He was the Circle Inspector at Kopargaon. He got attracted towards Baba because of a desire to have a son. Like Nanasaheb Dengale, he also had a religious bent of mind and both had close contact with each other. On Nanasaheb’s advice Gopalrao went for Baba’s Darshan.
Gopalrao had three marriages. However, none of the wives had succeeded in giving him a son. With Baba’s blessings a son was delivered in Gopalrao’s house. To express his joy and gratitude on the occasion, Gopalrao expressed his desire to repair and renovate the dilapidated Masjid. For that purpose, he started gathering stones and other materials. However, Baba had planned to assign this work to another personality – Nanasaheb Chandorkar. Therefore, He did not grant permission to Gopalrao.
Baba, then instructed Gopalrao to use the materials for the renovation and reconstruction of Shani Mandir and temples in surrounding areas. Gopalrao was overjoyed. He immediately executed work as per Baba’s instructions and not only renovated, but enlarged the Shani Mandir. He also repaired the Guru Samadhi Sthan, located under the Neem tree, under which Baba used to sit.
Gopalrao believed that he had a son through Baba’s blessings. To celebrate the occasion, he wanted to arrange a fair (a Hindu Yatra or a Muslim Urus). He placed his idea before Dada Kote, Tatya Kote, Madhavrao Deshpande and others – who immediately supported it. Baba also gave His permission.
It was necessary to obtain permission from the District Collector for the fair. While these people were making efforts for the permission, the Kulkarni of Shirdi opposed the proposal and succeeded in obtaining order prohibiting the Yatra. However, as the occasion had blessings of Baba, the villagers once again made attempts to secure the permission with renewed vigor. Their efforts bore fruits and as per Baba’s instructions, from Shake 1896, a Yatra began to be held on the auspicious occasion of Ram Navami.
Thus, Gopalrao was instrumental in establishing the practice of Ram Navami Yatra. Tatya Patil looked after the arrangements of the Yatra.
Later on, Damuanna Kasar was similarly blessed with a son after a long wait. Gopalrao advised Kasar to tie a Flag to the spiral top of the Masjid. Kasar placed the idea before Nanasaheb Nimonkar, who approved it. Accordingly, he hoisted a Flag.
Till today, on the day of Ram Navami, two new Flags are brought after Bhajan - Pujan, Wajantri - Taasha (a kind of musical band) in a ceremonious procession and hoisted and tied to the spiral top of the Masjid. Damuanna Kasar’s Flag is simple one. The other Flag, bearing golden embroidery, is of Nanasaheb Nimonkar. These are made ready at the residence of Kondaji Sutar and then hoisted upon the Masjid.
After his demise, Gopalrao donated his stone house to Shirdi Sansthan.
(Source: Shri.Leeladhar, Saileelas.org, Hyderabad)