Devraha Baba

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Devraha Baba
Devaha Baba.jpg
Ageless Baba
Religion Siddha Yogi saint
Temple Devararahi Mandir (Deoria)
Personal
Born Unknown
Died 19 May 1990 [1]
Vrindavan, Uttar Pradesh
Resting place Vrindavan, Uttar Pradesh
Senior posting
Based in India
Successor Devraha Hans Baba

Devraha Baba (died in 19 May 1990), also spelled Deoraha baba[2] was an Indian Siddha Yogi saint who lived beside the Yamuna river in Mathura. He was known as "ageless Yogi with a secular image".[3] He was known as a sadhu who preached harmony between religious communities.[4]

Life[edit]

Little is known about the early life of Devraha Baba, beyond that in the first half of 20th-century, he visited Mael, a town 20 km. south west of Salempur, Uttar Pradesh. Here he started living atop a Machan, a high platform made of wooden logs, situated 3 km from the town on the banks of Sarayu river. The place was near Dewar in Deoria district, thus local people started calling him Devraha Baba or Deoria Baba, with Baba being an honorific for saints or old men. Thereafter he shifted to Vrindavan, where again he lived atop a machan on the banks of Yamuna river for the rest of his years.[5][6]

Devraha Baba was a hermit from Vrindava.[7] He was considered to be a "spiritual guide to everyone from a pauper to the most powerful ... above narrow confines of caste and community."[3] Village people as well as important personalities waited for hours to have a glimpse or darshan of him.[8] He received visits from politicians seeking his blessings at the time of general elections, including Indira Gandhi, Buta Singh,[8] and Rajiv Gandhi.[9] Rajiv Gandhi and his wife Sonia Gandhi visited his ashram on the eve of the 1989 elections.[10] He used to bless the devotees with his feet.[11]

He lived on a 12-foot-high (3.7 m) wooden platform near the river and wore a small deerskin.[12] A barricade of wooden planks hid his semi-naked body from his devotees, and he came down only to bathe in the river.[13]

Longevity claims[edit]

There are various claims of his longevity, starting from 150 years and above[8][9] but verifiable records are not available. He was called "ageless Yogi with a secular image".[3] BBC correspondent Mark Tully observed that local people believed Baba died only when he wished to.[12]

Association with the demolition of the Babri Masjid[edit]

Devraha Baba's name was included by the Liberhan Commission on the list of those accused of demolishing the Babri Masjid, even though he died two years before the demolition of the structure.[3] Pro-Hindu organisations like Vishwa Hindu Parishad had been successful in persuading Devraha Baba to support their cause of building a Ram temple at Ayodhya, and indeed as a harmonious, joint effort between the various religious groups.[12] Tully also observed that some of Devraha Baba's devotees approached him for financial as well as political gains.[12]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Baba in the report who makes Congress squirm". The Indian Express. 8 December 2009. Retrieved 20 December 2012. 
  2. ^ Lutgendorf, Philip p.296
  3. ^ a b c d "Devraha Baba's indictment enrages seers in Ayodhya". The Times of India. 2 December 2009. Retrieved 18 December 2012. 
  4. ^ Subrata Kumar Mitra,, James Chiriyankandath (1992). Electoral politics in India: a changing landscape. New Delhi: Segment Books. p. 46. 
  5. ^ "Personalities: Devraha Baba". Deoria district official website. Retrieved 2014-05-10. 
  6. ^ Cohen, Lawrence, p.284
  7. ^ Jaffrelot, Christophe (2010). Religion, caste, and politics in India. New Delhi: Primus Books. p. 240. ISBN 9789380607047. 
  8. ^ a b c Cohen Lawrence p.283-5
  9. ^ a b Dasgupta, Swapan (11 Friday 2006). "BEYOND THE OLD BOOKS — Modern India and the discourse of faith". The Telegraph (Calcutta). Retrieved 19 December 2012.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  10. ^ Kidwai, Rasheed (2003). Sonia, a biography. New Delhi: Penguin Books India. p. 131. 
  11. ^ Christophe Jaffrelot, edited by Jacob Copeman, Aya Ikegame (2012). The Guru in South Asia: New Interdisciplinary Perspectives. New York and Oxon: Routledge. p. 83. ISBN 9781136298066. 
  12. ^ a b c d Mark Tully, edited by Dom Moraes (2004). The Penguin book of Indian journeys. New Delhi: Penguin India. pp. 101–105. ISBN 9780141007649. 
  13. ^ Crossette, Barbara (November 22, 1989). "India to Begin Voting ; Today on Fate of the Nation and the House of Nehru". The New York Times. 

References[edit]

External links[edit]