Sai Mahabhakta Anandrao Pakhade was a famous businessman in 1910. In those days, very few Maharashtrians used to do business. He lived on Lamington Road. Being an astute businessman, he bought a bunglow in Vile Parle, Nehru Road in 1914. Vile Parle was then a desolate place with only four houses. There was no electricity or water supply. The family used a lantern and drank well water. Hence, he formed Property Owner's Association in that area. He was the President of that association for many years. He diligently worked to make the suburb of Vile Parle into a modern posh locality as it stands now. A crossroad near his home has been named as "Pakhade Chowk" in memory of his service to the locality. Kaka Saheb Dixit lived next door and both were good friends. Dixit being an ardent devotee of Sai Baba, often spoke of His leelas. It was Dixit who was instrumental in Anandrao Pakhade going to Shirdi.
Young Anandrao Pakhade
A mention has been made about Anandrao Pakhade's beautiful dream vision in Chapter 45 of Shri Sai Satcharitra. The details are as below:
Kakasaheb's Doubt and Anandrao's Vision
It is well-known, that Sai Baba had enjoined Kakasaheb Dixit to read daily two works of Shri Ekanath: (1) Bhagawat and (2) Bhawartha Ramayan. Kakasaheb read these daily while Baba was living and he followed the practice even after Baba's passing away. Once in Kaka Mahajani's house in Choupati, Bombay, Kakasaheb was reading Ekanathi Bhagawat in the morning. Madhavarao Deshpande alias Shama and Kaka Mahajani were then present and listened attentively to the portion read, viz., the 2nd Chapter, 11th skandha of the book. Therein the nine Nathas or Siddhas of the Rishabha family, viz., Kavi, Hari, Antariksha, Prabuddha, Pippalayan, Avirhotra, Drumil, Chamas and Karabhajan expounded the principles of the Bhagawat Dharma to King Janak. The latter asked all the nine Nathas most important questions and each of them answered them satisfactorily. The first, i.e., Kavi explained what is Bhagawat Dharma; Hari, the characteristics of a Bhakta (devotee); Antariksha, what is Maya; Prabuddha, how to cross Maya; Pippalayan, what is Para-Brahma; Avirhotra, what is Karma; Drumil, theincarnations of God and their deeds; Chamas, how a non-devotee fares after death; Karabhajan, the different modes of worship of God in different ages. The substance of all the exposition was that in this Kali age, the only means of liberation was the remembrance of Hari's (Lord's) or Guru's feet. After the reading was over, Kakasaheb said in a despondent tone to Madhavarao and others - "How wonderful is the discourse of the nine Nathas on Bhakti or devotion. But at the same time how difficult it is to put it into practice! The Nathas were perfect, but is it possible for fools like us to attain the devotion as delineated by them? We won't get it even after several births, then how are we to get salvation? It seems that there is no hope for us." Madhavarao did not like this pessimistic attitude of Kakasaheb. He said - "It is a pity that one who by his good luck got such a jewel (Guru) as Baba, should cry out so disparagingly; If he has unwavering faith in Baba, why should he feel restless? The Bhakti of the Nathas may be strong and wonderful, but is not ours' loving and affectionate? And has not Baba told us authoritatively that remembering and chanting Hari's and Guru's name confers salvation? Then where is the cause for fear and anxiety? Kakasaheb was not satisfied with Madhavarao's explanation. He continued to be anxious and restless, the whole day, thinking and brooding over how to get the powerful Bhakti of the Nathas. Next morning, the following miracle took place.
Shri.Anandrao Pakhade's Old House
Shri.Anandrao Pakhade's New House
One gentleman, named Anandrao Pakhade came there in search of Madhavarao. The reading of the Bhagawat was then going on. Mr.Pakhade sat near Madhavarao and was whispering something to him. He was mentioning in low tone his dream vision. As there was some interruption in the reading by this whispering, Kakasaheb stopped the reading, and asked Madhavarao what the matter was. The latter said - "Yesterday you expressed your doubt, now here is the explanation of it; hear Mr.Pakhade's vision which Baba gave him, explaining the characteristic of 'saving' devotion and showing that the devotion in the form of bow to, or worship of, Guru's feet is sufficient." All were anxious to hear the vision specially Kakasaheb. At their suggestion Mr.Pakhade began to relate the vision as follows. "I was standing in a deep sea in waist-deep water. There I saw Sai Baba all of a sudden. He was sitting on a beautiful throne studded with diamonds, with His Feet in water. I was most pleased and satisfied with the Form of Baba. The vision was so realistic that I never thought that it was a dream. Curiously enough Madhavarao was also standing there. He said to me feelingly - 'Anandrao, fall at Baba's Feet.' I rejoined - "I also wish to do so, but His Feet are in water, how can I place my head on them? I am helpless." Hearing this he said to Baba - "Oh Deva, take out Your Feet which are under water." Then Baba immediately took out His feet. I caught them without delay and bowed to them. On seeing this Baba blessed me saying - Go now, you will attain your welfare, there is no cause for fear and anxiety. He also added - "Give a silk-bordered dhotar to my Shama, you will profit, thereby."
In compliance with Baba's order, Shri.Pakhade brought the dhotar and requested Kakasaheb to hand it over to Madhavarao; but the latter refused to accept it, saying that unless Baba gave a hint or suggestion for acceptance, he would not accept it. Then after some discussion Kakasaheb decided to cast lots. It was the invariable practice of Kakasaheb to cast lots in all dubious matters and to abide by the decision as shown by the picked up chit or lot. In this particular case two chits, on one of which was written 'To accept' and on another 'To reject', were placed at the feet of Baba's picture and an infant was asked to pick one of them. The 'To accept' chit was picked up and the dhotar was handed over to, and accepted by, Madhavarao. In this way both Anandrao Pakhade and Madhavarao were satisfied and Kakasaheb's difficulty was solved.
Portrait of Sai Baba in Anandrao Phakadhe's Home
This is the original painting of Baba that was hung in Anandrao Pakhade’s home. Anandrao used to offer his prayers to this photograph. This photograph was with him since Baba’s sojourn in Shirdi. But one does not know whether Baba himself gave this photograph to him.
Just like how Baba had assured Shri.Kaka Saheb Dixit that "I will take you in a Plane" during the time of death (meaning peaceful death) Late Shri.Anandrao Pakhade was also assured by Baba of Fearless Death. Likewise, Shri.Anandrao Pakhade had a very peaceful death on the auspicious Ganesh Chaturthi Day. Unfortunately, the date and year of his death is not known.
Shri.Anandrao Pakhade's son Shri.Mangesh Pakhade who was aged above 80 years passed away on 24th July 2016. Shri.Manoj Pakhade, Grandson of Late Shri.Anandrao Pakhade is now living with his family in their new house at Vile Parle, Mumbai.
Late Shri.Mangesh Pakhade and Grand Son Shri.Manoj Pakhade
We are giving below the contact details of Shri.Manoj Pakhade Grand Son of Late Shri.Anandrao Pakhade for the benefit of Sai Devotees:
(Source: Shri Sai Satcharitra Chapter 45 and Baba’s Rinanubandh by Vinny Chitluri ; Photograph Courtesy: Shri.Sandeep Suresh Deore, Mumbai)