SHRI MANIK PRABHU
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Guru Dattam mahaathamaanam bhaktha kaarya kalpadrumam
Sakalamatha sthaapakam vandeham Manikya Prabhum
Sri Manikya Prabhu was born as the second son to his parents Manohar Nayak Harakude and Bayadevi belonging to Srivatsa gotra, as a jewel from the treasure of their wombs on 12 th December of 1812 (on the auspicious day of Datta Jayanthi). His parents were devotees of Datta. Narasimha Saraswathi Swamy of Ganugapur was their favorite god. They did the parayana of Guru Charitra for sixteen years continuously without interruption. Pleased by their austerity and unswerving devotion, Lord Datta appeared and asked, “Desire anything, I will grant”. “We want a son like you” was the reply of the parents. As a result Lord Datta was born to them as their son. He was named “Manikya” by his parents. As the father of Manikya Prabhu died in his childhood, the burden of the family fell on the shoulders of his maternal uncle.
Like Sri Krishna Manikya Prabhu too performed many ‘leelas' during his childhood to the astonishment of everybody. People started to believe him as the incarnation of Lord Datta. All his words were taken as prophecy and people called him ‘Vedaabhavu” (the silly brother). As a child he had many friends but liked ‘Govinda' most. They used to wander together. One day as Govinda did not turn up in time as he used to come every day, Manikya went to Govinda's house to enquire. At his house the relatives of Govinda were crying as he died suddenly. Manikya slowly approached Govinda, he shook him as if to wake him from sleep. “Get up Govinda! Get up. It is very late already! Come let us go” he called him. As a person waking up from his sleep, Govinda rose from his bed suddenly and clearing his eyes said, “Let us go.” Hand in hand he ran with Manikya. One day Manikya Prabhu asked a lady mango vendor, “Would you give me some mangoes? I wish to eat them.” She replied, “You cannot have them free without money”. “I do not have money. If you give me eleven you would beget eleven children. Would you give me now?' Manikya asked. She gave the whole basket of mangoes. She begot five children, after which she came and said, “Five are enough. No more children please.” “Let it be done.” Manikya blessed her and she bore no more children.
Apparao who was working as Zamedar in the cavalry of Nizam, came to darshan of Bala Manikya along with his wife Bheemabai, seeking children. On the way and in the forest, Bala Manikya was playing with his friends and quarrelling with them. The couple did not know that he was the child Manikya. When they enquired about the reason of their tussle, “I am indebted eight shells to them, would you give them”, Manikya asked Bheemabai. When she gave them, he said, “You will beget eight children”, and left the place. Bheemabai and her husband went to Manikya's house and waited for him for three days taking any food. On the third day Manikya came and told Bheemabai, “I have already given you eight children. Why are still fasting?” He ran away to play. Bheemabai was later blessed with eight children.
Kaalabhat, a friend of Manikya Prabhu worshipped Sivalinga daily with bilvapatra (leaves of Bengal Qunice – Aegle mamelos). One day Manikya Prabhu said, “Instead of worshipping that linga why do not you worship the Sankara himself”. “Sankara is not perceived directly,” replied Kaalabhat. “Then see me”, said Manikya Prabhu and he appeared as Siva wearing a tiger's skin, with laces of snakes, matted hair and a trident in his hand. Then onwards with great happiness Kaalabhat offered his pooja with bilvapatras to Manikya Prabhu himself. As Manikya Prabhu was wandering aimlessly and without any responsibility his uncle rebuked him, and so he left the house. He stayed at pilgrim centers and forests.
Like Sreepada Sreevallabha and Narasimha Sarswathi, Manikya Prabhu was also a born celibate (Brahmachari). In the solitude of forests he did severe taps during his childhood. He became a perfect and complete man due to that power of his tapas and led to the subsequent self realization. His face shone with divine glow. He resembled Adi Saankara during the spiritual discussions. Soon, his fame spread to all corners of the country and people poured in, to have his darshan. Their desires got fulfilled and their problems solved. But he did not set aside taking alms till his last. He had no greed for money and he spent the money given by devotees, for religious and beneficial purposes and other requirements. Even then his treasury looked full always. When all of his relatives came and invited him to his house he did not accept. At that time he showed Lord Datta to his mother in wide-open mouth. Thousands of people thronged wherever he stayed.
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