Shree Shree Sadhubaba – My Revelation
By Anamika Das
I once found a saintly man. When I first saw him, he sat cross-legged on a cot calmly peering at me as if seeing through me. He had a long, white beard and wore a simple expression of peace and dignity. I curiously looked at him realizing he offered something immense if only I could understand what he was trying to share. My Bapi patted me on the back as he smiled at my inquisitive stare.
The man I had found was in a photo that Bapi had given to me. It was the photo of a saint that he had followed for many years, and he called him Sadhubaba. "When you are in need, look at his photo and ask him to help you. Try it once and see what happens," Bapi said of his saint.
I nodded, thinking out of respect for my father that I would follow his wish. At the time, I did not know what to believe. How could a photo of a man rescue me from a dire situation? I did not ask, but accepted the photo and placed it in my wallet to carry with me as Bapi requested.
Then, days later, the moment came. Facing a fearful situation that held an uncertain outcome, I turned to the picture of Bapi's saint. I pulled the photo from my wallet, stared into the tranquil eyes, and asked for guidance. Holding my breath, I clutched the photo as I faced the situation. Influenced by the saint's calm demeanor, I found my anxiety fading, my thought clearing, and my resolve strengthening. My troublesome dilemma disappeared. It seemed to be a miracle.
Without understanding Sadhubaba's teachings, I blindly followed him. Every time I faced a doubtful moment, I turned to him for salvation. Bapi's saint had become mine. Once a week, I performed a puja to honor him as I did the other gods and ancestors from my family's past. His magical powers seemed to keep me strong, and I was grateful for this.
I learned more about Sadhubaba. He was a man without an age who had appeared in photos with other religious leaders of the past, such as Ramkrishna and Vivekananda. Sadhubaba lived for many years, and traveled from place to place creating a small following. He graced a village for some time and spoke to his new disciples before leaving for a new place never to be heard from again. Sadhubaba came into Bapi's life and left as he had so many others. Creating faithful devotees, the saint would speak in terms each man understood, encouraging his followers to lead lives of self-reliance and independence. To me, these words held little meaning, but the miracles that were caused by the small photo justified my devotion.
I had it all wrong.
Every morning, I had seen Bapi lift a photo of his saint to his head as he stood silently in prayer. Then, he would place the photo in a small pocket sewn into his undershirt to keep it near to his heart. I had always thought Bapi admired Sadhubaba's seemingly boundless powers. If this saint had given so much to the man I greatly admired, then he must be worthy of such high praise and honor. I still do not fully know what drew Bapi to Sadhubaba, but I am certain it was not the saint's presumed powers.
Sadhubaba is not a miracle. His power is in his preaching, not in his assumed ability for the salvation of his followers. I could rely on Sadhubaba in any situation, but his magic could never rescue me. I would have to do that myself. Unlike many religious figures, he did not promise to solve all of man's problems, but he could guide a man to a calmness that led to self-belief and confidence if sought. Sadhubaba would not save me, but he would show me the path to finding the answers that existed within me. I always held the answers, but needed the strength to believe in them. Sadhubaba gave this confidence.
Many gurus and saints have lived on this earth, each having a lesson to teach and a mission to fulfill. Some came quietly touching the lives of those who listened to his gospel. Others came boldly reaching to the masses with promises for salvation, betterment, and joy. In my life, I have preferred to follow my god rather than a guru, believing god's word could only be understood if it came directly from him. However, I cannot help but hold a special place in my life for Sadhubaba and turn to him when about to face a difficult situation.
Once I understood his teachings, the saint became more than an image in a magical photo. Sadhubaba is not a religious figure; he is a guide who helped me to believe in myself. At first, I came across a saint, and now I know what one is.