Shirdi Sai Baba's Philosopy about Deeds (Karma)
The theory of Karma (our deeds) is difficult to comprehend. We can recall scientific principle of 'Action and Reaction'. The theory of karma is of similar type. We have to bear consequences of our deeds whether immediately or later. But there is no escape to it. If we touch fire, our hand will burn immediately. On the other hand if we smoke our body will diminish slowly. Following same principle, whatever outcome of our good or bad actions performed in last births have to experienced in following births to come. There is no way out of it.
One has to reap what one sows and there is no escape unless one suffers and squares up one's old debts and dealings with others - Chapter 47 of Sacred Text Sai Satcharitra.
Always Do Good Act :
While doing any good deed, it must not be done because some other person is doing it. It must be according to one's physical, financial and spiritual capacity. This was put into action by Sai Baba when He rejected offer for another wooden plank to be hanged on ceiling for Mhlasapati by Kakasaheb Dixit in chapter 45 of Sacred Text - Sai Satcharitra.In the same chapter, we have seen what Baba has said about running around and trying advices of various Gurus, "There are innumerable saints in the world, but our father (Guru) is the real father (Real Guru). Others might say many good things, but we should never forget our Guru's advice, because he knows what is best for us."
Seek Company of Saints :
Sai Baba advised His devotees to shun company of atheists, irreligious and wicked persons altogether.Instead, He used to ask His devotees to seek company of saints, "The importance of the company of Saints is very great. It removes our body-consciousness and egoism, destroys completely the chain of our birth and death, cuts asunder all the knots of the heart, and takes us to God, Who is pure Consciousness. It certainly increases our non-attachment to sense-objects, and makes us quite indifferent to pleasures and pains, and leads us on the spiritual path. If you have no other Sadhana, such as uttering God's name, worship or devotion etc., but if you take refuge in them (Saints) whole-heartedly, they will carry you off safety across the ocean of worldly existence. It is for this reason that the Saint manifest themselves in this world. even sacred rivers such as the Ganges, Godavari, Krishna and Kaveri etc., which wash away the sins of the world, desire that the Saints should come to them, for a bath and purify them. Such is the grandeur of the Saints" - Chapter 10.
Avoid Bad Deeds :
It may happen that even if a person wishes to do good acts and walk on the path of teachings prescribed in scriptures, he is not able to do so which leads him to evil path. What can be reason behind this? It is because of deeds in past life and his nature framed accordingly. Also sometimes it also happens that it is difficult in deciding to perform a good act. Some other person of evil nature may advice not to proceed with a good act. Thus this time is testing for the good person as he has to distinguish between good and bad deed. Being firm to his decision and taking action accordingly, he can certainly reach his goal avoiding evil advice.
Devotees were often helped by Sai Baba in their good determinations. In chapter 19, we have read that Sai Baba encouraged thought of Hemadpant to sing unceasingly Rama's name during one Thursday, by arranging coincidence of making Dabholkar listen to a song sung by one Aurangabadkar on Rama.
It was regret of Baba that very few devotees come to Him for spiritual upliftment. He says in Chapter 32, "My Sircar's treasury (spiritual wealth) is full, it is overflowing. I say, "Dig out and take away this wealth in cartloads, the blessed son of a true mother should fill himself with this wealth. The skill of my Fakir, the Leela of my Bhagwan, the aptitude of my Sircar is quite unique. What about Me? Body (earth) will mix with earth, breath with air. This time won't come again."
Doership of Deeds :
This is very well explained by Sai Baba in chapter 50 by the following story. Once Shri Vasudevanand Saraswati, known as Shri Tembye Swami encamped, at Rajamahendri (Andhra Country), on the banks of Godavari. One, Mr. Pundalikrao, pleader of Nanded (Nizam State) went to see him, with some friends. While they were talking with him, the names of Shirdi and Sai Baba were casually mentioned. Hearing Baba's name, the Swami bowed with his hands; and taking a coconut gave it to Pundalikrao, and said to him, "Offer this to my brother Sai, with my pranam and request Him not to forget me, but ever love me." After one month Pundalikrao and others left for Shirdi with the coconut. Unfortunately the fruit broken that was entrusted to Pundalikrao. Fearing and trembling, he came to Shirdi and saw Baba. Baba had already received a wireless message, regarding the coconut, from the Tembye Swami, as Himself asked Pundalikrao first to give the things sent by His brother. He held fast Baba's Feet, confessed his guilt and negligence, repented and asked for Baba's pardon. He offered to give another fruit as a substitute, but Baba refused to accept it saying that the worth of that coconut was by far, many times more, than an ordinary one and that it could not be replaced by another one. Baba also added- "Now you need not worry yourself any more about the matter. It was on account of my wish that the coconut was entrusted to you, and ultimately broken on the way; why should you take the responsibility of the actions on you? Do not entertain the sense of doership in doing good, as well as for bad deeds; be entirely prideless and egoless in all things and thus your spiritual progress will be rapid." What a beautiful spiritual instruction Baba gave!
Shirdi Sai Baba's Philosopy about Nine Types of Devotion :
In chapter 21, Sai Baba told Anantrao Patankar a parable of Nine Balls of Stool (Nava-vidha Bhakti). Baba said there are nine forms of Bhakti : 1. Shravan – Hearing 2. Kirtan - Praying 3. Smaran – Remembering 4. Padasevan - Resorting to Feet 5. Archan – Worship 6. Namaskar - Bowing 7. Dasya - Service 8. Sakhyam – Friendship 9. Atmanivedan – Surrender of the Self. If any of these is faithfully followed, Lord Hari will be pleased and manifest Himself in the home of the devotee.
Shravan (Hearing Praises) :
Baba used to ask educated devotees like Kakasaheb Dixit and Bapusaheb Jog to read out Jnaneshwari, Eknathi Bhagwat and Bharavarth Ramayana to others regularly and send other devotees to hear them. About Sacred text – Sai Satcharitra Baba Himself said
Kirtan (Singing Praises) :
We have seen that Baba used to get Kirtans performed during festivals like Ramnavami (birth-anniversary of Lord Rama) and Janmashtami (birth-anniversary of Lord Krishna in the open space in front of Dwarkamai. In the year 1914, Das Ganu Maharaj was permanently entrusted function of doing Kirtan. Even more Baba made him dress like Sage Narada from whom the Kirtan Paddhati originated by wearing nothing on torso and head, carrying a pair of Chiplis in his hand and a garland around his neck. Actually it was Baba who made Das Ganu Maharaj give up his service in Police department and take to singing God’s praises – Chapter 15.
In chapter – 3, Baba assures, “If a man earnestly sings about My life and My deeds, him I shall beset in front and back and on all sides. Believe Me that if anybody sings My Leelas, I will give him infinite joy and ever-lasting contentment.
In the same chapter, it was seen how Rohila used to recite, in a loud and harsh tone the Kalma (verses from Holy Quran) and shout “Allah Ho Akbar” (God is Great). The villagers suffered this nuisance for some days in silence, and when they could stand it no longer, they approached Baba and requested Him to check Rohila and stop the nuisance. Baba, instead of attending to complaint of villagers, in turn, took side of Rohila and asked villagers to mind their own business. As Baba liked prayers and cries of God better than anything else, asked villagers to wait and bear with the nuisance quietly.
Smaran (Remembering Form and Name) :
Smaran means naam-smaran which means constantly repeating name of Lord by remembering His form. Chapter – 27 of Sacred text – Sai Satcharitra says – 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. Thus in the same chapter it is seen that Baba forced His intimate devotee Shama to accept Ramdasi’s copy of Vishnu Sahastranaam and learn to recite it.
Also in chapter – 3 Baba says, “If a man utters My name with love, I shall fulfill as his wishes, increase his devotion. If you always say “Sai, Sai, I shall take you over the seven seas believe in these words, and you will be certainly benefited.” – Chapter 13.
Padasevan (Service of Feet) :
Padasevan means salutation to the deity of worship or Guru by respectfully touching His feet with both hands and resting one’s head on them or massaging them. Padasevan also includes remembering and meditating. In connection to this, in Sacred text – Sai Satcharitra it is written as, “He is sitting with His legs folded, the right leg held across the left knee. The fingers of His left hand are spread on the right foot. On the toe are spread His two fingers – the index and middle ones. By this posture Baba seems to say – if you want to see My true form, by egoless and most humble, and meditate on My toe through the opening between – index and middle finger – and then you will be able to see My light”.