UDDHARI SANKATI BHAKTANTE
(In times of perils, the Almighty comes to the rescue of His devotees)
From 1902, for some years, Nanasaheb was the Mamledar of Jamner Taluka of Khandesh province. It is during this period that Baba gave him a miraculous experience at the time of pregnancy of Nanasaheb’s daughter Mainatai.
The doctors had predicted Mainatai’s delivery date to be in the early months of 1905. Nanasaheb had, therefore, brought her to Jamner from Pune. Finally, the time for delivery of the child arrived. Doctors and nurses were trying their best to help her in delivering the baby. However, their efforts were proved to be futile. Nanasaheb then resorted to invoking the blessings of the Almighty. He arranged to perform religious rites like Navachandi Havan, Saptashati Pathan etc. But, the child’s birth was not taking place. Even the life of the would-be mother was now at stake.
Then, at about 5 in the evening, as per his usual practice, Nanasaheb started fervently praying to Baba. While praying, a thought came to his mind - ‘If I get Baba’s Aarati and Udi, then even if the Lord Yam (God of death) comes himself, he will have to return empty handed.’
At the same time, here in Shirdi, Ramgeer Bua suddenly developed an urge to go to his native village in Khandesh area. He, therefore, went to Baba to seek His permission. Baba replied, “Bapugeer, you be rest assured. But, on the way, do go to Jamner. Stay with Nana and then proceed to your village. And one more thing - give him this Udi and this piece of paper of Aarati !” Baba instructed Shama (Madhavrao Deshpande) to copy down ‘Aarati Sai Baba’ (composed by Madhavrao Adkar) on a piece of paper and pass it on to Ramgeer Bua.
Ramgeer Bua said, “Baba, I have only two rupees in my pocket. In that amount, how will I be able to undertake the journey to Jamner ?” Baba assured him, “Don’t worry about it. Everything will get arranged.” Satisfied, Ramgeer Bua took leave of Baba and set on the journey - carrying with him the Udi and paper of Aarati.
By the time he reached Jalgaon, he had spent one rupee and fourteen Anas on the train fare – leaving with him only two Anas. And, he had yet to cover a distance of about 44 kilometers between Jalgaon and Jamner. He was unable to think of any way out. Just then he spotted a sepoy at a far away spot. The man was searching for Ramgeer Bua ! He said, “Nanasaheb has sent me to fetch you. He is anxiously waiting for you. Let us not waste any more time.” Hearing this Ramgeer Bua was overjoyed. His worries over, he immediately sat in Tonga brought by the man.
From the type of moustache, beard and clothes worn by the sepoy, he appeared to be a Muslim. The duo travelled through out the night. In early hours of the morning, the sepoy halted the Tonga by the side of a stream to give rest to its horse. He fetched water from the stream and took out some snacks. Ramgeer Bua was worried about eating food from the hands of a ‘Muslim’. But, the sepoy immediately resolved the issue and clarified that he is a ‘Kshatriya Rajput’. They shared the food and set on to complete the remaining journey.
On entering the town, Bua located Nanasaheb’s office. He rushed inside as he had to answer call of nature. On returning, he found that the sepoy, the Tonga and the horses were nowhere to be seen ! Bua was surprised. He again went back inside the office. There he came to know that Nanasaheb was at home only.
Bua met Nana. At that time, the religious rites (Havan, Yadnya, Pathan etc.) were going on. Bua gave Nana the Udi and paper of Aarati. On seeing these, Nanasaheb felt relieved - In spite of the difficult circumstances prevailing around him at that time. He immediately called his wife and asked her to feed the Udi through water to Mainatai and he himself began reciting the Aarati. The moment the Udi entered her stomach, Mainatai’s pains began subsiding and in due course she delivered the baby. Everyone around heaved a sigh of relief.
Bua now enquired with Nana, “I don’t see the Tongevala you had sent to fetch me. Where is he ?” Nanasaheb got confused. He replied, “I did not send anyone. No one here knew that you were coming. Then, where is the question of sending some one to fetch you ?” Bua narrated in detailed the story from its very beginning. On hearing it, Nanasaheb was stunned and moved. Tears started streaming from his eyes.
Unfortunately, the child delivered by Mainatai did not live long. Mainatai had lost her husband just before the birth of the child due to the epidemic of plague. This second death was a tremendous blow to the family. In a disheartened mood, Nanasaheb went to Shirdi along with his wife. He sat at the feet of Shri Sai Baba. But, he realized that Baba is not paying His usual attention to him. Nanasaheb was restless on noticing that Baba had not even asked His question enquiring about his wellbeing. Ultimately, he could not hold back himself any longer and asked Baba, “We are always under the shelter of Your blessings. Even then, we are facing so many hardships and unfortunate calamities. What shall we do ?”
The advice that Baba imparted on this is worth pondering on.
He said, “Nana, if you were coming to me only to save the lives of your son-in-law and grandson, then it is your mistake. Don’t come to me for such reasons. Because, I don’t have control over birth and death. They are dependent on the deeds of your earlier births. Even the Almighty God does not interfere in the matters. Will He ask the sun or the moon to change the times of their rising or setting ? He cannot do it and He will not do it. Because, it will create a chaos in the Universe.” Nana then asked, “ Then, how do you predict, what is going to happen in future ?” Baba gave clarification about the ‘miracles’ that He performed. He said,
“Nana, I don’t perform miracles. Only I am able to look into the future events and I narrate them to you. You feel that these are miracles. When I predict such events, you direct your devotion towards me. I redirect it to the Almighty and ensure your welfare.”
This shows, how concerned Baba was about wellbeing of His devotees !
When the Bhakta is Param Yogya (deserving), the Almighty showers His blessings incessantly. Baba did everything for Nanasaheb. This leaves no doubts about Nanasaheb’s credentials as a ‘Param Yogya Bhakta’.