THE PREVIOUS SAREERAM (body)
Extracts from SAI VAANI
Part - 1
September 28th is the Date of Birth of Shirdi Sai Baba. On this auspicious day, we shall read some of the messages from Bhagavan about this previous Avatar in His own words. Here are some extracts from "SAI VAANI".
In the former Nizam’s dominion, in Aurangabad district, there was a remote village called Pathri. In that village, there lived a couple by name Gangabhavadya and Devagiriamma. They were aggrieved because they did not have any children. In answer to their prayers, a son was born to Devagiriamma, on September 28th, 1935. That child was Sai Baba.
On account of passage of time and circumstances, no one knew the exact dates of Baba’s birth and passing. In this context, the mystery relating to Baba’s birth should be noted. Gangabhavadya and Devagiriamma hailed from Pathri village, and they were ardent worshippers of Eshwara and Parvathi. They had no offspring for a long time. They intensified their prayers. Gangabhavadya used to ply a boat near the village for living. One night, when it was raining heavily, Gangabhavadya left his house to take care of the boat, informing his wife that he would not return that night. After her husband had left, Devagiriamma had her food and went to bed early. At 9 p.m., there was a knock at the door. Devagiriamma opened the door expecting the likely return of her husband. Instead, a very elderly man entered the house. He pleaded, "It is very cold outside. Please permit me, mother, to stay inside." Being a pious woman, Devagiriamma allowed him to stay in the verandah and went inside the house after bolting the inner door. A little while later, there was a knock on the inner door. She opened the door. The old man said, "I am feeling hungry, give me some food." Finding that there was no food, the woman mixed some flour with curds and gave it to him. There was again another knock after some time. When she opened the door, the old man said, "My legs are aching. Mother, will you massage them?" Devagiriamma went inside, sat in prayer room and prayed: "Oh Mother! Why are you testing me like this? What should I do? Should I serve him or refuse?" Going out of the house by the back door, she went in search of someone who could be engaged to render this service. No one was available. As she returned there was another knock from the old man. At the same time, a woman knocked at the back door. The woman said, "It appears you came to my house and sought some feminine help. I was away at that time. Please let me know what service I should render." Feeling happy that Goddess Parvathi herself had sent the woman in response to here prayers, Devagiriamma sent the newcomer to the verandah for serving the old man and closed the door.
The elderly man and the woman who came to render help were none other than Parameshwara and Parvathi. Parameshwara told Parvathi, "Fulfill the cherished desire of this lady." Parvathi replied, "You are the supreme one. Please shower Your grace on her Yourself." Eshawara said, "I came to test her. You came in answer to her prayers. Hence You must bless her.". They knocked the door once again. This time Devagiriamma promptly opened the door, because the presence of another woman emboldened her. Parvathi and Parameshwara appeared before her in teir Divine forms. Unable to contain her joy, Devagiriamma fell at their feet. Parvathi then blessed her, "I grant you a son to maintain the lineage and a daughter for Kanyadana (a girl to be offered in marriage). Then Devagiriamma fell at the feet of Eashwara. Eashwara said,
"I am immensely pleased with your devotion. I shall take birth as your third child." When Devagiriama got up, the Divine couple was not there. Feeling ecstatic over the experience, Devagiriamma eagerly awaited the return of her husband in the morning to relate to him the whole experience.
The husband returned in the morning. She related to him all that happened the previous night. The husband said, "Devagiri, what is this entirely fanciful tale! It is all a dream. Parvathi and Parameshwara appearing before you and giving Darshan! It is pure fantasy!" Gangabhavadya dismissed the whole episode as incredible and fanciful.
But, as time passed, Devagiriamma became enceinte and a son was born. A year later a daughter was born. Gangabhavadya was convinced that the birth of the two children was the result of the blessings conferred by Parvathi and Parameshwara. He told his wife, "You had the good fortune of having Darshan of Parvathi and Parameshwara. I did not have that luck." When Devagiriamma conceived again, Gangabhavadya began to feel an urge to give up hearth and home and go in search of Divine couple. He told his wife that he was leaving for the forest to do penance. Devoted wife that she was, Devagiriamma decided to follow him though she was in the ninth month of her pregnancy. After following her husband for some distance, she developed labor pains. She delivered a boy. Wrapping the babe in a piece of cloth, she left the child by the roadside and followed her husband.
In the same village, there lived a Sufi Fakir. He too was childless. He took charge of this child and brought him up in his home. The boy stayed in the fakir’s home for four years (1835 to 1839) The fakir passed away in the tide of time. The fakir’s wife, who had lavished great affection on the child, was grief-stricken. To add to her worries, the boy was behaving in a troublesome manner. In those days, Hindu-Muslim differences in that area, were growing. At an alarming rate. The boy used to visit Hindu temples and sing some songs in praise of Allah. "Mein Allah hoon" (I am God). "Allah Malik Hai" (Allah is supreme Lord.) He used to declare in this manner in the temple. The Hindus used to chastise the boy in various ways for his misbehavior. He would enter a mosque and declare, "Rama is God", "Siva is Allah". His behavior of singing about Rama and Siva in a mosque and about Allah in the Hindu temple was a puzzle to the public. Members belonging to both the communities went to the fakir’s wife and complained about the boy’s behavior. Unable to deal with the situation, the fakir’s wife handed over the boy to a pious scholar, Gopal Rao Deshmukh, who was called Venkusa by the people on account of his scholarship and wisdom. The boy stayed in Venkusa’s ashram for 12 years from 1839 to 1851. Venkusa was extremely fond of the boy. In every matter, he used to give priority to this boy’s views. Seeing this, in the course of time, members of the ashram developed envy towards the boy. Observing this, one night (1851) the boy left the ashram. He reached Shirdi – a very small village at that time.
At Shirdi, Mahalsapathi a priest in a local temple saw him entering the local temple. Looking at his appearance as a Muslim, Mahalsapathi turned him out of the temple. The boy went back and sat under a neem tree. He was only 16 years old at that time. No one knew then what his name was. If anyone asked his name, he would give no answer. He would sometimes retort saying, "Why do you want to know My name?" Because of this, nobody could find out His name.
Some villagers from nearby places used to visit Him under the tree and get relief from their ailments. He would take out some leaves, crush them and give them to the ailing persons as a medicine. In this manner, He cured many a person of their illness. News of His healing powers spread all over the surrounding villages. As a result, a large number of people used to come to Him, receive the crushed leaves from Him and get cured of their ailments. Suddenly one morning He disappeared. A futile search was made in the nearby areas to trace Him. He had stayed in Shirdi for barely two months before setting about to wander from place to place. Later in 1858, He returned to Shirdi.
There was a village called Dhoop in Aurangabad. A person by name Chandubhai Patel, belonging to a middle class family, lived in Dhoop. As no other form of transport was available in those days, people used to go only on horseback. Chandubhai went on his horse to Aurangabad on some urgent business. When he had finished his business, there at the end of three days, he found that the horse was missing. Disappointed over the missing horse, Chandubhai was returning to Dhoop through dense forests on the way. On his way, he saw a fakir sitting under a tree. The fakir appeared to be lost in his own thoughts. Suddenly the fakir hailed Chandubhai with the words, "Hey Patel! Come here." The fakir liked to smoke chilim (Hookah). As there was no water nearby, the fakir hit the ground with a stick and water gushed forth from the place. He hit again another place with a stick and there was fire. Using the water and the fire, He started smoking his hookah and offered it to Chandubhai also. Chandubhai declined the offer. The fakir asked Chandubhai, "What is worrying you Patel?". Patel asked, "How did you know I am Patel?". "I know everything" replied the Fakir. "You are worried about your horse. You are keeping you eyes on the top of your head! You must lower them to trace your horse. Your horse is grazing under the tree there." Chandubhai saw his horse there. He had a search conducted for the horse in the same place with the help of some workers, but could not find it. But, now he saw it under a tree close to him. Chandubhai was astonished that the fakir had produced water and fire out of earth and had located his missing horse. He appealed to the fakir, "Swami! You have rendered great help to me. Please come with me and share my hospitality." "All right, let us go," the fakir replied.
About this time, the marriage of Chandubhai’s niece, who was residing in Shirdi, was settled. Chandubhai had to go to Shirdi for the wedding. He requested the fakir to come along with them. They went in carts to Shirdi. Mahalsapathi saw the fakir getting down from a cart, and went to Him, and said, "Aayiye! Baba, Aayiye Sai!". The name "SAI" was given by Mahalsapathi. Till then no one had conferred a name on Him. Sometime later, Baba was accused in a criminal case. He had to give evidence in a case that related to the theft of some valuables from a rich man’s house by a gang of thieves. The police caught the thieves and questioned them about the stolen articles. The thieves said that the valuables had been given to them by a fakir. Searching for the fakir, they came to Baba. They asked Him, "Fakir, did you give these articles to them?" "Yes" He said. "Where did you get them from?" was the next question. Baba replied, "They have come from the same place from which all things come." Finally they asked, "Who gave them to you?" "I gave them myself", was His reply.
Baba gave such intriguing answers, which the police could not understand. "I am the giver of everything. How can anyone get anything without My sanction?" declared Baba. Feeling that it was futile to question him further, the police prepared a report. Baba received summons from the magistrate to give evidence in the case. Chandubhai Patel did not want Baba to go to the Magistrate and so he arranged for Baba being examined by a commission (in Shirdi itself). During the examination by the commission, Baba was asked, "What is your father’s name?" He replied, "Baba". (Baba means father and the reply meant that the father’s name was father.)
Question: "What is your religion?"
Answer: "The Religion of God"
Q:: "Where do you come from?"
Ans: "I have come from Atma"
Q: "What is your caste?"
Ans: The caste of the Divine".
Baba answered all the questions in this manner. Earlier He had been hailed as "SAI". In this examination, He had given his father’s name as Baba. By the combination of these two names, He was therefore called "SAI BABA" No one knew when and where Sai Baba was born and who gave Him that name. Baba came to Shirdi for the second time in 1858. He did not move out of Shirdi from that time. He remained there for sixty years, till 1918. Baba lived for eighty-three years.
Part - 2
While at Shirdi, Baba used to converse with those coming to Him, give advice to them regarding their problems and offer courage and solace to them with regard to their troubles. In this manner, Baba’s activities came to be known all over the country. At that time, there was in the Maharashtra State, a deputy collector and settlement officer by name, Hari Vinayak Sathe. He was grief stricken over the passing away of his wife. Prof. G.G. Narke, a friend of Sathe, came to his house and advised Sathe that there was no purpose in grieving over his loss and that it was advisable for him to have a change of place to get over his sorrow. He suggested that it was good to have the Darshan of some saint and persuaded him to come to Shirdi. Sathe was quite an extraordinary person. On reaching Shirdi, he and Narke had Darshan of Baba. On several occasions, looking at Sathe, Baba used to laugh, sing and make strange gestures. Doubts arose in Sathe’s mind whether Baba was a real sage or an eccentric person.. Non one mentioned anything about Sathe to Baba. Sathe and Narke merely went to see Baba and sat in His presence. Baba told Sathe, "Don’t worry about anything. Bodies are like water bubbles. Do not develop any attachment to the body. Develop your attachment to the indwelling spirit (Dehi). Worries are like passing clouds. They happen to every individual. Have courage. Protect your child." The last remark had reference to the fact that Sathe’s wife had died giving birth to a child. Even Narke had not heard about the survival of this child. On hearing Baba’s words, Sathe realized that Baba was not a crazy person but one who was a Trikala Jnani, who knew the past, present and the future. Sathe who had intended to stay for a short while just to have Darshan of Baba, prolonged his stay by two more days.
Making frequent visits to Shirdi, Sathe was the first to realize that there were no proper accommodation amenities at Shirdi for those coming to Baba. He provided residential accommodation for visitors at a place known as "Sathe Wada". While serving in this manner, Sathe went again to Shirdi after he began to feel whether there is any purpose on his continuing to earn income and accumulate wealth. On seeing Sathe, Baba smilingly said, "You appear to be losing interest in your job. You are wondering how to dispose the wealth you had acquired. Why give it anyone? Use it for good cause. Build a ‘Kothi’ in Shirdi." Sathe told Baba, "Swami! I am not a millionaire. How can I build a mansion here?". Baba replied, "Go on doing as much as you can. Why fear when I am here?" Baba encouraged Sathe in this manner. In due course, Sathe’s maternal uncle, Kelkar, settled down in Shirdi. Sathe used to send funds from Poona and his uncle used to carry on the constructions in Shirdi. In this way, Baba used Sathe as His instrument. He regarded Sathe as His right hand with regard to all matters. Because Baba was keeping Sathe close to Him and relying on him for everything, the residents of Shirdi grew jealous towards him. "Many are content to do nothing themselves, but they cannot bear seeing others do things and will carry tales against them!". Several persons used to come to Baba and tell stories against Sathe. What is the appropriate name for such talebearers? They should be called "enemies of beggars" (namely barking dogs), declared Baba.
At Shirdi, Baba used to do notable things. One was to receive money from whoever came to Him. He used to ask for "Dakshina" (cash offering). He did not ask for large sums. It was two rupees or five rupees. He would receive the money and give it away immediately in their presence. He kept nothing with Himself.
One day a man by name Pradhan came to Baba. He had intended to offer twenty rupees to Baba. In those days, there were no currency notes; everything was in silver coins. Unlike the alloy coins of today, in those days every rupee contained one tola (eleven grams) of silver. Pradhan thought that instead of offering so many silver coins, it would be better to offer one gold sovereign to Baba. Baba turned the sovereign this way and that way and remarked, "How is it I have not seen such a coin before?" A person near Baba said: "It is a gold coin!" Baba then observed, "I do not want this. Give Me money in rupees." He asked how much the sovereign was worth. At that time, it was worth fifteen rupees. Getting back the sovereign, Pradhan gave fifteen rupees to Baba. Immediately Baba remarked, "Pradhan! You have to give Me five more rupees!" Pradhan was a judge at that time. Pradhan as well as persons around him wondered why Baba was demanding five more rupees when a sovereign was worth only fifteen rupees. Noticing Pradhan’s hesitation, Baba told him, "First hand over the five rupees and then think about it." Pradhan gave the five rupees. Then Baba observed, "When you set out of your home, how much did you want to offer to Baba? You intended to give twenty rupees. You gave only fifteen. So I was entitled to ask for five more." When Pradhan heard these words, he was stupefied. He admitted that SAI BABA was a good judge. In this manner, Baba was in the habit of collecting money from those who came to Him and giving it away to the needy.
One day, He summoned Kelkar and told him, "Today is Gurupoornima. Perform Guru Puja to Me." Non one there knew the meaning of Guru puja. Kelkar asked Baba what Guru puja meant. Baba asked, "Whom do you think as a Guru? It is not pontiffs of ‘maths’ who are Gurus. Nor are sanyasins (renunciants) are Gurus; God alone is the Guru (Preceptor)."
"Brahmanandam, Parama sukhadam, Kevalam Jnaana Murthim,
Dwandhwaatheetham, Trigunarahitham, Thathwamasyadilakshyam"
(He is the supreme bliss, the giver of Divine happiness, the embodiment of the highest advatic knowledge and one who transcends all qualities; He is the supreme Divine Preceptor.)
He is the Supreme Absolute. Salutations to that Supreme Guru. The true Guru is one who combines the three forms of the trinity, the Gods who preside over creation, protection and dissolution. Thus God alone is the real Guru." Declared Baba.
On hearing this Kelkar asked, "Should I worship Brahma, Vishnu, and Rudra?. Baba declared in a voice of assumed anger, "Eh Saitan! Here I am! Offer worship to Me!" Thereby Baba made known that He was Brahma, Vishnu and Rudra. All those present felt that Baba was the Divine incarnate.
As days passed, the residence of Shirdi developed hatred towards Sathe because he was collecting all the offering to Baba in a Hundi so as to use the money to build a Mandir. Just at that time, a silver chariot with silver horses, which was in Sathe’s keeping, was stolen by some thieves. Sathe was the principal trustee. The people of Shirdi suspected Sathe of complicity in the theft. One day one of the residents planned to strike Sathe with an axe, on the way. Getting wind of this, his maternal uncle called Sathe and urged him to leave immediately as it was too dangerous for him to stay there. He told Sathe that he could worship Baba wherever he might be. Reluctantly Sathe left Shirdi. Baba used to ask for Sathe ceaselessly. But Sathe was not there. Baba appeared to be in great distress. Sathe was near and dear to Baba. The devotees felt that Baba was sorely affected by the absence of Sathe.
Many people used to have doubts about Baba’s transcendental powers. One day, the birth anniversary of Dattatreya was to be celebrated in the month of ‘Margashira’ (9th month of the Hindu calendar), on Panchami (fifth day of the lunar calendar). Several devotees had assembled in Shirdi. A great and wealthy scholar called Balmant Kaijack was among them. As he approaching the masjid, Baba took his tick and marked it at the devotees, asking them to get away. He even beat some of them, shouting, "Saitan! Saitan!". No one could understand why Baba was behaving like this. "I am suffering labor pains. Get away, all of you!", He shouted. In those days, Baba not only used to shout at people, but also wield the sick on them on occasions. He even used to throw the stick at fleeing persons. Everyone used to be afraid of Him. They all left the place. Sometime later, He called all of them to come. "Balmant Kaijack, come", He said.When Balmant came, Baba went inside the masjid. Balmant went in and found that Baba was not there. He found a three-headed baby on the floor. Baba had declared that He was suffering from labor pains and there was a baby there. The three-headed child appeared to represent Dattatreya. It was a small baby with a number of hands. Balmant recognized the child as Dattatreya and called other devotees to come inside. They went in, and on seeing the child, closed their eyes. At that instant, Baba reappeared there. From that time onwards, people started looking upon Baba as the incarnation of Dattatreya.
Part - 3
A controversy arose among the local people as to whether Baba was a Muslim or a Hindu. At one time, He used to say ,"Allah Malik! Allah Malik!" At other times, He would say, "Dattatreya Malik". Whenever He shouted "Allah Malik", Muslims used to come to Him in the Masjid. His appearance was very much like that of a Muslim. Hence, many Muslims used to come to Him. Hindus also used to come and offer incense to Him. The Muslims did not approve of what the Hindus were doing. The Hindus did not like the way Muslims revered Baba. Consequently, bitterness developed between the two communities.
One day, Mahalsapathi was sitting near Baba and doing some service to Him. Mahalsapathi was the priest in the Kandoba temple. The Muslims who were opposed to the presence of a Hindu priest near Baba, came with sticks and beat up Mahalsapathi. At every stroke, Mahalsapathi cried out, "Baba! Baba!" Each time he shouted the name of Baba, the blow was borne by Baba. Mahalsapathi fell to the ground. Muslims had great reverence to Baba. Baba roared at the Muslim crowd, "Saitan! On one side you worship Me, and in the other, you beat Me. Is this your devotion?" Baba was bleeding all over the body. The Muslims saw it and asked Baba who had beaten Him. "Did you not beat Me?, said Baba pointing to several men in the crowd. They said, "We did not come near you at all. We only beat Mahalsapathi." "Who is Mahalsapathi? I am in him," declared Baba. "He has surrendered to Me and hence all his troubles are Mine!". On hearing this, the Muslims fell at Baba’s feet and craved for His forgiveness. Baba then summoned the Hindus and Muslims and told them, "Dear children, you are all the progeny of one mother." Thereby Baba demonstrated the fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of man. He wanted all differences of caste and creed to be eschewed. What mattered for mankind was the heart. "You must seek Divine within you. Baba pointed out that all caste distinctions are related only to the body. Therefore, you should seek the Supreme in your inner consciousness." He advised.
One day, a pundit came to Baba and said that Baba’s biography should be written. His name was Hemandpant. He is the author of "Sai Sat Charitha." He entreated Baba to disclose facts about the place of His birth, His parentage, His name and His early life. He could not get any information from any one. Baba did not reveal anything to anyone. But, on one occasion, when He was alone with Mahalsapathi, Baba disclosed His date of Birth to him. Mahalsapathi was no scholar. He had learnt only a few mantras to conduct the pooja in the temple. He noted down the date of birth on a piece of paper. This came into the hands of Hemandpant. With this, he began to write the life of Baba.
No one knows the real truth about Baba. The world knows facts about His life only after His 16th year. He was born on September 28, 1835 and attained samadhi on Vijayadasami day in 1918. During His lifetime He taught many things to the people and performed many remarkable deeds. He was worshipped by many devotees. Dada, Nana, Shama, Abdul Baba, Mahalsapathi, Chandorkar and Das Ganu were always with Him. Abdul Baba was active till recently. He was an ardent devotee of Baba. In his view, it did not matter to what religion one belonged. All were one in their devotion to God. Kaka Dixit was a judge whose son stayed in Brindavan (Whitefield) for twenty years. Kaka Dixit maintained a diary in which many facts about Baba have been recorded including His statement about when He would pass away.
In My (Sathya Sai) previous body (as Shirdi Sai Baba) every one was taught thorugh actions. For example Damu and Nana were rendering service to the Lord (Shirdi Baba). Baba collected a few copper coins and was playing with them, by tossing them from one hand to another and also testing them in various ways. He appeared to examine them individually. He did not exchange any word with Damu and Nana. He went on playing with the coins for half an hour in this manner. Curious to know what Baba was doing, Nana asked Him why He was scrutinizing the same coins again and again. Baba replied, "Baba, dear son, It is true that I (Shirdi Sai) am repeating the same action again and again, repeating the same words. Look at that mango tree in front of you. It is in full bloom. The leaves are hardly visible. If all the flowers in the tree were to become fruits, will the branch be able to bear the weight? But, it does not happen that way. Most of the flowers are swept away by the wind. Many others drop of their own accord. Only some of them become fruits; of these, some are eaten by squirrels, birds or monkeys. In this way, ninety percent of the flowers do not result in fruits. Only ten percent remain on the tree. It is not so?"
"In the same manner, thousands of devotees come to Me. Are they all ripening into good devotees? Many drop away in the middle. Some come for getting their fulfilled. Some seek wealth. Many come either for study or in connection with jobs, marriage or other personal desires of their own. In each of them, there is some defect. No one comes for My sake. I have precious things to offer in My coffers. But no one seeks them. It is for this reason that I am examining them (coins). Among these coins there are some which are worn out; some which are debased and some which are twisted and worthless. Just as I am examining the defects in these coins, I am also looking for the defects among the devotees who come to me. I am trying to find out what defects are there in these people, and whether they can really comprehend My truth with those defects. They want Me, but all their desires are related to mundane objects. How can they attain Me with this attitude? How can you reach your destination if you get into a train going to some other direction? They want Me, but they do not make efforts for realizing Me. Among the many who come to Me, it is only one in thousand who really makes the efforts to realize Me. The minds of the so-called devotees are turned in the wrong direction. If their desired are fulfilled, they praise Me. But, once a desire is not realized they go to the extent of even reviling Me. Even while they are attempting to understand Me, they harbor doubts from head to foot. Some leave Me when their worldly desires are not fulfilled. They are not sincere devotees at all. They are in fact worse than sinners. How can they reach Me?", said Baba.
Once a wealthy man came with lot of money to Shirdi Baba with the object of gaining Brahmajnana, the supreme wisdom. He boasted about his wealth. Baba asked him "How long will you be here?" He replied that he had come by a taxing fixing to and fro charges and had to return in a day or two. Baba said, "When you have greed for wealth, how can you realize God? It is not a goal that can be accomplished in a fixed time. Get away?" Baba noticed that he was still sitting and became furious. He chased him out, wielding a stick.
To one who sought His grace with purity of heart and selfless devotion, Baba conferred His grace abundantly. Mathaji Krishna Priya was one such devotee. Living in Nagpur, she used to worship Krishna and considered Baba as another form of Krishna. She frequently visited Shirdi to seek Baba’s blessings.
Once, Dada’s wife brought her child to Baba with intention of staying for some time at Shirdi. She got her husband’s reluctant approval for the visit. At that time, plague was rampant in Shirdi. On the second day of her arrival the child developed fever and had boils all over the body. The mother felt sorry that she had not acted on her husband’s advice and lamented as to who would protect her child from the affliction. She immediately rushed to Baba and cried aloud, "Baba! Baba!". Baba asked her what she had come for, "Is your child having fever? Are boils present on his body? Not only the child but I am also having boils. Look at them." So saying He lifted His Kafni and showed the boils on his body. Mahalsapathi, who was standing near, exclaimed "Swami, what large boils are these?" He touched Baba’s body and found that He was running high temperature. The temperature might be as high as 105 deg. F or 106 deg. F. The mother cried, "Oh Baba! Has the disease affected not only my son, but also You? Who will protect you?" She was in deep distress. Baba said, "Is there anyone to protect the one who is the protector of all?" The mother immediately begged for Baba’s forgiveness. A short while thereafter Baba’s fever came down. The mother returned home feeling happy. She saw that the fever and boils had vanished from her child also. She exclaimed, "Baba! Did you take on my child’s illness?"
In the same manner, Shirdi Baba used to demonstrate His powers as and when the occasion arose. What was the reason for this? It was solely due to the total faith (Paripoorna Viswasam) which people had in Baba. The devotees followed implicitly whatever Baba directed them to do.
Around the time when Sathe left Shirdi, the parents of Shyam came to Shirdi with a two year child. Shyam’s father had just retired from service and decided to settle down in Shirdi. The boy’s name was Mohan Shyam. The parents called him Mohan, while others called him "Shyam". The boy was put to school at Shirdi and in due course he completed his studies and received training as teacher. He was appointed as a teacher at Shirdi. The school adjoined Baba’s room. During the day, Shyam would be teaching at school. There was a ventilator in the wall separating Baba’s room and the classroom. Shyam used to watch Baba at nights through the ventilator. He used to notice Baba talking to Himself, getting angry at times, or laughing to Himself, or doing other curious things. Baba used to sleep on an eighteen-inch wide plank suspended from the ceiling. Shyam was apprehensive that Baba might fall from his lofty, but narrow perch during sleep. Once he mustered courage to ask Baba, while massaging His feet, "Swami, You don’t seem to sleep at all at nights. You are laughing to yourself or talking; what is the secret of all this?" "You simpleton! Do you imagine you are the only person about whom I am concerned in this world? There are numerous persons who are praying to Me. I am speaking to all of them", replied Baba. "When I turn my finger, I am turning their minds. When I move my lips, I am talking to them. When I laugh, I am amused at their follies. These are the things I am doing for my devotees, dear child." Shyam prayed to Baba, "Swami, my classes don’t take up much of my time. Let me stay with you during the rest of the time and serve you." At that time, there was a woman called Lakshmi Bai who used to cook food for Baba. Shyam used to go to her and assist her in the preparation of jowhar rotis. Baba had a great liking for brinjals. Shyam went to Lakshmi Bai to learn how to prepare brinjal dishes. Shyam went on serving Baba in this way and he alone knew the joy he derived from such service.
Part - 4 (Final)
Baba often used to fly into temper. This was only an outward appearance. Sometimes He used to throw he stick at someone ten feet away. Shyam once asked Him, "Swami, You are hurling the stick at the man in such a rage. Supposing something happened to him and he died, will you not get a bad name?" Baba replied sharply, "Saitan! You keep quite. That fellow’s life is in my hands. He will die only if I permit him. You better mind your business. Why are you bothered about others? That man will come to his senses only if he sees Me in this manner. If I am indulgent they will try to ride the horse." Thus, in this way, Baba used to discipline people by threats and harsh words. It is only with this aim and not for any other purpose. This secret was revealed by Baba only to Shyam and none else. Baba’s life was really a sage of love and nothing else. Keeping Shyam near Him and allowing him to serve Him, Baba spent many years. One day, Baba called Pradhan and asked him to construct small tank. Pradhan was thus the first to be involved in the building of a samadhi for Baba.
The Lord is all prema. It has no anger or dwesha in Him. Once in Shirdi, a certain Dr. Pillai came with much suffering. He prayed that he might be given ten births with the chance of dividing the pain into ten parts, so that he could suffer a little each time and pay of his karmic debt, without being hard pressed of having to pay it all in one birth. He was informed through Kaka Sahib that he should fall at the feet of Baba and as he did so, Baba got the pain transferred to Himself. For ten minutes, Baba suffered at the rate of one minute for each Janma, (Birth) and thus he rid Dr.Pillai of his obligations. Baba was quite normal as soon as the 10 minutes were over.
In 1917, Baba called Abdul Baba, Nana Chandorkar, Mahalsapathi, Das Ganu and others and started asking each of them. "Do you know who you are?" Each of them replied, "I am your sishya (Disciple). Baba said, " Nonsense! Don’t use that term any longer. I have no disciples in this world. I have countless devotees. You do not recognize the distinction between a disciple and a devotee. Anyone can be a devotee. But, that is not the case with disciple. A disciple is one who carriers out implicitly the commands of the Guru (the preceptor). The mark of the Sishya is total devotion to the preceptor. Only the man who says, "I have none in the world other than the preceptor" is a disciple. How far have you respected My injunctions? How are you entitled to claim that you are My disciples? Only the one who follows Me like My shadow can claim to be My disciple. The devotee is one who prays to the Lord wherever he may be. Hence, there is a big difference between a disciple and a devotee. The disciple and the preceptor are like two bodies with one spirit. The disciple should have no sense of separateness from the preceptor. He should feel, ‘I and you are one’. There are so such disciples to be found in the world. There are millions of devotees, but no disciples".
On hearing this Shyam was in deep pain. He felt within himself, "Apart from serving at your feet, I have no other concern." Baba then went into another room and called Shyam inside. "In this entire world, for Me you are the only disciple, others are my devotees." At that moment, Shyam fell at the feet of Baba, and cried out, "You alone, you alone" (are my refuge) and breathed his last! In all His life of over 83 years, Baba had never shed a tear in the presence of devotees. When Shyam passed away, He shed three drops of tears. The devotees present there said, "Swami! Why do You feel so grieved? All are in your hands." Baba replied, "Dear boys! I am not grieving at all. Almost all his sins had been wiped out already. By the three tear drops I shed, the remaining sins (of Shyam) have been washed away."
All that Baba said or did was for the good of the devotees alone. Towards the end, Abdul Baba came to Baba. Baba told him, "I shall appear again and give you Darshan!" "When will that be?" asked Abdul Baba. Baba told him, "It will be after eight years." "The first advent of Sai was in Maharashtra. The second advent will be in Madras." Baba said. It should be noted that when this form (Sathya Sai) made its advent, Andhra Pradesh was a part of Madras Presidency. When He was asked in what form the next advent would take place, Shirdi Baba told Abdul Baba alone, "I will give Darshan in the name of Sathya for upholding Truth!". That is the present advent. The two bodies are different, but the Divinity is one. The first advent was for revealing Divinity. The second advent is to awaken Divinity (in human beings). The next advent is for propagating Divinity. The three Sai are Shirdi Sai, Satha Sai, and Prema Sai.
Baba had told His close devotee, Kakaji in the year 1916, that Dada would be shedding His mortal coil in 1918. Kakaji thought that Baba was mentioning only about Dada Sahib, and never thought the reference was to Baba Himself. On September 28th Baba developed high temperature. Two days earlier, He had collected food by seeking alms in some houses. He took that food and at noon, He expressed His wish to His devotees that He should be taken from the choultry to Booty Wada. He hoped to have a quiet time there. In that Wada, a devotee by name Booty had a built Muralidhar temple. He wanted Baba to install the idol of Krishna in that temple. But, Baba was putting off the installation on one pretext or the other. Booty did not want to install the idol without the blessings of Baba. Till His end, Baba did not say anything about installation of the idol. He directed Booty and Kakaji to go and take their lunch. Feeling that Baba was better, they went out. Baba had nine one-rupee coins under His pillow. He took them out and gave them to Lakshmi bai. Then Baba passed away.
It was the year1918 and Pradhan;s wife, who was living in her native village, had a dream in which it appeared that Baba had passed away. Pradhan was in Shirdi. On waking up, she started crying over the passing away of Baba in her dream. At that moment she heard a voice in the house declaring, "Don’t say that Baba has died. Say that Baba is in a state of Samadhi. ‘Samadhi’ means equal mindedness. Life and death are alike. Joy and sorrow, profit and loss are all the same. Hence there is no such thing as death for Baba". This was what the voice declared. When she was trying to find out where this voice came from, she received a message from her husband conveying the news of the passing away of Baba. That occurred on the Vijayadasami day (1918). September 28th 1835 was His date of birth. On Vijayadasami day, He gave up His body.
Mathaji Krishna Priya came to know that Baba had left His mortal coil at 2.30 p.m., on Vijaya Dasami day in 1918. She felt very sad the whole day. The next day she closed all the doors and windows in her house because of severe cold in Shimla. While she was resting in the house, a tall and well-built monk arrived at the next door and inquired about Mathaji’s house. He made inquiry not because that He did not know where Mathaji lived, but only to make others know that He was physically present in Shimla. The neighbor sent a servant with an umbrella (as there was snowfall), to show the stranger Mathaji’s house. He knocked at the door. Mathaji opened the door and could not believe the evidence of her eyes. She wondered how Baba, who had passed away the previous day, could come to Shimla. She asked, "How did you manage to come so soon. It takes at least three days to come from Shirdi to Shimla.". Baba said, "Beti (dear daughter), I am everywhere. You have worshipped Me in the form of Krishna. Is this all that you know about Me? I am feeling very cold. First get Me hot tea." She prepared tea and offered it to Baba. After taking tea, Baba said that He was hungry after His long journey!! Krishna Priya brought Him Chapathis and brinjal curry that Baba used to like very much. After taking the food Baba washed His hands and wiped them in a towel. He then told her, "The purpose for which I came is over and I am going away." In those days, there was nobody to exchange words with Baba. If anyone opposed or said anything to the contrary, Baba would wield the stick against them. He never brooked any contradiction. Hence, Krishna Priya could not tell Him anything. He gave her a jasmine garland.
Krishna Priya watched Him as He went out walking through the bazaar. In Shimla, on the roadside, there are usually deep valleys. As Baba was walking along, some workmen were engaged in some roadwork. Noticing that Baba had fallen down from the road, they ran to rescue Him. But, they could find nobody there. Baba had just disappeared. Before taking leave of Krishna Priya, Baba whispered in her ears, "See Me in 1926." She did not know where to see Him. When I (Sathya Sai) went to Shimla, Krishna Priya came to see Me. She was shivering on account of age and the cold weather. She asked, "Baba, have you forgotten the promise that you made to me long ago?" I told her, "It is you who have forgotten, not I. I never forgot what I promised." When Shirdi Baba sought to impart wisdom, it was not through discourses. Everything was taught by stern methods. It was because of the conditions prevailing in those days.
On September 28th, 1918, Baba developed fever. For 17 days thereafter, he was quite well. On October 15th, Baba was not to be found anywhere. Nana, Kaka, Das and Lakshman Rao made a search for Him all over the place. There was a small well nearby and they went to see whether He had fallen there. When they returned to Baba’s abode, they found Him standing near the door. Baba told them, "Where are you searching for Me? I am in one place and you search for Me elsewhere. I am in all pure hearts. You are searching for Me in all polluted places. How can you find Me?" He then sat down.
Baba left His body only on October 15th, After Baba left the body, several controversies arose. Mohammadans came there and claimed that the body belonged to the. The Hindus claimed that the body belonged to them. Baba used to declare from time to time, "Allah Malik! Allah Malik!" On account of this, Mohammadans claimed that Baba was a Muslim. At other times, Baba used to say, "Rama Malik! Krishna Malik!". For this reason, the Hindus claimed He was a Hindu. Because of these rival claims, the body was kept for 36 hours as no decision could be arrived regarding the manner of disposal of the body. To prevent clashes between the people, officials arrived there. They asked all the residents of Shirdi to assemble there. They decided to take the vote of the people to find out how the majority of the local population wanted the last rites to be done for Baba. Everybody favored the Hindu way of disposal of the body. When this suggestion was arrived at, a pit was dug in the Booty Mandir. Some persons opposed the digging. The dispute went on and ultimately the collector and the police arranged for the Samadhi to be consecrated in the Muralidhar Mandir. That temple is the present Samadhi Shrine of Baba.
At this time, a remarkable incident occurred in Shimla. Mathaji Krishna Priya placed the garland given to her, on the idol of Krishna in the presence of all in her residence. Many wondered why she was garlanding the Krishna Idol when she was a devotee of Sai Baba and there was a picture of Sai Baba there. Bhajans were in progress at that time. The garland placed on the Krishna Idol dropped on the picture of Sai Baba. The garland placed on Baba’s picture moved to the figure of Krishna. Everyone in Shimla rejoiced in the discovery that Krishna and Sai Baba were one. When all the people came there the next morning, they found that the garland given by Baba was no longer on the figure of Krishna. That garland was found on the Samadhi of Baba in the Booty Mandir.
Why did Baba manifest miracles? In those days, there were bitter differences between Hindus and Muslims. With a view to end such communal differences, Baba wanted to show through His miracles, the truth that Baba is the Supreme Master of all beings. He had no difference of caste or community. His religion is common to people of all faiths. It is good for everyone. It is observed by all godly persons. This is the creed of all mankind!!!
Lovingly shared by Venkatachalam Srinivasan