Sai Mahabhakta Vinayak Daji Bhave belonged to Brahmin Community and resided in Shirol village, Kolhapur District of Maharashtra.
Shri.Vinayak Daji Bhave knew about Shri Sai Baba in the year 1916 itself. His mother Smt.Annapoornabai Daji Bhave had visited Shirdi. When she wanted to enter Dwarakamai Masjid, Sai Baba prevented her saying that it would pollute the Mosque. When she returned back to Yeola, she received a card from Yeotmal that he daughter-in-law had passed away on that particular day which was a day prior to his mother's visit to Shirdi. She was supposed to observe 10 days of mourning as per the scriptures and she did not have any knowledge about it. But it was obvious that the Sarvantaryami Sai Baba knew everything about the incident.
In the year 1932, He was working as a Clerk with B.B.C.I.Railway Company for an emolument of Rs.90 per month. He was very anxious to find a Guru and hence performed Parayan of the famous Guru Gita from 13th April 1932 for one month. Even though he had hoped to find his Guru, He did not find his Guru or had any vision of Lord Dattatreya during that period. One Thursday, which is an auspicious day for Guru, he visited a Dattatreya Temple. Actually, an Image of Dattatreya is present in that Temple. However, when he went that day, in place of that image, he saw a Samadhi neatly sculptured. The very next day he went to his friend's house and there he opened Anna Saheb Dabholkar's Sai Satcharitra. In the book he saw the picture of Sai Baba's Samadhi which he had never seen before. This was the same picture of Samadhi that he had seen in Dattatreya Temple. Hence, he decided that Sai Baba was his Guru. Since that day he started taking Baba's Udhi and read some books about Him. But very soon he again got dissatisfied, because of the thought which came to his mind that A Tomb cannot be a Guru. He was desparately searching for a Living Guru whom he could meet and could communicate. Hence, he again started to perform the Parayan of Guru Gita for a week's time. During that period, he saw Narayan Maharaj of Khedgaon-Bhet near Pune in his dream. Thinking that Narayan Maharaj was his Guru, he went and met Him at Khedgaon. While he was staying there, one night he had a dream in which Narayan Maharaj appeared and said: "I and Sai Baba are not different from each other. Why do you not go there?". Vinayak Daji Bhave replied that there was nobody to direct him to Sai Baba. He immediately got up from his sleep. Later, he went to Shirdi and took to Shri Sai Baba as his Guru.
One Sadhu who read the palm of Vinayak had also said "Sai Baba is your Guru".
In the year 1933, Vinayak's son was suffering from Plague but recovered just by the application of Baba's Udhi itself. His sister Durgabai Kakatkar gave away Rs.100 and a Silver Cup to a Dutta Maharaj who had promised her that she would have darshan of Lord Ram. But, she did not have any Rama Sakshatkar and thought that Dutta Maharaj wont return her the Silver Cup that she gave it to him. Then, Vinyak told his sister to make a vow to Shri Sai Baba that if she got back the Silver Cup she would donate the same to Shri Sai Baba Sansthan. He also told her that Sai Baba would see that Dutta Maharaj will return the Silver Cup. As per her brother's instructions, she took a vow. Dutta Maharaj returned Rs.100 and the Silver cup. Thus her vow got fulfilled and she donated the same to Shri Sai Baba Sansthan.
When Vinayak's mother expired, the family offered the Rice Ball known as "Pinda" but to their family's utter surprise, no crows touched the offering. His sister then vowed that she would send Rs.50 to Shri Sai Baba's tomb at Shirdi if the crows came and ate the Prasad. Then, lo! at once from somewhere Crows came and at the Pinda.
(Source: Devotees' Experiences of Shri Sai Baba, Part I, II and III by Poojya Shri.B.V.Narasimha Swamiji)