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YOGIRAJ VASUDEVANAND SARASWATI (A Biography)
« on: February 19, 2007, 05:13:38 AM »
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  • By : Shri S. N. Huddar CHATURMAS 11.   SHAK 1823 (1901 A. D.)
    On the request of the people, Swami Maharaj collected all the tales in " Datta Purana " and wrote in Marathi a versatile volume " Shri Datta Mahatmya. " He also composed in Sanskrit, " Trishati" i.e. 300 shlokas. Daily he wrote one chapter of about 108 ' oves', in all 51 chapters, containing 5500 'oves' of ' Datta Mahatmya. "

    After publication of " Shri Gurucharitra " with criticism, Shri. Sapre sent it to Swami Maharaj and asked, " There have been many misprints, so, what should be done ? " Swami Maharaj replied, " Let there be mistakes, those who walk, may fall at places but that does not matter. Only add erratum, that is all. "
    Guna had, been a military station in Gwalior state. Dr-Vishwanathrao Tatke, Suregaon, was a devotee of Swami Maharaj-His leg had a wound. It become spetic. Medical treatments did not give him any relief. Doctors advised to amputate the leg below the wound. Shri Tatke came to Swami Maharaj and said, " You give medicines to all. Who can give me medicine ?" Swami Maha¬raj asked him to recite a Mantra and to apply poultice to the leg and also gave medicine. His leg gradually became normal. All doc¬tors wondered to see this miraculous cure. Vishwanathrao did not believe in God, but after contact with Swami Maharaj, he was com¬pletely changed. He observed all Brahmin rites such as Sandhya. He got " Shri Datta Mahatmya " printed at his cost.

    Cobra  Bites  Swami  Maharaj

    When at Mahatpur, there was a moon eclipse on Kartika Purnima (full moon night). Swami Maharaj wished to bathe in Kshipra river and go to Brahmavarta on the bank of Gangaji. The same night a poisonous cobra bit Swami Maharaj. He sat in meditation (Samadhi). After 3-4 hours he awoke but the poison effect was not reduced. After some time the poison subsided but severe headache started. The reason was that the broken part of tooth of the cobra was in his leg. When it was taken out, he felt well on the tenth day. Swamiji then left Mahatpur.

    Sakharam Kanadkar of Alot

    Swami Maharaj arrived at Alot where he composed a Stotra of " Anadi Kalpeshwar " and bowed to him. Sakharam Kanad¬kar, a boy was living there. He had lost his father in childhoo'd'. He had to earn for his mother, younger brother and sister. He began to do Hari Kirtan. He could shine well as a Haridas, but some jealous person managed to give him ' Sindeor ' (red lead) in water. His throat was swollen and he could neither speak nor sing. His family came in difficulty due to poverty. He was thinking of com¬mitting suicide. When Swami Maharaj came to Mahatpur he met Swamiji and narrated his sad tale. Swamiji asked him to live with him for 4 months for relief. He said that he had family difficulty and hence he cannot stay outside. Swamiji said when he would come to Alot, he should see him. At the approach of a sun-eclipse, Swamiji gave him juice of a herb and wrote a Mantra on his tongue with the juice and advised him to recite the mantra in the period of the eclipse, standing in the Kshipra river. He recited the mantra from the commencement of the eclipse till its end. Consequently his voice became normal and intellect and memory became more sharp. He was known as Keertanacharya.

    Gandabuwa   practises   Khechari   Mudra

    Swami Maharaj came to Sarangpur in Margashirsha. He sent Gandabuwa to Guna camp to Dr. Tatke to cut the particular artery below the tongue for practice of Khechari Mudra. This Was successfully done. But later, Appa Nigudkar and Venkat Rao, Station Master, went to him for the same. Another artery being cut, there was constant bleeding. Doctor became anxious and he wired to Swami Maharaj who was 40 miles away. Swami Maharaj came there next day applied some herb and the bleeding stopped and after some time both came on senses. This was a surprise even to renowned doctors. Swami Maharaj then started for Brahma-varta. He asked Gandabuwa to go and live at Broach and prac¬tise Yoga. Swami Maharaj arrived at Bhelsa on the Banks of Kshetravati. Shri. Govindrao Pandit, one of his prominent devotees was here. Swamiji taught him some Yoga practices.

    CHATURMAS 12-SHAKA 1824 (1902 AD) BRAHMAVARTA

    Swami Maharaj reached here on Chaitra Shuddha 13 for the third time. This time he stayed here for 2.5 years and observed 3 Chaturmasas. He stayed in the Rama Temple on the Antaji Ghat. The persons knowing him from previous time came to see him He asked them to come for learning. He explained Upanishat, Bhashya, Panchadashi, Jivan-Mukti Vivek, Nama-Smriti, etc. to those who were interested. He taught Sandhya and literature to young students. To some he also taught Ayurveda.

    Needy persons were given medicines. He prepared 'Yantra' and gave for relief from spirits and from diseases. Astrological querries were also replied. He read here 11th Skandha of Shrimad-bhagwata. His preaching resulted in increasing the devotion, know¬ledge and unselfishness of the people. In evenings, he used to write replies to the letters received from his devotees and others.

    Ailment returns

    While going through Gujarat, Swami Maharaj could not get alms, which he usually received from local Maharashtra Brahmins and as they were scarce in the region, he had to live on palms and cocoanut kernel for 33 days. Due to this he had the chronic dy¬sentery trouble again. He had to go for motion again and again and to bathe repeatedly for purity. Shri Shirolkar (who later became Shankaracharya of Sankeshwar Peeth) was with Swami Maharaj at Brahmavarta. In the summer, the flow of Gangaji was narrow ' and it was far away from the bank. The sandy bed was yery hot, still Swamiji tracked the hot sand 2-3 furlongs each time for bath patiently. He did not take medicine. He took butter-milk only.

    In spite of such dysentery trouble, there was no break in  his routine.   One day he passed much more blood. He said, " Today I  had 15 motions.   My  body has become light. "   This showa how lightly he looked at his severe ailments.

    In Vaishakh month, Shri. Sitaram Bhat, Swamiji's younger brother came to see him and stayed with him, Swamiji asked him to do " Gayatri Purashcharan " and he did it.   Swamiji   taught different subjects to students as per their likings.   At times, he would ask one to read Purana or do Keertana and he would himself sit to listen.   Swamiji composed stanzas (geet),  Stotras (prayers), stories for them.
      Ramchandra Khare and Shankar Shastri Shirol¬kar became efficient  in the art of Keertan.   Shri Jairam Shastri Upadhye and Gajanand Saraswati also lived with Swamiji    at Brahmavarta.

    Gopal Rajadhyaksha

    Gopal was a Goud Brahmin of Ratnagiri. After Badri Narayan pilgrimage, he came and stayed at Brahmavarta. He took Madhu-kari (begging alms) and passed his time in devotion of Lord Datta. Datta. He was very eager to see Swami Maharaj and was much delighted to see him. Once he expressed his desire to do " Kirtan " and requested Swami Maharaj to fulfil his desire. Though he was not capable of doing it, due to blessings of Swami Maharaj he was able to do Keertan. On one Ekadashi day when he sat for kirtan, people ridiculed him saying " How can this Mhtoodkarya do Keertan. " But from the very beginning his songs and preach¬ing were most interesting and instructive. The people who had ridiculed him were astonished to see his performance. Later on he himself composed Akhyan (Tales) on the different chapters of Sh Gurucharitra, read out these to Swami Maharaj and then preached in Kirtan.

    Shankarrao Kulkarni (Shirolkar)

    Shankarrao lived at Shirol. He had studied the art of drawing and painting. Due to disinterestedness in family affairs he left service and lived at Aundh and read holy books, such as Dnyane-shwari, Dasbodh and books of other saints. He went to Kashi and after reading ' Yoga Nirupan' he desired to practise yoga. Pradnyananda Saraswati of Tarak Math asked him to go to Swami Maharaj at Brahmavarta and said that Swamiji was a great Yogi.

    He came to Brahmavarta and fell straight before Swami Maha-raj and requested him for guidance. Swamiji taught him " six ac¬tions " (Shat Kriya) and told him that the real bliss was in the study of Vedanta Philosophy but these books are all in Sanskrit. Shankar-rao said, " I would stay with you. Teach me all. "Swamiji asked him to approach Shankarrao Eksambekar. Shankarrao went to him and told him the message of Swami Maharaj. Shri Eksambe— kar taught him Vedas and Shastras. Swami Maharaj prepared some Akhyans based on Vedanta and Shankarrao made use of them in his Kirtans.

    Swami Maharaj gave Shri Keshao Shastri Joshi a book " Brahma Sutra Bhashya " written by himself for giving to Shankarrao Shirolkar. As he could not meet Shankarrao, Joshi Shastri kept the book at Vadi with Shri Dikshit Swami. When Shankarrao went to Vadi to see Swami Maharaj, he was given that book. Soon after Shankarrao went to Shringeri for study of Shastras. After some more time he had the fortune to grace the Peethof Shankara-charya. He always expressed that this was the reason why Swami Maharaj took so much trouble to give him Brahma Sutra Bhashya.

    In Deepavali, people brought several plates, full of material, for the worship of Datta. The pooja was performed very grace¬fully. Programme of Bhajan, Kirtan, Puran, were arranged. On the last day 400 to 500 persons were given meals. Next year, this festival was ceremonised in the Vishweshwar Mandir. :
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