Muktabai : an enlightening soul

A saint in her own right. A guiding force and nurturer to all her brothers.

She is highly respected by the Warkari community because she consistently worked for the upliftment of the downtrodden, as she knew what it felt like to be excommunicated / not accepted.

As we saw before, Muktabai was the youngest of the four siblings born in a Brahmin Family who was excommunicated because their father chose to come back from Sanyaas based on his Guru’s instructions. 

The parents committed suicide, hoping that at least their children will be accepted by the Brahmin community.

At a young, tender age, Muktabai now had to take care of her three brothers (Nivruttinath, Dnyaneshwar, Sopandev) and the responsibilities of home. But in stead of becoming a bitter person, she let adversity make her stronger. She even made sure her brothers, brilliant in their own right, stayed humble and grounded.


She wrote 41 Abhangs through her life! What earned her majot credit was the fact that she presented knowledge of the sanskrit scriptures in simple to understand Marathi language.

Likewise, Muktabai was responsible for removing ego from the mind of Saint Namdev. When they met Namdev in Pandharpur, the brothers Nivritti, Dnaneshwar and Sopandev, in humility, prostrated before him. Namdev was filled with pride, because everyone in Pandharpur regarded him as a great saint. Muktabai, with great compassion for this sincere devotee, wished to remove this short-sightedness by giving him cosmic vision. Thus, she did not fall at his feet, as her brothers did, but requested Gora Kumbhar (the potter saint) to test the brains (or symbolical pots).

Gora Kumbhar understood and with his testing rod, began hitting the heads of Nivritti, Jnanadev, Sopandev and other saints who were present. All of them remained calm and quiet, upon which Gora Kumbhar proclaimed them fully baked. When he hit Namdev on the head, Namdev began shouting at him, thus Gora Kumbhar proclaimed him half-baked. Namdev was furious at this insult and ran to Lord Vittala in the temple. The Lord told him that they were right because he was seeing God only in Lord Vittala, rather than as the all-pervading Creative Presence. He was asked to go to Visoba Khechar, and through his practical teaching Namdev became fully enlightened. She had a motherly way to guide people to their own path!

Many places in Maharashtra devotees worship Muktabai. In north Maharashtra people worship Muktai and do varis (devotional visits) to Muktai’s temple. The Varkari consider saint Muktai ‘Adishakti’, Goddess. The Varkaris sing abhangas written on Muktai.

A town’s name is changed from Edlabad to Muktainagar to honor saint Muktabai.

This town is administrative center of Muktainagar taluka.

After the early samadhi of Dnyaneshwar, Nivrutti travelled with his sister Muktai on a pilgrimage along the Tapti River, where they were caught in a thunderstorm and Muktai was swept away. Nivrutti obtained samadhi at Tryambakeshwar. She still remains the motherly Saint of Maharashtra.

The one who converted her pain into strength that even others draw inspiration from!

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