Continued: Live Experiences Of The Tarkhad Family With Shri Sai Baba Of Shirdi
“Om Shri Sainathaya Namaha.”
This incident had taken place on a summer day. Jyotindra had just had his lunch in an Irani Restaurant near Metro Cinema and was on the ring road to go back to St Xavier’s School where he was studying. This was his daily routine to have lunch in the Irani Restaurant during recess time. That day while crossing the road one Fakir dressed in a white Robe accosted him and begged for alms. Jyotindra took out a coin of one paisa (a copper coin with a hole in the center) from his pocket and offered the same to that Fakir and was proceeding to the school. But the Fakir stopped him and he told Jyotindra that it is one Paisa (denomination) coin of 1894. In those days people use to offer one pai as charity thus one paisa was rather a much higher amount to be given as charity from a student. Jyotindra told the Fakir that he daily gets four annas for lunch purposes and therefore he can give away one paisa as alms. Besides, this one paisa is a running denomination so the Fakir should not worry about it. The Fakir then laughed and said, “Allah Bhala Karega”, Jyotindra then proceeded to school and forgot about this incident.
Jyotindra had two elder brothers named Satyendra and Ravindra who were studying in medical college. Satyendra further acquired the degree as GGMC (Graduate of Grand Medical College later changed to MBBS). He is the uncle of the writer staying in Konkan Nagar at Matunga. (He is no more and his son & daughter are staying there). Jyotindra’s brother was a doctor, his uncle was a doctor, and his grandfather was not only a well-known medical practitioner but also the family doctor of the Viceroy of Bombay, then. In short, it was a doctor’s family for Jyotindra.
But in spite of so many doctors in the family Jyotindra’s mother means writer’s grandmother was suffering from migraine and use to get severe headaches. All sorts of medicines were tried but her migraine appeared to be incurable.
They had a housemaid who worked with them and suggested to her she should go to one Pir called Maulana Baba near Bandra Masjid, who she further told gave some Ayurvedic medicines which seemed to cure even acute diseases.
Now in those days for a Hindu lady to go to a masjid to meet a Pir was an extremely difficult proposition. My grandmother suggested to her son Jyotindra who by nature a daredevil character organized a Burkha and took his mother by car to Pir Maulana Baba. But natural when a human being is suffering from any acute ailment such religious boundaries are no longer difficult to transcend. But after meeting Maulana Baba their difficulties increased instead of easing out. Maulana Baba told my grandma that for this ailment that she was suffering from he did not have any medicine to offer but he told her, “I have a brother named Sai Baba who stays at Shirdi and you can go to him. He will cure you and relieve you from all your sufferings”
Now both of them were in great difficulty. Firstly my grandfather was a strong-headed Prarthana Samajist and they knew that he would not give them permission to “meet” such Babas. Secondly, where is this Shirdi situated and how to go there was a big question.
However, Jyotindra did not give up (Dear readers, here I believe that it was written in their destiny to meet Shri Sai Baba and therefore no one could stop them from doing so.)
He collected all the information from the owner of the Irani Hotel near the Metro theatre.
He came to know that Shirdi village is in Ahmednagar District and one has to go by train up to Kopargaon via Manmad. Then from Kopargaon one has to travel in a horse cart to reach Shirdi, which is 9 kms away. This means one has to be away from home for at least 3 days. Anyway, Jyotindra organized for his father’s permission and made all the arrangements for the journey. On one Friday evening, both the mother and son left for Shirdi. On Saturday morning they were in Shirdi. They had made all the inquiries and after they had freshened themselves they reached Dwarkamai to meet Shri Sai Baba. They saw Sai Baba sitting in front of the sacred Dhuni (Fireplace lit by Baba). My grandma bowed in front of Baba and touched his feet.
They looked at each other and what transpired between the two is as follows:
Baba said to my grandma, “Dear mother you have come. My brother from Bandra has guided you to me. Please sit down. Oh, mother, you have a very severe headache is it not?” Then Sai Baba dipped his five fingers in the pan of Udi, (sacred ash) and hit the forehead of my grandma with that Udi-laden hand. He held the forehead firmly in all five fingers and said “Oh Mother from now onwards till your death you will never get any pain in your head. This headache of yours has disappeared forever.” Dear readers my grandma was stunned by this act of Sai. She had not uttered a single word of complaint and how could SaiBaba know the purpose of their visit and her sufferings? I think two acts of SaiBaba made a complete transformation of my grandma. One-the exchange of looks between them i.e. Eye contact and the hitting of the forehead with Udi laden hand. In fact, it was an order for that disease to go away from that head. My grandma had never ever had such a powerful dose of medicine. What transformation she was experiencing she only knew it better. The sad look on her face from the headache had disappeared. She was feeling fighting fresh. She told my father Jyotindra to bow to Baba. My father was astonished to see all this. His mother had never ordered him like that earlier. Then my father bowed to Baba & touched his feet. Instantly Baba said to him, “Dear Bhau (Brother), have you not recognized me?” My father replied in the negative. Then Baba told him “Please look at me and stress your memory and try to recollect.” My father could not come to any pass. Then Baba put his hand in the pocket of his Kafani (robe) and took out the copper coin of one paisa. He showed the same to my father and said “Hey Bhau! Do you remember this copper coin dating back to the year 1894, which you had given as charity to one Fakir while on your way to school? Now my father was beginning to recollect the incident narrated at the beginning of this chapter, His eyes were in tears and he instantly held Baba’s legs in his hand. Baba lifted him and said “Hey Bhau, that afternoon the Fakir you had met was none other than me, and your this one paisa coin I am returning to you. Please take it back and preserve it very carefully. It will breed in multifold paisas for you.”
Now dear reader devotees you will surely agree with me that such a pleasant Sai Darshan which my grandma and father had must have been unmemorable for both of them and then onwards they automatically got attracted to him forever.
After this first divine Sai meeting, the Tarkhad family decided to reckon SaiBaba as their Guru and they completely gave up themselves for his devotion. The headache of my grandma had vanished forever and her devotion towards God increased multifold. The one paisa coin was put to worship in our house.
We use to ask our father what exactly use to happen after meeting SaiBaba. He use to state that the Blissful Sight in his eyes had an enormous attraction that would pull anyone towards him and that Midas-touch in his powerful hands could heel any deep wound. As you all know that SaiBaba never equated himself to God & would always state that he is a messenger of God. However, my father use to say that the priest of Khandoba Temple (later turned great devotee of SaiBaba) Mhalsapati Bhagat had very appropriately named him in his very first meeting saying “Aao Sai Baba Aao.” Our India is a land of many spiritual Babas and their devotees name them accordingly. My father use to say that SAI name suggests everything. His explanation was the word SAI in Marathi means SAAKSHAT (actual) and the word I means ISHWAR (God). Thus from his point of view Sai Baba means Saakshat Ishwar Baba. I must say that what my father had experienced during his visits to Shirdi was something amazing and any common man like him after undergoing such divine experiences would come to only one conclusion that SaiBaba possessed that supernatural Godly Power. I consider myself lucky to have been born in this blessed family and wish that Sai’s blessings be with us for all time to come.
“Om Shri Sainathaya Namaha.”