Seeking ‘bad habits’ as ‘donation’
Born as Hada Rajput at Karvar in Kota, Rajasthan, Kaushikji Maharaj is the saint who seeks ‘bad habits’ of individuals or the evil practices prevailing in the society as ‘donation’ wherever he goes. Extended sainthood by Pandit Shriram Sharma Acharya of Gayatri Parivar in 1953, he has so far persuaded lakhs of people to abandon all kinds of addiction, curbed the practice of animal sacrifice in more than 200 villages of Rajasthan, transformed the lives of many communities, which traditionally indulged in criminal activities, and above all trained many people from so-called untouchable communities as Purohits who now perform all rituals in their respective villages. Not only this, he has also saved people of over 40 villages from conversion. Even at the age of 88 he visits interior villages and awaken the people against addiction, violence, crime and untouchability.
The prime inspiration behind changing the track of Kaushikji Maharaj’s life was Pt Shriram Sharma Acharya, who initiated him and his wife Smt Lakshmi Devi into Gayatri Parivar at Mathura in 1953. Before becoming a saint, he worked as physical education teacher and was known as Shambu Singh. But even while working as a teacher he utilised most of his free time in awakening the people by visiting one Dhani to the other. He stayed in Mathura from 1958 to 1960 and performed Sadhna. He is also deeply influenced with the sanskars imparted by his mother Smt Sajjan Kanvar who turned him towards the spirituality. She used to recite him Ramayan every day and did not allow him to sit with the people having bad habits.
Life of Kaushikji Maharaj witnessed a major turn in 1960 when Shriram Sharma Acharya directed him to focus on arresting the bad practice of animal sacrifice in the name of deities at religious places. He took up this task in 1960 with so much dedication that in one year itself he curbed this practice at 187 religious places, where thousands of animals used to be sacrificed every year. In order to spread the work in Rajasthan, he established Gayatri Peeth Sadhna Ashram in Kota in 1961. He promised his Guru Pt Shriram Sharma Acharya that ‘he would go where the saints and literature fail to reach’. That is why the focus of his activities extended even to the remote areas. He organised yajnas to persuade and educate people to abandon bad habits including addiction, violence, crime, superstitions, social evils, etc. So far, he has persuaded lakhs of such people to live a meaningful life refraining from all kinds of evils. Majority of these people are from the communities like Harijan, Bairwa, Meena, Kanjar, Mogia etc whom most people consider as untouchables. He brought all people together through the yajnas thus restoring social harmony. In order to make addiction free society he has carried out various activities in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana. The instrument that he uses is the Gayatri Mantra. He also focused on imparting good sanskars to the children right from the early days.
Another marvellous work that he has done is transforming the communities which have traditionally been indulging in crimes. He transformed such people to such an extent that they deposit the things if found somewhere at the local police station. It is unbelievable change. But such incidents were reported from Chanchora Village under Chhabara Tehsil of Baran District.
The people from Kanjar Community were famous for looting, theft and also indulging in violence since generations. But the visit of Kaushikji Maharaj transformed their lives. Now these people work in farms for livelihood. They have also organised 13 Gayatri Mahayajnas in the village so far. Maharajji was also jailed along with his wife and a six month old daughter during the Gouraksha movement of 1967. He also motivates the people to plant at least five trees.
In 1962, when Kaushikji Maharaj reached Sorati Village, the entire village was non-vegetarian and animal sacrifice was at its peak. He told people that the gods never eat meat and those who eat are demons. ‘Since you are human being, your meal is milk and vegetables’. The impact of his discourse was so deep that the entire village collectively abandoned non-vegetarian food permanently and stopped animal sacrifice. They also abandoned all kinds of addictions.
Kaushikji Maharaj changed the lives of people from so-called untouchable Bairva Community at Indrapuria Village under Keshoray Patan in Bundi District. Prior to the entry of Maharajji in this village, it was known as ‘Chamarpura’ where the villagers had once decided to even embrace Buddhism, as all the Purohits of the tehsil had declined to solmenise the wedding of their children. The bride and groom then used to have rounds of the fire in the presence of elders without the chant of any mantra. In that situation some people from the village approached Kaushikji Maharaj who then trained some people to conduct all necessary rituals. Now nobody in the village call the traditional Purohit for any ceremony. “If a Brahmin can sell shoes, Rajput can have contract of selling liquor, Vaishya can eat or sell meat then why can’t the people from so-called inferior communities act as Purohit?”asks Kaushikji Maharaj. Some people at Dholam Village under Chhipi Baraut Teshil of Baran District were agitated so much in 1998 after the people from upper castes did not allow the grooms from low castes to ride the mare that they announced to embrace Islam. Then also Kaushikji Maharaj imparted training of Purohit to some people in that village.
Kaushikji Maharaj has touched the lives of the people so much that many of them have started calling him modern Baba Ramdev, the highly revered ‘Lok Devata’ of Rajasthan. However, he does not want to be known as a Devata. He feels satisfied after transforming the lives of people. He repeatedly stresses on curbing the practices, which divide the Hindu society and also weaken it.
— Pramod Kumar