Tatya Saheb Noolkar and Madhavrao Deshpande were individuals who held an esteemed position as devotees of Sai Baba of Shirdi. These two remarkable people were significant in spreading the teachings and message of Sai Baba to the masses.
Tatya Saheb Noolkar, an affluent landowner, arrived in Shirdi during the 1890s and was immediately entranced by the teachings of Sai Baba. He dedicated his life to serving Sai Baba with humility and devotion, providing selfless service for many years.
Madhavrao Deshpande, an erudite individual, came to Shirdi in the early 1900s. He was a well-versed scholar in the ancient language of Sanskrit and was enamored with Sai Baba’s teachings. Madhavrao was bestowed the honor of becoming Sai Baba’s personal secretary, recording his teachings and miracles. He later compiled these teachings into the renowned tome known as “Shri Sai Satcharitra.”
Sai Baba held a special fondness for both Tatya Saheb and Madhavrao and they were known as his “right-hand men.” It was through Sai Baba’s inspiration that they first observed Guru Purnima in Shirdi.
Guru Purnima, a Hindu festival that honors and pays respects to one’s spiritual guru, occurs on the full moon day of the Hindu month of Ashadha (June-July). In 1912, Sai Baba instructed Tatya Saheb and Madhavrao to observe Guru Purnima in Shirdi.
Following Sai Baba’s instructions, Tatya Saheb and Madhavrao organized a celebration in honor of Sai Baba on the day of Guru Purnima. They adorned the entire village with flowers and lights, and a magnificent procession was held in Sai Baba’s honor. This was the inaugural occasion that Guru Purnima was celebrated in Shirdi and it became an annual tradition thereafter.
Tatya Saheb and Madhavrao continued to serve Sai Baba until his passing in 1918. They remained unwavering in their devotion to his teachings and worked tirelessly to disseminate his message to the world. Even after Sai Baba’s demise, they continued to inspire generations of devotees with their selflessness and dedication to their spiritual guru.