Bhagawan Ramana Maharshi said that contact with one’s sadguru continues even after his physical death. The phenomenal spread of devotion to Sai Baba in this country today is chiefly the work of his tomb which ‘moves’ and ‘speaks’ with his devotees.
Mr. F.M. Bhangara is a devout Parsi who imbibed, high regard for saints. But his wife was orthodox and had no such faith. In 1956 he kept a calendar with Sai Baba’s picture on it in their bed room, but he neither knew nor paid any respect to the saint. One day, at 6 a.m. he was impelled to bow to Baba and was surprised at his own act for he knew nothing of Baba. He did not mention it to his wife for fear of raising an argument about it.
Next morning he noticed that the calendar was garlanded and asked his wife about it. She said that when she was cleaning the pictures in the house, she heard a mysterious voice from the picture, “Child, garland me regularly; it will do you good” twice and she obeyed it. A friend heard of their experience and suggested to keep the picture in their shrine on a Thursday. He did so and his wife used to garland it everyday.
One day the mysterious voice asked her what she wanted. She sought the welfare of her husband and the birth of a son. Within a week, of his own accord, the superior officer recommended a rise in Mr.Bhangara’s salary. In June 1957 they were blessed with a son.
Solution to all their problems used to flash in their minds when they prayed to Baba and even the most trivial wishes were fulfilled. Many got their problems resolved through Mr. Bhangara. Yet he sometimes wondered whether the messages were his own fancies.
One day Mr. Bhangara had to go on an official camp. His wife insisted that he should return by evening. When he bowed to Baba the voice said, “Son, you can’t return today.” To test whether it was a message from Baba, he started at 7.30 a.m. when the car had to stop at a level-crossing, a gentleman got down from a state transport bus and got into Bhangara’s car saying that he was in a hurry to reach his destination sooner. While travelling on a ghat road, the car took a turn and the breaks failed completely. The car was racing down the slope with increasing speed. There was a deep valley on one side and a hill on the other. The driver told them not to get panicky and that he would try to dash the car against the hill in the safest possible manner. But whenever he tried to do so some vehicle or the other came up that side and they narrowly missed a collision. Bhangara recollected Baba’s message and felt that it signified his imminent death. Being a palmist, Bhangara remembered that his hand indicated sudden death at that time. He desperately prayed, “Baba, I know that I have to die some day. Yet at least for the sake of my family you have to save my life this time. I shall not henceforth doubt your messages.”
One of the tires of the car hit a stone on the road and stopped. The driver changed the tire and they reached their destination in seven hours. There was no chance for Bhangara to return home that evening!
Mr. Chitnis was at first fascinated by a beautiful picture of Baba and read several books on him. He visited Shirdi in 1952 and felt that he had returned to his own place. The very first sight of Baba’s samadhi had impressed him for good.
In 1957, his sister at Bombay was seriously ill and the family wished to start by plane. His parents could secure a seat by the next plane but his name was kept in the waiting list. Mr.Chitnis sat there silently praying to Baba that by the time they reach Bombay his sister should recover her health. He suddenly found an old fakir standing by. The latter looked sad and gestured accordingly. The next moment, the fakir was not to be seen! It suddenly occurred to him that the fakir was Sai Baba himself. He was surprised to learn that none else saw the fakir. At last when Mr. Chitnis reached Bombay his sister was no more.
In 1965 Mr.Chitnis suffered from a severe pain in the stomach and could not take even a spoonful of water. The doctor decided to try surgery on the next Thursday. Chitnis prayed that he should be spared the ordeal. That night in his dream four terrible persons were pulling him out of the bed. Sai Baba felled some of them and saved Chitnis. By morning Sri Chitnis was alright to the surprise of the doctor.
On a certain Thursday in 1966 he completed a reading of the life of Baba. Mr.Chitnis was to go to Agra by car. He prayed to Baba for his darshan. Next morning, after covering about sixty miles the car stopped at a place for no apparent reason. A fakir who resembled Sai Baba was found standing by. The fakir blessed them and received dakshina and disappeared. Mr.Chitnis was surprised to know later that only his youngest son, he and the driver saw the fakir and others didn’t see anyone.
Sri P.V.Satyanarayana Sastri records, in an article, the strange transformation of a famous atheist of Andhra into an ardent devotee of Baba. Late Sri Gopichand, a famous writer and a prominent atheist, was working as an employee of the Government at Kurnool. His wife was in the hospital, suffering from labour pains for three days and her condition was critical. On the third day, as he walked past the Sai Mandir towards hospital, he thought : “Baba, if you could bless my wife with a safe delivery, I shall believe that your power is divine.”
At the hospital his wife delivered a male child. She told him that an old fakir in a vision, sat on her cot and said, “Don’t fear. I shall save you.” He then put a little vibhuti on her forehead, put a little of it in water and gave her to drink. She at once delivered. And the time of her vision coincided precisely with the time of his silent prayer to Baba! Gopichand named his son as Sai Baba, causing quite a stir among his atheist friends.
Though Mr. Veerendra Pandya had no faith in Baba, he visited Shirdi with his brother. Later he lived at Kalyan near Bombay and his parents lived in Bihar. Once when his family had to face many difficulties, he took out the picture of Baba which was lying in his trunk, kept it in the shrine and prayed fervently that he should find a solution to his problem by evening. At once peace descended on him and by evening he hit upon a solution to his problem. Strangely, he learned from a letter that the same solution occurred to his mother too, precisely at the same hour. He decided to dedicate all his life, henceforth to the service of Baba, giving up all worldly activity but his mother insisted that he should marry. Again he prayed for a written solution to the problem. Next day, quite casually, his eyes fell on a book entitled, Sri Sai Baba Upasana. He opened it at random and the chapter Bhavasudha came up. The message contained therein was that a householder’s life is preferable. Yet he doubted whether it was mere coincidence.
At that time he was residing at Vitarna, a forest area infested by robbers disguised as sadhus. So he instructed his watchman not to permit even ‘sadhus’ to enter his gate. With these facts in mind, he one day prayed , “Baba, in order that my faith in you could get strengthened, tomorrow a Thursday which is sacred to you, at lunch time a sadhu should come, bless me by keeping his right hand on my head and make passes with the same all over my body. If this is granted, I vow to visit Shirdi”.
Next day at lunch time no sadhu turned up. Just as Pandya was about to partake of the first morsel, a sadhu called for food. When Pandya offered him food, the former received the same and put his right hand on Pandys’s head by way of blessing and left. Pandya recognized that only a part of his wish was fulfilled and that he did not receive the sadhu in a proper manner. While he was thinking the sadhu returned. Pandya offered him Rs.2/- as dakshina. The fakir passed his hand all over pandya’s body, smiled sportively and went away. Next Thursday Pandya fulfilled his vow.
Miss. Marva L. Hemphill wrote of her striking experience with Baba in a short letter to the author of this present book :
Atlanta Ga (U.S.A.)
Dear Brother in God,
Baba came on 1-12-70! He has been teaching me very rapidly about Christ ever since…it is so wonderful. From
now on he is ‘Baba Christ’ as Jesus is Jesus Christ.
In the name of Baba Christ,
In 1955, Sri Jayaram Raje was a lawyer at Thana. Once he finished a devotional reading of the Life of Sai Baba. On the next day, Thursday, he offered sweet meats to Baba’s picture. Precisely at lunch time a fakir came to him for food. He was dressed like a Moslem. Raje being an orthodox Brahmin offered him food in a leaf plate and requested him to eat it elsewhere. The fakir insisted that he would eat it there itself. Raje fed him accordingly, considering him as Baba himself.
After lunch the fakir demanded dakshina. Raje said that if a client paid him Rs.50/- he would have given him his due. The fakir said that the client would pay him the dues at 3-15 p.m. that day and that he himself would turn up at 5 p.m. to receive the dakshina. The client who lived far away did turn up at 3-15 p.m. and cleared the dues. The fakir too came up at 5p.m.and received Rs.10/- In return the latter offered Raje a little vibhuti which, by the time it fell into his hand, got mysteriously transformed into a rose. Raje looked up in surprise and the fakir was not to be seen anywhere!
Sivashankar Dixit a devotee of Lord Dattatreya, despaired when he knew that he was suffering from tuberculosis. One day he had a dream, he saw a picture of a Moslem saint and bowed to it; at the same moment, a moslem fakir came and applied vibhuti on his forehead and assured him that he would soon be well.
When his condition improved without any treatment, Dixit realized that it was a visitation. One of his friends suggested that the fakir might be Sai Baba himself. Four days after, a group of children who played there, left a small picture of Baba’s samadhi in his house. Dixit found that the fakir of his dream precisely resembled the photograph of Sai Baba on the samadhi, found in that picture. Later he visited Shirdi and saw that there was the marble statue on Baba’s samadhi and not a photograph of Sai Baba. On enquiry he was told that till 1956 a photograph of Sai Baba was indeed kept on Baba’s samadhi and that the statue was installed only in that year. The picture of the Moslem fakir which he saw in his dream was indeed the photograph of Baba which was earlier kept on the samadhi! Henceforth Dixit worshipped Sai Baba as Lord Dattatreya.
Mr.K.D.Matrey once visited Shirdi. The samadhi mandir was under repair, his child who was two and a half years old stood on the first floor, looking at children playing on the road below. Suddenly she leaned forward, slipped and fell down from the terrace. Several devotees rushed to her but the child stood up smiling and said, “As I fell down, the old man in that picture leaped up, held me in his hands and kept me down”!
An advocate from Boribandar, once started for Shirdi with Rs.100/- in his pocket. Unfortunately (or fortunately?) his pocket was picked and he had lost the money and his railway ticket. Later the ticket examiner came up and did not relent even after hearing about the theft. Just then an old gentleman gave the lawyer a ticket and said that his man did not join him as promised. He introduced himself as a devotee of Sai Baba and bore all the expenses of the advocate. At Shirdi the old man presented him with a copy of a book on Sai Baba and also gave him his address in Bombay. Later on, opening the book the advocate found Rs.100/- in it. When he returned home he found his purse before Baba’s picture in his family shrine! He soon went to Bombay but the old man’s address could not be traced. The advocate kept the money he found in the book in his shrine for worship. Thereafter his financial condition improved considerably.
In 1930 Dr. Rustomji was laid up with pneumonia and was admitted in the Parsi general hospital in Bombay. The doctors gave up hope and he was in coma. A fakir appeared to him in a vision and said, “Let your health recover first; later you will come to know me!” He then went round Rustomji’s cot and disappeared. Soon after, the doctors were surprised to find that his condition was quite normal. Ever since, Rustomji yearned to see the fakir. After six months a passenger who sat next to him in the bus was reading a book on Sai Baba. Rustomji saw Baba’s picture in it and realized that he was the fakir that had saved him and started reading about Sai. Shortly he was appointed as a doctor in the Sai Samsthan dispensary at Shirdi in 1949.
Once his wife suffered from severe pain in her eyes. Doctors examined her and declared that even doctors abroad will not be able to help her. At last Sri Rustomji
brought her to Shirdi and every day he used to take her round Baba’s samadhi. She vowed to offer an embroidered cloth to Baba’s palanquin if she was cured. In the course of an year she was well and she fulfilled her vow.
A gentleman at Udapur was suffering from stomach ulcer. His wife Surajbai was anxious about him at Kamgaon. One night she had a terrible dream; she saw her husband’s body being carried to the cremation ground, and she was telling her brother that she preferred death to widowhood. A strange fakir with a radiant face said to her “Why do you weep?” “Your husband will come to life again”. At once here husband sat up and the dream ended.
Later she came to know that on the same day her husband’s condition grew hopeless and that he soon recovered quite mysteriously. She later saw the picture of Baba and recognized him as the fakir who came in her dream and started worshipping it ignoring the criticism and
objections of her co-religionists. After sometime she visited Shirdi and recognized the place in which the fakir stood in her dream vision was indeed Dwarakamai.
On her next visit to Shirdi she had two dreams : One: Several persons of Jain religion were going round Sai Baba, chanting, “Sainath Boleja”. Two: Several Jain Sadhus were assembled in a large hall and Baba was seated at the centre. She asked him for instruction about a certain matter. Baba then told her to seek it from a saint named Santnath Bhagwan, seated in the assembly. With this she woke up. She understood thereby that Baba had instructed her to stick to the tenets of her own religion, that her devotion to Baba does not run counter to adherence to one’s native faith.
Arthur Osborne, in his book Incredible Sai Baba, writes that in 1960, one Miss.Dutton, his neighbour aged 30 had lived in a nunnery for sometime and decided to leave it. One day, she sat in her cell brooding over the uncertainties of her future. A Moslem fakir approached her cell and said, “Don’t worry. When you leave the nunnery, everything would go well with you”. When he demanded dakshina, she said, that she had no money “There are Rs.35/- in the box in your cupboard”, he said. When she looked up, she did find the money. But the fakir had vanished! She wondered how a man and a Moslem fakir at that, had gained entry into the Christian nunnery. Since the moment he had appeared, peace filled her anxious heart. She left the nunnery and her nephew looked after her well. Henceforth her faith had grown stronger. Arthur Osborne who listened to the whole account then showed her a picture of Sai Baba and she at once recognized him as the fakir who had graced her. A Christian ought to live a truly Christian life. The spirit manifests itself in a form like Baba’s in the modern age to wean humans from the narrowness which is a by-product of religious diversity of modern society.
One day a fakir came to the house of Mr. Dandavate of Indore at noon and called his wife by name. When her husband responded, the fakir said that he came to see his ‘daughter’ Kamalabai. The later came out and
invited him for breakfast. Kamalabai’s husband left for the school. The fakir told her that he had not come for food and that he wanted her sari of nine yards length. She marvelled at his uncanny knowledge and went in to get it. But all the time she was wondering what she could say to her husband if he were to ask about it. At once the fakir told her in a raised voice from the drawing-room. “Do not worry. You shall soon get a new sari in its place by tomorrow”! She wondered still more that the fakir could respond to her unuttered thought. She was convinced that he could be none other than Sai Baba and she offered him the sari without any hesitation. She again went inside to offer him a cup of milk but by the time she came out, he was nowhere to be found! Next day his word came true. For, a housewife of the neighbourhood visited her and presented her with a nine-yards sari. Besides, the fortunes of the family steadily improved thereafter.
In Mahim, Bombay there was a large poor family of six. The head of the family was a clerk. Once he committed a serious blunder in the accounts, and feared dismissal. One of his friends, a devotee of Sai Baba, heard of his anxiety and gave him udi and asked him to use it twice everyday and assured him that his difficulties would cease in a month or two. Shortly after, his mistake in accounts was discovered. He could not face the situation. So he went on leave for a month and came home. He was frightened by the prospect of dismissal and decided to commit suicide to end his sufferings. One day he kissed his child, wore an old shirt and went out. His wife knew of his distracted state of mind and knew that it was of no use preventing him from going out. So she called him back, gave him Sai Baba’s udi and let him go. Then she sat before Baba’s picture and went on praying fervently to him to save her husband’s life.
Her husband who had left the house in the morning did not turn up even in the evening. He went to Borivelle in Bombay and jumped into a secluded tank. A fisherman rescued him and threatened to hand him over to the police if he did not return home. He gave a little money and left him at his house at 11 p.m. The next minute the fisherman disappeared! Baba is the fisher of men’s souls too!
Manikshah never ate anything without first offering it to Baba. Yet he could not visit Shirdi for a long time. Once on his way to Nagpur he was sleeping in his reserved compartment. At about 1-30 p.m. he woke up at Manmad. A vague human form appeared and said “Do not proceed further!”, and vanished. He looked out but found none. He got down from the train. He had his next train for Nagpur only late in the evening. The pilgrims proceeding to Shirdi suggested that he could join them and he did. By evening he returned to Manmad and was shocked to learn that the earlier train by which he came, later met with a major accident and that many were killed or wounded. Baba had mercifully saved him from the danger and fulfilled his wish to visit Shirdi.
After Baba’s mahasamadhi, Shama kept a packet of udi received from him in his shrine. Once when he went to Bombay, one night Baba appeared in his dream and said, “Shyama, the packet of udi which I had given you is now lying in the dustbin by the side of your house. Go home at once and restore it.” Shyama rushed home and looked for the packet in his shrine but it was not there! As the house was under repairs, all the articles in his house were removed and in the process, the packet was missing. Shyama searched for it outside and lo, it was in the dustbin. Thus Baba’s appearance even in a dream, is significant.
Similarly, one Mr. Mehrothra, agent of a bank at Bareilly, was suspended from service. He then visited Shirdi, and prayed to Baba. One day the latter appeared in his dream, and gave him in writing “You shall be appointed as an agent; do not fear”! Shortly after, he was appointed as such at Deoria.
R.S. Mani Iyer of Kumbakonam had a daughter who was dumb by birth. Mani Iyer commenced the worship of Baba. Once Baba appeared in his dream and instructed him to make his little daughter worship his samadhi at Shirdi. Accordingly she did and immediately she uttered the name ‘Sai Baba’. In a short while she started speaking quite well.
Similarly, a girl in Bombay was knocked down by a car and lost her power of speech. A devotee gave her udi which he had received from the hands of Baba. At once she regained her speech.
In 1956, a boy of sixteen was afflicted with polio of his legs. His mother took him to Shirdi and there she went round Baba’s samadhi several times a day praying for her son’s recovery. The boy was carried around the samadhi by a hired person. After a few days the boy felt it embarrassing and stayed back in their room and asked his mother to carry on her devotions. One day Baba appeared before him physically, lifted him by the hand and led him to the samadhi mandir. There Baba told him to stand leaning against pillar. Then his mother was convinced of the miracle when she saw him walk along with her!
A few years ago, after the birth anniversary of Sri Omkaraswami, at Totapalli, (East Godavari Dt. , A.P.) the devotees gathered in a small room and sang bhajans of Sai Baba. At once Baba’s name was found inscribed mysteriously on all the fruits and flowers offered to Sai, including a coconut offered by the Swami and also on watches, rings and necklaces, put before Sai by devotees. On a ball of vibhuti appeared the letters ‘Sai Mandu’ (‘Sai medicine’). A devotee suffering from fever and an ailing cow were instantly cured with it. The devotees wished to raise a Sai mandir at the place. At once they found the words, “This is the presence of Sai!” mysteriously written on a white paper and on the walls of the shrine in the ashram. Sri Omakaraswami later announced in the ashram journal ‘Santhi’ that ever since, he has been feeling the whole place charged with spiritual power and that he has been experiencing a sense of identity with Sai.
Sri Dileep Kumar Roy of Poona is a famous disciple of Sri Aurobindo and a great devotee of Lord Krishna. He has established the Hare Krishna Ashram in Poona and has been leading several seekers on the path of devotion. Several years ago a friend of him presented him with an idol of Sai Baba. Sri Dileep Kumar Roy had kept it along with several other idols in an open place in the ashram
compound. That night Sai Baba appeared before him and said, “I am shivering in the cold. Take me inside the ashram and keep me in a comfortable place.” Soon Sri Roy kept the idol of Baba inside the ashram and later kept it in a small shrine. This happened some fifty years after Baba’s mahasamadhi.
Sri Devaraj of Coimbatore was a Captain of a ship during the Second World War. Once his ship was attacked by the
enemy but he was rescued miraculously by Sai Baba. News of this miracle spread in Coimbatore and many were drawn to Sai Baba. Among these was Sri Soundara Rajan. He commenced the worship and bhajan of Sai Baba in house and he soon constructed a mandir for the public.
One evening a large gathering of devotees was engaged in bhajan. A huge cobra approached them and crept over the foot of a little boy. The boy cried in panic but the devotees remained calm. The snake stood within a
few feet of the gathering and was swaying its hood in tune with their bhajan. People wondered why it was not scared by the large gathering. It stayed in the same place from 5 p.m. to 9.p.m. i.e., till the devotees dispersed for that night.
Next morning the devotees were surprised to find it in the same place. This convinced them that Sai Baba himself appeared in that form and they decided to worship it with all ceremony. They fetched several baskets full of chrysanthemum flowers. They all gathered around the snake and threw the flowers on it while chanting the 108 divine names of Sai. Even though flowers were thrown on it in thousands the cobra remained there calm and peaceful.
One of the devotees then prayed to it saying, “If you are indeed Sai Baba, you please stay here till we fetch a photographer to take your picture for people may not believe when we tell them that we had the good fortune of worshipping you in this manner.” It took nearly half an hour for the photographer to arrive and the cobra stayed there and was photographed. The picture taken on that occasion can be seen in the souvenir published by the Naga Sai Mandir at Coimbatore a few years ago. The Naga Sai Mandir which was built there at that spot is a memento of this leela of Baba.
Mankewala of Ahmedabad was laid up with dropsy and intestinal ulcer from 1948 to 1952. He felt it difficult even to drink water. His body weight had increased to 300 pounds and he used to spit blood on account of the ulcer. The doctors who examined him in 1952 had declared that he was sure to pass away in one or two day’s time. In a mood of utter helplessness he started worshipping the picture of Baba that his friends had given him. At first he was not so happy to worship the ‘moslem saint’ which he thought Baba was. Yet Baba’s form charmed his heart.
One day at 6 a.m., when he was lying awake in bed, Baba appeared before him and said, “I am not a fakir; I am the avatar of Lord Dattatreya. The same Lord is carrying on his divine mission assuming the different forms of Tajuddin Baba of Nagpur, Dhunivala Dada of Khandwa, Sri Vishnudevananda Saraswathi of Narmada, Sri Swami Samarth of Akkalkot and myself.” Next morning his friend gave him two books on Sai Baba written in Gujarati.
A few days later doctors examined him and decided that he had only two more hours to live. As soon as they had left the room a mysterious light appeared in front of Mankewala. Behind it appeared Sai Baba! It was about one p.m. Baba said “Son, do not fear! I have taken away all your sufferings”. The wonder of it is that even the mother of Mankewala could see Baba. He then told them to send Mankewala’s son to Shirdi and then walked out of the room.
Mankewala was worried whether his son could travel alone to Shirdi safely and, in case he dies, his son’s presence was necessary to perform his obsequies. At last he decided to abide by Baba’s words and so sent his son to Shirdi. At about 6 p.m., Baba again appeared to him and
said, “Do not fear! I am with your son. You will receive a telegram that he had reached Shirdi safely by 12 noon tomorrow.”
A few minutes later the doctors again examined the patient and thought that he was dying. They mocked at his accounts of Baba’s assurance. Indeed, nothing happened to Mankewala and the next day they received a telegram from Shirdi regarding his son’s safe arrival there. For 24 hours precisely from the moment of the receipt of the
telegram Mankewala passed excess of urine and suffered a severe attack of diarrhoea. Soon his body weight came down to 75 pounds. His pulse and heart beat were normal. The doctors agreed that his recovery was indeed a miracle of Sai Baba. Within the next two months Mankewala regained his normal health. On 23rd of August 1954 Sai Baba again appeared before him. Waving his baton(satka) playfully, he said, “I am always in front of my devotees”.
Sri Seshachalam Pillay was a retired Tahsildar who lived at Tummalagunta village near Tirupati (A.P.). On 1-11-1977 his wife Smt. Susilamma came to my house and recounted her experience of Sai Baba’s grace.
In 1952 the family was staying at Narsingpur near Chandragiri Railway station. Even several years after marriage they had no children and all their relations were pressing Sri Pillay to marry a second time. One day her elder brother gave Smt.Susilamma a small picture of Baba and told her to worship it and said that Baba might bless her with an offspring. She started doing accordingly and in 1954 she was blessed with a son whom they named after Sai Baba.
When the child was eleven months old, it had fever and the mother suffered from severe diarrhoea. All medical aid proved futile and even after living on a diet of arrow-root powder for 21 days she had no relief. She was so weak that she could not go out of her room to answer nature’s calls. On the 21st day at 4.30 a.m., she had an urge to pass stool, She got down from the cot, sat down just by for the purpose and, reclining her head against the cot, she prayed to Baba to help her. She at once saw Sai Baba entering the room pushing open the main door! He came and sat on the cot just by her head. She complained to him of her miserable plight. Baba said, “Why feel so bad about it? I have kept a talisman in that shelf. You wear it and you will be alright. Throw it off on the third day”, and he at once walked out of the room. “Baba, in which shelf do you mean?” she was crying.
Her relations woke up at her cries and asked her what the matter was. When she told them of Baba’s words, they brushed it aside as a mere delusion. When she insisted, they searched in the shelf and they did find a talisman with a yellow thread attached to it. They put it around her neck and at once her diarrhoea subsided. On the third day she threw the talisman away in the backyard in a corner. Sri Pillay blamed her for throwing away a thing given by Sai Baba and searched for it in vain. Both Smt. And Sri Pillay sat dejected at not finding it and they even went without lunch. By 6 p.m. her elder brother came and said that she was right in following Baba’s instruction to throw away the talisman and that even if she had not done so, Baba could have taken it away as mysteriously as he had given it.
This miracle strengthened their faith and they worshipped Baba with great fervour. But the younger brother and nephew of Smt. Susilamma used to criticise her for worshipping a ‘moslem’ like Baba. One day when they sat in the hall, something metallic fell from nowhere, with a noise and they found it to be a picture of Baba printed on a metal strip. Smt. Susilamma picked it up, thought that it was a gift from Baba to here child and, after offering incense to it, put it round his neck. The same night her youngest brother and nephew suffered from sudden and unbearable pain in stomach and diarrhoea. Smt. Susilamma told Sri Pillay that both of them spoke light of Baba as a Moslem and the illness might be a consequence of that. Sri Pillay reprimanded them for their impertinence and told them to prostrate to Baba’s picture in repentance and to promise that they were relieved of their suffering and that they would name their first born after Baba. As soon as they did so the pain at once vanished. Thus both of them became devotees of Sai and later named their first born after Baba.
There is an instance of Baba saving Smt.Susilamma from a serious scandal. Her sister’s son aged 16 was staying with her. Once he wanted his marriage to be performed and elders scolded him for his haste. The boy then swallowed rat poison and was in a critical condition. Doctors gave up hope of his survival. Everyone including her sister said that Smt. Susilamma might have poisoned him out of some grudge against him. So she prayed to Baba to save his life so that he might reveal the truth and save her from the scandal. The boy did survive most miraculously and he confessed what he did and Smt.Susilamma’s innocence was thus vindicated. Otherwise the scandal would have been a life-long torture for her.
A little before Sri Pillay retired from service the family was at a village called Maddipadu and their son had finished his post graduate studies with distinction. They whished that their son should get employed. He stayed with their relations, at Tummalagunta, trying for job. In course of time, he got an interview for the post of an attender in the Sri Venkateswara University, Tirupati. But he said it was not worth while attending it as many applicants with recommendations of big-wigs would attend it and he had no such help. At last as per his mother’s wish he attended it. Then he came to Maddipadu. On 24.8.76 Baba appeared to Smt. Susilamma in a dream and said “Your son has got an appointment and the posting order was sent to Tummalagunta. Get them from there and let him join service!” She woke up and told her husband about the dream. He brushed it aside as a mere projection of her own wishful thinking. Baba again appeared in her dream and told her the same the second day. She told her son about it but he too did not pay heed to it. Again on the third day Baba appeared in her dream and said, “Do not mind what your husband says; get the appointment orders from Tummalagunta and send your son to take charge. Do not delay!” The next morning Sri Pillay wrote to their relation who went to Kalahasthi on one month’s leave. In reply they received a telegram from Kalahasthi asking their son to join duty immediately. Later they learned that after their relations left for Kalahasthi, the postman threw all letters including the order of appointment in the locked house. Thus Baba had helped the family with a financial prop.
Smt. Susilamma’s sight was getting weaker and she was worried that if she had to depend on others owing to want of sight, she was afraid she may not be properly cared for. So she went on praying to Baba for help. One day Sai appeared in her dream and said,“Why do you always cry about your sight? If you want it as I shall grant you the same. But you will have to experience the same fate (karma) in your next life. Every one, including I, has to reap his karmic effects. Decide whether you wish to finish this balance of karma in this
life or in the next”. Then she suddenly woke up even before she could decide and tell him which she preferred. Yet she went on praying for better sight. At last a doctor operated upon her successfully. She returned home with a bandaged eye in a few days. One night, as she was sleeping on the open terrace, a bat struck her and pulled out the bandage. She suddenly woke up with profuse bleeding of the eye. The doctor examined her and said that the eye was damaged beyond repair.
However, she persuaded him to do his best. He bandaged her eye and kept her in the clinic for a few days. She was all the time praying Baba fervently for help. One night she had a dream. Baba removed the bandage and she could see. Next morning, the doctor removed the bandage and she could see! The doctor was amazed at the miracle. However, she was henceforth obsessed with the fear that in her next life, she has to face the same trouble and prayed. Baba again appeared in her dream. He was annoyed with her. He said, “You always come up with one problem or the other. You feed eleven blind ones and offer as many coconuts to God. You will be free from the evil karma forever!”
Baba appeared to her on one more occasion. When her only son was getting married, not one of her brothers attended it owing to some misunderstanding in their family. She complained to Baba saying “Sai, see; No one is going to attend the marriage of my only son”. Sai appeared in her dream. “Why do you worry about all matters-small and
big?” he said, “Go on chanting this mantra__
‘Sri Rama Rama Rameti
Rame Rame Manorame;
Sahasra nama tattulyam
Rama nama varanane!’
You will have no more difficulties”. She told the matter to her husband and he told her that it was a powerful mantra. So Baba had in short bestowed on her progeny, health, sustenance and spiritual instruction and had warded off many difficulties such as illness and scandal.
Smt. and Sri S.N. Pradhan of Bombay (Santha Cruz) were devotees of Sai Baba. Once they were financially hard-pressed and felt that Baba did not grace them with any experience. After reading the life history of Baba they wanted to visit Shirdi but Mr. Pradhan was ill. On 10-11-1953 before going to bed he fervently prayed to Baba to take him to Shirdi. He felt the inner call too. The next morning, while preparing chapathis, his wife noticed that footprints of Sai Baba were present, mysteriously impressed on the lid of the butter-can. Soon their neighbour who wasn’t a devotee of Baba told them that he had a dream on the previous night: “That fakir in that photo in Pradhan’s house” came to his house but he drove the fakir out; the fakir then entered Pradhan’s house. This corroborated the fact that Baba did visit Pradhan’s house in his subtle form. So, too Baba’s footprints appeared in the house of a Sai devotee, Tejaswini Rele. Later Baba appeared to her in a dream and told her that he had granted her wish to see his footprints.
We shall now note an instance which shows that when a devotee invokes the name of Baba in distress, it could mean the invocation of some other saint. One R.Morewallah, solicitor of Bombay was going to Thana by train. Owing to crowding he could not board the train properly. The train moved and he slipped and fell down. In fright he cried out ‘Sai’! An old man pulled the chain and held him securely. The train stopped. The railway guard came to enquire but the old man was nowhere to be seen. Later when Morewallah’s son visited a saint, the latter said. “Had I not saved your father’s life in 1953?”
Mrs. Mani Sahukar the famous writer of Sai Baba - the Saint of Shirdi was a fine songstress. Once she suffered from a strange congestion in her throat which no medicines could relieve. She could not sing even for a short while. She visited Shirdi and prayed to Baba at the samadhi mandir. When she later returned to her room she felt a rustling in her sari. When she looked it up, she found that it was a packet of homeopathic tablets. she took the same as Baba’s prasad and soon her throat was cleared!
On 13-11-1918 Baba appeared to devotee Kaka Mahajani in his dream and said “Why, are you still sleeping? Wake up and worship me. Today is the thirtieth day ceremony after my mahasamadhi.” Kaka woke up and found it to be so. He at once arranged the celebration and invited Kaka Saheb Dixit, Pradhan and Dabholkar for dinner. They all sang Baba’s bhajan the whole day.
Mr. Ravindranath Banerjee, Advocate, Howrah Cantonment, has left a note dated 2-2-1975 with a devotee at Shirdi. He writes:-
“One day about a year ago, while I was sitting inside Government pleader’s chamber at Howrah Court, Baba suddenly entered the chamber and took me outside and spoke a few words and then I could not see him. Probably he had vanished. I then returned to the chamber. The Government pleader sitting in front of me said, to my utter surprise, ‘I know that Sai Baba has come to you’. Thereafter many miracles took place in my life. I am an ordinary man. I do not know why God has selected me as His instrument to do some work”.
On a Thursday in 1953 prasad was distributed at the Sai Baba mandir in Ahmedabad. They gave different
prasad to different people, pedas to some and mangoes to others. Smt. Manorama, wife of Mr. Chandlal Mehta was upset at the seeming discrimination shown to the devotees in the name of Sai Baba. On her
way home a stranger met her and gave her a bag containing pedas, mangoes, udi and Rs.1.14.00. The stranger said that her husband had sent them for her. Later when her husband returned home, he heard of the incident and was amazed. For he had sent no such for her.It was evident that Sai Baba had responded to her unspoken thought and demonstrated once again that all are equal in his eyes and that he is ever ready to respond to the call of his devotees.
The Tomb that speaks and moves
D. Sriramulu was in acute financial crisis when his wife was seriously ill and he had to attend to his young children. Every day he fervently sought Baba’s help. One
morning, as he set out, Sai Baba appeared physically at the threshold. To make sure, Sriramulu enquired in amazement, “Who are you”? “What a fool you are! You’ll know it only if you know who you are!”, said Baba. “Be pleased to dine with us!”, Sriramulu said, “I’ve come for that!”, the visitor replied and added, “Tell your wife to serve me food!” The poor housewife got down from the bed and, with great difficulty, served him. When Sriramulu returned from the bazar with bananas, Baba had left. Within hours, his wife was quite well! Baba has ever after favoured her with his blessings. Once she felt sorry for losing a good picture of Sai. That night, Sai appeared in her dream, threw many of his pictures at her and told her to pick up whichever she liked and she did. The next morning, a devotee just returned from Shirdi and presented her with a like one!
One evening, Mr. Pathak, the former Court Receiver of Sri Sai Samsthanam, Shirdi, received an urgent message that 600 devotees were visiting Shirdi that night. He needed Rs.1,200/- to make boarding arrangements for them but by that time, the day’s collections of the Samsthan funds were already deposited in the treasury. When he was worried about it, two villagers entered his office and said that they wanted to pay Rs.600/- to the office for feeding devotees. He told them to see him the next morning as the office was closed and no payments could then be accepted. They said that they were in a hurry and requested him to accept their money and arrange for the feeding on the next morning. Mr. Pathak accepted it. One of them mentioned his name as Shirdikar (i.e., a native of Shirdi). After they went away, Mr. Pathak remembered that he had not thanked them for their timely contribution and sent the office-peons to call them, but there were no such anywhere! Three days later, an old devotee of Baba, Dr. Gawankar, came from Bombay and said to Mr. Pathak, “Three days ago, I had a dream in which I saw Sai Baba and Abdul Baba enter your office and give you some money.”
Dr. Rajagoplaachari (Nellore) was once presented with a picture of Baba by a friend. He got it framed and fixed it on the wall and forgot all about it. One night, a
fakir with boils all over his legs, appeared in his dream. Next morning, he casually glanced at Baba’s picture and noticed that he was the fakir. The picture of Sai was eaten up by white ants, exactly up to its legs. The doctor realized that Sai is one with his picture and started worshipping it.
Mr. V. Narayana Rao of Hyderabad sums up his experience thus: “In May 1979, we came to know that Sri Bharadwaja was in Hyderabad. Our long cherished wish to meet him was at last fulfilled and I was pleasantly surprised to know that I knew him earlier as a teacher, when I studied, in an evening college. One day he suggested that all of us, devotees of Sai, should conduct a weekly spiritual gathering where we can read the life of Sai Baba and sing bhajans. We commenced the activity on the next saturday in his company. We had the opportunity of meeting him every day as long as he was in the city and clear many of our doubts. He attended our second weekly gathering also. My son-in-law who did not participate in the satsang recounted his experience to me as follows: ‘During the satsang, I was resting on a cot in the open frontyard of our house. Suddenly I went into the house, peeped and looked at Sai Baba’s picture there. At the bottom of the picture was printed his saying. “If you look to me I look to you”. I mentally addressed Sai, “How far is your statement true? I shall believe you only if I am blessed with an experience. Else, I shall consider this satsang as an absurdity.” Then I came into the bed room, stood in front of Baba’s picture there and looked at his eyes. After two or three minutes I felt that the whole room was illuminated with a light of thousands of candlepower. My eyes dazzled and my body felt light, as though floating in the air, I felt something like an electric current passing through my body and I was afraid that I may fall down. At once I addressed Baba mentally, ‘Now I believe you. I shall take your darshan’, and bowed to him. Immediately, I regained my normal state. The mystic current had left me even like the air from a pricked bubble. I believe that it was an experience bestowed on me by Sai in response to my prayer. I only pray that all the members of our group should realize the full significance of such an experience.”
Mr.B.Adrishta Rao of Hyderabad records his experiences; “In September 1978, when I was in a troubled state, one of my colleagues gave me a picture of Sai Baba. He assured me that I shall be relieved of my problems by merely keeping it with me. Henceforth, I have been keeping it in my pocket and thinking of Sai now and then, even though I am a Christian by faith, My wife agreed that we should burn incense every morning and evening before the picture and bow to him.
In January 1979, my wife was severely ill and there was little hope of her survival, when I admitted her in the Government hospital. All the four of our children were young, the youngest being a baby of five months. I prayed to Sai to save me from the impending calamity. My wife regained her consciousness the next day and recounted her experience thus: ‘Baba appeared in by dream. One of my kinsmen who recently died of cancer was trying to drag me out through the window, holding my head. Baba at once rushed there, dragged the dark form of my kinsman and threw him in blazing flames. I appealed to Baba not to be so cruel to him. Baba said, ‘You don’t know anything. He is solely responsible for all the hardships of your family and he should be so punished’. Then I requested Baba to be seated. He replied, ‘My child, your husband is hard pressed with attending on your children. So I shall go there. You need not fear. You will be alright in a few days.’ Indeed, within a few days, she was alright. Henceforth, she started worshipping Baba with greater zeal. Later, two fakirs wearing kafnis appeared to her in a dream. When she received them they entered our house and made the sign of a cross on her breast and went away. Even though she was cured of her ailment, my wife continued to be weak. The doctor said that she needed prolonged treatment and it was necessary to take an X-ray picture of her chest. Reposing trust in Baba’s assurance, we did not give her any medicines. Still she gradually regained strength.
One night, we went on talking about Baba till 11 p.m. I just went to the bathroom for a minute. During this short interval she dozed and had a dream, Baba appeared before her and ordered her to follow him. ‘Baba, I am too weak to walk’ she said. ‘Do not fear. I shall take you along’, said Baba, led her by the hand upto the threshold and, from there, flew along with here to Shirdi. There he told her to break a coconut to his samadhi. As she tried to do so, the priest in mandir objected saying, ‘Get out from here. You are very dirty.’ Baba said to him, ‘She is my child. You must permit her to break the coconut’. Accordingly, she was permitted to do so. On the samadhi, she saw a big plate containing a few small bottles and a white ball of butter. The samadhi was glorious to look at in the light of colored bulbs. Then Baba left her back at home before he disappeared. Just then I returned from the bathroom. She woke up and recounted her vision to me. Baba appeared in her dream now and then and, eversince, we had no problems.”
Now, my own experience: In February 1973, I looked at the huge pile of manuscripts which were my collection of Baba’s leelas and I had a passing thought whether it was all worth the effort. Would it have been better if I had utilized all the time and energy in japa and dhyana? I wondered how Baba viewed it all. Early next morning, at 3.45 a.m., I had a dream in which someone held paper in front of my eyes. The paper bore the statement, “Pen is a mighty investment”. The moment I read this statement, I woke up. Indeed, in retrospect, I feel that it is a mighty spiritual investment. It was a very effective sadhana to keep my mind dwelling on Baba for over twelve years. Moreover, the dream proved prophetic in that several works flowed off my pen without much effort.
Baba’s protection was extended to dumb creatures also, even long after his mahasamadhi. About 1932 there was a breeding bull at Shirdi which was consecrated with the mark of a trident (of Lord Siva) on its forehead. Once when it damaged local gardens in course of its free grazing, all the bigwigs of Shirdi contributed Rs.3/- each and, along with the money, sent it to a pound (or cattle-shed) at Yeola through one Bhikku Marvadi. Soon the latter returned to Shirdi and said that he had discharged his duty. But Baba appeared in Apaji Patel’s dream that night and told him, “Are you sleeping? I have been tied to the door of a butcher”. Immediately he rushed to Yeola and was stunned to learn that the bull was in fact sold to a butcher for Rs.14/-. It was discovered there in time, released and was kept at the pound.