Sai Mahabhakta Late Shri.Vasudev Sitaram Ratanjankar first came to know of Shri Sai Baba and his Leelas from Kusha bhavu (Vedshastra Sampanna Krishnanath Buva Mirajgaonkar Joshi) in the year 1908. Many people invited him for Puja and honoured him. This routine went on for many days in the village. Once there was a Puja at Vedshastra Sampanna Sitarambhatji Ghate. Since he was the maternal uncle of Ratanjankar, he attended the Puja. Listening to the stories of Sai, it occurred to him, that Sai should visit his house to perform a Puja. As that thought was passing Ratanjankar's mind, the Maharaj said, “I am coming to your house tomorrow”.   Accordingly, thinking about  arangements to be made for the Pooja, he went home happily and informed everyone about it.

At dawn, Ratanjankar's mother Gangabai dreamt of a sage garbed in saffron clothing coming straight into their house. His mother offered the sage, a place to sit, but he stood in that place and as Ratanjankar's mother touched feet of Sage with her head, she woke up. She told everyone about her dream, but no one paid much attention to it.

That very day Ratanjankar went for the Puja again at his uncle’s house. While giving Tirtha -Prasad, Maharaj gave him Sai’s photo which was kept for the Puja and told him to worship it every day. When Ratanjankar came home with the photo of Sai Baba, his family members realised the significance of his mother’s dream. Later Ratanjankar invited Maharaj (Shri Krishnanath Maharaj) for lunch and requested him to perform the Puja. This is how Ratanjankar came to know of Sai Baba.

After listening to people’s experiences of Sai time and again, Ratanjankar felt a desire to take Sai’s darshan and be blessed. However happened only 2-3 years later, in 1912. Ratanjankar was to go to Mumbai to see the arrival of the King of the British Empire, but one fine morning Shri Shivdas Dhate gave him a ticket to Shirdi. Ratanjankar took it as an invitation from Baba, cancelled his Mumbai visit and left for Shirdi the very same evening. There Ratanjankar experienced a lot of miracles and signs. Since he felt like writing some poems on Sai, Ratanjankar wrote a ‘Padyamala’.

An example of the many miracles performed by Sai is that of Late Smt. Malanbai, daughter of Late Shri Damodar Ranganath Joshi Degaonkar and also Ratanjankar's my maternal cousin. She was suffering from fever for a long time which ultimately turned to be TB. Many doctors and medicines were tried but to no avail. In the end the family started giving her Baba’s Udi along with the medicines. Fed up of her illness, Malanbai kept saying, “Take me for Baba’s darshan.  Only then will I be cured.”  But she was so weak that she could barely sit. Travelling would have been dangerous. In the end the doctors relented and gave her permission to go, thinking there could be some psychological benefit. She was taken to Shirdi accompanied by 2-3 other people.

As soon as Baba saw her he started hurling abuses and said, “Let her lie on a blanket. Give her only water from the matka (clay pot) to drink.”  She was laying there for 7-8 days surviving only on water, but kept repeating that only Baba would cure her.

7-8 days later, even though it was past Baba’s time to get up, he did not. People who had gone for Kakad Aartiwaited patiently, but kept wondering why Baba was not getting up.

On the other hand Malanbai passed away and some of her relatives started making the funeral arrangements. Ratanjankar and Her mother sat next to Malanbai in grief.  Sathekaka (a devotee) tried to comfort them. Suddenly Malanbai moved, yawned and opened her eyes. She looked quite terrified and looked all around. A wave of happiness spread among the people around her and they listened as she narrated her story. “A black man was taking me with him when I cried for Baba’s help. Baba came and beat up the man with his baton (‘Sota), saved me from his clutches and took me inside the Chavadi.” She described the Chavadi without ever having been there.

While people in the Chavadi were discussing why Baba was yet asleep when suddenly Baba woke up pounding his baton (‘Sota’) and ran to the place where the girl was staying (Dixit’s Wada). People followed him and met those who were coming to report the girl’s miraculous coming to life. Thus Baba proved how he saved his devotees even from death.

(Source: Sri Sai Leela Magazine, November-December 2010)