Sai Baba did not encourage the practice of black magic, witchcraft, etc. He never allowed those with such powers to come near him, until they shed off such powers.
Kusa Bhav learnt black magic. The moment he desired, sweets came into his hand. After hearing of Baba’s greatness, he came to Shirdi. As he was trying to enter Dwarakamai, Baba stopped him and asked him to give up all his magic powers and only then come to him. For some days he was in a fix not knowing what to do. Finally, he removed the bracelet he was wearing and after giving up the powers, served Baba with devotion for a long time.
On an Ekadashi day, someone brought some food made with onions. Baba had no blind beliefs in such matters. He asked Kusa Bhav to eat it. Though Kusa Bhav told Baba that it was Ekadashi that day and he did not take onions, Baba insisted on his eating it. Finally Kusa Bhav told Baba that he would eat it if Baba ate too. Then Baba ate first,followed by Kusa Bhav. After a while, some devotees came into the mosque and Baba told them that though it was Ekadashi day, and Kusa Bhav, an orthodox Brahmin, had eatern onions. Then Kusa Bhav told them that he had eaten only after Baba had eaten the onions. Baba told that he had not eaten onions but some turnips. So saying he vomitted, and the vomit contained pieces of sweet potato instead of onions. Kusa Bhav was surprised at this, he picked up the sweet potato pieces from the vomit and ate them. Baba got angry and scolded him as to why he was doing such a disgusting thing. After a moment Baba’s anger turned into pity and he said to him, "I am blessing you. Wherever you are and whenever you want, if you think of me you will get udi from Dwarakamai in your hands. If you give udi to those in need, their difficulties would be over and their desires fulfilled." From that day onwards till his death, Kusa Bhav used to get handful of udi by merely repeating Baba’s name. What we learn from this story is that Baba had no liking for black magic. He reformed such devotees who approached him and instead of such lowly powers, gave them some divine powers. Therefore, those who are true devotees of Baba, need not worry about such evil forces. They will not dare to come near them.
Every Sunday was shandy day at Shirdi. People from neighbouring villages came to Shirdi on that day and visited Sai Baba. Hence, on Sundays at afternoon arathi , the mosque would be overflowing with devotees. One Sunday, Hemadpant was pressing Baba’s feet. Shama laughingly said to him that there were chana sticking to his coat and asked him to see it. When Hemadpant shook his shirt sleeves, a lot of chana fell on the floor. Some who were present there picked them up. Hemadpant did not know how the Chana had come to be on his shirt. Everyone was surprised . Then Baba said, "This person has a bad habit of eating alone. Today is Shandy date. He came here eating chana. He is not in the habit of sharing with others. These chana seeds are proof of it and what is there to be surprised?"
Hemadpant replied, "Baba, I never eat alone. Why are you putting this allegation on me? Till now I have never gone to the Shandy at Shirdi. I never purchased chana. Today also I have neither purchased nor eaten them. I always share with others near me." Immediately Baba said, "You will give to these who are near you. What are you doing when none are near you? Are you thinking of me before you eat anything? I am always with you. Then are you offering me before you eat?" Hemadpant became dumb at the last question put by Baba. It was true that he is not in the habit of offering to Baba before he ate anything. He did not think of this till then. When he considered Baba as everything in his life, was it necessary to offer again whenever he ate? When this doubt came to him, Baba read his thought and proceeded to tell him further.
"Before the sense, mind and intellect enjoy their objectives. I should first be remembered, and if this is done, it is in a way making an offering to me. The senses, etc. can never remain without their objects. But if these objects are first offered to the Guru, the attachment to them will naturally vanish. In this way all the thoughts regarding Desire, anger, avarice, etc. should first be offered and directed to the Guru and if this practice is followed, then God will help you in eradicating all the thoughts. Before enjoyment of the objects, if you think that I am close by, the question whether the object is fit to be enjoyed or not will arise. Then the object that is not fit to be enjoyed will be shunned and in this way your vicious habits or vices will disappear and your character will improve. Then love for the Guru will grow, and pure knowledge will sprout. When this knowledge grows, the body consciousness will go and your intellect will be merged in the spirit-consciousness. Then you will get bliss and contentment. Therefore, you should offer all pleasures you enjoy through the senses to me first. Otherwise, there is the danger that you will not be able to control your senses and will become slaves to your desires."
Anna Chinchinikar alias Damodar Ganshyam Babre was a devotee of Baba. He was a rough and adamant person. He was very straightforward and frank and did not care for anyone. But, he was good at heart.
One afternoon, he was sitting by the side of Baba and massaging his left hand. On the right side of Baba, an old widow by name Venkubai Koujalgi alias Mavisi Bai, sat massaging Baba’s back. She was also a person with a pure heart. While massaging due to the movements, her face kept coming very near to that of Anna Chinchinikar. Though she moved forward and backward in the process of massaging Baba’s back with full devotion, she complained that Anna Chinchinikar was trying to come very near her with the bad intention of kissing her. At this Anna Chinchinikar got up angrily and tried to quarrel with her. The onlookers were enjoying this quarrel. Then Baba asked them not to quarrel and there was nothing wrong in a son kissing his mother. Thus he cooled down their tempers.
On another occasion Mavisi Bai was massaging Baba’s abdomen exerting great pressure. People cautioned her to be careful as there was the danger of the intestines getting damaged. On hearing this, Baba suddenly got angry. His eyes became red. He took his sataka and with one end fixed on the pillar in the Dwarakamai, he fixed the other end on his stomach and was trying to thrust it into his stomach with full force. The devotees got scared. Nobody had the courage to talk to Baba or touch him. After sometime Baba came back to his original state. From this story it is clear that Baba knew about the devotion of those who came to him. The devotees served Baba in their own way and there was no need for others to interfere.
Harishchandra Pitale’s Son
Pitale was a resident of Bombay. His son was suffering from fits. He was given all types of medicines without any relief. After hearing the Hari Katha of Baba rendered by Das Ganu, he came to Shirdi in 1910 with his son. He visited Baba in the mosque and prostrated before him. He put his son near Baba’s feet. Baba looked for sometime with concentration at the patient. The boy lost consciousness and fell on the floor. Foam began to come out of his mouth and he perspired profusely, with the temperature of the body going below. On seeing the condition of the boy, the parents were very much worried. The boy’s mother started weeping. Then Baba told her not to weep but to take the boy to the room and he would be all right in half an hour. After taking the boy to the Wada, the boy regained consciousness. From that day onwards, the boy did not get fits. While leaving Shirdi, Pitale went to see Baba who told him, "Brother, I had given you two rupees on a previous occasion and now I am giving you three rupees. Keep them in your puja room and worship them." Since Pitale had come to Shirdi for the first time, he could not understand how Baba could have given him two rupees earlier. After he reached home, when he narrated this to his old mother, she told him that in the same manner as he had taken his son to Shirdi, his (Pitale’s) father had taken him to Akalkot Maharaj. He had given him two rupees and asked him to keep them in the puja room and worship them. His father had worshipped them till his death and the worship had stopped after that. From this story it is clear that Sai Baba was Akalkot Maharaj.
Gopal Narayana Ambadekar, a resident of Poona, suffered without a job for seven years. He came to Shirdi several times and prayed to Baba. Gradually his condition deteriorated. He came then with his wife and stayed for two months.
One night he was sitting in front of Dixit Wada. Unable to bear the financial difficulties, he wanted to end his life by jumping into the nearby well. Just then, the proprietor of the hotel opposite to the Wada, Sagunamer Naik, called him and asked him to read the Life History of Akalkot Maharaj, and gave him the book. Ambadekar half-heartedly took the book and opened some page. That page contained the following details.
When Akalkot Maharaj was alive, a person suffered from prolonged illness and unable to bear it jumped into a well to end his life. But Akalkot Maharaj immediately caught hold of him and brought him out of the well, telling him that one had to undergo these difficulties which were a fallout of his actions in the previous birth. Even if one ended his life without fully undergoing the difficulties, in his next birth again he would have to face the difficulties. So before death, it was better to suffer for sometime and wipe off the sins of the previous birth. Though he had turned a page of the book at random, the story of an incident similar to his came and Ambadekar took it as an order of Baba and refrained from putting an end to his life.
Gentlemen from Goa
Two gentlemen came to Shirdi from Goa. Baba asked one of them rupees fifteen as dakshina. The other person tried to give thirty-five rupees but Baba declined to take them. Shama, who was present there, asked Baba about this discrimination. Baba replied that he himself would never ask for dakshina,but Mother Mosque would ask for payment of debt. From whom she desired to have dakshina , only from those he would ask. Those who were in debt to her would pay the amount and get salvation. Baba further told that he had no family or property and that he should not accumulate wealth. He took dakshina only from those who made certain vows but fell in debt without discharging the vows. One had to undergo the consequences of debt, enmity and killing of others. There was no way of escaping. The person from one whom now Baba had taken dakshina of fifteen rupees was very poor. He took a vow to give the first month’s salary to God if he secured a job. He got a job with a salary starting at fifteen rupees. His salary gradually went up to Rs.700. Even then he did not discharge his vow. As a result of his action, he was dragged here and Baba had taken the debt money from him.
After this, Baba narrated a story in his usual strange manner. "One day when I was in deep sleep, a person put a hole in the wall and stole Rs.30,000. I was greatly distressed and it upset my mind. I could not drink or eat. Seeing my plight a fakir told me, ‘I will give you the address of a fakir. If you meet him, you will get back your lost money with his help. Till then you should stop taking one of your favourite food items.’ I acted according to the advise of the fakir and got back my money."
When I went to board a steamer, there was no room in it. But with the help of a servant working in the steamer I got inside and reached the other shore. From there I travelled in a train and came here." After finishing this story Baba called Shama and asked him to take the two guests for meals. While eating the two gentlemen wept. When Shama asked them the reason, they told him that the story Baba told was their story. The first gentleman said that he had taken a vowe to give the first month’s salary to Dattatreya. But during the course of time he had forgotten to discharge his vow and Baba reminded him of it, took the amount as dakshina and relieved him of the debt. The second gentleman narrated his story as follows. "My cook served me sincerely for 25 years. One day he stole Rs.30,000 from my house. I was distressed and weeping. A fakir came to our house and told me that if I worshipped Shirdi Sai Baba, I would get my money back. But till then I should not eat my favourite food item. I followed his advise and the cook who stole the money, changed his heart and gave back the entire amount and asked for pardon. For having Baba’s darshan when we tried to board a steamer at Goa, the captain told us that there is no room. But a servant in the steamer whom we do not know, helped us in getting accommodation and thus we came here." But then how Baba could know of the things which had happened at a very far off place.