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Shirdi Saibaba -Part IV
Saibaba near fireplace and in Dwarakamai!
How he treated his devotees?
Saibaba used to visit four or five houses daily and beg his food! Solid food was collected in a cloth bundle and the liquid items in a tin tumbler. Saibaba knew no taste! After collecting the food, he will mix all of them in a mud pot, offer it to God and consume some food. The remaining food was kept in the mud pot. The sweeper who cleaned the mosque collected ten or twelve bread pieces and dogs/cats used to eat the remaining food. Saibaba never drove anybody. He has told the devotees that God resides in all forms of life.
Every third day, he would go to a distant well, clean his mouth, and take a bath after washing. Sometimes, he used to vomit his intestines clean them and dry them on the branches of the Jamboo tree. Many devotees have witnessed this. Afterwards, he will swallow them and they will reach their correct places. He was an expert in Yoga. He will swallow linen cloth of 27 feet length and 3" wide. It will be kept in his stomach for an hour or so. He will remove it afterwards. Sometimes, he will remove his limbs and throw it in different places. Once an European gentleman went to salute Saibaba. But he found only the head and his limbs were thrown out in many places. He thought that somebody has murdered Saibaba and he returned quickly to his quarters. After sometime he visited the place and found Saibaba was talking to some people. He thought that what he had seen earlier is some sort of hallucination! In Yoga texts this particular feat is written as "Kanda yoga"(removal of limbs).
Once an expert in Patanjali's Yoga text came to see Baba. He wanted to ask some doubts about Yoga practice. At that time Saibaba was eating dry bread with onion. Seeing thus, the yoga practitioner thought that the man who eats onions can never give any solution to his problems. Immediately Saibaba told a devotee, "Oh Nana! Only those who can assimilate onion should consume it. Others should never eat it. The practitioner was surprised to note that Saibaba could easily read his thoughts. Hence he prayed to Baba to give solutions to certain problems in yoga practice. Saibaba gave him appropriate answers and he was satisfied.
Many used to come there with various worldly problems. Saibaba used to give them some advice and appropriate remedies. When a man whose eyes have become red due to infection came there. Saibaba made a ball of paste of 'marking nut used by the washerman". A bandage was tied after applying the paste on both eyes. The next morning, the bandage was removed and water was poured in a stream over the eyes. The eyes became clear. Actually the marking nut is considered harmful for the eyes. But Saibaba's treatment is peculiar.
During the day time, Saibaba used to keep a fire place burning by feeding logs of wood. It will be burning day and night. The ash coming out of the fire place would be freely distributed to all the devotees who visit him. It was seen as a sure panacea for all worldly hills. All those who visit him, while leaving were given handful of ashes and when mixed with water and drank, it was found to cure many ills. When one of his close devotee was stung by a snake, his friends brought him to the mosque. Seeing him coming near, Saibaba angrily told him, Oh wile brahmin, do not climb up. Get down, Get down! The devotee thought that Baba has forsaken him and he has lost the hope of living. After some time, Saibaba cooled down. The devotee went near Baba who told him, "Not to worry the least! Allah will make you alright. Go and stay inside the house. Be moving inside the house and do not lie down and sleep. Eat what you like! The devotee gained confidence and went to his house, after following Baba's instructions. The words Baba uttered "Do not climb up, get down, get down" is really directed towards the poison not to climb the body of the devotee. His words were powerful and the devotee was saved. Rest in Part V.