Sri P. S. V. Aiyer
Sri S. Hariharan
SRI SAT SAMAJ
M/s MISRA & CO.,
12, Grant Lane,
120/B, Rashbehari Avenue, Calcutta-29.
SILVER JUBILEE CELEBRATIONS
13th and 14th November 1965
at the SAMAJ and at MAHANIRVAN MUTT
113, Rash Behari Avenue, Calcutta-29.
Chairman : SHRI NARASINGA PRASAD KANJI PADHIAR
Sarvasri V. S. IYER, J. N. BOSE, N. D. IYER, S. C. MAZUM-DAR, S. RAMASWAMY IYER, PRANALAL BHAGWAN, M. L. DESAI, M. K. THAKKAR, M. S. NARAYANA IYER, MRS.M. SUNDARAM, R. APPADURAI IYER, AMULYA BIHARI SIRCAR, G. S. PARAMASIVAM, A. C. S. CHARI, K. S. VARADAN, V. R. SRINIVASAN
Hony. Treasurer : .. SRI S. B. KRISHNA
Incharge of religious services : SRI V. KRISHNAMURTHI IYER
Hony. Secretary : SRI P. S. V. AIYER
INAUGURATION by Prof : NARAYAN DAS BASU, M.Sc.,
President, Bengal Theosophical Federation,
CHIEF GUEST dr. : HIRALAL CHOPRA, M.A., D.Lrrr,
SRI SAI BABA
S. P. R. NAIDU, Founder-President
Early Life : More than ever before in the history of our great nation it has become imperative that all our brethren Hindu, Muslim, Christian or any other faith should stand together in common bond and fellowship. Looking back upon the hoary past, we come across our Akbar assembling together the Hindus and the Muslims in a common forum propounding his divine faith acceptable to both the communities to unite them into a single nationhood, a Kabir who worshipped Ram and Rahim alike and thus heralded the unity of all peoples. Coming to the recent past, no other personality is so very outstanding as the Saint of Shirdi, Sri Sai Baba who in his own inimitable silent way sought to establish this much needed unity. The very utterance of his name inspires and brightens the countless devotees all over the land. So it is but proper to make a study of this great Torch-bearer of the unity of all faiths.
Sai took his abode in a mosque at Shirdi, covered in a rag, eating what he got by begging, and resting under a margosa tree. He regarded all alike irrespective of caste, creed or religion. Like the Gopis of Brindaban who forgot themselves entirely on hearing the divine music emanating from the thrice blessed flute of Lord Krishna, Sai lost himself in ecstasy, and his actions in this ecstatic state could not be understood by us. During other moments, Sai used to visit the sick, administer his own medicines and attend to their needs, his lips would always be uttering the Holy name of Hari.
The Bestower of Gifts : After sometime he abandoned medicines but gave instead the ashes of the dhuni (fire) that he always kept burning at his mosque, because by now he had obtained the darsan and grace of Lord Vishnu whose name he was incessantly chanting.
The ashes, when smeared on body, cured all the people miraculously as the sun melts the dew. Not only did the ailing and the sick derive the benefits of Baba's treatment but even those who were mentally upset and 'possessed' were set free. Baba looked upon all as children of God and served them all alike.
Those who flocked to Shirdi consisted of people of all classes, the poor, the rich, men of position and high officials like the Revenue Commissioner, and even the great Gita commentator and famous patriot Lokamanya Bala Gangadhar Tilak.
The Guardian Angel : The people in and around Shirdi had come to the conviction that Sai was an Avatar of God Himself, come into the world to help them in their distress, support them in their works and console them in their sorrow. With the fructification of each of Baba's blessings, their faith in him increased thousand fold, and they began to make further requests to Sai Baba. Whether they were serious or trifling, not even in a single case did Baba fail to respond to their requests.
Did not Jesus Christ, the founder of Christianity sacrifice himself for the sake of redeeming the sinners ? So our Baba in order to heal the sufferings of his devotees drew such diseases on to himself from them.
The Saviour : It may be mentioned here that almost all the devotees of Baba approached him for worldly help alone and not for spiritual salvation. Baba did not despise them on that account but took effective steps to redress their grievances. Not only did he save them from disease but blessed them with children, secured for them success in their litigation, got posts and promotions to officials, procured food and clothing to the needy and blessed those with wealth who sought for it. He kindled divine consciousness in his devotees through his favours, and helped them in their spiritual progress.
The Superman : While alive, Sai Baba showered on his devotees all benefits, saved them out of difficulties and rescued them from danger. Even after his passing away, he helps them if they seek him in right earnest. Is this not wonderful ? Since Baba had been drawing on himself the diseases of all his devotees, and since he had to strain himself interminably to meet hundreds of his devotees daily and to provide for their needs in a number of ways, he grew weak and his health broke down. He was more interested in his Bhaktas than in himself and so could not think of shirking his duty by them. On 15th October, 1918, Baba cast off his worn out garments, namely, this body made of flesh, blood and bone and entered the other world (Maha Samadhi).
It is only after Sai Baba left this world that we have come to understand His greatness. Just as the sweet fragrance of a flower spreads all around even though it may be kept hidden, so Baba's glory has spread far and near and has attracted a great many people at Shirdi. It may be asserted that Baba's name and power have actually enhanced now owing to the fact that his help and guidance are as readily available now as, when Baba was alive.
The name of Sai Baba has been and is sacred to every North Indian and now South India too can boast of Sai Bhaktas who are very numerous. It is because people of those parts have realised their aims and objects by Sai worship. Hence it is no wonder that He is regarded as an Incarnation of God Himself.
SRI SAI SAMAJ, CALCUTTA
At the close of the Pujas in 1940, S. P. R. Naidu, an officer belonging to the Department of Army Factory Accounts, came on transfer to Calcutta and brought with him the message of Sai Baba. He was connected with the Divine Life Society, the Ramakrishna Mission, the Gaudiya Math and other religious organisations, and he also joined local social clubs and associations. At his instance, some local friends persuaded Shanta Apte, a Maharashtra film star, who was then in Calcutta to lead the devotees in a devotional gathering of the South India Bhajana Samaj in singing the Ram Dhun which was a song fancied by Mahatma Gandhi. Among these friends Naidu distributed Sai literature and he interested them in the life and teachings of Sri Sai Baba. Among them Sri V. S. Aiyar, the present Vice-President of our Samaj and the late S. R. Swamy of Messrs: Warner Brothers, who was then living at P/97, Lansdowne Road, Calcutta, thought of organising Sai Bhajan and they were encouraged in this effort by Naidu. While Swamy conducted Bhajan at his place at night on Tuesdays, Sri Aiyar arranged Bhajan on Saturday evenings at his residence at 120/B, Rashbehari Avenue, Calcutta. Both of them started experiencing the favours of the Master. J. P. Haran, a very good singer at Bhajans, who was then an active member of the South India Bhajana Samaj, Calcutta, joined this group and took interest in composing Sai Namavalis to be followed by devotees in such group-singing. Sri P. Gopalaswami, Vice President of the All India Sai Samaj, who was then in Calcutta, also joined the Sai devotees and organised Bhajan at his place at 63/2A, Lansdowne Road, on Thursday evenings. Naidu invited all to join Sai bhajan at his residence on Ekadasi nights.
On the first Sunday in 1941, Narayana Seva (feeding the hungry and the needy) was started at 120/B, Rashbehari Avenue with a sum of Rs. 50/- given by S. P. R, Naidu to meet the expenses for the first five Sundays. Since then this service is being maintained unbroken and without any reserve fund.
On the llth May, 1941, Sri Sai Baba Bhakta Samaj was established at P/97, Lansdowne Road, Calcutta the residence of S. R. Swamy with S. P. R. Naidu as Founder-President, S. R. Swamy and V. S. Aiyar as Joint Secretaries and the late S. R. lyengar as Hony. Treasurer. In the following month a Reading Room and Library containing Sai literature and books donated by the Divine Life Society was opened by Dr. Vijayaraghavan, Reader in Mathematics, Dacca University.
It was decided to hold the Mahasamadhi anniversary in Calcutta and invite Brahmasri B. V. Narasimhaswamy to conduct the meetings on this occasion. Sri P. Gopalaswamy and his office friend Sri Haren Ghosh provided the funds to meet the travelling expenses of Swamiji. On an open plot of land near the residence of S.R. Swamy, a canopy was erected and B. V. N. Swamiji was given a welcome in a crowded meeting at this place. K. G. Sankara lyer, Vice-President, Bharathi Tamil Sangham, Calcutta, presided. Late Himadri Kumar Ghosh, a gifted son of Sri J. N. Bose, read an address of welcome to Swamiji on this occasion. Himadri had just then recovered from a serious illness, thanks to the application of Udhi from Shirdi supplied by S. P. R. Naidu. On Vijayadasami Day, in 1941 during the Mahasamadhi over 3000 were fed from midday till night and the expenses in this connection were shared by Sri S. N. V. Visvanatha Pillai, who was then running a provision stores in Rashbehari Avenue and Sri D. Appu Rao of the Imperial Bank of India. Processions were taken out in the morning with the portrait of Sri Sai Baba. The 108 names chanted during the worship of Sri Sai Baba were printed in Bengali for free distribution. B. V. N. Swamiji delivered a series of lectures at various places between Manicktola and Ballygunge on Sai Baba and his teachings. Naidu received supplies of Udhi from Shirdi for free distribution to persons suffering from various ailments and miraculous cures and experiences were reported from many quarters. Naidu also distributed freely lockets, pictures, badges and literature on Sai Baba and a stall was opened at 83, Rashbehari Avenue, for sale of Sai literature and Sai goods, and at this address, Sri Pillai opened a cloth shop entitled Sri Jaya Stores. Message of Sai Baba was gradually gaining ground.
Meanwhile, the second Great War which had already broken out assumed grave proportions and bombing of Calcutta was expected any moment. War scare led to the exodus of many families from the city. S. R. Swamy and S. R. lyengar left Calcutta and the office of the Samaj was moved from P/97, Lans-downe Road to the residence of Sri P. Gopalaswami at 63/2A, Lansdowne Road, Calcutta. After this transfer the Samaj had entered a new phase in its career.
The exodus following the war panic in Calcutta led to the separation of breadwinners from other members of their families who left for their homes for security. S. P. R. Naidu, the President and Sri V. S. Aiyar, the then Hony. Secretary, who were left by their families joined Sri Gopalaswamy who was then living alone with his son and his nephew at 63/2A, Lansdowne Road. They formed a chummery. Sri R. A. Aiyer of the Accountant General's Office, Bengal, Rao Bahadur P. S. M. Sundaram, Dy. Director, Telegraph Store-Yard, Government of India, Calcutta, Sri K. S. Vaidyanatha lyer, a Railway Officer, Sri N. D. lyer, an Insurance Organiser and Sri J. N. Bose, Office friend of S. P. R. Naidu used to visit the group at 63/2A, Lansdowne Road, at the weekend and on Sundays and other holidays, attend Sai Puja and hold interesting discussion on Sai Baba and His teachings and on other spiritual topics. They also attended Sai Bhajan which was conducted on almost every night at this address by the son and nephew of Sri Gopalaswamy. Sri T. V. N. Swami of Messrs. Singer Sewing Machine Co., a melodious singer played a prominent role in this group-singing. Sri Naidu inspired all these activities and encouraged the Youth section. Right from the start, Sri V. Krishnamurthi lyer, an orthodox South Indian Brahmin, who had technical experience in conducting pujas and rituals attended to the daily service and arati on Sundays. Sri S. Arunachalam, Garrison Engineer of the Gun and Shell Factory at Cossipore, also participated in some of the pujas and extended his patronage to the Sunday service at 120/B, Rashbehari Avenue. Sri Naidu introduced the observance of the birthday of Swami Sivananda Saraswati of the Divine Life Society at Rishikesh and Sri Ramana Jayanti and also sending in donations to Rishikesh and to Sri Ramanashramam at Tiruvannamalai on the respective occasions.
Further visits by Sri B. V. N. Swamiji during the close of 1943 and the beginning of 1944 helped in firmly establishing our Samaj. Since 1942, Sri P. S. V. Aiyer became Hony. Secretary and continues the work as such till date at 120/B, Rashbehari Avenue, Calcutta-29.
While he was in Calcutta, S. P. R. Naidu had financed the bringing out of a publication in Bengali entitled "Maharastra Mahapurush Sri Sai Baba" by Sri J. N. Bose. Pandit Shyamlal GoSwami, popular Bengali Lantern Lecturer, having come across this book in an Akanda Nama Group in Chitpore Road area, traced our Samaj at Lansdowne Road from the address published in this book. He made coloured lantern slides on the life of Sai Baba from the illustrations found in Narasimha Swamiji's book and also slides containing statements in Bengali adapted from "Charters and Sayings of Sai Baba." He worked as our preacher in Howrah, Hooghly, Burdwan and in suburban areas till 1945 when he passed away.
Meanwhile, the Sunday Narayana seva (feeding the hungry and the needy) continued as usual at 120/B, Rashbehari Avenue, Calcutta. Rao Bahadur P. S. M. Sundaram arranged for occasional Sai Bhajan and special services at his residence. His example was followed by others. Narasimha-swamiji was invited during his visits to Calcutta for bhiksha by local devotees and small donations were offered to him for his work at the All India Sai Samaj at Madras.
With the departure of Sri P. Gopalaswamy for Madras in 1945, 120/B, Rashbehari Avenue became the permanent office of the Calcutta Sai Samaj. Centralisation of activities at 120/B, Rashbehari Avenue led the work of the Samaj to take definite shape, and work expanded by co-operating with the activities of sister organisations. Sri Sivananda Jayanti is even now being held and a sum of Rs. 50/- remitted to Rishikesh as our contribution. His Holiness Swami Sivananda Saraswati used to mail us during his life-time, special Mahasamadhi Day messages and also donate his publications to our library. Sri Ramana Jayanti is still being observed and a sum of Rs.' 10/- remitted to Sri Ramanashram for the occasion. Special Narayan Seva came to be organised at the request of local Ramana devotees. A group of ardent devotees of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharishi formed an association called the Prem Sangha and their members participated in our activities and sang Ramana Sangit in our functions. Devotees of Meher Baba, specially Sri A. C. S. Chari and Dr. G. S. N. Murthy, have also shown active interest in our work. Preachers of Gaudiya Math used to receive small donations during Janmashtami. We are also co-operating with the work of the Bangiya Satguru Sai Sangha and their activities will be discussed in details later on'. Monks like Govinda Baba, Krishnananda Brahmachari, Swami Shuddhananda Bharati, Swami Brajananda and also monks of the Divine Life Society, a saintly lady named Srimati Aparna Devi and rriany others used to visit our Samaj as they are doing so even today, and contribute to its spiritual life.
Important days like Sri Ramanavami and Guru Purnima came to be observed by organising special service, Narayana Seva (feeding the hungry and the needy) and Bhajan, and Sums of Rs. 10/- on each occasion are remitted to Shirdi Samasthan as our contribution. The duration of the Mahasamadhi celebrations has been extended to cover five days starting from Saptami and Laksharchana (commencing from the Mahalaya), daily Narayana Seva, Bhajan and religious discourses form the highlights of these celebrations. Although the Mahasamadhi concludes on Ekadasi with the observance of Punya thithi, Vijayadasami which is a holiday for all in Bengal marks the completion of the holy events. The cook, the bearer and the sweeper are rewarded with clothes for their work in the year. The congregation is treated to a sumptuous feed in the form ofprasad. Sums of Rs. 15/- to Shirdi and Rs. 10/- to the All India Sai Samaj are remitted for the occasion. The official year of the Samaj starts from the Mahasamadhi anniversary.
In December, a sum of Rs. 10/- is donated to the Sacred Heart Church in Dharamtolla Street for distribution of bread on Christmas Day in the slums in Dharamtolla parish.
Udhi is received from Shirdhi for free distribution at the Samaj. From 1945 to 1951,lockets, pictures and Sai literature were sold from Saraswati Stores at 11, Jatindas Road. Now, these can be had at the Samaj.
Rice collection has, after it became a rationed article, always presented a serious problem. We collected rice individually from door to door for some time and then tried by placing tin containers in the houses of our donors to receive a handful per day and collected on Sunday morning the week's handfuls into them. These methods have since been abandoned and a special peon book is now being sent round with the bearer of the Samaj for rice donations. The authorities have granted us a permit to buy seven kilograms per week at the Ration Shop. Although by Baba's grace every one of the three hundred that turns up on Sunday receives a square meal, we have to work hard to get barely the quantity of rice required. Lack of sufficient hands to serve the food is still our problem.
At first, water shed was conducted in summer as a private enterprise. It has since been brought under control of the Samaj and we have special donors to support this work. Since 1960, we have been receiving occasionally lump sums of money to do medical relief work. Out of this fund, medicines, treated as urgently required, are distributed to the Red Cross Society, Mother Teressa's Home and South India Club Clinic. First Aid boxes were distributed to the Refuge, a home for destitutes in Bow Bazar Street, and a local women's organisation. Arrangements have been made with a local medical store to dispense, on account of our Samaj, medicine on prescriptions of individual applicants.
The holding of the fourth session of the All India Sai Devotees' Convention in 1950 in Calcutta is an important event in the history of our Samaj. The Convention was held from the 2nd to the 4th September 1950 at the National High School at 164, Lansdowne Road. His Holiness Shri Bharathi Krishna Teerthe Maharaj Shri Sankarachaya of Govardhana Peet of Puri, inaugurated the Convention by reminding the audience of their aim and goal in life, namely, self-realization, and he held that Sai Baba was among those who awakened humanity to realize this objective. Shri J. N. Bose, Chairman, Reception Committee, delivered his welcome address in which he outlined the growth of Sai movement in Calcutta. Prof. Mahendranath Sarkar of the Calcutta University, presiding over the function, claimed that it was India's privilege to spiritualize humanity and saints like Sai Baba had incarnated to do this work.
The session concluded on the 4th September by a meeting under the President ship of Shri K. R. Radhakrishnan, Vice-President, All India Sai Samaj and Editor of "Sai Sudha". The president interpreted Sai Baba's saying "Why should any fear when I am here ?" He held that "any" meant the individual, "I" stood for the Supreme Being, and "fear" implied "the fear of the cycle of births and deaths." He urged that the saying should be taken in this universal meaning and acted upon. Shri T. V. N. Sairam Swami, a delegate, from Ootacamund, Shri V. Krishnamoorthy lyer and Shri J. P. Haran related their experiences.
Laksharchana and Bhajan were organized. Narayanaseva (feeding the needy and the hungry) was conducted on the 3rd and 4th September, 1950.
A Souvenir was published by our Samaj to commemorate the occasion.
During the last decade, the Samaj is found to have opened a new chapter in its career. It attained definite form and shape, having a Committee, a bearer, monthly bulletins and regular routine of work. In 1957, Shri V. Krishnamoorthy lyer was placed in sole charge of the daily poojas, Sunday arathi and other religious functions.
At the instance of our President, a bulletin was founded in January 1957 to circulate among the members the teachings of Sai Baba and reports of the activities of our Samaj. It also gives notice of coming celebrations. Occasional letters received from our readers show that our monthly bulletin is serving a useful purpose. The President himself suggested that the opening numbers might aim at a comparative study of Srimad Bhagavad Gita and the teachings of Sai Baba. The result was that in 1958 the Samaj compiled the contents of these bulletins and published its first work entitled SRI SAI GEETA, with a foreword by H. H. Swami Sivananda Saraswathi, Founder-President, Divine Life Society, Rishikesh.
A bearer was appointed to distribute to our local members, our monthly bulletins and the receipts for subscriptions paid in the previous month and to collect the dues for the current month. He is authorized to receive rice donations and he serves our Institution in other ways too. Compilations from our bulletins shaped out as publications entitled "PERFECT MASTERS" in 1959 and "SIDE-LIGHTS ON SAI BABA" in 1960.
In the same year was published a compilation by Sri V. Krishnamurthy lyer in Devanagri characters .of the 1000 namas, anga puja, and 108 namas of Sai Baba. A Bengali edition of this work was brought out by our Samaj jointly with the Bangiya Sitdguru Sai Sangha on the occasion of the Holy Guru Poornima in July 1963.
In 1962, a Committee was appointed to assume collective responsibility on the working of our Samaj.
Our Samaj works in close co-operation with the Shirdi Samasthan of Shri Sai Baba and the All India Sai Samaj, Madras. It is also well-known and loved by Sai Samajas, Centres and devotees all over the country.
A unique feature of our Samaj is the catholicity of its outlook. This is a special characteristic of Sri Sai Baba. This Institution lends its platform to speakers belonging to other schools also and it extends its gesture by granting donations to sister Institutions as Sri Ramanashram, Divine Life Society, Gaudiya Math, Sacred Heart Church in Dharamtolla Street, Mother Teressa's Homes, Govinda Babas Ashram in Buxara etc. Its breadth of outlook and its altruistic services have won for this organisation universal esteem and popularity and it also trains its members in cultivating these virtues for achieving the common good.
The history of the Calcutta Sai Samaj will be incomplete if it does not report the work of the Bangiya Sadguru Sai Sangha. On the 1st January 1944 Bangiya Sadguru Sai Sangha was founded at 1/24, Prince Ghulam Mohamed Road, Ballygunge, where Mr. J.N. Bose was then living. Mr. Bose, an office friend of S. P. R. Naidu, had visited Shirdi and is a devotee of Sai Baba. He published articles in Bengali on Sai Baba in the "Chayanika" and in the magazine section of the "Ananda Bazar Partrika", and also a book entitled "Maharashtra Mahapurush Sri Sai Baba". His gifted son, Himadri Kumar Bose produced publications in Bengali entitled "Aloukik Sadhu Sai Baba" (Wondrous Saint Sai Baba), "Sai Baba Sadanabani", selections from 'Charters and Sayings' and "Kalpataru Sai Baba" (Devotees' experiences). Mr. Bose had also for some time written the Bengali section to "Sai Sudha", Madras. With the passing away of Himadri Bose in his early years, more books could not be written in Bengali. This organization brought out in Bengali 108 'namas' of Sai Baba as also the 1000 'namas'. The Sangha organizes special service during the Ramanavami and Mahasamadhi and it celebrates the holy Gurupurnima, jointly with our Samaj.
On the 4th September 1950, Shri P. Gopalswami, who was in Calcutta to participate in the Convention declared open a tablet at the Himadri Memorial Sai Mandir at 10/1/U, Swinhoe Street, Ballygunge, Calcutta-19.
The present address of this organization is 11, Swinhoe Street, Ballygunge, Calcutta-19. It cooperated with our Samaj in holding the fourth session of the All India Sai Devotees' Convention in 1950 in Calcutta. Mr. J. N. Bose acted as Chairman of the Reception Committee on the occasion. He also now serves as a member of the Committee of our Samaj. He donated Rs. 100/- towards a publication in Bengali containing the 1000 namas, 108 namas and 'anga puja’ of Sai Baba. This was released in 1963 on the occasion of the holy Gurupurnima.
The Sangha sends donations to Shirdi and Madras on important occasions and it brings out, during the Ramanavami, an annual report which also contains the statements of experiences of devotees of Sai Baba. Udhi, lockets and pictures of Sai Baba and Sai literature in Bengali, can be had at the Bangiya Sadguru Sai Sangha at 11, Swinhoe Street, Ballygunge, Calcutta-19.
We conclude by acknowledging that it has been possible for our Institution to rise to its present stature, within this quarter of a century, and spread its influence far and wide only by the grace and infinite mercy of Sri Sai Baba, the hard and self-denying labours of the pioneers, and the whole-hearted support and kind co-operation of all devotees to whom we pay our humble salutations.
THE SILVER JUBLEE of our Samaj, the outstanding event of the year 1965, took place on the 13th and 14th November, by our holding special service, bhajan, and Narayan Seva at the Samaj, taking out prabhat pheri (morning procession) on the 14th and organising a conference of devotees on both the days at the Maha Nirvan Mutt, 113, Rashbehari Avenue, Calcutta-29.
The function opened in the evening of the 13th November at the Mutt with Prayer and the reading of an address of welcome by Shri N. K. Padhiar, our President, who acted as Chairman of the Reception Committee. The address outlined the mission and teachings of Sri Sai Baba and showed how far our Samaj had, within these twenty-five years, followed up his work and spread his message in this city. Text of the welcome address is published elsewhere.
Prof. Narayan Das Basu, President, Bengal Theosophical Federation, inaugurating the function, discussed the advent of Avatars like Sri Krishna and Sai Baba and showed how they helped us in our spiritual progress. By quoting from the Bhagavad Gita and the Sayings of Sai Baba, he brought out the striking resemblance in the teachings of both these illustrious figures.
Dr. Hiralal Chopra, the Chief Guest, spoke about the hollowness and superficiality of aparavidya (secular education) and stressed the need for supplementing this by self-study in the light of the messages given by Avatars like Sri Sai Baba.
Greetings received for the occasion were read, and the function closed for the day with Arathi.
Special Bhajan was organised at night on the 13th at the Samaj and this was well attended. Prabhat pheri was taken out on the 14th at 6 a.m. from the Samaj up to Maha Nirvan Mutt where the forenoon session was held. Sri J. N. Bose of the Bangiya Sadguru Sai Sangha, also a member of our Committee, delivered a speech in Bengali on Baba. The speaker discussed the glory of Sai Baba, the miraculous experiences of his devotees and the work of Sri Sai Samaj, Calcutta and of the Bangiya Sadguru Sai Sangha in spreading the message of the Master in this city for the past twenty-five years.
Swami Shri Sarangapani Acharya of Shri Narayan Ashram of Brindavan gave a discourse in Hindi on the glories of Sriman Narayana, on His Grace and on the Avatarhood of Sri Sai Baba.
Meanwhile, special Pooja was organised at the Samaj and it was followed by Narayana Seva (feeding the hungry and the needy).
In the afternoon session at the Mutt, Sri V. S. Aiyar, Vice-President of our Samaj, made a rational and scientific approach, in a paper read on the occasion to Baba, his powers, the value of the Guru and experiences.
Swami Shri Krishnananda Brahmachari, disciple of Her Holiness Ananda Mayee Ma and builder of a temple to Lord Krishna at Ranaghat, moved and inspired the audience by devotional music rendered in his melodious voice. Kumari Jayasree Bose, grand-daughter of Shri J. N. Bose gave a dance performance which was appreciated by the audience. The function closed with Arathi.
Shri Sudhir Chandra Bose, Sarkar of the Maha Nirvan Mutt, who had himself lived in Bombay and known about Sai Baba, declared how happy he felt at our engaging the Mutt served by him for the purpose of holding the Conference.
'History of Sri Sai Samaj, Calcutta' (1940-1965), reprint of 'Maharasht-er Mahapurush Sri Sai Baba' (IV Edition) in Bengali by J. N. Bose and 'Vichitra Yogi Sai Baba' in Hindi, an adaptation of 'Wondrous Saint Sai Baba" in English by B.V.N. Swamiji,were released for sale at the Conference along with lockets. Copies of 'History of Bangiya Sadguru Sai Sangha' were distributed freely among the devotees.
While rendering our thanks to our Master Sri Sai Baba for favouring us with smooth functioning of the occasion, we also acknowledge the kind cooperation of Babu Tarini Charan Nandi, Manager, Maha Nirvan Mutt and his staff, Professor Narayandas Basu and Dr. Hiralal Chopra, other speakers and Swamijis and the young artist, Kumari Jayasree Bose as also the girl volunteers, particularly the daughters of Sm. Meenakshi Sundaram, and Sri S.Hari Haran who photographed principal events, all striving hard in making our Silver Jubilee a grand success.
Welcome Address by Shri N.K.Padhiar, Chairman, Silver Jubilee Reception Committee, Sri Sai Samaj, Calcutta delivered on the 13th November, 1965, at Maha Nirvan Mutt, 113, Rash Behari Avenue, Calcutta-29 :—
"It gives me great pleasure to extend a very cordial welcome to you all to participate in the Silver Jubilee of our Samaj which had been serving the public in this historic city. It is our object to propagate the message of our Master, and in doing so, we try, as far as we can, to follow up the mission for which He incarnated among us.
SAI BABA never aimed at founding a new religion or school of thought, but, He expects everyone of us to rightly understand our scriptures and act up to them; at the same time He loves to see us live in a spirit of brotherliness with the followers of other faiths. Our Samaj has always pursued this policy by fraternising with other religionists and societies. Sai Baba stretches out His hand to the staggerer by conferring material benefits on him and then He awakens the understanding of the satisfied man to the power, wisdom and mercy of God. Our Samaj follows this example by serving the hungry, the thirsty, the sick and the dispirited and then, it throws light on the path of the pilgrim groping in the dark by broadcasting the teachings of the Master.
We are singularly fortunate in getting Prof.Narayan Das Basu to inaugurate this function. He is a brilliant educationist among the students, but as President, Bengal Theosophical Federation, he acts as our real guide and teacher by setting before us an example of leading a selfless, spiritual life. Dr. Hiralal Chopra has connection with numerous local religious and cultural organisations, and he employs his scholarship and talents in ministering to our higher and finer needs. It is a boon to have among us these two distinguished personages and we are grateful to Sai Baba for this.
It is not given to everyone even to dream of worshipping SRI SAI BABA, nor can any or every man serve the Master unless He wills it. Participation in the Silver Jubilee of an organization founded in His holy name does not occur often in one's life, and it comes as a gift to those chosen to have His Grace. Friends, today, you and I are favoured with the splendid opportunity of sharing in this work. May our faith in Him grow stronger and may that faith lead us on to heights still to attain!"
Kavi Yogi Swami Sri Shuddhananda Bharathi, Yoga Samaj, Adyar, Madras-20
"Very happy to hear about the Silver Jubilee of Sai Samaj, Calcutta. The land of Ramakrishna and Chaitanya knows how to revere a saint like Sai... Sai Baba is one of our incarnate divinities. He was not a writer or a speaker... He was beyond words and thought. He was the Truth as it is and love as it must manifest. Such silent dynamic souls do not disappear with the body. Sai's cosmic force still acts and saves thousands. He is beyond silver and gold. Let us remember His love, meditate on His glory and pray for His grace today.
Shivananda Swami, Swargasrani, Shivanandanagar
"God bless Silver Jubilee .celebrations with grand success."
H. H. Saipadananda Swami Sri Radhakrishna, Sri Sai Spiritual Centre, Bangalore.
"Am extremely happy to receive kind invitation to Silver Jubilee to be held with the co-operation of the Bangiya Sadguru Sai Sangha. "Your Samaj has seen twenty-five years of a very useful life in the service of humanity. This shows your and your colleagues', members' and managing body's enthusiasm, untiring faith, and selfless effort in serving the cause undertaken by Rev. Narasimha Swamiji in all humility.I am delighted to see that you are able to bring out a Hindi edition of "Wondrous Saint Sai Baba" by Rev. Narasimha Swamiji......
"Baba's torch of love in our beloved Narasimha Swamiji's hand is before you all. May this shine ever and ever in full glory to serve our nation and all.
"May His boundless mercy and grace flow everywhere in our land and spread the world over, bringing peace and good-will among all.
"With loving pranams and prayer for success of the Celebrations."
H. H. Swami Kesaviah, Sri Sai Baba Bhakta Samajam (Regd), Sri Sai Nilayam, 116F, Shenoynagar, Madras-30.
"Am aware that your Samaj has been doing splendid work in the propagation of Sai faith.
I "Baba's life was the quintessence of the highest teachings of great religions... His life of unsurpassed purity, boundless love steadfast pursuit of noble ideals, and dynamic energy had and still have influence on his devotees. Every one of us should strive to put them into practice and bring glory to Sai Baba who is still watching his devotees with a vigilant eye.
"To-day India is in a critical situation. It is our duty to stand by the Government and do our best and also pray to Sai Baba for victory.
"With Baba's blessings to one and all that gather at the function and my humble namaskarams.'.
G. T. Karnik, Chitra_Vihar, B. S. Road, Dadar, Bombay.
"Fervently wish the function great success."
Smt. Mani Sahukar, 39F, Hill Road, Bandra, Bombay.
"Felicitations and good wishes for all"
Inaugural address delivered by Prof. Narayan Das Basu, M.Sc., President, Bengal Theosophical Federation, on the 13th November, 1965, at Mahanirvan Mutt, Calcutta-29.
Before we begin our proceedings, let us pay our homage and surrender in all humility to Lord Sri Sai Nath, who out of infinite compassion incarnated among us and kindled our spiritual aspiration, and pray that He may graciously guide us in our deliberations and in the fulfilment of His mission. Om Namo Bhagavathe Sri Sai Nathaya.
Brothers, we have assembled here to celebrate the Silver Jubilee of Sri Sai Samaj, Calcutta, in co-operation with Bangiya Sad Guru Sai Sangha. The Samaj is an altruistic and religious organisation conducted by the devotees of Sri Sai Baba working selflessly and in humility. The members are wise and intensely devotional, and out of their innate generosity they invited me to inaugurate this function. I know that I am thoroughly unworthy of the task entrusted to me, but thinking that -"the sages are compassionate to the humble and lowly", I venture to stand before you in the name of Sri Sai Baba.
The members of the Samaj who are all Sai devotees, are silent workers and humble servants of humanity. They have been feeding the hungry, which they call Narayana Seva, rendering medical aid.to the needy, monetary aid to the poor and the destitute for the past twenty-five years. Above all, they conduct bhajan and prayer for the welfare of the sick and the afflicted and distribute freely Udhi, pictures and lockets to arouse spiritual consciousness in all the people. This service, material and spiritual, is their life. This altruism is a sure indication of their spirituality. We may enquire how in these days of trial and tribulation, worries and struggles, these devotees are able to sustain themselves and keep up their spiritual level.
They are, according to the language of SrimadBhagavad Gita, Gnani the wise and filled with devotion. They are endowed with proper attitude of mind and heart.
Lord Krishna taught his friend and disciple Arjuna :
"The wise, filled with devotion, worship Me understanding that I am the creator of all and evolver of everything in the universe". "Mind, full of Me, life surrendered to me, illuminating each other, and conversing about Me, they remain contented and happy". "To those ever harmonious, worshipping Me in love I give Buddhi Yoga, the yoga of discrimination by which they come unto me". "Out of pure compassion for them, dwelling within their self, I destroy the ignorance-born darkness by the dazzling light of wisdom". Thus we can see that Lord Sai Nath seated in their hearts dispels the darkness of ignorance by the dazzling light of wisdom. These devotees are not affected by earthly disturbances, for Sal Baba bears their burden for them.
Sai Baba has taught :
"If any one casts his burden on me and thinks of me, I look after all his concerns."
"In the abode of my devotees, there is no dearth of food and clothing."
Lord Krishna taught Arjuna :
"To those who worship Me alone thinking of no other, to those ever harmonious, I bring full security by supplying all their needs and preserving all their belongings."
Teachings of Sai Baba and Sri Krishna are identical. We may quote a few more examples :
Sai Baba taught :
"If one ever meditates on me, repeats my name, sings my deeds and is thus transformed into me, karma of such a person is destroyed. I always stay by his side". "Those who renouncing all actions in Me, intent of Me, worship Me with wholehearted yoga, I lift up speedily from the ocean of life and death. Place thy mind in Me, O Partha, into Me let thy reason enter, then without doubt, shalt thou abide in Me for ever", says the Geeta.
Baba says: "I am God (Allah), I am Mahaluxmi, I am Dattatreya, I am Luxmi-Narayana, I am Krishna, I am attributeless, Absolute, nirguna. I am Parvardhigar."
Lord Krishna says: "I am the Self seated in the heart of all beings. I am Vishnu, Vasudeva and Sri Krishna. Having created the whole universe with a fragment of mine, I remain."
"However men approach Me, even so do I welcome them, for the path men take from every side is Mine."
Brothers, all these teachings come from the same source, the spiritual hierarchy of Adepts, Lord Krishna, Sri Chaitanya, Sri Ramakrishna Parama-hansa and Sri Sai Baba all are manifestations, more or less veiled, of the same Divine Principle. In Theosophical par lance we term this principle Second Logos which is the same as Maha Vishnu. Each one of us is a tiny spark of that Divine Fire. The spark has the same potentiality and the force possibility as the Fire itself. It has come out of the Fire and to the Fire shall it return in the end.
Sages of old declared in the Upanishads "That Divine Principle is Truth. Just as from the blazing fire thousands upon thousands of sparks of the same nature come out, even so, O Soumya, (sage) infinite varieties of creatures come out of the eternal flame and return to it and merge within it."
Although every one of us is a spark of Divine Fire, in the process of our descent from divinity, that is, involution from spirituality into material existence, the spark becomes so thickly veiled that we are not conscious of it. There is doubtless a constant urge on the part of the separated being to be restored to its pristine glory by union with the source which in its turn attracts the spark continuously. For possessing this akershan sakthi, the Lord is named Sri Krishna. The union of the spark with the fire, jivatma with Paramatma is the consummation of the drama of creation. A self-conscious being can hasten that union. The devotees of any manifestation of Maha Vishnu form a special type and their quest is for union with the Lord. The quest for union of the Gopikas with their beloved Sri Krishna is depicted in ecstatic music in Srimad Bhagavad. Gopikas including Sri Radha are jivatmas, said to have meditated for thousands of years in their previous incarnations, everyone, for union solely and alone with him. Each one desires nothing but the fulfilment of the longing cherished through so many incarnations. It is the only object of her existence.
A Master has said: "He who is on the path exists not for himself, but for others. He has forgotten himself in order that he may serve them". In other words, this is realising the presence of Divinity everywhere and all around. Brothers of Sri Sai Samaj feel the presence of Narayana in everyone and in everything, and serving him in the hungry they called Narayana seva. Swami Vivekananda also had the same vision. He asks: 'Where can you find God if you leave Him when He manifests himself in diverse forms before you ? He serves God who loves God's creatures." Sai devotees serve the destitute and the afflicted and administer spiritual balm to one and all. They distribute udhi, ashes of the sacrificial fire, the touch of which kindles regeneration. Lord Siva made the ashes his ornaments. This udhi not only gives physical healing to a person, but it grants spiritual progress.
Seated in the mosque in Shirdi, the temple of Divine Wisdom, Sai Baba declared that anybody climbing its steps will be absolved of his karma. These steps can be a clean life physical, (mental and moral), an open mind (free from prejudice) and a pure heart (devoted to the service of God).
Masters do not care for anything except helping us in evolution. If we prepare ourselves to participate in this work, our progress will be rapid.
Sai devotees are helping God's creatures in the path of progress and I revere them in my heart of hearts by quoting a prayer of Saint Narottam Das to Sri Chaitanya Dev.
"Sing the glory of Sri Hari blissfully. Meditate on Brindhavana, seat of the Divine. Meditate on Lalitha, Visakha and gopis, consorts of the Lord who are embodiments of Love Immortal."
"Worship Jai Rup, Sanatana, Bhatta Raghunath, Srijiva, Gopal Bhatta, Das Raghunath, the six devotees of Sri Chaitanya.
These six devotees of Sri Chaitanya living in Brindhavana disclosed the eternal Leela of the Lord. I am the slave of Him whose devotees are these six Goswamis. I prostrate before them and worship them in all humility."
Brothers, I worship in the same way Sai devotees in all humility and I prostrate before Sri Sai Baba as his slave.
In the name of Lord Sai Nath I declare open this august Jubilee Celebration of Sri Sai Samaj".
Note : The speaker recited in Sanskrit the Gita verses of which translation is only given. The Sanskrit original is omitted—Editor.
Speech delivered by our Chief Guest Dr. Hiralal Chopra, M.A. D.Litt., of the Calcutta University, on the 13th November, 1965, at Mahanirvan Mutt, 113, Rasfabehari Avenue, Calcutta-29.
'In the present materialistic set up of society it has become more or less a fashion to deprecate religion and scoff at the spiritual aspect of it. Hollowness and superficiality which have gained importance ultimately misguide a person from his true path. We have become expert in considering the non-essential aspect of religion to be the religion. We formulate dogmas against religion and profess it to be a religion more orthodox than the established religions of the world. We do not try to realise the "Ego" but like an escapist go on denouncing those who have realised it. This is in another sense a philosophy of life-negation. The erstwhile significance of the values of life is now being thrown into oblivion and we are very much after coining fresh values which distract us from the right path.
We look after every component of our very being except the SELF. We pay very much heed to the development of the body, mind and the intellect; but we seldom understand that this development can respond favourably only when we delve deep in the realization of the Self.
It has been an irony of fate that those who understood themselves were very much misundertood by the people around. Socrates, Christ, Mohammed, Buddha, Sankara, Ramana Maharshi, Dayanand, Ramakrishna, Ramat'hirtha, Sai Baba and Meher Baba as also Bahaulla and others of this heirarchy had to suffer persecution for the improper appraisal of them by the world at large.
The biggest and the smallest unit which should unravel the mystery to us is our own Self. By a particular discipline conforming to our aptitudes and inclinations, we have to pave the way for our self-realisation and expand the Self which has been imprisoned in water-tight compartments of "my family", "my language", "my State" and "my country". This Self is omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient over which we have deliberately cast heaps of curtains and veils, so that it should remain far away from its true goal. These veils are to be removed by the activating guidance of realised souls. If I have a mirror in my hand on which dust and dirt are thickly settled and which is constantly moving before me, I shall not be able to see my face in it. How can I see my SELF if my attentions are not properly concentrated towards my goal ? First, I must cleanse the mirror, then hold it fast before me and also realise that the reflection seen within it is my own. So when a human being fails to realise himself, it is due to *mal, vikshepa and avarcma. There is so much dirt of worldliness, affection and sophistry settled on my soul that only the miraculous grace of a Perfect Master like Sai Baba can make it re-shine and by our constant discipline and sadhana.
Even when the mind becomes clean that it can neither think of anything wrong nor perpetrate it, it is essential to become concentrated so that all its energies can be converged on the single point of seeking the Self. When this stage is also achieved we have to become conscious of the limitless powers that inherently belong to the Self. Due to our continuous awe about Nature and our inferiority complex, we fail to rise to the occasion and fail to realize our true Self even though it aspires to achieve the Limitless. Even at this stage the grace of a realised soul is needed to inspire and enthuse the individual soul. For the cleansing of the soul, our egotism, our secular knowledge attained in this world, our material and social status have all to be relinquished, and we have to make an assessment of ourselves, divested of our so-called worldly embellishments. Sai Baba did not obtain a degree from any university, but his attainments baffled the graduates. Virtually we learn in the world in order to unlearn ourselves. It is only on a clean slate that something can be written and this slate is cleansed brightly by the divinely-taught Sai Baba, who can imprint indelible impressions on the Self by broadening its scope and comprehension so that it might see within itself the entire universe instead of "my family", "my language", "my religion", "my State" or "my country" and therein may reside the whole Creation about which the Upanishads say :
"Isavasyam idam sarvam" (Verily all this is God.)
Sai Baba can help us traverse the path of many months within a few moments, and reach the goal provided there is complete surrender on our part. If Janaka could get his "realisation" in the twinkling of an eye by his complete surrender to Ashtavakra, there is no reason why we also should not get it. Alas, spirituality has sunk deep in Churchianity. Religion has succumbed to dogmatism. Essentials have become casualty of non-essentials.
* dirt of distraction, inconstancy and veil of ignorance
We, who are celebrating the Jubilee of Sri Sai Samaj of Calcutta, must take stock of our achievements and find out if we have really transformed, if not transmuted, ourselves according to the teachings of Sai Baba. If not, it is high time that we start afresh and run the race for Self-realisation. One who declares, "I am God", actually annihilates all consciousness about his elemental body before declaration. He attunes himself to the Eternal Self and he can then only proclaim that "He is God."
Every Age has been favoured with such Enlightened Souls, and our Age was fortunate in having Sri Sai Baba who though not present here in his mortal frame, ever abides with us spiritually in all our nobler ventures. All homage to the Perefct Master Sai Baba with prayers that He may lead us
'From Untruth to Truth,
From Darkness to Light,
From Death to Immortality. '
Translation of Speech in Hindi delivered by H. H. Swami Sarangapani Acharya, of Sri Narayan Asram, Brindavan, on the 14th Nov. 1965, at Mahanirvan Mutt, 113, Rashbehari Avenue, Calcutta-29.
Pranams to the President, Sri Sai Samaj, Calcutta, for affording me the opportunity to address a congregation of earnest and sincere devotees on this occasion. Saints do good to everyone and their very nature is benevolence. One may control even God by tapas. Banasura could move the great Lord Siva by his tapas. Obtaining from the Lord Power to destroy anyone, he wished to test his power on Lord Siva Himself. The Lord had to flee from Banasura and it was Lord Krishna, who eventually rescued Lord Siva and destroyed Banasura.
Compassion is the essential quality of saints. So great was the compassion of the Saint of Shirdi that I know from my own experience, he distributed freely gifts, by his powers, to all those who came to him. He cured the incurable by means of the udhi (holy ashes), bestowed children on the childless and granted many other favours to his devotees. He looked after all his devotees and their families. His powers as antaryamin were so great that he could read the minds of others, tell them of their past lives and help them square up their accounts of bad karma. He could be seen at various places at the same time by his devotees. Sai Baba had also enormous powers to save any one from death. Thousands thronged around him in the Masjid where he was staying. His method of kindling in man devotion to God is too subtle for words. He first of all granted a temporal favour to a man and bound him by gratitude. Then he helped the man change his gratitude into devotion to God.
His God-realisation was so great that he could declare: "lam Easwar." He granted vision to devotees of Sri Ram, Sri Krishna and Dattatreya, according to the form in which they worshipped the Lord. He led a hard and simple life and set the example of whatever he taught. He gave away to others all the money he received from his devotees. He advised his devotees to feed the hungry and the needy. He begged his food from particular houses. He was a Parama Bhagavatha (greatest devotee of the Lord).
A special feature of Sai Baba is that his devotees belong to various communities, Hindus, Muslims, Parsis and Christians. They worship Sai Baba after their own particular ways.
Even after Sai Baba had attained Mahasamadhi in Shirdi, reports are received of devotees getting visions of him and guidance and favours. Sai Baba gave assurance of all these when he was living and now we see the fulfilment of his assurance. He told them all: "Cast all your burdens on Me and I shall bear them."
There are saints who have great powers, but Sai Baba is great because he used his powers, as a Samartha Sad Guru, to change miraculously the very life and outlook of many a devotee for the better, and he is still doing the same. To a beginner he acts as a Guru, if only the approach is made with the utmost devotion. He is still said to be manifesting in his pictures. He guides, moulds and shapes the very nature of his devotees along right lines as an ideal Sad Guru."
The speaker concluded his lecture with Narayana Nama Sankirtan.
Translation of Speech in Bengali delivered by Shri J. N. Bose of the Bangiya Sad Guru Sai Sangha on the 14th November 1965 at Maha Nirvan Mutt, 113, Rash Behari Avenue, Calcutta-29.
Rev: President and all devotees who have assembled here today :
Your presence here is a source of profound inspiration to us all in our work of propagating the teachings of Sri Sai Baba and spreading Sai Bhakti in Bengal, nay, of Northern India. Hence I, on behalf of the Reception Committee of the Silver Jubilee, render my grateful thanks to one and all of you.
Sri Sri Sai Baba is an outstanding embodiment of the synthesis of all religions and he is an Incarnation of God preaching love and devotion (Prem and Bhakti) to humanity at large. Bengal is the most appropriate field for propagating the principal tenets of Sri Sri Sai Baba because it is well-known to all that Bengal, the land of Love and Devotion and synthesis of all religions had produced Sri Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Sri Sri Ramakrishna Pramahamsa, Sri Swami Vivekananda, Sri Sri Prabhupada Bijoy Krishna Goswami. They were also the very embodiment of Love and Devotion and they flooded the land with teachings which are identical with what we receive from the holy Peeth of Shirdi. These God-Incarnates preached "Hari Nam"—Name of Lord Hari, kindness for all and Love of God's Name—Jive Daya, Name Ruchi. The whole atmosphere of Bengal is surcharged with the spirit of the Religion of Love. Sky, air, water are still reverberating with these teachings of love and synthesis of all religions (Jatomat, thate path). All religions have different paths but they all lead to the same goal, viz: Godhead.
The underlying principles of God Sai Baba's teachings were catholicity of all religions and love for all creatures. The poor were dearer to his heart. Feeding the hungry people was the basic idea of his religion. Now you may understand how Bengal has become the best and most appropriate field for propagating the tenets preached by the Prophet of Dwarakamayee.
The poor and the distressed were looked upon as Gods by Sri Baba in the same way as other God-men of Bengal, namely, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and others named above. They worshipped God through service to all creatures of the world. All these incarnations of God preached that one should look upon any creature as God, that is, Jiva should be treated as an embodiment of Shiva.
When I had the good fortune and rare privilege of visiting Dwarakamayee of the Shirdi Peeth, the seat of Sri Baba, in 1943,1 was astonished to notice that in this Mandir, Hindus are worshipping with the sounds of bells, the Muslims are saying their Namaz side by side with the Hindus and the Parsis worshipping the Holy Fire (Dhuri) in the same place! I could not at first believe my eyes because at that time the beating of drums by the side of mosques was prohibited in Bengal by Government. The sounding of bell and cymbal in a Hindu home by the side of the mosque led to riots in Bengal at that time. I have not yet been able to forget the wonder of wonders seen there, till today. Further, Baba used to feed the poor with all the dakshinas (offering of money) he got daily from his devotees without retaining a paisa for himself and he lived on two pieces of coarse bread made of bajra he got by begging from four particular houses. Thus he proved himself a living example of selfless service to the poor. This lesson was taught by Sri Sri Thakur Paramahamsa Deb, Sri Sri Bijoy Krishna Goswami and Swami Vivekananda.
Sri Baba relieved the diseases of suffering humanity by giving medicine but later on he only administered the holy 'Udhi' (ashes of the everburning dhuni at Dwarakamayee) to the sick and the suffering. Like Sri Sri Gouranga Mahaprabhu he used to train his devotees in his principles of religion by following what he preached : by serving humanity—Apan Achari Dharma Apare Sekhay.
In 1940, Sri Sai Samaj and Bangiya Sadguru Sai Sangha were established in Calcutta by the South Indian and Bengalee devotees, closely co-operating with each other. The same spirit of mutual help and co-operation is still pervading both the institutions which have grown considerably during the last two decades and a half. His Holiness Revered Narasimha Swamiji had furnished the necessary inspiration and support to these two sister institutions by his visits to this city in 1941, 1943 and 1944 when he organized Sai puja and delivered valuable lectures in many parts of this city. These two institutions have carried Sri Baba's message all over Assam, Northern India, Delhi and even in foreign countries like U.K. and West Germany. The Bangiya Sai Sangha preaches Sai devotion amongst the Bengali-speaking people in Bengali while the Calcutta Sai Samaj does the work in English language through publication of books and organizing lectures. The Sangha has published twelve pamphlets on the Life and Teachings of Sri Baba besides 1000 holy Names (Sahasranam ), 108 holy Names ( Ashtothram ) of Sai Baba and the 'Puja Bidhi' in Bengali and accounts of experiences of devotees. Hundreds among Bengali devotees still have vision of Sri Baba in dreams and they receive guidance in their difficulties. This is a real statement and not a myth. Sri Narasimha Swamiji, when he visited Calcutta, taught me to look upon Sri Baba as Lakshmi Narayan. This fact has been realized in life. Baba rightly reminds us of the declaration Yoga Kshema Vahamyaham in terms of the holy Gita, Giver of Unexpected boons and preserver of boons. Sri Baba has been addressed in Sahasranam as Mrita Suta Punara Neetaya nama (Salutations to the bringer of the dead back to life). Baba's assurances have also been found true in the lives of numerous Bengali devotees.
In the light of the words of Avatar Meher Baba, "I have come to awaken and not to teach", let us pray that Baba's teachings may awaken in us God-Realization in our own lives. I shall, therefore, repeat only ten immortal sayings of Sri Baba for the guidance of all devotees and humanity at large :
1. Always speak the truth.
2. Help the poor and the needy.
3. Never speak ill of others.
4. Never envy others' riches.
5. Always labour; shun idleness.
6. Never insult the poor.
7. Be content with what God has given you.
8. Always think of God and utter His Name.
9. Why do you fear, when I am here?
10. Cast all your burdens on me and I shall bear them.
I would, therefore, appeal to all the devotees present here to take oath today to obey implicitly the above-mentioned Ten Commandments of God Sri Sri Sai Baba who has undoubtedly proved himself a 'KALPATHARU' (Bestower of all wishes).
"OM NAMO BHAGAVATE SAI NATHAYA".
Paper read by Sri V. S. Aiyar, Vice-President, Sri Sai Samaj, Calcutta, on the 14th November, 1965, at Maha Nirvan Mutt, 113, Rash Behari Avenue, Calcutta-29 :
"In speaking about Sri Sai Baba of Shirdi, one of the greatest Avatars of our times, it is indeed difficult to present before you an all-embracing picture of his multi-phased personality except in a very sketchy way. I do not pretend that my knowledge is adequate to understand him in his entirety; but just as in these days of all-round scarcity, we have to manage with what we have, rather than what we wish to have, my impressions of the Great Master may be much the same as a lighted taper by the side of the blazing sun. "Others abide our question, Thou art free; We ask and ask, Thou smilest and art still"— M. Arnold,
Before we go to Sai Baba, however, let us try to get an idea of ourselves, so that we may understand him better. It is one of the paradoxes that we know a lot more about many things under the Sun except ourselves.
EVOLUTION : This human body of ours in no mere piece of matter, but a specially developed organism at a high level of evolution. According to the theory of Evolution, life started as a single-celled organism evolving gradually to multi-celled species, and this evolutionary journey took our ancestors millions of years. We have thus behind us a series of past lives, not merely as human beings, but even as animals of the Mammalian group. According to modern biology, the whole of Nature is in a continuous process of evolution in which the character of any phase is determined by what it is which is evolving. Science has, in the course of its own independent investigations, come to adopt the philosophical position that the finale of the completed series of evolution is God. Though God transcends the process of development, He is also necessarily immanent in and throughout the process.
At the state of development reached by man, he achieves self-awareness and claims the distinctions of rationality. The essence of man is that he is a knowing being, a thinking animal. While instincts for defence and reproduction may exist in the lower species, the capacity for thought is the distinguishing feature of man. Thus man with his conscious mind and intellectual capacities eventually emerged as a result of the process of evolution.
Each one of us is, therefore, in a certain stage of evolution quite distinct from that of others. Our essential nature is such that with a few exceptions all men are different in all details, physical and mental. Individualism is more distinct in the human species than in any other kind, and much of the hate so rampant in human relations springs from this essential human diversity and our failure to accept and understand it. We must accept the differences and make the most of them, rather than gloss over them or pretend they are not there. Beings are born in this world under conditions which will give them opportunities to develop those qualities needed by them.
KARMA : Ever since man emerged as a knowing, thinking being, distinct and separate as an individual, he has been performing actions through thought, word and deed. This is called Karma. The Law of Karma simply states that every action of ours is followed by a reaction of the same kind. If, for instance, we sow the seed of a margosa tree in our garden, the outgrowth will surely be a margosa plant in due course. However, not realising this fundamental fact of Nature, we have been too prone in the course of the numerous past lives to be very liberal in the sowing of undesirable seeds in our garden, and when the seeds eventually produced a bumper crop of margosa or cactus, metaphorically speaking, we looked longingly and enviously at our neighbour's garden laden with fruit trees of alphanzos, apples and oranges — and what is more, blamed God for the most cruel and invidious distinction He was showing.
As our minds are continuously thinking, and action follows as a corollary, and every action has to have a reaction, it follows that by the time one Janma ends in this world, the fruits of all our Karmas, good or bad,could not be enjoyed or suffered. A balance thus accumulates to be worked out in a future Janma. When we consider the number of Janmas we have passed, through all this revolutionary period of millions of years, we may have some idea of the enormous accumulation of Karma still to be worked out. This great mass of Karma hovers over the ego containing more evil than good, and is called Sanchita Karma. Prarabdha refers to that part of Sanchita which has been selected to be worked out in the present incarnation. There is the present Karma which we are constantly making. It is the Karma of the second type, Prarabdha, which the astrologer tries to read, and his calculations are invalidated by intrusions from the other two varieties.
Now, we understand why people are suffering from one thing or other and clamouring for relief. They have no recollection of their past lives, and even assuming they have, what use is the knowledge that you owe creditors ten lakhs of rupees when you have not even Savings Bank Account with a minimum balance of Rs. 5/- to call your own? Creditors, as a rule, are an offensive lot; they have no decency with them; no consideration for your being a decent, respectable citizen with a family of growing children, a sickly wife and a pay quite incompatible with the cost of living index. But the hearts of creditors are not made of flesh and blood, but of bullet-proof steel plates. They are inexorable, unrelenting. So is the Law of Karma.
BABA'S CHARTERS : This, then, is our background. During all our waking hours we live under the oppression of our Karma and we are at the end of our wits trying to solve our problems. "It is darkest before dawn" says the proverb. For those who awoke to the call from Sai Baba of Shirdi, the darkest hour had passed. "This is Dwaraka Mayi of ours in which you are sitting," said Sai Baba. "This is not a mosque, it is Dwaraka. As soon as one climbs the steps of the mosque, sufferings due to Karma are at an end and joy begins. Highly merciful is the Masudi Ayi. My master told me to give bounteously to all that ask, and I have come to give such good things to the devotees".
From a whole volume of Baba's Charters and Sayings, just the above words have been chosen as representative of the uniqueness, the peculiarity of Sri Sai Baba. Great Masters differ in their methods of approach to human problems. Sai Baba of Shirdi solved the problems submitted to him on the basis of supreme compassion, not inquisition, "You devotees are my children," he says, "you have to get everything from me." The parent does not expect anything from his child except Love. It is just this spontaneous, wholehearted Love that he asks.
A devotee objected to people going to Baba for temporal benefits such as securing employment, promotion, money, children, curing diseases, etc. Baba said: "Do not do that. My men first come to me on account of that only. They get their hearts' desires fulfilled and comfortably placed in life, they follow me and proceed further." This is the uniqueness which distinguishes Sai Baba of Shirdi from other Mahatmas, who are no less great in respect of their spiritual attainments and realisation. While Sai Baba begins from the Kindergarten stage of spiritual knowledge, others prefer the more toilsome and onerous duties of the post-graduate classes. Baba's object appears to be to take a whole mass of people gradually to a higher plane of evolution instead of sending just a handful of people to the stratosphere by rockets and later picking them out from the sea. "This is a pure, white Brahmin," he said: "This Brahmin will lead lakhs of people through the Subhra Marga to the goal right up to the end." (Charters and Sayings of Sai Baba : 57). Even in science, for instance in Chemistry, the method used for mass production of a commodity is totally different from laboratory production where only a small quantity is involved. Oxygen is prepared in the laboratory by heating Potassium Chlorate. Commercial manufacture of oxygen is from air which is first purified and compressed and condensed into liquid oxygen.
BABA'S POWERS : Just as in the example cited above, the equipment required in the laboratory consists of a spirit lamp and a few odd flasks and troughs, whereas very expensive and high power machinery is needed for the manufacture of oxygen on a commercial scale, so also fulfilling the desires of devotees and placing them comfortably in life, in the first instance notwithstanding the inexorable nature of the Law of Karma, call for powers of the highest order. Not merely the possession of powers, but the inclination and desire to use them in uplifting humanity is obvious. The task is colossal, judged by any human standards.
Patanjali, in his Yoga sutras, mentions a variety of powers resulting from full meditation. These are called Ashta Maha Siddhis :
1. Anima …..to become as small as an atom, at will.
2. Mahima….to increase oneself in size, at will.
3. Laghima... Neutralisation of gravity, at will.
4. Prapti... to obtain anything or to reach any place, at will.
5. Prakamyam... to have the fulfilment of any wish, at will.
6. Isatwam... Control of Nature, at will.
7. Vasitwam... Self-command and freedom from being influenced, at will.
8. Kamavarjitam ... Stopping of all desires, at will.
Baba has demonstrated the possession of all these siddhis, from time to time during his life. Patanjali also mentions that powers arise in other ways apart from meditation, such as Kundalini Yoga. Baba's powers appear to have been achieved not so much by his practising Sadhanas, as ordinarily done, but by the Grace of his own Guru. Baba has himself narrated an incident in his life when his Guru suspended him head down inside a well, but above the surface of water for a few hours. An experience of this kind would normally constitute a painful ordeal and an infliction, but when asked by his Guru how he felt, he replied "In Bliss Supreme." We can only reconcile this in the light of what is described as a result of Kundalini Yoga.
It is stated that there resides a force latent in the average human being, at or near the base of the spine. This is called Kundalini, a word which means coiled up, and regarded as mother-power or serpent fire. This is the manifestation on the physical plane of one of the great world forces—one of the powers of the Logos. When aroused or awakened, it will go up the spine on a journey to the brain passing through and perhaps linger in six stations or chakras or padmas, vivifying them. When Kundalini reaches the Sahasrara, the thousand-petalled lotus at the top of the head, she joins with her spiritual spouse and blossoms. At this moment, she blesses the Yogi with the experience of an internal bath of Nectar. It is this experience which Baba might have reported to his Guru as "Bliss Supreme". Mother Kundalini then returns through the Chakras back to her home at the base of the spine. Each lotus is pictured with petals and a centre and located between the eyebrows, throat,the heart, navel, pelvic and basal. The crown centre (Sahasrara) is described as having a thousand petals, the whole being white and shining. It is stated that the Jiva located in the Nabhi Chakra (solar plexus) is itself radiant as the Sun. It is thus possible that Kundalini vivifies the various chakras considerably and the faculties resulting therefrom are enormously increased. Development of Siddhis (powers) occurs to a Kundalini Yogi naturally and spontaneously.
While apparently catering to the material needs of his devotees, Baba never loses sight of the ultimate goal to be reached. In an appropriate context he casually remarks: "Do you think that I am the three and a half cubits of body ? He who thinks that Baba is in Shirdi alone has totally failed to understand me". "Think 'who am I,' 'who we are', 'where are we', 'what is all this world,' 'we must see our Self." These are methods of introspection and they involve regular and systematic practice of concentration and meditation. When first the body is controlled, the mind is also controlled and the senses are conquered. When attitude of renunciation is developed, the mind is free to concentrate on the nature of the Self. This is called Yoga. This method enables the perception of the Atman intellectually.
Many of the disciplines and sadhanas enjoined for the practice of yoga are not possible for the ordinary householder of the present day. Baba, there-fore, recommends the path of love and devotion to a Personal God as the one suitable to His devotees. This is the easiest and most natural way to reach the Supreme. Her'e is no violence and the devotee has not got to suppress any of his emotions. He just tries to intensify them and direct them to God. Bhakti Yoga does not say "Give up". “It only says "Love the Highest." In the presence of the light of Love, man is transfigured and he realises at last that Love, the Lover and the Beloved are One.
THE GURU : Swami Vivekananda says : "This Atman is not to be attained by the study of the Vedas, nor by the highest intellect, nor by much learning. We must receive help from outside the possibilities of our soul. The quickening impulse cannot come from books and must come from another soul — the Guru. The seed must be a living seed and the field ready ploughed. When the human soul covered with the dust of ages, impurities, wickednesses of many births, becomes purfied by doing good to.others, its natural spiritual attraction comes. The idea occurs of devotion and worship to some higher being who can reflect that love to man. Human nature being what it is, the vast majority always wants something tangible and concrete to hold on, around which are placed ideas which become the centre of all thoughts. In this way man has been worshipping God through Man all the time and must do so long as he is a man.
Truth stands by its own evidence. It is self luminous. The Masters of Wisdom and Truth shine even as the light of the Sun,and as they are the greatest they are treated and worshipped as God. When the divinely-appointed Teacher arrives, you are to serve Him with a child-like confidence and simplicity and humility. You see in Him God as He is manifested. Higher and nobler than ordinary teachers are another set of Masters, the Avatars of Ishwara, who transmit spirituality by a touch, even a mere wish. The lowest and degraded become saints at their command. Such a one is a Master of all Masters, the highest manifestation of God through man. We cannot see God except through-them and indeed they are the only ones we are bound to worship. God understands human failings and He becomes Man to do good to humanity. "Whenever virtue subsides and wickedness prevails, I manifest myself. To establish virtue, to destroy evil, I come from Yuga to Yuga. Fools deride Me, who have assumed human form, without knowing My real nature as the Lord of the Universe", says Lord Krishna in the Gita.
EXPERIENCES : One of the outstanding and unique features of Sai Baba is the granting of experiences to His devotees. An ounce of experience is more valuable, convincing and enduring than a ton of theorising. In our thirst of knowledge and experience, we crowd into lecture-halls and listen to scholarship personified and enjoy the intellectual feast provided. We join the thunderous applause in the extensive halls and marvel at the masterly way in which the abstruse subject-matter is presented to the lay audience with numerous quotations in Sanskrit.
Returning from the all-too-brief period of enchantment to face the cold facts of life, we act as though nothing has ever altered in us, and we carry on as before, may be none the worse for listening to the lectures, but certainly not with any progress in the climate of our minds.
Baba seldom spoke except a few words at 'times, but these words were pregnant with meaning. Devotees, having realised this, have collected the sayings as they fell from the Master's lips from time to time. These have now been compiled by B.V. Narasimhaswamiji under the title"Charters and Sayings of Sri Sai Baba." The book is a source of inspiration and encouragement to all aspirants. Many of the sayings bear close resemblance to what Lord Krishna teaches in the Gita and a book called SAI GITA has been published by our Samaj to prove this.
No outline of the life of Sri Sai Baba of Shirdi, however sketchy it may be, can leave out of account the innumerable experiences of His devotees. It will be no exaggeration to say that He lived in and for His devotees. He did not spare himself in His efforts to relieve them in their distress, and there is no limit to which He will not go. The experiences range from the saving of a life from instantaneous and untimely death to providing drinking water at a time and place which rendered such provision impossible, but without water a devotee would have died of thirst. Experiences include help in securing employment, promotions, children etc. for material well-being. Three volumes of "Devotees' Experiences" compiled by B.V.N. Swamiji make very interesting reading. Swamiji has only compiled the written statements of devotees who had experiences of Baba's favours. I shall quote one experience to show how karma has been overcome during Baba's life-time and another in 1950 in the post-Mahasamadhi period.
At a place called Jamner in Poona District, Bhimaji Patel was suffering from tuberculosis of the lungs. He also had gastric trouble. All remedies were tried with no results. Arriving at Shirdi, Bhimaji, supported by four men, was conducted to Baba's presence. Baba said:,"Shama, in bringing this thief to me, what a load of responsibility are you placing on my shoulders ?" Then Bhimaji, placing Ms head on Baba's feet-cried in anguish : "Helper of the helpless, show Thy pity and Grace to me." Baba then spoke to him with great compassion and said : "Stay, cast off your anxiety. Your sufferings for your past karma come to an end as soon as you,put your foot in Shirdi. That Fakir (God) is very kind and he will eradicate your disease." Then He applied Udhi to Bhimaji's forehead and asked him to walk. Patel walked to his quarters without support from anyone.
He had two vivid dreams the same night. In one of them, he found himself as a boy attending the school. His teacher bjrched him so vigorously that he roared in pain. In the next, Bhimaji felt that a heavy grinding stone was placed on his chest and some materials were ground under pressure. He was undergoing the pangs of death. After these two dreams, the disease had altogether left him.
Karma has been expiated in this way by undergoing sufferings in a dream state. How happy we would all be if only we also could have a chance of expiating our bad karma in dreams and enjoying the results of good karma in our waking moments !
In 1950, thirty-two years after Baba's Mahasamadhi, Smt. Krishnabai of Ramachandrapuram in East Godavari was attacked by a sudden illness. She felt she was going to die. Her husband, a devotee of Baba, placed a small photo of Baba under the patient's pillow. At midnight she called out: "I am dying, my life is being taken out." The body had been half-dragged out of the cot, and plenty of udhi strewn on her person and also used to draw boundary lines right round the cot. The lady asked for the udhi found in a packet under her pillow to put it in her mouth with water. She took up regular Sai Pooja every Thursday during which extraordinary phenomena were reported. It appeared she had only eight more reincarnations to attain Mukti, but Baba could compress all the sufferings, thereby stepping up her spiritual progress. This intensified her physical sufferings once a month in eight consecutive months. In the last month, the Lord of Death had himself arrived. Everyone present at the bedside felt an overwhelming fear. This time also her life was saved and her karma destroyed. ,
"My tomb will speak and move with those who make me their refuge. I shall be active and vigorous from my tomb also. Even after my
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COSMIC WILL and INDIVIDUAL WILL are in the ultimate analysis not separate, although in the process of evolution of the individual, there are bound to be passing conflicts between the two. These Ire inevitable for while the Cosmic Will, which represent Perfection moves along the right line, the will of the individual, being imperfect, cannot always follow the line taken up for evolution. The Individual Will. acts in the same way as the youngster, led by his mother along the street, behave! when he is diverged by side attractions. The wayfarer has to overcome so many temptation he slips so often and regains his foothold and then proceeds along the path.
The Individual Will is restless, it struggles for self-expression; the little self of the individual aims at dominating over an-ever widening circle in the Universe by all conceivable ways, peaceful or aggressive, fair or foul. As often as the individual follows the wrong line, conflict occurs with higher powers and with the eventual thwarting of the individual. The legends of Ravana, Kamsa and Satan illustrate this point. There is a miniature Satan, a petty Ravana in almost every one of us when we grumble against God's ways and sometimes even defy Him.
A petty clerk in an office or factory, whose understanding does not cover beyond the routine work assigned to him, comments on the doings of his. superiors and feels that the management shoud follow discretion in their policy. The man in the street, who is poorly informed in the theory, and having no experience in the practice of administration, glibly criticizes statesmen and diplomats and imagines that he can tackle successfully all the problems of the State. Some wise men ask us "see the misery around everywhere in the wide world. Is that the way an all-wise, all-merciful Providence should plan for Its creation?" In all these instances the critics fail to take a clear and comprehensive view of the situation. They measure the actions by ordinary standards. They cannot rise to the eminence of those whom they judge.
Cosmic Will transcends the vision of the ordinary man. Poets, thinkers, artists and scientists, in some rare and inspired moments, and mystics always, are privileged to catch glimpses of the bright region where the Cosmic Will is functioning. From one of those moments a mystic brings us the following message.