Aravind Balasubramanya has spent more than 2 decades with Sri Sathya Sai Baba. He has studied under Baba and been His photographer.
September 1, 2011
I was watching, for the tenth time, the movie “Shirdi Ke Sai Baba” yesterday. And I relived the experience I had a couple of months before when I saw the same movie. It felt just the same and the movie never ceases to inspire me! I am penning down something that I had written then.
When something thrilling happens, people say that their hairs stood on the end and they had goosebumps. If I have to speak the Truth, it was only in the ad breaks between the movie that my goose bumps dissolved and hairs rested down. It was such a thrill to see the movie. My heart longs to scream out the glory of our Sai..........
Most memorable episodes...
1) When Shirdi Baba leaves His body for 3 days, there is Kulkarni who tries to use the situation to his benefit. He calls Baba a fake and criticizes all the devotees around. He even gets a pit dug for the body to be buried. But the devotees resist. They stop even the police and simply do not give up on Baba. In fact, the priest on whose lap Baba lay down says,
"He said He would come back in three days. I shall not allow anyone to touch the body as long as I am alive!" And he sits that way for the complete three days without food and water. (Ah! What perseverance!)
Baba returns and then says, “He who digs a pit for others, will himself fall in it” - a most apt summary of the Karma principle. Later, Kulkarni, tries to get Baba bit by a cobra. The plan recoils and he himself is bit by a snake when he falls in the pit that he had got dug for Baba. At that time, Baba does not say, “I told you so!” He gifts life back to him. Baba never believes in destroying His enemies - he only destroys the enmity within, with love! And He carried that same trait through to the Sathya Sai Avatar as well!
2) The same Kulkarni in the event described previously, tries to harm Baba by sending as a gift, a basketful of snakes. When Baba opens it, there are only garlands in it. The power of God is such and His goodness is such that He has an alchemist’s touch. There is nothing like 'evil' for His touch redeems everything. His touch makes everything beautiful and fragrant - our lives too. Blessed are we to have been touched by Him.
3) A wandering Sadhu comes to Baba with the idea of exposing Him. Baba tells him that running away from ones children because one could not bear the loss of one’s wife is not spirituality. The Sadhu is shocked,
“So what about you? Masquerading as a fakir, but having processions and people serving you. Is it right?”
Baba says, “If one does anything for Yoga it is right. If on the other hand, one becomes even a renunciant in order to run away from ones duties, then no penance will ever save him!” (The wandering Sadhu has indeed done the same!)
And then - Baba reveals Himself as Krishna whom the Sadhu adores. The Sadhu who had come to criticize, falls at Baba’s feet and asks,
“Baba! Krishna lived in a palace. That is where you should be. Why are you in such pitiable quarters?”
"Today my devotees keep me here, and I stay here. Tomorrow when they worship me in a palace, I shall stay there also. Today, I am happy in these soiled clothes. Tomorrow if they dress me in silk robes also, I shall happily accept it. Whatever please my devotee, pleases me.”
(My God! Even as I type this, I have goosebumps!)
4) Then there is the episode of the blind person taking care of his son. As he sings, “Oh Lord! You have a thousand hands and you always help those you take your name”, he hears Baba’s voice telling him, “Child, you know the sins you have committed and that is why you have become blind. Running after murdering your wife, your head struck a rock and you went blind.”
The man repents and prays whole heartedly when Shirdi Baba says, “Come to me. Rise and walk.” Then he hits the branch of a tree and his sight is restored. None can escape from the consequences of the evil they do. But God is the highest pardoning authority. And ironically, another hit of the type which made him lose sight, makes him gain sight now.
The man now tells Baba that he would come for His darshan. He hears a voice that says, “You have seen me in your heart till now. Continue to see me there and move on. You need not come to me.” That really struck me as a significant message.
5) Now we come to the most poignant scene. The final days of Shirdi Baba.
He has almost stopped eating. He just takes a morsel and gives away the rest for the devotees to partake. He, in the meanwhile has taken over the illness of His dear devotee. As the final moment approaches, He calls Laxmibai to His side and tells her,
“You have loved me and served me so sincerely. For that, I grant you the highest gift- of Love and Devotion. The 9 forms of devotion (Ah! I hear Swami singing ‘Shravanam, Keerthanam, Vishnusmaranam, Paadasevanam, Vandanam, Archanam, Dasyam, Sneham, Atmanivedanam’), are in my fist, I grant them to whomsoever I please. Here I grant them to you.”
And He gives her 9 coins. She now asks Swami, “Baba, why is your body quivering and quaking?”
He replies, “The cage always shakes when the Bird is about to fly away. Remember, I will never be gone for when did I ever arrive? But even if you mistake the cage for the bird, let me assure you that you will feel my presence forever, guiding and guarding you!”
Then He blesses all and sheds the body.
Remember seeing the movie many times and wondering how it would have been for those devotees. Today I know. And that same Swami has today assured not just a few hundred like Shirdi Baba, but a few million.
If we can only trust Him completely. Stay happy with the thought,
"God has a plan and that is all I need to know."
That is what even Shirdi Baba told Radha Bai - "Once you have come to me, let go of all worries - even of your own redemption."
Then I hear from my teacher at the Institute, “You know, we all saw this movie with Swami. Manoj Kumar, the great actor, was a devotee and Swami was the first person to see the movie even before it was released! Swami came there late evening after dinner. That was when the song "Sumar Manuva" became such a hit with the college boys.”
Then, another brother, who was a student at that time, narrated to me, " Manoj Kumar and Panduranga Dixit were with Swami. That evening, we first had a concert by Purushottam Das Jalota, father of the iconic Anup Jalota. After that, Swami materialized a nine gem necklace with a pendant of Goddess Durga for him. Sri Kasture gave a talk after which we had the screening of the movie."
I was thrilled to hear this. I mentally said, “No wonder! He not only was the first to see it, He also directed it and inspired everyone.”
A must see movie for all those who understand Hindi.......Elevating and makes one feel so full of goodness and godness!!
And the amazing thing is that the whole movie is freely available on youtube! The link to the 2nd part is shown below (The first part has all the titles and names scrolling for about 5 minutes). Please go to the youtube video and watch all the parts!
Part 2 of the Movie on YouTube
If you enjoyed this article, you will also love these articles on Shirdi Baba
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© 2011 Aravind Balasubramanya
Aravind Balasubramanya (author) from Puttaparthi, India on August 23, 2013:
That is indeed a lovely experience. Thanks for sharing it here. It strengthens one's conviction that in one way or the other, God watches over His childre.
Sudha Narayanan on August 23, 2013:
Sairam God & Good Morn. This reminds me of so many things. when we shifted from Delhi to vadodara, I went to the Shirdi temple in Lodhi road & I was just looking at Shirdi Thathas photo and tears rolled down my cheeks, I was telling him mentally, Pls Swami, be with us wherever I go. Our house was in construction at Vadodara , me & my husband went one day to see the progress, & we saw some building coming up just opp our house. I asked my husband, what could that be, he said jokingly may be your Shirdi Sai is coming there! (he doesn't believe in both Swamis) I just went & checked and Lo, it was a temple of our Shirdi Sai coming there. On 30th Jan '04, we came for signing the papers with my husband & M-I-L and after signing the agreement of the sales deed papers, me & MIL went by a three wheeler and in the opp side of the road I saw our Shirdi Sai standing and blessing with both hands raised smilingly! It was such a vision. that time it didn't strike me to get down & run up there! i was so dumbstruck. I did nt reveal this to anyone as my MIL & husband think of him as an ordinary human being only. We moved to our new house on 13th april '04 tamil new years / vishu, and Shirdi Sai temple was inaugurated on 8th april '04. He keeps His promise.Follows His devotees wherever they go. Even after coming to chennai , he shows His signs. I wait for a chartered van in the evenings to go back home, after I started waiting there, a small altar with Shirdi Sai has come up there! Can you beat that, now I have changed my waiting place, in the evening, there also in the opp side of the road, there is a small temple with Shirdi Sai photo in that. He follows his devotees once He accepts them!Good day Sairam.
Tatyana on October 23, 2012:
... and for those of us who don't understand Hindi, here is the link of this movie with english subtitles... first part:
Dear Sai brother Aravind, I found your articles about our beloved Swami a couples of months ago. Thank you. They are very uplifting and delightful. Be always Sai blessed
Baba's Boutique on August 09, 2012:
Baba bless all your devotional efforts!
Please do visit: http://babasboutique.blogspot.in/p/see-samples.htm...
sai devotee on July 30, 2012:
viewing the film made me cry continuously for 3 hours, I had a de javu feeling which iam unable to express.
Parmila Singh on July 29, 2012:
I sat blank for some time thinking of the verse 'god has a plan and that is all I need to know.Shirdi baba opened his eyes from samadhi and when I was in Puttaparthi during swamis birthday and christmas 2011, In my night sleep Swami lying from his samadhi rose up to top and I felt fresh and live feeling of swami looking slowly at me.This is the memorable thing that has happened and swami is always with us.That saying of shirdi baba 'my presence forever guiding and guarding ' is so true and real and thanks sai trinity continuity
Mark Aspa from Berlin, Germany on July 27, 2012:
thanks for giving the highlights and Sai-lights of this movie that i would not be able to understand not knowing Hindi. It made me feel very happy to learn of these fascinating events in the lives of these Two Avatars.
vaishnavi nagaraja rao on October 09, 2011:
felt as though i was literally watching the movie
aparna burra on September 04, 2011:
This was my first ever movie in this 'story' n I was a baby in my mothers lap! I still remember my late. mother telling me how excited I was when the songs were being played and even today I can't stop my tears from rolling down cuz such was the story n the intensity of the taking of the story!
pappu thimmaiah on September 03, 2011:
one of the wonderful things in world. Sai ram.sai bagawan. Sirdi baba.
shobha menon on September 02, 2011:
we at home love this movie and we have seen it innumerable times and never miss an opportunity to see it again and again, and most coincidently, we saw it day before yesterday and we were all so moved and so touched by the similarities between the last days of Shirdi baba and Swami and the dialogues of Shirdi Baba when were being delivered we felt as though it was our swami speaking. It was all the more charged and touching because, our middle east group children had sung the songs of this movie in our last group visit in front of swami and the memory of that as we heard these songs we remembered those glorious moments and we all had tears flowing down our eyes incessantly. What treasures of love has swami showered on one and all....., what an avatar. How blessed are all of us.
Balasubramanya Subbarao on September 01, 2011:
I never miss to watch this movie whenever it is aired on TV. ( Zee TV). It is Shirdi Sai Bhagavatham
Sudhir Dalvi in the role of Sai Baba has acted superbly.
elizabeth21 on September 01, 2011:
A wonderful dedication to Sai Baba :)