Monday, November 8, 2010

Sri Guru Raghavendra Thirtha

Sri Guru Raghavendra Thirtha was born in 1595 AD in southern India to humble parents, who gave him the name of Venkatanatha as an acknowledgement of their devotion to Lord Venkateswara. As a child Venakatanatha grew up at Kumbakonam under the watchful eyes of his guru Sudheendra Thirtha. As a young man he led normal household life, in poverty, served by his dutiful wife Saraswathim, through whom he had a son. But he continued to serve his guru, whom he succeeded as Swami Raghavendra Thirtha to become the head of the Mutt. Unable to bear the news of his renunciation, his wife said to have committed suicide. As the head of the Mutt, Raghavendra Tirtha performed many miracles and helped many people who became his devotees. During his life time he composed many important Vaishanvite works and propagated the Dwaita philosophy. He died at the age of 78 at Mantralayam, originally known as Manchala, near Adoni, in present day Andhra Pradesh, India. Sri Raghavendra continues to bless his devotees from his Samadhi which is now a famous pilgrimage center in Southern India and known as the Mantralayam temple to which rich and poor alike go to pay their homage.

Link: Web Site1, Web Site2, Web Site3

Swami Samarth

Believed to be an incarnation of Shri Dattatreya the name of this spiritual master, popularly called Swami Samarth, is a household word in Maharashtra and the region around. As this Perfect Master chose to reside at a place called Akkalkot for 22 years where he took Mahasamadhi (left his mortal body) in 1878, he is also known as the Maharaj of Akkalkot, Akkalkot is situated in district Solapur of Maharashtra state of India.

For the devotees of Shri Shirdi Sai Baba, it would be inspiring to learn about the life and deeds of 'Swami Samarth'. A comparative picturisation of the lives of these two great Saints, i.e. Swami Samarth and Shri Sai Baba of Shirdi would establish a surprising amount of commonness in their lives and deeds which includes their methods of teaching, the universality of their approach and the miracles they performed. Even a critical approach by a non-conformist would ultimately lead to the assertion that the over-all role of these two spiritual masters during the second half of the nineteenth century was similar, if not same. One, who is capable of making finer spiritual analysis, would be faced with a bewildering reality. The reality is that Swami Samarth and Shri Shirdi Sai Baba were the manifestations of the same Divine Spirit in two gross bodies.
Link:,,, AkkalkotSwamiSamarth.ord

Sripaad Shri Vallabh

Sripaad Shri Vallabh was born in a Brahmin family in a village named Pithapur (East Godavari District in Andhra Pradesh, India). A Brahmin couple Appala Raju Sharma and Sumathi, were devotees of Lord Datta.They had many children of whom only two survived. One was lame and the other was blind. They worshipped Lord Datta and never failed to offer food to mendicants and monks. They looked uponon all such as they very forms of Lord Datta. One day, they were performing the annual ceremony in their house and many Brahmins were invited as guests for thefeast. Tradition holds that none should eat on that day before these guests partake their food. At that time Lord Dattatreya appeared at their threshold in the form of a renunciate sadhu (saint), bearing the staff and the water-vessel (Kamandalu) and asked for food. The housewife, with immense faith that the visitor was none other than the Lord to whom the whole annual ceremony was being offered, gave Him food even before the Brahmin guests were fed!
Link: Web Page

Shri Upasani Maharaj

An explanation about the role and greatness of Shri Sai of Shirdi would remain incomplete without the understanding of the life of Kashinath Govind Upasani Sastri, who later came to be known as ‘Shri Upasani Maharaj’. Shri Sai’s deeds and life was full of miracles, but the greatest miracle was His creation of this once inconsequential person to the status of a Sadguru within a period of four years!

The methods used by Shri Sai to completely transform Kashinath Sastri, the pain taken by him to protect the neophyte and the assurance with which he grew this unsure and confused disciple to the state of a Perfect Master, would indicate where in the spiritual hierarchy of this world Shri Sai remains.
Link: Web Page1, Web Page2

Shri Gajanan Maharaj

Gajanan Maharaj is prince amongst saints who first appeared in Shegaon on 23rd February 1878 . A rich moneylender Bankatlal Agarwal is credited with discovering Maharaj at 12.22 pm while scratching food particles from abandoned patravalis to give credence to the saying that Food is Bhahma and should not be wasted. " Annam Brahmeti " is what Maharaj seemed to have expressed. Maharaj was scantily attired and made gesticulations befitting an insane person. But it is the greatness of Bankatlal who did not consider him as insane and logically argued as to why Maharaj must be scratching food particles when sumptuous food was available nearby in a family celebrating a fertility ritual. - The official website of Shri Sant Gajanan Maharaj Sansthan, Shegaon (CR), District: Buldana, Maharashtra State, India.,

Sri Narasimha Saraswati

Sripaad Swami told a Brahmin lady to devote her life to the worship of Lord Siva. She did accordingly and, as a result of it, she was born in Karanja a town near Akola (Central India) in a pious family and was named Amba.She grew and she was married to a pious man Madhava Sharma. She was devoted, heart and soul, to the service of of her husband. His noble company added to the holy tendencies she developed as a result of her spiritual discipline in her previous life. She now became an ardent devotee of Lord Shiva.In course of time, she gave birth to a son.The child did not cry, as usual, at birth.On the other hand, the only sound he uttered was 'AUM' (the eternal sound - 'AUM' is the manifestation of the spirit) and everyone was amazed at it. Astrologers assured Madhava Sharma that their child was indeed an avatar of the Lord. They also prophesied that he would renounce all worldly ties and that he would uplit the fallen souls. The child was named Narahari. The name signified that he was the dispeller of the sins and miseries of human beings.

Link: Web Page

Meherwan Sheriar Irani (Meher Baba)

Meherwan Sheriar Irani (Meher Baba) was born in Pune, India in February 1894. His parents were of Persian origin. He was first educated in Dastur Girls’ School and later in St. Vincent High School, from where he was matriculated. In 1913, while in his first year at Deccan College he came in contact with Hazrat Babajan, one of the five Perfect Masters of the Age, who by a kiss on his forehead awakened him to the experience of what one may call God-realization.

During the course of subsequent seven years Upasani Maharaj, another Perfect Master of the age gave him knowledge of his infinite state and integrated his God-consciousness with the consciousness of the gross world, preparing him thus for his role.

He was reported to have met the other three perfect Masters of the time before he came in contact with Upasani Maharaj, but no record of what happened in such meeting is available, except that Sai Baba of Shirdi uttered “Parvardigar” on seeing him.
Link: Web Page, Web Site1, Web Site2


In the thirteenth century of the Christian era, the knowledge of the Sanskrit language was getting scarce in Maharashtra, A very minor percentage of the society knew the Sanskrit language and followed the religious and other books written in that language. The majority of the people of the society were therefore denied the key to religious books or to knowledge. At such a stage in the history of Maharashtra, there arose a very bright star on the horizon of knowledge, who pledged himself to writing in the language of the people, the Marathi Language. This star was none else but the Saint Dnyaneshwar who was bold enough to go against the tradi­tions of his times of writing in the Sanskrit language and to use Marathi as the vehicle of his preaching. Dnyaneshwar was so very sure about the power of the Marathi language that he writes in Dnyaneshwari that, his highly appreciative readers will surely say that Marathi Language is even sweeter than nectar

Link: Web Page1, Web Page2

Hazrat Babajan

Hazrat Babajan hailed from Afghanistan (Central Asia) and was the daughter of well to do Afghan of noble lineage. Her maiden name was Gulrukh (rose faced) and her early training was that befitting the status of an Afghan aristocrat. At a very early age she learned Quran by heart and later became conversant with Arabic, Persian, Pushtoo and Urdu. From early life she developed mystical tendencies, and unlike girls of her age, she used to pass a good deal of her time in prayers, meditation and solitude.

This mystical aspect in her asserted itself, as when coming of age, she was found to be against any idea of marriage. The parents could not understand her and to them the idea of a Pathan girl remaining unmarried was extremely scandalous. Finding the situation no longer tenable and the parents bent upon forcing the issue of matrimony on her. Gulrukh managed to escape and came to Peshawar (India) and then to Rawalpindi. For a Pathan girl brought up under the strictest discipline of the Parda system, wandering at the age of 18 years, was not an easy undertaking.
Link: Web Page1, Web Page2


Dasganu was originally in police service and it was during this time that Nana Chandorkar took him to see Sai Baba. From the very first, Baba tried to get Das Ganu to quit the service, but he always found an excuse. It was only after a series of disasters had befallen him that he vowed to give it up.

Baba rarely allowed him into the mosque but rather sent him to the Vittal Temple where he stayed and wrote about the lives of saints and composed kirtans (devotional songs) which he sang with great feeling.

His writings include the biography of the great saint Shree Gajanan Maharaj of Shegao named as "Gajanan Vijay".

After he finally gave up his work, Baba advised him to settle in Nanded, which he did, and he became well known for beauty of his kirtans which inspired many to seek Baba's darshan
Link: Web Page1, Web Page2

Guru Nanak

The founder of the Sikh religion, Guru Nanak was born on April 15, 1469 in the Western Punjab village of Talwandi. He was born to a simple Hindu family. His father Mehta Kalian Das was an accountant in the employment of the local Muslim authorities. From an early age Guru Nanak made friends with both Hindu and Muslim children and was very inquisitive about the meaning of life. At the age of six he was sent to the village school teacher for schooling in reading and writing in Hindi and mathematics. He was then schooled in the study of Muslim literature and learned Persian and Arabic. He was an unusually gifted child who learned quickly and often question his teachers. At age 13 it was time for Guru Nanak to be invested with the sacred thread according to the traditional Hindu custom. At the ceremony which was attended by family and friends and to the disappointment of his family Guru Nanak refused to accept the sacred cotton thread from the Hindu priest. He sang the following poem;

"Let mercy be the cotton, contentment the thread, Continence the knot and truth the twist. O priest! If you have such a thread, Do give it to me. It'll not wear out, nor get soiled, nor burnt, nor lost. Says Nanak, blessed are those who go about wearing such a thread" (Rag Asa)
Link: Web Site, Web Page1, Web Page2

Sadguru Shree Gajanan Maharaj

He (Akkalkot) is recognized as the mythological incarnation 'Kalki'. According to the ancient scriptures, it is stated that a divine incarnation will manifest on the planet to destroy 'Kalka' meaning pollution, and resuscitate the Vedas. He will re-establish Satya-Dharma (Eternal Religion). The message of Shree delivers the planet from all types of 'Kalka'. The process of Agnihotra revived by Shree purifies the atmosphere and human mind. Thus the epithet kalki is befitting.

Link: Website

Saint Mahatma Shri Basaveshwar

Basava [also known as Basavanna] flourished in the 12th century in Karnataka. He was a Prime Minister to king Bijjala who ruled from 1157 to 1167 over Kalyana, a city of historic importance. Basava was indeed a great prophet for in him we find the combination of rare qualities. He was a mystic by temperament, an idealist by choice, a statesman by profession, a man of letters by taste, a humanist by sympathy and a social reformer by conviction.

Basava strove hard to bring about reformation in Hinduism into which social evils had crept in. The social and cultural conflicts which had been going on in India from ancient days were stimulating a new foment within the Hindu society. At the time of Basava there were apologists who had been giving a new interpretation to the irrational religious practices and form of thought. But Basava with a courageous frankness acknowledged the prevailing evils of the Hindu society and suggested ways and means to create a new orientation.
Link: Web Page1, Web Page2,

Allama Prabhu or Prabhudevaru

Prabhu, who is otherwise known as Allama, Allaya, Allama Prabhu or Prabhudevaru, was probably born in the very beginning of the 12th century. The exact date of his birth is neither known nor has it been ascertained by any of his biographers. His biographers can be divided into two groups: one holding all too human and the other all too divine view of him. Both views are wrong, for both lack the historical perspective and predominantly represent a mythological view. Yet out of this legendary outlook we can glean a few historical facts. Prabhu was undoubtedly born of the human parents at Ballegavi, a village near Banavasi. His father's name was Nirahankara and his mother's, Sujnani. Karavura seems to be his family name. Ballegavi was set in the midst of palm trees, water-pools and rice fields. The temple of Goggeshwara or Guheshwara adorned this inspiring setting. His parents were a devout couple and Goggeshwara was their family deity. Sujnani had often visitations from God, Goggeshwara, in her dreams. Nirahankara was the head of a dance school and was well versed in three branches of music. But a secret longing was gnawing at their hearts. It was the longing for a child. In her daily prayers, Sujnani appealed to God to bless her with a child. One day she dreamt that she had been possessed by God. In the temple opposite her house the image of Shiva quickened to life under her own eyes. A ray of light penetrated to the depth of her being. In the course time, she conceived and gave birth to a child. The child, whom the world was to know as the Vairagya Chakravarti (the supreme renunciate) was named Prabhu. He was a little boy full of fun and life. Nobody imagined what giddy heights, what tremendous depths lay hidden in the little body of this charming child. His artistic temperament and prowess were revealed when he was only six years old. He had inherited from his father's artistic temperament. A passionate instinct for the beautiful was the first channel which brought him in contact with God. But there was a rich undercurrent of asceticism which occasionally peeped through his demeanour. The mutually conflicting instincts for the artistic and the ascetic and for the beautiful and sublime struggled within him for supremacy. In the end, the ascetic instinct got the upper hand and turned him into a renowned 'renunciate'.

Link: Web Page

Bhagavan Bahubali

Bahubali is a great name in the Jain legends. His story is an example of the inner strength of the entire culture of India. He won everything from his brother and could have become an emperor; and yet, in utter selflessness he returned everything to the brother. Bahubali is the ideal man who conquers selfishness, jealousy, pride and anger. This is his story, the story of a great soul.

Bahubali defeated his elder brother who was puffed up with pride, but at that very moment understood his life's aim. He gave back the kingdom to his defeated brother and went away to meditate on God. He enriched the lives of his fellowmen with the light he received. The magnificent figure of Gommateshwara at Shravanabelagola in Karnataka State is that of Bahubali

Link: Web Page


Sakhubai, a devotee of Panduranga Vittala. Though suffering hardships from a cruel mother- in- law and a foolish husband, She bore it and reposed pure 'Bhakti'(devotion) in Lord Vittala whom, for her sake, served her people and transformed them. Devotee of Panduranga Vittala. Though suffering hardships from a cruel mother- in- law and a foolish husband, She bore it and reposed pure 'Bhakti'(devotion) in Lord Vittala whom, for her sake, served her people and transformed them.

A poor man and his wife lived in a town near Pandharapur. Though poor, they were lead- ing a peaceful, contented life. They would, within their limitations, make dona- tions to charities; they would welcome and entertain guests.They were partaking in others' joys and helping those in difficulties. They were liked by all.

Pandharapur is a holy place. Panduranga Vittala is the presiding deity there. There were a large number of devotees in that vicinity worshipping Him. The poor couples too were among them. They had no children and it distressed them. They ardently wor- shipped Vittala daily and prayed for getting children. As though in response to their devout prayers, the poor man's wife gave birth to a female child. The baby grew up into a beautiful girl possessing many good qualities since childhood. Sakhu had imbibed in her a deep sense of devotion of God. She assisted in the 'Puja' at house by preparing flower-garlands, sandal- wood paste, etc., tended the cattle, assisted her mother with cooking and was constantly engaged in useful domestic chores. The parents loved her immensely.

Neighbors looked upon this smiling, active girl with delight. She would never hurt anybody nor utter harsh words. She made friends with other children and played with them. She respected the elders and was devoted to them. Everybody loved her.
Link: Web Page

Vidyaranya swamy

Vidyaranya great and famous saint who is known as the founder of Karnataka. When people had lost all hope, he provided inspiration to Hakka and Bukka who tilled the people with hope and courage. He adorned the Sharada Peetha of Sringeri. He strove to strong then the foundations of the Empire of Vijayanagar.
Link: Web Page

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Narayan Maharaj

Narayan Maharaj was born on 20th May 1885, at Bagalkot in Karnataka. His early childhood was full of calamities. He lost his father, when he was hardly 14 months old and lost his mother when he was four. As a worldly duty his grandmother looked after him. His sacred thread ceremony was performed at the age of nine. His grandmother was planning to appoint Narayan as her heir, but it created problems with the other relations and he was also not interested in any material acquisition. He left his grandmother's place and all his relations, as he was keen on establishing the only relationship with Lord Dattatreya. After leaving home he took rest for the night in Shiva's temple, but no one came to enquire about him.This proved to be an important event to break all the worldly ties for him. Whatever is destined to take place must take place. Suffering is a great blessing in disguise, it has the ultimate objective to bring sufferer on the path of love and realisation. His life was full of hardships, trials and traumas but he had the absolute and unflinching faith and devotion for Lord Dattatreya, hence he had no fear of any kind.

Link: Web Page

Hazrat Tajuddin Baba

Hazrat Tajuddin Baba was one of the five Perfect Masters (Sadgurus) of his Age. Such is the play of nature known as maya (illusion) that this Perfect Master was declared a lunatic and kept in confinement in the Nagpur Lunatic Asylum for more than sixteen years. However, Baba Tajuddin started his divine play from this place and virtually converted the asylum to a place of worship. Baba Tajuddin was born on the 21st of January in the year 1861 at a place called Kamthi situated near Nagpur in the state of Maharastra.

From the birth itself, there was something unusual about the child, for the new-born baby would not at all cry. He would, at times, open his eyes and look at people and again go to sleep. All normal methods to induce the child to cry having failed, the parents took recourse to a traditional shock method of touching hot iron to the forehead and ear of the child. With the application of this method the child jerked out of its stupor and started crying. The burnt marks thus made on the head and ears of the child remained on his body till the last.
Web Page

Shankar Maharaj

Shankar Maharaj was a Perfect Master in the tradition of Nath Siddhas.Different stories are told about the birth and early life of Shankar Maharaj. But the following story of his birth and initiation by his guru appears to be most authentic, having been told by Maharaj himself to his prime disciple Dr. Nagesh Dhaneshwar of Nagar, about 200 kms from Pune.

Once Dr. Dhaneshwar asked Maharaj his age. Instead of answering, he asked him to judge his age from physical examination since he was a medical doctor.

Dr. Dhaneshwar judged his age to be more than 125 years. Maharaj agreed with him and told him that he was born in about 1800 at Mangalwedha (near Pandharpur) in the family named Upasani.

Shri Gondavalekar Maharaj

In the 19th and early 20th century India was undergoing an enormous change in its educational system and its political and religious beliefs. The entire social structure was shaken and the age-old values were getting lost in Modern Times. This state of affairs of instability in every walk of life brought about renaissance in political thinking, education, abolition of Caste System and more importantly in spiritual thinking. In India, this period of approximately hundred and fifty years saw luminous Spiritual Masters, Gurus and Saints of different religions working silently in and through the masses for spiritual uplifting and realization of the ‘Ultimate Truth’. Shri Gondavalekar Maharaj was one of such galaxy of saints who did specific work for spiritual uplifting through an ancient but re-defined Sadhana (spiritual practice) of Namasmaran (Chanting of Holy Name).

Shri Manik Prabhu Maharaj

The great mystic saint and yogi Shri Manik Prabhu Maharaj (1817-1865) is hailed as the fourth incarnation of Lord Dattatreya and has an enormous following in the country. Shri Saibaba of Shirdi, Shri Akkalkot Swami Maharaj and Shri Gondavalekar Maharaj were Shri Prabhu’s contemporaries and they interacted with him on matters of deep spiritual wisdom. Shri Prabhu was also associated with the first war of Indian independence in 1857. All biographers refer to Shri Prabhu as a saint of great spirituality and mysticism. He is hailed as ‘Bhaktakarya Kalpadruma’. Stories of his miracles and eye witness accounts, which bear testimony to the manner in which he brought succor to the distressed and the sorrowing, to the afflicted and the wronged, who, ardently and with deep faith sought his spiritual intervention are available.

Kalavati Devi

There are many backward communities in India. One such community called the Boharis lived in Angol, Belgaum. Until 1940's there was no hope of improvement in their poor way of living. This was partly because of society's indifference towards their needs and development. They contributed their part by accepting hopelessness, lack of will power and reluctance to change. They lived in huts with poor sanitation. They lacked sense of personal hygiene and took bath once a week. Their language was indecent. Due to lack of education and any goals in life their young ones became vagabonds. The adults indulged in drinking, gambling, and fighting for trivial reasons. Now you see a profound change in their social status. They now regularly attend the three prayer sessions in the nearby Shri Harimandir [7am-8:30am, 5:30pm-7pm and 9pm-10pm]. Since it is customary to go to prayers after a bath, clean & tidy they inculcated a sense of personal hygiene. As they started enjoying the prayers they would not miss them at any cost. If they ran out of fuel to warm the water for bath they would resort to cold-water bath. The night session of prayers kept them away from alcohol and gambling
Through the spiritual discourses and sincere prayers their reluctance to change gradually waned. They developed an awareness that God is pleased only through universal love and compassion towards all creatures. They gave up their age-old primitive way of worship involving sacrifices of animals without any hesitation. There was a radical change in their thought process, language and conduct. They became cultured in true sense with higher lofty goals in life [spiritual]. Secondarily, material gains and social upliftment went with it. This is in sharp contrast to traditional education which results in great material gains but loss of higher spiritual values. This is the only reason why we see degeneration of humanity and utter chaos in the world today. No wonder sincere prayers and genuinely holy men can bring about miracles in real life, a fact to which this community bear ample testimony.
Who was the inspiration behind this incredible transformation? It was none other than a humble lady saint by name Kalavati Devi, who is called by Her devotees as Param Pujya Aai or the Holy Mother. India is lucky to be endowed with innumerable great saints throughout the ages who have kept the path of Bhakti [Devotion] vibrant. This Holy Mother was one such unique saint [1908-1978]. She carried out her mission through Shri Harimandir, the main headquarter in Angol, Belgaum, Karnataka State. With a remarkable ease she fostered Bhakti in the hearts of millions bringing Joy and Hope in their lives. Thus runs the life story of a great soul.

Sadguru Shri Siddharudh Swamiji

His Holiness Sadguru Shri Siddharudh Swamiji hailing from Hubli city of Karnataka State devoted and dedicated his entire life.(A.D. 1836 to A.D. 1929) for the noble cause of soul-stirring dynamic spiritualism and universal brotherhood. Shri Sadguru Sidhharudh Swami was the incarnation of Lord Shiva. In the galaxy of his followers and diciples stand out the names of enlightened Maharaja's of the erstwhile States (Sansthans). Such as Sandur, Kolhapur, Akkalkot etc. National leaders of freedom movement viz Lokmanya Tilak and Mahatma gandhi had sought his blessings

Saint Gora Kumbhar

Though the authentic date of birth of Goroba is not known, still he is traditionally known to have lived in a village named Satyapuri alias Ter. In some places this village has also been mentioned as Terdhoki. No detailed history of the parents and the childhood of Goroba is available; but he was known to be a pious and religious minded man. He no doubt attended to his business of manufacturing earthen pots from mud; but even while attending to his work physically his mind would all the time be meditating on his favourite god Vithoba or Pandurang. He would also be chanting the name of God when his hands would be busy in work.

Sri Vasudevanand Saraswathi

Born in 1854 AD, Sri Vasudeva Shastri, who was later to be known to his followers as Sri Vasudevanand Saraswathi, led an ordinary householder's life before he turned completely to spiritual life. As a householder, he led a rather difficult life, owing to the disputes between his wife and mother. As he turned to spiritual life, he made rapid progress and received direct guidance from Lord Dattatreya. Shri Govind Swami whom he met at Wadi acted as his guide and mentor during these testing times. After his wife's death, he renounced the worldly life completely and went to Ujjain, where he was initiated into monastic life by Shri Narayananand Saraswati, who also gave him the title of Shri Vasudevanand Saraswati. The Swamiji spent the next 23 years of his life in the service of Lord Dattatreya, traveling to various parts of the country by foot and propagating the Vedic ideals

Shri Krishna Saraswati Swami

Shri Krishna Saraswati Swami of Kolhapur was during the period 1836 -1900 AD. Of the various incarnation of Lord Dattatreya that occurred, only this biography is completely available fron Swami's birth to end. Swami is also known widely as Dattaswami , being incarnation of Lord Dattatreya. He stayed at Kolhapur in Kumbhar Lane (Potters Lane) and hence he was called as Kumbhar Swami.

Brahmarishi Baba Lokenath

We are often inclined to focus on God as the Creator of the Universe and as our personal protector and savior. During every age, however, God also enters human form to embody Perfect Love, Compassion, Humility and Divinity for all humankind. Those manifestations of God in human form inspire and gently remind us that Divinity exists within each of us and that it is both our potential and our destiny to one day attain that same, perfect union with God. The world today is actively blessed by one of God's great Himalayan saints, Brahmarishi Baba Lokenath, who became God in Human Form after 80 years of yogic austerities. Baba Lokenath lived from 1730-1890. Such a life span, though difficult to grasp by the western mind, is not unheard of among great Yogis.

Baba Lokenath, an Embodiment of Love

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." Baba Lokenath calls to us, reaching across the distance of a century, to uplift every dimension of our lives. He reaches out to us with intense love and compassion. He extends an active and intervening hand of grace to heal our ills and personal deficiencies, however large or small, however tenacious they may seem, however hopeless we may feel about them.

Sri Yogaswami

Sri Yogaswami was born in Sri Lanka in May 1872. Originally known as Sadasivan, he led a normal life till 1905, when he met his Guru with whom he stayed till the latter passed away in 1911. He spent the next few years in intense meditation. Soon his fame spread and people started visiting him. He started the journal named Sivathondan, meaning the servant of Siva, which became a popular vehicle of his messages. He travelled to India in 1940 and visited Kashi. He also met Ramana Maharshi. In 1961 an accident confined him to the indoors of his Ashram in Jaffna. Three years later, at the ripe age of 91, much to the chagrin of his devotees, the Swamiji passed away, leaving behind him a legacy that continues even today

Neem Karoli Baba

Originally named as Lakshmi Narayan, and known by many other names, Neem Karoli Baba was born at Akbarpur in presentday UP, probably around 1900 AD. At a very young age he went to Gujarath where he lived at a place called Bavania, by the side of a lake at a little temple. Later he shifted his residence to various other places. During his life time he built many temples, helped many people and was visited by many people. In the western world he was made popular by Baba Ram Dass and Bhagavan Das through such works as "Be here now" and "It is here now". Though he left his physical body at Vrindavan in 1973, many of his devotees still experience his physical presence and receive his blessings and guidance

Sant Dariya Saheb

Sant Dariya was born in Vikram era 1691(1634A.D.) on Sunday in Ashwin month at Dharkandha in Rohtas District of Bihar (India).He was brought up and remained at that place for most of his life. It is said that the ancestral place of the Saint is Rajpur which is at a distance of 10 miles from Dhakandha,the maternal place of the Saint.Dharkandha is situated at a distance of about 52 miles from Arrah and about 6 miles from Suryapura.

Sant descended on the scene when the Mughal Empire was on decline and the British were consolidating their feet.There was absence of a powerful central Govenrnment which resulted in termoil in the society.Public was on the whims and mercy of the then local rulers and suffering immensely.Marathas power was on ascendance in the west.There was moral degradation all around and people were looking for a savior. The savior appeared on the scene in Sant Dariya.

Sant Dariya was sent to this world by Anadipurush (Supreme Lord ) to save people from their sorrow and miseries. He presented before the world a path of salvation (Muktipanth).He had to suffer opposition from the orthodox sects at several occasions but he went ahead in his mission with determination. He preached against ritualism and false doctrine prevalent in both Hindu as well as Muslim communities. He preached brotherhood of mankind. He was for unity and harmony amongst Hindus and Muslims.

Sant Dariya got enlightenment at the age of twenty years.When Dariya was one month old , Satpurush visited him and advised his mother to name him Dariya.Satpurush came again to Sant and asked him to preach to the misguided souls to save them. Satpurush assured Dariya that He would meet the basic needs of his followers in this world and ensure their permanent abode in Satlok when they leave their mortal body

Sant Dariya preached non-violence and was against killing of any living being. He was of the view that unless the lamp of kindness(Karuna) is illuminated in the heart, one cannot proceed on the path of realization of God. Sant preached monism . He preached against incarnation theory of God. He said that the Satprush(Anadi-brahm) is beyond triguna and He never comes into the cycle of birth and death.

Saint Dariya was Satguru and only the Satguru knew the path that leads to Nirvan(the state beyond the cycle of birth and death).He called his doctrine as Santmat (Doctrine of the saints).

There are controversies about his ancestory as also birth and death. Scholars are not in unanimity about his dates of birth and death. A brief mention of the Saint is found in Sahabad Report of Francis Buchanan who visited Dharkandha which was then in Sahabad district of Bihar, in 1810 A.D only thirty years after the parinirvan(death) of the saint. No other proven testimony is available about his date of birth. However, no purpose is served in going into controvercies.

The Sabad (word) of the Saint is most important for the welfare of the troubled living beings. Sant preached to one and all, both Hindus and Muslims . People of both the communities became his followers. His words are compiled in nineteen granths (books):

Sant was a poet par-excellence and he composed 15,000 padas (verses). There are altogether 37,000 lines in all these padas. Dr. Dharmendra Brahmachari who published research paper on Sant Daria for his Doctor of Philosophy Degree spoke highly of the poetic genius of the saint.

Sant Dariya, the great saint poet of the medieval India who preached love and human brotherhood breathed his last in Vikram era 1837 (1780A.D) on Friday, the fourth day of Bhado month


Bahinabai was not just a poetess, she was a devout worshipper of Lord Vithoba of Pandharpur. She was born to Audeo Kulkarni and Jankibai in 1628 A.D. at a town named Deogaon, to the west of Verula, a place well known for its carved temples. Her father, Audeo Kulkarni was a Yajurvedi Brahman and village scribe. A childless couple, Bahinabai was born to them after much penance and austerities. After the birth of Bahinabai, they were also blessed with two sons.

When Bahina was five years old, her parents marry her off to a very learned businessman in Shivpur called Ratnakar Pathak, a widower aged thirty. After Bahina’s marriage, her father Audeo due to family feuds fell into debts and was imprisoned. The son-in-law Ratnakar helped to set him free and the whole family set off to Rahimatpur. After staying there for two years they finally decided to settle in Kolhapur, where they got shelter in the verandah of a learned Brahmin named Bahirambhat. But, of all the places they visited, Bahina liked Pandharpur the best. She was fascinated by the idol of Lord Vithoba and thrilled to hear the Abhangas by Tukaram.

Very soon Bahirambhat received the gift of a cow and a calf which, in response to his dream, he offers to Ratnakar. Bahina and Ratnakar. They take great care of the cow. The calf takes a great liking for Bahina and followed her wherever she went. Once it so happened that Jayaram-swami, a well-known Kirtankar performer of kirtans or devotional musical discourses) had come to Kolhapur. Bahina attended the kirtans with her family, and as usual, the calf followed her to the kirtan. Jayaram Swami noticed this and appreciated the bond between the calf and Bahina, but the people around thought that the calf had strayed into the pandal and drove it out. Noticing this, Jayaram Swami called the calf back and patted both the calf and Bahina. Some people around at the time of the incident don’t take kindly to the Swami’s chidings, and complain to Bahina’s husband, Ratnakar, does not approve of the attention shown by Swami on Bahina and beat her severely. The calf unable to bear the ill-treatment meted to Bahina, gives up eating thus giving up her life.

Grief-stricken, Bahina falls unconscious for three days on hearing about the calf’s death. On regaining consciousness, she finds herself surrounded by her family, but Bahina was a changed person. She had experienced enlightenment in her unconscious state and had seen Lord Vithal before her. She had also seen Sant Tukaram. She becomes a devotee of Lord Vithal and spents her time singing Tukaram’s abhangas. On hearing this, Jayaram Swami tells Ratnakar that his wife Bahina was no ordinary woman but a saint and Yoga-brastha (a former yogi under a temporary lapse) and that he was very fortunate in having her as a wife.

The fame of Bahina’s devotional music spread far and wide, but Ratnakar consumed by jealousy, decides to leave her. On hearing this, Bahina was determined to give up her life in case he did leave her. And strangely enough, before leaving the house Ratnakar was taken suddenly ill and was in great agony. Bahina nursed him patiently day and night which made Ratnakar realize his mistakes, more so since he had abused not just another mortal, but a saint. After Ratnakar recovers his health, the whole family shifts to Dehu. In Dehu, they wanted to shift to locality of Mumbaji, but were refused admission because he was against them, being devotees of Tukaram, who was of a low caste. But this time Ratnakar stood by his wife and she came to be respected even more. They were given a place to stay in the temple of Tukaram. Here they regularly listened to Tukaram’s abhangas and kirtans, and Bahinabai thought herself most fortunate because she could hear Tukaram’s Abhangas day and night. Since then Ratnakar also became a devotee of Tukaram.

The couple Bahinabai and Ratnakar lived quite happily in the premises of the temple but Mumbaji could not bear to see their happiness. Once he drags their cow, ties it in his house and thrashes it severely which the people around can’t bear to see, and beat him. However, Bahinabai intervenes in the nick of time and saves Mumbaji, who repents for his wrong doings and becomes a follower of Bahinabai. In Dehu Bahinabai gives birth to a daughter, Kashi and son, Vithoba, who becomes a great poet and kirtankar like her in the future.

One day, in the absence of her husband, Bahinabai goes to pilgrim quarters and meditates continuously for three days. At the end of the meditation, she felt as though Tukaram himself had placed his hand on her head, blessed her and asked her to compose. It was a transcendental event for her. Overjoyed, she went to bathe in the river and as she came out, words flowed from her mouth. With the blessings of Tukoba, she got full inspiration to compose devotional songs. She began composing abhangas on spiritual subjects.

In many of her abhangas she has expressed on how she attained knowledge of Advaita Vedanta. She lived till 72 years. In her verses, her last message to her son gives description of her previous thirteen births and it is said she knew beforehand the time of her death. It is surmised that she had initiated disciples too. Deenakavi, the author of Panchkaran Mahavakya, was one of her disciples. A collection of her abhangas, songs and poems has been published in a book form by Shri Umarkhani. Bahinabai has specifically acknowledged Tukaram as her Guru and that he initiated her has been clearly expressed in all her Abhangas.

Sant ChokhaMela

Chokhamela lived in Mangalavedha near Pandharpur in Maharashtra in the 14th century. He was born in the lower cast (Mahar), but his devotion to Lord Vitthala was pure and unmatched. He migrated to Pandharpur and became a desciple of the great saint-poet Namdev. Chokha used to constantly chant the name of Panduranga and clean the temple premises daily. However, he was not allowed to enter the sanctum sanctorum due to his birth in the lower cast. One day someone questioned the futility of his devotion to Lord, as he would never be able to see God. Humiliated and deeply hurt Chokha abstained from taking food and wept inconsolably when Panduranga appeared before him, embraced him, took him inside the temple and talked to him. The temple priest was outraged as he felt that the temple was desecreted by Chokha and ordered him to stay across the river Chandrabhaga. Chokha's pleas fell on the deaf ears and at last Chokha went to stay across the river. However, Lord started to visit Chokha daily and both of them used to take lunch together. One day the priest was passing by Chokha's hut when Chokha was taking lunch with Panduranga and Soyara (Chokha's wife) was serving. Priest could not see Panduranga as his mind was impure. Soyara spilled the curd on Panduranga's pitambar by mistake. Chokha exclaimed, "Oh! Soyara you have soiled Panduranga's pitambar". Priest felt it was a deliberate attempt by Chokha to show his devotion and slapped Chokha across his face. Later he bathed in the river and ferried across the river. The priest was stunned to see Lord Vitthala's swollen cheek. He realised the intensity of Chokha's devotion towards Lord. He to Chokha, asked for his forgiveness and requested him to pacify the Lord. Chokha's prayers and request pacified Lord Vitthala.

Chokha was forced to return to Mangalavedha as the people there wanted to construct a wall in order to separate shudra people from others. While he was working there, he was killed when the wall collapsed and was crushed. Namdev deeply grieved the death of a great Vaishnava devotee, went to Mangalavedha and brought the mortal remains to Chokha and constructed his Samadhi in Pandharpur.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Rang Avadhoot Maharaj

Pujya Shree Rang Avadhoot Maharaj (Panduranga Vitthala Valame) or well known as Pujya Bapji - descent on November, 21, 1898, Kartika Sukla 9, V.S. 1955 - Birth place, Godhra, Gujarat, India. With bright student career joined Indian Independence movement. Snataka (Graduate) - served for a short period as a teacher - participated actively in social and political activities - left all these and went to Nareshwar, Gujarat, India in the year 1925 on the bank of the Holy River Narmada for penance and realised the ultimate truth to live in tune with Infinity.

Pujya Bapji stayed with holy mother, Rukmamba, guided many on spiritual path, wrote many works, inspired many for social and religious activities, and removed miseries of all types, such as physical, mental, spiritual. He did these by his spiritual powers. (Duva-Benediction). He heavily stressed upon Indian culture, and believed in practice. He did not accept any gift or money.

Pujya Bapji left the world bodily on November, 19, 1968 (Kartika Krsna 30) at Haradvara, UP, India on the bank of the Holy River Ganges. The body was brought to Nareshwar and cremated on November, 21, 1968.

Sant Gulabrao Maharaj

Sant Gulabrao Maharaj was known as Pradnyachakshu Madhuradwaitacharya Gulabrao Maharaj. He was called Pradnyachakshu because he became blind of both the eyes at the age of about 9 months; still he was master of Vedanta philosophy and many occult and physical sciences. ‘Padnya’ means intelligence and eyes are called “chakshu” in Sanskrit language. He had many divine powers which included the ‘intellectual eyesight’. His mind could read and grasp any book in the world in any language that he would take in hand and decide to learn. His mind did not need the body-organ like ‘eye’ to see the world.

“Madhuradwait” was the new school of thought introduced by him. The people well versed in Vedanta know that ‘adwaita’ (non-dualism) philosophy of Vedanta do not accept any name and form visible or non-visible that could be different from God (soul, Atma or Brahma). Vedanta very explicitly proclaims, “When everything has become one-soul, where is any other thing to smell ? who will see whom ? who will listen to whom ? who will talk to whom ? where is any other thing to think about ? who will know whom ? How to know him who knows everything ?” (Asy sarva atmaivabhuta, tat ken kam jighnet ? , tat ken kam pashyet ?.. ……… brihadaranyaka). “What exists is only one thing i.e. Brahma and what we see and experience as world is illusionary” is the teachings of “adwaita”. Madhura Bhakti is the devotional love for lord Krishna. In Vedanta all the three words viz. devotee, devotion and deity are not different from each other where as in Madhura Bhakti one has to be a deity and other a devotee.

Adwaita do not recognize Bhakti at all. Probably the great saint who possessed the eternal knowledge since childhood by dint of providence due to his past karma, had advocated Madhurabhakti for the “after-attaining-knowledge” stage to his disciple.

His full name was Gulab Gundoji Mohod. He was born on July 6, 1881 in a small village named Madhan in Amravati district in Maharashtra and died merely at the age of 34 i.e. in the year 1915. Though he had lost his eyesight at the early age, he wrote about 133 books on various subjects containing more than 6000 pages, 130 commentaries and about 25,000 stanza in poetry. His mother died in the year 1885 when he was four years old. He then stayed at the house of his maternal grand mother at the place known as Loni Takli for about 6 years. In this period people came to know about his extra ordinary intelligence and his “brain-sight” though he had lost his eye-sight. There was a community well in front of the house where he stayed and the women from the village would come to well for water. Small Gulab would call them all by their names, and the women would be wonderstruck and would think as to how the blind boy came to know about their individual names ? He was found many times in deep samadhi stage in the night. Initially his grand mother and others were frightened to see Gulabrao sitting in Yoga position with is respiration stopped completely. However, some elderly and wise men understood the conditions of Gulabrao and asked his relatives to refrain from disturbing him during samadhi. He very much liked the holy songs(Bhajans), holy verses (Slokas) and reading the occult books. He would ask his friends to read the books and would repeat the contents immediately as was heard by him. He had extra ordinary memory. He knew all the Vedas and Shastras at the age of ten years.

He was married to Mankarnika, daughter of Ganaji Bhuyar a farmer in nearby village in the year 1896. He started writing essays and poetry on the religious philosophy since 1897. i.e. from his age of sixteen. Since then he would visit the nearby cities, villages and towns and meet the people to discuss on the various topics of religion. This is incredible but true that in the year 1901 the great saint of 12th century Sant Dnyneshwar Maharaj met Gulabrao and accepted him as his disciple.

Sant Gulabrao Maharaj would call himself to be a daughter of Sant Dnyneshwara and wife of Lord Krishna. He married to lord Krishna in the year 1905. He used to put on the dress and the ornaments like woman. He would lay kumkum ( a red spot) on his forehead and put on managalsutra ( a golden chain with black beads) around his neck which are usually worn by the Hindu married women.

In the year 1902 when he was 21, he wrote the commentary on the theories of Darwin and Spencer. He had written books on various subjects like dhnyan, yoga and bhakti and written commentaries on ancient treatises. He wrote on the “Manas Ayurveda”, i.e. psychological part in the Ayurveda. He had given valuable guidelines to those who want to attain the salvation and gain the eternal knowledge. It is beyond one’s imagination that a blind man could write on the subjects like Yoga, Upanishads and Brahmasutras and many occult sciences which are difficult subjects to understand even by the highly educated and intelligent persons. When he found time to study these sciences ? How he received old treatises and from whom ? Who explained him the secret meanings of the Sanskrit verses ? Many questions like these arise in the mind when one reads his biography and the books written by him. His style of writing is of his own and he has put forth his own views absolutely keeping the Vedic discipline. He has boldly revealed many secrets of the Hindu religious sciences which are not generally made public by the saints.

Though belonged to Sudra class (Kunabi Caste) most of his disciples were Brahmin Pundits. He was openly telling people that he had no right to study the Vedas according to old traditions, but he knew Vedas without studying them and since he knew the “Atmadhnyan” (knowledge of self-realization) he was not bound by many old rules. He used to respect Vedas, Brahmins and the guidance received from great wealth of old Indian religious treatises.

He was straight forward and would defeat many Pundits and Intelligent people in the debate on the Shastras (sciences).

It is generally found in India that the great persons who really had lived only for the cause of welfare of mankind were truly recognized by the people after their death only. Samartha Satguru Padnychakshu Madhuradwaitacharya Saint Gulabrao Maharaj is becoming more and more popular after his Samadhi on 20th September 1915. His many disciples attained the knowledge of self-realization and are known in the public as the great saints. His main disciple, Baba Maharaj Pundit (death 1964) who wrote many books was recognized as a great intellectual, and saint. His commentary on “Bhavartha Deepika” written by Dnyaneshwara Maharaj is published by Geeta Press, Gorakhpur.

The great saints like Gulabrao Maharaj guide the people even after their death by volumes of knowledge written by them.
Web Page []

Saint Maniram Baba

It is very difficult to write anything about the Great Saint Maniram Baba. “Yatra wacha nivartante buddhen manasa saha” One's mind, intelligence and the power of speech is impossible to reach to the stage where ‘Atmadnyani’ saints could be described.

Why all great saints would visit Maniram Baba’s place is a difficult to understand for we ordinary lay men. The great saint Shri Gajanan Maharaj of Shegaon, siddha purush of Jodmoha saint Khateshwar Maharaj and so many other saints visited Baggi to meet Maniram Maharaj. Baggi is the place in Chandur Railway Taluka in Amravati district of Maharashtra State. Sant Maniram Baba entered samadhi in the year 1915, however, nothing is known about his birth and the place. It was guessed by the people that he was Kanya Kubja Brahmin of Uttar Pradesh. Why he chose Baggi to be his place for living is unknown. He entered Baggi and asked for a room for living. One Ramji was enough fortunate that he could provide accommodation to Sant Maniram Maharaj. Ramji became ardent devotee of maharaj and he then became saint himself after the anugrah (reward) from maharaj.

After coming to Baggi he worked with a rich man as a servant keeping his cows. However, soon the rich man came to know that Maniram was not an ordinary man.

Once so happened that somebody reported to rich man that Maniram do not care for the cows and let them graze; he sits below a tree reading a holy book. Rich man got annoyed and caught Maniram red handed reading the book. He thrown the book in to nearby stream full of water.
Maniram rushed and brought the book from the river. Surprizingly there was not even a drop of water attached to book and the book was not wet at all. This opened the eyes of rich man and in place of employer, he became the devotee of maharaj.

Maniram would stay in the river water for days to gather without food. Many insects and fishes would literally eat his flesh but he was not aware. He look at the Sun from morning till evening without taking away eye from the Sun. Many people have found him many times in Khand Yoga, i.e. he looked to be divided into pieces. Many such yoga ordeals are described in the biography.
The present author has confirmed these fact from his own Guru who was contemporary.

People saw him at many places at the same time. He was a miraculous saint. He cured many people from the diseases like leprosy, he solved the family problems of many people. People saw him reviving the dead animals like dog.

Shri Sant Gadge Baba

Shri Sant Gadge Baba was the great hero of 19th century and known for his social services. He was a holy saint who worked for helpless and poor.

On 23rd of February 1876, Gadge Baba was born in a washerman's family of small village Shengaon of district Amravati, Maharashtra, India. He lived a life of poverty. In starting days of his life he worked in his own field, when he lost his own land he worked as a wage labor. One day he was at a field and keeping birds away from grain. A sadhu who passes near by him, asked Gadge baba ‘if he is the owner of the grains?’ This question turned Baba for realization.

After this comment of sadhu Gadge Baba knows the value of community-sharing and keeps it for his whole life time. Community-service become the base of his teachings of Baba. His teachings were-

Give food to the hungry
Give shelter to the needy
Protect the environment
A public teacher, the Gadge Baba traveled from one place to another place wearing his food pan upturned on his head and carrying his trademark broom. When he entered a village, instantly start cleaning the gutters and roads of village. He also told the citizens of village that their congratulations would have to wait until his work was done. For this job, the peoples of village gave money to Baba. From this money Gadge Baba build educational institutions, dharmasalas, hospitals and animal shelters. He conducted his discourses in form of "Kirtans"(a form of discourse which includes devotional songs by Saints). In which he would emphasis on topics like service to humanity, compassion. During his kirtans he would educate people against blind faiths and rituals. He would use Dohas (couplets of a song) by Saint Kabir in his discourses. Currently almost all organizations build by him are functioning well. On December 20th, 1956 the Great Saint left this mortal world. Even so many years have passed since his departure there is lot of following for him. Government of Maharashtra state also runs a villge cleanliness programme named after him. University of Amravati was renamed as Sant Gadge Baba university.
A detailed article on Shri Sant Gadge Baba Maharaj is now available at

Shreedhar Swami Maharaj

Some events in the life of Shreedhar Swami Maharaj

Shree Swami Sridhar Maharaj was born on 7-12-1908 in Lad Chincholly,near Gulbarga in Karnataka. Every moment of his life was dedicated in the service of the divine.

Before attaining MahaSamadhi on 19-4-1973 at the Varadpur Ashram, Sagar, Karnataka where he established the “Dharma Dwaja”, he inspired the masses and reinforced the principles of “Sanatan Dharma”.

In 1948, Sreedhar Swami came to Rishikesh after eight months of “Tapas” at Uttarkashi. Swami Sivananda, founder of Divine Life Society, Rishikesh immediately recognized him by his divine radiance and welcomed him and offered Pranams to the great saint. Swami Sivanada told his disciples “ I walked a lot, but I have never seen “Tejasvi” & “Tapasvi” of the order of Sreedhar Swami Maharaj. “Akhand Brahmanishta” and “Purna Gyani”such is the nature of Sreedhar Swami. ”

Karpatriji Maharaj in Kashi has said “ In present age, Samarth Ramdas has himself come in the form of Sreedhar Swami. Dharma’s establishment and social transformation has all been made possible by Sreedhar Swami’s “Akand Tapas”.

Ma Anandmayi on meeting Swamiji declared “ We are all walking up the hill of “Parmarth”. Path is narrow and extremely difficult. Established on the top of the hill is seen Sadguru Sreedhar Swami Maharaj”.

Prabhavati Raje, the ardent disciple of Raman Maharshi after passing away of her Guru, came across Swamiji Receiving his blessings she said “Sreedhar Swami’s darshan has made me realize the presence of Maharshi”.

Shrengeri’s Shankaracharya Swami Abhinava Vidyateerthji once breaked his journey to Delhi at Hoshangabad when he came to know of Sridhar Swami’s stay there. He had the Darsan and offered the holy seat of Shrengeri Peeth to Swamiji. Swamiji smiled and showered his blessings.

Once, Satya Sai Baba along with his disciples went to Varadpur Ashram to see Swamiji . On reaching the Ashram, he asked his disciples to maintain perfect silence and declared “Brahma” himself was performing “Tapas” there. Swamiji came out of his cottage and blessed all.

Swami Chinmayananda, founder of the Chinmaya Mission once came across Swami Nityanada, a disciple of Sridhar Swami at “Saandepany” Ashram, Mumbai. On meeting him he offered pranams to Swamiji and said “Your Sadguru is this worlds greatest treasure. There is no limit to his Divine powers and Tejas. I have realized this myself.”

Swamiji spent his complete life aimed at transformation of totality. His Akhand sadhana during last eight years was restricted at Varadpur Ashram, Sagar which he established as the power centre for all aspirants. Swamiji’s sankalpa of transformation stands firm. - A good site dedicated to Sant Sreedhar Swami Maharaj.

Bhagwan Swaminarayan

At 20, the Lord was in Ramanand Swami’s Ashram serving as a humble servant. He was named Sahajanand when Ramanand Swami initiated Him. The Lord became the sole spiritual master when Ramanand Swami appointed Him as the Guru of his ashram. A month later, Ramanand Swami passed away. On the 14th day of the funeral rites, in the village of Faneni, the Lord introduced the new Swaminarayan Mantra. News of this Mantra spread far and wide. And its spiritual power was felt everywhere. Sahajanand Swami now became known as Bhagwan Swaminarayan. Anyone who chanted the Mantra enjoyed samadhi - the ultimate spiritual experience. Those who heard it, wrote it or thought of it experienced samadhi. Others who saw Bhagwan Swaminarayan, heard the sound of His sandals, or discussed His philosophy saw a divine light and beheld the visions of the great incarnations of God - Rama, Krishna and Shiva. Since the trance was an experience of His grace, it was called krupa samadhi.

Followers from all walks of life, of all talents and stations, of all positions and powers joined the flock of Bhagwan Swaminarayan. Scholars and music maestros, spiritual seekers and spiritual leaders came forth and took initiation. Bhagwan Swaminarayan was accepted as God Himself and the way of life He introduced came to be known as the Swaminarayan Sampraday.

The word 'Sampraday' emphasizes the fact that the Movement, its philosophy and principles have been continually guided and preserved, in all their purity, by an unbroken and untainted spiritual hierarchy of enlightened Gurus.

By 49, Bhagwan Swaminarayan completed His mission on earth and returned to His divine abode. Over 2 million devotees had experienced His divinity and hailed His purity. Six magnificent mandirs enshrined His spirituality and several scriptures encapsulated His knowledge. Yet His personality, in all its totality was preserved by His spiritual successor Gunatitanand Swami.

On 1 June 1830 CE (Jeth sud 10, 1886 VS), Bhagwan Swaminarayan left His mortal body which was cremated in Gadhada.

But long before that He had begun to reveal that He would continue to be present on this earth through a succession of spiritual Gurus. The Lord's eternal words spoken on 8 February 1826 CE (Maha sud 2, 1882 VS) are recorded in Vachanamrut Vadtal 19: "When the Jiva gets a birth as a human being, God or God's enlightened Sadhu are always manifest on this earth. When the Jiva knows and understands them, he becomes a Bhakta - God's devotee."

Keeping to this timeless promise, Bhagwan Swaminarayan entrusted Gunatitanand Swami, His Enlightened Sadhu, with the oars of the Sampraday. - A good site about Bhagavan Swaminayrayan.

Purandara Dasa

Purandara Dasa was born to a pawnbroker named Varadappa Nayaka. Varadappa Nayaka and his wife Lakshmi Bai had been childless for several years, and finally, after praying to Lord Srinivasa of Tirupati, they became proud parents of a child whom they called Srinivasa. The family are supposed to have hailed from Pandarapur in modern day Maharashtra but Purandara Dasa lived in Hampi during the latter part of his life.

Srinivasa Nayaka grew up and entered his father's business. However, unlike his father, he was a miser, so much so that it is said that he even baulked at spending money on treatment for his father's illness. His wife Saraswathi bai was the opposite: always wishing to contribute to charity much to the displeasure of her husband.

One day, Lord Vishnu in the guise of a poor priest visited Srinivasa Nayaka's shop who wanted some alms to perform the thread ceremony for his son. Srinivasa Nayaka, being a miser, asked him to return the following day, and kept the Brahmin coming for another six months. Finally, fed up with the Brahmin's persistence, he gave him one fake coin that he played with as a child. Vishnu as the priest then told Srinivasa's wife Saraswathi the pitiful story of how a miserly pawnbroker made him come to his shop every day for six months only to give him a fake coin in the end. Saraswathi's heart melted and she gave the Brahmin her nose ring as alms (a gift from her parents and thus not something that she got from her husband). The Brahmin promptly took the nose ring back to Srinivasa Nayaka's shop, where he wanted to pawn it for money. The pawnbroker recognized it, however, so he locked it up in his safe and hurried home. He demanded that Saraswathi produce her nose ring immediately. Struck with fear, Saraswathi locked herself in the kitchen and tried to swallow poison. Miraculously, the nose ring dropped from the heavens into her cup of poison and she was able to produce it for her husband. Upon returning to his shop, he opened the safe, only to find that the nose ring in the safe had vanished. This put his mind into a turmoil. After deep thought, he came to the conclusion that the brahmin was none other than Lord Shri Purandara Vitthala Himself. He recalled all the incidents that had transpired in the previous six months. Wonderstruck, he was ashamed of his miserliness, Srinivasa Nayaka decided to renounce all material belongings and become a dasa (servant)of god. Thus, Srinivasa Nayaka came to be Purandara Dasa. In gratitude for this event, he would later compose a song dedicated to his wife, for having shown him the path to God. From that day onwards he became a devotee of Shri Hari. The once Navkoti Narayana became a Narayana bhakta, the hands which sported gold and diamond rings now played the tamboora, the neck which used to be resplendent with golden chains now housed the tulasi mAla. The man who had turned away countless people away, now himself went around collecting alms and living the life of a mendicant. The Nayaka who would have lived and died an inconsequential life became the Great Purandaradasa, loved and revered even centuries after his death.
A detailed article on Purandara Dasa is now available at

Sage kanaka dasa

One of the most remarkable saints of the period of Purandara was Kanaka Dasa of Kaginele. He was a great disciple of Vyasarja, though a shephard by birth and great critic of caste hierarchy. Kanaka was born to Biregowda and Beechamma, at Bada and hew as a saiva in the beginning, and later on became a close follower of Vaishnavism, and a devoted Bhakta of Tirupati Venkateshwara whom he visited often, in spite of the hazardous nature of the journey up the hills. By reason of his devotion to Venkatesha and contacts with the archakas of the temple, there is a belief that Kanaka was a Vaishnavaite of the Ramanuja School, and never accepted a Vaishnavite of the Ramanuja school, and never accepted a Taratamya aspect of Madhva philosophy, as is borne out in the opening of his work "Mohana Tarangini': "Sattvikollasa Sri Ramanuja Muni Saranu!!!". But Kanaka Dasa spent youth and his later years most in the company with Sri Vyasaraja, who spoke in admiration of him as he did of Purandara. Kanaka was of the warrior community, perhaps his defeat in the field of battle, directed him to the path of devotion. He was already an author of Narasimha stora, Ramadhyana Mantra, Mohanatarangini before he became a follower of Sri Vyasaraja and followed most of the tenets of Madhva religion. He never became a Madhva though he accepted the Taratamya Tattva in the hierarchy of God like Brahma, Vayu, Girisha and others. Perhaps, he was already very much influenced by Sri Vyasaraja and his tenets before he gave to the world Nala Charitre and Haribhati Sara. H was essentially, a Madhva mystic seeing the manifestation of Keshava in the meanest creation as well as in the highest, coloured by all the attributes of God and partaking of divine powers. There is a popular story that Kanaka being rejected entrace at the temple at Udipi, went round the Prakaram and burst in tears of song, appealing to the Lord to give darshan when the idol turned round, made a slit in the wall where Kanaka sat and give darshan to him. He composed hymns in moments of exaltation and when he sang them, he felt himself enveloped with melody and ecstatic lyric poetry.
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