The Dairy of Late Shri H. S. Dixit
To those, who are conversant with the life of Shri Sai Baba, the name H. S. Dixit is not new. He was one of the several devotees, who had the good fortune to have the company of Shri Sai Baba in live form. The mention of his name is often made in the Sai Satcharita. In chapter 20 of Shri Sai Satcharita, Shri Sai Baba is said to have ordered Shri. Das Ganu to go to Kakasaheb (as he was commonly known) Dixit's place at Vile Parle in order to get a reply to his question from the maid-servant of Shri. Dixit. In chapter 27, a mention is made about the Vithal-vision of Shri Dixit. Apart from being a devotee, Shri. Hari Sitaram alias Kakasaheb Dixit was very, intimate with Shri Sai Baba. The building now used as Bhojan Griha at Shirdi belonged to Shri. Dixit and is often referred to as "Dixitwada" in Sai Satcharita.
It appears that Shri. Dixit maintained a diary in Marathi and recorded therein the incidents that he heard about or saw when he was at Shirdi. The dairy it appears was published, after it was translated into English. Late Shri. N P. Awasthi of Pune, had a copy of this diary in his collection of books and another sincere Sai devotee Shri. S. M. Garje (80, Shiwaji Nagar, Lane-5) happened to get it from Shri. Nanasaheb Awasthi. At the time of the gathering of the contributors to Shri Sai Leela magazine, held at Shirdi in the last week of January 1977, Shri. Garje happened to mention about this book to me and expressed his wish that some of the incidents recorded therein may be published in Shri Sai Leela as they do not seem to have been referred to in Sai Satcharita. I agreed to his proposal but expressed a desire to have a look at the book. I happened to go to Pune in the last week of February, when Shri. Garje was good enough to give me the book obtained by him from Shri. Awasthi Kaka.
The diary has 140 pages. The first page and a few pages at the end of the book were missing, because the incident No.118 which starts on page 140 is not completely narrated on that page. Some other pages of the book have been partly eaten by white ants. As the first page was torn, it could not be said where and by whom the English translation was published; but it appears from the note at the end of the introduction (which is reproduced below) that the book must have been published at Madras.
As the book was printed, at least round about 500 copies of it must have been circulated after it was printed. On enquiries at Shirdi Office, it is understood that no copy of the book was available in the library at Shirdi. The author has thanked the Shirdi Sansthan for allowing him to translate and publish the diary. It is therefore rather strange that a copy of the book is not preserved in the library at Shirdi.
The introduction of the book which covers the first five pages of the book runs as follows:
In volume II of the Life of Sai Baba, (based largely on Dixit Anka of S. L. Masik) we get a fairly good idea of H. S. Dixit's life and how it has enabled him to reach as high perfection as possible under Sai's guidance. That is largely due to the fact that Dixit himself furnished particulars about his life. These particulars are found partly in the Marathi diary kept by him during the time he was under Baba (1909-19l8) and even after Baba left the body (1918-1926). They deal only with Baba and persons who approached Baba. The notes are mostly valuable; several of them are highly useful to devotees for various purposes including the promotion of their own health, and the advancement of their spiritual condition. In a few cases, no doubt we have to correct or amplify the notes given by Dixit in his diary with the help of better and fuller accounts by others who have had better chances of knowing the facts and expressing them in proper perspective and with fuller detail in the Sai Lila Masik, etc.
We find especially about Nana Chandorkar, the details given here are too few and too weak, perhaps due to Dixit's inability to remember and reproduce what he heard from others, mostly second-hand. In those instances about Chandorkar, B. V. Dev has given a very much better account in the Sai Lila Masik, beginning with I Vol. 6th part which deals with the first meeting of Chandorkar with Baba. B. V. Dev's account is impressive and highly useful. Again take the account of further important incidents in Chandorkar's life where B. V. Dev sets them out in his articles. These are the result of B. V. Dev's carefully contacting N. G. Chandorkar whom he considered to be his Guru, or Upa-guru, the stepping stone that took him to his Dattaguru Sai
Baba. Therefore, the accounts given by him are fuller, more accurate and more helpful to the reader. So in several of these cases, the readers of this diary would do well to check and compare the valuable accounts in it with other accounts found elsewhere. This however does not detract from the great value of the diary. This diary is the first great source of information that we have for Baba's life at Shirdi. He is the first one who kept a diary which proves to be a good source of history.
Dixit's diary covers a very long period so far as the incidents are concerned. Some of them refer to Baba's contact and dealings with bhaktas long before Dixit arrived at Shirdi in 1909, e.g., N. G. Chandorkar. But in the case of G. S. Khaparde, it is a regular diary kept from day to day, maintained in strict business like fashion and therefore dealing only with a few months; at first for a few days when he was at Shirdi at the end of 1910 and then for 3 months from Dec. 1911 to March 1912 when he stayed at Shirdi. There is a marked difference between these two diaries. Khaparde writes like Pepy, from the purely worldly standpoint. Occasional touches there are of spirituality, for any one in dealing with Sai cannot escape spirituality. But most of these details noted by Khaparde are ordinary events - arrival and departure of persons, what happened to who in what place and why, etc. It is not these that attracted Dixit's attention. He was after that which is really helpful to the soul noting incidents of Baba's miraculous action and powers. These are very highly helpful, because a careful study of these would enable one to get a good picture of Sai Baba's helpfulness to sadhakas to achieve the goal and that is what any reader of Dixit's dairy should aim at. In the case of Khaparde it is more a source book of historical facts with occasional intermixture of spiritual events and statements. Dixit's diary has one great merit, namely, that he is relating experiences of himself and of others mostly having direct contact with Baba in the flesh. As Dixit was an Ankita child of Baba, (that is, one for whom Baba had given an express undertaking that he would look after everything concerning him so that Dixit need not have any anxiety at all,) his record of incidents (showing how he fared after that undertaking was given) helps others similarly situated and has a special merit. His diary is a valuable study, especially for those who have recently been placed under Baba's protection. Baba did not confine his complete provision, supervision and guardianship (Yogakshema) to Kaka Dixit. There were and are so many others who had not seen Baba during their life time whose care has been and is being undertaken by Baba and several of these were reporting to Dixit or to Sai journals etc., constantly that under the supervision and guidance of Baba everything was going on in their life well, both temporally and spiritually.
So, for all persons, Dixit's diary affords very good help. It is a pity that others also who contacted Baba in the flesh and to whom also Baba extended similar protection like Das Ganu (See B. C. S. 31) did not maintain any diary showing how their complete life has been covered by Baba's protection and how they progressed. Upasani Baba also was under the complete protection of Sai Baba for years. Unfortunately Upasani Baba did not maintain any regular diary and in fact forgot even the year in which he went to Baba and the period during which he stayed under Baba. For instance the writer of Upasani's biography under directions of Baba, (Upasani Lilamrita) has written as though Upasani Baba spent four years at Shirdi as directed by Baba. It is only by researches made subsequently with the help of Khaparde's dairy and letters in the possession of Balakrishna Upasani Sastri that the discovery was made that Upasani Maharaj did not stay at Shirdi all the four years prescribed for him by Baba, but only three years i.e., from June 1911 to June 1914. Even though he visited Shirdi on subsequent occasions, he could never complete four years with Baba.
These discoveries, which enable one to study the lives of Sai's devotees, are only possible by reason of the existence of diaries like G.S. K's and Dixit's. This is only one instance to show how for purposes of ascertainment of historical facts these diaries are useful. They have obviously further uses than this bare ascertainment of historical facts. The reader might have noticed how some derived special advantage by making a special study of passages from these diaries in the matter of health, success, spiritual progress etc. In this preface it is enough to indicate that the main reason why these diaries of Dixit and Khaparde are now being translated and are printed is that they serve many purposes of the students of Sai's life, especially those students who wish to improve themselves by a fuller knowledge of the facts of Baba's life and the way in which He operated on those seeking His help and others who by rinanubanda had to be drawn to His feet.
P. S.: In translating the Marathi text, Sri A Ramachandra Rao, Mowbrays Road, Madras, has given much help for which thanks are due. Thanks are due to Sri Sai Sansthan of Shirdi for leave to translate and publish this work.
It will be seen from the above introduction that the diary relates to the period 1909 to 1918 and from 1918 to 1926; but the incidents that are printed in the book are not dated. When we know some incidents relating to Shri Sai Baba, we are interested to know when they happened; but the book is silent about the dates of the incidents, though an overall period covered by the book has been given. Shri. Garje is requested to select some incidents from the book and it is proposed to print them every month. I am also making efforts to obtain the original Marathi Diary of Shri H. S Dixit from his relatives at Vile Parle and if the diary is traced, we might be able to know the dates on which the particular incident took place.