It was the year 1903. A person was charged with theft of some articles, and brought to the court of the magistrate, Dhulia. The accused told the court that Sai Baba had given him those articles. Therefore, summons were issued to Sai Baba, by the Magistrate, to appear in the court to give evidence. On a suggestion from Nana Chandorkar, all the devotees prepared an appeal to the magistrate, stating that Sai Baba was a great divine personality and all of them regarding him as God and it was not proper to ask such a ‘Mahatma’ to appear in the court. In case the court felt that the evidence of Sai Baba was very essential, then it could send a Commissioner to Shirdi to record the evidence of Sai Baba. The court accepted the plea of the devotees and sent Nana Joshi, who was the Assistant Collector and First Class Magistrate to Shirdi to record the evidence of Sai Baba. In Shirdi no one knew that Nana Joshi was coming.
But Baba knew about this and made arrangements by arranging tables and chairs, making it appear like a courtroom. From the questions put by the Court Commissioner and the answers given by Baba, we glean some facts about Baba. The questions and answers were as follows:
Commissioner :Your Name
Sai Baba :All call me by the name of Sai Baba
Commissioner :Your father's name?
Sai Baba :His name was also Sai Baba
Commissioner :Your Guru's name?
Sai Baba :Venkusa
Commissioner :Your religion?
Sai Baba :The religion of Kabir
Commissioner :Your age?
Sai Baba :Millions of years
Commissioner :You take oath that you will tell the truth only.
Sai Baba :I never told any lies before and I shall never tell lies
in future also.
Commissioner :Do you know the accused?
Sai Baba :There are none whom I do not know.
Commissioner :The accused says that he is your devotee and knows
Sai Baba :I am with all and all are mine.
Commissioner :Did you give those articles to the accused?
Sai Baba :In this world, whoever wants anything, I give them.
Commissioner :What kind of right do you have over the articles given
Sai Baba :Everything in this world is mine. There is nothing which
does not belong to me.
Commissioner :This is a matter of serious nature involving theft.
The accused says that you have given him these articles.
Sai Baba :What is all this fuss? I have no connection with this affair
The Commissioner was surprised at the answers given by Baba to all the earlier questions. But he was confused at the answer given to the last question and did not know how to decide the case. But after thinking over it for sometime he sent for the village diary and found that the accused had never visited the village and also that Sai Baba had gone out of the village. Therefore, the statement of the accused that Baba gave him the articles was false. The accused was punished.
From the answers given by Baba to the questions of the Commissioner it was evident that there was no living being or articles unknown to Baba in this world and he had control over everything. We also learn that he never told lies under any circumstances. This is an important aspect we have to learn from him. Truth is God. In Ramayana, Rama was looked upon as God only because of this quality. This is how the divine words, "Satyam Vadha - Dharmam Chara" originated.
Towards the north-east of Lendi Bagh, Baba used to keep a lighted lamp. This was started by him in the year 1890. He dug a small pit in the ground and kept the lamp inside and covered the pit with basket. As time passed by, the lamp continued to burn and two trees, one neem and another banyan, were planted on each side. Even now devotees go round the trees and the lighted lamp (Nanda Deep). Most of the devotees believe that by going round the Nanda Deep, there will not be any quarrels among wife and husband and they would lead a happy life with the blessings of Baba.
Nana Chandorkar’s Arrival in Shirdi
It was the year 1892. Before leaving the village, the devotees would come to Baba, touch his feet and take his permission to leave the village. One day, the village munsif Appa went to Baba and sought his permission to go to, Kopergaon to meet the Deputy Collector who was camping there. Baba told Appa to inform the Deputy Collector, Nana Chandorkar, that Baba wanted him to come to Shirdi. Appa was surprised at this because Baba was a fakir in a small village, asking the Deputy Collector to come to him.
With great hesitation Appa informed Nana Chandorkar about Baba’s message, but Nana Chandorkar ignored this twice or thrice. After some days, he came to Shirdi. At the very first meeting with Baba, he felt that both of them knew each other from several births and felt very happy. The acquaintance with Baba slowly grew and Nana Chandorkar became a staunch devotee of Baba. After personally experiencing several leelas of Sai Baba, Nana Chandorkar concluded that Baba was the incarnation of God.
Nana Chandorkar had one sentry named Ganapathi Rai Sahasra Budhe. Against his wish, he was bought to Shirdi in the year 1893 by Nana Chandorkar and made to visit Baba. In this way Ganapathi Rao visited Baba several times, understood Baba’s supernatural powers, and saw his miracles. He later became famous as Das Ganu.
There is no written record of Baba’s leelas prior to the visit of Nana Chandorkar. Having noticed this, Nana Chandorkar gave diaries to all the close devotees of Baba with a request to record whenever and whatever they noticed about his greatness, his leelas and miracles. The life history of Baba became possible to compile only because of the foresight of Nana Chandorkar. The various procedures for conducting pujas, giving aartis, etc. were regulated by Nana Chandorkar. He gave lectures about Baba and made his leelas known to the people.
Ganapathi Rao Sahasra Bude alias Das Ganu was a talented singer and actor. Throughout Maharashtra he spread Baba’s stories through Hari Kathas. The changes brought in the life of Das Ganu by Sai Baba will be narrated in the coming chapters. Let us pray to Sai Baba to remove our difficulties and delusions, so that we will dedicate our life towards the spreading of Sai’s message (Sai Tatva) as was done by Das Ganu.