Mr. Balaram Dhurandhar belonged to the Pathare Prabhu community, of Santacruz, Bombay. He was an advocate of the Bombay High Court and sometime Principal of the Governament Law School, Bombay. The whole Dhurandhar family was pious and religious. Mr. Balaram served his community, and wrote and published an account of it. He then turned his attention to spiritual and religious matters. He studied carefully Gita, and its commentary Jnaneshwari; and other philosophical and other metaphysical works. He was a devotee of Vithoba of Pandharpur. He came in contact with Sai Baba in 1912 A.D.. Six months previous, his brothers Babulji and Vamanrao came to Shirdi and took Baba's darshan. They returned home, and mentioned their sweet experiences to Balaram and other members. Then they all decided to see Sai Baba.
Before the Dhurandhar brothers came to Shirdi, Baba declared openly that - "Today many of my Darbar people are coming." The Dhurandhar brothers were astonished to hear this remark of Baba, from others; as they had not given any previous intimation of their trip. All the other people prostrated themselves before Baba, and sat talking to Him. Baba said to them- "These are my Darbar people to whom I referred before" and said to the Dhurandhar brothers- "We are acquainted with each other for the last sixty generations."
All the brothers were meek and modest, they stood with joined hands, staring at Baba's Feet. All the Sattwic emotions such as tears, horripilation, choking, etc., moved them and they were all happy. Then they went to their lodging, took their meals and after taking a little rest again came to the Masjid. Balaram sat near Baba, massaging His Legs. Baba Who was smoking a chillam advanced it towards him and beckoned him to smoke it. Balaram was not accustomed to smoking, still he accepted the pipe, smoked it with great difficulty; and returned it reverentially with a bow. This was the most auspicious moment for Balaram. He was suffering from Asthma for six years. This smoke completely cured him of the disease, which never troubled him again. Some six years later, on a particular day, he again got an attack of Asthma. This was precisely the time when Baba took his Mahasamadhi.
Sai Ram. The disciple was ready and ripe to receive Guru"s grace. In one of the earlier chapters too we have seen how Kakasaheb Dixit got ready to kill a goat at the bidding of Sadguru Sai, and when teased by Sai (for the benefit of others) that Dixit being a Brahmin should not have undertaken such a sin (paap), Dixit"s answer is worth repeating here again, “We don"t know punyam and paapam, we only know to follow Guru"s orders." Implicit obedience to Guru is a great purifier of ego and makes the disciple ready to receive grace. The above story is another good example of that. See how the disciple got benefited in addition to the freedom from a long pending health problem. Sai Ram.
The day of this visit was a Thursday; and the Dhurandhar brothers had the good fortune of witnessing the Chavadi, Balaram saw the luster of Pandurang on Baba's face and next morning at the Kakad-Arti time, the same phenomenon - the same luster of his Beloved Deity- Pandurang was visible again on Baba's face.
Sai Ram. Once the mind is steady and pure, God (SELF) appears in the form of Ishta Devata like in this case and in a few other stories that we enjoyed earlier (like how one devotee saw Lord Rama, another saw his own Guru Gholap etc.). Nischala Tatve Jivan Muktih, Bhaja Govindam, Bhaja Govindam….Sai Ram.
Mr. Balaram Dhurandhar wrote, in Marathi, the life of the Maharashtra Saint Tukaram, but did not survive to see its publication. It was published, later on, by his brothers in 1928. In a short note on Balaram's life given in the beginning of the book, the above account of Balaram's visit has been fully corroborated therein (Vide page 6 of the book).
Bow to Shri Sai - Peace be to all