Sai Baba shared a unique relationship with Shri Appa Patil and Bayaja Patil. Amongst the people of Shirdi, they were the only one of the first to recognize Baba's divine powers. The couple was childless for many years. When Shri Appa Patil and Bayaja Bai met Baba (who was sitting under a Neem tree) for the first time, Baba got up from his place and said "Bayaja Bai was my sister in my previous birth." Bayaja Bai on hearing this became very happy and she decided not to take her meals unless and until she would have served Baba first. At times she had to walk for miles together to look for Baba. Baba also gave special blessing to her son Tatya Patil.
Baba loved children very much. The children in the village of Shirdi used to gather and go to the Masjid to play with Baba, amongst them were also Bayaja's son Tatya Patil and his friend Raghu. When Baba came to Shirdi, Tatya Patil was about 7 or 8 years old. At that time, Baba was not residing in the Masjid. At that time, he did not
have any particular place to live. He stayed for about 10 months in the Masjid and then for some time under the Neem tree. Baba told the villagers that under the Neem tree was His Guru's Samadhi (shrine). After this, Baba started living in the Masjid.
A stable was converted into a Marathi school, which later on was declared to be a Government school. Tatya also used to study in a school. His school was inside the Hanuman temple. Later, Tatya also started studying in the Government school. Madhav Rao Deshpande alias Shama was his teacher. At that time Tatya was in the third or fourth class.
First Darshan (Appearance)
When Tatya was studying in the school situated inside the Hanuman temple, Baba used to go everyday to his house for alms (Bhiksha). That time, there were only three persons living in his house. One was his Dada (father), the other was his Mahtnri (mother) and lastly he himself. This house was an old construction, which was built around 22 to 23 years back. Raghu Patil was Tatya's childhood friend. They used to go to the school together. After coming back from the school, Tatya, Raghu and three-four boys used to stand outside the Masjid and tease Baba by making different faces. Baba was about 18 or 19 years old at that time. A thin line of moustache used to touch his upper lip. They continued teasing Baba in the same manner for about 3 to 4 years. Baba used to
keep on sitting quietly inside the Masjid. Everyday Raghu Patil used to throw small stones on Baba from the door of the Masjid and run away. Baba used to run after them and abuse them. The children used to laugh loudly and run away before Baba could pick up his Satka. After all this Tatya used to go to his house to have his meals.
Bayaja Mami 'Abadi-Abad'
Whenever Tatya used to sit down to eat, Baba would come and ask for Bhiksha (alms). Most of the times Baba used to ask for Bhiksha on the doorstep only. He used to say "Abadi Abad Bayaja Mami Roti Lav". Bayaja Ma usually asked Baba to come inside. Baba used to come inside with a smile and sit in the outer room (Osari). Bayaja Ma used to leave all her household work and sit besides Baba. Being a small child Tatya would take the liberty to climb on Baba's shoulder or sometimes sit on his knees. Baba smilingly used to let him do all this. Bayaja Ma would get angry with this, but Baba would tell her, "Why do you get so angry. Let him do whatever he wants to do." Bayaja Ma often requested him to eat food in front of her. But Baba had his own ways. He used to have the food in the house whenever he felt like it. Sometimes Baba used to have only milk or curd or butter. Usually he ate rice/ millets, breads and vegetables. Baba liked to have milk, curd, lassi, pickle, onion and papad. Bayaja Ma used to request Baba to eat all the eatables. Bayaja Ma used to prepare all these things in advance and always requested Baba to have them. Baba would first go to Patil Suva Gondkar's house asking for alms (Bhiksha). Sometimes Baba would go to these houses more than once a day Baba never asked a Muslim for alms (Bhiksha).
After living for 2-3 years in the Mas]id, Baba started living at some other place. His new place was under the Neem tree. He lived there for about two and a half years. The Neem tree was situated between Lendi Bagh and Sheera. Some people went there and gave him food (Bhakari)
When Baba came to Shirdi for the first time, he was wearing a green coloured Kafni (a long robe) and a Safa (scarf worn over the head). He wore these clothes for about 4 months and after that he started wearing a white coloured Kafni and the Safa.
When he was living under the neem tree, Tatya, Raghu Patil and some other boys used to go and meet him. After getting to know Baba they repented for committing their earlier mistakes. In those days, lots of villagers and Nana Rao Dengle also used to come to Baba.
As it has been told earlier, Baba stayed under the Neem tree for about two and a half years and thereafter he started living in the Masjid (mosque).
Baba Gangageer's Naamsaptah (Chanting of God's name for one week)
In 1896, a famous saint named Gangageer Baba came to Shirdi. He wanted to perform the Naamsaptah, but the people did not cooperate with him.
Seeing their behaviour, Baba Gangageer became angry. He went to the Masjid and on seeing Baba, he said "He is a priceless diamond. But mark my words, he will change Shirdi. Gangageer Baba left Shirdi but Tatya became very sad. He went after Gangageer Baba to the village of Rue. He apologized and asked him to return to Shirdi to organize the Naamsaptah. Gangageer Baba clearly refused but Tatya was also adamant.
He kept visiting Gangageer Baba regularly and requested his disciples to make him agree. At that time Tatya possessed 7 sacks of wheat. He requested Gangageer Baba and his disciples to come to Shirdi and to perform Naamsaptah. He would serve them for seven days. At last, Gangageer Baba agreed to visit Shirdi to perform Naamsaptah. Tatya also took his father with him. He remained there for one full week and the Naamsaptah
was performed very nicely. Other villagers also realized their mistake and they collected fourteen hundred rupees and gave it to Tatya. After the Naamsaptah, Tatya accompanied Gangageer Baba wherever he went. Many Naamsaptahs were performed in the nearby villages also. Tatya returned to Shirdi close to Dussehra days and went straight to the Masjid to see Baba. Tatya informed Baba about the Naamsaptah. Hearing this, Baba was very happy. After that day onwards Tatya used to go to the mosque everyday to see Baba. Baba also reciprocated his love and affection.
Whenever Tatya would sit down to rest in the Masjid, Baba would tease him for fun. Baba would pat him on the back and then hide in the Masjid. On Tatya's asking that who pushed and patted him/ Baba would come out laughing from behind. Baba would close Tatya's eyes with his hands and hide again. Tatya would also playfully press Baba's fingers and then Baba would shout at him saying, "Will you break my fingers? Baba also used to play Fagoodi with Tatya. At times Baba would wrestle with him. Tatya would carry Baba on his shoulders. Baba addressed him as Tatya, Kotya or "Ghormukhiya".
Sometimes Baba used to massage his head and when he was in deep
sleep, he would change the direction in which Tatya was sleeping.
In summers, it became very hot inside the Masjid. Tatya's bed was near the Dhuni. Baba, being a fun loving person, would wake up at midnight and put a blanket on Tatya. When it would get too hot for Tatya, he would get up and sleep on the stairs.
Once, on the occasion of Holi, Tatya was standing near Nandu Marwari's shop. Baba was in a very good mood. Tatya lifted him on his shoulders and started walking towards the Masjid. Baba kept saying throughout the way, 'Oh Tatya, Oh Kotya'! For God's sake, put me down or you shall start having a stomach ache'. But he paid no heed to Baba and stopped only at the Masjid. Tatya repeated this incident a couple of times, but then quit doing so thinking that he might hurt Baba.
Baba would often hide Tatya's Aparna (a cloth hung on the shoulder) behind the wheat bag lying in the Masjid and when he searched and inquired about his Aparna, Baba pretending to be angry would tell him, "How do I know? Do I steal everybody's Aparna?" But Tatya always knew that only Baba could commit this mischief. After some time Baba would give back his Aparna.
Baba would then imitate Tatya by wearing his Aparna on his shoulders. He would sit like Tatya and mimic every move of his.
Baba teasingly would press Tatya's hands, and in return when Tatya did the same with force Baba would complain, "Will you break my bones?"
Once Tatya took away Baba's white Safa and replaced it with his headgear and he also put the Aparna on Baba's shoulders. Tatya would make Baba look into the mirror to show him this attire and Baba would laugh at this. Seeing Himself in the mirror, Baba would raise his shoulders and would laugh by making different funny faces enjoying each moment in the process. Looking in the mirror Baba would say, "Tell me Oh! Mirror if Tatya looks like this?"
Once Baba suddenly got up to touch Tatya's feet. Tatya was taken aback and he questioned Baba that why did He try to do that. But Baba touched Tatya's feet and folded his hands. Tatya asked Baba, "Why are you doing this?" Baba replied, "Keep quiet. What do you know?" At times Baba would stand in front of Tatya and say, "Jai Deva! Jai Deva!". Tatya was quite surprised at all this.
Once, the Muslims of the village gathered and brought Taziya in the Masjid and began to perform religious rites. Baba sent for Tatya to see this. He returned and told Baba, "They were performing the Haidas Choolah." When all this was over, Baba came down to the Masjid courtyard and holding Tatya's hand
started moving round the stone saying, "Haidas Choolah." They did this only once.
Starvation in Shirdi
Starvation broke out in Maharashtra from 1896 to 1899. As a result Baba started receiving lesser Bhiksha (food alms). Inspite of this he would get Bhiksha from Tatya's house everyday. Nand Ram Marwari used to give Baba half a piece of bread. The bread was made of wheat or millet. But Tatya's mother gave food to Baba everyday. At times Baba would go to their house 12 to 16 times a day. Every time Bayaja Ma would give Baba half a piece of bread. Baba kept all the pieces of bread collected by him in a vessel kept in the Masjid and covered it with a tin lid. Baba would take a bread, onion and a chilly and the remaining food was eaten by dogs, cats and crows. Baba never tried to prevent them from doing so.
Children! This is one example to tell you about the intense relationship between Sai Baba and Tatya. To tell you the truth, Baba was pleased with Tatya because he organised the event of the Naamsaptah of Gods. It is an old and true saying that God is pleased when one recites his name without selfish motive and shares all that he can with the world and by offering it to the Gods.
Bow to Sri Sai – Peace be to all
Every evening Sri Sai Baba would go to the shopkeepers and ask for oil in alms to light the lamps in the Masjid with it. Similarly, one day in the year 1892, Baba went to the shopkeepers for oil, but they refused to give it to Him. They collectively decided not to give oil to Baba in Bhiksha.(alms) and prove their importance to Him. They even told him, "Let us see how you will light the lamps today." Therefore, Baba had to return to the Masjid empty handed.
After some time all the shopkeepers and some of the villagers went to the Masjid and saw that there was a little oil left from the previous day in Baba's vessel. Next, they saw Baba put water into the vessel from the pitcher placed in the Masjid and mix it with the oil in the vessel. He then took the oil mixed with water in his mouth and again poured it back into the vessel. He put that water in the lamps kept in the Masjid and lit them with the match-stick. Miraculously, the
water lamps started burning, and they lasted for the whole night. Seeing all this
the shopkeepers begged him for forgiveness and started giving Him oil again.
Bow to Sri Sai – Peace be to all.
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