Sai Sister Geetanjali Ji from India says: Dear Hetal Ji, Om Sai Ram. My name is Geetanjali and we have spoken over the phone some times. Please do not share my email id. I would like to congratulate you on the blessed work that you do for the Sai devotees all across the world. Though from quite some time, I have lost touch with you and haven’t been able to continue with my blog posts also but I am a regular visitor to all your blogs and they have been my inspiration from so many years now. I must say that you are indeed a blessed Sai Deewani and whosoever are associated with you are indeed very lucky.
I wanted to write my experience about the Shirdi trip since February end. But for some reason or the other I wasn’t able to. Today, while reading your blog I just decided that I will not delay further. Also, I would request the readers to be a little patient since this would be a long post. Even though I tried I could not miss the little details that went around the whole trip. May devotees feel the bliss of Baba’s blessings while they read this experience. Baba, I am not very intelligible to write Your Leela, so please hold my hand and write Your own blessed Leela.
Dear readers, this is in the month of February that one of my husband’s friends named Swami called. He expressed that he and his wife are willing to go to Shirdi. Since this was their first trip, they wanted some information from me. I told them that for the train tickets, there is all booked until April end so they may have to book tickets either in Tatkal or go by flight to Pune and then take a bus or rent a taxi from there. Just when I was telling them, a desire arose in my heart to visit Shirdi too. But, since they wanted to go by train only and they said they will wait till they can book the tickets in May, I kept quiet.
Now, see the turn of events. Like, they have mentioned in Sai Satcharitra that when Baba calls, He will make a way for His people to reach HIM. So that’s what happened in this case also. 2 days after the initial call, my husband’s friend Swami called again. Swami said that he met one of his old friends in market and that his friend’s uncle is in railways and he has assured that his uncle can get them the tickets. Now, he had called to get further information about stay and Darshan. I was listening to all this and was so excited that I asked my husband, “Can I go as well?” He said if you want to go, you go but I cannot come so don’t ask me to. His friend overheard our conversation and he said it will be great if I could accompany them. Since I have been to Shirdi earlier, they will not have much problem too. I was excited and really wanted to go, but I didn’t want to go without my husband so I was double minded. I told Swami I will think and let him know in a day. Meanwhile, Swami’s wife called and started requesting me to accompany them. I told her that I will take permission from my parents-in-law and then confirm. I spoke to my mother-in-law and she said that it’s good that you want to go, but we wouldn’t like you to go alone and she said that she would talk to my husband for coming along with me. Anyway, the question here was also that how many tickets Swami’s friend’s uncle could get us. I told my husband please ask him to book for all 4 of us otherwise please ask Swami to go ahead with his wife. We will go some other time, when Baba calls. My husband kept on telling that I have already told him to book for 3 so now you don’t back out. You go and have a good Darshan with them. All this conversation took place on Tuesday and as per the plan we had to leave on Thursday night. Now, on Wednesday night, my husband told me that your ticket is booked you go with them tomorrow. I was not at all willing to go without my husband, so I called Swami directly and asked his forgiveness and told him to cancel my ticket. He said well in that case my husband will have to travel alone. I realized that all this while my husband was joking around with me and he had asked Swami to book ticket for him as well. I was so happy that my wish for not only Darshan, but to go with my husband was fulfilled. We booked for Darshan and Aarti pass online on Sansthan website, but we could not get accommodation in Dwarawati. But we decided that we will manage accommodation after reaching Shirdi. As per the plan, our train will reach Shirdi on Friday afternoon and the return train was on Saturday evening from Kopargaon. By Baba’s grace, before leaving from home, we had both onward and return tickets with us. This was the first miracle that happened. The train was to leave Bangalore at 7.30 pm in the evening. Being a working day, Swami and his wife and my husband all went to work during the day and we were to reach the Bangalore Majestic station directly from work. Another thing was, I wanted to offer Pedha sweet to Baba and had asked my husband to bring 1 kg pedha while coming home. My husband got late due to traffic and reached home at 6.30 pm. He had also forgotten to take pedha. I was upset that he forgot to get it, but I was more worried that we will not be able to make it to the station, which is at considerable distance from our place. We left our house by car at 6.45 pm with my brother-in-law. Since that was office rush hour we were stuck for a long time in traffic. My husband called Swami and enquired where he was. He said he is also on the way and that he would be able to make it before the train leaves. His wife was also on the way in an auto rickshaw. Seeing the delay in traffic, my husband decided we will go to the next station, which was Bangalore Cantt. This way we will buy time and would be able to catch the train. I was losing hope with every minute that we would be able to make it. On one of the traffic signals, we got stuck for 10 minutes and then my husband said its better we take an auto from here. It would be faster and that we would go the third stop i.e. Yelhanka since the train would reach there at 8.15pm. He assured we would be able to make it to Yelhanka in time. It was 7.25 pm and we called Swami to ask about the status of the train. Swami had just reached and boarded the train. But, his wife was still not close to the station. The train would have left in 5 minutes and he was worried his wife and us not being able to come. He said his wife has said that if she is not able to board, Swami should go until the 3rd station, give us the tickets and asked us to continue to Shirdi. Now, except Swami no one had boarded the train and it just felt that we will have to cancel the whole journey. At, 7.35 pm we called Swami to enquire if his wife came and if the train has left. He informed us that his wife has just come and train is late by 10 minutes. We told them that in case we cannot make it they can continue with their journey. I was losing all hope of reaching to the 3rd station also since there was too much traffic and our auto was also super slow. We told Swami to let us know, when they reach the 2nd station. He called at 7.55 pm that they are approaching the 2nd station. We were also nearing our destination, but then came the twist. Very close to the station, traffic jam was caused by 2 local buses. Both were stuck on the small road and the traffic came to a halt. My husband got down the auto and ran to site. He started instructing the buses to pass one by one and road cleared in 2 minutes. He held my hand and said, Don’t worry, I will make you see Your Baba. Have faith. The train had already left the 2nd station and would reach the Yelhanka station within 15 minutes. We managed to be at the station and train announcement was made. There was a dairy shop on the platform and my husband asked if I wanted something. I was too excited to go. I told him I don’t want anything else. When he came, he had 10 boxes of pedha sweet 100 gm each. He said that the dairy shop had only small boxes so I took those. I was so happy that even that wish was fulfilled by Baba before we left. When we saw Swami and his wife, we were very thrilled. This so far has been the most thrilling train experience I have had. The journey went without any hiccups and we reached Kopargaon at 1.30 pm on Friday. We took an auto to Shirdi from there. When we left from Kopargaon I wanted to visit Baba’s Tapobhoomi Mandir, but I kept quite thinking everyone might be tired and we can always come back while returning. Baba seemed to be reading all my thoughts. Auto person himself stopped in front of the Tapobhoomi temple and told us the little history of the temple and asked us to take Darshan before proceeding to Shirdi. I was so happy that I couldn’t express. We had a very good Darshan at Tapobhoomi and proceeded for Shirdi. Auto Person asked us if we have already made a hotel booking and we informed him that we want to check in Dwaravati so he should take us there. He told us that there will be a lot of waiting in Dwaravati so it’s better to take a room in hotel near the temple. Somehow, I had this feeling that we should still check for availability at Dwaravati Bhakta Niwas. I told the auto person that he should take us to the Bhakta Niwas and then if we can’t get, we will go elsewhere. When we reached there, I went to the counter and asked the person there if any room is available. He looked at me smilingly and said no Non-AC rooms and only one 3- bed AC room is available. I told him we want an extra bed would that be possible. He answered for another 50 Rs we will give you an extra bedding on the floor. I immediately told my husband to bring the luggage from the auto and checked into the Bhakta Niwas. It felt as if Baba himself made all arrangements for us. I would like to mention here that I have stayed in Dwarawati earlier and I have myself seen people waiting for hours for getting a room there. What happened with us was a sheer Leela of Baba. We went to the room and freshened ourselves for Baba’s Darshan. We decided to go for Dwarakamai for evening Aarti and we had passes for night Aarti in the Samadhi Mandir. We attended the Aarti in Dwarakamai. I had taken 2 boxes of Pedha and a coconut to be offered to Baba and I had a wish that Baba accepts this and shows a signal that he accepted. When we went for Darshan, people were putting the coconuts in the tub in the Dwarakamai. There was one appointed guard inside doing some work. I didn’t want to keep my things in the tub, so I called him and requested him to offer the pedha and coconut. Smilingly and very willingly, he opened the box, took a pedha and offered it to Baba’s mouth and kept 2 other pedhas and coconut in front of Baba. I knew Baba accepted my little token and expressed my gratitude for His kripa on me. We all then proceeded to Lendi Bagh near Nandi Deep for lighting Deepas. I had taken Deepas and other things with me, but I had forgotten to tell Swami about this. Before lighting, I felt it won’t be nice if Swami’s wife wouldn’t get a chance to do that so I went to a shop outside and with Baba’s grace again got another set of deepas, oil and batti for her also. I had got agarbatti with me to put at Baba’s Gurusthan too. We shared everything and I felt very relaxed and at peace. After lighting deepa, we went for Mukh Darshan and then to Gurusthan. There a desire arose in my mind to get a leaf of neem tree. And my deva fulfilled that again. One person came and gave me a leaf. I leave it to the devotees to imagine what a moment it was for me. We sat in the temple for some time and later proceeded to Shani Gate for the Shej Aarti. We were let in at 10 pm by the guard. There at one point before entering the Samadhi temple, the guard halted the line and asked all the people to wait. There was one CCTV in front of us and we were watching the live coverage of the temple. There they also showed Dwarakamai and Chawadi alternatively. There was a cat roaming around in Dwarakamai. Discussion started amongst us and an older couple in front of us regarding this cat. I told them that whenever I had been to Shirdi, I have seen a cat there. I have also heard from some people that this cat stays in and around Dwarakamai only. Some devotee had mentioned to me that she comes and sits in the lap of very few devotees and it’s a very auspicious sign. After this small discussion, we went for Aarti and with Baba’s grace we got a place in the front, where we could easily see Baba. During the Aarti a thought arose in my mind, that I should go back to Dwarakamai after Aarti and if that cat sits in my lap, I would get my desire fulfilled. I would like to mention why this feeling came in me. Since, last one year I am suffering from Gall Bladder Stone problem and when I asked Baba on question and answer website, the answer came that I will get a solution in the month of April. During this one year, all my well wishers have asked to undergo surgery and get gall bladder removed as that’s the only treatment for the ailment. But, I am not inclined for that and I have been telling others that Baba will cure me without surgery. Also, every time I will ask on the website regarding surgery, the answer came as NO. My condition was not improving much, but it has not worsened also with Baba’s blessings. When I got called to Shirdi in February like this, I felt I will get an answer from Baba. That’s the reason I thought that if the cat will come and sit in my lap that would mean that Baba will cure my problem without surgery. After the Aarti, everyone wanted to go for dinner, but I told my husband, please if that’s okay with everyone I want to go to Dwarakamai and sit there for some time. Everyone agreed and we went to sit in Dwarakamai. After 5-10 minutes, my husband and Swami went outside and told us that we can come out, whenever we want. Both of us wives were sitting in the masjid in meditation. I was waiting and praying to Baba that if the website answer is true let the cat come and sit in my lap. While the thought cross my mind, some devotees took brooms and started cleaning Dwarakamai. As they cleaned, they requested devotees to get up and sit again after they finished. I and Swami’s wife also got up. While Swami’s wife was standing for some time, I went and sat at the steps of Masjidmai. The cat was roaming inside and I was looking and praying at Baba. Some devotee came and put some Prasad for the cat which she ate. I had the pedha box in my hand and I also took out one pedha and put it there. She smelled it and went inside again. I sat there praying and then suddenly the cat came and moved in my lap. Slowly, she came completely in my lap and slept there. I wanted the cat to come and sit, but I wasn’t sure it will. I kept on telling myself my devotion is still not proper. I was moved to tears and I started singing the Punjabi bhajan, “Tereyan charana vich meri ardaas Baba, Ki Har pal badhda rave mera vishwas Baba”( Meaning, I pray at your feet that every moment my faith in you should only increase). I was just dumbfounded. The cat slept peacefully and I patted her for nearly 10 minutes. During this time, another miracle happened with Swami’s wife too. She came up to me and expressed that she has a desire to sweep Dwarakamai too. I told her to request any of the devotees sweeping and take the broom from them. She hesitated saying that everyone comes here to Shirdi with a feeling to serve Baba then how to ask someone to stop that and let me do it. She said forget it may be next time I will get a chance. Then we decided we will move out. As the thought crossed my mind to move out, the cat itself jumped out of my lap and went back in masjidmai without me disturbing it. I and Swami’s wife started to move out, when one devotee of his own came and gave the broom to her and asked her to please continue cleaning. She was moved to tears. She swept with other devotees and after paying our gratitude for these Leelas to Baba we went back with our husbands to Dwarawati. We had booked Darshan passes for morning Darshan at 9 am. At the slotted time we went towards Shani gate and after showing the pass went for Darshan. Despite the huge rush, we had a blissful and peaceful Darshan on Saturday also. This was our last Darshan in Samadhi Mandir before leaving Shirdi. I bid goodbye to Baba and asked for His permission to leave and for the journey to be without any hitches. We were able to stand for ample time in the Mandir and take Darshan. Swami, me and his wife came out together and thought my husband will follow us in a minute or two. 10 minutes passed, but my husband didn’t come out of the Mandir. I was sure that he was inside only, when we all came out but still giving a benefit of doubt, we went to Dwarakamai and Chawadi to check if he went there. We couldn’t locate him. We went to Gurusthan and museum and other temples within the temple premises but he was nowhere to be found. I was worried also but somehow my mind said he was in Samadhi Mandir. He never came out. We made some announcements of his name in the announcement center but no response. Then we decided to sit near Shani gate (we left our footwear there) and wait for him. After nearly 40 minutes, I saw him coming out of Samadhi Mandir. I couldn’t believe myself coz generally the security guards keep pushing people outside shortly after Darshan. Not only my husband had Darshan for nearly 40 minutes, he was given Prasad and coconut by priest on his own accord. When he came, I felt jealous of him and complained to Baba why I was thrown out so soon, but was thankful that Baba blessed my husband so much. After one final visit to Dwarakamai and Chawadi, we bid good bye to Baba from Shirdi. We called the same auto driver, who brought us to Shirdi and asked him to take us to Chavan Baba’s kutiya in kopargaon. It was 3.00 pm, when we left Dwarawati and we reached Kutiya at 3.30pm. When we reached, we took Darshan of Baba first and asked pujari if Chavan Baba is there. I had been to Kutiya before with my parents, but I couldn’t meet him then. I had heard a lot about him, but I was little nervous and unsure in my mind. When we went inside his kutiya, he was talking to some 4 people already. We stood in one corner waiting for our turn. Suddenly he turned towards me and asked me to come forward. He mentioned “Goli kha ke aayi hai, jab bhi dekho pain ke liye goli khati hai, aaj se goli band” (meaning – you have come here after taking a tablet, for every pain you pop in a tablet or so, from today onwards no painkillers and no doctors). I was little wonderstruck because before leaving Shirdi, I had taken a pain killer for headache. He kept on talking on and off with four of us and gave me and Swami’s wife blessing for a child and asked us to leave. Then before leaving he told me, operation Nahi Karwan. Take Baba’s UDI and water. Everything will be okay. It was as if I got my answer whether to go for gall bladder surgery or not. Then he gave one Pukhraj stone each to my husband and to swami and asked them to wear it. We touched his feet and asked his permission to leave for home. He blessed us and we reached station on time, boarded the train and came back to Bangalore without any problem at all. As I finish this experience, I feel like going back to Shirdi and fall at Deva’s feet and ask Him to keep me in His feet as long as I live and in the births to come. May Baba bless all those, who read this and bless everyone in their each endeavor of our lives. I again seek pardon for making it such a long post, but I couldn’t decide what to miss and what to write. I also request you to please pray for my health. Allopathic doctors have told there is no other go than to get gall bladder removed, but somehow my mind is not able to accept surgery as an option now. I am on homeopathic medication now and believe that with everyone’s prayers and blessings I will get cured soon. Bow to Sri Sai. Peace be to all. Sri Satchitanand Sadguru Sainath Maharaj Ki Jai
© Devotees Experiences with Shirdi Sai Baba