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Author Topic: SAINT EKNATH  (Read 12866 times)

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Offline JR

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« on: February 19, 2007, 07:53:01 AM »
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  • —By Dr. S. D. Parchure,   M. A. Ph.  D.
    Though the muslims first crossed into India in the 8th century, they were busy in fighting with the Rajputs for a long time. It was at the end of the 13th Century (1294 A. D.) that Allauddin Khilji first came into the Deccan. Thereafter the waves of these invaders went on pouring into the Deccan continuously The aggression of the Muslims was never merely political. Wherever they captured any territory they did religious oppression in it. In the two and a half centuries that followed the first entry of the Muslims in the Deccan, they persecuted, the Hindus in the Deccan to a great extent and the existence of the Hindu religion itself was threatened. Some great personality was therefore required to give support to this unsteady position of the Hindu religion and to lift up the sinking Hinduism as the lord Vishnu supported the sinking world and lifted it up in the third incarnation of the Varaha Awatar. This hard task of regenerating Hinduism and creating a confidence among the followers of Hinduism that they were the followers of a great and unending religion and that their well-being was in clinging to that religion, came to the lot of Saint Eknath and we find from his life that this was the mission of his life.


    The two rivers Krishna and Godavari are important to Maha-rashtra from various points of view. They not only supply water to the cities on their banks, but a number of holy places are situated in their vicinity. Similarly many Maharashtrian saints lived at places round about these rivers. The city of Paithan on the Goda¬vari river was famous as a seat of learning for a long time. In an¬cient days it was also famous as a seat of Commerce. In this famous city, the family of Eknath was living for generations. Shri Bhanudas, who was born in Shaka 1436 (1514 A. D.) was the great grand father of Saint Eknath, from whose time the history of this family is known continuously.

    Shri Bhanudas was a pious and religious minded person. In those good old days when there were no facilities of transport, he used to go from Paithan to Pandharpur on every Ekadashi in the months of "Ashadha" and "Kartik." He was a faithful and ardent devotee of the Vithal of Pandharpur and his devotion to that God was once challenged when his idol was removed from Pandharpur.
    Once the king of Vidyanagar had come for a visit to Pandharpur. When he saw the exquisite beauty of the idol of Vithal there, he took so much fascination for it that he took away the idol to his capital. Pandharpur which was a place of pilgrimage for the followers of the "Warkari" sect became void of, so to say, the life itself and all the saints of those days came to Bhanudas and requested him to bring back the idol of Shri Vithal, so that the city would again look lively. Shri Bhanudas then promised the devotees to do the needful and by the power of his ardent devotion, he succeeded in bringing back the idol to Pandharpur.

    Another version of this story says that the king of Anagondy had taken away forcibly the idol of Vital from Pandharpur and Bhanudas brought it back to Phandharpur. We need not much worry about the name of the king and his place. We have to bear in mind that the substance of both the above stories is the same and that both of them eulogize Bhanudas as a great devotee who was a favour¬ite of God Vithal.
    It is really no wonder that a family which had the benediction of so holy a person like Bhanudas was graced with another re¬ligious minded person like Eknath within three generations. Chakra-pani was the son of Bhanudas and Suryanarayan was the son of Chakrapani. Bhanudas was a devotee of the Sun and hence his name was kept as Bhanudas (servant of Bhanu i.e. Sun). He also in his turn named his grandson after the Sun as Suryanarayan. By the time Suryanarayan was born, the life of Bhanudas was coming to an end. He therefore just named his grandson and went to heaven. Saint Eknath himself has given in his books this account of his great grand father.

    In course of time Suryanarayan was married. The name of his wife was Rukmini, who was the mother of the great devotee of the God, Shri Eknath. At the time of the birth of Eknath the "Mool" Nakshatra was in power. Those who have a belief in the power of the stars, are of opinion that such a child, which is born within the orbit of the Mool Nakshatra, always comes on the Mool (root) of the parents and hence such a child loses his parents early. It might be a chance but it happened likewise in the case of Eknath. He lost his parents within a short time of his birth and the whole burden of bringing up this child fell on his grand father Shri Chakrapani.

    It may be because of this early death of his parents or it may be because of our general apathy towards maintenance of records that we do not know the date of birth or even the year in which this great personality was born. It is really a pity that history is not aware of the date of birth of Shri Eknath, who later on spent his whole life towards the spread of the devotion to God.

    The name of Eknath was also given to him purposefully. In the family of Bhanudas he was the only one survivor and therefore he came to be called Ekya on Ekanth.

    In search of Guru

    Eknath was a worshipper of the God from his childhood. His grandfather Chakrapani performed his thread ceremony at the age of six according to the custom of those days and Eknath started his eduction. Though saint Dnyaneshwar wanted to end the privileged position of the Sanskrit language and though he started writing the philosophical books in the language of the people viz Marathi, still even after nearly 300 years the importance of the Sanskrit language had not vanished. Especially the Brahmin community of those days had to learn Sanskrit as a part of their eduction. Eknath also had therefore to study the Sanskrit language and the books that were known in that language at that time. Of course in the case of Eknath this study was not a waste. This study of the philosopical and classical books in the Sanskrit language helped Eknath to prepare ground for his future books in Marathi.

    After finishing this education, Eknath felt like finding out his Guru and taking initiation from him. He had heard the name of Janardan Swami, who was the chief officer of the Daulatabad fort, which was then in the hands of the Muslims. Though Janardan Swami held this position, he was not known more for his political work. He was more known for his religious work and for his de¬votion to God. Shri Eknath was really lucky in getting such a Guru. Eknath had a great respect for his Guru. In his commentary on Bhag-wat he has bowed down in the very first "Ovee" to his guru Shri. Janardan Swami, even setting aside the normal tradition of first bowing down to Shri Ganapati and then paying homage to Guru.

    Eknath was under the care of his grandfather; but his urge for the guru was so intense that he eloped from the house of his grand father at Paithan and without informaing him he came to Janardan Swami. This Guru to whom Eknath had come was an ardent de¬votee of Lord Datta and it is said that Shri. Datta used to give him a "darshan" in human from. Janardan Swami was a family man; but his family life never interrupted his religious programme or his devotion to God. Dnyaneshwari and Amritanubhav, these two books of Dnyaneshwar, were liked very much by Janardan Swami and they were usually being read by him. Eknath used to listen attentatively to the comments of his guru on both these books of saint. Dnyanesh¬war.

    Once when an attack came on the Daulatabad fort, Janardan Swami was busy in meditation. When Eknath came to know about this, he dressed himself like his Guru and fought with the enemy Later on in the day when the Sultan thanked him for throwing back the enemy's attack, he at once understood what had happened and he told Eknath that he was really his devoted disciple.

    When Eknath was staying with his Guru, he was given by him. the work of maintaining certain accounts. Once Janardan Swami asked Eknath to show to him his ledgers in which he had written the accounts. On going through the accounts, Eknath found that there was some flow in it. Hence he went through the books for nearly six to seven hours and located the mistake. In the joyous mood of having located the mistake, Eknath clapped his hands. Janardan Swami, who was watching the fun, said to Eknath "If you had concentrated in the same fashion on God, you would have got per¬manent joy before which this temporary solace is worth nothing." On hearing these words of his Guru, it dawned upon Eknath that he should concentrate more on God and leave aside worldly things.

    Friday was the day of prayer for the muhomedans and hence Janardan Swami used to have a weekly holiday every Friday. Be¬cause of his religious bent of mind he always used to utilize this holiday for concentration on God and for meditation. On every Friday he had made it his habit to pay a visit to a picturesque moun¬tain peak near Daulatabad. There was a lake with crystal clear water at that site. At this place Lord Datta used to give "Darshan" to Janardan Swami in human form. On one Friday Janardan Swami took his new disciple to this place and Eknath was lucky enough to have the "Darshan" of Lord Datta because of his Guru's grace. Because Eknath was lucky to have such a Guru, who took so keen interest in the well being of his disciple, it is no wonder that setting aside the usual practice of saluting the Guru after first saluting lord Ganapati, Eknath gave preferance to his guru over the Gods and first saluted his revered Guru.

    Sometime after this incident Janardan Swami accepted Eknath as his disciple and initiated him in the field of religion. He also advised him not to discard the worship of the idol even though he may reach a high level in the knowledge of self realiazation. After this initiation, Janardan Swami advised Eknath to go to the mountain peak named "Sulabha" near Daulatabad and perform penance there after taking bath in the lake known as Suryakund which existed there.

    According to his Guru's orders Eknath started his penance on the Sulabha Mountain. When he would sit for meditation and go into the trance, he would know nothing that would happen round about him. During that period he would, so to say, be outside this world. So once when he sat for meditation, one big serpent came to him and opened his hood on his head in order to protect him from the Sun. One farmer, who happened to see this, shouted aloud and because of that noise Eknath moved his body. Knowing that Eknath was coming out of his trance, the serpent vanished. When the farmer told this story to Eknath he said that he did not know anything about this as he was deeply in trance during that period. He also said to the farmer that this must be the arrangement made by God to protect him from the heat of the Sun.
    After observing penance in this fashion for a few days, one day he God himself stood before Eknath in human form. Eknath at once bowed down to him and went back to his Guru according to his instructions. Janardan Swami was glad to know the progress of his disciple and he told him that he has reached a sufficiently high level in concentration of mind & meditation and that he can now proceed for a pilgrimage along with him.

    (to be continued)
    सबका मालिक एक - Sabka Malik Ek

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    Offline anshul.udapure

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    « Reply #1 on: May 15, 2020, 03:10:37 PM »
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  • he sai baba please help me , meri carrer ki  iccha puri nahi hui. har chij me compromise kia hei , kyuki shayd mera dimang and capecity itni hei . jo hei jo kia appki ashirwad se hua.  muze bas ek aur swasth baccha de de sai baba. in dino aise koi asar nahi dikhai dete jisese meri ye iccha puri ho jaye aisa laga. bas sirf tu hi kuch chamatkar kar skta hie. please sai baba please .


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