Shri Gopal Bhaskar Datar belonged to Brahmin Community and worked as a Pleader. He was a resident of Station Road, Thana in Maharashtra.

In the year 1917, he was staying in Ahmednagar and had opportunity of visiting Shri Sai Baba. But, he refrained from visiting Him because of the bad remarks that were made by people of Ahmednagar. They informed him that Baba demanded more money as Dakshina from the devotees who visited Him. They also informed him that the water in which Sai Bba bathed was taken and given as Thirtha for devotees to drink. Before coming to Sai Baba's fold, Gopal Bhaskar Datar was a devotee of Narayan Maharaj of Khedgaon Bet near Pune. Whenever devotees gave dakshina of Rs.1 or any denomation to Narayan Maharaj, He returned that rupee along with some Sugar Candy as Prasad. Shri.Gopal Datar observed that what Sai Baba did was in total contrast to Narayan Maharaj.

During later years, he started reading Upasani Baba's life and listened to his lectures. He also had the opportunity of meeting Upasani Baba in Mumbai which made him visit Sakori Ashram. The Parayan of Upansani's Leelamruta in the year 1931, gave a very good impression of Sai Baba. Thus, after visiting Sakori he paid a visit to Shirdi. There the gleaming eyes of Shri Sai Baba in the portrait, the Dhuni Maa and the Dwarakamai Masjid impressed him immensly and He exclaimed to himself "Here is a Master". Later, he read many articles that were published in Shri Sai Leela Magazine specially Anna Saheb Dabholkar's Magnum Opus "Shri Sai Satcharitra" that were serialized in the Magazine narrating various "Leelas" and "Experiences". Thus, Shri.Gopal Bhaskar Datar was completely convinced that Shri.Sai Baba was his Guru. Since, that time he stuck to Sai Baba and never went in search of any other Gurus.

Some of the personal experiences that he went through confirmed his faith in Sai Baba. This incident happned around 1931-1932. A lady in the house wa suffering from internal pais for a long time. All types of medicines were tried but to no avail. Whenever Gopal used to read Dabholkar's Shri Sai Satcharitra aloud, she used to sit and listen. One day Gopal was reading the chapter wherein Sai Baba saved a frog from the clutches of a Snake. The lady sat and listen in a half dozing state. In the same state she prayed to Sai Baba as follows: O Sai Baba, y9ou have pity and help for humble suffering creatures like a frog. But you have no pity on me a human being? ". She then heard the voice that seemed to emanate from a peg on the wall saying: "Will you give me Rs.5 as dakshina for the Dasara festival?". She answsered that she would, in case she got cured. At once she woke up from her dozing condition and narrated the above incident and asked Gopal to send Rs.5 as contribution for Sai Baba's Dasara Festival. Gopal did accordingly. Her condition improved after few hours and her agony abated by the same evening.

In the year 1932, Baba used to appear in Gopal's dreams on many occasions. Baba used to play with him like He used to play with small kids. In one of the dreams, Upasani Baba requested Sai Baba to help Gopal and Sai Baba readily agreed for it.

Once Gopal had lost or misplaced a letter pertaining to one of his clients who was not easily accessible as he was always travelling. The client was very much required to be presented to the court during the next hearing. Gopal tried all the sources to reach his client through various sources but in vain. In utter despair, Gopal prayed to Sai Baba. The very next day, Gopal found the missing letter when he had accidentally placed his hand on a rack in his office room. Thus, Gopal was able to secure the party's presence in the court in proper time.

This incident happened around the year 1932-1933. Gopal was heading a commissioin to examine some witness on interrogatories sent by a distant court. Gopal once again misplaced the interrogatories and other papers pertaining to the Lawsuit. He searched for the papers everywhere but could not find the papes and hence was much dejected over the issue. He felt humiliated to inform the Court about his negligence and to ask for fresh copies of the interrogatories and other papers. During this time, a "Varkari" (one who constantly goes on a Pilgrimage to Phandharpur to have darshan of Lord Vittal) had visited his house. Gopal served him for some days with utmost zeal. At that time, Gopal narrated his plight to the Varkari and also told him about his worried state of mind. After hearing Gopal's plight, the Varkari just said: "It will be found". During this period, Gopal also offered his usual prayers to Sai Baba. The day after the Varkari left his house, Gopal discovered the missing papers amidst the papers of a totally unconnected case.

Gopal never used to perform the Annual Shraddha of his ancestors and other ceremonies and completely ignored them. He thought that these rituals were meaningless superstitions. He had no faith in the ritualistic ceremonies. But, his faith in the rituals revived when he met one Sai Bhakta by name Shri.Nana Nachane, who belonged to Prabhu Community and was serving as a Clerk in the Presidency Magistrate Court at Kurla in Mumbai. Shri.Nachane who was a very devout Sai Bhakta gave an account narrating the kind mercy shown by Shri Sai Baba on him. The details are as follows:

Shri.Nachane lost his wife in the year 1929. She had left behind a Child to take care of. The loving husband wanted her to get Sadgati and hence had resolved to go to Nasik to perform the required ceremonies on the banks of Holy Godavari River. He did not have any idea about the expenses. He kept his son who was 3 and half years old at home and went with Rs.80 to V.T.Station from there he could go to Nasik. In the train another passenger was sitting next to him. He did show sympathy and wished to help him and started asking him some questions:

Passenger: Where are you going?

Nana: To Nasik.

Passenger: The weather at this time of year is cold there. Have you taken any blanket with you?

Nana: I am not in a condition of thinking about blanket. Eight days ago my wife expired leaving three and half year old son behind.

After hearing these words, the passenger went out and got a blanket for Nana.

Nana: How did you get this so quickly?

Passenger: I am staying in Bombay Art School which was very near from this railway station.

Nana: What is your name? What do you do for living?

Passenger: I am peon in that school. My name is Ganapati Shankar. Please do not worry. I will wake you up when Nasik comes as I am also going there.

Nana: What are you doing in Nasik?

Passenger: Nothing much. As my boss has gone to Shimla, I am talking the opportunity to see Nasik.

When Nana was about to lay down over the bench, the passenger said: "Please take care of your money. Otherwise, give them to me and I will keep in my trunk". Nana gave money to him and slept. When Ghoti Station came he woke him up. After brushing his teeth, Nana had some tea brought by him. The money for the tea was given by him. When Nasik came, they both got down and went to Nasik town by bus. He told Nana not to go to priest by himself and said he will sort that out. For 12 days, he got all the religious rites performed by the priest. He told the priest to start the rites after doing Ganesh Puja first. Priest said that it wasn't necessary but he took him to another priest for opinion and the second priest agreed to the programme explained by Ganapati Shankar. It seemed as if he knew all about it. He told the priest to take the Pinda (a lump ball made of Rice, Til etc..) to Ramkund first and told to immerse the ashes in the river holding in both hands. They immediately dissolved in water. After that ceremony, he took Nana to the main temple there. The priest from that temple knew Ganapati Shankar. After finishing, he gave account of all the money used to each and every penny spent. Then he went back to Mumbai. He gave his address to Nana and promised to come to his place in Andheri to meet him. Many days passed but he did not come. Hence, Nana went searching for him. However, there was no peon named Ganapati Shankar in that Art School. Nana even went to the Principal but he also did not know anyone working by that name! Now Nana was sure that Shri Sai Baba came to help him in his difficult times!!!

After hearing this incident from Shri.Nachane, Gopal Bhaskar Datar thought that as Shri Sai Baba Himself has helped Shri.Nachane to perform the funeral ceremonies successfuly, such ceremonies must have a real significance and hence worth performing. Ever since that day, Shri.Gopal started performing Annual Ceremonies without fail.

(Source: Devotees' Experiences of Shri Sai Baba, Part I, II and III by Poojya Shri.B.V.Narasimha Swamiji and Akhanda Shree Sai Krupa Marathi Book written and published by Shri.Ravindra Shantaram Nachane)