by Rohit Venkateshwaran
Sant Eknath was an epoch-making saint, social reformer as well as literary figure in the Vaishnavite Bhakti Movement of Maharashtra. Like our Mahaguru Srimanta Sankaradeva, he too was a poet par excellence who rendered the essence of the Srimad Bhagavatam in the language of the masses: Marathi.
With all humility, I render in English the most widely quoted part of Gurujana's "Kirtana Ghosha": the 4th Kirtan of the 26th Section "Sri Krishnar Vaikuntha Prayan", and compare it with Abhang no' 2622 of Sant Eknath’s collection (the “Eknathi Gatha”). Both are magnificent pieces of poetry which encompass Lord Sri Krishna's final teachings to Uddhava (in the 11th Canto of the Bhagavatam) before He ascended to Vaikuntha. This will be a long read, but the experience for sure, will be delightful!
From the "Kirtana Ghosha": 26th Section:
ll श्रीकृष्णरवैकुंठप्रयाण ll
ll चतुर्थकीर्तन ll
O' Lord! Salvage me O' Narayana! I place Your Feet on my head!
मोहोरचरित्रशुनिबेकभकतत ll १८१८
Sri Krishna then explained the to Uddhava the method to free oneself from karmic bondage: "First of all, O' Uddhava, one should seek the company of fellow Vaishnavas, and hear of My pastimes from them.
नाहितारभयसिटोभैलकृतकृत्य ll १८१९
All the while, one should engage in singing my Names (Naam-kirtan) and in his mind, he should meditate on My Form, he should dance and sing my Glories. With this, all his worldly fears and anxieties will be eradicated and he will attain contentment.
सवाकोमानिबातुमिविष्णुबुद्धिकरि ll १८२०
Hear, O' Uddhava, the secret of Bhakti. This you should practice with a steady, firm mind. I, Lord Hari, am omnipresent in all beings as the Self. Knowing this, you should respect one and all realising that it is ultimately I, Vishnu, in all of them, that your are venerating!
ताहाकेसेपण्डितबुलियसर्बजन ll १८२१
Seek not to know the caste of a person, ask not whether he is Brahmana or Chandala! Look upon both, a donor as well as a thief with an equal eye! He who sees both, a saint as well as a man of base character with equality, know him to be a scholar in the real sense!
सवेनष्टहोवैतेवेतावक्षणेतार ll १८२२
And among all species, one who regards and respects all human-beings in particular, seeing Me i.e. Vishnu in every human body, all vices: anger, jealousy, arrogance and hatred instantly get destroyed in the heart of such a person!
जानियासवाकोपरिकरिबाप्रणाम ll १८२३
Well, you might have your friends and relatives ridiculing you for doing this, but you should remain steadfast in this practice, and should entertain no feelings such as "I am a saint, and he is a thief". Seeing My presence as the Self in all beings, you should fall flat on the ground and venerate every creature you come across: be it a dog, donkey or a jackal!
जीवन्तमुकुतहोवैअचिरकालत ll १८२४
And as long you are not able to see Me in all beings, through thought, word and deed, practice this method. He for whom the world around is nothing but Me, Vishnu, such one attains Moksha soon, even without having to shed his body i.e. even before death, he becomes a "jivan-mukta"!
यिहेतुसाक्षातेमइकैलोतत्वबाणी ll १८२५
See Me as the Self in all creatures, this is the most important, as well as sublime path! This Dharma I have explained has no fault and causes no harm or inconvenience! Being the simplest form of spirituality one can practice, I have personally revealed it.
ताहातकहिबाइटोज्ञानमहामति ll १८२६
O' Uddhava, reveal this teaching not to the arrogant and wicked! Render this knowledge only unto the devotees. Reveal this sacred knowledge to women and Shudras who are of devotion to Me.
तोम्हारकिशोकमोहगुचिलनि:शेष ll १८२७
Those knowledgeable ones who practice Bhakti in this manner and study these precepts, their minds will get purified and they will find Me within the depths of their own hearts with the lamp of Knowledge! This is My revelation unto you O' Uddhava. With this, all your sorrows, anxieties and attachments will be done away with.
नाहिआनबान्धवउद्धवतुमिसम ll १८२८
Brahma, Shiva, Baladeva, My dear Wife Lakshmi, all of them relish this ever magnificent Form of Mine! Nonetheless, you, O' Uddhava are more dear to Me than all of them! None can be as dear a friend to Me as you, O' Uddhava!
(To be continued in part II)