Friday, 17 September 2010

September 17, 2010

Sant Kanhopatra

There was a dassi by name Shyama in the town of Mangalvedha which is about fourteen miles from Pandharpur. Shyama had a beautiful daughter by name Kanhopatra. She was so beautiful that there was no match to her beauty in this world. While she was young she learned the art of singing and dancing. Shyama, asked her daughter to come with her to see the king so that he would give some money and ornaments to her. Kanhopatra then said that she would not come to the kings durbar. She also said that she would only marry someone who is more beautiful than her.

One day a group of pilgrims who were going to Pandhari were passing by singing the praise of god. When Kanhopatra saw them she made a namskar to them and asked them where they were going. The pilgrims then replied to her that they were going to Pandhari to see lord Vitthal. She then asked them to describe his glory to which they said that even lord Brahma and others were unable to describe his glory and that his beauty exceeds that of Lakshmi a billion fold. Kanhopatra then asked them if she goes as a suppliant to the lord will he accept her. The saints then told her that he will definitely accept her and she then went home and told her mother that she is going to Pandhari and left with them taking a vina in her hand. She joined the pilgrims in singing the praise of lord and reached Pandhari. She had the darshan of Vitthal and decided to be in Pandhari. She would always remain in the great door of the temple and sing his praise.

One man who had come from Bedar saw her and went and told the king about her and her beauty. On hearing this, the Mohamedian king sent his guards to go get Kanhopatra from the temple of Pandharpur. The guards arrived at the temple gates and told Kanhopatra the king’s orders and that if she failed to listen to them, they would have to take her forcefully. She then told them that she would visit Vitthal for one last time and come back with them to the king. She went in and prayed to Vitthal and told him that if he abandons her now the whole world will blame him for this. As she pleaded with Vitthal, he removed her soul and united it with him. He took Kanhopatra in his lap and she died on his lap. Vitthal then asked the priest to burry her corpse at the southern gate of the temple. As soon as they buried her a tarati tree sprang up immediately in that place and everyone were surprised. We can till date see this tree in Vitthal Rukmani temple in Pandharpur. Meanwhile the king’s guards who were sitting in the main gate of the temple asked the priest what happened to Kanhopatra. They told them that she now got united with Vitthal and is no more. The guards then asked them to show her corpse to which the priest told them that it has changed in to a tree. The guards dint believe what they said and arrested the priest and took him to king. The priest then offered coconut and bukka from the temple to the king as Prasad and told him what happened. When the king took the coconut he saw a hair in the coconut and asked the priest how this came in the coconut offered to god. The priest was afraid and confused how it had come. He then decided to tell the king that it was Vitthal’s hair. The king dint believe this and asked him if it was true. The priest then told him to come to Pandhari and see it for himself and also gave it in writing. The king then decided to come to Pandharpur and visit the god to check if what they described about him was true. He entered the temple paid his respects to the god and went to god’s bed chamber and looked at the god. He then saw god’s brilliant crown, beautiful curly hair, his lotus eyes, his crocodile ear rings and the kaustubh around his neck. The moment the king saw this he became repentant and told the priest that he had seen the lord just the way they had described him. He then prostrated before the god and embraced his feet and said that Kanhopatra’s fortune is supreme in getting united with Vitthal.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

September 15, 2010

Sant Sakhubai

The supreme sadhana to attain bhagavan is through prema bhakti. ”What is the use of money, tapas, education without pure prema” says the bakti sampraday. So to reach god and attain divine bliss one should leave all the worldly possessions and indulge in pure Prema bhakti which will surely lead to Krishna darshan. A person who earnestly cries for god with real thirst is surely a blessed soul.

There was a small village near Pandharpur called” Sinchirunipuram” and there lived a rich man named Gangadar Rao who was a great devotee of lord Vitthal. He was a honest, truthful and straightforward man involved in numerous bhagavat sevas. His wife kamala Bai was also a great bhakta. The couples were childless for many years. One night lord Vitthal blessed them in a dream, saying that soon they would get a beautiful girl child. Both of them were happy with this and they praised lord Vitthal and chanted many hymns on him. Soon kamala Bai gave birth to a girl child and she was named Sakhubai. At a very young age Sakhubai started singing bajans and at times due to divine ecstasy she used to dance and shed tears. Everyone was amazed on seeing her bhakti, beauty and on hearing her melodious voice.

One day Sakhubai was playing with her friends; building small sandcastles. At that time Vitthal disguised as an old man came over. He wore anklets in his legs, thulasi malas around his neck and carried a chipla and thambura; and came there singing ‘panduranga vitthala pandarinatha vitthala’. He came near to Sakhubai and walked over the sandcastles she had built; completely destroying them and stood as if he did nothing. Sakhubai got angry and shouted,”Swami, I spent a lot of time in building a beautiful sand house, why did you walk over it. I will not let you go till you answer me.”The old man answered,”My child, on singing lords name I was engrossed and was lost in it. I didn’t notice it and walked over it by mistake. I will build you a better house than this. ” Sakhubai seriously said,”you talk sweetly and politely but you have done a great mistake. Just imagine, If you have walked over us instead of these small sandcastles what would have happened to us. Vitthal replied mischievously,”I apologize. Why are you not leaving me for such a small mistake? ” Sakhubai replied,”this may be a small thing for you but it is a marvelous thing for me.” Vitthal then said,”ok, I surrender, you punish me.” Sakhubai immediately said,”You should handover your thambura to me.” Vitthal pretended as if he was not willing to give the thambura. Sakhubai begged him and finally got hold of it .Her face blossomed like a lotus after getting the thambura; she didn’t know to play it however. Vitthal on seeing this taught Sakhubai tuning and playing the thambura. Vitthal blessed her, raising his arms,”My child, you have to render songs in praise of the lord daily with this”. He initiated her with the Ashtakshara Japam and asked her to chant repeatedly and said she would get dharsan of lord Vitthal for whom she longed so much. Vitthal narrated the Gajendra moksha to make her realize the essence of Ashtakshari. Sakhubai looked at the old man so gracefully and returned the thambura to him and asked him to forgive her. Then Sakhubai eagerly asked,”where are you going and when will you come back?” Vitthal happily said,”My child, I am going to Pandharpur and I will come back in five days.”At first her eyes sparkled hearing the name of Pandharpur and then became sad that he was leaving. Vitthal then said,”don’t worry child, I will come back and tell you about Pandharpur” saying so he went away. Days went by, Sakhubai waited anxiously for the old man, but he didn’t return. As years passed her thirst for Vitthal began to grow more and more.

She by then attained the age of marriage, but she only wanted to marry Vitthal. She was not attached to anything and she had lost her heart to Vitthal and didn’t want to marry anyone else. But finally Sakhubai was forced to marry Krishna Sharma. He was not a good soul &was very arrogant and miserly .She however served her husband with great love and respect. Whenever possible, she would sing, dance, meditate on Vitthal and shed tears and would be in a state of ecstasy. Without knowing about Sakhubai’s prema bhakti towards Vitthal, Krishna Sharma thought that she had become insane. Her mother-in-law also tortured Sakhubai by beating her and giving her a lot of household chores. But in spite of all this; while milking the cow, cleaning the house, cooking and moping the house she would always be in thinking and chanting about Vitthal.

One day she went to the pond to fetch water thinking all the while of Vitthal. At that time a group of bhaktas came that way. She was delighted to see them & asked them,”Where are you going?”They said,”we are going to Pandharpur to see the lotus-feet of our Vitthal, Who are you?” On hearing the very mention of Pandharpur her heart leapt out in great happiness and tears rolled out of her eyes. Sakhubai asked,”Pandharpur, My name is Sakhubai, shall I come along with you?. I too want to touch the lotus feet of Vitthal on ekadasi day with you sadus.” All were surprised on Sakhubai’s bhakti. They said,”Surely there is no problem taking you with us. But you should get permission from your husband.”That very moment Sakhubai with great eagerness ran to the house to seek permission from her husband. But her husband was unwilling to send her. He said,”Sakhubai, be patient, it is not possible to allow you to go to Pandharpur all of a sudden. We shall go together on an ekadasi day. But Sakhubai again asked,”Today I met great bhaktas, going along with them and serving our beautiful Vitthal would be a great pleasure. Please let’s both go along. If you cannot come, at least let me go.”But Krishna Sharma was so stubborn and he didn’t let her go. Her heart was broken and she burst out into tears and pleaded him. Krishna Sharma’s face became red with anger and he began to beat her and dragged her to the next room and tied her to a pillar. Her in-laws too slapped her.

Sakhubai with extreme pain and distress prayed to Vitthal,”Prabu, pandarinatha, prananatha, I don’t know anything about sastra or about worldly matters. I am just bound in the tides of samsara and swirling in it. O lord,”show mercy on me and take me to your lotus feet.”My eyes want to see you alone. Just then there was a bright radiance in the room, a lady came in and she totally resembled Sakhubai & told her that she was Maya Sakhubai. Now Sakhubai couldn’t believe her eyes. She explained her situation to Maya Sakhubai. Maya Sakhubai  said, ”I have come here to help you have  darshan  of Vitthal .He will welcome you with his beautiful eyes, sweet smiling face, his lotus feet and both his hands will be ready to embrace you; this will  surely make you blissful. ”Sakhubai was thrilled, but out of concern said,”If I leave you alone here you will have to face lot of difficulties.”Maya Sakhubai said,”Don’t worry nobody can identify me, I will manage everything. You start immediately and enjoy the darshan of our divine Vitthal.”

Everything seemed like a dream, she could hardly believe it, but her eyes sparkled and with great joy she ran towards Pandharpur. As she kept nearing Pandhari the joyous singing of,”vitthala vitthala, jai jai vitthala, panduranga vitthala” was heard by her.

On entering Pandhari she ran straight into the temple and she finally had darshan of Vitthal and her happiness knew no bounds. She was stunned and screamed with extreme happiness .She drank the nectar of his beauty. She then ran towards him and touched his face, embraced him and her soul rested on his lotus feet and was totally consumed and she became one with him. All were surprised and shocked on her intense bhakti and a few bhaktas who witnessed all the happenings came back to the village and narrated the unbelievable divine incident to Krishna Sharma; he immediately went home to check on the Sakhubai who he thought was there all along, but found that she had vanished now. Krishna Sharma was at first surprised to find her missing, but he soon realized this divine leela of lord Vitthoba, and cried at his great loss & misfortune of not having known about his wife’s greatness.     Thus Sakhubai who was completely immersed in gopi bava got relief from samsara as she totally desired & happily united with the lord.
September 15, 2010

Sant Sena Nhavi

There was a barber named Sena Nhavi. He was very pious and god loving. He used to get up early in the morning, have his bath, perform his poojas and only then look at his occupation and other domestic affairs. Sena was also the king’s barber and would have to go to the palace whenever the king called him. One day as Sena was performing his pooja in his house, the king’s messenger came looking for Sena. Sena was deep in his prayers and so his wife told the king’s messenger that he was not at home. Sena’s neighbor who was also a barber on seeing this went and complained to the king, that Sena was at home performing his prayers and had lied to him that he was not at home. He also offered to do the job himself. The Mohamedian king got angry on listening to this and sent the guards to arrest Sena. Knowing what was in the king’s mind Vitthal immediately took the form of Sena and came to the palace. The moment the king saw him, his anger disappeared. When Sena touched him the king was filled with amazement. Sena then shaved the king and shampooed his head. The king felt very happy and told him that he is the best barber in town and should remain with him in the palace. Sena then rubbed the fragrance oil on the king. As Sena was rubbing the oil, the king saw the reflection of Shri Krishna in the fragrance oil. The king was amazed on seeing this. He then saw up and it was Sena rubbing his head and not Shri Krishna with four hands as he saw in the bowl of oil. The king lost all consciousness and was absorbed in the form of god that he was seeing in the oil bowl. The men in the kings assembly started laughing at the king looking at his stage and told him that it was already afternoon and that he should go and have his bath. The king then asked Sena to be there and not to go home. The king also told him that if he leaves him he would die. Sena then told the king that he would return quickly. The king then gave a handful of gold coins to Sena. Shri Krishna then took the coins, placed it in the bag in Sena’s house and disappeared.

The king after finishing his bath came and asked his servants to go get Sena at once. He was in a completely different state and could not eat, nor dress up. He said that if Sena doesn’t come now he would loose his life. The royal servants immediately went to Sena’s house and asked him to come to the palace immediately. Not knowing anything that had happened, Sena asked them if the king was very angry with him as it was very late. Taking his bag, Sena immediately came to the palace. On seeing Sena entering the palace the king got up and greeted Sena and every one in the kings assembly laughed at this. The king then told Sena to show him the form with four hands that he had shown to him that morning. Hearing this Sena was full of astonishment. He then ordered his servants to bring the bowl of oil and saw Sena’s reflection in it, but was disappointed that he could not see the form he had seen in the morning. Sena then knew what had happened and his eyes were filled with tears and asked god why he had to do this lowly job of a barber to save him. He also told the king that it was lord Shri Krishna whom he had seen that morning. The king then rushed up to Sena and held him by his feet and told him that he had been able to see Lord Shri Krishna due to his association with him. Sena then saw the coins that god had put in his bag and distributed them to the Brahmans. The Mohamedian king then became a staunch follower of Shri Krishna. Sena then took leave from the king and decided to go in the service of god.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

September 14, 2010

Sant Damaji Pant

Damaji Panth worked for a Mohamedian king in Bedar. He was in charge of the revenue collection in Mangalvedha and its neighboring towns. As he was faithful to the king he had also given the store houses in his holding. Damaji was very pious and would offer food to yatris and others everyday before taking his meal. He was a great baktha of Vitthal. Suddenly there was a famine and many people and animals died with out food. One day a Brahman came to Mangalvedha from Pandhari looking for some food and he happened to pass by Damaji’s house. As soon as Damaji saw him, he did a namaskar to the Brahman and asked him to have his bath and come home for food. The Brahman came back after his bath and Damaji seated him by his side and all kinds of food were served. On seeing this, the Brahman began to weep and tears started flowing from his eyes. On seeing this, Damaji wondered and asked him what had happened. The Brahman then told Damaji that he and his family have been starving for the last four days and that he was enjoying the food here without giving any to his wife and children. On listening to this, Damaji told him not to worry and that he would provide him with food for a year. Hearing this, the Brahman had his food and then Damaji called his servants and asked them to take two loads of grain to Pandhari and deliver it in his house. The grains were loaded in a bullock cart and they started going towards Pandhari. On seeing the grains the famine struck people in Pandhari immediately pounced on the bullock cart, tore the bags and looted the grains. The Brahman then started crying and the others asked him how he got so many grains in this famine. He then told him of what happened in Mangalvedha and about Damaji Panth. All the Brahmans then hastened and came to Damaji’s house. On seeing the Brahmans Damaji did a namaskar to them and asked them what he could do for them. They then told him that a severe famine has struck them and that they heard about him giving grains to the Brahman and have therefore come to meet him. On listening to them he opened the store house of the king and asked them to take as much grains they needed to their house. The Brahmans then blessed Damaji and took all the grains from the store house. On listening to this all people from Pandhari came to Damaji asking for grains and he gave them all whatever grains that were left in the store house.

The people of Pandhari were all praise for Damaji and held him in high esteem. A Mazumdar (Assistant Tax Collector for Damaji) then wrote a letter to the king of Bedar saying that Damaji had distributed the king’s grains to the poor in Pandharpur. As soon as the king learnt this he was full of rage asked how he did this with out taking his permission and sent his soldiers to demand money from Damaji for the grains. The king also told the soldiers to arrest him if he fails to pay the money. The king’s soldiers then came to Mangalvedha and showed Damaji the royal mandate. Damaji then asked them to arrest him and take him to Bedar. He requested them that on the way he would like to visit the Vitthal Rukmani temple in Pandharpur and the soldiers obliged. On reaching Pandharpur he bathed in the Chandrabhaga and went to the temple, prostrated and told the god that this may be the last time he visit’s him as the king may give him death sentence for his deed. Vitthal on hearing him took the form of Damaji’s servant and wrote a letter in Damaji’s handwriting to the king and went to Bedar before Damaji could reach there. He calculated the value of the grain and took the money with him. He took the bag of money and put the king’s seal in it and told the palace door keeper that he has come from Mangalvedha and would like to meet the king. The king then called him inside and Vitthal saluted the king. He then told the king that he is the servant of Damaji and he gave him the letter written by Damaji which said that he had sold the grains for a huge profit and that he has sent the money through his servant Vithonaik and asked him to send him back with a receipt. The king then felt bad that he had unnecessarily suspected Damaji by listening to the Mazumdar. Vithonaik then told that king that his village was very far and he had to leave early to reach there in time and asked for the receipt. The king then gave a receipt to Damaji and also ordered the Mazumdar to be put in jail. The king then gave garments and ornaments for Damaji to be sent through Vithonaik. Vithonaik took these and left it in Damaji’s house and disappeared.

The king’s messengers in the meanwhile were then bringing Damaji to the court. The king on hearing that Damaji is coming, came and embraced him and told him that he was sorry that he had listened to the Mazumdar and ordered his arrest. He also told him that his servant Vithonaik had given him all the money and that he had sent gifts for him through his servant. Damaji was astonished and said that he had no servant by name Vithonaik and that he had not sent anyone with the money. The king then showed him the letter written in Damaji’s handwriting and also the money that was given by his servant. Damaji immediately understood that it was Lord Vitthal who had come to his rescue. He told that the king was blessed to have a darshan of Vitthal. He then told him that he would like to spend the rest of his life in the service of Vitthal and would like to take leave from the king’s service. Damaji then spent the rest of his life in Pandharpur singing the praise of Lord Vitthal.

Saturday, 11 September 2010

September 11, 2010

Sant Narahari Sonar

Narahari was born into a family of goldsmiths. He was a pious man .He was doing his family business with utmost sincerity, devotion and honesty. He was an ardent devotee of lord shiva “MALLIKA ARJUNA”whose temple is situated on the mahadwar of Vitthal Rukmani temple in Pandharpur. He firmly held lord Shiva in his heart and chanted NAMASHIVAYA panchaksharam. He was a non-compromising staunch saivite and even though he lived in Pandharpur and though his house was just a stonesthrow away from the Vitthal temple yet he never once visited Vitthal’s temple as he wanted to have nothing to do with lord Vitthal or even his devotees. During festival season at Vitthal’s shrine Narahari would move away from pandarpur to the neighboring villages as the festivities did not interest him and the crowds of devotees bothered him. Everyone in the village knew of this peculiar quality of his.

However one day a devotee of Vitthal who was a trader by profession and was from a different town visited Narahari. Narahari was busy making gold ornaments. The trader told Narahari that he had come to see him with a special jewel order. Narahari asked him, what he wanted. The trader said, ”Swami, on hearing your extraordinary skills I have come here to make an exclusive one of a kind waist band. ”Narahari said, ”surely I will make one for you.”The trader replied, ”you are indeed a lucky person and do you know to whom you will be making this ornament. It is for our great Vitthal. ”On hearing this Narahari became furious. The trader did not know much about Narahari’s resolve, not to have anything to do with Vitthal. Again he said to Narahari, ”Swami, you are going to make this for our Vitthal. It is indeed your great fortune and it is very appropriate as there is no such skilled person in this village to do this job. Kindly accept my request. ”Narahari shouted, ”I don’t know anything about Vitthal and have no intention of entering the temple for any reason whatsoever.”

The trader persisted as ”I have been childless for a long period. We prayed to Vitthal and we got all our prayers answered and now we want to show our gratitude and keep up our vow by offering this special jewel. Finally the trader pleaded with him and half-heartedly and reluctantly Narahari accepted to do a waist band for Vitthal. Even then, Narahari said, ”Take measurement of Vitthal’s waist and I will make the jewel. I will not come to the temple myself.”The trader was surprised to hear this and he agreed to bring the measurements. The trader then went to the temple and took the measurement of Vitthal’s waistline and gave it to Narahari. He also gave a few valuable diamonds and various other precious stones for embedding on the jewel. Narahari started making the waistband and finished it in a short period of time. The jewellery came out so beautiful and dazzling with excellent workmanship and the trader was pleased with it.

On an auspicious day the trader took the jewel to the temple and made elaborate pooja arrangements and offered it to Vitthal. But unfortunately the waistband didn’t fit the lord and it was tight. Disappointed he took it back to Narahari and told him to make it longer. Narahari added an extra link to the jewel to increase its length a bit. Again the trader went to the temple and tried the jewel, but this time surprisingly the waistband was too loose.At first the trader was confused and the next moment he thought that he had committed some mistake causing unhappiness to the lord and tears rolled over his eyes. Then he pulled himself up together and came to a final conclusion. He went back to Narahari and said, ”The waistband does not fit Vitthal. It is very surprising and confusing. Will you please come to the temple and take measurements yourself?”

Narahari got angry and shouted, ”I am a staunch saivaite. I will never come to the temple and look at your Vitthal. I have done my job perfectly. Please go away. ”But the trader was adamant and told him that he would blindfold him and take him to the temple and to this Narahari agreed. Both of them went to the temple.

The blindfolded Narahari took a thread to measure Vitthal’s waist and began his work. But while touching Vitthal’s body he felt Vitthal wearing tigerskin as his garment. This made him curious. Then he held his hands and felt the deer, axe, trishul, agni, drum and all of Shiva’s paraphernalia and this made him very suspicious. He even felt rudraksha mala around  his neck, cresent and Ganges on his head ,his third eye on his forehead  and snakes over his body. Having felt all this his suspicion made him so anxious and he wanted to have darshan of Vitthal as he was almost sure of seeing lord Shiva. The very next moment he removed his blindfold with great expectancy but he was utterly disappointed to see lord Vishnu instead of lord Shiva. At first he felt as if he had made a grave mistake. Immediately he closed his eyes with his hands, but he felt lord Shiva’s presence in front of him. He then understood this leela of god and he prostrated in front of lord Vitthal.

Narahari immediately bursted out crying , Oh Vitthala, ”please forgive me, I have done a great mistake all my life due to my ignorance. I didn’t realize Hari and Shiva are the same. I will have to forsake moksha for my fanatic attitude and the sin I have committed. ”Then a voice was heard from the sanctum sanctorum” this leela was performed to show to all through you that there is absolutely no difference between Vishnu and Shiva who are both aspects of the same Parabhramam”. Narahari was excited with what he heard and the realization that he had and with great love offered the waistband to the lord and it fitted perfectly. From then on, Narahari became devoted to Vitthal whom he realized was Hari &  Shiva  in one form. In one of his abangs on Vitthal he says “it is immaterial to me whether this deity is Shiva or Vishnu, all I seek is your unconditional love and grace oh Vitthal”.

Gurumaharaj Sri Sri Anna says that one should have exclusive love towards ones ishta deiva but at the same time he should never entertain any type of hatred towards other forms of god and must respect all his forms and more importantly respect the devotees of all his forms.

Friday, 10 September 2010

September 10, 2010

Bhaktha Goma Bai

There was an old lady called Goma Bai who used to make her living by making food at home and selling it to people in her locality. One day she happened to attend a discourse on Pandhari Mahathmiyam (the greatness of Pandharpur) and decided to go on a yatra to Pandhari. She started her journey towards Pandharpur and reached the banks of Chandrabhaga one morning after walking for several days. Chandrabhaga was flooded then and one had to cross the river only on a boat. On this side of the river was a dense forest and she had been standing on the banks of Chandrabhaga since morning trying to get across the river to visit the Vitthal Rukmani Temple. There was a boatman who was taking people on his boat from here to the other side of the river for a fee. As the old lady did not have any money with her, she pleaded him to take her to the other side of the river for free. The boatman however refused to take her with out any money and told her that if he does this for one person, others will also ask him to take them for free. The boat went up and down several times and she was asking the boatman and the others who travelled in the boat to take her to the other side of the river, but none of them came forward to help her. She then thought that the boatman would take her on his last trip as she was very old and would not leave her alone in the forest. The last trip was at 8pm and the boatman left her and went to Pandharpur. The next day was ekadasi and Gomabai was sitting under the tree thinking about Vitthal. It was very dark by now and foxes started howling. Gomabai was now afraid and prayed to Vitthal asking him to somehow take her to Pandhari and said that it would be better to die in Pandhari after seeing Vitthal rather than dying in the forest. As she was praying the boatman came back calling Gomabai and asked her to board the boat. Gomabai was happy and came on board. She then asked him why he had come now, after saying no to her several time during the day. The boatman then told her that as she was old and there was a dense forest nearby, he was worried if something might happen to her and so he came back to take her to Pandhari. She then told him that she would sit outside the temple tomorrow and beg for alarms and get him the money required to pay him for the trip. The boatman then dropped her in Pandhari and she came to the temple the next morning. She had a darshan of Vitthal and then came out and sat down to beg for alarms. As soon as she had collected the amount required to pay the boatman she came to the banks of Chandrabhaga in search of him. When the boatman saw Gomabai he asked her how she had come here. Gomabai then told him that it was he who had dropped her here yesterday night and as promised she has now has got the money to be given to him. The boatman then told her that he did not bring her yesterday in his boat. Gomabai immediately started crying and knew that it was Pandurangan who had come yesterday to bring her to the other side of the river. She then went back to the temple again and thanked Vitthal.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

September 01, 2010

Sant Rohidas

Rohidas was a cobbler by profession. Though he was a cobbler by profession he would always be chanting and thinking about Vitthal. His heart was always filled with love for Vitthal. He would go to Pandhari every ekadasi and on other days he would sit in his shop and take care of his business. It so happened that the king who was ruling that city had to go on a war. The army started preparing for the war and had to acquire shoes for the soldiers. The king then asked each cobbler in the city to make 1000 shoes with in a week and send it to the palace. Every one had to agree as it was the king’s order. The other cobblers were happy and even employed a few others to work part time and started making the shoes. It was not practically possible for Rohidas to make 1000 shoes in the given time as he would always get lost in his thoughts about god by singing his praise even while working. Usually he would make only around 10 shoes in a month which was just enough for him to run his family. He tried to employ some people to complete this job but could not find any. Six days had passed by and Rohidas had not even finished cutting all the leather required for making 1000 shoes. If he doesn’t deliver the shoes by tomorrow Rohidas will be punished by the king. Rohidas did not realize all that and continued with his bhajans. That evening a young guy came to Rohidas saying that he was told by other cobblers that Rohidas was looking for a person to work for him. Rohidas was happy to hear this and asked him to come inside his shop. He then told the guy that lets try to do whatever we can tonight even if we can not complete 1000. The young guy asked him not to worry and said that he would easily complete the job. Rohidas then told him that he would do the cutting and asked the guy to do the stitching. The guy looked at the thambura in the shop and asked him if he would sing. Rohidas then said that if he starts singing he would get involved in it and forget himself and that it would a hindrance to their work. The guy insisted that Rohidas sings and said that he would take care of making the shoes. Hearing this Rohidas was happy and started singing the praise of god. When Rohidas finished the 1st song he saw that the guy had finished a few shoes by then. Rohidas was amazed by the speed with which this guy was making shoes. He then asked him if he could help him with the cutting. The guy said that all he wanted was to listen to Rohidas songs and that he would definitely finish stitching all 1000 shoes if he continues with his singing. Rohidas then asked him about his native and the guy said that he was from Pandhari and that his name was Rangan. He also said that he has seen him in Pandhari during ekadasi. Rohidas then continued his singing and Rangan continued making the shoes. Rohidas would sing a few songs and then turn to Rangan and ask if he was Pandurangan? Rangan would then smile at him and answer him that Rohidas sees everyone as Pandurangan and that is why he feels this way when he see him too. Rohidas was singing almost till dawn and Rangan had by then completed all 1000 shoes and had tied them in bundles of 100’s. Rohidas then praised Rangan for finishing the job. Rangan then said that he would brush his teeth and come. Rohidas then told him that as he had been awake the whole night, he would get some oil for him so that he could have an oil bath. He also said that he could have food with him after the bath and that he would give Rangan whatever money the king gives to him. Rangan then left the shop. Rohidas was waiting for the king’s men to come for the shoes and he gave it to them. The king’s men were happy with the shoes and gave Rohidas a lot of money. Rohidas then locked the shop and came to the river in search of Rangan but he was not there. He then enquired the people there about Rangan and understood that no one had seen him this morning. He then came back to the shop and was looking for him in the bazaar and other places but could not find him anywhere. By noon Rohidas understood that it was Vitthal who had come as Rangan. As soon as he understood this, he fainted and fell down. His wife then came in search of him and asked him what had happened. He then told his wife that Vitthal had come to do this inferior job of a cobbler for him and that he had kept some oil and dress for him and had left him without taking any of this from him. They then went to Pandhari with the oil, dresses and the money given by the king. They performed abhishekam (Sacred Bathing) for Vitthal, dressed him with new clothes and offered the money given by the king to him.