Sai Miracles Experienced by BHAUSAHEB DHUMAL
ShrI Sakharam Balwant Dhumal, an ardent devotee of Baba, was a well-known lawyer from Nasik. His word carried considerable weight in government offices. He was a staunch social reformer. From 1917 to 1925, he worked as the first non-government chairman of district local board. Due to his pre-occupation with this chairmanship, he could devote limited time to his private practice. However, the government considered his sacrifice and honored him as 'Rao Bahaddur'. After 1925, Dhumal once again concentrated on his private practice. Due to Baba's blessings, his practice flourished in spite of being away from the field for 8 long years.
He was extremely pious. Before he became a devotee of Baba, he was a follower of Shri Gajanan Maharaj. He first went to avail Darshan of Shri Sai Baba in the year 1907. And he was at once got attracted with the radiant personality. In the first visit itself, Baba asked him for a Dakshina of Rs. 2. On receiving it Baba promptly returned the amount to Dhumal and said, "Preser these! Don't spend or give them away!!"
He was a close friend of Bapusaheb Butti of Nagpur. Therefore, soon Dhumal took Bapusaheb Butti with him to Shirdi. Like Dhumal, Butti also became an ardent devotee of Baba in the very first visit.
Once, Baba said to Dhumal,"Are Bhau, I take care of you at every moment. If I don't do so, I don't know what will happen." On one more occasion, Baba said to him, ''Bhau, whole night I was unable to sleep." Bhausaheb enquired "What was the reason Baba?" Baba replied, ''The entire night I thought about you and only about you." Hearing these words of Baba, Bhausaheb was moved with mixed emotions – surprise, love and gratitude. He was sad that Baba was doing so much for a mere mortal like him. But, he was convinced that Baba was the only saviour Who will protect him from evil happening in future.
Dhumal's entire life was spent in his ancestral house at Nasik. Once, there was an epidemic of plague all around and on top of that he found a dead rat–a deadly carrier of a fatal epidemic of plague–in his house. He did not know whether he should move his family out of the house for some time and save everyone's life. He sent his query in a letter to Baba, Who asked him to move into another house. He did accordingly. However, in this also another dead rat was found in the same night. Dhumal again enquired, whether he should leave the second house also. Baba replied in negative. Dhumal acted accordingly keeping full faith in Baba.
A few days later, some more dead rats were spotted at different places in the same house. Dhumal once again sent a letter to Baba and in the meantime, anticipating a positive reply, packed his belongings to move to a third house. Baba replied, "Why move? Stay where you are!" Dhumal did likewise and continued staying in the house. Around him, he saw daily 14-15 deaths because of the epidemic. But, no harm came to him or his family.
In 1909, when Dhumal was only 36 years old, his wife died an untimely death. He was young, dashing and a well-known lawyer. His friends and relatives began persuading him to get married once again. However, Dhumal was firmly of view that such a marriage was possible only if permitted by Baba. A famous lawyer from Nagpur–Bapusaheb Kinkhede–took him to Baba to seek the permission. Baba just glanced at him and Kinkhede realized that the permission has been declined. Till his death, Dhumal adhered to Baba's wishes and remained single. He had earned a lot of fame and money in his profession. However, he gradually absolved himself of family responsibilities and turned toward Virakti.
After the death of his wife, Dhumal concentrated his energies on further studies in the legal professional and started planning for Barrister-ship. Bapusaheb Butti showed readiness to finance his study abroad as well as expenses of Dhumal's family in India. However, Baba declined permission saying, "Your Vilayat (England) is here only." Dhumal adhered to Baba's wishes.
This is an incident which took place in the year 1910. At that time, there were two warring groups in Shirdi. One of the groups targeted Raghuji Shinde (elder brother of Bhagoji Shinde, a Sevekari of Baba) and 4 others and falsely implicated them in a case of molestation of a Marwadi woman. Tatya Patil was confident that these people are innocent. But, several learned persons like Dadasaheb Khaparde, Kakasaheb Dixit, Raobahadur Sathe etc. felt that it was difficult to prove so.
Tatya Patil approached Baba and He advised him to go to Dhumal. Dhumal felt that a lawyer from Mumbai would be necessary to handle the case. However, Tatya pointed out that Baba had Himself suggested his name. Then, Dhumal studied the matter in detail and prepared necessary papers. He visited the British district magistrate at his residence and presented his papers.
The district magistrate said, "At a first glance, there appears to be a prima facie evidence. What do you say?" Dhumal replied that "This case and its witnesses is a work of fabrication and is a result of enmity between two warring factions." The district magistrate enquired, "Are, you fully convinced about this?" Dhumal expressed his utmost faith. The district magistrate issued orders releasing the persons. British district magistrate expressed interest in Sai Baba and said that he would like to visit Him.
The persons were released without discussing the matter with police prosecutor or without studying and reading any other papers. Dhumal knew, what power had come to the rescue of the concerned persons.
At the same time in Shirdi, Kakasaheb Dixit's 7 years daughter passed away. Everyone was making preparations for her funeral when Baba uttered, "Wait for a while! I am going to show you a miracle." Everyone thought, there would be a miracle concerning the dead girl. However, as nothing happened, after sometime they went ahead with the funeral. Just then Dhumal reached there and declared that the innocent persons had been released. First, people found it difficult to believe the good news. But, after sometime they realized that this was the miracle Baba was referring to.
From 1930 to 1932, Dhumal worked as revenue member of Devas Sansthan. During that time he often travelled between Devas and Nasik. During the journey, he carried Baba's photos with him. His nephew, as well as the cook did not approve of this practice and expressed their displeasure. To take a decision on the matter, Dhumal–as was his practice–placed two chits in front of Baba's photo. The answer came, "Keep the photos always with you!"
One of the photos that Dhumal carried with him was given to him by Radhakrishnamai. Whenever he looked at it, he remembered Baba's sentence, "The entire night I thought about you and only about you."
Once, he was carrying this photo while passing from Dwarkamai. Baba called him and enquired, "What are you carrying?" Dhumal replied, "You are here." Baba asked him to give Him the photo. Baba kept it in His hands for some time and turned His gaze all over it. Baba returned it to him and said, "Keep it with you!" Dhumal always craved that Baba should give him a photo for performing daily Pooja. His silent desire was thus answered. He never parted company from this photo.
From time to time Baba gave a total sum of Rs. 67 to Dhumal. Then in 1918, He suddenly took back the money and demanded Rs. 7 more. Dhumal said, "I don't have any more money." Baba replied, "Borrow from someone else!" This was Baba's way of teaching Dhumal not to have false pride about money. Dhumal always remembered this lesson. After Baba's Mahanirvan, he even followed Baba's practice of collecting Bhiksha from selected houses.
In 1918, just prior to Baba's Maha-nirvan, Dhumal's sister-in-law became seriously ill at Pune. Dhuma ltook about Rs. 80 and set on his journey from Nasik to Pune. En-route he halted at Shirdi to avail Baba's blessings and Udi. However, Baba took away the Rs. 80 that he had and also denied him permission to go to Pune. In the meantime, Dhumal received a telegram informing him that the lady had passed away.
After a few days, Baba set on His last journey. Dhumal realized the reason for Baba keeping him back at Shirdi. Baba knew that the lady's death was inevitable. Further, if he had gone to Pune, he would have missed the few last memorable days in company of Baba.
After Baba's Mahanirvan, the district court appointed 5 trustees to administer the Sansthan property. After one of the trustees expired, Dhumal was appointed in his place. In his capacity as a trustee, he used his legal knowledge and experience to set the rules and bye-laws for the Shirdi Sansthan.
On Saturday, 29 June 1940, Bhausaheb breathed his last at his own home. He always wished that at the time of his death, he should be in Shirdi. But, Baba desired otherwise.
–Translated from original Marathi into English by Sudhir