Dāsbodh

A sister-series to our Unborn Bhagavad Gita, The Dāsbodh (spiritual advice to the disciple) is a Hindu text from the 17th century. It was narrated by Shri Samarth Ramdas Swami (1608 – 1681 AD, popularly known as Shri Samarth) to his main disciple Kalyan Swami, who died soon after him. The Dāsbodh provides readers with spiritual guidance on matters such as devotion and acquiring gnosis. Besides this, it also helps in answering queries related to day-to-day life and how to find solutions to it. A short biography is in order…

Probably the most well-known story about his early life is about how when Narayana was twelve years old, his mother insisted that he should get married. Narayana refused, but his mother was determined in her insistence, and eventually he consented to be married. However, when standing upon the wedding platform, towards the end of the marriage ceremony, he heard the word from the priest “Savadhan” which means “Be alert!” and he immediately ran away from the wedding and left his home village.

{Fascinating how at an early age this saint-to-be shunned the homestead life for an ascetically spiritual throne.}

At the young age of twelve, when he left Jaamb, he went to the town of Nasik which is located on the banks of the Godawari river. He stayed alone there at a quiet place called Takli where he began doing intense spiritual penance with the intent of gaining the blessings of Lord Rama.

Historical accounts tell us that he was repeating the Gayatri Mantra and the mantra “Shri Ram, Jai Ram, Jai Jai Ram,” for many hours every day from early morning to mid-day while standing waist deep in the flowing waters of the river. It is also said the he believed that having a healthy body was essential for successful spiritual practice, so he was doing many repetitions of the yogic practice of the Sun Salutation every day in order to maintain a strong healthy body.

He is considered to be one of the rare saints who did not have a guru in human form, and received initiation directly from Lord Rama.

By the time he was twenty-four years old, he was well known as an accomplished Siddha of the highest caliber who had mastery not only over spiritual powers, but who also possessed a perfect athletic body.

In Mid-life he wanted to see for himself the terrible conditions that the people were forced to live in under the reign of the cruel Mogul rulers. Secondly, he wanted to instill in the Hindu population not only a sense of deep spiritual devotion, but also to inspire them not to be lazy when the country was in a time of need, and to inspire some to embrace the values of the warrior caste that were desperately needed during that time of oppression and great despair.

It is also told that on one occasion, by a single utterance of the name of Lord Rama, he brought back to life a bird that he had killed.

There is a well known story from this time period that when he arrived at his mother’s home, she was having trouble with her eyes and was in an advanced stage of blindness, and that Ramdas cured his mother’s blindness by touching her eyes with his hands.

One of his disciples was given the name Kalyan. The historical record states that it was Kalyan who scribed Dasbodh as it was narrated by Ramdas in a cave located on a cliff-side at the place called Shivtarghal, which is near the hill-town of Mahad in the Raigad district of Maharashtra. The cave at Shivtarghal is considered a sacred place where life-size statues have been installed of Samartha Ramdas and Kalyan being depicted writing Dasbodh.

Samartha Ramdas passed away in the year 1681 at the monastery at Sajjangad. His dear disciple Kalyan passed away soon after on the day that Samartha’s ashes were immersed in the sacred river Ganga. (Dasbodh, Spiritual Instruction for the Servant)

In like fashion to our sister-series, this rendition of Dāsbodh with its pertainable passages will be written in Light of the Unborn. Its style will be similar to our own Dhammapada in Light of the Unborn. These are very pithy instructions to the ardent adept of the Unborn. Yea, the Dāsbodh is a vast compendium of precise aphorisms that pertain to every aspect of spiritual life that leads to Union with the Parabrahman, or Unborn Mind. There are also cross-sections that are applicable to aspects of situational time that are in no way divorced from the all-encompassing singularity of Unborn Principles that shape all mind-levels of the adept. The translations utilized will be from Mrs. Shilpa Joshi and Dr. Shrikrishna Karve, as well as an earlier one by W.G. Tambwekar which retains the original poetic structure.

Let our auspicious journey begin…

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