Sri Sathya Sai On: Shirdi Sai Baba (Last Days and Miracles after Mahasamadhi)

Baba had told His close devotee, Kakaji, in the year 1916, that Dada would be shedding his mortal coil in 1918. Kakaji thought that Baba was mentioning only about Dada Sahib, another devotee, and never thought the reference was to Baba Himself.

On September 28, 1918, Baba developed high temperature. Two days earlier He had collected food by seeking alms in some houses. He took that food and at noon, He expressed His wish to His devotees that He should be taken from the Choultry to Bootywada. He hoped to have a quiet time there. In that ward, a Muralidhar temple had been built by a devotee by name Booty. He wanted Baba to install the idol of Krishna in the temple. But Baba was putting off the installation on one pretext or other. Booty did not want to install the idol without the blessings of Baba. Until His end Baba did not say anything about installation of the idol. He directed Booty and Kakaji to go and take their lunch. Feeling that Baba was better, they went out. Baba had nine rupee coins under His pillow. He took them out and gave them to Lakshmi Bai. Then Baba summoned Shyam to come near Him. Shyam sat close to Baba. Baba reclined on Shyam’s shoulders and passed away.
- “How Devotees are Tested and found wanting”, Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 25, October 06, 1992, Prasanthi Nilayam

It was the year 1918. Pradhan’s wife, who was living in her native village, had a dream in which Baba appeared to have passed away. Pradhan was in Shirdi. On waking up, Pradhan’s wife started crying over the passing of Baba in her dream. At that moment she heard a voice in the house declaring: “Don’t say that Baba has died. Say that Baba is in a state of Samadhi”. Samadhi means equal-mindedness. “Life and death are alike. Joy and sorrow, profit and loss are the same. Hence, there is no such thing as death for Baba” – this was what the voice declared. 

When she was trying to find out where from this voice came, she received a message from her husband conveying the news of the passing of Baba. That occurred on Vijaya Dashami day (in 1918). September 28, 1835 was His date of birth. On Vijaya Dashami day, He gave up His body. 
- “Revelations about the Sai Avatar”, Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 23, September 28, 1990, Prasanthi Nilayam

Mataji Krishna Priya came to know that Baba had left His mortal coil at 2:30 p.m. on Vijayadasami day in 1918. She came to know of this and felt very sad the whole day. The next day she closed all the doors and windows in her house because of the severe cold in Shimla. While she was resting in the house, a tall and well-built monk arrived at the next door and enquired about Mataji’s house. He made enquiry not because He did not know where Mataji lived, but only to make others know that He was physically present in Shimla. The neighbour sent a servant with an umbrella as it was snowing, to show the stranger Mataji’s house. He knocked at the door. Mataji opened the door and could not believe the evidence of her eyes. She wondered how Baba, who had passed away the previous day, could come to Shimla. She asked: “How did You manage to come so soon? It takes at least three days to come from Shirdi to Shimla”. Baba said, “Beti (dear daughter), I am everywhere. You have worshipped Me in the form of Krishna. Is this all that you know about Me? I am feeling the cold. First get Me hot tea”. She prepared tea and offered it to Baba. After taking the tea, Baba said that He was hungry after His long journey. Krishna Priya brought Him chapatis and brinjal curry which Baba used to like very much. After taking the food Baba washed His hands and wiped them in a towel. He then told her: “The purpose for which I came is over and I am going away”.

In those days nobody dared to exchange words with Baba. If anybody opposed or said anything to the contrary, Baba would wield the stick against them. He never brooked any contradiction. Hence Krishna Priya could not tell Him anything. He gave her a jasmine garland. Krishna Priya watched Him as He went out walking through the bazaar. In Shimla, on the roadside, there are usually deep valleys. As Baba was walking along, some workmen were engaged in some road work. Noticing that Baba had fallen down from the road, they ran to rescue Him. But they could find nobody there. Baba had just disappeared.

Before taking leave of Krishna Priya, Baba whispered in her ears: “See me in 1926”. She did not know where to see Him, how to see Him. When I went to Shimla about fifteen years ago Krishna Priya came to see Me. She was shivering on account of age and the cold weather. She asked: “Baba, have You forgotten the promise that You made to Me long ago?” I told her: “It is you who have forgotten, not I. I never forget what I promised”.

These are some of the aspects of the Shirdi manifestation. When Shirdi Sai sought to impart wisdom, it was not through discourses. Everything was taught by stern methods. It was because of the conditions prevailing in those days.

On September 28, 1918, Baba developed fever. For 17 days thereafter He was quite well. On October 15, Baba was not to be found anywhere. Nana, Kaka, Das and Lakshman Rao made a search for Him all over the place. There was a small well nearby and they went to see whether He had fallen there. When they returned to Baba’s abode, they found Him standing near the door. Baba told them: “Where are you searching for Me? I am in one place and you search for Me elsewhere. I am in all pure hearts. You are searching for Me in all polluted places. How can you find Me?” He then sat down.
Shirdi Sai Baba with devotees in Dwarkamayi Mandir

Baba left His body only on October 15. He developed high temperature on September 28. He was keeping well for the next 17 days. After Baba left His body, several controversies arose. Mohammedans came there and claimed that the body belonged to them. The Hindus claimed that the body belonged to them. Baba used to declare from time to time, “Allah Malik! Allah Malik”. On account of this, Mohammedans claimed that Baba was a Muslim. At other times, Baba used to say: “Rama Malik! Krishna Malik!” For this reason the Hindus claimed he was a Hindu. Because of these rival claims, the body was kept for 36 hours as no decision could be arrived at regarding the manner of disposal, of the body.

To prevent clashes between the Hindus and the Muslims, the Collector, the Police Superintendent and other officials arrived there. They asked all the residents of Shirdi to assemble there. They decided to take the vote of the people to find out how the majority of the local population wanted the last rites to be done for Baba. Everybody favoured the Hindu way of disposal of the body. When this decision was arrived at, a pit was being dug in the Booty Mandir. Some persons opposed the digging. The dispute went on and ultimately the Collector and the Police arranged for the Samadhi to be consecrated in the Muralidhar temple. That temple is the present Samadhi Shrine of Baba.

At this time a remarkable incident occurred in Shimla. The garland given to Mataji Krishna Priya was placed on the idol of Krishna by her in the presence of all in her residence. Many wondered why she was garlanding the Krishna idol when she was a devotee of Sai Baba and there was a picture of Baba there. Bhajans were going on at that time. The garland placed on the Krishna figure dropped on the picture of Baba. The garland placed on the picture moved to the figure of Krishna. Everyone in Shimla rejoiced in the discovery that Krishna and Sai Baba were one.

When all the people came there the next morning, they found that the garland given by Baba was no longer on the figure of Krishna. That garland was found on the Samadhi of Baba in the Booty Mandir.
The first Samadhi Mandir at Bootywada - The frame existed before the statue was installed
Why did Baba manifest such miracles? In those days there were bitter differences between Hindus and Muslims. With a view to ending such communal differences, Baba wanted to show, through His miracles, the truth that Baba is the Supreme master of all beings. He has no differences of caste or community. His religion is common to people of all faiths. It is good for everyone. It is observed by all Godly persons. This is the creed for all mankind.
- “How Devotees are Tested and found wanting”, Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 25, October 06, 1992, Prasanthi Nilayam

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