BABA's CROW ABDUL BABA's SAI EXPERIENCES
The name of Abdul Baba is prominent amongst the Muslims who were ardent devotees of Sadguru Shri Sai Maharaj. The full name of Abdul Baba was Abdul Bin Sultan. He was born in the year 1871 in Nanded, a city on the banks of river Tapi.
Since the time of his birth, his religious nature was nurtured by those around him. Therefore, since his childhood, he was engrossed in thinking about God and started doing Seva of a Fakir named Amiruddin. But, he had no idea that his real Guru was to be someone else. Once, Sai Baba appeared in the dream of Amiruddin and placed two mangoes in his hands. He said, "Give both these mangoes to Abdulla and send him to me in Shirdi"
This shows that it was the Almighty who was keen to meet His disciple. It is possible that Sai Baba was attracted towards Abdul Baba because of his unique nature - the Atmanand that he had earned at a very young age by being in the company of Satpurush and also his good deeds from the previous births.
It was around 1989-90 that Abdul Baba first arrived in Shirdi. His age was around 19-20 years. The moment Abdul Baba set his foot in the Masjid, Sai Baba was overjoyed and spontaneously uttered, ''Mera Kauwa Aaya (My crow has come)!" This appears to have some relation with the story of Dr. Pillay which appears in Adhyay34 of Shri Sai Satcharita. The doctor's leg had contacted a disease called Naaru. Sai Baba had told the doctor that "Now the crow will come and nibble with his beak." And so it happened - Abdul Baba accidentally stepped on the wound, it burst open and the contaminated blood flowed out. The doctor was confused and asked Baba, "Will a crow again pierce the wound with his beak?" Baba replied, "No! He came just now and touched your wound with his leg."
Abdul Baba had a earnest desire that, every moment of his life, he should be able to use his mortal body in service of Sadguru Shri Sai Nath. To achieve this goal of his life, he was willing to do any sort of work. Dasya Bhakti was seeped in every pore of his body. It was the only aim of his life. While Shri Sai Baba was in the mortal form, there was a tremendous strain of work on Abdul Baba. But, he did all the chores with pleasure-washing Baba's clothes at the village brook, cleaning the path on which Baba traveled, cleaning the Masjid and Chavdi, fill oil in the lamps and light them, bring water for Baba's bath as well as for Him to drink etc. At times, Abdul Baba even cleaned the toilets. Therefore, with great affection, Baba sometimes referred to him as Halalkhor (Bhangi)/Mariambi.
Abdul Baba looked after the maintenance of Nandadeep at the Lendi Baug. Baba followed a practice of sitting behind the lamp. Abdul Baba always accompanied Baba there. He then filled water in to Ghagari. Baba watered the garden with these. Only Abdul Baba alone accompanied Him at such times.
Really, Abdul Baba looked after Shri Sai Nath as a mother would look after her child. He was always alert in ensuring that nothing should be found wanting in his service to Baba.
In fact, following the traditions prevailing at that time, Abdul Baba's parents had got him married in his very tender age. They hoped that at least the marriage will force Abdul Baba to walk on the path followed by common men.
Generally, any human being easily falls prey to the various pleasures of life. Sexual pleasure is one such trap. Ultimately, it is these enjoyments which are detrimental to the interests of the person. Here is the toughest test that a devotee has to pass through. A true believer directs all his senses and desires towards the feet of the Almighty.
To some extent, Abdul Baba was no exception. After his marriage, his parents succeeded initially in their intention of turning him towards the worldly pleasures and ways. Abdul Baba and his wife gave birth to a boy. However, his mind was never tied down to his Sansar. Gradually he renounced the worldly ways, left his mother, wife and son and settled down permanently in Shirdi. From time to time, his family members visited Shirdi and tried to persuade Abdul Baba to return back to his home. They even prayed to Baba for the purpose, but to no avail. Abdul Baba did not heed to anyone's request and did not return to his house till the end.
"Think who you are"
Abdul Baba's was steadily progressing on the path of Vairagya due to the Sahavas of his Sadguru and the Adhyayan carried under His guidance. In those days, he resided in a stable near the Masjid. At nights, he slept with Baba in the Chavdi. During the day time, besides carrying out his daily chores, he sat in the Masjid and recited the holy Quran. Many times, Baba directed him to recite specific parts of Quran while sometimes; -as Baba knew Arabic language-Baba taught or reeled out the part by heart.
Throughout the night, Abdul Baba slept very lightly - as he wanted to be alert and promptly attend to Baba's needs. Therefore, during the day time, sometimes he was unable to control his sleep and dozed while reciting Quran. Baba used to say-"Abdulla, control your sleep! Eat a little less!Think over the part you are reading!Think who you are!"
Abdul Baba narrated a very touching incident in this regard. "One night, I was extremely tired and was unable to control my sleep. I held my head in both hands and tried to get over my sleep. Seeing this, Baba said, 'Are you trying to see the moon?' That night ultimately I almost collapsed on Baba who was sleeping on a mattress. Baba affectionately patted me on my leg. I woke up. Next night, to wash my face I took some water in my palms and I really saw the moon in that water. Whatever Baba had said earlier had come out to be true."
In the beginning, Baba did not provide food to Abdul Baba (who therefore sought Bhiksha like Baba). Later on, Baba started giving food from the Bhiksha that He had collected. Thus, Baba looked after the daily expenses of Abdul Baba till the end. After spending the first few years in Shirdi, Abdul Baba's Guru Amiruddin called him back. Not only that, he even came himself to Shirdi to fetch him back. However, Abdul Baba politely stated, "I will not be able to leave Shirdi without getting permission from Baba." As he did not get the consent, he continued to reside in Shirdi permanently!
When Abdul Baba's son reached age of marriage, no one was willing to offer his daughter to the son. They thought that Abdul Baba had renounced family life after bearing a son - the son may follow suit. However, Baba blessed - "Don't fear. You will get a good daughter-in-law and everything will happen on its own." And so it happened.
Once, Abdul Baba's mother visited her village with her grandson and happened to meet a gentleman. He insisted that she should take his daughter as her grandson's wife. Some folks pointed out to him - "The father has become a Fakir." He retorted, "It will not matter even if I become a Fakir. But, I have resolved to give my daughter in marriage to this boy." And the marriage was performed immediately.
Baba uttered several sentences indicating His blessings to Abdul Baba-such as-"I have put you across the sea." "I have turned your dust (Mitti) into gold." "I have a built a building for you."
Abdul Baba had great faith in each and every word uttered by Baba. Therefore, he noted down (in Devnagari or Modi) several sentences spontaneously uttered by Baba from time to time, with Baba's prior permission. Later on, if someone posed a question or was in difficulties, Abdul Baba referred to one of the pages of his Sai Quran. He always got the answer that he was seeking.
This is an event after Baba's Mahasamadhi. A well had been dug in Baba's Mandir; but its water was muddy. Someone posed this question to Abdul Baba. As per his usual practice, he opened a page of his diary and said, "Dig further two feet deep and you will find sweet water." And so it happened. One more such experience. Barrister Annasaheb Gadgil's son had gone abroad. The father enquired, "Whether my son will return back to India?" Abdul Baba referred his diary and replied, "He will return." And really he returned with his wife and children within no time.
After the Mahanirvan of Shri Sai Baba, Abdul Baba continued to reside in the Sansthan area and like earlier days, continued to sweep the Masjid, place Chaddar and flowers on the Samadhi etc. He also kept up his practice of reciting Quran. He did not accept any money and took only clothes and food. Shri Hemadpant (author of Shri Sai Satcharit) bestowed upon him the title of Param Viragi.
On one hand he had looked after Sai Baba and had done His Seva. On the other hand, Abdul baba had placed his own life in the care of Sai Baba. He did not expect even a paisa from Sai Baba. What he expected was only Sadguru Prasad and he got it in ample measure.
In the year 1927, three walls of the house - in which he resided - collapsed suddenly and he got buried in the rubble up to his waist. However, his life was saved because of Baba's Kripa Chhatra.
In his last days, he was operated upon for some eye ailment. At that time, he stayed in the house of a famous Sai devotee Shri Boravake. Barring this time, he stayed in his hut which is located opposite the Chavdi. The hut still exists and Abdul Baba's ancestors stay there.
After the Mahanirvan of Shri Sai Baba, Abdul Baba lived for 36 years and passed away on 2 April 1954.
During his lifetime he had attained Sahaj Samadhi Avastha. After demise, he continues to be in the Sahavas of Sai Baba, as his Samadhi is at the entrance to Lendi Baug. The writer of this article had the great fortune of actually touching the feet of Abdul Baba and get his blessings. -Das Ganu's Pada from chapter 4 of Shri Sai Satcharita Translated into English by Smt. Indira Kher and published by Sterling Publishers Pvt. Ltd.
–Translated from original Marathi into English by Sudhir