Biography of P. P. Tai Maharaj
P. P. Tai Maharaj was born on the auspicious day of Shri Ram Navami, which is also the day Lord Ram was born. Her father P. P. Shri Kajalkar Maharaj, fondly and respectfully called “Anna” used to call her “Shashabai”, a fond abbreviation for Shashikala, her first name. Within a few days after her birth, Anna took little Shashabai to the neighbouring village of Deulgaoraja. He placed her on lap of P. P. Shri Dhundiraj Maharaj and pleaded, “She is your daughter. Please take care of her.” Since that day, Shri Dhundiraj Maharaj and his wife Aai Saheb accepted her responsibility. In the first few years that little Shashabai spent in the care of Shri Dhundiraj Maharaj itself, the seeds of self realization and worship were sown. Later, Shashabai stayed with her maternal uncle in Jalna. The childhood of this saint in the makingF was truly extraordinary. Little Shashabai never played in her childhood with her friends. She had no time to mix with them. After finishing daily household chores, she used to meticulously prepare for the Pooja rituals. She continuously used to learn and recite prayers, poems praising god. She never asked or insisted for anything. Simplicity in her dresses, neatness and a great regard for cleanliness were trademark characteristics; that can be observed in P. P. Tai Maharaj’s demeanour even presently.
P. P. Tai Maharaj received her Guru Mantra from P. P. Dhundiraj Maharaj in 1958 at Deulgaonraja, thereby getting initiated into the discipline of spirituality. The Mantra Japa, started then, has continued incessantly over the years. P. P. Dhundiraj Maharaj used to visit P. P. Tai Maharaj’s residence whenever he happened to come to Jalna. After the demise of P. P. Shri Dhundiraj Maharaj in 1978, P. P. Tai Maharaj came in contact with his son and disciple P. P. Shri Dattmaharaj. Whenever P. P. Shri Dattmaharaj used to visit nearby villages like Hingoli or Deulgaonraja, he used to visit P. P. Tai Maharaj’s residence. P. P.Tai Maharaj reminisces thus:
“P. P. Shri Dhundiraj Maharaj had promised to visit me. I thought everything was over after his demise. But I worried unnecessarily; saints are true to their words. Their existence is immortal, as are their teachings. P. P. Shri Dhundiraj Maharaj continued and will indeed continue to visit me in the form of P. P. Shri Datta Maharaj. I have no doubts that he and P. P. Shri Datta Maharaj are one and the same.”
Over a period of time, P. P. Tai Maharaj built a small temple in Jalna to enshrine the photos of her beloved Guru, P. P. Shri Dhundiraj Maharaj and indeed her father, P. P. Shri Kajalkar Maharaj. The shrine, together with the presence of P. P. Tai Maharaj herself, started attracting a steady stream of visitors.
After the demise of P. P. Shri Dhundiraj Maharaj, P. P. Tai Maharaj was already looking to P. P. Shri Datta Maharaj for guiding her in her spiritual journey. P. P. Shri Datta Maharaj too was aware of the divine powers that P. P. Tai Maharaj beheld. When P. P. Shri Datta Maharaj would visit the small ashram that P. P. Tai Maharaj had built, the entire ashram would come alive. The festivities and the divine presence of these two saints would literally light up the ashram. Even as P. P. Tai Maharaj would bow in P. P. Shri Datta Maharaj’s presence accepting his position as her Guru, he too would felicitate her by addressing her as “Bhagawati”, the holy Mother. P. P. Shri Maharaj also gave Guru mantra to many a devotee at Jalna. Under the very able guidance of P. P. Tai Maharaj, the new premises started taking shape. What began as a small temple on a small road has become today a wonderful center to lovingly and respectfully commemorate Shri Datta Maharaj Kavishwar and all of his spiritual guidelines.
Without any publicity or effort, Shri Dattashram has grown in its spiritual appeal, attracting many devotees, professionals from all walks of life, students and spiritual masters to visit it. P. P. Godavarimata from Sakori near Shirdi, Shri Vidyashankar Bharati of Karveer peeth, Shri Kishorji Vyas, Shri Shri Ravishankar, Hon. Shrividyanibhav Shrikrishnanand Teerth of Badri Peeth and Panditratna Shri Rajeshwar Shastri from Dharwad have been some of the visitors to Dattashram.
Only saints can understand saints. Words would not have the capacity or the power or even the expression to describe all the facets of P. P. Tai Maharaj’s personality. All the same, followers of P. P. Tai Maharaj and visitors to Dattashram are always keen to learn more about her. There has been an attempt to document various incidents written by P. P. Tai Maharaj’s followers themselves in which devotees received spiritual guidance from her. This book titled “Alhaadini” is available in the Ashram.