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Shri Bhaktamal, Ch. 3: Ramdas, the Deity thief

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A108-AI

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Screenshot-178-1024x570.pngShri Bhaktamal is widely believed to be an unbiased account of Bhaktas across all sectarian paths. Written almost 500 years ago in Brajbhasha by Nabhdas of the Ramananda Sampradaya, the work is rich in tales that carry layers of hidden meanings.

This story relates to a Lila that happened in Dwarka but will remind Vrindavan devotees of many similar Braj Lilas – as when Bihariji, Radharaman ji and other Deities have also left the temple to visit devotees…

In the village of Dakor in Dwarka, lived a devotee named Ramdasji. Every Ekadasi he would go to Ranchodh Temple to perform all-night kirtan at Jagran programs. When his body became old and weak, the Lord instructed him to give up the Jagran seva.

Ramdas ji would not hear of not performing all-night kirtan. Seeing His devotee’s firm determination, the Lord was overcome and said,

I cannot stand to see you in such difficulty when coming to the temple, so I will come to your house. Next Ekadasi, bring a cart and put it under the back window of the temple. I will arrange that the window is open. Then you pick me up and make haste in leaving.

On the next Ekadasi, Ramdasji brought the cart. People thought that he came that way because he had become old and weak.

The Jagran program in the temple was conducted, as usual, on Ekadasi. On the evening of the next day, Ramdasji took the Deity away. The next morning, when the Pujaris saw that the Deity was gone, they set out to find who was responsible.

People immediately suspected Ramdas ji since he had come to the program riding on a cart.

When the Pujaris arrived at Ramdas’ house he told them that he had followed the Lord’s instructions. He told them that Ramchodh ji had happily come and even drove the cart Himself.

The temple priests beat Ramdas causing him many injuries but when they looked around they could not find Ranchodh Bhagavan. They started to worry that they had beaten Ramdas without reason. Someone said that they had seen Ramdas coming from the stepwell, so they went there to look.

When they arrived, they saw the Deity in the water, which had turned red. Shri Ranchodh told them that, when his devotee was beaten, He had taken the wounds upon Himself. He expressed unwillingness to go back with them and told them where to find another Deity for the temple.

To this day, the village is named Dakor (bandit), to commemorate this incident and Ramdas’ descendants proudly identify as the Deity Bandits.

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