Annaji, the elder brother of the founder seer of Shri Bhagawati Sai Sansthan, Panvel, Shri Sai Narayan Baba, passed away peacefully on Thursday, April 16 at the age of 91.
I consider myself very blessed to have been so fortunate to be spiritually guided by him in my 21 years of association with one, who showed concern and affection for his family and yet, lived a detached life drenched in Sai devotion, meditation and wellness of all beings.
I can never forget his oft repeated message of His Holiness Shri Bhola Nathji, whom he held in very high spiritual esteem, – “Renounce all thought of my and mine, and from a drop become the sea, Lose thou thyself in Truth Divine, And know thou art Infinity”.
He always referred to the conversation when someone asked Shri Bhola Nathji ‘How does one find God?’, he replied ‘Awaken a hunger for Him.’ The person then asked ‘How to awaken hunger?’ Shri Bhola Nathji replied ‘Associate with those who hunger after Him, those who desire Him. Seek to see God with your heart, not your mind. The chief thing is this that you should never stray from the garden of truth, universal love and faith, and that you should do good to all men at all times. Your Master will Himself come and take your hand.’
Like his father ‘Appaji’ alias Swami Karunananda Maharaj, who was a great Siddha of the Maha Gayatri Mantra and his brother Jagatguru Shri Sai Narayan Baba, who referred to the Maha Gayatri Mantra as the ‘light of all lights, it is the light of the consciousness i.e. the atma jyoti and it is the light of the infinite i.e. the param jyoti’, Annaji too echoed ‘A true aspirant is he who aspires not for any worldly things, rather aspires only for God – consciousness’.
I had the privilege to have audience with Annaji on many occasions, particularly after the Shej arti in the Shri Bhagawati Sai Sansthan’s Saibaba temple in Panvel. Just as much as Annaji enthusiastically urged us listeners to ever stay in God Consciousness by narrating episodes in the lives of spiritual masters, we too were spellbound by his vast knowledge of the scriptures, sages, sufi saints and the Bible. He delved on meditation techniques and particularly mentioned dynamic meditation of Acharya Rajneesh alias Osho, he referred to the commentary on Shrimad Bhagwad Geeta by Swami Chinmayananda, the founder of the Chinmaya Mission, Ramana Maharshi’s teachings of shedding the ‘I’ and ‘Mine” ego and above all the message of Shraddha and Saburi of Shirdi Saibaba, which he often mentioned that his brother Sadguru Shri Sai Narayan Baba was untiringly spreading across the globe in all earnest.