“Fasting does not mean to abstain from food but to entertain pure and noble thoughts about others. This is the only way to stay close to God.” – Sri Shirdi Sai Baba.

One day, a very rich Muslim lady, endowed with many virtues and a devout worshipper of Sri Shirdi Sai Baba decided to observe a rigid fast to stay close to Him. She went on a pilgrimage to Shirdi to meet Baba in person and to tell him about her heartfelt desire.

Baba, who is Sai ( Mother) and also Masidi Ayi (Mother of Muslims) and Dwaraka Mayi (Mother of Hindus), loved all His disciples equally, the Muslim, the Hindu, the rich, the poor, the saintly and the waywardly. He received the lady and listened kindly to her woe. Simultaneously, Baba knew about the plight of a Hindu woman, an ordinary folk of the land. She was unmarried and was living in total destitute with her two under aged children. She did not have even one grain of rice to feed to her poor kids. The ‘Antaryami’ Sai had heard the prayer of the unmarried mother and the wail of the famished children. In His immense wisdom, He told the rich and virtuous lady -

‘You don’t need to deprive yourself of food to stay close to me. Go and cook some food for the unmarried woman. Feed her and her children with the food. You too partake in the meal. Feed the hungry if you want to stay near to Me!’

She followed the commands of Baba and she was graced with Divine Knowledge that God lives in all beings. The same God that she saw in Baba dwelt in the heart of the poor woman and her children. Service to man is truly service to God. Keep a rigid fast on thoughts, words and deeds that hurt others, but think about a meal of goodness, prepare it with words of empathy and serve it to all with love.

Millions are, year in and out, on compulsory fast. They abstain from food, not because they are engaged in a spiritual sadhana but simply because they do not have it.

‘Feed the hungry! The gift of food is the noblest of all gifts’- Sri Sathya Sai Baba.

At the Lotus Feet of Sai

Anita Bacha

Author's Bio: 

David Knight