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Samarth Raamdaas

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Samarth Raamdaas
(1608 AD - 1682 AD) = 74 years
There are three people who are said to be the kingmakers - Samarth Raamdaas, Vidyaaranya and Kautilya or Chaanakya. Together they form the Tri-Moorti who built Hindu kingdoms and saved the Sanaatan Dharm during their times.

Raamdaas' complete name was Shree Samarth Raamdaas. He was the Guru of Shivaajee. He lived in a village called Jamb Gaanv in Mahaaraashtra, India. His father's name was Surya Jee Panth and his mother's name was Renuka Baaee of Jamb Gaanv, Maharashtra. He was born in 1608 AD. Samarth Raamdaas, was born on Hanumaan Jayantee, as an "Ansh" of Lord Hanumaan to do "Lok Uddhaar" (to help the world). Avataar Purush come for "Lok Uddhaar". Till today the people of Jamb Gaanv celebrate his birth anniversary during the 9-day festival of Raam (Raam Navamee) every year. His original name was Naaraayan. He was a devotee of Hanumaan and Lord Raam. He established 11 temples of Hanumaan Jee in Mahaaraashtra.

When Raamdaas was 12 years old, arrangements were being made for his marriage. He ran away from the place.  Raamdaas was a follower of A-DwaitVaad and a Bhakt in one. He had this very noble quality that he never hated any religion or nation. His main object was to spread the Hindu religion. He took the name of Raamdaas at the age of 24 years. He loved Soorya Namaskaar very much.

Eknaath Appoints Raamdaas His Successor
There was a Mahaatmaa by name Eknaath. He sat on the banks of Godaavaree River in Mahaaraashtra. At the time of leaving his physical body he was surrounded by his disciples and innumerable Bhakt. They requested him, "You have decided to leave this world. To keep up your work of Bhaagavat Dharm, please name your successor from amongst us." When disciples of Ekanaath waited with bated breath to know whom he was going to name as his successor (each one thought of himself to be the worthy candidate), the Saint pointed to the little child Samarth Raamdaas walking up to him with his father and said - "It is that little child who will protect Bhaagvat Dharm after me." This child was none other than Samarth Raamdaas. He was not even a year old at that time.

Raamdaas Runs Away From Marriage
It is said that at the time of his birth he even had a small tail. The child used to be found sitting on trees; sitting inside a room with the hands holding the "Chin Mudraa". He was not interested in marriage but the parents pressurized him to get married. Unable to speak against the wishes of his mother he remained quiet and his marriage was arranged. In those days the bride and the groom saw each other only at the time of marriage. A screen was held between the two and "Lagnaashtakam" Mantra, "Sulagne Savadhaan" is chanted and the screen removed for them to see each other. When this was done Raamdaas was not to be found on the other side of the screen. He had gone away to a cave in Sajjan Garh, near Pandharpur. It is near Naasik Panchvatee. Even today it can be seen. He sat there wearing a loin cloth (Kaupeen) and a Jap Maalaa held in his hand. He sat there doing incessant Jap of "Shree Raam Jaya Raam Jaya Jaya Raam, Om Shree Raam Jaya Ram Jaya Jaya Ram!"

Raamdaas used to do Keertan (Jaap of Hari Naam) of "Shree Raam Jaya Raam, Jaya Jaya Raam". There are 13 Akshar in this. He performed 13 crore Jap of this Mantra at Tafaalee, near Naasik, on the banks of the Godaavaree. Once Raam appeared before him. He told Raam - "I am unable to concentrate on the Jap if I keep counting it like this. I wish to do the Jap thinking of you. Instead, I am compelled to count the Jap." So he ordered Raam - "When my 13 crore Jap is completed, ring the bell of your "Kodand" (bow)!" and Raam complied with this request. Every time, Raamdaas completed 13 crore Jaap, Raam would then appear before him and request him - "If people like you sat in the cave doing Jap, then who would do "Uddhaar" (help) of the people of the world? So, go out to do "Lok Uddhaar". " It is also said that Raam ordered him to visit holy places.

Raamdaas and Shivaajee: God Cares for Everybody
Shivaajee was his great disciple. Shivaajee became the disciple of Raamdaas Jee at the place called Shingan Vaadee. Seeing him wandering in various places, Shivaajee requested him to move to a fort named Paralee and established his permanent residence there. Later that fort was renamed as Sajjangarh.

Once Raamdaas Jee and his disciple Shivaajee were inspecting some construction work in the palace. Shivaajee thought that "how well he was taking care of his subjects." Raamdaas Jee read his thoughts and thought to correct him. Nearby there was lying a huge boulder and the workers were trying to break it in two parts. As they broke it they saw an unbelievable scene - there was a water cavity in the stone and a tiny frog jumped put of that cavity and ran away. Raamdaas Jee said to Shivaajee - "If you feel that you are taking care of your people, then tell me who was taking care of this tiny frog?" Shivaajee realized his mistake and repented for his thinking.

Raamdaas, Shivaajee and Orange Flag
It is said that Shree Raam ordered Raamdaas Jee to go to the banks of Krishnaa River and help in attaining the objectives of Shivaajee, the incarnation of Shiv and founder of the Kingdom of Mahaaraashtra. So Raamdaas Jee went there and installed a shrine of Shree Raam at Champaavatee and introduced Shree Raam Navamee Mahotsav and the procession of Shree Raam's chariot there.

Shivaajee placed the sandals of his Guru on the throne and acted as regent of the kingdom under the orders and guidance of his Guru and adopted as ensign the flag of orange color. There is a beautiful and romantic incident current in the Mahaaraashtra about Shivaajee's adoption of the Geruaa (orange) flag and his ruling the kingdom in the name of Saint Raamdaas.

One day Shivaajee saw, from the terrace of his palace, his Gurudev Raamdaas going about the streets with his begging bowl. Shivaajee was surprised to see this and could not understand why his Guru should beg when he himself had already placed all his resources at his disposal. So Shivaajee called for his companion Baalaa Jee, wrote a small note and asked him to give it to his Guru Jee when he came back to the palace. Raamdaas Jee came to the palace at about noon with his bowl and Baalaa Jee prostrated before Guru Dev and placed the note at his feet. The note conveyed briefly that Shivaajee had made a gift of his whole kingdom to Guru Dev and he humbly solicited his Guru Dev's blessings. The Guru smiled and told Baalaa Jee that it was alright. Next morning Raamdaas Jee called on Shivaajee and asked him what he proposed to do with himself as he had now disposed of his kingdom to him.

Shivaajee prostrated himself before Raamdaas and told that he would be very happy and consider himself blessed if he could spend his life in his Guru Dev's service. At this Raamdaas Jee said - "Take this bowl and let us go on our rounds." So both Raamdaas and Shivaajee went round Sataaraa begging. The people reverently bowed before the pair and gave them alms. After a while the pair returned to the river. Raamdaas prepared his simple meals and Shivaajee partook of what was left over after his Guru had taken his meal. Then Shivaajee, with a smile, asked his Guru what he was going to do with him after reducing him to a beggar. Raamdaas Jee knew that the opportunity had come to set up a lofty ideal for the king, so Raamdaas asked Shivaajee to rule the kingdom in his (Raamdaas') name, to take the Geruaa Chaadar for his banner and defend its honor with his life, and to think that the kingdom did not belong to himself but treat it as a trust to be ruled justly and well before God. And thus the Gerua banner became the banner of Shivaajee.

Guru Saves His Disciple's Life
Once a 12-year old boy, Shiv Raam, told Raamdaas Jee that he would live with him. Guru allowed him to live with him, so he went with him. Guru Jee took rest and sent his new disciple to bring Bhikshaa. So Shiv Raam went to ask for Bhikshaa. Some people tried to make a mockery of him, so they sent him to a house in which one Avinaash Chandra Taantrik lived. Shiv Raam went there and called - "Jaya Raam Samarth." The Taantrik asked - "Why do you call Jaya Raam Samarth, why don't you call "Bhikshaam Dehi"?" Shiv Raam said - "He is my Guru, that is why I take his name only." Taantrik got angry at this. He had Vaak Siddhi - whatever he said came to be true. In spite of saying so several times when Shiv Raam did not say "Bhikshaam Dehi", he got angry and cursed him - "you will die tomorrow morning".

Shiv Raam came back to his Guru. Guru asked him - "Did you bring Bhikshaa?" Shiv Raam said - "I have brought the curse instead of Bhikshaa. I went to Avinaash Chandra's house, he has cursed me that I will die tomorrow." Guru Jee said - "Why do you fear. Death will come tomorrow, till you will live. Come and massage my feet and continue to massage them until I stop you. Do not sleep at all do not care for anything." Shiv Raam started to massage Guru's feet. Now Avinaash sent a Krityaa to kill him. She came first assuming the form of a he-buffalo, but seeing him massaging his Guru's feet went away. Then she came in the form of lion, but seeing him massaging Guru's feet again went back. Then she came in the form of the boy's mother and asked him to come with her. Now the child got confused. He thought, "Is she really my mother? And if she is how did she come there? And if she is my mother, should I go with her?" But at the same time he remembered Guru's order, so he asked that Krityaa - "How did you come here?" Now Krityaa can kill but cannot speak so she could not speak and went away. Shiv Raam continued to massage Raamdaas' feet.

Now she came again in the morning and fell on Guru's feet. Guru pardoned her and then she went back to Avinaash and tried to kill him. Seeing this Avainaash came running to Raam Daas Jee and asked for his forgiveness. Guru Jee asked - "Why did you create this Krityaa? "To kill this boy." "You wanted to kill my disciple?" "I am sorry, but now I have come to be your disciple. Please protect me." Guru Jee destroyed Krityaa, and accepted him as his disciple." Thus Guru saved the life of his disciple.

Raamdaas Has the Darshan of Paandurang
Raamdaas had never visited Pandharpur. One day, Lord Paandurang Vitthal, in the form of a Braahman, with a group of 300 pilgrims, appeared before Raamdaas Jee and asked him whether he had any objection to see Lord Krishn. Raamdaas said "No", so Paandurang then took Raamdaas to Pandharpur, and when the Bhakt approached the temple, the Braahman disappeared. Raamdaas then knew that he was none other than the Lord that had brought him to that holy place. He entered the temple, and to his great surprise, he found Shree Raam standing alone on a brick. Raamdaas addressed the Deity thus - "O Lord, what are you doing here alone? Where is your brother Lakshman and your consort Seetaa Maataa? Where is Maaruti and where are the monkey hordes?" On hearing these words, the image at once transformed itself into Shree Pandaareenaath. Raamdaas then praised Paandurang for His kindness, prostrated before Him and sang songs of joy for getting His rare Darshan. Raamdaas now felt doubly convinced that the several incarnations of the Lord were there but His all forms preached that everyone should respect and worship the One who took care of one and all in the world. Raamdaas then worshipped Paandurang to his heart's content and became a frequent visitor and Bhakt of Paandurang Vitthal also. In Pandharpur, Raamdaas came in contact with Tukaaraam and other saints of Pandharpur. In his pilgrimages, Raamdaas observed and studied the social, political and economic conditions of Indians and their utter helplessness in life.

Guru is Everywhere
Once, there lived an old couple called Baalkrishn and Pootanaa Baaee, who were great devotees of Raam and Swaamee Raamdaas Jee. They would spend their days with chanting Raam's name and prayer. Every year, they would chant and walk all the way from their village to Jamb Gaanv, to take part in this festival and to pay respects to Swaamee Raamdaas. They had been doing this for the last 60 years. However, one year, while returning from the festival, they found it very difficult to walk further, due to old age. So they prayed to Swaamee Raamdaas - "Swaamee Jee, from now on we will not be able to take part in the festival. Due to old age, we will not be able to walk for such a long distance. However, we are very grateful that we could travel every year for the last 60 years only by your grace."

Next morning, Swaamee Jee appeared in Baalkrishn's dream. He said to Baalkrishn - "Dear Baalkrishn, do not worry. Celebrate the festival in your city. I will visit you there." Baalkrishn was very happy by this dream. A year passed. According to the guidance given, the couple started preparations to celebrate the festival in their home. Eight days of the festival passed. Baalkrishn and Pootanaa Baaee eagerly waited for Swaamee Jee's visit. However, when the rituals for the 9th day started, unexpectedly, another great Saint, Shree Gajaanan Mahaaraaj visited their celebrations. Baalkrishn and Pootanaa Baaee were surprised to see him, but were very happy to have the Satsang (company) of a Saint and welcomed him wholeheartedly.

As Baalkrishn was paying respects to Shree Gajaanan Mahaaraaj, he suddenly saw Samarth Raamdaas Swaamee in his place. After a few moments, he could not see Raamdaas Swaamee, and saw Shree Gajaanan Mahaaraaj again. Baalkrishn was very confused, because he kept seeing Raamdaas Swaamee and Shree Gajaanan Mahaaraaj one after another. Finally, Raamdaas Swaamee appeared to him and said - "Dear Baalkrishn, I have come to visit you today, as promised." From this episode, Baalkrishn realized that though saints look different from outside, they are all one and the same.

Usually, saints have been given nicknames by which they addressed their Aaraadhya Dev (Isht Dev or Deity). Raamdaas always uttered - Jaya Jaya Shree Raghuveer Samarthaa, that is why he himself was called Samarth Raam Daas. Tulasee Daas in his Raam Charit Maanas has frequently addressed Raam as Gosaaeen or Goswaamee, so he himself was called Goswaamee Tulasee Daas. Similarly, In Orissa, Achyutaanand explained Yaugic view, so he was called Mahaapurush (Yog tells that each Vibhooti of God can be obtained - thus God is bigger form of man - a Mahaapurush, called Mahaabaahu in Geetaa). Jagannaath Daas explained in Bhaagvat view which tells God as beyond our imagination or Puraan Purush which is higher than Mahaapurush concept, so, he was called Ati-badee (too big).

Raam Daas, Shaah Jahaaan, and Baalaajee Peshavaa I
Aachaarya Chatursen Shastri writes this incident in his novel "Khandahar Boltey Hain" (although there may be some exaggeration also but many stories are famous about Aurangzeb trying to marry his father's wives) - There is a story by Chatursen which links Shaahajahaan, Baalaajee (1st Peshavaa) and Shivaajee with Samarth Raamdaas. It is well known that Raam Daas Jee ran away from his marriage Vedee. Then the girl was married to another person. Her first child was a daughter who was kidnapped and was married to Shaahjahaan. Later Shaahjahaan's son Aurangzeb took over the power. He wanted that girl for himself as his wife, but the girl refused his offer saying that she was his mother in relation that is why she could not have accepted his offer. On forcing, she burnt herself. The next issue (the first one was the daughter married to Shaah Jahaaan) of the "would have been" wife of Raam Daas was Baalaajee who was one of junior advisers of Shivaajee and he later became the first Peshavaa.

Works of Raamdaas
The literary works of Raamdaas such as Dasabodh, Manache Shlok (verse addressed to the mind), Karunaashtak (hymns to God) and Raamaayan (describing only the conquest of Lankaa by Shree Raam and the vanquishing of Raavan) are very popular. It was as a tribute to Raamdaas' extraordinary patience and determination in rehabilitating the Hindu religion in India that people named him Samarth (all-powerful) Raamdaas, a name which he richly deserved. This great Guru of Mahaaraashtra breathed his last in 1682 at Sajjan Garh, near Sataaraa, a fortress which was given to him by Shivaajee for his residence.

The last instructions of Raamdaas to his disciples were: "Do not think much of your bodily wants. Have Satsang with devotees. Keep the image of Lord Raam in your heart. Repeat the name of Lord Raam always. Annihilate lust, greed, anger, hatred and egoism. See Lord Raam in all creatures. Love all. Feel His presence everywhere. Live for Him alone. Serve Him in all beings. Make total and unreserved surrender unto Him. You will always live in Him alone. You will attain immortality and eternal bliss."

An Incident of Raamdaas' Life
From HERE. This was told by Agastya Jee himself to one of his Naadee readers.

There is a temple of Raam in Bhadraachalam. He directed him to go to this temple to have Raam's Darshhan, but when that man went there Godaavaree River was so much flooded that there was no hope for water to recede for more than a week. So he waited there and asked Agastya Jee what should he do. Then Agastya Jee told him this story.

"This Raam temple was built by Raamdaas Jee after looting the Government Treasury. hence Raamdaas was arrested and imprisoned. Though it was a mistake and he did get the results of it, Shree Raam did appreciate the devotion of Raamdaas. In fact on that day Raam appeared before Raamdaas in the prison. Godaavaree also flooded on the same day when Raam appeared before him.  After appearing before Raamdaas, Raam came to that temple along with Seetaa, Lakshman and Hanumaan. So I thought you might have luck to have His Darshan here. This water will recede in 1 and 1/2 Ghadee (20 minutes) time and Raam will come here in an invisible form. So close your eyes and meditate. Do not open your eyes for whatever reasons. You can see His arrival. His Darshan will last only for 1 Ghadee (25 minutes). Then as Shree Raam descends through these steps, He will do Namaskaar (greet) to Godaavaree River with flowers. he will show Deep also to her which you can witness in your meditation. Once this worship is over, Godaavaree's water will recede in 4 hours. Then you may get down."

And he had the Darshan of all the four. Even the officer also felt that somebody came there because fruits kept there were bitten. The officer could not understand it and considered it monkey's work. He also told that Raamdaas Jee offered many antique ornaments to Raam. The Naadee Reader himself saw them.

This incident reminds me of Yamunaa'a water level increasing to touch Krishn's feet when Vasudev Jee was taking Him to Gokul, and as soon as He touched her with His feet, it receded.


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Created by Sushma Gupta on 3/15/06
Updated on 06/13/13