AVATARS > SADGURUS : Shri Gajanan Maharaj of Shegaon
There is hardly any authenticated information
about the early life of Shri Gajanan Avdhoot, popularly known
as Gajanan Maharaj.His place
of birth, date of birth, parentage etc. are shrouded with mystery, although
people speculate that he was born in a place named Sajjangarh in Maharashtra.
Bankatlal, who had earlier
association with some spiritually advanced persons, sensed that the
apparently crazy person collecting food from the dustbin might be a
‘Siddha’. It was 23rd February, 1878.
Bankatlal, along with a friend named Damodar Pant Kulkarni approached
Maharaj with humility and asked "Maharaj, why are you eating left over
food, if you are hungry, I will certainly make arrangements for you."
However, Maharaj paid no heed to his words and continued to eat his
food in a state of utter detachment. Seeing this, Bankatlal ran to the
Ashram situated nearby, collected whatever food he could, and came back
to Maharaj. As he offered food, Maharaj mixed up all the food items
and gulped it down.
Disappearance and reappearance
are one of the eight ‘siddhis’ or powers that yogis of India used to
possess in the past. Bankatlal was extremely sad and depressed at
the sudden disappearance of Maharaj but at that time little did he know
that Gajanan Avdhoot was his own Sadguru (the Master) who had himself
come at that time.
With the advent
of Gajanan Avdhoot thousands of them experienced temporal upliftment.
With so many people visiting his house, Bankatlal tried to make whatever
arrangements he could.It is not easy to have a perfect master as one's
guest, as social or religious laws do not limit them. Whatever they
say or think, happens as they only carry out the functions of God with
the help of nature. Their behavior at times becomes extremely unpredictable
to the common man. At times they behave like children, at times like
a mad man or even like a person possessed.
The Sadgurus are the ocean of love and
mercy, and they are incapable of getting annoyed or angry-far to speak
of being revengeful to the creations of God. That is why the epithets
"Kripa Sindhu" (Ocean of grace) or "Daya Nidhi" (Abode of Mercy) etc.
are used for them.
Once Maharaj; invited by
Bankatlal, went to his farmland to eat corn stalk (Bhutta). Baba, along
with a group of devotees sat under a tree, lit fire and started roasting
the corn (Bhutta). No body had seen that there was a honey beehive on
the tree. As the smoke from the fire reached the hive, the honeybees
got out in swarms and started stinging everybody. Except Maharaj all
of the devotees ran away. All the honeybees, thereafter, settled on
the body of Maharaj who continued to stay unmoved and in his normal
composure. Suddenly Bankatlal saw this from a distance and was moved
by the plight of Maharaj. When he approached Maharaj to render help,
Maharaj addressing the honeybees said, "you go back to your own place.
My dear devotee Bankatlal should suffer no pain". No sooner than he
uttered these words that the entire swarm of honeybees returned back
to the hive. The devotees on return saw that Baba's whole body was full
of stings. No ordinary person can quietly bear the stinging of a swarm
of honeybees. All of them started thinking that Maharaj must be in pain.
Seeing their plight Shri Gajanan Maharaj gave a smile and took
a deep breath. At once all the stings fell out of his body in hundreds.
After a short stay at Khodgaon, the Maharaj returned to Shegaon. There he moved to the house of one Khandu Patil. His style of living was so ordinary like that of Shri Sai Baba of Shirdi that it was not easy for everyone to make out about of the depth of his spiritual personality in the first look.
One day, about ten South Indian Brahmins, with the intention of earning some money came to Maharaj, who was sleeping under the cover of a blanket. Suddenly Maharaj woke up during the recitation and pointed out to the Brahmins that they were pronouncing the vedas in a wrong manner. Thereafter, he himself started reciting. Soon the Brahmins realised that Maharaj was a Saint of very high spiritual order and prostrated at his feet. Maharaj blessed them all and also gave them dakshina.
One day Maharaj went to the Nilakanth temple
near the village and desired to stay there. Patil built a palm cottage
for him and people started visiting the place. Once a group of Gossains
(a type of Sadhu) claiming to be the disciples of one Brahmin Guruji
reached the place where Baba was staying. The pretentious Sadhus demanded
halwa, puri (a variety of food in India) and ganja (opium) from Patil.
They also told him that by doing so he would get more virtue than by
serving a mad and naked person like Gajanan Maharaj. After taking
his food just in order to prove his superiority over Maharaj the group
leader, Brahmagiriji started lecturing on Bhagavad-Gita to draw attention
of people. He started explaining "Nainam chhindanti Sastrani, Nainam
Dahati Pavakam"- meaning ‘neither weapons can destroy the soul nor can
fire burn it’. In spite of his efforts, people were found to be collecting
around Gajanan Maharaj who was smoking his Chilum (clay tobacco pipe)
sitting on a wooden bed right opposite to Brahmagiriji. His ego was
hurt and he became very angry finding absence of proper public appreciation
and attention. Strange are the ways of Sadgurus. In this situation
a strange thing happened. The bed on which Maharaj was sitting suddenly
caught fire. As the fire rose up the disciples of Maharaj requested
him to get out of fire and also started arranging for water. Maharaj
said that neither water would be used to extinguish fire nor would he
get out of the fire bed. Addressing Brahmagiriji who was enjoying the
sight, Maharaj said, "since you have been telling people for the
last one hour that neither weapon can destroy nor fire can burn the
soul, please come and prove it by sitting on fire." On this Brahmagiriji
did not react but tried to avoid the situation. Then Maharaj asked a
physically strong disciple to catch hold of Brahmagiriji and bring him
The Sadguru is the Universal Guru. He deals with each person at his level of consciousness. He tries to destroy their ego through his superior power in order to evolve that person. Sadguru removes all such limitations of mind and body that are not conducive to the evolution of a soul slowly. What methods in the gross, subtle or mental level the Sadguru may use can never be predicted by anyone.
The Perfect Masters :
Shankar Maharaj , Hazrat Tajuddin Baba , Narayan Maharaj , Meher Baba , Hazrat Babajan
Shri Upasani (Baba) Maharaj , Shri Manik Prabhu Maharaj , ParamSadguru Shree Gajanan Maharaj of Akkalkot
Shri Krishna Saraswati Swami, Swami Swaroopanad of Pawas, Shri Vasudevanand Saraswati Swami Maharaj