MAY SAI BABA BLESS US ALL

(Stories of Baba's Greatness)

Story of his life and teachings

 

 

BY

S. V. TANAVDE

(An humble devotee)

Rendered in English By : T. V. PARVATE

 

 

 

A TARDEO BOOK DEPOT PUBLICATION,

BOMBAY-400007.


Just as water from the ocean is taken and given back to the sea, this writing of mine is taken from Sai Baba's life story. The whole credit for it goes to Sai Baba alone.

S. V. TANAVDE, (A Devotee)

CONTENTS

I Unknown Precedents

II Arrival at Shirdi

IIl Sai Baba's Master

IV Some Miracles

V The Story of his Samadhi

VI Defender of Devotees

VI! Poverty Abolished

VIII Calamities Removed

IX Dream Meetings

X  Humble, Earnest Love

XI Story of Dasa Ganu

XII Baba's Assurance to Devotees

First Edition : 1984 August.

 


I. Unknown Presidents

His Holiness, Shri Sai Baba is a widely venerated saintly figure throughout India. Yet nothing is defini­tely known as to what family he sprang from, what his religion, caste and birth-place were. His case appears to be of Immaculate Conception like that of Jesus Christ. Just as saint Namdeo, the Maharashtra saint is said to have been born in a mother of pearl; Kabir. the Northern India saint in a lotus flower, Sai Baba was discovered as an unclaimed child under the shade of a Neem tree.

Some say that he was first seen as a child of three years, some others say that he was five years old, some aver that he was seen first as sixteen years youth! Whatever that may be, when he was seen he was a handsome, bright and knowledgeable figure.

At the age of 16 or 17, he revealed himself at Shirdi in Ahmednagar District. Nobody knew from where he hailed. Some say that he came to Shirdi in the retinue of a marriage party of Chand Path's nephew. Chand Patil was a Mussalman and the bride of his nephew belonged to Shirdi.

People of Shirdi found a young boy of sixteen under the shade of a Neem tree. His dress consisted of a white robe, a belt and a white scarf round about his head. He had a couple of aluminium pots with him. He was barefooted. No one took any notice of him because he seemed to be a lunatic as he drank waste water and concealed himself in shrubs in the Lendi garden. But some discerning people were struck by his brilliant countenance and inquired who he was but he never gave any cogent or consistent replies. Some­times he only used to say that he had come there from a long distance. In all the seasons of the year, whe­ther hot, cold or rainy, he stayed and slept under the shade of the Neem tree. He used to dig the earth, make a ditch and fold himself in it when he wanted to go to sleep. He had no other clothes except those he had on his person. The earth below and the sky above formed his bedding material.

Some people believe that he was an incarnation of Lord Shiva, others that of the Maratha saint Ramdas and still others as that of the tenth saint among the Nathapanthis. But that he was a Divine Pessonage was the belief of all who came in his contact.

Sai Baba is regarded as a Hindu by some and a Muslim by others. He always lived In a dilapidated mosque, but behaved like an old Hindu sage of anti­quity. There was a live fire constantly in the mosque and a frequent sound of the conch and the bell. Wor­ship, meditation and prayer in the Hindu style was a distinct feature of his behaviour and he also applied sandal-paste to his fore-head like a Hindu. Those who have seen him aver that both his ears were pierced like those of every Hindu,

Some people regard him as an incarnation of Kabir. He was a disciple of a Hindu saint known as Vyankusa or Gopalswami. Some Hindu disciples of Gopalswami did not approve of their Guru's having taken a Muslim disciple and they pelted a brick-bat at him, but the brickbat hit the saint Gopalswami like a boomrang and protected his Muslim disciple. Sai-baba later look possession of that brick and preserved it with him for all time according to some of his admirers.

Some people hold that Sai Baba was the babe of a Brahman couple, blessed by a Faqir. It was presen­ted to the Faqir by its Brahman father and mother and the Faqir took care of it thereafter and that child was Sai Baba. At the age of eight, he came to public notice, but no definite information about his parentage is available. He never told anybody anything about it. Once a disciple insisted on getting this information but Sai Baba only said that Brahma was his father and Maya his mother. Whatever that may be, that he was a Divine Being was the faith of all his disciples among whom there are Hindus, Muslims, Christians and Parsees. He is known to have met his disciples in the form of their revered deity. Among his disciples were well-known physicians, surgeons, vakils, barristers, solicitors. Government Officials, and merchants. Any­one whether, an atheist, agnostic or godless, became a believer in God after he had come in contact with him. He developed faith in Sai Baba and became his devotee. Everyone believed that he was gifted with special powers of a Divine, miraculous character and this belief was based on personal experience.

II. Arrival at Shirdi

Sai Baba revealed himself on the banks of the Godavari river in Ahmednagar District as a child. Then he moved to Shirdi. There he served a saint with all his heart. That saint was permanently stationed at one spot. After his death his samadhi was built under the shade of a Neem tree in Navalkar Wadi by Sai Baba. There in a cellar. Sai Baba maintained silence for twelve years. Once he came out of his dug-out to bring water when he was first seen by the people around. They crowded round that young man who had grown his hair for twelve years.

Sai Baba practised penance during his life in the cellar under a Neem tree, whose leaves were turned sweet and they are so to this day! There stands the Samadhi of Baba's guru around which Sai Baba has developed a park. He remained in cognito for a num-of years thereafter and came out in the open at Aurangabad in the house of one Chandbhai. His mare was untraceable but Sai Baba found it out. He struck his tongs against the ground and produced fire and water. Such were his impressive miracles.

This Chandbhai's nephew's marriage was fixed with a bride from Shirdi and at the request of Chand­bhai, Sai Baba joined this marriage party. The party stopped near the temple of Khandoba at Shirdi. One Mhalsapati, a goldsmith, was in charge of the daily worship of this Khandoba. When he saw Sai Baba with his robe on. he addressed him as Sai Baba and from then onward this name stuck to him.

Once upon a time, a thief stole diamond orna­ments and when arrested he said that he had kept them with Sai Baba. This was an utter falsehood. But Nana-saheb Joshi, First Class Magistrate of Dhulia went to Shirdi to make inquiries. He asked Sai Baba what his name was. Baba said that people called him Sai Baba. Nobody knew what his real name was. After the marriage ceremony was over all others went back to Aurangabad, but Baba stayed on at Shirdi and con­tinued to stav there till 1918 when he died. There was only one exception. He used to visit a village about three miles from Shirdi where Chandrabhan Shet and Babasaheb Dengle of Nimgaon stayed. But by his yogic powers he is said to have met his disciples in places far and near.

At Shirdi, Sai Baba used to wander about freely but at night he used to sleep in a dilapidated mosque. He started giving medical treatment to the ailing, but later he gave them only holy ash. He called his mos­que residence Dwarkamai. His devotees temporarily repaired the mosque. Sai Baba hung up a bell there and kept constant fire burning. He used to distribute ash from the fire among his devotees. Initially nobody took notice of him but later many admirers and devo­tees gathered around him. He used to go in the village a-begging. Whatever food he collected, he distributed among animals and human beings as Prasad. At Shirdi, there lived a patidar family headed by one Ganpatrao. He was a religiously minded person but his wife was even more spiritually minded and had discovered that Sai Baba was no ordinary faqir. Her name was Baija-bai. She never used to take food before feeding Sai Baba. She would find him out from wherever he was and so sometimes she had to eat her noon lunch in the evening. But she did not mind. Sai Baba fully blessed her a son whose nome was Tatya Ganpat Kote PatiI.

Sai Baba went into samadhi in 1918, but for 42 years before that he suffered from asthma. When he decided to put an end to his life he requested Mhalsa-pati Sonar to take care of him for three days and remai­ned on the ground like e corpse. Mhalsapati kept his vigil unfailingly by his side. People thought he was dead but that was not so. He came back to life, hale and hearty.

Shirdi was a very small place, but when too many people came to see and salute him, it became a crow­ded place. So one Hari Vinayak Sathe purchased the plot of land near the neem tree and erected a big house there. Sal Baba's Guru's Samadhi is also there. Baba's padukas were installed there. Later solicitor Dikshit of Bombay built another house and these two houses accommodated visitors to Shirdi for a long time. A third house was built by the Nagpur wealthy person, Buti and called it Murlidhar Mandir, but instead of installing the image of Murlidhar there, Sai Baba's samadhi found habitation in that temple.

III. Sai Baba's Master

The temple of Khandoba is well known at Shirdi. Once there was held a fair when a number of people noticed the child figure of Sai Baba, under the Neem tree which was so bright and impressive. They wanted to know his whereabouts. They were told that if they dug under the Neem tree, they would come to know more about him. They dug out and found that there was a well-built place of residence underground and four oil lamps, the Samais were shedding their plea­sant light inside. Sai Baba had practised penance here for 12 years.

People asked of Sai Baba many questions. Baba replied that it was the residence of his master and it should be maintained as it was. According to Baba's directions every Thursday and Friday worship was offered there. This master of Baba was known as Vyankusa   or Gopalswami and revered as a great saintly personality.

Once upon a time, an old woman, named Radha-bai Deshmukh came from Sangamner to see Baba at Shirdi. Her desire was that Baba should recognise her as his disciple. He would not agree to do so. The woman went on hunger strike. Baba persuaded her to give it up and have faith in God. She submitted to his wishes.

There was a well-known saint at Rajamahendri, Devananda Saraswati by name. A devotee named Pun-dalik went to see him. He gave the devotee a coconut and told him to hand it over to Sai Baba whom he des­cribed as his brother. But while on his way to Shirdi, his friends broke the coconut and ate its kernel. When he came to know about this he was greatly dejected. Yet he went to Shirdi and met Sai Baba who asked him where the coconut meant for him was. Pundalik was greatly embarrased. He apologised for his lapse and told Baba what had happened. Baba assured him that he need not worry.

Once a person who felt that Sai Baba might be one of those hypocrites who deceived simple folk, came to see him. He took with him a few almonds and sugar-candy by way of a present to Baba. He was a changed man in Baba's presence and placed before him his humble present. There was guite a crowd there, but Baba began to distribute this man's present to all which multiplied itself a thousand fold. His present remained in tact. That man was greatly impressed by Baba's miraculous powers which were of a Divine character.

Damuanna Shet was one of Baba's devotees. Once upon a time he asked Baba's permission to indulge in cotton betting Baba did not give him the permission.

A few days later, he wished to corner food grains and consulted Baba about it. Baba would not permit him to do so. Damuanna was rather displeased, but soon found that those tradesmen who had done like what he wanted to do had lost in the business. Damuanna was saved because he had followed Baba's advice. Damuanna was convinced of Baba's powers of clairvoyance. He later became an affluent merchant by Baba's favour.

That Baba could see what others were unable to see is a fact of a number of devotees' experience. One Bhagwantrao Kshirasagar went to see Baba. As soon as they were together Baba told him. "You have forgotten me after your father's demise. Since then Vithoba whom you worshipped before has remained without any nourishment. Feed him properly at once, Bhagavantrao was amazed. He had given up the wor­ship of Vithoba after his father's death and the idol of Vithoba was lying unattended somewhere. Bhagwant­rao at once restored it to its original pedastel and smarted its worship as before. He wondered how Baba knew about his lapse.

There is a Datta temple at Kopargaon, A man promised the care-taker of the temple that he would make a gift of Rs. 300 to the temple. He avoided going to Kopargaon because he had not the money and went to Shirdi and saw Baba. As soon as Baba sighted him, he angrily said, "Why did you avoid paying a visit to the Datta temple? If you had no money to pay, you could have told the caretaker that you would pay later. The man felt crestfallen and admitted his error, wondering how Baba had correctly read the working of his mind. This man was no other than. Nanasaheb Chandorkar. One Narayan Motiram Vani was an employee of one Ramchandra Modak of Nasik. He went to see Baba at Shirdi accompanied by his mother. Malayan's mother beseeched Baba to do something for his well-being, Baba blessed him and suggested to him to start some independent business. He started the Anandashram at Nasik and made a profitable busi­ness of it. Baba blessed several persons in this way during his life.

IV. Some Miracles

Sai Baba's admirers and devotees are conversant with a number of miracles that Baba performed to the astonishment of all. Once he was sitting by the side of the fire that he always kept alive in the mosque m which he lived. All of a sudden he put his hard in the fire. For same time no one noticed it. But when one of his admirers saw that his hand was in the fire, he drew it out. It was all burnt like charcoal. Ail the people present 'asked Baba why he had resorted to such a monstrous act. Baba replied that the lohar's wife was fanning the lohar's furnance when her baby sud­denly fell in it. I drew it out. Never mind if my hand is burnt. Her baby was savel. Two days later the lohar came to see Baba with his wife and her baby-When he explained what had happened, everybody realised what Baba had done. A Lohar is an iron-smith.

Once he was sitting in the mosque. Ail of a sudden he became still and observed; "My brother has gone". Next day, the news came that Gajanan Maharaj of Shegaon had taken Samadhi. Such was his omni-sience. Plague broke out at Shirdi and some persons died. When Baba knew about it, he became restless.

Next say, there were five or six plague pimples on his person and he had high fever. Devotees were afraid that something untoward might happen. They suggested treatment by a doctor. Baba said that there would be no more cases of plague in Shirdi. No one will die of it now. Accordingly no one fell a victim to plague and Baba also became hale and hearty very soon.

Whenever a devotee of Baba was in some difficul­ty or afflicted by some ailment and remembered Baba, he used to remove that difficulty, without the devotee's knowledge or take his ailment on himself. Once, a devotee's child became ill and she came to see Baba and began to weep. Baba pacified her and assured her that her child would positively recover. Accordingly, the child became well but Baba had fever on. If some woman had too much pain at child-borth and some one told Baba about it, Baba used to become restless and suffer from pain while the woman would safely give birth to a child. People from Shirdi are aware of many such anecdotes.

Once on admirer of Sai Baba who was a Mamle­dar prevailed upon his doctor friend to go with him to see Sai Baba. but he said that since Baba was a Mussl-man he did not like to fall at his feet. The Mamledar said it was not compulsory on every one to fall at his -feet. When both of them reached Baba's place, the doctor saw the image of Shri Ramachandra in place of Sai Baba and he automatically fell at his feet. When they took leave of Baba the Mamledar asked the doctor told him what had happened and thanked him for doing him the favour he had done.

Similar was the case of one Mule Shastri who was a student of the Vedas and Vendanta. He was also a devoted disciple of his Guru Gholap. Mule Shastri once went to Shirdi to meet Bapusaheb But! who asked

the Shastri to accompany him to Baba's place. He did so with some reluctance. On reaching there he saw Sai Baba but remained outside the mosque. A moment after he viewed his guru Gholap in place of Sai Baba Immediately he fell at the feet of Baba and realised his mislake.

A Brahman, named Megha, lived in Kaira District., Gujarat. He was doing the work of a priest at District Deputy Collector Sathe's house. He came to know that Sathe was a devotee of Sai Baba, a Mussalman. He spoke despairingly of Baba and asked Sathe how it was proper to worship and salute a Muslim who lived in a mosque. Yet Sathe prevailed upon Megha to accom­pany him to Shirdi. When both of them reached Baba's mosque residence, Baba took some brickbats in his hands and shouted at Megha to go away and not to go near a low-bred Mussalman. Megha was taken aback to see that Baba had correctly known his thou­ghts. He realised that Baba was an omniscient Divine personality and flatly fell at his feet.

Some one from Goa became a devotee of Baba on hearing his reputations as a philanthropic saint. He was jobless for a long time. At last he made the resolution that on getting a job, he would make over his first salary to Sai Baba. Soon he got a job. He started only on Rs. 15 per month but later rose in service and began to earn Rs. 700 a month. He was unable to meet Sai Baba for one reason or another, but one day he did go to Shirdi in the company of a friend. As soon as Baba saw him he demanded his fifteen rupees. The man had forgotten about his resolve and to made amends for it, he offered Rs. 50 instead of Rs. 15 to Baba, but Baba kept only Rs. 15 and gave back the rest to him.

Baba was known to be the incarnation of the Akkolkot Swami also and many people were con­vinced about it.

A gentleman called Pitale who lived in Bombay went to see Baba at Shirdi with his wife and son. His son was suffering from fits. He was treated by seve­ral doctors and vaidyas but the convulsions would not stop. He was placed at the feet of Baba who looked into the eyes of the son. Immediately, the son became senseless. Incessant froth emanated from his mouth. The parents, particularly the mother was much frigh­tened. Baba assured them that he would soon came to his senses and be well. So it happened. The father and mother became Baba's devoted adherents. When they went to say good-boys to Baba, he gave them Three silver rupees and told them that they should be worshipped with the family gods every day. Two of the three rupees were meant for Pitale's father. When Pitale came home to Bombay and releated what had happened at shirdi, his mother said "Your father was a great devotee of the Akkalkot Swami and the Swami had given 'him three rupees. He used to worship them. They were found in the old Devara, a wodden temple for -family gods.

An ardent devotee of Akkalkot Swami was one Ramchandra Keshav Naik, When the Swami decided to go into Samadhi, he was there. He said to the Swami that he would become an orphan when he was gone. The Swami assured him that he would soon come back to Shirdi in a new form. How be could make that out asken the devotees. The Swami asked him to bring a little foliage of Neem and asked him to eat it. He found it quite sweet. It was distributed among all present. They also found it to be sweet, Naik came to Shirdi some time later and Baba played the same trick. Naik was convinced and fell at his feet. Later, Naik's daughter's wedding was to be cele­brated, but Naik had no money. Baba miraculously produced Rs. 600 in his purse and his difficulty was solved. One Newaskar was another of Baba's devotees. He never took his meal before taking Baba's teearth i.e. water that washed his feet. When Newaskar died, quite a crowd gathered together for his shraddha, but food was not prepared for so many people. Newaskar's daughter-in law became nervous. But her mother-in-law remembered Baba and prayed for being saved from exposure. She took a little ash which was Baba's gift and spread it over the food. All of them found that food was more than sufficient for all who had come and was also distributed among neighbours.

Baba's reputation as a maker of miracles was spreading like wild fire. People from far and near came to revere him and ask for his blessings. They offered him gifts and money, which was considered boundless. Government wanted to know his income and expendi­ture end a clerk was appointed for that purpose. He found that expenditure was twice, thrice or four times the income. He was embarrassed and non-plussed. He was at a loss to know wherefrom so much money came and reported accordingly.

Once a Brahman came to see Baba. He noticed that flesh was being minced for putting it in rice that was to be cooked for all. Baba ordered that a little food should be given to the Brahman. A packet was prepared and was handed over to him with trepidation because how could flesh be given to a Brahman? Baba's order was the last word for every one. Even he Brah­man took it away but did not want it to be taken home. So he put it all in the river. But he noticed that flesh had turned into gold. He tried to pick it up, but could recover only one piece. He came back to Dwarkamani and began to tell everybody what had happened. Everyone was surprised by his narration. Baba told him that he could keep only as much as fate had ordained.

V. Story of his Samadhi

Muslim devotees of Sai Baba did not like that Baba indulged in worship, arati, bhajan, etc, like the Hindus and even applied Sandal-paste to his forehead. With the Muslim residents of Shirdi, they once planned to beat Hindu devotees of Baba and kept ready with lathis and dandas. On that day the first to enter the mosque with worship materials was Mhalsapati Sonar who noticed that a number of Mussalmans were ready to lead an assault on him. So he was thinking of offer­ing puja from a distance, but Baba himself called him to go near him. He became fearless and those who had come to beat him beat a hasty retreat. No Muslim thought of doing so again.

Once a number of devotees told Baba that they wanted to celebrate a festival and organise a fair and requested him to suggest a day for that pur­pose. Baba said Ramnavami would be quite suitable. Everyone started preparations. Invitations were sent. Ramnavami was observed with great ceremony. Since then it is so observed to this day. The same night Muslims organised a procession known as Sandal Hindus and Muslims joined heartily in the celebration of Ramnavami and also Gokulashtami in the presence of Baba who sat in Dwarkamai.

Baba left this world on Vijayadashmi, Tuesday, October 15, 1918 at 2.30 P.M. On that day after Arati, Baba told everyone to go home, but some of the devotees remained there. Among them was Lakshmibai Patil, Lakshman Shimpi, Nanasaheb Nimonkar, Bayaji, Bhagoji Madhavrao and others. Baba took out nine rupees from his pocket and gave them to Lakshmi-bai. A little while after he said he was not feeling well and should be taken to Buti's house. But before they could start. Baba rested his head against Bayaji's body and was no more.

Bapusaheb Buti was a wealthy man in Shirdi. He greatly revered Baba and on his advice built a big house at Shirdi and told him. that he was going to stay there. Now his remains are buried in a Samadhi in that house. Shirdi Muslims were against this plan. They wanted to erect a Kabar over his remains. There was a strong dispute. Baba never wanted strife among his Hindu and Muslim admirers. He inspired the Mus­lims to agree to the proposal that if all were freely allowed to enter the place of Samadhi in Buti's grand house, they would not object to the Samadhi being built there. Thus the strife was over.

Baba was fond of illuminating the mosque by light­ing a number of earthen lamps every evening. Considerable oil was necessary for this purpose. Baba used to get it from the shops of the grocers in Shirdi. Once they did not give him the required oil. Baba came back to Dwarkamai empty handed. But he put water in the earthen lamps and lighted them. They were burning the whole night. Many people went near the mosque to make fun of Sai Baba and even to ridicule him. Among them were also the grocers who had refused to give oil to Baba. But when they saw that water was functioning like oil, they became afraid, they surrendered themselves at Baba's feet and asked for his forgiveness. He readily granted their request. This story goes back to the day when he had not became very famous as Sai Baba.

Baba was once taking his meal in Dwarkamai. Around him were a few of his devotees. All of a sud­den he cried 'Stop'. Nobody understood the meaning of his shoutisg. He quietly finished his meal. He asked people around to move outside and he also did so. Instantly, the wait of the 'mosque on that side collapsed. The people around understood why Baba had suddenly shouted. He had commanded the wall not to collapse and hurt people.

Visitors were continually multiplying but Dwarka­mai was in the same dilapidated condition. Nanasaheb Chandorkar intended to effect repairs with the help of the local devotees. But nothing could be done with­out Baba's consent. It was secured but there was constant obstruction in the repairing work. At last, the work was finished. Baba then had gone to Nimgaon. People brought him to Shirdi with great ceremony and seated him in his old place. Every one was happy.

There was acute scarcity of water at Shirdi. There was a well near the mosque but it had not much water. Water had to be brought from a long distance. The Ramnavmi festival was approaching, nobody knew what to do, Baba said "Offer this naivedya to the well and you will get ample water". This assurance came true and since then the well never dried and Shirdi's water scarcity ended.

Crops at Shirdi were ready and grains were being collected. Heaps of Kadba were lying about and some­where fire broke out, Had it spread, all heaps would have been burnt down. Because it was harvest time. there was panic and Baba became aware of if. He drew a line of water by sprinkling it around the fields and came back. The fire was extinguished.

Once, a devotee called Purandare was favoured by Sai Baba by telling him that he would take his meal at Purandare's house in the company of four or five faqirs. He was greatly delighted and told his wife to prepare food for five or six persons. She was also happy as this was a voluntarily done favour of Sai Baba to the couple. When Purandare was about to call Baba some faqirs came and they announced that more would be conning. So from five their number swelled to fifty. For preparing additional food, he and his wife were getting ready, but he was frightened out of his wits. Baba arrived on the scene and told him not to worry. All the fifty faqirs and Baba dined, but the food prepared was in tact. Baba said he had had his full grub and Purandare and his wife should dine and give the remaining food to the neighbours. He did accordingly and kept wondering about Baba's occult powers,

At noon, one day, some of Baba's devotees were sitting in Dwarkamai. One of them was a woman. A baby goat came in front of them and suddenly collap­sed on the ground. The woman,' took much pity on it. She ran up to it. It was lying as if it was dead. She began to weep and in tears told Baba that it was dead. Baba said it was not so. It had only an attack of heat. He took a little water in a tumbler and sprinkled it on it. In a few minutes it began to make move­ments. Baba blessed it and it ran away.

VI   Defender of Devotees

Narayan Govind Shinde of Harda was an ardent admirer of Baba. He had a number of daughters but no son. He made a vow mentally that if a son was born, he would take him to Gangapur and place it at the feet of Shri Dattatreya. For seven years he was unable to do so. When he went to see Baba, Baba reminded him that a son was given to him but he had forgotten his vow. Shinde realised that his mental resolve had remained unfulfilled and it was known to Baba and he was convinced that Baba was a genuine incarnation of Shri Dattatreya,

Once Cholera broke out in Shirdi and it could not be controlled by medical measures. When Baba knew about it, he got up one morning, took up a bag of wheat, a winnowing fan and grinding stones and began to grind the wheat. He was grinding as if endlessly. The news spread all over Shirdi. People crowded near him when he told them that he was pulversing the cho­lera epidemic. When he would not stop, some women took the wheat and stones away from him and began to collect the wheat flour for taking it home. Baba scolded them and said that it was not meant for them. They must take it to the limits of Shirdi and throw it in the stream. They of course obeyed his order and since then, there did not occur a single case of cholera.

Bapusaheb Buti once had an attack of cholera. For a long while he had not seen Sai Baba, Cholera would not yield to medical treatment, Bapusaheb was afraid of his coming end. Baba learnt about it and sent word that he should come to see Baba, even when he was unable to move about. But Baba's word meant an unbreakable command. Somehow or other, with the help of friends, Bapusaheb reached Dwarkamai. He fell at Baba's feet but was very restless all the time for fear of vomiting and wanted to go home. But Baba ordered him to sit still. He obeyed and cholera was no more.

In the same way he cured one BhimajiPatil who belonged to Narayangaon in Poona District. Every few minutes he was vomitting blood and was afraid of approaching death. At last he decided that if death was certain. It should come at least in the presence of a saint and came in a bullock-cart to Shirdi. He was seated before Baba and he requested him to save him. Baba said his trouble was over as soon as he entered Shirdi. Next day his recovery was complete.

Baba's remedies of restoring people to health were very curious, Baba Ganpat Shimpi who stitched his robes was once ill of fever. He requested Baba to cure him but said he would have to resort to a strange device. Shimpi agreed to abide by his order. He was asked to take a little cooked rice and curds and feed- it to a black dog before the temple of Shri Lakshmi. Shimpi obeyed and was cured.

A similar is the case of Lakshmanrao Mahajani who had constant stomach-ache and discharges. Baba was not informed about it. One day arati was going on when Mahajani withdrew from it to answer a call Of Nature. But Baba ordered him to stop and called him near him. A man from Bombay had come to see him. Baba ordered a few articles from the grocers, boiled them together and gave the decoction to Madharao. He drank it off and was quite well. Two or three years later, he had the same ailment. As he knew the medi­cine Baba had given he prepared it and took it, but his suffering grew instead of diminishing. Madhaorao came to the mosque to see Baba who knew what he had done. He merely caressed Madhaorao's shoulders and the pain was no more, Baba only jocularly asked him. "You are a great medical man. How is your stomach-ache?"

Once Madhaorao was bitten by a venomous snake. The poison began to spread all over the body.    Some people suggested that he should be removed to Vithoda's temple when Kaka Nimonkar went there and sug­gested that ha should be taken to Dwarkamai and the holy ash from there should be applied to his forehead. As soon as Madhaorao reached there, Baba shouted at him and ordered him to clear away from there. Madhao­rao was frightened, because Baba was his last resort, and   he   was   not   giving    him   shelter.     When   Baba Cooled down, Madhaorao made bold to go near Baba. Baba spread his hand on his back and said, "Don't be afraid.    You will   soon   be   quite   well.     Go home — Don't wander about   and   keep   awake   all the night," Baba also asked Tatya Patil and Kakasaheb Dikshit to see to it that Madhaorao did not go to sleep. Madhaorao was saved and realised that Baba had angrily addressed hot words to the venomous snake and not to him,

Dr. Rustomji had an attack on pneumonia. All medical opinion held that his ailment was incurable Dr. Rustomji was lying senseless, but at night a saintly person was seen by him in his dream who blessed him and said he would soon be well. Dr. Rustomji was soon restored to health, but he was anxious to see the person in his dream in actual life. He happened to see Sai Baba's picture somewhere and he realised that it was the Sai Baba of Shirdi who had met him in his dream. He found out Baba and began to work in the charitable dispensary at Shirdi and became Baba's great devotee.

One of Baba's devotees, Rao-ji Balkrishna Upasani lived at Dhuiia. His five years old son fell! ill. He had high fever and it would not come down. Everybody lost hope. Upasani was keeping awake all the night by the side of his son. He was overtaken by sleep for a few minutes when Baba went there applied holy ash to the forehead of the son and told Upasani that all will soon be well. This was all in a dream. But within two hours he was found to have completely recovered. The holy ash on his forehead was also noticed. Upasani realised that it was all Baba's doing. A few days afterwards, Upasani, his wife and the boy started for meeting Baba. They got down at Kopargoan, bathed is Godavari and planned to go to Shirdi at the time of the arati. The tonga that he had hired came rather late but he started for Shirdi at once. It was a strict rule to perform the arati in time at Dwarkamai, but Baba ordered that it should be delayed because their Dhuiia friend was coming. Upasani came but somewhat late. Then are arati began. Afterwards Baba took Upasani near him and told him that he had gone to see the boy when he was ill and asked him if he remembered it. Then only Upasani and others made out that the holy ash placed on the forehead of the boy was placed by Baba himself.

A grocer from Dadar known as Hansraj was a devotee of Baba. He suffered from chronic asthama. Once he went to see Baba with his wife, Baba advised him not to take any medicine but strictly abstain from taking curds, Hansaraj agreed but only orally. He went on taking medicine and eatings curds which he required daily in his food while at Shirdi he used to ta«e his meal after arati when every night he found his pot of curds was empty. This went on tor two months. One day Hansraj decided to find out who ate away his curds and so sent his wife for arati and kept a vigil. He found that a cat accustomed to eat his curds came and began its usual process. Hansraj tried to beat with a stick but instead of hitting the cat, he hit himself and he was hurt. As usual, Hansraj went to see Baba at 4 P.M. in the afternoon. He was seated among a number of people. But pointing his finger at Hansraj Baba said. "I went at the house of this heart­less person but he beat me with a stick and my thigh is injured." Baba showed it to everybody. Hansraj felt extremely humiliated, fell at Baba's feet and begged to be forgiven. Baba of course forgave him and from that day his asthama ended.

Baba often prescribed strange remedies to cure various ailments to his devotee, but those who acted according to his instructions, always benefited and faith in his divine powers always kept on growing.

One Yeshvant Vithal Deshpande lived at Thana. He was an ardent devotee of Baba. His father had lost his eyesight all of a sudden and he became helpless and dependent on others for everything. He was very keen on going to Shirdi and did so accompanied by his grandson. Addressing Baba he said "I am so unlucky, I cannot see you". Baba said, "You will soon be able to do so". His grandson had forgotten to bring grandfather's purse. So he went to where they had stopped and brought the purse. In the meantime Baba caressed Deshpande's eyes and his eyesight returned The grandson of Deshpande came and asked where his grandfather was Baba said he had gone home. The grandson was surprised because his grandfather was unable to move at all without some body's help but found him hale and hearty at their place of stopping and was convinced about Baba's amazing divine powers.

Once  an  old  man who was blind from his birth went to see Sai Baba and implored him to let 'him see Baba but once. He was ready to be blind again. Baba agreed, caressed his eyes and he was able to see. He had full view of Baba and was immensely pleased. A little while after he said he was willing to be sightless again as previously agreed. Baba said 'amen' and he was blind again. In The same way he cured Tatyasaheb Noolkar who was a devotee and Munsiff at Pandharpur. His aching eyes were cured by Baba for ever. A blind man once came to Shirdi and joined the congregation there and participated in the Bhajan with great devo­tion. This he continued for years. He went to Shirdi in 1913 and by 1916 his eye-sight came back to him. After that he went to his native place. In 1949 he went to Shirdi to saluate Baba's Samadhi and till then there was nothing wrong with his eyes.

Dr. D. M. Malki, M.B.B.S. was an emient sur­geon. Once while operating on a patient some poison­ous substance entered his eyes. His eyes were swollen and water began to flow from his eyes. Being himself a physician and surgeon, he had a lot of treat­ment from his fellow professionals. At last the civil surgeon of Nasik was approached. He opined that his eyes were lost beyond all hope. At last Mulki came to see Baba who asked him to offer prayers from the bottom of his heart for eight days. He did so and on the 9th day his eyesight returned. He was completely cured.

Baba went into samadhi in 1918. After 25 years after that event, a teacher at Bareli in Madras Provinee lost his eyesight. This was a sudden development of a deplorable character. Doctors declared that nothing could be done to help him. He came to Shirdi and offered prayers at Baba's Samadhi for a few days.

He found that slowly but surely his eyesight was being restored. In a month's time he was able to read prin­ted works in big types. Eventually, he was completely cured and resumed his work.

Near Shirdi, there is a village known as Nimgaon. Babasaheb Dengle, a devotee of Sai Baba lived there. His eyes once began to ache. He was unable to open them. Dengle went to Baba and asked for his favour. Baba offered him a strange cure : the juice of Bibba ! Every one around was surprised, because this medicine was considered montrous by Vaidyas and doctors. But Dengle had implicit faith in Baba. He implored Baba to Treat him in the way he wanted. Baba put Bibba Juice in his eyes and Dengle was cured.

VII. Poverty Abolished

This story goes back to 1916. One Ramchandra Atmaram Tarkhad was employed in a cotton mill as a manager. For some reason he lost his job and was unemployed for a long time. He went to see Baba with his family, stayed at Shirdi for a few days anti wanted to go back to Bombay. Baba told him to go to Bombay via Poona instead of directly via Manmad. That meant spending a little more money which his wife did not want. But Tarkhad never disobeyed Baba and so first went to Poona and stopped with a friend. He got information there that a certain mill was in need of a manager. He applied for that post and got it. This event convinced Tarkhad's wife why Baba's advice should always be followed. Her faith in Baba grew all the stronger.

One Cholkar was an employee in a Government office. He was not a particularly capable person but had faith in Baba. He would have got a superior post if he passed a certain departmental examination. He made a mental resolve that he would go to see Baba after passing the examination. He passed the exami­nation and got the superior post also. He was very eager to go to see Baba immediately, but some diffi­culty or other prevented him from doing so. At last he decided that he would not touch sugar till he was able to go to Shirdi. After a few days he managed to go and fell at Baba's feet. Baba told Bapusaheb Joag who was there that he should take Cholkar home and serve him sweet dishes because he had gone with­out sugar for a long time. Cholkar was convinced about Baba's omniscient powers and so were the others when they learnt the whole story.

One Janardan Moreshwar Phanse got tired of his dairy routine and made ready for going to Rameshwar. On the way he went to Shirdi and met Baba who told him to go back home because Rameshwar had remai­ned without food for seven days. According to Baba's command he went home with the holy ash and found that his old mother had taken no food or water for seven days and understood the secret of Baba's order. He changed his mind and regarded his mother as his Rameshwar. Plague broke out in his village but on applying Baba's holy ash to the forehead of all, they recovered and Phanse began to be looked upon as a great physician.

In a neighbouring village there lived a Marwadi tradesman. His brother fell ill and it seemed that he would not survive his illness. He approached Phanse for medicine. Phanse was no physician but he prayed Baba and slept. Baba came is his dream and gave him directions regarding what medicine to give and how. Phase implicitly obeyed and gave medicine to the Marwadi whose brother was completely cured. Phanse would not take the sum of Rs. 300 that the Marwadi offered as his fee. He said he had done nothing but only followed Baba's instructions and refused to take the money. The Marwadi purchased a headdress worth 300 rupees and placed it in Phanse's house when he was not at home. Some days later, days of scarcity arrived and Phanse was in great difficulty. One Thurs­day, Phanse offered usual prayers and went to sleep. Baba saw him in a dream and told him about the headdress, asked rim to sell it and purchase rice for sale. He did that and became a properous trader.

This is a story of Bapurao Boravke of Saswad who rose from utter penury to the position of a rnarr of lakhs. His parents died when he was a child and his maternal uncle brought him up. He lived at Shtrdi and cultivated sugarcane. Boravke left Poona and started for Shirdi. He got down at Kopargaon and made a resolve that he would not go to his maternal uncle's house before seeing Sai Baba. But on his way was his uncle's house. He had only three annas left with him. Shirdi was eight miles away. So he decided to walk the distance. His aunt asked him to eat some­thing and then go but he did not consent to do so. On his way he found that his uncle was coming back after seeing Baba. He also asked Boravke to take food and go, but his resolve was firm. His uncle gave him a rupee for handing over to Baba. Boravke met Baba and told him that he was penniless and was unable to pay him any dakshina. Baba told him that there was one rupee and three annas in his pocket. Boravke was surprised how Baba knew this.

Boravke tried hard to get a job but did not get any. At last he began to work on his uncle's farm and put it in perfect order. A rich friend of his uncle happened to see it and greatly admired it. When he knew that it was Bapu Boravke's work he offered him partnership in his own farm and Boravke joined him with his uncle's consent. After two years, it was found that Boravke's share in the partnership amounted to Rs. 1 lakh. This was ail Baba's favour. One Ganpat Dhondu Kadam was a devotee of Baba. Once he pro­ceeded to see Baba with his family. After his train had left Nasik for Manmad, a band of Bhil robbers got in ihe train. Kadam was reading a religious prayer-book. But soon he noticed that the Bhil robbers jumped out of the train all of a sudden. Kadam turned round and saw that a faqir with a lathi in hand was standing behind him. Instantly he disappeared. Kadam went to Shirdi when Baba's inquiries convinced Kadam that the faqir was Baba himself.

There Iived a certain person in Goa. There occured a theft in his house. He had lost Rs. 30,000 which was his life's collection. He did not know what to do and was sitting anxiously when a faqir came there and asked him to go to see Sai Baba at Shirdi and till he did so, he should give up eating his most favourite article of food. He asked the faqir to stay and went inside but the faqir had disappeared and his intention to pay 'him something remained unfulfilled. A servant of his had committed this theft. Baba saw him in dream and ordered him to return the money to his master and ask his forgiveness. As asked by the faqir, the person resolved that he would go to Shirdi after the stolen money was recoverd and till then gave up all his favourite articles of food. After fifteen days, the erring servant came back, returned all the money, admitted his guilt and begged to be forgiven. As he had resolved, the person went to Shirdi and when he met Sai Baba, he remembered that the faqir who had seen him at his house in Goa was none other than Baba himself.

One Bapusaheb Jog, a devotee of Baba had a good job. Once he gave Rs. 1400 to a relative of his from his wife's side. He promised to return the money in a few days, but did not do so even when demands were frequently made. After completing his service, he became a pensioner and went to live at Shirdi. When for 12 years, the wife's relative had failed to return the money given to him, Joag thought of filing a suit against him. He asked Baba's permission to do so. Baba would not give the permission even when 14 years had elapsed. But Baba's insistence was as before. One day, a guest came to Joag's house, fell at the feet of Joag's wife and entreated her to ask her husband to give up interest and accept Rs. 1400. When Joag came home, he learnt what had happened, but he would not agree to give up interest. Baba was the arbiter in everything. He asked Joag to accept the money and not make a claim of interest. So ended the dispute and every one concerned was happy.

Once a devotee of Baba ran into considerable debt. He had land, houses and other property but he had no cash and was unable to pay his sowkar. So he brought an order of confiscation from the court. The devotee was then engaged in prayers and many people were sitting around him. When the bailiff came he said he may remove whatever he liked; that would make room for people to sit and pray. Baba will take care of what is taken away and what is left. The Sowkar was so much impressed by this talk of his debtor that he released the devotee from responsibility to pay and he also became a devotee of Baba.

A devotee, Dattoba Tulshiram Chavan by name, gave a loan of Rs. 50 to a friend. A long time passed but he did not return the money, in spite of several demands. The Ramnavami festival was approaching and Chavan was keen on going to Shirdi for it. But he had no money to pay railway fare and other expen­ses. He heartily prayed Baba saying if only he got that Rs. 50 he would be able to go to Shirdi . Other­wise he would have to go without Baba's blessings and visit. Next day Chavan found that the man who had taken no notice of his numerous demands was at his door to pay. Chavan went to Shirdi and fell at Baba's feet.

VIII. Calamities Removed

This is a story of Nanasaheb Nimonkar. His son was employed at Belapur. For a long time there was no news from his end. So he asked his wife to go and meet him but asked her not stay at his place for more than one day. She found this order rather incon­venient, because how could she return only after staying for a day? If the son told her to stay for a few days more, how could she refuse? She was on the horns of a dilemma. Her Husband's order and her son's possible insistence were conflicting. As usual, she went to see Baba before leaving for Belapur. Baba had already fathomed her difficulty. He told her. "Do go to see your son, stay there for a week and come back." Nanasaheb could not say a word against Baba and Nanasaheb's   wife   was   released   from a possible awkward situation.

There is a village called Palaspe, in Panvel taluka of Raigad (Kolaba) District. A devotee of Baba called Govind Damodar Pandit lived there. His daughter had reached a marriageable age. For two years, he was trying for a suitable match, but in vain. When he was in utter despair he prayed Baba saying, "If only a suitable spouse is found for my daughter in a fortnight, ! shalt come to see you." His prayer met with success. On the seventh day from his prayer, one Hardikar from Hyderabad came as a guest at Pandit's neighbour's house and proposed that his daughter should be given to his son as a bride. The wedding was fixed and celebrated in a fornight. As vowed Pandit wanted to go to Shirdi, but there was no money for the wedding of the daughter exhausted all cash. At last he borrowed Rs. 30 from a friend and went to Shirdi. He paid Baba only Rs. 2 as dakshina. Baba told him that he had bor­rowed Rs. 30 for going there but he need not worry-Everything would be quite well. Accordingly Govind-rao's prospects gradually improved.

Here is a story that belongs to the period following Baba's going into samadhi. Gopal Ganesh Shriyan's daughter and the son of his friend were being educated together. They decided to join themselves in wedlock after their education was over. About eight years pas­sed and there occured much difference in the status of the two friends, Gopalrao remained as he was but his friend had became rich. His son also had secured a lucrative job and so this friend of Gopalrao began to talk of another and better match for his son. Gopal­rao was embarassed and prayed Baba to save him from his possible ignominy. For eight years the wedding was fixed, every-one knew about it and the girl also

loved the boy. He was ill at case. Baba came in his dream and assured him not to worry. Everything would be alright after two years. For two years many girls were seen but the friends son's marriage would not be settled. At last that friend voluntarily met Gopalrao, apologised to him and requested that their former fixture should be respected, in this way Gopal-rao's anxiety was removed by Baba.

Once, the son of a gentleman who lived at Thana, fled from home and was untraceabie for a long time. He heard of Baba's super-natural powers and went to Shirdi to see him. When he narrated his story to Baba he assured the visitor that on his way home he would find his son. The man returned and was standing on the Thana railway platform when he noticed his son. He was returning from Bombay. He was naturally full of gratitude for Baba,

Baba always used to sit on a stone slab. It was very hard and heavy, but he used to move it by his hands as he liked. This stone is still preserved in the hall of Dwarkamai.

IX. Dream Meetings

 

One Raghuvir Bhaskar Purandare was a railway servant. Once he applied for leave in order to go to Shirdi. His leave was sanctioned, but just then there was the railway employees' strike. Next day, Purandare was to proceed to Shirdi his superior told him that on account of the possible strike, he should have his leave cancelled and apply for it some time later. Purandare said nothing in reply but he mentally decided to go to Shirdi, even if it cost him the loss of his job. The same night Purandare had a dream in which Sai Baba appeared and told him not to go Shirdi just then but do so some time later. Purandare went to office next day and had his leave cancelled. His superior was pleased and recommended him for a higher post on promotion. Purandare was all gratitude for Baba and went to Shirdi when all trouble was over.

Due Ramchandra Sitaram Deo was an ardent devotee of Baba. He lived at Andheri, in his field house alone. There was no company and thefts began to be committed in the neighbourhood. Ramchandra was afraid to live with his wife and children in such a place. Baba appeared in his dream and assured him that his anxiety would be removed. Next day, ten washermen went to see Ramchandra and requested him to give them plots of land for building cottages. Ram­chandra agreed and he found the company of which he was in need.

Kakasaheb Dikshit's son's marriage had to be celebrated. Many people were to go for the ceremony. Sadashiv Dhundiraj Naik was also to go but his mother was very old and unwell and there was no knowing what would happen and when. Sadashiv Dhundiraj was in a fix. But Baba went to his rescue. He appeared in honorary magistrate Krishnarao Narayan Parulekar's dream and told him to meet Sadashiv Dhundiraj and assure him that his old mother would not die soon and would not cause any trouble in the wedding ceremony. He should safely go to attend the wedding ceremony. Accordingly he went and came back. His mother died on the Ekadashi day after his return.

One Uddhav Duva was a devotee of Baba. He lived at Dahanu. Once he started for a visit to Baba with four or five other friends. On their way, Uddhav took out his purse and accidentally it fell in the sea. He had only some change left with him. How could they alt go to Shirdi and who could give them the needed money? But the same night Baba appeared in Gopal Girdhar's dream and told him to send sufficient money to Uddhav. Gopal was awake but round no one near him. This experience was repeated twice again. Next morning, Gopal sent Uddhav some money telegraphi­cally and Uddhav was surprised. How did he send money without a demand having been made ? After he returned to Shirdi and went to see Baba, he said. "Uddhav, how careless you are ! Does anybody throw his purse in the sea? Any way, did you get the money I sent you?" Uddhav was altogether astonished to see this proof of Baba's clairvoyance and omniscience. When he met Gopal Girdhar. he narrated the story of the dream in which Baba met him and asked him to send the money and everyone was convinced of Baba's occult powers.

One Purshottam Biharilal was on tour. He was to have returned after eight days, but there was no trace of him even after three weeks. His wife and children became very anxious and restless. They surrendered themselves to Baba, offered him prayers and went to sleep. After midnight, at about dawn, Baba met one of the tourist's daughter in dream and told her that her father was calling her. The girl was awakened and she awakened her mother and told her what had happened. It was about 4 in the morning and her father was at the door. He knocked and called out. How happy all of them were to see him returned home I

 

X. Humble, Earnest Love

The Ramnavami festival was being celebrated at Shirdi. Over 60,000 people had gathered together. Government officials were in attendance. There was extreme enthusiasm among the crowds and everybody was anxious to meet Baba and touch his feet. He was seated on his usual stone slab. Some devotees asked the police people on bandobast to stop the crowds from rushing in, to enable Baba to take his meal. But he declared that he was not hungry.

At this time, a seventy years old woman was waiting for Baba's darshan. She was entreating every­one to take her to Baba but no one attended to her. But on Baba's suggestion Ramchandra Atmaram Tar-khad went near the old woman and led her by hand to where Baba was sitting. She was overwhelmed by this kindness and tears flowed from her eyes on her checks. Baba blessed her by placing his hands on her head and said 'Mother, f have been feeling hungry for long and waiting for you to feed me. What have you brought for me? The old woman said "Baba". I brought only one bread and two onions with me. But on the way I became hungry and ate half the bread and one onion. You may take the remaining half bread and an onion for you". Baba took the two articles and are away saying, "Your bread and onion were very very sweet". All people present were touched by this expression o! genuine love and devotion. Baba accu­rately followed the workings of the minds of his devo­tees and always blessed and pleased them. Once Raghuvir Bhaskar Purandare started for Shirdi when the wife of Ramchandra Atmaram Tarkhad gave two big brinjals to him and asked Purandare's wife to make two preparations of them for Baba. She did as asked and offered the articles to Baba who had received a number of offerings. However he selected only those brinjal preparations and ate them. Similarly, once a woman devotee sent for Baba five pedhas with her son, who went to see Baba but left the pedhas where he had stopped. Baba asked the boy where the pedhas given by his mother for him were. The boy was ashamed and surprised but immediately brought his mother's present. Baba took it, ate the pedhas and fulfilled the desire of his devotee.

Once, Shantaram Balvant Nachane started for shirdi when one V.S. Samant gave him a coconut and two annas for being delivered to Baba. Nachane went to Shirdi and gave the coconut to Baba but forgot to give two annas. When he saluated Baba and was about to leave Baba asked him where his two annas were. Nachane felt ashamed and gave him two annas. Baba said it was not a matter of two annas. But one should carry out undertaken responsibilities faithfully.

Captain Hate was a devotee of Baba. He was posted at Bikaner. Once Baba met him in dream and made inquiries about him. Hate saluted him and offered him a basket full of valpapdi. When awake Hate decided that he would offer that vegetable to Baba in real life. But he was unable to go to Shirdi immediately. So he requested a Bombay friend of his to do the job for him and sent him the necessary money. His friend did as directed. Baba chose only that vege­table from among the many articles offered.

One Chhotubai was one of Baba's devotees. Once her son had an attack of typhoid. He was being medi­cally properly treated but fever would not subside.

She offered prayer to Baba and vowed that after her son had recovered she would go with him to see Baba. On 14th May, the fever came down and Chhotubai was anxious to go to Shirdi as soon as possible. Doc­tors would not permit her to go. But she had more faith in Baba than in the doctors. She took the train for Shirdi but on the way her son was ill again. She prayed Baba to save her from the blame that doctors and other would place on her head. Baba only wanted to test her faith, it was quite firm and sound. On going to Shirdi and meeting Baba, her son was fully recovered and Baba assured her that nobody would blame her for what she had done. She wondered how Baba could read her mind so accurately.

One Ganesh Gopal Mahajan lived in Samant Wadi at Thana. He did not keep good health. His mother was Baba's devotee. She told her son to go to Shirdi and fall at Baba's feet. He was eager to go but how could he? He was getting only Rs, 15 per month as a servant of an engineer. A water pump was in dis­repair at Shirdi and this engineer was entrusted with the work of repairing it. He asked Mahajan to go to Shirdi as his assistant in the work. Mahajan readily agreed. His heart-felt desire was thus fulfilled.

One Joshi lived at Thane. His neighbour and other friends planned to go to Shirdi but Joshi could not manage to join them. He was much displeased with Baba and made the resolve that unless and until Baba himself came to his place, he would never go to Shirdi. Baba made a note of his devotee's resolve and decided to remove the displeasure of his ardent devotee. A Bombay admirer of Baba had come to see him. He asked him to give his photo and a small packet of holy ash to the person who would request him to give a little space in the train on his way to Bombay. If nobody turned up he should keep those things with him, but somebody is sure to come, said Baba. The admirer was not accosted by anybody till the train reached Kalyan. The train stopped at Thana and when it was about to leave the station, one person hastily entrained and found that no seat was vacant. But he requested this Baba's aamirer to move a little and give him a little space, because he was feeling giddy. Baba's photo and the holy ash were given to him. This person was no other than that Joshi himself of Thana whom Baba wanted to favour. In the conversa­tion both of them wondered at Baba's doings and tears began to flew from their eyes.

Kaka Mahajani was an employee in a firm. He took two weeks' leave and went to Shirdi. But as soon as he was seen by Baba, he asked him when he was going back while Mahajani had planned to stay at Shirdi for the Janmashtami festival. But he would do nothing against Baba's wishes. So Mahajani said he would leave as soon as Baba ordered. Baba told him to leave the next day. Accordingly he left and his wife and others were surprised at his return. When he went to his office he learnt that his master had already written a letter to him to come back because the head-clerk of the firm was unwell. When Mahajani told his master what had happened, he also became Baba's devotee.

Once a rich man went to Baba and requested him to give him advice on spiritual matters. In his pre­sence, Baba asked someone to bring a little money from some Marwadi. That man came back and said that the Marwadi was not at home. He was asked to try at other places but no one gave him even Rs. 5. That rich man was watching what was happening but he would not open his purse and give five rupees. He again requested Baba to give him spiritual advice. Baba said, "When you have fifty times the money I wanted, you would not part with it. For getting spiri­tual advice you have to give up everything, The rich man became crest-fallen and placed his purse at Baba's feet. It contained exactly Rs. 250, Baba gave back to him his purse.

A tailor called Martand used to stitch clothes at Shirdi. Once he fell ill. He was all alone. Who would give him medicine and look after him? Baba was going that way. He asked him to go to Nimgaon and meet Nanasaheb Dengle who would take care of him. So he went to Nimgaon, met Dengle who assured him that he should stay there quite freely. Baba had ordered Dengle to take care of him by appearing in his dream. Martand Darji was overwhelmed by Baba's kindness for poor people like him.

Nanasaheb Chandorkar was an earnest devotee of Baba. Once he went up the hill near his village with a friend. It was the hot season then and they immen­sely perspired and felt thirsty. They could not move a step and sat on a stone slab. No water was to be found near by. Nanasaheb exclaimed if only Baba was near by, he would have had no difficulty whatso­ever. At the same time Baba said to Madhaorao at Shirdi that his Nana was in great need of water. I shall give it to him and come back.

Shortly a 8hil passed by where Nanasaheb was sitting, all exhausted. He was asked if water could be had somewhere near. The Bhil replied "It is just under the slab on which you are sitting". All of them removed the stone and found that there was cool, clean water. They drank it to their heart's content. After seme days when Nanasaheb was at Shirdi,

Madhavrao asked what was his difficulty about 15 days ago. Nanasaheb took out his diary and remembered his trouble on the Nimgaon hill. Nanasaheb and Madhavrao were convinced that the Bhil who told him and his friend about water under the stone was none other than Baba himself.

While at Kopargaon, Nanasaheb once went to take holy bath in the Godavari because it was an eclipse day. Just then a Mahar came and demanded some charity. Nanasaheb gave him a silver coin of four annas. At this hour Baba was at Shirdi who told a person sitting by his side that he had received a four anna coin from Nana. Four days after Nanasaheb came to Shirdi and was asked what he had donated on the eclipse day at Kopargaon. He said that he had given a four-anna coin to a Mahar.

Nanasaheb was working as Mamlatdar at Jamner when Baba asked a gosavi to go to Jamner and give holy ash to Nanasaheb, take rest and then proceed to his village in Khandesh. Going to Jamner meant getting down at Jalgaon and proceeding by Tanga to Jamner. The gosavi had only two rupees with him. So he began to look at Baba's face rather confounded. Baba told him to proceed and all would be welf. The gosavi bought a ticket for one rupee and fourteen annas, so that only two annas were left with him. He nad utter faith in Baba. When he got down and came out of Jalgaon station, a pattewaia peon was making inquiry about Ramgir Buva Gosavi and found him out. The peon said that Nanasaheb had sent a horse vehicle for him. It was about midnight then. At about, dawn, the vehicle stopped near a stream and the peon awa­kened the gosavi and offered him some eatables but the gosavi would not partake of them thinking that the peon was a Mussalman. The peon explained that he was a Gadhwali Rajput and Nanasaheb himself had sent the eatables. The gosavi was convinced and partook of the eatables.

When they reached Jamner, the Mamlatdar's office was seen. It was about 7 in the morning. The tonga stopped and the gosavi walked a little distance to answer the call of Nature. When he returned, there was no trace of the horses, the tonga and the peon. He was surprised and on inquiries found Nanasaheb's house. He was feeling very anxious because his daugh­ter who was carrying was having birth pangs. Ramgir Buva Gosavi gave the holy ash to Nanasaheb who was delighted to receive this gift and favour from Baba. He mixed it with water and gave the water to his daughter to drink. Her pangs stopped and she had a safe delivery. The gosavi asked Nanasaheb where his peon and tonga were. The peon brought him near the Mamlatdar's office and disappeared all of a sudden. Nanasaheb said he had sent no vehicle and no peon and he was unable to follow what he was saying. At last Nanasaheb concluded that it was all Baba's work and felt very grateful for the favour he had so grace­fully done to him. That was Baba's usual way of help­ing his devotees.

There lived at Dahanu, Babasaheb Deo, who was posted as Mamlatdar there. He was a great admirer of Baba. His mother was a religiously minded woman and observed several vows. Once she decided to feed 200 Brahmans. Mamledar Deo was very keen that on this occasion Baba should come. So he wrote a letter to Bapusaheb Joag who showed it to Baba. Baba asked Joag to write to Deo that Baba, Joag and a third friend would go to Dahanu as desired by Deo. When the day of the celebration dawned and all preparations were made, Deo was waiting for Baba to come. Just then a horse carriage arrived and a Gorakshan Sanyasf and two others alighted from it. Deo told them that they were otherwise busy and they would not get any donations. The sanyasi said that he did not want any gifts and money but the three of them were hungry and should only be given food. They were asked to sit down for meals. Even after waiting for long Baba did not come and all the Brahmans were fed but Deo was much displeased because even after promising to come Baba had not come. A few days later, Deo went to Shirdi and complained to Baba that he had not kept his promise. Baba said, "I always keep my word. We three people did go to your place and ate to our heart's content. You invited us and you do not recog­nise us when we come." So saying Baba reminded Deo of ail the conversation of that day and Deo was convinced that the Gorakshan Sanyasi, Joag and the third person were Baba, Joag and his friend.

Chandrabai Borkar is an inhabitant of Pandharpur. Once she went to Kopargaon and as part of her religi­ous penance, she used to go to Datta Ghat and go round and round the pimpal tree. Every day, she felt that Sai Baba was somewhere near. One Thursday a faqir went near her and begged for a sweet bread and garlic Chatni. Chandrabai said it was the month of Shravan and onions and garlic were not consumed in that month The faqir went away. Some days later, she went to Shirdi and accompanied by Bapusaheb Joag's wife went to see Sai Baba. As soon as she was sighted" by Baba, he said to her, "When I asked for sweet bread and lasoon chatni, you did not give it to me. Now, why have you come here? Mrs. Joag said she had now come for the same purpose. Baba said Chandrabai was his sister for seven births and they would never forget each other.

Shantram Balvant Nachane of Andheri was a devo­tee  of  Baba and the story goes  that even  after Baba had  gone into Samadhi, he went to Nichane's help. Once Nachane took a train at Dadar for going to Nasik.    A man was already seated on a bench where Nachane also sat.     He made very kind inquiries of Nachane and told him that he was also going to  Nasik.    His nama was Ganapati  Shankar and he was employed as a peon in tne    Art    School    of   Bombay.     He   took   good   care of Nachan like a loving relative.    He returned also to Andheri   with   Nachane   but   suddenly   disappeared on reaching Andheri.    Nachane made  inquiries about him but he could not be traced.    At last Nachane went to the Art School and inquired about peon Ganapati Shan­kar, but no such  person was there.    Nachane realised that  it was Baba who had taken such good care of him and felt that it was wrong of him to have treated Baba like a menial.     But Baba pacified him.    Baba's advice to everyone was   that no one   should  commit suicide because one was   poor or   was tired   of tedious life. He  often helped  such   people by   hook   or crook and told them to  have faith  in God.     One should not be proud of one's talents, wealth or achievements of any kind but believe that God did everything.    He was an extremely pious and religious man, selfless to a fault.

XI. Story of Das Ganu

Baba's well-known devotee, Gan-esh Dattatraya Sahasrabuddhe was previously an employee of the Police Department. After meeting Baba he became his ardent devotee. He performed kirtans from place to place and always spoke about Baba. While in service, he was once under a cloud and was about to be dis­missed from service. He prayed Baba to save him from this calamity and offered to spend his remaining life in the service of Baba. His case resulted in his acquittal and he was even promoted to a higher post after passing a certain examination and he would not give up service as previously planned. When he went to see Baba, he asked him what happened to his sec­ret vow of giving up service. Why did he change his mind? "When you are again in difficulty you would behave in the same way."

And indeed, history repeated itself. He was again found criminally involved in a certain case and he prayed Baba and took a similar vow. But this time when he was acquitted, he kept his word and resigned his job. On Baba's advice he settled down at Nanded and earned his livelihood by performing Kirtans. He spread Baba's name, fame and message everywhere. He did not take any fee or present.

Once he came to Shirdi for a performance. He was fully dressed in a long coat, a turban and all as if he was going as a bridgeroom for his marriage. Baba scolded him in his mild, humorous way and asked him to appear for Kirtans in simple, clean dress. Dasa Ganu, of course, followed his advice.

Nanasaheb Chandorkar was an earnest devotee of Baba. Once he was posted at Pandharpur which is held sacred all over Maharashtra as the seat of Vithal and Rakhumai. It was awkward not to go to Vithal Mandir while living at Pandharpur, but doing so might mean diminution of faith in Sai Baba. Such were the doubts that tormented Chandorkar. So he decided to go to Shirdi before proceeding to Pandharpur and have his conundrum solved.

Baba knew why   he   had   come to see him.    He decided to demonstrate in action what he should 'do. He ordered people about him to sit for a Bhajan per­formance.    Baba led the Bhajan   and   others followed him.    When  Nanasaheb arrived  he  heard the chorus. "Go to Pandharpur.. stay there at God's place and meet Vithal."   Nanasaheb understood that all that was meant for him.    From   that day on,   he respected all deities alike and revered all saints alike.    Baba's teaching was to have the same respect for all religions, their foun­ders and their teachings, because essentially they were never different.     He had named the mosque in which he lived as Dwarkamai and all had free admission there irrespective of caste, creed, race and religion.    Rama-navmi  is celebrated at Shirdi   every year   and Hindus, Muslims,     Parsees     and     Christians     participate     in it   without    distinction   and   with    great   enthusiasm. Similarly  in the  sandal procession  of the Muslims all take part.     Baba never asked any one to  give up his ancestral faith and change the deity of worship.

When his end was near he asked the recitation of Ramavijaya to be performed three times and on Vijayadashami day in 1918 asked to be removed to Buti's house. He leaned against Bayaji. a devotee who was sitting by his side and breathed his last. His body was properly worshipped. He got Dasa Ganu to place Bakula flowers on his body, kirtan was per­formed and in Buti house, his remains were kept in a Samadhi in the Hindu style. Baba favoured many while alive but even after he was no more he is known to have gone to the rescue of his devotees, when remembered.

Baba's sincere devotees and genuine disciples know that even after he had left his mortal coil which is now preserved in a Samadhi in the Buty house at Shirdi, he is always alert to help them and take them out of any difficulty situation. One such very fresh illustration has came to the notice of one such sincere devotee of Sai Baba. The devotee has built a small shrine at Ratnagiri, but he does not stay there. He usually stays at Santa Cruz, a Bombay suburb. His wife also is a sincere devotee of Sai Baba. As they do not stay at Ratnagiri except in the May vacation every year they have a board fixed at the shrine that anybody may have Sai Baba's darshan bent none may make any offerings there whether in kind or money. The shrine was built by a building contractor and a stone image of Sai Baba was procured by him for being installed in the shrine. The devotee asked the contrac­tor what his bill for the little construction and the stone idol was. He said it would be from Rs. 6000 to 7000. This was beyond the devotee's capacity. But he said that if the contractor made a gift of it in Sai Baba's name, he would benefit immensely. Sai Baba, as usual was anxious to go to the rescue of his devotee who asked the contractor to buy a lottery ticket. As luck would have it or as Baba had arranged it in his omni­science, the contractor got a lakh of rupees when the result of the lottery was declared.

Naturally, the contractor also became a devotee of Sai Baba. The couple who have erected the little shrine of Baba in their little estate at Ratnagiri are known as Shri Shriram Sakharam Athalya and Shrimati Shalini Athalye. They are good social workers always doing good to their neighbours or engage in some philanthro­pic work or other. Sai Baba's favours to his genuine devotees thus continue to be made to this day.

BABA'S ASSURANCE TO DEVOTEES

By Mohaniraj Pandit

One who will  go to Shirdi Will be free from all trouble

One who will step up my Samadhi      will be free from all trouble

Though I have given up my mortal coil I shall run to rescue devotees

My samadhi will  listen to entreaties Be  sure about this

Remember I am always alive Put to test this truth

Show me one who threw himself to me and failed

One who will have faith in me will gain proportionately

I  shall bear your burden always there will be no defaulting

I help all and give all what they want

Sai says one who throws himself on my mercy, always benefits.