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Friday, January 29, 2010

Edition9: Sant Gadge Maharaj


Debuji Zhingraji Janorkar (Feb. 13, 1876 - Dec. 20, 1956), popularly known as Sant Gadge Maharaj or Gadge Baba was a saintly social reformer, a wandering mendicant who held weekly festivals with the help of his disciples across Maharashtra.
His reforms and visions for villages in India is still a source of inspiration for various political parties and non-government organizations.
. Gadge Baba died on December 20, 1956 on his way to Amravati, on the banks of river Pedhi near Valgaon. Sant Gadge Maharaj was a very great person. He serve poor people as well as nation. He has collected many lack rupees in that time but he all spent for welfare of poor people.
Gadge Baba) was born in a washerman's family of small village Shengaon of district Amravati, Maharashtra, India. He lived a life of poverty. Debuji was the only child of Zingraji and Sakhubai. After the death of Zingraji he and his mother went to live with his maternal uncle. Within years he became an excellent farmer, herdsman, singer and swimmer.
He was married to Kuntabai and had four children. A lover of animals, he opposed animal sacrifice since childhood. Even when his friends, relatives and the people forced him to sacrifice animals, he preferred to face their anger rather than kill the animals.
In starting days of his life he worked in his own field, when he lost his own land he worked as a wage labor. One day he was at a field and keeping birds away from grain. A sadhu who passes near by him, asked Gadge baba if he is the owner of the grains? This question turned Baba for realization.
After this comment of sadhu Gadge Baba knows the value of community-sharing and keeps it for his whole life time. Community-service become the base of his teachings of Baba. His teachings were -
Give food to the hungry
Give shelter to the needy
Protect the environment
A public teacher, he traveled from one place to another wearing his food pan upturned on his head and carrying his trademark broom. When he entered a village, he would instantly start cleaning the gutters and roads of the village. He also told the citizens of the village that their congratulations would have to wait until his work was done. In return the villagers gave money to Baba. From this money Gadge Baba built educational institutions, dharmasalas, hospitals and animal shelters. He conducted his discourses in the form of "Kirtans"
(a form of discourse which includes devotional songs by Saints) in which he would emphasize values like service to humanity and compassion. During his kirtans he would educate people against blind faiths and rituals. He would use Dohas (couplets of a song) by Saint Kabir in his discourses.

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