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Akha Bhagat – Saint Poet Of Gujarat – Akho Short Life History

Akha Bhagat (1591 – 1656 CE), also known as Akho, is an eminent saint-poet of Gujarat. Akha authored over seven hundred chapas (six line verse) on religious, philosophical and social themes.

Akho Short Life History

He was born in Jetalpur, twelve miles away from Ahmedabad. The death of his parents, his sister and his two childless wives made him an ascetic. Two more incidents made him embittered with worldly life. Akha was a goldsmith by profession, well-known for his honesty. Once a woman, whom Akha Bhagat, treated as his sister, asked him to make a necklace of gold for three hundred rupees. To oblige her, Akha mixed gold worth an extra hundred rupees so as to make the necklace appear more impressive. The lady could not sense the devotional feeling Akha had for her and doubted his honesty. She approached another goldsmith to check the gold content. He cunningly cut a part of the necklace with the intention of establishing Akha’s dishonesty. Over time, the woman realized that Akha was far from being a cheat.

It is also said that Akha Bhagat was an officer in the taksal (mint) in Ahmedabad, during the rule of Mughal Emperor Jahangir (1605 – 1627). Some officials deceived Jehangir into thinking that Akha was mixing something with the coins. But, after investigation, he was declared above board.

After wandering in search of a spiritual guide, Akha Bhagat reached Gokula (Mathura district, Uttar Pradesh) and got initiation into Vaishnavism (Vaishnavi Deeksha) from Guru Gokula Nathaji. He had great devotion for Guru Brahmananda.

He performed spiritual practices with great devotion and attained realization.

Akha Bhagat - Literary Works

He delineated his spiritual experiences in such works as Akhe Gita, Aubhava Bindu, Guru Mahatmya, Sarvottama Bhava, Prema Lakshana, Jivan Mukta Dasa, Brahma Vastu Nirupana, Satsanga Mahatta, Guru Shishya Samvada, Cita-Vichara-Samvada, Santa Priya, Brahma Leela and so on. All his works were in Gujarat. Swami Narayana, the founder of the Swaminarayan sect, used to say that anyone who wanted to know the substance of Hindu scriptures should study in depth the written works of Akha Bhagat.

Akho believed that God could be realized through bhakti (devotion) and jnana (knowledge). The Pushtimargiya Vaishnavism of Vallabhacharya, the Advaita Vedanta of Adi Shakaracharya and the Nirgunopasana of Kabir are all reflected in this philosophical doctrines.

Akha castigated the selfish motives of the religious custodians of his time who were looting common people. He had thousands of followers – among them Lala Dasa established an order of spiritual successors to propagate his message.