Manasa Devi


Gazi Pir

Gazi Pir is greatly respected both by the Hindus and Muslims. Some Hindu websites say that Manasa, the Hindu serpent goddess, converted Gazi Pir to worshipping her. This part of my website follows the same direction and also tries to unveil some secrets of Sufism.

Gazi Pir was a great Muslim saint. He lived in Bengal. Local myths say that even the deadliest creatures obeyed him. Pictures, idols, statues, scroll paintings, etc. show him holding snakes (symbol of immortality) in his hands and riding a fearsome Bengali tiger (or a crocodile), or battling with deadly animals in jungles of the Sunderbans, the world's widest delta at the border of India (Bengal) and Bangladesh. The area is notorious for its tigers that devour people. The most important goddess of the region is Bon Bibi, the only Hindu Goddess the origin of which is in Islam. Her story begins in the second holiest city of Islam - Medina, where Archangel Gabriel spoke to her father, a Sufi fakir Ibrahim. The Archangel said that they - Bon Bibi and her brother, had been chosen for a divine mission and that they should leave their birthplace and come to India. They started their journey as Sufi traders and later became the divine protectors of the people living in the Sunderbans jungles. Whether local people are the Hindus or Muslims, the prayer always starts with the words of the Qumran.

Gazir Pir had most probably the same purpose as Bon Bibi to start a divine mission. This Sufi saint must have appeared in Bengal around the same time as Bon Bibi, because Muslims believe that he is related to the rise of Sufism in Bengal. I will give you also some references - for example, the book "Beautiful Country: Stories from Another India" by Syeda Saiyidain Hameed and Gunjan Veda speaks about Bon Bibi and her relation to Sufism.

Although I did not find any reliable sources on how the Bengali goddess Manasa converted Gazir Pir to worshipping her, it is quite possible that this story is written somewhere on these Bengali scrolls. Scroll painting or patachitra culture is a very old village culture in Bangladesh and Bengal (India). These scrolls depict myths from religious stories people in rural areas have narrated for generations. For centuries, painters of these scrolls (patuas) have visited a village after a village and sang the stories in return for a small money or food. This must have significantly strengthened the preservation of the Manasa Devi cult in the area and the preservation of Gazir Pir in the knowledge of people.

During the reign of Sultan Barbak Shah (1459-1474) one his general conquered Orissa and Kamrup (now Assam). Most probably this is the time when Gazi Pir appeared in the region. You will see him on pictures or scrolls as he rides a tiger (or a crocodile), which is not anything unusual in India (tiger is a vehicle of Goddess Durga), but what interests me is that Gazi Pir and Bon Bibi have the following common features:
1) They both belong to Islam
2) They both ride on tiger
3) They both belong to Sufism (a mystical school of Islam)

Islam as the one connection only is not surprising, but if you see the above three common attributes in one cake, you must be amazed.

If you do not know, many Muslims and non-Muslims believe that Sufism goes beyond Islam. Sufism or tasawwuf in Arabic is the inner dimension of Islam and not many Muslims follow it. Sufism is a secret path, as many of its tenets are derived from Gnosticism and every good scholar will tell you that much of its dimensions are derived from ancient Greece.

When I was looking for the name of Gazi Pir on the Internet, one thing that surprised me was that I found a picture of the crescent moon in a position like when people smile - the crescent moon (with the sun) in a horizontal position. Such a depiction is a genuine connection to Manasa Devi and snake deities. The iconography of ancient deities, too, is very well familiar with visualizations of snake deities with this symbol on their heads.

Gazi Pir and Manasa Devi have the following three common features:
1) They share the symbol of the crescent moon in a horizontal position with the sun in it (like an eye)
2) They are both depicted with snakes in their hands
3) The Hindus have a great respect for this Muslim saint (Muslims generally do not give a religious significance to any of the Hindu saints)

I cannot confirm the reliability of the sources that say that Manasa, the Hindu snake goddess, converted Gazi Pir to her worship and how, but legends and folk stories must surely say this, as many Internet searches really brought me to a number of pictures of Gazi Pir sitting on a tiger and carrying a snake in his hands.

Sufism is a secret path, thus it is likely that the information I present here will surprise you the same way it surprises me. Sufism, like Tantric Hinduism, is a hidden dimension of God. Gazi Pir was a great follower of Manasa Devi. I too believe that he, a great historical person, was a divine saint.

Om Hreem Shreem Kleem Aim Manasa Devyai Swaha