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Who is Sant Eknath
|Sant Eknath Maharaj
Present-day Paithan Taluka, Aurangabad, Maharashtra, India
|1599 CE (age 66)
Sant Eknath, also known as Sant (Saint) Eknath, was a Hindu saint, philosopher, and poet who lived in India. He was a key character in the Warkari culture and a devotee of the Hindu deity Krishna. Eknath is frequently regarded as a spiritual heir to Dnyaneshwar and Namdev, two important Marathi saints.
His life is still shrouded in mystery. Eknath is thought to have lived around the latter three quarters of the sixteenth century. He was a devotee of the Ashvalayana Sutra and was born into a Deshastha Rigvedi Brahmin household of Vishwamitra gotra to Suryanarayan and Rukminibai at Paithan, present-day Maharashtra. His father was most likely a Kulkarni who kept financial records. Ekvira Devi is their family deity (or Renuka).
Eknath’s parents died when he was a child. Chakrapani, his grandfather, raised him after that. Bhanudas, his great-grandfather, was also a respected Warkari saint. Janardan Swami, a follower of the Hindu deity Dattatreya, was Eknath’s teacher.
Paithan, near the Godavari river, is where Eknath’s samadhi temple is located. Every year in the month of March, Paithan hosts a commemoration of Eknath.
Eknath’s compositions include Eknathi Bhagavata, a variant of the Hindu sacred scripture Bhagavata Purana. He also wrote Bhavarth Ramayan, a retelling of the Hindu epic Ramayana. He also wrote Rukmini Swayamwar Hastamalak, a 764 owee (poetic metre) literary composition based on a Sanskrit hymn of the same name.
Shukashtak (447 owee), Swatma-Sukha (510 owee), Ananda-Lahari (154 owee), Chiranjeewa-Pad (42 owee), Geeta-Saar, and Prahlad-Vijaya are some of his other works. He created a new type of devotional melody known as Bharood and composed over 300 of them.
Sant Eknath Teachings
The teachings of Eknath can be described as “Vichar, Uchchar, and Achar” — purity of mind, speech, and deeds. He lived out what he preached, demonstrating the way of ethical and spiritual living. His efforts, words, and sermons instilled hope in the people at a time when they most needed it. Finally, on the Krishna Shasthi day of Phalguna in the year Shaka 1521, he left for his heavenly home by voluntarily laying down his life in the sacred Godavari, following the example of the great Jnaneshwar (1599AD).
- We must be particularly interested in the words of a guy who lived what he preached:
- A well-executed duty cleanses the mind and qualifies one for Bhakti (Devotion). The Vedas should be followed as long as one has not risen above attachment and duality, much like a watchman is needed to guard the mango tree’s fruits until they are removed, after which he can be removed.
- As a result, once a man exceeds body consciousness, he is no longer bound by the Vedic Order.
- “Through Love, the devotee can even become God,” says Saint Ekanth. “God and His worshipers are like the waves of the ocean.”
- He also criticised superfluous bodily penance while the mind remained enslaved to the world.
- “Fasting and other forms of emaciation do not constitute authentic penance. All exterior appliances are meaningless as long as man’s wicked emotions exist.”
Sant Eknath Philosophy
Eknath maintained that in God’s eyes, there is no distinction between Brahman and outcaste, Hindu and Muslim, and he disregarded such distinctions in his own life and works. Eknath’s radical form of religious egalitarianism led him to assert not only that low-caste people are eligible for God’s mercy, but also that “the dog and God are same” in one of his songs.
Eknath was Maharashtra’s only saint who was both a father and a family householder, and he was known for overcoming tensions between householder responsibilities and religious devotion needs through unwavering faith in Krishna, a popular avatar of Vishnu. There are numerous temples dedicated to Eknath in Paithan, including one near his home and another near where he died in the Godavari River.
Story of Sant Eknath and His Guru
Eknath Maharaj was a saint who lived in India during the 18th century. Janardan Swami’s disciple was Saint Eknath Maharaj. (A disciple is a person who practises spirituality under the guidance of a Guru, and who has entire obedience and faith in God’s and his Guru’s love for them, and who serves them accordingly.) Janardan Swami was in charge of the fort that guarded the Maharashtra city of Devgad. Before an adversary could take over the city, they would have to seize the fort. As a result, Swami Janardan’s army was constantly ready to fight.
Swami Janardan would meditate for a few hours each day (meditation is when one sits in one location and entirely concentrates on God or one’s chanting). No one used to bother Him when He was meditating.
When a soldier stormed in, Janardan Swami was in deep concentration (samadhi). He stated that he had an urgent meeting with the Swami. Eknath Maharaj, a disciple, enquired about the meeting’s objective. Because enemy forces had collected near the city, the solider advised him that he wanted to talk with the Swami. Saint Eknath was at a loss about what to do. He didn’t want to interrupt the Guru’s meditation, but the problem required immediate attention. He quickly devised a strategy and dashed to the room containing the battle gear. He prayed fervently to the Guru, donned His Guru’s war armour, and dashed to the soldiers’ waiting position. He went to combat after praying to the Guru.
When the soldiers saw Eknath Maharaj dressed in Swami Janardan’s armour, they mistook him for Swami Janardan and joined him in combat. They battled valiantly under the heroic leadership of Eknath Maharaj, and the enemy forces were quickly defeated. Eknath Maharaj triumphantly returned to the fort. As soon as he returned, Eknath Maharaj changed into His regular clothes, reinstalled the Guru’s war equipment, and resumed His daily satseva (service to God), as if nothing had happened.
Swami Janardan awoke from his meditation when he heard the soldiers in the fort shouting, ‘Janardan Swami ki Jai (Victory to Swami Janardan)!’ He couldn’t figure out why they were having a party. He realised it was His disciple Eknath Maharaj who had heroically led the army against the enemy after hearing the combat account. “Dear Eknath Maharaj, how did you manage to lead the army?” he inquired. “Swamiji, before going to combat, I merely prayed to You,” Eknath Maharaj said. And you took care of the rest!” Janardan Swami was pleased with His loyal disciple’s bravery.
Another Life Story of Sant Eknath with a Muslim
Eknath ji used to take Godavari baths on a regular basis. On the way, he was harassed by a Muslim. Eknath ji, on the other hand, was always patient. The Muslim wanted to irritate him one day. Eknath Maharaj spit on him when he returned from a bath. Eknath Maharaj returned to the river and bathed once more. The Muslim made the same mistake multiple times. Eknath maharaj ji, on the other hand, showed no irritation and took a bath each time. Finally, the Muslim felt humiliated. He’d have to bathe five times a day that way. This tragedy came to an end one day. The Muslim spit on him one hundred and eight times, and Eknath ji bathed one hundred and eight times. Maharaj’s tranquilly and contentment, on the other hand, remained unchanged. When the Muslim saw this, he was embarrassed of himself and knelt at Maharaj’s feet. He is a saint, the Muslim claimed, and he could not recognise him. Eknath Maharaj ji told him that it was because of him that he was able to bathe in the holy river Godavari on a regular basis. Muslims’ lives have changed since then.
Sant Eknath and Donkey
In Maharashtra, it had been two years since it had rained. Lakes, wells, storage tanks, and even tiny rivers have all dried up. Plants have withered due to a lack of water. Many creatures went to far off regions in search of water.
Eknath chose to travel on a pilgrimage to Varanasi from Benaras and pray for rain. Those were the days when neither railroads nor buses existed. Eknath walked the entire distance to Varanasi. He took a dip in the river Ganga and worshipped at the temples.
Eknath was taught by a loving saint that he should bring holy Ganga water to his hamlet and pour it on the Shivling in his rural temple. Then it would start to pour. Eknath expressed gratitude to the saint. He filled a vessel with the waters of the Ganga and headed for his village. It took a long time to go back home.
The people heard Eknath was bringing the Ganga to bathe the Shivling of the village temple as he approached his village. A massive crowd joined him.
Eknath was ready to enter the village’s Shiva temple, when he observed a donkey. The animal appeared to be unwell. It wavered and toppled just in front of the shrine. Eknath could tell the poor animal was struggling for air and desperately needed to drink some water.
Eknath stared at the Shivling in the temple. He fixed his gaze on the donkey. Ekanath dropped the vessel he was carrying on his shoulder and poured water into the donkey’s open mouth, chanting Shiva’s name. As the water poured in, the donkey got some strength to get up. It raised its eyes to the generous guy who had handed it water.
The temperature dropped as Ekanth gave the animal more water. A light breeze blew, and then it began to rain! They think Eknath delivered rain to the village.