I had known about Sai Baba vaguely, more or less like I’ve known about various masters, but I did not connect with him until the early 2000s, and it was quite accidental – of course, there’s no coincidence, but just for the sake of explaining the feeling of how I met Him without planning – I would call it “accidental”. There was a filming happening, somewhere in Gujarat, on the coast. The questions were about, rather the filming was about Management, and I had come to this place for giving that interview. Actually, they were filming me walking on the beach, talking about various aspects of Management. This filming started in front of a small Shirdi Sai temple, a very small temple facing the sea with a full-size idol of Baba. I did not know much about Baba, but I prostrated, I mean, I touched my head at His feet, and we began the interview. It’s my habit to bow down to any Master, it doesn’t matter which path he follows. There are various idols of Masters, and I always make sure that I bow down to them, take their blessings and start. And that was the first time I bowed down to Sai Baba. This was in early 2000.
And then after this, I was going to Mumbai, and I visited Giri Traders. Usually I pick up books from there, but this time I said, “I don’t need any books, just give me one Sai Satcharita”. I don’t know why I said so. I bought Sai Satcharita and started reading it. Then I went to my house in the South, and while I was reading…I must have read about 14 chapters… Suddenly I got a call from Mumbai, for an interview by… if I remember well, it was Times of India, and they wanted to interview me for the charity activities that I do, in the name of Ammu, my daughter who passed away on 23rd August, 2000. So, I came for the interview to Mumbai, and then I proceeded to Shirdi. That was the first time I went to Shirdi.
I went in a bus, an overnight journey…and in the morning as I entered the temple, and I felt it was so familiar, I felt as if I had been there before. I had no reason to think like that; I had never come there physically in this life, but I felt that I had been there before, and it was so rejuvenating; there was something happening inside me, it’s like a lot of things changing, transforming, within me. I can’t put any words to that feeling, but I enjoyed that feeling, and then I returned. It was my first trip to Shirdi. But I felt an urge to go there again. The temple and Baba were pulling me back, asking me to come back, but it didn’t happen.
A few weeks or months went by. I had lost my job and I was trying to figure out what to do next. I needed an income, I needed to have some money to survive, and I was separating from my first marriage, so many things were falling off from my path. In fact, from 2000, the time when my daughter died in a road accident, many things fell apart, my relationship, my marriage fell apart, then my possessions, whatever I had accumulated – that also got robbed, then the money which I had invested, the property owner decided not to build it and it was almost like a “status quo”, or a stagnant state. I almost lost that money. So, in a way, there was nothing.
At one point in time, in January 2000, I had my family, my wife, my daughter, my job, my income, possessions, everything…and in a few years, I had nothing. So, I was literally stripped of everything I had and I actually started feeling quite naked and alone in the world.
Experiencing the First Miracle of Sai Baba
One of my friends who I worked with earlier, who I knew for a long time, called me and he said he and a few others intend to set up a new business, a logistics company. I’ve always worked in shipping and logistics, from 1989 onwards. So, he said, “We’re setting up a logistics company, and we would like you to head it as CEO. I was unsure. It was a new company, new investment, a huge responsibility; you start building it up from the beginning. So, I was not so sure if this was easy or if I could make it a success. So, I politely refused that offer, but they insisted. And I gave some very silly excuses for not coming to Mumbai for this meeting, but they didn’t agree. They said, “No, you have to come!”
And all the people, the potential partners assembled in Bombay. I also came. When I came to Bombay, I came only for two days. I was buying a small piece of land… I had already bought it, in fact, but I had to pay some more money for a small piece of land near Pune. So I thought: “Okay, I’m coming for this meeting. After the meeting, I will proceed to Pune, pay the money and finish, finalize that contract, and then I’ll come back.” And I had already made up my mind not to take up this offer. So, I came, and they all had come to the airport to receive me. I only had one cabin bag. I didn’t carry anything much. I brought the cabin bag. I had this cheque for this property, my passport, and a few other documents which are needed for registering the land, and some clothes, that’s all; and a book, the Satcharita, which I was reading at the time.
I came to the airport. My friend who arranged this meeting, this connection, he had carried some cash to register this organization, to finalize the venture. So he brought that money, he had cash in his hand, so he asked me, “Can I put this money in your bag, and I’ll hold the bag?” I said, “No problem.” So, he put his money in the bag and he took the bag. Then we went for a discussion in the lounge of a hotel. We all sat there, and spoke a little bit. And then the next day we were to have a detailed discussion, so this was like a preliminary interaction. We agreed on what we had to discuss, what are the fundamentals, the name of the organization and all those things, and I found that I was slowly getting dragged into it, even though I had made up my mind not to go deeper. Something was pulling me into it, so I said, okay, let’s see where it leads. We concluded, decided to meet the next day, and left for the day.
My friend who had brought the money, and was carrying the money, took my bag. He had the bag and since I had a couple of other meetings to attend, I went elsewhere. In a little while, my friend called me and said that he lost the bag! He was supposed to meet me with the bag, in the evening, for dinner. But this was a couple of hours before the dinner and he told me he had lost the bag. My money, my passport, everything gone! Plus, his money ! He had left the bag in the boot of the car, got himself dropped at his destination and had forgotten to pick up the bag. He did not remember the name or the face of the driver, or the license number of the car. There are so many taxis in Bombay; it’s not easy to find this particular one. Also, he didn’t order the taxi; he had just hired a passing taxi from the road. We were in a confused state at that time, and I did not know what to do, how to get my passport back, and the money back, and the cheque book back. I was wondering, “What next?”
One of my friends who is deeply connected to Sai Baba called me. And he asked, “You don’t sound very enthusiastic, what’s wrong?” So, I told him that I had lost my bag, and that my cheque book and passport were in the bag! He was silent for a while, and then he said, “Baba will bring that back for you.” I thought he was just saying this to reassure me, so that I would not worry. But I was uncomfortable. Later all of us met for dinner. Although we assembled, none of us had an appetite because we were worried about the bag. We looked around, went back to where we took the taxi, and tried to trace the bag, but none had any clue and we did not know how we could find this taxi. We asked a few taxis in the area. “No”, they said, “You took a taxi from the road side; it might have been a passing taxi, not one from this taxi stand.” So, we didn’t know what to do, but we continued our search…
Finally, around midnight, after the dinner, we came to the hotel where we had been earlier. We had enquired with the receptionist and were told, “We don’t know, because the taxi was not arranged by the hotel.” Now we came back to the reception, and found that the receptionist had changed. It was a new face, a new person; we explained the situation, and they asked: “Are you staying here?” We explained that we had been there for just a meeting, a discussion and their response was, “If we find it, we will give it to you.” As we were coming out, the watchman of the hotel enquired, “Why are you leaving? Didn’t you find a room here?” We explained that we didn’t come for the room and that were looking for our lost our bag. Then he said: “Is it a blue bag? With red straps?” We chimed, “Yes!” “Come and see if this is it”, he added.
We went into his cabin, and found the bag!! Apparently, the taxi driver found the bag, and dropped it at this hotel, believing it belonged to somebody from this hotel. Immediately, I opened the bag; there was no lock. On the top was the Sai Satcharita, and everything else was below it. In fact, the Sai Satcharita had been at the very bottom because I had put it in first and everything else later, on top of it. Yet, the Satcharita had moved and was on the top. It was almost like Baba’s signature, saying, “I brought it for you!”
Baba’s Physical Darshan in Dwarkamayee
Now, the next one was even more dramatic. I was working in an organization in Dubai, and they had arranged for a managers’ conference in Mumbai, for all the managers associated at various levels. I was the General Manager of that company. We all came to Mumbai. In those days, what I used to do is as follows, whenever I came to India, I would make it a point to visit Shirdi. So, I reach Mumbai, go straight to Shirdi, have Darshan, and then come back to Mumbai, or go for the next meeting. This was my routine then. On this trip, while I was sitting at the airport, the person who I referred to earlier, the one who said that Baba would bring my back to me, called.. I was sitting at the airport at that time, and he said “You seem to be travelling, where are you going?” So, I said: “To Shirdi, to see Baba, I’m at the airport.”, Again, he was silent for some time. Then he said: “Expect a big miracle!” I said, “Okay.” I did not know what miracle it would be, but I said: “Fine.”
And when somebody says something like “Expect a miracle,” your mind tends to be occupied with that thought. The same thing happened to me, I was only thinking about what miracle it would be, when it’ll be, how it’ll be. So, I was pretty much occupied with that thought, and after a while, I became more relaxed in that regard. I reached Mumbai, arranged for a taxi, and immediately travelled to Shirdi. In the morning after I reached, I freshened up. Those were days when we could make offerings to the Dhuni, which Baba had lit. Now it has been closed. I told the taxi driver: “Get me something nice, good, substantial, to offer to the Dhuni.” I have always liked to visit Dwarkamayee; it was a preferred spot for me because I always felt like Baba still sits there.
So, I was standing in the queue and there was one path to enter, another, to exit. They had laid down this procedure so as to avoid a crowd conglomerating and blocking the way. So you would enter via one gate, go through the Dwarkamayee space, and then exit through another gate. You can’t enter through the exit gate. There was a reasonably long queue to enter Dwarkamayee. So, I stood in the queue and I told the driver of the car to obtain some good offerings for the Dhuni while I stood in the queue. He brought me some materials as requested; I split it into two – gave one-half to him, and kept the remaining. I moved on, put my offerings in Dhuni, and was exiting. There were many people behind me, and in front of me.
Suddenly, I saw one man coming towards me from the opposite direction. At that point in time it didn’t occur to me that nobody could enter through the exit. But this man walked in and it was almost as if he was coming straight to me. And if I remember right, there was a young child with him, probably about five years of age, maybe the age of Ammu, when she left the body. He came, and held my hand on my biceps, my right hand. I can still feel the grip, it was a very strong grip, a strong man, a strong grip, and he held me. And he was wearing an outfit similar to this color. He looked like a Hindu priest. He held my hand, he pointed towards that small pillar, a very small pillar which is in Dwarkamayee. Baba used to lean on it when he used to sit near the Dhuni, he used to lean on it and it is still there. At that time it was open, now I think it’s covered. He said, “Sar idhar rakho!” “Put your head here!”
I obeyed. I immediately kneeled down, and touched my head on the pillar. Then he said: “Abhi jaao!” Both were commands, only these two. First you put your head here, then get up, leave. All this while, I must have been blocking the flow of pilgrims, because I’m stopping, I’m kneeling down, etc. but it didn’t feel so. People might have been going through me, or maybe I was transparent. I don’t know. And nobody else noticed this man and this child, and my activity did not hinder the flow of pilgrims, so nobody stopped me. And I walked out. And I don’t know where he went, in fact, I didn’t look further. Maybe he was there or probably he just dissolved. I don’t know. I didn’t think at that time about this.
I came out and we were going to Mumbai for the program, and the taxi driver who was behind me did not even know about this. He didn’t bother me with questions. He didn’t know, he didn’t ask me why I knelt down, etc…… He didn’t ask me anything. It’s almost as if he passed me also, he went ahead. So, it was a very surreal experience. Once I came out, I decided to leave and I called this friend who had told me about the miracle. I said, “There has been no miracle.” I was expecting something to fall from the sky or materialization, or something similar. But there was nothing. So, I asked him: “Where is this miracle you are talking about? I didn’t feel anything.” Then he said, “Baba came and met you, what else you need?” So, sitting some place so far away, he understood the happenings at Shirdi. It was not crazy, it was not an illusion, it was real, and it was true. Baba had come, and he knew about it.
That was a magnificent experience, and I would say a transformative experience too. It’s not only the connection, the subtlety, or the realization of the truth that Baba is alive and visibly active, tangible. Not just that He ensures that transformation is given to those who are connected to Him. True spirituality is transformative spirituality, that which transforms you.
We follow rituals, we follow Gurus, we follow various activities and we think we are spiritual. But unless transformation happens in life, it is just an activity. Many of us feel that we are spiritual and we often stay in that illusion for a long time. To come out of it is not easy, and even when somebody tells you, “Why are you doing these rituals if it is not transformative?” We will reject the person, not the ritual and still prefer to be in the comfort zone. This was a hardcore experience for me, where I started entering into the world of silence. Transformation means fewer thoughts. Fewer thoughts mean your mind is still. Thoughts are materials projected by the mind. Mind has no thoughts, mind is always still, but thoughts come from Samskaras, from the inherent impressions. They come as thoughts and mind projects them. When mind projects them, you are bound to be influenced by them. You are influenced by what is sitting in you.
So here, with Baba’s presence, when Baba held my hand, and asked me to touch my head on that pillar where He used to lean His spine, basically I was touching my head on His spine. Spine is the stairway to heaven, and heaven means complete silence of the mind, a state where you have no desires, no thoughts, you are absolutely still…as Shiva. As silent as Shiva – this is the ultimate transformation, Samadhi. So, I was literally surprised, or pleasantly surprised that without calling, Masters support you.
How can a Master support you when you don’t call? Your call is your eligibility. Your eligibility is your conviction with consistency and complete selflessness. Conviction in yourself and your path with consistency and total selflessness. It’s not in what you do; it’s in what you are. So, this makes you eligible for the intervention of the frequencies that can make a change in your life, whether that be living or non-living, it does not matter.
So, this happened and I was on my way. While in the car, I was thinking: “My god, it was Baba!” I could not even touch His feet. I was feeling so stupid. Baba came, met me, made me do whatever I did, yet I did not understand it was Baba, and I could not touch His feet. This was bothering me for a long time. Then awareness happened. What was meant to happen happened the way it did. It’s not what you want to do. It’s how it was meant to be. Or everything in life is how it is meant to be. A place, a situation, an effect, and an understanding, or awareness during that activity, this is all predetermined. Eligibility happens, activity happens. If eligibility is not there, activity is not there. Something very simple.
The Mystical Experience of Being in Shirdi
This was a very different experience that I had, about being in Shirdi when I was not in Shirdi. I was not even thinking of Shirdi at that time. I was flying from Munich in Germany to Belgrade in Serbia. It was 2010, if I remember right. That’s the time when the Icelandic volcano erupted. This Icelandic volcano spewed ashes into the sky, and as you may recall, most of the aircrafts were not flying during that time. They were grounded, and many, trips were cancelled or suspended. I did not know about it. Although I knew that a volcano has erupted in Iceland, and was spewing ash into the sky, I did not the gravity or seriousness of the situation.
I was at the airport to fly to Belgrade and nobody told me anything. I saw some cancellations on the display board but I didn’t think it was because of the ash in the air. I got my boarding pass, walked to the gate and the flight took off. All along I suspected nothing. After the flight took off, there was an announcement that the volcanic ash is disrupting the pathway, hence the flight was being re-routed via Austria and a two and half hour delay was expected. We had taken off and were mid-air with nothing much to do. Then again, the Captain spoke informing us that they had not obtained confirmation for using Austrian airspace. But he was certain to get it. He asked us to sit back and enjoy. We would reach our destination but with a three hour delay. I said to me, “Fine, it’s okay”
I pushed my seat back and relaxed, when suddenly I saw myself in Shirdi. It was not a dream, it was a physical experience. Baba was sitting, and I could actually see from the… it was as if I was inside the idol of Baba, looking at the entire Samadhi area; people were coming, lots of people, hundreds of them were coming towards the idol and were passing through both ways. I could see the stream of people. I could even identify the colors of the clothes that they were wearing the men, the women and the children; I could see the groups of people coming in and going out. And I was inside the idol of Baba, looking at the people, at the pilgrims, and in my heart, I felt overwhelming love and compassion. It is difficult to explain, it was not just love, it was an overwhelming compassion for all those who were coming, and also there a kind of energy flowing out from me to them. I could feel that the entire area – the idol in the middle, and all around, like a globe, a big bubble of energy. Thus, people were entering through this energy, (just like your car goes through a car wash) walked through the energy, and when they exited, it was almost as if they had taken a bath, their aura was cleansed. So, people entered with various colors of aura, but when they went out, it was all crystal aura, transparent, which means, complete cleansing happened, similar to a car wash, as I explained earlier. They enter, go through the two sides in the queue, come in front of Baba, bow down, and go out completely refreshed. I don’t know how many lifetimes of karma have been cleansed this way. And I was thinking, “Oh, my God, Baba is cleansing hundreds of people every day!” And my heart was expanding, almost to the point that I felt that it was exploding. I felt, “Oh, this is how Baba is working!” In fact, Baba gave me a glimpse of how he functions.
Suddenly, I came back to my body. The announcement said, “Prepare for landing, in thirty minutes we’re landing.” And we reached thirty minutes before time; not two and a half hours late, thirty minutes before the landing time, which is practically impossible! Even if we had taken the straight path, we would not have reached thirty minutes earlier! Those who were supposed to pick me up had not arrived. I came out of the airport and waited for them. And they said: “You came early!” I have no clue how I reached early. Probably even Lufthansa may not know how we reached! If we had gone via Austria, it was an additional two and a half hours; I don’t know which direction we took, I did not hear anything. All I recall is that I experienced the state of being Baba in the Samadhi Mandir. And when I came to my body, became Mohanji again, I had already arrived!
So, this was a very, very transforming experience for me. The overwhelming compassion, with no discrimination between men, women, children; various types of people, various karmic combinations come to Shirdi, to Baba. Baba cleanses them without discrimination. He just gives everybody as much as they can take.
Baba’s Gift of His Padas
I decided to make a Shirdi Baba Temple on a property I had. A gentleman I know, who was a businessman, used to visit Shirdi very often. We made a small plan, and I requested him, “When you go to Shirdi, next time, could you please surrender this plan at Baba’s feet and take His blessings.” Unfortunately, the plan wasn’t ready when he was leaving for Shirdi. So I said, “When you go there, please surrender to Baba, saying that Mohanji is planning this, kindly bless and make it happen”. He did as requested. When he came back to his car, just before he entered it, a person approached him and gave him a packet, which was quite heavy. He took the packet and asked, “Where is this from?” The man said: “Baba sent this.” He was an ordinary looking man, a Maharashtrian and middle-aged. My friend tried to give him some money, but he had disappeared.
He brought the packet along and visited us. It was Padas (feet) of Baba and it was kept in our prayer room of the house in which my parents live. All these events transpired before the temple happened. The Padas remained there and obviously, it was Baba who sent it. Our project didn’t happen. At about the same time, I had started a company for marketing herbal medicines… it was an early 2004 or 2005, and we were winding it up, because it was not going as per plan. Shares of the company had been distributed to many people and we had been ordered by the Court to surrender all the shares in order to close the company. But we could not trace a few shareholders and hence could not obtain all the shares. And we couldn’t close the company without surrendering them to the court. We were extremely worried since the company had recurring expenses and we had to close it.
The court had given us until 8 AM of a set date by which time we had to surrender everything. The previous evening, we did not know what to do. The next morning, when my father opened the Puja room, on this Feet of Baba, was a packet. My father did not know who left the packet there and no one else could have left it there too. He opened it and found all the shares. The shares were in order, from number 1 to the final number of shares we had issued! All the shares in proper order! He called out for me and said, “This has come!” I said, “Please take it to the Chartered Accountant, and give it to him.” He took it to the Chartered Accountant, gave it to him, and he counted and said, “Oh! Everything is in order.” He went to the court, submitted it and closed the company! That is when I decided, this is Baba, the Feet (Padas) are Baba, and it’s Baba’s presence. I can’t keep it at home like this. Around the same time, Mr. Sunil, Sujatha and family were building a temple in Venoli Village in Palakkad. I donated the Padas to the temple, and it now sits there, it’s still blessing people. It’s a beautiful temple too!
These are all just signs of how Baba works, the hundreds of ways in which he is working all the time. Presence without presence. You can see Baba. When a person becomes Presence, that’s when he expresses being God.
Transcribed by Tijana Sladoje
Proofread by Vidya Rajagopalan