Friday, March 7, 2014

Baba To Baba: Shirdi To Ganeshpuri -

Shirdi Sai Baba (unknown – 15th Oct`1918) in Maharashtra`India and Bhagawan Nityananda of Ganeshpuri`Maharashtra, India (about 1897 - 08th Aug`1961) both were great Avadhutas. Both of them did not preach but their life was itself preaching. Both were most of the time silent and through their silence they brought about transformation. And when they did speak, it was more of a spontaneous and not an organized speech.

It is said that several illuminated beings frequented Bhagawan Nityananda in Ganeshpuri. Devotees of this beloved communion between Bhagawan Nityananda and Shirdi Sai Baba are many & the following are just a few experiences of devotees reflecting how enlightened beings are connected.

Emphasizing the power of Manas pooja (Mental Worship) than physically performing a ritual, Bhagawan Nityananda once reveled himself to a devotee staying in Ganeshpuri in the form of Sai Baba and said “Meditate on the form of Guru with Abhaya-hasta (Fear not gesture of Hand) installed in your heart.”

When students of other spiritual teachers sometimes came to Ganeshpuri, Bhagawan Nityananda always steered them back to their own ashrams. HE would tell them that their gurus were quite capable of solving their problems and that it was inappropriate as well as disrespectful to change loyalty on a temporary basis. One morning, as devotees of Shirdi Sai Baba filed before him, Nityananda shouted, "Go back to Shirdi! Does the old man there sit differently than this one does here?"

Around 35 years after Shirdi Sai Baba's Maha-Samadhi, one day in Bombay there was a knock at the door of a woman who was a devotee of Shirdi Sai Baba & who had never even heard of Bhagawan Nityananda. When she opened the door, here stood an old man who looked exactly like the saint Shirdi Sai Baba — dressed the same, with a kerchief around his head. He said, "Please give me a drink of water, I am thirsty."

The devotee took the old man in and gave him food and drink. He thanked her and walked away and disappeared.Later, chance took her to Ganeshpuri for Bhagawan Nityananda's darshan. And as soon as she came before Bhagawan Nityananda, HE said to her, "I came to your home and you kindly gave me food and drink." She was amazed and said. "Swamiji, why did you come in the form of Shirdi Sai Baba?" He replied, "You would not have known me in this form as you had never seen or heard of me, so I came in a form you knew and loved."

Once, a lady from France Malou Lanvin visited the shrine of Sai Baba in Shirdi, although there was the usual rush, as she was having darshan of Baba's Samadhi, the priest in Shirdi picked a red rose from Sai Baba's statue's Hand and gave it to Malou as prasad. Later, one of the Shrine's official told her that if she wanted to see Shirdi Baba, she should go to Ganeshpuri.So from Shirdi she came to Ganeshpuri and went to the Samadhi Shrine of Bhagawan Nityananda for darshan. And coincidentally, here too, the priest gave her a red rose from the Hand of Bhagawan Nityananda statue. She realized that it was one and the same tattva (essence). She bowed low to Baba.

Long after Shirdi Sai Baba had taken Samadhi, a devotee once longed for HIS darshan. He kept praying to him to give him darshan but in vain. Eventually, he planned to go to Shirdi and have HIS darshan. But just the night before he was going to travel to Shirdi, Sai Baba gave him darshan in his dreams and said: 'If you want to have MY darshan, then go to Ganeshpuri as " I AM THERE " (referring to Bhagawan Nityananda who was staying there at that time). And when the devotee reached Ganeshpuri, seeing him, Bhagawan Nityananda's said - "So you have finally come!"

Robert Kirk, New York NY, USA was born in 1950 to a Jewish mother and a Catholic father who decided that he would learn both religions, and when the time was ripe, he would choose his own path. However, his Jewish grandfather once told him: "You cannot find God in a temple or a church, unless you first find Him in your heart, and in your home." Keeping that in mind, Robert never again entered a temple of worship during his childhood years, and instead, followed his grandfather's advice, and learned meditation and prayer.

When he was 20 years old, after an unsuccessful spiritual quest to India, he noticed, and purchased a book by Arthur Osborne about Sai Baba of Shirdi. He finished reading the book, wishing for an opportunity to meet someone like Sainath.

In 1974, he had a vision of a celestial goddess seated upon a large boulder asking him as to why he was not with his Guru to which he answered, "Because he was afraid of him." The goddess handed him a telephone number, and told him that he will meet him tomorrow. So, the next day when Robert called that telephone number, he got a chance meeting with Swami Muktananda, a disciple of Bhagawan Nityananda, and an ardent devotee of Shirdi Sai Baba. Swami Muktananda told him: "I am very pleased with you. This is your place to rest."

And in 1976 in Ganeshpuri, while Robert was standing in the darshan line, Swami Muktananda told him, "Go to Shirdi! The Father lives there. I told you this before. Write it down this time !"

Later, after reading the Shri Sai Satcharitra in the ashram library, Robert left for Shirdi, where he met Shivanesan Swami who instructed him to enter Sainath's temple. Upon entering, Robert felt that he had come face to face with God,and reached the fulfillment of his quest, uniting my inner spirituality and outer religion. Shortly before Swami Muktananda took Samadhi, he had met Robert and had spoken these words: "Only Sai, only Sai, only Sai."

Bhagawan Nityananda's disciple Swami Muktananda of Ganeshpuri (16th May`1908 – 02nd Oct`1982) was initiated into monkhood by Siddharuda Swami of Hubli; an enlightened whom Shirdi Sai Baba said was ONE with him. While living & meditating in Yeola district of Maharashtra, around 35 kms from Shirdi, every other day for 10 years, Swami Muktananda used to go walking to perform Sai Baba's Aarti in Shirdi. He is also said to have directed his disciple Robert Kirk to Shirdi Sai.

Shirdi's Sivanesan Swami (12th April`1927 - 12th Feb`1996) had spent years serving Bhagawan Nityananda before settling down in Shirdi. He deeply venerated Nityananda Baba & had the good fortune of being in His Divine Presence, drinking deeply of the Knowledge he imparted. One day, it so happened that Swamiji approached Bhagawan Nityananda with a coconut and asked HIM to make him just like HIM. Bhagawan Nityananda returned the coconut and directed him to Shirdi to settle and complete his sadhana (spiritual practices) there.

And it is well known that Sivanesan Swamiji's spent 50 years of his life at Shirdi doing endless 'Seva'. He worked and cleaned each & every temple in Shirdi, including 'Dwarakamai' and Lendi Baugh. He was made incharge of the Chavadi and he had started the Chavadi Bhajans after the Evening Arati. The practice of doing Akand Nama Japa of Tarak Mantra “Om Sai Sri Sai Jaya Jaya Sai”, by groups of devotees started with his benediction. It was his duty to light the evening lamps in various places @ Shirdi.

Dhuni Puja was a 'must' ritual with him and he gave Baba's Udi and Tirth to everyone. He was an apostle of Baba and He spread Baba's name throughout the world, by asking Baba devotees to build Baba temples, write their experiences etc.

When not doing any Seva, he would remain absorbed in long and austere meditation, from which it was difficult to arouse him. He had visions; but it was very difficult to make him speak about them. It is however known that he once saw Sai Baba and Bhagawan Nityananda together at Lendi Baugh.

Also Robert Meola from, Berkeley`California USA who was named Premnath in 1980 by Baba Muktananda of Ganeshpuri was given a new name 'Sai Premananda' by Sivanesan Swamiji, when the former came to Shirdi in 1985.

His Mahasamadhi is on Pimpalwadi Road about two and half kms from Sai Prasadalaya.


Credits: Article By - Rohit Behal

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