for the spiritually inclined!
The origin of Gajanan Maharaj cannot be found as his birth date is unknown. But people afterwards came to know that he was a Brahmin from Telangana(Andhra Pradesh).
The first appearance of Gajanan Maharaj was probably on 23rd of February 1878, Shegaon, Maharashtra. He was tall and handsome. His hands were long. A local moneylender named Bankat Lal Agarwal found Maharaj sitting on the outskirts of the village Shegaon eating the leftovers from abandoned 'Patravalis', under a Banyan Tree. It is the greatness of Bankat Lal, that he took Maharaj to his house and asked him to stay with him.
Maharaj oftenly chanted the mantra "Gan Gan Ganat Bote ". The meaning of this mantra being - God is omnipresent. He is present in each and every thing around us. He dwells in each one of us. Hence treat every individual equally. God helps everyone without discriminating between castes, creeds and religions, and also teaches us to behave in the same manner.
Many devotees used to worship him and would bring delicious food, nice clothes, jewellery, ornaments, etc. But Maharaj never took anything from them. He used to donate those valueables to the needy and poor people. Maharaj knew the Vedas and the Vedic Literature and Scriptures. He sometimes used to speak in Telugu Language. Many a times the devotees were unable to understand the meaning of his utterances. Gajanan Maharaj performed various 'Chamatkars(Miracles)' so as to cure people of their sufferings and miseries. He knew Yogashastra and language of Animals and Birds. The well-known Miracles that he performed include - He brought water to waterless well, gave a new life to one of his disciples named Janrao Deshmukh, drew sugarcane juice by crushing sugarcanes with his hands, lighted the 'Chillim(Clay-Pipe)' without fire.
The people who worship him call him as 'Trikaal Dnyani (A person who is able to read the mind of every living being)'. As the word spread that a Yogi Purush named Gajanan Maharaj had come to Shegaon, many famous and renowned personalities came to Shegaon, so as to take blessings from him. Shri Vasudevanand Saraswati also visited Shegaon to meet Gajanan Maharaj.
It is believed that Maharaj stayed in the Ashram of Akkalkot Swami Samarth in his teenage. After taking initial lessons, Swami Samarth Maharaj directed Gajanan Maharaj to go and seek training from Yashwant Dev Mamledar in Nashik. Gajanan Maharaj imbibed lessons in Yog Sadhana and meditation and latter attained tremendous expertise in Yog Sadhana under Narsing baba of Akot.
From Akot Maharaj then went to Shegaon. Later he stayed most of his life in Shegaon.
On the advise of Gajanan Maharaj, his disciples established a Trust named, 'Gajanan Maharaj Sansthan' in 1908.
Then on one day Gajanan Maharaj on his own decided to take leave from this world. He took Samadhi on Bhadrapada Shuddha Panchami i.e. Rishi Panchmi, Shake 1832 i.e. 8th September 1910. Thousands of his disciples and devotees gathered near his Samadhi place. There were no words to describe their grief.
However all of his innumerable disciples and devotees believe that even today Shri Gajanan Maharaj is alive and is always with them.
Information regarding Gajanan Maharaj's biography :-
Tushiram Nagalkar whose father was in the company of Gajanan Maharaj, recorded the dates in his diary with utmost care and later published the biography 1957. But due to some unknown reasons the biography written by T. R. Nagarlkar has not been given official recognition, while Das Ganu's "Shree Gajanan Vijay" written in 1940, based on the papers made available by Ratansa Bhavsar is the official biography recognized by the 'Gajanan Maharaj Sansthan (Shegaon)'.