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Chapter 43 - Tantuk's Shri Shailya Yatra on Maha Shivaratri

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Nandi was a Brahmin suffering from Leprosy. He worshipped Tuljapur Bhavani for 3 years. He observed fast. He stayed near Bhuvaneshwari at Bhilavadi for 7 months and worshipped the deity devotedly. He was told in a dream to go to Shri Guru at Gangapur and that he would then be relieved of the disease.

Nandi said, 'You are Goddess yourself, how do you ask me to go to a human being. I shall be here, no matter if I have to lose my life.'

The pujari also had similar dream. He and some others told Nandi, 'Do not trouble the Goddess hereafter and if you do not mind, we shall not allow you enter this mandir.'

Being helpless he came to Gangapur and went to the Math and bowed to Shri Guru. Shri Guru asked him 'Leaving the Goddess, why did you come to a human being? When you doubt, how can you be relieved of the disease?'

Realizing that Shri Guru knew what was in his mind, he said, 'I am a dullard. Kindly forgive me. I have come for your shelter. Kindly protect me. I am very much harassed due to this disease. My wife also left me and went to her parents. Chandla Devi has sent me to you. Kindly do not drive me away.'

Shri Guru asked Somnath to take Nandi to the Sangam and said, 'Let him bathe at the Shatkul and have rounds of the Ashwattha. Give him new clothes, throwing away his old ones and then bring him here for meals.'

As advised by Shri Guru, Somnath took DNandi to the Sangam for bath. After bath his body became free from leprosy. After taking rounds of the Ashwattha, Somnath brought him back to the Math. Nandi bowed to Shri Guru and began to pray Him.

Shri Guru asked him, 'See if all your body has been free from the disease. He looked to his body and found that some patches had remained on his thigh. Being afraid he asked 'After having your blessings why these patches should be here?'

Shri Guru said, 'You came with a suspicion that what a man could do and so a little disease is there. You

should stay here praying God, the little disease that is there will also be wiped off soon.' Nandi said, 'I am illiterate. How can I compose poems of praise?'

Shri Guru asked him to draw out his tongue. When he did so, Shri Guru put little bhasma on the tip of his tongue.

Instantly he became wise. He bowed to Shri Guru and began to compose poems in praise of Shri Guru. The summary of those poems is as follows :-

'I was sinking in the worldly ocean, being deluded by the affection for my family members. I was roaming through different species as swedaj, Andaj, Udbhija and Jaraj i.e. animal life. Human life is the best of all. I had no knowledge in the Shudra birth. The birth of a Brahmin is the best amongst the human beings. But if a Brahmin is also a dullard, how can he have knowledge of Shri Guru?

The blood of the mother and the semen of the father unite and a fetus comes into existence as a bubble. After 15 days it becomes liquid. Within a month a small solid fetus is formed. I the second month the head and the limbs take shape. When the five great elements i.e. the earth, the water, the luster, the wind and the sky unite, the soul enters the fetus. In the fifth month the skin and the hair are formed. In the sixth month the fetus starts respiration. In the seventh month, the ear, the tongue, the brain and the marrow become solid. In this way I was growing in the mother's uterus. The mother would eat hot, salt, sour, pungent and acidic articles, due to which I was greatly troubled.

I then took birth. My span of life was fixed. Half of the time i.e. the nights were spent in sleep in vain. The remaining half is divided in the three stages, childhood, youth and old age. In the childhood, I had to suffer much. I wept due to pain in the stomach, but my mother thought that I was hungry and took me to her breast. And when I was hungry, she thought I was ailing and gave me bitter medicines. At times due to scorpion bite, in the cradle I would cry. She would then sing lullabies and move the cradle to and fro and tried to lure me to sleep or she would think that I am affected by some spirit and so the tried Mantra - Tantra and tied a black string on my wrist. My mother would take pungent and sour articles and I had to suffer from diarrhea, cough etc.

In the youth, I was influenced by passion. I disregarded the parents and the guru and always thought about the female-sex. Due to vanity, I despised sadhus, saints and old persons. How could have I adored Shri Guru during this period?

In the old age I was affected by cough, gases and other troubles. My hair became white while taking care of my family and children. I lost my teeth, I could not hear well and see properly. Even in this state I did not serve Shri Guru. You are the protector and liberator of the universe. Please liberate me.'

Illiterate Nandi composed such poems. All wondered to see his feat Nandi further said, 'Vedas say that the feet of Shri Guru are holy there is no other way than the feet of Shri Guru, to be free from the worldly sea. By the favor of Shri Guru, all my sins are wiped off. Shri Guru Narsimha Saraswati is like Kamdhenu. So people should adore him and get liberated.

Nandi was later called 'Kavishwar' due to his poetry. The patches of leprosy on his thigh also disappeared in course of time. Nandi greatly rejoiced at the cure. He began to serve Shri Guru with more devotion.

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