(Baba declared that there is no difference between Baba and his photo. There are
several instances which bear eloquent testimony to this effect, but few are given
below. Search for God should not be made on empty stomach as per Baba’s dictum.)
Appasaheb Kulkarni was the revenue accountant or karnam of Shirdi village. He was
also called as Atmaram Kulkarni. He was a devotee of Baba. Once jamabandi (revenue
inspection) was going on in Kopergaon and Appasaheb Kulkarni from Shirdi had to
go for jamabandi work under the supervision of Nanasaheb Chandorkar, Deputy Collector.
Before going to Kopergaon, Appasaheb went to Baba for permission. Baba gave permission
and also asked him to invite Nanasaheb Chandorkar to Shirdi. Though diffident, he
decided to invite Nanasaheb Chandorkar to Shirdi village to see Baba andconveyed
the invitation of Baba to Nanasaheb who was surprised as to how a begging fakir
in a small village could invite him to see him.Nanasaheb declined Baba’s invitation
and did not visit Shirdi. But Baba repeated his invitation for the second and third
time. Ultimately, Nanasaheb visited Shirdi and took darshan of Baba. Thus Appasaheb
was instrumental in bringing Nanasaheb to Shirdi.
Once the villagers in Shirdi accused Appasaheb of embezzling funds from the village
accounts and reported the matter to the higher revenue authorities and Appasaheb
was charged with embezzlement of funds and received notice from the authorities
and was terribly frightened. He then went to Baba and prayed for saving him. Baba
took pity on him and advised him not to get frightened but proceed to Nevasa by
the side of Pravara river and meet the enquiry officer there. Baba also told him
to go first to Mohiniraj (Lord Vishnu took the form of a female as Mohini) Temple
and pray in the temple first and then meet the enquiry officer. He did every thing
as per Baba’s orders and then met the enquiry officer and pleaded his innocence.
On being satisfied, the officer exonerated him by declaring the charge as baseless.
Appasaheb felt extremely happy and thanked Baba for the miraculous help. Baba told
him that in Mohiniraj Temple, Jyaneshwar Maharaj started writing the commentary
on Jyaneshari Geeta at the age of 12 years and completed it at the age of 15 years
in the year 1290 and during the time of Yadava King, Ramachandra who ruled Devgiri
Kingdom. Baba did not go to any other place in his life time except Rahata which
is near Shirdi and inspite of
this situation Baba knew all the places and much about Nevasa, the name of the river
flowing there, the Mohiniraj temple and also about Jyaneshwar Maharaj and Jyaneswari
In 1917 he was transferred to Thana and began to worship Baba's picture presented
to him by Balasaheb Bhate, former Mamaltdhar and a staunch devotee of Baba. With
utmost devotion, he did the worship. He offered flowers, sandal-paste, and naivedya
daily to Baba in the picture and desired very much to have darshan of Baba. In this
connection it should be understood that seeing Baba's picture with unswerving devotion
amounts to seeing Baba in person. The following story bears eloquent testimony to
One day Baba Saheb Tarkhad (R.A.Tarkhad) and his son Jyotindra Tarkhad, both devotees
of Baba, had a dream in which both of them saw a beautiful carved mandir with Baba
seated on it. Accordingly they got a beautiful Sandalwood mandir carved by a special
carpenter. They then wanted Baba's portrait for placing in the sandalwood mandir.
It is interesting to see how wonderfully Baba arranged his photo to them. One Friday
evening, both the father and son went to chor bazar in Bombay. A Muslim shopkeeper
ran to them and asked them to collect a parcel meant for them. As the shopkeeper
was new to them, they enquired from him as to how he knew that particular parcel
was meant for them. Then the shopkeeper narrated that on one day a saintly and elderly
person came to his shop and handed over a parcel and also paid Rs 50/- towards his
service charges. The elderly person also asked the shop keeper to hand over the
parcel to a Hindu father with an English hat and his son wearing a black Gandhi
cap. Exactly Tarkhad and his son wore the hat and cap respectively as described
by the elderly person. Then they went to the shop and asked him to open the parcel.
When the parcel was opened, it contained a framed photo of Lord Saibaba exactly
suitable to be kept in their sandal wood mandir. Later Tarkhad family went to Shirdi
and had Baba's darshan in the masjid. At that time, Baba told a devotee who was
trying to take Baba's photo, "Please go to my Bhau's (Tarkhad’s) place where you
will find me alive in the photograph in the mandir" Tarkdad and his son were very
happy to hear that statement from Baba and tears of joy rolled down from their eyes.
As per Baba's declaration, this affirms that there is no difference between Baba
and his photo.
While many other examples are there, few examples are given below: When invited,
Baba attended Hemandpant's shimaga dinner in the form of his photo, representing
Baba’s presence. Once Shama sought Baba's permission to go to Kashi and Prayaga,
Baba gave permission and also said, "we would be ahead of (you)", conveying that
Baba's photo which was hung in the house of a priest in Prayag, represented Baba’s
presence there, much before the arrival of Shama in Prayag. All these indicated
that keeping a photo of Baba is tantamount to Baba being present there in person.
Once while he was working in Thana, he had to go on tour to Bhivandi for a week.
In his absence, the following wonderful thing took place on the third day in Thana.
At noon a fakir visited Appasaheb's house. As observed by his family members, his
features resembled exactly those shown in Baba's photo. They asked him whether he
was Sai Baba of Shirdi. He said 'No', but also said that he was an obedient servant
of Sai Baba and was visiting their house at Baba’s orders to enquire after the welfare
of the family members. Then the fakir asked for dakshina. His wife gave him a rupee
and the fakir gave her a small packet of Udi, and asked her to keep this in the
shrine along with the photo for worship. Then the fakir left the house and went
Meantime, Appasaheb could not proceed with his tour as his horse fell sick at Bhivandi.
He returned home in Thana in the afternoon on the third day just after the fakir
left their home. He also learnt from his wife about fakir's visit. He thought in
his mind that he missed the darshan of the fakir and also felt that giving only
one rupee as dakshina to the fakir was not to his taste. He also developed an idea
that in case he had been present there in the house at that time, he would have
offered him at least ten rupees. With this type of thinking and without taking any
food, he immediately went out and started searching for the fakir in several places.
But he could not find the fakir. Search for God should not be made on empty stomach
as per Baba’s dictum and that was why he could not find the fakir. He then returned
home and took his food. Then after meals he went out for a walk with a friend by
name Chitre. After going some distance, they saw a man approaching them quickly.
Then Appasaheb thought that he must be the same fakir that visited his house few
hours before, as his features resembled those of Baba in the photo. Appasaheb then
understood that when he searched on empty stomach, he could not see the fakir but
now after taking food, he was able to see the
same fakir even without any search.Then the fakir asked him for dakshina. Appasaheb
gave him a rupee. He demanded more and so Appasaheb gave him two rupees more. Still
he was not satisfied. Then he borrowed Rs.three from his friend and gave them to
the fakir who wanted still more. Then Appasaheb asked him to accompany him to his
home. Then they all returned to his home andAppasaheb then gave him again three
rupees, in all nine. The fakir looked unsatisfied and demanded again.Then he told
him that he had a currency note of Rs.Ten. Then the fakir asked for the same and
took it and returned the nine rupees in cash and went away. Appasaheb then knew
that he originally thought in his mind that he would pay Rs.Ten and that sum only
was demanded finally by the fakir and the fakir returned the nine rupees, consecrated
by Baba's touch. The figure 9 is also significant as it denotes the nine types of
devotion. .This had happened in 1917.
While working at Thane, Appasaheb went on tour for recruitment of soldiers for the
First World War. He had intense desire to visit Shirdi and have darshan of Baba,
but was unable to get leave for the purpose. In this background, Appasaheb was only
worshipping Baba's photo and could not visit Shirdi to have darshan of Baba. While
he started worshipping Baba's photo, Baba himself came to Thane and gave darshan
to Appasaheb. Baba also gave darshan after his stomach was full and demanded the
same quantum of money which Appasaheb thought of originally giving. Baba also gave
Appasaheb examined the Udi-packet given to his wife when he was not present in the
house and found that it contained some flower-petals and Akshata (sacred rice mixed
with turmeric). Then some time afterwards he got a strand of Baba’s hair during
his visit to Shirdi. He put the Udi-packet and the strand of Baba’s hair in a small
silver container as talisman and always wore it on his arm. Then he realized the
power of the talisman and was very fortunate to get Rs.40/- as pay in the beginning,
but afterwards he got many times increase in salary and also got plenty of money.
He also rose to the position of Deputy Collector. He was also held in high esteem
and got wider influence. Besides these temporal benefits, he also attained rapid
progress in his spiritual pursuit.
Sri C.B.Satpathy is an ardent devotee of Sri Sai Baba and was associated
with the construction and inauguration of several Baba temples (more than 200 in
number) in India and abroad. He had visited USA, U.K., Canada, Australia, African
countries and Latin American countries for Baba's mission and teachings. He also
wrote books on Baba. An equally ardent devotee of Baba is Sri A.R.Nanada who is
well known to Sri Satpathy and Sri Nanda also wrote books on Baba. An interesting
instance which came up to the observation of Sri Satpathy during his visit to Havana
in Cuba, has been collected from their books on Baba to show that Baba's photo alone
was curing the diseases of the general public in Havana on looking at Baba's photo
with utmost faith. During his visit to Havana, Sri Satpathy came across a Spanish
woman devotee by name Ms.Maria, aged about 78 years during 1996. She had received
a photo of Baba from some one from India and except this photo, she did not have
any knowledge about Baba nor did she visit India or any temple of Baba. But she
was worshipping Baba's photo with utmost faith for the last 20 years and with her
unswerving devotion, she was curing the diseases of the general public by asking
them to look at the photo of Baba with utmost faith and on verification this phenomenon
was found true. She was also meditating frequently and had experiences of spiritual
ecstasy while meditating. But some others felt that she was irrationally crazy about
Baba's photo. This instance amply proves that gazing at Baba's photo is tantamount
to looking at Baba Himself with a prayer.
In those days the talk was that Baba’s hand was without bones and that he would
never send away empty-handed, anyone who approached him with faith. Based on this
aspect, many people like singers, astrologers and street circus performers came
to Baba and exhibited their talents and received presents. When ankita devotees
of Baba visited Shirdi along with their family members, Baba used to give them clothes.
Baba accepted dakshina from the devotees only to help them temporally and spiritually.
Baba never associated himself with any other financial matters of the devotees.
If any devotee came forward to Baba with any such proposal, Baba flatly refused
and did not involve himself in any such matters. Baba did never yield to the lure
of the lucre. Baba was not in need of money and on the other hand, he gave plenty
of money in several ways to the devotees and others.