Vanjari's Religious leader

This is a brief biography of Bhagwan Baba Maharaj.It is not possible to narrate about the life and times of such an extraordinary person in such a small forum. But we are making an effort to present a small glimpseof the great saint, who continues to inspire us all. 

  • Childhood :
    Baba Maharaj was born in a farmers family in Maharashtra, his real name was Abaji. He was a very brilliant child which was evident from the fact that he use to top his class and soon was the apple of the eye, of all his teachers. But since he lived in a small village he could not enjoy the benefits of schooling and had to abandon his studies by the fifth or sixth standard as the school was not available beyond these levels at his village.

  • Working on cattle
    Since further schooling was not possible, Abaji's father told him to start caring for their family live stock, which he used to take them to open pastures and forests for grazing. Even here he was popular with other children and was expert at various games which the kids played. Some time he would start a mock sermon for the benefit of his play mates. This we can say today was the first sign of things to come ahead.

  • Religious procession
    Once when Ashadhi Ekadashi was approaching and Abaji saw a group of pilgrims walking singing chants praising the gods, he asked them where they were going and when he as told to the Holy city of Pandharpur, he insisted that he would join them. But nobody was ready to take him for he was only but a child. Abaji nevertheless joined the group and walked all the way to Pandharpur. He was so enchanted with the idol of the Lord Vithoba, he forgot even to take food. It was here that Abaji received his "mala" from Gite Maharaj and became a Varkari for life.

  • Meeting his Guru :
    Once on the visit to Narayangad, Abaji just loved the peace and serenity of the place that he just was not ready to leave for his village. So Manik Baba allowd him to stay for few days, he was only twelve then. He used to help in the activities of the place. On a Vijaya Dashmi day, Manik baba was accepting new disciples by giving them "Guru Mantra" for which a huge ceremonial pyre was lit. Abaji also wanted to be a disciple, but Baba was in no mood to do so, for Abaji was only a child. On constant bickering from Abaji, Manik baba told him that he could become his disciple if Abaji would jump of the temple dome which was far away and quite tall, thinking that matter would be closed now. But Abaji was determined, soon he scaled the wall of the temple and stood on the top dome with thousands of people seeing what was happening, Manik baba also saw that, soon Abaji jumped of the dome to the amazement of everybody. But he was miraculosly unhurt. Abaji walked back to Manik Baba and again prayed that he be given the "Guru Mantra". And a tearfull Manik Baba made him his disciple.

  • Religious Studies :
    So Abaji started staying with Manik Baba and started to learn various scriptures. During the stay at Narayangad Abaji met the great knowlegable monk Shri Bankatswami Maharaj, who took him under his study after accepting Abaji from Manaji Baba as a offering. Abaji was only fifteen when he proceeded along with Bankatswami Maharaj to Alandi, on the bank of river Indrayani. Here he studied the Warkari religious literature and also studied the vedas. So Bhagwan Baba Maharaj had three Gurus :
    * Manik Baba who was the Guru who accepted him as a disciple.
    * Bankatswami who trained him in various religious scriptures.
    * Gite Baba who started him on the path of enlightment.

  • Life Style
    Bhagwan Baba had a very attractive personality, flawless skin, a happy smiling face, a very soft general look which belied the fact that he was very strong and tough physically. Very soft and sweet voice coupled with flawless diction and pronunciation. He had a very amicable nature and was always helpful to the needy. He did not praise any one nor was he critical of any one. We could say his philosophy of life was one of universal brotherhood.

    His dressing was also simple as his lifestyle. A simple orange coloured feta ( a kind of turban ). A simple Nehru shirt and dhoti. Sometimes he used to wear a tight trousers with a kind of long coat (Sherwani). Whatever be the dress, he never failed to impress others with his radiant personality.

  • Influence :
    Soon Bhagwan Baba was doing Kirtan's on Narayangad. Kirtan is a kind of sermon which is very musical in nature. The way he sermonised help his audience spellbound, never feeling satisfied and always wanting more of the kirtan. His sermonising and spreading the word of god and talks about good virtues converted many people to the correct way of lives. His was able to influence dacoits, robbers and other social offenders to give up their vices and lead a simple life.

    No wonder Bhagwan Baba has followers not only in Marathwada, but also in Vidharbha, Andhra, Karnataka, Indore, Gwalior etc.
  • Social Service
    Such was his influence over the general public, he was capable of solving long drawn family feuds. He was even capable of ending enimities between various families. He took initiative in helping poor and helpless girls get settled in life. He also helped landless labourer acquire piece of land for themselves. He was a major force in providing education and medicine for poor people. With his support, many blind, physically handicapped, and lepers were rehabilitated and this social work is still going on.
    He was instrumental in stopping various types of animal slaughter under the grab of religious activity at various places like, Bhindsingdi in Pathardi Taluka, Chinchali in Majalgaon Taluka, in Shevgaon and Vadgaon.

  • Pandharis Wari or Pilgrimage to Pandharpur :
    With the blessing of Manik Baba, in Shake 1840 about 1920 AD. Bhagwan Baba started a walking pilgrimage to Pandharpur called as Wari. In the beinging there were only 5-6 people but soon it swelled to about 15-20 thousand. Again in 1949 or thereabout Baba Maharaj started the wari to Paithan for the Nathshashti festival.

    This was the brief glimpse into the Life and Times of Bhagwan Baba Maharaj

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