I was in the film called Sai Mahima. This was organized by the Shirdi Sai Temple, in Palakkad, in Kerala. I was doing a bit of compéring, like guiding people into the places where Baba used to visit. Also, it was an opportunity for me to go to all these places and that was indeed heartening because it was almost like reliving what I had read in the books.
A person called me from Dubai, and said: “A man who lived with Sai Baba is in Shirdi, and he would like to meet you.”
I countered: “Really?” Shirdi Sai Baba left his body in 1918, so a man who lived with Sai Baba must have taken birth a few years before 1918. He must be very old. I said, “Definitely, I would like to meet him.” Then he gave me a number. I gave this number to some of my people and said, “His name is Baba Ganeshanandgiri. He’s a Naag Baba. Get me an appointment. I would like to see him.”
They contacted him and said, “Mohanji would like to see you.” I am told he suddenly showed recognition and added, “Yes, I will meet him. I want to meet him.” The time was fixed. We were in a filming when I received a call from a hotel, saying, “Babaji is waiting for you, at the hotel. Come quickly.” I rushed and reached there. Babaji had been unwell. He had come out of the ICU (Intensive Care Unit) and was recouping when some people called him and conveyed that Mohanji would like to meet him. Babaji responded, “I’m coming right away”.
He came to Gurusthan. I didn’t know that. In fact, no one told me that. He waited there and collapsed. He was taken to a hotel in the neighborhood where he used to stay. And he was lying there. I rushed in, and was climbing the steps; his head was towards the door; there was no way he could see me. Yet, when I walked up, he said: “Mohanji, aa jaao – Mohanji, come”. Without even seeing me, he recognized and addressed me. And then he told me, “I have been waiting to meet you for the past three years because Shirdi Sai Baba told me – Meet Mohanji. I was waiting to see you.” Then he added, “I met one man called Mohanji, who had come from the Himalayas. When I told Baba that I met him, Baba said, ”That’s not him. Another one is coming.” And we met. This was in 2015, and it was such a heart to heart meeting.
Baba Ganeshanandgiri’s First Encounter with Sai Baba
His encounter with Baba was fascinating. The first thing he told was that when he was a young child, Baba used to wander; when people gave him something, he would keep it all in a cloth bag that hung on his shoulder. And when he came to Dwarkamai, if there were children, he would distribute sweets; he would distribute whatever he had to people including the money he collected; he used to distribute everything the same day and sleep empty-handed.
One day, it so happened that he distributed sweets to children, and some of it remained in the bag. He didn’t give any sweets to Ganeshanandgiri as a child who was probably 4 or 5 years old at the time. So what did Ganeshanandagiri do? He knew there were sweets in the bag; he put his hand in and took one or two of them. Baba saw this and slapped him, on his face. He became angry; Baba gave sweets to all the children, except him and when he took some, Baba slapped him! He want to Shama’s (Madhavrao Deshpande) house.
Shama asked him, “Why are you here? Why are you not at Dwarkamai?”
To this he (Ganeshanandagiri) said, ”Boodha maarthe hain” (The old man beats me). Hence I’m not going there.
And a couple of days later, Baba said: “There was a young boy here. Where is he now?”
Shama answered, “Boodha maar raha hai. So he does not want to come to Dwarkamai.”
To this Baba said: “No, no, no, call him, I want to see him.”
Shama brought him, and Baba asked, “What’s your problem?”
The little boy didn’t say anything.
Baba said, “If you steal, I will beat you again. Don’t steal. I will give you, at the right time.”
And then the relationship become strong. Baba left his body in 1918, and somebody had told Ganeshanandgiri that if he took a flower from the Samadhi, and wished strongly, with single-pointed concentration, that would happen. If the desire is very focused, it would happen.
He took a flower and said, “I need a big house, a mansion, car, servants, money, so I can do something on earth.”
And that wish was not getting fulfilled. He kept wishing, the single-pointed concentration was good, clarity was there too, but the desire was not getting fulfilled. He was very young, probably in his teens at that time, and he thought, people are saying that this flower from the Samadhi has the power to transform, it’s a wish fulfilling flower. All the flowers at Samadhi are very powerful, but in my life, it’s not happening. One day he was in Shirdi, near Dwarkamai, probably he was coming out of Dwarkamai, when he saw Baba walking away. He ran after him, note that this was after Baba’s Mahasamadhi, he ran after him, overtook Baba, and stopped. Baba looked at him.
He said, “What do you want from me?”
Ganeshanandagiri said: “I had asked for something, you didn’t give me.”
To this Baba said, “This, pointing to his legs, is your vehicle. The big mansion you’re talking about is this – the body. And the money that you want is here (pointing to the head). Money. And you want servants, these are your servants – he showed both hands. I’ve given you everything. Now, you spread my message to this world. You spread my true message to this world. People are sleeping, which means they are ignorant. They only ask me material things. Now, with your life, show to the world my real message. Your legs are you vehicle, your hands, your army; your brain, your money; your body is your mansion. Now, do something about it. I’ve given you everything. Go ahead.”
Then onwards, he dedicated his life for the service of Baba, for spreading the name and he wandered and did many things on earth, to spread the message.
In Constant Communion with Sai Baba
Every day Baba at 6 AM Baba speaks to him. Baba Ganeshanandgiri was born in 1911. Baba left his body in 1918. So he was with Baba in Dwarkamai for about three to four years, probably in Shama’s house and in and around that area. His wish was to leave his body in Shirdi. But Baba said, ”No. Go and leave your body in the South.” That’s what he did, in 2016 April, he left his body in Chennai, in Sriperumbudur. There’s a temple coming up, a very big temple; and he left his body there. So, even though my meeting or encounter with him was for few months, it was really a powerful experience. A man more than hundred years old with strong conviction. Baba means Baba. Zero deviation. There was nothing else in his life except Baba, just like Hanumanji and Ram. For Hanumanji, there is nothing else but Ram. When a mala was given to him, a very precious one, he opened each bead to check if Ram is there. And when he found that there was no Ram, he threw it away, even though it was precious diamonds. He did not care. For him, it was only Ram. If Ram’s name is not there, it’s not valuable to him. Similarly, Baba Ganeshanandgiri was a living example, Sai, Sai, Sai, only Sai. Whenever Sai is not there, he’s not there. And I used to love spending time with him. The few meetings I had were transformative, very difficult to express in words. Everything was reinforcing. Everything was rejuvenating. It helped solidifying the intention, the intensity.
Experiencing the Unconditional Love of Baba Ganeshanandgiri
Ganeshanandgiri embraced me, hugged me and Baba had told Ganeshanandgiri: “All of Mohanji’s people are my people. Take care of them.” He would never allow people to touch his feet or body, but he would allow all our people to come to him, touch him, and he used to really love them, just because Baba told, “All of Mohanji’s people are my people.” So this is the kind of love he showed; even if you have money or riches, you will not get this kind of love. As I say, it’s only, “Aao beta – Come, my son.” That philosophy, with its deepest effect is delivered in Shirdi, even now. We may see the crowd and the confusion, but beyond all that, there is this high power of Baba which is attracting hundreds of thousands of people to this place and leaving them transformed. Like a car wash, you go through that state and come back fresh on the other side. This is happening even now. My connection with Ganeshanandgiri again brought me closer to Baba.
Complete Selflessness and Humility
Ganeshanandgiri called me in early January 2016, and said, “I want to see you. I’m coming to Palakkad” I was with my parents. He said, “I’m coming to Palakkad to see you.” He is a hundred plus years old. So, I said, “No, Babaji, I will come and see you. I’ll come to Chennai.” He agreed. I went. He came to the airport and received me. I was overwhelmed. Such a great master coming to receive a small person like me at the airport; look at the humility. Then how much more humble I should be? You do not see such bhaav (feeling or love exhibited) in the world usually. He is a great master. But he came to the airport, received me with a garland and took me to a five star hotel. I said, “Babaji, I will stay where you stay. I always practice insignificance that way. I’m not that great or important. I don’t have to stay in a five star hotel. This is really embarrassing. Let me stay next to you, I’ll sleep on the floor.” He countered, “No, Baba’s instruction. Baba told me, Mohanji should stay in this hotel.” So, he checked with Baba about every single thing he did. And Baba had said, “Mohanji should stay at a five star hotel.” What was the story? In some past lives, I lived as a king. Baba is talking about that lifestyle. In this life, I have no royalty. I’m not a king. But Baba said Mohanji should stay in a five star (hotel) because there is a continuation; it’s a path of continuation. In this life, I’m totally different. I don’t have that kind of money either. But Ganeshanandgiri connected those dots from that time and said that I had to stay there. I stayed one night, and he would not even allow me to pay the charges for the stay! I managed to pay and left for the airport the next day, but he reimbursed the entire cost. They (such masters) are totally selfless. None of them (great masters) are after money. They are not at all interested in what you have. They only follow purpose; they have clarity of purpose. They do the right thing, the right way, for the right reason.
Transcribed by Tijana Sladoje
Proofread by Vidya Rajagopalan