Monday, September 10, 2012


 ‘This was a true devotee of mine’ – was what Sai Baba said about Megha, an ardent devotee who considered Baba as Shiva incarnate.

In earlier days, Sai Baba was not allowing anyone to worship Him. If somebody brought a garland, He did not accept it. His perfect purity, asceticism, general benevolence, harmlessness, non attachment, and other virtues evoked the respect of the saints - Devadas, Janakidas, Gangagir, Anandanath and Bidkar, that met Him, and also of serious and noble minded men like Mahlsapathy and his friends Appa Bhil and Tukaram Darji. Mahlsapathy and his friends regarded Baba as a saint, an Acharya or Guru Deva as Baba was unattached and happily roaming about fearlessly and was a help to those in suffering and misery. So far as the general mass was concerned, it was the fact that He turned water into oil that provoked worship. And the worship took the usual form of offering flowers, fruits and scents. Baba protested and tried to dissuade these worshippers. He asked them to go to their customary objects of worship such as the images they had in their temples and homes. But they would not listen. They felt that He was a saint, a samartha saint. The learned could quote Tukaram's ‘Sant toch dev. Dev toch sant’ that is, Saints are God, God is saints. The Villagers told Him "You are a Bolte Chalte Dev", that is, a talking and walking God. The persistence of the mass idea that His siddhis were evidence of divine power, and therefore, marked Him out as a Guru Deva for worship, could not be combated or resisted. Sri Upasani Baba put it in these words,

Aneka Asruta Atarkya Leelavitasaih
Samavishkrita Isana BhasvatPrabhavam
Ahambhava Hinam,Prasanna Atmabhavam
Namami Iswaram Sadgurum Sainatham.

“I bow to Sainath, the Sadguru, who reveals his divine nature through numerous unheard of and inscrutable lilas, who is free from egotism and has attained Self-Realisation".

So, like in the case of the highly learned pandit, Sri Upasani Baba, as in the case of the uneducated rustics, the ladies of Shirdi, the chamatkars or lilas were the first prompters to worship Sai as a manifestation of divinity. That was how individual worship began and grew. Due to love of various devotees, Baba started permitting devotees to apply sandal paste to His forehead, offer Him flowers and perform Arati (waving of burning lamps). The iindividual worship itself was also neither systematic nor organised. It was Jogeshwar Bhishma, a good Kirtankar and a great adherent of Vittal worship at Pandharpur, drew up the ritual for Sai Baba worship on practically the same lines as the Pandharpur worship, and brought a set of artis that is ritualistic - verses for use by individuals at Shirdi, and these were sent up by Baba to Nanasaheb Chandorkar at Jamner and were approved by him. They were largely in use and tended to develop the worship of Baba on the customary lines of worship in well known temples. The next step was from individual worship to congregational worship. It was in 1908 that the change was started. Congregational worship implied that there would be someone to officiate as the pujari and that he would be available at various periods of worship namely morning, evening, noon and night artis. For this purpose, Hari Vinayak Sathe, a Settlement Officer, who in 1905 was blessed by Baba with the promise of a son in case he married, and who got married in consequence, sent up one Meghashyam called Megha to Shirdi so that he might officiate as the pujari and carry on congregational worship. But that man was an extremely dull and rustic Brahmin having hardly any learning either in Hindu sacred literature or in any other literature. It was Tatyasaheb Noolkar, who had the privilege of first perform­ing such Pooja on Guru Pournima Day. Tatyasaheb describes this incident in his letter to Nanasaheb Chandorkar thus :

"On Saturday just as I got up in bed, I remembered it was GURU POOJA DAY and made preparations. After Bhikshu (begging round of Sai Baba) we were permitted to perform Guru Pooja. Baba allowed us to do upachar (particulars and points of worship) quickly. He returned all Dakshina that was given at the time of Pooja. Then He sent word to Radhakrishna (Radhakrishna Mayi) and Dadabhai (Dada Kelkar, father-in-law of Rao Bahadur Sathe) that Pooja and Arati was being done and they should come. So Radhakrishna sent her Pooja and Dada came with his Pooja articles."

            Thus, with Tatyasaheb Noolkar, started the congre­gational worship of Baba with singing of Arati and playing of musical instruments, which was continued further, first by Megha and then later, by Bapusaheb Jog. Who was this Megha?

Let us see what Rao Bahadur Hari Vinayak Sathe has to say:

Megha was a very simple yet very devout Brahmin whom I found living at Viramgaon, when I was Deputy Collec­tor there. He would simply repeat Namashivaya always. But he did not know Gayatri, much less the whole Sandhya mantra. I got interested in his welfare, and got him taught Sandhya and Gayatri. I sent him to Broach to worship Siva there, and paid him Rs. 8 for his fare and expenses. He would worship Siva standing on one leg only all the time. Then I told him that Shirdi Sai Baba was in realty the embodied form of God Siva and made him start for Shirdi. At the Broach Railway Station he learnt that Sai Baba was a Muslim and his ex­tremely orthodox and simple mind was highly perturbed at the prospect of bowing to a Moslem and he prayed to me at the station not to send him to Shirdi. I however insisted and gave him a letter to my father-in-law at Shirdi to introduce him to Baba. When he went to Shirdi mosque, Baba was indignant and would not allow him to go into the mosque. ‘Kick out that rascal’, He cried at the very sight of him and He was also angry that I should have sent him a man with such hopelessly crude ideas. Megha then went to Trimbak and worshipped at 'Gangadhwar’ for a year or a year and a half”. He suffered there from severe pains in his abdomen. During that time he got faith in Baba and came back to Shirdi. Dada Kelkar interceded on his behalf and Baba allowed him to stay at Shirdi and worship him at the Mosque.

            Sai Baba's help to Megha was not through any oral in­struction. He worked upon Megha internally, that is, mentally. Megha was considerably changed and benefited. When even the very orthodox Megha thus became an ardent devotee of Baba, others followed suit and sooner or later gave up their prejudices against Baba and joined in the congregational worship. All this required time, and obstacles like Megha's sentiments, had to be overcome and made stepping stones for further progress.

            Megha began to look upon Sai Baba as an incarnation of Shiva. It is said that Shiva is very fond of being worshipped with Bilvapatri (Bela leaves). Megha used to go miles and miles to collect these leaves for worshipping his Shiva, namely Sai Baba. He followed a procedure of worshipping all the gods in the village first and then come to the masjid. There he worshipped Baba’s seat (gadi). After that, he caressingly massaged Baba’s legs. Then he washed Baba’s feet and took the water which passed through Baba’s feet as Teertha. In short, he worshipped Sai Baba as though he was worshipping Shiva Linga.

Baba noting his peculiar idiosyncrasy to worship all the gods in the temples of the village, that is, Devi, Sani, Siva, Maruti and Khandoba, told him, “After worshipping all these, come and worship Me”. Megha did so regularly. Megha was impressed with Baba’s omnipresence, by his directions on some occasions. One day when he went to Khandoba’s, Upasani Maharaj, who lived there, had bolted the door from within, and he could not enter into the temple and worship Khandoba. So he returned to Baba. Khandoba’s temple is very long way off from Baba’s Mosque and is not visible from there. When Megha went to worship Baba on that day, Baba told him, “You have not yet done worship at Khandoba’s. If you go there now you will find the door open. Do the puja of Khandoba and then come here”. Megha then went to Khandoba and saw the door open as stated by Baba. After doing that puja, he went to Sai Baba for puja.

            There is a saying that Shiva is abhisheka priya and Vishnu is alankara priya. The Shiva Bhaktas perform Rudra abhishekam regularly. Megha being a staunch Shiva Bhakta, wanted to perform Gangaabhishekam to Baba. The procedure was to initially apply sandal paste to the body and then do the abhishekam. Baba was reluctant, but on repeated requests from Megha, agreed to his request. Happy with this, Megha traveled 8 koss (24 miles) to Godavari River and brought water. He made all the preparations and requested Baba to come to the abhishekam place. Sri R. B. Purandhare, an Ankita Bhakta of Baba, mentions here one chamatkar of Baba. In his anxiety to pour Ganga water on Baba, Megha had brought a whole pot. Baba told him, “Arre, the head is the chief thing,” (sarvasya gatrasya sirah pradhanam), “so put a few drops on the head and that will suffice”. Baba once again requested him to leave him alone, as He was a fakir and had nothing to do with Ganga water. Megha was firm. Baba sat down, and amidst chanting of slokas, Megha began to pour water on Baba’s head. During that process, he was so overcome with love that he shouted ‘Har Har Gange’ and poured the water over the entire body. After emptying the pot, he kept the pot aside and looked at Baba. His mind which was till now full of joy at the abhishekam was suddenly surprised. Strangely, not a drop of water fell on the body of Baba. The whole pot of water had fallen on the head without touching Baba’s body. Only Baba’s head was wet and the rest of the body was completely dry.  So, just as Siva had tied up Ganga in his own tuft, Baba also used his head for retaining and throwing away the water so as not to touch his body or cloths.

            Megha was treated by Baba very kindly and Baba suited himself to Megha’s taste. As he specialized in Siva worship, Baba gave him a Shiva lingam which is worshipped as Siva.

            Megha worshipped Baba at two places. He worshipped Him in person at the masjid and His photo at the Wada. This big picture of Baba was given to him by Nanasaheb Chandorkar. He continued Baba’s worship for twelve months. Happy with his devotion, Baba decided to show His appreciation. Early in the morning, one day, when Megha was still in his bed with his eyes closed, he saw Baba’s form. Baba knew that he was awake. He sprinkled akshata on the bed and said, “Megha, draw a trishul”, and disappeared. Hearing Baba’s voice, Megha got up and searched for Baba but did not find Him. To confirm that Baba had come, there were the rice grains of akshata. He then went to Baba, told Him about the vision and asked His permission to draw the trishul. Baba said, “Did you not hear My words, asking you to draw the trishul? It was not a vision but a direct order. My words are always pregnant with meaning and never hollow.” Megha told about his predicament. He said, “I thought you woke me up, but found that all the doors were closed. So I thought that it was a vision.” Baba said, “I require no doors to open. I have no form. I live everywhere. Like a sutradhar, I carry out all the actions of the one who trusts Me and becomes one with Me.”

            Megha went back to Wada and drew a trishul on the wall near Baba’s picture. Next day, a Ramdasi bhakta came from Poona, prostrated at the feet of Baba and offered Him a Shiva Linga. At the same time, Megha also came to the masjid. Baba told him, “See, Shankara has come. Take care of Him now,” and gave the Shiva Linga to him. Megha was surprised to see the Shiva Linga so immediately after he drew the trishul.

            Here in the Wada, Kakasaheb had finished taking bath and was having a towel over his head. He was chanting Sai Nama. Then he saw a vision of a Shiva Linga. He began to wonder how a Shiva Linga could come in his mind when he was thinking only of Sai. A few minutes later, Megha showed him the Shiva Linga presented by Baba. Kakasaheb was taken aback to see that it resembled the Linga he had seen in his vision. After a few days, Baba installed the Shiva Linga near the big picture which Megha was worshipping. Worship of Shiva was very dear to Megha. By arranging the drawing of the trishul and the installation of the Shiva Linga, Baba confirmed His faith in Megha’s mode of worship.
            When Megha died (in 1912) at Shirdi, after continuous service of Baba doing regular daily Arati service, (noon and evening) Baba passed His hands over his corpse and said ‘This was a true devotee of mine’. The entire village followed the funeral procession. Baba also accompanied the procession. He placed flowers on the body. After the obsequies were performed, Baba wept like any other mortal. Tears rolled down his eyes. It was one of those rare occasions when Baba was overcome with grief and sorrow. He cried as though He had lost a near relative. With a very heavy heart, He returned to the masjid. Baba ordered that, at His own expense, the usual funeral dinner to Brahmins should be given and Kaka Saheb Dixit carried out this order.

            Baba had given sadgati to so many of the devotees. Megha was a devotee par excellence, and would be remembered, for ages to come, symbolizing the purest form of devotion to the God he worshipped.

Sunday, March 25, 2012



Though He used to give money to other devotees, Baba never gave any money to Madhavrao. Once, Shinde Sarkar wanted to give Rs. 5,000 to Madhavrao; but Baba did not allow him to do so. Though Baba did not give money to Madhavrao, He gave him tremendous love. Once, in an angry mood, Madhavrao said, ‘It is we who made you God. You give money and wealth to others; but are very miserly as far as I am concerned.’ Baba smiled indulgently at him and said with affection, ‘Are Shamya, the wealth of money is not for you. What is for you is very much different than that.’ Madhavrao understood the significance of this and remained quiet about the matter.

Baba fulfilled all demands and wishes of Madhavrao. He did not provide him wealth; but gave him enjoyment of all the things, which wealth can provide. Several pilgrimages such as Chaar Dham, Kashi, Gaya, Ayodhya, Mathura, Gokul, Ujjain, Haridwar, Prayag, Girnar are hectic and taxing money-wise. But, with Baba’s blessings, Madhavrao undertook them without any hardships.

Once, on Baba’s instructions, Madhavrao went to Bapusaheb Booty at Nagpur. While there, he went for the Darshan of Shri Tajuddin Baba towards the South of Nagpur. The incident narrated below happened after he returned to Shirdi. It was evening time. A lot of devotees were sitting around Baba.
Baba enquired, “Ka Shamrao, which are all the places that you visited?”
‘Deva, I had gone to Nagpur.’
‘You visited Nagpur. Then, did you see the tree of Gold towards South of Nagpur?’ Madhavrao had a keen sense of observation and a sharp mind. He realized that this must be a reference to Tajuddin Baba. He promptly said, “Hoy, Deva ! I had gone for the Darshan of Tajuddin Baba at the South of Nagpur in the garden of Raghoji Raje Bhosale.”
‘And thereafter, which places did you visit?’ Baba asked.
Madhavrao said, ‘Deva, from Nagpur I went to Amravati. There Narayan Maharaj from Bet Kedgaon had arrived. I took his Darshan also”.

It may be mentioned here that, Madhavrao did not go anywhere on his own. It was Baba Who sent him to different places. And, once he was away, Baba became restless without him.

Every devotee wanted Baba to be with them; but Baba always told them, ‘Take my Shama with you’, ‘Let my Shama be near you and I am near you’, or ‘Don’t worry when my Shama is with you’. Baba said so to devotees, who came to Him with many requests - to accompany them on travels, visit their homes for meals, be with them in their times of difficulties..... So on.

Once, Kakasaheb Dixit was overcome with emotions and went to Baba. Baba asked him, ‘What do you want?’ Kaka replied, ‘I wish to be around You forever’. Baba said, ‘Kaka, keep this Shamya with you. It will mean I am with you’. From that day, Kakasaheb accorded the same respect to Shama which he used to give to Baba. Once, while in Shirdi, Kakasaheb Dixit suffered from Navajwar (a deadly fever which lasts for nine days). Lots of risks are associated with this disease and in those olden days, many times it used to prove to be fatal. Baba told Kaka to go his home in Vile Parle. Kaka was unable to understand, why Baba was asking him to go to Parle instead of keeping him near him. Just then, Baba said, ‘Take care. Take this Udi and take Shamya also with you!’ Even though Kakasaheb was suffering with the illness, he was happy that Madhavrao was coming with him. Those 9 days were really difficult for Kakasaheb. However, he survived on the strength of his devotion to Baba and company of Madhavrao.

The end of Bapusaheb Booty’s life had come very near. Madhavrao was beside him. Booty was still conscious. He called Madhavrao near him and said, ‘Madhavrao, now I am unable to bear the pains. It will be better if Baba takes me near His Feet. I know you very well. When I am near you, I feel as if I am near Baba’s Feet’. While uttering these words, tears were flowing from Bapusaheb’s eyes. He was overcome with emotions and placed his head on Madhavrao’s feet regarding them to be Baba’s.

After the demise of Bapusaheb Booty, his son Shrimant Keshavrao Booty also accorded the same respect to Madhavrao. On pilgrimage tours, he used to take Madhavrao with him. Similarly, he used to welcome Madhavrao at his Nagpur house with lot of hospitality. He used to pay some amount as a monthly pension to Madhavrao till the end.

After Baba took Samadhi, Madhavrao spent the next 23 years in practicing medicines, looking after the devotees and narrating Baba’s Leelas to curious devotees. It would be proper to say that, besides Mhalsapati and Tatya Patil, Madhavrao was the only other person who had the great fortune to spend so much time in the company of Baba.

After the Mahanirvan of Baba, Madhavrao distributed some of the Udi on special occasions amongst the devotees. He had two large earthen pots which were full of Udi from Baba’s hands. Madhavrao had kept the pots very carefully in a corner of an inner room of his house. The women folk from the house were not aware about the Udi. Once, they set upon the task of cleaning the house. And, in the process, they moved out the earthen pots with an intention of throwing them away. At that time, Madhavrao was in Mumbai. That night he had a dream and heard, ‘Shamya. Get up! The Udi - which you had so carefully kept - will be soon thrown into garbage dump. Go, Go quickly and keep it properly!’ Within seconds, Madhavrao got up from his sleep and rushed to Shirdi. He realized that his dream was true. He took the pots into his custody and moved them to the upper floor of the house.

Kakasaheb was affectionate towards Madhavrao and made him stay in his Wada. He let out Madhavrao’s own house on rent and thus, helped in improving his means of living and finances. Madhavrao stayed in Kakasaheb’s Wada and also looked after the maintenance of the Wada. After the death of Kakasaheb, Madhavrao used to issue his rent receipts in the name of the Sansthan. Bapusaheb Booty also had entrusted the work of maintenance and supervision of his Wada to Madhavrao. For this work, Bapusaheb gave Rs. 7 every month to Madhavrao. After the death of Bapusaheb, his son Keshavrao continued the practice.

3-4 years prior to his death, Madhavrao suffered from gout. At that time, his age was more than 75 years. He was staying at that time on the upper floor of Dixit Wada. From there, he was unable to come down every day. He had lost considerable strength. In spite of this, he used to speak and incessantly narrate experiences of Baba.

A few months prior to his death, for some specific reason, Madhavrao was required to leave Dixit Wada and stay at his own house. It was a miracle that 6-7 months before he passed away, Madhavrao’s health improved suddenly and he started moving about. He repeatedly said – ‘My God has once again started looking at me’.

Kakasaheb Dixit, Bhausaheb Dhumal, Annasaheb Dabholkar were virtuous devotees who did not experience sufferings before their demise. Madhavrao was similarly fortunate. He spent only a night and time up to noon in an unconscious state. He passed away in his own house on Thursday, 26th April, 1940 (Chaitra, Krishna Chaturthi, Shake 1862). At that time, he was 80 years old. Very rarely, a person is fortunate enough to have such a peaceful death. This is not possible without the good deeds of the past. The next day, Madhavrao’s funeral procession was taken out with great fanfare. A lot of people were present. They gave him Tilanjali on the public well of the town.

Irrespective of Baba’s mood, may He be angry or irritated, Madhavrao used to confidently go near Him, fill His Chillum and change Baba’s mood by tactful talk. Not only this, Madhavrao used to sometimes even quarrel with Baba, get angry with Him, bind Him with vows and sometimes even tell Him a few things of advice. Baba, realizing the love and affection that Madhavrao had for Him, used to only smile. Baba never got heated with him, as Madhavrao’s total persona had become ‘Saimay’. He constantly chanted the Jap ‘Sainath, Sainath, Sainath’. While he was awake, sleeping or dreaming, he saw only Sai. His all senses were laid at the Feet of Sai. Day and night, whether in a sleeping or awake, Madhavrao was gripped by the devotion of Baba. His senses were pre-occupied with dedication to the Lord. We find proof of this in the Khaparde Diary.

In his diary, Dadasaheb Khaparde has written an amazing episode about Madhavrao. On 8th December 1911, Khaparde writes –

“Madhavarao Deshpande was here & fell asleep. I saw with my own eyes, & heard with my own ears what I only read about, but never experienced, that with every outgoing & in drawing breath of Madhavarao Deshpande, comes the clear sound of “Sayin Nath Maharaj Sayin Nath Baba” This sound is as clear as clear can be & when Madhavrao snores, the words can be heard even at a distance. This is really wonderful & he is in deep sleep all the time.”

Any person studying Shri Sai Sat Charita will observe that - amongst the devotees who were close to Baba - Madhavrao comes very near the top.

||Om Sri Sainathaarpanamastu||

Saturday, March 24, 2012


(Continued from

From the very early times, Baba used to call Madhavrao as Shama and Masjid as Dwarkamai. Similarly, Madhavrao used to call Baba by the name Deva. Once, after his bath, Madhavrao was taking out from a niche (Konada-in Marathi) the utensils etc. for Pooja. Suddenly, a snake - which was sitting in the alcove bit him. The snake was poisonous. Poison started spreading through Madhavrao’s body and he was writhing in pain. A few days prior to this event, Baba had warned him, ‘Shamya, take care! Do not put your hand in any nook or corner.’ As the snake’s venom started spreading, Madhavrao panicked. Everyone started running helter-skelter. People started saying – ‘Let us take him to the temple of Viroba.’ Madhavrao was getting fits and seizures. But, even in that condition, he started saying, ‘Take me at once to the Masjid and place me before my God there.’ People brought him to Dwarakamai. At the first glance of the approaching people, Baba shouted, “Oh, wily Bhaturdya! Don’t climb up! How dare you do it?!!” and then roared, “Come down! Get away, GO! If you do not listen to what I say, I will make you into pieces like seeds of Mustard.” Baba’s face had become completely red because of anger. Seeing Baba and hearing these words from Him, Madhavrao was aghast. Others were also surprised. Madhavrao started crying. He was unable to understand, why Baba, Who allowed him to come near at any time of the day, had suddenly become stone-hearted, when death was hovering around him. He had loved Baba more than his own life and had thought that masjid alone was his home. If Baba Himself drives him away, where could he go? Having lost all the hopes, he thought that even if Baba drives him away, it is better to die at His feet rather than elsewhere. So, he coolly entered inside the masjid and sat near Baba, waiting for his last moments. By this time, Baba had calmed down. He had become normal. He put his hand benevolently on Shyama’s head and tenderly caressing it, told Shyama, “Don’t fear, My child. Don’t worry a bit. Nothing will happen to you. Allah Malik will save you. Go home and sit quietly. Don’t go out anywhere. Believe Me, be brave and don’t have any anxiety.” Saying these soothing words, Baba sent him home. As soon as he left, Baba immediately called Tatya Patil. He told him to see that Shyama should eat whatever he liked, could move around in the house, but in no case should he lie down and sleep. When the night fell, He sent word to Kaka that even if Shyama dozes, not to allow him to lie down and sleep. By morning, Madhavrao got relief. However, for two-three months thereafter, his finger, which the snake had bitten, had turned blue-black. Due to the snake bite, he also suffered from acidity for some time.

On some occasions, Madhavrao used to suffer from ailment of piles. At such times, he was a really harassed man. For relief, he used to take fomentation of a brick. He never used any medicines on himself without asking the permission of Baba. Once, he was suffering from an attack of piles. Baba told him – “We will do the treatment in the afternoon.” Accordingly, Baba prepared a concoction of an Ayurvedic herb called “Sonamukhi” and gave some of it to Madhavrao. He immediately got relief. Two years thereafter, Madhavrao once again had an attack of piles. He on his own - without consulting Baba - took some amount from the concoction already prepared by Baba in the past. However, instead of bringing relief it aggravated the problem. After a few days, with the blessings of Baba, Madhavrao started feeling well. He realized that the power of healing was not in the medicine but in the blessings of his God. Once, Madhavrao was at Nagpur with Bapusaheb Booty and the attack of piles reoccurred. Madhavrao sent a letter to Baba. Baba replied, “Ask him to come to Shirdi!” He further jokingly added, “I take utmost care of him; but he likes to roam about; does not like to come here. Send him a letter and call him here! He will get well.”

One day, Baba suddenly started getting pain in stomach. Ramdas Buva, a follower of Saint Ramadas, was in Shirdi during that time. Followers of Saint Ramadas were also called as Ramadasis. This Ramdas Buva used to get up early in the morning, take bath, wear saffron coloured clothes, apply vibhuti to his forehead and then perform sandhyavandanam. He performed Archana also. After that he would study Sri Vishnu Sahasranama and Adhyatma Ramayana with great devotion and dedication. Sri Vishnu Sahasranama contains one thousand names glorifying God Vishnu. It is held in high esteem by the devotees and is considered to be next in importance to only Bhagavad Gita. Regular recitation of Sri Vishnu Sahasranama is believed to fulfil all the desires of the devotees. He continued this practice in Shirdi also. He read these devotional books in the masjid. Baba was watching Ramdas Buva every day. He called him and told, “I am suffering from severe stomach pain. Unless I take Sona Mukhi, this pain will not subside. Please get Me the medicine from Bazaar.” Ramdas Buva closed the book he was reading, kept it aside and went to get the medicine. Baba got down from His seat, went to where Buva was sitting, took the book with Him to His seat. After sitting down, He turned a few pages and called Madhavrao. When he came near Him, Baba said, “Shamya, this book is very valuable and efficacious. I am giving it to you to read it. Once, I suffered intensely and My heart began to palpitate. My life was in danger. At that critical time, I hugged this book to My heart. Shamya, what a relief it gave Me! I thought that Allah had come down and saved Me. So, I am giving this to you. Read it slowly, little by little. Read at least one name daily and it will do you good.” Madhavrao was scared, as Ramdas Buva had the reputation of being, obstinate, irritable and picking up quarrels at the slightest provocation. He told Baba that he did not want the book as a rustic like him could not read Sanskrit properly. He also told Baba about Buva.

Madhavrao was under the impression that Baba wanted to set him up against Buva and watch the fun. He could never imagine the esteem in which Baba held him. As Madhavrao was His intimate devotee, He wanted to save him from the miseries of the worldly existence. Baba would have thought that reciting at least one name of God everyday would benefit Shyama much more. The efficacy of reciting God’s name is well known. There is no better method than this of purifying one’s mind. There is no easier sadhana than this. There is no paraphernalia, nor any restrictions. Baba wanted to give this sadhana to Shyama as it saves one from the cycle of repeated birth and death. Recitation of Sri Vishnu Sahasranama would also save us from all sins and bad behaviour. With all this in mind, Baba forced Madhavrao to accept the book.

By this time, Ramdas Buva returned from Bazaar with the medicine and gave it to Baba. Anna Chinchinikar, who had witnessed all that had happened between Baba and Madhavrao, was waiting for an opportunity to tell everything to Buva. Narada, the great rishi who was known to set up quarrels even among friends, had perfected this art. He used to do this at the behest of Sri Vishnu for the benefit of all concerned - loka kalyana arthaaya. As soon as Anna saw Buva, he recited everything to him. It was like adding ghee to Agni. Buva flared up and started blaming Madhavrao. He told him that it was Shyama who had set Baba to send him away under the pretext of getting medicine for stomach pain and as soon as he had gone, to take away the book. He scolded Shyama to his heart’s content and told him that if the book was not returned to him, he would break his head then and there. Madhavrao did not know what to say, but still made a valiant effort to convince Buva, which was in vain. Then Baba called Ramdas Buva to Him and spoke very kindly, “Oh Ramdasi, what happened? Isn’t Shyama our boy? Why do you scold him unnecessarily? Speak soft and sweet words. Though you read these books, your mind is still impure and passions are uncontrolled. Being a Ramdasi, you should be indifferent to all these petty things. Why do you covet this book? A true Ramdasi should have only ‘samata’ and no ‘mamata’. You are now quarrelling with Shyama for a book. Books can be had in plenty, but not men. Shyama did not ask the book. I took it Myself and gave it to him. I thought Shyama might read it and benefit. You know it in your heart.” This was how Baba taught the concepts of samata and mamata to Ramdas Buva. Baba conceptualized the entire philosophy of detachment in to this simple episode and made it easy to understand for everyone. These words of sweetness, like nectar, had immediate effect on Buva. He calmed down and told that Madhavrao could keep Sri Vishnu Sahasranama with him and he would take ‘Pancharatni’ Gita in return. Madhavrao was also happy that everything ended peacefully and agreed to give Buva, Pancharatni Gita.

Sri Ramachandra Atmaram Tarkhad, also known as Babasaheb Tarkhad, visited Shirdi in December 1910 for the second time to take Baba’s Darshan. At that time, only Sathe Wada was available for staying. Tarkhad wanted to spend time away from the routine, daily responsibilities and problems of his job and family. His main wish was to spend the time at the feet of saintly person and get some peace of mind. On that occasion, he had come alone to Shirdi. On his arrival, he was very much fatigued because of the hassles of travelling, the strong sun and an unsatisfied urge to have tea since morning. Tarkhad had just reached Sathe Wada. Immediately, he was taken by two gentlemen not very closely known to him. They bombarded him with questions relating to spiritual matters. However, he did not outwardly show that he is tired of their questions. He enjoyed the cup of tea provided by Balabhau (nephew of Nanasaheb Chandorkar - Nanasaheb had started an eatery for him in Shirdi) and went to take Baba’s Darshan. However, he could not help thinking that ‘I came here to get away from the botherations of Mumbai and have some mental peace. But, it seems that the nuisances would not leave me here also. I think, I unnecessarily came here. Mumbai was better.’ Such conflicting thoughts started going through his mind in just five minutes. In the same mental status, he went with Madhavrao to take Baba’s Darshan.

As per usual custom, he lit incense and camphor, placed coconut and bowed down in front of Baba. In blessing, Baba placed hand on his head, gave fruits as Prasad and asked him to be seated. In his own mind, Tarkhad was getting himself ready to take Baba’s permission to return to Mumbai. Suddenly, Baba said to Madhavrao, ‘Shamya, why is he behaving like this? Give him some advice. Go! Take Udi and sit peacefully in the Wada.’

Taking the Udi, Tarkhad and Madhavrao came outside the compound of the Masjid on the street. There Madhavrao stopped Tarkhad and asked him, what had happened. Tarkhad narrated the chain of events. After hearing everything, Madhavrao said, ‘This is the miracle and message of this God. He is teaching you that you must remain steadfast in your devotion - in spite of the problems posed by the mortal world. While facing the day to day hassles involved with your job, your mind must be focussed on your God. Let us go back to our God and understand what He has to say.’ Both of them once again entered the Masjid. The moment they climbed the steps of the Masjid, Baba said, ‘Bhau, always remember the words of Shama!’ Seeing this miracle, Tarkhad was overwhelmed with emotions and placed his head on the ground in front of Baba. He realized the teaching of Baba - Even while facing the problems of day to day life, a disciple must be unwavering in his devotion to his Sadguru and his contentment must be constant. Baba used to talk in riddles. But, as Madhavrao had spent considerable time with Baba, he was able to catch the meaning very quickly.

Some of the devotees, who came to Baba for darshan and blessings, gave Baba things with a hope that He would bless and return them as Prasad. However, many times Baba, instead of returning them, passed them on to Madhavrao saying – ‘Keep it with you!’ In this manner He handed over several articles, like Vishnu Sahasranaam Pothi, Eknathi Bhagwat Pothi, a coin having picture of Ram-Seeta-Laxman, silver Padukas, a clay statue. Sometimes, Baba said to Madhavrao, “Shamya, build My house (Devhara) and keep all these things in it.”

Every afternoon, Baba used to make Kala of the different Naivedyas that were received and distributed it amongst the few devotees who asked Bhiksha in the noon. Madhavrao was one of them. But, assuming that he would not like the mixture of Kala, Baba waited till everyone else had finished their meal and then gave Madhavrao a plate full of slices of mangoes.

After completing evening stroll, Baba used to sit in the Masjid. At that time, besides some 3-4 specific devotees, no one else was allowed to come to the Masjid. However, Madhavrao had no such restrictions on his coming, going or asking things to Baba. If he went to Baba at odd hours in the night, Baba pretended to get furious like Narasimha; but also quickly get pacified. Once, Tatyasaheb Nulkar became seriously ill while in Shirdi. His last hour came near and he disclosed a desire to get holy water from Baba’s Feet. It was almost 1-1.30am in the night. Who could dare to go to Baba at such an hour? Madhavrao got up and went to the Masjid with Pali and Panch-patra. Baba got up from His place and roared, ‘Who is it?’ On getting reply that ‘I am Shamya’, Baba said, ‘You came at this hour?’ and pretended to come to hit him. He stood on the Masjid foundation with one leg in the front. Madhavrao started pleading with him, ‘Tatyasaheb is losing his life. He is asking for the holy water from Your Feet. Please give it quickly’. Baba was saying ‘No!’ and Madhavrao was daring to inch forward. Of course, as Tatyasaheb was an ardent devotee, Baba had also put forward his toe. Madhavrao immediately dipped the toe in the water carried in Panch-patra and fulfilled the last wish of Tatyasaheb.

There is another incident concerning the wife of Sakharam Aurangabadkar, a resident of Solapur. Madhavrao had forced Baba to gift a coconut to her and warned Him to bless her with a child or ‘else I will bang the same coconut on Your head!’ The lady really had a child within a year.