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Raka Kumbhar – History – Life Stories

Raka kumbhar (1267 CE) was a saint poet of Pandharpur in Maharashtra and he was a contemporary of Namadeva. His wife was Banka or Baka. Raka Kumbhar, his wife and daughter Deubai were poets and composed abhangas (devotional songs). Raka’s detachment to the material world and his love for Bhagavan Panduranga Vitthala were remarkable.

Some incidents in his life signify his humility, compassion and devotion. Raka and his family renounced worldly pleasures to protect the kittens that were accidently caught in a kiln fire. They gave away all their belongings to the poor and started to live in a hut in the outskirts of Pandharpur. The family used to wear pieces of cloth discarded by the tailors. They used to ask for alms. A part of the food they received from people was first given to a visitor, the second to their young daughter and the remaining (if at all) was shared by the couple.

Once a tailor objected to their taking the discarded pieces of cloth, and since then they started to wear around their waists discarded leaves in which people ate their food. There was another incident which revealed detachment of Raka toward worldly pleasures. When he had been to the forest to get firewood, he saw golden bracelet but was not tempted to own it. Bhagavan Vitthala was pleased by this and in turn blessed him. Sant Namdev who doubted detachment of Raka toward worldly pleasures, was impressed by this incident.