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Clutched in the wrap of TIME & ERA, the events do get repeated. There are many such events, as witnessed by the bygone past called history that the events recurred; yet the fundamental implication and ramification also remained unaltered. While researching into the devotees & devotions towards SHIRDI SAI BABA, when I read through the character of Bhaktamati Laxmi Bai Shinde, I once again realized in every time & era, the events do get repetitive Bhaktamati Laxmi Bai Shinde was from a cultured & well off family of Shirdi. Once SAI BABA Himself called her and sought food for himself. When Bhaktamati Laxmi Bai Shinde got the food, Sai Baba, feeling pity, gave away the whole food to the dog standing next, and before Laxmi bai could feel offended by this action, BABA clarified saying that to satiate the desire for food of a dog is as much as my own need for food.

He added that even dog has the soul and dog’s soul too has the part of the same eternal soul (PARMATMA), that we have too. Even though the appearance of the soul in physical form would be different, even if a physical form like may not converse like we do, but need for food after all remains the same to all. He said that the “One who serves food to any hungry actually serves me the food.

A simple woman Laxmi Bai was so deeply moved by this revelation of BABA that from that day onwards she undertook the determination to be in service of BABA. She from that day on started regularly visiting DWARIKA MOSQUE in the service of SAI BABA.

It was the year of 1918 Dussera, that Sai BABA had pre-selected this day to be “the day” of stepping beyond (leave His Physical Body). Around 2pm during the afternoon BABA’s health started deteriorating. Bhaktamati Laxmi Bai Shinde thought that her SAI BABA on account of not having eaten a grain for many days is weakening & loosing the health. In order to improve the health of her supreme God, she quickly cooked some BHAKHRI (bread) and ran over to DWARIKA MOSQUE. Witnessing the devotion of Bhaktamati Laxmi Bai Shinde, BABA took a morsel and left the remaining food, to dig out nine silver coins out of HIS pocket. He first gave away “5” coins to her. Bhaktamati Laxmi Bai Shinde belonged to a rich family, she anyway did not require that wealth. Perhaps, The Lord Sai Baba attracted her attention towards to-wards the Skandha Epic # 11, of Chapter # 10 and Verse # 6 , where there is a magnificent description of NINE such virtues that the High Caliber Devotee possesses.

QUOTE in Sanskrit : -

“ MANYAMATSARO VAKSHO DRIDHSAUHADAH …
ASATVAROATHAM JIGYASUNARSUYURANODHAVAKA”


Bhaktamati Laxmi Bai Shinde was the materialized shape of this highest order & stature of devotion. She on account of her self-less dedication for BABA had pleased BABA to very great extent. There are few who opine that BABA had given this meaningful gift to Bhaktamati Laxmi Bai Shinde, that typically symbolizes the gift that is given right before the last stage of stepping beyond (i.e. leaving Physical Body). Epics (SHASTRAS) prescribe that such benevolent gift is given twice. Most likely, Sai Baba had given this as a donation / gift that is prescribed to be given only while leaving the physical body & shape.

Now the question that gets raised is that after all “what is that historical event that got repeated here in the time wrap by making Laxmi Bai a medium” ? Well to discover this we will have to travel back in the time to reach the era of benevolent King Lord Rama of TRETA YUG. Having lost Mother Sita to the Monster King RAVANA, Lord Rama was wondering in the thick forests with His brother Laxman, and soon He lands up in the Hutment Abode of Lady Shabri. Bhaktimati Shabri’s overture to offer the best & sweetest fruits (WILD TROPICAL BER FRUITS) to the Lord by tasting each, before she offered them to be consumed by The Lord Rama, and Lord Rama’s consuming the same with no inhibitions at all, is one such extreme example of the deep love between the Lord & Devotee, that none other era, time or occasion would ever have, or has ever had. Having done this act Bhaktimati Shabri stood with her clasped hands before the Lord, and to which the Lord replied …


QUOTE in Hindi (as composed by Goswami Tulsidas) : -

“ KAR RAGHUPATI SUNU BHAMINI BAATA, MANAU EK BHAKTI KAR NAATA.”

What Lord Ramam said was that despite the fact that one may emerge from good Caste, Creed, Pedigree, Richness, Power, Virtues, & Intelligence, but all these without dedicated devotion remains a humbug, as if it is a cloud devoid of water. Hence The Lord said that he acknowledges only one relationship that is Devotion. Then The Lord cautions Bhaktimati Shabri and delivers to her the sermon of NINE TENETS of DEVOTION (NAVADHA BHAKTI).


QUOTE in Hindi (as composed by Goswami Tulsidas) : -

“Navadha Bhakti Kahaun Tohi Pahin, Savdhan Sunu Dharu Man Mahin.
Pratham Bhakti Santan Kar Sanga, Doosari Rati Mum Katha Prasanga.
Guru Pad Pankaj Seava Teesari Bhakti Anaan,
Chauthi Bhakti Mum Gun Gan Karai Kapat Taji Gaan.
Mantra Jaap Mum Dridh Vishwasa, Pancham Bhajan So Ved Prakasha.
Chath Dan Seel Birati Bahu Karma, Nirat Niranjan Sajjan Dharna.
Sataven Sum Mohi Maya Jug Dekha, Moten Sant Adhik Kari Lekha.
Aathven Jatha Laabh Santosha, Sapnehun Nahin Dekhai Pardosha.
Nvam Saral Sab Sun Chalheena, Mum Bharos Hiya Harash Na Deena.”


Meaning that even Lord Rama had propounded & pronounced that there are NINE virtues of Highest degree of DEVOTIONAL order & hierarchy : -

1. Company of Saints,
2. Listening to Bhagwat Katha (Inspirational Stories),
3. To serve the holy feet of the Guru,
4. Renounce Ego, Falsehood, & Fraudulent ACTS and surrender to God,
5. Recitals of prayers & Mantras.
6. Uplift Character,
7. Maintain Equanimity,
8. Satisfaction (Saburi),…&
9. Faith (Shraddha).

The way the relationship of Bhaktimati Shabri commences with the Lord, by feeding Him with tasted fruits, similarly Bhaktimati Laxmibai Shinde’s relationship with Baba began by getting a bread for Him. The way Lord RAMA delivers His sermon of NAVADHA BHAKTI to Shabrimai, similarly SAI BABA donates his nine SILVER COINS to Bhaktimati Laxmibai Shinde symbolizing the NINE tenets of devotion.

Even though there is a major difference in the TIME & ERA of these two incidents but, the implication & ramifications of both remain the same. SHIRDI SAI BABA gifted His NINE devotional SILVER COINS to Laxmi Bai, so did Lord Rama agve away NINE devotional SERMONS to Shabrimai, that would rid one off the worldly cycle of reappearance and would get chance to merge with THE ETERNAL SOUL --- THE GOD ALMIGHTY.

QUOTE in Hindi (as composed by Goswami Tulsidas) : -

“Kahi Katha Sakal Biloki Hari, Mukh Hridaya Pad Pankaj Dhare,
Taji Jog Pawak Deh Hari, Pad Leen Mai Jah Nahi Phire.”

The above lines signify and certify that after Bhaktimati Shabrimai, the other Bhaktimati Laxmibai came many years after just to preach and set an example before us of true & ideal devotional standards that we must possess.

Bhaktimati Laxmibai‘s those precious symbolic silver coins as gifted to her by SAI BABA are still available, at SHIRDI to inspire us on the true & ultimate devotional path to attain God.

(Courtesy: Extracts from the Book “SAI KE BHAKT” by Vikas Kapoor)
English translation by : ROHIT MISRA