Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Sant Rohidas

Rohidas was a cobbler by profession. Though he was a cobbler by profession he would always be chanting and thinking about Vitthal. His heart was always filled with love for Vitthal. He would go to Pandhari every ekadasi and on other days he would sit in his shop and take care of his business. It so happened that the king who was ruling that city had to go on a war. The army started preparing for the war and had to acquire shoes for the soldiers. The king then asked each cobbler in the city to make 1000 shoes with in a week and send it to the palace. Every one had to agree as it was the king’s order. The other cobblers were happy and even employed a few others to work part time and started making the shoes. It was not practically possible for Rohidas to make 1000 shoes in the given time as he would always get lost in his thoughts about god by singing his praise even while working. Usually he would make only around 10 shoes in a month which was just enough for him to run his family. He tried to employ some people to complete this job but could not find any. Six days had passed by and Rohidas had not even finished cutting all the leather required for making 1000 shoes. If he doesn’t deliver the shoes by tomorrow Rohidas will be punished by the king. Rohidas did not realize all that and continued with his bhajans. That evening a young guy came to Rohidas saying that he was told by other cobblers that Rohidas was looking for a person to work for him. Rohidas was happy to hear this and asked him to come inside his shop. He then told the guy that lets try to do whatever we can tonight even if we can not complete 1000. The young guy asked him not to worry and said that he would easily complete the job. Rohidas then told him that he would do the cutting and asked the guy to do the stitching. The guy looked at the thambura in the shop and asked him if he would sing. Rohidas then said that if he starts singing he would get involved in it and forget himself and that it would a hindrance to their work. The guy insisted that Rohidas sings and said that he would take care of making the shoes. Hearing this Rohidas was happy and started singing the praise of god. When Rohidas finished the 1st song he saw that the guy had finished a few shoes by then. Rohidas was amazed by the speed with which this guy was making shoes. He then asked him if he could help him with the cutting. The guy said that all he wanted was to listen to Rohidas songs and that he would definitely finish stitching all 1000 shoes if he continues with his singing. Rohidas then asked him about his native and the guy said that he was from Pandhari and that his name was Rangan. He also said that he has seen him in Pandhari during ekadasi. Rohidas then continued his singing and Rangan continued making the shoes. Rohidas would sing a few songs and then turn to Rangan and ask if he was Pandurangan? Rangan would then smile at him and answer him that Rohidas sees everyone as Pandurangan and that is why he feels this way when he see him too. Rohidas was singing almost till dawn and Rangan had by then completed all 1000 shoes and had tied them in bundles of 100’s. Rohidas then praised Rangan for finishing the job. Rangan then said that he would brush his teeth and come. Rohidas then told him that as he had been awake the whole night, he would get some oil for him so that he could have an oil bath. He also said that he could have food with him after the bath and that he would give Rangan whatever money the king gives to him. Rangan then left the shop. Rohidas was waiting for the king’s men to come for the shoes and he gave it to them. The king’s men were happy with the shoes and gave Rohidas a lot of money. Rohidas then locked the shop and came to the river in search of Rangan but he was not there. He then enquired the people there about Rangan and understood that no one had seen him this morning. He then came back to the shop and was looking for him in the bazaar and other places but could not find him anywhere. By noon Rohidas understood that it was Vitthal who had come as Rangan. As soon as he understood this, he fainted and fell down. His wife then came in search of him and asked him what had happened. He then told his wife that Vitthal had come to do this inferior job of a cobbler for him and that he had kept some oil and dress for him and had left him without taking any of this from him. They then went to Pandhari with the oil, dresses and the money given by the king. They performed abhishekam (Sacred Bathing) for Vitthal, dressed him with new clothes and offered the money given by the king to him.

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