Saturday, November 22, 2014

Shirdi Sai Baba at Arunachala

Up until 2008 there were no Shrines dedicated to Sri Shirdi Sai Baba here at Arunachala. Subsequently in 2014 we now have a Shirdi Sai Baba Shrine on the girivalam roadway near Adi Annamalai, a Shirdi Sai Baba Shrine close to the Hanuman Temple on the girivalam roadway and a bhajan hall dedicated to Sai Baba near the Durga Amman Temple in town.

The below photograph (which dates from 2008) is of a crate with a statue of Sai Baba inside, marking the place near Adi Annamalai that has now become a Temple dedicated to his name. 

To read more about the development of the Temple go to this link here.

Crate on land in 2008

Sri Shirdi Sai Baba at what will become a Shrine and his new home

2014 Shirdi Sai Baba Shrine at the same spot

Inside the Shrine

Perpetual flame from Shirdi alight in the Shrine's Dhuni

Pepetual flame from Shirdi

Development adjacent to Shirdi Sai Baba Shrine, girivalam roadway

In the above photograph, taken a few days ago, one can see the development of facilities connected to the Shirdi Sai Baba Shrine currently underway. It does seems a pity that the facility is being built so close to the Shrine. 

Shirdi Sai Baba Shrine, girivalam roadway near Hanuman Temple

Bhajan Hall near Durga Amman Temple, Tiruvannamalai

[Stories from Shri Sai Satcharitha by Hemad Pant]

Shri Sai Baba of Shirdi stressed the importance of complete surrender to Him to many of His devotees during His life in the flesh in the Dwarakamayi masjid. He said that he who remembers Him always, meditates upon Him all the time with love and devotion, he will soon see Him and merge with Him. To the devotee surrendering himself completely to Him, Sai Baba said that He was indebted to him and will repay his debt by giving him salvation (i.e., self-realization). 

Sai Baba further said, a devotee worshipping Him this way, becomes one with Sai - just as a river gets to the sea and merges with it. Sai urges devotees to leave out pride and egoism and then surrender themselves to Him, always remembering that Sai is not all far off and is in fact seated in our very hearts! Moreover, if we practice surrender with the feeling that Sai Baba is all-pervading (everywhere, in every creature, and in immovable objects as well), we will attain oneness with Him for sure. 

Hemad Pant advises us that to take refuge in Sai's feet with the feeling that the Self and Guru are one and the same and this will help us realize goals and remove difficulties quickly. Sai Baba assures us: "If you always say "SAI SAI", I shall take you over the seven seas. I do not need any paraphernalia of worships...I rest there, where there is full devotion." 

A few real-life incidents of total surrender by Baba's devotees to Baba's feet are discussed below. 

1. Bhimaji Patel of Narayangaon, Poona District, came to Shirdi in 1909 with serious chest diseases and tuberculosis having lost hope of any cure. He surrendered to Baba's feet crying out in despair. Baba was moved by his tears, blessed him and then cured him by means of two dreams. Through these dreams, he made Bhimaji experience the exact suffering required for removing the previous Karma that resulted in this disease. Bhimaji's sincere surrender to Baba showed all that Baba came to devotees' rescue, and expected nothing from His devotees except remembrance of His Name, unswerving faith and devotion. 

2. Dr. Pillai, who suffered from severe thirst and Cholera requested Baba for a remedy. Doctors would have said that the remedy prescribed by Baba would have aggravated this particular disease (and would have said no) - but this was given with Baba's grace and the devotee's faith, surrender and hence cured Dr. Pillai's disease! There are many more several real-life incidents of how diseases were cured by unusual remedies prescribed by Baba. There are also cases where Baba's mere words of grace removed virulent diseases including poisonous snake bites without any medicines at all! In all these cases, the absolute surrender by the devotees and total faith in Baba's words contributed to the speedy recovery. 

3. In one example, Madhavrao Deshpande (Shama) tried a medicine given once by Baba without consulting Baba at all - thinking that it worked once and so it will work again! But in fact the remedy made the disease worse and so he realized his mistake and surrendered to Baba again and got cured by His grace. Thus it was the attitude of complete surrender that made the real difference here. 

4. Ratanji Wadia of Nanded, a kind-hearted rich businessman pleaded to Gods for years to bless him with a child but it was not happening. On guidance from Das Ganu Maharaj, he surrendered to Shri Sai Baba at Shirdi. Sai tested his true faith and blessed him with his heart's desire with several children! 

Sai Baba assured us that even after MahaSamadhi: "Believe Me, though I pass away, My bones in My tomb would be speaking, moving and communicating with those who would surrender themselves whole-heartedly to me". Nishtha (Faith) and Saburi (patience) according to Baba are twin sisters. Baba expected only the above two qualities from devotees. Total surrender to Baba means that our very breath and activities in day-to-day life should be intertwined with Sai Baba in our breath along with Nishtha and Saburi as our very eyes guiding us. Only such complete surrender to Baba will get Baba's response quicker. 

Today's fusion of all cultures and technology-driven fast lives, we are more and more dependent on machines, servants, and external factors so much and so a significant portion of our commitments are left to the hands of forces outside our control unfortunately. Thus total surrender has become more difficult to us these days than in the simpler olden days. The solution lies in practicing seeing Sai in all these machines and helpers and trying hard to make our lives as simple as possible and by surrendering all outcomes to Sai who is "The wire-puller of the show of the universe" as He remarked. 

[Submitted by Bharathkumar K. 
With reference to Shri Sai Satcharitha] 

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