Sai Leelas - Experience of (1) Kaka Mahajani, (2) Dhumal Pleader, (3) Mrs. Nimonkar, (4) Moolay Shastri, (5) A Doctor
Now let us see in this Chapter how devotees were received and treated by Baba.
We have seen before, that the purpose or object of Divine Incarnation is to protect the good and destroy the wicked. But the mission of the Saints is quite different. To them the good and the wicked are the same. First they feel for the evil-doers and set them on the right path. They are like the Agasti to destroy the Bhavasagar (the ocean of worldly existence) or like the Sun to the darkness of ignorance. The Lord (God) dwells in the Saints. In fact they are not different from Him. Our Sai is One of these, Who incarnated for the welfare of the devotees, Supreme in knowledge and surrounded with divine lustre, He loved all beings equally. He was unattached. Foes and friends, kings and paupers, were the same to Him. Hear His powers. For the sake of devotees, He spent His stock of merits and was ever alert to help them. But the devotees could never approach Him, unless He meant to receive them. If their turn did not come, Baba did not remember them, and His Leelas could not reach their ears. Then, how could they think of seeing Him? Some men desired to see Sai Baba but they did not get any opportunity of taking His darshan, till His Mahasamadhi. There are many such persons, whose desire for Baba's darshan was not thus satisfied. If these persons, believing in Him, listen to His Leelas, their quest for milk (darshan) will be, to a great extent, satisfied by the buttermilk (Leelas). If some persons went there by sheer luck and took Baba's darshan, were they able to stay there longer? No. Nobody could go there of his own accord, and nobody could stay there long even if he so wished. They could stay there, so long as Baba permitted them to stay, and had to leave the place when asked to do so by Baba; so everything depended on Baba's will.
Once, Kaka Mahajani went to Shirdi from Bombay. He wanted to stay there for one week, and enjoy the Gokul-Ashtami festival. As soon as he took Baba's darshan, Baba asked him, "When are you returning home?" He was rather surprised at this question, but he had to give an answer. He said that he would go home when Baba ordered him to do so. Then Baba said, "Go tomorrow". Baba's word was law and had to be obeyed. Kaka Mahajani, therefore, left Shirdi immediately. When he went to his office in Bombay, he found that his employer was anxiously waiting for him. His munim, i.e., the manager, suddenly fell ill hence Kaka's presence was absolutely necessary. He had sent a letter to Kaka at Shirdi, which was redirected to him at Bombay.
Now listen to an opposite story. Once Bhausaheb Dhumal, a pleader, was going to Niphad for a case. On the way he came to Shirdi, took Baba's darshan and wanted to proceed to Niphad immediately. But, Baba did not permit him to do so. He made him stay at Shirdi, for a week or more. In the meanwhile, the magistrate at Niphad suffered intensely from pain in his abdomen, and the case was adjourned. Mr. Dhumal was then allowed to go and attend to his case. The case went on for some months and was tried by four magistrates. Ultimately Mr. Dhumal won the case, and his client was acquitted.
Mr. Nanasaheb Nimonkar, Watandar of Nomon and Honorary Magistrate, was staying at Shirdi with his wife. Mr. and Mrs. Nimonkar were spending most of their time in the Masjid with Baba and serving Him. It so happened that their son fell ill at Belapur and the mother decided, with Baba's consent, to go to Belapur, see her son and other relatives; and stay there for a few days, but Mr. Nanasaheb asked her to return the next day. The lady was in a fix and did not know what to do; but her God Sai came to her help. While leaving Shirdi she went to Baba, who was standing in front of Sathe's wada with Mr. Nanasaheb and others, prostrated at His Feet and asked His permission to go. Baba said to her, "Go, go quickly, be calm and unperturbed. Stay comfortably at Belapur for four days. See all your relatives and then return to Shirdi." How opportune were Baba's words! Mr. Nanasaheb's proposal was overruled by Baba's decree.
Moolay Shastri of Nasik
Moolay Shastri, an orthodox Agnihotri Brahmin of Nasik, who had studied the six shastras and was well-versed in astrology and palmistry, once came to Shirdi to see Mr. Bapusaheb Booty, the famous millionaire of Nagpur. After seeing him, he and others went to see Baba in the Masjid. Baba bought various fruits and other things from vendors, with His own money, and distributed them to the persons present in the Masjid. Baba used to press the mango on all sides so skilfully that when any person sucked on it, he got all the pulp at once in his mouth and could throw away the stone and the skin forthwith. Plantains were peeled off by Baba and the kernel was distributed to the devotees, while the skins were retained by Baba for Himself. Moolay Shastri, as a palmist, wanted to examine Baba's hand or palm and requested Him to extend the same. Baba ignored his request and gave four plantains to him. Then, they all returned to the Wada and Moolay Shastri bathed, wore sacred clothes, and started his routine duties, viz. Agnihotra etc. Then Baba as usual started for Lendi and said, "Take some geru (i.e. a red miry substance, to dye clothes in saffron-colour), we shall today don saffron coloured cloth". None understood what Baba had meant. Then after some time when Baba returned, and preparations for the noon-Arati were being made. Bapusaheb Jog asked Moolay Shastri, whether he would accompany him for the arati. He replied that he would see Baba in the afternoon. Very soon Baba sat on his seat, was worshipped by the devotees and arati commenced. Then Baba said - "Get some dakshina from the new (Nasik) Brahmin". Booty himself went to get the dakshina; and when he gave Baba's message to Moolay Shastri, he was sorely perplexed. He thought in his mind thus, "I am a pure Agnihotri Brahmin, why should I pay dakshina? Baba may be a great Saint. I am not His dependent." But as a great Saint like Sai Baba was asking for dakshina through a millionaire like Booty, he could not refuse.
So leaving his routine unfinished, he forthwith started with Booty to the Masjid. Thinking himself holy and sacred, and the Masjid otherwise, he remained at a distance, and joining his hands threw flowers at Baba. Then lo! all of a sudden, he saw no Baba on the seat, but saw his late Guru Gholap Swami there. He was wonderstruck. Could this be a dream? No, it was not, as he was wide awake; but how could his late Guru Gholap be there? He was speechless for some time. He pinched himself and thought again, but could not reconcile the fact of his late Guru Gholap being in the Masjid. Ultimately, leaving all doubt, he went up, fell at his Guru's feet and then getting up stood there with folded hands. Other people sang Baba's arati, while Moolay Shastri chanted his Guru's name. Then casting off all pride of caste and ideas about sacredness, he fell flat at his Guru's feet and closed his eyes. When he got up and opened his eyes, he saw Baba asking for dakshina. Seeing Baba's blissful form, and His inconceivable power, Moolay Shastri forgot himself. He was extremely pleased, his eyes were full of tears of joy. He again saluted Baba and gave the dakshina. He said that his doubt was removed and that he saw his own Guru. On seeing this wonderful leela of Baba all the people, including Moolay Shastri, were much moved, and they realized the meaning of Baba's words, "Bring geru, we shall don saffron-coloured garment." Such is the wonderful leela of Baba.
Once a Mamlatdar came to Shirdi with a doctor friend of his. The doctor said that his deity was Rama and that he would not bow before a Mahomedan, and so he was unwilling to go to Shirdi. The Mamlatdar replied that nobody would force him to bow, nor would ask him to do so. So he should come and give the pleasure of his company. Accordingly, they came to Shirdi, and went to the Masjid for Baba's darshan. All were wonder-struck to see the doctor going ahead and saluting Baba. They asked him how he forgot his resolve and bowed before a Mussalman. Then the doctor replied that he
saw his beloved deity, Rama, on the seat and he, therefore prostrated himself before Him. Then as he was saying this, he saw Sai Baba there again. Being dismayed, he said, "Is this a dream? How could He be a Mahomedan? He is a great Yogasampanna (full of Yoga) Avatar."
Next day, he made a vow and began to fast. He absented himself from the Masjid, resolving not to go there, until Baba blessed him. Three days passed and on the fourth day, a close friend of his from Khandesh turned up, and with him he went to the Masjid for Baba's darshan. After the salutation, Baba asked him, whether anybody had gone to call him, so that he had come. Hearing this vital question, the doctor was moved. The same night he was blessed by Baba, and he experienced the Bliss supreme, in his sleep. Then he left for his town, where he experienced the same state for a fortnight. Thus his devotion to Sai Baba increased manifolds.
The moral of all the stories mentioned above, especially that of Moolay Shastri, is this that we should have firm faith in our Guru and nowhere else.More leelas of Sai Baba will be described in the next Chapter.