In the year 1904, Vamanrao Patel was of 15 years. He lived in Matunga with his father. At that time Prakashanandji Maharaj was hosted by one of his devotees. Vamanrao and his younger brother Vaikunthrao used to press Maharaj’s legs and body.
Maharaj used to tease them and said, “Red horse is of Vamanya and white horse is of Vaikunthrao” meaning for sometime Vamanya would require some support of his younger brother.
When Vamanrao was studying law, he used to cram Gita Path, Panchikaran but still he was confused about existence of God. These thoughts always formed tangles in his mind. Thus all his knowledge was outer show, but he was unable to go deeper into it.
Akkalkot Swamji Maharaj was known as the fourth incarnation of Lord Dattatreya. He took Samadhi in the year 1878. After him a saint named Balkrishna Maharaj stepped in his position and Vamanrao’s father Prangovinddas used to go to him of and on.
In the month of December 16, 1910, on Datt Jayanti, Vamanrao went to Balkrishna Maharaj with his father. Balkrishna Maharaj gifted him biograply of Akkalkot Maharaj and Eknathi Bhagwat in Marathi Language.
Vamanran said to Balkrishna Maharaj, “I will accept only that saint as my Guru, who will make me see God face to face”. After reading life instances of Akkalkot Mahraj, Vamanrao was deeply touched and was assured that saints who can help him to meet God are still present on this earth.
Meanwhile a relative of Vamanrao’s father Sakarlal Keshavlal Bhatt met with major accident. He was badly injured in his leg. A vain of his left leg’s knee was damaged and every treatment caused unproductive result.
Thus he could not walk properly. When all the ways seemed to unsuccessful, he thought that his injuiry can be only be cured by true saint’s blessing only, otherwise he would die with his lame leg. He started his search for a true saint.
Deputy collector of Kheda District Shri Harivinayak Sathe, who was a staunch devotee of Baba, came in contact with Prangovinddas. He told many stories and described many leelas of Baba to Prangovinddas. Prangovinddas was highly impressed and he requested an introductory letter from Harivinayak Sathe. Everything was narrated to Sakarlal and they both left for Shirdi in the month of May in the year 1911.
Harivinayak wrote an introductory letter to Shri Balabhau Chandorkar who used to run a small hotel in Shirdi. At that time Vamanrao’s father’s teeth were removed surgically. The gums were weak and thus we are not able to eat chapati or any such hard substances. He ate Shira at home, but in Shirdi who will help him and how can he trouble anyone unknown to him, were his thoughts.
The responsibility of arrangement of meals for Shirdi pilgrims was entrusted to Bapusaheb Jog by Baba. Though Balabhau’s hotel was providing good meals, Baba used to give some money out of his daily Dakshina to Dada Kelkar to feed visitors of Shirdi.
After the noon arti, devotees went for lunch at Dada Kelkar’s place. Prangovinddas was served with chapatis. He was in fix and thought, “How will I eat these chapatis. When I was at home I ate Shira, but now there no other alternative in Shirdi.” He was thinking thus and a man came running from Dwarkamai and said, “Baba has asked for a potful of Shira, so tell all the devotees not to commence their meals, nobody should leave without eating Shira. So please wait till Shira is served”.
Prangovinddas was surprised and came to know that Baba is an unique saint. He was impressed by the ability of Baba to know inner feelings of all His devotees. Thus the Prangovinddas experienced Baba’s divine powers in his first trip to Shirdi, but Sakarlal had no such experience till they left Shirdi after next two days. Sakarlal’s divine experience is reserved for the next post.