(Baba created the impression that Khaparde preferred only the company of the whimsical
fakir, Baba, left his lucrative legal practice and also political life & was keeping
aloof from the society and this impression made the (British) Government drop the
prosecution of Khaparde. He wrote 46 diaries on events relating to Baba and these
diaries are the second source of written document about Baba, first source being
that of Dixit).
Ganesh Srikrishna Khaparde was born at Ingroli in Berar on 27th Aug 1854 Khaparde
after finishing graduation, studied Law in 1884. He was proficient in Sanskrit and
also in Gujarathi and was a scholar of repute He was a born linguist and a noted
orator.Baba used to call him as Dadasaheb. Once Dadasaheb came to Shirdi with his
family and all of them were devoted to the service to Baba. Khaparde was no ordinary
person. He was a great scholar, well versed in English language, had a high reputation
in the Supreme Legislative Council and the Council of States as a debater and impressed
the Legislature with his eloquence. He was equally well versed in religious and
spiritual scriptures. Many people used to listen to the religious discourses given
by him and his knowledge of religious scriptures was so deep that even Upasani Baba
considered him as his Guru. But before Baba he bowed in veneration and kept always
silent. Among all the devotees of Baba, Khaparde, Gopalrao Booti and Noolkar always
remained silent before Baba. In addition to remaining silent in the presence of
Baba, they always obeyed Baba’s orders. They were also noted for their humility.
Khaparde was well read in many religious scriptures also. Khaparde stayed in Shirdi
for four months and his wife for seven months, happily. His wife had great faith
in Baba. After a stint of service as a Munsiff and Asst Commissioner at Berar between
1885 to 1890, Khaparde returned to the bar and took up legal practice at Amrawati
and established a name as a leading lawyer. From 1890, he started taking interest
in public life and became the President of the District Council in 1890. Later based
on his keen interest in public life, he became close to Bal Gangadhar Tilak.
He had the habit of writing his diary of daily events and maintained as many as
46 diaries, some of them imported and costly and these diaries are still available.
Though his narrations in his diaries were factual and more comprehensive, it appears
that he did not mention certain events purposefully to avoid certain controversies,
perhaps some of them political
These diaries, though cover a shorter period during his stay in Shirdi, contain
more comprehensive information about Baba’s life and his mission and these diaries
are noted for his orderly way of presentation of events. There is another diary
maintained by Dixit, another staunch devotee of Baba and this diary contains 140
pages and covers the events in Shirdi during his stay in Shirdi and also the events
prior to his arrival in Shirdi. The diaries of Dixit and of Khaparde throw a lot
of light on the life and mission of Baba.
Normally, Khaparde was very rich and was in the habit of traveling always by the
first class in trains. His annual income by way of legal practice some times rose
to, as high as Rs.90, 000 to 95,000 (very substantial in those days) when there
was no income-tax system and also when standard of living was very cheap. With his
high position in the society, he earned the title as “Nawab of Berar” In this background;
he was lavishly spending for him, his family and also generously giving shelter
at his cost to a number of families. He was by nature generous and kept an open
house which was always full of guests on whom he spent lavishly for their comfort.
Such was the life style he was accustomed to and the degree of his generosity extended
to several people.
He first visited Shirdi in Dec 1910 and had darshan of Baba. At that time in the
masjid, he saw several officials and the masses crowding at the feet of Baba who
was talking to them in parables and also observed and understood that Baba was also
protecting the officials including the police officials involved in certain charges
by way of acquittal through his Grace.
In 1911, he made a second visit to Shirdi and stayed there for the longest period,
his stay extending to about hundred days despite his many attempts to leave Shirdi.
He was considered politically as an extremist leader, close to Bal Gangadhar Tilak.
In that year, the British Government was busy conducting the trials for all the
political extremists. So it was a very difficult year for people like Khaparde.
However, he obeyed the orders of Baba and stayed in Shirdi, thinking that whatever
Baba told him was in his own interest. Baba knew that Tilak, his close friend, was
arrested and was also tried on the charge of sedition and was imprisoned. Khaparde,
his close friend, went to England and preferred an appeal for the release of Tilak
was of no use. All his attempts for the release of Tilak proved futile. All these
developments were known to the Authorities. Baba knew very well all these developments
and in this background, Baba did not allow Khaparde to leave Shirdi in his own interest
and protected him from Government prosecution. He knew that Baba had knowledge of
every thing happening every where and could control the minds of every one including
the five elements constituting the world. He had utmost faith in Baba’s words and
was totally devoted to the service to Baba. He used to address Baba as Sayin Maharaj
in his diary notings..
It is interesting to note here that how Baba protected Khaparde from prosecution
by the Government. Baba knew that the Government was considering the prosecution
of Khaparde for sedition in respect of many of his public speeches. In 1911 he arrived
in Shirdi on 6th December and stayed at Shirdi for 98 days extending upto March,
1912 on specific orders of Baba at a time when his arrest was imminent. At the same
time during 1912, the British Govt. had also sent a spy by name Natekar to Shirdi
to watch the movements of Khaparde and report back. Natekar visited and stayed in
Shirdi in the garb of a pilgrim and was meeting all the local and other people and
was also interacting with Radhakrishnamai to elicit information about Khaparde.
And he had kept his identity totally secret. That spy also knew that Khaparde had
also refused to accept legal cases and that he had a very lucrative legal practice
especially in criminal cases and that consequently he lost all his clientele and
stopped completely his legal practice. And this situation had resulted in rumours
spreading to Bombay and elsewhere including abroad that Khaparde had become crazy
and had been fascinated by a whimsical fakir at Shirdi and therefore had refused
all legal cases and had given up legal practice including political life and that
he was keeping aloof from the society and preferring only the company of the whimsical
fakir. Baba made such rumours reach the ears of the concerned authorities in the
(British) Government and because of the drastic change in the life style and the
changed approach of Khaparde; the Government had decided not to proceed further
with the prosecution of Khaparde. And nothing was impossible for Baba who changed
the thinking of the Government for the good of Khaparde who was thus protected by
the Grace of Baba.
Based on his notings in his diary, it is observed that during his stay in Shirdi
on a specific day in Jan, 1912, Baba was very happy and cast a yogic glance at him
which resulted in his passing the entire day in utmost ecstasy.
During Dec, 1911, one by name K.J.Bhishma accompanied Khaparde to Shirdi. Khaparde
mentioned about Bhishma in his diary pertaining to his second visit to Shirdi. Bhishma
composed nine arati songs about Baba while in Shirdi.Thus, after the arrival of
Bhishma, a shape was given to an Arati-Psalm-Book.The entire credit of giving a
formal shape by way a book for all the Shirdi Arati songs, goes to Bhishma. He thus
prepared a booklet entitled “Shri Sainath Sagunopasana” which contained, besides
the arati-psalms composed on Baba and sung at the time of Arati to Baba, some traditional
hymns from the Hindu Liturgy. Then all these songs were published and Khaparde had
paid all the expenses for the publication. After Baba's Mahasamadhi, the book was
adapted as the official “Book of Daily Worship” at the Samadhi Mandir. Khaparde
continued to bear the expenses for the publication of the arati-palms booklet till
1922, Thus it was through the efforts of Khaparde that the booklet entitled"Shri
Sainath Sagunopasana" came into being and the booklet had become the official arati
songs of Baba adapted by the Shirdi Saibaba Sansthan.
Once in 1911 plague was raging in Shirdi. Balwant, son of Khaparde had an attack
of plague and his mother, Laxmibai went to Baba and prayed for protecting her son.
Baba spoke in parables and told her that he would protect him and that she should
not worry herself. Baba later showed on his person bubos due to plague and told
her that Baba took over from Balwant’s bubos and plague from his body and saved
His wife, Laxmibai Ganesh Khaparde- was a staunch devotee blessed by Baba very much
and even Baba had given her a mantra asking her to chant "Raja Ram, Raja Ram".
Khaparde came along with Bal Gangadhar Tilak to Shirdi on 19 May 1917 and had darshan
of Baba. Tilak also took Baba's advice in the matter of freedom movement. There
was an indication that Baba gave Tilak certain advice secretly, informing that India
would get Independence through non violent movement only and not by extremist violent
acts. And based on this advice, it appeared that Tilak toned down his approach.
The advice was however kept secret. After Tilak left Shirdi, then the District Collector
Ahmednagar sent a CID Officer to Shirdi to keep an eye on the activities of Sai
Baba from that angle and send a confidential report.
Khaparde had left Shirdi in March, 1912 and before he left, Baba narrated a parable
to him the essence of which was that Baba protected him from the prosecution of
the British Government. After he left Shirdi in 1912 he did not visit Shirdi thereafter
except once in 1917 accompanying Bal Gangadhar Tilak and did not visit again Shirdi
after Baba's Mahasamadhi and this was unfortunate, except bearing the expenses for
the publication of the arati-palms booklet till 1922. Even though he did not visit
Shirdi on his own after 1912, Baba being God, was kind enough to continuously protect
him with his ever vigilant watch over his welfare and to this effect, one instance
could be quoted about an attempted theft in his house in Amrawathi when Baba drove
away the thieves and protected him. This instance had happened on the night of 14th
Oct, 1918, when Baba was very weak, just few days before Baba's Mahasamadhi. That
was Baba's (God's) Grace on his ardent devotees.
Whenever many types of food were placed before Baba as naivedya, Baba did not touch
any one of them, but always waited till Laxmibai brought her naivedya which Baba
used to touch happily and ate sumptuously always. She herself would bring naivedya
to the masjid and would not touch food for herself until Baba accepted the naivedya
and ate it. Only thereafter she would take her meal. Such was her devotion to Baba.
We understand these instances about her life from Shirdi Diary and B.V.Dev’s writings
(which are not available in Shri Sai Satcharita). Once Laxmibai brought the Naivedya
of a dishful of Shira-puri, rice, dal, payasam and other items. As soon as her Naivedya
came, Baba eagerly got up from his seat and went to his usual place and sat there,
pulled the dish towards him and opened the lid and started eating the food. Several
naivedyas brought by others were already there before Baba, perhaps more sumptuous
than the one brought by Laxmibai. Baba did not touch any one of them for a long
time and waited till naivedya was brought by Laxmibai. Baba touched the naivedya
brought by Laxmibai and ate it happily. At this stage, Shama asked Baba as to why
Baba ignored all the naivedyas brought earlier in silver dishes and favoured only
the naivedya brought by Laxmibai and also enquired about the mystery in this preference..
Baba replied by narrating her previous births and that Baba knew her during all
her previous births. Baba also said that she was a fat
cow, yielding much milk in one of her previous births and that later she was born
in a Brahmin family. Baba also said that she brought the food with great love and
hence he ate it with contentment to give her satisfaction as Baba knew her for the
last several generations. Laxmibai then bowed to Baba with salutations to Baba’s
feet. Baba was then pleased and whispered into her ears, 'Say Rajaram, Rajaram.
Do this japa regularly and constantly and you will find happiness and self-fulfillment.
These words from Baba gave her spiritual strength and thus ensured her welfare.
Thus she was leading her further life happily and her end came peacefully and was
also blessed with the darshan of Baba at that time. Khaparde passed away on 1st
July 1938 at the age of 84 years and was survived by his son who was also a lawyer
and a political leader too.