Experiences of the Tarkhad Family with Shirdi Sai Baba 12 of 21 – Granting Mukti and Control Over Nature
Author: Virendra Jyotindra Tarkhad
Other Episodes from Sai Satcharitra
"Om Shri Sainathaya Namaha" Dear readers, I once again feel that the episodes in this chapter are mainly for those people who have gone through Sai Satcharitra. Of course others will also find it undoubtedly interesting enough. There are many instances as depicted in Sai Satcharitra when my father was present (there) in Shirdi, and he had narrated them to us from time to time which I am going to put forward to you all. I am sure many devotees who were present there at that time must have experienced the same. However, I consider myself to be lucky, to hear them directly from my father, and as they were stored in my hard disc, I now blow it up before you, for your personal knowledge. I sincerely hope you will pardon me in case I falter anywhere.
"Granting Mukti (salvation) to Tiger" This incident took place in the year 1918. My father used to distinctly recollect this because that happened to be his last visit to Shirdi when Baba was alive. After this incident I think a week later Baba took Maha Samadhi. On that day, as usual Baba's Darbar in Dwarkamai was on and suddenly outside Dwarkamai there was a big commotion. All were anxious to know what was happening there. Four Darveshis (fakir) were carrying a full-grown Tiger who was tied up in chains; in a bullock cart. They had brought the bullock cart near the entrance of Dwarkamai and parked it. One of the Darveshis entered the Dwarkamai and pleaded to Mr. Madhavrao Deshpande (close devotee of Baba) stating that the Tiger is their source of income. They carry the Tiger from place to place and exhibit his show to people and the earnings are spent on their livelihood including that of the Tiger. But the Tiger had taken ill and while passing through Shirdi they had learnt that a great Saint Sai Baba lived there. They also learnt that Sai Baba possessed miraculous powers and was able to cure living beings simply by his divine looks. They therefore, thought of showing the ailing Tiger to Baba provided the permission was granted to them. On checking with Baba, he granted the permission to bring the Tiger inside Dwarkamai. Darveshis took all precautions and brought the Tiger, who was walking slowly. He came close to the steps of the platform where Baba would normally be sitting. He looked at Baba and then put both his front paws forward and bent himself as though he was bowing and offering Namaskar to Baba and then suddenly gave a big roar. The sound of the roar was so loud and terrifying that it almost shook entire Dwarkamai. On giving that loud roar the Tiger fell flat on the ground and was motionless. The four Darveshi rushed forward to check the Tiger and they realized that it was dead. They declared to Baba that the Tiger was dead and now what should they do with its dead body. Baba advised them to bury the dead Tiger outside Lord Shiva's Temple near the statue of Nandi (bull). All the people of Shirdi had gathered to witness the burial ceremony of the dead Tiger. My father who had witnessed the entire episode live and in great detail felt that there was some kind of exchange between Baba and the Tiger and only after that the Tiger had passed away. My father waited for the right opportunity to enquire with him as to what exactly transpired between him and the Tiger. Baba then smiled and told my father "Hey Bhau ",that Tiger was in deep agony and he was requesting me to relieve him out of that agonizing pain as he could not bear it anymore. I felt pity on his miserable condition and hence I prayed to the Lord to grant him salvation. My Lord is very kind and he responded to my prayers and granted him salvation. That Tiger is free for ever from this cycle of birth and rebirth." My father was totally astonished to hear this explanation from Baba. My father told Baba that till then he had seen him showering blessings on human beings but for the first time he had witnessed him showering blessings on a wild animal like the Tiger. Of course this last visit to Shirdi was unprecedented for my father, which I will narrate in the next chapter.
Control over Rain God: In Sai Satcharitra there is an incident, when there was an unprecedented rainfall in Shirdi. My father was also present there. He was one of those lucky ones who had seen the battle between two superpowers. He use to always say that Sai Baba had acquired the ASHTASIDDHIS" (the eight superhuman powers) and he used to Practice them whenever he was called upon to overcome the crisis of his devotees. Of course the nature's superpower would respect him and respond favorably to his SOS call because Himself was the Incarnation of God on this Planet Earth.
Those were the rainy days and since afternoon it was raining. As the evening approached the rains were getting heavier. Dark clouds had gathered in the sky. Gusty winds started blowing. There were clear signs of a thunderstorm approaching. The skies were getting lit with flashes of lightening followed by sounds of thunder. The storm was very active and entire Shirdi village was getting lashed with severe rains. Water was getting accumulated everywhere and all villagers along with their cattle started gathering in Dwarkamai as they had never come across such a severe downpour and thunderstorm. My father could not be an exception. He also came to Dwarkamai. He was reminded of the incident in the Bhagwat Gita when Lord Krishna had to lift the entire Govardhan Mountain and give shelter to all living beings and offer them reprieve from the unprecedented fury of the nature. That was the day in Shirdi when the natives needed someone like "Govardhangiri" who could only rescue them from that grave situation. Of course all were worried and waiting for Baba"s blessings to fall upon them. There were no signs of storm clearing and soon Baba's patience was over. He got up from his seat, picked up his "SATKA"(small baton) in his hand and came down to the gate of Dwarkamai. He stood there in the open, a severe lightening had flashed in the sky and Baba hit the ground with the Satka and roared loudly saying please go away from here (JATES Kl NAI, to be precise in Marathi). The intensity of that roar was so high in decibels that the entire place started trembling as though a tremor had hit Shirdi. Once again a severe stroke of lightening and Baba was hitting the ground with Satka asking for the rain God to move away from Shirdi. This happened thrice. It was a clear battle between the two Giants and soon the storm was coming to terms with Baba requests of reprieve. The lightening stopped, the rains receded and the winds slowed down. In about an hour's time everything was peaceful once again. The skies were clear and Baba asked everyone to return to their homes. My father resorted to his evening duty of lighting the Petromax Lamps. He was itching for the right moment so that he could ask Baba about the battle. Then came the moment and he asked Baba whether he is also in a position to rule over the nature.
Baba replied saying "Bhau, whenever my devotees are in distress, I pray to the Lord of the Universe to shower his mercy upon them. The Lord comes to my rescue extends his help to me." Of course my father could not forget the sign when Baba was standing in the middle of the rains and roaring back to the Rain God to move away from Shirdi. Baba was looking like the Lord himself in a hostile mood.