Sai Baba has said, “The one who writes my Leelas, his ignorance will shed, all attachments to the worldly pleasure will be demolished for the one who hears my Leelas with undivided attention, waves of love and devotion will be formed in their deepest hearts and the one who dives deep in the ocean of my Leelas, he will get invalubale gems of knowledge. Whosoever remembers me with love, I am indebted to him and am ever alert to fulfill all his wishes, increase devotion and faith in him, I will attend to all his welfares and take care of his success in each and every work he does, he will get blissfull peace and the one who sings the glory my Leelas will get happiness and peace beyond words, note this well!!!
I promise to give salvation to the devotee who surrenders himself to me completely, who worships Me with unparalled faith and who meditates on me with deep love. Those men who utter My name continuously, always ponder over My stories, I will free them the jaws of time, all their sorrows and diseases will be destroyed, this is the only way of happiness and contentment, I will free them from all troubles and their ego and pride will disappear instantly, they will achieve supreme happiness and their bad deeds will burn into ash. I will be responsible to take care of food and clothing in their homes, whose sole goal is Me!!!” Oh what a wonderful promise is this! What an electric effect it has! Hearing and reading such words of Baba melts our hearts with immense love for Baba, then what to say when we start singing His glory. He has given us the simplest method of devotion “Shraddha” and “Saburi” and the only rule is “Give with love and receive more in return”. What Godly pleasure did Baba give to the person who wrote His Leelas and quenched the thirst of many devotees who did not get chance to meet Him when He was in flesh.
Baba used to call His devotees in His own desired way and decided their future. One of them was Shri Govindrao Raghunath Dabholkar who is the author of Great Work Shri Sai Satcharitra. Baba named him “Hemadpant”. In this post I would like to throw some light on the character of this great personality who was blessed by Baba immensely and how Baba arranged their meeting.
In the year of December 1910, Sai Baba returned after His daily routine to Dwarkamai to Lendi Baug, at the same time a guest aged about 50 years took the dust of Baba’s Feet to his head and Sai Baba said, “O Welcome Hemdapant”. (As per Sri Sai Satcharitra, Baba gave that label to Annasaheb the next day, when he went to Dwarakamayi for darshan after arguing with Balasaheb Bhate earlier).
There is a small village named Palghar on the southern side of Mumbai about 78 Kms away from Mumbai. A son was born to Raghunath Dabholkar who belonged to very poor Brahmin Family of Bharadwaj Gotra. He was named Govindrao. Due to poverty his pre-primary education was completed in that village only. For further education he went to one of his relatives in Pune. He had to leave his studies after fifth standard. He appeared in Public Commission Examination and was appointed as a teacher with rupees eight as monthly salary in Kelve village.
Hemadpant (Shri Govindrao R. Dabholkar)
Govindrao Dabholkar mixed with everyone and was of jolly nature. He was a good speaker too. He possessed good leadership qualities. Seeing this Sabajirao Chintaman Chitnis of Kolaba District entrusted him responsibility of Talati of Kelve village. In this way getting more and more promotions he was appointed as Forest Settlement Officer.
Wife of Hemapant
In the year 1901, Govindrao Dabholkar was appointed as Mamlatdar of Shahpur Taluka of Thana District at the age of 41. After two years i.e. 1903, he was appointed as First Resident Judge of Thane. He was then transferred to Anand in Gujarat and there he met Kakasaheb Dixit and Nanasaheb Chandorkar. The trio bore devotion in their hearts and whenever they met, they discussed about teachings of Gita. In this way their relations became strong day by day. Once Kakasaheb Dixit went to Shirdi with Nanasaheb Chandorkar and had the first chance to meet Sai Baba. In the year 1910, Kakasaheb Dixit wrote a letter to Govindrao Dabholkar describing a few Leelas of Baba at Anand. Govindrao was highly impressed with Baba after reading Kakasaheb Dixit’s letter. A desire arose in his heart to have Darshan of Baba as soon as possible. He applied for leave for thirty days and it was rejected by Commissioner of Southern Division. Govindrao thought if my job was in Maharashtra then it would be convinient for me to visit Shirdi. So he requested to Commissioner to transfer him to Bandra , but Commissioner denied saying, “Dabholkar! You have already worked in Bandra, so you will not be posted there again as per rules”.
Hemadpant’s House in Bandra
Sai Baba’s heart melted on seeing the intense desire and devotion and He started making arrangements for reception of His Hemadpant. In the course of time an unexpectable thing happened! Only few days had passed after Commissioner left Anand and he was in Thana for some days. Suddenly Deputy Collector of Bandra died due to heart attack. Now there was an urgent need of a responsible and trustworthy person in Bandra. The Commissioner who had denied Govindrao Dabholkar’s transfer earlier, sent a telegram and now transferred Govindrao Dabholkar to Bandra.
See the kindness of Sai Baba! He fulfilled the wish of that person who had neither seen Him nor known Him and also not taken any pain to do His devotion. Now as per rules of Government, leave of Govindrao Dabholkar was sanctioned. He thought to make use of his leave in the best way by going to Shirdi. Meanwhile some other things happened. The only son of his friend Dhamdhere of Lonavala was suffering from typhoid. In those days the development of allopathic and homeopathic field was not to that extent as we see today. Ayurvedic medicines were the only option. Dabholkar’s friend Dhamdhere had immense faith in his Guru’s powers, so he made his Guru to sit by the bed side of his son, it proved to be of no use and what was destined to happen, happened.
After this incident Govindrao Dabholkar’s mind was filled with strange thoughts. He thought what is destined to happen, happens, then why must we resort to the Feet of Guru. There is no use of going to Shirdi and he decided to spend his holidays at home.
Baba has said that He draws His men like a sparrow with thread tied to its leg. Nanasaheb Chandorkar was on his way to Vasai from Dadar. A train from Churchgate to Bandra turned up, Nanasaheb Chandorkar thought “Why to wait for another train, many days have passed and I have’nt met Dabholkar, let me go and see him. He has been transferred from Anand to Bandra and it is now easy to met him.” He sat in the train to Bandra and reached Dabholkar’s house. Govindrao Dabholkar shared his confusion with respect to going to Shirdi. Nanasaheb Chandorkar said, “If you go once to Shirdi and have darshan of Shri Sai Baba, all bewilderment of your mind will come to an end. Now Govindrao Dabholkar agreed to visit Shirdi the same night. He went to Bandra railway station and purchased a ticket for Dadar. He sat in the train and when the train was about to leave, a Fakir turned up hastily and asked, “Dada! Where are you going?
Dabholkar answered, “Baba! I have to go to Manmad via Dadar station and then from Manmad I will get some other train till Kopergaon. After reaching Kopergaon I will hire any horse cart or bullock cart or any other suitable conveyance and reach Shirdi to have darshan of Shri Sai Baba”. That Fakir said, “Oh Dada dont go to Dadar, Manmad mail does not stop at Dadar station. Instead you go to Boribandar (VST now CST) , you will get Manmad mail from there”. Saying this the Fakir left the place. (The train starts from CST and does not stop at Dadar, Borivili is further down and hence the question of the train not stopping at Dadar does not arise).
See the art of Baba, He takes every care to draw a person to “Pairi of Masjid” meaning steps of Dwarkamai. After reaching Shirdi, He met Baba and thus Govindrao Dabholkar was given the name of Hemadpant and was enrolled in Baba’s darbar forever.