Shankar Haribhau Chaubal was born on 13th August 1910 in Dahanu (Thane District). He was the son of Haribhau Vishwanath Chaubal and he met Baba when his father would stay in Shirdi for long periods of time.

In 1911, Haribhau Vishwananth Chaubal visited Shirdi for the first time. Haribhau’s father opposed his piligrimage vehemently. He said, “He’s a Muslim fakir who stays in a mosque and survives by begging food in the village. Why do you want to meet him? There are numerous charlatans in this world who dupe innocent people. Don’t waste your time going there.” Nonetheless Haribhau did go;Baba welcomed him by repeating the exact words that his father had said. Haribhau realized that Baba was omnipresent as he knew what had transpired miles away. Haribhau stayed in Shirdi for 4 days; he was so impressed by Baba’s divinity that he frequently visited Shirdi thereafter.

Haribhau yearned to see Baba and pay homage to him every day; so he decided he would stay in Shirdi for long periods. In 1914 he came along with his family and stayed for 4 months; at that time he stayed with Appa Shimpi. Again in 1917 he and his family stayed in a large house that was situated behind Abbdul Bba’s cottage; this stay also was 4 months long.

Haribhau states: “Baba used to call me bhau (brother) and he was very kind to me. As I grew up and went through the ups and downs in life, first while I was a student and then when I was employed, Baba was always at my side helping me to overcome every hurdle of life. Infact he stood by me through thick and thin. And I am eternally grateful to him.”

During the year 1917, Shankar visited Shirdi along with his father when he was just 7 years old. After Kakad Aarti his mother would go home and prepare Zunka Bhakri (dry curry made with gram flour and onions) for Baba every day as he would come to take bhiksha daily from their home. The children would fight among themselves as to who would give bhiksha to Baba. His mother solved the issue by making child take turns in offering bhiksha to Baba. Shankar would run to Dwarkamai before Baba arrived there from his bhiksha rounds, and waited there for him. Baba would pick him up and seat him on his lap for sometime, cuddle him and oftentimes wipe his nose. Baba would give him delicious food that he had received, and then tell him to go and play.

One afternoon Haribhau’s son Shankar climbed upon a railing in the Sabha Mandap just prior to the commencement of the noon Aarati. Baba saw him perched there and said, “Arre your child will fall down and hurt himself. Go and get him and then start the Aarati.” After the child was brought down the Aarati commenced.

Once Shama called Shankar and said in a stern voice, “Boy you are very dirty so from tomorrow don’t stand next to the railing because Baba picks you up and has to wipe your nose. The next day Shankar did not go to the Dwarkamai but stayed quietly in the Sabha Mandap; Baba sent a devotee to fetch him but Shankar refused to go as Shama was standing next to Baba. The devotee was sent by Baba again, and when Shankar refused, the devotee picked him up and forcefully brought him to Baba. Baba sat Shankar on his lap and in a gentle voice asked, “Bhau are you angry with me today? Why are you sitting so far away”. Then Shankar told him what Shama had said. “Arre Shymia, just as you are my child so is Bhau. If I don’t take care of my children who will? So don’t be angry with him,” and saying this Baba pacified Shama. Since then Shama never objected to Shankar going to Baba.

Shankar states, “I vividly remember that one day someone brought a phonogram and kept it in the Sabha Mandap. It was turned on and everyone was enjoying themselves. That day the circus had come to Shirdi and the owner had brought an elephant to have darshan of Baba. All the children had gathered there to watch the elephant bow before Baba.


(Source: Baba's divine Symphony by Vinny Chitluri and Shri Sai Leela Magazine 1988 issue)