Shri Gajanan Maharaj Sansthan
The Shri Gajanan Maharaj Sansthan, Shegaon persist to Indian philosophy and follows Shri Gajanan Maharaj’s sermon. It is an officially registered body that is committed to social development programs, medical, educational, religious, philosophical thoughts. The real wealth is considered to be devotion, faith, and service. The money that Sansthan gets from donations is spent on the development activities. Sansthan does not reap wealth. The money received is used for almost 42 different types of development programs. Each and every penny is spent on a worthy cause. The object mind decided to call big daddy and mom from the village and reach the station for Shegaon at four in the morning. It was early in the morning, I woke the airmen, told them, I will not be on duty tomorrow, my vacation! I am going to Shegaon! I was on my way home, I saw an auto-rickshaw on the way, coincidentally I had invoiced it some time ago. Will he come home at four in the morning? So asked. Asked for money too. Said to take fifty bucks. Hand in pocket money. The note was only fifty rupees.ive of the Sansthan is “सर्वेभवन्तु सुखिनः सर्वे सन्तुनिरामयाः” serve bhavantu sukinah, sarve santu niramayah and belief in “Service to mankind is service to God”.
I have visited many temples but the feelings and vibration of Shri Gajanan Maharaj temple in Shegaon is beyond speech. Once you reach the Samadhi Sthal of Shri Gajanan Maharaj, and see his idol a great obeisance comes deep inside your body and mind. The second thing that appeals to me is the cleanliness and discipline in and around the temple. The ever-smiling and humble Sevadharis are always at the disposal of you to help your any need.
It amazes to see the crowd management done flawlessly in Shegaon where none from Shri Gajanan Maharaj Sansthan has undergone formal training in Management. I salute the devotion and discipline observed in the Shri Gajanan Maharaj Temple in Shegaon.
As he realised that his work on earth was coming to an end, he informed his disciples about it. On 8th September 1910, he breathed his last at Shegaon.
In 1908 Shri Gajanan Maharaj realised that he would be soon renouncing the world. At the same time, one of his disciples Mr. Jagu Patil had initiated talks with other villagers of Shegaon to build a temple with Shri Gajanan Maharajas its presiding deity. Everybody willingly accepted his proposal.
During those days there was a feud between the Patil and Deshmukh families in Shegaon and the villagers were divided. Shri Gajanan Maharaj’s earlier monastery belonged to a person from the ‘Mali’ (gardener) community and the persons from this community supported the Deshmukh group. However, the Patil family reigned supreme in the village. Shri Gajanan Maharaj did not approve of this division. Hence he insisted that the new temple be built on a land that did not belong to anyone.
Later Shri Gajanan Maharaj told his disciples “I shall remain here”. It was thus decided that the temple will be constructed at the place indicated by Maharaj. As that land belonged to the local government, Maharaj’s disciple the revered Mr. Hari Kukaji Patil made an application to the government in order to obtain the land. In those days, Mr. Curry was the Deputy Commissioner of Buldana district. He sanctioned one acre of land for the temple in keeping with the 1909 resolution of the District Administration. He put a comment on the document that if the sanctioned land was prudently utilised he would sanction an additional one-acre land.
After obtaining the land, Mr. Hari Patil wished to finance the construction of the temple single-handed but Maharaj had other plans. He wanted to involve all his disciples in the project. So he called for a meeting in Mr. Narayan Kadtaji Patil’s shop in Shegaon on 12th September 1909. This meeting was attended by his disciples, merchants, and villagers. In the meeting, it was convened that the fund for construction of the temple would be accumulated through a religious tax that would be levied on the merchandise traded by the villagers. The rate was fixed: 6 paise on every bullock cart loaded with cotton, 6 paise on every bullock cart loaded with grains and 3 paise on every cart loaded with sand. Soon thereafter on 27th September 1909 there was a consensus reached on asking the farmers to pay 1 ‘anna’ (1/16 of the rupee) per acre of their land as their contribution towards the construction of the temple.
At the place indicated by Shri Gajanan Maharaj, Mr. Hari Patil placed a stone and the construction of the temple began around that spot. The exact location of the stone was the center of a piece of land registered as Survey No. 700 (43/45-2). Stone, lime and sand were used to construct the temple.At the place indicated by Shri Gajanan Maharaj, Mr. Hari Patil placed a stone and the construction of the temple began around that spot. The exact location of the stone was the center of a piece of land registered as Survey No. 700 (43/45-2). Stone, lime and sand were used to construct the temple.
After Shri Gajanan Maharaj passed away, his ‘samadhi’ was built at the spot where Mr. Hari Patil had placed the stone. Maharaj’s marble idol was installed on that spot which is now known as ‘bhuyar’. A basement is popularly known as ‘bhuyar’ in Marathi. As the devotees enter the ‘bhuyar’ they climb down the stairs to reach close to the idol. The inner wall of the ‘bhuyar’ is now covered with marble tiles.
The construction of the temple began in 1909. Built of black stone, it measures 48 feet in length and 42 feet in breadth. The spire is 51 feet high. The original outer structure of the temple had mythological figures carved on it. However, on the occasion of the centenary celebration of the ‘samadhi’ day of Shri Gajanan Maharaj, the earlier stone structure has been replaced by an intricately carved marble structure. The old structure will be recreated while redevelopment a temple in Adgaon which is at a short distance from Shegaon.
After worshiping the idol of Shri Gajanan Maharaj, the devotees come out of the basement to the ground level where they worship Lord Ram. This type of construction is peculiar and has been done intentionally. It is believed that a Saint directs Man to the path that helps him to reach God. So after worshiping Maharaj, the devotees worship Lord Ram. There are two silver representations of Maharaj’s face in the sanctum sanctorum of Ram Mandir. They are used for the processions on special occasions.
Opposite the Ram Mandir lies the Hanuman Mandir. Lord Hanuman was always at the service of Lord Ram. When a saint guides his disciples to chant the name of the Lord and reach God, it is the duty of the disciple to be in the service of the Lord. Lord Hanuman inspires people to do such a service. In Shegaon, people strongly believe in service. It is translated into reality by the ‘Sevadharis’ (devotees) who selflessly take part in various activities of the temple.
There is an idol of tortoise on the floor in front of Lord Hanuman’s temple. In times of danger and calamity, a tortoise pulls its legs, feet and head inside its shell. The hard and strong shell can withstand any rough weather. Similarly, when devotees come to the temple, they need to withdraw lust, anger, envy, temptation and pride. When these vices are overcome, what remains outside as the shell is the blessing of God. With these blessings, the devotees can experience immense satisfaction.
In ancient times, the structure of the temple was not very tall. In order to make the exact location of the temple known to the villagers, a flag was hoisted at the top of the temple. This tradition continues to hold good even today in Shegaon. The flag post in Shegaon temple is 31 feet tall and is gold plated. The flag itself has the divine alphabets “Aum” and “Shri” inscribed on it.
The hall joining the Ram Mandir and the Hanuman Mandir is called the ‘Sabhamandap’. It has pillars on all sides and above the pillars and below the roof are lovely paintings depicting important incidents from the life of Shri Gajanan Maharaj as written in the book ‘Shri Gajanan Vijay’. The former stone structure has now been re-painted to give it a fresh look.
Samadhi Grahan Sthal and Shayangriha:
Towards the South-East of the main temple entrance is the ‘Samadhi Grahan Sthal’. It is called as such because it was here that Shri Gajanan Maharaj breathed his last. Within Hinduism, ‘Samadhi’ can also refer to Videla Mukti or the complete absorption of the individual consciousness into the Self at the time of death – usually referred to as ‘Mahasamadhi’ – as well as the mausoleum of a saint, or spiritual leader.
There is a marble memorial stone structure with ‘paduka’ (footprints of the saint) at the ‘Samadhi Grahan Sthal’ of Shri Gajanan Maharaj and just behind this memorial is a shrine of Lord Vithoba and Rukhmini. Adjacent to this shrine is the ‘Shayangriha’. This is the place where Maharaj would rest or sleep. The bed that he used is preserved and Maharaj’s photograph has been placed on it. To the left of the ‘Samadhi Grahan Sthal’ is the ‘dhuni’, the holy fire that was lit by Maharaj. One sevadhari is appointed to keep the dhuni live day and night. For this job, almost 1 quintal of wood is required. Several devotees add ghee, raal’ (similar to absinthe), cotton wick dipped in ghee, ganja (hemp) to the dhuni. The tongs that were used by Maharaj have also been preciously conserved.
In front of the ‘Samadhi Grahan Sthal’ and ‘Shayangriha’ is a huge hall called ‘Parayan mandap’. This hall is used by the devotees to chant mantras, to meditate or to read the holy book. ‘Parayan’ is a reading of a holy book.
Several devotees sit in this hall and read the holy book ‘Shri Gajanan Vijay’. There are wooden seats with backrest for those who wish to sit on the floor and do the reading of the holy book. For those who cannot squat on the floor, chairs are also available. The temple ‘Sansthan’ lends copies of the holy book for reading without any charges. Also, some devotees like to light incense sticks, so the ‘Sansthan’ provides stick holders. Some people light a cotton wick lamp that may die down due to the circulating air. To prevent this, the ‘Sansthan ‘ provides a glass cover for the lamp to the devotees who wish to keep a lamp lighted during the reading of the book. Furthermore, if a devotee has forgotten his spectacles, he cannot read. Therefore, the ‘Sansthan’ has made arrangements for spectacles with different powered glasses.
The main entrance which is known as ‘Mukhya Praveshdwar’ faces north. There is also another entrance from the west.
Pathshala: There is an open space surrounding the temple on all four sides. This space is enclosed by a compound wall and broad corridor-like structure called ‘Pathshala’. This stone structure with beautifully carved pillars and arches opens to the side facing temple. This structure houses the trust’s office, donation and ‘Abhishek’ counters (Abhishek is a ritual to anoint the deity with milk, ghee, honey, curd, sugar, and water), a book store that sells holy books and a small area where the musical instruments ‘sanai-chowghada’ are played. ‘Sanai’ is an aeroponic instrument, tube-like in the structure that gradually widens towards the lower end. It has six to nine holes. ‘Chowghada’ is a set of two small drum-like instruments.
Outside ‘Samadhi Grahan Sthal:
There is a large ‘Audumber’ (Cluster tree) tree and a small shrine of Lord Hanuman just outside the ‘Samadhi Grahan Sthal’.
Outside the main entrance:
To the left of the main entrance is a small temple dedicated to ‘Nagdevata ‘ the snake goddess. In the vicinity are ‘Samadhis’ of Shri Gajanan Maharaj’s two disciples, Shri Balabhau Maharaj and Shri Narayan Maharaj.
Darshanbari’ and ‘Mahaprasad mandap:
A three-storied building was constructed on the non-agricultural land just behind the temple towards the south. This building is 300 feet long and 60 feet wide. On the ground floor, at least 2,500 devotees can sit at a time and have food. On the first and second floor, almost 20,000 devotees can sit or stand while waiting to reach the ‘Bhuyar’ to worship Shri Gajanan Maharaj’s idol.
Every temple has its daily schedule of worship and an annual calendar of events that are celebrated with great pomp and splendor.