Sunday, November 18, 2012


Being a Sadguru, Baba assigns various tasks to his devotees, so that they could earn his blessings – guru krupa. He got the temple constructed through Booty. He decided that Hemad Pant should write His stories. Baba asked Shyama to go on a pilgrimage. He made Das Ganu sing devotional songs - kirtans. Kirtans are stage shows in which the artiste tells glorifying stories of great mythological heroes, partly in prose and partly in poetry with the help of music. He will have a ‘chiplis’ in his hands. Whenever and wherever Dasganu Maharaj performed, the audiences were spell bound. He had that rare quality of holding the attention of the audiences with his story telling art. 

Baba was not so widely known in the earlier days. He was known only in Poona and Ahmednagar Districts. It was mostly because of Nanasaheb Chandorkar and Dasganu Maharaj that Baba came to be known in the Konkan (Bombay) area. Dasganu Maharaj performed kirtans singing the glories of Baba. He used to perform at various places and at all those places, he sang about Baba. Kirtans attract many people. During those days, it was one of the very few sources of entertainment mixed with education. The story was always from mythology, glorifying God. Some came for the music; some came for the erudition with which the kirtankar spoke and many came just to spend time. Very few came for getting benefited from the moral of the kirtans. Dasganu was one of the best kirtankars of that time and attracted huge crowds wherever he performed. And the topic was invariably about Baba. The effect of listening to Dasganu was electrifying. He had a fine metallic voice and could hold an audience of over 2,000 people spellbound in rapt attention. As he never asked for any money, his kirtans were very popular. In all his kirtans, he would place Baba's picture next to him and even though his katha was about Tukaram or Namdev or Jnanadev, he would always refer to Sai Baba as the living Satpurusha, as the present Great Saint. Dasganu would emphasise that it would be a great blessing for people to have darshan of Sai, as the very darshan would purify and benefit the visitor. As soon as his kirtans ended, people started in numbers to go to Shirdi and see Baba. These numbers included high officials of good and great position, as also the poor. Thus he was the means of sending some tens of thousands of people to Baba. He was justly styled Hari Bhakta Parayana Kirtankar. 

Das Ganu Maharaja's regular kirtans throughout Maharashtra have raised him in the estimation of all whether they are devoted to Sai Baba or not. His eminence may be seen from the fact that he was the President of the All India Sai Devotees' Conference held at Coimbatore in 1948. Das Ganu Maharaj passed away at the ripe old age of 95 years on 23 October 1962. Sai devotees had to wait for nearly 30 long years to see and hear Das Ganu again, as Abhinava Dasganu continued the good work of spreading SaiTatva electrifying the audiences with his masterly narration of Sri Sai Satcharitra. 

Abhinava Dasganu, or Sri Krishnavajjula Rajendra Prasad as he is known, was born in the erstwhile city of Madras (presently Chennai) on 28 June 1954. Brought up in an atmosphere of spirituality and devotion, Prasad was an ardent devotee of Lord Shiva during his childhood. He also had the great fortune of spending three months with the Paramacharya of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham. This experience gave him the adequate grounding in Vedas and other scriptures. Inspired by Swamy Chinmayananda, young Prasad left everything and stayed with the Swamy for some time. Swamy Chinmayananda’s Geeta Gyana Yagnas left a lasting impression on his young mind. 

His father, Sri KV Narasimham, was a noted writer. He was writing under the pen name of ‘Vihari’ and his articles appeared in eminent journals like ‘Bharati’ and ‘Krishna Patrika’, ‘Chitragupta’ and many others. Sri Prasad’s mother, Smt Lalita Devi, was a very enlightened person and worked as a school teacher. She was a Hindi Pandit and was a great devotee of Goddess Sri Lalita. In addition, she was also a devotee of Sri Shirdi Sai Baba. In spite of his best efforts, Prasad could not get any employment till his twenty-fifth year, which was the prescribed age limit for employment in those days. When he was pondering over his future, his elder brother, Sri KR Sharma gave him Sri Sai Satcharita written in Telugu by Sri Patti Narayana Rao. That was the beginning of Prasad’s association with Sri Shirdi Sai Baba. Baba immediately took him under his fold and the first grace that Prasad experienced was getting an employment in the National Geophysical Research Institute (NGRI) in Hyderabad, days before completing his twenty-fifth year. Prasad still works for NGRI. 

Sri Rajendra Prasad married Smt Hymavathy in the year 1976 and the couple are blessed with a daughter, Jayanti and a son, Sai. Still unemployed when married, Prasad’s mind was constantly thinking of doing something. It was then that his mother, Smt Lalita Devi suggested that he should take up Sri Sai Satcharitra and devote himself to it. With a background of Swamy Chinmayananda’s Geeta Gyana Yagna and also inspired by Sri MS Rama Rao’s “Sundara Kanda” discourses in Telugu, Prasad thought of bringing Sri Sai Satcharitra on to a similar platform. Thus was born the concept of Satcharitra Gyana Yagna. Though he was working in NGRI, his mind, however, was working on the above concept. He then founded The Gyana Yagna Samiti, which is a registered body and became its first Chair-Person. 

The first Gyana Yagna was performed on the Shivaratri day, 02 March of 1992. The place was his own house at Uppal, opposite Uppal Bus Stand, built in 1990. A total of 30 persons, including friends and relatives attended it. The Gyana Yagna lasted for 40 days, culminating on Sri Rama Navami day of the same year. Prasad had realised the goal of his life. And then began a relentless pursuit of excellence in his chosen subject. For the first 30 or 40 Yagnas, he had written notes to support him. The audience, having been mesmerised by his eloquence, felt that the notes were a hindrance and insisted on him to go extempore. In one of these Gyan Yagnas, Sri Rajendra Prasad was honoured with the title of “Abhinava Dasganu” and “Sai Tatva Kathamruta Manasa Hamsa”. The title was only a logical and appropriate step as Prasad had inherited all the qualities of his predecessor, the late Dasganu Maharaj. His discourses were equally electrifying, and induced the same devotion in devotees for Baba. Baba had really blessed him. With a voice reminiscent of Sri MS Rama Rao, and the ambrosia of Baba’s tales, it was no wonder that the Satcharitra Gyana Yagnas became highly popular and went on scaling new peaks – first the 100th one. Then the 200th one was held, once again, in his own house, this time in the first floor, where a hall dedicated to the Gyana Yagna was already built. The 300thGyana Yagna was held in Ashoknagar, Hyderabad. The 400th one was held in Vijayawada, during the Krishna Pushkaras with the blessings of Pujya Guruji Sri CB Satpathy. The 500thGyana Yagna was held in Swamy Vivekananda Centenary Hall of Mehboob College, Secunderabad. Till date, Abhinava Dasganu has completed 528Gyana Yagnas. It may be mentioned here that so far, no one has attempted so many Gyana Yagnas on a single book anywhere in the world. Sri Prasad’s name is well worth being entered in the Guiness Book. 

Baba had entered Prasad’s life when Prasad’s brother gave him a copy of Telugu Sri Sai Satcharitra, but the full impact of realisation came only when his daughter, Jayanti, fell ill. She was around 7 or 8 years. The girl used to lose consciousness occasionally, and on that occasion, the intensity was slightly more and caused concern. Prasad and his wife took the girl to the local doctor in Habsiguda, Hyderabad and the doctor advised them to take the girl immediately to Nilofer Children’s hospital. On the way, near the Andhra Mahila Sabha, the condition of the girl became more serious. Worried parents cut short the distance and got the girl admitted in Andhra Mahila Sabha itself. The doctors there did not give them any hope. She was kept under observation.Sometime in the night, the doctors gave up all hopes. Prasad’s wife asked him what to do. With immense faith in Baba, he asked her to give Baba’s udi to the girl. She made a mixture of udi and water and made the girl drink it. True to his faith, in the next five minutes, the girl regained consciousness and opened her eyes. This incident cemented the faith of Prasad and his wife in Baba. 

With more than two decades of living with Baba and over 520 Satcharitra Gyana Yagnas, Abhinava Dasganu summarises Sri Sai Tatva in three words – Unostentatiousness, Selflessness and a Sathvik way of life. 

 In addition to the Gyana Yagnas, Sri Prasad has also penned around 14 poems on Baba and sung it also. His Sri Sai Chalisa, sung by most of the Sai devotees while worshipping Baba, is Sri Sai Satcharitra condensed in 40 simple verses. He has also published an audio DVD of Sri Sai Satcharitra in Telugu as well as a video DVD of the 53 episodes of Sri Sai Satcharitra narrated in a very simple language understandable by anyone. The video has been telecast repeatedly over the years on Local TV Channels, every morning at 06.30am. His life, so far, is an ample proof, if at all proof is required, of the immense care Baba takes of his devotees. With Baba’s blessings, all Sai devotees fervently hope and expect to see Sri Krishnavajjula Rajendra Prasad sing the glory of Baba to those who are residing in lands beyond the frontiers of our country. 

Sri Satchidananda Sadguru Sainath Maharaj Ki Jai!! 


Wednesday, October 24, 2012


 IT once occurred to a certain king, that if he always knew the right time to begin everything; if he knew who the right people to listen to were, and whom to avoid, and, above all, if he always knew what was the most important thing to do, he would never fail in anything he might undertake. 

And this thought having occurred to him, he had it proclaimed throughout his kingdom that he would give a great reward to any one who would teach him what was the right time for every action, and who were the most necessary people, and how he might know what was the most important thing to do. 

And learned men came to the King, but they all answered his questions differently. In reply to the first question, some said that to know the right time for every action, one must draw up in advance, a table of days, months and years, and must live strictly according to it. Only thus, said they, could everything be done at its proper time. Others declared that it was impossible to decide beforehand the right time for every action; but that, not letting oneself be absorbed in idle pastimes, one should always attend to all that was going on, and then do what was most needful. Others, again, said that however attentive the King might be to what was going on, it was impossible for one man to decide correctly the right time for every action, but that he should have a Council of wise men, who would help him to fix the proper time for everything. But then again others said there were some things which could not wait to be laid before a Council, but about which one had at once to decide whether to undertake them or not. But in order to decide that one must know beforehand what was going to happen. It is only magicians who know that; and, therefore in order to know the right time for every action, one must consult magicians. 

Equally various were the answers to the second question. Some said, the people the King most needed were his councilors; others, the priests; others, the doctors; while some said the warriors were the most necessary. 

To the third question, as to what was the most important occupation: some replied that the most important thing in the world was science. Others said it was skill in warfare; and others, again, that it was religious worship. 

All the answers being different, the King agreed with none of them, and gave the reward to none. 

But still wishing to find the right answers to his questions, he decided to consult a hermit, widely renowned for his wisdom. The hermit lived in a wood which he never quitted and he received none but common folk. So the King put on simple clothes, and before reaching the hermit's cell dismounted from his horse, and, leaving his bodyguard behind, went on alone. 

When the King approached, the hermit was digging the ground in front of his hut. Seeing the King, he greeted him and went on digging. The hermit was frail and weak, and each time he stuck his spade into the ground and turned a little earth, he breathed heavily. The King went up to him and said: 'I have come to you, wise hermit, to ask you to answer three questions: How can I learn to do the right thing at the right time? Who are the people I most need, and to whom should I, therefore, pay more attention than to the rest? And, what affairs are the most important and need my first attention?' 

The hermit listened to the King, but answered nothing. He just spat on his hand and recommenced digging. 'You are tired,' said the King, 'let me take the spade and work awhile for you.' 'Thanks!' said the hermit, and, giving the spade to the King, he sat down on the ground. When he had dug two beds, the King stopped and repeated his questions. The hermit again gave no answer, but rose, stretched out his hand for the spade, and said: 'Now rest awhile -- and let me work a bit.' 

But the King did not give him the spade, and continued to dig. One hour passed, and another. The sun began to sink behind the trees, and the King at last stuck the spade into the ground, and said: 

'I came to you, wise man, for an answer to my questions. If you can give me none, tell me so, and I will return home.' 

 'Here comes some one running,' said the hermit, 'let us see who it is.' 

The King turned round, and saw a bearded man come running out of the wood. The man held his hands pressed against his stomach, and blood was flowing from under them. When he reached the King, he fell fainting on the ground moaning feebly. The King and the hermit unfastened the man's clothing. There was a large wound in his stomach. The King washed it as best he could, and bandaged it with his handkerchief and with a towel the hermit had. But the blood would not stop flowing and the King again and again removed the bandage soaked with warm blood, and washed and re-bandaged the wound. 

When at last the blood ceased flowing, the man revived and asked for something to drink. The King brought fresh water and gave it to him. Meanwhile the sun had set, and it had become cool. So the King, with the hermit's help, carried the wounded man into the hut and laid him on the bed. Lying on the bed the man closed his eyes and was quiet; but the King was so tired with his walk and with the work he had done, that he crouched down on the threshold, and also fell asleep -- so soundly that he slept all through the short summer night. When he awoke in the morning, it was long before he could remember where he was, or who was the strange bearded man lying on the bed and gazing intently at him with shining eyes.

 'Forgive me!' said the bearded man in a weak voice, when he saw that the King was awake and was looking at him. 

 'I do not know you, and have nothing to forgive you for,' said the King. 

'You do not know me, but I know you. I am that enemy of yours who swore to revenge himself on you, because you executed his brother and seized his property. I knew you had gone alone to see the hermit, and I resolved to kill you on your way back. But the day passed and you did not return. So I came out from my ambush to find you, and I came upon your bodyguard, and they recognized me, and wounded me. I escaped from them, but should have bled to death had you not dressed my wound. I wished to kill you, and you have saved my life. Now, if I live, and if you wish it, I will serve you as your most faithful slave, and will bid my sons do the same. Forgive me!' 

The King was very glad to have made peace with his enemy so easily, and to have gained him for a friend, and he not only forgave him, but said he would send his servants and his own physician to attend him, and promised to restore his property. Having taken leave of the wounded man, the King went out into the porch and looked around for the hermit. Before going away he wished once more to beg an answer to the questions he had put. The hermit was outside, on his knees, sowing seeds in the beds that had been dug the day before. 

 The King approached him, and said: 'For the last time, I pray you to answer my questions, wise man.' 

'You have already been answered!' said the hermit still crouching on his thin legs, and looking up at the King, who stood before him.

 'How answered? What do you mean?' asked the King. 

'Do you not see,' replied the hermit. 'If you had not pitied my weakness yesterday, and had not dug these beds for me, but had gone your way that man would have attacked you, and you would have repented of not having stayed with me. So the most important time was when you were digging the beds; and I was the most important man; and to do me good was your most important business. Afterwards, when that man ran to us, the most important time was when you were attending to him, for if you had not bound up his wounds he would have died without having made peace with you. So he was the most important man, and what you did for him was your most important business. 

Remember then: there is only one time that is important -- Now! It is the most important time because it is the only time when we have any power. 

The most necessary man is he with whom you are, for no man knows whether he will ever have dealings with any one else: and the most important affair is, to do him good, because for that purpose alone was man sent into this life!' 

Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy