Balaram Mankar became dejected after the death of his wife, handing over the household responsibility to his son, he came to Shirdi and remained there with Baba. His devotion was appreciated by Baba.
Once Sai Baba gave him Rs.12 and asked him to go to Machindragarh and stay there, meditating thrice a day. After experiencing the natural beauty, pure drinking water and healthy air, Mankar felt happy and meditated regularly as directed by Baba. One day Baba gave him darshan while he was in conscious state. He asked Baba why he was sent to that place . Baba replied, "While at Shirdi so many thoughts were in your mind and hence to make your mind stable, I sent you here. You imagined me as a person made of five elements and three and half cubits in length. You also thought that I am always at Shirdi. Now say whether the Baba you see here and the Baba you saw at Shirdi are the same or not. I have sent you here only to prove this."
After sometime, Mankar started for Bandra and wanted to travel from Poona to Dadar by train. When he went to purchase the ticket he found the booking office crowded with people buying tickets. He could not get a ticket. Then a villager with a blanket over him, approached Mankar and enquired where he wanted to go. When Mankar told him it was Dadar, the villager gave him a ticket to Dadar saying that he had cancelled his visit due to some other work. Mankar lowered his head to look at the ticket and by the time he lifted his head the villager was not to be seen. He waited for him till the departure time of the train but could not find him. He went home and again came to Shirdi and remained with Baba till his last days. He was very lucky to have died in Shirdi.
Completion of the Temple Construction by Butty
Butty, with the intention of completing the construction of the Krishna temple early, was getting things done quickly. Shama was regularly supervising the construction work, while Bapu Saheb Jog, Tatya, Ramachander Patil and other devotees were helping him in his work. With Baba’s grace, the construction of Butty Wada was completed in December 1916. Some minor items like carvings, polishing, etc. remained.
Waman Narvekar was the devotee who loved Baba wholeheartedly. Once he brought a rupee with him.On the obverse were the images of Sita,Rama and Lakshman and on the reverse side was the image of the Reverent Anjaneya (Hanuman). He gave the coin to Baba. His desire was to have the coin consecrated by Baba and to keep it in his house for worship. But Baba put it in his pocket. Shama, knowing the desire of Narvekar, requested Baba to return the coin to Narvekar . Baba asked why he should return the coin and wanted to keep it with him. But, if Narvekar gave Rs.25, then the coin would be returned to him. As Narvekar did not have the money with him, he borrowed from others and gave this to Baba. Then Baba said, "This coin is valued more than Rs.25, Shama. Let us keep the coin with us. Keep it in your Puja room and worship it." No one had the courage to ask Baba about his action. Perhaps, Baba did it for the good of Narvekar.
Ramachander Patil was a friend and relative of Tatya Kote Patil. Having known the greatness of Baba, he also worshipped Baba daily with devotion and sincerity. He and Tatya used to do service together during the Chavadi procession and also while Baba was in Lendi Bagh. At the end of December 1916 he fell seriously ill. In spite of using several medicines there was no relief. Unable to take food and water properly, he became weak and bed ridden. He became discouraged. He lost hope of survival and thought that death was emminent.
One night he prayed to Baba to give him early death so that he could avoid these sufferings. That night Baba appeared at his bedside. Ramachander Patil wept and told Baba that he could not suffer like this any longer and requested him to help him in dying early. Sai Baba, the Love Incarnation, asked him not to fear as he (Baba) had removed his death slip and that he would recover soon. But he expressed his concern to Ramachander about the impending death of Tatya, who would die on the Vijayadasami day in 1918. He asked Ramachander not to reveal this to anyone ,including Tatya, for if Tatya came to know, he would fear. Ramachander Patil knew that Baba’s words would never fail. He became healthy soon. But he was always worried about Tatya, and unable to keep the secret he told Bala Shimpe. Since Tatya was a friend of both they began to worry a lot about Tatya.
Time was passing by. The year 1916 came to an end and the new year began. Butty was very anxious to get Sri Krishna’s idol installed in the Butty Wada which was built at a huge cost. Whenever he asked Baba for permission to order for Sri Krishna’s idol, Baba asked him to have patience and wait. The number of devotees who were visiting Baba increased enormously. Sai Baba’s greatness and leela’s spread to the four sides of our country.
Baba’s Holi Meal in Hemadpant’s House On Holi festival in 1917, Baba appeared in the dream of Hemadpant at his house in Bandra and told him that he would be coming to his house to participate in the Holi meal. Hemadpant told his wife about the dream and asked her to prepare food for one more person. The festivities of Holi were over. Arrangements were made for serving the meal. They reserved a seat for Baba. All the members of the family sat down for the meal. After offerings were made to God, ghee was served; they were about to start eating, when someone knocked the door. Hemadpant opened the door and found two persons standing there. They handed over to him a photo of Shirdi Sai Baba with a request to keep it safely. They asked him to finish his meals first and then they could discuss the details about the photo later on; they left the place.
Hemadpant was surprised at the arrival of Baba in the form of photo, exactly at meal time. He shed tears of joy. He felt happy that what Baba had told him in the dream had come true in this manner. He immediately put the photo in the place set apart for Baba. All the food items were kept before the photo and only after offering them to Baba, did the others eat.
The same day at the same time Baba told Shama at Shirdi that he had a sumptuous meal at Bandra in Hemadpant’s house. Shama could understand Baba’s words only after sometime when Hemadpant went to Shirdi. Now let us see how the photo was delivered at Hemadpant’s house.
A long time back, a saint by name Abdul Rehman gave a lifesize framed photo of Baba to Ali Mohammed. After sometime, Ali’s brother-in-law fell sick. Someone said that if the photos of saints were put in the sea, the illness would subside. So he sent for this manager and asked him to collect all such photos in his house and also in the houses of relatives and put them in the sea. After some days Ali Mohammed came home and was surprised to find that Baba’s photo was still there in the wall. He began to think to whom it should be given. As per Baba’s order given to him through his thoughts, the photo was handed over to Hemadpant.
Lala Laxmichand heard for the first time about Baba in the year 1910, through the Hari Kathas rendered by Das Ganu. After that he saw him in his dream. He was very eager to go to Shirdi and see him. While this was so, his friend Shankar Rao came to him and told him that he was going to Shirdi and asked him to accompany him. Laxmichand was very much pleased. He borrowed sixteen rupees and made arrangements for his journey. Both of them did bhajan (singing of devotional song) in the train. They thought of taking some guavas for Baba. Coinciding with their thoughts, an old woman came with a basket of guavas. They purchased some, and the old woman asked them to take the remaining fruits also along with them to Shirdi and present them to Baba on her behalf.
Laxmichand prostrated before Baba and the moment he touched his feet, his heart melted. Baba said, "Cunning person! He did bhajan on his way. What is the use of asking others about me? Has his desire been fulfilled? Where was the need to borrow sixteen rupees and come for my darshan? "Realising that what Baba said was about him he was surprised at his omniscience."
Laxmichand liked sanja (a wheat preparation). One day no one had brought sanja. But Baba ordered Bapu Saheb Jog to get prepare two pots full of sanja. He asked Laxmichand to take whatever quantity of it he could eat. Laxmichand was surprised that Baba knew about his favourite food and got it prepared, which proves that there is nothing in this world that Baba did not know. He reposed complete faith in Baba for the rest of his life.
Shrimati Mehta - The Burhanpore Lady
Smt. Mehta was resident of Burhanpore. Baba once appeared in her dream and wanted Khichidi (rice cooked with dal) . She tried her best to prepare it and offer it to Baba, but an opportune time had not come for a long time. At last in the month of April 1917, she went along with her husband to Shirdi. There also she could not prepare khichdi for fifteen days. But one day with determination, she procured the necessary foodstuff and prepared it. She went with it to the mosque at about noon. A curtain was drawn across the entrace which was an indication that none should enter inside the mosque. Though she knew of this practice, she could not wait further and in the eagerness to serve Baba khichdi, she went inside and put the plate before him. Baba ate it eagerly and quickly.All those who were there were surprised. She also let herself in joy on seeing Baba’s enjoyment. How anxious she had been for so many years to serve Baba with khichidi; now with the same anxiousness, Baba had accepted it.Everyone was happy at the etraordinary love of Baba towards his devotees.
One day Baba narrated a story which might have taken place in one of his previous incarnations. "In my younger days, I had been to Beedgaon in search of livelihood. There I secured a job in a factory manufacturing knitted cloth. I used to work very hard. The proprietor was satisfied with my work. There were three workers before me. The first worker was paid Rs.50, the second worker was paid Rs.100 and third worker Rs.150. But I was paid double the money of all the three amounts put together - Rs.600. The proprietor appreciated my work and loved me. I did the work given to me with devotion. Hence, I used to think that the salary I was getting was given by God and carefully saved it. What is given by a human will not last long. But what God has given will remain permanently. My God Allah asks the devotees to take as much as they want. But the devotees come to me and ask me to give . If a thing is given once, it is not sufficient. The number of devotees who want everything everytime has increased. There is none to understand what I am saying. My God’s Treasury is full and overflowing. Any real devotee can take away cartloads from this. But none is interested in it. My fakir’s tact and my divine acts are extraordinary. My body will join the earth and my breath will join the air. As long as there is life in me, this opportunity is there. I go somewhere and will do some work. But this Maya is troubling me. In spite of all these difficulties, I am anxious about my devotees. I am ever alert in the case of them. The reward I give them depends on their effort. Those who believe in me and those who never forget me will have endless joy.
Bala Buva Sutar
One evening, Baba on his way to Lendi Bagh stopped for a few seconds before Buty Wada. Bala Buva Sutar, a yogi from Bombay who came to Shirdi for the first time, saluted Baba . Blessing him with raised hand, Baba said that he knew him since four years. Baba Buva Sutar was surprised. He thought over the matter deeply and recollected having saluted Baba’s photo at Bombay, four years back. He was surprised at Baba’s omniscience.
Hari Bavu Karnik
Karnik came to Shirdi on Guru Poornima day in 1917. He worshipped Baba and gave him clothes and dakshina. While he was going down the steps of the mosque, he thought of giving one more rupee as dakshina. As there was a convention that one should not go back to see Baba after taking leave of him, he started his journey back home. On the way he visited the temple of Kala Ram in Nashik. While he was coming out a yogi named Narasingh Maharaj, who was talking with his disciples, left them and came to Hari Bavu, and catching hold of his hand firmly, said "Give me my one rupee." Hari Bavu was surprised that Sai Baba was taking a rupee through this yogi and gave the coin to him. All yogis are one. All Gods are one. In fact, there is no difference between yogis and Gods. Thus, Baba collected the amounts which devotees had vowed to offer other Gods but forgot to fulfil their vows.
Taking Leave of Baba
From 1905 to 1917 many devotees from distant places came to Shirdi and remained there for a long time, experiencing Baba’s love. Those who had lived with jealousy, selfishness, hatred, ego and attachments and then experienced Sai’s love, were not inclined to leave Shirdi. But Baba used to send back some of them, as they had to discharge their duties towards their families. They would start their journey back home, as per Baba’s orders, but after going some distance, unable to bear the separation from Baba, they would weep and remain in Shirdi village till dusk; they would go back to Baba in the night, as he would not ask them to leave Shirdi at night time. Noticing this weakness in the devotees, Baba strictly ordered that once the devotees took leave of him to go back to their homes, they should not return . If anyone came back, he would face a lot of difficulties in his journey. This rule was intended only to make the devotees disciplined.
Let us resolve to always remember the things we learn from the stories in the Life History of Sai Baba and see him in our hearts every moment. Let us pray to Sai Baba to give us strength, not to go back on our resolve, in the same manner as the devotees who had once taken leave of Baba, should not return back.