Saint Muktabai


Muktaba’s life was brief but she enlightened thousands of people by her
striking personality, which helped to enhance the greatness of her
brothers too.  She was struck by lightening and reached the abode of God
when she was barely eighteen. Muktabai is honoured to this day and
regarded as one of the pioneers of the Varakari cult. The couplet
“Nivritti, Jnanadev, Sopan, Muktabai, Eknath, Tukaram” is still
recited by the devotees of the God Vitthal of Pandharpur in their
bhajans or devotional songs.
The story of Muktabai is chiefly bound up with that of  Dnyaneshwar, one of
her brothers. The other two brothers being Nivrutti and Sopan. They were
the four children of Vitthalpant and Rukmabai Kulkarni of Apegaon, who
lived on the banks of the river Godavari near Pai then in Alandi.
Muktabai was the youngest child and has been regarded as the incarnation
of Devi Saraswati or Adi-Shakti. Nivrutti is regarded as the incarnation
of God Shiva, Dnyaneshwari as the incarnation of Sri Krishna, and Sopan as
the incarnation of Brahma.

 

Miracles realted to Muktabai

1-On one occasion, Muktabai wished to cook sweet buns for her brothers. So she set off to the village to get a clay plate from the potter to roast them. A prominent leader of the village, Visoba, who was very cruel to the children, scolded her and ordered the village potters to refuse her request. As she returned home, she was weeping with sadness. Dnyaneshwar asked her to prepare the dough. He then bent down, touching the floor with his hands and heated his back red-hot, asking Muktabai to roast the buns on it. She did so and happily gave them to her brothers. With shock and amazement, secretly watching this miracle through a window, Visoba Chaati, realised the power of these extraordinary children. He rushed inside the hut and picked up the crumbs of the buns, as their prasad. Seeing this, Muktabai exclaimed, “O khechara (mule) turn back!” These words completely transformed his heart. He fell at their feet, crying and begging their forgiveness. When he asked them to accept him as their disciple, Nivritti requested Muktabai to initiate him. After that Visoba left the village in order to spend the rest of his life in deep contemplation and sadhana. He achieved Self-realisation and became the guru of Saint Namdev.

2-Likewise, Muktabai was responsible for removing the covering in the mind of Saint Namdev. When they met Namdev in Pandharpur, Nivrutti, Jnaneshwar and Sopandev, in humility, prostrated before him. Namdev was filled with pride, because everyone in Pandharpur regarded him as a great saint. Muktabai, with great compassion for this sincere devotee, wished to remove this short-sightedness by giving him the cosmic vision. Thus, she did not fall at his feet, as her brothers did, but requested Gora Kumbhar (the potter saint) to test the pots. Gora Kumbhar understood and with his testing rod, began hitting the heads of Nivrutti, Jnanadev, Sopandev and other saints who were present. All of them remained calm and quiet, upon which Gora Kumbhar proclaimed them fully baked. When he hit Namdev on the head, Namdev began shouting at him, thus Gora Kumbhar proclaimed him half-baked. Namdev was furious at this insult and ran to God Vittala in the temple. The God told him that they were right because he was seeing God only in God Vittala, rather than as the all-pervading Creative Presence. He was asked to go to Visoba Khechar, and through his practical teaching Namdev became fully enlightened.

Muktai, the spiritual guide

Muktai is believed to be the spiritual guide of Changdev Maharaj. As the legend goes, once Muktai and her brothers were sitting in the ashram when Changdev happened to pass by. Muktai was of course fully clad, but she appeared to Changdev as unclad and at once he turned away. Muktai then told him that he was not perfect as he still had a complex of sex and shame, and did not see God in every being. These words of Muktai had great effect on him and he eradicated this weakness through intense sadhana. Changdev wished to make Dnyanadev his guru, but Dnyanadev said that Muktai was the right spiritual guru instead of himself. From this point on, Changdev took Muktai as his spiritual guide, and many references to Muktai can be found in the Abhangs that he wrote.



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