Das Ganu’s Problem solved by Kaka’s Maid-servant
In this chapter, Hemadpant describes, how Das Ganu’s problem was solved by Kakasaheb Dixit’s maid-servant.
God was originally formless. He assumed a form for the sake of Bhaktas. With the help of Maya, He played the part of an Actor in the big drama of the universe. Let us remember and visualize Shri Sai. Let us go to Shirdi and see carefully the programme after the noon-Arati. After the Arati ceremony was over, Sai used to come out of the Masjid and standing on its edge, distribute Udi to the devotees with very kind, gracious and loving looks. The Bhaktas also got up with equal fervour, clasped His Feet and had the bliss of Udi. Baba passed handfuls of Udi into the palms of the devotees and marked their foreheads with Udi with His own hands. The love He bore for them in His heart, was boundless. Then He addressed the Bhaktas, “Oh Bhau, go home to take your lunch, you Anna, go to your lodgings, you Bapu, enjoy your meal”. In this way, He accosted each and every devotee and sent them home. Even now you can have the pleasure of these sights, if you bring into play your imagination. Now, bringing Sai in our mental vision, let us meditate on Him, from His Feet upwards to His face, prostrating before Him humbly, lovingly and reverentially.
Das Ganu once started to write a Marathi commentary on the Isha Upanishad. Let us first give a brief idea of this Upanishad, before proceeding further. It is called ‘Mantropanishad’, as it is embodied in the Mantras of the Vedic Sanhita. It constitutes the last or the 40th chapter of the Vajasaneyi Sanhita (Yajurveda) and it is therefore, called Vajasaneyi Sanhitopanishad. Being embodied in Vedic Sanhitas, this is regarded as superior to all other Upanishads, which are in the Brahmanyaks and Aranyakas (explanatory treaties on Mantras and rituals). Not only this, other Upanishads are considered to be commentaries on the truths, mentioned briefly in the Isha Upanishad. For instance, the biggest of the Upanishads, viz. the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, is considered by Pandit Satawalekar to be a running commentary on the Isha Upanishad.
Professor R.D. Ranade says, “The Ishopanishad is quite a small Upanishad and yet it contains many facts, which show an extraordinarily piercing insight. Within the short compass of 18 verses it gives a valuable mystical description of the Atma, a description of the ideal sage who stands unruffled in the midst of temptations and sorrows, an adumbration of the doctrine or Karma Yoga, as later formulated. The most valuable idea, that lies at the root of the Upanishad, is that of a logical synthesis between the two opposites of knowledge and work, which are both required according to the Upanishad to be annulled in a higher synthesis.” (Page 24 of the Constructive Survey of the Upanishadic Philosophy). In another place he says that “The poetry of the Ishopanishad is a co-mixture of moral, mystical and metaphysical knowledge (ibid, page 41).”
From the brief description given above, about this Upanishad, one can see how difficult it is to translate this Upanishad in a vernacular language and bring out its exact meaning. Das Ganu translated it in Marathi ‘Ovi’ metre, verse by verse; but as he did not comprehend the gist or essence of the Upanishad, he was not satisfied with his performance. On being dis-satisfied he consulted some learned men, regarding his doubts and difficulties, and discussed it with them at great length. They did not solve them nor did they give him any rational and satisfactory explanation. So Das Ganu was a little restless over this matter.
As we have seen this Upanishad is the quint-essence of the Vedas. It is the science of self-realization, it is the scythe or weapon which can rend asunder the bondage of life and death and make us free. Therefore, he thought that, he, who has himself attained self-realization, can only give him the true or correct interpretation of the Upanishad. When nobody could satisfy Das Ganu, he resolved to consult Sai Baba about this. When he got an opportunity to go to Shirdi, he saw Sai Baba, prostrated himself before Him, and mentioned his difficulties about the Isha Upanishad, and requested Him to give the correct solution. Sai Baba blessed him and said, “You need not be anxious, there is no difficulty about the matter, the maid-servant of Kaka (Kakasaheb Dixit) will solve your doubts at Ville Parle on your way home.” The people who were present there and heard this, thought that Baba was joking, and said, “How could an illiterate maid-servant solve difficulties of this mystic nature;” but Das Ganu thought otherswise. He was sure that, whatever Baba spoke must come true, as Baba’s word was the decree of Brahma (Almighty).
Fully believing Baba’s words, he left Shirdi and came to Ville Parle (a suburb of Mumbai), and stayed with Kakasaheb Dixit. There the next day, when Das Ganu was enjoying his morning nap (some say, when he was engaged in worship), he heard a poor girl singing a beautiful song in clear and melodious tone. The theme of the song was a crimson coloured Sari, how nice it was, how fine was its embroidery, how beautiful were its borders etc. He liked the song so much that he came out and saw that, it was being sung by a young girl, the sister of Namya, who was a servant of Kakasaheb. The girl was cleaning vessels and had only a torn rag on her person. On seeing her impoverished condition and her happy temperament, Das Ganu felt pity for her; and when Rao Bahadur M.V. Pradhan, gave him a pair of Dhotars the next day, he requested him to give a Sari to the poor little girl also. Rao Bahadur bought a good Chirdi (small Sari) and presented it to her. Like a starved person getting delicious dishes to eat, her joy knew no bounds. Next day she wore the new Sari and out of great joy and merriment, whirled and danced around and played ‘Fugadi’ with other girls. The following day she kept the new Sari in her box at home and came in the old and torn rags but she looked as merry as she was the previous day. On seeing this Das Ganu’s pity transformed into admiration. He thought that the girl being poor, had to wear a torn rag but now she had a new Sari, which she kept in reserve and putting on the old rag, strutted herself, showing no trace of sorrow or dejection. Thus, he realized that, all our feelings of pain and pleasure depend upon the attitude of our mind. On thinking deeply over this incident he realized that, a man ought to enjoy whatever God has bestowed on him in the firm conviction that, He besets everything from all sides; and that, whatever is bestowed on him by God must be for his good. In this particular case, the impoverished condition of the poor girl, her torn rag and the new Sari, the donor, the donee and the deal were all parts of the Lord and pervaded by Him. Here, Das Ganu got a practical demonstration of the lesson of the Upanishad – the lesson of contentment with one’s own lot with the belief that whatever happens, is ordained by God, and is ultimately good for us.
From the above incident the reader will see that, Baba’s method was unique and varied. Though Baba never left Shirdi, He sent some to Machchindragad, some to Kolhapur or Solapur, for practising Sadhanas. To some He appeared in His usual form, to some He appeared in waking or dream states, day or night, and satisfied their desires. It is impossible to describe all the methods, that Baba used in imparting instructions to His Bhaktas. In this particular case, He sent Das Ganu to Ville Parle, where he got his problem solved, through the maid- servant. To those who say that it was not necessary to send away Das Ganu and that, Baba could have personally taught him; we say that Baba followed the right or best course, or how else could Das Ganu learn a great lesson, that the poor maid-servant and her sari were pervaded by the Lord.
Now we close the chapter with another beautiful extract about this Upanishad.
“One of the main features of the Isha Upanishad, is the ethical advice it offers and it is interesting to note that, the ethics of the Upanishad are definitely based upon the metaphysical position, given in it. The very opening words of the Upanishad tell us that, God pervades everything. As a corollary, from this metaphysical position the ethical advice it offers is that, a man ought to enjoy whatever God bestows on him in the firm belief, that, as He pervades everything, whatever is bestowed on him by God, must be good. It follows naturally that, the Upanishad forbids us from coveting another man’s property. In fact, we are fittingly taught here a lesson of contentment with one’s own lot in the belief that, whatever happens, is divinely ordained and hence, it is good for us. Another moral advice is that, man must spend his life-time always in doing action, specifically the Karmas enjoined in the Shastras, with resignation to His will. Inactivity, according to this Upanishad, would be the canker of the soul. It is only when a man spends his life-time in doing actions in this manner, that, he can hope to attain the ideal of Naishkarmya. Finally, the text goes on to say that a man, who sees all beings in the self and sees the self as existing in all beings in fact, for whom all beings and everything that exists have become the Self – how can such a man suffer infatuation? What ground would such a man have for grief? Loathfulness, infatuation and grief verily proceed from our not being able to see the Atma in all things. But, a man who realizes the oneness of all things, for whom everything has become the Self must ipso facto, cease to be affected by the common foibles of humanity.” (Page 169-170 of The Creative Period by Messrs. Belvalkar and Ranade).