Monday, June 19, 2017

A Biography of Revered Baba Manohar Das ji

Shri Manohar Das ji

As per shuchInA.n shrImatA.n gehe yogabhraShTo.abhijAyate revered Shri Manohar Das Baba had brought the distinctive samskaras[1] of his previous lives and come to this world.

 Maheshwar, Situated on the Banks of the Narmada

The birth of Baba Manohar Das ji took place in ancient Mahishmati-puri (Maheshwar) situated on the banks of the Narmada River. He was born on Shukla Chaturthi of Baisakh, in 1976 of the Vikram Samvat Era  to a brahmin family of Maharashtra , early in the morning at 4 o' clock in the year 1919. 
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. Merely his heart throbbing 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 the sadhana of his previous birth. All his physical functions activated a month later on their own accord.

Shri Baburao & Shrimati Saraswati Bai Mule, Parents of Manohar Das ji

His father Shri Khanderao-Narayan Rao Mule (Baburao ji) was the royal family priest of Maharaji Tukoji Rao Holkar of Indore State. He was a jagirdar and a renowned vaidh in his own right. Shrimati Saraswati Bai Mule, the mother of revered Manohar Baba, was an extremely pious, religious, and sattvic l[2]ady.

Sakhyahari Mule (Standing)& Shri Manohar Das ji (right) with Shri Balkrishna Das ji Maharaj(left)

 Sakhyahari Mule (Vishnu Panth) was the only elder brother of Baba and he had no sister.  Manohar Das ji was brought up with doting affection since he was the youngest child of his parents. Particular care was taken of every interest of his.

When Manohar Das ji and his elder brother were sent to Indore for acquiring education, Baba was not interested in studying at school. Consequently he came back home. He learnt the teachings up to Yajurveda and Karmkanda, and got a diploma in 'Kavya Tirth' from Damodar Pandit, a great scholar of Maheshwar.

 The Sitar

By learning to play the sitar Shri Manohar Das ji 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 learnt the stratagems of wrestling from Ram Moorti, a renowned wrestler in those days. He remained an active member of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) along with his brother Sakhyahari ji for some days.

The samskaras of his previous lives gradually became evident in a powerful manner. Arrangement of a separate puja room had been made for him. 

 A Shivlanga

Some saint had gifted Manohar Das ji an extraordinary shivling.He would pluck 108 bilav patra and regularly worship the aforementioned Shivlinga with them. When he was roughly 15-16 years of age, he learnt the six duties of hatha yoga (a kind of austerity in which the body is subjected to severe hardships) form Rangnath Guru a renowned yogi  in Maheshwar.

 Goddess Gayatri

Maharaj Kulkarni ji, a siddh saint used to live in a hut made on the banks of river Narmada. Baba did several Gayatri purushcharanas[3]  under his guidance. “The storm of renunciation is going to uproot you and carry you off, very soon,” is what Maharaj Kuklarni would often tell Manohar Baba

 Shri Kripalu ji Maharaj

A young saint named Shri Kripalu ji Maharaj had fervently propagated Naam Sankirtan in Madhya Pradesh in those days. Being in the company of this saint for a short span of seven days made Baba completely detached from the mundane world and inflamed the immanent fire of asceticism within him. His mind ardently longed to find a true sadguru and he was passionately drawn towards Vrindavan. Baba found it increasingly difficult to stay at home now.

Shri Vrindavan

Finally breaking all ties with this material world and totally depending on divine intervention:
ananyaashchin tayanto maam ye janaahaa paryupaasate |
teshaam nityaabhiyuktaanaam yogakshemam vahaamyaham || 22 ||

‘With single-pointed meditation, those who are constantly engaged in my worship, I carry the burden of acquisition and preservation of their needs. ‘

Baba came to Shri Dham Vrindavan In the Shravan month of 1945, in search of his chirsangi, his long standing companion. 

 Shri Balkrishna Das ji Maharaj

Shri Manohar Das ji took the refuge of self-realized saint, ‘Shri Balkrishna Das ji Maharaj ‘as his  true guru and offered his entire being at the holy feet of Shri Maharaj ji for all times to come. Shri Maharaj ji made him understand the spiritual importance of Vrindavan Dham and made Baba take a tour of Nandgaon and other sites of Braj Mandal on foot. He kept showering Baba with constant affection. Wowing the seeds of love for Supreme Lover Krishna and His Beloved Shri Radha in him, he made them sprout and blossom. In strict accordance to the orders of revered Maharaj ji, Baba and Devi ji would chant the mahamantra three lakh times, every day of the month. 

  Kalpataru, the Wish Fulfilling Tree

Highly revered Shri Maharaj ji was virtually a kalpataru [4] for Manohar Baba. Besides, Baba would secretly put Maharaj ji’s satsangs down in writing. These spiritual discourses have been published as ‘Bhagwat Saar Sanket.’

24 photographs  of Maharaj ji in various emotional-postures with shut eyes and ruffled clothes, running in ecstasy,sitting in a trance, lying down lifeless in an inanimate condition, shedding tears on  reaching the heights of elation, have been made available to us due to Baba’s efforts. Baba had sequentially penned down the daily routine of Maharaj ji's entire life in his diaries, which has been published in 'Charit Vaibhav,' his biography.

Revered Shri Maharaj stayed for years together in the Ganga Mandir with respected Baba, respected Devi ji respected Thakur ji, respected Kusum ji and others, his inner circle of devotees.

 Shri Manohar Das ji (left) with Shri Balkrishna Das ji Maharaj

 Ever since (1945) respected Baba came into the refuge of Shri Balkrsihna Das ji Maharaj he became a bee in the lotus feet of Shri Bal Krishna Das ji Maharaj ji and forever stayed by his side. He could not bear to be away from the feet of his Guru so much so that when he had to go for madhukari [5] Maharaj ji would surely be by his side. Having darshan of several siddh saints through Maharaj ji and venturing out with him to see the Rasa Lila had become his routine and system of dedicated devotion. Crossing the auspicious paths of bhajan and sadhan from 1945 to 1956, Shri Guru ji separated Baba from himself due to some godly ordinance, as if to tighten him on the touchstone of toughness for attaining the elevated state of sadhana and bhajan, in the beginning of 1957. In this manner for about 30 years revered Baba was heated as well as assayed by fire. Becoming pure gold, he came into the proximity of Shri Guru Dev. Even on experiencing this state of separation for such a long time Baba’s dedication to his Guru was least affected. During this period Manohar Baba stayed in a hut made on the Suraj Ghat near Madan Mohan ji, and this is where his sadhana reached the zenith. Out of affection, 

Santosh Bahenji

Santosh Bahenji, the embodiment of patience and tolerance, would make arrangements of serving him and taking care of Baba’s needs and comforts, as well as make others do the same. Baba would invariably get phalahar ( a meal of fruits) at her residence on Ekadashi during this time span of about 30 years.

Bhaktisvarupa Shri Usha Bahenji

Bhaktisvarupa saint Usha Bahenji had come to stay for good in Vrindavan in 1959. She had immense affection and regard for Manohar Baba. Holding him in high esteem, she would always pay respects to him. She would address Baba as ‘Bhaiya’ and therefore her entire parikar called him 'Bhaiya ji.' Bahen ji would always give Baba importance and urged bahenas of her inner circle of devotees to ask him for advice and follow his instructions. Manohar Baba was famed in her parikar as ‘sabke pyare sabke hitkari bhaiya’, ‘doing good to all and being loved by all.’ Baba had asked them to do paath on a regular basis and they have been dedicatedly following his instructions till date.

If Baba would step out of Vrindavan for a few days he would return to Vrindavan like the bird of a ship and hover around Shri Maharaj ji like a black bee.

 Gajendra Moksha

Shri Manohar Baba was asked to start the paath (recitation) of Gajendra Moksha as a daily routine by Swami Krishan Anand ji Maharaj. Baba instinctively accepted this advice and carried on doing the paath throughout his life. People say that his ordained terrifying death was averted by this practice .He asked several members of his parikar to do the paath of gajendra moksha as a daily routine and those people could see its perceptible benefits during their lifetime.   
Baba was once lying down in his hut in a semi-conscious state. Suddenly he saw that Shri Hanuman leapt and came out from the puja-room of his house situated in Maheshwar. The instant Hanuman ji bent his face towards his ear, Baba was apprehensive that he would give Baba the Ram Mantra but amazingly Hanuman ji gave him the diksha of Krishna Mantra. Hanuman ji is the protector of sadhus and saints and makes them steadfast in their devotion for their isht.

 Raas Panchadhyayi

Manohar Baba once went to visit Usha Bahen ji in the evening. Suddenly dense clouds gathered and it began to rain heavily. Baba was incapable of returning to his hut in this deluge. Therefore revered Usha Bahenji arranged for his stay in a room near her own. It was Baba's routine to bathe in the middle of the night every day and read the 'Raas Panchadhyayi.'[6]

Thence when he sat down to read the scripture, Usha Bahenji saw from her room that Baba was in gopivesh and had been completely adorned as a gopi. Baba would never hide any matter of his from Usha Bahenji. Early in the morning when Bahenji narrated this amazing incident to Baba, he readily accepted the fact that Thakurji had braided his hair and done his shringar by decking him at night.

 Sakhis Searching for Krishna

Baba was once affected by extreme weakness for three days in a row. On some close person asking him the reason for this state of his Baba revealed,” A couple of sakhis and I had gone out to search for Shri Krishna, the Supreme Lover. Selling curd was just an excuse. We thoroughly looked around for Him and the entire day passed by. The sun was about to set but dark-hued Krishna was not to be found. The fatigue of that body of bhavas had repercussions on this earthly body.” While saying so his throat became hoarse and eyes streamed with tears, the anguish of not being able to meet Supreme Lover Krishna was apparent on his face.

Venu Vinod Kunj had been built in the year 1963, on the insistence of bhaktas and devotees of Shri Maharaj ji. Baba also came to stay here from 1987 onwards, as per the orders of Shri Maharaj ji. He continued to live in these premises throughout his life.

 Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's Sankirtan Movement

On completion of 500 years of the tirobhava (disappearance by divine power) of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the chief exponent of the sankirtana movement, a resolve arose in Shri Maharaj;s heart to get the 501 days akhand sankirtan done in Barwani. He encouraged the people of Barwani to do so. Soon after, they got the non-stop sankirtan of the Mahamantra which lasted for 501 days (18 months), done in the Ram Mandir of Barwani from 18th July, 2004 till 5th January, 2006.
Shri Radha Baba

Dejected on seeing someone else’s distress, tolerance and composure were naturally present in Manohar Baba. He lived in an extremely simple manner since his needs were very few. Ever since his mother had passed away in 1954 he had never worn stitched clothes. His attire comprised of an outer wrap, a saafi or sash tightly tied around his waist and an upper cloth. During winters he would tie a silken cloth, measuring three metres, firmly around his chest and alongside he would wind a white cloth around his head, very much like a turban. Revered Radha Baba of Gorakhpur would be very pleased on seeing this dress up of his.

 Shri Sushila Bahenji

Even on being in an infirm state for four months, Baba’s elegance and dedication for his Guru remained unshaken. He was philosophically looking at the dance of Mrityu Sundari, a beauty called death. On revered Shri Sushila Bahenji’s asking him how he was feeling, one day before he left for the supreme abode, Baba replied with a slight smile,”I have reached my destination.” ( eternal search of the individual soul for union with the Divine). Besides, he told saint Devi ji,” I have taken permission from Shri Maharaj ji. Just three more days left for me to go.”

 Lord Krishna Welcomes His Beloved Sakhi

This inheritance of the holy waters of the Narmada, the embodiment of a beloved sakhi, entered the rasa mandala on Bhadra Shukla Purnima, 3 September, 2009, a Friday, [samvat 2066], wherein Krishna, the Supreme Lover, was waiting for her with outstretched arms. I bow hundreds of times before revered Baba who was such an eminently great saint.

[1] Samskaras: In fact, everyone carries around with them a whole host of saṃskāras from this lifetime and previous lives (since the subtle body does not die with the physical one), and those impressions unconsciously shape our preferences and the assumptions we project onto the people and situations we encounter.
[2] Sattvic: characterized by sattva; having a serene, harmonious, balanced mind or attitude.
[3] Purushcharan: a preliminary rite; repetition of the name of a deity with burnt offerings, to obtain a purpose
[4] Kalpataru: one of the fabulous trees of Krishna's paradise that grants all desires
[5] Madhukar collecting alms (consisting of cooked food from door to door
[6] Raas Panchadhyayi: a quintet of chapters in the Bhagavata Purana on the theme of Krishna's relationship with the gopis.

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