Sant Eknath was a saint who taught by precept and practice, that a life of devotion, compassion and piety was the best way to reach the Lord. A great guru bhakta, Eknath composed many great spiritual works which are still treasured in Maharashtra. His love for his fellow men and for all creatures that breathe the breath of life, transcended all narrow bonds. He was the very picture of patience, humility and compassion.
Eknath was the only child of his parents. His father's name was Suryanath, and his mother's name was Rukmanibai. He was born in the year 1533 AD at Paithan.
Once Eknath was found missing from his house. He had left the house without informing anyone. A child of merely twelve years of age, he walked the 40 kilometers and reached the town of Devagiri. He took three days to make the journey of 40 kilometers. But with every step that he took he chanted the Name of God!
“Vithoba – Panduranga, Vitthala Panduranga!”
He was aware of just one thing, that his goal, the desire of his mind, would be fulfilled only when he surrendered himself to Janardhan Pant, who was a karma yogi, a holy man. Eknath lived with Janardhan Swami for 8 years. In those days India was ruled by the Mughals. One Thursday some enemies attacked the fort, where Janardhan Swami was stationed. People came running to inform Janardhan Pant. Eknath, who was just eighteen years of age at that time thought to himself, "Why should I disturb the meditation of the Guru just for this?" He wore the armour and carried his Guru's weapons, rode Janardhan's horse and fought the enemy! He confronted the enemy with such bravery, that the enemy accepted defeat and retreated. Eknath returned and quietly came and stood outside the room of his Guru! When the Guru opened his eyes in the evening Eknath did not mention a word about his victory! Later, the Guru heard of the incident and wondered how Eknath had not even whispered a word of what had happened.
Eknath was thus a rare soul who blended a simple and exemplary worldly life with very high spiritual attainments.
At the age of 66, in the year 1599 AD, Eknath passed away. It is said that he chose to take jal-samadhi by wading into the waters of Godavari.
Dada J P Vaswani is a humanitarian, philosopher, educator, acclaimed writer, powerful orator, messiah of ahimsa, and non-sectarian spiritual leader