The message of the saints

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THE MESSAGE OF THE SAINTS


Editorial:

In modern days we are using the Word "Dharma" as a synonym of the word 'religion;' but in the days of Mahabharata it did not have that meaning. It only meant good and righteous deeds, to perform which is everybody's duty, as opposed to wicked deeds. Hence when Lord Krishna told Arjuna in Bhagwatgeeta that :-





Lord Krishna never meant Hindu Religion by the word Dharma.' In fact, the religion which is now known as Hindu religion must not be being known by that name in the days of Mahabharata. Chris­tian, Muslim, and Jew religions took birth out of India and they sprang up much later after the Aryans settled well in India. In consideration of the time of composition of the Mahabharata, we may say that only one religion must be known at that time and it might be being called Aryan or Vedic Religion. Hence when Lord Krishna says, " I take birth when Dharma is declining and when wicked and bad practices are thriving" he means that he takes birth to drive away all the wicked and bad elements and also so create conditions which will be favourable for the growth of good and righteous deeds. In fact the Lord has stated thus in the shloka next to the above shloka :


Lord Krishna clearly states here that he takes birth for protecting the Sadhus (Good and righteous people), for destroying the wicked elements and for re-establishment of 'Dharma'. It is therefore, very clear from this that the incarnation of the Lord is primarily for giving protection to the good and for destruction of the wicked ele­ment, which prevents the good people from leading a peaceful life and consequently the existence of righteousness itself is threatened. If therefore, the good are protected and the bad element is destroyed, the righteousness will thrive without any hindrance. This will therefore, lead to the reestablishment of Dharma.


The Mission of the Saints

The saints are in existence in all the countries and communities of the world. They enjoy a very high regard in the minds of the public at large and their existence leaves a clear stamp of their per­sonality on their period. The saints preach about the observence of good and righteous deeds. They also try to bring the bad ele­ment on the path of truth. There are many examples where the wicked people have come on the right path because of the advice of the saints. The saints are, therefore, performing more or less, the same duty as pointed out above by Lord Krishna. The saints are therefore rightly called the reincarnations of the God in some form or other. For example Shri Sai Baba is supposed to be the incarnation or 'Awatar' of Shri Datta. Similarly Samartha Ramdas was said to be the' Awatar ' of Maruti and so on. The saints appear to have been born in this world only to fulfill certain mission and to mould their surroundings on certain lines so as to drive away the calamities falling on the religion and to create favourable condi­tions for its up-lift.


Saints of Maharashtra

Maharashtra came to be known as a political state only in recent years; but it existed in the minds of the Marathi speaking people for the last eight centuries or so. In fact, the Maharashtri language existed much earlier than the Marathi language and the people who were speaking that language came to be known as Marathas. The Marathi language also owes its origin to the Maha­rashtri to a great extent. Thus all the saints, who dedicated their lives for the uplift and religious well being of the people living in the area which is now known as Maharashtra, can safely be called as the Saints of Maharashtra. The peculiarity of these saints is that most of them, except perhaps Namdeo and Ramdas, did not move much outside Maharashtra. They also preached their message in the Marathi language. Hence their lives as well as their litera­ture and teachings are not much known outside Maharashtra. The message of these Saints has also remained confined only to the Marathi knowing people. The people who do not know Marathi have therefore not had the good luck of listening to the message of these saints and putting it into practice. We, therefore, intend to place before our readers the life and work of one Maharashtrian saint every month. We hope that this series of articles will be liked and appreciated by our readers as it will be informative and instructive.

From this issue, Shri Sai Leela has completed 52 years of its publication, and entered into 53rd year. It is realy a great achievement for a monthly magazine of this type, which is devoted entirely to religious and philosophical subjects, to have continued its publication for so long a time; but because of the graceful and benevolent look of Shri Sai Baba and the unique and faithful Sup­port from the Sai Devotees, it has been possible to continue the publication of Shri Sai Leela for so long a time. The new series about the Maharashtrian Saints, which we are starting from this issue is also on the same lines as other religious and philosophical articles and it is hoped that it will continue to keep up the traditions of Shri Sai Leela

Bon Voyage


Swami Muktanandji Maharaj the disciple of vogiraj Nityanand Maharaj of Ganeshpuri Vajreshwari, went abroad on Tuesday the 26th February 1974, He will be on a tour of Europe, America and Asia for a period of about one and a half year for preaching voga and Indian philosophy. Shri Saibaba Sansthan arranged a small function at Ganeshpuri on 24-2-74 to wish Bon Voyage to Swami Muktanandji Maharaj.

SHRI SAIBABA SANSTHAN OF SHIRI POEM OF PROVERBS

S Sound mind in a sound body

H Hit the iron while it is hot.

R Rolling stone gathers no moss.

I Idle brain is a devil's workshop.

S Slow and steady wins the race.

A All is well that ends well.

I Ill got is ill spent.

B Birds of the same feather flock together.

A All that glitters is not gold.

B Beware of pick-pockets.

A As you sow so shall you reap.

S Stitch in time saves nine.

A All work and no play makes jack a dull boy.

N Nip the evil in its bud.

S Sing for the Blessings of Baba.

T Truth is beauty and beautiful is divine.

H Honesty is the best policy.

A Action is thy duty and fruit is not thy concern.

N Necessity is the mother of invension.

O Opinion rules the world.

F Faults are thick where love is thin.

S Set good against evil.

H Handsome is that Handsome does.

I Ill luck is good for something.

R Reason rules all things.

D Death is the grand leveller

I Ignorance is the mother of sorrow.



M. M. Amingad

An humble Servent in the Service of Shri Sai Baba.


SCIENCE OF RELIGION


Swami Chinmayananda

Man of Perfection The Logic of Self-Control

In every religion the prophets and seers and men of wisdom seem to have an unanimous conformity when they proclaim the need for sense-control in the seeker. In this age of permissiveness our youth revolts against this, very openly and vociferously, and every generation must have felt this curb as an infringement upon their freedom and liberty,

We are tempted to argue that if nature has given us these urges, why should we curb them ? Why should we not indulge in them ? When was there a time in the world, when there was no indulgence ? The only difference is, that in the past it was all hush-hush, while today our youth has learnt to indulge in the open. Such argu­ments are raised by the weak and the cowardly who feel that the urges are overpoweringly strong in them and they dare not challenge their uprise.

True. These urges were always with us. Nature gave them to us. But to conquer and rise above them is to advance to the next stage of our evolution. The fishes were (and are) swimming in water, but the evolver-fish decided to adventure forth and try to come out. It became the amphibian, and in its further evo­lutionary stages, the bird and the mammal. This is the story of our evolution. In your arguments be true, the adventurous proge­nitor of us all, that heroic fish, must have been a fool ! No. These arguments must have greater depth, to deserve serious attention.

Self-control is not practised to kill the individuality in us, but to add to its tempo in performance, to its daring in vision, and to its brilliance in achievement. The energies dissipated through the senses are conserved in the man of self-control and are channelised into creative fields of nobler undertakings. His memory and judge­ment improves, his powers of willing and deciding are expanded and his dynamism in the field of activity is heightened.

When Krishna portrays such a man as unaffected by good or evil, he feels that Arjuna might find it difficult to conceive at all such a state of existence. A sceptic, the Pandava Prince, may even ignore the entire discourse as an impractical dream of an idle visionary.

" How does he sit ? (kim aseeta) was one of the questions of Arjuna, who wants to know how a Man-of-Perfection will behave in the midst of the tempting objects of the world outside, without being ambushed by them. A sensuous man can never understand that there is at all a possibility of living in self-control. There are people who even consider it as an expression of immaturity, or under-development, or even a mental perversion.

Before we actually take up for study Krishna's own words, let us review the scheme of perception by which we come to cognise and experience the world around us.

But we also notice that the sense-organs cannot register per­ceptions of their respective objects unless the mind is acting behind them. For example, when your mind is immersed in study or in work, you may not hear.. . feel heat or cold.. . nor see someone passing by. Or when you are asleep, there is no perception of objects. So the mind functioning through the sense-organs perceives sense-objects. At present we have no control over the outgoing mind and in this extrovertedness we live to exhaust ourselves in a life of mere sense-grabbing.

Now Krishna says, (11-58) " When man can, like a tortoise that withdraws all its limbs, totally withdraw his senses from their objects, then he is a man of steady wisdom. " The example is very vivid and expressive. A tortise, on its slow move, brings out its head, its four limbs and tail so long as it feels it is in a safe place. But when it feels even a suspicion of danger, it immediately withdraws them into the shelter of its shell-fortress, with perfect ease and sponta­neity.

The man-of-Perfection disciplines himself so well that the six factors with which he perceives object after object-the five sense-organs and the mind-are all entirely under his control. They play in the field of sense-objects and at the slightest apprehension of temptation, he can, at will, easily withdraw the mind and the senses from their objects. This ease is not with us now, so we fall a prey to their enchantments and lengthening tragedies.

To reach a state of sovereign freedom, to live in the world but not be of it, ever at will, enjoying the grandeur of beauty in it, but not falling a victim to its hallucinations and magical enchant­ments is the goal of all spiritual life.



Benefits of Self-Control

At this juncture, a very pertinent question can arise—" Sir, if at each dangerous temptation we are to withdraw our minds from the world, then in modern times young men are ever in the midst of tempting material objects that constantly glitter and beckon. So all of us will have to constantly remain in a condition of inturned mind. We will have to withdraw from the cities and market-places, university-towns and capitals, and run into lonely caves, silent peaks and solitary islands ! ! This would be running away from life. But men of prophetic vision are all known to have lived amidst men and society, serving individuals and institutions. How is this possi­ble ? "

Krishna patiently counters the possibility of such a doubt and indicates a law of the " economics of thought. " (II-59) " Objects retire from the abstinent, leaving the longing behind. But this longing also ends in him who sees the Supreme. " The law of demand and supply is true here also. When we demand sense-objects they march towards us; when there is no demand, the supply also, dries up. When I do not drink, no White Horse, or Black and White; will come to me. When I do not smoke, no one will offer me a Rothman's King-size. Objects of sense-enchantments retire (Visha-yah vinivartante) from one who is not " consuming " (nirahaarasya dehinah) -abstinent. But we often meet people who are now smoking incessantly after having given it up for a number of years. The taste for the indulgence may subtly remain with us, and if ever in future we are caught unawares by conducive objects and circum­stances, the suppressed Vasanas will burst into an irrepressible plague of expression.

But Krishna assures us that " even this taste " (rasopyasa) on experiencing the Supreme (Param drishtwa) certainly retires, (nivartate). All Vasanas for sense-objects will then end, as all longings for the dream-objects end on awakening from the dream.

It is the vengence of Truth that noble virtues like mercy, pity, peace, kindness, goodness, etc. cultivated in us, but without the inner transformation, become as Blake puts it, " miseries increase. " Where self-control is not, there no other virtue is possible and the indulgent fall into all traps that evil ever puts along their path.

Why, " the turbulant senses, O son of Kunti, violently snatch away the mind of even a wise man who is earnestly striving for self-perfection. " No true education, no cultural growth can even be dreamt of, in a man of 'no self-control.' The passionate mind typhooning after the howling sense-objects can drive away, the edifice of chaste perfections built up by individual efforts. Even a wise man will behave foolishly when his mind is fascinated by the madden­ing enchantments of sense-objects—Why then talk at all of men of poorer calibre and dimmer intellectual visions, of mediocre men as many of us are ?

But it is easy to exhort from a grand pulpit to mankind at large, " Oh Man ! Control your senses. " This is what all religions are screaming, all scriptures roaring, all poems whispering, and all parents and elders blabbering. A moral value, an ethical virtue can be appreciated, but how can we bring it into the very fibre of our lives ? If this technique is not given out, moral preaching be­comes a bluff, a lie, a stupendous falsehood.

The modern youth will laugh it out—hence the sad failure of all moral preachers. Krishna was no visionary; Arjuna, the man-of-action, had no patience with dreams. Knowing exactly his stu­dent's needs and demands, Krishna, in the very following verse hints at a method by which the mind can be taught the art of steer­ing itself clear of a temptuous life of sense-gratifications.

Krishna says : (II-61) " The steadfast, having controlled them all, sits focussed on Me, as the Supreme. His wisdom is firm, whose senses are under control." You can with your will power for a time withdraw the mind from its particular outgoing tendency. When the mind is charmed by an object we know we can immediately call it back. But the .mind is a dynamic instrument : It is not meant to remain idle; it will again, at the next moment, gush out towards the same object of temptation, you may again control it. But, each time with renewed vigour the mind floods out, until at last you your­self are carried off on this flood of passion and desire.

Krishna advises us that " having controlled them all" (tani sarvani samyamya), " remain steadily focussed on Me as the Supreme " (Yukta aseeta matparah). This then is the secret. We must withdraw, with our entire will, the outgoing mind, but there­after, the mind should be earnestly engaged in the inspiring contem­plation upon something creative and higher. Turn your mind to your Goal—spiritual or material. Give the mind a fresh field of ennobling ideals to function in and exhaust its energies.

Constant awareness of the Divine Self within, the Seat of Con­sciousness, is the secret of holding the mind away from its roamings, and its suicidal dash into the fields of sense-dissipations. The ener­gies so wasted are now conserved, and such a hyper-dynamic mind is that which achieves stupendous successes. The brilliant and the genius are made in Yoga—they are not accidents in life, unpredict-table chances occuring sometime, somewhere, without any apparent rhyme or reason.

[Courtesy-Geeta Office,Powai. ]


SAINT DNYANESHWAR

By—Dr. S. D. Parchure, M. A. Ph. D.

In the thirteenth century of the Christian era, the knowledge of the Sanskrit language was getting scarce in Maharashtra, A very minor percentage of the society knew the Sanskrit language and followed the religious and other books written in that language. The majority of the people of the society were therefore denied the key to religious books or to knowledge. At such a stage in the history of Maharashtra, there arose a very bright star on the horizon of knowledge, who pledged himself to writing in the language of the people, the Marathi Language. This star was none else but the Saint Dnyaneshwar who was bold enough to go against the tradi­tions of his times of writing in the Sanskrit language and to use Marathi as the vehicle of his preaching. Dnyaneshwar was so very sure about the power of the Marathi language that he writes in Dnyaneshwari that, his highly appreciative readers will surely say that Marathi Language is even sweeter than nectar.


Family Traditions

Dnyaneshwari is the most revered book of the " Warkari" Sect. Every member of that sect regards that book as the base of the " Warkari " sect; but it is a great pity that fully authentic account of the life of the writer of Dnyaneshwari is not known. A few frag­ments of his life are available in ' Dnyaneshawar Vijay ' by Satchita-nand Baba and a few Abhangas composed by Namdeo. The complete life account of Dnyaneshwar is more or less legendary and has got to be constructed from the fragments of facts selected from the aforesaid books.

On the North bank of the Godawari river and at a distance of about eight miles on the East side of Paithan, there is a village known as Apegaon. The forefathers of Saint Dnyaneshwar were holding the ' watan ' of Kulkarni in this village. This office was hereditary in that family. From the information available it can be said that in Shaka 1060 (1138 A. D.), one of the ancestors of Saint Dnyane­shwar, Haripant by name, held this office. After Haripant, Rama-chandrapant, his son, came to the office. After the death of Rama-chandrapant, his son Gopalpant followed him in the office of 'Kul­karni.' Ramachandrapant, the son of Gopalpant, next came to Office. Gopalpant's son Trimbakpant followed him. At that time Jaitrapal was the ruler of the country. He deputed Trimbakpant's, son Haripant on a mission to subjugate one rebellious Deshmukh in the country. In the battle that followed, however through mis­fortune, Haripant was slain. Because of the sad demise of his son. Trimbakpant lost all his interest in the worldly affairs and dedicated his life to God. Later on the great ascetic Gorakhanath, while on pilgrimage, happened to visit Apegaon. He initiated Trimbakpant and accepted him as his disciple. Trimbakpant, who was the great-grand-father of Dnyaneshwar, was the first person in the family of Dnyaneshwar to have a philosophical and religious bent of mind

Trimbakpant's son Govindpant and Vithalpant the son of Govindpant were respectively the grandfather and father of Dnyane­shwar. The thread ceremony of Vithalpant took place at the age of seven. Thereafter, he very soon completed his study of the Vedas and Shastras and with the permission of his father, he started on a pilgrimage of the holy places. From his childhood Vithalpant was of religious nature. After visiting Dwarka, Prabhas, Sapta-shringi, Trimbakeshwar, Bhimashankar and such other holy places, Vithalpant came to Alandi. Here one Shri Sidhopant, who thought that Vithalpant was a suitable match for his daughter, gave his daughter to Vithalpant in marriage. After the marriage, Vithalpant went to Shri Shaila, Vyankatgiri, Rameshwar, Gokarna and such other holy places in the South and returned to Alandi. From here he went to Apegaon along with his wife and his in-laws. There he bowed down to his parents and stayed with them. After the death of his- father and mother, the responsibility of the whole house fell on Vithalpant; but because of his religious and philosophical bent of mind he could never take keen interest in the household duties and therefore remained aloof from them. When his wife Rukminibai noted this, she informed her parents about it, so they came to Apegaon from Alandi and returned to Alandi along with their daughter and son-in-law.

Vithalpant was often telling his wife Rukminibai that he had a strong desire to go to Kashi and become a Sanyasi. He was there­fore, often requesting his wife to grant him permission for the same; but the wife would not give it to him. One morning, however, he saught permission of his wife to go to the river for a bath and after getting out of the house he straight-away went to Kashi (Benaras). There he became a disciple of Shri Ramanandswami and observed celibacy. By and by he told Swamiji that he was all alone and that he had no bondage of the wife or children. He entreated Swamiji to give him Mantra and to initiate him as a Sanyasi. Ramananda-swami took the words of Vithalpant as authentic and after initiating him as a Sanyasi gave him his new name " Chaitanyashram."

Somehow the news about Vithalpant's Sanyasa fell on the ears of Rukminibai; but she did not get disheartened. Her devotion to God was firm. She continued her worship of the God as if nothing abnormal had happened. Twelve years rolled on in this fashion. One evening she went to the Maruti temple as usual. There she saw one Swami of outstanding brilliance. As a matter of course she bowed down to the Swamiji, who blessed her that she may get a son. When Rukminibai heard the blessing she could not help laughing. Looking to the smile on the face of Rukminibai, Swamiji enquired what was the matter, when Rukminibai told her whole story pointing out how it was now not possible for her to have a child. After listening to the whole story, the Swamiji took pity on Rukminibai and it at once flashed upon his mind that Chaitanvashram, who took Sanyasa at his hand, must be Vithalpant. Swamiji also felt very sorry that because of the belief, which he blindly kept in the words of Vithalpant, a poor lady had to suffer and has been deprived of the pleasures of a married life. The Swamiji immediately decided to abandon his Southward journey and started for Kashi along with Sidhopant and Rukminibai.

After reaching Kashi Ramanandaswami called his disciple Chaitanyashram and placed all the facts before him, when he con­fessed everything and expressed his sorrow for having given a false account. Thereupon Swamiji reprimanded and ordered him to cast away his " Sanyasa " and begin his family life (Grihastha-shram) again. Vithalpant had no other go but to obey the orders of his Guru and he returned along with his wife and father-in-law to Alandi immediately after taking the orders of his Guru.

Vithalpant's Children

In course of time Vithalpant got the first son in Shaka 1195. He was named Nivrittinath. Rukminibai gave birth to three more children after that and they were named as follows : Dnyaneshwar (Shaka 1197) Sopan (Shaka 1199) and Muktabai (Shaka 1201). Vithal­pant was already a pious person conversant with the traditions of Indian Philosophy. He was more or less averse to worldly life. He, therefore, appears to have named his children according to the maxims of the Indian philosophy. When one gets out of this worldly life (Nivritti) he obtains real knowledge (Dynana), when real knowledge is obtained, he finds the bridge (Sopan) leading to the liberation or Mukti (Muktabai). These steps of obtaining Moksha were as if suggested by Vithalpant by the names of his children.

The children were thus growing in Alandi under the care of Vithalpant and Rukminibai, who were both extremely religious and devoted to God. According to the traditions of the time, when Nivrittinath became due for the thread ceremony, Vithalpant re­quested the Brahmins to perform the same; but they were all against performing any ceremony, as they said vehemently that it was against the orders of the Shastras, to start a family life after once taking Sanyasa. Vithalpant entreated the Brahmins in various ways and requested them to suggest something for atoning the sin committed by him; but the orthodox element in the Brahmins was not prepared to budge an inch and to give permission for the thread ceremony-Ultimately, they referred to all the religious books and said that, if Vithalpant has got to be free from the great sin committed by him, he and his wife Rukminibai should sacrifice their lives at the con­ference of Ganga and Yamuna. Vithalpant who was really a God­fearing person, accepted the unanimous decision of the Brahmins and with his wife jumped in the holy waters of the Ganga and Yamuna at Prayag.

The four children were thus rendered destitute at a very young age due to the orthodoxy and uncompromising attitude of the Brahmins of Alandi. At that time Nivrittinath might hardly be about 10 years of age, and the others still younger. We can hardly picture the youngsters plungeed deeply in the sorrow of the loss of their parents; but it is a wonder how all the Brahmins of that time could afford to be so merciless !



Calamities

Time teaches a person to gather strength. The eldest of Vithalpant's children, Nivrithtnath, had therefore, to rise to the occa­sion. He bravely bore the massive grief due the loss of his parents, consoled his two younger brothers and the sister and went to Apegaon to get some support at least from the other relatives of his father; but in the absence of Vithalpant all his relatives at Apegaon shut their doors for these homeless and desolate orphans.

Nirvttinath and Dnyaneshwar therefore started begging alms and -they somehow kept their bodies and souls together.

Completely baffled in this fashion and getting no support from their relatives, all the four children left Apegaon and came to Alandi; but as they were being treated as outcast their minds were not at rest. Paithan was in those days a great seat of learning and a stronghold of the Brahmins. Hence Dnyaneshwar had a feeling that they may try to get a certificate of purity from the learned Brahmins of Paithan. Because of the request of Dnyane­shwar, Nivrittinath along with his brethren came to Paithan all the way on foot, with standing many dangers and fighting with diffi­culties. All the brahmins of Paithan were looking upon them with scorn. Hence when Dnyaneshwar said that the God was alike in all the living beings, he was asked to make the passing he-buffalo to recite Vedas and it is said that no sooner Dnyaneshwar placed his hand on the head of the animal, than the he-buffalo started re­citing Vedas as well as the Brahmins did. The animal continued to recite Vedas for hours together and all the Brahmins collected on the Bank of Godavari to see this miracle. The performance of this miracle made the Brahmins nowhere and they had to accept the greatness and supernatural power of Dnyaneshwar. The result was that ultimately the certificate of purity was granted to the child­ren by the Brahmins of Paithan; but the Thread ceremonies of Nivritti and Dnyaneshwar were never performed ! !

After performing one miracle Dnyaneshwar went to Newase where another miracle was waiting for him. The mention of Newase is found in Dnyaneshwari, where this exquisite book was written. As these children were entering Newase, they found that one person was lying dead and his wife was lamenting bitterly by the side of his corpse. Dnyaneshwar asked as to what was the name of the person and on being told that it was Sat-chit-ananda, he said that a person bearing that name could never be lifeless. He therefore touched that lifeless body with his nectar like hand and asked the person to get up, when Sat-Chit-Anandababa at once got up as if from sleep. This same Sat-Chit-Anandbaba later on worked as the scribe of Dnyaneshwari, when Dnyaneshwar dictated his great book.

It is reported that this same Sat-chit-Anandbaba had written a book in verse form under the caption of " Dnyaneshwar Vijay "; but unfortunately that book is swallowed by time and is not available. If this book would have been available, we could have had some authentic information about this great personality as written by his contemporary; but the will of God is otherwise and we have to construt the life of Dnyaneshwar by collecting the fragments from various other sources as already said.



Dnyaneshwari or Bhavartha deepika

From the internal evidence in Dnyaneshwari,. it is clear that this unique criticism on Bhagwatgeeta was completed in Shaka 1212. It will be seen from the life of Dnyaneshwar that he composed this book at a very early age of sixteen. The knowledge of all the philo­sophical books, which were then in existence, the different theories of life, the knowledge of the customs and manners of the people of his times and all such things which are evident from the book, simply make the readers wonder how a boy of sixteen could acquire so much maturity and knowledge at that age; but as Lord Krishna has himself expressed in Bhagwatgeeta '' a very learned person take s rebirth in a great family with all his achievements" and hence he proves to be a progidy. Hence as belivers in rebirth, we might say that the knowledge already acquired by Dnyaneshwar in the previous birth came along with him in his present birth. Though Dnyaneshwari is apparently a criticism on the Bhagwatgeeta, still we find that it is really an in -dependent book expounding the Indian Philosophy. It has only taken Bhagwatgeeta as its base, because it was a known book re­vered by all. The very fact that the commentary on 700 and odd shlokas of Bhagwatgeeta should expand into over 8,500 ' Ovees goes to prove the independent nature of the book.

If specific examples are to be cited we might point out that in the sixth canto of Bhagwatgeeta there are only 47 shlokas while the commentery thereon runs into 497 ovees. Similarly, the number of Ovees in the tenth canto is 1124. Similar figures about the extent of other cantoes could be given for comparison, but it is not quite necessary to prove the aforesaid fact.

Dnyaneshwari is not important only from the point of view of philosophy, it also is a very good example of poetry full of ima­gination. The use of language is also unique. The words and phrases used are so very appropriate that nobody has been able to suggest so far a substitute for any one of them. The figures of speech like simile, metaphor etc. are met with very often in the book. They are not only appropriate but they show profuse knowledge on the part of the author. The language used is so captivating that any reader will agree to the statement made by Dnyaneshwar that he will get a certificate from his appreciative readers that the Marathi language is even sweeter than the nectar.

Gnyaneshwar is a Yogi. He appears to be well-versed in all practices of Yoga. Whenever he has spoken of Yoga and its prac­tices he appears to be speaking with so much confidence that we feel that he is speaking not from heresay but from his personal ex­perience. The ultimate live Samadhi, that Dnyaneshwar took, to put an end to his life, shows also that he had full knowledge of the practice of Yoga.

Along with Yoga, Dnyaneshwar has not neglected other ways of devotion like " Bhakti " and worship of the idol of the God. He has done enough justice to all these whenever necessary and has also described their importance in human life.

From the point of view of the development of Rasas. Dnyane­shwari is not wanting. In the eleventh canto when Lord Krishna shows to Arjuna the whole universe, we see the develpment of different Rasas like Rowdra, Bhayanaka, Shanta etc. This also shows that Dnyaneshwar had studied the books on literary criticism that were existing at his time.

Dnyaneshwari is supposed to be the basic book of the. " War-kari " sect. Every " Warkari " who recognises God Vithal as his God revers this book unequivocally. In all the lectures of these people they will be constantly referring to " Ovees " from this highly revered book. Apart from the followers of the Warkari Sect, every student of the Marathi Literature has got to peep into this book. No student of Marathi literature can say that his study is complete without the study of Dnyaneshwari. Other great Marathi Saints like Namdeo, Eknath, Tukaram, Ramdas have always mentioned Dnyaneshwari with reverence, and have taken pride in stating that they have been the followers of Dnyaneshwar. Most of the Marathi poets who wrote on religious subjects have made free use of the similies, ideas and quotations from Dnyaneshwari, and even ac­knowledged that they got inspiration to write their books after reading it.

As Bhagwatgeeta was the source of inspiration for writing a criticism to many Mara-thi poets, similarly there have also been a number of books in Marathi for explaining the philosophy of Dnyane­shwari. As nearly 700 years have elapsed since the composition of Dnyaneshwari, its language has become obscure at certain places, some of the words used therein cannot be understood by the modern generation, hence the modern generation is mostly not able to read or understand Dnyaneshwari without a commentary or a guide.

Other Works

Even though, as pointed out before, Dnyaneshwari is as good as an independent work, though technically speaking it is a commen­tary on Bhagwatgeeta, the story goes that, when after completing Dnyaneshwari, Dnyaneshwar went to Nivrittinath, whom he called his Guru, he said, " This is after all a commentary. It is not an independent work. So I want you to do some independent work." Hence Dnyaneshwar wrote the " Amritanubhava " or " Anubhava-mrit " in which he has stated his experiences in Yoga and Philosophy, whereby we can get the experience of nectar. This work of Dnyane­shwar, though not so much universally acknowledged, is also as great and important as Dnyaneshwari itself. The style of writing, the use of words and phrases the use of figures of speech, the ease in writing and the confidence with which the book is written leave no doubt that the work must be of the Dnyaneshwar himself. The subject of this book is abstract and is dealt with great brevity and directness.

One more book in Ovee form under the caption of ' Yoga washishtha ' goes as a work of Dnyaneshwar; but on close study o-the book, though it appears to be written in the same style as that of Dnyaneshwari, we feel that the grace of the words and the poetic imagination is not of the same level as that in Dnyaneshwari. The scholars of Marathi literature have therefore a serious doubt whether this work is of the same Dnyaneshwar who composed Dnyaneshwari. It is suspected that somebody else has imitated the style of Dnyane­shwari and has pawned his own work under the name of Dnyane­shwar.

Apart from the above works there are about 1200 Abhangas said to be composed by Dnyaneshwar, but on their close examination we find that all of them are not of the same standard. From the style of the use of words, the ideas and the philosophy embod­ied therein we may say that only about two to three hundred of these abhangas must have been composed by Dnyaneshwar himself and the others are composed and interspersed by other writers.



Miracles

The two miracles, in Dnyaneshwar's life, one of making the he-buffalo repeat Vedas and the other of bringing to life Sat-chit-Anandbaba have already been referred to. A few more can be narrated here.

At Paithan once a Brahmin wanted to perform the Shraddha (death anniversary) of his father. So Dnyaneshwar requested the Brahmin to make all the preparations and after going there invited all the forefathers for lunch. At other places these ancestors are supposed to come, but they are not visible. However, here they remained physically present and enjoyed the feast.

In Alandi there was a Brahmin named Visoba Chati. He was very orthodox and used to ridicule the Sadhus and sages. Once Nivrittinath expressed his desire to Muktabai to eat " Mande " which are required to be baked on a frying pan. So Muktabai went round the village for buying a pan; Vosoba, who was wicked, had informed all the potters in the village not to give the pan to Muktabai and hence she could not get it in the whole village. She came home empty-handed and was sobbing, because she thought that Nivrittinath, her eldest brother, would get annoyed at this. When Dnyaneshwar knew about this he consoled Muktabai and by the power of Yoga, he kindled the fire inside his stomach and told Muktabai to bake the " Mande " on his back which was as red hot as the frying pan.

One Yogi, Changdeo by name, was said to be fourteen hundred years old. By his Yogic power he had subdued all fierce beings like the tiger and the serpent. After knowing the power of Dnyane­shwar he started for a visit to him. He rode on a tiger and was using a serpent as a whip. At that time Dnyaneshwar and his bre­thren were sitting on a compound wall outside their house. When they were told that Changdeo was coming to them on tiger backs they made the wall itself to move and thus went forward to receive Changdeo. When Changdeo found that Dnyaneshwar was having control over inanimate objects as against his control on living beings, he was completely subdued and knew his folly in underestimating the power of Dnyaneshwar. He at once fell at the feet of Dnyane­shwar and became his disciple.

A number of such other miracles are narrated under the name of Dnyaneshwar; but they need not all be listed over here. The miracles already referred to are enough to show the supernatural power of Shri Dnyaneshwar.


Samadhi

After composing 'Amritanubhava', Dnyaneshwar went to visit the holy places along with Namdeo and other saints of his time. In his Abhangas known as " Tirthawali " Namdeo has given a gra­phic description of this their visit to the holy places from which we know that Dnyaneshwar had visited many holy places of his day.

After completing their visits to the holy places, Dnyaneshwar felt that the mission of his life was over. He therefore, expressed his intention to take live Samadhi. When all his colleagues knew about this they felt sorry that this ocean of knowledge was leaving them; but Dnyaneshwar was firm on his decision. Ultimately, on the 13th day of the second half of Kartik in Shaka 1218 Dnyane­shwar Maharaj took live Samadhi at Alandi. An account of this heartrending incident is graphically pictured by Namdeo in his Abhangas known as " Samadheeche Abhanga ". After setting of this Sun of Knowledge, pitch darkness spread before the eyes of Dnyaneshwara's brothers and sister. After the departure of Dnyane­shwar, they also therefore decided to end their existence in this world and within a year's time from the Samadhi of Dnyaneshwar Maha­raj they all left this perishable world. Thus ended the tragic life of all these four children of Vithalpant, whose only fault was that he did not observe the traditional sequence of the Ashrams.

GAUTAM BUDDHA

On a full moon night

Beautiful and bright,

A charming prince

With fame and fragrance

Renounces this worldly life,

Leaving behind his son and wife,

And embraces poverty,

And embarks on a difficult journey

Into the jungles and mountains,

And suffers agony and pain

To find out joy and ecstasy

Jans sorrow, behold and see !

He suffers hardships of life

With a smile to end his strife

Permanently and control the mind,

And break the chains that bind !

Lo ! divine love springs in his heart

And he plays a noble part,

Loving equally one and all,

The rich and poor, the big and small

The Virtuous and the sinner,

Perceiving God in all; what a wonder !

He becomes nonviolent in thought, word and deed,

And becomes an angel, indeed !

Lo ! the dacoits turn into saints under his influence;

Oh ! What a magic in his non-violence,

Again on a full moon night

He beholds the eternal Light, Making him happy and bright, And ending his fear and fright ! We salute Buddha, the Beloved, Who attracts like a magnet !

Bakht N. Moolcbandan

YOGIRAJ VASUDEVANAND SARASWATI


(A Biography)

By : Shri S. N. Huddar CHATURMAS 11. SHAK 1823 (1901 A. D.)

On the request of the people, Swami Maharaj collected all the tales in " Datta Purana " and wrote in Marathi a versatile volume " Shri Datta Mahatmya. " He also composed in Sanskrit, " Trishati" i.e. 300 shlokas. Daily he wrote one chapter of about 108 ' oves', in all 51 chapters, containing 5500 'oves' of ' Datta Mahatmya. "

After publication of " Shri Gurucharitra " with criticism, Shri. Sapre sent it to Swami Maharaj and asked, " There have been many misprints, so, what should be done ? " Swami Maharaj replied, " Let there be mistakes, those who walk, may fall at places but that does not matter. Only add erratum, that is all. "



Guna had, been a military station in Gwalior state. Dr-Vishwanathrao Tatke, Suregaon, was a devotee of Swami Maharaj-His leg had a wound. It become spetic. Medical treatments did not give him any relief. Doctors advised to amputate the leg below the wound. Shri Tatke came to Swami Maharaj and said, " You give medicines to all. Who can give me medicine ?" Swami Maha­raj asked him to recite a Mantra and to apply poultice to the leg and also gave medicine. His leg gradually became normal. All doc­tors wondered to see this miraculous cure. Vishwanathrao did not believe in God, but after contact with Swami Maharaj, he was com­pletely changed. He observed all Brahmin rites such as Sandhya. He got " Shri Datta Mahatmya " printed at his cost.

Cobra Bites Swami Maharaj

When at Mahatpur, there was a moon eclipse on Kartika Purnima (full moon night). Swami Maharaj wished to bathe in Kshipra river and go to Brahmavarta on the bank of Gangaji. The same night a poisonous cobra bit Swami Maharaj. He sat in meditation (Samadhi). After 3-4 hours he awoke but the poison effect was not reduced. After some time the poison subsided but severe headache started. The reason was that the broken part of tooth of the cobra was in his leg. When it was taken out, he felt well on the tenth day. Swamiji then left Mahatpur.


Sakharam Kanadkar of Alot

Swami Maharaj arrived at Alot where he composed a Stotra of " Anadi Kalpeshwar " and bowed to him. Sakharam Kanad­kar, a boy was living there. He had lost his father in childhoo'd'. He had to earn for his mother, younger brother and sister. He began to do Hari Kirtan. He could shine well as a Haridas, but some jealous person managed to give him ' Sindeor ' (red lead) in water. His throat was swollen and he could neither speak nor sing. His family came in difficulty due to poverty. He was thinking of com­mitting suicide. When Swami Maharaj came to Mahatpur he met Swamiji and narrated his sad tale. Swamiji asked him to live with him for 4 months for relief. He said that he had family difficulty and hence he cannot stay outside. Swamiji said when he would come to Alot, he should see him. At the approach of a sun-eclipse, Swamiji gave him juice of a herb and wrote a Mantra on his tongue with the juice and advised him to recite the mantra in the period of the eclipse, standing in the Kshipra river. He recited the mantra from the commencement of the eclipse till its end. Consequently his voice became normal and intellect and memory became more sharp. He was known as Keertanacharya.


Gandabuwa practises Khechari Mudra

Swami Maharaj came to Sarangpur in Margashirsha. He sent Gandabuwa to Guna camp to Dr. Tatke to cut the particular artery below the tongue for practice of Khechari Mudra. This Was successfully done. But later, Appa Nigudkar and Venkat Rao, Station Master, went to him for the same. Another artery being cut, there was constant bleeding. Doctor became anxious and he wired to Swami Maharaj who was 40 miles away. Swami Maharaj came there next day applied some herb and the bleeding stopped and after some time both came on senses. This was a surprise even to renowned doctors. Swami Maharaj then started for Brahma-varta. He asked Gandabuwa to go and live at Broach and prac­tise Yoga. Swami Maharaj arrived at Bhelsa on the Banks of Kshetravati. Shri. Govindrao Pandit, one of his prominent devotees was here. Swamiji taught him some Yoga practices.


CHATURMAS 12-SHAKA 1824 (1902 AD) BRAHMAVARTA

Swami Maharaj reached here on Chaitra Shuddha 13 for the third time. This time he stayed here for 2.5 years and observed 3 Chaturmasas. He stayed in the Rama Temple on the Antaji Ghat. The persons knowing him from previous time came to see him He asked them to come for learning. He explained Upanishat, Bhashya, Panchadashi, Jivan-Mukti Vivek, Nama-Smriti, etc. to those who were interested. He taught Sandhya and literature to young students. To some he also taught Ayurveda.

Needy persons were given medicines. He prepared 'Yantra' and gave for relief from spirits and from diseases. Astrological querries were also replied. He read here 11th Skandha of Shrimad-bhagwata. His preaching resulted in increasing the devotion, know­ledge and unselfishness of the people. In evenings, he used to write replies to the letters received from his devotees and others.

Ailment returns

While going through Gujarat, Swami Maharaj could not get alms, which he usually received from local Maharashtra Brahmins and as they were scarce in the region, he had to live on palms and cocoanut kernel for 33 days. Due to this he had the chronic dy­sentery trouble again. He had to go for motion again and again and to bathe repeatedly for purity. Shri Shirolkar (who later became Shankaracharya of Sankeshwar Peeth) was with Swami Maharaj at Brahmavarta. In the summer, the flow of Gangaji was narrow ' and it was far away from the bank. The sandy bed was yery hot, still Swamiji tracked the hot sand 2-3 furlongs each time for bath patiently. He did not take medicine. He took butter-milk only.

In spite of such dysentery trouble, there was no break in his routine. One day he passed much more blood. He said, " Today I had 15 motions. My body has become light. " This showa how lightly he looked at his severe ailments.

In Vaishakh month, Shri. Sitaram Bhat, Swamiji's younger brother came to see him and stayed with him, Swamiji asked him to do " Gayatri Purashcharan " and he did it. Swamiji taught different subjects to students as per their likings. At times, he would ask one to read Purana or do Keertana and he would himself sit to listen. Swamiji composed stanzas (geet), Stotras (prayers), stories for them. Ramchandra Khare and Shankar Shastri Shirol­kar became efficient in the art of Keertan. Shri Jairam Shastri Upadhye and Gajanand Saraswati also lived with Swamiji at Brahmavarta.


Gopal Rajadhyaksha

Gopal was a Goud Brahmin of Ratnagiri. After Badri Narayan pilgrimage, he came and stayed at Brahmavarta. He took Madhu-kari (begging alms) and passed his time in devotion of Lord Datta. Datta. He was very eager to see Swami Maharaj and was much delighted to see him. Once he expressed his desire to do " Kirtan " and requested Swami Maharaj to fulfil his desire. Though he was not capable of doing it, due to blessings of Swami Maharaj he was able to do Keertan. On one Ekadashi day when he sat for kirtan, people ridiculed him saying " How can this Mhtoodkarya do Keertan. " But from the very beginning his songs and preach­ing were most interesting and instructive. The people who had ridiculed him were astonished to see his performance. Later on he himself composed Akhyan (Tales) on the different chapters of Sh Gurucharitra, read out these to Swami Maharaj and then preached in Kirtan.


Shankarrao Kulkarni (Shirolkar)

Shankarrao lived at Shirol. He had studied the art of drawing and painting. Due to disinterestedness in family affairs he left service and lived at Aundh and read holy books, such as Dnyane-shwari, Dasbodh and books of other saints. He went to Kashi and after reading ' Yoga Nirupan' he desired to practise yoga. Pradnyananda Saraswati of Tarak Math asked him to go to Swami Maharaj at Brahmavarta and said that Swamiji was a great Yogi.

He came to Brahmavarta and fell straight before Swami Maha-raj and requested him for guidance. Swamiji taught him " six ac­tions " (Shat Kriya) and told him that the real bliss was in the study of Vedanta Philosophy but these books are all in Sanskrit. Shankar-rao said, " I would stay with you. Teach me all. "Swamiji asked him to approach Shankarrao Eksambekar. Shankarrao went to him and told him the message of Swami Maharaj. Shri Eksambe— kar taught him Vedas and Shastras. Swami Maharaj prepared some Akhyans based on Vedanta and Shankarrao made use of them in his Kirtans.

Swami Maharaj gave Shri Keshao Shastri Joshi a book " Brahma Sutra Bhashya " written by himself for giving to Shankarrao Shirolkar. As he could not meet Shankarrao, Joshi Shastri kept the book at Vadi with Shri Dikshit Swami. When Shankarrao went to Vadi to see Swami Maharaj, he was given that book. Soon after Shankarrao went to Shringeri for study of Shastras. After some more time he had the fortune to grace the Peethof Shankara-charya. He always expressed that this was the reason why Swami Maharaj took so much trouble to give him Brahma Sutra Bhashya.

In Deepavali, people brought several plates, full of material, for the worship of Datta. The pooja was performed very grace­fully. Programme of Bhajan, Kirtan, Puran, were arranged. On the last day 400 to 500 persons were given meals. Next year, this festival was ceremonised in the Vishweshwar Mandir. :

(to be continued)


THE MIRACLE OF SACRED ASHES FROM SHIRDI

By : Shri Anil Pandit B. Sc., Indore


I am a devotee of Shri Sai Baba for the last about 13 years. I always worship him. During this period I have had many mira­culous experiences, of which some were published in Marathi issue of Shri Sai Leela in the past. But, what we experienced in April, 1972 has left us wondering about the miraculous powers of Shri Sai Baba and the sacred Ashes from Shirdi. I would like to give an account of the experience for the information of Sai Devotees.

The daughter of my elder son, by name Bhavana, whom we used to call Sanjeevani, as a nick-name, fell sick all of a sudden in April, 1972. It was summer season and our family doctor opined that it may be a case of mild sun-stroke or the sickness may be due to very hot climate. The fever was constant and she was not taking any food. Her belly was distended but unfortunately our family doctor did not appreciate its seriousness. He continued his treatment according to his primary diagnosis. The girl however conti­nued to be worse day by day. Her eyes were drawn in, and the peritonitis was such that it was painful by touch. We at last decided to transfer her to a bigger hospital in Indore. It was Sunday night when we shifted the little girl to the hospital. The chief medico was having his holiday. We put a pinch of ashes from Shirdi upon her forehead before taking her to the hospital. Next day, the chief medico examined her and diagnosed the case as of Typhoid with intestinal perforation. He said that peritonitis was due to perfora­tion of the intestinal wall. He said that the cases of this type are so severe that generally operation is resorted to, but the patient was too delicate for it. Glucose Saline and Infusion were advised. We were all in a very anxious mood. The family people were very much afraid for the life of the young one. The treatment from the hospital started. Before this thing happened, I was continuously reading the Marathi Sai Sat-Charitra daily. I had by that time, finished the 8th Canto and had come to the 9th. I have faith in Shri Sai Baba. I appealed to Him : "O ! Baba, What is this new calamity be fallen us ! It is only You who can take us out of this !"

I had been to Shirdi earlier in the month of March and had brought some photographs of Shri Sai Baba from the Sansthan office. The Ashirwad pose in that picture is such that we feel Baba is looking at us and assuring us not to worry and promising that everything will be all right. I felt that I should take that photo to the hospital. I took it and also took some quantity of Ashes with me. I put the photo under the pillow of the girl Bhavana and besmirched her body with the Ashes. Emotions were so deep at that time, that I could not help crying. In front of many family persons present at that time, I uttered 'O ! Baba ! If this little girl Bhavana is not cured in this sickness, I will not read your Charitra further." My complete surrender to Him and appeal was really-similar to Shama and who said that he would break a coconut on His Head if some lady could not get a child !

In the meanwhile, I continued to read the book 'Sai Sat-Cha ritra.' Every Thursday, the Aarti and worship was also continued. Bhavna, to the surprise of the doctors, survived that ailment with­out operation. That was a feat on the part of the patient - nay, it was the miraculous powers of Sai Baba and the sacred Ashes. Gradually her fever came down and peritonitis subsided, and within a period of 2-3 weeks, she was allowed to return home.

Really, I feel, the miracle of Faith on Sai Baba is extra-ordi­nary, but we fail to take advantage of the great Grace available. The grace of Isa or Sai-as you may call it. Sai Baba is no less than God the Protector Incarnate !

(Adopted from Marathi from July, 1973 issue)



PRAGNYANYAM BRAHMAN

By : Shri V. S. Pandurangam.

Consciousness is not apparent in stone life. A rudimentary mind expresses itself in Plant life. Glimpses of mind are seen in animals. In man, the presence of mind is tangible.

With the aid of consciousness, mind, intellect and senses, man becomes conscious of himself and of the world around him. Thought and desires arise and multiply to which he clings; an agi-centre results. The self-centred ego, which cognizes and thinks with the consciousness of that Absolute Power Consciousness, imagines that the reflected Consciousness belongs to itself. Man thus weaves a web of ignorance and attaches himself more and more to the objective world, while the Divine potentialities latent and embryonic recede into the background.

The man who thinks he may live as he chooses and yet admit of no eventual reckoning, deceives none except himself. " In the course of natural righteousness (Rita) each man by his thoughts and actions becomes the moulder and sculptor of his destiny. What­ever universal energies he himself wisely or unwisely has set in motion, must return to him as their starting out like a circle inexorably completing itself. The world looks a mathematical equation, which turn it how you will, balances itself. Every secret is told, every crime is punished, every-virtue rewarded, every wrong redressed in silence and certainty " (Emerson " Compensation. ")

The arrogance of the Intellect and the self conceit of the scien­tists, regard God in certain moments, as a hallucination of human fancy and Providential justice a myth and dope; even as some rustics in remote villages do not yet believe the landing of man on the moon. What is it, that obscures the Reality ?

It is the Pseudo-sovereign Ego in man Avidya.

" Sweet are the uses of adversity which like the venomous cobra wears yet a precious jewel on its forehead. " Those that live in the midst of tears will readily realize the truth which life silently voices forth.

That the Consciousness is not an abstraction and that it is separate, though connected with mind intellect senses and that the evolutionary changes seen in the universe are not arbitrary or chance-play, but are guided consciously by that Absolute Power. They are the sublime truths that have been handed down to posterity by the Vedic Rishis, cryptically expressed as Maha Vakyas; so small in Compass, yet so vast and rich in content.

When a Vedic seer pronounces ' I am Brahman ' he means he has discovered and realized that the ' I' of his has oneness with the Transcendent Brahman, latent and all pervading. Similarly ' Thou Art That' implies that every individual is intimately united with that Absolute Power all-pervading and immanent in the Individuals and in the irreducible particle of matter.


A significant characterastic of self-conscious beings is their subjectivity. Th?re is but only one Consciousness and that is God-Consciousness. From that Consciousness that is sleeping in the grain of sand which the wind tosses to and fro in the air as too light to resist; to the dynamic Consciousness in man and the super­human Consciousness in the Devas, it is the same Brahman un­folding His hidden powers in matter envelopments in which, He wills to be latent and hidden from the senses of man. Let us here-reflect a little over the dialogue between Maitreyi and Yagnavalkya in the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad. When Maitreyi was confused at the statement-' where there is Consciousness of the Self, individua­lity is no more'—Yagnawalkya explains-" Ah ! Maitreyi, my beloved; the Intelligence which reveals all by that shall it be re­vealed ? By whom shall the knower be known. The Self is des­cribed as ' Not this' ' Not that.'

There is thus no Consciousness save His Consciousness that guides the vast Solar systems and that pervades the irreducible particle of matter and everywhere. Therefore the question often raised by a few ' Is their a God ' and the question at times secretly asked within ourselves-why did Brahman create this universe ? loses all meaning for the simple reason, that It is not ' He and a universe ' but' He as a universe '.—OM Tat Sat.


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