Sai Baba gave refuge to many devotees in Dwarkamai. Bade Baba was one very important personality amongst such devotees in Baba’s Darbar.
Baba has said, “If you giveme one I will give you in hundreds!” However, the gifts of God are unique. To cnsume the blessings, the devotee must be equally deserving and virtuous. It would be seen from the life sketch of Bade Baba that Baba showered a lot on him; but Bade Baba did not have the spiritual strength to observe them.
Bade Baba was ‘Fakir Peer Mohammed’ from Malegaon. By profession he was a fakir. Therefore, he was also known by the name Fakir Baba.
Bade Baba first arrived in Shirdi around 1909 and thereafter, took permanent residence there. In the beginning, he used to reside in the new Chavadi. Baba had not granted him permission to come to Dwarkamai. Devotees like Mhalsapati, who were close to Baba, requested Him to permit Bade Baba to enter Dwarkamai. However, Baba continued to deny the permission saying “Let him si in the Chavadi and read the book (Quran)”. Baba adopted such queer-looking ways for the spiritual progress of some of His devotees.
After some months passed, Baba gave the permission to Bade Baba to come to the Masjid. Gradually, Bade Baba became aprominent personality in Shirdi. The reason for this was also unique.
Sai Baba pampered Bade Baba a lot. He affectionately called him ‘Bademiyan’ and honoured him as a guest. In the masjid, he sat on the right hand side of Baba. In Baba’s Darbar, a guest was given a lot of prestige. Bade Baba was in the Masjid from morning breakfast till dinner. Sai Baba made him sit near Himself and served food with His own hands, He cajoled Bade Baba to eat more.
Devotees placed offerings of eatables before Baba. He first took some part from the offerings, ave to Bade Baba and thendistributed the rest to other devotees.
At the time of meals also; unless Bade Baba partook some of the foold first, Baba would not commence His own lunch. However, unfortunately, Bade Baba’s ego got bloated because of the importance accorded to him by Babab. Therefore, the other devotees disliked Bade Baba’s behaviour.
It was the daily routine that, before the meals were served, Bade Baba would come and sit in the Sabha Mandap down below. Baba would call out his name “Bademiayn” and only then he would climb the steps of the masjid and sit at the dish placed on Baba’s right-hand side.
However once, on the festive day of Diwali, Bade Baba’s mood was upset due to some reason and he did not follow his ususal practice. He did not arrive at the Sabha Mandap. On that day, several devotees had brought an assortment of sweetmeats. After the food was served, Baba called out Bade Baba’s name. But, he was nowhere to be een, In bade Baba’s absense, Baba refused to start His meal. Everyone kept waiting.
Ultimately, someone located Bade Baba and managed to bring him to his place on the right side of Baba. Finally, the meas commenced. It may appear odd that too much importance was given to a person who insulted food. But, Baba had unique ways of gathering His devotees and He followed such ways Himself.
In the later years, everyday, as many as 100-125 dishes filled with Naivedya were brought by devotees from Shirdi and ohter places. Some days, Baba instructed Bade Baba to make pieces of Chapattis and Bhakaris and mix them. Accepting these as Baba’s Prasad, the devotees ate it with relish. On some occasions, Baba chided them by asking, “How do you eat this food which has been touched and viled by Bade Baba – a Muslim?” Devotees replied, “Baba, this place and this food belongs to the Almighty God.” To this Baba said, “Yes. Not only this place, but the entire world belongs to Him. Therefore, you should never differentiate between various religions and castes.”
In the eyes of the saints, there is no differentiation between various elements which make up this world. They see this earth as one. Their every action imparts some message. Only, we must be able to read, understand and follow it. More stories on Bade Baba and Baba’s relation will be posted in the next post.