Sufi Influences on Shirdi Sai
Sufi Influences on Shirdi Sai,
excerpts from Unravelling The Enigma, Shirdi Sai in the Light of Sufism, by Marianne Warren
In his later role as a Sufi Master Sai Baba encouraged his visitors to practice repentance, to turn away from the life they had been living, and to practice devotion to God in whatever form they chose. He admonished his devotees to give up bad habits such as addiction to liquor,’ and exhorted that negative qualities such as caste rivalry, pride of learning, greed, etc. should not be harboured. In answer to a devotee’s question concerning samsara (worldly activities), Sai Baba observed:
The shadripus (the six enemies – lust, anger, covetousness, delusion, pride and jealousy) are all delusive. They make the unreal appear as real. If a rich man wears a gold ornament, the poor man gets jealous, and thinks he must have one. This is lobha (greed). All are like this. So one must conquer the six enemies. If they arc conquered, waves of passion will not arise. Else they will enslave you. If they are subordinated and reason made the commandant, then the delusive pleasures and pains will no longer hold sway over you.
Commenting to Nana Chandorkar, he said that of these jealousy is the easiest to conquer:
Jealousy (matsara) is the inability to endure another’s profit and prosperity. If another gets fortune or power, we cannot put up with it, we scandalise him. When he meets with loss, we rejoice. But is this good? When that man attains prosperity, what loss have we really suffered? But people do not consider this point of view. If he attains good let us rejoice; let us attain or strive to attain equal good. That should be our desire and determination.
One technique which Sai Baba enjoined for overcoming such negative experiences was to repeat the name of God. He said: “if others hate us, let us simply take to namajapa [ of the names of God] and avoid them.”