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BIOGRAPHY OF LIFE Birth The birth name, birth date, and caste of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi are not known with certainty, in part because of the…
सूर्य से दुरी के क्रम में पृथ्वी तीसरा ग्रह हैं, पृथ्वी नाम पौराणिक कथाओं पर आधारित है जिसका सम्बन्ध “महाराजा पृथु” से हैं अंग्रेजी में इसे अर्थ (Earth) के नाम से जाना जाता हैं, “अर्थ” जर्मन भाषा का शब्द हैं तथा इस शब्द का साधारण मतलब ग्राउंड हैं| पृथ्वी ५ वा सबसे बड़ा और सौरमंडल का एकमात्र ऐसा ग्रह हैं जिस पर जीवन हैं|
पृथ्वी का निर्माण लगभग ४.५४ अरब वर्ष पूर्व हुआ था तथा इस घटना के १ अरब वर्ष पश्चात् पृथ्वी पर जीवन का विकास शुरू हो गया था| वैज्ञानिकों की रिसर्च के अनुसार पृथ्वी की आयु लगभग ४ बिलियन वर्ष है और लगभग इसी समय ही पुरे सौरमंडल की उत्पत्ति हुई| पृथ्वी का निर्माण गुरुत्वाकर्षण बल के कारण सूर्य के आस- पास घूर्णन करते हुए गैस तथा डस्ट के सम्मिश्रण से हुआ| पृथ्वी में मध्य कोर, रॉकी धातु और एक ठोस क्रस्ट मौजूद हैं|
वैज्ञानिकों का मानना हैं कि ४ बिलियन वर्ष पहले हमारी धरती का ज्यादातर हिस्सा खौलते हुए लावा के समान था, जो बाद में ठंडा होता गया और धरती की ऊपरी सतह का निर्माण हुआ| उसके पश्चात् पृथ्वी के जैवमंडल में काफी परिवर्तन हुआ तथा समय बीतने के साथ-साथ ओजोन परत का निर्माण हुआ जिसने पृथ्वी के चुंबकीय क्षेत्र के साथ मिलकर पृथ्वी पर आने वाले हानिकारक सौर विकिरणों को रोककर धरती को रहने योग्य बनाया|
पृथ्वी का द्रव्यमान ६.५६९११०२१ टन हैं, पृथ्वी, बृहस्पति के समान गैसीय ग्रह नहीं हैं बल्कि एक पथरीला ग्रह हैं| पृथ्वी सभी चार भौमिक ग्रहों में आकार और द्रव्यमान में सबसे बड़ी हैं, अन्य ३ भौमिक ग्रह- बुध, शुक्र, और मंगल हैं| इन सभी ग्रहों में पृथ्वी का घनत्व, गुरुत्वाकर्षण, चुंबकीय क्षेत्र और घूर्णन सबसे ज्यादा हैं और पृथ्वी न केवल मनुष्यों का अपितु लाखों प्रजातियों का भी घर हैं|
ऐसा माना जाता हैं कि पृथ्वी सौर निहारिका के अवशेषों से अन्य ग्रहों के साथ ही बनी हैं, पृथ्वी का अंदरूनी भाग गर्मी की वजह से पिघल गया तथा लोहे जैसे भारी तत्त्व पृथ्वी के केंद्रीय भाग में पहुंच गए| लोहा और निकिल जैसे धातु गर्मी से पिघल कर द्रव्य में बदल गए और इनके घूर्णन से पृथ्वी २ ध्रुवों वाले विशाल चुम्बक में बदल गई| बाद में पृथ्वी पर महाद्वीपीय विवर्तन जैसे भू-वैज्ञानिक घटनाएं हुई जिनसे पृथ्वी पर महाद्वीप, महासागर तथा वायुमंडल आदि का निर्माण हुआ|
पृथ्वी का अर्धव्यास (त्रिज्या) लगभग ६३७१ किलोमीटर हैं जो कि आकार के आधार पर सौरमण्डल में पांचवा सबसे बड़ा पिंड हैं, पृथ्वी और सूर्य के बीच की १५० मिलियन किलोमीटर की दूरी को एस्ट्रोनॉमिकल यूनिट कहा जाता हैं तथा सूर्य के प्रकाश को पृथ्वी तक पहुँचने में लगभग ८.३ मिनट का समय लगता हैं|
पृथ्वी की आंतरिक संरचना शल्कीय रूप में अर्थात प्याज के छिलको के समान परत रूप में हैं, इन परतों की मोटाई का सीमांकन रासायनिक एवं यांत्रिक विशेषताओं के आधार पर किया जा सकता हैं| पृथ्वी की मुख्य रूप से चार परत हैं इसके सबसे अंदर इसका केंद्र हैं जो की क्रस्ट तथा मेटल से घिरा हुआ हैं, सबसे बाहर की परत भूपटल के रूप में हैं| पृथ्वी का आंतरिक कोर जो के लोह और निकेल से हैं उसका अर्धव्यास १२२१ किलोमीटर हैं, इसका तापमान १०८३०°F अर्थात ६०००°C होता हैं| इसके ऊपर २२१० किलोमीटर मोटी परत हैं जिसका निर्माण भी लोह तथा अन्य विभिन्न रसायनों से हुआ हैं, बाहरी कोर और क्रस्ट के बीच में मेटल वाली सबसे मोटी परत होती हैं| पृथ्वी का बाहरी कोर लगभग ३० किलोमीटर मोटा होता हैं|
पृथ्वी पर भी मंगल और बृहस्पति ग्रहों के समान ज्वालामुखी, पहाड़ और घाटियाँ स्थित हैं, पृथ्वी का लिथोस्फेरे जिसमें क्रस्ट और ऊपरी मेटल हैं, जो के विभिन्न बड़ी प्लेट्स में बटा हुआ हैं और लगातार गति करता रहता हैं, जैसे उत्तरी अमेरिका प्लेट प्रशांत महासागर बेसिन के ऊपर से गुजरता हैं इस समय प्लेट की गति लगभग उतनी ही होती हैं जितनी किसी व्यक्ति के नाखून बढ़ने की| जब एक प्लेट दूसरे प्लेट के मार्ग में आती हैं तो उनके टकराने पर या आपस में घर्षण से भूकंप की उत्पत्ति होती हैं तथा जब कभी प्लेट एक दूसरे पर चढ़ जाती हैं तो पहाड़ो का निर्माण होता हैं|
जैसा कि हम सभी जानते हैं पृथ्वी की आकृति लघ्वक्ष गोलाभ के समान हैं जो धुर्वों पर चपटी हैं, पृथ्वी का सबसे उच्चतम बिंदु माउन्ट एवरेस्ट जिसकी ऊँचाई ८८४८ मी. हैं तथा सबसे निम्नतम बिंदु प्रशांत महासागर में स्थित मारियाना खाई जिसकी समुन्द्र तल से गहराई १०,९११ मी. हैं| पृथ्वी के कुल आयतन का ०.५% भाग में भूपर्पटी तथा ८३% भाग में मैंटल विस्तृत हैं और १६% भाग क्रोड हैं| पृथ्वी का निर्माण विभिन्न तत्वों जैसे आयरन (३२.१%), ऑक्सीजन (३०.१%), सिलिकॉन (१५.१%), मैग्नीशियम (१३.९%), सल्फर (२.९%), निकिल (१.८%), कैलसियम (१.५%), ऐल्युमिनयम (१.४%) से हुआ हैं, इसके अलावा १.२% अन्य तत्वों का भी योगदान हैं| क्रोड का निर्माण लगभग ८८.८% आयरन से हुआ हैं| भूरसायनशास्त्री एफ. डब्ल्यू. क्लार्क के अनुसार पृथ्वी की भूपर्पटी में लगभग ४७% ऑक्सीजन हैं|
पृथ्वी के केंद्र के क्षेत्र को “केंद्रीय भाग” कहते हैं जो कि सबसे बड़ा क्षेत्र हैं यह निकिल और फ़ेरस का बना होता हैं| इसका औसत घनत्व १३ ग्राम/सेमि3 हैं, पृथ्वी का केंद्रीय भाग सम्भवतः द्रव/ प्लास्टिक अवस्था में हैं| यह पृथ्वी का कुल आयतन का १६% भाग घेरे हुए हैं, पृथ्वी का औसत घनत्व ५.५ ग्राम/ सेमि.3 एवं औसत त्रिज्या लगभग ६३७० किमी. हैं तथा पृथ्वी की गहराई में जाने पर प्रति ३२ मीटर में तापमान 1°C.बढ़ता जाता हैं|
पृथ्वी का तल असमान हैं, तल के ७०.८% भाग पर जल हैं जिसमें अधिकांश महासागरीय नितल समुंद्री स्तर के नीचे हैं| पृथ्वी पर लगभग ९७% पानी महासागरों में मौजूद हैं, लगभग सभी ज्वालामुखी इन्हीं महासागरों में हैं|
पृथ्वी पर कहीं विशाल पर्वत, कहीं उबड़- खाबड़ पठार तो कहीं पर उपजाऊ मैदान हैं| महाद्वीप और महासागरों को प्रथम स्तर की स्थलाकृति माना जाता हैं जबकि पर्वत, पठार घाटी निचले स्तरों के अंतर्गत रखे जाते हैं| पृथ्वी का तल समय काल के दौरान प्लेट टेक्टोनिक्स और क्षरण की वजह से लगातार परिवर्तित होता रहता हैं| प्लेट टेक्टोनिक्स की वजह से तल पर हुए बदलाव पर मौसम, वर्षा, उष्मीय चक्र और रासायनिक परिवर्तनों का असर पड़ता हैं| हिमीकरण, तटीय क्षरण, प्रवाल भित्तियों का निर्माण और बड़े उल्का पिंडो के पृथ्वी पर गिरने जैसे कारकों की वजह से भी पृथ्वी के तल पर परिवर्तन होते हैं|
पृथ्वी अपने अक्ष पर निरंतर घूमती हैं जिसकी २ गतियां हैं:-
पृथ्वी का अपने अक्ष पर घूमना घूर्णन कहलाता हैं, पृथ्वी पश्चिम से पूर्व दिशा की ओर घूर्णन करती हैं और एक घूर्णन पूरा करने में २३ घंटे, ५६ मिनट और ४.०९१ सेकंड का समय लेती हैं इसी से दिन व रात होते हैं|
पृथ्वी सूर्य के चारों एक अंडाकार पथ पर ३६५ दिन, ५ घंटे, ४८ मिनट व ४५.५१ सेकंड में एक चक्कर पूरा करती हैं जो पृथ्वी की परिक्रमण गति हैं तथा पृथ्वी की इसी गति की वजह से ऋतु परिवर्तन होता हैं| पृथ्वी की इस गति के कारण ६ घंटे जोड़ जोड़कर ४ सालों में जो एक दिन बढ़ता हैं वो हर चौथे साल फरवरी में जोड़ दिया जाता हैं वही फरवरी का महीना २९ दिन का होता हैं इसी को लिप वर्ष कहा जाता हैं|
पृथ्वी का एकमात्र प्राकृतिक उपग्रह चन्द्रमा हैं और यह सौरमंडल का पाँचवा सबसे विशाल प्राकृतिक उपग्रह हैं जिसका व्यास पृथ्वी का १/४ और द्रव्यमान १/८१ हैं|
पृथ्वी अपने अक्ष पर 23.5° झुकी हुई हैं, सूर्य के चारों और चक्कर लगाते समय भी पृथ्वी अपने अक्ष पर इसी प्रकार झुकी हुई रहती हैं| पृथ्वी के इसी झुकाव के कारण ही मौसम में बदलाव आते हैं, साल में एक समय पृथ्वी का उत्तरी गोलार्ध सूर्य की और झुका हुआ होता हैं जिसके कारण सूर्य का प्रकाश उत्तरी गोलार्ध में बहुत अधिक पहुचँता हैं और यहां ग्रीष्म काल होता हैं| दक्षिणी गोलार्ध और सूर्य की दुरी इस समय अधिक होती हैं इसलिए यहां सूर्य की किरणें तिरछी पड़ती हैं और तापमान कम रहता हैं जिससे दक्षिणी गोलार्ध में शीत ऋतु होती हैं| ठीक ६ महीने के बाद यह स्थिति विपरीत हो जाती हैं तथा वसंत ऋतु के समय दोनों गोलार्द्धों में लगभग समान प्रकाश आता हैं|
पृथ्वी के भूतल के आस-पास एक बहुत सघन वायुमंडल हैं जिसमें लगभग ७८.०९% नाइट्रोजन, २०.९५% ऑक्सीजन एवं १% बाकी अन्य गैस हैं| इन अन्य गैसों में आर्गन, कार्बनडाईऑक्ससाइड, और निऑन आदि हैं, यह वायुमंडल पृथ्वी के जलवायु, मौसम आदि को प्रभावित करते हैं तथा यह वायुमंडल आम लोगों को कई तरह की घातक किरणों से बचाता हैं और इसी के साथ यह वायुमंडल पृथ्वी को मटेरोइड्स आदि से बचाता हैं, दरअसल पृथ्वी की तरफ आते हुए मेटोर्स अक्सर वायुमंडल से घर्षित होते हुए रास्ते में ही जल के समाप्त हो जाते हैं|
हिन्दू पौराणिक कथाओ में भगवान शिव को नाश करने वाला और पवित्र त्रिमूर्तियों में सबसे महत्वपूर्ण बताया गया हैं और अन्य २ में एक ब्रह्मा जो कि रचियता और विष्णु रक्षक हैं | भगवान शिव ने हमेशा अपने भक्तों को अपने होने का एहसास करवाते हैं | उनके २ नहीं ३ आँखे हैं, उनके पुरे शरीर पर राख लगी होती हैं और उनके गले में साँप लिपटा रहता है, वे बाघ और हाथी की खाल को कपड़ो के रूप में धारण करते है जिससे ऐसा प्रतीत होता है कि वो जंगली जीवन जीते हैं, वे सामाजिक प्रहारों से बहुत दूर हैं और अपने लौकिक क्रोध के लिए जाने जाते हैं |
भगवान शिव के जन्म के पीछे एक बहुत ही रोचक कहानी हैं, एक समय की बात हैं, ब्रह्मा और विष्णु दोनों इस बात को लेकर एक दूसरे से बहस कर रहे थे कि हम दोनों में अधिक शक्तिशाली और महत्वपूर्ण कौन हैं | उनकी इसी चर्चा के बीच उन्हें एक स्तम्भ दिखाई देता हैं जिसका उनको ना तो कोई अंतिम छोर दिखाई दिया और न ही ये दिखाई दिया कि उस स्तम्भ की शुरुआत कहा से हो रही हैं |
इस स्तम्भ को देखकर वो दोनों आश्चर्यचकित हो गए क्युकि उस स्तम्भ की जड़े धरती की गहराई में घुसी हुई थी, अब वो दोनों आश्चर्यचकित होकर उन दोनों ने सोचा की ये शायद कोई तीसरी संस्था हो सकती हैं जो उन दोनों की वरीयता को चुनौती दे रहा था | अब उन दोनों की अपने वर्चस्व पर बहस कम हो गई और वे दोनों सोचने लगे कि तीसरी संस्था कैसी हो सकती हैं |
ब्रह्मा और विष्णु दोनों ही उस स्तम्भ के प्राम्भ और अंत का पता लगाने के लिए निकल गए, ब्रह्मा जी एक हंस के रूप में स्तम्भ की चोटी का पता लगाने के लिए उड़ गए और विष्णु जी एक सूअर में घुस गए और उस स्तम्भ की जड़ो का पता लगाने के लिए धरती में खुदाई शुरू की | खोज की यह प्रक्रिया बहुत लम्बे समय तक चली लेकिन उसका कोई परिणाम नहीं निकला और वे दोनों अपनी – अपनी खोज में असफल हुए |
अपने असफल प्रयासों के बाद उन दोनों ने विनम्र महसूस किया और अपने मूल स्थान पर लौट आये भगवान शिव को अपने असली रूप में प्रकट करने के लिए जिसको वे समझ सकें | अब वें शिव की शक्ति को महसूस करने लगते हैं और उनके लौकिक अस्तित्व को समझने को कोशिश करते हैं जो कि उनकी समझ से परे हैंऔर वास्तव में वें भगवान शिव थे जो उनसे अधिक शक्तिशाली थे | इस प्रकार भगवान शिव के इस दिव्य नाटक से उन्होंने समझ लिया की ब्रह्मांड पर शासन करने वाली यह एक तीसरी शक्ति है |
भगवान शिव एक रहस्यमय देवता हैं, उनके तरीकों को पृथ्वी के मानदंडों और परिभाषाओं द्वारा कभी- भी परिभाषित नहीं किया जा सकता हैं| भगवान शिव का घर शमसान हैं और वो पशु त्वचा और खोपड़ी माला को अपने वस्त्रों के रूप में धारण करते हैं, भगवान शिव कई तरह की भूमिकाओं का निर्वहन करते हैं और पुरे ब्रह्मांड पर अपनी शक्तिशाली शक्ति का प्रयोग करते हैं |
भयानक दिखने वाले राक्षस,भूत,प्रेत जो हमेशा रक्त के प्यासे रहते हैं और कुछ भी विनाश कर देने वाले भगवान शिव की सेना में शामिल हैं | भगवान शिव की सेना सभी ज्ञात संसारो में और इसके आगे भगवान शिव के मिशन को पूरा करने में लगी हैं |
यद्यपि भगवान शिव को सभी एक क्रूर देवता के रूप में जानते हैं, भगवान शिव हिमालय पर गहरे ध्यान की मुद्रा में रहते हैं | भगवान शिव की मूल प्रकृति क्या है इसका पता लगा पाना बहुत मुश्किल हैं, क्युकी वें एक और तो गहरे ध्यान में पूरी तरह से मौन रहते हैं और दूसरी तरफ उनके जीवंत क्रूर कार्य |
जब शिव अपने तांडव नृत्य में खोये हुए रहते हैं तो उनका यह ब्रह्मांडीय नृत्य अज्ञानता और अस्थायिता पर सच्चाई की विजय का प्रतीक हैं | भगवान शिव का यह नृत्य पुरे ब्रह्मण्ड के प्रत्येक कण को एक मजबूत कंपन के स्थापित करने में सक्षम बनाता हैं | भगवान शिव का यह नृत्य उनके भक्तों के कष्टों को दूर करता हैं और अज्ञानता के बादलों को दूर करते हुए उनमें विश्वास, आशा, और ज्ञान को स्थापित करता हैं |
जब भगवान शिव उनके दिव्य नृत्य में मग्न होते हैं तो उस समय भी वे पृथ्वी, जल, अग्नि, वायु और अपने नृत्य के स्थान के रूप में दिखाए गए आकाश, बहती हुई गंगा और अग्नि सहित सभी पांचो तत्वों को अपने साथ अपने पास रखते हैं और अपनी हथेली पर बढ़ते हुए हिरन का प्रतीक तथा ब्रह्मांडीय अंतरिक्ष जिसमें वें अपने उत्साहपूर्ण नृत्य को क्रियान्वित करते हैं|
जैसा की हम सभी जानते हैं, भगवान शिव को एक विनाशक के रूप में जाना जाता हैं| अर्थात जिस प्रकार ब्रह्मा और विष्णु इस धरती के रचियता और पालनहार \ रक्षक के रूप में हैं उसी प्रकार भगवान शिव नाशक हैं|
एक बार जब सभी देवता और राक्षस मिलकर समुन्द्र मंथन कर रहे थे तब समुन्द्र से हलाहल नामक विष निकला और उस विष से निकलने वाले धुएं से जब सब देवता और राक्षस जलने लगे तब भगवान शिव ने सभी के रक्षक के रूप में आकर उस विष को निगल लिया और इस प्रकार भगवान शिव ने सभी की रक्षा की और धरती को उस घातक विष के दुष्प्रभाव से बचाया|
इस प्रकार भगवान शिव को सबसे दयालु और भोले देवता के रूप में जाना जाता है जो पुरे संसार और ब्रह्माण्ड की सुरक्षा करते है और हमेशा ब्रह्मण्ड की सुरक्षा के लिए तैयार रहते हैं|
भगवान शिव को “नीलकंठ” के नाम से भी जाना जाता है जिसका अर्थ है नीले गले अथवा नीले कंठ वाले, जब धरती को हलाहल विष के दुष्प्रभाव से बचाने के लिए भगवान ने उस विष को पी लिया था और उसी समय देवी पार्वती ने भगवान शिव के गले को पकड़ लिया| इस घटना ने भगवान शिव के गले को नीला रंग का बना दिया और तभी से सभी देवताओं ने मिलकर भगवान शिव का नाम नीलकंठ रख दिया|
एक बार जब गंगा नदी पृथ्वी को सूखा छोड़कर स्वर्ग के माध्यम से निकल रही थी तो एक व्यक्ति के द्वारा नदी के मार्ग को बदल दिया गया तो क्रोध में आकर गंगा ने अपने प्रवाह को तेज करके धरती पर बाढ़ लाने की धमकी दी और जब गंगा नदी ऐसा कर रही थी भगवान शिव धरती और स्वर्ग के बीच में आकर खड़े हो गए और गंगा के तेज प्रवाह को अपनी जटाओं में कैद कर लिया और धरती को गंगा नदी के क्रोध से बचाया|
भगवान शिव की पूजा लिंग के रूप में की जाती है, जिनमें कुछ भारत भर में बहुत से स्थानों पर है और इसे शिवलिंग के नाम से भी जाना जाता हैं| यह लिंग ब्रह्मण्ड के निर्माण, स्थिरता और उसमें शिव की भूमिका का प्रतीक हैं|
भगवान विष्णु के समान ही भगवान शिव के भी बहुत अवतार थे, जैसे की वीरभद्र, जिसने दक्ष के यज्ञ को रोकने के लिए उसमे बाधा डालने के लिए अपना सिर काट दिया था| सती पिंड की रक्षा के लिए उन्होंने भैरव का अवतार लिया जिसे कालभैरव भी कहा जाता है| खंडोबा, महाराष्ट्रीयन और कन्नड़ संस्कृतियों में जाना जाने वाला शिव का एक और अवतार हैं तथा अंत में हनुमान अवतार जो के भगवान राम के युग में उनके ग्यारहवे रुद्रावतार के रूप में जाना जाता हैं|
अपने सर्वोच्च देवता के रूप में पूजा करते समय हिन्दू भगवान शिव को एक विभूद्ध प्रकृति के साथ चित्रित करते हैं, यजुर्वेद में भगवान शिव का उल्लेख घातक और शुभ गुणों के रूप में किया गया हैं तथा महाभारत में उनको सम्मान, प्रसन्नता और प्रतिभा के रूप में चित्रित किया गया हैं| भगवान शिव के रूद्र रूप का अर्थ हैं “जंगली या भयंकर” तथा भगवान शिव को शंभु के नाम से भी जाना जाता है जिसका अर्थ है खुशी का कारण बनना|
शिवलिंग की पूजा भगवान शिव के रूप में की जाती हैं तथा बहुत से भक्त भगवान शिव की पूजा पूरी और सही विधि से करने के लिए शिवलिंग अपने घरों में स्थापित करते हैं| शिव पुराण में उल्लेखित हैं कि, शिवलिंग भगवान शिव का प्रतीक हैं जिसका उच्च सम्मान किया जाना आवश्यक हैं| इसलिए, ‘पूजा कक्ष या घर’ में शिवलिंग स्थापित करने से पहले कुछ नियमो का पालन करना आवश्यक हैं, जैसे कि-
जिस जगह पर शिवलिंग को स्थापित किया जाना हैं, सबसे पहले उस जगह को गौमूत्र और गंगाजल से शुद्ध किया जाना चाहिए, भूमि पूजन किया जाना चाहिए तथा भगवान गणेश की पूजा करने के पश्चात् ही शिवलिंग को स्थापित किया जाना चाहिए|
शिवलिंग को उसकी जगह पर स्थापित करने से पहले शिवलिंग का पंचामृत से अभिषेक करके उसको शुद्ध करना चाहिए तथा स्थापित करने के बाद शिव मंत्रो का जाप करना चाहिए|
भगवान शिव और पार्वती के ज्येष्ठ पुत्र कार्तिकेय ने एक बार अपने पिता से उद्धार के बारे में पूछा तो भगवान शिव ने उनको बताया की हर युग में मोक्ष का अलग अलग रास्ता हैं तथा कलयुग में उस रास्ते के रूप कर्म और धर्म पर जोर दिया गया हैं|
भगवान शिव के अनुसार गंगा नदी के अलावा गोदावरी, नर्मदा, तापती, यमुना, शिप्रा, गौतमी, कौशिकी, कावेरी, सिंधु, गंडकी और सरस्वती नदियाँ भी पवित्र हैं और ये भी आदमी के पापों को धोने में सक्षम हैं|
काशी के अलावा अयोध्या, द्वारका, मथुरा, अवंती, कुरुक्षेत्र, रामतीर्थ, पुरषोत्तम क्षेत्र, पुष्कर क्षेत्र, वराह क्षेत्र जैसे स्थान भी दुनिया के दुखो से एक मनुष्य को मुक्ति देने में सक्षम हैं|
योगीराज श्री वेथथिरी महर्षि [Vethathiri Maharishi] (१४ अगस्त १९११ – २८ मार्च २००६) जो कि चैन्नई में विश्व समुदाय केंद्र (१९५८) के संस्थापक और ट्रस्टी होने के साथ साथ विश्व समुदाय के एक आध्यात्मिक नेता, विश्व शांति कार्यकर्ता, वैज्ञानिक, दार्शनिक, सिद्ध, आयुर्वेदिक,होम्योपैथिक व्यवसायी थे | बिग बैंग थ्योरी के लिए एक विकल्प के रूप में यूनिवर्सल मेग्निटिज्म का सिद्धांत उनका दिया हुआ है | उनका ये सिद्धांत ब्रह्माण्ड के गठन को और अधिक सामान्य तरीके से दिखाता है जिसमें कुछ चीजें एक बैंग के साथ होती है | उनका ये सिद्धांत परमाणुओं का विकास प्रदान करता है | उन्होंने विश्व शांति के लिए १४ सिद्धांतो का प्रतिपादन किया तथा साथ ही सयुंक्त राष्ट्र में एक ब्लू प्रिंट प्रस्तुत किया |
उन्होंने दुनिया में ३०० से अधिक योग केंद्रों की स्थापना की और लगभग ८० पुस्तकें लिखीं, जिनमें से कई को शैक्षिक पाठ्यपुतस्कों के रूप में अपना लिया गया है | द्रविड़ विश्वविद्यालय द्वारा उन्हें १९ वी सिद्ध घोषित किया गया था और हाल ही में तमिलनाडु सरकार ने उनके सरलीकृत कुंडलिनी योग को स्कूलों में पढ़ाने के लिए मंजूरी दे दी है |
श्री वेथथिरी महर्षि का जन्म १४ अगस्त १९११ को चेन्नई के दक्षिण गुदुवंन्चेरी गांव में, एक स्वदेशी विवर परिवार में हुआ था |
कई छोटी नौकरियों में कई साल बीताने के बाद उन्होंने एक कपड़ा मील की स्थापना जिसको लाभ साझाकरण के आधार पर २००० से अधिक श्रमिकों को रोजगार देने क लिए बढ़ाया गया |महर्षि ने नियमित रूप से गहन ध्यान और आत्मनिरीक्षण में भाग लिया, जिसमें उन्होंने दावा किया कि उन्हें ३५ वर्ष की आयु में पूर्ण ज्ञान प्राप्त हुआ | ५० वर्ष की आयु में महर्षि ने अपने सारे व्यावसायिक उपक्रम बंद किये और अपना सम्पूर्ण जीवन आध्यात्मिक सेवा के लिए समर्पित कर दिया | आध्यात्मिक सेवा के लिए उन्होंने अपने परिवार से सम्बन्ध खत्म नहीं किये अर्थात वें गृहस्थ जीवन में बने रहते हुए ही आध्यात्मिक सेवा में लगे रहें |
श्री वेथथिरी महर्षि का भारतीय दार्शनिक परंपरा में दर्शन अद्वेत था और उन्होंने दार्शनिक विषयों पर ३००० से अधिक कविताएं लिखी | संस्कृत में द्वैतवाद का अर्थ “२ ” तथा विज्ञापन का कोई अर्थ नहीं हैं तथा ये केवल यही बताता है कि भगवान एक हैं | इसे पैंथिस्टीक मोनिसम कहा जा सकता हैं | उनकी भाषा और व्यवहार समकालीन, गैर- साम्प्रदायिक व गैर- कट्टरपंथी हैं, वें अपने जीवन के अंतिम समय तक लिखते रहे तथा उनके द्वारा तमिल और अंग्रेजी में लगभग ८० पुस्तकें लिखीं गई |
श्री वेथथिरी महर्षि तीन सवालों के जवाब खोजने के लिए निकले – “भगवान क्या हैं ?” “जीवन क्या हैं ?” “दुनिया में गरीबी क्यों हैं ?” इन सवालों के जवाब को ढूंढने के और अपनी जिंदगी को आगे बढ़ाने वें विभिन्न क्षेत्रों में गए और वहां उन्हें स्वदेशी चिकित्सा, सिद्ध आयुर्वेद और होयोपैथी के योग्य प्रमाणित व्यापारियों में शामिल किया गया। वेथथिरी महर्षि ने गृहस्थ जीवन का नेतृत्व तब तक किया जब तक की वो ५० वर्ष का ना हो जाये, और उसके पश्चात् अपने दैवीय अनुभवों को पढ़ाने और लिखने के लिए अपने जीवन को एक व्यवसायी के रूप में बदल दिया तथा अंग्रेजी और तमिल में कई किताबें प्रकाशित की | १९७२ से १९९३ के बीच वेथथिरी महर्षि के द्वारा अमेरिका, यूरोप, मलेशिया, सिंगापुर, दक्षिण कोरिया, जापान तथा मेक्सिको का दौरा किया गया |
वेथथिरी महर्षि ने मानवता के सुधार के लिए और जीवित रहने के सम्पूर्ण विज्ञान के रूप में सरलीकृत कुंडलिनी योग-ध्यान, शारीरिक व्यायाम, काया कल्प योग, और और आत्मनिरीक्षण का मार्ग बताया, वेथथिरी के जीवन काल का यह समय विथथीरीयम के नाम से जाना जाता हैं जो की ज्ञान रूपी पहाड़ का एक आराधनालय के तौर पर अनुवाद करता हैं | उन्होंने दावा किया कि प्रकृति के नियम के अनुसार जीवन जीने के लिए प्रकृति की गहरी समझ आवश्यक हैं, जबकि आध्यात्मिक प्रगति के साथ भौतिकता का संतुलन बना रहना चाहिए |
वेथथिरी महर्षि की बतायी हुई ब्रह्मांड की प्रारंभिक अवस्था जिसे उन्होंने निरपेक्ष अंतरिक्ष कहा में दो अव्यक्त गुण अंतर्निहित हैं :
१९५८ में वेथथिरी महर्षि ने एक गैर-लाभकारी पंजीकृत समाज विश्व समुदाय सेवा केंद्र (डब्लू यु सी एस सी) की स्थापना की जो की विश्व शांति के लिए कार्य करने वाली एक संस्था थी | आज २०० से ज्यादा ट्रस्ट और लगभग २००० से अधिक ध्यान केंद्र भारत में डब्लू यु सी एस सी से संबद्ध हैं | १९७२ से १९९३ के बीच महर्षि ने जापान, दक्षिण कोरिया, मलेशिया, सिंगापुर, और अमेरिका (यु.एस. ए.) की यात्रा की और बड़े पैमाने पर अध्ययन और व्याख्यान किया |
१९८४ में अल्लियर, पोलाची, तमिलनाडु में स्थित ” वीठाथिरी महर्षि योग और काया कल्प रिसर्च फाऊंडेशन” की स्थापना अत्रिरुनजोत्थी नगर के नाम पर की, यह पोलाची- वालपराई राजमार्ग ७८ पर स्थित है जो के अजिययार बांध के पास हैं और राज्य-परिवहन बसें पोलाची से अरुपरुनजोत्थी नगर तक उपलब्ध हैं | बड़ी संख्या में लम्बी अवधि के लिए SKY पाठ्यक्रम और रहने के लिए जाने वाले लोगों को सभी प्रकार की सुविधाएं प्रदान की जाती है, चेतना का मंदिर परिसर का केन्द्रस्थ हैं |
१९९८ में विभिन्न क्षेत्रों के बुद्धिजीवियों को एक साथ लाने, मानव जाति का सामना करने वाले मुद्दों पर चर्चा करने और व्यक्तियों और दुनिया में बड़े पैमाने पर शांति और सामंजस्य के लिए ब्रेन ट्रस्ट (Brain Trust) स्थापित किया गया |
२८ मई २००६ को वेथाथिरी महर्षि की मृत्यु हो गई और उनका मृत शरीर विश्व कम्युनिटी सेवा केंद्र के मणि मंडपम में रखा गया हैं, जो के अरुत्रपुंजोजी नगर, अजीययार, पोलाची में स्थित हैं |
पूर्व केंद्रीय संचार एवं सुचना प्रौद्योगिकी मंत्री ऐ.राजा ने तत्कालीन मुख्यमंत्री एम. करूणानिधि से महर्षि वीथथिरी के स्मारक पर जारी किये गए एक डाक टिकट को प्राप्त करते हुए कहा था कि प्रसिद्ध व्यक्तियों और स्वतंत्रता सेनानियों के शताब्दी समारोह और उन पर जारी किये गए डाक टिकट युवाओं में ऐसे व्यक्तित्व को जन्म देने और उनको उनके द्वारा किये गए कार्यो और उनके दिए हुए संदेशो को अपनाने और उन संदेशो का अनुकरण करने के लिए मदद करेंगे|
पूर्व मुख्यमंत्री ने अपने एक भाषण के दौरान कहा कि वीथथिरी महर्षि (१९११-२००६) की शिक्षाओं से एक प्रकार की प्रशंसा प्राप्त होती हैं, क्योंकि आध्यात्मिक नेता ने “बुद्धिवाद के हथियार” के अधीन में रहकर कार्य किया, दावा किया जाता हैं कि वें ईश्वर के संपर्क में थे लेकिन फिर भी उन्होंने लोगों को आकर्षित करने के लिए किसी प्रकार की जादुई शक्ति का प्रयोग नहीं किया | जैसे की उनकी तर्कसंगतता थी जो लोगों को खुद ही यह समझने में और महसूस करने में मदद करेगी की उनकी शिक्षाए और सन्देश आज भी बहुत अच्छे हैं |
करूणानिधि ने कहा कि, श्री रामलिंगा स्वामिगल (१८२३-१८७४) और महर्षि वेथथिरी लोगों पर पड़े हुए अंधविश्वास के प्रभाव के प्रति जागरूक थे और उन्होंने लोगों को सही रास्ते दिखाने के संघर्ष भी किया |
एन. महालिंगम, चेतना मंदिर अल्यिर के अध्यक्ष ने महर्षि के साथ अपने रिश्तों को याद करते हुए कहा कि आध्यात्मिक नेता द्वारा स्थापित विश्व समुदाय सेवा केंद्र, अडिगल के सत्य ज्ञान सबाई का नतीजा था |
Advaita Acharya (1434–1559), born Kamalaksha Bhattacharya, was said to be an incarnation of Krishna or Chaitanya in the Gaudiya Vaishnava Sampradaya, notable disciple and companion of the founder of the Gaudiya Vaishnava sect, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and guru of Haridasa Thakur. He was born at Navagrama-Laur village in the present-day Sylhet District of Bangladesh in 1434, some fifty years before Chaitanya, and spent most of his adult life in the town of Shantipur with his wife and family (Advaita Acharya had six sons, Acyutananda, Krsna Misra, Gopala Dasa, Balarama, Svarupa, and Jagadisa) teaching the philosophy of Bhagavad Gita and Bhagavata Purana and promoting Bhakti Yoga.
The ancestry and life of Advaita Acharya are narrated in a number of hagiographical works, which include the Balyalilasutra (1487) of Krishnadasa in Sanskrit and the Advaitasutrakadacha of Krishnadasa, the Advaitamangala of Haricharanadasa, the Advaitaprakasha of Ishana Nagara and the Advaitavilasa of Naraharidasa in Bengali.Many of his activities are described in the Chaitanya Charitamrta, the Chaitanya Mangala, and the Chaitanya Bhagavata.
Advaita Acharya appeared in the village of Navagrama near the city of Sylhet as the son of the Varendra Brahmin Kubera Pandit and his wife Nabha Devi, on the seventh day of the waxing moon in the month of Magh. Kubera Pandit is identified in the Gaura-ganoddesha-Dipika (v. 91) with the original god Kubera, who was Mahadeva’s friend and leader of the Guhyakas.
Kubera Pandit, a devotee of Nrisingha, resided in the village of Navagrama near Sylhet in Bangladesh. He was a greatly fortunate follower of the path of devotion; he knew nothing other than the lotus feet of Krishna. His devoted and faithful wife was named Nabha Devi. She is worshipable to the whole world for she is the mother of Advaita Prabhu.
On the seventh day of the waxing moon in the month of Magh, the great ocean of joy overflowed. In that auspicious moment, the moon of Advaita descended in the blessed womb of Nabha Devi. In his ecstasy, Kubera Pandit gave in charity to the Brahmins and the poor. He tiptoed to the birthing room and his heart was filled with gladness upon seeing his son’s face. All the villagers came running to his house and said to each other, “What pious works did this Brahmin do that in his old age he has been blessed with such a jewel of a son?” The gods rained down flowers without being seen. There is nothing with which this scene can compare. Ghanashyama sings of this great auspicious occasion when a joyous uproar rang around the earth. (Bhakti-ratnakara 12.1759-62)
In the Gaudiya Vaishnava Abhidhana, Advaita’s birthplace is given as Laura Gram. It is also said there that Advaita Prabhu left Laura to go to live in Sylhet and then from there moved to Shantipur. He also had a home in Nabadwip. His full name was Sri Kamalaksha or Kamala Kanta Vedapanchanana. His birth took place in 1434 AD and he disappeared in the year 1559, at the age of 125 years.
Jahnava Mata’s Diksha disciple Nityananda Das wrote in his Prema-vilasa that Advaita’s birthplace is to be found in Shantipur. He writes that Advaita studied the Veda and other scriptures with the scholar Shantacharya, who lived in the Phullabati section of Shantipur and earned from him the title Acharya. Advaita’s life has been described in several Bengali books, including Advaita-Mangala, Advaita-vilasa, and Sitacaritra. In the Advaita-vilasa it is written, “The Lord remained on this earth for a century and a quarter, performing unlimited pastimes.”
Advaita Prabhu’s Travels
When Kubera Pandit and Nabha Devi disappeared, Advaita went to Gaya on the pretext of performing the appropriate rituals of mourning, and thence continued on a pilgrimage tour of all of India’s holy places. When he came to Vrindavan, he became absorbed in the worship of Krishna, but through his meditation, he was able to understand that Krishna was about to appear in Nabadwip. While on this pilgrimage tour, he came to Mithila where he met the poet Vidyapati. This encounter is beautifully described in the Advaitavilasa. Advaita Prabhu finally returned from Vrindavan to Shantipur after spending several days in Nabadwip. The people of Shantipur had been suffering from his separation for a long time and were very happy to see him back.
Advaita had two wives; one was named Sri, the other Sita. In the Gaura-ganoddesha-Dipika, it is written that the divine Yogamaya took the form of Advaita’s wife Sita and that Sri is her prakasha expansion.
Advaita Acharya also had two residences, one in Shantipur, the other not far from Srivasa’s home in Nabadwip-Mayapur. His heart was greatly pained at seeing that the people of the world were devoid of any devotion to Vishnu and were as a consequence greatly suffering the pains of material life. Overwhelmed with compassion, he began to teach the Bhagavad-gita and Bhagavat, explaining that the purport of the scriptures was to engage in devotional service to Krishna. At about the same time, Madhavendra Puri had a dream in which Govardhanadhari Gopal commanded him to find sandalwood paste for the Deity service. Madhavendra then started out for Puri, taking the road through western Bengal. While there, he stopped at Advaita’s house in Shantipur. Advaita became convinced to accept Madhavendra Puri as his guru when he saw his devotional ecstasies, even though he himself is an expansion of the supreme lord. He underwent this ritual in order to demonstrate to the conditioned souls the necessity of accepting a spiritual master.
Madhavendra Puri arrived at the house of Advaita Acharya. When Advaita saw Puripada’s Prema, he felt a deep inner joy. So, he took care to receive the mantra from him, after which Madhavendra left to continue his voyage to the south.
It is said that Mahaprabhu is the main trunk of the wish-fulfilling tree of devotion, as well as the gardener who enjoys and distributes the tree’s fruits. Though the tree was planted in Nabadwip, it grew in Purushottam Dham (Puri) and Vrindavan, expanding into an entire orchard producing many, many fruits of love. Madhavendra Puri is said to be the first seedling, which eventually grew into this tree. Isvara Puri was the nourished form of this seedling. Mahaprabhu, though himself the gardener, also became the tree’s main trunk through his inconceivable energies. Advaita and Nityananda were the two secondary trunks into which the main trunk divided.
Sri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is the main body of the devotional movement, and Advaita and Nityananda are the limbs. All three of them became incarnate, along with Srivasa and other devotees, in order to preach devotion to Hari. All those who were senior to Gauranga appeared on this earth prior to him. Advaita appeared along with the other elderly members of Chaitanya’s retinue and when he did so, he observed that the sinfulness of the age of Kali had reached a disturbing limit and that the world was entirely devoid of devotion to Krishna. He thought that a partial incarnation of the lord would not be sufficient to completely bring about the welfare of the earth in this state. He thought, “The world will only benefit if the Supreme Personality of Godhead himself descends to the earth.” So he began to worship Krishna’s lotus feet with Ganges water and Tulasi leaves, shouting and pleading to the lord to become incarnate. With roars of love (prema-hunkara) Advaita showed his desire for the Lord of Goloka to descend to the earth.
Although six sons were born to Advaita Acharya, the incarnation of Maha Vishnu, he indicated that some of them had understood the essence of spiritual life and some had not. Those who simply claimed to be his followers but showed no affection for Gauranga were the latter; those who were attached to Mahaprabhu in ever-increasing affection were the former. These included Achyutananda, Sri Krishna Mishra, and Gopal Mishra, while Balaram, Svarupa, and Jagadisa belonged to the category of those who did not recognize Chaitanya. Achyutananda was the oldest brother and Sri Krishna Mishra and Gopal Mishra followed his lead. The Chaitanya Charitamrita (Cf. 1.12.12) compares the two groups to the wheat and chaff.
Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati also writes in his Gaudiya-bhashya to the Chaitanya Bhagavat (2.10.162), “If someone takes Advaita Acharya to be the best of all the Vaishnavas, then he can be called a Vaishnava. On the other hand, if someone considers him to be the object of all religious life, the vishaya Krishna, and Sri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu to be his devotee or ashraya, then he will never be able to attain Krishna’s lotus feet.”
It is also said that Mahaprabhu taught Advaita the real meaning of the Bhagavad-gita.
Vishvambhara explained the true understanding of the Gita to Advaita, he hid the gates which held back the understanding of bhakti.
Another wonderful pastime was prepared by Advaita in order to show the fallen jivas how auspicious it is to receive punishment from the Lord, or from the guru or a Vaishnava. How fortunate is a devotee who is chastised by his guru! This is described in the seventeenth chapter of the Chaitanya Charitamrita, about which Bhaktivinoda Thakur has made the following comments in his Amrita-pravaha-bhashya: “Advaita Acharya is the godbrother of Mahaprabhu’s guru, Isvara Puri. For this reason, Mahaprabhu treated Advaita as his elder and spiritual master, even though Advaita considered himself to be Mahaprabhu’s servant. Advaita was pained to see Mahaprabhu treat him with such respect and so, in order to seek out the merciful punishment of the lord returned to Shantipur and began to explain the path of knowledge to a few unfortunate individuals. When the Lord caught wind of this, he became extremely angry and went to Shantipur to give him a good thrashing. When he was thrashed in this way, Advaita danced for joy, saying, “Look. My desires have been fulfilled today! Mahaprabhu was previously miserly with me, treating me as his respectful elder. Now he has acted toward me as though I were his servant or disciple, by trying to save me from the heresy of mayavada.” When the Lord understood that this had all been a ruse on Advaita’s part, he was embarrassed but pleased with Lord’s mercy, Sadashiva plays two different roles in Vraja, in/div/div on/div e he is Shiva himself, in the other, he is a cowherd boy.
The Lord treated Advaita with the respect deserved by a guru. This caused the Acharya great distress, so he adopted a ruse of teaching the path of knowledge. Mahaprabhu became angry and scorned Advaita, causing him great bliss. When he saw his satisfaction with the turn of events, the Lord became ashamed and was merciful to him.
“Previously Mahaprabhu would honor me. This (Chaitanya Charitamrita 1.1.12-13) made me unhappy, so I thought that if I start giving lectures on the Yoga-vashishtha, explaining Mukti as the supreme goal of life, the lord would become angry and insult me.
Advaita Acharya was Mahaprabhu’s associate in sankirtan, both in Srivasa’s house and in the streets of Nabadwip and along the shores of the Ganges.
Everyone sang together in great joy, “Krishna Rama Mukunda, Murari, Vanamali!” Holding on to Nityananda and Gadadhara, Advaita, like a lion ran in every direction.
The Lord danced along the banks of the Bhagirathi while all around him all the people sang the names of Hari. Advaita Acharya preceded him, dancing ecstatically with a small group of devotees.
After Mahaprabhu had taken sannyasa from Keshava Bharati in Katwa, he became overwhelmed with love for Krishna and started to run toward Vrindavan. With the help of some cowherd boys, Nityananda Prabhu tricked him into coming to the banks of the Ganges. Nityananda wanted to show him to the people of Navadwip and wanted to bring him to Shantipur. When Mahaprabhu saw the Ganges, he thought that it was the Yamuna and became ecstatic. Meanwhile, Advaita had heard that Nityananda had brought Mahaprabhu there and came by boat across the river with new clothes for him. Mahaprabhu was astonished to see Advaita, wondering how he could have known that he was in Vrindavan. Advaita answered by saying that Vrindavan was there wherever Mahaprabhu went and that the western flow of the Ganges was the Yamuna. When he heard these words, Mahaprabhu realized that he had been tricked into coming to the western bank of the Ganges across from the town of Shantipur. Advaita had him take a bath and dressed him in the new cloth and then took him to his house where he stayed for several days.
When Sachi and the people of Navadwip heard that Gaurahari was at Advaita’s they all came there to visit him. Seeing him in his dress as a sannyasi, they were felt joy mixed with separation. Sita Thakurani prepared an immense meal and served it on whole leaves from seed-banana trees. As Mahaprabhu and Nityananda ate, Advaita Prabhu talked and joked with them. This has been extensively described in the Chaitanya Charitamrita’s Madhya-Lila, chapter 3. Mahaprabhu afterward also ate foodstuffs prepared by Sachidevi in order to ease the suffering he had imposed on her by his departure. The reunion of Devotees turned into a great festival, and Advaita’s house in the town of Shantipur was transformed into the city of Vaikuntha.
Everyone was dancing and singing the names of Hari. Advaita’s house became the city of Vaikuntha.
When Mahaprabhu was saying his goodbyes to the Devotees, he set off to Puri or Nilachala to live there at the behest of his mother. Advaita and the residents of Navadwip were once again hurled into the ocean of separation from their Lord. These events took place in the year 1510. It was probably three more years before the Devotees went to Puri during the caturmasya period to visit him there at the time of the Rathayatra.
The first year, Advaita and the other Devotees went to Nilachala to see Mahaprabhu’s lotus feet. They witnessed the Rathayatra and then stayed for four months, passing the time in kirtan and dancing in great joy. When the time came for them to depart, the Lord told everyone to return every year to see the Rathayatra festival. And so the yearly trips to Puri to see the Lord became an institution.
Of the last 24 years of Mahaprabhu’s life, six were spent in traveling to and from Puri, while He spent the last eighteen there without ever leaving. During the six years that He was traveling, the Bengali Devotees would first find out whether He was present in Puri before going. During the eighteen years of Mahaprabhu’s permanent stay in Puri, the annual trips became a matter of course.
After Mahaprabhu arrived in Puri, returning from Vrindavan, He never again left in the eighteen remaining years of his life. The Devotees came from Bengali every year, meeting with the Lord and staying for the four months of the rainy season.
The place on the banks of the Ganga where Sri Advaita Acharya worshiped the shaligram shila and called out to the Lord to descend to the world is known today as Babla. A temple has been built in memory of Advaita Acharya’s pastimes there.
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Nitai or Nityananda was a Vaishnava saint, famous as a primary religious figure within the Gaudiya Vaishnava tradition of Bengal, is an expansion of Balarama.Nitai was Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s friend and disciple. They are often mentioned together as Gaura-Nitai (Gaura, “golden one”, referring to Chaitanya, Nitai being a shortened form of Nityananda) or Nimai-Nitai (Nimai being another name of Chaitanya).
According to Gaudiya-Vaishnava tradition, Nitai is an incarnation of Balarama, with Chaitanya Mahaprabhu being his eternal brother and friend, Krishna.He is considered the ‘most merciful’ incarnation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Nityananda Prabhu appeared in the village of Ekachakra, in West Bengal, India, around 1474. In the Caitanya
Caritamrita and other scriptures He is declared to be the avatar of Lord Balarama, the direct expansion of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna.
Her pastimes of Lord Nityananda narrated by Harinama Dasi.
As a child, He was called Nitai and had a close circle of friends. Together they used to imitate the pastimes of Krishna and His associates. The adults of Ekachakra were fascinated by this unique little boy and loved Him as their own. Seeing His total absorption in avatars of Krishna, they suspected that He might be some sort of incarnation Himself. Day after day he would enact a different pastime, and did it so skillfully that His neighbors wondered, “How is it that He is so talented? How does He know the stories so well? No one has explained all these details to Him.” On one occasion, one of the boys dressed as Akrura and took Krishna and Balarama away from Vrindavana on the order of Kamsa. Nitai cried in grief, feeling the separation of the cowherd girls from Krishna. Tears of love flowed from His eyes. His acting was so authentic that it made all who watched question whether He was merely acting or in some way experiencing the part He played. This was true whether He was playing Krishna, Balarama, or even Vamana and other Incarnations of the Lord. When questioned, Nitai would respond: “These are My own divine pastimes, and I am allowing you to see them.”
Among His most convincing roles was that of Lakshmana, brother of Rama, which intimated His divine identity as Balarama. For His first twelve years, Nityananda Prabhu stayed in Ekachakra and shared loving pastimes with His neighbors.
Just before His thirteenth birthday, however, a traveling mendicant came to His home and was welcomed as a guest by Hadai Pandita, Nityananda’s affectionate father. With deep respect and hospitality, Hadai Pandita offered his eminent guest all that he had. “Please feel free to take whatever you like,” he said. “My home is your home.” The visiting ascetic explained that he was a simple life and that his needs were minimal. However, he said, he needed a traveling companion, and young Nitai would be an appropriate person for such a service. Nitai was eager, and reluctantly, Hadai Pandita agreed to let his son go.
Nitai traveled from holy place to holy place for the next twenty years, until He was thirty-two, receiving instruction and friendship from His elderly sannyasi companion. He journeyed the length and breadth of India and sanctified the subcontinent by His presence. As Nitai continued to travel, feeling the ecstasy of these sacred places, He more and more took on the character of an avadhuta, a spiritually elevated person who is aloof to material surroundings and appears crazy to the uninformed. His mode of activity and general behavior became increasingly unexplainable; no one could understand what motivated Him or why He behaved in certain ways. For example, He sometimes danced ecstatically with the cloth meant to cover His loins wrapped instead around His head.
In Pandarapura (present-day Maharashtra), Nityananda Prabhu met the saintly guru Lakshmipati Tirtha. It is said that Lakshmipati Tirtha was given to intense dreams about Lord Balarama, and when he met Nityananda, he was convinced that this beautiful young personality was none other than Balarama Himself. They soon developed a deep, devotional relationship. According to some authorities, Lakshmipati initiated Nityananda Prabhu at this time, giving Him the student name “Svarupa.” Lakshmipati’s most famous disciple was Madhavendra Puri, who received direct instructions and gifts from the deity of Gopinatha. Because Madhavendra Puri was His senior, Nityananda Prabhu always treated him as though he were His spiritual master.
Soon Nityananda Prabhu reached Vraja, or Vrindavan, the Land of Krishna. His ecstasy increased one million times. Visiting the many places associated with Krishna’s pastimes, He shouted, danced, rolled around, laughed, and howled like a madman. With overwhelming intensity, He cried out, “Where is Krishna? Where is My very life and soul?” As these words emanated from His anxious lips, He shivered uncontrollably and tears of love poured from His eyes like torrents of rain. At that moment, He had a startling inner vision of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, who had completed His childhood pastimes and was now overtly engaged in His mission. This realization made Nityananda chortle with affection for His spiritual brother, and so from Sringara-vata, He proceeded to Navadvipa to join Mahaprabhu in His pastimes.
Nityananda aham Vande karne lambita-mauktikam caitanyagraja-rupena pavitri-krta-bhutalam
“Salutations to Sri Nityananda Prabhu, Who has a single pearl suspended from one of His ears, Who is the elder brother of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and Who is the purifier of the world.”
The year was 1506, and after arduous travel through dense forests in a trance-like state of devotion, Nityananda Prabhu reached the land of Nadiya, where Chaitanya Mahaprabhu resided. When the two Lords finally saw each other for the first time, they were immediately overtaken by waves of ecstasy. Nitai was roughly thirty-two years old, and Mahaprabhu was twenty. They each felt that their lives were now perfectly complete. Embracing, they cried what seemed like rivers of ecstasy.
Nityananda Prabhu, who is identical with Lord Balarama, the first expansion of Krishna, is considered to be the original guru for all of the mankind. Thus, soon after their initial meeting, Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu tried to honor Nityananda Prabhu with a Vyasa-puja worship ceremony befitting a great spiritual master. However, Nityananda Prabhu protested and grabbed all of the worship articles from Mahaprabhu and worshiped Him instead. Nityananda Prabhu kept repeating, “Nimai Pandita [Mahaprabhu] is my Lord and master! Nimai Pandita is my Lord and master!” There was constant competition as to who would serve whom. Their transcendental love for one another is indescribable.
From this point until Mahaprabhu left Navadvipa for Jagannatha Puri, Nityananda Prabhu was always at His side. The two biographers Vrindavana Dasa Thakura and Krishnadasa Kaviraja Goswami clearly assert that Nityananda Prabhu holds the key to Mahaprabhu’s heart. The teaching of the Chaitanya tradition is emphatic: One who thinks that he can attain love of God without first attaining the mercy of Lord Nityananda Rama is living in a hallucination.
Mahaprabhu asked Nityananda Prabhu and Haridasa Thakura to serve as His door-to-door preachers, spreading the message of love of God to every home in Navadvipa. It was at this point that Nityananda and Haridasa met the two brothers Jagai and Madhai. They were descendants of an illustrious priestly dynasty but had abandoned the pious ways of their forefathers for a life of debauchery.
Nityananda Prabhu was born to a religious Bengali Brahmin, known as Pandit Hadai and Padmavati in Ekachakra(a small village in Birbhum district of present West Bengal) around the year 1474. His devotion and a great talent for singing Vaishnava hymns (Bhajan) were apparent from a very early age. In his youth, he would generally play the part of Lakshman, Rama’s younger brother, in dramatic re-enactments of Lord Rama’s pastimes, along with the other boys of Ekachakra.
At the age of thirteen, Nitai left home with a traveling renunciate (sannyasi) known as Lakshmipati Tirtha. Nitai’s father, Hadai Pandit, had offered the traveling sannyasi anything he wished as a gift. To this Lakshmipati Tirtha replied that he was in need of someone to assist him in his travels to the holy places (he was about to begin a pilgrimage) and that Nitai would be perfect for the job. As he had given his word Hadai Pandit reluctantly agreed and Nitai joined him in his travels. This started Nitai’s long physical and spiritual journey through India which would get him in contact with important Gurus of the Vaishnava tradition. Apart from Lakshmipati Tirtha, who at some point initiated him, he was also associated with Lakshmipati Tirtha’s famous other disciples: Madhavendra Puri, Advaita Acharya, and Ishvara Puri, the spiritual master of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
When Nityananda Prabhu returned to Bengal at Mahaprabhu’s request, He decided to abandon His avadhuta status and get married. A village leader named Suryadasa Sarakhel had two daughters who were great devotees; their names were Jahnava and Vasudha. As qualified girls who felt great affection for Nityananda Prabhu, they were chosen to marry Him, and He, in turn, reciprocated their affection. According to the poet Kavi Karnapura, the two girls were incarnations of Revati Devi and Varuni Devi, the wives of Lord Balarama.
After some time Vasudha gave birth to two children, a boy named Virabhadra and a girl named Ganga-Devi. Virabhadra later became a great leader in the Vaishnava community and continued to spread Lord Chaitanya’s teachings in the mood of His distinguished father. However, soon after the birth of her two divine children, Vasudha passed away, and Jahnava vowed to raise them as her own.
As the years went by, Jahnava Devi developed a reputation as a superlative Vaishnava, embodying the ideals of devotion in Lord Chaitanya’s line. She initiated her son Virabhadra as well as many other males and female members of the Vaishnava community. Major figures in Mahaprabhu’s lineage took shelter at her lotus feet, and personalities like Narottama Dasa Thakura, Srinivasa Acarya, and Syamananda Prabhu accepted her as the most prominent Vaishnava in Bengal.
In Ekachakra, not far from his birthplace, Nityananda Prabhu established a deity of Lord Krishna known as Bankima Raya, accompanied on the right by a deity of Jahnava Devi, and on the left, Srimati Radharani. The priests of this temple say that Nityananda Prabhu merged into the form of Bankima Raya to leave the earth for His eternal pastimes in the spiritual sky. There are no other stories of Nityananda Prabhu’s departure, and so this one is generally accepted by the Vaishnava community. Be that as it may, His presence is always felt in the presence of one’s own guru, for the guru is considered to be a living manifestation of Nityananda Prabhu’s love, and His power is what gives a disciple the ability to perform devotional service and experience the bliss of devotional life.
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Gopala Bhatta Goswami (1503–1578) is one of the foremost disciples of the Vaishnava saint, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and a leading historical figure in the Gaudiya Vaishnava school of Hinduism. He was part of a group of Vaishnava devotees known collectively as the Six Goswamis of Vrindavan, who were influential in establishing the philosophical basis of the Gaudiya tradition in formalized writings.
According to biographies such as the Bhakti Ratnakara Gopal Bhatta’s first meeting with Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was in 1510 during Mahaprabhu’s tour of South India. Although of a young age he was given the opportunity to meet with Chaitanya and serve him over a number of months. Such was his love for the saint, that when Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was about to leave, Gopala Bhatta became upset, and for Gopala Bhatta’s sake, Chaitanya then agreed to stay a few more days.
According to Gaudiya tradition, it was during this time that Gopala Bhatta had a spiritual vision in which Chaitanya Mahaprabhu revealed Himself as an avatar of Krishna, the supreme God. In the vision, Krishna then told him that in the town of Vrindavan he would meet with two devotees, namely Rupa Goswami and Sanatana Goswami who would instruct him in the finer details of devotional service (bhakti).
When Gopala Bhatta awoke from the experience, he wanted to leave for Vrindavan at once, however, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu told him to stay and serve his parents. After Chaitanya’s departure, Gopal Bhatta took guidance from his uncle Prabhodananda Sarasvati. Gopal Bhatta took care of his parents into their old age, and then after they died he then traveled to Vrindavana. There he met Rupa and Sanatana who accepted him as a brother. Gopal Bhatta later helped Sanatana compile the book Hari Bhakti Vilasa, the authorized book explaining the ritual and devotional practices of the Gaudiya Vaishnava sampradaya. He also wrote Sat-kriya-dipika and the outline for Shri Jiva Goswami’s Sat Sandarbhas.
He eternally serves Shrimati Radharani as one of Her asta manjaris, Guna-manjari. His samadhi is within Radha Ramanaji’s Temple compound behind the appearance place of the Deity. Shri Gopala Bhatta Goswami initiated Gopinatha (Pujari Goswami), a lifelong brahmachari who served Radha Ramanaji for his whole life. Gopala Bhatta Goswami initiated Shrinivasa Acharya and many other stalwart Vaishnavas.
Gopala Bhatta studied rhetoric, poetry, Vedanta, and Sanskrit grammar from his uncle Prabodhananda Sarasvati. After the passing of his parents he went to Vrindavan, where he met both Rupa and Sanatana Goswamis as had purportedly been instructed in his vision.
When Lord Chaitanya discovered that Gopala Bhatta was in Vrindavan, he was extremely pleased and sent some of his personal belongings to Gopala Bhatta, who worshiped them. Mahaprabhu also sent a letter instructing Gopala Bhatta to help Rupa and Sanatana compile Vaishnava literature. Gopala Bhatta accepted this instruction as his life and soul, and he later also engaged his disciple Srinivasa Acarya in carrying the writings to Bengal. Gopala Bhatta established the Radha Raman Temple in Vrindavan in 1542, his samadhi also exists within the temple complex.
Bhakti yoga, also called Bhakti marga (literally the path of Bhakti), is a spiritual path or spiritual practice within Hinduism focused on loving devotion towards a personal god. It is one of the paths in the spiritual practices of Hindus, others being Jnana yoga and Karma yoga. The tradition has ancient roots. Bhakti is mentioned the Shvetashvatara Upanishad where it simply means participation, devotion and love for any endeavor. Bhakti yoga as one of three spiritual paths for salvation is discussed in depth by the Bhagavad Gita.
The personal god varies with the devotee. It may include a god or goddess such as Ganesha, Krishna, Radha, Rama, Sita, Vishnu, Lakshmi, Saraswati, Shiva, Parvati, Durga among others.
The Bhakti marga involving these deities grew with the Bhakti Movement, starting about the mid-1st millennium CE, from Tamil Nadu in South India. The movement was led by the Saiva Nayanars and the Vaisnava Alvars. Their ideas and practices inspired bhakti poetry and devotion throughout India over the 12th-18th century CE. Bhakti marga is a part of the religious practice in Vaishnavism, Shaivism, and Shaktism.
The Hare Krishna mantra, also referred to reverentially as the Maha Mantra (“Great Mantra”), is a 16 word Vaishnava mantra which is mentioned in the Kali-Santarana Upanishad, and which from the 15th century rose to importance in the Bhakti movement following the teachings of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. This Mantra is composed of three Sanskrit names of the Supreme Being; “Hare,” “Krishna,” and “Rama.”
According to Gaudiya Vaishnava theology, one’s original consciousness and goal of life is pure love of God (Krishna). Since the 1960s, the mantra has been made well known outside of India by A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada and his International Society for Krishna Consciousness (commonly known as “the Hare Krishnas”).
ananga-manjari yasit sadya gopala-bhattakah
bhatta-gosvaminam kecit ahuh sri-guna-manjari
She who was formerly Ananga Manjari has appeared to enrich Mahaprabhu’s pastimes as Shrila Gopal Bhatta Goswami. Some say that Gopal Bhatta is actually Guna Manjari.
Shrila Gopal Bhatta Goswami appeared in 1500 AD (though, according to some authorities, he was born in 1503) as the son of Venkata Bhatta in the town of Shrirangam in South India. Their residence was in a village not far from Shrirangam called Belagundi.
According to Narahari in the Bhakti-ratnakara, Shrila Gopal Bhatta Goswami was given a vision in a dream by Mahaprabhu in which he was fortunate enough to witness all the Lord’s Navadwip pastimes. An eternal associate of Krishna, he appeared in a faraway place in order to participate in Lord Gauranga’s pastimes. Even so, he was able to know long before he even saw him that the Lord had appeared and taken sannyas. Gopal Bhatta did not particularly like the Lord’s appearance as a sannyasi. He was distressed and crying alone when the Lord appeared to him and gave him the dream vision of his Navadwip lila. In this vision, the Lord was overwhelmed by ecstatic love, embraced him and drenched him in his tears.
Having said this to Gopal, the Lord embraced him and drenched him in his tears. He then told him to keep all these experiences secret, and Gopal felt great joy in his mind.
Through the power of Shri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s merciful association, Venkata Bhatta, his brother Prabodhananda Saraswati, his son Gopal Bhatta Goswami, and all the other members of his family, were inspired to give up the worship of Lakshmi-Narayan and became engaged in the exclusive devotional service of Radha and Krishna. Shrila Gopal Bhatta Goswami took initiation from his uncle, Tridandi Yati Shrimat Prabodhananda Saraswati. Proof of this is found in the Hari-bhakti-vilasa:
bhakter vilasams cinute prabodha-
nandasya sisyo bhagavat-priyasya
santosayan rupa-sanatanau ca
When Shrila Gopal Bhatta Goswami was visiting the pilgrimage centres of northern India, he found a Shalagrama Shila on the banks of the Gandaki River. He took the worshipable stone and carried it with him wherever he went, treating it as Vrajendranandana Krishna Himself. One day he thought that he would like to worship the Lord in a Deity form so that he could expand his service. On the very next day, he found that the Shalagrama Shila had transformed itself into Radha Ramana to fulfill the wish of His Devotee. This Deity stands alone without any form of Radha standing by His side. Instead, as a symbol of Radharani, a silver crown is placed on His left side.
The story is also told in the following way. It is said that Shrila Gopal Bhatta Goswami used to daily worship twelve Shalagramas. He developed a desire to serve the Lord in the form of a Deity, thinking that in this way he would be able to worship Him in a much better way. The Lord within his heart knew his feelings and through a rich merchant had many beautiful items used in the worship of the Deity, such as ornaments and clothes, sent to him. Gopal began to worry that all these beautiful objects would be wasted because there was no way that he could use them unless he had a Deity in human form. That night, he put the Shalagramas to rest and in the morning he saw that one of Them had been transformed into the Radha Ramana Deity. When Rupa and Sanatan heard that Krishna had so mercifully appeared to Gopal Bhatta, they immediately came with the other Devotees for darshan, and when they saw him, they were ecstatic with love. The annual festival commemorating Radha Ramana’s appearance, when he is bathed publicly, takes place on the full moon day of Vaishakh. The Radha Ramana Temple is considered one of the most important in Vrindavan.
Shrila Gopal Bhatta Goswami ended his earthly pastimes on the Krishna Panchami of Asarh of 1507 of the Saka era (1585 AD). His samadhi Temple is behind the current Radha Ramana Temple. By reading Shrinivas Acharya’s hymn to the Six Goswamis, Sad-gosvamy-astaka, we can understand their glories.
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Gajanan Maharaj from Shegaon (Buldhana District), Maharashtra, India was a Saint from India. “Sant Shri Gajanan Maharaj Sansthan” is the largest temple trust in the Vidarbha region. It is not known when he was born but his first known appearance in Shegaon, perhaps as a youngster in his 20s, dates to February 1878. He took Samadhi (i.e. his soul left for the heavenly abode and his earthly remains buried) on 8 September 1910, and the date is marked as Samadhi-din by his disciples (ऋषी पंचमी ).The date of his first appearance is also marked as an auspicious day.
The early life history of Gajanan Maharaj is obscure; his birth date is unknown. He is said to have made his first appearance on 23 February 1878 in Shegaon. His devotees believe him as incarnation of Lord Ganesha and Lord Dattatreya. Biruduraju Ramaraju has tried to establish in his collection of books called “Andhra Yogulu” that he was a Telangana Brahmin. Shri Dasbhargav, a Shegaon native, has written “Shri Gajanan Maharaj Charitra Kosh”. This book mentions different version of Shri Gajanan Maharaj’s origin from that explained by Ramaraju. Shri Dasbhargav is said to have met Shri Swami Shivanand Saraswati, who was 129 years old at Nashik. Shri Swami told the author that he was Telangi Brahmin who had met Shri Sadguru Gajanan Maharaj in 1887 in Nashik. He also clearly told that after Shri Gajanan Maharaj appeared in Shegaon and remained there, he had visited Maharaj 25–30 times. During these visits Shivanand Swami declared that he used visit Shri Dadasaheb Khaparde in Amravati and stay with Khaparde family. Thus, Shri Shivanand Swami is none other than the Telangi Brahmin whose mention has been made in the foreword of “Shri Gajanan Vijay” on his own admission. Later Shivanand Saraswati left to perform penance in Himalaya and was never spotted again. Argument can, therefore, be made that Shri Gajanan Maharaj was not Telangi Brahmin as explained by Ramaraju and others. Some speculate that he might have in fact hailed from Sajjanghad, (which was the place where Sant Samartha had lived). Das Ganu Maharaj has written a 21 chapter biography, “Shri Gajanan Vijay,” of Gajanan Maharaj in Marathi. Contemporaries of Gajanan Maharaj identified him by several names like Gin Gine Buwa, Ganpat Buwa, and Awaliya Baba. In summary, it may be unlikely that Shri Gajanan Maharaj’s early life will ever be known.
There is no proper past history of Gajanan Maharaj of Shegaon but in “Shree Gajanan Vijay” Dasganu Maharaj has mentioned that Gajanan Maharaj was calling some people as his brothers. They are as follows: Shree Narasingji, Shree Vasudevanand Saraswati (Tembhe Swami Maharaj), Sai Baba and such great saints of the time. This indicate that Gajanan Maharaj was Pure incarnation of the supreme power. In the holy book (Shree Gajanan Vijay) it is also mentioned that Shree Gajanan appeared in the form of Shree Hari Vitthal (Pandhurang) in Pandharapur) for his one devotee named Bapuna Kale. For one other devotee, Shri Gajanan Maharaj appeared as Shri Ramdas Swami. Shree Gajanan Maharaj was able to do this because he was none other than the supreme Brahman(परब्रह्म or परमात्मा), who resides in every (sentient and insentient) body.
There are lot of similarities between Shree Swami Samarth and Shree Gajanan Maharaj. Both were Paramahans Sanyasi, both were AjanBahu and many others. Thus many people also believe that Shree Gajanan is none other than Shree Swami Samarth. However, it is really immaterial whether Shri Gajanan Maharaj was the disciple of Shri Swami or not as, both were the forms of Supreme Brahman, who appeared on earth to deliver and liberate the souls from the worldly fetters.
Appearing in a human body was a mere pastime (Leela) of Shri Maharaj, as he is Brahmadnyani. Thousands of the devotees flock to Shegaon for his darshan and blessings. How he functions and transforms people from their vile, wicked ways into great devotees is really unknown. None in his earthly days ever saw him chanting any special mantra holding japamala etc. In the 19th chapter of “Shri Gajanan Vijay”, he has clearly expounded the details of three paths, Karma, Bhakti and Yoga to reach God and declared that he was following the path of Bhakti. It is a great blessings to devotees of Maharashtra in general and those from Vidarbha region of Maharashtra in particular, to know Shri Gajanan Maharaj.
According to a legend, a money lender named Bankat Lal Agarwal first saw Gajanan Maharaj in a “superconscious state” on 23 February 1878 on a street, eating leftover wasted food which was thrown (and thus spreading the message of food is life and food should not be wasted). Sensing him to be a saint, Bankat took him home and asked him to stay with him. Legends say that in his lifetime, he performed many miracles such as giving a fresh lease on life to one Janrao Deshmukh, lighting the clay-pipe without fire, filling a dry well with water, drawing sugar cane juice by twisting canes with his hands,curing leprosy of a man, curing himself of the many bites of honey bees, etc. Some of the above acts are because Shri Gajanan Maharaj knew Yoga Shastra on his own admission in the book by Shri Das Ganu Maharaj.
During a public meeting on the occasion of Shiv Jayanti, the great freedom fighter Lokmanya Tilak met Gajanan Maharaj. When Tilak delivered a charismatic speech, Maharaj predicted that Tilak would get a very harsh sentence by the British Raj. Maharaj’s words did come true, however Tilak is said to have taken blessings of Maharaj and his Prasad which helped him in writing his book – Shrimadh Bhagvad Gita Rahasya, which is the summarised version of the holy book of Hindus, the Bhagavad Gita.
Shree Gajanan Maharaj’s soul left for the heavenly abode on 8 September 1910. His earthly remains were buried and a temple in his name is built on his Samadhi at Shegaon. Maharaj was prescient and had predicted his time on this earth was close to getting over. His devotees had started building the temple in his honor for some time before his Samadhi-din. In fact, his Samadhi mandir is just below the temple of Shri Ram. It is said that Shri Gajanan Maharaj would routinely worship at the temple of Shri Ram during his lifetime. Shri Gajanan Maharaj also started a dhooni (loosely meaning hearth) during his lifetime. The dhooni is still burning and is located very near the Samadhi mandir. At the time when he filled a dry well with water, the saint who had denied him water, saying all wells here are dry, Shri Bhaskar Maharaj Jayle, later went on to become his big devotee. Bhaskar Maharaj’s grandson, Shri Vasudeva Maharaj Jayle was also a great devotee of Gajanan Maharaj, whose Shraddhasagar Ashram in Akot is a spiritual place for devotees in nearby areas.
In the presence of Gajanan Maharaj, Shri Sant Gajanan Maharaj Sansthan, a body of 12 trustees was formed on 12 September 1908 so as to commemorate the holy place which Maharaj had hinted Ya Jagi Rahil Re (It will be at this place) about his place and day for Samadhi. The area around the temple is well maintained. Shri Gajanan Maharaj Mandir is located below the temple of Shri Ram. In the same area, there is the place where the dhooni is burning. Also nearby the dhooni is the place where the devotees can see Maharaj’s paduka (wooden sandals), temple of Vithhal Rukmnini and the temple of Shri Hanuman. There is a peepal tree just near the temple of Shri Hanuman and it is said to have been in existence since the days of Shri Gajanan Maharaj.
Head of the Gajanan Maharaj Sansthan-Shivshankarbhau Patil is the head of the trust and well known in India for his administration and management of the temple, bhojan kaksha, engineering and management college, Anand Sagar project and many other institution run by the trust located at Shegaon managed by Shri Gajanan Maharaj Sansthan Shegaon affiliated to Amravati university. This college is one of the best institutes for engineering education in Vidarbha region. The Anand Sagar project is also developed by the trust over 650 acres for tourist with all facilities at nominal rates. It is one of the largest amusement places in Maharashtra.The temple is famous in Maharashtra for its clean, neat, tidy environment and polite and respectful behaviour of the sevakas of Gajanan Maharaj trust who work there just for seva.
Namdev, also transliterated as Namdeo and Namadeva, (traditionally, c. 1270 – c. 1350) was a poet-saint from Maharashtra, India who is significant to the Varkari sect of Hinduism. He is also venerated in Sikhism, as well as Hindu warrior-ascetic traditions such as the Dadupanthis and the Niranjani Sampraday that emerged in north India during the Islamic rule.
The details of Namdev’s life are unclear. He is the subject of many miracle-filled hagiographies composed centuries after he died. Scholars find these biographies to be inconsistent and contradictory.
Namdev was influenced by Vaishnavism, and became widely known in India for his devotional songs set to music (bhajan-kirtans). His philosophy contains both nirguna and saguna Brahman elements, with monistic themes. Namdev’s legacy is remembered in modern times in the Varkari tradition, along with those of other gurus, with masses of people walking together in biannual pilgrimages to Pandharpur in south Maharashtra.
Details of the life of Namdev are vague. He is traditionally believed to have lived between 1270 and 1350 but S. B. Kulkarni — according to Christian Novetzke, “one of the most prominent voices in the historical study of Maharashtrian sant figures” — has suggested that 1207-1287 is more likely, based on textual analysis. Some scholars date him to around 1425 and another, R. Bharadvaj, proposes 1309-1372.
Namdev was married to Rajai and had a son, Vitha, both of whom wrote about him, as did his mother, Gonai. Contemporary references to him by a disciple, a potter, a guru and other close associates also exist. There are no references to him in the records and inscriptions of the then-ruling family and the first non-Varkari noting of him appears possibly to be in the Lilacaritra, a Mahanubhava-sect biography dating from 1278. Smrtisthala, a later Mahanubhava text from around 1310, may also possibly refer to him; after that, there are no references until a bakhar of around 1538.
According to Mahipati, a hagiographer of the 18th century, Namdev’s parents were Damashet and Gonai, a childless elderly couple whose prayers for parenthood were answered and involved him being found floating down a river. As with various other details of his life, elements such as this may have been invented to sidestep issues that might have caused controversy. In this instance, the potential controversy was that of caste or, more specifically, his position in the Hindu varna system of ritual ranking. He was born into what is generally recognised as a Shudra caste, variously recorded as shimpi (tailor) in the Marathi language and as chimpi (calico-printer) in northern India. Shudra is the lowest-ranked of the four varnas and those of his followers in Maharashtra and northern India who are from those communities prefer to consider their place, and thus his, as the higher-status Kshatriya rank.
There are contrary traditions concerning his birthplace, with some people believing that he was born at Narsi Bahmani, on the Krishna River in Marathwada, and others preferring somewhere near to Pandharpur on the Bhima river. that he was himself a calico-printer or tailor and that he spent much of his life in Punjab. The Lilacaritra suggests, however, that Namdev was a cattle-thief who was devoted to and assisted Vithoba.
A friendship between Namdev and Jñāneśvar, a yogi-saint, has been posited at least as far back as circa 1600 CE when Nabhadas, a hagiographer, noted it in his Bhaktamal. Jñāneśvar, also known as Jñāndev, never referred to Namdev in his writings but perhaps had no cause to do so; Novetzke notes that “Jnandev’s songs generally did not concern biography or autobiography; the historical truth of their friendship is beyond my ken to determine and has remained an unsettled subject in Marathi scholarship for over a century.”
Namdev is generally considered by Sikhs to be a holy man (bhagat), many of whom came from lower castes and so also attracted attention as social reformers. Such men, who comprised both Hindus and Muslims, traditionally wrote devotional poetry in a style that was acceptable to the Sikh belief system.
A tradition in Maharashtra is that Namdev died at the age of eighty in 1350 CE. Sikh tradition maintains that his death place was the Punjabi village of Ghuman, although this is not universally accepted. Aside from a shrine there that marks his death, there are monuments at the other claimant places, being Pandharpur and the nearby Narsi Bahmani.
Scholars note that many miracles and specifics about Namdev’s life appear only in manuscripts written centuries after Namdev’s death. The birth theory with Namdev floating down a river, is first found in Mahipati’s Bhaktavijay composed around 1762, and is absent in all earlier biographies of Namdev. Mahipati’s biography of Namdev adds numerous other miracles, such as buildings rotating and sun rising in the west to show respect to Namdev.
The earliest surviving Hindi and Rajasthani biographies from about 1600 only mention a few miracles performed by Namdev. In Namdev biographies published after 1600 through the end of the 20th century, new life details and more miracles increasingly appear with the passage of time. The earliest biographies never mention the caste of Namdev, and his caste appears for the first time in manuscripts with statements from Ravidas and Dhana in early 17th century. Namdev’s Immaculate Conception miracle mentioned in later era manuscripts, adds Novetzke, is a story found regularly for other sants in India. The Namdev biographies in medieval manuscripts are inconsistent and contradictory, feeding questions of their reliability.
The literary works of Namdev were influenced by Vaishnava philosophy and a belief in Vithoba. Along with the Jñānēśvarī, a sacred work of Jñānēśvar, and of Bhakti movement teacher-writers such as Tukaram, the writings of Namdev form the basis of the beliefs held by the Varkari sect of Hinduism. He was thus among those responsible for disseminating the monotheistic Varkari faith that had emerged first in Karnataka in the mid-to-late 12th century and then spread to Pandharpur in Maharashtra.
Namdev and Jñānēśvar used the Marathi language to convey their beliefs rather than using the traditional Sanskrit language that was essentially a buttress for the pre-eminence of the Brahmin priests. Namdev’s style was to compose simply worded praise for Vithoba and to use a melodic device called samkirtana, both of which were accessible to common people. Shima Iwao says that “He taught that all can be saved equally, without regard to caste, through devotion (bhakti) to Vithoba” and that he greatly influenced groups of people who were forbidden by the Brahmin elite from studying the Vedas, such as women and members of the Shudra and untouchable communities.
The earliest anthological record of Namdev’s works occurs in the Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikh scriptures compiled in 1604, although Novetzke notes that while the manuscript records of Namdev mostly date from the 17th and 18th centuries, there exists a manuscript from 1581 that presents a rarely recounted variant version of Namdev’s Tirthavli, a Marathi-language autobiographical piece. It is evident that the Guru Granth record is an accurate rendition of what Namdev wrote: the oral tradition probably accounts significantly for the changes and additions that appear to have been made by that time. The numerous subsequently produced manuscripts also show variant texts and additions that are attributed to him. Of around 2500 abhangs that were credited to him and written in the Marathi language, perhaps only 600 – 700 are authentic. The surviving manuscripts are geographically dispersed and of uncertain provenance.
Namdev’s padas are not mere poems, according to Callewaert and Lath. Like other Bhakti movement sants, Namdev composed bhajans, that is songs meant to be sung to music. A Bhajan literally means “a thing enjoyed or shared”. Namdev’s songs were composed to be melodious and carry a spiritual message. They built on one among the many ancient Indian traditions for making music and singing. Namdev’s bhajans, note Callewaert and Lath, deployed particular species of Raag, used Bhanita (or Chhap, a stamp of the composer’s name inside the poem, in his case Nama), applied a Tek (or dhruva, repeated refrain) and a meter than helps harmonise the wording with the musical instrument, all according to Sangita manuals refined from the 8th to 13th centuries.
The musical genre of Namdev’s literary works was a form of Prabandha – itself a very large and rich genre that includes dhrupad, thumri, tappa, geet, bhajan and other species. In some species of Indian music, it is the music that dominates while words and their meaning are secondary. In contrast, in Namdev’s bhajan the spiritual message in the words has a central role, and the structure resonates with the singing and music. The songs and music that went with Namdev’s works, were usually transmitted verbally across generations, in a guru-sisya-parampara (teacher-student tradition), within singing gharanas (family-like musical units).
Callewart and Lath state that, “each single song of Namdev is a musical and textual unit and this unit is the basis for textual considerations”. The unit contained Antaras, which are the smallest independent unit within that can be shifted around, dropped or added, without affecting the harmony or meaning, when a bhajan is being sung with music. In Namdev’s songs, the dominant pattern is Caturasra, or an avarta with the 4×4 square pattern of musical matras (beat).
Namdev’s work is known for abhangas, a genre of hymn poetry in India. His poems were transmitted from one generation to the next within singing families, and memory was the only recording method in the centuries that followed Namdev’s death. The repertoires grew, because the artists added new songs to their repertoire. The earliest surviving manuscripts of songs attributed to Namdev, from these singing families, are traceable to the 17th century. A diverse collection of these manuscripts exist, which have been neither compiled nor archived successfully in a single critical edition. The state Government of Maharashtra made an effort and compiled Namdev’s work from various manuscripts into the Sri Namdev Gatha in 1970.
The Adi Granth of Sikhism includes a compilation of 61 songs of Namdev. However, of these only 25 are found in surviving Namdev-related manuscripts of Rajasthan. Winand Callewart suggests that Namdev’s poems in the Adi Granth and the surviving Rajasthani manuscripts are considerably different musically and morphologically, but likely to have evolved from a very early common source.
Of thousands of Abhang poems credited to Namdev, 600 – 700 are probably authentic. The other poems are attributed to Namdev, in a phenomenon Novetzke calls, “anamnetic authorship”. The later compositions and their authors hid the true authorship purposefully and collectively over the 14th to 18th centuries, a period described in Maharashtra culture as the dark age. This was a period of Muslim conquest and repression of Hindus under the Delhi Sultanate and the Mughal Empire. The literary works not composed by Namdev, but attributed to Namdev were partly a product of this historical suffering and political situation in Deccan region of India.
Namdev was influenced by Vaishnavite philosophy. His poems sometimes invoked Vithoba, sometimes Vishnu-Krishna as Govind-Hari, but in the larger context of Rama, which states Ronald McGregor, was not referring to the hero described in the Hindu epic Ramayana, but to a pantheistic Ultimate Being. Namdev’s view of Rama can be visualised, adds McGregor, “only as the one true, or real Teacher of man (satguru)”.
Indian traditions attribute varying theosophical views to Namdev. In north India, Namdev is considered as a nirguna bhakta, in Marathi culture he is considered a saguna bhakta.
In Namdev literature, devotion as the path to liberation is considered superior than other alternate paths. Novetzke states that the envisioned devotion is not one way from the devotee to Vishnu, but it is bidirectional, such that “Krishna (Vishnu) is Namdev’s slave, and Namdev is Vishnu’s slave”. To Namdev, mechanical rituals are futile, pilgrimage to holy places is pointless, deep meditation and loving mutual devotion is what matters. Namdev and other sant poets of India “were influenced by the monist view of the ultimate being (Brahman)”, which was expressed, in vernacular language, as the loving devotion not of a specific deity but to this ultimate, according to McGregor. Namdev’s songs suggested the divine is within oneself, its non-duality, its presence and oneness in everyone and everything.
In Namdev’s literary works, summarises Klaus Witz, as with virtually every Bhakti movement poet, the “Upanishadic teachings form an all-pervasive substratum, if not a basis. We have here a state of affairs that has no parallel in the West. Supreme Wisdom, which can be taken as basically nontheistic and as an independent wisdom tradition (not dependent on the Vedas), appears fused with highest level of bhakti and with highest level of God realization.”
Along with the works of sants such as Jnanesvar and Tukaram, the writings of Namdev are at the foundation of beliefs held by the Varkari sect of Hinduism. He was among those responsible for disseminating the Vithoba faith that had emerged first in the northern Karnataka region in the 12th century and spread to southern Maharashtra. Namdev used the Marathi language to compose his poetry, which made it accessible to the wider public. Namdev’s simple words of devotion and his use melody appealed to common people. This helped spread his message and songs widely. Namdev thus played a role, states McGregor, in shaping the religious base for the “premodern and modern culture of north India”.
Namdev attracted individuals from diverse classes and castes during community-driven bhajan singing sessions. His companions during worship sessions included Kanhopatra (a dancing girl), Sena (a barber), Savata (a gardener), Chokhamela (an untouchable), Janabai (a maid), Gora (a potter), Narahari (a goldsmith) and Jñāneśvar (also known as Dnyandev, a Brahmin). The close friendship between Namdev and the influential Jnanesvar, a Brahmin yogi-saint, is mentioned in Bhaktamal. The songs of Namdev, also called kirtans, use the term loka, which Novetzke states is a reference to “we the people” and the “human world” as a social force.
Namdev is considered one the five revered gurus in the Dadupanth tradition within Hinduism, the other four being Dadu, Kabir, Ravidas and Hardas. Dadupanthi Hindus thrived in Rajasthan, creating and compiling Bhakti poems including one of the largest collection of Namdev’s songs. They were also among the warrior-ascetics of Rajput heritage who became widespread phenomena in the 17th- and 18th-century North India, and were sannyasis who participated in armed resistance to the Islamic Mughal empire, inspired by their Nath yogi heritage and five revered gurus. Like Dadupanth, another north Indian warrior ascetic group, the Niranjani Sampradaya tradition within Hinduism reveres Namdev as a holy person. The Niranjani Vani, which is their scripture just like the scriptures of Dadu Panthi and Sikhs, includes the poetry of Namdev, and is dated to be from the 17th and 18th centuries.
Namdev is one of the revered holy men in Sikhism as well. He is mentioned in Guru Granth Sahib, where Novetzke notes, “Namdev is remembered as having being summoned to confront a Sultan.” There is a controversy among scholars if the Namdev hymns recorded in the Guru Granth of Sikhs were composed by the Marathi Namdev, or a different saint whose name was also Namdev.
Namdev’s legacy continues through the biannual pilgrimage to Pandharpur, near Bhima river, in south Maharashtra. His paduka (footprints) are among those of revered saints that Varkari communities from various parts of Maharashtra carry with a palkhi (palanquin) to the Vithoba temple in Pandharpur, every year in modern times. Namdev composed bhajan-kirtans are sung during the pilgrimage-related festivities.
Mātā Amṛtānandamayī Devī (born Sudhamani Idamannel; 27 September 1953), better known simply as Amma (“Mother”), is a Hindu spiritual leader and guru who is revered as a saint by her followers.
Mātā Amṛtānandamayī is an Indian guru from Parayakadavu (now partially known as Amritapuri), Alappad Panchayat, Kollam District, in the state of Kerala. Born to a family of fishermen in 1953, she was the third child of Sugunanandan and Damayanti. She has six siblings.
As part of her chores, Amṛtānandamayī gathered food scraps from neighbours for her family’s cows and goats, through which she was confronted with the intense poverty and suffering of others. She would bring these people food and clothing from her own home. Her family, which was not wealthy, scolded and punished her. Amṛtānandamayī also began to spontaneously embrace people to comfort them in their sorrow. Despite the reaction of her parents, Amṛtānandamayī continued. Regarding her desire to embrace others, Amṛtānandamayī commented, “I don’t see if it is a man or a woman. I don’t see anyone different from my own self. A continuous stream of love flows from me to all of creation. This is my inborn nature. The duty of a doctor is to treat patients. In the same way, my duty is to console those who are suffering.”
Amṛtānandamayī rejected numerous attempts by her parents to arrange for her marriage. Her life took a different path instead. In 1981, after spiritual seekers had begun residing at her parents’ property in Parayakadavu in the hopes of becoming Amṛtānandamayī’s disciples, the Mātā Amṛtānandamayī Math (MAM), a worldwide foundation, was founded. Amṛtānandamayī continues to serve as chairperson of the Math. Today the Mata Amritanandmayi Math is engaged in many spiritual and charitable activities.
In 1987, at the request of devotees, Amṛtānandamayī began to conduct programs in countries throughout the world. She has done so annually ever since.
In 2014, for the first time in history, major Anglican, Catholic, and Orthodox Christian leaders, as well as Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, and Buddhist leaders (including Amṛtānandamayī), met to sign a shared commitment against modern-day slavery organized by the Global Freedom Network; the declaration they signed calls for the elimination of slavery and human trafficking by the year 2020.
In July 2015, Amritanandamayi delivered the keynote address at a United Nations Academic Impact conference on technology and sustainable development, co-hosted by Amrita University. The event was attended by delegates from 93 international universities. In Amritanandamayi’s address, she requested the scientific community to infuse its research with awareness and compassion, stressing the importance of keeping the aim of uplifting the poor and suffering in mind when undertaking technological research.
Amṛtānandamayī’s form of giving darshana is hugging people. As to how this began, Amṛtānandamayī said, “People used to come and tell [me] their troubles. They would cry and I would wipe their tears. When they fell weeping into my lap, I used to hug them. Then the next person too wanted it… And so the habit picked up. Amṛtānandamayī has embraced more than 33 million people throughout the world for over 30 years.
When asked, in 2002, to what extent she thought her embraces helped the ills of the world, Amṛtānandamayī replied,
“I don’t say I can do it 100 percent. Attempting to change the world [completely] is like trying to straighten the curly tail of a dog. But society takes birth from people. So by affecting individuals, you can make changes in the society and, through it, in the world. You cannot change it, but you can make changes. The fight in individual minds is responsible for the wars. So if you can touch people, you can touch the world.”
Amṛtānandamayī’s darshana has been the centerpiece of her life, as she has received people nearly every day since the late 1970s. Given the size of the crowds coming to seek Amṛtānandamayī’s blessings, there have been times when she has given darshana for more than 20 continuous hours.
In the book The Timeless Path, Swami Ramakrishnananda Puri, one of Amṛtānandamayī’s senior disciples, wrote: “The [spiritual] path inculcated by Amma is the same as the one presented in the Vedas and recapitulated in subsequent traditional scriptures such as the Bhagavad Gita.” Amṛtānandamayī herself says, “karma [action], jñana [knowledge] and bhakti [devotion] are all essential. If the two wings of a bird are devotion and action, knowledge is its tail. Only with the help of all three can the bird soar into the heights.” She accepts the various spiritual practices and prayers of all religions as but different methods toward the same goal of purifying the mind. Along these lines, she stresses the importance of meditation, performing actions as karma yoga, selfless service, and cultivating divine qualities such as compassion, patience, forgiveness, self-control, etc. Amṛtānandamayī has said that these practices refine the mind, preparing it to assimilate the ultimate truth: that one is not the physical body and mind, but the eternal, blissful consciousness that serves as the non-dual substratum of the universe. This understanding itself Amṛtānandamayī referred to as jivanmukti [liberation while alive]. Amṛtānandamayī said, “Jivanmukti is not something to be attained after death, nor is it to be experienced or bestowed upon you in another world. It is a state of perfect awareness and equanimity, which can be experienced here and now in this world, while living in the body. Having come to experience the highest truth of oneness with the Self, such blessed souls do not have to be born again. They merge with the infinite.”
Amṛtānandamayī has recorded more than 1,000 bhajans, or devotional songs, in 35 languages. She has also composed dozens of bhajans and set them to traditional ragas. Regarding devotional singing as a spiritual practice, Amṛtānandamayī says, “If the bhajan is sung with one-pointedness, it is beneficial for the singer, the listeners, and Nature as well. Later when the listeners reflect on the songs, they will try to live in accordance with the lessons enunciated therein.” Amṛtānandamayī has said that in today’s world, it is often difficult for people to attain deeply focused concentration in meditation. A person can be aided in reaching this level of concentration with bhajans.
Embracing the World, Amma’s network of charity organizations, provides food, housing, education, and medical services for the poor. This global network exists in 40 countries around the world, and has built and/or supported schools, orphanages, housing, and hospitals throughout India. In the United States, the organization has provided soup kitchens and hot showers for the homeless, books and hospital visits for prison inmates, and support for victims of domestic violence. The organization also raised $1 million in aid for Hurricane Katrina victims. The hospital located on the territory of Amma’s ashram in Kerala offers medical care on a sliding scale, allowing people to pay what they can afford. This is often a minimal percent of the total medical cost.
Following the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami, the organization provided food and shelter to thousands of people, especially in areas where Indian government aid was inadequate.
Amritanandamayi’s organization has been cleaning the Pampa River and Sabarimala Temple pilgrimage site annually since 2012.
On September 11, 2015, Amritanandamayi donated $15 million USD to the Government of India’s Namami Gange “Clean the Ganges” program for the specific purpose of constructing toilets for poor families living along the Ganges River.
On September 27, 2015, Amritanandamayi pledged that her NGO would dedicate the value of another $15 million USD to toilet construction and other sanitation efforts specifically in the Indian state of Kerala.
On December 9, 2015, Amritanandamayi donated 5 crores of rupees ($736,486) to the flood relief fund established by the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu. Additionally, at Amritanandmayi’s direction, 500 volunteers from the Mata Amritanandamayi Math helped to rescue victims and distributed food, clothing, medicines, and other essentials.
Sreeni Pattathanam, the Kerala-based head of the Indian Rationalist Association, wrote Matha Amritanandamayi: Sacred Stories and Realities, a controversial critique first published in 1985. The author claimed that all the “miracles” of Amṛtānandamayī were falsified. It was further written that there had been many suspicious deaths in and around her ashram that required police investigation.
On 9 August 2002, Deshabhimani, a Malayalam daily newspaper owned by the Communist Party of India (Marxist), published a similar account, demanding investigation into the same deaths Pattathanam found suspicious. On 24 September 2002, Deshabhimani officially apologised for the report, publishing an article titled “Report that Suspicious Deaths at Amritanandamayi Math Are Growing Was Incorrect”. The article stated: “We now state with conviction that there was nothing suspicious about deaths that happened in the Math. Some of the deaths mentioned in the article did not even take place at the Math.” The article went on to explain that relatives of the deceased had personally contacted Deshabhimani in order to correct the misinformation conveyed in the original article. In several cases, the editors noted the relatives had contacted Deshabhimani to explain they were at the bedsides of elderly kin who had died of natural causes, with no suspicious aspects regarding the passings.
In 2004, the Kerala State Government sanctioned criminal prosecution of Patthathanam, the owner of the publishing company, and the printer of the book on grounds that religious sentiments had been offended and for the libelous statements in the book. The order followed directions from the Kerala High Court to the Home Department for considering an application by T.K. Ajan, a resident of the Mata Amṛtānandamayī Math. CPI leader Thengamam Balakrishnan protested the move against Pattathanam.
On 1 August 2012, a 25-year-old law student from Bihar, Satnam Singh Mann, attempted to barge onto the podium of Amṛtānandamayī at her ashram in Kollam. According to police, he was screaming and reciting words in Arabic. He attacked security guards and then was overpowered by devotees, who handed him over to the police.
1993, ‘President of the Hindu Faith’ (Parliament of the World’s Religions)
1993, Hindu Renaissance Award as “Hindu of the Year” (Hinduism Today)
1998, Care & Share International Humanitarian of the Year Award (Chicago)
2002, Karma Yogi of the Year (Yoga Journal)
2002, Gandhi-King Award for Non-Violence by The World Movement for Nonviolence (UN, Geneva)
2005, Mahavir Mahatma Award (London)
2005, Centenary Legendary Award of the International Rotarians (Cochin)
2006, James Parks Morton Interfaith Award (New York)
2006, The Philosopher Saint Sri Jnaneswara World Peace Prize (Pune)
2007, Le Prix Cinéma Vérité (Cinéma Vérité, Paris)
2010, The State University of New York awarded Amma an honorary doctorate in humane letters on 25 May 2010 at its Buffalo campus.
2012, Amma featured in the Watkins’ list of the top 100 most spiritually influential living people in the world.
2013, Awarded first Vishwaretna Purskar (Gem of the Word Award) by Hindu Parliament on 23 April 2013 at Thiruvananthapuram (India)
2013, Awarded proclamation on behalf of the State of Michigan to Amma commemorating Amma’s 60th birthday, the official proclamation describes Amma as a true citizen of the world and recognizes Amma’s charitable works worldwide.
2014, Chosen as one among the 50 most powerful women religious leaders by The Huffington Post.
Founder & Chairperson, Mata Amṛtānandamayī Math
Founder, Embracing the World
Chancellor, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham University
Founder, Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences (AIMS Hospital)
Parliament of the World’s Religions, International Advisory committee member
President Swami Vivekananda’s 150th birth anniversary celebration committee, India
Member, Elijah Interfaith Institute Board of World Religious Leaders
Amṛtānandamayī’s disciples have transcribed her conversations with devotees and spiritual seekers to create approximately a dozen books of her teachings known as “Awaken Children”. The addresses she has delivered at various international forums have also been published in book form. Beginning in April 2011, a bi-weekly message from Amṛtānandamayī has appeared in the Lifestyle section of the Express Buzz Sunday supplement of the New Indian Express newspaper. She also writes a regular blog in the spiritual publication Speaking Tree.
1999 River of Love: A Documentary Drama on the Life of Ammachi
2000 Louis Theroux’s Weird Weekends – “Indian Gurus” (BBC-TV)
2005 Darshan: The Embrace – directed by Jan Kounen
2007 In God’s Name – directed by Jules Clément Naudet and Thomas Gédéon Naudet
2016 “Science of Compassion – a Documentary on Amma, Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi” — directed by Shekhar Kapur.
Sant Eknath Maharaj, considered the Spiritual successor to the work of Sant Dnyaneshwar and Sant Namadev, was a great Saint from Maharashtra. Sant Eknath was known for His spiritual prowess as well as His immense efforts in awakening people and safeguarding Dharma. Sant Eknath id the author of numerous hymns and books on Bhakti and Spirituality, including the famous Eknathi Bhagwat, the spiritual essence of the Bhagavad Geeta and his magnum opus Bhavarth Ramayan.
During the time of Sant Dnyaneshwar and Sant Namadev in Maharashtra, Devgiri was a prosperous and content kingdom under the king Shree Ramdevrai Yadav. Unfortunately after the death of the king Devgiri fell into the hands of Muslim invaders. The reformative and uplifting work started by Sant Dnyaneshwar and Sant Namdev came to a stop. The war and foreign invasions had taken a heavy toll in the life of the people. People were aimless and resigned to the drudgery of being slaves to invaders. For nearly 200 years, this was the state of the people, the nation and Dharma, till a bright soul took birth to awaken the masses.
Little Eknath had been impressed upon the importance of the Gurucharitra. He was constantly asking others on how he could meet His Guru. The learned men around him were baffled and told him to ask the river Godavari. So the very next day little Eknath went to the river and asked his question with great earnestness and urgency. And the infinitely compassionate mother answered! ‘Your Guru is waiting in the fort of Daulatabad’, little Eknath was told. He promptly left home for Daulatabad!
Janardan swami was the head of the fort of Daulatabad. He used to go on leave every Thursday. It was a fateful day, when 5 year old Eknath who was resolutely climbing the steps of the fort, came across Janardan Swami. Janardan Swami welcomed the boy with the word ‘I have been expecting you’. The Guru always waits and knows when a worthy disciple will come along. Janardan Swami entrusted the task of making preparations for puja to little Eknath, who performed it with great devotion, which pleased the Guru immensely. Janardan swami took young Eknath.
The Devgiri fort was under the Nizam rule. Sant Eknath who lived nearby saw that the people silently suffered the excesses of the rulers, while having resigned to their fate of being enslaved. The people were alive because they were not dead already! Sant Eknath decided that he needed to start a mass movement for awakening the people. He earnestly prayed to the Kulswamini Jagdambamata to manifest and bless the work of awakening the people.
Slowly but surely, the people began to realise that they were living a caged life. Sant Eknath’s efforts bore fruit when the demoralised people started expressing their dissatisfaction against the foreign rulers.
दया तिचे नाव भूतांचे पालन ।
आणिक निर्दाळण कंटकांचे ।।
Meaning : Kindness and compassion for the people |
Strict and fiery towards unjust ||
One fateful day, Janardan Swami was deep in Samadhi, when an attacking army raised an alarm. Eknath Maharaj did not hesitate, despite not being a combatant, he donned the armour and stepped out to fight the invaders. He had only one thought on his mind, that his Guru Janardan Swami’s Samadhi state should not be disturbed. So Eknath Maharaj fought valorously for 4 hours and drove the invaders away.
Eknath Maharaj was lauded for his bravery. He proved that the Guru and Shishya are one! Janardan Maharaj was not informed of anything of this. When Swamiji came to know of this he felt a sense of fulfilment for his disciple. The disciples such as Eknathji Maharaj who can wipe out the difference between a Guru and his disciple and can do the work of Guru are extremely rare so to say.
Eknathji had a tremendous respect for mother tongue. For the sake of uplifting of common people he wrote simple stories, Kirtans or stories of Goddesses, Prayers to Goddesses for fulfilment of desires, on the Art of Dance etc. He also wrote a book on Ramayana to give the people of what Ram Rajya or an Ideal State isSant Eknath writes Bhavarth Ramayan
The historical rendition of the life of Lord Rama was re-written by Eknath Maharaj in a volume comprising of 7 divisions, 297 chapters and nearly 40000 stanzas called ‘Ovis’. Eknath Maharaj endeavoured to explain the spiritual meaning of the life of Rama.
‘Aja’ is Parbrahma or Parmatma. From this came Dasaratha or the 10 sense organs. The personal self (atma) in the form of Ram took birth through Dasaratha. The Avatars or Incarnations of God had the primary object of satisfying the desires and aspirations of Gods. Dasrath had 3 Queens – Kaushalya symbolising beneficent knowledge (Sadvidya), Sumitra symbolising Pure knowledge (Shuddhabuddhi) and Kaikayi symbolising ignorance (Avidya). Kaikayi’s maid Manthara symbolised harmful knowledge (Kuvidya). Ram the Blissful had 3 brothers. Laxman meaning self-knowledge (Atmaprabodh), Bharat meaning sentimental (Bhavartha) and Satrughna meaning self supporting (Nij-nirdhar). Then again Vishwamitra meaning rationality (Vivek) and Vasistha meaning thoughtful (Vichar). From latter two Ram learnt the scriptures as well as the art of war. Ram and Sita symbolise God and His Intelligence. Their unity is absolute.
We are fortunate that Eknath Maharaj bestowed upon us the unadulterated version of Dnyaneshwari. From his Bhavarth Ramayana we can witness the sorry state of affairs of Maharashtra under the Islamic kings; the social, political and economic downfall of the people at the time. Even the religious circles had deteriorated to unprecedented levels of hypocrisy. Sant Eknath Maharaj castigated these charlatans of religion in no uncertain manner. Some of them took lessons from Eknath Maharaj and worked to improve themselves and tried to really work for the upliftment of society. Eknath Maharaj proved to the society that via the medium of ‘Bhakti’ one can be a regular householder as well as spiritually evolved. Eknath Maharaj’s life showed the people that the worldly pursuits can also be Spiritual pursuits. He raised the aspirations of people and instilled pride into them towards Bhagwat Dharma and to build strong characters. However it was unfortunate that before the ideas and teachings of Eknath Maharaj could be properly instilled into the hearts and minds of people, invasions by foreigners diverted the peoples efforts and His efforts were shortlived.
Credit- Hindu Jagr UTI