of his own life and were meant specifically for him; and his love for Sai Baba went on increasing. Several months passed by like this. Maharaj did not want to be a financial burden to any one and wanted to obtain Sai Baba's permission for leaving Shirdi. About such matters Madhavrao Deshpande used to talk freely with Sai Baba; and Maharaj therefore sought Sai Baba's permission through him. Every time, Sai Baba used to say that permission would be given after settling all the accounts. One day Maharaj was pressing the foot of Sai Baba and Madhavrao, who was also pressing a foot, again opened the topic of permission. Then Sai Baba spoke to Madhav Rao about Maharaj as follows: "Listen carefully to what I am saying about him. He has to stay here not for one year or even one year and a half. He has to stay here for four years. After four years, the Grace of Malsapati will fall on him, and all his accounts will be clear. He should stay quietly in Vithoba's temple, for four years, He has a very good future. There is none like him; such is his worth. The whole world is on one side; and he is on the other . . . He should stay quietly in Vithoba's temple; and I will do what I want to."
Maharaj felt that he was not worthy of the destiny which was held up before him; and he continued to ask Sai Baba for his permission to leave Shirdi. But Sai Baba prepared his mind for four years of penance in Khandoba's temple (which Sai Baba always called Vithoba's temple), by addressing him as follows: "Now you should not worry about anything, I have fully recognized your worth (Adhikar). For many years, I have been after you. Whatever good or bad actions have until now been done by you, have been really done by me. You have not recognized me; but I have recognized you. For years, I have been thinking of you in my heart. Now there is nowhere to go or to come. If you are unable to do anything, do not do anything. I will myself purchase the ticket for you and will with my own hands seat you in the train; and without allowing the train to stop anywhere, I will take you straight to where I want to take you." Maharaj was quietly listening to all this with his head bent; and he could not say anything. One gentleman from Bombay who was present asked Sai Baba whether he had given everything; and Sai Baba said, "Yes, I have given him everything. Whatever he is, he is mine. There is no difference between him and me. All his responsibility is on me." After this persuasion and encouragement, Maharaj decided to stay on at Shirdi for four years.