Sant Haridas

Saint Haridas was one of the very close disciples of Shri Krishna Chaithanya Mahaprabhu. His enemies got complex over of his fame.  Hence they sent a prostitue to Haridas and asked her to seduce the great saint.  They thought that it would be an easier way to tarnish the divine image of this ‘Sadhu’.

But Haridas explained the prostitute about the ugly nature of her life though she was beautiful externally.  Upon realising the facts, she started crying and pleaded Haridas to forgive her sins.   Saint Haridas instantly accepted her as a disciple without any hesitation and initiated her with the ‘Maha Manthra’.  Haridas also told her that  ‘Bhagawan Naama’ will purify even the greatest sinners.  After getting the realization from Haridas, that female went to solitude and started chanting the ‘Maha Manthra’. She was doing the chanting till her life end.  Finally she attained the lotus feet of Lord Krishna.


After a few years, Haridas went to  Puri, as per the instructions of Maha Prabhu and lived there in a simple hut.  Prabhu too lived in Puri at that time and he used to visit Haridas quite often.  As usual in Puri also Santh Haridas chanted the Mahamanthra in every breath of him.  When he gave up his body, Prabhu took “Biksha’ in the market of Puri and collected money for the ‘Vijaya Yathra’ of his disciple.  When other disciples wanted to bear the holy body of Haridas on their shoulders with great eager, Prabhu didn’t give them that opportunity and he alone carried the holy body of the very great Haridas to the ‘Rudra Bhoomi’.  Prabhu’s love for Haridas is immeasurable.


This is one of the classic stories in the life histories of Indian Saints.  A Guru will go to any extent for his pet disciple.

Shri Ranganna Bagavathar

Contributed by Sama Charana Das

The Epic says, “Kalow Kalow Bhavishyanthi Narayana Parayanaha:” As all of us are aware Yoga, Yaaga, Vratha, Theertha Mahima and even Kshethra Mahima will not have their full efficiency and holy vibrations in the “Kali Yuga”.  It is tough to practice any ritual and even if they are practiced they would have some discrepancies due to the evil effects of ‘Kali Purusha’. That is why “Srimath Bhagawatha Puranam” says, “Kali is Thosha Nidhi”.  There is only one sure way in this Yuga to attain the lotus feet of Almighty is, chanting his Holy Name and nothing else would work.

Now, kindly read the first line.  The Almighty sends ‘Bhagawathas’ quite often to this earth to spread the ‘Nama Sankirtana Vaibhavam’.  It happens frequently.  Here, we must be careful in assessing who is a real Bhagawatha!  Because the ‘Kali Purusha’ is trying to corrupt even the people who are doing Sankirtan and a few of them has converted ‘Hari Bhajan’ as their profession.  Santh Thukaram Maharaj says, “There is no other way in this Kali yuga other than Chanting Bhagawan Naama and this will make anybody to attain the Lotus feet of the Almighty.  But the same Maharaj, in another place says strongly that, “Whoever sells Bhagawan Naama will certainly go to the Narakam”.  So we must be prudent in identifying the real Bhagawathas and ‘commercial’ Bhagawathas.  Undoubtedly even the commercial Bhagawathas would too become purified in due course by the power the Bhagawan Naama.  That is a different story.

Here, we are going to see about a Great Bhagawatha who was born on 7th December, 1928 in a small village ‘Kallur’ which is located in Tirunelveli District.  His name is Ranga Subramanyam.  Before Moghul invasion in Srirangam, this family was serving Shri Ranganatha Swamy Temple.  But after the invasion, they migrated back to their home village at Tirunelveli.  But they have never forgotten Lord Ranganatha.  That is why, in this family alone, we could find a peculiar name, i.e. ‘Ranga Subramanyam’ in every third generation. The nomenclature ‘Subramanyam’ indicates the Lord at Thiruchendur.

Shri Ranga Subramanyam’s father too was a great Bhagawatha. His name is Shri Putarjuna Bhagawatha.  Shri Putarjuna was very rich right from his child hood. He went to Rangoon when he was very young and ran a Jewellery Mart.  But the first world war put a drastic full stop to his business and he lost everything in the evil effects of the war.  With great struggle, he came back to our mother land.  He got married to a girl called Parvatha Varthinini and begot three children.  Our Ranga Subramanyam is the second son of that family. Alas! when he was a small kid, his mother passed away.  That was the turning point in the life of Shri Putarjuna Bhagawatha and he got ‘Virakthi’ in all worldly affairs.  He handed over his kids to his Sister at Madurai and started pure ‘Bhagawatha Dharma’ life at late 20s. After that, he lived by Unchuvarthi, Hari Kaatha Kalakshebam etc.

Shri Ranga Subramanya Bhagawathar was growing in his Aunt’s place at Madurai. Somehow, his mind was always tied up with spirituality and at the age of 12, he started “Shri Ram Bhajan Mandali” at Madurai.  God bestowed a fabulous voice to Shri Ranga Subramanyam and even senior Bhagawathas participated in his Bhajan with great enthusiasm.  Shri Ranga Subramanyam’s mind disliked commercial benefits through Bhajan.  Quite often he used to visit Prisons and Mental Hospitals with his Bhajan companions and conducted Nama Sankirtanam for those in Prison and Mental Hospitals.  He explained the reason also.  “Only Poorva Karmas made them to enter in to Prison and the same made lot of people insane.  If the Bhagawan Nama is forcibly poured in their ears, they too get purified soon”.  That was the understanding of Shri Ranga Subramanya Bhagawathar at that young age.

God would have watched his pure intentions and he showed him Pudukottai Brahma Sri Gopalakrishna Bhagawathar.  Shri Ranga Subramanyam became a disciple of Shri Gopalakrishna Bhagawathar and took ‘Nama Japam’ from him.  His intensity in spiritualism started growing in a rapid way, after getting the ‘Guru Kadaksham’. At that time, for professional reasons, Shri Ranganna came to Mylapore, Chennai with his wife and three kids.  His poverty never disturbed his spirituality and even at that stage he never utilized Bhajans to promote his financial abilities.  It is easy to write but hard to practice.  Who will understand or believe all these things in this commercial world?  But Lord Vithal knows everything and HE was Ranganna’s protector.

In Chennai, he became very popular in the ‘Nama Sankirtana world’ in a very short span.  At that time, Shri Ranga Subramanyam became ‘Ranganna Bhagawathar’ and he started conducting Bhajans throughout India.

Here we will have to mention a very important thing.  Though Shri Ranganna conducted Bhajans everywhere, he never utilized the ‘Sambhavanai’ for his personal use despite his family commitments.  He used to take only the conveyance and food expenses from the ‘Sambhavanai’ and the balance would go to the ‘Sri Narasimha Jayanthi Uthsavam’ conducted by his Guru Shri Gopalakrishna Bhagawathar.  He considered this as a part of his ‘Guru Kainkaryam’.  Shri Ranganna later on started giving his earnings to a few other Bhajan Mutts also.  Till his end he never gave up this character.


During 1970, Shri Ranganna went to the “Maha Kshethra Pandhari” with Brahma Sri Narayana Sasthrigal.  Though Shri Ranganna was popular in singing ‘Abhangs’ (Keerthan on Shri Panduranga Vittal) before this visit, the real darshan of Pandaripuram and Shri Panduranga brought flood of changes in his life.  He became a staunch Bhaktha of Shri Vithal. Subsequently he learnt lots of New Abhangs and started singing them everywhere.  (Even now, lot of Bhagawathas are singing the Abhangs tuned by Shri Ranganna).

Shri Ranganna was blessed to get the blessings of Swami Abedananda, Shri Purushothama Goswami, Shri Sanjeevi Bhagawathar (Holy son of Shri Gopalakrishna Bhagawathar), Shri Narayana Sasthrigal, Shri Chinthamani Bhagawathar, Shri Vembu Bhagawathar and lot more saints.  He has also had the blessings of the Saints who lived in the previous centuries through his holy dreams.  But he had never revealed any of his spiritual experiences with anybody other than one of his close soul-mates.

Before leaving this mundane world, Ranganna’s Guru Shri Gopalakrishna Bhagawathar handed over Shri Ranganna to a great Mahathma. At that time, Shri Ranganna was conducting Bhajans with a sangam and it was known as “Shri Gopalakrishna Bhajan Mandali”.

This is another turning point in Shri Ranganna’s life. The Mahathma very shortly showered all his blessings on Shri Ranganna and that enhanced the ‘Bhakthi’ of Shri Ranganna in leaps and bounds. The Bhajan world has started speaking that “Ranganna is Abhangam and Abhangam is Ranganna’. Besides, he also composed more than 500 Naamavalis and to put the truth frankly, most of the present days’ Bhagawathas are singing lot of Naamavalis written and composed by Ranganna, without knowing the origin. Because Shri Ranganna was never after money, fame etc.

On a few occasions, he had accepted the ‘Titles’ given by some Bhagawathas, that too with the intention of not offending their invitation. Otherwise, he never even printed a ‘Visiting Card’ throughout his life and never carried any Title in front of his name.  Simplicity, Honesty, Guru Bhakthi, Shri Vittal Bhakthi are the ‘Tharak Manthra’ of Shri Ranganna.

Thousands and thousand of Bhajan programs!! Chanting the Bhagawan Namam at free times!!  Dhyanam on Shri Vittal….. Wow! his life is inexplicable and highly spirutual!!!

We have already mentioned that Shri Ranganna’s ancestors had close connections with authority in Shri Ranganatha Swamy Temple at Srirangam. That ‘link’ would have brought back  him to Srirangam during his final span of his holy life.

On 10th February 2011, at the age of 82, Shri Ranganna experienced a slight discomfort. In the evening, his family members understood the situation and started “Abhang Bhajan”. He was listening to it and waved his hands to encourage the Bhajan. Around 7.30 PM, the ‘Mahathma’ came on the phone and said “Rama Krishna Hari! Vasudeva Hari! Panduranga Hari” in the ears of Shri Ranganna. After that, Shri Ranganna saw the picture of his Guru Shri Gopalakrishna Bhagawathar and Shri Panduranga Vittal. Then he started watching the holy picture of Shri Namperumal and Shri Thaayar of Srirangam. His relatives started chanting the Maha Manthra “Ram Krishna Hari” in high pitch. With a smile on his face, Shri Ranganna left this world and attained Vaikuntam. This was strongly vouched by the Mahathma also. (The Mahathma I am referring here is not interested in worldly fame and that is why I am avoiding his holy name in this article).

Right from child hood to his final day, Shri Ranganna lived a holy life and his beloved Shri Vittal gave him ‘Aanayasa Mukthi’. Jai Jai Ramkrishna Hari! Jai Jai Panduranga Hari!

Shri Santhopa Pawar

Contributed by Sama Charana Das

Shri Santhopa Pawar was an ardent ‘Bhaktha’ of Shri Vitthal at Pandharpur. Thousands of people admired Shri Pawar and accepted him as their Spiritual Master. Shri Santhopa guided them in ‘Bhagawatha Dharmam’ and preached to chant the name of Lord Vitthal always. He also told his disciples that only the ‘Name of Vitthal’ would solve all their domestic and spiritual problems. He also assured that chanting would make them to attain the ‘Sama Charan’ of Shri Panduranga, which is the only one permanent solace in this mundane world.

All the disciples accepted his sincere preaching and started chanting. Gradually their devotion became reinforced and they fell in the eternal love with the Great Lord of Universe, Shri Panduranga.

Once, all the disciples wanted to have darshan of Shri Vitthal along with their Guru Shri Santhopa Pawar. When they expressed their desire to Shri Pawar, he happily accepted and all of them started walking towards Pandharpur, which is ‘Booloka Vaikuntam’. Pawar’s presence enhanced the enthusiasm of all the disciples and they chanted the name of Shri Rakumayi Pathi in their high pitch.

Alas! When they were nearing Pandharpur, heavy rain started and it was seldom possible for all, even to walk against the down pouring. But Shri Pawar geared them up and asked them to trust the Omni-Potent Shri Vitthal, whole-heartedly. They did so and reached the banks of Chandrabagha. On those days, there was no bridge to cross the river and only small boats were used for this purpose. But due to the extra ordinary flood in Chandrabagha, no ‘boat wala’ was willing to cross the roaring flood.

All the disciples of Shri Pawar became so upset and some of them got perturbed due to that situation. But Pawar Maharaj did not give up his faith on the ‘Kamala Nayana’ Panduranga. He sang ‘Abhangs’ with great devotion and his eyes too started pouring another rain, i.e. tears came out of love and faith.

Suddenly a very big bridge emerged from the center the river and it was covering both the sides of the holy river Chandrabagha. At that time, a divine voice (Asareeri) told Shri Pawar to walk on the bridge along with all the devotees. Shri Pawar alone heard the divine voice. It gave him immense bliss. He advised all the ‘Bhakthas’ to walk on that bridge to reach the other side of the river. All the devotees screamed with joy on seeing the new bridge. They thought it was submerged under the river and Shri Pawar’s spiritual power brought it out. They happily walked on the Bridge, chanting Vitthal Vitthal Vitthal. Finally, Shri Pawar too crossed the river, using the ‘bridge’ with great puzzle in his mind. After reaching the other bank of Chandrabagha, he eagerly turned back and saw the bridge. Aha! He started crying again like a small kid. Yes…. it was really not a bridge and it was Shri Vitthal who took a big size Koorma (Tortoise) Avathar and helped Pawar and his disciples to cross the bridge. Upon realizing this fact, Shri Pawar could not control himself and he fell on the ground. He got submerged in the abundant mercy of Lord Vitthal.

Then slowly he regained normalcy. Due to Shri Vitthal’s mercy ‘Varuna’ also stoped his play. All the Bhakthas became very happy and they went to Mahadwar with Shri Pawar and started ‘Naama Garjan’. Finally they entered the Shrine and had the wonderful darshan of Lord Vitthal, who is standing there for the past 28 ‘Chathur Yugas’. It is needless to mention, rather impossible to express the feelings of Shri Pawar. He cried and cried and cried. Shri Vitthal smiled and smiled and still smiling.

Dear Bhakthas! Go to Pandharpur and see the Lord who allowed all his bhakthas to walk on him. No other God in this world could do this.

Jagadguru Bodhendra Swamigal

Jagadguru Bodhendra Swamigal was born in Kancheepuram. Kancheepuram is one of the 7 moksha shethrams in India and the only one in South India.

Jagadguru Bodhendra Swamigal
Jagadguru Bodhendra Swamigal

There were a couple in Kancheepuram by name Kesava Pandurangan and Suguna. They did not have a kid for quiet some time. They prayed to their guru, Vishwadikendhra Saraswathi, who was then the pontiff of Kanchi mutt. He blessed them that they would have a child very soon and they returned happily. They then had a male child born to them shortly. They named him Purushothaman. Purushothaman was a very bright kid. They performed his upananyanam (sacred thread ceremony) and took him to their guru Vishwadikendhra Saraswathi. Their guru enquired who the kid was and they replied that it was the Guru’s kid. The guru then asked Kesava Pandurangan if he would give the kid to the mutt if he really meant that he was his kid. Kesavan then told his Guru that he would check with his wife and let him know. He then stepped back to speak to his wife. They knew that if they give him to the mutt he would become a sanyasi and that their lineage can not continue as he was their only son. Suguna was now crying and when her husband asked her the reason, she said that she was crying for the only reason that he had told their guru that he would check with her and then give their son. She then said that she and the kid belonged to him and that he belonged to his guru, and there was no need to ask her for permission. Kesava Pandurangan then happily gave Purushothaman to Vishwadikendhra Saraswathi. The guru arranged for a teacher who would teach Purushothaman all the Vedas and sastras. Purushothaman studied along with another boy called Gyanasakaran. He finished all his studies when he was only 18. The only thing left to be learned was Bhramavidhyai and he wanted to learn this from his Guru and Vishwadikendrar had also promised that he would teach him Bhramavidhyai personally. However Vishwadikendrar had gone on a yatra and was now in Kasi. Purushothaman and Gyanasakaran had to go by walk from Kanchi to Kasi. One day they started their journey to Kasi to meet their guru. Gyanasakaran was good in astrology and knew that he would die on the way to Kasi. As they were close friends he told Purushothaman that if something happens to either one of them the other should perform their death ceremony and then give up his life in the Ganges so that both of them can be together even after death. They had only covered half the distance and Gyanasekaran suddenly fell ill and passed away. After performing his death ceremony Purushothaman continued his journey to Kasi. On reaching Kasi he met his guru prostrated to him and told him what had happened to them on their way. He then asked his guru’s permission to give up his life in the Ganges. The guru felt bad as he had planned to make Purushothaman as the next pontiff of the mutt. He then told Purushothaman that if he has do what he promised to his friend and also do what he wanted him to do there was a solution and asked him if he would agree to it. Purushothaman immediately replied that he would agree to his Guru’s words. The Guru then said that getting in to Sanyasa ashram was like having a new birth. This way he would keep up the promise made to his friend and also keep him happy by becoming the next pontiff of the mutt. Vishwadikendrar then gave him sanyasa and named him as Bagavannama Bodhendrar. He then stayed in Kasi and learnt everything from his guru. His guru then asked him to go back to south India and do Nama pracharam and show the power of Bagavan Nama.

There was a great saint called Lakshmidharar in Puri, who had written a book called Bagavannama kowmudhi which was a nama siddhantha grantham. Vishwadikendrar had also instructed Bodhendrar to collect this book on his way back and wanted him to master that that book too. He then came to Puri had darshan of Lord Jagannath and then went to Lakshmidharar’s house. Lakshmidharar had passed away and his son Jagannatha Pandit was there. It was evening and the house was locked from inside. Bodhendrar not wanting to disturb them sat down outside the house and started meditating.

A few days earlier an event had happened there. A couple from south India had come on a yatra to Kasi. One night when they were staying in that village the husband woke up the next morning and found that his wife was missing. He searched for her the next morning and could not find her. He then told the villagers about this and they said that some Muslims would come in the night and kidnap any women they find and take them to be with them as their mistress. The husband felt very bad hearing this but dint want to stop his Kasi yatra because of this.

He completed his yatra and was returning back through the same village that day. He was performing his rituals in the river and a Muslim lady seeing him came running to him and started crying to him. He then realised that it was his wife. When he asked her what had happened, she told him that there was no time now and that they have to escape now and promised to tell him what happened later. They then ran through the forest and came to a safer place. The lady then told him that they had kidnapped her in the night by tying her mouth with a cloth and ravished her. She then asked her husband to save her from them and asked him to have her as maid if not as a wife. The husband then told her that if the sastras allowed this he would take her. They then decided to come to see Jaganatha Pandit to check with him on what the Dharma sastras say.

The couple reached Jaganatha Pandit’s house the same night to ask him what the Dharma Sastras say. Bodhendrar was meditating outside the house and they knocked the door to wake up Jaganatha Pandit. When he opened the door they told him their story and feel on his feet asking him to give them a solution. Hearing this he asked her to say Rama Rama Rama and after that they could live together. As he said this his mother who was seated inside asked him why he degraded the power of Rama Nama by asking them to say it 3 times and told him that his father would ask even the biggest sinner to utter Rama only once and that would take care of removing all his sins. Bodhendrar who was sitting there now stood up and asked Jaganatha Pandit if there was any proof for what he was saying. Jaganatha Pandit then said that his father’s book had the proof for the same. Bodhendrar then asked him to show the book. Bodhenrar finished reading the book the same night with the help of a small lamp. The next day he called the couple and Jaganatha Pandit and said that the sastras were true and that his father had mentioned very clearly what he told yesterday, but the outside world wouldn’t believe this. Bodhendrar then asked the couple to go to the river and take a dip after chanting Rama nama. He then said that though she is now wearing a Muslim dress once she takes a dip after chanting Rama nama she will get back to her old attire and become as pure as how she was before she left her husband. The entire city gathered on the river bank to see this event. The lady came and prostrated Bodhendral and he asked her if she believes that by saying Rama nama all her sins would go away. The lady said that she doesn’t know about Rama nama but she believes him and considers him as her guru. She then said Rama and took a dip in the river. As she came out she had flowers in her head, kumkum in her forehead and turmeric applied all over her body. On seeing this everyone started chanting Rama nama and she happily went to her husband. The couple then prostrated to Bodhendral and took his blessing. Bodhendral then continued his yatra to south India.

On reaching Kanchi he wrote several books as desired by his guru. Some of them that are available today are Bagavannama Rasodhayam, Bagavannama Rasarnavam, Bagavannama Rasayanam. Our guru Sri Krishna Premi Maharaj has translated Bagavannama Rasodhayam in Tamil and the same is now available for people who don’t know Sanskrit. Botherndral was waiting for his guru to come back so that he could show his books to him. Vishwadikendhra Saraswathi finished his yatra and came back to Kanchi. Vishwadikendhra Saraswathi was very happy with his work and asked him to preach the importance of Bagavan Nama. Bodhenral then travelled across India and made everyone chant Rama nama and also preached that the only way to attain god in this Kaliyuga was chanting the name of god.

Sridhara Ayyaval, of Tiruvisanallur was a contemporary to Bodhendral. He was elder to Bodhendral. They happened to meet each other once and after that they would go together to the villages to do Nama pracharam. They would go to a village and initiate everyone in the village with Rama nama. Once done they would move to the next village. Bodhendral once came to a village called Perambur. One day he was invited by a person to his house for Biksha (lunch). His son was dumb (incapable of speaking). Bodhendral would go to places only where people chanted Rama nama. So he initiated him with Rama nama and also asked him to ask his wife to chant the name of Rama while cooking. When Bodhendral came to his house for lunch he felt very bad that there was no way for his son to say Rama nama as he was dumb. He then felt that his nama siddhantam could not help people like him to reach god. After the lunch when the family prostrated to Bodhendral he was filled with tears in his eyes for the boy. On seeing this, the man said that it was his destiny to be born like this and asked him not to be worried about him. Bodhenral then told him that he was only worried about how he would attain god and not because he is dumb. The man immediately told him that now he knew that his son will definitely reach god as there is a guru who is bothered about him. He also said that his guru kripa will help him attain god. After that the kid automatically started chanting Rama nama in his mind. Forever he would be with Bodhendral and do service to him. Bodhendral was about to leave Perambur after 4 months and the kid started crying as he could not bear the detachment from his guru. Bodhendral then gave him his Sri Padukas and left.

Bodhendhral made the Nawab of Arcot as his disciple. Arcot was hit by plague once and there was no treatment for this. The Nawab was also attacked by plague and it so happened that Bodhendral was there in Arcot then. The people in the city went and told their problem to Bodhendral who then asked them to get together and chant Rama nama. Once they did this everyone were cured and there was no trace of plague in the city. The Nawab then gave some land to his mutt and became his follower.

During his yatra Bodhendral once went to a village called Thirukokarnam for nama pracharam. He was initiating everyone in that village with Rama nama. A dassi came there to him and asked if she could also chant Rama nama and if he would initiate her. Bodhendral initiated her with Rama nama without any hesitation. Those days sanyasi’s were not even allowed to speak to women and when he directly initiated a women that too a dassi, the villagers started speaking ill about him. After some days Bodhendral left the village. The dassi was chanting Rama nama religiously and would chant though out the day. Bodhendral happened to come back to that village after some time. By the time Bodhendral came back she had finished chanting crores of Rama nama. The dassi came to have a darshan of Bodhendral and after prostrating to him she left this world through Kabala moksham(spirit leaving the body, opening the top of her skull at her own will) in front of her guru like how a yogi leave this world. The villagers were surprised seeing this and realised their mistake.

One day kids were playing in the banks of Kaveri. They would keep their feet in the mud and close it with mud and then remove the disappeared leg from the sand. Bodhendral had now planned to leave this world, so he went to the children and said that he would come out if they buried him inside the sand. Taking this for true the kids dug a pit and asked him to get inside. They then closed him completely with sand while he was meditating. Next day people in the village were searching for Bodhendral and they couldn’t find him. The kids then told them that he is buried under the sand and that he had asked them to do that. The villagers were now frightened. They then decided to start digging there and all of a sudden there was a voice saying that he was in Samadhi here and that no one should disturb him. After a few years the exact location of his Samadhi was forgotten as they had not build an Adhishtanam.

After 100 years of his Samadhi, Maruthanallur Sadguru swamigal decided to find his Samadhi and build an Adhishtanam around it. He searched for the exact location in Govindapuram. He would tie his legs and crawl on the river bank as he did not want to accidentally touch the Samadhi on his feet. At one place he could hear Rama nama being chanted and he immediately found out that it was the location where Bodhendral had attained Samadhi. He then went to Maharashtrian king who was then ruling Thanjavore and with his help built the Adhishtanam there.

Sri Purandaradasar

Sri Purandaradasar

Lord Vishnu called Sage Naradha and asked him to go the world and preach about bhakthi marga as the people were suffering in the Kaliyug without knowing the right path. Sage Naradha then asked Vishnu what if he goes there and he too becomes like others due to the effect of Kali and does not do the preaching. Vishnu then told him that he would not get affected by Kali and if he does get affected he would come to his rescue. Hearing this Naradha agreed to Vishnu’s request and came to this world as Purandharadasa.

Purandharadasa was born in a Brahmin family in Purandhara ghat which near Pandharpur. He was named as Seenapa Nayakar. His parents did not have a kid for long time and they prayed to Lord Srinivasan of Tirumala and got this child, hence they named him as Seenapan. He was born in a very rich family and excelled in his studies. His parents then got him married to a girl called Lakshmi. After some time his parents passed away. Seenapan was blessed with one daughter and one son. Even though he was very rich, he was a miser and would never give anything to any one. He was running a pawnbroker shop and would trade on precious stones for his living. He would never give anything to any one and would not even invite his relatives for lunch or dinner. His wife Lakshmi was very pious and god fearing. She would always pray to Tulasi Devi asking her to show the right path to her husband.

One day Seenapan was sitting in his shop and an old Brahmin who was poor came to his shop. The old man told him that he was getting his daughter married and also performing upanayanam for his son. He then said that everyone in the village had told him that, Seenapan does a lot of charity and had come to ask him for some donation. Seenapan sent him off saying that he would not give him anything even though the old man was repeatedly trying to get something from him. After trying for almost 2 hours the old man gave up and went to the next street looking for someone else. On seeing a very big bungalow, he sat outside the house thinking that he would get some food as he was hungry by then. This happened to Seenapan’s house. Lakshmi was then performing Tulasi pooja and on seeing the old Brahman went and prostrated him. The old man then told her that he was very hungry and asked if she would give him some food. He also told her that he has arranged for his daughters marriage and asked her to give him something for the same. She then took a costly nose stud and gave it to him. She then told him that her husband would be coming any time and if he happens to see her serving food to him he would get angry; so asked him to leave immediately. The old man then blessed her and left. He again came back to Seenapan’s shop to mortgage the nose stud. Seenapan on seeing this immediately found out that it belonged to his wife. He then asked the old man how he got this and the Brahman said that a lady from the next street gave it to him for his daughter’s marriage. Seenapan then told the old man that it belonged to his wife and said that he would check with her if she gave it to him and come back. He asked the old man to be seated and went to his house. Seenapan came home and screamed at Lakshmi with anger asking where the nose stud was. Looking at him Lakshmi was frightened and lied to him that it was inside. Not believing her Seenapan asked her to show it to him. Lakshmi then went inside and cried to Tulasi Devi. As she was crying she felt something falling in her hand and it was the nose stud. She immediately took it and showed it to Seenapan. He then came back to his shop but the Brahman was missing. He then opened his locker and checked for the nose stud and that was missing too but the locker was intact. Seeing this he was confused and came back home and asked his wife what happened and who the old man was. She then confessed to him that the old man had come and asked from some donation for his daughter’s marriage and that she had given it to him. He then asked her how she got it again when he had locked it in the shop. Lakshmi said that she had pleaded Tulasi Devi to rescue her and that she had given it to her again. Seenapan then went out in search of the Brahman but could not find him anywhere. He then came back home and was looking at the nose stud. He then realised who he was and also understood that it was Lord Vishnu who had come as the old Brahman to rescue him and show him the right path. He then felt that he had wasted 30 years of his life and decided go in service of god by singing his praise. He then took a Tambura and left his house leaving all his wealth. Lakshmi too followed him with their children leaving everything behind. His relatives and neighbours came running behind him and asked him what happened and why he was leaving his house and going on the streets singing the praise of god. He said that he had wasted his life all along and was now going to Pandharpur to see lord Vitthal. His relatives then asked him how he would take care of his wife and how will he get his daughter married if he leaves all his assets and goes to Pandhari. Seenapan then told them that Vitthal will take care of his family as he is the one who has said “Yogakshemam Vahamyaham” (Which means “I will take care of my devotees”) Lakshmi then asked Seenapan if they could donate all their wealth to the poor and needy. Seenapan replied that nothing belonged to them and everything belonged to Vitthal and that how can they donate something that belonged to Vitthal and said that Vitthal would give it to whomever he wanted to.

Seenapan was now in search of a Guru. He had earlier been to Emperor Krishnadevaraya’s palace on the capacity of a precious stone merchant and Vyasarayar was the Raja Guru in the palace. Earlier during his visits he had never bothered to pay his respects to Vyasarayar but now wanted to make him as his guru. Seenapan went to Vyasarayar’s ashram and prostrated to him, Vyasarayar immediately got up and hugged him and told him that he knew that he would come to him one day and was waiting for the same and blessed him. He then named him as Purandaradasar. The Emperor Krishnadevarayar heard that Seenapan had deserted his 9 Crores of wealth and is now serving the Raja Guru Vyasarayar as his sishya. As he knew him well he came down to the ashram to meet him. He asked him what happened and why he had left worldly pleasures and come here. He then told him that he has been blessed by his guru and has now got the company of Haridassas and is happy singing the praise of Vitthal and that he was now happier than earlier. The king then prostrated to him and told him that he was a Gyani and has had the darshan of Vitthal and said that he would be happy even if he gets a small percentage of his bhakthi.  After a few days Purandaradasar requested his guru’s permission to go on a Pandhari yatra as he wanted to badly see Vitthal who had shown him the path of namasankirthan. Vyasarayar then blessed him and asked him to go to Pandharpur.

Purandharadasar set out on a yatra to Pandhari and many bhakthas joined him on the way to Pandharpur. Dasar would perform Unjaverthi (Go on the streets singing the praise of god and collecting rice and dhal from the neighbourhood) and collect food for all of them and feed them every day. This way reached Pandharpur after a few days. On reaching Pandhari, Dasar had a dip in the holy river of Chandrabhaga and came running towards the Mahadhwar. He then prostrated at the Garuda Sthambam and came running towards the yogapeedam to have a darshan of Vitthal. Dasar then hugged Vitthal and was full of tears in his eyes. He then came to Rangashila (the mandap where people sing the praise of Vitthal) and prostrated to every person sitting there. Everyone there hugged him and gave him the thambura and asked him to sing. All of them too sang bhajans and namavallis along with Dasar. He then decided to stay in Pandhari and made a small hut for himself. He would perform Unjaverthi every day and feed his family. He would forever be in the temple singing bhajans and kirthans. Vitthal performed the marriage for his daughter and also the upanayanam for his son. Dasar then wanted to go on a yatra and asked Vitthal’s permission for the same. Vitthal then blessed him and he started on a yatra.

Dasar then toured the entire India and blessed everyone by his presence and his kirthans. He sang 5 lakhs kirthans and also preached about the importance of Namasankirthan. Dasar had a sishya, like Ekalavya for Dronocharya whom Dasar had never met. This sishya had written down all the kirthans of Purandaradasar and would recite the same everyday happily. He was not knowledgeable on carnatic music and others would tease him for singing badly. One day Dasar happened to pass by his house and he was reciting Dasar’s kirtans. Dasar then realised that someone was singing his kirthans inside the house and felt bad with the way he was singing. Dasar then thought to himself that he would not have sung these songs had he known someone would spoil the raga and thalas and sing his songs so badly. He then moved from there and to his dismay he found that he could not sing or speak any more. He then understood the reason behind it and went back to that house. He knocked the door and the man who was singing came and opened the door. On seeing Dasar he was surprised and asked him if he was Purandaradasar and once he knew who he was he prostrated to him and started singing and dancing and became delighted. Dasar then hugged him and thought he was his best sishya and immediately he got back his voice. He then came back to Pandharpur after visiting all holy places.

Purandaradasar wanted to teach his musical skills to someone before he leaves this world so that it could be passed on through generations. There was a dassi in Pandharpur who wanted to learn music and so he started teaching her music. He would go to her house and teach music to her. Seeing Dasar go to the dassi’s house everyday, a rumour spread about him in the village. Vitthal then decided to show the world about the real qualities of Dasar and performed a leela. One day a very costly jewellery of Vitthal was missing and as the priest could not find it they informed the police. The police started harassing and beating every one working in the temple to check who took it. One of the sweepers in the temple also happened to be the sweeper of that dassi. She then told the police that she had seen the jewel in the dassi’s house. The police then sent for her and questioned her. The dassi then told the police that it was Dasar who had given it to her. The police then arrested Purandaradasar and tied him to one of the pillars in Rangashila. Everyone was now waiting for the king to come and whip him. Dasar was quiet and thought that whatever was Vitthal’s wish will happen and there is no point trying to justify anything. The king then arrived and one of the police handed over the whip to the king. The king then asked Dasar to say in front of Vitthal if he had stolen the jewellery from the temple. Dasar was quiet and did not reply. The king got angry and took the whip and started whipping him, asking why he was not even answering his question. However someone had pulled the whip from the king’s hand before it hit Dasar. The king turned back to see who had pulled the whip from him, but none of the soldiers behind him had the whip. They then found that the whip was inside the shrine with Vitthal. On seeing this, the king ordered the police to untie Dasar and prostrated to him and asked him to forgive him. The people who were speaking ill of him now understood about him and stopped speaking rumours about him.

A humble attempt to write about some great Hindu saints!