Sri.Sridhar Narayan Kharkar belonged to Kayasta Prabu caste. He was an Accountant at the Secretariat and resided at Thana, Mumbai.
During his childhood days he was well stocked and fed with religious ideas and ideals by the pious prudence of his grandfather.
When he was thus developing the orthodox side of religious study and practice. Mr. Appa Kulkarni, Deputy Collector, a very pious soul, showed him the picture of Sai Baba that he was devotedly attached to. That was his first contact with Baba. Very soon after that he got from Mr. Dahbolkar a picture of Baba, a number of Sai Lila Masiks and a packet of Baba’s Udhi that came on a day. He was unwell; and on the second day, he got alright and started his worship of Baba which steadily grew thenceforward.
The beginning of his faith in Baba was marked by a remarkable dream or vision.
The picture he got from Mr. Dabholkar he took to his Pooja room but when he was taking it near the picture of the Akkalkot Saint that he was already worshipping, some impulse made him withdraw the new picture. ‘Hallo! This is the Moslem’s picture. How could it be placed next to the holy Hindu Saint?’ So thinking he kept it apart, a little distance from (and not in the same group with) Akkalkot Maharaj’s picture.
He had a dream that night. In the morning, he first forgot all about the dream but when he began to worship at once he recalled the details of his night dream. In the dream, he saw a fakir robed like Sai Baba coming towards the oti or veranda on which he and some one else were sitting. He got up to welcome that fakir. Perhaps he was going to make some invidious distinction. At any rate to prevent such a distinction being made, the person who was next to him told, 'This (Sai Baba) is not different from Akkalkot' and he was directed to treat him on the same footing as Akkalkot Maharaj. Recalling the dream, he rearranged the picture and placed Sai Baba’s picture along with Akkalkot Maharaja’s and worshipped him.
By Baba’s kindness, devotion towards Sai Baba increased by leaps and bounds not only with him but also amongst all the members of his family. He read up all available books on Sai Baba and his wife and children all have taken to Baba worship and show such a great zeal that in case he failed to attend to Aarti or pooja of Baba, Someone else was ready to take it up.
At first, there appeared to be some exceptions to his felicity in this respect. His mother was living away from him for many years. But by the grace of God and Baba, she came to live with him. But at first, seeing the worship he paid to Baba’s picture and his visits to Shirdi, she was displeased on the ground that Baba was a Muslim. But Baba’s kindness towards him and her was most remarkable. He worked a gradual change in her feelings. As she was not for Baba, he took other members of his family with him to Shirdi but not his mother.
After 2 or 3 such years, i.e. in 1933, she wished to go to Shirdi and pay her respects to Baba’s shrine, and asked his wife and daughter to see that she was taken to Shirdi. He was very glad to see the change worked in her. Baba’s kindness made a great change in her attitude. Extremely orthodox though she was, she dropped her orthodox scruples when devotion to Sai Baba suggested the contrary course. She was well impressed with all she saw at Shirdi. The visit to Shirdi was none too soon. Shortly after their return from Shirdi, she breathed her last at his residence at Thana. It was a great kindness on the part of Baba to have brought a change in her and given her darshan of the Samadhi just in time before she passed away.
He can easily multiply instances of Baba’s kindness to him and his family. But it is needless. It is enough to say that he feels Baba was guiding them and watching over their interests and actions in everything.
He narrated only two instances to show how other members of his family shared the kind and merciful care that Baba bestowed on his own. His second son, Govind, was hungering and thirsting to have the joy of visiting Baba’s Samadhi, and Dwarkamai at Shirdi. So in 1934 for Ramnavami celebration when their family friends Mr. G.B. Datar and family were going to Shirdi, his son accompanied them. When he went to Dwarkamai (i.e.) the mosque, he was alone with Baba’s oil painting which is so vividly painted that Baba's eyes from the portrait seem to pierce into you, wherever you may stand in the hall. His son gazed with rapture at the portrait and closed his eyes. He heard then a distinct and audible voice (Have you come?). That is the parental affectionate greeting he had. He opened his eyes and found himself alone. There was no other to utter those words of welcome, but Baba.
About 8 years back, his daughter was in the family way and they had taken her to their village at Khar (some 2 or 3 miles off Thana). When the delivery was to take place, there was no proper medical aid. His relations were blaming him for not providing a place at Thana for the delivery. His wife came and told him that the delivery was obstructed. The child had evidently died and could not easily come out. There was great pain, and anxiety was felt by the patient and by all of the family members. It was midnight or rather 2 A.M. when the condition was reported to be so painful and anxious; He was helpless. Suddenly, it dawned upon him that he had a safe resource in Baba’s udhi. His wife took the udhi and applied it to his daughter. Within 30 minutes or one hour of the application the child came out. It was dead, but his daughter’s life was saved and their anxieties were at an end. The doctor came in the morning and wondered how it had come out. He thought that ill trained people like the midwife would have thrust their hands in and created danger of septic and possible post-parturition troubles. He was surprised to learn that mere udhi without any physical interference resulted in the expulsion of the child, the placenta and everything.
All the girls in his family take part in the service of Baba and daily perform Aarti to Saibaba without fail.
Just a week or so before his daughter’s delivery, his son informed him that Baba had just appeared in his dream and called out “Nana, Nana. (Meaning myself) Where is he? Why is he afraid? Apply my Udhi". Though his son had told him this, he did not recall it at the time his daughter’s serious troubles: but instinctively he resorted to the aid of Baba’s Udhi. Long afterwards he thought over the matter and found that in his son’s dream, Baba had given me a forewarning of the impending danger and shown him the way out of it. And when he failed to realize this at the critical moment, he was made unconsciously to utilize the very way he had mentioned.