Tulsidas Maharaj begins the Hanuman Chalisa by first seeking his Guru’s grace (the golden dust of his lotus feet) to cleanse his mind before describing Sri Ram’s glory that blesses us with 4 fruits – Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha.
The Guru is invoked before the divine, as it is only by his grace, that we realise the divine. In fact the line, “Guru Sakshath Parabrahma” calls the Guru, the divine himself, to have appeared only to help us realise our true potential.
However, the search for a Guru is never easy. For some, it takes a long time to find one. For some, it takes a long time to realise the need for one. Sant Namdev belonged to the second category.
Namdev Maharaj, affectionately known as Nama, had experienced the divine love of Vithal from the tender age of 5. He grew up singing Abhangas for Vithal, who danced to his melodious tunes. Nama, enjoyed his life in Pandharpur thus, until the turning point came in the form of Sant Gyandev.
Impressed with Nama’s Bhakti, Gyandev Maharaj decides to take him on a pilgrimage across the country to get more people to listen to his divine kirtan. Nama, deeply attached to Vithal, refuses to accompany him. He sings, “Vithal Avadi, Prem Bhaavo – My love and interests lie in Panduranga, I cannot imagine leaving him even for a minute”.
This conversation only leads both of them to seek Panduranga’s advice. Vithal smiles and asks Nama to go on this journey, as this holds a very important purpose in his life. Vithal, also a mother-like figure, addressed as Majhi Mauli by Nama instructs Gyandev to take good care of his devotee.
In the course of their journey, both of them attend a Satsang at Gora Kumbhar’s house. At the end of it, however, Nama gets offended when Gora Kumbhar, calls him unbaked, as he doesn’t have a guru. Nama runs to Panduranga, pleading to respond to this insult faced by him.
“Teertha Vithal, Kshetra Vithal, Dev Vithal, Dev Pooja Vithal, Guru Vithal, Guru Devta Vithal – you’re everything for me. When I have you by my side always, why do I need a Guru?” he asks.
Vithal doesn’t appear this time, only a voice is heard. “Have you known me entirely Nama?” he asks. “I appeared in front of you twice today, did you notice me?”
Nama asks, “When?”
The Lord replies, “On your way here, I came as a beggar and a Pathaan before you. You failed to identify me and that’s why you need a Guru – someone who helps you understand my true form”.
Nama is advised to meet Sant Vishobha Kecchar at the Nagnath Temple. He proceeds to the said place - only to find an aged man lying across the shrine, with his legs placed on the lingam. Nama urges the old man to take his legs off the lingam.
The old man in response, asks him to remove his legs and place it anywhere the lingam isn’t there. To his surprise, wherever the legs of the old man are shifted, a new lingam sprouts there.
Nama, realising that this person is none other than Sant Kecchar, places both legs on his own head. He cries, “Sukhacha Sukhtaru Sadguru Kecchar – the biggest joy has been given to me by my Sadguru Kecchar. I now realise that Vitthal is omnipresent, his true form extends to every creation in this entire universe”.
Nama’s meeting with his Guru made him acknowledge Vithal in every experience and every being he came across, no longer confining him to just the idol at Pandharpur. With this expanded horizon, he went onward in his journey, seeking new spiritual pursuits and immortalising Vithal’s glory through his melodious Abhangs.
Apaara Mahima Ho
Ati Apaara Mahima Gurukataksham
Apaara Mahima Ho
The Mahima (greatness) of a Guru’s grace or presence - Guru Kataksham, in one’s life can never be measured, it is Apaara (limitless or infinite).
May this Guru Poornima bring upon his infinite grace on all of us in the form of a successful and fulfilled life.
1. Namdev Life and Philosophy – Prabhakar Machwe
2. Sant Namdevachi Abhang Gatha
R Chandrakala, is a passionate storyteller who is intent on making the stories from our Itihaasa and Puranas heard today as much as possible. You can follow her on the following social handles for more such content: