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Koshur Music

An Introduction to Spoken Kashmiri

Panun Kashmir

Milchar

Symbol of Unity

 
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Sai Baba

by T.N. Dhar 'Kundan'

It was amusing for me to read and hear that Sai was no more. I thought he was all the more there even though he may not be bodily present. I was reminded of what Bhagavaan Gopinath once said, ‘Amar Chha maraan - does the immortal die?’ So he is always there either ‘Sashariri’ or ‘Ashariri’,embodied or without body.  I have had the privilege of seeing Sai Baba four times, twice at Delhi and twice at Bangalore. At Delhi we heard his discourse and heard him singing a couple of Bhajans as well. But at Bangalore it was only ‘Darshan’.

If I caption it as ‘Sai and Me’, the story began in 1971. I had just returned from my posting in the U.K and we took a flat on rent in Old Delhi. One day my wife took ill and I showed her to a doctor. For three or four days there was no improvement in her health condition. I suggested that the doctor be changed but she would not agree. I attended my office next day in a sad mood. A senior colleague of mine enquired about my problem. When I told him that my wife, who was ill, was showing no signs of improvement, he took out a pinch of ashes and gave it to me. He said it was ‘Sai Vibhuti’ and should be smeared on the forehead of my wife. In the evening I applied the holy ashes to my wife and then went to see the doctor. To our utter surprise a different doctor was on duty. He plainly said that the previous doctor had mis-diagnosed her. He changed the medicine and she was quite well in the next three days.

Soon we came to know that there were quite a few families living in the vicinity who were devotees of Sai and would hold weekly Bhajan sessions, children’s camps and study circles. Both my wife and I joined them. We started attending weekly Bhajans and I joined the study circle too and we sent our son for children’s camps. We came to know more and more about the life and teachings of Satya sai Baba, his activities relating to village upliftment and miracles. Some of our neighbours narrated their own experiences of miracles like ‘Vibhuti’ falling from Baba’s photographs and sudden appearance of certain things from nowhere as such. I was not interested in miracles as much as I was in his teachings of truth and righteousness. One day some families from our neighbourhood went to Puttaparthi to have his darshan. Because of my pre-occupation in the office we could not plan a visit along with these devotees. My wife felt bad about our inability to make it to Prashanti Nilayam, the abode of Sai Baba. One day she expressed her feelings to me. Jocularly I said, ‘If he wants us to see him he will himself come to our house. Next moment a friend of my wife entered our room and informed us that Baba was expected in Delhi in a week’s time. Baba came and we saw him in Talkatora garden twice, heard his discourses and tuneful hymns.

Time passed. We had certain photographs of the Baba on the walls of our house. We read some literature about him, his life and his message for the good of the mankind. However neither did Sai come to Delhi thereafter nor did we go to see him. We talked about him and heard about him in our conversations with many devotees of his both Kashmiris and non-Kashmiris. Lot of information was gathered during weekly study circles. After sometime, we shifted to our own house and there also we used to have occasional Bhajan gatherings. I read an interesting book written by an American psychiatrist about Sai. He had come all the way from America leaving behind luxurious life style and stayed at Puttaparthi. He has frankly admitted that at first he regretted having taken this step but once he got the taste of spirituality, peace and tranquility, he thanked his stars for having taken the decision to come to Sai Baba. He returned to his native place only to come back along with his wife, brother and brother’s wife. A lady neighbor of theirs accompanied them. Before leaving America she was hospitalized for suspected breast cancer. She was mentally disturbed but an old lady, a fellow patient in the hospital, gave her a hymn to chant so that her reports are negative for any malignancy. She was declared safe, a minor operation was carried out and here she was at Puttaparthi along with her friends. The group was granted a private audience by the Baba and lo and behold the same hymn was sung by him which the old lady had given her in the hospital back home. The lady was in tears. She was sure that it was he who had saved her from the dreaded cancer.

By the end of 2004 we came to Bangalore. My good friend Dr. A.N.safaya, an ardent devotee of the Baba was Director of Shri Satya Sai Super Speciality Hospital here. We exchanged visits to each other’s house frequently and renewed our old association. One summer Sai came to stay in Brindavana, his residence at Whitefield. We went to have his darshan along with Safayas. This was after a gap of many decades. He was naturally the subject of our conversation whenever we met. Here again I had the privilege of studying some more literature about him and his activities. I was awe-stricken to know the amount of work that was being done under his direction for the welfare of the mankind, in the field of education, health, water resources, village uplift et al. It is no wonder that millions of devotees the world over, in more than 116 countries are attached to him and indebted to him for the transformation that he has brought in their physical, mental and spiritual life. After sometime Dr. Safaya was asked by the Baba to take over the mantle of running the hospitals at Puttaparthi. He had to leave Bangalore and we missed the company of a pious family and friend and the occasional conversation centered round Sai.

Here in Bangalore I have a professor friend, who lives in Indore but since his son is here, he visits this place quite often. Once he was here and he came to me suggesting that we visit Puttaparthi to have Baba’s darshan. I expressed my inability to leave Bangalore for some personal reasons. He said that in that case he would also not make the trip. I was sorry to have deprived an eager devotee from fulfilling his desire. Next day we had a telephonic talk with Safayas and came to know from them that Baba had moved to Bangalore for a brief stay of a couple of days and was scheduled to return to observe the death anniversary of his mother, Ishwaranba at Puttaparthi. I informed my professor friend and the next day we drove to Whitefield early in the morning at about 8 O’clock. We sat in the hall, quiet, eyes closed and feeling the bliss of the spiritual fragrance in the atmosphere. At about 10 O’clock Sai Baba was brought to the podium in his wheel chair. We had his darshan to our heart’s content and returned with a feeling of great achievement after joining the mass singing of hymns and bhajans.

For nearly a month Baba was in the hospital and on 24th April he decided to go back to his abode and leave his mortal frame here. Last rites of the mortal frame over, we will be left with his portraits, photographs and statues in private and public places, in homes and temples. We will continue to have access to the vast literature in various languages brought out for our guidance. The institutions started by Baba or by his devotees in his name will continue to function as desired by him and the common man will continue to derive benefit from these institutions and from the self-less service rendered by people manning these. But a lot of responsibility is on our shoulders too. We have to live and for that we have to fulfill our mundane needs. In doing so we have to restrict our demand only to our need and do away with greed. Actions in this field should be honest and detached as the Upanishad enjoins upon us, ‘Tena tyakhtena bhunjeetha, maa gridah  -  enjoy with an approach of detachment and covet not.’ Simultaneously, however, we have to ensure uplift of the spiritual aspect of our existence, by seeking liberation from ignorance, by exploring the truth and by attaining transcendental elevation where ‘Vyashti’, the individual part gets merged with ‘Samashti’, the universal whole. This is the real purpose of our existence and this is the goal attaining which should be our primary concern. This is the message of the sages and saints and this is the message of Sai Baba. He used to ask his devotees to approach him for spiritual guidance and not for mundane requirements. To sum up we need to understand that we have to strive for spiritual uplift and simultaneously serve the mankind, and if we can, serve all forms of the God’s creation.        

T. N. Dhar Kundan's Articles

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