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Author Topic: SAINT DASOPANT  (Read 8134 times)

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Offline JR

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« on: February 24, 2007, 12:30:24 AM »
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  • By Dr.  S.   D.  Parchure M. A., Ph. D.
    (Continued from February 1975 issue)

    The fame of Shri Dasopant had already reached Ambejogai like the fragrance of the flowers which is carried to a long dis¬tance by the wind. People, therefore, started coming to him for darshan and for advice. Among the visitors Shri Sitopant, Deshpande of Ambejogai, was also one. Sitopant was an impor¬tant personality of the village He was also a man of philoso¬phical bent of mind; but had not so far chosen anybodv as his Guru, because he had not so far come across a person who could influence him and make him go into Samadhi at the first sight. He however visited the Ganapati temple as a matter of course, in order to enquire about the visitor, who came from elsewhere; but as Providence willed it, no sooner Shri Sitopant's eyes met those of Dasopant, the former went into Samadhi. He saw something,heavenly in the eyes of Dasopant and he straight walked into the world of untainted joy.
    Sitopant was in that state of joy for about fifteen to twenty minutes. When he awoke from the Samadhi, he saw Shri Dasopant in his front and his joy knew no bounds. He thought to himself that as per his resolve he has come across a saint who really has some supernatural powers and who deserves to he his Guru. He immediately got up and bowed down to Dasopant and requested him to accept him as his disciple. When Dasopant found that Sitopant was an ardent devotee of God, he readily accepted him as his disciple and initiated him.

    When an influential person like Sitopant became the disciple of Dasopant, the whole village of Ambejogai went after him. Sitopant found out a house for his Guru and comfortably housed him there. He furnished the whole house and gave abundant clothes to Shri Dasopant. Then he requested Dasopant to stay at Ambejogai permanently and favour him and the villagers with his company, which would show them the path to salvation. Dasopant readily accepted this good offer and decided to stay at Ambejogai for the rest of his life.

    It is a rule of chemistry that when there is enough satura¬tion in a solution the crystallization starts. Dasopant was upto now not settled in his life. He had spent nearly thirty five years of his life in quest of God, who ultimately gave him a permanent place to stay. He passed through critical times to get ultimately settled at Ambejogai; but during all these years, he was all along pondering over the religious books known to him. This persistent thinking saturated his mind with thoughts and they now started crystallising in book form.

    Like Dnyaneshwar, Dasopant too was proud of the Marathi language. He had good power of expression and had complete faith in the power of the language. Though, out of the forty-eight books that he has written, a few are in the Sanskrit lan¬guage, still a majority of them is in the language of the people viz. Marathi. Like Saint Dnyaneshwar he also was dedicated to the mission of spreading the philosophical and religious thoughts among the masses, who had no knowledge of the Sanskrit lan¬guage.

    When Dasopant started writing the books, he did it as if it was his life's mission. Everyday he would require ink worth two pice. His forty-eight books, written in his own handwriting are preserved by his decendents at Ambejogai from which we see that he had a bold handwriting. In addition to the decendents of Shri Dasopant at Ambejogai, some of his other decendents are staying at a place known as Chandrapur near Nagpur. The de¬cendents at Ambejogai say that the decendents at Chandrapur also must   be   having   some of his   books   written   in   his   own  hand.

    Shrimadbhagwadgeeta is a treasure that has fascinated all Marathi writers and most of them have tried their hand on that sacred book. Saint Dasopant seems to have special fascination for this book, because he has written as many as five books on Bhaga-wadgeeta. In order to have a rough idea of the voluminious nature of work done by Saint Dasopant, it may be mentioned that his book "Geetarnava" alone comprises of as many as one lakh and twentyfive thousand "Ovees". This book was printed in part some years back and it cannot be said whether all his books would at all be printed, because that work is both expen¬sive and tiresome. Under these circumstances it is at-least nece¬ssary to take care to preserve his hand written books in proper order. In Pune, there is an institution known as the Maharashtra Sahitya Parishad, which is working for the uplift of the Marathi language This Parishad is holding every year the gathering of the Marathi speaking people and the writers and poets writing in the Marathi language. There are other institutions in Maharashtra State having similar objectives. It can, therefore, be suggested that all these institutions should join hands and may take, whatever help that might be needed, from the Maharashtra State Government, which is pledged to the uplift of the Marathi speaking people, their language, literature and heritage, to take care of this valuable literature and similar such manuscripts, which are strewn all over the Maharashtra State. The preservation of such manuscripts is not the work which an individual can shoul¬der. If some institutions join hands then only it would be possible to achieve this difficult task.

    There is one curious thing about Saint Dasopant. Apart from writing books on paper, he experimented the writing on cloth. He took a piece of cloth forty feet in length and four feet in width. Then he left a margin of four inches all round and wrote a complete book on that cloth. He wrote on this cloth, in verse form, the book known as "Pancheekaran" which expounds the philosophy of Shri Dasopant. This curious book written on the cloth is recently printed and is available in book form. The idea of writing a book on a piece of cloth is itself very curious. This: piece of cloth is known as Dasopant's "Pasodi". As the original "Pasodi" has now become tattered. A replica of the same is now prepared and persons who show special interest in the book are shown this replica in order to have an idea of the work. Dr. RajendraPrasad, the Ex-President of India, at the time of his visit to Marathwada, was shown this "Pasodi" in original and he expressed his wonder at the ingenious idea of the auther, Shri Dasopant, in thinking of perpetuating his work in this fashion.

    However learned a person may be, still there comes an occa¬sion in his life when he becomes elated and feels proud about nis achievement. Legends, bringing out such incidents, are always told about most of the saints One such legend is being told about Dasopant also. It is told that Dasopant wrote his book Geetar-nava after sitting in a cave known as "Bute Jaradi"; but it has not been possible in identity the exact location of this cave. Dasopant was a staunch devotee of God and he therefore, had all the eight "Siddhis" at his command. After completing his "Geetarnava" which ran to over a lakh of ovees, Dasopant got a little elated and he got puffed up with pride. He thought that his book, which surpassed Dnyaneshwari in bulk, was also much superior to that book in quality. He therefore, wondered why people did not honour his book so much as they honoured Dnya¬neshwari. When he got such wrong notion in his mind, he was ordered by God to dip both the books in the holy waters of river Godawari for test. After doing that, it transpired that Dnyanesh¬wari floated, on the water, while his book Geetarnava went to the bottom. Looking to this decision of the God, Dasopant be¬came humble and stopped competing with Dnyaneshwar. It can¬not be said how far this legend is authentic. Dnyaneshwari was a book which was written some three hundred years before Daso¬pant's book. Time is the real test of the value of a literary work.

    The work, which is easily   forgotten by the people after a short while, is not a work of a high standard,   while a work which is       -remembered even after genarations is a work of unparallel merits. Saint Dasopant was not a man who would not have understood these things and   acknowledged the  superiority of  Dnyaneshwari to his work,   because it had stood  the test of time.   Saint Dasopant does   not seem to be a person   who would  have vied   with Dnyaneshwar on this account.    Hence as in the  case of so many other saints, we have just to listen to this legend and understand its purport in the proper perspective.

    It is a common   experience   that   contemporary saints  have respect for each other.    Of course, in those good old days when means  of  communication   were few,  the  people staying  at  far distances  might   not   have   known   each   other.    In  the  case   of Dasopant, we find   that he knew   some other   saints of his  time and had   good regard for   them.    Saint Eknath,   Nrasinha Saras-wati (whose life has been depicted in Guru Charitra)  and Saras-wati Gangadhar   (disciple of Shri Nrasinha  Saraswati and author of Guru Charitra)   were the  contemporaries of Dasopant and he had high regard for   all of  them    Out of these three  however, saint Dasopant was having very close friendship with saint Eknath. It is narrated in the   life of saint Eknath  that he had come and stayed with saint Dasopant on his way from Banaras to Paithan. It is also stated   that saint   Dasopant paid saint Eknath a return visit   to Paithan.    A number   of legends  about these two friends are current.    Shri Dasopant was himself an ardent devotee of God Datta  and  all  the  aforesaid  three  saints  also  belonged  to the Datta  cult and   hence this  common tie  among  all   these  saints might have been the cause of their mutual friendship.

    Saint Dasopant appears to have sound knowledge of the Sanskrit language as can be seen from his books in that language. He also had equally good command over the Marathi language; but though he was the contemporary of Saint Eknath, there is difference in their language. The language of Eknath is much more simple than that of Dasopant. Due to the voluminous writings of Shri Dasopant and due to his scholarship, which is manifest in his writing, it sometimes becomes difficult for the common man to follow him
    The time of Dasopant was a period when books on philo¬sophy have been written in abundance. Most of the authors of this age have written books expounding some philosophy or the other. It was only during this period that the work of translation of the Puranas into Marathi was started.

    We see that   after Dnyaneshwar   and Namdeo, there   was a sort of a lull in the Marathi   literary world.    The horizon of the Marathi literature appears to have darkened during the course of these three hundred   years.    However with the   rise of the bright stars like saint Eknath and Dasopant,  the sky of Marathi litera¬ture brightened   up again and   since then there  has not been any recession in   the   Marathi   literary world.    Dasopant  was  a saint who had long   experience of life.    He has written his   books not by mere   imagination but by his   personal experience.    Like saint Ramdas,   who was  born later on,  saint  Dasopant   also new the ins and   outs of daily   life and the  ways of the   world.    He has therefore,   written a lot in his books   which is not only good, as i   far as theory goes, but which is also quite useful in daily life and which would help a man to behave well in the worldly life. After contributing substancially to the Marathi literature this great saint had his   Samamdi   at   Ambejogai at   the   age   of sixty five on the Vadya Sixth in the Magha month of Shaka 1537 (1615 A. D.)

    God Datta is also known as Datta Digambar and Saint Dasopant, who was a staunch devotee of god Datta and on whom god Datta showered his favours, was therefore also known as saint Daso Digambar.
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