Shirdi Saibaba -Part VIII
Shirdi Baba original photo; below feeding the poor!
How Saibaba fed his devotees?
As the number of devotees grew day by day, sometimes Saibaba choose to feed them from his resources. He will himself go to the shop, purchase wheat and other condiments for preparation of different varieties of food to feed the devotees. He had two big pots, one to feed 50 people and the other to feed 100 people. Sometimes he prepared sweet rice and made all arrangements from start to finish. He will fill the pots with sufficient water to cook the food. When the food is boiling, he will insert his own hand inside the boiling pot, and mix the food thoroughly from all sides and from bottom. There is no evidence of any injury or pain in him while he cooks. After making it tasty by putting powdered spices, he would offer first to God. Then he will make the devotees to sit in rows. He would spread leaf and pour the food lovingly in each leaf as per the requirement of devotees. People who partook the food are really blessed since the food was prepared and served by Saibaba! He will feed all beggars, destitute and devotees alike. He has not shown any discrimination during feeding. All the devotees partook the food and they were greatly satisfied.
It went on for many years till 1910 after which the practice was stopped. As there were rush of devotees, the devotees of Shirdi daily prepared varieties of food both sweet and savories, rotis and vegetables and offered to Baba. Saibaba would mix all the food and offer it to God. Then the devotees would be seated along the walls of the mosque with Saibaba occupying the center place. Saibaba would send the remaining food outside to the waiting persons for taking to their respective homes. All were fed sumptuously. Saibaba never felt the sense of taste. Whether a food was tasty or otherwise, he never felt it. This feeding has a moral. Offering food to others is a great thing. We need not discriminate while offering food to the hungry. Thus Saibaba has shown practically, how the house holder should take care of poor people.
This has a great lesson in sacrifice. The entire world is permeated by God. He is the indweller of all the people whether one is poor or rich, whether one is wise or fool. God invariably dwells in thieves as well as immoral people. For that reason, "godliness' is never affected. All the qualities pertain to the body of the individual. Hence the individual is responsible for all his actions and the indwelling spirit is simply a witness to the actions of the individual. When the individual engage himself in wrong actions or bad deeds, the inner soul sends a subtle warning to the individual. But the ego filled man brushes it aside mostly. This is how man accumulates the effects of the actions, he voluntarily and willingly performed. As the effects follow invariably the actions, there is no use crying later. Hence the Saints like Saibaba always adviced the devotees, how they should live in this world and the need to cultivate love and brotherhood. Tolerance and patience has been emphasized by Saibaba. He told the devotees to cultivate Faith and patience! Rest in Part IX.