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(First person to understand Baba & first person to propagate about Baba with intense fervour) 

Narayan    Govind    Chandorkar   or     Nanasaheb Chandorkar (Baba used to call him as Nana) was a resident of Kalyan, Bombay  He was born on 14th Jan, 1860 on Makara Sankranthi day.

At 20 years of age he became a graduate in 1880, having passed B.A. in philosophy and developed proficiency in Bhagwat Gita. After graduation, he entered Govt. service in 1880 and became a Deputy Collector within seven years. He was Chitnis and then Mamlatdar and then became a Deputy Collector. He continued in the same position of Deputy Collector for as many as 30 years. His father’s name was Govindpanth Nana Chandorkar. Nanasaheb worked as Deputy Collector in the same office where his father had also worked as Deputy Collector. He was well educated and knew Sanskrit very well and also widely traveled. In 1878, he married at the age of 18,  Bayaja Bai, daughter of a zamindar, Nanasaheb Ojha. He had two daughters, Mainatai and Dwarakamai and two sons Vasudev alias Baburao and Mahadev alias Bapurao. He had a lot of Muslim friends. Once his father had a disagreement with a Muslim and hence he told all the family members not to have any sort of relationship with any Muslim. This became a problem for Nanasaheb. Nanasaheb’s father’s Guru was Shri Samarth Shakaram Maharaj, a Brahmin. Nanasaheb spoke to his father, informing that Shri Sai Baba was his Guru, a self realized saint, looked outwardly as a Muslim saint, residing in Shirdi and also said that he was going often to meet him. His father coolly replied that he could continue going to him as Sai Baba was his Guru. Baba changed his father’s mind miraculously.

Nanasaheb always carried with him a round box full of Udi given by Baba and a small photograph of Baba wherever he went. This box and the photograph were later with his grandson, Prabhakar who was residing in Poona.


Baba sent a message to Nanasaheb Chandorkar through kulkarni of Shirdi, asking Nanasaheb to visit Shirdi, perhaps in 1887. However, Nanasaheb first visited Shirdi in 1892 (at the age of 32 years) and was very much impressed by Baba and his powers to do miracles. He also knew that Baba was doing miracles in a routine way and there was no body to record them. Hence he gave diaries to all the devotees and important local people to record all leelas of Baba and any other important events connected with Baba. And it was from that day, devotees/local important people started recording Baba’s leelas and earlier leelas were, by and large,  not recorded except a very important miracles which could not be forgotten..  

Whenever  Nanasaheb went to Shirdi, he used to spend money liberally and sometimes he used to repay the amounts which Baba borrowed for donating to people and also for having purchased certain things which people wanted from Baba.

Nanasaheb was Mamlatdar of Jamner in 1904-05 and at that time his daughter, eldest child by name Meenatai Kuvelekar was pregnant and was having severe pains and Nanasaheb was not having at that time Baba’s Udi.

In Shirdi, Baba called Ramgiri Buv in that evening and asked him to go to Jamner and hand over a packet of udi and a copy of Baba’s Arati prayer to Nanasaheb Chandorkar in Jamner. Ramgiri told Baba that he had only rupees two with him and expressed how could he go with that money to Jamner which is more than 100 miles from Shirdi. Baba said that he need not worry and that every thing would be arranged. That was Friday. Ramgiri started and reached Jalgaon at 2-45 AM next day and had only two annas left with him. Further he had to go to Jamner which is about 30 miles from Jalgaon. Suddenly at about 3-00 AM, a peon in boots, turban and with good dress, came to him with a tonga and told him that Nanasaheb had sent him to bring Ramgiri to Jamner and took Ramgiri in the tonga. On the way at Baghoor, he took refreshments brought by the peon and then reached Jamner. In the morning Ramgiri went for nature call and returned to find to his utter surprise that the peon, driver and tonga and the horses—all disappeared at once. However, he went and met Nanasaheb and handed over udi and arati copy and in the conversation he came to know that Nanasaheb did not send the peon as he was not aware of Ramgiri’s arrival. While Nanasaheb got surprised at the marvelous and timely help by Baba, they considered it as Baba’s miracle/lila. After Udi was given to his daughter, she had peaceful and painless delivery and delivered a male child.

Once, Nanasaheb, while massaging the legs of Baba, was muttering some Sanskrit sloka and Baba enquired about it; then Nana said that it was a Sanskrit verse 34 in Chapter 4 of Bhagwat Gita. Then Baba asked him about its meaning which Nana explained. But Baba not being satisfied with his interpretation, explained the correct meaning and interpretation of the verse in Chapter 4 of Bhagwat Gita. While Nana was a blessed person to hear this from the mouth of Baba , he was equally surprised by the wonderful erudition of Baba in Sanskrit and his knowledge about Bhagwat Gita. This event took place some time during 1900-1902. This incidentally put down Nana’s pride who till then was thinking that he was a Sanskrit scholar of high order and that he knew Bhagwat Gita very well and by this incident Baba also made him egofree and paved the way for his spiritual upliftment. Baba used to talk to Nanasaheb in Sanskrit.

Noolkar visited Shirdi at the instance of Nanasaheb and based on a research conducted by M.B.Nimbolkar, it was construed that it was Noolkar who did first Gurupoornima day celebrations in Shirdi on Saturday, 3rd July, 1909. Noolkar wrote to Nanasaheb about the celebrations in detail as Nanasaheb was not present to witness the celebrations. Nanasaheb wrote a reply to him on 16th Nov, 1910, pointing out that Baba was a simple fakir and did not like display of pomp at the celebrations. Nanasaheb was pained at all the attempts of the devotees from 1910 onwards, to convert Shirdi into a Sansthan (Princely State). As per Nanasaheb’s views that any pompous show would interfere with one’s efforts to attain spiritual growth and Baba’s life history tells us that Baba did not like any pompous show and that Baba did not use the costly items that were provided for Baba’s use. Baba wanted simple puja with unswerving devotion. However if any costly gift was given to Baba, Baba  would accept it, though unwillingly, in order not to displease the person giving the gift. 
Nanasaheb opened an eatery in Shirdi for the benefit of the visiting devotees and entrusted the responsibility of managing the eatery to Balabhav Chandorkar, his nephew. Perhaps this was the first eatery opened in Shirdi for the benefit of the visiting devotees during 1911.

Once Nanasaheb was sitting with Baba in the masjid, some Muslim ladies came to see Baba and at that moment Nanasaheb wanted to get up and go away, but Baba prevented him from going away and the ladies came and had darshan of Baba and at that time one lady removed her veil and saluted Baba in reverence. On seeing the charming beauty of that lady, Nanasaheb was wonder-struck and his mind had become restless. Baba immediately knew his position and told him that he should not get agitated and on the other hand that we should appreciate the wonderful craftsmanship of the God in creating this beautiful world and such persons and that we should enjoy by seeing the marvelous creations that God had made without evil thoughts.

Nanasaheb wanted to worship a lady saint, Bannu Mayi. who was a remarkable lady saintIt would be very difficult to have darshan of that lady saint without Baba’s Grace. She was a Muslim lady and aged about twenty years but was in a highly advanced spiritual stage. Her mother was staying in their home in Bhodegaon. She had left her home and started roaming stark-naked everywhere, but mostly in jungles and often concealed herself in prickly pear bushes. Over her body there were plenty of thorns embedded and she never cared to remove them. She did not care for meals or sleep. Her mother and others believed her as a mad girl, but a few others including Nanasaheb believed her to be a saint in an advanced stage. He went to Baba and wanted his permission and blessings for the darshan of the lady saint. Though initially, Baba was reluctant to permit him, he then blessed Nanasaheb for her darshan. He went to the saint’s village and made numerous enquiries in vain about her whereabouts, but the villagers also resented his enquiries about that naked lady. He then prayed to Baba for some time and opened his eyes and then suddenly saw Bannu Mayi standing on the road in front of him. He fell at her feet and she then disappeared in the nearby prickly pear bushes. But, he was bent upon seeing her again and wanted to perform puja to her. And for this purpose, he arranged a tent with all the facilities for her bath with warm water, a new saree, a bodice and other things for her use. He again prayed to Baba. Immediately the lady saint appeared and on her own entered the tent, had a bath and wore the clothes. He fell at her feet and worshipped her. Then immediately she got up and removed her dress and threw away all the dress and disappeared. He still stayed there in the village and stayed in a sanctuary room and bolted the door from inside. Early morning he prayed once again to Baba with the desire that before he left the village he might be granted one more opportunity to worship the lady saint. He then saw Bannu Mayi sitting in the room. How she entered the bolted room was some thing that nobody could explain. He then worshipped her and she disappeared immediately thereafter. All this had happened with the Grace of Baba. Baba had permitted him to have her darshan and allowed him to worship her as Baba knew that his heart was pristine pure and he had also attained advanced spiritual progress.

Baba wanted Nana only to rebuild and carry out the necessary repairs to Baba’s masjid and Baba gave permission to Nana to do this noble work. Nana being a busy Govt Officer, had entrusted this work to Nanasaheb Nimonkar to carry out this task. After renovation work was completed, Baba who was at that time in Neemgaon village, was brought from Neemgaon in a royal procession with band, music and songs, into the renovated masjid. Masjid renovation work was completed in 1912. Then Kaka Dixit got the pavement work of the floor in the masjid done which was finished in a single night. After this, Baba stopped using his gunny bag sack and instead started using cushion or gadi for his seat.

During 1906-08, Nana was in Pandharpur and prior to that period he was in Nandurbur. When he was in Pandharpur, his second daughter, Dwarakamai gave birth safely to a child in 1906. In one of Nana’s visits to Shirdi, around this time, Nana’s second son, Mahadeo alias Bapurao Chandorkar at the age of 4 years took the liberty of performing puja to Baba by decorating Baba’s head with flowers and this happened in 1900. At the age of 4, he also started applying chandan to Baba’s forehead and this became the practice subsequently. Only Bapu Rao was permitted at that time to perform puja to Baba.


Once, Nanasaheb suffered a boil on his back and it was very painful and moreover, the place of the boil was inconvenient and embarrassing for him. He consulted various doctors and was taking treatment but it was of no use. Ultimately, he was advised to get it removed through surgery at Mumbai. He also decided that he should not inform Baba as it was a trivial matter and that he should not bother Baba for each and every small matter. Accordingly Nanasaheb preferred to suffer and did not want to pray to Baba to come to his rescue. The date for the operation was fixed and on the appointed day he went to the hospital in Mumbai and was lying down on a cot. His pain increased very much and he felt that it would be difficult for him to survive the ordeal. However he kept Baba’s photo near his pillow and was waiting for the doctor’s arrival and the surgeon was expected to come within a short while. Meantime an unexpected event took place. As he was lying down with face down, a small piece of tile from the roof fell down exactly on the boil and it burst open. Slowly the puss came out of the boil and the pain started subsiding. When the surgeon arrived a little later, he was surprised at the happening of the wonderful event which cured the ailment without surgery and then confirmed that the operation was no longer necessary. This is an example to show that Baba would come to the rescue of the ankita bhakta even without any prayer and even though it was a trivial matter. After a few days, Nanasaheb went to Shirdi. Baba then said, “Even if one decides not to give me the trouble, ultimately I have to burst the boil with my own hands.”

In 1913-14, Nanasaheb Chandorkar was unwell and was on long leave and stayed in Shirdi with his wife, doing service to Baba.  

Nanasaheb spread the messages of Baba and the usefulness of devotion towards Baba and spread this propaganda about Baba mainly in cities like Pune and Mumbai with the result that people belonging to different religions, castes and creeds came from all over the country to Shirdi for the darshan of Baba. The devotees also experienced the divine powers of Baba. All such devotees thanked and blessed Nanasaheb for having introduced them to Baba for their improvement, temporal and spiritual.

About spreading information about Baba and his powers, Nanasaheb comes first and then in the order, come the other four devotees viz., Das Ganu, Dixit, B.V.Dev and B.V.Narasimha Swamiji. B.V.Dev who went to Shirdi at the instance of Nanasaheb and who did lot of research into the philosophy of Baba and His life, was having lot of respect for Nanasaheb. Nana was instrumental in bringing to Shirdi several great devotees like Dixit, Dabholkar, Das Ganu, Radhakrishna Mai, Moreshwar Pradhan, Tatyasaheb Noolkar, Balasaheb Deo, Madhavrao Adkar, Vinayakrao Thakur, Kashibai Kanitkar, Chintamanrao Vaidya and others. Due to his efforts, nearly 2000 pilgrims from Bombay visited Shirdi to have Baba’s darshan and he was the first devotee who propagated and popularized about Baba in the State of Maharashtra. His relative by name Balabhav Chandorkar was running a small restaurant from 1911, catering to the requirements of the visiting devotees to Shirdi. His eldest son’s, Babusaheb Chandorkar’s marriage took place in Gwalior in early 1912. His second son’s Bapurao Chandorkar’s marriage took place in 1922 after Nana passed away in 1921. Nanasaheb passed away peacefully at the age of 61 years in Kalyan on Ekadashi day on 21st Aug, 1921. Blessed was the great bhakta, Nanasaheb Chandorkar.

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.

Compiler’s name
Bondada Janardhana Rao
Sai Pracharak

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