- Chapter V
Baba’s Return with Chand Patil’s Marriage - party -
Welcomed and Addressed as "Sai" - Contact with Other Saints
- His Dress and Daily Routine - The Story of the Padukas - Wrestling
Bout with Mohdin and Change in Life - Turning Water into Oil - The
Pseudo - Guru Javhar Ali.
Return with Chand Patil’s Marriage - Party
As hinted in the last Chapter, I shall now describe first how Sai
Baba returned to Shirdi after His disappearance.
There lived in the Aurangabad District (Nizam State), in a village
called Dhoop, a well-to-do Mahomedan gentleman by name Chand Patil.
While he was making a trip to Aurangabad, he lost his mare. For
two long months, he made a diligent search but could get no trace
of the lost mare. After being disappointed, he returned from Aurangabad
with the saddle on his back. After travelling four Koss and a half,
he came, on the way, to a mango tree under the foot of which sat
a RATNA (queer fellow). He had a cap on His head, wore Kafni (long
robe) and had a "Satka" (short stick) under His armpit
and He was preparing to smoke a Chilim (pipe).
On seeing Chand Patil pass by the way, He called out to him and
asked him to have a smoke and to rest a little. The Fakir asked
him about the saddle. Chand Patil replied that it was of his mare,
which was lost. The queer fellow or Fakir asked him to make a search
in the Nala close by. He went and the wonder of wonders! He found
out the mare. He thought that this Fakir was not an ordinary man,
but an Avalia (a great saint). He returned to the Fakir with the
mare. The Chilim was ready for being smoked, but two things were
wanting; (1) fire to light the pipe, and (2) water to wet the chhapi
(piece of cloth through which smoke is drawn up).
The Fakir took His prong and thrust it forcibly into the ground
and out came a live burning coal, which He put on the pipe. Then
He dashed the Satka on the ground, from whence water began to ooze.
The chhapi was wetted with that water, was then wrung out and wrapped
round the pipe. Thus everything being complete, the Fakir smoked
the Chilim and then gave it also to Chand Patil. On seeing all this,
Chand Patil was wonderstruck. He requested the Fakir to come to
his home and accept his hospitality. Next day He went to the Patil’s
house and stayed there for some time. The Patil was a village -
officer of Dhoop. His wife’s brother’s son was to be
married and the bride was from Shirdi. So Patil made preparations
to start for Shirdi for the marriage. The Fakir also accompanied
the marriage-party. The marriage went off without any hitch, the
party returned to Dhoop, except the Fakir alone stayed in Shirdi,
and remained there forever.
How the Fakir Got the Name Sai
When the marriage - party came to Shirdi, it alighted at the foot
of a Banyan tree in Bhagat Mhalsapati’s field near Khandoba’s
temple. The carts were loosened in the open courtyard of Khandoba’s
temple. The carts were loosened in the open courtyard of Khandoba’s
temple, and the members of the party descended one by one, and the
Fakir also got down. Bhagat Mhalsapati saw the young Fakir getting
down and accosted Him "YA SAI" (Welcome Sai). Others also
addressed Him as Sai and thenceforth he became known as Sai Baba.
Contact with Other Saints
Sai Baba began to stay in a deserted Masjid. One Saint named Devidas
was living in Shirdi many years before Baba came there. Baba liked
his company. He stayed with him in the Maruti temple, in the Chavadi,
and some time lived alone.
Then came another Saint by name Jankidas. Baba spent most of His
time in talking with him, or Jankidas went to Baba’s residence.
So also one Vaishya householder Saint, from Puntambe by name Gangagir
always frequented Shirdi. When he first saw Sai Baba, carrying pitchers
of water in both hands, for watering the garden, he was amazed and
said openly, "Blessed is Shirdi, that it got this precious
Jewel. This man is carrying water today; but He is not an ordinary
fellow. As this land (Shirdi) was lucky and meritorious, it secured
this Jewel." So also one famous Saint by name Anandnath of
Yewala Math, a disciple of Akkalkot Maharaj came to Shirdi with
some Shirdi people. When he saw Sai Baba, he said openly, "This
is a precious Diamond in reality. Though he looks like an ordinary
man, he is not a ‘gar’ (ordinary stone) but a Diamond.
You will realize this in the near future." Saying this he returned
to Yewala. This was said while Sai Baba was a youngster.
Baba’s Dress and Daily Routine
In his young days, Sai Baba grew hair on His head; never had His
head shaved. He dressed like an athlete. When He went to Rahata
(3 miles from Shirdi), He brought with Him small plants of Merry
Gold, Jai and Jui, and after cleaning, he planted and watered them.
A devotee by name Vaman Tatya supplied Him daily with two earthen
pitchers. With these Baba Himself used to water the plants. He drew
water from the well and carried the pitchers on His shoulders. In
the evening the pitchers were kept at the foot of the Neem tree.
As soon as they were placed there, they were broken, as they were
made of raw earth and not baked. Next day, Tatya supplied two fresh
pitchers. This course went on for 3 years; and with Sai Baba’s
toil and labour, there grew a flower garden. On this site, at present,
stands the big mansion - Samadhi Mandir of Baba, which is now frequented
and used by so many devotees.
The Story of Padukas (foot-prints) under the Neem
A devotee of Akkalkot Maharaj by name Bhai Krishnaji Alibagkar worshipped
the photo of Akkalkot Maharaj. He once thought of going to Akkalkot
(Sholapur District), taking the darshana of the Padukas (foot-prints)
of the Maharaj and offering his sincere worship there; but before
he could go there, he got a vision in his dream. Akkalkot Maharaj
appeared in the vision and said to him - "Now Shirdi is my
resting place, go there and offer your Worship." So Bhai changed
his plan and came to Shirdi, worshipped Baba, stayed there for six
months and was happy. As a reminiscence of this vision etc., he
prepared the Padukas and installed them on an auspicious day of
Shravan, Shaka 1834 (1912 A.D.) under the Neem tree with due ceremonies
and formalities, conducted by Dada Kelkar and Upasani. One Dixit
Brahmin was appointed for worship, and the management was entrusted
to devotee Sagun.
Complete Version of this Story
Mr. B.V. Deo, Retired Mamalatdar of Thana, and a great devotee of
Sai Baba, made enquired about this matter with Sagun Meru Naik and
Govind Kamlakar Dixit and has published a full version of the Padukas
in Sai Leela Vol. 11, No. 1, page 25. It runs as follows:
In 1834 Shaka (1912 A.D.) one Doctor Ramarao Kothare of Bombay
came to Shirdi for Baba’s darshana. His compounder; and his
friend, Bhai Krishnaji Alibagkar, accompanied him. The compounder
and Bhai became intimate with Sagun Meru Naik and G.K. Dixit. While
discussing things, these persons thought that there must be some
memorial of the fact of Sai Baba’s first coming to Shirdi
and sitting under the holy Neem tree. They thought of installing
Baba’s Padukas there and were going to make them of some rough
stones. Then Bhai’s friend, the compounder, suggested that
if this matter be made known to his master, Dr. Ramarao Kothare,
who would prepare nice Padukas for this purpose. All liked the proposal
and Dr. Kothare was informed of it. He came to Shirdi and drew a
plan of the Padukas. He went to Upasani Maharaj in Khandoba’s
temple, and showed him his plan. The latter made many improvements,
drew lotuses, flowers, conch, disc, man etc., and suggested that
the following SHLOKA (verse) regarding Neem tree’s great ness
and Baba’s Yogi powers be inscribed. The verse was as follows:
"Sada Nimbarvrikshasya mooladhiwasat,
Sudhasravinam tiktamapi-apriyam tam,
Tarum Kalpavrikshadhikam sadhayantam
Namameeshwaram Sadgurum Sai Natham"
Upasani’s suggestions were accepted and carried out. The
Padukas were made in Bombay and sent to Shirdi with the compounder.
Baba said that they should be installed on the Pournima (15th) of
Shravan. On that day at 11 a.m., G.K. Dixit brought them on his
head from Khandoba’s temple to the Dwarkamai (Masjid) in procession.
Baba touched the Padukas, saying that these are the feet of the
Lord and asked the people to instal them, under foot of the Neem
A day before, one Parsi devotee of Bombay named Pastha Shet sent
Rs.25/- by money order. Baba gave this sum for the installation
of the Padhukas. The total expense of installation came up to Rs.100/-
out of which Rs.75/- were collected by subscriptions. For the first
5 years, G.K. Dixit worshipped the Padukas daily and then Laxman
Kacheshwar Jakhadi did this. In the first five years, Dr. Kothare
sent Rs. 2 per month for lighting and he also sent the railing round
the Padukas. The expense of bringing the railing from the station
to Shirdi (Rs. 7-8-0) (presently Rs.7.50p) and roofing was paid
by Sagun Meru Naik. Now, Jakhadi (Nana Pujari) does the worship
and Sagun Meru Naik offers the naivaidya and lights the evening
Bhai Krishnaji was orginally a devotee of Akkalkot Maharaj. He
had come to Shirdi at the installation of the Padukas, in Shaka
1834 on his way to Akkalkot. He wanted to go to Akkalkot after taking
the darshana of Baba. He asked Baba’s permission for this.
Baba said - "Oh, what is there in Akkalkot? Why do you go there?
The incumbent Maharaj of that place is here, Myself." Hearing
this Bhai did not go to Akkalkot. He came to Shirdi off and on,
after the installation of the Padukas.
Mr. B.V. Deo concluded that Hemadpant did not know these details.
Had be known them, he would not have failed to depict them in his
Wresting Bout with Mohdin Tamboli and Change in Life
To return to other stories of Baba. There was a wrestler in Shirdi,
by name Mohdin Tamboli. Baba and he did not agree on some items,
and both had a fight. In this Baba was defeated. Thenceforth, Baba
changed His dress and mode of living. He donned Kafni, wore a Langot
(waist band) and covered His head with a piece of cloth. He took
a piece of sackcloth for His seat, sackcloth for His bed and was
content with wearing torn and worn out rags. He always said "Poverty
is better than Kingship, far better than Lordship. The Lord is always
brother (befriender) of the poor." Gangagir was also very fond
of wrestling. While he was once wrestling, a similar feeling of
dispassion came over him, and at the proper time he heard the voice
of an adept, saying that he should wear out his body, playing with
God. So he too gave up Samsara and turned towards God-realization.
He established a math on the banks of the river near Puntambe, and
lived there with disciples.
Sai Baba did not mix and speak with the people. He only gave answers
when he was questioned. By day he always sat under the Neem tree,
sometimes under the shade of a branch of a Babul tree near the stream
at the outskirts of the village.
In the afternoon, He used to walk at random and go at times to
Nimgaon. There He frequented the house of Balasaheb Dengale. Baba
loved Mr. Balasaheb. His younger brother, named Nanasaheb, had no
son, though he married a second wife. Balasaheb sent Nanasaheb for
taking darshana of Sai Baba, and after some time with His grace,
Nanasaheb got a son. From that time onwards, people began to come
in numbers to see Sai Baba, and His fame began to spread and reached
Ahmednagar; from thence Nanasaheb Chandorkar and Keshav Chidamber,
and many others began to come to Shirdi. Baba was surrounded by
His devotees during day; and slept at night in an old and dilapidated
Masjid. Baba’s paraphernalia at this time consisted of a Chilim,
tobacco, a "Tumrel" (tin pot), long flowing Kafni, a piece
of cloth round His head, and a Satka (short stick), which He always
kept with Him. The piece of white cloth on the head was twisted
like matted hair, and flowed down from the left ear on the back.
This was not washed for weeks.
He wore no shoes, no sandals. A piece of sack-cloth was His seat
for most of the day. He wore a coupin (waist-cloth-band) and for
warding off cold he always sat in front of a Dhuni (sacred fire)
facing south with His left hand resting on the wooden railing. In
that Dhuni, He offered as oblation; egoism, desires and all thoughts
and always uttered Allah Malik (God is the sole owner). The Masjid
in which He sat was only of two room dimensions, where all devotees
came and saw Him. After 1912 A.D., there was a change. The old Masjid
was repaired and a pavement was constructed. Before Baba came to
live in this Masjid, He lived for a long time in a place Takia,
where with GHUNGUR (small bells) on His legs, Baba danced beautifully
sang with tender love.
Turning Water into Oil
Sai Baba was very fond of lights. He used to borrow oil from shopkeepers,
and keep lamps burning the whole night in the Masjid and temple.
This went on for some time. The Banias, who supplied oil gratis,
once met together and decided not to give Him oil. When, as usual,
Baba went to ask for oil, they all gave Him a distinct No. Unperturbed,
Baba returned to the Masjid and kept the dry wicks in the lamps.
The banias were watching Him with curiosity. Baba took the Tumrel
(tin pot) which contained very little (a few drops) of oil, put
water into it and drank it and forced it fall in the container.
After consecrating the tin-pot in this way, He again took water
in the tin-pot and filled all the lamps with it and lighted them.
To the surprise and dismay of the watching Banias, the lamps began
to burn and kept burning the whole night. The Banias repented and
apologized. Baba forgave them and asked them to be more truthful
The Pseudo-Guru Javhar Ali
Five years after the wrestling bout mentioned above, one Fakir from
Ahmednager by name Javhar Ali came to Rahata with his disciples
and stayed in Bakhal (spacious room) near Virabhadra temple. The
Fakir was learned, could repeat the whole Koran and had a sweet
tongue. Many religious and devout people of the village came to
him and began to respect him. With the help of the people, he started
to build an Idgah (a wall before which Mahomedans pray on Idgah
day), near the Virabhadra temple. There was some quarrel about this
affair, on account of which, Javhar Ali had to leave Rahata. Then
he came to Shirdi and lived in the Masjid with Baba. People were
captured by his sweet talk, and he began to call Baba his disciple.
Baba did not object and consented to be his Chela. Then both Guru
and Chela decided to return to Rahata and live there. The Guru (Teacher)
never knew his disciple’s worth, but the disciple knew the
defects of the Guru, still he never disrespected him, observing
carefully his duties. He even served the Master in various ways.
They used to come to Shirdi off and on, but their main stay was
The loving devotees of Baba in Shirdi did not like, that Baba should
stay away from them in Rahata. So they went in a deputation to bring
Baba back to Shirdi. When they met Baba near the Idgah and told
the purpose for which they came, Baba said to them that the Fakir
was an ill-tempered fellow, he would not leave him and that they
should better return to Shirdi without him, before the Fakir returned.
While they were thus talking, the Fakir turned up and was very angry
with them for trying to take away his disciple. There was some discussion
and altercation and it was finally decided that both the Guru and
Chela should return to Shirdi. And so they returned and lived in
Shirdi. But after a few days the Guru was tested by Devidas and
he was found wanting. Twelve years before Baba arrived in Shirdi
with the marriage-party, this Devidas aged about 10 or 11 came to
Shirdi and lived in the Maruti temple. Devidas had fine features
and brilliant eyes, and he was dispassion incarnate and a Jnani.
Many persons, namely Tatya Kote, Kashinath and others regarded,
him as their Guru. They brought Javhar Ali in his presence, and
in the discussion that followed; Javhar was worsted and fled from
Shirdi. He went and stayed in Bijapur and returned after many years
to Shirdi, and prostrated himself before Sai Baba. The delusion
that he was Guru and Sai Baba his Chela was cleared away, and as
he repented, Sai Baba treated him with respect. In this case Sai
Baba showed by actual conduct how one should get rid of egoism and
do the duties of a disciple to attain the highest end, viz., self-realization.
This story is told here according to the version given by Mhalsapati
(a great devotee of Baba).
In the next Chapter will be described Rama-Navami Festival, the
Masjid, its former condition and later improvement etc.
Bow to Shri Sai - Peace be to all