A Lesson in Faith
Chinna Kistna Saheb was very devoted to Vishnu from his boyhood. Even from his younger days, he used to sit for long in one asana (yogic posture) meditating on his chosen deity. This went on till, in his twenty-first year, (about 1910), he had three successive dream-visions in one night. At first he experienced his separation from his physical body and before him was the divine form of Lord Vishnu. A second time the same vision recurred but this time there was someone else standing beside him. Lord Vishnu pointed to that stranger and said, ‘This Sai Baba of Shirdi is your man; you must resort to Him.” In the third vision he again left his physical body and drifted in the air to some village.
There he saw someone and asked him for the name of the village and was told that it was Shirdi. Then he enquired whether there was a holy man by name Sai Baba in that village. The stranger led him to a mosque where Chinna Kistna saw Sai Baba seated leaning against its wall with his legs stretched before Him. On seeing Chinna Kistna, Sai Baba got up and said, “Do you take my darshan? I am your debtor. I must take your “darshan” and placed His head reverently on Chinna Kistna’s feet. Then the vision ended. Though he saw Sai Baba’s picture earlier, he never knew that Sai Baba’s most characteristic manner of sitting was with His legs stretched out before Him. Shortly after, Chinna Kistna went to Shirdi to verify whether Baba was his destined Guru as the dream seemed to indicate. When he actually saw Baba, a doubt arose in his mind whether it would be proper to worship a man like Him.
At once Baba said, “What do you worship a man for?” The rebuff was keen and to the point. When nothing more happened to confirm his dream Chinna Kistna was a bit dissatisfied. Later, in the afternoon, when every other devotee retired to his room, Chinna Kistna made bold to visit Sai, though it was thought that no one should visit Baba at that hour. Baba, far from getting angry, beckoned to him. Chinna Kistna approached Him and bowed in reverence. At once Sai Baba hugged him with love and said, “You are my child. When others (i.e., strangers) are present, we (i.e., saints like Me) keep off the children.” Thus was the man’s dream confirmed.
On another afternoon Baba embraced him and said, “The key of my treasury is now placed in your hands. Ask anything you want.” “Then Baba”, said shrewd Chinna Kistna, “I want this. In this and in any future birth that may befall me, You should never part from me. You always be with me.” Baba patted him joyously and said, ‘Yes, I shall be with you, inside you and outside you, whatever you may be or do.”
There is one instance to show how, when Chinna Kistna’s heart was yielding to some other love, Baba asserted His monopoly over it. Many years later, Chinna Kistna’s child died and his wife was disconsolate. With the dead child in his lap Chinna Kistna sat on with a grief-stricken heart. Baba at once appeared before him and said,” Do you want me or the dead child? Choose! You cannot have both. If you want me to revive the child, I will; but then you will have Me no more with you. If you do not ask for the revival of this one, you will have several children in due course.’ Then Chinna Kistna said that he wanted Him only. “Then do not grieve”, Baba said and vanished.
Another confirmation of his earlier dream-vision that Chinna Kistna was Baba’s man: When he visited a great saint of Poona named Sri Madhava Nath, on seeing Chinna Kistna, at once said, “You are Sai Baba’s Man.”
In 1912 Chinna Kistna visited Baba on the holy Guru Purnima day. Seeing other devotees offering garlands and other gifts to Baba he realized how unfortunate he was in that he did not remember to get any gift to the saint. At once Baba said to him, “All these are yours!”, and He pointed at the bundle of garlands offered to Him by other devotees. Thereby Baba hinted that the heart’s loving desire to offer is of greater value than a formal physical offering.
By Sri Narasimha Swamiji