Sai Satcharitra Chapter 28

Preliminary

Sai is not finite or limited. He dwells in all beings, from ants and insects to the God Brahma. He pervades every being on earth; Sai was well-versed in the knowledge of the Vedas as well as in the science of Self-realization. As He was proficient in these, He was well-suited to be a Sadguru. Any person, however learned, unable to awaken disciples and establish them in Self-realization, does not deserve to be called a Sadguru. The Sadguru does away with both life and death and thus he is more kind and merciful than anybody.

Sai Baba often said that no matter where His devotee went, he would be drawn to Shirdi like a sparrow with a thread tied to its feet. This Chapter describes the stories of three such sparrows.

Lala Lakshmichand

This gentleman first worked in the Railways and afterwards in the Shri Venkateshwara Press in Bombay and thereafter in the firm of Messrs. Ralli Brothers, as a clerk. He received Baba’s darshan in 1910. A month or two before Christmas, he had a dream in which an old man with a beard was standing surrounded by His devotees. A few days later, he went to the house of his friend, Mr Dattatreya Manjunath Bijur, to hear kirtans by Das Ganu. It was Das Ganu’s practice to keep Baba’s picture in front of him, facing the audience, while he sang kirtans(songs in praise of the Lord). Lakshmichand was surprised to see that the old man he saw in his dream, was the man in the picture. Thus, he came to the conclusion that the old man he saw in his dream was Sai Baba himself. The sight of this picture, Das Ganu’s kirtan and the life of the Saint Tukaram on which Das Ganu discoursed, all made a deep impression on his mind and he longed to go to Shirdi. It is always the experience of devotees that God always helps them in their search for a Sadguru and other spiritual endeavors. That very night at 8.00 p.m., a friend named Shankarrao knocked on Lakshmichand’s door and asked him whether he would accompany him to Shirdi. His joy knew no bounds and he at once decided to go to Shirdi. He borrowed some money from his cousin and after making due preparations, left for Shirdi. On the train, he and his friend Shankar Rao sang some Bhajans (religious songs) and enquired about Sai Baba with a few fellow passengers who were returning to their homes near Shirdi. They all said that Sai Baba was a great Saint who had been living in Shirdi for many years. When they reached Kopergaon, he wanted to buy good guavas to offer to Baba, but he was so distracted by the scenery and sights, that he forgot to purchase them. When they were nearing Shirdi, he was reminded of the guavas. Just then, he saw an old woman with a basket of guavas on her head, running after the tanga(small horse-drawn cart in which he was traveling). The tanga was stopped and he gladly purchased a few select fruits and then the woman said, “Take the rest and offer them on my behalf to Baba”. The fact that he had intended to purchase guavas, but that he had forgotten to do so, the old woman running after the tanga and her devotion to Baba, surprised both men. However, Lakshmichand reasoned that the old woman might be some relative of Sai Baba’s. Then they drove on and reached Shirdi. With Puja materials in hand, they went to the Masjid and worshipped Baba with due formality. Lakshmichand was greatly moved and was extremely happy to see Baba. He was enrapt with Baba’s Feet, as a bee is with a sweet-smelling lotus.

Then Baba spoke as follows, “Cunning fellow! He sings bhajans on the way and enquires from others; why ask others? Shouldn’t we see everything with our own eyes? What is the necessity to ask others? Just ask yourself whether your dream was true or not? What was the necessity of darshan, when a loan had to be taken to receive it? Is the heart’s desire now satisfied?”

Hearing these words, Lakshmichand was wonderstruck at Baba’s omniscience. He was at a loss to know how Baba came to know about all the things that had happened on his way to Shirdi. The main thing to note in this respect is that Baba never liked people running into debt to receive His darshan, to celebrate a holiday or to go on a pilgrimage.

Sanza

One day at noon, when Lakshmichand was waiting for meals to be served, he got some sanza (wheat-pudding) from a devotee as Prasad. He was pleased to have it. The next day he expected it again, but got nothing. So he was anxious to receive it again. Then on the third day, during the noon Arati, Bapusaheb Jog asked Baba what naivedya he should bring. Baba told him to bring sanza. Then the devotees brought two big pots full of sanza. Lakshmichand was very hungry and there was some pain in his back. Then Baba said to him, “It is good that you are hungry; have some sanza and take some medicine for the pain in your back.” He was wonder-struck to see that Baba again read his mind and spoke what was passing therein. How omniscient He was!

Evil Eye

On one occasion, Lakshmichand witnessed the procession to the chavadi. Baba was suffering from a severe cough. Lakshmichand felt that Baba’s ailment might be due to somebody’s evil eye. The next morning, when Lakshmichand went to the Masjid, Baba said to Shama, “I suffered last night from a cough; Is it due to an evil eye? I think that somebody’s evil eye has worked on me and thus I am suffering”. In this case again, Baba figured out what was passing in Lakshmichand’s mind.

On seeing this proof of Baba’s omniscience and kindness to His Bhaktas, he fell prostrate at Baba’s Feet and said, “I am greatly pleased with your darshan; always be kind and merciful to me and protect me always. There is no other God for me in this world except You. Let my mind always be rapt in Your Bhajan and Feet. Let Your grace protect me from the miseries of the world and let me always chant Your name and be happy”.

After receiving Baba’s Udi and blessings, he returned home with his friend, pleased and content and singing Baba’s glory on the way. He remained a staunch devotee of Baba afterwards and always sent garlands of flowers, camphor and Dakshina with any acquaintance bound for Shirdi.

The Lady from Buhranpore

Now let us turn to another sparrow (Baba’s word referring to a devotee). A lady in Burhanpore dreamt of Sai Baba coming to her door and begging for khichadi (rice cooked with dal and salt). On awakening, she found nobody at her door. However, she was pleased with the vision and told her husband about it. He was employed in the Postal Department and when he was transferred to Akola, both husband and wife, who were devout, decided to go to Shirdi. On a suitable day, they left for Shirdi and after visiting the Gomati Tirth on the way, reached Shirdi and stayed there for two months. Every day, they went to the Masjid, performed Baba’s worship and passed their time happily. The couple came to Shirdi to offer Khichadi as naivedya, but for the first 14 days, for some reason or the other, it could not be offered. The lady did not like this delay. Then on the 15th day, she came at noon to the Masjid with her khichadi. There she found that Baba and others were already seated and ready to have their meals, and that the curtain was down. Nobody usually dared to enter when the curtain was down, but the lady could not wait. She pushed the curtain aside and entered. Strangely enough, Baba seemed to want khichadi that day and when the lady came in with the dish, Baba was delighted and ate every morsel of the khichadi served to Him. On seeing Baba’s earnestness in this respect, everybody was wonder-struck and those who heard the story of the khichadi were convinced about His extraordinary love for His devotees.

Megha

Now let us go to the third and biggest of the sparrows. Megha was a simple and illiterate Brahmin cook who worked for a man named Rao Bahadur H. V. Sathe. He was a devotee of Shiva and always chanted the five-syllabled mantra, “Om Namah Shivaya”. He did not know the Sandhya or its chief mantra, the Gayatri. Rao Bahadur Sathe was interested in helping him and taught him the Sandhya and the Gayatri. Sathe told him that Sai Baba was the embodied form of the Lord Shiva and convinced him to visit Shirdi. At the Railway station, he learnt that Sai Baba was a Muslim and his simple and orthodox mind was very perturbed at the prospect of bowing to a Muslim. So he pleaded with his boss not to send him to Shirdi. His boss however, insisted on his going there and gave him a letter of introduction to his (Sathe’s) father-in-law, Ganesh Damodar (alias Dada Kelkar). When he reached Shirdi and went to the Masjid, Baba was very indignant and would not allow him to enter. “Kick this rascal out!” roared Baba, and then said to Megha, “You are a high caste Brahmin and I am a low Muslim; you will lose your caste by coming here. So go away!” Hearing these words, Megha began to tremble. He was astonished as to how Baba had come to know about what was passing in his mind. He stayed there for a few days, serving Baba in his own way, but was not convinced. Then he went home and after that went to Tryambak (Nasik District) and stayed there for a year and a half. Then he again returned to Shirdi. This time, at the intercession of Dada Kelkar, he was allowed to enter the Masjid and stay in Shirdi. Sai Baba’s help to Megha was not through any verbal instructions. He worked upon Megha internally (mentally) with the result that he was considerably changed and benefited. Then Megha began to look upon Sai Baba as an incarnation of Shiva. In order to worship Shiva, bela leaves are required and Megha used to walk several miles every day to bring them and worship his Shiva (Baba). Megha’s practice was to worship all the Gods in the village and then come to the Masjid. And after bowing before Baba, he worshipped Baba and after shampooing His Legs, drank the water used to rinse Baba’s Feet. Once it so happened that he came to the Masjid without worshipping the God Khandoba, as the door of the temple was closed. Baba did not accept his worship and sent him back saying, “the door is now open”. Megha went, found the door open, worshipped the Deity and then returned to Baba as usual.

A Bath in the Ganges

On a Makar-Sankranti day, Megha wanted to besmear Baba’s body with sandal-paste and bathe Him with water from the Ganges. Baba was first unwilling to undergo this ritual, but upon Megha’s repeated requests, He consented. Megha had to traverse a distance of 24 miles to bring the sacred water from the Gomati river. He brought the water, made all preparations for the bath at noon and asked Baba to get ready for the bath. Then Baba again asked him to be freed from this bath saying that as a Fakir, He had nothing to gain from Ganges water. But Megha did not listen; He knew that Shiva would be pleased with a bath in the Ganges’ water and that he must give his Shiva (Baba) a bath on this auspicious day. Baba then consented, came down and sat on a wooden board and leaning forward said, “Oh Megha; do me a favor at least. The head is the most important organ of the body, so pour the water over only that−it is equivalent to a whole bath.” “Alright” said Megha and lifting the pot, began to pour it onto Baba’s head. But while doing this, he was so overwhelmed with love that he cried out, “Har Gange!” and emptied the entire pot on Baba’s whole body. He put the pot aside and began to look at Baba, but to his surprise and amazement, he found that Baba’s head was drenched, but the rest of His body was completely dry.

The Trident and Pindi

Megha worshipped Baba in two places; He worshipped Baba in person in the Masjid and in he worshipped Baba’s big picture in the Wada. He did this continuously for 12 months. Then, in order to appreciate his devotion and to confirm his faith, Baba gave him a vision. Early one morning, when Megha was still lying in bed with his eyes closed, but internally awake, he saw Baba’s Form clearly. Baba who knew he was awake, threw Akshata (rice-grains colored red with Kumkum) and said, “Megha. Draw a Trident” and disappeared. Hearing Baba’s words, he eagerly opened his eyes and did not see Baba, but saw red rice grains scattered all over. He then went to Baba, told Him about the vision and asked for permission to draw the Trident. Baba said, “Did you not hear My words asking you to draw a Trident? It was not a vision, but rather a direct order and My words are always pregnant with meaning and never hollow.” Megha said, “I thought you woke me up; but all the doors were closed, so I thought it was a vision”. Baba rejoined, “I require no door to enter; I have no form or extension; I always live everywhere. I am the controller of all the actions of the man who trusts Me and merges into Me.”

Megha returned to the Wada and drew a red Trident on the wall near Baba’s picture. The next day, a Ramadasi devotee came from Pune, bowed before Baba and offered Him a Pindi (an image of Shiva). Megha also turned up at that very moment. Baba said to him, “See, Shankar has come, worship Him now.” Megha was surprised to see the Pindi following the Trident immediately. At the same time in the Wada, Kakasaheb Dixit was standing with a towel around his head after a bath. He was remembering Sai, when he saw a Pindi in his mental vision. While he was thinking about this, Megha came and showed him the Pindi presented to him by Baba. Dixit was happy to know that the Pindi exactly matched the one he had seen a few minutes before in his vision. A few days after the drawing of the Trident was complete, Baba installed the Pindi near the big picture which Megha was worshipping. The worship of Shiva was dear to Megha and by arranging the drawing of the Trident and the installation of the Pindi, Baba confirmed his faith therein.

After continuously serving Baba for many years− having performed regular worship and Arati every noon and evening− Megha passed away in 1912. Baba touched Megha’s corpse and said, “This was a true devotee of Mine.” Baba also ordered that the usual funeral dinner should be served to the Brahmins and that this dinner would be provided at Baba’s own expense. This order was carried out by Kakasaheb Dixit.

Adapted from the original Marathi Book SHRI SAI SATCHARITA By Govind Raghunath Dabholkar alias ‘Hemadpant’

Om Sai Om Sai Sadguru Sai

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