Finding Inspiration in Every Turn
Shri Tembye Swami
And Balaram Dhurandhar
Om Shri Sai Nathay Namah
Chapter 50 of the original Satcharitra has been incorporated in Chapter 39, as it dealt with the same subject matter. Now, Chapter 51 of the Satcharitra has been treated here as Chapter 50. This Chapter gives the stories of Kakasaheb Dixit, Shri Tembye Swami and Balaram Dhurandhar.
Victory be unto Sai who is the sole refuge of his devotees and our Sadguru who expounds the meaning of the Gita and gives us all powers. Oh Sai, look down favorably upon us and bless us all.
Sandal-wood trees grow on the Malaya Mountains and ward off heat; Clouds pour their rain-water and thereby cool and refresh everyone; Flowers blossom in the spring and enable us to offer them to God. Similarly, the stories of Sai Baba give solace and comfort to the readers. Both those who tell these stories and those who hear the stories of Baba, are blessed and holy.
It is a well-established spiritual fact that even though one may try hundreds of means, we do not attain the spiritual goal of life unless a Sadguru blesses us with his grace. Hear the following story in illustration of this statement.
Kakasaheb Dixit (1864-1926)
Mr. Hari Sitaram, alias Kakasaheb Dixit, was born in 1864 into a Brahmin family at Khandwa. His primary education was completed at Khandwa and his secondary education at Nagpur. He came to Bombay for his higher education and studied first in Wilson College and then in Elphinstone College. After graduation in 1883, he passed his LL.B. and the solicitor’s examination, and then worked in the firm of the Government Solicitors, Messrs Little and Co. Then after sometime, he started a solicitors’ firm of his own.
Before 1909, Kakasaheb did not know about Baba. But soon he became a great devotee. While he was living at Lonavala, he happened to meet his old friend, Mr. Nanasaheb Chandorkar. Both spent some time talking about many things. Kakasaheb described how, when he was boarding a train in London, he met with an accident in which his foot slipped and was injured. Hundreds of remedies had given him no relief. Nanasaheb then told him that if he wished to get rid of the pain and lameness of his leg, he should go to his Sadguru−Sai Baba. He also gave a detailed description of Sai Baba and mentioned to him Sai Baba’s dictum, “I draw to Me, My people, from even across the seven seas, like a sparrow with a string fastened to its feet.” He also made it clear to him that if he was not Baba’s man, he would not be attracted to Him and would not be given darshan. Kakasaheb was pleased to hear all this and said that he would go to Baba, see Him and pray to Him to cure not so much his lame leg, but to bring around his lame, fickle mind and give him eternal Bliss.
Sometime after this, Kakasaheb went to Ahmednagar and stayed with Sirdar Kakasaheb Mirikar, in connection with securing votes for a seat in the Bombay Legislative Council. Mr. Balasaheb Mirikar, Kakasaheb Mirikar’s son, who was a Mamalatdar at Kopergaon, was also in Ahmendnagar for a horse exhibition. After the election business was over, Kakasaheb Dixit wanted to go to Shirdi and the Mirikars were also thinking about a fit and proper guide with whom he should be sent there. Sai Baba was, at the same time, arranging things for his reception. Shama got a telegram from his father-in-law at Ahmednagar, stating that his mother-in-law was seriously ill and that he should come to see her with his wife. Shama, with Baba’s permission, went there and saw his mother-in-law and found her improving and better. Nanasaheb Panshe and Appasaheb Gadre happened to meet Shama on their way to the horse exhibition. Kakasaheb Dixit and the Mirikars were also informed of Shama’s arrival. In the evening, Shama visited the Mirikars, who introduced him to Kakasaheb. They arranged that Shama should leave for Kopergaon with Kakasaheb by the 10 O’clock night train. After this was settled, a curious thing happened; Balasaheb Mirikar removed the cover on Baba’s big portrait and showed it to Kakasaheb. Kakasaheb was surprised to see that he, Whom he was going to meet at Shirdi, was already there in the form of his portrait to greet him. He was greatly moved and prostrated before the portrait. This portrait belonged to Megha; The glass over it had been broken and it was sent to the Mirikars for repair. The necessary repairs had already been made and it was decided to return the portrait with Kakasaheb and Shama.
Before ten O’clock, they went to the station and booked their passage. But when the train arrived, they found that the second class was overcrowded and that there was no room for them. Fortunately, the guard of the train turned out to be an acquaintance of Kakasaheb’s and he put them up in the first class. Thus, they traveled comfortably and alighted at Kopergaon. Their joy knew no bounds when they met there, Nanasaheb Chandorkar, who was also bound for Shirdi. Kakasaheb and Nanasaheb embraced each other and then after bathing in the sacred Godavari River, they started for Shirdi. After arriving there and receiving Baba’s darshan, Kakasaheb’s mind was melted, his eyes were full of tears and he was overflowing with joy. Baba said that he had been waiting for Kakasaheb and had sent Shama to receive him.
Kakasaheb then passed many happy years in Baba’s company. He built a Wada(mansion) in Shirdi which later became his permanent home. The experiences he received from Baba were so profound that it is not possible to relate them all here. The readers are advised to read a special (Kakasaheb Dixit) edition of the Shri Sai Leela magazine. We close this account with the mention of a fact; Baba had comforted him by saying that in the end, “He would take him in a Viman (Air-Coach)”(secure him a happy death). This turned out true. On the 5th of July 1926, he was travelling on a train and talking about Sai Baba. He seemed deeply engrossed in Sai Baba. All of a sudden, he leaned his neck on a fellow traveler’s shoulder and breathed his last with no trace of pain or uneasiness.
Shri Tembye Swami
This brings us to the next story, which shows how Saints love each other with fraternal affection. Once, Shri Vasudevanand Saraswati, known as Shri Tembye Swami, was encamped at Rajamahendri (Andhra), on the banks of the Godavari. He was a devout, orthodox Jnani and a Yogi Bhakta of the God Dattatreya. Mr. Pundalikrao, a pleader from Nanded (Nizam State), went to meet him with some friends. While they were talking to him, the names of Shirdi and Sai Baba were casually mentioned. Hearing Baba’s name, the Swami bowed with his hands and taking a coconut gave it to Pundalikrao. He then said to Pundalikrao, “Offer this to my brother Sai, with a bow, and request Him not to forget me and always love me.” He also added that Swamis do not generally bow to other Swamis, but in this case an exception had to be made. Mr. Pundalikrao consented to take the fruit and the message to Baba. The Swami was right in calling Baba a brother, for the Swami, like Baba, maintained a sacred fire day and night, in an orthodox fashion.
After a month, Pundalikrao and a few others left for Shirdi with the coconut and reached Manmad. As they felt thirsty, they went to a rivulet to drink water. They then felt that water should not be drunk on an empty stomach and thus they took out some Chivda (flattened rice mixed with spices). The Chivda tasted pungent and in order to soften the taste, someone suggested they break a coconut and mix its scrapings with it. Thus, they made the Chivda more tasty and palatable. Unfortunately, the fruit that was broken was the one that was entrusted to Pundalikrao. As they neared Shirdi, Pundalikrao remembered the promise and was very sorry to learn that it was broken and used. Trembling with fear, he came to Shirdi and saw Baba. Baba had already received a divine message regarding the coconut, from Tembye Swami, and he himself asked Pundalikrao to give him the things sent by his brother.
Pundalikrao held Baba’s feet, confessed his guilt and negligence, repented and asked for Baba’s pardon. He offered to give another fruit as a substitute, but Baba refused to accept it, saying that the value of that coconut was, by far, many times more than an ordinary one and that it could not be replaced by another one. Baba also added, “Now you need not worry yourself any more about the matter. It was on account of my wish that the coconut was entrusted to you and ultimately broken on the way. Why should you take the responsibility for these actions? Do not entertain the sense of doer-ship in doing good or bad deeds. Remain entirely pride-less and ego-less in all things and thus your spiritual progress will be rapid.” What a beautiful spiritual lesson!
Balaram Dhurandhar (1878-1925)
Mr. Balaram Dhurandhar lived in Bombay. He was an advocate in the Bombay High Court and a former Principal of the Government Law School in Bombay. The whole Dhurandhar family was pious and religious. Mr. Balaram served his community and wrote and published an account of it. He then turned his attention to spiritual and religious matters; He studied the Gita and its commentary, the Jnaneshwari, assiduously and also studied other philosophical and metaphysical works. He was a devotee of Vithoba of Pandharpur and came in contact with Sai Baba in 1912. Six months prior to this, his brothers Babulji and Vamanrao came to Shirdi and received Baba’s darshan. They returned home and mentioned their sweet experiences to the other family members. Then the whole family decided to see Sai Baba. Just before they arrived in Shirdi, Baba declared openly, “Today many of the people from my Darbar (royal court) are coming.” The Dhurandhar brothers were later astonished to hear of Baba’s remark from the others, as they had not given any previous intimation of their trip. Everyone prostrated themselves before Baba and sat talking to Him. Baba then said to everyone else, “These are the people whom I referred to before” and said to the Dhurandhar brothers, “We have been acquainted with each other for the past sixty generations.” All the brothers were meek and modest and they stood with joined hands, staring at Baba’s feet; Tears flowed from their eyes and they were overcome with emotion. Then they went to their lodging, had their meals and after resting a little, returned to the Masjid. Balaram sat near Baba, massaging his Legs. Baba, who was smoking a chillim(clay pipe) advanced it towards him and beckoned him to smoke it. Balaram was not accustomed to smoking, yet he accepted the pipe, smoked it with great difficulty and returned it reverentially with a bow. This was a very auspicious moment for Balaram; He had been suffering from Asthma for six years and this smoke completely cured him of the disease. Six years later, on a particular day, he again had an attack of Asthma. This was precisely the time when Baba embarked on his Mahasamadhi.
The day they visited was a Thursday and the Dhurandhar brothers had the good fortune of witnessing the Chavadi procession. Balaram saw the luster of Pandurang (his beloved deity) on Baba’s face during that procession and again the next morning during the Kakad-Arti.
Mr. Balaram Dhurandhar wrote, in Marathi, the life of the Saint Tukaram, but did not survive to see its publication. It was later published by his brothers in 1928. In a short note on Balaram’s life, given in the beginning of the book, the above account of Balaram’s visit has been fully corroborated therein.
Bow to Shri Sai – Peace be to all!