Sant Eknath

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It is great to find faults in others, isn’t it? We are all equipped with enough knowledge to find faults and correct everyone around us. Eknath too did not sleep when he found faults in his accounts. Over and over again, he went through the accounts to locate the exact mistaken date…and ultimately, he found it! His joys knew no bounds – he danced – thrilled with his achievement. His master, Janardana Panth said, “If rectifying this mistake can give you so much joy, how much joy should you experience if you discover the mistakes in your life and rectify them? It is nothing short of self-purification and hereafter realisation of Godhood!” “Remove the impurities”, he said, “drop the defects and shed the desires. Dispel darkness; Realise Ignorance. You will shine in Godliness and bliss”.

 The life of Eknath acted like a bridge between his predecessors Jnaneshwar and Naamdev and his successors Tukaram and Ramdas His teachings of philosophy and practice is a synthesis of the quest for the eternal and transcendent while living within the imminent. This great saint of Maharashtra was born sometime around 1530 in Paithan, Maharashtra. Eknath’s father, Suryanarayan, and mother, Rukmini died shortly after his birth. Eknath was brought up by his grandparents, Chakrapani and Saraswatibai. Throughout his childhood Eknath devoted his time significantly to devotional practices.

Eknath was popular in his friends and in social circle for being devoid of anger. A Muslim friend, to win a bet with a friend, spat on Eknath. Silent as ever, Eknath went to the river and washed himself. The bribed friend spat yet again, Eknath washed himself without any reaction. We often say, there should be a limit to patience. Eknath’s patience knew no limits. Even the hundredth time he was spat upon, he bathed to clean himself. He was an embodiment of patience. All those who made fun of him or trouble him, ultimately gave in to his immense patience – they grew to admire and adore him.

Sant Eknath was an Intellectual-Poet, a Devotee-Poet, a beloved of lord Krishna. During the intervening period of about 250 years between Dnyaneshwar and Eknath, various Islamic invaders ravaged Maharashtra. Defeats after defeats had completely demoralised people. The great legacy of Jnaneshwar was nearly forgotten. Eknath devoted himself to change this situation. His first task was to locate the “samadhi” of Jnaneshwar and trace the undistorted version of “Jnaneshwari” (Jnaneshwar’s treatise of the Bhagavad Gita). In fact, without Eknath’s all-out efforts, the legacy of Jnaneshwar could well have been lost to the succeeding generations.

Just as Tulsidas is famous for ‘Ramacharit Manas’ in North India, Eknath is famous in Maharashtra for his inspiring ‘Eknathi Bhagvatha’. In 1606, he took Jal-samadhi by wading into river Godavari.

“To emaciate one’s body with fasts and the like is not true Penance” said Sant Eknath. “So long as evil passions persist in man, all external appliances are useless.”

“Remembrance is liberation, forgetfulness in regression. Utterance of the Name is Bhakti”

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