In chapter 36 of the Shri Sai Satcharita the wonderful leela of Gangubai and Sakharam Aurangabadkar is given. Although Gangubai had been married for 27 years, she was unable to conceive and bear children. Having heard of Baba's divinity and compassionate leelas, she came to Shirdi along with her step-son Vishwanath, to seek Baba's blessing. Gangubai sought Shyama's help, and through his intercession offered a coconut to Baba. Then Baba said, "Do coconuts produce children? How do you cultivate such superstitions?" However, Shyama was adamant that Baba bless her with a child. After a great deal of persuasion, Baba finally blessed her saying, "She will get a child, after twelve months" And so it came to pass.
Smt.Gangubai Aurangabadkar Shri.Sakharam Aurangabadkar
A short biography of Sakharam Tatyaji Aurangabadkar and his wife Gangubai is narrated by their grandson Dattatreya Vasudev Aurangabadkar.
The Aurangabadkar's ancestral home was in Sholapur, and they were "goldsmiths" by profession. Sakharam owned a jewellery shop in Mangalwar Peth, and he was famous for crafting "ready made" jewellery. During that tíme, clients were unable to purchase exquisite jewellery. Hence they would come to Sakharam and explain to him the pattern and type of jewellery they desired to have made. Sakharam with his expertise, ingenuity and dexterity would create beautiful Jewellery for them. He was respected for his righteousness and honesty. At that time there were no financial banks; so Sakharam also had a pawn-brokerage business. Thus his family was very affluent. In Sholapur he was fondly known as "Sakhya Hari", that is, Hari or the Lord who is my friend.
Aurangabadkar Wada in Sholapur - Outerview
Aurangabadkar Wada in Sholapur - Outerview
Dattatreya recalls: "My grandfather had a noble personality. He was tall and well built. He wore a pheta' (turban) and a coat on top of his dhotar (dhoti) and walked in a majestic manner. Sakharam was a pious person. At a young age he could recite the Vishnusahasranaam and every evening upon returning home he would sit on the swing and recite it with devotion.
At that time, it was a common practice for a man to remarry if his wife did not bear any children. Thus, Sakharam remarried and a son was born; and he was named Vishvanath. Gangubai was affluent, wore a lot of jewellery, and was well dressed. Nonetheless, she was extremely saddened by the fact that she was unable to conceive and everyone called her 'Vanjoti', a derogatory name for a barren woman. Society was very unkind to infertile women, and treated them as a curse to society. Consequently she was hurt and distraught, and was unable to enjoy her affluence.
So she sought refuge in God. There was a temple of Lord Ram in front of her home, and Gangubai spent most of her time praying in that temple. She observed numerous vows, like performing Rudra Abhishek to Lord Shiva during the holy month of Shravan. Gangubai would chant the thousand names of Lord Shiva while offering a thousand bilva patra' (Aegle Marmelos) on his Shiva Linga, At the end of that holy month she had a huge feast where everyone could come and dine.
On every Purnima (full moon) she had a Satya Narayana Puja performed in her home. Aurangabadkar's family deity was Renuka Devi, so Gangubai would climb to the top of Mahurgad at midnight. In the darkness of the night she would pick up the first stone that touched her hand and bring it home. She would apply ochre colour on it, and eyes, ears and a nose made of gold were fixed on it. Then the stone would be adorned with jewellery and worshipped as a Goddess. Ail these rituals are still conducted at their home even to this day.
Even after observing all these rituals, fasts, and vows Gangubai was unable to conceive. As the Gods did not seem to come to Gangubai's aid she sought refuge in saints. Gangubai started visiting Humanabad, and did seva in Manik Prabhu's Sansthan. One day while she was sweeping the floor, she found two pearls. Gangubai immediately returned them to Manik Prabhu. However, Manik Prabhu did not accept them and asked her to keep them. Gangubai took them as a good omen, and returned to Sholapur. As Akkalkot is quite near Sholapur, Gangubai started visiting Swami Samartha. There also she performed a lot of seva. Seva done with devotion never goes in vain.
On one occasion, Das Ganu performed a kirtan in Sholapur, and she and her family attended it. This had a tremendous effect on her, and as Das Ganu spoke of Baba's divinity, his compassion for the downtrodden, and the numerous Leelas that he performed for his devotees, she was filled with faith. After Das Ganu had finished the kirtan she met him and enquired about Baba. Das Ganu reassured her, "You go to Shirdi and prostrate at his feet. Your desire will definitely be fulfilled". Gangubai did not waste another moment and got permission from her husband to leave for Shirdi. Taking her step-son Vishwanath, she went to meet Baba.
At Shirdi she tried her level best to meet Baba and open her heart to him. This was especially dificult as there was always someone or the other present there. Then she sought Shyama's help, and finally her wish was granted.
Gangubai and Vishvanath stayed in Shirdi for two months and her persistence paid off. Baba's promise came to fruition in 1911, and Sakharam and Gangubai were blessed with a baby boy. The baby was cute, with a rosy, fair complexion, but most importantly, he was a healthy baby. Gangubai basked in the joy of finally giving birth to a boy and everyone around her were happy for her. Sakharam had decided that the baby would be christened by Baba. Thus when the child was 5 months old they took the baby to Shirdi. Baba placed the baby in his lap and blessed him with the name "Rama Krishna" and as dakshina Sakharam gave Baba 500 Rupees. However, Baba didn't accept it and it was later used to construct a stable for Baba's horse, Shyam Karana.
In 1915, Gangubai had another son named Vasudev. Late Smt.Gangubai Aurangabadkar born in the year 1873 passed away peacefully in the year 1915. Late Shri.Sakharam Aurangabadkar was born around 1861-62 and passed away on Pushya Krishna Trayodashi day in the year 1932.
Thus both her children were bereft of their mother's love, but as it was a large extended family, they were well cared for. Vishvanath's wife Mathurabai took good care of both the children.
(Source : Holy Shri Sai Satcharitra Chapter 36 & Shri Sai Leela Magazine, Deepavai issue, 2010. Photo Courtesy: Shri.Jignesh C.Rajput, Surat)