12 - Nijabodha Mathi
Vairagya Mathi gets deserted
Now that Swami was not present, disciples and devotees visiting
the vairagya mathi started getting an uneasy feeling there. As it
was occupied by Tarabai’s son and his family, sitting there
would make them restless. Hence they started to sit at the Shiva
temple situated on the banks of river Panchaganga. There, they would
sit and talk of Swami for hours together.
Swami gives directives to Vyas
One day, Vyas, a devotee received a directive from Swami instructing
him that a new samadhi temple - a mathi should be built. He was
also instructed to approach the King of Kolhapur to procure land
at a place known as Gangaves. When the devotees heard this news,
they were filled with excitement and enthusiasm. However many devotees
discouraged Vyas from approaching the King and told him that all
his efforts would prove futile. Nevertheless, four devotees encouraged
him to meet the King.
Vyas along with those four devotees went to the palace. As they
approached the durbar room, the guard on duty would not let them
enter as the King was conducting a meeting regarding state affairs
with his ministers. Vyas and the other devotees waited outside patiently.
They had full faith in Swami that he would arrange their meeting
with the King and their effort would bear the required fruits.
Seeing that Vyas and his friends had waited for a long time to meet
the King, the guard good-naturedly inquired as to what business
they had with the King. Vyas told him about Swami and the dictum
he had received from him to approach the King for the land. When
the guard asked them if they were carrying the letter of introduction
from any important personage, they replied in the negative. To this
the guard said, "Without such a letter, I cannot allow you
to enter as I am bound by rules and regulations of my duty. I can
see that you are a pious man for I can feel peace pervade my entire
being by merely talking to you. May God bring success to your endeavors".
An uneasy feeling descended on Vyas and the other devotees. Not
knowing what to do next, they just stood outside the courtroom with
prayers on their lips. To their sheer amazement, just then the King
happened to come out of the room and saw them. He approached Vyas
and asked him as to what was the purpose of his visit. Vyas respectfully
bowed to him. He then took out one piece of laddu (sweetmeat) which
was part of the offerings made to Swami earlier in the day. He broke
it into two pieces. He ate one half and offered the other half to
the King. Bewildered by such behavior, the King asked him for an
explanation. Vyas explained, "Sire! You have many enemies who
may want to poison you. I have therefore eaten one half of the sweetmeat
so that you may have no doubts about my intentions". The King
was thoroughly impressed. He asked Vyas the reason for his visit.
Vyas related to him about Swami’s directives. The King told
Vyas to come and see him the next day in the morning. He assured
him that he would have the royal decree ready and signed for him.
The King also instructed the guard to allow Vyas to enter the courtroom.
Vyas and the devotees accompanying him returned happily after this
successful meeting with the King.
The next day, Vyas visited the King in the morning. The King was
extremely busy with state affairs and Swami’s work was not
done. Everyday without fail Vyas would visit the palace but his
visits seemed futile. Although Vyas and the other devotees were
getting impatient, somewhere deep in their hearts they knew that
Swami was putting them to test and it would just be a matter of
time before the task gets completed successfully.
One day, the Prince of Kohlapur organized a religious function at
the temple. There, he invited groups of singers who sang devotional
songs in praise of God. Vyas was also invited. Just when Vyas started
to sing, the King arrived to attend the function. For two hours
Vyas sang songs devoted to Swami and enthralled the King and others
in the audience. At the end of the function, the King himself approached
Vyas and said, "Holy Brahmin, never in my entire life have
I heard such inspired singing of heavenly songs and melodies filled
with godliness and devotion as I have today. You almost transported
me to God’s presence! Never before have I experienced such
peace and harmony. Come and see me in the morning tomorrow. Your
unfinished task is very much on my mind. I shall surely get it done
The next day when Vyas entered the premises of the royal palace,
he saw the King taking a walk in the garden. Vyas walked towards
him and when he was in close proximity, he bowed. The King took
out a paper from the pocket of his apparel and handed it over to
Vyas. The paper was a signed and sealed order from the King of Kolhapur
to the presiding officer of the municipality to bequeath the required
land at Gangaves for the purpose of building of Swami's samadhi
mathi to Vyas as the managing trustee. The King advised Vyas to
get the land legally registered in the mathi’s name and get
the land’s deed documents drawn out.
Vyas along with his mason friend went to meet the presiding officer
at the municipality office. After reading the royal decree, the
officer suddenly started to scream rudely, "You cheat! People
like you take advantage of the King’s generosity. By falsely
taking God’s name, you want to snatch the land for yourself.
I shall not let this happen. Our good King may not recognize fraudulent
people like you but I do." Furious at such uncalled for uncivil
behavior, Vyas loudly told his friend, "Look at the audacity
of this man. He is actually defying the royal decree. Let us not
waste a minute here. May God help him."
Although Vyas had put on a defiant front, he was actually devastated
from inside. He felt he had done his best and he prayed to Swami
to intercede and do the rest.
When Vyas did not show up the next day, the presiding officer at
the municipality office started to panic lest Vyas reported his
rude behavior to the King. He had behaved thus in order to get a
fat bribe to prepare the documents. Horrified at the consequences,
apprehensive at the resultant punishment and filled with jitters,
he could not eat nor sleep. Finally, he decided to visit the concerned
site. Everyday for a week, he visited the place. Realizing that
Vyas was not reacting to his visits and was instead absolutely calm,
the officer then brought two of his assistants to measure and mark
the land to be allocated. He then drew the land’s deed documents.
He then asked Vyas to come to his office to sign the documents as
the managing trustee of the bequeathed land. On the appointed day,
he handed over the documents to Vyas. He also personally gifted
a coconut and rupees five. During this entire period, Vyas had not
uttered a single word. But finally with documents in his hands,
grateful tears flowed from his eyes.
Now that the land was available, money was still needed to build
the four walls and a roof of the mathi. The devotee who was a mason
offered to build the mathi with his fellow masons free of charge.
Nevertheless money was still needed to buy the raw material.
Vyas’ friend provides the money as thanksgiving to Swami
A friend of Vyas who held a job in the royal service was falsely
accused of fraud and was put behind bars. Vyas advised him to surrender
to Swami and keep on reading the sacred Shri Gurucharitra. In jail,
the man refused to eat or drink but kept on reading the holy text.
The jailer felt sorry for his plight and cajoled him to intake something
but the latter firmly refused. Thus seven days passed. On the eight
day, the King paid a surprise visit to check on the running of the
jail. When he saw this prisoner, he inquired about him. He checked
on the relevant papers related to him and found him innocent. He
ordered that the man be set free immediately. The grateful man rushed
to Vyas and gave rupees four hundred for the construction of the
mathi. The money was sufficient to build the mathi.
Thus Swami’s samdhi temple, the Nijabodha (self-realization)
Mathi, was built. The stone padukas made by Balaku, which were later
given to Krishna Lad were installed there. From the day of installation
to this day, daily rituals like pooja (worship) and aarti are conducted
there everyday. What is significant is that everyday since the first
day, continuous non-stop chanting is done by devotees without a
single break. The chanting is always accompanied by veena (an Indian
stringed musical instrument).
In the year 2000A.D., to celebrate the completion of hundred years
of the Nijabodha Mathi, the building has been completely renovated.
Swami’s full size bronze statue has been installed. A spacious
hall has also been built for reading Shri Gurucharitra and for chanting
and meditation. Those who are lucky to visit this place are pervaded
with peace, harmony and eternal bliss.
And a true devotee can see Shri Krishna Saraswati Swami
----- OM TAT SAT ------