Chandrabai : Baba’s Devotee

Chandrabai: aged 66, wife of late Ramachandra Borkar, Ville Parle, 1936.

I am a worshipper of Sai Baba for the last 44 years or so. Blessed & fortunate to see Baba for first time at Shirdi 20 years before his Mahasamadhi. I still retain a good quantity of the udhi which he gave me each day with his own hand in small quantities and this I have carefully preserved as it has great virtue and potency. By the way, I have also this sacred tayath enclosing Baba’s tooth, which he gave me as a memento.

I had deep devotion for Baba & Baba responded with abundant blessings. When I went to him about 1898, the present masjid had not been built, nor the Wada of Sathe which came after rebuilding of the masjid. Baba was then sitting under the neem tree which is now in Sathe’s Wada. I saw Baba filling lamps with water, instead of oil, after drinking away the little remnant of oil mixed with some water. I saw also him lying on a plank in the Masjid hung up from the ceiling with strings made of slender shreds of cloth. There were lamps on the plank, whereon he lay. No ‘bigwigs’ were coming then. Whenever I went there, I resided in the house of some villagers.

Baba’s kindness to me was very great. (Even as she referred to instances, she was overcome repeatedly with emotion, shed tears and had frequent breaks in her narration, being unable to continue it by reason of her feelings). My husband Mr. Borkar never went and saw Baba; but even to him, Baba showed great kindness. In or about 1909 my husband, who was an engineer, was engaged for the construction or repair of a bridge at Pandharpur. His residence was, therefore, at Pandharpur. When he was there, I had gone to Baba at Shirdi and was serving him. One day Baba told me, “you better go to Pandharpur and I will go with you” and added that there was no difficulty for him to travel and that I should start expeditiously. So I started. I did not know what had happened there.

When I reached that place, I found that my husband was not there, that he had resigned his work there and gone away to Bombay. That information I got there for the first time and I was in great anxiety and sorrow. I had just a few rupees with me and had taken two companions with me. I had just money enough to take us back upto Kurdwadi. We went there. I had got thoroughly emotional and was brooding over the situation.

Suddenly a Fakir appeared before me, and asked me what I was brooding over. I evaded replying to him. He told me that my husband was at Dhond and that I should go at once with my two companions to Dhond. But, where was the railway fare to come from, I enquired. Then, he immediately delivered 3 tickets for Dhond and went away. I took the tickets and with my companions boarded the train for Dhond. Meanwhile, my husband was at Dhond drinking tea and sinking into half dozed condition or a reverie. A Fakir appeared before him and said, “How is it you are neglecting my mother? She is coming down by the train in carriage No. such and such” and gave him the number of my carriage.

He was startled and got up saying, “Who is this that is taking me to task?’ and looked up. But the Fakir disappeared. When the train arrived, I stepped down and my husband was there to receive me and take me to his quarters. My husband told me of the Fakir’s appearance before him and wanted to see a photo of Sai Baba whom I was worshipping. I showed him the photo and he recognised therein the Fakir who came to him.

On a Guru Poornima day, before Upasani Maharaj, who is my Gurubandhu, left Shirdi for Kharagpur, Sai Baba asked me to take Pooja Dravya and Naivedya and worship Maharaj. I went and worshipped him, telling him that it was Baba’s order and Maharaj did not prevent me from doing that worship. But, after that day, I never again worshipped Maharaj.

My attitude towards him is what I should have towards a Gurubandhu. I do not hate him as so many Shirdi people do. Sai Baba has often said that we should not harbour feelings of hatred against any, nor entertain feelings of envy, rivalry or opposition or a combative disposition towards others and that if others hated us, we should simply take to Namjapa and avoid them. But, my attitude towards Upasani Maharaj has been misunderstood by him and others. Two years ago, I went to Sakori to help in establishing a proper arrangement about recent changes in the Panchakanya establishment of his. But, apprehending my attitude to be hostile, he never gave me the chance of a free private talk with him and I returned.

Sai Baba’s kindness towards me and mine manifested even in 1918 before his expiry and even afterwards.

Some three months before Dusserah of 1918, he was thoughtful of my welfare after he should leave the body. He told me, ‘Bai, (that is how he addressed me) you need not hereafter trouble to come and see me here. I am with you wherever you are’. (This lady melts into tears as she narrates this). So kind he was and his words are ever true. I went away then. Just at the Dusserah following, when I was at Panchgani, I got Mr. H. S. Dixit’s message that Baba was often thinking of me and that Baba was not likely to survive even for a short time. I went to Shirdi in time to see him pass away. I gave him some water at the last moments, and Bagya did the same. Baba leaned back on Bagya and expired.

After this, I visited Shirdi once in 1919, and once in 1933. But Baba, as he promised, has ever been with me and helping me wherever I remain. I have composed some verses and communicated them and my experience to the Sai Lila Masik.

In 1921, my husband fell down from a carriage and his leg broke, I took him up and applied Udhi and paste of Biba nut Jongla (ata?) and thaqdipala In three months’ time he got alright.

In 1921, I conceived & was blessed with a child. That was also Baba’s grace. In 1918, when I was aged 48 and had not conceived at all, I naturally yearned to have a child, though lay-people and doctors alike would declare conception thereafter out of the question.

But Baba knew my desire and in 1918.
Baba: Bai, What is your heart’s wish ?
I : Baba, you know everything. What is there for me to tell You?

Three years thereafter, my menses stopped and after some months Dr. Purandhare diagnosed my condition as one of internal tumour and proposed to remove it by operation. I protested and said that I would bide my ten months’ time and then decide. He opined that in my fifty-first year, after long continued absence of conception, there was no chance of my having any child. But Sai’s grace made the impossible possible and a son was born to me on Dhanatrayodashi day (i.e.) 3 years and 2 days after Baba attained Maha Samadhi.

And for that delivery, which took place at Chembur, I had neither doctor, nor nurse, nor any medicine. I attended to my regular duties during the day preceding delivery and at night had an easy and safe delivery. All that time and for 9 months previous, I had numerous complications like swollen legs etc. I had carried on a fast for months taking hardly any food, but more often water and Udi.

Baba’s grace was shown again at the time of my husband’s demise. Two months before that event, Baba was preparing my mind to face that calamity. He appeared in a dream and said to me, ‘Have no fears. I will take away Sri Ram’. (My husband’s name was Ramachandra). I said, ‘Baba, take me away first’. Then Baba replied that there was much work for me to do and I should nerve myself to survive my husband and do the duty allotted to me.

I communicated this dream to my husband. He made light of it, saying it was only a dream. That was about two months before the close of Chaturmasya. Sometime later, he developed serious kidney trouble and hiccough supervened. The end was perceptibly drawing near. Then he said to me, that he felt his end was near but that he wished earnestly that he should die after Chaturmasya was over.

But at or immediately after he was saying this, symptoms of the end of life started manifesting. His limbs got rigid and he passed into unconsciousness. I prayed to Baba to spare him at least for the remaining days of the Chaturmasya. The next day, he regained consciousness and limbs lost their rigidity. My husband was more cheerful. Then the 7 days or so of Chaturmasya lapsed, Kartik Poornima (1934) came and also pratipada.

That day at midnight, he took tea and then told me to go on with arati (of Baba) and to utter Vishnu Sahasranam loudly. I did as directed. This was going on till morning when the doctor came. They were talking hopefully. But I knew that he would pass away by noon or in the afternoon. I gave him Ganges water to drink. He drank and a little later he was saying, ‘Sri Ram, Sri Ram’. A chokra came and called him ‘Baba’. He got up saying, ‘Oh’ and as he said ‘Sri Ram, Sri Ram’, he passed away. I was by his side praying to Baba and Sri Krishna that he may be taken to the divine feet. He thus passed away with full smaran of God and Baba. I saw the grace of Baba in securing for him such a good end.

After he passed away, I had to look after my son and this building etc. Some relations were giving me endless trouble and threatened suit etc. So, I had to get Rs. 14,000 to pay it to them to secure this house, etc. from further troubles. Then some evil-minded persons thrust into this house lime fruit charmed, i.e., filled with black magic, so as to do harm to us and to prevent anyone becoming out tenant in this house. Sai Baba appeared to me in a dream and told me of this. I then sent some one to go to Goa to our family deity Devi and there they secured her intervention to break the black magic and spell of our enemies.

Source: Devotees Experiences of SRI SAI BABA by B.V.NARASIMHASWAMIJI

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