When Baba arrived in Shirdi as a lad of sixteen, He was welcomed with an emotional mix of love, animosity, suspicion, jealousy, anger, and even hatred. Yet, Baba reciprocated love and only love, no matter what was thrown His way.
In fact, some ignorant young children of Shirdi (at the time) would often pelt stones at Baba. Guess how Baba reciprocated this gesture. Baba would go and run to each child who threw a stone at Him and offer sugar candy in return. Yes, even those who threw stones at Baba received sugar candy as a return gift. Baba has repeatedly said that He is pure love and nothing else. In effect, through his loving actions, Baba gave us a practical demonstration of what Lord Buddha had proclaimed during his time:
Needless to say that within a few years, many in the hamlet of Shirdi recognized Baba for who He was and started worshipping Him with utmost love and devotion.
Every avatar is subjected to intense human resistance during the beginning, but eventually the avatar conquers His way toward the fulfillment of His avataric mission. All along, the only unfailing weapon utilized by the avatar is the very potent and effective instrument of LOVE!
When Baba arrived in His form as Sathya Sai, He was subjected to the same initial resistance. The author’s father once shared a wonderful story recounting Baba’s abundant love for everone without exception. Once, the father’s friend visited Puttaparthi to see Baba. The gentleman had no interest in Baba and was apparently pushed to visit Prashanti Nilayam due to pressure from his family. As he was seated in the darshan line, Swami was busy speaking with the crowd of tens of thousands of devotees who had assembled there.
In the darshan line, the man continued staring at Baba. Though externally, he was maintaining calm internally he was abusing Baba with the choicest of volleys. None in the darshan line knew what was going on in this man’s mind but Baba is omniscient. He came straight to this man and looked at Him pointedly. Baba then addressed Him in the most loving fashion as follows:
“Child, you do not like me, isn’t it?” The man was shocked but kept quiet as Baba continued: “It is okay if you don’t like Me. You are hungry, aren’t you? How can I not know when My children are starving?” On saying this, Baba waved His hand and instantly materialized a silver cup that was filled with warm milk. Baba asked the gentleman to drink the milk. He was so shocked by the turn of events that he quietly gulped down the milk with utmost relish. On seeing him satisfied, Baba smiled with divine motherly love and moved away from there.
This was a life-changing lesson for the gentleman who subsequently turned into a very staunch devotee of Baba. It was Baba’s pure love that had transformed him.
The following words of Baba in Tapovanam always give us hope and solace:
“The Lord of Puttaparthi protects you always; the ever-merciful holds your hand in help, never leaves you abandoned.” –Baba