Sunday, October 24, 2010

Baba Shri Manohar Das ji, the Pride of the Spiritual World: II

Maheshwar, Situated on Banks of the Narmada

The birth of highly revered Baba Manohar Das ji took place in ancient Mahishmati-puri (Maheshwar). Celebrated in the Puranas and the capital of Karthaveerya Arjuna and Ahilyabai Holkar in Khargone district (Madhya Pradesh), the city was situated on banks of the Narmada River. He was born on Shukla Chaturthi (the fourth day of a waxing moon period) of Baisakh, in 1976 of the Vikram Samvat Era , in the year 1919 to a brahman family of Maharashtra , early in the morning at 4 o' clock.

Till after a month of his being born he was snugly kept wrapped in cotton-wool.Not a drop of water, milk or medicine could enter his stomach, in the beginning.Just his heart throbbing loudly in his chest could be heard as proof of his being alive.Seeing this precarious condition of his, people had begun to say that some saint was completing his sadhana or long standing devotion to the divine, of his previous birth. All his physical functions activated a month later,on their own accord.

Tukoji Rao Holkar of Indore

Manohar Mule was Baba's initial name. His father Shri Khanderao-Narayan Rao Mule (Baburao ji) was the royal family priest of Maharaji Tukoji Rao Holkar of Indore State,a jagirdar and renowned vaidh in his own right.Seven generations earlier, his ancestors had come to Maheshwar from Sangamner (Maharashtra). He was well-versed in the field of religious ceremonies enjoined by Hindu law.

Yagya or Fire Sacrifice

Baburao ji would successfully conclude the biggest of yagyas (sacrificial offering) undertaken in the royal family, himself.

A Brahmin Demeaning a Shudra

Alongside he would medically treat incurable diseases afflicting poor destitutes residing in neighbouring villages. At that point of time, casteism was at its peak.The Shudras (a member of the fourth and lowest division of early Indo-Aryan society) and such people were looked down upon.On need arising, Baburao ji would go to the homes of these patients of the Shudra Caste without caring for these social constraints. Even if he had to bathe in the biting cold at night around 12 or 2 o'clock, after the visit.

Baburao ji Worshipped Arms on Dussehra

According to conventional norms of the zamindari system,he had a collection of arms like rifles, swords,spears, a sword stick and so on stacked in a separate room of his residence.He would invariably worship this arsenal on the festival of dussehra.From time to time,Baburao ji had also done shikar or hunted down lions. He was very fond of eating paan or betel leaf in particular. Since he always kept a large sized container of paan by his side he was known as 'paan dada.'

Lord Narsingh & Goddess Laxmi

Baburao ji was intensely religious and Shri Laxmi-Narsingh Bhagvan were his family deity. He would duly worship and venerate them at his own house as per the religious norms.

Lord Vitthal & Rakhumai

In addition he was also a bhakta of Vitthal-Rakhumai and would often sing the following lines in Marathi:-

Vithoba yaave samyaa laa saadar vhaave |

Vithobai maajhe aai, karuna tula yevu de ||

Which meant, "Oh Lord Vithal, you must certainly be present in front of me during the last moments of my life.You are my mother, therefore be constantly compassionate towards me for sure. (page 352 of 'Smriti Kaumudi, 'the memoirs of Baba Manohar Das ji)

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