Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Kakasaheb Dixit's memories cum short biography about Shirdi Sai Baba

Here is Hari Sitaram Dixit's memories cum short biography of Shirdi Sai Baba titled, SREE SAI SAMARTHA SATCHARITA,, 17 pages, which seems to have been a foreword of earlier edition(s) of Shirdi Sai Satcharita by Govind Dabholkar. I think this is very valuable as H.S. Dixit was a well known devotee of Shirdi Sai, and as a well educated man, seems to have written it himself.

BTW about a couple of decades ago when I was in the software industry, at lunch in one of the canteens in SEEPZ, Mumbai where my office was located, an old friend introduced me to a relative of H.S. Dixit. I think she was the great-granddaughter of H.S. Dixit. But she straight away told me that she did not believe in Sathya Sai and said it somewhat aggressively. That I think prevented me from having much conversation with her about her knowledge and views about Shirdi Sai. Also, I was not that much into Shirdi Sai history at that time.

Some extracts from the above foreword/short biography are given below:

Maharaj [Ravi: Shirdi Sai Baba] Himself did not attribute any of these powers to Himself. When He spoke, He called himself God’s ‘Servitor’ and ‘Devotee’. “I have abundant blessings of my Guru and by His Grace the difficulties of the devotees are removed and they are benefited”, thus He said. When He blessed the devotees, generally His words were : “Allah will look after your well-being”. He never attributed any greatness to Himself. He never said : ‘Anal Haque’, which means that ‘I am God’; but His words on and oft were ‘Yade Haque’ which means ‘I am remembering God’.

Most of the devotees of Maharaj called Him “Sai Baba” or just “Baba”. On one occasion, when Maharaj had to give testimony before the Commissioner, and He was then asked His name, He had replied: “They call me Sai Baba”.

Since Maharaj came here, He generally stayed in the Masjid. That Masjid was greatly dilapidated. During the day, Maharaj wandered here and there but at night He stayed in the Masjid. If anyone took Him for a meal He would go; He gave medical advice or medicines to the sick. He never accepted any money for this. Not only that, but if the ill and diseased were not well attended, then He would Himself attend on them. And such persons who were prescribed medicines by Maharaj or who were personally attended by Maharaj exist even today in large numbers. Later on, Maharaj stopped giving any medicines and started to give only udi or the sacred ashes and people were cured by that.

“Earlier, I used to give medicines to people”, Maharaj had once mentioned to this writer himself. He said, “Kaka (he used to call this writer ‘Kaka’), I used to give medicines to people earlier. Later, I left off giving medicines and started chanting ‘Hari, Hari’ and as I continued the chant of ‘Hari, Hari’, I got self-realisation (met Hari)”.

Tatya Ganpati Kote Patil looked after all the arrangements and management of this fair at Shirdi, right from the beginning. Maharaj loved him dearly. He called Maharaj as maternal uncle. His mother, Saubhagyavati Bayjabai served Maharaj devotedly. And that too, at such a time when the majority of the common folk in the village counted Maharaj amongst the mad men. In the earlier days, Maharaj used to go four or five times into the village for alms. But Saubhagyavati Bayjabai never ever turned him back. Naturally the lady received the fruits of her devotion; but her whole family and specially Tatya was the beneficiary. Not only did Maharaj give money to Tatya but he was indulged in every way. When Tatya went every evening to Maharaj, the loving occasion between the uncle and the nephew was worth watching and their loving discussions were worth listening to. Similarly, all arrangements at the Masjid and the Chavadi were in Tatya’s hands. Maharaj did not get up till Tatya came and helped Him up; and it was Tatya who held Him by the arm and took Maharaj, to the asan18 spread out by Him, on which Maharaj would take a seat. This was the routine. Even the chillum was filled by Tatya.

Nanasaheb’s [Ravi: Nanasaheb Chandorkar who had a house in Kalyan] second major service was to publicise Maharaj’s fame and let people have the benefit of Maharaj’s blessings. As he had been a Mamlatdar and later, a Deputy Collector, earlier on he had to go on a lot of tours. Nanasaheb was also responsible even for the benefit of a darshan of Maharaj for the undersigned author. Thousands of persons from Bombay and Thane District took the benefit of Maharaj’s darshan and were filled with joy. Nanasaheb was responsible for that. Two other persons besides Nanasaheb, were responsible for drawing and attracting the people from Bombay.

One of them was Ganesh Dattatreya Sahasrabudhe alias Das Ganu. He used to work in the Police Department earlier. He was very engrossed with tamasha. He came for Maharaj’s darshan due to Nanasaheb; and slowly, slowly Maharaj had such an effect on his mind that he left his job and began the work of publicising the story of the saint through kirtans and books. He continues this work even to-day. He has authored ‘Bhakta Leelamrut’, ‘Sant Kathamrut’, ‘Bhaktisaramrut’ relating to the lives of saints; besides he has commented in simple and beautiful Marathi on the ‘Isavasyo Upanishad’ and Sree D├▒yaneshwar Maharaj’s ‘Amrutanubhava’. Besides these, he is the author of several other books. By bringing him from Bombay, Nanasaheb Chandorkar provided the residents of Bombay with kirtans full of the nectar of bhakti and through them the pleasure of hearing about Maharaj’s attributes and nature. Thanks to his kirtans, large crowds from Bombay and places close to Bombay became keen to take Maharaj’s darshan and also went for the darshan. The second person mentioned above, was the undersigned author himself [Ravi: Kakasaheb Dixit]. By his staying at Maharaj’s feet, at this time, for long spells naturally withdrawing from the social activities, he got publicity as having become a ‘Baba’, (that is a sanyasi or vairagi) in Parsi and other newspapers, and therefore, considerable number of persons came for darshan of Him who was instrumental in effecting this transformation. From 1910 approximately, the numbers coming for Maharaj’s darshan began to increase substantially.

Normally, there would be three sittings during the day. One in the morning after breakfast, second on return from the Lendi and the third around five in the evening. During all the three sittings, Maharaj would impart knowledge in story form. Maharaj’s words would clear the different problems and doubts of the different persons gathered there and they would get solutions for the different matters concerning them. Maharaj did not speak on deep Vedantic issues openly nor did He give lectures on the Upanishads. His teachings were essentially relating to good conduct. To cleanse the disciple’s mind and then to sow the seeds of knowledge in it, is the shastric way of the Sadguru; and thus Maharaj acted; therefore His teachings were relating to morals and ethics. But instead of the open verbal teachings, one received from Maharaj priceless and several scholarly examples and experiences and therefore, those devotees who came with full faith to Maharaj, received the highest benefit.

Out of the devotees coming to Maharaj, the large majority were those who came with desires and wishes to fulfil, but Maharaj fulfilled their desires and turned their minds towards their greater welfare without they being aware of it. Maharaj had taken avatar for the welfare of the people and He looked after the welfare of all. There is not an iota of doubt about that. His leelas and his attributes cannot be correctly described.

--- end extracts ----

Some info. about Kakasaheb Dixit from, is given below.

Hari Sitaram Dixit alias Kakasaheb Dixit was a well known solicitor of Mumbai active in public life who was persuaded to visit Sai Baba in 1909 by his friend Nana Chandorkar. The reasons for giving him prominent mention so early in Baba's history is that he was very largely responsible for the establishment and progress of Shirdi Sai Baba Sansthan, the affairs of which were managed by him as Honorary Secretary very ably and enthusiastically up to the time of his death, i.e., on 5th July 1926. He was also responsible for drawing large numbers to Shirdi and filling them with admiration and enthusiasm for Sai Baba. He also took care of "Sai Leela Masik" the Marathi Monthly Magazine of Shri Sai Baba Sansthan till July 1926.

H. S. Dixit was born in 1864 of high caste Nagari Brahmin parents enjoying a high position and affluence at Khandwa. His scholastic career was bright as he secured a first class in Matric and good marks in F.A., B.A, and LL.B. He very soon settled himself as a leading solicitor at Bombay, and his name frequently appeared in the Law Reports and in the press as distinguishing himself as an able advocate in sensational cases, e.g. Bhavnagar Exposures, Sedition trials against Poona Vaibhava, Lok B.C. Tilak and Globe and Times of India, etc. He attained great fame and wide popularity and commanded high esteem both with the people and the Government. He had numerous public activities, political, social, municipal, etc., by means of which he was rendering good and valuable service to the public. In politics, he was in the Indian National Congress, and he was the redoubtable follower of Sir Pherozesha Mehta. He was an elected member of the Bombay Legislative Council from 1901 till he gave it up to devote himself to spiritual progress under Sai Baba. He was also an elected fellow of the Bombay University, a Notary public, and Justice of the Peace. He achieved great fame by his bold speeches (e.g. by being the sole protestor against Valedictory address to H. E. Lord Sandhurst who prosecuted Tilak) and action in the Councils. He helped bodies by serving on Committees with his keen intellect and strenuous observation and study. He was Secretary of the Indian National Congress in the year 1904 at Bombay wherein Dadabhai Nowrojee stated its goal to be attainment of Swarajya. He rapidly rose by his influence and ability to greater and greater positions of honour and, had he continued in that line, he would surely have achieved a Knighthood, membership of the Executive Council and appointment as Commissioner of some Province with ample emoluments and gunfire salutes. But his destiny and rinanubandha drew him to other lines, and the turning point was what looked like a mischance. He was in the Bombay Corporation also as a Councilor; and he frequently served on other public bodies. He was a patriotic and self-sacrificing man, and for the sake of principle and public good, he readily resigned his position in the Corporation, and worked hard for national welfare. About 1906 he went to England. There he had some accident in which his leg was injured. In spite of repeated efforts, the injury could not be cured. The limping impeded free movement, as there was pain if he walked a few furlongs. Not only did it make him look awkward, but also it made him less fit for his numerous activities, personal, domestic, political, legal and public, and thus had the double effect of giving him an inferiority complex and a disgust for these aspects of life, thus preparing him for the nobler and holier life. About 1909, Nana Saheb Chandorkar advised him to go and see Sai Baba, the wonderful personality at Shirdi, who might cure his lameness, the same year he went to Ahamadnagar in connection with some Council election business to the house of Sardar Kaka Saheb Mirikar, who was a Sai bhakta, and who had with him a huge picture of Sai Baba. Dixit saw the picture and his reverence was heightened.

Learning of Dixit's desire to go to Baba, he (Sardar) sent for Madhava Rao Deshpande otherwise known as Shama, Baba's constant attendant, who had gone to Ahamadnagar, and asked him to take Dixit to Baba. Accordingly, Shama took him to Baba in 1909. This very first experience which Dixit had in connection with Baba strengthened his attachment to and admiration for Baba, especially because he had from infancy a great desire to be with sadhus and saints. He repeated his visits to Shirdi frequently, and in 1910 resolved to have a building of his own there. After receiving Baba's blessings, the foundation stone was laid for a wada there in December 1910, popularly known afterwards as Kakawada or Dixit wada. The work was pushed through and completed in five months (i.e.) in April 1911. From the very beginning Kaka wanted only a small room for himself upstairs (1st floor) for Ekanta Dhyana (solitude and meditation). The rest of the building was used by pilgrims i.e., the public.

--- end extract about Kakasaheb Dixit ---

Another interesting link about Kakasaheb Dixit is "(Introduction and) Chapter 1 - Kakasaheb Dixit Diary",

[I thank the author(s) of and have presumed that they will not have any objections to me sharing the above extracts from it on this post which is freely viewable by all, and does not have any financial profit motive whatsoever.]

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