Ramdas, Gopanna was born in a village in Andhra Pradesh.He was a great devotee of God Rama. He became the Tehsildar of Bhadrachalam in what was formerly the Nizam’s State. In that town there is a famous Rama temple.
Gopanna was born in a village in Andhra Pradesh.He was a great devotee of God Rama. He became the Tehsildar of Bhadrachalam in what was formerly the Nizam’s State. In that town there is a famous Rama temple.
One day, the people of the town came and told Gopanna: “Sir, the Rama temple of this city is very old. Parts of it are now falling off. Please help us to rebuild it so that the town may prosper?”
Gopanna thought: “True. It must be done.Why should I not spend the money in the treasury for building God’s temple? The ruler will be blessed by God!” So, he spent six lakh gold coins from the treasury in rebuilding the temple. The whole town felt happy.
Soon, however, the Muslim ruler heard all about it. He sent for Gopanna and asked him: “Why did you spend State money on rebuilding the Rama temple?”
Gopanna said: “Huzur! God will bless you and the people will prosper.”
The ruler was not satisfied. So he put Gopanna in prison. Gopanna felt very depressed in the prison house. He complained to God: “God! I spent all the money in rebuilding your temple! I did not take even a paisa from it. Then why should you make me suffer like this?” God heard the complaint.
Mother Sita asked God Rama: “Lord did you hear Gopanna’s complaint?”
Rama said: “Yes, I heard it. But listen, in his former birth Gopanna kept a parrot imprisoned in a cage for a number of years. He must therefore suffer for the sin in jail now. I shall, however, help him soon.”
Inside the jail, Gopanna became more and more disgusted with life. He wanted to put an end to himself. So he took a cup of poison in his hand and was about to drink it, when he fell into a swoon.
God in heaven took the form of two young men. Calling themselves Ramji and Lakshmanji, the two went to the ruler of the State.
They told him: “Huzur! We are servants of Gopanna. He asked us to return to you the six lakh gold coins which he spent. Here they are. Take them and give us a receipt, and also the order to release him from jail.”
The ruler liked the two young men. They were so charming. He took the money and gave them the release order. Ramji and Lakshmanji then went to the prison. They saw Gopanna lying unconscious in his room with the cup of poison near him.
Lakshmanji took the form of a snake. Then entering the cell, he tilted the poison cup; all the poison flowed out on the floor. Then the two men went up to Gopanna and placed in his hands the release order signed by the ruler.
Having accomplished their task, they vanished. In the palace, the ruler started counting the gold coins given by the young men. He found on each of them the name ‘Ram’. The ruler at once understood that the two young men were the divine brothers — Rama and Lakshmana. For Gopanna could never produce so much money in such a short time.
He thought: “God called Himself the servant of Gopanna! How great must Gopanna then be!” Thinking thus, he ran out of the palace and rushed to the prison. He asked the officials to release Gopanna at once. When they woke him up,Gopanna did not know what it was all about. He saw the release order in his hands. He also saw the ruler before him.
The ruler fell at the feet of Gopanna. He said: “O Gopanna, pardon me for putting you in prison.” The ruler told Gopanna how God had returned to him all the money. Gopanna said to the ruler: “Did you see God face to face? You are indeed more fortunate than me. You saw God; but I did not.”
The ruler pointed out to Gopanna: “I may have seen God. But God called Himself a servant of Gopanna; so you are more blessed than me.”
The ruler then said: “Because of your devotion to God Rama,you will be called Ramdas.”