Shri Brahma Chaitanya (Gondavalekar Maharaj), (Devnagari, श्री ब्रह्मचैतन्य गोंदावलेकर महाराज) born on 'Maagha Shuddha Dwadashi' (माघ शु. द्वादशी) (Refer to Hindu Calendar for details of Shuddha and Dwadashi) of 'Shake 1766' (शके १७६६) (Refer to Shalivahana calendar for details of shake) (Year 1845 A.D.) in Gondavale (also spelled as Gondawale) Budruk, Taluka Maan, District Satara.
A Hindu saint who resided in the taluka of Maan at Gondavale Budruk in Satara District of Maharashtra in India, approximately 40 miles (or 64 kilometers) from Satara on the Satara - Pandharpur Road. His pre-sainthood name was Ganapati(गणु). Brahma Chaitanya was a devotee of the Hindu god Rama and signed his name as Brahma Chaitanya Ramdasi.
He left his home in search of a spiritual 'Guru' when he was just 9 years old. After knowing his whereabouts, his father brought him back from Kolhapur. He got married when he was 11 years old, and again left home in search of a 'Guru'. He went to Yehalegaon in Nanded district and became desciple of Shri Tukamai. Shri Tukamai gave him the nickname of Brahmachaitanya.
He spent a lifetime teaching the importance of peace with oneself over the material creature comforts alone. He advocated the continued remembrance of GOD as a means of happiness, contentment and peace. Family life is not incompatible with the attainment of ultimate peace. One does not have to be a sage living outside the social bounds. It is how one leads one's life that will determine the self. Key to the ultimate peace is in the regularity of prayers to Rama without expecting anything in return. With unrestricted love and in total faith should be the way in which one ought to say the revered name.
He showed path of devotion of Lord Rama to thousands of divotees in Maharashtra, Karnataka and parts of North India. Most of the divotees were from the middle class income group. He discouraged people from bad habbits, bad behaviour, etc. He made extensive use of 'Pravachans', 'Bhajans', Vaidik Anushthans etc. for encouraging people to follow the path of devotion. He taught people to achieve perfect balance between prapancha and paramartha by doing extensive nama japa. He taught people the Mantra ' Shri Ram Jay Ram Jay Jay Ram'. ।।श्रीराम जयराम जय जय राम।।. This Mantra has 13 letters(Alphabets in Marathi language). Each letter has its own meaning and Shri Maharaj has written 13 different 'Abhangas' on each of this letter. "||श्रीराम म्हणा मुखी राम म्हणा मुखी। तेणे सर्व सुखी होशील तू||". Shri Maharaj says that this Mantra was given by Lord Shri Ram to his wife Sita. Shri Maharaj says that this Mantra implies that Lord Shri Ram is our Teacher and is in our heart and takes care for all of us. Shri Maharaj believes that each and everything that happens in our life is as per the will of Lord Shri Ram. Shri Maharaj has opened the meaning of this Mantra and says that we should always be in the Mantra.
As per the teachings of Shri Maharaj, the one who always stays and repeats this Mantra, will be always happy and satisfied in the whole life and this is the Truth.
After the death of his first wife, he married a girl who was blind since birth. He helped the poor, those suffering from drought. He taught Gorakshan, Annadan, Nama japa, Bhajans, Teertha yatras.
He passed away on Margashirsh Vadya Dashmi of shake 1835 (22 December 1913) in Gondavale.
Inspired Shastri has collected saint's discourses and has setup a Sri Brahma Chaitanya Grid in which he has setup one discourse daily for easy reading.
Blogs dedicated to Sri Brahma Chaitanya
1. The life of Brahma Chaitanya is described in detail in the book "The Saint of Gondawale" by KV Belsare.