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The Story Of Enlightenment Namdev - Gora Kumbhar And Old Man – By Ramana Maharshi

This is a story narrated by Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi which explains how Sant Namdev (1270 AD – 1350 AD) – Marathi Saint and Bhakti Poet – attained final enlightenment.

Gora, another saint, who was a potter by trade, held a feast to which he invited the saints, including Namdev and Jnanadev. In the hope of enlightening Namdev, Jnanadev said to Gora: “Your job is making pots. You daily test them to see which are properly baked and which are not. There sitting in front of you are the pots (humans) of God, so test them to see which are sound.”

Gora who had been told privately of the purpose of the test, agreed and, taking up the stick with which he used to test his pots, went round among his guests, tapping each one on the head. They all submitted meekly till he came to Namdev, who cried out indignantly: “What do you mean, potter, by coming to tap me with your stick?” Gora whereupon replied, to Jnanadev: “All the other pots are properly baked; only this one is not yet baked!”

At this everyone burst out laughing. Namdev was so humiliated that he got up and rushed out of the house straight to the temple of Vithoba where he complained bitterly, crying out: “Am I not your child and your closest friend? How could you let such a humiliation befall me?”

Vithoba appeared before him as usual and seemed to sympathize, but then said: “Why could you not sit quiet and submit to the tapping, like all the others? Then there would have been no trouble.”

At this Namdev became still more upset and cried: “You too want to humiliate me! Why should I submit? Am I not your child?”

Vithoba then said: “You have not yet understood and even if I tell you, you won’t. But go to such and such a ruined temple in the forest and there you will find a saint who will be able to give you Enlightenment.”

Namdev went to the forest, as he was told, and when he reached the ruined temple he found a simple old man lying asleep there with his feet resting on a Siva-lingam. He could hardly believe that this was the man from whom he, the chosen friend of Vithoba, was to obtain Enlightenment. However, as there was no one else there, he went up to him and clapped his hands to wake him, whereupon the old man opened his eyes and said: “Oh, so you are the Namdev whom Vithoba has sent here.”

At this Namdev was taken aback and began to think that this must be a man of power to know his name and why he had come. Still, man of power or not, he had no right to rest his feet on a lingam, he thought; and he told the old man so.

“Oh, are my feet on a lingam?” the old man said. “All right, put them somewhere else.”
So Namdev, out of reverence for the lingam, moved them to another spot. There too a Siva-lingam sprang up, and so in one place after another, whatever place he put them. Finally he sat down and took them in his lap, and he himself became a Siva-lingam.
And at that moment Enlightenment dawned on him.

After this Namdev returned home. For some days he did not go to the temple at all, although it had been his habit to go there daily and spend most of the day there with Vithoba. After a few days Vithoba appeared before him in his house and asked, apparently guileless, why he had forgotten to visit him.

“No more fooling me now,” Namdev replied, “I know now. Is there any place where You are not? Do I need to go to the temple to be with You? Do I exist apart from You?”
“Yes, now you understand,” Vithoba said.

SourceBe Still, It Is The Wind That Sings by Arthur Osborne