Biography of Samarth Ramdas | Shivaji’s Guru who changed India forever

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Samarth Ramdas, also popularly known as Ramdas Swami, was one of the most famous saint or spiritual master, philosopher and author of multiple books( most popular Dasbodh) . He was the Guru of the great Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj who founded the Maratha empire. Samarth Ramdas had played a key role in Shivaji’s life to bring back the sovereignty of India. 

Ramdas hadn’t just experienced the Parbrahma but had become the Pabrahma himself. He was extremely rich in altars of spiritual experiences which he used to shower upon the posterity.

Name

Samarth Ramdas ( considered to be an incarnation )

Birth

1608 AD

Parents

Suryapantji and Ranoobai Thosar

Poplar for 

As the Guru of the great Chhatrapati Shivaji an for his miracles

Death

 1682 AD (took Samadhi )

 He had spent his entire life in helping thousands with his invaluable advice to solve their problems. He adorned the title “Samarth” when he was in Mahuli by his nearest disciples. 

He was an excellent swimmer and horse rider. 

Samarth Ramdas was born in 1608 AD in a Brahmin family in the village of Jamb, Jalna district, Maharashtra on an auspicious day of Ram Navami to Suryapantji and Ranoobai Thosar. He was the second child of his parents. His elder brother’s name was Gangadhar Pant ,also known as Shrestha. His childhood name was Narayan. 

It was said that he was an incarnation and had taken birth to liberate India from Malechas ( evil people) through the hands of a Kshatriya named Shivaji Maharaj. It was supported by the incident which took place after his birth when his parents visited a Sidhyogi named “Eknath” ( whom they used to visit every year) with his born child, Narayana. After taking Narayan in his lap, Eknath apprised Ranubai that she is a blessed woman from whom an incarnation had taken birth to liberate India from invaders. He further added ” A child will be born in the South through whom he will reduce the malechas from the Earth”.

At the age of 5 , Samarth Ramdas completed his sacred thread ceremony. He lost his father at the age of 7 after which he became an introvert and indulged himself in knowing the cosmic divine. 

The very first time when he left his home was at the age of 7 when he was denied by his brother Gangadhar Pant to give the Guru mantra to him by saying that ” you are too little to have a Guru Mantra”. 

He then left his home and started to reside in a Devalaya at the bank of Godavari and did his penance. There, he received the sacred Mantra of his life from the God (Lord Ram) himself. 

Lord Rama himself advised him to count the 13 lettered Ram Tarak Mantra 108 times at least once a day . After this, Lord Ram accepted him as his own disciple. The lord himself gave Narayan a new name by which he has been known ever since, Ramdas. The second time he left his home at the age of 12.

He ran away from his own marriage ceremony at the age of 12 when he heard the word “Beware” from Brahmins during the rituals. He then, moved to Takli in Nashik at the river bank of Godavari where he started his journey of asceticism through worshipping  Lord Rama which lasted for 12 years. Many times, he was guided by the great worshipper of Lord Rama ,Hanuman. 

After spending 12 years of deep meditation, he again got the Darshan of Lord Rama himself through whom he reached the higher consciousness. After this, he decided to start his journey to the holy places of India . 

He first visited Kashi where he took the holy bath in Ganga and had the Darshan in Vishwanath Temple. He then moved towards Ayodhya ,Mathura ,Vrindavan, Gokul, Punjab, Uttarakhand etc. He visited the temples Jagannath Puri ,Mahabaleshwar Venkatesh, Mallikarjun ,Veerbhadra Kistikandha, Omkeshwar and the numerous temples of India. Wherever he had gone, he made a Mutt there and enthroned one of his disciples to run and maintain the sanctity of the Mutt. He had made innumerable disciples during his journey. He had successfully united the people through his great spiritual philosophy.

He completed his holy journey in 12 years barefoot and then came back to Nasik Panchavati . He then in 1644 AD , celebrated the Ram Navami in Masur and installed an idol of Hanuman at Shahapur.

 He also visited his home to take the blessings of his mother who had lost his eyesight long before. Meeting of Samarth Ramdas with his mother restored the visibility of his mother. This miracle made his mother believe that his son is no more an ordinary person but had become a spiritual master who had attained Parbrahma. 

He then moved to complete his circumambulation of Godavari river and then back to Takali village. 

The birth of Samarth Ramdas and becoming the Guru of Shivaji Maharaj, was considered to be written in the destiny. As Ramdas swamy had already the vision of making the India free from invaders, now the time had came to meet Shivaji who would liberate India from malechas. There are many stories related to him and Shivaji which I have discussed below :

During spending his days in Takali in doing kirtan and his preachings, he heard the apocalypse which was saying to him 

  “ A child named Shiva had taken birth in the South. Through him, you are commanded to liberate India “. He soon moved to Chafal in 1648 AD and installed an ideal of Lord Rama which was found in river Krishna and established the first monastery and Ramdasi sect. 

Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj already had heard the name of Samarth Ramdas through his dear ones who were the great devotees of Ramdas. Shivaji had great desire to meet Samarth Ramdas. Knowing that he is in Chafal, he sends his officers in search of Ramdas. On receiving the news, Ramdas wrote a letter to Shivaji in which he encouraged him to restore the Dharma and to protect the cows and Brahmans. 

He further added

  ” You are blessed with great ability and you are the only one in this period who could restore the Dharma and spread it all over India. Thousands of people will take your shelter and you will be the source to cut-off the power of Malechas. “

Samarth Ramdas to Shivaji Maharaj

Chhatrapati Shivaji met Samarth Ramdas for the first time in 1649 AD ( Shake 1571 in Vikaari Samvatsar in Shukla Paksha ) . There, Ramdas Swami introduced Shivaji to ancient Vedanta and taught him the Dharma of a Kshatriya.

Samarth Ramdas with Chattrapati Shivaji Maharaj

Shivaji with high gratitude requested Samarth Ramdas to stay with him but Ramdas gently rejected the proposal and with a smile on his face told Shivaji that he is a Sanyasi ,he can’t stay longer at any place. The time Shivaji had met Samarth Ramdas, he was just 22 years old . ”  This statement supports the accurate date of birth of Shivaji Maharaj in 1627 AD. ” 

As it was known to everyone that he was an incarnation, he had shown tonnes of miracles to his disciples. The way Lord Vishnu had incarnated himself as Krishna to liberate the Earth from kauravas through the hands of kshatriyas i. e. Pandava, the same way, Samarth Ramdas came as incarnation to liberate India from invaders from the hands of a kshatriya named Shivaji Maharaj. 

One of the most famous stories of him was when he sank himself in the overflooded river water and stayed alive for 4 days there . We will discuss this incident in detail later. 

Samarth Ramdas used to live in the cold comfortably without using warm clothes over his body. He had taken out the poison twice from someone’s body . He used to walk on ice cubes. He had also given life to a dead body.

One day, Shivaji with his forces had gone to the forest near Ramgarhi for his military purpose where he got the opportunity to meet Samarth Ramdas. 

They all were thirsty and didn’t find any place to have water to drink . Knowing that they all were thirsty, Samarth Ramdas used his kubdi ( a wooden Y shaped object to rest his arms upon whenever doing Japa ) to side stone and said to Shivaji ” let you all drink this water. There is no dearth of water by the grace of God.” They all were in shock and in surprise at how Samarth Ramdas did it. But they were also aware of the fact that he is a Sidh Yogi and already had attained Parbrahma. And this wasn’t the new thing he was doing. 

Since then, it became a waterfall and got the name kubditirth. It is in the west of Ramgarhi. 

According to one incident, Shivaji out of gratitude asked Samarth Ramdas to give him a chance to serve him. On this Samarth Ramdas responded brilliantly , he said 

   ” You are spreading the Dharma, precluding Malechas and protecting Dev Brahman. Through this way you are serving me . “

But Shivaji wasn’t satisfied. Then Samarth Ramdas took three promises from Shivaji to fulfil it. And they were :

  • You are a devotee of Lord Shiva. So every year in the month of Shravan do the Shiva Aradhana and serve the food to Brahmins. 
  • Every year, you will provide a good donation to Brahmins in Shravan month. 
  • You are a Hindu but still women living today are committing Jauhar. Make a rule that no women perform Jauhar. Instead of performing Jauhar tells them to take the name Ram- Ram. 

Shivaji fulfilled all his promises which he had given to Samarth Ramdas. In 1651 AD, he made it a rule in his Empire. 

One of the biggest contributions of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj was protecting the languages of Maharastra i. e. Marathi and other states . A Dictionary was published by him which translated the Farsi to Hindi word. It has done a great job in protecting the languages of India. 

One day out of devotion in Satara , Shivaji Maharaj offered his whole Empire to Samarth Ramdas. Seeing Such humbleness and selflessly giving, Ramdas responded ” what will you do if you give everything to me? ” Shivaji answered” I will serve you to my entire life “

On getting such a reply, Ramdas gently replied ” one should always do his/her Dharma. Your Dharma is of Kshatriya and a Kshatriya should always protect his Kingdom from Malechas ( evil power). One gets Liberation only when he or she performs his or her Dharma rightly. 

Samarth Ramdas Paduka

Shivaji then reacted ” if that’s not plausible, then give your Paduka to me to put it on the throne and on behalf of you, I could serve the people of my kingdom. 

Have you ever thought ” why the colour of the Maratha’s flag is saffron”? The answer is here :

Shivaji wanted a symbol of Samarth Ramdas so that he could put it with himself out of his great devotion for his Guru. So Ramdas gave him permission to use Saffron colour for his flag. Since then the bhagwa (saffron) flag of Marathas got printed in the pages of history. 

According to a legend, one day Ramdas was moving to chafal from kondava. But in the middle of the way, the river Koyna which was then overloaded with water, stopped him. Samarth Ramdas without giving a second thought jumped into the river and started to cross it but somehow in mid of the river where water Whirlpool was getting created took him inside . The people seeing it make a cry ” Drown, drown “. They immediately tried to save him but nothing worked. They assumed that he had drawn into the river. 

Samarth Ramdas with his desciples

Days after, Ramdas’s great disciple Uddhav Goswami and Kalyan Goswami got the news of his drowning. They immediately reached the same place where Ramdas had drown. Out of severe grief, Kalyan Goswami also jumped into the river water and reached towards swirling . Surprisingly, under the water he found that Guru Ramdas was meditating and doing bhajan. Kalyan immediately took the hands of Ramdas and pulled him out of the water with him. 

People seeing Ramdas alive after 3-4 days living inside deep water, amazed them. This was one of the most incredible phenomena that happened with the people living around them. 

Shivaji Maharaj was a stout devotee of Shri Samarth Ramdas Swamy. He was always ready to serve Guru Ramdas no matter how difficult the task is. Below incident is one of the best examples to show his immense devotion for Ramdas. 

One day Shivaji was informed that Guru Ramdas was staying in Mahabaleshwar. Without losing time , he found Ramdas in a cave where he was groaning in pain. Later, Shivaji got to know that he was suffering from severe abdomen pain. Shivaji asked Samarth Ramdas ” how could it be cured “.Ramdas replied ” There is no medicine of this illness  Shivaba ” But there is one remedy to cure it but let it go. He asked ” What is the remedy? ” Ramdas gently said ” the milk of a tigress could cure this illness. 

Shivaji promised him to bring the milk of the tigress. He then moved to Jungle to complete his promise. After spending long hours, he found a tigress. He had believed that by the grace of God and blessings of his Guru he could make anything possible.

Seeing Shivaji near her cubs, tigress ready herself to attack him but in the next moment something spectacular happened. Instead of defending himself from tigress, Shivaji with his folded hand requested tigress

 ” I am not here to harm you or either your child. Oh mother, I just need your milk for my Guru. Please let me take your milk and hand it down to my Guru. Or else, you can eat me. 

Surprisingly hearing this request, the tigress became so come and gentle that she didn’t move even one step ahead. Shivaji then easily took the milk of the tigress and handed it down to Guru Ramdas. Ramdas didn’t have any pain in his abdomen. He was just sending the message to everyone how a devotion should be. 

This is not something which is impossible. Vedas and upnishad also defined it through a line : 

   ” O Parbrahma, let me make Fearless wherever you exist ” 

You must have read that our Guru or Sages used to live in harmony with animals. They both Stand together without harming each other. 

Samarth Ramdas Literature

He had written volumes of literature. Out of them some are Dasbodh, Karunashtakas, Sunderkand, Yudhkand of Ramayana, many Abhangas and Owis, Antarbhav, Poorvaraambh, Atmaram, Chaturthman, Manpanchak, Panchman, Panchsamasi, Janaswabhawgosavi, Saptsamasi, Nirgundhyan, Maache shlok and many others. 

He could speak many languages. Prominent among them were Hindi, Marathi ,Urdu and Sanskrit.

He left his Mortal body at Sajjangarh fort at the age of 73 years in 1682 AD after takin Samadhi . He had already predicted the exact date of the death of Shivaji Maharaj. The day on which Shivaji Maharaj had died was not a normal day. It was an auspicious day because that was the day on which Parikshit ( son of Abhimanyu) had died. 

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