(When Baba first entered Shirdi, it was Mhalasapati who addressed Baba as "SAI" which became his name.Baba lay down lifeless on his lap in 1886. Next day when people saw the lifeless body of Baba, they thought that he was dead and must be buried and other inquest formalities also were done against the wish of Mhalsapati. But Mhalsapati would not budge an inch and also told them that there would not be any harm in waiting for three days stated by Baba and also expressed his confidence that Baba’s words would come true.)
When Sai Baba entered Shirdi village Mhalasapati welcomed him as "Ya Sai" or “Aao Sai” (meaning "Welcome Sai") and with that name he became known as Sai Baba. Mhalasapati introduced to Baba his friends, Kashiram Shimpi and Appa Jagle who were both very generous and devout people and all the three were interested in welcoming to Shirdi village any holy and pious person.
His full name was Mhalsapati Chimnaji Nagare. Though particulars about his birth are not known, it is estimated that at the time of his death he was about 85 years old. He was a goldsmith by caste and right from his forefathers, all his families had resided at Shirdi.
His family Deity was Khanderai. Because of this, he was a dedicated follower of Khanderai of village Jejuri in Pune district. At least once every year, he went on a pilgrimage to visit Jejuri temple. By nature, he was disinterested in worldly things. He managed his household expenses by carrying on the business of a goldsmith. However, later on when his business was not doing well, he started supporting his family by collecting alms as advised in a dream vision by the God. After he placed his entire faith in Sai Baba, he totally gave up all the worldly pleasures.
B.V Narasimha Swamiji declared that Mhalsapati was the pioneer of Sai pooja and the Sai movement. Mhalsapati had four daughters. Their names were – Janakibai, Seetabai, Rakhumabai and Vithabai. They were married to grooms from Asnagaon. Dochale, Dorhale and Sei respectively. Mhalsapati also had one son and his son died at an early age in 1880s. Because of this, Mhalsapati further lost his interest in worldly things.
Baba used to call Mahalsapati as “Sonarda” and later on as “Bhagat” meaning a close disciple. Since the time Baba went to stay in Masjid, Mhalsapati and Tatya Patil started sleeping with him. Later on when Chavadi was ready, Baba used to sleep on alternate days in masjid and Chavadi.. Only these two persons had the good fortune to sleep with Baba in the masjid. After experiencing Baba’s supernatural powers and his love, Mhalsapati was fully drawn to Baba and became fully detached from worldly attachments. Mhalsapati left his traditional work and became an ascetic, living only on alms. Gradually, he developed a total detachment from family. He went home only for taking food. At all other times, he was serving Baba. He slept in the masjid with Baba during nights.
In Dec, 1886 on the full moon day about four hours after sunset, Baba who was then suffering from severe asthma and who wanted to get rid of it by entering into temporary Samadhi, told Mhalsapati that his life would leave his body then and that he would rest in peace for three full days and that thereafter his life would come back to his physical body and advised him to protect his body during the three-day period without being moved. Baba also said that in case he failed to return to life by then, he should be buried in a place which he pointed out and mark the tomb with a couple of flags. After telling Mhalsapati like that, Baba lay down on his lap. Next day when people saw the lifeless body of Baba, they thought that he was dead and must be buried and other inquest formalities also were done against the wish of Mhalsapati. But Mhalsapati would not budge an inch and also told them that there would not be any harm in waiting for the expiry of the period stated by Baba and also stressed and was confident that Baba’s words would come true. And Mhalsapati with full determination held Baba’s head on his lap and did not leave the place and did not take even food and water during that period. After seventy two hours having passed, three hours before the sun rise at 3-00 AM, life came back to Baba’s physical body and Baba started moving and then got up. Mhalsapati felt extremely happy and wept in blissful ecstasy.
First formal puja to Baba was performed by Mhalasapati. On several occasions in the secluded atmosphere in the masjid, Mhalsapati spent several nights in sitting with Baba and spent time in conversation till it was daybreak time. The relation between Baba and Mhalasapati was really strange and interesting. It seems that, because of this, their extraordinary conversations took place in isolated surroundings. The discussions used to become more and more interesting while enjoying the chillum. Mhalsapati slept with Baba for about forty years. He was of the opinion that Baba was born in a Yajurvedi Deshastha Brahmin family in Pathri village and was given later on to a fakir. But nothing was sure about his birth and about his parents. Whether Baba was born as a Brahmin or not, Baba used to consider himself as a Brahmin and showed displeasure when others considered him as a Muslim. Daily in the evenings, once the lights were lit up, no devotee was allowed to enter the masjid and the only exceptions being Dada Kelkar, Mhalsapati, Tatya, Mahadu, Abdulbaba and Laxmibai.
After the Mahasamadhi of Baba, Mhalsapati continued his routine habit of sitting in the masjid, performing puja for Baba and sleeping there on alternate days. He gave his staff to his son and asked him to spend time in doing pious things with bhakti marga (in the path of devotion). This continued till he breathed his last. Mhalsapati after having done his ususal night arati and pooja in the masjid to his Master, passed away four years after Baba’s Mahasamadhi on the holy day of Ekadashi while uttering the word 'Ram' on 11th Sep, 1922, as hinted by Baba when he was in mortal coil. Blessed was the soul of Mhalsapati who called Baba by name 'Sai' and who protected Baba’s body for 72 hours during 1886 with extraordinary confidence in Baba’s words and all this resulted in Baba blessing so many devotees with several miracles for the next 32 years till Baba’s Mahasamadhi.
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
Thanks to http://bonjanrao.blogspot.in