Aaso Vad 13, Tuesday 17 Oct 2017

Gangama ('Maa')

Gangama is famed in the Sampraday as the only person to be referred to as 'Maa' (mother) by Shreeji Maharaj. This was the extent of his great love and affection for Gangama. As Maharaj had so much affection for Gangama, all other devotees of the sampraday including the saints also referred to her as Maa.

She was originally from Jetalpur and was brahmin by caste. Ramanand Swami initiated her into the sect. She had great affection for Swami and so whenever he came to Jetalpur, Gangama would render love and service by seeing to his needs and feeding him. She saw in Swami the divinity, which lead her to believe that Swami was God incarnate. When Swami passed away to Dhaam, she could not bare the separation and so chose to pass her days by partaking Sathvo and salt (a preparation of basic ingredients for bodily sustenance).

At this time Maharaj was present in Ahmedabad and an assembly had gathered in Ambabai's courtyard. Gangama came here for darshan. Still upset by Swami's departure, Maharaj pacified her explaining, "Swami is ever present in our sampraday and therefore grieve not and begin to eat wholesome foods."But Ganagama was not convinced. Maharaj then took on the form of Ramanand Swami and gave Ganagama darshan thus. Ganagama realised her short-givings and she finally came to realise the greatness of Maharaj remembering Swami's words that he was merely the conch blower, the Almighty Lord would incarnate later. She now realised that Swami was in-fact referring to Maharaj.

Maharaj at this point explained to Gangama, "You are one of Swami's most senior and elderly disciples. Therefore you are equivalent to being by mother. We will therefore refer to you as 'Maa'. Just as Swami used to eat foods prepared by you, I will also accept your offerings. I will be ever present in the idols of Radha-Krishna that you worship and will accept your service through them."

From then, Gangama continued to remain in accordance with Maharaj's wishes and worshipped and served Maharaj incessantly. Whenever Maharaj was in Jetalpur, he would always go to Gangama's house to receive her love and affection through the thaals prepared by her. Laduba and Jivuba also learned of Gangama's greatness and so whenever Gangama came to Gadhada they enjoyed the bliss of serving Gangama.

Even today the place where Gangama used to reside is preserved and made into a prasadi sthan as Maharaj often used to come to her residence.