Gadge Maharaj

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Gadge Maharaj
Debuji Zhingraji Janorkar

(1876-02-23)23 February 1876
Died20 December 1956(1956-12-20) (aged 80)
Amravati, India
Main interests
Religion, Kirtans, Ethics

Gadge Maharaj (23 February 1876 - 20 December 1956; also known as Sant Gadge Maharaj or Sant Gadge Baba) was a mendicant-saint and social reformer from the Indian state of Maharashtra. He lived in voluntary poverty and wandered to different villages promoting social justice and initiating reforms, especially related to sanitation. He is still revered by the common people in India and remains a source of inspiration for various political parties and non-government organizations.[1]

Life and career[edit]

B. R. Ambedkar, Bhaurao Patil with Gadge Maharaj Baba

His original name was Debuji Zhingraji Janorkar. He was born in Shendgaon village in Anjangaon Surji Taluka in Amravati District of Maharashtra to a Dhobi (Washerman caste) family.[2][3][a] A public teacher, he travelled from one place to another wearing his food pan upturned on his head and carrying his trademark broom. When he entered a village, he would instantly start cleaning the gutters and roads of the village. He also told the citizens of the village that their congratulations would have to wait until his work was done. Villagers gave him money, babaji used that for progress of physical as well as thinking of society. From the obtained money, Maharaj built educational institutions, dharmashalas, hospitals and animal shelters.

He conducted his discourses in the form of "Kirtans" in which he would emphasize values like service to humanity and compassion. During his Kirtans, he would educate people against blind faiths and rituals. He would use Dohas (couplets of a song) by Saint Kabir in his discourses.[citation needed]

He exhorted people to stop animal sacrifice as part of religious rituals and campaigned against vices such as alcohol abuse.

He tried to embody the values that he preached: hard work, simple living and selfless service to the poor. He abandoned his family (a wife and three children) to pursue this path.[4]

Maharaj met the spiritual teacher Meher Baba several times. Meher Baba indicated that Maharaj was one of his favourite saints[5] and that Maharaj was on the sixth plane of consciousness.[6] Maharaj invited Meher Baba to Pandharpur, India, and on 6 November 1954 thousands of people had Maharaj and Meher Baba's darshan.[7]

Death and legacy[edit]

Gadge Baba Statue Nagpur

Maharaj died on 20 December 1956 on his way to Amravati, on the banks of river Pedhi near Walgaon.[citation needed] The Government of Maharashtra started the Sant Gadge baba Gram Swachata Abhiyan project in 2000-01 in his honour. This programme awards prizes to villagers, who maintain clean villages.[citation needed] In addition, the Government of India instituted a National Award for Sanitation and Water in his honour.[citation needed] The University of Amravati has also been named in his honour.


Gadge Maharaj on a 1998 stamp of India The postal department of India had honored Gadge Maharaj by issuing a commemorative stamp in his name.


  1. ^ quote on page 138:Gadge Maharaj or Gadge Baba(1876-1956) was born in a family of the Washerman caste in the district of Daryapur, not too far from the town of Riddhipur in Gautam Raul lived seven centuries earlier

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Kulkarni, Sudheendra (24 February 2015). "An icon for Swachh Bharat: To sustain the abhiyan, we should draw inspiration from beloved saint-reformers like Sant Gadge Maharaj". The Indian Express. Retrieved 10 February 2018.
  2. ^
  3. ^ Milton Israel and N.K.Wagle, ed. (1987). Religion and Society in Maharashtra. Center for South Asian Studies, University of Toronto, Canada.
  4. ^ G.N. Dandekar (2009). Shree Gadge Maharaj. Translated by P.J. Godbole. Published by Mrunmayee Prakashan.
  5. ^ Kalchuri, Bhau (1986). Meher Prabhu: Lord Meher. 14. Myrtle Beach: Manifestation, Inc. pp. 4924.
  6. ^ Kalchuri, Bhau (1986). Meher Prabhu: Lord Meher. 1. Myrtle Beach: Manifestation, Inc. p.190.
  7. ^ Kalchuri, Bhau (1986). Meher Prabhu: Lord Meher. 13. Myrtle Beach: Manifestation, Inc. pp. 4571-77.