Savitri Bai Tendulkar and Raghunath Tendulkar were ardent devotees of Shri Sai Baba. Savitri Bai lived with her husband Raghunath Tendular and four children in Bandra Mumbai. She and her family were devoted to Baba. Every Thursday she made a pilgrimage to Shirdi carrying prasad and garland made of Bakul flowers. In the compound of her Bandra home there was a Bakul tree. The tree gave an abundance of flowers for three months and then the flowers started waning off. Early in the morning the tree would shed myriads of flowers. Savitri Bai would gather these flowers and offer them to Baba. It was a ritual that she liked to do daily. She had a small photograph of Baba and she performed pooja to it. First she made a bed of flowers and then placed the photograph on it. Meticulously she mad garlands of various sizes and placed them on the photograph. The rest of the flowers she offered doing Naam Jap. Thus mounds of flowers were in front of Baba’s photograph.

Smt.Savitri Bai Tendulkar

On one of her visits to Shirdi, Baba was sitting with a large group of people, when He pointed to her and said, “I was not in Shirdi for the last three months. I was in mayee’s home. She smothered me with Bakul flowers. I am intoxicated by their smell” .

Savitri Bai and her family belonged to the Warkari Sampradaya. Though her family was of a religious bent, Savitri Bai was very progressive for her times. She wrote the famous “Sri Sainatha Bhajana Mala” in the form of “Padas  and Abhangs”. This Book was co-authored by her husband Raghunath Tendulkar. These were about her experiences of Baba’s Leelas and Divinity. Another intimate Sai Mahabhakta Shri.Hari Sitaram Dixit has written the Preface to this famous Bhajanamala which is a shower of Nectar to the every thirsty Sai devotees (Chapter 2, Shri Sai Satcharitra).

Raghunath Tendulkar was a man of of sharp intellect, solemn nature and great learning. While Savitri Bai Tendulkar was a prolific write and wrote several articles for the Shri Sai Leela Magazine.

Raghunath Tendulkar

Savitri Bai Tendulkar and Raghunath Tendular’s eldest son was Babu Tendulkar alias Madhav Rao Tendulkar. He was born in the year 1898.

Babu was very hyperactive when he was young. Therefore Savitri Bai brought him to Shirdi and left him with Baba. When Bapu first came to Shirdi, he was eight years old. When Baba went for Bhiksha, Bapu used to accompany Him. Bapu would then run ahead and collect the Bhiksha. Finally when Baba would return after His Bhiksha rounds, Bapu was the first to receive Baba’s Bhiksha Prasad. Fortunate was this child, as he was looked after by Baba daily.

Babu Tendulkar

On one of her visits she saw that the boy was running a high temperature. He was lying in a corner near Dhuni Maa groaning and moaning. At once she asked Baba why this was so. Baba calmly replied, “Don’t worry Mayee, he will be allright. Just give him a little Udi mixed in water”. She did as she was told by Baba and to her surprise the boy recovered after sometime.

Once Babu who had the benefit of Western Medical Education from a Medical College was so filled with doubts and misgivings that he did not appear for the examination. He had studied hard, burning the midnight oil and had casually asked an astrologer whether he would pass the examination. Turning over the pages of Panchang, the astrologer examined the planetary positions, counting on his fingers, the stars, the zodiac signs, etc., looking quite grave and concerned, he said; “you have studied hard, but this year the planetary positions are not favourable. But next year your planetary position would be good and you would undoubtedly pass the examination the coming year”. Later on, after some days, Savitri Bai and Babu went to Shirdi to have darshan of Baba. She bowed her head at Sai’s feet. After enquiring about His well being, he narranted to Sai Baba what the astrologer had predicted about Babu’s medical examination. Baba told her to set aside the Horoscope and asked Babu to appear for the examination. Encouraged by Sai’s words, Babu appeared for the written examination. Since he had not performed well in the written examination, he did not appear for oral examination. But the Examiner sent words through another student that Babu has cleared the written examination and that he should appear for the oral examination. Babu was extremely happy on hearing this news from his friend. So, he appeared for the oral examination and got through in the MBBS Examination in flying colours (Chapter 29, Shri Sai Satcharitra).

Madhav Rao grew up to be a fine doctor. His Clinic was called Sainath Clinic. It was then situated at Worli, Mumbai.

The small photograph that Baba gave Savitri Bai Tendulkar is still with her descendants. It has a lot of sentimental value, so much so that the family will not even  wipe it, as they do not want to wipe off Baba’s touch!


Baba's Photograph in Tendulkar's Home

(Source : Shri Sai Satcharitra Chapter 2, Chapter 29 and Baba’s Rinanubandh by Vinny Chitluri, Photo Courtesy: Shri.Nagaraj Anvekar, Bangalore)