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MADHAVRAO DESHPANDE ALIAS ‘SHAMA’
(GREATEST DEVOTES OF SHIRDI SAIBABA )
In his researched article, Balasaheb Deo writes, “If Shri Sai Baba is considered to be an incarnation of Lord Krishna, then Madhavrao must be regarded as Arjun.” In Shri Sai Sat Charita, Hemadpant has pictured Baba as Lord Shankar and Madhavrao as His Nandi.
Any person studying Shri Sai Sat Charita will observe that - amongst the devotees who were close to Baba - Madhavrao comes near the top. Amongst the followers of Sai, there would not be any one who does not know Madhavrao.
He served Baba till the end of his own life. Baba gave him the respect like Arjun - the place of a friend close to heart. It is a very vivid example of devotee-friend.
Madhavrao - a person with great religious merit - was born in the year 1860 (Shake 1872 Margasheersha Shuddha Panchami) in the family of Yajurvedi Deshastha Brahmin. His birth took place in village Nimon (Sangamner taluka, Nagar district) about 20 miles to the west of Shirdi.
Madhavrao’s mother was the fourth wife of his father Balwantrao. His first three wives did not bear any child. He, therefore, married the sister of Laxmanmama Kulkarni, a resident of Shirdi. He had three children from this fourth marriage. Of them, Madhavrao was the eldest. He was followed by Kashinath - who was adopted by another family and was named as Ganesh Shridhar Deshpande. Bapaji was the youngest brother of Madhavrao. (His story appears in Shri Sai Sat Charita).
When Madhavrao was about 2-3 years old, his father came to stay at Shirdi with his entire family. Up to standard V-VI, Madhavrao’s education was carried out at Shirdi itself. As his entire life was spent in the rural atmosphere of Shirdi, his spoken language contained many impurities and many usages from the rural area.
Madhavrao got married twice. His first wife was ‘Savitribai’. He had one son from her. His name was Eknathpant. His wife Ushabai was the daughter of Gopal Kacheshwar Kulkarni of Nighoj village. The name of Madhavrao’s second wife was ‘Dwarkabai’. They had two sons - Jagannathpant and Uddhavrao - and a daughter - Babitai - from this marriage. Babitai was married to Narayan Nagesh Wande of Parner village in Nagar district.
Madhavrao was tall, robustly built and very healthy. His complexion was wheatish. He used to have a square diet and had a healthy appetite. Up to the age of 72, he did not suffer from any ailments. He did not suffer even from simple maladies like fever or head-ache.
He entirely adhered to ancient religious traditions. His conduct was sacred and strict in observance of religious rites. Barring a few known households, he never used to have meals at others. He was expert in cooking. Therefore, generally he prepared meals with his own hands.
After completing his own education, for a few years, he taught in the village school. Thereafter, till the end of his life, he worked as a village doctor. He used to give medicines after taking Baba’s name.
From the beginning, Baba used to call Madhavrao as ‘Maza Shama’ (My Shama). Once, Kakasaheb Dixit was overcome with emotions and went to Baba. Baba asked him, “What do you want ?” Kaka replied, “I wish to be around You for ever.” Baba said, “Kaka, keep this Shamya with you. It will mean I am with you.” From that day, Kakasaheb accorded the same respect to Shama which he used to give to Baba.
Seniors like Bapusaheb Butti and Narke also treated Madhavrao with the same reverence.
As Baba used to call Madhavrao ‘Shama’, he used to refer to Baba as ‘Deva’. Majority of the devotees used to place their questions or other matters before Baba by going through Madhavrao. Even elders like Bapusaheb Butti and Kakasaheb Dixit approached Baba through Madhavrao.
The end of Bapusaheb Butti’s life had come very near. Madhavrao was beside him. Butti was still conscious. He called Madhavrao near him and said, “Madhavrao, now I am unable to bear the pains. It will be better if Baba takes me near His Feet. I know you very well. When I am near you, I feel as if I am near Baba’s Feet.” While uttering these words, tears were flowing from Bapusaheb’s eyes. He was overcome with emotions and placed his head on Madhavrao’s feet regarding them to be Baba’s.
After the demise of Bapusaheb Butti, his son Shrimant Keshavrao Butti also accorded the same respect to Madhavrao. On pilgrimage tours, he used to take Madhavrao with him. Similarly, he used to welcome Madhavrao at his Nagpur house with lot of hospitality. He used to pay some amount as a monthly pension to Madhavrao till the end. After the death of Madhavrao, some donation was given by Keshavrao Butti to Madhavrao’s son Eknath to be used for the last rites.
Once, while in Shirdi, Kakasaheb Dixit suffered from Navajwar (a deadly fever which lasts for nine days). Lots of risks are associated with this disease and in those olden days, many times it used to prove to be fatal. Baba told Kaka to go his home in Parle. Kaka was unable to understand, why Baba was asking him to go to Parle instead of keeping him near him. Just then, Baba said, “Take care. Take this Udi and take Shamya also with you !” Even though, Kakasaheb was suffering with the illness, he was happy that Madhavrao was coming with him. Those 9 days were really difficult for Kakasaheb. However, he survived on the strength of his devotion to Baba and company of Madhavrao.
Whenever Madhavrao was not in Shirdi or was not present in the Masjid, a few devotees would communicate directly with Baba and place before Him their difficulties. However, the answers given by Baba at such times used to be somewhat different.
Once, Shri Narke received an offer for a temporary job at Brahmadesh. As Madhavrao was not there, Narke asked his question through Dr. Pillay. Baba replied, ‘‘Go to Brahmadesh. It is ours.’’ Dr. Pillay again asked, ‘‘Baba, is the job there good ? Will he be made permanent in the job ?” Baba said, “Yes !”
Due to Baba’s affirmative reply, everyone thought that Narke is going to get a permanent job in Brahmadesh. However, Baba had earlier told him that he will be a permanent resident of Pune. After Narke went home, he told the events to Madhavrao. Madhavrao asked Baba, ‘‘Deva ! Which is true - what You told me or what You told Bhau (Baba used to call Dr. Pillay as ‘Bhau’) ?” Dr. Pillay also covered his mouth and smilingly repeated the same question. Baba answered, ‘‘What I told Shamya was the truth.’’
It was in 1913, Narke first came to Shirdi. At that time, Shri Butti and Shri Dhumal introduced Madhavrao to him saying - he is a ‘very useful person from Shirdi’. And in reality, Madhavrao was a very helpful person in Shirdi. Though he was a Bhikshuk Brahmin from a small village, his face used to radiate like that of a learned person from a city.
Baba used to talk in riddles. But, as Madhavrao had spent considerable time with Baba, he was able to catch the meaning very quickly.
This is the story of Shri Tarkhad, when he visited Shirdi in December 1910 for the second time to take Baba’s Darshan. At that time, only Sathe Wadawas available for staying. Tarkhad wanted to spend time away from the routine, daily responsibilities and problems of his job and family. His main wish was to spend the time at the feet of saintly person and get some peace of mind. On that occasion, he had come alone to Shirdi. On his arrival, he was very much fatigued because of the hassles of travelling, the strong sun and an unsatisfied urge to have tea since morning.
Tarkhad had just reached Sathe Wada. Immediately, his charge was taken by two gentlemen not very closely known to him. They bombarded him with questions relating to spiritual matters. However, he did not outwardly show that he is tired of their questions. He enjoyed the cup of tea provided by Balabhau (nephew of Nanasaheb Chandorkar. Nanasaheb had started an eatery for him in Shirdi.) and went to take Baba’s Darshan. However, he could not help thinking that ‘I came here to get away from the botherations of Mumbai and have some mental peace. But, it seems that the nuisances would not leave me here also. I think, I unnecessarily came here. Mumbai was better.’ Such conflicting thoughts started going through his mind in just five minutes. In the same mental status, he went with Madhavrao to take Baba’s Darshan.
As per usual custom, he lit incense and camphor, placed coconut and bowed down in front of Baba. In blessing, Baba placed hand on his head, gave fruits as Prasad and asked him to be seated. In his own mind, Tarkhad was getting himself ready to take Baba’s permission to return to Mumbai.
Suddenly, Baba said to Madhavrao, “Shamya, why is he behaving like this ? Give him some advice. Go ! Take Udi and sit peacefully in the Wada.”
Taking the Udi, Tarkhad and Madhavrao came outside the compound of the Masjid on the street. There Madhavrao stopped Tarkhad and asked him, what had happened. Tarkhad narrated the chain of events. After hearing everything, Madhavrao said, “This is the miracle and message of this God. He is teaching you that you must remain steadfast in your devotion - in spite of the problems posed by the mortal world. While facing the day to day hassles involved with your job, your mind must be focussed on your God. Let us go back to our God and understand, what He has to say.”
Both of them once again entered the Masjid. The moment they climbed the steps of the Masjid, Baba said, “Bhau, always remember the words of Shama !”
Seeing this miracle, Tarkhad was overwhelmed with emotions and placed his head on the ground in front of Baba. He realized the teaching of Baba - Even while facing the problems of day to day life, a disciple must be unwavering in his devotion to his Sadguru and his contentment must be constant.
Irrespective of Baba’s mood – may He be angry or irritated – Madhavrao used to confidently go near Him, fill His Chillum and change Baba’s mood by tactful talk. Not only this, Madhavrao used to sometimes even quarrel with Baba, get angry with Him, bind Him with vows and sometimes even tell Him a few things of advice. Baba – realizing the love and affection that Madhavrao had for Him – used to only smile. Baba never got heated with him. Because Madhavrao’s total persona had become ‘Saimay’. He constantly chanted the Jap “Sainath, Sainath, Sainath”. While he was awake, sleeping or dreaming, he saw only Sai. His all senses were laid at the Feet of Sai.
In his diary, Dadasaheb Khaparde has written an amazing episode about Madhavrao. On 8th December 1911, Khaparde writes -
“I had only heard about this phenomenon; but never experienced it. Now, I am seeing it with my eyes and hearing it with my ears. Madhavrao Deshpande is here and is fast asleep. With his every breath-in and breath-out, I can clearly hear, ‘Sainath Maharaj’‘Sainath Baba’. While he is snoring, the words can be even heard from a little distance. This is really miraculous.”
Madhavrao came to Shirdi in his childhood. Later on, he started working as a deputy or assistant teacher in the local school. He used to conduct his class in a room built by circle inspector Gopalrao Gund. (For sometime Radhakrishna Aai stayed there and towards the end, it became a stable for the horse ‘Shri Shamsundar’.) The room was made of bricks and mud. In one wall facing the Masjid, it had a small window. Madhavrao could see Baba sitting in the Dwarkamai or Masjid and observe His activities. Sometimes Baba sang songs in Arabi or Persian languages and Madhavrao could hear them in his class room.
When Madhavrao started working in the school, his age was about 14-15. At that time, he looked upon Baba as a Chillum smoking, little mad young Fakir. Then he did not consider Baba as a ‘Sagun Parmatma’ or ‘Siddha Purush’. This was the state of his mind for initial 10-12 years. The next 10-12 years, he started considering Baba as ‘Sat Purush’. Thereafter, as he spent more and more time in the company of Baba, he realized that Baba was a ‘Siddha Purush’ and ‘Moortimant Sagun Parmatma’. He spent about 20-22 years obeying His Aadnya and serving His devotees. Thus, Madhavrao spent 42-43 years of his life in incessant company of Baba.
Madhavrao first saw Baba in the dilapidatedMasjid. Shri Narke was very curious about Madhavrao’s unique relationship with Baba. It was Shri Narke’s nature to study things and find out cause. Accordingly, he wanted to know the reasons behind the familiarity in conversation and acquaintance between Madhavrao and Baba. The families of Madhavrao and Narke were very close. Taking advantage of this, Narke asked probing questions about the matter. Then, Madhavrao told his own story in detail.
“Baba used to smoke tobacco Chillumand for sharing the smoke, I used to go to Him again and again.Most of the prominent villagers considered Baba to be reverent. Tatya Patil’s mother and family members, Gondkar family, Mhalsapati Sonar, Kulkarni and others were His devotees and loved Him as village Fakir. I became one of them. And – I do not know what happened – but, I started getting pleasure in visiting Shri Baba. When I was near Him, I felt He is doing some magic on me – my mind was filled with holy and pure thoughts, my body started trembling, my eyes were filled with tears of happiness. I, therefore, looked forward to meeting Shri Baba. The visits and familiarity increased. Naturally, I started enquiring about the devotees visiting Shri Baba. Shri Baba also began telling me to look after the arrangements for devotees from outside Shirdi. They started having their meals at my home. Thus, I started coming in contact with devotees from outside Shirdi. They started inviting me to their homes and I started accepting the invitations. I used to undertake such visits only after seeking prior permission from Shri Baba. At the town I visited, I got introduced to more people. And the amazing thing was that, as soon as I began talking to the newly introduced people, they were entranced with Shri Baba. As if Shri Baba had made use of me to attract people.”
Of course, the above story is very old. At that time, Madhavrao was very young. However, it proves that Baba sometimes wanted certain persons to come to Him and for that purpose He used to plan persons like Madhavrao. On many occasions, Madhavrao used to bring devotees to Baba without Baba directing him to do so. Then Baba pretended to get angry and come charging at Madhavrao saying - “He is sending persons after Me”. After sometime He used to calm down. When devotees came to Masjid, He would say, “Shamya, look after those who come !”
Madhavrao’s health was robust. If any devotee got sick, then he would carry him on his own back to the Masjid. Once, Bapusaheb Butti was suffering from typhoid. At that time, Baba had asked Madhavrao, “Bring him to the Masjid on your back.” Generally, it was Madhavrao’s duty to bring ailing devotees on his back.
After completing evening stroll, Baba used to sit in the Masjid. At that time, besides specific 3-4 devotees, no one else was allowed to come to the Masjid. However, Madhavrao had no such restrictions on his coming, going or asking things to Baba. If he went to Baba at odd hours in the night, Baba pretended to get furious like Nrisinha; but also quickly get pacified.
Once, Tatyasaheb Nulkar became seriously ill while in Shirdi. His last hour came near and he disclosed a desire to get holy water from Baba’s Feet. It was almost 1-1.30 in the night. Who could dare to go to Baba at such an hour ? Madhavrao got up and went to the Masjid with Pali and Panch-patra. Baba got up from His place and roared, “Who is it ?” On getting reply that “I am Shamya”, Baba said, “You came at this hour” and pretended to come to hit him. He stood on the Masjid foundation with one leg in the front.
Madhavrao started pleading with him, “Tatyasaheb is losing his life. He is asking for the holy water from Your Feet. Please give it quickly.”
Baba was saying “No !” and Madhavrao was daring to inch forward. Of course, as Tatyasaheb was an ardent devotee, Baba had also put forward his toe. Madhavrao immediately dipped the toe in the water carried in Panch-patra and fulfilled the last wish of Tatyasaheb.
Like He used to give to other devotees, Baba never gave money to Madhavrao. Once, Shinde Sarkar wanted to give Rs. 5,000 to Madhavrao; but Baba did not allow him to do so. Though Baba did not give money to Madhavrao, He gave him tremendous love.
Some of the devotees gave Baba things with a hope that He will bless it and return it as a Prasad. However, many times Baba – instead of returning it – passed it on to Madhavrao saying - “Keep it with you !” In this manner He handed over several articles – Vishnu-sahastra-naam Pothi, Eknathi Bhagwat Pothi, a coin having picture of Ram-Seeta-Laxman, silver Padukas, a clay statue. Sometimes, Baba said to Madhavrao, “Shamya, build My house (Devhara) and keep all these things in it.”
Every afternoon, Baba used to make Kala of the different Naivedyas that were received and distributed it amongst the few devotees who asked Bhiksha in the noon. Madhavrao was one of them. But, assuming that he would not like the mixture of Kala, Baba waited till everyone else had finished their meal and then gave Madhavrao a plate full of slices of mangoes.
Baba fulfilled all demands and wishes of Madhavrao. He did not provide him wealth; but gave him enjoyment of all the things, which wealth can provide. Several pilgrimages such as Chaar Dham, Kashi, Gaya, Ayodhya, Mathura, Gokul, Ujjain, Haridwar, Prayag, Girnar are hectic and taxing money-wise. But, with Baba’s blessings, Madhavrao undertook them without any hardships.
🌷 SRI SATCHIDANANDA SADGURU SAINATH MAHARAJ KI JAI 🌷...See more
*KARGIL VIJAY DIWAS CELEBRATION BY BSF JAMMU*
On 23 July 2019, on the occasion of Kargil Vijay Diwas, a Blood donation camp was organised in Hospital Ftr HQ BSF Jammu in collaboration with Deptt of blood transfusion staff of SMGS hospital Jammu.
The Blood donation camp was inaugrated by the President BWWA Mrs Rajni Jamwal. Dr Karnail Singh, Commandant Medical coordinated the camp with the teams of SMGS Hospital Jammu for the camp. Dr Rubina of SMGS Hospital with paramedical staff remain present there at the time of blood donation.
During the camp total 72 BSF persons including Officers, Subordinate Officers, Jawans and wives of BSF personnel donated the blood. The blood was collected by SMGS Hospital Jammu.
On the occasion Chairman of BWWA Mrs Rajni Jamwal told that blood donation is a very noble work towards the society and is a great donation by the human being towards the mankind.
Dr Karnail Singh explained that any Adult with in the age bracket of 18-60 years can donate blood and it is recouped in the body with in three months. It gives everybody a mental relief also.
PRO BSF JAMMU...See more