- An Introduction to Shri Sai Satcharitra :
At the divine wish, Shri Hemadpant (Govindrao R. Dabholkar) was given Holy task of noting Sai Baba's supernatural deeds. Though considered as 'Biography' it is more of an 'Autobiography' written by Sai Baba Himself. He kept His boon bestowing Hand on Hemadpant's head and said, "Let him make a collection of stories and experiences, keep notes and memos. I will help him. But he should get rid of his ego, place (or surrender) it at My feet. He who acts like this in life, him I help the most. He is only an outward instrument. I should write My Autobiography Myself and satisfy wishes of My devotees. I shall Myself enter into him and shall Myself write My own life. Hearing My stories and teachings will create faith in devotees' hearts and they will easily get self-realization and bliss".
Material prosperity, health and happiness are bestowed on all who recite this divine text.Sai Baba always invited everyone to come, take and carry away 'cart loads' of treasure from His inexhaustible treasure house. It was Baba's advice to many of His devotees to read sacred text for specific period, usually a Saptah (Saptah means a week - consisting of seven days and reading was recommended for one whole week), to get their desires fulfilled. It may also be extended to three to four cycles of reading. This was one of numerous ways which Baba followed for spiritual upliftment of His devotees.
Baba used to say, "Come to Me and I will give you what you want, so that you can take what I want to give you". It was Baba's unique method to carefree His devotees from worldly sackles and entrap in spirituality.
As said earlier by Baba Himself, "Shri Sai Satcharitra is an autobiography rather than biography", it must be present in every Sai Devotee's home. He or she must read this Holy book daily with full of Shraddha (Faith and Devotion) and Implement all teachings in their life with Saburi (Patience).Few words of Baba i would like to quote which He spoke and assured when Hemandpant at divine instance seeked permission for this work,
"I fully agree with you regarding the writing of Sat Charita. You do your duty, don’t be afraid in the least, steady your mind and have faith in My words. If My Leelas are written, the Avidya (nescience) will vanish and if they are attentively, and devoutly listened to, the consciousness of the worldly existence will abate, and strong waves of devotion, and love will rise up and if one dives deep into My Leelas, he would get precious jewels of knowledge."More from original author of Sai Satcharitra - Shri Hemadpant's pen, "When I took up the pen in my hand, Sai Baba took away my egoism and wrote Himself His stories. The credit of relating these stories, therefore, goes to Him and not to me. Light houses are constructed at various places in the sea, to enable the boatmen to avoid rocks and dangers, and make them sail safely. Sai Baba’s stories serve a similar purpose in the ocean of worldly existence. They surpass nectar in sweetness, and make our worldly path smooth and easy to traverse. Blessed are the stories of the saints. When they enter our hearts through the ears, the body - consciousness or egoism and the sense of duality vanish; and when they are stored in the heart, doubts fly out to all sides, pride of the body will fall, and wisdom will be stored in abundance. The description of Sai Baba’s pure fame, and the hearing of the same, with love, will destroy the sins of the devotee and, therefore, this is the simple Sadhana for attaining salvation. The Sadhana for Krita Age was Shamadama (tranquillity of mind and body), for Treta Age, sacrifice, for Dwapara, worship, and for Kali (present) Age, it is singing of the name and glory of the Lord. This last Sadhana is open to all the people of the four varnas (Brahmins, etc.). The other Sadhanas, viz. Yoga, Yagya (sacrifice), Dhyana (meditation) and Dharana (concentration) are very difficult to practice, but singing and hearing the stories and the glory of the Lord (Sai Baba) is very easy. We have only to turn our attention towards them. The listening and singing of the stories will remove the attachment to the senses and their objects, and will make the devotees dispassionate, and will ultimately lead them to self-realization. With this end in view, Sai Baba made me or helped me to write His stories, Sai Satcharitra. The devotees may now easily read and hear these stories of Sai Baba and while doing so, meditate on Him, His form and thus attain devotion to Guru and God (Sai Baba), get detachment and self-realization. In the preparation and writing of this work, Satcharitra, it is Sai Baba’s grace which has accomplished everything, making use of me as a mere instrument".
- Where Sacred text - Shri Sai Satcharitra is published and sole authority governing it?
Shri Sai Baba Sansthan Trust, Shirdi publishes Shri Sai Satcharitra as written in poetry form in Marathi. Over and above this it has been transformed in simple text and translated in almost all Indian languages ( Marathi, English, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Kanada, Gujarati, Bengali, Urdu, Sindhi, Nepali, Punjabi and Oriya ). It is available in Shirdi Sai Baba Sansthan's book stall at very affordable price.
Shri Sai Baba Sansthan Trust, Shirdi is the sole governing authority. Now a days we find a very different spectacle. We find many publishers publishing Shri Sai Satcharitra, thus opening more options and ultimately confusing innocent devotees. I saw this even in Shirdi. So an advice to all is to prefer Shri Sai Satcharitra of Shirdi Sai Baba Sansthan only and not to run after money-making business.
Disclaimer: Before proceeding i would like to draw your attention to the fact that whatever i am writing further are practices generally followed. Baba has never given any hard and fast rule and every point herewith under subsequent headings, is free from any strict practice. Its upto readers discretion and may follow whatever is acceptable to him/her and whatever their inner conscious demand and what their best judgement calls for. Any modification, suggestion are welcomed to throw more light on this subject matter.
- Where and how to keep Sacred text - Shri Sai Satcharitra?
2. The best way which i suggest and follow is to keep it in shrine of your home, so that alongwith worship of Baba and other Gods, this sacred text can also be worshiped as Holy like Ramayana, Bhagwad Gita, Bible, Kuran, Guru Granth Sahib.
3. No matter which place you choose it is highly recommended to wrap it preferably in red, orange or yellow cloth.
4. Students can keep it in their book shelves to increase their grasping power and make practice to read daily atleast one line.
5. It can be kept at your work place too to benefit yourself and surroundings.
6. Sick people can keep it on their bed or near pillow. I have seen as instance wherein a lady devotee was to be operated and she took Shri Sai Satcharitra with her in operation theater. So the way you have faith in Sai Baba, so he takes care.
Please note that, we must respect this Holy book and try to read daily and implement all the teachings in our life. In a nutshell, we must start living Sai Satcharitra.
- How to read Sacred text - Shri Sai Satcharitra?
1. Reading of this sacred text produces desired results, so it is recommended to surrender all disturbances, ego, physical or mental affiliations at Sai Baba's feet and then start reading.
2. All senses must be directed to the reading so the reading produces long lasting effects on your mind and heart.
3. Although no specific seat or posture is recommended sacred text - Shri Sai Satcharitra can be read by sitting in shrine at your home or any Sai Baba temple as per convenience.
4. Sacred text - Shri Sai Satcharitra can be considered as Holy as Bhagwad Gita, Ramayan, Kuran, Guru Granth Sahib. So it is not desired to underline words or sentences or write their own names for recognition.
5. For sick and old persons, sacred text - Shri Sai Satcharitra can be read by sitting at any comfortable place. If sitting while reading is not possible then it can also be read by laying down.
6. Girls and women should not touch or read sacred text - Shri Sai Satcharitra while going through menses.
7. It should not be given to small children to avoid possibility of damage.
8. Care must be taken to safe guard sacred text - Shri Sai Satcharitra from dust and unclean things.
9. One parayan of 51 days is also beneficial. This can be done by reading one chapter of sacred text - Shri Sai Satcharitra per day. Also parayan of 7 days/Saptah can be done to get desired fruits.
10. If the above two points are not possible due to any reason at least one line or one paragraph must be read. It would be disrespect of sacred text - Shri Sai Satcharitra if it is kept in one corner of your home and never read. Daily reading of 11th and 15th chapter is recommended. Also it is advised to read sacred text - Shri Sai Satcharitra on Ramnavami, Gurupoornima, Gokul Ashtami and Dashera.
- How to do parayan of sacred text - Shri Sai Satcharitra?
1. There is no hard and fast rule to read sacred text - Shri Sai Satcharitra, but it is desirable to read it by sitting in shrine at your home.
2. Parayan can be started from any day of the week and completed on seventh day. But generally it is started from Friday so that seventh day happens to be Thursday.
3. First of all the place where you wish to do parayan must be cleaned and made tidy.
4. Lamp must be lit in front of Sai Baba's idol or photograph. Lighting a lamp marks Sai Baba's presence. Also it is desirable to light incense stick (agarbatti) and/or dhoop, thus purifying the atmosphere.
5. It is general practice that while doing any worship, devotee do not sit on floor directly. It is advised to first place a small mat or cloth on the floor to sit on it. The same applies here too.
6. It is upto devotee's discretion to offer any food as prasad.
7. In Hindi Sai Satcharitra published by Shri Sai Baba Sansthan Trust, Shirdi particular chapters are advised for each day of parayn as under :
|DAY OF PARAYAN||CHAPTERS TO BE READ|
|1st day||1 - 6|
|2nd day||7 - 13|
|3rd day||14 - 22|
|4th day||23 - 28|
|5th day||29 - 35|
|6th day||36 - 42|
|7th day||43 - 51|
8. After reading of each day (if devotee wishes) two coins can kept in Sai Baba's feet. Coins can be of any denomination, but they can be considered as "Shraddha" and "Saburi". At the end of parayan the amount thus gathered can be donated or kept in Sai temple's hundi (donation box) or prasad can be distributed which is purchased from the same money.
9. Every day's reading can be concluded by arti in the evening. If it is not possible then at least arti must be sung on last day.
10. If devotee wishes he/she can offer sweet dish or any desirable naivedhya to Sai Baba for all seven days. Otherwise naivedhya can be offered on last day of parayan. If this is not possible at least ready made sweets from market can be offered as prasad. Even if sugar or jaggery is offered as prasad, it will do. Few mails came to asking whether non-vegetarian food can be consumed during parayan. In this context i would reply it would be better not to consume non-vegetarian food, but again there is no compulsion.
11. It depends on devotee how he/she reads chapter allocated for each day. Chapters can be divided as per convenience. But every time you sit to read points 4 and 5 in this heading can be followed. Also lighting incense stick (agarbatti) and/or dhoop can be avoided.
12. It can be read out to sick or old devotees, if they are not in condition to sit by themselves and read. Also if it is read out before children and stories are explained to them in simple language, seeds of devotion can be sown in tender age only.
These are few points which i could gather to present before you. Suggestions, modifications and are heartily welcomed. If you have any doubts, you can comment to this post and i would try to make comprehensive post of FAQ's related and revolving about this topic.
- Reward of Reading Sacred Text - Shri Sai Satcharitra :
- After bathing you may read or hear the Satcharita.
- If you do this all your threefold afflictions will vanish.
- Casually thinking about the stories of Sai, you will get unconsciously interested in spiritual life and if you then go on through the work with love, all your sins will be destroyed.
- If you wish to get rid of the cycle of births and deaths, read Sai's stories and remember Him always; and get yourself attached (devoted) to His Feet.
- If you dive into the sea of Sai's stories, and then give them out to others, you will get an ever-new flavor of them and save the hearers from perdition.
- If you go on meditating on Sai's Form, it will in course of time disappear and lead you into self-realization.
- It is very hard to know or realize the nature of Self or Brahma, but if you approach through the Sagun Brahma (Sai's Form) your progress will be easy.
- If the devotee completely surrenders himself to Him, he will lose his individuality and be merged in Him and be one with Him, as the river in the sea.
- If you thus become merged with Him in any of the three states, viz., waking, dream and sleep, you get rid of the bond of sansarn.
- If anybody after bathing reads this with love and faith, and completes it within a week, his calamities will disappear; or if he hears or reads it daily and regularly all his dangers will be warded off.
- By its study, a man wishing for wealth will get it and a pure trader, success in his life. He will get the reward according to his faith and devotion. Without these, there will be no experience of any kind.
- If you read this respectfully, Sai will be pleased, and removing you ignorance and poverty, He will give you knowledge, wealth and prosperity.
- With concentrated mind, if you read a Chapter daily, it will give you unbounded happiness.
- One who has his welfare at heart, should study it carefully and then he will ever remember Sai gratefully and joyfully in birth after birth.
- This work should be read at home specially on Guru-Pournima (Ashadha full-moon day), Gokul-Ashtami, Rama-Navami and Dasara (Baba's anniversary day). If you study this one book carefully, all your desires will be satisfied and if you always remember Sai's Feet in your heart, you will easily cross the Bhava (Sansar) sagar.
- By its study, the diseased and sick will get health, the poor wealth, the mean and afflicted prosperity, and the mind will get rid of all ideas and get steadiness.
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