P.Pu (Reverend) Shri Seetaram Maharaj was born in Mangaon home on Chaitra Shuddha Panchami. He was the youngest brother of Shri P.Pu. (Reverend) Vasudevanand Saraswati Maharaj. Being the youngest of all, He was the Darling of every one. Swami Maharaj and Seetaram Maharaj had a gap of 20-22 years of age between them.
In His childhood He was called as Bhalu. Vasudev Shastri caressed him very much He liked rice-milk too much. If there was no milk in the house, he would insist on for it. There was no milk-giving cow and the milk Which was bought would finish, Vasudev Shastri or their Mother would bring it from the neighbourhood families and fulfil his wish. If no milk was found, He would go hungry.
In childhood as like other children he used to play. He forgot himself when he was out for play. Vasudev Shastri or other family members would find him for lunch/dinner. Though bold, the children were scared of ghost stories, by scaring Him of ghosts, Bhaloba was brought home.
Vasudev Shastri performed rituals of upnayan (moujibandhan) on Seetaram Shastri at the age of eight. He would taught him daily Sandhya, Purushsukta, worship, Vaishwadev (sacrificial fire worship)
In his childhood, Bhaloba was fond of playing Tabla and singing. He would attend singing concert or Bhajan and accompany them by playing Tabla. Seeing his liking in Tabla Vasudevshastri had appointed a Teacher on salary for him. Later he became an excellent Tablist. (Tabla player). From childhood he liked to live a posh-life he liked to wear posh dresses. He wore a dhoti, coat, cap and Uparane (holy piece of cloth on shoulder). Vasudev Shastri would give him, coat of embroidery, a cap with tassels. He would like to display his dress and would be happy. Bhaloba had a great respect and belief about Swami Maharaj. He was never away from Swami Maharaj. He had more attachment with Swami Maharaj than other family members. He looked upon Swami Maharaj as his spiritual teacher. They both did not feel to be away from each other.
Shri P.P.(Reverend) Vasudev Shastri established Datta Temple and Bhaloba would help him in rituals worship Bhandara and Palanguin function with great affection and faith.
Dattamaharaj had to come to reside in Mangaon for seven years with Vasudev Shastri from Nrusinhawadi. After seven years He ordered Vasudev Shastri parrabolically that Vasudev Shastri should leave for the North after the worship and the offering. The news was widely spread. Swamiji told this to His Mother. She felt very sad and began to weep Bhaloba also started to weep. He insisted (on) that He would accompany Swamiji. He might be 12 to 15 of age at that time. If he being child was pampered all the time, but it was not possible now. Swamiji some how succeeded in convincing him by telling him that He was too small and can’t do much without milk-rice and find dresses. Besides he would have to travel on foot, a barefoot. It was a hard journey. He would not be able to cope with it. He advised Him to serve and take care of their Mother. He set out on long journey with His wife.
As per the order of Lord Datta, Swamiji left Mangaon Seetarambuva felt very sad. He stayed at home serving Mother as an order of a Guru (Teacher). But His mind was on Vasudev Shastri. He was a determined to be with Mother for at least five years. As earlier he performed the rituals of worship, offering Vaishvadev, Dhupaarti (evening time), reciting Panchpadi regularly with Hari alias Dattaram. But He was eager to meet Vasude Shastri.
Some how he lived with Mother for five years and sought her permission to meet Vasudev Shastri. One day he told people that he was going to a village outside in a posh dress and left Mangoan. In the forest he threw his dress and cap and wore only a diaper (short loin cloth) and with a small round pot and Dand (holy stick) set out barefeet. He met Narayan Dixit at Narasobawadi. He greeted him warmly there he learnt that Swamiji was in Gangakhed he reached there and learnt that Swamiji had proceeded on for Ujjaiyini.
Seetaram Maharaj arrived at Ujjaiyini but couldn’t get information about Swami Maharaj. Nobody knew him there. He went to Gwaliar. There were Sanskrit schools teaching Vedas studies. The kings had lent patronage for them. He was glad to see that the Brahmin community was leading life by following traditional ways. He met a teacher there and told him his wish of learning science and Vedas (studies). The teacher made His arrangement of stay in Vedpathshala (school). He started learning bath, Sandhya, Japjapya (meditation) reciting Gurucharitra with purity from teacher. He completed the syllabus of 12 years within 3 years. The teacher (Guruji) was also very happy. He suggested Bhaloba that He should continue his education for some more years. But he was stuck to his principles more than worldly love and manliness. To meet Vasudev Yati he said goodbye to his teacher.
He did yogabhyas in the jungle. “But doing Hatyoga studies under Sadguru would be proper” he thought. He continued His journey past caring of pleasure-displeasure, cold-wind, rain-hot sun, etc. bare feet-putting a target of meeting Brahmamurti Bhagvan Vasudev in monastery temple on banks of river Ganga passing Haridwar he reached Brahawarta.
He then inquired of Vasudev Shastri there. He learn that Vasudev Shastri was preaching a sermon in Shri Ram Temple. He used to stay in Ram Temple.
The next day Seetaram Maharaj went to see Vasudev Shastri. The preaching was going on. Hence he sat in a corner of the temple. After preaching was over, Vasudev Shastri returned to his monastery without meeting Seetaram Maharaj the same thing happened on second and third day. They would see each other. On the fourth day Vasudev Shastri sent for Seetaram Maharaj and inquired about home and family members affectionately. He was deeply grieved and tears rolled down when he learnt about the sad demise of their Mother. Then He went to the river to take a bath for their Mother. Then Seetaram Maharaj stayed with him. Her performed daily rituals of worship, Sandhya and preaching sermon and listening to it.
One day Seetaram Maharaj had gone to the river for taking a bath. Shankarrao had gone to Brahmavarth at Vasudev Shastri to study Vedas under Vasudev Shastri. On that day there was a sudden storm. While performing Sandhya, they were caught in storm. The storm is known as ‘Aandhi’ in the region. The person caught in Aandhi dies of choking (suffocating) his breath by sand in nose, mouth, ear and eyes. Also he is blown by wind the riverbed of Ganga or anywhere. In such horrible situation of Aandhi Seetaram Maharaj and Shankarrao would certainly have died but their faith on Vasudev Shastri and blessing of their teacher (Guru) saved them.
While stay at Brahmawarta, Vasudev Shastri asked Seetaram Maharaj to perform Gayatri Purashcharan.(Repetitive charting of Gayatri Mantra up to 12 lakhs.) Seetaram Maharaj told him that he would do it if Vasudev Shastri stay with him. Vasudev Shastri completed three Chaturmasas in a row in Bhrmawarta.
Seetaram Maharaj liked to perform Yagyas. He would perform it wherever he went. He performed Sanhita Swahakar at his stay at Rajur. Gurumaharaj had asked Seetaram Maharaj to start the Yagya and He would come for it. Preparations were going on by the devotees. The learned Brahmins were invited for Rigveda Sanhita Swakar . Shri Vasudev Shatri, Dixit Swami, Govindrao Pandit Kshiprikar, Ganda Maharaj (Yoganand Saraswati) , Dajishastri Takalikar and many Yatis were present on the occasion. The biggest Yagya was completed. Ten thousand people would take the Holy meal (Prasad) at one time. A photograph was taken of teacher – disciple (Gurushishya) at this Yagya ritual.
When Rigveda Sanhita Swakar arranged by Shri Seetaram Maharaj was finished, Gurumaharaj Vasudevanand Sarasvati set out for further journey. Seetaram Maharaj insisted that He would accompany him. Gurumaharaj said to him, “How can you come with me by leaving all these things and responsibilities behind? More people will come if I stay here. The air will get spoiled (polluted) and it will be troublesome for the people. You should stay here. I will meet you once again to fulfil your wish.”
Then he left the place. Later on Seetaram Maharaj built the Rajur Monastery. He advised people and helped them to get rid of their sorrows. Some times he would go to Hingoli , Naras or Annagavi and return to Rajur as requested by people. He would distribute the things to all. Being without any desire he loved in Holy Place Basling on the banks of River Tapi. Vasudevananda’s stay was at Garudeshwar Guruswami (Vasudevanand Sarasvati) put and end to his life here.(He was absorbed in meditation) Hearing this sad news, Seetaram was deeply grieved. He took a bath in Ganga and sat in a stunned silence. Tears rolled down with grief. He became restless thinking that like guardian, Guruswami would never meet him but what was about Swamiji’s promise that He would meet Him again. He had favoured him by making his life Happier. Maharaj did not fulfil His wish. How could He forget about that? Why did He end his life though his horoscople showed that he could live for more ten years. He rested in eternal Happy Stage and why did he push him (Seetaram Maharaj) in depths of sorrow. Why did he neglect Him? Having such thought in mind, Seetaram Maharaj wandered on the banks of Tapi, spending time. He started living alone in a forest in Barling holy place, where there was a mosoleum Temple of Yogimukundraj. He mourned having the name of Gurumaharaj on his lips. He gave up eating Brahmadyani (knowing everything) person having love like ignorant people is a sign of a God. He was agonized that his Guru was not appearing before him, He was becoming impatient. He started calling “Vasudev”, Vasudev and began to weep he became unconscious. It was like half – death. Suddenly Gurumaharaj rushed to him from Garudeshwar and told him to wake up and open eyes to look at him. Seetaram Maharaj became alert (Conscious) as if he was waking up from Sleep. He opened His eyes and saw that His venerable idol, Guru Maharaj before him. He felt it like a dream. Guru Maharaj asked him “Bhalya (Seetaram) are you conscious? Why are you assailed with doubts? I had promised you that I would meet you and fulfil your wish. I am here to fulfil it. What do you desire (wish)?’’ He embraced him. Both devotees of God had ecstatically embraced each other.
The Yogipurush bears another body if required when he is alive but not after ending his life at Garudeshwar and has a second incarnation for me.(Seetaram Maharaj). He is truely second incarnation of Lord Data in kaliyug.” Thought Seetaram Maharaj. Vasudevanand Guru Maharaj consoled him and advised him Atmabodha (Self-Lesson) for 5 Ghatikas. (Measurement of time), pacified him and disappeared. Seetaram Maharaj always thought that he was a true attendant of Guru Maharaj from His childhood and He only dedicated his life to him. Life in his service to the pleasure of Sadguru.
In science and theology there are four muktis salokata, samipata, swarupata, spayujya. Spayujya includes three other muktis. To have in body become bodiless is spayujya mukti. After meeting Guru Maharaj, Seetaram Maharaj changed his lifestyle. The saintly person do not care for worldly pleasures as they have pride love for the weaks not of themselves.
In Hingoli in Varhad (Vidarbha) region there lived a Marwadi Lanlord named Hemraj Mundada. He was a faithful devotee of Shri Vasudevanand Saraswati. He built a beautiful Datta Temple with the blessings and consent of Tembye Swami (Vasudevanand)
Shri Seetaram Maharaj had come for the festival of Datta Jayanti (Birth Anniversary) on the insistence of devotees of Hingoli. He wanted to proceed further after attending the festival. Accordingly he set out but Hemraj was suddenly taken ill and was on his deathbed. Being rich, he was treated by many doctors but there were no signs of recovery. He had heard that Seetaram Maharaj had recovered many patients from incurable diseases. Hence he decided to surrender him (urge for treatment)
The servants put him to bed before point of death due to incurable disease. He looked at Seetaram Maharaj pitiably and joined his hands to show mercy on him and he would serve Guru Maharaj or he would die otherwise. He prayed him heartily
सुधिय: साधवो लोके नरदेव नरोत्तम: ।
नाभिद सह्यति भूतेभ्यो यर्हिनात्मा कलेवरम् ।।
The saints and sages who are greater than humans or gods do not hate other creatures. It is not acted up on by souls but by heavy body bearers. Hence Maharshi (A great sage) says that saints beyond enmity and malice. Seetaram Maharaj was deeply moved to see the pitiable condition of Hemraj. He looked at him with love and compassion, comforted him with soft and sweet words. He told him to request Vasudevanand Saraswati, the supporter of them and have Tirtha (holy water) and Angara (holy ashes). He would save him from valley of death.
Hemraj told him that they were one and same and not different. He requested him to cure him. he should not leave the place until he was not recovered.
गुरुवर पदतीर्थे पातकें त्यांची नाशी ।
कळत असुनही मृत्यू खास त्याचा मनाशी ।।
अधिकृत करी त्याला स्वायुते घ्यावयाला ।
वदत मुखी बरा हो, तीर्थ दे प्यावयाला ।।
The Doctor should continue to treat the patient though he has realised his death he gave him the Holy Water of Vasudevanand Foot Prints and the holy ashes from the begging bag and blessed him that he would be cured soon so he should go home. Hemraj told him that it was not possible for him to come there daily. He requested him to visit his home with holy feet.
Accordingly Seetaram Maharaj would go to his house to change medicines for him. One day before his death He told him to remember god (Namsmaran) he wished that he would serve Guru Maharaj for another 10-15 years. And requested earnestly for this.
Seetaram Maharaj returned to his monastery and prayed Vasudevanand. He appeared before him and told him that it was wonder that He was behaving like an ignarant. He was not weak but not to think of useless ignorance but face and prevent Yama, also not run after him like a child. He added that they had given up all the affairs (matters). He should do whatever He intended to do. He had given all the rights and not make such request. He disappeared by saying that every thing would happen as per his wish.
Seetaram Maharaj was engrossed in thoughts about how to survive him as his death was certain.so he was late with determination, he started for Hemraj Shetaji.
It was the last day, Hemraj was very restless. He was (fell) unconscious every now and then. He sent for Seetaram Maharaj again and again. At last he came, seeing his condition he applied him the holy ashes and told him that he (Maharaj) had come. Hemraj became conscious and Maharaj asked him how he was feeling (keeping). Hemraj told him that some divine personage had come to take him and they had tied him with a snare. (they had snared him.) Maharaj told him to describe them. Hemraj told him that they were Messengers of Lord Shiv and they had Shivchinha.(marks) Maharaj told him that they were Messengers of Shiva. His death-way in the south was closed. He was lucky enough. In a conversation with Messengers of Shiva. He asked them to free him or to stop. They told him that they would not be able to touch him, once the time was averted and added that if they let him free, Lord Shivaji would punish them. Hence they had to take him with them.
Maharaj told them that his horoscope showed that he could live (Continue life) for another 16 years. Shivadut (Messengers) told him that they knew the horoscope. It was last day of his life. Maharaj told them that it was not so. Shivdut told him to prove it and they would free him. there was a long conversation (Argument) Maharaj asked Hemrej. If he wished to serve Gurumaharaj. He said yes and with determination Maharaj told him that he would fulfil his wish. He told him that he was going to dedicate his own sixteen years of life to him.
He woke him up and he made him strech his hands (Palms) and had a Sankalpa (resolution) that He was offering remaing 16 years of his life to Hemraj and poured some water on his hands. Shivdut saw that his life was extended for 16 years in his life sketch (Lekh) (Lifespan). Seetaram Maharaj was so great that he proved Shivduta’s idea about Hemraj’s life false and told them to free him from the their snare. How great Seetaram Maharaj was!
Shivdut released him from the snare and bowed low before Seetaram Maharaj and told him that they would come to take Hemraj after 16 years. Maharaj told them to come and make him devotee or form of Shiva if he did not become devotee of Vasudev in form Vishnu.
Shri Seetaram Maharaj put an end to is life (incarnation) making hemraj as excuse. Hemraj did not understand how to return the favour of Maharaj. He said
खरा तेजस्वी तूं अससी । जगीं अज्ञान हरणा ।।
खरा ओजस्वी तूं भजक । जन मृत्यु प्रहरणा ।।
खरा दाता तुंचि वितरशी । निजायुष्य सगळे ।।
तुला सीतारामा स्मरती । तदहंता पुरी गळे ।।
Meaning : You are real luminous, To remove ignorance.
You are real bright one devotee
Who tries to save people from death
You real generous (Benefactor)
Spending entire life for others
As You are respected and remembered
Worry and sorrows run away.
As promised to Seetaram Maharaj, Hemraj before Him dedicated a piece of land survey No 8,a Flower Garden, Cloth Store worth of fifty thousand for expense of worship (Daily Rituals) offering etc. Maharaj had promised Hemraj that he would stay there until he was recovered from his own remaining life. He proceeded further everyone was deeply grieved. Hemraj could not tell him to go.
Maharaj said that he was going to Husangabad but there was a great weakness on the way thought he had a fever, walking slowly he reached Badhanera from Husangobad.
At Badhnera he had buttermilk offered by one of his devotees. He blessed him, sank under a tree. Remaining of life was dedicated (Given away) so he had no energy left. He was absorbed in meditation by sitting north – oriented and meditating Shri Vasudevanand Sarasvati and having name of god on his lips, he ended his life by ascending Sachchidanand Brahmapadi by Yogmarg. The day was Falgun (12th Marathi month) Shuddha 8, Shake 1840. He ended his incarnation work on the earth and rested in Bahmanand (Eternal peace and happiness).
Aarti (poetic praise) of Shri Seetaram Maharaj
जयदेव जयदेव जय सीतारामा ।
भाविक जन विश्रामा गुरुवर सुखधामा ।।धृ०।।
माणग्रामी जन्मुनि भू पावन करिशी ।
श्री वासुदेव गुरुची पदसेवा वरिशी ।।
प्रेमा अखंड गुरुचा अंतरि तू धरिशी ।
निजबोधें शिष्यांचे संसृतिमय हरिशी ।।१।।
तूं राजयोगी वैभव शोभविशी अंगी ।
विषयी विरक्त,रंगुनि रहासी निजरंगीं ।।
तीर्थावळि फिरलासी राहुनि गुरु संगी ।
केले यज्ञात विप्रसंतर्पण जंगी ।।२।।
मोहाध्वांतदिवाकर तूं ब्रह्मचारी ।
अदभूत तव महिमा मृतसंजीवनकारी ।
भजकालागी अर्पिशी पुरुषार्थहि चारी ।
शंकर विनवी सदया सत्वर मज तारी ।।३।।
जयदेव जयदेव जय सीतारामा ।
भाविक जन विश्रामा गुरुवर सुखधामा ।।धृ०।।