(He was very logical in approach & got convinced after testing, about the divine
saintliness of Baba. He wrote a book in English on Saibaba, "Sai Baba the Superman".
A beautiful Idol of Baba, sculptured by Balaji Vasant Talim, was ceremoniously installed
at the hands of Swami Sai Sharananandji in the Sanctum Sanctorum on 7th Oct, 1954,
the Vijayadasami day.) Once Shri Prangondji and his wife Mani Gowri had visited
Shirdi and had darshan of Baba and Baba blessed them. Afterwards Vamanrao Patel
was born to them on 5th April, 1889 in Mota Village in Surat District. His full
name is Vamanrao Prana Govind Patel. He later became with Baba’s blessings as His
Holiness Shri Sai Sharan Anandji.
When he was three years old, he fell sick seriously. and his parents had full faith
in Baba and at that time Baba went to their house as fakir and gave udi and asked
his mother to give it to him mixing it with water and also told her as there was
a scar in his right side back, he would become a "SATPURUSHA". The udi was given
to him and the boy recovered miraculously by Baba’s Grace.
He had his primary education at Surat and Ahmedabad. When he was13 years old, he
went to Somanath Mandir where Baba gave him darshan as a fakir. Later he had passed
B.A. in 1910 in Bombay and also passed LL.B. in 1912. While he was studying, he
used to question his college professors whether the God was Phenomina or Neomina..
The Professors could not answer him.
He then went to Bombay along with his father to take darshan of Sri Balakrishna
Maharaj a follower of Shri Akkalkot Maharaj. Vaman Rao put the same question to
the Maharaj also. This had happened in 1904 when Vaman Rao was of 15 years of age.
At this, the Maharaj initially was angry with him but later gave him two books,
one about Shri Akkalkot Maharaj and the other Ekanath Bhagawat in Marathi language
and asked him to read them. Vamanrao said to Balkrishna Maharaj, “I will accept
only a saint as my Guru, who will make me see God face to face”. After reading life
instances of Akkalkot Maharaj, Vamanrao was deeply touched and was assured that
saints who could help him to meet God were still present on this earth. Akkalkot
Maharaj was known as the fourth incarnation of Lord Dattatreya and took Samadhi
in 1878. And after him Balkrishna Maharaj stepped in his position and Vamanrao’s
father used to go to him frequently.
Meanwhile a relative of Vamanrao’s father, by name Sakarlal Keshavlal Bhatt met
with a major accident. He was badly injured in his leg, resulting in the damage
of the vein in his left leg’s knee and he tried all treatments and they were of
no use. Because of this accident he was unable to walk properly. At this stage,
Vamanrao thought that Sakarlal’s injury could only be cured by a true saint’s blessing.
And he started his search for a true saint.
Once Shri Hari Vinayak Sathe, Deputy Collector, Kheda District, who was a staunch
devotee of Baba, came in contact with Prangovinddas. He told many stories and described
many miracles of Baba to Prangovinddas who was highly impressed and he and Sakarlal
both left for Shirdi with an introductory letter from Hari Vinayak Sathe. in May,
1911. H.V.Sathe wrote an introductory letter to Shri Balabhau Chandorkar, a relative
of Nanasaheb Chandorkar, who was running a small hotel in Shirdi. At that time Vamanrao’s
father’s teeth were removed surgically. The gums were weak and he was not in a position
to eat chapatti or any other hard substances. He ate only shira at home, but in
Shirdi who would help him and that was his problem. However, Vamanrao Patel's father
and his relative Sakarlal went to Shirdi for Baba’s blessings so that Sakarlal’s
problems could get solved. Prangovinddas had difficulty in eating solid substances.
At the time of taking meals in Shirdi, Prangovinddas was served with chapattis.
He was in a fix and thought, “How will I eat these chapattis. When I was at home
I ate shira, but now there is no other alternative in Shirdi.” He was thinking like
this and a man came running from Dwarkamai and said, “Baba has asked for a potful
of shira. Tell all the devotees not to commence eating their meals, and nobody should
leave without eating shira. So please wait till shira is served”. Prangovinddas
was surprised and came to know that Baba is a unique saint and his difficulty was
solved by Baba by sending shira for him at the time of meals.But the actual reason
for their visit to Shirdi was to get rid of Sakarlal's lamness of his leg. Two days
thus passed and they decided to leave Shirdi by taking permission from Baba. They
went near Bala Gandhi's shop to hire a tonga to go to Kopergaon and at this stage,
Sakarlal was about to board the tonga and immediately he developed a severe pain
in his leg. He then thought that his leg was totally useless. Still he tried for
some time by moving his leg forward and backward and then he was totally surprised
as he was able to walk without any problem and the pain disappeared. The wound
got completely cured with the blessings of Baba.
Sakarlal and Prangovinddas shared their divine experiences with Vamanrao after returning
to Bombay.. They both advised Vamanrao to visit Shirdi only once and said that Sai
Baba was a real saint and also added that all his doubts would get cleared in Shirdi.
Nanasaheb Chandorkar was in Bombay at that time. So he wrote an introductory note
to Shri Balabhau who had a small hotel in Shirdi. Vamanrao’s father Prangovinddas
was very much aware of his son’s nature. He knew that because his son studied law
he always had doubts in his mind. He would not trust anything without seeing it
by his own eyes. Moreover Vamanrao always said that, “I will not accept this truth
there is God in this world, unless I see God face to face”. Prangovinddas said to
Vamanrao, “O Son! look at the stars in the sky, sun and moon arise and sets at correct
times, they give light and due to this light, human beings and other lives get life.
All this is done by supreme and nothing is in our hands”. This did not convince
Vamanrao. and instead he argued saying, “All this works as scheduled, then where
is God in all this?” Vamanrao had got such firm thoughts. His father advised him
before going to Shirdi about Baba’s nature and mode of showering blessings on his
devotees. He said, “Look Vamanya, Saibaba is very queer person. Do not argue in
front of him, instead try to search the deep meaning from the words which fall into
your ears. Accept with gratitude anything whether good or bad, whether given with
love or with anger, given by Baba. Any gift received from such saints is for our
welfare only.” Carefully listening father’s advice, Vamanrao took the introductory
letter in the name of Balabhau and proceeded to Shirdi on December 10, 1911. As
soon as they reached Shirdi, a small crowd was seen with cries “Victory Be Unto
Sai”. Marwadi Tongawala stopped tonga and said, “The Person Who is walking in between
the crowd is Sai Baba! He is going to Lendibhag by walk.” Saying this the tongawala
alighted from tonga and prostrated to Sai Baba. Vamanrao also followed this. On
seeing Vamanrao Baba said, “Ishwar Aahe Kaay Mhnun, Naahi Mhanto, Nigh”… meaning—“being
a human being you doubt the existence of Almighty, Go away from here?” Vamanrao
immediately thought, “He is the God I am searching”. He was reminded of his father’s
experience how Baba arranged for shira at the last moment of his meals and took
care of his father’s
As Vamanrao had introductory letter from Nanasaheb Chandorkar, Balabhau arranged
for Vamanrao’s lodging in Dixitwada and took him for Baba’s darshan. The thirst
of Baba’s darshan did not decrease a jot in Vamanrao’s heart and so he again went
to Dwarkamai with Marwadi pilgrim. But Baba adopted angry posture and did not allow
them to step into Dwarkamai. As they both were scared they did not dare to go for
Noon Arti. They sat in Radhakrishnamai’s cottage and took darshan of Baba from there
only during Arati. After lunch Vamanrao went to Dwarkamai with Shri Shingane, Judge
of High Court. Baba gave prasad of grapes sent by Radhakrishnamai to Vamanrao. Baba
sat on his seat and rested his hand on the bolster and Vamanrao sat on a stone adjacent
to the bolster. After a few minutes a crowd started going towards Dwarkamai. All
the people requested Baba to take care of them and safeguard them from ravaging
Vaman Rao later joined a solicitors firm in 1913 and came to Shirdi in May, 1913
when there were court holidays. On the expiry of holidays, he requested Baba for
permission to go to Bombay, but Baba did not permit him to go and he was thus retained
in Shirdi for about eleven months till March 1914 on one plea or the other. As his
whereabouts were not known to his parents, his parents got worried about his safety
and consulted the astrologers, who told them that he was safe and was in a holy
place and that they should not have any fear about him. Afterwards Baba gave him
permission to return.
He came to Shirdi again in 1916 all of a sudden when he came to the railway station
to send off his friend for Shirdi. Baba told Vaman Rao at that time that he was
expecting him at Shirdi and retained him in Shirdi for twenty one days and then
allowed him to go to Bombay. During this period one day a big stone had fallen on
his head causing an injury at the time of the construction of Butywada. With medicines
given by Baba, he was cured with Baba's Grace and no scar was visible on his head.
Vaman Rao told that at that time of head injury he had felt the supreme and blissful
joy. Only after this incident he became a staunch devotee of Baba.
The clothes of Baba had immense powers in them. Once Baba gifted his Kafni to Mhalasapati.
The result was that till his death Mhalasapati lived like
a sanyasi while also taking care of his family and social responsibilities. In another
instance, Baba gave his Kafni to a devotee named Muktaram. As the Kafni was dirty,
Muktaram washed it and placed it in Dixitwada for drying. After this, Muktaram went
for Baba's darshan. Vamanrao was present in Dixitwada where the Kafni was kept for
drying. Vamanrao heard a voice coming from the Kafni, saying that "See, Muktaram
has brought Me here and kept hung upside down." Vamanrao immediately took the Kafni
and wore it himself. After wearing Kafni, Vamanrao went to the masjid. Baba got
angry when he saw the Kafni worn by Vamanrao. But Vamanrao was however destined
to become an ascetic at the appropriate time so Baba did not say any thing. Thereafter
Vamanrao had achieved advancement in spiritual matters.
In March, 1917, he was made Principal, Model High School, Ahmedabad and was working
in that position till Jan, 1921. He then returned to Bombay to work there till 1926.
Then he went to Ahmedabad. He again came back to Bombay in 1929 and worked as Professor
in Law College. While working as Professor in the Law College in Bombay, he published
commentaries on the Companies Act and the Insolvency Act. Next in 1930 he worked
in Solicitor's firm, Messrs Ganga and Sayani Co. Bombay for a period of two years.
Thus his professional life had several vicissitudes during 1917 to 1932.
Once a devotee had given to him Baba's padukas telling him that Baba wanted to hand
over them to him. Initially he refused but finally accepted and installed them in
Ahmedabad wherein a Sai Baba Mandir was later constructed with name of temple as
"Vishnu Dharamalaya'' which was attracting several devotees for Baba's darshan.
He wrote books on Baba, “Gurusmriti” in 1932 in Gujarathi language and in 1946 about
Baba's life in Gujarathi by name “Sai Baba”. He wrote in all 14 books in Gujarathi
in a short period of 3 to 4 years during 1950 to 1953. With Baba’s Grace, he took
to sanyasa as a fakir in July, 1953 in Dakor and he was named thereafter as Swami
Sai Sharan Anandji. He wrote in 1961 a book in English on Saibaba, "Sai Baba the
Superman". He did lot of propaganda about Baba and was instrumental in making people
know about Baba. Another person who also did prachar about Baba was J.Bose.
A beautiful Idol of Baba, sculptured by Balaji Vasant Talim, the blessed sculptor,
was ceremoniously installed at the hands of Swami Sai Sharananandji in the sanctum
sanctorum on 7th Oct, 1954, the Vijayadasami day, exactly after 36 years after Baba’s
Mahasamadhi. After many years of service to Baba and to the devotees, Swami Sai
Sharananandji merged with Baba in Aug,1982 at Ahmedabad at the age of about 93 years.He
was an ankita bhakta who understood Baba very well and equally got blessed by Baba.