Sant Gadge Maharaj
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Sant Gadge Maharaj
, was born in Shedgaon village in Anjangaon, a district of Maharashtra. He was born to a Dhobi family.His real name was Davidas Debuji. He was a public teacher, who travelled from places to places, by carrying his trademark broom. As he entered a village, he immediately used to start cleaning the roads, gutters of the village.
People paid him money which he utilised for the progress and development of the society. From his income, Gadge Maharaj started educational institutions, dharmashalas, hospitals and shelters for animals.
He conducted "Kirtans" ie discourses, in which he would emphasize upon service to humanity and compassion. During his discourses, he would educate people against blind faiths and rituals. He always used Kabir's Dohas (couplets of a song) by Saint Kabir in his preachings.
Sant Gadge baba convinced people to stop animal sacrifice as part of religious rituals and also advised them against bad vices.
He tried to embody the values that he preached: hard work, simple living and selfless service to the poor. He abandoned his wife and three children, to pursue this path.
Maharaj met the spiritual teacher Meher Baba several times. Meher Baba indicated that Maharaj was one of his favourite saints and that Maharaj was on the sixth plane of consciousness.Maharaj invited Meher Baba to Pandharpur, India, and on 6 November 1954 thousands of people had Maharaj and Meher Baba's darshan.
In his honour, the Government of Maharashtra started the Sant Gadgebaba Gram Swachata Abhiyan project in 2000 - 01. This programme give awards to villagers, who maintain cleanlyness in their villages.In addition, the Government of India instituted a National Award for Sanitation and Water in his honour. The University of Amravati has also been named in his honour.Maharaj left for his heavenly abode on 20 th December 1956, when he was on his way to Amravati, on the banks of river Pedhi near Walgaon.