Bhimaji Patil Khebade was the resident of Narayangaon village in the Junnar Taluk of Pune District of Maharashtra. Bhimaji owned large piece of farm land in Narayangaon and was very affluent. He showed hospitality to all the visitors especially in the matter of serving food. He never felt sad for a moment and always lead a cheerful life.
Ancestral House of Bhimaji Patil
But misfortune struck Bhimaji Patil in the year 1909 when he had an attack of Tuberculosis and began to run high temperature. This was followed by relentless cough. As days rolled by Bhimaji's fever rose sharply because of which he was dismayed. There used to be froth at the mouth all the time and mouthfuls of brackish spittles of blood. The stomach had a nauseating sensation and the restless tossing of the whole body failed to stop. Hence, Bhimaji was totally bed ridden, he became weak and thin. All types of remedies were tried but to no avail. Because of this his mind was totally disturbed. He did not relish any food or drink. He became restless and his bodily suffering never seemed to end. Bhimaji Patil gave up all hopes of his survival and felt puzzled in his mind. Bhimaji prayed to his family deity also but to no avail. Then even resorted to Astrologers. Doctors, Hakims, Ayurvedic Pandits could not do anything. All their efforts failed. Bhimaji became weary and despondent, saying to himself 'O God, what have I done? why has everything failed? What terrible sin could I have committed to deserve such suffering?'.
When God heard Bhimaji's anguished cry for help, He was at once moved by compassion! Bhimaji suddenly remembered his friend Nana Saheb Chandorkar and wrote a letter to him narrating his problems in detail. Bhimaji Patil suddenly remembering Nana Saheb was nothing but Sai Baba's prompting. Sai Baba did like that to eradicate the disease of Bhimaji Patil.
On reading Bhimaji Patils' letter Nana Chandorkar's heart filled with sadness. His heart touched with compassion for Bhimaji Patil. Nana wrote back to Bhimaji to approach Sai Baba and hold His feet and also told him that that was the ultimate remedy for his ailment.
As per the advise of Nana, Bhimaji Patil made a firm resolve; took leave of all the family members and set out at once to Shirdi to have Sai Baba's darshan. He also took some relatives with him.
The cart carrying Bhimaji Patil and his relatives came and stood at the entrance of Dwarakamai Masjid. Four people bore Bhimaji on their hands and brought him up. Nana Saheb Chandorkar was accompanying Bhimaji and Madhava Rao Deshpande (Shama) had already come to the Dwarakamai.
On seeing Bhimaji, Baba said "Shama, how many more thieves are you going to burden me with? Is this right on your part?".
On hearing Baba's words Bhimaji lowered his head on Sai Baba's feet and said "Sainath, have mercy on me. Protect me Sainath".
Sai Baba was moved by pity on seeing Bhimaji Patil's suffering. Sai Baba the ocean of compassion was deeply touched. He said with a smile "Rest assured, give up all anxiety. The moment you put your foot in Shirdi, your suffering has ended. Once you climb the steps of Dwarakamai, all your sufferings will end and you will enjoy the greatest happiness. The Fakir of this place is very kind. He will eradicate your disease and pain in a trice. Hence, be rest assured. Stay in the house of Bhimabai. Go now itself and you will get relief in two days".
Hearing Sai Baba's words, Bhimaji Patil experienced a deep satisfaction as that of one on his death-bed receiving a draught of nectar or one parched with thirst, a drink of water.
Bhimaji sat with Baba for almost one hour in Dwarakamai Masjid. The spitting of Blood every five minutes was subsided to a large extent.
Baba never examined Bhimaji or asked about his ailment. Just by the mere glance of His Grace alone, He had destroyed the very root of the disease in an instant.
Baba summoned for Udi and gave a little to Bhimaji Patil and He applied a little on Bhimaji's forehead. He then placed His hand of benediction on Bhimaji Patil's head. He then asked Bhimaji Patil to stay in the house of Bhimabai. Bhimaji Patil got up walked up to the cart all by himself. He felt quite energetic. Bhimabai's house had been recently levelled with clay and the floor was wet. But Bhimaji obeyed Baba's instructions and stayed in Bhimabai's house. Bhimaji Patil spread out two sacks on the wet ground itself over which he spread out his bedding and slept peacefully there.
The same night Bhimaji Patil had a dream vision in which Baba appeared as a teacher of his childhood and started beating him with a cane in his heand. Bhimaji failed to understand why he was being punished. Later in the same night, Bhimaji had another dream vision. In the dream some unknown gentlemen came and sat on his chest pressing it down heavily. Then that gentlemen picked up a stone roller and literally made a grinding stone of his chest. Bhimaji Patil could not bear the pain and felt as though he was on his way to heaven. The dreams ended ther and Bhimaji slept peacefully after that with some degree of comfort. Next morning Bhimaji got up and felt very fresh as never before. The feeling of being unwell had totally vanished. On the same day, Bhimaji Patil's disease was completely eradicated and his suffering came to an end.
Bhimaji Patil was very pleased on seeing that he has recovered completely from the dreaded disease. He then slowly set out to have Baba's darshan. As he looked at Baba's face, his own face glowed with happiness, the eyes closed in a sweet, pleasant drowsiness. Bhimaji bowed to Sai's feet in reverence. He stayed in Shirdi for one more month. He later returned to his hometown with a deep sense of fulfillment, remembering Nana Saheb's kindess with gratitude. From then onwards Bhimaji Patil started visiting Shirdi frequently for Sai Baba's darshan.
From then onwards Bhimaji Patil also started performing Sai Satyanarayana Vrat on every Thursday with a purifying bath and other observances laid down for the vrat. Instead of reading Satyanarayana Vrat Katha Bhimaji used to read Sai Charita from Das Ganu's 'Avarchin Bhaktaleelamruta'. Bhimaji Patil used to invite his family, all his relatives, friends for the Sai Satyanrayana Vrat from then onwards. Bhimaji Patil thus set the trend in the village of Narayangaon and every house holder in the village starting observing Sai Satyanarayana Vrar in their house.
After the demise of Bhimaji Patil the tradition of performing Sai Satyanarayana Vrat continued for some years. But later his next generations totally forgot about it and even stopped performing it and were facing all kinds of problems. Once Nandakumar Revannath Deshpande Nimonkar Great Grand Son of Sai Mahabhakta Nana Saheb Nimonkar (4th Generation) visited Narayangaon for Paduka Pooja at Narayangaon's Dwarakamai Sai Baba Mandir, Sai Devotee Shri.Shivaji Borade took him to the ancestral house of Bhimaji Patil. After hearing all their story Shri.Nandakumar Revannath Deshpande Nimonkar advised them to re-start the Sai Satyanarayana Vrat.And thus, the Bhimaji Patil's descendants have re-started the custom of Sai Satyanarayana Vrat and now everything is fine with them.
Bhimaji Patil had a son by name Narayan Bhimaji khebade Patil. His son was Prakash Narayan Bhimaji Patil. He passed away after few years. At present his wife Smt.Usha is staying with her three sons namely Shri.Sanjay Prakash Khebade Patil, Shri.Ajay Prakash khebade Patil, Shri.Vaibhav Prakash khebade Patil and one daughter- in-law.
Smt.Usha, Shri.Sanjay Prakash Khebade Patil and his Younger Brother's wife
The old wada of Bhimaji Patil has been demolished and the place has been altered into a commercial complex with one portion of the complex converted as the ancestral house wherein they have built a small Sai Baba Mandir inside the house itself.
Also Bhimaji Patil’s ancestors have built a separate Saibaba Mandir in the year 2013 known as Sai Tera Dham Mandir where Shri Sai Satcharitra's Chapter 13 has been engraved in the wall inside the Mandir.The Mandir is about 7 minutes drive from Bhimaji Patil's ancestral House.
Sai Baba had given real Nandi Bhimaji Patil when he was about to take Samadhi. This Nandi died years later. The samadhi of this Nandi was done within the premises of Dwarakamai Sai Baba Mandir. And a Black stone Idol of Nandi has been installed over the Samadhi of that Nandi.
We have given below the contact details of Sai Mahabhakta Bhimaji Patil's ancestral house for the benefit of Sai Devotees:
(Source: Shri Sai Satcharitra, Chapter 13, Personal Interview Smt.Shreya Nagaraj had with Shri.Sanjay Prakash khebade patil, Great Grand Son of Bhimaji Patil. Photo Courtesy: Sri. Nagaraj Sham)