‘Pujya’ Shalini Nene aaji is staying at Sanatan’s ashram at Devad (Panvel). ‘Pujya’ aaji is a live symbol of ‘Prem-bhav’. Her age is 94 years but she never complains about her health and is always in bliss. Everyone can learn from ‘Pujya’ Nene aaji who always thinks about others’ interests; is very affectionate and in constant communion with God; that too in gratitude mode. With the grace of ‘Paratpar Guru’ Dr. Athavale, I got an opportunity to serve ‘Pujya’ Nene aaji. Given below are points I got to learn from ‘Pujya’ aaji.
‘Pujya’ aaji’s face looks radiant like that of ‘Paratpar Guru’ Dr. Athavale. She always seems to be in bliss. Once she had gone to a dentist for tooth-extraction. She looked very happy even after extraction of tooth. The dentist was also surprised and said, “How does she look so happy even after extraction of her tooth ?”
2. Always being in ‘Sahajavastha
(natural state of being in communion with God)’
‘Pujya’ aaji is a Saint and is a paternal aunt of ‘Paratpar Guru’ Dr. Athavale but she never talks about the same. She is always in ‘sahajavastha’.
3. Attitude of a ‘Jidnyasu
( a seeker curious to learn more about spirituality)’
‘Pujya’ aaji reads the whole ‘Dainik Sanatan Prabhat’ at this age. She gets her doubts cleared if she does not follow anything given in the paper.
4. Pure mind
‘Pujya’ aaji’s mind is pure.
Once, an ant entered ‘Pujya’ aaji’s eye. Dr. Sou. Pingale kaku removed it. ‘Pujya’ aaji didn’t blink even once till the ant was removed. Pingale kaku was also quite surprised about the same.
6. A. Taking care of seekers with love
‘Pujya’ aaji is very loving. She takes lot of care of all of us seekers in the room. I feel closer to her than my real aaji.
i) If I am coughing, she gives me honey.
ii) Once, my body was itching; then she immediately took out some medicine from her stock and gave it to me.
iii) When I am not feeling well, she asks me, “Did you go to doctor; did you take medicines? Take rest. You have to do lot of running around because of me.”
iv) Once I was going out of station for 4 days for one ‘seva’. She told me, “It is cold. Have you taken your sweater and all other necessary things ?”
v) Looking at my suitcase, she said, “See if you can carry it, else call someone for help.”
6. B. She has affection for everyone and she talks with love whenever someone goes to meet her.
6. C. On learning about naming ceremony of a seeker’s niece, she sang ‘palna’ and recorded and sent it to her: I was at home and there was going to be naming ceremony of my niece. When aaji learnt about the same, she sang a ‘palna’, another seeker recorded it and sent it to me. We played that ‘palna’ on the day of naming ceremony; it was full of ‘chaitanya’.
7. Thinking about others
A. ‘Paratpar Guru’ always sends some ‘prasad’ for her and she shares it with us.
B. Once I finished all my work and was going out for ‘seva’. She wanted something from her bag. She however, said to me, “If you have time now, give me; otherwise, you can give me whenever it is convenient to you.” Whenever she tells any ‘seva’ to seekers, she tells them to do it as per their convenience.
C. She keeps things regularly required by her, on her bed and a small trivet so that she doesn’t have to ask others to give those things to her. When the bed sheet is changed, her things are kept aside. That time she says, despite her fatigue, that she would put the things back on her bed, to save our time.
D. I have the ‘seva’ of giving bath to ‘Pujya’ aaji; but most of the time, she has bath on her own. Only when she is too tired, she takes minimum assistance from me.
E. ‘Pujya’ aaji used to cook very tasty food earlier. After coming to ashram, she used to tell us to make some changes in items cooked for her; but now, she doesn’t say anything. Now, she says, “Seekers, who have ‘seva’ in the kitchen, are very busy; therefore, taste can change a bit.”
F. ‘Pujya’ aaji always thinks about what other person will want rather than what she wants. My co-seeker had kept a cloth near ‘Pujya’ aaji’s bed so that her feet wouldn’t feel cold when she got up from bed but she was scared that she might slip due to the cloth; so I said to her, “Aaji, should I tell that seeker to remove the cloth?” On that she said, “Let it be. If that seeker feels like keeping the cloth, let her keep.”
8. All instructions published in ‘Dainik Sanatan Prabhat’ and given by doctor are meticulously followed by her
A. Since Vaidya Meghraj Paradkar gave an instruction through the ‘dainik’ for massaging body with oil before bath, ‘Pujya’ aaji regularly applies oil to her body before bath.
B. On the birthday of P.P. Pande Maharaj, ‘Pujya’ aaji wanted to talk to him. She told me, “There is always an instruction in the ‘dainik’ that we shouldn’t call up Saints on their birthdays; therefore, I didn’t call him up.”
C. Sun can be seen from ‘Pujya’ aaji’s room after 9.00 a.m. daily. Since instruction was published in the ‘dainik’ regarding having ‘darshan’ of and about praying to the Sun, even though she may be tired, she first has ‘darshan’ of ‘Suryanarayan’ and prays to Him.
D. Maharshis have asked us to add turmeric and pepper-corn to milk; therefore, ‘Pujya’ aaji has milk with turmeric. She is allergic to pepper but she doesn’t say ‘no’ to milk just for following instructions.
E. Her doctor has advised her to wear specs while reading sine then she always wears specs while reading. She immediately remembers in case she forgets to use specs, though at the age of 94, she is able to read without specs.
9. ‘Dainik Sanatan Prabhat’s news
When ‘Pujya’ aaji hears about attacks on people and on Dharma, she intensely makes prayers for establishment of Hindu Rashtra
She feels very sad when she reads about molestation of women or death of an Indian soldier or about cow-slaughter. Then, she immediately prays intensely at the feet of ‘Paratpar Guru’ Dr. Athavale for early establishment of Hindu Rashtra and for welfare of people.
10. Constantly in ‘sadhana’
‘Pujya’ aaji reads ‘dainik’, books, does chanting, ‘aarti’, ‘bhajan’ etc i.e. some aspect of ‘sadhana’ throughout the day and never feels bored or never feels, she cannot pass time.
11. Sensitive towards mistakes
11. A. Feeling bad even if other person commits mistakes
Once in ‘’dainik’, it was published about wastage of electricity and water in Government offices and hospitals etc. She read about it and said to me, “Today, our mistakes have been published in the ‘dainik’”. She was feeling such remorse as if the mistakes were committed by her.
11. B. Feeling deep remorse about own mistakes
‘Pujya’ aaji has one old notebook of ‘bhajans’ in which she has written down ‘bhajans’ and songs. Once she gave the notebook to ‘Satguru’ Rajendradada to read. Satguru dada read it and returned the same to her but she forgot and she said that the book was with Satguru Dada. Later, she found it among her own things; so she felt deep remorse for own mistake.
12. Less ‘aham (ego)’
I do ‘namaskar’ to ‘Pujya’ aaji. She looks at the photograph of ‘Paratpar Guru’ Dr. Athavale and says, “I am an ordinary person. Don’t do ‘namaskar’ to me but do it for God.”
13. Constantly in communion with
‘Paratpar Guru’ Dr. Athavale
Every day, she looks at the photo of ‘Paratpar Guru’ Dr. Athavale and does ‘Atmanivedan (confession)’. Once ‘Satguru’ Bindatai had called up and she forgot to tell her to convey her ‘namskar’ to ‘Paratpar Guru’ Dr. Athavale; so she was intensely feeling sorry about the same. Later, when she received ‘prasad’ from Him, she said to me, “Gauri, I did ‘namaskar’ to ‘Paratpar Guru’ Dr. Athavale here and it has reached Him; therefore, He has sent ‘prasad’. Let us all take it.”
14. ‘Pujya’ Nene aaji constantly in gratitude mode !
A. When she reads about natural calamities like flood, earthquake, famine etc, she feels lot of gratitude towards ‘Paratpar Guru’ Dr. Athavale because of whom she feels we are in good condition.
B. Once Sou. Gadkari kaku stitched a cover for her blanket; she felt lot of gratitude towards kaku. She said, “She took out time for me and stitched this cover; give her some ‘khau’.”
C. The bed earlier used by ‘Pujya’ aaji was of small size; therefore, ‘Satguru’ Bindatai told to give a big bed for her. Then ‘Pujya’ aaji said, “Satguru Bindatai is so great, she pays attention to everything.” She was feeling lot of gratitude towards ‘Satguru’ Bindatai.
15. Spiritual experiences (anubhutis)
A. Chanting starts automatically after going to ‘Pujya’ aaji’s room.
B. Photograph of ‘Paratpar Guru’ Dr. Athavale kept in her room, seems to have become alive and it seems as if He is talking to us.
-Kum. Gauri Menkar, Sanatan Ashram, Devad, Panvel (17.2.2017)