* My first experience of Sai Baba’s Leela in early childhood *
I am 35 now. This incident happened when I was a young lad of 7 or 8 years. Our family lived in JB Nagar Andheri east, Mumbai. Me and my friend Shishir would go for our tuition classes together every evening. On our way to the class, we always stopped at a small shop and bought four pieces of tamarind candy (imli ki goli) that cost one rupee. It was our daily evening treat. One day I noticed a small Sai Baba temple on the pavement.
I don’t know what prompted me to do this but I decided to put my one rupee coin in the Daan Peti that day and take Darshan, instead of buying the sweets. I told my friend about my wish and he point blank told me that if I did that, I should not expect him to share his tamarind candy with me. He intended to buy it for himself as always. I was a child, and for a moment the image of imli ki goli flashed before my eyes and evoked the mouthwatering sweet-sour tangy taste. I almost changed my mind, but then took a decision, a firm decision that I would use my coin as an offering and take the Darshan. I assured my friend I would not ask him for any candy and he was quite relieved to hear that
I stopped before the temple, put my coin in the donation box, took Darshan of Sai Baba, and came out feeling very satisfied. The tiny temple was right there on the pavement itself, and I had taken off my slippers before approaching it. After Darshan, when I put on my slippers and took a step back, I was astonished to see a two rupee note lying at the exact spot just under my footwear. It was as though someone had come and carefully placed it there for me – double the amount of my offering to Baba!!! I was too young to understand the significance of this Leela, but I remember that day I enjoyed eight pieces of tamarind candy. When I look back, I realise how blessed I was! I am fortunate to have Sai Baba and Ganpati Bappa help me throughout my life in times of need.
Jai Sai Ram! Jai Ganesh!
– RAGHVENDRA PANDEY