Life History of Shirdi Sai Baba
The news of Baba’s Samadhi spread throughout Shirdi and the neighbouring villages in minutes. People came along with women and children to Dwarakamai. They wept uncontrollably as Sai Baba, who was God to them, was no more. They became speechless when they saw the lifeless body of Sai Baba, and felt as if the entire world had come to standstill. There was not a single family either in Shirdi or the neighbouring places which had not experienced Baba’s leelas and greatness. They cried loudly, recollecting the good things Baba had done to them. Some fell down unconscious after seeing Baba’s body. Some were seen weeping and running in the streets. There is none who did not shed tears. They now understood the ‘Seemollanghan’ incident of two years back and how Baba had taken on himself Tatya’s death and give his life to him. Several people were recollecting Baba’s strange actions and words. Some said that Baba had indicated that he would be born again after eight years, in Madras State. Some imagined that what Baba had told Appaji secretly must be about his future birth. Since he had warned Appaji not to reveal anything to others, he kept silent in spite of so many people questioning him.
After a few hours, the question as to what to do with Baba’s mortal remains arose. Some Muslims requested that the body of Sai Baba may be kept in Samadhi, outside the mosque in the open space. Khushal Chand and Amir Shakkar also supported this. But the village munsif,Ramachander Patil took a firm decision that Baba’s Samadhi should be in Butty Wada and nowhere else. This way two groups formed in Shirdi and began arguing over the matter. By Tuesday evening, the Sub-Inspector of Police from Rahata, Chakranarayan, came to Shirdi. When he searched Baba’s body he found seven rupees in his pocket. The whole night discussions and arguments went on regarding the location of the Samadhi.
In the early hours before daybreak on Wednesday the 16th , Baba appeared to Das Ganu in his dream and told him that the mosque came down, and the merchants were angry with him, so he left his body. He asked him to proceed immediately to Shirdi and cover his body with jasmine flowers.
Das Ganu, along with his disciples, started for Shirdi immediately. Pradhan’s wife at Bombay had a dream on the night of 15th. She dreamt of Baba’s life was leaving his body and she cried that Baba was dying. Baba told her in the dream that one should not say dying in the case of saints, but say "attained Samadhi".
He again appeared in her dream on the 16th night and requested her to give him all the money she had in her box. Next day she sent all the money in her box to Shirdi for utilising for the last rites of Baba. The same night Baba appeared in the dream of Pradhan’s sister and asked her to send silk clothes to put on his samadhi. She sent the clothes to Shirdi . In the early hours of Wednesday, Baba appeared in the dream to Laxman Mama Joshi and said, "Bapu Saheb, Jog is thinking that I am dead. I only left my body and I am alive. Get up and give Kakad arathi." Laxman Mama who had full faith in Baba, went to the mosque taking with him the puja items required for Kakad arathi. Even though the police and village servants tried to prevent him from entering the mosque, he forcibly entered inside and gave Kakad arathi to Baba’s body. Seeing his determination none could stop him. The noon arathi was given by Bapu Saheb Jog. This was the last arathi given in Dwarakamai.
On Wednesday morning the tahsildar of Kopargaon Taluk came and gathered the views of both the groups regarding the place of Samadhi and asked them to express their views in writing along with their signatures. The majority wanted that Baba should be laid to rest in Butty Wada. Even then, the tahsildar had no courage to take a decision, but wanted to act according to the orders of the District Collector, Ahmednagar. But in the meantime, the other group reconciled to the situation and agreed for the Samadhi inside Butty Wada.
In the evening of Wednesday at about 4 o’ clock they wanted to bathe the body of Baba. When they tried to remove the kafni (long shirt ) the hands bent as usual. In ordinary cases the limbs cannot be bent as they stiffen. Baba’s body was laid on a big table before Dwarakamai, and potfuls of water were poured on the body with devotion. After that they spread a white cloth on the body. The put flowers, sandal and akshatas (rice) over the cloth. For the last time everyone had the darshan of Baba’s body to their hearts content. A grave, 6 feet in length was dug in Butty Wada’s underground structure, enough for keeping his body. The body was taken into Butty Wada in procession to the sounds of various musical instruments. First, the broken brick of Baba was broken into smaller pieces and put in the grave, over that soft beds were spread. Dixit, Butty, Shama and Mhalsapathi slowly lifted the body. The thought that in a few moments the body would be hidden from their view, gripped the devotees present there and all of them burst into tears. There was complete silence except for snifflings. Due to sadness, the devotees felt weak and all of them together could not lift Baba’s body. A few of them got into the grave and from below caught the body and it was slowly lowered . The head side went down first . Someone cried aloud that Baba was going away. The devotees surrounding the grave tried to catch a glimpse of the body for the last time. The entire body was lowered and rested on the soft beds. Rose water and perfumes were sprayed on the body. When they started putting earth on the body, the people wept and rolled on the floor, crying. Even God, if He is born on this earth, has to be buried under the earth. This is a fact.
Butty’s life was blessed. The Wada built by him became Baba’s Samadhi. At five o’ clock in the evening, after the Smadhi, Bapu Saheb Jog and Laxman Mama gave sandhya arathi in Butty temple for the first time on 16 October 1918. From that day onwards till date, four arathis are given to Baba daily. Nanavalli, who was like Baba’s life, watched the Samadhi from a distance. He stopped taking food from that day and died on the 13th day.
Das Ganu, after reaching Shirdi on Thursday morning, did sankeertan for two days near the Samadhi of Baba. In the name of Baba, he fed a large number of people.Baba Saheb Bhate and Upasini Baba of Sakori Ashram performed the last rites of Baba . Where Butty wanted to install the idol of Sri Krishna, Baba’s Samadhi came up. This way Baba became Muralidhar. The Buty temple with Baba’s Samadhi in it had become the holiest of the boly places, giving millions of devotees peace and happiness.
"Om Shanti! Shanti! Shantihi"
END OF SEVENTH DAY'S PARAYAN