From days-long discussions of various philosophies of Sai Baba are being posted on this blog. In this post, we shall read one more philosophy of Baba with regard to the pleasures of the senses.
In Sai Satcharitra, it is said by Hemadpant, “Even though Sai Baba appeared to be tasting things with His tongue, He was not aware as to what He tasted nor had. He has any desire to enjoy that taste. Those who have no desire to enjoy the pleasure of the senses, will they ever enjoy them? The objects of the senses (hearing, touch, sight, taste, and smell) do not even touch their organs. So will they ever get entangled in them?” This is possible for a God-man but what about a common family man who is constantly in close touch with these pleasures and is usually of a weak mind? How should he avoid the above-mentioned dangers? Should he give up his family life altogether? On the contrary, Sai Baba never advised this.
When Nanasaheb was once sitting in the Masjid with Mhalasapati and others, a Mahomedan gentleman from Bijapur came with his family to see Baba. Seeing Gosha (veiled) ladies with him, Nanasaheb wanted to go away, but Baba prevented him from doing so. The ladies came and took the darshan of Baba. When one of the ladies removed her veil in saluting Baba’s feet and then resumed it again, Nanasaheb, who saw her face, was so much smitten with her rare beauty that he wished to see her face again. Knowing Nana’s restlessness of mind, Baba spoke to him after the lady had left the place as follows – “Nana, why are you getting agitated in vain? Let the senses do their allotted work, or duty, we should not meddle with their work. God has created this beautiful world and it is our duty to appreciate its beauty. The mind will get steady and calm slowly and gradually. When the front door was open, why go by the back one? When the heart is pure, there is no difficulty, whatsoever. Why should one be afraid of anyone if there be no evil thought in us? The eyes may do their work, why should you feel shy and tottering?” – Chapter 49 of Shri Sai Satcharitra.
Our mind is fickle by nature, it should not be allowed to get wild. The senses may get restless, the body however should be held in check and not allowed to be impatient. Senses run after objects, but we should not follow them and then crave their objects. By slow and gradual practice, restlessness can be conquered.
Hemadpant was teased by Sai Baba for locating some grains of a gram on his coat’s sleeve. Through this incident, Sai Baba gave a very important message to all of us. He has advised us that before the senses, mind, and intellect enjoy their objects, he should first be remembered, and if this is 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 to 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 is followed, the Lord will help you in eradicating all the Vrittis. When before the enjoyment of the objects, you think that Sai Baba is close by, the question of 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 with 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 purify our minds He will give us self-realization. To put the matter in a nutshell, 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 Sai Baba, and our meditation on Sai Baba will grow apace. The Sagun Form of Sai Baba will never be before our eyes and then devotion, non-attachment, and salvation will all be ours. When Sai Baba’s Form is thus fixed before our mental vision, we forget hunger, thirst, and this samsara; the consciousness of worldly pleasures will disappear and our mind shall attain peace and happiness.
More than this, in Chapter 20 of Shri Sai Satcharitra, through Kakasaheb Dixit’s maidservant, Baba has taught us a beautiful and ingenious method of enjoying sense objects. The maidservant was always cheerful and contented, even when on the first day she had only a torn rag on her person, or the next day when she wore a new saree presented by M.V.Pradhan or on the third day when she wore the torn rag again. In fact, the maidservant thus gave a practical demonstration of the lesson of Ishavasya Upanishad.
Thus Sai Baba has given us many simple methods to control the senses without giving up our family life. However, to the person seeking self-realisation He insists on strict discipline. He says, in Chapter 49, “Objects of senses are harmful. With Viveka (discrimination) as our charioteer, we will control the mind and will not allow the senses to go astray. With such a charioteer we reach the Vishnupada – the final abode, our real home from which there is no return.