Saturday, August 16, 2008


Saint Tukaram
( 1598 AD --- 1649 AD )

Born in Dehu village eighteen miles away from Pune, Tuka or Tukaram (c. 1598-1649 A.D.) is the most popular saint of Maharashtra. His parents were poor agriculturists of Maratha community but of pious and charitable nature. Their family deity was Vithoba of Pandarpur. Married at the age of fifteen, Tukaram lost his wife and son who died of starvation in a famine. His second wife Jeejabai was a capable but worldly woman who could not understand or appreciate her husband's spiritual aspirations, and took to nagging.




SAINT   TUKARAM  (1598 ---  1649 AD )

Tukaram was born in 1598 A.D. at Dehu near Pune (Poona). He was born in a Sudra family which for generations had been devoted to Lord Vithal. His parents were Bolhoba and Kanakai. Professionally they were traders. Tukaram had two brothers, one elder and the other younger respectively. Tukaram married twice. His first wife Rakhumai was asthmatic and the second wife Jijai was hot tempered. Whether he had any money or not, he could never resist serving sadhus, guests and the needy, sacrificing the needs of the family. Everyone used to blame him for the financial ruin which he had brought upon himself and the family by his deeds. 

Tukaram was overcome with intense vairagya towards worldly life. He used to spend most of the time on a quiet spot either in reading or in meditation. Tukaram's devotion was becoming more and more intense day by day. He began composing heart - rending poems of longing for God, and songs of praise of His glory. The great saint Namdev appeared to him in a dream accompanied by Lord Vithal. Namdev pleaded with Tukaram to take up the link where he (Namdev) had left off, and to continue composing abhangas and complete them. Namdev further told that God would mark the measure for each one of his compositions. With new inspiration, Tukaram held kirtans in Dehu, Pune. 

By his ecstatic singing, he won the hearts of all, and his abhangas began to become most popular. Everyone started singing Tukaram's compositions in their homes, even when they were engaged in their vocations outside. This overwhelming popularity of Tukaram caused jealousy in some. One Rameshawara Bhat especially, started to vilify him in several ways. He branded abhangas as being against the spirit of the Vedas and Sastras, and he being a Sudra and also being unlettered in scriptures, should not venture composing Kirtanas. He caused all the writings to be thrown into flooded waters of river Indrayani. 

Tukaram sat on the banks of the river, refusing food and even water. It was on the 15th day that the miracle of miracles happened. Before the astonished gaze of all and to the utter joy of Tukaram, the manuscripts of the abhangas surfaced on the water and glided gently to the shore. While the devotees rushed down to retrieve the cherished manuscripts, Tukaram had the blissful vision of the smiling and benevolent Lord Vithal. 

Rameshwar Bhat after causing much pain and agony to Tukaram upon the instigation of Saint Jnaneshwar, sought pardon and became the most ardent disciple of Tukaram. Rameshwar Bhat is the one who provided the detailed record of events of Tukaram's life and the numberless abhangas that he sang. 

Emperor Shivaji had also heard about Tukaram and felt very much drawn to him. Once, Shivaji sent him rich treasures in Tukaram's absence. Tukaram came home and saw the heaps of treasures he recoiled as if bitten by a cobra. He asked the bearers to take back all what they had brought, saying that Vithal was all his treasure. Shivaji became more enamoured of Tukaram's seeing the latter's total conquest of desire and spirit of renunciation. 

Having led an intensely spiritual life, leaving a great legacy of sweet abhangas, Tukaram ascended to Heaven with his body in 1650 A.D. Rameshwara Bhat and Tukaram's younger brother Kanhoba and others remained for three days on the river ghat singing kirtans and doing fasting, praying to Tukaram to give them a token of his presence wherever he was. On the third day, Tukaram's cymbals fell down from the skies and the devotees sang in joy and the sound of 'Vithala, Vithala, Panduranga!' resounded for days on end. 

Tukaram, by his pure devotion, made for himself a special niche in the heart of the Lord Vithal, and also in the hearts of the people of Maharashtra. His Abhangas resound and echo in every home. They have a nectarine sweetness, overflowing with the richest wisdom, throwing light on all aspects of life, moral, ethical, spiritual, social, human and every segment of life. "Jai Jai Ramakrishna Hari!" was the mantra practiced by Tukaram. This mantra made him scale to the highest spiritual speaks ever reached by any. It is God alone that mattered for Tukaram all his life. God alone, he deemed as his wealth, sustenance, succor and all. Living in the midst of the world, yet a truest renunciate he was, with body, mind, heart and soul totally surrendered at the feet of the Lord.



Saint Kabir Das                                                  
(1398 A.D - 1448 A.D)

Saint Kabir Das (kabir, Arabic for "great", dasa, Sanskrit for "slave" or "servant"), is widely acknowledged as one of the great personality of the Bhakti movement in North India. He was as is widely acknowledged born in Year 1398 A.D.(71 years before Guru Nanak). Kabirpanthis (followers of Kabir) say that he lived upto the age of 120 years and give date of his death as 1518, but relying on the research of Hazari Prased Dwivedi, a British Scholar Charlotte Vaudenville is inclined to lend credence to these dates and has prooven that 1448 is probably the correct date of Saint Kabir's demise. He is one of the medieval Indian saints of Bhakti and Sufi movement whose compositions figure in Sikh Scripture, the Guru Granth Sahib. From among all of them, Kabir's contribution is the largest, 227 Padas in 17 ragas and 237 slokas. Under each raga or musical mode marking a section of the Holy Book, Kabir's hymns appear at the head of Bhagat Bani, a generic name for the works of contributors other than the Gurus. The presence of a substantial amount of Kabir's verse in the Sikh Scripture and chronologically he being the predecessor of Guru Nanak, founder of the Sikh faith, led some Western scholars to describe him as the forerunner of Sikhism.
Saint Kabir Das

Some have even called him the preceptor of Guru Nanak There is, however, ample evidence to prove that Guru Nanak and Kabir had ever met their periods of time in fact do not coincide. Kabir's compositions do figure in what are known as Goindval Pothis, anthologies of the hymns of the Gurus along with those of some of the Bhaktas prepared in the time of Guru AmarDas, Nanak III. They were inclucled in the Guru Granth Sahib as well But this happened much later when Guru Arjan, fifth in spiritual line from the Founder, compiled the Holy Book Besides his own works and those of his four predecessors, he entered in it hymns of some saints and mystics, both Hindu and Muslim, Kabir was one of them. Kabir lived in the fifteenth Century after Christ, which was a time of great political upheaval in India. As is true of many contemporary religious teachers, very little reliable information concerning Kabir's life is available, though there is no dearth of legend gathering around him. Kabir's life was centred around Kashi, also called Banaras (Varanasi) Legend has it that he was actually the son of a Brahmin widow who abandoned him and that he was found by a Muslim weaver named Niru, who adopted the boy and taught him the weaver's trade. It is not clear whether he ever married, but tradition gives him a wife named Loi and two children. His caste was that of Julaha and from his sayings his caste's heriditary occupation of weaving. On the basis of modern research, it seems probable that Kabir belonged to a family of non-celibate yogis converted, not long before and to a considerable degree superficially to Islam. From the writings of Kabir it seems that his knowledge of Islam was slight, rather in his poetical utterances (Bani) a wealth of Hathayoga terminology and a thought structure which bears obvious resemblance to Nath Yogis. Nath Yogis in addition to the yogic conception that all truth is experimental, i.e. to be realized within the body with the aid of psycho-physical practices, concentration, control of breathing and thus making the body incorruptible and the yogis immortal. Bhakti movement was started by hindu saints while Sufi mysticism by Muslim saints in medieval India (1200-1700). Kabir immensely contributed to the Bhakti Movement and is considered a pioneer of Bhakti along with Ravidas, Farid, and Namdev. His concept of love as a path of suffering may possibly indicate, in some measure, a debt to the Sufis. These and other elements from Nath tradition, bhakti and sufism, kabir combined with his own mystical nature and produced synthesis which is the distinctive religion of Kabir. Tradition tells us that Swami Ramanand was his Guru (a teacher). In fifteenth century, Benaras was the seat of Brahmin orthodoxy and their learning center. Brahmins had strong hold on all the spheres of life in this city. Thus Kabir belonging to a low caste of Julaha had to go through immense tough time of preaching his idealogy. Kabir and his followers would gather at one place in the city and meditate. Brahmins ridiculed him for preaching to prostitutes and other low castes. Kabir satirically denounced Brahmins and thus won hearts of people around him. There is no doubt that single most famous important person from the city of Benaras today is none other than Saint Kabir. Kabir through his couplets not only reformed the mindset of common villagers and low caste people but give them self confidence to question Brahmins. It was 100 years after him that Tulsidas broke the hegemony of Brahmins by writing Ram Charitra Manas, a poem of Ramayana at Benaras which went against the tradition of Brahmins. Kabir was in fact first person to go against Brahmins and be so successfull. Benaras was devasted by an attack by a Muslim invader Tamur Lang or "Tamur the lame" during his time. Kabir also denounced mullahs and their rituals of bowing towards kaba five times a day. Because of open condemnation of established and popular religoins, Kabir became an object of the wrath of both Hindus and Muslims in and around Benaras. Kabir travelled in and around Benaras to preach his beliefs. Kabir believed in sell-surrender and God's bhakti. The Kabirpanthis follow a lite of singing the praises of God, prayers and a simple and pure life of devotion. Kabir recommends ceaseless singing of God's praises. He virtually suggests withdrawal from the world. He is against al1 ritualistic and ascetic methods as means to salvation. It is true that Kabir refers to some yogic terms in describing the meditational and mystic methods of the yogis. But, there is no ground to suggest that he himself recommends the yogic path. In fact, far from recommending yoga, he is quite strong in condemning ascetic or yogic methods, and says that yogis, in their meditations, become prey to maya. The point wil1, however be considered further while comparing Radical bhakti with Nathism.

The moral tone is quite strong in Kabir's hymns. "Kabir deck thyself with
garments of love. Love them is given honour whose body and soul speak the truth." "The ruby of goodness is greater than all thc mines of rubies, all the wealth of three worlds resides in the goodness of heart. When thc wealth of contentment is won, all other wealth is as dust." "Where there is mercy, there is strength, where there is forgivenesss there is He." "The man who is kind and practises righteousness, who remains passive in the aftairs of the world, who considers creatures of the world as his own self, he attains the immortal Being; the true God is ever with him. Kabir suggests inward worship and remembrance of God. For him, true worship is only inwards. Put on the rosary inward. By counting beads, the world will be full of light. He clearly suggests moral discrimination betwecn good and bad deeds. What can the helpless road do, when the traveller does not walk understandingly. "What can one do, if, with lamp in hand, one falls in the well." "Or goes astray with open eyes. Discern ye now between good and evil." It is not surprising that Kabir's satire was brought to bear not simply on the vices and weaknesses of men but reached through and beyond them to the very system themselves. It was the authority of Vedas and Quran that more then the authority of Brahmin or Qazi which Kabir attacked. He rebelled against the pretension of resolving by the means of books or by way of authority, the mystery of human conditions and the problem of liberation (Moksha). He spent his last 40 days living in a place where it was believed that if you die you will born as a Donkey in next life. Kabir is a firm advocate of ahimsa. His doctrine extends even to the nondestruction of flowers. " The life of the living you strike dead and you say your slaughter makes it dedicated. It is blood haunting you and those who taught you." "They fast all day, and at night they slaughter the cow; here murder, there devotion; how can this please God? O' Kazi, by whose order doth thou use thy knife." "When you declare the sacrifice of an animal as your religion, what else is sin. If you regard yourself a saint, whom will you call a butcher ?" "The goat eats grass and is skinned, what will happen to those who eat (goat's) meat? "Do not kill poor jiva, murder will not be forgiven even if you hear a million Puranas. Among the fifty commandments laid down for the followers of Kabir, vegetarianism is one of them. For Kabir, moral life involves adherence to ahimsa. In common with all monastic, ascetic or otherworldly sects, Kabir does not think well of women. Ihere is almost a tirade against them in the hymns of Kabir. Woman is characterised as "a black cobra', thc pit of hell and the refuse of the world." She is considered to be a hurdle in the path of thc spiritual progress of man. He spoke, "woman ruins everything when she comes near a man; Devotion, salvation and divine knowledge no longer enter his soul." His views, about woman are also evident from all his vehement attacks against maya. Almost everywhere he links maya to a woman who is out to entice and entrap man, and destroy his spiritual lifc. Such views about woman from a married person arc, indeed, quite uncommon. The cosmological views of Kabir give a clear clue to his worldview. He finds Niranjana to be the creator of the world; maya or woman. And this woman stands between man and god. She is there to entice him away from Him. Kabir composed no systematic treatise, rather his work consists of many short didactic poems, often expressed in terse vigorous language in the form of Padas, Dohas, and Ramainis (forms of poetry in Indian languages). Besides his work recorded in 1604 A.D. in Guru Granth Sahib by Guru Arjan Dev, Nanak V, and preserved inviolate since, two other collections exist - Kabir Granthavali, and Bijak. In his poems, he was quick to tell the illustrations of moral and spiritual truth in the incidents of everyday life , and many of his similes and metaphors are very striking.

Encyclopedia of Sikhism by Sardar Harbans Singh



Kabir was one of the great disciples of Ramananda. It is said that being discarded by his mother, Kabir was brought up in a Muslim weaver family. His lucid lyrics of devotion, for the first time composed in the local language of Hindi, touched the heart of the masses. More than scripture or doctrine, Kabir based his religion on mysticism itself. Moving away from philosophical debates over dualistic or non-dualistic nature of Ultimate Reality, he emphasized personal spiritual experience as the way of realizing the truth.
This spiritual experience can not be explained in words. To Kabir bhakti is not merely surrender, but continuous effort of self-realization through knowledge and courage. By knowledge, Kabir did not mean scholastic learning. He spoke of knowledge in terms of knowing the spiritual truth through one's own experience. He stressed reasoning and one's ability to free himself from doubts. He expressed his realization of Ultimate Truth in the following words:
    "Having called out to you as you for so long, I myself have now turned into you and have lost all sense of my selfhood. Now that the consciousness of "you" and "I" is no more in me, I find only you, no matter where I look."

He was against ritualistic forms of religious devotion. It is believed that Kabir definitely came under the influence of not only Vaishnava gurus, but also of the Natha-pantha and Sufism. In terms of ideas as well as terminology and idioms, resemblances are found between Kabir's verses and the Natha-panthi literature.
Kabir advocated strongly for universalism and urged not to make distinctions between Rama and Rahim, between a brahmin and a sudra, and between a Hindu and a Muslim, because God is viewed as one and all pervading. Kabir was against outward symbols of religious life and seriously questioned the root of various superstitions. Kabir said: 
    "Why bump that shaven head on the earth,
    why dunk those bones in the water?...
    Why wash your hands and mouth, why chant
    With a heart full of fraud?
    Why bow and bow in the mosque, and trudge
    To Mecca to see God?
    Search in the heart, in the heart alone;
    There live Ram and Karim!"

    (Shukdev Singh (ed.), Bijak).
    Source :



Saint Ramananda (1400 to 1480 A.D.)

Ramananda was a devotee of Lord Rama. He lived in Varanasi.
Ramananda was a disciple of Raghabananda, an ascetic of the Vaishnava order, expounded by Ramanuja.He had disciples from all castes. Ramananda's most famous disciples were Anantananda,Bhavananda,Dhanna Bhagat,Kabir,Nabha,Naraharyananda,Pipa,Ravidas, Sain, Sukhananda, and Tulsidas.

Sunday, August 10, 2008


Shri Dattatreya - Datta GuruShri Dattatreya is a very ancient incarnation, highly venerated through the ages. Dattatreya – a Universal Guru manifested in the recess of time of 'Kaliyug', when humanity had gone far from its pristine state and steeped into threshold of a timewhen all kinds of vices had already taken root, and the pious souls made fervent appealed for the salvage of the mankind surging forward in manifold way. He had descended on this earth to establish 'Satya' (the Universal Truth), 'Rta' (the CosmicOrder), Dharma', (the perennial principles), in all its entirety.
Seer Atri was one of such Seers who had 'seen' and experienced the Brahman, the eternal Wisdom. To him was born a son, the product of the Grace or the Divine Will, which was the manifestation of all three Primal Energies ofBrahma, Vishnu and Shiva. He was ordained with the three energies; He came to have the concentrated wisdom of the three God-heads or symbolically three heads. The three heads signified as Brahma:'Tejas' personified, Vishnu:'Ojas' personified, Shiva: 'Tapas' personified. Under these heads, illumination of knowledge, vigorosity of action and stringency of penance were represented as three aspects or state of being of the same.

Birth: Dattatreya had descended into the realm of world as progeny of Atri and Anusuya, a sage couple of the Vedic age. Anusuya became very famous for her devotion to her husband. She was the embodiment of chastity. Such was her spiritual power that hard, uneven earth turned soft and smooth for her as she walked about. This pious woman induced jealousy and envy in others, however, and the three Gods decided to prove these doubting elements how wrong they were.

They transformed themselves into mendicants, approached the hermitage of sage Atri and begged for alms. At that time sage Atri was away at the river offering his daily oblations. Anusuya came out and offered food to them. They made a strange request; the food be prepared and served to them by Anusuya, in the nude. In the Indian tradition any 'athithi' (guest) cannot be turned away, as they are considered to be an aspect of God. Hence she was placed in a dilemma. She smiled to herself and reflected thus: 'I am totally purified by the long association with the holy sage Atri. What harm can the god of lust ever do to me? So I do fear nothing. As they have sought food from my hands, I look upon them as my own children and not as strangers and grown up men!' Her thoughts – the thoughts of a pious and chaste person – instantly became reality; the elderly guests became babies!

Sage Atri on his return to the hermitage saw his wife Anusuya fondling three babies. Anusuya said "These children are the gift of God to us who have been childless so far". Sage Atri was overjoyed and named them Datta, which means 'given'. At this the three Gods reverted to their real forms and disclosed the truth. They extolled the power of chastity and purity of Anusuya which vanquished the combined and colossal powers of all three of them. Sage Atri and Anusuya prayed that they should remain as their sons. They consented and the three Gods merged into one body. This is how Shri Dattatreya incarnated and is known as Gurudeva Datta – the Guru of all Gurus.

Splendorous form of Datta Guru:Shri Dattatreya or Datta Guru, an incarnation who came to light the lamp of wisdom among the people. Shri Dattatreya is a splendorous form. His face radiates all wisdom and draws us away from the lures of the world. Though He is the Supreme Lord of this universe, yet He is a total and supreme recluse. Though He moves from place to place, His favorite abode is the Holy Audambar tree (A type of fig type, Ficus glomerate). He has matted hair on His head. His body is ever smeared with holy ashes and He wears tiger-skin for His garment. A cow and four dogs are always with Him as His constant companions. He is an 'Avadhoot', ever anchored in Spirit, but always overflowing with compassion for all the beings and the entire creation. He is the embodiment of total Godhead. All the aspects of Godhead are fully manifest in Him. His faces and form are ever radiant with peace and divine charm.

• The Cow, which is always with Him, represents the Mother Earth and Dharma. She is the wish fulfilling cow 'Kamadhenu'.
• The four dogs symbolise the four Vedas – the external repositories of Spiritual Wisdom.
• The trident indicates that He has transcended the three gunas, which constitute the illusory world: Sattva-illumination, Rajas-activity and Tamas-inertia.
• The 'Sudharshana chakra' , disc indicates that He is beyond the cycles of time i.e. the past, present and future and His holding of 'chakra' means He is the controller of time.
• The conch represents the eternal sound 'AUM' – which is the manifestation of the Spirit. It is also the life principle in us and the cosmos.
• The 'bhasma' ashes indicated His 'Vairaagya' dispassion as well as His purity. Ashes indicate the evanescent nature of all created nature of all created objects and the ultimate state of all matter.
• He always carries a begging bowl so as to teach us the lesson that we will have to share our wealth and food with others.
• The japa-mala, rosary He wears reminds us that our primary duty is chanting the sacred name of the Lord and meditating on the feet of the Lord, and our redemption depends on this discipline alone.

Shri Dattatreya, in order to bless His devotees and the righteous ones, wanders about in the guise of a random guest at the lunch hour. That's why it is said that a random guest has to be treated as the very embodiment of Lord Dattaterya.

God's creation was His Guru: He had twenty four Gurus. Shri Dattatreya had twenty four teachers from nature "many are my preceptors," he told King Yadu, "selected by my keen sense, from whom acquiring wisdom freely, I wander in the world…. The earth, air/breeze, sky, fire, the sun, pigeon, python, sea, moth, elephant, ant, fish, Pingala the courtesan, arrow-maker, infant/playful boy, the moon, honeybee, deer, bird of prey, maiden, serpent, spider, caterpillar and water are my twenty four preceptors.

His Teachings:
Guru Dattatreya gave Ashtanga Yoga (eight fold path of Yoga) to the world thousands of years ago. Patanjali codified this knowledge in sootra forms. It comprises:
1. Yama – non-killing, truthfulness, non-stealing, continence, and non-receiving of any gifts. Moral discipline
2. Niyama – cleanliness, contentment, austerity, study and self-surrender to God. Moral discipline Yama and Niyama are moral training and form the basis of Yoga. As these two become established, the Yogi will begin to realize the fruits of his practice.
3. Asana – posture
4. Pranayama – 'Prana' is the life-force, 'yama' is control. 'Pranayama' consists of breath control exercises.
5. Pratyahara – withdrawal of senses from sense objects.
6. Dharana – concentration.
7. Dhyana – meditation.
8. Samadhi – the transcendental or super conscious state of being one with God:

Principle tenets of the Dattatreya tradition The principle tenets of the Dattatreya tradition are:
1. Everyone should know oneself first and should know one's own reality, which is but God.
2. One should realize the relationship between God, man and creation – the underlying kinship, unity and oneness of these three entities. Brahman is the immanent and all pervading reality in all matter – it is the origin, the support and sustenance of all.
3. To obtain this vision and discern this truth, one should conquer one's ego through Yoga and renunciation.
4. Guru's grace is indispensable. One has to surrender oneself totally and unreservedly at the feet of the Guru. His grace awakens 'Jnana' (illumination) by which we can recognize the Reality of Brahman, which is the real self of all. Apart from this the disciples should:
• Have purity of thought, word and deed.
• Do 'Nama smaran' – remembrance of the Lord's name and meditation on it.
• Have compassion and love for all beings.
• Render selfless services at the feet of the Guru and surrender completely and unconditionally. Incarnations of Shri Dattatreya : While Shri Dattatreya was the primal manifestation in "Datta Sampradaya" and Guru tradition, His incarnations are:
1. Shripad SriVallabh2. Sri Narasimha Saraswati
3. Shree Swami Samarth of Akkalkot
4. Sri Sai Baba of Shirdi.




Anasuya is generally quoted as the model of chastity. She was the wife of Atri Maharishi, a great sage and one of the Sapta Rishis. She was well established in Pativrata Dharma.

She served her husband with intense devotion. She did severe Tapas for a very long time in order to beget sons equal to Brahma, Vishnu and Siva.

Once Narada took a small ball of iron—the size of a gram-grain—to Sarasvati and said to her, "O Sarasvati Devi! Please fry this iron ball. I will eat this iron-ball-gram during my travel". Sarasvati laughed and said, "O Rishi Narada! How can this iron ball be fried? How can this be eaten?". Narada afterwards went to Mahalakshmi and Parvati and requested them to fry the iron ball. They also laughed at Narada Rishi. Then Narada said, "O Devis! See, I will get it fried by Anasuya, wife of Atri Maharishi, a great Pativrata who lives in the earth-plane".

Then Narada came to Anasuya and requested her to fry the iron-ball-gram. Anasuya put the iron ball in the frying pan, meditated on the form of her husband and put a few drops of water which were used in washing the feet of her husband on the iron ball. The iron ball was at once fried. Narada went to Sarasvati, Lakshmi and Parvati, ate before them the fried iron-ball-gram and gave them also a little of it. He greatly praised the glory of Anasuya and her chastity. Then Narada resolved to fulfil the wish of Anasuya to beget sons equal to Brahma, Vishnu and Siva.

Narada said to Sarasvati, Lakshmi and Parvati: "You also could have fried the iron ball, if you all had done service to your husbands with faith, sincerity and devotion. Make a request to your husbands to test Anasuya’s Pativrata Dharma".

Then Sarasvati, Lakshmi and Parvati requested their husbands to test the Pativrata Dharma of Anasuya, wife of Atri Maharishi, and ask her to give them Nirvana Bhiksha, that is, to give them alms in a naked condition.

The Tri-Murtis, through Jnana-Drishti, came to know of the action of Narada and the Tapas and the wish of Anasuya. They agreed. The Tri-Murtis put on the garb of Sannyasins, appeared before Anasuya and asked her to give them Nirvana Bhiksha. Anasuya was in a great dilemma. She could not say ‘No’ to the Bhikshus. She had to maintain her Pativrata Dharma also. She meditated on the form of her husband, took refuge in his feet and sprinkled over the three Sannyasins a few drops of water which were used for washing the feet of her husband. The Tri-Murtis were converted into three children on account of the glory of the Charanamrita. At the same time, there was accumulation of milk in the breast of Anasuya. She thought that those children were her own children and fed them with the milk in a nude state and put them to the cradle. She was eagerly expecting the arrival of her husband who had gone for taking his bath.

As soon as Atri Rishi came back home, Anasuya related to him all that had happened during his absence, placed the three children at his feet and worshipped him. But Atri knew all this already through his divine vision. He embraced all the three children. The three children became one child with two feet, one trunk, three heads and six hands. Atri Rishi blessed his wife and informed her that the Tri-Murtis themselves had assumed the forms of the three children to gratify her wish.

Narada went to Brahma-Loka, Vaikuntha and Kailasa and informed Sarasvati, Lakshmi and Parvati that their husbands had been turned into children through the power of the Pativrata Dharma of Anasuya when they asked her Nirvana Bhiksha and that they would not return unless the Devis asked for Bhartri Bhiksha (Bhiksha of husband) from Atri. Sarasvati, Lakshmi and Parvati assumed the forms of ordinary women, appeared before Atri and asked for Pati Bhiksha: "O Rishi, kindly give us back our husbands". Atri Rishi duly honoured the three ladies and with folded hands prayed to them that his wish and the wish of Anasuya should be fulfilled. Then the Tri-Murtis appeared in their true form before Atri and said, "This child will be a great sage according to your word and will be equal to us according to the wish of Anasuya. This child will bear the name of Dattatreya". Then they disappeared.

Dattatreya attained manhood. As he had the rays of the Tri-Murtis, and as he was a great Jnani, all the Rishis and ascetics worshipped him. He was gentle, peaceful and amiable. He was always followed by a great multitude of people. Dattatreya tried to get rid of them, but his endeavours were all in vain. Once when he was surrounded by many people, he entered a river for bathing and he did not come out of it for three days. He entered into Samadhi inside the water. On the third day, he came out and found that the people were still sitting on the banks of the river awaiting his return. He did not succeed in getting rid of the people by this method.

So Dattatreya adopted another plan. He created a beautiful girl and a bottle of wine out of his Yogic power. He came out of the waters holding the girl in one hand and the bottle of wine in the other. The people thought that Dattatreya had fallen from his Yoga and so they left him and went away.

Dattatreya threw away all his personal possessions, even the scanty clothing he had, and became an Avadhuta. He went out preaching and teaching the truths of Vedanta. Dattatreya taught his Gita, named Avadhuta Gita, to Lord Subrahmanya. This is a most valuable book which contains the truths and secrets of Vedanta and the direct experiences of Self-realisation.

Once, while Dattatreya was roaming in a forest happily, he met king Yadu, who on seeing Dattatreya so happy, asked him the secrets of his happiness and also the name of his Guru. Dattatreya said that the Atma alone was his Guru and yet he had learned wisdom from twenty-four individuals and that they were therefore his Gurus.

Dattatreya then mentioned the names of his twenty-four Gurus and spoke of the wisdom that he had learnt from each.

Dattatreya said: "The names of my twenty-four teachers are:

1. Earth
2. Water
3. Air
4. Fire
5. Sky
6. Moon
7. Sun
8. Pigeon 9. Python
10. Ocean
11. Moth
12. Honey-gatherer
13. Bee
14. Elephant
15. Deer
16. Fish 17. Dancing girl Pingala
18. Raven
19. Child
20. Maiden
21. Serpent
22. Arrow-maker
23. Spider
24. Beetle
1. I have learnt patience and doing good to others from the earth, for it endures every injury that man commits on its surface and yet it does him good by producing crops, trees, etc.

2. From water I have learnt the quality of purity. Just as the pure water cleanses others, so also the sage, who is pure and free from selfishness, lust, egoism, anger, greed, etc., purifies all those who come in contact with him.

3. The air is always moving through various objects, but it never gets attached to anyone of them; so I have learnt from the air to be without attachment, though I move with many people in- this world.

4. Just as fire burns bright, so also the sage should be glowing with the splendour of his knowledge and Tapas.

5. The air, the stars, the clouds, etc., are all contained in the sky, but the sky does not come in contact with any of them. I have learnt from the sky that the Atma is all-pervading and yet it has no contact with any object.

6. The moon is in itself always complete, but appears to decrease or increase, on account of the varying shadow of the earth upon the moon. I have learnt from this that the Atma is always perfect and changeless and that it is only the Upadhis or limiting adjuncts that cast shadows upon it.

7. Just as the sun, reflected in various pots of water, appears as so many different reflections, so also, Brahman appears different because of the Upadhis (bodies) caused by its reflection through the mind. This is the lesson I have learnt from the sun.

8. I once saw a pair of pigeons with their young birds. A fowler spread a net and caught the young birds. The mother pigeon was very much attached to her children. She did not care to live, so she fell into the net and was caught. The male pigeon was attached to the female pigeon, so he also fell into the net and was caught. From this I learnt that attachment was the cause of bondage.

9. The python does not move about for its food. It remains contented with whatever it gets and lies in one place. From this I have learnt to be unmindful of food and to be contented with whatever I get to eat (Ajahara Vritti).

10. Just as the ocean remains unmoved even though hundreds of rivers fall into it, so also, the wise man should remain unmoved among all sorts of temptations, difficulties and troubles. This is the lesson I have learnt from the ocean.

11. Just as the moth, being enamoured of the brilliance of the fire, falls into it and is burnt up, so also, a passionate man who falls in love with a beautiful girl comes to grief. To control the sense of sight and to fix the mind on the Self is the lesson I have learnt from the moth.

12. Just as black bee sucks the honey from different flowers and does not suck it from only one flower, so also I take only a little food from one house and a little from another house and thus appease my hunger (Madhukari Bhiksha or Madhukari Vritti). I am not a burden on the householder.

13. Bees collect honey with great trouble, but a hunter comes and takes the honey easily. Even so, people hoard up wealth and other things with great difficulty, but they have to leave them all at once and depart when the Lord of Death takes hold of them. From this I have learnt the lesson that it is useless to hoard things.

14. The male elephant, blinded by lust, falls into a pit covered over with grass, even at the sight of a paper-made female elephant. It gets caught, enchained and tortured by the goad. Even so, passionate men fall in the traps of women and come to grief. Therefore, one should destroy lust. This is the lesson I have learnt from the elephant.

15. The deer is enticed and trapped by the hunter through its love of music. Even so, a man is attracted by the music of women of loose character and brought to destruction. One should never listen to lewd songs. This is the lesson I have learnt from the deer.

16. Just as a fish that is covetous of food falls an easy victim to the bait, so also, the man who is greedy of food, who allows his sense of taste to overpower him, loses his independence and easily gets ruined. The greed for food must therefore be destroyed. It is the lesson that I have learnt from the fish.

17. There was a dancing girl named Pingala in the town of Videha. She was tired of looking out for customers one night. She became hopeless. Then she decided to remain content with what she had and then she had sound sleep. I have learnt from that fallen woman the lesson that the abandonment of hope leads to contentment.

18. A raven picked up a piece of flesh. It was pursued and beaten by other birds. It dropped the piece of flesh and attained peace and rest. From this I have learnt the lesson that a man in the world undergoes all sorts of troubles and miseries when he runs after sensual pleasures and that he becomes as happy as the bird when he abandons the sensual pleasures.

19. The child who sucks milk is free from all cares, worries and anxieties, and is always cheerful. I have learnt the virtue of cheerfulness from the child.

20. The parents of a young girl had gone in search of a proper bridegroom for her. The girl was alone in the house. During the absence of the parents, a party of people came to the house to see her on a similar mission. She received the party herself. She went inside to husk the paddy. While she was husking, the glass bangles on both hands made a tremendous jingling noise. The wise girl reflected thus: "The party will detect, by the noise of the bangles, that I am husking the paddy myself and that my family is too poor to engage others to get the work done. Let me break all my bangles except two on each hand". Accordingly, she broke all the bangles except two on each hand. Even those two bangles created much noise. She broke one more bangle in each hand. There was no further noise though she continued husking. I have learnt from the girl’s experience the following:—Living among many would create discord, disturbance, dispute and quarrel. Even among two persons, there might be unnecessary words or strife. The ascetic or the Sannyasin should remain alone in solitude.

21. A serpent does not build its hole. It dwells in the holes dug out by others. Even so, an ascetic or a Sannyasin should not build a home for himself He should live in the caves and temples built by others. This is the lesson that I have learnt from the snake.

22. The mind of an arrow-maker was once wholly engrossed in sharpening and straightening an arrow. While he was thus engaged, a king passed before his shop with his whole retinue. After some time, a man came to the artisan and asked him whether the king had passed by his shop. The artisan replied that he had not noticed anything. The fact was that the artisan’s mind had been so solely absorbed in his work that he had not known the king’s passing before his shop. I have learnt from the artisan the quality of intense concentration of mind.

23. The spider pours out of its mouth long threads and weaves them into cobwebs. It gets itself entangled in the net of its own making. Even so, man makes a net of his own ideas and gets entangled in it. The wise man should therefore abandon all worldly thoughts and think of Brahman only. This is the lesson I have learnt from the spider.

24. The Bhringi or the beetle catches hold of a worm, puts it in its nest and gives it a sting. The poor worm, always fearing the return of the beetle and the sting, and thinking constantly of the beetle, becomes a beetle itself. Whatever form a man constantly thinks of, he attains in course of time. As a man thinks, so he becomes. I have learnt from the beetle and the worm to turn myself into Atma by contemplating constantly on It and thus to give up all attachment to the body and attain Moksha or liberation".

King Yadu was highly impressed by the teachings of Dattatreya. He abandoned the world and practised constant meditation on the Self.

Dattatreya was absolutely free from intolerance or prejudice of any kind. He learnt wisdom from whatever source it came. All seekers after wisdom should follow the example of Dattatreya.

Source :



Shri Manik Prabhu Maharaj

Born : 22nd December 1817
Samadhi : 29th November 1865

The life and the message of Shri Manik Maharaj, has many similarities with the life of Lord Dattatreya. Lord Dattatreya himself, out of compassion took descent in the form of Shri Manik Prabhu Maharaj for establishment of dharma (righteousness). At the time of Shri Prabhu's birth, there prevailed the religious hatred, social inequality and a total cultural chaos. The seekers of true knowledge were in a confused state of mind and ran from pillar to post in search of spiritual solace.Birth and early life:In a village called Ladwanti, near the town of Kalyan, in the erstwhile state of Hyderabad, a child was born to a pious couple, Shri Manohar Naik and Smt. Bayadevi on 22nd December 1817, the birthday festival of Lord Dattatreya. They had in all three sons and one daughter.Amongst the sons, the middle one was the one who was to make history in time to come.He was named Manik.

As he grew, one and all were attracted to the child, who was fondled not only by his parents but also by his neighbours. His pranks were endearing to everyone. He started collecting a group of his friends and roaming the hills and dales in the vicinity of the town. He was, as it were, a child of nature, more close to the trees, the breeze, the birds and the flowers. In the course of play He would occasionally, casually disclose his divinity. Once, when one of His playmates, Govinda, failed to turn up for play for a couple of days, Manik went to his house to enquire after him. Arriving there He was informed that Govinda has passed away after suffering from fever for a few days. Manik told Govinda's mother to stop grieving, as her son was alive. Sure enough, when Govinda's mother called out to him to go out and play with Manik, he arose as if out of a deep slumber. All present were overjoyed and amazed at this occurrence. This and such other occurrences caused his fame to spread far and wide. On the whole however, Manik behaved in such a carefree manner that the members of his family were concerned. It was, therefore, decided that at the age of seven his thread ceremony should be performed, so that a sense of responsibility may dawn on this wayward child, who, it appeared, preferred to roam rather than sit and read. When the sacred thread was being bestowed on Him and the sacred Gayatri hymn was being recited in his ears, as was the custom, a strange thing took place. Manik behaved as though all this was superfluous for him and he knew all about Gayatri and the significance of the eternal sound, AUM. He recited the hymn unaided, to the great surprise of the assembled people
Manik was again free to roam in the woods. When he was sent to the school, his attention was to the open sky, the cool breeze, the rustling leaves and the chirping of the birds. He liked to seek teachers in the lap of nature, listen to Nature's natural education rather than the artificial or contrived lessons in the classroom. It was not surprising therefore, that he was given to sneaking out of the classrooms and wandering in the woods. Nature became his classroom and his very Self became his teacher. His receptivity became keen, intelligence sharp and thoughts synchronized. Manik's parents worried about his wanderings ignoring the formal education sent him to his uncle's place.

Manik's uncle sincerely felt that this boy should grow up like a normal child and should be trained and educated to take up the responsibilities of life. He was deeply frustrated by the failure of his measures in sending this boy to school. He then thought that employment may inculcate a sense of responsibility in him and thus got him appointed as a clerk in the octroi check post on the outskirts of Kalyan town.

Manik's uncle sincerely felt that this boy should grow up like a normal child and should be trained and educated to take up the responsibilities of life. He was deeply frustrated by the failure of his measures in sending this boy to school. He then thought that employment may inculcate a sense of responsibility in him and thus got him appointed as a clerk in the octroi check post on the outskirts of Kalyan town.

From then onwards, his journey on the pathless path was within the folds of Mother Nature. As he breathed in the fresh, unconditioned atmosphere, a new wave of awareness came over him, spreading before him the universality of the Divine presence in every thing he saw, touched or heard. One by one the mysteries, long concealed, came to be revealed to him.

Shri Krishna's assurance seemed to echo in every action of his. "He who see Me everywhere and sees all in Me, I am not lost to him nor is he lost to Me" (Bhagavad Gita VI.30). Consequently within himself and without himself, in nature, in creatures, in trees and streams, hills and dales, in the wise as well as in the foolish, in the saint as well as the sinner, in those who love and in those who hate, he saw only the same Divine essence, the Brahma.

In jungles-, hills and woods:

The family members accepted the strange behaviour of Shri Manik, it nonetheless created anxiety in their minds, especially when he would wander from place to place without notice. Shri Manik was looked at with due respect. An aura enveloped his personality.

He preferred to stay in solitude and alone concentrating on the Supreme Self. He went to nearby places such as Manthal and especially to Ambilkunda or Amritkunda. Shri Prabhu told his family members in most compassionate words about His Mission in life. "With the Grace of Shri Dattatreya I took birth in your family. Your desire for a child was duly fulfilled. I stayed with you as long as it was necessary. Now that I have been initiated in Brahmavidya, wisdom of Brahman, My life is devoted to humanity. I will now have to wander from place to place to spread the message of the Compassionate Datta, Datta-Dayaghana, so that the misery of human beings can be alleviated. Therefore, it is futile to grieve for my loss. I will ever be with you. Go back to your home and leave me to fulfill my Mission. Whenever and wherever one needs me, I will come. This is certain; this is my promise."

In Search of the Self

Shri Prabhu was greatly attracted to the hills around Manthal where the environment was quiet and peaceful and conducive for communion with the Supreme Self. He lived for many days immersed in the blissful state of realization. Some time he would come down from the hills and roam around the town. His behaviour was some so different from normal ways of life, that people would shun him as though he was demented. The wise ones, therefore, recognizing Shri Prabhu as a great Yogi honoured and worshipped Him, which Shri Prabhu accepted as though all this was natural for Him. But at the same time like a simple, unassuming child of nature, He would distribute the things received by him among the assembled persons.

Often when in spiritual rapture, He would sing and dance and many of his bhajans were the product of such ecstatic moods. When He sang these bhajans, which in Marathi are known as "Abhanga" he seemed to be inseparable from "Datta-Dayaghana" his chosen deity.

Shri Prabhu moved from place to place like a free bird or breeze, which knew no bounds. In the bosom of Mother Nature, he had all the satisfaction and contentment which the world of the attachment and possessions would not give.

During one of his wanderings, he arrived at Chalakpur, a small town near Kalyan and stayed at Lord Hanuman temple for few months. People thronged in thousands for His darshan and to seek His blessings. The entire atmosphere was surcharged with religious fervour. Bayadevi, Shri Prabhu's mother and Nrisimha, His brother came over to Chalakpur. All experienced the overflowing Grace of Shri Prabhu and no one went back empty handed. Such was the compassion of Shri Manik Prabhu. Shri Manik Prabhu further proceededto Mailar, which is one of the ancient holy places. Lord Shiva is worshiped here as Marthanda Bhairava and is also venerated locally as Khandoba. During this period, his fame as an Avatar of Shri Dattatreya spread further in the surrounding areas. Later Shri Prabhu left Mailar with some of his close associates to visit Holy places like Parali-Vaijanatha, Tuljapur, Pandharpur etc. From Pandharpur he went to visit Shri Junglee Maharaj at Poona and from there onward to Girnar to have communion with Guru Shri Datta, the compassionate one. Sourcing His power from the Primal source, He traveled further to Gangotri, Haridwar, Badari, Kedar, Prayag, Varanasi, Gaya, Puri, Mahur, Tirupati, Gangapur and to many Holy river banks and hills on the way. This travel established in Him the unique feeling of all-pervading nature of his Self and the manifestation of the Supreme Brahma in everything which he saw, touched, heard and breathed.
Finally he came to Kalyan, his hometown. He decided to live there for some time to consider the steps to give shape to his mission, for the time had come when the first step was to be taken.
Some misguided Mullas, who could neither understand nor digest the popularity of Shri Prabhu in their blind orthodoxy, decided to counter the effect of Shri Prabhu's message on the people, amongst whom many were also Muslims. With a view to embarrass Shri Prabhu, they brought some plate covered with shawls, ostentatiously full of gifts. They wanted to embarrass him and make him look insignificant in the eyes of his devotees. They, therefore, surreptitiously brought beef in the plates instead of fruits etc. and offered the plates to Shri Prabhu with a false pretence of devotion. However, from a Yogi nothing is hidden and nothing can be hidden. He saw through their game and yet, graciously accepted their offerings by touching the plates. He then asked the contents to be distributed among the assembled peoples as Prasad (blessed food). When the shawl was removed what every one found was fruits and sweetmeats.

The Prasad (blessed food) was distributed to all the assembled people. The miscreants were humbled and felt ashamed. They fell at the feet of Shri Prabhu and asked for his pardon. All that Shri Prabhu did was to bless them to have good thoughts and follow the noble path, which the Koran (Holy scripture of Islam) has prescribed for them.

The area where Shri Prabhu spent much of his human life was ruled by a Muslim King and the population was also predominantly Muslim. Therefore, the above incident created a lasting impression on them and they considered Shri Prabhu to be an Avatar of Mehaboob Subhani, a Muslim Saint, which belief they can now hold. The Manik Prabhu Sampradaya also reciprocates this faith. In the festivities at Maniknagar both Hindus and Muslims take part with equal enthusiasm. This is indeed the unique example Sakalamat Sampradaya, equality and universality of religions and faiths. A Yogi sees no difference between the various manifestations of the Lord, and for him everything that is in the world is but the manifestation of the Lord.
Large followings need a focal point to gather together. Shri Prabhu felt the need to have such a spiritual centre. Till now he was wandering from place to place in his own state of constant awareness of the Supreme Bliss. The descent of the Lord is not only for the sake of destruction of evil but also for the establishment of righteousness. Lord Krishna said "For the protection of the good and destruction of the evil, for establishment of righteousness, I come into being from age to age". (Bhagavat Gita IV.8)

Later while traveling with some devotees He stopped near the confluence of the two rivers. There as Shri Prabhu sat under the Audumbar tree (Lord Dattatreya is believed to dwell under this tree) in ecstatic meditation, the decision to establish the spiritual centre at that very place was taken. Thus was established what is today known as the village of MANIKNAGAR.


The time and place selected by Shri Prabhu for establishing the spiritual centre near Humnabad seemed significant as well as ideal. Those were the troubled times, both politically as well as religiously. He selected the confluence of the two rivers for establishing his spiritual centre, as if to emphasize that he wanted to bring the two communities (Hindus and Muslims) together. In his visionary mind he saw these two streams of great faith come together and live life of peace and understanding. How prophetic his vision was can be seen by the fact that even today both the Hindus and the Muslims flock to Maniknagar each year, to honour the great founder of the Universal Truth, the SAKALAMATA.

Originally, a small hut was constructed to establish the GADI, or the Spiritual Seat, which in time to come was to be associated with the living spirit of Shri Manik Prabhu Maharaj. Sitting on the Gadi, he would give Darshan to audience and His very Darshan would give peace and contentment to all who visited Maniknagar. Shri Prabhu's mother, who had till then endured separation from her son, came to Maniknagar with the rest of the family.

In the Durbar, the people gathered would bask in the aura and the benevolent grace of Shri Prabhu. The entire atmosphere would be surcharged with spiritual splendour. Shri Prabhu would cast his compassionate glance on all, making everybody participate in the bliss, which he was experiencing.

People from far and near would come with their doubts and Shri Prabhu, even though he had not received formal education in the scriptures than the philosophers in his Durbar and was able to clear all doubts with great ease. Sometimes he would reply even before the questions were asked. Such was his authority, wisdom and spiritual insight. The graceful presence of Shri Prabhu that his very Darshan would assuage all the misery of a person.

He treated all devotees alike and wanted true devotion than outward austerity echoing the words of Lord Krishna in Bhagavad Gita (IX.26) "Whosoever offers to Me, with devotion a leaf, a flower, a fruit, or water, that offering of love, of the pure heart, I accept".

Devotion to the Guru should be like that of the child towards its mother. Whether the mother is nearby or not, the child is ever confident that the mother will listen when it is in distress. If such confidence and faith is there, then Shri Prabhu's Grace will ever be with us to guide us and tide us over the difficult times. Many devotees have experienced this expansive Grace of Shri Prabhu even when they have been in places far from Maniknagar. For surely Shri Prabhu does not reside only in Maniknagar but in the heart of all the devotees as well.

The grandeur of Shri Prabhu's Durbar proved one thing. When the Lord oversees us, He knows our needs and so ordains accordingly. Whether we ask for little or more, Shri Prabhu knows fully well what is good for us. If there is 'Shraddha' (Faith) in us, nothing else is needed. If there is no Shraddha (Faith) then all efforts and endeavours to please Shri Prabhu are to no avail. He distributed wealth as well as health as needed by the sincere devotees. He was a great Yogi, a great recluse. For him wealth was as good as dust. He saw the Lord in both. Therefore whether he sat on a throne or on an earthen mound, for him it made no difference.

No one was stranger to Shri Prabhu. He knew each one by name as well as his problems. It was the Durbar of Srhi Manik Prabhu Maharaj and each one returned from there with a satisfied and contented mind, for Shri Prabhu was, indeed, the Kalpavriksh (Wish Fulfilling Tree).
Mahasamadhi (leaving the gross body)

Shri Prabhu himself was not bound by the gross body. He had realized his Self.
When he realized that the time had come for him to shed his mortal coil and merge in the Infinite, he considered seriously the future course to be laid down for the mission to continue, which was as important as the manner in which he would discard the gross body. As Shri Prabhu was reluctant to disclose the time of his own departure to all, he took only three or four persons into confidence, those who understood the significance of his Avatar (incarnation). The news was kept in utmost confidence and all the required work was carried on with a smile on the face but with remorse in the heart. He advised them, "You think that once I take Samadhi everything will end and I will no more be available to you. What you will miss is the sight of my Gross body, but my Self, the spirit within, will ever remain with you to guide you without your realizing that fact. There will not be any breach in your spiritual path. Remember that decay and destruction of the gross body is certain. When every breath has already been numbered and assigned what is the purpose of grieving?" Shri Prabhu consoled them; "It is good that my work here is now coming to an end. You will all be able to carry the mission further by the Energy, which I will be leaving behind. What's the use of remaining alive in this worthless body when the work is complete?"

One day, a small boil was noticed on Shri Prabhu's back. He supervised the place where he was to take Samadhi (shedding the mortal coil). The pit was dug in all secrecy and no one in Maniknagar could get even a breath of it. Soon the auspicious month of Margashirsha arrived. People from great distances flocked Manik Nagar to celebrate the annual Shri Datta Jayanti (birth day celebrations of Lord Dattatreya) festivities. Somehow that year was considered auspicious for Muslims also. Consequently, Shri Prabhu's Muslim devotees also came in thousands.

As time passed, Shri Prabhu's health was deteriorating steadily. The small boil was getting bigger and more painful. Yet, Shri Prabhu's face bore no trace of the pain and it was blissful and tranquil as ever. On the tenth day of Margashirsha, Shri Prabhu decided to summon the Durbar, so that people could have his final Darshan. All arrangements were made for Shri Prabhu to sit in as comfortable a position as was possible.

The next day was Ekadashi, the eleventh day of the month. For Hindus it is one of the most auspicious days. It is the day on which, thousands of years ago Shri Krishna delivered the message of Bhagavad Gita to Arjun. This day is observed as Gita Jayanti. This 29th day of the month of November 1865 was the day on which Srhi Prabhu had decided to take Samadhi and merge His Self with the Supreme Self.

Before samadhi He called two sons of His brother Narisimha and blessed them and thus the line of succession to the Gadi (spiritual seat) was laid down for all to know. He made the elder one Manohar the successor to Gadi by transferring His Eternal Energy to him. Thus the Guru-Parampara of Shri Manik Prabhu Sampradya was established for all time to come. The successors to the Gadi (spiritual seat) after Shri Manik Prabhu took Samadhi are:

Shri Manohar Manik Prabhu
Shri Martan Manik Prabhu,
Shri Shankar Manik Prabhu and
Shri Siddharaj Manik Prabhu

Having done this Shri Prabu started walking towards the hut where the pit was dug. With his face glowing with extraordinary spiritual splendour, Shri Prabhu took each step. It was like the space merging within the space leaving no trace whatever. For Shri Prabhu the occasion was joyous for it was like going back to the origin from where He had started. He sat in the pit in Padmasana (lotus posture), forcing His Kundalini to rise and reach the Brahmarandhra. The pit was closed slowly by the close associates, in a mood that was surcharged with spiritual fervour.
The news of Shri Prabhu having taken Samadhi was kept secret till Poornima (full moon day), lest the grieving crowds might vitiate the solemn and serene occasion, in their ignorance if the significance of the event. When they came to the Gadi for Shri Prabhu's Darshan as usual, before they departed from Maniknagar, they were shocked to hear the news. They rushed to the hut in uncontrollable grief. Close devotees and associates had to pacify the crowd.

Shri Prabhu had assured time and again, His continued presence in Maniknagar. He answers the prayers of all who keep Faith in Him.

The Perfect Masters :Shankar Maharaj , Hazrat Tajuddin Baba , Narayan Maharaj , Meher Baba , Hazrat BabajanShri Upasani (Baba) Maharaj , ParamSadguru Shree Gajanan Maharaj of Akkalkot Shri Krishna Saraswati Swami, Swami Swaroopanad of Pawas, Shri Vasudevanand Saraswati Swami Maharaj



Shri Upasani (Baba) Maharaj
An explanation about the role and greatness of Shri Sai of Shirdi would remain incomplete without the understanding of the life of Kashinath Govind Upasani Sastri, who later came to be known as 'Shri Upasani Maharaj'. Shri Sai's deeds and life was full of miracles, but the greatest miracle was His creation of this once inconsequential person to the status of a Sadguru within a period of four years!

The methods used by Shri Sai to completely transform Kashinath Sastri, the pain taken by him to protect the neophyte and the assurance with which he grew this unsure and confused disciple to the state of a Perfect Master, would indicate where in the spiritual hierarchy of this world Shri Sai remains.

Born on 5th may, 1870 at Satana, Maharashtra (in India), Kashinath did not exhibit traits of a normal child from the beginning, although his deviations did not indicate existence of any super-intelligence or excellence in him. He held extremely strong views about two vital aspects of life when in his teens. First, he declared that the formalised educational learning was only for bread winning and, therefore, after doing three years in a vernacular elementary school left it; merciless canning by his teacher becoming the immediate cause of such realisation. Secondly, he hated and condemned the body (i.e. his own body) as the creator of limitations and pain in life. He spent all his time doing in Asans (exercises as per Yoga), Pranayama (Breath control exercises), repetition of mantras etc. With such an attitude he could earn nothing and for his family members he was a problem child. To make matters worse, he was married with the hope that his ways would change. Old habits die hard. Not only did Kashinath not change, but also a few months after marriage he ran away from home (at the Dhulia district in Maharashtra) leaving a departing note and reached Nasik. However, two months later anxiety about the plight of his parents compelled him to return home. Shortly thereafter his wife expired, but before the cup of sorrow could be emptied, Kashinath, now fifteen was got married second time. To earn livelihood he went to places like Pune and could not find a job because of the absence of any formal education. At times he did menial work for others and at other times, he took to begging. He was in a miserable state of life. Sometimes, he even had to sleep on footpaths (sideways) and live only on Margosa (Neem) leaves.

During this period of trials and tribulations, he met a saint who impressed upon him the virtues of Brahmacharya (celibacy). Leaving Pune he went to a place called Kalyan where he restored to begging as a means of livelihood, often quenching his hunger only by drinking water. A few days later, frustrated and exhausted, he decided to return home moving through Nasik. He reached home at Satana in July 1890. Soon after his father passed away. To earn livelihood, he practiced medicine for some time, followed by a job of a Malgujari (tax collector for the king or ruler). However, he failed in all the material ventures he undertook. His health also deteriorated substantially due to neglect and lack of comforts. While practicing Pranayama (Breath control exercises), his breath-cycle also got disturbed. Even his sleep, digestion and evacuation systems got difficult. All efforts of medical and religious having failed, he tried to get occult help of a Yogi. A Yogi called Yogi Kulkarni whom he met at Rahuri told him that Kashinath had entered a high yogic state and therefore, must take the help of Shri Sai Baba of Shirdi. Presuming Shri Sai to be a Moslem, Kashinath did not take the advice seriously. One day when Kashinath was walking in the streets of Rahuri, an old man approached him to take hot water as a curative measure and to avoid taking cold water. Kashinath did not take this unsolicited advice given by a unknown person but continued his search for a Hindu Yogi. While on such a move, at a certain place called Jajuri, he went into a Samadhi state while sitting in a lonely place surrounded by prickly-pear bush. When he awoke, he felt very thirsty and went to the stream nearby to drink water. At that time the same old man re-appeared from nowhere. He repeated his advice in an angry tone and disappeared suddenly. Kashinath took his advice (this time) seriously and found sudden relief. In a short time his health became all right by this hot-water therapy. Then he went to meet Narayan Maharaj of Kedgaon a famous Saint. On his way back he again met Yogi Kulkarni at Rahuri who again insisted upon him to meet Sai Baba, as Shirdi was on the way. Ultimately Kashinath came to Shirdi and met Shri Sai on 27th June 1911. Little did he realise at that time that he had met his Sadguru (Master) and that the course of his life would undergo complete thereafter.

After staying at Shirdi for about two or three days, Kashinath wanted to leave for home. Obviously he had been wishing for a happy union with his family members and to live with them happily ever after. However, Sai would not agree. Everyone in Shirdi knew that if Shri Sai did not permit one to leave Shirdi, there must be something more to it. Those who disobeyed faced problems, which could have been avoided, had they heeded to the words of Shri Sai. When Kashinath pleaded vehemently, Shri Sai ultimately permitted him on the condition that he (Kashinath) should return to Shirdi in eight days. Kashinath, at that time, not having full faith in Sai, started worrying and fretting as eight days was too short a time. Sai knowing his mental state told him "well, go if you like, I will see what can I do." Very happy at the prospect of going home he made a quick departure. However, strangely enough, moving from place to place, he reached Kopergaon (a village 8 miles away from Shirdi) on the eighth day. He was utterly confused and did not know that as to how in eight days of continuous walking he could only cover eight miles. Willy-nilly from Kopergaon, he came to Shirdi with a group of pilgrims and met Shri Sai again.

When he bowed before Shri Sai, the latter asked him:-

Sai : "So You have come, when did you leave this place?"
Kashinath : "Thursday"
Sai : " At what time?"
Kashinath : "At Three"
Sai : "What day of the week is this?"
Kashinath : "Thursday."
Sai : "How long since you left?"
Kashinath : "A week. To-day is the eighth day".
Sai : "That's it. When you left, you protested that you could not return within eight days!"
Kashinath : "I do not know how this has happened. It is all your doing".
Sai : "Man, I was behind you all these eight days. Now go and stay in that wada" (i.e. Kaka Saheb's, where visitors of Shri Sai usually stayed. 'Wada' means a building within a compound)

From that day onwards Kashinath was put on probation by Shri Sai who asked him to stay in the wada (a place where the other pilgrims were put up). Kashinath attempted to understand Sai by starting to enquire from other devotees and observation of His daily activities. On one day, Sai as usual narrated a peculiar story in the form of a self-experience to the assembled devotees. He said that once he met an emaciated and pregnant woman whom he advised to take only hot water and avoid cold-water, so that the child could be delivered early. She did not heed His advice but went on to drink cold water. He again came and advised the lady not to take cold water but to take hot water only. When she started to take hot water, she delivered the child. While narrating the story Shri Sai pointed frequently at Kashinath, who was convinced that it was Shri Sai who had appeared at two places to save him. Love and gratitude engulfed him so much that he started crying. Sai told him clearly that he and Kashinath had Rinanubandha (Karmic obligations of the past, including the previous births) for many centuries.

To protect Kashinath from all external factors that effect spiritual growth, Sai asked him to go and sit in Khandoba Temple and do nothing so that Sai would be able to do whatever he wills to do i.e. to work within Kashinath and evolve him. Sai told Kashinath that Khandoba's (Lord Shiva) full grace will come on him after a period of four years.

Like a mother protecting its child from the on-slaughts of nature and people around even at the cost of her own life, Shri Sai protected Kashinath whole-heartedly and openly. Before the assemblage of jealous devotees who asked about the reason of His extreme grace He said, "yes, yes, everything has been given, whatever he is, good or bad, he is mine. There is no distinction between him and me. Now, the whole responsibility for him rests with me." Kashinath still could not understand the import of the words of Shri Sai. To further indicate his future, Sai said "wherever you are, you are God – You will realise everything."

The grace of the Sadguru is immeasurable. It is said that whereas a touch stone can change a stone to gold by mere touch, the Sadguru (Perfect Master) is such a touch-stone who can convert a stone (disciple) to a touch-stone i.e. to His own state (Perfect Master). The Sadguru, at this stage is responsible for everything, good or evil, done by the pupil. At this stage, the Sadguru virtually remains at the mercy of the disciple. By this total sacrifice of Himself, the Sadguru evolves the disciple to a state of perfection i.e. His own state. Shri Sai, once told one of His close-associates that the endeavor should be to create these perfect men so that they can, in turn, spiritually uplift thousands and millions of other souls from the state of Jivatma (bonded souls) to the state of Shivatma (Perfect souls). To evolve Kashinath was no easy task for Shri Sai. It is said that the difference in the state of consciousness between a stone and an ordinary man is what is the difference between an ordinary man and a Sadguru. Like a man turning a piece of stone by the use of hammer, chisel to a beautiful piece of sculpture, the Sadguru can change a gross individual to that of a perfect soul. This is what Shri Sai was trying to do on Kashinath. The methods he used were, sometimes, harsh from the point of view of Kashinath, but, none the less were meant for his evolution to that perfect state only.

To begin his work Sai told Kashinath "Sit quiet, somehow. Have nothing to do with anyone". Sai wanted Kashinath not to create further 'Samskaras' or impressions for himself in attachment with other people but to draw his mind inwards. As he followed the master, a series of mystic reactions happened in Kashinath and around him.

To make Kashinath realise that, his Guru (Shri Sai) was present in every living being irrespective of the species, He once told Kashinath that he would one day visit Khandoba temple (where Kashinath used to stay). He further said that would Kashinath recognize Him, He would have chillum (earthen pipe for smoking) with him. About two or three months later Kashinath was taking some food to his Guru (Sai, who was sitting at the DwarkaMai mosque). A black dog who had been watching Kashinath while cooking, followed him. Without giving any food to the dog, Kashinath went straight to Sai, who said, "why did you take the trouble to bring the food here, in this hot sun. I was sitting there (i.e. near the temple)". Kashinath was shocked to hear that his Guru was at the temple and he did not know. He told Sai that there was none in the temple except a black dog. At that, Sai said 'yes, yes, I was that dog". Hearing this Kashinath could not stop crying and resolved never again to commit such a blunder. On the next day, while cooking, he watched around cautiously lest the dog would come again. The dog was no where to be seen. A shudra (lower-caste) beggar was found leaning against a wall and watching him cook. Kashinath the Brahmin (Uppermost-caste) grown in the orthodox tradition, immediately asked him to go away. Later when he approached Sai, the latter asked him "yesterday you did not give me food and today you also ordered me not to stand there and drove me away. Do not bring food for me hereafter". Again Kashinath was surprised and again he was told that 'shudra' was Sai Himself. These two lessons taught Kashinath that God and Shri Sai are in everything, and that the essence of God pervades everyone and everything.

On the Gurupurnima day (Ashadha full moon day) of 1913, Shri Sai asked a devotee Chandrabai, a strong willed lady to worship Kashinath the way Sai was being worshipped. This lady approached Kashinath in Khandoba temple with the Puja (worship) material for his worship. Kashinath refused to be worshipped and, even, threatened her for her audacious act. But Chandrabai told him (the language of Sai said through her) that even his body, which he thought was being worshipped, did not belong to him. From this day onwards Kashinath was called as Upasani Maharaj as officially Sai installed him as a Guru even in his probation period. After this incident, he started losing the sense of his body (Dehabhava).

Now Upasani Maharaj started having visions and feelings of a highly psychic and spiritual nature. For example, he lost his normal vision by looking at the sun constantly. The sun and other light sources looked dark to him. When in this state, one day, he suddenly started seeing circles of light, which expanded and then came near him. These circular specks of light would disappear coming near his body. Now he started seeing spiritual visions inside these circles of light. One day he saw himself standing at some place in the space and saw the whole cosmos including the sun, moon, sky revolving. The whirling cosmos slowly became smaller and smaller, came towards him, and vanished near him or into him. Upasani Maharaj now experienced that the whole world was illusory and revolving and that he, as a soul, was outside it. This was a higher stage in his spiritual growth.

From his childhood Upasani Maharaj had identified the body as the cause of all evils in life and had made conscious attempts to punish it. For a spiritual aspirant identifying the body with the self is a big limitation. How Shri Sai removed it is an interesting story. One day Upasani Maharaj saw a vision that in an old building he (Upasani) and Sai were there. Shri Sai beckoned him to bring his ear close to his (Sai) mouth so that he could give a mantra. When Upasani Maharaj tried to do so, a shabby figure, which looked exactly like him tried to pull Maharaj away from Sai. Then Sai beat-up that shabby figure carried him out and burnt him in a pyre. Identifying himself with this figure when Upasani complained about this action (of burning). Shri Sai told him that it was his (Maharaj's) evil form, which has been burnt. Little later, he saw an illuminated figure of himself. Again on being asked, Sai said that it was his (Maharaj's) virtuous form. Maharaj was surprised and asked if he had an evil form and also a virtuous form who was he! Shri Sai told him that he was beyond both these forms and was the pure soul the element with which Shri Sai himself was made of.

As Upasani Maharaj proceeded from the stage of illumination to self-realisation occult powers and 'siddhis' came to him. When an aspirant evolves in the spiritual path higher psychic and occult powers gradually grow in him. He could read the minds of everyone – his past, present and future. People started surrounding him and he had some following. Often, when he would be worshipped by a few persons, a crazy ascetic called Nanavali, who stayed at Shirdi, would come and pull out his cloth and talk with him with disrespect and contempt. Once he tied him up and beat him up. As Nanavali was a tough and dangerous person, no one could protect Upasani Maharaj. His cup of sorrow was full but inwardly his Godly qualities were evolving to perfection. He was getting ready for his new and bigger role. Every time he faced a problem, Sai assured him by saying that He (Sai) was always with him and that the more he suffered at present, better it would be for his future.

One night in July 1914 Upasani Maharaj left Shirdi quietly taking mental permission from his Guru for a role he was destined to play elsewhere. First he went to a place called Shindi, then to Nagpur where he stayed for about a month and finally Kharagpur. At all these places, people started worshipping him even when he tried fervently to run-away from such situations. He tried to remain incognito but people would not leave him in peace. At Kharagpur, he deliberately stayed in a dirty condition and used filthy articles and even abused people in most unparliamentary language that he could. People followed him everywhere and conducted his Puja (worship) and demanded advice out of him. When a flower blooms and its aroma spreads, butterflies and insects naturally get drawn towards it.

Same was the case with Upasanji Maharaj. Since he had become a 'Satpurush' (Perfect one) people naturally flocked to him whether he liked it or not. All persons coming in contact with a Satpurush get purified. His following increased everyday and his surroundings became a place of activities like poor feeding, kirtan and 'Naamjap' remembrance of the name etc. Although Upasani Maharaj would not agree to be the creator, but a number of miracles started happening around him. After staying for about a year in Kharagpur, when people tried to build a permanent abode for him, he quickly left the place. Soon he reached Nagpur, where also, people surrounded to have his darshan. After two months of stay at Nagpur, he visited places like Poona and also his home at Satana. As his four-year period was over, he returned to Shridi and stayed at Khandoba temple for about seven months. Thereafter, he left for a place called Rahata where he conducted naam japs, poor feeding etc. From there he went to Ahmedabad for some time. Returning to Shirdi, a third time he stayed near to his Guru for about two to three months. In 1917, he finally shifted to Sakori and started functioning as a spiritual master (Sadguru). This child of Shri Sai served thousands and thousands of people, day in and day out with least regard for his personal comforts and finally left his gross body in the early hours of the 24th day of December, in the year 1941. Like his Guru, Upasani Baba had given enough indications about his final departure earlier. Upasani Baba was Shri Sai's loftiest creation a stone turned into a touchstone.

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Dattavtars: Shripad SriVallabh Sri Narasimha Saraswati Shree Swami Samarth Sri Sai Baba of Shirdi
The Perfect Masters :Gajanan Maharaj of Shegaon , Shankar Maharaj , Hazrat Tajuddin Baba , Narayan Maharaj , Meher Baba Hazrat Babajan , Shri Manik Prabhu Maharaj , ParamSadguru Shree Gajanan Maharaj of AkkalkotShri Krishna Saraswati Swami, Swami Swaroopanad of Pawas, Shri Vasudevanand Saraswati Swami Maharaj

Shri Upasani Maharaj

Kasinath the Ayurvedic doctor

Khandoba - Shiva Temple

Sirdi Sai Baba & Sri Upasani Baba