Once, Anant Rao Patankar of Pune came to Shirdi to see Sai Baba. He worshipped Sai Baba in a ceremonial way. He disclosed his heart before him and said, "Sai Nath, I have made a thorough study of the Vedas, the Puranas and the Upnishads. I have also acquired the wisdom of other scriptures. But my mind is not at peace. I have heard that a simple glance from your eyes can pacify the troubled minds of your devotees. Kindly bless me with your benevolence and other benedictions."

Then, Sai Baba said, "Anant Rao, once a trader came here. A mare eased out dung in front of the trader. The trader made nine balls of the mare's dung and kept them inside the folds of his 'dhoti'. In this way, his mind became perfectly calm and composed for good."

Anant Rao could not follow what Sai Baba meant. After the evening prayer, he asked Dada Kelkar what Sai Baba's advice meant. Kelkar explained to Anant Rai that the 'mare' symbolized God's blessings and 'nine balls of dung' symbolized 'nine arts '-hearing of holy discourse, group-chanting of hymns, recalling the names of the holy saints, serving the lotus-feet of gods/goddesses, homage, worship, committed service, friendliness and self-introspection. They are nine kinds of devotions.

One can reach the divine abode even if one has followed anyone of the arts in reference. The study of the scriptures without sincere devotion is futile. You should consider yourself as the trader and pursue the new knowledge very earnestly in the search of truth. This process will lead you to the path of peace and perfect tranquility. This will ensure you mental strength.


The next day, when Anant Rao met Sai Baba, the latter said, "Anant Rao, have you collected 'nine balls of dung'." Anant Rao said, "Baba, this task is too difficult to be done without your grace." Sai Baba put his hand on Anant Rao's head and blessed him to get mental peace before long. Sai Baba's affectionate blessing delighted Anant Rao the most. 

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