Baba once assured his devotees, “Whatever you do, wherever you may be, ever bear this in mind that I am always aware of everything”. What a great solace and a source of confidence to his devotees, and yet what an effective check to their evil propensities!
In December 1915, one Balakram Mankar went to the Tarkhad’s and told them that he was going to Shirdi and asked them whether they had any message for Baba. Mrs. Tarkhad wanted to send some gift to Baba. She searched the whole house but found nothing but a milk-cake (peda) which was already offered to Sai Baba’s picture in the shrine. Such a thing is generally considered unworthy of being offered a second time. But she hoped that Baba would care more for her love than for the thing sent. Balakram was in the period of mourning consequent on the death of his father and such a one is usually considered impure to take such a holy gift.
Balakram took the peda with him to Shirdi, but in his hurry to see Sai Baba, forgot to take it to him. He took Baba’s darshan with his own offerings. Baba waited for Balakram to recollect it. When Balakram visited Baba in the afternoon, he again forgot to take it. Baba said, “What did you bring for me from Bandra?” “Nothing”, said Balakram. Baba repeated his question a little later but got no better reply. At last he said, “Did not the mother Tarkhad give you some sweetmeat for me?” The young man remembered the whole thing, and brought the peda. Baba eagerly received it and ate it at once. All the love and devotion of the lady were fully reciprocated by Baba.
There is M.W.Pradhan’s experience: “While starting (i.e., on his visit to Shirdi) I had provided myself with three or four gold sovereigns ( ‘guineas’, as they were called) and some currency notes. I got a note changed so that I might be able to give silver rupees when Baba asked for dakshina. I had Rs.20/- in cash and the rest in notes. Baba was standing at the Lendi as though waiting for us. So we bowed to him. I took all the flowers, garlands and fruits to the musjid and gave him. I looked into his face and eyes, I felt that Baba was a great saint. Baba asked me for dakshina. Instead of giving him silver coins as I had intended at Kalyan, I put a sovereign in his hand. Baba turned it in his palm their and asked Noolkar, “What is this? What is its worth?” Noolkar replied, “It is worth Rs. 15/-” Baba returned the coin to me saying, I do not want this. Keep it and give me Rs. 15/-. I then gave Baba fifteen silver rupees. Baba counted them over and over and said, “Here is only Rs.10/- Give me Rs.5/- more!” I gladly gave him Rs.5/- Baba was obviously aware that the Rs.20/- in my pocket was intended for him and got it. He did not ask for more though I had a lot with me.”
Cholkar, a poor clerk in the civil court at Thana, once heard of Baba’s greatness and vowed to Baba – “Baba, I am a poor man and I am unable even to support my family. If by your grace I pass the departmental examination and get a permanent post I shall go to Shirdi for your darshan and distribute sugar candy in your name”. Cholkar’s wish was soon fulfilled. A poor Cholkar, anxious to fulfill his vow at the earliest, resolved to economize on his personal expenditure. He stopped using sugar in his tea and out of that saved enough money to fulfill his vow. He visited Baba and distributed sugar candy in his name. Then Baba addressed Bapusaheb Jog who was seated in the mosque and pointing at Cholkrar, said, “Jog, take him to your house and give him cups of tea fully saturated with sugar”. Cholkar was much moved and wonder–struck by Baba’s omniscience.
Once a lawyer from Pandharpur humbly prostrated to Baba and, offered him dakshina. Baba glanced at him and remarked. “How cunning people are! They fall at the feet and offer dakshina, but shower abuses behind the back! Is not this wonderful?” Later when devotees were discussing what Baba might have meant, the lawyer told them, “The dart was aimed at me. The sub-judge of Pandharpur once stayed at Shirdi to improve his health. I was one of those who criticized his blind faith in Baba.”
About the year 1911 one Somadeva Swami of Hardwar heard of Sai Baba’s greatness and started for Shirdi. When his tonga approached Shirdi, he saw the flags that stood on Sai Baba’s musjid and thought, “Why should a saint have a fancy for flags unless he has a craving for fame?” He was so much upset that he then and thee thought of returning to Hardwar. However, his fellow-travelers impressed upon him that he should better see the saint before making any decision. When finally he saw Sai Baba, he perceived the greatness of the fakir and tears of joy streamed down his cheeks. All his doubts melted into thin air. He remembered his guru’s watchword, “That is our abode and place of rest where the mind is most pleased and charmed.” On seeing him Baba got wild and yelled, “Go away. Beware if you come back to the musjid! Why take darshan of a sadhu that displays his banners over the musjid! Is this a sign of his sainthood? Get away!” Somadeva Swami was very much surprised to note that Baba was voicing his earlier feelings. Later Baba cooled down and received him well.
Rasane of Poona says, “I went to Baba, thinking that I would allot a share to him in the profits in a business transaction, and I was massaging his feet. Baba replied expressly that he did not want to get involved in any samsara like sharing the profits. So I gave up the idea”. He records two more similar experiences:
“I had two questions in my mind and he gave answers to both:
1. ‘There are so many crowding to Sai Baba . Do they all derive benefit from him?’ To this he replied vocally. ‘Look at the mango tree in blossom. If all flowers turned into ripe fruits, what a splendid crop it would be! But do they? Most of them fall off (either as flowers or as unripe fruits, owing to winds etc.). Very few remain!’
2. ‘If Baba were to pass away, how hopelessly adrift I would be and how am I to fare then?’ To this Baba answered that he would be with me whenever I thought of him, wherever I am. That promise he has kept up before 1918 and since too. He is still with me. He is still guiding me.” As an instance of this he mentions: “There was a theft in my house. My old friend stole my wife’s jewel-box including her auspicious nathi. I wept before Baba’s photograph. The next day the man returned the jewel box and prayed for pardon.”
Lakshman Govind Munge of Nasik went to see Baba sometime around 1890, accompanied by Gadgil and Nimonkar. When the three were to rest for the night, Gadgil set apart some dates, one rupee, and a packet of joss-sticks to be given to Baba the next day. Next morning, on seeing him Baba said “give me my dates, my joss-sticks and my rupee!”. Gadgil and Munge wondered at Baba's knowledge of their hearts wish. Baba at once disposed off the gifts, gave the rupee to the oilmonger who supplied oil for the lamps in the musjid. The joss-sticks were lighted and dates were distributed to all.
Smt. Bhikkubai, a young widow, was a close friend of Radhakrishnamai. The latter died in 1916 when Bhikkubai was at Ahmednagar. Later, on her way to Shirdi, Bhikkubai stopped at Kopergaon to take a dip in the sacred river Godavari. She remembered that Radhakrishnamai was cremated on the banks of the river. Her heart was full of sorrow and she silently blamed Sai Baba for not having saved her. Later she bought a flower garland, a water melon and milk-cakes (peda) as gifts to Baba. On her arrival at Shirdi, Baba said to her, “I don’t want this garland of mental uneasiness.” When she tried to garland him in spite of his protest, the garland mysteriously snapped into three parts, one in each of her hands and the third fell on the floor! When she put the milk-sweets and pieces of the melon before him, Baba said to Dixit and others who tried to persuade him to accept the same, “This woman was weeping and shedding tears at the Godavari and she has brought it with a troubled heart and so I will not accept it.”
In the very early years of Sai Baba’s advent at Shirdi, Nana Saheb Nimonkar was once told by his uncle Balawantrao (father of Shama) of Shirdi about Baba, “People believe he is a mad fakir. I doubt if he is really mad, but you had better go with me, see him and give me your opinion.” Earlier, whenever Balawantrao had gone to see him, Sai Baba kept him at a distance by threatening to fling brickbat at him. But when Nana Saheb Nimonkar went with Balawantrao he allowed them to go quite close to him. Nimonkar’s heart was charmed by Baba at the very first sight and he assured his uncle that Sai Baba was a great saint. But Balawantrao wondered why, Baba hurled stones at him earlier, and not on this occasion. Nimonkar said to him, “That was because you doubted if he was mad whereas I did not.”
Somanath Nimonkar (Nansaheb Nimonkar’s son) left plague-sticken Pune for his native place Nimon during the Christmas vacation in 1917. He took his first son Gopal, aged three years, with him and on the way halted at Shirdi. When they later sought his leave to proceed to Nimon, Baba gave udi to Somanath and said, “Go and save the child.” Somanath took it for a casual blessing to his son and so gave some udi to Gopal and started for Nimon. But when he reached home he realized the true significance of Baba’s words. His brother’s twelve-day-baby was in a critical condition. And Somanath discovered, to his despair, that he had lost the udi that Baba gave him! So taking the child in his lap, he fervently prayed to Baba and in fifteen minutes the child started recovering.
One day Baba was smoking his chilim and passing it round among those near. One Mr. Kolambe, a smoker of beedies, was seated at some distance. He felt a desire to have a puff or two out of the chilim. At once Baba called out to him, “You boy, come here! Why keep yourself so far? Come near and have a smoke!” Kolambe joined the group and enjoyed a few puffs.
On a later visit to Shirdi, Baba asked dakshina from everyone except Kolambe. Kolambe was happy when he thought that Baba was thereby revealing to him that he had taken note of his having given up his vicious habit of drinking. And later, when everyone had retired to the wada Kolambe was boasting of his immunity from Baba’s demands of dakshina. At once Baba sent word to him and demanded Rs. 2/- as dakshina from him and received it.
Another devotee who had come to Shirdi deposited his balance of Rs. 18/- with Kolambe in secret so that he might truthfully tell Baba that he had no money if he should ask for dakshina. Baba turned to him and asked for Rs. 2/- as dakshina and added, “Take it from this man (i.e. Kolambe) and give it.” The man’s device was obviously found out by Baba! The man then readily paid it!!
W.G. Pradhan of Bombay lost his seven-year-old son and was much upset. He later heard of Sai Baba and visited him. Baba angrily said of him to other devotees, “Why does this fool go on lamenting the death of a son? It is merely going to the earth. The body must go to the earth. Why go on lamenting that?” Then he began to describe, in detail, Pradhan’s house and garden and stated even the number of sitaphal and ramaphal trees in it.
M.B. Rege was a beloved devotee of Baba. Once he decided to visit Shirdi for Sri Ramanavami festival. While searching for proper gift to Baba in shop he saw a beautiful muslin piece, wondered how beautiful Baba would look when clad in it, purchased it and reached Shirdi. It was customary for Baba to receive such gifts from devotees and return the same to them. When Baba was busy receiving and returning gifts to devotees Rege stealthily put his muslin cloth beneath Baba’s seat, unnoticed by anyone. At the end of it all Baba stood up saying “Clear off all that lies on the gaddi(seat) and dust it.” When the mattress was removed Baba picked up the muslin, hugged it saying “How fine is the muslin! I shall not return this. This is mine!” He then put it on and looking at Rege said, “Do I not look beautiful in this?”
In 1914, G.G. Narke was once watching Baba as he distributed kufnis (the long gowns which fakirs wear) to a number of his devotees and wished that Baba should give him one. Baba stopped the distribution, turned to Narke and said, “Do not blame me for not giving you a kufni. That fakir (God) has not permitted me to give you one.” Similarly, in 1916 Narke arrived at Shirdi and learned that Baba was sending one Vaman Rao to beg food on his behalf and wishes that he should be given that service. However, Narke later gave up the thought and visited Sai in his full suit. Baba said that from that day onwards Narke should beg on his behalf. This service was allowed to Narke for four months!
S.B. Dhumal was one of the beloved devotees of Baba. One day Baba said to him, “Bhau, the whole of last night I had no sleep.” “Baba, why so?” asked Dhumal. “I was thinking and thinking of you all the night”, Baba said. Dhumal was overwhelmed and shed tears of joy. Baba was thereby assuring him that He was conscious of the constant remembrance of Him (Baba) that Dhumal was practising.
Once this devotee persuaded Radhakrishnamai to part with her colored portrait of Baba and was passing before the mosque, wishing to get it consecrated by Baba’s touch later. Baba at once called Dhumal into the mosque and asked him what he was carrying. Then he took the picture in his hand, gazed at it steadily both at its front and rear and then returned it saying, “Keep it”. Dhumal's wish was thus at once granted.
In 1915 Nachne of Thana was leaving for Shirdi. At the railway station one V.S. Samant gave him coconut and two annas with which to buy candy as his offering to Baba. When Nachne reached Shirdi he gave the coconut to Baba but forgot all about the two annas. Baba wanted to see if he would recollect it. At least, when Nachne asked Baba’s permission to return home, Baba said “But why keep back a poor brahmin’s two annas?” When Nachne gave him the two annas and asked for his pardon, Baba said, “Whatever you undertake to do, do thoroughly; else do not undertake it.”
Khanderao Garde was the disciple of Shri Ramanand Bidkar Maharaj who was a saint of great powers and a disciple of Sri Akkalkot Maharaj. His guru told him that Garde should visit a number of saints who would, even at the very sight of him, recognize him as one of their own stock. One of these saints he mentioned was Sri Sai Baba. Bidkar Maharaj told him that Sai would greet him as ‘Ramadas’. Accordingly he visited Shirdi in 1912 or so. On seeing Garde, Sai Baba welcomed him saying “Welcome Ramadas!” Obviously the reference to Garde meant “a disciple of Ramanand.”
One V.S.Joshi had sent Rs. 10/- to Baba as dakshina through a friend who was going to Shirdi and requested him to take a photograph of Baba. The friend, on reaching Shirdi, gave Baba the dakshina but had not the courage to take the photograph. After a few minutes Baba suddenly told the gentleman to take his photograph the latter took two snaps of Baba one in a sitting posture and the other in standing posture.
Baba’s knowledge of the future which is an aspect of his omniscience is illustrated by following leelas:
In December 1910, one day Dixit and Nana Chandorkar persuaded their friend Sahasrabudhe to go for the darshan of Baba. On the way, a gentleman met him at Kopergaon and said of Baba, “I know that mad fakir well”. Sahasrabudhe was in doubt whether the remark was indeed true. When he reached Shirdi, and bowed to Baba, the latter said, “You must bow down to Noolkar and to Bapusaheb Jog; that does not lower us in anywise.” When he did accordingly, Baba told him to serve Noolkar wholeheartedly. He went on repeating the same words. Sahasrabudhe then requested Noolkar to tell him what service he could render him. Noolkar was embarrassed and said, “Whatever Baba might have told you, please do not tease me like this.” Replied Sahasrabudhe, “But tell me whether you have some hidden powers.” Noolkar denied any such. Then Sahasrabudhe asked Baba repeatedly what he meant in ordering him to serve Noolkar. At last Baba said, “Experience is not for bullocks (like you). Only he who knows can receive it.” Sahasrabudhe concluded that there is some hidden truth in Baba’s words and decided not to leave Shirdi before knowing it. “All right!”, said Baba answering his unspoken thought. Later Shama asked Baba, “When will you give leave to Sahasrabudhe to go home” Baba brusquely replied, “I’ve things to work out with him. Let him stay on here like a dog!”
On another occasion Baba said of Noolkar, “He is my fellow. He has none beside me as his own.” These words came true shortly after. Noolkar feel ill and he decided not to leave Shirdi till he got well. After one year he passed away in March. Sahasrabudhe had to serve Noolkar in his last days. How prophetic were Baba’s words!
One day a thought arose in Sahasrabudhe’s mind. “While the scriptures proclaim that a guru makes his disciple like himself, why does not Baba make me like Him? ” This thought recurred to him again and again for three days. Finally Baba said to Shama, pointing at Sahasrabudhe, “This fellow wants to drive me out of my seat and occupy it himself. But it needs a lot of patience”. No one except Sahasrabudhe knew that Baba was responding to an unuttered thought.
In December 1910 a little before his death, Noolkar said to Sahasrabudhe, “Sai did not want me to suffer in my last days. So he has brought you here to serve me.”
Sometime before his demise Noolkar wanted to go home. Baba at first gave him leave but soon called him back and said, “Cremate that fellow in Lindibagh and go!” No one understood whom he meant. Even Mahalsapathy could only say that a calamity was impending for Noolkar. Indeed as per Noolkar’s last wish he was cremated in Lendibagh. When Baba spoke the above words, by ‘him’, he meant Noolkar’s physical body. For, in truth, man is a deathless spirit and only the body is mortal and needs to be cremated. It was also an assurance that he i.e. Noolkar, the spirit, would shuffle off his body in complete awareness before leaving for his real spiritual home. In fact Noolkar passed away in full awareness, with his mind concentrated on Baba and after Sahasrabudhe had poured the holy washing of Baba’s feet in his mouth.
One day in the presence of Imam Bhai Chote Khan, Sai Baba spoke cryptically to an elderly lady (called mavusi) about a thorn pricking in the foot and losing of one of the parents. No one could understand to whom Baba reffered. The devotee was in a hurry to return home and at last he went away even without Baba’s permission. He writes: “Two days after my return home, my mother struck a thorn in her foot while colleting fuel and she died 8 or 10 days later, as her leg had swollen. Then I understood what Baba said to the lady about thorn and losing of one’s parent.
On the 4th day of her death, I came to Shirdi as I had no funds and employments and was hoping that Baba would relieve my financial distress. I stayed on for 34 days or so and Baba said to mavusi, in my presence, “udi must be received and then leave for departure must be taken.” I at once inferred that Baba meant those words for me. Baba’s usual method is to address words to someone when they are meant for another or to address them to a whole group when only one of them is concerned. Next morning, Baba extended his hands with udi when I approached him and thus confirmed my inference. At that time of giving udi Baba said “At the door way of the house(i.e., my house), there will be an old woman standing. She will give something using which, celebrations may be performed. Guests have come. The feast should be had in their company.” I could not make out Baba’s meaning then. On going home the widow of the Kazi, a very old lady, was standing at my door and out of love or friendship for me, put fifty rupees in my hand, and said: “Perform your ceremonies.” That was the fortieth day of my mother’s death when the ceremonies had to be performed and for that, my four sisters and their husbands had come (home) in my absence. These evidently were the guests mentioned by Baba. I celebrated the fortieth day with the money given to me by the old lady.
On my next visit to Shirdi a month or so later, Baba said to me: “Gulab (rose) has come to your house.” I went back and found that my wife had recently delivered a male child. Believing that to be the “Gulab”(rose) mentioned by Baba, the boy was named “Gulab”.
One day a lizard on the wall of the mosque ticked. A devotee asked Sai what the omen was. The Master said that the creature was happy that her sister was coming from Aurangabad! The devotee was puzzled. After sometime, a man came from Aurangabad on horse-back. He took out a bag to fetch pulses for the horse and shook off the dust on it. A lizard fell out of it and climbed up the wall. The two creatures met and played together!
When Nanasaheb Bere and his friends sought Sai’s permission to return, he said “Start at once and proceed fast!” they started in two tongas. Bere hurried the driver to proceed faster. His friends followed slowly in the other tonga as they thought that there was plenty of time. Their tonga was attacked by highwaymen whereas Bere escaped. One has to implicitly obey the guru’s order, both in spiritual and worldly matters.
Baba’s omniscience, includes his accurate knowledge of the entire past of his devotees extending to their previous lives. The sceptical ones might suppose that Baba’s reference to past lives of his devotees might be part of a mystification and an awe-inspiring stunt of wicked fakir. But such a view only reveals a deep-rooted blindness on our part regarding the other aspects of Sai Baba’s greatness and especially of his virtues like humility. Then we need remember that after all, modern scientific research too in the field of parapsychology, like that of Prof. Ian Stevenson, tends to confirm the truth of this phenomenon. And such classics on practical yoga as Patanjali’s yoga aphorisms contain specific spiritual practices by which one could acquire such occult powers.
What a source of immense gratitude would it be to a devotee who realizes that Baba had been watching him by his omniscient gaze all through his past, long before he even heard of such a one like Sai Baba! This would assure his devotees that in Baba they have a competent one to judge the higher justice that underlies the seeming caprices of fortune they may undergo in their lives and thus it would enable them to rest content when he chooses to allow his devotees to undergo certain of their hardships while relieving them of some other. This kind of omniscience reveals that the possessor of it intimately knows the will of God both far ahead of its actual manifestation and long after it too. There can be no greater safety to a devotee than to resort to such a one. Now we shall notice a few such incidents.
Balwant Nachne visited Shirdi somewhere about 1915. One night, at about 8 p.m., he went to Dwarakamai and asked Sai Baba “What japa shall I make?” Baba said, “Go to Devpur (a village twenty miles from Kopergaon) and worship the stones there which your ancestors worshipped.” On his return he asked his father about it. His father told him that their ancestors worshipped some images at Devpur for several generations. Further, Nachne’s ancestor by five degrees, Baba Prayag had no children till he was sixty and he resorted to a saint, Baba Bhagwat ( a Disciple of Saint Eknath Maharaj) at Triambak. He was blessed with a son within one year. The saint Baba Bhagwat took the child, hardly one year old, to Devpur and gave it a handwritten copy of The Jnaneswari. Ever since, it became a tradition for every descendent of the family to go to Devpur and take initiation from a member of that guru’s lineage. All this was at the heart of Baba’s crisp reply to Nachne’s question.
Nachne did not follow Baba’s instruction till 1927 i.e., till 5 years after Baba’s mahasamadhi. In 1927, Nachne happened to see a great saint by name Nanu Maharaj. The saint was hardly 15 years old! On seeing Nanchne he asked him, “Have you gone to Devpur?” Surprised at the pin-pointed accuracy of the question he had to admit he hadn’t done so and he also explained the reasons for it. Nanu Maharaj replied, “What if there is no one older than you in the lineage of your ancestoral guru? My own guru is younger than I. His name is Doipode. The name of your guru is Bhagwat.” Nachne wondered how young the guru of Nanu Maharaj could be. The latter promised to show him his guru. Soon after Nachne went to Devpur and got initiated by young Bhagwat. A year after that he came to know that Nanu Maharaj was to visit Bombay and went there. Nanu Maharaj showed him his eight-year-old guru Sripada Doipode. This incident reveals that Sai Baba’s knowledge of Nachne’s past extended to several generations and the direction is borne out by the words of another great saint Nanu Maharaj.
In the 7th Chapter we mentioned about two visitors from Goa to one of whom Baba demonstrated that he was Lord Datta. We shall mention what he said to the other.
Baba spoke regarding the second visitor from Goa in his characteristic veiled language, identifying himself with the latter. He said that a Brahmin who was his trusted cook for thirty five years fell into bad company and evil ways. Once he removed a stone in the wall and stole away currency notes worth Rs.30,000/-. He was almost obsessed with the loss when a fakir going along the road, came to him and enquired after the cause of his sadness. On knowing the truth, the fakir advised him to vow to a great saint at Shirdi by name Sai Baba, that he would visit Shirdi and worship Sai if and when he got back his money. The fakir also advised him to know not to eat one of his favourite dishes at meal till such time. And the man followed the fakir’s directions. And to his great surprise, the Brahmin cook came back to him, and returning the money with great penitence, begged his pardon! The visitor promptly started on his promised trip to Shirdi. But the captain of the ship said that there was no accommodation in the vessel. Soon, a peon, a perfect stranger came there and interceded for him with the captain. At last, the captian took the man in the vessel and the latter eventually arrived at Shirdi. The only thing he vowed was that he would take darshan of Sai Baba if he got back his lost sum. And he did. So he was not indebted anymore to the Lord. Then how and why should Sai Baba accept his dakshina?
Now we shall turn to Sai Baba’s knowledge of the past lives of persons and even of animals.
When Prof. G.G Narke first visited Sai Baba, the latter said to Shama who was about to introduce the visitor. “You introduce him to me? I have known him for thirty lives!” Similarly, when Raghuvir Purandhare visited Baba in 1909, the latter said to Purandhare that they were connected for seven centuries. He added, “I will not forget him. I will always remember him even if he is away- even more than 2,000 miles! I will not eat even a bit without him.”
M.W.Pradhan had a son by name ‘Babu’. Sai Baba was particularly fond of him. Nearly a year before Babu’s birth Sai Baba pointed out Mrs.Pradhan to Shama and said, “She is the mother of my Babu.” Sai Baba once told his devotees about Babu’s past life thus: “A pious old man lived at Shirdi for twelve years. His wife and his grown-up sons who were at Jalna repeatedly requested him to return to them. At last he went on horse back and I ( i.e., Sai Baba ) followed him in a cart. After a time,this old man married a young girl, the daughter of his own sister and had a son by her. The boy was later poisoned by biradars and was born as Babu, and Babu, after his death, is now born again in Bombay.”
In a similar vein Sai Baba once told Balasaheb Bhate that the latter was a khatri in his past life and that his wife and son of the present life were of a weaver’s caste in their past life. He said that his devotee Vasudeva Kaka was, in his past life, a Rajput named Jai Singh who had a daughter of loose morals; that the latter become a mistress of a barber. He said, on another occasion that his devotee Smt. Chandrabai Borkar was his sister in her past seven births.
V.H. Thakur, a clerk in the Revenue Department, once went to Vadagaon on offical duty and there he took darshan of a famous Kanarese saint named Appa. When Thakur bowed to him, the saint blessed him and said, “When you go to the North on your official tours you will meet a very great saint who will show you the path to peace.” He also told Thakur to study the mystical work Vichara Sagara.
Later, Thakur was transferred to Junnar. To reach that place he had to cross a very steep ghat called Nhane ghat on the back of a buffalow. The ride pained his body much. Later, he was posted further North at Kalyan where he came into contact with Nanasaheb Chandorkar and heard of Sai Baba’s greatness from him. He yearned to take Baba’s darshan.
When Thakur later saw Sai Baba he was over-joyed and his eyes were brimmed with tears. Looking at him Baba said, “The path shown in this place is not as easy as the teachings of Appa the Kanarese saint, or even as the buffalow-ride across the Nhane ghat. In this spiritual path you have to exert your utmost efforts.” Thakur at once realized that he was the very great ‘Saint’ that appa told him of and bowed to Baba. Baba blessed him and said, “What Appa told you was alright but these things have to be practiced and lived. Mere reading won’t do. Mere study without practice and the grace of the guru is of no use.”
Anwar Khan Kaji of Ahmednagar wanted to rebuild a musjid at Telikakoot (Kajichi musjid). He came to Baba for funds to repair the musjid. Baba told him after he had waited long, that the musjid would not accept any money from him or others but would herself provide the funds. ‘Dig three feet under the nimbar (i.e., niche), and you will find a treasure. Rebuild the musjid with that’, Baba said. Then the Kaji went to Ahmednagar, found the treasure, rebuilt it and came to Shirdi and told me and others of the above facts.
Sai once said, “One morning I strolled along, had a bath in a rivulet. As I prepared the chilm (pipe),a traveler turned up and sat by me. We heard a croaking. I told him that a frog was caught by a snake and was crying. I went and addressed the creatures, ‘Oh Veerabhadrappa and Chennabasappa, fie upon your enmity even after taking such low birth? Give it up and rest in peace!’ The snake at once left the frog and the two creatures escaped. I then explained: Devotees raised money for the renovation of a dilapidated temple. Twice, a rich man swindled the funds. Once God appeared in his wife’s dream and said,‘Renovate the temple, I’ll reward you hundred-fold.’ Her husband cleverly put her off. After some days the Lord again appeared in her dream and she offered her jewels for the purpose. The greedy husband undervalued them and, in exchange, gave a piece of barrenland to the temple priest towards the expenses of daily worship. Originally it was mortgaged to him by a poor woman for Rs. 200/- which she could not redeem. In the next life, the miser was born as a brahmin named Veerabhadrappa. His devout wife was reborn as Gauri, the daughter of the temple priest. The poor woman who mortgaged the land was born as Chennabasappa.
The priest was devoted to me. I told him the bridegroom would himself come seeking his daughter in marriage. One day the poor boy, Veerabhadrappa, came to his house and, on my advice, Gauri was married to him. Even in that life, he hankered after money. By a sudden twist of circumstances the barren land was sold at a lakh rupees. There was a quarrel for the money. When they came to me, I said that the money is God’s and was to be entrusted to the priest and that Gauri was the heiress to it; that her husband had no right over it. Veerabhadrappa was wild and imputed evil motives to me. That night, the lord appeared in Gauri’s dream and told her to spend a portion of the money for renovating the temple and to consult me (i.e., Baba) with regard to it. Chennabasappa and Veeraghadrappa quarrelled for the money. The latter threatned the former with death. Chennabasappa sought my protection and I assured him of it. Owing to hatred Veerabhadrappa is born as the snake and the timid Chennabasappa is born as a frog. True to my pledge, I have rescued the latter now.” Sai stands by his word to the very end of time.