Baba gave warning for violation of his vow
by Dr.Ramaswamy Iyengar
Baba gave a warning to Dr. Ramaswamy Iyengar, Narayan Mudaliar Street, CHENNAI, for violation of his vow.....
Having heard of the greatness of Shri Sai Baba of Shirdi, I went along with Raosaheb Subbaiah Chettiar and reached Shirdi on 27-4-1938. On the way I considered that Shirdi being as sacred a shrine as Kashi or Rameshwar, I should mark the visit and render it fruitful by a vow of solemn abstinence from using betel leaves and areca nut (pan-supari). I finally resolved that from the time I leave Shirdi I would not chew betel. This was a great sacrifice as chewing betel was a childhood habit. Ever since I was a boy, I would chew betel several times every day.
I left Shirdi in a bullock-cart along with Shri Chettiar on the morning of 28-4-1938. As we were seated in the cart, Shri Chettiar chewed betel and the temptation to do the same overpowered me. I thought I must postpone my vow of abstinence and begin only after I reach Chennai. So, I took my betel-nut basket and merrily chewed away. As soon as I started chewing I found that my tongue pricked. The lime smear (chuna) coating on the betel leaf sometimes pricks the tongue of inexperienced novices in chewing. But, my tongue, which was used to chewing pan for decades had become quite deadened and thick. So, the pricking was a surprise. However, I did not mind it and had a hearty chew. In half an hour, I noticed the state of my tongue and mouth. The entire interior of the mouth including the tongue got inflammed, an unprecedented phenomenon in my 40 years history of pan-chewing. Thereafter, chewing not only betelnut but anything solid (even bland food) was out of the question.
For 18 days, I was compelled to abstain from betel as well as all forms of solid food due to the state of my mouth. I had to survive on milk.
Looking at Shri Chettiar’s state made me wonder even more. He had chewed the same betel, using the same chuna, but he did not suffer any inflammation or any other trouble. But then, he had not made a vow to give up betel chewing as I did !
About an hour after my chewing experience, I had another. My chewing paraphernalia consisted of a small basket for the betel leaves and areca nuts and a silver crucible containing lime (chuna). As I went to purchase some betel and other articles from Rahata Bazaar, I left it near Shri Chettiar. After I returned within a few minutes, I looked for my betel basket, but lo ! It was missing, as was the crucible. No thief could have come there as the articles were very close to Shri Chettiar. In spite of repeated search, the articles could not be found.
Both the above incidents showed me that Baba is a living force. He is a Kind Father guarding His children – the devotees and even raw recruits like me, with affection yet strict watchfulness. He promptly punishes and checks any flagrant violation of vows solemnly made to Him, and arranges the circumstances and environment of His children as to make further disobedience on their part impossible, in their own interest.
I have been taught a severe lesson and from the above date, I have never again violated my vow. Baba thus gave me increased faith in Him and strength of mind to carry out the vows I make. Before the visit I had hearsay information of Baba’s greatness and kindness which had made a feeble impression on my mind. But, with actual experience conferred on me, the impression I have of Baba is vivid and powerful and will last a life time. I now concentrate my japa and meditation on Baba alone.