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Author Topic: SAINT KRISHNADAYARNAVA By Dr. S. D. Parchure M. A., Ph. D.  (Read 3026 times)

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Offline JR

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« on: February 24, 2007, 12:45:36 AM »
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  • Chhatrapati Shiwaji Maharaj was a dynamic personality.  His activities in the Deccan were being watched very closely not only by the Sultans of tha Bahamani Kingdoms but also by the Mughals ruling at Delhi.   The   expansion   of the   teritory of the   Maratha kingdom   was a direct   challenge  to the Mohomedan   rule.    The Sultans in the  Deccan and  the Mughal Emperors   of Delhi   tried their best to curb this   rising power;   but the strategy of   Shiwaji and his skillful   use of his army   went on   scoring successes after successes and the Maratha kingdom went on expanding upto   the end of Shiwaji's life; but the cunning Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb knew fully well the   statesmanship of Shiwaji   and was  therefore well aware that so long as Shiwaji was alive, he will not be able to undermine   the Maratha   power.   He was also aware -that the Maratha leadership after   Shiwaji was  not so efficient as  to face him boldly.   Therefore immediately after Shiwaji's death, Aurang¬zeb started for the   Deccan   along with his huge   army of over a lac of soldiers and the entire wealth of the, Mughal empire.

    The Mughal army stayed in Maharashtra for nearly twenty-five years upto the death of Aurangzeb in 1707 A. D. This army  did not fight only against the Marathas but it destroyed some Bahamani Sultanats also. As the main object of this army was destruction, it went on ransacking the entire Deccan. Though the great Mughal Emperor failed in his prospect and was ultimately buried in his tomb in the Maharashtra state, his army created enough unrest in the Maharashtra state for over twenty years. Nobody felt secure. All Hindus feared that their temples may be razed to ground any time. They were also constantly fearing that they may be converted forcibly at any time. Under such circumstances we can imagine very well the plight of the subjects of the Maharashtga State of that time. Here a saint who suffered a lot in this insecure period and had to migrate from place to place in order tolsave himself and his family from the Mohomedan aggression.

    Though the pen name If this saint was Krishnadayarnava, his proper name was Narahali and as his family originally came from a village known as Kftoarudha or Koparde, his sirname was Kopardekar. This village! known as Koparde, is located in the Satara District and is situated at a distance of thirty miles on the south of Satara city on the bank of the Krishna river. The Kopardekar family, staying in that village, held a Watan and lived happily. Round about Shaka 1550 one learned Brahmin, Shambhu-sharma by name, was born in that family. He had studied the Vedas and was known in the vicinity for his lore.
    In due course Shambhusharma got a son and he was named as Narayan. Shambhu .harma brought up his son very carefully and educated him according to the custom of the time. This Narayan was so bright and he grasped everything that was tought to him so quickly that he proved to be much more sharp than his father. Though Narayan had acquired so much learning and had a dutiful wife, still he was not quite happy and his wife Bahinabai was especially unhappy because there was no issue in the family for a long while after their marriage. She, there¬fore, started praying god and sewing the Ashwatha tree and continued it assiduously for twelve years. This long prayer of Bahinabai had the desired effect and she got a son after her penance for twelve years. This son was named as Janardan. After this she also got a second son in Shaka 1596 (1674 AD) and they named him as Narahari. This same boy later on be¬came famous as Krishnadayarnava.

    Shaka   1596 is famous   in the   Maratha   history;   because it was only in this   year that Shiwaji got   himself crowned as king and came   to be   known as Chhatrapati   because of that.    These, days were  prosperous for the people staying in Maharashtra; they had a king   who   was caring   for the   good of his   subjects;   but even in these prosperous days Narahari had not the good fortune to have a happy   family   life.    He lost his   mother -when   he was only one year old. This motherless child was then brought up by his father with the help of other female members in the household. It was   customary in those days to perform the thread caremony of the boys at an early age.    Hence no sooner Narahari attained the age of   five, his   thread   ceremony was performed   and at the same time   his education   was also started.   Narahari   was   quite receptive.    He   was learning   every thing very   quickly and hence he finished much of his studies in a short time.    In Shaka 1604 i. e when Narahari   was only eight   years old, his marriage also took place.      After   the    death   of   his    mother,   Narahari    had   the protection of his father;   but round about Shaka 1612 i. e. when Narahari was only sixteen, his father also left this   world.   This was   a   great   blow   to   Narahari.     He    was   quite   young  and inexperienced   in    worldly   life;   still   he    had   to   shoulder   the responsibility of his whole family.   The situation in the   country was also   worsened   because  Chhatrapati Shiwaji had   expired in ;1680 A. D. (i. e.   Shaka 1602). His   son   Sambhaji had   come to the throne;   but he -had   differences   with his   ministers and   the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb was constantly on his heels.    He had come in  the   Deccan   with   the determination   of liquidating  the Maratha Kingdom.    The armies of Aurangzeb  had created havoc in the whole of   Maharashtra   and everybody was insecure.    This had   effect on  Narahari's  life to a   great extent.    He   could not stay at a place for a long time.    He   had, therefore   to leave his native village of Koparde and had to migrate from place to place in   search   of  safety   and   security.    In  his  book   "Harivarada" Narahari   (Krishnadayarnava)   has   given   a   graphic   description of these troublesome and turbulant days.

    Narahari left his village and sought refuge at Ambejogai. It was only at this place that saint Dasopant had spent a major part of his life. Hence Narahari might have chosen this place for his residence with the hope that he might find solace at this place, and his expectations proved to be true. It was at this place that his life took a different turn.

    The initiation from a guru was  considered to be a must in those days.    Hence every person was in   search of a guru,   who would initiate him in a good order.   Narahari also was accepted by one guru as his disciple here.   The name of  Narahari's Guru was   Shri   Govind   and   his   surname   was   Choudhari.    He   was originally in the service of   Chhatrapati   Shiwaji Maharaj and he had the honour of a Palkhi   (Palanquin).   This honour was held only   by a few   officials of  high   rank.   Once   a swamiji  named Shri Swanandswami had come to meet Shiwaji Maharaj on Raigad. Chhatrapati Shiwaji was a religious minded person and he always made it a   point to   meet all   pious and holy   people who   were spending their life at different places, in the service and devotion to god and were   leading a life of self sacrifice.    Though Shiwaji was fighting against   the Mohamedan   Sultans and Emperors, still he paid homage even to Mohamedan Fakirs and Awalias.    In the case of saints,   holy persons and   places of worship   Shiwaji  was quite secular, if the modern terminology is to be used.   So when Shri Swanandswami was at Raigad,   this Govind   Guru happened to meet him and   had a long talk   with him.   This talk however aroused in the mind of Govind   Guru a distaste for the pleasures of this   worldly life   and he   renounced his office and wealth and became an ascetic.   Govind Guru belonged to the Anand cult and when   Narahari   requested him to   accept him as his disciple and to initiate him,   he readily   agreed  to   comply   with his   request. The Anand cult, to which Shri Govind Guru belonged, is dedica¬ted to the spread of devotion to god Krishna.    Hence the day of the birth of god Krishna (Janmashtami) the eighth day of the dark half of the month of Shrawana,   was selected by his guru as the day for initiating Narahari. In Shaka 1617, Shri Govind, the guru of Narahari, accepted him as his disciple and initiated him in the world of philosophy and religion and showed him the way to eternal happiness and Moksha. Because Shri Govind Chow-dhary was himself a devotee of god Krishna, he advised Narahari to take up the worship of that god. Narahari's guru also advised him to medidate on him. From that time onwards Narahari became a strong devotee of god Krishna. Among the idols that were daily being worshipped by Narahari, the idol of god Krishna held an important place and that idol, which he worshipped throughout his life, is still kept at Paithan by his decendants.

    After this initiation ceremony, Narahari was permitted to beg alms in Ambejogai, where he was staying. At the same time he started the study of Shrimadbhagawadgeeta and Dnyaneshwari as per the advice of his guru. When Narahari used to go for begging alms, he used to call out "Krishnadayarnava" (the sea of the favour of lord Krishna). Because of this habit of Narahari, he came to be known in Ambejogai as "Krishnadayarnava". Later on when he started writing books, he also thought this name to be appropriate for him, as Lord Krishna bestowed upon him lot of favours and he adopted that same name as his pen name and he became famous only by that name.

    Pilgrimage to holy places in the country was an important feature of the life of all religious minded people in those days. Hence after spending some days, in this fashion, in the study of Gecta and Dnyaneshwari, Shri Govind advised Krishnadayarnava to go on a pilgrimage with him. Hence the Guru and his dis¬ciple visited Kashi, Manas-sarovar and came to Gaya after visiting other holy places in North India. At Gaya the guru directed Krishnadayarnava to study the Vedas and the Shastras and thus prepared the ground to shape his student well as a learned man having the standard knowledge that all the learned persons of those days used to have. Mere study of the books was not thought to be enough for a person to have authority in the religious and philosophical matters. He must do some penance in order to qualify himself in that line. According to the direc¬tions of his guru5 Krishnadayarnava therefore observed penance at Gaya for one and a half year. .During this period he was eating only the leaves of the Neem tree. The leaves of this tree not only cure all bodily ailments, but they also help a person to have control over his mind because of the sound health that they help a person to attain.

    After completing the pilgrimage of the important holy places in the North, Krishnadayarnava turned towards the West. He was a staunch devotee of Lord Krishna and therefore all the places connected with his life were of great importance to him. He therefore decided to go on the pilgrimage of Dwarka in the Saurashtra and accordingly completed the pilgrimage of that holy place in Shaka 1629. Though the places like Mathura and Vrindawan have close connection with the life of Lord Krishna, because he spent his childhood in these places, still Dwarka also is equally important in his life. Lord Krishna is believed to have spent most of his later life at Dwarka and it was only at this place that the Yadawas made their home. Krishnadayarnava was therefore quite happy to have visited this place, which was puri¬fied by the residence of his favourite deity, Lord Krishna for a long time. He prayed in the temple of Lord Krishna to his heart's content and achieved complete mental peace in that holy place. After this pilgrimage was over, Krishnadayarnava started remembering about his home, from which he was away for a very long time. Hence he thought of returning to Ambejogai and reached that place in due course of time; but alas! After his return to Ambejogai what did he find there? He found that the Mohomedan agressors had destroyed a number of houses there including his own house. The dilapidated houses in Ambejogai and the gloomy atmosphere that pervaded there gave rise to a great mental depression in Krishnadayarnava!
    (to be continued )
    सबका मालिक एक - Sabka Malik Ek

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