Sai Baba asserted in plain terms unconditional and complete responsibility for His devotees, His watch over them and the absolute reliance they could place in Him.
His undertaking was complete through the passage of time, life after life He kept an intent watch over His people and drew them to Him at an appointed point of time. Sai Baba was explicit about this – “I draw my people to me from long distances in many ways. It is I who seek them out and bring them to me, they do not come of their own accord. Even though they may be thousands of miles away, I draw them to me like a bird with a string tied to its foot”.
Baba looked after spiritual as well temporal welfare of His devotees. He fully approved of people approaching Him for material gains. He said, “ My men first come to me on account of material benefits only, after they get their hearts desires fulfilled and comfortably placed in life, they follow me and progress further”. His approach was realistic and yet so divine – “I give people what they want in the hope that they will begin to want what I want to give them ”.
Baba worked meticulously on his devotees to transform them. Dasganu an intimate devotee of Sai Baba witnessed that he used to perform strange act occasionally by taking out a few old coins from a purse and rub their surface constantly but gently. As He rubbed them He would take the names of some of His close devotees as – This is Nana’s. This is Kaka’s and so on.
Obviously the coins symbolized devotees on whom He was working spiritually, transmitting His grace and transforming them. Strange is the way of a Master to work with the elements of a man whom He has taken in His hands.
His striving for the evolution and hapiness of His devotees was strenuous for Him. Invariably He would draw the physical sufferings and illness to Himself for the sake of His children. It was around the year 1912, an epidemic of plague was raging in the region and one of His devotee’s son happened to contact the disease during their visit to Shirdi. The devotee Mrs. G.S. Khaparde was horrified and wanted to leave immediately with the infected son for better medical treatment at Bombay (now Mumbai). Sai Baba comforted her in a figurative language, saying the danger would pass off, but this did not pacify the lady. Baba thereon lifted His sleeves and showed her huge buboes on His own body, and said “Mother, I have to suffer this for the sake of your son”. In short time her son got cured after Baba having drawn the disease on to Himself. Baba had complete undertaking of His devotees for their spiritual as well as temporal needs. Baba used to say that He was responsible for each person sent to him by Allah and also that He will have to explain to Allah as to what he has done with these children.
Baba's promises in His own name :
- I am Parvardigar (God). I live at Shirdi and everywhere.
- My business is to give blessings.
- I am formless and everywhere, I am in everything, I am in everything and beyond, I fill all space. All you see and not see, taken together is Myself.
- Sai is not only in this three and a half Cubit body. I pervade the universe and transcend it.
- This body is My house. My Guru (Master) has taken Me away from this long ago.
- My love is ever on those who love Me. Whatever you do, wherever you may be, ever bear this in mind that I am always aware of everything you do,
- If one ever meditates on Me, repeats My name, and thus transformed into Me, I stay by his side always.
- If one perpetually thinks of Me and makes Me his sole refuge, I am his debtor.
- If one ever dwells on Me in his mind, and not even taste food before offering it to Me, he who hungers and thirsts after Me, I look after all his concerns.
- If any one thinks of only Me and casts all his burdens on Me, I look after all his concerns.
- No harm shall befall him, who sets his foot on the soil of Shirdi.
- He who touches the steps of My tomb, all his sorrow and suffering shall cease.
- Even after I cast off thos body, I shall ever come running to the help of My devotees.
- Keep faith in Me, and your prayers shall be answered.
- Think of Me as eternally alive, experience this and realise this Truth.
- Name anyone who has sought refuge and has been turned away.
- In whatever form men worship Me, so do I render to them.
- Not in vain is My vow that I shall ever shoulder your burden.
- I am grateful to the one who takes his food only after offering it to me.
- Who surrenders in body, mind and speech to Me, I remain ever indebted to him.
- Blessed is he who has become one with Me.
He would often speak in parables leaving his devotees to work out the answers:
'A man had a fine horse, but no matter what he did, it would not run in harness. An expert suggested that it should be taken back to the place from where it had come. This was done and it became tractable and useful.' The explanation of the story is that the horse is the ego. As commander of the physical and mental powers of man it is useful but self-willed, and therefore causes endless trouble. Taking it back to its source is re-absorbing it in the spirit or self from which it arises. It is the return to the source, which purifies and enlightens. From there the ego issues forth again no longer an ego but a conscious agent of Spirit.
Another parable goes like this, 'Some robbers came and took away my money. I said nothing but quietly followed them and killed them and recovered my money’. The money is the faculties bestowed to man in his pure and original state, the robbers are the desires, killing them and recovering the wealth is destroying desires and realizing the self.
On one occasion a station master came to him without faith, just to see what the strange wonder worker looked like. On arrival he found Sai Baba washing out mud pots and placing them mouth downward on the ground. He asked him why was he doing that and Baba replied with caustic humour, referring to unreceptive listeners, 'Pots come to me like that, mouth downwards''. He is the giver of everything material or spiritual gains; but the recipients should have full faith and receptivity for the same.
Once a devotee seeing a thick crowd assembled there asked Sai Baba, whether all of them derive full benefit. For reply Baba pointed to a mango tree in full blossom – “What a splendid crop it would be if all the blossom seeds turned into fruit, but do they? Most of them fall off. Very few remain.”
Baba suited His teachings to the needs and capacity of the recipient to absorb it. He had in front of Him a mass, full of imperfections and shortcomings and He spoke to them - 'My Master (The Almighty) told me to give bounteously of material as well as spiritual rewards to His children. His treasury was indeed always open'.