Shirdi Sai Baba
As first he was poor and took a vow to his God that he would pay his first month's salary if he got an appointment. He got one on Rs.15 per month. Then he steadily got promotions, from Rs.15 he got Rs. 30, 60, 100, 200 and ultimately Rs. 700 per month. But in his prosperity he forgot clean the vow he took. The force of his karma has driven him here and I asked that amount (Rs.15) from him as Dakshina.
Another story, While wandering by the sea-side I came to a huge mansion and sat on its verandah. The owner gave me a good reception and fed me sumptuously. He showed me a neat and clean place near a cupboard for sleeping. I slept there. While I was sound asleep, the man removed a laterite slab and broke the wall, entered in and scissored off all the money from my pocket. When I woke up, I found that Rs.30,000 were stolen. I was greatly distressed and sat weeping and moaning. The money was in currency notes and I thought that the Brahmin had stolen it. I lost all interest in food and drink and sat for a fortnight on the verandah, bemoaning my loss. After the fortnight was over, a passing fakir saw me crying, and made enquiries, regarding the cause of my sorrow. I told him everything. He said, "If you act according to my bidding, you will recover your money; go to a fakir, I shall give his whereabouts, surrender yourself to him, he will get back your money; in the meanwhile give up your favourite food till you recover your money." I followed the fakir's advice and got my money. Then I left the Wada and went to the sea-shore. There was a steamer, but I could not get into it as it was crowded. There a good-natured peon interceded for me and I got in luckily. That brought me to another shore, where I caught a train and came to the Masjidmai.
The story finished and Baba asked Shama to take the guests and arrange for their feeding. Then Shama took them home and fed them. At dinner, Shama said to the guests that Baba's story was rather mysterious, as He had never gone to the sea-side, never had any money (Rs.30,000), never traveled, never lost any money and never recovered it, and enquired whether they understood it and caught its significance. The guests were deeply moved and were shedding tears. In a choking voice they said that Baba was omniscient, infinite, the One (Para Brahma) without a second. The story He gave out is exactly our story, What He spoke has already taken place in our case. How He knew this, is a wonder of wonders! We shall give all the details after the meals.
Then after the meals while they were chewing betel-leaves,the guests began to tell their stories. One of them said:-
"A hill-station on the ghats is my native place. I went to Goa to earn my living by securing a job. I took a vow to God Datta that if I got any service, I would offer Him my first month's salary. By His grace I got an appointment of Rs.15 and then I got promotions as described by Baba. I did forget all about my vow. Baba has just reminded me of it in this way and recovered Rs. 15 from me. It is not Dakshina as one may think it to be, but a repayment of an old debt and fulfillment of long forgotten vow".Baba never, in fact, actually begged any money, nor allowed His Bhaktas to beg. He regarded money as a danger or bar to spiritual progress and did not allow His Bhaktas to fall into its clutches. Bhagat Mhalsapati, is an instance on this point. He was very poor and could hardly make both ends meet. Baba never allowed him to make any money, nor gave him anything from the Dakshina amount. Once a kind and liberal merchant named Hansaraj gave a large amount of money to Mhalsapati in Baba's presence, but Baba did not allow him to accept it.
Then the second guest began his tale. "My Brahmin (cook) was serving me faithfully for 35 years. Unfortunately he fell into bad ways, his mind changed and he robbed me of my treasure. By removing a laterite slab from my wall where my cup-board is fixed, he came in while we were all asleep and carried away all my accumulated wealth, Rs. 30,000 in currency notes. I know not how Baba mentioned the exact amount. I sat crying day and night. My enquiries came to nothing. I spent a fortnight in great anxiety. As I sat on the verandah, sad and dejected, a passing fakir noted my condition and enquired of its cause, and I told him all about it. He told me that an Avalia (great saint) by name Sai lives in Shirdi, Kopergaon Taluka. Make vow to Him and give up any food that you like best and say to Him mentally that 'I have given up eating that food till I take your darshan'. Then I took vow and gave up eating rice and said, "Baba, I will eat it after recovering my property and after taking your darshan".
Fifteen days passed after this. The Brahmin, of his own accord, came to me, returned my money and apologized, saying, "I went mad and acted thus; I now place my head on your feet, please forgive me". Thus everything ended well. The fakir that met me and helped me, was not seen again. An intensive desire to see Sai Baba, whom the fakir pointed out to me, arose in my mind. I thought that the fakir who came all the way to my house was no other than Sai Baba. Would He, who saw me and helped me to get my lost money ever covet to get Rs.35? On the contrary without expecting anything from us, He always tries His best to lead us on the path of spiritual progress.
I was overjoyed when I recovered my stolen property and being infatuated, I forgot all about my vow. Then when I was at Colaba, one night I saw Sai Baba in my dream. This reminded me of my promised visit to Shirdi. I went to Goa and from there wanted to start for Shirdi, by taking a steamer to Bombay en route. But when I came to the harbour, I found that the steamer was crowded and there was no place. The captain did not allow me, but on the intercession of a peon, who was stranger to me, I was allowed to get into the steamer which brought me to Bombay. From there, I got in the train and came here. Surely I think that Baba is all-pervading and all-knowing. What are we and where is our home? How great our good fortune that Baba got back our money and drew us here to Himself? You Shirdi folk must be infinitely superior and more fortunate than we; for Baba has played, laughed, talked and lived with you for so many years. I think that your store of merits must be infinite, for it dragged Baba into Shirdi. Sai is our Datta. He ordered the vow. He gave me a seat in the steamer and brought me here and thus gave proof of His omniscience and omnipotence".
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