Madhavrao Deshpande alias Shama was “Baba’s Boy”. He used to be a teacher in the neighborhood of the masjid where Baba stayed. He used to observe Baba’s mannerisms very closely and used to get bewildered. Is this a saint or a mad man? Later, wisdom dawned on him and he came closer to Baba. Baba took care of him. Shama used to be like a personal assistant to Baba. They used to chat informally in the quiet hours of the days, during the times when Baba’s popularity was relatively less.
Once Shama asked Baba: “Does Brahma Loka and Vishnu Loka exist?” Baba replied: “Yes, they do, but, what have you got to do with it?” Shama had a wish to see these lokas. Baba asked him to close his eyes and enabled him to see these lokas as clearly as he would see the outside world with his eyes open. Baba said: “Understand that these lokas are also as illusory as earth. We must go well beyond all these illusions and merge into the supreme, non-dual world.”
Shama: “Did Rama and Krishna really exist?”
Baba: “Indeed, they did.”
Shama: “Is it true that all the monkey squads helped Rama?”
Baba: “It is true. I myself saw innumerable monkeys assembling and them climbing one on top of another like ants.”
Shama: “How can you see them? You are not that old. This happened centuries ago”.
Baba: ” I was as I am now. We have lived numerous lives. You do not know that, but I do.”
Baba always used to treat Shama with kindness and love, and hardly used to display anger on him, even when he used to display it to his other close followers like Tatya Kote Patil. Shama had the freedom to question and even challenge Baba and Baba never minded it. His bhaav (feeling and devotion) towards Baba was pure and innocent with zero demands and expectations.
One day, a man came to Baba and requested for some money as he was in deep debt. Shama knew that the amount he requested was indeed available in Baba’s pocket. But, Baba replied to him that he has no money on him. The man left sad and gloomy.
While pouring water to Baba to wash his hands after a meal, Shama asked Baba why he lied to the poor man and sent him empty handed, who came seeking for some solace, despite him having the required amount in his pocket. Baba always used to tell people not to lie and not to promise what one cannot deliver. Baba replied;
“It is in his karma that he must experience this state. It is not yet time to change it. People experience poverty because of their inherent miserliness and poverty of the mind. If he is relieved of it now, he will not transform. Every experience is a result of past actions, words and thoughts. It must be experienced to the fullest. Nobody can cut it short. A rich and generous heart will only reap richness and generosity in life. Selfishness breeds selfishness. Greed breeds greed. Intolerance about anything breeds the same towards you from others. Understand this my boy Shama, you will not understand my ways. When one lies to people that one has no money, despite having it, invariably experiences the same situation in life. One must share whatever one has, and stay rich inside always.”
Shama fell quiet. One thing struck his mind hard – Baba is unfathomable. It is not easy to understand even the seeming casual actions of Baba. His mind is too small to contain this ocean called Shirdi Sai Baba.