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Offline JR

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A Search For the Birth Place of Shri Sai Baba 2
« on: March 06, 2007, 01:37:11 AM »
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  • Yet another version is contained in the biography of   Satya Sai Baba, who    claims to be   a   reincarnation   of   Sai   Baba   of Shirdi.    Swami Sai-Sharananand refers to   this story   at pages 13 and 27-28 in his  biography   of   Sai Baba of Shirdi. It appears that Sai Baba's parents were residents of Pathri.    His  father was Gangabhava and Devagiriamma was   his    mother.    They   were   a pious couple and were devotees   of the   Lord   Shankar.    As they had no issue they were   sad.

       However,   through    the practice of penance they obtained a   boon   from   Shankar-Parvati   and   as a result, Shankar took birth   in their  family as Sai Baba.   Gradua¬lly,   Gangabhava became more and   more   absorbed  in his tapas, and he decided to renounce the   world.    Devagiriamma inisted on accompanying him.    So, both of them retired to a forest, abandon¬ing Sai Baba under a tree.    A Fakir and his spouse were passing by.    They saw the child, and regarding   it   as   a gift   of   Allah adopted it and brought it up until  Sai   was 12.   Later the   Fakir was pressurized by local Muslims   to   turn him   out   as   he   was fond of playing with a Shiva Linga which he   won in a game he played with the son of the local Zamindar.   So began his wander¬ing along the banks of Godavari, in the course of which, he came to Aurangabad    There he encountered Chand Patil   of Dhupkhed, who recovered his lost mare through   the grace of Sai.   The later part of his life story is known to all.

    And so Pathri, was our destination! Yet we knew so little about Pathri, when we planned to visit it. The history of Pathri which is recorded hereinafter was collected only after our return; from discussions with a : learned friend who is a noted authority on the mediaeval history of the Deccan.

    Pathri which was in early mediaeval times known as Parthapur, is situated 80 to 85 miles south-east of Devagiri (Doulatabad) and about 2 miles south-west, from the confluence of Vjdarbha (Mangale) and Godavari rivers. It was a part of Vidarbha King¬dom which was ruled by the Yadavas of Deogiri and was a seat of mathematical learning . As Pathri was a part ot the Yadava Kingdom, its history is a part of the history of Devagiri or Daulatabad. It was the village, the Kulkarni Vatan of which was held by a family Which rose to great eminence in the days of the Bahamanis. Bahira or Bhairav Kulkarni (chaudhari) of this family who probably had migrated to Vijayanagar and entered the service of that Kingdom was in about 1440, captured by Bahamani troops and brought to Bidar. Here ihe Sultan apprecia¬tive of the intelligence and general behaviour of Bahiru enrolled him in royal service after converting him to Islam. Bhairav now became Malik Hasan and in course of time rising to eminence, he was given the title of Nizam-uI-Mulk and was made governor of a Bahmani province. His son Ahmed founded the Nizamshni dynasty of Ahmednagar (1489) when the Bahmani Kingdom broke into five fragments. Finally, the Subhedar of Moguls in the Deccan, the Nizam established his domain over the territory of Daulatabad including Pathri and Pathri has since been a Taluka place.

    Pathri is about 10 to 12 miles from Manwat Road Railway Station on the Manmad-Secunderabad Line. When we decided in in 1975 Summer, to camp at Pathri for a few days, to get authen¬tic information about Sai Baba's early life, Manwat had come into prominence because of a series of Murders which showed diabolical pre-planning. By June, we had established links with a family at Pathri who were to be our hosts. Our host was none other than Shri Dinkarrao Vasudeo Chaudhari, a scion of the famous Chaudhari family at Pathri, with a long history behind them. Shri Dinkarrao Chaudhari is a progressive farmer and a lawyer. He was a perfect host. He regarded us and our mission as his own and rendered us all assistance.

    There are a number of branches   of  Chaudhari   family   at Pathri,   but most of them live in the fortress which dates back to about fourteenth century.    Shri Dinkarrao Chaudhari has now constructed a house just outside the   fortress, where he lives. It was our abode during our halt in Pathri, On 21st June   evening, when we sat in the verandh overlooking the fortress, in an informal conversation,   Dinkarrao made a point which caught my attention -He said, that years ago, his late father Vasudeorao had pointed to one Bhau Bhusari in Pathri, and remarked at the sad plight of the  family descendant of Sai Baba!    The next day, some   Muslim clients of Dinkarrao who had come for consultation stated that accor¬ding to their information Sai Baba was born in a Brahmin family of Pathri, but was taken away by a Wali when a child, and what happened later was not known.    This also furnished another clue So, we promptly commenced with the task of   making a complete list of all Brahmin families of Pathri.   Brahmins in Pathri are all Deshastha Brahmins, either Rigvedi or Yajurvedi.   There are no Brahmins of any  other   sect  or   sub-caste.   This   list   was  made while   we made the rounds of  Pathri   going   from door to door, interviewing all old residents. Brahmins   or otherwise.    In discus¬sions, it came to light   that the family   deity of most of the Brahmin families in Pathri is   either    Goddess      Renuka   of Mahur or Yogeshwari of  Ambe-jogai.   There    was     only     one exception.   That is Bhusari family. Incidentally, Bhusaris are  Yajurvedi   Deshastha   Brahmins. Their . family deity is Hanuman of Kumbharbavdi on    the   outskirts of Pathri. So our   minds   began working frantically.   We   recalled the   great   devotion and   respect Sai   Baba    had   for   Rama   and Hanuman  Temple on the Hanuman, and mused, "Could it out skirts   of   Pathri be that   our   search had at last borne fruit". With alacrity, we made our way to Vaishnav Galli, where we examined with reverence the ruins of Bhusari House (House No 4-438-61) for it is no longer standing, and proceeded silently to pay our respects to Hanuman of Panchbavadi. There is also a "Lendi" River skirting Pathri and we were reminded of "Lendi Baug*' at   Shirdi.   The association between   the   two    is obvious.   Similarity   between   the Marathi spoken   by Sai Baba and the language spoken   in   Marath-wada, generally, was  also notice¬able.   We were most impressed by the fact that the language spoken by all the   strata of   the Society, from the lowest to the highest, is uniform and there is no different even in the speech of the elite.

    The    population of Pathri is about 10,000. In its appearance, Pathri is as   it   must   have   been Ancestral house of Bhusaries at Pathri centuries   back.    Progress has hardly touched it.    Only during the last few year, electricity has been brought to  its door-step, and link established with the other parts through the   State Transport Service     But otherwise life is placid, as it must have been, in the olden days.    My mind was   carried   back   to the time when   Sai Baba was born.    No exact date or year   of   his   birth  is   known. For that matter, there is also difference of opinion about the time of his arrival   in Shirdi.    According   to   Shri Sai Satcharita, he first came to Shirdi in 1854, vanished and reappeared in 1858, and settled   down.   According to Shri Narsimhaswami   who   is supported by M.W.Pradhan  +    Sai Baba   first   arrived   in Shirdi in 1872. All that we know is that Sai Baba breathed his last on 15th October, 1918. And one can only guess how old he must have been from his photographs that are available.

    Can we then say with reasonable certainty that Sai Baba was born in Bhusari family?. Excepting the information given by a prominent citizen of Pathri to his son on the subject, is there any circumstantial evidence? To collect this, if possible. I decided to pursue the matter further. I opened correspondence with Prof Raghunath Maharudra Bhusari who owns the house of Bhusaris at Pathri. He was professor of Marathi in Osmania University and later Principal of a Government College, from which post, he retired sixteen years ago, and settled down in Hyderabad He was born in Pathri and had his early education there Vvhen he was eight, he lost his father. At the age of twelve, he left Pathri and went to Parabhani, a district town, for further education. After matriculating he moved to Hyderabad from where he graduated in Arts, standing third in the University This won him a scholarship for M A. at the Calcutta University, which he completed successfully. Prof, Bhusari states that Koner-dada was their first known ancestor. No information is availa¬ble about the next two generations, but the family- tree of three later generations is known which is reproduced below :-

    Dada   Haribhan   Ambadas   Balwat
    Raghunath   Bhau         

    Prof. Bhusari further states that he had learnt from his grand mother, when he was a child, that Haribhau, Ambadas and Bai-want had all left Pathri for good. While Haribhau might have gone in search of God, the latter two had gone to seek their fortune. In the next generation, Parshurambapu had also taken Sannyas at Manjartha (In Bhir District), which is situated at the confluence of Godavari and Sindhufena. His son Bhau who was not much educated, and died in poverty, was the person about whose condition Shri Vasudeorao Chaudhari had ,an occasion to speak to his son Dinkarrao. This is sufficient evidence to confirm that the Bhusari family of Pathri has produced persons of higher urges and impulses. Could it not be that Shri Haribhau Bhusari was Sai Baba ? I wonder !

    The theory advanced above is probable. I discussed it jointly with an experienced lawyer and a reputed historian and both of them agreed that it could be so. I do not wish to add anything either. I leave the matter to the readers to judge for themselves. Since I decided to pen this article , I have learnt that the residents o: Pathri are keen to acquire Bhusari House property at Pathri and to erect on it a memorial to the sacred memory of Sai Baba. May their efforts be crowned with success.

    V.  B. Kher
    Bombay 52
    सबका मालिक एक - Sabka Malik Ek

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