Malhar Rao Gaekwad

Om! I humbly bow before the feet of my Sadguru, for those lotus feet verily represent the universe. I seek the sadguru's blessings in a task which only he can accomplish. I cannot stress enough on this. Hence though I type these words, it is verily the sadguru who makes me type them. Sadguru alone is the doer. He alone is the parabramha.

It is my heart's desire to sing the glory of Shree Swami Samarth, whom as I have already mentioned is the same as Sadguru Sainath. Both are different incarnations of Shree Gurudeva Dattatreya. In later posts, I shall try to write briefly about how Akkalkot became transformed and how the soil became blessed by the feet of Lord Dattatreya who lived there in the form of Shree Swami Samarth. Verily, a British officer, Colonel Walcourt, who visited Akkalkot and had the darshan of Shree Swami Samarth is said to have remarked "I have seen god in Akkalkot!!!"

The leelas of Lord Dattatreya are inscrutable. Within a few years after his arrival in Akkalkot, Shree Swami Samarth maharaj's fame spread far and wide. News spread like wild fire, that in Akkalkot, there exists Parabrahman in Sagun form (Nirgun-formless, sagun-with form). Kings and beggars, Saints and sinners, rich and poor, Hindus and Muslims, everyone came to visit Shree Swami Samarth. And Shree Swami Samarth Maharaj looked upon them all with a detached and equal eye. For who could surpass his glory indeed!

Chattrapathi Shivaji Maharaj, the heroic Maratha king, established the Maratha empire. He single handedly fought tyrants like Aurangzeb,Adil Shah and Siddi Johar. Now later, the Maratha kingdom got disintegrated into many princely states. Baroda was one amongst them, ruled by the Gaekwads. During the time of Shree Swami Maharaj, Baroda was ruled by a wise and pious king called Malhar Rao Gaekwad. Now when the king of Baroda heard about Shree Swami Samarth, he yearned that if the soil of Baroda should kiss the feet of Shree Swami Maharaj, the land and it's people will be blessed. He was blind about the fact that though Swami Maharaj stayed in Akkalkot, he was everywhere and he knew what was happening everywhere. Thus Malhar Rao Gaekwad announced in his court "Hear ye my courtiers, ministers,commanders,generals,sardars(feudal lord) and all the wise men of the court. I have before you a task of utmost importance. It is my sincere desire to serve the feet of Shree Swami Samarth Maharaj in Baroda. Hence he, who can bring Swami Maharaj with honor,respect and devotion(bhakthi) to Baroda from Akkalkot, will be showered with gifts of many Jagirs(lands),gold,silver and precious gems. Now who amongst you can accomplish this task?" . There was an ambitious sardar in his court called Tatyasaheb. Though a mighty warrior and a good person by heart, he had a greed for money and fame. He wanted the reward for himself. Therefore he announced to the king, "Oh king, give me enough cash in gold and silver and I shall bring Shree Swami Samarth Maharaj to Baroda."

Now this Tatyasaheb thought that he could do anything with money and power. So, blinded was he by this belief, that he did not know that he could not win over he who bestows the very same money and power to us, i.e. God. With this cloak of ignorance wrapped around him, he set with his own regiment to Akkalkot.

One noon, when the aarthi(Waving of lamps in front of god.Generally five wicks are lit, symbolizing submission of the 5 senses to god.) was being done on Shree Swami Samarth Maharaj at Akkalkot, Tatyasaheb arrived with his army. Stopping his horse and his soldiers at a distance, he arrived without feeling near the banyan tree where Shree Swami Samarth Maharaj was seated. Now this, was an amazing sight. Shree Swami Samarth Maharaj appeared resplendent and was shining with divine energy. Tatyasaheb was blind to this. He approached Shree Swami Samarth Maharaj and offered him gold. Shree Swami Samarth did not accept it and threw it away. Tatyasaheb was shocked by this, but he recovered immediately and delivered the following message to Akkalkot Maharaj. He said "Swami Maharaj, the mighty king of Baroda, Malhar Rao Gaekwad send you these gifts. He also requests you to come to Baroda so he could worship you daily. Will you come Swami Maharaj". To this, Shree Swami Samarth Maharaj replied in the negative.

Tatyasaheb was disappointed, but he was not one who would give up so easily. Now, Shree Swami Samarth Maharaj stayed at the house of one Cholappa. Now this Cholappa was the luckiest person on earth. Due to the merits accumulated in the past birth, he had Lord Dattatreya himself living at his house in the form of Lord Shri Swami Samarth. However he was also known for his greed. In this, his wife competed with him. All the gifts and sweets that people offered with devotion to Shree Swami Maharaj went to this Cholappa. For Swami Samarth Maharaj never cared for these things. Cholappa was a poor man, before Swami Samarth Maharaj came to Akkalkot. He became a rich man later, by the grace of Shree Swami Samarth Maharaj.

Now, when Shree Swami Samarth Maharaj refused to accept the gifts which Tatyasaheb gave, there were two people in the crowd assembled near Swami Samarth Maharaj, who were looking at the money hungrily. They were Cholappa and his wife. Tatyasaheb noticed this, for he was indeed a clever and resourceful man. He also got to know that Shree Swami Maharaj stayed at the house of this Cholappa. So he thought, Shree Swami Samarth Maharaj could perhaps listen to Cholappa. And so, if Cholappa were to plead Shree Swami Samarth Maharaj to go to Baroda, perhaps Swami Maharaj would listen. With this plan in mind he approached Cholappa and bribed him.

Thus, the next day Cholappa started begging and pleading Shree Swami Samarth Maharaj thus "Hey Dava (Oh Lord), please consent to the request of Tatyasaheb and go to Baroda for my sake. You are all knowing. You know that if you consent, then I will be showered upon with gifts of Jagir and gold." To this, the Lord Dattatreya incarnate replied "Oh Cholappa, you are my special devotee. It is to confer special boons and blessings on your family that I have come here to Akkalkot. Do you not see that they(Tatyasaheb and the people with him), have Jagir and gold which is temporary. What they lack is bhakthi, which is permanent. It is bhakthi alone that pleases me and nothing else. You should know this by now." Even though the supreme lord explained this to Cholappa, Cholappa still continued with his begging and pleading, for both he and his wife were blinded by greed. Finally Swami Maharaj decided to teach a lesson to both Cholappa and Tatyasaheb. He said, "All right Cholappa, if it means this much to you, I will go with them in the special Palki (Palanquin) brought by them and roam here nearby in it if it satisfies them. I however do not wish to go to Baroda." To this Tatyasaheb agreed and thus Cholappa and his wife became happy. It was decided that the next day, Shree Swami Samarth Maharaj would travel in the special Palki brought by Tatyasaheb.

That night, Tatyasaheb addressed his soldiers thus, "Listen to me my men. This task should be very easy for you, who are the foremost amongst the Maratha warriors. This task you shall perform tomorrow without fail: As soon as Shree Swami Samarth Maharaj gets into the Palanquin, we will go straight to the railway station at Kadapgaon without stopping. This happens to be the nearest railway station, where I have arranged for a special train to Baroda. Fear not in this venture. If we succeed, you will all be aptly rewarded." Saying thus, he went to sleep, a happy man.

The next day, with Shree Swami Samarth Maharaj in the palanquin, the regiment of Tatyasaheb left for Kadapgaon. The people of Akkalkot were distressed by this sight. For many were there, who had come to love Shree Swami Samarth Maharaj. With tears rolling down their cheeks, they discussed thus, "It verily looks as though our store of good merits of the past birth are over. For we are now deprived of the divine sight of Shree Swami Samarth Maharaj. Who can describe our agony. We feel like a child separated from it's mother or a desert without an oasis".

Now the regiment of Tatyasaheb moved swiftly with the palanquin with Shree Swami Samarth Maharaj inside it towards the railway station of Kadapgaon. As they were approaching Kadapgaon suddenly the people carrying the palanquin stopped suddenly. On inquiry, the told Tatyasaheb, "Oh Sardar, the palki suddenly feels light. As though there is no one inside it!" To this Tatyasaheb said "Fools! How can that be! You simply waste my time. I will check the palanquin myself!" Saying thus, he got down from his horse, and opened the curtains of the palanquin, and lo! empty! Tatyasaheb felt his knees going week and felt dizzy! He said to himself, "But, how is it possible? Shree Swami Samarth Maharaj never got down from the palanquin. We never stopped anywhere."

Then a man came that way, and looking at the people standing midway in the street asked them thus "What is the matter? Have you lost your way? I am sure you have come here to take darshan of the divine incarnation of Lord Dattatreya, Shree Swami Samarth Maharaj. And you are in luck for you ran into me. I saw Shree Swami Samarth Maharaj sitting near a banyan tree about 2-3 Kilometers from here! "

It was then that Tatyasaheb saw daylight. Blinded by ambition and ego, he had failed to recognize God and was trying to buy god through money and influence. Ashamed and with tears in his eyes he traveled the 2-3 Kilometers swiftly and immediately went and fell at the lotus feet of Shree Swami Samarth Maharaj, his tears washing the lotus feet of Shree Swami Samarth Maharaj. He pleaded, "Please pardon me Swami Samarth Maharaj. I am an ignorant fool! Blind as I was, I failed to recognize your true form and splendor. Please forgive me and may your compassionate glance ever be upon me!" . Saying thus, Tatyasaheb cried out of remorse and shame. The ever merciful Swami Maharaj patted him compassionately and instructed him thus "Tatyasaheb, with sword and power you cannot win anyone! It is true that you can frighten someone. It is also true that you can lure most of the people by money. But for those who do not give any prominence to money, you can do nothing with money to win them over. They can be won only by love and devotion. And for winning over God himself, you need complete submission along with devotion."

Thus consoled and blessed Tatyasaheb returned to Baroda a wiser and more devout man. Thus did the incarnation of Lord Dattatreya, Shree Swami Samarth show people that he is omniscient and omnipresent. I end this post by singing the glory of Shree Swami Samarth Maharaj.

"AnanathaKoti Brahmanda Nayaka RajadhiRaja Yogiraja Parabrahma Shree SatChitAnanda Sadguru Akkalkot Niwasi Shree Swami Samarth Maharaj Ki Jai!"

"AnanthaKoti Brahmanda Nayaka RajadhiRaja Yogiraja Parabrahma Shree SatChitAnanda Sadguru Sainath Maharaj Ki Jai!"

Bow to Shree Sai! Peace be to all!

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