Beach 5: DEVOTEES OF THE LORD

Wave 2: Ten Gems of Superlative Devotion

Namdev. Kabir. Chaitanya. Purandara. Eknath. Tulsi. Bhattadri. Bhaskararaya. Thiagaraja Swami. Srila Prabhupada.

Eknath (1533 - 1599) was a great admirer of Jnanesvar of the 12th century (or the 13th?) who was a great poetic genius and mystic saint of Maharashtra and who established the bhAgasvata tradition in Maharashtra. Jnanesvar's magnum opus was Jnanesvari, the famous commentary in Marathi on the gItA, the most elaborate ever written. It was Eknath who brought out the first authentic edition of Jnanesvari. Eknath was a brahmin, but he set an example by not observing caste distinctions, against which he preached vehemently. His own commentary in 18,800 verses on the eleventh skanda of the SrImad-bhAgavatam is called Ekanatha-bhAgavatam. It is not just a spiritual treatise; it is a literary masterpiece.

It is said of Eknath that the Lord Himself was so fascinated by the bhakti of Eknath that He appeared before him as a boy of twelve or so and sought to be taken in as a resident disciple. He was so taken and thus began the unique >lIlA of God wherein for a full period of twelve years the Lord remained as a boy called 'kandiyA krishna' doing all sorts of services to the Guru' such as: bringing water from the river for pUjA, doing errands of all types, massaging the feet, keeping all accessories ready for pUjA, fanning the Guru Eknath while he delivered lessons or lectures for his disciples, and so on. At the end of full years by a fortuitous circumstance the unsuspecting Eknath got the revealing news from a total stranger that the lad known as his disciple krishna was none other than the Lord of Dwaraka. But the revelation came just late, because, the Lord, who had stayed in Eknath's house all these years, had just then disappeared!

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April 11, '99 Copyright V. Krishnamurthy