He was a multi-millionaire who constructed Dagadi (Stone) Wada on Baba's orders
which later became Samadhi Mandir where Baba's Divine Body is now resting with Baba's
Idol installed, perhaps as Lord Krishna)
Shriman Gopalrao Mukund alias Bapusaheb Buty, a wealthy person from Nagpur, was
a great devotee of Baba. He was introduced to Baba by S.B.Dhumal. He came with his
family and stayed in Shirdi to serve Baba. He was a permanent resident of Shirdi
ever since 1910. Baba used to call Bapusaheb Booty as “Butayya”.
He sometimes felt that he should buy a plot in Shirdi and construct a house for
him for staying permanently in Shirdi. Every day, after the noon Arati, Booty used
to take his afternoon meal sitting on the left side of Baba in the masjid. Once
Shriman Bapusaheb Booty suffered from dysentery and vomitting. His cupboard was
full of all types of medicines, but none of them could not cure. Bapusaheb became
very weak due to purgings and vomittings and, therefore, was unable to go to the
masjid for Baba's darshana. Baba then sent for him and made him sit before him and
said, "Now take care, you should not purge any more" and waving his index-finger,
he also said "The vomiting must also stop". By the force of Baba's words alone,
his entire illness suddenly disappeared and he became well.
On another occasion he had an attack of cholera, and suffered from severe thirst.
Dr. Pillai tried all sorts of medicines which could not give him any relief. Then
he went to Baba and consulted him as to what he should drink to allay his thirst
and also asked for the remedy for curing the attack of cholera. Baba prescribed
an infusion of almonds, walnuts, pistachio (dry fruit), boiled in milk with sugar.
Normally this would be considered as something which would aggravate the illness
by any doctor or physician, but he obeyed Baba's orders and drank the infusion so
prepared and his illness was cured immediately. This was quite strange and this
became a miracle—as it was Baba’s desire which cured him and not by the drinking
of the infusion.
Once an astrologer came to Shirdi with the idea of placing a book on astrology into
the hands of Baba and wanted to take it back as prasad from Baba, thinking that
he would become proficient in astrology and reap a good fortune. But Baba after
receiving the book, instead of returning the book to the astrologer himself, he
handed it over to Booty who was sitting nearby
and asked Booty to take the book. Booty never cared to read it, but had a cursory
look here and there for a short time, because Baba gave that book to him. But, after
perusal of the pages in the book, Booty became a proficient astrologer and started
predicting events with utmost precision. Baba did not encourage the motive of the
astrologer to earn more money, taking advantage of Baba’s miraculous powers and
that was why Baba did not return the book to the astrologer.
Once while Booty was sleeping in Dixitwada he had a vision in which Baba asked Booty
in the dream to construct a wada in Shirdi with a temple in it. Shama who was also
sleeping in the same wada also had the same vision at the same time. Booty was surprised
and thrilled at Booty and Shama having had the same and identical vision the same
night. Shama said that in his vision Baba came close to him and ordered distinctly,
“Build the Wada with the temple. I shall fulfill the wishes of all. Hearing the
sweet and loving words of Baba, I was overpowered with emotion, my throat was choked,
my eyes were overflowing with tears, and I began to cry”. Bapusaheb was surprised
to see that both their visions were identical. The vision strengthened Booty’s desire
to have a building of his own in Shirdi and decided to take up the work in right
earnest. He then drew up a sketch plan in consultation with Shama and consulted
Dixit. Then Booty, Shama and Dixit went to the masjid and placed the sketch plan
before Baba who approved it immediately. Then the construction work was started
and Shama was asked to supervise the construction. Then the ground floor, the cellar
and other connected items were completed. Baba also on his way to and from Lendi
observed the progress in the construction and suggested certain improvements. Further
the responsibility of supervising the work was then entrusted to Bapusaheb Jog and
when the work was going on, an idea struck Bapusaheb Booty’s mind that there should
be an open room/platform and in the centre the image of Murlidhar, Lord Krishna
with the flute, be installed. Booty’s nature was such that he would never do anything
without consulting Baba. Using the good offices of Shama, Booty then asked Shama
to approach Baba in this matter for his permission. When Shama approached Baba in
this matter, Baba, while giving permission said, “after the temple is complete I
will come there to stay” and also staring at the Wada, Baba continued, “after the
Wada is complete, we shall use it ourselves, we shall
live, move and play there, embrace each other and be very happy” in his usual cryptic
manner. Then Shama asked Baba whether this was the auspicious time to begin the
foundation work of the central room of the Shrine. Baba answered in the affirmative
and then Shama broke a coconut and the work was immediately started. The construction
work was completed quickly and an order was also placed for making a good image
of Murlidhar, Lord Krishna with a flute.
But before it was ready, a new development turned up and Baba became seriously ill
and was about to pass away. Bapusaheb became very sad and dejected, thinking that
if Baba passed away, his wada would not be consecrated by the holy touch of Baba’s
feet and all his money spent on construction work would become a waste. But Baba
before passing away, expressed “Place or keep me in the Wada” and this had consoled
Bapusaheb Booty and after Baba passed away, as per Baba’s desire, Baba’s holy body
was placed and preserved in the central shrine meant for Murlidhar and Baba himself
became Murlidhar and the Bootywada became the Samadhi Mandir of Sai Baba.
In the site of this Mandir, there was a garden earlier which was watered and looked
after by Baba himself. Sai Baba’s Divine Body is now resting in this famous Bootywada.
Booty's outstanding service to the Sai Sansthan was remarkable as he constructed
the huge stone building and devoted it entirely for the Mahasamadhi Shrine of Baba.
This stone building was known as Booty Wada. Baba used to refer it as Dagadi (stone)
The construction, though started in 1915, Baba mentioned about this construction
in 1913 to Narke, son-in-law of Booty and also said that Narke would administer
the management of Bootywada. Every year dramatic performances and celebrations were
held at Shirdi in front of Chavadi. Bapusaheb Booty would annually donate a large
sum of Rs.500 towards the expenses. Many people used to come from the surrounding
villages to witness these celebrations.
A committee was later formed to manage the worship of Sai Baba's Samadhi, comprising
of 15 members with Shriman Bapusaheb Booty as the Chairman. Booty engaged Dixit
to take care of Baba's Samadhi.
Now and then, most devotees spoke and argued with Baba, but only three, viz. Booty,
Noolkar and Khaparde kept always silent in the presence of Baba and the business
of these devotees was only to follow implicitly Baba’s words. They were meek, modest,
humble and good-natured. The responsibility of conducting the Gurupoornima festival
was also on the shoulders of Bapusaheb Booty. Booty did not care for money and was
not after fame.
Booty’s second marriage took place in Shirdi in 1916 which was attended, inter alia,
by W.Pradhan. Booty rendered these services to Baba with utmost devotion and for
the convenience of the visiting devotees. Booty passed away happily in 1921 at Bombay.
Thereafter his sons took upon themselves the responsibility of conducting this festival
till 1940, and from 1941, the Sansthan has been conducting this festival, while
the sons of Booty were still contributing Rs. 100/- as part of the expenses.