THE TIMETABLE OF THE GLORIOUS SAINT (1)
"The mind is the basis for the existence of the concept of time. If the outward looking aspect of the mind is the larger hand of the clock of time, the inward aspect of the mind is the smaller hand. When the mind is stilled in perfect concentration, time does not exist. Time is the experience of the mind that thinks that the self exists separate from the world and that both are bound by the limitations of time and place. Time was non-existent for Sri Sai Baba who was wholly immersed in the supreme self. That is why he once said that his age was, "Lakhs of years." On another occasion he said, "My mother was ecstatic with happiness when I was born,’ however I asked myself, ‘When was I born? Was I not there before too?’" Sai Baba on the one hand enunciates the apparent reality of the physical body when he states, "When I was born," but on the other, gives his experience of the ever-living soul when he asks, "When was I born?" That was Baba’s unique way of teaching spiritual truths. He gave happiness to his mother on birth. He gave happiness to the entire world, which is nothing but himself. He is the very embodiment of eternal and infinite happiness. In the blue skies where the limits of place and time are transcended, where the golden showers of love and affection abound, he is the rainbow of happiness which shines in the light of knowledge and dispassion."
It is foolhardy to attempt to confine and describe the day-to-day activities of Sri Sai Baba to a particular timetable, while he himself was beyond the limitations of time and space. However, let us, within our human limitations, attempt to see what he did daily at Shirdi.
Baba would rise before the rosy dawn first blushed across the sky, and meditate while sitting leaning on the pillar besides the dhuni. No one would get the chance to see what he was doing at that time. He would allow no one to come near or to be even within fifty feet of him. After a while he would softly chant words like, "Yaade Haq," "Allah Vali Hai," and "Allah Maalik Hai" and perform some yogic mudras in between.
Only Abdul Baba and Madhav Fasle would enter the mosque and do the normal housekeeping work, such as sweeping the floor of the mosque, trimming the wicks of the lamps and refilling them with oil, and placing the firewood near the dhuni.
As the day broke, Bhagoji Shinde would enter the mosque and would softly massage Baba’s hand and feet. Baba’s hand was burnt in 1910 when he put his hand in the fire of the dhuni to save a child from being burnt. Bhagoji would open the previous days’ bandage and after softly massaging the scar with ghee (clarified butter), would tie on a new one. He performed this service to Baba daily for eight years, till his mahasamadhi. Perhaps Baba’s burn injury may have healed after a few days, but Bhagoji’s devotion and love for Baba made him continue with the service. He was indeed a blessed soul.
After this Bhagoji would get the pipe ready and hand it over to Baba. Baba would take a couple of puffs and hand it back to him again. It would be about 7 to 7.30 am by the time all this was over. By then the devotees would have reached the mosque for the darshan of Baba. Baba would describe to them how he had saved his devotees who were far away from harm during the previous night, and how he had conveyed those who died during the night, safely to heaven. The devotees would later learn that whatever Baba had stated was true when the devotees from distant places came to Shirdi to thank Baba and narrate their experiences.
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While this was going on Madhav Fasle and Tukaram and other such attendants would fill buckets with water. Baba never brushed his teeth. He would rinse his mouth and wash his face, hands and feet. The way he washed his face was so delicate that one loved to watch him. Those suffering from leprosy would take the water Baba had used to rinse his mouth and would devotedly apply it to the effected parts of their bodies. The water would help them in proportion to their faith in Baba.
While Baba was washing his face the devotees would start coming for the Kakad arati with mace, fans and other ceremonial accoutrements. Baba would welcome them like a mother welcomes her children. Later the devotees would take udi from Baba and depart for their daily chores. The Kakad arati and the Sej arati would only be performed at chavadi on alternate days.
Baba did not bathe every day. A daily bath is forbidden to fakirs. In the early days he would bathe either in the Lendi garden or amongst the bushes outside the village. Later he started bathing at the mosque. The attendants would bring two copper vessels full of hot water and two vessels of cold water and lower the curtains around the mosque. Baba would mix the water to his liking and slowly bathe, taking an hour and a half for the bath. He would then stand near the dhuni while the close devotees wiped dry his back, neck and head. Devotees would treat the water used by Baba as holy and used it to cure their diseases. Ramji of Nasik, who was mentally ill and had come to Shirdi, became normal after drinking this water. As a mark of his gratitude he presented Baba with a stone to stand on while bathing. We can see this stone even now in Dwarakamai. Baba would bathe once in seven or eight days. Sometimes he would not bathe for even five to six weeks. When any devotee questioned him regarding this he would say, "I have just bathed in the Ganges, why should I bathe again?" What need does the ever-pure one have for bathing when he, by mere will, can make rivers flow from his toes?
Baba would look very neat and clean even when he did not bathe. He would wear a green cloth after bathing, and after rinsing his kufni, place it near the dhuni to dry. He would put it on again after it had dried. He wore it at all times except after the bath. His kufnis were made of coarse cloth. The devotees would plead with Baba to change them when they became too old and torn, and only then would Baba wear a new one. Tatya would be bent upon making Baba throw away his bedraggled and torn kufni for a new one. He would go close to Baba on the pretext of talking to him and saying, "Baba, what is this? Your kufni seems to be torn!" and would put his fingers in the holes and tear them to make them even bigger, thus making them impossible to mend. He would then feign innocence and insist on Baba changing it saying, "Baba, your kufni is badly torn, you must change it immediately." Baba could then no longer avoid wearing a new one. He would call for Kashinath Shimpi, a cloth merchant and say, "Kashinath, get me a kufni!" Once Kashinath brought it, he would pay much more for it than it cost. He would wear the new kufni and throw the old one into the dhuni. Normally whenever Baba wore a new kufni, he would distribute new kufnis to the poor fakirs and other sadhus at the mosque. So it was a festival for them whenever Baba changed his kufni. Once in 1914 Baba was distributing kufnis at the mosque. A devotee called Narke who was standing there wished that he too would get a kufni from the hands of Baba. The moment the thought entered his mind, Baba turned to him and said, "No, the Fakir is not agreeable to your getting a kufni. What am I to do?" Baba would sometimes call a barber called Bala and have his head shaved. He would also have his moustache shaped by him and reward him handsomely.
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At about 8 a.m., Baba would start on his rounds for alms. He went to the houses of Ganapati Tatya Patil (Bayajabai), Appaji Patil, Sakharam Shelke, Waman Gondkar and Nanduram Marwadi. To them fell the good fortune of giving sustenance to the One who was the sustainer of life in all the worlds. Baba had a different way of calling for alms at each of the 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. He would stand in front of the houses of Appaji Patil and Waman Gondkar and calling them by name would say, "Bhakri de (give roti)." He would stand in front of Sakharam’s house and call for his wife, "Itlayi Bai! Roti lao." He would go last to the house of Nanduram Marwadi and say either, "Nanduram bhakri de," or call his wife Radhabai, "Bopidi Bai bhakri de." "Bopidi" means "to stutter" in Marathi, and as Radhabai had a slight stammer, Baba sometimes called her by that name. He would shout at her, "Why so much delay?" if she were late in bringing the food for Baba. Sometimes, even when no special occasion such as a festival warranted it, he would say, "Bopidi Bai, mitha lao" (get the sweetmeats). She would leave all her work and make puran polies for Baba whenever he asked for sweetmeats. He would put a piece in his mouth and distribute the rest to the devotees present there. Baba went only to these houses for alms and he would always go to them in the same order, but there was no saying how many times a day he would go. There were sometimes occasions when he went seven or eight times a day. "Baba went eight times a day for alms in the first three years," says Sri Bayyaji Appakote Patil, "He then went four times a day for the next three years, and twice a day for the next twelve years, and in the last days he would go only once a day."
When Baba went to Bayajabai’s house for alms, she would plead with him to sit a while in the house and eat his food there. Baba never entered any house as a rule, however, he could not refuse the loving supplication of the motherly Bayajabai and so he would sometimes sit on the platform abutting the forecourt of her house. The devoted Bayajabai never sent Baba away empty-handed no matter how many times he went for alms. She would eagerly come running out of the house and put at least some pickles or papadam in Baba’s alms-bag. Baba called her his sister; she was indeed blessed. She had seen the greatness and the glory of Baba when the whole world was unaware of him, and had resolved, even in those early days, not to eat till she had fed him. Her life in the previous birth must indeed have been meritorious for her to have such discernment. The housewives of Shirdi in those days may not have been highly educated or considered cultured by the so-called high society, however we must salute them for their rare qualities of devotion and love for Baba.
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Ahmed Nagar district was reeling under a famine in 1876, two years after Baba came to Shirdi. Baba would then only beg at the houses of those who were relatively well off - Nanduram and Bayaja Bai. He would get half a roti at both of these houses during the famine.
Later when the devotees recognized the divinity in Baba, they started coming to Shirdi in droves. Even when the richer devotees placed the choicest delicacies in front of him, he still begged his food and ate whatever he got as alms. He never even looked at the luxuries and rich articles surrounding him. He, who came to be known to this world as a fakir, lived on as a fakir till the end. He never cooked solely for himself, nor did he keep anything for tomorrow. Even in the last days when he was so unwell that he could not go for alms himself, he would send someone else in his stead and eat whatever was obtained.
Baba sometimes suffered from constipation and diseases of the intestines. Then he would make soup of the sonamukhi leaf and some other herbs and drink it and also give some to the devotees who were present. When he suffered from eye ailments such as conjunctivitis, he would make a paste of black pepper and put it in his eyes. Apart from these occasional illnesses, he suffered a lot from asthma. Close devotees would cry to see Baba’s suffering when he had a bout of asthma. Once when Raghuvir Purandare saw him suffering badly from asthma and started weeping, Baba had to console him, "Oh Brother, what do you think has happened to me? Do not worry. It will be better shortly."
Baba would not desist from going begging even when he was so ill. Sometimes when he was ill and in no state to even walk, the devotees would support him and take him around to the five houses. Once when Baba was severely ill a devotee presented him with a wheelchair. We can see this wheelchair today in Chavadi. Baba touched it once and set it aside. He never used it. When he was too ill to go for alms some close devotees would go in his stead. Some of these fortunate souls were Sri Madhavrao Deshpande (Shama), Sri Balakram, Sri Wamanrao Patel (Sri Sai Sarananand) and Professor G. G. Narke.
Sri Sai Sarananand wrote thus in his memoirs, "Once, as Sri Balakrao was away from Shirdi, I had the opportunity to go for Baba’s afternoon round of alms for many days. I used to get alms from Sri Jog’s house and milk from another house." G. G. Narke, seeing the fortunate Sri Sai Saranananda, thought in his mind that he should also have the good fortune of begging food for Baba. Once, he did not have time to change his clothes, and came to the mosque dressed in his normal suit and a hat. Baba said, "This man will go today for alms for me." Narke went happily for alms in those clothes. He got the rare chance of begging alms for Baba for a period of four months.
Baba would put a cloth alms-bag around his shoulder and carry a tin when he went begging. He would put all the solid stuff such as rotis and curries in the bag and the liquids, such as milk and curds in the tin. He never hankered after tastes and would instruct the devotees to disregard taste. Baba always followed the same alms route every day. He started from Dwarakamai and after crossing in front of Chavadi went to the houses of Sakharam Shelke and Wamanrao Gondkar. He then went to the houses of (Appaji) Bayayaji Patil and Tatyakote Patil (Bayajabai) which were a little distance away. Lastly he went to Nanduram Marwadi’s house.
In those days, there was a small heap of stones on the way coming from Bayyaji Patil’s house. Baba would stop there and would feed the dogs and crows from the alms he had received. Baba’s padukas have now been installed there as a commemoration. As soon as Baba reached Dwarakamai after completing his rounds, he would place a little food in the dhuni as an offering, and would put the rest in the earthenware plate (kolumba) placed inside the mosque. As there was no cover on top of the kolumba, the dogs, cats, ants and flies would eat their fill from it. Anyone could take food from it. No one would be stopped from taking his or its fill. The woman who cleaned the mosque would freely take seven or eight rotis every day.
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Baba would daily go to Lendi in the morning between 8.30 and 9.30. He would normally use footwear only when he went to Lendi, and even that was subject to change as fancy took him. He would first come out of the mosque and stand leaning on the wall a while. After that he would stand opposite the Maruti temple to the God Hanuman, and gazing fiercely at the temple would move his hands about making some kind of signals. He would then stand at the crossroads at Gurusthan as if talking to someone, and then proceed further. The devotees who were staying at the wada and those who had recently arrived would have the darshan of Baba there. They would all be standing in lines, eagerly awaiting Baba's arrival from the mosque. Baba would slowly move down the lines, lovingly greeting each devotee by name, and smiling his benediction at them.
He would then turn left and proceed towards the house of Pilaji Gurve. He would cross in front of the Vitthal temple and turn right towards the Kanifnath temple (located opposite the post office). He would walk a little further and turning another right would enter the Lendi. He used Lendi to complete his daily toilet.
Where the neem and the fig trees are presently located in the Lendi, an ever burning lamp (nanda deep) was lit in a small depression in the ground. Curtains made of jute bags were placed all around the lamp and Baba would sit there for some time, always sitting with his back to the lamp and not looking at it. Abdul Baba used to look after the cleaning of the place and putting the oil in the lamps. He would fill two pots with water as soon as Baba arrived there. Baba would sprinkle the water from those pots in all directions while making some signs. He would not allow anybody to stay there while he did this, even Abdul Baba had to stay away during that time and the devotees who had accompanied Baba to Lendi would also stand outside and wait for Baba.
Baba had himself planted the neem and the fig trees there. One of these plants was weak initially and did not take, so Baba used to daily bend it this way and that, and it became strong and grew well by his nectar-like touch. After spending some time at Lendi, Baba would return to the mosque the same way as in the morning; he never changed this route even once. He gave a lot of importance to a fixed routine or a certain way of doing things. The work may be small or big, but Baba would never agree to an iota of change in it.
As the rush of devotees increased, the daily trip to Lendi started looking like a ceremonial festival procession. As soon as Baba came out of the mosque on his way there, Bhagoji Shinde would hold a ceremonial umbrella, delicately embroidered with tassles, over his head. Nanasaheb Nimonkar and Booty would walk on the right and left of Baba, and this fine appearance was a grand sight.
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It would be around 10 am by the time Baba returned to the mosque from the Lendi garden. His royal court would then be held till 11.30. Some devotees would come to him and tell him of their afflictions, hopes and fears, others would seek his advice. Some would pray to him to satisfy their desires. Singers, dancers, magicians would come and after displaying their arts would go away suitably rewarded by Baba. Baba would usually give them two rupees each.
Devotees would come with offerings to Baba and he would touch these offerings with his hand as a token of acceptance and return to the devotees as his prasad. Sometimes he would have the offering distributed to all the devotees present. Only rarely would he take a little of the offering and put it in his mouth. Those whose offering was thus accepted by Baba would be ecstatic with happiness. In the mango season Baba would taste a little of the fruit every day and order them to be distributed to everyone. Other times he would buy mangoes and have them distributed to all.
Baba would give the sweetmeats offered to him mostly to the children as some of the children used to come to him every day. In case the offering arrived when the children were not present, he would have the delicacies kept aside to give to them later. Baba loved children. He would talk to them gently and with love. He would never tolerate anyone talking harshly or beating children.
Whilst he was so intimate and garrulous with the children, he was a model of brevity when talking to the grownups. He would smile but never laugh. He used to recount small fables when he was in a pleasant mood. These tales were usually the life story of one of the devotees present, who would be wonder struck at Baba’s omniscience. These stories would sometime contain admonishments too. Only those persons to whom the admonishment was meant for, would understand the story. The others would assume that the story was about someone or of someone’s previous life. Sometimes the devotees would totally forget the story told by Baba and try as they might, they would not be able to remember it even if they got together as a group to refresh their memories. Everyone was astonished by this.
At 11.30 the bell in the mosque went. This was the sign to the devotees that it was time for the noon Arati. All the devotees, wherever they were, would hurry to the mosque and take part in the Arati which would normally start at midday. Baba was worshipped with flowers and sandalwood paste. The ladies would stand in front of Baba in the mosque while the men would stand in the forecourt . Baba’s face would light up with an otherworldly light at this time. Many devotees have written in their diaries that two eyes were not sufficient to drink in the glory, power and beauty of Baba at the times of Arati. One may see Khaparde’s diary for more details. One can imagine how enchanting a spectacle Baba’s aratis were, when he was extant.
After the noon Arati, Baba would bless all the devotees, give them udi and would send them home. He would lovingly greet devotees and ask each one to have his food and return again to the mosque.
Later he would mix his alms with some of the offerings and eat his food together with ten to twelve devotees. Tatya Patil, Ramachandra Patil and Bayyaji Patil would sit on Baba’s left and the fakir of Malegaon (Bade Baba), Shama, Booty and Kaka Saheb Dixit would sit on his right. Tatya, Ramachandra and Bayyaji would eat from one single plate, while Baba and the Fakir of Malegaon would eat from another. Baba never had his midday meal alone and he would not sit for the meal unless Bade Baba was present.
The devotees would wash their hands and feet and sit on either side of Baba, and after mixing all the offerings would keep the vessel in front of Baba. As soon as they sat down to eat the curtains in front of the mosque would be lowered down and no one else was allowed to enter it. Baba would offer the food to god and send a part of it outside as his prasad to be distributed to the devotees. Baba would take the remaining food and mix it with one part of milk, one part of sugar and one part of rotis and knead well. This would be distributed to all.
Later Nimonkar and Shama would serve all the devotees who sat with Baba. If there were a particular food that a devotee liked very much, Baba would have more of it served to him. Shama was given a large helping of semolina pudding at meals as he was fond of it. M W Pradhan describes these occasions thus, "I used to eat with Baba at the mosque. Baba would serve us himself and heap our plates with food. I used to send a part of it to my house which would suffice for the entire household. Baba used to give each of us a fruit at the end of the meal. He noticed that my son Babu did not care for cooked food and gave him fruit instead."
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Sometimes Baba would cook food himself and feed his devotees. He had two vessels which were big enough to cook for fifty to a hundred people. On the day that he decided to cook for the devotees Baba would go to the market and get all the condiments and groceries himself. He would do all the work such as lighting the fire, grinding the herbs and condiments and the cooking all by himself. (We can see the fireplace used by Baba to cook food at the mosque to this day). He would cook sweet rice pudding or milk rice pudding or mutton pilau. He would insert his bare hand instead of a ladle in to the boiling cauldron and stir and mix the food while it was cooking. Astoundingly, his hands were never burned. Sometimes he would cook gravy and add rotis to it. Other times he would cook gruel and serve it to the devotees together with buttermilk, or he would grind wheat and cook large rotis on the fire of the dhuni. Those rotis would be large and have many layers and one roti would satiate even the hungriest.
He would never let the vegetarians draw near when he was cooking with meat. Once the food was ready he would have the maulvi offer it to god and later send a little to the houses of Mahalsapati and Tatya. Later the remainder would be distributed to all the devotees. After 1910, the number of devotees increased and the offerings also grew, so Baba stopped cooking food. The food offerings given as naivedya to Baba would feed 150-200 devotees daily at the mosque.
Once all had finished their meal, Sagun Meru Naik would clean up the place. As Baba sat in his place, he would offer him betel leaf and nut along with a glass of water and two rupees as dakshina.
No one would be allowed to stay at the mosque after the noon meal. Baba would send everyone away and stay alone at the mosque between 1.00 and 2.30 pm. Baba always had a brick with him which he used to look after very carefully. He would say that the brick was a prasad from his guru. He would keep the brick under his head when he slept. Whenever he sat down he kept the brick to his right and rest his right hand on it. Baba never slept during the day and never rested his back on the wall when sitting. He would sit alone unobserved by all and take out an old cloth bag. There would be some old worn out coins in it. They were of various denominations such as four annas, two annas half a rupee, one paisa and so on. (A rupee had sixteen annas in the currency of that time.) He would take out these coins and rub them vigorously saying, "This is Nana’s; this is Kaka’s, this Somya’s and this Damya’s". If he heard anyone’s footsteps nearing him, he would at once hide the coins in the bag. What those coins indicated or why Baba rubbed them thus was an unfathomable mystery. Baba never told anyone about those coins. It was also during this time of solitude that he would repair the holes in his old and worn out kafni
Baba would again go at 2.30 pm to Lendi garden and return. He held court once again at the mosque after he returned from the Lendi garden. After this, in the evening, Sri Sai would walk about the forecourt of the mosque. He would stand next to the boundary wall of the mosque and talk to the passers-by. Sometimes he would talk in some coded words that only he could understand. He used to say things like, "Ten snakes have left, and many more will come". "Vani (the merchants) and Teli (the oil sellers) have troubled me too much. I am not going to stay in this mosque any longer. I am going away from here." Sometimes he would really start to go away from the mosque and Shirdi. This would be conveyed to Tatya who would come running to Baba and pacify him saying, "I will punish those who have troubled you. I will not let you leave Shirdi and go away. In any case do not go today. We will see about your departure tomorrow." Only Baba knows why he threatened to leave Shirdi. After allowing him to be cajoled into staying by Tatya, Baba would sit as usual in the mosque and talk to the devotees as if nothing was amiss. One can see small padukas, which have been placed where Baba used to stand at the boundary wall of the Mosque to talk to the passers-by. Padukas have been placed on the wall where he had rested his hand. It is said that Baba used to stand there sometimes and watch the sunset.
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Baba used to walk about the street abutting the mosque in the evenings. The people would stand in line on both sides of the street at that time. Baba would walk slowly talking to each person and enquire about his welfare.
The evening arati was given to Baba between 6 – 6.30 pm. After the arati it was time for Sri Sai Baba to hold court again where the devotees could come and tell him of the troubles plaguing them and get his blessings.
Baba used to demand and take dakshina from the devotees. Every day around 8 pm Baba would give away all the cash he had taken that day as dakshina. This charity continued all his life. He would give a fixed amount to each devotee every day. The devotees would consider it their salary. He used to give Rs.55 to Bade Baba, Rs.35 to Sri Tatya, Rs.7 to Jante Musalman, Rs.4 each to Bayyaji Patil Kote, Bhogoji and Ramachandra Patil and so on. Ramachandra Patil would give Baba four pieces of crystallised sugar in return for the four rupees he received from him. Baba would give a rupee each to the newly wed bride and groom when they came to him for blessings. On the occasion of festivals such as Ramanavami he would give two bundles of one rupee notes to Dada Kelkar and Bade Baba and instruct them to distribute the money. Many fakirs and mendicants stayed at Shirdi living on the food offerings, which came to Sri Sai Baba. He would give them each a quarter of a rupee a day. In the evening the balladeers, the storytellers, artists, dancers, acrobats would come to Baba and display their skills. Sri Sai Baba used to give them two rupees each.
After all this was finished Tatya would bring rotis and milk for Baba’s repast. Baba would eat sparingly from that and give the remainder to the devotees as his prasad. He used to give 35 rupees to Tatya at that time. If it were the day for Baba to sleep at Dwarkamai, all would take Baba’s blessings and udi and would depart for their homes. Baba never permitted anyone except for Mahalsapati and Tatya to sleep with him at the mosque.
Once there was a storm and a huge downpour of rain at Shirdi. As the mosque was in a dilapidated condition the devotees pleaded with Baba to sleep in Chavadi. They entreated him but Baba did not budge. Then a devotee called Narayan Teli summoned up his courage and lifted Baba and carried him on his shoulders to Chavadi disregarding Baba’s angry shouts. In this way Baba slept in Chavadi for the night. From this day onwards he slept on alternate nights at Chavadi
Baba slept on the right portion of Chavadi, and some of the devotees slept on the left portion as it had been separated with a railing. The Chavadi Festival was conducted grandly on these days. Radhakrishna Ayi and Abdul Baba would sprinkle water on the road from the mosque to Chavadi to prevent the dust from rising. They would then decorate the entire distance with coloured powder in various designs. Cloths would be placed on the ground for Baba to walk on as befitting royalty. Then Tatya would come to the mosque to tell Baba to get ready to go to Chavadi. Baba would however not move from his place. Tatya would put his hands under Baba’s arms and lift him up to a standing position. As Baba started, he would place a gold embroidered shawl around his shoulders. Tatya walking on the left side and Mahalsapati on the right side of Baba would accompany him to Chavadi. Baba would first stir and rearrange the firewood of the dhuni with his right foot and extinguish the lamp with his right hand and then start for Chavadi. Tatya would hold Baba’s left hand and Mahalsapati would hold Baba’s right hand while walking him to Chavadi.
As Baba was getting ready to climb down the steps of the mosque Pilaji Gurve would play the shehnai. The devotees would start singing bhajans. The horse Shamkarna would be decorated beautifully and would lead the procession. The palanquin with Sri Sai Baba’s padukas came next. The procession was lit with glittering lamps of various colours and was a magnificent sight. On one side the sound of musical instruments, on the other the bhajans by the devotees, and on another the shouts of "All hail to Sai Maharaj" would reach the skies. The devotees would throw flowers and coloured powder on Sai Maharaj as he stepped majestically as befits a king of the universe. He would progress slowly along in his awesome majesty and grandeur bestowing his kindly glance of grace. A well-decorated ceremonial umbrella was held aloft by Jog. As Baba came to the end of the mosque he would turn towards the Maruti temple and make some mystical movements.
Chavadi would be well decorated with coloured lamps and mirrors to welcome Sri Sai Baba. As Baba reached Chavadi, Tatya would go in first and place a seat for Baba along with a plank for him to lean on and adorn him with a coat. Nana Saheb Nimonkar would hold the ceremonial umbrella, which would be revolving majestically. As Baba seated himself opposite the door, Jog would wash Baba’s feet in a silver salver and applying sandal paste would offer betel leaf and nut to him. The devotees would make obeisance to the lotus feet of Sai Maharaj. Shama would make a chillim ready by this time and lighting it would offer it to Baba. Sri Sai would take a few puffs and then hand it over to Mahalsapati. Later it would make the rounds of all devotees. Kondya would make some betel leaf and nut ready and offer them to Baba. Sai Maharaj would eat some and give the remainder to the devotees. The Sej arati would be performed at this time. After the completion of the arati the devotees would all take leave of Sri Sai Baba and go home. Baba would permit all to go home but would call Tatya and say, "Go if you must, but do come in the night and see me." Tatya would agree to do so and take his leave.
Sri Sai Baba, who is the saviour of this world, may act as if he sleeps, as he has to follow the rules of the nature regarding the bodily form he has assumed. But his glance of kind compassion is ever upon us. He will keep his kindly eye on us – his children, and always protect us.