of Sai Baba
The villagers of
Shirdi and afar soon found out that this was no ordinary fakir but an avatar
(incarnation) of a very high order. He demonstrated through his miracles
and utterances, the purpose and intention for which he had come. He would
often say, "My Leela is inscrutable". To each one he met, he imparted knowledge
according to the capacity of the recipient to absorb it. Baba's Leela's
(miracles) were plenty and varied, and we recount just a few which occurred
during and after his lifetime.
( Miracles )
Lighting lamps with
Long before Sai
Baba's fame spread, he was fond of burning lights in his Masjid and other
Temples. But for the oil needed in those little earthenware lights that
he lit, he depended on the generosity of the grocers of Shirdi. He had
made it a rule to light earthenware lamps in the masjid every evening and
he would call on the grocers for small donations. But there came a time
when the grocers got tired of giving oil free to Sai Baba and one day they
bluntly refused to oblige him, saying they had no fresh stocks. Without
a word of protest Sai Baba returned to the masjid. Into those earthenware
lamps he poured water and lighted the wicks. The lamps continued to burn
deep into the midnight. The matter came to the notice of the grocers who
now came to Sai Baba with profuse apologies. Wouldn't Sai Baba kindly pardon
them? Sai Baba pardoned them, but he warned them never to lie again. "You
could have refused to give me the oil, but did you have to say that you
didn't have fresh stocks?" he admonished them. But he had made his point.
Stopping the rain
in Shirdi had been completed and the food grains of the entire village
had been stored in a yard. The summer was on. The heat was intense as only
those who have lived in Shirdi know. One afternoon Sai Baba summoned Kondaji
Sutar and said to him: "Go, your field is on flrel" Frightened, Kondaji
ran to his field and. frantically looked around for any sign of fire. There
wasn't any. He returned to the masjid and informed Sai Baba that he had
looked everywhere but had found no trace of fire and why did Baba have
to frighten him? Unfazed, Baba said : "You better turn back and look again."
Baba was right after all. Kondaji noticed that a sheaf of corn was indeed
on fire and smoke was billowing from it. A strong wind was fanning the
fire and word had gone round to the villagers who now came running to the
scene. "Sai Baba," the people shouted "help us, help us put the fire out!"
Thereupon, Sai Baba walked casually towards the yard, sprinkled some water
on a stack of sheaves and said: " There now! The fire will die down!" And
so it happened.
There is the story
of one Rao Bahadur Moreshwar Fradhan who had come to Shirdi to take Sai
Baba's darshan along with his wife. As the couple were about to leave,
it began to rain heavily. Thunder and lightning rent the air. As the Pradhan
couple looked round in dismay, Sai Baba prayed. "Oh Allah!" he intoned,
"let the rains cease. My children are going home. Let them go peacefully!"
The storm thereupon ceased, the downpour reduced to slight drizzle and
the Pradhans were able to reach their destination safely.
Raising the water
level in well
When Sai Baba first
came to Shirdi it had of no basic facilities. There was a well put only
in name. It had no natural spring water and if ever there had been one,
it must long ago have dried up. Water had to be fetched from a distance.
When, therefore, Sai Baba gave his permission to the villagers to celebrate
the Ram Navami Fair, (Baba's Birthday) the big problem facing the organizers
was one of water supply. So What should they do but go to Sai Baba with
their problem? "'Oh yes," said Sai Baba, 'so you want plenty of water,
do you? Here, take this and drop it in the well and wait and see." "'This,"
turned up to be a platter of flowers on which some prasad (blessed food)
had been placed along with the remnants of alms Baba had received earlier
in the day. The villagers had no qualms about doing as they were did. Their
faith in Sai Baba was total. No sooner had that platter of leaves been
dropped in the well, it is said, water rose from the bottom as if by divine
command and completely filled it. And great was the rejoicing of the people.
Saving a child
One report has it
that word had spread that the 3 year old daughter of a poor man called
Babu Kirwandikar had fallen into the well and had been drowned. When the
villagers rushed to the well they saw the child suspended in mid-air as
if some invisible hand was holding her up! She was quickly pulled out.
Sai Baba was fond of that child who was often heard to say : I am Baba's
sister!" After this incident, the villagers took her at her word. "it is
all Baba's Leela", the people would say philosophically. They could offer
no other explanation.
Flow of Godavari
(river) from Baba's feet
These were instances
of things they had seen with their own eyes. It was not secondhand information
they had gathered. Sai Baba was to them as real as their homes and their
fields and their cattle and the distant hills.Das Ganu once had an unforgettable
experience. On a festive occasion, he sought Baba's permission to go to
a place called Singba on the banks of the Godavari to have a bath in the
holy waters. "No," Baba replied resolutely, "where is the need to go all
the way when the Godavari is here right at my feet?" Das Ganu was vexed.
He was willing to concede that Ganga the holy river (Baba frequently referred
to Godavari as Ganga) rose from the feet of Sri Narayana (one among the
Hindu trinity of Gods) himself, but his faith was not deep enough to believe
that the waters of the Godavari could spring form the feet of his master,
Sri Sai. Baba who was reading Das Ganu's mind decided that this was the
time to strengthen Das Ganu's faith. He told his devotee: "come closer
to me and hold the hollow of your palms at my feet!". As soon as he did
so water flowed freely out of the toes of the master's feet and filled
the hollow of Das Ganu's palms in no time. His joy knew no limits. He sprinkled
the water on his head and his body and distributed some more among the
assembled devotees as tirtha (holy water).
There was that other
occasion when many thought that the masjid which housed Sai Baba itself
would be consumed by fire from the flames which leapt up from the dhuni.
All that Baba did was to take some swipes at a wooden pillar in front of
him. With every blow the flames subsided and the fire died down. "Miraculous,"
said his devotees. Often they would notice him stirring some hot concotion
over the kitchen fire, not with a ladle but with his bare hands. There
never was a time when his hand was scalded. What supernatural powers did
he have? On yet another occasion, Sai Baba was partaking of food with three
of his devotees in the masjid when, without any cause for provocation,
he exclaimed- "Stop!" Then, as if nothing had happened, the four continued
with their meal. Lunch over and the dishes cleared, they stepped out of
the masjid, when large chunks of the ceiling fell on the very spot where
they had been seated only a few minutes earlier. Did Sai Baba's powers
extend even to inanimate matter, the devotees wondered. Instances have
been quoted by his devotees as to how Sai Baba commanded the rains to stop
and the winds to cease.
Baba always maintained
the "Dhuni" or the perpetual fire. The realization that all the phenomenon's
of the nature are perishable and unworthy of our craving, is signified
by "Udi" which Sal Baba distributed to all. Baba never left Shirdi. He
talked to people who came to see Him. Sal Baba would often speak in symbols
and parables leaving his devotees to work out the answer - such as, "A
man had a beautiful horse, but no matter what he did, it would not run
in harness. An expert suggested that it should be taken back to the place
from where it had come. This was done and it become traceable and useful".
The explanation of this story is that the horse is the Ego. As commander
of the physical and mental powers of man, it is useful but self-willed
and therefore cause endless trouble. Taking it back to its source is re-absorbing
it in the spirit source which it arises. It is the return to the source
which purifies and enlightens. From there the ego issues forth again, no
longer an ego, but a conscious agent of the spirit. Baba would ask for
Dakshina (money offered with respect to the Guru) from some of those who
came to see Him. This was not because he needed their money. This was one
of Baba's methods for testing out the devotee's attachment to worldly things
and willingness to surrender his ego. Once one has surrendered himself
totally to Him, Baba takes care of all His spiritual and temporal needs.
Baba regarded money like everything else, in a symbolical manner. He once
said, " I ask only from those who the fakir (God) points out and in exchange
I give them ten times as much". By the end of the day, all the money Baba
had earned was distributed to the destitute, poor, sick and the needy.
Baba used to feed the fakirs and devotees and even cook for them. For those
who were accustomed to meat, he cooked meat and for the others vegetarian
of Sai Baba was open to all, irrespective of caste, creed or religion.
Among those who came to see him and got his darshan (establishing spiritual
contact with the Guru) and blessings were ministers, government officials,
business people and village folk. He was the common man's God. He Stayed
with them, hejoked with them, He slept and ate with them, he smoked a chillum
(pipe) with them, he sang and danced with them, having no pretensions of
a God. But all of them Knew that He protected them. Even today, though
He has left his gross body, they feel his presence and realise his worth
all the more. Baba would also refer to the sounding of the drum of the
beginning of eternity within the soul. This "anahat" sound emerged from
Baba's heart from every limb, every bone and pore of his body. It was permeated
with divine essence and Baba claimed that though one day his physical body
will not exist, his remains will communicate with from the grave. Therefore,
the most important place in Shirdi is Baba's temple - the Samadhi Mandir
is his grave, which literally millions have visited and still continues
to draw many more.