Jnaneshwar, a Visit to His Samadhi site

[ Sculpture at Jnaneshvar samadhi shrine, Alandi ]

[ Namdev, Muktabai, Sopan, Nivritti, Jnaneshwar, Krishna,

Jnaneshwar samadhi shrine, Alandi ]

Our next stop is Alandi, and the samadhi shrine of Jnaneshwar
Maharaj. We are excited about this place because Jnaneshwar is so much
loved by Baba [ Muktananda ], and because many
of us have been reading Jnaneshwari,
Jnaneshwar’s commentary on the Bhagavad Gita, which is one
of Baba’s favorite books. We are to meet Baba here, and sing the GuruGita,
but we are late arriving, and he has already gone. One of the Indian devotees
has remained behind to guide us, and from him we learn that Baba spent
about an hour here, sitting in the courtyard outside the samadhi waiting
for us to come, and had chanted “Five Stanzas to the Guru’s Sandals” with
the devotees who had arrived in time, and finally left for Poona. We were
later told that after visiting the shrine, he had come out to the small
back courtyard where an ajna tree grows, a tree that is said to be special
to yogic places—”a wish-fulfilling tree” he has called it. He had walked
around the tree, and touched it, and had left a message that we should
all touch it too. That tree, he had explained, grows around the samadhi,
and Jnaneshwar’s vibrations permeate it.

The samadhi is built around a central court, and behind
it is the small room where Jnaneshwar’s body is. The extraordinary thing
about this place is that Jnaneshwar is supposed to have taken live samadhi—in
his early twenties, he had simply gone into a samadhi state and remains
in that state, not allowing his consciousness to leave his body. (The tree
which Baba told us to touch is the very tree whose roots once pressed so
tightly against Jnaneshwar’s neck that he appeared one day in a vision
to Eknath Maharaj and asked him to cut the roots, because they were making
him uncomfortable.)

The samadhi is a tiny marbled room, with a slab covered
with flowers marking Jnaneshwar’s body. Because so many of us have to pass
through it, the guards keep calling to us to hurry, hurry, “Chalo, chalo.”
There is no lingering, time only to bow and leave a garland before moving
on. And yet the Shakti is so strong that it seizes us immediately. We wind
through a small Shiva temple and up to the courtyard of the wish-fulfilling
tree. Many people sit down around the tree and close their eyes, others
move on into the main courtyard, where a singer is chanting abhangas in
a mellow, flowing voice. He is dressed like Tukaram with a tamboura around
his neck and small crackers in his hand, and his style is sweet and soothing.
Many people are obviously getting meditation here, and everyone else has
floating, happy expressions on their faces.


the above is excerpted from

“On Pilgrimage with Baba in Maharashtra: 1978”

by Swami Durgananda in

The Poet-Saints of Maharashtra

special issue of Darshan magazine

#80 (November, 1993), p.22

SYDA Foundation

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