It is said that
Naamdev was born to Damsheti (father) and Gonabahi (mother) in the
village of Narasvamani (Satar district, Maharastra). He married
Rajabal, daughter of Govinda Sheti Sadvateh at 11 years of age,
and had 4 sons and a daughter.
Following in the footsteps of his father, Naamdev became a tailor
and later became the disciple of Jnaanadev who taught him the ways
of devotion to Vishnu
Naamdev became a disciple of Vishnu
(the "Preserver" under the Trinity) under Jnaandev (a
great saint of the 'Bhakti Movement') and later spend most of his
time in a village called Ghuman (Gurdaspur District, Punjab). A
story expounded by Macauliffe in the last century goes as follows:
‘One day when Namdev’s father was absent, the
son took the daily offering of the family to the temple. It
consisted of milk, which the youth had just milked from his
cow. He thought that the god would freely partake of the the
offering on which he had lavished so much care. The stony idol,
however, would not vouchsafe to do so. Upon this Namdev began
to cry, threw himself down at the god’s feet and uttered
passionate supplications. In due time the god relented and accepted
the boy’s offering. He celebrated the event in the following
hymn in the Bhairo measure:-
Nama having milked his brown cow took a cup of milk and a jug
of water for the idol. ‘Drink milk and my mind will be
at ease; otherwise my father will be angry.’ A golden
cup filled with milk Nama took and placed before the idol The
saints alone abide in my heart. On seeing Nama the god smiled.
On giving milk to the idol the worshipper Nama went home. And
God appeared onto him.
With reference to this miracle the author of the Bhagat Mal,
in a paroxysm of devotion, remarks, ‘Congratulations to
God who loveth His saints, and is pleased with their devotion.
Though whom the Vedas call Endless, and to attain whom
Shiv and the other demigods performed every form of penance,
art so much in the power of the saints and their love, that
Though performest everything according to their desires.’
(‘The Sikh Religion’, M.A. Macauliffe, Vol.VI, Pa.19-
Vishnu, the preserver
The preserver, seen here holding a conch shell (symbol of origin
of existance), a mace (symbol of the power of wisdom), a 'Sudharshan
(symbol of creation and destruction), and a Lotus flower (symbol
of harmony from chaos)
According to his autobiographical ballad known as
'Tirathvah', Naavdev lived in Pandharpur where
he spent his time singing praises of the Almighty. Naamdev's works
are to be found in the text 'Naamdevachee Katha'
written in Hindi.
During the Sikh Misl period, Akali Nihang Jassa Singh
Ramgharia would construct a Mandhir at Ghuman in respect of Naamdev.
60 Hymns composed by Naamdev are found within Adi Guru Durbar.