It was the year 1895. After experiencing Baba’s supernatural powers and his love, Mhalsapathi was fully drawn to Baba and become detached from worldly attachments. One night,Khandoba appeared in his dream and asked,"If you do not do your traditional gold-smith work, cannot you get food?" To this Mhalsapathi replied, "If I have your compassion, then there won’t be anything i want and I will leave my work." From that day, Mhalsapathi left his traditional work and became an ascetic, living only on alms.
Gradually, he developed a detachment from family . He went home only for taking food. At all other times, he was serving Baba. He slept in the mosque with Baba during nights. In the following year, one day Baba said, "Bhagat,hear the words of this fakir. You are sleeping in the nights in the mosque. Go and sleep in your house. You have three children, all daughters. A son will be born. Go and sleep in your house.
Mhalsapathi had no desire for having a son. In fact, he had no desires at all. So he did not follow Baba’s orders. Baba forcibly sent him home with his friend Kasiram Shimpe on Krishna Jayanti day. On the same day, the following year exactly after a year, a son was born to him. Baba’s words had come true. The boy was named Marthand. When this boy grew up to the school-going age, he refused to go to school. When Mhalsapathi tried to beat him, the boy ran to Dwarakamai and sat in the lap of Baba. Mhalsapathi came there and beating the boy, tried to send him to school. Then Baba told Mhalsapathi with compassion, "Mhalsa, do not worry about your son. I will take good care of him."
Marthand grew up and by the name of Marthand Maharaj used to sit by the side of Mhalsapathi Samadhi in Shirdi. When this author met him in 1985, he narrated the above incident and said that Sai Baba had kept his word feeding him in the form of his devotees. He also said that Baba had told Mhalsapathi about his own parents, their names and birthplace. Because of the differences between Hindus and Muslims in those days, these particulars were kept secret. He added that his father had given him the details but taken an oath from him that he would not reveal them. He expired in 1986.
Now let’s see how Baba saved Mhalsapathi and his family. One night when Mhalsapathi was going home to take his meal, Baba cautioned him. "Bhagat, on your way, you will encounter two tall thieves. Be careful." Mhalsapathi found two snakes, one in front and one by the side of his house. Similarly on another occasion Baba cautioned him, "Bring a lantern with you. On the way you will encounter a thief." When Mhalsapathi came with the lantern, he found a snake near the mosque and he cried out, "Snake!Snake!" On hearing his cries,the villagers came running and killed the snake.
Sometime in the year 1908, all the family members of Mhalsapathi fell sick. A doctor who had come to worship Baba, gave them medicines. But Baba told him that these medicines were of no use and that he would cure them of their illness. So saying, Baba took his sataka made rounds around Dwarakamai saying at the top of his voice, "Come - I shall see how powerful you are !" Soon all the family members of Mhalsapathi recovered from their illness. Baba’s action might have been against the diseases in the house of Mhalsapathi.
Once Mhalsapathi’s wife went to her parents’ house. There she had an attack of throat infection due to which she suffered a lot. At Shirdi, Baba told Mhalsapathi, "Your wife is suffering a lot from throat infection. Except me none can save her." Then Mhalsapathi told Baba "It is true. Except you who else in this world can save us?" Mhalsapathi had complete faith in Baba, showing it in his words and actions. Because of this Baba cured the ailment of Mhalsapathi’s wife.
Even now Sai Baba saves his devotees who completely believe in him and surrender to him, as Mhalsapathi did. We appeal to the readers to do the same. Sai Baba expects pure devotion and belief and not the methods or mode of worship. Mhalsapathi used to go every year to a village called Jijuri which was 150 miles away from Shirdi, where a festival was held for Khandoba. One year there was an epidemic of plague in that village and Mhalsapathi halted halfway from the village, very much disappointed. Baba appeared before him for a moment. He fell down at Baba’s feet and when he got up Baba disappeared. He went to Jijuri and returned without any difficulties. When he went to Baba on his return, Baba questioned him, "Bhagat, Why were there disappointed during your pilgrimage. I came near your cart. Did you notice me ?"
On another occasion, when Mhalsapathi wanted to go to a village, Doarhali, to attend a dinner at the house of his daughter’s in-laws, Baba did not give his consent. But Mhalsapathi, thinking that the relatives may misunderstand him,went to their house. But he returned without eating after being put to some indignities. On his return, he went to Baba and putting his head at his feet, started weeping. On some other occasion, Mhalsapathi wanted to go to the village Ardhangonu. But Baba did not permit him to go,as there would be clashes and disputes there. But Mhalsapathi went. As Baba had predicted there were quarrels among the village children which led to the elders entering the fray and splitting the groups into two and fighting with sticks. But Mhalsapathi escaped without any injury and returned safely. The way Baba protected Mhalsapathi at every stage shows how Sai Baba loves his devotees. In this manner, a Guru who has the capability to look after his devotees and give protection to them, can only be called Samartha Sadguru.
Sometimes, Baba used to go to Gurusthan, and closing his eyes, merge his thoughts with those of his Guru Venkusa who resided inside the underground structure in the form of a light (jyoti). On hearing his disciple, Venkusa would enter the head of Baba. The Guru and disciple would silently converse. In the same manner, in Dwarakamai during nights, Baba would converse with his father Gurudhan (Ganga Bhavajya). In front of the mosque, there was a big hall, where sadhus (mendicants) took rest and it was called Chavadi. The sadhus and sanyasis who came to the village stayed there.
Nana Chandorkar and some others made all arrangements to tile the floor in Dwarakamai. They requested Baba to sleep in the Chavadi for a night, so that they could attend to the laying of tiles in Dwarakamai overnight. Baba agreed and went to the Chavadi. He sat alone there, as Tatya and Mhalsapathi also were busy with tile-laying work. No one else was with Baba in the Chavadi. In a meditative mood he concentrated on Dwarakamai, Gurudhan and Venkusa. The three appeared before him in the form of jyotis. They discussed several matters. After sometime, Gurudhan and Dwarakamai went back to their places. Baba and Venkusa discussed things that would take place in Shirdi in future and also for the next 500 years. In the meantime twilight broke and Venkusa prepared to leave. But Baba pleaded with Venkusa to remain in the Chavadi and that he would come there on alternate days. Venkusa, out of love for Baba, agreed to remain on the right side portion of the Chavadi saying that women should not be allowed to enter that place. Baba agreed to this and from that day onwards till today Venkusa is there in Chavadi in an invisible form.
Baba, living in the lap of his mother (Dwarakamai) and attracting his father through whom he got this birth taught his disciples jnana, he gave salvation to those who approached him, and became the God of this Kaliyuga which had set in the Sai Yuga. Sai Baba bade goodbye to orthodox ways of worship and other practices. In this connection Sai Baba said, "Those who are lucky and those whose sins have been atoned will worship me. I will help them to even cross the seven seas who always think of my name. I am not interested in their ways of worship and other practices. I will dwell in the hearts of those who have sacred devotion towards me." What he did to such devotees is recounted below now.
Greatness of Baba’s Words
In the year 1909 Bhimaji Patil was suffering from tuberculosis. On the advise of Nana Saheb, he came to Shirdi and fell at the feet of Baba. In the beginning, though Baba declined to save him, he yielded to repeated requests from Bhimaji and taking pity on him said, "Do not fear. Your difficulties are over. Even persons with dangerous ailments will get relief once they climb up the stairs of the mosque. The fakir (meaning Baba) is very compassionate. He will save all with love and compassion." After Baba gave these assurances the disease of Bhimaji got cured slowly and in a few days he fully recovered and became healthy . After that Baba appeared to him in dreams twice. In the first dream, it was a teacher beating him . In the second dream, it was a big boulder put on his chest, and he suffered on account of this. By beating and putting a heavy weight on the chest, Baba removed his misdeeds and restored complete health. Noticing the divine power of Sai Baba, Bhimaji Patil, after going back to his village, started performing Sai Satya Vratam on the lines of Satyanarayana Vratam for the first time.
Datta Pant was a resident of Hardha. He was suffering from severe stomach pain for the last fourteen years. He used several medicines but did not get relief. Hearing Baba’s greatness, he came to Shirdi, fell at his feet and requested him to save him. Baba looked at him with compassion, blessed him and put his hand (Abhaya Hastha) on his head. Then he gave him udi as prasad. Datta Pant’s stomach pain was cured immediately and it never recurred.
Another devotee of Baba, Kaka Mahajani, though suffering from diarrhoea, was still serving Baba. He kept water in a small vessel in the mosque, so that he could go out whenever necessary. Since Baba knew everything, Kaka believed Baba himself would cure his diarrhoea. The work of putting stone in front of the mosque had started suddenly. Baba opening his eyes wide yelled loudly. All those inside the mosque ran out, out of fear. Kaka Mahajani was also trying to run out. But Baba caught hold of his hand and made him sit down. He gave him some groundnuts, left by someone, and asked him to eat them. Baba also ate some. He asked Kaka to drink some water. After sometime, he told him that his diarrhoea was cured and he could attend to the work of laying stones in front of the mosque. Kaka noticed that the diarrhoea had stopped. Only Baba could have cured Kaka’s diarrhoea and none else.
On another occasion, Nana Saheb Chandorkar suffered from stomach pain. Inspite of taking many medicines, he could not get relief. He came to Shirdi and approached Baba. With Baba’s hand raised in blessing, the stomach pain subsided completely. Another of Baba’s devotees, Bala Ganapathi Shimpe, was suffering from malaria. He tried several medicines, but did not get relief. So he came to Shirdi and approached Baba. Baba asked him to go to Lakshmi Mandir and offer curds and rice to the black dog in front of the temple. As per Baba’s advise he took the curd and rice to Lakshmi Mandir. There he noticed a black dog wagging its tail and appeared as if waiting for him. He gave the curd-rice to the black dog, which ate it completely. The malarial fever subsided and he once again became healthy.
Bapu Saheb Buty once suffered from vomitting and diarrhoea. Being a wealthy person, he tried several medicines which gave no relief. Having become very weak, he could not even go to see Baba. But Baba himself sent for him and asked him to sit before him. Enlarging his eyes in a serious manner, Baba looking into Buty’s eyes and cautioned "You should not vomit or pass stools" Immediately Buty got relief and became healthy.
A sanyasi from Allandi came to see Baba. He was suffering from severe pain in the ear. Having noticed this, Shama pleaded with Baba on behalf of the sanyasi to cure his pain. Baba said, "Allah achcha karega" meaning God will do good. So saying, Baba raised his hand in blessing and shifted his looks towards the sanyasi for a moment. The sanyasi got immediate relief. Only a few incidents out of thousands are given above. It can be seen that Baba’s words were more powerful than the medicines. His words were the words of God. Only such a person can be called Sadguru. The other gurus show more interest in the money brought by disciples and also other material things they bring. But they can in no way be useful to their disciplies. Instead of going to such gurus and wasting precious time, the readers are advised to believe in Sai Baba and attain salvation.