider his above mentioned expressions as inspired by Shri Sai Baba only.
—Lt. Col. M. B. Nimbalkar (Retd.) Source Sai Prema – September 1986.