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Balwant Ganesh Khaparde
Born in Amrawati to Ganesh and Lakshmi Bai S Khaparde. Both
parents were devoted to Baba; spiritually advanced, and very affluent.
His home was more like a palace replete with cooks, clerks, watchmen;
and 8 grooms or Sykes. They had two bullock carts, one cowherd, and
maids. His parents often gave shelter to needy families and students. On
an average there were twelve to fifteen students perusing education in
their home. There were about 50 people living there excluding the
children. His mother was a gracious hostess. She treated every one
equally. In Sai Satcharita #7 ‘the wonderful leela of the plague is
given’. Khaparde writes in his diary on 8-1-1912, that Baba got
extremely angry and abused violently. ” It appears that plague is likely
to reappear here ”
It was Balwant who started shivering with high fever. This made his
mother very restless. She came to Baba to seek permission to take the
child home. Baba gently said, ” The sky is over cast, but it will rain,
bringing forth a harvest, and the clouds will melt away ” ; and lifting
His Kafni showed her four egg sized buboes in His groin. ” See I have to
take upon myself all your sufferings ” . At Aarati Baba cursed violently
at the plague. He also said that He had saved Balwant. Balwant remained
sick for three weeks, on 8-2-1912 he was well enough to go to
Dwarakamai, and place his head on Baba’s feet.
Balwant and his elder brother came to Shirdi on 5-12-1910. They brought
baskets of fruits and garlands for Baba. Balwant often sat on Baba’s lap
and asked Him to tell him stories and Baba obliged. Khaparde was a
politically marked man, so Baba kept him at Shirdi. Thus his law
practice dwindled and Balwant got a taste of poverty. On one hand he
lost the luxuries of life, but got to spend a lot of time with Baba, and
received His blessings.
The Khaparde’s had three sons. They were Bahu Saheb [Devidas], Baba
Saheb [balkrishna] and Anna Saheb [balwant Rao]
(Source Shri Sai Leela Magazine)
- S. K H A P A R D E
(Baba created the impression that Khaparde preferred only the company of the whimsical fakir, Baba, left his lucrative legal practice and also political life & was keeping aloof from the society and this impression made the (British) Government drop the prosecution of Khaparde. He wrote 46 diaries on events relating to Baba and these diaries are the second source of written document about Baba, first source being that of Dixit).
Ganesh Srikrishna Khaparde was born at Ingroli in Berar on 27th Aug 1854 on the day of Ganesh Chaturthi and was properly named after Lord Ganesh. His father, Shrikrishna Narhar, though suffered from poverty during childhood, rose to the level of Mamlatdar by his hard work. Khaparde finished graduation from Elphinstone College and studied Law in 1884. He commenced legal practice thereafter. He was proficient in Sanskrit and English languages and in these languages he was considered a scholar of repute. He was equally proficient in Gujarathi language also. He was a born linguist and a noted orator in both Sanskrit and English. Prior to joining the college, he studied Sanskrit under a guru and became proficient in Sanskrit. And in the college, he studied English under Professor Wordsworth who was the grandson of the well known famous English poet, William Wordsworth. As regards his depth of Sanskrit knowledge, he was selected once to debate with Swami Dayanand Saraswathi, the founder of ‘Arya Samaj’ when the latter visited his college and he was complimented by the Swamiji himself for his high level of proficiency in Sanskrit language.
Baba used to call him as Dadasaheb. Once Dadasaheb came to Shirdi with his family and all of them were devoted to the service to Baba. Khaparde was no ordinary person. He was a great scholar, well versed in English language, had a high reputation in the Supreme Legislative Council and the Council of States as a debater and impressed the Legislature with his eloquence. He was equally well versed in religious and spiritual scriptures. Khaparde who expounded on the subject matter of Vidyaranya’s Panchadashi with great mastery fell silent as soon as he came to the Masjid. Many people used to listen to the religious discourses given by him and his knowledge of religious scriptures was so deep that even Upasani Baba considered him as his Guru. But before Baba he bowed in veneration and kept always silent and used to mention Baba as Sayin Maharaj in his diaries. Among all the devotees of Baba, Khaparde, Gopalrao Booti and Noolkar always remained silent before Baba. In addition to remaining silent in the presence of Baba, they always obeyed Baba’s orders. They were also noted for their humility. Khaparde was well read in many religious scriptures also and was an expert in Panchadashi. Khaparde stayed in Shirdi for four months and his wife for seven months, happily. During his stay in Shirdi, he used to visit Baba in the mornings and evenings without fail and used to give religious discourse daily. His wife had great faith in Baba. After a stint of service as a Munsiff and Asst Commissioner at Berar between 1885 to 1890, Khaparde returned to the bar and took up legal practice at Amrawati and established a name as a leading lawyer. From 1890, he started taking interest in public life and became the President of the District Council in 1890. Later based on his keen interest in public life, he became close to Bal Gangadhar Tilak.
He had the habit of writing his diary of daily events and maintained as many as 46 diaries, some of them imported and costly, viz., ‘Collins Diaries’ and ‘Lates Diaries’ and these diaries are still available. Except a pocket diary of 1879, he maintained all the diaries between 1894 and 1938. He narrated the events, significant or trivial in the diaries the same night however late it might be. Though his narrations in his diaries were factual and more comprehensive, it appears that he did not mention certain events purposefully to avoid certain controversies, perhaps some of them political in nature. The contents of his diaries were reproduced in the monthly issues of Sai Leela magazine from August 1985. Though the contents from the diaries first appeared in Sai Leela magazine in 1924 and 1925 they were not considered comprehensive. These diaries, though cover a shorter period during his stay in Shirdi, contain more comprehensive information about Baba’s life and his mission and these diaries are noted for his orderly way of presentation of events. There is another diary maintained by Dixit, another staunch devotee of Baba and this diary contains 140 pages and covers the events in Shirdi during his stay in Shirdi and also the events prior to his arrival in Shirdi. He was an expert in Vidyaranya’s Panchadashi classes and was explaining about it regularly in wada in Shirdi and Dixit used to explain Ramayan and Bhishma on Bhagwat Gita. The diaries of Dixit and of Khaparde throw a lot of light on the life and mission of Baba.
Normally, Khaparde was very rich and was in the habit of traveling always by the first class in trains when there were four classes. His annual income by way of legal practice some times rose to, as high as Rs.90,000 to 95,000 (very substantial in those days) when there was no incometax system and also when standard of living was very cheap. In those days, he had seven horses, two of them were Australian breed along with two carriages and the necessary staff to maintain them. With his high position in the society, he earned the title as “Nawab of Berar” In this background, he was lavishly spending for him, his family and also generously giving shelter at his cost to a number of families. He was by nature generous and kept an open house which was always full of guests on whom he spent lavishly for their comfort. Such was the life style he was accustomed to and the degree of his generosity extended to several people.
The British Government was following the policy of repression to suppress the national political movement during 1911. By that time Bal Gangadhar Tilak was arrested, convicted for sedition. Khaparde was considered politically as an extremist leader, close to Bal Gangadhar Tilak. In that year, the British Government was busy conducting the trials for all the political extremists. So it was a very difficult year for people like Khaparde. Baba knew that Tilak, his close friend, was arrested on 24th June 1908 and was also tried on the charge of sedition and was imprisoned for six years from 22nd July, 1908. Khaparde, his close friend, went suddenly to England where he stayed for about two years and three months and preferred an appeal to Privy Council, House of Lords and preferred a memorial to the Secretary of State for India for the release of Tilak; but all these efforts were of no use. Thus all his attempts for the release of Tilak proved futile. It was his fortune that he had made his first visit to Shirdi after about a month after his long stay in London for the purpose of his failed attempts of seeking release of Tilak. He first visited Shirdi in Dec 1910 and had darshan of Baba and stayed for about 7 days. At that time in the masjid, he saw several officials and the masses crowding at the feet of Baba who was talking to them in parables and also observed and understood that Baba was also protecting the officials including the police officials involved in certain charges by way of acquittal through his Grace.
In December, 1911, he made a second visit to Shirdi and stayed there for the longest period, his stay extending to about 101 days despite his many attempts to leave Shirdi. Baba knew very well all these developments and in this background, Baba did not allow Khaparde to leave Shirdi in his own interest and protected him from Government prosecution. However, he obeyed the orders of Baba and stayed in Shirdi, thinking that whatever Baba told him/did was in his own interest. He knew that Baba had knowledge of every thing happening every where and could control the minds of every one including the five elements constituting the world. He had utmost faith in Baba’s words and was totally devoted to the service to Baba.
It is interesting to note here that how Baba protected Khaparde from prosecution by the Government. Baba knew that the Government was considering the prosecution of Khaparde for sedition in respect of many of his public speeches.He arrived in Shirdi on 6th December, 1911 and stayed at Shirdi for 101 days extending upto 15th March, 1912 on specific orders of Baba at a time when his arrest was imminent. At the same time on 29.12.1911, the British Govt. had sent a spy by name Natekar to Shirdi to watch the movements of Khaparde and report back. Natekar was also called Hamsa or Swami/sadhu as he was gifted with a sweet voice with professed/assumed holiness. He also stated that he visited and stayed in the Himalayas. With this approach, he also gained access into the house and secured the hospitality of Khaparde’s family at a time when G.S.Khaparde was in England. Natekar visited and stayed in Shirdi in this garb and was meeting all the local and other people and was also interacting with Radhakrishnamai to elicit information about Khaparde. And he had kept his identity totally secret. During 1913, it was found that some of Khaparde’s diaries kept under lock in his house were stolen and the diaries reached the British Government which found no incriminating material and the diaries reached back to his house. It was after this incident only that Khaparde came to know that Natekar was CID detective got access into his house and also accompanied Khaparde to Shirdi in the garb of a sadhu. That spy was forced to come to the conclusion that Khaparde had also refused to accept legal cases and that he had a very lucrative legal practice especially in criminal cases and that consequently he lost all his clientele and stopped completely his legal practice. And this situation had resulted in rumours spreading to Bombay and elsewhere including abroad that Khaparde had become crazy and had been fascinated by a whimsical fakir at Shirdi and therefore had refused all legal cases and had given up legal practice including political life and that he was keeping aloof from the society and preferring only the company of the whimsical fakir. Ever since he came to Shirdi, he was eager to go away from Shirdi; but Baba kept him waiting. Every day he was expecting permission from Baba to leave Shirdi, but Baba had intentionally detained him in Shirdi. A perusal of entries in the diary from January 1912 onwards bears eloquent testimony to this effect. As per the entry of 19-2-1912, Natekar asked him to return to Amraoti towards the end of February. Based on diary entry on 23-2-1912 Shama interceded Baba for permission to Khaparde to return to Amraoti, Baba had specifically told Shama that the time was not favourable for Khaparde to return and that he would have to stay in Shirdi for few more months. Thus Baba detained him for 101 days purposefully to ward off the prosecution attempts of the British Government. Baba knew all these efforts of Natekar and made the above rumours reach the ears of the concerned authorities in the (British) Government and because of the drastic change in the life style and the changed approach of Khaparde, the Government had decided not to proceed further with the prosecution of Khaparde. And nothing was impossible for Baba who changed the thinking of the Government for the good of Khaparde who was thus protected by the Grace of Baba. These details came to light after his son, Balakrishna wrote the life sketch of Khaparde in 1962.
Based on his notings in his diary, it is observed that during his stay in Shirdi on two specific days in Jan, 1912, Baba was very happy and cast a yogic glance at him twice on 13th and 17th January which resulted in his passing the entire days in utmost ecstasy.
During Dec, 1911, one by name K.J.Bhishma accompanied Khaparde to Shirdi. Khaparde mentioned about Bhishma in his diary pertaining to his second visit to Shirdi. Bhishma composed nine arati songs about Baba while in Shirdi. Thus, after the arrival of Bhishma, a shape was given to an Arati-Psalm-Book.The entire credit of giving a formal shape by way a book for all the Shirdi Arati songs, goes to Bhishma. He thus prepared a booklet entitled “Shri Sainath Sagunopasana” which contained, besides the arati-psalms composed on Baba and sung at the time of Arati to Baba, some traditional hymns from the Hindu Liturgy. Then all these songs were published and Khaparde had paid all the expenses for the publication. After Baba’s Mahasamadhi, the book was adapted as the official “Book of Daily Worship” at the Samadhi Mandir. Khaparde continued to bear the expenses for the publication of the arati-palms booklet till 1922, Thus it was through the efforts of Khaparde that the booklet entitled “Shri Sainath Sagunopasana” came into being and the booklet had become the official arati songs of Baba adapted by the Shirdi Saibaba Sansthan.
Once in 1911 plague was raging in Shirdi. Balwant, son of Khaparde had an attack of plague and his mother, Laxmibai went to Baba and prayed for protecting her son. Baba spoke in parables and told her that he would protect him and that she should not worry herself. Baba later showed on his person bubos due to plague and told her that Baba took over from Balwant’s bubos and plague from his body and saved him. His wife, Laxmibai Ganesh Khaparde- was a staunch devotee blessed by Baba.
He made his third visit during December, 1915 and stayed for 3 days. Khaparde came along with Bal Gangadhar Tilak to Shirdi on 19 May 1917 which is his 4th visit (for one day) and had darshan of Baba. Tilak also took Baba’s advice in the matter of freedom movement. There was an indication that Baba gave Tilak certain advice secretly, informing that India would get Independence through non violent movement only and not by extremist violent acts. And based on this advice, it appeared that Tilak toned down his approach. The advice was however kept secret. After Tilak left Shirdi, then the District Collector of Ahmednagar sent a CID Officer to Shirdi to keep an eye on the activities of Sai Baba from that angle and send a confidential report.
Khaparde had left Shirdi in March, 1912 and before he left, Baba narrated a parable to him the essence of which was that Baba protected him from the prosecution of the British Government. After he left Shirdi in 1912 he did visit Shirdi thereafter during 1917 accompanying Bal Gangadhar Tilak. In all, he visited Shirdi 5 times as per the life sketch brought out by his eldest son in 1962 including one unscheduled visit during 1918 (his fifth visit). The number of days he was in Shirdi was also not known. But it appears that he came to Shirdi with a specific purpose of seeking Baba’s advice on the prudence of his accompanying the Congress deputation to England for demanding Home Rule. However the diary is silent about Baba’s advice and his action.
Though he did not visit Shirdi after Baba’s Mahasamadhi, Baba being God, was kind enough to continuously protect him with his ever vigilant watch over his welfare and to this effect; one instance could be quoted about an attempted theft in his house in Amrawathi when Baba drove away the thieves and protected him. This instance had happened on the night of 14th Oct, 1918, when Baba was very weak, just few days before Baba’s Mahasamadhi. That was Baba’s (God’s) Grace on his ardent devotees.
Whenever many types of food were placed before Baba as naivedya, Baba did not touch any one of them, but always waited till Laxmibai brought her naivedya which Baba used to touch happily and ate sumptuously always. She herself would bring naivedya to the masjid and would not touch food for herself until Baba accepted the naivedya and ate it. Only thereafter she would take her meal. Such was her devotion to Baba. We understand these instances about her life from Shirdi Diary and B.V.Dev’s writings (which are not available in Shri Sai Satcharita) . Once Laxmibai brought the Naivedya of a dishful of Shira-puri, rice, dal, payasam and other items. As soon as her Naivedya came, Baba eagerly got up from his seat and went to his usual place and sat there, pulled the dish towards him and opened the lid and started eating the food. Several naivedyas brought by others were already there before Baba, perhaps more sumptuous than the one brought by Laxmibai. Baba did not touch any one of them for a long time and waited till naivedya was brought by Laxmibai. Baba touched the naivedya brought by Laxmibai and ate it happily. At this stage, Shama asked Baba as to why Baba ignored all the naivedyas brought earlier in silver dishes and favoured only the naivedya brought by Laxmibai and also enquired about the mystery in this preference. Baba replied by narrating her previous births and that Baba knew her during all her previous births. Baba also said that she was a fat cow, yielding much milk in one of her previous births and that later she was born in a Brahmin family. Baba also said that she brought the food with great love and hence he ate it with contentment to give her satisfaction as Baba knew her for the last several generations. Laxmibai then bowed to Baba with salutations to Baba’s feet. Baba was then pleased and whispered into her ears, ‘Say Rajaram, Rajaram. Do this japa regularly and constantly and you will find happiness and self-fulfillment. These words from Baba gave her spiritual strength and thus ensured her welfare. Khaparde’s household was a large one and sometimes it consisted of about 50 persons excluding children and Laxmibai had the patience and ability to supervise and manage such a large household. Such was the affluent family of Khaparde when he was practising Law in his heyday, but when his fortunes dwindled, there was an occasion when Baba ordered Dixit to give Rs.200 to Mrs.Laxmibai on 1-2-1912. This order was however not carried out but was only intended to remove the pride, as a token of representing poverty and patience in his life. Her health, though robust, started declining at a fast rate after 1928 and medicines did not improve her health. She perhaps knew that her end was fast approaching. She arranged for a group photograph of the family on 11-7-1928 and also distributed her ornaments, other assets and clothes to her daughters-in-law and other children. She also worshipped Khaparde in the same way in which an Idol of God was worshipped which was not done hitherto and when she was asked as to why she was doing like that, she said that she wanted to depart from the world. Thus her end came peacefully with the darshan of Baba on 20-7-1928. After 10 years, Khaparde passed away on 1st July 1938 at the age of 84 years and was survived by his son who was also a lawyer and a political leader too.
Many of the above instances came to light only when Balkrishna alias Babasaheb Khaparde, his eldest son had brought out in 1962 (written in Marathi) a life sketch containing important events in the life of G.S.Khaparde, culled out from the diaries. This life sketch should not be confused with his biography.
The compiler has written the article under Saibaba’s afflatus-divine inspiration after referring to the universally available material traceable to several common sources existing everywhere containing facts, ideas and incidents about Saibaba and the compiler expresses thanks to the writers concerned in this regard. An attempt has been made in this article to collect the information about the years of happening of certain important events and of miracles, in a chronological order but it is really difficult to know these details precisely for want of historical details in certain instances despite a serious attempt to collect them. The information compiled in this article is based on the compiler’s best knowledge gathered from several sources and the compiler has brought out the article with expressions of his own. The readers can use the material for their information/welfare at their discretion and the compiler is not responsible in any manner whatsoever in this regard. While every attempt has been made to collect the details accurately, the compiler is not responsible for the correctness of the details. The compiler also appreciates his children who have helped him in the compilation / sequencing and the chronological arrangements of the incidents. The article is not meant for any commercial use. There is no copy right for this article and this article is placed in the public domain for wider publicity. Any review/comments/suggestions to improve the contents in the article are welcome for initiating any suitable rectification/modification/addition.
MAY BABA BLESS US ALL
Bondada Janardhana Rao
LIST OF ARTICLES ON SHIRDI SAI BABA (Click on each article to visit)
- Sai Baba Main Article
4. Nanasaheb Chandorkar
6. Tatya Patil
7. Nanasaheb Nimonkar
8. Kaka Dixit
9. Bapusaheb Booty
10. Das Ganu Maharaj
11. Sai Baba Daily Routine
12. Lakshmibai Shinde
13. Bayyaji Bai
14. Bhagoji Shinde
16. G.R Dabholkar
17. Upasani Baba
18. Abdul Baba
19. Radhakrishna Mai
20. Tatyasaheb Noolkar
22. Bapusaheb Jog
23. Saisagunopasana by K.J.Bhisma
25. Justice Rege
28. Baba being tested for saintly & supernatural powers
29. Chandrabai Borkar
31. R.B. Purandare
32. Shyamrao Jayker & B.V.Talim
33. Anna Chinchinikar
34. Ramgir Bua
35. Not All Miracles Of BABA Were Recorded
36. Sagun Meru Naik
37. Swami Sri Sai Sharananandji
38. B.V.Narasimha Swamiji
39. Sri Sivanesan Swami
40. Justice Avaste
42. Shantaram Balwant Nachne
44. Balasaheb Bhate
45. Mainatai Ganesh Kuvalkar
46. Bayyaji Appaji Patel
47. Seetadevi Tarkhad
48. Tarabai Tarkhad
49. Damodar Savalram Rasane
51. Kusha Bhav
52. Appasaheb Kulkarni
53. Dattatreya Damodar Rasane
54. Yeswant Janardhan Galwankar
55. Sridhar Narayan Kharkar
56. Narayan Ashram
57. Acharya Ekkirala Bharadwaja
58. Radhakrishna Swamiji
59. Swami Kesavaiahji
60. Bharam Umamaheswara Rao
- DR. CHIDAMBARAM PILLAY
- About The Compiler
G.S.Khaparde with Bal Gangadhar Tilak in the year 1915 ….. 1911 for 3 months plague raged at Shirdi and Balwant, son of Khaparde who was just 2 months old …
Oct 28, 2012 – Ganesh Srikrishna Khaparde was born at Ingroli in Berar on 27th Aug ….Balwant, son of Khaparde had an attack of plague and his mother, …
Nov 2, 2007 – Balwant Ganesh Khaparde. Born in Amrawati to Ganesh and Lakshmi Bai S Khaparde. Both parents were devoted to Baba; spiritually …
Dadasaheb Khaparde’s lad was staying (in Shirdi) along with his mother and both were … “Balwant* also felt sad and said that he wished to leave Shirdi.”
53. (Note :—This letter is in the handwriting of Sardar Shri Jagannath Maharaj Pandit and is signed at the end by Lokamanya Tilak. Balwant Ganesh Khaparde).
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