When the rays of Suryanarayan spread on the land of Shirdi, all the devotees together said, O Suryanarayan, you have come, we take obeisance to you.  O Sun God, please take care of us.

Someone was singing a bhajan in their house...

This is the last hour of the night, the sage has not slept ...'

As soon as Suryanarayan arrives, the mother cow goes to graze and the tinkling sound of the Bell is heard in the temples. Sainath, sitting immersed in Dhuni, gets warm near the Dhuni in the morning and those who have faith in Sai never face shortage of food and clothing.

If Sai's grace falls, then the devotees gets their livelihood, they get happiness, bestowed with wife and children.  Even an enemy becomes a friend. In this way Baba makes everything available to His devotees.

One day in the morning, a young woman wearing a black saree carrying a small child came to Baba's Dwarakamai and placed the child at Baba's feet and was mesmerized by Baba's darshan. The young woman was none other than Durgabai Karmakar.

Durgabai lost her body consciousness after seeing Baba. Durgabai remained in this state for some time and then regained consciousness and wiped her eyes and cheeks with her torn Saree. The naming ceremony of her child was also not happened till now. Baba's immense mercy showered upon Durgabai and Durgabai forgot her previous life incidents, her mind became free from sin and lust. Shirdi being an unknown place to Durgabai, she was worried about how to arrange milk for of her child in Shirdi town. Durgabai was worried about what to do if her child falls ill but was rest assured that Baba knows her worry and reposed complete faith in Baba. Understanding what was going on in Durgabai's mind, Baba said in a sweet voice, "This is the court of Sai, this is Dwarakamai who does good to everyone, don't worry at all, go and sit under the neem tree, sit silently for three days, do not talk to anyone, after four days everything will happen on its own".

No one knew from where Durgabai came to Shirdi. It is believed that Durgabai came to Shirdi in the year 1913. However, there is no mention of Durgabai in Khaparde's Diary in 1912. Durgabai told Baba, “I will live under the Neem tree, but how will my child survive without milk, I just want milk to be available for him.”

Baba said, "Go... Go... If your son does not get milk then just keep the child sleeping, Allah is the master." Durgabai had full faith in Baba's words. Tears rolled down Durgabai's eyes because she was also a mother of that child; then Baba said, “Don't be afraid, go and sit under the Neem tree". Durgabai firmly decided that whatever has to happen will happen and decided to obey Baba's orders.

When Lord Hanuman jumped into the ocean, he had the power of chanting the name of Ram. Hanuman had strong faith and excellent devotion towards Bhagwan Ramachandra. In the same way, after hearing the words emanating from the holy mouth of Bhagwan Sai Baba, Durgabai gained a strange confidence. There was tremendous impact in Sai Baba's words. There was strong force in Baba's words. Sai Baba has such immense power that he turns even a straw into a crown. Durgabai went along with her child and sat under the Neem Tree. Sai Baba's Guru's Samadhi was there under the Neem Tree. Sai Baba had performed Penance under the Neem Tree for many years. Sai Baba first appeared in Shirdi under this Neem Tree. Hence, Upasani Baba has said:

Sada Nimba Vrikshasya Muladhi Vasat, Sudhastravinam Tiktampya Priyantaam |
Tarum Kalpa Vrikshadhikam Sadhyatam Namamishvaram Sadgurum Sainatham ||

Having complete faith in Baba's words, Durgabai spent three days under the Neem Tree fasting and by remaining silent. The effect of Baba's words was such that the child also did not eat anything for three days, neither food, nor water. Thus, after three days of penance, Sai Baba gave bread to Durgabai and helped her end her fasting on the fourth day.

Saibaba said, “Do not talk to anyone without any reason, remain silent as much as possible and if you do so, it will be equivalent to my service.” Baba placed two rupees in the hand of Durgabai's son. Meanwhile, Balabhai, a restaurant owner came to Dwarakamai and with folded hands he told Baba that he take all the responsibility of this lady, if this lady will wash utensils at his place, then she will get two meals a day of bread and that he will also arrange for the child's milk. Sai Baba named Durgabai's child as "Raghunath". Durgabai had planned to stay in Shirdi for seven or eight days only. Hence, after eight days she went to Baba's Dwarakamai to take permission to leave Shirdi. Then Baba said, "Go... sit, sit, I have brought you till here not to send you back".

After some time of living in Shirdi, Durgabai built a small mud house and installed Baba's photo there. Durgabai also kept the two rupees which Baba had given to child Raghunath in the place of worship. Durgabai used to get up from bed at Brahma Muhurt at four in the morning and worship Baba after completing her daily ablutions. Later, she used to sit under the Neem tree and chant with rosary beads and while chanting the rosary she used to go around in pradakshina of Gurusthan.

Durgabai used to chant Shri Sai Baba Ashtottara and circumambulate the Neem tree and used to go to all the other temples of Shirdi and worship there. She also to use offer pooja to Peepal and Tulsi plants which she saw on the way and water them as well.

Durgabai used to fast on Ekadashi, Poornima, Sankasht Chaturthi and Thursdays. Durgabai was very staunch devotee who strictly followed satvic diet. She ate food only once a day and spent most of her day in worship.

Durgabai was very hardworking and charitable; she used to do some work for someone or the other and did not expect anything in return for her work. All the rich devotees of Baba who used to come to Shirdi were sympathetic towards Durgabai, yet Durgabai was not proud of this.

Due to her attitude of helping everyone in some way or the other, some people used to criticize and gossip about Durgabai. When Durgabai came to know that people were saying bad things about her, she would cry silently. While serving Baba's feet, Durgabai would remember these things and tears used to roll down from her eyes. Then Baba would say to Durgabai, "Hey Durga! No matter what people say, don't pay attention to them. I am here to protect you. You have a lot of work to do".

Durgabai's mind used to become calm after hearing sweet nectar like words from Saibaba. Sai Baba's words used to spread like nectar in Durgabai's heart.

In Dwarakamai,Durga used to start pooja as soon as the conch was blown. By the time, Baba returned from Landibagh to Dwarakamai, durgabai used to complete the circumambulation of Neem tree. In this way, Durgabai remained busy throughout the day and due to her charitable nature, she also helped people in their work. She used to offer naivedya to Baba and also used to serve Baba.

The feeling of non-duality between Baba and Durgabai was such that whatever Baba felt like eating, Durgabai was inspired to prepare the same thing and Baba used to accept the prepared food with great pleasure. Dadasaheb Khaparde used to feel very happy after seeing such loving devotion of Durgabai towards Sai Baba. In order to see that there is no problem in offering Naivedya to Baba, for which durgabai had made such arrangements, Dada Saheb Kapharde used to give fifteen rupees every month.

Durgabai's son Raghunath turned five years old. When it was time to perform his Thread Ceremony, Nanasaheb Chandorkar, Kakasaheb Dixit, Rao Bahadur Dhumal, Dadasaheb Khaparde and other devotees together collected money for the Thread Ceremony and gave it to Durgabai. Just four days before the Thread Ceremony, Durgabai's house got burgled. Seeing this, Durgabai became very sad and started crying. Grieving over the theft in her house, Durgabai did not concentrate on her daily worship. When Baba was on his way to Lendi Baugh, Durgabai fell at his feet and started crying. Then Baba said, "Oh Durga, why are you crying? There is no famine in my court? I am sitting here to give and will give you a bag full. Whatever you lost I will give you". Hearing these soothing words of Baba, Durgabai's mind became calm and after four days, Raghunath's sacred thread ceremony was also completed. Baba's leela is unique!!!

One day, when Raghunath was playing in Dwarakamai and Durgabai was serving Baba's feet, Baba said, "This Raghu was a devotee of mine in his previous birth. He used to play the Kartal in front of me day and night. After death, Raghu's soul was going to be born somewhere else but I spoke to Dharmaraja and asked him to be born from your womb, because both you and Raghu are connected with me by Rinanubandh and you both have been mine for many births. That's why I've drawn both of you here."

When Raghu grew up and there was talk about his education, Sai Baba said, "Is there any master to teach Raghu? Who will teach him? Allah is his master." Raghunath's education was later arranged at Dadasaheb Khaparde's place in Amravati.

Since the year 1911, Shri Upasani Maharaj was residing in Khandoba Mandir and was doing a very difficult penance without food and water. One day Sai Baba asked Durgabai "Durga, do you go to Vithoba Temple?" Durgabai replied: "Yes. I go occasionally Baba".

Baba said, “You see, Upasani Maharaj's bones have come out, his hands and legs have also become lean; after all whatever is going to happen will happen. You going there and serving Upasani is equivalent to serving me." After Baba's order, Durgabai started going to Upasani Maharaj, but at that time Upasani Maharaj used to be in a intoxicated state. If anyone went to Upasani Maharaj, he used to even beat them and abuse them. Even when Upasani Maharaj was in such intoxicated, mad state, Durgabai would fearlessly carry the Naiveda thali but Maharaj would not accept Naiveda. sometimes he would throw away the thali, yet Durgabai, obeying Baba's orders, used to go to the temple of Khandoba in the service of Maharaj.

After attaining divinity in the temple of Khandoba Upasani Maharaj left Shirdi's Khandoba Mandir in July 1914. No one knew where Upasani Maharaj went after he left Shirdi. Yet Durgabai used to bring naivedya and keep the plate under the banyan tree in front of Khandoba Temple. The naiveda used to be eaten by animals like Crows, Dogs, etc. Durgabai got the information that Upasani Maharaj had come back and started staying in Sakuri Ashram in the year 1896. From then onwards, Durgabai used to walk from Shirdi to Sakuri every day and offer Naivedya to Upasani Maharaj. Once a thorn had pricked Durgabai's leg due to which there was swelling in her leg. Upasani Maharaj came to know about this and Maharaj asked Durgabai "why do you come here taking so much trouble?".

Sai Baba took Maha Samadhi in 1918. By that time, Upasani Maharaj had already established Sakuri Ashram. After Baba's Maha Samadhi, Durgabai went to Sakuri and permanently stayed there in Sakuri Ashram.

Durgabai served Upasani Maharaj for many years. Later, she got separated from Upasani Maharaj due to some differences (this information has been mentioned in Upasani Maharaj Charitra). Durgabai's left her body at Solapur's Saidham.

(Source :Shri Sai Sarovar Hindi Edition Part 1 by Late Shri.Maganlal Germanwala. Translated into English by Saiamrithadhara)