From today I shall be posting all the possible details of the persons /devotees/ who lived with Shirdi Sai Baba in HIS life time and were the intimate companion of Baba .I endeavor to bring this into my blog because these chosen devotees were really blessed as they got the chance to be near Baba and serve him physically ,but appropriate focus is missing on their lives.I will try to bring out their life history and discreet incidences where Baba had direct interaction (shakshaat leela)with these devotees .
I am starting with the very blessed and intimate devotee Mahalsapathy ,who himself called Baba with the name "Sai"for the first time.
During the process of compiling the details if I miss out some details or any typographical error occour .I request all the readers to bring to my notice- discrepancies ,omissions or any missing fact to my personal mail ID email@example.com .(Source to this topic is from various authentic books and article I could gather. ).Jai Sai Ram .
From the time Baba arrived in Shirdi till His Mahanirvan, Mhalsapati was an ardent devotee of Sai Baba. It is very difficult to evaluate his services. He had turned his back on his family life and had devoted his entire life at the Feet of Sai Baba.
His full name was Mhalsapati Chimnaji Nagare. Though particulars about his birth are not known, it is estimated that at the time of his death he was about 85 years old. He was a goldsmith by caste and his several generations had resided at Shirdi. He had a house consisting of about 14-15 rooms and land admeasuring nearly 7-7.5 acres at Shirdi.
His family Deity was Khanderai. Because of this, he was a dedicated follower of Khanderai of village Jejuri in Pune district. At least once every year, he went on a pilgrimage visit to Jejuri temple. Basically, he was disinterested in worldly things. He managed his household expenses by carrying on the business as a goldsmith. However, later on when his business was not doing well, he started supporting his family by collecting alms as advised in a dream vision by the God. After he placed his entire faith in Sai Baba, he totally gave up all the worldly pleasures.
Shri B.V Narasimha Swami ji declared that Mhalsapati was the pioneer of Sai pooja and the Sai movement.
Mhalsapati had four daughters. Their names were – Janakibai, Seetabai, Rakhumabai and Vithabai. Their grooms were respectively from Asnagaon. Dochale, Dorhale and Sei.
Mhalsapati also had two sons. The first son died at an early age. Because of this, Mhalsapati further lost his interest in worldly things. Later on, due to the blessings of Baba, second son was born to Mhalsapati – though against his own wishes.
As suggested by Baba, he was named ‘Martand’.Martand raised his own family of sons and daughters and died recently in 1986.
Three residents of Shirdi - Kashiram Shimpi, Appa Jagale and Mhalsapati were very thick friends. All the three were loving, hospitable and had similar natures. This was the reason for their close friendship. These three collectively took the responsibility of providing food, shelter and other requirements of any saintly or pious persons, who visited Shirdi.
They greeted Gosavi(Great personalities-like Moraya Gosavi who was devoted to Lord Ganesh) with “Namo Narayan”. Bairagi(derived from Sanskrit word vairagaya which means a person who is free from passion and wordly attachments )was welcomed as “Jai Ram” and if the visitor was Fakir, he was received with “Jai Sai”. The guests were always received with utmost respect and affection.
Kashiram Shimpi provided the foodstuff. Appa Jagale gave firewood, utensils etc. Mhalsapati used to massage the tired feet of the visitors.
As is well-known, at the age of sixteen, Baba had suddenly appeared in Shirdi and equally unexpectedly He disappeared. After a lapse of three years, Baba once again came to Shirdi.
This time He came as a member of the marriage procession of the household of Chandbhai from the village Dhoopkhed.The marriage party had halted in Mhalsapati’s farm opposite Lord Khandoba temple.
Then Saibaba separated from the marriage group very near Khandoba temple at the outskirts of Shirdi and sauntered along till the threshold of Khandoba temple. Mahalsapati, who was inside worshipping Khandoba,seeing the radiant young Fakir has come back, Mhalsapati,as per his usual practice, welcomed Him and uttered these word “Aao Sai” and bowed down in front of Him.
( Baba used to call Mahalsapati'Sonarda,'and later on 'Bhagat'i.e.close disciple.)
After completing his Pooja, Mhalsapati partook chillum with Sai and then he took Baba to the Masjid in Shirdi.
He made Him comfortable there and also introduced Baba to his friends - Kashiram Shimpi and Appa Jagale.
Very soon, Kashiram Shimpi and Appa Jagale became ardent devotees of Baba.
As narrated by Mhalsapati, when Sai Baba first came to Shirdi, His attire was saffron Kafani, saffron topi and saffron dhoti. Later on, Kashiram Shimpi stitched a green Kafani and topi for Baba, which He used to wear. After a few days, Baba started wearing white Kafani and tying dhoti around His head. He continued to do so till the end.
The Masjid, where Baba was staying, had become very old and dilapidated. Nana Saheb Chandorkar decided to reconstruct it. One day, after Mhalsapati arrived at the Masjid, Baba called him and asked him, “O Bhagat, who is that person standing outside ?” Mhalsapati replied that “He is Nana Saheb”. Baba said, “Are Bhagat, I wanted to ask you one thing. This Nana, who is standing outside, says that he will reconstruct a new Masjid. What do you think ? Should we get a new Masjid constructed ? Or is our old building good enough ? Why construct a new one ?”
Mhalsapati very affectionately and humorously said to Baba, “Let him construct a new one ! It will be convenient to both of us to sit, as well as sleep”.
This conversation took place between the two while smoking chillum. Baba gave permission to repair the Masjid only after first asking Mhalsapati.
As directed by Baba, Mhalsapati called Nana Saheb, performed the muhurta by breaking a coconut and the work began.
As is well-known, Baba used to sleep on alternate days in Masjid and Chavadi. Since the time Baba went to stay in Masjid, Mhalsapati and Tatya Patil started sleeping with Him there on alternate days, when it was not the day of Chavadi.Only these two had the good fortune to sleep with Baba in the Masjid. In fact, Baba always kept Mhalsapati and Tatya awake !
It was the year 1895. After experiencing Baba’s supernatural powers and his love, Mhalsapathi was fully drawn to Baba and become detached from worldly attachments. One night,Khandoba appeared in his dream and asked, "If you do not do your traditional gold-smith work, cannot you get food?" To this Mhalsapathi replied, "If I have your compassion, then there won’t be anything wanting and I will leave my work." From that day, Mhalsapathi left his traditional work and became an ascetic, living only on alms.
Gradually, he developed a detachment from family. He went home only for taking food. At all other times, he was serving Baba. He slept in the mosque with Baba during nights. In the following year, one day Baba said, "Bhagat,hear the words of this fakir. You are sleeping in the nights in the mosque. Go and sleep in your house. You have three children, all daughters. A son will be born. Go and sleep in your house. "
Mhalsapathi had no desire for having a son. In fact, he had no desires at all. So he did not follow Baba’s orders. Baba forcibly sent him home with his friend Kasiram Shimpe on Krishna Jayanti day. On the same day, the following year exactly after a year, a son was born to him. Baba’s words had come true. The boy was named Marthand
When this boy grew up to the school-going age, he refused to go to school one day. When Mhalsapathi tried to beat him, the boy ran to Dwarakamai and sat in the lap of Baba. Mhalsapathi came there and beating the boy, tried to send him to school. Then Baba told Mhalsapathi with compassion, "Mhalsa, do not worry about your son. I will take good care of him."
Marthand grew up and by the name of Marthand Maharaj used to sit by the side of Mhalsapathi Samadhi in Shirdi. When this author met him in 1985, he narrated the above incident and said that Sai Baba had kept his word feeding him in the form of his devotees. He also said that Baba had told Mhalsapathi about his own parents, their names and birthplace. Because of the differences between Hindus and Muslims in those days, these particulars were kept secret. He added that his father had given him the details but taken an oath from him that he would not reveal them. He expired in 1986
In the secluded atmosphere, Mhalsapati spent several nights in sitting with Baba and chitchatting till it was daybreak time. After the Mahanirvan of Baba, Mhalsapati continued his custom of sitting in the Masjid and sleeping there on alternate days. This continued till he breathed his last.
The relation between Baba and Mhalsapati was really strange, as well as intriguing! It seems that, because of this, their extraordinary conversations took place in isolated surroundings. The discussions used to become more and more interesting while enjoying chillum.
Baba was fond of smoking chillum. He was not used to finishing entire chillum. Mhalsapati, Tatyaba and Madhavrao Deshpande alias Shyama used to take 2-4 drags and pass it on turn by turn amongst the other people present at that time.
Late Kashibai Kanitkar has narrated her 1906’s experience in the regard, which is worth reproducing here. She says.....
“On alternate days, Baba used to come to Chavadi for sleeping. On that particular day, as per His custom, Baba and Mhalsapati came to Chavadi. They sat in the darkened area at the entrance of the Chavadi. My husband Late Govindrao Kanitkar also went and sat there. They were having a pleasant chat. While carrying on the conversation, Baba lit His chillum and shared it with Mhalsapati. It was also passed on to my husband.
It was difficult to know what they were talking about. But, from time to time, Baba was asking, “Ka Mhalsapati ?” (Isn’t it Mhalsapati ?) And Mhalsapati was repeatedly saying “Beshak, Beshak” (without doubt, without doubt) – repeating the words twice. However, a third person was not able to grasp, what they were talking.
Then, it was time to light the chillum once again and it was noticed that the piece of stone, required for the purpose had been lost somewhere. This was reason enough for Baba to become livid with anger and as if, He took the Avatar of Narasimha and started showering abuses…..”
Because of the continuous association with Baba, Mhalsapati was able to understand the meaning of outwardly weird actions. On several occasions Baba’s other devotees were puzzled by His strange and intriguing utterings. Many of them, therefore, approached Bhagat (as Baba used to call Mhalsapati lovingly), and sought clarifications in the matter. He was able to explain Baba’s symbolic signs or mysterious words.
While talking about this once Kaka Saheb Dixit said to Baba, “Maharaj, shall I bring a wooden plank for You to sleep – like the one You had earlier ?” Baba replied, “No. How can I sleep higher and leave Mhalsapati on the ground ?” Dixit offered, “If You wish, I can arrange for another wooden plank for him also.” Baba smiled and answered, “Will he be able to sleep on a plank ? It is not easy to sleep like that. I tell Mhalsapati, keep your hand on My heart and observe how Nam-smaran is going on in My heart, and if you find that I am falling asleep, please wake Me up ! But, he is unable to do even that. He starts dozing wherever he is sitting. Then, I wake him up by calling his name ‘Bhagat’. He is startled and rises from his slumber.’’ So, Sai Baba replied, “I am better off on the ground !”
In the evening, once the lights were lit up, Baba’s devotees were forbidden from coming into the Masjid - the only exceptions being Dada Kelkar, Mhalsapati, Tatyaba, Mahadu, Abdulbaba and Laxmibai. Barring these, no one else was allowed to enter the Masjid at night.
Mhalsapati had a liking for passionless life not having any interest in the worldly things. Baba allowed him to do so. Financially, he was very poor. However, rather than spending his time on earning a livelihood, he spent his entire time in the Masjid serving Baba. By nature, he was extremely devoted to Baba and took pleasure in serving Him. Because of this, Baba was very much fond of him. Mhalsapati’s influence on Baba was also very strong. Because of this, the spiritual experiences felt by him were equally worthy. To be continued.....
© Shirdi Sai Baba Sai Babas Devotees Experiences Sai Baba Related all Details