Rabda has attempted suicide and chances are that he is going to die. Sai Baba of Shirdi enters the hospital room and awakens the spirit body of Rabda. The two, Master and musician, begin to converse about life, death and everything in between.
Set in the present, Rabda takes the reader to the past, to when the Sai lived in His physical body. The life and philosophy of Sai Baba of Shirdi are revealed, often in His own words, and questions pertaining to Him and spirituality answered.
Nimue Says :
“Sometimes books don't find us until the right time.”
—Gabrielle Zevin, The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry
Long before I read his , I believed from all my heart that we often read what we most need. And probably for this reason , I know that Rabda came to me at a very appropriate time. Rabda is story and teaching of Sai baba as narrated to Ciaz ( known also as Rabda ) who is a world famous musician , currently in a hospital after yet another failed suicide attempt. It is little heartening to read that he did not want to die 'cause he was unhappy but just that he did not find any purpose strong enough to live for. So Rabda tries to die , with chanting Sai and listening to his own song; and is blessed by visit from Sai who takes his spirit along him to a faraway cave where the men share their love , life and more importantly , the lessons of and for a beautiful life.
There might be many a books on life of Sai baba and many more about his teachings. But this book is not either or both. This is more like a dialogue between Sai and Rabda where Sai is at his casual best and Rabda too is not a star struck devotee but a curious , carefree and yet devoted and faithful companion. The life story moves in a linear format with certain events mentioned randomly in the conversations. Sai talks about his life, first as a novice on the path to meet the One, and later as a guide to others walking the same path. and in between we get to read of all that we have been taught and told in different ways but perhaps have forgotten the reasons and implications.
What I liked about the book is that some of the examples and simple ways the writer has used to explain serious stuff. Sample the talk about going through hard times. We all hear "As you sow, so shall you reap". The writer further explains it like going to a fine dining restaurant. You know the price of the dish before you order, and also you order the quantity yourself. Now when the bill comes, you cannot fight with the manager telling the bill is too much. You pay for what you order. Same with your life. You pay for all the bad actions and are protected and rewarded for the goodwill you spread and share.
And yet, the flow of the book was interrupted at times ( many times) by the repetition of certain phrases that Sai uses for Rabda. Certain swear words do not work for me at all, specially not my God saying those. Are we not supposed to have a clean language too ? Also, some concepts of the spiritual growth and journey are beyond my complete grasp. I am glad that the writer at times presented the same ideas in different ways and summarized them in the end so I have some half cooked idea of my own but I will still have to read those chapters again, perhaps when I am mature enough.
The scenes of Sai leaving earth and trying to help every and anyone he could in those last breath too , was touching. The way he spent all his life in making people love God and seek him for the same; and still humans kept going to him for selfish purposes , made me feel so guilty. As I finished the book , I felt tears in my own eyes and that for me , was my love for God , the super power I feel in the very fabric of life around me. In all, I liked the book and would recommend this to all God-loving folks. As for the non-believers, I had a talk with a few close friends and I realized that even they believe in the goodness of humans and loving the creations on Earth. Just that , they focus more on living in the moment and have problems with next birth or the spirit life. Well, they can still like the book for the teachings of Oneness of God ( no religion) , Being good , passing kindness , Living comfortable yet not with too much wastage and never refusing anyone for help you can give easily.
My rating : 4/5