I HAD THE DARSHAN OF SRI SAINATH MAHARAJ!– SRI ANANT JAYADEV CHITAMBER OF AHMEDNAGAR part 2 of 2
Sri Sai Baba is a divine incarnation; he is not born of human parentage. He shines as an eternal flame in the form of his samadhi and gives his divine experiences to all mankind. He is the very form of the perfect almighty. It is the experience of many devotees that the descriptions given in Srimad Bhagavadgeeta of the perfect superman and Para Brahman suit him to fullest extent. I am enraptured by bliss whenever I recollect his form, which I had seen in my childhood. I pray to him that I imbibe fully of his teachings and tradition and travel farther along the beautiful path prescribed by him and thereby gain his grace.
It is the constant experience of the devotees that the words of the Arati “Jayamani Jaise Bhava, Taya Taisa Anubhava, (as is our feeling towards him, so is our experience)” are literally true.
I have heard of the experiences of innumerable devotees; where even when they had prayed to other gods, Sri Sai Baba had given his Darshan to them in the form of those gods and proved to them that his is the manifest form of all gods. I too have had the direct experience of this truth. This experience gives us wisdom and acts as our guide in spiritual endeavour. Once we surrender to Sri Sai Baba we need no other yoga, as he is the perfect Brahman who is omnipresent.
I would need many pages to describe all the experiences my family and I and have had by the divine grace of Sri Sai Baba. I have myself seen devotees of all religions coming for the Darshan of Sri Sai Baba, and they continue to come to him to this day. This is an example of the divine play of Sri Sai Baba. There is no place for differences based on caste, creed or religion at his holy feet. When anyone had his Darshan prompted by even idle curiosity, their old proclivities would vanish and they would gain an immense devotion towards him. His form and presence were majestic. I cannot find words to describe the awesome majesty of his carriage and conduct. The devotees, be them Muslim fakirs or Hindu sanyasis, would forget who they were the moment they had his Darshan. They were attracted so much to him that unknowingly they surrendered to the holy lotus feet of that supreme master who was ever immersed in the bliss of the constant communion with Brahman. The fanaticism and bigotry that they had earlier ran far away from the presence of Sri Sai Baba.
If one were to describe Sri Sai as a Muslim, he had the horizontal mark of the Hindu displayed prominently on his forehead. The fire holy to Hindus was burning brightly in front of him in the mosque. He would bless all devotees, “Allah achha karega” (Allah will bless you). Aaratis would be conducted in his honour in the morning, during the day and at night. They continue to this day. Nobody knows to this day whether he is a Hindu or a Muslim. The Muslims would read the namaz in front of him while the Hindu pundits read the Vedas. I saw this with my own eyes. This is not hearsay. It is my great good fortune to have the Darshan of that formless Brahman which has incarnated in the form of Sri Sai Baba. Can anyone describe accurately Brahman, the state of liberation while yet in the body and being liberated from the confines of the body? This question is answered by having the Darshan of Sri Sai Baba. One can realise what his true nature is by having the Darshan of that peerless master and by the constant meditation of him. That is his divine play. What then is surprising in Das Ganu Maharaj praising him “Shirdi majhe pandari pura Sai Baba ramavara (Shirdi is my Pandaripur). Sri Sai Baba is mahavishnu (almighty).” Sri Sai Baba is an avadhuta. The sentence in the Shirdi Arati “Datta avadhuta, Sai avadhta” is literally true. Sri Datta has assumed the form of Sri Sai and lived in Shirdi.
Sri Sai Baba had not only granted salvation to mankind but had granted salvation to a tiger, which was brought to him. I saw that tiger passing away at Dwarkamai with my own eyes. I could have the Darshan of that incident where the individual self merges into the cosmic self only by the gracious mercy and kindness of Sri Sai Baba.
That incident had happened in this way.
One day before the afternoon Aarti, Baba was sitting at Dwarkamai with his hand on the railing. A tiger was brought on a bullock cart to his presence and the owner of the tiger made it move around and show the tricks it had learnt to Sri Sai Baba. After the show was over, the devotees advised the owner of the tiger to take it up the steps and put its head at Baba’s feet for his benediction. The owner agreed and took the tiger up the steps. The tiger put its head on the first step just like all devotees do and surprisingly died a painless death immediately. Baba had liberated it from its body. The owner of the tiger saw that his means of livelihood had died and started weeping. The devotees consoled him saying, “Do not cry, your tiger is fortunate that it has got liberation.” No one could ask Sri Sai about this incident at that time. That majesty and that kindness cannot be found in these three worlds – no matter how far and wide the search. The feeling one gets on laying one’s eyes on that awesome majesty is indescribable. As I was very young – a mere child at that time, the full significance of the incident escaped me.
Now, I feel how fortunate would I be if I too could, like that tiger, leave this body while having the Darshan of that glorious, majestic figure of Sri Sai Baba filling my eyes. Sri Sainath Maharaj is the destination for all of us. He is our final destiny. He is the perfect man. He is the almighty. He is the ark that bears us across safely across this sea of worldliness. I salute that perfect master and greatest of Sadguru and hailing his divine glory; end this essay.
Sri Anant Jayadev Chitamber March 1978 Sai Leela Masik.Translated by Parna Kishore.