The great devotee of Lord Vittala , Namadeva used to go to a nearby village Gopalapur to pen his emotional filled divine abhangs on Lord without any disturbance. One day , it was getting delayed and he did not turn home for lunch.
Namadev’s wife who was concerned for the delay , walked along with the lunch to Gopalapur. She requested her husband Namadeva that he should have his lunch as it was getting late . But Namadevar was in a different mood completely .His thoughts were filled with Lord Vittala .He advised her to leave the lunch in the basket and carry on with her daily works
Rajayi his wife with respect kept Namadeva’s lunch in a bag near him and left the place . A dog quickly got hold of the chapathis in the lunch bag and ran away with the food . Namadeva who was filled with thoughts of Lord Vittala watched the animal . He immediately took some ghee and sugar along with milk got up and ran behind the dog. This surprised the passerby’s . The dog unexpected this and hence ran as fast as it could.
Namadeva too chased it as fast as he could by calling
…Vittala ..Vittala …..
and finally succeeded in trapping the dog near a bush with caution .
He offered obeisances to the Lord he saw in the animal .He fondly took him on his lap and attempted to feed him with sugar and ghee and later some milk . He brushed him with affection and said
“Panduranga! My Lord !!! This raw chapathi will make your throat dry. Please have ghee, sugar and milk along with this .” Saying this , he opened opened the animal’s mouth to feed him.
That very instant, a wonderful thing happened .He could have darshan of Lord Panduranga there itself !
With tears he said ‘Oh! Vittala !!! My Father !!! Why should you take this form ”and make this old man run …..
Lord Panduranga replied, ” Namadeva, I am free enough to take any form I desire. But, what is surprising and amazing me is that, you are able to recognise me irrespective of the form that I take.”
Another great saint , Sant Jnaneshwar was ridiculed by the villagers and the pundits for his plain devotion when he requested a buffalo to recite Sama veda to prove the omnipresence of Lord …. Watch the below clip recorded at Paithan where the incident took place few hundred years back..
The buffalo began to recite vedas and this place is located at Naag ghat near Paithan in Maharashtra .
Another revered saint Sant Tukaram saw Lord Vittala in all the creatures. Out of divine will once he was asked to guard a corn field. He enjoyed this job as it did not hinder with his daily routine of chanting Lord’s holy names . Earlier ,the birds would see human presence in the field and fly away without eating the corns. But as Sant Tukaram got immersed in his emotional out pourings abhangs, the birds started to feed on the corns. Seeing Lord Vittala in all the birds, he, instead of scaring the birds away, fed the birds with more corns from the field that he was supposed to guard, thus gaining the wrath of the owner which later made the owner realise the saint was not a very ordinary human.
The saints believed that God is within all living beings .An important spiritual practice followed by them was the chanting of Lord’s holy names . Remembering Lord and repeating his Holy Name was most important . Another ingredient for the spiritual life was kirtana or bhajans, the singing of hymns of praise of the Lord . All these spiritual practices helps in transforming the body, emotions, thoughts, and one’s very existence into expressions of the soul, our true identity and spiritual essence. This makes it easier to have enough peace of mind and enter the world of the supreme soul seeking bliss .
More information about the advanced saints of Maharashtra is available in the appended blog post
Adiyen Ramanuja dasan
Credits : The black and white pics have been borrowed from the paintings of Painter – Mr Raghuveer Mulgaonkar