Joy to the world, the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare Him room,
And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven, and Heaven, and nature sing…
Shivarathri is one of the major festivals in Prashanti Nilayam that draw maximum assemblage of devotees and significantly it has valid reason, backing up the claim. Shivarathri in the olden days used to be completely different in style from the festivity that is celebrated today. Bhagawan would hoist the Prasanthi Flag atop the Prasanthi Mandir which would be followed by short discourses. Invariably, there used to be scholarly speeches by prominent personalities also who would talk on the significance of fasting, the night vigil and the worship that was laid down by the Sastras as obligatory on Shivaratri Day.
Get a glimpse of the festival of those days from this article from the archives entitled “The Great Night of Shiva”, first published on 12 Feb 2010. The article incorporates excerpts from past editions of Sanathana Sarathi and Sathyam Shivam Sundaram.
Chapter VI – Collected from Satcharitra of Shirdi Sai Baba
After starting Dhuni in Dwarakamai, Baba used to sit leaning on the wall opposite to Dhuni, most of the day. Thus sitting in front of his mother who gave him this physical body, he would tell about his feelings to her. He frequently used to say “Masjid Mai” which meant mosque mother. Now and then he used to convey his feelings to the mother.
As long as the physical body is there, attachments will be there. Once the life leaves the body, then there are no such attachments. For sages, saints and those who want to free themselves from this lifecycle, this state gives them peace and happiness to their soul. But ordinary people after their death, seek rebirth as they are not able to come out of their worldly desires. If you do not have such desires, then there will not be a rebirth or punar janma. This is moksha or mukthi or salvation.
With great detachment, having got moksha, Gurudhan, Dwarakamai and Venkusa in the form of jyotis were in Shirdi only for the welfare and prosperity of the masses and not for the sake of themselves. Under such a state, there would not be any relationship as mother and son. All were equal and in such a state only, all were at Shirdi. Sai was visible in the human form whereas the other three were not – this was the only difference.
After devotees like Mhalsapathi and others worshipped Baba in the morning, he used to sit opposite the Dhuni and do some soul-searching . At about noon, he went into the village for alms. He put solid foods like roti in his bag and the liquid in a small vessel. If his visit was not noticed by someone, he would softly call out “Fakir has come mother” . If some looked into his eyes at the time of giving alms, they used to get full happiness and they desired to have any number of re-births just to look at the eyes of Baba. Such things were experienced only by devotees who realised Sai’s divinity. Persons like Bhate, the village munsif,who never came near Sai or spoke to him used to criticise and abuse him. But Baba, for whom bouquets and brickbats were the same, ignored such things.
He used to take rest in the afternoons. In the evenings, he grew flower plants in the backyard of the mosque and also in the vacant land called Lendi Bagh on the west side of Gurusthan. Tatya, who was a small boy when Baba came to Shirdi, who used to sit on the lap of Baba and played, had now grown up and spent most of his time with Baba. Baba was more precious to him than his own life. They should have been together in the previous birth also. Tatya attended to all the needs of Baba. He kept the mosque clean and attended to all the needs of Baba. He kept the mosque clean and attended to its repairs, bringing firewood for the Dhuni, changing the dress of Baba and watering the flower plants in Lendi Bagh. Mhalsapathi similarly had come close to Baba.
Now and then Baba used to feed the poor with the amount that he received by way of dakshina. On such occasions he went personally to the market and purchased all the required material. Tatya would assist Baba in bringing them to the moque, in cooking and serving the food. Baba used to personally check to see whether the salt etc. were put in the correct proportions in the food. Sometimes Baba cooked and served non-vegetarian food. He put his hand in the vessel to stir the boiling food. But nothing happened to his hand even then.
One day Baba personally cooked food and fed the poor. The food had to be cooked two to three times as hundreds of poor people attended and this went on till sunset. That day for some reason or the other, Tatya did not come to the mosque in the daytime. Baba had to attend to the entire work all alone. Tatya came in the evening and learnt about the feeding of the poor and how Baba had to attend to the work all alone. He regretted very much for not having assisted Baba. He found Baba completely exhausted which worried him. Meanwhile, Mhalsapathi came there. Tatya told him about the condition of Baba and sought his advise as to how to make Baba rest. In spite of tiredness Baba went near the Dhuni and sat there. Mhalsapathi told Tatya that if they could bring a nice big stone and put it outside the mosque, then Baba could take complete rest sitting on the stone in the moonlight and enjoy the cool breeze.
All of them finished taking their night meal and everything was silent. Late in the night, Tatya told Mhalsapathi that he would go to the nearby mountainside and bring a big stone for Baba. But Baba who was hearing their conversation,asked Tatya not to go during the night, but he was stubborn.
Baba told Tatya that a big stone for him to sit in the open yard would come and he need not go to bring it. But Tatya insisted on getting it immediately, saying that he would not have satisfaction if somebody else brought the stone and hence, he himself would bring it. So saying he went out of the mosque. As Baba did not want to give trouble at such an odd hour in the night, he lifted his two hands and made some gestures and talked something to himself. Suddenly, there was a big lightning. Tatya and Mhalsapathi, unable to withstand the lightning, closed their eyes. On opening their eyes, they found a big flat stone with red and white colours in front of the moque. Both were surprised at this. Baba in the moonlight sat on the stone with one leg over the other. Lifting his right hand, he showed them his Abhaya Hastha. Mhalsapathi saw Lord Shiva in Baba, While Tatya saw Maruthi in Baba. Thus Baba appeared to them in two forms simultaneously . Out of joy, Mhalsapathi’s eyes brimmed with tears and he recited some slokas on Shiva. When they came back to their original state, Baba made them sit down and personally served them meals.
He cautioned them not to reveal to anyone what they had seen of the leelas of Baba. He always concentrated on his Guru and got maximum satisfaction loving him. Thus he had the complete blessings of his Guru. He merged himself with him. When one gets into such a state, one can see in one’s Guru, Guru Brahma, Guru Vishnu, Gurudevo Maheshwarah, Guru Sakshat Parabrahma. But if one simply utters “Guruji” without following his teachings, then the word ‘Guru’ will remain only a word used to give respect to the Guru. But such a pupil cannot obtain any benefit from his Guru.
Because of Baba’s state of concentration, all siddhis and aishwaryas (prosperities) came to his feet. These siddhis were capable of misguiding even yogis and destroying them. Hence, Baba discouraged them. He did not even look at them. All those powerful siddhis were lying at Baba’s feet for nearly 30 years. He did not exhibit his extraordinary powers till 1886.
I pray that readers be blessed with devotion, jnana and detachment and that those who read this chapter with devotion be endowed with concentration of their minds.
“Om Shanti! Shanti! Shantihi”
”JAI SAI RAM TO ALL MY FRIENDS”
Baba says “No matter where you go, always do your duty as you see it, and that I, will be there inside you, guiding every step of your way. In the years to come you will experience me in different manifestations of my form.
You are my very own, dearer than dear to me. I will protect you like the eyelids protect the eyes. You already have me and I have you. I will never leave you and you can never leave me. From this point on do not hanker after anything. Do your duty with unwavering love, seeing all as God.
Be patient. In time everything will be given to you. Be happy. There is no need to worry about anything. Whatever is experienced, whatever happens know that the Avatar willed it so.
There is no force on earth which can delay for an instant, the mission for which this Avatar has come. You are sacred souls and you will have your part in the unfolding drama of the new Golden Age, which is coming.
Shirdi Baba was born on 28th September 1835. He had lived in this mother Earth for 83 years. This is taken from Sai Dhapovanam – Book revealed by Sai Govindan (an ardent devotee of Sri Sathya Sai Baba) based out of Chennai near Nathamuni Theatre, Tamil Nadu, India.
I am very glad to hear this news as Shirdi Sai Baba is my Spiritual Guru.
Om Sai Ram.