We Both were Staying with God at Vaikunta" Baba Shared Memories with Gangagir
If I decide to describe Him as poor, it does not suit because Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth sits waiting on His doorsill. If I decide to describe Him as rich, it does not suit too as He begs alms to fill His stomach every day.
While so, one day, Sai Maharaj was bringing water from the well to water the plants. Gangagirbua was passing by and happened to see him. Gangagir is a great sadhu. He was a monk who was a true saint. Though he was of the warkari tradition, he was wearing the rudrakshas of the Shaiva tradition. The warkari tradition does not venerate rudrakshas which are dear to Shiva. 'Dasabodha' is not included in their books of reading. Gangagir had no place for religious intolerance or bigotry based on creed. He was a personification of wisdom.
Such a great person as Gangagir told the people of Shirdi, about Sri Sai Baba, "Why don't you understand? Why are you leaving this jewel and running after other sadhus? Is there any one as foolish as to keep many sweet meats at home and still run from house to house for alms? Is there anyone who is so foolish that they go to the banks of the holy Ganges and do not bathe there? You have an incomparable, priceless diamond such as Sai Baba here and you are still running to other places in search of saints. In the sky of spirituality, this Sai Baba is as the Sun.
He is the Himalaya amongst hills. He is the shining diamond fit only for the head of the mahatmas. You villagers are doing yourself great harm by not knowing this and subjecting this great soul to inhospitable conduct. Where the Sai Maharaj is, can sorrow stay for a second? Serve him well and obtain all weal in this world and the next. If you do not serve him, that incomparable one, well and to his satisfaction; there will be no end to your miseries." Gangagir gave this wise counsel to the people of Shirdi and went to the Masjid. He had the darshan of Sri Sai Baba and was filled with happiness.
Their meeting was as if Ganges and Godavari had met, as if Vishnu, the consort of Rama had met Shiva, the consort of Uma; as if the sages Gautama and Vasistha had met; as if Indra the head of gods and Kubera the god of wealth had met. They both were very happy in the company of each other.
As Gangagir entered the Masjid, Baba smiled, "So, the mandir has come to the Masjid, very good". He invited him with all courtesy into the Masjid. After Gangagir sat, Baba said, "We are both from the same family. We were happily staying with God in his abode in Vaikuntha. Hari sent us to convince the people of the futility of wrong conduct and put them on the right, moral path. But it seems that the people are not going to change their ways even by an inch in these days. Wherever one looks, one sees the liquor taverns full of people. The prostitutes are brought here in the month of Phalguna to dance in the Chavadi. As the horse breaks free of the reins and gallops away, all classes of people are stopping work and galloping, without even bothering to see if they are properly clad to see the dance of the prostitute. Here it is all immodest behaviour. They put red powder on each other as if it was a festival and dance about singing songs and playing loud music. In this age and in these days Hari has sent us here with pots of milk on our heads and asked us to convince the people to drink the milk. But every one who sees me laughs in derision and throws stones at the pot of milk on my head. Some put on devilish faces and laugh at me. Some bring presents for me. Some say, "I have got the Sai Fakir's spirit in me now, so (as he has no power now) listen to me. Come and listen to my words of wisdom - drink the liquor to your hearts content. Drink as much as you want to and make merry." The moment they hear the word liquor the majority of people run there. Not many people prefer milk to liquor. Only some have come to me and have drunk the milk. But of these some have the madness of Vedanta. So the world has termed all those who have taken milk from me as mad. The tendency of these people addicted to liquor is such. See how they are all saying, "All hail to the liquor Maharaj." This world is a strange place. I seek to give them nectar, they prefer poison. They are losing the respect and confidence in the truth. They prefer the lie to the truth."
Gangagir heard what Baba said. He said, "Maharaj, my experience is also the same as yours. I have tried to put at least a few people on the true path but I have failed. They have all decided that I am a madman and pay no heed to what I say. I have seen this happening and I have stopped even trying to change the people." Baba heard Gangagir saying these words with a voice that was dejected, the result of a lifetime of ridicule and rejection. Baba was saddened. He said, "Those that go will go to perdition. Those that will abide by us will abide by us. Let us seek no recompense and help with a pure heart all those who come to us sincerely."
They discussed many more matters. If I start to detail those matters here, that itself will become as big a book as the Mahabharata. After a while, Gangagir took have of Baba and went away from the Masjid. Baba continued to sit there in contemplation.
See how clearly and lucidly Baba has described the present day circumstances in this age of Kali? Baba has described this age of Kali as Phalguna month. Liquor is his term for bad habits and bad proclivities. The true path of wisdom and dharma is the milk which he wishes to give us.
Sri Sai Maharaj's method of teaching is unique and exhilarating. It is beyond me to explain them. Baba talks casually of some thing and the doubts plaguing the jijnasu are cleared in a second. No one has the expertise in teaching wisdom and the true knowledge as he had. His devotees, be they even so far away, continually experience his kind grace.
(SRI SAIGURUCHARITRA - by devotee Ganpatrao Dattatreya Sahasra-buddhebetter known as Das Ganu Maharaj)