Sadguru Gajanan Maharaj, On 23rd February 1878, first appeared n Shegaon. A rich money lender Bankatlal Agarwal is credited with discovering Maharaj at 12.22 pm, while scratching food particles from abandoned patravalis to give credence to the saying that Food is Bhahma and should not be wasted.
" Annam Brahmeti " is what Maharaj seemed to have expressed. Maharaj was scantily attired and made gesticulations befitting an insane person.
But it is the greatness of Bankatlal who did not consider him as insane and logically argued as to why Maharaj must be scratching food particles when sumptuous food was available nearby in a family celebrating a fertility ritual.
According to Shri. Dada saheb Khaparde, a close associate of Lokmanya Tilak, Maharaj was a erudite Brahmin from Telanghana or modern Andhra Pradesh and was well versed in Vedic scriptures and knowledge.
Some people have had heard Maharaj speak in Telugu dialect. Many are of the opinion that Maharaj seldom spoke and often made utterances which were cryptic which people could not immediately relate or understand.
Some researchers are of the opinion that Maharaj ran away from home when a small child of 11 or 12 years. He is supposed to have born to a couple identified as Bhavaniram and Shahubai.
Gana Sable is supposed to be Maharaj's name according this group. It is claimed that Maharaj was born in Thal, a hamlet close to Shegaon.
Shri. Gajanan Maharaj Mandir, Shegaon
A group of people headed by Shri Dada Pandey of Nagpur are setting up a Pratisthan called Sri Gajanan Maharaj Janmasthan Pratishthan in Thal.
There is however no clinching evidence, but Pandey swears otherwise. Those with inquisitive bent of mind may contact Shri Dada Pandey at Sri Gajanan kripa, Near Nehru Putla, Itwari, Nagpur 440 002 on Tel No 0712-761578.
It is believed that Maharaj was in the ashram of Akkalkot Swami Samartha for a few days. The young boy when on the way to Akkalkot made Swami say "Ganapati aala re aala" while playing chess, with a reference to Bal Gajanan (Maharaj).
A photo of 11 year old maharaj can be seen in Amravati in Narayan Jamkar's temple. After getting initial lessons, Maharaj was directed to go and seek training from Yashwant Deo Mamlatdar in Nasik.
Maharaj is supposed to have abandoned all his clothes and ran towards Nasik. There in Nasik, Maharaj used to hold several parleys with Brajabhooshan, a great devotee of the Sun God.
Deo is supposed to have also put Maharaj in contact with Raghunathdas who was staying near Kapildhara. Thus a rough cut diamond was being polished to attain glitter.
Maharaj imbibed lessons in Yoga sadhana, meditation, and detachment and later attained tremendous prowess in Yoga sadhana under Narsing baba of Akot, a disciple of Kotashya Valli who came from Punjab to Akot in 1850.
While Maharaj was performing sadhana, one Balshastri Gadge of Laad- Karanjya was impressed with the young boy and waited till he finished with his sadhana.
Upon completion, Bal shastri is supposed to have invited Maharaj to Lad Karanjya in Vidhabha and Maharaj seems to have obliged. This period is reckoned as 1865when Maharaj stepped into Vidharbha as a young shining star on the horizon.
Shri. Gajanan Maharaj Mandir, Shegaon
Maharaj and Bal shastri went to Murtizapur and Maharaj was taken in procession from the Rly Station to Karanja. From there Maharaj suddenly disappeared putting Balshastri in a quandry.
However he was traced later and brought back to Shastri's house. In Shastri's house, Maharaj imbibed finer points of Vedshastra and music.
From here Maharaj went to Baggi via Chandur where he took darshan of Maniram Baba, a realised soul who hailed from Ayodhya.
From here Maharaj came to Akot and spent a couple of years with Narsing baba. Narsing baba was senior in age, wearing a cloth turban and a "cloth" to cover the vital organs, carrying a stick in his hand.
Narsing Baba used to live in a small hut and would wander in the thick jungles fearlessly where wild animals would wander.
Perhaps his power was so large that even wild animals must have been tamed by his prowess. Gajanan Maharaj performed the yogic feet of getting the water level in the well to rise.
On this Narsing Baba cautioned him not to demonstrate his prowess as devotees would trouble him. Maharaj used these powers sparingly thereafter. On
In the jungles of Akot, while Maharaj without any clothes on his body, was in deep meditation. A nomadic woman got attracted to Maharaj's strong frame and sharp features. On
Under the act of touching Maharaj's feet, came physically close to Maharaj with a view to fufill her biological desires. Maharaj had achieved great control over His five senses and was not to be tempted by such desires - "jitendriya" that He was - just a seminal discharge of a drop rendered the dry grass scorch and turn black.
Shri. Gajanan Maharaj Mandir, Shegaon
This woman then realised that if the biological union with her was to really happen, she could be turned to ashes herself. On
She then apologised for her conduct and went away. (source - V K Phadke in the souvenir released to inaugurate GM temple in Kanhor, Badlapur).
After supervising Narsing Baba's samadhi arrangements on 28-1-1888, Maharaj is supposed to have calmed the bereaved devotees/disciples of Narsing Baba with some soothing and comforting advice. On
Then he moved to Shegaon at the behest of His Master, Guru Swami Samartha. Maharaj was said to be tall, dark and handsome. His hands were particularly long and he had a very attractive pair of eyes and nose.
He had tremendous strength in his frame and even a wrestler like Hari Patil had to bite dust when he failed to even move Maharaj by an inch in a wrestling contest. On
He was a regular smoker of the Chilim and would take puffs deeply with a hissing sound. Mind you he was no addict but took to the chilim in response to a request from a devotee who came from Banaras.
The Miracles of Sadguru Shri. Gajanan Maharaj
1- Worms in sweet dish
Once Maharaj had no fire source to light his 'chillam' for smoking. He sent his disciple to the goldsmith Janakiram, who refused to give live coals to him. Maharaj only wanted to test Janakiram's respond to his requests. On
However, Maharaj, with his divine power could ignite the chillam. A few days later on Akshaya tritiya day, Janakiram invited some of his friends for a feast.
When the guests were served a sweet dish, they found it was infested with worms. The guests were annoyed and left Janakiram's house with irritation. On
Janakiram could realise his mistake of refusing to give live coals to Shri Gajanan Maharaj. Janakiram who repented for his wrong act begged for apology to Maharaj. As soon as he did that, all the worms soon disappeared from the container.
2- Bees attack
Onve Bankatlal invited Maharaj and other villagers to eat the roasted corn on his farm. Everyone attended the session. While eating the grains the bees from a beehive on one of the nearby trees in the farm attacked the invitees. On
All the villagers ran away to rescue themselves from the bee stings. However, Maharaj alone sat there itself and enjoyed eating the roasted corn. On
Bankatlal was surprised to see that there was not a tingle mark of bee stings on his body. The villagers realised the saintly miracle that they witnessed.
3- Leftover food
Once two young men Bankatlal and Damodar noticed a young, strong built, fair looking personality with a divine look on face, who was eating leftover food grains on the 'patrawalies' (plate made of leaves). On
Then he drank unclean water that was meant for the cattle and he left the place fully satisfied. Observing these incident, the two observers realized that he was not an ordinary boy and there was a special divine quality in him. He was chanting a mantra - 'Gan Gan Ganat Bote'.
4- Wrester's challenge
There lived a wrestler called Hari Patil in Shegaon. When he heard Shri Gajanan Maharaj's miraculous deeds, he challenged him to a wrestle match him. On
Shri Gajanan Maharaj accepted his challenge and defeated him so easily that Hari Patil was ashamed of his challenge. But the irated sons of Hari Patil attacked Maharaj with sugarcane sticks inside a Hanuman temple. On
All were stunned to see that there were no marks of the thrashing on Maharaj's body. Maharaj simply took those sticks and squeezed them with his hands to extract a juice and consumed.
5- Water from Nallah
Once, Bankatlal and Pitamber had offered a typical villager food - 'Zunkha-Bhakar' to Shri. Gajanan Maharaj who enjoyed eating it to his full satisfaction. On
After finishing that food, Shri Gajanan Maharaj requested Pitamber to get some water to drink from a nearby flowing nallah.
It is known that the water from nallah is not potable and not to be consumed. However, Pitamber collected the water in a 'tumba' ie a jug and to his surprise observed that the water he had collected was clean like it was taken out from a well. On
These miracle caused Bankatlal to realize the divinity in Shri Gajanan Maharaj and he took Maharaj to his house and worshiped him.