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15

that she happened to utter, in a moment of ecstasy, words connoting her Divine state. This was treated as rank blasphemy by orthodoxy, who with the connivance of the church, got her buried alive.

 

Gul-rukh miraculously survived this ordeal and finding the country unsafe, she bade goodbye to the Punjab and Northern India forever. She travelled south to Bombay, and in this, her second visit to the city, she took up her abode in a locality known as Choona Bhatti near Byculla. Bombay, however, was not to be graced by her presence for long, and the enviable honor of manifesting Gul-rukh's spiritual greatness goes to Poona, situated 120 miles southeast of Bombay.

 

It was in Poona that the Sepoys of the Baluchi Regiment, who had only recently arrived from the North, and who knew that Gul-rukh was buried and dead, had the surprise of their life to find her alive and seated underneath a neem tree at a place called Malcolm Tank in cantonment limits. The Baluchi Sepoys looked upon this as a great miracle, and thus feeling convinced of her spiritual greatness, gave Gul-rukh an ovation by bowing to her reverentially. After this incident, her saintly fame spread far and wide, and she came to be universally known as Hazrat Babajan.

 

For some time after her entry into Poona, about the year 1903, Babajan had no fixed place of abode. She was seen sitting or resting at odd places, in different parts of the city and cantonment. Although shabbily dressed, there was something very magnetic in her personality, very unusual in the street mendicant that she looked, so that no passerby could resist giving her a second glance. She was seldom seen moving about or sitting anywhere all alone. There were always a few people loitering round eyeing her curiously or sitting with her smoking bidis (Indian cigarettes). Her bodily requirements were very few, and she ate very sparingly at long intervals. She was very fond of tea, which was offered her very frequently by visitors. Whoever caught her glance as she walked the streets could not but halt or stand up reverentially until she passed by. The tea-shop wallas and fruit sellers would expectantly invite her to help herself to anything she liked; if perchance she condescended to accept anything, that was deemed a great honor and an auspicious token of good business for the day.

 

An unsettled life of some years in and around Poona, sees Babajan at last settled at a spot near Char Bavadi, Malcolm Tank, underneath the neem tree. At this time the locality mentioned was a picture of dirt, desolation and ugliness, a breeding spot of plague and pestilence and a regular haunt

 

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