Vervolg op het eerdere blog over de heiligen, die op de muren van de tempel Bhutabhrteshwarnath mandir staan afgebeeld. Aaradhakananda, een bewoner van de ashram, beschrijft op zijn Facebook-pagina het leven van deze heiligen. Een unieke kans om tien Vaishnava heiligen en Alvars (heilige poëten) te leren kennen en over de diepe kracht van overgave te lezen.

Kabir Das
Kabir Das, een mystieke dichter en een groot Indiase heilige, geboren in het jaar 1440 en overleden in het jaar 1518. Volgens de islam is de betekenis van de Kabir ‘De Grote’. Kabir Panth is de grote religieuze gemeenschap die Kabir als de grondlegger van de Sant Mat sekten beschouwd.
Er wordt aangenomen dat hij zijn spirituele training van zijn Guru, Ramananda, in zijn vroege kindertijd heeft gekregen. Op een dag, werd hij een bekende discipel van de Guru Ramananda. Het huis van Kabir Das heeft onderdak geboden aan studenten en geleerden om er te leven en zijn grote werken te kunnen bestuderen.

De ouders van Kabir Das zijn niet bekend, maar er wordt verondersteld hij door een moslim familie werd verzorgd. Hij werd door de Niru en Nima (zijn verzorgende ouders) in Lehartara, een klein dorp in Varanasi, gevonden . Zijn ouders waren extreem arm en ongeschoold, maar ze adopteerden het kindje heel hartelijk en leidden hem in hun bedrijfje op. Hij leefde dit harmonieuze leven van een eenvoudige huisbewaarder en een mysticus.

Ooit lag Kabir Das op de trappen aan het water en herhaalde hij de mantra ‘Rama-Rama’. ‘s Ochtends vroeg ging Ramananda op weg naar zijn bad en plaatste hij zijn voet op het hoofd van Kabir Das. Ramananda voelde zich daar schuldig over en werd gedwongen hem als zijn discipel te aanvaarden. De familie van Kabir woont nog steeds in het Kabir Chaura in Varanasi.
Kabir Das is de eerste Indiase heilige die het hindoeïsme en de islam heeft verenigd door een universeel pad te geven, dat zowel door hindu’s, als door moslims zou kunnen worden gevolgd.

Aanvulling van de redactie: Guruji heeft ooit over Kabir Das gesproken. Hij vertelde dat Kabir de Hindu-tempel, waar Ram en Lakshmana (broer van Ram) verbleven, wilde bezoeken en op zoek was naar zijn Guru en Guru-mantra. Hij werd echter aan de poort geweigerd, omdat hij er als een moslim uitzag. Ramananda, de leider van de tempel, werd op een nacht in zijn droom door Ram en Lakshmana bezocht. Zij vertelden dat ze op het punt stonden de tempel te verlaten, omdat een devotee werd geweigerd aan de poort. Ramananda schrok hiervan en kon niet meer slapen. Op zijn weg naar het water, zette hij zijn voet op het hoofd van Kabir Das, die lag te slapen op de trappen aan het water. De aanraking met de voet van Ramananda zag Kabir Das als een grote zegen, omdat Ramananda op dat moment riep: “Ram”. Hier ontving hij zijn Guru-mantra en werd geaccepteerd in de ashram.

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

Kulasakhara is regarded as the incarnation of Kaustubha (the jewel in the chest of the Lord) He was born in the city of Kolli or Tiruvanjikuiam. He is said to have been the son of a king by name Dridhavrata. After the usual education he was installed as ruler. Early in his career he became attached to the Vaishnavism and was particularly interested in the Ramayana – while listening he became absorbed in it so much that on a particular occasion when they read out the portion where Rama marched forth single-handed against the great army of
Khara and his two brothers he called out in his abstraction and ordered the whole of his army being put in motion to the assistance of Rama. The reader understanding his position went through the rest of the story rapidly and brought it to its end bringing Rama victorious back to the hermitage where Sita was, and then Kulasekhara is said to have felt relieved. On another occasion he and other bhaktas were accused of stealing jewels from temple. When the responsible officials charged the Vaishnavas with the theft he is said to have affirmed; no Vaishnava will ever commit such a thing and, in token of his faith in them, to have thrust his right hand into a pot into which was put a malignantly poisonous cobra. When the cobra did him no harm and his court felt satisfied that he was right they ceased to interfere with him. His devotion to Vishnu grew stronger day by day till at last he gave up royal life, went forward to Srirangam to be perpetually in the divine presence. It is there that he is said to have composed his Mukundamala his Sanskrit work, and part of his Tamil work. At the instance of Ranganatha himself he moved forward to Tirupati taking Kanchipuram on the way. He returned from Tirupati and travelled on to various Vaishnava places till he came to Mannanarkovil where, while in his; devotion to god left his body. His whole life is said to have been not more than 25 years.
SriVallabh was the first incarnation of Lord Dattatreya.
Lord Dattatreya came to His mother’s house in disguise of a sadhu and she recognized Him. He blessed the lady and fulfilled her wish to be her son.
He was born in a miraculous manner and with divine signs in His body. When He first went to Gurukul, He could already recite the Vedas, what normally take 8 years to be mastered. In a young age He told His parents it was time for Him to leave since He had the task to lead Sadhus into spiritual realization. He said He couldnt marry because for Him all women are the divine mother and He is married to renunciation. Feeling the distress of His parents who had two sick children who couldnt take care of them or work, SriVallabh with a touch healed the brothers, making them able to take care of the parents when they get old, and gave them darshan of His divine form. He performed many miracles in His life and disappeared into the Ganga river when His time came to leave this plane physically.

Thiruppaan Alvar was born in Purthurmadhi year, Kaarthigai month, Wednesday in Rohini Natshatram in a small village of “Alagapuri” near Srirangam in 8th or 9th century C.E. He was born in “Baanar Cheri”. Baanar are musicians who are capable of arresting the minds of all people and even the Devas and Rishis. But these baanars are kept as a separate categorized peoples and who were treated as untouchables.

The cauvery water is used for the Thirumanjanam for Sri Ranganadhar. Loga Saaranga Maha Muneetharar, a devoted bhakta of Sri Ranganathar, would daily bring the cauvery water for Thriumanjanam.

Loka Saranga was instructed by Lord in the dream. When Loka Saranga went to collect water from Thiru-Kaveri, Thirupaan Azhwar was singing Kirtana near the steps leading to the river and blocked the path of Loka Saranga. Loka Saranga called out Thirupaan Azhwar to move but He was so immersed in Kirtana and didn’t move, so Loka Saranga, who was annoyed by Thirupaan Azhwar, threw a rock at the Azhwar, thus hurting Him. Azhwar realized that he was blocking the way, moved and apologized. Loka Saranga lost his eye sight immediately. Upon realizing that he was blinded by ritualistic traditions and committed a a grave offense, Loka Saranga apologized and brought Thirupaan Azhwar on his shoulder to Sri Rangam by crossing the Kaveri.

Azhwar composed the ten songs of Amalan Adhi Piraan and merged into the deity of Sri Ranganatha and Loka Saranga regained his eye sight. He sung a total of ten paasurams which explain the beauty of Sri Ranganathar from his thiruvadi (foot) to thirumudi(head).

Jananabai or Jana, a little girl whose mother before dying told her to go to Pandharpur where she would be protected by Lord Vitthal, Jana came to Pandharpur. Janabai was all along an ardent devotee of Lord Vitthal, and she was also gifted with poetic talent. She composed many divine religious verses in abhanga form. Her sentimental poetry is replete with her love for the God. In several poems on devotion which she had composed, she described herself as ‘Nam’s maid-servant’ or ‘Namdev’s Jani’. Jana used to give water to the outcastes. Jana took care of Namdev’s family, Namdev being a very devotional man. She was one of the closest followers of Namdev and had no ambition other than to serve Namdev and sing the glory of the Lord Vithoba. Compassionate Lord Vitthal used to help her in her daily domestic chores and He was also singing for her. Once the priests of the temple accused her of the theft of an ornament of the Lord, but she told them that the Lord was sleeping in her house the previous day and that the Lord must have left the ornament in her house. People laughed at her, thinking her as a liar. She was awarded a punishment. As she approached the iron pole where execution was to take place, gazing at it and singing the Lord’s eulogy, the pole melted and flowed into the river. Her devotees, seeing this miracle, began rejoicing, for God had saved His devotee and shown her greatness to all. Those who had condemned her, were shocked and realized their horrible mistake. She was thus protected by the Lord.
In one of her poems she sang, addressed to Lord Vithoba, indicating her ambition: “Let me undergo as many births in this world as you please, but grant that my desires are fulfilled. They are that I see Pandharpur and serve Namdev in every birth. I do not mind if I am a bird or a swine, a dog or a cat, but my conditions are that in each of these lives, I must see Pandharpur and serve Namdev. This is the ambition of Namdev’s maid.”