Sacred Ash (Udi) of Sai Baba:
One of Baba’s special characteristics was that he always maintained a burning holy fire (Dhuni). The ashes of this fire were called Udi and were distributed free of charge to the devotees when they left Shirdi. What did Baba teach or insinuate this Udi? Baba taught by his Udi that all visible phenomena in the universe are as transient as ash. Our bodies made of wood or material of the five elements will fall, after all, their joys are over and will be reduced to ashes. To remind the devotees that their bodies will be burned to ashes, Baba has distributed them. Baba also taught by the Udi that Brahman is the only reality and that the universe is ephemeral and that no one in this world, be it a son, a father or a wife, is really ours. We come here (in this world) alone and we have to go out alone. It has been discovered, and even now we discover, that Udi heal many physical and mental illnesses, but Baba wanted to awaken in the ears of the devotee the principles of discrimination between the unreal and the real.
Narayan Motiram Jani of Nasik was a devotee of Baba. He was serving under another devotee of Baba, the name Vaman Ramachandra Modak. Once, he went to Shirdi with his mother and saw Baba. So Baba himself told him that he (his son) should serve more, but you have to start an independent business. A few days later, this prophecy became reality. Narayan Jani left the service and started a pension, ‘Anandashram’ which flourished well. Once a friend of this Narayanrao was stung by a scorpion and the pain caused by him, he was serious and unbearable. The Udi of Baba (sacred ash) is more effective in such cases; It must be applied on the seat of pain, if Narayanrao sought it, but found none. Then he stood before the image of Baba and invoked Baba’s help, sang Baba’s name and took a pinch of ash from the burning idol in front of Baba’s statue and thought he was Udi Baba, he asked in the seat of pain and sting. As soon as he pulled out his fingers, the pain disappeared and they both became excited and excited.
Udi used to facilitate childbirth:
About 1904-05 Nanasaheb Chandorkar was Mamlatdar (revenue collector) at Jamner, in the Khandesh District, which is more that 100 miles distant from Shirdi. His daughter Mainatai was pregnant and was about to deliver. The case was very serious and she was suffering from labour-pains for the two or three days. Nanasaheb tried all remedies but they proved in vain; he then remembered Baba and invoked His aid. There in Shirdi, one Ramgirbuva, whom Baba called Bapugirbuva, wanted at this time to go to his native place in Khandesh. Baba called him and told him to take a little rest and stop at Jamner on his way home and give the Udi and Arati (spiritual ceremony) to Nanasaheb. Ramgirbuva said that he had only two rupees with him and that amount was barely sufficient for the railway fare up to Jalgaon and it was not possible for him to go from jalgaon to Jamner, a distance of about 30 miles. Baba assured him that he need not worry, as everything would be provided for him. Then Baba asked Shama to write the well-known Arati composed by Madhav Adkar and give a copy of it with Udi to Ramgirbuva to be delivered to Nanasaheb. Then relying on Baba’s words, Ramgirbuva left Shirdi and reached Jalgaon at about 2:45 a.m. He had only two annas left with him and was in a hard plight. To his great relief he heard somebody calling out “Who is Bapugirbuva of Shirdi?” He went to him and told him that he was the person Bapugirbuva. Then the peon, professing to be sent by Nanasaheb, took him out to an excellent tanga with a good pair of horses. They both drove in it. The tanga ran fast and early in the morning they came to a brooklet. The driver took the horses for watering them and the peon asked Ramgirbuva to partake of some eatables. Then both of them took the refreshments and started again. They reached Jamner at dawn. Ramgirbuva alighted to attend a call of nature and returned within a few minutes, but found that there was no tanga, no driver and no peon. He was dumbfounded. Then he went to the neighbouring Katcheri and making enquiries, learnt that the Mamlatdar was at home. He went to Nanasaheb’s house and announced himself and gave Nanasaheb Baba’s Udi and Arati. At this time, Mainatai’s case was most serious and all were in deep anxiety about her. Nanasaheb called out his wife and asked her to give the Udi, mixed with water, to their daughter to drink, and sing Baba’s Arati. He thought that Baba’s help was most opportune. In a few minutes came the news that the delivery was safe and that the crisis had passed away. When Ramgirbuva thanked Nanasaheb for the peon, tanga and the refreshments etc. the latter was greatly surprised as he had sent none to the station, and was not aware of any person coming from Shirdi.
Saved from Humiliation by Baba’s Grace and Udi:
Balaji Neweskar was a great devotee of Baba as was his son after him. Once it happened that at Balaji’s anniversary day, a certain number of guests were invited and dinner was prepared for them. But at the dinner-time it was found that thrice the number of people invited turned up. Mrs. Newaskar was in a fix. She thought that the food would not suffice for the people assembled and that if it fell short, the honour of the family would be at stake. Her mother-in-law comforted her by saying, “Don’t be afraid, it is not ours, but Sai’s food; cover every vessel with cloth, putting some Udi in it, and serve from the same without opening it : Sai will save us from ignominy.” She did as she was advised and it was found to their surprise and joy that not only did the food suffice for all, but plenty of it remained after serving. “As one feels intently, so he realizes accordingly” was proved in this case.