Monday, March 4, 2013

64. Data Gunj Bakhash. Part 3

Please read the previous blog for continuity. Here is a second example:

In 1918, there was an epidemic of plague in Lahore. Three sons of a rich titled man of Lahore named Rai Bhahadar Saran Das fell victim to the disease. Three top physicians of Lahore, Col Bhola Nath, Col Amir Chand, Col Sutherland (principal of King Edward medical college) treated them but of no avail. Rai Bhahadar was disconsolate. He narrates ” One night while everybody was asleep, I saw a white bearded person wearing a shining dress, with a staff in one hand and a rosary in other,  reciting something at the foot of my son, Gopal Das's, bed. At seeing a stranger I became worried and asked “who are you”. He did not reply and kept on reciting. Then he went to my other son Roop Ram’s bed and did the same. Then that venerable person came to me and said,” I am your neighbor Gunj Bakhash. I could not stand your sorrow and anguish. So I came to pray. Now don’t worry. Merciful God will cure them”. All three sons recovered. (See footnote)

People come to Data sahib for various reasons. Here is an example of help in spiritual quest; told to me by a person who saw the whole story first hand.

A person, citizen of England, Christian by faith, had been wandering in various countries for 25 years in search of truth. He had spent years in Middle East (including Jerusalem) India, Burma and others. He had practiced mysticism and watched religious practices of Hindu, Buddhist, Christian, Jews, Muslims, and Sikhs. At Ajmer, at the shrine of Moin-ud-din Chishti (also called Khoja Pir, see “Quest of God by Papa Ramdas) he was directed to go to Lahore where he was going to get his guidance. At Data Sahib’s shrine, one day, he met a guide who told him where to go. In the hot desert of Sindh, in the roasting heat of summer, he did his training under a Qalandar (a high grade Muslim mystic) and came back to Lahore. He told this to the person who told me this story “I got my path here " referring to Data Sahib’s shrine.

Here is an example of getting permission; narrated in a book written by Shahab’s close friend and associate Mumtaz Mufti (see footnote):

     Then he said “today I am going to Lahore” There was some bantering between the two friends. They arrived in Lahore in the evening. Two rooms were reserved for them in the rest-house for 3 days. Shahab started preparations. He bathed, changed into new clothes, and put on a prayer cap. Then he said that he was going to Durbar. (The popular name given to Data sahib’s shrine). Mufti also wanted to come along, but Shahab refused. Mufti thought that he must have come for praying to Data Sahib for being posted to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, as ambassador. Shahab stayed in Durbar, while Mufti wandered restlessly outside. In the morning Shahab knocked at the door. There was great peace on his face.  At Mufti’s questioning Shahab admitted that permission has been granted

Here are two examples of paying tribute.

There is an annual three day anniversary celebration at the shrine, called urs. Hundreds of thousands of visitors, especially mystics, come to the urs from all over the country. On last urs, 2-3 months ago, a Yogi arrived. He was only wearing a loin cloth. It was quite cold in Lahore. He was also wearing dark goggles. The Yogi did not talk to anybody. The person who told me about the Yogi happen to visit him. This person addressed the Yogi with great respect and asked him where he was from. The Yogi eventually replied that he had come from Hindustan (another name for India) and had come to give Salaam to Data sahib. Salaam is a Muslim greeting, so that person thought that this Yogi was a Muslim. The Yogi surmised his thoughts, and said salaam or purnam (Hindu greeting) is the same. His religion was unknown. That person visited him many times in the ensuing days. The Yogi became friendly. One time he asked that why did the Yogi wear dark glasses all the time. The Yogi replied that his eyes had great Shakti .  An exalted mystic friend of this person confirmed that the Yogi’s eyes could burn (the exalted mystic told it to that person without that person asking or describing anything about that Yogi!). So people from other countries and other faiths come to the shrine.

Finally a different kind of homage.

A Qalandar one night, on urs, visited the shrine. He was shouting Allah, Allah at the top of his lungs. The whole shrine felt the vibrations. People were stunned into silence. The Qalandar started thrashing wildly. Several  persons tried to restrain him. In this melee the Qalandar got injured. He left the Durbar, bleeding and still shouting Allah Allah. A person recognized him next day and asked about the previous night. The Qalandar smiled and said “our homage is different” . It is with blood.     

Hazrat Data Gunj Bakhash by Akmal Awaisi Pirzada
Alakh nugri by Mumtaz Mufti

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