This great saint was the disciple of Shri. Swami Samartha popularly known as Akkalkot Maharaj.
This famous Anandnath Maharaj has his Math at village Savargaon, about 6 kilometers from the town of Yevala (on the Kopargaon – Manmad rail track). He used to reside at the Math. Like other saints, he used to come to Shirdi frequently to meet Saibaba. He had foretold about Baba that, “He will do great work.”
Once Madhava Rao Deshpande (Shyama), Nandaram Marvadi, Bhagchand Marvadi and Dagdubhau Gayke – all villagers from Shirdi, had gone to take darshan of Anandnath Maharaj. All of them sat in the bullock-cart and began their return journey. Suddenly, Anandnath Maharaj came running, sat down in the cart saying, “I want to come to Shirdi” and accompanied them.
Narrating his experiences with Anandnath Maharaj, Mahdav Rao Deshpande says, “When we went to him at Yevala, he was 95 years old. He used to wear only a loincloth. He was a man with a great divine vision. When we returned from him, he accompanied us to Shirdi to meet Saibaba. His and Baba’s eye met. However, both of them did not utter a single word. Thereafter, Anandnath Maharaj said to us, “He is a real diamond! Even though he is now lying in a dump yard, he is not a flint-stone. Keep my words in your mind. You will definitely remember them later on.” Saying these words, Anandnath Maharaj returned to Yevala.
The life of Anandnath Maharaj is very strange. Akkalkot Swami’s devotee late Ganesh Ballal Mulekar had stayed in the company of Shri Swami. He wrote a book, entitled “Shri Akkalkot-nivasi Shri Swami Maharaj Yanche Charitra.” In this book, there is more information about Shri Anandnath Maharaj. It is as follows:
Shri Anandnath Maharaj was originally a resident of Walawal in Konkan and was a Kudal Deshkar Brahmin. His surname was Walawalkar. He used to trade in a root, named “Harda”, having medicinal properties. Once, while visiting Mumbai, he came to the firm of Shri Bhende. There, he came to know that, at village Akkalkot, there is a person who is an incarnation of Guru Dattatreya. He immediately started for Akkalkot. After reaching there, he stepped into a pond, under a tree of Vad (a sacred tree), to wash his feet. Suddenly, a twig of Vad fell on his head. When he looked up, he saw a divine vision of Maharaj and was thus blessed.
There and then, Anandnath became a Bairagi (renounced the worldly things of life). After that, he stayed at Akkalkot for six years. He got an inspiration and composed a Bhajan, full of Bhakti-Ras. He always used to sing it before Maharaj. He always used to move in Digambar Form (sans clothes). Thereafter, Maharaj directed him to move out of Akkalkot. Anandnath Maharaj asked for prasad from Maharaj. Poorna-Brahma Sakshat Paramatma Shri Akkalkot Maharaj was very much pleased and Atma Padukas emerged from his mouth and Maharaj gave them to Anandnath Maharaj. These Padukas are miniature – about half inch in size. In it, there is a darshan of Shri. Even though they are small in size, each and every line of Maharaj’s Padukas is visible. Till now, no one is able to identify the material, from which the Padukas are made. For taking the darshan of these holy Padukas, people from different villages arrive to Dhawade Village where they are installed.
Anandnath Maharaj established three Maths. First one is at Yevala village. Second one is in Sawantwadi state at Hodawade. Third one is in Vengurle camp at a place, known as Dhawade. This place is near town Vengurle itself, but is secluded and scenic. Many of the devotees of Shri Akkalkot Swami Maharaj come there for the darshan. The Atma Padukas, referred above, are also in this Math. All the three maths are well maintained and in good condition.
Shri Anandnath Maharaj has created substantial literature on Shri. It includes Bhupalis, Bhajans, Sholkas, Aartis etc. Major portions of his writings are yet to be published. At the Vengurle Math, every morning Bhupali, Bhajan, Shloka, Aarti etc., composed by Anandnath Maharaj are sung. Similarly, at night, Pooja, Bhajan, Shej Aarti etc., composed by him are rendered. Every year, Datta Jayanthi, Birth and Death Anniversaries of Swami, Guru-Pratipada, Guru-Dwadashi etc., are observed in the Math. Earlier, on the Swami Jayanthi day, there was an “open door” policy. On that day, the villages were made to sit on the roads of the town and gave invitations in advance to the Bhandara. The very large crowd gathering there was provided with food (Anna-Shanti). Now also, the programme is conducted on more or less same scale.
The manner of living of Shri Anandnath Maharaj was not like that of a common man. He used to live in a grand style. He had a retinue of several servants, cooks, cows, buffalos, bullocks, vehicles etc. He had also kept a very costly mare for his math. On the whole, during his lifetime, the math was maintained with great fanfare.
With the blessings of Shri Swami, Anandnath Maharaj had possessed certain Siddhis (miraculous powers). With their help, he had cured countless patients of their diseases. He was also blessed with Wak-Siddhi (miraculous power of speaking). With it, he looked after the welfare of many devotees.
Shri Anandnath Maharaj took Sajeeva Samadhi (Live Burial) at Vengurle in the year 1904 (Jyeshta Shuddha Shashti, Shake 1825). He was cremated near the math. His Padukas have also been installed there.
He was popularly known as “Anandbuva” in the village Akkalkot.
(Source: Shri Saileela Magazine November-December 2005 Issue)