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Baba Lakha Da Daata

Baba Lakha Da Daata would probably translate as Baba Blesser of Millions.

Found the image hanging high on a wall near the kitchen of a banquet hall in Jammu. Seemed really interesting. Had to climb up on chairs to photograph it.

I didn't know anything about Baba Lakha Da Daata whose followers are spread all over Punjab, Himachal and Jammu region.

Looking around the net, I also realized Punjab may be having more than one Lakh Da Daata as people may have given this honorific title has also been appended to some other pirs of undivided Punjab. There is one shrine in Punjab of Pakistan, one in Himachal and one in Tarn Taran district of Indian Punjab. Or maybe these shrines belong to the same person.

Here's what I found in a piece by W. Crooke, author of The Popular Religion and Folk-lore of Northern India (1896). ( Came across it in Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics (Part 21)  By James Hastings(originally published in 1935)[Google books, 2003])

Possibly the oldest tale of Lakh Daata is that of one legendary-mythical King Sultan Sayyid Ahmed - saint Akhil Sarwar 'Generous Leader', Sakhi Sultan 'Friendly Lord', Lalan Wali Sarkar 'Nurturing Governer', Lakh Daata 'Giver of Lakhs', born somewhere between 6th and 12th century A.D, son of one Hazrat Zainul Abedin who came from Baghdad and settled in Shahkot near Multan, and whose shrine is at Nagaha (re-named Sakhi Sarwar) in Dera Ghazi Khan (Punjab, of now Pakistan).

The shrine houses the tomb of Baba Lakh Daata, a tomab of his wife - Bibi Rai and the tomb of a jinn whome he is supposed to have defeated. Here, visitor's are also shown finger marks and foot marks of Ali. Baba Lakh Daata's urs starts on the first day of Hindu first month - Chaitra, and lasts till the first Thursday of Baisaakh (somewhere between late March and early April).

Apparently, shrines of Lakh da daata, that seem to have spread all over Punjab, always have a statue of 'Bhairav' outside. There is certainly a cult of Bhairav in this region stretching across to Jammu where defeated Bhairav is worshied at Vaishno Devi Shrine of Katra, and in Kashmir, where old Hindu temples also have Bhairav guarding the gate (and even have entire temples and rituals dedicated to them). W. Crooke called Bhairav, a earth-god associated with fertility and in the end he conculded that:
It therefore seems probable that the place may have been for ages the seat of the cult of the earth-god and of the powers of fertility and that this was taken over by Buddhism and Hinduism, and finally connected with a modern Muhammadan saint - an interesting example of that fusion of cults which is at the basis of so much in modern Hinduism.


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