One Avatar, Two Perfected Masters, One Guru and Six Saints – all in one day...
This entry was posted on 2/27/2008 6:23 PM and is filed under India.
We said our goodbyes to Avatar Meher Baba in the morning and headed on the road to Shirdi, home of the Two Perfected Masters - Shri Upasani Baba Maharaj and Shri Sai Baba of Shirdi.
Our first stop was just outside of Shirdi in Sakori at the shrine of Upasani, known as The Immortal Guru of Kanya-Kumaristhan. Here is his ashram and temple housing his Mahasamadhi Shrine (where he is buried)...
Born in 1870, he was known as a fierce man of will with a huge temper who also had a gentle and compassionate side. From early in his childhood he was already questioning "Who Am I?" and was determined to find out the answer. He was married 3 times and widowed twice and was a doctor of Ayurvedic medicine before giving it all up to realize God. He lived in a cave without food or water for a year and attained the highest state of self realization. His teacher was Sai Baba from Shirdi.
Upasani locked himself up into a wooden cage and lived in it for 13 months. This austerity was performed as a service to all mankind. He never left it during this time and was cared for by devotees who cleaned the cage and gave him food and water. He called for a carpenter to cut a hole to free him when he felt the arrival of Sati Godavari Mataji, his devotee and disciple who was destined to become his Divine Beloved and later his successor. Upasani died in 1941 on Godavari's birthday.
Here are a few of the things that Shri Upasani Baba said:
1. Accept things as they are. This is the greatest of all Mantras. The man who achieves this has no need to fear anything.
2. Constant absorption in God and Saints brings about a destruction of evil thoughts and induces true bliss.
3. The sole purpose of human birth is to realize God.
Here is the Samadhi Tomb of Godavri.
There were very few people at the shrine when we visited, so we could take our time and really sink into the experience. There was a small fire pit for burnt offerings called a Dhuni. It was possible to take some of the ash from the pit and apply it to your forehead. We did this, and were amazed at the immediate effect it had - like applying Vick's vapor-rub to the spiritual body - instantly awakening an inner awareness.
From here we headed to Shirdi, the Samadhi Shrine of Sai Baba.
Along with Upasani, Sai Baba was also one of the 5 Perfected Masters of his time.
At the shrine they were very strict about disallowing cameras and cell phones. We had to go to a special security stand to put them into a secured locker. This shrine was much more crowded than any we had yet visited, although we heard that we were lucky because they thought there were very few people there compared to usual. The lines for the Samadhi Shrine were like being at Disneyland. They wound around and around and then downstairs and then upstairs and then downstairs again until finally we were in sight of the shrine.
There was a beautiful anteroom with ornate silverwork done on the walls. Then came the actual Samadhi Tomb Room which was all done in gold. Sai Baba was portrayed in a larger-than-life statue and there were 3 Brahmin Priests in attendance who took the offerings the people gave - like flowers, candy, money, food - and sorted them into buckets. If candy were offered they would open the bag and take a few pieces out, then give the remaining bag back to whomever had offered it.
They moved you through quickly because there were so many people waiting, but they allowed us Westerners a bit more time there to pay our respects. It was quite a majestic shrine to a very great Perfected Master. Again, we took some time outside of the shrine to sit quietly and experience the power of this great being from the inside. That was equally impressive.
Here is the most famous picture of Sai Baba of Shirdi...
A funny side note... our dear friends Jeanette and Davhee, from Taos, joined us in Meherabad and the rest of the trip. Davhee often wore a scarf on his head, just like the photo above, and time after time as he walked around people would comment outloud "Sai Baba". See the resemblance?
We were interested in meeting both these great saints - Upasani and Sai Baba, as well as Hazrat Babajan in Pune, not only because of their great stature as Perfect Masters, but also for their role in shaping Meher Baba's life.
Meher Baba said that it was only because of the actions of the Five Perfect Masters working together in concert with one another that God is called down to take form as an Avatar every 700-1400 years. When Meher was a young man in college he met Hazrat Babajan and started spending time with her every day for about six months. Then she held his head and planted a kiss of great awakening force (Shaktipat) on his forehead, and he immediately went into a profound state of Samadhi (Realization), neither sleeping, eating or even blinking for the next nine months.
In the next few years he was still in complete absorption in the Infinite Ocean, trying to integrate that immense realization with worldly life. Then Hazrat told him it was time to go to Sai Baba of Shirdi, that 'he had the keys for him'. He didn't know what she meant, but he went. When Sai Baba saw Meher, he uttered one word three times: "Parvardigar!" Supreme God! Then Sai Baba himself prostrated to Meher Baba. That was the final anointment and awakening Meher needed in his unfolding as he was coming into the fullness of the role of avatar of the age.
Sai Baba then told him to go see Upasani Maharaj, who was then living in an old abandoned temple full of snakes and scorpions. As Meher approached, Upasani threw a rock at him, which hit him in the forehead in exactly the same place that Babajan had kissed him years before. Though he was wounded, he was also delighted, because this divine action from the Perfect Master was what was needed to ground him again, so that he could carry out his destined work in the life he had taken on. He spent the next several days in the temple with Upasani and no one ever knew what transpired between them in there.
From our visit with the shrines of these great beings, we headed to our next destination. The Ashram of Janglidas in Kokumtan, about 8 kilometers away from Shirdi.