Three extracts from Akkalkot Shri Swami Samarth Lilamrita

Author: Jack Barratt

78. Do Not Disobey Shri Swami’s Orders

Ganesh Hari Sohani

After the death of Ganesh Hari Sohani’s second wife, he wanted to marry a third time. He was a devotee of Shri Swami and thought that he could get married with Shri Swami’s permission. With that purpose in mind, he reached Akkalkot and after receiving the darshan of Shri Swami Samarth, he asked him, ‘Swami, can I get married or not?’ Maharaj replied, ‘No!’ Shri Swami took the empty chillum from his servant, lit it and started smoking.

Sohani later moved to Baroda. Would a lustful man abide by the words of a saint? He married a beautiful woman and then reaped the rewards of disobeying Shri Swami’s words. On the eighth day after the marriage, his wife tripped while coming down the stairs and injured her hip badly. It was an incurable lifelong wound. She tried many remedies, but nothing brought relief. If she wanted to move from one place to another, then someone would have to carry her. Instead of enjoying the fruits of married life, he now spent the rest of his life having to constantly serve his disabled wife. After this, Sohani was always reminding Shri Swami about how he had smoked an empty chillum, which indicated that the container of marriage would hold nothing pleasant or enjoyable for Sohani in the future. Can you change what has already happened? Isn’t this lila an indication that we should act every moment without violating Shri Swami’s words!

Shripada Bhatt’s Gold Bracelet

Shri Swami Samarth was staying at Modi’s house one time. Swami’s devotee, Shripada Bhatt, and Swami’s attendant, Bhujanga, were eager to see the Muharramcelebration and asked Shri Swami for permission to go there. Maharaj said, ‘Don’t go.’ They were very eager to witness the ceremony and again sought Shri Swami’s permission. Again Swami insisted, ‘Madarchod, don’t go.’ But the game of fate was set to be different. They arranged for some others to sit with Shri Swami Maharaj and went to the celebration without anyone knowing. Shripada Bhatt was wearing an extremely expensive and heavy gold bracelet. Fearing that someone in the crowd might take it away, he gave it to his intelligent servant Bhujanga for safekeeping. Bhujanga said that he could not wear this bracelet because he was poor, but Shripada Bhatt forced him to wear it. Both entered the crowd and were amused by the celebration. Bhujanga bought some sweets and dried dates and threw them on the coffins. As he was throwing the food, the bracelet also went flying off his arm. Could it be found in the flood of thousands of people? They searched for two hours and still could not find it.

Saddened, they went back to see Shri Swami Maharaj. They understood that the bracelet had been lost because they had violated Shri Swami’s words. They cried, hiding Shri Swami’s face from their view. ‘Why did you both go even though I warned you?’ Shri Swami said, and he shouted at them with harsh words. Both prayed for forgiveness. Bhujanga expressed his agony to Shri Swami and asked how he could return the golden bracelet that Shripada Bhatt loved so much. Maharaj had a special love for Bhujanga. Like Jaya-Vijaya to Shri Mahavishnu, he was like one of the gatekeepers of Shri Swami.[i] Shri Swami Maharaj took pity on Bhujanga and said, ‘Don’t cry! The bracelet will arrive without efforts. Keep calm!’ As soon as Shri Swami said this, Bhujanga’s confidence increased.

Earlier in the day, Shripada Bhatt and Bhujanga had lodged a complaint at the police station. A few hours later, a police officer arrived with two men. One of the two present had taken the bracelet, and the other had seen it happen. The matter came to the notice of the police officer as there had been a great fight between the two over the bracelet. Of course, the police officer brought the issue to the omniscient ruling Maharaj. Now Bhujanga was very happy thinking that Shri Swami’s words had come true. It is clear from this lila that despite acting against Shri Swami’s words, when someone realises their mistakes and takes refuge fully, Shri Swami will forgive them, and he will undo all the sufferings caused by those mistakes.

Jaya Jaya Shri Swami Samarth!

109. A Muslim Devotee

A Muslim police officer in Maidagiri was working as a jailer. One day all the prisoners were to be put back into the jail in the evening. Then, with the intention of escaping from the prison, one prisoner snuck into a pit. The Muslim police officer noticed a decrease in the number of prisoners during the night. The officer was worried as he would get a bad reputation at this moment when he was supposed to retire from work and receive a pension. Although he was a Muslim, he was a great devotee of Shri Swami Samarth. Remembering Shri Swami, he fervently prayed, ‘Swami, if this prisoner is found, then I will rest from my work and serve you for the rest of my life.’

Everyone was tired of searching for the prisoner all night. The police officer was worried that all efforts were in vain. It was dawn when horseman came and said that a prisoner was lurking in the pit. The constable was overjoyed and after the prisoner was apprehended, he handed him over to the superior officer. When the prisoner was questioned as to why he had remained in the pit during the night without escaping, he described a surprising miracle. ‘Sir, an old sadhu beat me whenever I tried to escape from that pit in the night.’ He stayed there until dawn. I was stuck there with no choice. At dawn, this horseman found me.’

Aha! Shri Swami had been a night watchman for his devotee. Hearing this, the police officer’s astonishment knew no bounds. Realising that all this was Shri Swami’s lila, the Muslim police officer quit his job and went to Akkalkot to serve Shri Swami. He stayed with Shri Swami without thinking of anything else, even his income. Daily, at twelve noon, Shri Swami Maharaj would order Cholappa to give the officer two rotis. This routine continued for eight days. Thinking that this was a disturbance, Cholappa prevented the officer from sitting next to Shri Swami Maharaj.

One day when the officer was sitting at a distance, Shri Swami called the officer to him, threw his padukas at him and ordered him to go back to his town. He happily took them and went to Maidagiri. He started performing puja in his house. When his wife and children objected to worshipping the padukas of the Hindu saint, he started doing the puja outside in a dilapidated house that had been abandoned. Amazingly, by the grace of Shri Swami, the officer was receiving food every day.

Eventually, this police officer became famous as a devotee of Shri Swami Samarth. When many people came to receive the darshan of Shri Swami’s padukas, and prayed for the healing of their ailments, he would take the soil from under the padukas and offer it as prasad. Everyone’s diseases were cured and his yogic power increased. Even brahmins would come and worship him. Whenever this police officer went to Akkalkot to receive the darshan of Shri Swami, Shri Swami would call him ‘Pir Saheb’. Then the officer started getting money and his family accepted him back. 

After some time, this Muslim built a temple and formalised the worship of the padukas. He was appointed to be a pujari, and he learned to perform the pujas properly. Eventually, this Muslim lived as a very famous wali and spent his life as a devotee of Shri Swami.

Jaya Jaya Shri Swami Samarth!

121. Vamanbuwa’s Journey to Ganagapur

It was the year 1874 in the month of Bhadrapada.[ii] Vamanbuwa visited holy places like Girnar, Dwarka, and Sudhamapuri, before finally arriving at Baroda. He then went to Akkalkot with the intention of receiving the darshan of Shri Swami Maharaj and offering him the gifts he had received at each of the holy places. When Vamanbuwa made many offerings like gopi sandalwood, Shri Swami Maharaj asked him, ‘Where is the battasa that looks like a medal?’ Upon hearing this, Vamanbuwa became very happy considering the omniscience of Shri Swami. Vamanbuwa had left the sweet in a tin can in Baroda and forgot about it. Vamanbuwa asked Shri Swami to forgive him. Then Shri Swami said, ‘Give them to the dogs.’ Vamanbuwa, not understanding the meaning of Shri Swami’s statement, asked Shri Swami what he should do, and Shri Swami pointed his fingers towards his devotees. Vamanbuwa understood that Shri Swami was ordering him to perform annadaan.

Food distribution was eventually organised for around two hundred and fifty people. After more than half of the people had eaten, Shri Swami Maharaj was presented with a plate of food upon which all the ingredients had been served. At that time, Sundarabai was serving some food to Shri Swami. When Shri Swami told Vamanbuwa, ‘Give chapati during Dussehra,’ he understood that he was not allowed to go back to the village until after Dussehra.

One day Buwa came to Sundarabai and said, ‘I will go to Ganagapur and return back.’ Sundarabai asked him, ‘You have already gone many times, what is there to do now?’ Shri Swami Samarth added, ‘You will drown in water and earth.’ Unable to properly understand Shri Swami’s statement, Vamanbuwa left for Ganagapur the next morning. This is a good example of how karma can work to override the guru’s words.

In the month of Bhadrapada, there is a large amount of rainfall in the areas surrounding Ganagapur. Vamanbuwa travelled by train until Udur, and then he walked six miles. After this, he passed through two or three terrible mires. While walking like this, Vamanbuwa got stuck in a mud that was like a deep stream and he kept sinking. His body was completely covered in mud, and he was buried up to his neck. No matter how hard he tried to get out, he was still unable to prevent himself from sinking. Then from behind him came a Muslim on a horse carriage. When the carriage also got stuck in the mud, the Muslim looked at Buwa and asked, ‘Why didn’t you tell me that there was quicksand here?’ Buwa was struggling to even answer him. Vamanbuwa was thinking that Shri Swami had given so much advice, yet he had foolishly ignored it all and was now trapped. However, he realised that he had no other destiny but to leave Shri Swami Samarth at that moment, and so he prayed to Shri Swami fervently.

Then Vamanbuwa felt as if someone was grabbing his body and pulling him out. Two hours later, he regained consciousness and woke up to find himself lying outside the quicksand. The Muslim horseman was also slowly bringing out his carriage. Buwa cleaned his body and continued towards Ganagapur. He suffered from physical pain for two days. After reciting the Shri Guru Charitra and feeding the brahmins, he went to bathe in the Sangam. Whilst he was in the Sangam, his feet slipped and he began drowning in the water. As he did not know how to swim, he floundered and inadvertently swallowed a lot of water. Some people who were there at that time rescued him and left him on the shore. It took Vamanbuwa two hours to regain his full consciousness. He stayed there only for one day more and reached Akkalkot the following day.

That day Shri Swami was sitting in Samarth Deshmukh’s house. Vamanbuwa prostrated at Shri Swami’s feet and stood near him. Maharaj asked him, ‘So you have come back alive after drowning in mud and water?’ Buwa was very surprised and said solemnly, ‘Swami, with your blessings.’ From then on, Buwa decided not to go to any kshetra without Shri Swami’s explicit permission and blessings. On Vijayadashami, Vamanbuwa prepared delicious naivedyam and served it to Shri Swami Samarth. In the evening, a lavish program was arranged and Shri Swami participated in the event with the King and went with everyone to receive the darshan of the shami tree.[iii] After this, Shri Swami went back to the palace. Some days after his arrival, Vamanbuwa received Shri Swami’s permission and left for Baroda.

Although this lila illustrates the importance of never disobeying the guru, doesn’t it also convey to us that the guru protects us even when we first disobey him and yet still call for his help? This lila creates the faith in us that even if we sometimes violate the guru’s orders due to our karma, when we remember him at the right moment, he will always protect us.

Jaya Jaya Shri Swami Samarth!

Extracts taken from Akkalkot Shri Swami Samarth Lilamrita.

Published by Eternal Stream Publications.

[i] Jaya and Vijaya are the gatekeepers of Lord Vishnu’s holy abode of Vaikuntha. The mythology around them involves being cursed by the Four Kumaras and thus having to take three subsequent lives on Earth as Vishnu’s enemies before they finally could return to their role as gatekeepers.

[ii] Bhadrapada, is the sixth month of the year as per the Hindu calendar spanning from late-August to late-September in the Gregorian calendar.

[iii] Prosopis cineraria.

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