Akkalkot Maharaj leelas





Maloji Bhonsle was the ruler of the principality
(Samsthan) of Akkalkot. He was a great devotee of Swami Samarth.
There were occasions when the Swami too walked freely into the royal
palace. The Rajah used to visit Cholappa’s mutt [temple]
every day to pay his respects to the Swami.

Once, on the festive occasion of his birthday, the
Rajah came, with all his royal insignia and pageantry to receive the
blessings of the Swami. The prince wore his crown and all his
ornaments and came riding on his elephant, accompanied by his wives,
attendants and his guard.

He walked into the mutt and bowed before the
Swami. The latter did not at all like the show of the Rajah. But he
kept silent and did not even glance at the royal visitor. After a few
moments of embarassment the Rajah tried to gain the attendon of the
Swami and so he again bowed to His feet.

The Swami was enraged and at once slapped the
Rajah. The crown fell to a distance of twenty feet under the impact
of the blow! The stupefied and shocked prince stood dumb, feeling his
cheek. Then the Swami said, “Your royal dignity is proper only to
your palace and your assembly of ministers. This is not the place for
that. We can make any number of toy kings like you.”

Ever after, the Rajah used to leave his coach
three or four furlongs away from Cholappa’s mutt and walk like any
other visitor, all the way into the august presence of the Swami, and
he used to dress himself plainly, as an expression of
humility.

 
 

* * *

Once the Swami visited the royal palace and the
Rajah received him with due respect and took him to the family
shrine. The Rajah and the saint sat on a swing. The priest was
grinding a sandalwood into paste.

At that moment a rat came there and tried to eat
the ghee in the lamp intended for worship. The priest, enraged at the
desecration, threw the heavy sandalwood at the rat forcefully. The
poor creature was badly hit and it died on the spot.

The priest was happy and said, “That’s it! That’s
what you deserve!” As he picked up the dead rat and was going out to
throw it away, the Swami snatched the dead rat from him and started
playing with it, passing it to and fro through a big iron link in the
chain that supported the swing.

Then he took it in his palm and said to it
lovingly, “Get up dear one, and go your way!” Then the rat came to
life and immediately ran away. The Rajah and the priest were
astounded by the miracle.

The Swami taught them the law of love that
Siddhartha once taught a hunter, that the swan wounded by a hunter’s
arrow belonged rather to Siddhartha who saved it than to the one who
tried to take away its life.

One night even when all his devotees were seated
around his couch the Swami fell asleep and started snoring. A devotee
[named] Govindarao had a doubt as to how a real yogi could
sleep so deeply.

For, in books on yoga he read that a real yogi
never sleeps. He wondered whether the Swami was really a yogi at
all.

The moment the thought flashed in Govindarao’s
mind the Swami opened his eyes and said, “Ae Sonar! Your doubts are
baseless.” The next moment he was again snoring. Evidently, in spite
of that the Swami was fully awake, awake even to the unuttered
thoughts of those around him!


Once in the sweltering heat of a summer noon Shri
Swami Samarth walked into the house of Babaji Bhat and asked for cool
drinking water. The lady of the house was very happy to see the Swami
grace her with his request.

But unfortunately the well in her backyard was
completely dry. The water in the house was not so cool. And she did
not want to say “No” to the great saint. So she immediately set out
for the neighboring house to fetch water for [the]
Swami.

The Swami saw her and laughed loudly, in his
characteristic manner, holding his big belly with both of his hands
and said, “There is plenty of water in your well. Come with me and I
shall show you!”

He then led her to the well and like an innocent
child urinated near the well in her very presence. At once water
swelled in the well almost to the full. Even today many of his
devotees take a look at the celebrated well.

 
 

* * *

Once a lady [named] Srimathi Sivabai
brought her son to the Swami and said, “My son has lost his sight
from the moment he was invested with the sacred thread. Please grant
him sight again!”

The Swami replied, “Shortly five devils are
arriving here to test me. As soon as they arrive, his sight will be
restored.”

Just as the Swami said, in a short while, five
short and sturdy Brahmins arrived. Their dress and ornaments
indicated that they were eminent scholars. They came to test the
Swami.

But afer arriving in his presence they started
discussing among themselves in Kannada and Sanskrit languages as to
how they should proceed to test the Swami’s worth. After
consultation, they bowed to the Swami with feigned
humility.

Then the Swami said to the blind boy, “Ganesh,
come here! Speak out what questions these devils have in their minds
and answer them!” The boy stood before the Swami and, bowing to him,
said in surprise, “How do I know it?”

The Swami smiled and, saying “Is that so?” took
the garland from his own neck and placed it around the boy’s neck.
Then he picked up two flowers and touched his eyes with them. The boy
felt a powerful thrill, as though some great energy had passed
through his spine.

He at once stood up and promptly spoke out all the
questions the visitors had in their minds and answered them all
himself, citing authorities from all renowned scriptures. The
visitors were dumbfounded.

They quietly bowed to the Swami and stood up to
leave. The Swami at once flew into a rage and addressed the chief of
the visitors, “You have come to test me only because you heard that I
am accepting food from people of all castes indiscriminately. And you
have tested me! Now I tell you this. You were born by the illicit
contact of your mother with a man named Imambaksh
Musalman!”

The Pandit at once realized how perilous it was to
test the Swami and begged his pardon. The Swami at once calmed down
and told the pandits that hearty repentance, like the holy Ganges,
can completely purify a man. He exhorted them to mend their ways in
[the] future.

The blind boy regained his sight from that moment.
Besides, he also retained all the scholarship with which the Swami
had blessed him! This incident was personally witnessed and recorded
by Vishnubua Brahmachari.

 
 

* * *

Vishnubua Brahmachari was a great scholar,
vedantin and orator. Charmed by his excellence, the Rajah of Akkalkot
once invited him to his court.

Vishnubua came to Akkalkot and one day he put a
very recondite question in Vedanta to the Swami, “What is
Brahmatadaakaara vritti?

The Swami smiled and kept quiet. The Brahmachari
felt that it is not proper to call the old man who could not answer
his question “a swami” or “a master.”

Besides, he went on proclaiming to his friends
outside that the Swami could not answer his questions. But the Swami
did not mind it. One day the Brahmachari dreamt that thousands of
scorpions were moving towards him and one of them had even stung
him.

He screamed so loudly that a Parsi devotee who
slept by him woke him up and asked him why he cried. The Brahmachari
described his dream.

After a few days, the Brahmachari again visited
the Swami and asked him what “Brahmatadaakaara vritti” meant. The
Swami smiled and said, “Stupid! You screamed at the very sight of a
thousand scorpions in a mere dream. How dare you speak of Vedanta? Do
you think that Brahmatadaakaara vritti is such a simple thing? It
cannot be attained through eloquent discourses or verbal jugglery.
Get out of here!”

When the Brahmachari visited him on a later
occasion, not only did he explain the metaphysical concept lucidly
but also bestowed on him the actual experience and made him a saint!
Only then did the Brahmachari realize that the Swami was an avatar of
Lord Dattatreya.

* * *

The British Governor and some other distinguished
men happened to read about the fame and greatness of the Swami in the
local papers and were attracted to take His darshan. But they felt it
below their dignity to go for His darshan and it was equally
impossible to summon Him to them.

So they sent an expert photographer to get His
pictures. The photographer tried to secure the Swami’s permission to
take His pictures but the Swami never heeded the recommendations of
His devotees.

The photographer at last decided to take the
pictures without His consent and, keeping everything ready, he waited
for the proper pose; but when he got it, before he could click the
camera, the Swami would turn away or move.

This frustrating experience repeated itself ten to
twenty times before he could somehow take one picture. He was
immensely pleased that he could successfully deceive the Swami. He
immediately placed the photo-print in front of the Swami, mockingly
saying, “What do you say now for this?”

The Swami pushed the picture towards one of His
devotees as indifferently and said, “Tell me what you see there!” The
devotee eagerly looked at it and said, “This is the picture of Sri
Rama. How beautiful!”

Then the Swami pushed it to another devotee and
repeated the same question. The man said, “It is the picture of the
Supreme Goddess!” It was passed on to many others and one of them
found it to be Lord Sankara in meditation; another saw Lord Vishnu; a
fifth saw Vitthal of Pandarpur; [a] sixth saw Khandoba; many
more saw their chosen deities in the same picture!

The photographer lost his temper and wondered
whether they were all mad; for could they not recognize the Swami’s
picture? So he said to the Swami, “You see it for yourself and tell
me!”

The Swami looked at it with feigned attention and
seriousness, then burst into laughter and said, “Oh, do I look like
this!” and returned the picture to the photographer.

He was struck dumb with wonder to find in it a
picture of a monkey! He at once realized that the Swami performed
this miracle to stamp out his ego and pride and sought His
pardon.

He once again requested the Swami to permit him to
take another picture saying, “Your picture is sacred and is worthy of
being kept in everyone’s house. Please permit us to serve the people
in this and thereby profit ourselves.” Then the Swami consented and
the picture came off nicely this time!


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