Sant Eknath


Eknath Maharaj
Eknath Maharaj

Eknath was the grandson of Sant Bhanudas. Vitthal was their family deity and Eknath also worshiped Vitthal from childhood. As Eknath was born in a family of saints he inherited bhakthi towards Vitthal from his family members. He learnt the sastras from his father till he was about 12. He then wanted to go to a Sadguru and learn sastras under him. Eknath wanted to get a good guru and prayed Vitthal to guide him to one. Vitthobha then came in his dream and asked him to request Janardhana Swami to be his guru. Janadhana Swami was a great yogi; he had his ashram in a forest. Eknath felt that if he informs his parents they will not let him go and so one day went to Janardhana Swami’s ashram with out informing them. He joined the ashram and started serving his guru. He served his Sadguru for 12 years. There were several kids like him who had joined the ashram. Some came to study the sastras and were studying them, some came to study Yogabyasam like Yamam, Niyamam, Aasanam, Pranayamam and they studied that. Some were given manthropadesams and they chanted the mantras. Students who learnt the sastras took permission from the guru and left him once they learnt it well enough so that they could go to the outside world and do discourses. Students who learnt Yogabyasam took leave of their guru once they realised that they had now got the siddhi. Those who took manthropadesam from him also took leave of him after realization of those gods. While so many students joined the ashram, learnt what they wanted and left, Eknath was just serving his Guru. Janardhana Swami also dint teach him anything and just asked him to take care of the ashram. Eknath’s daily work was that he would get up early in the morning clean the ashram, milk the cows, take care of the visitors, make food for the sadhus, buy provisions from the village, take care of his gurus requirements and then check the accounts before going to sleep in the night. He has only been doing this for the last 12 years in this ashram.

One night, Eknath was checking the accounts as usual. He found that there was 1 paisa missing in the account and he had excess in hand. He was breaking his head to find out what happened. This was because he felt all the work he was doing in the ashram was Guru seva and that he should be correct in that. As he was awake till late in the night, his guru came to see what he was doing. Eknath dint even realize that his guru was standing behind as he was thinking deeply about reconciling the accounts. Janardhana swami understood that he is checking accounts and went back to his place. He again came at mid night to see if he was done with it, but saw that he was still working on it and went back. Around 2am Eknath emotionally shouted “Gurunatha, I found it” as he had reconciled the accounts. Janardhana Swami immediately got up and went to him and asked him what he had seen. Eknath immediately apologized for waking him up and said that an entry for 1 paisa was missing and that he had found it. As soon as the Guru heard this, his eyes were filled with tears and told him that there were so many sishyas who had come here and found so many great things and after serving me for 12 years you are happy that you have found 1 paisa. Janardhana Swami then said that he is now indebted to him for having taken care of him and the ashram for all these years. He then went back to sleep. Janradhana Swami’s deity was Dattatreya and he requested him to give darshan to Eknath and Dattatreya agreed to his request. The next day Eknath went to Godhavari River to have his bath as usual. After completing his bath he would bring water from the river to the ashram. On his way back Dattatreya gave him his darshan in godly form. The four Vedas stood next to him as 4 dogs. Dharma devata stood behind him as a bull. Eknath on seeing him prostrated to him. Dattatreya then blessed him and Eknath came back to the ashram and started doing his work as usual. Janardhana Swami came and saw what Eknath was doing and he found him boiling the milk. He then thought that he doesn’t look like someone who has had the darshan of god. The state of a person who has realised and seen god would be different and they would be in deep meditation, sometimes crying or smiling and would not look like normal persons to the outside world. Janardhana Swami was now wondering if god had given him darshan or not. Janardhana Swami was now really confused and asked Eknath if had seen anything this morning. Eknath then told him that when he was returning from the river he saw his guru’s deity standing under the tree and that he had worshiped him. Janardhana Swami was further perplexed and told him that there are so many rishis trying to realize god for so many janmas and after having realized god how he could continue with his regular work. Eknath then replied to him that his Guru was everything to him and that he was happy to see this form of god rather than the form he saw in the morning. Hearing this Janardhana Swami was moved. Janardhana swami then asked him to go back to his parents, get married and lead a family life. Eknath hesitated as he dint want to leave his guru but Janardhana Swami told him that he would realize his presence wherever he was. This consoled Eknath and he returned home.

Eknath reached home and his parents were very happy to see him again. He then told them that he went to be a student of Janardhana Swami and that he has now asked him to get married and serve his parents. Eknath then got married and lived with his family. He would spend his day in the service of god. He translated a lot of Sanskrit books in Marathi for the common man to read. Eknath Bagavatham and Eknath Ramayan are even today available and are being widely read in Maharashtra. He conducted discourses every day about god. In the evening he would perform bhajans and kirtans. He has also composed several abhangs. He also sang about saints like Namdev, Gyaneshwar and Janabai. He would invite sadhus to his house for food every day, give them food and only then have his food. As his family was rich he dint have to go for any work and would devote all his time to the service of Vitthal. Eknath’s neighbour was envious with him and was saying everyone that he dint know Sanskrit and was scribbling something in Marathi with out knowing about the grandhas that he is writing about. Eknath never bothered about what others said and would continue to do his work thinking it was Vitthal’s leela. Once while writing about Uddhava in Bagavatha he got in to a transcendental state and fell down. His neighbour saw him in an unconscious state with a note about Uddhava in his hand. He immediately understood that he had underestimated Eknath and waited for him to come back to consciousness and apologised to him and asked him to make him his sishya.

One day when he was reading Bagavatha a 12 year old boy came to him, prostrated to him and asked him to make him his sishya as he wanted to learn the Vedas from him. Eknath asked him who he was and where does he come from. He replied to him that his parents were no more and that he considered Eknath as his mother, father, Guru and God. He said that he was from Dwaraka and his name was Kandiya Krishnan. Eknath accepted him as his sishya and looked after him as his own son. Krishnan was very smart and a learnt everything easily. He took care of all the needs of his guru and served him well. He did all service to his guru right from washing his clothes, cleaning his pooja vessels, cleaning his pooja room, preparing garlands for his god etc. He would also serve his Guru matha by getting vegetable from the market, bringing water from Godhavari etc.

One day Eknath was performing his ancestral rituals. Two outcastes happened to pass by his house and understood that a feast was being prepared. They were discussing that it would be good if they could get this food. Eknath on listening to these discussions called them and gave them the food that was being prepared. They were happy with him, thanked him and then left. The other Brahmans who had come for the ceremony left the place on seeing this. All Brahmans in the village on seeing this started speaking ill about him for giving the food that was prepared for ancestral ceremony to some outcastes before completing the ceremony. They all spoke to each other and decided that Eknath should be punished for this deed of his. All the Brahmans in the village then came to Eknath and asked him how he could do this in spite of learning sastras. Eknath then said that, he gave them food as they were hungry and that hunger doesn’t have any caste difference and hence decided to feed them. He also said that the sastras say that annadhanam can be given to anyone and that there was no caste discretion on that. They then said that none of the Brahmans in the village would mingle with him and not have any contact with him and his family from now on. Eknath now had to prepare food again for the ceremony and perform the ceremony. Eknath was now worried that he would not be able to feed the Brahmans after the ritual is over as no one would come to his house now. Kandiya Krishnan then told Eknath that if Brahmans were not available the sastras say that they could give it to kurcham (a type of holy dried grass used in religious ceremonies) Eknath then started performing the rituals and when he kept the 1st kurcham, Vitthal came and sat down to have the food. As soon as he came other gods and his forefathers who were called during the ceremony came down and took the food directly. Kandiya Krishnan was watching all these happening and smiling at Eknath. Once it got over, they blessed Eknath by reciting holy mantras and disappeared. His neighbours heard the chanting of holy mantras and thought that some Brahmans from neighbouring villages would have come without knowing what had happened with Eknath and were waiting for them to come out of the house so that they could warn them and advice them not to go to his house. After some time Eknath came out of the house. The Brahmans asked him who had come for the lunch and he was quiet. They then said that they heard some people reciting some mantras. Kandiya Krishnan then asked them what their problem was and said that no one had come. The Brahmans then left and thought that Eknath and Krishnan would have chanted the mantras in some different voices to fool them.  It was almost one year since they had given this punishment to Eknath. He then went to the Bhraman Samaj and said that he was ready to do whatever pariharam (doing penance) to clear the mistake he had done by feeding the outcastes. The Brahmans then told him that they would discuss among themselves and come back to him on the same. They got together and started preparing a list of things to be done as per their wish. One said that he has to make a gold cow and gift it to some one. Another one said he has to gift land and another said he has to gift a house. Like this each one came up with whatever they wished and this list was given to Eknath. Eknath then felt that he would use all his wealth and perform the list of pariharams given by the Brahmans. The Brahmans were now happy that Eknath will now gift all his wealth to them and Kandiya Krishnan was thinking how teach them a lesson. Krishnan tried to tell his Guru that they were cheating him and planning to acquire all his wealth in the name of pariharam, but did not agree. The Brahmans were performing the rituals and Eknath was doing the sankalpam. It was noon and a leper came enquiring about Eknath. The Brahmans stopped him and asked him who he was. He said that he came from Triambakeshwar and wanted to see him. They then asked him why he wanted to see him. The leper said that he had come to do some praiharam from him. The Brahmans then told him that they were doing pariharam even for Eknath and asked the leper to do it from them. The leper then said that they would not be able to do it for him and only Eknath could perform prayachittam for him. The leper said that he has done several pariharams from many people and had taken holy dips in many holy rivers but nothing had cured his leprosy. Just then Krishnan came and asked him what happened. The leper said that he went to Triambakeshwar and prayed to Lord Shiva. He said that he then asked him to cure his leprosy failing which he will commit suicide by jumping in the Godhavari River. He then said that Lord Shiva came in his dream and asked him to take the paada theertham (water taken by cleaning the feet of saints) of Eknath and that it was the only cure for him. As soon as he said this, Krishnan told him that it was his Guru whom he was mentioning and took him to Eknath. The ceremonies were still going on and the leper asked Eknath for his paada theertham. Eknath then told him that he was not such a great person and refused his request. The leper then told him that it was Lord Triambakeshwarar who had asked him to do this and that he should not refuse. When Eknath heard that it was the wish of Lord Shiva he agreed to it. The leper then performed paadha pooja for Eknath and consumed the water. As soon as he drank this water his body became normal and leprosy had vanished. The Brahmans there astonished to see this. Krishnan then looked at the Brahmans and asked if they at least now understood the greatness of Eknath. The Brahmans now dint have the guts to continue with these pariharams they were doing and Krishnan was happy that Eknath’s wealth was saved.

There was a Brahman who was very pious. He set out on a yatra to visit all the holy places and wherever he went the deity in that temple would speak to him because of his bhakthi. One day he went to Dwaraka, the deity here (Kalyanarayar) did not give him darshan or speak to him. He felt that Kalyanarayar was not there and it was only the statue that was there. After sometime he thought that he dint have enough bhakthi and that is why god did not speak to him. He decided to be on fast till he gets a reply form him. After fasting for 12 days, Lord Krishna came on his dream and said that he was in Prathistanapuram (now Paithan) doing service to Eknath as his sishya for the past 12 years. He then told him that he can have his darshan if he comes there. He also asked him to do service to Eknath instead of wandering all over India. The next morning the Brahman got up and started going to Prathistanapuram. He reached Paithan and enquired where Eknath’s house was and came to meet him. Eknath was reading Srimad Bhagavadam, the Brahman prostrated to him and asked him where Krishna was. Eknath thought that he was asking about Kandiya Krishnan and told him that he has gone to Godhavari and would be back soon. Eknath thought that the Brahman was related to Krishnan and had come to see him. He also asked him to be seated till he comes back. Krishnan then returned from Godhavari with some water but did not say anything to the Brahaman. Eknath was surprised why both of them dint recognize each other. He then asked the Brahman if he saw Krishnan going inside the house. The Brahman then told him that he was looking for Lord Krishna and not this Krishnan and also explained to him what had happened to him in Dwaraka. Eknath on hearing this ran in to the house searching for Kandiya Krishnan but only the vessels in which he fetched water were there but Krishnan had disappeared. He searched for him all over the house and started crying. He cursed himself for not being able to recognize god when he was there with him. He could not perform any work as everything reminded him of Krishnan only. He went to a Samadhi state and was thinking only about god. The Brahman who came now started serving Eknath.

One day Eknath decided to go on a yatra and he set out on a yatra with few others who joined him. They went to places like Kasi, Prayagai, Vrindavan, Ayodha, Mathura etc. Eknath performed Bhajans and pravachans wherever he went. When the finished the yatra and returning to Paithan with Ganga theertham, they got stuck in a place where there was no water and all of them were thirsty. Even though they had water in hand they did not use that as it was Ganga theertham and that it was supposed to be used only for religious purpose and not for quenching thirst. They then found a donkey lying down in an unconscious state due to thirst and heat. Seeing the donkey dying Eknath felt bad and moved forward to give his Ganga theertham to it so as to prevent it from dying. The others who were with him said that he should not do that as this water was supposed to be used only for religious purpose. Eknath then said that there was no better deed that saving the life of someone and that he would give it to the donkey and save it from death. Hearing this, the others left him behind and started moving forward as they dint approve of his action. Eknath then gave the water to the donkey. As Eknath was feeding the donkey it turned out to be Vitthal. He then prostrated to Vitthal and asked him why he did this leela. Vitthal then told him that he wanted to show the world that Eknath sees every living being in this world as Vitthal and hence did this leela. Eknath then returned back home.

One day a group of people were gambling. A small fight began within them and they started fighting within themselves. One of them tried to stop the fight and asked them not to get angry and fight among themselves. One of them immediately replied that he was not Eknath to be calm and collected and never to get angry for anything. One of them listening to this asked if Eknath really will not get angry for anything. All others said that even the sun may rise in the west but Eknath will never get angry. He then said that if someone doesn’t get angry then he is not human. The others then said that he was not human and that he was god. The guy then betted the whole money they were gambling and said that he would make him angry.  The gambler who had betted, had a house near the banks of Godhavari. He went home and the next morning he was waiting for Eknath to come to Godhavari to have his bath. Eknath had his bath and was returning back. The gambler was chewing pan and spited on his head from the terrace of his house on Eknath. Eknath dint even bother to look up to see him, nor did he shout at him and he went back to Godhavari to bath again. When he came back the gambler again spit the pawn on him. Eknath still dint say anything and went back to bath again. Eknath would clean himself and come and the gambler would spit on him, this happened several times and by noon the gambler had finished his entire pan and was also tired standing in the terrace and spiting. Now the gambler came down and was waiting for Eknath to come. This time when Eknath was going back from the river the gambler blocked him and asked him how he had so much of patience and that why he did not get angry with him when he has been spiting on him since morning. Eknath then replied to him that he came to Godhavari to clean his body before performing pooja to god. He also said that one should perform pooja with clean body and mind. When he spited on him, he only dirtied his body and went back to clean it. He then said that if he had got angry and shouted at him, his mind would have become dirty and that it would be even more difficult to clean his mind than cleaning his body. The gambler was moved hearing this and said that he had read about this but never seen this in practice.

41 thoughts on “Sant Eknath”

  1. Too good.. am travelling to Pandharpur next week and am noting down the lives of saints of Pandharpur in a diary to read again and again while travelling. Thanks!!!!!!!!

  2. my name is also ekanath but I am not patience as Sant Eknath because our surrounding will not let to be. great person Sand Eknath

  3. Would like to use the episode of Eknath Maharaj’s test of mlnd control for presentation as a play.

  4. Fantastic to learn about the great saint ‘Eknath’. Would be happy to view his real image?

    cheers
    Sairam from Bangalore

  5. Thank you so much for sharing noble stories of Saint Eknath….Reading these stories boost up our patience dedication and value of life….Thanks ….Keep posting……

  6. youngsters need to read this to realize the teaching of life,bearing patience is most important chapter for youth to be calm

  7. Eknath was born in Paithan (पैठण, जिल्हा: औरंगाबाद, महाराष्ट्र), which is situated on the bank of river Godavari, the Ganga of south India. His mother’s name was Rukmini and father’s name was Suryanarayan. Since Eknath was born on the inauspicious Moola (मूळ) star, his parents performed Shanti Homam. But in spite of it, his parents died too early. Since his parents died too early, his grandparents nurtured and looked after him. They used to call him “Nath” lovingly. When he was eight years old, they performed the sacred-thread ceremony (उपनयन ) and made him to study Shastras. Nath, not only read and forgot the Shastras, but also imbibed the meaning of every sentence he studied in his mind. He used to meditate on every subject he had studied constantly. Once he felt that he should surrender to Sadguru and free himself from the bondage of the worldly ties . He was in search of his Sadguru; therefore, he used roam around on the river bank or temple all alone and pray God, “Oh Vishweshwara, please help me meet my Sadguru at the earliest possible.” One day, while he was praying in this manner, he heard a celestial voice which said, “You visit Devagad and surrender yourself at the feet of Janardanswami.” Immediately, Nath got up and left for Devgad. Since his yearning to meet his Sadguru being really true and intense, he walked with an enormous speed and stopped only after reaching the hermitage of Janardanswami. On the other hand, his grandparents waited for him, since it was late in the night and Nath used to return much before it usually. They got really worried for him. Chakrapani (grandfather of Nath) took some people with him and went in search of Nath. They searched for him in every house in Paithan, every temple, fields and river bank too. But how could they search him in Paithan, when Nath had already reached Devgad? At last, Chakrapani thought that, everything would happen as per the wish of the God and satisfied himself.

  8. Janardanswani was a chief official in the court of a Badshah at Daulatabad. He was blessed by none other than Lord Dattatreya. He used to spend all his time in meditating on Lord Dattatreya after completing his official responsibilities. Eknath met him and humbly folded his hands in reverence. Janardanswami asked him, “Who are you? Where from did you come? What is the reason of your visit?” Nath said, “Maharaj! My name is Eknath and I have come from Paithan. I want to serve your holy feet. It is not that I have quit my home due to displeasure at home or fight with my parents. I humbly request Swamiji to accept me.” Swamiji thought that he was fit to be a good disciple and permitted him to stay with him.
    At the hermitage of his Sadguru, Nath used to first clean the toilet after waking up, thereafter he used to take bath and heat water for others to take bath. He used to keep water and ready for morning ablutions as well as bath of his Sadguru. He used to gather all articles of worship, keep them ready and prepare the folds of Sadguru’s dhoti. He used to wash Sadguru’s clothes, dry, fold and keep them separately; he used to prepare his lunch plate, offer him Tambul prepared from betel leaves and areca nut powder, prepare Sadguru’s bed and massage his feet at night. Finally he used to go to bed after serving his Sadguru. Apart from this, he also used to help Gurumata in her daily chores.
    While he was serving his Sadguru unfailingly in this manner, one day the messengers of the Badshah arrived at Janardanswami’s home with the information that the enemy of Badshah had laid siege of Devagiri fort. It was morning and Swamiji was engrossed in deep meditation. Nath knew that in order to achieve the blessings of Sadguru, the disciple must see to it that his Sadguru should remain trouble-free. Therefore, Nath did not convey the news of the enemy laying siege of Devagiri fort to Swamiji, instead, he wore the dress of Swamiji and after arming himself with the weapons of Swamiji, he visited Badshah. Surprisingly, due to the influence of his supreme devotion to his Sadguru, even Badshah could not recognize him. Thereafter, as per the instructions of Badshah, Nath took a battalion with him and attacked the army of the enemy fiercely. Compared to the army of the enemy, the battalion of Nath was much smaller, but due to his supreme faith in his Sadguru, his enemy felt that Nath’s battalion was very huge. After a fierce battle, the enemy retracted their army and sent his minister to Nath to declare truce. The minister said, “We would like to meet your patron.” Nath met the minister respectfully took him to Badshah, honoured him with dress and ornaments. In this manner, after succeeding in the battler, Nath returned to Swamiji’s home quietly.

  9. Just then Swamiji finished his meditation and came out of his chamber. Since there was no need to disclose the news of the battle, it remained a secret. When Swamiji went to Badshah’s court, he got up from his throne and gave Swamiji a seat next to him and said, “Swamiji, It was because of you, that a great calamity could be averted!” and offered Swamiji valuable clothes with great respect. Only thereafter Swamiji realized what could have happened. After returning home, he hugged Nath, caressed him and said, “Ekya, Although, you fought the battle in place of me, but Badshah could not realize it due to the grace of Sadguru. That is why, he happily offered this gift to me.” Thereafter he jokingly said, “This gift solely belongs to you and not to me!” On listening to the words of Swamiji, a lump came in the throat of Nath, who said, “Maharaj, it is nothing but your pastime and blessings.”

  10. Once, Swamiji thought that if additional work apart from his daily chores, is entrusted to Nath, would it influence the quality of his work output? In order to test this, he said to Nath, “Nath, today onwards, you must do account keeping work also.” Thereafter, Nath accepted the account keeping work apart from his daily chores and started to complete it at night after daily chores were completed. There was yet another purpose of entrusting the account keeping work to Nath. Swamiji wanted to stabilize the mind and increase the concentration of Nath fast. After a few days, once Swamiji said, “Nath, tomorrow I am going to check the accounts that you have maintained for several days.” On listening to Sadguru’s order, in order not to have any mistake in tallying his account , the same night Nath started to check all his accounts carefully. Several hours passed in this manner, finally he could find an error of a single Paisa. He became nervous and started to check and recheck his accounts. He was so much engrossed in his account keeping work, that he did not realize that it was four O’clock in the morning. Just then he could find out the error of one Paisa, he was so happy that started to clap and dance in ecstasy. Swamiji came there and stood next to him, but he did not realize it. Until that time, Nath never even used to sit down in presence of his Sadguru, leave along dancing. Swamiji just tapped his back and said, “Nath, what has happened to you today?” Nath soon realized what had happened , promptly placed his head in the holy feet of Sadguru and placed the accounts that he had completed so far. Swamiji said, “Oh Nath, You neither had your dinner nor drank water. You did not even move from your seat. What was that which kept you so engrossed?” Nath said, “Maharaj, there was an error of one Paisa in my account, therefore I was tallying and retallying it again!” Swamiji said, “But why did you starte dancing and clapping?” Nath said, “Maharaj, I could find out the mistake of one Paisa in my accounts.” Swamiji said, “Is it? Look here Nath, just as you concentrated your mind to find an error of one Paisa, if you concentrate your mind on the holy feet of Lord ShriKrishna, you would be truly blessed in this world.” Exactly, at this time, Nath had completed twelve years of service to his Sadguru.

  11. Friday used to be a holidy for Swamiji’s office . On that day he used to visit a nearby mountain namely Sulabh (सुलभ). There was a peaceful and enchanting place over this mountain along with a small lake namely Suryakund (सूर्यकुंड). Since it was insurmountble, generally, people used to hardly visit it. Once, as per his usual practice, Swamiji set out to climb Sulabh. He said to Nath, “If you wish to come, you may come with me.” Nath gathered his belongings and set out with his Sadguru. On climbing the mountain and after approaching the lake, Swamiji said, “Nath, Sometimes Shri Datta Maharaj comes and visits this place. In order to remain unrecognizable, he usually dresses in a strange and colourful manner. Therefore, do not get scared of him! also, do not have any doubt about him.” Just then Lord Dattatreya appeared there in the form of a Fakir (a muslim saint) and said to a boy accompanying him, “I am feeling very hungry, cook immediately.” The boy promptly prepared the food after killing the hens which he had brought with him and served the food in a large plate. After Dattatreya invited him, Swamiji too sat down to have his meals. After having their lunch, both of them washed their hands in the plate itself. Thereafter Swamiji called Nath and said, “Empty the water in the plates in a dirty place.” Accordingly, while carrying the plates Nath thought to himself that the dirtiest place could be none other than his own heart! First, it must be purified. There is nothing purer than the Prasad of Sadguru. Therefore, I should not waste this golden opportunity; thinking in this manner, he guzzled the washings of both of them. Instantly, he started to dance in a great ecstasy without any body consciousness. On watching his disciple’s completely purified mind without doubts , Swamiji was extremely pleased. He held Nath’s hand and took him to Lord Dattatreya (in the form of a Fakir). Lord Dattatreya showed Nath his true form and disappeared!

  12. A few days later, Swamiji called Nath and said, “A little away from this place, there is a mountain by name,Shoolabhanjan (शूलभंजन), there is a good supply of water there. It is said that sage Markandeya had performed penance there. Therefore, you too stay there and carry out spiritual austerities. As and when you notice an unusual event happening there, you may come back and inform me.” As per the instructions of his Sadguru, Nath started his spiritual practices on the mountain. There was a small village at the foot of this moutanin. An old milkman from that village used to daily traverse the same mountainous path while delivering his milk. One day he observed a young man immersed in meditation on his way. The milkman felt like watching the young man continuously. He did not feel like leaving the place, so he sat there watching Nath immersed in deep meditation. After Nath came out of his meditation, the milkman poured a tumbler full milk in a small vessel which Nath had brought with him, and said, “Sire, kindly drink this milk, I will feel very happy.” Saying so, he bowed down to Nath and went away. He developed obsession of watching Nath immersed in deep trance. So much so, that he used eagerly await break of dawn so that he would visit Nath and offer him milk. On watching Nath immersed in deep meditation, he started to pour the milk in the vessel kept in front of Nath and leave. A few days passed in this manner. Once while Nath was immersed in deep trance, a large cobra came there slithering, encircled around Nath’s body, raised its hood over Nath’s head, sat there for some time and left. This became a daily practice for the large cobra. Once, the milkman poured the milk in the vessel and left after a little while he felt like having darshan of Nath once again, so again retracted his steps and came to the same spot. On watching a large cobra sitting on Nath’s body with its raised hood, he screamed loudly with fear. Nath came out of his trance, opened his eyes. The snake came down. On watching the snake, Nath offered the milk in the vessel to it. After drinking the milk, the snake disappeared suddenly. At that moment, Nath remembered that his Sadguru had asked him to come back and meet, after he observed any unusual event. He returned to hermitage and prostrated at the holy feet of Sadguru and narrated everything that had happened after he had left the hermitage in detail. After listening to him, Swamiji realized that Nath had attained the supreme knowledge (आत्मज्ञान) and was overjoyed.

  13. Thereafter Swamiji thought the Nath should start his work of deliverance of the ignorant people in this world, therefore, he ordered Nath to proceed on pilgrimage. At that time, Nath realized that he would be separated from his beloved Sadguru and felt extremely sorry, but thinking that obeying the order of his Sadguru was his first and foremost duty, he swallowed his sorrow. Thereafter, he proc eeded on the pilgrimage. On knowing the state of mind of Nath, his Sadguru’s mind too was in great distress. So, he too proceeded on pilgrimage along with Nath. On the way, they saw a hermitage on the bank of river Godavari. A learned person by name, Chandrabhat stayed there, he also carried out his spiritual austerities there. On meeting Nath as well as Swamiji, Chandrabhat took them to his hermitage and requested them to stay there and accept his hospitality. On the same night Chandrabhat delivered a discourse on Chatushloki Bhagavat (चतु:श्लोकी भागवत), which Swamiji liked immensely. He was also highly impressed by the oratory skills of Chandrabhat.
    On the following day when both set out to leave for Panchavati (near Nashik), Chandrabhat with folded hands, said, “I do not have anyone else to support me, therefore, kindly give me shelter near your holy feet for ever.” Janardanswamiji accepted him. After reaching Panchavati they took bath and performed Sandhyvandanam and had darshan of Prabhu Ramachandra and sat down in the temple. Swamiji turned to Nath and said, “Just as earlier Shri Sant Gnaneshwar Maharaj wrote a critique on Shri Bhagavat Gita in prakrut (Marathi) language, you too write a critique on Chandrabhat’s Chatushloki Bhagavat in Marathi, so that a common people would be truly benefited. ” Obeying his Sadguru’s order Nath took reed-made pen in his hand and within a few days completed writing the critique. Thinking that “Sadguru was the doer,” Nath kept the critique of the Bhagavat Granth in the holy feet of Sadguru and prostrated at his feet. Thereafter, Swamiji asked Nath to proceed further on his pilgrimage, whereas he returned to Devgad along with Chandrabhat. Nath roamed around during his pilgrimage, visited several holy places and returned to Paithan and stayed in a Lord Shiva’s temple. Nath’s grandparents used to say, “It has been more than twelve years since Nath left Paithan; now we are tired and old. We would like to see him at least once, but we don’t know where Nath is,” and shed tears. One day, a scholar, who had imparted the knowledge of Sanskrit to Nath, thought of visiting Nath and arrived at Paithan. Since the scholar had not visited Paithan for more than twelve years, he was unaware that Nath had left home. On learning that Nath had quit home from Chakrapani, the scholar said, “You do not worry about Nath at all. He must have been enjoying the holy company of saints and sadhus or he must be engrossed in spiritual practices. I just cannot bear to see your sorrow. Kindly be patient and pray God, while I would start looking for him myself today onwards,” and gave them courage. Thereafter, the scholar went around looking for Nath at various places occupied by saints and sadhus and finally reached Devgad. There he took darshan of Janardanswami and enquired about Nath. On hearing his name, tears of joy started to roll down the cheeks of Swamiji. He praised Nath a lot. The scholar listened to Nath’s praise for some time and with folded hands said, “Maharaj! hereafter, Nath should accept Grihastashram (गृहस्थाश्रम) , serve his grandparents and continue his work of deliverance of the ignorant people. This could be possible only if you order him to do it.” Swamji said, “When Nath comes to Paithan during his pilgrimage, you may ask him to stay back.” The scholar said, “Maharaj! If you write a small letter asking him to do the needful, we will be really grateful to you.” Thereafter, Swamiji wrote a letter to Nath and handed it over to the scholar. The scholar returned to Paithan, narrated everything to Chakrapani and handed over the letter written by Swamiji to him.” One day the scholar, who was on surveillance of Nath, suddenly observed him sitting beneath a tree quietly. On identifying Nath, he promptly sent his associates to fetch Chakrapani there and kept Nath engaged in some talk. Chankrapani arrived there and on seeing Nath, he hugged him tightly and said, “Nath! At last you came back! Now please do not leave both of us and go! Hereafter, you should accept Grihastashram and both of us should see our great grand child. Our last wish is that only you should cremate us, please fulfill our desire.” Nath said, “I am performing pilgrimage as per the orders of my Sadguru. If I stop during my pilgrimage and stay put here, I would be a sinner.” Promptly Chakrapani took out the letter written by Swamiji and showed it to him. It was written in the letter that, “Hereafter, Nath should take care of his grandparents. He should accept Grihastashram and deliver the ignorant people.” After watching Nath sitting quietly, Chakrapani said, “Come Nath, let us go home.” Nath said, “I cannot live this place where I received the order of my Sadguru. This itself is my home. I would stay put here itself.” Many people came and tried to see him reason, but Nath was unmoved. At last, all of them constructed a hut at the same place and Nath started to stay in the hut. Chakrapani too quit his home, came there with his wife and stayed with Nath. Shortly thereafter, Nath was married to a lady belonging to a very good family from Vaijapur. Her name was Girijabai (गिरिजाबाई). Girijabai suited Nath in her temperament and conduct. She was extremely devoted to Nath and had all good qualities.

  14. Once Nath delivered a religious discourse, a huge crowd had gathered to attend the same; there were brahmins as well as shudras (अंत्यज) among the crowd. The discourse and its contents were very simple to understand and like. However, since the brahmins were upset that they had to sit along with shudras during discourse, the discourse did not make any impact on their minds. Thereafter there was the auspicious day of Gokulashtami (गोकुळाष्टमी). Nath decided to celebrate Gokulashtami as per the order of his Sadguru and sent an invitation to the latter. A surprise was awaiting the people during the celebrations. Lord Dattatreya started to do the work of a guard, but who could know that? People were waiting on both sides of the road for the arrival of Janardanswami, since the exact time of his arrival was unknown. Swamiji used to walk fast, therefore, before people could realize, he arrived at the gate and hugged the guard tightly. Stunned people started to look at each other. All the scholars hailed Janaradanswami. Nath hurriedly arrived there and placed his head in the holy feet of his Sadguru. The tears of Guruprem flowing from Nath’s eyes washed Swamiji’s feet, thereafter he got busy in serving his Sadguru.
    The same night Nath started to deliver ShriHarikatha. Many learned brahmins were present in the assembly. The entire open space earmarked for the audience was full of people other than brahmins. Until that time, the outcast people used to stay away due to social hatred. But due to the blessings of Nath, all of them could savour the nectarine Harinaam. Swamiji happily approved Nath’s discourse. This was the first occasion for him to attend to Nath’s discourse. On the following day, Swamiji returned to Devgad after breaking the fast. While parting, Nath and Swamiji could not bear the separation. However, some people enquired Nath, “Why did Janardanswami bugged the guard at the gate?” When Nath told them that the guard was none other than Lord Dattatreya, the brahmins among those people realized that Nath had received the blessings of a competent and supreme Sadguru and thereby the feeling of disrespect for Nath vanished from their minds. Some of the brahmins used to say, “Nath allows people of all castes and creeds to attend his religious discourse. Also, he discusses and explains Gnana (ज्ञान) to those, who are unauthorized to know the supreme knowledge of Brahmam (ब्रह्मोपदेश). Will it not bring down the importance of our religious texts (धर्मशास्त्र)?” However, Nath never used to pay attention to such talks. He used to do what he felt right. Thus, he was not bothered to maintain the ways of the society, although, on account of it, he had to undergo many trials and tribulations. But somehow, due to the blessings of his Sadguru, he used come out of such difficulties unscathed.

  15. The God, whom the spiritual aspirants try to attain by striving day and night and cry out in agony saying, “Why don’t You show Your form?” wanted to enjoy the holy company of Nath. One day a brahmin came to Nath. On enquiring, he said, “My name is Shrikhandya (श्रीखंड्या) and I am in great distress. Therefore, I would like to stay with you and serve you by doing all possible chores in your home.” Nath said, “We are not so affluent as to receive services from you. In fact, I always pray God to get an opportunity to serve people like you. ” The brahmin, with tears in his eyes said, “You are Nath (Nath also means supporter or patron). Do not throw me out.” Nath said, “It is fine. You may stay here for as many days as you wish. Do not hesitate while asking anything, consider this home to be yours.” Thereafter, Shrikhandya started to stay with Nath. Everyday he used to sweep the courtyard and after his bath, he used to fetch water from Godavari river and fill all the copper cauldrons. Nath had not given up the Brahmakarma (ब्रह्मकर्म, the religious duties of a brahmin), but he was not orthodox in his approach. Everyday Shrikhandya used to keep the articles of worship ready for Nath. Apart from that, he used serve the food and clean the leftovers after lunch. Once, many brahmins were invited for the ceremony of offering the oblation to the departed souls (श्राद्ध) by Nath. The special lunch was ready for the ceremony. Just then two scheduled caste sweepers (called महार in Marathi) were passing by Nath’s home. They were speaking to each other, “It appears that a sumptuous meal is being cooked in Nath Maharaj’s home.” The other one remarked, “Oh, what an appetizing aroma of the fried food!” Nath, who was waiting for the arrival of brahmins, overheard the remarks of two sweepers. Immediately, Nath called both the sweepers and asked them to invite some more people. Thereafter, he served the cooked food to all of them. Shortly thereafter, the news spread throughout Paithan and reached the invited brahmins too. Enraged, the brahmins joined together and said, “Since, Nath has served the sumptuous lunch prepared for Shraddha ceremony to Mahars, it means that he has insulted us. Therefore, none of us would visit his home hereafter.” Nath was really worried. Just then Shrikhandya arrived there and said, “Nath, what is the reason for you to get so confused? Actually, after the lunch of Mahars, the entire house has been purified by sprinkling cow-urine (गोमूत्र) as well as cow-dung paste and a fresh lunch has been cooked. In spite of it, if the brahmins do not want to attend the ceremony, you can call your departed souls directly to come and have lunch here.” Accordingly, when Nath invited Bhanudas, Chakrapani and Suryanarayan, all of them arrived there from Pitruloka (पितृलोक) for lunch. Nath worshipped them, offered them sumptuous lunch and saw them off after offering them Tambul respectfully.

  16. Nath had two children namely Hari and Leelavati. Leelavati’s husband, Vishwambharbua (विश्वंभरबुवा) was a great scholar. Vishwambharbua was staying with Soni, a prostitute. Although, Leelavati was staying in Paithan itself, she did not inform her parents for quite some time about this new development. Later, Vishwambharbua started to bring Soni home frequently, even then Leelavati did not reveal this matter to her parents. Thereafter, Vishwarmbharbua started to pressurise Leelavati to eat the food cooked by Soni. At that point of time, thinking it to be a great calamity Leelavati, at last, informed about these developments to her father. Nath comforted her saying, “You continue ShriHari naamsmaran (chanting the holy name). The calamity will be averted by His grace!” On the following day, Nath called one of his disciples and murmured something in his ear. Promptly, the disciple went to Vishwambharbua, who was staying with Soni on the first floor. The disciple loudly called, “Vishwambharbua! Oh, Vishwambharbua!” Vishwambharbua came to the balcony and asked him why did he call him!” The disciple said, “There is a message for you from Maharaj! So, please come down.” Vishwambharbua came down to meet him. The disciple said, “I have been asked to tell you the message in an isolated place,” and took Vishwambharbua on the outskirts of Paithan. On reaching the towngate, Vishwambharbua said, “Tell me the message now, there is nobody here.” The disciple said, “Nothing!” On hearing him, enraged Vishwambharbua said, “Hey, why did you bring me here all the way, just to tell ‘nothing’?” The disciple said, “I have just followed the instructions of Maharaj, more than that I know nothing,” and he left. Vishwambhabua returned to Soni’s residence. But no sooner he arrived near the staircase, enraged Soni stopped him there and said, “First tell me what was the message of your father-in-law. Otherwise, I will not let you climb the steps of the staircase!” Vishwambharbua said, “Dear! The disciple took me to the towngate, said, ‘nothing’ and went away!” On hearing his explanation, Soni was angered further. She said, “If there was no message, what did you do for two hours with him? Does he need take you two miles away just to convey ‘nothing’? I have completely seen through your deception. Get our of here. Beware, if you ever climb the steps of my residence!” Vishwambharbua returned to his home helplessly and said to Leelavati, “It is because of your father that myself and Soni were separated. Therefore, now you must bring both of us together, or else I would leave home permanently and would never return.” Leelavati said, “You may visit my father, so that he will help you get what you wish.” On listening to her words, Vishwambharbua visited Nath and expressed his desire to him. Nath uttered a Mantra and told him, “Chant this Mantra continuously for seven days with total concentration and your desire will be fulfilled on the eighth day. But if you loose your concentration during this spiritual practice, your wish will not be fulfilled.” Vishwambharbua started the spiritual practice, he got fully immersed in the Lord ShriHari. On the seventh day, he lost his body consciousness. Nath was happy to see him attaining desirelessness. On the eighth day, Vishwambharbua fell at the holy feet of Nath and said, “Today I feel that I am contented, by your grace. You have helped me to get immersed in the ocean of happiness. I just cannot repay your benevolence.” Later Leelavati and Vishwambharbua begot a son, namely Mukteshwar (मुक्तेश्वर) who wrote a treatise namely, Mukteshwari (मुक्तेश्वरी).

  17. One day, Sant Gnaneshwar Maharaj appeared in the dream of Nath and said, “The root of an Ajaan Vriksha (आजानुवृक्ष) is pricking my neck giving me severe pain. Therefore, come and remove the root.” That time, there was a thick vegetation near the Samadhi of Shri Gnaneshwar Maharaj in Aalandi (आळंदी). Nath reached Aalandi along with a band of devotees singing bhajans and after seating all the devotees at a place, he alone went to the Samadhi of Sant Gnaneshwar Maharaj. Very skillfully he removed the root hurting Gnaneshwar Maharaj and left the place after receiving the order from the latter. Thereafter he returned to Paithan. Janardanswamiji was born on the sixth day of the dark fortnight (वद्य षष्ठी)of Phalgun (फाल्गुन ) month, he also received the holy darshan of Lord Dattatreya on the same day. Nath too received the darshan of his Sadguru (Janardanswami) on the same day! Therefore, Nath thought that the sixth day of the dark fortnight of Phalgun month must be an auspicious day and decided to take Samadhi (to complete his earthly sojourn) on the same day. When he declared his decision into the final communion with God, his disciples and well-wishers were extremely pained, whereas his adversaries were very happy. The sixth day of the dark fortnight of Phalgun in the Shaka year 1521 (1599 CE) dawned and Nath celebrated the anniversary of his Sadguru’s Samadhi as usual. When everybody finished his/her lunch, Nath went to the river bank singing bhajans along with his disciples. He started a religious discourse on the bank of river Godavari. He started to chant the name of Lord ShriHari loudly, all of them were chanting the name of Hari in unison. They had lost their body-consciousness. Nath took that opportunity and entered the deep waters of Godavari and took Jalasamadhi (जलसमाधी). When the assembled devotees opened their eyes, they could not see Nath anywhere. But on turning their gaze towards Godavari river, they saw the garland which was offered to Nath, floating on the water. Only then they realized that Nath had taken Jalasamadhi. They were inconsolable. With tears in their eyes and insurmountable sorrow in their hearts, they entered river water and brought the mortal remains of Nath and cremated it. Thereafter, they constructed a fitting memorial (समाधी) of Sant Eknath Maharaj. Today, devotees can still visit and see Eknath Maharaj’s home and the place where he used to sit and deliver religious discourse in Paithan.

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