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Souls I Admire: Jnaneshwar Maharaj (1275-1297)

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  • Ash
    http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=229983050351771&set=a.176038232412920.49279.167855136564563&type=1&theater Source: Namasteॐ Om Jnaneshwar Maharaj
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 1, 2011
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      Source: Namasteॐ Om

      Jnaneshwar Maharaj (1275-1297)

      (Jnaneshwar, Jnanadev, Jnanadeva)

      Jnaneshwar is a great poetic genius and mystic saint of Maharashtra, South-Western India.
      "Goddess of Wisdom" [ also called Bhava-Artha-Dipika ("Light on the meaning of Being")].

      Jnaneshvar's teaching was non-dualist, saying that the mainifest world is a "sport" (vilasa) of the Absolute; the Love of the singular Reality, and regarded bhakti (devotion), the means to liberation.

      His famous commentary on the Bhagavad Gita, penned at the age of fifteen, is the most elaborate ever written. His Amritanubhav - or the Nectar of Self-Awareness - is one of the most beautiful odes to non-duality, surpassing even the Vedantic conception of Reality in its insistence on unqualified Unity. In the world-conception attributed to Shankaracharya and other representatives of Vedanta philosophy, the perception of the existence of the world is attributed to ignorance, or ajnana. Once this ignorance is removed, one is able to see that there is nothing but the unembodied Absolute, the one undifferentiated pure Consciousness. Often the analogy of a rope appearing to be a snake is used: the appearance is unreal; it is caused by ignorance. But once this ignorance is dispelled, the true Reality is seen, and it is perceived that there never was a snake at all, but only the rope all along. Jnaneshwar takes issue with this line of thinking, and states emphatically that there is no such thing as ignorance; that even the multitude of sense-objects in the world is only that Being, the one Self. The perception of it, far from being caused by ignorance of its true nature, is caused by the Self's (or Lord Shiva's) delight in perceiving itself (Himself). In short, there is no room for anything other than the one unitary Self in Jnaneshwar's philosophy. There is no place for Maya, or illusion, for he dissolves the barriers which separate the world and 'God', and his vision refuses to allow any disruption to the Unity that he sees spreading everywhere, whether with his eyes closed in meditation, or awake and active in the manifested world.

      The Nectar of Self-Awareness is an expression of the philosophy that came to be known as 'Kashmir Shaivism'. It is a clear exposition of that unparalleled wisdom which sees nothing but God and which cultivates the conscious awareness that everything before one's eyes is the delightful play of the Self.

      Jnaneshwar was just 22 years old when he took mahasamadhi; he requested his friends to bury him alive in the tomb in which he remains to this day. His childhood was marked with suffering, namely persecution by the rigid and overly orthodox Brahmins of his home, which contributed to the early demise of his parents. He was left orphaned along with his older brother Nivrittinath (who became his beloved Guru), his younger brother Sopan, and his young sister Muktabai. Together, they embodied true religious spirit and courage and determined to overcome their adversity.

      Their story is highlighted by various miracles Jnaneshwar performed which served to remove any taint on their social standing. Jnaneshwar soon became revered as a saint and drew large audiences to listen to his teachings on the Bhagavad Gita and the singing of his abhangas. He became a leader in a powerful resurgence of devotional expression in Maharashtra.

      Jnaneshwar wrote many famous works, including his most famous, the Jnaneshwari. This wonderful treatment of the Bhagavad Gita was drawn from the lectures he gave in Alandi. The Jnaneshwari is a rich embellishment of Krishna’s message to Arjuna. It is adorned by colorful, often humorous similes that elucidate the original text with warmth and deep understanding.

      His Amritanubhav, or Anubhavamrit (the Nectar of Self-Awareness), is a beautiful poetic and philosophical treatise, containing his exposition of the oneness of Shiva and Shakti. From his own experience, Jnaneshwar describes the state of a living liberated soul (jivanmukta) - the state that transcends words and speech - the meaning of Sat-Chit-Ananda (truth, consciousness, bliss).

      “Changdev Pashashthi” is Jnaneshwar’s 65-verse response to a 1400-year-old yoga adept named Changdev, who had heard of Jnaneshwar‘s spiritual prowess and wished to meet him. Changdev sent a blank letter to Jnaneshwar and his siblings, not knowing how to address them, so young in age yet so complete in spiritual knowledge. Upon seeing the blank page, Muktabai said, “After 1400 years, Changdev is still blank.”

      Jnaneshwar’s response lovingly and deftly welcomes Changdev, but states that their meeting will occur without the existence of “otherness” because such a duality is truly unreal. In the few verses contained in Changdev Pashashthi, he poetically describes how Reality, Consciousness, or Shiva manifests as the entire universe; the seer, seeing and the seen are created from one and the same consciousness; hence there can be no duality whatsoever.

      Jnaneshwar remains one of India’s most beloved saints and his Samadhi Shrine in Alandi (in which he was voluntarily entombed in Nirvikalpa Samadhi while alive) is visited by thousands of people yearly. He is widely revered as an incarnation of Krishna. Centuries later, Sant Eknath entered the tomb and saw a radiant youth seated in meditation. Jnaneshwar is still believed to be alive, anchoring his light body as a crystal of enlightened energy radiating from Alandi to the entire world.

      Alandi: The Marathi word Alandi is a corruption of the Sanskrit Alankapuri.

      On the physical plane, Alandi is a village located 25 kilometers from Pune, on the banks of the Indrayani River. Since ancient times, the village has been a shrine of Shiva as Siddheshwar, Lord of Spiritual Attainment. Today, the Alandi Jnanshewar temple is a major pilgrimage center, drawing hundreds of thousands of devotees on festival days.

      On the spiritual plane, Alankapuri is the location of the Blue Pearl, ten fingerbreaths above the crown of the head, embodying the supreme level of consciousness, attainable by human beings—absolute, pristine awareness imbued with love and devotion.


      'May we live in peace without weeping. May our joy outline the lives we touch without ceasing. And may our love fill the world, angel wings tenderly beating.'
       
      The Universal Heart Center
       
       
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