This 'big sparrow' was pulled by Baba in 1911. Nana Chandorkar and Ram Maruti mentioned in Khaparde's Shirdi Diary, page 26) were instrumental for Anandrao Triambak Karnik's visit to Shirdi. Karnik knew Ram Maruti for quite a long time. And the Chandorkar's were family friends and neighbours at Kalyan. Indeed, Karnik and Nana went to the same school and were childhood friends. Later, Nana moved away to pursue higher studies and to search for employment.

In 1911, Nana went to Karnik's home to renew their old friendship. As always, Nana spoke of Baba, narrating His Leelas in great detail and describing His divinity. Thus, the first seed of faith was sowed. Nana Chandorkar also had Das Ganu to performn bhajans at his residence. Ram Maruti usually attended the bhajan programmes and danced and jumped in bliss.

Karnik and his sons started attending the bhajans. At the end of 1911, Karnik had completed his fasts for Pradosh (Udyapan). It also happened to be an evening of the Bhajan. He eagerly went to Nana's home. There he met Ram Maruti and asked him if he could give him Anugraba and Mantra updesh. Unhesitatingly, Ram Maruti pointed to Baba's photograph and asked him to seek refuge at Baba's feet. A few days earlier, his eldest son expressed his desire to go to Shirdi. So, taking Ram Maruti's advice, they took off to Shirdi.

Before leaving Kalyan, he had mentally decided upon two things. First to offer Baba sava rupya (one and a quarter rupees) as dakshina, as he firmly believed that it was the dakshina of Shri Satya Narayana's Mahapuja. And secondly that if the Baba of His own accord did not ask for dakshina, he would return home.

After a comfortable journey, they alighted at Kopargaon. There, they met Ram Maruti with a whole lot of his disciples setting off to Shirdi. The group of disciples hired the only bullock cart that was available and proceeded to Shirdi. Karnik and his son were thus stranded, or so they thought. However, both had mentally decided to go to Shirdi, come what may. A short while later, a tonga turned up and offered to take them to Shirdi.

The journey was very comfortable and on reaching Shirdi, the tonga walla [driver] asked karnik for a very fair fare. He gladly gave it and went to the Dwarkamai. He took darshan, and attended the aarati with great joy. Baba however called his son to Him and asked him for dakshina and prasad. His wife had prepared this prasad with great love and devotion, hoping that Baba would accept it. Karnik did charanseva, but Baba did not even glance at him, or so it seemed. He gave his Son aashirwad and applied udi repeatedly on his forehead. Then, Baba ordered everyone to go to the Wada and sit there peacefully. Karnik was in a dilemma, as Baba had not asked for dakshina; so was he to return home? Then Baba looked directly at him and said, "Do not leave Shirdi without my permission. Now, go to the Wada."

Now, Karnik was in a real dilemma. He had to return home as his son had to attend office the next day. So a little later, Karnik and his son went to meet Baba, but He wasn't there. On the third attempt, Baba was there. However, he called his son into the Sanctum Sanctorum and asked Karnik to wait in the Sabha Mandap. "Bhokrutva konas chuktas naahi, te bhogtlech pahije" (Suffering does not allude anyone and it has to be borne). His son was in a very weakened state, following a long illness at that time. Then, in an angry tone, He said, "Sinchyala itka divas khayaayla ghaatle aani malkat kapde dhonaas malaa saangitle, tar nahe mhantto Maajha maala te dhutlech payaje, parantu lookachi maja paaha" (Roughly Translated – Sinchya – an abuse was given food for so many days. And told to wash the dirty clothes. But he said 'Nơ and that he should wash his own clothes, but look at the fun people are having"]). Then, Baba beckoned Karnik to come near. Karnik went forward eagerly and embraced Baba's feet, covering them with kisses. Baba suddenly said, "Will you give Me dakshina?" Karnik looked at his son, who gave him 'sava rupaya' which Karnik placed in Baba's hands. Baba, on receiving the dakshina, danced with joy and love and started singing, "Hyane tar sava rupaye dila, rupaye sava dila, Shri Ram Parvardigar" (He gave Me sava rupaye. Look, rupaye sava he gave Me). Baba said, "This is your Own home and only I am here. Do come frequently Okay'". So happy was Karnik, that there and then, he started repeating Baba's words so that he could remember them by heart. After receiving permission, he indeed wrote them down. Enroute, he pondered over Baba's words. Being poor, it was not feasible for him to visit Shirdi frequently. So, what did Baba mean? Then it dawned upon him that the message was to go to Nana, as there was no difference between Baba and Nana. On reaching Kalyan, he went straight to Nana's home and told him about everything that took place in Shirdi. Nana agreed with his interpretation asked him to learn the Ram Raksha Stotra. Thence, Karnik went daily to Chandorkar's home for satsang.

A month later, his second son visited Shirdi along with his father. During aarti, Karnik, his son and Ram Maruti, who was there all stood together. Baba looked at Karnik and said, "For two thousand years, we have had a close relationship. From the very beginning, he was fond of joking".

After aarti, they went for Baba's darshan. Karnik however sat at a distance from Baba, who lovingly said, "Being a long-time friend, why this distance." Saying this, Baba beckoned him to come near and hugged him like a mother would. He then applied udi and placed His hand on Karnik's head. "Give Me six rupees dakshina," said Baba. Karnik asked his son who at once gave the amount. Baba then said, "The son who gives the money immediately, Allah will bless him". Then turning to Karnik, Baba said, "Do not hesitate to ask Me for anything you need." Then Karnik asked his son for dakshina and depleted him of all his money. At that juncture, a young solicitor came for darshan, and seeing Karnik, asked Baba to bless his aged father.

"My Grace is not partial. I bestow it on everyone equally, for not a leaf moves without My grace." Karnik heard these words and felt it was Baba's first lesson. On reaching Kalyan, he related everything to Nana who explained the Isvayas Upanisbad.

(Source: Shri Sai Leela Magazine, No 45, Year 4, 1926)