Category Archives: Shirdi Sai

God’s Actions are Mysterious but Always Beneficial

By The Editor, Sai Sandesh

swami_blessing“Love my uncertainty,” says Baba. These three profound words are a gospel to those who have understood and experienced their significance. Baba has a mysterious way of bringing out the best outcome from what appear to be life’s most catastrophic and painful events.

Recently, when I was in Puttaparthi I heard the story of a woman who was desperately trying to give a letter to Baba. The letter was an outpouring of her deepest feelings, for she had sought relief from many troubling circumstances and had requested Baba to save her little daughter who was to undergo a dangerous heart operation. When Baba came her way, He took the letter from her outstretched hands, crumpled it, and threw it back at her without even looking at it.

The woman was very disappointed that Baba did not even read her letter but was consoled by others that she was at least fortunate enough to receive something that had touched Baba’s divine hand. She was in for a surprise, though. When she visited the hospital after this incidence a strange miracle happened. The very doctors who had diagnosed her daughter’s condition were discussing a mind-boggling miracle. A series of tests revealed that the child was absolutely normal. There was no need for surgery, since her heart ailment had been cured mysteriously, nay, miraculously. It was then that the mother realized why Baba had thrown away the letter. The outward act of throwing the letter was nothing but an indication that He had canceled the ailment that was troubling the little child. How merciful, how compassionate. Not only Baba, all saints act in this manner.

Once, two devotees, husband and wife, visited the ashram of Swami Nityananda. The two were unable to have children. Every time the wife would conceive, the pregnancy would terminate inexplicably. When the wife was carrying again, the couple decided to visit Swami Nityananda and seek His divine blessings. They dutifully made up a temporary home within the ashram’s premises and would devotedly serve the Master every single day. Much to their dismay, however, the wife lost the baby again and the couple lost all hope.

Someone in the ashram said, “I wish this hadn’t happened here.” At this, the sage calmly replied, “You cannot understand divine mysteries. Due to karmic forces, the same soul was repeatedly being forced to manifest in the lady’s womb. The soul was intent on deliverance (liberation) but was being dragged down due to previous bonds. His desire for liberation was so intense, he was trying to escape birth repeatedly. This time, I dragged them to my feet and as a result of my grace the soul was liberated easily. From hereon, the couple will be able to have children easily.” What appeared to be a tragic event in the human realm was really a beneficial outcome for not one, but three individuals.

A brahmin devotee was a follower of Akkalkot Maharaj (an incarnation of Lord Dattratreya). At that time, the Maharaj used to live on a tree. The devotee would often visit the saint and offer food at the foot of the tree. For some time, the saint accepted these offerings but left to live at another place. The devotee continued submitting his daily offerings, however. Unbeknownst to the devotee, a demon was devouring these offerings daily. Pleased with his devoted service, Maharaj asked the devotee to seek a boon. The brahmin did not have children for a very long time and so he sought a child from the saint. Akkalkot Maharaj (Sri Samarth) said, “A child will come, but he will go away.”

The brahmin’s wife soon gave birth to a son. When the child grew up, the father took him to visit Sri Akkalkot Maharaj’s temple. As soon as they reached within the precincts of the temple, the child became terrified and refused to go closer to the deity. The father persisted, however, and dragged the boy to the sanctum sanctorum, but much to his dismay, the boy died in the Swami’s presence and the father was grief-stricken. Immediately, the saint appeared there and consoled the wailing devotee by reminding him of what he forewarned (A child will come, but he will go away). The Maharaj then explained that the son was really the demon who had partaken of the holy food. By bringing the son in the saint’s holy presence, Akkalkot Maharaj had liberated him from his painful existence. The brahmin finally realized God’s workings and sought blessings to have another child. Due to God’s grace a son did take birth in a very short period of time and the entire family lived happily.

Such are God’s workings. Always mysterious, but always beneficial.

The Guru Charitra narrates the wonderful account of a devotee whom the Lord Dattatreya visited in His physical form. The Lord appeared at the doorstep of the devotee in the form of a monk begging for food. The devotee was not at home and his wife attended to the needs of the Guru. On His way out, the Lord uprooted a vegetable plant that was the only source of meals for the family. When the wife discovered this, she was petrified and wailed inconsolably. The devotee returned to find his wife bemoaning the loss.

He was a true devotee, however, and explained to her the importance of equanimity in the wake of pain and pleasure, both products of our own actions. After the explanation, he tried to replant the tree and in the process discovered a pot of gold that was buried there. Had the Lord not inflicted the momentary pain, could the family have discovered the buried treasure?

Lord Krishna gave a unique demonstration about this truth as well. A brahmin devotee once came to seek His blessings. On securing Krishna’s blessings, the brahmin’s cow (his only source of sustenance) died immediately. Arjuna was by Krishna’s side when this happened and he did not lose the opportunity to question the strange occurrence.

The Divine One immediately explained that He wanted to grace the brahmin with divine blessings, a pre-requisite for which would be unconditional reliance on God. Reliance on one’s own possessions would only hinder the divine blessings that were to fill the brahmin’s life. In the worldly sense this event would be considered a tragedy, but in reality it served as blessing in disguise, for the brahmin’s responsibility was being borne by none other than the merciful Lord Himself.

When we are surrounded by difficult circumstances, we often experience pain and disappointment, but it is only when we look back at the course of events that we realize that all did happen for a good reason, for our own good. Our vision is short-sighted but God has an aerial view of things and so He knows what is best for us and always does what is best for us in the long run.

Do not be Afraid — I am With you

By The Editor, Sai Sandesh

shirdi_saiSwami has a strange way of communicating with His children. At times, he grants visions while at other times he communicates via thoughts, books, or any other form He may deem appropriate. One thing that is sure about these communications, though, is that the devotee will always recognize these communications as direct hints from Swami. The heart just knows when that happens.

During a recent visit to India, I had the opportunity to experience Swami’s omnipresence. A strange characteristic of this journey was that every time I would worry about some impending danger, I would some how come across a picture of Akkalkot Maharaj (an incarnation of Lord Dattatreya) with the following words written underneath: “Do not be afraid. I am with you.” Almost immediately after seeing any such picture, the trouble would just vanish in thin air. I experienced this concurrence numerous times and was convinced that it was Swami who was communicating with me in that manner.

Just one day before my return to US, my father suddenly developed a heart ailment. Most tests run the previous night were not conclusive and were indicative of something abnormal. I was not sure if I could leave him in that condition. My return was necessary, however, and I was in a dilemma. We decided to rush him to the hospital for a final test and while we were on our way I kept hoping that if I could somehow see that picture of Akkalkot Maharaj, it would be a sure sign that everything will be well. It was very early in the morning and since all shops were closed, the chances of that happening appeared to negligible, if not impossible.

God does not need to depend on human instruments, however. Just as I was thinking in this manner, a taxi overtook us, rather unexpectedly. At first, we were shocked at the way the cab driver maneuvered his vehicle ahead of ours-it was very, very abnormal. But my initial shock was soon transformed into relief because the back window of the car had a painting of the very picture I was looking for and the very words I wanted to hear: “Do not be afraid. I am with you.” It was almost as if Swami had made the driver act in the rash manner only so that He could fulfill my heartfelt desire and reassure me.

Needless to say, all the tests suddenly changed from the results that had come out the previous night and my father was given a clean bill of health.



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I Want you to Live for Me

By The Editor, Sai Sandesh

dwarakamai_shirdi_saiIn times of trials and tribulations, it is natural for us feel dejected and weak. Baba, however, teaches His devotees to be brave despite the worst of odds and battle even the most trying circumstances all the way through.

A devotee of Shirdi Baba, Gopal Narayan Ambedkar, Poona, was suffering from unbearable circumstances. His life had become extremely painful and no matter what he tried, extreme sorrow just did not appear to leave his life. He tried many remedies and would visit Baba every year to seek His divine intervention. Every time he would plead his tale, The Lord would urge him to have faith and to be patient.

In 1916, however, his cup of sorrow was overflowing and unable to bear the pangs of suffering, he decided to end his life in Baba’s holy presence. With this intention he visited Shirdi and just when he was about to throw himself into a local well, Sagun Meru Naik, a devotee of Baba, came to the scene and asked him, “Did you ever read this Akkalkotkar Maharaj’s life?” Ambedkar casually took the book and as soon as he opened it there was the story of a devotee of Akkalkotkar Maharaj who suffered from an incurable ailment. With the intention of ending his misery, he decided to end his life and just as he was about to do so, the Holy Maharaj rescued him and said, “You must enjoy the fruit (good or bad) of your past actions; if the enjoyment be incomplete, suicide won’t help you. You have to take another birth and suffer again. So, instead of killing yourself, why not suffer for some more time and finish the store of your past deeds and be done with them once and for all?” Why suffer repeatedly?

Ambedkar was moved by this timely warning and decided to cancel his cowardly act. He had understood Baba’s hint through this story and his faith in Baba was confirmed. This time, Ambedkar decided to be brave and with re-doubled faith he started worshipping God and concentrated on improving his prospects. He gained fair renown as an astrologer and was soon able to improve his financial circumstances and lead a happy existence thereafter.

Had Ambedkar followed through with his plan, he would have never been able to enjoy the happy moments that were in store for him.

sai_ba2Swami has a unique way of handling circumstances and teaching life-changing lessons through the most unexpected of circumstances. Once, Swami called one of his young students and said, “What can you do for my sake?” This little child was very innocent and said, “Swami, anything. I will even sacrifice my life for your sake.”

The young lad never expected Swami to capitalize on this comment, though. Swami, however, looked at him and said, “Can you go to the top floor of this tall building and jump down for my sake?” The student was shocked. He loved Swami more than anything in this world and had just given his word that he would unhesitatingly sacrifice his life for the Lord. Now that the Lord had requested that sacrifice what could he do? He mustered all the courage he could and said, “Yes Swami!” No sooner had he said that, he started walking toward the stairs.

Would our sweet Lord ever allow His innocent children to fall in this manner? Nay! Never! Swami immediately ran to His beloved child, hugged him and said, “My sweet child, I don’t want you to die for Me. I want you to live for Me!”

“I want you to live for Me!”-what a profound message Swami gave that day, not just to that student, but to all of us. He wants us to live selfless lives and do good to one and all.



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The Power of Thoughts

swami_serving_foodDo you offer prayers before you eat your food?

Baba once narrated a beautiful story:

There was a guru and disciple who visited a fellow-devotee’s house. They were served a sumptuous meal. While leaving, though, the disciple quietly whisked away a vessel from the host’s house.

On reaching their destination, the disciple could no longer bear the guilt and confessed everything to his guru. He also begged the guru to explain why he had behaved in this manner as he was not generally prone to stealing. The guru knew the disciple well and went into meditation to seek an answer to their dilemma.

On awakening from his trance, the guru explained that the host’s cook was a professional thief before taking up the profession of a cook. Although he had given up his bad ways, his thoughts still centered around stealing. The cook was holding on to his stealing tendencies mentally and that was the reason why the disciple, who was still spiritually unripe, was affected by his thoughts.

Apart from expressing gratitude to God, there is a very sound reason for offering food to God before eating. As soon as we do so, the food becomes purified and all subtle impurities (not visible to us) are purified immediately.

In fact, in Puttaparthi, a Kirlian photographer who was an expert in capturing auras took pictures of food before and after it was offered to God (by reciting the Brahmaarpanam mantra). The before picture did not depict any particular aura but once the food was consecrated by offering to God, a distinct blue aura appeared around the food.

When the Kirlian photographer, Dr. Baranowski, asked Baba for an explanation, He said:

“The Brahmaarpanam mantra is a very powerful mantra and that after recitation, the food is converted to prasadam, since it has been offered to God. It further purifies the food and all items around it. That is why the blue aura was found around the plates of food after the mantra was recited.”

Sweet-Tasting Water Miraculously Manifests At Om Sai Mandir On New Year’s Day 2014

Today, January 01, 2014, New Year’s Day, we witnessed a strange manifestation at Om Sai Mandir. After finishing the morning Rudra/Sai Abhishekam, we saw streams of water emanating from a picture of Baba’s feet. The water was unmistakably sweet. Devotees were present when the water manifested from Swami’s feet.

On previous occasions, devotees have felt the appearance of vibhuti from the same picture. For the benefit of devotees, we are providing pictures from the miracle:

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The arrow points to streams of water flowing while a bigger drop is circled

water_baba_feet_2

This is a close-up of Baba’s feet. The manifestation of holy water can be clearly seen within the circle.

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Another view of the water stream flowing through Baba’s feet.

Millions Bathe In Ganga To Wash Their Sins, But She Washes Baba’s Feet

baba_feet_osmThe origins of Ganga are divine. When Lord Vishnu assumed the Vamana Avatar (a short Brahmin child-like incarnation), he visited Emperor Bali and asked for land that he could occupy with just three steps. The emperor was very proud of his accomplishments and mocked the folly of the Brahmin for requesting such a trifle. Little did He know that the person asking for the gift was none other than God. Bali consented and, lo, the Brahmin child started growing to gigantic proportions. Within just a few seconds, He occupied all the three worlds. With His gigantic form, the Lord placed one foot on earth and the second in the heavens. With just two steps He reclaimed all that belonged to the Emperor.

When the Lord asked Bali to live up to his promise of giving land equivalent to three steps, Bali placed his head in obeisance and asked the Lord to bless him.

When the Lord’s feet were in the heavens, Lord Brahma (creator) rushed to the place and bathed Vishnu’s feet with water. It is said that this holy, sanctified water assumed the form of Ganga and now runs through earth to purify countless individuals every single day.

While she has the ability to sanctify millions of sinners, she herself washes Baba’s feet. In both Shirdi and Parthi Sai avatars, Baba demonstrated this truth.

shirdi_saiWhy visit Prayag? Everything is at my feet

Once, Das Ganu, a follower of Baba, wanted to visit Prayag to bathe in the holy river. As he requested Baba’s permission, the latter said, “Our Prayag is here, believe me.” As soon as Ganu placed his head at Baba’s feet, streams of Ganga and Yamuna miraculously started flowing from Baba’s feet.

Ocean welcomed Baba with a garland

When Swami was on a tour to Kanyakumari, Baba was at the shore with a band of followeswami_blessingrs. As Baba stood there looking glorious like a million suns, He stood facing the waters and made an emphatic declaration: “See, the ocean is welcoming me with a garland.”

Almost immediately, a wave moved swiftly toward the shore, touched Baba’s feet humbly, and receded as soon as it had performed its worship. When everyone looked at Baba’s feet, an exquisite and extremely beautiful pearl necklace was encircling Baba’s holy feet.

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Baba Appeared In The Middle Of The Sea To Save A Sinking Ship

dwarakamai_shirdi_saiThe book Sri Sai The Superman narrates a wonderful story about how Baba rescued a devotee in dire distress. It so happened that during the Russo-Japanese war, a devotee of Baba was commissioned as the captain of a ship. When the war reached its peak, all his steamers (baring a few) were sunk by the enemy lines and the opposing forces were keen on sinking his ship as well.

Just when his ship was about to sink, he took out a picture of Baba and with tear-filled eyes pleaded to Baba to come and save him. No sooner did he complete his prayers, Baba appeared on the scene and pulled the ships away to safety. The devotee was so grateful for this act of grace.

What’s more? Baba corroborated this miracle for devotees who were seated in His presence. Just when this incidence happened, Baba muttered an incorrigible “Oh!” out of the blue. Immediately, His entire dress was soaked with water and the space around Him (in Dwarakamai) was filled with a small pool of water. Devotees around Baba were confused by this incidence but knew there must be some explanation for the sudden manifestation of water.

After three days, a telegram arrived in Shirdi from Jahangiri Framji Daruwala, who wrote in to express his gratitude for Baba’s grace. It was then that all the devotees understood the meaning of the marvelous deed that Baba had performed.

Can a human appear in the middle of the ocean and pull giant ships to safety?

Through this incidence, Baba has given us an assurance that whenever we feel the ship of our life sinking in the ocean of samsara (worldliness), we can boldly call out to Him. He will surely come and rescue us. Sai is always with us.

Invisible Baba: How An Inanimate Camera Obeyed Baba’s Supreme Command

invisible_Sai_Baba For humans, feats such as invisibility require complex scientific algorithms, invisibility cloaks, and armies of scientists who merely attempt to replicate, figure out, or debunk natural phenomena that are a product of God’s supreme will.

For Baba, however, none of these artificial tools are necessary. His will is all that is needed to work out the most mysterious of miracles. We all know that Baba’s will is obeyed by the entire universe, but the miracle we are about to narrate will prove that His will extends to inanimate things and our “so called” technical gizmos as well.

It is funny how technical inventions are fancied as being superior in terms of technological advancement, but when tested against the Divine Himself, even the most sophisticated human inventions are light years behind.

It so happened that once in Shirdi a devotee desired to take a picture of Baba. He approached Baba to see His approval but for some reason Baba was not interested. He told the devotee toinvisiblebaba2 capture a photo of His feet as opposed to the entire form. For some reason, the devotee ignored this command and went on to click a picture that covered the entire procession.

Although the devotee failed to follow Baba’s instructions, the inanimate camera obeyed. When the picture was developed, all the devotees in the background and the umbrella are visible but Baba appears as a luminous light and only Hissai_baba_umbrella feet can be viewed.

We came across two versions of this picture and both are provided in this post. Indeed, Baba is the most mysterious and powerful incarnation.

Furthermore, we are also providing a clearer version of the picture where Baba had consented and hence His form is clearly visible, much to the delight of His devotees.

 

 

Baba Can Change Destiny Itself

baba_with_devoteesThe warmth of sincere devotion can melt God’s butter-soft heart in an instant, and in response to a devotee’s plea the Lord becomes like a servitor, willing to extend any service possible.

When the call is sincere, He will alter even destiny and rescue devotees from sorrow. This has been the experience of innumerable devotees.

Once, a mother-in-law was fortunate enough to experience this grace. She was a pious lady who had a big family with many sons and daughter-in-laws. Despite experiencing all forms of happiness, she was not at peace, for none of her children were able to become parents. She visited Puttaparthi with utmost reverence and placed her sorrow at the feet of the Lord of Parthi. He heard her request with compassion but explained that none of her family members were destined to become parents–that was their fate.

She was disheartened but she firmly held Sai’s feet and with tear-filled eyes begged Him to intercede. Swami was moved and asked if she believed in Him. She calmly said that His will was supreme and that He could alter destiny itself, if He so willed. Swami was touched by her faith and blessed her. The following year, she came with beautiful grand children.

Obedience to God’s teachings is a sure way to draw His response and when a devotee adapts his lifestyle to match Baba’s teachings, Baba is sure to save such a devotee from even the most unalterable writ of destiny.

In the Sai Satcharita, there are numerous instances where a devotee was to meet death or a terrible accident, but Baba intervened and saved the devotee.

Once a devotee was intent on visiting Chitali on business purpose. Just before the visit, Baba warned the devotee of upcoming danger. Shirdi Baba posed his hand in the form of a snake and said: “The lamba buva (snake) is dangerous but what can he do to the children of Dwarakamai. The presiding deity (Baba) is merciful; He will always protect.”

In compliance with Baba’s warning and instructions, the devotee took Shama on the trip. True to his word, just when the devotee was reading a newspaper a snake was found unnoticed, but Shama noticed the snake and quickly called for help. Needless to say, the devotee’s life was saved. There are many such instances where Baba saved devotees from accidents and even predictions of sure death.

God is so merciful, He cannot but run for His devotees. He is like the hard-working mother who is always busy performing routine household chores–in His case, cosmic-duties. Despite her burdens, the mother always provides for the children’s needs and keeps a watchful eye on them. The children may not know or realize this.

When they are safe or at play, she continues performing her chores, but if a child starts crying inconsolably, she will leave everything and run to console her darling. Similarly, God, who bears the love of a thousand mothers, rushes to respond to His children’s calls. His simple words will allay all fears and fulfill devotees’ wishes.

Characteristic Of A Devotee

sai_ba2A Sai devotee was once speaking to a friend when the latter randomly popped a question: “Since you have been His devotee for so long, I am sure your life must be very smooth, right?” The devotee was taken aback by the question because he had never visualized his relationship with Baba from a business perspective. He always enjoyed the love he felt for Baba and the love he received in return. There was never any bargain or requests. The friend’s question, however, prompted the devotee to introspect.

In fact, the devotee’s life was a hodge-podge of turbulent circumstances. There was a constant barrage of challenges and difficulties that left him with little room to live peacefully. From financial challenges to health issues and family hostilities, he had experienced all of that. He finally asked Baba, “Why so many difficulties when I pray to you?”

The compassionate Lord assured him as follows:

“My Beloved, can you ever measure the depth of the ocean with a small measuring container? The worldly perspective that your friend offered was like a small cup, whereas my grace is like the ocean. How can you measure one with the other? The hallmark of true devotion is not measured by the number (or absence) of worldly difficulties. For a true Sai devotee, the entire world is filled with Sai. Where does the question of difficulty ever arise? One’s devotion is tested on the basis of equanimity, fortitude, faith, love, and an attitude of selfless service and sacrifice. Problems are not the touchstone for measuring devotion.”baba_standing_rare

Didn’t Jesus, Mira, Buddha Hanuman face difficulties? Yet, despite the plethora of challenges they always smiled and resorted to God’s name, without ever swerving from the path leading to God. Despite the difficulties, they marched on knowing fully-well that all the “so called challenges” would foster their latent dispassion and devotion even further.

In ancient days, a guru called upon his disciple and asked him to plough a barren field. The disciple was so humble, he eagerly undertook the task without ever questioning the wisdom of working on a dry field. Even though the land was useless, the lad had utmost faith that due to his guru’s grace it will soon be transformed into a fertile, crop-ladden field. Day and night, the young boy toiled on the land, at times putting up with the ridicule of lazy onlookers.

For many years there was no result. In fact, his efforts appeared to be wasted. This did not deter him, though, and he continued his efforts with utmost faith. This went on for many, many years and one day the boy felt exhausted. Just as he was about the give up, the guru appeared on the scene miraculously and asked the boy what had transpired during the course of several years.

As the boy recounted the story of his failed effort, the guru smiled with a beaming light and asked the lad to look at himself. The young boy who was initially a weak creature had transformed into a young man with a rugged, muscular form and an unconquerable degree of strength. Not only that, he also breathed an aura of satisfaction, wisdom, and experience that could never be matched. Due to his implicit obedience, he had grown spiritually as well.

Indeed, the transformation was remarkable. Now, the guru asked him to look at the field. What did he find? Thousands of precious stones lay all over the field. These were hidden gems that only the guru knew about. Apparently, the guru wanted to bring these out through the boy’s tireless efforts.

God is like that too. He commands us to dig deep into our hearts and even though on the surface it may appear barren, underneath the dry appearance are pearls of wisdom, compassion, devotion, and love. Our initial efforts may appear wasted but if we persevere, one day God Himself will bring out all the treasures for us.

The truth is that suffering forms the basis of future success and through every painful experience we manage to acquire precious pearls of wisdom and become worthy recipients of the Lord’s grace.

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