SHRI SAINATH MANDIR (BHIVPURI ROAD) TRUST
Regd. No.A-2024 (Bom.)
BHIVPURI ROAD, VILLAGE: UKROOL
TALUKA: KARJAT, DIST: RAIGAD
(Bhivpuri Road is a Railway Station between Karjat & Neral on Central Railway Suburban Section. Temple is only one Km. from Bhivpuri Road Railway Station)
Travellers going from Bombay to Poona, on the Central Railway, might have noticed the board “Bhivpuri Road” on a small station just before Karat. If you get down on this station and look at the East side, you will notice a small dome of a temple surrounded by fields. This is the dome of the Sainath temple at Bhivpuri Road. The way to this temple passes through fields and you can reach the Mandir within about five to seven minutes.
The history of this temple is very interesting and the devotees of Shri Sai Baba will be happy to know how Shri Sai Baba converts people and creates devotion in their minds. Late Shri Keshav Ramchandra Pradhan, was the founder of this Mandir. Nobody will believe that Shri Pradhan, who later on became a staunch devotee of Shri Sai Baba, was an atheist from the beginning of his life.
Shri Pradhan was working on a Pedhi of a Parsee gentleman in Bombay; but he was residing at Bhivpuri Road and used to go to Bombay every day. As an employee of the aforesaid Pedhi, Shri Pradhan was required to visit very often places like Manmad, Nasik, Kopargaon etc. for recovery of the bills. One close friend of Shri Pradhan, was a staunch devotee of Shri Sai Baba and hence he used to visit Shirdi very often for paying his respects to Shri Baba. This friend naturally used to request Shri Pradhan to accompany him to Shirdi for the darshan of Shri Baba. As however Shri Pradhan was not a believer either in god or a saint, he would decline his friend’s request to accompany him to Shirdi. Ultimately Shri Pradhan agreed to accompany his friend on one condition that he would not step into the Masjid (Dwarakamayee) as in his opinion it was something against the ethics of the Hindu religion. The friend agreed to Shri Pradhan’s condition and the latter thus started for Shirdi.
After reaching Shirdi, Shri Pradhan and his friend took one room and halted there. When it was time for Baba’s Aarati, the friend went to the Masjid for Baba’s darshan, while Shri Pradhan did not move out of the room. The Masjid was crowded by Shri Baba’s devotees and exactly at twelve noon the bells stared ringing for Aarati. All the devotees were full engrossed in Aarati and they were driving deep in the sea of devotion. Though Shri Pradhan had decided not to go to the Masjid for Aarati, still as the sound of the bells went on increasing. Shri Pradhan started getting restless. Ultimately his restlessness increased to such as extent that before Shri Pradhan could know what he was doing, he started for the Masjid and setting aside his own condition, he joined the crowed in the Masjid and became one with it. The Aarati got over and the devotees were leaving the Mandap, one by one, after taking the Udi and Prasad from the hands of Shri SAI BABA; but Shri Pradhan was in his own trance. He was not at all aware that the Mandap was being vacated by the devotees. His sight was however fixed on Shri Sai Baba and he was gazing at him with concentration. After some time Shri Baba called Shri Pradhan and unexpectedly asked for Dakshina. As good luck would have it, Shri Pradhan had about two thousand and five hundred rupees in his pocket, which he had collected out of the dues of his Pedhi. In his trance, before Shri Pradhan knew what he was doing, he straight away took out the entire amount from his pocket and placed it in the hands of Baba. Shri Pradhan returned to his room in that same trance. After some time, Shri Pradhan woke up from his trance and came to his normal mood. He that time at once remembered about the money of the Pedhi, collected by him and when the thought of paying the money struck him, was simply stunned and could not think of any remedy to pay the same. He was at a loss to know what to say after going to Bombay and how to pay the money that belonged to the Pedhi. Shri Pradhan was so much short of money that he had not enough money even to come back to Bombay. In the meanwhile his friend also had returned to Bombay; but when favours of Shri Sai Baba are showering on you, what would you need? You will have no difficulties. All your wants would be taken care of by him.
Shri Pradhan got in a Tanga to go to Kopargaon station. He had no hard cash to pay the fare of the Tanga; but luckily he had a gold ring on his finger. He therefore offered the same to the driver of the Tanga and requested him to take his fare out of that amount, which would be realised out of the sale proceeds of the ring; but in the meanwhile one gentleman, in up-to-date dress, came on the scene and knowing the difficulty of Shri Pradhan, immediately paid the Tanga fare. He further purchased a ticket for Shri Pradhan and made his arrangements to go to Bombay.
Because of the aforesaid arrangements, Shri Pradhan reached Bhivpuri; but he did not know what to do about paying the money of the Pedhi. He was sure that the question of paying the money would come up immediately on his resumption. He therefore sent a word to his owner that because of his ill health he was not able to resume duty and that he would not attend his duties for some time more. On getting this message the owner sent back a word to Shri Pradhan that he has received double the money that he has recovered from the customers in the country and that Shri Pradhan should not hurry up to resume duty. He may do so when he is fully recovered. On getting this message from his owner, Shri Pradhan got stunned again with the marvelous powers of Shri Sai Baba and his leela. He simply did not know what to say about this miracle and was overwhelmed with the favour that was shown by Shri Sai Baba only on his first visit to Shirdi. It is needless to say that the atheist in Shri Pradhan disappeared at the very moment and he became a sincere devotee of Shri Baba from that time. On receiving the message from his owner he said, “Oh Baba, I am a sinner. So far I remained away from you and did not accede to the request of my friend to come to your lotus feet; but you have now favoured me by your grace and I am sure all my sins must have now been wiped out.”
After that incident Shri Pradhan started visiting Shirdi as often as possible. Every time he used to request Shri Baba to come to Bhivpuri. Once in 1916 when Shri Pradhan had gone to Shirdi, Shri Sai Baba one day, picked up one of his replicas, given to him by a devotee, and handing it over to Shri Pradhan said, ‘Go back to Bhivpuri. Erect a temple and place this replica there. Start all the functions there and do not come to this place again.’
Shri Pradhan brought the replica to Bhivpuri along with him; but he did not carry out Shri Baba’s orders. When he visited Shirdi next, venerable Shri Baba reminded him of his last orders and said, “When I have come to your house, why have you come here? Bhivpuri is your Shirdi now”.
Shri Baba’s above words also did not satisfy Shri Pradhan, but after some days he erected a small temple near his house and placed the replica there after due consecration. The daily worship and offerings began to be observed and some functions used to be performed there occasionally.
The temple has good natural surroundings. There are big trees all around. By night there is perfect peace and silence. However, after the temple was built by about midnight the noise of the opening of the temple door used to be heard and Shri Sai Baba used to be seen going about in the precincts of the temple. Sometimes he used to be seen resting under a tree. At about 3 a.m., in the early morning, the noise of closing of the temple door used to be heard. This was noticed not only by Shri Pradhan and his family members, but even some guests who came to Shri Pradhan, also saw this miracle. The doubts in the mind of Shri Pradhan were completely removed in this incident and he became a confirmed Sai devotee from that time, and cost of thousands of rupees Shri Pradhan built a beautiful Shrine room, a specious hall, a wide verandah and a guest house.
Shri Sai Baba went into Maha Samadhi in 1918, but the worship of Shri Pradhan continued with the same devotion. In 1924, Shri Pradhan’s daughter was married to Shri A.V.Gupte of Dadar, Bombay. As Shri Gupte was himself a very pious man, he started taking keen interest in all the functions that were held at Bhivpuri and also encouraged many of his friends to come to visit the temple there. This resulted in the increase of the number of visitors coming to Bhivpuri.
Shri Gupte visited Shirdi in 1936. He was so much impressed by the grandeur of the Samadhi Mandir there, that with folded hands he prayed to Sai Baba that such a grand temple should come up at Bhivpuri very soon. As Shri Sai Baba is famous for granting the sincere prayers of his devotees, the above request of Shri Gupte was immediately granted by Shri Baba and from that time the Bhivpuri temple of Shri Sai Baba became more and more famous.
Shri Pradhan expired in 1939, leaving the responsibility of the temple to his sons and son-in-law. For perpetuating the functions of the temple, an institution under the name “Shri Sadguru Sainath Seva Sanstha” was formed in the same year and seven trustees wee appointed to manage the temple affairs.
Due to influx of more and more pilgrims, the old temple was found to be inadequate to accommodate all of them. The work of renovation and extension of the same was started; but though the brick work was completed, the work of construction of the roof was held up due to shortage of funds and material. In order to find a way out, late Shri Narayan Purohit, a Sai devotee started “Parayan” of Sai Satcharitra. After four days Shri Baba appeared in his dream and said, “Where is my Dhuni? If there is no Dhuni, how can this be Shirdi? How will the temple be complete?” As this dream was repeated, Shri Purohit informed Shri Gupte about it and in consultation with the other trustees, it was decided to start a Dhuni at the temple. A place was therefore fixed for construction of the Dhuni and Shri A.R.Walawalkar, the grandson of Shri Dabholkar, the author of Shri Satcharitra lit the fire and the Dhuni for the first time on 07.04.1949, the day of Ramnavami, at about 10 a.m.
Shri Kumarsen Samarth, offered to pay all the expenses of the roof and other structures around the Dhuni. Like the Dhuni in the Dwarakamayee at Shirdi, this Dhuni also burns continuously. Various functions are held at the temple throughout the year and the functions on Ramnavami and the Samadhi day are celebrated with special pomp and show. Late Prof. D.D.Parchure, the former Executive Editor of the magazine, Shri Sai Leela who was a sincere Sai devotee, used to remain present at the time of both these special functions and perform Keertan expounding the life and teachings of Sai Baba.
Many great personalities visit the temple and give the financial help. The trustees are grateful to all the visitors for their devotion and financial help. Due to this wonderful story of this temple, it is now a living centre of the spiritual influence of Sai Baba and it is no wonder that persons who visit it once, come to Bhivpuri for the Darshan of Sai Baba with renewed devotion