Life resembles a string of pearls, the pearls being the extraordinary events in our life which glint momentarily, take place under our very noses and tend to slip by unnoticed all because we are too busy to be sensitive to their presence. They are the blessings that we continue to seek and yet fail to acknowledge when they happen!
Strange and ironical! Isn’t it? Have become wiser over the years, sharpened the acuity of observing, reflecting and thinking in quiet, akin to William Wordsworth (a British poet of the romantic era). His walks amidst Nature yielded extremely beautiful poems composed while he lay in the peaceful embrace of his couch, recollecting his memories and putting together his emotions!
We may each have our own technique of recalling incidents when alone but then the condition that is common to all remains: a quiet mind, peaceful and ready to LISTEN, one that stops muttering or murmuring! When my mind quietens, it comes alive to several extraordinary happenings that have been taking place with amazing regularity! Sharing below a few such miracles which have occurred with welcome regularity a few as recently as late last year! (2019)
Some of us may claim that 2019 has been a rough ride and that trials and tribulations were constant companions! We have had it no different! The year brought on a chain of events that left us totally confused, befuddled and wondering how bad our karma could have really been to bring on the onslaught! But then one never truly knows or do we? So we decided to open another page in the book of life, one that popped up the rosy side. Voila! Miracle after miracle unveiled soon after.
Did it begin with Sai having chai early one May morn? Or was there something earlier? Umm can’t really say! But then the book of magic had opened, and it began pulling out one new and beautiful trick after another, or shall we say magnificent miracle after another! 😊
As stated earlier the year began with a rough ride! Our pet dog, Max, became an invalid and remained so from March to end October. And then Sai Himself came to take Max early one Thursday morning at around 6:45 am, just two days before Diwali! An extremely auspicious day called Dev Ekadashi! Baba had fulfilled His promise that He would Himself take Max. He did not tell us! But appeared in a dream to a friend in Mumbai (Shilpa Tiwari) who had met Max just once and had been so scared of him that she wouldn’t be in the same room as the harmless, friendly Golden Retriever! Clad in saffron Baba entered through a window of our house in Mumbai petted Max and took him away the same way as he had come- through the window! That was her dream at dawn on a Thursday in July!
And then at Max’s burial, in Ahmedabad, what to say of that! The branch of a lone tree in the dog’s graveyard turned a stage for two tiny but very pretty birds who sang melodious notes, paying their tribute to the departed soul. Their picture is still vivid! Their lilting notes of their full-throated still reverberates in my mind! Who was Max in his past life? Our karmas with him? Sai was taking care!
Having shifted to Ahmedabad from Mumbai in Dec 2018, we felt we were being taken away, too far from Shirdi. But Baba reminded, “I am everywhere!” He pulled us to Sai Dham, Sola and how that happened was once shared in a blog post! Truly amazing journey, wasn’t that one? It may have been in the month of Aug or was it Sept? when Max’s ailment worsened, that Sai showed his splendour again. How? One Thursday evening, when my husband and I were in the Sola temple, we were beckoned closer to the idol. Asking me to cover my head, the lady in-charge did something I hadn’t imagine would have happened even in my wildest of dreams! She placed Baba’s padukas on my head! From the corner of my eyes, knees wobbling, noticed my husband being asked to lift up one end of Baba’s palki on his shoulder, the other end taken by another gentleman! What was happening? How had this come to be?…… My thoughts were interrupted by cymbals clanging, bhajans to the accompaniment of rhythmic dhol beats. The palki procession began moving and I was nudged onwards to take the lead! The moments were so glorious and overpowering that we walked ahead as if in a daze, spellbound, enraptured by the proximity that Baba had shown us and sensed that months of pain, sadness and worry steadily oozed at every step we took forward. Sheer bliss and peace enveloped! What an experience! What blessings! And what a miracle!
But then this was one of the first few that Sai had begun to roll out. Accommodating each one here would not ensure justice to them.
Sai had more gifts for us in His jholi (cloth bag). Even as our struggle to keep Max going, to take care of him intensified, (on other personal fronts too challenges increased) so did our faith.
A day after Max left for his heavenly abode, Baba beckoned again! This time from Shirdi! We needed to wear off more karmas! My husband chose to drive the entire distance of 560 km, from Ahmedabad to Shirdi with poor roads for some stretches, all by himself. As soon as we reached Shirdi after being on the road for close to 11 hours, Sai pumped us with His divine energy. With had no darshan passes in hand, yet he called us to the temple.
On our way out we had the privilege of meeting Vaidya Guruji, whose beaming face enervated us even further and we proceeded to Baba’s Samadhi Mandir. Biometrics done we joined the general queue which moved so quickly that there we were in Sai’s majestic presence in a mere 20 minutes! And there we stood gazing, bowing, offering Namaskars, ceaseless tears of happiness, of relief pouring out in torrents. No pushing or shoving! The glass barrier removed! Called back to take another darshan! Told by the personnel, “Go slow! No hurry!”
When a few drops of rainfall on the parched earth she calls out and yearns for more. So did we! It was nearing 8:45pm that Saturday evening and we felt an urge to attend Baba’s shej Aarti. We decided to re-join the general queue, leaving the rest to Baba Sai! He had called us to His Shirdi after a long time, and it was His onus to quench our thirst for every darshan! And so He did! His blessings came as a waterfall. In a few minutes we numbly walked right back into the Samadhi Mandir, witnessed the Aarti and Baba being put to sleep; our ears blessed to hear the holy words of the aarti and our lips to chant them. What need of VIP passes when Baba Sai Himself summons at a short notice? After the second darshan in less than an hour we went towards Dwarkamayi. A sadhu dressed in ochre came towards us and asked for anna daan! A little unsettled as we still needed to take darshan in Dwarkamayi we told sadhu baba that we had just arrived and would do so after darshan or on the next day!
The next morning, after darshan when we were once again walking out of the Dwarkamayi and heading for the Chavadi, sadhu baba walked directly towards us. He did not stop near anyone else or ask anyone for anything! Looking at us he said, “Anna daan!” It was the day of Diwali. Said he wanted to make puran poli for all the people in his ashram which was located thirty km away. Since we were clueless about a grocer in the vicinity, he himself took us there, bought all that he needed and began packing. Having paid the shopkeeper, overwhelmed by the occurrences since we had arrived, my husband and I slumped onto a bench outside the shop. The sadhu came to us, stood right before us and smiled. We smiled back; our hands joined in Namaskar. But he continued to stand, his face beaming with joy. We too felt happy and grateful, but his continued presence disconcerted me a little. We didn’t know what else to do! This must have gone on for a minute or two and then suddenly s if waiting for something to happen and when it didn’t the sadhu baba swung his over-laden ochre cloth bag over his shoulder and walked away briskly! A niggling doubt arose! Was he Baba Sai? In another form? Why did he approach only us from amongst the hundreds? Why did he not ask all others walking around and past Him for anything at all- money or anything else? Why had he come to us a second time and left abruptly after receiving only what he had asked for? And why did he ask only for anna, not money at all? All these questions struck us after this experience! Had we missed our chance to do Charan Sparsh to the God who had come to us Himself and we were unable to recognise Him?
The above two- blissful darshan on Saturday night and the anna daan to sadhu baba (who was never seen despite a prolonged ten-day stay) was just a glimpse into what was to transpire during that visit and stay in Shirdi! A visit in which I met several people- very kind Dr. Anil bhaiya and his wife Bharati ben and the ever so loving and loveable Padma Mohan– and this led to more miracles in life. Shall share these another time together with the experience about a sadhu who had walked from Girnar mountain to Ahmedabad, whom my friend and I met right outside Mc Donald’s, Prahladnagar, Ahmedabad and who kept asking for roti-sabzi while narrating events from life which have been troubling us. Friends! he too was dressed in saffron!
Sabka Malik Ek!
(PS: Sadhu’s photo courtesy Alamy stock photo)