Namadeva, who lived during the end of the 13th century and the first half of the 14th in Western Bharat, is one of the countries best known saint poets. A contemporary and associate of Jnanadeva and other great mystics, Namadeva lived in constant communion with Lord Panduranga. Hundreds of 'abhangs' (devotional songs) composed by him are lovingly sung by devout people to this day.
Author - Simpi Linganna
The man with a saintly appearance was having a roti and a little gee for his lunch. A dog came by, snatched the roti from his hand and ran
away. He at once jumped to his feet, and taking the bowl of gee in his hand, he ran behind the dog.
"0, my friend, why do you eat that dry roti? Have some gee also" - shouting like this, he pursued the dog. At long last he was able to catch it. He smeared the roti with gee and fed the dog.
Many were marveled at this sight. Some called him mad. Some laughed at him. Some praised his goodness. Neither theyíre derisive laughter nor their praise caught his attention. All that he was interested in was feeding the dog.
This compassionate man was Namadeva the saint. (Saint means a great man whom, with his mind set on God, desiring nothing for himself, leads a pure and good life.) What he saw even in a dog was the element of divinity. He was a great soul. He lived, throughout his life, with the conviction that there is divinity in every living being.
No wonder then, that he who treated a dog with such love preached and
practiced that all mankind is one.
Son of Pious Parents
Pandharapur is a place of pilgrimage in Maharashtra. There lived in that town a person called Damashet, a tailor by profession. So his family got the surname 'Simpi' (tailor). Damashet was a devotee of God Vitthala. His wife Gonayi was a very good lady, highly devotional. Both had spent their life in the service of Vitthala. They did not have children for a long time. This had made them very sad.
Namadeva was no other than the son of this good-natured couple. There is an interesting story about his birth. It goes like this: Gonayi one day suggested to her husband, to go to the temple of Panduranga and pray for a son.He agreed. The next day he went to the temple and prayed to Panduranga, "0 Lord, please give us a son and relieve us of this sorrow."
The same night Damashet had a dream. God Panduranga appeared in' the dream and said, "Tomorrow morning you go to river Bheema for bathing, don't you? Keep this in mind. There will come floating in the river, a closed shell in which you will find a baby.
You may take it home."
The dream ended and Dama woke up.
His heart was filled with joy. He recounted the dream to his wife. She too was beside herself with joy.
As the day dawned Damashet went to the river Bheema for bathing. A shelf came floating. He took it into his hands. He heard a voice chanting the name of Vitthala within the shell. Damashet opened the shell and found in it a bright-looking sweet baby - boy.
He took it home. He called out to his wife and placing the baby in her hands said, "Here is the baby that God has given you. Take it."
Gonayi took the baby in her arms charmingly. Both husband and wife felt supremely happy. They named the child as 'Nama'.
This incident happened in the year 1270 A. D.
The province where Namadeva's parents lived was at that time under Muslim rule. The Muslim officers behaved like tyrants. They used to harass the people of other religions. Hindus were divided among themselves. Moreover the wicked wielded power.
Namadeva was born in such times. As he grew up, his remarkable personality unfolded itself clearly. He led a clean life. So everyone respected him. His devotion to Panduranga was boundless. So much so that many other devotees firmly believed he was the re-incubation of Uddhava who was a friend and counselor to Lord Sri Krishna.
A Born Devotee
Namadeva was a devotee with pure heart even from his tender age. The parents were devotees of Panduranga. So the son's heart also was given away to Vitthala. Many stories about his wonderful devotion are in vogue. They are very interesting.
It was customary with Damashet to carry every day to the temple the offering of food for Vitthala. After the ritual of offering was made he would bring it back home as 'prasad.' Then all of them would have their food.
One day Damashet did not return home from the bazaar for a long time. Thinking that he might be very late, his wife told the boy Nama, "My dear, you had better go to the temple today to offer this food to God."
In obedience to his mother, the boy went to the temple. He worshipped Panduranga and then placed before Him the food he had carried. He believed that God would actually Oat it. So he stood modestly with bowed head and folded hands.
"Your lunch is ready, my Lord, you may kindly begin," he requested.
But there were no signs of God's eating the food. The boy became sad.
"My father was not at home. So my mother sent me with this offering. It you don't eat, mother will take me to task when I return.
Have I made any mistake in the ritual of worship? But I don't know these rituals. I am still young. Please don't be angry with me" lie entreated
Moved with these sweet words of the innocent boy that day the God actually ate the food and told the boy, "Look here! Don't tell anyone about this."
The boy felt very happy. He bowed again to Vitthala and went home. His father also by that time had come home.
"Where is prasad' offered to God?" asked his mother.
"God ate it," said the boy.
"What do you mean by that? God ate it! Is it ever possible?" Said the father with surprise.
"Yes, God came and ate the food," the boy repeated.
The father could not believe it. But the innocent face of the boy indicated that he was speaking the truth. He was too young to know a lie.
At last the father said, "Can you show me God eating the food?"
"0, Yes, I can show it tomorrow," replied the boy.
The next day Damashet went to the temple with his son.The pooja was performed as usual. The offering was placed before God.
But Vitthala did not eat. Namadeva was disconcerted. If God does not take food, what would his parents think about him? Do they not infer that he
himself might have eaten the food the previous day? Will they not get angry?
"Vitthala, please take food," he implored.
Vitthala remained motionless. The boy felt deeply hurt. "0 Lord, please don't be hard like this. Will not my father and mother
misunderstand me? Will they not be angry with me thinking that I must have eaten the food and uttered a lie? Well, indeed you ate the offering yesterday. But now is it right to be like this?" the boy went on pleading.
Deeply moved with this prayer, God Vitthala opened his mouth. The little devotee started feeding Him. Seeing this, the father was amazed. As soon as he returned home he told his wife about this. Both were filled with joy. They began loving Namadeva all the more.
Thus goes a beautiful story.
The boy Namadeva grew up cheerfully. His mind was bent upon God right from his childhood. As he grew older he began to spend more and more time in the temple of Vitthala meditating always on Him.
His father was not so poor. So, as soon as the son came of age his marriage was celebrated. Namadeva's wife was Rajayi; she was also called Radha Bai. Namadeva got four children, namely Narayana, Vitthala,
Govinda and Mahadeva.
The Unseen Hand of God
Namadeva used to spend most of his time in his devotion to Vitthala. Therefore he paid little attention to his domestic affairs.
Father was aged. Both Damaji and his wife were hoping that their son, being a youth now, would help the father in his tailoring.
Namadeva, of course, used to treat his father and mother with utmost love and respect. He loved his wife and children too. But he did nothing to help and support his family. All the time he was absorbed in the thoughts of Vitthala. He would spend more time in the temple than at home. What help could the family expect from such a son? Thus the family had to face many hardships. When his mother was not able to bear this, she became ill tempered in her behavior. One day Namadeva got disgusted with this. He left his house, went and sat in the temple. Rajayi, the wife of Namadeva, went to her neighbors and began to bemoan the difficulties of her family before them.
"Rajayi!" some one called her.
She came out hurriedly and asked, "Who is it that called me?"
"It is me, Keshavashet. Namadeva is my bosom friend. Here is some money to be given to him. Please take it" - so saying, he gave her the money and went away.
Rajayi took the money and went to the market. She bought all the required provisions, came home, prepared food and sat down waiting. At that time Gonayi was not at home. She had gone to someone's house to borrow some grain. When she was returning home with the bag of grain, she stepped into the temple. Advising her son who was sitting there, she brought him home.
By the time the mother and son came home there was a big change. Rajayi had bought nice clothes. Food was cooked and kept ready. Both were taken aback. "What is all this? Where did you get these things?" the son asked his mother. She too did not know it.
Namadeva came to know that one Keshavashet who claimed to be his intimate friend had given money and was gone. He was astonished, as he knew for certain that he did not have any such friend and nobody owed him any money.
That the family got money was a fact. How else could all those new things be there? Who was it really that had come to give this money? Who else but Vitthala would give money to him? So he thought. He felt thrilled at the thought that Vitthala had told that he was a close friend of Namadeva. And at the same time he was moved to tears because for his sake Vitthala had to take such pains.
He did not want that money. He was afraid that it might distract his devotion from Vitthala. So he called all the Brahmins and poor beggars of the town and gave away all the money the unseen hand of God had given him. Once again he became penniless. A number of stories like this are there to illustrate Namadeva's devotion, austerity and Vitthala's appreciation of that devotion. In addition to his family consisting of father, mother, wife and children, Namadeva had a wide circle of devotees as his kinsfolk. They belonged to various castes. But all of them were soldiers of one and the same God. Jnanadeva was a Brahmin, Namadeva was a tailor, Narahari, a goldsmith, and Sawanta a gardener, Gora was a potter and Chokhamela, a pariah. In their daily personal life they followed their respective professions. But in their devotion to Vitthala they were collectively one.
Among Marathi saints the first one was Namadeva. Jnanadeva, known as
Yogi raja, was the foremost among the Five Great Saints.
He was younger than Namadeva by one year. Hearing of
Namadeva's fame he went to Pandharapur to see him. The moment he saw Namadeva he fell at his
feet, making obeisance. It was like a confluence of Jnana and Bhakti. "I propose to go on a pilgrimage taking you with me. I have come now with that purpose only. Please tell me whether my wish will be fulfilled or not," asked Jnanadeva.
"I am a dependant of Panduranga, my master. I shall ask Him. It He permits, I shall go with you," said Namadeva.
Both these gems of saints went into the temple. They offered their prenames to God Vitthala, who hugged them
Then they asked Him for permission to go on pilgrimage. "It is for the pleasure of Namadeva's company that this journey is undertaken," said Jnanadeva clarifying his intention.
Namadeva with folded hands requested, "I shall go with him only if you permit me."
"Do go with him by all means. Jnanadeva is no other than parabramha. But mind you, you should not forget me, for I take you to be my very life," said God Vitthala.
Similarly He told Jnanadeva, "Take good care of him."
Then both of them went to the river Chandrabhaga. After the holy bath in the river they set out on their journey. So goes the story.
Any way both the saints went together on a pilgrimage. During their journey they talked only of spiritual matters. The first warm welcome awaited them at Hastinapura. People of that city had already heard of these saints. So a big crowd had gathered there to see them. Namadeva sang many devotional songs. Those who listened to them forgot themselves and drank the nectar of devotion to their fill and contentment.
There are several stories about his visit of Namadeva and Jnanadeva to Hastinapura. The Badshah of that place came to know about Namadeva's bhajans. He wished to listen to the bhajans once, and to test the greatness of Namadeva at the same time.
So he went to the place where Namadeva was singing and listened to the songs for an hour or two. Then he told Namadeva, "You see, there is a cow lying dead. If you are a real saint you will bring it back to life. Or else I shall order your head to be cut off."
"In four days the cow will get back to Ife," said Namadeva right away. Namadeva began to call Panduranga with all the intensity of feeling in his ecstatic bhajans. He was aware only of that and nothing else. He was not conscious of where he was and what he was doing, After a long time he woke up from that state of mind. Then he became aware of the fact that the dead cow had stood up regaining its life. The king's men ran to the palace to convey this news. The Badshah came to Namadeva fell at his feet and praise his greatness.
Namadeva and Jnanadeva proceeded then from Hastinapura. They halted at Kashi for four months. They met Kabirdas at that time.
From Varanasi they went to Gaya, Prayag and other sacred places. When they entered the province of Marwar it was mid-summer.
It was very hot and tiring. On the way they felt thirsty. There was no source of water anywhere within sight. They felt miserable. In a short while as they walked along they saw a well at a distance Going near it they found it to be a deep well from which water had to be drawn up. There was no rope to draw water, nor was there a vessel. Then how to get water?
Jnanadeva knew yoga. He got into the well in a subtle form, drank water to his fill and came up. Looking at Namadeva he said,
"Don't you worry. I shall get you water. Perhaps you don't know this occult technique. But I shall make the water come up with my occult power."
"Why should I worry? It is the concern of my God," said Namadeva. Even as he was saying this, the water rose high to the brim and began to overflow. Seeing this, Jnanadeva was stunned.
"Namadeva, you have won the heart of Sri Krishna completely. You are really blessed" - so saying, he clasped the feet of Namadeva firmly. This is another popular story. That well in Marwar, it is said, is full and overflowing even today.
The Second Kailash
People say that another wonderful incident happened in a place called Naganath. This episode drives home the moral that it is pure-hearted devotion and not the caste, which is important, and that God approves only of true and sincere
These gems of saints and devotees of Panduranga journeyed along and came to Naganath. That was a seat of Jyotirlinga (i.e. Shivalinga manifested in the form of light). It was also called the second Kailash. The saints were immensely happy to see that sacred place. Added to it, it was Mahashivaratri. They went to the main entrance of the temple, after finishing their bath, prayer and the routine religious rituals. They prostrated before God Shankara with utmost love and had His darshan. Namadeva began to sing bhajans in an ecstatic mood. Innumerable people congregated around. They were listening to the hymns with rapt attention.
The priests of that temple were Brahmins. They came to the main gate to worship Shankara. But in that thick crowd they were not able to push their way through. They shouted at the crowd, "Hey You fellows keep off and make way for us. We are in a sacrosanct state."
But nobody heeded his or her words. The priests got annoyed and told Namadeva, "I say-you! - You had better display all this grandiose bhajan of yours at Pandharapur only. This is Naganath. All this singing and dancing won't do here. Shiva, the divine consort of Uma and the Lord of Kailash will not be pleased with these songs in praise of Hari. Go to Pandharapur. There you can dance as you please keeping aside all your sense of shame." The very listeners of bhajan replied to the priests with a counter-question: "The great sages say that there is no difference between Hari and Hara. Where is it stated that bhajans should not be sung before God Shankara?"
These words further enraged the Brahmins. "You sentimental fools, how dare you presume to teach us! Get away from here, all of you. Otherwise you will taste a sound thrashing," they shouted at the top of their voice.
Nobody budged an inch.
Two of the brahmins who were with the priests pushed their way through the crowd and told Namadeva, "Because of your bhajan, all the passages are blocked and people are waiting outside to enter the temple for worship. If you want you can carry on your bhajan till you are tired on the backyard of the temple."
Namadeva made obeisance to these Brahmins and went to the rear-side of the temple to continue his bhajan. People who witnessed this incident felt sorry. This obstruction to the bhajan brought tears to the eyes of Namadeva. His throat was choked.
Why this wrangles about sanctity and pollution in the presence of God? Why should some people be asked to stand at a distance? Is not angry and conceited behavior in the divine presence by itself a pollution? These were the thoughts that passed through the mind of Namadeva.
That he was forced to stand behind the temple to sing bhajans missing the direct sight of Lord Shankara made him very sad. He called out to Panduranga, in his tremulous voice. As a result of this, the temple, which was facing east turned round to face Namadeva. The people who had gathered there were struck with amazement. "The Lord of Kailash has been pleased with Namadeva!" they exclaimed, overjoyed in their hearts.
The bhajan was in full tempo when the Brahmins finished their worship and came out. They were bewildered to see that the bhajan was going on in front of the temple itself.
When they Enquirer of some people, they were told that the temple itself had turned towards Namadeva. On hearing this, the Brahmins felt a cold shiver. They realized that their uppish behavior was wrong. Now, being completely rid of that arrogance, they sat down in humility to listen to the bhajan. They repented their needless objection against Namadeva. Soon after he finished his bhajan, they apologized to him, "Please forgive us for our folly." Namadeva did not have the slightest anger or hatred in his heart.
His mind was as fresh and pure as ever. He addressed gentle and consoling words to them and sent them.
The temple, which had changed its direction, is still there for any one to examine, it is said.
The two saints after taking darshan of God Shankara in Naganath came straight to Pandharapur. Namadeva could not contain within himself the joy of seeing Lord Vitthala.
He went into ecstasy and lost consciousness. Jnanadeva tended him with care. Namadeva, after regaining his
consciousness, prostrated before God. Vitthala stepped down from his usual pedestal-the brick-and warmly received him with an embrace. People say that he even took out his garland of Tulasi and put it round the neck of Namadeva.
By that time the entire group of saints came to see Namadeva. Nivritti, Sopana, Visoba, Gora the potter and others embraced Namadeva most affectionately. There are many significant stories even about this circle of saints and devotees.
The Unbaked Pot
"Please let my cottage be sanctified with the dust of your feet," requested Gora the Potter with folded hands, inviting the circle of devotees to his house. They compliedwith his request and went to his place. He felt extremely happy and treated them with great love and hospitality. They were supremely pleased. When all of them were sitting together, Jnanadeva said, "Gora, can you tell me, whom of these pots in your house are backed and which are still unburnt, and wet?"
Gora understood what Jnanadeva had meant by this. He took a
wooden plank, which was kept, for tapping a pot into shape. He then went on stroking every body's head with it. No one uttered a word. But when Namadeva was touched on the head he said, "Why do you beat me so on the head?"
At this Gora told Jnanadeva, "Only this pot is unburnt."
"Gora, you are an experienced hand. You have tested well," said Muktabai. All the saints began to laugh uproariously. Namadeva felt offended.
From there he went straight to Pandharapur. He was very much grieved to be told that he was still not a realized soul. Filled with sorrow for not being qualified to be in the company of such saints and for being so humiliated, he sat in the temple.
It is said that a remarkable thing happened then. Vitthala, seeing Namadeva so depressed, tried to cheer him up. Namadeva said, "I was insulted in Gora's house."
"Gora has rightly tested. One who does not surrender to Sadguru is an unbaked pot," said Vitthala.
This indeed was the last straw on the camel's back. Namadeva completely lost his poise.
"I came to you with the fond hope of getting relieved of my sorrow. But you too speak in the same way as they spoke! Where do I go now?"
"Where elso do you go? Go to a Sadguru and surrender to him. Then you will overcome this feeling of differences."
"0, my Lord, why do I need a Sadgu arenít you enough for me?"
Then the Lord told him, "Namadeva, I too during my incarnation as Rama had bowed down to revered sage Vashishta taking him as my Guru and had gained spiritual knowledge from him. Next in myincarnation as Krishna I had taken revered Sandeepa as my Guru by earnestly appealing to him. If you were to take my suggestion and act accordingly, you will be honored by all the saints."
Namadeva made obeisance to the Lord and asked, "To whom shall I surrender?"
"There is one Visoba lying now in the temple of Mallikarjuna. He is a great Jnani. Go to him and win his fervors to be your Guru."
Hearing these words, Namadeva burst into tears. "0 my master, I can't leave you even for a moment."
"You must seek refuge in a Guru. That is the only way - right and proper," said Vitthala firmly. At this Namadeva left that place.
As suggested by Panduranga he w to the temple of Mallikarjuna.
There is also a story about the meeting of Namadeva with Visoba. Visoba Samba was lying on the floor with his feet resting on the Shivalinga. Seeing this shocking sight, Namadeva felt bad. He thought it was a bad omen. He awoke Visoba and said, "I hear that you are a great saint. Here you are resting your feet on the very God Shankara.
Is it proper?"
Visoba replied, "True, it is wrong. But I am too weak to get up. Can you please do me the favor of lifting my feet and placing them where there is no Shankara? Fruits of a good turn will be yours."
Namadeva lifted his feet and kept them on a place near by. Lo, what a wonder! There was a Shivalinga visible now under Visoba's feet. Namadeva got frightened as much as he was surprised. He once again changed the place to rest Visoba's feet. There again a Linga was seen. He then put Visoba's feet on still another place where again a Linga appeared underneath. In this way wherever he placed Visoba's feet, there appeared a Linga beneath! Namadeva realized that Shankara was everywhere and everything was Shankara. His egoism was effaced. He thought that he too was Shiva. "That was how", say the' devotees, "Namadeva realized the glory of his Guru Visoba."
One more story, which illustrates the intimacy between Namadeva and Panduranga Vitthala, goes like this. Once, after the usual greeting with an embrace Panduranga told Namadeva, "Ever since you got a Guru you have been gradually forgetting me."
"Now I have overcome the sense of duality. I do not see any difference between you and my Sadguru essentially," submitted Namadeva politely.
Thereafter Panduranga told the saints, "Now, you see, the pot has been completely burnt."
Enlightenment Put To Test
One day Panduranga asked Namadeva, "Are you always aware of the fact that this entire world is filled with me?"
"I look upon all life in the same light," answered Namadeva.
We have already seen how when a dog snatched the bread from his hand and ran away, Namadeva pursued the dog with a view to feeding it with gee too.
Namadeva told that this attitude of his was due to the teaching of his Sadguru Visoba.
It was Ekadashi (the eleventh day) of the month of Kartika. Namadeva was fasting that day. An old Brahmin came to him begging for food.
"Today, you know, is Ekadashi, the day of fasting. I should not treat you to any regular meal. I can get you some fruit if you want," said Namadeva.
"If I don't get a meal, I will die of starvation. The sin of killing a Brahmin will be on you."
"I know nothing about sin or merit of good deed," said Namadeva.
"You don't seem to have the slightest mercy. Yet you show off your philosophical knowledge in empty words. Do you allow this old man to die of starvation?" demanded the Brahmin.
"If you die today for want of food, let me face the same fate," declared Namadeva.
But then the eyes of the Brahmin started rolling up. The very next moment he was dead.
Namadeva without a second thought carried the corpse to the bank of river Bheema. He prepared a pyre to burn the body and laying himself on the pyre beside the Brahminís body, he set fire to the piles of wood. His wife also was making ready to follow her husband. At this juncture Panduranga showed himself in his glorious divine form with four hands, saved all of them and showered his blessings on them.
Namadeva went and lived in the northern country when all the contemporary saints departed from this world. Just as he had written many Abhangs (abhangs means a song composed and sung by the saints in Maharashtra in praise of God's glory) in Marathi, he wrote Abhangs in Hindi also. To love God with all their heart, to lead a pious life surrendering everything to him with steadfast devotion is the way of devotees. it is called the cult of Bhakti. Through- ages South India had built up a tradition of Bhakti. After Namadeva went and settled in North India, a similar tradition was set up there also.
This great saint passed away in 1350 A. D. He was then eighty years of age. His whole life was dedicated to Vitthala. He was a divine light guiding many a pilgrim on the path of devotion.
There are two kinds of Abhangs in Namadeva's compositions: those, which express the
yearning of the devotee for the vision of God, and those, which express the bliss of fulfillment after God realization. The total number of all his compositions is said to be 2,375.
The Content and Manner of Preaching
A saint is also a poet. He tells us in detail how we should live. He shows to his people the beauty he has enjoyed. And he shares with them the joy he has experienced.
(Even as the whole and huge form of the tree lies dormant in a seed, you are there in every object and form we see.)
(All these forms are the body of Sri Hari.)
(Wherever I go there is Vithoba and Vithoba only)
(The crane seems to be meditating; but it is only to catch fish. So also many in this world look pious but indulge stealthily in selfish acts. It is nothing but hypocrisy.)
As long as you live in this world, be thinking always of God. Respect all women as you would respect your mother. Don't be after money. Consider it as dust. Never crave for sensual pleasures. Use this body for meditation, prayer and worshipping God. Speech is man's great fortune. Animals cannot speak. Man has the gift of speech. What does it profit if the speech is used only for ordinary communication? If it must be put to good use, chant then the name of God, sing His glory. Chant the name of Rama. There is no salvation without devotion. How to get this devotion? The first thing is to have faith in God. Faith and constancy go together. Thus preached Namadeva.
The works of Namadeva written for the spread of spirituality are also of a high order aesthetically. Namadeva has a fine way of saying things. To say that God is everywhere, he employs the image of a bumblebee having already received the fragrance or flowers before they are carried to the temple. In another song he says that we are placing our feet on Sopanadeva (the steps of the temple personified as God) when we stand on temple pavement to offer our salutation to God. In this way he speaks in images which get imprinted indelibly on our minds.
God is the mother who has given birth to us. He is the air we breathe. He is the water. He is the offspring inside an egg, the fawn also is He.
Namadeva uses stories of beautiful metaphors.
We have heard of many stories about Namadeva as told by devotees. All these stories show his steadfast devotion, his humility, his broad and impartial outlook in treating all people as equals, without making any distinction of high or low caste or class.
It is the personality and many good qualities of Namadeva that are important.
We have also known how Namadeva had completely submitted himself to Vitthala and how he lived only for Him. The most important point here is that his devotion had helped him to develop a broad outlook. Persons born in different castes worked in harmony like brothers and sisters in the service of God. They realized that the children of God should not have feelings of superiority or inferiority. And they actually lived up to this principle.
The Hindu religion was in danger under the despotic rulers belonging to other religions. Added to this, some of the Hindus were conceited about their high birth. They looked down upon others. Naturally the lowborn felt hurt. There was the danger of such lowborn ones giving up their religion itself. Namadeva declared that all devotees of God are equal. He practiced what he preached. So there was no need for anyone to give up Hindu religion. To realize that there is an element of divinity in every man and to live accordingly is the proper course. Namadeva in this was a model for others to follow. He was so great as to see divinity even in such lowly creatures as an ordinary dog.
Now, is it not desirable to know at least one example of the intimate style used in his Abhangs? A great Kannada poet, Dattatreya Ramachandra Bendre, has translated into Kannada an abhang of Namadeva beginning with the line and it reads like this:
I came to your door, O, Vitthala,
Having heard that you are redeemer of sins.
As you don't wish to be one, my good sire, I walk back.
When I beg for alms you don't give even a bit have leftover - so virtuous
Who is that wise man who called you Lord of Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth?
You say, 'I shall give him who gives' Aha, what utmost generosity!
Now I turn away from your door, as you are a born goldsmith.
Who is there to care for others.
Let that be, Nama says, 'Adieu! I go'
May this love of mine for thy Holy feet
Be like water for my parched heart.