People say that another
wonderful incident happened in a place called Naganath. This episode drives home the moral
that it is pure-hearted devotion and not the caste, which is important, and that God
approves only of true and sincere devotion.
These gems of saints and devotees of Panduranga journeyed along and came to Naganath.
That was a seat of Jyotirlinga (i.e. Shivalinga manifested in the form of light). It was
also called the second Kailash. The saints were immensely happy to see that sacred place.
Added to it, it was Mahashivaratri. They went to the main entrance of the temple, after
finishing their bath, prayer and the routine religious rituals. They prostrated before God
Shankara with utmost love and had His darshan. Namadeva began to sing bhajans in an
ecstatic mood. Innumerable people congregated around. They were listening to the hymns
with rapt attention.
The priests of that temple were Brahmins. They came to the main gate to worship
Shankara. But in that thick crowd they were not able to push their way through. They
shouted at the crowd, "Hey You fellows keep off and make way for us. We are in a
But nobody heeded his or her words. The priests got annoyed and told Namadeva, "I
say-you! - You had better display all this grandiose bhajan of yours at Pandharapur only.
This is Naganath. All this singing and dancing won't do here. Shiva, the divine consort of
Uma and the Lord of Kailash will not be pleased with these songs in praise of Hari. Go to
Pandharapur. There you can dance as you please keeping aside all your sense of
shame." The very listeners of bhajan replied to the priests with a counter-question:
"The great sages say that there is no difference between Hari and Hara. Where is it
stated that bhajans should not be sung before God Shankara?"
These words further enraged the Brahmins. "You sentimental fools, how dare you
presume to teach us! Get away from here, all of you. Otherwise you will taste a sound
thrashing," they shouted at the top of their voice.
Nobody budged an inch.
Two of the brahmins who were with the priests pushed their way through the crowd and
told Namadeva, "Because of your bhajan, all the passages are blocked and people are
waiting outside to enter the temple for worship. If you want you can carry on your bhajan
till you are tired on the backyard of the temple."
Namadeva made obeisance to these Brahmins and went to the rear-side of the temple to
continue his bhajan. People who witnessed this incident felt sorry. This obstruction to
the bhajan brought tears to the eyes of Namadeva. His throat was choked.
Why this wrangles about sanctity and pollution in the presence of God? Why should some
people be asked to stand at a distance? Is not angry and conceited behavior in the divine
presence by itself a pollution? These were the thoughts that passed through the mind of
That he was forced to stand behind the temple to sing bhajans missing the direct sight
of Lord Shankara made him very sad. He called out to Panduranga, in his tremulous voice.
As a result of this, the temple, which was facing east turned round to face Namadeva. The
people who had gathered there were struck with amazement. "The Lord of Kailash has
been pleased with Namadeva!" they exclaimed, overjoyed in their hearts.
The bhajan was in full tempo when the Brahmins finished their worship and came out.
They were bewildered to see that the bhajan was going on in front of the temple itself.
When they Enquirer of some people, they were told that the temple itself had turned
towards Namadeva. On hearing this, the Brahmins felt a cold shiver. They realized that
their uppish behavior was wrong. Now, being completely rid of that arrogance, they sat
down in humility to listen to the bhajan. They repented their needless objection against
Namadeva. Soon after he finished his bhajan, they apologized to him, "Please forgive
us for our folly." Namadeva did not have the slightest anger or hatred in his heart.
His mind was as fresh and pure as ever. He addressed gentle and consoling words to them
and sent them.
The temple, which had changed its direction, is still there for any one to examine, it
The two saints after taking darshan of God Shankara in Naganath came straight to
Pandharapur. Namadeva could not contain within himself the joy of seeing Lord Vitthala.
He went into ecstasy and lost consciousness. Jnanadeva tended him with care. Namadeva,
after regaining his consciousness, prostrated before God. Vitthala stepped down from his
usual pedestal-the brick-and warmly received him with an embrace. People say that he even
took out his garland of Tulasi and put it round the neck of Namadeva.
By that time the entire group of saints came to see Namadeva. Nivritti, Sopana, Visoba,
Gora the potter and others embraced Namadeva most affectionately. There are many
significant stories even about this circle of saints and devotees.