(A petty clerk, an orphan and poor but not avaricious, who rose to the level of
an ankita bhakta of Baba. He also served the Shirdi Sai Baba Sansthan as Joint Treasurer
till his end. In the interview with Narasimhaswamiji he disclosed lot of information
about Baba. In 1932, he was suffering from severe pain due to Sciatica and Rheumatism
but was cured of his illness completely by Baba).
Raghuvir Bhaskar Purandare was a staunch devotee of Baba. He heard first about Sai
Baba in 1909 and went to see him in Shirdi. R.B. Purandare was always desirous of
association with sadhus and saintly people. He heard that Saibaba was a saint, nay
God-Incarnate or walking God in Shirdi through the discourses of Das Ganu Maharaj
so he felt attracted to him and decided to visit Shirdi. Baba also appeared in Purandare’s
dream and also called him to Shirdi. At that time his elder daughter (aged then
six months) was very ill and so his mother objected to his going to Shirdi. Purandare
still insisted on going to Shirdi and took his wife, elder daughter and his mother
with him to Shirdi. He remained there during his first visit for thirteen days.
On the third day of his visit, the child became well. Baba did not permit Purandare
to go back till the thirteenth day. Though he was very poor, he did not visit Shirdi
for any pecuniary benefits. Baba told Purandare’s mother that for seven centuries,
Baba was associated with her son.
Once Purandare’s wife got an attack of cholera and the treating doctor did not give
any hope. He saw Baba at the side of Datta Mandir in front of his Dadar house and
Baba ordered him to give Udhi and Tirtha to herand then disappeared. He gave accordingly
and after half an hour, she had recovered fully and her body became warm.
Purandare was very poor and was an orphan. He was very simple, sensitive and highly
emotional. He used to vent every emotional feeling strongly. When angry, he would
at once burst out in a fit of anger and was ready to quarrel. And when felt happy,
he would come out to express it. Purandare was short tempered in his approach and
Baba advised him not to pick up any quarrel with any one even if any one was abusing
him and handle any situation calmly.
Baba asked him several times dakshina of Rs.2 only. Once Purandare enquired Baba
why he was asking always Rs.2. Baba said, "It is not these
Rupees I want. I want Nishta (concentrated faith) and Saburi (patience)."
When Purandare’s wife was ill once before her delivery, Baba appeared in a dream
and applied Udhi. In due course she became alright. When in great difficulty, Purandare
always cried before Baba’s picture at home. Saibaba would then appear before him
at once and comfort him.
Baba also told Purandare to buy a house. Purandare was getting only Rs.35 salary
and it was really difficult for him to think of buying a house. Besides being a
petty clerk, he had the responsibility of supporting a family consisting of his
mother, his wife, a child and his brother. Baba was very kind to those who flocked
to his feet.Despite all his problems, Baba wanted him to construct a house. Baba
was fully aware of all these aspects of Purandare’s position but still insisted
that he should buy a plot of land and construct a bungalow on the land.Purandare
ignored repeated advices of Baba in this regard. Baba became angry, called and told
Bade Baba, Nanasaheb Chandorkar and Kaka Dixit that Purandare was ignoring his repeated
advices to construct a house and then these devotees had gone and met Purandare
but were also convinced that constructing a house/bungalow was beyond his means
and ability. Nanasaheb then went to Baba and told him that constructing a house
was beyond his means and that Nanasaheb would construct, if Baba so desired, a house
and give it to Purandare. At this, Baba said that there was a lot of money belonging
to Purandare in “Baba’s Sirkar” and Baba alone would enable him to build. And Baba
insisted on him to buy a plot and construct a house thereon and this insistence
of Baba might appear, prima facie, to others as illogical but Baba’s love for Purandare
was intense because of Rinanubandha (contacts with Baba in his earlier lives) and
hence his insistence would appear illogical in his present life. As Purandare ignored
flatly Baba’s advice, Baba hurled many abuses at him and scolded him and finally
inflicted on him a severe neuralgic headache which Purandare went on enduring several
days and nights. He came to the conclusion that Baba would not help him unless and
until he constructed a house. So towards this direction, he found that sites were
available in Bandra, near Bombay and that any site far away from the busy area was
very cheap. Having identified the site, he approached a friend for his help financially
and that friend came forward and helped him financially.When Purandare offered to
sign any document, his friend declined to have any
document and simply helped him. Having purchased the site, he applied for a loan
from his office and got sanctioned a sum of Rs.500/- for constructing the house.
As he was unwell, he entrusted the work of constructing the house to his brother
who hastily got it built in one year’s time. Once he occupied the house owned by
him, his neuralgic headache disappeared totally without any treatment. Though the
building was located in an isolated area without any neighbors, Baba told Purandare
that he should not have any worry about the safety of his people, including his
young wife as Baba was guarding the house always.
It was Purandare who had brought to light the miracle of Baba when Megha wanted
to perform Abhisekham to Baba by pouring Ganga water on the entire body of Baba.
This had happened before 1912. Baba was Lord Shiva to Megha, who was the first pujari
to Baba and who introduced the congregational worship to Baba. Baba wanted Megha
to pour water on the head only as the head was the main organ of the body. But the
impetuosity of Megha’s bhakti made him take up the whole pot and turn it upside
down over the head of Baba. Strangely, not a drop of water fell on the body of Baba.
The whole pot of water had fallen on the head only without touching Baba’s body.
So, just as Siva had tied up Ganga in his own tuft, Baba also used his head for
retaining and throwing away the water so as not to touch his body or clothes.
During the year 1913 Purandare’s mother asked him to take her to Pandharpur. Then
Baba gave Purandare’s wife and mother, Darshan of himself as Vithoba and Rukmai,
at Shirdi itself in the masjid. They were highly pleased and dropped the idea of
going to Pandarpur. His mother always replied thereafter that her God was there
at Shirdi which was her Pandarpur.
Purandare had many financial difficulties and official problems. In all the problems
faced by him, Baba helped him to come out easily by appearing in his dreams and
giving suitable warnings and advices. There were many instances but a few of them
are narrated here:
1). Once he arrived in Shirdi on leave and after expiry of leave, he wanted to leave
Shirdi, but Baba did not permit him and hence he stayed back in Shirdi even after
expiry of his leave. When he went to his office, the Foreman of
the office had asked for his explanation for his over-stay. But instead of giving
his explanation, he submitted his resignation. Purandare was sensitive and his superior
Mr.Wilson (who was the Chief there) knew about his attachment with Baba in Shirdi
and he also knew that he would not come back from Shirdi unless Baba would permit
him. On his enquiry, Purandare told him that he was with Baba in Shirdi. Then Wilson
tore his resignation letter and told the Foreman that Purandare was not his subordinate.
And after six months, he was promoted and his Foreman became his subordinate. Thus
Baba converted a problem into his advantage and such was the miracle done by Baba.
2). Once Purandare planned to visit Shirdi and got leave from office at Bandra and
also told his mother. The next evening he had to start for Shirdi. But during the
night, Baba appeared to Purandare in his dream and said, 'Don't come” to Shirdi.
Purandare was surprised to hear that type of instruction from Baba. The morning
after Purandare was expected to leave for Shirdi; there was a strike in the workshop
of the mill. If Purandare had left overnight as he had first planned, his officers
would have suspected him to be instrumental indirectly for the strike and he would
have been in trouble. Baba therefore saved him from that embarrassment.
During 1916, Baba was seriously ill and was unable to move about without any support
from others. At that time, Purandare came to the railway station with his wife and
mother and wanted to go to their village. When he was at the railway station, he
suddenly thought that he should go to Shirdi and asked his people to proceed on
their own to their village despite their protests. When he arrived in Shirdi, he
saw Baba who was unable to walk on his own, was in severe bodily pain and was apparently
in serious danger. Baba thought in his mind that Purandare should come to Shirdi
and hence he arrived. Seeing Baba’s condition, he cried and wept. Baba asked him
not to weep and also said that he would be alright in a couple of days. Even during
Baba’s illness, he was supported and carried by the devotees on his begging rounds.
There he would beg and come back and was not eating the food. He carried on his
usual routine of begging by walking even during his severe illness.
On one occasion, he purchased creepers to make alleys on both sides on the road
where Baba would walk from the masjid to chavadi and Lendibagh,
Baba refused permission to plant them. Baba did not give permission for three days
and the saplings started withering away and he was very unhappy. Though Baba did
not like any pomp and pageantry, Baba finally gave permission to him in order not
to displease him. Baba also said that though the creepers had withered away, he
would make them thrive again and they would blossom. On the fourth day, the creepers
were planted and surprisingly the plants grew very well by the mystic power of Baba.
Once at the instance of Purandare, Radhakrishnamai and some other devotees, a palanquin
was brought and they wanted to bring it inside the masjid. As usual, Baba did not
permit, as he cared nothing for any pomp. Thus the palanquin was left outside without
any quard protecting it during the night. That night some thieves came and stole
away the silver horses. When complained to Baba about the theft, Baba said, “why
did not the thieves take away the whole palanquin?”. This indicated Baba’s Vairagya
and much contempt for wealth. Purandare and Radhakrishnamai wanted Baba to live
in royal dignity and that was why they were making all these arrangements. At this
stage, to protect the palanquin, they wanted to provide a garage for keeping the
palanquin. They decided that the place next to the masjid on one side should be
turned into a garage and for this purpose, they wanted to arrange rafters which
should be inserted into the wall of the masjid for support. Generally such drilling
in the wall of the masjid was considered as desecration. But however, due to the
devotion of these ankita bhaktas, Baba permitted and that was the love and attachment
between Baba and Purandare mainly and for others in general.
Baba used to test his devotees to see if they hankered after money and gold. Once
he took Purandare with him to Lendi Bagh. They both went to the Lendi stream and
then Baba showed him three dazzling plates of gold. The plates were in the stream
and Baba pointing to them, asked him to take them. Though Purandare was poor, he
was not at all interested in such matters and was not at all tempted and did not
bother even to look at them.That's why perhaps he developed very well spiritually.
Once Baba prevented Purandare from going away to Bombay even after 4.30 P.M. The
last train at Kopergaon for Manmad would leave at 6.30 P.M. It was a Bazaar day
(Monday). Purandare got a bullock cart. Baba told Rege to go with Purandare. Both
of them reached the Kopergaon station at about
7.45 P.M. The train had gone away. There was a special train however, running that
night which stopped at 8.15 P.M. at Kopergaon and took them to Manmad and then they
reached their homes safely. There were no trains to Manmad from Kopergaon at night
after 6.30 P.M. in those days. Baba would do miracles even in minute and insignificant
In 1920 when Purandare’s wife was seriously ill due to influenza and felt sorry
as she could not attend the Urs and Ramanavami festival in Shirdi in that year;.
That night Baba appeared in her dream and told her that he would take her for the
Urs. She passed away in 1920 due to severe Illness, on Ramanavami day, chanting
continuously Baba’s name.
Once Dixit asked Purandare to give him all the old copper coins he had with him.
Purandare gave him all he had and he did not know what he did with them. In 1926
on an Ekadasi day in perfect peace and talking high about Baba, Kaka Dixit suddenly
passed away. Purandare saw some devotees dying at Shirdi on Ekadasi day.
Even after Baba’s Mahasamadhi in 1918, Baba was, as usual, helping and protecting
the devotees. Once during 1932Purandare was suffering from severe pain due to Sciatica
and Rheumatism. But Baba protected him, saved from the jaws of death and he was
cured of his illness completely. Purandare had on several occasions heard Baba sing
a song once or twice. He would gladly hear people sing to him.
After Baba left his mortal coil in 1918, the devotees only missed the chance of
seeking Baba’s advice personally both in temporal and spiritual matters. However
we find that Baba's prominent devotees like Kakasaheb Dixit, Bhausaheb Dhumal, Ragbuvir
Purandare and others had devised an interesting method of still getting Baba's advice
in matters of difficult problems they encountered. They would put two chits (one
permitting them to follow a particular course and the other asking them not to follow
that course) in front of Baba's picture and ask a small child to pick up one of
the chits - the contents of which the devotees considered as Baba's advice in the
matter.As stated by some of these devotees personally as late as 1936 (18 years
after Baba's Mahasamadhi) to Narasimhaswamiji, the advice given in the picked up
chits, when followed was always found to be beneficial and giving protection from
mishappenings if any. It is interesting to note that
Narasimhaswamiji himself also followed this method to consult Baba in difficult
When B.V.Narasimhaswamiji interviewed him in 1936, Purandare gave not only the details
about his experiences with Baba but also about the minute details about other important
devotees and other incidents that occurred in Shirdi. Thus he gave fund of information
about so many instances that happened in Shirdi and threw lot of light on Baba’s
life and mission and miracles for the benefit of the posterity. Purandare also served
the Shirdi Sai Baba Sansthan as Joint Treasurer. In the interview, he told Narasimhaswamiji
that Baba had a hole in his ears and he had also seen Baba taking bath in naked
condition and observed that Baba had not been circumcised. We could understand that
Baba was a Hindu Fakir who lived in a Hindu Mosque.Purandhare spent every minute
in Shirdi in the service of Baba and passed away peacefully in 1948. Blessed was
his great soul.