|The Same Sai in Two Forms|
|Smt. Anjali Devi|
You may not know that Anjali Devi (Famous Telugu Film Actress, who directed the famous tele-serial entitled ‘Shirdi Sai-Parthi Sai: Divya Katha’ - The Divine Life Story of Shri Shirdi Sai Baba and Shri Parthi Sai Baba. All references to the ‘film’ in this Discourse are references to this tele-serial) has acted in 570 films. Finally she had only one aspiration. She wanted to produce a film depicting the life of Swami. She wanted to enact the role of the mother of Shirdi Sai Baba - Devagiriamma and she also wanted to play the role of Easwaramma (Swami’s mother) and find fulfillment in her life. She brought the director, the singers and all the people to Swami and I spoke to them and cleared their doubts.
In the life of Shirdi Baba, no one knows when and where He was born, who His parents were and how He came to Shirdi. He came to Shirdi in the year 1854. At that time, He was only 16 years old. So he was born in 1838 in the village called Pathri in the district of Ahmednagar in Maharashtra. It was a very small village. In that village, great devotees and Niyogi Brahmins were there. A couple called Gangabhava and Devagiriamma were living there. Devagiriamma was always thinking of Parvati. Gangabhava would always think of Eshwara. They had wealth, but did not have children. Because of this, they were thinking of God all the time. On the fourteenth day of the bright half of Ashadha month, the moon would rise at 7:30 in the night. At that time, information came that the river Godavari was overflowing. Godavari takes its birth in a place called Nasik in Maharashtra and it was overflowing. Gangabhava had a job of helping people cross the river by boat. On hearing this Gangabhava gathered a few people and ran there so that he could anchor his boat properly. If it was delayed then all the boats would be swept away by the river. He told his wife and went off after 3 0’ clock.
|The old man requests Devagiriamma for food and shelter|
Devagiriamma was waiting for her husband to come back. They had a verandah in the house. At 7:30 pm, she heard a knock on the door. Thinking it to be her husband she ran and opened the door. But there was an old man who entered there. He said, “Amma I am very hungry. Can you please give me some food?” Their nature and tradition was to help, respect and serve their guests. She thought she will forgo her food for her husband and offer the remaining food to this person. She gave him a leaf and in that she served the food. The old man ate the food and washed his hands. She told him, “You stay in the corridor; I will close the door of the house.” She closed the door.
|Devagiriamma prays fervently|
But after 5 minutes he again knocked on the door. He said, “Amma you have given me food to fill my stomach but I am not able to sleep. Some lady should massage my legs”. Devagiriamma was shocked on hearing this. She thought very intensely if the Goddess was testing her. “What kind of an old man is he that he is demanding a lady to massage his legs and feet”, she thought. She went into the worship room and spoke to the Goddess, “Mother of the Universe, why are You testing me like this? Can You test me like this. It is not right for You to test me. You have to help me pass this test.” There was no other lady present. In that village there were some ladies who would do this kind of work. She offered them a lot of money to come and do this job. She said, “A man has come and he wants someone to massage his legs. Please come and help.” Everybody said that they didn’t have time on that day. She came back home in despair. She didn’t speak to the old man. She went directly to the prayer room, closed the doors and went on praying intensely to Mother Parvati. She prayed with a pure heart. She prayed that the old man should not be disappointed and that her pledge should not be broken. She asked for protection from the Goddess, “You should not disappoint me. I have to fulfill his desire. I also have to protect my oath. I have decided that my duty is to serve only the husband. That oath should not be broken.” When she turned to go, she heard that somebody was knocking on the back door of the house.
|The lady agrees to help Devagiriamma|
She opened the back door. There was a lady there. She said, “Amma you called me in the evening but then I didn’t have time. Now I have time. I will do whatever work you ask me to do.” Through this one can know the power of prayer and its rewards. Devagiriamma was very happy that Goddess Parvati had answered her prayers and saved her honour. She opened the front door and sent this lady to serve the old man. The old man and the lady looked at each other. The old man was none other than Lord Eshwara Himself and the lady was Mother Parvati Herself. They understood the situation and knocked on the door again.
|Lord Shiva and Mother Parvati bless Devagiriamma|
with three boons
They manifested in their true form of Eshwara and Parvati. Devagiriamma opened the door and on seeing the Divine couple, could not bear the joy and fell at the feet of Parvati. Goddess Parvati then said, “I am pleased with your devotion. Today I give you the boon of one son who will redeem your lineage and a daughter who you can give to another person in marriage (Kanyadana).” She not only fell at Goddess Parvati’s feet but also at the feet of Lord Eshwara. Lord Eshwara then said, “Amma I came only to test you. Hearing your prayer, Parvati has come here. You have passed the test. I will be born as your third child.” As soon as Lord Eshwara said this both of them disappeared. No one was there. There was nobody there with whom she could share her feelings.
|Devagiriamma shares her experience with|
She was sitting in the prayer room and waiting for her husband. Her husband did not come that night at all. Next morning she had a bath and did her prayers and was waiting for him. Whole night he was awake and now he was tired and he entered the house. She could not withhold her joy and told him whatever happened the previous night. He said, “I am not able to hear what you are saying. I have got a headache. I will take a bath and sleep.” He took his bath and slept. At 10 o’clock he got up. She served him food and fanned him and went on narrating the previous night’s incident. “Last night both Parvati and Parameshwara appeared before me. I saw them clearly and they spoke to me. I had all the three - their Darshan (vision), their Sparshan (touch) and also their Sambhashan (interaction).”
|Devagiriamma shares her inexplicable joy |
Gangabhava cast it aside saying it was only her illusion. “Maybe you had a dream last night. How can Parvati and Parameshwara come?”, he said. He had a doubt whether Parvati and Parameshwara had really come the previous night. Then he thought, “Let me know the boons that were granted by them. Then I can believe it.” Men may have devotion, but their faith is shaky. They don’t believe it so easily. Ladies have devotion and also deep faith.
Source: Then At Shirdi, Now At Parthi, Discourse13, My Dear Students Volume 3, March 16, 1998; Discourse to the students andstaff at Trayee Brindavan