”He is the God I was searching “ Vaman Rao Patil
In the year 1904, Vamanrao Patil, all of 15 years lived in Matung with his father. At that time Prakashanandji Maharaj was hosted by one of his devotees. Vamanrao and his younger brother Vaikunthrao used to press Maharaj’s legs and body.
Maharaj used to tease them and said, “Red horse is of Vamanya and white horse is of Vaikunthrao” meaning for sometime Vamanya would require some support of his younger brother.
When Vamanrao was studying law, he used to cram the Gita Path, Panchikaran but still he was confused about existence of God. These thoughts always formed tangles in his mind. Thus all his knowledge was outer show, but he was unable to go deeper into it.
Akkalkot Swamji Maharaj was known as the fourth incarnation of Lord Dattatreya. He took Samadhi in the year 1878. After him a saint named Balkrishna Maharaj stepped in his position and Vamanrao’s father Prangovinddas used to go to him off and on.
In the month of December 16, 1910, on Datt Jayanti, Vamanrao went to Balkrishna Maharaj with his father. Balkrishna Maharaj gifted him a biography of Akkalkot Maharaj and Eknath Bhagwat in Marathi Language.
Vamanrao said to Balkrishna Maharaj, “I will accept only a saint as my Guru, who will make me see God face to face”. After reading life instances of Akkalkot Maharaj, Vamanrao was deeply touched and was assured that saints who can help him to meet God are still present on this earth.
Meanwhile a relative of Vamanrao’s father Sakarlal Keshavlal Bhatt met with major accident. He was badly injured in his leg. A vain of his left leg’s knee was damaged and every treatment caused unproductive result. Thus he could not walk properly. When all the ways seemed to unsuccessful, he thought that his injury could only be cured by true saint’s blessing only, otherwise he would die with his lame leg. He started his search for a true saint.
Deputy collector of Kheda District Shri Hari Vinayak Sathe, who was a staunch devotee of Baba, came in contact with Prangovinddas. He told many stories and described many Leelas of Baba to Prangovinddas. Prangovinddas was highly impressed and he requested an introductory letter from Hari Vinayak Sathe. Everything was narrated to Sakarlal and they both left for Shirdi in the month of May in the year 1911.
Hari Vinayak wrote an introductory letter to Shri Balabhau Chandorkar who used to run a small hotel in Shirdi. At that time Vamanrao’s father’s teeth were removed surgically. The gums were weak and he was not able to eat chapatti or any such hard substances. He ate Shira at home, but in Shirdi who will help him and how can he trouble someone unknown to him, were his thoughts.
The responsibility of arrangement of meals for Shirdi pilgrims was entrusted to Bapusaheb Jog by Baba. Though Balabhau’s hotel was providing good meals, Baba used to give some money out of his daily Dakshina to Dada Kelkar to feed visitors of Shirdi.
After the noon arti, devotees went for lunch at Dada Kelkar’s place. Prangovinddas was served with chapattis. He was in a fix and thought, “How will I eat these chapattis. When I was at home I ate Shira, but now there is no other alternative in Shirdi.” He was thinking thus and a man came running from Dwarkamai and said, “Baba has asked for a potful of Shira. Tell all the devotees not to commence eating their meals, and nobody should leave without eating Shira. So please wait till Shira is served”.
Prangovinddas was surprised and came to know that Baba is a unique saint. He was impressed by the ability of Baba to know inner feelings of all His devotees. Thus Prangovinddas experienced Baba’s divine powers in his first trip to Shirdi, but Sakarlal had no such experience till they left Shirdi after next two days.
Sai Baba was tested by Vamanrao by offering an apple to Baba’s photo and it was partaken by Baba lovingly by eating all the pulp and only skin of the apple remained intact. In this way Baba assured Vamanrao regarding His presence and all-pervasiveness.
In the year 1911, in the last week of November, Vamanrao Patel’s LLB examination got over and as per his vow he decided to go to Shirdi. Nanasaheb Chandorkar was in Mumbai at that time. So he wrote an introductory note to his son-in-law Shri Balabhau who had a small hotel in Shirdi. Vamanrao’s father Prangovinddas was very much aware of his son’s nature. He knew that because his son was studying law he always had pros and cons in his mind. No lawyer will trust anything without seeing it by his own eyes. Moreover Vamanrao always said that, “I will not accept this truth there is God in this world, unless I see God face to face”.
Prangovinddas said to Vamanrao, “O Son! Look at the stars in the sky, sun and moon arise and sets at correct time, they give light and due to this light, human beings and other lives get life. All this is done by supreme and nothing is in our hands”. This did not affect Vamanrao’s thinking a jot, instead he argued saying, “All this works as scheduled, then where is God in all this?” Vamanrao’s such firm thoughts were not concealed to his father Prangovinddas and thus before going to Shirdi he thought to give his son some advice on Baba’s nature and mode of showering blessings on His devotees. He said, “Look Vamanya, Saibaba is very queer fellow. Do not argue in front of Him, instead try to search the deep meaning from the words which fall in your ears. Accept with gratitude anything whether good or bad, whether given with love or with anger, given by Baba. Any gift received from such saints is for our welfare only.”
Carefully listening to his father’s advice, Vamanrao took the introductory letter in the name of Balabhau and proceeded to Shirdi on December 10, 1911 from Boribandar by train. He reached Kopergaon by boarding another train from Manmad. He took bath in Holy River Godavari and hired Marwadi’s tonga till Shirdi.
As soon as they reached Shirdi, a small crowd was seen with cries “Victory Be Unto Sai”. Marwadi Tongawala stopped the tonga and said, “The Person Who is walking in between the crowd is Sai Baba! He is going to Lendi Baug by walk.” Saying this, the tongawala alighted from tonga and prostrated to Sai Baba. Vamanrao also followed this.
On seeing Vamanrao Baba said, “Ishwar Aahe Kaay Mhnun, Naahi Mhanto, nigh… meaning being a human being you doubt the existence of Almighty, Go away from here?”
Vamanrao thought, “He is the God I was searching”. He was reminded of his father’s experience how Baba arranged for Shira at the last moment of meals and took care of his comfort. As Vamanrao had introductory letter from Nanasaheb Chandorkar, Balabhau arranged for Vamanrao’s lodging in Dixit Wada and took him for Baba’s darshan. The thirst of Baba’s darshan did not decrease a jot in Vamanrao’s heart and so he again went to Dwarkamai with Marwadi pilgrimage. But Baba adopted an angry form and did not allow them to step into Dwarkamai. As they both were scared they did not dare to go for Noon Arti. They sat in Radhakrishnamai’s home and took darshan of Baba from there only during Arti. After lunch Vamanrao went to the Dwarkamai with Shri Shingane, Judge of High Court. Baba gave prasad of grapes sent by Radhakrishnamai to Vamanrao.
Meanwhile a devotee put forward a question before Baba, “Baba, bubos due to plague was seen on your body, do they pain now?” Baba answered, “Bhau (brother), what is the treatment?! The bubos will disappear as they appeared. I took this disease on me. Only total of seven people from the whole village will die due to plague, not more than that.”
Baba sat on his seat and rested His Hand on the bolster and Vamanrao sat on a raised stone adjacent to the bolster. After a few minutes a crowd headed towards Dwarkamai. All the people requested Baba to take care of them and safeguard them from plague.
Source: Translated from Gujarati Book “Sai Sarovar