India has always been a land of great saints and free thinkers, which has been assimilating in its fold various cultures and thoughts from time to time. It is the land of ancient wisdom, where Sufism in its true spirit has flourished from time immemorial. However, in the current context of Sufism, it could be worthwhile to mention that Islam entered into India through the Sea route, through the land route from Persia into Sind and through the Khyber Pass. It is believed that the Sufis must have also used these routes, which were used by the Arab traders and military commanders.
The first great Sufi saint to visit India (undivided) was Ali el-Hujwiri popularly known in India as Data Ganj Bakhsh. He was a disciple of Muhammad al-Hasan al Khuttali who was connected with Junayad of Baghdad. He came to be known as Data Ganj Bakhsh after being addressed so at his tomb by Khwaja Muinuddin Chishti, the great Sufi saint of the Chishti order. Ali el-Hujwiri is considered to be the first authoritative Sufi writer who wrote several books on Sufism. His most famous book is Kashfu’l Mahjub, the first book on mysticism in the Persian language. Born in Ghazna in Afghanistan, around 1000 AD, he travelled from Syria to Turkistan and from the Indus to the Caspian Sea. During his journeys, he came across many saints and had deliberations with them. He received knowledge both from Abul Qasim Gurgani, a great Sufi Master of the Naqshbandi Order and Khwaja Muzaffar.
His Shaikh asked him to go and settle in Lahore. According to the description in Fuwaidu’l-Fuwad (a compilation of the sayings of great Sufi Master Khwaja Nizamuddin-Auliya of the Chishti Order) he was initially reluctant to go to Lahore as one of his co-disciples Shaikh Hasan Zanjani was already there. On insistence by his Master, he proceeded to Lahore. On entering the city of Lahore he witnessed the burial of Shaikh Hasan Zanjani, who had just passed away. He settled near Bhati Gate in Lahore, where his tomb is situated.
Ali el-Hujwiri continued to be greatly revered by all the saints of India, even after his death. Khwaja Muinuddin Chishti is believed to have paid a visit and offered prayers at his tomb on his arrival to India. It was during this visit that he paid respects to Ali el-Hujwiri by addressing him as ‘Ganj Baksh’ i.e. the munificent one which also meant ‘Data’ (giver) in Hindi, thus he came to be popularly known thereafter as ‘Data Ganj Baksh’.
Ali el-Hujwiri spoke of ‘fana’ for the first time in India. Hajrat Bayazid (Abu Yazid Bistami a great Sufi Master of the Naqshbandi Order) was the first person to speak about ‘fana’ (Annihilation or the complete merger of one-self with the Almighty) and Abul Qasim Gurgani, who was one of the teachers of Ali el-Hujwiri, was a successor in line of Bayazid. He, however, compared annihilation (fana) to transmutation of the qualities of all things by burning fire to its own qualities, yet leaving their essence unchanged. He laid stress on following the Sharia but advocated observing sobriety and caution. In his view the true meaning of Islam could be found in the essence of Sufism.
The Chishti Order of Sufis, which is now indigenous to India, was the first of the four main Sufi Orders, namely Chishtia, Qadiria, Suhurawadia and Naqshbandia, to be established in India. Khwaja Muinuddin Chishti introduced the Chishti Order in India, sometime in the middle of the 12th century AD. He was eighth in the line of succession from the founder of the Chishti Order, Khwaja Abu Ishq Shami Chishti. The devotees of this order practise chilla i.e. they observe seclusion for forty days during which they refrain from talking beyond what is absolutely necessary, eat little and spend most of their time in prayers and meditation. Another Characteristic of the followers of this order is their fondness for devotional music. They hold musical festival, and enter into ecstasy while listening to singing.
It is said that once when Khwaja Muinuddin was watering the plants in his garden he saw Shaikh Ibrahim Qandozi. The very sight of Shaikh Ibrahim Qandozi deeply impressed Muinuddin. He ran out of the garden to receive Shaikh Ibrahim Qandozi and with great respect conducted him into his garden and presented to him some of the best fruits of the garden. Shaikh Ibrahim Qandozi was pleased with Muinuddin’s warm hospitality and his mannerism. He found him to be an eligible candidate to receive his grace and, therefore, transmitted to him his spiritual energy. This sacramental act of ‘transmission’ of spiritual energy was symbolized by an outward act of handing over a piece of bread, which Shaikh Ibrahim first chewed it himself and then gave it to Muinuddin for him to eat. This caused in one moment, a complete and lasting transformation in Muinuddin’s life. Khwaja Muinuddin thereafter sold all that belonged to him and distributed the money so realized among the poor and needy.
After receiving the spiritual transmission from Shaikh Ibrahim Qandozi and disposing off his worldly possessions, Khwaja Muinuddin took upon the life of a wandering hermit in search of a spiritual guide. Initially, he spent a few years in Samarqand in learning religion and then he moved to Bukhara where he studied the Qur’an under the guidance of Maulana Hisamuddin Bukhari, a mystic and scholarly person. Khwaja Uthman Haruni, a famous Sufi Saint of the Chishti Order, however, initiated him, in the Chishti Order of Sufis in Harun. After receiving his authorization from his Master to train others in the Order, he was asked to go to India.
It is believed that during his journey to India Khwaja Muinuddin Chishti met many of the renowned saints of his time including Shaikh Abdul Qadir Gilani (the founder of the Qadri Order), Abu Najib Suhrawardi and his son and successor Shihabuddin, the most renowned Sufi Saint of the Suhurawardi Order, Shaikh Abu Yusuf Hamadani a great Sufi Master of the Naqshbandi Order, Shaikh Shamsuddin Tabrizi, who was the spiritual master of Maulana Jalaluddin Rumi and Shaikh Nasiruddin, a famous saint.
Khwaja Muinuddin first entered in Lahore where he visited the tomb of Shaikh Ali el- Hujwiri (Data Ganj Bakhsh) and then from there he proceeded to Ajmer in 1165-66 AD where he finally spent the rest of his life.
Many miracles are associated with Khwaja Muinuddin Chishti. It is said that annoyed with the king of Ajmer, Prithvi Raj Chauhan, he uttered, ‘I hand over Prithvi Raj alive in the hands of King Shihabuddin.’ A few days later in 1192 AD, Sultan Shihabuddin Muhammad Ghori conquered Ajmer and captured Prithvi Raj Chauhan alive. Sultan Muhammad Ghori attributed his victory to the blessing of Khwaja Muinuddin Chishti and in his honour constructed a building in the brief period of two-and-a-half days, which is famous as ‘Dhai Din Ka Jhopra’.
It is also related that Emperor Akbar was blessed with a son in answer to the prayer of a Chishti Sufi, Shaikh Salim, a descendant of the famous Saint Baba Farid. This resulted in Akbar’s devotion to Khwaja Muinuddin Chishti and he started visiting the Dargah of Khwaja Muinuddin Chishti in Ajmer every year and distributing lots of gifts in his honour. He also named his son ‘Salim’ after the saint.
Right from the beginning, Sufi saints were being highly regarded by the rulers. Muhammad Ghori had appointed Qutbuddin, one of his slaves (founder of the slave dynasty), as the Viceroy in Delhi. His successor was King Altamash, who professed his allegiance to the Chishti Order and gave it his royal patronage. He took Shaikh Qutbuddin Kaki, more popularly known as Qutbuddin Bakhtiyar Kaki as his spiritual master.
Shaikh Qutbuddin Kaki was born in 1186 AD at Farghana in Isfahan, where he had the fortune of meeting his master Khwaja Muinuddin Chishti who was on his way to India, in the mosque of Abu al-Layth. He also had the fortune of receiving knowledge from Shaikh Shihabuddin Suhrawardi. He followed his master Khwaja Muinuddin Chishti to India. His reputation as a great saint, however, travelled faster than him. It is believed that he was a saint by birth and many miraculous events are associated with him. He acquired his name ‘Kaki’ (a man of cakes) when on demand from his friends, he put his hands in a tank of water and produced from there hot cakes to feed his friends. The name Bakhtiyar was given to him by his Master Shaikh Muinuddin, which means ‘a fortunate person’.
When the news of arrival of Shaikh Qutbuddin Kaki’s to Delhi reached the King, he along with his populace received him with great respect. They requested him to reside in Delhi. Khwaja Muinuddin Chishti also asked him to stay in Delhi and appointed him as his vicegerent. King Altamash offered him the Office of the Chief Qazi, which he refused and, therefore, Nazmuddin Sughra another disciple of Khwaja Muinuddin Chishti was appointed to that Office.
It was around this time that the saints of Suhrawardi Order also started making in-roads into India. Shaikh Bahauddin Zakariya of the Suhrawardi Order was the foremost of them, who was a contemporary of Shaikh Qutbuddin Kaki. He was born in Multan in 1182 AD and was a grandson of Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani, the founder of the Qadri Order, through his mother. Shaikh Bahauddin Zakariya was, however, initiated in the Suhrawardi Order by Shaikh Shihabuddin Suhrawardi and later asked to go to India. It is said that he was a highly accomplished saint. Many miraculous events are associated with him. However, some of his disciples, who were initiated in the Suhrawardi Order were deeply influenced by the Shaikh Qutbuddin Kaki.
His eldest son, Sadruddin succeeded him in the Order. It is related to him that he married the divorced wife of the then Governor of Multan, who in a state of intoxication had divorced his beloved wife thrice. In order to regain her, as per the Islamic law, she was to be married to someone and again to be divorced similarly for her previous husband to be eligible to remarry her. Owing to Shaikh Sadruddin’s high repute, his Qazi suggested name of Sadruddin to the Governor of Multan. Saddruddin married the lady but on her insistence to live as his wife, he refused to divorce her. Annoyed with Shaikh Sadruddin’s refusal to divorce his wife, the Governor announced death sentence for him but it so happened that on that night itself the Mongols killed the Governor and captured the city of Multan.
It was in the time of Qutbuddin Kaki that devotional music was introduced in the Chishti Order, as a means of achieving the state of ecstasy. It was considered by him that the harmony of sounds stirs the heart of the listener and arouses in him the love for God. When these musical functions became very popular, the orthodox Muslims took up the matter with King Altamash to put a stop to it, as it was against the Shariat. King Altamash, however, found it very embarrassing for him to do anything in the matter on account of his loyalty to Shaikh Qutbuddin Kaki on the one hand and the disapproval of Islamic laws for such functions on the other. He, therefore, did not intervene in the matter and such musical functions started gaining more and more popularity and acceptance by the common people.
Shaikh Fariduddin popularly known in India as Baba Farid succeeded Shaikh Qutbuddin Kaki. Although he received his formal education and knowledge from Shaikh Bahauddin Zakariya Suhrawardi, he was initiated in the Chishti Order by Shaikh Qutbuddin Kaki. Baba Farid lived a life of severe austerity and piety. He was very popular amongst the masses, who thronged him to seek his blessings. It is related to him that in his childhood, his mother used to hide some sweets under his prayer rug in order to induce him to offer prayers. One day she forgot to keep the sweets under the prayer rug but when Fariduddin, as usual looked for the sweets under the prayer rug he found plenty of sweets by the grace of God. Through this incidence he acquired the nickname Shakarganj.
He is said to have married in old age to Princess Huzaira, the daughter of Balban, King of Delhi. Although she received a lot of wealth from her father in the marriage, she chose to follow the life style of her husband and donated her entire wealth to the poor. Baba Farid lived till about 1265-6 AD and died at the age of 93 years.
One of the most renowned and revered Sufi saints, Hajrat Nizamuddin Auliya was a disciple and chief successor of Baba Farid. Credit to a great extent goes to Hajrat Nizamuddin Auliya and his disciple Amir Khusro to take Sufism to every nook and corner of India.
Nizamuddin was born in Badaun in 1236 AD. At a very early age of five years he lost his father. His mother, who was a very pious lady, therefore, brought him up. It is said that at times they did not have any food to eat in the house. On such occasions she used to say to her son that ‘today we are the guests of the God’. Her trust in God was extraordinary. The young Nizamuddin was greatly influenced by this saintly character of his mother.
At the age of twenty years, Nizamuddin heard from some one about Baba Farid, who had then taken Ayodhya as his abode. So impressed was Nizamuddin that he immediately set for Ayodhya and on reaching there he surrendered himself at the pious feet of Baba Farid, who took Nizamuddin immediately as his disciple. In due course, Baba Farid appointed Shaikh Nizamuddin as his Vicegerent and asked him to go Delhi.
On coming back to Delhi the fame of Hajrat Nizamuddin started reaching far and wide. Lots of people started visiting him to seek his blessings. This made the King Mubarak Khilji somewhat apprehensive of his influence over the people and especially so as Hajrat Nizamuddin made it a point not to pay ceremonial visits to the King.
King Mubarak Khilji used to hold a special court on the appearance of new moon when all the leading personalities of the city used to pay courtesy visit to him. Hajrat Nizamuddin, however, never visited the King even on these occasions. Once King Mubarak Khilji threatened to severely punish Hajrat Nizamuddin, if he failed to visit him on the next new moon. Hajrat Nizamuddin who used to frequently visit his mother’s tomb, prayed before her for the death of the King before the appearance of the next new moon.
It so happened that at the appearance of the next new moon, a person named Khusru Khan killed King Mubarak Khilji. Later, Giyasuddin Tuglak in turn killed Khusru Khan. The new King also was apprehensive of Hajrat Nizamuddin, like his predecessor. He ordered Hajrat Nizamuddin to leave Delhi. It is reported that in 1325 AD, Giyasuddin Tuglak on returning from a successful expedition in Bengal, sent word to Hajrat Nizamuddin to quit Delhi. When the royal command was announced to Hajrat Nizamuddin he uttered, ‘Hanoz Dilli Dur Ast’ meaning Delhi is still far off. Giyasuddin Tughlak could not make to Delhi. At Tughlakabad, a pavilion erected in his honour fell over him and he was killed in this accident.
Amir Khusro was a devoted disciple of Hajrat Nizamuddin. He was a poet who used Urdu for the first time to compose songs, riddles, rhymes and enigmas in common man’s language to reach their hearts. An incidence is related to Hajrat Nizamuddin Auliya and Amir Khusro. Hajrat Nizamuddin Auliya, knowing his end was nearing had gifted away all his belongings to the poor. When he was left with nothing, an old Brahmin came to him and begged for help for the marriage of his daughter. Hajrat Nizamuddin Auliya had already given away everything he had with him. He said to the Brahmin that he was late in coming to him. Nevertheless, Hajrat Nizamuddin Auliya gave him his shoes, which he was wearing. The Brahmin was very upset, but he could not say anything to Hajrat Nizamuddin Auliya. He was going on the way with a heavy heart. From the other side was coming Amir Khusro. He had gone on a business trip and had earned lot of wealth, which was laden on forty mules. Amir Khusro started smelling the fragrance of his Master Hajrat Nizamuddin Auliya and he started looking for him. Soon he spotted the Brahmin as the source of that fragrance. He asked him whether he had met Hajrat Nizamuddin Auliya. The Brahmin narrated the entire incidence to him saying that he could not get any monetary help from Hajrat Nizamuddin Auliya and instead has received his shoes. Amir Khusro requested the Brahmin to give those shoes to him and in return to take all the forty mules laden with wealth. The Brahmin was more then pleased, so was Amir Khusro. Amir Khusro put the shoes with great reverence on his head and marched towards the abode of his Master. In the meanwhile Hajrat Nizamuddin Auliya had left this mortal world for his heavenly abode. He had instructed his disciples not to let Amir Khusro enter that premise where his body was cremated, lest Amir Khusro will also sacrifice his life at his grave. Amir Khusro was, therefore, stopped from entering that premise. He obeyed his Master’s orders and did not go inside. However, he sacrificed his life in the grief of his Master outside the premises.
Shaikh Nasiruddin, more popularly known as ‘Chiragh-e-Dilhi’, succeeded Hajrat Nizamuddin Auliya. He was also persecuted by the then King because of King’s fear arising out of Nasiruddin’s popularity. He died of stabbing by a person to whom he pardoned and arranged for his escape from the city. His tomb in Delhi is popularly known as ‘Chiragh-e-Delhi’. Muhammad Gesu Daraz, also popularly known as ‘Banda Nawaz’, in turn, succeeded him. Though born in Delhi, his father took Muhammad Gesu Daraz to Daulatabad. Later he came back to Delhi and was initiated by Shaikh Nasiruddin. In 1398 AD, he moved to Deccan, where Sultan Firoz Shah Bahmani received him with great respect. Muhammad Gesu Daraz died in 1422 AD in Gulbarga, where his tomb is situated. During his lifetime he wrote a number of books on Sufism and on Islam. One of his famous books is Sharah Tabsiratu’l-e-Stilihatu’s-Sufiya.
It was around this time that the saints of Qadri Order of Sufis also took India as their abode. Sayyed Muhammad Ghawth, tenth in the line of succession from Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani, the founder of the Qadri Order, settled in Uchh, which was also an abode of Sufi saints of Suhrawardi Order. The fame of Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani had already reached India. Sayyed Muhammad Ghawth was, therefore, received well and the then Ruler of Delhi, Sultan Sikandar Lodi not only became his disciple but also gave his daughter in marriage to him. It is said that this he did on the orders of Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani, who appeared in Sultan’s dream and asked him to marry his daughter to Sayyed Muhammad Ghawth. Hajrat Miya Mir (1550-1635) also acquired great fame in Punjab. It is well known that the Sikh saint Guru Ramdas had requested Hajrat Miya Mir to lay the foundation stone of Hari-Mandir Sahib in Amritsar.
The Naqshbandi Sufis were the last to enter India. This Order of Sufism was introduced in India by Hajrat Muhammad al-Baqi Billah. The Order got its name after Muhammad Baha’uddin Shah Naqshband, a renowned Sufi Master. Baqi Billah was seventh in the line of succession from Shah Naqshband.
Muhammad al-Baqi Billah was born in 972 H (1562 AD) in the city of Kabul in the land of Ajam, which was then a colony of the Sultanate of India. His father was a judge. From his early childhood Muhammad al-Baqi Billah exhibited signs of a great ascetic. He was a divine soul filled with love for the Almighty. He came to India in the first instance on personal business. Here he got interested in spirituality and, therefore, gave up his worldly life in the quest of spiritual knowledge. One day when he was reading a book on Sufism, his heart got illuminated with the divine-light. It is said that the soul of great Naqshbandi Sufi Master Shah Baha’uddin Naqshband sowed the seed of divine love in his heart and blessed him with the capacity to do jikr. This also aroused in him a strong desire to seek the shelter of a Master. He was so restless in the search of a Master that his holy mother was not able to bear with his desperation and she used to pray for him to the Almighty for fulfilling his desire. Her prayers were answered soon when one day Holy Master Muhammad Khwaja al-Amkanaki appeared in his dream and invited Baqi Billah to visit him.
Muhammad al-Baqi Billah travelled continuously until he reached the city of Samarqand. There he came in the contact with the Master of his time, Muhammad Khwaja al-Amkanaki. He stayed with him for three days. Muhammad Khwaja al-Amkanaki initiated him in the Naqshbandi Order, authorized him to take followers and asked him to go back to India to introduce the Naqshbandi Sufi Order there.
On way back to India Muhammad al-Baqi Billah stayed in Lahore for about a year. Saints and scholars of Lahore were deeply impressed by him. In India he settled in the city of Delhi. Through him the Naqshbandi Order spread with great swiftness throughout the Indian Subcontinent. People in the subcontinent were attracted to his knowledge, his Heavenly Power and his Prophetic Characteristics. True seekers by merely looking into his eyes, or by sitting in his company doing jikr, used to enter in a state of self-effacement, through which they could reach the state of fana (Annihilation), in a single sitting.
Baqi Billah was succeeded in the Order by Shaikh Ahmad al-Faruqi, who was born in the year 971 H., in the village of Sihar Nidbasin (Sarhind in India). He received his knowledge and education through his father and through many other Shaikhs of his time. At the young age of seventeen years, he had been authorized to train followers in all the three tariqats: Suhrawardia, Qadiria, and Chishtia. Although he was guiding his followers, yet he felt that something was missing in him, which he was continuously searching for. He felt an interest in the Naqshbandi Sufi Order. His spiritual progress eventually brought him to the presence of Shaikh Muhammad al-Baqi Billah, who had come for this purpose to India from Samarqand by the order of his Shaikh, Muhammad al-Amkanaki. He took the Naqshbandi Order from Baqi Billah and stayed with him for a little over two months, until Baqi Billah bestowed on him the divine knowledge he had in his heart and gave him authorization to train his disciples in the Order.
Shaikh Ahmad al-Faruqi said that with the grace of his Master Shaikh Muhammad al-Baqi Billah he received incredible blessings, and by his blessing he was granted a power of attraction that allowed him to reach every human being that the Almighty had created. He mentioned of attaining a state that combines the state of the Ending with the state of the Beginning and of achieving all the states of Seeding and the Ending. With the support of the great Masters he was raised further up to the state of the Throne, then to the state of Beauty and to the state of the Greatest Spiritual Poles (al-qutubiyyati-l-cuzma). Shaikh Ahmad al-Faruqi said that the Almighty’s Heavenly Care then attracted him to ascend to a State that is beyond that of the Qutubs, the Special Original State. Here the support of great Master Abdul Qadir Jilani pushed him up to the State of the Origin of Origins. Then he was ordered to come back down, and as he descended he passed by all the Sufi tariqats other than the Naqshbandia and the Qadiria. The Shaikhs of these Orders threw on him all their treasures of divine knowledge, which unveiled to him realities, which had never been unveiled to any person in his time.
A lot of miracles are associated with him. It is said that once in the month of Ramzan, he was invited by ten of his followers. He accepted the invitation of each of them. At the time of breaking the fast, he was present at each of their houses simultaneously breaking fast with them.
Many of the courtiers of emperor Jahangir were his disciples. He was opposed to heretical teachings that had crept in the then Muslim society and endeavoured to restore Sunny Islam to its pristine condition. The Shia Muslims prejudiced emperor Jahangir against him and persuaded him till he put Shaikh Ahmad in jail. Shaikh Ahmad remained in prison for three years. His son, Shaikh Sayyid, used to say that although Shaikh Ahmad was put under very strict security in the jail, yet on every Friday he was seen in the mosque. In spite of reinforcing the security, he would disappear from prison and appear in the mosque. His disciples were enraged on his imprisonment and wanted to revolt against the emperor but Shaikh Ahmad asked them to refrain from doing so. The conduct of Shaikh Ahmad convinced emperor Jahangir of his saintly character, so much so that the emperor himself became a disciple of Shaikh Ahmad.
Shaikh Ahmad al-Faruqi lived till 1624 AD. His son Muhammad al-Masum, who was a born saint, succeeded him. He never accepted to nurse during the period of Ramzan. At the age of three years, he expressed Oneness by saying, ‘I am the earth, I am the heavens, and I am God… I am this, I am that.’ He memorized the Qur’an in three months at the age of six, as his learning was through his heart and he reached the highest state of the knowledge of Sharacat and Aqaqat.
Once he said to his father that he was seeing himself as a life that is moving in every atom of these universes, which are taking light from it as the earth takes light from the sun. His father realised that Muhammad al-Masum (Masum Raza) was going to be the Qutub (Spiritual Pole) of his time. In one of the letters his father wrote about him that he is unable to find words for the attainments of his son, who is suitable for this spiritual wealth and is accomplished with the ‘Khas Vilayat Muhamadiya.’
Emperor Aurangzeb was his disciple. He used to come to attend his spiritual assemblies (Satsang) and used to sit wherever he found a place. Besides, it is said that Aurangzeb used to put his requests in writing before Muhammad Masum.
Muhammad al-Masum once revealed that when he was in Hajj, he saw the Kaaba hugging and kissing him with great compassion and emotion. He saw lights and blessings coming out of himself, which increased so much that it filled up all the universes and they entered every atom of these universes. Then all these atoms were drawn back to the love of the Essence of the Kaaba. Muhammad al-Masum said, ‘I saw many spiritual beings, among them angels and saints, all of them standing in my presence as if I was their Sultan. Then I received a written letter delivered to me by an angel, and written on it was ‘from the God of Heavens, Universes and all Creation, I am accepting your pilgrimage.’
Muhammad al-Masum said that he continued his journey to visit the Madinat’il-Munawwarah, the City of the Prophet. When he went to visit him at his tomb and directed his face towards him, he saw the Prophet coming out of his grave, and he hugged and kissed him. In Hajrat Muhammad al-Masum’s words, ‘Then I saw myself in a state, where my heart was as if combining with his heart, my tongue with his tongue, my ears with his ears, until I was not seeing myself, I was seeing the Prophet and when I looked at the Prophet I was seeing myself.’
Shaikh Muhammad al-Masum died in 1668 AD. His son Shaikh Saifuddin succeeded him in the Order. At the age of eleven years, his father bestowed upon him the status of ‘fana-e-Kulb’ and in view of the spiritual capabilities of his son, kept a special watch on his progress. Once emperor Aurangzeb requested Shaikh Muhammad al-Masum to send one of his disciples for his spiritual guidance. Shaikh Muhammad al-Masum sent his son Shaikh Saifuddin from Sarhind to Delhi to guide the emperor.
Shaikh Saifuddin was succeeded by Nur Muhammad al-Badawani, who was a descendant of Prophet Muhammad. He was born in 1075H/1664AD in a blessed house. He received the blessings of his Shaikhs, who were proud of his progress. He began his life in a state of self-effacement and remained continuously in that state for fifteen years except during the ritual prayers. When he prayed he would return to self-awareness and offer the prayers. He was careful to eat only from earnings made by the sweat of his brow. He ate only self-baked bread, and he ate it only in very small pieces. When the bread was finished, he would return to prepare more, and then he would return to contemplation and meditation. His back was bent as a result of excessive contemplation.
He never ate from the food of a proud person. He said, ‘The food of proud rich people contains darkness.’ If he borrowed a book he would read it after three days, because he said, ‘The reflection of the darkness and ignorance of the owner of the book reflects on the reader.’ He was very careful in such matters. His Khalifa (spiritual successor), Sayyidina Habibullah (Shamsuddin Habib Allah), used to cry when he remembered him. He used to say to his followers, ‘You did not see that holy person. If you had been in his time it would have renewed your faith in Allah’s power that He had created such a person.’
Shaikh Habibullah narrated an incident concerning his Master. One day a lady came to him and urged before him that, a spiritual being (jinn) had kidnapped her daughter. She tried every means to get her back, but it was of no avail. Shaikh Nur Muhammad al-Badawani meditated on that matter for a little while and then said that her daughter would come next day around the time of afternoon prayers. At the exact time Shaikh Nur Muhammad al-Badawani had mentioned, the lady heard a knock at the door, and in-walked her daughter. On enquiry the girl said, ‘I had been kidnapped and taken to the desert by a jinn. I was there in the desert and just now a Shaikh came and took me by the hand and brought me here.’
Towards the later part of seventeenth century AD, another great Sufi saint Bulleh Shah spread the message of love and spirituality beyond the barriers of caste, creed and religion. He was born around 1680 AD in Uchh Galaniyan. One of his forefathers was Sayyed Jalaluddin Bukhari, who was born in Multan but later settled in Uchh in undivided India. He was a disciple of the famous Sufi saint Bahauddin Zakariya of the Suhrawardi Order. Sayyed Jalaluddin Bukhari Shah Mir Surkh Posh of Bukhara (1192-1291 AD) was a vicegerent of Bahauddin Zakariya. The Jalali Section of the Suhrawardi Order is named after him. Some of his successors in the line went to Gujrat and became very famous there. This includes Jalal b. Ahmad Kabir, popularly known as Makhdum-e-Jahaniyan (d. 1384 AD), who made thirty-six visits to Mecca; Abu Muhammad Abdullah, popularly known as Burhanuddin Qutb-e-Alam (d. 1453 AD) and Sayyed Muhammad Shah Alam (d. 1475 AD).
Bulleh Shah’s father Shah Muhammad Dervesh was a knowledgeable person, who had acquired good knowledge of Arabic and Persian languages and a good understanding of Qur’an. Bulleh Shah also was given good education by competent teachers. Study of available literature on Islam and Sufism had aroused in him the desire to seek a pir (spiritual Master), who could guide him to the God.
His search for a Pir led him to Hajrat Inayat Shah, who was a Sufi saint of the Qadri Order. Hajrat Inayat Shah used to earn his livelihood from farming. It is said that Bulleh Shah had already acquired some miraculous powers. One day when he reached near Hajrat Inayat Shah’s farm in Lahore, he saw mango trees laden with fruits. He through his miraculous power caused the fruits to fall down. When Hajrat Inayat Shah saw this, he asked Bulleh Shah why had he plucked the mangoes. Bulleh Shah wanted to invite Hajrat Inayat Shah’s attention towards himself. He answered, I have neither climbed up the trees nor have I thrown any stone at them; how then have I plucked the mangoes? Hajrat Inayat Shah smiled and said not only a thief but clever too! If you have not plucked the fruits, who else has done it? And as he looked at Bulleh Shah, Bulleh Shah fell at his feet. Hajrat Inayat Shah asked him what is his name and what does he want? Bulleh Shah answered, I want the God. Hajrat Inayat Shah lifted him up saying, ‘why do you bow down; get up and look at me.’ Bulleh Shah looked at Hajrat Inayat Shah, who filled his heart with love and said, ‘Bullaya, Rab da ki pana; aidharon putna te audhar lana’ (Bulleh, it is not difficult to realize the God; just turn your attention from the world to Him).
Hajrat Inayat Shah then initiated Buleh Shah in the Qadri Order. Soon Bulleh Shah got immersed in the divine bliss flowing to him from his Master. He forgot about everything else. It is said that Bulleh Shah once saw a bride getting ready for marriage with her hair tied. Bulleh Shah also copied her, got his hair tied and like a bride went to his Master Hajrat Inayat Shah. This showed the intensity of his love and submission to his Master.
It is said that to distract people from him, Bulleh Shah started living with donkeys. During this time it is related that a Muslim Officer took by force the wife of a poor man. When no one helped him, he went to Bulleh Shah. He asked that man to find where in the town a tabla (a small drum) and sarangi (violin) were being played together. The man went and found that some eunuchs were singing at a place. He informed Bulleh Shah, who went there and started dancing. When Bulleh Shah got into a trance he sang a couplet asking that man’s wife to leave the house of that Officer and to come back to her husband. The lady immediately got out from there and joined back her husband. While Bulleh Shah was singing and dancing someone informed his father that Bulleh Shah now not only lives with donkeys but also sings and dances with eunuchs. His father reached the spot with a mala (string of beads-rosary) in one hand and a stick in the other. When Bulleh Shah saw his father, he sang for his father too. By God’s grace the veil of ordinary consciousness was lifted from his father. His heart got filled with divine love. He threw away the mala from his hand and started dancing with Bulleh Shah.
Bulleh Shah through his poetical eloquence reached the heart of the common people. He is considered to be one of the most famous and revered Sufis of India, who realized the Truth through the love for his Master.
Another great Sufi saint having a liberal attitude towards various religions was Shamsuddin Habib Allah (Mirza Zanzana), who was successor of Nur Muhammad al-Badawani of the Naqshbandi Order and was a contemporary of Bulleh Shah. He was born in 1701 AD. His father was in the service of emperor Aurangzeb, but later he joined the Qadri Order. He was a poet and used pen name ‘Mazhar’. He heard of Shaikh Nur Muhammad through someone and got so impatient that immediately he reached to meet him. Shaikh Nur Muhammad also adopted him at once and in the first meeting itself all of his spiritual chakras (energy centers- the loci of the Naqshbandi way of practice) were energized and activated. When he reached back home and saw in the mirror, he saw the face of his Master Shaikh Nur Muhammad in place of his own face. In four years he was fully accomplished and was conferred the status of Satguru.
Mirza Zanzana’s father was a senior officer but he was detached from worldly affairs. Mirza Zanzana was taught arts, science, warfare and other branches of learning in his early age and he had acquired competence in all these branches. He was very polite and patient and a great swordsman too who could fight a number of persons simultaneously.
He used to say that sheer constant remembrance of the Master fills up one’s heart fully with divine light and spirituality. He stood fast in serving his Shaikh with complete truthfulness. He continued to progress by entering into seclusions in the desert and in the jungle on the orders of his Shaikh. His only food used to be grass and leaves of trees. He used to wear only what would cover his nakedness. One day, after many of these seclusions when he looked in the mirror, he saw his Shaikh in place of himself.
When his Master passed away, he continued to visit his grave until his Shaikh directed him to visit some of the other Saints of his time, Shaikh Muhammad Afzal, Shaikh Safi Sacdullah, and Shaikh Muhammad Abid. He used to attend the sessions of Shaikh Muhammad Afzal, one of the Khalifas of Shaikh Saifuddin. He also benefited from the company of Shaikh Shah Kalshan and Shaikh Muhammad az-Zubair. He accompanied these Shaikhs for twenty years. He progressed further and further until he became an Ocean of Knowledge, Qutub of his time, shining like the Sun at high noon. Shaikh Muhammad Afzal said about him that Shaikh Mazhar Habibullah was given the state of Qutub and he is the central pivot of this tariqat in this time.
Mirza Zanzana was a Master of four tariqats: Naqshbandia, Qadiria, Suhrawardia and Chishtia Orders. He said that he received the secrets and knowledge of these orders from his Shaikh, Sayyid Nur Muhammad Badawani, who lifted him from the Ibrahamic Stage to the Muhammadan Stage. He also said that he saw the Prophet sitting in his place, while he was sitting in place of the Prophet. He then disappeared and saw the Prophet sitting in the two places. Then he saw the Prophet disappearing and himself sitting in both places.’
Mirza Zanzana said, ‘Existence is an Attribute of the Almighty alone. This world is a mere shadow of realities existing in the Divine Presence. The reality of all possible creations results from the action of the Divine Attributes and Qualities on the Void. The Real Existence of all that manifests in physical creation is confirmed as a light in the Divine Presence.’
Mirza Zanzana is reported to have acknowledged in one of his letters addressed to a disciple the existence of the Vedas as Divine creation and that there were prophets in the country of Hindus also. It is apparent that they had attained high and perfect position and that the Divine Mercy did not leave out, for the good of His Creatures, even this vast country.
The most revolutionary Sufi saint, however, was Maulana Fazl Ahmad Khan (Hujur Maharaj), sixth from Mirza Zanzana, in the line of succession of the Naqshbandi Order. He through his boundless spiritual awareness and liberal approach made the practice of Sufi way extremely simple and bestowed the priceless spiritual knowledge of Naqshbandi Order to all, including non-Muslims, without conversion i.e. without accepting Islam. He distinguished the religion (the outer or the material form of religion) from spirituality and held that for gaining spirituality religion is no bar.
Hujur Maharaj was born in 1857 at Raipur in district Farukhabad, Uttar Pradesh. His father was Shaikh Gulam Hussain, who himself was a Master in the Order of great Sufi Saint Maulana Waliuddin of Kashmir. Maulana Afjal Shah, who was a disciple and Khalifa of Shaikh Abul Hasan, initiated his mother in the Naqshbandi Order. He used to say about Maulana Fazl Ahmad Khan’s mother, ‘My daughter has the capability of changing the destiny.’ She was a very loving person who believed that the whole world was her own family.
Hujur Maharaj’s parents thus were great saints and true human beings. It is, therefore, no wonder that a person like Maulana Fazl Ahmad Khan took birth in their family, which ushered in a new era of religious and communal harmony and brought about a spiritual revolution.
Hujur Maharaj spent most of his time in Raipur except for a few years when he served in Farukhabad. He lived a very simple and pious life. He was very kind hearted and had no prejudice against any religion or caste. Persons from all classes and belonging to all religions including Hindu, Muslim and Christians used to visit him. He used to say to Hindus, ‘You have come to me to seek spiritual knowledge, do that and live in accordance with the requirements of your religion. Your relation with me is not worldly but spiritual.’
He was the first person in the Sufi Orders, who without any discrimination spread this method of spiritual practice amongst the Hindus. He was completely free from religious prejudices and never participated in any religious debates or disputes, nor did he ever criticise any religion. If someone criticized any religion in front of him, he would leave that place. He pronounced that religions are many but their essence is one i.e. to gain spirituality. One should follow the dictates of one’s religion but should not be guided by religious prejudices. The social or religious rituals do not bind spiritual life. If any Hindu suggested that he would convert and adopt Islam, he used to feel very upset. He disapproved of conversion, rejecting it outright. He used to admonish the person concerned, ‘Now you are not worth visiting me. I shall not allow anyone to put a spot on me. You should continue to abide by the dictates of the religion which you belong to and acquire spirituality.’ Once one of his Hindu disciples adopted Islamic traditions. When he reached before him, Hujur Maharaj told him that he was no longer fit to come to him. Hujur Maharaj asked him to readopt the Hindu traditions, the religion in which he was born.
Hujur Maharaj did not touch even the dried chilli meant for the consumption of his Hindu followers. Separate food used to be cooked for them. When he visited Mahatma Ram Chandraji’s (his disciple and successor) house or if food came from his house, Hujur Maharaj used his separate utensils or ate in a Pattal (a plate made up by tagging broad tree leaves). At times he used to take the food straight in hand and drank water similarly. When Prasad used to be distributed he will ask some Hindu to bring Prasad and to distribute. He used to say that everyone must observe the discipline of one’s religion. Though he had accepted many as his disciples, but he declared Mahatma Ram Chandraji to be his successor. This is a unique example of a Muslim Sufi giving away his entire spiritual treasure to a Hindu without conversion.
Hujur Maharaj had stated that this Sufi way of spiritual practice was prevalent amongst ancient Hindu saints, which is now being reintroduced amongst Hindus. Dr. Chandra Gupta, a Sufi of the Naqshbandi Order, also used to say that this method of spiritual practice was prevalent amongst Hindus in the past. He related it to Lord Sri Krishna, who was known as the ‘Yogeshwar’, being the greatest Master of the ‘Anahat Nad’. His flute in reality represented the ‘Anahat Nad’, which echoed in the form of heartbeat in the hearts of thousands of Gopis and Gwalas, who were devotees and were fortunate to receive His grace.
The Naqshbandi Sufi way has reached far and wide, in every nook and corner of India and also abroad through the grace of Mahatma Ram Chandraji and efforts made by his disciples, especially Mahatma Chaturbhuj Sahayji and Mahatma Ram Chandraji of Sahajahanpur (founder of Shri Ram Chandra Mission) and his disciple Shri Rajagopalachari. It was mentioned by Maulvi Ahmad Ali Khan (the spiritual Master of Hujur Maharaj) that his Master (Shaikh Abul Hasan) had told him, ‘A Hindu boy will come to you, who will spread this spiritual practice amongst many, but no such Hindu boy came to me. Perhaps he would have seen you in me. Now you must obey this order strictly.’ This Hindu boy was Mahatma Ram Chandraji, who succeeded Hujur Maharaj in the Naqshbandi Order of Sufis.
Mahatma Ram Chandraji
Mahatma Ram Chandraji was the first giaour saint of the Naqshbandi Order. His father Chaudhary Harbaksh Rai was one of the descendants of a highly respected Kayasth family of District Mainpuri. Emperor Akbar had gifted Babu Vrindavan, one of the renowned ancestors of this family, with the title ‘Chowdhary’ and 555 villages amongst many other things. Babu Vrindavan named one of these villages as ‘Bhoom-gram’ and started living there. With the passage of time this village developed into a small town and its name got distorted to ‘Bhogaon.’
Ch. Harbaksh Rai initially lived in Bhogaon but later after the mutiny in 1857 moved to Farukhabad. He was appointed as Superintendent-Octroi. His wife was a very pious and religious lady, who spent most of her time in prayers etc. She was fond of helping the needy, poor and orphan girls and spent lot of money in arranging their marriages. No beggar ever returned empty handed from her door. She was gifted with a good voice and she used to sing well. When she used to recite the ‘Ramayana’ people used to forget their surroundings and used to get absorbed in the divine thoughts. Often she used to visit saints and sometimes they also used to stay at Ch. Sahab’s house.
Once a Muslim Fakir (Avdhut) happened to pass through the street where Ch. Harbaksh Rai used to live. He stopped in front of his house and asked for some food. Ch. Harbaksh Rai’s wife, with great respect and devotion offered him some food and sweets. The Fakir, however, told her that he desired to eat some fish. As she was a vegetarian, she started thinking how to arrange for some fish for the Fakir. Suddenly it occurred to her that for her husband who used to take non-vegetarian food fish might have been cooked. As the non-vegetarian food was cooked separately for him she enquired about it and learnt that two fishes, which were specially sent by Nawab Sahab, had been cooked for her husband. She immediately got both the fishes and offered them to the Fakir. He gladly consumed both the fishes. An old maid, who was very much attached to the family, was present there. She very politely mentioned to the Fakir that there was everything in the house with the grace of God except that Chowdhary Sahab had not been blessed with any child. She requested the Fakir to pray to the Almighty for the same. The Fakir laughed loudly and uttering ‘Allah-o-Akbar’ raised his hands in prayer. He then uttered ‘one-two’ and went away. The blessings of the Fakir materialized and after about a year on 2nd February, 1873, on the day of Basant Panchami (the day of spring festival considered very auspicious) a divine soul descended in Chowdhary Sahab’s house, who was later on known all over as Mahatma Shri Ram Chandra ji alias Janab Lalaji Maharaj. After about two and a half years, on 7th October 1875 his younger brother, another divine soul arrived in Chowdhary Sahab’s house, who was known as Mahatma Munshi Raghubar Dayal ji alias Chachchaji Sahab.
Mahatma Ram Chandraji was brought up with great care and affection. A number of servants were always in attendance to look after his needs. A transport also was provided to him separately. In his childhood he used to sit near his mother and listen to Ramayana. As a result, like his mother, he also developed a good melodious voice and religious bent of mind. At the age of seven years, however, he lost his mother. Thereafter a Muslim lady looked after and brought him up. Mahatma Ram Chandraji used to respect her as his mother and looked after her throughout her life. Whenever she came to visit Mahatma Ram Chandraji he used to offer her gifts. A Maulvi (Muslim teacher) taught him Urdu and Persian and also to compose poetry. Thereafter he was admitted to the Mission School in Farukhabad.
During his education in Farukhabad, when he was in the Eighth standard, he had hired a room for his studies in Mufti Sahab’s Madarsa. In the adjoining room used to live Hujur Maharaj, who used to teach students privately for his livelihood. At times, Mahatma Ram Chandraji used to seek Hujur Maharaj’s guidance to solve his difficulties and Hujur Maharaj used to gladly help him. He used to treat Mahatma Ram Chandraji very affectionately, as the manner of his living and his religious bent of mind had impressed him. Mahatma Ram Chandraji also used to like him and he used to get special pleasure in his company. He, however, did not know that Hujur Maharaj was a great Sufi saint. Once Mahatma Ram Chandraji was very upset, as he could not do his Geometry paper well. On enquiry when he mentioned this to Hujur Maharaj, he told him not to worry and have faith in the Almighty. When the result was declared, he had passed the exams.
Mahatma Ram Chandraji was later married in a decent family. Soon thereafter he lost his father and his stepbrother. He also had to part away with has property in discharge of a decree passed against him in a dispute over property with the King of Mainpuri. The financial position of the family, therefore, deteriorated and became very weak. The Distt. Collector of Fatehgarh, however, knew Ch. Harbaksh Rai and was very helpful to Mahatma Ram Chandraji. He called Mahatma Ram Chandraji and appointed him as a paid apprentice for a remuneration of ten rupees per month. Fatehgarh and Farukhabad are at a distance of about four miles, which Mahatma Ram Chandraji used to cover on foot, thus walking about 8-10 miles daily. The house was running entirely on this meager salary of ten rupees.
Once Mahatma Ram Chandraji’s daughter fell seriously ill. Her condition was critical. Mahatma Ram Chandraji went out to look for a doctor. Incidentally, Hujur Maharaj was coming from the opposite direction. Mahatma Ram Chandraji saluted him and on enquiry told him about his daughter’s condition. Hujur Maharaj mentioned to him that he had some knowledge of medicines and wished to see his daughter. Mahatma Ram Chandraji took him home. Hujur Maharaj examined the girl and told Mahatma Ram Chandraji that she will be cured soon. There was no need to worry. He gave her some medicine to be given with mother’s milk and enquired about her condition after five minutes or so. The girl had started recovering. By then it was time for lunch. No food, however, had been cooked in Mahatma Ram Chandraji’s house for some days as there was nothing to cook at home. Mahatma Ram Chandraji wanted to go out to buy some thing on credit but Hujur Maharaj stopped him. He then told to bring him whatever was there in the house. There was, however, nothing to eat in the house. Hujur Maharaj understood the matter and told Mahatma Ram Chandraji, ‘the other day when my daughter (Mahatma Ram Chandraji’s wife) had cooked food, she had put aside a piece of dough which had been burnt on one side. It will still be lying there. Go and bring that with some pickle.’ Mahatma Ram Chandraji found the piece of dough lying on the Culha (stove) and offered the same to Hujur Maharaj. While Hujur Maharaj was eating that piece, Mahatma Ram Chandraji some how arranged one rupee and offered it to Hujur Maharaj as his fees. Hujur Maharaj, however, refused saying that he did not require it and that medicine was not his profession. Mahatma Ram Chandraji then wished him to offer a transport, but Hujur Maharaj declined that also. Till then Mahatma Ram Chandraji had known of Hujur Maharaj as a great scholar of Urdu, Arabic and Persian languages but after this incidence, he started believing that Hujur Maharaj was a great saint too. He thereafter developed a lot of respect and devotion towards him.
The spiritual beginning of Mahatma Ram Chandraji had taken place in the lap of his holy mother. Later Mahatma Ram Chandraji with his friends often used to visit Swami Brahmanandji who used to live on the bank of the holy river Ganges. Swamiji was a great saint, who was supposed to be about 150 years then. Mahatma Ram Chandraji used to try to follow Swamiji’s teachings.
Swamiji and Hujur Maharaj used to have meetings with each other. Often Swamiji made mention of Hujur Maharaj stating that he is the crown of saints in Farukhabad but Mahatma Ram Chandraji did not know that the Sufi saint about whom Swamiji used to mention is the Maulvi Sahab living next door to the room he had taken for his studies in Mufti Sahab’s Madarsa.
A few months after he had joined the service in Fatehgarh, Mahatma Ram Chandraji returned from his workplace late in the evening. It was a dark winter night with thundering clouds and heavy rains. With his clothes completely drenched, Mahatma Ram Chandraji was shivering. He was in a very pathetic condition. When he was going towards his room, Hujur Maharaj happened to spot him. Hujur Maharaj had pity on him and said, ‘You have come at this time in this thunderstorm.’ Mahatma Ram Chandraji used to say that these words were filled with lot of love. He very politely greeted Hujur Maharaj who blessed him and told him, ‘Go, change your clothes and come to me. Warm up yourself before the fire and then go to your home.’ These words were charismatic and were pulling Mahatma Ram Chandraji towards Hujur Maharaj. Mahatma Ram Chandraji after changing his clothes came to Hujur Maharaj. By then Hujur Maharaj had lighted up an Angithi (an earthen stove). Mahatma Ram Chandraji saluted him. Hujur Maharaj raised his eyes and looked at him. As both of them saw in to each other’s eyes, a current passed through Mahatma Ram Chandraji’s body from head to toe and he was stunned. Hujur Maharaj very kindly asked him to sit in his bed and covered him with his quilt. Mahatma Ram Chandraji used to say that he felt very light as if he was flying in the sky and the entire body was sparkling with light. For about two hours, he set in this state, which was full of bliss. By that time it stopped raining. With the permission of Hujur Maharaj, he returned to his room. While entering in his room, he felt light was spread in front of the room which was engulfing everything and in which trees, animals, walls, everything was dancing. ‘Anahat Nad’ (Om) was reverberating in each of the cells of his body. All his spiritual chakras were activated and energized and he felt as if Hujur Maharaj had taken his place.
When he returned home, he did not wish to eat anything and slept without having dinner. In the dream he saw a group of saints, Hujur Maharaj and himself. A throne descended from the Skies on which a great saint was sitting. All the saints stood up in his honour. Hujur Maharaj presented Mahatma Ram Chandraji before him. He looked at him attentively and said, ‘From his childhood his inclination is towards the God.’
Next day Mahatma Ram Chandraji mentioned about his dream to Hujur Maharaj. Hujur Maharaj was very glad to hear about it. He closed his eyes and meditated for a little while. He then opened his eyes and told Mahatma Ram Chandraji, ‘What you saw was not a dream but was the truth. Your inclination right from the birth is towards the God. You are very fortunate, as the great Masters of this line have accepted you. You have taken birth to show the path to others. Such souls descend on this earth after centuries. The experience you had in the first sitting itself, one can seldom achieve after practising for decades. Whenever you passed through me, and greeted me, I used to feel an attraction and lot of love for you. Thus, you were continuously getting my attention (Tavajjoh). God-willing very soon you will not only be Fanafil-Shaikh (merger of the disciple with the Master) but Fanafil-Murid (merger of the Master with the disciple). If you do not have any objection, and if you so wish, keep on visiting this Fakir (Hujur Maharaj) also.’ After this Mahatma Ram Chandraji started visiting Hujur Maharaj regularly.
Mahatma Ram Chandraji has written down an incidence concerning his wife. It took place when his youngest daughter was about one year. His wife used to get up in the morning at about four and then both of them used to spend some time in Pooja and Satsang. One morning he found his wife still lying in the bed, pale and lifeless. He was extremely worried and felt as if his world had become barren. Then after a little while she rose alive and said that she had a dream. She narrated that a person shining like the sun was standing before her with a rope in his hand. On asking he said that he was the Yamraj, the lord of the death, and that he had come to take her soul with him. He had come himself, instead of one of his messengers, as she was a very chaste lady full of virtues. Thereafter he took away her subtle soul with him. She was taken to a place where there was light and nothing else with tremendous peace prevailing over there.
In her own words, “My consciousness heard a Divine voice saying: ‘Your life is certainly over but you still have your work to finish. You are a righteous person and hence you will be blessed with eternal coverture. Your husband is a blessed person and he is a Satpurush. May you help him in his mission and be his companion. You are blessed with divinity and your veil of passion is removed. Go back and live as long as you want; be like a dead-body free from attachments. You can leave the mortal world when you desire.’ Then a round red sign was stamped on the upper portion of my waist.” She showed this sign to Mahatma Ram Chandraji, which was still visible there.
In regard to his Master, Hujur Maharaj, Mahatma Ram Chandraji has written that ‘Hujur Maharaj Sahab is my Satguru, my guide and everything for me and that my heart is immersed in love for him yet there was one untruth in it. I felt all his practice; all his life was a waste because of this one untruth. I felt as if some one mocked at me, laughed at my plight, felt elated seeing me hurt. I felt as if I was the weakest one in the world and the only person who could help me, save me from this was none other than my wife.’
He mentions further: ‘I felt that the thief within me was nothing but my own inferiority complex, which I know not how, had crept into me as a pseudo sect consciousness. I felt in my mind that my Master, to whom I had entrusted my life, my entire being, was a Muslim. I considered that great personality, who was in fact free from all bondage of religion or communal feelings, just a Muslim. Till then I had not understood Islam in its true sense. I understood neither Hinduism nor Islam. It was none other than my wife who unraveled this entire untrue behaviour of mine. I was fortunate that it was she who made me realise my folly. It was my illusion, the biggest untruth, and the biggest sin of my life. I was afraid that when my wife who is a strict Hindu, born and brought up in the Hindu culture, comes to know of it that her husband is at the feet of a Muslim what will she think of me? I was in a dilemma, having no solution and my wisdom failing me.
I was the worst coward of the world but some how I gathered courage to share my secret with my wife. When I faced her I felt like a thief, ready for self-surrender. With child like innocence I told her the entire story and the feelings I had been nurturing and my fear. She listened to it all quietly, not knowing what was going through within me and then she like a judge gave her verdict: ‘What you have done is really good.’ And like an eternal follower of me, her husband, she made a request to take her also to that great saint, to make her life also meaningful, saying that ‘A Woman’s duty is to follow her husband. Without me, your wish will not fructify. The scriptures say so.’
I forgot what was in my mind and was happy that she was happy. Not only did she save me from sinking but also she showed me the path. Her words that ‘saints do not belong to any caste or any race, they are free from all bondage’ sank deep within my heart. When I took her to my Satguru the next morning, he was very happy. The whole day we were given royal treatment. He was telling Gurumata (his wife), ‘Look who has come! Our daughter in law has come. Children have come. We are fortunate that our children have come with their children. God has filled our house with happiness. Bring bangles for them. Make puris (rich food) for them. They should remember how the mother-in-law’s house was.’ He was full of love. I was immersing in that ocean of Love and Mercy. Both of us surrendered ourselves at his feet. Till now I was alone. This was the gift that life granted me. My Hajrat Kibla gave her initiation. The purpose of our life was fulfilled.’
On 23rd January 1896 Hujur Maharaj had taken Mahatma Ram Chandraji completely in his shelter i.e. initiated him and accepted him as his disciple. Soon thereafter on 11th October, 1896 Hujur Maharaj bestowed ‘Kully Izazat’ i.e. Master hood on Mahatma Ram Chandraji stating, ‘My Master (Maulvi Ahmad Ali Khan Sahab) had mentioned that people will benefit spiritually from me, but unfortunately I could not prove myself able to discharge this duty fully. Now my end is nearing but I am hopeful that after me you shall discharge this duty satisfactorily and will make my Master’s forecast come true. If you will do my work, you will be happy in this world and also in the Heavens and if you fall short in discharging this duty I shall hold you responsible in the Heavens.’ He (Hujur Maharaj) then read the letter of his Master, which he had kept safely with him.
After some time Hujur Maharaj called a meeting in which great saints of all religions and from various sects were invited including Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Nanak-Panthis, Kabir-Panthis (followers of Guru Nanak and Sant Kabir, respectively) etc. Mahatma Munshi Raghubar Dayal ji, who was present in this assembly used to say that beginners were not allowed to sit in this assembly. Different topics were discussed. Hujur Maharaj then presented Mahatma Ram Chandraji mentioning, ‘In my entire life, I have prepared only one person. Now these are my last days. It appears to me to be the order of the great Masters that I should give dear Puttulal (Hujur Maharaj used to address Mahatma Ram Chandraji by this name) the full authorization (Izazat Ta-amma) and appoint him my successor. All of you, the great persons, who have assembled here are kindly requested to test him and to concur in my decision or to reject it.’ All those present there then sat in meditation. Hujur Maharaj asked Mahatma Ram Chandraji to give Tavajjoh to them and to answer questions that may be asked by them.
Mahatma Raghubar Dayal ji used to say that this session of meditation was an extra-ordinary one. That experience was never again repeated. Initially there was a feeling of happiness. Then the thoughts started disappearing and then there was thoughtlessness. There was nothing except the remembrance of God. All the Great Masters of this Order appeared to be kindly present. Gradually light started appearing and then light alone was visible, nothing else was visible not even one’s own body. It appeared as if there is no earth and no sky but light alone everywhere, which had such an attraction that everyone was totally absorbed in it. This light appeared to be the real Master and the dearest one, a reverberation, which was very blissful and with which one desired to be completely united. Eyes were full of tears with the heart totally melted. After a little while the light disappeared and there was no reverberation either. There was a feeling of sense as well as unawareness, bliss as well as neutrality. It was like a mild inebriation. One did not desire to come out of this feeling or to open eyes. The feeling was beyond expression. This condition remained for long till Hujur Maharaj asked to stop the meditation. Slowly all of them opened their eyes and praised Mahatma Ram Chandraji stating, ‘He has not only achieved access up to the Sat-pad (station of the Truth-the highest destination) but he has merged himself completely in it. You (Hujur Maharaj) have prepared a replica of yourself, a wonder created by you.’ Thereafter one of the persons asked Mahatma Ram Chandraji to explain the true meaning of ‘Thanks.’ Mahatma Ram Chandraji explained that ‘to use things given by the God in an appropriate manner, in accordance with the Scriptures, is to pay ‘thanks’ to the Almighty.’ All those present in the assembly expressed satisfaction over this answer and approved of the decision of Hujur Maharaj to fully authorise and appoint Mahatma Ram Chandraji to be his successor.
Once Mahatma Ram Chandraji urged before Hujur Maharaj, ‘I am yours. If you permit me, I may adopt Islam.’ Hujur Maharaj outright rejected this idea remarking, ‘You should never think of such an absurd idea. Spiritualism does not need following of any particular religion. Customs and rituals are only the outer form of religion, which depend upon the place and social circumstances. Spirituality, however, is seeking the Truth and self-realisation that are the matters of soul, which is same in every one and above all these things. It is the duty of everyone to follow the customs and rituals of the country and the religion in which one is born. You are Hindu and, therefore you should follow the Hindu religion; I am a Muslim and, therefore, I should follow Islam. You should rise above these trivialities. Spirituality teaches large heartedness and not narrow mindedness. If you convert into a Muslim, you should consider yourself to be deprived of all relation with me.’
Once Hujur Maharaj and Mahatma Ram Chandraji went for a walk on Farukhabad-Fatehgarh Road. Mahatma Ram Chandraji was mentioning to Hujur Maharaj about his day-to-day problems etc. and Hujur Maharaj was listening to it very carefully. On the way there was a small culvert. Both of them sat on the parapet. Suddenly Hujur Maharaj was filled with emotions and divine love. He put his right hand on Mahatma Ram Chandraji’s shoulder and remarked, ‘You are very fortunate and dear to the God. You have very easily got this invaluable gift.’ Then he asked him to look towards the trees. Mahatma Ram Chandraji used to say that these words were very charismatic. He saw a divine light engulfing everything, which was blissful and attracting towards it. The entire creation, trees, walls, animals, men, everything seemed to be dancing in that light. It appeared that this light was the real life and the soul of everyone. It was the real objective and everything else was false. On being asked, Mahatma Ram Chandraji narrated this to Hujur Maharaj, who uttered, ‘ Thanks God. The path has not proved wrong. This light is your reality and your ultimate objective. Now I shall be in the background to help you. To lead you now will be unpardonable.’ Mahatma Ram Chandraji used to say that when I was going for walk the world was with me and when I was returning the world had been left behind forever. The worries and worldly desires were over forever and their place had been taken by the divine-love.
It is an incidence of 1929. Mahatma Ram Chandraji was working as Record Keeper in the office of Distt. Collector, Fatehgarh. An important file was misplaced and could not be located in spite of all efforts. Being the Record Keeper in-charge of the records, it was his responsibility to trace the file. In the evening at home he was thinking about the file that the face of a frightened clerk appeared before him. Mahatma Ram Chandraji understood the matter, went to that clerk’s residence and asked for the file. In fact that clerk had taken the file home for some work and had forgotten about it thereafter. Now he was afraid that the Collector would not pardon him. Mahatma Ram Chandraji promised him that he would not reveal his name to any one. The clerk then handed over the file to Mahatma Ram Chandraji, who produced it before the Collector but did not reveal the name of that clerk to him in spite of Collector’s insistence.
Around those days some Satsangis came to visit him. He got busy with them and in the process forgot to go to the Collectorate. By chance on that day the Commissioner was to inspect the office of the Collector. In the afternoon when it struck to him, he almost went running to the office. He enquired one of the staff members whether the inspection was over. That person was surprised and said, ‘Are you joking with me. You were yourself presenting all the files immediately on asking.’ Mahatma Ram Chandraji understood the matter that in his place his Master had attended to his duty. Mahatma Ram Chandraji was in tears. He submitted his resignation to the Collector and left the service for fully devoting himself to the mission of his Master.
Mahatma Ram Chandraji proceeded on his heavenly abode on 14 August 1931. His Samadhi is situated in Fatehgarh, UP.
A special mention needs to be made of two great Sufi Masters of the twentieth century AD, Mahatma Radha Mohan Lalji and Thakur Ram Singhji, both belonging to the chain of Naqshbandi Sufis and Dr. Chandra Gupta, who received their blessings and carried their mission forward.
Mahatma Radha Mohan Lalji
In respect of Mahatma Radha Mohan Lalji Dr. Chandra Gupta, who was one of his disciples, used to say that he was a ‘Badshah-fakir’ who was both a Jalali saint (full of splendour), as well as a Jamali saint (full of elegance). Mahatma Radha Mohan Lalji discovered new centers of spiritual energy in human body. He used to say that the Scriptures do not mention all the chakras and not all the occult knowledge is given out at one time. As the humanity progresses, more and more knowledge is revealed. The whole of one’s Life may not be long enough to activate all the centers of energy. However, in this Order, all the chakras are activated in this very life through meditation. With the approval of his father (Mahatma Raghubar Dayal Ji) and his Master (Maulana Abdul Gani Khan) Mahatma Radha Mohan Lalji made much improvement in the method of meditation.
In regard to Sufism Mahatma Radha Mohan Lalji, a great Sufi Master of the Naqshbandi Order, used to say, ‘Sufism is a way of life. It is neither a religion, nor a philosophy. There are Hindu Sufis, Muslim Sufis, and Christian Sufis. My revered Guru Maharaj was a Muslim.’ He also said that the true meaning of spirituality must be understood; but it cannot be understood completely but only partly. The greater part is beyond understanding. As far as we live in this world and as far as this world is with us, we understand it. Beyond that there is no understanding anymore but Realisation.
Mahatma Radha Mohan Lalji has said that in the Naqshbandi Order, the Hriday Chakra (the mystique center of Heart) is used mainly, which is the center of love and when it is activated, such force, such power flows through it, that one forgets everything. Sanyasis mainly work through Agya Chakra (the energy center lying in between the eyebrows) but there is not much love in Sanyasis. By activating the Hriday Chakra, Love is created by the Master with his spiritual power. The result is that the whole work of awakening, activating is done by one Chakra, which gradually opens up all the other Chakras. The Hriday Chakra is the leader and the leader does everything.
Ms. Irina Tweedie, who came to India to get instructions in Yoga, had the fortune of spending a few years in the company of Mahatma Radha Mohan Lalji. She was asked to maintain a diary, which has been published in the form of a book titled ‘Daughter of Fire’. She returned to London, where she introduced the Naqshbandi Sufi way. Later, a center by the name ‘Golden Sufi Center’ was formed with the objective of making the teachings of the Naqshbandi Sufi way available to the seekers.
In her book ‘Daughter of Fire’, she has mentioned, ‘I hoped to get instructions in Yoga, expected wonderful teachings, but what the teacher did was mainly to force me to face the darkness within myself, and it almost killed me.
In other words he made me ‘descend into hell’, the cosmic drama enacted in every soul as soon as it dares to lift its face to the Light.
It was done very simply, by using violent reproof and even aggression. My mind was kept in a state of confusion to the extent of being ‘switched off.’ I was beaten down in every sense till I had to come to terms with that in me, which I kept rejecting all my life. It is surprising how classical method of training, devised perhaps thousands of years ago, is similar to the modern psychological techniques; even dream analysis has a place in it.’
Thakur Ram Singhji
Thakur Ram Singhji established the ideals of Sufi conduct and devotion by setting his example. He was born on 3rd September 1898 in the village Manoharpura in a Raulot Bhati family of Rajputs. His father Thakur Mangal Singh ji was a religious and devoted person. He served the Jaipur state in the capacity of the ‘Guardian of the Fort’ (Kiledar). The then King, Maharaj Madho Singh ji had a lot of regards for him. Thakur Ram Singhji’s mother also was a very religious and pious lady.
The religious bent of the mind of parents had its influence on the son-Thakur Ram Singhji. Thakur Mangal Singh ji used to obtain glimpse of the Couple Lord Ram and Sita in meditation. He once mentioned this to his son, which aroused a desire in his son also to obtain a glimpse of Lord Ram. He, thus, right from the childhood got deeply interested in religion.
Thakur Ram Singhji was admitted to the Nobles School in Jaipur, where he learnt Urdu, Persian and English besides Hindi. Later he was employed in the Police Deptt. of Jaipur State. He joined as a constable and through his honesty, sincerity and hard work rose to the post of ‘Thanedar’ (Station In charge or Sub-Inspector of Police) before retiring from the police service in the year 1944 at the age of 46 years to devote himself completely for the mission of his Master.
The Police Department those days was known for its atrocities with hunters and shoes decorating the walls of Police Stations. Thakur Ram Singhji, however, was an exception, who treated all, including those locked up in his Station, with all humility and dignity. He would cook his food himself and would offer the same first to those in the lock-up, before eating himself. On tours often he spent his own money for the food for his subordinates. He would not allow them to use any unfair means or to ask any one to arrange for their needs. He did not even hesitate in cleaning the work place. He had developed a habit of refraining from accepting any service from others but he himself always served others with no expectation what so ever.
Bribe was unknown to him and he would not let any of his colleagues to indulge in any corrupt practices. He never indulged in beating or applying force against any accused. His cordial behaviour had made his personality so impressive that even the cruel criminals were not left unmoved and accepted their guilt voluntarily. He had such a firm faith in the divine order that even in the toughest situation he never lost his cool, nor he ever got disappointed. He always followed the path of his duty with utmost simplicity and self-confidence. He did not allow his sub-ordinates or any one else to carry even his luggage. If any one offered him lift, he would insist on payment of the fare or otherwise not to take lift. If someone refused to accept the fare, he will insist on being dropped back from the point from where he was given the lift and thus compelled one to accept the payment.
Thakur Ram Singhji never used any force or coercion or induced any accused. He was a man of integrity and courage, always standing for truth and honesty. Often he had to come to Jaipur for appearing in the Court. On the days, when he used to go to his residence in Sanganer, he did not claim the Dearness Allowance. He always spent money with great care and the money thus saved was spent for helping others. If any counterfeit coin came to his hand, he used to bury that under the ground. He never used any improper method for any purpose. Until he was fully convinced, he never took anyone as guilty and produced a guilty in the Court only after he had gathered all evidence.
He had become a legendary figure during his tenure in the Police Department. No one ever expected such a person to be serving in the Police Department. The influence of his personality was also visible on his camel, which, it is said, also did not eat anything offered by others. It had become famous for him that he would not drink water, even from a well, unless he had paid for it and had left some money there.
Thakur Ram Singhji had a heart full of compassion. He took a lot of interest in growing trees and in feeding birds. He turned his village green. Even in the compounds of Police Station where he was posted, he grew lots of trees and looked after them. If anyone damaged trees, he used to feel pained. Feeding birds was his daily routine. In Sawai-Madhopur, birds even used to pick up raisins from his hands. A part of his income was regularly given for the use of poor and this was done so secretly that no one would know of this.
Police in Jaipur State those days used camels for riding. The Sepoy in-charge of a camel was known as ‘Shutur Sawar’ (or camel-rider). He used to get a separate allowance for the maintenance of the camel. Thakur Ram Singhji, however, used not only to feed the Shutur Sawar but also the camel from his own pocket. One of such Shutur Sawar who had the fortune of working with Thakur Ram Singhji mentioned this about him: ‘What do you talk of Ram Singh ji Bhati. He was a noble Thanedar, a living god. On tours he used to eat only after all were fed. Not only human beings but until the camel also had been fed, he did not take food himself.’
One Shri Kishan Chandra Bhargava who was PWI in the Railways gave him a photograph of Mahatma Ram Chandraji. He was posted in Palsana those days. He started meditating on that photograph and started receiving spiritual radiations. He wrote a letter to Mahatma Ram Chandraji expressing his inability to personally visit him. Quick came the reply. Mahatma Ram Chandraji wrote back to him that he himself was coming to Jaipur and would meet him then. A few days later Mahatma Ram Chandraji arrived and when he saw Thakur Ram Singh, he remarked, ‘Ram Singh, you are exactly the same as I had seen you’, though they had never met before. Mahatma Ram Chandraji stayed in Jaipur for three days and during this stay he also visited Manoharpura. Thakur Ram Singhji used to say that his condition after his first meeting with Mahatma Ram Chandraji was explained by a couplet sang by the tongawala on his return in a tonga:
‘Ajab tere ishq ka yeh asar dekhtan hoon,
Ki tarakki pe darde jigar dekhtan hoon,
Samaya hai jabse tu meri nazar mein,
Jidhar dekhtan hoon tujhe dekhtan hoon.’
(I see a strange effect of your love that the pain of love in my heart is ever growing. Ever since I have seen you, wherever I see, I see you alone.)
Thakur Ram Singhji used to say that this couplet exactly described his condition. In the first meeting itself he had become ‘one with his Master.’ When after three days Mahatma Ram Chandraji Maharaj was returning back, Thakur Ram Singhji presented him a bouquet of roses. Mahatma Ram Chandraji blessed him to be a ‘Fanafil-Murid’ i.e. ‘a disciple with whom his Master has merged’ and that his fame would spread like the smell of roses.
His devotion and his merger with his Master were such that many a times he forgot his own existence. At times he could not even recall his name. Once he was to give evidence in the Court. When asked for his name, he could not recollect his name. The Advocate for the Police reminded him of his name. The Judge also was surprised to see such a person.
He was a man of few words and did never speak a lie. Only once did he speak a lie in his life, in Sawai Madhopur to save a Police Constable and he used to say that his Master turned this lie too into the truth. Whatever he had said thinking it to be a lie, had turned out to be the truth.
The saintly behaviour of Thakur Ram Singh left an unforgettable impression on every one who came in his contact. Many officers from the Police Department were deeply impressed by him, some of whom changed their way of living. These included Dy. Supdt. of Police Kushal Singh ji and Supdt. of Police Mool Singh ji.
Dy. SP Kushal Singh Rajawat was a colleague of Thakur Ram Singhji. They used to study in the same school in their childhood. They also had their Police training together in the Police Lines, Fateh Tiba, Jaipur. Kushal Singh ji was the first person who had the opportunity of having the benefit of Satsang with Thakur Ram Singhji. Shri Rajawat was an honest and straightforward officer. As both Thakur Ram Singhji and Shri Rajawat had lot in common, their friendship grew day-by-day. Shri Rajawat however, had only one bad habit of drinking. He was born in a royal family of Mahalan and it was common in that environment to gather friends and relatives and start drinking right from the evening through night. Thakur Ram Singhji one day saw him doing so. He politely told him not to drink. Shri Rajawat, however, laughed it away and in the evening started drinking. After some time Thakur Ram Singhji once again told him not to drink. Shri Rajawat retorted, ‘You are not aware of the fun of drinking, as you have never taken it. Drink one day, the sky will come down to the earth.’ Thakur Ram Singhji replied, ‘I do drink, but without spending any money and it is much more inebriating.’ Shri Rajawat was surprised and enquired whether there was any such drink. Thakur Ram Singhji invited him to come in the evening to taste the same.
The same evening Shri Rajawat visited Thakur Ram Singhji who asked him to wash his hands and feet. He did so and then sat before Thakur Ram Singhji. They started talking and Shri Rajawat started getting inebriated. His eyes closed and voice silenced. He forgot about himself. A divine light engulfed him deep within. Such bliss encompassed him that his life changed. When his eyes opened, he saw Thakur Ram Singhji smiling. Shri Rajawat caught hold of his feet. It is said that Shri Rajawat continuously for seven days–seven nights had this feeling. His friends started asking him whether he was drinking even during the day. Shri Rajawat was the first person to receive the grace of Thakur Ram Singhji. He never drank thereafter. With the passage of time his fame also travelled far and wide and reached the ears of Young Sahab, IGP, Jaipur, who started calling him the second Ram Singh.
Shri Mool Singh Shaikhawat was the Supdt. of Police for Jaipur city for long. Whenever Thakur Ram Singhji used to visit Jaipur, he generally stayed with him, which brought both of them quite closer. Mool Singh ji was a cheerful person and used to think Police Service to be a ‘tree full of fruits’ that could be shaken any time to fill the pockets. Often he used to tell Thakur Ram Singh, ‘What kind of an officer are you. You have not made any money even in police service.’
Mool Singh ji was a strongly built person and a daring officer. He had earned a name for himself in the Jaipur State as a brave officer. Thieves and dacoits used to shiver listening to his name. Once a dreaded dacoit was surrounded by a Police party but no one dared to catch hold of him fearing for one’s life as the dacoit could have attacked the Policeman not caring for his own life. Mool Singh ji, all by himself came forward, challenged the dacoit and caught hold of him from behind. Such a brave person, however, fell a victim to drinking which had overpowered him. Mool Singh ji used to feel sorry and helpless, as he could not restrain himself from drinking.
Once he mentioned about his inability to get rid of this habit to Thakur Ram Singh. Thakur Ram Singhji told him, ‘Kotwal Sahab (SP Sahab), there is one more inebriation, which is more powerful than liquor. The inebriation of liquor has ups and downs but this inebriation once on would never be down.’ Mool Singh ji requested him ‘Thanedar Sahab, if an affectionate and kind person like you cannot take care of me, who else would do it for me. Kindly give me also a bit of the inebriant that keeps you on.’
The arrow had hit the target. The same evening both of them set facing each other on a wooden Deewan. The meditation started. After about one hour when Shri Mool Singh ji’s eyes opened, he said with folded hands ‘Today you have given me that nectar which has made me forget myself.’
SP Mool Singh ji later used to describe his experience in these words, ‘I felt as if waves of bliss were rocking me. I had no sense of time and was totally engulfed by that bliss. When (after meditation) I started moving, I was trembling, which had never happened to me before even after consuming a bottle of liquor. I do not know what that godly man had done to me in a day that changed my life. The habit of drinking was over for ever and I started passing my time in remembering the Almighty.’
Thakur Ram Singhji had become a living legend in the Police Department. His reputation as an honest and sincere officer with absolute integrity had reached far and wide in the entire Jaipur State. Even the Courts were not left untouched from it. The Nazim-Ikram Hussain of Shaikhawati was also impressed by him and to such an extent that if Thakur Ram Singhji presented any inquiry report before him, he would deliver his judgment based on that report without any further investigation. He would not even call many witnesses. Those days, the Nazim of a Nizamat was considered to be a very senior officer for both civil and criminal matters. In one such case the Nazim Ikram Hussain of Jhunjhunu, announced a sentence against a thief only on the basis of the statement of Thakur Ram Singhji. An appeal was filed against this order in the Chief Court of Jaipur State. The famous Chief Justice Shri Sheetla Prasad Bajpai of Jaipur State heard this matter. After hearing both the sides, Chief Justice Bajpai maintained the sentence, disagreeing with the defense argument that a person cannot be punished on the basis of a statement of a Police Officer alone and that there was no provision for such an action in the Criminal law. He discarded this argument stating, ‘Thakur Ram Singh in this case has made The statement. Those who made Criminal Procedure Code had not imagined of such a Thanedar whose statement carries more weight than the provisions of the CrPC.’
Once Thakur Ram Singhji was proceeding for Reengus from Jaipur. He had hardly reached the Railway Station that the train started moving. Somehow he could manage to board the train but could not purchase the ticket. At Chomu-Samod Railway Station, he met the TTI, explained him the matter and requested him to issue a ticket, and if thought fit charge him double the fare, as per the Railway rules. The TTI, however, told him to be comfortable and that he would do the needful. At Reengus Station again Thakur Ram Singhji requested the TTI to issue the ticket. The TTI knew him well and used to respect him as an ideal person. He somehow managed not to issue the ticket in spite of his insistence. Seeing no other way out, Thakur Ram Singhji came to Khatu Shyamji where he was posted. After sometime, he was to go to Jaipur. He came to Reengus Railway Station and asked his camel-rider to buy two tickets for Jaipur. The Camel-rider was confused and could not understand why was he asking for two tickets. However, he bought the tickets and handed them over to Thakur Ram Singhji, who kept one ticket carefully in his pocket and torn away the other ticket then and there. A person knowing him was standing near-by. He asked him about it. Thakur Ram Singhji smiled and said, ‘I have paid the money due to the Railways.’
A young man from Shaikhawati used to visit Thakur Ram Singhji at City Palace, Jaipur. Once when he reached City Palace, he was not available. Whenever Thakur Ram Singhji used to go out of Jaipur, he used to indicate this on a slate. The young man noticed that Thakur Ram Singhji had written on the slate that he is going to his village, but it was not mentioned when will he return. The young man was upset. When he was going back, he came across an acquaintance, a Police Officer. He also did not know the address of the village of Thakur Ram Singhji but he recalled that opposite Jaipur Railway Station and near the Old Powerhouse, Shri Har Narayan Saxena resides, who may perhaps know the address of Thakur Ram Singhji’s village. Next morning the young man reached Saxena Sahab’s house where Satsang was about to start. The young man also participated and sat for the meditation. When he opened his eyes after the meditation was over, he found to his surprise Thakur Ram Singhji sitting over there. Saxena Sahab also noticed him, welcomed him and requested him to bless all those present. The Satsang continued for some more time in the presence of Thakur Ram Singhji. When he was about to leave, he called the young man, took him to a corner and told him, ‘I have come here because you remembered me.’
One Satsangi mentioned an incidence concerning Thakur Ram Singhji in his diary as under: In the diary he has referred Thakur Ram Singhji as ‘Ram-Mahashay.’
“11 June, 1963. It is evening; Ram Mahashay is sitting quietly on the floor with a pacifying expression on his face. Satsangis are enjoying his company. One by one all of them left.
Today is Tuesday. Satsang takes place on Tuesdays at Judge Sahab’s residence. Ram Mahashay is reminded of Tuesday. He says ‘Come on, we shall go to Judge Sahab’s place.’ From City Palace, walked on foot to Subhash Chowk at Judge Sahab’s residence.
It is summers. The Satsang is being held at the open roof on second floor. The entire roof is occupied by Satsangis. Ram Mahashay climbed up the stairs and as he was about to sit in the rear that Judge Sahab spotted him. Judge Sahab stood up with folded hands and with him all other Satsangis also stood up. Seeing this Ram Mahashay very politely requested ‘Please take your place. There is no need to get up in His court.’
Judge Sahab smilingly replied, ‘If a courtier of His court comes, one has to stand up.’ By then Judge Sahab had reached near Ram Mahashay, who for some time with folded hands looked at Judge Sahab. This was a rare scene to be witnessed. He was humility personified, which filled the heart with an unexplainable joy. A couplet of Saint Kabir occurred in the mind:
‘Kabir chera sant ka, dasan ka pardas,
Kabir aise ho raha, jyo paon tale ghas.’
Judge Sahab requested Ram Mahashay to sit in the front but he did not agree and sat in the rear behind all Satsangis. Judge Sahab also sat down there and requested all Satsangis to turn towards Ram Mahashay. There was silence for some time. These moments of silence were more valuable than any spiritual discourse. Every one was quiet and Ram Mahashay was getting absorbed deep within. The Satsang went on like this for sometime.
Ram Mahashay participates like this only at times. His arrival had suddenly sparkled everything. A little later Judge Sahab requested him to say something for the benefit of those present.
Ram Mahashay told a story and then mentioned that one should try and bring about his wife to think alike and make her a companion. Then there was a silence for sometime. Thereafter he said, ‘The One we are searching is inside us. One has to develop love for Him. If we move two steps towards Him, He moves four steps towards us, as He is the Param-Pita (creator of all). One has to look within and develop love for Him. His remembrance should be continuous.”
Dr. Chandra Gupta
Dr. Chandra Gupta from his childhood was inclined towards spiritualism. He used to worship Lord Hanuman, in his heart, right from the early childhood days. He also visited many saints but his destiny was the lotus feet of his Guru Bhagwan, Mahatma Shri Radha Mohan Lal ji. He received spiritual help from Sant Sawan Singh ji and Late Shri Ram Sahayji of Jaipur, who remained bachelor throughout his life. Shri Ram Sahayji was a dedicated person who lived in his neighborhood and used to spend much of his time in reading the Ramayana. Dr. Chandra Gupta used to listen to the Ramayana and imbibed this virtue in him.
During his early days when he lived in a house in Baba Harish Chandra Marg, Dr. Chandra Gupta used to salute Hanumanji in the temple on the Nahargarh Road. He was blessed with a ‘Siddhi’ by which he would know the ‘number’ that will win the ‘Satta’ (a sort of gamble) on the next day. After a few days, he realised this and prayed the Lord to take away that ‘Siddhi’ from him and to bless him with ‘His’ true love. From that day, this ‘Siddhi’ disappeared.
It was some time in the late fifties that Mahatma Radha Mohan Lal ji Sahab accepted Dr. Chandra Gupta as his disciple. Mahatma Radha Mohan Lal ji Sahab used to live in Kanpur. It was not possible for Dr. Chandra Gupta to visit him frequently. He visited Kanpur only a few times. Dr. Chandra Gupta those days used to practice homeopathy. He had his dispensary, which he visited daily in the mornings and evenings. One evening he was in his dispensary with Shri Sagar Chand ji advocate who was one of the disciples of Mahatma Chaturbhuj Sahaiji, a khalifa of Mahatma Ram Chandra ji Maharaj. Thakur Ram Singh ji came to the dispensary and said, ‘Doctor Sahab, doctors can be found easily but not the patients.’ Sagarchandji understood the hint and told Dr. Chandra Gupta, ‘Thakur Sahab has invited you. You should visit him.’ The real meaning of these words was that the saints themselves search the true seekers and help them to achieve their objective.
Although Dr. Chandra Gupta was initiated by Mahatma Radha Mohan Lal ji, Thakur Ram Singh ji himself on his own came looking for Dr. Chandra Gupta to bless him with his grace and to take him further on the path of spirituality. The saints do not discriminate and they come forward to help the devotees. Mahatma Radha Mohan Lal ji Sahab in this regard wrote to Dr. Chandra Gupta that this is what a brotherly behavior is. In another letter he wrote: “Shri Kunwar Ram Singh ji is a devotee. He had the fortune of spending time in the company of Great Masters of this line. His heart always remains completely filled with the divine love. There is not much correspondence with him but he always remains in my thoughts. It is well established that love can never be kept secret.”
Dr. Chandra Gupta used to visit Thakur Ram Singh ji almost every day. He was serving in the AG’s office, Jaipur and the office timings were 10 A.M. to 5 P.M. He used to go to office on his old bicycle. After returning from office and taking his dinner, he used to go to the City Palace, Jaipur, where Thakur Ram Singh ji usually stayed, away from his family in Manoharpura, Sanganer about 15 km from the City Palace.
Means of transport were limited those days. From his village Manoharpura, Thakur Ram Singh ji used to walk on foot up to Sanganer bus-stand, come to Ajmeri Gate by bus and from Ajmeri gate again he used to walk on foot to City Palace with his bag hanging on his shoulder. His eldest son, Bhai Sahab Hari Singh ji was in the service of the then His Highness King of Jaipur, who had allotted him an accommodation in the City Palace. Thakur Ram Singh ji stayed at City Palace, Jaipur so that devotees like Dr. Chandra Gupta were not put to inconvenience and could visit him for meditation. Not many people, however, knew about him. Thakur Ram Singh ji did not reveal himself on many people. Not even those who were close to him knew about his spiritual attainments.
Maulvi Hidayat Ali Sahab’s grandson, Maulvi Abdur Rahim Sahab, also was a great Sufi saint, greatly revered in the Muslim society, not only in Rajasthan but all-over the country and abroad. Thakur Ram Singh ji once asked Dr. Chandra Gupta to visit him. He then used to live at Baba Harish Chandra Marg and the residence of Maulvi Sahab was hardly about a kilometer from our house. He went to see him, saluted him and told him that my Master had asked me to visit you. There was not much conversation between them and he returned back. After a few days, while Dr. Chandra Gupta was passing through Khejre Ka Rasta, he met Maulvi Sahab on the way. Maulvi Sahab took Dr. Chandra Gupta with him to his residence and asked him “What has your Master said, today.” Dr. Chandra Gupta was very bold and a firm devotee to his Master. He followed the instruction of his Master to the hilt. On the first occasion his Master had asked him to visit Maulvi Sahab. Dr. Chandra Gupta had visited him and had returned back without any further inter-action. This time he had no such instruction and told the same to Maulvi Sahab. Maulvi Sahab then asked him “Maango kya Maangte ho (ask me whatever you want).” He kept quiet, as he did not want to ask for anything from anyone except his Master. Maulvi Sahab repeated for a second time and then for a third time. Dr. Chandra Gupta then considered this to be disrespect if he did not answer to Maulvi Sahab this time. He enquired “Would you give me, whatever I wish.” Maulvi Sahab told him, “Today the sky can come on the earth, ask me, whatever you wish, the Almighty will fulfill it.” Dr. Chandra Gupta requested to give him a few minutes. For 2-3 minutes he meditated upon his Master and then told Maulvi Sahab “kindly fill me with the love of my Master.” Maulvi Sahab was very pleased. He embarrassed him, took his hand in his own hand and told him, “From today I am also your Master.” Not only he showered his love and blessings on Dr. Chandra Gupta but also on the entire family and Satsangis whom he took to him.
At the highest level of spirituality, the saints do not distinguish between their disciples and others; they do not discriminate on grounds of caste, creed or religion. The spring of love flows inhibited, even a drop of which drenches one completely who has the fortune of getting it on him.
In the beginning Thakur Ram Singh ji had asked Dr. Chandra Gupta not to tell anyone about him. Dr. Chandra Gupta, however, took some seekers to Thakur Ram Singh ji. One day when Dr. Chandra Gupta went to visit him, Thakur Ram Singh ji was sitting on the floor and a chair was lying by the side. He asked Dr. Chandra Gupta to sit in the chair. He sat in the chair for a moment and then sat down. Thakur Ram Singh ji asked him, ‘Why have you sat down when I had asked you to sit in the chair. Tell me what punishment should be awarded to you.’ Dr. Chandra Gupta replied, ‘I sat in the chair to comply with your order and got down to observe the etiquettes, showing you the proper respect.’ Thakur Ram Singh ji then asked him, ‘I had asked you not to tell anyone about me, but you brought to me so and so etc. What punishment should be awarded to you.’ Dr. Chandra Gupta replied, ‘Kindly tell me that the punishment is meant for me and not for those, whom I have brought to you.’ He said, ‘Yes, the punishment is only for you.’ Dr. Chandra Gupta then said, ‘Saja wohi jo mijaje yaar me aaye. Lekin soch lijiye jahan mein whon wahan aap hain, or jahan aap hain wahan mein whon (Award the punishment that you may like. But kindly keep in mind that you are in my heart and I am in your heart). Thakur Ram Singh ji was very pleased with this answer. He embarrassed him and said, ‘Dr. Sahab from today all your wrong doings are forgiven.’
Vishnu Singh ji, the youngest son of Thakur Ram Singh ji was a family man but he renounced his family and joined the Nath Sampradaya. He started living in a forest with his Guruji, wearing their attire and Kundals (earrings). Seeing the plight of his family, Dr. Chandra Gupta one day reached there and asked Vishnu Singh ji to join back his family but he did not agree. Dr. Chandra Gupta then told his Guruji to ask him to go back to his family. When they did not agree, he forcefully took Vishnu Singh ji with him, breaking the Kundals worn by him. His Guruji asked, ‘Dr. Sahab, do you know what sin have you committed. Breaking the Kundals is like breaking a Shivalinga. Do you know who Shiva is. Dr. Chandra Gupta said, ‘yes, I know. I am the Shiva.’ He the asked, ‘Do you know, who Brahma is.’ Dr. Chandra Gupta said, ‘yes, I know. I am the Brahma.’ Like this the dialogue went on for some time. His Guruji kept on taking the names of various gods and Dr. Chandra Gupta kept on saying, ‘I am the one.’ At last Guruji taking some water in his hand said, ‘Dr. Sahab, I curse you that you will die in seven days.’ In the evening Dr. Chandra Gupta narrated the incident to his Master Thakur Ram Singh ji, who said, “Bus, itni si baat par shraap de diya. Yeh nahi dekha ki yeh to mast hai (Oh! on such a trifle matter he has cursed you. He did not see that he was cursing a person who was totally engrossed in his Master). And on the seventh day Vishnu Singh ji’s Guru himself expired. Vishnu Singh ji, however, joined back the Nath Sampradaya later.
Once an acquaintance of Thakur Ram Singh ji, for whom he had lot of regards, was taken seriously ill. Thakur Ram Singh ji went to see him in the hospital and took Dr. Chandra Gupta along with him. In the hospital Thakur Ram Singh ji went alone inside the room leaving Dr. Chandra Gupta behind. He prayed there for him. When he came out, he said, ‘Dr. Sahab, I have seen him. Give him medicine. If you want, you may see him.’ Dr. Chandra Gupta replied, ‘Maharaj when you have already seen him, there is no need for me to see him.’ He then gave him some medicine, as ordered by his Master. Within two days he was all right. This was on the one hand an example of the humility of Thakur Ram Singh ji, who wanted to hide his act and give the credit to his dear disciple. On the other hand his disciple had a firm faith in his Master and followed his words to the hilt. His Master had said, ‘I have seen him….If you want, you may see him.’ For Dr. Chandra Gupta there was no question of any need to see the patient as his Master had already seen him and he only had to follow his orders to ‘give him medicine’.
Towards his last days Thakur Ram Singh ji once told Dr. Chandra Gupta, “You are my blood now. Whatever you were to receive from the elders’ house (Mahatma Radha Mohan Lal ji Sahab), I have got it for you. Whatever I had to give you, I have given it to you. Now carry forward this mission.”
Dr. Chandra Gupta lived till 17 August 1991. His Samadhi is situated at C-47, Sethi Nagar, Jaipur.
Mentioned below are some of the experiences of Dr. Chandra Gupta, in his own words, which he used to write in his dairy:
(i) In my childhood, when I was in Rohtak, I got an attack of Plague. There was no chance of survival. In a state of unconsciousness, it appeared to me that my back was lying on a sword and many people had gathered around to beat me with sticks. There was no one to save me. It was a scene that depicted that one reaps the harvest that one sows. Just then a saint in causal body appeared, whose charm was beyond description. He took me off the sword. All those who were standing around ran away. Thereafter the saint also disappeared, but left behind his memory in my mind forever. When I regained consciousness, the disease was no more. I had the fortune to have a glimpse of that saint twice more in my life.
(ii) Bikaner-1942: I was blessed with two sons (twins), who were named Rajkumar and Ramkumar. They had a peculiar circular mark made of hair on their forehead. One night that saint appeared in my dream and asked me to give both the children to him. When I refused, he asked me to accompany him. I argued that if I accompany him, who would look after the children. The saint said, ‘A child who was born on a boat in river and at the same time his mother expired, who looked after him would look after your family also.’ I had no answer to it. After 10-15 days both the children passed away within a week. At the time of the death of the younger one of them, I saw a golden light emanating from his nose rising to about 2-2 ½ feet height and moving towards the sky. When I returned after cremation I was very sad and lied down on a cot. It was daytime but I got fast asleep. I saw a forest through which was passing a road with dense trees on both the sides with stars shining on them. I felt very pleased. When I proceeded a little ahead on the road, I saw a hut of a Mahatma. His subtle body was being heated in a fry pan and then taken out and beaten on a stone. The Mahatma, however, felt no pain. He said, ‘Today all my past deeds have been fully accounted for. Now I shall not be born again. My cycle of rebirth is over.’ He told his name as ‘Kalyan Chand, who was my elder brother. Thereafter I saw a river in which was flowing milky water over which that saint was sitting along with my both the sons. They said to me, ‘After one year from today, our brother will take birth in your family. He will bear a tilak mark on his forehead and will remain with you. His name is Krishna Kumar.’
(iii) Jaipur-1951-52: I was passing through Chandpole bazaar for my residence. Some one coughed at me. I developed a fear and fell ill. Slowly it turned into TB as diagnosed by doctors. I was sad and feeling that there was no one to help me and my family. One day I was praying the Almighty that His desire alone be fulfilled. I saw a dream that a Mahapurush (great person) appeared in the attire of a doctor. He operated upon me and replaced three bones in my right chest. It was about three in the night. I got up and took a hot water bath. I had been cured. This made me to believe that this is how the Almighty helps His people.
(iv) Jaipur-1952-53: The Station of Subtle Body: This station is under the control of Dharmaraj. He rules over the physical and the subtle body. Reward or punishment is given according to one’s deeds. No one can interfere in this. One has to bear the brunt of his deeds. Rarely one can cross this place. Only through the help of His Master, one can get through this place. I once saw that in a dark night I was passing through a street, which was closed at the other end. I entered into a house and reached the other side, which was another world. There was dim light and peace everywhere. Every thing there was taking place without speaking, through will. ……..When I moved further, I reached one of the four gates of that place. The Gate in charge was a tailor. I was presented before him. He said that I had crossed the bounds of that place. He gave me permission to travel further to another place saying, ‘His life is extended by thirty years so that he returns after completing his yoga in this life. Further extension can be given, if necessary.’
(v) I used to read the Ramayana. In the Uttarkand there are the following couplets:
“Indriya Dwar Jarokha Nana, Tahan Tahan Sur Bathe Kar Thana,
Aavat Dekhahin Vishay Bayari, Te Dradhi Dehi Kapari Ughari,
Jab So Prabhanjan Ur Guhan Jaain, Tabahin Deep Vigyan Bujhai,
Granthi Na Chooti Mita So Prakasa, Buddhi Vikal Bhai Vishay Batasa,
Indriya Suranah Na Gyan Sohai, Vishay Bhog Par Priti Sadai,
Vishay Sameer Buddhi Krit Bhori,Tehi Vidhi Deep Ko Bar Bahori.”
(This in brief meant that one is slave of desires. As one progresses on the way of spirituality, materialistic attractions try to pull him down)
When I used to cross the above couplets, I used to get upset and used to lose interest in reading the Ramayana any further. One day I expressed my fear to Guru Bhagwan Thakur Ram Singh ji. Ramayana was not there. He asked me to narrate it but I did not remember the couplets. He asked me when shall I reach at that couplet, I answered that I do not know. He said, ‘The Almighty may help you understand its meaning.’
Three-four days later, a lady came for treatment at my dispensary in the morning. About half a minute before her arrival, I had an attack of lust. Simultaneously my heart also was full of remembrance of Guru Bhagwan. I was completely shaken. After giving her medicine, I closed the dispensary, reached home and narrated the incidence to my wife. I was sad due to this incidence, which repeated for three days. I was passing through the same experience all these days. On the fourth day my wife said, ‘It is not your fault. Today I shall accompany you.’ By that time Guru Bhagwan arrived at our residence. On inquiry, I narrated the entire episode. He asked both of us to sit in meditation. I felt as if some one pulled out a black looking thing from my heart and started running with it. I followed him but could not succeed to catch hold of him. After meditation Guru Maharaj asked me, “You could not get back that thing.” I said, ‘Yes, Sir.’ Thus, Guru Maharaj explained me the real meaning of that couplet and helped me cross that stage without falling a prey to it. This is his grace.
(vi) 10-3-1970. Once I saw a very wide spread desert, every particle of which was shining in the light of moon, as if the waves were dancing in the ocean. Everywhere it was the same scene. Moonlit night and my subtle body; besides that there was nothing except peace everywhere. It appeared to be a delusion. A little later I saw a number of souls, golden in colour but small in size, which were dancing. My subtle body also started dancing with them. It was very pleasant. Anahat nad also was resounding at its full strength. An angel then appeared and said to me, ‘Your assignment is over. Now you should give up your body.’ I asked for a day’s time. I heard, ‘Now this mission will be run by Bhaisahab Narayan Singh ji and Krishna Kumar. The mission will work in two parts. (On 15 march 1985, Hajrat Abdur Rahim Sahab has bestowed the full authorisation on Shri Krishna Kumar (eldest son of Dr. Chandra Gupta), on behalf of Thakur Ram Singh ji. Bhaisahab Narayan Singh ji (son of Thakur Ram Singh ji) was authorised by Mataji.)
(vii) Once I visited Guru Maharaj at City Palace. It was morning time and Guru Maharaj was about to take bath. I sat before him and immediately entered into a vision. I saw lots of stars, which were brighter than even the Moon and the Sun, falling from the sky. I was frightened and thought that I was dying. When I gained a little consciousness I felt relief. Thereafter I saw an ocean, which had no end, filled with red-coloured water with strong waves. To make me feel comfortable, Guru Bhagwan showed me a bird playing with the water of the ocean. My fear was lessened. Then I saw myself lying on the waves, which had calmed down. I saw golden light falling on me from far away, which had engulfed me from all around. My own strength had vanished and that light was governing all my activities. A thought occurred to me that this light was my Guru Bhagwan.
(viii) December-1972. Once Shri Durgadan ji and I went to Shri Mool Raj Tondon’s residence. Shri Mool Raj Tondon was a freedom fighter and my fellow disciple. He had been operated upon for hernia and one of his kidneys had also been removed. He also was suffering with high blood pressure. We all set in meditation. Shri Durgadan ji and I saw Tondon Sahab’s Manipur chakra (one of the mystique centers of energy) getting activated. It emitted a spherical beam of golden light. The rays were falling on Shri Mool Raj Tondon, as if his wounds were being cured. Durgadanji could not bear the heat and came out to have some fresh air. Shri Mool Raj Tondon in spite of bad health survived till 1978.
(ix) 26-6-1973. I was talking to a person in the Record room of my office. Some one asked, ‘Has any one seen the God.’ I uttered, ‘yes.’ In the night I felt that some invisible power had cut my body into pieces by a sword. I was, however, surprised that not a single piece had fallen down, nor was I feeling any pain. Just then Guru Bhagwan appeared in his subtle body, touched my entire body with his hands and said, ‘Thanks God, all your organs are in tact and there is no mark of cut.’ By then the sword converted into a beam of light and started advancing towards me to severe my head. I also started running to save myself. The sword was following me but could not touch me. I had realised the mistake of my ego. Next day I requested that man in the office to forgive me for my vanity. He was deeply impressed. This is how I was made to pass through this stage. Hajrat Mansoor had to suffer bodily but in my case my Master very kindly allowed me to experience it through my subtle body as my physical presence was required for the mission’s work.
(x) 5-11-1982. I saw that a train left me at a station. I came out of the station. The station was in the city itself. It was evening and lamps were lit in all the shops. I was walking on the pavement on the right side of the road. It was quiet everywhere. While walking I saw a shop, whose owner was a tailor. He had a medium built brown coloured dog with long hairs over its body. The dog was sitting quietly, but as the dog saw me, it pounced on me and grabbed my right hand in its jaws. It started bleeding. When the owner of the dog saw it, he opened the mouth of the dog but I could not take my arm out of the dog’s mouth. By then my arm had become immobile. Just then another great person appeared there who took my arm out of the dog’s mouth. The dog then said in human voice, ‘He was a good Sufi saint in his last birth. He, however, killed me without any reason.’ Hearing this from his mouth, I caught hold of the dog’s feet and requested for forgiveness. He forgave me. With the blessing of the tailor and the dog I saw my last birth. I saw my wife, who is still with me in this life and myself. That great person-tailor then told me, ‘This was the remainder of your deeds in your last birth, which has been borne by you. Now all deeds from your previous births have been accounted for.’