Baba Appears to Me in Shirdi
Excerpted from a conference call:
Nityaananda: So, this is a story that happened, well I want to say 2008, 2009, something like that on what appeared to be the spur of the moment which was what it was like to be around Swami. He might have had a lot of plans that he did in advance, but generally he didn’t talk about them until you were called. And we were called along with Gary Taylor suddenly to go to Shirdi with Swami with no notice. And it took us all day to get to Shirdi, we got there pretty late evening actually, and we were able to go and take darshan.
Monika: It was a very special journey, it was going with Swami to bring Navya (Swami’s daughter) to Baba for the first time.
Monika: So, it had a lot of deep sentiment.
Nityaananda: That was quite a scene. She (Sri Kaleshwar's daughter Navya) was a newborn and taking her to Baba’s samadhi in that way. But it was a whirlwind trip, that was the way Sri Kaleshwar lived his life, he didn’t waste any time. And going to see Baba is something you’d like to linger, you go to Shirdi, why not hang out for a while, what a place. But often a trip to Shirdi with Swami was whirlwind, it was in and out and this was that kind of a trip. So, we went and had darshan and went to the Samadhi and the Dwarkamai with Swami in the late evening. And the plan was to leave the next morning as soon as everybody gets up and the cars are ready, get back in the cars and head back to Pune and fly back to Bangalore. So, it was, there was no time. And Swami had said, I don’t want to be late. Which meant don’t make him wait at the cars in the morning.
And I had, we had gotten there so late that all the shops were already closed. And a trip to Shirdi is a rare thing in this life. So, not being much of a shopper, I had one strong desire and that was to get a pair of padukas to bring to this temple, to this Dattatreya murthi in this Baba temple. So, I don’t now if I slept that night at all, but I got up and it had rained hard in the night and where we were staying was maybe half a mile from the Samasthan, walking down roads with farm fields and with little mud huts. And then you got closer, then you got into the mass of hotels and development around that Samasthan. So, I went to be there when any shop was opening just hoping that we they would open. You know in classic Indian style they open when they like to open, you never know when they’re going to open. And earlier morning is not a time that is that active around that temple with pilgrims and devotees like us.
So I was just hanging around right next to the Samasthan and the shops there, waiting for any shop that sold padukas to open up and finally one did and I was a little disappointed to see how much they cost, because I wanted to get real silver. So, I used literally every rupee I had, I was with Swami, he was not going to let me go hungry or leave me behind. But I did, I used every penny that I had and bought a modest pair of silver padukas. And then tried to get into the Samasthan to get them blessed. There was zero chance to get a VIP pass or something, it was just too rushed. You know, they have good security there, which they need, and generally they’re not going to let that kind of thing in, but Baba lets in what he wants. And when I showed the different security places I went through what I was carrying (the padukas) then they just waved me through.
Then I went to go in to get into the queue, just hoping I would get in in time, but I was committed. And in a classic style somebody basically opened the door and I was pretty close to the front of the line. And I went in with the padukas and gave them to the priest and the priest blessed them in a beautiful way on Baba’s samadhi and on the murthi there. And then I was out. And then my mission was to get back to the hotel before Swami discovered that I wasn’t waiting down by the cars for him. And I was in such a rush that I completely forgot my shoes, which I realized once I got a little past the pavement of the Samasthan area into the dirt roads that I had to walk down to get to the hotel and it was just walking through mud.
So, I’m walking through mud, carrying these padukas and in a hurry and occupied, there are a lot of clues here about the way the Father’s energy comes. It chooses certain moments that you’re already distracted, you’re distracting yourself. So I was distracted in my hurry. So I’m walking and enjoying the mud between my toes and trying to make my way as quickly as I can to the hotel. And I look up and I’m in the area where there are farm fields and these old style mud huts, I mean the way I would imagine Shirdi looked when Baba was there. And then suddenly there was Baba about a hundred yards ahead of me in the direction I was walking, begging from one of the houses. You know, with his begging bowl and it was exactly as I would (imagine), it was unmistakable. Not just energetically, also he just came in a form like, that’s what he looks like, oh it looks like his picture. It looks exactly like his picture. In fact, that is him! And then my mind immediately started saying that can’t be him, I mean look, it’s broad daylight, he’s begging from some other person. And this woman came out, but I was still a hundred yards away, or less, I was walking, but I slowed down when I saw that. Actually, I’m sorry to say that, but I’m telling the truth, I slowed down. It was a shock, oh my God!
But then when my mind was able to accept that yes, that is Baba, then my heart started racing and my mind starting racing and I became terrified. Like oh my God, what am I going to say?! What am I going to do?! It was really that, so I started slowing down, I was still walking and then he turned from receiving what he had received from this woman in his begging bowl and then he’s walking towards me, so we’re walking towards each other. And as we’re getting closer I’m becoming more and more terrified of failure basically, oh my God, what am I going to do, all the training, everything I had received from Swami I was prepared for Baba darshan. But it all went out the window. So, I’m carrying the padukas and walking and wondering what am I going to do, what am I going to do, what am I going to do? And when we got within like twenty-five yards of each other then he suddenly turned down a little path that was between two of these houses that line the road. So, I walked to that place and during that time that he wasn’t in my sight then I calmed a lot down, so then I was feeling, okay I remember what I was trained to do. I know what am I going to do.
And when I got to that place, it must have been, I don’t know, thirty seconds or so after he had turned onto that path, when I looked down that path it was empty, there was nothing there. It was actually a path between two houses that opened up onto farm fields on both sides. And I looked around and he disappeared, it was gone, that was it. And I really didn’t have time to dwell on it. When I got back to the hotel muddy and sweating, Swami and the entourage was down in the lobby waiting, but he didn’t say anything, I think Swami knew actually. But that’s an example. I wouldn’t use that as a stellar example of how you should behave in a darshan situation, but that is an example. That’s tricky darshan, it’s darshan when you’re not prepared. You know, and that’s a fundamental thing there is that the energy will come often under those circumstances, not always, but often under those circumstances.
Monika: But really, when we’re looking back now on that because those padukas were for this temple and when you had darshan of Baba with the padukas in your hand and that also, how perfect it was that you left your shoes behind and you’re walking with, I mean this is how Baba’s leelas are, they’re just so perfect. You’re walking without shoes there and he’s making you walk that way, it’s kind of like you’re offering the padukas to him. Really, first what a blessing it is and then as we remember these things we get more, when we hear the stories actually, it reminds us to be prepared to utilize the moments. Because we realize how many moments we didn’t utilize. And I think we all have experiences that we remember like that and many that we don’t. Because how many times has Baba appeared as the cat or the dog or in another person.
Nityaananda: Yes, like the carriage driver who picks somebody up, drives them to their destination from the train in the middle of the night and then it turns out nobody knows anything about any carriage driver.
Monika: No, and you know when you were telling your story about Baba going to the house to beg for food, that’s how you were seeing Baba and that was how Baba would be, he would show himself to one person, but then another person would see him in a different way. So, to that person who opened the door, who knows? It might have looked like just an ordinary beggar, but your vision was open at that time and you can see in that way.