Salutations to Ganesh !

Glory be to Lord Supreme

Who resides on the banks of Chandrabhaga.

With Rukmini, the Mother of the Universe,

He who succors all,

Without whose grace

Everything is futile meaningless.

His grace infuses strength

Into the soul who takes refuge in Him.

Gajanan Maharaj ran away.

None could find him.

Bankatlal was feeling guilty,

For having lost him.

His manly and resplendent form

Appeared before his eyes

Again and again.

Bankatlal was restless.

He combed the entire town,

But Maharaj was seen nowhere.

When Bankatlal returned home,

His father asked him

Why he was so sorrowful and dejected.

Bankatlal did not speak.

Bankatlal was young and healthy

And wealthy too.

Why should he be sorrowful?

Bankatlal told one

Ramaji Deshmukh ¾ and aged resident of Shegaon,

What had happened.

Deshmukh was convinced

That Bankatlal had seen a great yogi.

There was one kirtankara

By name Govind Buwa Takalikar.

He arrived in Shegaon.

Kirtana was arranged in Shiva’s temple.

Bankatlal accompanied by Pitambara ¾ a tailor, was on the way to the temple.

Bankatlal told Pitambar about the strange saint he had seen.

And all of a sudden

Both of them saw the saint,

Seated on a pavement.

Both darted towards him,

Just as a miser would run after gold.

Both humbly asked the saint

whether they should bring something to eat.

The saint bade them bring Zunka bhakar from the house of a women

Who was a gardener by the caste.

Bankatlal did so.

The saint bade Pitambar bring water from the rivulet,

And gave him is tumba.

Pitambar hesitated,

Told the saint that there

Was not enough water in the rivulet,

Whatever was, not fit for drinking.

It was made muddy by cattle.

The saint said,

No other water would do ¾

"Bring me water from the rivulet alone,

Plunge the tumba into the water,

Don’t pick up water in your palms."

Pitambar plodded in the rivulet.

There was water just enough to wet his soles.

Pitambar was at a loss.

But he dipped the tumba.

And, beholds, it sunk deep,

And got filled with water, clear as crystal.

Pitambar wondered ¾

How could the dirty water

Become crystal clear?

He brought the water to the saint.

The saint drank it after eating the zunka bhakar.

Then said the saint, "Oh Bankatlal, you want to please me,

By offering me the zunka bhakar

Brought form the house of a woman

Whose business it is to cultivate flowers

And prepare garlands.

That won’t do.

Come on, take out of the areca nut from your pocket,

Cut it and give it to me."

Bankatlal felt honored,

When the saint demanded the nut.

He offered two copper coins ¾ of the state of Hydrabad.

Maharaj smiled ¾ said,

"Do you take me for a trader?

I need no such coins.

I love devotion. You had it and so we met again.

Now go the temple and hear the kirtana

I shall sit yonder

Under a margosa tree."

Both ¾ Bankatlal and Pitambar

Left the place.

Govind Buwa was half through the kirtana.

It was the story of Hansa Gita

From the 11th chapter Bhagavata.

The latter half of the akhyana

Was sung by Maharaj, in a clear resonant tone

From below the margosa tree.

Govind Buwa realized

That Maharaj was an authority

And a great one for that.

Govind Buwa wanted him

To be brought in to the sabhamandapa.

So Bankatlal, Pitambar and others

Went and persuaded

Maharaj to come and grace the sabhamandapa.

Maharaj did not move.

Govind Buwa himself came to the spot.

Euglogised Maharaj,

"You are verily Shankar,

Come and be in this temple of Shiva.

The temple will be not temple

Without you.

I have been singing the glory of God all my life.

This sadhana in the form of kirtan

Is ripe today.

That is why I had your darshan.

So Maharaj. Come and adore your seat in the temple."

Maharaj said, "Oh Govinda." Be consistent.

Did not you say a few minutes before,

That the universe is pervaded by Him?

Why, then, insist on my coming to the temple?

Man should be true.

In words and in deeds.

You have been narrating Bhagavata.

While your actions are contrary.

Go and finish your narration.

I am listening from here."

Govind Buwa went back to the temple.

And told loudly to all ¾ "Listen, oh. You residents of Shegaon,

You have discovered a gem.

Keep it with care.

This is no Shegaon now.

It is verily Pandharpur.

For Panduranga has honored this place

With his own presence.

Serve Him well."

Thus ended the kirtana

Bankatlal came home.

Persuaded his father

To bring home ¾ Gajanan Maharaj.

Father Bhavaniram agreed.

Bankatlal was happy.

How and when would he bring him in?

On the fourth evening

When cowherds were returning home.

Gajanan Maharaj appeared in Manik square

Cows surrounded him,

He resembled the same age-old Krishna

Bankatlal led Gajanan Maharaj home.

Father Bhavaniram was overjoyed.

To have Pandurang of Phandharpur,

At his door, rendering the evening most auspicious.

With deep devotion

He placed a bilvapatra on the head of Maharaj

And worshipped him, soliciting him to stay for dinner.

"Would you stay till the dinner is ready?

If you won’t, ill luck would befall me," said Bhavaniram.

He hesitated

And offered puris, not fresh but fried in the morning,

He offered almonds

And dried dates and bananas and oranges

And offered all these with true devotion.

Maharaj was pleased.

Maharaj, stayed overnight.

Next day, Bankatlal arranged for a ceremonial bath.

It was a wonderful sight.

Hundred pitchers of warm water

Were poured by men and women,

Some applied soap, some soapnut,

Some rubbed his lotus-like feet.

When the maharaj was made to wear a silk dhoti

Sandal paste with saffron was applied to his forehead.

Blossoms of tulsi were placed on his head.

And Maharaj was profusely garlanded.

Bankatlal’s house verily became Dwarka ¾

The capital city of Krishna.

Ichcharam, a cousin of Bankatlal,

Thought to himself ¾

"I shall worship Maharaj this evening."

It was Monday, and Iccharama

Worshipped Maharaj and

Brought all the sweet dishes and

Prayed to Maharaj to dine.

"I won’t take food" said Ichcharama.

"Unless you dine."

So saying, Ichcharama offered the plate

Containing all the sweets ¾ jillebi, raghavadasa,

motichur, karanjiya, anarase, gheevar,

Number of curries, chutneys, a bowl of curds, ¾

A meal enough for four men.

Gajanan Maharaj said to himself,

"Eat this all now. You hanker after sweet dishes,

Don’t you? Have this all."

So saying Maharaj gorged it

And then threw it out.

Swami Ramadasa had done do once

Only to tech himself a lesson and to show

That overeating is bad and that devotes

Should not pester a sadhu in this way.

So they again bathed Gajanan Maharaj,

Maharaj was all joy.

Two dindis came that way.

They were singing the holy name of Vitthal

Maharaj also set the tune with them ¾

"Gana Gana Ganat Botey"

This was the only tune

Maharaj knew and often sang.

So people named Maharaj after Gajanan.

What is name and form

To one who has become one with the One?

So Shegaon became verily the Pandharpur

And the crowds thronged there

As they would in Nasik at sinhastha

Or at Haradwar on auspicious kumbha,

People from for and near

And Bankatlal’s house verily became a temple.

Every day the happiness of Maharaj

Was shared by all the pilgrims flocking there.

I have no words, nor intellect

To describe the daily routine of Maharaj.

There were the ceremonial baths.

Sometimes unseen or unheard

He used to step down into a well

And drink the water there, clear or dirty.

Even as wind is unpredictable,

So was he!

He had an earthen pipe which he used to smoke often.

Now, listen further, dear once, the life story of Maharaj.

Dasaganu request you so.



References : N/A
Last Updated : June 23, 2010

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