Baba’s Knowledge of Sanskrit – Blessed Gyan 205

|| Aum Sai Ram || Aum Sai Para Brahmanaa Namah ||

Baba’s Interpretation

“Nobody believed that, Baba knew Sanskrit. One day He surprised all by giving an interpretation of a verse from the Gita, to Nanasaheb Chandorkar. A brief account about this matter was written by Mr. B.V. Dev, retired Mamlatdar and published in Marathi in ‘Shri Sai Leela’ magazine, Vol IV. Sphuta Vishaya, page 563. Short accounts of the same are also published in ‘Sai Baba’s Charters and Sayings’ page 61 and in ‘The Wondrous Saint Sai Baba’, page 36 – both by B.V. Narsimhaswami. Mr. B.V. Dev has also given an English version of this in his statement dated 27-9-1936 and published on page 66 of “Devotees’ Experiences, Part III” published by Narsimha Swami. As Mr. Dev has got first hand information about this subject from Nanasaheb himself, we give below his version.

Nanasaheb Chandorkar was a good student of Vedanta. He had read Gita with commentaries. He fancied that Baba knew nothing of Sanskrit texts. So Baba one day pricked the bubble. These were the days, before crowds flocked to Baba, when Baba had individual meetings at the Mosque with such devotees. Nana was sitting near Baba and massaging His Legs and muttering something under his breath.

Baba – Nana, what are you mumbling yourself?

Nana – I am reciting a Shloka (verse).

Baba – What Shloka?

Nana – From Bhagawad-Gita

Baba – Say it loudly.

Nana, then, recited B.G. IV-34 which is as follows :-

‘Tadviddhi Pranipaatena Pariprashnena Sevaya,
Upadekshyanti Te Gnyanam Gnyaninastattwadarshinah’

Baba – Nana, do you understand it?

Nana – Yes.

Baba – If you do, then tell me its meaning! 

Nana – It means this : “Making Sashtanga Namaskar, i.e., prostration, asking the Guru, serving him, learn, what this Knowledge is. Then, those who have attained the real knowledge of the Sadvastu (Brahma) will give you Upadesha (instruction) of Knowledge.”

Baba – Nana, I do not want this sort of collected purport of the whole stanza. Give me each word, its grammatical force and meaning.

Then Nana explained it word by word.

Baba – Nana, is it enough to merely make prostration ?

Nana – I do not know any other meaning for the word ‘Pranipaat’ than ‘making prostration’.

Baba – What is ‘Pariprashna’?

Nana – Asking questions.

baba – What does ‘Prashna’ mean?

Nana – The same (questioning).

Baba – If ‘Pariprashna’ means the same as ‘Prashna’ (question), why did Vyasa add the prefix ‘Pari’? Was Vyasa off his head?

Nana – I do not know of any other meaning for the word ‘Pariprashna’.

Baba – ‘Seva’, what sort of ‘Seva’ is meant?

Nana – Just what we are doing to You.

Baba – Is it enough to render such service?

Nana – I do not know, what more is signified by the word ‘Seva’.

Baba – In the next line “Upadekshyanti te Gnyanam”, can you read it any other word in lieu of Gnyanam?

Nana – Yes.

Baba – What word?

Nana – Agnyanam.

Baba – Taking that word (instead of Jnana) is any meaning made out of the verse?

Nana – No, Shankara Bhashya gives no such construction.

Baba – Never mind, if he does not. Is there any objection to using the word “Agnyan” if it gives a better sense?

Nana – I do not understand, how to construe by placing “Agnyan” in it.

Baba – Why does Krishna refer Arjun to Tattwadarshis to do his prostration, interrogation and service? Was not Krishna, a Tattwadarshi, in fact Gnyan himself.

Nana – Yes, He was. But, I do not make out why he referred Arjun to Gnyanis?

Baba – Have you not understood this?

Nana was humiliated. His pride was knocked down. Then Baba began to explain –

(1) It is not enough merely to prostrate before the Gnyanis. We must make Sarvasva Sharangati (complete surrender) to the Sadguru.

(2) Mere questioning is not enough. The question must not be made with any improper motive or attitude or to trap the Guru and catch at mistakes in the answer, or out of idle curiosity. It must be earnest with a view to achieve spiritual progress or liberation.

(3) Seva is not rendering service with the feeling that one is free to offer or refuse service. One must feel that, he is not the master of the body, that the body is Guru’s and exists merely to render service to him.

If this is done, the Sadguru will show you, what the Knowledge referred to in the previous stanza is.

Nana did not understand, what is meant by saying, that a Guru teaches Agnyan.

Baba – How is Gnyan Upadesh, i.e., imparting of realization to be effected? Destroying ignorance is Gnyan. (of Verse – Ovi – 1396 of Dnyaneshwari, commenting on Gita 18-66 says : “Removal of ignorance is, Oh Arjun, if dream and sleep disappear, you are yourself. It is like that.” Also Ovi 83 on Gita V-16 says : “Is there anything different or independent in Gnyan besides the destruction of ignorance?”)* Expelling darkness means light. Destroying duality (Dwaita) means non-duality (Adwaita). Whenever we speak of destroying Dwaita, we speak of Adwaita. Whenever we talk of destroying darkness, we talk of light. If we have to realise the Adwaita state, the feeling of Dwaita in ourselves has to be removed. That is the realization of the Adwaita state. Who can speak of Adwaita while remaining in Dwaita? Unless one gets into that state of non-duality, how can one know it and realize it?

Again, the Shishya (disciple), like the Sadguru, is the embodiment of Gnyan. The difference between the two lies in the attitude, high realization of Sadguru and his marvellous super-human Sattva (beingness) and unrivalled capacity and Aishwarya Yoga (divine powers). The Sadguru is Nirgun, Sat-Chit-Anand. He has indeed taken human form to elevate mankind and raise the world. But his real Nirgun nature is not destroyed thereby, even a bit. His existence (or reality), divine power and wisdom remain undiminished. The disciple also is in fact of the same Swarupa. But, it is overlaid by the effect of the Sanskars of innumerable births in the shape of ignorance, which veils his view that, he is Shuddha Chaitanya (see B.G. Ch. V-15). As stated therein, he gets the impressions : “I am Jiva, a creature, meek and poor.” The Guru has to root out these offshoots of ignorance and has to give Upadesh or instruction. To the disciple, held spell-bound for endless generations by the ideas of his being a Jiva, the Guru imparts the teaching : “You are God, you are mighty and opulent.” Then, he realizes that, he is God really. The perpetual delusion, under which the disciple is labouring, that he is the body, that he is a creature (jiva) or ego that, God (Paramatma) and the world are different from him, is an ignorance inherited from innumerable past births. From actions, based on it, he has derived his joy, sorrows and mixtures of both. To remove this delusion, this error, this root ignorance, he must start the inquiry. How did the ignorance arise? Where is it? And to show him this is called the Guru’s Upadesh. The following are the instances of Agnyan :-

1 – I am a Jiva (creature)

2 – Body is the soul (I am the body).

3 – God, world and Jiva are different.

4 – I am not God.

5 – Not knowing, that body is not the soul.

6 – Not knowing that God, world and Jiva are one.

Unless these errors are exposed to his view, the disciple cannot learn, what is God, Jiva, world, body; how they are inter-related and whether they are different from each other, or are one and the same. To teach him these and destroy his ignorance is this instruction in Gnyan or Agnyan. Why should Gnyan be imparted to the Jiva, (who is a Gnyan Moorti) Upadesh is merely to show him his error and destroy his ignorance.

Baba added :- (1) Pranipata implies surrender. (2) Surrender must be of body, mind and wealth; (3) Why should Krishna refer Arjun to other Gnyanis? “Sadbhakta takes every thing to be Vasudev (B.G.VII-19 i.e., any Guru will be Krishna to the devotee) and Guru takes disciple to be Vasudev and Krishna treats both as his Prana and Atma (B.G.7-18, commentary of Jnanadev on this). As Shri Krishna knows that there are such Bhaktas and Gurus, He refers Arjun to them so that their greatness may increase and be known.” 

– SHRI SAI SATCHARITRA (Chapter XXXIX)

|| Aum Sai Sharnam || May Peace Be To All ||

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