Posted By Author on September 23, 2011
At 2 A.M. Haribandhu knocked my door. I thought it was hallucination. He told the reality that Shri Baba was at my gate. I was simply dazed. Hurriedly I dressed and dashed. Ramesh Bannore’s car was at the gate. In it were Shri Baba, Ramanidada, Gitamasi and Chinu. I requested Shri Baba to come in and be seated on the lawn. He was conscious of my parent’s opposition. He refused. Then he recited a Sanskrit Shloka as below:
“Kulam pavitram janani krutarth . . ”
It meant that the progeny that brings name and fame to family is worthy. Then he promised that at proper time he would enter my house and not till then. From home before starting I gave a ring to S.D. alias Baal Muley and he made necessary arrangement for stay without disturbance, as experienced previously, at Wadali tank outside the town. Then Haribandhu and I added to the crowd and we reached the tank. We took out luggage and made arrangement of their stay on the terrace adjoining the bund. The site had plenty of shady trees.
I had discussion with Shri Baba and then promised to see him at 9.30 A.M. I left.
With Bannore I was on way back to home. He told that at the camp one tyre got punctured and he replaced the worn-out stepney with getters, which were giving rhythmic sound while moving. Wheel disc slipped away and all the while he was grumbling and warned me that he would not attend in the morning. That was like a friend in need. Is not diversity test of friendship? I was back at home at 4.30 A.M. and snatched a wink. At 10 A.M. via Chandrashekhar Dandge to Wadali. He promised to follow by car after me.
I met Shri Baba, discussed, and promised to meet him at the main market via college. On way back Chandrashekhar met and told me to see him near Jayastambh. Chandrashekhar had lunch with Ramanidada.
Showing face in the college I rushed in the market and searched the car. Ultimately I found out the car. I put my scooter in my mother’s institution for destitute ladies, Sharada Udyog Mandir at Jayastambh and joined Shri Baba. Chandrashekhar was driving, Ramanidada, Shri Baba and I moved in the market. Four letters in Hindi were drafted as per his wish demanding ‘Bhiksha’ of Rupees 51.101.251, and 501 respectively.
Our trek began along the main market line from Jayastambh towards Bhusari gate now Jawahar gate. Ramanidada used to enter a shop and show the letter of demand of Bhiksha of rupees hundred and one. I used to accompany him I vividly remember the funny answers. Owners themselves would say that the owner was not in the shop. Some suggested to meet their Association, mostly all of them avoided us. In some shops we saw Netaji’s portrait garlanded. What a travesty of fate. Then we came to wholesale market known as Takhatmal Estate. I met Rasikbhai Gaglani. He came out and had ‘darshan’ of Shri Baba. He told Baba that Anantlal Dammani apprised him about him. He then requested Shri Baba to accept less. Shri Baba retorted that ‘dacoit has come.’ He categorically told him that if he wanted to give what he demanded then alone money would be accepted otherwise nothing doing. Mr. Gagalani requested to come in the evening.
We then moved through many shops with no favourable result. I took the car to Shri Bapusaheb Bhondu’s house, a rich man of the town. He was asleep. So we went to Tiwasa cotton gin of my rich classmate Naval Rathi. He said he would ask his father and then offered rupees fifteen, which was politely refused. Shri Baba grumbled that he was being suffocated in the polluted atmosphere. It was 4 P.M. I left promising to meet at the foot of the hill known as ‘Maltekdi’.
I collected the scooter, reached home, told wife to join and we went via Maltekdi to Wadali tank. Shri Baba was very much there. Wife was with Gitamasi and Chinu. I discussed the sorry state of affairs of the day. Shri Baba encouraged by saying that it did not matter. That he wanted to test people.
Chandrashekhar already contacted Shri Bhausaheb Bhokre, God loving primary school teacher who diligently worked in the co-operative sector of marketing in Vidarbha and achieved monumental success. Therefore he was known as ‘Sahakar Maharshi’. When Chandrashekhar apprised him about the real identity of Shri Baba, he was convinced and said a man like Subhash Chandra Bose alone can perform such a feat of recluse. He expressed to have ‘darshan’. So leaving wife with Gitamasi, with Shri Baba came to Dandge’s house where Shri Bhokre was waiting. He bowed and offered bhiksha of rupees hundred and one. After a brief chat Shri Baba commended his work. Bhausaheb cancelled his tour to Nagpur for Baba’s ‘Darshan’. A great man indeed!
As per Shri Baba’s suggestion we went to the bungalow of Shri J.Y. Deshmukh, collector of Amravati. As directed I sent a chit to him stating that His Holiness, the Founder of Shaulmari Ashram had come to his doors for Bhiksha. If he felt fit he might come out to have darshan. I signed for Secretary Ramani Ranjan Das. We waited for fifteen minutes. There was no immediate response and then Shri Baba ordered to leave. Next to the collector was Session Judge’s Bungalow occupied by Mr. Dhamne. He was at home. I extended request of rupees one hundred and one. He bargained and asked to accept less and refused to come out to see Shri Baba. Disgusted I left. We then went to Shri Bhondu who was not only rich but also leader of Jana Sangh. He came out and met Shri Baba. Shri Baba asked him to pay rupees two hundred and one. He refused and asked for less. We left without his offer. I had a bout of cough. Shri Baba insisted that I should go home and rest. Chandrashekhar with Shri Baba went to Rasikbhai Gaglani in Takhatmal market and as promised by him collected rupees hundred and one. Chandrashekhar then took car to Vishwas Vidhale, manager of marketing Society. He politely gave fifty-one rupees. With some tablets consumed I joined them and reached Wadali tank. Chat with Gitamasi and picked up my wife. While departing Shri Baba said in Hindi which meant, “When I did not demand money I was a good Sadhu and when I asked for it I was viewed as a bad Sadhu.’
I went to our family doctor Mr. Saodekar who administered some injection. I was very sick both physically and mentally. It was a shame on my part that crumbled under burden of enormous borrowing I could not look after Shri Baba when he was in my region and that he had to move from door to door. I was spent and helpless. Imagine my salary was Rs.388/- per month. Today I get pension of Rs.16000 P.M. However, money has lost its value compared to old days. Present one rupee is equal to twelve paisas then.
Hurriedly I dined and went to Chandrashekhar. He surprised me by disclosing that Shri Baba immediately wanted to go to the camp at Ghuguria Bridge. Haribandhu was there. We tried to purchase rice but shops were closed. Shri Pandurang Pawar came instinctively and on his scooter I sent Haribandhu to manage rice and join at Wadali. After finishing his meal Chandrashekhar and I rushed in car to petrol pump. Filled enough petrol and oil and headed to Wadali.
Gitamasi and Shri Baba were busy in cooking. Then Shri Baba took his meals and later compelled us to take food. Shri Baba then said that he would have to hurry up and remarked that money for fifteen days ration was collected. No worry till then. Later He would see.
Haribandhu went on Pawar’s scooter to Chandrashekhar’s house. We packed things on carrier including rice and left for Wadali and came back to Chandrashekhar’s house. I got down and Haribandhu replaced me. Shri Baba refused to enter Chandrashekhar’s house and at twelve midnight they proceeded to the camp in the Melghat.
Prabhakar came to tell him that Chandrashekhar’s wife was worried about his absence without informing anything. Both of us went to her and consoled. Told her not to worry.
I was in college taking practicals when Chandrashekhar arrived with Haribandhu. I was startled.. Came to know he had come for purchases. So took him around and left him on the bus.
I recorded programme for I.N.A. jubilee function. Wrote script till 1 A.M.