Hazrat Babajan - Early Life and Realization

Early Life and Realization

The earliest recorded account of Hazrat Babajan, who was named at birth Gulrukh, “Face like a Rose”, states that she “is the daughter of one of the ministers of the Amir of Afghanistan”. Later accounts report that Babajan “hails from Afghanistan … and was the daughter of a well-to-do Afghan of noble lineage”; “born to a royal Muslim family of Baluchistan.” The precise date of Babajan’s birth is unclear. Biography variants range from 1790 to c. 1820. Her education was in keeping with her family's social status of that time, and well-educated, she was fluent in Arabic, Persian and Urdu, in addition to her native Pashtu. She was also a hāfiżah, one who learns the Quran by heart. An introspective child, and spiritually inclined, from “early life she developed mystical tendencies, and unlike girls of her age, she used to pass a good deal of her time in prayers, meditation and solitude.”

Following the conventions of Afghan nobility, Babajan was reared under the strict purdah tradition, in which women were secluded from the outside world, and also subservient to a custom of arranged marriages. She opposed an unwelcome marriage planned for her, and ran away from home on her wedding day at the age of eighteen. Disguised in her burqa, she journeyed to Peshawar, the frontier city at the foot of the Khyber Pass. It was in or near Peshawar that she eventually came into contact with a Hindu sadguru. Following instruction from the guru, “she went into seclusion in a nearby mountain outside Rawalpindi and underwent very severe (spiritual austerities) for nearly seventeen months. Thereafter she came down to Punjab and stayed a few months in Multan. It was in Multan, while was 37 years of age, she contacted a Muslim saint … who put end to her spiritual struggle by giving her God-realisation.” After that experience she returned to Rawalpindi to reconnect with the Hindu guru who, after several years, helped her return to normal consciousness.

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