63. Data Gunj Bakhash. Part two
Why was he called Data. It means giver. Giving and providing help to needy was in his nature. That was why people gave him this nickname. He himself writes:
"One time in the country of Iraq, I started enjoying in making and spending money, extravagantly. I got in lot of debt. Whosoever needed money, would come to me, and I would incur great troubles in helping them. A sage wrote to me “ be careful, lest in too much activity you forget God. Keep your mind away from the world. God is responsible for humanity………….”After that letter I became free.
However, it appears, that he resumed his activity of helping others, after death. So, for 10 centuries the title has stuck. Needy come to his tomb for help. Some for money, others for job or a child, or a husband for a daughter. The stories of his help are numerous. Some ask him to be their spiritual guide. Spiritual seekers have done extremely severe chillas (an austere spiritual practice) at his shrine for centuries. The list includes mighty saints and mystics. The great mystic Khawja Moin-ud-din Chishti performed 40 day chilla at his tomb. He and Data sahib are the two most famous Muslim saints of Indian subcontinent. His shrine is in Ajmair, India, and is frequented by hundreds of thousand pilgrims each year. He wrote the following verse which most literate Pakistanis know by heart
“A distributor of treasures, a bestower of bounties to the world, a symbol of God’s light
A complete mentor to the novices and a guide to the accomplished “
A tree is recognized by its fruits. Data Sahib’s greatness should be judged by its effects. The free food, the residential students, fulfillment of people’s murads, continuation of spiritual mentoring, and finally a person who will plead your case to God Himself.
I can testify with complete truthfulness that Data sahib’s spirit still helps people. it has been doing so for close to a thousand years. What a grand perspective the spirit must be having. Having watched the rise and fall of dynasties and empires; the Slave kings, the Khiljies, the Tughlaqs, the Lodhies, the Mogul emperors, the British Empire, the Sikh rule, and finally the present day Pakistan and India.
Here are two examples of my statement:
Probably 40 years ago, a person I know, told me this incident of his life. He was a young man and did not have a clear path to his future. He had been having skirmishes with his mother because he wanted her to buy him a truck, but she refused. Depressed and desolate, one night he went to Data sahib’s shrine. He wept and prayed at the shrine. Finally he fell asleep, at the railing surrounding his grave. Some voice said to him in his sleep,” go to Baba Lal Shah” he woke up. He had never heard of Baba Lal Shah. In the morning, he ordered a cup of tea at a roadside restaurant and started reading the newspaper. His eyes caught news,.The President, Ayub Khan, had gone to Murree ( a hill resort ) and visited a fakir, called Baba Lal Shah.
This person took a train, a bus,a cab, and arrived in Baba Lal Shah ‘s place after walking for a mile or so. Two bearded scholarly looking man also walked with him. On the way, they started arguing with each other over the merits and demerits of Ali ( Holy prophet’s Muhammad’s son in law ). In the inn he also met a destitute man who had been there for some days, and was not getting permission to leave. His son had been missing. Next day, the recluse, appeared from a roofless pit. He walked with the help of his arms, being paralyzed in legs. He was apparently naked. He sat down, absorbed in himself. Visitors sat in a circle at a safe distance (he had a stick with which he would sometime beat certain people mercilessly) . He started talking at random. This person understood only that part of his talk which related to him. First he angrily scolded those two bearded passengers. “You bearded scoundrels, what do you know of greatness of Ali”, he shouted at them. Then he said ,” so you have been sent by the Lahore person. Now you weep at the railing. Before that you were harassing your mother. Ok, you, worldly person, I give you alms”
The person whose son was missing was told that his son was safe and will come home next day ( as I remember ). This person gave him money for bus fare, otherwise he would have been forced to travel on foot. Maybe, he was not being granted permission to leave, because he had no fare money.
As he was sitting by the window of the bus, a mendicant arrived.” So now you have two seals”, the beggar said. Meaning the seal of Data Sahib and of Baba Lal Shah.
In later life, that person became quite rich. People also respected him
To be continued: