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Activities done by Sai Baba
Contrary to his usual reserve, at night he sometimes went to the takiya, a resting place for Muslim visitors. Here, he sang devotional hymns, among which figured some popular motives attributed to Kabir. He apparently also sang in Persian or Arabic, languages the local people could not understand. He is described tying bells (ghungur) to his ankles and dancing, enraptured in ecstatic joy.
Sai Baba's abode in the masjid brought him into closer contact with the local people. He would sometimes perform healing acts, collecting herbs and inexpensive drugs from local shops and apply them to the sick. He is said to have cured snake bite, leprosy by using snake poison, and "rotting eyes" by using nuts for an alkaline aseptic.
At this time it was reported that the young fakir Sai Baba was attired in a white turban, clean dhoti and a shirt. There are narratives of some interaction with a large wrestler who was defeated by Sai Baba in contest. The wrestler demanded a return bout and should Sai Baba lose, he would have to change his clothing and don a kafni (a long robe). It was said that Sai was in no mood to enter the arena again, and conceded the fellow the victory he sought, and donned the kafni and kerchief on his head. The wrestler was filled with remorse and pleaded with Baba to resume his former style of dress and released him from the obligation. But the young Sai Baba stuck to his word.
At this time the dilapidated mosque became the centre around which Sai Baba's life revolved. Inside, Sai Baba built a dhuni, that is, a sacred wood-fire which he kept perpetually burning. Sai Baba is described as sitting in front of the fire, facing the south, keeping his left hand on a wooden support, a typical aid used by Indian ascetics. The local villagers reported seeing him sitting in front of the fire for hours. From the dhuni he would draw the sacred ash (udi) which had healing power. Sai Baba no longer used herbs or concoctions for healing requests. Inside the masjid was a large, flat stone on which Sai Baba would sit for hours in his typical posture, his right arm resting on his right thigh or lap, the foot or the ankle on the opposite knee, and the head slightly inclined in an attitude of contemplation or reflection. The left hand lies on the foot or the ankle of the crossed leg.
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