Previously Posted:

Continued: Live Experiences Of The Tarkhad Family With Shri Sai Baba Of Shirdi

Dear readers, as informed earlier that my father had visited Shirdi around 17 times and the span of each visit use to be anywhere from 7 days to one month. During the stay they used to come across such interesting Leela’s of Baba that they never felt like leaving Shirdi. Of course, no sooner Baba would order them to leave; they would depart from Shirdi. My father had good collection of these experiences which I might not remember all. In this chapter I will try to narrate to you some of these experiences which are other than those depicted in Sai Satcharitra. I am sure Sai devotees of those times must have come across many such interesting experiences and they must have passed them on to their dear ones. I am narrating them to you to purely express my love and devotion to Lord Sai.

Gimmicks of Nanavali

There was an eccentric devotee of SaiBaba by name Nanavali. I am taking this liberty to term him as cranky because he use to perform very funny acts (monkey tricks), which use to annoy people and they use to complain to Baba about his misbehavior. Baba would then scold Nana stating that devotees would go away from Shirdi if he continues to misbehave. My father had different kind of admiration for Nanavali. He was suffering from hernia so much so that the grown up portion use to touch the ground and he use to walk in that fashion only. Sometimes he used to tie the pieces of cloth to his trousers at the back forming a long tail and then he use to jump like a monkey. All the children of the village use to get amused with his monkey tricks and then in that state he used to come running to Baba to save him torn the onslaught of the children. My father used to wonder as to how can this man in that state of hernia run so fast. He never thought of him to be a mad person. Nanavali used to call my father by name ‘Gawalya’ and use to beg him for food. Then my father used to go to the eating house run by Sagun and request him to feed him with sufficient food. According to my father Sai Baba and Nanavali was like a pair of Lord Ram and his ardent devotee Lord Hanuman. Nanavali once commanded Baba to allow him to sit on his seat. Baba responded positively to his call and got up from his seat and allowed Nanavali to occupy the same. Nanavali sat for a while on the seat and then got up saying, “Oh Lord only you can occupy this seat because it suits you, my right place is near your feet only”. You can all imagine what great guts Nanavali had to ask Baba to allow him to occupy his seat and also the enormous quantum of love that Baba extended to him and vacated his ‘Asan’ (seat) for beloved Nanavali. Of course the reason why my father use to reckon them as an equivalent pair of Lord Ram & Hanuman is different. Once Nanavali told my father “Hey Gawalya come with me and I will show you some fun”. He then took my father to ‘Chavadi’ which is a little distance from Dwarkamai. Baba was sitting there in Chavadi. In no time Nanavali reduced his stature and made himself so small that he could fit in a ‘Handi’ (glass bowls which are tied with small ropes and hung onto the ceiling of the Chavadi) and then literally jumped up and went and sat up in one of the ‘Handis’. Like a monkey he was sitting in the Handi and teasing my father. My father was astonished to see that act. It was unbelievable. It was nothing short of a miracle. How can Nanavali with that state of his body jump so high and make himself small enough to sit in that Handi. It was simply amazing and unbelievable. He then realized that Sai Baba and Nanavali are Avatar of Lord Ram and Lord Hanuman in Shirdi. He instantly prostrated in front of Baba there and then venerated Him.

Dear Sai Devotee readers Nanavali was deep in sorrow after Baba had taken the Samadhi and on the thirteenth day he himself renounced this world. Nanavali’s Samadhi is situated near the eastern entrance door of Lendi Baug. I always bow before it whenever I visit Shirdi. Millions of bows to Lord Sai and his amazing Leelas.

Disappearance of Moreshwar’s Asthama

Moreshwar Pradhan was a close devotee of Sai Baba. He was a judge in Bombay High court. He was suffering from acute Asthama. He used to be a partner of my grandfather whenever they used to play the Bridge (a game of cards). For the cure of his Asthama my grandfather advised him to visit Shirdi and he obliged. On his very first visit to Shridi when he met Sai Baba he was offered to inhale the ‘Chilim’ (a clay pipe that Baba used to smoke) which Baba gave him personally. Moreshwar was rather worried but he inhaled the ‘Chilim’ and it was a miracle. From that moment onwards he never got any attack from Asthama. What a strange way of curing a person of his ailment. Moreshwar thanked my grandfather and from then on became an ardent devotee of Shri Sai Baba. It was a Vijayadashmi day of the year 1918, and late afternoon suddenly Moreshwar got an attack of Asthama. The attack was severe and he had send his servant to Bandra and requested my grandfather to come to Santacruz to his residence. Moreshwar’s servant told my grandfather that his master has suddenly taken ill and requested him to rush for his help. Then my grandfather along with my father left their house. Of course they carried along with them the ‘Udi’, which Baba had given personally to them on their last visit to Shirdi. They saw Moreshwar in utter distress. My grandfather consoled him. He put Baba’s ‘Udi’ in a glass of water and requested Moreshwar to drink the same. Moreshwar obeyed my grandfather as he was reckoning him to be his very close friend. No sooner had he drank the water than the intensity of the attack went on reducing and in a short while he was feeling relieved. Moreshwar asked my grandfather stating that Baba had said that his Asthama has gone forever in which case how come to the revival of the attack? My grandfather advised him not to worry and in the event it happens again he should consume Baba’s Udi as medicine. However Moreshwar was not required to do so anymore. The consumption of Udi had certainly reduced the Asthama attack but there was an altogether different kind of message behind this incident, which they all realized later on. On that very day at about 2 p.m. Sai Baba had taken Samadhi in Shirdi and while doing so he had sent in his typical way wireless messages to all his ardent devotees. Of course my grandfather and father had also received this wireless message which I will narrate to you all in a later chapter.

Eating the Skin of Watermelon

During Baba’s lifetime, some people who visited Shirdi could not get his blessings may be they lacked faith in him or may be they did not have patience. These people were of elite class and whenever they had visited him, looking at his poor lifestyle they used to think how can a “Fakir” like him get rid of their problems. Of course Baba’s ways of handling issues were also very funny and difficult to understand in the very first meeting.

It was summertime. One woman vendor with a basket full of Watermelons came near Dwarkamai. Baba purchased all her Watermelons. He then cut one and made slices and started distributing them to all devotees present over there. They all were enjoying the Watermelon. Baba had not given a slice to my father who was also present over there. At that point in time, one elite gentleman well dressed accompanied by his two servants entered Dwarkamai. He was suffering from severe Diabetes and on the advice of someone, he was visiting Shirdi. Baba did a funny thing he took one slice and separated the skin and the pulp and offered the pulp to my father and the skin to the gentleman. The elite gentleman was rather annoyed and replied that he is not an animal like a cow or a goat to eat the skin. Baba then offered the same to my father and said “Hey Bhau you only eat this now.” When my father had a bite at it, to his surprise it was soft like a Banana and sweeter than the pulp he had already consumed earlier. My father used to say that such sweet Watermelon he had never tasted in his life. The elite gentleman felt insulted and went away from there. He had probably missed his permanent cure for diabetes. My father expired at the age of 70 years and had no trace of diabetes till then. Dear devotees the real medicine was not in the substance but was there in those sacred hands of Baba which use to give that Midas Touch to that substance which then probably was getting converted to nectar. Those devotees who had realized these facts immensely benefited. Of course Baba’s most important teachings were “SHRADDHA” which means faith and “SABURI” which means patience. Those who practice these two Mahamantras will always be successful in life.

Killing of Insects

During Baba’s lifetime devotees visiting Shirdi used to voluntarily take part in executing some duties such as cleaning Dwarkamai, sweeping the road from Dwarkamai to Lend! Baug which Baba used to walk upon daily. These duties were not entrusted to but devotees would perform them as though they are offering their worship to Baba through such social deeds. The resident devotees of Shirdi were regularly performing such duties. My father whenever in Shirdi would undertake the job of cleaning the Petromax Lanterns and lighting them up in the evening and hanging them in assigned places all over Dwarkamai. He would use that opportunity to seek clarification from Baba on any query he would tumble upon. Once he declared to Baba that he would no more light up the Petromax Lanterns because that act of him is making him be a sinner. No sooner than the Lanterns are lit and darkness approaches, lots of insects gather around the lamps and after hovering around for sometime they fall beneath the lamp and die. In the event that he does not light the lamps they would not come there and possibly would not die. My father basically wanted to know why God had created such a phenomenon and Baba’s explanation on that matter. Baba laughed at that query and said “Hey Bhau you are mad. Do you think that these insects will not die if you do not light the lanterns? They would go to the place where there are lamps and light and would die there. This is all Lord’s creation. He had planned their death at the time of their birth itself. In case Lamp or light is not there then other creatures would finish them. These types of deeds do not add to the sins of a human being. Your main intention of lighting the lamp is to remove the darkness from Dwarkamai so that the devotees can perform their worship with ease. You are therefore not indulging in any act of sin. The very fact that the death of insects hurts you in itself is an indication that you have a kind heart. The Lord knows his duties very well and we need not interfere with his work. He has planned our end side by side while putting life into us. You therefore need not worry and continue to perform the work which gives you pleasure. Lord will be kind to you (ALLA BHALA KAREGA)”. So Baba’s teachings were very simple and of a convincing type. Through this incident he administered noble advice to my father and made him aware of a norm created by God.

Fight with Fire

Dear Sai Devotees you must be aware that Baba had saved the life of a potter’s daughter who had accidentally fallen in the baking oven. In doing so his own hands had received severe burn injuries. A leper by name Bhagoji Shinde used to apply the Ghee (purified butter) to the wounds and then bandage the same with pieces of cloth. Baba also use to use his hands as a ladle for stirring hot Dal or mutton curry and these items were given as Prasad (consecrated food) to His devotees. Of course I am sure that the touch of that sacred hand must be inducing a tremendous amount of medicinal properties in those substances. When one ate them as Prasad it must be driving away all acute disease instantly. However I am going to narrate to you all an unprecedented incident over here.

One fine morning my grandfather had a dream. In his dream he saw his Khatau Mills was in flames and as a result his sleep was disturbed. At the dining table when he broached the subject to my father they decided to inform the proprietor of the mills, Mr. Dharamsi Khatau. As a secretary of the Group of mills he advised the proprietor to cover the mills with suitable insurance against fire. In those days the insurance cover was not common as the money spent was reducing the profits and the financial managers {Munimji} were against it. Finally my grandfather succeeded in convincing Mr. Dharamsi and they arranged for revaluation of the entire textile Mill and renewed the insurance cover for enhanced value of the Mill.

Five to six months later one morning they received an S O S call from the mill that there was a fire in the mill and they were summoned immediately. They rushed to the mill forthrightly. On reaching there they saw the weaving department was under fire. They both prayed to Baba and requested for his help to contain the fire and save the mill from being destroyed completely. As they climbed to the second floor where the weaving department was situated, to their utter surprise they saw one “Fakir” with his head tied with a piece of cloth and was in the midst of the fire and waving his both hands trying to contain the fire. My grandfather asked my father, “Is he not our Baba trying to extinguish the fire?” They got confirmation that Baba had responded to their prayers. It took around one more hour and the fire was under control. They all gave a sigh of relief, as the damage was only limited to the weaving department and there was no necessity of shutting down the mill. Also due to the insurance cover the financial losses were compensated. No sooner than the normalcy of operations was reached they both visited Shirdi to convey their thanks to Baba. When they were near the steps of Dwarkamai Baba almost coaxed my grandfather saying “Hey Oldman (MHATARYA), who is operating your mill?” My grandfather prostrated at his feet and told him to continue his unfailing blessings to all of them. He profusely thanked him for fighting the fire. He there & then confirmed to Baba that He is the real secretary. On hearing this Baba got up from his seat, he lifted Babasaheb Tarkhad from the ground and said “Hey Old man, please get up & remember that I stand committed to pull out my devotees from the gravest of the dangers. I will fulfill all commitments given by me from this Dwarkamai to my devotees. No sooner my devotee sends a distress signal to me I am there at his service, whichever part of the world he may be.”

I am sure you all will agree with me that it was an unprecedented incident. Oh Lord Sai I sincerely bow before you and your Leelas.

Washing of Baba’s Kafani

Now as I am proceeding further in my endeavor I strongly feel that my father should have written his diary. This would have given a proper chronological account of the growing intensity of his experiences in association with Baba resulting in his ever-growing love towards Lord Sai. Of course after his first meeting with Lord Sai, he must not have had the faintest of an idea that he had come in contact with a superpower that was going to give a new twist to his life. I think possibly only Shri Narsinha Saraswati was one swami in those times, who had written his own diary which has thrown great light on Baba’s Leelas. These are all afterthoughts now. I for one who had come across few incidences have not kept any date wise account of them. Needless to mention that my experiences are a few compared to the voluminous and extraordinary experiences of my father.

Although the love and devotion of my father towards Baba was in ascending order, Baba had a typical knack for strengthening the bond with his devotee. While in Shirdi my father had learned from the natives that Baba’s bathing was also of a very special type. He not only cleaned and washed his body from outside like all of us but he also cleaned and washed his internal parts. He would take out his intestines and wash them and put them back in his body. My father used to say that, only Lord Rama and Lord Krishna were born with “ASHTASIDDHIS” (eight superpowers) and that is the reason they were called Lord themselves in human form. As per him Baba’s birth details were not known but his Leela’s were equally competent and matched in all respects with the superpower.

On one of his visit to Shirdi, Baba told my father that he would have to, accompany him to his bathing place and will be given a special task. My father was ever willing for such a duty. He anticipated that he would get some more divine exposure, Baba said, “Bhau the assignment is very simple. I will take my bath and while doing so you kindly wash my Kafani. After washing you will have to hold it in the Sunlight with both your hands raised till it dries up. As you know that I take an unusually long time for my bath hence by the time I finish my bath it would dry up and I could wear it again. Please note that it should not touch the ground while it is drying.” My father instantly agreed to perform the task and proceeded to do it practically.

They went to Lendi Baug where there was a covered room with tin sheets and a big rectangular stone on which Baba used to take bath. My father waited outside the bathroom for Baba to offer his Kafani for washing. As there was no call from Baba and the Kafani was not coming forth, he got impatient. He thought it must be one of those gimmicks of Baba. He decided to peep inside the room through the small opening in the door. To his utter disbelief he saw Baba’s body was emanating rays of light from each and every pore of his body. He could not bear the powerful light and feared of loosing his eyesight. Also his misdeed would come to surface. At that very moment he heard Baba giving him the call for collecting the Kafani for washing. My father collected the Kafani, took it near the well and washed it thoroughly with soap. After rinsing the water by squeezing it he held it in both his hands in the blazing hot sunlight. Initially he could bear the weight of it, but as the time passed the Kafani started getting heavier instead of losing the weight due to drying. My father realized that he would now fail the test, as the Kafani would touch the ground soon. He decided to pray and seek the help from Lord Hanuman to grant him sufficient strength to get through the arduous task. As he was offering his prayers to Lord Hanuman, he heard Baba yelling from inside “Hey Bhau! Why are you calling for help from Lord Hanuman?” Undoubtedly Baba was “ANTERDNYANI” (possessing intuitive knowledge) who could read your mind with pinpointed accuracy. Then my father requested Baba for forgiveness as he had committed the sin of trying to look at Baba’s naked body. Baba responded to his confession and in no time my father found the Kafani had become lighter. My father thanked Baba and took a vow not to venture into any such adventures. He had realized that one could not hide anything from Baba.

So great were the teachings of Baba and with your permission could I take the liberty of saying that “Fortunate were those recipients who were blessed with the teachings directly by Baba.”

An Encounter with a Ghost

Dear readers I am fully aware that we are passing through the 21st Century and it is difficult to believe in the existence of a Ghost. I Myself am an engineer and firm believer in science and have been around the world. This experience is that of my father and that too in the holy place like Shirdi Baba’s ‘KARMABHOOMI’, where Baba performed all godly deeds unbelievable to mankind. I will therefore narrate to you the experience as stated by my father and as competently stored in my memory able to recall the same. On one of his visits to Shirdi on a particular day early in the morning, my father was performing his morning duty in Shirdi. This was near the bank of the rivulet and he was sitting under a Pipal tree. It was still dark and there appeared in front of him a wild cock. It was giving its crowing call but the sound of the crowing call was very funny which my father had never heard before. The wild cock attracted the attention of my father towards him. My father started watching him and suddenly the cock turned into a black-colored snake. The snake rose and took an upright position over there and expanded its hood. My father was scared and started praying for Baba’s help. After a little while the snake disappeared from there. My father was scared to death. He decided to hurriedly complete his morning duty and move away from that spot. As he was in that process, he heard someone saying “Hey Mansa (human) you are sitting in my way from where I pass daily. I order you to move away from my way.” In no time a small dwarf-like ugly looking person stood in front of him. My father told him that there is plenty of place around for him to go and as such after finishing his morning duty he would anyway vacate the place. But that dwarf started growing taller and taller and said “Have you not recognized me? I am “VETAL” and this is my territory and I once again order you to move away from here.” Though my father was very scared for him, only Baba could order him in Shirdi as he reckons him to be the Master of the place and nobody else. My father then lifted handful of mud and taking Baba’s name threw it on that tall standing Vetal and prayed to Baba to come to his rescue. He saw a big line of smoke in place of that Vetal which disappeared in the thin air. My father literally ran away from that place. After taking his bath and breakfast he went to Dwarkamai. As he approached Baba’s feet, he heard Baba asking him rather jokingly Hey Bhau early this morning why were you seeking the help of my Udi? My father fell at his feet and told him what had happened. In that process, he told Baba that as he was not having his Udi with him he picked up the mud of Shirdi (Baba’s Karmabhoomi) and treated it like Udi and threw it on the Vetal. On hearing that Baba said “Bhau you did a good job today. You have given Mukti (salvation) to that Vetal.” My father told Baba that he acted upon all the instructions coming to him from his Lord i.e. Baba because at that scary moment he had lost his thinking power. He profusely thanked Baba. With Baba’s permission then he asked him whether these Ghosts Witches etc are true things in this world. Baba replied saying “Bhau this is also the creation of The Lord. But remember the savior is always stronger than the destroyer is. While I am sitting in this sacred Dwarkamai no one can inflict any harm to you. Be fearless in Shirdi.”

Dear Sai Devotees believe me while narrating this to you all I get vibrations all over my body. My humble request to you all is, please believe this. In any case, it was not an imagination of my father, because why should he do so? I am sure my father must be getting queries in his inquisitive mind and Baba would resolve them in his own ways. This must have happened to many of his devotees at that time.

Sai Darshan to Grandma

Dear Sai devotee readers as the saying in Marathi goes during those 17 rounds of Shirdi my father was enriched with multifold experiences and whenever he use to get into that spiritual mood he would narrate those experiences and amuse us. I am sure he must be getting immense pleasure out of it. I once again sincerely wish he should have written them. I am narrating to you those few, which have made lasting impressions on me and of course those, which I am in a position to recollect. My intentions are simply to make known to Sai devotees the great prowess of Shirdi SaiBaba and while doing so make an attempt to express my devotion to him.

My great grandparents, who were staying in their bungalow at Charni Road Chowpaty (Girgaum Beach), had come to know that Ramchandra (my grandfather) and Jyotindra (my father) were frequently visiting Shirdi. As father and son were staying in Bandra in Tata Blocks on a rental basis they would meet them only occasionally. The living style of my great grand parents was in line with the English people of that time. However my great grand mother was very inquisitive person and she would inquire with my father about Shirdi SaiBaba and his Leelas whenever he would visit them at Chowpaty. She would always tell him to take her to Shirdi for Darshan of Lord Sai and my father would always assure her. He was sure that it would not happen, as his grandfather would never allow such a visit. She was seventy-plus in age and the grandfather was a non-believer in Babas or Saints.

It so happened that there was an epidemic Of Plague in Mumbai and the doctors had not found a definite medicine or cure for the dreadful disease till then. My great grand mother (I will address her as grandma from now onwards) was running temperature and the treatment given by her Dr. husband was not yielding any good results. On learning about her illness my father paid a visit to their residence. During the visit grandma told my father that she would not come out of that Plague attack and he should offer prayers to SaiBaba to come to her rescue. She would then visit Shirdi and take his Darshan. On hearing her plea my father advised her that if she has a genuine belief in Lord Sai then she should offer her prayers from her bed and Lord Sai would surely come to her help. My father then put a small packet of Udi (which he always carried in his wallet) under her pillow and after coming home prayed to Lord Sai to offer relief to her. On the third day, early morning the servant from Chaupaty Bunglow came to Bandra and said that he is being summoned to bring Jyotiba (my father) along with him. My grandfather and father were worried and prayed nothing untoward had happened. They immediately rushed to Chaupaty. On reaching there and seeing grandma sitting in the bed they got the jolt of their life. She was in tears and said “Jyotibaba last night your SaiBaba came over here. He was wearing white robe and head tied with white cloth. He was having a white beard. He stood near my bed and laid his Palm laden with Udi on my forehead and said mother now onwards you will start feeling better and better and he disappeared. After that, I started sweating profusely and my fever vanished. Early morning I was feeling normal and I did not brush my teeth and asked the servant to bring a mirror to me. On seeing my face I could clearly see the Sprint of his Udi laden palm on my forehead. I therefore send the servant to summon you and now you can see for yourself.” Grandma’s and Grandson’s joy knew no bounds at that moment. My father instantly thanked Lord Sai for his divine services. Dr.Tarkhad (Grandpa) also was astonished, as many of his Plague infected patients were no more. They arranged for a Kirtan Programme of Dasganu Maharaj in their Bungalow and as such Baba’s Darshan to grandma had already taken place. Lord Sai had fulfilled her desire on his own. Sai I am short of words to express our gratitude to you. Please continue your divine blessings on all of us.

Dear Sai Devotee readers with this self-experience of the Tarkhad family I wish to complete this chapter. Before proceeding further I sincerely request the soul of my father whom we use to call Dada, to earnestly pardon me in case I have faltered anywhere in narrating his valuable experiences and made any mistakes. I am sure the great soul wherever it is, would pardon me because my sole intention of writing this book is exclusively to salute Dada which I could not do during his lifetime and I think it is(better late than never.


© Shri Virendra Tarkhad (Resource available on the internet) – Shared by Shirdi Sai Baba Books.com (Member of SaiYugNetwork.com)

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