The Last Days - By Sri Narasimha Swamiji - part 3
The Brick Breaks:
It was October; one day Baba left the mosque on His daily rounds. Madhavan Fasle was sweeping the mosque. He found the brick which was so dear to Baba on the floor. To prevent the dust falling on the holy brick, the boy took it up in his hands but suddenly it slipped, fell down and broke into two. When later Baba saw it, He was depressed and said: "It is not the brick that is broken; it is My destiny."
Shadows of Death:
About the same time Ramachandra Patil, became seriously ill. He was counting his days in despair. Sai Baba appeared before Ramachandra Patil, physically. Patil held His feet firmly and asked Baba to tell him the exact time of his death. Baba was moved and said, "Don't be anxious, your death-warrant has been withdrawn and you will soon be all right; but I am worried about Tatya Patil. He will pass away on the Vijayadashmi day. Do not divulge this to anyone." Indeed Ramachandra Patil recovered, but he was afraid of Tatya's safety.
On the 3rd October 1918, Raghuvir Purandare and H. S. Dixit were at Shirdi but Baba sent them to Bombay. He said: "I will go ahead and you follow Me." He gave them permission saying "My turbot (tomb) will speak, my muff (dust) will give you replies; My name will speak." As the terrible day neared, Tatya fell ill and was bed-ridden. Though Baba was also down with fever, Tatya had full faith in Baba that He would save his life.
Tatya's condition worsened and at one stage Tatya felt his end was certain. He was getting udi regularly from Baba. One day Baba summoned Tatya. As Tatya could not walk, he was carried thither by a devotee. Then Baba gave him rice boiled in milk which he ate with difficulty. Baba looked enquiringly at Tatya, applied udi to Tatya's forehead and said, "Tatya at first I got two swings ready for both of us. But now I've changed My mind. I don't want to take you now. I am going alone, Go home!" Then Baba gave him udi and Tatya was taken home.
During this period, Baba made one Mr. Vaghe read 'Rama Vijaya' once in a week. Next, Baba made him go through it a second time, non-stop in three days. A third round was also finished. When the man was exhausted Baba let him go and observed silence.
It was four days to go for Vijayadashami. Mrs. Andu Marwadi was sitting before Him, and then Baba told her, "Bat, I am tired of Dwarakamayi and Chavadi. I will go over to the Booty's wada where big people will look after Me." At that time Baba's health was far from satisfactory. He stopped His trips to Lendi and His begging rounds and sat in the mosque.
He told them that He did not feel well there and asked them to take Him to the Dagdi (stone) wada to Booty. Saying these last words, he leaned on Bayaji's body and breathed His last. Bhagoji noticed that His breathing stopped and told Nanasaheb Nimonkar who was sitting below. Nanasaheb then brought a little water and poured it in Baba's mouth but it all came out. Then Nanasaheb burst out weeping.
It was a terrible blow to the countless devotees and the whole of Shirdi felt like a corpse with its spirit gone. The news spread fast and the whole village rushed to the mosque weeping and crying. Strangely, Tatya recovered very rapidly and could sit up by noon. Devotees felt that Sai made the supreme sacrifice of His life to save Tatya from certain death. For did not Sai say that He would even give His own head to save His devotee?