Shri Eknathi Bhagwata is a prominent grantha (scripture) of the three major important texts of the Warkari cult. The meaning runs after the words, like this, the text is written to help the laypersons so that they will understand its meaning in the usual language of Nathmaharaj. The Ekanthi Bhagwata is the explanation of eleventh text (Skandh) of twelve texts (Skandh) of ShriBhagwata. Shri Eknath Maharaj has explained it in 1467 Shloka.
He has written five Adhyaya (chapters) of this text at Paithan. He came to Kashi to write remaining twenty-six chapters of this text with the belief -
Sanskrit Vani Deve Keli | Tari Prakrut kai chorapasune zali ? ।
He asked this question to then popular religious Martandas and impressed them through his Bhaktidnyan (Devotion and Knowledge). But few asked to immerse the text in the Bhagirathi River. When they drowned it, in place of sinking, the scripture floated. Because of this the people of Kashi changed their perspective and organized a grand procession of the Eknathi Bhagwata on a golden chariot.
Basically, the Nathbhagawata is about the guidance of ShriKrishana to Udhava. In this, Nath assumed that Bhakti (Devotion) is the Panchpurushartha (five purushartha). One more important feature of this scripture is that it presents the coordination of the different type Sadhanas (tools). The importance of Karma (deeds), Viveka (conscience), Vairagya (asceticism), Bhakti (devotion), Jnana (knowledge) Yogadi Sadhana (yogic and other tools) are independently stated but are interconnected and stand as one and unique. Though importance and need of abundance of Karma is stressed, it hardly stresses the only perseverance for karma. The language of Natha is like the calm sea and slow flowing flow of the Ganga. It is melodious confluence of simplicity, ease, purity, sentimentality and seriousness. Though this is written in grand style, there is no place of ego in it. He gave credit of creation of this scripture to his guru (spiritual teacher) Janardhanaswami.
Nath says, Balak Swaye Bolonene | Tyasi Mata Shikavi Vachne |
Taise Granth Kathakathne | Swaye Janardana Bolavije ||
According to Nath, ‘This is not simply Bhagwata, but a water chalice of life for ignorant people. God has created this boat to survive in this sansar. Through this boat all like women, downtrodden can travel and reach the other side of the bank. The history is that Saint Tukaram has read this text of great philosophy for thousands of times. The writing of this text started in 1571 and completed in 1573 at Kartik Pornima (full moon of Kartik month) at the bank of the Panchmudra of Krishna temple. Devotees organize group recital (Community Parayana) week of the Eknathi Bhagwata.
The Bhavartha Ramayana is the last scripture (Granth) that showcases the potentially multi-dimensional talent of Eknathmaharaj. He has written the forty-four chapters till Yuddhakanda and the rest part is written by Gavoba.
Nath says Prabhu Ramchandra himself has inspired him to write Ramayana. But-
Preritahi Mi N kari Jan | Tav Swapnamaji Ramayan |
Shri Ram Vistari Sampurna | Un Khun Granthachi || Bal. A. 4, Ovi 11 ||
Maj Nijalo Asta Jan | Ram Thapti Aapan ||
Mhane Uthi Kari Ramayana | Tethe Mi Kon N Karavaya || Bal. A. 4, Ovi
Nath says, like this Shri Ramchandra persuaded /followed and forced him to write the Ramayana. Indeed, by selecting Nath for this purpose, PrabhuRamchandra has favored the Indians.
Many people have written Ramanyana. But, in Maharashtra the Bhavartha Ramayana is as popular as the Ramayana of Tulsidasa in North. This scripture is being worshiped from years in many villages of Maharashtra. Nath in Bhavartha Ramayana has woven different stories like different types of beautiful flowers of a garland, and these flowers smell like the nine-rasa. It seems that Nath visited various stories of the Ramanyana from the modern perspective. The condition during his time was very dire. The literature of Nath inspired the Vanersena (army of monkey), whose strength was at a low energy, to kill the enemy like the bearded Ravana.
When the foreign invaders started conspiracies and settle, the Bhavartha Ramayana sparkled the spirit of Swarajya in people. Few years after the completion of Ramayana, Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj established the Hindvi Swarajya, would it be called just a mere coincidence?
Eknatha’s the Rukmini Swayamwara is the first narrative poetry (Akyan katha kavya) of the Warkari cult. It is based on the 52nd chapter of the tenth Skandha of the Bhagvata. It has 18 events and it has three divisions: 1. Description of Shrikrishna, Love-letter, Abduction of Rukmini, 2. War, and 3. Description of marriage. Through this text, Nath has presented the union of the Jeeva and the Shiva, and advocated Adwaitabhakti. This text of Nath became very famous because of its metaphorical and systematic language. This text is more popular as people believe, if one reads this text, his/her daughter will get the most appropriate bridegroom. Nath’s wife Girijabai thought of arranging for the marriage of Shrikhandya, but before that only Shrikrishna, who was in the form of Shrikhandya disappeared, and thus must have thought to fulfill his wife’s desire through writing this text. He completed writing of the Rukmini Swayamwara at Kashi on the day of Ramnavami in 1572.The Abhanga Gatha:
The saints of the Warkari cult have written the psalms for chanting the name (Sankirtan), worship and for prayers, but it seems that Nathmaharaj has written psalms not only for this but for social enlightenment, thus he took people through entertainment to devotion. His psalms are of different identity, as he guided through these on many topics. Psalms of Child Play (बाळ क्रीडेचे अभंग), Sports of Gop-Gopi ( गोप-गोपींचे खेळ, ), Krishnacharitra (Descriptions of Krishna) (कॄष्णचरित्र), Ramcharitra (Descriptions of Rama )(राम चरित्र ), Pandharimahatmya, (पंढरीमहात्म्य ), Vithal Mahatmya (विठ्ठल महात्म्य ), , Shivamahatmya , Dattamahatmya (दत्तमहात्म्य), Namamahima (नाम महिमा ), Kirtana Mahima (Glory of kirtan) (किर्तन महिमा ), Chintanmahima (glory of meditation) (चिंतन महिमा ), Santmahima (glory of saints) (संत महिमा ), Sadgurumahima (glory of sadguru) (सद्गुरु महिमा), Bhaktavatsalata (भक्तवत्सलता ), Narratives of Purana (पौराणिक कथानके ), Lives of saints (संतचरित्रे ), HariharEkata (Unity of HariHar) (हरिहर एकता), Bhagwata Rupgunvarnan (Description of God’s form and characteristic features) (भगवत् रुपगुण वर्णन), Adwaita (अव्दैत), Neeti (नीती ), Dialogue of Hindu-Turk (हिंदु-तुर्क संवाद,), Influence of Kali (कलिप्रभाव,), Atmasthitipar Abhanga (Psalms on condition of self) (आत्मस्थितीपर अंभग ), Mumukshus Updesh (Guidance to Mumukshu) (मुमुक्षुस उपदेश ), Manas Upadesh (Guidance to mind) (मनास उपदेश ), Gaulani ani Bharud (Folk poetry such as Gaulan and Bharud) (गौळणी आणि भारुड ), etc. through which the literature of Nath has reached the mass and to each individual. Through his psalms, he has given the Mantra of “Ramkrishna Hari” to the Warkari Cult. Ramkrishna Hari Mantra Ha sopa | Uccharita Khepaa Khande Karm || Psalm No. 187, Or Ekajanardani Vaktre | Mhana Ramkrishna Hari || To guide a person how he should be in the Sansara (World), Nath writes- Panthasth Gharasi Alaa | Prat:kali Uthoni Gela || Taise Asave Sansari | Jaisi Prachinachi Dori || Like this, through his many Abhangas, Nath has guided to the Parmarthik (Transcendental )and Sansarik (Worldly). The unique characteristic feature of the literature of Nath is that, Nath never used in his literature as “Eknath Mhane or Mhane Ekanath (Nath says or Says Nath). The Nammudras (the Names), he used would not be complete without the mention of his Sadhguru Shrijanardan Swami. Such as Ekajanardani, Janardanacha Eka, Ekajanardana Sharan, Sharan Ekajanrdan, etc. Through this, Nath's fervent devotion to the Sadhguru is evident.The Bhagwata of Four Verse
It is assumed that this is the first text written by Eknathmaharaj. God ordered Brhamadeva to create the universe. But Brahma was concerned about how this work would be accomplished. He thought that God expects from him extreme penance like the sound of water , thus he did intense penance. God pleased with his penance and appeared in front of Brhamadeva in the Chaturbhuja (quadrilateral) form and gave him Darshan and mystic knowledge of four verses (shloka). Brhamadeva gave this knowledge to Narada, Narada gave it to Vyasa, Vyasa gave it to Shukdeva. This is brought to our notice through the ninth chapter of the second Skandha of the Shri Bhagwata. In 1551, as per the order of Shriguru Janardhan Swami, Nath has brought this Sanskrit knowledge (Knowledge in sanskrit)in Marathi for laypersons and completed this text at Triyambkeswara. Through this text, Nath gives detailed description of the impact of blessings of Guru and the devotion to Guru. Nath has obliged people by an excellent description on illusion (माया), penance (तप), dignity of Vaikunth, Naammahima, attributes of Hari devotee, Samadhi, ten characteristic features/attributes of Bhagwatha.The Shukashtaka
Shukacharya says, those who are always engaged in self-enjoyment, their soul is beyond trigon (the efficacy of three), and always remains in the pleasant state and hardly cares for anything, and is beyond any prohibitions/rules and regulations. Nath has commented on this difficult topic of Vedanta and explained it in the simple language.The Hastmalaka
This is a commentary of Nath on the text of fourteen verses by Shrimadyadya Shankaracharya. Through this commentary, Nath has brought this mystic knowledge to laypersons. Soul is constantly satisfied (नित्यतृप्त) and worldly knowledge or ignorance hardly touches it or affects it. It is aloof and hardly comes in contact of any. He presented this subject in the most succulent way.The Swatmasukha
This text will guide to the Siddha and to the seekers, Nath has sung the importance of sadguru. Nath maharaj guides about ‘How is Swaswaroop (the basic nature of self) (स्वस्वरुप), how to achieve it, Sadguru is the director/ owner of time.’ The one who becomes egoistic, will fail to identify the self, says Nath. Those who are interested in Parmartha, must adapt the path of Bhavartha, because without faith/emotions (bhava), one cannot do the Parmartha.The Ananda Lahari
Nath felt that the pleasure/joy he experiences must be experienced by others also. With this desire, he wrote the script of Ananda Lahari. The one who surrenders to Sadguru, gets the experience of salvation (Mukti) in this life (body). Yachi Dehi yachi Dola | Bhogije Mutkicha Sohala || Aisa Koni Ek Virala | Tochi Jivhala Swarupacha || Nath requests everyone to surrender to Sadguru and avoid the birth and death.The Chiranjeevapad
This is basically a short text, through this primarily Nath has preached the seeker/devotee. The final aim of life is to reach the state of immortality (Chiranjiv). The guidance to achieve this, for the seekar, is formulated in this text. This book is a great guide for those who want to get that position. Many devotees read this scripture daily. Nath explains how we come under the intensive impressions of Maya, trividha vairagya (austerity of three types) (त्रिविध वैराग्य), and panchvishay (five sensations) (पंचविषय); and guides us how to come out of these impressions. Being performed perfect duties as a family member, Nath explained how to unite and deal with Prapancha (domestic life) and Permartha through this scripture.The Haripatha
Nath has presented the great importance of chanting the name of the Hari through this scripture. It is a very popular scripture. It is written in the simplest language. Many recite it as they recite the Haripath of Shri Dnyaneshwara. Chanting name will vanish all the worries, and (s)he will not be trapped in the cycle of birth. Natha says, the mouth that does not chant the name of Hari is the burrow of the snake, and tongue is not a tongue but a snake (Kalsarp). The naive devotees will get the Haripada whereas the egoists, who hardly chant the name of Hari will have to bear the pain in the womb. Before doing any work, chanting name of the Hari is must, it is equal to perform the billions and billions of Yadnya. But this chanting must be real and must come from the real emotions and inner feelings. Nath says about the fruit of Haripatha, Nitya Prembhave Haripath Gaay | Harikrupa Hoy Tayavari || Harimukhi Gata Harpali Chinta | Tya Nahi Maguta Janm Ghene ||The Bridavali
This book presents the dialogues between Nathmaharaj and his Guru JanardhanSwami when they first met. This book states the questions by Swami to Nath and the answers of Nath, when he went to Daulatabad. This book also includes the experiences shared by Nath about his services to Swami, the doubts asked by Nath, the condition of Nath after Dattadarshana, and Guruparampara. In the Ekanathi tradition this text has a special value, and is continuously recited by the members of descendants and others at the Festival of Palkhi and Dindi.Bharudas
The name of Shree Eknath Maharaj comes in front of us as soon as we utter the word "Bharuda" (a form of folk dance-drama/poetry). He went to the people, for their welfare (kalyan). The celestial compositions of Eknath, who is the real Loknath, means the Bharuds that he has written in the language of people by going amongst them for their welfare, in the manner of folk music. Even after four hundred years, its effect on the masses is still experienced . In fact, it is increasing. The Bharuda of Nath are related to many subjects like the family/domestic life, politics, animals and birds and the characters are the known individualities of society in his compositions. His Bharudas are Sansara, Fugadi, Lagna, Astapadi, Holi, Gondhal, Abhaypatra, Vinantipatra, Takidpatra, Jaabchithi, Vasudeva, Pingla, Muka, Bahira, Bhutya, Sanyasi, Joshi, Johar, Darvesh, Garudi, Fakir, Jogi, Vinchu, Vatvaghul, Edka, Pingala,etc. His Bharudas are multilayered and has textual/literal as well as mystical meanings.
For example, -Sangte Tumha Vegale Nigha Vegale Nighun Sansar Bagha || (‘Tell you to get separated, be separate and see the world|’) Literal meaning- A woman is exhausted in the united family because of the in-laws and asks her husband to leave that family and see the world from new/this perspective. Contextual meaning- Saints, like the wife in that united family preaches to the people to leave the relation of the non-soul substances (Anatma Padatha) and be in the world of Paramartha. During the period of Nathmaharaj, society was declining, many were following the superstitions which were lethally hazardous. In this scenario, the Bharudas of Nath worked as the lighthouse/beacon light, with the help of which society came across the realities and came to know the reality. In brief, enlightenment of people through the folklore was the unique feature of the Bharuda of Nath. Today also special status is gained by Bharuda. Special programs of Bharudas are organized at grand level to enlighten the society or to create the social awareness. On the way to Wari, the professional performances of Bharuda are the source of special attraction for the foreign people.
This book guides people how to behave in society. It is a blend of material and spiritual life and guides people what to follow and what to avoid in their life. Nath has presented the formulae in a systematic way through this sfut (mystique) chapter.