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Author Topic: SAINT EKNATH By Dr. S. D. Parchure M. A,, Ph. D. (Continued front August 197  (Read 3455 times)

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Offline JR

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Every saint has a halo around him and the miracles performed by him help to create this halo round him. Saint Eknath is also not free from these miracles. A number of miracles are alleged to have been performed by him. They are quite interesting and hence the life of Eknath will not be complete without them.
The sixth day of the dark half of the month of Falgoon was the day when Eknath's Guru Shri Janardan Swami took Samadhi. Hence this day was quite important to Shri Eknath and it used to be observed at Eknath's house very meticulously.   Of course some extra  expenditure   used to  be incurred  on that  day.   Once Shri Uddhav, who has already been referred to before, could not procure all the things required for the day with the money he had. Hence he   borrowed   rupees seven  hundred from a money lender in Paithan.     Somehow   that  loan   remained   to  be   repaid  for a long time and it so happened that the money lender himself came to Shri Eknath and told him that the outstanding loan should be paid immediately.    Eknath therefore decided not to eat a morsel of food  upto the time the loan  would not be repaid.    He therefore remained without food and slept on a hungry stomach; but in the night it so happened that the money lender was awakened in the dead of the night  by Uddhav and the money  was repaid with  interest.   In the morning  when Eknath started reading his usual "Pothi"  ( Sacred religious book ) he found in it the promisary note passed  by him duly  receipted.   Very soon the money lender also came to Eknath and   expressed   his   regret   for   having pressed for the  recovery  of his money and also stated that Shri Uddhav came to his house by night to repay the debt. After listening to this account of the money lender, Shri Eknath followed the whole affair and knew that god had satisfied the pronote posing himself as Uddhav. He however felt very sorry that god had to take that much trouble for him. He was overwhelmed with feelings and he prayed to God and begged his pardon for the troubles given to him. Similar episodes of the god taking some human form and repaying the amount of the pronote are narrated in the lives of saint Damaji and saint Narsi Mehta of Gujrat.

Because of the Sadavarta" already referred to, at the home of Eknath, he was expected to feed any one who came to his house. All the brahmins in Paithan had already become jealous of Eknath; because his advice was listened to by all and their importance had lessoned. So they started sending people to the house of Eknath even at the odd hours of night; but Eknath was not a man who would be upset by such small things. He faced every visitor who came to his house and after welcoming them all he fed them to their hearts' content.

This behaviour of Eknath further upset the brahmins and they were waiting for an opportunity to take a revenge on him and they got it soon.   It was- the Shraddha day of Eknath's father and he had called the brahmins of Paithan for dinner; but before se-ruing them, he served the food to some non-hindus. The brahmins, who had gone to the Godavari for bath, returned back and saw that before them the "Yavnas" are fed, thus showing disrespect for them. Eknath however told them that no disrespect was meant by him as the soul is the same in all human beings and  god is pleased when any soul gets the food. The brahmins however would not agree and ultimately agreed to take   the food if the forefathers would partake physically.   Shri Eknath agreed to that and requested the forefathers to attend and partake of the food in person. On Eknath's request three forefathers appeared in person and then the brahmins had to take the meals as per their  stipulation.   It appears that the tradition of the brahmins of Paithan  was only that of persecution. It might be recalled here that saint Dnyaneshwar and his brothers and sister, who had come to Paithan before two centuries, were presecuted similarly by the brahmins of Paithan and had to show them a miracle on the bank of the Godawari river.

One Shri Krishnadas, who was a poet and who was the contemporary of Shri Eknath, was writing a book on "Yuddha Kand". The writing   of the book continued for a long time and Krishna, das felt that his  end had come near.    He therefore felt that he would not be able to complete his work. Hence he ran to Eknath and stating all the circumstances, requested Eknath to complete his work.   Eknath however,  enquired  with him as to what  was the time required  by him to complete the work.    On being told that eleven days would be  required for the purpose, Shri Eknath told Krishnadas that only he would be completing his work and death cannot overcome him during that time. According to the guarantee given by Shri Eknath, Krishnadas completed his work within that period and breathed his last after that period in a peaceful mann¬er.    It   was thought that because of Shri Eknath's blessings,  the life   of Krishnadas was extended by eleven days.

Mukteshwar the son of Eknath's  daughter, was dumb from his birth; but later on his speech was restored to him by the grace of Shri Eknath and he became a prominent Marathi author. Gavba, who was altogher an uneducated person, staying at the house of Eknath,   later on became a poet and completed the "Bhavarth Ramayan" which Shri Eknath could not  complete during his life time. It is believed that because of the blessings of Eknath Maha-raj, this Gavba got the inspiration  and he became a poet. It is said that Shri Krishnadayarnava got inspiration to write his book "Harivarada" only from Shri Eknath.
One rich merchant from Karnataka wanted to present two beautiful idols of Pandurang and Rukmini to Shri Eknath. It was however decided that the idol of Pandurang would be first brought to Paithan and then it  would be taken to Karnataka where the idol   of Rukmini would be retained. The marriage of the two idols would be performed in Karnataka and the husband and wife would be brought to Paithan.    Accordingly all things were arranged  with pomp and show  and the  rich  merchant  of  Karnataka made all the arrangements.    After the marriage was performed in Karnataka, the two idols were brought in procession from Karnataka to Paithan and they were to be installed permanently in Paithan, but before that Eknath decided to go to Pandharpur.   He accordingly  went to  Pandharpur, took the  "Darshan"  of Pandurang and performed Keertan in the temple before the idol.   After his return to Paithan, he asked the stone idol of the bull to eat the grass, as per the request of the gathering and later on when butter was placed before the idol of Pandurang as "Naivadya"  he requested Pandurang to eat the same and to the  surprise of all, the whole butter was consumed by the stone idol brought from Karnatak.   In the life of Namdeo also, there is the story of the stone idol having consumed the milk,   which was offered to him as a "Naivadya".   This incident in Eknath's life also appears to be parallel to that.

One person of the untouchable caste once called Shri Eknath at his house for dinner.    In those days of strong orthodoxy, it was a great sin even to touch an untouchable    Then if some brahmin goes to the house of an untouchable, he would get an exemplary punishment of being boycotted.   So when the brahmins in Paithan came to know that Shri Eknath has agreed to go to the house of the  untouchable  for dinner,  they   were  hilarious about catching Eknath red handed so that he could be humiliated in any manner they liked.    Hence on the appointed day they kept a strict watch over Eknath's house.   They divided them into two groups and one of them kept a watch over the house of' the untouchable, while the other group kept a watch over  Eknath's house.     Very soon the persons in the locality of the untouchables came in Paithan proper and said, " Eknath is in the Maharwada " (the locality where the untouchables were staying). They therefore wanted to storm the house of Shri Eknath.    Hence they   went to his house and lo ! Shri Ek-nath was in his own house  doing his usual  jobs.    They therefore again ran to the Maharwada and to their utter surprise they found Eknath Maharaj also there    They could not believe in their own eyes and again ran to Shri Eknath's house. Thus they were running helter skelter from Eknath's house to the Maharwada and back; but all their efforts for catching Shri Eknath   were completely foiled, for they could not really decide as to where Shri Eknath was present. In this predicament the brahmins felt ashamed and said that Shri Eknath was not an ordinary person and that he was the gods favourite.

Going to Kashi (Benaras) was supposed to be a great religious achievement in those days    Everybody therefore tried to go to   Kashi in his   old age and   complete that  pilgrimage.   Once a gentleman wanted to go for  that pilgrimage.    He had a "Paris'' (one stone which converts iron into pure gold by touch) with him and in those good old days,   when there was   no security he was faced with the difficulty of keeping it in safe custody.    The travel from Maharashtra to Kashi was quite hazardous.    The roads were infested with thieves and often times the Muhomedans used to attack the pilgrims and   convert them.    Thus unrest and insecurity prevailed in India for about three  centuries from 1500 A, D. to 1800 A. D.    After the coming of the British, they destroyed all the mischievous elements like the Thugs and Pendharies and established peace in India.    It is said that  this peace and security, which the British gave to the Indians,   was one of the reasons   why the opposition to the British rule subsided very soon and the people thought that the British rule has come to India for their good.

This gentleman had heard that Eknath was an upright and honest man who would not play flase with him. He therefore came to Eknath and requested him to keep the Paris with him up-to the time he returns from the pilgrimage. Eknath took that stone and kept it in the place where the idols of the god were kept and quite forgot about it; because he had not the sligtest idea of using the stone and converting iron into gold.   After a lapse of nearly eight months the gentleman  returned from his pilgrimage and straight went to Shri Eknath.   On seeing him Shri Eknath welcomed ,him and enquired how he completed the pilgrimage.    He also enquired whether he had any difficulties on his way.   Shri   Eknath was talking about everything else except the Paris; because he had forgotten completely about it, On seeing this, the gentleman started doubting the   fidality  of Shri Eknath     He thought that Eknath wants to retain the stone and does not want to give it back to him.    He thought it is no use keeping quiet at this juncture.   He therefore himself opened the topic and  requested Shri Eknath to give back his Paris.   When the person made the mention of Paris Eknath remembered about it and went in the room where he had placed it.    After a diligent search, he could not trace it; because it appeared that along with the stale flowers, used for God's worship, the stone also might have been thrown in the Godavari river. When Eknath could not produce the stone, the gentleman became restless.

The doubt in his mind about Shri Eknath's honesty was confirmed and he thought that the reputation he had heard about Eknath was not correct. He was a rogue and wanted to usurp the stone. He got a little agitated; but Eknath clamed him and said "Do not be afraid. I will find out and return the stone to you before the evening". After this Eknath further requested the gentelman to stay with him for lunch and suggested that in the meanwhile they might go to the Godavari for a bath. Though annoyed the gentleman became quite helpless before the calm and composed talk of Shri Eknath and he went to the river for bath. When they came to the river, Shri Eknath dived into the water and from the riverbed he brought out a handful of stones and requested the gentelman to pick up his stone from amongest them. He was however dismayed and thought that he was being fooled by Eknath, as he thought that such handful of stones can never all be Paris; but he was careful enough to bring peices of iron with him and on trying them he found to his utter surprise that all of them were Paris. He was picking up one and leaving it, thinking that it was not his stone. So he went on fidgeting, not being able to make up his mind. Seeing this, Shri Eknath said, "Kindly select  your stone early. So that we can finish our bath and go home. I have yet to worship the god and therefore we might be late for lunch." On this request, the gentleman had no other go but to select his stone and no sooner he picked up his stone, Shri Eknath threw the rest of them back in the river. Similar incident is also reported in the life of saint Namdeo.

The greedy gentleman was stunned at this queer behaviour of Shri Eknath. He thought of retaining a few more stones out of those brought out by Shri Eknath; but Shri Eknath was a man whose greed, anger love and such other passions had vanished. In terms of the Bhagavadgita he had become a Sthitapradna i, e. a person whose intellect had become steady. The state of mind of such a person has been described in Bhagawatgita as to whom the earth, the stone and gold are all alike. He had therefore no interest in the Paris. The saints like Eknath, who are above all worldly things are calm and composed. They are satisfied within themselves and no outside agency can ruffle them or disturb their mental peace.
( To be continued )


In the article "Kekavali of Moropant" in May *974 issue, please read ''rolling" instead of "rotting" on page 24 in verse No. 10, line 4 Editor-
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