Sunday, June 25, 2017

'Muslim saint/fakir' Shirdi Sai Baba destroys 'holy pride' of Hindu Brahmin Moolay Shastri, and showers Grace on him

Yesterday night I was (re-)reading Shirdi Sai Satcharitra and came across the Moolay [Mule] Shastri experience account. Given below is the extract from Chapter 12 of Shirdi Sai Satcharitra having that account, http://www.saibaba.org/satcharitra/sai12.html (slightly edited for small typos and easier readability):

Moolay [Mule] Shastri of Nasik

An orthodox Agnihotri Brahmin of Nasik, by name Moolay Shastri, who had studied the six Shastras and was well-versed in astrology and palmistry, once came to Shirdi to see Mr. Bapusaheb Booty, the famous millionaire of Nagpur. After seeing him, he and others went to see Baba in the Masjid. Baba bought various fruits and other things from vendors with His own money, and distributed them to the persons present in the Masjid. Baba used to press the mango on all sides so skilfully that when any person received it from Baba and sucked it, he got all the pulp at once in his mouth and could throw away the stone and the skin forthwith. Plantains were peeled off by Baba and the kernel was distributed to the devotees, while the skins were retained by Baba for Himself. Moolay Shastri, as a palmist, wanted to examine Baba's hand or palm and requested Him to extend the same. Baba ignored his request and gave four plantains to him.

Then, they all returned to the Wada and Moolay Shastri bathed, wore sacred clothes, and started his routine duties, viz. Agnihotra etc. Then Baba as usual started for Lendi and said - "Take some Geru (i.e. a red miry substance, to dye clothes in saffron-colour), we shall today don saffron-coloured cloth." None understood what Baba meant. Then after some time when Baba returned, and preparations for the noon-Arati were being made, Bapusaheb Jog asked Moolay Shastri, whether he would accompany him for the Arti. He replied that he would see Baba in the afternoon. Very soon Baba sat on his seat, was worshipped by the devotees and Arti commenced. Then Baba said - "Get some Dakshina from the new (Nasik) Brahmin."

Booty himself went to get the Dakshina; and when he gave Baba's message to Moolay Shastri, he was sorely perplexed. He thought in his mind thus: "I am a pure Agnihotri Brahmin, why should I pay Dakshina? Baba may be a great Saint. I am not His dependent." But as a great Saint like Sai Baba was asking for Dakshina through a millionaire like Booty, he could not refuse. So leaving his routine unfinished, he forthwith started with Booty to the Masjid. Thinking himself holy and sacred, and the Masjid otherwise, he remained at a distance, and joining his hands threw flowers at Baba. Then lo! all of a sudden, he saw no Baba on the seat, but saw his late Guru Gholap Swami there. He was wonder-struck. Could this be a dream? No, it was not, as he was wide awake; but though awake, how could his late Guru Gholap be there? He was speechless for some time. He pinched himself and thought again, but could not reconcile the fact of his late Guru Gholap being in the Masjid. Ultimately, leaving all doubt, he went up, fell at his Guru's feet and then getting up stood there with folded hands. Other people sang Baba's Arati, while Moolay Shastri chanted his Guru's name. Then casting off all pride of caste and ideas about sacredness, he fell flat at his Guru's feet and closed his eyes. When he got up and opened his eyes, he saw Baba asking for Dakshina. Seeing Baba's blissful form, and His inconceivable power, Moolay Shastri forgot himself. He was extremely pleased, his eyes were full of tears of joy. He again saluted Baba and gave the Dakshina. He said that his doubt was removed and that he saw his own Guru. On seeing his wonderful Leela of Baba all the people, including Moolay Shastri, were much moved, and they realized the meaning of Baba's words, "Bring Geru, we shall don saffron-coloured garment." Such is the wonderful Leela of Baba.

--- end extract from Shirdi Sai Satcharitra ---

Here's an article about Guru Gholap Swami: http://saiamrithadhara.com/mahabhakthas/gholap_swami.html

Ravi: Firstly, I would like to say that I have no doubt that Shirdi Sai Baba had the awesome mystical powers that are mentioned in the above account (even if the above account may have some slight variance with what actually happened; not that I know of such variance but I am mentioning it as a possibility). And the reason that I do not have any doubt about such mystical powers of Shirdi Sai Baba is my own DIRECT EXPERIENCE of mystical powers of my beloved and revered Gurudev, Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba (physical form).

In the above account, Shirdi Sai Baba first ignores Mooley Shastri's request to read Baba's palm and instead gives him four plantains (bananas). Baba would have known the haughty 'holy pride' of Hindu Brahmin Mooley Shastri due to which Mooley Shastri did not really revere him (Baba) as a holy man, and so rejects Shastri's request to read his palm. However, Baba does show kindness to Shastri by giving him four plantains.

Later Baba seems to have decided to give Shastri darshan of Shastri's Late Guru Gholap Swami who would have been a saffron clad sannyasi. So Baba remarks, "Take some Geru (i.e. a red miry substance, to dye clothes in saffron-colour), we shall today don saffron-coloured cloth." The people around Baba did not understand what he was talking about! Baba was on a different mystical plane of existence.

Later (same day) the noon-arati started with Booty and other devotees worshiping Baba, at which time Shastri chose to do his Agnihotra Brahmin rituals at the Wada (place of residence for devotees), planning to visit the masjid later in the afternoon (after completing his Agnihotra Brahmin rituals). But Baba perhaps felt that the time had come to give Shastri darshan of Shastri's guru, Gholap Swami! So he demanded dakshina from Shastri (new Brahmin who had visited him)! When that message is conveyed to Shastri by the millionaire Booty who had brought him to Shirdi in the first place, Shastri's "holy pride" as an Agnihotri Brahmin seems to have got offended by this dakshina demand from somebody who he viewed as a 'Muslim saint'. Note that Hindu Brahmins like Shastri who offer various services like doing worship/puja for others, lectures on shastras (holy scripture) and, in this case, astrology and palmistry, traditionally get dakshina (payment) from the beneficiaries/students of their services. So dakshina being demanded of him by this 'Muslim saint' would have been almost an affront to Shastri!!

But Shastri does not want to offend the big man from worldly power point of view, millionaire Booty, and so goes along with him to offer his dakshina, as demanded. Shastri has to break the Agnihotra rituals he is doing, with perhaps a plan to continue them after the dakshina offering task is done. Now the Hindu Agnihotri Brahmin Shastri, especially while doing his Agnihotri rituals, considers himself to be in a sacred space/zone, and so does not want to pollute his sacredness then by stepping into the 'Muslim saint's' Masjid!!! So he offers (throws) flowers (as dakshina, I guess) to Baba from a distance!

Baba, the 'Muslim saint/fakir' decides it is time to reveal His divinity to the Hindu Brahmin Moolay Shastri!!! What DIVINE DRAMA!!! So Baba shows himself (his body) as Shastri's Late Guru Gholap Swami!!! Amazing! This demonstrates Shirdi Baba's awesome mystical powers of not only knowing intimate details about the 'new Brahmin' Shastri's life including his Late Guru Gholap Swami, but also the power of taking on that form of saffron clad Guru Gholap Swami in the vision of Shastri, and perhaps only in the vision of Shastri (others may not have seen Baba as a saffron clad Hindu Guru). I repeat that I have NO DOUBT WHATSOEVER that Shirdi Sai Baba could have such awesome mystical powers because of my own DIRECT EXPERIENCE of some awesome mystical powers of Sathya Sai Baba (physical form).

Shastri cannot believe his eyes! He pinches himself to know that he is not dreaming. He ensures that he is really awake. Then he forgets all his haughty 'holy pride' of being a Hindu Agnihotri Brahmin who was interrupted while doing his holy Agnihotri rituals, and rushes to the 'Muslim saint' in his masjid as he sees his Late Guru there instead of the 'Muslim saint'!!! What a way to destroy the holy pride of the Hindu Brahmin Shastri and shower Grace on him with the vision of his Late Hindu guru and by teaching him that divinity is beyond caste and beyond religion! What an awesome DIVINE LEELA of Bhagavan Sri Shirdi Sai Baba! I feel blessed to re-read the account and to write this post about it.

It would be appropriate to end this post with the words of Shirdi Sai Baba about religion and God, and of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba about caste, religion and God:

From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sai_Baba_of_Shirdi

Sai Baba also condemned distinction based on religion or caste. It remains unclear if he was a Muslim or a Hindu. This, however, was of no consequence to Sai Baba. His teaching combined elements of Hinduism and Islam: he gave the Hindu name Dwarakamayi to the mosque in which he lived, practised both Hindu and Muslim rituals, taught using words and figures that drew from both traditions, and took samadhi in Shirdi. One of his well-known epigrams, Allah Malik (God is King) and Sabka Malik Ek (One God governs all), is associated with both Hinduism and Islam. He is also known to have said Look to me, and I shall look to you.
...

It was only after Baba forfeited a wrestling match with one Mohiddin Tamboli that he took up the kafni and cloth cap, articles of typical Sufi clothing. This attire contributed to Baba's identification as a Muslim fakir and was a reason for initial indifference and hostility against him in a predominantly Hindu village.
--- end extracts from wikipedia ---

Ravi: The above extracts show that Shirdi Sai Baba wore the dress typical of Sufi fakirs, and used to say "Allah Malik" (which is also mentioned in Sai Satcharitra), and therefore Shirdi Sai Baba was viewed as a Muslim fakir especially by new visitors (like Hindu Brahmin Moolay Shashtri mentioned in this post).

Shirdi Sai Baba used to frequently say, "Allah Maalik" - Allah/God is the master/owner, and used to say, "Sabka Maalik Ek" - The master/owner (God) of all is one. He had Hindu and Muslim devotees and is not reported to have particularly favoured one religion's devotees over another, though his Hindu devotees do seem to have outnumbered his Muslim devotees significantly, especially in the last period of Shirdi Sai Baba's earthly sojourn.

Sathya Sai Baba taught, "There is only one religion; the religion of Love", "There is only caste; the caste of Humanity" and "There is only one God, He is Omnipresent." Source: http://www.srisathyasai.org.in/pages/his_teachings/Unity_of_Faiths.htm.

So both the Sai Babas, Shirdi and Sathya, actively promoted unity of faiths teaching that both Hindu and Muslim faiths worshiped the same God, even if the ways of worship were different.

[I thank saibaba.org and wikipedia, and have presumed that they will not have any objections to me sharing the above extract from their website on this post which is freely viewable by all, and does not have any financial profit motive whatsoever.]

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