|| Om Shri Guruve Namah ||
(Compassion Incarnate: Shri Shri Narāyan Prem Sai)
Yadā yadā hi dharmasya glānirbhavati bhārat
Abhyuthhānam adharmasya tadātmānam srijāmyaham.
Paritrānāya sādhunām vināshāya cha dushkritām
Dharma sansthāpanārthhāya sambhavāmi yuge yuge.
The supreme Lord, Almighty, in Gita, made a firm commitment to the whole world, through the medium of Arjuna that whenever there is perversion of dharma(faith) and glorification of adharma (impiety), every time I would incarnate for the deliverance of the saintly and virtuous men and for the destruction of those who are sinful and evil.
According to our shaastras( holy scriptures) God’s incarnation is primarily of two kinds, one that is occasional and takes place for some special purpose and the other is eternal incarnation. The Lord’s incarnations as Rāma or Krishna for the purpose of doing away with the vicious men like Rāvana or Kansa are supposed to be His purposeful incarnations. But on the other hand, His incarnation in the form of saints and great men in every period for the sake of encouragement of saintly and virtuous men; for showing the path to the directionless, irresponsible society and bringing in awareness about its ethical and spiritual obligations as also for the destruction of viciousness and immorality, that is known as eternal incarnation. It is the good fortune of Bhārat, the land of Gods that such divine souls keep taking birth here for the sake of salvation of its people. It is only due to God’s incarnation as Maharshi Vedavyāsa or Vashishtha, Kabir or Nānak, Gyāneshwar or Gaurāng, Meerābai or Tukāram, Maharshi Ramanna or Hari baba, or even Udiya baba and Ananad Mayi Maa that despite thousands of years of foreign rule and exploitation by Moghals, Britishers and others, even today the universally benevolent eternal civilization of Bhārat is revered and idolized by the whole world. It is a gift, a blessing of these great men that even today India is a world leader in spiritual peace, happiness and love and millions and millions of peace-lovers, seekers, devotees and sojourners of truth from every nook and corner of the world come here seeking the way and for the attainment of true wisdom.
But, who would have known that after the independence of the country, another sun were to rise in this brilliant, resplendent galaxy of great men of India whose hundreds of rays would have the capability of eliminating the darkness of ignorance of the entire human-kind and with whose brilliance, India is bound to shine on the world horizon as the leader of the whole world.
Yes, this sun has already arisen in this land of Gods! On 29th January, 1972 on the auspicious occasion of schat-tila ekādashi, in the house of universally revered saint, Shri Asaram Bapu, a son was born to Shri Shri Maa Lakshmi Devi, a personification of abstinence, simplicity, ascetic fervour and affection. Thus incarnated Shri Shri Narayana Prem Sai! It seemed as though by being born on ekādashi, he declared his triumph over five organs of actions (karmendriyan), five organs of senses (gyānendriyan) and the mind, all in all eleven of them, right at the time of his birth.
While He was in His mother’s womb, she used to meditate regularly on Murli Manohar (Shri Krishna); may be that is the reason that one is unfailingly reminded of the charming Krishna by seeing his enchanting form and mischievous acts. Just as the extensive Shrimad- bhāgwat got completely filled by the descriptions of Lord Krishna’s enchanting acts, similarly, who would possess the capability to describe fully the devotee-endearing, extensive characteristics of His? Yet, here is a humble attempt to write about His universally memorable life history for the benefit of the devotees and for the accomplishment of my own writing.
Janm karm ch me divyam( Shri Gita, 4 -7)
In Gita, God says that God’s and those who are God like, their birth and conduct both are sublime; that is, they are pure and transcendent! Our dear Lord’s persona vindicates this saying of God.
As told by most revered and all insightful saint Shri Asaramiji Bapu and the way our Lord had seen his past life in childhood in a state of deep meditation, it is evident that he was a Bengali yogi Shri Keshwānandji who had meditated with great ascetic fervour at the nal cave in Mount Abu. He spent his entire life praying to the almighty. He was in any case a great ascetic! Once he fed the entire Abu village by his ascetic powers. Much later, in his old age, despite having achieved salvation, he lighted the ascetic pyre and sacrificed his body deciding to be reborn in some holy insightful great man’s house for the sake of general beneficence and public interest.
Athva yogināmev kule bhavati dheemataam
Eithaddhi durlabhtaram lok janm yadidrasham.
God Himself acquaints us with the fact that a recluse prefers being reborn in a family of some wise or saintly person than achieving salvation and going to heaven. But certainly this kind of birth is not easy to achieve. Our Lord got this birth effortlessly as a result of His extraordinary spiritual commitment; though Lord Krishna has described in Gita that, this kind of birth is extremely hard to achieve. And our dear Lord, (i.e. previous birth’s Bengali yogi Shri Keshvānand Swamy) incarnated as Shri Narāyana Sai in the family of most revered Bapu ji.
Respected Bapu ji picked him from the comforts of his mother’s lap at the young age of 5-6 years and kept him under his strict discipline and thus taught him the traits of valiance, courage, vitality, deliberation, mettle and spiritual strength. Revered Bapu put him to such apparently complex tasks and tests for developing his great character; whether it be wandering alone in the terrifying deep forests of Mount Abu or being thrown in the 20 feet deep Sābarmati river from almost the same height or even being made to jump above the 6 to 7 feet high wall of the moksh kutir! He was made to do all!
For his over all development, respected Bapu made it a point to keep him in close company of various bhakti-mārgi, gyan-mārgi and yoga-mārgi (followers of faith, followers of wisdom and followers of practice respectively) great men such as Lālji Maharāj, Ghāt-wale Baba of Haridwar, Rāmsukhdas ji Maharaj of Rishikesh and many other saints and ascetics who lived in caves and forests. He stayed there with great forbearance. He was able to get the kind blessings of all these great men due to his humble, obedient and cheerful nature.
He demonstrated exemplary talent in his temporal education also. He possessed sharp intelligence and great grasping power. He cleared first and second grades in a single year and always stood first in his primary classes. Seeing his modest behavior and talent, all his teachers used to say that this is the time when we can actually teach him some thing; later on he would become so learned that he himself would be able to teach many well read people like us. He was very popular among his peers too. He was well known for his power of forecasting so they would all surround him and inquire about their results; and they would pass or fail as per his predictions.
Despite being the best and the most popular student of his school, his formal education remained short lived. “sa vidya ya vimuktaye” Real education is the one which releases human being from all worldly bondages. This mundane education could not attract this ascetic of various births and a voyager of spiritual wisdom for long. Once he filled his complete answer sheet with the mantra of hari om, hari om. It was due to his acute asceticism and great leaning towards spirituality that his formal school education ended at class nine and there after he got the opportunity of close proximity and service of our respected satgurudev Bapu ji.
He demonstrated exemplary religious devotion and true service while serving respected Bapu ji. Morning till evening he would remain busy discharging his basic duties; later on he would relax only after observing his own daily practices. If at any time he made a slip up on his religious observance, he would chastise himself for that. Once, on committing such a blunder he reprimanded himself by giving up his favourite peanuts for a complete year. Initially, while performing kitchen service, he realized that his vegetables were not getting the desired taste; he stopped eating vegetables and survived only on roti (bread) for several days. He decided he would not have vegetables till the time respected Bapu ji himself complemented him on his cooking. For several years he strictly followed the ritual of having water only after offering it to the sun. He would follow his practice of performing yogic āsanās even while traveling by train. As such, he spent his entire life undergoing great discomforts and following tough practices. At times he would go hungry because of being busy in selfless service and at times he would live out of only one garment; laundering and wearing the same!
He diligently performed the duties of cooking, laundering, washing utensils, sweeping, mopping and cleaning etc. talking and giving information on the phone, reading and writing letters, driving, playing the drums at satsang, serving food to guests, farming and so many other services for most respected Bapu ji. He had inalienable devotion and dedication for respected Bapu ji. He used to address him as ‘Bhagwan’ in his diary due to his extreme love for him. It was due to his devotional practice of previous births, instinctive judiciousness and asceticism, close proximity of revered Bapu ji and other great saints, achieving spiritual wisdom in virtuous gatherings in very young age, studying ‘yoga-vasishtha’ and other such scriptures always and undeterred devotion and selfless service to others, that he achieved the ultimate destination of human life at the young age of seventeen! He achieved ‘self-enlightenment’ by the grace of respected Bapu ji at his Kota residence.