Santaram Balwant Nachne Dahanukar


Thana, 13th September, 1936

I have given parts of my experience already to Sai Lila Masik (vide Vol.1 (xii) 94). But as there was the feeling that it was a publication to all and sundry, I had expressed myself with considerable reserve and did not mention many features especially those that ordinary people would not credit. Now, I will try to recall, in spite of the long time that has lapsed, as much as I can give you a fuller account and include in it my later experiences, i.e., those which I have had after the above mentioned publication (in 1923).

In 1909, some events took place which at that time seemed to be little connected with Sai Baba. In that year, one day my elder brother was undergoing an operation very near his throat in Bajekar's Hospital at Bombay; and we were all anxious about it. I was at Dahanu then and a Sadhu approached and asked me if he could get a crumb or two of bread. We invited him inside and gave him a regular course of dishes, i.e., a full meal. My sister-in-law was serving him all dishes; but she intentionally omitted at first to give him "Bendi Baji" i.e., a dish made of lady's fingers, thinking that it was too poor a stuff to be given to a revered and saintly guest.    But the Sadhu himself called for Bendi Baji; and it was then served.   That Sadhu blessed us all and told us that the operation at the hospital that day had been safely performed.   The same day my friend, Haribhav Moreswar Panse told me that he hoped that the operation by the grace of Sri Sai Baba would be a success.   That was the first mention of Sai Baba to me.    I had not then known of him.    Evidently Panse had. Later in the evening, we learnt from my father who returned from the hospital that the operation had been performed and that there was no trouble or danger.  After the operation a Sadhu had appeared there and approaching the patient passed his hands over the operated part of the body, and said all would go on well.   The operation proved quite safe and my brother recovered.

The same year, my father attended Das Ganu's Kirtan, wherein Sai Baba was described as a veritable Avatar of Datta, as a remarkable person with wonderful powers and wonderful kindness.   We got a picture of Sai Baba and worshipped it with Udbatti (lighting scented sticks) at home.   In 1912 was my first visit to Shirdi. I had appeared for my Revenue Subordinates Examination and before the results were announced, I went to Shirdi along with two friends, Sankar Balakrishna Vaidya and Achyuta Date. On the way, we alighted at Kopergaon station. There the Station Master learning of our intended visit to Sai Baba, aired his views rather freely and said that undue honor was being lavished upon and people were being gulled by one who was a mere  hypnotist, like so many of these wandering jugglers and thaumaturgists all over the country. This rude fusillade at Sai Baba unsettled my mind about him and I was beginning to doubt if, after all, it was a real saint we were taking so much trouble to visit. We reached Shirdi anyhow and saw Sai Baba returning from the Lendi. He must have evidently noticed my condition. He looked at me, and at once, without having any information given to him as to who I was, etc., said "What? Have you come away without taking leave from the Mamlatdar?” I said "Yes".    Baba advised me and said "Do not behave like this". This removed all the doubts that the Station Master's thoughtless remarks had raised in my mind. I felt I was before a saint who knew everything that happened in places far away from him. We stayed three days at Shirdi on this occasion. Each day Baba's kindness and powers were manifested with greater frequency and force and the result was perfect assurance and confidence. I became a firm believer in and worshipper of Baba thenceforward.