Symbols of the world's religions

               

ARANGAON MEANS FOREST VILLAGE

Bhau Kalchuri

 
Arangaon means Forest Village; centuries ago the area was a jungle or great forest. There are several legends connected with Arangaon's spiritual past. It is said that during the 9th or 10th century, a Hindu Perfect Master named Vithoba (another name for Krishna in Hindu tradition) stayed at the village. After some time, a temple dedicated to him was constructed. Because of this temple the small village also became known as Chotta Pandhari, in reference to Pandharpur, a celebrated place of pilgrimage for Hindus in honor of Vithoba — Lord Krishna.

Later, during the 17th century, a Hindu saint named Buaji Bua resided in Arangaon. Once, during the festival of Ekadashi, a large crowd had assembled to celebrate the day in the saint's auspicious presence. The bhajan singing became ecstatic and in a rapture of divine intoxication, swaying his body to the fervent music, Buaji Bua began rubbing his palms together. When his disciples asked him the reason, the saint replied, "I am extinguishing a large fire in the congregation tent at Pandharpur!" His disciples were startled when they witnessed his hands turning black, like charcoal, and smoke rising from them!

A few days later, news came from Pandharpur that there had been a tremendous fire on the day of Ekadashi, which had been surprisingly easy to extinguish. The fire was found to have started at the time when Buaji Bua began rubbing his hands together.

Buaji Bua is also known for having himself buried alive — called by Hindus Jeevan Samadhi — in Sadguru Vithoba's temple in Arangaon. His tomb is there to this day. Hindus go on pilgrimage to this temple-tomb, and each year a large religious festival is held outside the shrine.

Another sacred place outside the village is the humble tomb of the Mohammedan saint Hazrat Maula Gilori Shah. This saint was still alive when Meher Baba first visited Arangaon village during May, 1923. The saint was a resident of Ahmednagar but had his tomb built outside the city, and it was beside Gilori Shah's empty tomb that the Master had rested his first night at Arangaon. This saint's tomb is now part of the property of Lower Meherabad and is near the tombs of Meher Baba's men mandali.

LORD MEHER, Vol. 2, pp. 512-513
1987 © Lawrence Reiter

               

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