Mr. Ramachandra Atmaran alias Babasaheb Tarkhad, formerly a Prarthana-Samajist, was a staunch devotee of Sai Baba. His wife and son loved Baba equally or perhaps more. It was once proposed that Master Tarkhad should go with his mother to Shirdi and spend his May vacation there. But the son was unwilling to go. He thought that in case he left his home at Bandra, the worship of Sai Baba in the house would not be properly attended to. Since his father being a Prarthana Samajist, would not care to worship Sai Baba’s enlarged portrait. However, on his father’s giving an assurance of oath, that he would perform the worship exactly as the son was doing, the mother and the son left for Shirdi on one Friday night.
Next day (Saturday) Mr. Tarkhad got up early, took his bath and before proceeding with the Puja, prostrated himself before the Shrine. He said – “Baba, I am going to perform the Puja exactly as my son has been doing, but please let it not be a formal drill.” After he performed the Puja, he offered a few pieces of lump-sugar as naivedya (offering), which were distributed at the time of the lunch. That evening and on Sunday, everything went on well.
The following Monday was a working day and it also passed well. Mr. Tarkhad, who had never performed Puja like this in all his life, felt great confidence within himself, that every thing was passing on quite satisfactorily according to the promise given to his son. On Tuesday, he performed the morning Puja as usual and left for his work. Coming home at noon, he found that there was no Prasad (sugar) to partake of, when the meal was served. He asked the servant – cook, who told him that there was no offering made that morning. And that he had completely forgotten then to perform that part of the Puja (offering naivedya).
After hearing that he left his seat and prostrated himself before the Shrine, expressed his regret, at the same time chiding Baba for the want of guidance in making the whole affair a matter of mere drill. Then he wrote a letter to his son stating the facts and requested him to lay it before Baba’s feet and ask His pardon for his neglect.
This happened in Bandra at Tuesday noon. At about the same time, when the noon Arati was just about to commence in Shirdi, Baba said to Mrs. Tarkhad, “Mother, I had been to your house in Bandra, with a view to having something to eat. I found the door locked. I somehow got an entrance inside and found to My regret, that Bhau (Mr. Tarkhad) had left nothing for Me to eat. so I have returned from there without eating anything.”
The lady could not understand anything; but the son, who was close by, understood that there was something wrong with the Puja in Bandra and he, therefore, requested Baba to permit him to go home. Baba refused the permission, but allowed him to perform Puja there.
Then, the son wrote a letter to his father, stating all that took place at Shirdi and implored his father not to neglect the Puja at home.
Both these letters crossed each other and were delivered to the respective parties the next day. Is this not astonishing?