Has anyone felt Shirdi Sai Baba

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Sai Baba from Shridi

"I give people what they need and hope that they start to want what I want to give them"

If you stroll through the Shirdis bazaar, the city that is as far away as Madras, you will see busts or portraits of Sai Baba von Shirdi everywhere in the shops, mostly with incense sticks in front of them.

Sai Baba was born between 1838 and 1842. Nobody really knows. When he first came to Shirdi between 1868 and 1872, he was a young man, dominated by frugality and the strict discipline of tapas. Once he said about himself:
“My mother was delighted to have a son - me. For my part, I was amazed at their behavior. When did she father me? Was I conceived at all? Didn't I exist before? Then why is she happy about it? "
Sai Baba usually used spiritual terms to describe his stories. He considered the soul to be indestructible, even if it is in the body and is covered by it. His soul was unborn and eternal. If so, what is the point of the question about the birth? How can something eternal be born? Nonetheless, Sai Baba admitted to having a mother and being mortal like the rest of us.

During his previous visits to Shirdi, he lived under a neem tree. During the day he sat under the tree, at night he slept on the bare earth. He ate what little the city's charities gave him. When he finished his wanderings to settle in Shirdi, he first chose a Hindu temple as a refuge. But Mahalsapathy, the overseer, regarded Sai Baba as a Muslim fakir and refused entry. Mahalsapathy, who later became one of Sai Baba's closest disciples, asked him to choose a mosque as his accommodation. Sai Baba followed the advice and a filthy mosque became his home. Sometimes, though very rarely, he would say Namaz (a ritualistic, Islamic prayer). More like a Parsi than a Muslim, Sai Baba kept a constant fire in the small mosque and lit several small oil lamps.

Apart from a handful of food, the only thing he needed was some oil for the lamps. Usually he would beg the shopkeepers for it. One day they wanted to have fun with Sai Baba and did not give him any oil when he asked for it. The young fakir (a person free from worldly burdens and duties) turned away without a word of complaint or pleading and went back. "Let's follow him and see what he does now," suggested some of the merchants. They soon saw it. When he returned to the mosque, the fakir took a dirty jug of water that was in a corner and filled the oil lamps with it. These burned as if they had been filled with oil. Suddenly in awe, the businessmen fell at Sai Baba's feet and asked him not to curse them for their behavior, realizing that there was a man with special powers among them. They soon found out that Sai Baba was a saint and teacher who felt tremendous compassion for all who suffered.

Still, he appeared to be an eccentric, mysterious man. Nobody knew his name. Because “Sai Baba” is not a name. Sai (pronounced roughly like the English "sigh") is the Persian word for "saint"). Baba is a Hindi term and is used as a pet name for "father" in a respectful way. Nobody knows why he chose Shirdi as his place of residence. He lived there for almost half a century until his death in 1918. During this time, more and more admirers poured in from the surrounding towns. If there were personal reasons, they were as strange as the other circumstances of his life. Many years later, when he was already famous, he asked one of his students to dig at the base of the neem tree he used to sit under when he first arrived. After a tomb was found there, Sai Baba declared that it was the final resting place of a guru whose disciple he had been in a previous life.

Today Shirdi is as closely associated with Sai Baba as Ayodhya with Shri Rama, Mathura with Shri Krishna, Jerusalem with Christ or Mecca with the Prophet Mohammed.

Around 1900, Sai Baba's fame began to spread continuously and continues to grow today. In the last decade of his life, he was constantly crowded with visitors. The sick were healed, childless found families, and doubters gained trust. Every day rich gifts accumulated and were given out like water, so that after the Master's death there was only enough money to pay for the burial costs. Nevertheless, the number of his admirers has increased since then.

Sai Baba neither wrote nor read a book. Occasionally he would advise one of his devotees to read religious or sacred scriptures, but most of the time he would discourage them from reading. “People hope to find Brahma in these books. However, they only find Brahma (confusion) and not Brahma (God) in them.
Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi, the great scholar, wrote about learning from books in a disparaging manner. “The uneducated is more protected than the one whose ego has not submitted to it despite his learning. The uneducated is protected from the indomitable rule of himself - blinded by myriads of swirling thoughts, by the endless pursuit of mental abundance. You don't just have to be freed from suffering. "
Of course, this state has nothing to do with ignorance. Rather, he means the simplicity and completeness of the spirit, as it is praised in Taoism, as it was called by Christ, ‘being like the little children ’, or as in Islam the illiteracy of the prophet was indicated. This state does not contradict learning; nevertheless, learning cannot evoke it and complete immersion in learning can destroy it.

Mani Sahukar, one of Sai Baba's disciples, wrote: “Sai Baba often implied that he did not come to teach but to awaken. He tried to do this through the action of his love. Many volumes of philosophical works have been read over the centuries and yet there will be no spiritual growth of the sadhakas (seekers of truth) if there is no integration between thought and practice. Therefore Sai Baba simplified his teachings so far that the bhaktas can find a pure spiritual practice (sadhana). "

Sometimes he used to speak in parables to let his admirers find the answer for themselves. “Once some robbers came and stole my money. I didn't say anything but quietly followed them and then killed them, which got my money back. "
The natural abilities of man correspond to money, just as they occur in their pure form in the true man; the robbers are the desires; Kill them and you will regain abundance and realize Self.

Sai Baba once asked a lady for six rupees. Since she had no money with her, she turned to her husband to remark that it was embarrassing to be asked for money and not be able to give anything. "Doesn't matter," replied the; “It is not the money that Sai Baba wants from you. It is the six vices that must be surrendered to him. "
With an appreciative smile, Sai Baba asked again if she would like to give him six rupees, to which the lady replied that she had already done it. "Then make sure you don't lose your way," he warned her.

Another admirer, Ms. Manager, said: “It was not just his strength with which he won the affection of his admirers. His loving care, combined with his strength, made Shirdi a true paradise for all admirers who came to this place. As soon as we arrived we felt that nothing could hurt us. In his presence I forgot all pain, even my body, as well as all everyday worries and fears. I sat blissfully while the hours went by and I forgot the time. I believe that all of Sai Baba's real devotees shared these extraordinary experiences.
He was the only real thing for us.

Sometimes he appeared to people in dreams and visions to lead them to him. It is always the Master who draws his followers, although sometimes it seems like it was their decision or just a coincidence whether or not they join him. Sai Baba made this clear himself. “I bring people to me in different ways and from a great distance. I choose them myself and bring them to me; they do not come of their own accord. Even if their feet are tied with a thousand ropes. ”Because of the many miracles, of course, many people also came because they hoped for worldly advantages. Some of them gradually developed a longing for the higher values ​​that Sai Baba imparted. He said, “First come to solicit worldly gain. If this occurs, they start to follow me. "

Of course, some just wanted to see the strange miraculous apostle out of curiosity, without having faith in him. One of these visitors was an Anglo-Indian station master from a nearby town. Upon his arrival, he saw Sai Baba washing out a dirty pot and then placing it with the opening facing down. When he asked Sai Baba why he was doing this, Sai Baba replied with sarcastic humor to inattentive listeners: “Pots like this one come to me. With their openings facing down. "

On another occasion, Sai Baba overcame a visitor's prejudice in the same surprising way. Once a doctor, he was a brahmin, was brought to Shirdi. He pointed out to his companion that he did not want to bow down in front of Sai Baba because he was worshiping Shri Rama and no one else. So he stood outside the building and watched the Hindu ritual that was performed inside the mosque. Suddenly he stormed into the room and threw himself to the ground at Sai Baba's feet. When asked later what triggered his change of heart, he replied that he saw Sai Baba standing in the mosque in the shape of Shri Rama.
Sai Baba taught in symbols, not words. Another suitor, Y.J. Galwankar, highlighted the cleansing effects of Sai Baba's influence:
“I visited Sai Baba for the first time in 1911 because my father-in-law and several other relatives had also visited him. I heard that Sai Baba was a saint. For me, however, the time had not yet come to seriously seek spiritual or worldly wishes from him. I visited him about five times in this frame of mind, and my interest grew steadily. Then he appeared to me in a dream and asked me for two rupees dakshina (alms). When I woke up I decided to pay the alms and transferred the money to Shirdi. In the same dream he gave me two valuable instructions. The first was the call to righteousness and the second to maintain chastity (simplicity). I followed these instructions carefully and diligently. When I visited Sai Baba again in 1917, he held his hand over my head. I forgot myself and my surroundings and fell into a state of ecstasy. I found out afterwards that Sai Baba explained to those present that I was in a pure state. He also described different forms and living conditions that I had lived through in previous lives. He also said that he himself chose my mother for this life and that I therefore still keep the completeness and purity. "
When one of the followers saw the assembled crowd, he asked Sai Baba if everyone who came to him would benefit from the visit. In response, Sai Baba pointed to a blooming mango tree: “What a splendid harvest it would be if all the blossoms became fruit. But does it happen that way? Most of the flowers fall off and very few remain. "

R.B. Purandhara was one of those flowers that ripened into fruit. He left us a report on his first visit to Sai Baba.
“I heard from Sai Baba for the first time in 1909 and wanted to see him. I went to him with no worldly motives, even though I was poor and an orphan. I always wanted to be in the company of sadhus, so I was drawn to Sai Baba when I heard that he was a saint. He appeared to me in a dream and asked me to come to Shirdi. At the time, my six month old daughter was very sick and my mother didn't want me to go to Shirdi. Nevertheless, I really wanted to go and took my mother, my wife and my daughter with me. I stayed in Shirdi for 30 days and on the third day my daughter recovered. Baba did not allow me to return home until the thirtieth day. I didn't ask him any questions. But he told my mother that he had been connected to me for seven centuries. He would never forget me, no matter how far away I was. Furthermore, he doesn't want to eat a bite without me. Then, with Baba's permission, I went to Nasik and from there I returned to our home in Dadar. On arrival my wife fell ill with cholera. A doctor examined her, but there was no hope left. Shortly afterwards I saw Sai Baba standing by a temple which is opposite my house. He advised me to give my wife the holy ashes (udhi) that I had taken from Shirdi. I followed the instructions and within half an hour it regained so much warmth that the doctor had hope again. Soon she was fine again. "

Baba was a unique mix of all faiths and did not adhere to the boundaries of religions, sects, races, castes, creeds, languages, or nations. He affirmed every follower who came to him in his own belief and in that spiritual practice that suited his individual stage of development. It is said that Sai Baba once slapped a Hindu who converted to Islam and said, “Aren't you ashamed to change your father?” Today his shrine is a place of pilgrimage for hundreds of thousands of followers of various creeds.

Many people are suspicious of gurus who actually accept money or gifts other than gifts as simple as fruits or flowers. But even in these matters, as in most things, Sai Baba was different. He not only accepted money, he even asked for it. It wasn't that he needed the money as he never kept it to himself. He regarded money as symbolic, like everything else, and those who gave it to him received better treasure for themselves. But he did not ask everyone. Once he said: “The fakir chooses those whom I ask for money.In fact, I give them back ten times as much. ”The‘ fakir ’was Sai Baba's way of referring to God.

On some occasions he also refused money when it was offered to him. So once a man who led an immoral life came to him and offered him 500 rupees. Sai Baba then snapped at the man: “I don't want any of your money. Don't you have a wife in your house Give her the money. "

Once a man wanted to become his disciple who had acquired certain magical powers from his previous guru. Sai Baba insisted that he give up his powers. He himself never passed powers on to his students. The lack of interest in the development of certain powers among his students is another sign of his natural spirituality.

Sai Baba also did not want his disciples to break away from the world and continue to live as sanyasins (ascetics who renounce a worldly life) or mendicant monks. His main interest was family life and the problems of his followers, their jobs, their marriages and children. He wanted his students to develop internally, in the normal environment of their family.

“Baba touched the head of his admirers in a peculiar way. His touch caused certain impulses, forces or ideas. Sometimes he pressed his hand on his head as hard as if trying to squeeze out some of the admirer's deeper impulses. Sometimes he patted the head or just ran his hand over it. Each of these actions had its own effect, which caused a remarkable change in the sensitivity and perception of the person concerned. "

Sai Baba trained his disciples to seek God through devotion to the Guru. God, Guru and Self are not really separate - they are the same. The main purpose of the outer guru, however, is to awaken the inner guru in the disciple's heart. Sai Baba said, “It is not necessary to have a guru. Everything is in us. What you sow, you will reap. What you give, you will get. ”Today it would be said that the outer guru is relatively insignificant once the inner guru can be known and heard. He went on in a little more detail: “You find everything in you. Try to listen to your inner self and follow your intuition. ”It is important to note, however, that he did not say this to everyone! This exercise would be dangerous until the student is sufficiently purified and internally developed to follow the inner guru, as all kinds of selfish impulses can cause a slide into the stream of consciousness and then appear as inner spiritual direction. Therefore, an outside guru is usually required as well.

He never prescribed a ritual or a mantra, never talked about yoga, pranayama or Kundalini. Prof. Narke summarized the spiritual path as taught by Sai Baba:
“According to the tradition of Sai Baba, anyone who came to the feet of the guru in complete devotion as his follower or disciple must have developed the qualities of inner purity, humility and righteousness. However, it was not necessary that the person was already actively practicing japa (repetition of mantras) or meditation. Even the opposite was true. Any kind of such practice or intellectual process that was seen as a prerequisite was more likely to prove an obstacle. In the student, every spark of ahamkara or ego had to be removed. It even had to disappear from memory, otherwise it would block the guru's powers. The guru does not teach, he spreads his vibrations. These have a cleansing and absorbing effect for the completely surrendered soul and delete the ego as well as mental activities. Therefore, all kinds of self-awareness and self-assertion, as well as relying too much on one's own efforts, hinder the guru's powers. "

This momentous fact had to be understood by all attentive visitors to Sai Baba. He himself sometimes said to his followers: “Stay with me and be calm. I'll do the rest myself. "

The most important duty of a student, therefore, is to maintain his own innocence, purity, righteousness and humility in order to receive the grace of the guru. Second, he must have full trust in his beloved Master in order to spiritually ascend to ever higher experiences until he is finally led to the ultimate goal, whatever that may be. “One step is enough for me” is the right attitude at the moment. The student does not need to make difficult decisions about complicated metaphysical and philosophical problems of fate. The basic requirements for this are not given with him anyway. The Guru will ascend and equip him with higher powers, expanded knowledge, and increasing knowledge of the Truth. The goal is safe in the Guru's hands.

It is not an easy task in perfect innocence and righteousness for the Guru to be receptive to the charisma - to "stay calm" - so that he can do the rest. In fact, that is the hardest part of the mind. The purpose of meditation and mantras is to achieve and maintain that peace and tranquility in awareness.

"Keep calm and I'll do the rest." The tremendous power of the guru is at work; the pupil only has to refrain from doing anything that prevents this force from doing its work.

A lady once told Sai Baba that she was totally dependent on his guidance to find refuge in him and that if he went away, she would lose all hope. Sai Baba answered categorically: "Whenever and wherever you think of me, I will be with you."

I would now like to retell some sayings and advice that Sai Baba gave his students and listeners:

God is and there is nothing about Him. He is perfect, infinite and eternal. He is omnipresent, omnipotent and omniscient. He is the Creator, the Preserver and the Destroyer. Submit yourselves voluntarily and completely to his will. Not even a blade of grass moves without its will. Trust Him and do the right thing. Let your inner light guide you in all actions.

Perform your duties conscientiously and detached and do not see yourself as a doer but as His instrument.

You should not remain inactive, but rather occupy yourself with something meaningful.

There is nothing higher than God. How He protects and preserves is known only to Him. He is very compassionate. We hesitate in our trust in Him and lack sufficient patience.

When someone has obtained grace, he is silent. Those who lose benevolence talk too much. One has to earn his grace.

My blessings go to those who are steadfast in trust and strong in their devotion wherever they may be. I take care of my followers generation after generation and life after life.

The members of a family are inevitably different. Still don't argue. Those who mean well will do well.

He who does good will be followed by good.
Great is the reward for virtue. The violent suffer.

All kinds of people, good, bad, mean and brutal come to my court. Why should one talk about it for a long time? I am compassionate to everyone.

One who is enlightened will therefore make no fuss. You cannot change the predetermined and either moan or smile at it. That's the only thing you can choose freely.

Earth goes to earth and the soul will rise.
Before you preach, you should gain experience.

Who can really satisfy the wishes of others? The more of it you fulfill, the greater their desires become. Only the Lord and the Master can give forever.

What can one compare with all this glory that only God can give? The Lord himself anxiously waits for the seekers to share with them the treasure that He has offered. Instead of that, people come to me to ask me for worldly things. If I try to explain it to you then, don't listen to me. The treasure chambers are overflowing with riches, but no one wants to make an effort to find the treasure.

I will stay energetic and active even after I leave this earthly body.

I will always help those who come to me and seek refuge in me.

There should be no shortage in the house of my admirers.
My shrine will bless my devotees and meet their needs.

Here in Shirdi my people come like ants.

I am now fed up with people who come with their requests for worldly goods, women or children. Nobody wants the treasure that I have. I'll wait a while and one day I'll go quietly.

(Dana, Berlin in "Hermes September / October 1998, translated by Siegi Hadeyer)