Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Baba Shri Manohar Das ji, the Pride of the Spiritual World-IV

Baba Shri Manohar Das ji
Highly revered Manohar Baba was brought up with great loving affection since he was the youngest child of his parents. Particular care was taken of every interest of his.When he used to come back soaked in sweat after a round of wrestling and push-ups (dand baithaks) it is said that his daadi or paternal grand-mother would mix coarse sugar in ghee and make him drink the concoction from the bowl itself. Manohar Baba was brilliant right from his childhood because of which he knew several stotras (hymns) and shlokas (couplets) of Sanskrit by heart.

Indore, Ruled by the Holkars

When Maharani Shrimati Indira Ma Sahib, the wife of Shri Tuko ji Rao Holkar (descendant of Ahilyabai), the Maharaja of Indore, would come to Maheshwar,she would certainly call for Manohar Baba and Sakhyahari Mule, his elder brother,from Dhar to meet her.That is when both the brothers ornately clad in churidar (pleated) pyjamas, shervani (a sort of long coat) and a zari topi made of gold brocade would accompany their father to pay her a visit. She would give great honour to them and fondly address the brothers as junior purohits (family priests).

The Ram Raksha Stotra

Many a time she made them sit in her lap and listened to the Ram Raksha Stotra and other hymns recited by the duo.

An Effigy of Ravana being Burnt on Dussehra

The festival of Dussehra is grandly celebrated with great fanfare in the region of Nimar (the south-west of Madhya Pradesh.) Thus she would often take both the brothers in her motor car to the Dussehra Grounds for seeing the effigy of Ravana being burnt on this occasion.

When Manohar Baba and his elder brother were sent to Indore for acquiring education, Baba was least interested in studying at school. Consequently he came back home.

The Yajurveda

He learnt the teachings up to Yajurveda (the yajur or second of the four Vedas, dealing with sacrificial rites) and Karmkanda (that part of the Veda which relates to ceremonial acts and sacrificial rites), and got a diploma in 'Kavya Tirth' from Damodar Pandit, a great scholar of Maheshwar. Simultaneously he got the knowledge of Ayurveda (traditional Indian science of medicine) from his revered father.

The Sitar

Right from the beginning of his life, Baba's disposition had an artistic inclination. And thus by learning to play the sitar and so on, he imbibed pure knowledge of music. He learnt how to swim in the waters of River Narmada and became an expert swimmer in a short span of time. Baba was fond of wrestling from his very boyhood and he learnt the stratagems of wrestling from Ram Moorti, a renowned wrestler in those days.Amazingly, Baba could effortlessly do five hundred push-ups (dand-baithaks) at a stretch.

The family members of Baba would send him for hunting from time to time but he did not approve of killing meek animals, at all.Therefore he absolutely refused to go ahead with this sport. Baba's religious virtues which had been earned from his previous life, began coming to the forefront in a dominant fashion during this time period.

Banks of the Narmada River
Sages and seers would usually assemble at banks of the Narmada River in those days. Invariably, Manohar Baba would go there to have their darshan. Some saint gifted him an extraordinary shivling (the phallic emblem of Shiva).There was a huge wood-apple tree (its leaves or bel patra are offered to Lord Shiva when we worship Him) in Baba's house. (page 354 of 'Smriti Kaumudi', the memoirs of Manohar Baba)

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