The name of Sai Mahabhakta Late Shri.Bade Baba alias Fakir Peer Mohammed of Malegaon has been mentioned in Chapter 23 of the holy Shri Sai Satcharitra. More details about this Sai Mahabhakta has been mentioned in Shri Sai Leela Magazine published by Shri Sai Baba Sansthan Trust (Shirdi)
In Sai Satcharitra Chapter 23, few lines have been metioned about Bade Baba as follows:
Once there was outburst of Cholera in Shirdi and hence strict ordinances were in place. They were: (1) No fuel-cart should be allowed to come in the village, and (2) No goat should be killed there. If anybody disobeyed these ordinances, they were to be fined by the villageauthorities and panchas. Baba knew that all this was mere supersition, and therefore, He cared two pence for the Cholera-ordinances. While this ordinance was in place, somebody brought a goat to the Masjid. It was weak, old and about to die. At this time Fakir Pir Mohammed of Malegaon alias Bade Baba was near. Sai Baba asked him to behead it with one stroke, and offer it as an oblation. This Bade Baba was much respected by Sai Baba. He always sat on the right hand of Sai Baba. After the chilim (pipe) was first smoked by him, it was then offered to Baba and others. After the dishes were served, at the time of taking meals at noon, Baba respectfully called Bade Baba and made him sit on His left side, and then all partook of food. Baba paid him also daily Rs.50/- out of the amount collected as Dakshina. Baba accompanied him hundred paces whenever he was going away. Such was his position with Baba. But when Baba asked him to behead the goat, he flatly refused, saying "Why it should be killed for nothing?" Then Baba asked Shama to kill it. He went to Radha-Krishna-Mai and brought a knife from her and placed it before Baba. Knowing the purpose for which the knife was taken, she recalled it. Then Shama went to bring another knife, but stayed in the Wada, and did not return soon. Then came the turn of Kakasaheb Dixit. He was 'good gold' no doubt, but had to be tested. Baba asked him to get a knife and kill the goat. He went to Sathe's Wada and returned with a knife. He was ready to kill it at Baba's bidding. He was born in a pure Brahmin family and never in his life knew killing. Though quite averse to do any act of violence, he made himself bold to kill the goat. All the people wondered to see that Bade Baba, a Mahomedan was unwilling to kill it while this pure Brahmin was making preparations to do so. He tightened his dhotar and with a semicircular motion raised his hand with the knife and looked at Baba for the final signal. Baba said - "What are you thinking of? Go on, strike". Then, when the hand was just about to come down, Baba said - "Stop, how cruel you are! Being a Brahmin, you are killing a goat?" Kakasaheb obeyed and kept the knife down and said to baba - "Your nectarlike word is law unto us, we do not know any other ordinance. We remember You always, meditate on Your Form and obey You day and night, we do not know or consider whether it is right or wrong to kill, we do not want to reason or discuss things, but implicit and prompt compliance with Guru's orders, is our duty and dharma".
More information about Bade Baba can be found in Shri Sai Leela Magazine published by Shri Sai Baba Sansthan. It is as follows:
Shri Sai Baba gave refuge to many devotees in Dwarkamai. Bade Baba was one very important personality amongst such devotees in Shri Sai Baba’s Darbar.
Baba has said, ‘‘If you give me one I will give you in hundreds !’’ However, the gifts of God are unique. To consume the blessings, the devotee must be equally deserving and virtuous. It would be seen from the life sketch of Bade Baba that Baba showered a lot on him; but Bade Baba did not have the spiritual strength to deserve them.
Bade Baba was also known as 'Fakir Peer Mohammed' from Malegaon. By profession he was a Fakir. Therefore, he was also known by the name Fakir Baba.
Bade Baba first arrived in Shirdi around 1909 and thereafter resided permanently in Shirdi. In the beginning, he used to reside in the new Chawadi. Sai Baba had not granted him permission tp come to Dwarkamai. Devotees like Mahalsapati, who were close to Baba, requested Him to permit Bade Baba to enter Dwarkamai. However, Baba continued to deny the permission saying ‘‘Let him sit in the Chawadi and read the Book (Quran)’’. Baba adopted such queer-looking ways for the spiritual progress of some of His devotees.
After some months passed, Baba gave the permission to Bade Baba became a prominent personality in Shirdi. The reason for this was also unique.
Sai Baba pampered Bade Baba a lot. He affectionately called him ‘Bademiyan’ and honoured him as a guest. In the Masjid, he sat on the right hand side of Baba. In Baba’s Darbar, a guest was given a lot of prestige. Bade Baba was in the Masjid from morning breakfast to afternoon lunch. Sai Baba made him sit near Himself and served food with His own hands. He cajoled Bade Baba to eat more.
Devotees placed offerings of eatables before Baba. He first took some part from the offerings, gave to Bade Baba and then distributed the rest to other devotees.
At the time of meals also, unless Bade Baba partook some of the food first, Baba would not commence His own lunch. However, unfortunately, Bade Baba’s ego got bloated because of the importance accorded to him by Baba. Therefore, the other devotees disliked Bade Baba’s behaviour.
It was the daily routine that, before the meals were served, Bade Baba would come and sit in the Sabha Mandap down below. Baba would call out his name - ‘Bade Miyan’ and only then he would climb the steps of the Masjidand sit at the dish placed on Baba’s right-hand side.
However once, on the festive day of Diwali, Bade Baba’s mood was upset due to some reason and he did not follow his usual practice. He did not arrive at the Sabha Mandap. On that day, several devotees had brought an assortment of sweetmeats. After the food was served, Baba called out Bade Baba’s name. But, he was nowhere to be seen. In Bade Baba’s absence, Baba refused to start His meal. Everyone kept waiting.
Ultimately, someone located Baba Baba and managed to bring him to his place on the right side of Baba. Finally, the meals commenced. It may appear odd that too much importance was being given to a person who insulted food. But, Baba had unique ways of gathering His devotees and He followed such ways Himself.
In the later years, everyday, as many as 100-125 dishes filled with Naivedya were brought by devotees from Shirdi and other places. Some days, Baba instructed Bade Baba to make pieces of Chapattis and Bhakaris and mix them. Accepting these as Baba’s Prasad, the devotees ate it with relish. On some occasions, Baba chided them by asking, ‘‘How do you eat this food which has been touched and viled by Bade Baba - a Muslim ?’’ Devotees replied, ‘‘Baba, this place and this food belongs to the Almighty God.’’ To this, Baba said, ‘‘Yes. Not only this place, but the entire world belongs to HIm. Therefore, you should never differentiate between various religions and castes.’’
In the eyes of the saints, there is no differentiation between various elements which make up this world. They see this earth as one. Their every action imparts some message. Only, we must be able to read, understand and follow it.
Once, Baba was having His meal. An earthen pot contained some buttermilk. Suddenly a dog entered the Masjid and tasted it. Bade Baba who was sitting nearby asked a boy to throw away the buttermilk. Baba enquired what was wrong. After Bade Baba explained, Baba said, ‘‘That buttermilk is good. Take it home and make Kadhi. We both will have it.’’ Bade Baba prepared the Kadhi, brought it; but did not touch it. Baba drank it whole-heartedly.
Saints and Sadguru's like Sai Baba eradicate the thoughts of Sankalpa and Vikalpa from the minds of their devotees. The above incident was Baba’s attempt to stamp out such thoughts from Bade Baba’s mind. The man had spent countless days with and around Baba. In spite of this, he failed to comprehend the message of Baba.
Baba always took with love and affection at least some portion from the Prasad brought by His devotees. He even tasted the non-vegetarian dishes. He did not differentiate between various religions and castes. He also did not believe Sovale - Ovale (achieving purity by not touching others). At the same time, He believed that His devotees must adhere to their respective religions and its dictates. Once, Bade Baba brought a Hindu who had converted himself into a Muslim. Baba slapped that person and asked, ‘‘Were you not ashamed to change your father ?’’
Baba could not agree with certain extreme customs of Islam and refused to follow them. Once, He told His staunch and hard-liner Muslim devotees to go outside the border of Shirdi town and then do their Khutba prayer. He Himself did not participate in the prayer. On the second occasion. He allowed them to do Namaz in the Masjid; but did not participate Himself.
Everyday, devotees offered Dakshina anywhere from Rs.400 to Rs.500 to Baba. By evening, Baba distributed the entire amount and His pockets became once again empty. Baba gave a certain sum of money everyday to Dada Kelkar, Bade Baba, Sunderabai, Laxmibai, Tatya Patil etc. But, the honour of getting maximum amount - varying between Rs. 30 to Rs. 55 - went to Bade Baba (According to holy Shri Sai Satcharitra Baba used to pay Rs.50/- to Bade Baba as mentioned above). During the last 9 years (prior to Baba’s leaving His mortal body), Bade Baba and Tatya Patil got more than Rs. 100 everyday.
‘What use a Fakir like Bade Baba can make of receiving such large sum of money everyday’’ was the question which cropped in the minds of the residents of Shirdi. They, therefore, requested Bade Baba to finance the construction of the main entrance to the village. However, Bade Baba did not agree to the request. Hence, the villagers forbid him from stepping into the village. He, therefore, went and stayed at Nimgaon. To circumvent the problem, Baba used to meet Bade Baba everyday on the banks of the Nullah and handed over the amount to Bade Baba there. The villagers realized that they had put Baba to a lot of inconvenience and hence, called back Bade Baba to Shirdi.
After the above event, the villagers bowing down went to Bade Baba’s head. He realized that the folks were now coming to him with folded hands and this made Bade Baba more arrogant. Baba always treated Bade Baba with respect. But, Bade Baba started behaving with a sense of superiority and as per his whims and fancies. He even started acting against the wishes of Baba. The devotees felt that Bade Baba must use his language carefully and politely while at least speaking to or about Baba. But, his choice of words bordered on sheer arrogance.
Once, Baba’s devotee Shri Raghuvir Bhaskar Purandare was suffering from sever headache. Whole night, he was restless. In the same condition, he went to Baba. Bade Baba, who was sitting nearby, told harshly to Baba, ‘‘Purandare has suffered during the entire night. He has got a sever headache. Look after him. Don’t make him so much ill.’’
Another similar event is as follows. Once, Baba was very much upset with Purandare. Therefore, Baba did not allow Purandare to fix the plants of beautiful scented flowers that he had specially brought. Observing this, Bade Baba told Baba rather self-righteously, ‘‘Why are You getting so angry with Purandare ? He is dying for You day and night. He forgets to even drink or eat while serving You. You also remember him at all times. But, when he comes to You, You act as if You are upset. What is this strange behaviour ?’’
After having his lunch it was Bade Baba’s practice to get ready to go. Everyday, Baba would bid him good bye by walking a few steps with him. After the previous said arrogant utterances, Bade Baba further added as usual, ‘‘Achchaa. I am going now. Are you coming or not ?’’ Baba did not take offence at these words; but quietly got up and saw him off.
In the initial period, whenever the devotees made preparations for Aarti, Bade Baba would get up and go down to the Sabha Mantap. He did not participate in the Aarti. Later on, as persuaded by Kakasaheb Dixit, he did not move to the Sabha Mantap; but continued his abstainance from participating in the Aarti. Many Hindu devotees disliked this. However, Kakasaheb as per his kind and loving nature managed to persuade the Hindu devotees to overlook Bade Baba’s behaviour. He said, ‘‘Sai Baba has accepted Bade Baba as His. Therefore, he is one of us. Then, where does the question of discrimination arise ?’’
Bade Baba’s bloated ego had become a nuisance to other devotees. They covertly hated him. Therefore, they even did not let out their rooms for Bade Baba’s stay. Ultimately, Kakasaheb came to his rescue and allowed him to stay in one of the rooms in his Wada. Kakasaheb said, ‘‘We must see ourselves in any one who has been accepted by Baba.’’
It is only the fortunate few who are able to spend time with saints. But, even they must strive to overcome ego.
Baba treated Bade Baba as one of His near and dear ones. He was accorded the honor reserved for guests and friends. Baba always kept a seat next to Him for Bade Baba. A lot of amount was everyday donated to him. Bade Baba was even given several opportunities for Self Realization. But, Bade Baba wasted all the opportunities because of his bloated ego.
While giving money, Baba always cautioned, ‘‘This money belongs to Allah. Eat, but don’t defecate.’’ The money given by Sai Baba was not to be used for serving self-interests. Those who used it for the betterment of others, prospered. However, Bade Baba spent the money received from Baba on his family. However, within two months after Baba laid down His mortal coil, Bade Baba became penny-less. He had to go begging from village to village. He passed away at Nagpur in January 1926.
It appears that Baba used Bade Baba as a medium of instruction. Through this, Baba wanted to set an example, from which other devotees could draw a lesson.
The then editor of Shri Sai Leela magazine Shri Kakasaheb Mahajani writes in his article - ‘‘Maharaj had some unique ways of imparting His teachings. One such method was Fakir Baba’s (Bade Baba’s) stay in Shirdi and Baba’s behaviour with him. One can draw a lot of lessons from this example.’’
(Source: Shri Sai Satcharitra Chapter 23 and Shri Sai Leela Magazine September-October 2008 and November-December 2008)