India abounds in sages. Maharashtra has a galaxy of saints.
No of saints have made Maharashtra as "sant bhoomi". Prominent among them are Swami Samartha Akkalkot,Swami Ramdas,Tembe swami,Nityanand swami, Shankar Maharaj( Pune),Sai Baba of Shirdi,and Gajanan Maharaj of Shegaon. This list is obviously incomplete.
Shri Gajanan Maharaj, the saint of Shegaon is reported by Dasaganu Maharaj in GajananaGajanana
Fourth manifestation of Ganesha is Gajanana that symbolizes...
Vijay to have made his first appearance in Shegaon on 23rd February 1878.Some other sources claim that Maharaj appeared in Shegaon in Feb 1888 and not 1878 . However, it is not very important to make an issue of the exact period or date because what we need are His grace , benevolence and blessings. When Maharaj came to be recognised as somebody special he appeared quite young then. He was seen picking up abandoned rice particles from a thrown away leaf plate outside the mansion of Devidas Paturkar. Later, He drank water along with cattle and went away.
Gajanan Maharaj was a siddha and was oblivious of his surroundings. He used to lie anywhere, eat anything, wear any piece of cloth or move naked. Once a woman fed him a ball of half a seer chillies which he ate gladly and drank water, He was unaffected. He used to chant "gana gana ganat botey".That is why he came to be known as Gajanan Maharaj.
Some called him Ganpatbuwa,Ginginat,Ganapatibuwa, some Gingine Buwa . People used to offer him rich clothes, ornaments, money and eatables. He used to discard and detest these things and move away elsewhere. Devotees often felt peaceful in his presence. They used to feel elevated in his presence. Gajanan Maharaj entered in Maha samadhi on 8th of September 1910 at approx 8 A.M., when large crowds were chanting God's name. Large crowds had gathered on this day since Maharaj had indicated in advance of His journey to Vaikuntha.
People came from far and near and in some cases Maharaj Himself appeared in dreams of many devotees giving them notice of his "going away". Dr Bhau Kavar who used to attend on Maharaj left on 5th September 1910 and very soon Maharaj was ill again .On the entire day of 6th September , Maharaj was in an unconscious state. When years later the samadhi was reopened by the curiosity of Hari It is another name of Lord Vishnu.Patil, the body was as it was when interred in 1910.!Even the place was suggested to Hari Patil in advance as to where He preferred to "lie" in Samadhi.
Late Hari Kukaji Patil erected a temple on the spot where Gajanan Maharaj left his body. Gajanan Maharaj Institute has been founded and it is conducting various welfare activities. Shri Ramchandra Krishnaji Patil managed the affairs of the institute from 1913 to 1948. His line continues to manage the affairs of the institute. Today the Shegaon Sansthan is a large organisation and is headed by the able Shri Shivshankar (Bhau) Ganesh Patil.
Blessed are those who lived with saints and thereby gained spiritual knowledge. But those who are not thus privileged, can get similar benefits by reading the biographies of saints.
Narsing Maharaj, a great saint lived in Akot in those days. He used to wander in jungles during day and used to return to his hut in the evening. The hut was outside the town. Narsing Maharaj used to stay in the hut at night. In the courtyard, Shri Gajanan Maharaj of Shegaon, (popularly known as Ginginebuwa) used to sing bhajans throughout the night. He used to beat his nails to the rhythm of the chanting. Sometimes the nails would bleed, but he used to be unaware of the bleeding.
Maharaj underwent a lot of difficulties, suffered a great deal the pangs of hunger and thirst, and also the torture and censure of the people, till at last he became well established in yoga. He suffered thus year after year. No one can know the value of Maharaj's attainments unless he knows the sufferings he underwent.One havaldar Vyavahare is credited of going to Maharaj’s " rescue " when troubled by unscrupulous elements.
Maharaj never begged anyone for his food or other material needs. He maintained himself on whatever food, that chance brought before him. He became steady in yoga.Infact He came to be regarded as Yoga Yogeshwar . It is said that He had His initial training in Yoga under Deo Mamalatdar of Nasik and later Narsing Baba of Akot.
Maharaj was tall, dark and handsome.He had astha siddhis at His beck and call and performed several yogic feats . His tall frame even attracted a woman in aforest when He was in deep meditation.What happenned is described elsewhere in this site. Maharaj had tremendous control over his "indriyas" (senses) ans is often known as "jitendriya" - meaning one who has mastery over the senses. However, Maharaj seldom spoke with any one on any occasion. He used to talk with himself and used to utter sentences oblivious of his surroundings. People around used to listen to him and used to interpret the stray uttering for their own satisfaction.
It is certain that Maharaj definitely knew many languages – even English. Once Dr Bhau Kavar who was a Medical Officer at Khamgaon took leave to visit his Guru Gajanan . His Medical Officer, a surgeon , an Englishman wanted to meet his Guru. The Englishman was not very happy about Bhau taking leave very often , so decided to see who this Guru was , himself. ! Bhau took the boss along with him to Shegaon . On reaching Shegaon , the boss asked " Where is your Guru ? " to which Bhau replied from a distance of two hundred " Look, He is sitting over there " .
"You mean that naked man ? He seems to be a mad man ! " told the Britisher to Bhau .
When Bhau and the boss reached closer to Maharaj , " Maharaj muttered – " Your father is a Mad man ! " ( take any meaning – Maharaj could also be referring himself as father )
People used to take hints or indications of future events. It was sometime in 1909 or 1910 that Khaparde's residence /orchard at Ellichpur was searched by the then British Government suspecting some espionage activities . The search was going on for 4 to 5 hours. No objectionable material however, could be found. Shrimant Dadasaheb was then in England. Mrs Khaparde had been to Shegaon to pay her respects to Shri Gajanan Maharaj. Maharaj was her guru. She was sitting near Maharaj.
Maharaj glanced at her and uttered - "Pushkal zadati zali - brahmanache potte badmas ahet, patta lagu dila nahi, ashane kay hote". (The house was searched. The brahmin's children are clever. Nothing could be traced. What will be gained by this) Maharaj uttered these sentences twice over. Nobody could understand the meaning of these utterances. Later Mrs Khaparde returned to Amravati ,when she learnt that the house was searched. She told her children what Maharaj had uttered. On checking the time of the utterance it was confirmed that Maharaj had said those words when the search of Khaparde's house was going on. Maharaj's utterances were cryptic and yet they were significant. Gajanan Maharaj ki jai !
Maharaj was a Yogi. He behaved like a person insane at times.The science of yoga mentions three attitudes of a Yogi. Theses are unmatta, pisacha and bala i.e. attitude of a maniac, attitude of a devil and the attitude of a child. Those who lived in the company of Maharaj, knew it very well that Maharaj had developed the attitude of a child towards his last days. Just as a child needs to be protected by the elders, the body of the Maharaj had to be nourished and protected by those who lived near him. Maharaj had withdrawn mentally from all material desires. Anyone advanced in yoga would know that Maharaj was thinking about this and the other world with equanimity. This attitude is usually found in all great saints.Towards the later stages of His days, Dudahari Buwa and Bala bhau often spend time close to Maharaj.
Some believe that Shri Gajanan Maharaj was an erudite scholar and he knew the Vedas Four ancient texts constituting the oldest layer of Sanskrit literature and the oldest scriptures of Hinduismby heart. They feel that He was a Brahmin The conventional Hindu caste system divided society into four sects and Brahmin was known as the learned class who gained the knowledge of sacred texts written on Hinduismand hailed from Telanghana.(i.e. the modern Andhra Pradesh). Some people have heard Maharaj reciting Vedic hymns. Ancient sacred scriptures, written in Sanskrit, in the form of hymns and couplets There are some opinions expressed by people who have claimed to have recorded incidents during Maharaj’s time that Maharaj had His initial training in Akkalkot, Nasik, Lad-Karanjya, and Akot before appearing in Shegaon.
People who visit Shegaon get a "darshan" and literally feel the presence of Maharaj even today.