In December 1939, Shri Ramchandra Krishnaji Patil who was the chief Administrator of the Shree Gajanan Maharaj sansthan along with Shri Ramdev Sukhdev Modi ( President) and others went to Nasik to meet Shri Laxman R Pangarkar to request him to write a life sketch in poetic form on the saint of Shegaon, Shree Gajanan Maharaj. LR Pangarkar was well known for his scholarly writings. His writings were spiritually inclined and devotion filled.They requested him to compose poetic verses on the life of the saint of Shegaon, Shree Gajanan Maharaj based on hand written stories and incidents. Shri Ratansa Sonavne ( 1900-1980) who served as Diwanji in the Sansthan , had collected documents and incidents on the life of Gajanan Maharaj. However, Shri LR Pangarkar expressed inability to write the life sketch in poetic form as his expertise lay in writing in prose versions. He directed the troupe to get this poetic verses written by HBP Das Ganu Maharaj who was then camping in Pandhapur. HBP Das Ganu Maharaj was considered as the best and numero uno writer of spiritual poems and also sang melodious hymns (kirtans) in those times in Maharashtra .The team therefore, headed for Pandharpur where they met Shri Das Ganu Maharaj (1868-1962) ( alias Shri Ganesh Dattatreya Sahastrabuddhe). Shri Das Ganu Maharaj, after completing his prayer Vishnu Sahastranaam, met the team from Shegaon, and recalled knowing Gajanan Maharaj from his conversations with Shri Sai Baba of Shirdi who considered Shri Gajanan as His elder brother. Apparently, he also had darshan of the Master from Shegaon during his journey in Akot where he had been at the behest of Shree Shirdi Sai Baba to write a biography on Narsing Baba. Das ganu considred it divine will and agreed to visit Shegaon after undergoing an eye operation.
HBP Das Ganu Maharaj reached Shegaon at 9 am in the morning by railway after recuperating from an eye operation in Pune via Kalyan station and was lustily cheered all the way from Shegaon Railway Station to the temple premises . He was offered to be taken in a chariot which he refused to board. He walked with the crowd and the chariot was bedecked with garlands and a photo of Shri Maharaj. In the temple he had darshan at the shrine of the Spiritual Master Gajanan and then as the day progressed called for Shri Ramchandra Patil to commence his writing activity. The two rooms where he sat were near the rear side of Maruti temple near Bhakta nivas no 2.
Ratansa Sonavne had accumulated documents on Shree Gajanan Maharaj which were handed over to Shri Das Ganu Maharaj who arranged them chronologically. He inquired with all the local senior people present whether all that was mentioned was true and refused to compose if there was any falsehood in it. Everyone agreed that all the incidents were true. Shri Das Ganu Maharaj then selected two or three youngsters to pen down his poems when he would recite. The requirement was not only good handwriting but also high speed. Chagan Bartakke who was in his teens and barely II standard pass, Gan Gane Ukirda and Ratansa Sonavne were the contributors while bulk of the writing was done by Chagan Bartakke. Chagan the young boy, would read an incident or story which Shri Das Ganu would immediately recite in poetic form at great speed. After writing the poetic version he would read it aloud and the entire premises used to be packed with devotees keen to hear.
After completing the pothi writing Shri Das Ganu Maharaj returned to Shirdi by train and was accorded a warm send off by the Gajanan Maharaj sansthan office bearers. He did not take any consideration for his effort and surrendered all publishing rights to the sansthan.
Shri Das Ganu Maharaj compiled the Gajanan Vijay pothi in 3668 ovis (stanzas) and in 21 chapters in 1939-40 , 30 years after Shri Gajana Maharaj left his mortal coil. It is well known that this marvelous piece of writing is a life giving ambrosia for millions who read the biography written in juicy, mellifluous Marathi and now available as a translation in several languages like English, Hindi, Gujarati, Kannada,Telugu. Every chapter has a special significance and is read as an obeisance to the Spiritual Master. Millions have read this pothi or biography and continue to read and reap benefits of His divine grace and benevolence and have experienced unlimited miracles which are bound to amaze even a sceptic.
There are several persons who are knowing the biography in Marathi by heart . They conduct sessions and these are packed to capacity. Those who have become famous for their feats are 81 year old Smt Sumati Bai Bapat of Nasik , Smt Vidya Padwal of Thane , Smt Madhuri Punyarthi of Thane and Shri Patwardhan of Talegaon. There are many more whose names are not known who can recite the pothi (3668 verses) without referring the book. The list includes a visually challenged person from Dombivali. This is a miracle in itself.
Rishi Mudgal lives in Portland, Oregon. A software professional who dedicated his life for Seva of Shri Gajanan Maharaj. Moderator of this website and also active contributor to “Shegaon-Prachar-Parivar” yahoo group.