Among Marthi saints the first one
was Namadeva. Jnanadeva, known as Yogiraja, was the foremost among the Five Great Saints.
He was younger than Namadeva by one year. Hearing of Namadeva's fame he went to
Pandharapur to see him. The moment he saw Namadeva he fell at his feet-making obeisance.
It was like a confluence of Jnana and Bhakti. "I propose to go on a pilgrimage taking
you with me. I have come now with that purpose only. Please tell me whether my wish will
be fulfilled or not," asked Jnanadeva.
"I am a dependant of Panduranga, my master. I shall ask Him. It He permits, I
shall go with you," said Namadeva.
Both these gems of saints went into the temple. They offered their prenames to God
Vitthala, who hugged them affectionately.
Then they asked Him for permission to go on pilgrimage. "It is for the pleasure of
Namadeva's company that this journey is undertaken," said Jnanadeva clarifying his
Namadeva with folded hands requested, "I shall go with him only if you permit
"Do go with him by all means. Inanadeva is no other than parabramha. But mind you,
you should not forget me, for I take you to be my very life," said God Vitthala.
Similarly He told -inanadeva, "Take good care of him."
Then both of them went to the river Chandrabhaga. After the holy bath in the river they
set out on their journey. So goes the story.
Any way both the saints went together on a pilgrimage. During their journey they talked
only of spiritual matters. The first warm welcome awaited them at Hastinapura. People of
that city had already heard of these saints. So a big crowd had gathered there to see
them. Namadeva sang many devotional songs. Those who listened to them forgot themselves
and drank the nectar of devotion to their fill and contentment.
There are several stories about his visit of Namadeva and Jnanadeva to Hastinapura. The
Badshah of that place came to know about Namadeva's bhajans. He wished to listen to the
bhajans once, and to test the greatness of Namadeva at the same time.
So he went to the place where Namadeva was singing and listened to the songs for an
hour or two. Then he told Namadeva, "You see, there is a cow lying dead. If you are a
real saint you will bring it back to life. Or else I shall order your head to be cut
"In four days the cow will get back to Ife," said Namadeva right away.
Namadeva began to call Panduranga with all the intensity of feeling in his ecstatic
bhajans. He was aware only of that and nothing else. He was not conscious of where he was
and what he was doing, After a long time he woke up from that state of mind. Then he
became aware of the fact that the dead cow had stood up regaining its life. The king's men
ran to the palace to convey this news. The Badshah came to Namadeva fell at his feet and
praise his greatness.
Namadeva and Jnanadeva proceeded then from Hastinapura. They halted at Kashi for four
months. They met Kabirdas at that time.
From Varanasi they went to Gaya, Prayag and other sacred places. When they entered the
province of Marwar it was mid-summer.
It was very hot and tiring. On the way they felt thirsty. There was no source of water
anywhere within sight. They felt miserable. In a short while as they walked along they saw
a well at a distance Going near it they found it to be a deep well from which water had to
be drawn up. There was no rope to draw water, nor was there a vessel. Then how to get
Jnanadeva knew yoga. He got into the well in a subtle form, drank water to his fill and
came up. Looking at Namadeva he said,
"Don't you worry. I shall get you water. Perhaps you don't know this occult
technique. But I shall make the water come up with my occult power."
"Why should I worry? It is the concern of my God," said Namadeva. Even as he
was saying this, the water rose high to the brim and began to overflow. Seeing this,
Jnanadeva was stunned.
"Namadeva, you have won the heart of Sri Krishna completely. You are really
blessed" - so saying, he clasped the feet of Namadeva firmly. This is another popular
story. That well in Marwar, it is said, is full and overflowing even today.