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Panth Maharaj

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Panth Maharaj
Panth Maharaj
Photograph of Panth Maharaj
Dattatreya Ramchandra Kulkarni

(1855-09-03)September 3, 1855
Died(1905-10-16)October 16, 1905[1]
Religious career
Literary worksDatta Prem Lahari, Balbodhamrutsaar, Atmajoti, Bhaktalaap, Paramanubhavaprakash, Sfut Lekh, Bodhgutika, Anubhavalli, Bramhopadesh, Prembhet, Bhagvadgeetasaar, Bhaktodgaar, Premtarang[2]
Template:Infobox people
"Look inwards, Oh Man.

For the Self which is one with the Guru, Shedding the distinction between the rich and the poor, Burn down the ashes of castes and lineages.

What is Knowledge? What is Meditation? And what is Pure Experience?

When you have become one with Balmukund, There is neither happiness nor sorrow."

– from the Datta Prem Lahari pada 87

Panth Maharaj (3 September 1855 – 16 October 1905), born Dattatreya Ramchandra Kulkarni,[3] was a Hindu yogi and guru and is regarded by his devotees as a saint and lived in the Belgavi region of India.

Biography[edit | edit source]

Panth Maharaj was born in a Deshastha Brahmin family[4] to Ramachandra Panth and Sitabai (née Godakka) on the September 3rd, 1855 in Daddi on the auspicious Hindu holiday of Krishna Janmashtami.[5][6] He is considered to be great Hindu saint who founded a philosophy in which Nav Narayan of Avadhut sampradaya are attributed to Dattatreya.[7][8] He is considered by some devotees to be an incarnation of Dattatreya.[9][10][11]

On October 27, 1892, Panth Maharaj met with his contemporary, Swami Vivekananda, during the latter's 13 day visit to Belgavi, where they conversed for several hours.[12][13][14]

Legacy[edit | edit source]

The main ashram and temple dedicated to Panth Maharaj is located in the village of Balekundri on the outskirts of Belgavi. The village was informally renamed as Panth Balekundri in his honor.[7][4]

The temple houses the wooden shoes, or padukas, worn by him. Behind the temple is an Indian fig tree marking the spot where he was cremated and an eternal flame that has been kept burning from his funeral pyre.[6]

Annually thousands devotees of Panth Maharaj from Karnataka, Maharashtra and Goa participate in a three day event commemorating his death anniversary in the month of October. On the first day, devotees carry out a procession holding a holy flag traversing approximately 15 kilometers from the city of Belgavi to the temple in Balekundri. On the second day, a palanquin symbolically carrying Panth Maharaj is carried in a procession from Panth Maharaj's ancestral home to the temple. On the third day, prasāda is distributed to all devotees who consume it together irrespective of caste, social standing, or wealth in accordance with Panth Maharaj's teachings.[15][16][17][6]

Literary works[edit | edit source]

Datta Prem Lahari, meaning waves of the ocean of love from Panth Maharaj, is considered to be his most seminal work.[18] The book consists of 2,730 verses in Marathi and 27 verses in Kannada that were spontaneously composed by Panth Maharaj. The topics of these poems generally related to praise of his guru Balmukund, expoundation of his guru’s teachings, philosophy of the Avadhut sampradaya, self-realization, the omnipresence of God, advice on day-to-day living and overcoming challenges, the importance of chanting God’s name, devotion to Dattatreya, yogic experiences, and the maya of the universe.[19]

Authored by Panth Maharaj as a guide for two other disciples, the essay Premtarang, meaning wave of love, discusses existential questions about our life, God, and reincarnation, while the parallel essay, Bodhanand Gutika describes the eight limbs of yoga.

A few years after Balmukund departed for Srisailam for his mahasamadhi in 1877, Panth Maharaj authored a long essay entitled Bhaktalap. The essay narrates how he received blessings from Balmukund, how he gained the satsang of the saint Kallappa, and how he overcame challenges and grew his followings of disciples.[19]

In 1885 and 1886, Panth Maharaj wrote a series of essays narrating his experiences of self-realization. In the essay Atmajyoti, Panth Maharaj describes the euphoria experienced when he attained self-realization under the guidance of Balmukund. He compares his experience to that of Arjuna in the Mahabharata and Uddhava in the Bhagavatam seeing the Vishvarupa of God. In the second essay Anubhavvalli, Panth Maharaj narrates his anubhavas or experiences in a self-realized state in a question-and-answer form. In the third essay entitled Bramhopadesh, Panth Maharaj explains the concepts of Brahman and Atman in accordance with the Vedas and Upanishads.[19]

Further reading[edit | edit source]

  • Kher, Indira (1994), Avadhuta Yogi Pant Maharaj of Balekundari, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan
  • Ramakrishnan, S. (2004). "10". Glimpses of the Great. Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. ISBN 81-7276-333-6.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Indira Kher, Avadhuta Yogi Pant Maharaj of Balekundari (1994), p. 270.
  2. "Pant Maharaj Balekundrikar Available Literature", pant-balekundrikar.in, retrieved 2018-12-08
  3. Indira Kher, Avadhuta Yogi Pant Maharaj of Balekundari (1994), p. 1.
  4. 4.0 4.1 India. Office of the Registrar General (1969). Census of India, 1961. Volume 11, Issue 6. Part 13. p. 4.
  5. Indira Kher, Avadhuta Yogi Pant Maharaj of Balekundari (1994), p. 3.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 "Panchamukhi Sadguru Shri Pant Maharaj Balekundrikar". All About Belgaum. 2018-10-27. Retrieved 2018-11-16.
  7. 7.0 7.1 "श्री पंत महाराज (श्री दत्त संस्थान, बाळेकुंद्री) Biography". pantmaharaj.com. Retrieved 2018-12-11.
  8. Joshi, Dr. P. N. (2000) Shri Dattatreya Dnyankosh. Pune: Shri Dattatreya Dnyankosh Prakashan.
  9. Warren, Marianne (1999). Unravelling the Enigma Shirdi Sai Baba in the Light of Sufism. Sterlingpaperbacks. p. 141.
  10. Mokashi-Punekar, Shankar (1974). Vinayaka Krishna Gokak. Institute of Kannada Studies, University of Mysore. p. 11.
  11. "Kaliyugi Avatars & Satpurusha". Shree Gurudev Datta Mandir Vakola, Mumbai. Retrieved 2018-12-10.
  12. Ravindra Uppar (2016-12-01). "Memorial of Swami Vivekananda to be restored in Belagavi". Times of India. Retrieved 2018-12-08.
  13. "Swami Vivekananda and his Belagavi visit". All About Belgaum. 2018-10-16. Retrieved 2018-12-08.
  14. Shyamali Chowdhury. Chronological Account of the Events in the Parivrajka Life of Swami Vivekananda (July 1890-May 1893) (PDF). Retrieved 2018-12-08.
  15. "Thousands attend Balekundri fair". The New Indian Express. 2018-10-28. Retrieved 2018-12-11.
  16. "Pant Maharaj's death centenary from Tuesday". The Hindu. 2005-10-16. Retrieved 2018-12-11.
  17. "Pant Maharaj's anniversary". The Hindu. 2004-10-28. Retrieved 2018-12-11.
  18. Tipnis, SN. Contribution of Upasani Baba to Indian culture (Thesis). Sakuri India Shri Upasani Kanya Kumari Sthan. p. 17.
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 "Panth Maharaj Literature". Retrieved 2018-12-08.

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