RadhaKrishna Maai’s Appearance and Cottage
RadhaKrishna Maai would wear clothes made of thick fabric and always kept them clean. Most of the times she left her hair loose without combing them, and rarely would tie them. She had a bright and white mosquito net hanging above the bed in her cottage and covered her bedding with a clean sheet. The idol of RadhaKrishna adorned the wooden shrine. Two pictures of Baba were placed on either side of the idol, and she always decorated them with flower garlands weaved by her. She kept embroidered pillows at both the ends. Among the two pictures of Baba, He was sitting on a stone in one, and the other one was Him in sitting posture. She had one more picture of Baba, wherein He was leaning on the wall holding His Kafni. So in all, there were three pictures of Baba in RadhaKrishna Maai’s cottage. The image of Baba in a sitting posture was a rare one. So, the devotees visiting Shirdi made it a point to visit her cottage and take darshan of it. Baba also used to test His devotees by asking if they had gone to the school or not? By school, He meant RadhaKrishna Maai’s cottage! Two books were always present in the cottage. One had Abhangs of Saint Tukaram published by Nirnay Sagar Press of Mumbai. The other one was a Marathi book of poems and songs composed by one of the premier poet Jaydev.
RadhaKrishna Maai cooked only once in the morning while preparing breakfast for Baba. She did not have hassles of cooking in the later part of the day as Baba would send a portion from His lunch as Prasad for her afternoon meals. At night Kakasaheb Dixit, Bapusaheb Buti, or other devotees would bring their food and share it with RadhaKrishna Maai. Thus she had the proximity of singing bhajans and playing Ektara the whole day.
People of Shirdi would hear her melodious voice throughout the day. She continued to play Ektara till midnight. After this, she would go to the well behind Dixit Wada and draw water to fill two pots of Dwarkamai. She used it to clean Dwarkamai, Chavadi, and the path towards Lendibaug and sprinkled water on it. Thus, she worked the entire night and did not rest even for a while. Though she had no money, the credit of beautifully maintaining and decorating Dwarkamai and Chavadi goes to her. Baba never cared for the dilapidated condition of the Masjid. When devotees came to Him and expressed their wish to perform repairs to the Masjid, He would point them to ShaniDev and Hanumanji’s temples and get them repaired but considered no request to restore the Masjid. However, RadhaKrishna Maai did the laborious task of embedding stones in the Masjid on her own labour with other devotees’ help in 1911. For this, she joined hands with other devotees arranged for raw material – sand, whitewash, etc., brought them on their heads and completed the work when Baba used to sleep in Chavadi.
Shej (Night) aarti was started by RadhaKrishna Maai from Thursday, December 9, 1909, when Baba used to go to Chavadi to sleep every alternate day. Similarly, she started the Kakad (Morning) Arti at 5 a.m. as well. Before she came to Shirdi, Madhyayan (noon) Arti was already being done to Baba and Tatyasaheb Noolkar would wave aarti to Baba till 1910. After him, Megha started doing the same until his demise in the year 1912. This responsibility was then dedicatedly carried on by Bapusaheb Jog till Baba’s Samadhi.
Let us now see how RadhaKrishna Maai served Baba in her unique ways in detail.
Before RadhaKrishna Maai came to Shirdi, a devotee named Balajirao Nevasikar had totally surrendered himself to Baba, and he took care of cleaning Masjid, Chavadi, and the path leading to Lendibaug. Later on, RadhaKrishna Maai took over the responsibility. Not only this, she started many rituals for celebrating various festivals, and her contribution to decorating Shirdi was commendable. She erected a Bamboo fence on either side of the path leading to Lendibaug, planted creepers on it, watered them, and regularly took care of their growth. Thus, she engaged herself in various tasks in Shirdi and forgot her pain.
RadhaKrishna Maai was revered by devotees who came to Shirdi and localities as well. Everyone was eager to follow her instructions as orders. Cleaning the paths, removing dirt, pebbles and dropping of animals and children from the course, digging pits, planting saplings, layering the floor with cow dung, soaking mud, cutting wood, cleaning chandeliers, mopping in the Masjid, making flowers from colourful papers and making buntings of them, cleaning signs of processions coming to Shirdi, arranging and decorating cradle of Shri Ram for nine days during Ramnavami festival, celebrating the birth of Lord Krishna during Gokul Ashtami, etc. were the responsibilities that were led by her with the help of other devotees. On Ramnavami day, Baba used to distribute a handful of prasad of Panjari to devotees. Panjari made with dried ginger powder, dill seeds, poppy seeds, coconut, and ajwain (carom seeds) prepared by her for which she would start dry roasting all the ingredients many days before the festival.
In those times, there was no concrete courtyard of Dwarkmai. She made a partition of Bamboo sticks. She would layer it with cow dung every day and kept it clean. Vamanrao Patel, a solicitor, stayed in Shirdi in the year 1916 for six months. He used to share the responsibilities of RadhaKrishna Maai. Though he was a successful solicitor, he would help RadhaKrishna Maai and did not hesitate in taking up any petty tasks on his shoulders. He did everything, taking it as a kind of service to Baba.
In next post, we shall see the powers RadhaKrishna Maai possessed to prove that she was a true Yogini and prominent devotee of Sai Baba.
*As per Maa Vinny Chituluri’s research, RadhaKrishna Maai lived in Shirdi for eight years and she did not cook for Baba, instead Baba would send a share of His food as Prasad. The above story has been translated from Sai Sarovar book and the information contained herein is deviating from facts on the internet and cannot be confirmed.
Vinny Maa has shared a very interesting video about RadhaKrishna Maai’s life, which is shared below. Please feel free to share this post with your friends and family and also subcribe to the youtube channels (links provided at the end of the post)
Source: Translated from Sai Sarovar
Next Post: Yogic Powers of RadhaKrishna Maai