Sai Mahabhakta Ram Baba was tall, fair, sported a long beard and always used to wear Ochre Robe. He was a resident of Mumbai. He never allowed people to bow down to him or touch his feet. Instead advised everyone to bow down to Shri Sai Baba. He always used to stay in “SAI NIVAS” at Shirdi. Lt.Col.M.B.Nimbalkar was fortunate to meet this great Saint and had a closed door meeting with him for one and half hours during which Swami Ram Baba narrated his experiences with Shri Sai Baba and general views on Religion and Spiritual matters.
Ram Baba was a great worshipper of Shri Sai Baba and had the good fortune of first meeting Shri Sai Baba on 22nd February 1914 Baba welcomed him saying. ‘Ye kutte idhar aajana, Are! Jo hazam kar sakta wahi to kha sakta hai” [Roughly translated – “You dog come here He alone should eat, who can digest it]. Ram Baba was then practicing yoga and wanted some clarifications from Baba. But he saw Baba eating onions with bread(which is taboo for Yogi) and immediately thought in his mind that he had come to a wrong and unworthy person. But when Baba shouted : ‘Nana: Drive that dog of a yogi. He does not know that onion should be eaten only by a person who is strong enough to digest it’, Ram Baba’s ego was stripped down immediately and he realized the greatness of Shri Sai Baba. This beautiful story has been narrated in Chapter 23 of Shri Sai Satcharitra. Since then Ram Baba started invariably visiting Shirdi on Gurupoornima day to pay his homage to his Sadguru.
In 1910, Ram Baba took Sanyas after having enjoyed life to its fullest. He was initiated into sanyas at Karanbas[District Bulandshahar] in Uttar Pradesh. Being of an ascetic nature he travelled widely and met many Saint and spent time with them. He met saints like Ramana Maharishi and Swami Shivananda.
He roamed the jungles and mountains of India carrying his staff and a “KHAPAR” [begging bowl]. After meeting Baba his life changed forever. It was as if he had surrendered his ego at Baba’s feet.
While doing “Parikrama” of the Narmada he met Hansdevji Maharaj who sent him to meet Tembe Swami at Garudeshwar. Thence he went to Maninageshwar. It so happened that two princes of Saurashtra came to Nathji Maharaj to take permission to go to Shirdi. Permission was granted and Nathji asked Ram Baba to accompany them. They made the journey by car and reached Shirdi just before the noon aarti.
Ram Baba went into the sanctorum and met Baba. Baba looked at him very intently. Their eyes met and the deep penetrating gaze, locked for some time about two minutes, and Ram Baba was never the same again. He felt bliss and ecstasy. He had received Baba’s grace.
Ram Baba’s views about his worship of Sai Baba :
“For Ram (i.e. Ram Baba himself-he does not use the word ‘I’) to love him is to love God, the creator or whatever words one may use. There are millions who offer their worship and homage to Shri Sai Baba, the great Master, the wonderful Sage, the true Fakir, the King without Kingdom and Monk WITHOUT Monastery. One, like Meera, would find him with celestial musicthat well up in the hearts of a lover. If one had the enlightment of Shri Kabir, then one could reveal to the world the hidden glory of his mystic life. If one had the courage and fearless love like Guru Gobind Singh, then one could give his head as an offering. If one is fortunate to be blessed with love that St Francis had for God and man, then one’s offering could form the life of service of one and all. By the grace of Shri Sainath of Shirdi, it is possible to be intoxicated with Divine love like Mother Rabia and then there’s nothing left to offer by way of worship.
Ram Baba’s views on Shri Sai Baba’s grace and gift to Humanity:
“His grace and blessings are precious, both to Sinner and Saint. Everything else may follow at this crucial period of human history, but his grace is the power to bring humanity together in love which one can go Shirdi and observe. The day is not far fror the triumph of love and truth. Everything in nature proclaims God’s infinite love for his Being’s, and God has given man the capacity to love and live as one family – which is for Shri Sai Baba, his Main Philosophy, or say a gift to humanity.
But alas : Ram must say with all love and due respect and regard to everyone, that it is a tragic period we are passing through, not only for our mother land but for the whole world that the so called great personalities of this age do not care to dedicate their lives to the removal of the barriers that divide humanity. Most of the national and religious leaders today(are bind with and for power”).
Ram Baba’s views about religion:
“The truth is that religion cannot afford to be exclusive. The happiness of one depends on the happiness of the many and vice versa. Therefore the true religion can be neither orthodox nor heterodox. For Ram one in Love, one in Truth and one in God is man”.
Ram Baba on Shri Sai baba’s method of preaching:
“The Enlightened one does not belong to any close group of nation, and such a sage, or say phenomenon or truth, is capable to bring humanity together dissolving all differences in his infinite love for one and all. Such a one need not give sermons or expound any philosophy, old or new. This is proved by Sri Sai Baba’s philosophy and by his living in the humblest way and on the other hand life of wisdom much more than a King. In silence,he receives the love of his lovers and in silence he loves those who deny him. (the word ‘IS’ is used deliberately because for Ram Baba Shri Sai Baba always ‘IS’).
“All that we send into the lives of others come back to our own. May noble, loving and humble thoughts come to us from every side. May all of us serve mankind as one’s large self”.
Swami Ram Baba is was a true and very sincere devotee of Shri Sai Baba. Like many other exalted Sai Devotees, Ram Baba did not care to heighten his own prestige and fame in the name of Shri Sai Baba. He considered himself the most humble disciple of Shri Sai Baba and hence did not allow visitors to touch his feet or present garlands. Instead he asked them to bow and garland to Shri Sai Baba, his Guru. Ram Baba like a true disciple had imbibed the teachings of Shri Sai Baba in himself too. For instance, Sai Baba always preached removal of one’s Ego without which no progress is possible in spiritual matters. Ram Baba therefore had cast off the word ‘I’ forever. During his conversation with people, he refered to himself only as ‘Ram’. Secondly Sai Baba incessantly told his devotees to look for him in every person or even in a beast and bird. Ram Baba followed the same principle and hence while addressing the listeners he used the word “Dear Selves (plural of self)” which meant that the listeners and Ram Baba are one and the same. In short, Ram Baba preached Sai Baba’s philosophy throughout his life.
During Nov-December 1936, Upasini Maharaj had arranged for an open feast at his Sakori Ashram. There were many invitees including Swami Ram Baba. As the feast was about to end, an old man suffering from leprosy suddenly appeared there. The leper had a frightening appearance. He had only one eye. Blood and Pus were oozing out from his disfigured lips, nose and eyes. He had open ulcers all over his body. And more than that, there was a stinking smell emanating from his body. Everyone present there was aghast at this sight. All of a sudden, Upasani Baba told Ram Baba to feed the old man with his own hands. Swami Ram Baba pulled himself together as best as he could and started feeding the repulsive leper. After the leper had eaten and walked away, Upasini Maharaj told Swami Ram Baba to pick up the leftover food from the leper’s plate and eat it. Swami Ram Baba followed the instruction of Upasini Maharaj and took one morsel of food from the leper’s plate and ate it.
During his oldage, Ram Baba had an attack of paralysis which made him become a little infirm and unable to walk independently. However his energy and talk were vigorous as ever. Swami Ram Baba laid down his body in the year 1989 laid at the age of 126 years.