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and given 'Updesh' (spiritual initia­tion) by a fakir upto the fifth year and blossomed into spiritual perfection under a fully realised Brahmin Guru-indications of His future work of unification.

"The childhood shows the man, as the morning shows the day".

He was in his teens when he came to Shirdi as a Tejasvin' as all 'Urdhwarethaas' (those whose energy is sublimated in2 toto) are, at the beginning of the second half of the 19th Century. He gave equal respect to all religions. He said, 'If you are Christian, be a better Christian; if Muslim, a better Muslim; if a Hindu, a better Hindu,' and so on. He admonished one who had changed his religion saying, "Have you changed your fa­ther?" He thus inspired his devotees to have a common de­nominator we are sorely in need of. Is it not an irony of the times that man finds it easier to reach the moon than the heart of his neighbour? Baba seen -from all angles is veily the Beacon Light for the 21st century to save humanity from threatening selfannihilation. To deserve His grace fully, He advised, "Speak the truth. Be kind to the lowly, you need not become a Sadhu, but observe sexual purity." Needless to say one learns to be all this as a result of the unseen guidance provided by Him. But one must be a seeker.

Baba is a unique example of truth being stranger than fiction. For sheer incredibility and the thrill provided, just a couple of instances are worth narating. One night, on hearing the pe­culiar croaking of a frog in the jaws of a snake at the edge of a pond near the mosque, He hastens to the spot and angrily shouts, "Hallo Veerabhadrappa come on, release Basappa." In implicit obedience it is done and the frog jumps into the water and escapes. When questioned, Baba says He is continuing to fulfil the

2 From both internal and recorded evidence it became clear that Baba's Guru was Ramananda of Kashi and Baba Himself was Sant Kabir in a preceding janma. Thus the Guru end the Chels had come together again due to 'Rinanubandha'.

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