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Samarth Ramdas

Samarth Ramdas with Chattrapathi Shivaji Maharaj
Ramdas swami was born in a Deshastha Rugvedi Brahmin family to Suryaji and Ranu-Bai Thosar in Jamb in Jalna District of Maharashtra on Ram Navami, 1530 according to "Shaliwahan Shak" calendar. His given name was Narayan. He was devotee of god Ram and took the name "Ramdas" - servant of Ram at the age 24. Since his childhood, Ramdas had an inclination toward metaphysical contemplation and religiosity. When he was eight, his father died; and at age 12, his mother arranged his marriage to her brother's daughter. However, he wanted to pursue a monastic life, and so just as the wedding ceremony was proceeding, he ran away before the marriage vows were exchanged. During Hindu marriage ceremony, the last word which seals the marriage is "Saavdhan" meaning, 'be careful', Swami ramdas interpreted that word to mean that he had to be careful and not get entangled in the binds of Maya, Illusion and seek Self realization.

For the next twelve years, Ramdas devoted himself to study Hindu religious books, meditation, and prayers in a place named Panchavati near Nashik -- on the banks of Godavari river.

Ramdas swami was a gifted composer. He produced considerable lucid and effective literature in verse form in Marathi. Among his works, two compositions particularly stand out: A small book of meditations titled "Manache Shlok" which consists of 205 memorable four-line verses, and a large volume titled Dasabodh, which consists of 7,751 called as "owi" Manache Shlok is an advice and preaching to the human mind, to behave in an ethical way and devote oneself in the love of God. Dasabodh provides sagacious advice on both spiritual and diverse practical topics. Samartha Ramdas swami also wrote the Maruti Stotra, Marathi adulatory poem for Lord Hanuman and several other works. Other compositions of Shri Samartha Ramdas Swamiji are - 1) AatmaaRaam 2) 11-Laghu Kavita 3) Raamayan (Marathi-Teeka). Amongst these the 11-Laghu Kavita are very useful to the followers of Spiritual path, but Daasbodh is considered as at the 'First Number'.

He travelled extensively and during these extensive journeys across the country, Ramdas recoiled at the sight of miseries wrought upon the people. He began to see the ageless, peace loving and peaceful living culture of the land and its catholic religious tradition being shaken up from its roots and falling into great peril. He felt therefore the urgent need to awaken the people to consciousness of their duty to resist evil, and for galvanising them into united and purposeful activity towards restoration of dharma in the land, freedom of worship and tolerance and veneration of other people's faiths, respect for human dignity and social justice - which are the basic and traditional values of Indian culture.

Ramadas also felt that unless there is political stability and freedom, there is no security for the survival of religion and for a sound spiritual life. The divine dispensation brought together the saint and the warrior Shivaji, who was also fired with the same zeal and ideals as those of the great saint. Shivaji offered his whole kingdom at the feet of his Guru, who returned it to the king, asking him to rule his stead, as god ordained trustee. Shivaji is said to have donated Ramdas swami a fort named Parali Fort to establish his permanent monastery there. The fort was subsequently renamed as "Sajjangad" and it was at this place that he merged with the lord in 1681 A.D.

The writings and utterances of Samarth Ramdas embrace the entire range of human problems. He aimed at spiritualisation of day-to-day living.
"Life is a pilgrimage to God"
        -- Samarth Ramdas


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