(Appaji Patel was sturdy and strong and was thinking that he had the strength of
mythological Bhima. He also displayed his strength on several occasions by lifting
Baba. But Baba wanted to put his pride down and accordingly on one occasion, he
could not lift Baba at which Baba laughed and his pride came down.)
Bayyaji Appaji Patel also called as Bayyaji Patel or Bayji Kote knew Baba since
his childhood. His house was one of the five houses from where Baba used to seek
alms regularly. Baba used to collect alms in the beginning eight times a day, later
four times a day and reduced subsequently to two times a day and finally reduced
to one time a day till his Mahasamadhi. From his 11th year onwards, Appaji Patel
was serving Baba with unswerving devotion.
His house was one of the few houses from which Baba took his bikhsha, i.e., begged
bread from the beginning of his life here and up to the end. At about 8-00 AM, Baba
would start on his begging rounds and went to his house and other four houses.Appaji
Patel was sturdy and strong and he was, in general, thinking that he had the strength
of mythological Bhima. He also displayed his strength on several occasions by lifting
Baba after massaging his legs and placing him in front of dhuni. But Baba wanted
to put his pride down and accordingly on one occasion, he could not lift Baba at
which Baba laughed and his pride came down.
Baba used to give, for full 14 years till his Mahasamadhi, four Rupees daily to
Appaji Patel and advised him not to part with or spend it but only use it for the
purpose of investment only and accordingly he saved all such amounts and invested
them for purchase of as many as 84 acres of land. He had already 10 or 11 acres
of other land. Thus with Baba’s Grace he became very rich. Baba gave advices to
him on several matters. Once Baba advised Appaji Patel not to raise sugarcane crop
in his fields, but despite Baba’s advice, he raised sugarcane crop and incurred
some loss. Baba had wonderful knowledge about future developments.
Ramnavami celebrations were started in Shirdi in 1896 and from that year onwards,
Baba permitted Hindus to affix sandal paste to Baba and do pooja and allowed Muslims
to read Koran before him in the masjid. Urs celebrations also were started by Appa
Kulkarni out of his gratitude for Baba
for the acquittal, granted to him with Baba’s Grace, in the embezzlement case against
him. Baba also allowed Namaz in the masjid, but only on Saturdays. To avoid differences
between Hindus and Muslims and bring among them a sense of brotherhood, Baba asked
sandal paste to be applied to Hindus and Muslims as well. His father, Nana Sahib
Chandorkar, Tatya Patel and few others bore the expenses of these celebrations.
In 1913, his father who was over 70 years of age went out as usual on horse back
and returned with a stroke of paralysis. He went to Baba and asked for his Udhi.
Baba said, "I will not give Udhi. Allah Malik Hai." . On the third day of the attack,
his father passed away on an auspicious day. Next day Appaji Patel went to the masjid
and then Baba asked him not to worry about the loss of his father and also said
that his father would take birth as his son shortly. As per Baba’s words, he got
a son subsequently.
On 15th Oct, 1918, which was Tuesday, Ekadashi also in the Muslim month of Muharram,
Baba told him that he was going away, asked him to carry him (Baba) to Dagdiwada
(stone building constructed by Booty) and expressed that all Brahmins would be living
near him. Baba also said that he did not feel well in the masjid and also Baba added,
"I am going. Carry me to Wada. All Brahmins will be living near me." With these
words, he breathed his last. After these words were spoken, Nana Nimonkar poured
water into Baba’s mouth but the water came out. Appaji Patel held his hand below
Baba’s chin to catch the water. Baba leaned upon Appaji Patel and passed away into
Mahasamadhi. After noon arati was over, Baba sent all the devotees including Kaka
Dixit to go to wada and take meals and they were taking the meals but on hearing
the news of Baba’s Mahasamadhi, all of them rushed to the masjid without completing
the meals. At that time, there were many troubles. Government took charge of all
the properties. There was wrangling between Hindus and Muslims. Muslims said that
Baba should be buried in a separate building to be constructed at the expense of
people who like Appaji Patel and few others, had got benefit by Baba’s daily bounty.
All Hindus wanted firmly burial in the Dagdiwada in accordance with Baba's desire.
The Kopergaon Mamlatdar, Kulkarni was present at that time and the Rahata Foujdar
Chakra Narayana also was present. The Mamlatdar decided that the public present,
including. both Hindus and Muslims should express their views and that he would
agree with the views of the majority for carrying out
the task. Muslims prepared Mahajar with their signatures and their strength was
100 or less. Hindus prepared Mahajar with their signatures and their strength was
over 200 and among these Hindus, there were prominent persons like H. S. Dixit,
Bapu Saheb Jog, Bala Saheb Bhate, and others. Therefore the views of the Hindus,
being that of the majority, prevailed and Baba's body was interred in the Dagdiwada
in accordance with Baba’s desire. .
On 16th Oct, Wednesday, arati and pooja was performed as usual to Baba’s Body as
per Baba’s instructions given to Laxmanmama Joshi in his dream in the early morning
on Wednesday. Nearly after 36 hours after Baba’s Mahasamadhi, Baba’s Body was moved
from the masjid and given a bath on a wooden cot and his kafni was easily removed
without any tearing. On Wednesday night, Baba’s Body was taken in procession from
the masjid and brought to Dagdiwada and interred with all formalities in the Dagdiwada.
Baba thus miraculously occupied the temple premises instead of Muralidhar in the
Dagdiwada, as perhaps he was the incarnation of Lord Krishna..
In 1932, Baba gave him timely intimation about a bull. At Shirdi, a bull was marked
with a trident, being thus dedicated to God Shiva and was freely grazing all over
the village and near the Lendi garden also. It was creating harm to the gardens
and hence he along with others contributed some money for the expenses of sending
it to a pinjrapole at Yeola. The bull was then entrusted to one Bhiku Marwadi with
the money for taking it away to be left at the pinjrapole. Bhiku returned after
some time and told them that he had performed that duty. That night Baba appeared
in Appaji Patel’s dream and said, "Are you sleeping ? I have been tied to the door
of a butcher." Then he immediately woke up and consulted Tatya Patel and others
on this dream. All of them concluded that the bull had been left with a butcher
and not left at the pinjrapole at Yeola as asked by them. So Appaji Patel started
at once and went to Yeola and searched for the bull at the two pinjrapole-places
there. It was not there and he learnt that Bhikku had not taken the bull there.
Then he went round and looked near the butchers' quarters. The bull was located
and was lifting its head over a wall at that time and was found in a butcher's place.
It was to be cut up that very day by the butcher and the butcher told him that he
had purchased it for Rs.14 from Bhiku. The bull was thus rescued and placed in the
pinjrapole. A case was filed against Bhiku
who was charged, convicted and sentenced to 2 months' imprisonment. Even after Baba’s
Mahasamadhi, Baba was active, guiding and protecting all the devotees in the same
way in which he used to do when he was in mortal coil.
He was interviewed by B.V.Narasimha Swamiji in 1936 when he was aged 47 years and
he gave all these details minutely based on which all his experiences with Baba
came to light. His portrait was also installed in the Samadhimandir along with the
portraits of other ardent devotees.