PAVHARI BABA: AN IDEAL YOGI
Everyone has heard of the thief who had come to steal from his [Pavhari Baba’s] Ashrama, and who at the sight of the saint got frightened and ran away, leaving the goods he had stolen in a bundle behind; how the saint took the bundle up, ran after the thief, and came up to him after miles of hard running; how the saint laid the bundle at the feet of the thief, and with folded hands and tears in his eyes asked his pardon for his own intrusion, and begged hard for his acceptance of the goods, since they belonged to him, and not to himself.
We are also told, on reliable authority, how once he was bitten by a cobra; and though he was given up for hours as dead, he revived; and when his friends asked him about it, he only replied that the cobra “was a messenger from the Beloved.”
One of his great peculiarities was his entire absorption at the time in the task in hand, however trivial. The same amount of care and attention was bestowed in cleaning a copper pot as in the worship of Sri Raghunathji [Ramachandra, his chosen ideal of God] – he himself being the best example of the secret he once told us of work: “The means should be loved and cared for as if it were the end itself.”
The present writer [Swami Vivekananda] had occasion to ask the saint the reason of his not coming out of his cave to help the world. He gave the following reply: “Do you think that physical help is the only help possible? Is it not possible that one mind can help other minds even without the activity of the body?” (IV 292-94)