LIFE HISTORY OF SRI SHIRDI SAI BABA By Ammula Sambasiva Rao
English Translation by Thota Bhaskara Rao
`Life History of Shirdi Sai Baba’ was originally written in Telugu by Ammula Sambasiva Rao, and translated into English by Thota Bhaskara Rao. The book delves deep into the details of the life of Shirdi Sai Baba right from his birth till his attainment of Samadhi. The author has expounded Sai Thathwa or Sai Philosophy in a single language, interspersed with engrossing anecdotes in the life of Sai devotees.
Ammula Sambasiva Rao, an ardent Sai devotee, has done pioneering work for the spread of Sai Philosophy and Sai awakening in the people of Andhra Pradesh. He has undertaken the performance of a unique Yagna called “Sri Sai Koti Nama Likitha Maha Yagna” in Sai temples in Andhra Pradesh, and other places in India. He is the Founder- President of the Shree Shirdi Sai Baba Seva Ashram, a registered body with its headquarters at Hyderabad. Sri Sambasiva Rao has written several books in Telugu on Sai philosophy and the life history of Sai Baba.
Om Sree Ganeshaya – Namaha
My salutations to the lotus feet of the Samartha Sadguru Shri Shirdi Sai Baba. My salutations to Pujya Sri Ammula Sambasiva Raoji, the author of the Life History of Shri Shirdi Sai Baba in Telugu. Strange are the ways of Sai Baba in dragging his devotees not only to him but also to his trusted messengers who have dedicated themselves to the spread of Sai Thathwa or Sai Philosophy all over the length and breadth of our sacred motherland.
I have been a devotee of Sai Baba of Shirdi for three decades. While the late Sri B.V. Narasimha Swamiji of Madras was responsible for the spread of Sai philosophy in the South, through his great writings about Sai Baba and establishing All India Sai Samaj, I find Pujya Sri Ammula Sambasiva Raoji doing pioneering work for the spread of Sai Philosophy and Sai awakening in the people of Andhra Pradesh, mainly I say `mainly’ because of late, his activities are spreading not only to the neighboring States of Andhra Pradesh, but also to distant places like Jaipur in Rajasthan, New Delhi and Kharagpur.
Before proceeding to give an account of his activities connected with thepropagation of Sai philosophy, I would like to tell the readers, briefly about my acquaintance with this great person, who is now `Guruji’ to thousands and thousands of Sai devotees. After my retirement from Government service in the year 1991, I longed to do service to Sai Baba by associating myself with a person doing selfless service in spreading Sai’s message. At that time Pujya Sri Ammula Sambasiva Raoji was working as an Officer in the State Bank of India, Secunderabad. Knowing my desire, a friend of mine, Sri G Manohar Babu who was also working in the same bank, introduced me to Sri Sambasiva Raoji. We were attracted to each other from the very moment of my introductions to him. I used to attend the noon Arathis to Sai Baba in the makeshift Sai Baba Mandir set up by Sri Sambasiva Raoji inside the bank premises. I thanked Baba for having sent me to this great and simple person. I used to accompany Sri Sambasiva Raoji (hereinafter referred to as Guruji) for the conduct of Sai Poojas and Sai Vratas (observance of fast) in the houses of Sai devotees in the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad and sometimes in nearby districts, during holidays and sometimes after office hours. All the services rendered were absolutely free of cost. Till to this day, Guruji had performed more than one thousand Sai Vratas. Guruji had also undertaken the performance of a unique Yagna called “Sri Sai Koti Nama Likitha Maha Yagna” in Sai Baba temple at several places in Andhra Pradesh and also at Shirdi, Jaipur (Rajasthan) and New Delhi.
In each Yagna two crores of “Sree Sai” names written by the Sai devotees in the books supplied to them free of cost, are being put in specially constructed Stupas in the Sai temples. Till date, 35 such Yagnas were conducted and the details are furnished elsewhere in this book. His speeches about Sai Baba and the way he expounds Baba’s philosophy in the Satsang in simple words is a rare experience for the listeners. Guruji has since resigned his job as an officer in the State Bank of India, so that he can be in the service of Sai Baba all the twenty- four hours and work for the establishment of `Sai Yuga’. No sacrifice is too great in the service of Sai Baba. Guruji has established “Shree Shirdi Sai Baba Seva Ashram” which is a registered body. He is the Founder – President with headquarters at Hyderabad. Units of this parent body have been constituted at six different places in Andhra Pradesh till now. The important aims of these units are to spread the message of Shirdi Sai Baba among the general public in order to secure peace and harmony to mankind and to establish ashrams at different centers to facilitate Adhyatmic Training Classes for different age groups. Besides the above-mentioned activities, Guruji has written several books in Telugu and Sai philosophy and the Life History of Shirdi Sai Baba. The circumstances under which this book was written and published were given in Guruji’s (author’s) foreword. This Life History contains certain details, which cannot be found in other similar publications.
The need to translate this Life History of Shirdi Sai Baba into other Indian languages was felt with the spread of Guruji’s activities to other States of India. Hence, he has taken a decision to have the English and Hindi translations of the Life History, to start with. Guruji had been asking me to take up the translation into English since sometime, but I was hesitating and postponing as I doubted my capacity to undertake such a work, that too connected with Sai Baba, But, he finally told me in the last week of December, 1995, that I should commence the work from 1 January 1996, under any circumstances, and Sai Baba is there to give me necessary guidance. Therefore with the blessings of Guruji and reposing full confidence in Sai Baba, I commenced the translation on 1 January 1996 as per the directions of Guruji and completed the work on 14 February 1996, the day on which Guruji left for Kharagpur.
While I was writing the English translation of Life History, Sai Baba showed his Leela as follows. The manuscript of the work came to nearly 500 pages in long hand and I was searching for a person who could type the matter correctly. I contacted several typewriting- coaching institutes, where such work was done. But they were not prepared to undertake this work and those who were prepared, demanded huge sums. Samartha Sadguru Sai Baba came to my rescue in the form of Jagannadha Rao, a typist by profession, a Sai devotee, and a complete stranger to me, who volunteered to do the typing, after knowing that the original work in Telugu was written by Pujya Sri Ammula Sambasiva Rao. He told me that he had heard the name and activities of Guruji and expressed his gratefulness for being of some service to him. He did the typing work with great devotion and promptness. I pray to Sai Baba to shower his blessings on Sri Jagannadha Rao. If the above incident is not Sai Leela, what else it is? I express my deep sense of gratitude to Sai Maharaj and also to Guruji for having given me the opportunity to be of real service to them and also for getting myself enlightened about `Sai Avatar’.
-Thota Bhaskara Rao
Jai Sai Ram Om Sree Sainathaya Namaha! *****
SHREE GANESH VANDANA
SHUKLAM BHARADARAM VISHNUM SHASHI VARNAM CHATURBHUJAM
PRASANNA VADANAM DHYAYETH SARVA VIGHNOPA SHANTAYE
AGAJANANA PADMARGAM GAJANANA MAHARNISAM
ANEKA DANTAM BHAKTANAM EKA DANTAM UPASMAHE
Mushikavaahana Modaka Hastha, Chaamara Karna Vilambitha Sutra,
Vaamana Rupa Maheshwara Putra, Vighna Vinaayaka Paada Namasthe
Sainatha Sainatha Sainatha Sadgurum -Yogiraja Yugapurusha Bhaktakoti Vanditham Kripanidhim Tapodhanim Sainatha Pahimaam- Divyateja Bhavyamoorthi Punyacharita Poojitam
LIFE HISTORY OF SHIRDI SAI BABA
The earth is only a small planet in this great Universe, which is beyond the grasp of human intelligence. On this planet earth, there are numerous rivers, mountains, forests and oceans. Out of 84 million kinds of insects, birds and animals and other living creatures on this planet, great sages have concluded that the humans are the best living forms who can lead a very high form of divine life. But they, without realising their higher form among the living beings, fell prey to arrogance, egoism, and Ajnana (ignorance) with the result there is no peace for them, putting the entire creation to chaos and confusion. What is the cause for all this? We must know the answer for this in the first instance. Going further to know the evolution of life forms on this earth, we came to learn that life first started under the water. Later on, the creatures living under water learnt to live outside the water, i.e. on the earth also. Further evolution took place and creatures that can live on earth alone developed. Out of these creatures and animals developed the human form and finally man came into existence.
According to the above-mentioned theory of evolution only, the order of Dashavatharas is determined in the Puranas. Firstly, Matsyavatara (in the form of fish) – Fish can live under water only. Then Kurmavatara (in the form of tortoise), which can live inside water as well as outside water, i.e. earth. Then Varahavatara, Narasimhavatara, Vamanavatara, etc. The Ramavatara and Krishnavatara have shown to what divine heights man can reach.
If we examine carefully the order of Dashavatharas, you find that there is no difference between this order , and the theory of evolution of man. This theory of evaluation establishes that life at first started under water, then slowly spread to the earth adopting itself to the climatic conditions of the earth. These creatures slowly developed into animal forms and man has also developed from animal.
Man is superior from other forms of animals; in as much as he is endowed with thinking power He has established a social order in the society where everyone can live happily. Toward this end, certain social orders and regulations have started to come into being. People living in different parts of the earth have formulated their own set of social orders depending on the local conditions. Over a period, these social orders and regulations have strengthened and become the “religion” of those people.
People started strengthening their religions. The powerful among them became leaders and rulers. Religions started bowing before the powerful and a situation came when the religions had to toe the line of the powerful. Under religious banners, powerful rulers started invading other countries as well as attacking other religions also. This is the naked truth, which is revealed by World History.
Thus, many religions started coming into our country `Bharat’. Several foreign countries invaded our motherland and started spreading their religions here. Thus Christianity and Islam entered and established themselves. Religion is meant for leading an orderly and disciplined way of life in the society and nothing else. But towards the end of the twentieth century in our country also, certain religious fanatics or fundamentalists, considering today the country’s political scenario, are committing several attrocities in the name of religion – all Sai Bhaktas should carefully note this. Though religion is good for the spiritual advancement, only peaceful methods should be followed as per Hindu dharma. In the present day conditions, though it is desirable to have one religion for one country, the `means’ adopted to achieve this should be through `Love’ or prema marga only. We will try to know more about this as we proceed further.
India has been described by our ancestors as Punya Bhoomi , Karma Bhoomi, Dharma Bhoomi, and so on. We will now make an attempt to know how these names were given. Our country’s history of the mid-18th century reveals how during the British rule, our ancient civilisation gradually adopted the modern ways of British Civilisation. Under such circumstances, the Adi Devtas (celestial beings), Ashta Dikpalakas who guard our Punya Bhoomi, along with Bhoodevi (goddess of earth) went to Vishnu and narrated their woes to him as follows.
“All through the ages, we have been happily discharging the duties allotted by you in Bharata Desa. But under the changed circumstances, the people prefer happiness to dharma, wealth to justice, strength to love, bodily happiness to sacrifice, materialism to Godliness. Unless these undesirable qualities are nipped in the bud, it will lead to utter chaos in the near future. So you must take Avatar again in this world to set things right as you have done during your Krishna Avatar in Dwaparayuga and established peace after the Maha Kurukshetra war. After hearing their appeal, Lord Vishnu replied as follows:
“All of you have discharged your duties properly and established peace, prosperity and happiness in Bharata Desa all these ages. But as soon as I finished my Krishna Avatar, Kali entered the earth. Adi Shakti has created this Kali with a purpose and therefore it is not proper to stop him from doing his work. The changes that you are
noticing in the people of Bharata Desa are only due to this Kali.
” Then they asked Lord Vishnu as to how to save the people from the actions of Kali and Lord Vishnu answered them as follows:
“You all know why Bharata Desa is called Punya Bhoomi. There are a number of places on earth, with heavy snowfalls and cold waves. There are several places where you cannot get water for drinking or proper food. There are other places, which are very hot. But only in places like Bharata Desa, there are different seasons. There are also a number of lives giving rivers. Therefore, the people are able to raise good crops and are happy. They are able to take bath regularly and conduct divine activities. The Wind-God gives good air. Only those who are lucky and did good in previous births are born in this Punya Bhoomi and enjoy their natural happiness. This is briefly the history of this Punya Bhoomi.” Lord Vishnu continued.
“Kali came later to our country after showing his effects in other parts of this planet. His effects will be intensified in the near future and then the people of this country also will be subject to a lot of changes.
“Importance to one’s duties will take a back seat while importance to wealth will increase. Everyone desires that others should work for him. But the fruits will be enjoyed by him only. This leads to class conflicts. In the name of religion, caste, regions and also sex, people will form into groups and will shed blood. Morals will disappear. People belonging to different religions will pray to their respective gods but none will follow the teachings of gods. Worship will be mechanical and devotion and worship will be separated. Opportunists will steal God’s wealth also. It is difficult to save mankind from such effects of Kali. This is Yuga Dharma. Slowly pious and sincere actions will disappear and there will not be any connection between thoughts and words; deeds will also be entirely different.
“It is impossible to save such a situation completely from the influence of Kali. But to a certain extent, it can be checked and brought to a balance with dharma. I am the preserver of this world. My work increases with the selfishness of man. Therefore, I advise you to approach `Lord Shiva’ and put forth your prayers. Then he will come down to this world in the form of Datta Avatar and will impart `Jnana’ for mankind and will establish peace by his teachings.” Thereupon the Adi Devatas, Ashta Dikpalakas and Bhoodevi approached Lord Shiva and put forth their woes. Accepting their pleas, he promised that he would very shortly come to Bharata Desa as Datta Avatar. But since it is Kaliyug, where people are more materialistic, he will show more miracles after leaving the physical body than when he is with the body.
Thus assured, by Lord Shiva, they came back to their respective places in this world and await eagerly for the birth of Lord Shiva. As per his promise, Lord Shiva was waiting for an opportune time for pious parents to whom he would be borne on this planet earth.
“Jnana Swarupa Sai Saranam”