Legend of Shri Sant Gajanan Maharaj
The origins of Shri Sant Gajanan Maharaj are untraceable in history.
A Banyan tree in old Shegaon. Two youngsters noticed a peculiar personality strongly built. Fair in complexion. Young in age. Peculiar calmness and satisfaction on face. Searching rice particles on the patrawalies. And chanting Gan Gan Ganat Bote. No effect on face of scorching heat of summer noon time. That was the first appearance of Gajanan Maharaj in tiny Shegaon Town. The personality was so impressive that the tow youngsters, Bankatlal and Damodar were attracted to the charm, And then began the legendary life; his legendary charisma!
He used to keep away from the worldly things. But though he tried to the people that he is in same, he has no literary knowledge, and so on. it is amply proved that - he was Bedshastree Sampnna, he was perfect in Yogashastra and that he had done Tapascharya, and he even knew the language (or psychology) of animals and birds. That's why Mahan Yogies, learned people and famous personalities used to come to see him.
He had gives people advice to his devotees. He could read the mind of his Bhakta. Those who came to see him with some purpose in mind, always went home satisfied. It is sad (and said rightly) that there was always peace and satisfaction around his stature. His eyes could give proper direction to the erring. He was thoroughly a faith healer . In Vidarbha without showing (giving) him Naivedhya nobody take one's meal. Because of the immense good done to the devotees. He had become a legendary phenomenon. There are hundreds & Thousand of Temples in all the parts of Maharashtra as well as outside Maharashtra of his name. That's why Shegaon of Shri Gajanan Maharaj is called "Bhu-Vaikenth", "The Abode of Bhagwan Shri Vishnu on earth". Shegaon has become the Pandharpur of Vidarbha.
Some researchers are of the opinion that Maharaj ran away from home when a small child of 11 or 12 years . He is supposed to have born to a couple identified as Bhavaniram and Shahubai. Gana Sable is supposed to be Maharaj's name according this group.It is claimed that Maharaj was born in Thal , a hamlet close to Shegaon. A group of people headed by Shri Dada Pandey of Nagpur are setting up a Pratisthan called Sri Gajanan Maharaj Janmasthan Pratishthan in Thal. There is however no clinching evidence , but Pandey swears otherwise . Those with inquisitive bent of mind may contact Shri Dada Pandey at Sri Gajanan kripa , Near Nehru Putla, Itwari , Nagpur 440 002 on Tel No 0712-761578.
It is said that Maharaj was seen by his mother in a fair and when she pleaded with to return home , Maharaj then unknown is supposed to have said - "Ab hum tumhare nahin aur tum hamare nahin" ( now I am not yours, nor you, mine )
In his book " Shegavicha Saavla Deva " the author Sumanbandhu has tried to examine the origin of Maharaj . According to one source in Khamgaon , Shri Pethare , Maharaj was from a family of Deshastha Brahmins of Latkar lineage and Gargya gotra. Another scholarly source from Nagpur Late Shri Aprabuddha claimed that Maharaj was from the family of Gokhales.
It is believed that Maharaj was in the ashram of Akkalkot Swami Samartha for a few days. The young boy when on the way to Akkalkot made Swami say " Ganapati aala re aala " while playing chess, with a reference to Bal Gajanan ( Maharaj). A photo of 11 year old maharaj can be seen in Amravati in Narayan Jamkar's temple. After getting initial lessons, Maharaj was directed to go and seek training from Yashwant Deo Mamlatdar in Nasik. Maharaj is supposed to have abandoned all his clothes and ran towards Nasik. There in Nasik, Maharaj used to hold several parleys with Brajabhooshan , a great devotee of the Sun God. Deo is supposed to have also put Maharaj in contact with Raghunathdas who was staying near Kapildhara . Thus a rough cut diamond was being polished to attain glitter. Maharaj imbibed lessons in Yoga sadhana, meditation, and detachment. and later attained tremendous prowess in Yoga sadhana under Narsing baba of Akot, a disciple of Kotashya Valli who came from Punjab to Akot in 1850.
While Maharaj was performing sadhana , one Balshastri Gadge of Laad- Karanjya was impressed with the young boy and waited till he finished with his sadhana. Upon completion, Bal shastri is supposed to have invited Maharaj to Lad Karanjya in Vidhabha and Maharaj seems to have obliged. This period is reckoned as 1865when Maharaj stepped into Vidharbha as a young shining star on the horizon.
Maharaj and Bal shastri went to Murtizapur and Maharaj was taken in procession from the Rly Station to Karanja. From there Maharaj suddenly disappeared putting Balshastri in a quandry . However he was traced later and brought back to Shastri's house. In Shastri's house, Maharaj imbibed finer points of Vedshastra and music.
From here Maharaj went to Baggi via Chandur where he took darshan of Maniram Baba , a realised soul who hailed from Ayodhya.
From here Maharaj came to Akot and spent a couple of years with Narsing baba . Narsing baba was senior in age, wearing a cloth turban and a " cloth" to cover the vital organs , carrying a stick in his hand. Narsing Baba used to live in a small hut and would wander in the thick jungles fearlessly where wild animals would wander. Perhaps his power was so large that even wild animals must have been tamed by his prowess. Gajanan Maharaj performed the yogic feet of getting the water level in the well to rise upon which Narsing Baba is supposed to have cautioned him not to demonstrate his prowess as devotees would trouble him. Maharaj used these powers sparingly thereafter .
In the jungles of Akot , while Maharaj without any clothes on his body , was in deep meditation . A nomadic woman got attracted to Maharaj's strong frame and sharp features and under the act of touching Maharaj's feet , came physically close to Maharaj with a view to fufill her biological desires.
Maharaj had achieved great control over His five senses and was not to be tempted by such desires - " jitendriya " that He was - just a seminal discharge of a drop rendered the dry grass scorch and turn black. This woman then realised that if the biological union with her was to really happen , she could be turned to ashes herself. She then apologised for her conduct and went away. ( source - V K Phadke in the souvenir released to inaugurate GM temple in Kanhor, Badlapur )
After supervising Narsing Baba's samadhi arrangements on 28-1-1888 , Maharaj is supposed to have calmed the bereaved devotees/disciples of Narsing Baba with some soothing and comforting advice and then, moved to Shegaon at the behest of HIS MASTER, Guru Swami Samartha.