(Chapters taken from Shri Gulabrao Maharaj’s biography in English by Shri. Sharad Kopardekar).
25. PRACTITIONER IN AYURVEDA
Shri Maharaj was an authority on Ayurveda. He prescribed medicines in Ayurveda. Every day a large number of patients from Sirasgaon and nearby villages came to take medicine from him.
While giving medicines, Shri Maharaj tried to bend his patients’ minds towards spirituality also. He would tell his patients to read scriptures also while they took the medicines. In a number of incidents he gave “tirtha” – sacred water at the feet of the Lord – along with medicines. His devotees believed that the sacred water cured them rather than the medicines.
Shri Maharaj was concerned about the mental and physical health of his devotees all the time. Whenever his devotees were ill, he would visit them to give medicines as per Ayurveda. He would give “tirtha”. In all these cases, the patients were invariably cured.
Two such instances in 1901 are given below:
Shri Ramachandra Bapu became seriously ill at Madhan. Since Shri Maharaj was not in Madhan, the local doctors were called. The local doctors said that there were no chances of his survival. Shri Maharaj had gone on a tour. A word was sent to Shri Maharaj. He came back immediately and said: “Ramachandra Bapu, you should not die so early. You are still to complete the study of Yogas. I will give you a few more years to live.” He placed his hand on the forehead of Shri Ramachandra Bapu. He gave him sacred water. To the great surprise of all, Ramachandra Bapu survived.
The second instance is that of Shri Rajaram Deshmukh. He became seriously ill at Sirasgaon. Shri Maharaj was on a tour. Shri Rajaram Deshmukh said that he would not accept medicine from anybody except Shri Maharaj. The local doctors said that the illness was most likely to be fatal. No chances of survival. His relatives wanted to send a word to Shri Maharaj. But Shri Rajaram Deshmukh prohibited them from doing so. He believed that Shri Maharaj would know by himself and that there was no necessity for sending a word to him about the illness. So the news of the illness of Shri Rajaram Deshmukh was not conveyed to Shri Maharaj.
Shri Maharaj did learn of Shri Rajaram Deshmukh’s illness by his sixth sense. He returned to Sirasgaon at midnight.
He touched the forehead of Shri Rajaram Deshmukh and gave him sacred water. For seven days Maharaj observed a fast. He performed some japa also. On the eighth day Rajaram Deshmukh was out of danger.
26. SHRI MAHARAJ’S VISIT TO LONI
In 1902, one of the maternal uncles of Shri Maharaj died. So Maharaj went to Loni Takli to console his grandmother. The son of his uncle was only four months old. The grandmother kept the child on the lap of Shri Maharaj. He looked at the child and said: “This child would face a great calamity at the age of five, perhaps even death”.
Shri Maharaj’s grandmother asked him what they should do. How could they save the child from the clutches of death? Shri Maharaj said: “If the mother of the child follows a particular type of worship and performs japa every day, the child might survive.”
The mother of the child did not believe in the advice of Shri Maharaj. She did not follow it. At the age of five, the child became seriously ill. In spite of medical treatment, the child died. The mother repented. But it was of no use. She became the follower of Shri Maharaj for the rest of her life.
27. YOGA CENTRE OF SHRI YOGANANDA SWAMI
Shri Yogananda Swami, a renowned Yogi had his Yoga teaching centre at Amravati. He used to teach how Yoga could be used to strengthen one’s own body for a better material life.
When Shri Maharaj visited Amravati, he heard about the teachings of Shri Yogananda Swami. He went to meet Shri Yogananda Swami. The Swami explained how Yoga could be used to make the body stronger. He said the body could be made immortal if proper Yoga practices like Khechari Mudra were followed. Shri Maharaj said: “Life is as fickle as a bubble. so instead of concentrating on strengthening the body by Yoga, one should surrender to God and follow the path of devotion.”
Shri Yogananda Swami could not refute the argument of Shri Maharaj. A number of disciples of Shri Yogananda Swami were present to hear the conversation between Shri Maharaj and him.
Next day, Shri Haribhau Kevale, Manchar Munshi, Washimkar, Jagjivan, Shirpurkar and many other disciples of Shri Yogananda Swami came to meet Shri Maharaj and requested him to guide them on the spiritual path.
Shri Maharaj explained to them: “Body is mortal. One day, you have to die. Yoga practices to strengthen body will not help you. You must surrender to God and follow the path of devotion. Soul is not mind nor body. Yoga practices like Khechari Mudra would not help you in spiritual development. You should follow the way of spiritual development.” Shri Maharaj further explained that Yoga practices like the Khechari Mudra would be an obstacle in the path of devotion to the goal of real spirituality.
All those listeners were greatly impressed. They became followers of Shri Maharaj.
Shri Maharaj gave discourses at Amravati on “Amritanubhava” written by Shri Dnyaneshwar Maharaj. At night, they used to sing devotional songs and discuss the teachings of the Vedas.
Shri Haribhau Kevale, former follower of Shri Yogananda Swami, was so much influenced that he renounced the worldly life and decided to stay all his life with Shri Maharaj. He accepted it as a mission of his life to take down the dictations of Shri Maharaj. Shri Haribhau was a millionaire. He owned thousands of acres of land. It is said he weighed himself against gold. He left his rich family and stayed with Shri Maharaj in a simple way. He was fast in taking down what Shri Maharaj dictated. A number of books of Shri Maharaj available today have been taken down by Shri Haribbau Kevale.
28. INCIDENT AT CHANDUR BAZAR
In 1903, at Chandur Bazar, a nearby town, a ginning factory was being constructed. Shri Nilkanthrao Katekar, a disciple of Shri Maharaj was appointed as the manager of the factory. The construction work was almost complete. A day for the inauguration of the factory was announced.
On the day previous to the day of inauguration, there were torrential rains in the area. A river near the proposed ginning factory was flooded.
At night when Shri Nilkanthrao was sleeping, Shri Gulabrao Maharaj came and awoke him. Shri Nilkanthrao was surprised to see Shri Maharaj there. In the torrential rains how could Shri Maharaj come alone at night to Chandur Bazar? The clothes of Shri Maharaj were not at all drenched though heavy rains were pouring outside.
Shri Nilkanthrao exclaimed: “Maharaj, how could you come here at night in such torrential rains?” Maharaj just said: “I came from Madhan.” Shri Maharaj further said, “You need my help. I have come here to help you.” He then told him that the nearby river was in flood and there was a danger to the factory. Shri Katekar was frightened. He called the neigbbours and removed the machinery and other equipment to a safe place. Shri Maharaj then said that he would like to go back. Shri Nilkanthrao Katekar arranged a bullock cart for Shri Maharaj go back to Madhan.
Shri Katekar was convinced that Shri Maharaj had come there to help him as the factory property was in danger due to the flood in the river.