'Swami Namdev' would not entirely be a new name to most of the Hindus, especially if they are more enchanted towards PanduRanga - a form of Sri Krishna himself. Some of his contemporaries, who are known to this world through their devotion to PanduRanga are Swami Gora Kumba, Swami Dynaeshwar, MuktaBhai, JanaaBhai etc.
Swami Namdev was one of those very few blessed children of the Lord - who happened to have the divine sight of the Lord PanduRanga himself at the age of five. A Marathi Abhang [ Song parsing Lord Panduranga], says that, Lord descends himself and starts dancing with love and joy, the moment Namdev starts singing. The thought of getting the sight of the Lord himself dancing, whenever he sings on him, had him held as a victim of his ego for a short span of time.
Once, all the divine Bhagawatas[devotees] of PanduRanga, reached Gora Khumba's hut for a holy gathering. Gora Khumba welcomed all as how he would welcome Lord Panduranga himself. Their lunch was served miraculously with the divine blessing of the Lord. Spiritual Satsang [Holy gathering] started after the lunch and it was the event that Lord had in his mind to help Namdev to get on to his next level towards reaching him. It started through MuktaBai, who happened to see a stick sneaked somewhere over the roof of Gora Khumba's hut. Expressing her curiosity, Mukta asked Gora - "What is that stick for?". She was just 3 years of age and Gora was physically very old. He explained her that he is a potter, and after making the pots out of the clay, they need to be exposed to fire for the final drying process for its completion. He further continued saying that, patting the pots with the stick would help him understand which of them had been completed and ready and which of them aren't.
Mukta mischievously asked – “Oh! really? So, is it possible to pat us with this stick and find out who among us have complete devotion and who does not?” Gora exclaimed "Yes!", immediately, as he thought of it as a child's game of Mukta. Mukta continued if she can be tested with the stick first. Gora patted her with the stick and said, “Ohh, you are full of devotion and it is a complete one in you!"
Dyaneshwar, Mukta's brother, bowed before Gora and requested him if he can be tested too. Gora said that he is just playing along with Mukta and there isn't anything serious about what he had been doing. Dyaneshwar expressed his willingness to be patted and he also conveyed with humbleness that Gora's mere touch with the stick would bring him complete devotion, if he is not having that already. Smiling with love, Gora patted Dyaneshwar as well.
The "real-game" continued further with other Bhagavathas too, until Mukta raised the ultimate question. She asked Gora "Can you test Swami Namdev please?". Gora, with the same playful mood, approached Namdev and unfortunately Namdev was not playful about it. He stopped Gora and shouted at him saying that he is the only one whose singing can make Lord come down and dance. He continued further that it is a deliberate insult made by Gora to such a great devotee like him and he decided to leave the place out of his anger. Mukta ran towards Gora and said "Goraji, Namdevji's devotion is incomplete, just like of your un-dried pots". This infuriated Namdev further and he ran towards Panduranga, crying and sobbing and said that he had been insulted deeply by Gora and other devotees. Pandurangachuckled and laughed with love and mischief. He answered Namdev saying it was not Gora who insulted him, but it is the other way around. He stressed Namdev to go back to Gora immediately and fall on his feet and ask for his forgiveness for acting indifferently to a true devotee. He said that whatever had been happening there is very true and his devotion is certainly incomplete, just like an undried pot. Namdev was shocked! He asked Panduranga whether he did not have bhakti at all? If so, why Lord dances whenever he sings? Lord replied back with mercy, "It was not your devotion, which made me descend down and dance, but the boon that I had given you in your past birth. You requested me to come and dance whenever you sing and I had agreed to it and gave that boon to you. My manifestation when you sing was to keep up my words and not for your devotion". Upset Namdev, ran back immediately and fell on the feet of Gora Khumba and pleaded for his forgiveness and requested him to be his GURU and initiate him towards completing his devotion. Gora, who is an epitome of purity, replied back with kindness and love. He explained him that he was not Namdev's GURU.Namdev's true GURU, was an old-saint, who was from the lineage of Gorakhnath, was residing in a Shiva temple which was on the way towards to Pandarpur. Upon receiving this information, Namdev started immediately to find his GURU and get his initiation.
Namdev reached the Shiva temple that Gora Khumba had indicated. One more final blow to his ego awaited him as he approached the main shrine of Shiva. He happened to see an old-saint, who was lying down and sleeping in Shiva's shrine, with his head rested on the floor and his leg over the Shiva linga itself! Namdev was shocked and thought to himself, "What a blasphemy!! Is he the one I have been looking for to get my initiation? What a mistake!" He shouted out loud, "Oh old man! Are you out of your mind? You are resting your legs over the Shiva linga! Take it off". The old-saint calmly replied "Oh! Is it? You see, I'm old enough to see and distinguish objects now and that would have put me in such a situation. Please take my legs off the linga and help me rest them in a place where there is NO SHIVA". Namdev came running to him and grabbed his legs with his hands and tried keeping them on the floor. Before he keeping it down, a new Shiva linga rose up by itself in the same place from the ground. Namdev was shocked to see that. Namdev's several attempts turned futile, as he saw Shivalinga rising in the very place where he wanted to rest the old man's leg. The old saint asked "Are you still holding my legs? You haven't found a place where Shiva is not there yet?" These questions, opened up Namdev fully and he responded, "Yes Swami, I have found out the place, where Shiva is not there” and pressed the saint's feet over his chest. He thus got PadhaDheeksha through him and progressed towards completion.
(Swaminathan is a software engineer in Bangalore. He loves reading and travelling. His curiosity makes him want to explore all the aspects of life. Keen to learn anything and everything new!!)