Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath had a Muslim ‘gurubhai’. Here’s who he was

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Hindu hardliner and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has a strong connection in Gujarat. No, apart from PM Narendra Modi also, Adityanath has someone in the state who he considers as “gurubhai”.

TOI reported the erstwhile mahant of a math (ashram) of Nath sampradaya in Visnagar, Mahant Gulabnath Bapu, who was born as a Muslim with the name Gul Mohammad Pathan, was the 'gurubhai' of today's UP CM, considered a Hindu hardliner.

Mahant Avaidyanath, the guru of Adityanath, was also the guru of Gulabnath Bapu. Their relation was so strong that when Gulabnath, 86, breathed his last, Adityanath came to Visnagar, Gujarat, to perform his last rites on December 6, 2016, and he also appointed the new mahant of the math, Sankarnath. The math runs temples and annakshetra (place providing free meals) in Visnagar and Vadgam.

"Bapu was the sixth generation in guru-shishya lineage. His association with Mahant Avaidyanath of Gorakhpur math and guru of Adityanath Yogi was very old due to the dynamics of Nath sampradaya,” Sankarnath, the newly appointed mahant of the Visnagar math, told TOI.

"Bapu also considered Avaidyanath his guru and thus he considered Adityanath as his gurubhai. Bapu was invited to Gorakhpur for every major event. When he went there last year, Adityanath had him felicitated by PM Narendra Modi," Sankarnath said.

The connection between Adityanath and his “gurubhai” was deep. "Yogi used to phone regularly to get updates on Bapu's health. It is not just about the Nath sampradaya connection as there are other places in Gujarat with presence of the sampradaya, but he feels connected to this place," Sankarnath told TOI.

Gulabnath Bapu was born in a Muslim family. He came across Mahant Balaknath at the age of 18 years. After witnessing the mahant's activities, young Gul got attracted towards him and the sect, and decided to take diksha.

Dilawar Khan Pathan, Balaknath's nephew, said that the roots of his transformation can be found in Bapu's upbringing.

"My grandmother had died when her children were very young and thus they grew up with their grandfather, Hafi Khan. A follower of Sufi tradition, Hafi Khan used to recite bhajans and respect all religions," Pathan told TOI, adding, "These early memories might have played an important role when the 18-year-old Gul decided to take diksha."
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