Baba's Own Masters
Hazrat Babajan, in the history of spiritual Islam, is the second manifestation of divinity on earth in the female form, after the famous Rabia of Basrah. This does not mean there have been no other spiritually enlightened women in between. But it is a fact that there have been none in history or living memory who can be said to approach Hazrat Babajan of Poona in spiritual greatness.
A tradition is current among Muslim Sufis of the Qalandariyah* order, that the world has up to now seen only two and a half Qalandars; by half they evidently mean Rabia of Basrah being a female. There is also a mystical explanation given for the incomplete numerical figure two and a half. They believe that the completion of three Qalandari manifestations on earth would precipitate the end of the world. If there be at all any meaning in this fantastic belief, it is surely fulfilled in the manifestation of Hazrat Babajan, though not in the material sense visualized above. Hazrat Babajan's incarnation synchronizes with the end of a previous order of things in the spiritual evolution of the world and the beginning of the Qalandari Era (Daore-Qalandari).
What is Qalandari Era? It can be explained by the following parable recounted by a saint, in answer to a question by a disciple as to the difference in the spirituality of Masters like Maulana Rumi, Fariduddin Attar and Buali Qalandar. The Saint said, "A woman was drawing water at a well, and three travelers, feeling thirsty, approached her for water to drink. The first one said, 'Mother, give me water to drink.' The woman was evidently flattered by the mode of his address, and feeling it an act of virtue, was only too pleased to help him quench his thirst. The second one accosted her thus, 'Wife of my father, feed me a little water.'
The woman concealed her displeasure with an effort and allowed him a drink The third traveler was downright informal, and invited the wrath of the woman by his unguarded mode of address."
*Qalandariyah is an order of Sufis founded by Syed Hayat Mir Qalandar, known characteristically for its utter disregard of external law (Shariat) and for the utterance of Gnosis, shocking to orthodoxy.