Why do you have to lie for such an insignificant thing?
Shirdi was a humble, poverty stricken village. There were very few shops in the village. Those few were mostly the grocers. Sai Baba would daily beg oil from the shopkeepers to light the lamps at the Masjid. In the same manner he would light lamps in the temples too. He used to conduct the festivals of lighting lamps at these places of worship. The shopkeepers were irritable at his begging for oil every day from them.
One day they all got together and discussed the matter. “From where can we give this man free oil every day?” They decided not to give him any more oil. When Baba went to beg for oil, he got the same answer everywhere. “There is no stock, we are out of oil” Baba was surprised, “Why do you have to lie for such an insignificant thing?” said he and went back to his Masjid. It is because of deceit and untruthfulness that people are submerging in the ocean of sorrows and becoming estranged from God. They are being entangled in karma of their own creation and are falling from the right path. The foremost sin is untruthfulness. God’s grace is never upon those who tell lies. He is the slave of those who are ever truthful and honest. The sadhanas of japa or penance are nothing when compared to the sadhana of being honest and truthful. Truth is the basis and foundation of all dharma. Truth is the easy way for moksha. Truth is eternal bliss. Never forget truth and ever abide by it.
Sri Sainatha had thus returned to the Masjid without speaking harshly to the merchants who he knew were telling lies. He then did a wonderful thing. He placed the earthen lamps all around the Masjid and placed wicks in them. The whole village had come to know by now and had gathered at the Masjid to watch the fun. They talked amongst themselves. “How can lamps be lit without oil? This Sai seems to be very insane. Does the lifeless seed ever sprout? Does the barren woman ever give birth to a child and fill the household with joy?
Do the wise ever believe these to be possible? This mad man is trying to light lamps without oil. He is indeed without doubt the king amongst mad men and emperor of the insane” The villagers started to heckle Baba thus. Baba took the tin, which had a little oil remaining at its bottom, and went back in to the Masjid. Nanasahab Dengale saw the people making fun of Baba and insulting him. He said, “You people are blind. Do not heckle him and make fun of him in your ignorance. Only the God knows the extent of his power. Do we mistakenly discard in haste the jewel, which has fallen down amongst the rocks? Do not judge him in a hurry. Let us wait a while and see what this fakir will do. Why should we be in such a haste to condemn him?”
All were seated silently in the Masjid. Baba had sufficient oil to light only one lamp in his tin. Baba poured a little water, approximately half the volume of oil, into the tin of oil and closed his eyes in meditation. He took a little of the mixture of oil and water into his mouth and spat it back into the tin after gargling. He poured the mixture in to all the lamps. Incredibly there was sufficient oil for all the lamps now. He lit the lamps and they burned brightly throughout the night. Dengale was wonderstruck at this example of Baba’s divine power. He reverently saluted his feet. The people were all stunned by this wonderful miracle of Baba. They exclaimed, “How wonderful is this Baba’s leela? Baba is none but God.” They all knelt in front of Baba. “Baba, we have committed a great sin by making fun of you. We are all your children. You are our real mother. Please do not be angry with us. Sai Maharaj, Oh! Mountain of compassion, please excuse our mistakes. You are verily the ocean of mercy; you are the effulgent sun shining in the sky of right knowledge. You are the vast sea containing all the good qualities. You are verily the mountain of peace.”
They all prayed to Baba not to be angry with them and to protect them. Baba spoke thus, “Hear and heed my words, Oh people. Behave always in the manner pleasing to the almighty. Never tell lies. If you stick to the truth, God will be pleased and stick with you. Do not cause any hardship to anyone. Give to the poor in charity as much as you can. You will gain merit by such charity and good will happen to you. By such conduct God will be pleased with you and give you his Divine vision at the end. This is the truth. Embed these words of mine in your hearts and follow them always.” The people of Shirdi listened very happily to the teaching of Sri Sai Baba and went back to their homes contentedly.
(SRI SAI GURUCHARITRA – by devotee Ganpatrao Dattatreya Sahasra-buddhe better known as Das Ganu Maharaj)