|| Aum Sai Ram || Aum Sai Para Brahmanaa Namah ||
Shama and Vishnu-Sahasra-Naam
“Shama was a very intimate devotee of Baba and Baba wanted to favour him in a particular way by giving him a copy of Vishnu-Sahasra-Naam, as Prasad. This was done in the following way; once a Ramadasi (follower of Saint Ramadas) came to Shirdi and stayed there for some time. The routine he followed daily was as follows; he got up early in the morning, washed his face, bathed and then after wearing saffron-coloured clothes and besmearing himself with sacred ashes, read Vishnu-Sahasra-Naam (a book giving a thousand names in praise of Vishnu and held second in importance to Bhagwad Gita) and Adhyatma Ramayan (Esoteric version of Rama’s story) with faith. He read these books very often. After some days, Baba thought of favouring and initiating Shama with Vishnu-Sahasra-Naam. He, therefore, called the Ramadasi to Him and said to him that, He was suffering from intense stomach-pain, and unless He took Senna-pods (Sona-mukhi, a mild purgative drug) the pain would not stop; so he should please go to the bazar (market) and bring the drug. The Ramadasi closed his book and went to the bazar. Then Baba came from His seat, to Ramadasi’s place of reading, took out the copy of Vishnu-Sahasra-Naam, and after coming back to His seat said to Shama, “Shama, this book is very valuable and efficacious, so, I present it to you, you read it. Once I suffered intensely and My heart began to palpitate and My life was in danger. At that critical moment, I hugged this book to My heart, and then, Shama, what a relief it gave me! I thought that, Allah Himself came down and saved Me. So I give this to you, read it slowly, little by little, read daily one name at least and it will do you good.”
Shama replied that he did not want it and that the owner of it, the Ramadasi who was a bad tempered, obstinate and irritable fellow would certainly pick up a quarrel with him; besides, being a rustic himself, he could not read distinctly the Sanskrit (Devanagari script) text of the book.
Shama thought that Baba wanted to set him up against the Ramadasi by this act of His, but he had no idea, what Baba felt for him. Baba must have thought to tie this necklace of Vishu-Sahasra-Naam round the neck of Shama, as he was an intimate devotee, though a rustic; and thus, save him from the miseries of the worldly existence. The efficacy of God’s Name is well-known. It saves us from all sins and bad tendencies, frees us from the cycle of births and deaths. There is no easier Sadhana than this. It is the best purifier of our mind. It requires no paraphernalia and no restrictions. It is so easy and so effective. This Sadhana, Baba wanted Shama to practise, though he did not crave for it. So Baba forced this on him. It is also reported that long ago, Eknath Maharaj, similarly, forced this Vishnu-Sahasra-Naam on a poor Brahmin neighbour, and thus saved him. The reading and study of this Vishnu-Sahasra-Naam is a broad open way of purifying the mind and hence, Baba thrust this on His devotee, Shama.
The Ramadasi returned soon with the Senna-pods. Anna Chinchanikar, who was then present and wanted to play the part of Narad (the Celestial Rishi, who was well-known for setting up confrontations between Gods and demons and vice versa), informed him of what had happened. The Ramadasi at once flared up. He came down at once on Shama with all fury. He said that it was Shama who set Baba to send him away, under the pretext of stomach-ache, for bringing the medicine and thus took away the book. He began to scold and abuse Shama and remarked that if the book was not returned, he would dash his head. Shama calmly remonstrated with him but in vain. Then, Baba spoke kindly to him as follows: “Oh Ramadasi, what is the matter with you? Why are you so turbulent? Is not Shama our boy? Why do you scold him unnecessarily. How is it that you are so quarrelsome? Can you not speak soft and tender words? You read these sacred books daily and still your mind is agitated and your passions uncontrolled. What sort of a Ramadasi you are! You ought to be indifferent to all things. Is it not strange that you should possess this book so strongly? A true Ramadasi should have no ‘Mamata’ (attachment), but have ‘Samata’ (equality) towards all. You are now quarrelling with Shama for a mere book. Go, take your seat, books can be had in plenty with money, but not men; think well and be considerate. What worth is your book? Shama had no concern with it. I took it up Myself and gave it to him. You know it by heart. I thought Shama might read it and benefit thereby, and so I gave to it him.”
How sweet were these words of Baba, soft, tender and nectar-like! Their effect was wonderful. The Ramadasi calmed down and said to Shama that he would take ‘Panch-ratni Gita’ in return. Shama was much pleased and said, “Why one, I shall give ten copies in return.”
So the matter was ultimately settled. The question for consideration is, “Why should the Ramadasi press for Pancha-ratni Gita, a book, which he never cared to know, and why should he, who daily read religious books in the Masjid in front of Baba, quarrel with Shama before Him?”
We do not know how to apportion the blame and whom to blame. We only say that, had this incident not happened, the importance of the subject, the efficacy of God’s name and the significance of Vishnu-Sahasra-Naam would not have been brought home to Shama. So we see that Baba’s method, of teaching and initiating, was unique. In this cases Shama did gradually study the book and mastered its contents to such an extent, that he was able to explain it to Professor G.G. Narke, M.A., of the College of Engineering, Poona, the son-in-law of Shriman Buti and a devotee of Baba.”
– SHRI SAI SATCHARITRA (Chapter XXVII)
|| Aum Sai Sharnam || May Peace Be To All ||