In the last post, we had seen how Sai Baba became one with Lord Shiva and blessed Chandrabai Borkar while she was observing Kokila Vrat. Now in this post we shall see how Sai Baba gave her honour as first worshipper of Upasani Maharaj who resided in Khandoba Temple.
A short reference of Upasani Maharaj has been given in Sai Satcharitra. When it was proposed to install Baba’s Padukas as a remembrance of His first advent in Shirdi, it was Upasani Maharaj who suggested the sloka to be inscribed on Padukas depicting importance of Sweet Neem tree. This verse is incorporated in third verse of Sai Mahim Strotram. Sai Mahim Strotram is sung during Madhyayan Arti and Dhoop Arti. Now let’s proceed to the main story.
It was Friday and Gurupoornima. Chandrabai was seated in Dwarkamai with pooja articles waiting for her turn to worship Sai Baba. Dwarkamai was crowded to suffocation. Many devotees had turned up for Baba’s darshan due to Gurupoornima. Everyone was waiting for his/her turn.
Chandrabai’s pooja dish had all sorts of pooja articles in her dish. It contained Haldi (turmeric powder), Kumkum (red-coloured powder), rice grains (Akshat), a small bottle of Attar (perfume or scent), fruits and milk. Baba said, “Go to Vithoba’s place!”
Baba used to call Lord Khandoba as Lord Vithoba. Lord Khandoba is said to be an incarnation of Lord Shiva while Vithoda is Lord of Vishnu and Vaishnav caste. Orthodox thinking prevailed in those days. Ignorant people of Vaishnav caste did not enter Lord Shiva temple. By symbolizing Khandoba as Vithoba, Sai Baba explained His devotees that there is least difference between them and there are one and the same.
Chandrabai said, “O God! You are asking me to go to Lord Vithoba’s temple. Upasani Maharaj, who in always in meditation, throws pooja plate if anyone goes to worship Him. Even more sometimes there are chances of getting beating also.”
Sai Baba who are wanted to give her a special honour pointed pooja plate and again said, “Take it and go to Vithoba temple”.
Chandrabai was Baba’s true devotee and His word was order which she could not deny. She was determined to abide by Baba’s words even if she had to undergo many difficulties. She went to Khandoba temple and worshipped Upasani Maharaj to which Upasani Maharaj also did not object. Thus Baba gave her honour of first worshipper of Upasani Maharaj.
© Shirdi Sai Baba Life Teachings and Stories
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Sai Sai Sai Sai