EWonderful Incarnation - Behaviour of Sai Baba
- His Yoga Practices - His All-pervasiveness - Leper Devotee’s
service - Master Khaparde’s Plague-case - Going to Pandharpur.
Sai Baba knew all Yogic Practices. He was well-versed in the six
processes including Dhauti (Stomach-cleaning by a moistened piece
of linen 3" in breadth and 22 1/2" in length), Khandayoga,
i.e., separating His limbs and joining them again, and Samadhi,
etc. If you think that He was a Hindu, He looked like a Yavan.
If you think Him to be a Yavan, He looked like a pious Hindu.
No one definitely knew whether He was a Hindu or a Mahomedan.
He celebrated the Hindu festival of Rama-Navami with all due formalities,
and at the same time permitted the ‘Sandal’ procession
of the Mahomedans. He encouraged wrestling bouts in this festival,
and gave good prizes to winners. When the Gokul Ashtami came,
He got the ‘Gopal-Kala’ ceremony duly performed and
on Id festivals, He allowed Mahomedans to say their prayers (Namaj)
in His Masjid. Once in the Moharum festival, some Mahomedans proposed
to contruct a Tajiya or Tabut in the Masjid, keep it there for
some days and afterwards take it in procession through the village.
Sai Baba allowed the keeping of the Tabut for four days, and on
the fifth day removed it out of the Masjid without the least compunction.
If we say that He was a Mahomedan, His ears were pierced (i.e.
had holes according to Hindu fashion). If you think that He was
a Hindu, He advocated the practice of circumcision (though according
to Mr. Nanasaheb Chandorkar, who observed Him closely, He was
not Himself circumcised. Vide article in Sai Leela on "Baba
Hindu Ki Yavan" by B.V. Deo, page 562). If you call Him Hindu,
He always lived in the Masjid; if Mahomedan, He had always the
Dhuni - sacred fire there, and the following things which are
contrary to Mahomedan religion, i.e., grinding on the handmill,
blowing of the conch and bells, oblation in the fire, Bhajan,
giving of food, and worship of Baba’s Feet by means of ARGHYA
(water) were always allowed there. If you think that He was a
Mahomedan, the best of Brahmins and Agnihotris, leaving aside
their orthodox ways, fell prostrate at His Feet. Those who went
to make enquiries about his nationality, were dumb-founded and
were captured by his darshana. So none could definitely decide
whether Sai Baba was a Hindu or a Mahomedan*.(see below this paragraph)
This is no wonder; for he who completely surrenders himself to
the Lord, by getting rid of his egoism; and body - consciousness
thus becomes one with Him, and has nothing to do with any questions
of caste or nationality. Such a one as Sai Baba was, saw no difference
between caste and caste and even beings and beings. He took meat
and fish with Fakirs, but did not grumble when dogs touched the
dishes with their mouths.
[* Note--(1) Mhalsapati, an intimate Shirdi devotee of Baba, who
always slept with Him in the Masjid and Chavadi, said that Sai
Baba told him that He was a Brahmin of Pathari and was handed
over to a Fakir in his infancy, and when He told this, some men
from Pathari had come, and Baba was enquiring about some men from
that place. Vide sai Leela 1924, Page 179. (2) Mrs. Kashibai Kanitkar,
the famous learned woman of Poona says in the experience No.8,
published on Page 79, Sai Leela Vol. 11,1934, - "On hearing
of Baba’s miracles, we were discussing according to our
theosophic convention and fashion whether Sai Baba belonged to
Black or White Lodge. When once I went to Shirdi, I was thinking
seriously about this in my mind. As soon as I approached the steps
of the Masjid, Baba came to the front and pointing to His chest
and staring at me spoke rather vehemently -"This is a Brahmin,
pure Brahmin. He has nothing to do with black things. No Musalman
can dare to step in here. He dare not." Again pointing to
his chest - "This Brahmin can bring lacks of men on the white
path and take them to their destination. This is a Brahmin’s
Masjid and I won’t allow any black Mahomedan to cast his
shadow here." ]
Such a unique and wonderful incarnation was Sai
Baba. On account of the merits in my past birth, I had the good
fortune to sit at His Feet and enjoy His blessed company. The
joy and delight I derived therefrom was incomparable. In fact
Sai Baba was pure Anand and Consciousness. I cannot sufficiently
describle Him, His greatness and uniqueness. He who took delight
at His Feet, was established in His own self. Many Sanyasis, Sadhakas
and all sorts of men aspiring for salvation came to Sai Baba.
He always walked, talked and laughed with them and always uttered
with His tongue ‘Allah Malik’ (God is the sole owner).
He never liked discussion or arguments. He was always calm and
controlled, though irritable at times, always preached full Vedanta
and nobody knew till the last Who was Baba. Princes and poor people
were treated alike by Him. He knew the inmost secrets of all,
and when He gave expression to them, all were surprised. He was
the repository of all knowledge, still He feigned ignorance. He
also disliked honour. Such were the characteristics of Sai Baba.
Though, He had a human body, His deeds testified to HIS Godhood.
All people considered Him as the Lord God in Shirdi.
Behaviour of Sai Baba
Fool that I am, I cannot describe Baba’s miracles. He got
almost all the temples in Shirdi repaired. Through Tatya Patil,
the temples of Shani, Ganapati, Shankar-Parvati, Village Deity,
and Maruti were put in order. His charity was also remarkable.
The money He used to collect as Dakshina was freely distributed,
Rs.20 to some, Rs.15 or 50, to others everyday. The recipients
thought that this was ‘pure’ charity money, and Baba
wished that it should be usefully employed.
People were immensely benefited by having a darshana
of Baba. Some became hale and hearty; wicked people were turned
into good ones. Kushtha (Leprosy) was cured in some cases, many
got their desires fulfilled, without any drops or medicine being
put in the eyes, some blind men got back their sight and some
lame ones got their legs. Nobody could see the end of His extraordinary
greatness. His fame spread far and wide, and pilgrims from all
sides flocked to Shirdi. Baba sat always near the Dhuni and eased
Himself there, and always sat in meditation; sometimes with and
on other times without a bath.
He used to tie a white turban on his head; and
wear a clean Dhotar round his waist, and a shirt on his body.
This was his dress in the beginning. He started practicing medicine
in the village, examined patients and gave medicines. He was always
successful, and He became famous as a Hakim (Doctor). A curious
case may be narrated here. One devotee got his eye balls quite
red and swollen. No Doctor was available in Shirdi. The other
devotees took him to Baba. Other Doctors would use ointments,
Anjans, cow’s milk and camphorated drugs etc., in such cases.
Baba’s remedy was quite unique. He pounded some ‘BEEBA’
(Some Carpus Ana Cardium i.e. marking nuts) and made two balls
of them, thrust them on in each eye of the patient and wrapped
a cloth-bandage round them (eyes). Next day, the bandage was removed
and water was poured over them in a stream. The inflammation subsided
and the pupils became white and clear. Though the eyes are very
delicate, the BEEBA caused no smarting; but removed the disease
of the eyes. Many such cases were cured and this is only an instance
Baba’s Yoga Practices
Baba knew all the processes and practices of Yoga. Two of them
will be described here:
(1) DHAUTI or CLEANING PROCESS: Baba went to the well near a Banyan
tree at a considerable distance from the Masjid every third day
and washed his mouth and had a bath. On one occasion, He was seen
to vomit out his intestines, clean them inside and outside and
place them on a Jamb tree for drying. There are persons in Shirdi,
who have actually seen this, and who have testified to this fact.
Ordinary Dhauti is done by a moistened piece of linen, 3 inches
broad 22 1/2ft. long. This piece is gulped down the throat and
allowed to remain in the stomach for about half an hour for being
reacted there and then taken out. But Baba’s Dhauti was
quite unique and extraordinary.
(2) KHANDA YOGA: In this practice, Baba extracted
the various limbs from His body, and left them separately at different
places in the Masjid. Once, a gentleman went to the Masjid, and
saw the limbs of Baba lying separately at separate places. He
was much terrified; and he first thought of running to the village
officers, and informing them of Baba being hacked to pieces and
murdered. He thought that he would be held responsible, as he
was the first informant, and knew something of the affair. So
he kept silent. But next day when he went to the masjid, he was
very much surprised to see Baba, hale and hearty and sound, as
before. He thought, that what he had seen the previous day, was
only a dream.
Baba practised Yoga since, His infancy and nobody
knew or guessed the proficiency He attained. He charged no fees
for His cures, became renowned and famous by virtue of His merits,
gave health to many a poor and suffering person. This famous Doctor
of doctors cared not for His interests, but always worked for
the good and welfare of others, Himself suffering unbearable and
terrible pain many a time in the process. One such instance, I
give below, which will show the all-pervasive and most merciful
character of Sai Baba.
Baba’s All-pervasiveness and Mercy
In the year 1910 A.D., Baba was sitting near the Dhuni on Divali
holiday and warming Himself. He was pushing fire-wood into the
Dhuni, which was brightly burning. A little later, instead of
pushing logs of woods, Baba pushed His arm into the Dhuni; the
arm was scorched and burnt immediately. This was noticed by the
servant Madhava, and also by Madhavrao Deshpande (Shama). They
at once ran to Baba and Madhavarao clasped Baba by His waist from
behind and dragged Him forcible back ward and asked, "Deva,
for what have You done this?" Then Baba came to His senses
and replied, "The wife of a blacksmith at some distant place,
was working the bellows of a furnace;her husband called her. Forgetting
that her child was on her waist, she ran hastily and the child
slipped into the furnace. I immediately thrust My hand into the
furnace and saved the child. I do not mind My arm being burnt,
but I am glad that the life of the child is saved."
Leper Devotee’s Service
On hearing the news of Baba’s hand being burnt from (Shama)
Madhavrao Deshpande, Mr. Nanasaheb Chandorkar, accompanied by
the famous Doctor Parmanand of Bombay with his medical outfit
consisting of ointments, lint and bandage etc. rushed to Shirdi,
and requested Baba to allow Dr. Parmanand to examine the arm,
and dress the wound caused by the burn. This was refused. Ever
since the burn, the arm was dressed by the leper devotee, Bhagoji
Shinde. His treatment consisted in massaging the burnt part with
ghee and then placing a leaf over it and bandaging it tightly
with Pattis (bandages). Mr. Nanasaheb Chandorkar solicited Baba
many a time to unfasten the Pattis and get the wound examined
and dressed and treated by Dr. Parmanand, with the object that
it may be speedily healed. Dr. Parmanand himself made similar
requests, but Baba postponed saying that Allah was His Doctor;
and did not allow His arm to be examined. Dr. Paramanand’s
medicines were not exposed to their air of Shirdi, as they remained
intact, but he had the good fortune of getting a darshana of Baba.
Bhagoji was allowed to treat the hand daily. After some days,
the arm healed and all were happy. Still, we do not know whether
any trace of pain was left or not. Every morning, Bhagoji went
throught his programme of loosening the Pattis, massaging he arm
with ghee and tightly bandaging it again. This went on till Sai
Baba’s Samadhi (death). Sai Baba, a perfect Siddha, as He
was, did not really want this treatment, but out of love to His
devotee, He allowed the ‘Upasana’ - service of Bhagoji
to go on un-interrupted all along. When Baba started for Lendi,
Bhagoji held an umbrella over Him and accompanied Him. Every morning,
when Baba sat near the post close to the Dhuni, Bhagoji was present
and started his service. Bhagoji was a sinner in his past brith.
He was suffering from leprosy, his fingers had shrunk, his body
was full of pus and smelling badly. Though outwardly he seemed
so unfortunate, he was really very lucky and happy, for he was
the premier servant of Baba, and got the benefit of His company.
Master Khaparde’s Plague-Case
I shall now relate another instance of Baba’s wonderful
Leela. Mrs. Khaparde, the wife of Mr. Dadasaheb Khaparde of Amraoti,
was staying at Shirdi with her young son for some days. One day
the son got high fever, which further developed into Bubonic plague.
The mother was frightened and felt most uneasy. She thought of
leaving the place for Amraoti, and went near Baba in the evening,
when He was coming near the Wada (now Samadhi Mandir) in His evening
rounds, for asking His permission. She informed Him in a trembling
tone, that her dear young son was down with plague. Baba spoke
kindly and softly to her, saying that the sky is beset with clouds;
but they will melt and pass off and everything will be smooth
and clear. So saying, He lifted up His Kafni up to the waist and
showed to all present, four fully developed bubos, as big as eggs,
and added, "See, how I have to suffer for My devotees; their
difficulties are Mine." Seeing this unique and extraordinary
deed (Leela), the people were convinced as to how the Saints suffer
pains for their devotees. The mind of the saints is softer than
wax, it is soft, in and out, as butter. They love their devotees
without any idea of gain, and regard them as their true relatives.
Going to Pandharpur and Staying There
I shall now close this Chapter after relating a story illustrating
how Sai Baba loved His devotees and anticipated their wishes and
movements. Mr. Nanasaheb Chandorkar, who was a great devotee of
Baba, was Mamlatdar at Nandurbar in Khandesh. He got an order
of transfer to Pandharpur. His devotion to Sai Baba bore fruit,
as he got an order to go and stay at Pandharpur which is regarded
as the ‘BHUVAIKUNTHA’ - Heaven on earth. Nanasaheb
had to take immediate charge, so he left, immediately, for the
place, without even writing or informing anybody at Shirdi. He
wanted to give a surprise visit to Shirdi - his Pandharpur, see
and salute his Vithoba (Baba), and then proceed. Nobody dreamt
of Nanasaheb’s departure for Shirdi, but Sai Baba knew all
about this, as His eyes were everywhere (omniscient). As soon
as Nanasaheb approached Neemgaon, a few miles from Shirdi, there
was stir in the Masjid at Shirdi. Baba was sitting and talking
with Mhalsapati, Appa Shinde and Kashiram, when He at once said,
"Let us all four do some Bhajan, the doors of Pandhari are
open, let us merrily sing." Then they began to sing in chorus,
the burden of the song being "I have to go to Pandharpur
and I have to stay on there, for it is the house of my Lord."
Baba sang and the devotees followed Him. In a
short time Nanasaheb came there with his family, prostrated before
Baba and requested Him to accompany them to Pandharpur and stay
with them there. This solicitation was not necessary, as the devotees
told Nanasaheb that Baba was already in the mood of going to Pandharpur
and staying there. Hearing this Nanasaheb was moved and fell at
Baba’s Feet. Then getting Baba’s permission, Udi (sacred
ashes) and Blessings, Nanasaheb left for Pandharpur.
There is no end to Baba’s stories, but
let me now make a halt here, reserving for the next Chapter other
topics, such as importance of human life, Baba’s living
on alms, Bayajabai’s service and other stories.