Sai Sister Arathi Ji from India says: Dear Hetal Ji, No matter how many times we devotees thank you, it would certainly not be enough to show our gratitude to your Godly work of bringing longing souls to Sai Baba’s holy feet. This is the second time that I am sharing my experience with you and everyone else here. My previous experience is here (Sai My Father – Sai Devotee Arathi) to read for those who would like to go through. You may mention my name here, but please do not share my email id. I apologize for the lengthy rendition of my experience. I tried to keep it as short as possible.
Every time, I hear someone or read a devotee’s experience of having been to Shirdi. My heart’s earnest desire to be at Baba’s Holy Shrine – Shirdi would increase tremendously. I would wonder when Baba would call me and my husband to Him! We had the fortune of visiting Shirdi this January (i.e. last week). My joy knew no bounds. However, I humbly let this thought sink in as it is said that one can only go and come back only if Baba calls and sees off .
I had been doing Sai Nav Guruvar Vrat asking Baba to help me and my husband find jobs in Bangalore and also help me find a suitable groom for my younger sister, who also lives in Bangalore. The desire for both me and my husband to move to Bangalore stems out of the concern that my sister does not want to leave Bangalore and mother is all alone in my hometown Nagpur. We do not want my mother to be left alone there all by herself. Both my husband and me work for the same company and are not happy with the way the company is functioning and the way our careers are progressing, which was adding to a lot of stress. As an answer to my Vrat Baba blessed my husband with a new job, although not in Bangalore, but we took it as a sign from Baba that He knows better for what is good for the both of us at this point.
We reached Shirdi on a Thursday and after having our breakfast, we went for Darshan. Baba would not have liked us going to Him on an empty stomach, as in His words one has to appease the Prana first without which how one can appease the eyes with the sight of Lord. We entered the line that leads to the Hall. Surprisingly, it was not crowded that day as we had expected it to be on a Thursday, As the line kept moving, my mind started getting restless and various thoughts kept coming, but I kept myself calm. The moment we entered the Main Mandir, and caught a glimpse of Sairam, I was spell bound. I felt like running to His Holy feet and cry my heart out. I patiently waited for my turn to be near Baba and share with Him all my anxiety and offer Him flowers and the shawl (that I bought with the money that He had asked me to collect every day 1rupee for Shraddha and 1rupee for Saburi – read my previous experience). When I came near Baba, I could not talk to Him, I could not remember anything, I could not hear anything around me, the pushing, the shoving, and the yelling. I was in a Trance. I could not believe I was there right in front of Him. Tears started rolling out of my eyes without my knowledge and I realized how heavy my heart was with all the responsibilities that I was carrying on my shoulders over so many years silently.
Let me break my experiences hereafter into parts.
The very next morning, we wished to attend the Kakad Aarti and hence got into the line at 2 AM along with other devotees, who were already in line seeking Darshan. The line started moving at around 4 AM and there was a wonderful aura in the air with devotees praising and hailing ‘Sai Nath Maharaj Ki Jai’. My mind was again restless and the chatter started, I kept telling myself, I am not a worthy devotee, I might have made a lot of sins in my past birth and hence Baba was testing my patience. We could see the preparations of the Aarti on the LCD monitors in the hallway, where we were slowly moving to the main hall, but Alas! The gates closed right when we were 5th in line to enter the main hall. The thoughts in my mind grew stronger now and I became restless. I was very upset and thought may be Baba was angry with me, may be because I being a mere human being keep asking Him for miracles. But, I also kept thanking Him for all the good things He has blessed me with – Wonderful parents, Loving Sister, Caring in-laws, an amazing life partner etc.
I also remembered that I had promised Baba that I would memorize all the Aarti the next time I came to visit Him. As I only remember the Aarti in bits and parts. We saw the entire Kakad Aarti on the LCD monitor right in front of us. Now look at the divine miracle of our ever Merciful Baba. Once the Aarti and the Snan (Holy Bath) got over, we were allowed inside. We entered the Hall and to my sheer revelation, the Panditji (priest) announced on the mike that a small Aarti will commence now! I was speechless and to my surprise, the part that I had memorized was sung and I could sing along with the Panditji (priest) for our Baba. My chattering mind was put to rest. After the Aarti, we stood in line to buy the morning Prasad of Puri and chana. I bought some extra packets to feed the poor just in case during the day.
The same day (i.e. Friday), we prepared to attend the Shej Aarti. We decided to go early and feed the poor or needy with the Prasad that I had bought and to read the Holy Sai Satcharitra at the temple till we were called to line up for the Shej Arati. We decided to go around the temple one more time and get some Divine UDI and also visit the Gurusthan of Baba the Holy Neem Tree. I circled the Neem tree a day before anticipating that Baba would bless me with a leaf. But I could not find one. But this day, I found that it was almost empty and a lady was struggling to get a leaf out that was lying inside the fence around the tree, I offered her help as I have long hands and took the leaf out for her and gave it to her. She thanked me and asked me to keep one half of the leaf. My joy knew no bounds. I thanked her.
We then went to the Ganesh Mandir and sat outside the temple stairs to read the Holy Satcharitra. While reading a thought came to my mind that I could find no one to offer the Prasad that was carrying in my bag and wished if I could somehow offer it to Baba and Lo Behold, a dog came straight up to me and waited for me to open the bag and offer the Puri Prasad to it. I offered the Prasad and the dog ate to its heart’s content and went away. I was very elated, but I wanted to show my love and affection to the dog. I started reading the Sai Satcharitra again, when a black dog with a cute face came to me and started playing with me, I offered puri Prasad, but it did not have, then I remembered that the packet also had a sweet meat, I offered it to the dog and it relished it. I had 2 more packets of puris with me, which I again offered to the dog and it started having that too and in no time finished it and started playing with me again. I gave all my love to the dog by touching it lovingly and playfully. It licked both my palms completely and also licked my leg. It was all Heavenly. I wish to tell here that I love all animals, dogs in particular, I am crazy about them. We can’t have one at home as we both work and there is no one to take care of it. Baba came to me in the form of a Dog and had the Prasad Himself. There were so many people sitting around us with bags with them, some of them even with Prasad packets, but strangely both the dogs went to no one else but came straight to me out of nowhere and moved on. My mind attained certain calm after that.
The guard called us out to form a line for the Shej Aarti, which we did. I had seen Baba wearing a Yellow Shawl through the side window near the Gursthan before coming to the Ganesh Mandir. I silently wished that Baba must wear a green tonight, I would take it as a sign that you have heard my plea and would bless me and make me free from my anxiety and fulfill my wishes as the next morning I was leaving for home. We formed the line and went inside. We could see that the hall was being cleared for Shej Arati and again Baba answered my prayers by wearing an all Green shawl for the Shej Arati!
As we entered the hall, there was an elderly couple, who stood in front of us, we were informed by the guard that men and women would stand separately for the Shej Aarti and the line broke into two. And there was a huge crowd of women by the time we reached the main hall and the moment the ropes were released into the main temple, people flocked pushing and shoving each other to get a glimpse of our Deva. I saw this aunty struggling while everyone else pushed me to get ahead, but I decided to hold her hand and take her with me into the line. Baba’s loving face melted away all the pain and anxiety one had. I checked with the aunty if she could see Baba from where she was standing, she reverted in positive, Baba blessed us with a place where we could clearly see Him up close. I thanked Baba for that. We enjoyed the Aarti and this time I was able to speak to Baba to my heart’s content. After completion of Shej Aarti, we took the Aarti and went outside to the line where we were fortunate enough to get Sheera Prasad (Rava Halwa) that was offered for Shej Aarti to Baba. The man giving away the Prasad was asking people to keep moving quickly as limited amount of Prasad was available to be distributed. We were blessed to partake some of it.
We returned to the temple the next day before we started out from Shirdi to seek Baba’s permission. We were amazed to see the amount of crowd that had flocked to see our Sainath. We thanked Baba for giving us a pleasant and wonderful Darshan and requested Him to call us back to His Feet soon. Before starting our journey, I had requested Baba to be ahead of us and help us have a wonderful Darshan and had also prayed to Him to make it a memorable one. From the moment we started to the end of the journey Baba stayed with us. The moment we sat in the Taxi to the airport from our house, we saw Baba’s photo dangling on the rear-view mirror blessing us a good start.
Although I am still waiting for Baba to Bless me with a good job that would give my career as well as confidence a boost as I want to get over the sinking feeling that I have every morning before I leave for my job as my present company is not doing well and I have nothing to do anymore despite of the fact I was single handedly able to build an entire division for the company’s overseas business. I am unable to find a good job that suits my profile. I still thank Him from the Bottom of my Heart for being there with me during my toughest of times and even though I lost my previous job due to recession, He immediately made arrangements for me to join this job that I am in currently without loss of a single day’s pay!
Baba, I thank You for everything that You have done for me as a Father. I wish, I could bring my mother to live with my sister and me and find a wonderful groom for my sister and fulfill the responsibility of being a good daughter and an elder sister. Please help us find wonderful jobs Baba. I know we being human have a long list of things that we keep wanting at all times, no sooner that one gets fulfilled, another crops up. Forgiving us for all our meager thoughts please give me the strength to put my anxious mind at peace and help me have Saburi. I have unbound faith in You my Lord! Om Sai Ram. Jai Jai Sairam.