Part 10- Sant Sri Sevalal Maharaj History

It is mentioned that from Nasik, Sevabhaya and his group went to North India for trade. According to many authors Sevabhaya and his group did not go to North India. In fact Sevabhaya and his group never crossed Vindhya Mountain Ranges. Further, I would like to mention that I have attended many conferences, of banjaras in Indore (MP), Agra (UP) and Delhi under All India Banjara Seva Sangha. The banjaras in these states have not heard of Sevabhaya or Sevadas. nor they have any temples of Sevabhaya and Sri Mariamma This shows that Sevabhaya and his group have never crossed Vindhya Mountain ranges.

From Nashik Sevabhaya and his group reached Ruigad via Akola, Pusad, Manora and Digras of Maharashtra This area was found to be convinient as forest for grazing cattles and small rivulets for water and vast areas for settlement was available. Sevabhaya visualised that Ruigad and Pohragad were ideal places for their permanent settlement.

Sri Mariamma and Sevabhaya going to Heaven:
At Ruigad the question of marriage of Sevabhaya cropped up again. Although Sevabhaya was an ardent devotee of Sri Mariamma, he was becoming very popular and people started to worship him, rather than Sri Mariamma. It is stated that this attitude of banjaras made Sri Mariamma angry.
In order to lessen the influence of Sevabhaya Sri Mariamma thought that if Sevabhaya marries, have children and settles in life like others his hold over his people will disappear or will be less. Although Sri Mariamma was asking Sevabhaya for marriage now and then, the reason of his becoming popular with his people made Sri Mariamma to press for him to marry,
Jagadamba kerire bhayana
vayari thayari karale
Sevabhaya kero devina
jo watena ayo duniya dekhena
koni javu ma voyi watena

His argument for not marrying was, that his people men, women and children address him as Bhaya (brother). Harilal Pawar quotes an article by Colonel Mackenji in which Colonel Mackenji mentions that Sevabhaya loved a beautiful girl, gave his heart to her who later suffered from cholera (considered to be goddess by orthodox people) and died. Sevabhaya was leart broken, sad and suffered from pain. This was another reason for his refusal for marriage.
There is a very interesting story how Sevabhaya and Sri Mariamma went to heaven. It is stated that after long argument Sevabhaya and Sri Mariamma agreed to go to heaven, to settle the dispute in the presence of Lord Shiva, and Brahma for mediation. They also agreed to abide by the decision of Gods. Sebabhaya made a bed of neem leaves and lay down on the bed. and his soul (atma) left his body. His soul accompanied Sri Mariamma to heaven. Before he left for heaven he instructed his brothers, Hapa, Baddu and Bhanu and his followers that “no body should touch his body during his absence (till he returns), prayer and bhajans should continue day and night, the lamp in the math (Mandir) should be burning and this information should not reach his mother (Dharmini Bai).
Sevabhaya kero Hampa Baduna
Devi sath jarochu swargen
Theena dina vaja chalu reda
janam dene valeena mata kalavore
mara sharir deko jathan

After this his, soul (atma) left his body and accompanied Sri Mariamma to heaven. They appeared before Lord Shiva who after listening to their respective arguments directed them to Brahma. Brahma asked Sri Mariamma the purpose of their visit. Sri Mariamma related the whole episode. She had helped Sevabhaya in all his difficulties, has helped him to win many battles and made him victorious. Now I am asking him to marry and settle in life.

But Sevabhaya is not listening and refusing to marry. Then Brahma asked Sevabhaya his version. Sevabhaya told Brahma that he can not marry and he wants to remain bramachari. Further he stated that everyone men, women, girls and children address him as bhaya (brother) then whom should he marry Brahma examined his Kundali (horoscope) and found to indication of marriage for Sevabhaya.
Brahma told Sri Mariamma that he would not marry and hence remains a brahmachari. He is destined to serve his people. On hearing this verdict Sri Mariamma left heaven without informing Sevabhaya and came back to Ruigad and informed Sevabhaya’s mother (Dharminibai) that Sevabhaya is dead. On hearing this Dharminibai came to mandir where the body of Sevabhaya was lying Dharmini bai started crying loudly, Inpite of Hampa, Baddu and Bhanu and other followers of Sevabhaya who were doing bhajanas pleaded Dharmini bai not to touch the body she bitterly cried and fell on the body of Sevabhaya. As soon as she touched the body of Sevabhaya it turned upside down and soul (atma) of Sevabhaya hovering over the body disappeared in the atmosphere and attained heaven.

The news spread far and wide and lakhs of people from surrounding thandas and villages gathered and mourned the death of Sevabhaya. They shouted in praise of Sevabhaya. Tholaram, his horse, garasiya bull and the cattles and horses shed tears. Thus the life of Sevabhaya came to an end. Preparations were made to take the body of Sevabhaya from Ruigad to Pohragad, the people of Ruigad objected.
They wanted that Sevabhaya must be buried in Ruigad as he died in this place. Inspite of Sevabhaya’s brothers, Hapa, Baddu and Pura told the people that Sevabhaya wished that his body be taken to Pohragad and burried there and last rites be done in Pohragad. continue…Part 11

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