A GREAT AND BLESSED SAI DEVOTEE - LATE TATYASAHEB NOOLKAR 1 of 6
(SHRI SAILEELA MAY JUNE 1991)
In Shri Sai Satcharita, late Shri. Tatyasaheb alias Laxman Krishnaji Noolkar has been only referred to at few places. (Ch. II, Ch. XXVII and Ch. XXXI). Shri. Nagesh Gunaji in his English Saicharita has added a few lines on his life and spiritual achievement in brief. Perhaps both of them had no access to more information about Tatyasaheb Noolkar.
Luckily recently, I came across Tatyasaheb's grandson Shri. Raghunath Vishwanath Noolkar from whom I received lot of reliable information (personally observed by his father and written down for an article in Sant Kripa magazine) not known to us Sai devotees. He also produced some proofs viz a letter from Shri. Madhavrao Deshpande (Shama) in his own hand-writing and a letter written by Tatyasaheb Noolkar to Shri. Nanasaheb Chandorkar about his spiritual experiences.
Based on all this and also on information procured from other sources, I have collated this article in detail to describe the great spiritual progress of Shri. Tatyasaheb Noolkar and his final beatitude at the feet of Shri Sai Baba at Shirdi in March, 1911.
Early life and first meeting with Sai Baba
Tatyasaheb was born in the latter half of the 19th century and educated at Pune High School. In government service and other activities, he was known for his firmness, truthfulness, selflessness, benevolence and self-control. In spiritual mailers, his study was great and he used to read Upanishads and other religious books regularly. He had "darshan" and intimate association with quite a few saints.
In 1908, Tatyasaheb was Sub-Judge at Pandharpur (famous place of pilgrimage of Sri Vithoba in Maharashtra) and Nanasaheb Chandorkar was the Mamlatdar (Revenue Officer, in charge of a sub-division) at the same place. Nanasaheb as per his usual habit, used to urge Tatyasaheb to visit Shirdi at least once. At last Tatyasaheb agreed to go to Shirdi on two conditions, (1) he must get a Brahmin cook and (2) he must get good Nagpur Oranges for presentation to Shri Sai Baba. On this Nanasaheb said, "Yes, with Baba's grace you will get them also".
Surprisingly, the same night one Brahmin cook came to Nanasaheb for a job and he immediately sent him to Tatyasaheb. Next day morning, Tatyasaheb received a parcel of excellent Nagpur oranges, the name of the consigner not being mentioned. Thus Tatyasaheb was convinced of Baba's divine powers and he went with Nanasaheb Chandorkar to Shirdi. Tatyasaheb was physically short and fat. As he bowed down at Baba's feet, Baba placed his hand spreading all five fingers on Tatyasaheb's head lightly but with a slight push. As a result, Tatyasaheb collapsed a little towards the nearby pillar, but at that time quite different feelings appeared in his head and having been convinced that this was the real and ultimate place of his Guru, he was in the state of unparalleled joy.
That night Tatyasaheb while asleep in Sathe Wada, suddenly woke up and started asking Nanasaheb for betel (a roll of Piper-betel leaves with areca nut, clover, lime etc. chewed after meals) which Nanasaheb was not in the habit of chewing. Just at that time Baba at the Masjid said to someone present, "Take these four betels and give them to the old man who has come with Chandorkar at Sathe Wada." Seeing that man suddenly come with the betels, Tatyasaheb was convinced about Baba's powers of knowing secrets of others' mind (Anthargnan) and his faith in Baba was further established. Tatyasaheb came back to Pandharpur but whenever he got leave or had holidays, he started visiting Shirdi for Sai Baba's darshan and company.