Sant Jnaneshwar मुद्रण ई-मेल

 Sant JnaneshwarAround the thirteenth century A.D., the knowledge of Sanskrit language was getting scarce in Maharashtra. The Brahmins of that time had restricted the language to only selected castes, so only a minor percentage of the society knew the Sanskrit language or followed the religious and other books written in Sanskrit. Majority of the people were therefore denied the key to the great scriptures and wealth of religious knowledge. At such a stage in the history of Maharashtra, there arose a very bright star on the horizon of knowledge, who pledged himself to write in the language of the people, the Marathi Language. This star was none else but Saint Jnaneshwar who was bold enough to go against the traditions of his times and use Marathi as the vehicle of his preaching. 


Jnaneshwar was the second of the four children of Vitthal Govind Kulkarni and Rukmini, a pious couple from Apegaon near Paithan on the banks of the river Godavari. Vitthal was of religious nature, had studied the Vedas and would set out on pilgrimages at a young age. During one such pilgrimage to Alandi, Vitthal was married to Rukmini. The story goes that Vitthal was not interested in worldly life and wanted to take early sanyas. So one day he left home and went to Kashi, where he met Ramananda Swami and requested to be initiated into sanyas, lying about his marriage. However, once when Ramananda Swami was visiting Alandi, he discovered that his student Vitthal was the husband of Rukmini, so he returned to Kashi and ordered Vitthal to return home to his family. However, the couple was excommunicated from the Brahmin caste as Vitthal had broken his sanyas and had returned to married life. In course of time, four children were born to them; Nivrutti, Jnandev, Sopan and daughter Mukta. As the children grew up, the Brahmins even declined to perform their thread ceremony. Eventually, upon insistence of the Brahmins, Vitthal and Rukmini ended their lives by jumping into the waters at Prayag hoping that their children would be accepted into the society after their death. At that time, Nivrutti was only about 10 years of age and Jnandev was 8.
  

The orphaned children grew up on mercy of others. They had to beg for alms in order to survive. They approached the learned Brahmins of Paithan to seek their acceptance. They were looked down upon with scorn. Jnandev told the Brahmins that God was alike in all the living beings, and placed his hand on the back of a buffalo. Immediately, the buffalo recited the Vedas. The Brahmans were struck with awe and wonder. The performance of this miracle made the Brahmins realize and accept the greatness and supernatural power of Jnaneshwar.

Jnaneshwar soon began his literary work by composing a beautiful commentary on Bhagavad Gita, the Jnaneshwari, in local language. By the time the commentary was complete, Jnaneshwar was only 15 years old. Considered one of the masterpieces of Marathi literature, Jnaneshwari translated the "divine knowledge" locked in Sanskrit language into "prakrit" (Marathi) and make it available to everyone. He later also composed the Amritanubhava in which he has stated his experiences in Yoga and Philosophy.

Another interesting episode of Jnaneshwar’s life was his meeting with the great Yogi Chang Dev, who rode on a tiger using a serpant as a whip. It is said that Jnaneshwar made a wall move towards Chang Dev to receive him, thereby indicating that divinity was present not just in living beings but even in inanimate objects.

Jnaneshwar will always be remembered for his great philosophical works, his love for the common man, and how against all odds at such a young age, he became one of the most revered saints of India.

What would I like to learn from Sant Jnaneshwar?

  1. Greatness of knowledge
  2. Love for the common man

Ability to withstand the most challenging circumstances

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