Sunday, October 28, 2012

Shri Brahmachaitanya Dwaadasha Namavali

श्री ब्रह्मचैतन्याय नमः
श्री गणपति नामकाय नमः
श्री मारुत्यंशाय नमः
श्री रामदासस्वरूपिणॆ नमः
श्री तुकाराम शिष्याय नमः
श्री गीतापुत्राय नमः
श्री रामस्थापकाय नमः
श्री ब्रह्मानंद पूजिताय नमः
श्री ब्रह्मस्वरूपिणॆ नमः
श्री गॊंदावलॆ महाप्रभुवॆ नमः
श्री सद्गुरुवॆ नमः

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Sri Brahmachaitanya Maharaj's Pravachan-Oct.28

                                               Sri Maharaja's Pravachan Oct. 28                                            
God Resides in Our Heart
A subordinate merely obeys his superior and is absolved of all personal responsibility of doership. This freedom everyone can enjoy by putting his faith in the sadguru. The profit and loss due to any action are left to God, and are the responsibility of the sadguru. Since he prompts us in everything, including the sadhana, whatever comes brings credit or discredit to him. Whatever the disciple does then becomes service to the sadguru. The important thing is that there must be the firm faith that God resides in our heart, that we, too, are part of Him, that we and He, indeed, are identical. As an intermediate stage, we may cultivate the idea that God is present everywhere, at all times, and is watching us and all our activities. This may not destroy pride totally, but will at least prevent us from doing undesirable things.
A sacred place owes its sanctity to our own feeling regarding it; else, it has only ordinary water and a sculptured stone, the idol. 'Kashi/ 'Ganga/ and such other words raise holy thoughts in our minds, but many local residents look upon them as just ordinary streams of water, and do not take a dip for years on end. They therefore seem to hold no special regard for it.
A holy place is thus holy only because we think it so. If, after all, it is a matter of our sentiment, can we not create it, imagine it, even in the home? Of course, it demands a forceful conviction. If we do not have such convictions, and also lack the means to go to a place known as holy, we should at least repeat the pious wish to visit such a place, so that holy thoughts occupy the mind.
Similarly, though God is omnipresent, we have to realize Him by strength of sentiment. Prahlad and Draupadi did have that conviction in their heart, so God had to manifest Himself in concrete form for them. Similarly, if you have the conviction that your sadguru does exist and help you, he will have to run to your help. It is entirely upto you to have proof of this.
To be free of all doubt of the existence of God is true knowledge; this knowledge is easily obtained by one who lives in constant consciousness of Him.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Shri Brahmananda Maharaj - A Brief Biography-1

An humble effort has been made to write a brief biography of Sadguru Shri Brahmananda Maharaj. It will be published in parts.The Book 'Sri Sadguru Brahmananda Charitre' in Kannada by Shri Venkanna Bhatta Raghunatha Bhatta, is the main source of reference.

                                                      Sri Rama Samartha
                               Sadguru Shri Brahma Chaithanya Maharajaki Jai !
A brief biography of a Great Saint – Sri Brahmananda Maharaj
Shri Bhayya Saheb Modaka , a devout person of Indore, visited the Maruthi Mandir near his house, as usual, in the evening. He noticed a youthful mendicant and spoke with him. He was amazed by the scholarship, detachment and the divine aspirations of the youth and invited him to his house.  At first, the youth refused to go to his house, but on the repeated request of the elderly man, he accompanied Shri Bhayya Saheb to his house. After attending to the mendicant, Bhayya Saheb left him in his house asking him to take rest, stating that he was going out to meet a saint who has come to Indore who would be delivering a lecture that evening.
The mendicant, feeling that he also should have gone to visit the saint, told Shri Bhayya Saheb, next morning, of his desire to meet the Saint. Shri Bhayya Saheb told the youth that the saint was Shri Brahmachaithanya Maharaj of Gondavale and took him to the place where the saint was staying. The mendicant saw to his dismay, that the saint was wearing only a loin-cloth (Koupeena) , and was sitting surrounded by women. Some of them were massaging his feet. The celibate mendicant could not understand how a person can be of a detached mind, though surrounded by women. Thinking that this person can not be his Guru, he did not go near the saint, but returned to his place of stay.
After lunch, he left Indore.

Sri Anantha Shastry, the mendicant, who was wandering in search of his Guru, was born of parents Sri Balambhatta Gadagoli and Smt Jevoo Bai, on Thursday Jalihala, near Gadag, a district of the present Karnataka state. As the child grew older, he was very precautious. He was fast in learning having very good memory power. He learnt the lessons his teacher taught very fast, and then he had more time to play. His playful nature, his boyish pranks, seemed to have no bounds. But he had a very strong determination which can be understood by the following episode. Banashankari temple is only a few kilometers from Jalihala. During special occasions, there used to be processions and Maha Prasad (food offered to God and served for Lunch is called Maha Prasad) for everyone who attended. So, Anantha and some of his friends went to Banashankari. After taking food there, while returning, some of his friends felt tired to walk. At the same time, they noticed a bullock cart, which was passing by. Anantha, eldest in the group, asked the cart-man which way the cart was going? The cart-man said “Jalihala”. Then the boys said that they were also going to Jalihala, and jumped into the cart. But the cart-man said the Ox tied to the cart was new and un-trained. And it may be dangerous for the children to travel in the cart. But the boys were adamant and did not listen to his advice. So, the cart-man got angry, and hit the ox to go faster. This made the cart wobble. This shocked the children and they were afraid to continue to sit in it.. But the cart-man did not stop though the children begged him to stop. A few of them began to cry. So, Anantha, determined to stop the cart any way, put his leg in between the spokes of a wheel, which made the cart to stop. The cart-man noticing the cause of the sudden halt of the cart, got afraid about Anantha’s leg, and asked all the children to get down from the vehicle.
 All such rough nature of Anantha made his parents worry about him. They scolded him. This made Anantha very sorry. When he realized that his own parents were disgusted with him, he did not want to live any more. With the purpose of killing himself, he left his house, went to Banashankari, a sacred place, had the darshan of Shri Bana shankari Devi and took Prasadam there.. It was in a forest area. After sun-set, no one stayed there. So, all of the priests, assistants and devotees, left the temple well before sunset. One of the priests noticed this boy, Anantha, and asked him to accompany him. But Anantha refused to go with him. So, He was left alone in the temple in that forest area. He prayed to the Goddess that he intended not to live any more.  As darkness fell, he walked to the nearby Saraswathi river. When he tried to jump into the river, he felt some one holding him from behind. But, as no one was there, he again tried to fall in to the water. This time, there was a tremendous force, and he found himself forced towards the front of the temple, He was stunned and realized that the mother did not want him to kill himself.
So, he decided to pursue his studies, as per his parents wish, and went to Menasagi, a place which is not far off from Jalihala.

.He got his Vedic education under the tutorship of  Shri Dhondabhatta Dada Modak, a great scholar, in the town of Menasagi. After he finished the course, his spiritual desire took over him, and he declined to marry. White patches started to be seen on his skin, and stating that as the reason for not entering the domestic life, he started on a pilgrimage in search of his Sadguru. He visited all the pilgrimage centers, meeting many saints, in the north. On his return journey, he had come to Indore.

A Brief Biography of Sri Brahmananda Maharaj - 2

          A brief biography of a Great Saint – Sri Brahmananda Maharaj

At Indore, with a feeling of disappointment at not finding his Guru, Sri Anantha Shastry  went on his journey and came to NarasimhaVadi, a holy place.. He prayed before  Lord Dattatreya, weeping with anguish that he was not able to find his Sadguru in spite of all his travels and prayers. At night, he had a dream. The Lord Dattatreya presented himself before him and told that He had really taken him to his Guru at Indore, but Shastry had spurned and not met him. Soon he woke up to his dismay for missing to meet his Guru, and started immediately for Indore. Reaching Indore, he went straight to Bhayya Saheb’s house, and enquired whether Shri Brahmachaithanya Maharaj was still in Indore. Shri Bhayya Saheb told him that Shri Maharaj had gone to Gondavale, but had returned to Indore on the previous day only. As Shri Anantha Shastry was in a hurry to meet him, Bhayya saheb took him to Shri Maharaj.
This time, as soon as he saw Shri Maharaj, he fell down on his feet with intense devotion, with tears in his eyes. It seems Shri Maharaj had shown him his real form of Hanuman. This made him realize that Shri Maharaj is not an ordinary human but is actually an incarnation of God Hanuman. So, later he composed the Bhajan:” Maajhe sadguru rao maruti avathara” On reaching his Guru, he at once surrendered himself to Him effacing his ‘I and Mine’ attitude. He accompanied Shri Maharaj to Gondavale.
Gondavale is a small village on the bank of river Mana Ganga, in Maharashtra. Here lived the saint Sri Brahmachaitanya Maharaj. His house was like an ashram, where many of his devotees who came to him wanting something or the other stayed. Many of them came to be cured of the ills of this world. But some of them came with a desire to see God. For all of them, Shri Maharaj initiated chanting of Rama-naam. He showed that one need not renounce the family and the world to attain God. He was married and never left the domestic life. But his family was universal. He converted his house to a Ram-Mandir. He installed the idols of Shri Ram,Sita mai, Lakshman and Maruthi. A shiv linga was also installed in his house. Later, as this Rama-mandir was considered as small, he constructed another bigger Rama Mandir.
Ananthashastry was in attendance of his Guru, all the twenty four hours. He was always on alert when Shri Maharaj needed any assistance. His dress was just a loincloth and a small dhoti covered from waist to knee. This used to be his attire all the time, summer or winter. He was always chanting the Ram-nam initiated by Shri  Maharaj. A Sanskrit scholar, learned in Vedas, surrendering himself to a Guru who preached only Nama-smaran(chanting of the Divine name), could have surprised many.
Shri Maharaj had a large number of cows. He had collected many cows which were being sold to Butchers, by buying them. With his parental care, many of them considered to be barren, delivered calves and began to yield milk. It was a habit of Shri Maharaj to go to the cow-shelter, early in the morning, pat and massage each of the cows putting fodder or water before them. Shri Shastry got up in the morning earlier than Shri Maharaj, and used to clean up the cow-shelter before Shri maharaj went there.

Shri Anantha Shastry was so much in to the service of his Guru, that he did not even care for his own modesty and safety.
Once, Shri Shastry was taking bath in Managanga river. The people who were also taking bath near him were surprised that he suddenly ran as he was, in the wet clothes, helter-skelter. on hearing Shri Maharaj calling him.
On another occasion, he was taking out the fodder for the cows which were placed on the roof of Shri Maharaj’s house. On hearing Shri Maharaj calling him, he jumped from the roof, loosing not a single moment, and placed himself before Shri Maharaj.
Thus was his daily routine. There were many attendants to Shri Maharaj. But Shri Shastry used to do all their work.
Once, Shri Maharaj was about to leave for Pandharpur. He called Shri Shastry and told him that he was going on horse-back and asked him to accompany him. Immediately on hearing his Guru, he took out all the items that his Guru may need, packed them in a bundle, and carrying it on his head, began to run, bare-foot, behind Shri Maharaj. On the way, Shri Maharaj, as though to test his disciple, diverted his horse, on a short-cut road but full of stones and thorns. But this did not deter the disciple from following the Guru. As soon as Shri Maharaj arrived at his destination, Sri Rama Mandir in Phandharpur, Shri Shastry took hold of the horse, tied it at a safe place, arranged for the bath of Shri Maharaj. He was massaging the horse, when Shri Maharaj, after taking his bath, came out and asked Shri Shastry to bathe in Chandra bagha river, When Shri Shastry returned having bathed in the river, Shri Maharaj was sitting for meals. Seeing Shri Shastry, he suddenly remembered and told him, “It has been my custom to go round the town of Phandarpur, before lunch. But, to-day, I have started taking the food forgetting my custom. So, come back after going around the town.” 
Shri Shastry without even considering that he had not yet rested after running nearly 70 kms, on bare foot, went round the holy Phandarpur, and returned. Now Shri Maharaj kindly asked him to take food.  As soon as Shri Maharaj patted Shri Shastry on the back, with affection, his tiredness vanished.              

Sadguru Shri Brahmachaithanya Maharaj, observing the devotion, steadfastness, and    disinterestedness in the worldly life, of this disciple, considering him as the fit person to realize the self-knowledge, ordered Shri Shastry to go to Omkareshwara temple on the shore of Narmada river, and stay there for some time, repeating the Taraka Ram-Nam, initiated to him. Obeying his Guru’s order, Shri Shastry went to that sacred temple of Omkareshwara. The temple was in the middle of a deep forest, and the river Narmada flowed near it. It was a place of solitude. Sri Omkareshwara was considered as one of the twelve Jyotirlingas and is an ancient temple. Shri Shastry was impressed by the sacred Shiva Linga, in the ancient temple and the beautiful surroundings. He started his Nama-Japa after praying the Lord Shiva. Every day, he used to get up early before dawn, took bath in the river, performed pooja to the Lord Shiva, and then sat with padmasana, with eyes closed and Shri Maharaja’s image installed in his heart, chanting the Ram-Jap. He used to sit like this till evening, before sunset, and then went out of the temple, gathered the freshly fallen dry leaves and ate them; and drank the sweet water of the Narmada River.
He did the penance for 6-7 months.
During that period, he had to experience many trying moments, and by the Grace of Shri Maharaj he withstood all. The forest was full of many cruel animals. One night as he was sitting doing Jap, he heard the roar of a tiger in front of the temple. Suddenly the tiger entered the temple and seeing Shri Shastry, went round him. Sri Shastry, opened his eyes and seeing the tiger, felt that his Guru’s orders cannot be carried out completely if it eats him. But, again, he concluded as his Guru knows everything, it may be His way of testing him.
So, closing his eyes he concentrated on the chanting of Ram-nam. The Tiger which sat near him, for a while, went away.     

A Brief Biography of Sri Brahmananda Maharaj - 3

 A brief biography of a Great Saint – Sri Brahmananda Maharaj - 3

Later on, one night, Shri Shastry found himself, while sitting on meditation, surrounded by many serpents, with some of them moving over him, tied him as a rope, hissing all the time. Shri Shastry  tolerating the intolerable pain, prayed to Shri Maharaj with closed eyes that he was only working out his order, and if he dies without completing, it was not his fault but considered as his Guru’s Will. Suddenly, Shri Maharaj emerged from the Shiva-Linga, and approaching Shri Shastry, put His hand on his head. All of a sudden, the serpents vanished.  On seeing shri Maharaj, Shri Shastry executed deergha danda namaskar, with tears of happiness on seeing his beloved Guru.. Maharaj put his arms round Shastry and gave an affectionate hug, which gave him the Divine Ananda, He was seeing The God Ram every where. After releasing him, Shri Maharaj  brought him back to the normal state. Shri Maharaj told Shri Shastry that he was impressed by his steadfast determination and hard penance. So he was bestowing him the Divine Ananda, forever. He conferred him the name “Brahmananda”. Shri Maharaj told him to finish his penance with in a day or two and go to Indore. Shastry became very happy and began to chant the prayer, "Brahmendra Mukhya maradurlabham….."
Then Shri Maharaj vanished.
According to his Guru’s advice, Shri “Brahmananda” completed his penance, and went to Indore.
He went straight to Bhayya Saheb’s house. In spite of having lost a lot of weight because of  having only leaves for food, Shri Shastry was recognized and welcomed there. Shri Brahmananda asked whether Shri Maharaj was in Indore. He was told that Shri Maharaj had gone back to Gondavale three days back. When they were talking, Shri Bhayya Saheb received by post, a letter from Shri Maharaj. Shri Maharaj had written that Shastry would be coming there after attaining ‘Brahmananda’, and that he should be looked after well, and be sent to Gondavale after two days. Likewise, the Indore devotees detained and looked after Shri Brahmananda, with affection and regards for two days, and then sent him to Gondavale.

Sri Brahmananda came to Gondavale and straight went to Shri Maharaj, and with tears in his eyes bowed down to His feet. Shri Maharaj raised him with affection. Shri Brahmananda, began to chant “Sashtanga vandhooni Sadguroo raayaache”, spontaneously.

Sri Brahmanand with his Guru’s Grace, had attained self-realization. But, still he involved himself in the service of Shri Maharaja’s household, doing all the menial chores and was in attendance of Shri Maharaj all the twenty four hours.
One day, early in the morning, Shri Maharaj called him to his side, and told him that he was happy with the service he was rendering. But, due to the effect of Kali, righteousness was retreating and the unrighteousness was advancing everywhere. So, it was necessary to spread Rama Bhakthi, and to teach people the moral values. “Now you are fit for it. So, you go to your area of Karnataka and spread Rama Bhakthi there. You teach them how the people can attain the God even in domestic life, attending all the household responsibilities and one need not renounce the world by taking Sanyasa. So, your motherland of Karnataka is waiting for you. Go there”, Sri Maharaj gave him a Kapini, a Kulavi (Cap) which was on his head, His sandals, and a coin, and told him that he will always be at his side, and if any where, at any time, if he was in a problem, he will come there to his aid.  Sri Brahmanand Maharaj felt very sad to leave shri Maharaj, and spent the remaining day alone. Shri Maharaj, noticing his absence, went in search of him and finding him alone, told him of his duty of resurrecting the Dharma buddhi of the people. Of course, all the time, he will be at his side.
Shri Brahmananda Maharaj, after leaving Gondavale, with the blessings of Shri Maharaj, went straight to Jalihala, his birth place. He stayed in the Vithal Mandir near his house. In the evening, he put Shri Maharaja’s picture, and the padukas, in front of him and with closed eyes did the Manasa pooja.(pooja performed mentally). Afterwards, in his sweet voice, he started to sing Bhajans. On hearing his Bhajans, the village people began to assemble. His elder brothers also had come there. He had gone away twelve years back. Now he was with moustache and a beard, red cap on his head, only loin-cloth and a dhoti covering from waist to knee, speaks Marathi; no one recognized him. Completing his Bhajans and Arathi, as his usual custom, he enquired about the welfare of the surrounding villagers. Many of them, requested him to go to their house for Phalahar (night meals). He refused all of them, but went with his brothers. He saw his thinned down mother Jevoo Bai, and bowed down to her. Thinking that he is a Maharashtrian saint, Jevoo bai asked his daughters-in-law, to serve him food. But, Shri Brahmananda asked Jevoo bai to serve the food herself.. He took the food served by his mother, with pleasure, and went back to the Vitthal Mandir, after bowing down to his mother, again.

A Brief Biography of Sri Brahmananda Maharaj - 4

A Brief Biography of Sri Brahmananda Maharaj - 4

Next morning, in early hours, Sri Brahmanand left the place and went to the sacred Banashankari temple.  After staying there that night, he went to Venkatapur, where he had rendered the seva of udbhava Shri Venkateshwara Swamy, before he went on the pilgrimage in search of his Guru. He thought of staying there to do the work of Shri Maharaj. But, a person of Beladhadi, which is only a few kilometers from Venkatapur, who knew him in his early days, requested him to stay at Beladhadhi. But, as he was not fully made up in his mind to go to Beladhadi, Shri Maharaj appeared one night and asked him to stay at Beladhadi and spread Ram-nam.  People of Beladhadhi, who knew him in early days, when he used to give lectures on Srimad Bhagavatha Purana, continued to call him as "Anantha Shastry". Now, they did not know that this was a realized soul, who is always in the divine “Brahmananda”..

Shri Brahmananda’s daily routine was to get up two hours before sunrise, and did one hour of Nama japa ,and  after taking bath, go to some secluded place, and sit for Anusthan, up to an hour before sunset, come back to the village, and go for alms to two or three houses. After getting whatever food they gave, he used to offer before Shri Maharaj, before eating.

 Shri Maharaj's Padukas worshipped by Shri Brahmananda Maharaj and kept in Beladadhi

Then after finishing his routine evening worship, he used to sing Bhajans, in his sweet voice, which was well attended by the villagers. During all these days he spoke very little. Considering his austerities, the villagers respected him, and some of them took more care of him. Many times he used to forget himself in meditation, and did not return home for three or four days. All these days he remained with out food. Considering his attitude, one elderly lady, Dwaraka bai Ranga Rao Inamdar, took great care, and went around, and after tracing him sitting or lying some where, she used to bring him to her house and gave him food. But, he ate very little. Sri Brahmanand used to call her, who showered motherly affections on him, ‘Kaki’, meaning ‘aunt’. He used to tell the wondrous tales of Shri Maharaj to her. But, other wise, he was almost silent and spoke with nobody.
People began to understand that he has a Guru known as “Shri Brahmachaitanya Maharaj” And they began to call Shri Brahmananda as “Guruji”
For some time, he stayed in a farm near Bheeshma Tank, in Gadag. During that time, some Maharashtrian devotees of Shri Maharaj, who had come to Gadag, visited him. They told that they were on the way to Gokarna. Shri Brahmanand smiled and chanted :
Jethe dise Sadguru charana teche aamha gokarna| Gokarnaacha Maheshwara sadgurunath kharokara || Gondavale aise kshetra soduni jaave kaa itaratra || Gondavale aise bhuvana sadgurooche janmasthaana || Managangaachiyaa teeri Lolataari muktichaaree|| Brahmanannda saangoo kitee sadguruveenaa naahee gati ||
This made them realize Shri Brahmananda’s devotion to his Guru, Shri Maharaj.and felt ashamed at their own short-coming.
After some days, he came back to Beladhadi and stayed there. He told of his intention of building a Ram Mandir, in Beladhadi. Shri Inamdar gave a place near his house, to construct the Mandir, and offered his service in the construction. Guruji was very happy, and he began to collect the necessary stones and bring them carrying on his head.  After a month or two, he again became silent, and with the intention of getting Shri Maharaj to that place, he began anusthan. 

A Brief Biography of Sri Brahmananda Maharaj-5

A Brief Biography of Sri Brahmananda Maharaj - 5

With in a few days, Shri Samartha Sadguru Brahmachaitanya Maharaj, with his disciples, came to  Maruthi Mandir at Beladhadhi.. People gathered in wonder to see this divine person. Shri Maharaj asked them where was Brahmananda?  The people there did not know who Brahmananda was. But when one of Shri Maharaj’s disciples asked them for Anantha Shastry ,immediately, some of the villagers ran to the farm temple where Brahmananda stayed and informed him that “Gondavalekar Maharaj has come”. Suddenly Shri Brahmananda ran, jumping over the fence of the farm, with out considering a second’s rest, he came directly to Shri Maharaj, and prostrated before him. His happiness had no bounds. Shri Maharaj smilingly told “ Brahmananda, why did you take so much strain“and with affection, put his extended hand on his head. The extreme pleasure Shri Brahmananda felt at the sight of Shri Maharaj, cannot be explained in words. The blessed people of Beladhadi watched the meeting of the two divine people.

Then, Shri Brahmananda introduced Shri Maharaj to the assembled villagers. They were all very happy to see the great saint. They all shouted “Shri Sadguru Brahmachaithanya Maharaj ki Jai”. Shri Inamdar took Shri Maharaj in a grand procession to his house, and arranged his stay there.
 Each day, one of the villagers took Shri Maharaj to his house and after washing his feet, performed pooja and served food to Shri Maharaj and the assembled devotees. One among the villagers, though he had the desire of taking Shri Maharaj to his house, as he had no means of meeting the expenses, kept quiet. But Shri Brahmananda, knowing his intention, told him to call Shri Maharaj on the day of his departure so that there will be only 10-12 persons with him and he can easily arrange food for them. Like-wise, that person invited Shri Maharaj to his house on the day of his departure. When Shri Maharaj started to give pravachan(lecture), about 200 persons gathered to listen.  They were not invited that day. As the time of lunch was past, the host came and informed Shri Maharaj that the food is ready. Then, Shri Maharaj asked the assembled devotees that as he is leaving Beladhadhi that day, let them all take food with him. This made the host tremble, as he had only prepared food for 12 persons. But, shri Brahmananda assured him not to worry.
Shri Maharaj, after the pravachan, went to the kitchen and looked gracefully at the food prepared, and then went to bathe. After his bath he did the usual Sandhyavandan, and then went to the kitchen; the prepared food was offered (Naivedya) to God Shri Ram, and He asked them to serve.   Shri Brahmananda also joined to serve. Surprisingly, every one was fed sumptuously and there still remained some food. The host was very happy, and bowed down to Shri Maharaj with his humble gratitude.
While at Beladhadhi, Sri Maharaj , learning that Shri Brahmananda’s mother Smt. Jevoo bai was staying in Gadag.,  sent a Bullock-cart to Gadag and got her to Beladhadhi. He told her that the world has to thank her for delivering a son like Brahmananda. He felicitated her with a saree and fruits, and bowed down to her feet with a dandavat pranam. Afterwards, he sent her back to her house with all due respects.
Then He advised the villagers to do Ram-nam, and  obey Sri Brahmanand. He himself volunteered that after the completion of Sri Rama mandir, he will come for the installation of Sri Rama idols. Then He returned to Gondavale with his retinue. The villagers of Beladhadhi felt very sorry on his departure, for He had conquered their hearts with his affection.

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 A brief biography of a Great Saint – Sri Brahmananda Maharaj - 6

After shri Maharaj went away, Sri Brahmananda Maharaj became very active, traveling and visiting the devotees of the surrounding places, and started the construction of Shri Rama Mandir. He arranged Nama-sapthaha which was well attended by the people from different places.
In Gadag, there was a person named Phadke,  a devotee of Sri Brahmananda Maharaj. Occasionally, Sri Brahmanand  used to stay over-night in Sri Phadke’s house, when he visited Gadag. One day, Sri Phadke asked Sri Brahmanand Maharaj to initiate the Taraka Manthra to him. Sri Brahmanand told him to go to Gondavale and be initiated directly by Sri Brahmachaithanya Maharaj. Sri Phadke insisted that it was enough for him if Sri Brahmanand maharaj initiated the manthra, but Sri Brahmanand Maharaj refused.
Then, Sri Phadke told him that if Sri Brahmachaithanya Maharaj was as powerful as he was described, can he himself come there and initiate him? Sri Brahmanand Maharaj told him that there is nothing impossible for Sri Brahmachaithanya Maharaj. He asked Sri Phadke to do pooja to Sri Gurupadaka daily, and to chant Ram-nam with devotion. He asked him to fast on every Thursday.
After about two months, Sri Brahmanand Maharaj visited his house. The family was very happy and requested him to take his midday meal with them. Sri Brahmanand told him, that as it was a Thursday, he will fast from the morning and take food in the night only. So, he asked them to prepare the food for the night, when he will come back for the night-meal. So, the entire family decided to skip the food in the afternoon, and await Sri Brahmanand Maharaj. At about 6 p.m. Sri Brahmanand Maharaj came there, and asked  Sri Phadke to take a bath. Meanwhile, he arranged for a Guru Peetha (a seat arranged for a holy person), and pooja articles. As soon as Sri Phadke returned after taking a bath, Sri Brahanand started doing Bhajans accompanied by the entire family. Suddenly there was a knock on the door, and when the door was opened, they were all surprised and happy to see Sri Brahmachaithanya Maharaj entering their house. Sri Maharaj sat on the Gurupeetha which was ready, and Sri Phadke washed the divine feet of Maharaj, and did the Arathi.
Sri Maharaj lovingly initiated Sri Phadke with the taraka Manthra. Afterwards they all ate food there. A room was arranged with Bed for Sri Maharaj. When Sri Maharaj went to Bed, Sri Phadke was pressing his legs till he slept. Sri Brahmanand Maharaj slept in a separate room.
Early in the morning, Sri Phadke was awaiting Sri Maharaj to wake up and come out of the room. But as the sun-rise approached, he got suspicious and went inside to find Sri Maharaj not there. So, he went to the room where Sri Brahmanand was sleeping, and there also he did not find Sri Brahmanand. He was stunned, and became very un-happy. He searched in the houses of other devotees of Gadag, for the saints, but not a trace of them anywhere. He started fasting with devotion, and the second morning, Sri Brahmanand Maharaj came to him and consoled him stating that when the Ashta Siddhis were always ready to serve Him, it is not difficult for Sri Maharaj to satisfy the desire of such a devotee like Sri Phadke. Sri Brahmanand Maharaj stayed with him for a few hours, took food in their house in the afternoon and went away advising them to do namasmaran.

A brief biography of a Great Saint – Sri Brahmananda Maharaj-7

A brief biography of a Great Saint – Sri Brahmananda Maharaj -7

The construction of Shri Rama Mandir at Beladhadhi was completed and the idols were ready to be installed. A day was set-up. A large number of erudite Sanskrit scholars and priests were invited to conduct the installation ceremony. Sadguru Sri Brahmachaithanya maharaj came from Gondavale and personally installed the Divine idols of Shri Ram, Shri Lakshman, Shri Sita Mai and Shri Hanuman. Thousands of people poured in from surrounding places to witness the holy ceremony. Food was served to everyone. Sri Maharaj told them all to chant Ram-nam. After the ceremonies were over, Shri Maharaj left for Gondavale with his retinue.
Shri Brahmanand Maharaj laid out the programs for daily pooja activities in the newly constructed Mandir. As per the order of Shri Maharaj, he renovated all the old temples in the Village. He also constructed a well, and called it “Sri Rama Thirtha”.  He prompted many people to take up Ram-nam. Though he was permitted by Shri Maharaj to initiate the Tarak manthra, himself, he used to send the people to Shri Maharaj for initiation. He put up plaques on Sri Rama Mandir and Sri Rama Thirtha, stating that they were constructed by Shri Brahmachaithanya Maharaj. This shows his devotion to his Guru, unselfishness and humility.
His righteous attitude  attracted people wherever he went. He instructed them to chant Ram-nam. He sent them to Gondavale to get initiated by Shri Maharaj. He used to sing Marathi Bhajans which, people of Beladhadhi and other places he frequented, could not understand. So he wrote and chanted many Kannada Bhajans which impressed the local people. Though, he was a saint of the first order disinterested in the worldly life, he attended the people in their dire need. He helped many people out of their problems.
Though he advocated chanting of Ram-naam for all evils, he instructed them not to forsake their duties. He arranged Sri Rama -nama -week  at many places and helped to establish Sri Rama Mandir at several places.

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A brief biography of a Great Saint – Sri Brahmananda Maharaj - 8

Sri Brahmanand Maharaj, once visited Kurtakoti, a place near Gadag. In Kurtakoti, there was a young man, named Lingana Gowda,  who was well educated. He was well versed in both English and Sanskrit languages. He could subjugate many scholars in arguments. He learnt from some sources that Sri Brahmanand Maharaj was well versed in Vedantha, having studied in Varanasi. So Sri Lingana Gowda invited Sri Brahamanad Maharaj to his house and during conversation, started to ask some questions with the intention of knowing about the scholarship of Sri Brahmananda Maharaj. But Sri Brahmananda Maharaj, smiled, and  told him that from the time when Sri Brahma Chaithanya Maharaj Graced  and initiated him, he has sold his tongue entirely to ‘Sri Rama naam’. He told: “With Sri Maharaj’s divine favour my desires for Shastra and Meemaamsa have vanished. By my Guru’s  Grace my earlier interest for  Shastras have declined  and  I have realized that  one cannot get  real satisfaction and peace from these shastras .Without chanting  Nama (God’s name) this life will be a mere waste”. The young man was very much impressed, and requested Sri Brahmanand Maharaj to initiate him. Sri Brahmanand told him that as Sadguru  Sri Bramachaithanya Maharaj would be visiting Gadag and other places shortly, he could be initiated by Sri Maharaj himself.

 Naragunda is a small village but had many devotees of Shri  Brahmananda Maharaj.  Naragund devotees wanted to arrange a thera koti (13 crores )  Rama-Jap in their place. So, they requested Sri Brahmanand Maharaj to help them. Sri Brahmanand Maharaj wanted to take permission of Shri Maharaj. So, on behalf of the villagers he wrote a letter to Sri Appa Saheb Bhadavankar of Pandarpur asking to intimate the desire of the villagers to Sri Maharaj and take his permission to start the thera-koti Japa at Naragund. Here, we have to note that Sri Brahmanand did not write letters directly to Sri Maharaj., but wrote to a person who is near Shri Maharaj at that time and asked him to intimate Sri Maharaj about his letter.
Sri Maharaj replied in a letter to Sri Brahmananda  expressing his pleasure and approval for starting the Thera Koti Japaanushtaan at Naragunda.. .The villagers were pleased and started the Manthra Jap with Sri Brahmanand Maharaj taking the lead. Many devotees from surrounding villages began to come there and participate in the Japaanushtaan. The food and shelter were arranged for all the outsiders. As the days went on, the number of participants increased and the thirteen crore Japa sankalpa was almost at its end. Sri Brahmanand  sent two of the villagers to Gondavale to invite Sri Maharaj for the closing ceremony. One of them was Sri Shiva Deekshit of Yavagal, which is near Naragund. Sri Maharaj delayed his visit for the reason he only knew. But when he started on his journey after nearly two months, many devotees accompanied him. Meanwhile, at Nargund, expecting the arrival of Sri Maharaj, thousands of devotees gathered.
On the way, they came to Yavagal. In Yavagal,  Sri Shiva Deekshit  had constructed a Mandir on the instruction of Sri Maharaj, and the idols of Sri Dattatreya and Sri Pattaabhi Ram were ready to be installed. Sri Brahmananda Guruji had arranged everything for the installation ceremony. Yavagal devotees received Sri Maharaj with all the enthusiasm and devotion. Sri Maharaj installed the divine  idols in the newly constructed Mandir.
Then the entire retinue  went to Naragund.
In Naragund, Sri Rama Sapthaha was conducted, in the presence of  Sri Maharaj , and the devotees there might have  felt the thrill of the Divine presence.
 However, Naragund locals  found to their dismay, that the water in the tank which was feeding the entire village with drinking water, was dwindling , and they felt it may not be sufficient for the entire programme, with nearly ten thousand people assembled there. Besides, that was the only source of drinking water the villagers had. The  villagers  confided with Sri Brahmananda Maharaj  the cause of their worry. Sri Brahmanand Maharaj told them not worry as the Divine Sri Brahma Chaithanya Maharaj himself was  there, there will not be any shortage.
The homas and rituals were over. All the assembled were fed with Maha Prasad; the clouds began to gather, and by evening a heavy rain began to  pour and with in a short time the tanks and wells began to fill, and the villagers were  very happy and heaved a sigh of relief.

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A brief biography of a Great Saint – Sri Brahmananda Maharaj- 9

Sri Maharaj stayed in Naragund for about eight days and visited other surrounding places on the requests of his devotees. At each place Sri Maharaj visited, many people took to Ramnam, being initiated by Sri Maharaj himself. Sri Linganagowda of Kurtakoti was also initiated. He became a great devotee and  followed Sri Maharaj wherever He went.
 Sri Brahmanand Maharaj requested Sri Maharaj to Grace the celebrations of Sri Ramotsav to be held at Beladhadi.  That year, Sri Ramotsav at Beladadhi, with Sri Maharaj at the helm was a grand affair. It was a nine days celebration, and Sri Maharaj asked LinganaGowda, to speak on Bhagavatha. Sri Maharaj liked his speech, and called him Maha Bhagavat.  Sri Maharaj always addressed  him as Maha Bhagavat. So,Sri Lingana Gowda retained the name of Maha Bhagavat. He surrendered himself entirely to Sri Maharaj, went to Gondavale with him and worked for Sri Maharaj for several years. He has written several abhangs in kannada. He came back to Kurtakoti after  Sri Maharaj ordered him to return and  spread Ram-naam in the surrounding area.

A few words about Gadag: Gadag is a place sanctified by several visits of Sri Brahmachaithanya Maharaj. Sri Brahmanand Maharaj’s places of action (Beladhadi,Venkatapur, Kurtakoti, Bidarahalli,Naragund, Bisarahally, Teradala, Ashwathapura,Jaalihala.. to name only a few) were mostly surrounding or near Gadag. Sri Bahu Saheb Ketkar, Poojya  Tatya Saheb Ketkar Maharaj’s  father was in service here, as an Engineer. Though he had met Sri Maharaj, once, long back. it was here he understood the Divinity of Sri Maharaj and surrendered to him. Sri Brahmanand Maharaj had a large number of following here. Sri Brahmanand Maharaj renovated an old Shiva Temple in Gadag-Betegeri. There is an old and beautiful Sri Veeranarayan Temple in Gadag which inspired, five hundred years back, Sri Narayanappa (Kumara Vyasa) to write the inspiring Mahabharatha kaavya in Kannada. Sitting near a pedestal inside the temple Sri Narayanappa is supposed to have written, that great work which is also known as Gadugina Bharatha.

Sri Brahmananda Maharaj was doing an incessant work in spreading Rama Naam. He visited many places and incited many people to take up Ram-naam. Rama-Sapthahas were arranged and many temples were built or renovated. All the events are known to have provided sumptuous food to all devotees irrespective of caste, creed and class. Sri Brahmananda Mharaj always took permission of Sri Maharaj before starting any event, and invited Sri Maharaj always for the closing ceremony. Sri Maharaj, most of the times, graced the events with His presence. On one of such visits, Sri Maharaj visited Kurthakoti on the invitation of Sri Maha Bhagavat, and stayed there for several days.

 During His stay in Kurthakoti, a painter, Sri Harappanahally painted Sri Maharaj sitting with a Red Kapini, Shri Brahma Chaitanya Maharajwhich became very famous with the devotees of Sri Maharaj. Thousands of copies of the painting were printed and distributed, freely.
At Kurtakoti, a sculptor offered three sets of Padukas and a beautiful Maruthi statue ,all in black granite,  to Sri Maharaj.  Sri Maharaj, on the request of devotees, stood on each of the Padukas and the poojas were done. Sri Mahabhagavat requested Sri Maharaj to install them in Kurthakoti .  Sri Maharaj  told not to install the  Padukas as the occasion to install them will rise in due course. But, Sri Maharaj installed the Maruthi idol in the place provided by Sri Maha Bhagavat.
While at Beladhadhi, Sri Brahmanand Maharaj took Sri Maharaj to Venkatapur.. He showed him the udbhava Venkateshwara swamy in the old and small temple and expressed the need to renovate the temple. Sri Maharaj lovingly asked him to take up the project.
Sri Brahmanand Maharaj accompanied Sri Maharaj when he returned to Gondavale. He stayed at Gondavale awaiting Sri Maharaj’s order to return. But, with in a few days, Sri  Maharaj started for Varnasi with hundreds of disciples. Sri Maharaj asked Sri Brahmanand Maharaj to join them.

A brief biography of a Great Saint – Sri Brahmananda Maharaj- 10

A brief biography of a Great Saint – Sri Brahmananda Maharaj- 10

To accompany Sri Maharaj on a pilgrimage is a blessing for the devotees. The divine presence of Sri Maharaj with Sri Brahmanand at his side, gave the accompanying devotees the divine pleasure. Sri Brahmanand maharaj was always in attendance of Sri Maharaj, and for him, Sri Maharaj was the supreme Deity Sri Ram..
Sri Maharaj had established a Sri Rama Mandir, during one of his earlier visits to Varanasi. The Mandir is known as Tilwankar Rama Mandir, as the place belonged to Sri Hari narayan Tilwankar.

         Sri Maharaj's Ram Mandir at Varanasi.

Sri Maharaj and the devotees stayed in Varanasi for about a month and a half after visiting Prayag, Ayodhya and other places. That year, Gurupournami was celebrated in Varanasi. Sri Maharaj was seated on a high chair, and Guru pooja was done with great devotion.
After returning to Gondavale,Sri Brahmananda Maharaj , with Sri Maharaj’s permission went back to his place. He went straight to Teradala, where he had arranged for Rama nama sapthaha. A large number of people assembled. A thera koti (thirteen crores) Japa sankalpa was made. Soon, the small village of Teradala , became holy with the large number of Anugraheet (initiated) devotees, and the thera koti Japam was completed with in a few months.  Sri Brahmanand Maharaj sent a few villagers to invite Sri Maharaj.for the Sangatha yagnya. But, Sri Maharaj expressed his inability to go there due to his illness, but sent his blessings. But Sri Brahmanand Maharaj was not ready to conduct the ceremony with out Sri Maharaj. So, he postponed the function. After nearly one year, on Sri Maharaj’s strict instruction to complete the Sangatha Ygnya., the sangatha yagnya was carried out in Teradala in a grand and fitting manner. Thousands of people were fed with delicious dishes and the main feature was poor-feeding. Sri Brahmanand Maharaj arranged everything perfectly,.

On request from Pandarpur devotees, Sri Maharaj went to Pandarpur with hundreds of devotees and stayed there for more than three  months. He called Sri Brahmanand to be with him. Sri Brahmanand Maharaj went to Pandarpur and had the pleasure of being with Sri Maharaj. They were staying in the Rama Mandir there. Every day, there was Annadaan, and thousands of people were satiated with the divine Prasad. Sri Brahmanand Maharaj was looking after the kitchen and the serving of food.
One day, Sri Maharaj expressed his desire of calling all the Brahmins and beggars of Pandarpur, the next day, for Midday meal. Some one estimated the expenses may go up to one thousand four hundred rupees. Sri Maharaj, asked whether any of the devotees present there can bear the expenses. As no response came from any one, Sri Maharaj asked Sri Brahmanand Maharaj to arrange for the next day’s feast. Sri Brahmanand Maharaj humbly, answered in the affirmative.
That was already late in the evening. Sri Brahmanand Maharaj went to Sri Panduranga darshan, with one of his Karnatak disciples.  On the way, he met a house-holder who bowed to him, and requested him to go to his house which was near by. At his house, he gave a packet, and told him that he had a dream previous night of Sri Panduranga asking him to handover certain amount to Sri Brahmanand Maharaj. So, after collecting the required amount he was going to Sri Rama Mandir to meet Sri Brahmanand Maharj. But, he was pleased to meet him on the way. Now, that he had handed over the packet, he was  satisfied that Sri Panduranga Vithala’s order to him has been carried out, and requested Sri Brahmanand Maharaj to accept it. Sri Brahmanand Maharaj was pleased and asked him to visit the Rama Mandir, next day, at 10 a.m. to have darshan of Sri Maharaj and  to take prasadam there.

After returning to his place of stay, Sri Brahmanand checked the contents of the packet and found that there were rupees one thousand four hundred in it, exactly the amount required for the next day’s feast. So, as per Sri Maharaj’s wish, all the Brahmins and Beggars of Pandharpur were invited for the lunch, and a festive food was served to all.
That year, Guru Pournami was celebrated in Pandharpur. The arrangements were grander than at Varanasi, and thousands of devotees garlanded and bowed down to Sri Maharaj’s feet with great fervour and devotion.
Soon after the Guru Pournami ,Sri Maharaj gave permission for Sri Brahmanand to return, and himself went back to Gondavale, with all his retinue.

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A brief biography of a Great Saint – Sri Brahmananda Maharaj - 11

After returning from  Phandharpur, Sri Brahmanand Maharaj was more meditative. But, the constructions at Venkatapur demanded more of his attention. He himself went to Badami, and got stone pillars  and other slabs for roofing. Transporting those stones to Venkatapur from Badami might have been a Herculean task, at that time.  With no motorized vehicles, transporting on ox driven carts, might have taken a long time and very expensive. But as the work progressed, more stones were needed and had to be procured from Badami.
One Sri Thirukambhat of Hombala., well versed in shastras and quite rich,  was a staunch devotee of Bhagavan Shankar, and he was praying him daily to show the way to emancipation. One day, he had a dream in which Bhagavan Shankar appeared and told him that he will be meeting his Sadguru shortly. Soon after, Sri Brahmanad Maharaj went to his house calling his name. Sri Thirukambhat, suddenly realized that this was the Guru, he was in search of, and the Guru, Bhagvan Shankar pointed out. So, Sri Thirukambatt fell down at the feet of Sri Brahmanand Maharaj and surrendered himself to Him.
Sri Thirukambatt stayed , on the order of Sri Brahmanand Maharaj, at Venkatapur and supervised the works there. He also went to Badami several times to get the required stones.

Sri Guruji Brahmanand Maharaj was active in meeting devotees, traveling from village to village and from town to town, instigating Rama Sapthahas and advising the people to take up Ram-nam.
One day, while he was in Gadag, he woke up early morning, sent for a barber, and got his head shaved. After taking bath, he went inside his room and sat for meditation. He did not come out of the room for a few hours. When he came out of the room, the pensive looking Guruji started immediately for Beladhadhi by walk..
Soon after he went, a telegraphic message was received at Gadag, about Sri Maharaj leaving his body. The message was sent immediately through a young devotee, Sri Nagappa, who ran and caught Guruji with in a few kilometers. Learning about the message, Guruji sat down and wept like a child. He exclaimed, “ The talking God has gone away !, by spending Rs.2/- on a ticket we could have seen him.“. Controlling himself, he went on his journey. But, he was not seen by any one for three days. After three days, he came to Beladhadhi.

At Gondavale, the saddest thing had happened. When Sri Maharaj left his body on Margashira Bahula Dashami, 22-12-1913, there was a commotion. Though Sri Maharaj had told several people of his intending departure, no one was prepared. Sri Bhau Saheb Ketkar sent telegraphic messages to all the devotees. In particular, as no one knew of the whereabouts of Sri Brahmananda Maharaj, he sent the telegrams to several places like Gadag, Hubli, Dharwad etc. 
The devotees there decided to proceed further only after the arrival of Sri Brahmanand Maharaj. But, there was no trace of him. They waited till next day. Then they decided not to wait any longer and cremated the body in the afternoon of 23-12-1913.

At Beladhadhi, Sri Brahmanand Guruji arranged a seven days program starting from the fifth day of Sri Maharaj’s departure. He sent words to all the devotees in the surrounding places, and Nama sapthaha was carried out. A temporary shelter was put up on a big area. Sri Maharaj’s Picture was placed on a high pedestal. Bhajans and Japanushtan was arranged non-stop. Food was arranged for thousands, and the poor people were fed sumptuously, every day. 

A brief biography of a Great Saint – Sri Brahmananda Maharaj - 12

             A brief biography of a Great Saint – Sri Brahmananda Maharaj - 12

Sri Brahmananda Maharaj showed here that the devotees of Sri Maharaj, have to perform His aradhana wherever they are situated, with Bhajans, Japanushthan and Annadaan.
Though he immediately did not go to Gondavale, he had maintained the contacts. He had to write to  Sri Bhavana Rao, who had kept the Astis (bones) of Sri Maharaj for himself in safe keeping, and was adamant not to give them to anybody, to handover to Sri Haripant Master to be sent for immersion in Triveni Sangam at Prayaag..

When Sri Brahmanand Maharaj went to Gondavale, he arranged to construct a Samadhi Mandir at the place of cremation of Sri Maharaja’s body. On consulting with other devotees, it was decided to construct the Samadhi mandir similar to the one at Sajjanghad. The building was scheduled to be completed before the first Punya Thithi.
That year, Sri Brahmanand Maharaj stayed in Gondavale for Sri Ramotsav. Sri Ramotsav was performed on a grand scale with Bhajans, Japanushthan and Annadaan. Sri Brahmanand Maharaj had taken many disciples with him, among  them there were devotees from Ashwathpur who were good cooks They  cooked  delicious dishes on every day of the Utsav.

Sri Maharaj had left a will. He had divided his property into two portions. One consisted of what he got from his ancestors. And the other portion was what he had earned. The one he inherited, he named his cousins as the inheritors. The other portion was left to Sri Rama Mandir. He named Panchs (five Trustees ) to look after the Rama Mandir.
Sri Maharaj had proposed the trustees as: 1) Brahmananda 2) Appa Saheb Bhadavankar. 3) Bapu Saheb sathe . 4) Tatya sahib chapalgavkar. The fifth one was Himself.
But, Sri Brahmandand Maharaj, after the Ramotsav, told that as he will be in Karnataka, most of the time, it may not be possible to look after the affairs of the Gondavale trust, properly. So, he said that in his place, he would appoint Sri Paagaa Phadanees of Sangli.
Sri Appa Saheb Bhadavankar will be the chief trustee. Sri Brahmanand, however, worked in the interest of the Gondavale Mandir.
Many people of the surrounding places used to keep their money with Sri Maharaj for safe keeping and took back whenever they needed. Sri Maharaj had warned them to take back their money because of his approaching end. But many of them did not respond to his advice. After Sri Maharaj left his body, they were worried about their money and wanted it back.  But it seemed difficult for the Mandir trust to return as per their demands. A few of their demands seemed to be bogus. Sri Maharaj had not kept any written account of them. Sri Brahmanand Maharaj came to the rescue. He told Sri Appa Saheb, “Is it not the duty of the children to meet the commitments made by their father? So, we have to return any money Sri Maharaj had to pay. Those people are asking in the name of  Sri Maharaj. Whether it is true or false is not our concern. Sri Maharaj will take care of it. We will raise the amount required among ourselves, and pay back”.  The amount the trust had to pay was about Rs.3000=00 . Sri Brahmanad  took out Rs.500=00 from his bag, and gave it to Sri Appa Saheb. Immediately, the other devotees present also gave their contribution and soon, Rs.3000=00 was collected and demands of all those people were met with.
 Sri Brahmanand Maharaj made a tour and went to up to Jalna to collect funds for the construction of the Samadhi Mandir. He had many followers, in Karnataka, who donated for the construction.

Sri Appa Saheb Bhadavankar looked after the construction of the Mandir, and reported the completion of the building to Sri Brahmanada Maharaj. Sri Brahmanand Maharaj and Sri Mahabhagavat went to Kurtakoti and brought to Gondavale, the best one among  the three Shila Padukas  which were graced by Sri Maharaj by standing on each of them, when he visited Kurtakoti..
Everything was arranged to install the Padukas during the first Aradhana Mahotsav.
Sri Brahmanand Maharaj toured extensively and invited all the devotees for the installation ceremony and the Aradhanotsav. Invitations were also posted to devotees of Sri Maharaj, all over India.
A big temporary shelter was erected; a temporary kitchen with a store was also built.
As the day approached devotees began to pour in. Arrangements were made for their comfortable stay. All the ten days, the kitchen was active serving the devotees with Tea, breakfast, Lunch and Dinner.

The Divine Padukas were installed in the Samadhi Mandir on Margashira Bahula Padyami. Sri Brahmanand Maharaj spoke a few words on Sri Maharaj: “Do not be discouraged that our Sadgurunatha has disappeared from our eyes by leaving his earthly body. Know that, that Great Prophet is re-born to-day. Earlier, being inside the material body, he could only be at Gondavale to think about the welfare of his devotees. But, now, in his spiritual form, he has enveloped the whole world and protects the devotees by staying eternally in their hearts. Installing the kind Sadguru in your heart, bowing down to his feet, chant day and night the Sri Rama Taraka Mantra initiated by him. Sri Ram will definitely take care of you”. Having said these words, Sri Brahmananda Maharaj did the Arathi, and then chanted the Guru Parampara Stotra: 'Narayantwaadi gurum paresham….. ' Performing the deergha danda Pranam, he started the Bhajan: Raghupati Raghava Raja Ram Patita Pavana Seeta Ram. which was repeated by the others. Thus started the Akhanda Bhajan which continued non stop for ten days. Likewise, Akhanda Japanushtan, Purana pravachan, Keerthan, continued for ten days upto Margashira Bahula Dashami..

A Brief Biography of Sri Brahmananda Maharaj - 13

After the Aradhanotsav, Sri Brahmanand Maharaj stayed for a month in Gondavale, and arranged for the regular poojas to be conducted in the Samadhi Mandir and at all the temples built by Sri Maharaj in Gondavale. He made arrangements for the food and accommodation to the many devotees from other places, visiting the Samadhi Mandir. He arranged for the construction of the goshaala (cow-shed) near the Samadhi Mandir.

Then he left Gondavale. Sri Maharaj had ordered for the renovation of the temple at Venkatapur. The construction was going on. He had to supervise it. In order to raise funds for the expenses, he had to visit the places where he had followers. Most of the time, he walked the distances on barefoot. On the way, he chanced to visit Ramadurga, a small village. He had a large number of followers there. But, when he mentioned about the contribution to the construction of the Venkatapur temple, they all pleaded that as there was famine because of the absence of the rain, they could willingly do any work  Guruji tells except giving out money. For that Sri Brahmanand Maharaj smiled, and told them then that they should do one and a half crores of nama-japam within fifteen days. They all agreed. And the Japam started the same day. To start with, they were only 30 members. But as the news spread, many people from the surrounding places participated. Sri Brahmanand maharaj arranged food for all of them. The one and a half crores of Japam were completed on the fifteenth day. The completion ceremony (Saangatha Yagnya) was arranged on the next day; and all the people of the village were invited for the Maha Prasad.
 When Sri Brahmanad maharaj started to leave the place, all the people of the village assembled and gave out whatever money they could afford individually. Sri Brahmanad maharaj asked them to do namasmaran; he blessed that  Sri Ram will remove all their difficulties and improve their condition.
After renovating the Sri Venkateshwara temple, he had only the work of spreading Ram-nam, as per his Guru’s order. He arranged many sapthahas  and initiated thousands of people with Tharaka naam.  As his main work was spreading of Ram-nam and Annadaan, he used to get cooks from a place called Pimpala, near Udupi in Karnataka. The Brahmins there were very poor and lived by cooking . One Sri Ramaiah and his team were regular cooks for Sri Brahmanand Maharaj. They developed high regard for Sri Brahmanand Maharaj , and took to Ram-naam. After witnessing the constructions of many Rama Mandirs, they felt they should also build a Rama mandir in their place. When they expressed their desire, Sri Brahmanand Maharaj ignored it initially. But when their urge was extreme, he asked them to request Sri Maharaj when he visited Bidarahally Ramotsav. These cooks fell on the hot sand before the procession of Sri Maharaj, and got sanctioned for the Mandir. They got the Mandir ready and even the Idols for installation; but as Sri Maharaj was unwell and Sri Brahmanand was not very willing personally to install the idols, they could not get the Rama Mandir, early. After Shri Maharaj left his body, they again approached Sri Brahmanand Maharaj with intense desire for the Mandir. Sri Brahmanad agreed , but told them that the idols they already had were not suitable and got different idols from Bombay.  Finally, the idols were installed, and as the place where the Mandir was built was full of Ashwatha trees, he called the place as Ashwathapur. He formed a trust of devotees to look after the Mandir. He charted out the daily pooja Vidhaan, which is followed to this day.
Before he left Ashwathapur, he handed out the Prasad of cashew nuts, handful to each of the devotees gathered to see him off. The cashews were placed in a plate, but the devotees were many. But he gave the handful of cashews with his blessings to every body. Needless to say that the number of cashews in the plate increased automatically, and still, a few more remained in the plate after giving out to everybody.
This event of the installation of Sri Rama Mandir, became a turning point in the lives of the villagers. Their prosperity increased and now the Aswathapurians have spread all over the world with success to their credit in different fields.

A brief biography of a Great Saint – Sri Brahmananda Maharaj - 14

A brief biography of a Great Saint – Sri Brahmananda Maharaj - 14

Here after, Sri Brahmanand Maharaj stayed more at Venkata pur. His Bhajans were very inspiring. He wrote many Bhajans in Kannada and Marathi. They contain his teachings to the common man.  A few of his Kannada Bahajans are given here.
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Namo lambodara namo vighnaharaa  namo devaavaraa gajaananaa 

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smarana maatradinda sankata kaleyuvi devi gowri taayee nandanane 

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mooshakavaahana dosha nivaarana paashaankusha dhara eesha kuvara

Rama Rama Rama Seetha Rama Rama anniri. Ramasmaraneya horatu kaala vyartha kaleya bediri.||Pa||
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Snaana Sandhya nitya nema japava tapavanu maadiri| saayosankaTa bandaroo paradharma hidiyabediri ||1||
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Tande taayi bandhu balagavu mithyavendu tiliyiri| nandu naanendemba mohava bittu raamana bhajisiri ||2||
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Kaama krodha moha bittu manasu jalajalamaadiri| kaayavaacha manasininda guruvige sharanhogiri ||2||
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Pararanaari pararadravya narakavendu tiliyiri| chinteyillade raamachintisi janana maranava neegiri ||4||
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Bhaktibhaavadinda sadguru hariyu haranendariyiri | guruvinappaneyante nadedare muktiyendu tiliyiri ||5||
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Divasa raatri saadhu santara sanghavanne bayasiri | brahmaanandaru saari heluva raama naamava japisiri ||6||
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Patita paavana embo birudu satya maado raama indu

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Anatha naatha embo naamaa khare iralee meghashyaamaa

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Saadhu santa mahantarellaa deena dayaala antaaralla

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hogaluvudu ninna keerti sahajavidu vishwa moorti

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Brahmaananda beduva raamaa hrudayadalli bitto premaa ||6||


Sri Shankaracharya of Koodli  Mutt visited Venkatapur. When he found the atmosphere serene and calm, he decided to stay there for four months during  chaaturmaasa.. Sri Brahmanand maharaj agreed and made arrangements for his comfortable stay along with his retinue.

Sri Brahmanand Maharaj arranged the Ramotsav in Baladhadi in a very grand manner inviting Sri Maharaj’s devotees from all over the country. Poojya Venkannaiah of Chintamani also received the invitation. He was very much interested to go there for the nine-day function, and so applied for leave. But, as the day of departure approached he did not receive the leave approval from his head-office. But, as he had applied for the leave, and it was a week-end any way, he went to Beladhadi planning to return by Monday morning to attend his work at the usual time.
 SriBrahmanand Maharaj gladly received him, and arranged for his stay. Sri Venkannaiah had  great moments of meditation and Bhajans there. He was addressed as ‘Mysoor Buva’ by Sri Brahmanand maharaj.( In those times, Mysore was a separate country comprising of sevaral districts like Mysore,Bangalore, Kolar,Tumkur,Hassan  etc. Anybody from any of these places was called as a Mysorean, in other places.  Dharwar, Gadag, Bijapur and some other places of the present Karnataka belonged to either Bombay Presidency or Hyderabad).
After two days, he had to return for the work, he approached Sri Brhamanand Maharaj for permission. But Sri Brahamandand Maharaj asked him to stay.
After two more days Sri Venkannaiah again told of his intention of leaving, but again Sri Brahmanand Maharaj asked him to remain. Now, Sri Venkannaiah was worried, but could not disobey the order of the great saint. However, he was happily surprised to receive, two days later, the leave-approval notice which was re-directed to Beladhadhi by one of his friends. The great saint must have known about the leave-approval! Other-wise, Sri Venkannaiah  would have missed the grand final day!

A brief biography of a Great Saint – Sri Brahmananda Maharaj -15

  A Brief Biography of a Great Saint - Sri Brahmananda Maharaj - 15

Once, in  Menasagi village, near Gadag, a few devotees were reading the Jaimini Bharatha in a temple. During their talk, they remembered that Sri Brahmanada guruji  had not visited their place since a long time. So, they thought of visiting Venkatapur themselves to see him.  But, with in half an hour, even while they were sitting there,  they were pleasantly  surprised  when  Sri Guruji himself went there. They all bowed down to him. Sri Brahmanand told them,  “A little while ago, when you remembered me, I was on my way to Kannur from Yavagal .with a few persons. I sent them directly, and came here intending to go to Kannur later. They were all very happy and each asked him to visit their house. But Sri Guruji went to Tammanna Rao’s house and asked him to invite others to next day’s  Pooja and Mahaprasad.  Later, he started to go to Kannur. But, the devotees wanted to send him in a bullock cart. So, after searching they could find only a cart and a pair of new untrained bullocks. The other trained bullocks being taken to the farms at that time. So, they instructed the cart-man to go slowly and carefully as the bullocks were untrained.
After leaving the village, Sri Guruji asked the cart-man to sit behind and took the rein himself. Asking the cart-man to hold him-self strongly, started to drive the bullocks in a high speed. Bullocks started to run and in no time they reached the destination. Soon after reaching the place, he paid the cart-man with extra money to get the bullocks grains as they had a hard work.
Sri Brahmanand Maharaj was very receptive to the difficulties and problems of the devotees; helped and guided them at the time of their need always instructing them to chant Ram-nam.

When the construction work of Sri Venkatapur Mandir was in progress, Sri Brahmanand Maharaj was in urgent need of money. So, he sent Sri Tirukambatt to Sri Chidambara Bhatta of Chkka Handigola, asking him a sum  of Rupees One thousand, stating that it will be returned in a month. Sri chidambara bhatt , as he had no ready cash, gave some jewels to Sri Tirukambatt. However, after some days he began to worry whether he would get back the Jewels. Sri Tirukambat gave  to Sri Brahmanand Maharaj. The construction of the Mandir progressed.  However, Sri Chidambara Bhat’s worrying about the jewels increased, and finally, one morning, he told himself that if Sri Brahmanand Maharaj was really an avatar, as people believed,  he will get back his jewels with in two or three days.
Sri Brahmanand Maharaj was in a camp in a village near Gadag. He called Sri Tirukambat and gave him the jewels. As the money for the construction was adjusted,  he asked him to go to Chikka Handigola and return the jewels to Sri Chidambara Bhat. Sri Chidambara Bhat  was shocked to find his jewels returned on the same day of his determination.  He felt very bad for doubting such a divine person as Sri Brahmanand Maharaj.

A brief biography of a Great Saint – Sri Brahmananda Maharaj - 16

  A brief biography of a Great Saint – Sri Brahmananda Maharaj - 16

Shree Brahmanand Maharaj was getting intermittent fever. He might have felt that his time had come. One day, (Bhadrapada bahula sapthami), after attending to the regular pooja to the Lord Venkateshwar, in venkatapur, he went to Beladhadi in the  evening. After taking darshan of Sri Ram, he went round Beladhadhi and met all the house -holders with a smile on his face. Later, he left for Hubli. He went to Sri Dattopanth Tabib’s house. This was the house where Sri Maharaj had stayed in, when he visited Hubli to install Sri Ram near that house. That was a fortnight of Pitru Paksha. During that period, most of the people celebrate a ritual remembering their ancestors. Sri Brahmanand Maharaj celebrated the ritual remembering Sri Maharaj on the Dashami day, in Sri Tabib’s house. He went to Kagawad, next day, on Ekadashi. Next morning, he asked Sri Moodalappa who had accompanied him from Beladhadhi to return. When Moodalappa refused to leave him alone, commenting on the weakness of Sri Brahmanand  Maharaj,  Guruji told him that as there was plague  in Kagawad, he must return as he was a householder with  young children. After being convinced to return, Sri Moodalappa, noticing that Guruji’s bag was empty, offered one hundred rupee note to Guruji.  Guruji refused with a laughter, “why, do you think I have no money?”, stating that he poured hundreds of coins from his small bag. Moodalappa was dumb-founded. Guruji told him that the marriage of the daughter of Tirukambhat scheduled to be held at Venkatapur must be held at the scheduled time, even if there was any delay in his returning.
In Kagawad, many devotees came for his darshan. Some expressed surprise about his visit, as the Navarathri festival was approaching, and nobody would have dreamt of his leaving Venkatapur-Beladhadhi during that time.
Next morning, Sri Brahmanand Maharaj and others were waiting for the bullock cart to go to Navabhag, River Krishna flows near Navabhag.. He was joking with the GuruBhaktas who were there. He addressed Sri Hari Bhavoo and told that if he died, not to burn the body or do any kind of rituals. He advised them to tie the body with four empty pots to the four corners and immerse it in the Krishna River, where the river is deep. He told that as he was a bachelor, no rituals were necessary. When they reached Nava Bhag he went to the river with the devotees to bathe. While bathing he enquired to know where the river was deep. Then, he asked some one present to wash the small bag he was carrying as it was dirty. Afterwards, he felt that he did not require the bag any more, and filling it up with water, he immersed it in the river. In the evening he did Bhajans. The Bhajans were very emotional. He did not take any food that night.  As it was Thursday, he would not take any thing accept Sri Guru Theertha.
He woke up early and did his morning ablutions. After finishing up his usual prayers, he lied down on his bed and started to breathe heavily. Noticing that he did not wake up even after 7 a.m. the devotees thought that he must be oversleeping as he might have some disturbed sleep in the night. So, they began to chant Bhajans. Again, after some time, noticing that he did not wake up still, they got worried. They sent for a doctor from a near-by village. He checked the pulse, and found the pulse rate had come down and declared him as no more. The devotees shifted down the body to floor. They sent telegrams to Sri Bheema Rao Gaadagoli of Gadag who was Sri Brahmanand Maharaj’s brother’s son, and to some other devotees. .
At about 10-30 a.m. they found a sudden movement of hands, and suddenly Sri Brahmanand Maharaj opened his eyes and looked at the surrounding devotees with a smile on his lips. The surrounding devotees were delighted that nothing had happened to Guruji. But, suddenly, chanting ‘Ram, Ram’, he closed his eyes not to open any more.
Thus ended the life of a great saint. He left his body to mingle with his Guru Sri Brahma Chaithanya Maharaj. He was an Ichchaa Marani (a person who can die only when he wants) like Bhishma. He might have felt his work living in that body was over.
 Sri Brahmanand Maharaj‘s body was immersed in the Krishna River as per his wish.
He was a great disciple, a great saint. His devotion and obedience towards his Guru can not have an equal..

Once Sri Brahmanand had gone to Gondavale. Though he himself had thousands of followers, he would be the humblest of servants to Sri Maharaj. When he was present, he would allow none to do the personal service to his Guru. He would always be at the beck and call of Sri Maharaj.
Sri Maharaj had to go to Naravani village which is about 10 kms from Gondavale. Sri Maharaj started on the journey soon after lunch. Sri Damle and Sri Manjreji immediately got over the tonga and sat with Sri Maharaj. Sri Brahmanand maharaj came with some articles needed by Sri Maharaj and kept them in the Tonga. Sri Maharaj asked him to accompany them. Sri Brahmanand immediately started to follow them walking behind the Tonga. Sri Maharaj asked him to climb up into the Tonga, but Sri Brahmanand did not heed him. It was a hot day. Then, Sri Maharaj threw out his sandals (foot-wear) asking  Sri Brahmanand to wear them as he was on bare foot. But, as soon as he got Sri Maharaj’s sandals, he put them on his head and began to follow the tonga some time running and some time walking. Sri Maharaj finished his work and returned after about two hours. Sri Brahmanand again followed the Tonga, running bare-foot. Sri Damle and Sri Manjreji felt Sri Brahmanand disobeyed Sri Maharaj by not getting into the Tonga. They discussed this matter with Sri Bahu Saheb Ketkar. Sri Ketkar, told them that it was they who committed mistake by sitting next to Sri Maharaj in the Tonga, and not Sri Brahmanand Maharaj. Then, Sri Damleji asked Sri Brahmanand  why he did not wear the sandals thrown by Sri Maharaj, Sri Brahmanand maharaj told them Sri Maharaj’s sandals were fit only to be carried on his head. He told that as soon as he put them on his head, the scorching Sun became cool towards him and he did not feel any heat or tiresomeness for running behind the Tonga.

His Gurubhakthi knew no bounds. The scholar who was well versed in Sanksrit Vedantha, Meemaamsa,and Shastras discarded them all on coming into the hold of Sri Maharaj. He considered Sri Maharaj as Ram himself. And Sri Maharaj used to tell that there was no difference between   himself and Brahmanad.

                      ---------Sri Brahma Chaithanya Maharaj ki Jai ---------------
                                     Sri Brahmananda Maharaj ki Jai
                                     Sab Sadhoo santhon ki Jai.! Jai Jai Raghuveera Samartha.