Sai Baba had not been taking his meal for a long time. Although Sai Baba opposed fast yet nobody could understand the mystery of his abandoning food. His condition was getting from bad to worse, but none could summon up the courage to ask Sai Baba to have food. With tears in their eyes, all were watching the 'miracle' of Sai Baba quietly ..
It was 15 October 1918, the auspicious day of Vijayadashmi.
People were at a loss to say anything about Sai Baba's fast.
Lakshmi, the closest devotee of Sai Baba, had been tolerating Sai Baba's fast quietly for several days. But today, she was determined to make Sai Baba eat the meal. She sat beside Sai Baba with a plate of food and said in a hoarse voice, "Baba ! It seems that Tatya is dearer to you. You do not, at all, care for us. If you loved us, you would never hurt us by keeping fast. Since the day you have given up food, your body has been getting weaker and weaker day-by-day. Baba ! we cannot see you in such a plight. Now, take your meal. By keeping fast, you will become more unhealthy and unwell."
Sai Baba patted Laxmi's head very affectionately and said smilingly, "Laxmi ! you and Bayaja Mai have rendered selfless service to me. I can never forget your good turns. Now, the time of my departure from this world has come."
Hearing Sai Baba's words, Laxmi wept bitterly. She said, "Baba, what are you talking about ? Nothing will happen to you, you should not think of making the people of Shirdi orphans by leaving this world." Sai Baba further remarked very gently, "Laxmi, one who has come to his world, must depart sooner or later. None can stop the departing soul. Please do not make my journey to the other world burdensome by shedding tears. I have given nothing to you. But I would like to give you something before my departing time from this world."
Saying this, Sai Baba drew five coins from his purse and gave them to Laxmi. Again he took out four coins and gave them to Laxmi. "This is the last gift of your Sai. These nine coins are the symbols of nine arts or kinds of knowledge. I am giving you nine kinds of knowledge through the symbols of these nine coins." Laxmi kept the nine coins with her most affectionately.
Suddenly, Sai Baba's heart beats increased and his face grew pale with acute pain. After looking at Sai Baba's miserable plight, all his followers surrounded him and appealed to him not to leave them in the lurch. Then, Sai Baba uttered a bit sorrowfully and a bit smilingly, "I have a very old relationship with Shirdi. Shirdi is my main place of duty. I can never desert this place. I am abandoning this body which is made of 5 elements, I will remain around Shirdi even after my death. I will remain unnoticed, but I will indirectly remove all the ailments of my devotees. So, you need not worry at my physical demise. I am very much tired of living long enough in Dwarakamai. Now, I wish to set out on a long journey to the other world. Carry me to Booty's enclosure."
As Sai Baba expressed his wish, a single hiccup took away Sai's life. His head rolled to one side. Exactly at 2:30 pm Sai Baba left for his Heavenly Abode, leaving behind his weeping followers. He had a symbiosis with the Almighty.
Sai Baba got his 'Salvation' through meditation. The news of Sai Baba's demise spread throughout Shirdi very fast. Before long, all the followers rushed to Dwarakamai Mosque to pay their tearful homage to their Guru, Sai Baba. When the critics of Sai Baba heard the news of his death, they too shed tears remorsefully just like Sai Baba's followers.
As Sai Baba had desired to relax in the enclosure of Booty Saheb, all the people decided to build Sai Baba's tomb within the premises of the mosque. Exactly at 5:35 pm; Sai Baba's dead body was brought to the mosque, with great pomp and show.
Countless mourners accompanied Sai Baba's funeral procession. Upasini and Shri Bhate performed the funeral rites according to the established traditions. Afterwards, Sai Baba's tomb was built at the very place where Lord Krishna's idol was to be established.
In this way, Booty Saheb's small enclosure got the status of being a very sacred and well-known monument of Sai Baba. At this holy place, Sai Baba removes his devotees's difficulties through his invisible form. Even today, the sorrow-stricken devotees give a call to Sai Baba's name and feel his presence at every step. They regard Sai Baba as an idol of their trust and deep reverence. Sai Baba did not discriminate between the Hindu and the Muslim. He hated the sins, but not the sinners. He tried throughout his life to lead people on the path of love, truth, morality, charity and humanity. Even today, Sai Baba's followers unanimously say, "God is the only Master of all".