SHRISAILEELA - May-June-2006 

In Sais Proximity

Mrs. Mugdha Divadkar

MADHAVRAO DESHPANDE Alias SHAMA

(Contd. from March-April 2006)

Once, on Babas 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 also.

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 Babas 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 ones 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 Babas 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 snakes 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 Babas utterances Dont 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 God.

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 without him.

Madhavrao had two large earthen pots which were full of Udi from Babas 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 Madhavraos 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 Kakasahebs 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 Madhavraos 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, Madhavraos health improved suddenly and he started moving about. He repeatedly said - My God has once again started looking at me.

Balasaheb Deo writes about Madhavraos 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, Madhavraos 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 town.

After Baba took Samadhi, Madhavrao spent the next 23 years in practicing medicines, looking after the devotees and narrating Babas 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 Babas Samadhi and took Babas permission before narrating his life story to Balasaheb Deo.

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 own Vibhuti.

At the time of wedding of Nanasaheb Chandorkars son and also at the time of thread ceremony of Kakasaheb Dixits 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 Madhavraos life also.

Once, Madhavraos 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 ? Cant you see that I am suffering ? Baba smiled and relied, Dont 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 instantaneous relief.

      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 Madhavraos orders without a whisper.

      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 it.

      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 Ramdasis bag and gave it to Madhavrao. On his return, the Ramdasi saw the book in Madhavraos hand and became furious. Baba told him, You wear saffron clothes and still behave like this ?

      * Arjun had requested Lord Shri Krishna to give him Vishwaroop Darshan. Similarly, on Madhavraos 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 and Baba.

 Translated from original Marathi into English by Sudhir

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