Baba's Wit and Humour - Chanak Leela - (1) Hemadpant (2) Sudama (3) Anna Chinchanikar vs. Mavsibai.
To say that, we shall state such and such in the next or this Chapter, is a sort of egoism. Unless, we surrender our ego to the feet of our Sad-guru, we will not succeed in our undertaking. If we become egoless, then our success is assured.
By worshipping Sai Baba, we attain both the objects, worldly and spiritual, and are fixed in our true Nature, and get peace and happiness. Therefore, those who want to gain their welfare, should respectfully hear Sai Baba's Leelas or stories and meditate on them. If they do this, they will easily attain the object of their life and get Bliss.
Generally, all people like wit and humour, but they do not like that jokes should be cut at their expense. But Baba's method was peculiar; when it was accompained with gestures, it was very interesting and instructive, and the people, therefore, did not mind, if they were held up to the ridicule. Hemadpant gives his own instance below.
In Shirdi, bazar was held every Sunday, and people from the neighbouring villages came there, erected booths and stalls on the street, and sold their wares and commodities. Every noon, the Masjid was crowded more or less; but on Sunday, it was crowded to suffocation. On one such Sunday, Hemadpant sat in front of Baba, shampooing His Legs and muttering God's name. Shama was on Baba's left, Vamanrao to His right - Shriman Booty and Kakasaheb Dixit and others were also present there. Then Shama laughed and said to Annasaheb - "See that some grains seem to have stuck to the sleeve of your coat". So saying he touched the sleve and found that there were some grains. Hemadpant straightened his left fore-arm to see what the matter was, when to the the surprise of all, some grains of gram come rolling down and were picked up by the people who were sitting there.
This incident furnished a subject-matter for joke. Everybody present began to wonder and said something or other as to how the grains found their way into the sleeve of the coat and lodged there so long. Hemadpant also could not guess how they found an entrance and stayed there. When nobody could give any satisfactory explanation in this matter, and everybody was wondering about this mystery, Baba said as follows :-
Baba - "This fellow (Annasaheb) has got the bad habit of eating alone. Today is a bazar-day and he was here chewing grams. I know his habit and these grams are a proof of it. What wonder is there is this matter?"
Hemadpant - "Baba, I never know of eating things alone; then why do you thrust this bad habit on me? I have never yet seen Shirdi bazar. I never went to the bazar today, then how could I buy grams, and how could I eat them if I had not bought them? I never eat anything unless I share it with others present near me".
Baba - "It is true that you give to the persons present; but if none be near-by, what could you or I do But do you remember Me before eating? Am I not always with you? Then do you offer Me anything before you eat?"
Let us mark and note carefully, what Baba has taught us, by this incident. He has advised us that before the senses, mind and intellect enjoy their objects, he should first be remembered, and if this be done, it is in a way an offering to Him. The senses etc. can never remain without their objects, but if those objects are first offered to the Guru, the attachment for them will naturally vanish. In this way, all the Vrittis (thoughts) regarding Desire, Anger, Avarice etc. should first be offered and directed to the Guru and if this practice be followed, the Lord will help you in eradicating all the Vrittis. When before enjoyment of the objects, you think that Baba is close by, the question whether the object is fit to be enjoyed or not will at once arise. Then the object that is not fit to be enjoyed will be shunned and in this way our vicious habits or vices will disappear and our character will improve. Then love for the Guru will grow and pure knowledge will sprout up. When this knowledge grows, the bondage of body - consciousness (we are the body) will snap and our intellect will be merged in spirit-consciousness (we are the spirit). Then we shall get Bliss and contentment. There is no difference between Guru and God. He who sees any difference in them, sees God nowhere. So leaving aside all ideas of difference, we should regard Guru and God as one, and if we serve our Guru as stated above, Lord (God) will be certainly pleased and purifying our minds He will give us self-realisation. To put the matter in a nut-shell, we should not enjoy any object with our senses etc. without first remembering our Guru. When the mind is trained in this way, we will be always reminded of Baba, and our meditation on Baba will grow apace. The Sagun Form of Baba will ever be before our eyes and then devotion, non-attachment and salvation will all be ours. When Baba's Form is thus fixed before our mental vision, we forget hunger, thirst, and this samsar; the consciousness of worldly pleasures will disappear and our mind shall attain peace and happiness.
When the above story was being narrated, Hemadpant was reminded of similar story of Sudama, which illustrates the same priciple and, therefore, it is given here.
Shri Krishna and His elder brother, Balarama, were living with a costudent, named Sudama, in the ashram of their Guru, Sandipani. Once Krishna and Balarama were sent to the forest for bringing fuel. Then the wife of Sandipani sent also Sudama for the same purpose with some quantity of grams for the three. When Krishna met Sudama in the forest, he said to him - "Dada, I want water as I am thirsty". Sudama replied - "No water should be drunk on an empty stomach, so it is better to rest a while". He did not say that he had got grams with him and that He should take some. As Krishna was tired, He lay down for rest on the lap of Sudama and was snoring. Seeing this, Sudama took out the grams and began to eat. Then Krishna suddenly asked him - "Dada, what are you eating, whence is the sound?". He replied - "What is there to eat? I am shivering with cold and my teeth are chattering. I can't even repeat distinctly Vishnu-Sahastra- Nama". Hearing this, the Omniscient Krishna said - "I just dreamt a dream, in which I saw a man, eating things of another, and when asked about this, he said - "What earth (dust) should he eat?", meaning thereby that he had nothing to eat? The other man said - "Let it be so". Dada, this is only a dream. I know that you won't eat anything without Me; under the influence of the dream I asked you what you were eating?" If Sudama had known a bit of the Omniscient, Shri Krishna and His Leelas, he would not have acted, as he did. Therefore, he had to suffer for what he did. Though he was a chum of Shri Krishna he had to pass his later life in utter poverty. But when he later offered Krishna a handful of parched rice, earned by his wife with her own labour, Krishna was pleased and gave him a golden city to enjoy. This story should be remembered by those who have the habit of eating things alone without partaking them with others.
The Shruti also emphasizes this lesson, and asks us to offer things first to God and then enjoy them after they are renounced by Him. Baba also has taught us the same lesson in His inimitable and humorous way.
Anna Chinchanikar vs. Mavsibai
Hemadpant, now describes another witty incident, in which Baba played a peace-maker's part. There was one devotee by name Damodar Ghanashyama Babare alias Anna Chinchanikar. He was simple, rough and straightforward. He cared for nobody, always spoke plainly and carried all dealings in cash. Though he looked outwardly harsh and uncompromising, he was good natured and guileless. So Sai Baba loved him. One day, like others serving Baba in their own way, this Anna was, one noon standing prone and was shampooing the left arm of Baba, which rested on the kathada (railing). On the right side, one old widow named Venubai Koujalgi whom Baba called mother and all others Mavsibai, was serving Baba in her own way. This Mavsibai was an elderly woman of pure heart. She clasped the fingers of both her hands round the trunk of Baba and was at this time kneading Baba's abdomen. She did this so forcibly that Baba's back and abdomen became flat (one) and Baba moved from side to side. Anna on the other side was steady, but Mavsibai's face moved up and down with her strokes. Once it so happened that her face came very close to Anna's. Being of a witty disposition she remarked - "Oh, this Anna is a lewd (bad) fellow, he wants to kiss me. Even being so old with grey hair he feels no shame in kissing me." These words enraged Anna and he pulled up his sleeves and said - "You say that I am an old bad fellow, am I quite a fool? It is you that have picked up a quarrel and are quarreling with me". All the persons, present there were enjoying this encounter between them. Baba Who loved both of them equally and wanted to pacify them, managed the affair very skillfully. Lovingly He said - "Oh Anna, why are you unnecessarily raising this hue and cry? I do not understand what harm or impropriety is there, when the mother is kissed?" Hearing these words of Baba, both of them were satisfied and all the persons laughed merrily and enjoyed Baba's wit to their heart's content.
Baba's Characteristics -- His Dependency on Bhaktas
Baba allowed His devotees to serve Him in their own way, and did not like any other persons interfering in this. To quote an instance, the same Mavsibai was on another occasion, kneading Baba's abdomen. Seeing the fury and force used by her, all the other devotees felt nervous and anxious. They said, "Oh mother, be more considerate and moderate, otherwise you will break Baba's arteries and nerves". At this Baba got up at once from His seat, dashed His satka on the ground. He got enraged and His eyes became red like a live charcoal. None dared to stand before or face Baba. Then He took hold of one end of the Satka with both hands and pressed it in the hollow of his abdomen. The other end He fixed to the post and began to press His abdomen against it. The satka which was about two or three feet in length seemed all to go into the abdomen and the people feared that the abdomen would be ruptured in a short time. The post was fixed and immovable and Baba began to go closer and closer to it and clasped the post firmly. Every moment the rupture was expected, and they were all dismayed, did not know what to do, and stood dumb with wonder and fear. Baba suffered this ordeal for the sake of His Bhakta. The other devotees wanted only to give a hint to the Mavsibai to be moderate in her service and not cause any trouble or pain to Baba. This they did with good intention, but Baba did not brook even this. They were surprised to see that their well-intentioned effort had resulted in this catastrophe; and they could do nothing but to wait and see. Fortunately, Baba's rage soon cooled down. He left the satka and resumed His seat. From this time onward, the devotees took the lesson that they should not meddle with anybody but allow him to serve Baba as the chooses, as He was capable to gauge the merits and worth of the service rendered unto Him.