The Land Of Great Men

Rashtrasant Tukdoji Maharaj 

“Mani Nahi Bhaav, Mhane Deva Mala Pav, Deo Bajarcha Bhaji pala Nahire”

      “You have not made up your mind to give up your ego, and you want that God should bless you, why ?  Do you think God is like vegetables available in any market.”  This is one of the most popular bhajans (holy song) of  Great saint Tukdoji Maharaj.

      The name of this great man was Manik and father’s name Namdeo. He was born (1909) in Ingle family  (surname).  His father was a very poor tailor. He was never interested in taking the education, instead he would like to sit with the people in temples and sing the songs. He learned the art of playing “khanjiri”  (an instrument of about 6 inches diameter with the diaphragm of thin animal skin, played by one of the palms and held in other).  Manik  accepted the great saint of Varkhed Shri Adkoji Maharaj as his Guru. Manik would amuse the people by singing his own instant compositions on the rhythm of khanjiri.

      After a few years, Manik left the home and stayed in different dense forests for years to gather in search of the eternal knowledge. (Atmadnyan). After enlightenment he came back to public life.  He came extremely popular due to his “easy to sing” kind of bhajans for the villagers.   

      Mahatma Gandhi used to call him for meeting and he would like his bhajans very much. Manik  was named as “Tukdoji”  by his Guru, the name which he very much like.  Tukdoji Maharaj entered the independence movement at that time and instigated people to participate in the struggle for independence.  He wrote the bhajans of patriotic meaning, that created awakening in the villagers. He wrote the volumes of  “Gramgita”  a book that became bible for the villagers.  Rashtrasant Tukdoji maharaj participated in the Vishwadharma Parishad   (International convention of religions) held in Japan in 1955 and received the applauding. He would help the people in distress at the time of national calamities. 

      Tukdoji was a noble self realised saint. His early life was full of Sadhana both spiritual and yogic exercises. He spent much of his early life in the deep jungles of Ramtek, Salburdi, Ramdhighi and Gondoda.

      Even though he was formally not much educated, his metaphysical spirit and potentiality was of very high order. His devotional songs permeate full spirit of devotion and moral values. His Khanjedi, a traditonal musical instrument was unique and his style of playing it was unparalled. He was bachelor, however, his life was dedicated for the services of the masses irrespective of caste, class, creed or religion.

      He was all the while absorbed in spiritual pursuits. He critically observed the nature of the people and channelised them for the cause of their upliftment. He had self realised vision and through out his life, taught the lessons for the purity of hearts and malice for none.
      In early life, he used to sing the devotional songs, however, with the passage of time, he impressed the masses that God is not only in Temples, Churches or Masjids, he is everywhere. His powers have no limits. He advised his followers to follow the path of self realisation. He firmly opposed the priesthood and propagated the eternal values and universal truth.

      Tukdoji stressed much on the congregational prayer wherein all the people irrespective of their religion, could participate. His prayer system is really unique and matchless in the world. He claimed that his congregational prayer system could be bound to bind the masses in the chain of brotherhood and love.
      Rashtrasant Tukdoji used to work in person with the villagers in road construction, village-sanitation and other activities. His writings both prose and poetry are full of devotion and the spirit of humanity. His nobility was of very high order. His selfless devotion and dedication are .bound to teach the lessons for the generations to come. Tukdoji is a shining star in the tradition of the saints of our great India.

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Sant Gadage Maharaj

Most of the lower class people in villages were uneducated and poor. They worshipped khsudra gods like Maraai and Shitala Devi. Lambs, hens were sacrificed to keep the Gods happy, to cure a disease or for a good crop.

Debuji was born in such society. Though uneducated, he fought against animal sacrifice and untouchability. He taught the importance of cleanliness and hygiene through practice. He built numerous dharmashalas, Gorakshan centers, food donation centers for handicapped and old homes all over Maharashtra.

 Debuji was the only child of Zingraji and Sakhubai. After the death of Zingraji he and his mother went to live with his maternal uncle. Within years he became an excellent farmer, herdsman, singer and swimmer.

He was married to Kuntabai and had four children. A lover of animals, he opposed animal sacrifice since childhood. Even when his friends, relatives and the people of his caste forced him to sacrifice animals, he preferred to face their anger rather than kill the animals.

Debuji was a very courageous man. Once a Saukar came with his guards to take hold of Debuji’s farm. Despite the fear expressed by his family and the villagers he single handedly fought them all.

Fed up with the material world, one day he left his home. He kept wandering from village to village. He worked for alms. Took up cleaning villages. He also started building Ghats on the river Purna. Slowly people started joining him in his cleaning activity. He preached the villagers on the importance of hygiene.

He found many followers. Among them were people like Dr. B R Ambedkar, Acharya Atre. Money started pouring in the form of donations. This was used for building activities.

Realizing the plight of Harijans, he built a dharmashala for them in Pandharpur, Nasik, Pune, Alandi and Dehu. To stop the slaughter of cows he built a Gorakhan center in Vidarbha. He started food donation centers for the handicapped, and poor. He built homes for the old who had no place to go. He also worked for the upliftment of the people suffering from leprosy.

Source: 'Sri Gadage Maharaj' by Go. Ni. Dandekar




Samartha Satguru Pradhnyachakshu


Shri Sant Gulabrao Maharaj

Sant Gulabrao Maharaj was known as Pradnyachakshu Madhuradwaitacharya  Gulabrao Maharaj.  He was called Pradnyachakshu because he became blind of both the eyes at the age of about 9 months;  still he was master of Vedanta philosophy and many occult and physical sciences. ‘Padnya’  means intelligence and eyes are called “chakshu” in Sanskrit language. He had many divine powers which included the ‘intellectual eyesight’. His mind could read and grasp any book in the world in any language that he would take in hand and decide to learn. His mind did not need the body-organ like ‘eye’ to see the world.         

“Madhuradwait” was the new school of thought introduced by him. The people well versed in Vedanta know that ‘adwaita’ (non-dualism) philosophy of Vedanta do not accept any name and form visible or non-visible that could be different from God (soul, Atma or Brahma). Vedanta very explicitly proclaims, “When everything has become one-soul, where is any other thing to smell ? who will see whom ? who will listen to whom ? who will talk to whom ? where is any other thing to think about ? who will know whom ? How to know him who knows everything ?”  (Asy sarva atmaivabhuta, tat ken kam jighnet ? , tat ken kam pashyet ?.. ……… brihadaranyaka).  “What exists is only one thing i.e. Brahma and what we see and experience as world is illusionary” is the teachings of  “adwaita”. Madhura Bhakti  is the devotional love for lord Krishna.  In Vedanta all the three words viz. devotee, devotion and deity are not different from each other where as in Madhura Bhakti one has to be a deity and other a devotee.

Adwaita do not recognize Bhakti at all.  Probably the great saint who possessed the eternal knowledge since childhood by dint of providence due to his past karma, had advocated Madhurabhakti for the “after-attaining-knowledge” stage to his disciple.

His full name was Gulab Gundoji Mohod.  He was born on July 6, 1881 in a small village named Madhan in Amravati district in Maharashtra and died merely at the age of  34 i.e. in the year 1915.  Though he had lost his eyesight at the early age, he wrote about 133 books on various subjects containing more than 6000 pages, 130 commentaries and about 25,000 stanza in poetry. His mother died in the year 1885 when he was four years old.  He then stayed at the house of his maternal grand mother at the place known as Loni Takli for about 6 years.  In this period people came to know about his extra ordinary intelligence and his “brain-sight” though he had lost his eye-sight.  There was a community well in front of the house where he stayed and the women from the village would come to well for water. Small Gulab would call them all by their names, and the women would be wonderstruck  and would think as to how the blind boy came to know about their individual names ? He was found many times in deep samadhi stage in the night.  Initially his grand mother  and  others were frightened to see Gulabrao sitting in Yoga position with is respiration stopped completely.  However, some elderly and wise men understood the  conditions of Gulabrao and asked his relatives to refrain from disturbing him during samadhi.  He very much liked the holy songs(Bhajans),  holy verses (Slokas) and reading the  occult books.  He would ask his friends to read the books and would repeat the contents immediately as was heard by him.  He had extra ordinary memory. He knew all the Vedas and Shastras at the age of ten years. 

He was married to Mankarnika, daughter of Ganaji Bhuyar  a farmer in nearby village in the year 1896. He started writing essays and poetry on the religious philosophy since 1897. i.e. from his age of sixteen.  Since then he would visit the nearby cities, villages and towns and meet the people to discuss on the various topics of religion.  This is incredible but true that in the year 1901 the  great saint of 12th century Sant Dnyneshwar Maharaj met Gulabrao and accepted him as his disciple.  

Sant Gulabrao Maharaj would call himself to be a daughter of Sant Dnyneshwara  and wife of  Lord Krishna. He married to lord Krishna in the year 1905.  He used to put on the dress and the ornaments like woman.  He would lay kumkum ( a red spot) on his forehead and put on managalsutra ( a golden chain with black beads) around  his neck which are usually  worn by the Hindu married women. 

In the year 1902 when he was 21, he wrote the commentary on the theories of Darwin and Spencer.  He had written books on various subjects like dhnyan, yoga and bhakti and written commentaries on ancient treatises. He wrote on the “Manas Ayurveda”, i.e. psychological part in the Ayurveda.  He had given valuable guidelines to those who want to attain the salvation and gain the eternal knowledge.  It is beyond one’s imagination that a blind man could write on the subjects  like Yoga, Upanishads and Brahmasutras and many occult sciences which are difficult subjects to understand even by the highly educated and intelligent persons.  When he found time to study these sciences ? How he received old treatises and from whom ? Who explained him the secret meanings of the Sanskrit verses ?  Many  questions like these arise in the mind when one reads his biography and the books written by him.  His style of writing is of his own and he has put forth his own views absolutely keeping the Vedic discipline.  He has boldly revealed many secrets of the Hindu religious sciences  which are not generally made public by the saints. 

Though belonged to Sudra  class (Kunabi Caste) most of his disciples were Brahmin Pundits. He was openly telling people that he had no right to study the Vedas according to old traditions, but he knew Vedas without studying them and since he knew the  “Atmadhnyan” (knowledge of self-realization) he was not bound by many old rules.  He used to respect Vedas, Brahmins and the guidance received from great wealth of old Indian religious treatises.

He was straight forward and would defeat many Pundits and Intelligent people in the debate on the Shastras  (sciences).   

It is generally found in India that the great persons who really had lived only for the cause of welfare of mankind were truly recognized by the people after their death only. Samartha Satguru  Padnychakshu Madhuradwaitacharya Saint Gulabrao Maharaj is becoming more and more popular after his Samadhi on 20th September 1915.   His many disciples attained the knowledge of self-realization and are known in the public as the great saints. His main disciple, Baba Maharaj Pundit  (death 1964) who wrote many books  was recognized as a great intellectual, and saint. His commentary on “Bhavartha Deepika” written by Dnyaneshwara Maharaj is published by Geeta Press, Gorakhpur.   

The great saints like Gulabrao Maharaj guide the people even after their  death by volumes of knowledge written by them.





Veer Wamanrao Joshi

Veer Wamanrao Joshi, a great son of Amravati born on 18th March 1981. The history of freedom struggle of Amravati is incomplete without his mention. Earlier he was a hard-core revolutionist. He formed a youth organization for arms action. He trained youth members with five arm and ammunition.He formed laboratories and libraries for this purpose Afterwards he become follower of Gandhiji and started following the principle of nonviolence. In the struggle for freedom he was jailed for long ten years. He was popular by his name "Dada " Which means Brother. Along with being a great revolutionist he was also very popular due to his nationalist plays. He educated the masses in Maharashtra through his plays like Rakshasi Mahatvakangsha (" Devil's Ambitions") and Randundubhi(" The bugle"). He was associated with world famous Hanuman Vyayam Prasarak Mandal (H.V.P.M.) till his last moments. He passed away on 3rd June 1956.




Dadasaheb Khaparde

Shri Dadasaheb Khaparde was born in 1854 on Shri Ganesh Chaturthi Day. Due to his social Service he became popular by name Dadasaheb. He became lawyer in 1884. He was government pleader till 1889. Then he started his own law practice. He was influenced by the thoughts of Lokmanya Tilak . He was very generous to donate his law practice earnings for social activities. He chaired the Amravati Municipal Corporation. He contributed a lot in the development of Amravati. Due to his faith and attachment with Lokmanya Tilak he went to London to defend Lokmanya Tilak's case during freedom movement. He was a good lawyer, good politician, great social worker and a nationalist playwrite. Due to his contribution in diverse fields he was famous as undisputed King of Varhad (Now Amravati Division). This great son of the soil passed away on 1st July 1938.



Dr. Panjabrao alias Bhausaheb Deshmukh


Dr. Bhausaheb Deshmukh was born in the year 1898. He was born in a farmer's family at Papal in Amravati district. He had done his schoolings at Papal and then in Amravati. The higher education was obtained at Edinburg and Oxford universities. He had done his law doctorate in Briton. The subject of his research was " The dawn of religion and its growth". He returned back in Amravati and started law practice. He was elected as a member of provincial law board in 1930 and went on to become Minister of Education, Agriculture and Co-operative Departments. He was the member of the committee for the development of Indian Constitution after independence. He was elected member of Parliament in 1952, 1957 and 1962. He was Union Minister of Agriculture from 1952 to 1962. His other important contributions were opening wells to the so-called Untouchables and opening of Shri Ambadevi Temple to this same communities in 1928. He also started Shraddhanand hostel for poor students. He was the founder of famous Shri Shivaji Education Society. Today this society runs several educational institutes, which include Medical College, Engineering college and other educational institutes and hostels. In order to improve the condition of farmers he formed "Bharat Krushak Samaj" and to advocate it's policies he started a newspaper namely "Maharashtra Kesari". this great of the soil passed away in 1965.




Padmashri Dr. Shivajirao Patwardhan

Dr. Shivajirao Patwardhan was born in 1892. He was a Homeopath. He took part in the struggle for Indian independence. He arranged a vidarbha youth conference in 1928 in Amrarvati. He was secretary of Vidarbha Provincial Congress committee. Though he was doctor by profession, he took great interest in social work. In 1930 he was jailed for taking part in "salt movement" at Dahihanda. He was associated with Mahatma Gandhi, Vinoba Bhave and Netaji Shubhashchandra Bose. After Independence he devoted his whole life for Leprosy patients. In 1950 he started "Jagdamba Leprosy Mission”. Now this place is famous with the name Tapovan. He struggled for many wrong beliefs regarding Leprosy and was successful in fevour of the Leprosy patients. Due to this great service to the society in general and Leprosy patients in particular, Government of India awarded him with the
civilian honor of “Padma Shri”. He passed away in 1986.



Barrister Ramraoji Deshmukh

Shri Ramraoji Deshmukh belonged to Daryapur, a taluka place near Amravati. He went to Britain in 1911 for higher education. He returned back in 1916. In 1917 he became president of then Belgaon Provincial Council. Then he worked with Lokmanya Tilak . In 1920 he was inducted in the law board of Varhad. He was elevated as minister in central province and Berar ministry. He was a member of the delegation for round table conference at Britain in 1933. His stints as Devan of various states were very successful. After independence he worked as Indian High Commissioner in various countries and had very successful career.



Sir Moropant Joshi

During pre independence days there were two categories of lawyers the vernacular practitioner and English practitioner. Sir Moropant Joshi was first English practitioner after passing the examination in 1884. His house was situated in side the walled city at Bhajibazar. The name of the building was Rajibai Dharmashala. After words he build a bungalow at Camp Road and went on to live there. He was a man with modern thoughts.The creates of bringing a cycle and motor vehicle goes to his. Earlier horse driven Tanga was the main ride and transportation facility. The Congress Convention in the year 1897 at Amravati was held in the free space near his bungalow. He was a active congressman after 1885. He was the member of the delegation to London in 1890, to take part in the negotiation about the Indian Independence.He was the lawyer by profession and started his carrier at nagpur in 1916. He continued his Law practice till 1920. He was a clever politician as well and became home minister of the Central Province and the honor to become an Indian minister 1925. The British Government awarded him the degree of “Sir”. He was also involved in social activities and strongly opposed the Evils such as teen-age marriages & atrocities on widows. The Child Marriage Prohibition Act of government of India could be passed only after submission of the Joshi Commission Report headed by Sir Moropant Joshi.



Shri Rangnath Mudholkar

Shri Rangnath Mudholkar was a famous lawyer of Varhad region (now Amravati Division). He advocated the need of vocational training for upliftment of poor citizens. He was the founder of Victoria Berar Technical School now Government I.T.I. is situated at this place. He was the first non-government member to become the president of, and then Amravati Municipal Corporation.He was honored with the Chairmanship of Congress Convention in 1912. He was Judicial Commissioner in Nagpur during 1920. He was instrumental in starting the King Edward College (Now V.M.V.). The credit of 1897 congress convention at Amravati mainly goes to him. He was general secretary of National Industrial Council for ten years. He passed away on 14th January 1921.