By: W.PRADHAN, B.A.,L.L.B, High Court Pleader & J.P., SantaCru, Mumbai. (1936)
Baba kept his Promise
I visited Shirdi in 1910. Once, when I went to see baba, he was giving udhi to a number of devotees crowding round him. He caught sight of me as I stood at a distance, beckoned to me to draw near, addressed me as Bhavu (as he did ever afterwards) and said “It will be alright in 2 or 4 days”. Then he gave me udhi and I left the mosque.
I thought I would return by the next day. But when leave was asked, Baba declined it in his characteristic fashion by saying, “Go tomorrow”. He did so on succeeding days and kept me there for eight days. I was arranging for a special dinner or Biksha to Baba the next day and requested him to inform me who were to be invited and what the menu was to be. Of course, Puranpoli was to be the crown of the dinner and for guests, He said I was to invite Babu (the nephew of Dada Kelkar), who was Baba’s favorite and Baba. He said “I also will come” before I invited Him.
The next day, the dinner was prepared as directed and plates were served. Babu was invited and sat at one plate. Another was served and set apart for Baba. A crow came and lifted a puranpoli off the plate and carried it away. All hailed it with delight as evidence that Baba was going in the form to take away His own.That afternoon, Baba touched His limbs on one side and said. “On this side of my body, there is excruciating pain”. But He added “It will be alright in 2 or 4 days”. Baba really appeared healthy, in spite of those words and what He meant to convey by His words escaped our powers of under standing at that time.
On a Thursday, during that period Baba was preparing food in “Handi” (i.e., pot) to feed large numbers. He drove away every one from the Masjid and was alone with his handi. At that time, to the great surprise and alarm of the spectators, myself and the two sons of Nana Saheb Chandorkar went in. Baba, far from being angry, received us very well, as though he had intended the expulsion of others for the very purpose of granting us a wholly private interview. Then after a little while Baba appeared to be singing out something. At least I thought it to be so. But I found that when he repeated the words for the third time, they were ‘Kayare apala kayahumanave sri rama jayaram jaya jaya ram’.
At once, on hearing these words I was overcome with emotion and I placed my head on Baba’s feet and tears flowed freely. These words were the guru mantra that I had received from my family guru Haribua (whose grandfather was Atmaram Bua who has a temple built for his worship Thakurdwar Bombay, was the guru of my great grandfather). Baba was so kindly reviving my interest in and regard for that guru mantra in this fashion for my benefit. Baba was attending to my spiritual benefit with out any question from me and his loving interest in me was too deep for me to return and too great to acknowledge except through tears of gratitude and joy.
Source: DEVOTEES’ EXPERIENCES OF SRI SAI BABA BY H.H.NARASIMHASWAMIJI
Following episode from the Sri Sai Satcharita illustrates Baba’s tremendous belief in Shree Vishnu Sahasranama Stotram.
Shama was a very intimate devotee of Baba and Baba wanted to favour him in a particular way by giving him a copy of Vishnu Sahasranama Stotram as Prasad. This was done in the following way. Once a Ramadasi (follower of Saint Ramadas) came to Shirdi and stayed for some time. The routine he followed daily was as follows : He got up early in the morning, washed his face, bathed and then after wearing saffron-colored clothes and besmearing himself with sacred ashes, read Vishnu-SahasraNam (a book giving a thousand names in praise of Vishnu, and held second in importance to Bhagavad Geeta) and Adhyatma-Ramayana (Esoteric version of Rama’s story) with faith. He read these books often and often and then after some days Baba thought of favouring and initiating Shama with Vishnu-SahasraNam. He, therefore, called the Ramadasi to Him and said to him that, He was suffering from intense stomach-pain, and unless He took Senna-pods (Sona-mukhi, a mild purgative drug) the pain would not stop; so he should please go to the market and bring the drug. The Ramadasi closed his reading and went to the market. Then Baba descended from His seat, came to the Ramadasi’s place of reading, took out the copy of Vishnu-SahasraNam, and coming to His seat said to Shama- “Oh Shama, this book is very valuable and efficacious, so I present it to you, you read it. Once I suffered intensely and My heart began to palpitate and My life was in danger. At that critical time, I hugged this book to My heart and then, Shama, what a relief it gave me! I thought that Allah Himself came down and saved Me. So I give this to you, read it slowly, little by little, read daily one name at least and it will do you good.” Shama replied that he did not want it, and that the owner of it, the Ramadasi who was a mad, obstinate and irritable fellow would certainly pick up a quarrel with him, besides, being a rustic himself, he could not read distinctly the Sanskrit (Devanagari) letters of the book.
Shama thought that Baba wanted to set him up against the Ramadasi by this act of His, but he had no idea of what Baba felt for him. Baba must have thought to tie this necklace of Vishu-SahasraNam round the neck of Shama, as he was an intimate devotee, though a rustic, and thus save him from the miseries of the worldly existence. The efficacy of God’s Name is well-known. It saves us from all sins and bad tendencies, frees us from the cycle of births and deaths. There is no easier sadhana than this. It is the best purifier of our mind. It requires no paraphernalia and no restrictions. It is so easy and so effective. This sadhana, Baba wanted Shama to practise, though he did not crave for it. So Baba forced this on him. It is also reported that long ago, Eknath Maharaj, similarly, forced this Vishnu-SahasraNam on a poor Brahmin neighbour, and thus saved him. The reading and study of this Vishnu-Sahasra-Nam is a broad open way of purifying the mind, and hence Baba thrust this on His Shama.
Source: Shri Sai Satcharita (Chapter XXVII)