Stories - Sant Ekanathar

Stories - Sant Ekanathar

The state of Maharastra in India is renowned for the spiritual giants it had given to the world. Sant Nama Dev, Sant Thukaram, Sant Gnaneswar, Sant Jana Bai.... the list is almost endless and Sant Ekanathar is one amongst the most exalted saints of India. He is frequently quoted as the one of the best examples for devotion towards a Guru.
An incident in his life highlights his broad mind, forbearance and his compassionate nature. Sant Ekanath lived in a village called Prathinapura, in Maharastra. He practised Bhagavatha Dharma - singing the names and glories of the Lord. He performed pooja to the idols of Rukmini and Panduranga which was presented to him by his Guru - Sri Janardhana Swami. Sant Ekanathar was particularly famous in his village for his patience; nobody ever saw him angry and nothing could ever make him lose his temper. Almost all his fellow-villagers paid respects to Ekanathar for his great virtues.

In the same village there were a few vagabonds who used to regularly meet for gambling. One morning it so happened that one of them arrived late. When the others looked at him with a questioning look, he said, "I had been to Sant Ekanathar's residence to pay respects to him. So I could not come here in time." On hearing this, the others guffawed and with a mocking tone asked him, "So my friend, what is so special about this gentleman, which makes you fall at his feet?" "Sri Ekanathar never loses his temper under any circumstance. Isn't this trait unusual?" They teased him further..."How can he who never gets angry be called a human?" On hearing thus he immediately answered,"That is the reason why I regard him a saint..." The conversation which started in a light vein, took a serious turn... In the end one of them challenged,"I shall make Saint Ekanathar lose his temper and prove to you all that he is no different from others and I shall accomplish what I just said by tomorrow itself."

The next morning, Sant Ekanathar, in line with Bhagavatha Dharma - went to bathe in the Holy Godavari river early in the morning. While he was retuning, the one who threw down the gauntlet, was waiting for Sant Ekanathar on a rooftop with mouthful of Paan (Betel leaves and Betel nuts, usually taken after meals). While walking back home, Ekanathar suddenly felt something wet falling on him, without any signs of surprise, and without losing his composure, walked back to the river for a holy dip.

The defiler was surprised, but when Sri Ekanathar returned from his second dip he again spat on this great saint. Sri Ekanathar again went back to the river for a dip without losing his calm. But the vagabond was persistent in his efforts to make this saint angry, and he kept on spitting at Saint Ekanathar. Each time he spat on the saint, he could not even detect a faintest frown in Ekanathar's face. As the twilight of the dawn started to bounce off from the glittering waters of Godavari, the vagabond got tired of spitting at Ekanathar. He was totally bewildered on seeing the patience and forbearance of Ekanath. While his mouth was aching stiff due to repeated spitting, Ekanathar was looking as composed and as fresh as he was early in the morning!

The vagabond feeling guilty and ashamed, rushed down to fall at the feet of Saint Ekanathar. Saint Ekanathar, with eyes brimming with compassion and love even for this offender, blessed him. Now the vagabond was totally perplexed, "Swamiji, how is it possible for you to be like this?" Saint Ekanath replied, "Brother, if you can stick so stubbornly to this vice of harrassing sadhus, it isn't the least surprising that I should, on my part, should stick to my virtue of not losing my temper." "I am on the way to offer my morning worship to my Lord. The dirt on my body can be easily cleansed by a dip in the river, but if I let anger enter my mind it defiles the mind and no amount of bathing in any river can cleanse me of this impurity. Worshipping with an impure mind would not bear fruits. So, can I ever afford to lose my temper?" Such a great soul was Sant Ekanathar.

Remembering Sant Ekanathar when we get angry, would help us to regain our composure without much difficulty.

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