Baba turned a
sceptic into an ascetic
BABA TURNED SHRI VIRENDRA p. PANDYA FROM A SCEPTIC INTO AN ASCETIC..... by Jyoti Ranjan
Shri Virendra P. Pandya of Vaitarna, near Kalyan, was a university graduate and did not believe in God. Everyone in his family was educated and except for his parents, none of the family members believed in God.
In May, 1952, he accompanied his cousin brother to Shirdi on a casual visit. Sometime after he left Shirdi, his family was in great distress. He was at that time staying with his cousin at Vaitarna. His parents and other family members were living in Bihar. There was no possibility of their coming to solve the problem.
Shri Pandya suddenly remembered having brought a photo of Sri Sai Baba from Shirdi, which was lying in his trunk. He took it out, cleaned it and kept it on his table. He lit an agarbatti before the photo and prayed to Sri Sai Baba to help him solve the problem.
Two or three days passed; but the solution did not occur and he became worried and restless. He stood before the photo of Sri Sai Baba and said, “O Baba ! You know that I have no strong belief in You. If You are really God as Your devotees call You, You know my family problem and how worried I am thinking over my matter. I pray to give me a proper solution by evening or else. I will keep Your photo back in the trunk once and for all.”
By evening he felt calm as a solution to his problem occured to him. He immediately wrote a letter to his mother at Dharaiajoba (in Bihar) informing her of the solution and the way in which he got it. On the third day of his posting the letter, he got a letter from his mother informing him of the same solution which had occured on the same day and time. This incident brought him very close to believing in Sri Sai Baba.
He thought of devoting his whole life to Sri Sai Baba for ever, doing nothing but Bhakti. But, his mother refused permission and advised him to follow Karmayoga. He once again stood before Baba’s photo and wrote on a piece of paper. “O Baba ! You definitely know my dilemma. By Tuesday 5.8.1952 evening I must get an answer from You in writing as to which way of life I should follow.” He then placed the paper under the photo and prayed to Baba.
By dusk on 5.8.1952 he waited impatiently for an answer. He then accidently came across the Gujarati book called ‘Sri Sai Baba Upasana’ published by Shri Bhavnagar Sai Baba Bhakta Mandali. The book had been sent to him by his mother two months ago; but he had not read it so far. Now, when he saw the book, he opened it at random and came upon the chapter ‘Bhav Sudha’. After reading a few lines he became interested and soon finished reading the entire book. At the end of it he had got answers to his questions and that too in writing. In that book, Baba had advised a devotee to follow Karmayoga way of life. This incident brought him even more closer to the devotion of Sri Sai Baba.
Shri V. P. Pandya and his cousin were contractors doing work in connection with the Mumbai Water Supply Scheme and lived in Vaitarna, a place which was virtually a jungle.
One Wednesday (6.8.1952) he stood before Baba’s photo and prayed, “Tomorrow is Thursday, i.e. Baba’s day. Some sadhu, sanyasi or fakir should come to my door to have bhiksha between 12.30 p.m. and 1.00 p.m. the time I take my afternoon meal. He should bless my entire body by moving his right hand from head to foot.”
After 12.15 p.m. on Thursday he went to take his lunch as no one had come to his door till then. Just as he was about to take his first morsel of food, he heard the voice of a fakir asking for alms. His cook, who never gave anything to any beggar gave a one anna coin to the fakir of his own accord. The fakir turned to leave. He then called the fakir back and gave him prasad, which he had kept before Baba’s photo. The fakir went away. By then Shri Pandya too finished his meals. He thought of serving food to the fakir; but he had gone. He thought if the fakir somehow returned again, he would serve him food. He inquired with his cook, whether there was any extra food. The cook replied in the negative and said that the food was sufficient only for him.
To his utter astonishment, Shri Pandya saw the same fakir coming towards his door once again. He immediately offered prasad to the fakir and gave him Rs. 2/- requesting him to have food with the amount as he was unable to serve him food in his house. The fakir accepted the amount without saying anything and simply laughed meaningfully at him. And then, to his great joy, the fakir blessed him from head to toe with the peacock feathers he held in his right hand, just as he had wished. He fell at the feet of the fakir with inexplicable joy and again offered pranams. The fakir raised him up and said that He would meet again on the following Thursday, 14.8.1952.
When he told the fakir that it would not be possible as he was leaving for Shirdi in a couple of days, the fakir said, “Even then I will meet you” and went away.
Shri Pandya reached Shirdi on 13.8.1952. On Thursday, 14.8.1952, during noon Aarati at the Samadhi Mandir, while gazing at Sri Sai Baba’s photo, it suddenly occured to him, what the fakir had said had turned out to be true. He was in front of Baba, performing Aarati and so Sri Sai Baba too was in front of him. Thus the fakir met him on Thursday, 14.8.1952.
Sri Sai Baba thus brought a faithless into His fold of staunch devotees even after His Mahasamadhi.