justice m. b. rege
(Originally given under the name Chinna Kistna Rajasaheb Bahadur B.A., LL.B.)


Saraswath, aged about 50, Interior of India 11th June, 1936.

The third incident or vision followed soon after - after about the same interval perhaps. I felt I was moving in some strange way. It was like levitation in the air. I came or was carried thus to a village. I found some one there and asked him what village that was. He said it was Shirdi. I asked him, "Is there any person named 'Sai Baba' here?" "Yes" he answered, "come and see". I was taken to the mosque. There I saw Sai Baba. He was seated with legs outstretched. I went and reverently placed my head on his feet. He got up and said, "Do you take my darshan? I am your debtor, I must take your darshan," and he placed his head on my feet. Then we parted.

These visions impressed me greatly. Before that time I had seen a picture of Sai Baba in the usual seated posture and I knew nothing more about him. I did not then know that Baba often sat with both legs outstretched. Some time later, I started on my first visit to Baba and Shirdi, and tried to verify my visions and to see if Sai Baba was my destined sole Guru as indicated in them.

When I went to Sai Baba at the mosque, there were many others with him. I went and prostrated, placing my head on his feet. He then said, "What! Do you worship a man?" At once I retreated some distance and sat. I felt the rebuff very keenly. I had, it is true, my scholastic notions that men should not be worshipped; and thought Sai Baba was hitting at me for going to him, with such notions lingering in my head. Between two stools I was coming to the ground. My scholastic idea of not worshipping any human being had been undermined and practically sacrificed; but I had not been accepted as a devotee by the Guru as I expected - from my visions. I felt deeply mortified and continued to sit for some hours. Then all had cleared off, leaving Baba alone on the floor of the mosque. That was in the afternoon. It was believed that none should go to Baba at that time, lest any serious harm should be inflicted as a penalty for the intrusion. But in my state of mind, such harm did not deter me. The main or single hope with which I had gone to Shirdi seemed to be blasted. What more was there to fear? He might beat me and crack my skull. Let him. With such ideas, I went nearer and nearer to the place where Baba sat. While I was some yards off, Baba gently beckoned to me to approach him. Thus encouraged I went and placed my head on his feet. He at once hugged me, bade me sit close to him, and thus addressed me: "You are my child. When others, i.e. strangers are in the company, we keep the children off". My apparent rejection or expulsion earlier in the day having been thus satisfactorily explained, I felt the full force of his deep and intense love for me and my heart responded to it. There was my Saviour, my Guru - the man of my destiny, found at last. Baba told me to go and put up with "Ayi", "Ramakrishni" as he called her. I went up. Ever since that date, up to the end of her life, whenever I went to Shirdi, Ayi's was my residence. And except to go to Sai Baba, I would never leave Ayi's residence while I was at Shirdi.

Ayi was a noble and affectionate person - an "Ayi" or mother indeed. She was from the very first treated by me as my mother and she loved me as if I was her son. She used to get a roti (bread) from Baba as prasad - on which alone she was living; and Baba used to send her an additional roti for me. Sometimes the extra roti received at Ayi's would indicate to her that I was on the way to Shirdi and would soon arrive. Ayi's devotion to Sai Baba was very intense and passionate. She lived only for Sai Baba, and her delight was to carry out everything that he wanted or was needed for his samasthan, i.e., institution and devotees. I find that Baba's instruction and help to me came through Ayi, in a peculiar way. Ayi was so open-hearted and kind that from the first day I could confide all my views and plans to her; and she revealed her ideas and plans to me. As for religious progress, she said that we should so act that no other person should guess what we were doing and how we were getting on. Secrecy is essential for the success or perfect fruition of spiritual effort. This was, of course, Baba's practice and precept.