Capt. Purushottam Sharma
India is the Holy land where God has on many occasions incarnated in the bodies of saints, sages and seers; where all beings are regarded and served as Divine manifestations; where breezes are heard carrying the message of love and peace across all geographical, religious and racial barriers and boundaries set by the men; where the tender touch of Holy men removes ignorance instantaneously and leads from ‘Falsehood to Truth, from Darkness to Light, from Death to immortality’; where sweetness, sympathy, benevolence, humbleness and ethics remove the bitterness of mind and treat all as children of the same Father (that is the Owner of the Universe).
One such incarnation was Sri Sri 1008 Paramahansa Bawa Lal Dayal Ji Maharaj whose 658th birthday on is 12th February, 2012. He was also known as Lal Dass, Faqir Lal, Lal Dayal, Swami Lal, Baraji Lal. He was born on Monday, the second day of bright fornight of Magh Vikrami Sambat 1412, that is, on 7th of February, 1356, in Village Amli falling in well-known town of Kasur of Lahore District (now in Pakistan).
His sojourn on this planet was pretty long period of three hundred years. Lal Ji’s loving parents Lala Bhola Ram and Smt Krishna Devi were noble Souls who were respected in society. They nursed the child to boyhood with all the care they could bestow. Astrologers revealed that zodical position of the child’s birth shows that he is the incarnation of Lord Vishnu. This sweet child of five years was admitted in a nearby school. He soon mastered all that was taught by virtue of his remarkable power of imbibing. What other classmates of his age would learn in an year, Lal Ji could learn by heart in one day. That is why he was named ‘Lal’ (ruby).
When only eight tears old, he happened to listen to a Bhajan (a song in praise of God) recited by a devotee. The Holy words of the song made striking effect on him turning him into trance. Thenceforward, dispassionate and detached from worldly enjoyments, this young child yearned for solitude in pursuit of Truth roaming here and there in the country sides in natural surroundings of mountains, forests, rivers, wild animals and birds.
One day, Lal Ji saw a wandering group of ascetics on the bank of River Ravi among whom was Swami Chaitanya Ji Maharaj, Swami Ji was delighted to see the approaching Lal Ji. He recognized and thought that he is the one born in Amli and will be the most worthy disciple for he possesses intense yearning for God. After some time, Chaitanya Ji Maharaj cooked rice in a unique process which Lal Ji watched from some distance. An earthen pot filled with water and rice was put on Chullah (cooker) formed by holding both his feet together and the fire underneath was Instantaneously produced by Yog-Shakti. After the meals were finished, the earthen Pot was thrown away. Upon this, it occurred to Lal Ji that he had found the Master for whom he had been longing for. Then he picked up a few grains of cooked rice left over in the thrown-away-earthen pot as ‘prasad’ and promptly slipped into trance. During this meeting, Swami Ji told Lal Ji “God is one, Keep chanting ‘Hari Om Tat Sat’’. He further advised him not to be enmeshed in worldly pleasures by falling prey to temptations but take refuge in the lotus feet of his Guru. Thereafter, Lal Ji had to revert back to his place of birth to carry out some obligatory duties of family but remained engrossed in his True-Self.
On returning from home, he rushed in search of Swami Chaitanya Ji Maharaj, reached Lahore, crossed the Ravi and found Swamiji at Shahdra, Spiritually surcharged and thrilled, Lal Ji prostrated in the lotus feet of Swami Chatanya Ji Maharaj in total self-surrender. Chaitanya Ji initiated Lal Ji into ‘Sanyas’ imparting him the Supreme knowledge on the bank of Ravi in the prescribed sacred manner and named him Bawa Lal Ji. Swami Ji commanded Bawa Lal Ji to fetch ‘Gopi-Chandan’ from Dwarka (Gujarat) which he brought and presented to his reverend Guru with humbleness. Immensely pleased, Guru Maharaj administered some ‘Gopi-Chandan mixed with sacred dust on Bawa Lal Ji’s ‘lalat’ (fore-head). Impressed by his disciple’s Divine love, Guru Maharaj found in him worthy disciple qualified for one-ness with the Brahma.
One day both Master and the disciple, on way back from Nagar Kot, stopped at a spot from where another path led to different direction. Swami Chaitanya Ji Maharaj ordained Bawa Lal Ji to opt either of the two ways and deliver the message and mission of righteousness to the people. Bawa Lal Ji most humbly obeyed his spiritual master and set forth on his mission instilling in people the spark of spiritual awakening.
At the age of 39 years, after visiting the places of pilgrimage, he arrived in Saharanpur from Haridwar Town. Thousands of people became his devotees. He ran a ‘Langar’ for the visitors. He was gifted 100 bighas of land for Ashram and 800 bighas of land for running it by the then Emperor. This is called “Bawa Lal Ji Ka Bara’’.
Bawa Lal Ji was a great devotee of Holy Ganga. He started his day with a morning dip in Ganga at Haridwar and journeyed to and fro with Yogic powers. One day he could not make it, Ganga herself appeared before him and gushed out from a spot near his feet. Then onwards, Bawa Lal Ji bathed in that gushing Holy pond. One day, Holy Ganga again appeared and suggested Bawa Lal Ji to leave. Saharanpur and make Punjab his next abode. He carried out her advice and left for Punjab.
On arrival in Punjab, he reached a small town known as Kalanaur. Thousands of people, men and women, young and old, thronged to join Bawa Lal Ji’s prayers, ‘Sankeertans’ and discourse sessions and became his follower-devotees. One among them was Shri Dhyan Dass, a devout, who turned deeply devoted to Bawa Lal Ji. One day Bawa Lal Ji found Dhyan Dass gloomy and made out that he was thinking of making a hermitage for him (Bawa Lal Ji). Bawa Lal Ji then pointed out towards a secluded place at six miles distance from Kalanaur suitable for the Ashram. Shri Dhyan Dass’s joy knew no bounds and he soon built an Ashram which was latter named Dhyanpur by Bawa Lal Ji Maharaj himself. It is now looked upon as a great Shrine. He initiated twenty two disciples here. Prominent among them were Shri Dhyan Dass, Shri Gurmukh Lal and Shri Kanshi Ram. All of them were profoundly devoted to Bawa Lal Dayal Ji Maharaj and worked as his missionaries spreading Master’s message far and wide.
Capt. Purushottam Sharma