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14

 

Hazrat Babajan hails from Afghanistan ( Central Asia) and was the daughter of a well-to-do Afghan of noble lineage. Her maiden name was Gul-rukh ("rose-faced"), and her early training was that befitting the status of an Afghan aristocrat. At a very early age she became Hafiz-e-Quran (one who learns the Quran by heart), and later became conversant with Arabic, Persian, Pushtoo and Urdu. From early life she developed mystical tendencies, and unlike girls of her age, she used to pass a good deal of her time in prayers, meditation and solitude.

 

This mystical aspect in her asserted itself, for, on coming of age, she was found to be dead-set against any idea of marriage. The parents could not understand her and to them the idea of a Pathan girl remaining unmarried was extremely scandalous. Finding the situation no longer tenable and the parents bent upon forcing the issue of matrimony on her, Gul-rukh managed to escape and came to Peshawar, India, and thence to Rawalpindi. For a Pathan girl brought up under the strictest discipline of the purdah system, the escape from parental custody at the age of 18 years was not an easy undertaking. Surely it was her spiritual destiny that covered up her tracks and landed her safely in India unscathed and undetected.

 

At Rawalpindi Gul-rukh led an ascetic life for some years, and eventually came into contact with a Hindu Saint who first initiated her into the Spiritual Path. After this initiation she went into seclusion in a nearby mountain outside Rawalpindi and underwent very severe Riyaz (spiritual austerities) for nearly seventeen months.

 

'Thereafter she came down to the Punjab and stayed a few months in Multan. It was in Multan, when Gul-rukh was 37 years of age, that she contacted a Muslim Saint—a Majzoob or one immersed in Divinity who put an end to her spiritual struggle by giving her God-Realization. Gul-rukh once again wends her way to Rawalpindi, and there she is again spiritually drawn to the same Hindu Saint responsible for her first initiation. The Saint helps her to come down from the superconscious state of God-Realization to the normal consciousness of a personal god. In the language of Sufis, the superconscious state of God-Realization is called Mushahida and the return to normal consciousness is called Irfan.

 

Hereafter Gul-rukh begins a long trail of journeys from one part of India to another. In one of her itineraries she visits Bombay, and after a few months' stay in Bombay, goes back once again to the Punjab, and spends good number of years at different places in Northern India. It was at this time

 

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