H. H. Gondavalekar Maharaj was named Ganesh by his parents. However, everyone fondly addressed Him as 'Ganu'. One of the main missions of Gondavalekar Maharaj was food-donations and teaching the love of repeating (chanting) The Lord's Name. Below are some incidents in Ganu's life when He was only five years old.
Once His grandfather asked Him, "What would you do if you were given a pot of gold?" Five-year-old Ganu instantly replied, "I will distribute it among the beggars, blind, disabled and poor." Once again His grandfather asked, "What would you do if you became a king?" Ganu's reply was, "There would be no beggars in my kingdom. There would be a permanent soup kitchen at my palace." This incident, which took place when Maharaj was just five years old, made everyone around Him realise that He was not an ordinary boy but was destined to become a great yogi. An astrologer had predicted that Ganu would grow up to be a spiritual giant and bring honor and glory to His family.
Ganu had a fantastic memory. He would need to hear something only once to be able to repeat it word for word. One day, He was unable to sleep at night, hence His grandfather recited a verse (shloka) from the Bhagavat Geeta. Maharaj immediately recited the shloka back to His grandfather, much to the surprise of all.
When Maharaj was four years old, His grandfather taught Him the letters of the alphabet. Maharaj learned them all in one day. Since He was constantly in His grandfather's company, He would do everything that His grandfather did. He would recite the Holy verses of the Bhagavat Geeta with His grandfather, sing holy songs with him and when His grandfather started dancing out of spiritual emotion (bhav) while singing the holy songs, little Ganu would devotedly join him.
At the age of five years, Ganu had His thread ceremony. After this event, He became more introverted. He had heard the stories of Dhruvbal, Bhakta Pralhad and Draupadi over and over. Now He started to seriously think about these stories. One night, Ganu was found missing from His bed. All started frantically searching for Him. He was found near a graveyard, by the riverside, sitting cross-legged in deep meditation inside a small cave. After He was brought home, His grandfather asked Him, "Didn't the snakes, scorpions and other creatures frighten you?" Ganu replied, "Of course not. Why should one be afraid of them?" This incident showed Ganu's deep yearning for God-realisation, even at the tender age of five.
Moral: The above points show how even at the age of five, one can start spiritual practice of repeating (chanting) The Lord's Name, and develop divine qualities such as fearlessness, obedience and unconditional love (priti) for all.