Ramgeerbua Gosavi - a Param Bhakta of Shri Sai Baba - was one of those fortunate souls who were blessed to live in the times of Sai Baba and experience His Sagun Avatar.
Ramgeerbua was originally a resident of Shirdi. His birth must have taken place between the years 1856 and 1860. The house in which he stayed belonged to his maternal grandmother. He grew up in the same house since his childhood. Therefore, throughout his life, he had the privilege of being near Sai Baba.
Ramgeerbua led a Shuddha Jeevan. He had no family or children. He lived like Sanyasi and roamed as he wished.
Baba had lovingly named him ‘Bapugeer’. Most people from Shirdi knew him as Bapugeer.
He came to know about a lot of aspects Sai Baba’s life from the residents of Shirdi and also got information confirmed independently. Ramgeerbua shared most of his information with Shri Narisimha Swami. Thus several facets of Baba’s life came to light when Narasimha Swami asked Ramgeerbua questions on the subject.
Chandbhai of Dhoopkhed village had himself narrated to Ramgeerbua the story of how Baba helped him in finding his lost mare and how Baba first arrived in Shirdi along with a marriage procession.
Some of the other incidents conveyed by Ramgeerbua are as follows:–
After making His first appearance in Shirdi, Baba disappeared after some time. He then arrived again i again in Shirdi after a lapse of three years. Bapugeer recounted that according to the villagers, when Baba returned to Shirdi, He had kept His hair long up to His waist. He wore a green Kafni and Topi. He carried in His hand Satka, Chillum and a match box.
Readers may recall an incident where Baba had lost a wrestling bout to one Mohiddin. His nephew used to practice black magic at Belapur. He started performing his mumbo-jumbo in Shirdi against the wishes of Baba. Baba had a fight with the magician and left Shirdi in anger. He started staying in a jungle about 2 miles away from Shirdi. The villagers used to visit Him there; but He would abuse them and drive them away. Several times, Baba used to spend days there without food and water.
Baba had started a beautiful garden on the waste land behind the Masjid. On occasions, he used to go to meet Khushalchand Marwadi at Rahata. While returning from there on foot, Baba brought with Him saplings of flowers such as Zendu, Jaal, Jui etc. He planted them with His own hands. For watering the garden, Baba used the earthen pots freshly made by Waman Tatya.
Once, Gangageer Maharaj of Puntamba had come to Shirdi. He saw Sai Baba watering the plants and said to Nanasaheb Dengale and others who were present, “He is a jewel! Though today you have seen Him watering the plants, He is no common person,” Bapugeerbua had heard this incident from some senior citizens of Shirdi.
At that time, there was brook near the border of Shirdi and there was a Babhool tree whose one of the branches had got bent towards the ground. It was Baba’s practice to sit under this branch. Later on, He moved and started sitting under a neem tree in the village. Thereafter, He lived permanently in the Masjid till the end.
Once, a Muslim boy climbed on the Neem tree and fell down. Baba sensed this incident while sitting in the Masjid and shouted loudly, “Are, the thieves will kill that boy!” At that time, Bapugeer was with Baba. Baba uttered these words and the news of the boy having died came to the Masjid.
Once, Baba saw in his vision that a bale of hay belonging to Bhagchand Marwadi had caught fire. Baba immediately said to Bhagchand to run and extinguish the fire. After sometime, He Himself also went there, made some gestures with His hands and the fire ceased immediately.
Another interesting episode took place in the year 1903-04. Mainatai – daughter of Nanasaheb Chandorkar – was pregnant and facing severe difficulties in delivering the child. The pains were unbearable. Exactly at that time, Ramgeerbua was sitting on journey towards his native place in Khandesh. It was the practice of citizens of Shirdi to seek permission of Sri Sai Baba while setting foot for any important work. Accordingly, Ramgeerbua arrived in the Masjid to seek Baba’s Udi and blessings for his journey. Baba said “Bapugeer, definitely go to your native place. But before that, go to Jamner and enquire about Nana and his family’s well-being.” Then Baba asked Madhavrao Deshpande to give Ramgeerbua “Aarati Sai Baba” (written by Madhavrao Adkar) and a packet of Udi. He added, “Give this Aarati and Udi to Nanasaheb and then proceed on your journey to your native place.”
Ramgeerbua was surprised with this task. He asked Baba, “Baba, I have only two rupees in my pocket. How can I travel in this meager amount to Jamner?” Baba smiled and said, “Everything will be managed!”
After receiving Baba’s blessings, Ramgeerbua commenced his journey. Catching the evening train, he reached Manmad by 7.30. From there he arrived in Jalgaon by 3 a.m. By now, he had already spent 1 Rupee and 14 Annas. He had now with him only 2 Annas. It was clear that he will have to walk all the way to Jamner. As he was worrying about this, a sepoy approached him and asked, “Who is Bapugeer of Shirdi?” The introductions were over. The sepoy said,“Shri Chandorkar has sent me to bring you. Be quick and sit in the Tonga, They are waiting for us.”
His worries over, Ramgeerbua became happy. The sepoy was a smart man. He had kept a beard and a moustache. He was dressed immaculately with shoes. He was driving the Tonga with efficiency and speed. Around 3.15 a.m. he stopped the Tonga at a stream near village Waghur. He watered the horse and said, “Let us eat something and then proceed on our journey.”
As his appearance resembled a Muslim. Bua asked him about his caste. He replied, “I am a Hindu Garewal Kshatriya Putra. I am a Rajput. Nana has given these food articles for you.”
With his mind set at rest, Ramgeerbua shared food with him. Early morning they reached Jamner. As soon as they entered the city, Nanasaheb’s office could be seen at a distance. The horses rested for a while. Ramgeerbua also went to a roadside to relieve himself. When he returned, there was no sign of the Tonga as well as the sepoy. The place was empty. Ramgeerbua was confused. He went to the office. There he came to know that Nanasaheb is at home. He searched for the house to meet Nanasaheb.
Here, as his daughter’s health was critical, Nanasaheb had begun holy rites of Navachandi Havan, Saptashati Path etc. Bapugeerbua placed the the Aarati and packet of Udi on Nana’s hands. Tears swelled in his eyes seeing this Leela of Shri Sai Baba. He called his wife and told her to mix the Udi with water and feed to Mainatai. He himself began reciting the Aarati. The moment the Udi was fed, Mainatai got relieved and delivered the child.
Ramgeerbua asked Nana, “Where is the Tonga that you had sent? And, I don’t see the sepoy anywhere.” Nanasaheb was surprised. He said, “No one knew that you were coming. How can I send a Tonga?”
Ramgeerbua narrated all the details to Nanasaheb and everybody got stunned.
(Source: Shri Sai Leela Magazine, January-February 2005)