Experiences of Gadge Maharaj with Sai Baba.
Gadge Maharaj or Debuji Zhingraji Janorkar (February 23, 1876 – December 20,1956) popularly known as Sant Gadge Maharaj or Gadge Baba was a saintly social reformer, a wandering mendicant who held weekly festivals with the help of his disciples across Maharashtra. His reforms and visions for villages in India is still a source of inspiration for various political parties and non-government organizations.
The Government of India has started a ‘Sant Gadgebaba Swachata Abhiyan’ in 2000-01 in his honor. This program awards prizes to villagers, who maintain clean villages.
He was one of the great social reformers of Maharashtra. He was a saint who understood problems of his people and worked untiringly for upliftment of the poor and needy with focus on hygiene. He was also associated with Atmaram Tarkhad (Chapter 9 of Sai Satcharitra). A separate chapter has also been written about Gadge Maharaj by V.J.Tarkhad in Live experiences of Tarkhad Family with Sai Baba
Government of India has announced National Award for sanitation and water in his honor. Government of Maharashtra also runs Sant Gadge Baba Swachta Abhiyan (Cleanliness Scheme).
Saint Gadge Maharaj was associated with Sai Baba of Shirdi. Read the leela here Gadge Maharaj had the habit of continuously singing “Gopala, Gopala Deviki Nandan Gopala”. In his early days he was a poor saint who owned only a mud pot, but a desire to build a grand building for charitable work. He was quite successful in building a “Dharamshala” at Pandarpur.
When he started building a dharamshala at Nasik the funds suddenly froze. He had only a few rooms built and the work had to be stopped. He was quite disgusted by the turn of events so he decided to go and meet Baba.
Just as he climbed the steps of the Dwarkamai, Baba looked at him and shouted a lot of foul abuses. Gadge Maharaj laughed heartily and so did Baba. Gadge Maharaj knew that hereafter his work would proceed smoothly. Since Baba had abused and driven the bad fortune and soon the funds rolled in and he successfully completed his mission.
Source: Shirdi Diary by G.S. Khaparde.