Sai Mahabhakta Late Shri.Balasaheb Deo alias Balakrisha Vishwanath Deo has been mentioned in Chapter 40 and 41 of holy Shri Sai Satcharitra. He wrote several articles under the pseudonym, “Babache Bal”, meaning “child of Baba” & also composed an Arati Song "Ruso mama priyaambikaa majavaree pitahee ruso" on Baba & the index as 53 chapter in Hemadpant's "Sri Sai Satcharita".
Balasabeb Deo, an enlightened Sai Bhakta was a magistrate at Dahanu. He met Shri Sai Baba for the first time on 30th November 1910. He came in contact with Baba through Nana Saheb Chandorkar.
His mother had observed 25 or 30 different vows and a Udyapan (concluding) ceremony in connection therewith was to be performed. This ceremony included the feeding of 100 or 200 Brahmins. Mr.Deo fixed a date for the ceremony and wrote a letter to Bapusaheb Jog asking him to request Sai Baba on his behalf to attend the dinner of the ceremony, as without His attendance the ceremony would not be duly completed. Bapusaheb Jog read out the letter to Baba. Baba noted carefully the pure-hearted invitation and said - "I always think of him who remembers Me. I require no conveyance, carriage, tanga, nor train nor aeroplane. I run and manifest myself to him who lovingly calls me. Write to him a pleasing reply that three of us (the trio), Myself, yourself and a third will go and attend it." Mr.Jog informed Mr.Deo of what Baba said. The latter was much pleased, but he knew that Baba never went to any place except Rahata, Rui and Nimgaon in person. He also thought that nothing was impossible to Baba as He was all pervading and that He might suddenly come, in any form He likes and fulfill His words.
A few days before this, a Sanyasi with Bengali dress and professing to work for the cause of the protection of the cows, came to the stationmaster at Dahanu to collect subscriptions. The latter told him to go into the town and see the Mamlatdar (Mr.Deo) and with his help collect funds. Just then the Mamlatdar happened to come there. The station-master then introduced the Sanyasi to him. Both sat talking on the platform. Mr.Deo told him that a subscription-list for some other charitable cause had already been opened by the leading citizen Rao Saheb Narottam Shetti and so it was not good to start another subscription-list and that it would be better if he would visit the place after 2 or 4 months. Hearing this, the Sanyasi left the place.
Baba's Photograph worshipeed by B.V.Deo
About a month afterwards, the Sanyasi came in a tanga and stopped in front of Mr.Deo's house at about 10 a.m. Deo thought that he came for subscriptions. Seeing him busy with the preparations of the ceremony, the Sanyasi said that he had come not for money but for meals. Deo said -"Alright, very glad, you are welcome, the house is yours." The Sanyasi - "Two lads are with me." Deo - "Well, come with them." As there was time (2 hours) for dinner, Deo enquired where he should send for them. He said that it was not necessary as he would come himself at the appointed time. Deo asked him to come at noon. Exactly at twelve noon, the Trio came and joined the dinner party and after feeding themselves went away.
After the ceremony was finished, Deo wrote a letter to Bapusaheb Jog complaining of Baba's breach of promise. Jog went to Baba with the letter, but before it was opened Baba spoke - "Ah, he says that I promised him to come but deceived him. Inform him that I did attend his dinner with two others, but he failed to recognize Me. Then why did he call me at all? Tell him that he thought that the Sanyasi came to ask for subscription money; did I not remove his doubt in that respect and did I not say that I would come with two others, and did not the Trio come in time and take their meals? See, to keep My words I would sacrifice my life, I would never be untrue to My words. "This reply gladdened Jog's heart and he communicated the whole of the reply to Deo. As soon as he read it, he burst into tears of joy, but he took himself to task mentally for vainly blaming Baba. He wondered how he was deceived by the Sanyasi's prior visit and his coming to him for subscriptions, how he also failed to catch the significance of the Sanyasi's words that he would come with two others for meals.
Mr.B.V.Deo who was Mamlatdar of Dahanu (Thana District) wished for a long time to read Jnaneshwari - (the well-known Marathi commentary on the Bhagawad-Gita by Jnaneshwar), along with other scriptures. He could read daily one chapter of the Bhagawad-Gita, and some portion of other books; but when he took Jnaneshwari in hand, some difficulties cropped up and he was precluded from reading it. He took three months' leave, went to Shirdi and thence to his home at Pound for rest. He could read there other books but when he opened Jnaneshwari, some evil or stray thoughts came crowding in his mind and stopped him in the effort. Try however he might, he was not able to read even a few lines of the book with ease. So he resolved in his mind that when Baba would create love for the book and would order him to read it, he would begin and not till then. Then in the month of February 1914 he went with his family to Shirdi. There Jog asked him whether he daily read Jnaneshwari. Deo said that he was desirous of reading it, but he was not successful and that only when Baba would order him to read it, he would commence. Jog then advised him to take a copy of the book and present it to Baba and to start the reading after it was consecrated and returned by Him. Deo then replied that he did not want to resort to this device, as Baba knows his heart. Would He not know his desire and satisfy it by giving him a clear order to read?
Deo then saw Baba and offered one rupee as Dakshina. Baba asked for Rs. 20/- which he gave. At night, he saw one Balakram and enquired how he secured Baba's devotion and grace. Balakram told him that he would communicate everything next day after arati. When Deo went for darshana next day, Baba asked for Rs.20/- which he gave willingly. As the Masjid was crowded, Deo went aside and sat in a corner. Baba asked him to come close and sit with a calm mind, which Deo did. Then after the noon-arati was over and after the men dispersed, Deo saw again Balakram and asked him his previous history, what Baba told him and how he was taught meditation? Balakram was going to reply when Baba sent one Chandru, a leper devotee to call Deo to Him. When Deo went to Baba, the latter asked him when and with whom and what he was talking. He said that he talked with Balakram and heard from him His fame. Then Baba asked again Rs.25/- as Dakshina which Deo gladly gave. Then Baba took him inside and sitting near the post charged him saying - "You stole away My rags without My knowledge." Deo denied all knowledge of the rags, but Baba asked him to make a search. He searched but found none. Then Baba got angry and said - "There is nobody here, you are the only thief, so grey-haired and old, you came here for stealing." After this Baba lost His temper, got terribly wild, gave all sorts of abuses and scoldings. Deo remained silent and watching, and thought that he might get a beating also. After about an hour or so, Baba asked him to go to the Wada. He returned to the Wada and told Jog and Balakram all that had happened. Then in the after-noon Baba sent for all and Deo also, and said that His words might have pained the old man (Deo) but as he committed the theft, He could not but speak out. Then Baba asked again for Rs. 12/- Deo collected the amount, paid it and prostrated himself before Him. Then Baba said to him - "What are you doing?" "Nothing" replied Deo. Then Baba - "Go on daily reading the Pothi (Jnaneshwari), go and sit in the Wada, read something regularly every day and while reading, explain the portion read, to all with love and devotion. I am sitting here ready to give you the whole gold-embroidered Shella (valuable cloth), then why go to others to steal rags, and why should you get into the habit of stealing?"
Deo was much pleased to hear the words of Baba, for He asked him to start reading Pothi (Jnaneshwari). He thought that he got what he wanted and that he could read the book with ease thenceforth. He again prostrated himself before Baba and said that he surrendered himself to Him and that he should be treated as a child and be helped in his reading. He realized then what Baba meant by 'stealing the rags'. What he asked Balakram constituted the 'rags' and Baba did not like his behaviour in this respect. As He was ready to answer any question, He did not like him to ask others and make unnecessary enquiries and therefore He harassed and scolded him. Deo thought that He really did not 'harass and scold' him but taught that He was ready to fulfill his desires, and there was no use asking others in vain. Deo took these scoldings as flowers and blessings and went home satisfied and contented.
The matter did not end here. Baba did not stop with only issuing an order to read. Within a year He went to Deo and enquired about his progress. On 2nd April 1914, on Thursday morn, Baba gave him a dream vision. He sat on the upper floor and asked him whether he understood the Pothi. "No" answered Deo. Baba - "Then when are you going to understand?" Deo burst into tears and said, "Unless You shower Your grace, the reading is mere worry and the understanding is still more difficult. I say this definitely." Baba - "While reading you make haste, read it before Me, in My presence." Deo - "What shall I read?" Baba - "Read Adhyatma (spiritualism)." Deo went to bring the book when he opened his eyes and was awakened. We leave the readers to imagine what ineffable joy and bliss Deo felt after this vision (Ref:SSC, Chapter 41).
Shri.B.V.Deo completed his full period of service even with an extension of three months; but still he wanted further extension of one year. Baba appeared in a dream in one night and told him that he was looking into his accounts. Surprisingly, the Collector also recommended his extension and he got one year extension with Baba’s Grace. He retired in 1911 and went to Baba and tried to do Pada Pooja at the instance of Dixit. However Baba stopped him and said. “You need not worship. You have given me Dakshina. That is enough”. After retirement, he served Baba for as many years as 35 years. Shri.B.V.Deo passed away peacefully, blessed by Baba on 1st January 1946. Just like B.V.Deo, his son by name S.B.Deo was also a trustee of the Sansthan for some time and did similar services in propagating about Baba.
(Source: Shri Sai Satcharitra Chapter 40 & 41 and Shri Sai Leela Magazine 1948 Issue)