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Offline JR

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SAINT DASOPANT (Continued from January 1975 issue)
« on: February 24, 2007, 12:18:36 AM »
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  • By Dr.S.D.Parchure M.A, Ph.D

              The Sun of joy and pleasure did not shine for a long time over the house of Dasopant after his return from Bedar. Dasopant was an altogether changed man after his return from the Sultan’s prison. During his days of his imprisonment he had a lot of strain on his mind. In that one month his mind was oscillating between hope and frustration. Though he was all along expecting some help from his father, he found that he could not help him in any way. He realized that his only savior was Lord Datta and hence if he has to achieve anything in this world it should be the devotion to the Lord and nothing else.

            Because of this metamorphosis that took place in Dasopant he could not take any interest in his family life. He was quite young. This was the age when one likes to eat,drink and make merry ; but Dasopant could not take any interest in such things. Because of his hard days in the prison of Bedar, Dasopant’s mother was feeling very sorry for him. She was, therefore trying to serve rich and delicious dishes to him; but all that tasty food was tasting completely bitter to Dasopant. His father used to tell him to carry out certain domestic duties or carry out some other work in connection with the collection of revenue in his vicinity; but Dasopant was not able to apply his mind to the work. In this state of mind he had therefore, decided to chop off all these fetters of his loving parents and his charming young wife who looked as fresh and pretty as a blooming flower; and one day in the dead of the night he quietly left the house in order to go in quest of the Lord Datta! The bondages of family life are required to be severed in this same fashion. Did not Siddhartha leave his wife and son in this fashion? Would the world have seen a Buddha if Siddhartha had not left his house on that night?
                   The next morning though the sun rose in the sky, it was all darkness in the house of Digambarpant. Dasopant’s bed was found to be vacant in the morning. No one knew or could guess where he must have gone. The joy of the family over Dasopant’s release from the Sultan’s prison only appeared like a mirage.Digambarpant was completely shattered. Parwatibai, his wife, lost all her interest in the well-being of the family.To Dasopant’s wife, the whole life became a drudgery in the absence of her husband in so young an age.

                Dasopant left his family in this bad predicament; but he was not at all sorry for that. He has only goal before him, the attainment of Lord Datta. After he left his house, Dasopant straight went to Hilalpur and spent a few days there in meditation. After visiting a few intervening villages,Dasopant came to Nandigram (modern Nanded) on the river Godawari. This river is equally holy to the people in the south as the river ganga is to the people in the north. Hence he stayed at this place for some time in order to observe penance and went to Matapur. This place is famous for the temple of Anasuya, the mother of God Datta. As Datta was the family god of Dasopant, his mother also was revered by him. He therefore, meditated at this place for some time and worshipped Anasuya with the fervent hope that because of her worship, it would be easy to win the favors of her son god Datta.

                  From Matapur, Dasopant went to Siddhakshetra in the Sahyadri mountains. The idol of Lord Datta at this place is supposed to be very powerful and showering favors on the devotees. The nature surrounding this place is quite pleasing to the eye. The vegetation, the springs, and the wind in the vicinity of this place are nothing but enchanting and hence Dasopant selected this place for his penance. Not one day, one week, one month or one year but Dasopant spent here full twelve years meditating on his favorite deity god Datta. He forgot his father, his mother, his wife and his home and was fully engrossed only in the meditation and his austere penance for twelve years did not go unrewarded. He got a vision in which Lord Datta stood before him and told him he was pleased with his austere penance. Lord Datta told him further to go to Rakshasbhuvan on the bank of the river Godawari and unearth his “Padukas” in the sandy bank there and worship them for the rest of his life.

                  The vision of the Lord and his order pleased Dasopant to a great extent. He bowed down to the Lord and decided to start for Rakshasbhuvan on the very next day. While leaving Siddakshetra, he felt very sorry because of his twelve long years attachment with that place, but the order of the Lord had to be obeyed and hence he straightaway went to Rakhshasbhuvan. On reaching the banks of river Godawari, he immediately had a bath in the holy river and prayed thereafter from the bottom of his heart. After the bath he came and stood in the sandy bank of the river when the order of the Lord flashed before his eyes. He had no doubt come to Rakshasbhuvan as per the order of the Lord and was standing in the sandy bank of the river; but where was he to hunt for the Padukas? The lord has not told him the exact location of the spot where he would get the Padukas and the sandy bank was so extensive that one complete life would not have even been enough to search and dig it. In this pensive mood itself Dasopant sat on the sandy bank and unknowingly his hands started digging the sand before him. After a short time a small pit was there and lo! Inside the pit he felt that there was something very hard. This hard substance at once brought Dasopant out of his trance and he dug up further. To this surprise he found the Padukas there as ordered by God Datta.

             The first reaction of Dasopant on seeing those Padukas was of reverence. He placed them on his head and then bowed down to them.He then took them and washed them clean in the holy water of the Godawari. Thereafter he worshipped them only there in the sandy bank of the river. Dasopant wanted some suitable place to install those Padukas of Lord Datta. He therefore started in search of a suitable place. On his way he came to Wani-Sangam and finding the place quiet and congenial he thought of settling there. In that village there was a temple of Wagheshwar and Dasopant chose it for his abode.

                 Wageshwar was a holy place, which was often frequented by pilgrims from all over the country. One day one old man came and pitched his tent on the sandy bank of the river. The priests of the village immediately went to him to enquire from where he came and also what ceremony was to be performed by him. Dasopant, who was sitting in the temple of Wageshwar, saw the old man and the two ladies with him and thought that he had seen the people before. He therefore, asked the priest,” Who are those people?”.
                  The priest asked “Which people are you referring to?”. Dasopant replied, “That old man with two ladies, one of whom is old and the other is young”.

                 The priest said “That old man is from Narayanpeth. He has a big landed property; but he is unfortunate. His only son left his house before fifteen years and has not returned so far. That young lady is the wife of his son. You know according to our Shastras if a husband is away from the wife for more than twelve years, then she is to be treated as a widow and she has got to abandon the ornaments that signify that she is a married lady. The family has come over here to perform that ceremony”.

            This narration of the priest simply shocked Dasopant. He realized the strange situation which had arisen due to his departure from his house. His wife would very soon declare herself to be a widow even as her husband ie himself was alive. He was stunned for a moment.He could not make up his mind regarding the further steps to be taken in order to avoid the catastrophe: but Lord Datta gave him an inspiration. He told the priest to request the gentleman to meet him before going through the proposed ceremony.

                 Digambarpant was a man of religious bent of mind. To him all religious minded people were venerable. So he thought to himself “Why not take the darshan of this sage before the ceremony? The visit to a righteous man will never be wasted. It will always bear good fruit.’ Thinking so he went to the temple along with his wife and daughter-in-law and what wonder? Were his eyes deceiving him? Was he not his dear son Daso, who was standing before him? Yes, he was his dear son Daso. No sooner than he saw Digambarpant, he fell at his feet but Digambarpant was so overwhelmed with feeling that he asked him to get up and embraced him closely. The mother and the wife of Dasopant were also overjoyed at the site of Daso and were glad that they met Daso just at the nick of time when they were about to throw away all the ornaments of Dasopant’s wife,signifying her marriage. This chance meeting no doubt once again showered joy over the whole family; but at the same time again they remembered the former occasion when Dasopant came back from the Sultan’s prison and again disappeared within a short time.

                  After the first gush of emotions was over, the family settled down a little and Digambarpant said to his son, “Daso, you left us before and we were fully plunged into grief; but at the same time we were not so old. We somehow faced the grief bravely but now both of us have grown very old. Nobody can say how long we will live. Hence let us now go back to Naraynpet and settle there in peace. Do not leave us alone in this ripe old age”.

                Dasopant heard this and replied humbly, “ I am very sorry to have been a cause for mental torture to you all ; but I did all this according to the orders of the Lord in this behalf. I was prompted by Lord Datta to go out of the house for observing austere penance and I accordingly responded to the call of the God. He has now granted his “Prasad” to me in the form of his Padukas and has ordered me to settle in this life; but I am not in favour of going to Narayanpeth”.

               On hearing this,Digambarpant said, “Daso, we have got our house there. We have got our landed property there. Where shall we go leaving aside all our belongings?”
                “The Sultan of Bedar is a man of vindictive nature. He wanted to trap me: but Lord Datta foiled his plans. He will therefore, be waiting for another opportunity to give further trouble to us. Let us therefore, go away from Narayanpeth so that we shall be out of the clutches of the sultan”, Dasopant said.

                   Seeing this changed attitude of Dasopant, his father Digambarpant also agreed to whatever he said, but he enquired, “What is to be done about all our property?”.

            Dasopant promptly replied, “Lord Datta is there to take care of us. We shall donate all our property in Narayanpeth to someone. There is no other good thing as donating our belongings, treating them as a blade of grass”.

              From his study of religious books and his contact with the holy people, Digambarpant knew that all the persons, who have attained the favour of God, have very little attachment for wordly belongings. He was pleased to know that his son was now going to stay with them permanently and therefore, he agreed with Dasopant’s proposal. He thought that the property was of no value before his son. Digambarpant’s manager had come with him. So he thought that he was the best person to whom the property could be donated. The father and son agreed on the proposition and all the movable and immovable property of Digambarpant was donated freely to his manager, whose descendents are even today in possession of that property. Digambarpant became a very poor man; but the persons who have strong belief in the power of God are never worried about their food and shelter. They are sure that the Lord is going to take care of them. To such people the wordly belongings are nothing but trash and they are ready to part with them in no time. This attitude of Dasopant of treating the wordly belongings with scant respect, indicated to Digambarpant that Dasopant had attained a high spiritual level and that he is now a person who has won the favour of God. This incident that took place in the Wageshwar temple at Wanisangam spread all over like a fragrance of a flower and Dasopant came to be known as a saint. Religious minded and devout people from all the places round about started coming to him for his darshan and he on his part started preaching the devotion to Lord Datta and meditation on him. Whosoever that came into his contact was advised by him to devote his time on concentrating on Lord Datta. When they were passing their time in this way, Lord Datta ordered Dasopant to go to Ambejogai in the present Marathawada. He accordingly bowed to the wishes of the Lord and started for that place. In coming to Ambejogai he straight went to the Ganapati temple in that village and started his preaching there.
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