Shree Sadguru Sainath Maharaj,
We human live in vanity. There is vanity lurking in different form. This vanity is an apparent block for spiritual progress of one's being.
Vanity in non spiritual subjects is often seen and discussed about, however vanity for a spiritual seeker, or a religious mind, or a devotee has to be given up for healthy spiritual growth.
Sadguru Sai Baba often discouraged vanity, for those who left the vanity were lucky enough to get His divine love and help. Those who did not, were left with their vanity with them, with Baba's grace patiently waiting and erasing the same.
This reminds of a statement of Sai Baba. He once said in symbolic statement, as He most often did, that people come to the one who gives water in abundant, but most of them come with the pots upside down and leave without the water.
The water being the divine love and grace. Mouth down of the pots being the vanity absence of humbleness.
One classic example of this is of Haji Siddik Falke. Haji Siddik Falke had done the pilgrimage of Mecca. The spiritual dream of every Muslim. Haji Siddik had interest in spirituality, but had this vanity of being a Haji (one who has done the pilgrimage of Holy Mecca).
He had a deep desire of being close to Sai Baba and be in His divine grace and love. He visited Shirdi but was not allowed to climb the stairs of holy Dwarkamai. Although there was vanity he had one great quality that Sai Baba always asks from His devotees सबुरी- Saburi patience along with श्रद्धा-Faith. Sai's denial did not deter his Faith and he had perseverance. He lived in Northward facing Chavadi and waited for 9 long months. Those nine months for a lover of divine must have been really long as time is relative. When one is away from something one loves, it is really long. For nine long months he would try different ways to enter the Masjid (Mosque) but Baba would not even give a glance on him.
He tried to get the entrance in Baba's Durbar through Shama (Madhavrao Deshpande), as Shama was one devotee who's requests were seldom neglected by Sai Baba. For reasons known only to Sai Baba, Shama shared a rarest and close relationship with Him. Those who wanted to have a quiet undisturbed conversation with Sai, would always take Shama with them initially. He would then introduce the topics in soft devotional tone to Baba, as to who had come, the topic that would be liked to discussed. Sai Samarth would be then induced in the loving divine conversation that pleased the heart, mind and soul of the visitors. Aum Sai Ram.
Accordingly on suitable moment Shama entered the Masjid and brought about the topic rather slowly and cautiously, 'Baba, that old man is so sad, so distressed! Oh why don't you oblige him?
'That Haji has been to Mecca-Medina and now has come to Shirdi for your darshan. How can you not feel compasion for him? Oh, please allow him to come to the mosque!
'Countless people come, take darshan in the mosque, returning instantaneously. Why then is he singled out and waste away on languor?
Do be kind and compassionate to him, at last, and let him come to the mosque. Then he will be able to say to You what he wishes and go away immediately.'
Sai Baba responded, "Shama, you are new born infant, as yet.! Unless Allah favours him what can I do?
"Can anyone step up to this mosque without being Allahmiya's debtor? Inscrutable are the ways of this Fakir here. Over Him, I have no control.
"All the same go and ask him clearly if he is willing to carefully walk up the the narrow path which, goes straight, beyond the well Baravi."
(This again might be the symbolic language that the perfect Sufi Master, the gracious Sai Baba used. The path of spirituality is narrow. Mind should not be allowed to dwell on other subjects, if it has to get soaked in divine spiritual love)
Haji's reply was appropriate , 'However difficult it may be (he indicated that he was aware that spiritual path is difficult), I shall carefully tread the path.
Then he asks for the most important and essential for the spiritual progress. He continued, 'But give me personal audience, O Sai: let me sit at your feet.'
Listening to the answer He sent Shama with another query, "Ask him further, 'Will you give me 40 thousand Rupees in 4 installments?'"
Again Baba obviously was not asking for money in currency. He was asking if Haji was ready to do whatever He asked for to progress on spiritual path. Forty thousand Rupees was a huge amount in those days and indicated that much would be required, in installments. This also reminds of Sai 's indicating words to another seeker of truth or divinity. Sai Baba while eating Bhakhar (Indian bread) said that One cannot eat whole bhakhar one at a time, it has to be eaten morsel after morsel. This was the response from Baba as the question had arosed in the devotee's mind of when he will achieve the ultimate goal of merging in the divine.
Haji said to Madhavrao who conveyed this message, 'Oh, Will I not give forty Lakhs (4,00,000) when asked? What then of thousands!"
Haji indicated that he was ready to pay any amount of dedication.
On hearing this from Shama, Sai Baba sent a further query, "We intend to kill a goat in the Majid today. Ask him which part of the meat does he wants."
"Does he want the meat covered bones, or is his heart set on having sex organs? Go ask the old fellow what it is that he definitely wants."
This query indicated, what worldly pleasure he was looking for or his heart was set on.
Madhavrao again conveyed the message to Haji.
Haji replied categorically, ' I want none of it.'
'If He wishes to give me something, then i have only one wish -- that even I get a morsel from that earthen vessel of food, I shall be blessed.'
Haji indicated that all he wanted was the divine and gracious presence of Sai Baba fills him up.
Madhavrao duly conveyed this message to the Sadguru Sri Sai Baba. As He heard this, he flew into rage. He himself picked up the earthen vessel of food and the pitchers of water and flung them out of the door ( Inscrutable are the ways of this Fakir here.).
Catching His kafni with both His hands, He lifted it up in front of Haji and said,
"Who do you think you are that you boast vainly in my presence? You are flaunting the wisdom of your old age! Is this how you read your Quran -- that a pilgrimage of to Mecca has made you so proud and haughty? But do you know me yet!"
Sai Baba seemed to work against the vanity of scholarship, and the pride of the pilgrimage to Mecca.
He reviled him thus, hurled at him unutterable abuses! The old Haji was absolutely stunned! Baba then went back.
As Sai Baba entered the courtyard of Masjid, He bought entire baskets of mangoes from farm-women selling mangoes, and sent them all to the Haji. At once He turned back and went to Haji, took his hand and taking out coins from His pocket counted them one by one on the palm of Haji until it was 55.
The divine relation between the guru and shishya (the master and the disciple) started thereafter. Haji mind was absorbed in divine love and experienced pure joy.
Later Haji left Shirdi only to return back. The affection and attachment towards Sai Baba, the divine, that frees one from every other attachments grew stronger.
Whisper and feel, Shri Sadguru SaiNath Maharaj Ki Jai as Sai is so close to our heart, we need not shout as if He is far way.