More than 100 years ago, after leaving His home when He was quite young, Maharajji went to the village of Vavania where there was a Vaishnav saint and stayed there for 6-7 years.
Maharajji practiced austerities, sadhana, and yoga here. This ashram has a pond where Maharajji sat and where He kept away from the world. Because of this, Maharajji was known as ‘Talaiya Baba’ then.
There was a tree where the herders who came to graze cattle and goats hung there food. When they went to eat the food, it was gone. They threw stones in the pond while demanding their food. Maharajji, sitting in the lake, then tossed various foods, including sweets, to them on the shore.
Maharajji established a Hanuman murti on the bank of the pond in the open area. After Maharajji left this place, He made a yatra (spiritual journey) to South India where He took the darshan of Hanuman Ji at many temples.
During this time Maharajji was known by many names, including Laxman Das, Handi Baba, and Tikonia Baba.
Vanania is 40 km from the town of Morvi in Gujurat and within 30km for the Arabian Sea. Vavania is approximately 226 kilometers and four hours driving time from Ahmedabad, Gujurat, on NH947.
📖 An Excerpt from Near and the Dear
There were rumors going around the ashrarn that Bhabania's opponents were seeking the intervention of Seth Jaipuria, an eminent industrialist and devotee of Babaji who had financed the construction of the Hanuman temple.
He was interested in the proper running of the temple by a competent pujari and used to acquaint himself with the running of the temple by occasional visits and reports from others.
Bhabania's opponents went to him with their reports.
When Bhabania came to know that Shri Jaipuria would come any day to see things for himself, he lost the strength and courage inspired in him by Babaji.
He could not face the new challenge coming or struggle against it. The old days had returned with a plethora of troubles. It was when he was in such desperation that he learned that Shri Jaipuria was coming that day. He could not think of anything to do except to hide some place. There was much activity and jubilation in the ashrarn throughout the day. Everybody was preparing a fitting reeception for the distinguished visitor. Shrijaipuria came in the evening with a large party. When they were seated, the proverbial sacrificial animal was to be brought and the search for Bhabania started. just %N hen he had been found, and was being led to the 'sacrifice', someone shouted that Babaji had arrived.
Babaii was ushered to the place where everyone was sitting. Everyone bowed at his feet. He looked around and asked Shri Jaipuria when he had come, and said it was good he was here so he could see for himself how his favorite temple was being run. Had he known that Shri Jaipuria was coming, he would have come much earlier. Babaji said that he had had no idea of coming, but somehow or other he felt that as he had not been here for a long time, he should come for a visit. It was good that they could meet here.
The acting was perfect. None could imagine that he had any smell of what was happening here. Talking to everyone, he kept the show going on, but some were getting worried - the way Babaji was managing things, all of their work might come to naught.
Suddenly Babaji started to talk of the new pujari. "Have you met your new pujari ? He is very honest, efficient in his work, and serves Hanumanji with meticulous care." Everybody was amazed at this narration. Not only was it exaggerated, but it was just the opposite of what they knew of Bhabania. Shri Jaipuria was just listening. He did not know anything first hand about the pujari. What Babaji was saying was entirely different from the report he had, but he could not disbelieve Baba at this stage.
"You have not met him yet. You must see him yourself and then know the puiari." He asked them to call Bhabania there who was standing behind the door, hearing everything and shivering all through. When he entered the room, Babaji asked him to sit near him, facing the audience. Babaji himself was sitting on the cot with everyone else on the floor before him. Everyone was facing him, and he could see through everyone's eyes and know what was going on in everybody's mind. Resuming his talks and addressing Shri Jaipuria specifically, he said, "The pujari looks young in age but actually he is a great pandit who knows the Gita and all the Shastras. One could not believe it by looking at him, but it is true. You yourself are a great lover of the Bhagavad Gita, and you should hear him reciting it."
Nobody sitting there could believe what Babaji was saying and Shri Jaipuria was in a fix. He himself could not agree with what Babaji was saying, but what could he say? When Babaii pressed him, saying that he should hear Bhabania recite, and asked him which was his favorite chapter in the Gita, he was at his wit's end. He mentioned that the eleventh chapter was his favorite. Bhabania was sitting there like a statue without being able to apprehend what all this talk was about. Babaji started rubbing his foot on Bhabania's back and then striking his head with it as if to awaken him from his sleep and goad him to talk.
Then Bhabania started the recitation. The Celestial Song was recited in Sanskrit, perfect in rhythm and intonation. Everyone was sitting hypnotized by some unseen charm. When it was over, Babaji asked Shri Jaipuria what he thought about the recitation. He said he could hardly believe his ears; he had never heard anything like that before in his life. The sitting ended soon and prasad was distributed to all. Shri Jaipuria and the members of his family made liberal gifts of money to Bhabania. Once, when he narrated the incident to some of us at Kainchi, Bhabania said that he could not understand why so much money had come to him, more than he had ever had in his life.
Shri Jaipuria went to the dharmashala to stay for the night. The sponsors of the show were completely thwarted; they knew now that they had lost for good. Bhabania was firmly installed and none would be able to shake him anymore. It was all over for them, but it was just the beginning for Bhabania. Babaji gave him a few words regarding courage and devotion to his duty - he was serving Hanuman and should always remember the way Hanuman served his own master. He would learn everything from dedicating his work to Hanumanji.
Babaji left the next morning for Allahabad, where he was staying for the winter. The previous morning he had gotten up as usual, finished his toilet, and then started to hurry everyone in the house. He had to leave for Vrindaban immediately. it was as if he had gotten a message just at that moment. Someone must go and get petrol and return without any delay. When the car returned, he got in it and left. Several persons had wanted to accompany him, but he allowed only the one who had come from Agra. He was busy, and there was no time to talk or argue. Everyone must stay back that was the reply to those who wanted to go with him. As mentioned before, they had reached Vrindaban in the evening after driving for the whole day, and returned four days later. Brij Lal, the driver who took him there, gave us the graphic description of what had taken place in Vrindaban. We also heard from many other persons who were present there at that time. Everyone knew that the whole show was Babaji's miracle, and Bhabania was the medium chosen by the magician for his show. When the show was over, Bhabania returned to his previous state.
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