Nana Saheb Dengle was a resident of Nighoj Nimgaon and an ardent Sai Mahabhakta. He loved Baba intensely and Baba would often go to his home in Nighoj Nimgaon just a mile away from Shirdi.
Triambak Dengle was the Jahagirdar of Nimgaon and grand father of Baba Saheb and Nana Saheb Dengle. Baba was was very fond of Babasaheb Dengle.
Whenever Baba went to Nimgaon, He used to visit Baba Saheb Dengle’s house and spend the whole day talking to him. They used to sit under the Neem tree and chat. Then Baba would return to Shirdi taking the main road, after that walk through the village and go to the Dwarakamai.
Baba Saheb Dengle’s younger brother was Nana Saheb Dengle. He had no son and hence he used to always feel sad at heart. His first wife had faint chances of getting a son. Hence, Nana Saheb married a second time. But fate had the last laugh as Nana did not get a son even from his second wife. Then Baba Saheb sent Nana for Sri Sai Baba’s darshan. And by the grace and blessings of Sai Baba, a son was born to Nana Saheb.
In Ahmednagar, Nana Saheb used to move mcuh closer with Government Circles and was having great influence with the officials. Amongst them there was a person by name Chidambar Keshav, who worked as the Secretary to the District Collector of Ahmednagar. Once, Nana wrote a letter to him saying that he should visit Shirdi with his wife, children and friends for the darshan of Sai Baba which would be worthwhile. In this way, many started flocking to Shirdi from Ahmednagar and surrounding areas as Baba’s fame began to spread and the ranks of his followers increased by leaps and bounds.
Baba used to sleep on a Wooden Plank given by Nana Saheb Dengle in the Dwarakamai. The Wooden Plank was about four times an arm’s length wide as an outstretched palm. Baba used to suspend that plank from the rafter, like a swing, fastened at both ends by pieces of rags. Baba used to keep burning earthern lamp at the head and foot of his bed. No one was able to make a guess as to when and how He climbed up and came down. Baba used to sit up there, with head bent, or would be sleeping on it. The plank was secured by Strips of rags allright. But how did it balance Baba’s weight was really a mystery. Baba had mastered all the Ashta Siddhis. Hence, the wooden plank was only for name’s sake. Hence, Sai Baba had the power to move with ease in the form of a fly or an worm or an ant.
Once Nana Saheb begged Sai Baba to allow him to perform formal Pooja, but Sai refused asking him to perform pooja to the Pooja Pillar in Dwarakamai.
Baba used to beg for oil from the grocers of Shirdi for lighting the lamps in the Dwakramai. Once the grocers of Shirdi refused to give oil to Baba to light the lamps in the Dwarakamai. Not only that. They followed Him to the Masjid to see what he would do without the oil. Baba came to the Dwarkamai, without getting perturbed, Baba poured consecrated water in the lamps. The grocers who were watching this said “this man must be mad”. Nana Saheb Dengle who was present there disagreed with them and said “Lord Shri Hari knows what powers this man has. If a diamond lies in a heap of stone would you call it a stone?’. After the lamps were lit and burnt throughout the night, Dengle was full of astonishment and wonder and fell at Baba's feet. He remained a staunch devotee of Baba forever.
One day Baba in great haste went to Nighoj Nimgaon very early in the morning. Dengle was pleasantly surprised to see Him. He made Baba sit comfortably in the courtyard, and then joined Him. A few hours later, some birds perched on a tree nearby started twittering excitedly. Nana kept quiet and listened to them. Baba knew that Nana could understand bird language. Baba said, “Nana, what are the birds saying?”. Dengle was silent because he knew Baba’s power. Baba knew the past, present and future, let alone what the birds were saying. But because Baba aksed him, he replied, “They say that nine people will die in Shirdi today.” At once Baba hired a tonga and returned to Shirdi. At Shirdi the villagers were happily preparing prasad for Shanidev. They had a big Handi (Copper pot) ready. All the villagers had assembled there to partake of it. Baba, however went straight to the Dwarakamai and sent a messenger to fetch Bhagoji Shinde immediately. Bhagoji came at once and Baba said, “Go to the Shani Mandir at once and throw all the prasad on the floor.” Bhagoji was astounded to hear this but as Baba had commanded him, he did just that. Hurriedly he carried out the task and ran back to the Dwarakamai and took shelter at Baba’s feet. As expected, the villagers rushed to the Dwarakamai and angrily complained to Baba of the disrespectful act committed by Bhagoji. Baba calmly said, “I only ordered him to to so, now go and see what is in the prasad.” Confused, the villages ran to the scene and taking a big ladle swirled the prasad around only to find a dead serpent in it. Trembling with fear they came to the Dwarakamai and prostrated before Baba. They thanked Him for saving the village from utter calamity and death.
Now the Great Grandson of Nana Saheb Dengle and his family lives in the ancestral house. They have also constructed a Sai Baba temple in the vacant place next to their ancestral house.
(Source: Shri Sai Satcharitra, Chapter 5 and Chapter 10, Das Ganu’s Bhakta Leelamrut Chapter 31 and Baba’s Vaani by Vinny Chitluri; Photo Courtesy: Shreya Nagaraj,Pune)