By Swami Harshananda
One such great saint was Cokhāmelā. He lived in the thirteenth century in the holy city of Paṇḍharāpura (in Maharashtra). It was his wont to have a dip in the Bhīmā river early in the morning, circum-ambulate the temple of Pāṇḍurañga (also called Viṭṭhala, an aspect of Viṣṇu or Kṛṣṇa) from outside, bow down to the deity from the main gate and sing songs in his praise, mostly composed by himself.
The proud and prejudiced priests tried their best to humiliate him and even harm him because he was born as an untouchable (aspṛśyatā) but were humbled in the end since the Lord was on his side. They were obliged to accept his greatness and honor him.
Like in the lives of many other saints, miracles are said to have happened in his life also. He died when he was building the wall along with other workmen. The building collapsed. His samādhi (grave) is still seen at Paṇḍharāpura. This samādhi is opposite to the samādhi of Nāmdev. Nāmdev was an another great saint who was his contemporary. He has left some nice abhaṅgas (devotional songs in Marāṭhi language) in which he describes his travails due to social prejudices and acts of grace by God.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore