What I say will happen – The haystack of the Marwari caught fire
Kondya (Kondaji) was an ardent devotee of Baba. Baba once told him, “Your haystack at the Kalwadi (the joint place where all the hay of the villagers is stocked) has caught fire. Go and extinguish it and come.” Kondya was worried and ran to the Kalwadi. He returned and said, “Baba, you made me run to that place unnecessarily in this burning sun. The only things burnt are my feet from running there in this hot sun. There is nothing burning there as you said.” Baba retorted, “I never utter an untruth. Go and see your hay stack again.” Kondya turned back to look in the direction of the Kalwadi and saw smoke arising from there. He ran there in panic and saw his stack, which was in the middle of all the stacks burning. It was midsummer. The noontime sun was burning down fiercely with its unkind rays. The wind was blowing with great speed breaking trees and it looked as if some disaster was looming. The flames of the burning haystack were leaping skywards as if to join the sun. All the villagers came running to Baba in great distress and fell on his feet. They started weeping, “Baba, oh thou ocean of mercy, what is our fate now? The Kalwadi is burning. It is our life. The whole years feed for the cattle is stored there. If it is burnt, what will the cattle eat? They will all die. Please do something and save us from this calamity. You are verily the Hari, the abode of all knowledge.” Baba’s heart melted seeing the piteous condition of his devotees. He acceded to their prayer graciously and went to the Kalwadi.
He took a little water in his hand and sprinkled it around the burning haystack. He said, “Only this stack will burn and none other.” All the other stacks will be safe. Do not trouble yourself unnecessarily by pouring water over them. What I say will happen.” It happened as Baba said. Only Kondya’s stack was burnt and all the other stacks were safe in spite of the wind, which was blowing at great speed. All the villagers we euphoric as their stacks were safe and the cattle had sufficient feed for the coming year. Baba had kept fire in his control. The nature itself obeys the great saints. Even the creator of the world and the embodiment of satchidananda- Sri Hari is ever busy in the service of such saints.
On one evening, Nanasaheb Chandorkar, who was a tehsildar (a district official in India in charge of revenues and taxation) by then, had come to Shirdi along with a group for the darshan of Sri Sai Baba. Baba said, “Oh thou good man, son of Govinda, Narayana, the jewel in the family tree of the Chandorkars! Have you seen how selfish the people are these days? Today, the haystack of Bhagchand Marwadi burnt to the ground. He is pestering me about his loss. Births and deaths, profits and loss are all by the will of the almighty. How easily do these blind people forget the almighty? They are happy when they get a profit and cry if they get a loss. Is there any meaning in the word ‘mine’? We assume that the haystack is his. But in truth, it is to sustain the cattle by feeding them. It is propagated by the seed, which falls to the ground. After the seed is put in the ground, the clouds release rain, which make it bud. The sun by its gentle rays gives it life and nurtures its growth. The true owners of the seed are those that nourish it- the earth, the rain and the sun. However, these ignorant people boast that it is theirs. By the intensity of the heat of the sun, it caught fire and the fire ate up the hay. The earth suffered the heat patiently. The clouds were unaware of all this. They are like the children of pride. They delight in the evanescent beauty of the lightening and as the foolish lover enmeshed in the beauty of women, have no eyes for good or bad which happens to the others. As the clouds were looking on heedlessly, the sun seized his opportunity and burnt the haystack. The earth gave shelter to the ashes as it had given shelter to the seed or the hay with the same equal eye on all. We are not the masters or the owners of the things of this world. You tell him not to grieve unnecessarily. He has been weeping and coming to trouble me ever since this incident has happened. The Almighty gives with one hand and takes away with the other. The feeling of happiness or unhappiness which people have as a result of this is born of ignorance.” Baba turned to Bhagchand Marwadi who was nigh and said, “Oh seth, go home and sleep without a care. This loss will be set off by a profit in another business. Do not worry.” Consoled, the seth went home.
(SRI SAIGURUCHARITRA – by devotee Ganpatrao Dattatreya Sahasra-buddhebetter known as Das Ganu Maharaj)