Naik owned a shop at Shirdi. The devotees who came to Shirdi visited his shop for making purchases. One day, when a devotee named Madhuradas went to the shop, he found Naik and some others talking ill of a lady devotee who came to see Baba. Madhuradas also joined them in the evil talk. When he came to Dwarakamai, Baba said to him, "What is Naik telling? One must utilise the time given by God in a beneficial way and should not indulge in criticising others. All kinds of devotees come here, both good and bad. Why should you discuss about their character and others?"
Who is God?
One day a person from Kopargaon came to Baba and sought answers for his doubts. Baba wanted to know his doubts. Then the person asked, "Who is God? How will he be? Where will he be? How to see God?" Baba understood the mentality of the person and did not reply to him . Instead he called a devotee and asked him to go to the marwari Chagchand and told him that Baba wanted a loan of Rs.100. The devotee went to the marwari and came back empty-handed saying that the marwari told him he had no money and sent his salutations. Then Baba sent for Nana Chandorkar and asked for Rs.100. Since he had no money, Nana sent a written request to the same marwari Chagchand for a loan of Rs.100. Nana received the amount immediately through the messenger. This he gave it to Baba. The person who questioned Baba about God, asked Das Ganu as to why Baba, without answering his questions was trying for a loan of Rs.100. Das Ganu told him that Baba was doing all that for his sake. The marwari, while he declined to give loan to Baba, gave it readily to Nana Chandorkar. Similarly, if one wants to know about God, he should have the capacity to understand. Otherwise, he cannot understand whatever is said about God.
Samsara (Worldly Life) is Fearful
One’s closeness to Baba was the resut of good deeds over many births, and such a person was Nana Chandorkar. He learnt many things from Baba. He found his Samsara (Worldly life) to be like a fearful ocean. The samsara appeared to him like an obstacle for spiritual progress. He learnt this truth by practical experience. In the year 1918, one day when Baba was alone, Nana Chandorkar said to him, "Baba, I am finding the samsara very fearful. My mind is not interested in the worldly affairs. Somehow give me salvation from these attachments. "On hearing this Baba smiled and said, "There is truth in what you said. But the remaining is untruth and meaningless. You are under the impression that by taking to forests, one can escape from the trials and tribulations of the samsara. But this is not correct. It is only an illusion, because wherever you go, your body and mind are with you only. They will never leave you but will be giving you some kind of happiness. Our past actions are the basis for our present troubles and happiness. They should be faced courageously and with tact, and you should lead a family life in the proper way. By getting away from samsara,one cannot attain happiness . Everyone who proceeds in the spritual way will have to face all these problems, and to think of vairagya (renunciation), as a solution, is not correct." This is the message of Sai Baba.
There was a lawyer Deshpande, at Pandaripur. The subjudge of this place was Noolkar, who was suffering from ill-health. He stayed at Shirdi for some days to get Baba’s blessings. There was some discussion that one should take proper medicines for ill-health instead of going to fakirs. Deshpande partook in the discussions and he too blamed Sai Baba. He came to Shirdi many years after this incident. After touching the feet of Baba, he sat in a corner of Dwarakamai. Baba turned towards him and said, "People are cunning. They fall at the feet and give dakshina, but abuse behind his back." Deshpande understood to whom Baba intended his words. He was surprised as to how Baba could know about this which had happened some years before at Pandaripur which was 300 miles from Shirdi. He wondered at the omniscience of Baba. From that day, he resolved not to talk ill of others and not to participate in such discussions. In this way Baba’s darshan had put him in the right path.
Periods of Deeksha (Vow)
Baba used to give deeksha to the devotees who came to him. The deekshas were prescribed by Baba depending on the stages of the devotees, and during this period he moulded them. Baba prescribed Brahmacharya Deeksha (celibacy) to Tatya, Hari Seetharam Dixit and Kaka Dixit were given nine months period of vanaprastha ( away from wife and children ) at Shirdi. Baba prescribed four years deeksha period to Upasini Baba who left Shirdi without completing the deeksha period. Similarly, Baba used to prescribe deeksha periods for some to do Parayana of holy books, and to some to do Nama Sankeertan (chanting of Names). The devotees were very much benefited by the deeksha periods prescribed by Baba.
Khaparde’ Son - Plague
Khaparde’s wife with her son stayed at Shirdi for some days. While there the boy had an attack of bubonic plague. She feared very much for his life. She talked to Dixit and Shama and wanted to take her son to a good doctor. But there was no allopathic doctor at Shirdi. She wanted to take him to their native place Amaravathi, but lacked courage to take him on such a long distance. She was weeping bitterly fearing what would happen to her son. Shama, consoling her, said that there was nothing to fear when Sai Baba was there and advised her to take her son to Baba and put him at his feet. That evening while Baba was on his way to Lendi Bagh, she ran towards him and fell at his feet, washing them with her tears. She became speechless because of her suffering and could not even get up. Noticing her condition, Baba lifted her up and said, "Mother, the sky is overcast with dark clouds. But shortly the clouds will disperse and the sky will become clear." So saying he lifted his kafni (shirt) and showed four egg-sized buboes. He told her how he would suffer for his real devotees. Who is more to us than Baba who takes on him the sufferings of his devotees. In two days, the boy regained complete health.
Breaking of Baba’s Brick
Baba looked after the brick given by his Guru Venkusa more than his life. While sleeping he kept it under his head. While sitting he put the brick beside him and put one hand on it. He used to say that the brick was a form of his Guru. It was the month of August in 1918. One Thursday, Abdul who used to clean the lanterns and keep the mosque tidy, took the brick in his hand. It fell down and broke into two pieces. Baba, who came afterwards, saw it and bemoaned its loss. He cried, "It is not the brick that is broken but my fate is broken into pieces. This way my life’s companion all these years. With it I always meditated on the self and it is equal to my life. It has left me today." Through this incident also Baba indirectly indicated his impending ‘Nirvana’.
Even prior to the above incident, in June 1918, Baba made some arrangements, according to Muslim customs, which are done previous to the death of a person. He sent Rs.250 to Shamshuddin Miya, a Muslim fakir at Aurangabad through Khasim, son of Bade Baba of Shirdi, and also sent a garland for arranging Moul, Qawali and Nyas. He then sent the following message. "On ninth day of the ninth month Allah would be taking away the lamp he lit. This is the grace of Allah." Next day when Khasim reached Aurangabad and met Shamshuddin, without his telling him, Shamshuddin told the contents of Baba’s message. As per Baba’s wish he arranged in the name of Baba recitation about Paigambar, drums were played for Muslim saints. He spent all the money sent by Baba by arranging feeding of all who were present. Next day Khasim and Shamshuddin went to the great Muslim saint, Banne Mia, and found him standing in a peculiar position. When anyone went near him, he got angry and scolded and hit them. Everyone was cautioned not to go near him But Shamshuddin without fear went near him and after putting the garland sent by Baba around his neck, conveyed the message sent by him. On hearing the message Banne Miya wept, since Baba would be leaving his mortal body. The Ninth day of the ninth month in Urdu and Arabic calendars were equivalent to 15 October, 1918 Ekadasi.
To Die at Will
As all the above actions of Baba were in secrecy no one had any idea that he would leave his body soon. Therefore all the routine things went on as usual. Baba took good care in not creating any kind of suspicion in his devotees about it. Only Dwarakamai, Gurudhan and Venkusa who were in an invisible form knew about Baba’s ‘Nirvana’ . The devotees were worshipping Baba as usual.
The month of September came. The local merchants and those who came from outside Shirdi, were praying to Baba for more profits in their business. Baba was pained at the desire for money of such devotees. In the nights, Baba used to discuss with Gurudhan, Dwarakamai and Venkusa the selfish desires of such devotees and the way they were pestering him. Since Sai Baba had no negative answers or actions in response to his devotees’ prayers, he had to fulfil their desires atleast to a certain extent, even though the recipients did not deserve it. If this went on like this, it would be against the laws of creation. Therefore, they decided that the only solution to this was that Baba should leave his body. Even taking into consideration the 83 years age of the body, it was time for leaving the body. Though Baba would leave his body, his power would be there . It was decided to spread sai Philosophy and to remove the ajnana (nescience) and blind beliefs in the people and make the people lead peaceful and happy lives.
Towards this goal, they decided to fill this world with love for the next 500 years. They decided that Sai Baba might take another form according to the need and orders of God. Since Baba had the ability to lay down his life at his will, he was setting the time for his leaving the human body. The day was the 28th September. The noon arathi was going on. One group of merchants from Bombay entered Dwarakamai. Baba felt pained on seeing them. The merchants came here after hoarding essential foodgrains in godowns with a prayer to Baba to see that they got double the rates. They brought with them large amounts of money to give Baba as dakshina. Having understood the purpose of their visit, Baba told those who were there that there would not be any darshan after aarti was over. The merchants approached Shama and Nana Chandorkar and pleaded with them for arranging an interview with Baba, as they had to return to Bombay urgently. Shama innocently took them inside Dwarakamai, convincing Baba. Seeing the situation, Baba understood that the time had come for him to leave the body. From that day Baba increased the temperature of his body which appeared as if he had fever. Unable to bear the mental suffering caused to him by the devotees, Baba wanted to lay down his life at will. He stopped taking food, thereby shrinking his body and to making his death appear like a natural one. Usually death comes due to ill-health, accidents or old age. But Sai Baba had to leave the body only for the sake of his devotees. In this way he who worked throughout his lifetime for his devotees, had to leave the mortal body at his will, for the sake of devotees only.