The unprecedented and the spectacular dare not circumvent you when Sai is with you. When Baba is walking alongside, remarkable occurrences continue to take place. You sit up and take notice, marvelling their frequency. You are bedazzled by their recurrence and the steady shower of blessings which begin like a drizzle of the holy neem leaves, standing in the Gurusthan and transform into a steady downpour, soaking you to your very soul! You begin to feel grateful for the presence of the generous and loving hand placed gently on your head. You look deep into the kindly eyes which gaze back lovingly. Caressing your back in parental affection the sturdy hand then settles in yours, holding it firmly albeit softly, reassuring that Sai is an inherent part of your life.
“Why worry when I am here,” smiles Baba and all your fears melt away!
Sai is with us. He is beside us. He walks beside us. We need to have the conviction that this alone is the truth. We may not see Him in person, yet he never falls short of repeatedly making us sense His continued presence in our lives, every moment waking or asleep!
Sai’s ways may astonish us with their miracle making qualities but to our loving Guru these are just a means of telling us repeatedly that He loves us and cares for us, wherever we are, even if we are unable to visit Shirdi. For Sai is omnipresent; he lives everywhere and by extension, every place is His Shirdi.
Our pet retriever who has been ailing since close to four months, two of these being spent totally on the bed, has ensured that we (my husband and I) consider Shirdi right here, at home in Ahmedabad. It has prevented us from travelling to Sai, but not stopped Him from showing to us that extraordinary happens wherever Faith exists. Baba came home to tea. He led us to temples which fulfilled our urge to go to Shirdi. Sai gifted us with astounding experiences too which have helped quench our thirst of going to Babaland!
In this experience too, rest some lighter moments! On a rather slow afternoon, I received a text from Kanmani (a now familiar face on Sai’s blogs) enquiring about an address of Ahmedabad. It happened to bet was around 4 km from our house! Why the search? It was the office of the temple which had sponsored and sent free udi all the way to Malaysia at her online request. Now, how did this happen? How did a google search for udi lead to a temple in Ahmedabad? The path of further discovery opened up; the ball was set rolling by a young girl from a faraway country. A website pinned the location of Baba’s temple, some 20+ km away from my house!
Our natkhat, playful Sai! Playing out one of His leelas! As always! Yet again. 😊Bhakts couldn’t reach His Shirdi. So what? Shirdi could reach them! Getting me enthused, Kanmani then expressed her wish of making a donation for the kindness shown by the temple authorities. Responding to this wish my husband said, we would go to the temple itself rather than giving the donation money at their office even if it were closer home.
See the marvels of Sai and how He works! We in Ahmedabad were unaware of this exquisite temple. An individual in Malaysia introduced us to it and then Baba instilled the inspiration to visit it! And the temple itself? Turned out to be a mini Shirdi with a Dwarkamayi too! Sai Dham, Sola, Ahmedabad, Gujarat!
Arriving at the temple we were awestruck by its tranquillity and serenity. A statue of Dattatreya beckoned us inside (quite like the one near Gate 1 in Shirdi). In quest of Baba, I rushed up the twenty odd stairs, to arrive out of breath yet captivated by the beautiful Baba idol and transfixed by His magical gaze. I had barely had my hearts fill of darshan (it can never be enough) when panditji began moving back Baba’s small idol and the Sai Satcharita, which I interpreted as closure time. Frantic that my husband had still not reached for darshan I darted towards the stairs and called out to him to hurry up. He didn’t hear me for he was nowhere to be seen. A little sad I rushed back to Baba to see the doors of the temple still open and a look of amusement on Panditji’s face. Before rushing off, I had hurriedly asked him about the timings and since he answered in Gujarati I assumed he had said it was closing! When I returned short of breath, he asked me, calmly, “What do you want to do.” My response came in bursts when I explained how we had come from a big distance for the first time and if my husband could be allowed to take darshan, please. The young panditji smiled and patiently explained that he was about to offer prasad and the temple closed only after the noon aarti, it being close to 11:30 am. then. Goof ups! 😊
What followed was so mesmerising that it’s memory awakens the joy experienced then, all over again. Placing a huge thali of food items panditji sang in a most melodious voice, loud and clear, inviting Sai to partake the meal placed before him. Mellifluously, he urged Baba to come and take at least one bite as it was noon and time for lunch. The rich notes echoed in the pristine setting and my wayward nerves calmed down. I noticed my husband seated at a distance. A few other bhakts too had trickled in. Prasad sewa culminated into a quiet time during which I asked Panditji about the donation that had to be made. He asked me to wait till aarti. All gathered sang Sai’s Madhyan aarti in unison to the ringing of temple bells and sound of clanging cymbals.
Once aarti was done, Panditji pointed towards the trustee of the temple. I stood by to catch his eye. Little did I know that a tremendously overpowering experience was waiting to blossom. The elderly man on learning about the dakshina from Malaysia asked me to wait. After a while, he beckoned me towards Baba’s idol. Hands joined in reverence, I moved forward clueless of what transpired next. Secretly, I hoped I wouldn’t have to place the said amount in the donation box. A limited reach of a bhakt and her limited thoughts. What Sai can give goes way beyond the imagination and expectation! Moments later magic happened! Taking a chadar (Baba’s shawl) and a flower from His holy feet Panditji asked me to receive them. He placed them in my quickly stretched out hands even though the enormity of the act and its significance were lost on me. Numb, I looked on waiting to be told something. Nothing was said Instead, a lady next to me, who I later found out is a daily visitor to the temple, took the shawl and placed it around my shoulders, covering my head as well. I began shivering. Mixed emotions surged within me! A leaf could have knocked me down; my vision blurred. Through tears of joy I gazed at Baba and could just about thank Him profusely for this great gift, loving gesture and blessings.
Gathering my wits, I turned to the lady, thanking her in a shaky voice. Her response left me stunned, I have not done anything. It was his decision (she pointed at the trustee). And actually, Baba must have asked Him to do give this shawl to you. I have not seen such happen in the years that I have been coming to this temple.”
Dear friends I am sure you can imagine how I must have felt in those glorious moments for I have no words in my repertoire to describe my feelings!
Panditji was closing the temple doors. I shook myself out of my reveries and rushed forward to bow one last time that day. Baba looked back saying, “The spiritual path it is.” And then the doors closed. Slowly I walked towards the stairs when the memory of a similar spiritual initiation was kindled. An incident that had taken place at St. Laurn, Shirdi a few years ago. A smile rose from my lips and lit my eyes. Head bowed, I followed the trustee towards his office to make the requisite donation and take the receipt which I could send to Kanmani.
Oh dear, dear Baba Sai! Your unique ways are known only to you. You know what is best for us and you wait to give that! Please help us to attain the wisdom to understand this. Baba. You set us in motion only the way you can. No wonder your bhakt in Singapore calls your unfathomable ways, Babaworks Pte. Ltd. 😊