The Previous Sareeram (Body) -
Extracts from Sai Vaani
While at Shirdi,
Baba used to converse with those coming to Him, give advice to
them regarding their problems and offer courage and solace to them
with regard to their troubles. In this manner, Baba’s activities
came to be known all over the country. At that time, there was in
the Maharashtra State, a deputy collector and settlement officer
by name, Hari Vinayak Sathe. He was grief stricken over the
passing away of his wife. Prof. G.G. Narke, a friend of Sathe,
came to his house and advised Sathe that there was no purpose in
grieving over his loss and that it was advisable for him to have a
change of place to get over his sorrow. He suggested that it was
good to have the Darshan of some saint and persuaded him to come
to Shirdi. Sathe was quire an extraordinary person. On reaching
Shirdi, he and Narke had Darshan of Baba. On several occasions,
looking at Sathe, Baba used to laugh, sing and make strange
gestures. Doubts arose in Sathe’s mind whether Baba was a real
sage or an eccentric person. Non one mentioned anything about
Sathe to Baba. Sathe and Narke merely went to see Baba and sat in
His presence. Baba told Sathe, "Don’t worry about anything.
Bodies are like water bubbles. Do not develop any attachment to
the body. Develop your attachment to the indwelling spirit (Dehi).
Worries are like passing clouds. They happen to every individual.
Have courage. Protect your child." The last remark had
reference to the fact that Sathe’s wife had died giving birth to a
child. Even Narke had not heard about the survival of this child.
On hearing Baba’s words, Sathe realized that Baba was not a crazy
person but one who was a Trikala Jnani, who knew the
past, present and the future. Sathe who had intended to stay for a
short while just to have Darshan of Baba, prolonged his stay by
two more days.
visits to Shirdi, Sathe was the first to realize that there were
no proper accommodation amenities at Shirdi for those coming to
Baba. He provided residential accommodation for visitors at a
place known as "Sathe Wada". While serving in this manner,
Sathe went again to Shirdi after he began to feel whether there is
any purpose on his continuing to earn income and accumulate
wealth. On seeing Sathe, Baba smilingly said, "You appear to
be losing interest in your job. You are wondering how to dispose
the wealth you had acquired. Why give it anyone? Use it for good
cause. Build a ‘Kothi’ in Shirdi." Sathe told Baba, "Swami!
I am not a millionaire. How can I build a mansion here?".
Baba replied, "Go on doing as much as you can. Why fear when
I am here?"Baba encouraged Sathe in this manner. In due
course, Sathe’s maternal uncle, Kelkar, settled down in Shirdi.
Sathe used to send funds from Poona and his uncle used to carry on
the constructions in Shirdi. In this way, Baba used Sathe as His
instrument. He regarded Sathe as His right hand with regard to all
matters. Because Baba was keeping Sathe close to Him and relying
on him for everything, the residents of Shirdi grew jealous
towards him. "Many are content to do nothing themselves, but
they cannot bear seeing others do things and will carry tales
against them!". Several persons used to come to Baba and
tell stories against Sathe. What is the appropriate name for such
talebearers? They should be called "enemies of beggars"
(namely barking dogs), declared Baba.
At Shirdi, Baba used
to do notable things. One was to receive money from whoever came
to Him. He used to ask for "Dakshina" (cash offering). He
did not ask for large sums. It was two rupees or five rupees. He
would receive the money and give it away immediately in their
presence. He kept nothing with Himself.
One day a man by
name Pradhan came to Baba. He had intended to offer twenty rupees
to Baba. In those days, there were no currency notes; everything
was in silver coins. Unlike the alloy coins of today, in those
days every rupee contained one tola (eleven grams) of
silver. Pradhan thought that instead of offering so many silver
coins, it would be better to offer one gold sovereign to Baba.
Baba turned the sovereign this way and that way and remarked, "How
is it I have not seen such a coin before?" A person near
Baba said: "It is a gold coin!" Baba then observed,
"I do not want this. Give Me money in rupees." He
asked how much the sovereign was worth. At that time, it was worth
fifteen rupees. Getting back the sovereign, Pradhan gave fifteen
rupees to Baba. Immediately Baba remarked, "Pradhan! You
have to give Me five more rupees!" Pradhan was a judge at
that time. Pradhan as well as persons around him wondered why Baba
was demanding five more rupees when a sovereign was worth only
fifteen rupees. Noticing Pradhan’s hesitation, Baba told him,
"First hand over the five rupees and then think about it."
Pradhan gave the five rupees. Then Baba observed, "When
you set out of your home, how much did you want to offer to Baba?
You intended to give twenty rupees. You gave only fifteen. So I
was entitled to ask for five more." When Pradhan heard
these words, he was stupefied. He admitted that SAI BABA
was a good judge. In this manner, Baba was in the habit of
collecting money from those who came to Him and giving it away to
One day, He summoned
Kelkar and told him, "Today is Gurupoornima. Perform Guru
Puja to Me." Non one there knew the meaning of Guru puja.
Kelkar asked Baba what Guru puja meant. Baba asked,
"Whom do you think as a Guru? It is
not pontiffs of ‘maths’ who are Gurus. Nor are sanyasins
(renunciants) are Gurus; God alone is the Guru (Preceptor)."
Parama sukhadam, Kevalam Jnaana Murthim,
(He is the supreme
bliss, the giver of Divine happiness, the embodiment of the
highest advatic knowledge and one who transcends all qualities; He
is the supreme Divine Preceptor.)
He is the Supreme
Absolute. Salutations to that Supreme Guru. The true Guru is one
who combines the three forms of the trinity, the Gods who preside
over creation, protection and dissolution. Thus God alone is the
real Guru." Declared
On hearing this
Kelkar asked, "Should I worship Brahma, Vishnu, and Rudra?.
Baba declared in a voice of assumed anger, "Eh Saitan! Here
I am! Offer worship to Me!" Thereby Baba made known that
He was Brahma, Vishnu and Rudra. All those present felt that Baba
was the Divine incarnate.
As days passed, the
residence of Shirdi developed hatred towards Sathe because he was
collecting all the offering to Baba in a Hundi so as to use the
money to build a Mandir. Just at that time, a silver chariot with
silver horses, which was in Sathe’s keeping, was stolen by some
thieves. Sathe was the principal trustee. The people of Shirdi
suspected Sathe of complicity in the theft. One day one of the
residents planned to strike Sathe with an axe, on the way. Getting
wind of this, his maternal uncle called Sathe and urged him to
leave immediately as it was too dangerous for him to stay there.
He told Sathe that he could worship Baba wherever he might be.
Reluctantly Sathe left Shirdi. Baba used to ask for Sathe
ceaselessly. But Sathe was not there. Baba appeared to be in great
distress. Sathe was near and dear to Baba. The devotees felt that
Baba was sorely affected by the absence of Sathe.
Many people used to
have doubts about Baba’s transcendental powers. One day, the birth
anniversary of Dattatreya was to be celebrated in the month of ‘Margashira’
(9th month of the Hindu calendar), on Panchami
(fifth day of the lunar calendar). Several devotees had assembled
in Shirdi. A great and wealthy scholar called Balmant Kaijack
was among them. As he approaching the masjid, Baba took his tick
and marked it at the devotees, asking them to get away. He even
beat some of them, shouting, "Saitan! Saitan!". No one
could understand why Baba was behaving like this. "I am
suffering labor pains. Get away, all of you!", He shouted.
In those days, Baba not only used to shout at people, but also
wield the sick on them on occasions. He even used to
throw the stick at fleeing persons. Everyone used to be afraid of
Him. They all left the place. Sometime later, He called all of
them to come. "Balmant Kaijack, come", He said.When Balmant came,
Baba went inside the masjid. Balmant went in and found that Baba
was not there. He found a three-headed baby on the floor. Baba had
declared that He was suffering from labor pains and there was a
baby there. The three-headed child appeared to represent
Dattatreya. It was a small baby with a number of hands. Balmant
recognized the child as Dattatreya and called other devotees to
come inside. They went in, and on seeing the child, closed their
eyes. At that instant, Baba reappeared there. From that time
onwards, people started looking upon Baba as the incarnation of
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