God, in all religions is the Omnipresent Spirit, the essence of all existence. Accordingly, the Perfect Master is he who like Sai Baba can, not only say “I am at Shirdi and every where" but also demonstrate it to his devotees.
About 1904 Nanasaheb Chandorkar was working as a mamlatdar at Jamner, nearly a hundred miles from Shirdi. His daughter Mainthai was pregnant and suffered labor pains for three days. Her condition was very serious. Having exhausted all other avenues of help, he finally prayed to Baba to save his daughter. Precisely at that time, at Shirdi, a devotee by name Ramgir Bua sought Baba’s permission to return to his home in Khandesh. Baba then gave him permission but asked him to proceed first to Jamner. There, he was to deliver a packet of udi and a devotional song written down on a piece of paper, at Nanasaheb Chandorkar’s place and then go home. Ramgir bua was willing to do as Baba said but, he said, he had only Rs.2/- with him which was just sufficient to take him upto Jalgaon which was thirty miles this side of Jamner. He had not the money to proceed from Jalgaon to Jamner. Baba gave him no money but assured him that all that was needed would be provided for. Then Baba gave Ramgir an arti song written by Shama on a piece of paper and udi. We have to note that Baba used to address Ramgir as ‘Bapugir Bua’.
Ramgir Bua promptly started by train and reached Jalgaon at 2-45 a.m. He had only two annas (or twelve paise) with
him. He saw all other passengers engaging tongas for other places and was wondering whether Baba wanted him
to walk the distance of thirty miles. Just at that moment a peon arrived there calling out, “Who is Bapugir Bua of Shirdi?” When Ramgir Bua introduced himself, the peon said that he was sent by Nanasaheb with a tonga to receive him.
The peon and Ramgir Bua got into the tonga and proceeded fast towards Jamner. On the way, when they came to a brook, the coachman took the horses to the stream for drinking water. The peon then offered breakfast to Ramgir
Bua. But as he had a beard and mustache Bapugir took him for a Moslem and so was unwilling to eat it. The peon
assured him that he was a Hindu of Kshatriya (or warrior) caste and the breakfast was prepared and sent for him(i.e Ramgir Bua) by Nana. Ramgir took the breakfast. Soon the tonga reached the outskirts of Jamner. Ramgir alighted at a spot to answer the calls of nature. When he again returned to the road, he was puzzled to see that the
coach and the peon had left.
However, as the village was near, he enquired and arrived at Nanasaheb’s house. There he learned about Mainthai’s
critical condition and realized why Baba had asked him to go first to Jamner to deliver the udi packet.
Nanasaheb received the udi and the song. Udi was given to Mainthai and the arti song was sung before Baba’s picture. Immediately Mainthai delivered a child and the danger was past. And Nanasaheb wondered how Baba knew that Mainthai’s life was in danger. When Ramgir Bua thanked Nanasaheb for having sent a tonga and a peon to Jalgaon, Nana was amazed. For he had no tonga and no peon to send to Jalgaon! Nor did he know that anyone was coming to him from Shirdi. Who could the tonga man, the peon and the horses be? The truth flashed in Ramgir Bua’s mind in a trice. Only Baba addressed him as ‘Bapugir Bua’ and precisely that was how the peon called out to him at Jalgaon railway station. And had not Baba assured him that all that was needed would provided for? But why not he (Baba) himself go as mysteriously to deliver the udi to Nana? Only because Baba wanted everyone that witnessed the miracle to see for himself how he could go to any length to protect his devotee.
Indeed, there are cases of Baba going to people in distant towns and cities in his own form, in his ‘double’. In 1917 Appasaheb Kulkarni was posted at Thana. He used to worship a picture of Baba in his house. One day he went to Bhivandi on a proposed camp of seven days. On the third day after his departure, a fakir who resembled Sai Baba turned up at his house. Mrs. Kulkarni and her children asked him whether he was Sai Baba. He said that he was not Sai Baba but his obedient servant. Then he asked for dakshina. Mrs. Kulkarni gave him Re.1/-. The fakir received it, gave her a packet of udi to be kept in her worship and went away.
Mrs. Kulkarni and her children were very happy at this miracle of Sai Baba. But a great miracle was in store for
them. Owing to some unexpected turn of events Appasaheb Kulkarni returned home on the third day and was
sorely disappointed to know that he had very narrowly missed a chance of seeing Sai Baba coming to his house. He said that if he were present at the time of the fakir’s arrival, he would have given as dakshina of Rs.10/- and not merely Re.1/-. He however wanted to try his luck and so went out and searched all over the locality but could not trace the fakir. He returned home, took his meal, and along with his friend Mr.Chitre, went out for a walk. But a little away from his house, he saw a fakir walking briskly towards him. Even while Kulkarni was wondering whether he was the same fakir, the latter approached him and asked for dakshina. Appasaheb gave him Re.1/- but, the fakir wanted more. Appasaheb gave him Re.2/- more, still the fakir was not satisfied. He borrowed Rs.3/- from his friend Chitre and gave them to the fakir. But he wanted more. Appasaheb then requested the fakir to come to his house to receive dakshina and, taking him home, gave him Rs.3/- The fakir again demanded more. Appasaheb said that he had only a currency note of Rs. 10/-. The fakir took it and returned all the nine rupees that he had received earlier. Satisfied with the dakshina of Rs.10/- the fakir went away. And precisely that was the amount that Appasaheb said he would have given if he was present when Baba came to his house earlier! The fakir did not take a rupee less or a rupee more! Further, owing to the fakir’s silent demands for more, the Kulkarni could get Rs.9/- consecrated by Baba’s touch. They kept the same in their shrine for worship. Later, when Kulkarni examined the packet of udi that the fakir had given his wife on his first visit, he found it miraculously transformed into akshatas (rice made yellow with turmeric, used in worship) and petals of flowers.
Raghuvir Purandhare of Badra records his experience of Baba’s physical appearance before him, away from Shirdi.
"My wife got an attack of cholera and the doctor gave her up as hopeless, Then I saw Baba standing by the side or
Dattamandir, in front of my Dadar house and he ordered me to give the udi and tirtha (holy water) and so I gave her the same. Half an hour later she recovered sufficient warmth of body and the doctor felt hopeful of her recovery and she recovered.
Mahalsapathy, one of the closest of Baba’s devotees went on a pilgrimage to Jejuri along with a palki (or
palanquin) and a few companions. There they learned that there was an outbreak of plague and they were very
much dejected. Mahalsapathy stood there dumb and sad leaning against this palki. Suddenly he had a feeling that somebody was standing behind him and turned round. Sai Baba stood there and he at once disappeared.
Mahalsapathy remembered that Sai Baba was always with him in spirit. They were emboldened to stay on at Jejuri
for four complete days and all of them returned to Shirdi safe. When Mahalsapathy went to Dwarakamai, Sai Baba smiled and said, “Bhagat, you had a fine pilgrimage. When you stood leaning against the palki I came there.”
C.K. Rege of Indore was once laid up with an attack of sciatica at his father-in-law’s house at Giggaon. His
father-in-law who was a devotee of Sai Baba gave him Baba’s udi and teertha. At about 2 p.m. a sannyasi wearing kashaya stood by Rege’s cot and woke him up by tapping on his shoulder and said, “Child, do not fear. You will be alright in three days!” Rege was frightened by the sudden appearance of a stranger and so he shouted. But by the time his father-in-law turned up, the strange visitor had disappeared. The later was sure that it was none other than Sai Baba who had come to bless his son-in-law. Rege was alright precisely on the third day!
One day in 1911, Balwant Khojokar of Thana took leave of Baba. When he had walked a considerable distance from
Dwrakamai it occurred to him that that might be his last darshan of Baba and he felt a strong desire to see him once more. But once devotees took Baba’s permission to return home, they should not return to him. Just as these ideas passed Khojokar’s mind he glanced at the Lendi and there, peeping through the hedge, was the face of Baba! Baba said, “Are you going? Well, go!”
Mrs. Chadrabai was an ardent devotee of Sai Baba. She visited Shirdi now and then but her husband Borkar never
did. But as he was his devotee’s husband, Baba showered his grace on him too. In 1909 when Borkar was engaged in a road construction at Pandharpur, Chandrabai visited Shirdi and stayed there for some days. One day
Sai Baba said to her, “You had better go to Pandharpur at once, and I will go with you. I need no conveyance to
When she reached Pandharpur she was shocked to learn that her husband had left his work and went away to Bombay. She had only a little money in her purse and she had two companions with her. She just managed to go up to Kurdwadi and there she sat in the railway station, brooding gloomily about her helpless state. Suddenly a fakir appeared before her and asked her why she was gloomy. She gave an evasive reply but was surprised when he told her that her husband was at Dhond and that she should at once go there. But Chandrabai had not the needed fare. Then the fakir at once handed her three tickets to Dhond and went away before she could ask him anything. She then proceeded to Dhond.
Meanwhile, Bokar who was at the Dhond railway Station drank a little tea and was dozing on a bench. He had a
reverie or a dream in which a fakir appeared before him and said, “Why do you neglect my mother? She is coming here by the next train, and is in carriage number so-and-so" and he mentioned even the number of the carriage. Borkar got up wondering who that fakir could be. The train arrived and Chandrabai stepped down from the railway carriage of the same number as was mentioned by the visionary fakir. Bokar received her and told her of his strange experience and asked her to show him the picture of Sai Baba. It was the same fakir that had appeared to him! Did not Sai Baba assure Chandrabai that he would go with her and that he needed no conveyance?
Sai Baba often manifested himself before his devotee in some other form. In such cases Baba always confirmed it
to the devotee.
We have noted earlier how Sai Baba appeared before Rege in the form of a Sannyasi and that Rege’s father-in-law was Baba’s devotee. In 1914 Rege’s third daughter was to be married and an invitation was sent to Baba. Baba sent his reply, “I will come in person and attened the marriage.” As the marriage ceremony was in progress, the postman delivered a letter from Baba along with a packet of udi. The udi was to be applied to the foreheads of the bride and bridegroom. Just about the same time, a fakir came and asked Rege’s father-in-law for a dakshina of one paisa. As he was busy with the ceremony he did not pay attention to the strange visitor. Later it occurred to him that the fakir was Baba himself. Then Rege said that if indeed the visitor was Sai Baba himself, he should confirm their faith in him through a sign, that is, by appearing again. Next day the same fakir turned up and asked for dakshina of one paisa only. Rege gave it gladly. The fakir however, declined their invitation to dinner.
B.V. Deo, a mamlatdar at Dahnu, was an ardent devotee of Sai Baba. Once his mother completed the observance of thirty religious vows and had to feed nearly two hundred brahmins. Deo fixed up a date for the feeding and wrote a letter to Jog at Shirdi to request Baba on his behalf to attend the feast. When Baba heard Jog’s reading of Deo’s letter he said, “I always remember him who always remembers me and I fulfill his pious wishes. I need no
conveyance. Write to Deo that three of us-You, I and someone else-would attend it”, Jog conveyed the reply to Deo. Deo knew that Baba never left Shirdi physically and yet was happy to receive such a reply.
A few days earlier, a Bengali sannyasi arrived Dahanu to collect funds for cow-protection. Deo told him that as collections were just then being made from the public for some other cause, it would be better for him to come to Dahanu one or two months later. And the sannyasi went away. But he arrived at Deo’s house at 10 a.m. on the day of the feast, hardly a month after his earlier visit! Deo thought that he came to collect funds. The sannyasi then told Deo that he came for lunch and not for funds. Deo heartily invited him for the feast. “There are two others with me”, the sannyasi said and assured him that they would turn up in time by themselves and that no messenger need be
sent for them. Precisely at 12 noon, the three guests arrived, enjoyed the feast and left.
After the ceremony Deo wrote a letter to Shirdi stating that the feast went on well but for Baba’s breach of his
promise. But even before Jog had opened the letter at Shirdi, Baba said, “Ah, Deo says that I broke my promise. I did attend the dinner with two others! I even tried to help him to recognize me by saying that we, the guests were three, that we came not for funds but for lunch. I never fail to keep my promise. If he can not recognize me why should he invite me at all?”
Jog was mystified at Baba’s words and he promptly conveyed Baba’s words to Deo. His mother was over-joyed that the culmination of her vows should be so graced by Baba.
One day, a devotee named Joshi took leave of Baba and asked him for udi. Baba told him that he would get it later. When Joshi was traveling by train, a fellow passenger gave him udi saying that it was sent for him by Sai Baba!.
In 1909 the elder brother of Balwant Nachne was undergoing a throat operation in Bajikar’s Hospital in Bombay. Naturally the whole family was anxious about it at Dahanu. At noon a sadhu approached their house for food. They received him with due respect and fed him well but did not serve him one dish of lady’s finger called ‘bendi baji’ as it was considered too poor a stuff for such a revered guest. But he specially asked for it and it was served. Then he blessed the family saying that the operation was completed at the hospital quite successfully and went away. Haribhau, a friend of Nachne, expressed the hope that by Sai Baba’s grace it might be so. That was the first time that Nachne ever heard of Sai Baba.
In the evening Nachne’s father returned from the hospital and told the family that the operation was completed
successfully and that soon after, a sadhu approached the patient and passing his hands over the operated portion, said that all would be well and went away. Later, the same year, Nachne’s father heard of Sai Baba’s greatness from a kirtan (devotional singing) of Das Ganu and the family soon started worshipping Baba’s picture.
In 1912 Nachne visited Shirdi with two of his friends. On the way the station Master at Koperagaon said that Baba
was just a magician whom even educated people were not ashamed to idolise. Though Nachne’s mind was much
unsettled by the talk, they just arrived at Shirdi. Sai Baba who just then returned from the Lendi looked at Nachne and said, “What! Have you come away without taking leave from the mamlatdar? Never do like this!” This proof of Baba’s omniscience completely tore the station Master’s version to pieces. Their three days' stay at Shirdi confirmed their faith in Baba.
One day Sai Baba said to the other devotees “I had been to this man’s house for a meal. He did not give me “bendi
baji”. Nachne’s mind ran back to the incident of 1909 and realized that Sai Baba had graced his house already in the
form of that sadhu, even before the family ever heard of him! What surprised Nachne more was that Sai Baba did not at all resemble the sadhu whom he had observed quite closely three or four times at Dahanu.
Adam Dalali of Bandra says regarding Baba’s visits to him in different forms; “He has come to me in other forms and
dealt with me. For instance: Once he came to me as a Brahmin and begged for something. I gave him two annas then. Once he came to me as a marwari and said he was hungry. I gave him four annas and asked him to go to marwari hotel for his meal. Later when I went to Shirdi, Baba dropped significant hints showing me that he had visited me in those forms. For instance, on the latter occasion he said of me to someone else, ‘I went to this man; he told me to eat at the marwari hotel!’
What we have to note is that in assuming such forms how ungrudgingly and uncomplainingly he was pleased to be
so treated by his devotees! Were they not the same devotees that would offer lavish gifts to him at Shirdi and spend lots of money on their trips to that place, just to get his blessing? The God-man of infinite mercy has proved his statements literally true-such statements as, for instance. “I get angry with none. Will a mother get angry with her kiddies? Will the ocean send back the waters to the several rivers? I love devotion. I am the slave of my devotee.”
When Anna Chinchinikar first visited Shirdi, he stayed there for some days. During that period there was a sudden outbreak of plague at Chinchini. All his relations left that place in haste, leaving his wife alone. She was terribly frightened. During that period Baba appeared before her physically, twelve times, till at last the epidemic subsided. Baba protects not only his devotees but even their near and dear.
One Mr. Keshavrao Pradhan stayed at Ukrool near Bombay. Though he had heard of Sai Baba he did not believe in Him. He did not visit Baba till his friend compelled him to do so in 1916. Later he was quite changed. He repeatedly visited Shirdi and invited Baba to Ukrool. Baba simply gave him a picture of himself and said, “Go to your place and raise a temple of this (i.e., his form which you call Baba). Don’t come here again. Go!” When Pradhan again visited him, Baba said, “When I have come to your
place, why are you here? Your place is your Shirdi now!” Pradhan submitted that he had not the confirmatory experience of this fact.
Later Pradhan raised a mandir at Ukrool and installed an idol of Baba in it. Ever since Baba spoke the above words, those who lived nearby the Sai mandir, including Pradhan and his family, had strange experiences. At night they used to hear the sound of the mandir-doors being opened, saw from a distance, Baba’s physical form moving in the precincts of the shrine. Finally they saw him withdrawing into the mandir at about 3 a.m., and closing the doors of the mandir. Several leelas of Baba took place there and the number of devotees visiting the shrine rapidly increased. Even after Baba’s mahasamadhi the devotees had clear proof of his spiritual presence there.
For instance, in 1940 the temple was being renovated after Pradhan’s demise. But the funds were not forthcoming.
A devotee named Narayan Purohit undertook parayana of ‘Sri Sai Satcharitra’ to secure Baba’s help in the matter. In three or four days Baba appeared in his dream, moving about in the precincts of the temple saying, “Where is my dhuni? If there is no dhuni, how can this be Shirdi? How can the temple be complete?” Then he threw stones at all, fuming and fretting. Accordingly, with the consent of the trustee a dhuni (8’ X 4’) was made. Sri A.R. Walewalkar, son of Dabholkar (the first biographer of Baba) lit up the Dhuni in 7-4-1949 at 10 a.m. He stayed at Bhivapuri (which is close to Ukrool) under the instructions of Baba in a dream.
In February 1918, one Bapuji Sastri had brought Ganges water and did abhishek to Baba’s feet and then sought his permission to go to Sajjangad for Dasnavami. Baba said, “I am here, and I am there also”. Later Bapuji went to Sajjangad. At 5 a.m. on the day of holy Dasnavami Baba physically appeared before Bapuji. Baba is present everywhere!