Sai Mahabhakta Late Shri.Vaman Naamdev Asteker was born on 1st March 1906 in Akolner, a village in Ahmednagar District of Maharashtra. In 1917 when he was 11 years old, he came to Shirdi along with a large group of devotees. They reached Shirdi in the evening, and Baba was sitting in front of Dhuni Mai. That auspicious day was ‘Makar Shankranti’ (14th January solstice). Baba made him sit near him and blessed him. Then He ordered him to perform Kirtans (singing praises of god). Asteker said, “Baba I don’t know how to perform kirtans” Baba told him not to worry as He would take care of it. Then Asteker had a turban tied on his head and started singing. He did a kirtans on Tukaram’s Abhang on Vittal Bhakti and Dhyan. A huge crowd had gathered there and they listened to his kirtan with devotion.

Asteker had gone to Akolner in October 1918, because Plague was spreading rapidly in the cities. On Dasara day, as was the custom many villagers visited the Khandoba temple as symbolic Seemolanghan (crossing the border). Then they went to worship all the deities in the village. Asteker didn’t enter the temple and sat on the steps leading to it. Then he decided to return home and started walking along the foot path when Baba suddenly stood before him. He stretched his hands out to the side as if to stop him and shouted ‘Sai Baba’ and disappeared. The next day he heard that Baba had taken Maha Samadhi at that time.

In 1924, he got a job as a teacher in Korhale. In 1925 the post of the Principal of the school in Shirdi was vacant and thus he got the job. He was the principle of that school till 1929. Asteker says “Baba reassured me, and guided me by appearing before me numerous times and I am eternally grateful to him”

(Source: Extracted from Sai Prasad Magazine Deepavali issue 1987 and published in Baba's Divine Symphony by Vinny Chitluri)