6 - Swami's Instant Help
The royal family of Kolhapur employed Vishnupant, a devotee of Swami.
One day Swami said to him, "You will have to go away for some
time. But do not worry for I shall arrange to bring you back".
Vishnupant could not understand Swami’s prophetic words. A
few days later, he received a transfer order from his office. He
now understood what Swami had said.
Vishnupant went to bid Swami Goodbye. He bowed to the sage for
his blessings and proceeded to another village to resume duty. As
he was staying alone, he set his daily routine thus. He would go
to work the whole day. Then he would come home and finish his household
chores and errands. Later in the evening, he would sit in front
of Swami’s photograph, light an oil lamp, burn incense and
sing devotional songs. He would finish this devout session with
One day around the same time, Vishnupant’s neighbor saw a
man who had the appearance of an Avadhoota [It is also one of the
sixteen prominent names of Lord Dattatreya. Usually those from Lord
Dattatreya’s Avadhoota lineage are bachelors, wear deerskin,
rudraksha ( a tree seed ) beads around their waist, wrists and neck.
They carry the kamandalu (water pot) in one hand and the trishul
(trident) in another hand. They smear themselves with vibhuti (holy
ash) and carry a saffron color bag) leaving Vishnupant’s house.
Being curious, he kept a watch the next day. When he saw the Avadhoota
leave, he stopped him and inquired about his presence. The Avadhoota
replied that "Vishnupant sings with such great devotion, that
I come specially to listen to him". Not satisfied with his
answer, he decided to question Vishnupant about the Avadhoota’s
identity. When he asked Vishnupant, the latter was in tears. He
realized that unknown to him, Swami was daily visiting his house
in disguise. He said to his neighbor, "My friend, you are very
lucky as you are able to see my Guru Shri Krishna Saraswati Swami
everyday". After a brief stay here, Vishnupant was transferred
back to Kolhapur. Thus Swami kept his promise to his devotee.
Vishnupant had a younger sister named Laxmi. She was married off
to a widower with two small sons. They lived at Bedagagram. Soon
her husband procured employment at Kolhapur, therefore the whole
family shifted there. Vishnupant arranged for all of them to stay
at his house. Thus Laxmi also started visiting Swami along with
On one such visit, Swami blessed her with two more children. However
Laxmi gently declined Swami’s blessings by saying, "Swami,
I do not want more children. My attitude towards my sons may become
step-motherly if I have children of my own. I do not want to disturb
the peace in my house". Swami laughed. Although Laxmi’s
views were unconventional, it proved that she was good-natured and
kind at heart.
A few days later, Laxmi saw a dream. In the dream she saw four
Muslim fakirs come to her house and ask for one anna (sixteenth
part of a rupee in the Indian currency). They gave her a coconut
as prasad. When she woke up, she could not decipher the meaning
of the dream. In the morning her husband and brother went to work.
After a few hours, four Muslims fakirs really came to her house
and called out to her by name. She was shocked to see that they
were the same as seen by her earlier in her dream. They were even
wearing the same garments. They asked her for one anna and wanted
to give her a coconut as an offering. Frightened out of her wits,
she went inside the house to consult the elderly women of the family.
They told her not to accept anything as these unknown strangers
might be practicing black magic. She, therefore, politely refused
to accept the coconut.
In the evening when the men came home from work, they were briefed
about the happenings that occurred earlier that day. On hearing
this, Vishnupant was furious. He rebuked Laxmi by saying, "Don’t
you know that at noon Lord Dattatreya visits his devotees. You did
not do the right thing by refusing the prasad". All the family
members were perturbed and confused. The whole family went to seek
Swami’s reassurance. Vishnupant apologized to Swami for Laxmi’s
behavior and asked what they could do as repentance. Swami asked
them to wait. After some time, the same four fakirs entered the
mathi. They bowed to Swami and placed the coconut in front of him.
Then, they immediately left. Swami called out to Laxmi and gave
her the same coconut saying, "Accept whatever is given with
grace. Do not refuse it".
In due course of time, Laxmi gave birth to a beautiful daughter.
After twelve days, Laxmi brought her daughter and placed her at
Swami’s feet for blessings. Swami happily took the baby on
his lap, touched her nose, kissed her and pronounced, "My lovely
child. Name her Mukta (God-realized)".
A widow named Yesubai lived with her father in a village called
Alate. She was of a religious bent of mind. She spent her time chanting
Lord Vithoba’s name. She would often attend the various religious
discourses that were held in their village temple. One day in such
a discourse, she heard the orator say, "Life is useless if
you cannot find the right Guru. Only a Guru can take you onto the
spiritual path". This statement made a profound impact on Yesubai’s
mind. She started praying to God to send her the right Guru. In
her quest, she met many spiritual people, scholars and sanyasi,
but none impressed her. She not only wanted the right Guru, but
she built up his image of being a bachelor and one who was free
of worldly affairs. Although she intensified her search, it was
all in vain. Nevertheless, she kept on with her practice of chanting
Lord Vithoba’s name.
One day, a pious Brahmin visited her house. He said, "I am
from Pandharpur. I am on my way to visit Audambara (holy place near
Wadi where Lord Narasimha Saraswati stayed for sometime, to date
his padukas are worshipped there). Could you provide me with food
today?" Attracted by the radiance exuding this man, Yesubai
gently requested him to take a seat while she prepared his meal.
While cooking, Yesubai started to wonder, "This man looks gloriously
brilliant. Perhaps he is a saint. Or he may be Lord Vithoba in disguise.
But if that is the case, why should he go to Audambara? Anyway,
should I request him to become my Guru?"
While serving food, Yesubai started talking with the guest. In
the conversation, the guest revealed that his wife and children
lived in Pandharpur. Yesubai was once again disappointed. After
finishing his meal, the guest looked at Yesubai’s crest-fallen
face and inquired, "You look worried. If you tell me, I may
be able to solve your problem." Yesubai then unburdened herself.
She told him about her search for a bachelor Guru. The guest smilingly
blessed her saying, "Your wish will be fulfilled soon. On the
first Monday of the next month Kartika, you will receive an invitation
where you will meet your Guru". Saying thus, he bid her goodbye.
It set Yesubai thinking that her guest must have been an extra ordinary
man to predict such details with absolute certainty.
After a couple of weeks, Yesubai’s father received a court
notice to appear for a case in Kolhapur. Since the court work would
take considerably long time, her father did not like leaving her
alone at home so long. He therefore decided to take her along with
him to Kolhapur. Thus, father and daughter came to Kolhapur and
stayed with some relatives.
One day the women of the household and their neighborhood decided
to visit Swami. They revealed their plans to Yesubai who eagerly
accompanied them to the mathi. All the women in turn bowed to Swami
for his blessings. When Yesubai touched his feet with reverence,
he laughingly asked her, "Today is the first Monday of Kartik.
Did you meet your bachelor Guru?" Yesubai was rendered speechless.
Now she realized who her saintly guest was and how he had accurately
predicted this meeting. It was Swami himself who had visited her
and arranged for her meeting . He had arranged for her father’s
court case to act as an invitation to her to visit Kolhapur. She
surrendered to Swami and became an ardent devotee.
Swami had yet another pious devotee named Rama Pujari who used to
visit him regularly. He had an old mother. He used to plead with
her to come and seek Swami's divine blessings. But the old lady
was adamant and would criticize his foolishness for worshipping
a mere human being. One day Rama visited Swami. He was heart broken
at the nasty remarks his mother had made about Swami earlier that
day. Suddenly Swami looked at Rama and said, "Do not worry
Rama. We will arrange to put a person on the right track."
Rama did not understand what Swami was indicating.
A few weeks later, Rama’s mother asked him to take her to
Pandharpur so that she could pay her respects to Lord Vithoba. Rama
asked Swami for permission and received it immediately. Both mother
and son set out to visit Pandharpur. The day they reached was an
auspicious day – the eleventh day of the month of Magha. Many
devotees had come to pay their respects resulting in a heavy rush.
It was impossible for Rama to enter the temple with his mother in
tow. He therefore made her sit in a corner and went to request some
temple priests to allow them to enter through another entrance used
by the staff there.
Rama’s mother had waited for just some time when an old man
with a long flowing white beard approached her. He disclosed to
her that he too was a devotee of Shri Krishna Saraswati Swami of
Kolhapur. He had accompanied Swami to Pandharpur and in fact Swami
was seated on the other side of the temple. He then requested the
old lady to sit on his shoulder so that he could carry her inside
the temple to get the darshan of Lord Panduranga (another name of
Lord Vithoba). The mother sat on the old man’s shoulder. Within
a second, he carried her inside the temple and stood directly in
front of Lord Panduranga’s idol so that the old woman could
view the Lord at close quarters. After the darshan, he carried her
back and seated her in the same place as before and left hurriedly.
In the meantime, Rama came back disappointed and dejectedly told
his mother that in the heavy rush he could not get the special permission
and therefore, they would not be able to enter the temple. His mother
laughed at him and said, "I have already been into the temple
and paid my respects to Lord Panduranga". She narrated to him
all what had happened. Rama was almost in tears. He said to his
mother, "Were Swami visiting Pandharpur, I would have been
informed about it. You criticize Swami all the time, yet he came
in disguise to carry you inside the temple". The shocked woman
understood her folly and felt ashamed of her nasty behavior.
On their return to Kolhapur, she visited the mathi and sincerely
begged for repentance. She totally surrendered to Swami. Now Rama
understood what Swami had meant by saying, "We will arrange
for a man to put her on the right track".
Rama Mang was a devotee who used to visit the mathi daily. He envied
Krishna Lad for getting the chance to carry Swami on his shoulder.
Rama used to silently wish he could get the same chance at least
once. He never expressed his wish to anyone, not even to Swami.
He was under the impression that no one would let him fulfill his
wish as he belonged to a lower caste. But how anything could be
hidden from the omniscient Swami. One day Swami made a strange request
to Rama. He said, "Give me a horse and your wish will be fulfilled".
Rama was ecstatic.
He purchased a small built horse. It was simply perfect for Swami
to sit on. Rama handed the horse over to the mathi to the delight
of the disciples and devotees. Every evening, Swami would dress
up in a white kurta (long shirt) with a saffron shawl perched on
his shoulder and a green cap covering his head. Swami would ride
on the horse with a devotee holding high a colorful decorative umbrella
over his head. Other devotees would walk behind him carrying various
other religious paraphernalia. They would all form a procession
singing devotional songs in chorus, especially the chant "Digambara
Digambara Shripad Vallabh Digambara" This colorful
procession was a sight to behold!
The procession to Wadi
One day Swami expressed his desire to go thus, all the way to Wadi.
Therefore the entire procession proceeded to Wadi with Swami leading
up front. That day Ram happened to be holding the reins of the horse.
As they neared Wadi, Swami asked him to carry him on his shoulder.
Thus Swami fulfilled Ram’s heartfelt wish.
When Swami and his devotees reached Wadi, they first proceeded
for a ritual dip in the sangam (confluence where the river Krishna
meets river Panchganga). They then went to offer their worship to
Shri Narasimha Saraswati’s padukas.
After their darshan, they immediately proceeded to Shirole village.
At the outskirts of the village, Swami stopped the procession. A
while later, a woman carrying a water pitcher passed by. Swami called
out to her, "Yamabai, please come here. Take this coconut.
You have my blessings. You will soon have a son. You may go now".
Swami with his entourage proceeded to Miraj. They went directly
to the house of Malambhat Joshi, a distant relative
of Swami. Malambhat’s wife was seriously ill. She had a long
history of abdominal swelling with severe pain and cramps. Medicines
had proved futile. Every moment she prayed earnestly, "O Lord
Datta! Please save me".
When Swami entered the Joshi household with his devotees, Malambhat
was very happy to see them. He bowed reverentially at Swami’s
feet and said, "Brother, I have heard many beautiful stories
about you. I have heard that you are known as Datta Swami. Please
help and save my wife". Swami went to the backyard of the house
that had many trees. From one curd-apple tree, Swami plucked a few
leaves and handed them to Malambhat to extract its juice and give
it to his wife to drink. Swami’s instructions were carried
After a few minutes, she passed a large amount of urine and she
recovered immediately. The lady who had been sick and bed-ridden
for so many months got up and bowed gratefully to Swami. Neither
Swami nor the devotees had eaten anything since they started from
Kolhapur two days ago. Swami said to the lady, "We are all
very hungry, can you feed us something?" The lady enthusiastically
cooked and served a hearty meal to all. However, Swami did not eat
Annabua Mirajkar’s samadhi
After this visit, Swami and the devotees proceeded to pay their
respects at the samadhi of the famous saint Annabua Mirajkar. This
tomb is situated in the center of the city of Miraj. As Swami entered
the place, a voice from within the tomb spoke, "Krishna! I
am so happy to see you here. Seeing you, I felt as if Shri Swami
Samartha has come to meet me". Swami replied, "Anna, You
really flatter me! But then, both of us are one and the same".
Many devotees at the samadhi temple heard this conversation between
the two sages. The news that Anna had spoken from his grave with
Swami spread through the entire city like wild fire. People rushed
to procure Swami’s blessings – for health, wealth, employment,
marriage, and children. There was such a heavy rush that Swami could
not get a moment free.
Around noon, amidst the crowd, Swami was heard murmuring to himself,
"I must go to see Bhaskar". And lo behold! He disappeared
then and there from the sight, in front of the pushing crowd. There
was a panic amidst his devotees. They could not fathom where Swami
could have gone and for what reason. They were scared to face Tarabai’s
wrath, in case she came to know that they had lost Swami. She would
perhaps commit suicide. Helplessly, they started to softly chant
the mantra, "Digambara Digambara Shripad Vallabh Digambara",
praying fervently for Swami’s return.
At the very same time, on the banks of the river, a pious man was
conducting a charity feast. He was feeding the learned Brahmins
and the priests. Nearby, a young man named Bhaskar was carrying
out a rigorous penance and religious rituals and had been doing
so since many days to get the darshan of Lord Dattatreya, and to
procure his blessings. He prayed earnestly with great devotion and
fervor besieging Lord Dattatreya, "O Lord! You who pervade
everyone are being. You are my father, my mother, my brother, and
my relative. You, who are everything to me, are known as the one
who rushes to him whosoever calls earnestly, please come here. Please
show yourself to me". Exactly at that moment, a stranger having
the appearance of an Avadhoota showed up at that very spot.
The persons in charge of the charity feast tried to oust the stranger.
Witnessing the commotion, Bhaskar intervened, "Please serve
him the meal. I will bear the cost". Naturally Bhaskar’s
kind words made the host feel ashamed. The food was then served
to the Avadhoota and to Bhaskar. After the meal, both the Avadhoota
and Bhaskar went to a lonely spot where the young man bowed to the
sage. He asked him questions on yoga (union of man and God) and
meditation (the technique to achieve the same). To all the questions
put forth by Bhaskar, the Avadhoota replied, "Come to Kolhapur
and ask Shri Krishna Saraswati Swami. However, you won’t b
able to see him in this form". So saying, the Avadhoota disappeared
from that place.
Swami reappeared amidst his now nervous devotees who were engrossed
in their chants begging for Swami’s return. The moment the
devotees saw Swami, they were once again cheerful and in high spirits.
Swami then led them back to Kolhapur.
Next day, Bhaskar came to Kolhapur to meet Swami. Swami blessed
him and gave him a spiritual initiation. Needless to say that Bhaskar
achieved an ultimate position in yoga.
Swami takes his devotee to Pandharpur
There was a devotee who used to visit the mathi daily. He owned
fertile fields that gave him very good yield. He was therefore very
prosperous. He lived happily in a beautiful house with his two wives
and many children. He was a pious man and very kind hearted. He
gave lots of money to charity. His wives did not like this. They
hatched a plan with their brothers and got the control of his business
transferred into their hands. Then onwards every month, they gave
him a paltry sum to meet his personal expenses. It caused him a
lot of hardship and sadness. Nevertheless, he would spend the little
money he would get for charitable causes.
One day, he happened to see some pilgrims going to Pandharpur.
He also had the urge to go. He went to the mathi and asked Swami
for permission to undertake the pilgrimage. He got it at once. He
took a few sets of clothes and started walking, as he had no money
to hire a bullock cart. As he reached the outskirts of Kolhapur,
he saw a farmer atop a bullock cart. The farmer called out to him
and told him that if he was going to Pandharpur, he could hitch
a ride with him. The devotee replied, "I too am going to Pandharpur,
but I have no money to pay you". The farmer good-naturedly
ribbed him, "Who is asking for the money? I want some company
to Pandharpur and back". The devotee was more than happy to
get the lift.
The farmer was a jolly good fellow. He met all the expenses of
their food and lodgings throughout the journey. They also were lucky
to have a good darshan of Lord Vithoba at his temple at Pandharpur.
In fact, the entire trip was a pleasant experience for both the
men. When they returned, the devotee requested the farmer to come
to his house, so that he could repay the expenses he had borne on
his behalf. But the farmer refused. He told the devotee that the
question of his coming to the devotee’s house did not arise
as he was not going into the city and was proceeding elsewhere.
What’s more, bearing his expenses was his pleasure entirely.
But the devotee was adamant that he would not let the farmer go
without the payment. He requested him to wait at that very spot
on the outskirts of the city and hurried to return with the money.
When he came back with the money, to his utter dismay, the farmer
was not there. It dawned on him that throughout the enjoyable trip,
he had not even had the courtesy to ask the farmer his name or whereabouts.
Feeling very guilty and dejected, he sat there with a heavy heart.
He sat there throughout the night till sleep overpowered him. Just
before dawn, Swami appeared in his dream and said, "My son,
go home now. You have sat long enough waiting for the farmer? In
any case, he will not come back". The devotee now realized
that it was Swami who had come in the guise of the farmer to give
him a pleasant trip to Pandharpur and back.