Maruti Mandir

Down the lane that runs between Dwarkamai and the Chavadi is the Hanuman Mandir, one of the oldest temples in Shirdi. Marked by a pair of trees enclosed by a circular railing, it is also known as the Maruti Mandir. Unusually, the temple faces south and there are two Hanuman images here, side by side. You may also notice a few weights and dumbbells in the corner. Because Hanuman is considered strong and vigorous and is the patron deity of wrestlers, young men find this an auspicious place in which to exercise.

Baba seems to have had some connection with this temple; sometimes he would stand in front of it and remain there for a while, occasionally slowly moving his arm up and down. Once during the procession to the Chavadi, when he came to the lane facing the mandir, he was suddenly seized as if by a spirit (avesam) and some devotees had to hold him until he reached the Chavadi, where the avesam left him. Shama asked him about the incident: "Baba, this Maruti is our Swami. Why do you worship and adore our Swami?" Baba replied, "Arre, Shama, in my childhood my parents dedicated me to Maruti, and so I make signs at him to remind him I am his brother."

The mandir was a place where sadhus used to stay, including the ascetic Devidas, whom Baba would occasionally visit during his earlier years in Shirdi. When Baba went to Rahata (a village about five kilometres from Shirdi) with the fakir Javhar Ali in the early 1890s, his devotees were deeply unhappy at his absence from them. After about eight weeks they succeeded in persuading Javhar Ali to let Baba return to Shirdi, though he insisted on coming too. A few days later, a debate was held in this mandir between Javhar Ali and Devidas. The fakir was roundly defeated, causing him to flee the area, after which Baba remained among his devotees in Shirdi until the end of his days.At night, especially on Thursdays, the temple is sometimes filled with music when locals gather to sing bhajan.

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