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|Shri Beedkar Maharaj|
Shri Beedkar Maharaj was one of the foremost-celebrated disciples of Shri Swami Samartha of Akkalkot (popularly known as Akkalkot Maharaj). Shri Swami Samartha was another form of Sadguru Sai Baba. Shri Beedkar Maharaj visited Shri Sai Baba in 1873.
His original name was Ramananda Beedkar. He lost his father in his child-hood; but developed a spiritual out look in his earlier stages of life. As a young man, he performed several pilgrimages and settled down in jewelry, perfumery and sandal wood businesses in Pune. He strived very hard and acquired the capacities to transform different metals into gold. Thus, he became enormously rich. Along with wealth he acquired some vices and got into an infatuation for a woman in Gwalior, when he went there on a business tour. However, due to his spiritual background, he felt very guilty of his deeds and tried to get rid of the vice. A saint whom he approached for redemption, advised him to go through a penance and worship Lord Hanuman to conquer the carnal desires. During his prayers to Lord Hanuman, he received a divine instruction to take refuge under Swami Samartha of Akkalkot.
He immediately reached Akkalkot, but could not see Swami as he was with the king. Beedkar, however, decided not to leave with out the darshan of Swami and hence spent two nights doing namasmarana by reciting Swami Samartha's sacred name. Then Swami appeared before Beedkar and asked him as to why he was there. Beedkar replied, "I want your grace that is a strong spiritual base!" Swami tested Beedkar's devotion by strongly scolding him and showering abuses on him. Beedkar appealed to Swami, "I treat all your scolding and abuses as sweet blessings. Even if you kill me, you are my ultimate refuge". Swami
sent a 'spiritual wave' through Beedkar's body, due to which he reverberated, leading to a blissful state. With that experience, Beedkar's mind attained enormous peace and solace.
Consequently, he was always found in an uninterrupted state of samaadhi. On Beedkar's next visit coinciding with day of maagha poornima, Swami Samartha remarked about his spiritual status, "The mango is partially ripe. It will take some more time for the mango to ripen fully." It took another three years for Beedkar to have the next darshan of Swami, when he decided to remain at Akkalkot serving Him endlessly.
One day, he was serving Swami by gently pressing His feet for a long time; but Swami did not ask him to stop. The service continued through out the night. Then in the early hours of the next morning, a cobra materialized with its hood raised in between Swami's feet, ready to sting Beedkar. Beedkar, however, was not afraid. He thought, " It is my good fortune to die serving Swami". Miraculously, the snake vanished; but Swami got up shouting at Beedkar, "You are a tough nut to crack!" Swami slapped Beedkar on his face and shouted, " You stubborn fellow, get out!" With this Beedkar experienced enormous bliss and deep happiness and got into a state of samaadhi.
After getting out of the state of samaadhi, Beedkar decided to feed thousand persons as per the hint from Swami. He wanted to earn the needed money by selling perfumes. However, on his way, he met with an accident and all the bottles of perfume were lost. With great difficulty he could offer food to Swami alone, instead of feeding one thousand persons. Swami smiled and said, " You have fed me no doubt. You are yet to give me dakshina. Can you do it? What would you give me?" Beedkar responded, "I shall do as per Your orders." Swami again smiled and said, " No, You cannot do it". Beedkar again affirmed, " Swami, I promise You. I will obey your orders." Swami laughed aloud and said, " Well, the dakshina you can give me is this. Give up making gold!" Beedkar was aghast at this demand of Swami for he never thought that Swami would demand his Guru dakshina this way.
Nevertheless, he gave up making gold as his guru dakshina. On his subsequent visit, Swami instructed Beedkar to carry out pradakshina of River Narmada. Beedkar obeyed Swami's order; but confronted several hazards including attack by tigers and wild animals in his spiritual venture. However, he succeeded in accomplishing the task since Swami's grace protected him at every impediment and crisis. Finally, Goddess Narmada appeared before Beedkar and blessed him. In accordance with the instruction of Goddess famous divine saints such as Shri Vasudevananda Sarswathi and Shri Swami Satchidananda gave darshan to Beedkar, culminating his spiritual quest.
All the while, Beedkar Maharaj was experiencing the immense grace of Shri Swami Samartha. As he reached a pilgrim center Maheshwar, Shri Swami Samartha attained maha samaadhi. On the same night Swami appeared to him in his dream and said, "I have not passed away. I am very much alive!" After making several pilgrimages, he established a sanctuary or matt and became famous by the name Shri Beedkar Maharaj. Under his guidance, several people attained spiritual enlightenment and many saints were trained to guide citizens. When he met with Sadguru Sainath in 1873, Shri Beedkar Maharaj stated, "Sai Baba is no ordinary saint! He is Jagadguru! He is Swami Samartha Himself in another form!" Shri Beedkar Maharaj attained maha samaadhi on April 4, 1913.
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