Balakrishna Waman Vaidya resided in Bandra, Mumbai. He worked in the department of Railways. He first visited Shirdi in the year 1910 along with his family. Baba’s love and grace was evident even prior to his arrival at Shirdi.
He applied for leave and the privilege of travelling passes. But he was doubtful if it would be sanctioned as some urgent work had to be taken care of. He knew that his presence would be required there. Nonetheless, he sent his leave application. He was pleasantly surprised when his leave was sanctioned along with the passes. He later learned that the sanctioning officer was Baba’s devotee.
It was dusk when they reached Kopergaon. They engaged a Tonga to take them to Shirdi. The Tonga driver was reluctant to go to Shirdi as it was dark, the road was deserted and there was always the threat of being waylaid by the dacoits. However, Vaidya had faith in Baba, and he assured the driver that no mishap would take place, as Baba was there to protect them. They set out and found that two Tongas were following them to Shirdi. On the way, they found some Tongas and bullock carts returning from Shirdi. Thus they knew that it was safe to proceed.
They reached Shirdi safely and took a room in Sathe Wada. When at around 1 a.m. Vaidya insisted that his family has a light meal as the next day was Sankashta Chaturthi (a day of fasting). Then they retired for the night. Early next morning Baba took the resident devotees to task. He said, “My children arrived yesterday and none of you gave them any food to eat. Thus they had to fast, and go to sleep hungry”. Then he drove them out of the Dwarakamai. Those devotees on whom Baba had vented his anger came to Vaidya and told him everything that had taken place. They also asked him to tell Baba that he and his family had retired only after taking a light meal. When Vaidya went for Baba’s darshan, after prostrating he told Baba that he and his family was well looked after. Then Baba blessed them and said, “Allah Bhala Karega” (Allah will do good).
Baba Takes Bhiksha from Vaidya’s wife:
Later on in the day when Baba went for Bhiksha he came and stood in front of the Wada where Vaidya was staying and asked for Bhiksha. His wife immediately went inside the room and happily gave Baba millet bread and vegetable curry. This was unusual for that was not Baba’s usual Bhiksha route. Again this gives a glimpse of Baba’s love for this devotee.
Next day, vaidya’s wife prepared food offering for Baba, but somehow she got delayed. The rest of the devotees had already offered their platters of food. Everyone was waiting for Baba to partake of the food. But Baba asked them to be patient. When Vaidya’s wife brought the offering, he asked the volunteers to place the platter near him. Then he partook of the food and returned some of it as Prasad along with his blessing.
Baba Sanctifies the Photograph:
During that visit to Shirdi, Vaidya wanted to have a photograph of Baba that was blessed and sanctified by his touch. As soon as he saw Shyama, he informed him of his desire. Baba who was close by at once said, “Why wait? Go and bring a photograph at once”. He then held the photograph for a moment and gave it to Vaidya saying, “Take it home with you and worship it”. This photograph is still in his home.
Vaidya wanted to visit Nasik on his way back to Mumbai. He went with his family to ask for permission to leave. While granting him permission Baba said, “Go, go, but why do you want to go to Nasik? Go back home the way you came with your children as there is plague in Nasik”. Vaidya could not hold back his tears perceiving Baba’s love and compassion for him and his family. They hired a Tonga and reached Kopergaon railway station only to find that the train that they had intended to board had just left. They were rather disappointed and had to spend the night at the station. However, they boarded the next train, early next morning and reached Manmad safely. Then they learned that the train that they had missed was involved in a terrible accident and the compartment that they would have boarded was smashed. This gave Vaidya another glimpse of Baba’s love for him and his dear ones.
He visited Shirdi again in 1912 and 1916 and at every visit he was overwhelmed by Baba’s love and compassion. In 1916, he had moved to Bandra and had made it his home. One day a mendicant came to his home and asked him for one piece (smallest denomination of old Indian coins). His son was in the courtyard and he went inside the house and gave him the piece for he thought that he was Baba. Then Vaidya came outside and seeing the medicant, he did Namaskar (a salutation). Then he asked him to come inside his house as the medicant had an uncanny resemblance of Baba. The mendicant did go inside and then he asked Vaidya for some Siddha (uncooked grains cereals and pulses). Vaidya of course gave it to him with love and devotion. Upon receiving the alms he said, “Are you satisfied now? I am here with you, now you need not come to Shirdi”. Vaidya never visited Shirdi again.
Life had its difficulties, and all its troubles and problems but Vaidya faced them cheerfully for he was sure that Baba was always there to help and protect him.
(Source: Life of Sai Baba, Volume 3 by Sri.B.V.Narasimha Swamiji)