Ramdas Swami, previously 'Narayan Suryaji Thosar' was born in the year 1608 on the occasion of Rama Navami, at Jamb, a village in Jalna district, Maharashtra.
He was born into a Brahmin family to Suryajipanta and Ranubai Thosar. He was an ardent devotee of Lord Rama and at the age 24 years he adopted the name "Ramdas" - ie servant(das) of Ram.
At the age 11 years, he attained enlightenment and as per the advice of Lord Ram, commenced new sector on the banks of the river Krishna.
At the age 12 years, during his marriage ceremony he heard mantras chanted by the Brahmins that mentioned the word 'Savadhan' means 'Beware'!
As he heard it he immediately fled from the ceremony to the holy city, Nasik, where he started his worship of Lord Ram, which lasted for 12 years.
Ramdas, during his childhood, execised vigorous physical activities and developed a good built. He was a firm believer of God and stood by his principles.
He felt compassion for the common people. From his childhood he always thought for the welfare of masses and preferred the life of a monk.
Later, Ramdas travelled throughout India for 12 years, visiting different places. He learnt that the frequent floods, famines, the wanton and indiscriminate attacks by Muslim rulers, had destroyed society.
Based on these experiences he wrote two books with his observations - 'Asmani Sultani' and 'Parachakraniroopan', which are the only two books in Indian Saint literature those record the conditions of those times.
Later, Ramdas devoted himself to study Hindu religious books, meditation and prayers at Panchavati, near Nashik, on the banks of Godavari river.
He exercised a lot to achieve physical strength. He believed that no spiritual level could be attained if the physical body is not strong.
He was a great devotee of Lord Hanuman and he established 12 temples of Lord Hanuman to gain physical strength necessary to build spiritual understanding.
Ramdas swami was a gifted composer. Among his works, two compositions tand out: A small book of meditations titled "Shri Manaache Shlok", which consists of 205 memorable four-line verses and a large volume titled Shrimat Daasbodh which consists of 7,751 'Owi'.
Shri Manaache Shlok is an advice to behave in an ethical way and devote oneself in the love of God. Dasabodh provides advice on both spiritual and diverse practical topics.
Samartha Ramdas swami also wrote "Shri Maruti Stotra", Marathi adulatory poem for Lord Hanuman and several other works. He also composed several other prayers.
The prayer such as - Lord Hanuman "Satrane Uddane Hunkaar Vadani" and to Lord Khandoba "Panchanan haivahan surabhushan leela". As per records, Ramdas met Guru Hargobindsingh at Srinagar in the Garhval hills, when Hargobind had just returned from hunting.
As ramdas observed him he asked him - "As per my knowledge you occupied the throne of Guru Nanak. Guru Nanak was a saint who had renounced the world. You are wearing arms. You call yourself as a True King. What sort of a sadhu are you?".
Guru Hargobind explained, "Internally a ascetic, and externally a prince. Arms symbolize protection to the poor and destruction of the tyrant. Baba Nanak had not renounced the world but had renounced Maya, i.e. self and ego". Ramdas swami was impressed with his words.
Chhatrapati Shivaji and Ramdas swami are said to have first met in 1674. Chatrapati Shivaji was a devout Hindu, but respected all religions within the region.
He had great respect for other contemporary saints, especially Ramdas, to whom he gave the fort of Parali, later renamed as 'Sajjangad'. Among the various poems written on him, Samarth Ramdas's Shivastuti ("Praise of King Shivaji") is the most famous.
Ramdas Swami Temple at Sajjangadh, Satara
Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj's son Sambhaji Maharaj later built a samadhi temple for Ramdas Swami on Sajjangad upon the latter's death. Samarth Ramdas had also written a letter to Sambhaji Maharaj guiding him on what to do and what not to do after death of Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.
Quotes of Ramdas Swami
01- "The whole universe is permeated through and through with God", said Ramdas. "The visible and invisible worlds are all He - as manifest and unmanifest".
There is nothing and none but He. All, all is He. Such is the truth. Where then is the idea of 'I' and "you" - 'mine' and 'yours'. All are He and His.
02- What is Self-realization? It is giving up the pretension that you are not the Self, that you are a mere body. People say to me, 'You are God Himself.'
I reply, 'You are also He.' 'We are not He'-they rejoin. What else is this, but that they simulate and, for some lila of their own, hide behind a mask their real and divine nature?
03- God is an artist par excellence. He has painted the picturesque universe on the screen of His own immutable and glowing Spirit.
So He is at once the painter and the painted. In the ultimate analysis, God and His lover, God and His devotee and servant, are He. The unmanifest--which is beyond all duality has become both. This secret few know.
04- God is ever busy in freeing you from the tangle of worldly friendship and attachments which are in their very nature unstable and unreliable.
Therefore, bring you nothing but sorrows and anxieties. Let this experience teach you that if there is one whom you can entirely trust and for whom you should offer the love of an undivided heart.
It should be the supreme Lord Himself who has His eternal seat in your heart. God is all merciful. Pray to Him. '0 God, lead me from the unreal to the Real; from darkness to Light; from death to Immortality.'
When He makes you pass through many a painful ordeal of life, it is only to awaken you to the ultimate Reality.
05- God-vision is nothing but to realise and feel His presence within yourself and everywhere about you; because God is an all prevailing spirit, permeating the entire universe.
The manifested worlds are not different from Him, since they are but His own expression in terms of name and form.