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INTRODUCTION ELEVEN ASSURANCES STATEMENTS OF BABA
SIGNIFICANCE OF UDI SATCHARITRA DEVOTEE'S EXPERIENCES

DEVOTEE'S EXPERIENCES

Sugar Tea

Das Ganu was once performing his Kirtan (religious discourse) and singing the glory of Sai Baba, in the Koupineshwar temple in Thana. One Mr. Cholkar, a poor man serving as a candidate in the Civil Courts in Thana, was amongst the audience. He heard Dasganu's Kirtan most attentively and was much moved. He there and then mentally bowed and vowed to Baba saying - "Baba, I am a poor man, unable to support my family. If by your grace, I pass the departmental examination, and get a permanent post, I shall go to Shirdi, fall at Your Feet and distribute sugar-candy in Your name." As good luck would have it, Mr.Cholkar did pass the examination and did get the permanent post and now it remained for him to fulfill his vow, the sooner the better. Mr. Cholkar was a poor man with a large family to support; and he could not afford to pay for the expenses of a Shirdi trip. As Mr. Cholkar was anxious to fulfill his vow as early as possible, he resolved to economize, cut down his expenses and save money. He determined not to use sugar in his diet and began to take his tea without it. After he was able to save some money in this way, he came to Shirdi, took Baba's darshan (sight of a holy person), fell at His Feet, offered a coconut, distributed it with a clean conscience along with sugar-candy as per his vow and said to Baba that he was much pleased with His darshan and that his desires were fulfilled that day. Mr. Cholkar was in the Masjid with his host Bapusaheb Jog. When the host and the guest both got up and were about to leave the Masjid, Baba spoke to Jog as follows:- "Give him (your guest) cups of tea, fully saturated with sugar." Hearing these significant words, Mr. Cholkar was much moved, he was wonderstruck, his eyes were bedewed with tears, and he fell at Baba's Feet again. Mr. Jog was also curious about this direction, regarding the tea-cups to be given to his guest. Baba wanted by His words to create faith and devotion in Cholkar's mind. He hinted as it were, that He got the sugar-candy as per his vow and that He knew full well his secret determination not to use sugar in his diet. Baba meant to say, "If you spread your palms with devotion before Me, I am immediately with you, day and night. Though, I am here bodily, still I know what you do; beyond the seven seas. Go wherever you will, over the wide world, I am with you. My abode is in your heart and I am within you. Always worship Me, Who is seated in your heart, as well as in the hearts of all beings. Blessed and fortunate indeed, is he who knows Me thus."

Bread and Onion Story

Once it so happened, that a sadhak (disciple) of Yoga came to Shirdi with Nanasaheb Chandorkar. He had studied all the works on Yoga, including the Yoga-sutras of Patanjali, but had no practical experience. He could not concentrate his mind and attain samadhi (the highest meditative state) even for a short time. He thought that if Sai Baba be pleased with him, He will show him the way to attain samadhi for a long time. With this object in view he came to Shirdi and when he went to the Masjid he saw Sai Baba eating bread with onion. On seeing this, a thought arose in his mind, "How can this man, who is eating stale bread with raw onion, solve my difficulties and help me?" Sai Baba read his mind and said to Nanasaheb - "Oh Nana, he who has the power to digest onion, should eat it and none else". Hearing this remark, the yogi was wonder-struck and then he fell at Baba's Feet with complete surrender. With pure and open mind, he asked his difficulties and got their solution from Baba. Thus being satisfied and happy, he left Shirdi with Baba's Udi (sacred ash) and blessings.

Picture equivalent to Darshan

It was often the experience of Sai Baba's devotees that seeing Baba's picture earnestly is equivalent to seeing Him in person. The following story illustrates this statement.

A Saint of Bombay named Balabuva Sutar, who on account of his piety, devotion and bhajan (sacred singing), was called "Modern Tukaram", came to Shirdi for the first time in 1917. When be bowed before Baba, the latter said "I know this man since four years." Balabuva wondered and thought, how could that be, as that was his first trip to Shirdi. But thinking about it seriously he recollected that he had prostrated himself four years ago before Baba's portrait at Bombay and was convinced about the significance of Baba's words. He said to himself, "How omniscient and all-pervading are the Saints and how kind are they to their Bhaktas (devotional devotees)! I merely bowed to His photo, this fact was noticed by Baba and in due time He made me realize that seeing His photo is equivalent to seeing Him in person!"

Faith Secures Passing Grade

There lived in Bandra, a suburb of Bombay, one Tendulkar family, all the members of which were devoted to Shirdi Sai Baba. The son of the family was studying hard day and night and wanted to appear for the medical examination. He consulted some astrologers. Examining his horoscope they told him that the stars were not favourable that year and that he should appear for the examination next year, when he would be certainly successful. This cast a gloom over him and made him restless. A few days afterwards his mother went to Shirdi and saw Baba. Amongst other things she mentioned the gloomy and morose condition of her son, who was to appear for the examination in a few days. Hearing this Baba said to her,"Tell your son to believe in Me, to throw aside horoscopes and predictions of astrologers and palmists and go on with his studies. Let him appear for the examination with a calm mind, he is sure to pass this year. Ask him to trust in Me and not to get disappointed". The mother returned home and communicated Baba's message to her son. Then he studied hard and in due course appeared for the examination. In the written papers he did well, but being overwhelmed by doubts he thought that he would not secure sufficient marks for passing. So he did not care to appear for the oral examination. But the examiner was after him. He sent word through a fellow- student, stating that he had passed in the written examination and that he should appear for the oral. The son being thus encouraged appeared for the oral examination and was successful in both. Thus he got through the examination that year successfully by Baba's grace, though the stars were against him. It is to be noted here that doubts and difficulties surround us just to move us and confirm our faith. We are tested as it were. If we only hold on steadily to Baba with full faith and continue our endeavours, our efforts will be ultimately crowned with success

Suicide Thwarted

Mr. Gopal Narayan Ambadekar of Poona was a devotee of Baba. He served for ten years in the Abkari department, from where he had to retire. He tried to get some other job, but he did not succeed. He was overtaken by other calamities and his condition grew from bad to worse. He passed 7 years in this condition, visiting Shirdi every year and placing his grievance before Baba. In 1916 his plight became worst and be decided to commit suicide in Shirdi. So he came there with his wife and stayed for two months. One night while sitting in a bullock cart he resolved to end his life by throwing himself into a well close by. He proposed to do one way but Baba wished to do something else. A few paces from this place, there was a hotel and its proprietor Mr. Sagun, a devotee of Baba, came out and accosted him thus, "Did you ever read this Akkalkotkar Maharaja's life?" Ambadekar took that book from Sagun and began to read it. Casually, or we may say providentially he came across a story which was to this effect. - During the life time of Akkalkotkar Maharaj a certain devotee suffered very much from an incurable disease and when he could endure the agony and pain no longer, be became desperate and to end his miseries threw himself one night into a well. Immediately the Maharaj came there and took him out with his own hands and advised him thus, "You must enjoy the fruit - good or bad - of your past actions; if the enjoyment be incomplete, suicide won't help you. You have to take another birth and suffer again; so instead of killing yourself, why not suffer for some time and finish up your store of the fruit of your past deeds and be done with it once and for all?"

Reading this appropriate and timely story, Ambadekar was much surprised, and moved. Had he not got Baba's hint through the story, he would have been no more. Seeing Baba's all-pervasiveness and benevolence, his faith in Him was confirmed, and he became a staunch devotee. His father was a devotee of Akkalkotkar Maharaj and Sai Baba wanted him to walk into his father's footsteps and continue his devotion to Him. He then got Sai Baba's blessings and his prospects began to improve. He studied astrology and gained proficiency in it and thereby improved his lot. He was able to earn sufficient money and passed his after-life in ease and comfort.

 
     
 
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