Baba’s Dearest Devotee – DAMUANNA & NANASAHEB RASANE – ANNASAHEB GADGIL – BALAJI PATIL NEVASKAR – Part 2
‘‘I will carry your burden forever!’’
Baba had told Damuanna the names that were to be given to the first two sons and Damuanna had noted them down in his diary. One year passed thereafter and Damuanna’s first son was born. When the boy was an infant, Damuanna took him to Shirdi and placed him at Baba’s feet. He enquired, “Baba, what name shall I give him ?” Baba retorted, “Damya, did you forget, what I had told you in such a short time ? You have noted down the name on the third page of your diary. Have I not told you to name him ‘Daulatsha’ ? As instructed by Baba, Damuanna named him as ‘Daulatsha’ (Dattatray Damodar alias Nanasaheb Rasane).
After a few years thereafter, the second son ‘Tanashah’ was born.
When Daulatshah became five year old, Damusheth took him to Shirdi for Chaul Karma. Baba held the boy’s hand in His own hand and taught him to write the word ‘Hari’.
Baba also gave guidance at the time of marriage of Daulatshah alias Nanasaheb Rasane. For this boy from a rich family, several proposals were coming from well-off families. One of the proposal was from his own maternal uncle who was offering a dowry of Rs. 2-3,000. There was also a proposal from a poor family from Pandharpur. Due to financial condition, the family could offer no dowry.
Damusheth took a bunch of horoscopes to Shirdi and along with Madhavrao went to see Baba. Madhavrao showed the horoscopes to Baba and enquired, “Which proposal should they accept ?” Baba held the papers in his hands and selected the one belonging to the girl from poor family. Accordingly, Damusheth went with the alliance of his son with that girl.
The marriage was held in Pandharpur. Damusheth also invited Baba for the marriage. Baba assured him – “I am always near you. Don’t be afraid. Whenever you think of me, that every time I will be with you. Don’t forget this.” As Damushet repeatedly invited Him, Baba said, “Without Allah’s permission, I cannot do anything. I will send Shama on my behalf.”
Madhavrao alias Shama attended the marriage at Pandharpur.
The people criticized Damusheth for foregoing such large sum of dowry and having alliance with a poor family. However, without getting attracted towards any monetary matters, Damuanna followed Baba’s instructions to the last word. Daulatshah’s family life with his wife began on the path of happiness.
Inner Kowledgeable Baba
A Mumbai Broker and a friend of Damusheth once recommended a deal to him. He said, “If you purchase cotton now for Rs. 50-60,000, after some time it will fetch you at least Rs. 1 Lakh. However, you must not delay the matter.”
Damusheth did not do anything without taking Baba’s advice. On this occasion also he wrote a letter requesting Madhavrao to seek Baba’s permission for the deal. But, Baba said, ‘‘Has he gone mad ? He thinks that with such a purchase he will reach the sky. But, tell him, not to run after Lakhs. And, what is he lacking at home that he is getting involved in such unnecessary matters ?”
Damusheth was little dejected on receiving such an answer from Baba. He decided to go to Shirdi and himself put the question to Baba. It was his practice to press Baba’s legs after going to Shirdi. While pressing Baba’s legs, an idea entered his mind – why not offer part of the profit to Baba. But, before he could utter a word, Baba retorted, “Damya, I do not want to get involved in any transactions.” Then Damusheth gave up the idea altogether.
On another occasion, he asked Baba’s permission about trading in food provisions. Baba said, “The market rates will collapse and purchase prices will be higher than the selling prices.” Damuanna told this to his business friends. They said, “Actually, the present situation is exactly opposite.”
However, during that season the rains were very good and the crop was abundant. The result was – the prices came crashing down and the hoarders lost a lot of money.
Damusheth himself narrated these stories about his business to Narsinha Swamy.
Once, Damusheth’s appeal was being heard in Mumbai High Court. The lawyer wanted him to come to Mumbai. Damusheth went to Shirdi to seek permission from Baba. However, Baba did not allow him to go to Mumbai. Not only that, He made him stay with Him. Here in Mumbai, Damusheth won the case.
When Damusheth first went to Shirdi, it was Balaji Patil of village Nevasa who used to sweep the Masjid, lit the lamps and do other such work. Damusheth obtained permission of Baba and started participating the chores.
While Baba was Dehdhari, Damuanna took his advice in person and after His Samadhi Damuanna put chits of paper with “yes” – “no” options before Baba’s photo and picked one of them treating it as Baba’s advice.
Supreme Guru – Shri Sai Baba
In the year 1926, Damusheth’s senior son – Dattatray alias Nanasaheb went to Kedgaon to avail the Darshan of Shri Narayan Maharaj. The moment Maharaj spotted him, he said, “Your Guru is Param Guru. He is several levels above me. Why did you come here ? Your fate is safe in the hands of Baba. You have chosen rightly. You go to Him and yours shall be accomplished.”
‘‘I will only fulfil wishes of my devotees !’’
Nanasaheb was childless for a long time. Earlier he lost three children due to epilepsy. His wife, therefore, tried to persuade him to get married for a second time. He was depressed and sad. He lost interest in family matters.
In such a frame of mind, once sat in front of Baba’s Samadhi in Shirdi and began pleading – “Baba, bless me either with a child or show me the path to Atma Kalyan.” While appealing thus, his eyes welled with tears. Just then he heard a faint voice from theSamadhi – “Santati Ho Jayegi (You shall be blessed with a child) !” Nanasaheb’s joy did not know any bounds. He prostrated before the Samadhi. He was amazed and ecstatic – not because he was going to be blessed with a child but with realization that his Sadguru responded to his prayers. In 1928, he bore a son.
As Nanasaheb had only one son, his father Damusheth prayed in front of the Samadhi and Nanasaheb was blessed with a second son in 1931.
Damuanna said, “I incessantly think of Baba. He sometimes gives me Darshan, sometimes even abuses me and on occasions even thrashes me. It is said that devotees of Akkalkot Swami benefited from abuses and beatings sometimes showered upon them. So is the case of Baba. Therefore, I was never hurt with his bad words or thrashings. Nor did my devotion and affection get any less.”
A theft was committed at the Ahmednagar house of Damuanna. The startling fact was it was committed by a person who served in the home for as many as 33 years. With the help of keys, he opened the cupboard and took away the box containing family ornaments. It included a very old nose-ring which is priceless for a married lady. The loss of the nose-ring hurt everyone more than anything else.
After the name of the thief was revealed, Damuanna was very much disheartened. He was unable to understand the reasons which tempted the servant to commit such a deed. In turn, the man was threatened with dire consequences and offered various enticements, but to no avail. He did not disclose anything. A police enquiry commenced. But, in his heart Damuanna repeatedly felt that the matter should not be dragged to court.
Ultimately, he sat in front of Baba’s photo and began praying. He placed the matter before Baba. Baba was his ultimate court. The very next day, the servant produced the stolen box of ornaments – intact with all its contents – before Damusheth and sought forgiveness.
Clearance of doubts
This is an event which took place sometime in 1910-11. Once, as usual, Damusheth was sitting at the feet of Baba. There, two questions going around in his mind. One was – “So many devotees come every day to Baba. Do they all benefit from coming here ?” The moment the question was formed, Baba replied, “See ! You must have observed the Mohor that a mango tree gets ? But, some of it gets drained before conversion into fruit. Even all fruits do not reach the stage of ripening. Ultimately, only mangoes become ripe.”
The second question was, “What will happen to me, when Baba is no more ?” Baba immediately replied, ‘‘Damya, whenever and wherever you think of me, I will be always there with you.”
Before his demise, Damusheth called his sons near him and earnestly told them, “From time to time my Baba has given me money – totaling now to Rs 31. Take care of them even more than your life. These are not simple Rupee coins – they are Saakshaat Kamdhenu. Make sure that nothing is left wanting in your service to Shri Sai Baba.”
Damusheth breathed his last at the ripe old age of 89 on 20th January 1941. His successive generations hold only Baba in esteem as their Param Aaradhya Daivat. The young and old from their household, even today follow Sai Baba’s teachings. As directed by Damuanna, the senior son – Nanasaheb – gave more importance to serving Sai Baba than looking after his own family. Baba also helped him in his Parmarthik progress. He spent major portion of his life in propagating the teachings of Shri Sai Baba. He was a trustee of Shirdi Sai Sansthan.