In the year 1952, Shree Baba Maharaj went on a pilgrimage with a group of devotees to holy places like Akkalkot, Tulajapur, Barsi, Pandharpur, Ambejogai, Parli Vaijanath. Aundhya Nagnath, Ghrushneshwar, Paithan in Maharashtra, and Ganagapur, Humnabad in Karnataka. When the group was in Ganagapur, all the devotees went to Shripathi Teerth riverbank steps for bathing. When the devotees were getting down the steps for bathing, Shree Baba Maharaj, who was sitting on a platform of Shripath Teerth asked, ‘‘Who can bring me some sand from the opposite riverbank?” All the devotees remained silent since complying with this request meant crossing the river filled up to its brink due to the ongoing rainy season and this was not at all an easy task to undertake by any standards. The silence indirectly meant that no one had the courage to come forward and fulfill the request.
At that same moment, Shri Anna Deshpande, a devotee, was standing before Shree Baba Maharaj for paying his obeisance. Suddenly he exclaimed, “With your grace I shall go across and get the Sand”. Shri Deshpande had two hurdles to overcome. Firstly, he didn’t know swimming and secondly, he suffered from tonsils, which is known to create breathing problems, when he gets into the water. There was also another impediment due to the rain. The river was full of water and there was lot of loose mud in the river where the feet could get stuck. With all these adverse circumstances, he would risk his life by trying to cross the river. He was caught in a difficult situation. Even his mother tried her best to dissuade him from going into the river.
Ultimately Shri Kale, who knew how to swim, agreed to accompany Shri Deshpande to cross the river. Both offered their obeisance to Shree Baba Maharaj before entering the river. In a short while, the water came up to the neck and their feet also started sinking in the mud. When they had hardly covered one-fourth distance, Shri Deshpande felt that his legs were shaky and he would drown. With this fear, he looked back at Shree Baba Maharaj. He observed that Shree Baba Maharaj was sitting calmly and gazing at them without moving his eyelids. This infused fresh energy and confidence in Shri Deshpande and Shri Kale. Both went ahead in the river, continuously chanting the name of their Sadguru, Shree Baba Maharaj.
It was a great miracle, that, though the river water was much above man’s height, it did not rise above their lips. Thus due to the grace of Shree Baba Maharaj, they successfully crossed the river, reached the other bank, collected the sand and returned. All this time Shree Baba Maharaj was still sitting in the same position with his gaze fixed on both.
Shri Deshpande and Shri Kale fell at the feet of Shree Baba Maharaj and offered the sand brought by them. Seeing the sand, Shree Baba Maharaj happily exclaimed “This sand imparts Jnana Vairagya ”.
Further, Shree Baba Maharaj said, “Apply this sand to my forehead and all of you do the same”. Tears of joy came rolling from Shri Anna Deshpande’s eyes and he exclaimed, “I have passed the test with the grace of my Sadguru Shree Baba Maharaj!” It was indeed a miracle that Shri Anna Deshpande was able to walk through the deep river without drowning and accomplish the task entrusted by his Sadguru.