Naradiya Kirtan - Paddhati - Mr. Cholkar's Sugarless
Tea - Two Lizards.
The readers may remember that mention was made
in the 6th Chapter regarding the Rama-Navami Festival in Shirdi;
how the festival originated and how in the early years there was
a great difficulty in getting a good Hardidas for performing Kirtan
on that occasion, and how Baba permanently entrusted this function
(Kirtan) to Dasganu permanently. Now in this Chapter we shall
describe the manner in which Dasganu was performing the Kirtan.
Generally our Haridasas, while performing the Kirtan, wear a gala
and full dress. They put on a head-dress, either a pheta or a
turban, a long flowing coat with a shirt inside, an uparane (short
dhotar) on the shoulders and the usual long dhotar from the waist
below. Dressed in this fashion for some Kirtan in the Shirdi village,
Dasganu once went to bow to Baba. Baba asked him - "Well,
bridegroom! where are you going dressed so beautifully like this?"
'For performing a Kirtan' was the reply. Then Baba said - "Why
do you want all this paraphemalia-coat, uparani and pheta etc,
doff all that before Me, why wear them on the body?" Dasganu
immediately took them off and placed them at the Baba's Feet.
From that time Dasganu never wore these things while performing
the Kirtan. He was always bare from waist upwards, a pair of `chiplis'
was in his hand and a garland round his neck. This is not in consonance
with the practice generally followed by all the Hardidasa, but
this is the best and the purest method. The sage Narada, from
whom the Kirtan-Paddhati originated, wore nothing on his trunk
and head. He carried a 'veena' in his hand, and wandered from
place to place everywhere singing the glory of the Lord.
Mr. Cholkar's Sugarless Tea
Initially, Baba was known in Poona and Ahmednagar Districts, but
Nanasaheb Chandorkar, by his personal talks and by Dasganu, by
his splendid Kirtans, spread the fame of Baba in the Konkan (Bombay
Presidency). In fact, it was Dasganu - May God bless him-who,
by his beautiful and inimitable Kirtans, made Baba available to
so many people there. The audience, who come to hear the Kirtans
have different tastes. Some like the erudition of the Haridas;
some his gestures, some his singing, some his wit and humour,
some his preliminary dissertation on Vedanta, and some others,
his main stories and so on; but among them, there are very few,
who by hearing the Kirtan get faith and devotion or love for God
or saints. The effect of hearing Dasganu's kirtan on the minds
of audience was however electric, as it were. We give an instance
Dasganu was once performing his Kirtan and singing the glory of
Sai Baba, in the Koupineshwar temple in Thana. One Mr. Cholkar,
a poor man serving as a candidate in the Civil Courts in Thana,
was amongst the audience. He heard Dasganu's Kirtan most attentively
and was much moved. He there and then mentally bowed and vowed
to Baba saying - "Baba, I am a poor man, unable to support
my family. If by your grace, I pass the departmental examination,
and get a permanent post, I shall go to Shirdi, fall at Your Feet
and distribute sugar-candy in Your name." As good luck would
have it, Mr.Cholkar did pass te examination and did get the permanent
post and now it remained for him to fulfil his vow, the sooner
the better. Mr. Cholkar was a poor man with a large family to
support; and he could not afford to pay for the expenses of a
Shirdi trip. As is well said, one can easily cross over Nahne
ghat in Thana District or even the Sahyadri Range; but it is very
difficult for a poor man to cross Umbareghat, i.e., the threshold
of his house. As Mr. Cholkar was anxious to fulfill his vow as
early as possible, he resolved to economize, cut down his expenses,
and save money. He determined not to use sugar in his diet; and
began to take his tea without it. After he was able to save some
money in this way, he came to Shirdi, took Baba's darshan, fell
at His Feet, offered a coconut, distributed it with a clean conscience
along with sugar-candy as per his vow and said to Baba that he
was much pleased with His darshan and that his desires were fulfilled
that day. Mr. Cholkar was in the Masjid with his host Bapusaheb
Jog. When the host and the guest both got up and were about to
leave the Masjid, Baba spoke to Jog as follows:- "Give him
(your guest) cups of tea, fully saturated with Sugar." Hearing
these significant words, Mr. Cholkar was much moved, he was wonderstruck,
his eyes were bedewed with tears, and he fell at Baba's Feet again.
Mr. Jog was also curious about this direction, regarding the tea-cups
to be given to his guest. Baba wanted by His words to create faith
and devotion in Cholkar's mind. He hinted as it were, that He
got the sugar-candy as per his vow and that He knew full well
his secret determination not to use sugar in his diet. Baba meant
to say, "If you spread your palms with devotion before Me,
I am immediately with you, day and night. Though, I am here bodily,
still I know what you do; beyond the saven seas. Go wherever you
will, over the wide world, I am with you. My abode is in your
heart and I am within you. Always worship Me, Who is seated in
your heart, as well as, in the hearts of all beings, Blessed and
fortunate, indeed, is he who knows Me thus."
What a beautiful and important lesson was thus
imparted by Baba to Mr. Chokar !
Now we close this Chapter, with a story of two little lizards.
Once Baba was sitting in the Masjid. A devotee sat in front of
Him, when a lizard tick-ticked. Out of curiosity, the devotee
asked Baba whether this tick-ticking of the lizard signified anything;
was it a good sign or a bad omen? Baba said that the lizard was
overjoyed as her sister from Aurangabad was coming to see her.
The devotee sat silent, not making out the meaning of Baba's words.
Immediately, a gentleman from Aurangabad came on horse-back to
see Baba. He wanted to proceed further, but his horse would not
go, as it was hungry and wanted grams. He took out a bag from
his shoulders to bring grams and dashed it on the ground to remove
dirt. A lizard came out therefrom and in the presence of all,
climbed up the wall. Baba asked the questioner devotee to mark
her well. She at once went strutting to her sister. Both sisters
met each other after a long time, kissed and embraced each other,
whirled round and danced with love! Where is Shirdi and where
is Aurangabad? How should the man on horse-back come there from
Aurangabad with the lizard? And how should Baba make the prophesy
of the meeting of the two sisters? All this is really very wonderful
and proves the omniscience -- the all-knowing nature of Baba.
He who respectfully reads this Chapter or studies it daily, will
get all his miseries removed by the grace of the Sadguru Sai Baba,