Author Topic: Saints / Devotees  (Read 23118 times)

silentgreen

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Saints / Devotees
« on: February 22, 2010, 08:45:22 AM »
Anandamayi Ma (30 April, 1896 - 27 August, 1982)

Anandamayi Ma was born Nirmala Sundari on 30 April, 1896 to Bipinbihari Bhattacharya and Mokshada Sundari Devi in Kheora, Brahmanbaria District, British India, in what is now Bangladesh. Her father, originally from Vidyakut in Tripura, was a Vaishnavite singer known for his devotion. His daughter had frequent experiences of the divine in childhood and often went into a state of ecstasy on hearing kirtan (devotional chanting). She attended the village school for barely two years.

In 1908, at the age of thirteen (in keeping with the custom at the time), she was married to Ramani Mohan Chakrabarti of Vikramapura, who she called Bholanath and Pitaji. She spent 5 years after her marriage at her brother-in-law's home, where she was in a withdrawn meditative state much of the time. It was here that a devout neighbour, Harakumar, developed a habit of addressing her as "Ma", and prostrated before her morning and evening. In 1918, she moved to Bajitpur, where she stayed until 1924, during which time Nirmala went deeper into her spiritual states. When Nirmala was about 17, she went to live with her husband in Ashtagram. It was a celibate marriage - whenever thoughts of sexuality occurred to Bholanath, Anandamoyi's body would take on the qualities of death and she would grow faint. On his return from the office at the end of the working day, Bholanath often found Nirmala lying on the kitchen floor, the food half cooked or burnt.

On the full moon night of August 1922, at midnight, 26-year old Nirmala went through the actions of spiritual initiation - initiating herself, rather than following the tradition of initiation by a Guru or priest. She later stated, "As the master (guru) I revealed the mantra; as the disciple (shishya) I accepted it and started to recite it." Because of his wife's condition, members of Bholanath's family suggested that he remarry. Instead, he asked her when and from whom he should be initiated. She gave him a date five months in the future when she would initiate him. After an acquaintance asked her for proof that she was qualified to do so, she touched Bholanath on the top of the head. He went into a deep withdrawn state for several hours, declaring later that he was feeling "indescribable bliss."

At that time, her sadhana (spiritual practices) took on more concrete form. She began spontaneously chanting Sanskrit hymns, even though she was completely uneducated. She also performed intricate yoga postures and went for days at a time without food or drink. At one point, Bholanath called an exorcist to 'cure' her - those attempts failed, and finally a physician told him that she was experiencing God intoxication rather than mental illness. It was during that period that she began exhibiting various spiritual powers, or siddhis. In January, 1923, she began three years of complete silence, or mauna.

Nirmala moved to Shahbag with her husband in 1924, where he had been appointed caretaker of the gardens of the Nawab of Dhaka. During this period Nirmala used to experience ecstasy similar to that of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Nirmala continued to perform household tasks, though she often practiced silence and was in a withdrawn state of ecstasy much of the time. These states began to interfere with her work. In 1926 she set up a Kali temple in the Siddheshwari area and devoted herself to spiritual practices. Nirmala underwent a mystic experience while praying in the temple one day. In a deep meditative state, she held difficult yogic positions for long periods and spontaneously formed complex tantric hand positions and gestures.

During the time in Shahbag, more and more people began to be drawn to what they saw as a living embodiment of the divine. Jyotiscandra Ray, known as "Bhaiji" was an early and close disciple - he was the first to suggest that Nirmala be called Anandamayi Ma, meaning "Joy Permeated Mother", or "Bliss Permeated Mother". He was chiefly responsible for the first ashram built for Anandamayi Ma in 1929 at Ramna, within the precinct of the Ramna Kali Mandir.

Scholars were attracted to Anandamoyi Ma's spirituality and teaching, though she called herself "a little unlettered child".

Her early followers included Mahamahopadhyay Gopinath Kaviraj, Sanskrit scholar, philosopher, and principal of Sanskrit College in Kolkata, and the physician Triguna Sen. Uday Shankar, the famous dance artist, was impressed by Anandamoyi Ma's analysis of dance, which she used as a metaphor for the relationship between people and God.

In 1932, Anandamoyi Ma moved to Dehradun with her husband. From that time, until her death in 1982, she traveled across the subcontinent, never staying more than two weeks in the same place. Several ashrams and teaching hospitals were established in her name at Ramna (near Shahbag) and Kheora in Bangladesh, and Benares, Kankhal and other parts of India.Twenty-five ashrams are named after her. She also renovated many dilapidated holy places, including the Naimisharanya, where she set up a temple and arranged for the recitation of holy names and the performance of kirtan and other religious rites. During this period, many people like Arnaud Desjardins, the French producer of spiritual films, Melita Maschmann, the German novelist, and Dr. Colin Turnbull, the English author, became her disciples.

Kamala Nehru, wife of the future Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, became a devotee in 1933. Anandamayi Ma was then staying at a small temple in Dehradun, while Jawarharlal Nehru was incarcerated by the British in Dehradun jail. Later she took Kamala to the Ambika temple in Kajpur to perform a three-day yajna. She gave to her daughter Indira the rosary which Mataji had given her. Mahatma Gandhi came to hear of Anandamayi through Kamala and sent his aid, Jamnalal Bajaj, to see her. He in turn became a devotee. After the unexpected death of Bajaj, she went to Wardha to console Mahatma Gandhi.

Paramahansa Yogananda wrote about her in his Autobiography of a Yogi. His meeting with her is recounted in the chapter titled The Bengali "Joy-Permeated Mother", where she explains her background:

"Father, there is little to tell." She spread her graceful hands in a deprecatory gesture. "My consciousness has never associated itself with this temporary body. Before I came on this earth, Father, I was the same. As a little girl, I was the same. I grew into womanhood, but still I was the same. When the family in which I had been born made arrangements to have this body married, 'I was the same... And, Father, in front of you now, I am the same. Ever afterward, though the dance of creation changes around me in the hall of eternity, I shall be the same."

She died on 27 August, 1982 in Dehradun, and subsequently on 29th August, 1982 was given Samadhi in the courtyard her Kankhal ashram, situated in Haridwar in North India, a shrine was later erected over the samadhi, now known as the "Ananda Jyoti Peetham".

Teachings
"As you love your own body, so regard everyone as equal to your own body. When the Supreme Experience supervenes, everyone's service is revealed as one's own service. Call it a bird, an insect, an animal or a man, call it by any name you please, one serves one's own Self in every one of them."

Swami Sivananda (Divine Life Society) described her as "the most perfect flower the Indian soil has produced."

References:
- Wikipedia

Homage to the Universal Being...Om Shanti ... Om Shanti ... Om Shanti ...

Subramanian.R

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Re: Saints / Devotees
« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2010, 10:54:53 AM »
Dear silentgreen,

Thank you very much for such a detailed information about Ma
Anandamayi.

Arunachala Siva.

silentgreen

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Re: Saints / Devotees
« Reply #2 on: February 22, 2010, 01:02:15 PM »
Brother Lawrence (1614 AD to 1691 AD)

Brother Lawrence (1614 AD) was born Nicholas Herman in Herimenil, near Luneville in the region of Lorraine, located in modern day eastern France. He received a revelation of the providence and power of God at the age of 18, but it would be another six years before he joined the Discalced Carmelite Priory in Paris. In this intervening period he fought in the Thirty Years' War and later served as a valet.

Nicholas entered the priory in Paris as a lay brother, not having the education necessary to become a cleric, and took the religious name, "Lawrence of the Resurrection". He spent almost all of the rest of his life within the walls of the priory, working in the kitchen for most of his life and as a repairer of sandals in his later years.

Yet despite, or perhaps because of, his somewhat lowly position, his character attracted many to him. He was known for his profound peace and many came to seek spiritual guidance from him. The wisdom that he passed on to them, in conversations and in letters, would later become the basis for the book, The Practice of the Presence of God. This work was compiled after Brother Lawrence died by one of those whom he inspired, Father Joseph de Beaufort, later vicar general to the Archbishop of Paris. It became popular among Catholics and Protestants alike, with John Wesley and A. W. Tozer being among those who recommended it.

As a young man, Herman's poverty forced him into joining the army, and thus he was guaranteed meals and a small stipend. During this period, Herman had an experience that set him on a unique spiritual journey; it wasn't, characteristically, a supernatural vision, but a supernatural clarity into a common sight.

In the deep of winter, Herman looked at a barren tree, stripped of leaves and fruit, waiting silently and patiently for the sure hope of summer abundance. Gazing at the tree, Herman grasped for the first time the extravagance of God's grace and the unfailing sovereignty of divine providence. Like the tree, he himself was seemingly dead, but God had life waiting for him, and the turn of seasons would bring fullness. At that moment, he said, that leafless tree "first flashed in upon my soul the fact of God, and a love for God that never after ceased to burn". Sometime later, an injury forced his retirement from the army, and after a stint as a footman, he sought a place where he could suffer for his failures. He thus entered the Discalced Carmelite monastery in Paris as Brother Lawrence.

He was assigned to the monastery kitchen where, amidst the tedious chores of cooking and cleaning at the constant bidding of his superiors, he developed his rule of spirituality and work. In his Maxims, Lawrence writes, "Men invent means and methods of coming at God's love, they learn rules and set up devices to remind them of that love, and it seems like a world of trouble to bring oneself into the consciousness of God's presence. Yet it might be so simple. Is it not quicker and easier just to do our common business wholly for the love of him?"

For Brother Lawrence, "common business," no matter how mundane or routine, was the medium of God's love. The issue was not the sacredness or worldly status of the task but the motivation behind it. "Nor is it needful that we should have great things to do. . . We can do little things for God; I turn the cake that is frying on the pan for love of him, and that done, if there is nothing else to call me, I prostrate myself in worship before him, who has given me grace to work; afterwards I rise happier than a king. It is enough for me to pick up but a straw from the ground for the love of God."

Brother Lawrence retreated to a place in his heart where the love of God made every detail of his life of surpassing value. "I began to live as if there were no one save God and me in the world." Together, God and Brother Lawrence cooked meals, ran errands, scrubbed pots, and endured the scorn of the world.

He admitted that the path to this perfect union was not easy. He spent years disciplining his heart and mind to yield to God's presence. "As often as I could, I placed myself as a worshipper before him, fixing my mind upon his holy presence, recalling it when I found it wandering from him. This proved to be an exercise frequently painful, yet I persisted through all difficulties."

Only when he reconciled himself to the thought that this struggle and longing was his destiny did he find a new peace: his soul "had come to its own home and place of rest." There he spent the rest of his 80 years, dying in relative obscurity and pain and perfect joy.

References:
Wikipedia
Homage to the Universal Being...Om Shanti ... Om Shanti ... Om Shanti ...

silentgreen

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Re: Saints / Devotees
« Reply #3 on: February 23, 2010, 07:31:20 AM »
Bammera Pothana (1450-1510)

Pothana was born into a Niyogi Brahmin family in Bommera Village, Warangal, Andhra Pradesh. His father was Kesanna and his mother Lakshmamma. There is a popular myth that he was related to Srinatha, another famous Telugu poet.

He was considered to be a natural Poet (Sahaja Kavi), needing no teacher. He was known to be very polite and was an agriculturist by occupation. Though he was a great scholar, he never hesitated to work in the agricultural fields.

At an early age he wrote Bhogini Dandakam a poem wrote in praise of king Sri Singa Bhoopala's concubine Bhogini. This was his first poetic venture which had the seeds of his great poetic talents. Bhogini Dandakam is the earliest available Dhandaka (rhapsody which uses the same gana or foot all through) in Telugu. His second work was Virabhadhra Vijayamu which describes the adventures of Lord Virabhadhra, son of Lord Shiva. The main theme was the destruction of a yagna performed in absence of Lord Shiva by Daksha Prajapathi.

As a young man, he was a devotee of Lord Shiva. Later, Pothana became a devotee of Lord Rama and more interested in salvation. His conversion from Shaivism to Vaishnavism was triggered by an incident. One early morning during a lunar eclipse, on the banks of river Godavari, Pothana was meditating on Lord Shiva. At that auspicious moment, Lord Rama appeared dressed like a king and requested Pothana to translate Bhagavatam into Telugu and dedicate it to Him. This inspired him to translate Vyasa's Sanskrit Bhagavatam into Telugu.

The following story is a popular myth. The Padma Nayaka king of Rachakonda, Sarvajana Singha Bhoopaala , wanted Pothana to dedicate 'Andhra Maha Bhagavatham' to him. The king himself is a scholar and wrote many works including Rudranavasudhakara, a well known Sanskrit drama. But, Pothana refused to obey the king's orders and dedicated the Bhagavathamu to Lord Rama, whom he worshiped with great devotion. It is said that Pothana remarked, "It is better to dedicate the work to the supreme Lord Vishnu than dedicate it to the mortal kings." He was of opinion that poetry was a divine gift and it should be utilized for salvation by devoting it to the God.

He was quite fond of using rhythm and repetition of sounds giving a majestic grace to the style of writing. He was very skillful in using alankaras (figures of speech) like similes and metaphors. Potana imparted the knowledge of the divine to the Telugu people along with lessons in ethics and politics through Andhra Maha Bhagavatamu. He lived for sixty years.

Even illiterate Telegus readily quote verses from chapters 'Gajendra Mokshamu' and 'Prahlada Charitra' of his work, 'Andhra Maha Bhagavathamu,' the crown jewel of Telugu literature.

ala vaikuMThapuraMbulO nagarilO nAmUla soudhaMbu dApala......

This is a verse which describes the palace of Lord Vishnu in his divine abode (VAIKUNTHA), at the time the elephant king prayed for the Lord's kindness to deliver him out of the deadly grip of crocodile in a lake.

The story goes that Pothana wrote the first line of the verse, but could not continue (because he did not know how Vaikuntha looks!). So he paused the writing at that point, and went to farm. When he came back in the evening, he saw the verse completed. He enquired his daughter about who wrote the other three lines. The daughter replied - "You yourself came in the afternoon and wrote some thing!". So Pothana understood that Lord Sri Rama himself came and completed the verse.

In fact, Pothana himself ascribed in the following poem, the purpose of his writing the Bhagavatam:

palikeDidi bhAgavathamata palikincheDivADu rAmabhadhrunData palikina bhavaharamagunata palikedavEronDu ghAdhapalukaganEla

Translated it means (approx. translation): "That which is spoken is the Bhagavatam and the one who enthuses this speech is Lord Rama, Himself . The result of speaking which is the ultimate freedom, the Liberation of life. So, let me sing it, since there is no other story as great as this (Bhagavatha)."


References:
Wikipedia
Homage to the Universal Being...Om Shanti ... Om Shanti ... Om Shanti ...

silentgreen

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Baba Lokenath
« Reply #4 on: February 23, 2010, 01:12:00 PM »
Baba Lokenath (1730-1890)

Baba Lokenath Brahmachari (1730-1890) was born on Janmasthami, the birthday of Lord Krishna in the village of Chaurasi Chakla, a couple of miles from Kolkata to father Ramanarayan Ghosal and mother Kamala Devi. Ramnarayan Ghosal wished to dedicate one of his child to the path of renunciation to the God but could not do so with the earlier three sons due to the motherly attachment of his wife Kamala Devi. When the fourth son was born, by divine providence his wish was fulfilled and Kamala Devi finally agreed. He requested earnestly Pandit Bhagawan Ganguly, a householder (Grihi) sanyasi and a scholar of great reputation of the nearby village of Kochuya to be his son's guru and teach him the wisdom of the Shastras. Young Lokenath left home with His guru at the age of 11 along with his bosom friend, Benimadhav.

Travelling for many miles, they came to Kalighat, near Kolkata, a holy pilgrim site in eastern India, and the seat of Shakti. At that time, the place was a jungle and full of sadhus and sanyasis, with long matted hair, and wearing loincloths. Lokenath and his friend started feeling at home right from the beginning in the midst of these holy men - who never told them anything even when they would disturb them in their meditation by pulling at their hair and their loincloths.

From Kaligahat they proceeded to deeper jungles for performing austerities. Like a loving mother Guru Bhagwan Ganguly prepared the two boys for the hard life of austerity and renunciation. Under his able guidance, the boys, in addition to the practice of deep meditation, also observed various fasting vows that lasted - starting from a single day - to two days, then for three, five, nine and twelve days and then a fortnight. When the fasting lasted for a full month, twice in a row, Benimadhav could not complete his vow the second time, while Lokenath could do it easily. During the long years that these vows were being observed, Guru Bhagwan took complete care of his two disciples, from begging alms, to preparing their food, and even attending to their calls of nature. Afterwards, Baba Lokenath would always speak of his Guru with tears in his eyes and his voiced choked with emotion.

It was known to Guru Bhagwan that Baba Loknath would attain the magnitude of enlightenment. The Guru guided Lokenath for a period of thirty to forty years, in the practices of the necessary yogic disciplines and hatha yoga. Baba stood firm repeatedly, almost unimaginable austerities, under the guidance of His beloved Guru.

When Lokenath asked his Guru about the need to study the scriptures, His Gurudev replied,
"If You know who You are, You will come to know everything. There is nothing in this external, manifested world, which is not within you. Believe My words; there is no truth without, because your atman is 'sarvatbhutatman', the Atman seated in the hearts of all creatures. In You is the dormant seed form of all the knowledge, power and wealth of this entire creation. Why should You leave the diamond and waste time on pieces of glass?"

Lokenath travelled to the Himalayas and meditated in the nude for nearly five decades. Finally, at the age of ninety He attained enlightenment.
Recalling His time in the Himalayas, Baba Lokenath said,
"While in samadhi, heaps of snow would cover My body and would melt away. In that sublime state I had no feeling of the existence of My body. I was in that state of samadhi for a long time. Then, finally the effortless state of the Ultimate Truth was revealed. In that state of consciousness, there was no difference between me, the rest of the cosmos and all its manifestations. The inner and the outer all merged into each other as an expression of ultimate bliss, absolute joy. There is no state beyond this to be achieved in human life with total effort and divine grace."

There were a number of times when Baba did speak of the enlightened state:
"Words are such poor vehicles to express the inner experience. Any attempt to reduce it to words only belittles the Ultimate Truth. It is like the mute trying to express the taste of nectar."

"Everything that exists in the infinite creation exists within Myself. The whole Universe is within Me. I am existence beyond space, time and causation. My existence is without beginning or end. I exist in eternal expansion. These words are not meant to be shared. That is the reason you see Me spending time with the householders, granting their mundane demands. Do not think when I am busy with you all in worldly matters, that I lose touch with that blissful state. No. Whoever achieves that state can never fall from it. Nothing can ever again be seen in isolation. Everything is seen as the expression of the One. In variety is the taste of Unity."

"Because I eat, drink, attend to the call of nature and live like any one of you, you think of Me as one like you. Your greatest mistake is to think of Me as a body. How am I to explain who I am? Everyone is so involved in the fulfillment of small desires, so unconscious, so forgetful of the true 'I'.

After spending fifty years among the snows of the Himalayas, Loknath, along with his Guru and his friend, proceeded towards Mecca and Medina, wishing to study the Holy Koran under an able teacher. Walking all the way, they reached Kabul, where they stayed for some time with Mullahsadi, who was known for his poetry and his brilliant commentaries of the Koran. From Kabul, the three yogis went to Mecca and thence to Medina. While walking through the desert to Medina, they met with Abdul Gaffar who was himself a yogi of high attainment. Baba Loknath would later say the following about this great man -
"I have travelled extensively all over the world and could find only two real Brahmans beside myself - one is Abdul Gaffar, and the other - Trailangya Swami."

While staying at Mecca, Guru Bhagwan decided it was time for him to leave his old and worn out mortal body behind and for that purpose, they came back to Varanasi, the holiest of all pilgrim sites, on the bank of the River Ganga. Here, Guru Bhagwan placed the caring of Lokenath and Benimadhav into the hands of Sri Hithlal Mishra, also known popularly as Trailangya Swami. Thus being free from his only worry in the world - that of placing his two beloved disciples under an able teacher and guide - Guru Bhagwan left his physical body while in deep meditation at Manikarnika Ghat.

Baba Lokenath traveled extensively on foot to Afghanistan, Persia, Arabia and Israel, making three pilgrimages to Mecca after his enlightenment.

Baba Lokenath was all alone when he walked into the village of Daudkandi in Tripura, where, through his divine grace, he rescued a man called Dengu Karmakar from the clutches of death. Dengu instantly became an ardent devotee of Baba Lokenath, and it was he who was responsible for bringing Baba to Baradi, which was Dengu's home. He gave Lokenath a place to stay in his home, despite the admonitions of his family members. Baradi was destined to become the seat of Baba's divine play, because it was here that Baba Lokenath revealed his divinity and infinite grace to the people of the world.

Baba Lokenath performed many miracles during his life with the Divine Power and seeing and feeling the unbearable suffering of others as His own suffering.

Finally, on the 19th day of Jyeshtha, 1890 (1297 in Bengali), Baba was meditating and he slided into trance. His eyes were still open and he left his physical body forever. He was then 160 years of age. He had said before his death :
"I am eternal, I am deathless. After this body falls, do not think that everything will come to an end. I will live in the hearts of all living beings in my subtle astral form. Whoever will seek my refuge, will always receive my Grace."

As an Embodiment of Love, Baba Lokenath promises us, "Whenever you are in danger, whether in war, forest, ocean or jungle, remember Me. I shall save you. You may not know me. You may not realize who I am. Just pray to me with a little touch of your heart and I shall free you from gripping sorrows and miseries."


References:
Various sources
Homage to the Universal Being...Om Shanti ... Om Shanti ... Om Shanti ...

silentgreen

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Re: Saints / Devotees
« Reply #5 on: February 24, 2010, 07:46:46 AM »
Bhadrachala Ramadasu (1620 AD - 1680 AD)

Ramadasu was born in a Brahmin family to Linganna Murthy and Kamamba in Nelakondapalli village of Khammamett Taluk (Warangal Division of erstwhile Hyderabad State) of northern Andhra Pradesh (Deccan region).

Ramadasu was appointed as the Tahsildar (revenue collector) of 'Palvoncha Paragana' by Akkanna, his uncle and the administrative head in the court of Qutub Shahi Sultan Abul Hassan Tana Shah. He discharged his official duties earnestly and collected revenues due to the Sultan - while continuing his unswerving service to Lord Rama by chanting his name and feeding the poor.

One day, he visited Bhadrachalam for a Jatara (fair) and was disturbed by the dilapidated state of the temple there. Bhadrachalam was significant to devotees of Rama for many reasons. Lord Rama is said to have stayed near the Parnasala there with Sita and Lakshmana during his exile and also to have visited Sabari near Badrachalam. Pothana is believed to have been given direction by Rama to translate the Bhagavata Purana into Telugu here. In spite of its significance, the temple was utterly neglected. So, Ramadasu started to raise funds for the renovation and reconstruction of the temple. After he emptied his coffers and could raise no more money, the villagers appealed him to spend his revenue collections for the reconstruction and promised to repay the amount after harvesting crops. As such, Ramadas finished the reconstruction of the temple with six hundred thousand rupees collected from land revenues - without the permission of the Abul Hasan Qutb Shah.

As the temple was nearing completion, he was perplexed one night about fixing the Sudarshana Chakra at the crest of the main temple. On the same night, it is believed that he saw Rama in his dream and asked him to have a holy dip in the Godavari River. When Gopanna did so the next day, he found the holy Sudarshana Chakra in the river very easily.

Soon after the reconstruction though, his miseries started. He was dismissed from his job for misusing the Sultan Abul Hasan Qutb Shah's revenues and was imprisoned in the Golconda Fort (near Hyderabad) with orders that he be released only after the exchequer received all the taxes in full. Unable to withstand his miseries, Ramadas implores Rama to relieve him through many emotional songs that were popularised from the stanzas of 'Dasaradhi Sathakam' and 'Keertanas' of Bhakta Ramadasa. They praise the Lord for all his mysterious ways in testing his devotees and Ramadasu regularly pleads the Lord to ease his suffering. When that doesn't work, he pleads Sita to recommend her husband to ease his devotee's pain. All else failing to invoke a response, Ramadasu resorts to accusing God of being indifferent to his suffering. Of course, the songs quickly apologize for the harsh language and end in a state of total and unconditional surrender to the will of the Almighty.

After 11–12 years of imprisonment, it is said that Lord Rama decided that his devotee's suffering had reached its pre-ordained ending (because of a certain transgression his soul had committed in a previous birth). Rama and Lakshmana, disguised as two young warriors, entered the bed-chambers of the Sultan Tana Shah in the middle of the night. They give the king the spent money in gold coins imprinted with Rama's own seal. The king was bewildered at the presence of these charming but strange youngsters in his inner quarters. They demanded and obtained on the spot, a written receipt for the money. The receipt was shown to the jailer who released Gopanna the same night. The next day, both Gopanna and the Sultan realized what had happened. Gopanna did not care much for his release but was inconsolable at his not having seen his Lord even with all his devotion while the Sultan was visited by the Lord. The Lord then appeared to Gopanna in a dream and explained him the real reasons for his actions and promised him salvation at the end of his natural life. The king was convinced that what had happened was a miracle of Allah. He returned the entire money to the Bhadracalam temple. Since then, it has been the royal custom of the Hyderabad State (now part of Andhra Pradesh State) to send gifts to the temple on the occasion of Sree Rama Navami celebrations every year.

Ramadasu composed nearly 300 songs. Some Carnatic compositions of his songs are:
- Tarakamantramu in Dhanyasi
- Ye Teeruga Nanu in Nadanamakriya
- Adigo Bhadradri in Varali
- Anta Ramamayam in Mohanam [5]
- O Rama Ni in Poorvi Kalyani[6]

His devotional lyrics to Rama are famous in Andhra Pradesh as Ramadaasu Keertanalu.


References:
Wikipedia
Homage to the Universal Being...Om Shanti ... Om Shanti ... Om Shanti ...

silentgreen

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Re: Saints / Devotees
« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2010, 07:35:59 AM »
Andal (8th century or earlier)

Aandaal is believed to have been discovered under a Tulsi (Basil) plant in the temple garden of Srivilliputtur, by a person named Vishnucitta who later became one of the most revered saints in Hinduism, Periyalvar. The child was named Kodhai (meaning, a beautiful garland, in Tamil) and she was raised by Vishnucitta. Goda (Sanskrit version of Kodhai) grew up in an atmosphere of love and devotion. Vishnucitta doted on her in every respect, singing songs to her about Lord Krishna; teaching her all the stories and philosophy he knew; and sharing with her his love for Tamil poetry. As Goda grew into a beautiful maiden, her love and devotion for the Lord grew to the extent that she decided to marry none but the Lord Himself. As days progressed, her resolve strengthened and she started to live in a dream world with her beloved Lord and was constantly fantasizing about marrying Him.

Vishnucitta had the responsibility of delivering flower garlands to the Lord's temple, everyday. Goda made these garlands and sent it to her beloved Lord through her father. Eventually she started acting unusual by wearing the flower garland which was meant to be offered to the Lord. This is generally considered sacrilege in Hinduism because the scriptures teach the devotees not to offer to the Lord, a thing that has already been used by a human being. However, Goda felt she should test to see how the garland suited her and only if it did, she should offer it to the Lord. One day, she was caught red-handed by her father in this strange act, and as an orthodox devotee he was extremely upset. He rebuked her and told her not to repeat the sacrilegious act in the future. Frightened and apologetic, Goda made a new garland for the offering that day. Legend says that that very night the Lord appeared to Vishnucitta in his dream and asked him why he had discarded Goda's garland instead of offering it to Him. The Lord is believed to have told Vishnucitta that He had whole-heartedly accepted Goda's offering all this time. This moved Vishnucitta so much even as he started to realize the Divine Love that existed between the Lord and his daughter. From this day on, Goda is believed to have been respected by the devotees and came to be known as "Aandaal", the girl who "ruled" over the Lord. She is also known by a phrase "Soodi kodutha Sudarkodi" which means "The bright creeper-like woman who gave her garlands after wearing them".

As Aandaal blossomed into a fifteen-year-old beautiful young woman of marriageable age (girls were married at a much younger age in those days), her father prepared to get her married to a suitable groom. Aandaal, however, was stubborn and insisted that she would marry only the Lord at Srirangam. This perplexed and worried her father. Legend has it that he had a vision given by the Lord, once again, and was instructed to send Aandaal to Srirangam; the lord simultaneously commanded the priests at Srirangam, in their dreams, to prepare for the wedding. Aandaal who was anxious to reach Srirangam was unable to control herself in her urgency to meet her beloved Lord. She ran into the sanctum sanctorum of the Lord and is believed to have merged with Him completely at that point.

Aandaal composed two works in her short life of fifteen years. Both these works are in Tamil verse form and are exceptional in their literary, philosophical, religious, and aesthetic content. Her contribution is even more remarkable considering that she was a girl of fifteen when she composed these verses and her prodigiousness amazes readers till date.

Her first work is the Thiruppavai, a collection of thirty verses in which Aandaal imagines herself to be a Gopi or cowherd girl during the incarnation of Lord Krishna. She yearns to serve Him and achieve happiness not just in this birth, but for all eternity, and describes the religious vows (pavai) that she and her fellow cowherd girls will observe for this purpose.

The second is the Nachiar Tirumozhi, a poem of 143 verses. Tirumozhi, literally meaning "Sacred Sayings", is a Tamil poetic style. "Nachiar" means Goddess, so the title means "Sacred Sayings of the Goddess." This poem fully reveals Aandaal's intense longing for Vishnu, the Divine Beloved. Utilizing classical Tamil poetic conventions and interspersing stories from the Sanskrit Vedas and Puranas, Aandaal creates imagery that is possibly unparalleled in the whole gamut of Indian religious literature.

The impact of these works on the daily religious life of the South Indian has been tremendous. Just like the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, the Thiruppavai is recited with great religious fervor by women, men, and children of all ages, particularly in Tamil Nadu. The daily services in most Vaishnava temples and households include this recitation. Both of these works, particularly the Thiruppavai, has been studied extensively by innumerable scholars. It has also been translated into a number of languages over the centuries.

Aandaal is now one of the best-loved poet-saints of the Tamils. She is one of the twelve Alvars (saints) and the only woman Alvar of Vaishnavism. Pious tradition reckons her to be the veritable descent of Bhumi Devi (Mother Earth) in bodily form to show humanity the way to His lotus feet. She is present in all Sri Vaishnava temples, in India and elsewhere, next to her Lord, as she always desired. During the month of Margazhi, discourses on the Tiruppavai in Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Hindi and English take place all over India.

References:
Wikipedia

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Nagaraj

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Re: Saints / Devotees
« Reply #7 on: February 25, 2010, 08:59:32 AM »
Dear I,

Thanks for posting the account abut Sri Anandamayi Maa, she is absolutely another Ramana Maharshi, very inspiring is her life, same compassion as I see in Ramana!

Salutations to Sri Ramana
॥ शांतमात्मनि तिष्ट ॥
Remain quietly in the Self.
~ Vasishta

Subramanian.R

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Re: Saints / Devotees
« Reply #8 on: February 25, 2010, 11:14:15 AM »
Dear friend, 

Is is the same Lawrence, the Lawrence of Arabia?  The person who wrote
Three Pillars of Wisdom?

Arunachala Siva.

silentgreen

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Re: Saints / Devotees
« Reply #9 on: February 25, 2010, 01:20:15 PM »
No, Brother Lawrence is different from T.E Lawrence who wrote the "Seven Pillars of Wisdom".
Brother Lawrence is known for his sayings recorded in the small piece of priceless book "The Practice of the Presence of God". He did not write it himself but his conversations are recorded by a father. Brother Lawrence spent most of his life in the kitchen in silent devotion to God and would have never been known, but God's wished otherwise.


Here are some recorded conversations:

Brother Lawrence told me he had always been governed by love without selfish views. Since he resolved to make the love of God the end of all his actions, he had found reasons to be well satisfied with his method. He was pleased when he could take up a straw from the ground for the love of God, seeking Him only, and nothing else, not even His gifts.

He said he had been long troubled in mind from a certain belief that he should be damned. All the men in the world could not have persuaded him to the contrary. This trouble of mind lasted four years, during which time he suffered greatly.

Finally he reasoned: I did not engage in a religious life but for the love of God. I have endeavored to act only for Him. Whatever becomes of me, whether I be lost or saved, I will always continue to act purely for the love of God. I shall have this good at least that until death I shall have done all that is in me to love Him. From that time on Brother Lawrence lived his life in perfect liberty and continual joy. He placed his sins between himself and God and told Him that he did not deserve His favors, yet God still continued to bestow them in abundance.

Brother Lawrence said that in order to form a habit of conversing with God continually and referring all we do to Him, we must, at first, apply to Him with diligence. Then, after a little care, we would find His love inwardly draw us to Him without any difficulty.

He expected after the pleasant days God had given him, he would have his turn of pain and suffering. Yet he was not uneasy about it. Knowing that, since he could do nothing of himself, God would not fail to give him the strength to bear them.

When an occasion of practicing some virtue was offered, he addressed himself to God saying, "Lord, I cannot do this unless Thou enable me". Then he received strength more than sufficient. When he had failed in his duty, he only confessed his fault saying to God, "I shall never do otherwise, if You leave me to myself. It is You who must hinder my failing and mend what is amiss." Then, after this, he gave himself no further uneasiness about it.

Brother Lawrence said we ought to act with God in the greatest simplicity, speaking to Him frankly and plainly, and imploring His assistance in our affairs just as they happen. God never failed to grant it, as Brother Lawrence had often experienced.

He said he had been lately sent into Burgundy to buy the provision of wine for the community. This was a very unwelcome task for him because he had no turn for business and because he was lame and could only move around the boat by rolling himself over the casks. Yet he gave himself no uneasiness about it, nor about the purchase of the wine. He said to God, it was His business he was about, and that he afterwards found it very well performed. He mentioned that it had turned out the same way the year before when he was sent to Auvergne.

So, likewise, in his work in the kitchen (to which he had, at first, a great aversion), having accustomed himself to do everything there for the love of God and asking for His grace to do his work well, he had found everything easy during the fifteen years he had been employed there. He was very well pleased with the post he was now in. Yet, he was as ready to quit that as the former, since he tried to please God by doing little things for the love of Him in any work he did. With him the set times of prayer were no different from other times. He retired to pray according to the directions of his superior, but he did not need such retirement nor ask for it because his greatest labor did not divert him from God.

Since he knew his obligation to love God in all things, and as he endeavored to do so, he had no need of a director to advise him, but he greatly needed a confessor to absolve him. He said he was very aware of his faults, but not discouraged by them. He confessed them to God and made no excuses. Then, he peaceably resumed his usual practice of love and adoration.

In his trouble of mind, Brother Lawrence had consulted no one. Knowing only by the light of faith that God was present, he contented himself with directing all his actions to Him. He did everything with a desire to please God and let what would come of it.

He said that useless thoughts spoil all - that mischief began there. We ought to reject useless thoughts quickly and return to our communion with God. In the beginning he had often passed his time appointed for prayer in rejecting wandering thoughts and falling right back into them. He could never regulate his devotion by certain methods as some do. At first, he had practiced meditation but, after some time, that went off in a manner of which he could give no account.

Brother Lawrence emphasized that all physical and mental disciplines and exercises were useless, unless they served to arrive at the union with God by love. He had well considered this. He found that the shortest way to go straight to God was by a continual exercise of love and doing all things for His sake.

Also, he noted that there was a great difference between acts of the intellect and acts of the will. Acts of the intellect were comparatively of little value. Acts of the will were all important. Our only business was to love and delight ourselves in God.

He then said that all possible kinds of self-sacrifice, if they were void of the love of God, could not efface a single sin. Instead, we ought, without anxiety, expect the pardon of our sins from the blood of Jesus Christ, endeavoring only to love Him with all our heart. He noted that God seemed to have granted the greatest favors to the greatest sinners as more proof of His mercy.

Brother Lawrence said the greatest pains or pleasures of this world were nothing compared to what he had experienced of both kinds in a spiritual state. As a result he feared nothing, desiring only one thing of God - that he might not offend Him. He said he carried no guilt because, "When I fail in my duty, I readily acknowledge it, saying, I am used to do so. I shall never do otherwise if I am left to myself. If I do not fail, then I immediately give God thanks, acknowledging that it comes from Him."
Homage to the Universal Being...Om Shanti ... Om Shanti ... Om Shanti ...

silentgreen

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Akka Mahadevi
« Reply #10 on: February 26, 2010, 07:35:22 AM »
Akka Mahadevi (12th century)

Akka Mahadevi was born in Udatadi (or Udugani) near the ancient city of Banavasi (in Shikaripura taluk Shimoga district). Much about her early life is not known, nor did she live long.

Akka Mahadevi whole-heartedly accepted Lord Shiva ('Chenna Mallikarjuna') as her mystical husband. It is said that she was married by arrangement to Kausika, a local king. There were immediate tensions, however, as Kausika was a Jain, a group that tended to be wealthy and was, as a result, much resented by the rest of the population. Much of Akka's poetry explores the themes of rejecting mortal love in favor of the everlasting love of God.

She ran away from her life of luxury to live as a wandering poet-saint, traveling throughout the region and singing praises to her Lord Shiva.

She travelled widely in search of emancipation and finally became a Sanyasini (woman saint) before settling down in Basavakalyana, Bidar district. Her non-conformist ways caused a lot of consternation in a conservative society and even her eventual guru Allama Prabhu had to initially face difficulties in enlisting her in the gatherings at Anubhavamantapa. A true ascetic, Mahadevi is said to have refused to wear any clothing -- a common practice among male ascetics, but shocking for a woman. Legend has it that due to her true love and devotion with God her whole body was protected by hair. One of her famous vachana has a reason for this which translates as:

People,
male and female,
blush when a cloth covering their shame,
comes loose.

When the lord of lives,
lives drowned without a face,
in the world, how can you be modest?

When all the world is the eye of the lord,
onlooking everywhere, what can you,
cover and conceal?


She is a prominent figure in the field of female emancipation and a person of mystical vision. A household name in Karnataka, she had said that she was a woman only in name and that her mind, body and soul belonged to Lord Shiva. During a time of strife and political uncertainity in the 12th. century, she launched a movement that made her an inspiration for woman empowerment and enlightenment. It is commonly known that she took part in many gatherings of learned at the Anubhavamantapa in Kudala sangama to debate about philosophy and attainment of spiritualism. In search for her eternal soul mate, she made the animals, flowers and birds her friends and companions, rejecting family life and worldly attachment. The time was marked as height of foolishness of varnashrama dharma which only supported the three upper castes of Hindu society in India and suppressed the shudras and women. Akka was a revelation here in that she not only rose for emancipation but also has sung vachanas which are so simple but of highest order.

She Sang:
For hunger, there is the village rice in the begging bowl,
For thirst, there are tanks and streams and wells,
For sleep temple ruins do well,
For the company of the soul I have you, Chenna Mallikarjuna.


References:
Wikipedia

Homage to the Universal Being...Om Shanti ... Om Shanti ... Om Shanti ...

Subramanian.R

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Re: Saints / Devotees
« Reply #11 on: February 26, 2010, 11:57:05 AM »
Akka Mahadevi, (The elder sister, Mahadevi) is one of the originators of
Veera Saiva Movement in Karnataka, started by the famous Basvanna.
(17 the Century?).  They all composed ex-tempore blank verses. 

Akka Mahadevi moved around naked with some leaves around her breasts
and waist.  She is a very virulent devotee of Siva.  She remained a spinster
and considered Siva as her husband.  Her poems are shockingly beautiful.

In one poem she says:

I am waiting for my mother in law to sleep.
In this dark night, I shall go out with Siva and cuckold my husband.
Siva is my true husband, who else is there for me?
I do not want any mortal husbands.
Throw them all into kitchen fires
And go to bed with Siva.

There is a small penguin book, having some blank verse translations
of Basvanna, Akka Mahadevi, Desi Ramiah and Allamma Prabhu.  It
is written by A.K. Ramanujan, the late Professor of Comparative
Thelogy, University of Chicago.  He is a Sri Vaishnavite and a bilingual
who can speak both Tamil and Kannada. This book is titled Speaking
of Siva.

He has written also another book, with some translations of Azhwars,
the Vaishnava Saints.  The title is Hymns for the Drowning!

Azhwar literally means one who is drowning in the bliss of Narayana.

Arunachala Siva.

silentgreen

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Deep Within
« Reply #12 on: February 26, 2010, 01:13:31 PM »
I wrote this poem long ago. I dedicate this to the saints and devotees who continue to show humankind the peace that passeth understanding.

Deep Within

Deep Within,
Core of Peace,
Silent, Stillness,
Full of Bliss;
Pleasure, Pain,
Enters not,
Soul "whispers",
"blessed thoughts"

Hymn of Life,
Sung for all,
Spirit feels,
Spirits' call,

Silence, Joy,
Silent, Still,
Aura of,
Blessed feel.

Deep Within,
Core of Peace,
Silent, Stillness,
Full of Bliss;
Hymn of Life,
Sung for All,
Ever and ever,
The Blessed Call.
Homage to the Universal Being...Om Shanti ... Om Shanti ... Om Shanti ...

silentgreen

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Sant Jnaneshwar
« Reply #13 on: February 27, 2010, 08:30:08 AM »
Sant Jnaneshwar / Sant Dnyaneshwar (1275 AD -1296 AD)

Sant Jnaneshwar was born to Viththalapant and Rakhumabai on 1275 AD at Alandi, near Pune in Maharashtra. His elder brother was Nivrtthi (1278 AD) and younger brother and sister was Sopana (1277 AD) and Muktabai (1279 AD).

Several years before Jnaneshwar was born, Viththalapant, the father of Jnaneshwar had left his wife Rakhumabai, renounced the world and left for Varanasi for God realization. At Varanasi, he became a sannyasin by taking initiation from Sripada Ramasrama. His guru gave him the name Chaitanyasrama. To take sanyasa Viththalapant told a lie to his guru that he did not have any dependents.

Soon after this, Ramasrama, the guru of Viththalapant on his way to a pilgrimage in South India stopped at Alandi. There, by God's providence, Rakhumabai, the wife of Viththalapant bowed down to him and he gave her the usual blessing, "May you be the mother of sons". Rakumabai replied that his blessings are useless as her husband had gone to Varanasi and taken sannyasa. On further enquiries, Ramasrama understood the whole story, immediately went to Varanasi and commanded Viththalapant to return home.

When Viththalapant returned to Alandi, the villagers did not accept him because he left the path of sannyasa. They not only made him an outcaste but also persecuted him. Living in this surroundings, after twelve years Nivrtthi, his first son was born, followed by Jnaneshwar, Sopana and Muktabai. Nivrtthi was said to be an avatara of Shiva, Jnanadeva of Vishnu, Sopana of Brahma and Muktabai of Adimaya. Viththalapant taught them all of the scriptures he knew and they had an extraordinary ability to assimilate all they learned.

Once the family went on a pilgrimage to Tryambakesvara and while circumambulating the Brahmagiri mountain came upon a tiger. In the confusion, as they fled, Nivrtti became separated from the family, took shelter in a cave where the yogi Gahininatha, the disciple of Goraksanatha (of Natha yoga tradition) was meditating. Gahininatha welcomed him and indicated that he had known that Nivrtti will come. Gahininatha initiated Nivrtti and told him to initiate his younger brother Jnaneshwar, who he said has a great mission to fulfil. After a week Nivrtti returned to his family with the great saint and initiated Jnanadeva. Jnanadeva in turn initiated Sopana and Muktabai.

When Viththalapant felt his sons should be invested with the sacred thread, he approached the Brahmins at Alandi for permission. He pleaded to them to prescribe a penance for him so that his children would not be outcastes. However the Brahmins replied that there was no other penance for him except death. Viththalapant left the village and it is believed that he went to Prayaga, the confluence of Ganga, Yamuna and Sarasvati to drown himself.

Nivrtti then pleaded the Brahmins to prescribe a penance for them, but the Brahmins were reluctant. At last they advised the four children to go and obtain a certificate of purification (suddhipatra) from the Brahmins of Paithan who were more learned in the scriptures. After discussing the issue amongst themselves, the children at last went to Paithan to meet the Brahmins.

The Brahmins at Paithan read their letters they brought from the Brahmins of Alandi and replied that there is no penance which can make them pure enough to wear the sacred thread. However they suggested a remedy that they should bow down with love and reverence to every living being - including donkeys, dogs, elephants, pigs, outcastes and so on, with the thought that Lord dwells in all of them. The children were delighted and agreed. However they still would not give them the certificate and instead ridiculed them.

Just then a buffalo was driven past the assembly and Jnanadeva said that he did not see the slightest difference between himself and the buffalo; the same atman is dwelling in all the creatures. One of the Brahmins became furious and when he struck the buffalo with a whip, Jnanadeva winced in pain and a large welt appeared on his back. Still not convinced, the Brahmins dared Jnanadeva to make the buffalo recite the Vedas. Jnanadeva went to the buffalo and asked it to recite and the buffalo started reciting with proper intonation from the Rigveda. Everyone was stunned. The Brahmins saluted Janandeva and said that these children are the Avataras of Shiva, Vishnu, Brahma and Adimaya. There is no need for any purification for them.

On their way to Alandi, the children reached a town named Mahalaya where Jnanadeva began teaching the people Bhagavad-Gita in their own language, Marathi in a simple and devotional style. This discourse was given by Jnanadeva when he was only 15 years old and the recorded commentary is now known as Jnanesvari or Bhavartha Dipika.

After the discourse, Nivrtti asked Jnanadeva to compose an original work based on his own spiritual experiences. This work, written  in Marathi is known as Amrtanubhava (Sweet Nectar of Experience).

After this they resumed their journey to Alandi and shortly before reaching there the buffalo which they brought from Paithan (which recited the Vedas) died. It was buried with great respect. The place where its tomb is located is called Mhasoba.

At Alandi, all the villagers who already got the news of their accomplishments welcomed them with great respect except Visoba Chati, a cruel and arrogant man.

Once during a festival when Muktabai tried to procure an earthen pan for baking some cakes; Visoba warned the potter not to sell anything to her. When Muktabai returned dejected, Jnanadeva upon knowing the reason asked her to bake the cake on his back which he made blazing hot. Meanwhile Visoba who followed Muktabai to their house witnessed this spectacle through a window. Filled with remorse, Visoba decided to purify himeself by eating the crumbs from their plates. From then on Visoba was  known as Visoba Khechara (scavenger). He became a disciple of Muktabai and was one of their most devoted followers. (He became the guru of Namadeva).

Changadeva, a hathayogi said to be 1400 years old with many supernatural powers and filled with pride, desiring to meet Jnanadeva send him a blank piece of paper as a message. In reply, Jnanadeva sent him 65 verses which became known as Changadeva Prasasti. Changadeva could not grasp the meaning of the verses but set to meet Jnanadeva with egoistical pride, riding on a tiger, holding a snake for a whip followed by a huge retinue of disciples beating drums and blowing conches.

Nivrtti, Jnanadeva, Sopana and Muktabai were seated on  wall. Jnanadeva asked the wall to rise and take them to Changadeva. When the wall flying through the air took them to Changadeva, Changadeva fell at Jnanadeva's feet and decided to remain at Alandi to learn from these four saints. An old banyan tree still exists under which Jnanadeva taught him. Muktabai however is said to be his actual guru. In his abhangas (songs), Changadeva reveals his deep devotion for this family.

Janandeva hearing the great devotion of Namadeva to Viththala, left for Pandharpur along with his brothers and sister. Namadeva was extremely happy to meet them and became greatly devoted to them. They spent their time singing the Lord's praises and the group gained from Jnanadeva's philosophical outlook born of Self-Realization. After some time Jnanadeva begged Namadeva to go on a pilgrimage with him. Namadeva agreed and it is said that they visited Ujjaini, Prayaga, Kasi, Ayodha, Vrindava and Dwaraka among other places.

Soon after their return to Pandharpur, Jnanadeva expressed his desire to enter into mahasamadhi at Alandi. The devotees were very upset but they understood his wish. A pit was dug on the left side of Siddhesvara Shiva temple at Alandi and for three days and three nights there was continuous kirtana. On the thirteenth day of the dark half of Kartika (Oct-Nov), Namadeva's four sons cleaned the pit, spread some bilva and tulasi leaves, and flowers, laid some kusa grass and a deer skin over which Jnanadeva would sit. After Jnanadeva had bathed in the river, Namadeva worshipped him with garlands, sandal paste and light. The villagers also prostated and offered garlands. Jnanadeva took leave of everyone, entered the place of samadhi, sat for his final meditation and soon afterwards entered into mahasamadhi. His soul pierced the crown of his head and he became one with the Infinite. With shouts of "Jaya" (Victory), everyone threw flowers over him and bowed down. Finally Nivrtti sealed the pit with a large stone. It was 1296 AD and Janadeva was only 21 years old. Since then a religious festival has been held there every year in the month of Kartika. About three hundred years later, a temple was built on the spot by Ekanatha.

Considered one of the masterpieces of Marathi literature, the Jnanesvari's 18 chapters of Bhagavad Gita are composed in a metre called "ovi". Jnaneshwar liberated the "divine knowledge" locked in the Sanskrit language to bring that knowledge into "prakrit" (Marathi) and make it available to everyone. Amrutanubhav, written some time after, contains 10 chapters and 806 ovi. The basis of this book is non dualism (advaita siddhanta). The seventh and biggest chapter (295 ovi) is the most important.

References:
- Indian Saints and Mystics: Pravajika Suddhamaprana
- Wikipedia
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Subramanian.R

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Re: Saints / Devotees
« Reply #14 on: February 27, 2010, 10:12:35 AM »
In the Bhakta Vijayam parampara, lineage, they are all advaitis.  In fact,
they prayed to Panduranga Vittal as their only God and nothing else mattered.
Of course, they all went to pilgrimages but there in different temples they
saw the images of Siva or Uma only as Panduranga Vittal.  I am told the
Panduranga image in Pandharipur is the combined form of Siva and Narayana. There is  matted hairs on the head.  The hands do not possess disc and conch-shell etc.,  Amrutanubhava is an advaitic work.  Even Jnanewari, the commentaries are based on advaita path only.

Arunachala Siva.