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Thursday, 2 January 2020

Margazhi Blogotsavam: Day 17: The Goldsmith who measured Hari - Or Was it Hara? Narahari Sonar

Narahari was a goldsmith who lived in Pandharpur in Maharashtra. He was, however, fanatically devoted to Lord Shiva alone, whom he worshiped in the Mallikarjuna temple. He refused to have anything to do with Vitthal. Forget visiting the Vitthal temple, he would even avert his eyes to avoid seeing the temple’s shikara (pinnacle). During the annual vari pilgrimage when pilgrims from all over came to Pandharpur, Narahari would go to live in another village to get away from the entire hullabaloo.

One day a merchant from another town came in search of Narahari. “I had taken a vow to offer a waistband to Vitthal if He blessed me with a son. Now, I’ve come to redeem that vow. People told me you are the best goldsmith in town, so I came to you!”

Narahari refused, saying, “I won’t have anything to do with Vitthal!”

But when the merchant pleaded with him for long, Narahari grudgingly agreed to make the ornament; but on one condition. “I will not enter the temple; you must bring the measurement for me.”

The merchant brought the measurement of Lord Vitthal’s waist, and after a few days, Narahari had prepared a beautiful ornament studded with diamonds and other precious stones. Happily, the merchant took it to the temple, but it turned out to be too tight, and wouldn’t fit the murti. So, he took it back, and Narahari added an extra link. What a surprise, now it was too loose. Exasperated, the merchant insisted Narahari should himself come to the temple and take the measurements.

This was unpalatable to Narahari because he wouldn’t even look at Vitthal. So, they reached a compromise. Narahari wore a blindfold, and led by the merchant, entered the temple. Stepping up to the murti of Vithoba, he began feeling around the waist to take His measurements. Wonder of wonders! He felt his fingers brushing against animal skin. Reaching upwards, he could feel the moon and matted hair, in the murti’s hands, he could sense the trishul and the damaru!
Image courtesy: Wikipedia
Narahari was angry and asked, “Why have you brought me to Lord Mallikarjuna’s temple?” Everyone present there said, “No, this is Vitthal’s temple!”

Narahari ripped away his blindfold, only to see the form of Lord Vithoba, standing on a brick, arms akimbo, dressed in yellow silk, and decked with golden ornaments, with a bemused smile hovering on His lips!
Image courtesy:

Shocked, Narahari pulled on his blindfold, and began taking the measurements. But no! Again, he could feel the murti was that of his beloved Mallikarjuna! Again he pulled off his blindfold. Now, not only did his physical eyes open, the ignorance that covered his mental eyes was also stripped away. Crying tears of gratitude and joy, Narahari fell at the feet of Vitthal, realizing that the Lord Himself was explaining that Shiva and Vishnu are one and the same!

From that day onwards, Narahari Sonar learned to see the oneness of God, and influenced by Sant Dnyaneshwar and other Varkari saints, composed several abhangs (devotional songs) born out of his new-found realization.

In spiritual practice, it is good to focus on one deity for rapid spiritual progress. However, one must avoid a fanatical attitude of saying, “Only this, my God, is superior,” and one must not look down on other deities. Rather, one must cultivate the habit of seeing one’s deity in all other forms, too.


Bhaktavijaya by Mahipati


  1. Hare Krishna 🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻🌈💐

  2. This is great narration, as usual. One suggestion in the context of the Oneness of Hari and Hara is that we should still use our Vivekam, and not confuse it to apply wrt alien Gods whose proponents may have a proselytizing agenda.

    1. Thank you for the very apt suggestion.

  3. 🙏🙏
    God has his own ways.. What leela ! Wah re wah ! First crate differences then show there's no difference. Kapatanaataka sootradhaari ! !

  4. I had read this as a lesson in hindi in std 5, but had been slow to understand the essence then... good clarity for all

  5. Murthy Dakshina Somayajula12 January 2020 at 21:20

    For spiritual practice one may focus on one diety but, should not look down upon other deities.. .�� �� �� �� ��


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