SHRI SAI’S GURU, SHRI SAI’S MANIFESTATION IN SHIRDI - Continued
Accordingly one should not to be astonished if we say that Roshan Shah spoken of by Baba did exit in flesh and blood and Baba strenuously served him for over twelve years. It seems Roshan Shah thereafter cast off his mortal coil-his-body-and Baba entombed him under or near the nimb tree at present found in Shirdi Navalkar’s Vada. When the previous owner of this Wada B.S. Sathe wanted to put up a story and terrace, at the time of putting a stair case he unearthed a tomb with and under-ground cellar or a cave under the tree, Baba was asked as to what should be done about the tomb and the cave? Baba said that, ‘that place belonged to His elders and it should neither be disturbed nor opened but it should be covered up with a stone as before." Persons and some boys playing a hide and seek game removed the stone and found under it several steps leading further down. They said that the cave was dark but rather long; Baba once told the writer pointing to a pillar near His Dhuni (the sacred fire) in the Dwarkamai, "that there was a cave there; He always confined Himself to that cave; that once his beard had grown so long that it reached the ground and swept; that He never came out of the cave unless to meet some holy and religious man" It seems this cellar or cave referred to by Baba started from under the nimb tree and extended up to and even beyond the Chawdi. This cave was in fact Baba’s place of penance. After years of such penance in the cave, people caught sight of him one day when He had come out for water. It seems He had finished His term of penance then, for thereafter He did not return to the cave; but made the nimb tree His abode. And what an abode it was! Situate on the outskirts of the village in the debris of the old village wall, where people used to help their rubbish, where a stream of village filthy stinking water ran and the thorny cactus abounded uncheked, Baba stayed uncared for and unnoticed by the people of the village for about a year or two. With only a Kafni on the body and rag covering the head He lived on. Digging a pit He slept in it. How he fed himself on one knows bur from the admonition He had once administered to Sagunrao M. Naik—it appears He had lived only on Margosa leaves for than 12 years. He had said to Sagun, "What! You can’t put up with a day or two days’ starvation? I myself had lived on Margosa leaves for as many as twelve years."
Mahlsapathi was probably the first to introduce himself to Shri Baba; he was so much impressed with conversation he had with Baba that he thereafter saw Him daily and introduced Baba to his other friends Kashinath tailor and Appa Jogle, saying that a Fakir Sai Baba has made a sudden appearance o the outskirts of the village near the debris of village wall, that He is far above the common average man, a pure and holy man worth paying respects; from that time onward He came to be known as Sai Baba. This trio-of Mhalasapati, Kashinath and Jogle-daily visited him and paid their respects to Him and supplied whatever little requirements He had. The news that one Sai Baba had manifested Him-self near the nimb tree o the outskitrts of the village, reached the ears of the late Appa Patil Kote and one day he with his wife went to Baba to pay respects. It is said that when Baba saw them coming He left His seat, got up and cordially welcomed Appa and told his wife that she had been veritably His sister. The lady his wife that she had been veritably His sister. The lady Bayjabai, on seeing Baba was so much impressed that she there and then resolved never to take her food without first feeding Baba.
At the start Sai Baba prescribed and gave medicine but never charged nor accepted any money for the same. Not only that, but if he found that there was none to look after or nurse His patient, He would himself be his nurse and serve him. Once it so happened that His patient failed to observe the rules of diet etc. He had prescribed and as a result thereof he died. Since that day Baba gave up administering medicine and gave only His Udi-holy ashes for their. In this connection Baba once said, I used to give medicine before but thereafter giving up everything I went on chanting (taking) the name of Hari; and by a ceaseless muttering of that holy name I actually became Hari."
After giving up the physician ship, Baba was seldom found at his abode under the nimb tree; He moved about in the village fields in the jungle amidst thrones etc. apparently idling away His time but virtually utilising each minute of His time in remembering and meditating on God. He was in rags and village people looked upon Him as and called Him a mad Fakir. He begged His food once, twice or at times even a dozen times in a day. Without caring for the adverse opinion of the village folks Bayjabai however never failed to give alms whenever Baba went to her for the purpose and never failed to observe herself imposed rule of feeding Baba before she fed herself. and for the observance of this rule she had at time with a basket on her head to wander in fields and jungle for hours to find Him out and if she found Baba was merged in mediation, she would slowly wake up, serve the dish, persuade him to take a morsel of two (if not more) return home and then take her meals. Baba in turn amply rewarded her services by doing everything in His power for her welfare and the welfare of her whole family. In particular. Baba treated her son Tatya Patil with tender care and affection, regularly paid him to took after His requirements, and even after the educated, the cultured, the rich and the wealthy, multi-millionaire came to Him, He would not give over his charge to any one else, nor would He ever leave for Chawdi unless and until this Tatya came and accompanied Him; but as if all this was not enough return for the services rendered by Bayjabai. He cast off even His body to save this Tatya.
As Shirdi was on the way to many places of pilgrimage of southern India such as Rameshwar, Pandharpur etc. several saints visited Shirdi and amongst them there were two, who ultimately though it fit to settle down in Shirdi. One of them was Devdas who came to Shirdi when he was only 10-11 years old. He was well built and had lustrous eyes. He had put up in Maruti Temple. He was man of knowledge. Shirdi people looked upon him with respect. Appa, Mhalasapati, Kashinath and others were his daily visitors and they supplied all His wants. Kashinath and Tatya Patil had accepted him as their Guru (Religious master). He usually taught Vyankatesh Stotra (a composition of hymns on God Vyankatesh) Ten-Eleven years after he came Baba appeared in Shirdi. Baba saw him from time to time. Another Saint Jankidas, highly advanced, had also come and settled down before Baba’s appearance. When Baba came He spent long long hours in the company of this Jankidas.
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