Shamshad Ali Baig
‘‘How I became a Sai Devotee !’’
Sai Baba has said, ‘‘I pull my devotee, as one pulls a sparrow
with string to its legs.’’ So Baba’s pull came in 1997, when a
friend of mine, Vishwarath Nayar took me to Shri Bhagwati Sai Sansthan,
Panvel. This was the first time, I was going to a Shirdi Sai Baba’s
temple. I felt very calm and peaceful there. After that, whenever I was
going through troubled times, I would go to the temple to seek His
solace. Thus, I got addicted to the spiritual high I got there.
After a year, I had the
opportunity to go to Shirdi. I still remember vividly... the moment my bus reached Nasik, I felt bliss descending over me. The
experience was unbelievable. I didn’t know that this feeling is called
‘bliss’, it took several more such experiences and a bit of study on
the spiritual lingo to realize that this divinely calm is called as
The first time I touched the
stone on which Baba sat in Dwarkamai, a kind of current (it was an
energy flow, which again is inexplicable) went through me. I cherished
the experience; but after that, whenever I went to Shirdi and waited for
that sensation to overtake, I never experienced it. May be, on my first
visit, He wanted me to know that we have a connection.
There was a surge of Sai
energy in my life. After closing my office, every evening I went to the
Sai temple at Panvel and attended the Shej Arati. I started
reading the English translation of Shri Sai Satcharita originally
written in Marathi by Govind (Annasaheb) Raghunath Dabholkar alias
Hemadpant regularly. Whenever I was faced with problems, I would open
Shri Sai Sat Charita randomly and then, I would see that there was a
message for me there.
In 2002, I started contem-plating
that I should write a book, which one could carry easily, wherever one
went and glance through it, whenever one had a few minutes free, say
before meeting a client or waiting for the bus ! But, as usual, it
was very important for me to seek His guidance. When this new ideas
came, I again resorted to Shri Sai Sat Charita and opened it casually,
the book opened on chapter 3, where Baba tells Annasaheb Dabholkar,
‘‘You have my full consent to write my life.’’ I immediately saw
this is an indication to me to start penning the book. But, I was
unsure, why Baba wanted me to pen a book on Him; because I felt that I
was not a great devotee of His, nor was a great writer. So, I kept on
wondering, why He wanted me to write on Him.
In November 2002, I started
writing, after a few days I stopped writing as the more important
survival issues caught my attention. Then again, in the beginning of
2003, I decided to get down to writing Baba’s book. But, as a true
mortal, I again wanted to further clarify the issue, whether I should
pen His book. So, once again, I randomly opened Shri Sai Sat Charita and
lo ! It opened on chapter 6, and my eyes fell on ‘‘When I
myself start to write anything, I cannot compose a few words or
sentences; but when He of His own accord makes me write, I go on
writing... and there is no end to it.’’ So, this was the second
indication from Baba for me to write. Still after a few days, this too
turned out to be an abortive attempt as I discontinued writing.
But, in the middle of 2003,
when my life became even more chaotic, I started writing the book. I
completely cut myself off from people and started penning the book. But,
somehow, things were not gelling. So, again I left the project and got
back to the active journalism.
In 2004, much of the work
started shaping up; but it was only in early 2006, when I discussed the
project with Jehangir Jamadar, a true Sai devotee, the book finally,
started moving towards the production stage. Under Baba’s loving
guidance Jehangir gave the layout and designs for
‘sai katha sagar’.
The lay-out is eye-catching
with comfortable font size to aid easy reading. The cover has a Peepal
leaf, on which there is a drawing of Baba. Jehangir felt that Baba was
always with the poor and down trodden, similarly the artist, who draws
on the leaf, also comes from a not-so-privileged class. So, it was
important that the work of such an artist be highlighted.
The price of the book was
already decided; but a Datta-Sai devotee suggested that since it was the
first book of yours on Baba, the price of the book should be like Guru
Dakshina figure. I was in a fix; but then Baba as usual came to my
rescue. I wrote different prices on chits of paper and placed them on
Baba’s feet, with utmost faith that He will guide me to the right
figure. Thus, the price came to be Rs. 151/-.
In this publicatiom travel,
Baba tested me several times and showed His miracles. The lessons that
He wanted to teach me through the writing of this book are myriad. He
still is teaching me; but the best is that, when a determined person
walks out in the world and says he wants to make a difference to the
society, God’s grace follows him and the cosmos answers his heartfelt
desire. This stands true for both positive and negative changes that one
wants to make. But then, each person, according to his own Karma
will choose to bring a change in the society.
On a more reflective note, I
come back to the original question - ‘‘Exactly when and
how I became a Sai devotee !’’ With my current understanding, I
feel, we are always under the guidance of our Sadguru, birth
after birth, whether we are aware of it or not. The Sadguru can
be in the physical form or not, but invariably He guides His devotee.