By Swami Harshananda
Birth & Spiritual Learning
Rāmadāsa was born in A. D. 1608 as the second son of Suryājī Pant and Rāṇubāī. He was born on the sacred Rāmanavamī day or the day on which Śri Rāma, an incarnation of god Viṣṇu, took birth as a human being. He was well-educated by his parents. Given to deep introspection on spiritual values, he devoted twelve years to tapas or austerities at a place called Tākalī on the bank of the sacred river Godāvarī near Nāsik, a famous place of pilgrimage. Later, he toured all over the country for another twelve years, studying the situation in the country and also utilizing the time for study as well as composing religious treatises.
Marriage of Samartha-Rāmadāsa
Rāmadāsa lived in A. D. 1608-1681. The utterance by the priest of the word ‘sāvadhān’ as a part of the routine rites of marriage ceremony roused the conscience of the boy Nārāyaṇa to such fiery heights of renunciation that he leaped out of the marriage hall like a leopard and ran away never to be caught in the web of worldly life. Later on Nārāyaṇa shone in the firmament of religious saints as ‘Samartha’ Rāmadāsa or Rāmdās. He inspired the king Śivājī to protect the religion and society.
The last few years were spent in vigorously propagating religion among the masses, rousing their pride in their religion, culture and motherland, and bringing about unity among them. Thereby he earned the title ‘Samartha’ which literally means ‘the capable one’. It was a spontaneous title from all. It was during this period that the king Śivājī became his disciple and drew a lot of inspiration from him.
Temples by Samartha Rāmadāsa
Disciples of Samartha Rāmadāsa
He had four disciples all of whom were highly evolved souls. They were:
- Raṅganātha Svāmi of Nigaḍi
- Jayarāma Svāmi of Paḍagāv
- Ānandamurti of Brahmanāla
- Keśavamurti of Hyderabad
The group of these five saints together came to be known as ‘Ramadāsa Pañcāyatana’.
Scriptures by Samartha Rāmadāsa
The magnum opus of this saint is the famous Dāsabodha written in the Marāṭhi language. It is in twenty daśakas dealing with various aspects of philosophy and spiritual life. Apart from the Dāsabodha, his other works are:
- Manāce Sloka
- Few abhaṅgas
Maṭhas of Samartha Rāmadāsa
He passed away in A. D. 1681 when his disciples were singing devotional songs, with the name ‘Rāma’ on his lips. The maṭhas established by him all over the country. The number of his monasteries is more than hundred.
- Sāvadhān means ‘beware’.
- He lived in A. D. 1627-1680.
- Daśakas are the small chapters containing ten paragraphs each.
- Maṭhas are the religious centers or monasteries.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore