A devotee is always engrossed in thoughts and actions related to Baba. He is a constant flow of positivity in the midst of negative conditions. He is at ease even in the storms because he knows his beloved God is holding him. He is at peace inside and so happiness comes to him verily. He is an embodiment of love and warmth. He is always surrounded by an aura of love that anyone coming in contact feels loved and an urge is developed in others to love him without any conscious effort. The love that he bears for Baba makes him different and makes him stand out in the crowd. All the soft emotions become his slave. He is in continuous communication with the Almighty Power which provides him strength all the time. He feels an invisible and gentle force walking with him giving him all the necessary strength and he is always found in a joyous mood.
Generally, devotion of a person is clearly visible in his dealings. But many times we come across many others who claim themselves to be devotees of Baba while their actions prove the opposite. At the same time an innocent devotee will always be conscious about his words and actions. He will be in search of ways so that he can transit from a devotee to a sincere one. Let us now see in depth what simple paths Baba has laid for His devotee. No matter how and what a devotee is, Baba loves him and thus it becomes necessary to reciprocate His love with little conscious efforts and sincerity.
It is a very well known fact that Baba used to ask for Dakshina when devotees went for His darshan in Shirdi. Sometimes He pressed devotees to such an extent that they had to borrow money and give to Him. At times by Dakshina He meant no currency but an assimilation of any spiritual reading or getting rid of inner vices. Now that He is not in flesh and blood, there is no demand of Dakshina from Him directly. However rich or poor, greedy or liberal, a devotee is, He asks for two paise Dakshina from all i.e. Shraddha and Saburi. Both are sides of two coins. Without Saburi, Shraddha can’t exist. Faith in Baba can be as big as gigantic mountains. For every issue the devotee believes that Baba will come to help, He will take care, He will solve the matter. There is a predetermined stipulated time marked by us for Baba to solve the issues and that is “ASAP”. We are mere humans, we are ignorant beings, our souls are tormented with body transformations and memories carried forward since ages, we fail to recognize our benefit in waiting for the right time. Baba is Parabrahma, He knows what to give, when to give and how much to give or whether to give or not. When a devotee is given a choice of what to receive, he might be ready to accept what Baba wants to give, which can be defined as Shraddha-Faith, but he keeps on pestering to give soon. The matter should get over soon, that is what a devotee has in His prayers to Baba. While faith can reach mountains, patience doesn’t move even an inch. The virtue of patience has to be practiced in all dimensions, ranging from day to day dealings to spirituality. Nothing can be achieved in a moment. When you were a kid and started learning alphabets you took considerable time to learn to frame sentences. It wasn’t learnt in a day. If you aren’t able to develop your abilities in a day, how can you expect Baba to develop you as a sincere devotee in a moment. It is a lifelong process, a sincere devotee will always pray to Baba like give me whatever and whenever You wish to give.
Coming to the next pre-requisite to become a sincere devotee of Baba, it is defined as “Living a simple life”. Baba took Dakshina from many devotees visiting Shirdi. Many of His worthy and able devotees had surrendered all their wealth to Him, but He lived in old, dirty and torn Kafni until He was active in His Bodily Avtaar. He took money and distributed it freely to the poor. For the Dakshina He pocketed, He used to say that He has to give account of every single penny to His Maalik. He was not taking Dakshina, as it appeared, it was devotees’ troubles, pains, sufferings which summed up as bad karma. So He was keenly protecting His devotees from the effect of bad karma in past and present lives to give them Moksh. Thus, His statement is absolutely justified that He has to give account of every single penny He received or demanded as Dakshina. A sincere devotee of Baba will receive i.e. earn money in one hand and give away with another, reserving sufficient for himself and family. This way he portrays that he is living Baba’s teachings. The devotee of Baba not only gives money but also spreads love and gives in abundance only to receive it many folds from Baba. The devotee knows how Baba showed compassion towards all creatures and starts living with that teaching. After a point of time it becomes his nature and he succeeds in demonstrating Baba’s teachings through his actions.
If a devotee lacks surrender and walks on his own intelligence, will be lacking on the path of self realization too. He cannot sail on two boats at the same time. Either he has to surrender his ego (intelligence) to Baba and accept what he is receiving from Him or cling to his intelligence and manifest sufferings to be carried to the next birth. Being devoted to Baba does not guarantee a smooth life, it means the situation may turn from bad to worse but the devotee will cross every hurdle keeping faith in Baba and feeling strong because of his complete surrender. How can one measure the degree of surrender? A devotee may think he is surrendered to Baba but keeps on worrying over petty matters then it is not complete surrender. On the other hand, if a devotee even if facing the biggest storms of life is unperturbed and calm, relying on Baba that He is taking care and all will be fine in the end is complete surrender. The devotee will be getting peaceful sleep as He knows that Baba is vigilant for him and necessarily overthinking won’t help at all. He will concentrate in living the teachings of Baba, conveying the same to others with his actions, in a nutshell, he looks into his karma and leaves the results to Baba. he doesn’t try to judge what is good or bad for him as he trusts Baba and His timings. He only knows that when Baba is there to take care, nothing wrong can happen to him, even if it seems so, it’s for his benefit, just as a mother thrusts bitter piles for the good health of her kid. He chooses to live as a kid who knows that he is going to be caught by his father after being thrown up in the air, he will laugh ceaselessly enjoying every moment of bhakti and samarpan.
Apart from these, to live teachings of Baba, Sai Satcharitra can be read. A wide range of literature is available in Shirdi for those who are interested to know in-depth about this poor Fakir. Chanting His name, reading/chanting different mantras, reading 108/1000 names of Sai Baba, observing fasts (though not recommended by Baba Himself in Sai Satcharitra, devotees do the fast to ward of dangers), doing worship regularly are various means from where you can start to become a sincere devotee of Baba.