Hazrat Babajan



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Fast Facts
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Other Names and Nicknames: 
Gulrukh, Hazrat Babajan of Pune
Function: 
Satguru
Traditions: 
Sufism
Main Countries of Activity: 
India
Date of Birth: 
1806
Place of Birth: 
Balochistan, Northern India (now Pakistan)
In His/Her Body ("alive"): 
No
Date Left His/Her Body: 
September 18th, 1931
Descendant Gurus: 

Biography

Babajan, whose birthname was Gulrukh "Like a Rose", was born as a Pathan princess to a Muslim royal family of Balochistan. The precise date of Babajan's birth is unclear. Biography variants range from 1790 to 1806. Well-educated, she memorized the entire Qur'an by heart, becoming a hāfiżah at an early age.

At the age of 18, Gulrukh fled her arranged marriage and sought God instead. She journeyed to the northeast, first to Peshawar and then to Rawalpindi, disguised by her burqa. According to Indian author Bhau Kalchuri, she lived for a year and a half in the mountainous regions of what is now Pakistan under the guidance of a Hindu sadguru, then traveled to Punjab. In Multan, at the age of 37, she received God-realization from a quṭub, Maula Shah.

Travels and pilgrimages

After a second stay in Rawalpindi, staying with her earlier Hindu master, Gulrukh embarked on several long journeys through the Middle Eastern countries Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Mecca, often disguised as a man. Apparently to avoid detection, she traveled by way of Afghanistan, Iran, Turkey and then doubled back into Arabia. At the Ka‘bah, she offered prayers five times a day, always sitting at one selected spot. While in Mecca, Gulrukh often gathered food for the poor and personally nursed pilgrims who had fallen ill.

From Mecca, Gulrukh made pilgrimage to the tomb of the Islamic prophet Muhammad in Medina, where she adopted the same routine of offering prayers and caring for fellow pilgrims. Leaving Arabia, she passed through Baghdad, Iraq and back to the Punjab. She then traveled south to Nashik and established herself in Panchvati. From Nasik, Babajan traveled on to Mumbai, where she stayed for some time and her fame grew.

In April 1903, Babajan made a second pilgrimage to Mecca, this time sailing from Bombay on the SS Hyderi. About 1904, Babajan returned to Bombay and soon afterward proceeded to Ajmer in northern India to pay homage at the tomb of the Sufi saint Moinuddin Chishti who established the Chishti Order of Islam in India. From Ajmer she returned to Bombay and then soon after traveled west to Pune.

In Pune, Babajan established her final residence, first under a neem tree near Bukhari Shah's mosque in Rasta Peth and later another neem tree in the then-dilapidated section of Pune called Char Bawdi where she remained the rest of her life. She eventually allowed her devotees to build a shelter of gunny sacks above her and stayed there throughout all seasons. Her disciples included Hindus, Muslims, and Zoroastrians.

Master to Meher Baba

Babajan gave Meher Baba God-realization through a kiss on his forehead in January 1914 when he was 19 years old on his way home from college in Pune. After this, he said that he experienced being in bliss for nine months, after which he said he was helped to return to normal consciousness by a second sadguru, Upasni Maharaj of Sakori. Meher Baba said that Babajan was one of the five Perfect Masters of her time.

Death

Hazrat Babajan died in the Char Bawdi section of Pune on September 18, 1931 under the neem tree where she lived the final years of her life. There is a shrine erected for her around the tree under which she made her final street home.

Teachings

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