Salutations to Ganesh
Son of Gauri, Lord of peacocks,
Glory be to Him.
The learned and the saintly
Remember you, Oh Ganesh,
Before setting on a new endeavour.
Your mercy is limitless;
It is powerful.
Difficulties vanish by simply remembering You,
Just as silk cotton
Is reduced to ashes under a live fire.
I, Ganu, Thy slave,
Solicit Thy favor.
Kindly charge my words with divine power.
I am a dunce,
Poetics know I not,
I shall succeed only if it's Thy Will.
Now, I prostrate before Saraswati -
The Mother of the Universe.
Oh, Mother, I am Your wayward child.
I know nothing.
With Your Grace, Mother,
A lame will ascend a mountain
And a dumb will thrall the audience.
Now I pray to Panduranga,
The Most Aged and Ancient
Lord of Pandhari,
The Very Essence of Existence, Knowledge and Bliss.
Protect me, Oh Lord !
You are the substratum of the Universe.
You are immanent,
You are all and in all.
You are the world,
You are the Lord,
You are the One.
You are both - with Form and without,
with Attributes and Without.
Even the Vedas cannot fathom Your depth,
How would I Thy humble Ganu,
Measure Thy glory?
Rama's merciful glance
Was the strength behind the monkeys.
On the banks of the Yamuna
The cowherd boys danced.
When Krishna showered His Grace on them.
One need not have money
To win You over.
One should renounce one's ego
And take shelter at Your Feet,
Then alone, You would succour.
All the saints have been saying this.
That is why I have come here,
So help me, Oh Lord of Pandhari,
Be seated in my heart.
With only You condescending,
Shall I complete this work
And add the last line
Which shall shine like a tall
Golden cap on the dome of a temple.
Oh Lord of Bhavani, Oh Neelkantha, Oh Gangadhar,
Oh Lord Tryambaka, the embodiment of Omkara.
Hold Your Hand on my head.
I am not afraid of the mighty Death
When You are with me.
I know I am a piece of iron,
While You are parasmani -
Your mere touch will turn me into gold.
Now I bow to the Mother of the Universe.
The Goddess of Kolhapur,
And of our house
Oh Mother, Durga, Oh Mrudani,
Bless this humble Dasaganu.
Now I bow to Dattatreya,
He will inspire me
To sing the praises of Gajanan.
Now I bow to those ancient sages
Shandilya, Vasistha, Parashara and Shankaracharya.
I bow to all the saints - Gahini, Nivrutti and
Jnyaneshwara and Tukaram and Ramdas.
I bow to Sai Baba of Shirdi
And also to meritorious Vamanashastri.
Oh, all you saints,
Make me fearless.
It is with Your grace
That I shall speak hereafter.
Mother's love makes a child prattle,
I am your child.
A pen verily draws letters,
But can it do so all alone?
It is the person who holds it, writes.
So I am merely a pen.
You, Oh Saints, are the spirit behind.
So put life into the words, I record.
Oh you listeners!
Be alert now.
Fix up your mind on Him;
This is the path of liberation.
Saints are verily the living gods on the earth,
They are the bestowers of liberation,
They are the embodiment of righteousness.
Oh you learned men,
Remember, the saints are wholesale dealers
In eternal happiness.
So, you please do listen to their glory.
The saints have not failed any one so far.
They are the guides on the road to eternity
They are the vehicles of eternal knowledge
Those, who fall at the feet of the saints,
Will be loved by the Lord.
So, now cleanse your mind
And make it pure to receive the life story of Gajanan.
Glory be to Bharat,
She has a hoary past
Saints have sanctified this land
From ages bygone.
Remember Narada, Dhruva, the son of
Kayadhu, - Prahlada, Uddhava, Sudama and
Arjuna. Remember, Mahavira Hanuman, -
The son of Anjani.
Think of Dharma Raja - who had no enemies,
And of Shankaracharya - the embodiment of Vedanta.
They were really as great as the Golden Mountain -
Meru, and bestower of every thing good to their devotees.
Again think of Madhva, Vallabha and Ramanuja,
They all protected the religion of this land.
Narasi Mehta, Tulsidasa, Kabir, Kamal, Surdasa.
Can we ever forget them and
Lord Gauranga, so also, Mira, the princess -
Embodiment of devotion?
Gorakh, Matsyendra and Jalandhara
Navanath Bhaktisar narrates their lives.
Mahipati has sung the glories
Of Nama, Narhari and Janabai,
Of Kanhopatra, Sakhu, Chokha,
Of Sawata, Kurmadas and Damaji -
For whom Vitthal in Bedar as a surety,
Becoming the humblest of the humble in society,
Paid for the grains in the godowns,
Distributed to thousands of the hungry.
Read Bhaktivijayam and Bhatimala
And the three volumes
Composed by this humble self,
Wherein are given the life stories of many saints.
Gajanan is the saint supreme
Why did I not sing his glories earlier?
When you thread a garland,
The big central flower
Is not taken up first.
You pick it up when you are half through.
Shegaon, a small village, in Vidarbha,
Or is it a lake,
The lotus - Gajanan,
Or was he a diamond,
Whose splendour glowed and charmed the world?
Limited are my abilities.
They fall short of describing
This great saint - so indescribable.
Fix up your mind
At his feet,
And you will be a free soul.
Rather be ye all peacocks,
To dance madly
At the sight of this cloud - Gajanan,
He showers happiness on all.
The then residents of Shegaon
Surely were the luckiest of all,
Could they get,
This jewel in human form?
Once arrived in Pandharpur
On one Ekadashi in the month of Kartika.
Ere this I had cherished
The idea of writing the life
Of this great saint.
But who knows the Divine Will?
Before I knew,
I was in it.
None can know
The ways in which God fulfils Himself.
The origin of Gajanan
Even as the beginning
And the end of Brahman.
Is enough for catching
Attention of all.
No one would
Bother to know,
The mine from which
It was picked.
Was seen in Shegaon
For the first time
On the seventh day of the dark fortnight of Magh
In the Indian Saka 1800.
The twenty third day of February, 1878.
He came there from Sajjangarh,
The fort sanctified by Samartha Ramadasa.
Possibly Samartha came
Once again on this earth,
To liberate the people.
Yogis do enter in any body,
So did Gorakha,
He came out of a dung hill,
Kanifa out of an elephant's ear,
Changadeva, out of a water hole -
All had immaculate births.
It was strange sight
To see Gajanan
In a ragged tunic
Scratching the abandoned patravalis.
Gajanan had a chilim in his hand,
His sight envisioning the supraterrestrial regions.
He was as resplendent
As the morning Sun.
He was there,
Picking up particles of food
From the thrown away patravalis
Before the house of Devidas
Where the guests had participated
In the feast to celebrate
A fertility ritual.
The Upanishads say,
Food is Brahman.
Bankatlal Agarwal and Damodar Kulkarni
They happened to go by that way,
Saw Gajanan, first,
Picking up food particles.
He did not look like a beggar insane,
Nor did he look hungry.
He could have asked for food
And no sane man would have
Denied food to him,
On such an occasion.
Bankatlal said to Kulkarni,
This seems no ordinary man;
Verily, it is stated in the Bhagavata
That sages behave like madmen.
This man's actions are of an idiot.
But he seems to be a realised soul.
Number of men had passed by the way,
But these two alone could recognise Gajanan -
Only a jeweller can know a real gem.
Diamonds and flints
When in a lot,
The wise pick up diamonds
And leave the flints alone.
Bankatlal approached Gajanan
And asked him,
Whether he needed food.
Gajanan was quiet.
But his face was beaming with joy.
No human form could be more handsome.
He had a broad chest and well built muscles.
Bankatlal asked Devidasa
To bring a patravali duly served
Devidasa did so.
Gajanan touched it and ate a little.
One whose joy is contentment,
Could he take pleasure in dainty dishes?
One who is a suzerain emperor,
Will he ever dance with joy,
When made a district officer?
Gajanan mixed all the fare
And ate it.
Bankatlal says to Damodar,
"No! He is not an idiot,
He is wise.
Do not test him anymore.
Blessed is our town,
He has come over here.
Blessed are we,
We have seen him.
He has come
At the noon time,
When the Sun shines brightly
And birds seek shelter in leafy branches,
To keep themselves cool.
He is verily Brahman.
He is not afraid of anything.
He has partaken of the food
He has no water in his kamandalu,
Let us bring it for him.
Both asked him to give the kamandalu
So that they may bring water.
Gajanan said unto them,
"Bring water if you want.
Brahman is everywhere.
This body has taken food,
It needs water."
Both were happy to hear him speak.
Damodar went to the house for water.
But Gajanan went to a tank
Where cattle drank.
He drank the water,
Before Damodar could say,
"Do not drink that water
I have brought this one, cool and clean
And fragrant with khus."
Maharaj Gajanan said,
Do not say all this,
All this Universe is pervaded
By one Reality.
All things, hot and dirty
Unclean and sweety
Are the manifestations of
the same Brahman.
One who drinks
Is not separate from that which is drunk.
Just fix up your mind
On the Lord of the universe.
And know this."
Damodar and Bankatlal were overwhelmed
With an emotion of devotion.
They were about to prostrate before him.
Now that they would fall at his feet,
Gajanan ran from there,
Like a wild wind.
Who would stop him?