Wednesday, July 21, 2010


The day of full moon, Purnima, in the month of Ashadh of the Hindu calendar is traditionally celebrated as Guru Purnima by Hindus. On this day, devotees offer puja to their Guru.
This was the day when Vyasa, author of the Mahabharata, was born. Vyasa (also known as Krishna Dwaipayana Vyasa, or Veda Vyasa), did yeoman service to the cause of Vedic studies by gathering all the Vedic hymns extant during his times, dividing them into four parts based on their use in the sacrificial rites, and teaching them to his four chief disciples – Paila, Vaisampayana, Jaimini and Sumantu. It was this dividing and editing that earned him the honorific "Vyasa" (vyas = to edit, to divide).

"He divided the Veda into four, namely Rig, Yajur, Sama and Atharva. The histories and the Puranas are said to be the fifth Veda."
- Brahmanda Purana 1.4.21

The spiritual Gurus are revered on this day by remembering their life and teachings. Seekers try to get as much opportunity to do Satseva of the Guru as possible during this period. As the Guru principle is 1000 times more active during this period, when compared to any other day during this year, the satseva done on Guru Poornima fetches substantial grace of the Guru for their spiritual progress.
(Ref : Sanatan Prabhat)

This day is of deep significance to the farmers, for it heralds the setting in of the much-needed rains, as the advent of cool showers usher in fresh life in the fields. It is a good time to begin your spiritual lessons. Traditionally, spiritual seekers commence to intensify their spiritual 'sadhana' from this day. The period 'Chaturmas' ("four months") begins from this day. In the past, wandering spiritual masters and their disciples used to settle down at a place to study and discourse on the Brahma Sutras composed by Vyasa, and engage themselves in Vedantic discussions.

This year (2010) we celebrate Guru Purnima as a tribute to the Saptarishi, as they are the primordial teachers who continue to guide us to the secrets of life and universe. They are Gurus to the entire Universe, and can help us acquire the finest qualities, such as unconditional love, faith, bliss, and forgiveness. The Saptarishi or the Seven Great Sages (Atri, Bhrigu, Pulastya, Vasishtha, Gautama, Angirasa and Marichi) are venerated masters who completely dedicated themselves to the pursuit of inner bliss and divine light. They are known as 'Seers' as they are said to possess perfect knowledge about the past, present and future of humanity. They represent the higher mind, the vision of truth, and the principles of growth, expansion, and optimism.

Guru Poornima is celebrated by devotees by performing Guru Pooja (offering prayers to the Guru) to our Lord Shri Sai Baba. Each Sai Devotee can either perform the Sai Guru Pooja (prayer) at home or attend a Sai Guru Pooja or sponsor a Sai Guru Pooja being performed at a Sai temple by offering donation or other articles used in Pooja(Pooja samagri).

One can attend a bhajan or visit a Sai Mandir where ever possible. For those of us who do not have the fortune of visiting a Sai temple or attending a Bhajan, humming songs about Sai or repeating Sai slokams or Sai Nama would be a good way to spend Guru Poornima day.

It was the year 1906. The day was Vyasa Poornima in the month Ashada. It was called Vyasa Poornima in recognition of Vyasa Maharshi, who authored the eighteen Puranas. On the morning of this day, Baba called Kelkar, Sathe’s father-in-law, and told him that this day was Guru Poornima, when the Guru is to be worshiped. He asked him to bring Shama and other devotees along with the puja materials. Dada Kelkar collected all the devotees and with the puja materials, brought them to the masjid. By then, Baba with his half-closed eyes was concentrating on something. Noticing this, no one had the courage to talk to him for fear of disturbing his concentration. After a while, Baba opened his eyes, looked at the devotees for a moment and fell silent again.

Till then, everyone believed that Baba was the incarnation of God, with divine and supernatural powers but no one had the thought to worship Baba as their ‘Guru’. Hence, they did not know whom they should worship as Guru and how to worship, and kept quiet. Knowing their thoughts Sai Baba taught them as follows:

"You are all worshiping me as a fakir with divine and supernatural powers. Some of you believe that I am the incarnation of God. Allah Malik hai. I am only his servant. I am like a father to you all. You should benefit from me. I have come into this world to divert your thoughts from materialism towards spiritualism, and establish truth, righteousness, peace and love in you and through you to the entire mankind, and bless them with peace and happiness. This is the goal of Sai Avatar. If you worship me keeping me in a photo frame like other gods, you will not benefit anything from me. But you should consider me as your ‘Guru’ and surrender completely to me and put into practice what all I teach you. Your present actions only are the foundations for your future lives and births. You should all treat today’s Vyasa Poornima as Guru Poornima and worship me as your Guru and make your lives happy."


From among all the devotees who had gathered in the masjid, Dada Kelkar went to Baba, prostrated before him, washed his feet in a plate, took a little of this water ( Pada Tirtha ) inside and sprinkled it on his head, distributing it to all those present. After this he put sandal paste on Baba’s forehead, put a dot with kumkum and worshiped him with flowers and akshatas (rice). Then he broke a coconut and gave arati with camphor. While the arati was being given, Baba’s face became very radiant as if a thousand lamps were lighted with different colours. The surprised devotees wanted to touch Baba’s feet and prostrate before him. Noticing the thoughts of the devotees, he slowly walked towards the big stone that he created in front of Dwarakamai, while the devotees spread flowers all the way and made him walk on the flowers. As soon as he reached the stone he sat on it putting his left hand on the toe of his right leg and putting the right hand on the thigh of his right leg. Then he looked deeply into the eyes of each devotee, by which the joy experienced by them was beyond description. When they touched his feet, they felt an unknown divine power entering their bodies and reach their hearts. These things have to be personally experienced and cannot be explained. All those who experienced this, started to celebrate Guru Poornima on every Ashada Suddha Poornima day with pomp and gaiety. Even today Guru Poornima is celebrated in Shirdi. This festival is very important to Sai devotees as they worship their Guru according to their might and get the blessings from him. Those who worship their Guru with devotion and sincerity on this day will always have the Guru with them. Sai Baba had personally told them that he was Sadguru and they could not get another Guru in this world. We should completely surrender ourselves to him and seek Jnana Marga.

The Gurupurnima of 2009 was on 07 July and it was a Tuesday. By Baba’s blessings, it was decided that the English version of the Sri Sai Satcharitra compiled by me, was to be released on that day. Initially there was some discussion about having the function at Shirdi or at Siddipet. We sought Baba’s advice. My youngest grandson, Sri Saathvik was asked to choose between two slips of paper, one with Shirdi written on it and the other with Siddipet written on it. Saathvik had not yet completed his first year and so was thought to be the appropriate choice. He picked up Siddipet. My wife also had preferred the place as it was possible to organize the function with the help of my friend Sri Konda Krishna Murthy, the Chairman of the Sai Baba temple there. He had promised all help. The next stage was to find a suitable person to release the book. Various names were suggested, but most of them were busy with their own functions on that day. My wife was particular and insisted on only Sri MP Sainath, author of many books on Sai Baba and my guru in this field. Sri Sainath is a walking encyclopedia on Sai Baba. Being a true devotee of Baba, he always keeps himself away from publicity, and does not attend any public functions. When my wife and I approached him, out of consideration for me, he agreed to attend the function, arranged at any place, but would not get onto the dais. It was only after great persuasion that he agreed to release the book, but said that he would not make any speech. We were happy with whatever blessings we could get.

My eldest son, Srinivas, had come to Hyderabad, a week earlier, on official work. In view of the book release, he stayed for a week more to help me in this sacred work.

On the appointed day I got up at 03.30 am. It was Guru Purnima day and also as we were going to Siddipet for the book launch function, we sought Baba’s blessings by seeing the Kakad Arati telecast live from Shirdi on TV1 channel. Around 06.00 am, we engaged two auto rickshaws and went to Sri MP Sainath’s place in Gandhinagar. Sri Sainath and his wife Smt Krishnaveni had gone to Baba temple near their house. After their return, we all left for Jubilee Bus Stand from where we had to catch the bus to Siddipet. At the entrance itself, a Volvo bus coming from Bangalore and going to Siddipet was waiting for us. My friends, Sri DSS Rao, Sri Mohan Kish
ore and his wife Smt Lakshmi, Sri Yamanappa and his wife Smt Sharana Kumari, joined us. The bus left at 07.30am and reached Siddipet within 90 minutes. We all had one of the best travels to Siddipet. The temple management committee, with Sri Srinivas (President), Sri T Narasaih (Secretary) and Sri Shivanandam (Treasurer) took care of us by providing us with the customary breakfast prasadam, a room to keep the books and our luggage. As soon as we had darshan, Sri KK Murthy, his wife Smt Vijaya, Sri VS Naidu and his wife Smt Jayalakshmi, and Sri O Hanumantha Rao joined us at the temple. I was greatly overjoyed by such collection of my well wishers.

My friend Sri KK Murthy (Chairman) took all of us and organized a special Pooja to Baba. It was a very auspicious beginning. My friend, Sri Rajamouli (Joint Secretary) along with his friend Sri Sathyanarayana, organized the conduct of the programme. It began with an invocation to Baba. Then a couple of speakers, including Sri Sathyanarayana, spoke about the book, Sri Sai Satcharitra. By now it was nearing noon arati. Just then, my friend Sri K Babu Rao and his wife Dr. Prabhutva Kumari joined us. They were held up due to some reasons and were praying Baba fervently that they should be able to attend the programme. Maybe for their sake, Baba saw to it that the schedule was slightly delayed. Sri MP Sainath then launched the book and spoke some very fine words about the book. One of his statements which will be etched in mind is, “I have read many books on Baba. If all those authors have given 70% of Baba in their books, Srivatsa has given 100% of Baba in this book”. My friends Sri Mohan Kishore, Sri Babu Rao, Smt Vijaya and Sri KK Murthy spoke about the book and the relevance of the occasion. A special feature was the arrival from California, USA of Chi. Usha Nimikol. She had come with her father. Chi. Usha along with Chi. Archana Vengaldas and Chi. Sukanya Maddali, had designed the website for the Sai Mandir, Siddipet. Chi. Usha also spoke on the occasion. I replied to all the felicitations and requested that if each of the devotees present there could write down their experiences with Baba on a paper and give it to the Temple authorities, then we could publish them in a book form

My friend Sri KK Murthy was gracious enough to buy the first copy of the book. My wife and I honoured the first buyer with a shawl. Then we honoured other dignitaries. Around 02.00 pm,
we had Prasadam lunch. The Temple committee was kind enough to organize all these events. The book had brisk sales and after seeing it, Sri Shivanandam enthusiastically predicted that the book will soon have a second edition. We spent time with all the friends there till 04.00pm. All good things come to an end. Leaving Baba and all the friends in Siddipet, was really painful. I feel this pain every time I visit Siddipet. It will be very exciting in the morning when we start, and very painful when we leave for home. Sri Mohan Kishore and his wife had already left with Smt and Sri K Baba Rao, and Sri O Hanumantha Rao. We left with Smt & Sri MP Sainath, Smt & Sri VS Naidu, Smt & Sri Yamanappa and Sri DSS Rao. The bus to Hyderabad, it appeared, was waiting for us. There was a brief rain on the way. While getting down at the Jubilee Bus Stand, found that my mobile phone had slipped out of my pant pocket. Went for some distance in the bus, searched for it and when I could not find it, got down and walked back to where my wife and friends were waiting for me. My wife handed me the mobile phone and said that one of the passengers had given her. I thought that it was another of Baba’s miracles.

I was in some kind of a trance for the next few days, engrossed in the very divine ambience at the temple. Siddipet Temple has its own charm and fascination for me. Sri KK Murthy, Sri Granthi Srinivas, Sri Tadakamalla Narasaiah, Sri Rajamouli, Sri Shivanandam are all friends of long standing and our friendship has stood the test of time. On this occasion, it is my duty to express my deep gratitude to all of them for treating me as one among them and organizing the function so immaculately well. After all, life is an integration of such memorable events with all the friends coming together and contributing so heartily to make it a remarkably successful event! The beauty of the occasion was that no single person considered the function as his own or that of a friend. We all moved together as we were tied by a single thread of love weaved by Baba. It was at this temple itself that my journey with Baba began and the book took its roots. The extraordinary fact is that the book was released by a great devotee of Baba who also had the same name – Sainath!

Monday, July 19, 2010


“What is the origin of Dwarakamai?” asked my friend Sri Craig Sastry of Shirdi Sai Baba temple at Austin, Texas, USA. For a moment, my mind went blank, as this thought had never occurred to me. All the while it was taken for granted that there is a Dwarakamai in Shirdi and that it was the abode of Sri Shirdi Sai Baba. As things stand, I could not tell Craig that I did not know which, though true, could be construed as something else. I did the only thing I knew, I prayed Baba and said, “Baba! Save my honour as Draupadi’s honour was saved by Sri Krishna!” What followed is given below.

If we carefully analyze the Satcharitra, we find two defining moments in the life of Sai Baba, which encompass the entire body of his work. The first occurs when he enters Shirdi with Chand Patil’s wedding party. A young man - dressed in saffron Kafani, saffron topi and saffron dhoti - gets down from one of the carts of the wedding party and starts walking towards the temple. Almost at the same time Mhalsapathi, the poojari of the temple, comes out of the temple, and sees the young man walking towards him. For all outward appearance, the young man was looking like a Muslim fakir. Wandering Sufi fakirs were very common in those days and were known by their Persian generic name of sa’ih or sayyah. Mhalsapathi and his friends were in the habit of greeting a gosavi by ‘Namo Narayan’, a bairagi was welcomed as ‘Jai Ram’ and if the visitor was a fakir, he was received with ‘Jai Sai’. “Ya Sai!” Mhalsapathi invited the young fakir and asked him to sit nearby. The young fakir sat there, and liked the surroundings immensely. He said, “How secluded and quiet is this Khandoba temple, best fitted for a fakir to stay”. Being a Hindu and the poojari of a temple which had the idol of Khandoba, Mhalsapathi was afraid that the young fakir’s desire to stay there may prove to be harmful as Muslims do not believe in idol worship. He told the young fakir, “Oh Sai! It is not fitting that you stay here. This is a temple for the Hindus. You look like a Muslim to me. You better go to the masjid or the takia!” The young fakir - who had no intention whatsoever of breaking the idol of Khandoba - was surprised by the words of Mhalsapathi. He said, “It is the same god who has created both these people. Hindu and Muslim are mere words - know this to be the truth. There are temples in this world and there are masjids too. God has not constructed any of them. Try to see the god who is one for all of us. He is Allah-I-llahi. He is the Maha Vishnu reclining on the serpent Adisesha! There is nothing which is other than your Khandoba. Know clearly as to who the real Khandoba is. Those who know the truth do not care for these differences based on religion. Oh pious one! Do not think that these temples or the masjids are the only ones to lead you to god. I will not trouble you. I will respect your feelings and have the darshan of Khandoba from afar. I hope you have no objection to that?” It was the year 1858 AD.

It is obvious, even to the meanest intelligence and Baba was an extraordinarily intelligent person by any standards (then or now!), that the reason behind Mhalsapathi not allowing Baba to stay in Khandoba temple, either on a short or long term basis, was fear. He went by the outward appearance and not by what Baba really was. Though he looked like a Muslim, Baba was not a Muslim. He was a missionary and had, by concentration on God, achieved practically every siddhi that one can think of. The powers and the mission have a close relation. The mission has to be worked through the powers given and the powers are given only for carrying out the mission. His possession of vast powers both acknowledged and proven in Chand Patil’s case, was in need of a mission. At that moment, precisely, the mission was taking shape in his mind. Mhalsapathi’s reaction focused Baba’s mind on to a single point. Eradication of the fear and protection of the devotees became the mission of his life. And the immediate reason for that fear was religion. Religion, instead of uniting people, had become a divisive force and hence, unification of the two religions, Hinduism and Islam, got top priority in his scheme of things. “Why fear when I am here” and “Sab ka Malik Ek” followed subsequently.

Mhalsapathi not only rejected the shelter for the fakir at the Khandoba temple, but suggested that he should stay in either a masjid, or a takia (travellers’ bungalow). Baba understood that with his appearance (dress, beard etc) he would not be allowed anywhere and thought it fit to accept Mhalsapathi’s suggestion. Among all of his devotees, Baba had the highest regard and trust for Mhalsapathi, proved subsequently when Baba handed over his body for three days and three nights to Mhalsapathi.

Baba, then, went to the dilapidated masjid in Shirdi and settled there. That was only the beginning. The mission was now clearly defined. It consisted of unification of the Hindu faith within itself and of Islam within itself, and, by purification and refinement of both, the building up of one common central religion or faith that is fitted to be the world faith. It was imperative, in this context that the masjid had to lose its identity. This could be done only by giving the masjid a Hindu name, otherwise, it would have continued as a masjid and bulk of the Hindu devotees would have stayed away. The Hindu name had to be associated with the name of a Hindu god. The popular Hindu gods, then and now, are Rama and Krishna, with Krishna being slightly more popular than Rama.

My guruji, Sri MP Sainath in Sri Sai Satcharita Bhava Suma Mala, says:

Sri Krishna killed Kamsa. To take revenge on Sri Krishna, Jarasandha, Kamsa’s father-in-law, invaded Mathura 17 times and got defeated. On the 18th occasion, he collected a very mighty and large force to attack Mathura. He also sought the help of the demon, Kalayavana. Sri Krishna, did not want any further blood shed, and convinced both King Ugrasena and Prince Vasudeva to shift the capital to Dwaraka, in view of its inherent protection. As Sri Krishna avoided the battle, he got the title of “Ranchodji” (Hindi – one who forsakes the battle). Dwaraka is a very sacred place. It is also called “Dwaravati”, “Dwaramati”, and also “Kushasthali”. It is one of the four most sacred places. The other three are Badrinath, Puri, and Rameshwaram. It is also one among the seven places which confer moksha on a devotee. The other six are Ayodhya, Mathura, Kashi, Kanchi, Avantika (Ujjain), and Haridwar.

Sai told Balasaheb Mirikar, “This is our Dwarakamai. Do you know? This is our mother Dwaraka. This masjid mother is very kind”. On another occasion, he told the Malegaon doctor, “This is not masjid. It is Dwaravati”. This also implies that Baba is Dwarakanath. And he has confirmed this belief of his devotees.

Just as Sri Krishna founded Dwaraka for the protection of his people, Baba also had in his mind the protection of his devotees, while naming the masjid after Dwaraka. In addition to Dwaraka, who else can give a better protection than a mother (mai)? Dwaraka and Mai came together to become Dwarakamai. And towards this end, Baba used all his yogic and divine powers, throughout his sojourn on this earth, to eradicate all the evil spirits (let us say, thoughts) from the earlier masjid. Several stories illustrate this.

Another interesting source "Sai Sarovar" says:

The Masjid was named after Dwaraka, the Karma Bhoomi of Lord Krishna. Baba once told His devotees about the history of Dwarakamai. One day, Lord Krishna and Queen Satyabhama were talking with each other in the palace. Queen Rukmani went there. Seeing Lord Krishna and Queen Satyabhama together, she became angry. She at once ordered the servant and taking the palanquin, elephants, horses; she prepared the palki and at once left the palace. She left Dwaraka and came to Pandharpur. After some time, Lord Krishna thought that now Queen Rukmani would have calmed down, so He started from Dwaraka to bring the angry queen back to the palace. On the way the place where Lord Krishna halted to take rest, he named it “Dwarakamai”. Just think, where was the Dwapar Yug and where is the Sat Yug and how Sai Baba knew these very things and details. Baba never showed off his greatness to anybody. He used to only say that He was a Fakir and an ardent servant of Allah Taallah.

Another prominent aspect of Dwarakamai, in particular and Shirdi in general, is that, its aura and prominence is increasing exponentially, day by day, even after the Mahasamadhi of Sai Baba, unlike other places which faded away once the protagonist of the place left the scene.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Sons and Fathers!!

An aged man lived in a place very near Jaipur. He had a small garden and wanted to cultivate it, but he was too old and preparing the soil was a very difficult task for him. His son, who could have helped him, was in a prison. The aged man wrote a letter to his son telling him about his problems. He wrote, “ Dear son, I am really feeling bad because I won’t be able to cultivate my garden this year. I hate to miss cultivating as you mother always loved the planting time. I am just getting too old to cultivate and plant the garden. Had you been here, all my problems would have been over. I know that you would have dug up the land for me, but , unfortunately, you are in prison. Yours, loving dad.”

Within a short time, the aged man received a telegram which said, “For God’s sake! Dad, don’t dig up the garden! That is where I have buried the guns!! Your son.”

Next day, dozens of local police with their officers came and dug up the entire garden, but could not find even a single gun. The aged man was astonished at this and wrote another letter to his son informing of what had happened and asked him what to do next.

His son replied, “Go ahead and plant your garden, Dad! It is the best I could do from here”

Good thinking is wise, making a good plan is wiser, but executing it well is the wisest!!!

(Thanks to my friend Sri DSS Rao, who sent me this lovely exposition. He is also an equally devoted son.)