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Similar vison of Sufism and Mahima Dharma
It is extremely interesting to note that close to the vision and philosophy of Sufism, there appears in the 19th century a new movement in Odisha known as the 'Mahima Dharma', which with all its doctrines and principles comes close to the concept of Sufism and echoes all the elements present in the Islamic tradition.
Like Sufism in the west, this Mahima Dharma emerged in India against the extreme formalism of religion that made people forget the fundamental and essential principles of true religion. Further, they became indifferent to 'Ek adwitiya prabhu parambrahma' who is the prime cause and creator of all creations.

Just at that period, Guru Maha Mahima Swami made his own revelation as a full manifestation of Maha Mahimamaya Prabhu Param brahma to this Visible World and re-established the primordial, eternal true religion of the pre-Vedic time for the good of the infinite living beings.

The main principle of Mahima dharma is to worship one deity, Parama Bramha 'Eternal Being' means who has no end and without form or description. This deity assembled the universe, dissolved it and then reassembled it. Mahima dharma rejected all other deities as they did not exist and also proclaimed the worship of idols useless. According to this dharma Bramha 'eternal' priests and their rituals as invalid.

The great Mahima Prabhu was, at first, engrossed long in Swatma Yoga in one of the caves on the top of the Himalayas and lived on no food other than air. He then travelled over different countries and lands in the guise of a Prabhuda Sanyasi and at last set foot on Utakal (Odisha). The Mahima Prabhu made his public appearance at Puri during 1826 A.D. (as stated by the Sidha Sadhu). The Swami was then popularly known as Dhulia Gosain as he used to rest and sleep on dust.

During those days the Mahima Guru Swami once in a meeting of the Puri Mukti Mandap declared the Ek Adwitiya Brmhavad as the greatest of all doctrines. It is generally said that the Swami had a piece of saffron-coloured cloth on his body. It is further said that Mahima Swami travelled around Khandagiri Dhauligiri and other places for twelve years and lived on water only. He was, therefore, known as Jalahari or Nirahari Gosain.

In his teachings and principles the Guru Mahima commanded those who would henceforward renounce the world, would first join as Apara Sanyasi group and after they attain perfection in thought, speech and action as enjoined in the Mahima order, they would be admitted to the Para Sanyas group. Women are forbidden to join the Sanyas group. But they can lead a detached life in their own family, if they have achieved austerity and sacrifice.

Guru Mhaima Swamifrom the time of the spread of the religion was popularly known as Guru Mahima gosain. He was at the same time called as Buddha Guru, Prabuddha Guru,Mhaima Swami, Alekha Bramha, Abadhut. Mahima manifestations and greatness gained special prominence throughout the country.

Mahima Prabhu had his usual sojourn from place to place with hundreds and sometimes thousands of Sadhus and devotees, singing devotional songs with Odia traditional musical instruments Gini and Khanjani. Besides, Satsang Gosthi (groups) with the Siddhas, Sadhus and Bhaktas was being organized at Joranda and other places.

Mahima Swami had his special manifestation of Mahima at Jaka, Joranda and other places. He had predicted beforehand that Mahima Gadi would be set up at Joranda.

Maha Mahima Prabhuhad His eternal and blissful Samadhi after he left for Mhasunya Mahanityapur Abhaya Parmadham on Monday, Falgu, the tenth lunar day during 1876 A.D. at Joranda Tungi (small cottage). The place where the wonder of leaving the mortal frame happened is glorified and respected as the Guru Mahima Gadi.

Going through the doctrines of the Mahima Dharma, as preached by the Guru, the most important fact is that his concept of God is entirely based on and similar to the idea of monotheism which the  Sufis believed and practiced. It is the idea enshrined in Wahadat-al-wujud, that Ibn-al-Arabi, the great Spanish mystic propounded in his treatise on the idea of God who is the Supreme Creator of the entire Universe. Speaking on its concept of God, Abadhut Biswanath Baba says:

"Absolute Alekha Param Bramha who is the originator of the infinite animal world, visible and invisible, is the great, primordial and preexistent cause, i.e. He is the source of all animals and Himself without a source. According to His will, the Mahima Dharma has shown the way for mankind. At the dawn of creation, all the sages and seers, guided by conscience, wisdom and scientific knowledge and dedicated to penance and salvation were devoted to one Param Brahma Paramatam in thought, mind and prayer. The Supreme Lord in glory and greatness revealed Himself to mankind and founded, as an expression of own Mahima, the way of devotion to the primordial, true and eternal Brahma, and it is, therefore, known as Satya Mahima Dharma and also, at times, Satya Sanatan Mahima Dharma. The word 'Mahima' is the basic concept in the religion. The one Absolute Pure Lord Param Bramha is in this religion the only support and shelter to be thought of, prayed for, and sung about in devotion."

Like the Sufi masters who believe in annihilating the self and leave all the natural existence behind, the Mahima Guru also commands for the same assimilation of the self.

According to Mahima doctrine "God is omnipresent above all in the Mha Sunya. He is all pervading the entire universe, in the soul and of the soul. For the highest salvation of the soul, you shall have to shun all the evil practices and lead a pure and austere way of life. Thus you have to surrender yourselves to the all- Almighty Mahaprabhu remaining absorbed fully and wholly in knowledge and devotion. He is the only savior, strength and solace and none else. Save Him, shun all idols and deities."

"For this you have then to give up all other worship and to surrender heart and soul, fully and wholly to the Absolute Alekha Param Brahma and none else. If you can absorb yourselves in life-long and austere surrender, service and concentration, your soul will ultimately merge in the Abhaya Param Dham and attain immortality, salvation and oneness." In short these are the great instructions of Mahima Prabhu and the sum and substance of Mahima Philosophy, which brings the concept close to that of Sufism.

It is all the more significant to note that like the cult of Sufism, this Dharma has the system of the Gurus (Master, Pirs) and disciples (Murid and Chella) along with the practice defined that the Murids have to follow and obey the Master in all the ways and traditions (tareeqat) in both the movements.

Hence, a close and objective study of Sufism and the Mahima movement reveal that there is a close assimilation and synthesis of both these and each one of them has the same fundamental concept of God and universal vision of existence.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of merinews.com. In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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