Once again StarSai has some hosting issues due to server load and the site was down most of yesterday. I had to plead the customer service staff to take it live since I can’t afford to spend monthly. He was kind enough to fix some issues and today am able to write. Now a days, I am used to it. In the evening,I went with my Amma to Saibaba temple and offered 100 Rs in the name of Katya for Annadhan. The old man in counter asked me “Why not 1000 Rs as he always makes fun of me”. He added
” Can you give to Sai? Can any one give to Sai? It is Sai who is actually giving you.”
This made me realize why should I worry even if I have to pay a monthly fee for keeping StarSai alive? May be I will go for it when need arises. My Amma had very good darshan of Sai and felt really blessed. The priest in Dhuni gave her flowers. My Ma wanted to have prasad. So she went in que and took prasad for me too. She tried to sit in the steps in varanda but I felt really bad, she can’t bend down to sit on floor. Then we did some shopping and reached home.
I am not happy with the current writings I do in StarSai. I have no other go since I don’t have enough experiences. One way its good since I want Sai devotees to perceive Saibaba beyond his miracles. Even during Sai’s life time, there were days when no devotee will come to Dwarakamai to visit him/have darshan. There are days in our life when Saibaba might seen not to do anything for us and am crossing such a phase in my life. Irrespective of all this, I know Sai lives in my heart as antaryami and invisibly he is doing something. I know Sai is taking care of me silently.
I wish Sai gives me experiences that will make people realize the greatness of Shirdi Saibaba. May be I don’t deserve such experiences or my time hasn’t come yet.
Few years back, I had a dream in which I hear the words ” Sairam Pugazhdhu Nooru” which translates to “Write 100 articles in praise of Sai” . I tried to write few but stopped in between. I can’t simply write some praising words without experiences and especially stories. Sai himself used stories to convey messages to his devotees. Sai used to tell parables as if its a story to crowd of devotees sitting in Dwarakamai but one among the crowd alone will realize Baba is actually speaking about their nature/past happening in their life etc.
Further, I don’t like “present days”. I like the days when we call Mumbai as Bombay and Chennai as Madras. I like the days when there were simplicity in the way of life. I like the days when Shirdi used to be a village. A simple village with 80 huts. Imagine how pleasant it would have been friends. Lots of fresh air, water from Godavari, Green field, Horse ride to Shirdi, Manmad Mail train which comes through Kopergoan.
Yesterday, My Father was making garland for Goddess in Ganesha temple. I told him “You have become a professional garland maker now a days”. My father asked me if I want to offer garland for Saibaba and I told him, “Make one for Baba and Dattatreya in our house”.
Sometimes, I wish to go back in time machine and see Sai baba in Dwarakamai.
Its 1912, We reached Kopergoan by train, took horse ride to Shirdi and fell in holy feet of Sai Baba
So here’s the imagination of what we will do if we travel to Shirdi by train in 1912. We get down in Kopergaon railway station and take a Tonga ride to Shirdi village. read on our experiences…
Its 1912. So when we got down in the Kopergoan station, we din’t know how to reach Shirdi. We walk ahead and reach a place under trees where Tonga wala’s were waiting to take people to near by villages. It was a white horse which took us to Shirdi. Yes. I am going with my parents and sister to Shirdi in a horse ride. My Father made beautiful garland with Red, Pink and White Roses in our home in Coimbatore. We already were very tired as we had to change 2-3 trains traveling for over 2 day but the fresh green landscape on way to Shirdi makes our mind fresh. My Father tells us how he made the Rose garland for Baba with devotion and he tied Tulsi leaves inbetween as he learnt that Saibaba loves Tulsi.
My Mom wanted to fresh up in the Godavari river. So we ask the Tonga wala to take us near the banks of Godavari. He tells us that there’s a Dattatreya temple called ‘Datta Par Mandhir” near the banks of Godavari and took us there. All of us got down, refreshed ourselves in the fresh, chill water of Godavari. We then worshiped Lord Dattatreya here. There were few Sadhus sitting in this temple and my Mom gave them some Dosa which they were happy to have.
We got back in the Tonga and started our journey to Shirdi. On our way, we saw a old women selling Guava fruits. This is the same women who sells Guava fruits to Lala Lakshmichand in Sai Satcharitra. We get these Guava fruits happily and reached Shirdi. Shirdi had a fragrance of its own. All of were exited to touch the holy Shirdi Sand with our feet. And not to mention those days, no one wears chappals. So we were fortunate to walk sole feet towards Dwarakamai. We saw Nandadeep and the beautiful Neem tree where Sai Baba first appeared before years in Shirdi.
We saw Saibaba sitting in Dwarakamai wearing a torn Kafni. How I wish to have darshan of this poor fakir friends. Even now, I like it when ever I wear torn faded dress since it makes me relate myself to Sai’s way of living.Sai looks very normal as any other fakir but the mere Darshan of Sai makes us feel his unconditional divine love on us. I could realize Sai was expecting us too. As soon as we stepped inside Dwarakamai, Sai greeted us with a Smile and asked us to sit comfortably. He told us how we had to travel hundreds of miles changing various train to have his darshan.
As if Sai knows all of us without any introduction Sai calls my Mother by her name and asks her about her health. My Mom had tears in her eyes looking at Sai’s care on us and our family and she said that we are all doing well by his grace. My Father took our his darland made of Red, Pink and White Roses and seeks Sai’s permission to offer it to him. Sai nods with a smile. So all of us together offer this beautiful Garland to Saibaba around his neck and bow to his holy feet. Then I will take the lamp with five faces, light them with the fire in holy Dhuni and do Aarti of Saibaba.
Many devotees in Shirdi village and those who came there to visit Baba would gather for Aarti and we sing happily in praise of Sai. Sai likes it when ever we sing the glory of other ancient good saints. That’s why we have the holy names of Gnana dev, Tukaram in Aarti lyrics. Sai will be accept our devotion by offering rose garland, the five faced lamp aarti and the Aarti we sing.
After Aarti is over, Sai will stand in the entrance of Dwarakamai and distribute the sacred ash – Udi to all the devotees. After this, we arrange feast to all the devotees present there. My Mom cooks Sai’s favorite dishes and offers it to Sai and all other devotees. I like to offer Puri to Saibaba with onions added to it because Sai includes onions along with most of what he eats. Saints usually avoid Onions but Sai is unique even in his food habits.
Then, My parents and my sister, her husband and Katya walked to the Sathe Wada, the first lodging place build during Sai’s life time in Shirdi. We meet Shyama, Kakasahab dixit and Nanasaheb Chandorkar in Sathe wada. Oh its still 1912 and we have lots of green field just few minutes walk from Dwarakamai. So I take my Sister’s daughter for a walk and play around in the green field. I see the village people working in the field and passing by us. We have fun playing in the water running through the plants and crops. Then we go back to Sathe wada, make everyone to get ready and walk to the Lakshmi temple. A old women was selling Lotus. We buy Lotus for 50 Annas ( he he…) and offer it to Ma Lakshmi.
Then we walk back to Dwarakamai to have darshan of Saibaba. On our way, we see Sai is watering the Tulsi plants. Myself and Katya join Sai in watering the Tulsi plants. We like playing with water and we are not sincere like Sai in watering these holy Basil plants. But we enjoy the company of Sai and the fragrance of holy Tulsi.
By this time, devotees from Bombay had come to have darshan of Sai. It was too crowded and we hardly had space to sit inside Dwarakamai. Sai went inside Dwarakamai and took his asan while we stood out in the sabha Mandap in front of Dwarakamai. Tatya lit Aaarti lamps and devotees started singing the evening Aarti. My Ma and Pa enjoyed the Aarti being sung in Marati in praise of Sri Saibaba.
After Aarti, Saibaba told a story to all the devotees present there. All of us listened to Sai’s stories and felt really divine. I met my favorite devotee Kusha Bhav who was blessed by Sai and asked to read Guru Charitra for 108 times residing in Gangapur. He spoke to be about greatness of Sai and took us to have food in a house in Shirdi. The family invited us to have dinner and we all ate well. Then my parents and sister, her hubby and Katya went to sleep in Sathe Wada.
Kusha Bhav, Tatya and myself went to Dwarakamai to sleep near Saibaba. I felt blessed to sleep in Dwarakamai as the divine breath of Sai will fall on me and I can also feel his presence alone with me. Tatya had to go home as someone called him. So Kusha Bhav and myself went to a corner of Dwarakamai. He told me many incidents during his lifetime and how Saibaba helped him. As we kept speaking about Sai Leela, we slept off.
Late night at 2, I woke up to see Saibaba sitting behind a screen with the coins he collected as Dakshina and telling to himself
“This is for Tatya.
This is for the devotee from Ahmedabad
This if for Venkat.
This is for Katya”
As he kept arranging these coins in stacks, I shouted to baba asking” Baba, what are you doing? Are you not sleeping?”
Sai immediately hid all the coins and with rage asked me to sleep and not to bother him. I got scared that Sai is angry with me and slept off thinking its always auspicious to be scolded by Sai. So my life will be good here after.
We stayed in Shirdi for 30 days and had many wonderful experiences.
On the last day, before we started, we all went into Dwarakamai to get persmission to Sai to start our journey back to Coimbatore.
Sai applied Udi to all of us and gave 1 coin to me as gift and another coin to Katya. I realized this is the coin Sai was reserving for us few days back sitting late at night. Sai has assured that “I think about my devotees welfare day and night”.
So I took this coin as the most auspicious gift of my lifetime and felt really happy.
The one coin given to Katya and Myself is the love we have on Sai.
Shradha and Saburi.
Patience and Faith
With lots of Love on Sai, Shradha and Saburi we all started our journey back to Coimbatore.
We lived happily ever after.
When ever I get time, I shall imagine what we did in these 3o days stay in Shirdi in 1912 friends.
Hope all of you felt that you too were present with us during this Shirdi trip. Every one who reads this has actually met Sai and had his darshan.
May Sai ever shower his grace on us.
Little servant of Shirdi Saibaba