Story of Pujya Lalaji Maharaj
Great men are not accidentally born, they are born when the world waits for them in eager expectation" said Swami Vivekananda. After the influence of the East India Company got entrenched in India, leading to the enslavement to the British empire which ruthlessly followed the principle of expansionism to the total detriment of the local culture and traditions. This resulted in abject submission in to the economic, political and finally spiritual systems of the white race and their belief and faiths. This period is generally agreed to be the low ebb of Indian ethos. Thus the medieval and modern periods in the contemporary history of India are regarded as dark periods which produced only intellectual giants who could speak with double tongue always to their advantage and that of the rulers of the day. No spiritual spring was there from which the yearning masses could draw their succor. Sanatana Dharma which is Spirituality per se beyond all religions, was almost lost even in the land of its origin. Many great men were however satisfied with social and cultural reforms, armed mutiny or in the religious rejuvenation of society. However saints of the calibre of Swami Vivekanandaji who are pioneers in the field of spirituality and the guiding personalities in the field even today were convinced that a day would come when mighty minds would arise and India would show light to the world.
Great men are not accidentally born, they are born when the world waits for them in eager expectation and thus the power of Nature descended in human form as Samarth guru Mahatma Ramchandraji Maharaj. It happened as Divinity would will, on the Basant Panchami day in the month of Magha in the year 4974 after the beginning of Kali yuga corresponding to the 2nd Feb. 1873 A.D. at Fategarh in the state of UP in India. His father Sri Harbux Rai belonged to a very distinguished family of kayasths. His great grand father was a person of rare genius and his fine qualities and noble attainments won for him, from the Great Moghul emperor unstinted praise and friendship. He was given the title of Chowdhari and a jagir comprising 555 villages. He resided in the town of Bhoomigram in the district of Mainpuri in UP India. The family which got affected by the after effects of the uprising of the Indians in 1857 (called sepoy mutiny by the biased British historians) migrated to Fategarh, U.P. Here he worked as tax superintendent and began to live with his family. But in the changed circumstances his state had been subjected to considerable damage and his assets were just enough to live the old aristocratic life.
His wife was a saintly lady. Her heart was full of devotion and she was strongly attracted towards God. She had great regard for saints and served them whenever she had an opportunity. She had a melodious voice and her recitation of Ram Charit Manas thrilled the audience. Charity the principle of a Grhasta was practiced by her to the fullest and no needy person ever left her house without satisfaction. However she had no children. Therefore they had adopted a son.
Once a saint came to Farrukhabad and she went to his satsang along with the her husbands' younger brother. The melodious singing of sakhis of Saint Kabir by the saint touched her tender and devotional heart so much that tears welled up and she got into a state of absorption. This was observed by the saint who silently blessed her. Since then the love for God increased in her and she soared into samadhi condition often. One day an Avadhoot called at her door. He sat down and asked for food which was served to him. After partaking of it he asked for a dish of fish. As she was a Vaishnav she found herself unable to provide the same and asked her maid to make some arrangements. The maid brought the fishes from the outer kitchen of the house and the same was served to the Avadhoot. After getting satisfied with his wish, while leaving the house he asked " what ails you?" Though she did not reply the servant maid said the lady has no children. After a few moments beaming with brightness, raising his fingers towards heaven said "One... two..." and so he left. Soon after the first son Sri Ramchandra was born on 2nd Feb. 1873 A.D. and another son was born on 17th Oct.1875 who was named Sri Raghubar Dayal.
Sri Ramchandra affectionately called Lalaji Saheb from his childhood used to recite Ram Charit Manas for his mother in uncommonly sweet and melodious voice inherited by him from her. While a child, he inculcated in himself a deep love for music and had an amazing aptitude for producing an exact imitation of the intonation etc., of any song which he had heard only once. His mothers' spiritual life had a great effect on him and he had at that age developing a strong love for Reality.
His mother breathed her last when he was only seven years of age and he was brought up by another woman who loved him very dearly. Lalaji had deep regard for her all her life. Once she wanted to give him all her property to him but he firmly refused to accept it and on his own part gave her presents and help throughout her life.
He was educated in Urdu, Persian, and Arabic by private tutor and learnt Hindi from his mother. Later he studied at the Mission School at Farukhabad and passed the English Middle Examination. While at school he lived in a very small room. During those days he was assisted by a muslim teacher in his studies and was influenced by him. One day while playing the game of tops with other boys, the whirling motion of the top reminded him of the work for which was born and since then he took up his spiritual preparation and work. It is the will of God that he attained perfection within a brief span of seven months. While only a student his entire system was transformed into a celestial inner light and his consciousness ascended and transcended all the known stages and reaches to reach the state of statelessness.
He was married to a noble lady of a respectable family. His father expired soon after his marriage. At this period Raja of Mainpuri had brought action against his ancestral property and he lost all the property. His brother, who was adopted by his father also expired around this time. Circumstances forced him to move into a much smaller house and lose all the comforts which he had till then.
At that time one of the associates of his father who was then Collector, Farrukhabad learnt of these tragic incidents and invited him to join as Paid apprentice in his office at rupees ten per month.
Sri Lalaji grew up into a perfect specimen of graceful manhood with perfect build and average height. His outward gracefulness is just an expression of the inner harmony he enjoyed. He had a wheatish complexion. His broad and high forehead was indicative of the vast store of intellect which he used not as one used a lamp for his own seeing but like a light house to guide those on the sea. Most remarkable were his eyes which were like two bright stars which appeared to see through everyone and every thing. Sleep and wakefulness seemed to lie intermingled and in repose in those eyes which caused an awakening in a human being with a single movement of their lids. They were homes of silent prayer or sweet, silent rhetoric of persuading eyes. He was of amiable feelings and his countenance a beauty of the highest order. His hair was silken to the touch. One front tooth was comparatively larger. His ears were of medium size. He sported a small beautiful beard and a mustache. Sri Lalaji did not like luxury of any kind. The clothes he wore were simple and clean. Kurtas, shirts, pyjamas and dhotis were his usual wear. Sometimes he wore a waistcoat over his kurta and a buttoned up coat reaching down to his knees. He wore colored cap and wrapped a shawl around his shoulders in the winter. He wore no ornaments. Lalaji saheb kept his eyes mostly down. He did not laugh aloud but simply smiled. His smile announced goodness and sweetness, and brightened others with its spiritual vivacity. He was a great lover of humanity and often used things given to him with love inspite of his own dislike for those things. He hated flattery and though he loved his followers with their faults he never failed to enforce stern discipline with love.
Frugal in his food habits he lived an unostentatious life. He did not take break fast. Bread, pulses, and chatni was his morning meal, while in the evening he took bread, vegetables and pickles. He did not take meat, ice or tea. Kachauri and arvi were his favourite dishes.
He always had a tight program. He never slept after the sun-rise. After attending to natural calls he put on clean clothes and devoted himself to spiritual sadhana imparting training to others. After that he went to office. On return from office he again imparted spiritual training. He took early dinner and went for walk around 8 P M. After that he busied himself with training the aspirants and went to bed by 10 P M. But without going to sleep he used to attend to the aspirants till 2 a.m. in the morning. He always slept in a separate room but also shared the same with satsanghis. Sometimes he took his guests for walk along the banks of Ganga and also to fairs for a change.
By nature he was always calm but was easily moved by the pains and pleasures of others. Possessed of a melodious voice, he was an adept at employing sweet language for communicating his thoughts and captivating the hearts of his audience. Rarely could he be angered. Not given to superfluous talk, he spoke as little as possible. However in answering questions put to him he dealt with them exhaustively and seldom was the inquirer left with doubt on any matter. In case there was some one who could not understand him, he brought about the desired state in that person who acquired an experience and knowledge of the subject under discussion.
With a view to train his fellow brothers and disciples he performed the duties of a householder exceedingly well. He respected his elders and saluted them, exercised humility with those of his own age without resorting to humiliation, and loved those who were younger than himself. He did not smoke. He did not like playing cards or chausar. Sometimes he sang and played on the harmonium.
Sri Lalaji was very much against rituals and favoured widow marriage as well as female education. One of his wishes was that the children of satsanghis marry amongst themselves; but early or late marriages did not find favour with him. His servants were like members of his own family, and were paid on due dates. According to him, servants were helpers and should be engaged to do work which their masters could not generally do themselves. Breaking of promises, spending more money on ceremonial occasions than one could afford to, were strongly disliked by him. Backbiters got no sympathy from him. On the contrary, they were strongly reprimanded - "You have not been appointed spies," he would say, and bring them to the right path at once. Sri Lalaji was transferred from Kaimganj to Fatehgarh in the year 1908. He began, for most of the time, to live in seclusion and to remain lost in God. There was an old servant who did all the house work. Lalaji's personality, mode of living and general behaviour impressed his neighbours greatly and they loved him dearly and respected greatly. In the beginning, some teachers came to him and were transformed in no time. Finding a great change in themselves, those teachers told some students about the change wrought in their personalities without their own effort and this brought some students to Lalaji, and they also got transformed likewise. Learning of this amazing and novel method other people began to come, but Lalaji did not start mass or, regular satsangh at that time. He used to transmit, cleanse and transform them saying that his work was that of a sweeper or washer man, Who ever came to him would be cleansed through and through. After his manas was cleaned he would get a guide according to his samskaras. His motto was, no undesirable should be initiated but if one had come, he must not go back. He greatly hated to be called a guru. About imparting training, he used to say that he was only a peon to his officer. He had simply to carry out the orders of Divinity without thinking about the success or failure of his efforts.
Sri Lalaji established regular satsangh from the year 1914 and started training his followers. He did not put off his work even during his illness. After his retirement in 1929 he began to give all his time to his noble work. He spent two to three hours every day on dictating books, articles and letters to satsanghis.
He was a great scholar of Urdu, Persian and Arabic, and had a sound knowledge of Hindi and Sanskrit. He had disclosed hitherto unknown secrets of the Vedas, illuminatingly Interpreting important richas and bring Reality to light. Controversial phrases and words commonly used in scripture, but generally misunderstood, were explained in such a simple way and in such easily understandable works coined by him that real knowledge became common property.
He taught, " Never offer advice unless invited, otherwise it is likely to yield bad results. If you find any fault with anybody, pray for his freedom from it." He himself never directly asked anyone to give up any bad habit. All such bad habits and afflictions left that person in no time after he had been with him. Commenting on this method he used to say, " If you sit by a fire, you feel warm; if you sit by ice, you feel cold. Why then will you not get transformed if you sit with a person who is perfect in discipline and etiquette?" He never talked about anyone's faults. In case it became necessary to discuss such a subject, he went mum.
He always advised reduction of wants. He would say " Do not purchase a new thing if you can manage to carry on with your old belongings." He was not against earning money by honest means, but insisted on spending it on others. Use of intoxicants being given to adultery were strictly prohibited by him. He would often direct his followers not believe their manas in this regard. Accordingly to him, the slave of woman and greedy person could never perform acts of paramarth. To him, show was disqualification. Stating a bare truth was always good in his opinion. He was very firm in his conviction that the real discipline and etiquette were simply that the tongue should utter only that which was in ones' heart. The inner and outer condition of an abhyasi had to be same.
Display of miracles was extremely disliked by him. If someone attained siddhis in his sadhana, he at once removed that state. Ego was likewise never allowed to grow. He advocated that the aspirants should always remain away from siddhis until they reach their goal and the discipline is perfected. When the sadhak reaches his goal, all his actions automatically become miracles. He held the opinion that the great miracle of a saint was to transform an animal man into a perfect man. There is no denying of his full command over siddhis, but he never used those powers.
Sri Lalaji considered spiritual perfection to be based on three things. 1) love for the Master 2) satsangh with the Master and 3) obedience to the Master.
He was against idol worship. Though he allowed his photo to be kept by his followers, he never allowed them to worship it. Self praise was so much disliked by him that he did not allow people touch his feet in order to pay respects to him. Excess of tapa and japa was not liked by him. He considered love to be the greatest tapas. He preferred the middle way and regarded the meditation on the heart as the real sadhana. He attached great importance to prayer, but it was not to be for material gain. He himself constantly prayed for the soul of this world. Sri Lalaji was very particular regarding conduct. He announced in unambiguous terms that realisation of self was not possible without adhering to the standard moral code of conduct. He even forbade association and satsangh with immoral persons. He insisted that company should be kept only with those persons whose hearts are brimming with love for God and with those who could influence others with it.
He considered three things necessary for a saint 1) permanent bodily ailment 2) financial stringency and 3) nindak - one found fault with.
The real sadhana is to balance the mind.
Eat less and earn a honest living. Without taking honestly earned food, spiritual experiences often go wrong. Once he wrote - " it is good to be put to worries. The home is the training centre for submission and endurance, etc. It is the greatest form of penance and sacrifice." At another place he wrote "As for afflictions and worries, I too had mine which might perhaps be shocking to another. Often I had nothing for my meals. I had a number of children and dependents to support. Besides, at times I had to help others too, which I could not avoid. The entire responsibility was upon me alone and I had to manage all that and provide for all requirements. I may also tell you that sometimes there was only one quilt, and that too with mutilated padding, to cover the entire family. But I took it as a display of misfortune only which passed away with time. I felt that all this was absolutely of no importance to me as compared to Reality which was predominant in all my being. So I ever smiled on them thinking them to be the very way of liberation."
He always advised to cleanse our manas ( mind ) with practice and sadhana and then read, otherwise Reality will be lost upon you. He advised to avoid becoming a Master and serve as a servant should. He used to say that " God has hidden himself inside our hearts and exposed us. Hide yourselves and expose God!" This is the real sadhana.
Sri Lalaji had all the qualities of a truly great and perfect man being, as he is, next to God. According to Swami Vivekananda " Man is man so long as he is struggling to rise above nature, and the nature is both internal and external. It is good and very grand to conquer external nature, but grander still it is to conquer internal nature. It is good and grand to know the laws that govern stars and planets, but it is infinitely grander and better to know the laws that govern the passions, the feelings and the will of mankind."
This Great Master who was a prodigy of Nature, the Ultimate Reality, brought back to humanity the long forgotten art of transmission of the Upanishadic pranasya pranah and worked out a novel method of spiritual training which completely relieved the practicant of almost all of his responsibilities. With him dawned the new era of yogic training through transmission of which he was the Master. He could bring a man to perfection simply at a glance. It was he who made it possible that a man could attain perfection in one life - rather a part of it - leading just a normal family life. He simplified the method of spiritual training to a great extent and adjusted it to suit the requirements of time.
When he fell seriously ill, some of his disciples including Sri Jagdambika Prasad inquired of him about his representative. He calmly replied "when the candle shall be lighted, the moths would themselves fly to it." On another occasion, Sri Madan Mohal Lal of Shahjahanpur (U.P) asked the same question, Lalaji smiled and said " Ram Chandra will be the light of the family ( Ram Chandra Chirag -e- khandan hoga )." On another occasion, Pandit Ganga Sewak put the same question and Lalaji said to him " I am leaving my representative and he will himself appear."
In 1931 when his illness got serious he began to remain immersed in thought of God and felt heart rending pangs of love. He would say.
" Vadae vasl choon shavad
In the end he was attacked by diarrhoea and consequently became so very weak that he could not walk by himself. On 14th August, 1931, the day of leaving his mortal remains he came to the puja room unaided, and all by himself lay on his bed with his eyes closed, never to be opened again. At 1 a.m. in the night the light, which had illuminated and enlightened the hearts of groaning humanity with unparalled love and changed the face of the earth, allowed itself to be extinguished.
Sri Ram Chandra Ji Maharaj (Babuji) of Shahjahanpur, UP India his ablest disciple of the Adi-Guru, adhered to the disciple enforced by his Master. He used to send his diary narrating his spiritual experiences and his state to his Master. One night Sri Babuji saw his Master in a dream. He saw that his Master merged with him and said " Man too shudam, too main shudi, Man tan shudam, too jan shudi, Ta kas na goyed baad azeen, man deegaram too deegari-(I became you and you became me, I became body and you became soul, so that after this none could say that I and you were different)" Babuji wrote this down in his autobiography.
The greatest miracle of Sri Lalaji is perfection of Sri Babuji's grand personality which is unparalleled in the history of spiritual development. His researches and discoveries in the field will be regarded as wonderful and superb and shall remain a subject of further researches for centuries. Only posterity will be able to assess and evaluate the boons bestowed upon humanity by Him.