Shirdi Sai Baba has unique ways of fulfilling His devotees' wishes. He is a wonderful crafter who knows how to leave an everlasting impression on the devotee's mind so that he or she progresses further on the spiritual path. He seems to be always worrying about the spiritual thirsts of His children and finding the nectar to quench those thirsts at the earliest.
Two incidents have been narrated in this article about two devotees of Sai Deva from different time periods, the wishes get fulfilled in two different ways, but strangely due to a common thread tied to these devotees which is maneuvered by none other, their beloved Master - Sai Baba.
Deity comes down ...
This story pre-dates Baba's samadhi (act of dropping the mortal coil). Baba took samadhi on 15th October 1918. Tarkhad family from Mumbai ( Bombay presidency from their time) was greatly devoted to Baba. They used to visit Him in Shirdi, they were fortunate to take Darshan, talk, meet and eat with Baba when He was in body, all due to the merits accumulated and ties with Baba from prior births. Their experiences are described in chapter 9 of Sri Sai Satcharit . Mother (Tarkhad Aayi) and son (Jyothindra) used to go to Baba often. There are some experiences Jyothindra narrated to his children as they were growing up and some of these are not mentioned in the Satcharit. One of his children wrote those experiences in a small collection and is available on the internet. One of the experiences from that collection is about Tarkhad Aayi which goes as follows -
Aayi was a devout and religious lady, she had a wish to visit Pandharpur which is holy shrine of Lord Pandurang (Krishana). Once she was in Shirdi and she mentioned her wish to Baba. Jyothindra was present at this conversation. Upon hearing her wish, Baba said there was no need to go to Pandharpur for her as this is your Pandarpur. She insisted by saying that it's a Bhuvainkut (Lord Vishnu's abode on earth), she would feel blissful if she could take darshan of Pandurang there. Baba yielded and said that she could go, Lord would bless.
At destined time, Aayi went to Pandharpur with her son, Jyothindra. They were carrying puja materials which included a garland for the beloved deity, and reached sanctum-sanctorum. Aayi was in ecstasy as she was seeing the Deity in person, the preserving force as per the scriptures. The priest came to her to collect garland and other materials (naivedayam etc.), Aayi was in a different realm and requested that she would like to garland the deity herself. The priest made it clear that the platform where deity stood was inaccessible to visitors, was only meant for authorized people like him, but Aayi again insisted and the priest kept saying distinct and clear No. Jyothindra didn't know what to do in this situation and asked Aayi to pray to her Master - beloved Sai deva, who can definitely find a way in that deadlocked circumstance. She closed her eyes and started making a sincere prayer to Sai deva. After a few moments, Lo and behold, the deity moved from the platform, got down and came to her and stood in front of her, she had still her eyes closed not knowing what had transpired. Jyothindra nudged her and asked to open her eyes and see how her prayer got answered. When she opened her eyes, she couldn't believe it! She garlanded the Deity who came down to fulfill her wish. All were wonderstruck including the priest. They offered humble Pranams to the Deity and He returned to His position on the platform. The priest started touching Aayi's feet, thinking what a divine and pure soul she should be whose cry made Lord Pandurang to come down. But they made it clear to him that it was all due to the compassion of their Guru and Lord Vitthal (another name for Lord Pandurang).
A soulful prayer made from the heart is enough to melt Sai deva's heart and He rushes to fulfill the devotee's such a wish.
Deity calls to come up ....
The second story is about a pious lady who is a great devotee of Baba and she is known as Sai Bhakt Didi. I heard this incident on her youtube channel in 2019
(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X_-vboqQfIE ). She narrates an experience which took place in 2008. She was on a journey to visit his son's would-be in-laws house in another town. She was with her husband, son and son's would-be father-in-law when they all halted mid-way in a place known as Ratnpur which has a famous shrine of Maha-Maya. The father-in-law described the glory of the shrine and said that it's very famous and was visited by many every day. Didi was not keen to visiting the Shrine initially, but after hearing the glory, she got an intense desire to take darshan of this holy shrine. They went to the temple premises and to their utter dismay found a long queue outside. They got into the queue and were at the tail end, nobody else behind them. They could see the Shrine from afar but it's highly unlikely they would get a chance to take darshan inside sanctum-sanctorum.
She was thinking that she would see Sai Deva in the form of Maha-maya that day and she was very excited about the darshan, but after looking at their location in the queue, she got a plenty of doubts that she may not get the Darshan. She started praying to her beloved Master that she may not be able to see His Maha-Maya form today from close and she was unsure of any such opportunity would come in future. After some time, the aarti began. They could see the priest doing the aarti and she started feeling restless about the probability of missing the darshan that day. A little later, they saw the Priest was waving at someone in the queue, they couldn't understand who he was signaling at. They turned back to find there was nobody behind them. She didn't leave her place as she didn't know the priest personally and was unsure what to do. The priest gave the aarti plate to another priest and came down from the shrine to the end point of the queue and looked at Didi, asked her to come up with him. She followed him to the Shrine where aarti was going on. He asked her to attend the aarti from there and gave her some flowers to offer to Maha-Maya later. Didi says - she forgot her restlessness and concerns such as whether she was in proper attire to go near the Deity upon such an invitation, she just got lost in that blissful moment and took the darshan to her heart's content, after all she got called to come up.
It's another Leela of Sai deva who can compel the Lord to sometimes go down and to sometimes invite to come up, just to quench the spiritual thirst which comes up in His devotee's pure heart.
OM SAI NATHAY NAMAH.
I am posting this article on behalf of a Sai Devotee Mr. Rajesh Arora.