Symbols of the world's religions



P. S. V. Aiyer

Forgiveness is essentially a divine quality and is inherent in almost everyone of us, but in varying degrees. As the Poet has aptly put it: "To err is human, to forgive divine." Forgiveness is reckoned in spiritual parlance as "remission of sin."

While a volume of ideas is current concerning "remission of sin," absolution, etc., it is indisputable that a Perfect Master is empowered to absolve an individual, to any extent. That power is, however, sparingly exercised. It is very rarely in spiritual history that one comes across a Buddha or a Christ or a Sankara or a Ramanuja who aimed at mass uplift, irrespective of the forces they release against themselves by such actions.

The Law of Karma is inviolable and the results of actions, good or bad, have to be faced squarely and endured individually or vicariously. A Guru has to undergo the necessary expiation of the Karma of his Chela until that Chela attains to a position on a par with his Guru. It naturally follows, that by lavishly bestowing favours on a mass scale, these Masters had to take the responsibility for their actions on their own shoulders and to undergo the necessary amount of suffering. Herein lies the explanation for the life of hardship, pains and penalties of every description, that God-men had to lead whenever they had incarnated through the Ages, in order to serve us.

Lord Sainath had led a rigorous and disciplined life in a neglected hamlet in Ahmednager District in Western India. It fell to the lot of his contemporary, another Perfect Master, Hazrat Baba Tajuddin who carried on in Central India the same mission, for which Sri Sai Baba had incarnated. It is believed by the devotees of the Perfect Masters mentioned in this book that Tajuddin Baba had carried on his work in perfect harmony and understanding with the rest of the Masters among whom Sri Sai Baba was considered to be the Chief.

The peculiar feature of Baba Tajuddin is that despite his rough exterior, he considered no one bad enough to be lost altogether, and forgave delinquents with a magnanimity that is not only incomparable but is simply incredible. Litigants, criminals, sufferers from chronic ailments, physical or mental, candidates doubtful of their results in their examinations, and people on whom society may be said to have turned its back, sought for his intercession in their difficulties, and not one of them was sent back without the favour being granted. The belief is current that such miracles happen even now, that is to say, long after he had left the flesh, in favour of those who sincerely pray for his aid. For this purpose, many pilgrims are found to visit his tomb near Nagpur even to this day.

Among the responsibilities of the Perfect Masters in their work, one is that they have to carry on their mission with whatever materials they may find. This they are obliged to do by keeping their less developed co-workers secure from their Karmic commitments, by various kinds of adjustments or by vicarious suffering. Baba Tajuddin preferred to undergo vicarious suffering. An account of his life may prove of engrossing interest to all earnest spiritual aspirants.

Born on the [17th] January, 1861, as the only child of Mahomed Badruddin, a Subhedar of the Madras Regiment settled in Kamptee, Central Provinces (Madhya Pradesh), Tajuddin Baba was said to have remained silent for long as he was a baby and was, according to the prevailing custom, branded on the forehead and temples to be aroused to consciousness. Having lost his father before he was barely one year old and his mother at the age of eight, Tajuddin was brought up by his maternal uncle and grandmother. Till his fifteenth year, he learnt Arabic, Urdu and a little English and enrolled at the age of 18 as a sepoy in the 8th Madras Regiment.

As the Regiment lay encamped at Saugor, he was reported to have been lured by a voice that led him to meet Hazrat Dawood Chisti a renowned Saint, in the depth of the woods in the vicinity. That meeting proved to be the turning point in Tajuddin Baba's career. He left military service, became dazed and passed for a man out of mind. His grandmother brought him back to Kamptee and tried all manner of treatments to restore him to normal condition, until she passed away. He was teased by children who threw stones at him. Far from retaliating, he reveled in the sport by collecting the stones in heaps. Gleams of spirituality broke through his apparently demented condition in the form of miraculous favours that he bestowed on those who appealed to him for help. In view of his valuable assistance in temporal affairs, the mad Fakir was spared the teasing by urchins. But he made up his mind to live among the lunatics.

One day in 1889, he walked stark naked in a tennis court maintained by the English Club in Kamptee. This led to his arrest and incarceration in the lunatic asylum at Nagpur, where he is said to have spent eighteen long years.

Dr. Abdul Majid Khan, under whose care the asylum was maintained, has left us a faithful record of Baba's life during this period. To mention only a single incident out of the innumerable strange events that had occurred at this time, Baba refused any preferential treatment and insisted on carrying heavy loads on his head, like other inmates. The loads lifted themselves right above his head and followed Baba wherever he went.

Multitudes of visitors poured into this lunatic asylum to have his darshan despite a nominal fee charged by the authorities for this favour. Among those who visited was Bi-Amma, a woman of extraordinary spirituality, who came to him under the direction of Hazrat Dawood Chisti. Tajuddin Baba seemed highly pleased with her devotion, and she also grew in spirituality after her contact with Baba, and led a very valuable life until she passed away and was buried at Waki, a suburb of Nagpur.

In 1907, Raja Raghujirao of Nagpur prayed Baba to come out of the asylum and on Baba's acceding to the request, the Raja was glad to furnish a security of Rs. 2,000 to the Government for the release. Tajuddin later declined the offer of life in a palace at Shakerdara by the Raja. Baba preferred roaming about in the jungles until he settled at Waki.

Here, large numbers of people wanting various kinds of favours come to him. He grouped them in departments around his residence. He directed those who needed recovery from diseases to assemble under a tree which he called 'the hospital,' candidates desiring success in the examination to meet under a mango tree which he called 'the school,' those who had litigation and financial troubles to gather at another spot called 'Court of Justice,' and those who prayed for spiritual progress to congregate in 'the Mosque,' while those women he wished to help in self-control and discipline were directed to march to a place called 'the parade ground' and perform drill.

He poured forth his blessings in abundance on each one of the groups with sure and unerring results. In order to accommodate and attend to the convenience of these pilgrims, a satellite town had developed and this formed the nucleus of a suburb of Nagpur. Here he lived till he passed away on 17th August, 1925, when, according to a report in The Times of India, Bombay, the stone image of the household Deity of Raja Raghujirao was said to have shed tears of grief.

Hazrat Baba Tajuddin had incarnated to bless us all, to relieve us of our temporal distress, to confer on us material prosperity and then to transform our gratitude into devotion to God. He stabilised the faith of those in whom faith in God seemed for a moment shaken by difficulties or dangers. In doing this work he had naturally to undergo enormous suffering and sacrifice. This is precisely what Sai Baba has been doing in Western India. A Perfect Master like Tajuddin Baba blossoms like a rose in a bush of thorns.


1973 © P. S. V. Aiyer


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