The year was 1878. On February 23rd of that year, a ceremonial feast for Brahmins was underway at a village called Shegaon in the state of Maharashtra. Platters of leaves with remnants of food were being thrown away in the street. Venkat and Damodar observed a young man of sixteen, naked, eating the remnants along with the dogs, who were also licking the platters. The glow around his face reminded them of Lord Datta and so they served him with fresh food. He mixed all the items, ate only a small quantity without minding the taste and quenched his thirst with the water of the drainage pit.
Soon, that young man became popular as ‘Sri Gajanan Maharaj'. He always repeated the words “Gana, gana ganantha bote, gana gana ganantha bote.”
Hence people called him “Gajanan Maharaj”. In fact nobody know who he was, when and where he was born and what actually his name was.
Gajanan Maharaj from Shegaon (Buldhana District), Maharashtra, India was a Datta Avatar. His early life history is obscure, his birthdate being unknown. There are lot of similarities between Shree Swami Samarth and Shree Gajanan Maharaj, Both were Paramahans Sanyasi, Both were AjanBahu and many others.
They say, Maharaj accepting a human body is a mere pastime (Leela) as he is Brahmadnyani; that is why thousands of the devotees flock to Shegaon for his blessings.
How he functions and transforms people from vile, wicked ways to great devotees is really unknown. None in his earthly days ever saw him chanting any special mantra holding japamala etc. But he is a supreme saint, whose blessings everyone must have.