oṃ aghorebhyo'tha ghorebhyo
ghora ghora tarebhyaḥ
sarvebhyas sarva sarvebhyo
namaste'stu rudra rūpebhyaḥ
My salutations to those who are not terrible,
and to those who are ,
and to those who are both terrible and not terrible.
Everywhere and always I bow to all forms of Rudra (Shiva).
Hinglaj Mata is the Kuladevata (patron goddess) of the Aghori. The main Aghori pilgrimage centre is Kina Ram's hermitage or ashram in Ravindrapuri, Varanasi. The full name of this place is Baba Keenaram Sthal, Krim-Kund. Here, Kina Ram is buried in a tomb or samadhi which is a centre of pilgrimage for Aghoris and Aghori devotees. Present head (Abbot), since 1978, of Baba Keenaram Sthal is Baba Siddharth Gautam Ram.
His birth anniversary is celebrated annually in Chandauli district. In 2019, the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh had attended the ceremony and announced that his birthplace would be developed by the UP government as a tourist place.
Baba Keenaram was born around 1600 A.D in Ramgarh, a village in the Chandauli district of Varanasi. His parents, Akbar Singh and Mansa Devi, were a poor and simple couple, and had reached their middle age without concieving a child yet. Legend goes that Mansa Devi had a premonitory dream one night, and gave birth to her first baby later.
A few days later, three sadhus visited the couple's house to congratulate and bless them on their first childbirth. The oldest of the trio picked up the child and whispered some mantras in his ears, a sign of a special blessing.
The astrological signs of the child predicted that he would live a long life and achieve greatness if he had been born in a different family. So, to circumvent this problem, his parents gave the child to a neighbour who sold the child back to the parents for a token amount of gold. And thus, the boy the got the name of 'Keena' - which means 'bought'.
During those times, it was commonplace for families to make marraige pacts when the children were still young. Keenaram's parents arranged his marraige when he was twelve.
But, just one day before the marraige, the child wished to eat rice and milk, a mourning meal usually eaten on the occasion of a death in the family. Keenaram's parents were aghast at the inauspicious cravings of the child and vainly tried to change his mind. The next morning arrived with tragic news of the death of the girl who was to be married to Keenaram.
After his parents death, Baba Keenaram left home in pursuit of his spiritual search. His path led him to the Ashram of Baba Shivaramji who decided to accept this boy as a disciple. Soon, Baba Shivaramji saw the inklings of something special in this boy and suspected him to be an Avatar - A divine incarnation.
He decided to give Deeksha (a formal initiation by a teacher to a student) to the boy and took him to the river to bathe and complete the ceremony. On the banks of the river, Shivaramji, on the pretext of relieving himself, excused himself and went into the bushes, where he crouched, secretly observing his disciple.
Soon, the Ganges river started swelling and rose to the place where Baba Keenaram was waiting for his master, currents lapping at his feet. Shivaramji was greatly astonished to see this miracle and was reaffirmed that the boy was a great soul.
A few years later Baba Keenaram left the Ashram of his guru, Baba Shivaramji, and continued on his journey of spiritual search and enlightenment. In this journey, he reached a village, where a widow, with tears in her eyes, asked him for his help. Her young son had been held in bondage by a zamidaar (Land Owner / Money Lender) and used as a slave in lieu of a old debt.
Baba Keenaram visited the Zamindaar and requested him to release the widow's son. The zamindaar did not budge, insisting that he would release the boy only when his debts are fully paid. Baba Keenaram asked the Zamindaar to dig the earth under his feet. To the surprise of everyone present, a little treasure was unearthed, the value of which was much more than the debt of the widow and his son.
The zamindarr promptly freed the boy and fell at the feet of Baba Keenaram, asking for forgiveness.
The widow mother, immensely grateful, insisted that Baba Keenaram was the new father of the boy as he had freed the boy from a life of certain bondage and slavery, and that the boy would follow Baba Keenaram as a disciple. Thus, the boy, Vija was his name, became the first disciple of Baba Keenaram and was called Bija Ramji from that day.
Continuing in his journey of spiritual search, and now accompanied by Bija Ramji, Baba Keenaram reached mount Girnar, located in the state of Gujarat, in western India. Here, he undertook a long Sadhana : a spiritual exercise aimed at progressing the Sadhaka (the person doing the Sadhana) towards spiritual fulfillment.
It is said that, during this Sadhana, he recieved Darshan (face to face contact) of Shri Dattatreya and Baba Kalu Ramji. These great masters, appeared to Baba Keenaram in spiritual form, and initiated him to Aghor practises and gave him several Siddhis : a spiritual attainment or achievement.
Later, Baba Keenaram descended from mount Girnar and camped outside Junagarh, a city located on the foothills of mount Girnar. He sent his disciple, Bija Ramji, into the city to beg for food (Sadhus lead a ascetic life and survive on the bare minimum alms and food recieved through begging). Unbeknowst to Bija Ramji, the Nawab (Governor/Ruler) of Junagarh had banned begging in the city and had issued strict orders for beggars and sadhus to be arrested on sight. Bija Ramji was arrested and imprisoned.
When Bija Ramji didn't return in the evening, Baba Keenaram used his divya-drishti (gift of seeing events at a distance) to see what fate had befallen Bija Ramji. He immediately went to the city himself and was promptly arrested. Alongwith hundreds of sadhus and beggars, Baba Keenaram was forced into hard labour as punishment.
When asked to handle heavy millstones (heavy flat disc-shaped stones that are rotated one against the other to grind grain), he hit them with his stick and they started rotating by themselves. The Nawab was informed of this astounding miracle and he hurried to the prison to meet Baba Keenaram and invited him to his palace with all due respect.
At the palace, when asked by the Nawab what he could do for him, Baba Keenaram asked the Nawab to release all the beggars and sadhus, and everyday, give them a measure of flour so they can eat. The Nawab honored Baba Keenaram's request and in due time was blessed with a son.
Even today, the practise of distributing food to the sadhus still exists in Junagarh.
Later, Baba Keenaram and Bija Ramji, continued their journey and travelled through the Kutch marshland and reached Hinglaj Devi's shaktipeeth, in present day Pakistan. Here, Baba Keenaram began his penance in devotion of Mata Hinglaj. As days went on, a woman kept bringing food for Baba Keenaram regularly. Baba Keenaram wanted to know who she was, and when she hesitated, refused to eat the food brought by her until she introduced herself. The woman transformed before his eyes and showed herself in her real form of Mata Hinglaj. She blessed Baba Keenaram and invited him, one day in the future, to visit Krim Kund in Varanasi.
Later, when Baba Keenaram and Bija Ramji were residing in the Himalayas, they accepted the invitation of Mata Hinglaj, and travelled to Varnasi. At Harishchanda Ghat, a crematory ground, they noticed an Aghor sitting in the midst of some human skulls. This was Baba Kalu Ramji. Baba Keenaram immedeately recognized him as the spiritual entity who, along with Shri Dattatreya, had initiated him to Aghor practises on the top of mount Girnar.
On approaching him, Baba Kalu Ramji said that he was hungry. Baba Keenaram prayed to the Ganges and some fishes jumped out of the river and landed in a fire nearby, to be roasted. Then, Kalu Ramji pointed to a dead body floating on the river and said that it was a dead man. Baba Keenaram replied that the body was not dead and summoned the body to the bank. Unrolling the body from the shrouds it was wrapped in, a living man emerged. He later became a disciple of Baba Keenaram and was called Ram Jivan Ram.
Baba Keenaram and Baba Kalu Ramji went to Krin Kund together (Baba kalu Ramji was living at Krin Kund at that time) and established the eternal Dhuni (fire), which is kept burning till today.
Once, Sri Trailanga Swami - a Hindu yogi and mystic famed for his spiritual powers, went to Krin Kund, the ashram of Baba Keenaram.
On reaching Krin Kund, and not finding Baba Keenaram there, who was not present at that time, Sri Trailanga Swami sat on the seat of Baba Keenaram. The disciples of Baba Keenaram, not knowing the stature of Sri Trailanga Swami, were antagonised that a stranger would dare to walk into the Ashram and sit on their Guru's seat.
Very Soon, Baba Keenaram arrived there, and seeing the commotion, asked his his men to stay silent. He recognised that he was in the company of a great soul. Both saints sat together and chatted for a long time. Nobody knows what was discused between them.
The disciples of Baba Keenaram, who are Aghoris, and use intoxication as a method of worship, served Sri Trailanga Swami with five pots of intoxicant, partly as a way of honoring their guest, and partly as a mischief to make Trailanga Swami intoxicated.
To their suprise, Sri Trailanga Swamiji emptied the five pots. When Sri Trailanga Swami was about to leave, Baba Keenaram, expecting him to be inebriated, instructed his disciples to escort Sri Trailanga Swamiji. The escorts were shocked when Sri Trailanga Swami just disappeared. He was later seen at Panchaganga ghat.
Once, while he was in Surat, Baba Keenaram heard that a small crowd had gathered to lynch a widow who had birthed a illegitimate child. Baba Keenaram reached the place where the crowd had gathered and spoke to them. He suggested that the father of the child should be found and lycnhed alongwith the widow and her child. He offered to reveal the name of the father and also said that the person was present in the crowd. The crowd dispersed quicklyas many present amongst the crowd had taken advantage of the defenceless widow.
Baba Keenaram was a wondrous soul and many miracles and wonders have been attributed to him. They have been recounted in his bographies and mentioned in popular stories. His fame attracted the attention of many important people of those times. Namely, mughal emperors like Shah Jahan and Aurangzeb and the Chait Singh, the king of Varanasi.
Legend says that when the time of his death arrived, he gathered all his disciples and devotees and instructed them on his burial. He wanted his mortal body to be put near the 'Yantra' of Hinglaj Mata and facing eastwards. He asked for a hukka and enjoyed it. And suddenly, an earthquake-like rumble was heard and a celestial light appeared in the sky. A bright light appeared to have emerged from the head of Baba Keenaram and soared high in the sky where it finally disappearded amidst a levy of musical notes.
Baba Keenaram is known by the title 'Aghoreshwar' and regarded as one of the most important saints of Varanasi. His fame, stories of his miracles, and his legend still live in the hearts of spiritual searchers.
Baba Keenaram, in his lifetime, produced many writing works, and five of them have survived till date: Viveksar, Unmuniram, Ramgita, Ramrasal and Gitavali.
He established four Vaishnava ashrams in honor of his first master, Shivaramji. They are located at Maruphpur, Naidhi, Parampur amd Mahuarpur.
He establised four Aghori matths (monasteries) in honour of Shri Dattatreya and Baba Kalu Ramji. They are located in Krin Kund (Varanasi), Ramgarh (his native village), Deval (Gazipur), Hariharpur (Jaunpur).