Previous Indication - Averting Death of Ramachandra
Dada Patil and Tatya Kote Patil - Charity to Laxmibai Shinde -
This chapter describes the Passing away of Baba.
The stories given in the previous chapter have shown that the
light of Guru's grace removes out fear of the mundane existence,
opens the path of salvation and turns our misery into happiness.
If we always remember the feet of the Sad-guru, our troubles come
to an end, death loses its sting and the misery of this mundane
existence is obliterated. Therefore those who care for their welfare
should carefully listen to these stories of Sai Samarth, which
will purify their minds.
In the beginning, Hemadpant dwells on Dr.Pandit's
worship and his marking Baba's forehead with Tripundra, i.e.,
three horizontal lines; but as this has been already described
in chapter XI, this has been omitted here.
The readers up till now heard the stories of Baba's life. Let
them now hear attentively Baba's Passing away. Baba got a slight
attack of fever on 28th September, 1918. The fever lasted for
2 or 3 days, but afterwards Baba gave up his food and thereby
He grew weaker and weaker. On the 17th day, i.e., Tuesday, the
15th October 1918, Baba left His mortal coil at about 2-30 p.m.
(Vide Professor G.G. Narke's letter, dated 5th November 1918,
to Dadasaheb Khaparde, published in "Sai Leela" magazine,
Page 78, first year). Two years before this, i.e., in 1916, Baba
gave an indication of His Passing away, but nobody understood
it then. It was as follows:- On the Vijayadashmi (Dasara) day
Baba at once got into wild rage in the evening when people were
returning from 'Seemollanghan' (crossing the border or limits
of the village). Taking off His head-dress, kafni and langota
etc., He tore them and threw them in the Dhuni before Him. Fed
by this offering, the fire in the Dhuni began to burn brighter
and Baba shone still brighter. He stood there stark naked and
with His burning red eyes shouted - "You fellows, now have
a look and decide finally whether Iam a Moslem or a Hindu."
Everybody was trembling with fear and none dared to approach Baba.
After some time Bhagoji Shinde, the leper devotee of Baba, went
boldly near Him and succeeded in tying a langota (waist-band)
round His waist and said - "Baba, what is all this? To-day
is the Seemollanghan, i.e., Dasara Holiday." Baba striking
the ground with His satka said - "This is my Seemollanghan
(crossing the border)." Baba did not cool down till 11-00
p.m. and the people doubted whether the chavadi procession would
ever take place that night. After an hour Baba resumed His normal
condition and dressing Himself as usual attended the chavadi procession
as described before. By this incident Baba gave a suggestion that
Dasara was the proper time for Him to cross the border of life,
but none understood its meaning. Baba gave also another indication
Averting Death of Ramachandra and Tatya
Some time after this, Ramachandra Patil became scriously ill.
He suffered a lot. He tried all remedies, but finding no relief,
despaired of his life and was waiting for the last moment. The
one midnight Baba suddenly stood near his pillow. Patil held His
Feet and said - "I have lost all hopes of life, please tell
me definitely when I shall die." Merciful Baba said - "Don't
be anxious, your hundi (death-warrant) has been withdrawn and
you will soon recover, but Iam afraid of Tatya Patil. He will
pass away on Vijayadashami of Shaka 1840 (1918 A.D.). Do not divulge
this to anybody, nor to him, for he will be terribly frightened."
Ramachandra Dada got well, but he felt nervous about Tatya's life,
for he knew that Baba's word was unalterable, and that Tatya would
breathe his last within two years. He kept this hint secret, told
it to none but one Bala Shimpi (a tailor). Only these two persons
- Ramachandra Dada and Bala Shimpi were in fear and suspense regarding
Ramachandra Dada soon left his bed and was on
his legs. Time passed quickly. The month of Bhadrapad of Shaka
1840 (1918 A.D.) was ending and Ashwin was in sight. True to Baba's
word, Tatya fell sick and was bed-ridden; and so he could not
come for Baba's darshana. Baba was also down with fever. Tatya
had full faith in Baba and Baba in Lord Hari, who was His Protector.
Tatya's illness began to grow from bad to worse and he could not
move at all but always remembered Baba. The predicament of Baba
began to grow equally worse. The day predicted, i.e., Vijayadashami
was impending and both Ramachandra Dada and Bala Shimpi were terribly
frightened about Tatya and with their bodies trembling and perspiring
with fear, thought that as predicted by Baba, Tatya's end was
nigh. Vijayadashami dawned and Tatya's pulse began to beat very
slow and he was expected to pass away shortly. But a curious thing
happened. Tatya remained, his death was averted and Baba passed
away in his stead. It seemed as if there was an exchange. People
said that Baba gave up His life for Tatya; why He did so? He alone
knows as His ways are inscrutable. It seems, however, that in
this incident, Baba gave a hint of His passing away, substituting
Tatya's name for His.
Next morning (16th October) Baba appeared to
Das Ganu at Pandharpur in his dream and said to him - "The
Masjid collapsed, all the oilmen and grocers of Shirdi teased
me a lot, so I leave the place. I therefore came to inform you
here, please go there quickly and cover me with 'Bhakkal' flowers."
Das Ganu got the information also from Shirdi letters. So he came
to Shirdi with his disciples and started bhajan and kirtan and
sang the Lord's name, all through the day before Baba's samadhi.
Himself weaving a beautiful garland of flowers studded with Lord
Hari's name he placed it on Baba's samadhi and gave a mass-feeding
in Baba's name.
Charity to Laxmibai
Dasara or Vijayadashami is regarded by all the Hindus as the most
auspicious time and it is befitting that Baba should choose this
time for His crossing the border-line. He was ailing some days
before this, but He was ever conscious internally. Just before
the last movement He sat up erect without anybody's aid, and looked
better. People thought that the danger had passed off and He was
geeting well. He knew that He was to pass away soon and therefore,
He wanted to give some money as charity to Laxmibai Shinde.
Baba Pervading All Creatures
This Laxmibai Shinde was a good and well-to-do woman. She was
working in the Masjid day and night. Except Bhagat Mhalasapati,
Tatya and Laxmibai, none was allowed to step in the Masjid at
night. Once while Baba was sitting in the Masjid with Tatya in
the evening, Laxmibai came and saluted Baba. The latter said to
her - "Oh Laxmi, Iam very hungry." Off she went saying
- "Baba, wait a bit, I return immediately with bread."
She did return with bread and vegetables and placed the same before
Baba. He took it up and gave it to a dog. Laxmibai then asked
- "What is this, Baba, I ran in haste, prepared bread with
my own hands for You and You threw it to a dog without eating
a morsel of it; You gave me trouble unnecessarily." Baba
replied - "Why do you grieve for nothing? The appeasement
of the dog's hunger is the same as Mine. The dog has got a soul;
the creatures may be different, but the hunger of all is the same,
though some speak and others are dumb. Know for certain, that
he who feeds the hungry, really serves Me with food. Regard this
as an exiomatic Truth." This is a ordinary incident but Baba
thereby propounded a great spiritual truth and showed its practical
application in daily life without hurting anybody's feelings.
From this time onward Laxmibai began to offer Him daily bread
and milk with love and devotion. Baba accepted and ate it appreciatingly.
He took a part of this and sent the remainder with Laxmibai to
Radha-Krishna-Mai who always relished and ate Baba's remnant prasad.
This bread-story should not be considered as a digression; it
shows, how Sai Baba pervaded all the creatures and transcended
them. He is omnipresent, birthless, deathless and immortal.
Baba remembered Laxmibai's service. How could
He forget her? Just before leaving the body, He put His hand in
His pocket and gave her once Rs.5/- and again Rs.4/-, in all Rs.9/-.
This figure (9) is indicative of the nine types of devotion described
in chapter 21 or it may be the Dakshina offered at the time of
Seemollanghan. Laxmibai was a well-to-do woman and so she was
not in want of any money. So Baba might have suggested to her
and brought prominently to her notice the nine characteristics
of a good disciple mentioned in the 6th verse of chapter ten,
skandha eleven of the Bhagwat, wherein first five and then four
characteristics are mentioned in the first and second couplets.*
Baba followed the order, first paid Rs.5/- and then Rs.4/- in
all Rs.9/-. Not only nine, but many times nine rupees passed through
Laxmibai's hand, but Baba's this gift of Nine, she will ever remember.
Being so watchful and conscious, Baba also took
other precautions in His last moment. In order that He should
not be embroiled or entangled with love and affection for His
devotees, He ordered them all to clear off. Kakasaheb Dixit, Bapusaheb
Booty and others were in the Masjid anxiously waiting upon Baba,
but He asked them to go to the Wada and return after meals. They
could not leave Baba's presence, nor could they disobey Him. So
with heavy hearts and heavy feet they went to the Wada. They knew
that Baba's case was very serious and that they could not forget
Him. They sat for meals, but their mind was elsewhere, it was
with Baba. Before they finished, news came to them of Baba's leaving
the mortal coil. Leaving their dishes, they ran to the Masjid
and found that Baba rested finally on Bayaji's lap. He did not
fall down on the ground nor did He lie on His bed, but sitting
quietly on His seat and doing charity with His own hand threw
off the mortal coil. Saints embody themselves and come into this
world with a definite mission and after that is fulfilled they
pass away as quietly and easily as they came.