Bhagawan Ramana Maharshi said that contact with one's Sadguru continues even after his physical death. The phenomenal spread of devotion to Sai Baba in this country today is chiefly the work of his tomb which -moves' and -speaks' with his devotees.
Mr. EM. Bhangara is a devout Parsi who imbibed, high regard for saints. But his wife was orthodox and had no such faith. In 1956 he kept a calendar with Sai Baba's picture on it in their bed room, but he neither knew nor paid any respect to the saint. One day, at 6 a.m. he was impelled to bow to Baba and was surprised at his own act for he knew nothing of Baba. I-le did not mention it to his wife for fear of raising an argument about it.
Next morning he noticed that the calendar was garlanded and asked his wife about it. She said that when she was cleaning the pictures in the house, she heard a mysterious voice from the picture, "Child, garland me regularly; it will do you good" twice and she obeyed it. A friend heard of their experience and suggested to keep the picture in their shrine on a Thursday. He did so and his wife used to garland it everyday.
One day the mysterious voice asked her what she wanted. She sought the welfare of her husband and the birth of a son. Within a week, of his own accord, the superior officer recommended a rise in Mr. Bhangara's salary. In June 1957 they were blessed with a son.
Solution to all their problems used to flash in their minds when they prayed to Baba and even the most trivial wishes were fulfilled. Many got their problems resolved through Mr. Bhangara. Yet he sometimes wondered whether the messages were his own fancies.
One day Mr. Bhangara had to go on an official camp. His wife insisted that he should return by evening. When he bowed to Baba the voice said, "Son, you can't return today." To test whether it was a message from Baba, he started at 730 a.m. When the car had to stop at a level-crossing, a gentleman got down from a state transport bus and got into Bhangara's car saying that he was in a hurry to reach his destination sooner. N"ile travelling on a ghat road, the car took a turn and the breaks failed completely. The car was racing down the slope with increasing speed. There was a deep valley on one side and a hill on the othen The driver told them not to get panicky and that he would try to dash the car against the hill in the safest possible manner. But whenever he tried to do so some vehicle or the other came up that side and they narrowly missed a collision. Bhangara recollected Baba's message and felt that it signified his imminent death. Being a palmist Bhangara remembered that his hand indicated sudden death at that time. He desperately prayed. "Baba, I know that I have to die some day. Yet atleast for the sake of my family you have to save my life this time. I shall not henceforth doubt your messages."
One of the tyres of the car hit a stone on the road and stopped. The driver changed the tyre and they reached their destination in seven hours. There was no chance for Bhangara to return home that evening!
Mr. Chitnis was at first fascinated by a beautiful picture of Baba and read several books on him. He visited Shirdi in 1952 and felt that he had returned to his own place. The very first sight of Baba's Samadhi had impressed him for good.
In 1957, his sister at Bombay was seriously ill and the family wished to start by plane. His parents could secure a seat by the next plane but his name was kept in the waiting list. Mr. Chitnis sat there silently praying to Baba that by the time they reach Bombay his sister should recover her health. He suddenly found an old fakir standing by. The latter looked sad and gestured accordingly. The next moment the fakir was not to be seen! It suddenly occurred to him that the fakir was Sai Baba himself He was surprised to learn that none else saw the fakir. At last when Mr. Chitnis reached Bombay his sister was no more.
In 1965 Mr. Chitnis suffered from a severe pain in the stomach and could not take even a spoonful of water. The doctor decided to try surgery on the next Thursday. Chitnis prayed that he should be spared the ordeal. That night in his dream four terrible persons were pulling him out of the bed. Sai Baba felled some of them and saved Chitnis. By morning Sri Chitnis was alright to the surprise of the doctor.
On a certain Thursday in 1966 he completed a reading of the life of Baba. Mr. Chitnis was to go to Agra by car. He prayed to Baba for his darshan. Next morning, after covering about sixty miles the car stopped at a place for no apparent reason. A fakir who resembled Sai Baba was found standing by. The fakir blessed them and received dakshina and disappeared. Mr. Chitnis was surprised to know later that only his youngest son, he and the driver saw che fakir and others didn't see anyone.
Sri P.V Satyanarayana Sastri records, in an article, the strange transformation of a famous atheist of Andhra into an ardent devotee of Baba. Late Sri Gopichand, a famous writer and a prominent atheist was working as an employee of the Government at Kurnool. His wife was in the hospital, suffering from labour pains for three days and her condition was critical. On the third day, as he walked past the Sai Mandir towards hospital, he thought : "Baba, if you could bless my wife with a safe delivery, I shall believe that your power is divine."
At the hospital his wife delivered a male child. She told him that an old fakir in a vision, sat on her cot and said, "Don't fear. I shall save you." He then put a little vibhuti on her forehead, put a little of it in water and gave her to drink. She at once delivered. And the time of her vision coincided precisely with the time of his silent prayer to Baba! Gopichand named his son as Sai Baba, causing quite a stir among his atheist friends.
Though Mr. Veerendra Pandya had no faith in Baba, he visited Shirdi with his brother. Later he lived at Kalyan near Bombay and his parents lived in Behar. Once when his family had to face many difficulties, he took out the picture of Baba which was lying in his trunk, kept it in the shrine and prayed fervently that he should find a solution to his problem by evening. At once peace descended on him and by evening he hit upon a solution to his problem. Strangely, he learned from a letter that the same solution occurred to his mother too, precisely at the same hour. He decided to dedicate all his life, henceforth to the service of Baba, giving up all worldly activity but his mother insisted that he should marry. Again he prayed for a written solution to the problem. Next day, quite casually, his eyes fell on a book entitled, Sri Sai Baba Upasana. He opened it at random and the chapter Bhavasudha came up. The message contained therein was that a householder's life is preferable. Yet he doubted whether it was mere coincidence.
At that time he was residing at Vitarna, a forest area infested by robbers disguised as sadhus. So he instructed his watchman not to permit even 'Sadhus' to enter his gate. With these facts in mind, he one day prayed. "Baba, in order that my faith in you could get strengthened, tomorrow, a thursday which is sacred to you, at lunch time a sadhu should come, bless me by keeping his right hand on my head and make passes with the same all over my body. If this is granted, I vow to visit Shirdi."
Next day at lunch time no sadhu turned up. just as Pandya was about to partake of the first morsel, a sadhu called for food. When Pandya offered him food, the former received the same and put his right hand on Pandya's head by way of blessing and left. Pandya recognised that only a part of his wish was fulfilled and that he did not receive the sadhu in a proper manner. While he was thinking the sadhu returned. Pandya offered him Rs. 2/- as dakshina. The fakir passed his hand all over Pandya's body, smiled sportively and went away. Next Thursday Pandya fulfilled his vow.
Miss Marva L. Hemphill wrote of her striking experience with Baba in. a short letter to the author of this present book:
Atlanta Ga, (U.S.A.)
Dear Brother in God,
Baba came on 1-12-70! He has been teaching me very rapidly about Christ ever since... it is so wonderful! From now on he is 'Baba Christ,' as jesus is jesus Christ.
In the name of Baba Christ
In 1955, Sri jayaram Raje was a lawyer at Thana. Once he finished a devotional reading of the Life of Sai Baba. On the next day, Thursday, he offered sweetmeats to Baba's picture. Precisely at lunch time a fakir came to him for food. He was dressed like a muslim. Raje being an orthodox Brahmin offered him food in a leafplate and requested him to eat it elsewhere. The fakir insisted that he would eat it there itself. Raje fed him accordingly, considering him as Baba himself.
After lunch the fakir demanded dakshina. Raje said that if a client paid him Rs. 501- he would have given him his due. The fakir said that the client would pay him the dues at 3.15 p.m. that day and that he himself would turn up at 5 p.m. to receive the dakshina. The client who lived far away did turn up at 3.15 p.m. and cleared the dues. The fakir too came up at 5 p.m. and received Rs. 10/-. In return the latter offered Raje a little vibhuti which, by the time it fell into his hand, got mysteriously transformed into a rose.
Raje looked up in surprise and the fakir was not to be seen anywhere!
Sivashankar Dixit, a devotee of Lord Dattatreya, despaired when he knew that he was suffering from tuberculosis. One day he had a dream, he saw a picture of a muslim saint and bowed to it; at the same moment, a muslim fakir came and applied vibhuti on his forehead and assured him that he would soon be well.
When his condition improved without any treatment Dixit realized that it was a visitation. One of his friends suggested that the fakir might be Sai Baba himself. Four days after, a group of children who played there, left a small picture of Baba's Samadhi in his house. Dixit found that the fakir of his dream precisely resembled the photograph of Sai Baba on the samadhi, found in that picture. Later he visited Shirdi an saw that there was the marble statue on Baba's samadhi and not a photograph of Sai Baba. On enquiry he was told that till 1956 a photograph of Sai Baba was indeed kept on Baba's samadhi and that the statue was installed only in that year. The picture of the muslim fakir which he saw in his dream was indeed the photograph of Baba which was eaxlier kept on the samadhi! Henceforth Dixit worshipped Sai Baba as Lord Dattatreya.
Mr. K.D. Matrey once visited Shirdi. The samadhi mandir was under repair. His child who was two and a half year old stood on the first floor, looking at children playing on the road below. Suddenly she leaned forward, slipped and fell down from the terrace. Several devotees rushed to her but the child stood up smiling and said, "As I fell down, the old man in that picture leaped up, held me in his hands and kept me down"!
An advocate from Boribandar, once started for Shirdi with Rs. 100/- in his pocket. Unfortunately (or fortunately?) his pocket was picked and he had lost the money and his railway ticket. Later the ticket examiner came up and did not relent even after hearing about- the theft. just then an old gentleman gave the lawyer 'a ticket and said that his man did not join him as promised. He introduced himself as a devotee of Sai Baba and bore all the expenses of the advocate. At Shirdi the old man presented him with a copy of a book on Sai Baba and also gave him his address in Bombay. Later on, opening the book the advocate found Rs. 100/- in it. When he returned home he found his purse before Baba's picture in his family shrine! He soon went to Bombay but the old man's address could not be traced. The advocate kept the money he found in the book in his shrine for worship. Thereafter his financial condition improved considerably.
In 1930 Dr. Rustomji was laid up with pneumonia and was admitted in the Parsi General Hospital in Bombay. the doctors gave up hope and he was in a coma. A fakir appeared to him in a vision and said, "Let your health recover first later you will come to know me!" He then went round Rustomji's cot and disappeared. Soon after, the doctors were surprised to find that his condition was quite normal. Ever since, Rustomji yearned to see the fakir. After six months a passenger who sat next to him in the bus was reading a book on Sai Baba. Rustomji saw Baba's picture in it and realized that he was the fakir that had saved him and started reading about Sai. Shortly he was appointed as a doctor in the Sai Samastan Dispensary at Shirdi in 1949.
Once his wife suffered from severe pain in her eyes. Doctors examined her and declared that even doctors abroad will not be able to help her. At last Sri Rustomji brought her to Shirdi and every day he used to take her round Baba's samadhi. She vowed to offer an embroidered cloth to Baba's Palanquin if she was cured. In the course of an year she was well and she fulfilled her vow.
Excerpt from the book "Sai Baba the Master", by Acharya E. Bharadwaja