(With Baba's permission, Mrs. Seetadevi went to visit Pandharpur. Based on her type
of performing puja, the Idol of Vithal moved forward and slowly lowered down to
enable her to apply sandal paste on Vittal's forehead and place the garland around
Vittal's neck. Then both of them bowed down on the ground in front of the idol.)
(Once Das Ganu's kirtan, eulogizing Baba, was going on and at that time a procession
of aboriginals with a dead body on the bier, was going on and their leader said
that if Sai Baba was so great in powers, he asked Baba to revive that dead man.
Then perplexed Das Ganu, confident Seetadevi and Jyotindra continued the kirtan
with utmost devotion and vigour and the kirtan made all the people spellbound and
even the aboriginals joined in the singing and the dead body broke open the ropes
and got up and started clapping his hands in tune with the bhajan going on. Everybody
was highly pleased in wonder and they shouted "Victory to Shri Sai Baba.")
(It is surprising to note that R.A.Tarkhad who was a Prarthana Samajist originally
and was against the Idol worship, became the First Treasurer of the Shirdi Sai Baba
Sansthan after it was formed in 1922 and was also Editor, Sri Sai Leela magazine.)
Mrs. Seetadevi Ramachandra Tarkhad was the wife of Ramachandra Atmaram Tarkhad (R.A.Tarkhad)
who was Secretary, Khatau Mills, Bombay.
Ramachandra Atmaram was a follower of Prarthana Samaj and did not believe in idol-worship.
They belonged to a great historic and wealthy family. At the time of the capture
of Vasai Fort in Thane district about 50 kms. from Bombay, by Peshwas, they lost
21 members in their family and were therefore awarded as jagir, the village of Tarkhad
which is nearby. By the end of 19th century, Atmaram’s father and his uncle moved
to Bombay and settled there permanently. In those days they were having two big
Studebaker motor cars indicative of their status in the society and they used to
move with the highest officials in the society as also with the British Governors.
Atmaram was the Secretary of the famous Khatau Mills and his monthly salary was
about four thousand rupees in those days. Having been brought up in this family
background, Atmaram did not like the orthodox religious scruples and was against
Idol-worship and visiting saints and sages
and such a person got converted into a highly religious and spiritual person due
to his wife, Seetadevi and their son, Jyotindra and after his visit to Shirdi.
R.A.Tarkhad was a follower of Prarthana Samaj and was against Idol worship. Seetadevi
had all comforts but was suffering from severe migraine for so many years. Jyotindra
was their youngest son. Seetadevi tried all types of treatments but they were of
no use. Then somebody advised her to go to Pir Moulana, a famous fakir at Bandra.
One day she went with her youngest son Jyotindra to the fakir and told him about
her migraine. The fakir said that he had no cure for the disease and advised her
that his brother in Shirdi could cure her disease and asked her to go to Shirdi.
Afterwards she and her son decided to go to Shirdi. They reached Shirdi and went
inside the masjid for Baba’s darshan. Seeing them in the masjid, Baba affectionately
spoke to them saying that she was Baba’s mother and Jyotindra was his brother. Baba
then looked intensely at her eyes and gave shots of divine grace look.
Afterwards she placed her head on Baba’s feet in obeisance. Baba put his hand in
the udi dish and hit her head forcibly with that hand, simultaneously holding her
head with Baba’s another hand and told her that her migraine would not attack her
again in her life time. Accordingly from that moment onwards, her migraine had disappeared
once and for all. She became a staunch devotee of Baba from that moment.
Jyotindra met earlier a fakir when he was a student. Once after taking food at a
hotel, he was going to his school and at that time he met a fakir who begged alms
and he gave a paisa but the fakir asked for a paisa coin with a hole in the centre
which he took out from his pocket and gave. Then the fakir blessed him and went
away. But when Jyotindra went to Shirdi with his mother, Jyotindra bowed at Baba’s
feet and at that time Baba asked him whether he recognized Baba, but he could not
recollect. Then Baba took out from his pocket a paisa coin with a hole in the centre
and told him that Baba received it earlier from him.
It was once proposed that Jyotindra should go with his mother to Shirdi and spend
some time there, but the son was unwilling to go, as he thought that in case he
left his home at Bandra, the worship of Baba in their house would
not be properly performed, as his father being a Prarthana Samajist, would not care
to perform puja to Baba's portrait. However, on his father's assurance Jyotindra
and his mother left for Shirdi on one Friday night. Next day (Saturday) Mr. Tarkhad
got up early, took his bath and performed the puja and offered a few pieces of lump-sugar
as naivedya which were given at the time of the lunch. Like this, puja went on well
till Monday. On Tuesday he performed puja and went to the office. Coming home at
noon, he found that there was no Prasad. When the meal was served, he asked the
servant about naivedya and the servant told him that there was no offering made
that morning and that he had completely forgotten to offer naivedya. After hearing
that he left his seat and prostrated himself before Baba’s portrait and expressed
his regret for his lapse. Then he wrote a letter to his son stating the facts and
requested him to lay it before Baba's feet and ask for his pardon for his lapse.
.This happened in Bandra at Tuesday noon. At about the same time, when the noon
Arati was just about to commence in Shirdi, Baba said to Seetadevi, "Mother, I had
been to your house in Bandra, with a view to having something to eat. I found the
door locked. I somehow got an entrance inside and found to My regret, that Bhau
(Mr. Tarkhad) had left nothing for Me to eat. So I have returned from there without
eating anything." The lady could not understand anything; but the son, who was closeby,
understood that there was something wrong with the performance of Puja in Bandra
and he immediately requested Baba to permit him to go home. Baba refused the permission,
but allowed him to perform puja there in Shirdi. Then, the son wrote a letter to
his father, stating what Baba told in Shirdi and requested his father not to neglect
the puja at home. Both these letters crossed each other and were delivered to the
respective parties the next day. This was Baba’s all-pervasiveness and was a great
Once Seetadevi offered three items to Baba and they were: (1) Bharit (roasted brinjal
mixed curds and spices). (2) Kacharya (circular pieces of brinjal fried in ghee),
(3) Peda (sweetmeat balls). Let us see how Baba accepted them. Once Purandare of
Bandra, a great devotee of Baba wanted to start for Shirdi with his family. Seetadevi
went to Mrs. Purandare, and gave her two brinjals and requested her to prepare Bharit
with one bringal and Kacharya with the other and offer them to Baba when she went
to Shirdi. After reaching Shirdi, Mrs. Purandare went with her dish of Bharit to
the masjid when Baba was just about to start his meals. Baba found the Bharit very
tasty. So He distributed it to all and said that he wanted Kacharyas then. A word
was sent to Radha Krishnamai that Baba wanted Kacharyas. She was in a fix, as that
was not a season for brinjals in Shirdi. When an enquiry was made as to who brought
the Bharit, it was found that Mrs. Purandare brought Kacharyas also. Everybody then
became happy and then knew the significance of Baba's enquiry regarding Kacharyas
and was wonderstruck at Baba's all-pervasiveness. In December 1915, one Govind Balaram
Mankar wanted to go to Shirdi to perfrom the obsequies of his father. Before he
left, he came to see Seetadevi. Then she wanted to send something with him to Baba.
She searched the whole house but found nothing, except a Peda, which had already
been offered as naivedya. Govind Mankar was in mourning at that time. Still out
of great devotion to Baba, she sent the Peda with him, hoping that Baba would accept
and eat it. Govind went to Shirdi and saw Baba, but forgot to take the Peda with
him. When again he went to the masjid in the afternoon, he went empty-handed without
the Peda. Baba knew all this and asked him straight, "What did you bring for me?"
"Nothing" was the reply. Then Baba asked him the leading question, "Did not the
mother Seetadevi give some sweetmeat to you for me at the time of your starting?"
He then remembered the whole thing and felt ashamed and asked Baba's pardon, ran
to his lodging, brought the Peda and gave it to Baba. As soon as Baba got it in
his hand and ate it immediately. Baba ate this sumptuously even though the peda
brought was stale and was already offered as naivedya. It was the devotion of Seetadevi
that was recognized by Baba who accepted such a peda even when offered through a
person in mourning.
Once, Seetadevi was staying in a certain house in Shirdi. At noon, meals were ready
and dishes were being served, when a hungry dog turned up there and began to cry,
she got up at once and threw a piece of bread, which the dog gulped happily. In
the afternoon, when she went to the masjid, Baba said to her that she had fed him
sumptuously, advised her to act like that always by first giving bread to the hungry
and then eat herself. As she could not understand the meaning of what Baba said,
she asked Baba as to how she offered food to Baba when she was dependent on others
and was taking her food from them on payment. Then Baba replied that the dog which
before her meals and to which she offered the piece of bread was one with Baba so
also other creatures like cats, pigs, flies, cows etc. were one with him and also
said that he was roaming in their forms and one could serve Baba by feeding any
one of them and she did the same that day. She then understood the significance
of Baba’s words and was extremely happy.
Seetadevi had a great desire to visit Pandharpur for Vithoba’s darshan. She therefore
asked Baba for permission and also said, "Baba! I shall go only if you permit me.
Otherwise my Pandharpur will be at Your feet only." But Baba said, "Aye! Go! you
will have a satisfying darshan and pooja of Vithal." She then went to Pandharpur
with her son Jyotindra. At the temple she had darshan of Vithoba and started performing
her puja. She was in the habit of not taking anybody's assistance while performing
puja of idols at their home. Now here a problem arose while garlanding Vithoba's
idol. She was very short and could not reach the head of the idol for garlanding.
The temple priest standing nearby asked her to give the garland to him so that he
could place it on Vithal’s neck, but she did not give it to him and the priest also
would not allow her to step on the platform for garlanding the idol. At this stage
she was in a quandary as to what to do. Then her son told her that as Baba had promised
a satisfying darshan and pooja at Pandharpur, he asked her to pray to the Lord for
some way out. She then started praying with tears in her eyes. Then the Idol of
Vithal moved forward and slowly lowered down and she then applied the sandal-paste
to Vithoba's forehead with ecstasy and placed the garland around the neck. Then
both of them bowed down on the ground in front of the idol in reverence. On seeing
the idol moving, the priest’s eyes rolled in wonder and he fell down unconsciously
on the ground. Afterwards when he became conscious, he bowed down to them. She and
her son thought that all this had happened because Baba blessed them with a satisfying
darshan and puja at Pandharpur. Lord Vithal or Vithoba was talking to Saint Namdev
and Saint Jnaneshwar and the Lord appeared as a boy before Namdev on some occasions.
The Lord was so generous that He was responding to the earnest desires of the devotees
and as such the moving forward of Lord Vithal's Idol to facilitate the performance
of puja by Seetadevi was not uncommon in the background of these miracles of the
Once Das Ganu was invited to do kirtan in a small village near Shirdi. When
Das Ganu went to Baba to ask for permission, Baba asked him to take with him Seetadevi
and her son, Jyotindra. So Das Ganu went to the village with Seetadevi and Jyotindra.
In the evening when the kirtan was going on, some aboriginals happened to pass that
way with a dead body on the bier. Seeing the kirtan going on they placed the bier
on the ground in front of them and suddenly their leader said that if Sai Baba was
so great in powers, could he revive this dead man. They also said that thereafter
only they could believe Das Ganu’s eulogy of Sai Baba. Then Das Ganu was perplexed
and consulted Seetadevi and Jyotindra for the next step to be taken and they told
Das Ganu to continue the kirtan with utmost devotion and vigour and Sai Baba's nam-gajar
(non-stop recitation of Sai-nam) in between. Slowly the kirtan made all the people
spellbound and even the aboriginals joined in the singing. Then suddenly a miracle
had happened and the dead body started moving and broke open the ropes and got up.
Smiling on the bier, he started clapping his hands in tune with the bhajan going
on. Everybody was highly pleased in wonder and they shouted "Victory to Shri Sai
Baba." And all the people present including the aboriginals became staunch devotees
Once in Shirdi, there was a terrible storm, the winds began to blow forcibly, the
clouds began to roar loudly, the lightning began to flash incessantly and the rains
began to descend in torrents, Jyotindra was present in Shirdi at that time.. At
that time to protect the villagers and the cattle gathered there, Baba standing
on the edge of the masjid, shouted repeatedly at the storm in loud and thunderous
voice to subside and be calm. Jyotindra had heard these shouts. Baba thus told him
that there was a cloud burst and that the waves of water were descending that way
and advised him to run for safety. Jyotindra also saw a huge column of black coloured
water, 15 to 20 feet in height was coming towards him and he got frightened, closed
his eyes and prayed to Baba to save him from being buried in the watery grave. After
some time he felt that he was alive and opened his eyes and saw on either side water
was raging while he was miraculously standing on a dry piece of land. After water
receded he slowly walked in the water and came to the room in Shirdi. Thus Baba
protected him from being washed away in the terrible torrent.
Jyotindra was born in 1895 and was visiting Shirdi with his mother from his 14th
year onwards and visited Shirdi as many as 17 times during 1908 to 1918 and had
many more experiences all of which are not found in Shri Sai
Satcharita. Perhaps Jyotindra himself was averse in narrating his personal experiences
openly. Jyotindra got married and had children. However, his son, Virendra had very
kindly narrated to Shri B.V.Narasimhaswamiji in an interview some of his father’s
and grand mother’s experiences, heard from his father. One interesting instance
in which Baba tested him is given below. Baba used to test his devotees to see if
they hankered after money and gold. Once he asked Jyotindra to accompany him to
Lendi Bagh. They both went to the Lendi stream and stood near the bank. Baba showed
to him lumps of gold in the stream in the Lendibagh and asked him to take as much
as he wanted. But, Jyotindra was not at all tempted in material matters and refused.
His only intention was to be with Baba and develop spiritually. At last in 1965
on Monday in the holy month of Shravan, Jyotindra left this world in great peace
and satisfaction with Sai-nam on his lips. Indeed great was Jyotindra's devotion
and greater was his fortune in having been greatly blessed by Baba spiritually.
It is surprising to note that R.A.Tarkhad who was originally against the Idol worship,
became the First Treasurer of the Shirdi Sai Baba Sansthan after it was formed in
1922 with the permission of Ahmednagar Court.