– Mrs. Mugdha Divadkar
MADHAVRAO DESHPANDE Alias ‘SHAMA’
(Contd. from March-April 2006)
Once, on Baba’s instructions,
Madhavrao went to Bapusaheb Butti at Nagpur. While there, he went
for the Darshan of Shri Tajuddin Baba towards the
South of Nagpur.
This is an incident after he
returned to Shirdi. It was evening time. A lot of devotees were
sitting around Baba. Baba enquired, ‘‘Ka Shamrao, which are
all the places that you visited ?’’ “Deva, I had gone to
Nagpur.” “You visited Nagpur. Then, did you see the tree of Gold
towards South of Nagpur ?’’ Madhavrao had a keen sense of
observation and a sharp mind. He realized that this must be a
reference to Tajuddin Baba. He promptly said, ‘‘Hoy,
Deva ! I had gone for the Darshan of Tajuddin Baba at
the South of Nagpur in the garden of Raghoji Raje Bhosale.’’ “And
thereafter, which places did you visit ?’’ Baba asked. Madhavrao
said, “Deva, from Nagpur I went to Amravati. There Narayan
Maharaj from Bet Kedgaon had arrived. I took his Darshan
Madhavrao used to tease Baba. So
he added, “Kay Deva, you know, a lot of people go to take
Darshan of Narayan Maharaj” giving stress on “a lot
of people”. He was anxious to know Baba’s reply to this. But, Baba
was equally playful ! Initially, He did not reply at all.
Madhavrao repeatedly started asking the same thing again and
again. Finally, after 5-10 minutes, Baba said to him in a
persuading tone, ‘‘It is like this Shamya. After all one’s father
is his father. He may beat him, thrash him; but, he is the only
one who will feel pity. How anyone else can have that feeling ! I
am your father ! What do you have to do with anyone else ?”
Here, Baba has given a message not
only for Madhavrao but to all His devotees. He says - ‘‘Do not
look at anyone with ‘Dosh -Drushti’ (a view to find
faults). And, never ever try to find blemishes in a Satpurush.
Then our tradition gets stained. Remain devoted only to your
Guru. Have steadfast faith in him. And, in spite of this,
always bend in front of others !’’
Baba has imparted this very
important advice on this occasion. Baba used to repeatedly
say - ‘‘One should lay his devotion before his Ishta Devata.’’
When He wanted to teach a lesson
to a person, He used to ask him to give a body massage. Even,
persons like Tatyaba Patil, Mahadu Phasle, Madhavrao Deshpande,
Annasaheb Chinchanikar, Mavshibai and others are known to have
been asked to do the task for hours together. They used to press
His back and massage His body till their body was covered with
sweat and they had difficulty in breathing. Still Baba did not say
“enough”. Ultimately, they gave up the task on their own.
Madhavrao was an expert at
diagnosing various diseases and knowing properties of various
medicines. He was also very good at ‘Nadi Pariksha’
(diagnosing the ailment by merely feeling the pulse). He had
gained the knowledge on his own and did not learn it from anyone.
He carried a stock of Indian and foreign medicines. He could earn
some money by practicing medicines. He had cured many patients,
where other doctors had given up their efforts. People enquired as
to “How he gained the knowledge.” He replied, “Shri Baba
used to suggest Aushadhi Gutika (medicines). Generally, the
conversation used to take place through me. Thus, I came to know
the medicines which were uttered by my God.”
Further, Madhavrao used to mix
Baba’s Udi in the medicines. Besides, he also used to refer
to books on Ayurveda from time to time. He used medicines
manufactured in the factories of Puranik (Panvel) and Sandu (Chembur).
He also prepared some of the medicines himself.
Madhavrao was very discreet and
diplomatic. Baba did not give him any money. Madhavrao had some
income from a piece of land at village Nimon as well as from his
medical practice. He used this financial income very judiciously
and even managed to undertake expenditure for looking after
certain visitors as per instructions of Baba.
Once, after his bath, Madhavrao
was taking out from a alcove the utensils etc. for Pooja.
Suddenly, a snake - which was sitting in the alcove – bit him. A
few days prior to this event, Baba had warned him, “Shamya, take
care ! Do not put your hand in any nook or corner.” As the snake’s
venom started spreading, Madhavrao panicked. Everyone started
running helter-skelter. People started saying - “Let us take him
to the temple of Viroba.” Madhavrao was getting fits and seizures.
But, even in that condition, he started saying - “Take me at once
to the Masjid and place me before my God there.”
People brought him to the
Mandap. But, on seeing him, Baba started yelling, “I am
warning you not to come up ! At this instant, get down and go
away ! If you do not listen to what I say, I will make you into
pieces like seeds of Mustard.” Hearing these words of Baba,
Madhavrao was aghast. Other folks were also surprised. Madhavrao
started crying. He was unable to understand, why Baba – Who
allowed him to come near at any time of the day – had suddenly
become stone-hearted, when death was hovering around him. No one
understood at that time that Baba was warning not Madhavrao but
the snake venom not to come up, get down and go away !
As instructed by Baba, the folks
brought Madhavrao to his home and did not allow him to lie down
through out that night. By morning, Madhavrao got relief. However,
for two-three months thereafter, his finger – which the snake had
bitten – had turned blue-black. Due to the snake bite, he also
suffered from acidity for sometime. However, his life was saved by
Baba’s utterances – “Don’t come up, get down and go away !”
On some occasions, Madhavrao used
to suffer from ailment of piles. At such times, he was a really
harassed man. For relief, he used to take fomentation of a brick.
He never used any medicines on himself without asking the
permission of Baba.
Once, he was suffering from an
attack of piles. Baba said to him - “We will do the treatment in
the afternoon.” Accordingly, Baba prepared a concoction of an
Ayurvedic herb called ‘Sonamukhi’ and gave some of it to
Madhavrao. He immediately got relief.
Two years thereafter, Madhavrao
once again had an attack of piles. He on his own -without
consulting Baba - took some amount from the concoction already
prepared by Baba in the past. However, instead of bringing relief
it aggravated the problem. After a few days, with the blessings of
Baba, Madhavrao started feeling well. He realized that the power
of healing was not in the medicine but in the blessings of his
Once, Madhavrao was at Nagpur with
Shri Butti and the attack of piles reoccurred. Madhavrao
sent a letter to Baba. Baba replied, “Ask him to come to Shirdi !”
He further jokingly added, “I take utmost care of him; but he
likes to roam about; does not like to come here. Send him a letter
and call him here ! He will get well.”
It may be mentioned here that,
Madhavrao did not go anywhere on his own. It was Baba Who sent him
to different places. And, once he was away, Baba became restless
Madhavrao had two large earthen
pots which were full of Udi from Baba’s hands. Madhavrao
had kept the pots very carefully in a corner of an inner room of
his house. After the Mahanirvan of Baba, Madhavrao
distributed some of the Udi on special occasions amongst
the devotees. The women folk from the house were not aware about
the Udi. Once, they set upon the task of cleaning the
house. And, in the process, they moved out the earthen pots with
an intention of throwing them away. At that time, Madhavrao was in
Mumbai. That night he had a dream and heard, “Shamya. Get up ! The
Udi - which you had so carefully kept - will be soon thrown
into garbage dump. Go, Go quickly and keep it properly !” Within
seconds, Madhavrao got up from his sleep and rushed to Shirdi. He
realized that his dream was true. He took the pots into his
custody and moved them to the upper floor of the house.
3-4 years prior to his death,
Madhavrao suffered from gout. At that time, his age was more than
75 years. At the request of Kakasaheb Dixit, he was staying at
that time on the upper floor of Dixit Wada. From there, he
was unable to come down everyday. He had lost considerable
strength. In spite of this, he used to speak and incessantly
narrate experiences of Baba.
Madhavrao used to be overwhelmed
with emotions while remembering and narrating stories of Baba. “I
said a lot to my God” saying so, he used to repent his
utterances. Remembering the forgiving nature of Baba, his eyes
weeled with tears and he called, “Oh my Lord !”
Baba went to Madhavrao’s house
especially on two occasions – firstly, when Madhavrao was bitten
by a scorpion and secondly, when he was running a very high fever.
On not seeing Madhavrao in the Masjid, Baba enquired with the
devotees, “Why Shamya has not come for the Aarati ?” The
folks said, “Baba, he has fever.” Baba took hold of his worn
Kafni, went to his house and brought him for the Aarati.
Madhavrao stayed in Kakasaheb’s
Wada and also looked after the maintenance of the Wada.
Kakasaheb was affectionate towards Madhavrao and made him stay in
his Wada. On the other hand, he let out Madhavrao’s own
house on rent and thus, helped in improving his means of living
and finances. After the death of Kakasaheb, Madhavrao used to
issue his rent receipts in the name of the Sansthan.
Even Bapusaheb Butti entrusted the
work of maintenance and supervision of his Wada to
Madhavrao. For this work, Bapusaheb gave Rs. 7 every month to
Madhavrao. After the death of Bapusaheb, his son Keshavrao
continued the practice.
A few months prior to his death,
for some specific reason, Madhavrao was required to leave Dixit
Wada and stay at his own house. It was a miracle that 6-7
months before he passed away, Madhavrao’s health improved suddenly
and he started moving about. He repeatedly said - “My God has once
again started looking at me.”
Balasaheb Deo writes about
Madhavrao’s death :-
“Kakasaheb Dixit, Bhausaheb Dhumal,
Annasaheb Dabholkar were virtuous devotees who did not experience
sufferings before their demise. Madhavrao was similarly fortunate.
He spent only a night and time up to noon in an unconscious state.
He passed away in his own house on Thursday, 26th April,
1940 (Chaitra, Krishna Chaturthi, Shake 1862). At that
time, he was 80 years old. Very rarely, a person is fortunate
enough to have such a peaceful death. This is not possible without
the good deeds of the past.
The next day, Madhavrao’s funeral
procession was taken out with great fan-fare. A lot of people were
present. They gave him Tilanjali on the public well of the
After Baba took Samadhi,
Madhavrao spent the next 23 years in practicing medicines, looking
after the devotees and narrating Baba’s Leelas to curious
devotees. It would be proper to say that – besides Mhalsapati and
Tatya Patil – Madhavrao was the only other person who had the
great fortune to spend so much time in the company of Baba.
There were persons who were ardent
devotees of Baba. However, amongst them, the love and affection
between Baba and Madhavrao was somewhat unique. Balasaheb Deo – an
ardent devotee of Baba – was curious about this relationship
between Baba and Madhavrao. He carried out an in-depth research on
Shri Sai Sat Charita to ascertain the reasons, why Madhavrao was
so close to Baba, why he was so fortunate to have such
Bhakti-vaibhav (wealth of devotion) and why Baba used to agree
to many things which Madhavrao asked.
For the purpose, Balasaheb also
studied the life of Madhavrao. On 2nd April,
1934 Madhavrao placed two chits before Baba’s Samadhi and
took Baba’s permission before narrating his life story to
From the very early times, Baba
used to call Madhavrao as ‘Shama’ and Masjid as ‘Dwarkamai’.
Balasaheb felt that there was a reason behind this. After careful
study, Balasaheb came to conclusion that there were similarities
between the relation of Lord Shri Krishna with Arjun on one hand
and Baba and Madhavrao on the other hand.
A reference to 37th Shloka
in 10th Adhyay
of Bhagwad Geeta reveals that Bhagwant had given his own
name ‘Shri Krishna’ to His devotee ‘Arjun’. Similarly, Baba had
given the name Sham to Madhavrao and indicated that Sham is His
At the time of wedding of
Nanasaheb Chandorkar’s son and also at the time of thread ceremony
of Kakasaheb Dixit’s son, Baba told Nanasaheb and Kakasaheb, “Take
my Shamya with you !”
Once, Kakasaheb was overwhelmed
with emotions and said, “Baba, let me have Your Sahawas for
ever.” Baba replied, “Keep this Shamya with you ! That will mean I
am with you.”
Similarly, Madhavrao used to call Baba by the name ‘Deva’.
In Bhagwad Geeta, Arjun has also called Lord Shri Krishna as
‘Deva’ on several occasions.
Once, in an angry mood,
Madhavrao said, “It is we who made you God. You give money and
wealth to others; but are very miserly as far as I am concerned.”
Baba smiled indulgently at him and said with affection, “Are
Shamya, the wealth of money is not for you. What is for you is
very much different than that.” Madhavrao understood the
significance of this and remained quite about the matter.
Arjun had once felt that the Lord is talking irrelevant things and
had got angry with Him. Similar incident took place in Madhavrao’s
Once, Madhavrao’s eyes were
swollen and were paining. Even after trying out several medicines,
there was no relief. Ultimately, in a foul mood, he rushed to Baba
and said, “Are you blind ? Can’t you see that I am suffering ?”
Baba smiled and relied, “Don’t get wild. Take seven seeds of
Pepper, soak them in water and apply the water to your eyes. And
take some Udi also.” Though Madhavrao knew that such water
may bring stinging sensation to his eyes, he had full faith in
Baba. He went ahead, tried the home remedy and received
There is another incident
concerning the wife of Sakharam Aurangabadkar – a resident of
Solapur. Madhavrao had forced Baba to gift a coconut to her and
warned Him to bless her with a child or “else I will bang the same
coconut on Your head !” The lady really had a child within a year.
At the time of noon
Aarati, Madhavrao would scold Baba to “to sit and distribute
Prasad.” Baba also followed Madhavrao’s orders without a
Once, while chitchatting
with Madhavrao, Baba took out some money from the pocket of His
Kafni and shoved it under the gunnysack, on which He was
sitting. Just then, a man came to Him and started asking for
money. Baba told him that He had no money and the man went away.
When Madhavrao questioned this behaviour, Baba said, “This was not
lying in true sense. You to give only when the person deserves
Once, a Ramdasi came to
Baba. Everyday he read various religious books; but he was not
able to overcome his ego. One day, Baba suddenly started pain in
stomach. He told the Ramdasi to bring Sonamukhi – a medicinal
herb. While he was gone, Baba took out Vishnu Sahasra Nam Pothi
from the Ramdasi’s bag and gave it to Madhavrao. On his return,
the Ramdasi saw the book in Madhavrao’s hand and became furious.
Baba told him, “You wear saffron clothes and still behave like
Arjun had requested Lord Shri Krishna to give him Vishwaroop
Darshan. Similarly, on Madhavrao’s insistence, Baba told him
to close his eyes and blessed him with the view of Satya Lok,
Vaikuntha Lok and Kailas Lok !
From the above
incidents, one would realize, how apt was the comparison made by
Balasaheb Deo between Arjun and Lord Shri Krishna and Madhavrao
– Translated from original Marathi
into English by Sudhir
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