JAGANATH MAHARAJ

JAGANATH MAHARAJ

 (Saint from Ahmedabad)

On the outskirt of Ahmedabad there was a certain temple with an ashram attached to it. Both temple and ashram ere well endowed and there were byres stocked with two hundred cows or more, and kitchen where meals were served free to sadhus, fakirs, and poor people-and indeed, to saints and sinners of every caste and creed.

Jagannath set his foot in this temple and made it his home with no questions asked. As his stay drew itself out from four months to years, those who came often to temple understood that he was something more than just another sadhu. That he was a saint and no less-and so he came to be spoken of as Jagannath Maharaj. His life was an unexampled integrity of simple living, not withstanding his fame and the fullest opportunities for an easy life, He was over ninety years old and yet for years diet had been still was but two bhakris and one onion a day.

This was astounding when one remembers that although he may have no official position either in the temple or ashram, he is de facto their figure-head that every good cheer was handed out to hundreds of sadhus, fakirs, and the poor. These meals, moreover, were prepared from choicest materials, garnished t satisfy a gourmet’s plate.

When Baba came face to face with Jagannath Maharaj, the latter seemed to know, or feel, Baba’s spiritual greatness-although his identity was not divulged-for he garlanded Baba and embraced Him with joy, and later gave him three or four yellow shawls and one shawl each to the men with Him. Finally he went himself to the kitchen and brought back a small packet of sweet puris and gulgule, and handed them to Baba.

This was not; however, the last meeting, for Baba came to him again in November 1948, and sat by Jagannath’s side while He (Baba) contacted over a hundred sadhus.