Sai Baba was well known to few thousands of people during his lifetime. After over 100 years now, millions and millions of devotees adore him. Baba never claimed to be God, but the devotees and people around him felt that he was God by always receiving powerful divine grace from him.
The absolute reality Brahman (of Vedas) is formless and even nameless, Brahman being a placeholder name. The Vedas are full of another concept with detailed definitions and instructions… The Guru.
The Gurustotram Says
Cakssur-Unmiilitam Yena Tasmai Shrii-Gurave Namah ||3||
(Salutations to the Guru) Who Removes the Darkness o Ignorance from our Blind (Inner) Eyes by applying the collyrium of the Light of Knowledge.
By Whom our (Inner) Eyes are Opened; Salutations to that Guru.
Sai Baba did open the inner eyes of millions of people. Those are all his devotees, but Sai Baba is a Guru who preached nothing but still taught everything. He never asked for a temple with millions of devotees visiting it every week. His grace has been a strong and positive influence in so many lives that the Gratitude flows in the form of Love, compassion and respect and idealizing of the Guru that is Sai Baba. Enlightening mastery, healing or curing power can be seen only in a Satguru. This comes either by Divine Grace and / or through the efforts of the Satguru in several births to attain that state. Saibaba is therefore a Satguru.
Some devotees see His grace from a worldly perspective and others from a spiritual perspective. But His Grace is pushing the devotees gently towards the ultimate discovery of the true nature of the self.
The comfort of that Grace determines the Shraddha (Loving faith) of the devotees.
It also instils a strong feeling of Saburi (Patient Perseverance).
Devotees get the protection from his eyes.
After over 100 years even today Sai provides positive guidance, comfort and assurance for his devotees across the globe. Bhakti is a matter of personal faith and perseverance, and to Baba’s devotees , His Grace, Compassion and Love that they have enjoyed will drive them throughout their lives.
Shirdi villagers and others from surrounding areas discovered that Baba was not a normal fakir but a very high-order avatar (incarnation). He demonstrated the purpose and intention for which he had come through his miracles and utterances. Often he would say, “My Leela is inscrutable.” He imparted information to each one he encountered, according to the recipient’s ability to absorb it. Baba’s Leela’s (miracles) were numerous and varied, and only a few that happened during and after his lifetime are reported here for the benefit of devotees.
Lighting lamps with water
He liked burning lights in his Masjid and other temples long before Sai Baba’s fame spread. But he depended on the generosity of Shirdi’s grocers for the oil needed in those little earthenware lights he lit. Each evening he had made it a rule to light earthenware lamps in the masjid, and for small donations he would call on the grocers. But a time came when grocers were tired of giving Sai Baba oil free and one day they directly declined to oblige him, saying they didn’t have any fresh stocks. Sai Baba came back to the masjid without a word of protest. He poured water into the earthenware lamps and lit the wicks. The lamps kept burning well into midnight. The matter came to the attention of the grocers who came with profuse explanations to Sai Baba now. Will Sai Baba not be kind enough to forgive them? They were forgiven by Sai Baba, but he cautioned them not to lie again. “You might have declined to give me the oil, but you said that you had no fresh stocks?” he told them. But he made his point.
Premonition of burning fields
Once the Shirdi harvest was completed and the whole village’s food grains were stored in a yard. There was summer going. As only those who lived in Shirdi know, the heat was heavy. Sai Baba summoned Kondaji Sutar one afternoon and said to him, “Go, your field is on a flre,” terrified, Kondaji ran to his field, and He searched frenetically for any sign of flames. There was no one there. He returned to the masjid and informed Sai Baba that he had looked everywhere, but found no trace of fire, and why was he to be scared by Baba? Baba said unfazedly: “You better turn back and look again.” After all, Baba was right. Kondaji found that there was indeed a sheaf of corn on fire and that smoke was fluttering. The flame was fanning with a strong wind and the word had gone round to the villagers who were now rushing to the scene. “Sai Baba,” the people yelled, “help us, help us put out the fire!” Then Sai Baba walked calmly to the yard, sprinkled some water on a sheaves pile, and said, “Now, the fire is going to die down!”
Stopped the rain
There is the story of one Rao Bahadur Moreshwar Fradhan who came with his wife to Shirdi to take the darshan of Sai Baba. It started to rain heavily as the pair were about to leave. The wind is leased by thunder and lightning. As the couple of Pradhan looked dismayed round, Sai Baba prayed. “Oh God!” he said, “let the rains come to an end. My children go back. Let them go peacefully!” Then the storm ended, the downpour reduced to a slight drizzle, and the Pradhans were able to safely reach their destination.
Raising the well water level
It had no basic facilities when Sai Baba first came to Shirdi to lift the water level in well. Only in title there was a well in place. It had no natural spring water, and it must have dried up long ago if ever there had been one. It was necessary to collect water from a distance. Therefore, when Sai Baba gave the villagers his permission to celebrate the Ram Navami Fair (Baba’s Birthday), the big problem facing the organizers was water supply. So what should they do with their problem, but go to Sai Baba? “Oh yes,” Sai Baba said, “so you want to have plenty of water, do you? Here, take this and drop it in the well and wait and see.”” This” turned out to be a platter of flowers on which some prasad (blessed food) had been placed along with the remnants of alms that Baba had received earlier in the day. The villagers had no trouble doing as they were asked to do.Their faith in Sai Baba was total. No sooner had that platter of leaves been dropped in the well, it is said, water rose from the bottom as if it was by divine command and filled the well completely. And great was the rejoicing of the people.. “This is all Baba’s Leela,” the people would say. No other clarification could be given by them.
Saving a child from drowning
One report has it that word had spread that the 3-year old daughter of a poor man called Babu Kirwandikar had fallen into the well and had been drowned. When the villagers rushed to the well they saw the child suspended in mid-air as if some invisible hand was holding her up! She was quickly pulled out. Sai Baba was fond of that child who was often heard to say : I am Baba’s sister!” After this incident, the villagers took her at her word. “it is all Baba’s Leela”, the people would say philosophically. They could offer no other explanation.
Flow of Godavari (river) from the feet of Baba
These were examples of things with their own eyes that they had seen. It was not the news or information they had learned from the second hand. Sai Baba was just as important to them as their homes and their fields and their cattle and the distant hills. Das Ganu once had an unforgettable experience. He sought permission from Baba to go to a place called Singba on the banks of the Godavari to have a bath in the holy waters on a festive occasion. “No,” responded Baba resolutely, “when the Godavari is right at my feet, where is the need to go all the way?” Das Ganu was vexed. He was willing to admit that Ganga the Holy River (often referred to by Baba as Godavari as Ganga) rose from Sri Narayana’s feet (one of the Hindu trinity of Gods) himself, but his confidence was not strong enough to believe that Godavari’s waters could rise from his master’s feet, Sri Sai. Baba, who read the mind of Das Ganu, felt this was the time to affirm the faith of Das Ganu. He said to his devotee, “Come closer to me and hold my feet in the hollow of your palms.” When he did so, water flowed freely out of the master’s feet’s toes and in no time filled the hollow of the palms of Das Ganu. There were no limits to his happiness. He sprinkled the water on his head and body and distributed as tirtha (holy water) some more among the gathered devotees.
The Two Lizards Miracle of Sai Baba
Once Sai Baba was sitting in the masjid (mosque); a devotee sat in front of him, when a lizard tick-ticked. Out of curiosity the devotee asked Baba, whether this tick-ticking of the lizard signified anything good or was it a bad omen? Baba said that the lizard was overjoyed as her sister from Aurangabad was coming to see her. The devotee sat silent not making out the meaning of Baba’s words. Immediately a gentleman from Aurangabad came on horse-back to see Baba. He wanted to proceed further, but his horse would not go as it was hungry and wanted grams. He took out a bag of grams from his shoulders to bring grams and dashed it on the ground to remove dirt. A lizard came out there from and in the presence of all, climbed up the wall. Baba asked the questioner devotee to mark her well. She at once, went strutting to her sister. Both sisters met each other after a long time, whirled round and danced with love! Where is Shirdi and where is Aurangabad for the lizard? How should the man on horseback come there from Aurangabad with the lizard? And how should Baba make Prophecy of the meeting of the two sisters? All this is really very wonderful and proves the omniscience – the all-knowing nature of Baba.
There was that other occasion when many thought that the masjid which housed Sai Baba itself would be consumed by fire from the flames which leapt up from the dhuni. All that Baba did was to take some swipes at a wooden pillar in front of him. With every blow the flames subsided and the fire died down. “Miraculous,” said his devotees. Often they would notice him stirring some hot concotion over the kitchen fire, not with a ladle but with his bare hands. There never was a time when his hand was scalded. What supernatural powers did he have? On yet another occasion, Sai Baba was partaking of food with three of his devotees in the masjid when, without any cause for provocation, he exclaimed- “Stop!” Then, as if nothing had happened, the four continued with their meal. Lunch over and the dishes cleared, they stepped out of the masjid, when large chunks of the ceiling fell on the very spot where they had been seated only a few minutes earlier. Did Sai Baba’s powers extend even to inanimate matter, the devotees wondered. Instances have been quoted by his devotees as to how Sai Baba commanded the rains to stop and the winds to cease. Every day we see and hear stories of Baba’s devotee reporting their miraculous experiences reinforcing the power of Sai.
Understanding Shirdi Baba
Sai Baba ever maintained the “Dhuni” or the eternal fire. The knowledge that all nature’s events are perishable and incapable of our attention is meant by “Udi” transmitted to all by Sal Baba. Shirdi has never been abandoned by Baba. He listened to those who came to see him. Sal Baba would often speak in metaphors and parables, leaving his devotees to figure out the answer-such as, “A man had a beautiful horse, but no matter what he did, it would not run in harness. An expert suggested that it should be taken back to the place from where it came from. The story’s interpretation is that the horse is the ego. It is useful, but self-willed, as controller of man’s physical and mental forces, and thus causes endless trouble. To bring it back to its source is to re-absorb it in the origin of the spirit that it emerges. It is the return to the source that purifies and illuminates. The soul emanates from there again, not an entity, but a conscious representative of the spirit. Baba would ask some of those who came to see Him for Dakshina (money given in honor of the Guru). It wasn’t because their money was necessary. This was one of the techniques Baba used to test the commitment of the devotee to worldly things and the ability to sacrifice his ego. Once you have fully given yourself to Him, Baba will take care of all your spiritual and earthly needs. Baba, like everything else, looked at money in a symbolic way. He said once, “I ask only those who are pointed out by the fakir (God) and I give them ten times as much in exchange.” All the money Baba had received, by the end of the day was distributed to the rich, the poor, the sick and the needy. Baba used to feed and even cook for the fakirs and devotees. He cooked meat for those who were accustomed to meat, and vegetarian food for the others.
Sai Baba’s Dwarakamayee was open to everyone, regardless of caste, race or religion. There were ministers, government officials, business people, and village folk among those who came to see him and received his darshan (establishing spiritual connection with the Guru) and blessings. He was the god of the common man. He lived with them, laughed with them, slept with them, ate with them, smoked with them a chillum (pipe), sang and danced with them, without pretensions of a god. But they all knew He was shielding them. Despite leaving his gross body even today, they feel his presence and know his worth even more. Baba would also refer to the sounding of the drum of the beginning of eternity within the soul. This “anahat” sound emerged from Baba’s heart from every limb, every bone and pore of his body. It was permeated with divine essence and Baba claimed that though one day his physical body will not exist, his remains will communicate with his people from the grave. Therefore, the most important place of worship in Shirdi is Baba’s temple – the Samadhi Mandir is his grave, which literally millions of devotees have visited and still continues to draw many more.
Religion is for the mind or Ego. Spirit is beyond that. Satgurus such as Sai Baba, GF, Ramanamaharishi and Sri Ramakrishna are beyond the reach of Human intellect and its limited capabilities in understanding the inner and profound truth of scriptures. Only through unconditional surrender one can experience the Satguru’s full scale Grace.
Jai Sairam !