The Upanishads and the Bhagwadgeeta kept the spirit of spiritualism alive in India. In Maharashtra the same responsibility was taken up by the, \u201cDnyaneshwari\u201d and \u201cThe Dasbodha\u201d. The writers of these two books Saint Dnyaneshwar and Shree Samarth Ramdas Swami were not only great Sages but worshippers of the highest order as well. Both had not only experienced the Parbrahma but had become the Parbrahma themselves. Both of them were extremely rich in altars of spiritual experiences which they showered upon the posterity. This was the need of the hour as the less knowledgeable always tend to remain in the myth that the only real thing about themselves is their body whereas these Saints knew that body is an illusion just like the rest of the universe and the only real thing is the Parbrahma, which they themselves were. This realization was enough for them but they had a larger goal and that was to pass on this knowledge to the others for their spiritual uplift. They spent their lives for this most noble cause. Shree Samarth Ramdas Swami during his lifetime must have helped thousands with his invaluable advice to solve their problems. He did it tirelessly and off course without any expectation. He wanted the people not only to live a good lifestyle but also to follow the path of spiritualism for their ultimate benefit. It is a matter of conjecture how many took up the latter cause. Despite this he didn\u2019t flinch for a while and went about his divine work with the same zest. It is a tribute to the Sage that although most of his unwritten work has been forgotten with the passage of time, yet the written works like his Dasbodha and the others are still held in high esteem by the common man and those who are on the path of spiritualism alike. This is just a feeble attempt to translate this great work.
Shree Samarth Ramdas Swami (Hereinafter referred to as Shree Samarth) was a Sage of the highest order as compared to all the Saints throughout the world if one considers his knowledge of the Parbrahma, his unflinching worship, his being an unparalleled Guru, his literature and the tremendous adulation he received from the masses not only during his times but even now.
He was born in a village, Jamb to Mr. Suryaji and Mrs. Ranoobai Thosar. His original name was Narayan. He lost his father at the age of eight, which turned him into an introvert. After a lot of introspection he finally arrived at the thought of the God, at that tender age. He used to be engrossed in these thoughts and try and find out the ways to meet The God. Then at the age of 12 years Lord Ram himself appeared in front of him and advised him to count the 13 lettered Ram tarak Mantra 108 times at least once a day. Then Lord Ram accepted him as his own disciple. The Lord gave him a new name by which he has been known ever since, Ramdas. Such a thing had never happened after Lord Ram who was an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, left his mortal body, thousands of years ago. At the age of 12 years while he was standing on the
podium during his marriage ceremony he heard the Brahmins clattering loudly, \u201cBeware\u201d! Immediately after hearing it he knew what it meant and just ran away from the scene and went to the holy city, Nasik, where he started his worship of Lord Ram which lasted for 12 years. He did it the hard way, many a times remaining without food or water, for days together. Every millisecond of this time he spent in the worship of Lord Ram. During this time he was constantly guided from within by greatest worshipper of Lord Ram, Hanuman. After 12 years of extensive Sadhana he got the blessings of Lord Ram again and through him he also got the real knowledge and then he embarked on a pilgrimage of most of the holy places of India which he completed in 12 years, bare feet. After finishing the pilgrimage he went back to Mahabaleshwar. Then at Masur he celebrated the birth day of Lord Ram wherein thousands of people took part in the religious activities. He started gathering people around him which was essential for his ultimate goal of establishing the Hindu religion in its original form which was in a shambles because of hundreds of years of Muslim rule in the country. Next year he found the statues of Lord Ram in the deep waters of the river Krishna near Angapur. He built a temple at Chafal and installed them ceremoniously according to the Hindu tradition. He celebrated the birth day of Lord Ram that year at the newly built temple.
The only Hindu King of any substance, who spent his whole life fighting the foreign Muslim rulers, Shree Shivaji Maharaj requested Shree Samarth to accept him as his disciple and knowing him thoroughly well Shree Samarth immediately consented. Shree Shivaji Maharaj from this time onwards always took Shree Samarth\u2019s advice in all the important matters. Then Shree Shivaji Maharaj as a token of respect towards the Guru offered Shree Samarth his whole kingdom, saying that he will look after it as only a caretaker, but it will belong to Shree Samarth. Shree Samarth was moved by this gesture and praised Shree Shivaji Maharaj but told him that anyhow he himself as Parbrahma was the Atman in Shree Shivaji Maharaj and hence this wasn\u2019t required at all. Instead he asked Shree Shivaji Maharaj to prepare his Empire\u2019s flag in the most sacred color in Hindu religion, Maroon. If at all any there will be very few parallels to such a disciple and Guru.
In the meanwhile according to the wishes of Shree Samarth 11 temples of Hanuman had been established and the Head Priests appointed. Shree Samarth then went to Jamb as his mother passed away. After returning back he went to Karnataka on a religious upheaval mission. On way to Karnataka he established a Math in Miraj and appointed a woman disciple, Venabai as the head Priestess. On reaching Tanjavar he was received by Vyankojiraje, the brother of Shree Shivaji Maharaj, who was the King of Tanjavar. He also told Shree Samarth of his desire to become his disciple to which Shree Samarth consented. At Tanjavar one of the very revered religious figures, Pundit Raghunath also became the disciple of Shree Samarth.
After coming back to Sajjangad, Shree Samarth started writing his epic, \u201cThe Dasbodha\u201d. He also established a temple of the Goddess at the Pratap Fort. Shivaji Maharaj used to visit him frequently for advice and seeing the qualities of this disciple of his, Shree Samarth told him the crux of the ultimate knowledge which one has to acquire to merge with the Parbrahma. He then completed the remaining chapters of the Dasbodha. After the death of Shivaji Maharaj he wrote a letter to the heir to the throne, Sambhaji (Shivaji\u2019s son) which is considered a milestone by even today\u2019s political scientists. His job of the Hindu religious renaissance done Shree Samarth left his mortal body and finally united with the Parbrahma ending a life which was so multifaceted that without his mention almost no field can be considered as complete. He left his mortal body at Sajjangad at the age of 73 years.
Shree Samarth had a very fair colored skin and was a moderately built man. He used to exercise regularly and had a very fit body. He had sparkling eyes and a pointed nose. He sported a long beard. His whole body had an inherent inner glow. He always walked at a very brisk pace and could climb steep mountains very easily. He wore only a small cloth covering his perineum and extending up to the pubic symphisis. He carried a wooden Y shaped object to rest his arms upon when he did his Jap and a metal container containing sacred water. While going out he had a bag hanging from his shoulders. During his younger days he was never affected by changes in climate but after getting old he suffered from cough for which he used to eat the traditional Indian pan (A herbal remedy). As he liked solitude and as he was a brisk walker and climber he most of the times preferred to stay in the forests surrounding Sajjangad or in the crevasses of the mountains. He was a very good swimmer, horse rider and was proficient in warfare as he could use all the weapons used at that time. Yet he was humility personified. He never spoke with a raised tone to anyone. If someone asked, how the things were going he would just say, \u201cAs per Lord Ram\u2019s wishes\u201d. He won the hearts of thousands with his charming speech and total selflessness. He was very fond of kids and used to play with them. He liked to read and write. His memory was very sharp. He liked poetry and music and even was a nice singer. Despite his stern looks he was a very kind hearted person. Though according to his philosophy this world was an illusion he was attracted towards nature, its bounties and beauties and anything which was colossal. He wanted all men and women to acquire all that is best in life. Having toured all over India he knew the customs in various parts and could speak many languages, prominent amongst them being Hindi, Marathi, Urdu and of course Sanskrit! His observation was very minute and analytical. Himself being very kind and a workaholic he naturally liked people having these qualities. He totally disliked idle people and literally abhorred them. He always said that you shouldn\u2019t harp on imaginary things; rather you should do whatever is worth doing and then tell others about it. He was a very kind hearted man and therefore couldn\u2019t see anyone in grief. These qualities attracted thousands of people around him. He had an uncanny knack of quickly assessing the capacity of a person and used to assign a particular job accordingly. Most people used to be awed with this power of his. It is thus beyond any person to describe the person that Shree Samarth was.
Shree Samarth was not only a human being, he had that extra in him which made him something special which is a quality required to transform a man in to a great person, a Sage or a Saint, which he himself surely was and was even beyond that. He knew to the hilt what his real form was, that is God who resides in every individual, but, for this knowledge ordinary people have to spend many births as humans and therefore was not only a saintly figure but was in a way God himself with all the knowledge of the Parbrahma which was ingrained in him thoroughly. Right from the childhood he was never interested in the material things and the
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