Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Samartha Ramadass

I recently attended a discourse on “Samartha Ramadass” by Sri Ranganji. During the period of Samartha Ramadass the country was plundered by Muslim Rulers who were very cruel and unjust and tried to demolish and destroy various Hindu Temples. The ignorant and poor Hindu womens were spoiled by the invaders. There was nothing but darkness. People had to face all such cruelty helplessly. They were so poor and weak that they were quite unable to raise their heads and hands to protest it. Sri Samartha Ramadass had closely observed it and decided to increase their physical power by way of unity and also the importance of trust on Lord Ram. He established many temples for Maruthi/Hanuman. He was also the Guru for Chatrapathi Shivaji. Please read on to know more about Samartha Ramadass.

Early Life

Ramadas was one of the greatest saints of the world. He was the inspirer of Shivaji. He was born of Suryaji Panth and Renuka Bai in Jamb, Maharashtra, in 1608 A.D. His original name was Narain. Ramdas was a contemporary of Sant Tukaram. He was a great devotee of Hanuman and Lord Rama. He had Darshan of Lord Rama even when he was a boy. Lord Rama Himself initiated him. As a boy, Ramdas acquired some knowledge of the Hindu scriptures and developed a liking for meditation and religious study. One day he shut himself in a room and began to meditate on God. When his mother asked him what he was doing, Ramdas replied that he was meditating and praying for the good of the world. His mother was surprised at the precocious religious inclination of the boy and felt happy. When Ramdas was twelve years of age, all arrangements were made for his marriage. He sat in front of the bride. There was a screen between the bridegroom and the bride. When the priests chanted "Sawadhan!' (be alert), Ramdas bolted away from the place and disappeared within the twinkling of an eye.

Studies and Penances

For twelve years Ramdas stayed at Nasik on the banks of the Godavari. He used to get up very early in the morning, go into the Godavari river, and with his body half-immersed in water, recite the sacred Gayatri Mantra till about noon. Then he would go round for alms. He first offered the collected food to his Deity Sri Rama and then took it as Prasad. After resting a while, he used to attend religious discourses in the various temples of Nasik and Panchavati. Ramdas also studied Sanskrit and copied in his own hand the Ramayana of Valmiki. This manuscript is still preserved in the collection of Sri S.S. Dev of Dhubliah. Ramdas did Purascharana of the Rama Mantra of thirteen letters Sri Ram Jaya Ram Jaya Jaya Ram thirteen lakhs of times at Tafali, near Nasik, on the banks of the Godavari. After the Purascharana was over, once again Ramdas had Darshan of Lord Rama. It is said that Ramachandra ordered Ramdas to visit holy places such as Nasik, Haridwar, Kasi, etc. Ramdas sprinkled over a dead body holy water uttering the name of Rama and the dead body was restored to life. Ramdas had to do this, because he had blessed a woman who had just lost her husband.


Ramdas was an Advaitin and a Bhakta 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 throughout India. Ramdas had not visited Pandharpur, as he had not known the existence of this holy place. One day, the tradition says, Lord Panduranga Vittal, in the form of a Brahmin, with a batch of three hundred pilgrims, appeared before Ramdas and asked him whether he had any objection to see Lord Krishna. Ramdas replied in the negative. Panduranga then took Ramdas to Pandharpur, and when the Bhaktas approached the temple, the Brahmin disappeared. Ramdas then knew that it was none other than the Lord that had brought him to that holy place. He entered the temple, and to his great surprise, found Sri Rama standing alone on a brick.

Ramdas addressed the Deity thus: "O Lord, what are You doing here alone? Where is Your brother Lakshmana and Your consort Sita Mata? Where is Maruti and where are the monkey hordes?". On hearing these words, the image at once transformed itself into Sri Pandarinath. Ramdas then praised Panduranga for His kindness, prostrated before Him and sang songs of joy for getting His rare Darshan. Ramdas now felt doubly convinced that the several incarnations of the Lord were but His several forms and preached that everyone should respect and worship the One who took care of one and all in the world. Ramdas then worshipped Panduranga to his heart's content and became a frequent visitor and Bhakta of Panduranga Vittal also. In Pandharpur, Ramdas came in contact with Tukaram and other saints of Pandharpur. In his pilgrimages, Ramdas observed and studied the social, political and economic conditions of Indians and their utter helplessness in life.

Temples for Maruti (Hanuman)

During his journey he setup nearly 1100 Maruti-temples. He established eleven principal seats of Maruti which emphasized the importance of physical development. These are the centers where people come together. He also appointed his devotees to look after these temples. This planning clears his foresight. Through Ramopasana and balopasana he wanted to build well-cultured and healthy society. It was his real dream. He installed the shrines of Sri Ramachandra at Champavati and introduced Sri Rama Navami Mahotsava and the procession of Sri Rama's chariot.

Meeting his Mother

Ramdas spent several years in visiting holy places of pilgrimage. He erected several Hanuman temples in Maharashtra. When he returned from his pilgrimage, somebody told Ramdas that his mother was pining for him, and that she had lost her eyesight on account of extreme sorrow arising out of his separation. Ramdas immediately went to see his mother. He made prostrations to his mother. His mother was exceedingly pleased to meet her son after an absence of many years. Ramdas touched the eyes of his mother. She got back her lost eyesight through the Yogic power of her son.

Chatrapathi Shivaji

At this time Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj had started establishing his political power. Samartha was bringing religious and national awareness while Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj was trying to establish Hindu-swaraj. Now fame of Samarth reached far and wide. Shivaji Maharaj was very keen to meet him. But unfortunately he could not see him at Masur. So he went back to Pratapgad. One day Shivaji Maharaja saw Samarth’s divine appearance in the night. When Shivaji Maharaja woke up in the morning he found a coconut which was given to him by Samartha as a token of blessings. So King Shivaji came to Mahuli to see Samartha. At the same time a disciple came from Samartha with a letter for King Shivaji. Samarth had praised Shivaji Maharaj in this letter. King Shivaji in his reply letter expressed his strong desire to see Samarth. King Shivaji presented himself at Masur. When he heard that Samartha was at Shinganwadi, he went there. Here met the two great personalities of different fields, different aims and of different dreams, in 1649. This was their first meeting. Here Samartha gave him ‘Anugraha’. Here onwards their relations became closer, loving and respectful. Shivaji 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 colour.

His Preachings and Literary Works

Ramdas's ways were very peculiar. He appeared to the outside world as a mad man. He had a small bow. He used to have, by his side, a large number of stones with which he pelted every object he saw. To men really interested in his teachings, he gave the Mantra Sri Ram Jaya Ram Jaya Jaya Ram. Ramdas had eleven hundred disciples, of whom three hundred were women. The women disciples were also expert preachers and were virtuous. Ramdas sent his disciples to all parts of India to spread the Hindu religion. His disciples and Mutts in the North directly or indirectly helped Shivaji and his work. Ramdas's organisation in the South, round about Thanjavur, helped Shivaji's son Rajaram to go to Jinji and carry on the Twenty Years' War with Aurangazeb. When Ramdas visited Thanjavur, Venkoji, who was the step-brother of Shivaji, became his disciple. Ramdas appointed Bhimaswami, his direct disciple, as the Mahant of the Thanjavur Mutt. The literary works of Ramdas such as Dasabodh, Manache Shlok (verse addressed to the mind), Karunashtakas (hymns to God) and Ramayana (describing only the conquest of Lanka by Sri Rama and the vanquishing of Ravana) are very popular.

Last Days

Ramdas generally preferred to live in the forest, where he would say, he had better meditation. In his last days, Ramdas devoted his time partly to literary activities and partly to the systematic building up of his disciples and Mutts, both in the North and in the South. It was as a tribute to Ramdas's extraordinary patience and determination in rehabilitating the Hindu religion in India that people named him Samartha (all-powerful) Ramdas, a name which he richly deserved.

King Shivaji Maharaj requested Samartha to live at Rajgad, Pratapgad or on the fort of Parali. As per King King Shivaji’s request Samarth Ramdas came to Parali in 1676. From that time onwards the fort was recognized and known as ‘Sajjangad’. Samartha set up the idol of goddess Mahishasurmardini at the eastern side of the Sajjangad which was found in the pond at Angapur and was named ‘Angai’ or ‘Anglai’. He also set up the idol of Maruti at the west to protect the Sajjangad and this ‘Maruti’ is known as ‘Dhabyacha Maruti’. While he was living on Sajjangad, Chatrapti Shivaji Maharaj left this world for ever. He left this world in 1680. Samartha became very sad. This great Guru of Maharashtra breathed his last in 1682 at Sajjangad Ramdas repeated the Rama Mantra with his last breath. At the time of his departure from the world, a dazzling light emanated from his body and Ramdas was absorbed in the image of Lord Rama.
The last instructions of Ramdas to his disciples were: "Do not think much of your bodily wants. Have Satsang with devotees. Keep the image of Lord Rama in your heart. Repeat the name of Lord Rama always. Annihilate lust, greed, anger, hatred and egoism. See Lord Rama 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".


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