The way of living of saints is really very sweet even though it seems to be full of hardships. They have manifested for us on this earth, since God Himself could not come in the form of human beings. Saints show us the way to achieve self realization. They make us to follow the path of their own remembrance which ultimately leads us to union with God. Sai Baba was one such saint, but the only exception was that He was God Incarnate but lived like a saint, a human, among others. He never claimed to be God, but always uttered that He was faithful servant of His mater (God).
Due to merits of past births, we have got the birth of a human being. So we should be ever conscious to attain the objective of our life i.e. self realization. We should leave all our ego, intelligence, laziness and be alert to reach to our goal. This goal can be achieved by remembering Sai Baba in some or the other way.
It is very well known incident that Sai Baba gave nine coins to Smt. Laxmibai before leaving His mortal body. This indicated nine types of devotion of Him. Moreover Sai Baba has emphasized nine types of Bhakti 1. Shravan (hearing) 2. Kirtan (praying) 3 .Smaran (remembering) 4. Padasevan (resorting to feet) 5. Archan (worship) 6. Namaskar (bowing) 7. Dasya (service) 8. Sakhyam (friendship) 9. Atmanivedan (surrender of the self). All these types of Bhakti are included in the Nine Gems of Sai Bhakti as under (arranged in descending order of their importance), if practiced regularly would surely make you pass the Bhavsagar (ocean of life).
1. Shri Sai Satcharitra
This sacred book written by Govindrao Dabholkar is as much important as Guru Charitra for Sai devotees. This book is originally written in Marathi language and including preface there are in all 53 chapters (adhyayas). Along with Sai Baba’s biography and various miracles, it also consists of a very wide range of Sai Baba’s updesh and description of Vedant. This book was written when Sai Baba dwelled in His mortal body with His permission. So it has been proved to be very fruitful. Many Sai devotees do parayan (continuous reading for 7 days i.e. a week) and many of them read at least one chapter everyday.
2. Shri Sai Nath Stavan Manjari
This stotra, composed by Dasganu Maharaj, was completed on 9/9/1918 i.e. it was completed when Sai Baba was among us. It consists of 153 ovis (poem). This is Sai devotee’s favourite bhajan and many have been benefited by it. If not recited daily, Sai devotees can recite it on every Thursday and on Ekadashi day (11th day of full moon phase and 11th day of no moon phase).
3. Shri Sai Nath Mahim Stotra
This Mahim stotra is in Sanskrit language and it is composed by Upasani Maharaj of Sakori during his stay in Shirdi in the year 1911. It is chanted in Madhyayan Arti and Dhoop Arti in Shirdi Samadhi Mandir. Mahim means Mahima i.e. importance and stotra means poem in the form of Stuti i.e. remembering God’s name. In Sanskrit language Shiv mahim stotra is very famous. Upasani Maharaj has composed this stotra from Shiv Mahim stotra only. In all the verses, Sai Baba is said to be Sadguru and God. But in verse 8 and 10, Sai Baba is called Parabrahma and Lord Ram in the form of Sai Baba.
Like Shiv mahim stotra is also best instrument to achieve our family deity Sai Baba. In the last verse i.e 15 th verse, Upasani Maharaj has added that if a devotee reads this with full devotion and heartily, Sai Nath should surely shower His grace on him.
4. Shri Sai Baba Ashtottrashat Namavali
It is 108 names of Sai Baba in Sanskrit and is recited during holy bath of Sai Baba in Shirdi. It is composed by a famous Sai devotee of Madras, Late Shri Narsinghswami. It consists of many difficult words, but if it is learnt by heart, it can be recited in 4/5 minutes very easily.
These words appear in the last page of Stavan Manjari composed by Dasganu Maharaj and published by Shirdi Sai Baba Sansthan.
5. Arti Sai Baba
This famous Arti is recited during Madhyayan Arti and Dhoop Arti in Shirdi. It appears in chapter 33 of Sai Satcharitra. It is composed by a devotee named Madhav Aadkar. It has importance due to following incident.In chapter 33, Sai Baba made Shama (Madhavrao Despande) to write it on a page and gave it to Bapugir Bua to be given to Nanasaheb Chandorkar to save his daughter from death, who was away many miles. This shows that this Arti was accepted by Sai Baba himself. The Arti consists of a verse :
कलियुगी अवतार सगुण परब्रह्मसाचार अवतीर्ण जालासे स्वामी दत्त दिगंबर, दत्त दिगंबर
This means Sai Baba had accepted that He was one with Lord Dattatreya.
As soon as Nanasaheb Chandorkar received the Arti he started reciting it and his daughter was relived from the pain of delivery. Moreover she could deliver safely and at the same point of time. Today also this importance is fulfilled and devotees may very come to know once they have started it.
6. Udi of Sai Baba’s Dhuni Maa
To Sai devotees Udi is like sanjeevani (a life giving herb) which cures all diseases of body and mind. Many devotees have assured of Udi working for them in the said way. The moment one applies it, he/she can feel that the body has now became pure and holy and as if Sai Baba has put His Holy Hand on one’s head to give blessings. Devotees become happy with the divine bliss.
7. Darshan of Samadhi Mandir and Dwarkamai
Sai Baba is present everywhere there is no doubt in this. So if we pray to Him sitting in our homes, it is not at all necessary to go to Shirdi or any other Sai Mandir. But in Shirdi Sai Baba’s mortal body is present. One should go to Shirdi to charge himself/herself at least once in a year. Likewise when a vehicle’s battery has to be charged again and again when the battery power goes low, in the same way by going to Shirdi once in a year, we can charge up the battery of devotion.
8. Sai Baba’s Name
This is the easiest way of devotion and moreover it is the best method. Sai Baba liked Naamsmaram (chanting of God’s name) and He made His devotees to do Naamsaptah (continuous chanting of God’s name for a week).
9. Sai Baba’s Meditation
No saints had said this type of devotion, but Sai Baba had said to Radhabai of Sangamner and clarified it to her. Leaving other types of devotion, devotees must meditate in front of Sai Baba’s photograph or idol by sitting alone. Even while doing other work, one can bring Sai Baba Sagun form (bodily form) in front of their eyes. We should keep Sai Baba’s picture in front of our eyes, and can meditate on Him. Sai Baba would be present there also.
Source : Translated from Gujarati Magazine ‘Dwarkamai‘