भारतीय जीवन एवं संस्कृति की समग्र परम्परा का सम्पूर्ण अधिष्ठान भारतीय संतो के आवेदन पर ही प्रतिष्ठित है | महर्षि वेदब्यास से लेकर जगद्गुरु शंकराचार्य एवं स्वामी विवेकानंद, महर्षि अरविन्द, स्वामी रामतीर्थ और उनके परवर्ती संतो की लम्बी शृंखला है, जिन्होंने अपनी दिव्या साधना से भारतीय संस्कृति और जनजीवन को आलोकित किया है |
क्षात्र और अध्यात्म शक्ति का समन्वय जैसा भारतीय संतो ने किया, वैसा अन्यत्र मिलाना दुर्लभ है | जब – जब क्षात्र धर्म निस्तेज हो कर दासता की ओर झुकाने लगा, तब – तब संस्कृति, धर्म और राष्ट्र के रक्षण में संतो ने मार्गदर्शन किया |
मानवता जब राह भटक जाती है, उसे यह विस्मरण हो जाता है की चलने योग्य रास्ता कौन सा है, तब संतो ने, ‘महाजनो ये गता सः पन्थः’, महापुरुष जिस रास्ते से जाते हैं, वह ही निर्विघ्न यथार्थ मार्ग, का बोध दिया | भारतीय संस्कृति के इतिहास में से संत महापुरुसो को यह समझकर कि उनका क्षेत्र व्यक्तिगत साधना, गिरि – कंदराओ तक ही सिमित है, जैसा की आजकल के अधूरे इतिहासविद मानते हैं, निकाल दिया जाय, तो शेष ऐसे इतिहास को लेकर हम क्या करेगे, जो हमें ऊँचा उठाने में समर्थ न हो | उन महापुरुसो क साथ अति मानवीय, भाव प्रधान गाथाएँ जुड़ी होने के कारण, आज के इतिहासकार – समीक्षक कपोल – कल्पित पौराणिक गठन मात्र समझते हैं और उनके अस्तिव को वैज्ञानिक कसौटी पर खरा पाने में शंका करते है |
इतिहास के पंडित केवल भूगर्भ से प्राप्त ठीकरे व नरकंकाल, प्राचीन खंडहरों या शैल – चित्रों को युग – युग की पैतृक निधि मानते हैं | उनकी खोज का, किसी काल विशेष की संस्कृति को समझने में महत्व है, परन्तु संतो का चरित्र चिर – नवीन है | भारतमाता के स्वरुप को सँवारने और उसे समृद्ध बनाने में संतो की साधना, तपश्चर्या, वाणी और साहित्य का अनुपम योगदान रहा है | इसी दृष्टि से सभी सम्प्रदायों के आचार्यों, संतों की प्रतिष्ठा भारतमाता मंदिर में की गई है |
आप सभी क लिए यह भी स्पष्ट कर देना समुचित होगा कि मंदिर में स्थान सिमित होने के कारण सम्पूर्ण महापुरुषों की मूर्ति – प्रतिष्ठा नहीं कर पायें है | रत्नगर्भा भारत – भूमि इतने महापुरुषों की जननी है की उन सबको पर्याप्त स्थान नहीं दे सके | विशिष्ट आचार्यो, संतों को ही स्थान दे सके हैं, इसका अर्थ यह नहीं है की शेष महापुरुष सम्माननीय नहीं है | वे सभी सामान कोटि में समादरणीय हैं |
अनेकता में एकता भारत की विशेषता रही है | इसी दृष्टि भारतमाता मंदिर में संत मंदिर की प्रतिष्ठा की गयी इस मंदिर में प्रतिष्ठित महापुरुषों के जीवन – चरित्र से हम कुछ ग्रहण कर भारतमाता के गौरव को बढ़ा सकें, तो यह कृति और आपकी यात्रा सफल होगी |
Siddhārtha Gautama Buddha (Sanskrit: सिद्धार्थ गौतम बुद्ध; Pali: Siddhattha Gotama), also called Sakyamuni, was a sage from the ancient Shakya republic, on whose teachings Buddhism was founded. He is also referred to as “the Buddha” or simply as “Buddha.”
The time of Gautama’s birth and death is uncertain: most historians in the early 20th century dated his lifetime as circa 563 BCE to 483 BCE, but more recent opinion dates his death to between 486 and 483 BCE or, according to some, between 411 and 400 BCE. However, at a specialist symposium on this question held in 1988 in Göttingen, the majority of those scholars who presented definite opinions gave dates within 20 years either side of 400 BCE for the Buddha’s death, with others supporting earlier or later dates. These alternative chronologies, however, have not yet been accepted by all other historians.
Gautama is the primary figure in Buddhism, and accounts of his life, discourses, and monastic rules are believed by Buddhists to have been summarized after his death and memorized by his followers. Various collections of teachings attributed to him were passed down by oral tradition, and first committed to writing about 400 years later.
Most scholars regard Kapilavastu, present-day Nepal, to be the birthplace of the Buddha.Other possibilities are Lumbini, present-day Nepal Kapileswara, Odisha, present-day India; and Piprahwa, Uttar Pradesh, present-day India.
According to the most traditional biography, Buddha was born in a royal Hindu family to King Śuddhodana, the leader of Shakya clan, whose capital was Kapilavastu, and who were later annexed by the growing Kingdom of Kosala during the Buddha’s lifetime. Gautama was the family name. His mother, Queen Maha Maya (Māyādevī) and Suddhodana’s wife, was a Koliyan princess. Legend has it that, on the night Siddhartha was conceived, Queen Maya dreamt that a white elephant with six white tusks entered her right side,[web 5] and ten months later Siddhartha was born. As was the Shakya tradition, when his mother Queen Maya became pregnant, she left Kapilvastu for her father’s kingdom to give birth. However, her son is said to have been born on the way, at Lumbini, in a garden beneath a sal tree.
Gautama is said to have developed supramundane abilities including: a painless birth conceived without intercourse; no need for sleep, food, medicine, or bathing, although engaging in such “in conformity with the world”; omniscience, and the ability to “suppress karma”. Nevertheless, some of the more ordinary details of his life have been gathered from these traditional sources. In modern times there has been an attempt to form a secular understanding of Siddhārtha Gautama’s life by omitting the traditional supernatural elements of his early biographies.
Andrew Skilton writes that the Buddha was never historically regarded by Buddhist traditions as being merely human:
It is important to stress that, despite modern Theravada teachings to the contrary (often a sop to skeptical Western pupils), he was never seen as being merely human. For instance, he is often described as having the thirty-two major and eighty minor marks or signs of a mahāpuruṣa, “superman”; the Buddha himself denied that he was either a man or a god; and in the Mahāparinibbāna Sutta he states that he could live for an aeon were he asked to do so.
The day of the Buddha’s birth is widely celebrated in Theravada countries as Vesak. Buddha’s birth anniversary holiday is called “Buddha Poornima” in India as Buddha is believed to have been born on a full moon day.
According to the early Buddhist texts, after realizing that meditative jhana was the right path to awakening, but that extreme asceticism didn’t work, Gautama discovered what Buddhists call the Middle Way—a path of moderation away from the extremes of self-indulgence and self-mortification. In a famous incident, after becoming starved and weakened, he is said to have accepted milk and rice pudding from a village girl named Sujata. Such was his emaciated appearance that she wrongly believed him to be a spirit that had granted her a wish.
According to Buddhism, at the time of his awakening he realized complete insight into the cause of suffering, and the steps necessary to eliminate it. These discoveries became known as the “Four Noble Truths”, which are at the heart of Buddhist teaching. Through mastery of these truths, a state of supreme liberation, or Nirvana, is believed to be possible for any being. The Buddha described Nirvāna as the perfect peace of a mind that’s free from ignorance, greed, hatred and other afflictive states, or “defilements” (kilesas). Nirvana is also regarded as the “end of the world”, in that no personal identity or boundaries of the mind remain. In such a state, a being is said to possess the Ten Characteristics, belonging to every Buddha.
For the remaining 45 years of his life, the Buddha is said to have traveled in the Gangetic Plain, in what is now Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and southern Nepal, teaching a diverse range of people: from nobles to outcaste street sweepers, murderers such as Angulimala, and cannibals such as Alavaka. From the outset, Buddhism was equally open to all races and classes, and had no caste structure, as was the rule for most Hindus in the-then society. Although the Buddha’s language remains unknown, it’s likely that he taught in one or more of a variety of closely related Middle Indo-Aryan dialects, of which Pali may be a standardization.
Mahavira (599-527 BC) was the last Jainist Tirthankara. People call Lord Mahavira by different names such as Vira or Viraprabhu, Sanmati, Vardhamana, Ativira and Gnatputra. When it comes to the values of Jainism, Lord Mahavira deserves a special mention, as he was the one to establish the ethics that are ruling the whole Jain community today.
Lord Mahavira was born at Kundalagrama (Vaishali district) situated close to Besadha Patti, 27 miles from Patna in modern day Bihar, India. His birthday is celebrated as Mahavira Jayanthi every year. He was more popularly known as “Vardhaman”. It is due to the fact that, after Mahavira was born, his family prospered and got loads of wealth. People are of the belief that, when Mahavir Swami was born, he was bathed by Lord Indra with celestial milk. Being the son of King Siddartha, he lived his life like a prince. However, when he turned 30, he left his family and turned into an ascetic. He had around 400,000 followers. At the age of 72, this great personality departed for heaven.
After having left behind the pleasures of worldly life, he went into the state of deep silence for a period of about twelve and half years. During this period, he learnt to control his feelings and desires. For quite a long time, he went without food. His search for truth and the real virtues of life made people call him Mahavira. Mahavira is a Sanskrit word, which is used to refer to a great hero.
The philosophies of Lord Mahavira are based on the sole purpose of improving the quality of life. The basic idea is to attain spiritual excellence by maintaining ethical behavior and following proper code of conduct. Mahavira philosophy primarily consists of metaphysics and ethics. The metaphysics comprise of three main principles, namely, Anekantavada, Syadvada and Karma. The five ethical principles underlying the philosophy of Lord Mahavira are Satya, Ahimsa, Brahmacharya, Asteya, and Aparigraha.
Lord Mahavira had a strong faith in the theory of Karma and he always said that, it is the karma that decides your destiny. Karma means the deeds that you do, which includes both, good as well as bad. The philosophies and teachings of Lord Mahavira are universal truths that are applicable even in the modern world that is plagued by corruption and violence.
He was of the opinion that, in retaliation to anti social elements, if you start behaving aggressive; you will never be able to find any solution. So, it is always better to come to an amicable solution by following the path of non violence. Ultimately, it is Ahimsa that paves way for maintaining harmony. So, if you wish to live your life in a peaceful manner and if tranquility is what you are searching for, then adopt the philosophy of the great personality Lord Mahavira.
Mahavir Swami’s teachings:
- Always speak the truth
- Control over oneself is very important
- There is no point accumulating loads of wealth that you can’t even spend.
- Be honest to all.
- Follow the path of non violence.
- Be compassionate towards living beings.
Tulsidas as a Hindu poet-saint, reformer and philosopher renowned for his devotion to the god Rama. A composer of several popular works, he is best known as the author of the epic Ramcharitmanas, a retelling of the Sanskrit Ramayana in the vernacular Awadhi. Tulsidas was acclaimed in his lifetime to be a reincarnation of Valmiki, the composer of the original Ramayana in Sanskrit. He is also considered to be the composer of the Hanuman Chalisa, a popular devotional hymn dedicated to Hanuman, the divine devotee of Rama. Tulsidas spent most of his life in the city of Varanasi. The Tulsi Ghat in Varnasi is named after him. He founded the Sankatmochan Temple dedicated to Hanuman in Varanasi, believed to stand at the place where he had the sight of Hanuman. Tulsidas started the Ramlila plays, a folk-theatre adaption of the Ramayana. He has been acclaimed as one of the greatest poets in Hindi, Indian, and world literature.
Tulsidas was born on the seventh day of the bright half of the lunar Hindu month Shraavana (July–August). Although as many as seven places are mentioned as his birthplace, most scholars identify the place with Rajapur (Chitrakuta), a village on the banks of the Yamuna river in modern-day Uttar Pradesh. His parents were Hulsi and Atmaram Dubey. Most sources identify him as a Saryupareen Brahmin of the Parashar Gotra (lineage), although some sources claim he was a Kanyakubja or Sanadhya Brahmin.
Tulsidas himself has given only a few facts and hints about events of his life in various works. Till late nineteenth century, the two widely known ancient sources on Tulsidas’ life were the Bhaktamal composed by Nabhadas between 1583 and 1639, and a commentary on Bhaktamal titled Bhaktirasbodhini composed by Priyadas in 1712. Nabhadas was a contemporary of Tulsidas and wrote a six-line stanza on Tulsidas describing him as an incarnation of Valmiki. Priyadas’ work was composed around a hundred years after the death of Tulsidas and had eleven additional stanzas, describing seven miracles or spiritual experiences from the life of Tulsidas. During the 1920s, two more ancient biographies of Tulsidas were published based on old manuscripts – the Mula Gosain Charit composed by Veni Madhav Das in 1630 and the Gosain Charit composed by Dasanidas (also known as Bhavanidas) around 1770. Veni Madhav Das was a disciple and contemporary of Tulsidas and his work gave a new date for Tulsidas’ birth. The work by Bhavanidas presented more narratives in greater detail as compared to the work by Priyadas. In the 1950s a fifth ancient account was published based on an old manuscript, the Gautam Chandrika composed by Krishnadatta Misra of Varanasi in 1624. Krishnadatta Misra’s father was a close companion of Tulsidas.
According to a traditional account, Hanuman went to Valmiki several times to hear him sing the Ramayana, but Valmiki turned down the request saying that Hanuman being a monkey was unworthy of hearing the epic. After the victory of Rama over Ravana, Hanuman went to the Himalayas to continue his worship of Rama. There he scripted a play version of the Ramayana called Mahanataka or Hanuman Nataka engraved on the Himalayan rocks using his nails. When Valmiki saw the play written by Hanuman, he anticipated that the beauty of the Maha Nataka would eclipse his own Ramayana. On Valmiki’s request, Hanuman cast all the rocks into the ocean, some parts of which are available today as Hanuman Nataka. After this, Valmiki was instructed by Hanuman to take birth as Tulsidas and compose the Ramayana in the vernacular.
Tulsidas died at the Assi Ghat on the bank of the river Ganga in the Shraavan (July–August) month of the year Vikram 1680 (1623 CE). Like the year of his birth, traditional accounts and biographers do not agree on the exact date of his death. Different sources give the date as the third day of the bright half, seventh day of the bright half, or the third day of the dark half.
Narsinh Mehta also known as Narsi Mehta or Narsi Bhagat was a poet-saint of Gujarat, India, and a member of the Nagar community, notable as a bhakta, an exponent of Vaishnava poetry. He is especially revered in Gujarati literature, where he is acclaimed as its Adi Kavi (Sanskrit for “first among poets”). His bhajan, Vaishnav Jan To is Mahatma Gandhi’s favorite and has become synonymous to him.
Mehta was born in the ancient town of Talaja and then shifted to Jirndurg now known as Junagadh in the District of Saurashtra, in Vaishnava Nagar community. He lost his mother and his father when he was 5 years old. He could not speak until the age of 8 and after his parents expired his care was taken by his grand mother Jaygauri.
Mehta married Manekbai probably in the year 1429. Mehta and his wife stayed at his brother Bansidhar’s place in Junagadh. However, his cousin’s wife (Sister-in-law or bhabhi) did not welcome Narsinh very well. She was an ill-tempered woman, always taunting and insulting Narsinh mehta for his worship (Bhakti). One day, when Narasinh mehta had enough of these taunts and insults, he left the house and went to a nearby forest in search of some peace, where he fasted and meditated for seven days by a secluded Shiva lingam until Shiva appeared before him in person. On the poet’s request, the Lord took him to Vrindavan and showed him the eternal raas leela of Sri Krishna and the gopis. A legend has it that the poet transfixed by the spectacle burnt his hand with the torch he was holding but he was so engrossed in the ecstatic vision that he was oblivious of the pain. Mehta, as the popular account goes, at Sri Krishna’s command decided to sing His praises and the nectarous experience of the rasa in this mortal world. He resolved to compose around 22,000 kirtans or compositions.
Mehta is a pioneer poet of Gujarati literature. He is known for his literary forms called ” pada (verse) “, ” Aakhyan “, & ” Prabhatiya “. One of the most important features of Mehta’s works is that they are not available in the language in which Narsinh had composed them. They have been largely preserved orally. The oldest available manuscript of his work is dated around 1612, and was found by the noted scholar K.K.Shastri from Gujarat Vidhya Sabha. Because of the immense popularity of his works, their language has undergone modifications with changing times. Mehta wrote many bhajans and Aartis for lord krishna and they are published in many books. The biography of Mehta is also available at Geeta Press.
For the sake of convenience, the works of Mehta are divided into three categories:
Autobiographical compositions: Putra Vivah, Mameru, Hundi, Har Same No Pada, Jhari Na Pada, and compositions depicting acceptance of Harijans. These works deal with the incidents from the poet’s life and reveal how he encountered the Divine in various guises. They consist of ‘miracles’ showing how Narsaiyya’s Lord helped his devotee in the time of crises.
Miscellaneous Narratives: Chaturis, Sudama Charit, Dana Leela, and episodes based on Srimad Bhagwatam. These are the earliest examples of akhyana or narrative type of compositions found in Gujarati. These include:
Chaturis, 52 compositions resembling Jaydeva’s masterpiece Geeta Govinda dealing with various erotic exploits of Radha and Krishna.
Dana Leela poems dealing with the episodes of Krishna collecting his dues (dana is toll, tax or dues) from Gopis who were going to sell buttermilk etc. to Mathura.
Sudama Charit is a narrative describing the well-known story of Krishna and Sudama.
Govinda Gamana or the Departure of Govind relates the episode of Akrura taking away Krishna from Gokul.
Surata Sangrama, The Battle of Love, depicts in terms of a battle the amorous play between Radha and her girl friends on the one side and Krishna and his friends on the other.
Miscellaneous episodes from Bhagwatam like the birth of Krishna, his childhood pranks and adventures.
Songs of Sringar. These are hundreds of padas dealing with the erotic adventures and the amorous exploits of Radha and Krishna like Ras Leela. Various clusters of padas like Rasasahasrapadi and Sringar Mala fall under this head. Their dominant note is erotic (Sringar). They deal with stock erotic situations like the ossified Nayaka-Nayika Bheda of classical Sanskrit Kavya poetics.
See Vaishnav jan to, his popular composition.
Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was a social reformer in eastern India (specifically present-day Bangladesh and states of West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand, Manipur, Assam, and Odisha of India) in the 16th century, worshipped by followers of Gaudiya Vaishnavism as the full incarnation of Lord Krishna. Sri Krishna Chaitanya was a notable proponent for the Vaishnava school of Bhakti yoga (meaning loving devotion to Krishna), based on the philosophy of the Bhagavata Purana and Bhagavad Gita. Specifically, he worshipped the forms of Krishna, popularised the chanting of the Hare Krishna maha mantra and composed the Siksastakam (eight devotional prayers) in Sanskrit. His line of followers, known as Gaudiya Vaishnavas, revere him as an Avatar of Krishna in the mood of Radharani who was prophesied to appear in the later verses of the Bhagavata Purana.
Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is revered by devotees as an incarnation of Krishna and Radharani as avatars of the Parmatma, or Supreme Godhead. He was born in a Bengali Hindu family .According to Chaitanya Charitamrita, Nimäi was born on the full moon night of 18 February 1486, at the time of a lunar eclipse. His parents named him ‘Vishvambhar’. Sri Chaitanya was the second son of Jagannath Mishra and his wife Sachi Devi who lived in the town of Nabadwip in Nadia, West Bengal. Chaitanya’s ancestry is a contentious issue between the people of Odisha and West Bengal with Shree Chaitanya having family roots in Jajpur, Odisha, from where his grandfather, Madhukar Mishra had emigrated to nearby Bengal.
In his youth, Chaitanya Mahäprabhu was primarily known as an erudite scholar, whose learning and skills in argumentation in his locality were second to none. Kashinath Mukhopadhyay was his private tutor during those days. A number of stories also exist telling of Chaitanya’s apparent attraction to the chanting and singing of Krishna’s names from a very young age, but largely this was perceived as being secondary to his interest in acquiring knowledge and studying Sanskrit. When travelling to Gaya to perform the shraddha ceremony for his departed father Chaitanya met his guru, the ascetic Ishvara Puri, from whom he received initiation with the Gopala Krishna mantra. This meeting was to mark a significant change in Mahäprabhu’s outlook and upon his return to Bengal the local Vaishnavas, headed by Advaita Ächärya, were stunned at his external sudden ‘change of heart’ (from ‘scholar’ to ‘devotee’) and soon Chaitanya became the eminent leader of their Vaishnava group within Nadia.
After leaving Bengal and receiving entrance into the sannyasa order by Keshava Bharati, Chaitanya journeyed throughout the length and breadth of India for several years, chanting the divine Names of Krishna constantly. He spent the last 24 years of his life in Puri, Odisha, the great temple city of Jagannäth. The Suryavanshi Hindu emperor of Odisha, Gajapati Maharaja Prataparudra Dev, regarded the Lord as Krishna’s incarnation and was an enthusiastic patron and devotee of Chaitanya’s sankeertan party. It was during these years that Lord Chaitanya is believed by His followers to have sank deep into various Divine-Love (samādhi) and performed pastimes of divine ecstasy (bhakti).
He was also sometimes referred to by the names Gaura (Sanskrit for ‘golden’), due to his fair complexion, and Nimai due to his being born underneath a Neem tree. There are numerous biographies available from the time giving details of Chaitanya’s life, the most prominent ones being the Chaitanya Charitamrita of Krishnadasa Kaviraja Goswami, the earlier Chaitanya Bhagavata of Vrindavana Dasa (both originally written in Bengali but now widely available in English and other languages), and the Chaitanya Mangala, written by Lochana Dasa. These works are in Bengali with some Sanskrit verses interspersed. In addition to these there are other Sanskrit biographies composed by his contemporaries. Chief among them are the literary masterpiece, Sri Chaitanya Charitamritam Mahakavyam (written in 20 sargas and 1911 shlokas) by Kavi Karnapura and Sri Krishna Chaitanya Charitamritam by Murari Gupta.
From the very beginning of Chaitanya’s bhakti movement in Bengal, Haridasa Thakur and others Muslim or Hindu by birth were the participants. This openness received a boost from Bhaktivinoda Thakura’s broad-minded vision in the late 19th century and was institutionalised by Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati in his Gaudiya Matha in the 20th century. In the 20th century the teachings of Chaitanya were brought to the West by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, a representative of Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura branch of Chaitanya’s tradition. Bhaktivedanta Swami founded his movement known as The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) to spread Chaitanya’s teachings throughout the world. Saraswata gurus and acharyas, members of the Goswami lineages and several other Hindu sects which revere Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, including devotees from the major Vaishnava holy places in Mathura District, West Bengal and Odisha, also established temples dedicated to Krishna and Chaitanya outside India in the closing decades of the 20th century. In the 21st century Vaishnava bhakti is now also being studied through the academic medium of Krishnology in a number of academic institutions.
Chandra Swami was born on March 5th, 1930. His mother had a strong spiritual inclination. Right from the beginning, he had a very deep love and attraction for Baba Bhuman Shahji (1687-1747) and he later recognised him as his master. He also had a deep devotion and reverence for another great sage, Baba Shri Chanderji, who was one of the main exponents of the Udasin order.
As a child, Suraj Prakash used to have mystical experiences and visions of various saints unknown to him. He also had clairvoyant powers and knowledge of future events. In 1947, he was initiated into the Udasin order by Mahant Girdhari Dassji and his name was changed to Chandra Prakash. In 1951, he received his B.Sc. in Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics from a college in Dehradun, northern India. In 1952, while studying for a Master’s Degree, the urge for God-realisation was so strong that he abandoned his studies and all worldly ties and left for Haridwar. He grew his hair long and started wearing white clothes. He meditated two hours in the early morning and two hours in the evening and read Vedantic scriptures, like books by Swami Ram Tirth and Swami Vivekananda.
He was initiated into the Udasin Panth by Mahant Girdhari Dass and his name was changed to ‘Chandra Prakash’. The urge for God-realisation was so strong that he abandoned his post-graduate studies at the age of twenty-one and renounced all worldly ties. While in Haridwar in 1952, Chandra Prakash was initiated into sannyasa by a great contemporary sage of the Udasin Panth, Swami Krishna Das, who changed his name to ‘Chandra Swami’. While in Haridwar, he met Swami Krishna Dassji, a sage with a rare love for Divine wisdom. Chandra Prakash was so impressed by his purity, simplicity and intense sadhana (spiritual practice) that only after staying with him several days, he asked the swami for the robe of a monk. The swami gave him these clothes and advised him to strictly observe the rules of a monk and follow in the footsteps of Baba Bhuman Shahji. From then on, he was addressed as Chandra Swami.
From there, he set out on foot to travel in the Himalayas and have the darshan (spiritual presence) of various saints. Later, he travelled to the northern states of Jammu and Kashmir, where he spent time in solitude, living in caves and small huts. This was a period of intense sadhana dedicated exclusively to God-seeking, which included prayer, breathing exercises, meditation, reading of scriptures and worship. During this period, he had numerous visions of great sages and saints, including Ramana Maharshi, Sri Aurobindo, Guru Nanak Devji and Baba Shri Chanderji.
One day, he had the vision of Rishi Sanat Kumar, who initiated him with a mantra (sacred phrase) and instructed him to recite it with a particular technique for a specific number of times. He devoted more than eight hours every night to the practice of the mantra and gave up all other spiritual exercises. This intense practice ended after three years. He then went back to his sadhana, and he again started having visions of various sages. Then, gradually all of this stopped. Everything was replaced by an ever expanding joy which filled his being more and more. Finally, the immutable, eternal Atman was realised as his essential nature and true Being. He was 29 years old at the time. In 1961, he left Kashmir and went to live near Haridwar. He built several huts along the Ganges, in a forest nearby the town. Over the next four years, his realisation of the Self expanded to include the whole manifestation. Finally, he had the ultimate and integral realisation of the Divine at the age of 35.
He spent half of the year in complete silence and isolation, and during the other half, he made himself available for darshan and satsang for one hour in the afternoons. Many seekers came to him for spiritual guidance. In 1970, at the request of his devotees, he moved to Sewak-Niwas, a small ashram constructed for him by his disciples in Haridwar. Swamiji has been in silence since 1976.
In the late 1980’s, the area around Sewak-Niwas was becoming too crowded and commercialised, so in 1990 the ashram was shifted to Sadhana Kendra Ashram in the remote Himalayan foothills near Dehradun, along the banks of the Yamuna river.
He had so many talents in himself, that it is not easy to explain his contribution to the Indian culture in a single sentence. He was a poet, an intellectual, a spiritual leader, a master of yoga and an Enlightened One. As we move on further with Gyaneshwar Biography, you will be able to see the many facets of his personality more clearly.
This time the divine came in the form of Sant Shri Gyaneshwar. In the year 1275, he was born in Aape village, in the district of Ahmadnagar in Maharashtra on 8th in the month of Bhadarwa (Gujarati Month). His father was Vitthalpant and mother’s name was Rukmanibai. His father was a spiritual and a devotee of Swami Ramanand.
On the blessings of Swami Ramanand, Rukmanibai gave birth of four children named Shopannath, Nivruttinath, Gyaneshwar and a daughter Muktabai. At that time, there was too much orthodoxy in society. Due to this, father and mother of Gyaneshwar had to accept death plunging in to river (taken Jal Samadhi).
So, all the four children became orphans right from their childhood. Here it comes a law of Karma. But what to say when they all are pious souls. They came on earth due to some divine reasons. Sant Shri Gyaneshwar was a great saint and a spiritual poet.
At the age of fifteen, he received the bliss of divine by attaining liberation, enlightenment. He wrote a Gyaneshwari Gita, a poetry that describes Bhagwad Gita in easy form in Marathi language. It took two years to write him. While writing, his Kundalini Shakti awakened. He also wrote’ Amrutanubhav’, ‘Changdevpasti’,’ Yogvashist Tika’ and ‘Hari Path’.
It happened that at that time, there was a saint named Changdev, a 1400 years old yogi, who due to his hard yogic practice became famous all around India. Unfortunately he was unaware of Gyaneshwar. He had achieved many yogic powers. But due to his ego, he could not achieve liberation. He was so much egoistic that he couldn’t believe that such a small child can be a great saint.
Gyaneshwar made a composition on Bhagavad Gita called Gyaneshwari. Till date it is the most popular book in Marathi on Bhagavad Gita. They then came back to Paithan and stayed there. There was a person called Changadev who was a Yogi, he was 1000 years old. He would walk on water, fly in the sky, get inside fire and come out without getting burnt. One day he got a new siddhi and started making dead people come alive. The whole village got to know about this and every one in Paithan and nearby villages started bringing everyone who was dead to Changadev and he made them come alive. However Changadev did not like Gyaneshwar and would ask the people in the village what was there with Gyaneshwar and why so many people went to meet him and listened to the abhangs and his discourses. The news reached Gyaneshwar but he dint bother about it. Muktha Bai his kid sister did not like this and she wanted to teach Changadev a lesson. Muktha then went to Chagadev’s ashram and there were a lot of people waiting outside for the Yogi with a dead body next to them. When they saw the 5 year old Muktha they asked her to go away fearing that she would be frightened seeing the dead bodies. Muktha asked them why they were waiting outside and they said that they were waiting for Changadev to come and wake the dead bodies. Hearing this, the little girl said that she could also wake them up. They then told her that she would get frightened on seeing them and asked her to leave. She then ran towards the dead body and said “Vitthala Vitthala” on it ears and then ran away. The dead body immediately woke up and started jumping and chanting “Vitthala Vitthala”. Hearing this noise Changadev came outside. He then enquired what happened and the people who were waiting for him told him what happened. He then asked them if they knew who that kid was and they said that it was Gyaneshwar’s kid sister. Changdev was shocked and surprised listening to this. He then wanted to meet Gyaneshwar and came to meet him sitting on a tiger. Seeing this, the villagers panicked and ran to tell this news to Gyaneshwar. Gyaneshwar was then fixing the compound wall in his house; he sat on the wall and asked the wall to move towards Changadev. The wall immediately started moving and now villagers were surprised. When Changadev saw this he was astonished. He immediately got down prostrated to Gyaneshwar and came to him. Gyaneshwar then told him that these siddhis are not useful to attain god and that they only take one in the wrong direction. Changadev immediately realised what he was saying and asked Gyaneshwar to show him the correct path. Gyaneshwar then asked Muktha to show him the right path. Muktha Bai then told him that listening to the stories of god, singing the praise of god is the only way to attain god. Changadev then prostrated both Muktha and Gyaneshwar and went to Pandharpur to live like true bhaktha. From that day he never used any of the siddhis that he had gained. He stayed in Pandhari along with Sant Namdev and spent the rest of his life singing bhajans and kirthans and listening to pravachans.
After having composed Amrutanubhava, Gyaneshwar made a pilgrimage to northern India with Namdev and other saints. After completing this pilgrimage he expressed his intention to enter into a state of Samadhi because he felt that the mission of his life was complete. It is widely propagated that at the age of 21 on 13th day of the second half of Kartik in Shaka 1218, Gyaneshwar entered into a permanent state of Sanjeevan Samadhi at Alandi in Maharashtra, India.
An account of this incident is described by the contemporary Saint Namdev in a set of Abhangas named as Samadheeche Abhanga (translation: Abhangas of Samadhi).
Ramdas was one of the greatest saints of the world. He was the inspirer of Shivaji. He was born of Suryaji Panth and Renuka Bai in Jamb, Maharashtra, in 1608 A.D. His original name was Narain.
Ramdas was a contemporary of Sant Tukaram. He was a great devotee of Hanuman and Lord Rama. He had Darshan of Lord Rama even when he was a boy. Lord Rama Himself initiated him.
As a boy, Ramdas acquired some knowledge of the Hindu scriptures and developed a liking for meditation and religious study. One day he shut himself in a room and began to meditate on God. When his mother asked him what he was doing, Ramdas replied that he was meditating and praying for the good of the world. His mother was surprised at the precocious religious inclination of the boy and felt happy.
When Ramdas was twelve years of age, all arrangements were made for his marriage. He sat in front of the bride. There was a screen between the bridegroom and the bride. When the priests chanted “Sawadhan!’ (be alert), Ramdas bolted away from the place and disappeared within the twinkling of an eye.
For twelve years Ramdas stayed at Nasik on the banks of the Godavari. He used to get up very early in the morning, go into the Godavari river, and with his body half-immersed in water, recite the sacred Gayatri Mantra till about noon. Then he would go round for alms. He first offered the collected food to his Deity Sri Rama and then took it as Prasad. After resting a while, he used to attend religious discourses in the various temples of Nasik and Panchavati. Ramdas also studied Sanskrit and copied in his own hand the Ramayana of Valmiki. This manuscript is still preserved in the collection of Sri S.S. Dev of Dhubliah.
Ramdas did Purascharana of the Rama Mantra of thirteen letters Sri Ram Jaya Ram Jaya Jaya Ram thirteen lakhs of times at Tafali, near Nasik, on the banks of the Godavari. After the Purascharana was over, once again Ramdas had Darshan of Lord Rama. It is said that Ramachandra ordered Ramdas to visit holy places such as Nasik, Haridwar, Kasi, etc.
Ramdas sprinkled over a dead body holy water uttering the name of Rama and the dead body was restored to life. Ramdas had to do this, because he had blessed a woman who had just lost her husband.
Ramdas was an Advaitin and a Bhakta in one. He had this very noble quality that he never hated any religion or nation. His main object was to spread the Hindu religion throughout India.
Ramdas had not visited Pandharpur, as he had not known the existence of this holy place. One day, the tradition says, Lord Panduranga Vittal, in the form of a Brahmin, with a batch of three hundred pilgrims, appeared before Ramdas and asked him whether he had any objection to see Lord Krishna. Ramdas replied in the negative. Panduranga then took Ramdas to Pandharpur, and when the Bhaktas approached the temple, the Brahmin disappeared. Ramdas then knew that it was none other than the Lord that had brought him to that holy place. He entered the temple, and to his great surprise, found Sri Rama standing alone on a brick.
Ramdas addressed the Deity thus: “O Lord, what are You doing here alone? Where is Your brother Lakshmana and Your consort Sita Mata? Where is Maruti and where are the monkey hordes?”. On hearing these words, the image at once transformed itself into Sri Pandarinath. Ramdas then praised Panduranga for His kindness, prostrated before Him and sang songs of joy for getting His rare Darshan.
In Pandharpur, Ramdas came in contact with Tukaram and other saints of Pandharpur. In his pilgrimages, Ramdas observed and studied the social, political and economic conditions of Indians and their utter helplessness in life. Ramdas came to the Krishna and went about preaching from Mahabaleshwar to Kolhapur. He established eleven principal seats of Maruti which emphasized the importance of physical development. He installed the shrines of Sri Ramachandra at Champavati and introduced Sri Rama Navami Mahotsava and the procession of Sri Rama’s chariot. It was at the place called Singanvadi that Shivaji became the disciple of Ramdas.
Shivaji placed the sandals of his Guru on the throne and acted as regent of the kingdom under the orders and guidance of his Guru and adopted as ensign the flag of orange colour. There is a beautiful and romantic incident current in the Maharashtra country about Shivaji’s adoption of the Gerua flag and his ruling the kingdom in the name of Saint Ramdas.
Ramdas spent several years in visiting holy places of pilgrimage. He erected several Hanuman temples in Maharashtra. When he returned from his pilgrimage, somebody told Ramdas that his mother was pining for him, and that she had lost her eyesight on account of extreme sorrow arising out of his separation. Ramdas immediately went to see his mother. He made prostrations to his mother. His mother was exceedingly pleased to meet her son after an absence of many years. Ramdas touched the eyes of his mother. She got back her lost eyesight through the Yogic power of her son.
Ramdas’s ways were very peculiar. He appeared to the outside world as a mad man. He had a small bow. He used to have, by his side, a large number of stones with which he pelted every object he saw. To men really interested in his teachings, he gave the Mantra Sri Ram Jaya Ram Jaya Jaya Ram.
Ramdas had eleven hundred disciples, of whom three hundred were women. The women disciples were also expert preachers and were virtuous. Ramdas sent his disciples to all parts of India to spread the Hindu religion. His disciples and Mutts in the North directly or indirectly helped Shivaji and his work. Ramdas’s organisation in the South, round about Thanjavur, helped Shivaji’s son Rajaram to go to Jinji and carry on the Twenty Years’ War with Aurangazeb. When Ramdas visited Thanjavur, Venkoji, who was the step-brother of Shivaji, became his disciple. Ramdas appointed Bhimaswami, his direct disciple, as the Mahant of the Thanjavur Mutt.
The literary works of Ramdas such as Dasabodh, Manache Shlok (verse addressed to the mind), Karunashtakas (hymns to God) and Ramayana (describing only the conquest of Lanka by Sri Rama and the vanquishing of Ravana) are very popular. It was as a tribute to Ramdas’s extraordinary patience and determination in rehabilitating the Hindu religion in India that people named him Samartha (all-powerful) Ramdas, a name which he richly deserved. This great Guru of Maharashtra breathed his last in 1682 at Sajjangad, near Satara, a fortress which was given to him by Shivaji for his residence.
Ramdas repeated the Rama Mantra with his last breath. At the time of his departure from the world, a dazzling light emanated from his body and Ramdas was absorbed in the image of Lord Rama.
Shri Vasudevanand Saraswati (1854–1914), also known as Tembe Swami is a saint, who is regarded as an incarnation of Lord Dattatreya.
His parents were devotees of Lord Dattatreya, his father Shri Ganesh Bhatt Tembe spending years together in the remote Ganagapur temple of the Lord in Karnataka. His mother Ramabai also used to spend her time in religious pursuits like jap (recitation of mantras), pradakshina, path, atithisatkar (hospitality) etc. After a particularly long stay in Ganagapur, Lord Dattatreya appeared in a dream and instructed Shri Ganesh Bhataji to return to Mangaon and lead the life of a householder (grihastha), promising to incarnate as their son. It was after his return from Ganagapur that his eldest son Vasudeo was born on Shravan Vadya 5, Shalivahan Shaka 1776, 26 ghatika after sunrise at Mangaon, near Sawantvadi, Maharashtra.
At the age of three years Vasudeo started attending the private school held in the Yakshini temple in the village. He had to learn writing with his fingers on a layer of dust, a very tiring and painful practice. Apart from the secular education in the school, Vasudeo also received traditional oral education from his grandpa Hari Bhataji. With his sharp intellect and quick memory Vasudeo soon mastered the basics of Sanskrit grammar and poetry.
In 1875 he was married to Bayo, later renamed Annapurnabai, daughter of Babajipant Gode from Ranjangad at the age of 21 years.
He established Shri Datta Mandir in Mangaon in 1883. The construction of the sanctum was carried out with his own hands. The Datta murti in the temple was given to him by a sculptor at Kagal, who said that Lord Dattatreya had appeared in his dreams and ordered him to make the idol for Maharaj as per his specifications.
He was an expert Sanskrit scholar right from his childhood. He traversed the country for 23 years following strictly the harsh discipline of the Sanyas Ashram. All people had equal access to him. There was no discrimination inspite of his personal strict code of purity. People of all castes were the recipients of his grace and he was very sensitive and listened sympathetically to their sorrows and grievances and provided counsel which if followed would remove or relieve their sufferings. His fame increased over the years and he became Vasudevanand Saraswati after visiting Narasoba Wadi, one of the famous Dattatreya temple where Shri Narasimha Saraswati stayed for 12 years, 500 years ago.
He has authored around 19 books like Dwisahastri Gurucharitra(1889), Datta Puran(1892), Datta Mahatmya(1901), Saptashati Gurucharitra Saar(1904) and many more.
The holy book Shri GuruCharitra was not supposed to be read by women according to Maharaj. Hence, for women to gain knowledge of the book, he wrote The Saptashati Gurucharitra Saar, a short version of the Gurucharitra.
He took sanyas 13 days after his wife’s death in 1891, at the banks of the River Godavari when a sanyasi appeared from across the river and administered the vows of sanyas. Later, he was given the ‘dand’ (monastic sceptre) by Shri Narayanand Saraswati at Ujjaini.
Rang Avadhoot Maharaj
Pujya Shree Rang Avadhoot Maharaj (Panduranga Vitthala Valame) or well known as Pujya Bapji – descent on November, 21, 1898, Kartika Sukla 9, V.S. 1955 – Birth place, Godhra, Gujarat, India. With bright student careerIndian Independence movement. Snataka (Graduate) – served for a short period as a teacher – participate joined d actively in social and political activities – left all these and went to Nareshwar, Gujarat, India in the year 1925 on the bank of the Holy River Narmada for penance and realised the ultimate truth to live in tune with Infinity.
Pujya Bapji stayed with holy mother, Rukmamba, guided many on spiritual path, wrote many works, inspired many for social and religious activities, and removed miseries of all types, such as physical, mental, spiritual. He did these by his spiritual powers. (Duva-Benediction). He heavily stressed upon Indian culture, and believed in practice. He did not accept any gift or money.
Pujya Bapji left the world bodily on November, 19, 1968 (Kartika Krsna 30) at Haradvara, UP, India on the bank of the Holy River Ganges. The body was brought to Nareshwar and cremated on November, 21, 1968.
Garib Dass ji
Garib Dass ji
India is the land of great Saints, Gurus (spiritual leaders) that showed the way of spiritual trusts to the rest of the world through simple words and vivid stories. One such soul, Great Guru Shri Satguru Garib Dass ji took birth in samvat 1774 (1717AD) in a well known family of Jats, now living in Chhudani Dham, Distt: Jhajjar, which has migrated from Karontha before birth of Baba Garib Das ji Maharaj. A Kashatriya Jat Hardev Singh & his wife Dayali Devi lived in this village named karontha.They had a son Shri Balram Singh. At that time in Chhudani, lived a rich farmer who had a daughter named Rani. He offered the hand of his daughter Rani to Balram Singh. And asked his son-in-law to come and live with him in Chhudani as he has no one to look after his vast property.
Shri Balram Singh & Shri Rani Devi did not have any child for 12 long years. Then one day, a Yogi comes to their village. On the request of Rani’s father, Yogi told them that his son-in-law and daughter are not ordinary people. They were great tapasvi’s in their last birth because of which a great soul will be born in their house. He shall be the living image of Kabir Sahib.
After ten months, a son was born to Rani Devi. The child was loved by everyone. It is said that, three months before the birth of shri Garib das ji, one day, Rani Devi was going to the well to fetch some water, two saints came near her and touched her feet. When she asked them why they had treated her like that, the saints said that they had paid respect to the great soul who was to be born in their house.
At a very young age, when other kids of his age are busy playing. He used to sit on a raised platform and delivers preaching’s like “Do not Steel”,” Do not abuse”, Respect your parents” etc .He was very fond of religious songs of Kabir sahib, Guru Nanak & Dadu and sung them in a very melodious strain.
Acharya Garib Dass felt, from his childhood, a passionate yearning for the vision of God. In various ways he tasted the bliss of communion with God, sometimes merging himself totally with creator.
Garibdas Ji met God Kabir Ji at age of 10 years in a field named Nalaa in 1727 A.D. Satguru Kabir Ji also met Garibdas Ji in an embodied Jinda(real) form. Garibdas Ji along with his other fellow milkmen was tending his grazing cattle in his Nalaa field which is sticking to the boundary of Village Kablana. The milkmen requested Kabir sahib who had appeared in the form of a Mahatma that if you are not going to have food, then have milk because God had said that I have come after having food from my Satlok village. At that moment, God Kabir Ji said that I drink milk of an unmarried cow. Garibdas Ji brought an unmarried cow to Parmeshwar Kabir Ji and said that Babaji, how can this unmarried cow give milk? Then Kabir Sahibji patted on the back of that unmarried calf, automatically milk started flowing from the udders of the unmarried calf and stopped when the pot became full. Satguru Kabir Ji drank that milk and made his child Garibdas Ji drink some as prasaad (blessed drink), and showed him Satlok.
Acharya Garib Dass Ji had extra ordinary vision right from the birth and people could feel that this boy will lead the world from utter darkness to spiritual enlightenment. He was a deeply religious person concerned about the welfare of ignorant people. He preached that God has many names. So has he numerous qualities and attributes. He did not give up the rich heritage of Indian Philosophy. He gave a fine and hog order Gurbani which consists of some 7000 verses of the celebrated Kabir, followed by 17000 of his own which laid stress on rightful living, compiled as Guru Granth which has become a beacon of light for the direction less society today. This baani is written by Saint Gopal Das ji form Rajasthan after getting permission from Baba Garib Das ji.
Baba Garib das was deeply attached to the Kabir’s Baani. He mentions Kabir as his Satguru (Real Teacher).In his wordings he refers kabir as:
गरीब ऐसा सतगुरु हम मिल्या ,सुरति सिन्धु के तीर |
सब संतन सिरताज है ,सतगुरु अदल कबीर ||
Acharya shri Garib Das ji was married to Mohini daughter of Chaudhary Nayader Singh of Barona and gave birth to four sons and two daughters. The names of their sons were Shri Jait Ram, Shri Turti Ram, Shri Angad Rai and Shri Asa Ram. And daughters name were Dil Kaur and Gyan Kaur & all were very religious. His devotion and bhakti continued to be sustained ever after his responsibilities as householder.
Like Kabir Sahib, Baba Garib das made sakhis which reveals his thoughts
Acharya Shri Garib Das ji composed Aarti in the praise of infinite God. Garib das ji had following Aartis in his Baani:
शिव की आरती ,अन्न देव की आरती , आदि माया की आरती , संध्या आरती.
Sandhia Aarti is being sung at the time of evening prayers by Garib dassi sampraday in Haryana, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, UP, Gujrat, & Rajasthan.
नूर की आरती नूर कै छाजै ,नूर के ताल पखावज बाजै |
नूरके गायन नूर कूं गावै ,नूर सुनैं ते बहुर न आवै ||
नूर की बानी बोले नूर ,झिलमिलनूर रहा भरपूर |
नूर कबीरा नूर ही भावै, नूर के कहै परमपद पावै ||
He thinks of mankind not as Hindu or Muslim but as a one loving soul of that almighty God. He preached unity and cultured understanding between the Hindis and Islamism, between the rich and the poor. Poetry of Garib Das had helped in the development of Kabir Panth. He is considered seriously as the national poet of Haryana. Baba Garib das ji went to his Satlok Dham in samvat 1835 (1778 AD), and over his remains a Samadhi was erected.
Dadu Dayal Ji
Dadu Dayal (1544–1603) was a sant from Gujarat, India. “Dadu” means brother, and “Dayal” means “the compassionate one”.Dadu Dayal ji Maharaj was found by an affluent business man floating on the river Sabarmati. He later moved to Amber (city), near Jaipur Rajasthan, where he preached his teachings.
He gathered around himself a group of followers, which became known as the Dadu-panth. This organization has continued in Rajasthan to the present-day, and has been a major source of early manuscripts containing songs by the North Indian saints.
Dadu alludes to the bliss of Sahaja in his songs. Much of the imagery used in his songs is similar to that used by Kabir, and similar also to that used by the earlier Sahajiya Buddhists and Nath yogis.Dadu’s compositions were recorded by his disciple Rajjab and are known as the Dadu Anubhav Vaani, a compilation of 5,000 verses. Another disciple, Janagopal, wrote the earliest biography of Dadu.
Dadu ji had 100 disciples that followed his teachings and attained salvation. He instructed an additional 52 disciples to set up ashrams, ‘Thambas’ around the region to spread the Lord’s word. Dadu ji spent the latter years of his life in Narayana, a small distance away from the town of Dudu, near Jaipur city.
Five thambas are considered sacred by the followers, namely, Narayana, Bhairanaji, Sambhar, Amer, and Karadala (Kalyanpura). Followers of these thambas then spread and set up other places of worship.
Shri Dadu Dham Bhairana, which lies in the secluded hilly tract of Bichoon district in the Jaipur division of Rajasthan, has become a sacred place of pilgrimage for lakhs of devotees of Saint Dadu Dayal Ji Maharaj from Haryana. The devotees come from Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra and other parts of the country. They hold the place in reverence. The remaining part of the story relating to the eternal importance of Bhairana in the life of Daduji Maharaj can now be told.
The ancient Bhairana hill, which is situated amidst exquisite natural surroundings, has been the hermitage of many saints and seers since times immemorial. It is said that at the pressing solicitations of Uddhava Bhagat, a prominent resident of Bhairana, on one occasion Daduji Maharaj himself made a brief visit to Bhairana during which time he intuitively and instantly realised the spirit of the adorable sanctity of this ancient abode of saints. Later at the time of his departure from the world in 1603, Daduji instructed his disciple-saints at Naraina thus: “After my demise, take my body to the Bhairana hill and then leave it there at the spot in its deep gorge. Hence forward, it shall be known as our sanctum-sanctorum and it shall continue to be a place of worship for saints and sadhus for all times to come in the future as well.”
Accordingly, when Dadu Ji Maharaj breathed his last on in 1603, his body was taken in a palanquin from Naraina to Bhairana and placed there in its gorge by thousands of his disciple-saints. When they were engaged in a discussion regarding the last rites to be performed, a supernatural incident is said to have occurred all of a sudden. Tila Ji, a disciple-saint of Dadu Ji Maharaj, saw his guru standing at the gate of a cave near the hilltop. He brought it to the notice of others too. Instantly Daduji Maharaj spoke “Satya Ram” to all and then vanished into the cave. According to the legend and tradition, the palanquin also disappeared and only some flowers were left there. The devotees had to remain contented with performing the last rites with those flowers at that site where now stands a large memorial, which is sacred to the Dadu-panthis.
Sant Namdev (29 October, 1270 – 1350) is a poet-saint from the Varkari sect of Hinduism. He is also venerated in Sikhism.
He was born on October 29, 1270 in the state of Maharashtra village of Narasi-Bamani, in Hingoli district (presently called Narsi Namdev). His father, a calico printer/tailor (Bhavsar), was named Damshet and his mother’s name was Gonai / Gonabai. Most of the spiritual messages of Namdev emphasized the importance of living the life of a householder and that through marriage and having a family, one could attain Moksha.
Saint Namdev, a contemporary saint-poet of Saint Dnyaneshwar, is considered a prominent religious poet of Maharashtra. He was one of the earliest writers who wrote in the Marathi language. He is the foremost proponent of the Bhagwad-Dharma who reached beyond Maharashtra, right into Punjab. He also wrote some hymns in Hindi and Punjabi. His depth of devotion and talent in delivering Kirtan was of such a high standard that it is said even the Lord Pandurang swayed to his tune. Despite being a proponent of the Warkari sect, Saint Namdev established religious unity across the country.
Saint Namdeo was born in the year 1270 in the village of Narasi-Bamani, now located in the Hingoli District in Maharashtra. He was born to a tailor named Damasheti Relekar and his wife Gonai. Yadusheth, his ancestor in the seventh generation, was a devotee of Bhagawad-Dharma. Soon after his birth, his family moved to Pandharpur, where the prominent temple of Lord Vitthal (also called Vithoba) is located. Saint Namdev’s spent the better part of his life, spanning eighty years, at Pandharpur. His parents were devotees of Vithoba.
Namdev showed little interest in the family profession. Even as a child his devotion to Lord Vitthal was extraordinary – his sole occupation was to spend day and night in devotion to Vithoba. His devotion was so sincere that sometimes he would consider Vithoba to be his dearest brother or his play mate. According to a legend, when Namdev was five years old, his mother once gave him some food offerings for Vithoba and asked him to give it to Vithoba in the Pandharpur temple. Namdev took the offerings and placed it before Vithoba’s idol in the temple, asking Vithoba to accept the offerings. When he saw that his request was not being met, he told Vithoba that he would kill himself if Vithoba continued to ignore the offerings. Vithoba then appeared before him and ate the offerings in response to the utter devotion of young Namdev.
At the age of eleven, Namdev was married to Rajai. Namdev and Rajai had four sons namely Nara, Vitha, Gonda, Mahada and a daughter called Limbai. His elder sister, Aubai also lived with them. There were in all fifteen people in the household.
The year 1291 was a turning point in his life at the age of twenty-one when he met Saint Jnaneshwar. Several records in various saint literatures have been found to the following event :-
Once, all the Saints like Dnyaneshwar, Nivruttinath, Sopandev, Muktabai, Namdeo, Chokhamela, Visoba Khechar, etc. had congregated at Saint Goroba’s house in Terdhoki. As instructed by Saint Dnyaneshwar, Saint Goroba tapped each saint’s pot (head) to find out who was spiritually mature. The reference to the pot being tapped is because Saint Goroba was a potter and him being selected for the test shows his own spiritual maturity. On testing Namdev, Saint Goroba expressed his opinion that Namdev was still immature, which was backed by Saint Muktabai. Miffed by this, Namdev complained to the Lord himself. But the Lord advised him to accept the guidance of Visoba Khechar and Namdev acquired a Guru. He accepted Visoba Khechar as his guru, through whom he actually saw the form of God.
Namdev’s Kirtans have references to many holy books. This shows that he was well read and a great scholar. His Kirtans were so effective that it is said –
Namdev Kirtan kari, pudhe nache dev Panduranga (Namdev delivers his kirtan, in front of him dances the Lord Pandurang)
His goal in life was –
Nachu Kirtanache rangi, Dnyandeep lavu jagi (Will dance to the tune of Kirtan, light the lamp of knowledge the world over)
He died in July, 1350 at the age of 80 in Pandharpur at the feet of the Lord at Pandharpur. He preferred to be a stepping stone at the temple in Pandharpur so that he would be forever blessed by the touch of innumerable saints and devotees stepping on him into the temple.
गोबिंद गोबिंद गोबिंद संगि नामदेउ मनु लीणा ॥ आढ दाम को छीपरो होइओ लाखीणा
Gobindh Gobindh Gobindh Sang Namadhaeo Man Lena Aadt Dhaam Ko Shheparo Hoeiou Lakhena.
Nimbarka is known for propagating the Vaishnava Theology of Dvaitadvaita, duality in unity. According to scholars headed by Prof. Roma Bose, he lived in the 13th Century, on the assumption that Shri Nimbarkacharya was the author of the work Madhvamukhamardana. According to Nimbārka Sampradāya however, Śrī Nimbārkācārya appeared over 5000 years ago, in the year 3096 BCE at the time when the grandson of Arjuna was on the throne. He hailed from the present-day Andhra Pradesh, in South India.
Shri Nimbarkacharya is believed to be the incarnation of the Sudarshana Chakra (the Discus weapon of Krishna), Shri Sakhi Ranga Devi, Shri Tosha Sakha, a cow named Ghusara, a stick for herding cows, the luster of the limbs of Radha, and the nose ring of Radha. In the Naimiṣa Kaṇḍa of the Bhavishya Purana the following is recorded:
At the end of Tretā Yuga, the Brāhmaṇas, being afraid of the Asuras, prayed to Lord Hari. They also prayed to Brahmā who himself prayed to Lord Hari again. Then the Lord summoned his own Sudarśana Cakra -a part of Himself- and commanded him to descend on earth to revive and teach the Vaiṣṇava Dharma which was waning and which he could learn from Nārada, and spread it all around.
The incarnation of the Sudarśana Cakra occurred, according to the Bhaviṣya Purāṇa in the month of Kārtika on the evening of the full moon in the year 3096 BCE. His mother, Jayanti and father, Aruṇa were Tailanga Brāhmaṇas, who resided on the banks of the river Godavari at a place known as Telinga, the modern Vaidurya Pattanam in Andhra Pradesh. He was named Niyamānanda at birth. The region was famed for its scholarly learning, and by the age of 16, Niyamānanda had mastered the Vedas and all related philosophical scripture. With the permission of his parents, Niyamānanda then embarked on a search of a true Guru. Upon reaching Govardhan in Mathura, Uttar Pradesh, he began practising penance under the shade of Neem trees. Pleased with his penance, the Sage Narada blessed him with the knowledge of true Vedanta, the doctrine of Dvaitādvaita – or unity in duality. After this, Niyamānanda begged Nārada to accept him as a disciple. The great sage Nārada gave him initiation according to Vaiṣṇava rites, and bestowed him the śālagrāma deity known as Śrī Sarveśvara (the Lord of All). Continuing, Nārada renamed him Haripriyā (one dear to the Lord). He then instructed Niyamānanda on the Gopāla Mantra of the Gopālatāpini Upanishad. Once completed, the Sage Nārada instructed him to practise further penance with that Mantra and all will be revealed before leaving.
Nimbarka’s philosophical position is known as Dvaitadvaita (duality and nonduality at the same time). The categories of existence, according to him, are three, i.e., cit, acit, and Isvara. Cit and acit are different from Isvara, in the sense that they have attributes and capacities, which are different from those of Isvara. Isvara is independent and exists by Himself, while cit and acit have existence dependent upon Him. At the same time cit and acit are not different from Isvara, because they cannot exist independently of Him. Difference means a kind of existence which is separate but dependent, (para-tantra-satta-bhava) while non-difference means impossibility of independent existence (svatantra-satta-bhava).
Ramananda (1299-1410), also referred to as Saint Ramanand or Swami Ramanand, was a Vaishnava sant. He is considered to be the reviver of the Ramanandi sect. Ramananda for the most part of his life lived in the holy city of Varanasi, and was a pioneer of the Bhakti movement, as well as a social reformer in Northern India. He was known for communicating in vernacular Hindi, and accepting disciples of all castes. His 12 disciples are very famous-Anantananda, Bhavananda, Dhanna Bhagat, Kabir, Nabha, Naraharyanda, Pipa, Ravidas (also known as Guru Ravidas), Bhagat Sain, Sukhanada, Ranka and Tulsidas (the author of the Ramcharitmanas).
Saint Ramananda is generally considered to have been born around AD 1400; some say that he was born in 1366 CE. Although there is disagreement on the exact date and place of birth, due to the few texts regarding his early life. The birthplace has been suggested to be Triveni Sangam Allahabad, Prayaga. He was born to an upper-caste Brahmin family, and his parents were probably named Sushila and Punyasadan Sharma. He was spiritually inclined right from his childhood. Acharya Raghavanand who is also known as Dakshinayat Rishi (as he lived in Jagannath Puri which is always considered a southern city in Hindu scriptures) included him in the Ramavat sect. Ramananda spent most of his life in Kashi (Banaras / Varanasi), where, as a mark of respect, people built a memorial that stands there to this day.
When Ramananda was a child, he studied the Hindu scriptures and showed great interest in spiritual thoughts. He received his early education in Kasi. A renowned philosopher and the prophet of the new Vaishnava religion, known for his downplaying the role of caste, Ramananda was particularly known for worshipping Lord Rama and his wife Goddess Sita. Ramanuja and Ramananda both believed that the human soul is distinct from the Supreme Spirit and retains its identity and separate consciousness.
There is much controversy concerning the place and date of Saint Ramananda’s death due to the lack of information available about his life. Many historians believe that Ramananda died around AD 1470-80, yet there is no unanimity regarding the date. Ramananda’s name is read on the list of predecessors during the time of a religious dispute between Sikandar Lodi and his religious teacher, Sheikh Taki. From this information, Ramananda’s date of death can be fixed as sometime around the late 15th century. However, there is a story about Ramananda which claims he escaped death altogether by entering a Samadhi state, a meditative state and remaining alive, where his Charan paduka is still visible at Srimath in Kashi.
Ramananda realised that God can be worshiped by everyone because Lord Rama himself has never stopped the people of any caste from reaching Him.Instead, the Ramayan is full of stories about Shabri, Kevat,etc. who all were Lower castes, but Rama gave them equal respect, the way he respected Brahmins. Ramananda believed that in spiritual pursuit, the caste system of India is redundant. He believed that to truly devote yourself to Lord Rama, one must forget one’s caste identity and social status. Ramananda is quoted as saying, “Let no one ask a man’s caste or with whom he eats. If a man is devoted to Hari, he becomes Hari’s own.” Ramananda had disciples of all castes.
He took a very radical approach to teaching and preaching through the inclusion of the poor and the people of low castes. After Ramananda’s death, the members of the Ramanandi sect led a social revolution in the Ganges basin by recruiting women and members of low castes into their sect. In addition, Saint Ramananda was the driving force of the popularization of the devotion of Lord Rama.
Jagadguru (Sanskrit जगद्गुरु), literally meaning the Guru of the world, is a title used in Sanatana Dharma.Adi Shankara (early 8th century CE[note 1 was an Indian philosopher from Kaladi in present day Eranakulam district, Kerala who consolidated the doctrine of advaita vedānta.His works in Sanskrit establish the doctrine of advaita, the unity of the ātman and nirguna brahman, brahman without attributes. His works elaborate on ideas found in the Upanishads. He wrote copious commentaries on the Vedic canon (Brahma Sutra, principal upanishads and Bhagavad Gita) in support of his thesis.
The main opponent in his work is the Mimamsa school of thought, though he also offers arguments against the views of some other schools like Samkhya and certain schools of Buddhism.Shankara travelled across the Indian subcontinent to propagate his philosophy through discourses and debates with other thinkers. He established the importance of monastic life as sanctioned in the Upanishads and Brahma Sutra, in a time when the Mimamsa school established strict ritualism and ridiculed monasticism. He is reputed to have founded four mathas (“monasteries”), which helped in the historical development, revival and spread of Advaita Vedanta of which he is known as the greatest revivalist. Adi Shankara is believed to be the organiser of the Dashanami monastic order and the founder of the Shanmata tradition of worship.
Shankara was born in Kaladi in present day central Kerala, the ancient Tamil kingdom of the Cheras. According to lore, it was after his parents, who had been childless for many years, prayed at the Vadakkunnathan temple, Thrissur, that Shiva appeared to both husband and wife in their dreams, and offered them a choice: a mediocre son who would live a long life, or an extraordinary son who would not live long. Both the parents chose the latter; thus a son was born to them. He was named Shankara (Sanskrit, “bestower of happiness”), in honour of Shiva (one of whose epithets is Shankara). His father died while Shankara was very young. Shankara’s upanayanam., the initiation into student-life, had to be delayed due to the death of his father, and was then performed by his mother. As a child, Shankara showed remarkable scholarship, mastering the four Vedas by the age of eight.
At the age of 8, Shankara was inclined towards sannyasa, but it was only after much persuasion that his mother finally gave her consent. He only received her consent in a very interesting manner. While bathing in the river Poorna one day, a crocodile caught hold of his leg. Shankara appealed to his mother, who had arrived at Poorna, asking for permission to become a sanyasi. His mother finally gave consent, only to have the crocodile let go of young Shankara. A crocodile had never been found in Poorna ever since Shankara then left Kerala and travelled towards North India in search of a guru. On the banks of the Narmada River, he met Govinda Bhagavatpada the disciple of Gaudapada at Omkareshwar. When Govinda Bhagavatpada asked Shankara’s identity, he replied with an extempore verse that brought out the Advaita Vedanta philosophy. Govinda Bhagavatapada was impressed and took Shankara as his disciple.
The guru instructed Shankara to write a commentary on the Brahma Sutras and propagate the Advaita philosophy. Shankara travelled to Kashi, where a young man named Sanandana, hailing from Chola territory in South India, became his first disciple. According to legend, while on his way to the Vishwanath Temple, an untouchable accompanied by four dogs came in the way of Sankara. When asked to move aside by Shankara’s disciples, the untouchable replied: “Do you wish that I move my ever lasting Ātman (“the Self”), or this body made of flesh?” Realizing that the untouchable was none other than god Shiva himself, and his dogs the four Vedas, Shankara prostrated himself before him, composing five shlokas known as Manisha Panchakam.
Vallabhacharya (1479–1531 CE) was a devotional philosopher, who founded the Pushti sect in India, following the philosophy of Shuddha advaita (Pure Non-dualism). Vallabhacharya accepted the ‘Acharya’ designation of Vishnuswami Sampraday (Rudra Sampraday) upon request of Bilvamangala Acharya, the last Vishnuswami Sampraday acharya before Vallabhacharya. This was after Vallabhacharya won the famous debate of Brahmavada over Shankaras in the courtyard of the Emperor Krishna Deva Raya of Vijayanagara Empire – the prosperous South Indian Empire. Apart from being the acharya of Vishnuswami Sampradaya, Vallabhacharya also propagated the Pushtimarga upon the god Krishna’s order and thus became the acharya of not only Vishnuswami Sampradaya but also Pushti Sampradaya.
He is the Acharya and Guru within the Vaishnava traditions as promulgated and prescribed by the Vedanta philosophy. He is associated with Vishnuswami, a prominent Acharya of Rudra Sampradaya out of the four Vaishnava Sampradayas.
Within Indian Philosophy, he is known as the writer of Anubhashya – a commentary on Brahm Sutra, Shodash Granth or sixteen ‘stotras’ (tracts) and several commentaries on the Bhagavata Purana, which describes the many lilas (pastimes) of the Avatar, Krishna. Vallabhaacharya occupies a unique place in Indian culture as a scholar, a philosopher and devotional (bhakti) preacher. He is widely considered as the last of the four great Vaishnava Acharyas who established the various Vaishnava schools of thought based on Vedantic philosophy, the other three (preceding him) being Ramanujacharya, Madhvacharya and Nimbarkacharya. He is especially known as a lover and a propagator of Bhagavata Dharma. He was born in Champaranya in India.
The ancestors of Vallabhacharya lived in Andhra Pradesh and belonged to a long line of Telugu Vaidiki Brahmins known as Vellanadu or Vellanatiya following the Vishnu Swami school of thought. According to devotional accounts, Krishna commanded his ancestor Yagnanarayana Bhatta that He would take birth in their family after completion of 100 Somayagnas (fire sacrifices). By the time of Yagnanarayana’s descendant Lakshmana Bhatta who migrated to the holy town of Varanasi, the family had completed 100 Somayagnas. Vallabhacharya was born to Lakshmana Bhatta in 1479 A.D. on the 11th day of the dark half of lunar month of chaitra at Champaranya. The name of his mother was Illamma.
His education commenced at the age of seven with the study of four Vedas. He acquired mastery over the books expounding the six systems of Indian philosophy. He also learnt philosophical systems of Adi Sankara, Ramanuja, Madhva, Nimbarka along with the Buddhist and Jain schools. He was able to recite hundred mantras, not only from beginning to end but also in reverse order. At Vyankateshwar and Lakshmana Balaji, he made a strong impression on the public as an embodiment of knowledge. He was now applauded as Bala Saraswati. Afer studying till age of 11, he went to Vrindavan.
Vallabhacharya composed many philosophical and devotional books during his lifetime such as:
1. Anubhashya or Brahmsutranubhashya – 4 cantos of commentaries on the Brahm Sutra of Ved Vyas
2. Tattvaarth Dip Nibandh – Essays on the fundamental principles of spirituality (3 chapters)
Chapter 1: Shaastrarth Prakaran
Chapter 2: Bhagavatarth Prakaran
Chapter 3: Sarvanirnay Prakaran
3. Subodhini – Commentary on Shrimad Bhagavat Mahapuran (Available only on cantos 1,2,3 and 10)
4. Shodash Granth – Sixteen short verse-type compositions to teach his followers about devotional life
Other than the above main literature, he also composed additional works such as Patravalamban, Madhurashtakam, Gayatribhashya, Purushottam Sahastranaam, Yamunastakam etc.
Ramanujacharya (traditionally, 1017-1137 C.E) was a theologian, philosopher, and scriptural exegete, born in a Tamil Brahmin family in the village of Sriperumbudur, Tamil Nadu. He is also known as Sri Ramanujacharya, Udayavar, Ethirajar (Yatiraja), Emberumannar and Lakshmana Muni. He is seen by Srivaiṣṇavas as the most important acharya (teacher) of their tradition who followed Nathamuni and Yamunacharya, and by Hindus in general as the leading expounder of Vishishtadvaita, one of the classical interpretations of the dominant Vedanta school of Hindu philosophy.
The traditional biographies of Ramanuja place his life in the period of 1017–1137 CE, yielding a lifespan of 120 years. Any chronology depends crucially on the major historical event mentioned in the traditional biographies: the persecution of Srivaishnavas under the Chola king Kulothunga and Ramanuja’s subsequent years of exile in Melkote, in Karnataka.
In 1917, T. A. Gopinatha Rao proposed a chronology based on the traditional lifetime of 1017–1137. He identified the Chola king with Kulothunga Chola I (reigned 1070–1120), and dated the exile to Melkote from 1079 to 1126 CE (Rao 1923 cited in Carman 1974:45). However, this would extend the period of exile to 47 years, and in any case, Kulothunga I was not known for being an intolerate Shaivite.
Ramanuja accepted Yamunacharya as his Manasika Acharya and spent 6 months being introduced to Yamunacharya’s philosophy by his disciple, Mahapurna although he did not formally join the community for another year. Ramanuja’s wife followed very strict brahminical rules of the time and disparaged Mahapurna’s wife as being of lower subcaste. Mahapurna and his wife left Srirangam. Ramanuja realized that his life as a householder was interfering with his philosophical pursuit as he and his wife had differing views. He sent her to her parents’ house and renounced family and became a sanyasin.
Ramanuja started travelling the land, having philosophical debates with the custodians of various Vishnu temples. Many of them, after losing the debates, became his disciples. Ramanuja standardized the liturgy at these temples and increased the standing and the membership of the srivaishnava school of thought. He wrote his books during this time.
Ramanuja, who was a Srivaishnavite, has faced threats from some Shaivite Chola rulers who were religiously followers of Shiva . Ramanuja and a few of his followers moved to the Hoysala kingdom of Jain king Bittideva and queen Shantala Devi in Karnataka.
Swami Ramanuja incorporated teachings from 5 different people who he considered to be his acharyas:
1. Peria Nambigal(Mahapurna) who performed his samasrayana,Dvayam,
2. Thirukkotiyur Nambigal(Ghoshtipurna) : who revealed the meaning of the Charama Shlokam and Ashtakshari to swami on his 18th trip
3. Periya Thirumalai Nambigal(Shailapurna) : Ramayana
4. Tirumālai Aandaan(Maladhara) : Bhagavad Vishayam (Shri Thiruvaymozhi)
5. Azhwar Thiruvaranga Perumal Arayar(Vararanga) : Remaining 3000 verses of Arulichcheyal(works of Azhwars) and Sandhai
Madhvacharya (1199–1278 CE), also known as Purna Prajna and Ananda Tirtha, was the chief proponent of Tattvavada “philosophy of reality”, popularly known as the Dvaita (dualism) school of Hindu philosophy. It is one of the three most influential Vedānta philosophies. Madhvācārya was one of the important philosophers during the Bhakti movement. He was a pioneer in many ways, going against standard conventions and norms. According to tradition, Madhvācārya is believed to be the third incarnation of Vāyu (Mukhyapraṇa) and first two being Hanuman and Bhima.
adhvacarya (or Madhva) was born on the day of vijaya dasami in 1199 CE (AD) at Pajaka, a tiny hamlet near Uḍupi. Narayaṇa Paṇḍitācārya who later wrote Madhvacarya’s biography has not recorded his Tulu brahmin parents’ names. Traditionally it is believed that Nadillaya Narayaṇa Bhaṭṭa as name of the father and Vedavati as Madhvacarya’s mother. They named him Vasudeva at birth. Later he became famous by the names Purṇa-prajna, Ananda-tirtha, Ananda-jnana, Ananda-giri, and Madhvācārya (Flood 2003)
Before the birth of Madhva, when his parents had gone for a purchase in the market, a beggar climbed a dhvaja stambha (flag-post in front of a temple) and announced: “Bhagavan (Lord) Vayu deva is going to take birth for the revival of Vedic dharma in Pājaka kṣetra to a couple.” The prediction made by the beggar was discussed by the parents of Madhva till they reached home.
Even as a child, Vāsudeva exhibited precocious talent for grasping all things spiritual. As an incarnation of Mukhyaprana this was not new for him. He was drawn to the path of renunciation and even as a boy of eleven years, he chose initiation into the monastic order from Acyuta-Prajña (also called Acyuta Pragna), a reputed ascetic of the time, near Uḍupi, in the year Saumya. The preceptor Acyuta Pragna gave the boy Vāsudeva the name of Pūrṇaprajña at the time of his initiation into sannyāsa (renounced order).
The Acharya set out on a tour of South India even in his teens. He visited prominent places of pilgrimage like Anantashayana, Kanyakumari, Rameshvara and Shriranga. Wherever he went, he delivered discourses and preached the message of his Tattvavada or religious truth to the people. This initiated a new discussion among scholars all over India. The Acharya refuted in clear terms a few age-old beliefs. He stated that spirituality should not be mixed up with superstitions. As a result, there was hot opposition to him from some orthodox extremists. But the Acharya braved it all with courage, without yielding to any mean threats.
The urge which was deeply surging in the heart of the Acharya for long turned into a firm resolve as a result of this tour. ‘The superstitions in the way of this path of philosophical truth should be wiped out! My whole life should be dedicated to the spread of ultimate truth.’
The first task accomplished by the Acharya as soon as he returned to Udupi, after adopting this firm resolve, was the writing of a commentary (bhasya) on the Bhagavadgita.
In course of time, the Acharya desired to tour North India and to spread the message of vedic religion far and wide. The holy center of Badari beckoned him irresistibly. Fired by the wish to visit holy places like Vyasa’s hermitage, the penance-grove of Nara-Narayana etc., and to present his commentary on the Gita as a tribute to sage Vyasa, the Acharya moved straight to Badari. There he observed a vow of strict silence for 48 days, bathing in the holy Ganga. And then he set out alone towards Vyasa-Badari, his cherished destination.
The Acharya who stayed in the environs of Udupi for some more time wrote his bhashyas or authoritative commentaries on all the ten Upanisads. He composed glosses on forty hymns of the Rigveda, opening up for the first time its vista of spiritual significance. He also wrote the treatise Bhagavata-tatparya highlighting the essential teachings of the Puranas. Many topical handbooks were also authored by him to suit different occasions. A large number of devotional songs too were composed by him which could be sung by his disciples, while moving with him in groups.
It was during this period that the Acharya installed the image of Krishna which he found in the western ocean near the Udupi sea-coast. After sometime, he left some disciples behind for performing Krishna’s worship and undertook his second tour to Badari.
Saint Shadaram Sahib
Saint Shadaram Sahib
In 1700 A.D Ghulam Shah Kalhoro was the Ruler of Sindh . He was an orthodox muslim and a cruel ruler. He used to punish innocent Hindhus without any reason. The Hindus of that area whorshiped in the Temple of “Lord Shiva” at Mathelo and prayed to him to save them from the cruelty of Ghulam Shah Kalhoro. One night the Sarpanch got a dream and was told by Bhagwan Shiva that he had already taken birth in the name of Shadaram in Lohana Khatri Family, at Lahore Punjab and would come to Mathelo for thier salvation and satisfaction.
Sant Shadaram Sahib took birth in Lohana family ascending to the dynasty of Raja Lav in Lahore in October 1708. Lahore state is established by Maharaj Lav, who is elder son of Bhagwan Shri Ram. Lahore state was established on the bank of Ravi river. At that time Lahore state’s bounderies were spread from Ujbekistan and Afganistan to the Hindu Kush Parvat.
Sant Shadaram Ji Maharaj was commonly know as the reincarnation of Bhagwan Shiva. In his childhood, he used to devote most of his time time in meditation and had shown many miraculous performances.
After the age of twenty, Saint shadaram left for Tirath and for the aspiritual welfare of the people. He visited Pushkar Raj Tirath, Panipat, Kurukshetra, Haridwar, Jamnotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath, Badrinath, Shiri Pashupatinath Mandir in Nepal, Kashi, Ayodhiya, Allahabad, Duwarkanath, Jaipur and thousands of small and large villages and towns on the way, after completing the Yatra mission, consisting of about a period of 40 years.
In 1768 Sant Shada Ram Sahib reached Mathelo, a great city of Sindh. Mathelo was once the capital of Sindh during the region of Raja Nand. In those days, riverIndus Passed very close to mathelo hence the business had reached its high peak. The famous love story of Mumal – Rano relates to this city. The historical battle between Dodo and Chanesar, the Soomro kings was faught at his place. The sacred river Sarswati disappeared in the desert Mathelo. The four Vedas were written near Mathelo was so impressed that he made Sant Shada Ram Sahib his spiritual Guide (Guru) and began to render his full day in Shewa (Service) in Shadani Darbar Mathelo.
One day Sant Shada Ram Sahib became very much pleased with his services. He asked him to demand any thing he wished. Bhai tulsidas was perplexed as whether he should demand for a son or salvation from the bondage of birth day in Shewa (Services) in shadani Darbar Mathelo.
Sant Shada Ram Sahib knew the depth of his mind and he was very much pleased to bestow him three (Vardans) blessings :
1. He told him that he would be blessed with a son and to name him Takhat Lal,
2. He touched him and enlightened his inner soul,
3. He told him to occupy the Shadani Gaddi for the walfare of human beings who are poor helpless, needy and down trodden.
In 1768 ghulam Shah Kalhoro insulted one Hindu widow. This incident vey much annoyed Sant Shada Ram and he cursed him that neither he will be any more in the world nor his kingdom will exist. Due to curse, Ghulam Shah Kalhoro lost his kingdom and died in misery. After that, Sant Shada Ram left Mathelo alongwith his followers and settled in Hayat Pitafi and laid foundation of Shadani Darbar and got dug one well and started “Dhuni Sahib” (Holy fire). Hegave blessings that any body diseases and other misfortunes.
In 1793 (Shadani Sambat 85, Jeth 11, Krishan Paksh 10 at morning 9’0 clock) Sant Shada Ram Sahib left for heavenly adobe.
Guru Nanak (15 April 1469 – 22 September 1539) was the founder of the religion of Sikhism and the first of the eleven Sikh Gurus, the eleventh being the living Guru, Guru Granth Sahib. His birth is celebrated world-wide on Kartik Puranmashi, the full-moon day which falls on different dates each year in the month of Katak, October-November. Guru Nanak traveled to places far and wide teaching people the message of one God who dwells in every one of His creations and constitutes the eternal Truth.It is part of Sikh religious belief that the spirit of Guru Nanak’s sanctity, divinity and religious authority descended upon each of the nine subsequent Gurus when the Guruship was devolved on to them.
Nanak was born on 15 April 1469, now celebrated as Prakash Divas of Guru Nanak Dev, at Rāi Bhoi Kī Talvaṇḍī, now called Nankana Sahib, near Lahore, Pakistan. Today, his birthplace is marked by Gurdwara Janam Asthan. His parents were Kalyan Chand Das Bedi, popularly shortened to Kalu Mehta and Mata Tripta. His father was a patwari (accountant) for crop revenue in the village of Talwandi, employed by a Muslim landlord of that area, Rai Bular Bhatti.
He had one sister, Bibi Nanaki, who was five years older than him and became a spiritual figure in her own right. In 1475 she married Jai Ram and went to his town of Sultanpur, where he was the steward (modi) to Daulat Khan Lodi, the eventual governor of Lahore. Nanak was attached to his older sister, and, in traditional Indian fashion, he followed her to Sultanpur to live with her and her husband. Nanak also found work with Daulat Khan, when he was around 16 years old. This was a formative time for Nanak, as the Puratan Janam Sakhi suggests, and in his numerous allusions to governmental structure in his hymns, most likely gained at this time.
Commentaries on his life give details of his blossoming awareness from a young age. At the age of five, Nanak is said to have voiced interest in divine subjects. At age seven, his father, Kalu Mehta, enrolled him at the village school as was the custom. Notable lore recounts that as a child Nanak astonished his teacher by describing the implicit symbolism of the first letter of the alphabet, which is an almost straight stroke in Persian or Arabic, resembling the mathematical version of one, as denoting the unity or oneness of God. Other childhood accounts refer to strange and miraculous events about Nanak, such as one witnessed by Rai Bular, in which the sleeping child’s head was shaded from the harsh sunlight, in one account, by the stationary shadow of a tree or, in another, by a poisonous cobra.
On 24 September 1487 Nanak married Mata Sulakkhani, daughter of Mul Chand and Chando Rāṇī , in the town of Batala. The couple had two sons, Sri Chand (8 September 1494 – 13 January 1629) and Lakhmi Chand (12 February 1497 – 9 April 1555).
Rai Bular, the local landlord and Nanak’s sister Bibi Nanaki were the first people who recognised divine qualities in the boy. They encouraged and supported him to study and travel. Sikh tradition states that at around 1499, at the age of 30, he had a vision. After he failed to return from his ablutions, his clothes were found on the bank of a local stream called the Kali Bein. The townspeople assumed he had drowned in the river; Daulat Khan had the river dragged, but no body was found. Three days after disappearing, Nanak reappeared, staying silent. The next day, he spoke to pronounce:
“There is neither Hindu nor Mussulman (Muslim) so whose path shall I follow? I shall follow God’s path. God is neither Hindu nor Mussulman and the path which I follow is God’s.”
Nanak said that he had been taken to God’s court. There, he was offered a cup filled with amrita (nectar) and given the command, “This is the cup of the adoration of God’s name. Drink it. I am with you. I bless you and raise you up. Whoever remembers you will enjoy my favour. Go, rejoice of my name and teach others to do so. I have bestowed the gift of my name upon you. Let this be your calling.” From this point onwards, Nanak is described in accounts as a Guru, and Sikhism was born.
Below is a brief summary of the confirmed places visited by Nanak:
First Udasi: (1500-1506 AD) Lasted about 7 years and covered the following towns and regions: Sultanpur, Tulamba (modern Makhdumpur, zila Multan), Panipat, Delhi, Banaras (Varanasi), Nanakmata (zila Nainital, U.P.), Tanda Vanjara (zila Rampur), Kamrup (Assam), Asa Desh (Assam), Saidpur (modern Eminabad, Pakistan), Pasrur (Pakistan), Sialkot (Pakistan).
Second Udasi: (1506-1513 AD) Lasted about 7 years and covered the following towns and regions: Dhanasri Valley, Sangladip (Ceylon).
Third Udasi: (1514-1518 AD) Lasted about 5 years and covered the following towns and regions: Kashmir, Sumer Parbat, Nepal, Tashkand, Sikkim, Tibet.
Fourth Udasi: (1519-1521 AD) Lasted about 3 years and covered the following towns and regions: Mecca and the Arab countries.
Fifth Udasi: (1523-1524 AD) Lasted about 2 years and covered the following towns and regions: Places within the Punjab.
Valmiki is celebrated as the harbinger-poet in Sanskrit literature. He is the author of the epic Ramayaṇa, based on the attribution in the text of the epic itself. He is revered as the Adi Kavi, which translates to First Poet, for he discovered the first śloka i.e. first verse, which set the base and defined the form to Sanskrit poetry.
Valmiki was born in a family of hunters and was hunter himself in his youth,he would ruthlessly take the lives of animals in the forests and he has taken the lives of so many animals that he had earned the displeasure of the gods,one day a group of rishis were gathering in the forest to perform a yagna and then they witnessed valmiki kill a deer, being brahmins killing of animals or any living creature was forbidden and so they approached valmiki and told him that he has almost wiped all the animal species in the forest and they told him that the gods will curse him and he will be shunned by all.Valmiki was shocked and so he asked the rishis for a way out of the gods’ wrath.The rishis told him to sit under a sal tree with his eyes shut and keep on reciting the syllables “maraam” (if recited repeatedly it makes the sound “Rama”) repeatedly until they return after finishing the yagna . And so they left valmiki there and finished their yagna and returned home without waking up valmiki ,months later narada saw valmiki who (still devotedly reciting “maraam” and was covered with anthills because he did not move at all he was so perfectly still.) woke up valmiki that he had earned a lot of merit and his bhakti had pleased Rama and was no less than a rishi.And from that day on he was devoted to rama for the rest of his life and came to be known as Rishi Valmiki.And was the first person to compose the entire Ramayana. Brahma once told Valmiki that “As long as mountains stand and as long as rivers flow,so long will your Ramayana be read by man”
The Rāmāyaṇa, originally written by Vālmīki, consists of 24,000 slokas in seven cantos (some say six i.e. excluding the Uttara Ramayaṇa) (kāṇḍas). The Ramayaṇa tells the story of a prince, Rama of Ayodhya, whose wife Sita is abducted by the Demon-King (Rakṣasa) of Laṅkā, Rāvaṇa. The Valmiki’s Ramayaṇa is dated variously from 500 BC to 100 BC, or about co-eval with early versions of the Mahabharata. As with many traditional epics, it has gone through a long process of interpolations and redactions, making it impossible to date accurately.
Valmiki was going to the river Ganges for his daily ablutions. A disciple by the name Bharadvaja was carrying his clothes. On the way, they came across the Tamasa Stream. Looking at the stream, Valmiki said to his disciple, “Look, how clear is this water, like the mind of a good man! I will bathe here today.” When he was looking for a suitable place to step into the stream, he saw a Crane (bird) couple mating. Vālmīki felt very pleased on seeing the happy birds. Suddenly, hit by an arrow; the male bird died on the spot. Filled by sorrow its mate screamed in agony and died of shock. Valmiki ‘s heart melted at this pitiful sight. He looked around to find out who had shot the bird. He saw a hunter with a bow and arrows, nearby. Vālmīki became very angry. His lips opened and he uttered the following words:
मां निषाद प्रतिष्ठां त्वमगमः शाश्वतीः समाः। यत्क्रौंचमिथुनादेकम् अवधीः काममोहितम्॥’
ma nisada pratisthaṁ tvamagamah sasvatih samah
yat krauncamithunadekam avadhih kamamohitam.
Emerging spontaneously from his rage and grief, this was the first sloka in Sanskrit literature. Later Valmiki Muni composed the entire Rāmāyaṇa with the blessings of Lord Brahmā in the same meter that issued forth from him as the śloka. Thus this sloka is revered as the “first śloka” in Hindu literature. Vālmīki Muni is revered as the first poet, or Adi Kavi, and the Rāmāyaṇa, the first Kavya. His first disciples to whom he taught the Ramayaṇa were Kusa and Lava, the sons of Sri Rama.
Vivekananda was born as Narendranath in Calcutta, the capital of British India, on 12 January 1863 during the Makar Sankranti festival. He belonged to a traditional Bengali Kayastha (a caste of Hindus) family and was one of the nine siblings. Narendra’s father Vishwanath Datta was an attorney of Calcutta High Court. Narendra’s mother was a pious woman and a housewife. The progressive rational approach of his father and the religious temperament of his mother helped shape his thinking and personality. Young Narendranath was fascinated by the wandering ascetics and monks.
Narendra was an average student, but a voracious reader. He was interested in a wide range of subjects such as philosophy, religion, history, the social sciences, arts, and literature. He evinced interest in the Hindu scriptures such as the Vedas, the Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita, the Ramayana, the Mahabharata and the Puranas. He was trained in Indian classical music, and participated in physical exercise, sports, and organisational activities. Narendra joined the Metropolitan Institution of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar in 1871 and studied there until 1877 when his family moved to Raipur. The family returned to Calcutta two years later.
In 1879 after his family moved back to Calcutta, Narendra passed the entrance examination from the Presidency College. He subsequently studied western logic, western philosophy and history of European nations in the General Assembly’s Institution (now known as the Scottish Church College). In 1881 he passed the Fine Arts examination and in 1884 he completed a Bachelor of Arts degree.
Narendra studied the works of David Hume, Immanuel Kant, Johann Gottlieb Fichte, Baruch Spinoza, Georg W. F. Hegel, Arthur Schopenhauer, Auguste Comte, Herbert Spencer, John Stuart Mill, and Charles Darwin. Narendra became fascinated with the evolutionism of Herbert Spencer and had correspondence with him; he translated Spencer’s book Education (1861) into Bengali. Alongside his study of Western philosophers, he was thoroughly acquainted with Indian Sanskrit scriptures and many Bengali works. Dr. William Hastie, principal of General Assembly’s Institution, wrote, “Narendra is really a genius. I have travelled far and wide but I have never come across a lad of his talents and possibilities, even in German universities, among philosophical students.” Some accounts regard Narendra as a srutidhara—a man with prodigious memory.
Narendra became the member of a Freemason’s lodge and of a breakaway faction of the Brahmo Samaj led by Keshub Chandra Sen. His initial beliefs were shaped by Brahmo concepts, which included belief in a formless God and deprecation of the worship of idols. Not satisfied with his knowledge of philosophy, he wondered if God and religion could be made a part of one’s growing experiences and deeply internalised. Narendra went about asking prominent residents of contemporary Calcutta whether they had come “face to face with God” but could not get answers which satisfied him. His first introduction to the saint Ramakrishna occurred in a literature class in General Assembly’s Institution, when he heard Hastie lecturing on William Wordsworth’s poem The Excursion. While explaining the word “trance” in the poem, Hastie suggested his students to visit Ramakrishna of Dakshineswar to know the real meaning of trance. This prompted some of his students, including Narendra, to visit Ramkrishna.
At the same time, vehement in his desire to know the truth about God, he questioned people of holy reputation, asking them if they had seen God. He found such a person in Sri Ramakrishna, who became his master, allayed his doubts, gave him God vision, and transformed him into sage and prophet with authority to teach.
Narendra’s meeting with Ramakrishna in November 1881 proved to be a turning point in Narendra’s life. Narendra said about this first meeting that
“Ramakrishna looked just like an ordinary man, with nothing remarkable about him. He used the most simple language and I thought ‘Can this man be a great teacher?’. I crept near to him and asked him the question which I had been asking others all my life: ‘Do you believe in God, Sir?’ ‘Yes’, he replied. ‘Can you prove it, Sir?’ ‘Yes’. ‘How?’ ‘Because I see Him just as I see you here, only in a much intenser sense.’ That impressed me at once. I began to go to that man, day after day, and I actually saw that religion could be given. One touch, one glance, can change a whole life.”
In 1885, Ramakrishna developed throat cancer and he was transferred to Calcutta and later to Cossipore. Narendra and Ramakrishna’s other disciples took care of him during his final days. Narendra’s spiritual education under Ramakrishna continued. At Cossipore, Narendra reportedly experienced Nirvikalpa Samadhi. During Ramakrishna’s last days, Narendra and some of the other disciples received the ochre monastic robes from Ramakrishna, forming the first monastic order of Ramakrishna. Narendra was taught that service to men was the most effective worship of God. During his final days, Ramakrishna asked Narendra Nath to take care of other monastic disciples and in turn asked them to look upon Narendra as their leader. Ramakrishna died in the early morning hours of 16 August 1886 at his garden house in Cossipore.
He was a major force in the revival of Hinduism in India and contributed to the notion of nationalism in colonial India. He was the chief disciple of the 19th century saint Ramakrishna and the founder of the Ramakrishna Math and the Ramakrishna Mission. He is perhaps best known for his inspiring speech beginning with “Sisters and Brothers of America,” through which he introduced Hinduism at the Parliament of the World’s Religions in Chicago in 1893.
After Sri Ramakrishna’s death, Vivekananda renounced the world and criss-crossed India as a wandering monk. His mounting compassion for India’s people drove him to seek their material help from the West. Accepting an opportunity to represent Hinduism at Chicago’s Parliament of Religions in 1893, Vivekananda won instant celebrity in America and a ready forum for his spiritual teaching.
For three years he spread the Vedanta philosophy and religion in America and England and then returned to India to found the Ramakrishna Math and Mission. Exhorting his nation to spiritual greatness, he wakened India to a new national consciousness. He died July 4, 1902, after a second, much shorter sojourn in the West. His lectures and writings have been gathered into nine volumes.
During his short life of less than 40 years, Swami Vivekananda travelled to many places in India and outside. Many of these places have now become sites of pilgrimage. All of the places he visited and stayed in are even today filled with his holy presence and inspiration.
Readings from Swami Vivekananda excerpted from the 9 volumes of his Complete Works. Some of his lectures and findings can be found in the archives.
Most of Vivekananda’s letters are available in his Complete Works. But some have been discovered only recently and are yet to be included in those volumes. A new quote of Vivekananda appears daily on the Welcome Page of his website ‘www.vivekananda.org’.
Dayanand Saraswati (12 February 1824 – 30 October 1883) was an important Hindu religious leader of his time. He is well known as the founder of the Arya Samaj, a Hindu reform movement of the Vedic tradition. He was a profound scholar of the Vedic lore and Sanskrit language. He was the first to give the call for Swarajya’ “India for Indians” – in 1876, later taken up by Lokmanya Tilak. Denouncing the idolatry and ritualistic worship prevalent in Hinduism at the time, he worked towards reviving Vedic ideologies. Subsequently the philosopher and President of India, S. Radhakrishnan, called him one of the “makers of Modern India,” as did Sri Aurobindo.
One of his notable disciples was Shyamji Krishna Varma, who founded India House in London and guided other revolutionaries. Others who were influenced by and followed him included Madam Cama, Pandit Guru Dutt Vidyarthi, Pran Sukh Yadav, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, Lala Hardayal, Madan Lal Dhingra, Ram Prasad Bismil, Bhagat Singh, Mahadev Govind Ranade Swami Shraddhanand. Mahatma Hansraj and Lala Lajpat Rai. One of his most influential works is the book Satyarth Prakash, which contributed to the Indian independence movement. He was a sanyasi (ascetic) from boyhood, and a scholar, who believed in the infallible authority of the Vedas.
Maharshi Dayananda advocated the doctrine of Karma (Karmasiddhanta in Hinduism) and Reincarnation (Punarjanma in Hinduism). He emphasized the Vedic ideals of brahmacharya (celibacy) and devotion to God. The Theosophical Society and the Arya Samaj were united from 1878 to 1882, becoming the Theosophical Society of the Arya Samaj. Among Maharshi Dayananda’s contributions are his promoting of the equal rights for women, such as the right to education and reading of Indian scriptures, and his intuitive commentary on the Vedas from Vedic Sanskrit in Sanskrit as well as Hindi so that the common man might be able to read them. Dayanand was the first to give the word of Swadeshi long before Mahatma Gandhi.
Dayanand Saraswati was born on 12, February, 1824 in Tankara, near Morbi in Kathiyawad region (Rajkot district) of Gujarat. His original name was Mool Shankar. His father’s name was Karshanji Lalji Tiwari and mother’s name was Yashodabai. Theirs was a Brahmin family with his father being a tax collector and was a rich, prosperous and influential person. He was the head of an eminent Brahmin family of the village. When Mool Shankar was eight years old, Yajnopavita Sanskara, or the investiture with thread of the “twice-born” were performed. His father was a follower of Shiva and taught Dayanand Saraswati the ways to impress the Lord. Dayanand was also told the importance of keeping fasts. On the occasion of Shivaratri, Dayanand had to sit awake the whole night in obedience to Lord Shiva. One such night, he saw a mouse eating the offerings to the God and running over the idol’s body. After seeing this, he questioned himself, if the God could not defend himself against a little mouse then how could he be the savior of the massive world.
Since he was born under Mul Nakshatra, he was named “Moolshankar”, and led a comfortable early life, studying Sanskrit, the Vedas and other religious texts to prepare himself for a future as a Hindu priest.
The deaths of his younger sister and his uncle from cholera caused Dayananda to ponder the meaning of life and death and he started asking questions which worried his parents. He was to be married in his early teens, as was common in nineteenth-century India, but he decided marriage was not for him and in 1846 ran away from home. Dayananda Sarasvati spent nearly twenty-five years, from 1845 to 1869, as a wandering ascetic, searching for religious truth. An ascetic is someone who gives up material goods and lives a life of self-denial, devoted to spiritual matters. He lived in jungles, in retreats in the Himalayan Mountains, and at a number of pilgrimage sites in northern India. During these years Dayananda Sarasvati practiced various forms of yoga. He became a disciple, or follower, of a well-known religious teacher, Virajanand Dandeesha (sometimes spelled Birajananda). Virajanand believed that Hinduism had strayed from its historical roots and that many of its practices had become impure. Dayananda Sarasvati promised Virajanand that he would devote his life in restoring the rightful place of the Vedas in the Hindu faith.
shri Pipa Ji
Maharshi Arvind (Sri Aurobindo) (15 August 1872 – 5 December 1950), born Aurobindo Ghosh or Ghose (Ôrobindo Ghosh), was an Indian nationalist, freedom fighter, philosopher, yogi, guru and poet. He joined the Indian movement for freedom from British rule, for a while became one of its influential leaders and then turned into a spiritual reformer, introducing his visions on human progress and spiritual evolution.
Aurobindo studied for the Indian civil service at King’s College, Cambridge. After returning to India he took up various civil service works under the Maharaja of Baroda and started to involve himself in politics. While in politics he was imprisoned by British India for writing articles against British rule. He was released when no evidence was provided. During his stay in the jail he reputedly had mystical and spiritual experiences, after which he moved to Pondicherry, leaving politics for spiritual work.
During his stay in Pondicherry, Aurobindo evolved a new method of spiritual practice, which he called Integral Yoga. The central theme of his vision was the evolution of human life into a life divine. He believed in a spiritual realisation that not only liberated man but also transformed his nature, enabling a divine life on earth. In 1926, with the help of his spiritual collaborator, Mirra Alfassa (“The Mother”), he founded the Sri Aurobindo Ashram. He died on 5 December 1950 in Pondicherry. He was the first Indian to create a major literary corpus in English.
His main literary works are The Life Divine, which deals with theoretical aspects of Integral Yoga; Synthesis of Yoga, which deals with practical guidance to Integral Yoga; and Savitri, an epic poem which refers to a place in the Mahabaratha, where its characters actualise integral yoga in their lives. His works also include philosophy, poetry, translations and commentaries on the Vedas, Upanishads and the Gita.
Aurobindo repeatedly visited Bengal, at first in a bid to re-establish links with his parents’ families and his other Bengali relatives, including his cousin Sarojini and brother Barin, and later increasingly in a bid to establish resistance groups across Bengal. But he formally shifted to Calcutta (now Kolkata) only in 1906 after the announcement of Partition of Bengal. During his visit to Calcutta in 1901 he married Mrinalini, daughter of Bhupal Chandra Bose, a senior official in Government service. Aurobindo Ghose was then 28; the bride Mrinalini, 14. Marrying off daughters at a young age was common in 19th century Bengali families.
Sri Aurobindo presiding over a meeting of the Nationalists after the Surat Congress, 1907.Aurobindo was influenced by his studies on rebellion and revolutions against England in medieval France and the revolts in America and Italy. In his public activity he took up non-cooperation and passive resistance in front but also took up secret revolutionary activity as a preparation for open revolt, in case that the passive revolt failed.
In Bengal with Barin’s help he established contacts with revolutionaries, inspiring radicals like Bagha Jatin, Jatin Banerjee, Surendranath Tagore. He helped establish a series of youth clubs. He helped found the Anushilan Samiti of Calcutta in 1902.
According to Sri Aurobindo his philosophies were first formed by studying of Upanishads and Gita, and later from vedas. Aurobindo tried to realise what he read through his spiritual experiences and was able to match them. He also notifies that his philosophy is not due to any intellectual abstractions, ratiocinations or dialectics and most of his writings were to justify to the intellect of the readers. And other sources of his philosophy were supposed to be flown into him as thoughts through higher planes of consciousness.
Ramakrishna (18 February 1836 – 16 August 1886), born Gadadhar was a famous mystic of 19th-century India. His religious school of thought led to the formation of the Ramakrishna Mission by his chief disciple Swami Vivekananda both were influential figures in the Bengali Renaissance as well as the Hindu renaissance during the 19th and 20th centuries. Many of his disciples and devotees believe he was an Avatar or incarnation of God. He is also referred to as “Paramahamsa” by his devotees, as such he is popularly known as Ramakrishna Paramahamsa.
Ramakrishna was born in a poor Brahmin Vaishnava family in rural Bengal. He became a priest of the Dakshineswar Kali Temple, dedicated to the goddess Kali, which had the influence of the main strands of Bengali bhakti tradition. The most widely known amongst his first spiritual teachers was an ascetic woman, called Bhairavi Brahmani skilled in Tantra and Vaishnava bhakti. Later an Advaita Vedantin ascetic taught him non-dual meditation, and according to Ramakrishna, he experienced nirvikalpa samadhi under his guidance. Ramakrishna also practiced other religions, notably Islam and Christianity, and said that they all lead to the same God. Though he quit conventional education, he attracted the attention of the middle class, upper middle class and numerous Bengali intellectuals.
Ramakrishna attended a village school with some regularity for 12 years, he later rejected the traditional schooling saying that he was not interested in a “bread-winning education”. Kamarpukur, being a transit-point in well-established pilgrimage routes to Puri, brought him into contact with renunciates and holy men. He became well-versed in the Puranas, the Ramayana, the Mahabharata, and the Bhagavata Purana, hearing them from wandering monks and the Kathaks—a class of men in ancient India who preached and sang the Purāṇas. He could read and write in Bengali. While the official biographies write that the name Ramakrishna was given by Mathura Biswas—chief patron at Dakshineswar Kali Temple, it has also been suggested that this name was given by his own parents.
In 1855 Ramkumar was appointed as the priest of Dakshineswar Kali Temple, built by Rani Rashmoni a rich woman of Calcutta who belonged to the kaivarta community. Ramakrishna, along with his nephew Hriday, became assistants to Ramkumar, with Ramakrishna given the task of decorating the deity. When Ramkumar died in 1856, Ramakrishna took his place as the priest of the Kali temple.
Rumors spread to Kamarpukur that Ramakrishna had become unstable as a result of his spiritual practices at Dakshineswar. Ramakrishna’s mother and his elder brother Rameswar decided to get Ramakrishna married, thinking that marriage would be a good steadying influence upon him—by forcing him to accept responsibility and to keep his attention on normal affairs rather than his spiritual practices and visions. Ramakrishna himself mentioned that they could find the bride at the house of Ramchandra Mukherjee in Jayrambati, three miles to the north-west of Kamarpukur. The five-year-old bride, Saradamani Mukhopadhyaya (later known as Sarada Devi) was found and the marriage was duly solemnised in 1859. Ramakrishna was 23 at this point, but the age difference was typical for 19th century rural Bengal. They later spent three months together in Kamarpukur. Sarada Devi was fourteen while Ramakrishna was thirty-two. Ramakrishna became a very influential figure in Sarada’s life, and she became a strong follower of his teachings. After the marriage, Sarada stayed at Jayrambati and joined Ramakrishna in Dakshineswar at the age of 18.
In 1861, Ramakrishna accepted Bhairavi Brahmani, an orange-robed, middle-aged female ascetic, as a teacher. She carried with her the Raghuvir Shila, a stone icon representing Ram and all Vaishnava deities. She was thoroughly conversant with the texts of Gaudiya Vaishnavism and practiced Tantra. According to the Bhairavi, Ramakrishna was experiencing phenomena that accompany mahabhava—the supreme attitude of loving devotion towards the divine and quoting from the bhakti shastras, she said that other religious figures like Radha and Chaitanya had similar experiences.
In 1875, Ramakrishna met the influential Brahmo Samaj leader Keshab Chandra Sen. Keshab had accepted Christianity, and had separated from the Adi Brahmo Samaj. Formerly, Keshab had rejected idolatry, but under the influence of Ramakrishna he accepted Hindu polytheism and established the “New Dispensation” (Nava Vidhan) religious movement, based on Ramakrishna’s principles—”Worship of God as Mother”, “All religions as true” and “Assimilation of Hindu polytheism into Brahmoism”. Keshab also publicized Ramakrishna’s teachings in the journals of New Dispensation over a period of several years, which was instrumental in bringing Ramakrishna to the attention of a wider audience, especially the Bhadralok (English-educated classes of Bengal) and the Europeans residing in India.
In the beginning of 1885 Ramakrishna suffered from clergyman’s throat, which gradually developed into throat cancer. He was moved to Shyampukur near Calcutta, where some of the best physicians of the time, including Dr. Mahendralal Sarkar, were engaged. When his condition aggravated he was relocated to a large garden house at Cossipore on December 11, 1885.
During his last days, he was looked after by his monastic disciples and Sarada Devi. Ramakrishna was advised by the doctors to keep the strictest silence, but ignoring their advice, he incessantly conversed with visitors. According to traditional accounts, before his death, Ramakrishna transferred his spiritual powers to Vivekananda and reassured Vivekananda of his avataric status. Ramakrishna asked Vivekananda to look after the welfare of the disciples, saying, “keep my boys together” and asked him to “teach them”. Ramakrishna also asked other monastic disciples to look upon Vivekananda as their leader. Ramakrishna’s condition gradually worsened and he expired in the early morning hours of August 16, 1886 at the Cossipore garden house. According to his disciples, this was mahasamadhi.After the death of their master, the monastic disciples led by Vivekananda formed a fellowship at a half-ruined house at Baranagar near the river Ganges, with the financial assistance of the householder disciples. This became the first Math or monastery of the disciples who constituted the first Ramakrishna Order.
Sarada Devi (22 December 1853 – 20 July 1920), born Saradamani Mukhopadhyaya, was the wife and spiritual counterpart of Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, a nineteenth century mystic of Bengal. Sarada Devi is also reverentially addressed as the Holy Mother (Sri Maa ) by the followers of the Ramakrishna monastic order. Sarada Devi played an important role in the growth of the Ramakrishna Movement.
Sarada Devi was born in Jayrambati. At the age of five she was betrothed to Ramakrishna, whom she joined at Dakshineswar when she was in her late teens. According to her traditional biographers, both lived lives of unbroken continence, showing the ideals of a householder and of the monastic ways of life. After Ramakrishna’s death, Sarada Devi stayed most of the time either at Jayrambati or at the Udbodhan office, Calcutta. The disciples of Ramakrishna regarded her as their own mother, and after their guru’s death looked to her for advice and encouragement. The followers of the Ramakrishna movement regard Sarada Devi as an incarnation of the Divine Mother.
Saradamani Devi was born of Brahmin parents as the eldest daughter on December 22, 1853, in the quiet village of Jayrambati in present day West Bengal, India. Her parents, Ramchandra Mukhopadhyaya and Syamasundari Devi, were poor and pious. Her father Ramchandra earned his living as a farmer and through the performance of priestly duties. According to traditional accounts, Ramachandra and Syamasundari had visions and supernatural events foretelling the birth of a divine being as their daughter.
Sarada lived the simple life of an Indian village girl. As a child Sarada—then known as Saradamani—was fascinated by traditional Hindu folklore and narratives. As in the case of most girls of rural upbringing, she did not receive any formal education but learned to serve others as she helped her mother run a large household and looked after her younger brothers. During the terrible famine of 1864, Sarada worked ceaselessly as her family served food to hungry people. She was interested in the clay models of goddesses Kali and Lakshmi, which she worshiped regularly. She is said to have started meditating from her childhood and traditional accounts recount her mystic visions and experiences. According to Sarada Devi, she used to see a bevy of eight girls of her age coming from an unknown place and escorting her in her chores during her childhood.
At Dakshineswar, Sarada Devi stayed in a tiny room in the nahabat (music tower). She stayed at Dakshineswar until 1885, except for short periods when she visited Jayrambati. By this time Ramakrishna had already embraced the monastic life of a sannyasin; as a result, the marriage was never consummated. As a priest, Ramakrishna performed the ritual ceremony—the Shodashi Puja where Sarada Devi was made to sit in the seat of goddess Kali, and worshiped as the divine mother. According to Saradananda a direct disciple of Ramakrishna, Ramakrishna married to show the world an ideal of a sexless marriage. Ramakrishna regarded Sarada as the incarnation of Divine Mother, addressing her as Sree Maa (Holy Mother) and it was by this name that she was known to Ramakrishna’s disciples.
Sarada Devi’s days began at 3 am. After finishing her ablutions in the Bhāgirathi-Hooghly, she would practice japa and meditation until daybreak. Ramakrishna taught her the sacred mantras, and instructed her how to initiate people and guide them in spiritual life. Sarada Devi is regarded as Ramakrishna’s first disciple. Except for her hours of meditation, most of her time was spent in cooking for Ramakrishna and the growing number of his devotees. While Sarada Devi remained completely in the background, her unassuming, warm personality attracted some female devotees to become her lifelong companions.
During Ramakrishna’s last days, during which he suffered from throat cancer, Sarada Devi played an important role in nursing him and preparing suitable food for him and his disciples. It is reported that after Ramakrishna’s death in August 1886, when Sarada Devi tried to remove her bracelets as the customs dictated for a widow, she had a vision of Ramakrishna in which he said, “I have not passed away, I have gone from one room to another.” According to her, whenever she thought of dressing like a widow, she had a vision of Ramakrishna asking her not to do so. After Ramakrishna’s death, Sarada Devi continued to play an important role in the nascent religious movement. She remained the spiritual guide of the movement for the next 34 years.
Kabir (1440–1518) was a mystic poet and saint of India, whose writings have greatly influenced the Bhakti movement. The name Kabir comes from Arabic al-Kabīr which means ‘The Great’ – the 37th name of God in Islam. Kabir’s legacy is today carried forward by the Kabir Panth (“Path of Kabir”), a religious community that recognizes him as its founder and is one of the Sant Mat sects. Its members, known as Kabir panthis, are estimated to be around 9,600,000. They are spread over north and central India, as well as dispersed with the Indian diaspora across the world, up from 843,171 in the 1901 census. His writings include Bijak, Sakhi Granth, Kabir Granthawali and Anurag Sagar.
Kabir was born to a Brahmin widow in 1440 at Lahartara near Kashi (modern day Varanasi). The widow abandoned Kabir to escape dishonour associated with births outside marriage. He was brought up in a family of poor and illiterate Muslim weavers Niru and Nima. Vaishnava saint Ramananda accepted Kabir as his disciple; when Ramananda died, Kabir was 13 years old.
It is not known in detail what sort of spiritual training Kabir may have received. He did not become a sadhu, nor did he ever abandon worldly life. Kabir chose instead to live the balanced life of a householder and mystic, a tradesman and contemplative. Kabir’s family is believed to have lived in the locality of Kabir Chaura in Varanasi. Kabīr maṭha, a maṭha located in the back alleys of Kabir Chaura, celebrates his life and times. Accompanying the property is a house named Niruṭila which houses Niru and Nima’s graves. The house also accommodates students and scholars who live there and study Kabir’s work.
Kabir’s legends describe his victory in trials by a Sultan, a Brahmin, a Qazi, a merchant and god. The ideological messages in Kabir’s legends appealed to the poor and oppressed. David Lorenzen describes primary purpose of his legends as a “protest against social discrimination and economic exploitation”.
His greatest work is the Bijak (the “Seedling”), an idea of the fundamental one. This collection of poems elucidates Kabir’s universal view of spirituality. Though his vocabulary is replete with Hindu spiritual concepts, such as Brahman, karma and reincarnation, he vehemently opposed dogmas, both in Hinduism and in Islam. His Hindi was a vernacular, straightforward kind, much like his philosophies. He often advocated leaving aside the Qur’an and Vedas and simply following Sahaja path, or the Simple/Natural Way to oneness in God. He believed in the Vedantic concept of atman, but unlike earlier orthodox Vedantins, he spurned the Hindu societal caste system and murti-pujan (idol worship), showing clear belief in both bhakti and Sufi ideas. The major part of Kabir’s work as a bhagat was collected by the fifth Sikh guru, Guru Arjan Dev, and incorporated into the Sikh scripture, Guru Granth Sahib.
Kabir composed in a pithy and earthy style, replete with surprise and inventive imagery. His poems resonate with praise for the true guru who reveals the divine through direct experience, and denounce more usual ways of attempting god-union such as chanting, austerities, etc. Kabir, being illiterate, expressed his poems orally in vernacular Hindi, borrowing from various dialects including Avadhi, Braj, and Bhojpuri. His verses often began with some strongly worded insult to get the attention of passers-by. Kabir has enjoyed a revival of popularity over the past half century as arguably the most accessible and understandable of the Indian saints, with a special influence over spiritual traditions such as those of Sant Mat, Garib Das and Radha Soami.
Kabir played the role of a teacher and social reformer by the medium of his writings, which mainly consisted of the two line verses called Dohas. He had a strong belief in Vedanta, Sufism, Vaishnavism and Nath sampradaya. He applied the knowledge that he gained through the various experiences of his life. He was always in the pursuit of truth and nothing could hold him back. Kabir was well known for his religious affiliation. Read further to know about the life history of Sant Kabir.
Guru Ravidass (also Raidas) was a North Indian Sant mystic of the bhakti movement who was active in the 15th century CE. Venerated in the region of Uttar Pradesh as well as the Indian state of Maharashtra, his devotional songs and verses made a lasting impact upon the bhakti movement. He is often given the honorific Bhagat or Sant. He was a socio-religious reformer, a thinker, a theosophist, a humanist, a poet, a traveler, a pacifist and a spiritual figure before whom even head-priests of Benaras lay prostrate to pay homage. He was a shoemaker of the Kutbandhla Chamar caste. His devotional songs were included in the Sikh holy book, the Adi Granth, by the fifth Sikh Guru, Guru Arjan Dev. There is also a larger body of hymns passed on independently that is claimed and attributed to Ravidas by some. Ravidas was subversive in that his devotionalism implied a leveling of the social divisions of caste and gender, yet ecumenical in that it tended to promote crossing of sectarian divides in the name of a higher spiritual unity.
He taught that one is distinguished not by one’s caste (jati) but by one’s actions (karma) and that every person has the right to worship God and read holy texts. He opened a frontal attack against the system of Untouchability. He rejected the tradition of Brahmin mediator to reach the Supreme Being. He also said that one need not to hide his caste or leave his low profession to reach God. He became a model for his fellow beings to overcome the hierarchical barriers of Brahminical social order and to establish Begumpura – a state without fear and sorrows. Guru Ravidass elevated the status of the labour by emphasizing on the fact that honest labour is empowering.
The details of Guru Ravidass’ life are controversial. According to some he was born in 1376/7 or else 1399 CE but many scholars offer later dates. Schaller estimates his lifespan as 1450–1520 while the Encyclopædia Britannica contents itself with a floreat of 15th-16th century CE. Partly this is due to traditions that make him, the guru of Meera (according to a song attributed to her: “guru miliyaa raidasjee”). However, as Schaller points out, the importance of such claims lies in their establishing the authority of a lineage of gurus (parampara). One may count oneself a disciple of a master without having actually met him.
His origin and parents are also given differently. According to history he was born in a village named Seer Govardhanpur, near Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh, India. His father Baba Santokh Das was a Chamar leather merchant and Mata Kalsa Devi was his mother. His father married Ravidass to Mata Lona Devi at early age and according to the Ravidas Purana he had a son named Vijaydas. A region between Allahabad and Benares is named after him.
The queen of Chittorgarh is said to have been a disciple (this may be connected with Meera, who was married to the ruler of Chittorgarh). It is said that the conservative Brahmins of Kashi could not stand the popularity of this “untouchable saint”. A complaint was made to the king that he was working against age-old norms of social order (varnashrama dharma) – a cobbler was not supposed to talk of God or do work of advising or teaching. The ruler arranged for an assembly of learned men. Ravidas was also invited and was felicitated publicly. A procession was arranged (shobha yatra) and the king himself participated.
Meera Bai considered Guru Ravidass as her spiritual Guru. Meera Bai was a queen of Chittor and a daughter of the king of Rajasthan and she used to follow the teachings of Guru Ravidass which teaches about that one’s fate of the future lies on his karmas (doings) rather than on his caste or creed’s.
Guru Ravidass incidence of life has become the inspiration for the people of today and in one such incident when Guru Ravidass’s disciples were going to take holy dip in the sacred river Ganges and wanted Guru Ravidass to accompany them and Guru replied that he has promised to deliver shoes to his customer on that particular day and will not be able to join them due to this particular reason and when one of his disciple urges then Guru Ravidass uttered his belief saying that: “Man changa tow kathoti mein Ganga“ i.e. That is if your heart is pious then the holy river is right in your tub and you need not go anywhere else to take a dip. There is a small chhatri (umbrella) in front of Meera’s temple in Chittorgarh district of Rajasthan. It has guru Ravidass’ engraved foot print also. As a respect to her guru, Meera Bai once wrote:
“Guru Milyaa Raidaasji …”
Guru Nanak Dev fulfilled Guru Ravidass’s request by accepting a collection of Guru Ravidass’ verses and poems. The earliest collection of these poems are available in the Sikh scriptures, Guru Granth Sahib (the Sikh holy book). It was complied by Arjan Dev, the fifth guru of the Sikhs. It contains 41 verses by Guru Ravidass.
Sant Kanwar Ram
Sant Kanwar Ram
Sant Kanwar Ram ( Bhagat Kanwar Ram Sahib) is the name which is very closely related to Sindh and Sindhis.He was a Holy man, a messenger of God who would always sing in his melodious voice in the praise of his Creator. He was born in the month of April by the blessings of Saint Khotaram Sahib, who was the man with Godly powers and was the Father of Saint Satram Das Sahib Guru of Bhagat Kanwar Ram Sahib.
Bhagat Kanwar Ram Sahib’s mother was a great lady. She wanted a son and she learnt from somebody that she could have a son only if she gets Saint Khotaram Sahib’s blessings and then there came that great day when she got the blessings from Saint Khotaram Sahib. He asked her if she has any desires when she told Saint Khotaram Sahib that she wanted a son, Saint Khotaram Sahib told her that God will definitely fulfill her wish and then after some time Bhagat Kanwar Ram Sahib was born. It was a wonderful day, 13th of April. It is a well known fact that Bhagat Kanwar Ram Sahib made Sindh and Sindhis proud of themselves in the whole world. He had a sweet melodious voice, it is said when Bhagat Kanwar Ram Sahib sang people would forget about everything. They would leave their work and remain where ever they were, to listen to him. People loved him, adored him, as he was man of God. He always spoke the truth and asked people to speak truth, as he believed that if a person is honest to himself and to the society he can achieve success in his work and can get more closer to God almighty as God always listens to those who are honest and kind. People from all walks of life old, young, rich, poor, men, women everyone used to come to listen to the sweet voice like a nightingale of Bhagat Sahib from even far-off places as people believed that they will be blessed if they listen to Bhagat Kanwar Ram Sahib touching voice.
People say that his voice had so much of power that even once he made a dead child alive by singing a lullaby to Him. People used to offer lot of money and jewels to Bhagat Kanwar Ram Sahib while he sang but Bhagat Kanwar Ram Sahib never kept even a penny for himself or for his family out of that money. He would instead distribute it amongst the poor and needy people because he believed that his touching voice was a gift of God to Him so what ever the money he is getting by the people after listening to his Bhajans he shall use it for the betterment of the children of God. Many stories are told about Bhagat Sahib. It is said that when he sang Raga Sarang which is the Raga of rain, clouds gathered and it rained heavily. Many people who suffered from different deadly diseases got cured by his blessings. He would pray for people to get their wishes fulfilled by singing Ardas sahib and Palavs for them. Bhagat Kanwar Ram Sahib had magic in his voice; he had a marvelous voice which was audible even at a long distance in the silence of dawn.
He held people spellbound for hours together during that period of time there was no microphone and loud speakers. Saint Satram Das Sahib transmitted his spiritual power to Bhagat Kanwar Ram Sahib. Bhagat Kanwarram Sahib always helped his father and at the same time he would sell boiled grams in the streets. Bhagat Sahib’s mother would give him some pots of boiled gram and in exchange of those gram pots, he would get equal number of pots of corn.
Once Bhagat Sahib on his way to Raherki Sahib carried some wood blocks as a token of service to Saint Satramdas Sahib. Since the wood blocks got some black colour on them, while carrying them even the turban of Bhagat Sahib got some black spots. When he reached Raherki Sahib, Saint Satramdas Sahib said, “While carrying the wood you did not even take care of your turban.” Kanwar replied, “Saint Sai, the dignity of my turban is from serving at Raherki Sahib. If I don’t serve you not even a trace of my dignity will remain. On hearing these words Saint Satramdas Sahib blessed Kanwarram by saying that from today onwards your life will be pure and free from any bad things. You will become a complete dignified man and will attain the spirituality and your life will become the true guideline for the human beings.
Shri Saibaba of Shirdi lived between 1838 and 1918, whose real name, birthplace and date of birth are not known. An Indian spiritual guru and a fakir that transcended the barriers of religions, Saibaba of Shirdi was regarded with great reverence by both Hindu and Muslim followers. He lived in a mosque and after death his body was cremated in a temple. Sai Baba of Shirdi also known as Shirdi ke Sai Baba, was an Indian guru, yogi, and fakir who is regarded by his devotees as a saint. Many devotees — including Hemadpant, who wrote the famous Shri Sai Satcharitra — consider him an incarnation of Lord Krishna while other devotees consider him as an incarnation of Lord Dattatreya. Many devotees believe that he was a Satguru. No verifiable information is available regarding Sai Baba’s birth and place of birth.
His philosophy ingrained ‘Shraddha’ meaning faith and ‘Saburi’ meaning compassion. According to him Shraddha and Saburi were the supreme attributes to reach the state of godliness.It is believed that at a tender age of 16 yrs Shri Saibaba arrived at the village of Shirdi in Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra and remained their till his death. He found shelter in Khandoba temple, where a villager Mahalsapathi in the temple addressed him as Sai or Saint.
Sai Baba’s real name is unknown. The name “Sai” was given to him upon his arrival at Shirdi, a town in the west Indian state of Maharashtra. Mahalsapati, a local temple priest, recognized him as a Muslim saint and greeted him with the words ‘Ya Sai!’, meaning ‘Welcome Sai!’. Sai or Sayi is a Persian title given to Sufi saints, meaning ‘poor one’. The honorific “Baba” means “father; grandfather; old man; sir” in most Indian and Middle Eastern languages. Thus Sai Baba denotes “holy father”, “saintly father” or “poor old man”. Alternatively, the Sindhi and Urdu word “sai.n” an honorific title for a virtuoso, a saint, or a feudal lord (i.e. a patron), is derived from the Persian word “sāyeh”, which literally means “shadow” but figuratively refers to patronage or protection. The Hindi-Urdu word “sāyā” comes from the same borrowing. Thus, it could also mean “Master Father.” However, Sāī may also be an acronym of the Sanskrit term “Sakshat Eshwar”, a reference to God. Sakshat means “incarnate” and Eshwar means “God”.
Sai Baba remains a very popular saint, especially in India, and is worshiped by people around the world. He had no love for perishable things and his sole concern was self-realization. He taught a moral code of love, forgiveness, helping others, charity, contentment, inner peace, and devotion to God and guru. Sai Baba’s teaching combined elements of Hinduism and Islam: He gave the Hindu name Dwarakamayi to the mosque he lived in, practiced Hindu and Muslim rituals, taught using words and figures that drew from both traditions, and was buried in Shirdi. One of his well known epigrams, “Sabka Malik Ek ” (“One God governs all”), is associated with Islam and Sufism.He also said”Trust in me and your prayer shall be answered”. He always uttered “Allah Malik” (“God is King”).
Some of Sai Baba’s disciples became famous as spiritual figures and saints, such as Mahalsapati, a priest of the Khandoba temple in Shirdi, and Upasni Maharaj. He was revered by other saints, such as Saint Bidkar Maharaj, Saint Gangagir, Saint Janakidas Maharaj, and Sati Godavari Mataji. Sai Baba referred to several saints as ‘my brothers’, especially the disciples of sri Swami Samartha of Akkalkot.
In 1858 Sai Baba returned to Shirdi. Around this time he adopted his famous style of dress consisting of a knee-length one-piece robe (kafni) and a cloth cap. Ramgir Bua, a devotee, testified that Sai Baba was dressed like an athlete and sported ‘long hair flowing down to the end of his spine’ when he arrived in Shirdi, and that he never had his head shaved. It was only after Baba forfeited a wrestling match with one Mohiddin Tamboli that he took up the kafni and cloth cap, articles of typical Sufi clothing. This attire contributed to Baba’s identification as a Muslim fakir and was a reason for initial indifference and hostility against him in a predominantly Hindu village. According to B.V. Narasimhaswami, a posthumous follower who was widely praised as Sai Baba’s “apostle”, this attitude was prevalent up to 1854 even among some of his devotees in Shirdi.
Today, Shri Saibaba has millions of devotees in India and abroad. Shirdi, the obscure village in Maharashtra has become a pilgrimage destination much as Bethlehem, Jerusalem or Varanasi. With over 25,000 pilgrims thronging in here each day the number of pilgrims climb to over a hundred thousand on holidays and festival days. There are over 2,000 major Sai temples in different parts of India and 150 abroad in places as far-flung as Canada and Kenya, Singapore and England.
Jalaram popularly known as Jalaram Bapa (14 November 1799 – 23 February 1881) was a Hindu saint from Gujarat, India. Jalaram Bapa was born in Virpur, Rajkot district, Gujarat, India in 1799, on the seventh day of the Kartika month. His father was Pradhan Thakkar and his mother was Rajbai Thakkar who belonged to Thakkar, which is a sub-group of Lohana clan. He was a devotee of the Hindu god Rama.Jalaram Bapa was however not willing to live the householder’s life and to continue to do the business of his father. He was mostly engaged in serving pilgrims, sadhus and saints. He separated himself from his father’s business and his uncle Valjibhai asked Jalaram Bapa and his wife Virbai to stay in his house.
At the age of sixteen, in 1816, Jalaram married Virbai, the daughter of Pragjibhai Thakkar (Somaiya) of Atkot. However, he was inclined to completely withdraw from materialistic life and become an ascetic, Virbai proved to be an asset to him in his works of feeding poor and needy. She was also a pious and saintly lady and she also decided to follow the path of serving mankind. At the age of twenty, Jalaram, accompanied with his wife, decided to go for a pilgrimage to the holy cities like Ayodhya, Varanasi and Badrinath.
At the age of 18, Jalaram Bapa became the disciple of Bhoja Bhagat of Fatehpur, who accepted him as his disciple. Jalaram was given the “Guru Mantra” (mantra) and japa mala in the name of Rama by his Guru Bhojalram. With blessings of his guru, he started “Sadavrat”, a feeding center, a place where all sadhus and saints as well as the needy could have food any time.
One day, a sadhu who came to his house gave him an idol of Rama, forecasting that Hanuman, the monkey-god and devotee of Rama, would follow soon. Jalaram Bapa installed Rama as his family deity and after a few days, an idol of Hanuman appeared out of earth, on its own. The idol of Rama’s consort Sita and his brother Lakshmana also appeared. Due to a miracle the container in the house of Jalaram, where grains were stored, became in exhaustible. Later other devotees and village folk joined him in his works of human welfare.Soon his fame spread as an divine incarnation. Whoever came to Virpur, whether Hindu, Muslim irrespective of caste, creed and religion were fed by Jalaram. This tradition of feeding people continues to this day in Virpur.
Once a tailor named Haraji, who was suffering from severe stomach-ache came to him to get himself cured. Jalaram Bapa prayed to God and Haraji was cured. He fell at Jalaram Bapa ‘s feet and addressed him as Bapa. Since then the name by which he was known as Jalaram Bapa. Soon his fame spread and people came to him to get rid of diseases and problems. Jalaram Bapa would pray for them in name of Rama and miracles happened. Both Hindus and Muslims became his disciples. In 1822, son of a rich Muslim merchant named Jamal fell ill and doctors gave up all hope. At that point of time, Haraji, told Jamal of his experience (parcha). Jamal, prayed from his house, that if his son is relieved of the disease, he would give 40 maunds of grain to Jalaram Bapa for sadavrat. His son recovered and Jamal visited house of Jalaram Bapa with cart load of grains and called as him Jalla so Allah!!.
At one time, God in the guise of an old saint told Jalaram to donate Virbai to serve him. Jalaram consulted her and taking her consent sent her with the saint. But after walking some miles and reaching a nearby forest, the saint asked Virbai to wait for him. She waited but saint did not return. Instead, there was an Akashwani stating that it was only to test the hospitality of the couple, this test was taken. Before the saint disappeared, he had left a Danda and Jholi, with Virbai. Virbai returned home to Jalaram, as instructed in the celestial voice with Danda & Jholi. This Danda and Jholi are still there at Virpur and are kept in display in a glass enclosure.
Jalaram Bapa and Virbai had a daughter named Jamnaben from their marriage. Jamnaben’s grandson Harirambahi was adapted by Shri Jalaram Bapa and his direct descendant, Giridhar Bapa and now his son Raghuram Bapa now heads the gadi of revered Virpur shrine of Jalaram Bapa.
Raskhan (born 1548 A.D.) was a poet who was both a Muslim and follower of Lord Krishna. His real name was Sayyad Ibrahim and is known to have lived in Amroha in India. Raskhan was one of the great poets of Hindi. Though he was a Muslims, he was devoted to Lord Krishna. There is no any authentic information relating to his real name, lineage, place of birth, etc. There are differeces in the opinion of scholars regarding his year of birth. Some scholars opine that his year of birth is 1615 and others say that it is 1630, whereas Mishra Bandhu believes that Raskhan was born in 1558 and the year of his death is 1628. Most of the scholars say that Raskhan was a Pathan Sardar belonging to Delhi, but some scholars opine that his birth place was Pihani in Hardoi district.
Raskhan is not his original name. Hajari Prasad Dwivedi has described his two names, Saiyad Ibrahim and Sujan Raskhan, in his book. It appears that the original name of Raskhan was Saiyad Ibrahim and Khan was his title. It is said that Raskhan was sone of a Jagirdar having all the luxurious facilities. He got good and quality education as he was born in a wealthy family. His poetry reveals his wisdom. Raskhan had good knowledge of Hindi and Farsi. His translation of “Shrimadbhagwat” to Farsi is the proof for it.
In his early years, he became a follower of Lord Krishna and learned the religion from Goswami Vitthalnath and began living in Vrindavan and spent his whole life there. He died in 1628 A.D.
Poetry of Raskhan are based on Lord Krishna.�”Lilas” of Lord Krishna, like ‘Bal Lila’, ‘Chir Haran Lila’, ‘Kunj Lila’, ‘Ras Lila’, ‘Panghat Lila’, ‘Dan Lila’ etc. were his favourit subjects. Apart from ‘Lilas’, Raskhan has also created poems on Lord Shankar, Goddes Ganga, Holi festival etc.
Jhulelal or Dariyalal or Jinda Pir is the Ishta Dev (community God) of Sindhi people. His birthday Cheti Chand which falls on the second day of the Chaitra month is auspicious for Sindhis and is celebrated all over the world with traditional pomp and gaiety. The legend of Jhulelal is closely related to the oneness of God. Turkic people from Central Asia and Persia expanded their empires eastward and conquered Sindh (and later, a large part of South Asia) many centuries after the people of Sindh typically of Hindu origin, established their cultures and norms in this geographical area. Legend has it that Jhulelal convinced a tyrannical ruler, Mirkshah, to treat Hindus and Muslims equally. He also impressed upon the ruler the fact that although Hindus called their God “Ishwar” and Muslims refer to God as “Allah”, they are the same – one God who created the world. Jhulelal is revered by Hindus who refer to him by several names including Lal Sai, Uderolal, Varun Dev, Doolhalal, Dariyalal and Zinda Pir.
Faith has established Jhulelal as the Ishta Dev (community God) of Sindhis. His Birthday “Cheti Chand” second tithi of Chaitra auspicious for Sindhis and is celebrated the world over with traditional pomp and gaiety.
The Hindu legend of Jhulelal or the River Deity has its historical or semi-historical beginnings in Sindh, a province of Pakistan. Faced with torture and forcible conversion, the Hindus turned to God Varuna, the God of the River, to come to their aid. For forty days, they underwent penance. They neither shaved nor wore new clothes, praying and fasting and singing songs in the praise of Lord Varuna. They beseeched him to deliver them from the hands of their persecutor. On the fortieth day, a voice was heard from Heaven : “Fear not, I shall save you from the wicked Mirkshah. I shall come down as a mortal and take birth in the womb of Mata Devki in the house of Ratanchand Lohano of Nasarpur”. Ratanchand Lohano was a Hindu belonging to the Lohana cast. After forty days of Chaliho, the followers of Jhulelal even today celebrate the occasion with festivity as Thanksgiving Day.
The oppressed Hindus now anxiously awaited the birth of their deliverer. After three months, the second day of Asho month, they got confirmation of the news that Mata Devki, wife of Ratanchand, has indeed conceived. The River God had incarnated himself in her womb. The Hindus of Sindh, rejoiced on hearing this news and praised the Lord. On Cheti Chand, second day of the new moon paksha of Chaitra, Mata Devki gave birth to a boy – a miracle hailed the child’s birth – the babe opened his mouth and behold! there flowed the Sindhu with an old man sitting cross-legged on a ‘pala’ fish.
To welcome the newborn ‘avatar’, unseasonal clouds gathered and brought down torrential rains. The child was named ‘Udaichand’ (Uday in Sanskrit means moon-beams). Udaichand was to be the light in the darkness. An astrologer who saw the child predicted that he would grow up to be a great warrior and his fame would outlive the child. Udaichand was also called ‘Uderolal’ (Udero in Sanskrit means ‘one who has sprung from water’). Inhabitants of Nasarpur lovingly called the child ‘Amarlal’ (immortal) child. The cradle where little Udero rested began to sway to and fro on its own. It is because of this that ‘Uderolal’ became popularly known as ‘Jhulelal’ or the swinging child. Soon after the child’s birth Mata Devki died. A little later Ratanchand remarried.
News of the birth of the mysterious child reached Mirkshah who once again summoned the Panchs and repeated his royal threat. Hindus, now quite confident that their saviour had arrived, implored him for some more time informing him that their saviour was none other than the Water God himself. Mirkshah scoffed at the very idea of a child saving the Hindus. “Neither am I going to die nor are you people going to leave this land alive”, he jeered. “I shall wait. When your saviour embraces Islam, I am sure you will also follow suit.” With this remark, the haughty Mirkshah threw a challenge to his Hindu subjects.
The maulvis pressed Mirkshah to forcibly convert the people to Islam. But the very thought of the child proving more than a match for him blessed the conceited ruler. He therefore told the maulvis to wait and watch. As a token precaution, he asked one of his ministers Ahirio, to go to Nasarpur to see things first hand. Ahirio did not want to take any chances, so he took along a rose dipped in deadly poison.
At the very first glimpse of the child, Ahirio was astonished. He had never seen a child so dazzling or more charming. He hesitated, then mustering courage offered the rose to the child. The child gave a meaningful smile while accepting the rose. He then blew away the flower with a single breath. The flower fell at Ahirio’s feet. Ahirio watched stupefied as the child changed into an old man with a long beard. All of a sudden the old man turned into a lad of sixteen. And then he saw Uderolal on horseback with a blazing sword in his hand. There were row upon row of warriors behind him. A cold shiver ran down Ahirio’s spine and he bowed his head in reverence. “Have mercy on me, Sindhu Lord”, he prayed “I am convinced”.
On his return Ahirio narrated the miraculous happening to Mirkshah, but Mirkshah was not convinced. He hardened his heart. “How can a little baby turn into an old man ? ” he mocked. “It looks like you have been fooled by some simple magic.” But in his heart, Mirkshah was afraid. That night he dreamt a dreadful dream. A child was sitting on his neck. The vision changed to an old man with a flowing beard. And again to a warrior with a drawn sword confronting Mirkshah on the battlefield. Next morning Mirkshah called for Ahirio and gave him orders to counter the threat posed by the child. Ahirio, however, advised Mirkshah not to rush matters. Meanwhile, the child Uderolal grew in stature and spirit performing miracles and comforting the sick. Residents of Nasarpur were fully convinced that God had come to save them. Uderolal also received the ‘Guru Mantar’ of ‘Alakh Niranjan’ from Guru Goraknath.
aadhyadev shri sain ji maharaj
maharshi naval sahib
Maharshi Naval Sahib
It was era when India was over ruled by Raj Thakurs and their rule was used to go on small states. In that not only people were seen with unimportance but also great cruelties were borne by them for smallest mistakes but sometimes whole city was tortured and sometimes their huts were kept on fire and hatred was on its peak.
250 years earlier, from now when human was in depth of illiteracy and used to consider himself as responsible of a religion and were stucked in caste and unequal systems of low customs in that Nation Shudar (Harijan disrespect) were being injustice by Hindus of high caste the being considered them lowliness they were forced to put in distance from Temples (Mandirs) and Hindu’s religious ceremonies. In that Prabhm Pramatama felt pity for them and though if this injustice will continue and people will be kept far from religious worships, then these people will never be able to come out from the belief of 84 million births and according to its promises when sin increases and cruelty reaches its height and cruelty increases on the creatures given birth by Prabhu Pramatma than Prabhu Pramatma comes in this world by fulfilling mundane necessities. For their Pramatma has acquired many faces for betterment of people living in all parts of world and ending the criminals and cruelty on them. In one of them, Dalit Harijan people injustice inequality castes system and ending their customs. One face is of Sat Guru Maharai Naval Sahib. Tub Bhado was born in 1783 on Thursday in state of India Rajasthan was whole world celebrating Bhagwan Shri Krishna’s birth festival. Your father name was Khushal Ram and mother’s name was Singhari Devi to whom cleaner n sweeper and father’s comes took birth. Father kept your name Naval which means Abdul means unique and marvelous (whose qualities are out of explanation and imagination). You were of one month when mother died and then father Khushal Ram brought to you up. During that father saw that Navala is taking interest is serving praying began and their company he felt very happy and thought in his heart that now Navala should be sent to Guru so he started sending him to one big Guru of Meghwaar nation Shri Kerta Ram Ji Maharaj for learning religions and social studies. Maharishi Naval Ji were got busy is serving Sat Guru Shri Kerta Ram Ji Maharaj by heart and started act on his orders and lesson and passing his life worshiping Pramatma. Time got passed and Maharishi Navaj ji were progressed in his worshiping.
This was the reason due to which Khushal Ram used to love Maharishi Naval Ji very much and after facing difficulties and poor life never forced him for anything Maharishi Naval Ji was little that one Day in Jodhpur village in front of Raj Thakur castle a bitch died. An order come from Raj Darbar that ask Khushal Ram to throw that died bitch outside village and at the time when this order was received Khushal Ram was busy in same work than for that work asked Maharishi Naval Ji to take that animal. Maharishi Naval Ji was young at that time that’s why he took stick in his hand and hand went towards Raj Darbar when reached there he hit it with and asked get up and run he just said bitch got up and ran from there this incident was seen by all people present outside Raj Darbar they got surprised and worried and story in this incident spread across in whole village like wildfire due to which Brahman and other people of that time got jealous and said that how a Harijan Dalit could do that. The happening this incident from the hand of Maharishi Naval Ji was miracle of nature so difference of inequality can be finished and injustice and hatred done with Harijan Dalit people could be finished. But Brahman and high profile people of that time getting jealous that how this Dalit Harijan worship and preach Pramatma in this nation in the same jealousy hardship were applied on Maharishi Naval Ji barriers were in their worshiping and preach and tried patience. Once in village person got the job of making busy in which bridge refuse due to pressure from their family. But at that time hatred and inequality were common that why somebody asked the person that there is a person in your labors who is of low caste that this labor does not work properly and also don’t want to work. On which Thaikaidar without thinking scolded but fired him from work thought Maharishi Naval Ji was working with honesty and used to do work with concern and hard work. When he was fired from work than he got very sad on that and he came back to his home from sad heart and said that thaikaidar your that task will never be completed. But thaikaidar did not give notice that things but when comes in morning than fired the task disorganized and turned once or twice he tried to complete that bridge (Burj) but it remains in the same condition due to which job taker got sad and worried than suddenly he thought about Maharishi Naval Ji and asked for forgiveness than Maharishi Naval Ji said to job-taker that this task will now not be completed and it will remain in the same condition forever that ‘s why leave it as it is and make another so the job-taker did the same and hired Maharishi Naval Ji in finance business not as labor. After this miracle those people got embarrassed who wanted to degrade Maharishi Naval Ji. Maharishi Naval Ji said to them that we are all being made by Prabhu Pramatma and there should be no difference between us as difference of high and low has no meaning in the eye of Prabhu Pramatma. According to quote of Maharishi Naval Ji, the zodiac which was not only incomplete, disoriented and toned is on its place and on its actual shape. After this incident, Maharishi Naval Ji kept on following way of truth and preaching and continued worshipping and then through his miracles, the people of his time, who became his enemy told that human does not get high or low from his caste system but get it from his practices and proved that to whom you consider (Brahman or high profile Hindus) low or unclean and keeping them from worshipping of Pratmatma they have equal rights on worshipping and religion as you. Due to his message for ending selfishness and equality not only high standard Hindus but also bring difference in Dalit people and these Dalit people were seen from the respected eye due to good learning and effort and due to message of peace and brotherhood the top Brahman that time called them by the great names of Sat Guru and Maharashi Naval Swami Ji.
Pujya Hirji Bapa
Pujya Hirji Bapa
Pujya Hirji Bapa, hailed from Gujarat and was a very simple and humble Sant (Saint) who is best known for planting the seeds of Hinduism in East Africa almost a century ago. Pujya Bapa preached about humanity and did not discriminate on grounds of cast, colour or creed.
‘Lalbhai ’ or Hirji Ghela Gokani was born in 1889 in a small village near Dwarka, India. He was the elder of two children born to Ghelabhai and Motima and was brought up in a religious Lohana family where reading the Ramayan was a daily ritual. After his father passed away, Pujya Bapa worked as a teacher for some twelve years to support his mother and sister, before embarking on a historic journey setting foot on the soil of East Africa, aged only twenty five.
Pujya Bapa felt it was his mission to awaken the religious spirit of fellow Hindus living in this new land and he became instrumental in the growth of cultural and religious activity in the region over the next sixty years. In this time he set up over forty bhajan mandals across East Africa, established the Ram Mandir in Nakuru, Kenya and inspired thousands of devotes to follow the path of devotion and selfless service. Many of Pujya Bapa’s devotees such as Pujya Shri Rambapa, Pujya Masribhai Pankania, Pragjibhai Ladwa and Dhamjibhai Pattni went on to establish their own satsang mandals which continue to serve to this day. Pujya Bapa’s messages were conveyed in bhajans and satsang, he would repeatedly chant HARI NO CHHO, HARI NO THAA, HARI NE GAA, HARI NE VAA (you are a child of God, become His, sing His glories, spread His gospel).
Pujya Hirji Bapa was indeed a special ‘Aatma’ and even today, Bapa’s presence is felt around us, though he left his body almost twenty seven years ago, his spirit lives on in the hearts of his devotees.
Pujya HIRJI BAPA was a god sent Sant from India to Enlighten the Indian people who had migrated to Kenya and East Africa for business and work. Pujya Bapa was a very simple and humble Sant (Saint) who planted the seeds of our religion and preached about Humanity. We can safely say that he laid the foundation upon which a lot of the new generation is now walking. Pujya Bapa was one Sant who did not discriminate on grounds of cast, colour or creed.He treated everyone equally and would even listen to small children.
There are no words to characterise this simple and humble saint of East Africa. For the new generation, we hope that these few words , which are a drop in the ocean, will give you a glimpse of the eternal glowing life of Pujya Sant Shree Hirji Bapa.
For it was Pujya Hirji Bapa, a simple young man from Gujarat, who had first sown the seeds of Bhakti in East Africa in 1914 , almost a century ago. Today, we witness the fruits of his tireless efforts as we unite together in this unique Samelan , to pay tribute in memory of a devoted Bhakta of Shree Hanumanji Maharaj.
‘Lalbhai ’ or Hirji Ghela Gokani was born in 1889 in a small village near Dwarka . He was the elder of two children born to Ghelabhai and Motima and was brought up in a religious Lohana family where reading the Ramayan was a daily ritual.
After his father passed away, Pujya Bapa worked as a teacher for some 12 years to support his mother and sister. Now at the age of 25 Pujya Bapa embarked on a historical journey by setting foot on the soil of East Africa. The Indians settled in this new land were forgetting the cultural and religious values of our Sanatan Dharma and Bapa felt it was his mission to awaken the religious spirits of our fellow Hindus.
After his father passed away, Pujya Bapa worked as a teacher for some 12 years to support his mother and sister. Now at the age of 25 Pujya Bapa embarked on a historical journey by setting foot on the soil of East Africa. The Indians settled in this new land were forgetting the cultural and religious values of our Sanatan Dharma and Bapa felt it was his mission to awaken the religious spirits of our fellow Hindus. Pujya Bapa was not a Sadhu but a simple family man who led a Grahasti life. He was blessed with 3 sons and 3 daughters by Pujya Hiramaa his wife who was always there to support him. Without Hiramaa, Bapa would not be who he is today. Pujya Hirji Bapa was responsible for planting the seed of Sanatan Dharma in East Africa. He was instrumental in the growth of cultural and religious activity over a period of 62 years. He set up at least 40 Bhajan Mandals across East Africa in order to encourage Bhajan Satsang to be carried out regularly.
The reason why Bapa was so special was because he practised what he preached. He didn’t discriminate between people or religion. This quality in him drew respect and affection from both the young and old, and his followers who were Sikhs, Hindus as well as Africans.
Pujya Bapa’s Ishtadev was Dwarkadish, yet he was a faithful servant Of Hanumanji, and he built a Ram Mandir and did Satsang on the Ramayan. He continuously chanted ‘ Shiv Shiv ’ as he went about his duties. Bapa believed that he was blessed with Shankar Bhagvans Darshan in person on several occasions, and so he had an increasing faith in him.