#6 | Samarth Ramdas & Satsang
Following the Master | Maharashtra Adventure 2020
16 January 2020
On the 6th day of the journey through Maharashtra, we visited the samadhi of a renowned 17th-century saint: Swami Ramdas. He was a great devotee of Sri Rama and his life was filled with miracles from a very young age. He had a vision of Sri Rama even as a small boy, and it was Sri Rama Himself who initiated him. Many of his disciples became famous spiritual teachers as well. After his samadhi, his body was burned as he had wished, and the stone tomb-like structure became self-manifested from his ashes. Guruji also received a relic from this great saint: a small piece of carpet.
Later in the evening, Guruji gave a small satsang to the devotees and answered some questions about the pilgrimage itself. Guruji explained about the beauty of the sacred places, temples and samadhis which we had visited, and said that they are powerful energy portals or gateways to spiritual dimensions. This is why, right in front of the doorstep of each such sacred place, there is always a tortoise engraved in the stone on the floor, as a reminder that when we enter such a spiritually powerful place, we need to pull our senses within and leave our worries and thoughts about the external world aside, just like a tortoise withdraws its limbs inside its shell. Because the moment we enter the temple, we enter into another spiritual dimension.
Yet, as Guruji explained, it is not only we who receive the blessing and spiritual energy in a sacred place. There is an exchange of energy happening between the place and the devotees. Yes, the devotees visiting sacred places become purified and blessed, but the sacred place itself benefits and becomes more powerful due to the devotion of the pilgrims as well.
Guruji also explained the meaning behind Nandi always facing and sitting in front of a Shiva-lingam, or Garuda facing Lord Vishnu, or Hanumanji facing Sri Rama. In the same way as the tortoise on the floor in front of the temple reminds us to withdraw our attention into our inner self, so the deity of the devotee of each of the forms of the Divine is always present in the temple as well, with its gaze always fixed on its Beloved Lord. This reminds us that our attention and focus should be similarly single-pointed whenever we approached the Lord in any sacred place.
There was also a question of why Hanumanji is present in almost every temple. Guruji explained that Hanuman is a great protector. Due to the power of his devotion, he protects the devotees from all evil spirits, black magic and the influence of the planets, as well as inspires us to become as single-pointed in our devotion as he was.
After answering a few more questions, Guruji reminded us of the story of Prahlad Maharaj from Pandharpur, whose samadhi we visited on Day 4 of the journey. Gurudev reminded us that as much as a devotee yearns to hear the stories about the Lord, so the Lord Himself yearns to hear the stories of His devotees. While we were on the bus today, just as on the previous day, Guruji inspired everybody to share their own stories during the ride. During the satsang, Guruji shared how beautiful it was to hear all those stories and was very touched by them.
Stay tuned for more posts as we ‘Follow the Master’ on an adventure to the Divine!