THE OLD ADAGE “Faith can move mountains “ can be aptly suited to the incident happened and ingrained in memory but vividly fresh to recount even after 17 years.
THE DAY was 15th July 1998.
I Was Travelling with my wife Sharika from Bangalore to Delhi enroute to Rishikesh in Himalayas.
We were in three tier sleeper .We noticed a Fakir ,similar in looks and attire to ‘Shiridi Sai Baba.’
Taking no notice of him we got absorbed in our deep conversation as usual.
“It is a long journey ,around 40 hrs to Delhi”Sharika lamented . “You opted for this to save on money” I replied softly. “Now why to grumble ? “
The train moved on tirelessly listlessy on the beaten tracks making a strange creaking noise all along .
The ‘Look like Sai Baba’ was sitting opposite to us in the same compartment, with knife in one hand and an apple in other one, cutting apples one by one ,placed in a small gorgeous red tray. He offered one each to us both .we politely declined to accept and he too did not insist.
We must have hardly travelled for an hour or two, the train
halted at some scheduled station.
We saw an ailing man ,accompanied by a large dusky woman and a young stout man ,being carried on the shoulders of the two hefty persons was made to lie down on the side berth . The man was literally half dead ,made no movements at all. The young man was handsomely dressed ,pointing towards ailing person he said “my father ill for last four years ,taking him to AIIMS Delhi for treatment” “ Iam professor in Delhi Engineering college.she is my mother”he continued.
I nodded my head in affirmation without asking questions.
The train chugged on relentlessly .
The woman spotted Fakir ,’Look like Sai Baba.’
She raised her hands in folded manner to him and pleaded for mercy on his ailing husband. The Fakir responded by nodding his head and went to the side of the patient. The mother and young man moving away to make room for the Fakir to sit.
The ‘Look like Sai Baba ‘ murmured some mantra by moving lips and rotating his right hand over the head and face ,returned to his seat .
Sharika , who rarely believes in Fakirs , nugged me with an expression “ what is all going on, Who is he?” I made a facial gesture to sound “ I do not know”.
“A matter of Faith “ I said hardly audible than a whisper.
The Fakir sat close to us ,this time making sure we converse with him. He offered two pieces of apples again and we gladly accepted them. He smiled and asked for our whereabouts etc. My wife volunteered to speak freely now after watching his mercy prayer but little realizing we were talking to the great Saint in person.
Suddenly it dawned on me He is Sai Baba .
I was excited ,told Sharika “listen, jokes apart ,he is Sai Baba himself .we are lucky to speak to him” Sharika half heartedly nodded in affirmative ,”may be why not” she said politely.
It was nine O clock in night ,the woman once again pleaded with the saint this time prostrating at his feet, and the Saint repeated the act .To our surprise the ailing man sat comfortably looking cheerful enough to mend on his own.
Close upon 2 Oclock in the night a big hand woke me up by shaking my shoulders. I saw the Saint taking leave of me .
“ I need to get down. God bless you”.
I accompanied him to the exit door and he instantly disappeared in the crowds,
The train moved on listlessly to the New Delhi station.
To every one’s surprise the ailing man stepped down on his own to the platform.
The woman confided to us that he hardly spoke a word in last four years of his illness.
Needless to say We did visit Shridi Sai Baba soon after and
more so we Live now in Pune in the close vicinity of Sai Baba.