Expereinces of SAI.BA.NI.SA (Shri Gopal Rao Ravada) with Shirdi SAI – 3

Happy periods and bad times are common features in every body’s life. It is also quite common to think about god only in the hour of crisis. Lord SAINATH has always been kind to be with me on all the occasions. This is the third experience of SAI BANISA under the series. Every devotee rarely forgets the first experience and I am no exception to the rule. Prior to 1989, I did not know about this great saint. It was during the months of January, February of 1989. One of my friends presented me with a photograph of SAI and with due respects I got it positioned in my drawing room. The light smile on the face of SAI inspired me a lot and was instantly drawn to it and from then onwards forever. It was regular practice to visit the temples of Lord Anjaneya and Goddess Pochamma on all Saturdays. Days were passing on and I have decided to go to SHIRDI on advice from my friend Shri.Bhonsle. As usual I started for my temple ritual with Rs.4/- in my pocket and offered Rs.2/- to priest in Anjaneya temple. Rs.1/- to an old woman outside the temple and Rs.1/- to Goddess Pochamma. On that particular Saturday the elderly woman outside greeted me traditionally and I promised to pay her normal due. On coming out I noticed another stranger an old aged person in Khaki colored shorts and Shirt, White Headgear Tin Pot and a Wand, stretching his arm for money. With a pause I parted with the balance Rs.1/- and offered a plain visit to the other temple. I left the place and could see the old man rubbing the coin and gazing at me with a smile writ on his face. I was to set out for my travel to SHIRDI on the same day afternoon.


A passing thought ran through my mind and perhaps it could be that SAI came in the form of old man to receive dakshina from me. Immediately I rushed to the temple again and he was not available there. I enquired from the old woman. I was told that an aged person with a white dhoti, white khafni, a tin pot and a wand was inquiring whether devotees to this temple offer any alms to people like him. The lady it seems promptly replied that I would offer her Rs.1/- and he too can ask for it when I come outside. I was at loss to understand as to how he appeared to me in a different dress than what the old lady has described. The old lady must have been very fortunate to have his grace though ignorantly was my feeling then. He immediately disappeared from the scene. To me it was SAI who took dakshina from me, with a typical smile perhaps at my failure to recognize him in the first attempt. I ran fanatically through all streets to locate him on my two wheeler but could not trace him. I reached SHIRDI the next day morning (Sunday) and gazed the marble statue of SHRI SAINATH with folded hands and tearful eyes. Needless to say that my imagination ran to the old man in khaki shorts and shirt. From then on he has always been with me through thick and thin and extending constant and continued support.



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