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The history of the earth began 4.5 billion years ago. In the 3.5 million years since prehistoric life began to inhabit on earth, the world has changed incredibly – from the position of the continents to the climate, plants and animals that inhabit it. It is difficult to comprehend huge spans of time that prehistoric life took to develop.

In the primeval age, humankinds chiefly inhabited the ground, but ascended the tree in search of fruits. The language of our progenitors consisted of vocal sounds, also movements of the hands. They ate whatever was accessible, causing their bones soft and weak and unhealthy teeth. In our age, we call it deficiency of Vitamin-D. There was no doctor or hospital or means of treatment. On that juncture, God facilitated V-D for them through the sunlight, which is still in the natural system. When human’s bare skins became exposed to sunlight, the part of the sun’s rays provided him Vitamin-D.

When the primeval men were patiently rubbing sticks to point them into arrows, a spark leapt forth and ignited the wood-dust, which had been scraped from the sticks. By a series of accidents its uses were revealed. Thus, fire was found. They remained so close to the fire, which seriously weakened their eye-sight. They felt severe pain having heavy fluid pressure within the eyes. It was almost the glaucoma means the risk of the loss of eye-sight. There was no means of treatment; therefore, God caused their remedy from moon-light. Mankind slept in open space in summer and watched heavenly bodies, notably full-moon, which became a source of improving eye-sight, which is still in the natural system. There are so many examples of the Divine miracles, but it should be borne in mind that once God put anything in His system, it operates forever.

Some events recorded in Scripture seem to be clearly outside of the normal physical processes which govern our world. We do not know all the laws of nature and processes in the world, so it is possible that God worked many miracles within the bounds of the laws of nature that He created and sustained. But it is also the case that God works some miracles completely beyond the limitations of the laws of nature that He created. We are speaking about the mankind of prehistoric period when there was no science; therefore, the Prophets came in the world not only to impart the people, but also improve their way of living and treated them miraculously. For instance, leprosy is a chronic infection that causes severe, disfiguring skin sores and nerve damage in the arms and legs. In the period of Jesus Christ, an epidemic of leprosy broke out in Palestine. There was no medicine for the treatment, thus the Prophet put his hand on the lepers and blessed and healed. It means that the miracles were in vogue in the absence of the medical facilities which we enjoy in our age. The modern mind finds it well-nigh impossible to give credence to miraculous happenings. The history however testifies to the close association of religion with belief in miracles. The prophets in the olden times were greatly credited with the power of working miracles, so much so that a prophet was judged not by the value of his teachings, but by his miracles. Event, which have been reported in ancient scripture as miracles need not at all be dismissed as the unconscious fabrications of credulous people. The mind of man may possess powers which are unsuspected by science. Some present day scientists are not skeptical like their predecessors. As and when the science progressed, the Prophets miracles became less. If miracles would have been continued, the progress of the science was difficult. Now, the graph of the science goes upward, while the graph of the miracles is at downward. That is why; we find history of the Prophets woven in the miracles, folklores and legends.

Greece seems an original home of science and philosophy. When the Arabs translated the Greek literature, science systematically developed in the western lands. With the changing pulses of time, the graph of the miracles reduced to 60%. The notion of the remaining 40% was different from that of the prophets. The 40% miracles need rational interpretations. For instance, the miracles of Pir Shams bringing sun on earth, giving a life to a dead body, sailing in a paper-boat etc. should not be dismissed or consumed to garbage in the myth-box. The allegorical interpretation is required to translate the miracles attached to Pir Shams. Inshallah, we will discuss the miracles of Pir Shams in near future through a separate article. Nevertheless, there are still so many places in the world, where science is not yet progressed, thus, there miracle stands option as was in past.

Mawlana Hazar Imam for the first time visited Tajikistan between 22nd May, 1995 and 29th May, 1995 to grace didar to the Ismailis. The fourth and the last didar was at Ruhshan on 27th May, 1995 at about 10.00 a.m., where the Ismailis thronged at about 6.00 a.m. On the other hand, the Imam’s car started to reach at 9.00 a.m. On his route, there appeared a square junction, where the Imam stopped his car. There were a gas station, a coffee-house and one store of handicraft. The Imam entered the shop of the handicraft and watched the displayed items minutely. Imam took a small bowl, wherein Sura Fatiha was engraved. The Imam asked its price at the counter, he was told ten dollars. The Imam asked his Secretary to give him twenty dollars and then put the bowl in his coat’s pocket. Then they reached the destination. The place where the Ismailis assembled, there was a small hill, where the Imam saw some smoke. Being asked, the Imam was informed that on the top of the hill resided the Ismailis, all of them have come down for the didar except the old persons. Imam looked at his watch when it was 9.45 a.m. The Imam said, “First we go on the hill.” The Imam’s car slowly ascended through the coarse and zigzag passage and reached. There about 80 old persons saw the Imam coming out of the car, they sat down where stood and prostrated with folding hands. The Imam told them to make a row and granted them didar. The Ismailis were happy with tears streamed in their eyes. Upon the departure, the Imam asked, “Is there any problem to you?” All of them were silent. The Imam repeated, hence an old lady came forward and said, “Mawla! The Russian engineers discovered that there is much magnetic gravity inside our hill. It is causing miscarriage cases of the pregnant women.” Then, the Imam took out from his pocket that bowl contained Sura Fatiha and gave her and said, “You put water into the bowl and recite Nad’e Ali, then give it to the pregnant woman to drink. Inshallah, I hope her problem will be shunned.” Before sitting inside the car, the Imam said, “Remember, when the Aga Khan Health Board may open here the Maternity Home in near future, then this bowl will be inactive.” This example suggests us the magnificent role of the Imam in promotion of modern science.

It must however be cleared here that if a disease is incurable, the miracle of the Imams comes into action, and when its remedy is invented, the graph of the miracle will possibly go down. For illustration, the paralysis is the loss of the ability to move in part or most of the human body. Inability to act or function in a person is called the paralysis. Currently, there is no complete cure of paralysis. Imam Ismail (d. 775) left Medina in 762 and came in Basra in disguise of a merchant, so that nobody can recognize him. It was only a tailor who knew the Imam. He was a paralytic and when Imam Ismail passed near his shop, he raised his arms and said, “O’son of the Apostle of God, take me by hand, so that God may take your hand.” Imam Ismail looked at him, tapped his back with hand and took him and he was healed and rose to his feet.

We cite another example in this context. On 7th November, 1991, a small boy of about 12 years took a mehmani plate in his left hand before Mawlana Hazar Imam in Karachi. The Imam told him to take the plate in his right hand. The boy remained silent with eyes downcast. Imam repeated it, but the boy did not reply. When the Imam told him third time to take the plate in his right hand, the boy sobbed. As tears streamed from his eyes, he said, "Mawla Bapa, my right hand is not working due to paralysis." Imam said, "Why not? Look at me and try to move your right hand." Suddenly, the five fingers of his right hand began to move slowly and then the whole right hand. This happened within ten to fifteen seconds and then the boy moved the mehmani plate from his left to right hand. Imam blessed him and said, "Continue your treatment. Everything will be all right.”

Belief in miraculous happenings is a feature of practically all religions, and the incidence of miracles is universal, though their functions, nature, purpose, and explanations vary with the social and cultural—including theological and philosophical—context in which they appear. However inexplicable, all miracles have an explanation in the sense that they are accounted for in terms of the religious and cultural system that supports them and that, in turn, they are meant to support.

In view of the above brief discussion, I am now in a commanding position to navigate you in the age of million years ago, when there was absolutely no science, but miracles.

In the 2nd Treta Jug, the Jamuna River flew near a village on one side, and on other side existed Ayodhya city. The village was populated by the devotees, adoring Satpanth. They performed their faith secretly mainly in every midnight in a sacred house. Vir Lochan was an eminent preceptor among them. He had no child, and implored for many years for a child. One day, the Divine message he received in a dream that his wife could not conceive, but in view of his unwavering and unshakable faith , he would be gifted a child by other means. Once in the midnight assembly of the faithful, the milk was being boiled in a large metallic pot on the hearth below a tree outside the sacred house. During boiling, a snake glided from the tree and fell into the pot, but none noticed it. It was only seen by a bitch wandering around. When the people came out of the sacred house, they were to serve milk, the bitch jumped into the pot of hot milk in presence of the people, making the milk polluted. Consequently, the milk was thrown in a pit near a tree. When the pot became empty, the people saw a dead snake at the bottom, they realized that the bitch had saved their lives. Later, a tall palm tree grew in the pit. Once a big melon fell from the tree, it was brought in sacred house for auction. Vir Lochan was the highest bidder. He brought the melon in his house and began to cut, but heard a voice in the melon. He halved it gently, wherein he found a female baby. He thought that his Lord has accomplished his desire for a child. He brought up the child as a father, and named her Rani.

Since the birth of Rani was in the palm tree (ta’d), she became known as Tada Rani, then Tara Rani or Taramati. She was the daughter of Vir Lochan, thus she also was known as Tara Rani Lochana. She grew in the house of Vir Lochan and became young. She was a staunch follower of the Satpanth like her father.

Harichandra was the 37th king of Ayodhya from Suryavanshi dynasty. Ayodhya, also known as Saketa, an ancient city of India, believed to be the birthplace of Lord Rama. Harichandra once visited the village across Jamuna River, where he saw Tara Rani in a garden. He sent his marriage proposal, which was accepted, thus she became wife of Harichandra. It is said that Harichandra had married several women, but none of them became mother. Tara Rani was his first wife to give birth of a son, Rohidas. It was a delightful occasion in Harichandra’s life. It has been explained earlier that Vir Lochan and the devotees resided on the bank of the Jamuna River, while its other side was the territory of Ayodhya, where was the palace of Harichandra. Hence, Tara Rani secretly had to cross the Jamuna River at night to attend midnight assembly with her father and devotees, which was unknown to Harichandra. There are so many tales and folklores cultivated around Tara Rani and Harichandra in the Indian literature, but contradict with one another. Pir Shams and Pir Sadruddin had related their story in few ginans, which seem reliable sources.

Tara Rani participated secretly in the assembly of the devotees across the Jamuna River on every midnight. When she was well- assured that Harichandra was sleeping, she left her bed-room and came in another room, where discarded royal attires and donned white saintly dress. She then slowly descended and reached the royal stable, relieved her fastest horse, called Hanslo and put decorative saddle thereon. On the horse, she came near the lotus shaped gigantic palace gate. She prayed and the doors opened. Then, she reached the skirt, where existed massive detached door- bar of iron. She prayed and it was unlocked. The light itself lit from the metallic point of her stick to drive the horse. Thus, the light enabled to find her way in dark night.

Thence, she proceeded towards the bank of the Jamuna River, where were fierce storms due to high tide.

Eji Jamuna nadi’e a’vi rani ubha rahiya, tiyar’e ghanna nir uchhar’e apar’ji. Eji ardas mangi’ne sati ubha rahiya, sami raja laja rakhannhar’ji. Eji nir chiranna sati utariya, Jamuna nadi’e didhi chh’e va’t’ji. (ginan)

“The queen came at the Jamuna River and stood, because there surged huge waves of the storm. She stayed and implored the Lord, the keeper of the honour. Meanwhile, the water was split. She descended as the Jamuna River gave the passage.”

We pause here for a moment to examine that there were three following stages that obstructed Tara Rani to her way from palace to the sacred house (dharam dua’r):-

1. Kamal Du’ar : Gigantic gate looks like a lotus 2. Parodu’n or Pirodala : Skirt, where existed strong detached door-bar of iron 3. Dharam Dua’r : Sacred house

[Tara Rani returned via above three stages]

Hence, Tara Rani participated regularly in the assembly of the devotees. The devotees waited outside and greeted her warmly and then they all entered the sacred house. Firstly, she moved left to right in a circular motion round, then she delivered sermon and established holy water. The devotees sipped holy water and blessed her. Tara Rani was always in hurry to wind up the rituals without wasting time lest her husband woke up. The horse was lawful in the Treta Jug, therefore, in the end, her horse was slaughtered to prepare meal and serve the devotees. The bones and skins of the horse were collected and put on the wooden plank, then all of them prayed and the horse came to life. Then she returned by crossing the Jamuna River and relieved her horse and calmly came in her room to change her clothes, then slept in her bed-room. This was a usual routine of Tara Rani on every midnight.

It is said that one day Harichandra had suspicion in his mind; he pretended to be asleep and watched his wife.

Eji sejadi’e sutor’e raja nindra dhari, Tara Rani oras’e rai’na pai’eji; Eji estri charitr raja’e janniyo, nayann’e te nindra na a’veji, Eji tiya’n thi Tara Rani sancharia, aviya chh’e orada minjarji Eji solr’e shannga’r sati’e tajiya, paheria dharm tanna chir’ji. (ginan)

“The king was sleeping on the bed, while Tara Rani pressed king’s legs. The king knew the woman- character; therefore, he could not find sleep in his eyes. Tara Rani left (the bed-room) and came in another room. She discarded her complete pomp and finery, and wore saintly attire.”

Tara Rani was an affluent queen. She was fond of wearing princely ornaments and precious clothes. When attended the sacred house (dharm dua’r), she strictly exercised simplicity, austerity and donned simple saintly white attire (dharam tanna chir). This is an ancient practice in the true path. Hazar Imam has emphasized several times to follow simplicity in the Jamatkhana. We must ask ourselves individually either it is being followed?

Eji tiyar’e ha’d cha’m meri kidha ekatha, ten’e jumaloji’e dedi chh’e a’shish. Eji a’shish’e godo tiya’n uthiyo, tiyar’e raja pag’ni cha’khadi lai jai’ji. (ginan)

“Then the gathered devotees accumulated the scattered bones and skins (of the horse) and prayed. With their prayer, the horse raised up. In the meantime, the king took away one slipper (of Tara Rani).”

Tara Rani came out and found missing of her one slipper, which could not be found. She informed her father about it.

Eji tiyar’e ghau’no lot bandhi te kidi chakhadi, ten’e jumaloji’e dedhi du’a; Eji jann’e a’smani’thi uteri biji chakhadi, te Tara Rani paheri potana pag. (ginan)

“Then the gathered devotees made a slipper of wheat flour and prayed. It appeared as if one another (equally same) slipper revealed from heaven, which Tara Rani put on her leg.”

Harichandra observed all these with utter astonishment. She returned with a tray of fruits and he followed her secretly and came first in his room and slept. She came and changed her attire, then came in her bed-room and pressed king’s legs as it was a moment of sunrise.

Eji pa’i chanpata raja jagia, sambharo rani achrat kahu’n ek va’t’ji; Eji ek achrat a’j aman’e upanu, teno patantro kem kahevai’ji? Eji tar’e ranni raja’ne khama kari, taman’e chinta a’j sheni thai’ji? Eji ugamata a’thamanta taman’e nam’e tamari a’nn far’e utar dakshinn mahe’ji. Eji a’las mardi raja boliya, rani aman’e sapnatar ladho’ji; Eji sapana mah’en am’e em janniu’n, Tara Rani piyar’e padhariya’ji. Eji tar’e ranni raja’su’n boliya, sapanu’n to a’ar pan’par’ji; Eji sapana mahe’n shu’n shu’n’re dekhi’e, jenu nahi thad nahi mul’ji. (ginan)

“The king awakened during pressing the legs, (and said) listen O’Queen, one curious story. Today, I have felt a surprise, how can explain its equal? Then, the queen forbore the king and said that what was puzzling him today? The (subject) bow down before you from rising and setting (of the sun). His authority spread from north to south. Twisting the sloth, the king said, O’Queen, I had a dream, and knew that you have gone to your parental house. The queen said to the king that the dream was futile. Whatever is perceived in dream is void of trunk and root.”

He said, “How the dream is falsified?” (sapanu juthu’n ken kahevaiji). Then, he showed her the original slipper. He had also seen the items in the tray which she brought secretly. He took his sword and said, “Show me the tray (thal).” (She prayed in heart, calling the Lord to come to her rescue.)

Eji thal la’vi ranni’e a’gal dhariya, tiyar’e raja’ne drasht’e aviya van phalji; Eji jann’e phulvadi’thi ma’li mevo laviyo, tiyar’e raja’ne acharat thai’ji (ginan)

“The queen brought the tray and forwarded. On that moment, the fruits of the forest came to the sight of the king as if the gardener has brought it from the flower-garden. It surprised the king.”

Eji ladoo bijora nipana narangi’yu, ma’ns te nipana vira draksh. Eji gugari mahe’n thi motida nipana, puri’yu te na’garvel’na pa’n (ginan)

“(In the tray) the ladoo (sweet balls) and bijora (citron, a fragrant citrus fruit) became oranges; meat was transformed into grapes; the ghughari (boiled grams) turned into pearls and the puri (thin bread) changed into the pa’n of the betel-leaves.”

Eji khadang meli raja besi rahiya, Rani mun’e panth eh dekhado (ginan)

“(Looking all these), the king put the sword aside and sat down (saying) O’Rani, show me this path.”

Eji bhal bhalera raja pa’dashah, hi panth khanda keri dhar. Eji pahela te dij’e kaya ka’rja, pachhi dij’e pindi kero ma’ns. Eji da’n te dij’e ghodo Hanslo, kunvar te dij’e Rohidas. Eji Ajodha nagari kero rajpat, Tara Rani’na shanngar. Eji sab kuchh dinu raja pa’dashah, jiki huvo minj eh sansar. (ginan)

“(Tara Rani said) O’ beloved great and majestic emperor, this path is like an edge of the sword. Firstly, one has to give liver, then body’s flesh, the (favorite) horse, Hanslo will have to give in charity, the sacrifice of prince Rohidas (or Rohitashya), even the royal throne of the Ayodhya and the finery and make-up of Tara Rani. The king gave away everything which he owned in this world.”

Harichandra accepted with no hesitation. Tara Rani took permission to see her father. She related the story to her father. She returned and took him to her father. Harichandra was asked to go through certain trials. He was asked to keep some vrt (fasting), which he did. Since he was a king, but was asked to go for slavery at the workshop of the iron-smith for six months. Lastly, he was to fill water in the pitcher made of unbaked clay, supported by a flimsy cotton thread. He withstood and passed through these tests and was eligible for admission in the Satpanth.

According to the law of that time, if the husband embraced Satpanth, while his wife already was in the Satpanth, then he, his wife and child/children had to pass through further severe trials. Tara Rani knew it. That is why she had already warned her husband that the Satpanth was an edge of sword, needing sacrifices of his kingdom etc.

Harichandra was a resolute. He, his wife and son gave up their kingdom and were reduced to ultra- poverty. He had nothing in hand and wore only rags and barks of trees. Harichandra was to pay debt of one and half mand (a measure of weight equal to 40 kg.) gold, which he could not refund. According to the prevailing law, there was no option but they must be auctioned as the slaves. Consequently, Rohidas was purchased by a gardener, Tara Rani was bought by a Brahmin and Harichandra was sold to a man, who posted him in a cemetery as a guard.

Eji pag’ma te khunch’e zinna kankari, upar vars’e te agan’ka mehji; Ajodha puri’no rajio, tene sat’e su’n na daji dehji. Eji Hir tanna chir peran’ta, khir khand’su rakhanta piyarji; math’e khad’na pura lai’ne vechanna, raja Harichandra Tara Rani Rohidas. Eji dholi’e tara’i kunvar podanta, ten’e khunch’e te jinna sutr’ji; te Rohidas podiya sa’th’re , bai’no ladakado eh putr’ji; Eji tranba keri toladi, an’e rupa’nu’n besannu’ji; ma’th’e zapado betho nahav’ne, raja Harichandra nakh’e panniji (ginan)

“The fine pebbles pierced under the feet, even the scorching fire (of sun) raining down over the body. (He was the) king of the Ayodhya city, but his body did not scorch due to his (loyalty) to the truth. They wore silken clothes and had love (for delicious meal) of pudding and sweetmeat, (nevertheless) king Harichandra, Tara Rani and Rohidas were auctioned (and then) have sheaf of grass on their heads. (In their royal period), Prince (Rohidas) slept on (comfortable) bedstead and mattress, but (now he slept) on grass with them (king and queen), whose strings pierced him, the beloved son of the woman (Tara Rani). (Previously, they used the) earthen pot made of copper and silver chair, on which he (Rohidas) seated to bath, (but now) king Harichandra poured water over him.”

Once, a serpent stung the ten years old Rohidas in the garden while plucking flowers for his master and expired. Tara Rani came to know. She was disconsolate, cried and cried to see dead body of her son. She took the dead body in her arms and walked towards the cemetery to consign it to flames or for the cremation. Harichandra saw the woman coming for cremation of a dead body. Severe poverty and affliction had changed them so much that none of them knew one another.

Harichandra was assigned the cemetery by his master to collect dues from the people who came for cremation. He demanded its charges from Tara Rani. Unable to comply with, she started tearing off her clothes and burnt the dead body. Meanwhile, the rain started and she sat near the half- cremated body. Their trial was yet continued and did not desist. In the meantime, the son of the local ruler was kidnapped by someone, whose blame was lodged upon Tara Rani. She was arrested and the ruler ordered to kill her. The task of killing was assigned to Harichandra, who took a sword and raised it. On this juncture, the heavens erupted in applause! The Lord spiritually caught his hand. Hence, their severe trials ended. They suffered a series of extreme trials and emerged as a forceful symbol of pain and grief. Their sacrifices reached a peak, and were blessed and came back to normal life. Due to his incredible sacrifice and devotion, Harichandra became the Mukhi of the Treta Jug and earned credit of the salvation of seven billion souls.

Tara Rani on the other hand was a pious chaste lady, having immense womanly virtues among the four chaste ladies. Markandeya Purana (ed., by M.N. Dutt, Calcutta, 1896), compiled in 7th century B.C., in which it has been described that Virmala was the friend of Tara Rani. She came to stay with her for seven day. On the last day, she asked Tara Rani, “I have noted that you daily meditate at night by standing on one leg. May I know, what is this?” Tara Rani said, “I dailyimplore to my Lord that He must show me His holy face (didar) in His every form in all ages.”

In 1934, Imam Sultan Muhammad Shah attended in Bombay the gathering of the members of the Baitul Khiyal, who elevated to different ranks in the Ibadat. The Imam assigned a duty to Pir Sabzali (1884-1938) that when any member entered, he/she would whisper in his ear, and according to their ranks, he would make their sitting in the row out of the seven rows before the arrival of the Imam. One woman came and spoke something to Pir Sabzali, but he could not comprehend. He again heard second time, but could not grasp to locate her rank. In the meantime, the arrival of the Imam became due, therefore, he told the woman to sit in the last row. The Imam made gracious arrival and saw the seven row beginning from high to low ranks. Pir Sabzali asked the Imam, where he himself stood, to which Imam pointed with a finger and said, “You sit behind that woman who has been given seat in last row.” The Imam started proceeding and then the members started leaving the room. When all have gone, Pir Sabzali asked the Imam about that woman. Imam Sultan Muhammad Shah said, “Sabzali, she was Tara Rani. I had promised her to give my didar in my every form (joma).” Pir Sabzali tried hard to search the woman, but failed.

Pir Sadruddin has alluded different trials of the Prophets etc. in his ginan and lastly said, “In this Kaljug, there is no kasanni or severe trial” (a’a kaljug mahe’n to kasanni nahi). The severe trial or physical mortification is called kasanni, while in the last jug, it is called parakh (test), not as severe as was in the past. Koran also says, “We had tried those who were before them, so that God know who spoke truth, and were liars!”(29:3). In case of ordinary believers, the test or parakh is meant to cleanse one from impurities, like the fire is applied to a gold-smith’s crucible to burn out the dross. Every individual has to undergo the test: “We will most certainly try you.” (2:155), “Verily, We created man from a drop of mingled fluids in order to test and try him.” (76:2) and “Do men think they will get away by saying: “We believe” and will not be tested?” (29:2)

Karachi: Revised in August, 2021

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