[1861 - 1925]
Hazrat Tajuddin Baba was one of the five Perfect Masters (Sadgurus) of his Age.Such is the play of nature known as maya (illusion) that this Perfect Master was declared a lunatic and kept in confinement in the Nagpur Lunatic Asylum for more than sixteen years. However, Baba Tajuddin started his divine play from this place and virtually converted the asylum to a place of worship.
Baba Tajuddin was born on the 21st of January in the year 1861 at a place called Kamthi situated near Nagpur in the state of Maharastra. From the birth itself, there was something unusual about the child, for the new-born baby would not at all cry. He would, at times, open his eyes and look at people and again go to sleep. All normal methods to induce the child to cry having failed, the parents took recourse to a traditional shock method of touching hot iron to the forehead and ear of the child. With the application of this method the child jerked out of its stupor and started crying. The burnt marks thus made on the head and ears of the child remained on his body till the last.
More often-than-not, it is seen that highly developed souls become orphans in their early childhood so that they become free to operate in their spiritual world. This had happened with Shri Shirdi Sai and this also happened with Baba Tajuddin. His father expired when he was about one year old and his mother expired when he was only nine years old. The care of this orphan was taken over by his maternal grandmother and maternal-uncle Abdul Rahman. As a child, Baba started his education at the age of six in a local madrasa in Kamthi.
During this time a spiritually - developed soul, known as Hazrat Abdulla Shah, visited the madrasa and saw the child Tajuddin. He immediately told the teacher - "Why are you teaching this child. He has got all knowledge from his past life." Saying thus, he took out a dry fruit (Khumani) from his bag, ate half, and put the other half in the mouth of the child saying "Eat less, sleep less and speak less. Read Quran.
As soon as the child ate the dry fruit, God - consciousness dawned on him and for about three days he remained in a state of spiritual ecstasy.Obviously Hazrat Abdulla Shah had given Tajuddin the spiritual power or consciousness known as "Shaktipata" in Hindu Yoga system. Thereafter, the child was found to be always in a state of contemplation in secluded places.
At the age of 18, the financial condition of his maternal - uncle's house deteriorated due to floods. As a result, both Baba and his maternal - uncle searched for a job. In 1881, at the age of 20 Baba joined the Nagpur Army Regiment. Soon a contingent of the Regiment, where Baba was serving, was sent to a place called Sagar. At Sagar, Baba used to manage his duties as an army sepoy (soldier), somehow spending the best of the time in doing namaz and contemplation. Most of the nights he used to spend with a highly developed spiritual soul known as Hazrat Baud Saheb under-going spiritual practices. Hazrat Baud Saheb is, therefore, recognised as one of the spiritual masters of Tajuddin Baba. His absence from the army camp at nights, and his least regard for the service created problems from the higher authorities. One day, in a God-intoxicated state Baba suddenly submitted his resignation from the army and left the camp.
He then roamed about in the streets of Sagar like a mad man; without any sense of body. Soon his maternal grandmother heard of the news and took him away to Kamthi. She tried to get him cured through doctors and Hakims thinking that he was mad. The doctors and Hakims could hardly improve his condition as Baba Tajuddin's consciousness had, by that time transcended the gross and subtle body and was floating in the vast ocean of divine consciousness - beyond multiplicism and dualism of Nature. As the destiny of many spiritual seekers, children started throwing stones at him to which he would never react. The society around him discarded him to be useless for their purpose and declared him as mad and, therefore, humiliated him whenever and wherever they could.
However, miracles also started taking place around him. He would suddenly tell people about their past and warn them about future problems. One day in that Videha State (Beyond body state) he went near a British woman in a naked state. The horrified woman complained to the army authorities about such uncivilized behaviour. An army officer caught hold of him and got him admitted in the lunatic asylum of Nagpur on the 16th of August 1892. This is one of the biggest illusions of Nature (Maya) the mad people of the mad world declaring the Knowledge- Incarnate, who had come to redeem them of their worldly madness, as mad. But how could the authorities, confine a soul that is in a state of pure consciousness within the four walls of a lunatic asylum. As was the practice, the inhabitants of the asylum used to be locked up in barracks and cells at night. Similarly, Baba was also put in confinement under strict vigil.
Soon after he was locked up in the asylum that a strange incident took place that spread Baba's name far and wide. Baba was admitted in the lunatic asylum on the 26th August 1892. On the same day many people saw him moving freely in the streets of Kamthi, even after he was locked up. On the next day i.e. 27th an army sepoy, who, under the orders of the magistrate had brought Baba to the lunatic asylum the previous day, saw Baba roaming in the street. The shocked sepoy ran back and informed the British officer of the regiment, about it. The officer immediately rode his horse and searched for Baba. He ultimately found him sitting under a tree smiling at him. British officer was so enraged at seeing him moving freely that he straight away rode to the lunatic asylum at Nagpur situated at half an hour distance from Kamthi. He asked the doctor on duty Where is that insane whom I sent here yesterday? The doctor informed that he was in a locked room and also showed the officer where Baba was locked, and behold, the officer found the Baba Tajuddin was sitting inside the room in the same posture in which he had seen sitting under the tree only half on hour back smiling at him. On seeing the officer, Baba said. " Brother, you are doing your work and I am doing my work". The officer was so influenced by the divine personality of Baba that he instantly became his disciple and started visiting Baba on every Sunday with his family members. Thereafter, the asylum authorities were reconciled with Baba moving at various places inside the asylum compound and outside. Gradually, Baba's name became so famous that thousands of people from near and far started lining up before the lunatic asylum everyday to have Baba's darshan, blessing and help.
During his 16 years stay in the asylum, Baba cured thousands of people of diseases , granted children to the childless and took on his shoulders the responsibilities (both temporal and spiritual) of lakhs of his devotees.
Miracles are the way of functioning of the Masters. Since more often, they work through the subtle and mental mediums than in gross which ordinary mortals cannot perform, they are termed as miracles. The forces creating miracles are subtle forces of nature not yet discovered. Since the work of the Perfect Master precipitates hundreds and thousands of actions at different place at the same time, they employ the subtle methods. Those who have become mediums of miracles know for sure that there are definite principles on which the so called miracles operate. For them they are not miracles but a normal way of functioning at their levels of consciousness.
The Perfect Master are not confined by any religion, any creed, caste or even by scriptural injunctions or prescribed methods of worship etc. They are in a state of total 'freewill' without any limitations of nature. This is not to be misunderstood, as a negative state of assertion for free will. Baba's fame and love for people had been drawing thousands of people daily to the lunatic asylum. Even the staffs of the asylum including the doctors were his devotees.
The doctor gave report that Baba was not mad but a person of unusual qualities which medical science cannot explain. In the meantime, Maharaja Bahadur Shrimant Raghoji Rao Bhonsle, the Maharaja of Nagpur had become an ardent devotee of Baba and started visiting him regularly. One day, in the evening, he thought of getting Baba released from the lunatic asylum and bring him to his palace at Shakardara. The same night, he saw a vision in the dream in which Baba appeared and pointing towards Red Palace said "Oh, elder brother, let me stay here." It was early morning- (3.00 AM) of 9th July 1908, a Thursday. The Maharaja immediately called his officials and discussed about the steps to be taken to get Baba released. The Council decided that the Maharaja should immediately make an application for release to the Governor, Central Provinces. Ultimately after depositing a security money of rupees two thousands, the Maharaja secured the release of Baba on the 21st of September 1908 and brought him to his palace. From his palace Baba started his divine work.
Once Baba was lying down on the sands of the river Kanhan when two ladies by the name of Shantabai and Subhadrabai from Amaravati, approached him. While touching the feet of Baba they mentally prayed to him for children, as they were childless. The omniscient (Pragyan Ritambhara) Baba heard their inner prayers and gave a ladoo (a type of sweetmeat) to each after testing them. He blessed them to have sons. While they were returning, Shantabai ate the ladoo as a blessed prasad, but Subhadrabai did not because Baba had tasted the ladoo and was Muslim by birth. She quietly got the ladoo buried in the sand. As the Divine Will could have it, Shantabai got a son nine months later. When the child was about two-month-old, she came to Baba with the child for his blessings. Subhadra, who had not conceived even by that time, accompanied her. When Shantabai put her child at the feet of Baba, Subhadra could not control herself. She fell at the feet of Baba and cried -" Baba where is my child?" Baba told her to search the child from beneath the sand (indicating that he knew where the ladoo was) Subhadra immediately realised her mistake and repented profusely before Baba. The Perfect masters are incarnation of kindness. Her repentance and plight moved Baba. He blessed her to have a son, which she got after a year. The perfect master is a wish- fulfilling tree Kalpvriksha who even shower unconditional grace (Ahetuk Kripa).
A poor scheduled- caste woman called Tara once wished to feed Baba but since Baba was staying in the palace. Tara did not know how to approach him and was also afraid that some people may not take it kindly. So, she cooked the food and tied the food in a piece of cloth with a tree near the palace. Sometime later, people from high classes kept the best of dishes before Baba for his lunch. Baba Said, " I will not eat all these. Get my food tied in the Jamun tree". Everybody started searching but could not find the food. Ultimately Baba got up from his seat, brought the food from the tree and ate only that with utter satisfaction. The Perfect Master are hungry not for the food offered by the people but for the love behind such offer. The spiritual masters never encourage anyone to change his religion. They are above all religions. They only see the theme of humanism, which is the basis of all religions.
In the recent history of both Islamic and Hindu mysticism of India ( 1861 to 1925 ) , Hajarat Baba Tajuddin Aulia of Nagpur has been one of the most outstanding mystics of his time. He was most intimately loved and rather worshiped by both the Hindus and Muslims for his highly amazing spiritual powers and universal benedictions enjoyed by millions of the suffering humanity.
Descent and Birth
The ancestors of Tajuddin Baba were Arabs. Syed Abdulla, a grand son of Hazarat Iman Askari, came from Arabia to India and settled down in Madras. The descendants of his family thus happened to live around this city for a long time. One of them, Syed Badruddin, become a Subedar in the army - Madras Platoon no. 32 and live in Kamptee. He married Mariam Bee, the daughter of one sheikh Miraan Saheb.
Syed Badruddin had a son born on Thursday, the 27th of January, 1861, at about 5-15 a.m at Kamptee and he was named Tajuddin. But they were shocked to see that the newly born child did not cry, as usual, they feared it was still-born child and according to the prevalent custom, branded it on it's forehead and the temples. The child then cried for only a little while but almost immediately stopped and kept gazing intently in all directions. The marks of that branding remained for ever on the forehead and temples of the pious child.
Death of parents
Hardly had the child completed one year when his father , Syed Badruddin , passed away and when he was nine years old, his mother also died. The orphan was then brought up and educated at his mother's house by his grand mother. He was admitted in a school at the age of six. Up to the age of eighteen, he studied Arabic, Persian and English.
In his 6th year when Tajuddin was at school, in Kamptee a famous Muslim Saint, Hazarat Abdulla Shah, ..( whose tomb is now adjoining the railway station at Kamptee) came to see him. He gazed at Tajuddin, took out a piece of sweetmeat from his bag, chewed a bit of it and thrust the rest into Tajuddin mouth. He then told one of the teachers standing by : " What can you teach him? He is already well taught in his previous life." And, addressing the young Tajuddin, he said: " Eat little, Sleep little, and Talk little. While reading Quran, read as though the holy Prophet Mohammed has descended upon you."
This strange incident effected a profound change in tajuddin. Tears flowed from his eyes continuously for three days and he lost all interest in play and childish pranks. He sought solitude and was always found reading the works of great Sufi Saints and reflecting upon their profound significance. Of all that he read, the one couplet that captured his heart most was ---- " Drink wine, burn Quran and kaba; dwell in the mandap ( temple) but never hurt the feelings of , or cause pain to, any human heart. "
Hazarat Abdulla Shah was a Sufi dervish ( a Muslim mystic ). Neither he nor the Sufi mystic who wrote the above lines could hardly have meant these lines literally. It must be remembered that they are meant quite differently from what they appear outwardly. The commonest examples are the use of terms of drinking , lovemaking and intoxication in their poetry to connote mystical experiences. So the above lines actually meant that one has to drink the wine of ' true and sincere devotion' and faith, and not the dirty wine of worldly life; that the holy Quran is neither the parchment or the ink in which it inscribed, nor the Holy Kaba the stone; nor is it right to be caught in the narrow religious bigotry of hating other religions ( like belittling places of worship of other religions as the Hindu mandaps ). The most important of all is the non-injury of the body or the religious feelings and sentiments of any human being. Indeed Tajuddin spiritual career had been an unwritten, unuttered, commentary on these lines. When he became the full-fledged Tajuddin "Aulia", he ordered equal treatment of both the Hindus and the Muslims, as his story proves.
For all outward signs nothing of significance happened in the life of Tajuddin for the next 12 years. In his 18th year river, kamhan, near Kamptee, was in furious floods and the house of his uncle was badly damaged. Young tajuddin was deepely touched at the sight of the flood victims. Owing to the consequential loss, his uncle, Hazarat Abdul Rahman, was compelled to work in the Forest office for a living and he also advised his nephew to join the army. Accordingly, at the age of 20, in 1881 A.D., Tajuddin joined the 13th Nagpur Regiment. In the course of his army duties Tajuddin travelled extensively in the country and was also sent out to foreign countries like France, etc. On it's return, the regiment camped at the Grass Farm in Hyderabad ( Deccan ). There, an American officer, Mr. Benz came into contact with Tajuddin who thought him the Holy Quran. Another military officer, Mr. William, was a bosom friend of tajuddin in whose company he advanced in spirituality. Later Mr. William went to live in Calcutta where his tomb can be seen even today in the graveyard at Bangmeri.
Meets a 'Chishti' saint
In 1884, Tajuddin's Regiment reached Saugor. All through his career in the army, Tajuddin never neglected his Namaz( Muslim Prayer ). One day in Saugor, Tajuddin was lured by a melodious voice which led him to a lonely waste land nearby where a famous 'Chishti' saint Hazarat Dawood Shah lived. Henceforth he used to attend regularly to the service of this Muslim saint. He used to spend much of his time in meditation in the company of the saint every day after his army duties. Sometimes he stayed away with him in the night also. when his grandmother learnt at Kamptee that he was not staying in tent at night, she rushed to Saugor suspecting that Tajuddin had fallen into some evil company. She stealthily followed him at night but found that he was meditating with a muslim saint. Next morning, when Tajuddin returned home, she served him with breakfast. But Tajuddin said he would eat his his own laddu and peda (two Indian sweets) and stared chewing up the two stones he had in his hand. The old lady was awfully surprised at this phenomenon and realized that Tajuddin's devotional life had had given him some devotional powers, and that her suspicious about his character were wrong. She returned to her town happily. Even after Hazarat Dawood Chishti's death, Tajuddin continued his meditations and mujahedas( spiritual practices ) often near the decease's tomb.
Tajuddin's meeting with Hajarat Dawood Chisthi marked the second important land mark in his life. His meditations and mujahedas soon become more intensified and he found his job in the army a great hindrance to his 'new' life. And so he tendered his resignation directly to his commander. The latter was, however, shocked and at once wrote to his relations about his rash action. His grandmother, fearing that Tajuddin had become mentally cracked, came to Saugor and found him quite different man, wandering unaware of his worldly needs and responsibilities as if in quest of "something intangible." She took him to Kamptee where the doctors tried to cure him for madness and magicians used all kinds of talismans in vain. They could not realize that, by the grace of God, and attention of his Guru(Pir), he had attained " the high mystical-state-of-all-existence," in which one forgets self. But the people generally took him for a mad man. Children flocked round him and threw stones at him. But he always smiled and was never offended with them. On the contrary, he encouraged them by heaping the stones they needed the place, ready for their use. If people dissuaded the children from stoning him, he would get angry with them for their interference.
Tajuddin lived in this state for four years in Kamptee during which period his grandmother died, unaware of the glorious future of her grandson. Now his uncle, Abdul Rahman, took him to Chanda. There too he was treated in vain for his 'madness' and he was sent back to Kamptee and left to his own fate. He lived under bridges and in ruins, caring little for sun and rain. When it rained, he stood under some tree or the other. Now he was completely naked and hardly had any inclination for food or drink. When any one gave him any thing to eat, he gave it away to the stray dogs on the road.
In Shakardara, Baba Tajuddin used to sit under a tree quietly for many hours by looking on the floor, downing his head on the knees, such as he was performing meditation. People used to sit around him, waiting for Baba Tajuddin's attention towards them. Sometimes he would be in such a Jadhab, that for many days he had been sitting there in the same condition, without movement or having meal.
Once Maharaja Raghu Rao asked Baba Tajuddin about the unseen creautres. Baba Tajuddin was lying on the floor at that time, and looking at the sky. Baba Tajuddin's reply to that, was very much scholarly & a kind of Divine-knowledge, Baba said: "Raghu Rao! We have been watching the starts since we are born. Every night we look towards the sky, and it is interesting that we say that stars are visible before us, we watch them, and are familiar to the cosmic world. However, what we are looking at, and we are familiar to which kind of cosmic world? We are unable to define it. Still we think that 'we know'. Moreover, when we claim that we know about something, we do not try to find that how much that claim is right or not. We know that the Sun rises, but we do not know its hidden reality, also we don't know the hidden reality of day and night. Rughu Rao! Day & night are not angels or Jinns, but still they are visible for us. When you claim that your eyes can watch day and night, it is because they are believable for you! Nevertheless, you should also know that, thought works with the eyes. If the eyes couldn't work with the thoughts, then you would not be able to define anything. In short, everything depends on thoughts, and it is the thought that gives us vision and hearing to our senses. People think that there are other beings out of our sense of thoughts. Although, nothing exists out of our thoughts, human is just a thought, angel is just a thought, Jinn is just a thought, and thus, everything is a nothing but a thought."
At that time, Baba Tajuddin was still starring at the stars, he continued: "There is a strong relationship between us and the universe. The information that comes to our mind, they come from the universe, and that information comes to us through light. The rays of light bring to us information, and we call them imagination, superstition etc. Moreover, we think that these are our own creation, but actually it is not so
Once Baba Tajuddin went to the hills of Waki Sharif with some people. After reaching there, Baba Tajuddin smiled, and said, "Whoever fears the Lion, should leave. I will take rest here for a while and I think that the Lion would be coming here". Many left, and some hid themselves nearby. Hayat Khan and Qalandar Baba Auliya also hid themselves and closely watched Baba Tajuddin. After about one hour, a Lion showed up, and went near Baba Tajuddin, who was sleeping at that time. The lion sat near the feet of Baba Tajuddin and started licking them. After few minutes, the Lion closed his eyes and put his head down on the floor. Later on the Lion started to lick the feet of Baba Tajuddin again, and this time Baba Tajuddin woke up, he sat before the Lion and rubbed his hand on the head of the Lion. Baba Tajuddin said, "You've come! Now you are quite alright, and I'm happy to see you in good health, now you should leave". The lion then left obediently.
By 1925 A.D, Baba was 64 and during the month of August, his health started deteriorating. Raja Raghu Rao hired the best doctors, but his time had come. Raghu Rao understood that Baba Tajuddin is getting ready to depart. He asked Baba to allow people to see you even if medical advice did not permit. The ever-benevolent Baba just smiled and agreed. As the news spread thousands of people came to the Maharaja's palace and had last sight of their beloved master who had served and protected them for decades. The stream of visitors continued until the last moment of Baba’s departure on the 17th August 1925.