Chapter - II
"jaisa desh waisa besh"
THE MAN OF THE TIMES
When we take a panoramic view of human history, we perceive the vague outline of an underlaying pattern of man's destiny with its warnings and its hopes. There is a coming together of people of different nations, races and creeds through improved means of travel, through the evolution of an international language and the introduction of mass media. This brings about conflict and rivalry owing to the predominantly primitive trails of mankind. Yet the very strife tires the 'spirit' of man and forces him to learn to tolerate, understand and fuse in a richer synthesis. Perhaps the same process is at work in India on a smaller scale. In the form of Invasions, different races came to settle down in this country and through initial rivalry they are already on the way to evolving a mighty synthesis. This is most predominantly noticed in the realm of the 'spirit', of religion. Kabir and Nanak are types of this trend. The communal tension between Hindus and Muslims was accentuated in the early 20th century. Viewed in this context and background, Hazarat Tazuddin Baba seems to be the luminary of the day, risen to rekindle and fulfill the same mission in modern India. While he was ministering to the need in the North Saibaba of Shirdi was doing the same work in the west of India. They were contempories and what more, they are a witness to the supernatural potentialities that are dormant in man, ready to be fully awakened, the 'TRUTH' which was demonstrated already by the great medieval saints, sages and seers ( both Hindu and Muslims ). But their authenticity came to be denied by the faddists of modernity.
.............Viewed in the context of the foregoing paragraph, Baba Tajuddin's glorious mission assumes a dimension, which is far superior to the narrow concept of personal salvation devoid of any wider humanistic significance. He demonstrated that the saints are the only true witness to the truths of Religion; that they cannot be tied down by dogma, bigotry or ritual forms of religion. Though a Muslim by birth, the great saint never treated Hindus as aliens; He never criticised or condemned their faith, never discriminated against them in showering his grace and the gifts. Instances speak better than words.
The Harija's case
............ One Hanumantha Rao came to Baba Tajuddin and devoted himself totally to the worship of the saint. He learnt that several Harijans were becoming Muslims and were benefiting by rendering service to the Baba. He was an employee in the Secretariat. So he hoped that if he too became a Muslim, Baba Tajuddin would grace him. No sooner these thoughts arose in his mind than the Baba turned to him and asked him to get some book. Hanumantha Rao had a copy of The Bhagvad Gita with him, which he gave to the Baba. The saint glanced through it, turning it from side to side and said: " What, We are in this?" Hanumantha Rao understood what the saint implied and was thrilled. The implication is that the spiritual truth of devotion to God leading to perfection which Baba symbolised is there in the Bhagvad Gita also, a Hindu scripture. He at once prostrated before Baba Tajuddin. Baba made no distinction between religions. He even indicated that the followers of all religions should adhere to their own traditions and that there was no need for any one to become a Muslim for salvation or to earn his ( Baba's ) grace.
Complaint of a Muslim
............Once, during a communal strife. a muslim complained to Baba Tajuddin that the Hindus were killing the Muslims and said : " Please save them." The saint grew furious and said : " Go away. None can kill a 'True Muslim'." The implication is obvious. A Muslim is one who brings credit to the teachings of the Holy prophet through complete trust and dependence on Allah, the Merciful, the compassionate. All others are sinners and do not deserve to be called Muslims, Islam is like all the other revealed religions in that it is based on love and peace and not on hatred. Religion is only a means and God is the only end. Such a man of complete faith will be protected by God while while on earth; and when the hour of death, chosen by God arrives, the true devotee would attain immortality in heaven. No mortal can kill him. Only one, who has no faith, can be killed by another. Such is the profound meaning of Baba's terse reply. It is also relevant to note the readiness with which Baba Tajuddin graced the homes of two fortunate Hindus by his presence, viz. Maharaja Raghoji Rao Bhonsle and Shri Kashinath Patel. The latter even worshiped him in traditional Hindu manner by applying sandal paste to his forehead and garlanding him and the Baba never objected to it. This does not, in the least, mean that he preferred Hindu ways of worship as against the Islamic traditions. The Muslims followed their own ways and he accepted the same with equal grace. It is interesting to compare Tajuddin Baba's catholic attitude with that of Sri Sai Baba of Shirdi. From his appearance Sri Sai Baba was considered by most of his devotees to be a Muslim. Abdul Rangari, a Muslim devotee, asked Sai Baba : " Baba , how is it that sandal paste is applied to you, and you allow it? This is not our custom." Sai Baba replied: "Jaise desh waisa besh"- (i.e., we have to dress according to the country we live in ), The Hindus worship me as their God. I allow them to do so. But i myself am a devotee of GOD."
Baba's indiscriminate love for all
............As we have seen in the foregoing pages, some erring Muslims and contrived to trouble Maharaja Raghoji Rao by raising a hue and cry and by rousing communal passion and hatred. Although Baba Tajuddin had to leave the Maharaja's palace physically in order to avert communal clashes, did he not assure the prince: " who can drive me from here? My bed will be in your house for lakhs of years." indeed, later when the immortal Tajuddin Baba laid down his physical body , did not the marble idoles of Vithal and Rukmani at Itwara Nagar shed tears for full 12 hours and thus demonstrated that the grace of the great saint was there and could melt even marble stone into tears of sorrow?
............Thus Tajuddin Baba didn't merely acquiesce to the persistent practice of orthodox people. On the other Hand, he demonstrated his transcendence over narrow factionalism by actively helping men of other religions also in their troubles and spiritual progress. Among his disciple was the great Parsi saint Mehar Baba also, whom countless people hailed as a perfect spiritual Master. And there was the Hindu sadhu Upasini Maharaj, the famous saint of Sakori. The spiritual attitude of Hazarat Baba Tajuddin is evident from the fact that he and Sri Sai Baba of Shirdi acted in tacit union in the shaping of several spiritual giants and the two saints, mentioned above, Upasini Baba and Mehar Babaare the products of their united efforts.
............ This discussion will be incomplete unless a close picture of Tajuddin's attitude to his Muslim devotees is given here.
Truth about Saint Mansur
............One Sarfraz Husani was a very intimate visitor of Haorat Tajuddin Baba. He could, therefore, ask him questions much more freely than others. One day he asked: " Huzur, what is the truth about Sufi saint Mansur who was crucified for declaring Anal Huq ( I am God)? Is he recognised as a great saint?"
............Baba Tajuddin replied : " Yes son, he is a great saint; but he was a child; he opened his fist too soon. This fist of Tajuddin (he showed his fist as he said 'this') will not be opened till the day-of-Judgment." He thereby implied that it is nature of saints to impress upon people the truth of their complete union with God and identity that is thereby revealed to them. Yet he felt that they should not verbally which, of course was true. But Tajuddin Baba never made a similar claim though his spiritual status and attainments were not less exalted. Opening the fist implies revealing of Divine secrets entrusted to great saints by the Almighty God to carry out their Divine mission on earth.
Distinction between ' I ' and ' HE '
............Once at Sakardara Tajuddin Baba was strolling on the bank of a tank at about 2 p.m He was followed by a group of devotees. One of them was one Chand Khan. The Baba stopped at the place and asked Chand Khan: " When such a great saint is going, why don't you recite any praise? " Chand Khan obeyed and sang a song which was a verse in praise. On hearing its last line, Baba suddenly said: " Keep quiet, you are hitting me with big stones. " Chand Khan was surprised at this mysterious remark. The remark obviously implied that Baba Tajuddin could not stand the distinction between 'I' and 'HE' in the scene of difference. He implied that the difference between the ''I" and "HE" (Almighty) must be annihilated in the lord. He corrected 'them' for confining Divinity to his physical frame, for the Lord is immanent in 'all' including the devotees. This was the teaching of all great saints tsat men should try to tear down the 'veil' that hides HIS face. Sri Sai Baba of Shirdi also used to say " Pull down the wall of difference and distinction ".
Great regard for the Holy Prophet
............Mrs. Sultan Bai, a famous singer, Once came from Benaras to Sakardara for the 'darshan' of the Baba. Whenever she visited him, she would sing in praise of his supreme qualities of sainthood. On this occasion also she sang describing Hazarat Imam Hussain as Shehan Shah ( King of Kings ). Baba heard and said: " I am HE." On another occasion, she was praising the Holy Prophet Mohammed as:
The Lord to whose waist a blanket was tied,
Having seen him, everyone bows his head
When Baba Tajuddin heard this, he immediately tied a blanket around his own waist and said : " Mother, this is the throne of God." Then he fell into a state of trance while she continued her song and all those present looked upon him as the Lord in that form.
Lured by Music
............Like Chisti Sufi saints. Baba Tajuddin was also very fond of music. Once when some singers were singing in his presence, he was over-powered with ecstasy so much so that he took the bells, tied them to his feet and started dancing and singing. On another occasion, he was lost in ecstasy for three days and didn't come out of the Lal Kothi palace which disappointed over a thousand visitors who were waiting for his darshan. Then Hazarat Hakim Naimuddin called a courtesan named Lakshmi Bai and asked her to sing devotional songs. She sang the following song inviting the Baba to come out:
" None is watching;
Come, my beloved;
How can the blind and the ignorant see you?
Come, my beloved."
...........,On hearing the concluding lines of this song, Baba came out on the balcony. Lakshmi Bai went on repeating the same line which made the Baba swinging tune with it. And, at last, in the same state of ecstasy. he came down to the satisfaction of the waiting visitors. It is this ecstasy which the Sufi dervishes call Hall and the Hindus call samadhi or total annihilation of senses.
............It is useful to note some of his teachings to his devotees. Once a fakir (mendicant) wanted to become Baba Tajuddin's disciple and sought the initiation. The Baba replied : " Kill the dog and get; we will eat it together." because the saint knew that the fakir was immersed in worldly desires which he called 'a dog' The Holy Prophet Mohammed ( peace be upon him ) made the same comparison: "This world is like a corpse and dogs only search for it." The Holy Quran also says : " One who searches for the world is a women; one who searches for destruction is a eunuch; but the one who searches for God is the only man." The Baba evidently advised the 'fakir' to kill his desires( appetitive soul ) so that he might get his real reward.>
............Another seeker complained before the Baba: " Master , my mind is caught up in duality."He replied: It is because the six wicked ones have taken shelter in your heart. Loneliness is needed to be free of them." On another occasion, Baba clarified that " solitude does not lie in the forests but even while being in the world, the mind should be alone, aloof of all worldly enticements." To another devotee, who made the same complaint, the Baba said" Free the captive pigeons" which implied that his desires, like the captive pigeons, are making noise in his heart, and that driving them out is the only way to leave the heart quiet and clear, as expressed in these lines:
" Do your duties eating your food.
Virakti is not withdrawing from duty.
Keep away those things that keep your thoughts away from the Lord
That is Virakti."
............Chand Khan, a great musician, came from Indore to meet this great saint who come out even through a securely locked door" and saw him at Waki. He stayed for many days in his holy company. One day, Baba asked Chand Khan to do likewise and said: " I am with you". Henceforth Chand Khan used to sweep the Dargah. Once the saint noticed by his intuitive power that Chand Khan was eager to earn money by singing. He warned him not to do so; " Music is a wonderful means to experience Divine bliss and not to earn one's livelihood."
............Once a certain Nawab came to seek Baba Tajuddin's blessing in the success of his litigation concerning his Rs. 18 lakhs worth of property. One day the Baba was going out in his couch and there was a Harijan eating roties ( Indian Chapaties) from an old cloth on his head. He advance towards the Baba to pay his homage. Baba Tajuddin, got down from his couch , took the 'rotis' from the Harijan, sat down under a tamarind tree and started eating them. He divided one roti into two parts and gave one piece to the Nawab who was with him, and said : " If you take too much you will have motions." He then asked for beedies ( a cheap Indian smoke made with leaf and tobacco )and the Nawab offered the same. At the same time, the Nawab placed his legal document before Baba for his blessing. The saint kept the burning beedi upon the papers and said : " This is our seal." The Nawab later learned that the property had to be divided like the Baba's roti. The Baba warned : " Dot take what is not yours."
Refused to accept ill-earned gift
............Abdul Rahman, the city Kotwal of Nagpur, brought some nuts to be presented to Baba Tajuddin at Sakardara. But the Baba did not even touch them. At the same time, a poor man bought roties and offered them to the Baba who said: " We will eat them" and took the roties heartily. The Kotwal too wished that Baba should accept his nuts, but the later turned to the former and said: " I can't digest it". Later the Kotwal realised that the saint didn't accept his nuts because they were purchased with the ill-gotten money as bribe and not by his legitimate money earned by honest labour.
............Besides verbal teachings and signs, Baba Tajuddin's glorious life itself is a long and direct teaching which is too high and subtle for the common people to comprehend. Only some portions of it are within our comprehension and we shall briefly describe them here.
His Sympathy and Kindness
............Hazarat Baba Tazuddin always showed sympathy and kindness to the old, the poor, the downtrodden and the sick and oppressed. He could read the silent agony of the tormented souls at the very first glance. His solacing balm was spontaneous, direct, sweet and pacifying. It need no lengthy rationalisation.
............One day The Baba was walking along a street in a village 14 miles away from Nagpur, followed, as usual, by hundreds of devotees. There in Shariff he saw an old mad and women in front of a dilapidated house grinding grain with extreme difficulty, panting with exhaustion owing to old age. The soft- hearted saint at once went to their aid, removed them from the grinding stone and did the grinding himself to the uprise of all onlookers. He then gathered up the flour for them and left the place without uttering a word. His followers could not help shedding tears at this divine love of the saint for the poor and feeble humanity.
............On one occasion, a pauper came walking all the way from a long distance to see Baba Tajuddin Aulia. But, on arrival, he found a big crowd of aristocrats or dare to rub shoulders with them to get through and have darshan of the Baba. So he sat under a tree and patiently waited for his chance. Up to nightfall there was no hope of his getting a chance. The poor man had nothing to eat, nor any money to buy food with nor any one to approach for food in a strange place. But, when it was time for Baba's meal, the devotees arrived with dainty dished and placed them before him. But the saint did not touch any of them. On the other hand, he spoke to the people around him : " First let our guest be served and then we shall eat." But they did not understand as to whom he was referring to and went out searching all over the place. Yet they found none worthy of being Baba's guest and returned and served the meal once again in the hope that he would accept it at least the second time. But the Baba once again repeated his order in a more stern voice and this time he also gave a description of the guest who was none other than that poor and hungry man sitting under the tree outside. When they informed the poor man of Baba's order to serve him with food, he broke down into tears of gratitude and told the Baba's men: " Many thanks, I have had no meals for the last two days; I came walking from long distance to have the great saint's darshan and here i find him and his gracious hospitality's driven as it should be for great "saints". It was Kabir who said:-
"Lord, grant me this much (that)
I must be fed and also the Sadhus who come to me."
.........More was Baba Tajuddin's love and sympathy for another invalid. There was a disabled boy, with his hands and feet quite useless, who was brought to Sakardara by his parents who had lost all hope for his cure after every possible treatment. In great desperation, they left the boy there and left away. Hundreds of devotees of the Baba were moving about Sakardara daily but none cared for, or took any notice of, the poor boy, who could not even speak or cry. They brought all sorts of tempting gifts for the Baba and the poor boy saw them. But one day Baba Tajuddin walked straight to the boy and ordered food for him. When it was brought, he fed the boy with his own hands and patiently waited for over half an hour till the boy swallow properly; then he helped him to drink water. Later he directed some of his devotees to take care of the boy and his orders were carried out scrupulously.
............Such kindness of Baba Tajuddin was not confined to human beings only. Once he was wandering in Dighori, miles from the city of Nagpur. It was the custom of the people of Nagpur to offer drinking water to all the devotees who followed Baba Tajuddin on his wandering excursions. So on that day also they brought pots of drinking water. This time , the Baba directed them to give the water to a thirsty horse that was standing a hundred yards away. When they took the water which showed how thirsty the poor animal was. But who except the Baba could know the thirst of the dumb horse- a creature of God?
............The callous indifference of the society in India goes to those unfortunate people who live by their lowly professions, the ' untouchables' as they used to be called and it is with them that the heart of the god man dwells. Ganga Bai, a Harijan woman, cooked her offering for the merciful Baba Tajuddin and started for the darshan of the saint on foot. At that time the Baba was staying in the palace of Maharaj Raghoji Rao. When she arrived there, she lost her initiative and hesitated to serve her poor offering to the great saint who was entertained luxuriously by his rich devotees and visitors. She was more afraid of the social consequences that might befall an "untouchable" for daring to serve her poor food in the house of a great Maharaja. Anyway, she tied her offering in a piece of cloth and hung it on the branch of a nearby tree, sitting herself at a distance from the man-of-god, and waiting for his darshan. After a little while, the Baba asked for his meal. The devotees hurried to vie each other in serving him ever richer dishes. But the saint refused to eat what was offered him. On the contrary, he asked for the meal 'that was hanging on the tree'. The devotees were perplexed at what appeared to them to be cryptic words. They searched all about the place for any trace of the meal he described. When they found nothing, they offered what they had brought for him once more. But the Insistence on his previous demand being met. The perplexed devotees stood dumbfounded for they did not know what he meant. At last, the Baba himself got up and walked straight to the tree, untied the meal that hung there in a piece of cloth, brought it down and ate it. He left a little of it and returned to his seat. The woman, a scavenger by birth, was watching the whole incident from a distance. When the Baba left the spot, she gathered up what he had left as a "token of his blessings.". Those who espied and envied her good fortune, asked who she was, and she told them of her identity with great reluctance. They asked her what she knew about the great Baba and how she was inspired to bring an offering for him? She replied: " The one who incarnated as Rama and once again descended in this form; only we cannot recognize him". Truly, as Jesus Christ said. those who are learned do not know and the innocent ones know.
He explains the significance of 'Hall'
............The uncanny ways by which his great Sufi saint of Nagpur taught the various spiritual lessons through experiences are no less amazing. One day a respectable visitor asked Baba Tajuddin: " Master, how can Hall (ecstasy) be experienced? What is the way to get it?" To explain this practically, the saint removed his own cap and put it on the floor upside down,Topsy-turvy. And so, suddenly the visitor was over whelmed with the actual experience of hall or wajd. In this state, he stood Topsy-turvy on his head and began to jump upon his HEAD AND HANDS ! It was only when the Baba turned the cap and put it in its normal position that the visitor got out of the ecstasy and stood upright. Hazarat Tajuddin then asked him: " Have you realised how Hall is experienced?" The man fell down upon Baba's feet in solemn satisfaction. This gesture has a two-fold significance. The Baba, as the spiritual Master, can cause ecstasy in his disciples or even in laymen by his own spiritual magnetism in order to them actual experience of Hall or wajd. This incident also shows that mystical experience can be transferred to others by a perfect spiritual Master. He can at this will, impart it to one who could not experience it through his own spiritual endeavors. This finds a parallel in Swami Ramakrishna Paramahansa, who gave an experience of God to his beloved disciple Vivekananda at his sweet will. SaiBaba of Shirdi also referred to such an experience when he said that his Guru tied his feet and hung him into a well upside down for hours during which period he had experienced 'ecstasy'. Sai Baba also administrated direct experience of a true fakir (Vairagi) to a Beedi vendor merely by a wave of hand! and took it back after some time by another wave of hand. So too he effected a complete metamorphosis in a septic by just throwing on him a garment with which he - (Sai Baba) covered himself.
............On another occasion, Tajuddin Baba was wandering in the jungles of Waki followed by the usual crowd of his devotees. From a distance q Qawwali ( Sufistic devotional song) was heard with the following nation :
" Only when man first loses himself in love;
Does he gain himself."
............On hearing this, the Baba exclaimed: " That's how I lost myself". He implied that so long as one does not forget and lose one's individual self and existence in God's omnipresence through constant remembrance of Him, so long all efforts to realise Divine grace and beauty are Marvelous. Once when some courtesans were singing before him, Baba had the hall and remained in this condition for two consecutive days.
............Orthodoxy in every religion tended to look upon such spontaneous and direct sainthood as of Tajuddin Baba. Sai Baba or Jesus Christ as heterodoxy. In fact, on a deeper realisation, it is easily seen how they fulfill but not destroy the scriptures. Like Christ, Tajuddin Baba also had to cure the scribes and some orthodox Muslims of their pride of scholarship. Once, at Sakardara, some scholars were arguing about the meaning of a passage of the Holy Quran. They were obviously very proud of their knowledge and scholarship. Then Baba came out of his Mahal and recited to them these words from the Holy Quran: "If any one expressed gratitude to you for bringing him to Islam, ask him to be grateful to God for having given both of them the reverence for Islam". For the Baba, the Holy Quran was his very life-breath and his object was to enable scholars to imbibe the " spirit of the Holy Book rather than spend themselves in wrangling about the letter of it.
............It was, and still is, supposed by the orthodox that the etchings of saints like Tajuddin Baba are opposed in spirit to absolute faith in, and obedience to God supreme. But, as a matter of fact, the saints are the only witnesses to the divine Glory which is the reward of their absolute and complete dependence on the Lord. They are intermediaries between God and humanity, and they are content to be the beacon lights to othodoxman souls to their original harbour. The following incident bears out this attitude of Hazarat Tajuddin Aulia.
............One evening Baba Tajuddin was sitting at the Bund of a tank at Sakardara with some of his devotees, including Muslims, At the proper hour, the Muazzana's call for the Maghrib (evening) prayer (Namaz) was heard from a nearby mosque. Baba immediately said: " Go and offer your Namaz to the Lord; the call is herd." Many of the Muslims readily obeyed and went to the mosque but some of them did not. They said: " Lord Tajuddin is enough for us." The saint, however, questioned them-" One day people will be judged by their righteousness". He also wanted them to remember that although the saints were powerful, they were only servants of Allah. So the disciples, inspite of having their pirs (spiritual guides) must pray to the Almighty God. He never asked people to worship him in God's stead. Yet he allowed Hindus to worship his as they do to their deities because they are well instructed by their tradition that though it is the mother (God) that suckles the child (the devotee)at her breast , the saint ( a vehicle of God's grace or the mother's milk) is the immediate channel of her milk(the grace). He advocated the Hindu tradition to Hindus and the Muslim one for Muslims. He never unsettled their mind by an indiscriminate muddling of the two traditions with each other.