Pandharapur is a place of
pilgrimage in Maharashtra. There lived in that town a person called Damashet, a tailor by
profession. So his family got the surname 'Simpi' (tailor). Damashet was a devotee of God
Vitthala. His wife Gonayi was a very good lady, highly devotional. Both had spent their
life in the service of Vitthala. They did not have children for a long time. This had made
them very sad.
Namadeva was no other than the son of this good-natured couple. There is an interesting
story about his birth. It goes like this: Gonayi one day suggested to her husband, to go
to the temple of Panduranga and pray for a son.He agreed. The next day he went to the
temple and prayed to Panduranga, "0 Lord, please give us a son and relieve us of this
The same night Damashet had a dream. God Panduranga appeared in' the dream and said,
"Tomorrow morning you go to river Bheema for bathing, don't you? Keep this in mind.
There will come floating in the river, a closed shell in which you will find a baby.
You may take it home."
The dream ended and Dama woke up.
His heart was filled with joy. He recounted the dream to his wife. She too was beside
herself with joy.
As the day dawned Damashet went to the river Bheema for bathing. A shelf came floating.
He took it into his hands. He heard a voice chanting the name of Vitthala within the
shell. Damashet opened the shell and found in it a bright-looking sweet baby - boy.
He took it home. He called out to his wife and placing the baby in her hands said,
"Here is the baby that God has given you. Take it."
Gonayi took the baby in her arms charmingly. Both husband and wife felt supremely
happy. They named the child as 'Nama'.This incident happened in the year 1270 A. D.
The province where Namadeva's parents lived was at that time under Muslim rule. The
Muslim officers behaved like tyrants. They used to harass the people of other religions.
Hindus were divided among themselves. Moreover the wicked wielded power.
Namadeva was born in such times. As he grew up, his remarkable personality unfolded
itself clearly. He led a clean life. So everyone respected him. His devotion to Panduranga
was boundless. So much so that many other devotees firmly believed he was the
re-incubation of Uddhava who was a friend and counselor to Lord Sri Krishna.