Sai Mahabhakte Smt.Mainathai Ganesh Kuvalekar was the elder daughter of Sai Mahabhakta Late Nana Saheb Ganesh Chandorkar. She had two younger brothers. The youngest of all was Bapu Chandorkar. She first visited Shirdi along with her family members when she was just 12 or 13 years of age around the year 1899-1900. After her first visit she often visited Shirdi, but stopped visiting Shirdi after the Samadhi of Sai Baba in 1918.

On 1st June 1936, she narrated in her own words the experiences she had with Shri Sai Baba to Late Shri.B.V.Narasimha Swamji as below:

Shri.Chidambar Rao Gadgil, Chitnis introduced my fahter Nana Saheb Chandorkar to Sai Baba when he was working as Mamlatdar at Ghodnandi.

Once while we were in Shirdi along with family members we were in Chavadi. Except my father, all our family members were starting to leave Shirdi. Sai Baba came near us and asked for Bhiksha and said "Do not go". Thus, Sai Baba stopped us from leaving Shirdi. We gave Baba, the wayside food we were taking for the sake of the Children. Seeing that Baba's eyes sparkled like jewels.

I remember one or two instances of Sai Baba's stopping or delaying my father's journey. Once in the year 1900, my father had started at the appropriate time to catch a train at Chitali as he had to meet the District Collector. Baba allowed a devotee by name Haridas to go for that train while he stopped my father. Haridas in a hurry left without a meal. My father took his meal leisurely and half an hour later, Baba allowed my father to leave Shirdi. My father went to the railway station and found that he was in time for the train as the train was arriving later on that day as that particular train's running time had been changed on that day itself. My father told me about this incident later.

Once myself and my family members were starting from Shirdi to attend a wedding at Nasik. Baba first did not give permission for us to leave and said, "Do not go". We had not got ready cooked food for children to eat on the way and thought that at Manmad, we might try to feed them. But the train was derailed at the station before we reached Manmad and we stopped there for 3 hours. Sai Baba's stopping us from leaving Shirdi evidently indicated this stoppage on the way and his final permission indicated all would be well.

My Husband died of plague at Pune in 1904, when I was just 17 years and there was no help for me. My mother arrived in time to see him alive. I had just then conceived.

In 1905, when I was in advanced stage of pregnancy with serious difficulty at Jamner, Baba had sent through Ramgir Bua Gosavi Udhi and Aarti. But, I knew nothing of it then, since I was undergoing labour pain.

Udhi Box at Chandorkar's House

In 1906 when I was about 18 or 19 years of age, some devotee while taking darshan of Sai Baba with spectacles on dropped it. Some of the devotees who were present at that time said that the glasses should be offered to Sai Baba as a gift. But Baba said, "I do not want glasses. My glasses are worth Rs.40". My father interpreted what Baba said to us thus: "Glasses as self-realization and worth Rs.40 as occurred 40 years ago".

In 1908 we were staying at Pandharpur. My younger brother Bapu Rao as a little child of just 4 years went daily in the morning, placed a flower on Sai Baba's head and worshipped Him. That was the beginning of regular worship of Baba, as others were not permitted till then to do what my younger brother Bapu Rao did. Before that there was no regular system of daily worship of Sai Baba.

Baba looked about fifty years of age and had grey hair when I went for the first time to Shirdi in 1900. He continued more or less the same up to 1918. Baba took Samadhi on 15th October 1918, which was during the influenza epidemic that raged throughout India.

I have learnt some important facts from my father which I would like to share with you. They are:

  • Sai Baba had known my father for 3 or 4 generations.
  • Sai Baba was constantly using the word "Narayan" in his talks like Narayan Teli, Narayan Dhobi & C.N.G.Chandorkar from which one can infer that Sai Baba must have been a Brahmin Sanyasi, as Brahmin Sanyasis constantly utter the word "Narayan".
  • Bhagavad Gita was repeated by Sai Baba and that He knew Sanskirt very well.

My father was a very orthodox Brahmin and he never drank the Pada tirtha of Sai Baba while Hari Sitaram Dixit and others took it. Around the year 1899 or 1900, my mother's sister's husband Balasaheb Binnewale (who died around 1930-1931) went to see Sai Baba without any faith in Him, but just to oblige my father. Balasaheb was a worshipper of Lord Datta. When he went to see Sai Baba, he saw Sai Baba as Lord Datta with 3 heads. He immediately believed that Sai and Datta are one and the same and Sai was Lord Datta Himself. He became an ardent devotee of Sai Baba and continued to His devotee till his last breath.

(Source: Devotees' Experiences of Sri Sai Baba Part I, II and III by Sri.B.V.Narasimha Swamiji)