Around 1908, Shri Govind Vasudev Kanitkar was a Judge in Yevola, Maharashtra. He was the husband of Sai Mahabhakte Smt.Kashibai Kanitkar. On his tour of duty he often visited Kopergaon and there his colleagues spoke about Baba's divinity, compassion and leelas. As his family was with him at the time, he decided to visit Shirdi along with his entire family. The very next day they crossed the Godavari and proceeded to Shirdi.

Kashibai Kanitkar had heard that Baba collected money from the devotees and bought wood for his Dhuni from it. So prior to setting out she gave each child a coin to offer to Baba. They were a large group of people: Kanitkar, his wife, his sister and 6 children. Together, they went to the Dwarka Mai, prostrated before Baba and placed the dakshina at his feet.

Govind Vasudev Kanitkar with his wife Smt.Kashibai Kanitkar

On that visit they stayed for 4 days, and were allotted rooms the old Marathi shala, which quite a distance away from the Dwarka Mai. One day it was Baba's turn to sleep in the Chavadi, and he and Mhalsapati were chatting together. Then Baba wanted to smoke his chillum, so Mhalsapati filled it with tobacco and handed it to him. They shared the chillum and noked it between them. Soon it was to be refilled, but the stone that was at the mouth piece (bit) was lost. Baba was enraged and soon a volley of abuses burst out of his mouth. Govind, who was seated nearby, was embarrassed and asked his wife and children to return to the shala where they were staying. A short while later Govind also retired for the night.

The Kanitkars were to leave the next day. That night while chit-chatting with some fellow devotees, Govind said, "Sai Baba may be a great Sadhu, but why does he need to ask people for money? This seems strange to me. Also, Baba indiscriminately uses foul, abusive language regardless of who is seated before him. I cannot accept the fact that women hear his profane, vulgar abuses." His colleague who was seated next to him said, "For enlightened saints there is no concept of good and bad their praises or abuse them, as they are above it. They live life with utmost detachment and equanimity. Whether you sing their praises or abuse them, it has no efect on them." But Govind was adamant about his point of view. He said, "I don't agree with you. However, if he returns the exact amount of dakshina that we gave him thus far, I will appreciate him".

Kanitkar visited as many saints and Sadhus as he possibly could, and he always sought advice from them on spiritual matters. He had also read a number of books on philosophy and tried to instil it in his life. As a matter of fact Kanitkar had got peace of mind at the mere darshan of Baba. However, Baba was silent; he didn't talk on any subject, nor did he give any spiritual advice, and this bothered Kanitkar a lot. In that troubled state of mind the question of Baba demanding money from the devotees troubled him even more. Why did this saint need money? The next day, the Kanitkars were leaving, so they went to the Dwarka Mai to get permission from Baba. Then Baba returned the exact amount of money to each individual that they had given the previous day. And each time he repeated the same sentence that Kanitkar had said the previous night. His wife Kashibai was very hurt by this and she said, "Why are you returning the money? It was meant to buy wood for Dhuni Mai"

Baba replied, "Why does he ask for money if he is a Sadhu?" Kanitkar was exceedingly saddened by the turn of events, but what could he do. Carrying the money with them they returned home. Kashibai kept all the money on their prayer altar as a gift from Baba and worshipped it daily.

Kashibai Kanitkar was devoted to Baba since the day she visited Shirdi, and continued to worship him her entire life. At one point in time, her youngest son fell ill, and was for his life. She prayed to Baba to save his life and applied some of the Udi that Baba had given. Soon, her son started recovering.

Kashibai's youngest daughter Anubai was once seated in the balcony of their home and was watching the guards on duty, when a fakir came to beg alms. The fakir was tall and had a coloured handkerchief over his right shoulder. His head was covered with a white cloth that was tied like Baba's shrivesh. He asked the guard for some alms. The guard Informed him that the bajri (sorghum) had finished, and the tin had yet to be refilled. Politely the guard asked him to come a little while later. The fakir laughed and went away. He returned about 20 minutes later and again asked for bhiksha. Again the guard informed him that the tin was empty. Then the fakir said, "There must be four or five grains of bajri in the tin, give them as bhiksha." The guard having no other choice took the tin and emptied it onto his green handkerchief. The fakir looked at the few grains of bajri and said, "This is plenty." Then he folded the handkerchief by placing one palm upon the other. A few moments later, he opened the green handkerchif and it was full of bajri. The fakir laughed, turned and vanished after taking a few steps.

Anubai ran downstairs and informed everyone about the miracle that had just taken place. Kashibai immediately sent the guard to search for the fakir, as she knew that he was Baba. But the fakir was not seen again. A year later Kashibai visited Shirdi and Baba told her he had come to her home.

Kashibai and her family visited Shirdi whenever they could. After her husband retired and they moved to Pune in 1909, they were unable to visit Shirdi. However Baba's blessings and the Udi that he had given them saw them through the ups and downs of life.

(Source: Shri Sai Sagar Magazine, Deepavali issue 2008 and published in Baba's Divine Manifestations by Vinny Chitluri. Photo Courtesy: Shri.Jignesh C.Rajput, Surat)