of Holy Lifes
Does My Devotee Perish
belonged to a low caste and lived in Gargakhed on the banks
of River Godavari. He had a daughter by name Jana. The girl,
however, could not even spend her childhood with him. Dama
had a divine dream in which he was asked to offer her as a
household help to Damasheti, a tailor in Pandharpur. The tailor
happened to be Sant Namdev’s father. The household welcomed
child Jana lovingly and treated her like a daughter. They
trained her in the daily chores. Jana came under the wholesome
influence of Sant Namdev and Sant Jnaneshvar, both of whom
often visited the house.
devotion to God grew from day to day, her intense yearning
for God at times overwhelming her: the winnowing basket remained
idle on her lap while her eyes were in tears. Again, tears
freely mingled with the water when she washed clothes. She
sang hymns with great longing and prayed to the Lord to reveal
Himself. She looked upon Lord Vitthala as her Mother and prayed,
‘My Pandhari Mother, O Vitthabai, please come to me.’
Lord soon rewarded her by granting His vision. In ecstasy
she sang of having beheld the sacred feet of Lord Vitthala.
From then on, her life became a mart of joy. Lord Panduranga
often visited her and helped her in her daily chores. The
Lord placed His hand on hers when she turned the grinding
stone, and helped her by pushing the grains into the grind.
Her life became interwoven with that of her Lord.
the Lord loves to test His devotees now and then, more to
proclaim their devotion to others. After helping her grind
rice late one evening, Vitthala ‘forgot’ His costly shawl
and jewel in her house, wore her patched quilt and returned
to the temple.
morning, the priests were scandalized to see the Lord in the
temple shrine without His shawl and jewel, but with a ‘new’
apparel. The missing items were traced to Jana’s room. Namdev,
however, assured her that her innocence would be proved before
was taken to the local ruler’s court, where she was condemned
to die on the shula, a long, pointed steel pole on which she
was to sit and undergo a swift but painful death.
young girl was horrified at this and cried to her Beloved,
‘You have visited me often to comfort me. Why are You asleep
now?’ Accompanied by two guards, Jana was made to cover the
stretch of burning sand at a fast pace. She cried again, ‘You
are my everything. Why are You so slow in coming? Just show
me Your face. I shall not ask anything of You.’ The Lord appeared
before the little girl and embraced her. ‘With You near, I
shall never fear,’ cried a grateful Jana. On reaching the
execution post, she looked at the shining shula, thinking
that with the Lord for company, the shula should just
be as soft and soothing as water. Immediately, the shula
liquefied and started flowing. Jana fell at her Lord’s feet
in gratitude. Appreciating her greatness, the priests exclaimed,
‘She deserves diamonds, jewels and the finest clothes. The
Lord did well to leave His jewel and shawl with her.’ Everyone
sought her blessings and carried her in a procession.
soul-stirring abhangs are simple and beautiful, revealing
the yearning and true love of a little girl. She is adored
as Sant Janabai in Maharashtra.