It was on 23rd October around 11am; after I had just wound up the hectic schedule of Navratri and getting ready to leave that evening for Cochin; one of my Sai sisters was frantically trying to reach me. When I returned her call she mentioned to me that a certain Sai devotee (ardent Shirdi Sai follower) wanted to talk to me urgently. I had heard about this lady from one of my other friends who also is a Shirdi follower; but didn’t know much about her. Somehow it was His will that this lady called me that afternoon and after a brief introduction etc she mentioned to me that she intended having chanting of Mahamrtyumjaya Mantra (108 times) at her place and she also felt a strong indication to have Shirdi Sai Satcharita Parayan (one day parayan) at her place very soon and this common friend had mentioned to her that I would be the right person for her to contact.
I was not at all prepared for something like this. I was traveling to India for almost the whole month except for being in Sg for 4/5 days in between. So when she mentioned that she would like to have only during that time (first week Nov) when I was around; I told her that we already had planned for Swami’s 90th bday celebrations on the only Thursday I was available for the month ie 5th Nov; and she would have to really see some other day; she quickly retorted “We will have on the 4th Nov; Wednesday. Even if no one else comes; I am prepared to read along with my husband for the whole day.” When I heard her deep conviction about somehow having the parayan; I told her to go ahead and I would help her out in whatever way I could; but cautioned her to constantly remember that since it has been prompted by Him, HE will get it done and to leave the doership to HIM. I soon contacted some of our regular group members and asked them to join on that day for whatever slot they were available. I then left for India.
When I was in India; she was in touch with me and shared many indications that Baba was blessing the parayan already. After I was back on 29th Oct to Sg; she invited me to attend the ‘Trayambakam’ chanting at her place the next day ie 30th Oct, Friday morning. She wanted to start the chanting after a simple invocation of Lord Ganesha (Vakratunda prayer). I told her that I would definitely try but not sure if I could make it as I had a lot of things to complete in those 5 days before I returned to India again. That evening; being a Thursday we had our Vishnu Sahasranama chanting and Shirdi aarti as our usual schedule. After the prayers I got a clear indication to go to this lady’s house the next day at 10.20 am before the Rahu kaalam and not only chant Tryambakam but ‘Ganesha Atharvashirsha’ as well as Lalita Sahasranama. I just messaged her about this and she was very happy as she didn’t even expect me to come for the chanting. Next morning I went to her place; I had not met her or seen her place before. As soon as I went to her place; I could feel the divine vibrations and all preparations for puja were being done and there were just 2 of her other friends. She was overjoyed to see me and I finished the first 2 chantings before the Tryamabakam chanting and as soon as we finished the chanting; she mentioned to me that day was ‘Ganesha Karvachauth’ and then I realised the meaning of Swami’s indication to chant both Atharavashirsha for Lord Ganesha and being Karva Chauth (for married ladies for pray for their husband’s well being); to invoke Devi through Lalita Sahasranama for Sumangali (married women) puja. That’s my loving Sai Ma.:)
Soon she got into preparation of the Parayan for which only 4 days were left and we had frequent conversations and in one of the conversations she had mentioned that she knew no God other than Shirdi Sai form and she didn’t or rather was not keen to know about Swami. I didn’t mention to anything about Swami to her; just saying that both the forms were same for me. That Sunday morning 1st Nov, I had a vivid dream in which Shirdi Sai appeared and was in our puja room. HE got up from the idol and indicated that His back was hurting; HE just wore a white kafni and walked towards Swami’s chair and bent down to the padukas and was near the chair kept for Swami at our altar and then the dream ended. I thought that this was an indication of Baba’s blessings for the parayan. Next day; ie 2nd Nov, Monday evening this lady calls me and tells me an astounding happening; that through a series of incidents without her being keen; Swami’s (Sathya Sai’s) padukas were to arrive at her place on 3rd Nov tuesday; just the previous evening before the parayan. She was at loss for words and didn’t know why this was happening? She mentioned that “You came to my house; did all the chanting and just invited your Baba to my place without my even calling Him or having a least thought about Him.” I just smiled thinking of the Lord’s divine play. One of her old acquaintance whom she had not met for many years had these padukas and the friend had wanted them to be placed during the parayan day. She asked me to come over to her place the next day to arrange the padukas properly and give it the due respect. Next day was 3rd Nov, Tuesday and my regular seva day. As I was at the centre; I just felt like picking up the book ‘Shirdi to Parthi’ by Dr Kakade; to be gifted to her. That night I went to her place taking all the required items for arranging the padukaas. I decorated the chair with a beautiful orange cloth which I usually used for bhajans at our place (and incidentally had bought it from Shirdi) placed the white handkerchiefs on the arms of the chair and placed the padukas reverentially on a footrest below the chair. I also gifted the book to her. She was still in awe as to how the ‘Sathya Sai’ padukas landed at her place; but she was happy anyways.
On the early morning of 4th Nov, she started the Kakkad aarti at 4 am and with His grace about 18/20 people came throughout the day for the parayan. Babas presence was felt throughout the session through various indications which is v personal for her and hence am not sharing. I am just sharing the whole experience from my point of view. Throughout the parayan I was seated right next to the padukas and Swami’s chair. All the aratis were performed for Swami as well. I was asking Swami to show His presence. After the parayan and aarti was over I rushed back home as I had to prepare for the next day ‘Sai Kalpadruma’ parayan for Swami’s bday celebrations at our place.
Within about 2 hours’ time; I had 10 missed calls from this friend who was anxious to share something beautiful that had happened. When she finally got me; she mentioned that after the aarti was over and the last person had left her place after the session ; suddenly the whole orange cloth on Swami’s chair along with the handkerchiefs fell beautifully right on the padukas in a way she had never seen before. It was as if Baba after blessing everyone entered back into the padukas. She was emotional and was so thankful to Baba. She then wanted to come to our place the next day for Swami’s birthday celebrations and asked me what she could bring as Prasad and when I told her that almost all prasadams were already arranged and in case she wanted; she could bring ‘sundal’ (boiled lentils). I had no idea why I even told her that as there was no plan and I had never prepared that for Swami’s functions. She was again stumped and said she couldn’t believe what I had just said. In fact she had soaked the lentils to be offered to Shirdi Baba and as the parayan got over earlier than expected she didn’t prepare that dish which was the only thing she didn’t offer that day and lo and behold!!! I had just asked her to get the very thing to be offered to Swami. So Shirdi Sai in the form of Swami had taken His share of offerings. What a beautiful way to indicate the oneness of both the avatars?
Next morning she came to our place bringing the same set of padukas and the ‘sundal’ Prasad and those padukas were worshipped again. Later that day when she sent me some pictures taken during the parayan; especially Swami’s chair; one could make out Shirdi Sai’s outline image on the back rest of the chair which was very similar to the Shirdi picture she had received right from Shirdi during the happening of the parayan. She was wonderstruck and began seeing the unity of the avatars. I was overwhelmed with joy when I saw these pictures. I recollected my dream where Shirdi Sai got up and went near Swami’s chair and was doing something with the padukas!!! What was that all about?? An early indication to show His grace to yet another beautiful soul who loved His form and had nothing to do with Sathya Sai? What a beautiful and touching experience this was??
Words fail to express our love, thanks and gratitude to the Master who with His love and mercy keeps teaching us to go beyond form and see Him in everything and in every one around us. JSR