Life History of Shirdi Sai Baba
Baba taught certain things to the devotees who came to him in several ways. There was no separate time or place for that. One day a devotee was abusing another devotee in his absence before others. After sometime, when Baba was going to Lendi Bagh, he met Baba and asked for several things. Baba showed him a pig which was nearby and said, See how this pig is eating the filth, feeling it tasty. Your behaviour was also like that. You abused a brother devotee with contempt. We got this ‘Human Birth’ because of the good done in the previous birth. If you do not mend your behaviour, how can Shirdi be of help to you?" The moral we learn from this is that one should not get elated because of the Sai puja done or make several visits to Shirdi. We should not cause any difficulties or harm others under any circumstances. If we indulge in such things, even Baba will not save us.
Sugarless Tea - Cholkar’s Story
The famous Kaupeeneswara temple is in Thane district. One day Das Ganu was rendering Baba’s Hari Katha there and he put Baba’s photo on the stage as was customarily done. Hearing the leelas and miracles of Baba, Cholkar was pleased and engrossed in it. He was a poor man unable to properly maintain his family. He took a vow that he would visit Shirdi and worship Baba’s feet, if he got a steady job After sometime, he got through a Government examination and was appointed as a clerk in the civil court. As his family was very large, he could not go to Shirdi and fulfil his vow. But he was determined to visit Shirdi and so started saving money. He stopped having sugar in his tea thus saving some amount. After some time, he went to Shirdi, and had darshan of Baba. He fell at the feet of Baba and worshipped him, then out of joy, he distributed sugar candy as Baba’s prasad to all the devotees.
Cholkar stayed in the house of Bapu Saheb Jog. After noon arathi both of them got up to go home. Baba called Jog and told him to put lot of sugar in the tea to be given to his guest Cholkar. Jog could not understand why Baba said this, but Cholkar understood and tears came to his eyes. He understood Baba’s omniscience and felt very happy that he had come to Shirdi by saving money. Baba said to him, "If you sincerely pray to me with your stretched hands, I will be with you day and night. Though I am at Shirdi in this form, I know what is happening even beyond the seven seas. Wherever you go in this vast world, I will be with you. I dwell in the hearts of my devotees. I am in the hearts of all beings. Whoever realises this will be blessed."
The Story of the Two Lizards
One day, while Baba was seated in Dwarakamai, a lizard on the wall made a noise. A devotee sitting opposite to Baba, asked him why the lizard was making such a noise. Baba replied that the lizard’s sister was expected to come from Aurangabad shortly, and so out of joy, it was making the noise. The devotee kept quiet.
Just then a devotee came on horse from Aurangabad to see Baba. He wanted to feed the horse, and taking out the bag which was with him he shook it. A lizard fell from the bag and rapidly climbed the wall. Baba told the devotees who had questioned Baba earlier, to watch the lizards carefully. The lizard from Aurangabad met her sister and kissed. They played out of joy, going round and round. People sitting before Baba were very much surprised Where is Aurangabad? Where is Shirdi? If the lizards were sisters, how did they happen to be at such distances. How did Baba know that the lizard was coming from Aurangabad? Did he know the mind of animals and also their language? Such doubts arose in the devotees and they simply stared at Baba with surprise.
Baba, who read the minds of the devotees said, "Not only about these lizards, but what is happening in every atom in this world, I know. Without my permission, the leaves on the tree also will not flutter. God is all powerful. All should follow the rules of this creation. Even I cannot go against them. God is the creator of all Universe. Allah Malik hai."
Baba’s Assurance to Bayaja Bai
Bayaja Bai whom Baba addressed as Sister, became physically weak due to old age. She was not in a condition even to get up from bed. Baba ordered Tatya to remain at the bedside of his mother and do service to her. Now and then he would send Tatya’s close associates like Shama also to be with Tatya. Bayaja Bai was nearing her end . She wanted to see Baba once. Immediately, Baba appeared near her head. His appearance at this last moment gave her divine bliss. Some unexplained joy came to her. She felt that her Atma was happily going towards heaven. Perhaps, this feeling was due to the complete divine darshan Baba gave her. She wanted to say something but words did not come out of her. She took her son Tatya’s hand and put it on Baba’s hand. Having understood her thoughts, Baba assured her that he would look after Tatya from that moment more than his life. She knew that his words were God’s words. After hearing those words from Baba, her Atma left her body and merged in the universe.
Stealing of Rags
B.V. Dev had a desire to read Jnaneshwari. The translation of the Bhagawad Gita into Marathi my Jnanadev is called Jnaneshwari in Maharashtra. This is considered as a very sacred book and many people in Maharashtra do Parayana of this book regularly . But whenever Dev started to do Parayana some obstacles came and he had to stop in the middle. The main reason for this was that he could not fully understand the inner meanings. He went to Shirdi determined to sit before Baba and complete the Parayana. Baba asked him twenty five rupees as dakshina. Dev gave the amount to Baba but did not ask him about the Parayana of Jnaneshwari. He went to Sathe Wada and asked a devotee named Balakram Mankar about Baba’s leelas. When he was narrating some to Dev the following day, Baba called Dev and with angry eyes began scolding him.
He said, "Though you are an old man with grey hairs, you have not stopped stealing. I will kill you with an axe!" Dev shivered. He did not understand anything. Baba asked for twenty-five rupees as dakshina. Dev brought the amount and gave it to Baba. This time Baba calmed down and told him, "When I am ready to cover you with a zari shawl, why do you steal rags? You read the Jnaneshwari. Sit before me and read it." Immediately, Dev started reading the Jnaneshwari and finished without any obstacles for the first time. When Baba had threated to kill him with an axe, the wavering of his mind stopped and he could now concentrate and read the book completely. To ask Balakram about the leelas of Baba amounted to stealing of rags. Baba personally showed his greatness, stopping the wanderings of his mind, making him read the Jnaneshwari, without any obstacles and increasing his concentration- it was like covering him with a zari shawl.
The important thing that we learn from what Baba said is, we should not waste our time and money by running after pseudo Gurus for consultations and advices. "I will give my advice or help, the moment it is sought" is one of the promises of Baba. This assurance is true and valid even now. You must directly ask Baba and have the zari shawl but should not attempt to steal the rags by going to pseudo Gurus.
Sadashiv worked as a manager in a factory in Bombay. After the factory was closed, he did not have any means of livelihood and so he came to Baba. At that time, Tatya Patil and others were going to Ahmednagar to see a cinema, with the permission of Baba. Baba asked them to take Tarkhad also along with them for the cinema and from there to proceed to Poona. Tarkhad who was unemployed was surprised at being sent to the cinema. But he knew that none should go against Baba’s orders. So he went to the cinema with the others. When he reached Poona, he found that a factory owner who was trying to secure the services of a person as manager, had heard about him and sent a telegram to his Bombay address, and was waiting for his arrival. So, he got the job immediately. Every advice of Baba was based on one’s future.
How to Feed Baba
Ramachander Atmaram’s wife referred to in chapter twenty, was staying with a devotee at Shirdi. One day, during lunchtime, a hungry dog came near her and barked. She threw a bread piece from her plate at the dog, and it ate it quickly and went away, wagging its tail. That evening when she went to Dwarakamai and stood with salutation to Baba, he thanked her for feeding him stomachful. He told her, "In future also you do like this. You first feed the hungry ones and then only you take food. This mosque is my mother. Sitting in her lap, I will never tell lies. You should be always kind to me like this. You see me in all living things. You will definitely get higher birth". She was surprised at Baba’s words and asked him, "I am myself depending on others in this village for my food. Then when did I feed you?" Baba replied "In the afternoon, before you took your meal, you threw a bread at a dog. I am that dog. I am in all living things like Cats, dogs, cows and bees. Those who see me in all are lucky. One should discard the feeling of duality that he is different and animals are different." Baba taught her practically the gist of the Upanishads - that one should see God in all living things.
Sai Baba’s Teachings
Sai Baba frequently advised on how one should behave to one’s daily life. "Because of our contacts in the previous birth, we met each other in this birth also If any person or animal comes to you, do not drive them away unsympathetically. You should welcome them wholeheartedly and give them due respect. You should give water for the thirsty, food for the hungry and clothing for the naked. God will be satisfied and bless you, if you allow others to take rest in your Verandah. If anyone comes to you for money, you need not give if you do not like so, but you should not abuse or use harsh language and cause pain. This world is like a stage. Carefully observe the several thing being enacted on this stage. But be steady even if the world goes upside down. There is no difference between you and me. We both are one. You remove the wall in between us. God is the Head of all of us. Allah Malik hai!. None else except God can save us. The method of God is extraordinary very valuable and unimaginable. We all met here because of our tie-up in the previous births. We should be above caste, religion and nationality and move in an affectionate way and be happy and peaceful. We should be above caste, religion and nationality and move in an affectionate way and be happy and peaceful. We should utilise this body given by God, for the good of others. Such people are only blessed ones. The others live just because they take birth."
Baba taught whenever there was time and opportunity. He used to say that he is omnipresent and present in all elements like earth, air, water, fire and light. He allowed some devotees to do this pada puja, some others to hear his leelas; some others to go to the temple of Khandoba and a few others to do Parayana of holy books, according to their needs. He gave instructions to some personally and to some in their dreams. Once, when Radhakrishna Mai was suffering from fever, Baba asked for a ladder to be brought. He climbed it to the roof of her house. He gave two rupees to the person who brought the ladder. Even though all these acts of Baba appeared strange, the fever of Radhakrishna Mai subsided.
Grinding of Wheat
It was the year 1910. Hemadpant came to Shirdi. One day after washing his face, Baba sat in Dwarakamai and started grinding wheat. He lived on alms. He had never done the grinding before. So all who were nearby were looking with wonder at this. Four bold women went inside the mosque and requested
Baba to sit aside, took the grinding stone and started grinding. Though Baba got angry at this he kept quiet, seeing their affection for him. On completion of the grinding work, the ladies divided the flour into four parts and wanted to take it for themselves. Baba watching them calmly till then got angry and scolded them, "Oh ladies! Are you crazy? Are you thinking that this flour is your property to take it? I never took any wheat from you. Then why are you taking this flour?" He cooled down after a while and said, "It is all right. Take the flour and sprinkle it on the boundaries of this village." The ladies bowed their heads in shame, touched Baba’s feet, went quickly and sprinkled the flour on the boundaries of the village.
The villagers told Hemadpant that there was cholera in the village, and only to eradicate it Baba had done all this. Hemadpant did not understand the relationship between cholera and the wheat flour, but the epidemic in the village gradually subsided. Then Hemadpant concluded that what Baba ground that day was not wheat, but the cholera epidemic which he had sent outside the boundaries of the village. After seeing this leela of Baba, Hemadpant desired to write the Life History of Sai Baba, containing all the leelas and miracles of Baba. He sought the permission of Baba to write the book. But Baba asked him to wait for some time. In the year 1917, Hemadpant tried again thrugh Shama. Baba blessed him and gave udi prasad. The Life History of Sai Baba which Hemadpant started writing in Marathi language with the blessings of Sai Baba when he was alive, to read all over the world. This was translated into Telugu by Sri Pratti Narayana Rao.
Sai Baba’s Stories - Beacon Lights
In olden days there used to be beacon lights in the high seas, Boats sailing on the seas, with the help of these lights, sailed smoothly without hitting rocks and other dangerous things. This world is also like a big ocean consisting of several types of people with different thoughts and actions. Baba’s stories, full of his leelas, like beacon lights, show us how to live in this world. These stories are sacred and sweet as nectar, entering our bodies and egos. If the ego is removed, the result is Jnana. Through Jnana our sins are erased and we attain moksha.
On Diwali day in the year 1910, Baba was sitting opposite the ‘Dhuni’. He was adding firewood in the Dhuni every now and then. Suddenly, he thrust his hand into the burning Dhuni. The hand burnt, Shama and others who saw this, came running and pushed back Baba, who lose consciousness by then. He appeared to be somewhere else. After sometime, he came to his original state and told the devotees, "A blacksmith’s wife living very far off is my devotee. She was working the bellows. When her husband called her, forgetting the child in her lap she got up to ran to her husband. The child fell into the burning furnace. I immediately thrust my hand into the furnace and saved it. I am not feeling for my burnt hand. But I am happy that the child of my devotee is saved." How Baba could save a child so far away by putting his hand in the Dhuni at Shirdi is beyond our imagination. That is why we call these actions of Sai Baba as miracles. Sai Baba is a very competent Guru who is capable of doing any work in any manner. I prostrate before Sai Baba for having given me his blessings to write the Life History of such a Samartha Sadguru. Those who read these stories of Sai Baba are also blessed. Those whose sins are forgiven can only show interest in Baba’s stories. This is the Truth.
Bhagoji Shinde’s Service to Baba
On knowing that Baba had burnt his hand, Nana Chandorkar brought a notable doctor from Bombay. But Baba declined to get treated by him . He told,God is his doctor, Bhagoji Shinde applied ghee on the burnt hand, and putting some leaves on it bandaged it. This was done by him daily. Though he was a leper, he was a very lucky person to have served Baba so closely. For nearly 8 years, from 1910 to 1918, till Baba’s Samadhi, he dressed Baba’s burnt hand daily.
A friend of Damodar Savalram Rasne alias Damu Anna from Bombay had written a letter to Damu Anna, that they both jointly do business in cotton as there would be huge profits. Since Damu Anna was a Sai devotee,he wrote to Shama at Shirdi, to take the opinion of Baba on the matter. When Shama went to Dwarakamai to consult Baba about it, Baba told him, "What things he is planning! Without being contented with what God has given him, he is trying to earn lakhs of rupees. He is crazy. Let him live happily with half-bread." Shama wrote back to Damu Anna about what Baba had told him. Damu Anna came to Shirdi personally to talk to Baba. He thought of offering him a share in the profits. Baba read his mind and told him that he did not like to involve himself in worldly matters. So Damu Anna dropped the proposal to trade in cotton. Soon after, all the cotton merchants incurred losses. At another time, Damu Anna wanted to trade in paddy. Baba told him that if Damu Anna purchased at 7 seers a rupee, he would sell at 9 seers a rupee. As Baba predicted, the rates of paddy came down and all those who hoarded paddy were put to heavy loss. Baba thus saved him twice from heavy losses. Because of this, Damu Anna’s devotion to Baba increased and he served him till Baba’s Samadhi.
He had no children in spite of having two wives. Many astrologers told him that he would not have children. In 1915 someone sent a basketful of mangoes to Baba. He took out four good mangoes from the basket and kept them aside. The rest he distributed to all. But all eyes were on the four mangoes. Having read their thoughts, Baba told them that the four mangoes were for Damu Anna. Just then, Damu Anna came to Shirdi. Baba gave him the mangoes and asked him to give them to his younger wife. "You should not eat. She will bring forth four sons and four daughters." After sometime, Baba’s words came true and the prediction of the astrologers failed.
The inner meaning of Baba’s statement that Damu Anna should not eat them and die was that Damu Anna, who felt sad at not having children, would suffer a lot being unable to maintain his eight children at a future time.
Once when Damu Anna was sitting near Baba’s feet, he got two doubts. ‘So many devotees are coming to Baba. Will all of them be benefited?’
‘Now I am seeking Baba’s advise in all matters and by acting according to his advice, I am much benefited. But what will be my fate after Baba leaves this body? Should I be like a drifting kite?’
Having read the doubts in Damu Anna, Baba answered, "Look at that mango tree and its thick flowers. If all the flowers become mangoes, how nice it will be. But at the flowering stage itself a lot will fall off. Some will fall off at the stage of tender mangoes. Due to plucking by birds, and children hitting with stones, some more will fall off. Finally very few become ripe mangoes. The same with these devotees also.
"Even after leaving the present body, I will be alert. The protection for my devotees will come from my Samadhi. I will discharge all my obligations from my Samadhi. My bones will look after your welfare."
We pray to Baba, to extend the assurance given to Damu Anna, to the readers of this Life History also.
"Om Shanti! Shanti! Shantihi"