No one can be able to know about Life of Eknath without receiving an inspiration for a higher and better life that delivers us from this repeated births in samsara as per a scholars words ….
Few hundreds years ago , Pandharpur was plagued in gloom when neighboring countrymen carried away the deity of Lord Vithoba to Vijayanagar and Bhanudasa the great devotee risked back his very life to bring back to Pandharpur . Lord pleased with his devotion , assured to appear in his family lineage.
Accordingly Lord appeared as Eknath great grand son of Bhanudasa . Maha Santh Eknath’s grandparents went to Sri Janardhan Swamy and requested to shower his mercy on the lad . We are glad Lord has bestowed abundant mercy on him . We are getting old and anytime we may leave this world. We are worried that our lineage will not continue if he remains single. We request you to kindly advise him to get married .” As per his Guru’s advice, Eknath got married. His wife Girija Bai also a nice dvotee . The couple spent almost 40 years serving Lord Vittala Bhajans.
Eknath had a nice disciple named Udhava . Eknath wanted to celebrate a grand Hari Naam sankirtana on Janmashtami which was approaching . He wished to invite all the village members and celebrate the festival with HARI NAAM SANKIRTAN and later serve prasad sumptuously to every devotee . However, as usual he did not have money for the same . He expressed his desire to his disciple. Uddhava wanted to fullfill his Masters wish .He also did not have money .He decided to go and raise the required money for celebrating Janmashtami and feed the devotees . Uddhava approached a pawn-broker who used to lend money to people with interest.
He approached him and said … Maharaj ..Kindly lend us some money for the feast to be conducted at Eknath Maharajs place . Initially , he refuses .However as he referred Santh Eknaths name he agrees to hand over cash but with a condition the amount must be returned in a weeks time with interest .
The Janmaashtami feast went off very grandly . All the devotees who attended felt so elated .Few villagers who could not attend requested Santh Eknath to re do one more HARI NAAM SANKIRTAN as they were not blessed to attend the first event .
Eknath was overwhelmed . The next day he arranged for a AKHANDA HARI NAAM SANKIRTAN The villagers came in large numbers .The HARI name reached every corner of the village ..It was VITTAL …VITTAL …VITTAL … everywhere …
Meanwile , the pawn broker waited for one week and finally went to Eknath’s house. The VITTAL NAMA SHOWER was repeated by all .The mood of the devotees was in elixir as LORD VITTAL had already reached them
The hari bhaktas were asked to partake the prasad and they were enjoying the feast Eknath and his wife personally were serving the food items to them and as usual, they planned to eat the left overs after feeding the devotees .
The pawn broker entered the house and looked at Uddhava and started abusing him in presence of all the devotees for not returning the money .
Uddhava requested him to wait till the function was over and not to disturb Eknath but the pawn broker approached Eknath.
Eknath was unaware of all the happenings . Assuming that the pawn broker too was a devotee, he gives him prasad . After finishing eating his food, the pawn broker meets Eknath with folded hands and says “Swamiji ! You look like a very pious and honest person. Since you have not returned money on time, I have suffered a loss. I also have to survive.
And If you are a true devotee of LORD VITTALA , without returning my money, you should not eat”.
Eknath was confused but he agreed to check what was the matter with Udhdhav and promised ” Sure! My dear ..I will not partake any thing without repaying the loan ….
I give you my word on Vittal. I will do as you say. I shall eat only after returning your money”. From then on Eknath fasting started.
Where would he go for money. He surrendered to Vittal and said LORD this is your divine leela .
You decide what is in store …May all my senses surrender to your HOLY NAME ….. Will hunger , thirst scare a HARI BHAKTA ..
.When VITTAL the real treasure for me .. Why must I be worried …More HARI NAAM ..is my motto now …
Meanwhile ,all efforts to raise money failed.
Eknath did not have water or food till then. It was just HARI VITTALA …HARI VITTALA …HARI VITTALA …
Lord couldn’t see his devotee starving . It was raining heavily and in midnight someone knocked at the front door of the pawn brokers house. The pawn broker was sleeping . He suddenly woke up and shocked as at this dark night who was disturbing him . He opened the door with a lamp in his hand. He saw Uddhava standing in the front yard. But there was something special in Uddhava . He had a benevolent smile and his voice could make any one fall.. His eyes was glowing with compassion … Any one would have been drawn into those eyes …He couldn’t move his eyes
Am sorry Sir !!! Couldn’t wait seeing my Master starving hence had to disturb you in this night .Please take this money with cumulative interest and kindly give me a receipt that you have received the money for my master to partake food .Please make it fast before I get drenched completely .
The Pawn broker was spell bound . He continued , My master is fasting since the day you asked them not to partake food till money is returned . I had to collect the same for this
The pawn broker completely forgot what he said momentarily and regretted. He quickly ran in and brought the receipt book and gave a receipt saying that the debt had been settled.
Uddhava returned thanking him … The pawn broker was in trance watching him ….
The pawn broker felt very bad that he was the cause for the elderly couple to starve . He felt offended that the ones who fed him nicely that day were still starving .
He wanted to appreciate Eknath for his honesty and apologise for the inconvenience. He also wanted to know whether Uddhava was a realised soul .
He quickly got up the next day and rushed to Eknath’s house and fell at his feet.
He said Maharaj ….“Please forgive me. I was very rude to you “.
Ekanath replied …Hey “Vittal! What is this? Sir! You have not done anything wrong. I told you I would return the money but have not done so. So I am the one who did not keep up my promise to you. I shall try my best to settle the debt as soon as possible. I assure you that I will not eat until then as you instructed sir.”
” Maharaj What are you saying? Your disciple Uddhava came to my house last night and returned the money. He took a receipt also. Didn’t he tell you? Have you not eaten yet?”
Udhdhava who was there with his guru Eknath was startled.
He pleaded immediately that he doesnt know any thing .
He replied “Sir! I did not come to your house. I am still trying to get money”
The money lender raised his voice in emotion
Maharaj …. this man Udhdhava is lying before you.
He came to my house last night at midnight and handed me the money due with huge interest and took my written receipt for same in full settlement of the dues”
He took the receipt and said he will show it to you as you were not partaking food.
Eknath silently prayed to Vittal and went in to check his account note book where all receipts and bills were usually preserved.
There he saw the receipt given by the moneylender on the previous night.
”Is this the receipt you gave Udhdava? last night asked Eknath to the money lender
“Yes Sir”. Yes …the same receipt
Eknath was in tears. He said “Who else can do such a thing other than my Vittala”.
The money lender and Udhdhava too were shocked.
The money lender cursed himself for scolding VITTALA the previous night for disturbing his sleep. He begged Santh Eknath to forgive him.
Jai Jai Ramakrishna hari
Adiyen Ramanuja dasan
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