– Annasaheb Patil, Shirol
We, ordinary people, believe in what we can see. However, we are unaware that the principles of Sadguru operate beyond the boundaries of this materialistic world. Due to our ignorance, we then try to test the Principles of Sadguru. We demand that he proves himself. However, he pardons such mistakes. He gives us a testimony, and then we suddenly realize that we were testing ourselves.
After graduation, I relocated to Pethvadgaon to complete my Bachelor of Education (B.Ed.) degree. Soon college started. We often would go to the Pethvadgaon bus stand after college to have tea. We were a group of five, and we all were god-fearing people. We would chat about God and spirituality. We used to visit Hanuman Mandir, Shiv Mandir and Vitthal Mandir. All these temples were on our way to Pethvadgaon.
There was a big old castle on the same road. Once, we could hear some devotional songs and chanting while we were proceeding from there. After 2-3 weeks, I realized that we could listen to them only on Saturdays. Some spiritual event would be arranged there every Saturday. I wondered, what kind of event it would be and that too every week! I had several such thoughts and queries in my mind. I decided that I would find out more about it.
Later, on September 04, 2004, around 7 pm, while I was passing from the same area, I heard the same devotional songs, which reminded me that I had decided to find out more about it. I told my friend that we needed to go inside and find out what event was arranged there.
However, we wondered how we could visit an unknown person’s house. My friends were not ready for this. However, I was pretty insistent. I decided to enter that castle to find out what was happening there. I told four of my friends that I would be going there; they could join me, or else they could proceed to have tea at the bus stand. I told them that if they chose to not come with me, I would later meet them at the hostel. I then entered the castle.
As I entered, I saw 15-20 women seated on one side and 20-25 men seated on the other side. I sat right behind the men’s section. A picture of two men and one woman was placed on a table. There was a photograph, which had a picture of one of those two men in front of Bhagwan Pandurang.
Seeing this arrangement, I could figure out that the man in the photo was some saint. I was sure that I had been in the wrong place. I had several unwanted thoughts and doubts emerging in my mind. I was about to leave when I saw 5-10 men sitting behind me. I could not get up and leave. I then realized that I had to sit there until the event finished.
I had decided that I was not going to follow any saint-like person. I had read that a real Sadguru has some powers, and one who is not will not have those.
With these thoughts in mind, I began talking to the person in the picture. If you have any power, you ought to know the thoughts lingering in my mind right now, I said. If you could guess my thoughts, I will acknowledge you as my Sadguru. If not, then I will consider that you have no powers. I will not waste my life running after any such fake saints. I want real gold and not iron.
I also put forth a condition that for me to acknowledge him as my Sadguru, the picture of Pandurang that was kept in front of me should be mine within one month from today. I further added to the conditions by saying that I would not buy it from anywhere, I would not ask anyone to give it to me, and I should procure it automatically. It must come to me automatically. If I get the picture as per my conditions, only then will I acknowledge the man in the photo as a Sadguru.
Upasana got over just as I lay all these conditions on the person in the picture. The castle belonged to Mr Deshpande, and the person in the photograph was his Sadguru, Dr. Aniruddha Dhairyadhar Joshi. I took his darshan and returned home. I completely forgot about it during my routine college. However, I decided not to go there ever again. But, at the time, little did I know that my presence there or my absence there was entirely dependent on Bapu’s wish!
After almost a fortnight, Madam Nita Baghal met me in college around 11 am. She said, ”My sister, Vidya, has sent a gift for you. Vidya and my father came to drop me at the bus stand. In the nick of time, Vidya said that let Didi be here; let us go to the market and buy a gift for Patil sir.” Baba told her that he was not carrying enough money to buy a gift for someone. She then said that the money he had given her as pocket money was enough for her to buy a gift for Patil sir. Then both of them went to the market and bought the gift. She also told me that the gift should not be shown to anyone other than Patil sir. She also told me to not see it. This was the story of the gift. “Therefore, on your way home, please pick up that gift from my hostel room”, she said.
I wondered what Vidya could have sent me as a gift. As usual in the evening, we came across Baghal Madam’s room, as we strolled out. Madam handed over the gift to me and asked me to open it.
And what a surprise it was! It was a picture of Pandurang from Pandharpur. It was the same photo of Pandurang and Rukmini from that upasana.
At the moment, I remembered those words that I had spoken to the picture of Bapu and I began sweating. I kept staring at that the photograph. I was out of my senses for a few seconds. When I regained my composure, I asked all of them to come with me to the castle.
We soon reached Deshpande’s castle and told them the whole story. I stood in front of Bapu’s picture and asked for his forgiveness. I said to him, ”Bapu, I have recognized you. From today, I am all yours. You are mine. I am going to spend my entire life at your lotus feet. Please forgive me if I have said anything to you due to my utter ignorance.”
I then bowed in front of him. I applied Udi to my forehead. I took ’prasad’ and permanently became his follower. I began going to that Upasana Kendra regularly. As I began gathering more and more information about Bapu and his thoughts, I got occupied by his love. Today, my family and villagers all have become shraddhavans of Bapu.
This is his unconditional love and compassionate nature! Though I did not know him, he knew me; he pulled me towards him as if he had tied a string to my feet. My daring to test him was out of my sheer ignorance. He always knew that, and that is why he forgave me. He fulfilled the challenge I had posed to him through
someone who was not even remotely connected to him. He won me over. What more can I say?