(She used to walk daily on every noon many miles in the jungle, trampling bushes
and shrubs in search of him and used to offer food to Baba. She was the first person
to take care of feeding Baba. She wanted children to Tatya even though he had three
wives. Baba liked Tatya and went into Mahasamadhi by taking on him the death of
Tatya in exchange and thus saved Tatya.)
Sai Baba in the early days of his stay at Shirdi spent his time either wandering
in the outskirts of Shirdi village and neighboring thorny jungles or sitting under
the neem tree in meditation with detachment. The first set of villagers who treated
Baba as a saintly person were Mhalsapati, Tatya Kote, Bayyaji Bai and few others.
Bayyaji Bai felt deeply motivated by Baba as a Divine Saint and with her motherly
affection she used to walk daily on every noon, many miles in the jungle, trampling
bushes and shrubs in search of him, carrying food in a basket on her head. Often
she found Baba sitting under some tree in deep meditation, calm and motionless.
She would boldly approach him, place a leaf before him and spread on the leaf, bread,
vegetables etc and force him to eat and then only she used to return to her home
for her food.Such was the attention she was paying towards Baba and she was the
first person to take care of Baba in feeding him.
After sometime as though out of compassion for her, Baba stopped wandering here
and there in the forest and moved into a dilapidated mosque in the outskirts of
the village and named the mosque where he resided till the end asDwarakamai, the
abode of Lord Krishna. About 8-00 A.M., Baba would start on his begging rounds for
alms. Initially Baba used to seek alms as many as 15 times daily from Bayyaji Bai's
house. He went to the houses of Ganapati Tatya Patil (Bayajabai), Appaji Patil,
Sakharam Shelke, Waman Gondkar and Nanduram Marwadi. With affection and reverence,
all these householders were offering food as and when Baba approached them even
once or more than once in every day. As they offered food without expecting any
return from Baba, they were very happy in their lives and had their desires fulfilled
with the Grace of Baba. Baba had a different way of calling for alms at each of
the five houses at which he begged.He would say, "Abaad-e-abaad, Allah bhala karega,"
and bless the housewives. He would say, "Bayaja maa! Jevan de! Roti lao (give food,
get the roti)!" at the house of Bayajabai. Ahmednagar district was in the grip of
a famine in 1876, few
years after Baba came to Shirdi. And during that time, Baba used to go to the houses
of Nanduram and Bayaja Bai who were relatively well off. He was getting half a roti
at both these houses during the famine time.
Bayyaji Bai’s house was situated adjacent to the masjid. She came to Shirdi after
she married a rich landlord, Ganapath Kote Patil. She was a dutiful and loving wife,
who did all the household chores. Besides these domestic duties, she loved to cook
and feed various guests and relatives that used to come to her house. She considered
food as Brahma and was the first lady to offer food to Baba when he came to Shirdi
in the early days. In Hemad Pant’s Sri Sai Satcharitra, there is a very good description
about her love, devotion and attention paid to Baba. She was the first person in
Shirdi to recognize the divinity of Baba.
Daily Baba took Biksha from her house. As soon as she heard Baba’s voice she left
whatever she was doing; whether it was attending to the cattle or horses or any
other work, she would stop that work forthwith and went inside and prepared fresh
Bhakari (bread made from jowar) and vegetable curry for him. Baba was very much
pleased with her love, devotion and attention.
Baba asked her once what she wanted. Baba said, "Do you want Sampathi (wealth) or
Santhathi (welfare of your family)"?. Unhesitatingly she asked for the welfare of
Tatya, who had no children at that time, though he had three wives. With Baba's
blessings he had three sons and two daughters. Remembering fully the service thus
rendered by her, Baba averted the death of Tatya Patil and offered his body instead.
Baba knew the oncoming death of Tatya Patil and told Ramachandra Patil about this
and asked him to keep it as a secret. But Ramachandra told Bala Shimpi about this
and advised him to keep it as a secret. As the Vijayadasami day was fast approaching
in 1918, Tatya became very unwell and weak and was bed ridden for which Ramachandra
and Bala Shimpi were very anxious. On 15thOct, 1918, while Tatya miraculously became
well, Baba became sick and was unwell and passed away into Mahasamadhi, by taking
on him the death of Tatya in exchange and saved Tatya. That was the degree of affection
Baba exhibited towards the family of Bayyaji Bai. Bayyaji Bai passed away and merged
with Baba at the age of 75 years.
The Shirdi Saibaba Sansthan had bestowed on their descendants the honor of carrying
Baba’s Photograph and Padukas during the Palkhi procession. It was a great honour
The house of Bayyaji Bai and photos of Bayyaji Bai and Tatya, her son are given
Bayyaji Bai did selfless service to Baba extraordinarily without expectation of
any favours. Tatya became very rich and all his troubles were averted by Baba’s
Grace. Baba said that Bayyaji Bai was his sister in the previous janmas (births).