Saibaba’s divine presence is an awe-inspiring force that serves as a connection between the human soul and the divine. Through His supernatural power, Shri Saibaba teaches His devotees how to attain divine knowledge. His omnipresence is so profound that it is unmatched by anyone else. His feet are known to destroy the sorrows that afflict humans and dispel any superstitions that may hinder their devotion. Saibaba embodies complete bliss and is a source of unending joy for those who seek His divine guidance.
Once upon a time in Pune, there lived a lawyer named Daji Awasthi. Born in 1869, Daji’s father worked for the government and was transferred to different districts every three years. This allowed Daji and his family to visit various temples and bathe in different rivers, gaining spiritual benefits from the diverse experiences.
Despite his exposure to different religious practices, Daji did not have a strong inclination toward devotion. He would often argue with saints who spoke about attaining God, claiming that it was a difficult task and only achievable through rigorous testing. Daji believed that one must be free from all desires and only then can one achieve the divine.
As time went by, Daji’s skepticism only grew stronger. It wasn’t until he met a rare saint in Pune in 1897 that his life took a dramatic turn. The saint proved to Daji that God existed and there were many divine entities in the world. He encouraged Daji to chant the powerful mantra, ૐ Namah Shivaya, continuously for 16 years, promising that it would lead to a divine experience.
From that day on, Daji stopped arguing with anyone about matters of religion and started chanting the mantra with unwavering devotion. As he continued to chant, his focus grew stronger, and the habit became a part of his being. He chanted the mantra every moment, regardless of what he was doing.
Despite his dedicated chanting for twelve years, Daji had yet to experience divine intervention. But his faith remained steadfast. Daji decided to embark on a pilgrimage to Pandharpur and sit at the feet of Vithoba, continuing his chanting until his dying breath.
Daji knew that he might not live to see the fruits of his labor, but he was determined to keep going until he achieved his ultimate goal.
In 1910, Daji visited Pandharpur where he met a saint named Ralvi along with Pandharinath. The saint said to him, “Alya! Is worshiping a coward’s job? Can anything shake you if you truly believe? Follow the path to Shirdi village, as that is where your true abode lies on the soil of Shirdi.”
Daji was deeply moved by a saint’s speech. After visiting Lord Vithoba and Rukminji in Pandharpur, he returned to Pune chanting the mantra “Namah Shivaya” and resumed his worldly duties. Daji continued to recite the Panchakshara mantra of “Om Namah Shivay” with every breath he took and like this few more years passed.
In 1913, when Daji was forty-four years old, fate opened its doors for him. After reaching Nashik from Pune, he joyfully bathed in the holy Godavari river, traveled to the temple of Lord Dattatreya, and worshipped other deities before finally reaching Shirdi in a tonga. The land of Shirdi was like a kind friend, rich in the treasures of Dharma, Artha, Kama, and Moksha. A neem tree, resembling the Kalpvruksha, stood as a canopy over the land, and its sight alone destroyed the suffering and poverty of humanity.
Many great sadhus, mahatmas, saints, and sages came to Shirdi to have the darshan of Lord Saibaba. By seeing Saibaba, all received their desired fruits and the afflicted found solace in Saibaba’s serene qualities.
Daji was among the many who came to Shirdi seeking spiritual guidance. The saint’s speech touched his heart and brought him to this holy place. Daji felt blessed to be in the presence of such a divine being and knew that he would leave Shirdi a transformed person.
Sai Baba Appeared As Lord Shiva
Daji felt an indescribable joy in his mind when the Lord directly revealed the fruit of all his virtues. As he ascended the steps of Dwarikamai and gazed upon Saibaba’s throne, he was surprised to find Lord Shankar seated instead of Saibaba. Lord Shankar’s presence was awe-inspiring, with His white complexion resembling the Himagiri mountain and His severe disposition contrasting His beautiful body, which could rival a million cupids. The Ganges, with its beautiful waves, was held around Lord Shankar’s waist, while the moon adorned the space between His brows. He wore glittering coils in His ears and clothed Himself in the skin of a lion. A garland of Rudraksha adorned His neck as He sat on the throne of Srisai, His voice resonating with a deep blue hue.
Daji fell to the ground and prostrated himself, offering a prayer to Lord Shankar.
“Oh God of Gods, Kalyan Murti Lord Shankar, I bow to you. You are the eternal Ishvara, radiating like millions of birthless suns, and the destroyer of human suffering. With Your Trishul in one hand and Damru in the other, O Nath of Mother Parvatiji, I bow to You, O Shankar! You are beyond human arts, always giving happiness to Sat Purusha. You are the enemy of the demon named Tripura, the host of Jnanananda, the destroyer of cupid and delusion – I salute you. O Umapati! As long as humans do not remember your lotus feet, they will not attain happiness or peace in this world or the hereafter. The suffering of humans will not be destroyed, O Shankar, the greatest of all beings! I bow at your feet, O Neelkanth! Tormented by the miseries of birth, death, and old age, I know nothing of worship, chanting, or austerity. Protect me, O Mukti Swaroop O Shankar! O Swami, Yes, Lord, you are able. You are the Veda Murti, Brahman. I bow to you, O Lord! You are birthless, without resolution, and formless knowledge. You are the God in the sky, in subtle as well as gross forms. I salute you, O Shambho! You are formless, the compassionate form of Omkar. You are beyond waking, dreaming, and dormant, beyond speech and senses. You dwell in Kailas, the form of the terrible Mahakaal, the most compassionate Karunamurti. I salute you, above the world, the conglomerate of the Gunas (virtues) O Shankar! I bow to you again and again… Salutations… Salutations.”
Saibaba was pleased to see Daji Awasthi’s love and devotion, and when Daji looked up to the throne, Lord Saibaba was seen sitting and had replaced Lord Shankar on the throne of Dwarikamai. Today, God blessed Daji’s Japa, Tapa, and Vrata. Daji Awasthi had become Ananda Vibhor (in a blissful state), feeling Brahmananda running in his body. Satisfied with the darshan of Shankar Swarup Saibaba, he began to say, “O Sai, with your darshan today, all my accumulated good actions have been rewarded. This cannot be compared to any benefit or happiness. I have been continuously chanting “Om Namah Shivay” for sixteen years and today it got its fruits in the form of indescribable darshan from You as Lord Shiva.
Saibaba was pleased and began to bless Daji, saying, “Allah Malik”. While Saibaba was blessing Daji, a voice was heard from RadhaKrishna Maai’s hut opposite to Dwarkamai.
As the singer recounted her past, mournful sounds echoed from a nearby hut. It was as if a grieving mother had lost her son, a sati woman had been separated from her beloved, a husband was mourning his wife’s death, and a sister was weeping for her brother. Listening to the songs of separation would have pierced the heart of any listener. At that time, Daji sat beside Awasthi and Mr. Harivinayak, the Deputy Collector of Kheda district. The latter took Daji’s hand and led him to Jali RadhaKrishnaMai’s hut, where Radhamai Krishna was lost in her own world, shedding a single tear. From that day on, Daji Awasthi became a devoted follower of Saibaba and started worshiping RadhaKrishnaMai. Over four years, Daji had many spiritual experiences of RadhaKrishnaMai’s power. On Dussehra day in 1917, the women in Daji’s house were worshiping the photos of RadhaKrishnaMai and Saibaba when the scent of roses filled their home. A few days later, Daji received a letter from Shirdi, written by Saibaba’s disciple Abdullababa, and another one from Vamanrao Patel. Reading both letters, he learned that the fragrance of roses had coincided with RadhaKrishnaMai’s passing at a hospital in Kopargaon.
Seven months had passed since RadhaKrishnaMai’s passing when, in AD 1918, during Vikram Samvat 1974 in the month of Vaishakh, which was an Akhatrijan Monday, Daji Awasthi, accompanied by his wife Shantaben and his brother’s daughter Rekhaben, went to Shirdi to seek darshan of Shri Saibaba. Lord Saibaba spoke with a melodious voice and said, “The school in front is now empty. Go and live there.” Despite Saibaba having ordered some devotees to move there to test the devotees while Radhakrishnamai was still alive, Daji Awasthi and his family clan decided to reside in RadhaKrishnaMai’s vacant hut. They wanted to cook a meal for themselves and intended to offer it first to Saibaba. However, when they lit the stove, it didn’t burn. They tried to blow on it with a bamboo stick, but the stove still wouldn’t light. Shantabai and Rekhaben were bewildered and their faces showed were then pale. Suddenly, Radhakrishnamai descended from the loft. She was wearing the same white clothes, had long black hair that reached her knees, wore tiny tulsi garlands on both hands and around her neck, and had a black veil on her forehead. She looked exactly the same as before.
RadhaKrishnaMai silently lit the stove and efficiently prepared the Naivedya for Baba, as well as cooked food for everyone. She then went back to the loft, leaving the others assuming that she had some work to do. They waited for her to return to eat together, but as time passed, they grew concerned about her absence. Suddenly, Daji Avasti had a hallucination, realizing that RadhaKrishnaMai had passed away seven months ago. The group was stunned by this revelation and wondered how they could have been unaware of her absence all this time, despite her contribution to the meal. It was a mystery and perhaps a sign of Saibaba’s divine intervention.