CONTINUED TO CHAPTER 24
SRI SAI BABA AND VITTHAL-KRISHNA
Since Baba first came to Shirdi, He was in possession of a roasted brick. In general, a brick was a quite insignificant thing. But Baba was very particular about it. He would not leave it with anybody. He used to handle it very carefully. While sleeping, He would put it under His head. But someone, who was cleaning the floor, dropped it unknowingly and it broke into two pieces. On the same day Baba suddenly took ill and shed his mortal body after 5/6 days. Why was the brick so important to Him? One can infer that, it was the symbol of that brick which was given to Vitthal-Krishna in Pandharpur by the well known devotee Pundalik. It is obvious that Baba was God Vitthal Krishna. Many people used to tell Baba that they wished to go to Pandharpur and have a darshan of Vitthal. To them Baba always tried to stop saying, “Why do you want to go far when Pandhari is here?”
Many of such devotees have got the darshan of Vitthal in place of Baba sitting in Dwarkamai. Those who were in proximity of Baba, as Raghuvir Bhaskar Purandare, had endorsed this fact. As told by the other devotees also, it could be confirmed that Baba was Krishna and masjid was ‘Dwarka’. Baba kept some domestic animals, mainly cows. He had some goats, nanny-goats and peacocks also. The management of these animals was entrusted to Tatya Kote Patil who collected lots of milk, made milk products like curds, butter, and buttermilk etc and offered them to Baba. Baba would then distribute them among his devotees.
Old people had given the portrayal of old Shirdi, in which they had confirmed that there were many cow-sheds around the town then. This too suggests that Baba was Krishna reincarnated. Purandare Kaka had planted trees and developed a garden, with the intention that Baba should be worshipped with fresh fragrant flowers. Before the garden bloomed the devotees used to worship Baba with ordinary wild flowers. One of them was Mahali Namdev Sawant staying at Kaswadi, Taluka Sangamner. Sitaram Jayram Dengle from Nimgaon, would thread the available wild flowers and offer that garland to Baba with love. Baba too would wear it happily and respect his devotion.
Krishna was worshipped by his companions, ‘Gopalas and Gopis’ in the same manner. He too used to accept and adorn Himself with garlands of wild flowers. Lord Krishna always used to be equipped with a wooden-stick as Baba was seen holding Satka most of the time. This similarity is expressive enough to say that both are one. When Baba came to Shirdi He sometimes would do Kala. But it became a regular practice when RadhKrishna-Aai came to Shirdi. With her arrival the flow of Naivedyam increased. After the afternoon Aarti, Baba would get up from His usual seat, as per the request of Madhavrao Deshpande and sitting by the Neem tree, He would mix the similar eatables in one pot. Then adding whatever he got as alms, He would make a perfect “Kala’. Then He would distribute it to all present around Him. On the Banks of river Bhima there is a pilgrim place, known as “VishnuPad”. This was also known as “VenuNad”.
Lord Krishna started from west Dwarka in search of His wife Rukhmini who was angry and had left Dwarka sulkily. He wanted to comfort Her. From Dwarka He went to Gokul and then reached VenuNad. He stopped all His paraphernalia at VenuNad and proceeded alone towards DindirVan. He found Rukhmini, whom He consoled and then He established South Dwarka, as per His promise given to Bhakta Pundalik. Padharpur was made the centre of the area. At VenuNad, He started the practice of ‘Kala’. Since then Kala became a custom in south Dwarka, Pandharpur. Baba also followed the same custom in Shirdi. It proves that Baba Himself was Krishna and Shirdi was Dwarka. In Dwapar-age Krishna used to go to the pastures far from Gokul, to graze the cattle. All the Gopalas used to bring tiffins with them and offer those to Krishna. He then used to make a Kala of all the eatables and they all would enjoy the lunch. Is not this similarity remarkable? Baba would sometimes be very stubborn and obstinate. These were His Leelas. Krishna too had shown this kind of Leelas in His days. To get angry, to sulk for something was a common gesture. On the eve of Eknath-Shashthi, procession of the Chariot was planned. But Baba flew into rage against Tatyaba Kote. The procession was detained till midnight. Somehow Baba cooled down and everything went on smoothly.
Once Nanasaheb Chandorkar went for Baba’s darshan at noon. Baba said to him, “Nana, I feel like eating ‘Puran-poli’ (stuffed sweet Chapati) today. You go and get it prepared for Me”. Nana said, “It is too late, Baba. I have come to Shirdi alone. My wife is not here. So who will make the ‘Puran-poli’ for You? I cannot even hire anybody at this odd hour”. Baba insisted. “Doesn’t matter if I get lunch late. But I want it today only”. Nana went in search of help. After great efforts he found a woman who could prepare the special dish ‘Puran-poli’. He bought the required ingredients and managed to get the sweet Chapatis ready. Till then, it was four o’clock in the evening. He brought a dish full of sweet Chapatis to Dwarkamai. Baba just looked at it and said to Nanasaheb, “Okay, Nana! Take the dish back home”.
Nana asked in surprise and distress, “Baba, if You did not want to eat it right now, then why did You made me undergo all the difficulties for its preparation?” Baba said with calmness, “You are coming to Me for last eighteen years, still you have not learnt anything.”
Baba’s Mischiefs and Humour
A Ramadasi used to sit in the masjid reading Ramayana and Vishnu-SahastraNama. One day Baba pretended to have a severe stomach-ache, and sent him to get the medicine. In his absence Baba took out the above mentioned sacred book and gave it to Madhavrao. When he came back he was annoyed with Madhavrao. Baba enjoyed their exchange of hot words and kept laughing.
Baba used to play tricks many times. All used to be in a lighter vein and to create humour. He would hide the stole (outermost loose piece of cloth of attire; Uparane in Marathi) of Tatyaba. Sometimes, He would push him and hide Himself behind a pillar. And when Tatyaba would ask about who pushed him, Baba would just laugh loudly. Tatyaba and Mhalsapati used to sleep in Dwarkamai. When they would be in sound sleep Baba would place one’s legs on another’s chest or in some other awkward fashion. When they would get up to ask who did it?’ Baba would again grin and laugh.
Even in summer season Baba would ask Tatyaba to sleep near fire (Dhuni). Else, He would cover him with a woolen blanket. How can one bear it on a hot summer night? Tatyaba would sweat profusely and get up. “Baba, who put this blanket on me?” To his question, Baba would roar with laughter. Sometimes boys used to play with pebbles, in Dwarkamai. Baba would hide a pebble under His toe away from their attention. When they would search for it and then ask Baba imploringly, He would return the hidden pebble, with a broad smile. Baba used to tickle Tatyaba. When he would ask, “Baba, I can’t bear tickling.” Then Baba would stop and ask him to massage His body. He would keep laughing while taking massage.
At times Baba would go wrestling with Tatyaba who could easily lift Baba on his shoulder. Baba would laugh and enjoy the play saying, “Oh Kotya! I will fall down. Don’t lift Me. You will have a sprain.” Sometime both of them would play whirls, holding both hands, turning round and round.
Baba would sometimes behave in a strange way. He would massage Tatyaba’s body and pay salutations to him saying “Jai Deva”. With awkward feeling Tatyaba would hold His hands in inhibition. But Baba would bend in obeisance again. Tatyaba would say, “What is this! Baba what are You doing? This is not good”. He would reply, “Keep quiet. You would not know why I am doing this”. Both would say “Salam Aalekum’ to each other, with their hands on forehead in salutation and laugh. Tatyaba used to remove the cloth which Baba put on His head everyday and put his own turban on Baba’s head. Baba would wear his stole too. Then Tatyaba would bring a mirror. Baba would look at His image with turban and stole. Happily He would shrug His shoulders and blink His eyes and ask, “Am I looking like Tatya?” Then both would laugh. Baba and Tatyaba used to play ‘Panja’. They would clutch their fingers and press them hard. Tatyaba would exert more strength. Baba then would ask, “Are you going to break the bones of My fingers?” Tatyaba would then release the pressure. Baba would break into laughter.
Once Baba and Tatyaba went round and round, circumambulating the stone in the masjid. Both were shouting ‘Haidos Dhulla’ in a typical manner. Baba was enjoying and laughing. This incident happened only once. Sometimes in the afternoon, Baba would sing and dance to Himself. He would play Krishna, standing cross legged and holding a flute in His style. He would show different emotions on the face and act like God Krishna with no real flute in hand. He would do it only in Tatyaba’s presence. Never He did so, a third person was present. Baba had many companions as Krishna had Gopalas. He had chosen humorous nick names for them. Some are listed below.
Ghodmukhya (having face like a horse), Andaji, Langada Kaka, Shipurda, Hemad, Dadhiwala, Zipra, Ghode doctor, Tipusab, Ardha-kolhati, Butta, Veda-master, Paddhya, Dhabaji and so on. Baba had allotted different duties to all the resident devotees. He insisted that everyone should carry out his own duty. He would never allow anyone to do somebody else’s job. He liked discipline. I, the author, have tried to elucidate to show that Sai Baba was Krishna and as we already know that God Vitthal also was God Krishna. This implies that all the three were one and there is no room for further doubt regarding this matter.
*Note: Some of the matter from the twenty-fourth chapter in the original Marathi version has been included in Appendix B, C and D.
END OF CHAPTER 24
While we have read so many stories and their spiritual implications all these days, the next chapter will show up the Merging of Brahmam into Brahmam.
© Author – Dr. Keshav Bhagwant Gavankar (Annasahib Gavankar) – Explicit Rights To Publish To Shirdi Sai Baba Books.com (Member of SaiYugNetwork.com)