How are you? I had leave for 3 days and was busy doing some projects online. I am satisfied with the job Sai blessed me with but something keeps telling me nothing is permanent. Further, I am passionate about learning what’s new in the tech ecosystem. So I did lots of work and hardly had time for StarSai. I mean StarSai. I always have time for Sai. I keep remembering him what ever I do.
Don’t you know. I always say this to him “Sai, You are my heart. You are my soul”.
This evening, I went to Shirdi Saibaba temple in Coimbatore, lit 3 lamps and came around Dhuni for few minutes. I was deeply worried about what’s happening in my life. So I stood in the space outside Dwarakamai and kept looking at Saibaba statue in the main hall.
Usually, I distribute prasad kept in Dwarakamai after the night Aarti. Last night, I saw my friend who takes devotees every year to Shirdi and Mantralayam as a service. I told him “You know, I saw Saint Ragavendra in dream”. I was thinking he will tell me about Mantralayam. But he immediately replied “Ragavendra is telling you, I myself came in your dream. So better don’t come to Mantrayala”.
He told me as if I am going to spoil the purity of sacred places by visiting them myself. I could not stop laughing but told him that there’s no better way to insult me.
Today, Some of my friends in temple were looking at live darshan of Saibaba in Shirdi. My Mobile is too old that I could not see.They were surprised when I said that its been almost 6 years since I have been to Shirdi. Many first timers to StarSai assume that I live in Shirdi. Well, Its not necessary to live in Shirdi or even visit Shirdi every year. What matters is, loving Sai truly,madly and deeply.
They are conducting some events for New Year at my office and couple of weeks back, some of my friends went to an indoor Shuttlecock stadium. I don’t usually play but I also wish to be around with my friends because all my team guys left out. So I too joined them. I had cold and not feeling well. I desperately needed a coffee which I din’t got. So I simply came out of the stadium and sat under a Neem tree right behind it. I was reading many articles, Tweeting and spending time doing what I like most.
I usually shout a lot to my friends if they irritate me during lunch by making it late or deciding which restaurant to go as none according to me are good. I felt bad for shouting and had food in a Punjabi dhaba. After lunch, they went to play and I decided to do something which will make me feel peaceful.
I tried sitting behind the stadium for few minutes but I was too tired and wanted to find a comfortable place to rest.
I walked ahead in what seems to be a land full of grasses and bushes. There was a Neem tree which to me was the island of paradise. As I neared it, I felt so happy for the place was shady and the best of all, none can look at me. Before I continue, I shall start with a contrasting environment. Let’s travel to the other side of the Globe around and see what my Sister is doing? My Brother in Law, Sister and their Kid Katya are on a tour spending time in Chicago for this holiday season. She sent me some photos along with the Skyline of the huge Skyscrapers in Chicago.
That’s how the world is. Big.Beautiful.World out there.
Every year, I request my Sister to pay hosting fee for running StarSai especially since I want her to be a part of what I am doing for Sai and she loves to gift Sai and me though I don’t think she reads what I write. (Good for her).
Now, lets come back to my world.
Experiencing Shirdi Saibaba under a Neem tree
As I stepped inside the shadow of beautiful Neem tree, I felt so happy. Words can’t describe how I felt. As if God finally showed me a place to relax.
I sat down near the Neem tree and leaned over it. Oh. That was really the best thing Sai can give me for the day. I was already tired and hence felt so peaceful.
The tree’s roots where spreading in all directions outside the surface which helped me lean over it. Initially, I had some fear because few insects where there but I felt Saibaba is with me. Sai wants me to remember him and so I will silently be here and think about him.
Sai’s first advent in Shirdi – Imagining what really would have happened to the poor little boy?
I was chanting and humming some holy chants of Shirdi Saibaba. Then, I imagined the first advent of Saibaba in Shirdi as a young lad. I was telling stories to myself. That Saibaba came as a young boy. He was sitting in under the Neem tree and spent day and night over there. I asked Sai if he din’t felt cold during the night time? None would have even given him a cloth to cover himself. Sai would have simply survived there not minding that none cares for him. Those days, if some one new came into the village, the people will doubt him/her a lot. That was how India was before 100 years. Our population was less than 20 crore and hence every village and group of villages had their own rules and regulations.
Some would have doubted Sai and hurt him with words. Sai used to disappear from Shirdi village and go into the forest in the outskirts of the village. Imagine, how hungry he would have been during those days? This is why Saibaba never recommended fasting. Sai knows the pain of hunger and he don’t want his dear children to be hungry. Not even a day. Sai cooked food for hundreds of devotees and assured the following
“There will be no dearth of food in my devotees house”
I closed my eyes 2-3 minutes but again woke up to see if everything is fine around me. I saw a worm approaching me. Took a stick and pushed it aside. Again, I tried to imagine Sai leela’s which I like most.
After his first stay in Shirdi, Sai suddenly disappeared for approximately 4 years. Once he was sitting under a huge Banyan tree in the outskirts of far away village. A Man named Chad Patil came searching for his Horse. Sai asked him to search in the woods opposite to him. Surprisingly, the Horse was found there and Chad Patil was convinced that the poor fakir is a great Aulia – A Saint.
The first recorded leela of Saibaba is the way he created fire with his satka ( Small stick) striking the surface to light the hooka. Sai also stuck the Satka over the surface of land to take water for chappi. Chad Patil and Sai smoked and talked a while. Chand Patil invited Baba to stay in his house. His niece was getting married and the bride is from Shirdi. So the poor fakir also went to Shirdi along with the marriage party.
The cart stopped infront of the Khandoba temple where the priest Mahalsapathi on looking at the saintly appearance invited him “Aao Sai – Welcome Sai”.
We all know this story right but it was good for me to re-construct it in my mind of how actually it would have happened?
Sai was not allowed to stay in the Khandobha temple. Hence he choose to live in the old Mosque which came to be known as Dwarakamai.
You know who believed in Sai during the initial days?
It was 3 lucky men..
- Shyama who was a teacher in elementary school in Shirdi
- Kashinath Shimpi who was a Tailor
Gradually, few more good men joined to worship Saibaba as they alone could understand the greatness of this other wise Man man according to the village people.
Now, see another photo. The view I had from where I relaxed..
I remembered this Sai Leela
Kashinath Shimpi was a tailor and he used to walk through the woods while doing business to go from one village to another. Baba once told him to have sugar tied in a cloth and keep it with him. When ever he found ants, Baba asked him to drop them.
Kashinath followed this advice of Baba and always carried a cloth tied with Sugar in it.
Once, Kashinath was walking in woods along with 3-4 people. Suddenly, they were blocked by group of thieves and threatened to hand over their belongings. The thieves fought with a sword and badly wounded them. Kasinath too was beaten over his head. Later he gained consciousness and to his surprise he found that his money and belongings were safe. The thieves mistook the cloth tied with Sugar to be some treasure and took that alone.
Sai proved the greatness of giving through this leela.
“The habit of giving and doing good will save us at the time of need”.
After few minutes, I saw a butterfly flying around the tree. It was beautiful to see.
I also heared the sound of Woodpecker making his home in a tree some where around.
I have never lived like this all my life. I felt Sai gave me this experience to remember him deeply.
I kept my little Shirdi Saibaba photo under the Neem tree and offered a Neem leaf to him as I could not find any flowers near by.
I kept this photo near the trunk of the Neem tree and felt that its my small Saibaba temple. It really was. I was chanting Sai’s holy name but I closed my eyes once in a while. I woke up to see none around me. It was just me and Baba. None to ask questions. None to trouble me. None to speak to me. I spoke to myself about the greatness of Sai.
I imagined some more Sai leelas.
I was thinking about Tarkad family.
Once, after 1910, Tarkad and Sai alone were in Dwarakamai. None came to have darshan of Baba on that day. Tarkad asked Baba “Sai, today none came to see you?”
Baba replied him “Some days are like this.”
And he added
“Bhau, Believe in my words. People will come to this Dwarakamai like Ants come to Sugar”
How true has it become now?
We all go to Shirdi and see the huge line of devotees standing in Que waiting for Sai’s holy darshan in Samadhi Mandir and Dwarakamai.
Can you imagine, the same Sai was once ignored, harassed and humiliated? Even today, devotees hurt him when their desire is not fulfilled. Sai accepts everything silently.
I have tears in my eyes when I write this.
This is love. This is between me and Sai.
As the evening approached, my friends came out of the stadium. I gave them a call and asked them to see where I am. He he…Surprise! I left the place but the memory lives in my heart for lifetime.
None can understand this relationship and why I behave like this?
We have been like this birth after birth. In the woods, under the Neem tree, In Dwarakamai, at my house, where ever I go, he follows me.
I belong to him.
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