Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Purandara Dasa

Purandara Dasa was born to a pawnbroker named Varadappa Nayaka. Varadappa Nayaka and his wife Lakshmi Bai had been childless for several years, and finally, after praying to Lord Srinivasa of Tirupati, they became proud parents of a child whom they called Srinivasa. The family are supposed to have hailed from Pandarapur in modern day Maharashtra but Purandara Dasa lived in Hampi during the latter part of his life.

Srinivasa Nayaka grew up and entered his father's business. However, unlike his father, he was a miser, so much so that it is said that he even baulked at spending money on treatment for his father's illness. His wife Saraswathi bai was the opposite: always wishing to contribute to charity much to the displeasure of her husband.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Bhagwan Swaminarayan

Life in Brief

At 20, the Lord was in Ramanand Swami’s Ashram serving as a humble servant. He was named Sahajanand when Ramanand Swami initiated Him. The Lord became the sole spiritual master when Ramanand Swami appointed Him as the Guru of his ashram. A month later, Ramanand Swami passed away. On the 14th day of the funeral rites, in the village of Faneni, the Lord introduced the new Swaminarayan Mantra. News of this Mantra spread far and wide. And its spiritual power was felt everywhere. Sahajanand Swami now became known as Bhagwan Swaminarayan. Anyone who chanted the Mantra enjoyed samadhi - the ultimate spiritual experience. Those who heard it, wrote it or thought of it experienced samadhi. Others who saw Bhagwan Swaminarayan, heard the sound of His sandals, or discussed His philosophy saw a divine light and beheld the visions of the great incarnations of God - Rama, Krishna and Shiva. Since the trance was an experience of His grace, it was called krupa samadhi.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Sant Shreedhar Swami Maharaj

Shreedhar Swami Maharaj

Some events in the life of Shreedhar Swami Maharaj

Shree Swami Sridhar Maharaj was born on 7-12-1908 in Lad Chincholly,near Gulbarga in Karnataka. Every moment of his life was dedicated in the service of the divine.

Before attaining MahaSamadhi on 19-4-1973 at the Varadpur Ashram, Sagar, Karnataka where he established the “Dharma Dwaja”, he inspired the masses and reinforced the principles of “Sanatan Dharma”.

In 1948, Sreedhar Swami came to Rishikesh after eight months of “Tapas” at Uttarkashi. Swami Sivananda, founder of Divine Life Society, Rishikesh immediately recognized him by his divine radiance and welcomed him and offered Pranams to the great saint. Swami Sivanada told his disciples “ I walked a lot, but I have never seen “Tejasvi” & “Tapasvi” of the order of Sreedhar Swami Maharaj. “Akhand Brahmanishta” and “Purna Gyani”such is the nature of Sreedhar Swami. ”

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Sant Janabai

Janabai was born in a Maharashtra village to a family of the lowest, sudra, caste. When she was a young child, her mother died and her father (shortly before his own death) took her to the city of Pandharpur, where she became a servant in the household of Varkari devotees of Vitthal, an incarnation of Vishnu. A son of the family, Namdeo, became one of the chief Varkari poets, writing in vernacular Marathi and teaching equality of all regardless of caste or gender before God. Janabai cared for the young Namdeo and remained his servant, his dasi, throughout her life. Tradition says that they died on the same day.

Janabai composed over 340 devotional songs, abhangas; they survived by being included in collections of Namdev's own works. Some of Janabai's songs tell of the lives of her fellow Varkari and of the various incarnations of Vishnu, but the most distinctive are those that tell of her personal relationship with the god Vitthal. Janabai seldom speaks of erotic desire for the god (as some of the other bhakta poets do); she more often sees Vitthal as her mother (a view not uncommon among the Varkaris), but also as her fellow-serving maid, and ultimately herself.

Link: Web Page

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Sant Gadge Maharaj

Shri Sant Gadge Baba Maharaj

Sant Gadge Baba Maharaj was a great human being of the 19th century and known for his social services. A holy saint who worked for helpless and poor.

On 23rd of February 1876, Debuji Zhingraji Janorkar (initial name of Gadge Baba) was born in a washerman's family of small village Shengaon of district Amravati, Maharashtra, India. Debuji was the only child of Zingraji and Sakhubai. After the death of Zingraji he and his mother went to live with his maternal uncle. Within a few years he became an excellent farmer, herdsman, singer and swimmer.

He was married to Kuntabai and had four children. A lover of animals, he opposed animal sacrifice since childhood. Even when his friends, relatives and the people of his caste forced him to sacrifice animals, he preferred to face their anger rather than killing the animals.

He did not have any property of his own and worked as a wage labor at a farm in his village. One day he was at a field and was trying to keep the birds away from grains. A sadhu who was passing by, asked if Gadge baba is the owner of the grains? This question turned Baba for realization.

After this comment of the sadhu, Gadge Baba realized the value of community-sharing and practiced it for the rest of his life. Community-service became the base of his teachings of Baba.

His practiced and preached the following:
Give food to the hungry
Give shelter to the needy
Protect the environment
As a social worker, Gadge Baba traveled constantly from one place to another. His trademark broom was always in his hand. Whenever Gadge Baba saw any garbage or unclean areas, he would voluntarily start cleaning. Sometimes people joined him in cleaning and sometimes they paid him for his service. He never used the money for himself but collected it and after few years constructed educational institutes, dharmasalas, hospitals and animal shelters.

He conducted his discourses in the form of "Kirtans" (a form of discourse which includes devotional songs by Saints). In his teachings, He would emphasis on topics like service to humanity, hygiene, compassion. During his kirtans, he would educate people against blind faiths and rituals. Many times he used Dohas (couplets of a song) by Saint Kabir in his discourses.

On 20th December 1956, this karma yogi left his mortal body. But even today his followers abide by his teachings, all his institutions are functioning well.

Following are some ways in which people and governments have tried to honour and recognize his contributions.

  • The Government of Maharashtra has started Sant Gadgebaba Gram Swachata Abhiyan a movement to encourage and promote the cleanliness in the rural parts of Maharashtra.
  • Amaravati University in Maharashtra was named after his as Sant Gadge Baba University.
  • The Government of India issued a Stamp in memory of Sant Gadge Baba on 20th Dec 1998 to mark 42nd Death Anniversary.

External Links: 

Shri Sant Maniram Baba

It is very difficult to write anything about the Great Saint Maniram Baba. “Yatra wacha nivartante buddhen manasa saha” One's mind, intelligence and the power of speech is impossible to reach to the stage where ‘Atmadnyani’ saints could be described.

Why all great saints would visit Maniram Baba’s place is a difficult to understand for we ordinary lay men. The great saint Shri Gajanan Maharaj of Shegaon, siddha purush of Jodmoha saint Khateshwar Maharaj and so many other saints visited Baggi to meet Maniram Maharaj. Baggi is the place in Chandur Railway Taluka in Amravati district of Maharashtra State. Sant Maniram Baba entered samadhi in the year 1915, however, nothing is known about his birth and the place. It was guessed by the people that he was Kanya Kubja Brahmin of Uttar Pradesh. Why he chose Baggi to be his place for living is unknown. He entered Baggi and asked for a room for living. One Ramji was enough fortunate that he could provide accommodation to Sant Maniram Maharaj. Ramji became ardent devotee of maharaj and he then became saint himself after the anugrah (reward) from maharaj.

After coming to Baggi he worked with a rich man as a servant keeping his cows. However, soon the rich man came to know that Maniram was not an ordinary man.

Once so happened that somebody reported to rich man that Maniram do not care for the cows and let them graze; he sits below a tree reading a holy book. Rich man got annoyed and caught Maniram red handed reading the book. He thrown the book in to nearby stream full of water.
Maniram rushed and brought the book from the river. Surprizingly there was not even a drop of water attached to book and the book was not wet at all. This opened the eyes of rich man and in place of employer, he became the devotee of maharaj.

Maniram would stay in the river water for days to gather without food. Many insects and fishes would literally eat his flesh but he was not aware. He look at the Sun from morning till evening without taking away eye from the Sun. Many people have found him many times in Khand Yoga, i.e. he looked to be divided into pieces. Many such yoga ordeals are described in the biography.
The present author has confirmed these fact from his own Guru who was contemporary.

People saw him at many places at the same time. He was a miraculous saint. He cured many people from the diseases like leprosy, he solved the family problems of many people. People saw him reviving the dead animals like dog.

Link: Web Page []

Sant Gulabrao Maharaj

Sant Gulabrao Maharaj
was known as Pradnyachakshu Madhuradwaitacharya Gulabrao Maharaj. He was called Pradnyachakshu because he became blind of both the eyes at the age of about 9 months; still he was master of Vedanta philosophy and many occult and physical sciences. ‘Padnya’ means intelligence and eyes are called “chakshu” in Sanskrit language. He had many divine powers which included the ‘intellectual eyesight’. His mind could read and grasp any book in the world in any language that he would take in hand and decide to learn. His mind did not need the body-organ like ‘eye’ to see the world.

“Madhuradwait” was the new school of thought introduced by him. The people well versed in Vedanta know that ‘adwaita’ (non-dualism) philosophy of Vedanta do not accept any name and form visible or non-visible that could be different from God (soul, Atma or Brahma). Vedanta very explicitly proclaims, “When everything has become one-soul, where is any other thing to smell ? who will see whom ? who will listen to whom ? who will talk to whom ? where is any other thing to think about ? who will know whom ? How to know him who knows everything ?” (Asy sarva atmaivabhuta, tat ken kam jighnet ? , tat ken kam pashyet ?.. ……… brihadaranyaka). “What exists is only one thing i.e. Brahma and what we see and experience as world is illusionary” is the teachings of “adwaita”. Madhura Bhakti is the devotional love for lord Krishna. In Vedanta all the three words viz. devotee, devotion and deity are not different from each other where as in Madhura Bhakti one has to be a deity and other a devotee.

Adwaita do not recognize Bhakti at all. Probably the great saint who possessed the eternal knowledge since childhood by dint of providence due to his past karma, had advocated Madhurabhakti for the “after-attaining-knowledge” stage to his disciple.

His full name was Gulab Gundoji Mohod. He was born on July 6, 1881 in a small village named Madhan in Amravati district in Maharashtra and died merely at the age of 34 i.e. in the year 1915. Though he had lost his eyesight at the early age, he wrote about 133 books on various subjects containing more than 6000 pages, 130 commentaries and about 25,000 stanza in poetry. His mother died in the year 1885 when he was four years old. He then stayed at the house of his maternal grand mother at the place known as Loni Takli for about 6 years. In this period people came to know about his extra ordinary intelligence and his “brain-sight” though he had lost his eye-sight. There was a community well in front of the house where he stayed and the women from the village would come to well for water. Small Gulab would call them all by their names, and the women would be wonderstruck and would think as to how the blind boy came to know about their individual names ? He was found many times in deep samadhi stage in the night. Initially his grand mother and others were frightened to see Gulabrao sitting in Yoga position with is respiration stopped completely. However, some elderly and wise men understood the conditions of Gulabrao and asked his relatives to refrain from disturbing him during samadhi. He very much liked the holy songs(Bhajans), holy verses (Slokas) and reading the occult books. He would ask his friends to read the books and would repeat the contents immediately as was heard by him. He had extra ordinary memory. He knew all the Vedas and Shastras at the age of ten years.

He was married to Mankarnika, daughter of Ganaji Bhuyar a farmer in nearby village in the year 1896. He started writing essays and poetry on the religious philosophy since 1897. i.e. from his age of sixteen. Since then he would visit the nearby cities, villages and towns and meet the people to discuss on the various topics of religion. This is incredible but true that in the year 1901 the great saint of 12th century Sant Dnyneshwar Maharaj met Gulabrao and accepted him as his disciple.

Sant Gulabrao Maharaj would call himself to be a daughter of Sant Dnyneshwara and wife of Lord Krishna. He married to lord Krishna in the year 1905. He used to put on the dress and the ornaments like woman. He would lay kumkum ( a red spot) on his forehead and put on managalsutra ( a golden chain with black beads) around his neck which are usually worn by the Hindu married women.

In the year 1902 when he was 21, he wrote the commentary on the theories of Darwin and Spencer. He had written books on various subjects like dhnyan, yoga and bhakti and written commentaries on ancient treatises. He wrote on the “Manas Ayurveda”, i.e. psychological part in the Ayurveda. He had given valuable guidelines to those who want to attain the salvation and gain the eternal knowledge. It is beyond one’s imagination that a blind man could write on the subjects like Yoga, Upanishads and Brahmasutras and many occult sciences which are difficult subjects to understand even by the highly educated and intelligent persons. When he found time to study these sciences ? How he received old treatises and from whom ? Who explained him the secret meanings of the Sanskrit verses ? Many questions like these arise in the mind when one reads his biography and the books written by him. His style of writing is of his own and he has put forth his own views absolutely keeping the Vedic discipline. He has boldly revealed many secrets of the Hindu religious sciences which are not generally made public by the saints.

Though belonged to Sudra class (Kunabi Caste) most of his disciples were Brahmin Pundits. He was openly telling people that he had no right to study the Vedas according to old traditions, but he knew Vedas without studying them and since he knew the “Atmadhnyan” (knowledge of self-realization) he was not bound by many old rules. He used to respect Vedas, Brahmins and the guidance received from great wealth of old Indian religious treatises.

He was straight forward and would defeat many Pundits and Intelligent people in the debate on the Shastras (sciences).

It is generally found in India that the great persons who really had lived only for the cause of welfare of mankind were truly recognized by the people after their death only. Samartha Satguru Padnychakshu Madhuradwaitacharya Saint Gulabrao Maharaj is becoming more and more popular after his Samadhi on 20th September 1915. His many disciples attained the knowledge of self-realization and are known in the public as the great saints. His main disciple, Baba Maharaj Pundit (death 1964) who wrote many books was recognized as a great intellectual, and saint. His commentary on “Bhavartha Deepika” written by Dnyaneshwara Maharaj is published by Geeta Press, Gorakhpur.

The great saints like Gulabrao Maharaj guide the people even after their death by volumes of knowledge written by them.

Link: Web Page []

Tukdoji Maharaj

Tukdoji Maharaj was a noble self realised saint. His early life was full of Sadhana both spiritual and yogic exercises. He spent much of his early life in the deep jungles of Ramtek, Salburdi, Ramdhighi and Gondoda.

Even though he was formally not much educated, his metaphysical spirit and potentiality was of very high order. His devotional songs permeates full spirit of devotion and moral values. His Khanjedi, a traditonal musical instruments was unique and his style of playing it, was unparalled. He was bachelor, however, his life was dedicated for the services of the masses irrespective of caste, class, creed or religion.

He was all the while absorbed in spiritual pursuits. He critically observed the nature of the people and channelised them for the cause of their upliftment. He had self realised vision and through out his life, taught the lessons for the purity of hearts and malice for none.
In early life, he used to sing the devotional songs, however, with the passage of time, he impressed the masses that God is not only in Temples, Churches or Masjids, he is everywhere. His powers have no limits. He advised his followers to follow the path of self realisation. He firmly opposed the priesthood and propagated the eternal values and universal truth.

Tukdoji stressed much on the congregational prayer wherein all the people irrespective of their religion, could participate. His prayer system is really unique and matchless in the world. He claimed that his congregational prayer system could be bound to bind the masses in the chain of brotherhood and love.

Rashtrasant Tukdoji used to work in person with the villagers in road construction, village-sanitation and other activities. His writings both prose and poetry are full of devotion and the spirit of humanity. His nobility was of very high order. His selfless devotion and dedication are .bound to teach the lessons for the generations to come. Tukdoji is a shining star in the tradition of the saints of our great India.

Link:, Web Page