Jnanadeva. On the banks of the Godavari in Maharashtra is a village called Apegaon.
On the banks of the Godavari in Maharashtra is a village called Apegaon.
A saintly person called Vithalpant lived in that village long ago. Rakhumabai was his wife. '
For a long time they had no children. Disgusted with life, Vithalpant went to Kasi, and studied under a Guru. After some time his Guru sent him back to his village, saying that he would have children. . .
Vithalpant returned home. Three sons and a daughter were born to him. They were Nivrittinath, Jnanadeva, Sopana and Muktabai, a girl.
Once Vithalpant went to Triyambak near Nasik with his children.
There is a hill called Brahmagiri. The river Godavari starts from the hill.
While the father and children were walking up the hill, a tiger suddenly appeared. Seeing it, all of them ran way. Vithalpant, Jnanadeva, Sopana and Muktabai arrived home safely. Nivrittinarth became separated. He, however, returned home after a few days.
This is what happened. Seeing the tiger, Nivrittinath took shelter in a cave. In that cave there was a saint. He liked Nivrittinath, and taught him how to worship God.
Later when Vithalpant died, Nivrittinath taught Jnanadev how to worship God. The Guru of Jnanadeva was thus his own brother.
Very soon, Jnanadeva became learned in the sastras.
Once a saint named Sachidananda Baba fell ill with a dangerous disease. Jnanadeva cured him by his miraculous powers. From that time Baba became his disciple.
You have heard of the Bhagavad Gita. It_ is a book of religious poems. It contains the teachings of God Krishna as conveyed to Arjuna.
Jnanadeva became very learned in the Gita. He spoke to people explaining the meaning of the Gita in Marathi. . Sachidananda Baba wrote out all that Jnanadeva said. The book so composed is now called Jnaneswari. Jnaneswari explains the meaning of the Gita so well and it contains so many examples of everyday life that it appeals to everyone. Jnanadeva was only 19 years of age at that time.
Jnanadeva also wrote another book called Amritanubhava. Once Jnanadeva went to Pandharpur to worship God Vithala. There he met another saint called Namadeva. They at once became united together in a long companionship. From there they travelled together to many places like Delhi and Banares.
Wherever they went, they taught the people the love of God.
When Jnanadeva was 22, he went to Alandi, near Poona. There in front of the temple of God Siddheswara, Jnanadeva gave up his life by an act of his own will.
People have raised a samadhi over his body.
When a sannyasi dries, people dig a pit in the ground, place his body in it, and fill it with sand. Over it they build a small temple. It is called samadhi.
Jnanadeva’s samadhi at Alandi has become a place of pilgrimage.
Large numbers of people go to worship there.