Thrown a Challenge to Sai Baba on My Smoking
I first came to know of Sai Baba in 1972, when I joined services of a firm in Mumbai.
My uncle who lived in Mumbai was a steadfast follower of Baba and visited Shirdi every now and then. His wife, three daughters and a son, along with him stayed in Mahim. He was a hard drunkard and a chain smoker.
One day during his drinking session I questioned him, if he thought Sai Baba approved of his drinking heavily and smoking like a chimney? To my disbelief he answered that Baba preached, that you can belong to me inspite of all your vices and virtues as long as you have faith in Me nd My values. He said Baba says you can quit your vices with my help but I never disown My devotes. Amused at his answer, I told myself that these Babas are all farce and fakes and this is only a justification for his ill habits.
I, as a young man had also fallen prey to the bad habit of smoking and used to smoke 25-30 cigarattes a day. I believed no power on earth could make me quit smoking, as I was badly addicted to it already. Let me see if any Baba can do such a miracle of making me quit smoking, I told myself.
A few days later, I quit my job in Mumbai and headed back to my home town, Delhi. Back in Delhi, I planned to start my own venture with a friend's help who was handling an electrical wires business. Sai Baba had probably accepted the challenge to free me from smoking, but I learned the lesson in a very hard way.
Four days after joining the business, my father died of heart stroke. It was so sudden and heart breaking and happened within minutes, that for a day I even forgot that I smoke, till he was cremated. It was next day, after 24 hrs. that the urge to smoke could be felt, but hundreds of elderly relatives, neighbours, some coming from outside the city and staying on, I was never in a position to leave the gathering.
Being the only son and the one performing the last rites, the urge to smoke got crushed and another two days went by waiting to find an opportunity to sneak out of home and buy cigarettes and smoke.
Suddenly it struck me that if I could forget to smoke for 4 days, I could quit it as well. It then flashed in my mind I had thrown a challenge at Sai Baba, at my uncle's house in Mumbai to make me quit smoking.
Oh! What a price I had to pay for my arrogance. I bowed in reverence and offered an apology.
Though it made me sad, but made me realize that I had turned into His Devotee for the first time.
Source: Shri Sai Sumiran Times, May 2015