Baba Dittu Ji
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Baba Dittu Ji is the ultimate Guru of the Gadia clan, a section of the Shwetambar Sthanakvasi Jain sect.
The Gadia Clan
The Gadia story started about 900 years ago in a village called Chanderi, in the Indian state of Rajasthan. In the year 1141 AD, Acharya Shri Jin Dutt Suri Ji, who Jains respectfully call Dada Guru Dev, segregated the Jain society into 499 sects or cults, called Gotras. These were like small families within the larger purview of the Jain society as such. The Gadia cult is one of those 499 cults and is in perennial existence for the past 900 years.
It is believed that the ruler of Chanderi, "King Khardar Singh Rathore" was extremely impressed by the thoughts and ideas of Shri Dada Guru Dev Ji and subsequently adopted the Jain religion. King Khardar Singh had a son called "Bhainsay Shah". King Bhainsay Shah’s fifth son was named "Gadhaiye Shah" and it is from him that the Gadia gotra got its name as "Gadia". Venerable Shri Baba Dittu Ji is believed to be the Guru of the Gadia clan and is therefore eternally associated with the Gadia society.
The Gadia family started expanding and reached out to different parts of India, primarily the north-western Indian state of Punjab. A large section of the community got settled in the city of Sialkot in Punjab (present day Pakistan). It is from Sialkot, that the Gadia family grew exponentially in size, prestige and influence. Slowly, the cultural influence of Punjab overshadowed the Rajasthani roots of Gadia society and it became a predominantly "Punjabi" society. The language, customs, traditions, festivals - all gained a Punjabi touch and the Gadia community accepted it with open arms. However, the overarching Jain faiths continued to be in place, as strong as a Rock, and ensured that the Gadia community maintained its own identity of "Jains" within the "Punjabi" culture. The key Jain ethics and beliefs in vegetarianism, non-violence, non-indulgence continued to be unshaken and undeterred all this while.
As we approached the era which of modern history, the community expanded further and moved to other parts of India, but the hub continued to be Sialkot. Then came that tragic event in the history of India which divided us into two separate nations – India and Pakistan. Politics played its dirty game and the India-Pakistan partition happened in 1947. This drove almost all members of the Gadia community out of Sialkot and other parts of the present day Pakistan. Many members of the community left everything back in Pakistan and travelled to different parts of India as refugees. Among all parts of India, most of the Gadia families moved to the cities of Jammu, Amritsar, Ludhiana, Meerut and Delhi. Although many families had to start from scratch, by the grace of Baba Dittu Ji, all recovered and re-established themselves in their new homes. As a result, today, the Gadia families are one of the most affluent and economically successful families in the Jain society and have their presence throughout India and many parts of the world.
"Venerable Shri Baba Dittu Ji" is the ultimate Guru of the Gadia clan. He is believed to be the protector, the preserver, the very guardian of the Gadia society. He continues to be the guiding light behind the Gadia gotra and this eternal association between Baba Dittu Ji and the Gadia clan is at the very crux of the Gadia faith. His image resides in the heart of every member of the Gadia family and their loyalty to Baba Dittu Ji is absolute and supreme in nature. Members of the Gadia clan say that their hands fold and their heads bow down in devotion to Baba Dittu Ji. This faith, this conviction, this belief in Baba Dittu Ji is unequivocal and ceaseless in every member of the Gadia clan.
To this date, whenever someone in Gadia families embarks on a journey, he/she makes it a point to remember Baba Dittu Ji in the heart for a safe and successful journey. Any festival, any auspicious event starts with remembering and meditating on Baba Dittu Ji. Remembering Baba Dittu Ji during birth ceremonies and wedding ceremonies is a tradition which has become a part of the Gadia way of life. In case of any trouble, any danger, Baba Dittu Ji is considered to be their ultimate savior. It is believed that when a person is under his divine blessing, nothing can go wrong.
Many times, we do come across such events which are beyond the scope of human explanation. We can either call them super-natural or simply inexplicable. But these are the moments when we realize that there really is some force which spans beyond our definition of the laws of nature. They take us to a new dimension of super-consciousness and convince us to believe in something that we don’t explicitly see. Shri Baba Dittu Ji has that power, that divine enigma to make people believe in those mystical connotations which would ordinarily be considered impossible. The Gadia community believes that Baba Dittu Ji has demonstrated his heavenly presence on many occasions, which break all shackles of disbelief. They believe that his image transcends all barriers of human imagination.
The temples dedicated to "Venerable Shri Baba Dittu Ji" are referred to as "Tomri Mandirs". These Tomris are considered to be the adobes of the divine grace of Baba Dittu Ji. The first Tomri mandir was established in Sialkot (in present-day Pakistan), and is obviously beyond the reach of present-day Gadia families (since most of them are in India now). However, there are three Tomri Mandirs in India which attract hundreds of Gadia families every day of the year. These tomris are located in Jammu, Ludhiana and Delhi.
In the year 1920, some Gadia families brought certain components from the Sialkot Tomri and established a Tomri Mandir at Jammu. The Jammu Tomri, thus remains the first and the oldest Tomri in India. It is located in a beautiful campus in Talaab Tillon area of Jammu.
The Ludhiana Tomri is located in a large, beautiful, green campus at village Kanech in Sahnewal district near Ludhiana (Punjab). The Ludhiana tomri is considered to be especially sacred since it is believed that Baba Dittu Ji appeared at this tomri in "Naag (snake) form". This tomri mandir has a large, full-wall photograph that was taken when Baba Ji appeared there in his divine manifestation of the snake.
The Delhi Tomri was envisioned in the year 1998. Construction started in the year 2000 after much deliberations with the Delhi government over allotment of land. On 25 January 2004, members of the Delhi Gadia community went to Jammu and brought some soil from the Jammu Tomri, as Baba Ji’s blessing. On 2 May 2004, the Tomri Mandir was formally inaugurated and made available to the Gadia families. Regular monthly events take place at the Tomri which ensures that the Gadia community remains connected in its devotion to Shri baba Dittu Ji.
More details and contact information of the Tomri temples can be found at http://www.babadittuji.com/tomri-mandirs.html
Baba Dittu Ji's Prayer (text): http://www.babadittuji.com/baba-ji-ki-aarti-text.html
Baba Dittu Ji's Prayers (audio): https://soundcloud.com/#babadittuji/sets/baba-dittu-ji-ke-bhajan
Baba Dittu Ji's website: http://www.babadittuji.com