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YOGIRAJ SHRI SHANKAR MAHARAJ
ACTIVITIES IN MALINAGAR - 1
G. K. PRADHAN AND THE ASHER FAMILY
Four persons are mainly connected with the events related to the spiritual activities of Shri Shankar Maharaj at The Saswad Malinagar Sugar Factory at Malinagar near Akluj. Akluj is situated near Solapur, a major city in Maharashtra, about four hours road journey from Pune. The four persons are: Mr. Keshavbhai K. Asher the Factory Manager, Mr. Janubhau Girme, a well-to-do farmer who lived in his farmhouse bungalow at Navsari about ten kilometres from the factory, Mr. G. K. Pradhan who was the secretary to the Managing Director of Saswad Mali Sugar Factory, and Mr. V. K. Kulkarni a welder working in the factory. While the first two were disciples of Maharaj, the last two were atheists to start with and considered sadhus to be frauds. But Maharaj raised them, especially Mr. Pradhan to high spiritual levels. Mr. Pradhan is well known as the author of the Novel “Towards the Silver Crest of Himalayas” which is based on the character of Maharaj and has been translated into many Indian languages. In fact what we know about Mr. Pradhan and his association with Maharaj comes mostly from the Foreword in the Marathi translation by Dr R. J. Joshi.
I shall start with the narration of events, which led to the conversion of Mr. G. K. Pradhan from an atheist to an ardent devotee.
G. K. PRADHAN
Mr. Gopal Khanderao Pradhan was born in 1902. He obtained the commerce degree of Vanijya Visharad from Gujarat Vidyapith (Not the present Gujarat University) and had the opportunity of interacting with leaders and intellectuals in India. After a stint in government service in Madhya Pradesh, he worked as an editor of an English magazine at Ahmedabad. Then he turned to business. Though posted at Akluj, the families of both Mr. Asher and Mr. Pradhan lived in Bombay.
Pradhan meets Maharaj
It was the year 1942. One day, Mr. Pradhan left his home in Akluj for going to Bombay. Road network used to be poor in those days. Going to Bombay meant crossing the river by a ferry and catching a bus to the railway station for onward rail journey to Bombay. As Mr. Pradhan was going towards the ferry in a car, Maharaj was coming at the same time to Akluj in a bullock cart. As usual, Maharaj was making very odd gestures. People in the car started saying, “Maharaj has come! Maharaj has come!”, and were trying to get a glimpse of him. But Pradhan, having been exposed to western education was an atheist and did not even bother to look at him. But he did have a momentary eye contact with Maharaj. The car dropped Pradhan and returned. He crossed the river and waited for the bus. As he was waiting a heavy rainstorm started and he was completely drenched. The bus never came and Pradhan had no option but to spend the night with his luggage all drenched under a tree. Because of the storm the ferry had closed and he could not go back home either. Sometime at midnight somebody came along and took him to a hut, no better than a cowshed, where he spent rest of the night.
By morning he had developed high fever. He managed to send a message through a cyclist to Mr. Asher, requesting him to arrange his return to Akluj. In a couple of hours Pradhan was back at Asher's bungalow. Doctor was called who said there was nothing to worry about since the fever was merely due to exposure, gave an injection and left. Around three o'clock in the afternoon, fever had gone down, but he still suffered from body pain and his eyes were feeling heavy. Suddenly Pradhan heard the sound of laughter. He opened his eyes to find Shri Shankar Maharaj standing before him, “So you were in a hurry to go to Bombay, no? What happened to that?” So saying, Maharaj vanished.
Maharaj used to visit his disciple Mr. Govind Januji Girme and halt at his farmhouse bungalow. Sometimes he also used to visit Mr. Asher.
Having recovered from his fever, Pradhan was sitting one day in Asher's bungalow when he heard a commotion outside. Shortly, Maharaj entered with a group of seven or eight persons. He was wearing a half-pant and an ordinary looking shirt. Face was twisted to one side, and he had a liquor bottle in one hand. Nobody would have recognised him as a yogi. As soon as he entered he started twisting the knobs of the radio. Pradhan could not stand much of this and shouted at him.
After some time Maharaj left the room. A little while later Pradhan asked Asher,
“Who is this Maharaj you have brought here?” Asher told him that he was a great yogi and asked him to touch his feet. Pradhan refused, saying that he had seen many such frauds and did not care for them. He also added that he would do namaskar only to the person who would give him the experience of God.
After some time both of them entered the hall where Maharaj was sitting with others. Maharaj asked Mr. Asher to bring a silver cup. When he brought it Maharaj poured liquor into it and started drinking it fast. While doing so, he was telling Asher,
“Drinking is very bad! Isn't it, Asher?"
Maharaj continued to drink but it was Asher, a teetotaler that smelled of liquor. People were looking surprised at this miracle. No doubt Pradhan, who was looking on, was also surprised. Asher was totally drunk and was put to bed. When Asher woke up, he found Pradhan was also sleeping in the same room.
Next night, around midnight, Pradhan woke up with a feeling that somebody was carrying him. He saw Asher was not in his bed. He came out and saw a car standing in the porch. Maharaj, Asher and Girme were sitting in the back. Pradhan entered the car and said that he too wanted to accompany them. The car was taken to Girme's bungalow.
When the car entered the bungalow premises, everybody in the house woke up. Mrs. Girme said,
“Maharaj, it is very late. What can I offer you at this hour?” Maharaj asked for tea. Mrs. Girme told him that milk was spoilt. She would therefore make rice and pithle (a simple Maharashtrian preparation of gram flour cooked with spices to a semi-solid consistency). Maharaj pointed out that there were goats in the premises so why not milk the goats and make tea? He also instructed to prepare khichadi instead of rice-pithale. (Maharaj used to be fond of tea as well as khichadi, a preparation of rice cooked with pulses and spices, sometimes with onion added). It was quite late by the time these items were prepared and were partaken of by the company.
Pradhan experiences the Supreme
After a while Maharaj asked some ash from the Samadhi of Swami Samarth of Akkalkot to be put into Pradhan's mouth. A sanyasi from among the group did so and immediately Pradhan's body became stiff like wood. The atmosphere was highly charged. Asher felt frightened and asked Maharaj,
“Maharaj, what have you done? What if the poor fellow dies?” Maharaj merely laughed. Pradhan remained in that state for nearly seven hours while everybody sat waiting. Pradhan describes his experience of that time as follows:
“I suddenly went into samadhi (trance) state and felt I came out of my body. I started moving in the star-studded blue sky. I experienced different types of beautiful tunes and fragrances in that state. When I came out of that state it was eight in the morning. Sun was shining outside. That means I was in that state for nearly seven hours. Shankar Maharaj was before me, looking at me with a smile. I kept my head on his feet and said, ` ‘I didn't have any idea of your powers. From today onwards you are my Guru.’ ”
Later Maharaj told Pradhan, “You are really the disciple of Akkalkot Swami. That old man is insistently getting this done through me.”
Thus, a totally atheist Pradhan was completely transformed by Maharaj in no time. Pradhan used to do daily worship and the routines like meditation and Japa (rosary) assigned by his Guru. He also used to do ritual readings of holy works like Gurucharitra and Dnyaneshwari. He had done readings of Gurucharitra in a single sitting of eight to ten hours not once but more than hundred times. Yogavashishta was one of the books he used to read regularly. Pradhan was a pursuer of knowledge. He used to debate with Maharaj, something Asher or others dared not do.
When Maharaj was in mood, there was no limit to what he would give. Once he asked Pradhan to ask him for anything he wished: Power, wealth, or anything else. Pradhan asked for Knowledge and with some outward protest Maharaj blessed Pradhan with Knowledge. (This knowledge is not the material knowledge but the spiritual one).
Saved by Guru
Once Pradhan was travelling from Norway to Germany by air when the aeroplane developed trouble. Passengers had left all hopes. Pradhan prayed to Shri Shankar Maharaj and surprisingly the plane landed safely. Even the pilot did not know how this happened. When Pradhan met Maharaj, the first question Maharaj asked was,
“So! You were very much frightened that day in the plane isn't it?” Pradhan was surprised and asked Maharaj how he knew it. Maharaj said, “How I know? I was sitting right beside you at that time.”
Pradhan's Mother sees Lord Dattatreya
As a disciple of Shri Shankar Maharaj, Pradhan also belonged to Nath Panth. The spiritual level Pradhan had reached can be seen from the following incident narrated by his daughter (Mrs. Babi Parulkar). The whole family used to sit together at night for prayers to Lord Dattatreya. Pradhan used to light incense sticks and all the family used to say prayers and sing Bhajans for half an hour. Pradhan's 82-year-old mother also participated in this. One day she said,
“People tell me that I am so fortunate to have given birth to a son who is a big authority in spiritual field. Please let me have Lord Dattatreya's vision at least once!”
On the Dattajayanti day (Lord Dattatreya's birthday that falls sometime in December) the family was saying prayers as usual before going to bed. Suddenly Pradhan's mother shouted,
“Babi, Babi, see what brightness it is!” She became speechless and tears started flowing from her eyes. She managed to tell her son,
“You kept your word! But at least you should have warned me! It didn't even occur to me to touch His feet!”
The vision was only for her. Even though others were around, nobody else had this experience.
Towards the Silver Crest of Himalayas
Mr. G.K. Pradhan is the author of the extremely readable novel “Towards the Silver Crest of Himalayas" published by Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Bombay. The novel written in autobiographical style, depicts Madhav, a scholarly college youth from Pune who dreams one night that he is in the Himalayas with a Sanyasi. Next day he meets Swamiji, a Sanyasi (not the one he saw in the dream). This is the beginning of the change in his life towards spiritual perfection. After passing his exams Madhav joins civil service (These were the days of the British rule). His friendship with Swamiji continues and one day he meets Swamiji’s Guru whom everybody knows only as Gurudeo. Gurudeo influences him so much that finally he accepts his tutelage in yoga practice though outwardly he lives a normal life. Though his relatives and friends were expecting him to get married to the daughter of Mr. Gokhale, a family friend, he refuses to get married at all. His parents are crestfallen at his decision but situation so develops that Gurudeo visits their house. Madhav's brother is seriously ill and best doctors treating him give up hopes of his survival. Gurudeo saves him and the whole picture changes. The family, which was considered modern and not believing in religious matters, gets converted to spiritual path by Gurudeo’s influence. Finally Madhav resigns from the civil service, gives his property and belongings to his brothers and is initiated as a sanyasi by Gurudeo. In the course of time Gurudeo takes him to Himalayas where he meets the tall Sanyasi of his dream.
In this novel Pradhan has very effectively brought out the teachings of Shri Shankar Maharaj through the character of Gurudeo. The characterisation and development of events is so good that many people mistakenly think the novel to be the actual autobiography of Mr. Pradhan himself. This has led to some ridiculous situations. In a book titled “Shankar Gita”, written by Mr. B.V. Aghor of Solapur. Madhav has been referred as Madhav Pradhan and the events of Gurudeo curing Madhav's brother portrayed as Maharaj curing these imaginary persons. It would not be surprising if after a few decades when persons in direct contact with Maharaj are no more, people will really start believing these fictional events as real.
Mr. Pradhan is the author of another book, which has a very strange story behind it. That the physical death is not an end to one's existence is shown by the events that led to the publication of Mr. Pradhan's second novel “Know Thyself” also published by Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan.
Mr. Pradhan passed away on November 7th, 1963. About twenty years later, sometime in January or February 1982, one Mr. Dinkarrao Raut, Mr. Pradhan's disciple, informed Pradhan's family members that he had received a mandate from Mr. Pradhan that “It was time for the second book to be published.” No one from the family knew about the existence of manuscript of such a book. Mr. Pradhan's business partner Mr. Asher had passed away in 1981 and his secretary Mr. Karve did not know of any such manuscript. At the latter's suggestion. Mr. P. K. Asher, Mr. Asher's son, made a search at his house where all the old files of the business firm were kept. The file containing the manuscript was found and the book was published in 1988. This book explains many points on philosophy and proper attitude to life.
The story again is in first person narrated by a Bombay solicitor. While travelling from Delhi to Bombay in a first class railway compartment he meets his co-passengers Mr. Shantilal a businessman, Father Andrews a priest, Mr. David a professor of History and Logic in a Delhi college and Miss Rose the principal of a girls high school also in Delhi. The story opens in late 1913 when the clouds of the First World War are just gathering. At Agra a Sanyasi enters the compartment as the occupant of the sixth berth in the compartment. Shantilal asks the Sanyasi as to which order he belongs. The Sanyasi introduces himself as being called Swami and everybody is surprised to hear that he does not belong to any cult or order. Thus starts a discussion on meaning of religion and living. He stresses that the following of a religion should result in an inner transformation, which frees you from the fear and bonds. Such transformation alone can make you realise God. Most of the religions as they are practiced today with rules and regulations, bind you rather than free you. The occupants and especially Father Andrews are greatly impressed by Swami's talk.
The book gives a summary of the teachings a gist of which is given in the last chapter. The novel, being full of philosophical discussions is unlike the Silver Crest rather heavy to read. But as a serious reading it is excellent. It is stated that this novel is the product of Automatic writing. Apparently it was written after about 1965 because, though the setting is of 1913, there is a mention of lasers and tapes and cassettes; for the laser was invented in 1958 and was marketed in the sixties while the cassettes came in mid-sixties.
Summaries of the teachings of Gurudeo and Swamiji are given in the final chapter.
THE ASHER FAMILY
Mr. K. K. Asher was an ardent devotee of Maharaj but not much is known about his interaction with Maharaj. But the story about his wife Mrs. Maiden is both interesting and instructive.
Fascinating experiences of Mrs. Maniben Asher
Mr. K. K. Asher is no more. He is survived (at the time of this writing in 1996) by his wife Mrs. Maniben Asher (known as Baa or mother) and son Mr. P. K. Asher (now 77 years old) who live at Malabar Hill along with children and grand children, all highly devoted to Maharaj. Mr. Arun Koppikar, another devotee of Maharaj took me and my wife to meet Baa at her residence on August 14th 1996. She was then 93 years old. A soft and sweet person with the effulgent characteristic of a spiritual person, she told us of her first meeting with Maharaj, when she was a newly wed bride of only two months.
Mr. Asher had asked her to come to Akluj where he managed the Sugar factory. She could not go because she was not well and she had informed him so. One morning she found her husband back in Bombay. He had come with a tall strange looking person, who was wearing a dark coat, shirt and a half-pant, a sun hat and goggles. He also had a hunter whip in his hand. Mr. Asher introduced him as Shankar Maharaj, which was a shock to her as nobody expects a Maharaj to dress like that. He then called for tea, which she brought in a kettle and poured in the cup. It was not hot enough for Maharaj. He sent it back asking for a boiling cup of tea, which he drank as if it was cold water.
Maharaj then asked Baa to give him bath. This shocked her since no lady in India, leave alone a fresh bride, would think of giving bath to a grown-up person. Maharaj was speaking in Gujarathi. She looked at her husband who nodded his assent. With some trepidation she took Maharaj to bathroom and put hot water in the tub. Maharaj threw away his hat, goggles and clothes and stood in the tub. To her surprise Maharaj was just a seven-year-old boy. She gave him bath, dried him and dressed him. After coming out she worshipped Maharaj in traditional manner by washing his feet, applying turmeric powder, kumkum etc. She wanted to keep the water collected after washing his feet as “prasad” but he said no to it, promising to give it at proper time.
One day, he suddenly called her and asked her to bring two "Patla"s (Patla or Paat is a very low wooden platform used in India for sitting especially during meals and while performing worship). He then instructed that the maidservant, who was a low caste sweeper, should also be called. He sat on one patla and asked the woman sweeper to sit on the other. He then asked Baa to perform the worship of the couple. During the worship Maharaj was completely transformed into the image of Lord Shiva and the maidservant into the image of His consort Parvati. Thus Maharaj blessed Baa with the appearance of the Divine couple Shiva-Parvati. This time he instructed her to collect the water used for washing the feet of Lord Shiva during the worship. Baa has preserved that bottle for more than fifty years. It is as clear as fresh water even today. We were fortunate to receive small quantity of that water as prasad.
Maharaj took good care of Baa. At the time of our meeting she was already somewhat infirm with age and needed assistance in moving around. Last year when she had gone to the bathroom she slipped on a piece of soap. But she did not fall. She shouted "Shankar" and somebody held her and prevented her fall. Who can that be other than Maharaj? (Baa passed away on July 30th 1998.
ACTIVITIES IN MALINAGAR - 2
We now turn to the story of a third disciple at Malinagar, namely Mr. Vasant K. Kulkarni, a welder at the Malinagar Sugar factory under Mr. Pradhan and Mr. Asher. The following account is based on what Vasantrao himself narrated to me.
MAHARAJ KICKS VASANTRAO
Like Pradhan, Vasantrao also met Maharaj for the first time at the Saswad Malinagar Sugar Factory. When in Malinagar Maharaj generally stayed at the Factory's bungalow. He used to behave eccentrically, moving around, a hunter in hand, abusing and shouting in the factory and in the staff colony. Vasantrao used to feel a kind of disgust and anger whenever he saw him behaving thus. Once he asked Mr. Pradhan, “What kind of Maharaj is he?” and Pradhan replied, “If you are fortunate then you will come to know it.”
One day in 1946, Maharaj came to the factory accompanied by Pradhan, Asher and others. As usual, he was having a cigarette packet and a brandy bottle in his hands. Vasantrao's first interaction with Maharaj was during this visit. He narrated the following account of his first meeting and of later association with Maharaj. He said,
“The day after his arrival, at about 8.30 in the morning, Maharaj, Pradhan and Asher went around the factory. I was sitting and doing some welding work. On seeing Maharaj, I felt an extreme anger inside me. Suddenly he came and kicked me in my waist. He then drank a glass of brandy and walked a good distance away from me. I looked at him angrily but resumed my welding work. But a short while later, I received another kick from Maharaj. Again he drank another glass of brandy and went away. I again resumed my welding resolving that if Maharaj again kicked me then I would break his legs then and there. But when Maharaj did come and kick me for the third time I became unconscious and developed fever. I was taken home. Two company doctors came and advised that it was likely the fever may reach the brain and that I should immediately be moved to Pandharpur since I cannot be treated here.
“While this was happening Maharaj was sitting with Asher and Pradhan in the bungalow. He was laughing loudly telling Pradhan, ‘Baba, wait and see what message you receive!’
In a short while, people came to tell Pradhan that Kulkarni was very sick and doctors had advised that he should be taken to Pandharpur.
“Maharaj was laughing. He said, ‘He who calls me a drunkard, calls me a bad person is sick with fever. This is a good thing.’
“Here at home my wife Vimal started crying and said aloud, ‘Maharaj, what is this you have done!’
“At that moment, Maharaj came running to my house. He filled a glass with brandy and threw it on me and drank another himself. He said, ‘Now ask the doctors to take his temperature.’
“My temperature suddenly came to normal. I kept my head on Maharaj's feet and wept a lot and said,
‘Maharaj, please pardon me. I made a mistake. Take me under your shelter.’
“Maharaj embraced me. Then he told my wife, ‘Vimal, now you give me a bath.’
My wife was very young at that time, may be about sixteen years old. But gathering courage, she took him to bathroom and gave him bath. At that time she saw that Maharaj had become a three-year-old child. (Remember Mrs. Asher giving bath to Maharaj.)
“We did his puja (worship ritual). But Maharaj said, “I don't want your puja. Vimal, sit on my lap. I want to do your puja. Then he combed her hair, applied a lot of kumkum to her forehead and did her puja as if she was a goddess. This is what happened at the time of our first encounter.”
Vasantrao added, “After this incident Maharaj left the company bungalow and came to live in our quarters even though it was a small house. He lived with us almost continuously for about a year.”
A LESSON IN OBEDIENCE
A few days later, at about nine o'clock at night, Maharaj said to Vasantrao,
“I want O.K.Whiskey.”
“Maharaj, shops close at eight.” Vasantrao told Maharaj. “Who will give you whiskey at this hour?” But Maharaj said,
“Don't try to be very smart. Do what you are told.”
So he borrowed money from his wife and set out. Maharaj had asked him to go walking and not by bicycle. But he did not listen and took the bike. On the way he fell from the bike three or four times and hurt his knees. As he went along, he met a person who was waiting with a whiskey bottle in hand. The person said,
“What delayed you? Why did you bring the bicycle? At least now you go walking.”
By the time Vasantrao returned Maharaj had asked Pradhan and Asher to call a doctor. He had told that Vasantrao did not listen to him and his knees were injured. When he returned, Maharaj started laughing loudly and said,
“Henceforth listen to what I tell you.”
Thus Vasantrao learnt the lesson that Guru's instructions should always be obeyed to the letter.
That night, Maharaj made Vasantrao sleep near him, did some yogic processing, gave him Mantra and other instructions. Vasantrao told that he had been following those since then.
Maharaj had assigned Vasantrao some personal duties, which included washing his clothes as well as his person after he had relieved himself, getting cigarettes, brandy etc. Vasantrao did that very faithfully.
IN TWO PLACES AT ONCE
Vasantrao narrated the following incident when Maharaj cured his wife Vimal by his powers. He said,
“Maharaj had been looking after our family like a mother. Once, sometime in the early part of 1947, my wife Vimal fell ill after delivery. Her right hand and leg became paralysed. Doctor advised that she should be taken to Pandharpur for treatment. I went out to bring a vehicle. When I returned with it, Maharaj came and sat in it and asked to be taken to Girme's house at Navasari, 10 Km away. We went as he had told, leaving Vimal alone at home. We spent the whole night with Maharaj in puja, bhajan and drinking at Girme’s house. It was only in the morning that Maharaj let me go home. I reached home and was astonished to see that it was Vimal, paralysed until the previous day that opened the door. She said, ‘Look! Maharaj was sitting with me the entire night and he suddenly vanished.’ Evidently, Maharaj did not want Vimal to be treated at Pandharpur. He cured her by his powers, and also kept me away by engaging me in bhajans in Girme's house. He was in both the places at the same time. It is surprising for a common man, but for an accomplished yogi like Maharaj it is not difficult to be in two or more places at the same time.”
A LITTLE FOOD SUFFICES MANY
He narrated another reminiscence about Maharaj when a small quantity of food was prepared but sufficed for many. Vasantrao said,
“One day, at about 11 o'clock at night, Maharaj told us that Satyanarayan Puja should be performed. Normally this Puja is not performed at night. But who could argue with Maharaj? I did not have any money, but I could procure all the necessary materials on credit. I called the priest and performed the Puja. Maharaj then asked the troupe, which sings bhajans to be called, and bhajans continued up to 3 o'clock in the morning. This was followed by meals for everybody. Maharaj himself cooked khichadi in a medium size pot. When khichadi was boiling and needed to be stirred, the spatula could not be found. Maharaj stirred the khichadi by his bare hand. Everyone was scared and said, ‘Maharaj, you will scald your hands.’ But he said not to worry, nothing would happen to him. He asked Vimal to prepare Ladoos. With the materials available in the house she could make eleven pieces.
“People sat for the meals. Sixty to seventy people were present. Vimal was worried and said to Maharaj, ‘Maharaj, how will the Ladoos suffice for so many people?’ But Maharaj told her to go ahead with the serving. Meals continued up to eight o’clock in the morning. Everybody was served khichadi and Ladoos, and in the end whatever was originally cooked remained intact.”
Readers of Gurucharitra will again recall a similar use of powers of Siddhi performed by Shri Narasimha Saraswati, the second avatar of Shri Dattatreya, described in the thirty-eighth chapter.
SOME MORE EXPERIENCES
Do Not Disturb
Maharaj sometimes locked himself in a room with instructions that he should not be disturbed, not even for food. This seclusion would last for a few days. After that period he used to come out as if nothing happened. After such incidents, letters used to arrive from strange places addressed to a Mr. John thanking for his coming and solving their problems.
Warning about Samadhi
Sometime in April 1947, about a month before Maharaj took samadhi, Vasantrao had started for Bombay. Maharaj said,
“Vashya, Vimal, I am going to take samadhi. The burden has become too much. I shall take samadhi on Ashtami (8th day of lunar month).”
He further told that even though he was taking samadhi, he would be with all of them and that he will meet them once after samadhi. When Vasantrao returned from Bombay he learnt at Pune station that Maharaj had already taken samadhi as told.
Maharaj was Hanuman
Sometime before the samadhi Maharaj asked Vasantrao if he wants to know who he (i.e. Maharaj) really was. When he answered in the affirmative Maharaj made him remove his (Vasantrao’s) clothes and took him to a room where Vasantrao saw Maharaj transform into a huge form of Hanuman. Vasantrao was nervous with fear. Maharaj has shown this form to many of his disciples. His samadhi has a small temple of Hanuman facing it.
Maharaj Provides a Better Job
How Maharaj looked after the material welfare of his disciples may be seen from the following as told by Vasantrao.
“Maharaj once told me that I will get a table and chair job from 1-1-1950 where I have only to sign papers. He said that Pradhan would tell me to resign and I should do so. Accordingly, I resigned and was given a supervisor’s job in Kolhapur Sugar Mills at Kolhapur. Initially, the quarters given to me were worker’s quarters, but Maharaj immediately set the matters right.
After we had settled in Kolhapur, one day a disciple of Maharaj named Appa Gosavi (known as Gosavi Maharaj) came and said that Maharaj had sent him to see whether we are settled properly or not. We asked him when he had started the journey. He vaguely said that he had started few hours back. When offered he refused any food. He said he was permitted by Maharaj to eat only papaya fruit and drink only water. Though it was not the season, we could procure a papaya, which we offered to Gosavi Maharaj. He then went away after satisfying himself that we had been well settled in Kolhapur.
Gosavi Maharaj used to live with Dr Khare in Washim. Later he went to his disciple at Karanja and passed away while there.
Post-samadhi Meeting as Promised
Sometime after the samadhi, Vasantrao and Vimal had gone to Malad, a suburb of Bombay to visit relatives. While they were taking their meals there, a message came that they should urgently come to the house of their cousin Mr. Prakash Mohadikar living at Borivli, another suburb north of Malad. They finished their meals and rushed there. They found that everybody had sat for meals including a physically deformed boy guest. The boy whose name was Balappa called them near. He called them by the familiar name of Vashya and Vimal and the voice was clearly that of Maharaj. He said that he had made everybody wait in order to take meals with them but they had already eaten before coming. He then asked Vimal to hold him like a child as she used to do earlier and said that he was meeting them as per his promise to do so after samadhi.
Taking Care of Pains
In 1993 Vasantrao slipped and fell resulting in a compound fracture of the right leg. He had to be operated on and metal rods had to be inserted in the thigh. The accident occurred in Kolhapur but the operation was to be done at Kalyan near Bombay. He was taken by car to Kalyan, about ten hours drive from Kolhapur for operation. On way to Kalyan the family had a halt at our house in Pune. While the family came in the house, the old man remained sitting in the car calmly. I felt there is something odd here, because I also had a fracture of arm some years ago and knew the kind of pain one has to suffer. Later I asked him about it. He said a surprising thing. From the day one of the accident he never had pain, thanks to Maharaj. Vasantrao passed away in early 2000.
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