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Tuesday, 7 January 2020

Margazhi Blogotsavam: Day 22: For Whom the Lord Became a Barber: Sena Nhavi

Around the 15th century, a barber called Sena lived in Bandhavgarh, in Madhya Pradesh. A pious devotee, he would wake early every morning, bathe, do pooja and pray to Vitthal, and only then, attend to his daily work. 

Sant Sena Nhavi
Image courtesy:
One day, the King’s messenger came calling Sena. He was deep in prayer, so Sena’s wife sent the messenger away saying her husband wasn’t at home. Their neighbor, who was also a barber and probably jealous of Sena’s being the royal barber, noticed all this. He went to the King and complained, saying Sena was very much at home but had refused to come.

Angry at the insult, the King sent his soldiers to arrest Sena. The guards arrived at Sena’s house and carried him away. As soon as he saw Sena, the King’s anger melted away. When Sena touched the King’s head and cheeks, shampooed his hair and shaved his cheeks and chin, the King felt a strange blissful sensation.

Next, Sena poured fragrant oil into a cup to massage the King. The King happened to glance at the oil and the reflection he saw puzzled him. Sena seemed to have 4 hands! He looked up at Sena, but he was with his normal 2 hands! He looked into the oil again, and lo! Sena had 4 hands again! The King was smitten with the reflection in the cup and kept staring at it, lost to the world around him.

When people began calling out to the King for his bath, he commanded Sena, “Don’t go anywhere; stay here till I come back!”

“I have some work at home, I’ll go and return soon,” promised Sena.

The King thrust a few gold coins into Sena’s hands, and went to bathe.

Sena went home with the gold coins.

In the meantime, the King finished his bath and was distraught to see that Sena hadn’t yet returned. He was in a weird state, restlessly walking about, and exclaiming that he would die if he didn’t see Sena at once!

The soldiers went and brought Sena to the palace. When Sena entered, the King rushed forward and greeted him fondly. Everyone in the court laughed out to see this strange behavior. Unheeding, the King begged Sena, “Please, Sena, show me that 4-armed form of yours that you showed me in the morning! I must see it and only then will I have peace!”

Sena was bewildered. What morning and what 4-armed form? He had been busy worshiping Vitthal and had come to the palace only now, worried that the King would be angry; here was the King babbling and acting so odd!

The King ordered his servants to bring the cup of oil; he made Sena hold it. Then the King glanced into the cup, searching for the 4-armed reflection. Alas! All he could see was the confused looking Sena’s face!

Can you, dear reader, guess what may have actually happened? The Lord never forsakes his loving devotees, right?

Realizing what had happened, overwhelmed by the ways of the Lord, Sena cried, “Raja, the ‘Sena’ you saw in the morning wasn’t me! It was my dear Lord Vitthal who took the form of a lowly barber like me, to save me from your wrath! The 4-armed reflection that you were lucky to see was Sri Krishna Himself!”

The King fell at Sena’s feet, saying that it was because of Sena that he had been able to see Krishna. From that day, he became a devotee of Krishna.

When Sena found in his bag the gold coins that Vitthal had kept, he immediately gave it all away in charity. 

Till today, he is revered as one of the greatest devotees of Vitthal. 

Can we ever hope to attain the kind of devotion that Sena had?

When will the Lord come unbidden to our aid?



  1. Another new pearl from your pen Anu. Very nice. There are so many devotees for whom God has taken so many forms & served them. When will we learn to trust that He is always there, thus learn to keep our mind on God instead of fretting & fuming about issues around us ?πŸ™

    1. πŸ™πŸΌπŸ™πŸΌ☺️

  2. Hare Krishna πŸ™πŸ»πŸ™πŸ»πŸ™πŸ»πŸ™πŸ»πŸŒˆπŸ’

  3. Literally brought tears to my eyes. Our whole life is filled with multitudes of miracles. We are so blessed. Pranams.

  4. mam we are really inspired by you

    1. Thank you! God is the inspiration actually πŸ˜‡


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