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Chavadi

"If you cast your burden on me, I shall Surely bear it" - Shirdi Sai Baba

Though apparently and formally Baba used to go to the Chavadi. In his super conscious state he was never asleep and used to tell his devotees that in his everlasting awareness (consciousness) he will always protect his devotees who were asleep at night.


Sai Baba is intimately connected with this place, as he used to sleep here on alternate nights, during the last decade of his life. It was raining heavily, and water was coming through the leaky walls of the mosque. The devotees tried their best to persuade Baba to move out, if only until the water had subsided, but Baba did not want to go. Eventually, they virtually forced him to leave, by picking him up and half-carrying him to Chavadi. From that day onwards, Baba would spend alternate nights here.


Chavadi is also very significant to Sai devotees as it played a major role in the inception of formal worship of Baba. Once Baba started sleeping at Chavadi, the custom arose of offering regular arati to him on his arrival from the mosque. This was Sej (night) Arati. Later, Kakad (morning) Arati was offered when he woke up there. The performance of Midday and Evening aratis at the mosque probably developed subsequently.


Around the time that Dwarkamai was renovated, Chavadi was also upgraded. The mud walls were neatly plastered, huge mirrors were hung, glazed tiles replaced the mud floor and glass chandeliers were suspended from the ceiling. The funding for the renovations was provided by Anna Chinchanikar, who was deeply devoted to Baba. He had been involved in a land dispute and after a protracted struggle, during which he repeatedly asked Baba about the outcome, he was elated when the court ruled in his favour. Feeling that the triumph was purely due to Baba’s grace, he very much wanted to give Baba the full sum awarded. Baba, however, refused it and Dixit suggested that the money be spent on Chavadi and named after Chinchanikar and his wife.


On the left of the painting is a plain, wooden bed on which Baba was given his last bath after he passed away in Dwarkamai. These days, the bed is taken out each Thursday and the palanquin is placed on it. In the same corner next to the bed is a wheelchair which was presented to Baba when he was suffering from asthma, but which he never used.


The right portion of the building contains the framed photo of the cross-legged Baba kept in grand attire (hence it is known as the raj upachar photo) and this is the picture that is taken out on procession on festivals on each thursday. The silver throne where it is kept is where Baba used to sleep. Women were not allowed in this section and this tradition is maintained today; only men and children are allowed in this area.


Chavadi is open from 3.45 a.m. to 9.00 p.m.

 
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