From Spiritual Note
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Sant Chokhamela Samadhi, Pandharpur, Maharashtra.
|Date of Birth:||14th Century|
|Date of Death:||14th Century|
|Place:||Mangelvedha, Maharashtra State, India|
 Story About Birth
Chokhoba was born in a mahar (lower cast) family. He lived in a place called Mangelvedha near Pandharpur, Maharashtra. There is no documented information available about the birth of Chokhoba but there are many popular stories about Chokhamela’s birth, here is one of them.
Patil from Koregaon got very good crop of mango one year, so he wanted to send a basketful of mangoes to Lord Vithoba’s temple in Pandharpur as a gesture of gratitude. He called a mahar (low cast) couple named Sudam and Savitri, asked them to deliver the mangos and his letter to the temple’s Priest in Pandharpur. On their way to Pandharpur, the couple saw a hungry old man, as they didn’t have anything other than the mangos, they offered a mango to him. The old man tasted it and returned it to the couple saying that it is sour. Since this mango was tasted they kept in a separate basket.
After reaching Pandharpur, the couple gave the basket with mangos and the letter to the temple’s priest. On counting the mangos the priest found that one mango is less. Suddenly the couple remembered the mango which was tasted by the old man on their way to Pandharpur. So they checked the basket, but they found a baby boy in it instead of the mango. They thought that this is a blessing of Lord Vithoba and named the baby as ‘Chokhamela’. In Marathi ‘chokha’ means ‘tasted’.
 Meeting With The Guru
Chokhamela was a devotee of Lord Panduranga. Once in a while Chokha with his wife Soyarabai used to go to Pandharpur on the day of 'Ekadashi' to attend the Puja and celebrations. But because of his birth in the lower cast he was not allowed to enter the temples or attend any celebrations, so he used to stand at a distance and watch.
On one such occasion at Pandharpur, Chokhoba and Soyarabai saw a person in white cloths with a Vina in his hand and doing kirtan (singing the songs about Lord) and lot of people were standing around him. He was none other than the great Sant Namdev. After the kirtan got over, all the people started touching the feet of Sant Namdev to show gratitude. But Chokha and Soyarabai stayed at a distance as they were aware that, due to their low cast people will not allow them to touch the feet of Sant Namdev.
Sant Namdev observed this and asked them to come closer. He told Chokha that God never distinguishes his children due to high caste or low caste, rich or poor, educated or uneducated. It is pure love and devotion that distinguishes a 'Bhakt' (devotee) from an ordinary man. The couple was very happy on hearing this, they bowed before Sant Namdev.
Namdev kept his hand on the Choka's head and chanted the name of Lord Pandurang for 3 times. He told Chokha to continuously chant the name of Lord Panduranga. By doing so he would be able to meet the Lord and bare all sorrows and happiness in the Samsara (worldly life).
After this incident Chokhoba’s life completely changed. Pandurang Bhakti became the goal of his life. Even though he was uneducated, he started to doing Abhanga (hymn) on Lord Panduranga and the experiences in his own life. Chokha and Sayarabai then moved to Pandharpur so that they can stay near the abode of Lord Panduranga.
Chokhamela created numerous abhangs (verses), here are few of them.
जोहार मायबाप जोहार । तुमच्या महाराचा मी महार ॥१॥
बहु भुकेला झालो । तुमच्या उष्ट्यासाठी आलो ॥२॥
बहु केली आस । तुमच्या दासाचा मी दास ॥३॥
चोखा म्हणे पाटी । आणिली तुमच्या उष्ट्यासाठी ॥४॥
अबीर गुलाल उधळीत रंग । नाथा घरी नाचे माझा सखा पांडुरंग ॥१॥
उंबरठ्यासी कैसे शिवू आम्ही जाती हीन । रूप तुझे कैसे पाहू त्यात आम्ही लीन । पायरीशी होऊ दंग गावूनी अभंग ॥२॥
वाळवंटी गावू आम्ही वाळवंटी नाचू । चंद्रभागेच्या पाण्याने अंग अंग न्हाऊ । विठ्ठलाचे नाम घेऊ होउनी निःसंग ॥३॥
आषाढी कार्तिकी भक्तजन येती । पंढरीच्या वाळवंटी संत गोळा होती । चोखा म्हणे नाम घेता भक्त होती दंग ॥४॥
सुखाचें हें नाम
सुखाचें हें नाम आवडीनें गावें । वाचे आळवावें विठोबासी ॥१॥
संसार सुखाचा होईल निर्धार । नामाचा गजर सर्वकाळ ॥२॥
कामक्रोधांचें न चलेचि कांही । आशा मनशा पाहीं दूर होती ॥३॥
आवडी धरोनी वाचें म्हणे हरिहरि । म्हणतसे महारी चोखियाची ॥४॥
 Death And Samadhi Construction
Chokhoba was forced to return to Mangalavedha for the construction of a big wall in the city. While the construction work was going on, the wall collapsed and fell on all the workers. Many people were killed and Sant Chokhamela was one of them. Sant Namdev deeply grieved the death of a great Vaishnava devotee, went to Mangalavedha and brought the mortal remains of Chokhoba and constructed Samadhi in Pandharpur in front of the Lord Panduranga temple.
It is said that, when the accident happened, Lord Pandurang appeared in front of Sant Namdev and asked him to bring the bones of Chokhoba and construct a Samadhi in front of his temple as Chokhoba had a strong desire that his body should be buried in front of the Panduranga temple.
- A book 'Sant Chokhamela' in Marathi language by Shri R R Gosavi
 Compilations of Chokhamela's Work
- Cokhameḷa, Rohini Mokashi-Punekar (2005). On the threshold: songs of Chokhamela. Rowman Altamira. ISBN: 0759108218, 9780759108219
 Other Information
- A movie 'Hi Wat Pandharichi' (1950) was made on the life of Sant Chokhamela in Marathi language with P L Deshpande in lead role
 External Links
- Sant chokhamela Abhang collection on www.khapre.in
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