Shirdi Sai Baba’s Guru – Shri Gopalrao Keshavraj Babasaheb (Part 1)

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Dasganu Maharaj, an ardent, close and staunch devotee of Sai Baba had tried to prove in his book Bhaktaleelamrut that Shri Gopalrao Keshavraj Babasaheb Maharaj was guru of Sai Baba. Due to absence of any proof, the world did not accept his words. The only link which joins Sai Baba and His guru was Dasganu. A chapter (No: 57) on Sai Baba has been incorporated in Dasganu’s work Santkathamrut which was published in the year 1908 in Parbhani village in the reign of Mughlai.

There was deep love between Sai Baba and Dasganu. Sai Baba always used to press Dasganu to leave the job of police. Thus Dasganu gave resignation from his job. After that Sai Baba encouraged Dasganu to write on the lives of saints. The work of Bhaktaleelamrut and Santkathamrut are result of Sai Baba’s encouragement.

Sai Baba’s Guru

Shri Gopalrao Keshavraj Babasaheb was born in a village named Jaamb. Regarding his birth it is known that his father Keshavraj did not had any issue for a long time. So he did Anushthan and pleased Lord Venkatesh. He asked for a boon of a son. Lord Venkatesh accepted his wish and said that Ramanand Swami of Kashi would reborn in his house and would be famous by the name of Gopalrao Babasaheb.

After marriage, Gopalrao left his house for penance. While roaming here and there he reached to place named Selu (District Parabhani) in the year 1830. At that time there were only three to four huts made up of grass. Gopalrao did not have enough space to live there. Inspite of this he made up his mind that the place was fit for him to live.

Without waiting for a minute he started his work. There was an old fort and he started repairing it. The people there also advised him to live there. Due to his good virtues and hard work he transformed Seluwadi to Selu. He then became a Zamindar. He never left his sweetness and treated everyone politely and humbly. His nature was to live lovingly with others.

One day a strange thing happened. An unknown lady came and sat at the back of the palace repaired by Gopalrao for easing herself. The lady was young, besides she was very beautiful. It was evening time and the sun was about to set. At the same time Gopalrao happened to be on the terrace of the fort and noticed the beautiful lady. As soon as Gopalrao saw the young lady he lost his senses, he started enjoying the divine beauty with surprise and anxiety. He was so engrossed in the beauty of the lady that his eyes could see only the lady and all his lust came out at once.

Meanwhile he restored his senses. The cold breeze touched his body which was sweating and thus he was awakened. Now he repented and thought, “Oh, what a sinner am I? How can I be senseless by seeing a woman who is stranger to me? In no time he decided a cruel punishment for himself. He soon went to the Pooja room and there was a big needle kept. He said, “I dont want such sinful eyes” and ruined his vision with the big needle and then only his mind got settled again.

The news of Gopalrao’s eyes being damaged spread in the speed of wind. There a big crowd to see Gopalrao. People started thinking that Gopalrao has done mad as no one could do such things unless his mind is abnormal. But due to this incident many people started looking at Gopalrao with respect. Many of them started symbolizing him a Maharaj. People from far off places started coming for his darshan.

One day a blind lady came for darshan of Gopalrao Maharaj, felt at his feet and requested him to give vision to her eyes. She said, “Please give me vision. You are an ocean of mercy. Please help me to get back my vision. I would not leave your feet unless you give me vision!” Seeing her faith and confidence, mercy started flowing in his heart. There was another lady who was grinding whole chillies. Gopalrao Maharaj took a handful of the chilli powder and rubbed it on both the eyes of the lady. As a result the lady received her vision back. Due to this incident the fame of Gopalrao Maharaj spread at many places.

The message of Sai Baba’s Birth

After some days, Maharaj Gopalrao planned to visit Kashi. Many others also joined him. From Kashi Maharaj went to Prayag, Kuruskshetra, Vrundavan, Gokul, Mathura, Dwarka, Somnath, Prabhaspatan, Junagadh and Ahmedabad. In Ahmedabad, Maharaj went for darshan of Suhagshah in a mosque. A strange incident happened there. As soon as Gopalrao Maharaj stepped in the mosque a voice came out of a coffin, “Salaam Alaikam. Oh great Ramanand of previous birth. Though you were in Selu, I have found you. Your disciple named Kabir will be born in Pathari village which is 10 miles away from Selu”. Saying thus the voice then stopped. All the people who accompanied Gopalrao Maharaj were surprised, but Gopalrao Maharaj knew all this.

To be continued

Source : Translated from Gujarati Magazine “Dwarkamai

Continued to…
Part 2
Part 3

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