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Punit Maharaj – Junagadh – A Saint Of Gujarat

Punit Maharaj (pre monastic name Balakrishna) was the son of Bhaishankara and his wife Lalita Devi. He was born in Junagadh on the second day of the dark half of lunar month of Vaishakh in Vikram Samvat 1964 i.e., on May 19, 1908.

The atmosphere in the house of Punit Maharaj was religious. His mother used to sing bhajans which created an everlasting impression on the mind of the young child. He lost his father at an early age and his widowed mother had to struggle for daily food. She could not perform even the boy’s sacred thread ceremony. But his maternal uncle did it at a later stage in his life.

Punit could hardly study up to matriculation. Before he could finish his schooling, he had to go to work. He had various stints as a peon, postman, porter at the Ahmedabad Railway Station, clerk, teacher, an editor of newspaper, etc. For lack of money, he could not afford medical care for his ailing son, who died.

Due to his smoking habit, Punit developed tuberculosis, which reached the third stage. He heard from someone about the miraculous effect of the recitation of the Lord’s name. He started chanting the name and was cured of tuberculosis. His faith in the Almighty, especially in the form of Ranchodrai of Dakor, credited with many miracles, increased.

Punit Maharaj wrote thousands of bhajans, which he rendered in his melodious voice. He is no less popular than Narasimha Mehta or Mirabai in Gujarat today. Jana Kalyana, a monthly magazine which he started, remains quite popular even today. He passed away on Friday, July 27, 1962.

Journal of Oriental Institute Vol XXXVII (1987) – Oriental Institute Vadodara India; Oriental Institute Maharajah Sayajirao University
Encyclopedia of Hinduism Volume VIII page 311 – 12  - IHRF