On the banks of the river Krishna in Maharashtra, in a village called Krar, there lived a Brahmin and his wife with their son and daughter-in-law. The daughter-in-law was called Sakubai.
Sakubai was a holy woman who worshiped Lord Krishna of Pandharpur. She was always chanting the name of the Lord. This woman who was the embodiment of virtues was treated very badly by her mother-in-law. And unfortunately, Sakubaiís husband was totally under the influence of his mother. This aggravated the situation and the endless torture which Sakubai had to endure, was unimaginable.
Sakubai looked after her husband’s home and family very well in spite of the abuses that she had to suffer from her mother-in-law. Many a times she was not given food or was given stale, rotten food. She was very patient and at the same time very cheerful. She was grateful to the Lord for having put her in such unfortunate circumstances, because only that would make her close to Him.
One day a woman neighbor asked Sakubai whether she did not have parents and why they were not visiting her. Sakubai answered that her parents were in Pandharpur. She added that Lord Krishna was her father and His consort Rugmini was her mother.
Once Sakubai participated in a festival in Pandharpur where she was immersed in the darshan of the Lord and the chanting of His holy name. Out of intense longing to participate in the function, she had gone to
the temple without taking the permission of her in-laws. A woman of a neighbouring house saw Sakubai in the temple and reported to her mother-in-law. Sakubai was dragged back home and tied to a pillar with a strong rope. Sakubai prayed to the Lord saying that her only focus was the Lotus feet of the Lord and that she was not afraid of death or bodily torture. She only wanted the Lord’s darshan; nothing else mattered to her. Lord Krishna heard her prayer and appeared in front of her in the form of a woman.
The woman asked Sakubai whether she wanted to go to Pandharpur. Sakubai, in her physically bound state, was evidently unable to go. The woman removed the rope and freed Sakubai and tied herself up in Sakubai’s place; she told Sakubai to proceed to Pandharpur. Through Gods grace Sakubai reached Pandharpur in a moment. She was so happy and felt that she was not only freed from the bond of the rope, but also from the bonds of life.
The Lord, in the form of Sakubai, was also ill treated by the family. But He was only happy because He loved His devotee so much. The new Sakubai was not given any food for several days. Finally the husband started repenting for his cruelty. One day he untied her and asking her forgiveness, he told her to take bath and have food. Like a devoted wife, the new Sakubai listened to everything. She took bath, prepared delicious food and they had meals. She massaged the feet of her mother-in-law and did all the other household chores. The in-laws were pleased.
The real Sakubai, who reached the temple of Pandharpur, was in divine bliss when she had the darshan of Lord Vitthala. She became unconscious and dropped down dead. A Brahmin who lived in the nearby village, recognized Sakubai and with the help of his friends, cremated her body.
Now, Rugmini, Lord Krishna’s consort, was in trouble. Her husband was acting the role of Sakubai who was dead. She wanted to get her Lord back. So she created another Sakubai with her yogic power. The Sakubai created by Rugmini had a dream in which she was asked to go to her village by Rugmini.
On her way back, Sakubai met the Lord near the river in the guise of Sakubai and expressed her gratitude for having helped her to go to Pandharpur. On returning home, Sakubai was astonished at the change of attitude of her in-laws.
Meanwhile, the Brahmin who had cremated Sakubai came to her house and saw her full of life. He told her in-laws that she was dead and he had cremated her. He added that this Sakubai was the ghost of the original. The father-in-law answered that she had not gone to Pandharpur and she was at home all the time. They now called Sakubai and asked her whether she had gone to Pandharpur. She told the whole story how a woman had untied her, how she had gone to Pandharpur where she was in divine bliss, how Rugmini had created her again and how she met the Lord disguised as herself. She said that she was sure that the woman was none other than the Lord.
Now the in-laws understood that the woman was none other than the Lord of Pandharpur. They repented for their wrong deeds and started worshipping Sakubai too.