Being a staunch devotee of Sri Shirdi Sai Baba and had visited most of Baba’s centers located in various towns in Malaysia, read his messages and teachings regularly and had learnt about his miracles, my wife and me decided to visit the holy land Shirdi, the blessed soil on which Sai Baba has set his foot.
My wife and me left KLIA on 28th morning at 9.30 am by MAS and reached Shivaji International Airport,Bombay at noon. Then reached Shirdi by road. Our journey to Shirdi by road took about 5 hours. We touched Shirdi, the blessed soil for the 1st time on 28th August 2013 at about 7.30 pm. We checked in at Hotel Sun & Sand, without much delay we washed ourselves and strait away went to Samadhi Mandir, Chavadi, Gurusthan, Maruthi (Sri Hanuman) temple to have our Dharshan.
The the next day, on 29th August, we were at Dwarakamai, a holy place where Sri Sai Baba live and blessed millions of his devotees, at 3.00 am to get Baba’s blessing. We submit flowers and a coconut for the Dhuni and sat there for a while chanting Baba’s glory and doing meditation. The Dhuni is the sacred perpetually burning fire that Baba built and which has been maintained till today.
Later, we went to Samadhi Mandir to witness Arathi and to get Baba’s blessings. We went around Mandir to conduct prayers, particularly the Gurusthan, where the holy Neem tree was situated. Baba was first found by the villagers meditating under this neem tree when he was about 16 years old in the middle of 18th century. We went around the neem tree few times hoping to collect some falling neem leaves. It is a belief that the leaves from this neem tree has profound powers to help cure any sickness of the present day. But, the security man on duty at this point never allow anyone to wait for a while near this tree, even for a minute to pick up any falling leaves to avoid overcrowding or congestion at Gurusthan. Even though thousands of devotees were waiting there in anticipation to pick up one or two neem leaves, but only one or two devotees succeeded in getting a leaf after waiting for hours. But we were fortunate, with Baba’s blessing, we managed to pick one fresh green neem leaf at my second visit to Gurusthan. We were extremely happy to realize that Baba has acknowledged our visit by granting our wishes to have one green neem leaf.
We also took time to visit all the samadh of the disciples who lived and served Baba in Shirdi particularly Haji Abdul Baba Samadh (1954) and Shri Nanawawali samadh (1918). We were happy to note that our visit to all the holy places around Samadhi Mandir went on well as we wished.
But, alas our happiness came to a halt when the night fall on 29th of August!. At night around 9 pm we joined the crowd to witness a Krisna Jayanthi procession where Baba’s moorthy was carried in a decorated chariot around Shirdi. Thousands of devotees thronged to get Baba’s blessing. Unfortunately, some ill hearted person/s from the crowd ‘picked pocket’ my purse which contains our Malaysian passport and cash RM 4,000. It was very unfortunate night for us. We feel so sad and shocked to learn this misfortune has happened to us in Shirdi!.
Next day, on 30th, we lodged a report at Security Office at Samdhi Mandir and Police Hq at Shirdi about our loss. Even though we feel sad but we persistently went on with our prayers as we already planned, chanting Baba’s bajans . We wished in our prayers Baba will help us to get back our passport at least. We went to Dwarakamai again to ask for Baba’s blessing to get back our passport. To our surprise, the person who was in charge of maintaining Baba’s Dhuni assured us by saying ‘Don’t worry..Baba will give your passport’. Many guest at hotel where we stayed , including the hotel management, assured us that we, being a faithful and staunch devotee of Baba, will not face any difficulties in Baba’s holy land. They assured us that Baba will surely help us to get back our passports as soon as possible.
The next day is 31st. Aguust. . It is a Malaysia Independence day. Conjunction with this auspicious day, we hand over some Malaysian flags and some goodies including bags with 1Malaysia symbols to the hotel staff. Since my wife persuaded me to give a talk to the hotel staff about the history of our Independence and about 1Malaysia concept mooted by Hon. Malaysian Prime Minster, Najib Tun Abdul Razak, I explain briefly about our Independence struggle and 1 Malaysia concept which is akin to Baba’s teachings.
We left the hotel after my brief talk to the hotel staff to Samathi Mandir for a Dharsan and then we proceed to Dwarakamai Seva Trust Old Age Home at Nanduriki-Kankuri Road, Shirdi, to offer food to some old people who are taking shelter there. We were fortunate to perform our ‘Dharma’ by offering some food to the unfortunate soul. Offering food to people is one of Baba’s principle teachings.
We left the old age home around 2 pm and came back to hotel for a short break. I was about to take a short nab but awaken by a telephone ringging at my bed side. Mr.Vijay, the front desk hotel staff called me and informed me that our passport has been found and he asked me to rush to Samadhi Mandhir with the hotel transport to collect it. I did not believed it at first..i thought i was dreaming. Realizing that the telephone call was real, my wife and me rushed to Samadhi Mandir immediately and saw two people in a security uniform waiting near Samadhi Mandir with Malaysian passports. To our surprise and utter amazement, it was our and we collected it from those two people in security uniform. Thanks to Baba we found our passport. Baba has proved that he is omnipresent and exist everywhere to hear our distress. Baba did not left us in despair for a long time! At this point, I remember reading a book where I come across an assurance from Baba that “I will be with you ,when ever and where ever you think of me” .
Having collected our passport, we bought some flower garland and rushed to Samathi Mandir to offer our heartfelt thanks to Baba for helping us . we went to the Samadhi Mandir main security office to let them know that we got back our passport. But the main security office at Mandir is not aware about the finding and they claim that the person who hand over the passports to us are not there man on duty! What a surprise!.
Neverthelesss, the security personnel at Samadh Mandir facilitate our movement to reach Samadhi Mandir instantly to offer our flowers to Baba. At this moment we feel so happy and relaxed and my wife suggested to sit for while in the Lendhi Baug, a garden where Sai Baba used grow vegetables and spend his time every day during his life time. Baba has also planted some trees there. A well used by Baba to water the vegetable plants were also found in this garden.
While we were talking and reflecting the days of Baba walking about in this green garden, a saintly (sanyasi) looking person appeared in front of us. Assuming that he is expecting arms from us, my wife without much hesitant and delay gave him some Indian rupees. I too search my pocket and found some rupees and gave it to him. But to our surprise, he laughed at us and he took one or two coins from us and returned one 2 rupee coin to my wife and one 2 rupee coin to me. He also blessed both of us lovingly. We noticed that he occasionally pointing his fingers up at the sky while chanting “Jay Ram-Jay Ram-Rama Jaya Rama Jaya Jaya Ram”. He also repeatedly pointing at my wife and addressing her as ‘Maha Lekshmi’. He patted my head and my wife’s head lovingly as a symbol of blessings. But at one point we were shocked when he, the saintly looking man, suddenly gave a hard 'tap' at my wife’s head forcefully and left the place only to return to bow down to touch my wife’s feet as a sign of respect. Shocked to see him bowing down to touch my wife's feet , I rushed to stop him but he quickly woke up and walked away from there in a lightening speed and disappeared. we searched for him but could not find anywhere . We guess he disappeared somewhere near the holy tree where Baba and his guru used to meditate.
We went back to hotel happily but reflecting and wondering why the saintly person in the Lendhi Baugh patted us and bowed at my wife. Reaching our room, we were surprised to note that the face of the saintly person we saw in the Lendhi Baug was similar to the Baba’s portrait placed in our hotel room. Now, we realized that the saintly person who appeared in the Lendhi Baug garden was none other than Sri Sai Baba. We feel happy,excited and overjoyed for being blessed by Sri Sai Baba personnely by appearing as a saintly man or fakir.
Next day, we left the hotel to Bombay enroute to our home ,Malaysia. On our way to Bombay from hotel, we stopped at Khandoba temple to offer our respect to the ‘Paduka’, where Baba put his first step when he arrived at Shirdi the first time. Here is the place where Khandoba temple priest Mhaspati greeted Baba as “ Ya Sai”. We were informed that Baba was with a group of people who stopped at the Khandoba temple to join a marriage ceremony to be held in Shridi. Mhasalpati addressing the saintly looking man as ‘ Sai’ has eventually led to the appellation and evolution to become the most admired and revered spiritual Gurus of India and all over the world of present day.
We returned to Malaysia happily with the feeling of having trenched in Baba’s unlimited benevolent blessings. Having witnessed and experienced personally Baba’s presence in Shirdi, my wife , Anusuya Devi Naidu and me are ever willing to vouch that Baba exist in Shirdi to bless his devotees. We still remember the assurance of Baba “My bones will speak from my tomb”. Jai Shri Sai Ram. Bow to Sri Sai-Peace be to all.
By M.Perry & Anusuya Devi Naidu