Dear Sai Baba Devotees,
I wish to share my experience on seeing one of the videos of “Aai” and how it impacted me in a profound way. As in every locality, we also had a group of roadside Romeos (street doggies) wandering here and there in our neighborhood. They played, scrounged and fought over food, barked, and also picked up fights with other dogs who ventured into their territory from other streets.
This was a common scene, and equally common was people’s attitude to these stray dogs – that of callousness and ignorance. Most people got annoyed by their barking and often hurled sticks and stones at them to make them shut up or to disperse them or drive them away.
I must confess that even I paid no attention to them as such.
My family worshipped Shirdi Sai Baba among other saints, and I heard people say Sai performs miracles for those who believe in Him. I used to worship Baba’s idol along with several others in our pooja room. That was the only connection between me and Sai Baba until I happened to watch the YouTube video of the ICU miracle, which led me to see videos of Aai Maa, and I downloaded the book Sai Baba and Aai and read it. I thus got to know more about Baba and Aai Maa’s pure devotion to Him.
After that, I felt deep love and devotion towards Baba arising in me, and completely drowning me. In the video “The significance of Annadaan“, Aai Maa speaks about how it pained her to see a thin, starving dog in Shirdi and how she beseeched Baba to take care of all the dogs in Shirdi that were struggling to survive.
Aai’s words, “The poor dogs are just struggling to survive” affected me deeply. They kept ringing in my ears. Thereafter my own attitude to the street dogs changed. I felt guilty that I had never paid attention to other living creatures around me. I started noticing them, befriending some of them, assigning them names, talking to them, feeding them, and gaining their trust.
I love them, now I never refer to them as ‘strays’ or ‘street dogs’ – to me they are my ‘Bhairavas’, ‘roaming Romeos’, ‘warriors’, etc, and now even my mother’s attitude towards them has changed. She makes sure there are enough biscuits at home to feed them daily, and there is something in their dinner bowl every night. In the meantime, well-meaning neighbors continue to warn us about dogs biting humans, and spreading infections and diseases.
These warriors now sleep in front of our gate, they’re like a battalion of soldiers guarding us and our home at night. A change in my attitude resulted in these gifts. It reinforces the wisdom that the more you give, the more you get. In return for a little food and water, and a safe place to sleep at night, we get unlimited, unconditional love from these four-legged friends. It’s a truly humbling feeling and although I regret not having been attentive to my canine companions earlier in life, I am really grateful to AAI MAA who has inspired me to look upon these beings with compassion and respect.