His early life is lost in the oblivion of History. Even traditions have nothing to say. Khawaja Abdul Ghani Goni writes, “Baba Budhan Shah was pious and given to prayer from the very childhood and a man of high character. He prayed for most of the time.” We think, the virtues mentioned about him are similar to all the saints. He has written the characteristics simply by approbation. More may be added in the vein, for instance, he was truthful, absorbed in deep thoughts, achieved spiritual powers through painstakingly accomplished intrinsic practices, and exhibited miracles even as a child. Tradition has it that he took nothing except milk.
Baba Budhan Shah and Guru Nanak
Folks retold in Jammu and Kashmir can be relied upon that the two holy- men were intimate, respected each other, and maintained closeness because of a common place of birth. They met often at different places. There is evidence to say that they might have discussed spiritual matters and exchanged their views. Once Pir Baba went to Anandpur Sahib to see Guru Nanak who invited him to stay there.
Pir Budhan Shah said, “How can two swords be kept in a scabbard?” Guru Nanak replied, “Whoever comes to Anandpur Sahib shall visit Kiratpur Sahib before.”
Arrival in Jammu
It is not exactly known when Pir Budhan Shah came to Jammu. But it can be said for certain that he arrived here after Pir Roshan Ali Shah and Pir Mitha in the fifteenth century and is one of the Muslim holy men who reached Jammu prior to the Muslim invaders.
Khawaja Abdul Ghani Goni discloses that Pir Budhan Shah was an Arab and refers to the Tarikh-e-Decan for his arrival in the eleventh century and says that he brought coffee seeds with him. He further refers to Budhan Shah hills in Mysore to make his opinion. Further researches may open newer vistas in this matter.
Plaque on the tomb
It is said in the plaque placed on Pir Budhan Shah’s tomb that once Guru Nanak came to see him. The Pir said, “Our lion is out to graze the goats. We fear he might not eat you on return.” Guru Nanak replied, “When he does not harm you, how can he harm me?” When the lion returned he paid his respect to Guru Nanak. Baba Budhan Shah ordered the lion to milk the goat and offer it to the sage. The lion milked the goats and offered it in a new pot Guru Nanak did not drink it and said, “I will drink it during the sixth Padshahi.” (The reign of the guru) Pir Baba replied, “Most probably I may not live that long.” Baba was very old at that time. Guru Nanak said, “I bless you that you would live. Keep my trust with you.” Upon which the Pir Baba asked, “What will be your symptoms?” Guru Nanak replied, “I will hold the thumb of your right hand.”
During the sixth Padshahi Guru Nanak demanded the trust from Pir Budhan Shah who asked for the identification. In reply he pressed the thumb of his right hand. He insisted on him to appear in the form of Guru Nanak. The Guru did it. He offered him fresh and warm milk.
The veracity of the tradition is doubtful because of the long period between Guru Nanak (1469 – 1530) and 1595 which is the year of birth of Guru Har Gobind Ji. Possibly Guru Har Gobind Ji might have paid a visit to the tomb of Pir Budhan Shah and hence the origin of the said tradition.
The Keeper of the tomb
Pir Budhan Shah drank milk and was a vegetarian but devotees whose wishes are granted offer biryani (a dish of roasted meat with rice). The keeper says that he died at the place. The Sikh devotees, however, hold that once Guru Gobind Ji came to see him. The goats and lions wished him to send them to the other world along with the Pir Baba. Their wish was granted.
Pir Budhan Shah’s tomb stands near the Jammu airport. This is referred to as Khanqah-e-Budhan Ali Shah. The shrine is registered in state record under the title. The tomb of Piran-e-pir Wahid Imad-Ul-Mulk Hazrat Budhan Ali Shah. It is said that his original grave is in Kiratpur. He was buried there according to his wish. In the courtyard are the graves of the goats and the lions. Some of his devotees brought some mud from the tomb at Kiratpur and interred it in Jammu and raised a tomb on it.
It is said, a portion of the shrine was pulled down unintentionally to make way for the construction of the runway of the Jammu airport. Difficulties began to surface from then. Hurdles were observed in the landing and the take-off the planes. Engines did not start for any valid reason, and if ever the plane took off it force landed soon after. The authorities were disturbed at these incidents. Baba Sahib then appeared in the vision of some officers and said, “Leave me my place. This disturbs me.” The authorities left the portion of the shrine and built the runway away from it. The accidents ceased. It is also said, the plane dips in respect to Baba Sahib. Formerly the grave was kachcha but later was turned into pucca. Efforts were made to put a roof on it but Pir Baba did not allow it.
Hindus, Sikhs, and Muslim’s gather at the Shrine on every Thursday, offer the cooked rice in meat in big pots, and beat the drums.
The shrines of mystics saints are place of national integration but the Shrine of Pir Baba Budhan Shah presents the spectacle no where seen in the country. The langar offers food to thousands of people, no matter to what caste, color, or creed they come from.