Magic Life of Sant Namdev Maharaj

Early Life of Sant Namdev 

Hundreds of years ago, in a small town in India, a son was born to a poor but pious family.
His name was Namdev, and from a very young age, Sant Namdev had an extraordinary relationship with Lord Vitthal. For him, Lord Vitthal was as real and alive as his own parents.
 
As Namdev Maharaj grew, so did his love for the Lord. He spent his days singing devotional poems and became famous as a great bhakta, or devotee, of Lord Vitthal.
 
Joining the renowned sage Jnaneshwar, he traveled across India, singing his wonderful poems, or abhangas, and bringing the Religion of Love to all the land. But it wasn’t until he met his Guru, a great Siddha named Vishoba Khechar, that he was able to see God everywhere and truly rejoice in God’s infinite presence.
 
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A storyteller narrates the tale of Namdev, born in the year 1270 in a small Maharashtran village called Pandharpur.
 
In the house where Namdev lives, the name of Lord Vitthal is always present. The first word he says is “Vitthal,” and without being taught, the first word he writes is “Vitthal.”
 
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When Namdev is five, he goes to the temple for the first time to offer the family’s meal to Vitthal. Vitthal is so real to him that he can’t understand why the statue doesn’t eat the food he has brought. Touched by the boy’s innocent faith, Vitthal eats the food and reaches out to touch Namdev’s hand. 
 

How Sant Namdev Becomes a Thief and Overcomes it!

As he gets bigger, so too does his appetite!
But food is scarce at Namdev’s house, and in order to help feed his family, He then joins a group of thieves.
Every day, he steals gold and food from travelers, some of whom don’t live to see the end of their journey….
 
One day, he comes across a woman with her children begging in front of the temple. Kindly asking him for food, the woman reveals that they are forced to beg because her husband was killed by a highwayman - none other than Namdev himself!
Filled with remorse, he lies in front of the temple for days, finally calling out to the Lord in one of his first poems.
 
Oh benevolent Lord!
If a child falls into a fire, its mother comes to help it.
If a fire envelops a forest, the mother deer suffers for her young ones.
In the same way Oh Lord, you must care for me!
 
From this day forth, Namdev Maharaj spends all his time in the temple, singing sweet abhangas to the Lord, the name of Vitthal always on his lips. In return, Vitthal takes care of his family.
 
Namdev’s Fame as a Great Lover of Vitthal Grows
From hundreds of miles away, the young saint Jnaneshwar comes to his house and asks him to be his companion on a procession to bring the name of God to all people.
Together, they set out on a pilgrimage to bring the Religion of Love to all the land.
 
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And so the procession begins.
Along the way, Sant Namdev, Jnaneshwar, and the pilgrims chant God’s name, perform dindi dances -- special dances honoring Lord Vitthal -- and have many adventures.
 
The pilgrims arrive at a great Shiva temple, worshipped in by many Brahmins.
The Brahmins become displeased that Namdev and the pilgrims are chanting the name of Vitthal, and not Shiva, so they order the pilgrims to chant at the back of the temple.
But Shiva is so pleased by the singing of the bhaktas that He moves the temple around!
 
The glorious procession comes to an end, and Namdev Maharaj returns to Pandharpur and his sweet life singing abhangas to his beloved Vitthal.
 
But although his devotion to Vitthal is intense, he still sees God only in this image of Vitthal in the temple of Pandharpur.
 
Vitthal directs him to find a Guru, the great Siddha Vishoba Khechar, who can teach him to see God in all beings.
 
  • Namdev finds Vishoba Khechar in a nearby village.
  • Rejoicing at finding his Guru, he comes to learn that indeed, everything is God’s creation, and that God dwells inside every creature.
  • After offering service to his Guru for some time, he travels back to Pandharpur.
  • Along the way, the Lord tests him by sending a mangy dog to steal his bread as he is preparing his dinner. But instead of getting angry, Namdev spreads ghee on the bread, so that it won’t hurt the dog’s stomach.
  • He returns to Pandharpur an enlightened man, realizing that everything, everywhere, is God!
Namdev lives to a ripe old age, composing thousands of abhangas and becoming a Guru to many disciples.
His most faithful disciple is Janabai, who serves him faithfully his whole life.
 
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Just before taking Mahasamadhi, Namdev asks to be buried under the steps of his beloved Vitthal’s temple, so that the dust of the feet of the Lord’s devotees will continually pass over him.
Today, hundreds and hundreds of years later, his love and devotion are still alive within us, in the beauty and power of his songs to the Lord
 
To ascend the sky on the Ladder of sun-rays may be possible, 
but one cannot find a saint without intense longing. 
To reach heaven by swimming through the river of fire may be possible, 
but the merit of Satsang one cannot know, one cannot know. 
The fantasies of a dream may come true, but the merit of Satsang one cannot know, one cannot know. 
Mother, father, brother, sister, and a good birth are possible to get, but to get the company of a saint is rare fortune. 
Says Nama, I prefer the company of a saint to that of the Lord, for without them, the cycle of birth and death cannot end, cannot end.
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