Shree Gajanan Maharaj - I began hearing His name during my infancy. My family’s worship towards Him started three generations ago. My great grandmother used to regularly read the full Pothi (Gajanan Vijay Granth) in one sitting. My grandmother has been reading one chapter of the Pothi every day for more than 2 decades now. At our residence in Singapore, my father offers daily Pooja to Maharaj. He even got Maharaj’s Paduka specially made from India, and offers Abhishek to them every Thursday. My mother has been offering 3-day Parayans for the last few years.
Whenever we visit India, we make it a point to plan a trip to Shegaon. Maharaj’s charm is such that our Shegaon visit inevitably becomes one of the highlights of our vacation, and even our relatives, who frequently join us, look forward to it with great enthusiasm. These Shegaon trips have always had an additional significance for me, as with every trip, Maharaj has continuously shaped my connection with Him.
My favorite memories of Shegaon from my childhood days were very innocent, like going to see Maharaj’s elephant and horse with my cousins, shouting “Jai” while waiting for Darshan or going back again and again into temple queues to hide from our parents. While these were simple and naïve experiences, they helped develop Maharaj’s significance in my life.
From visits during my high school years, I was able to find out more about Maharaj and our Pothi through local travel and interactions with other devotees. Once we visited nearby Nagzari, to see Shri Gomaji Maharaj’s temple and the streams there. Another time, we met Nitin (Gokarn) Kaka and Anita Kaku, who showed us Bankat Sadan and the spot where Maharaj used to bathe. We also once stayed at Shravan (Pande) Bhau’s house, where his father shared wonderful memories of serving Maharaj’s Samadhi. All this helped me understand Maharaj and our holy Granth better.
During my most recent visit, I was able to actively participate with my parents in a Satyanarayana Pooja, and by Maharaj’s grace, I could complete a full Parayan in the Mandir’s reading hall.
Through these visits, our Guru Mauli progressively brought me closer and closer to Him, and I started feeling His presence by my side. Even during my university years, when my studies took greater priority, He helped me acclimatize to the US and guided me all the way till graduation.
Subsequently, Mauli has let me engage more in His worship. Through this Gajanan Maharaj Parivaar, I have been able to participate in devotional activities that are further strengthening my connection with Him. Maharaj certainly continues to be with me away from my family, and helps me with all my day-to-day struggles. I am thankful to Maharaj for all the mercy, care, love and blessings. Jai Gajanan!
Rishi Mudgal lives in Portland, Oregon. A software professional who dedicated his life for Seva of Shri Gajanan Maharaj. Moderator of this website and also active contributor to “Shegaon-Prachar-Parivar” yahoo group.