History of Nivruthinath Maharaj

Nivrutti who was born in 1273 A.D., Dnyandeo (who later became famous as Jñāneśvar) was the second son born in 1275 A.D., and Sopan, who was the youngest from brothers, was born in 1277 A.D. In 1279 A.D., the last of all, a girl was born, who was named Muktabai. When the oldest of boys, Nivrutti, has reached the age of seven years, Vithalpanth has attempted to perform the ceremony of wearing him a sacred thread, as it was customary for the children of Brahmin caste. He has approached the heads of the Brahmin community of Alandi with petition to allow him to do this ceremony, in which he argued that the children are not responsible for the misdeeds done by their parents, so they should be accepted as the members of the Brahmin society, and should be allowed to learn Vedas. His petition was rejected, and he was told that his children wouldn’t be recognized as Brahmins, because their father is an outcast and there no exist any established rule for doing changing this.

Seeing the trouble they have created for their children, Vithalpanth and his wife, became even more disheartened, their hope to see their children being pardoned and have the better life then they were living came to its end. Some time after this, Vittalpanth along with his children went for pilgrimage to the holly place Tryambakeshvar, where situated one of the twelve Jyoti Lingas, and from where the most holly river of the Maharashtra State, Godavari is starting. The road leading there, was passing through the hill area, which was covered with the dense jungles, inhabited by the wild animals. When they were going around of the Brahmagiri Mountain, they saw a tiger approaching them from a distance. In those times it was not much unusual practice that the wild animals were attacking weaponless people and killing them, so in panics they scattered away on all sides, trying to escape this dangerous situation. In the process, Nivṛtti has become separated from them, till finally he got lost in the jungle. After searching for him long time, and unable to find him, they returned back home without him.

Nivṛuti who has found himself left alone in jungle, wondering around for some time trying to find the road back, till he met a Nath yogi living in the cave situated on the Anjani Mountain. In accordance with the legend, that yogi was no one else but the Siddha Gahini Nath, the direct disciple of the Guru Goraksh Nāth. He warmly welcomed the boy, who decided to stay at his cave for some time. Gahini Nāth liked the boy’s charakter, and after some time, being asked by him, he has accepted him as his disciple and initiated him into the Natha Tradition. The young Nivṛtti got his new name, and since that time he was called Nivṛtti Nāth, to denote his membership in the Natha Sect. After some time, Yogi Nivṛtti Nāth has returned to his family to comfort his parents and to complete his studies. Although the boys were not allowed to wear janeo (the sacred tread of Brahmins), and to sturdy with the other children of Brahmins, they were study the Vedas and Sanskrit on their own, with their father who was familiar with them from his childhood.

Since long time ago, in India there was existing believe and tradition that the people who were leaving their bodies at the place known as Prayag (modern Allahabad), situated at the meeting point of the three rivers Ganga, Yamuna and Sarasvati, were becoming purified by doing these from all sins they have committed in their lives, and were entering into Heavens directly. Vittalpanth and Rukminibai, who have lost their last powers and hopes, went there and drowned themselves at the place of meeting of the three rivers. They last hope was that because of this acts, their children at last would be pardoned, because they did not committed any sins on their own, and were suffering duty them only. When this tragically event has happened, Nivritti Nath was ten years old, Jnanadev was eight years old, and Sopan and Muktabai were six and four years old. From now, the four young children have becomes orphans, and were growing up uncared by any one. They were sustaining their lives by begging food from here and there. The tragedy of the innocent children was touching the hearts of people around them, and many were trying to ‘unofficially’ support them, but still they were obligated to remain excommunicated from Brahmin society, and were looked upon as outcasts.

When Jnandeo has became twelve years old, he approached the Brahmins community of Alandi once more, with petition to pardon himself and his family to be accepted as Brahmins and to allowed to wear janeu. He was advised to go to the city Paitan, where the most educated Brahmins of their area were living, and present his matter to their expertise. He was told that if he would bring from them a written letter allowing him to be pardoned, he would be pardoned. When he went to Paitan, and has presented his matter there, he got the categorical refuse and was unable to secure the favorable answer. However, he was told that in accordance with the sacred scriptures, there exists the only one way for them to be pardoned and live the respectful life amongst the Brahmins community of Paitan. For this they should accept the vow to remain Brachmacharis life long and never enter into marriage and have children.

In accordance with the legend, when the children have approached the Brahmin authorities in Paitan, in order to prove that they were the real Brahmins, they started to recite the sacred hymns of Vedas, which they knew by their heart. While doing this, they were interrupted by Brahmins, who told them that they have not right to repeat these sacred chants, because they were not proper Brahmins, on what Jnanadev replied that ‘anyone may recite the Vedas, this not the privilege of Brahmins only, but even buffalo can do it’. After saying this, he placed his hand on the back of the buffalo, which was standing near by, and the buffalo started correctly pronounce the Vedas, from the place where Jnanadev had left. After seeing this happening, the Brahmins presented here have realized that the boys, who could perform such miracles, were not ordinary persons, but even then they were not ready to accept them as the members of the local Brahmin community, and allow them to properly to perform the ceremony of wearing the sacred thread. Since then, that buffalo was declared sacred, and there still exist his samadhi at the place called Ale near Pune where it died.

For some time the boys were staying at Paithan were they were teaching the Gita to the simple people. Shortly after, when Jnanadev was still twelve years old and Nivruti Nāth who was in his fourteen, Jnanadev was formally initiated into the Natha Order by his brother, who then ordered him to write the commentary on Bhagavat Gita in Marathi language. The legends didn’t preserved his ‘Nātha’ name, given to him by his Guru, but by the analogy with other similar situation we can guess that his new name has became Jñāneśvar Nāth. At that time, the monopoly on the spiritual knowledge was in the Brahmin’s community hands, which was not accessible to the simple uneducated people, because of the simple reason that the sacred books were written in Sanskrit, the language known only to the members of the Brahman’s caste. Therefore the brothers decided to make this knowledge accessible to the wider categories of people, in the local Marathi language, which was known to everyone in Maharashtra.

Now, the two bigger brothers were the formal members of the Natha Sect, and soon after, they moved to Nevasa, a small town in Nagar (modern Ahmednagar) district, to start new chapter in their life. At the same day when the boys were entering into Nevasa, some hours before it, the man called Sacchitananda has died, and his funeral ceremony on the cremation ground was about to start. His wife Soudamini wanted to commit Sati i.e. burn herself alive on the funeral fire of her husband. When she before doing this came to take her last blessings from the young yogis, who just came to the village, first to whom she came was Jnanadev. He being not aware of her situation, blessed her with words "Akhand Saubhagyavati Bhava", what means ‘may you never became widow’. When he was informed about what just has happened, he brought back her husband to life, by the power of his prayer and the yogic powers. That man later became his faithful devotee known under the name Sacchitananda-Baba. There Jnanadev began to write his book, which later has become famous as ‘Jñāneśvari Gita’, with commentary on it called Bhavarthadeepika. He completed this task in the year 1290 A.D., after passing the period of two and half years. The some legends say that he did not actually wrote it down, but it was the man brought by him back to life, Sacchinanand Pava, who actually put his sayings on paper. Daily, Jñāneśvar used to give the discourses on the few verses from Gita, with his commentary to the group of devotees, one of which was which Sacchinanand Pava, who faithfully has written down word by word what he was teaching.