Doubt vs Faith
The unfortunate fact about most of us is that as most educated minds are fed on the Cartesian principle of doubting everything, the logician’s axiom about insufficiency of individual cases to prove universal propositions and other similar doubts crop up over and over again.
When 150 experiences of Baba’s help had been derived by a man, on the occurrence of the 151st case of help, even a well-known devotee asked himself the question, ‘Is this chance or is this Baba’s help?‘
This wretched idea of ‘chance helping’ does not easily leave us.
Luckily most of us by Baba’s favour have some grounding in faith, and we gradually shake off the tendency to go on doubting and doubting forever. Except for that, we would become “Samscayatmas”, that is, persons in whose nature, doubt becomes a fixed trait, a part of their second nature.
The Gita (BG IV 40) says, Samscayatma Vinascyati, that is. The man who goes on doubting and doubting ad infinitum will perish’. ‘Perish’ does not necessarily mean ‘die’, so far as the physical body is concerned. He is dead already whose faith is dead. A man that has no faith is a breathing corpse. Even in ordinary worldly matters, we find what an important part is played by our ability to believe what is reported to us. If in a new place before reaching the railway station, we have to ask for the road to the station at half a dozen places and answers are given, if at each answer we think that the answer may be false and hesitate, we should never reach the station in time to catch our train. This is the meaning of Samscayatma Vinascyati. Luckily in the case of Nana, far from his being a ‘Samscayatma’, he was a Shraddhatma.
This means, The man of faith obtains knowledge and wisdom. Being a person who controls his senses and thereby effectively fixes his mind on that jnana, treating it as the goal of his life, he obtains Jnana; and having obtained it he soon reaches scanti, Supreme Peace.’ This has an obvious application to Nana’s case, and Nana, with very little of doubting nature, advanced in the strength of his faith, obtained more and more of wisdom (Jnana) by the grace of Baba and was progressing rapidly towards that scanti or Peace, which is the goal of all spiritual life and endeavour.
Thus Nana (Narayan Govind Chandorkar) was convinced that Baba had superhuman power, superhuman love, and made superhuman provision of needs for those who were attached to him and whom he loved. So, he found that Baba was really a Deva (God), and that Baba was preeminently fitted to take charge now of Nana’s life, of his comfort, and of all his concerns, temporal and spiritual. Thus convinced, Nana was perfectly prepared to take the plunge of Prapatti to the Gurudeva, to surrender himself unhesitatingly to the directions of Baba, being perfectly assured that no harm would result thereby, and on the other hand much good—nay every good—would result therefrom.
Having provided for the thirst of Nana in one place, Baba marvellously provided for his hunger in another place.
In Padmalaya forest, there is a Ganapati temple. It is ten miles away from the nearest Railway Station and the access to it is through ten miles of forest. Nana had made arrangements for all this, but trains have got a queer way of being late, and in this case, his train being many hours late, all arrangements were upset and there was no conveyance and no assistance forthcoming.
Nana’s arrival at the railway station was evening time, very near dusk. But he would not be thwarted. He determined to push along with his companions to the temple, come what may. In the absence of any conveyance, Nana had to dare and dared the risk and trouble of walking ten miles to reach the Ganapati temple. So he trudged on. But when he was about halfway or more than half way, it was already 9pm and the pujari of the temple would usually lock it up by 9 or 10 p.m. and retire to his cottage at some distance for his night’s rest.
So, Nana doubted whether he would get into the temple at all. Further, having walked wearily six or seven miles, he felt the pangs of hunger. Naturally he remembered Baba. He prayed, ‘Baba, I am not asking for much. I am not overgreedy. I will be quite satisfied if, at the close of this journey, I can get one cup of tea to quench my hunger’.
Then he and his companions trudged on. It was nearly 11 p.m. when they reached the temple. Instead of the temple being closed (as it would usually be) the pujari was on the watch, and on seeing persons at a great distance (that is, Nana’s party) coming, shouted. ‘Is Nana coming?’ It would be highly impertinent on the part of any priest to call a Deputy Collector by his pet name, as though he was his chum.
But here there was no feeling of resentment, but one of gratification on the part of Nana and his friends when they heard the voice, ‘Is Nana coming?’ They approached and said, ‘Yes. How do you know that Nana is coming?’
Then the priest said,
“I had an ethereal message from Sri Sai Baba in which he said, ‘My Nana is coming weary, thirsty, and hungry. Keep for him one cup of tea‘.
Here is tea ready for you all.” He then gave Nana his cup. This again proved that Baba’s eye of supervision was not merely on hills but also in forests to look after the safety, comfort and health of his beloved devotee. Alike from danger of thirst and hunger, Baba had saved him.
What was it that saved Nana? The Sanskrit stanza says—
Vane rane scatru jalaagnimadhye
Mahaarnave, parvata mastakevaa
Suptam pramattam vishama sthitamvaa
Rakshanti punyani puraakritaani
This means, whether it is in the forests or in the battle field or amidst foes or in the ocean, or on hill tops, the merit acquired in former times or janmas saves a person even though he may be sleeping, disordered in mind or unbalanced. This is an abstract statement, which is very true. But abstractions do not save any one. It is the concrete person called Sai that actually saved Nana both on hill top and in the thick forests and not abstract poorva punya. After all, it is poorva punya (former merit) that had taken shape as Sai’s body, which had undertaken the responsibilities of a Gurudeva and which therefore saved Nana. So it is alike poorva punya and also Gurudeva that saved Nana.
Source: LIFE OF SAI BABA, VOLUME II, BY PUJYASRI H.H.NARASIMHA SWAMIJI