Monday, December 5, 2016

Shirdi Sai Baba's awesome non-identification with his body, and identification with pure Ananda Nirakara (formless joy/bliss)

The extracts below, numbered 105 to 107 are from the book, Sri Sai Baba's Charters and Sayings (download link for various formats:, by B.V.Narasimhaswami. I have inserted some edits within [Ravi: ...] below to improve readability.

105. I am the Progenitor of God. Mediate on me as pure Ananada [Ravi: Ananda] Nirakara : but if you cannot do so, meditate on this Sai Body eaxtly [Ravi: exactly] as it is.

106. I am not the body or the senses. I am the sakshi, witness of all these.
I do nothing. I receive nothing.

107. Devotee. Baba burn on your hand [Ravi: is] to be treated. It must pain you so much.

Baba : What fun will it be (for me) to stand by and see the whole of this (Sai Baba) body burning on a funeral pyre of cow dung cake fuel ?
--- end extracts from Charters & Sayings ---

Ravi: In literature related to Hindu saints, seers (rishis) and spiritual masters, viewing of the body as a useful instrument/vesture but nothing more than that, for the spirit/mind+Atma/soul associated with the body, and being ever-willing to discard/give up the body, are hallmarks of an evolved saint/seer/spiritual master. Sometimes this hallmark takes the form of ghrina i.e. contempt towards the body (due to its various defects and also perhaps, its various needs), especially in comparison to the joy/bliss of the spirit. [Ananda Nirakara means formless joy/bliss.]

The above words of Shirdi Sai Baba show his non-identification with the body and identification instead with Ananda/joyous spirit which is formless. They also show his contempt for his body (what fun it will be to watch this body burn!!!). That's classic Hindu saint/seer/spiritual master stuff!

Note that Shirdi Sai Baba used to have a lit sacred fire called Dhuni in the masjid, Dwarkamai, where he used to sit, give Darshan and have interactions with his devotees/visitors. He would give ash from the sacred fire/Dhuni, as Udi (vibhuti) prasad to his devotees.

I also love how he told devotees to meditate on him as pure Ananda Nirakara (pure formless bliss/joy). God as formless joy (and formless peace and formless love) is the highest truth, as per my understanding of Hindu scripture. Even the name and form of Shirdi Sai Baba (or Sathya Sai Baba) is not the highest truth. However, many devotees seem to find it difficult to meditate on Shirdi Sai Baba (or Sathya Sai Baba for that matter) as formless joy (and formless peace and formless love) and so Shirdi Sai Baba says that such devotees can worship his 'Sai body exactly as it is' (Shirdi Sai form).

P.S. I don't know what to make of the progenitor of God part. Perhaps there is an issue here of translation. Languages associated with Hinduism would use the word Deva for a divine being (with paranormal powers). And there are many, many such divine beings/Devas in Hindu tradition & faith. The question is whether the word God is used in the sense of one of many divine beings or in the sense of the ONE GOD i.e. the one and only formless divine power (absolute Brahman/ absolute Parabrahman) behind/projecting all of creation including lesser divine beings/devas, in the Hindu tradition.

[I thank Shri B.V. Narasimhaswami (and his heirs) and have presumed that they will not have any objections to me sharing the above short extract from his book on this post which is freely viewable by all, and does not have any financial profit motive whatsoever.]

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