5. KNOWLEDGE OF PREVIOUS BIRTHS
"I and you have passed through many rounds of births; I remember them all, but you do not know them."
Bhagawad geeta IV-5.
The difference between an ordinary man and a Superman usually consists in the latter’s having a knowledge to the past births of all creatures. Once while Baba was returning from Lendi, His eyes fell on a flock of goats. From out of them, He purchased two Shi-goats for Rs. 32/- in all, inspite of the protests of the near-bye devotees, who informed Baba, that the price he paid for the she-goat was extravagant as ordinarily a she-goat can be had for Rs.2/- only, and at the most Rs. 4/- may be paid for each. Hearing this Baba said, "Go to that shopkeeper, purchase two seers (about 1.87Kg,) of Chani pulse and feed each with one seer and return the she goats to the vendor." The transaction angered; those worldly minded devotees, when Baba told them the following history of the past births of these goats. "These goats were human beings and used to be with me always. They were two brothers. At; the start they had great affection for each other and were joint; but thereafter the greed of money made them hostile; the younger worked hard and earned a lot but the elder could not earn being idle; becoming jealous of the younger, he hatched a plot to murder the other; the plot however leaked out and this resulted in a scuffle in which each killed the other. A few days after their death they were born as she-goats. Recognising them, I thought of purchasing them and providing them with a life of ease, but as their ill-luck would have it, you protested and so I had to return these goats to their owners."
Another time Baba revealed His Knowledge of the past births stating "After breakfast I stirred out and when walking fatigued me I came upon a river bank. The river was small but was full; I had a bath in it, and the scenery round about cheered me up. I was thinking of having my chillam puff when I heard the painful croaking of a frog. Taking such sound to be the usual feature of watery places, I made my chillam ready when a traveller came to me and bowed to me. I shared my chillam up with him and he invited me to his house with a request that I should have my noon-meal with him,; and them return after resting. In the mean while the frogs croaking grew louder and louder; so the traveller said, "I will just go and see what this is". The traveller said on return, "a big black serpent; has caught a frog and will soon swallow it", Baba said, "Do you think I have come all this distance for nothing? I shall see that the frog is saved." We then went to the spot where the serpent was, when Baba nearing the serpent said, "Oh Virabhadrappa, this Chanbasappa your enemy has been born a frog and you a serpent to wreak your vengeance on him’ Shame! Shame upon you, now at least give up; hostility and rest in peace." So soon as these words were uttered by Baba the serpent gave up the frog and each went its own way. Seeing this the traveller requested me to tell him who these Virabhadrappa and Chanbasappa were.
Baba thereupon said, "Four or five miles away from my residence was a Shankar’s temple; it required repairs; so a fund was started and the subscribers appointed one of them a Banker as their Manager to get this work done. The Banker was honest but was miserly; he did not misappropriate the fund but he did not spend a single farthing of his own; so though the repair work was started it remained incomplete; a second time the fund was therefore collected; but the Banker would not get the repairs resumed. His wife in the meanwhile had two dreams in which Shankar asked her to contribute her mite for the repairs, saying, "As she sincerely loved him (Shankar) even one pice contribution of hers would be taken by him worth a lac of Rupees." Determining therefore to sell off her ornaments, she requested her husband to sell away her ornaments and carry out the temple repairs from the sale proceeds thereof. The Banker instead of selling his wife’s ornaments purchased these ornaments himself for a sum of Rs. 1,000/- and in lieu of that consideration he conveyed to his wife a piece of land mortgaged to him by a helpless widow (for only Rs. 200) and advised his we to donate that land to the temple priest as a gift. The wife accordingly made a gift or that land to the temple priest. The Banker, his wife as also the helpless widow mortgagor all died in due course.
"Thereafter the banker’s wife was born as a daughter to the temple priest of Shankar’s temple and was benamed Gauri and the helpless widow mortgagor was born as a son also to the same Shankar’s temple priest and was named Chanbasappa. The banker was born as the son of a poor Brahmin and was named Virbhadrappa. To make a living, Virbhadrappa left his home and moved about from one village to another eking out his living by begging, working as a cooly etc. During these peregrinations he came to this Shankar’s temple and put up there. As God would have it, the priest and the inmates of his house liked him and with My consent Gouri was married to him. The priest was so fond of Gouri that he put Gouri in the sole possession of that (mortgaged) land with rights to enjoy the income thereof in perpetuity. Through God’s grace that fallow land had purchaser and he bought it for a lac of rupees paying half the amount of Rs. 50,000/- on the spot and agreeing to pay the balance by installments of Rs. 2,000/- each. All liked the idea except Gouri’s brother Chanbasapa, who demanded half the sum agreed upon as the legal heir of the priest, on the ground that his father the priest was the real owner of that land. Virbhadrappa opposed this demand of Chandbasappa. On their referring this dispute to Me I said that sole owner of that land is Shanker. All this money therefore should be spent for Shankar. Gouri alone is the sole and rightful owner; Virbhadrappa and he abused me. The same night Shankar appeared before Gouri in a dream and as to the appropriation of this amount I have full trust in Chanbasappa and so pay him such sum as he demands for the temple management and the balance should be appropriated as per Baba’s (my) instruction." When therefore she came to Me for advice, I told her to have the whole amount for herself and to pay half and to pay half of the interest on that sum to Chanbasappa. The account of the dream, his wife had told had no effect on Virbhadrappa. He abused every body and then went mad. In a fit of insanity he very often threatened Chanbasappa that whenever he found Chanbasappa alone he would cut him to pieces. This threatening haunted Chanbasappa day and night and allowed him no peace of mind, though I very often told him, "he has nothing to fear about." Both died thereafter Virbhadrappa was born a serpent to wreak his vengeance and Chanbasappa was born a frog, for though he was my devotee, he had no faith in Me and stood in constant dread of Virbhadrappa, inspite of My assurance to him."
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