Saint Satramdas an Ocean of Spirituality
Saint Satramdas an Ocean of Spirituality
Saint Satramdas was Guru and spiritual guide to Saint Kanwarram. Saint Satramdas was an ocean of spirituality and a great spiritual master. He inherited the Godly knowledge and science and art of spirituality from his great father Saint Khotaram Sahib. Saint Khotaram was a ‘Sidha Pursha’ – a highly self-realized Soul and divinely intoxicated man. Saint Khotaram had three sons – Bhai Sahajram, Bhai Sabhagchand and the youngest one being known as Satramdas. From so many previous births by the accumulation of fruits of ‘Bhakti’ and ‘Sattvic Sanskaras’, Satramdas was ripe enough to be bestowed with the ‘Divine Grace’ through his father Saint Khotaram. Now the question arises why Saint Khotaram did not bless his elder sons? When Vivekananda got the grace from Swami Ramkrishna, there was a reaction from the elder disciples of Swami Ramkrishna, who was senior to Vivekananda in the company of Swami Ramkrishna. They even questioned Swami Ramkrishna about the apparent and obvious partiality. Swami Ramkrishna replied very clearly that I have not imparted any thing as special favor. Vivekananda’s Soul is ripe to receive the grace because of accumulation of ‘Sattvic Sanskaras’ of previous births, so he got it. It is pure mathematics. As you sow, so shall you reap. So Satramdas was ripe to receive the grace. It is said child Satramdas just after birth for few days did not take mother’s milk. The reason being that he was not interested in the ‘Maya’ due to some remaining ‘Karmas’ and ‘Sanskaras’ (the impressions of previous birth, the latent tendencies)- he had to take present birth. Saint Khotaram was a Sidha-purusha. He knew the spiritual achievements and heights of Satramdas so he whispered in the ears of infant Satramdas requesting to take share in the mother’s milk and I promise you will get ‘Moksha’, ‘Mukti’, liberation and release from the cycle of birth and death in this birth and the infant Satramdas very willingly sucked the mother’s milk, thus ended the worry and anguish of the mother. Satramdas learnt the holy books under the ablest guidance and supervision of Bhai Viruram from Jahanpur a nearby village to Raharki Sahib – the birthplace of Satramdas. Raharki is a village in Taluka Ubaoro district Sukkur, Sindh (Pakistan). He was well versed with ‘Gurubani’ – teachings from Guru Granth (Holy book of Sikhs). He knew Gita, Mahabharata, and Ramayana. He recited Bhajans of Kabir, Farid, Namdeo, Tukaram and Gurunanak. He used to visit various places in Sindh for his ‘Bhajan and Kirtan’ with his ‘Bhajan Mandali’. He had followers and disciples from every nook and corner of Sindh. Even there were many Muslims among his devotees.
He believed that service to humanity is the best work of life. He believed the human body is the living and moving temple of the God. Every individual is an abode of ‘Atma’ the eternal Soul. Therefore, to serve a man is to serve the God in the real sense. He used to collect money, clothes, corn etc. by conducting Bhajans and Sindhi Chouki – the Sindhi folk songs in praise of the Almighty Allah – the Supreme Soul – the source Soul – the ‘Parmatma’ – the Universal Being – the God. He used to distribute the above articles to the poor, less fortunate, needy, less privileged brothers and sisters. As he believed ‘the poor are the pictures of the God’, they are pictures of Krishna. He had many blind and crippled in his Ashram-cum-house he used to feed them and provide them clothing and shelter. He used to help the marriage of poor girls and widows. He used to run ‘Jal Ashram’ in the summer season. Saint Satramdas had a great love for birds and animals. As Sadhu T.L. Vaswani says ‘all life is sacred’. All life I regard as sacred. And seems to me in ethics we are concerned not alone with mankind but also with animals. The ethical as I understand it, is help all life, have sympathy with all life, avoid injuring any thing living. For me not to love birds and beast would be not to love the Lord. His children birds and beasts are not less than human beings. If indeed life is one, is not the animal too, my brother? Moreover, am I not his keeper? Repeatedly, I have felt that when the life of men becomes purer and nobler they will realize that they must have reverence, they will grow in thought that their lives are linked with all lives. For the service of brother birds, he used to provide seeds and water in earthen pots. Sparrows and Crows, Pigeons and Parrots used to eat and drink water and sing and chirp merrily.
For the cows, he established many cow-protections shed (Gaoo-shalas). He was a great exponent of cow protection like Vinoba Bhave and others.
It is further to add that in his village during summer days when people used to sleep in the afternoon, he used to go in the streets with a small bag of corn and bucket of water. He used to offer corn and water to the diseased and wounded animals. Then he used to wash their wounds and dressed them with country ointments etc. He used to provide milk and meals prepared with ‘Ghee’ to the recently delivered and lactating bitches at least for 40 days. His wife was very angry with Satramdas for his whimsical ways. His answer was always polite and just “All is God’s creation”. It is just change of from ‘Atma’ remains everywhere. Why after delivery women take nutritious diet milk and Ghee etc.?
In and around village Raharki there were 80 many godly intoxicated persons – ‘Fakirs’ and ‘Darveshas’. Among them ‘Saloo Fakir’ was very near and dear to Satramdas. He was a wandering ‘Fakir’. He would come ask Satramdas for ‘Hukka’, a country cigar. He would enjoy smoking; immediately he would break the ‘Hukka’ asking Satramdas – should I break the ‘Hukka’? Moreover, he broke the ‘Hukka’. He would leave the place and disappear for many days. How this whimsical behavior of this Saint denotes that he was a enunciated Saint like Gajanan Maharaj. He had no attachment of ‘Hukka’ that is why he would break it after smoking. Saint Satramdas also valued the dignity and importance of physical labor. He along with his disciples used to work as a mason, as a well digger, as a part of community service or ‘Shramdan’. He said ‘Bhakti’ without service is incomplete. Once so happened that his brother’s son was reading a religious book and he missed to perform his prescribed daily duties. He scolded him and said ‘books are good, imbibing the knowledge is better but acting according to books that is service to the humanity is the best and ultimate goal of ‘Gyan’ and divine knowledge’. As J.R. Lowel says “all the beautiful sentiments in the world weigh less than a single lovely action”. His interpretation about religion was that it is a way to reach God. He used to say people preach and profess religion, fight for religion but never live the religion. Never follow the true teachings and percepts of the religion – that is “Universal brotherhood”. Son hood of man and father hood of the God word religion means (re-back, logo-to-bind) that which binds Soul to God. Religion is as much a part of human Soul, as human Soul is part of God. The cosmic life the ‘eternal fountain life’ every individual life is connected with it through ‘thought life’.
In the degree the view of deluding ‘Maya’ covers the Soul to that degree does ignorance prolong the egoistic mental and physical movements of pride, separateness when the ‘thought life’ is illumined this view of ignorance gets removed and eternal truth of oneness of ‘individual life’ with the eternal fountain life becomes a vivid and living experience. Shelley says the same viewpoint.
“The one remains, the many change,
Heavens light forever shines,
Earths shadow fly,
Life like a dome of many colored glass stains
The white radiance of Eternity”.
Saint Satramdas used to preach that “birth in human form” is the greatest gift of the God. “Oh! Man the body for which even the God’s yearn, employ that body in service and remembrance of God and thus obtain permanent abode”.
Even the triad like Brahma, Vishnu, Mahesh and Indra also (the ruler of Gods) on the exhaustion of their merits will ultimately be reborn, only those who turn their back on heaven and kiss the feet of God will not be reborn and will obtain liberation which is true immortality.
Saint Satramdas advocated recitation of name of God, is the real remedy for all sores, difficulties and diversities, troubles, trials and tribulations. He used to say man arise and awake, recite the name of God during predawn ambrosial period and resolve in the mind the greatness of mighty truth. It is a state of transcendental wonder associated with ecstasy and absolute clearness of mind.
It will not be out of the way to end this chapter with the narration of the blood relations, living or dead of this great spiritual heritage of Sindh. As already stated Saint Khotaram had three sons namely Sahajram, Sabhagchand and Satramdas. Sahajram had a son named Rohararam. Rohararam was the first person to write the book on the life of Saint Kanwarram. Rohararam had 4 sons namely Bhai Jagatram, Bhai Gobindram, Bhai Santokram and Bhai Lachhmandas. Sabhagchand had one son Bhai Pribhudas who was a great ‘Gyani’, well versed with divine knowledge. He had lot of followers and one daughter named Vinjharbai. She was maternal grandmother of the author of this book. Saint Satramdas had one son Bhai Mehardas who died at the younger age and two daughters Haribai and Sadoribai who died recently at Amravati. She was the living direct descendent and off shoot of the Saintly lineage of Saint Satramdas. Sadoribai has two surviving sons Siruram and Atamaram. Haribai had three sons Bhai Chandiram who was a great singer and a Saint. Bhai Bhagwandas died recently. Bhai Kanayalal the third son resides at ‘Raharki Sahib’, Pakistan. He looks after the holy shrine of Saint Satramdas and Saint Kanwarram. Vinjharbai was a simple and pious saintly lady. She bore three sons Girdharilal, Budhaldas, Nanikram, two daughters Guribai – the author’s mother and Matheribai. Guribai was married to a hidden Saint – Bhai Kashiram. Bhai Girdhariram also lives at Raharki Sahib and helps Bhai Kanayalal in the maintenance and running of the ‘Devari Sahib’, holy shrine of Raharki Sahib a place of pilgrimage for all the Sindhi community.
To conclude Saint Satramdas transmitted his spiritual power to Saint Kanwarram, similarly as Ramkrishna graced Vivekanand. With Guru’s grace he became the shining star and a humble servant of humanity.