(Justice Rege introduced Justice P.R.Avaste to B.V.Narasimha Swami in 1936 who,
accompanied by Justice Avaste, visited all the ardent devotees of Baba who were
then living at that time and collected first hand information directly in person
about Baba and published books, containing their experiences with Baba, resulting
in wider publicity. Justice Rege was indirectly instrumental for this wonderful
Justice M.B.Rege had some visions in 1910 at the age of 21 years and in one vision
he felt that he was moving in some strange way. It was like levitation in the air.
In the vision he was carried to a village where he found some one there and asked
him what village that was. He said it was Shirdi and then he asked that person,
"Is there any person named 'Sai Baba' here?". "Yes" he answered, "come and see".
Then in the vision Rege was taken to a masjid and there he saw Sai Baba who was
seated with legs outstretched and then Rege went and reverently placed his head
on Baba’s feet. Then Baba got up and said, "Do you take my darshan? I am your debtor,
I must take your darshan," and Baba placed his head on Rege’s feet. Then they parted.
All this happened in the vision. This had happened in 1910.
These visions impressed Rege greatly. Before that time Rege had seen a picture of
Sai Baba in the usual seated posture and he knew nothing more about Baba. He did
not then know that Baba often sat with both legs outstretched. Some time later,
Rege started on his first visit to Baba in Shirdi, and tried to verify his visions
and to see if Sai Baba was his destined Guru as indicated in the vision.
Rege went to Shirdi and when Rege went to Sai Baba in the masjid, there were many
other people with Baba. He went and prostrated, placing his head on Baba’s feet.
Baba then said, "What! Do you worship a man?" At once Rege retreated some distance
and sat in the masjid. It was true that his scholastic pursuits made him not to
worship any human being-which Baba knew. And immediately he thought that Baba was
hitting at him for visiting Baba with such thinking in his mind. As he was deeply
shocked, he continued to sit in the masjid for some more time. Then all persons
had cleared off, leaving Baba alone in the masjid. It was believed that none should
go to Baba at that time in the afternoon when Baba was alone for fear of any serious
harm as a penalty for the entry at an odd hour. But he wanted to go near Baba unmindful
of any consequences. When he was slightly
away, Baba gently beckoned to him to come near. Thus encouraged he went and placed
his head on Baba’s feet. Baba at once hugged him, asked him to sit nearby and Baba
also said to him: "You are my child. When others, i.e. strangers are in the company,
we keep the children off". Then Rege felt extremely happy and understood satisfactorily
the earlier happening. Then Baba told him to go and put up with Ramakrishnamai and
he went and stayed there.
Whenever he visited Shirdi, he was always staying in the residence of Radhakrishnamai.
Radhakrishnamai was a noble and affectionate person and he was treating her as his
mother and she was also treating him as her son. She used to get some bread/roti
from Baba as prasad - on which alone she was living and Baba used to send her an
additional roti for Rege whenever he was there. Her devotion to Baba was very intense.
She was living only for Baba and wanted to carry out as per Baba’s directions.
Rege was of the view that he progressed in his spiritual pursuits by Baba’s instructions
and guidance through Radhakrishnamai. For achieving spiritual progress, Rege and
Radhakrishnamai thought that japa only was the best method and also they decided
that they should use only Saibaba’s name in the japa. Both performed japa on the
first day. Later in the day, Baba sent word for him and when he came to the masjid,
Baba asked him what was going on in the cottage of Radhakrishnamai. "Japa". He said,
"Of what name?" Baba asked. "Of my God", He replied. "What is your God?" Baba enquired.
Then he simply replied, "You know it," and then Baba smiled and said, "That is right".
Thus Rege started achieving spiritual progress through Japa which Baba approved
and was started through Radhakrishnamai.
He intently meditated on Baba and had Baba's vision during meditation. He was not
in the habit of studying even Gita upto that time and did not pay much attention
to any spiritual study in his earlier days. Baba said to Rege, “You are alright.
Do not read books, but keep me in your heart. …..”. Rege was therefore concentrating
always on Baba with intense devotion and love.
During the Guru Poornima time in 1912, he went to Shirdi and observed that each
devotee at Manmad was having a basket full of flower garlands meant for Baba and
he immediately thought that he had forgotten carrying a garland to Shirdi. He then
went to Shirdi and in the masjid, he found that
Baba was fully covered with several garlands and he was under a heavy weight of
flower garlands and he felt sorry for having not brought any garland and like this
he thought internally. Then Baba lifted up a bundle of the garlands with his hand
and said to Rege, "All these are yours". Rege was surprised at Baba’s kindness and
Again he visited Shirdi in the same year, 1912 and he took with him Rs.100. When
he visited Baba, Baba asked him Rs.40 as dakshina which he readily gave. After some
time, Baba again asked him another Rs.40 which was also given with equal readiness.
Once again, Baba asked him the balance of Rs.20 as dakshina which was also given
without any hesitation. Actually, he was very happy for having given the entire
amount he was having and he did not have any pie left with him. Then Baba again
sent word for him and when he came to the masjid, Baba again asked Rege for dakshina.
At this stage he said that he had no money to offer to Baba. Then Baba asked him
to go to some other persons and get money from them and also suggested to him to
go to Shama and get the money.. He went to Shama and told him what took place in
the masjid and asked him for money. He then said that Rege did not understand Baba
correctly and also said "Does Baba care a rap for your rupees? " Shama also said,
"No, what he wants is your mind and heart, your time and soul to be devoted to him.
That is his meaning". Rege went back and told Baba what Shama had said. Then Baba
smiled and said, "Go to Dixit and ask him" to give money. He then went to Dixit
and told him what Baba had advised him. He then replied that Baba's direction to
him had to be understood in the circumstances as a lesson meant for Rege--that Rege
should not feel absence of money or the begging for money as an embarrassment or
for anything else as a humiliation and that Rege should not treat himself as above
the level of begging. Rege again went back to the masjid and informed Baba what
all Dixit said. Baba again smiled and then asked him to go to Nanasaheb Chandorkar
and ask him for a loan. He went to Khandoba's temple where Nanasaheb Chandorkar
was reading some religious books under the guidance of .Upasani Sastri and told
Nanasaheb what all had happened in the masjid and finally requested him to give
a loan. But, Nanasaheb, instead of giving money, showed his worldly wisdom and said
that he knew how delicate the situation was when Baba asked for dakshina when there
was no money to be given to Baba. Nanasaheb advised
him to follow his way of handling such situations. He continued saying that whenever
Nana used to go to Shirdi, he would start with certain money with him and leave
a half at Kopergaon with some one as a reserve and that it would be painful to say
'No' when Baba was asking for money. Nana also said that he would give money on
Baba asking for dakshina and that in case the money with him was exhausted and in
case of further need, he would be drawing on the reserve by sending some one to
Kopargaon. Nana finally advised Rege to follow his example. Rege went back to the
masjid and told Baba what Nana said and advised. Immediately Baba sent word for
Nanasaheb and when he came Baba asked him for dakshina of Rs.40. He paid it happily
and went away. Again he sent word for Nana and asked for another Rs.40 which was
also paid by Nana. Again Baba got Nana in the masjid and received as dakshina the
last amount available with Nana. Immediately Nana sent some one to Kopergaon for
getting his reserve amount. But Baba immediately asked Nana to give further amount
as dakshina and at this stage Nana felt humiliated for saying that he did not have
money. The lesson that was taught to all of them, was that it was wrong on the part
of any body to think that any one could supply all that Baba might ask for. Thus
Baba made Rege understand how different people interpreted Baba’s demand for dakshina.
The real purpose of Baba's demand of dakshina was not what Shama, Dixit or Nana
felt it was but the purpose was only to teach lessons of humility. Baba really cared
nothing for money or for presents. What he really wanted was unswerving and wholehearted
love towards Baba. Baba knew Rege’s views, but wanted Rege to understand the views
of others in this regard.
Rege’s father-in-law was also a devotee of Baba. In 1914 Rege’s third daughter was
to be married and an invitation was sent to Baba. Baba also sent a reply, saying
that he would attend. As the marriage ceremony was going on, the postman delivered
a letter from Baba along with a packet of udi. The udi was meant to be applied to
the foreheads of the bride and bridegroom. Just about the same time, a fakir came
and asked Rege’s father-in-law for a dakshina. As he was busy with the function
he did not pay attention to the strange visitor. Later it occurred to him that thefakir
might be Baba himself. After knowing, Rege said that if indeed the visitor was Baba
himself, he should confirm it by appearing again. The very next day, the same
fakir again appeared and asked for dakshina which Rege gave happily.
During Ramanavami celebrations in 1915, before going to Shirdi, Rege went into the
Indore cloth bazaar and bought a fine lace-embroidered muslin cloth of the Dacca
type with lace border all around and he wanted to present it to Baba. It was a very
nice cloth and could be folded into a small packet. He took it with him to Shirdi
and kept it inside his shirt.Devotees usually would go and present Baba with cloth
which would be returned to the devotees with Baba's blessings—which was the usual
practice. But Rege decided in his mind that if Baba really cared for his love, Baba
should receive the cloth and should not return the same to him but retain it for
his use.When the devotees went and presented their clothes, they were placed on
Baba and were returned at the end to the concerned devotees. In order to avoid the
cloth being returned, Rege had taken his small packet and when he bowed to Baba,
he tactfully pushed the packet under Baba’s seat. All clothes presented, were returned
and no body noticed what was beneath the seat of Baba. Baba then got up and said
"Clear off all that lies on the gadi/seat and dust it". When the gadi was removed,
there was the small muslin packet below the gadi. Baba picked it up and said, "Hello,
What is this? Muslin!" and spread it out and said, "I am not going to return this.
This is mine". He then put it round his neck and said to Rege, "Don't I look nice
in this?". Rege felt immensely happy as his cloth was accepted and retained by Baba
for his use.
He had gone to Shirdi and was staying as usual in the cottage of Radhakrishnamai.
In the afternoon, when Baba was alone, he sent word for him and after every body
left the masjid, Baba asked him to sit nearby and said "The key of my treasury is
now placed in your hands. Ask anything you want, e.g., Rs.5 or Rs. 100 a month,
or what you like and I will give it to you". Rege felt at once that this was a temptation
and declined to ask for any favour. He also felt that Baba knew what was good for
him and that it was for Baba to decide and give. Baba then insisted on his asking.
Then Rege said, "Is it agreed Baba, that you will grant anything I ask for?" "Yes"
was his answer. "Then Baba," Rege asked, "I want this, in this and in any future
birth that may befall on me you should never part from me. You should always be
with me.'' And Baba patted him happily and said, "Yes I shall be with you, inside
you, and outside you, whatever you may be or do." Rege
was extremely happy and felt that Baba was always with him.
Many years later, he lost a child in a building which had numerous occupants and
his wife was greatly depressed. Rege assured her that Baba did only what was good
for them and had taken away that child and so they should not lament. Then Baba
appeared to him and said, "Do you want me or the dead child? Choose. You cannot
have both. If you want me to revive the child, I will; but then you will have me
no more with you. If you do not want revival, you will have many children in due
course." He had no hesitation in telling Baba that he wanted Baba. "Then do not
grieve", Baba said and vanished. Thus Baba was encouraging him on all occasions
by his presence.
His methods of help were different for different people and depended on the need
of the devotee concerned and the attendant circumstances. Baba had helped Rege in
several ways and also given him valuable advice in all the situations.
During 1923, he went to Nagpur to have darshan of Hazrat Baba Tajuddin Aulia of
Nagpur. This Baba was one of the most outstanding mystics during that time. He was
worshiped by both the Hindus and Muslims and others for his highly amazing spiritual
powers and for bestowal of benedictions to all the suffering humanity. His reputation
had spread to far off places as the greatest Sufi Saint. It was very difficult to
have darshan of Tajuddin Baba. Rege observed that a large crowd was waiting for
the darshan of Tajuddin Baba. As Rege had to catch a train that evening, so he wanted
to wait till 3-00 PM on that day. And miraculously, some one came out just before
3-00 PM and told Rege that Tajuddin Baba wanted to see him. Thus he had darshan
of Tejuddin Baba who also blessed him. Rege felt that this rare happening took place
at the eleventh hour due to Sai Baba's Grace.
Baba continued to help and guide Rege even after Baba’s Mahasamadhi. Rege regarded
Baba representing also the spirit of Sri Ramakrishna Pramahamsa and in this connection,
it is worth mentioning an instance of Baba’s help, confirming such a perception
of identity. In 1928, he went to Dakshineswar to see the places and things of interest
and engaged the services of a guide to see the temples. The guide showed him the
Kali Idol that Paramahamsa worshipped as also other images. But Rege was anxious
to see the tiny image of Ramlal that played as a living boy with
Paramahamsa, and expressed his desire to the guide to show that tiny image. Then
the guide took him to a temple and showed him a huge image and said that was Ramlal.
But Rege said it could not be the same as Rege had thoroughly read the life history
of Paramahamsa. At the same time, a priest suddenly appeared before Rege and enquired
if he was from Deccan. Rege replied affirmatively and then the priest said that
he would show him all the images at a very close distance and explain every thing
with full details. Then the priest wanted Rege to visit all the temples again and
he would not expect any money from Rege. The priest also said that he had been instructed
in a dream in the previous night that a devotee from Deccan would be visiting on
the next day and that he should take him to all the temples and show the images
and help him to worship them. Then the priest took Rege inside each temple and also
to the sanctum sanctorum of the temples and also permitted Rege to touch the images
and worship as he liked. Then the priest said that he would also show Ramlal to
Rege. Rege said that he had been shown a huge figure as Ramlal by his guide. The
priest said that the guide deceived him. The priest then took up the tiny image
of Ramlal that Paramahamsa had played with and placed it on the lap of Rege. Thus
the desire of Rege was fulfilled beyond all his expectations by the Grace of Baba
who was no other than Ramakrishna.
B.V.Narasimhaswamiji who was in search of a real saint, came to Shirdi after he
was convinced that Sai Baba was a real saint, nay a walking God in Shirdi. He was
invited by Rege who introduced him to Justice P.R.Avaste.Accompanied by Justice
Avaste, he along with Narasimhaswami, visited all the ardent devotees of Baba who
were then living at that time and thus facilitated collection of first hand information
from them directly in person. And then Narasimhaswami published books containing
their experiences with Baba. Swami also founded the 'Sai Sudha' magazine and was
responsible for starting All India Sai Samaj in Madras. Though Swami did not visit
Shirdi when Baba was in mortal coil, he did lot of service in propagating the mission,
messages and miracles of Baba across India, mainly in the South and was also instrumental
in making Baba known across India and also abroad and by any reckoning he was a
very highly-placed and very important devotee of Baba. After rendering service to
Baba till his last moment, Narasimha Swamiji passed away in 1956. After 10 years,
unveiled the Swami's portrait in the Samadhi Mandir in Shirdi in 1966 so that Narasimha
Swamiji became forever as one of Shirdi Sai Baba's dedicated disciples, even though
he never met Baba personally.Rege was a direct and blessed disciple of Shirdi Sai
Baba and was associated with Baba on several occasions. He passed away on 30th Oct,
1968 and was a great ankita bhakta of Baba.