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About Jalaram Bapa
There is village named Virpur near Rajkot in Saurashtra (Gujarat State). About one hundred seventy five years ago, one day, a sannyasi from Mount Girnar came there all of a sudden. He went straight to the house of a Lohana gentlemen named Pradhan Thakkar Rajbai, the house wife, had a great affection for the sadhus and the sannyasis. She welcomed the sannyasi and said, ‘Please take your seat, have your meals and be comfortable here’ .
But the sannyasi did not move from where he stood and said, “ Show me your younger son, Mother!”.
Her younger son was only five years old and at that time he was playing in the street with outer children. On being called by the sannyasi he rushed into the house and stood in front of him with folded hands. The sannyasi placed his hand on the boy’s head and looked at him with love. Then he said, “ Do you recognise me, my son ?”.
The boy’s face glowed with a bewitching smile and he muttered God’s name; Rama Rama ! Rama Rama ! Sita Rama !
The very next moment the sannyasi left the place with a mysterious smile on his face, and no one has seen him again ever since.
This five year old boy was Jalaram. He was born on Monday, November 14, 1799 the seventh day of the bright half of Kartik, Vikram era 1856 in Virpur. After the meeting with the sannyasi the boy Jalaram showed a remarkable change in his behaviour. Now he was all the time muttering God’s name.
His father was a grocer and had a small shop in the town. Being the son of a merchant class, he was required to learn reading and writing. So his father sent him to the village primary school. But Jalaram was more inclined towards the sadhus and the sannyasis than towards the studies. Whenever he saw a sadhu Jalaram would take him home for meals.
When he was fourteen, Jalaram was invested with a sacred thread. His father then thought that the son had enough of education so he made him leave the school. Now Jalaram became an apprentice in his father’s shop.
Seeing that Jalaram was more inclined towards sadhus and sannyasis his father feared that he would perhaps be a sannyasi himself. So he sought to bind him with the worldly ties. The young Jalaram did not like it. He politely said to his father, “Why do you try to bind me with the worldly ties? I only wish to worship God.”
Both his father and his uncle explained to Jalaram the blessedness of a dutiful household, “if we have a household we can offer drinking water to some body; we can offer meals to a stranger; we can feed doves and sparrows. Even the ants might get their food from our house. All this is a pious work.”
Jalaram was convinced with the argument of feeding others.
At the age of sixteen, Jalaram was married to Virbai, the daughter of Pragji Thakkar of Atkot.
His father had hoped that Jalaram’s attraction towards the sadhus will decrease in course of time, but it increased instead. For Jalaram, the life’s sole aim was the service of the sadhus and the sannyasis. Virpur was on the way between Dwarika and Junagadh. So the sadhus and the sannyasis used to halt there for rest. Jalaram was delighted when he saw a sadhu. He would invite him for meals, or offer him food grains or other things from the shop.
His father was not a rich man. He advised the son that they could not afford such expenses, but the advice had no effect on Jalaram. He was therefore, separated from the family. Now Jalaram left his father’s shop and looked after the shop of his uncle Valji.
One day about a dozen sadhus came to his shop. Jalaram gave them some yards of cloth from the roll. Then he gave them sufficient quantity of pulse, rice and flour. He tied these things into a bundle and went with them carrying that bundle himself. He also took with him a vessel filled with ghee.
A merchant in the neighbourhood saw this. He went to Valji and told him, “Stop this boy from doing such things, lest he will drag you into debt.”
Valji immediately ran after Jalaram and the merchant followed him. They stopped him in the way in the asked him, “what’s there in the bundle?”
Jalaram said, “nothing but dung cakes.”
“Show me !” His uncle challenged Jalaram Untied the bundle and lo! There were dung cakes in it!
“And what’s there in the vessel?” asked his uncle.
“What else can there be but water?” saying this Jalaram turned the vessel upside down, and lo! Water flowed out of it!
The merchant said, “Valji, this seems to be the effect of some black magic of the mendicants. Come on, I will show you the roll of cloth.”
Jalaram’s uncle measured the cloth but found it was not an inch less.
The merchant was abashed. Even the sannyasis were stunned.
Jalaram knew that this was God’s doing. He was convinced that to serve a sadhu was to serve God himself.
Now Jalaram had no love for business activities, Suddenly he had a desire to go on a pilgrimage.
Journey was hard in those days. There were no roads, no bridges, no security. One had to walk down the distance on foot. Everybody in the family opposed to his idea of going on a pilgrimage. But to Jalaram it was God’s command and it must be obeyed. Jalaram did not change his mind. He set out for a pilgrimage. He was only seventeen at that time. He reached Badri-Narayan via Gokul-Mathura. Then he went to Ayodhya, Prayag, Kashi, Gaya, Jagannath Puri and Rameshwar. After about two years he returned home from the pilgrimage. He was given a warm reception by the people of his village.
Fatepur is a small village near Amreli in Saurashtra. God-man named Bhoja Bhagat lived there. He was an illiterate farmer, but one who has realized God needs no schooling. Bhoja Bhagat had blossomed into a poet. He had composed hundreds of Bhajans
( devotional songs) which were sung by people in the surrounding area. These songs are popularly known in Gujarati as ‘Bhoja Bhagat na Chabkha.’
Soon after returning from the pilgrimage, Jalaram went to see Bhoja Bhagat. He was moved to see his as if he had known him since long. He paid obeisance to him, and requested him to be his Guru. The Bhagat accepted Jalaram as his disciple and gave him Rama-mantra to mutter.
Jalaram was yet only twenty years old. On returning to Virpur he set up a separate household for him and offered his life in the service of the saints and sannyasis.
Jalaram wished to earn his livelihood and feed others from his own earnings without being a burden to anyone. So he worked as a farm laborer. His wife Virbai was a woman having deep faith in God and sadhus. She also worked in the field with her husband. The farmer would say, Enough & it. Bhagat but the Bhagat would say, “No, my Rama would be displeased if I don’t work properly and accept any thing not due to me.”
Both the husband and the wife muttered Rama’s name and did hard labour. They would return home in the evening carrying on head the bundle of the food grains offered to them as wages. If by chance they came across a bullock cart the cart driver would say, “Bhagat! Ride into the cart !” But Bhagat would politely say, “Why to put the dumb creatures into trouble? We will walk down the distance.”
Jalaram was so kind and merciful !
In course of time, Jalaram collected forty measures of food grains. The Bhagat said to his wife, “Bhandari (store keeper), we are only two in the house. What shall we do with this much of grains?”
Virbai said, “I know why you are asking me this. But never doubt that I will oppose any of your ideas. You may start giving alms to the needy in the name of Rama. It is you who taught me that God cares for those who care for others.”
Now the Bhagat approached Guru and prayed to him, “Maharaj, I wish to start a charity house and I seek your permissions for that.”
The Guru was pleased. He blessed him with these words, “Be detached yourself ! do charity without depending on others ! Follow your Dharma by thought, action and speech. Attribute all your actions to God.” He further said, “It is God who gives and God who takes. So give as much as you can !”
Jalaram’s joy knew no bounds. He started a charity house. This was the second of the bright half of Magh, Vikram era 1876. He was only twenty at that time. Young in age but mature in devotion to God.
A few days after starting the charity house a saint dropped in. Virbai prepared the food and the Bhagat served it to the saint muttering the name of God. The saint was pleased. He presented him a small idol of child Krishna and said, “Worship this ! God will not let you suffer from any wants. And see, Hanumanji will soon appear himself here at your pleace.”
Then the saint went away. And lo ! On the third day an idol of Hanumanji made its appearance there ! The Bhagat built a temple and began worshipping Hanumanji and Child Krishna. The place was soon transformed into an Ashram.
Day by day the number of sadhus and pilgrims visiting his house increased. The granary had become empty and it was now difficult to entertain all who came. Seeing this, Virbai took out the gold chain which was a gift from her parents and gave it to the Bhagat saying, “Sell it out and feed the guests.”
Jalaram was puzzled, but Virbai said, “This is also a gift of my loving God and I wish to utilise it for the devotees who are also the forms of the same loving God.”
The Bhagat was delighted at this and said to himself, ‘My God, how great she is! It seems she lives in God!’
Jalaram sold out the ornament and continued feeding the saints. Gradually all of his wife’s ornaments were sold out but neither of them was sorry about it. For them to serve the sadhus and devotees was more important than wealth.
There was tailor named Harji in Virpur. For months together he had seen suffering from some pain in the stomach and could not do any work because of that pain.
Once he happened to meet Ruda Patel.
Harji said, “I can’t bear the pain any longer. No medicine shows its effect on me and I am now completely fed up.”
Ruda Patel said, “Now you do one thing. Take a vow in the name of Jala Bhagat and you will be all right. I’am sure!”
Harji soon said, ‘O Jala Bhagat relieve me of this pain. I’will give five measures of grain to the charity house.”
It so happened that Harji’s pain began to be reduced from that very day and within a week he was completely recovered. He offered five measures of grains to Jala Bhagat, paid obeisance to him and said, “Bapa, you have cured me of my disease.
The Bhagat said, “No, It’s God who cured you. I did nothing. I simply know one thing; “Feed the needy and mutter God’s name.”
This was the first vow uttered in the name of Jala Bhagat.
Hence forth people called him ‘ Jalaram Bapa.’
Once two robust sadhus came to Jalaram’s Ashram. Bapa paid obeisance to them and arranged for their meals.
After they left, somebody remarked; “Bhagat, you encourage idleness by giving free meals to such robust persons. Even in scriptures it is laid down that charity should be done to the deserving only.”
Bhagat said, “How could one understand the scriptures? I don’t know even the difference between the deserving and the under serving. To me all creatures are the different forms of my loving God. Those sannyasis were none but God Himself. How shall we call God underserving?”
No on had any answer to that.
There lived a rich muslim named Jamal in Virpur. Once his ten year old son was ill. Inspite of all treatment his temperature did not come down. The doctors gave up hope about his recovery.

The tailor Harji told Jamal about his own experience, “Jamal, a pellet bow can send a pellet upto three hundred yards, a gun can send a bullet upto a thousand, a tank can send a ball upto ten thousand but the Jalaram Bapa’s morsel of food given to the sadhus has its reach upto the door of the heaven. There fore , take a vow in Jalaram Bapa’s name and that will surely save your son from death.”

Jamal caught the suggestion and said, “O Bapa, relieve my son of his disease. I will give forty measures of grains to your charity house.”

It so happened that his son’s temperature got down that very night, he opened his eyes, and was saved.

Jamal took a cart load of grains to Jala Bapa, paid obeisance to him and said, “Jalla so Allah ! ( Jalaram is God). One who fails to receive something from God can receive it from Jalaram!”

Henceforth Jala Bapa became popularly known as “Jalla so Allah” ( Jalaram is God). He was twenty two at that time (Vikram era 1878).
The activities at Jalaram’s Ashram increased day by day. Now people began to assist in the work of Jala Bapa. The Thakore of Virpur had given him about fourteen acres of land.
Once the Raja of Dhrangadhra was going on a pilgrimage to Somnath with his train of attendents and he passed through Virpur. Jalaram stopped him and said, “ you cannot leave this place without taking prasad.” And he started distributing Prasad of sweets from a small basket on his shoulder. Everybody got the Prasad.
The Raja was amazed. He said, “Bhagat, I want to help you, Ask for anything you need and you will get it.”
The Bhagat said, “Bapu, what should I ask for? I am Rama’s mendicant and Rama fulfills my needs.”
The Raja said, “Yet ask for something for my pleasure!”
Jala Bapa said, “We have a small grinding mill. With it we can not produce sufficient flour to meet our increasing requirements. It will be good if you can send two big grinding stones from your state’s mine.”
The Raja smiled and said, “ Bhagat, you ask for stones only! Why don’t you ask for land or money?”
Jalaram folded his hands and said, “We, the sadhus, do not deserve land or money. We can not be the owners of land. We should pray to God and distribute the alms that we get from him.”
The Raja was very pleased. After returning from the pilgrimage he sent the best grinding stones to Jala Bapa. With these stones a large grinding mill was made. It could grind about eight to ten mounds of grain daily. Even today that grinding mill exists.
Once a horseman came to Jala Bapa’s Ashram in Virpur. He was so exhausted that he had no strength even to take off the saddle from the horse back. At once he lay down on the ground saying, “Let me lie down here peacefully. I am completely exhausted. I do not want to eat or drink anything.’
Bapa ran his loving hand over the head of the traveler, brought out sweets from the store-room and pressed its pieces into the mouth of the traveler. After feeding him thus Jala Bapa let him rest. Then he went to the horse, took off the saddle and stood before it with folded hands saying, “My Rama ! If you rider is so much exhausted how much more you must be exhausted !”
Then he gave him fodder, washed his legs with warm water and massaged his legs softly.
Such was Jalaram Bapa. He saw Rama in all creatures and was always ready to server them.
Gopal Joshi was the Gor(priest) of Lohana community. He had been suffering from paralysis for the last fifteen years. He could not move his hands and feet or speak properly. He came to Virpur and paid obeisance to Jalaram Bapa.
Bapa said, “Gor Bapa, It’s not you, who should pay obeisance, but I !” Saying this he moved round the Gor four times, paid him obeisance and insisted on his staying there. He said, “ Gor Bapa, worship God, and feed the sadhus here.”
Gor Bapa took up that service in the right earnest. In course of time, his legs and hands became free and he could speak clearly. The Gor was so delighted that he composed a song praising Jala Bapa:
O Jogi Jala Bapa, Make thy abode in my my mind,
I seek your protection, you are generous and king!
Bapa said, “Please stop this nonsense! Sing only the virtues of God, not of mine ! If you praise me, God would make you again as you were!”
The Gor was at once silenced. Since then none has ever praised Jala Bapa in his presence.
Such a selfless soul was he!
It was Vikram Era 1886. Ten years had passed since the charity house started. Once an old sadhu came to the Ashram muttering ‘Narayan, Narayan, Narayan !’ Bapa stood before him with folded hands and prayed to him to take his meals, but the sadhu said, “No”.
Bapa said, “Then tell me what you would take !”
The old sadhu said, “Then listen ! This body is worn out. The pangs of the old age are unbearable. I wish to have some body who would look after me!”
Jalaram Bapa said, “Why. I will look after you.”
The old sadhu said, “Not you, but send your wife with me to look after me. And listen, she must come with me willingly, not by compulsion.”
Virbai was preparing meals at that time. Bapa went to her, sat in front of her and said hesitatingly, “Bhandari, an old sadhu has arrived and has asked for you to look after him in his old age. What shall we say?”
Virbai Ma soon replied, “Oh, is it so? Tell him I shall go with him soon.”
Hearing this Bapa was greatly relieved.
Most of the burden of the Ashram was borne by Virbai Ma. She got up early in the morning, prayed to God, and then was busy preparing meals still midday. She worked upto midnight without rest.
Virbai got herself ready soon. She put on new clothes, put a bindi on her forhead and came out ready to go.
As the news spread in the village, people gathered together. Some tried to dissuade Bapa from giving away his wife to the sadhu; while others called the sadhu a frandulent.
Virbai Ma stood before Bapa with folded hands and said, “Bhagat, I am going. Kindley forgive me for my faults if any!” While speaking her voice was choked with emotion.
Bapa’s voice also was choked with emotion, “Virbai take care of the sadhu. He is our revered father.”
The sadhu lifted his bag and a thick staff and said, “Let’s go.”
After sending off Virbai, Bapa went to the temple and prayed to God. Who knows what passed there between God and his devotee ! Then he came out and sat on the otta counting the beads of rosary.
On the other hand the sadhu departed with Virbai Ma. He came across a river at the distance of two-three miles. There the sadhu said, “Mother, look after my bag and the staff. I will just return after attending the natural call.”
Saying this he disappeared behind the bushes. Virbai Ma waited for him till the sun-set. It was growing dark. Virbai Ma was anxious about the sadhu. Her eyes were filled with tears.
Some cowherd boys saw her weeping. Then went to the village and informed the people about this. Now people realized that the sadhu was no one else but God himself who had come to put the Bhagat to test.
Then the people gathered, went to the river in a procession singing and beating drums, and brought back Virbai Ma home.
Jalaram Bapa’s joy knew no bounds that day. When Virbai Ma returned to the Ashram with the bag and the staff, he fell at her feet. Virbai Ma was venerable woman now as she had been accepted as an offering by Shri Hari himself. Then Jala Bapa placed the staff and the bag in the temple, and worshipped them. The eyes of both Bapa and Virbai Ma were full of tears of sublime joy at that time.
“Oh, my God, what wonderful things you do ! No one can fathom the depths of your mysterious deeds!”
Then Bapa said to Virbai Ma, “Why did you allow the sadhu to go away? Who knows when shall we meet him again ?
Virbai Ma said, “ I did not know that he would betray me like that. After giving me the staff and the bag he disappeared. Well, let his will prevail ! What else could be we do ? We may mutter his name and serve the sadhus. The rest is left to him.”
Since that day the bag and the staff are kept in the temple and are worshipped twice daily.
Bapa was thirty when this incident took place.
The fame of Bapa spread far and wide but Bapa was completely detached. There were many more people to serve in the Ashram now. But there were only mud houses in the Ashram, no pucca buildings. There was no well to draw water from. Water had to be fetched from a nearby stepwell. The devotees used to do all this work with love.
Once Bapa got up very early in the morning as usual. He saw that others were still in sound sleep. He took he broom and swept the street clean.
Such things frequently happened. Once a devotee saw him sweep the street and he dissuaded him from doing that. Bapa said, “Why? Suppose a sadhu arrives early in the morning and finds the street dirty, what would he think of us? Moreover, what difference it makes if the work is done by me in your place? The same God is sitting in your heart, as he is in mine.
Once Jalaram Bapa saw that the water-pots were empty. Without saying anything he took the pot and went to the step-well to fetch water. Some devotees saw him thus going and called out, “Bapa, please wait! Please stop !”
Bapa said, “ Let me fetch this pot of water first, then I shall stop wherever you say.”
So saying he walked speedily and returned with the pot filled with water. He then said, “How fortunate, I am to have an opportunity to fetch water for the sadhus to drink!”
Such a great devotion he had for the sadhus.
A Woman called Meghbai lived in the Ashram and worked there. Bapa considered her as his sister and she considered him her brother. When Bapa was bent upon fetching water, only Meghbai could stop him. Bapa always listened to her.
Once Bapa went to a village called Khokhri. The devotees gave him a warm welcome, and led him to the residence of the Shavji Bhagat.
There was a man called Jeram Bhagat in the village. He was jealous and he frequently criticized Jalaram Bapa. If some one told Jala Bapa about this, he would say, “Well, I am only the dust of Jeram Bhagat’s feet. There’s no comparison between Jeram and me, so none of you should make me a partner in sin by criticising him
Now it so happened that Shavji’s wife had caught some disease of the eyes and had become blind. So Jeram taunted the people who gave a warm welcome to Jalaram Bapa with these words, “I would call him a real Bhagat if he brought back the eye-sight to Shavji’s wife.”
Bapa sang, devotional songs throughout the night in the courtyard of Shavji’s house. The last song was over at dawn. Just then a miracle happened, Shavji’s wife suddenly got her eye sight back.
Bapa said, “Credit goes to Jeram Bhagat for this.” So saying he got up and went to Jeram Bhagat’s house. He stood before him with folded hands and said, “You are a power full saint. It is through your blessings that Shavji’s wife could regain her eyesight.”
Hearing these words, Jeram at once fell at the feet of Bapa and said, “Kindly forgive me,
Bapa ! You have cured me of my blindness too !”
There was a yogi in one of the caves of Girnar. Once he said to himself, ‘ I wonder how Jalaram is so spiritually advanced ! He has no study of sacred scriptures and he has done no penance. I must see what has made him so great!’
He came out of the cave and arrived at Bapa’s place. Bapa at once prostrated himself before him saying: ‘ You have blessed me with your presence. Please be seated and have meals.’
The yogi said in a stern voice: “Jala, who gave you the right to oblige the sadhus with alms?”
Bapa said, “Maharaj, it is not I who gives alms; it is God Himself who gives and God Himself who receives. I am simply a servant of Rama.”
The Yogi did not say anything. Then Bapa offered Prasad to the Yogi. When the yogi was taking Prasad, Bapa exclaimed all of a sudden: “See, here god Himself is taking Prasad!”
As soon as the Yogi heard these words his doubts were cleared. He said to himself, “Jalaram is the real saint ! he sees God every where. If I get the blessings of such a saint my penance would be fruitful !” Thinking this he paid obeisance to Bapa and went away.
In Fatepur near Amreli there is still a house where Bhoja Bhagat lived. Jalaram Bapa often went to Fatepur to see the Guru. Sometimes he went there even twice a month, walking the distance of twenty four miles.
Once the Guru said, ‘ Jala, are you not tired of long journeys?’
Bapa said, “ I do not feel exhausted because of the intense desire of seeing the Guru.”
His eyes were filled with tears when he said this. Bhoja Bhagat also was in tears. They discussed their spiritual experiences when they met. When the talks were over, they would start singing bhajans to the accompaniment of the tanpura. The singing would last until the dawn.
There was such an imperishable bond of affection between the Guru and the disciple.
The walls of the Ashram of Bhoja Bhagat were not built by masons or labourers but by Bhoja Bhagat and Jala Bhagat themselves. Bhoja Bhagat did the masonry work and Jala Bhagat carried the basket of wet earth or bricks or stones on head. Both of them used to mutter God’s name and put one brick on the other.
Bhoja Bhagat used to come to Virpur very often to see his disciple and stayed with him there. It was in Virpur that he breathed his last. His Samadhi is still worshipped there.
Thus Jalaram Bapa has revealed by his action the importance and greatness of the Guru. Therefore the saints say that one should worship the Guru first if the Guru and God are standing side by side, because it is through the Guru that the vision of God could be had!
One instance of Bapa’s devotion for his Guru is very well known. Once when Bapa sat on the otta of his Ashram and was counting the beads of rosary, somebody told him, “Did you hear, Bapa, a thief of your Guru’s village is caught while burgling and now he is in the jail of Virpur?”
Hearing this Bapa got up muttering God’s name and went straight to the Thakore and said, “Bapu, this man belongs to my Guru’s village and is therefore my Gurubhai. You may imprison me in his place and punish me !”
Saying this he folded his hands and was about to take off his turban, but the Thakore requested him not to do so and said, “It is my good fortune that a devotee like you lives in my town. I get the man free.”
Bapa brought the man to the Ashram and gave him meals. While departing, the thief fell at the feet of Bapa and took an oath, “I shall never indudge in theft again.”
There were three Arabs in the service of the Thakore of Rajkot. They demanded an increase in wages by four rupees a month. The Thakore refused. So They resigned and started for Junagardh. On their way they hunted a few birds, and put them in the bag they carried on their shoulders.
They were passing through Virpur in the evening when Jalaram Bapa saw them. He said, “Please have your meals here and then go.”
The Arabs said, “We are Muslims!”
Bapa said, “There’s no distinction of caste or creed in the court of God. You are welcome here!”
Led by Bapa, the Arabs came to his place. Now they remembered that they had the dead birds with them and here was a Hindu temple. What to do?
As soon as the meals were finished they tried to go away silently, but Bapa said, “You must have been tired ! Have a night halt here !”
The Arabs felft most embarrassed. Bapa then touched their bag with his staff and said, “Ah ! The poor birds feel suffocated. Open the bag and make them free.”
The Arabs saw that the bag hanging on a peg had the live birds in it. They opened the bag and the birds flew away to the tree nearby. The Arabs were amazed. They fell at the feet of Bapa and asked, “Bapa, shall we get a job in Junagadh ?”
Bapa said, “Why, the Arabs serve only one master.”
The Arabs said, “But the Thakore of Rajkot is not willing to pay us adequately.”
Bapa said, “He will. You asked for four rupees more, but he will give you seven.”
It really happened so. Just at that time, a camel-man, sent by the Thakore of Rajkot arrived there and took the Arabs back with honour. The Thakore had sanctioned an increase of seven rupees in their salary.
Bapa had to run into debt for feeding the sadhus . He thus owed to a cloth merchant about two hundred rupees .The merchant was upset.Once when Bapa was about to take his meals the merchant came there and said ‘God’s wrath be on you if you take your meals before paying off the dept’.
Bapa at once got up without taking meals. For the first time in his life he requested the Thakore of Virpur for help. The Thakore was only too glad to give two hundred rupees to Bapa .Bapa went to merchant and paid him amount .At that time a small mouse was seen running in the shop .Bapa said jokingly,” this mouse is our witness”.
It so happened that fire broke out in that merchant’s shop that night and the cloth in the shop was burnt to ashes .investigating the reason of fire it was learnt that a mouse had snatched away the burning wick of an oil lamp and the things caught fire.The merchant was full of remorse. He said ,’I hurt Bapa’s feelings and this is the harvest I reap of my action.
The daughter –in –law of a farmer in Virpur went to village named Roopavathi in marriage party . She wore a nose – ring with a precious red pearl set in it .While enjoying the wedding festivities she lost it some where, and did not find it. She took a vow of offering a coconut in Bapa’s temple before going home. The marriage party returned to Virpur . The daughter – in – law went straight to Bapa’s ashram with a coconut.
Seeing her weeping Bapa said , ’Come on, my child , let me break the coconut before
 God ‘.
Saying this he took the coconut and broke it before the idol of Rama. A miracle happended . The nose- ring came out of the broken coconut!.
Bapa said “ Oh , how mischievous my Rama is !”
The daughter in law was simply mad with joy. She went home with nose ring.
Amarchand Sheth of jodia port was returning from Basara with a loaded shipment . On the way there was a storm in the sea . The ship was developed a hole at the keel and it was being filled with water.
Amarchand cried out for help . “O Jaliya Bapa , save me! I will send the entire ship loaded with rice to you.
In mysterious way the water stopped entering the ship through the hole and the storm was also subsided . The ship was safely anchored at the port.
Now the merchant thought “ The rice in the ship is costly. I need not send it to the ashram. An inferior quality of rice will equally do for the wandering mendicants!”
Thinking this he sent the sacks of coarse rice in carts. Bapa took the rice and entertained the cartmen for a few days with love.
On the day of departure the cartmen said, Bapa, ‘do you have any message for the sheth?’
Bapa said, ‘Greet him with God’s name and tell him that the vow was for the shipped rice, but never mind, my sadhus will eat the coarse rice with love.
Then, after a pause he hesitatingly said, “Well, tell the sheth to return the tooth-pick from my shirt which is blocked the hole in his ship.”
Hearing this message from the cartmen the sheth at once rushed to the port, searched the ship and found a cloth in the hole. He stretched it out and found that it was Bapa’s shirt with a tooth-pick it it.
The sheth repented now, “Fie upon me! I have deceived Bapa.” On the same day he sent to Bapa other sacks full of best quality rice.
There were two sisters named Ranibai and Roodbai in Rajkot. They had their own Ashram for the service of sadhus. Once Bapa went to Rajkot to see them. Lala Bhagat of Sayala also came there that day. Both were the guests of these sisters who gave them a warm welcome and gave them meals. There were prayers and recitation of bhajans at night and then they all went to bed.
These sisters got up very early before the dawn and went to the forest for grazing the cattle, so that they could come home early and finish the work of grinding the corn. A basket of one and a half mound of corn was kept ready on the grinding mill for the purpose.
Soon after the sisters left, Bapa awoke. He saw the corn and thought: I wonder when would these sisters return and finish this work. They would be tired also. “He said to Lala Bhagat, Let us grind this corn and give rest to these sisters today.”
Then both of them started singing Bhajans and grinding the corn. They finished the work within no time. They, then, rested in the bed and started counting the beads of the rosary.
When the sisters returned they saw that all the corn was ground. They immediately understood that the guests must have done that. They stood before them with folded hands and said, “Bapa, why did you take this trouble?”
Bapa smiled and said, “we only recited Bhajans and the work was soon finished. What do you say, Lala Bhagat?”
Hearing this the sisters smiled and said, “Till now we thought that we served others but only today we learn the secret of serving others.”
There lived a peasant family in Kevadara village near Keshod. The head of the family was Nanji Ladani.
One day all the members of the family were relaxing under a babul tree at noon after hard work in the field. Suddenly there was a whirlwind and the tree was uprooted. In a split second it would fall on them and there was no time for escape. All were frightened. Suddenly Nanji cried out, “O, save me, Jaliya Bapa.
No sooner did he speak these words then the tree stopped falling down as if some one had lifted it above them and gradually every one safely slipped from beneath it.
After a few days Nanji came to Virpur and told Bapa of this incident. Bapa smiled and said, “Look here! See what has happened to my back and remove if there’s any babul thorn still inside the body!”
Nanji saw that there were marks of the thorns on Bapa’s back.
Once Jalaram Bapa was moving with the devotees and he came across a village named Jaliya Kotda. He encamped under a baniyan tree on the outskirts of the village.
The villagers came out running and said, “Bapa, this is a cursed tree. A ghost lives here. You better come in the village!”
Bapa smiled and said, “Who is the greater one – the Ghost or the God ?”
People said, “The God is greater than the ghost.” Bapa said, “Then remember God, and the ghost would ran away!”
Saying this he uttered these words, “O God, O Rama, if there’s a ghost in this tree, may it be happy and if anyone is afraid of the ghost may he be fearless.”
After that there were prayers and the recitation of bhajans under the baniyan tree and fear of the ghost was completely removed.
Devashi Patel of Gomata village had young son called Dhano. Once, Dhana had a snakebite. He was brought to Virpur wrapped up in a bed sheet and placed before Bapa.
Bapa said, “Patel, take the name of God.” Then he said to one of his disciples, “Naran, can the snakebite kill?”
Naran said, “No, it can’t.”
“Can it kill?” Bapa asked again.
“No, it can’t .” Naren said. “Can it?”
“No , it can’t . I’m sure!”
Thus Bapa asked three times. Then he directed another devotee to take a pair of tongs and wave it thrice over the snake-bite.
The disciple waved the pair of tongs thrice over the body of the boy and then dashed it on the ground.
Soon the boy turned and twisted the body and got up. The father of the boy fell at the feet of Bapa. Bapa said, “Thank God! Thank Rama! I am only his humble devotee who acts according to his command.”
One day Kalo Raiyani of Virpur came with his ten year old son Govind and made him fall at the feet of Bapa. Then he said, “Bapa, give him initiation.”
Bapa said, “What to talk of initiation? I only know feeding sadhus – nothing more.”
But Kalo said, “No, no , you must give him initiation!” Bapa said, “Am I so great a devotee that you have come to me for initiation?”
A saint was sitting there at that time. He said, “Bhagat, give him initiation in the name of God.”
Bapa would never disobey the command of saints, so he initiated the boy and give him Rama – mantra.
Then Kalo said, “Bapa, this is my only son. He is now under your protection.”
“Rama will protect him. He is the first initiated disciple of mine,” said Bapa.
Ten years passed after this incident. Govind was now twenty years old and he was looking after the field of his father. Suddenly one day he developed an acute pain in his stomach and died within a few hours.
Someone informed Bapa of this. Bapa said, “Let me finish the worship. I’ll come there soon.”
After finishing the worship he set out. On the way he said to his disciple Naran, “Naran, will my first initiated devotee pass away like this?”
Naran said, “ No, he shall not!”
Bapa said, “Would he die in this way?”
Naran said, “No he won’t!”
“Are you sure, he would not die?”
“ I am sure.”
Now Bapa reached the house of Kalo Raiyani. The people had prepared the bier. Bapa said, “Let me see the face of my disciple. Uncover that much part.”
The face was uncovered and Bapa looked at it and said, “O Govind! Why are you sleeping like this? Look at me!”
And Lo! Govind opened his eyes and looked at Bapa.
Then Bapa said, “Govind getup! Why are you lying in this way?”
Then, Govind spoke, “Why am I tied in this fashion? Make me free!”
People cut the strings of the bier with a sickle, and their sorrow was turned into joy.
There were about fifty persons in the house. Govind said, “ I am a disciple of Bapa. I shall not allow anyone to go home without taking meals here.”
People said, “We came here as palt-bearers. We can not take meals without taking bath.”
But Govind did not listen to any one. He did not let any one go. He ordered for sweets immediately. When the other people heard of this miracle they also came there. Dishes were served to all of them.
Kalo had tears of joy in his eyes. He said, “Bapa, Govind could survive because you initiated him! You have saved me too!” Bapa said, “Everything happens as God wills.”
For the last twelve months a devotee had been telling Bapa, “ I wish to go on a pilgrimage, to take bath in Ganga-Yamuna and purify the body. Kindly give me permission for that.”
One day Bapa said, “Today you sleep in the bed near the gate of the Ashram.”
The devotee was peacefully resting there. Suddenly he was awake at midnight. He saw two woman in white attire with the pots of water on their heads. When they came near, the gate opened itself. The woman emptied their pots in the big vessel of the Ashram, worshipped the idol in the temple and left. The devotee was amazed, Who were these woman? They were never seen in the village. In the morning he talked about this to Bapa who said, “Bhagat, you are fortunate! You saw the Ganga and Yamuna with your own eyes! You see, they too are eager to serve the sadhus who come here. Tell me now, do you still want to go on a piligrimage?”
The devotee said, “No, all pilgrimage is here for me!” And he fell at the feet of the Bapa.
Virbai Ma and other few women would start preparing loaves very early in the morning. And there would be a heap of loaves by about eight to nine O’ clock. They would prepare pulses in a big vessel. Bapa would come out of the temple after worshipping and would politely request the sadhus and others in sight to come in for meals. He would request them to take meals first. If any one talked about other things he would say, “Let the hunger be satisfied first, then we will talk of other things.” He had an inimitable peculiar style of speaking sweetly. The mere sight of a sadhu made him extremely happy. If anyone said he was on fast, Bapa would say, “O dear me, why to fast? Take meals, and if you commit any sin by doing so I take the sin upon me!” He himself would serve the meals and make the guest eat to his fill.
He would never be angry with any servant even if he did not do his work properly. If the matter reached the climax he would simply say, “Whatever is here belongs to the sadhus.
We can’t rightfully claim a morsel of food if we don’t do our work with a whole heart.”
Bapa had the same love for trees as he had for human beings. He had once grown a pipal tree himself. He used to say, “The papal tree is the form of God Himself.” Daily he would sprinkle water at its roots after his prayers to God were over.
Once Bapa saw a sadhu suffering from rheumatism. He took him to the Ashram and kept him there. The sadhu was mysteriously cured within a few days. He, then asked leave to go, Bapa gave him a horse and a cow.
The sadhu was so moved that he vexed eloquent in praising Bapa, but Bapa at once said
to him with folded hands, “Kindly do not make me sinful by praising me. I am only the dust of your feet. Let me have your blessings!”
It was monsoon. One day some people of the wandering tribe encamped in front of the Ashram. Men, women and children were shivering in the rains.
Bapa approached them himself. He stood before them with folded hands and said, “What would you prefer, mothers, flour or loaves?”
The woman asked for flour and they got it. After some time Bapa said, “When would these poor creatures erect their tents, prepare their meals and eat?”
He called one of his servants and said, “Tidaram, how will these women cook their food in the rains?”
Tidaram said, “Bapa, why do you bother about them?”
Bapa said, “O, my dear Tidaram, they are also human beings. They are also the creation of my God, do you know? And these mothers are the forms of Goddesses!”
Saying this he got up, took a heap of leaves from the kitchen and tied it into a bundle.
He also took some dung-cakes in a sack, a few sheafs of dry grass for the donkeys and went to give these things to the tribesmen.
At that time Lakhman rao, the Darbar of Thanadevadi was Bapa’s guest there. He saw this with his own eyes and exclaimed. “Blessed are you and your parents, Bapa! You are no mortal, you are truly an angel.”
Photography was rare in those days. A European had started a studio in partnership with an Indian in Rajkot. The European had a desire to take the photograph of a saint first as an inauguration. He, therefore, came to Virpur.
Bapa said, “What, my photograph? No, no! You can take the photograph of these cows, these pigeons, and these sadhus!”
The European folded his hands and prayed to him to agree to be photographed. Bapa did not like to make any one unhappy. So he allowed him to take a photograph. When he was being photographed one of his eyes winked. This is the only photograph of Bapa ever taken.
Bapa had a short figure; neither much slim nor much fat. He used to put on shirt reaching upto the knees, a short Dhoti and a big turban on his head.
Bapa had a birth mark on his left cheek. He used to carry a staff in one hand and a rosary in the other. Day and night he muttered the name of God.
Bapa used to visit the surrounding villages. People thronged to see him. Bapa would start singing Bhajans in the court yard of the host’s house. Bapa himself played cymbals and was deeply absorbed in singing:
“Radhe, Radhe, Radhe! In Gokul, Govind Radhe!” Bhajans would be sung one after another and the whole night would pass in deep divine joy.
Bapa had a melodious voice. The devotional feelings mixed with the melodious voice and the listeners were transported into the region of unearthly joy.
On seeing Bapa pluged deep in divine joy the musicians would feel inspired. The Tabla- Vadak would leave his Tabla and lift up Bapa and dance in repture as if gone mad. Their joy knew no bounds on such occasions.
A wonderful incident took place in the year 1901. Jam Shri Ranamalji, the Maharaja of Jamnagar had invited some sadhus and devotees at his place. Jalaram Bapa was one of them.
There was a programme of giving clothes to the poor. It so happened that the number of persons expecting clothes had increased beyond calculation, and it was impossible to secure an additional supply of clothes immediately. Jam Saheb didn’t know what to do. At that time a saint named Morar Saheb advised him, “Entrust this task to Jalaram Bapa.”
Jam Saheb requested Jalaram Bapa with folded hands, “Kindly distribute these clothes with your hands.”
For Bapa any body’s request was God’s command. He said, ‘Let God’s will prevail.’ Bapa gave clothes to thousands of persons continuously for four days and yet the stock was not exhausted.
Once Bapa had gone to see his devotee Keshavji Thaker in the village named Kadachh. The People there offered him money and coconuts and prayed to him, ‘Bapa, let’s have your grace. Your grace will fulfill our desires.’
The eight-year old daughter of Keshavji was watching all this. Addressing Bapa, She said to herself, “Bapa, I have no brother. If you give me a brother I would also offer you a coconut.”
After Bapa had left the girl said to her mother, “Mother, If Jalaram Bapa gave me a brother I would offer him, not one but two coconuts. I shall not break them at his feet as others do, but on his head.”
The mother laughed at the child’s innocence. As God would do it, Keshavji had a son after a year. All where happy about it and the girl was the happiest. A year passed and the girl had small pox. She was recovered but it left its marks on her face.
Now Keshavji Thaker came to Virpur with his family, and fell at the feet of Bapa who told him, “Keshavji, please bring two coconuts! You have to fulfill your vow”
When the coconuts were brought Bapa told the girl affectionately, “Dear me, fulfil your vow by breaking these coconuts on my head!”
The girl burst into weeping, but Bapa said smilingly, “Don’t worry, my child, you hit it on my head.”
The girl took a coconut and hit it softly on Bapa’s head, but the coconut soon broke into two. Then she took another one and it was also broken into two. All danced with joy and fell at the feet of Bapa. Bapa took the girl in his lap and gave her some kernel of Bapa took the girl in his lap and gave her some kernel of coconut as ‘prasad’ and said, “Look, your vow is now fulfilled.”
The next day Kesahvji saw that the marks of small pox also had disappeared from the face of the girl!
In Satudat village there was a rich man named Jeram Sheth. Once some body put a false charge on him about the smuggling of opium. It was a question of prestige. Jeram took a vow that he would send twnty four measures of rice and pulse for hotch potch to the Ashram.
By God’s grace he was released with honour.
But Jeram forgot the vow and sent only rice to the Ashram with potter Devji. Devji spent the night in the Ashram. In the morning he was given breakfast and also some food for his journey. Seeing him off Bapa said, “Bhagat, I do not want to say anything but God commands me to tell Jeram that the vow was for rice and pulse for hotchpotch and he has sent only rice!”
When Devji said these words to Jeram he was full of remorse. He immediately sent twenty four measures of rice and pulse for hotch potch and personally went to Bapa to seek pardon.
Bapa took Galol Ben of Devki Galol as his sister.
Once Bapa reached her house unexpectedly taking about twenty five sadhus with him. It was a time for lunch.
Sister Galol rushed out of the house and received Bapa affectionately.
Then she went to the kitchen to make preparation for meals.
Bapa soon understood the difficulty. He went to the kitchen and said, “Sister, Do not worry. Whatever food is ready will be enough. Light a ghee lamp, cover the food with a piece of cloth and start serving!”
The guests were seated for meals. The wonder of wonders is that everyone ate to his fill. Sister Galol looked into the vessel and found that there was still some food in it. She was so overwhelmed with emotion that the fell at the feet of Bapa.
Bapa said, “Sister, what are you doing? I am your brother. If you fall at my feet I would be sinful!”
Such was Jalaram Bapa the brother of Galol Ben.
There are numerous episodes of Bapa’s miracles. Once Bapa was in Amreli. He was going to Juthabhai Bhagat’s house for dinner when a group of about fifty to sixty sadhus met him and said, “Bapa, we are hungry!”
“Bapa said, Then come along with me, the dinner is ready.”
Juthabhai was puzzled on seeing such a big crowd.
In a big wooden dish there were about twenty laddus. Bapa said, “Light a ghee-lamp, put a Tulsi leaf in the dish and cover the food with a piece of cloth. I shall give you the laddus from this dish and you will serve them!”
The sadhus were seated for dinner and all took their meals to the fill.
Juthabhai said, “Bapa, you are not an ordinary mortal!”
Bapa said, “I am only God’s mendicant. It is he who cares for us all.”
The heirs of Juthabhai have still preserved that wooden dish as a token of Bapa’s grace.
Bhimji Kamdar of Jetpur was a devotee of Bapa. Once he was arrested by the police on some charges, handcuffed and brought to Rajkot.
On their way they came to Virpur. Kamdar said to the police, “My Guru Jalaram Bapa lives here. If you permit me I may have his Darshan!”
The police came to the Ashram with Bhimji. Bapa asked. “Bhimji, why are you in chains?” Bhimji narrated the whole story. Bapa said, “My Bhimji can not be a criminal. God will protect him.”
Bapa gave them food and then bade them farewell. Now it so happened that when the police presented Bhimji before the European officer at Rajkot, the officer angrily roared, “Not this Bhimji! Why did you bring this man here? Let him go!”
Bhimji was released at once.
In Rajkot there was an English officer of the British Government. Once four horsemen were coming to him with some important documents. When they passed by Virpur, Bapa made them halt for meals. Consequently they were late in reaching Rajkot. The officer was angry with Bapa. He roared: “I will teach him such a lesson that he would never invite any one to meals again.”
He arranged in such a way that about one hundred fifty horsemen would pass through Virpur in groups of twenty five each. Bapa was taking a round at the outskirts of Virpur as usual. He invited the first troop for meals. Then the other troops came there one after another. The officer roared, ‘We have no time to wait for meals.”
Bapa said, “You need not wait even for a moment.”
Soon he led all the one hundred fifty horsemen to the Ashram and seated them for meals. He served two ovenfresh loaves and a bowl of pulses to each of them. All took their meals at ease. Their horses also were looked after by Bapa. The English officer was stunned. He took off his hat and bowed down to Bapa.
The incident took place in Vikram era 1934. There was famine in the country but Bapa’s service to the sadhus continued uninterrupted. Yet the financial crisis was felt and it gradually deepended. So Bapa went to Jivraj Vadalia of Thana Galol and asked from him a loan of two hundred rupees. Jivraj had only two hundred rupees in all with him which he had hidden in the manager. He brought out the money and gave it to Bapa. When Jivraj’s wife knew this, she lost her temper, because there was not enough food for children in the house and her husband gave this money to Jalaram Bapa! The matter became a cause of quarrel in the family.
After a fortnight Bapa again came to Jivraj. The wife suspected that he must have come again to extract some more money from her husband, so she stealthily watched them. But instead of asking for more money, Bapa returned the two hundred rupees to Jivraj saying, “Now, the crisis is over. I do not need any money.”
On seeing that the money was returned the wife was happy. Then Bapa said, “Patel, let me see your store!”
“Oh certainly,” Jivraj said, “But the store is all empty.”
Saying this he took Bapa to the store. Bapa touched one vessel with his stick and said, “There’s wheat in it.” He touched the other one and said, “There’s Jowar in it.” He touched the third one and said, “There is bajra in it.” He touched the fourth one and said, “There’s gram in it.”
Then Bapa came out of the store and left the place for Virpur. Jivraj suspected some mystery in Bapa’s words. So he soon returned to the store and opened the seal at the bottom of one vessel and lo! He found grains of wheat pouring out of it! In the same way he found grains in all the four vessels.
Now the wife realized the mysterious power of Bapa. She knelt down and spoke with folded hands, “O Jaliyan, kindly forgive me! A child is likely to err, but you are our reverted father!”
During the famine Bapa had provided food to thousands, incurring a debt of ten thousands rupees.
Virbai Ma and Jalaram Bapa both were very old now. Virbai Ma breathed her last on Monday, the ninth day of the dark half of Kartik in Vikram era 1935, Bapa repeated God’s name ceaselessly for seven days.
Bapa also was suffering from piles. Hundreds of devotees used to come for his darshan every day.
Bapa had a daughter named Jamnabai. Bapa had adopted Jamnabhai’s grand son Hariram as his heir. Hariram was still a child so the devotees were anxious about him but Bapa said, “Hariram’s Hari at his side. Hari is power full. Take it from me that he will increase my worth after my death.
When Bapa was ill sister Galal came to see him. Her own brother live in Upareli village six miles away from Virpur. So Galal said to Bapa, “Brother, I am going to see my brother at Upareli.”
Bapa said, “You can go, but do not stay there for more than a night.”
Sister Galal went to Upareli and stayed there for a day more at the request of here affectionate brother. On the third day she returned to Virpur but on her way she met Jalaram Bapa who was coming from the other end with a jar of cold water. He said, “Sister, It’s very hot and you must be tired. So I have brought cold water for you.”
Saying this he gave the water to her and walked along with her.
When they came near Virpur, Bapa said “Sister, now is the time for the sadhus to come. So let me walk fast.”
He walked fast and disappeared. When Galal reached the outskirts of Virpur she saw a pyre burning there. All the people of the village were lamenting. So she asked who passed away.
The reply was “Jalaram Bapa!”
‘Oh Bapa!’ Galal fell down unconscious.
On Wednesday, February 23, 1881, the tenth day of the dark half of Magh, Vikram era 1937 Bapa left the world while praying God, at the age of eighty one.
There was a Lohana named Tiliyo in Virpur. Whenever he met Bapa he made fun of him by saying, “Bhagat, you are serving God with your whole heart, so I hope God will send a chariot from heaven to fetch you. Please don’t forget me when that chariot comes!”
Bapa said, “Well, I’ll tell you when it comes.”
Tiliyo extended his joke: ‘Please, don’t forget to take me with you!”
The day when Bapa passed away Tilyo was coming from Jetpur after shopping. He saw a beautiful chariot on his way. Bapa was seated in it. Bapa said to him, “Tiliya, come on, the chariot has come from heaven. I have come to take you away with me!”
Tilyo said, “I don’t believe.”
Bapa said, “I tell you the truth, come on!” Tilyo said, “No, no.”
The chariot moved on and disappeared.
When Tiliyo came home, he learned that Bapa had passed away. Now he realised that Bapa had really come to fetch him as he had promised.
He was full of remorse but what could he do now?
Hariram had invited a big gathering after the passing away of Jalaram Bapa and about a lakh of people had come. A strange sadhu suddenly appeared in the gathering. He folded his hands before all and went straight to the kitchen. He took a laddu from there, crushed it and spread it in all directions saying, “This is the everfull granary! Everfull granary!”
Then he disappeared as suddenly as he had appeared and no one knew about his where abouts.
Even today the store of Jalaram Bapa’s Ashram is ever full. Bapa left the body, yet he is ever here with us. Bapa is immortal.
Jay Jalaram !
Jay Jaliyan !
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