(A shepherd boy, though rich who left his property and, stayed in Shirdi on Baba's
instructions & ran a restaurant just opposite to masjid for the convenience of visitors
& served till 1974 upto his 85th year. He saw some miracles of Baba. Ambardekar's
event would speak against suicide. He was perhaps the only person not belonging
to Shirdi who stayed in Shirdi for as long as 62 years, serving Baba & the devotees).
Saguna Meru Naik was a resident of Goa and lived there till he was 10 to 12 years
old and used to take care of the cattle for grazing. He was affluent and his family
had got agricultural lands. His mother tongue was Kannada. On one such occasion,
he saw a sadhu in the fields who asked him to come near him but he was afraid of
and did not go near the sadhu and then went home and told his mother about the sadhu.
His mother was a pious lady and came and saw the sadhu with her son The sadhu asked
her for food. The lady gave him sida (a kind of gram) and fire-wood for cooking
it. Then, pointing to the young boy he enquired and asked him when he was coming.
Sagun did not reply, but the sadhu smiled and left the place.
Years passed and Sagun went on a pilgrimage and after visiting several religious
places and the sages in those places, he finally came to Shirdi along with a rich
man in 1911-12 at the age of 23 years. When he visited Baba for the first time,
Baba asked him three questions in Kannada. He again visited Baba who gave him advice
for 5 months. Then he wanted to leave Shirdi and approached Baba for leave to go
away, Baba said “Stay here doing something. God will give you blessings". He obeyed
Baba’s advice and had made Shirdi his permanent home and simultaneously begged Baba
to continue to protect him for which Baba replied affirmatively. Thus he left his
rich property in his native place and decided to stay permanently in Shirdi in the
service of Baba. Thus he stayed in Shirdi for as long as 62 years and also stayed
after Baba's Mahasamadhi.
Sagun had ample evidence of Baba's powers when he came to Shirdi in 1911-12. He
came to Shirdi from Hyderabad accompanying a Vysya businessman who was a resident
of Hyderabad and was also a devotee of Baba. . The Vysya businessman brought with
him his daughter who was suffering from palsy and unable to stand on her legs or
walk. She had to skip on the ground using her hands instead of her weak and numb
legs. She was carried to the masjid and placed her in the presence of Baba
and the same thing was repeated for the second day also. But, on the third day when
she was brought before Baba, she started using her legs a little which was continued
like this for some more days. On the eighth day, she started walking which became
a surprise to all the people and this was entirely due to the Grace of Baba. Sagun
also saw another similar miracle. One by name Ghaisas was working in GIP Railway
service and his wife who was suffering from paralysis, also visited Shirdi and was
cured of paralasis in a few days by the Grace of Baba.
As per Baba’s advice, Sagun wanted to do some thing in Shirdi for the convenience
of the visiting pilgrims and also for his livelihood and started running a teashop
with refreshments and also sale of items like Baba's photos, arati books and devotional
goods. This activity was started immediately after his arrival to Shirdi during
1911-12.His tea shop was located just opposite to the masjid building and later
he added a dining hall to his restaurant. He was running a busy hotel by engaging
some Brahmin cooks to cook and serve the food. One day, Baba was extremely angry
with Sagun when he went for His darshan. Baba scolded him and said that he hadn't
followed His words. Perplexed, Sagun wondered what was the wrong which he did. However,
he immediately understood that someone must be hungry in the wada and then he went
to the wada and enquired if anyone had missed his or her meals. He came to know
that two of the devotees hadn't taken food that day. So he invited them for meals
and after they were asked to eat. Then he returned to the Dwarkamai and saw Baba
smiling. Baba said, "Have you understood the meaning of my words? Always act thus."
Baba taught told all the devotees that food was Brahma and that all living creatures
used to experience the same hunger pangs. Every body who approached Sagun, was given
food irrespective of whether or not he would pay for the food and he did not send
away any one without feeding him. He was, with Baba’s Grace, prospering ever since
he began this activity in Shirdi.. In those days, besides the tea stall of Sagun,
there was another restaurant in Shirdi run by Balabhau Chandorkar, nephew of Nanasaheb
Chandorkar and these two stalls in Shirdi were catering to the needs of the pilgrims
visiting Shirdi in those days.
Baba appeared in the dream of Sagun in one night in 1914 and told him to bring soft
boiled rice to him. He was doing accordingly and was taking daily
boiled rice as naivedya to Baba for two years. Baba again told him to add some ghee
to the food and bring it to him as naivedya. From that moment onwards, he was preparing
food with ghee and was offering to Baba as naivedya till Baba’s Mahasamadhi. He
continued this service of offering naivedya to Baba even after Baba's Mahasamadhi
even though the number of visitors to Shirdi dwindled down and his income from the
hotel came down sustantially, after Baba's Mahasamadhi. He did all this service
without expecting any financial return from. Baba. Baba did not give any money to
Once when people complained of scarcity of water in Shirdi, Baba pointed out at
a particular place and asked them to dig a well at that place and assured them of
plenty of water. Sagun, Kaka Dixit, Booty and others helped in the work of digging
the well and plenty of water was struck in that place.This was the third well dug
in Shirdi with plenty of water.
He used to clean now and then the mosque by removing the remnants of lunch and used
to scrubb the floor. And when Baba again sat in his usual place after lunch, he
was giving Baba betel to chew and after chewing was over, he was offering a tumbler
of water to Baba for drinking. He was also offering daily dakshina of Rs.2/- to
Some devotees thought of installation of Baba’s Padukas at the neem tree. For Padukas
installation, Upasani's suggestions were sought and those suggestions were carried
out. The Padukas were made in Bombay and the cost was paid by Dr.Kothare and sent
to Shirdi. Baba said that they should be installed on the Pournima day of Shravan
month. On that day at 11 a.m., G.K.Dixit brought them keeping on his head from Khandoba's
temple to the Dwarkamai in procession and then Baba touched the Padukas and said
that these were the feet of the Lord and asked the people to install them under
the Neem tree in the Gurusthan. Thus the installation of Baba’s Padukas was done
ceremoniously with the blessings of Baba in 1912. Upasani Baba composed a hymn on
Baba, eulogizing the greatness of the need tree and Baba's mystic powers in "Sai
Mahima Strotra"-"Sada Nimba Vrukhashya Muladhi Vaasaath....." which is being recited
during the arati time earlier and now in the Samadhimandir. After installation G.K.Dixit
worshipped the Padukas daily for the first five years and thereafter the worship
continued by Laxman Kacheshwar Jakhadi. Next Sagun was managing the worship of the
Padukas there. In the first five years, Dr. Kothare sent Rs. 2 for every month for
lighting and also sent the railing with roofing which was installed around the Padukas.The
expense of bringing the railing with roofing from the railway station to Shirdi
was paid by Sagun. Thus he was also associated with the installation of Baba's Padukas.
Sagun was also offering the naivaidya and was lighting the evening lamps at the
One by name Bhai Krishnaji was a staunch devotee of Akkalkot Maharaj. Once he came
to Shirdi at the installation time of the Padukas on his way to Akkalkot. He wanted
to go to Akkalkot after taking the darshan of Baba. He asked Baba's permission to
visit Akkalkot. Baba said, "Oh, what is there in Akkalkot? Why do you go there?
The incumbent Maharaj of that place is here, Myself." Hearing this Bhai changed
his idea and did not go to Akkalkot. Later he visited Shirdi frequently and had
darshan of Baba several times. Some of these details were not available in Hemadpant’s
Sat Charita and about this, B.V. Deo, another staunch devotee of Baba expressed
that Hemadpant did not know these details and hence could not incorporate these
details. in his Sri Sai Sat Charita.
Gopal Narayan Ambardekar, a staunch devotee of Baba , residing in Poona worked for
10 years in the Abkari(State Excise) department in the Thana district and left the
job. Afterwards he tried to get some other job but could not succeed in his attempts.
His financial position was bad and his position was aggravated by other calamities.
He visited Shirdi every year and prayed to Baba for his mercy. Even then also, he
suffered from these problems for seven years. His position became worst in 1916.
In the same year, he came to Shirdi with his wife and decided to commit suicide
in Shirdi to escape from the continuing calamities and severe poverty. One late
night he was sitting in a bullock cart near Dixitwada and decided to jump in a nearby
well and commit suicide after the lane became secluded. In the vicinity, Sagun who
was having a small hotel in the area, miraculously came out at that night with a
book on “Akkalkot Maharaj’s Life” in his hand and seeing Ambadekar, gave him the
book and enquired whether he had read it. Ambardekar received it and then casually
opened the book and came across, by Baba’s Grace, a story relevant to his life which
was as follows;
A certain devotee of Akkalkot Maharaj suffered from an incurable disease
for so many years and was unable to bear the severe pain and wanted to put an end
to his life thereby avoiding the further miseries and then threw himself into a
well. Immediately the Maharaj came there and took him out from the well and advised
him to enjoy the situation, whether good or bad, being the result of his past actions.
If enjoyment was not complete, taking another birth would also make the new life
suffer from the same enjoyment of the balance of the past actions. Maharaj also
said, “You would have to take another birth and suffer again”. Thus, instead of
killing himself, it was better to suffer for some time in the same life and finish
off the fruit or result of his past deeds, once and for all. This story was very
much relevant to his life. Ambardekar was very much surprised at Baba’s timely intervention
by making him read this story which saved his life. His faith in Baba increased
manifold. He stopped the idea of committing suicide. By this event, it can be construed
that there was invisible communication channel between Baba and Sagun. It was equally
surprising as to how Sagun came out at that late night with that book and how he
got the book, to save them from committing suicide and it only confirmed that there
was perfect unison between the direction of Baba and the prompt action by Sagun.
This had happened during 1916.
Later with Baba’s blessings, Ambadekar became proficient in astrology which improved
his financial position and passed his later life happily and comfortably.
B.V.Talim, the celebrated sculptor from Bombay, sculpted the Marble Idol of Baba.
The finished Marble Idol of Baba was taken in procession throughout the Shirdi village
with pomp and gaiety before installation during 1954. Baba’s Idol is so life-like
as if Baba is sitting in the Mandir. Devotees like Swami Sri Sai Sarananandaji,
Laxmibai, Saguna Meru Naik and others who saw Baba in Mortal Coil and moved with
Baba, felt as if Baba had come back alive in the form of His Idol.
Sagun continued his stay in Shirdi after Baba’s Mahasamadhi and was daily offering
naivedya to Baba in Samadhi Mandir. After Baba's Mahasamadhi, Baba used to appear
in the dreams of the devotees and used to talk to them. During 1922-23, once Baba
appeared in the dream of Sagun and told him that Sai Baba Sansthan had stopped offering
to Baba naivedya with ghee which was being offered by Sagun to Baba who liked it
very much. Sagun,
on his own, had again started offering the said naivedya at his own expense. Seeing
this development, the Sansthan resumed offering the same prasad to Baba.
He was also sending Baba’s Prasad and Udi to the devotees by post for a very long
time. Thus, he continued his stay in Shirdi, rendering service in the name of Baba
perhaps upto 1974 and passed away in Shirdi at the age of 85 years. Such was the
great devotion and commitment of Sagun Meru Naik towards Baba and his life was a