Sunday, September 30, 2018

Chapter 27: Nathdwara Journey & Visit to Rajkot


Shri Vrindavan Dham
 
  Krishnaji was not keeping well these days. Shriji resided with utmost austerity along with a couple of his personal followers in Ganga Mandir. Subsistence depended on begging for alms every day.  



Dry Rotis

Simple rotis[1] were eaten with salt or chilies at midday. Vegetables or lentils were rarely to be seen but everyone lived happily under the patronage of Shriji. An ambiance of religious devotion was always present. It can't be expressed how tasty were the dry rotis cooked by Maji's hands. Devotees coming from outside have occasionally eaten these rotis. Surprisingly, they would yearn for them and never grew tired of admiring their taste. It was not possible to procure proper treatment for Shri Krishnaji under these circumstances. She first went to a previously acquainted devotee in Ahmedabad and  from there to Kanjibhai, a householder devotee in Rajkot, for treatment. He  was affluent and spent money on her treatment for two months but her health continued to deteriorate.


 Shri Maharajji Was in Mandleshwar

Shri Maharajji was in Mandleshwar at that time. Getting information of Krishnaji's health he wrote to her to come to Mandleshwar. Kanjibhai's good son Dheeraj Lal brought Shri Krishnaji to Mandleshwar. Giving five hundred rupees for her treatment, Dheeraj Lal returned to Rajkot. After a month he came to Vrindavan to see Krishnaji. In fact, Dheeraj Lal was going to Nathdwara from there so he requested Shriji to go with him. Shriji agreed. Soon after, a couple of devotees and I went with Shriji to Nathdwara. 

Shrinathji, Nathdwara

 Staying there for a couple of days we beheld Shrinathji and His splendid seva fully. Attaining the joy of Shrinathji's darshan for two days we returned to Shri Vrindavan Dham. Thereafter, Dheeraj Lal went to Rajkot. He had been very impressed by the company and satsang of Shriji. Reaching Rajkot he praised Shriji to his father Kanjibhai which made him eager to have Shriji's darshan. After a few days Kanjibhai sent Dheeraj Lal to Shri Dham to bring Shriji. Information in this regard had been sent by telegram.

 Rajkot City

In Phalgun[2] 1950 AD, Dheeraj Lal took Shriji to Rajkot. Shri Deviji, Vitthalji and I accompanied him. It was our first visit to Rajkot and intimation had been sent by telegram from Shri Dham. Apart from Kanjibhai, many devotees were present with garlands at the railway station. After offering of salutations and garlands, Shriji was taken to their residence.

Satsang[3] was held at Kanjibhai's house regularly and constantly for a month. Nearly 300 listeners would be present for the satsang. When Shriji felt that the gathering was increasing he would go with his coterie to visit nearby places like 

Dwarka

Junagadh, Dwarka  

 
 Jadeshwar Mahadev

Jadeshwar Mahadev, Girnar etc., for a couple of days. Those who were keen to meet him always tried to find out about his return. This is precisely what Shriji wanted. that those who were truly interested should come for the satsang. What was the use of collecting a meaningless crowd?

In Rajkot, Shri Maganbhai had got two pamphlets of spiritual discourses written by Shriji in English, printed and distributed amongst the audience. Shriji's stay had been arranged for in the second storey of Kanjibhai's house. There was a small courtyard at its back which was visible from the southern window of the room. One fine day the  eight to nine year old daughter of Kanjibhai was singing and dancing in a circle in that courtyard with neighbouring girls. Shriji was watching from the window. On seeing the round dance and listening to the sweetly sung song, Shriji fainted due to bhava avesha, trance like state of religious rapture A pada emerged from his mouth in this condition. Its first line was:


The Smiling Moonlike Face of Krishna

' nit mukh chandra chhata smit chhai  |'

'The moonlike face of Krishna is always radiating with a smile!'
('Alibhav Nirjhar,' verse-208)

Thus giving the benefit of sankirtan and satsang to sensitive devotees for a month, Shriji returned with his inner circle of associates to Shri Vrindavan. His close associates again got busy with their sadhana and bhajan on . Indeed, Shriji would always be absorbed in rasa, the essence of Shri Radha-Krishna's transcendent love. Alongside he would keep talking to the sadhakas about beneficial spiritual practices. Out of fear for popular gatherings Shriji did not predetermine the time of his satsang and-kirtan. Sometimes spiritual talk would take place thrice during the course of a day.

 
Union With the Divine
 I have mentioned earlier that Shriji's jest and humour was a sort of preaching. The hearts of followers living in his proximity would effortlessly advance towards the main goal of union with the Divine because of Shriji's way of life. He never gave any importance to the procurement of food. He used to say that obtaining food should be left to 'akashvriti' or Providence. He would often recite this shloka as an illustration:


Lord Vishnu

' bhojnacchadne chinta vritha kurvanti vaishnava:  |
yohsau vishwambhro devo sa ki bhaktan upekshate  || '

' The devotees of Vishnu needlessly worry about food and clothing. Does God who provides for the whole world ignore His devotees? '

You should just worship God intensely, the rest will take care of itself, is what he believed in. 

The Mahamantra

Shriji would ask every sadhaka to do at least one lakh twenty five thousand japas of the 'Mahamantra,' and stress that one's thoughts should centre on Lord Krishna only. One's sole aim should be of complete surrender to the Divine. An ardent longing to attain Lord Krishna should be awakened. His teaching was that one should live as a stranger even with former acquaintances.

Shriji would frequently repeat this doha or couplet:

'bari mathe ghrit hoy baru, sikta te baru tel,
bin hari bhajan na bhav tariya yah siddhant apel  | '
(by saint Tulsidasji)


Meditating on the Divine Light

'Even if ghee can be churned from water, or oil from grinding sand, even if the impossible can be made possible, but you cannot be redeemed without meditation on the Divine Light; getting salvation without the devotion of Hari is an irrevocable principle.'

Shri Maharajji had complete faith in various sects and their preceptors but remained neutral because of their mutual feuds, oppositions, jealousies and love-hate relationships.  

 
The Four Founder Acharyas

He used to say that all the four founder Acharyas samparadayas were partially divine incarnations. They had established sects for the salvation of souls and liberated innumerable persons. With solid conviction Shriji endorsed that the path of Acharyas was in accordance with the Vedas and worthy of adoration.

A great saint named Priyasharanji Maharaj whom saints called 'Rasik[4] Jahaz' used to live in Shri Vrindavan Dham. Citing his example Shriji would say,A soul can get liberation from the world but he can’t be freed from the bondage of sect,  life after life.

That is why Shriji used to uphold,One who wants to get salvation in this life should live in seclusion from others and repeat the Name of the Divine with an ardent longing. Sadhakas are always observed by God, and by manifest and unmanifest siddh saints. They shower their grace and give timely help. It is not possible to locate a saint with our limited intellect wrapped in maya or the illusory world. Our yearning will be observed by Lord Krishna who will Himself motivate some saint and send him to you. 

 
 The Saint Will Take You to Krishna

 That saint will then hold your hand and take you to Lord Krishna. In fact, benevolent siddh saints search for devotees themselves and bestow the love of dark-hued Krishna on them. You should just humbly recite His Name, and listen to His glories and divine sports being sung, here and there. Lord Krishna is never pleased by outward appearances but solely sees the heart's pure desire.



Second Visit to Rajkot


In the Magh[5] Month of 1950, Shri Maharajji went to Rajkot again on the insistence of devotees. Shri Vitthalji and I were with him. As earlier, hordes of devotees accorded a grand reception to him at the station itself. This time, Jattubhai Jani, the diwan[6] of Bilkha State, insistently made Shriji stay at his bungalow. Shri Jattubhai was a very sentimental person. He had got himself initiated by a great saint, the sackcloth garbed Shri Narayanswami ( a former high court judge.) 

 
 'Ek Sant Ka Anubhav'

 Shri Narayanswami was known to everyone, everyhere. His book 'Ek Sant Ka Anubhav'('The Experience of a Saint') has been published by Gita Press.

Jattubhai had made special arrangements for Shriji's independent stay and service. Shriji's satsang would take place for two hours every day. When the gathering increased considerably in eight to ten days, Shriji would go for a couple of days  to see some special place, as he done earlier. Those who came to listen to the satsan, went home leisurely after Shriji's departure but the earnest spiritual seekers, eagerly waited for his return. The satsang would start again on Shriji's coming back. The fame of the satsang had spread throughout Rajkot. Moreover, the state surgeon came for Shriji's darshan. Everyone would listen spellbound to the spiritual discourse attentively, which generally lasted for two hours. At its conclusion everybody wanted to touch Shriji's feet but 

 
 'Shrit Kamla Kuch Mandal'

 at the end of Shri Jaydeva's ashtapad[7]i arti 'shrit kamla kuch mandal' ' Shriji would instantly leave by the back door. He would never give anyone a chance to touch his feet.

A high ranking custodian officer who was a resident of Sindh would also come daily for the satsang. Since his body was very bulky it would be very tough for him to sit on the ground for two hours at a stretch but despite this inconvenience he would eagerly listen to the holy recitations because of being a spiritual seeker. He very much wished to touch Shriji's feet. The custodian officer requested Jattubahi for this favour and asked for an appointment. On getting Shriji's approval, he presented himself at the feet of Shriji with lots of sweets and dry fruits. With a tearfully ecstatic throat he requested Shriji to accept them. Seeing his bhava Shriji smiled. He was pleased to see that such a high ranking official had so much humility. The officer got just five minutes to sit with Shriji but was delighted with gratification.

The fame of Shriji's satsang[8] reached the ears of Rajkot's Collector Sahab. One day he too came to the satsang out of curiosity. He must have been able to listen to the satsang for merely five minutes when Shriji concluded the satsang as scheduled.

Later on some prestigious people told Shriji,The Collector Sahab had come so it would have been better if the satsang had continued for some more time.

Laughing, Shriji replied,My satsang is not for the Collector but for spiritual seekers. If he is a spiritual seeker he should try to come on time.

Once, a dentist attended the satsang for a couple of days. He expressed a desire to ask a few questions privately.

Shriji suggested, “ Attend the satsang for fifteen days at a stretch and after that if some questions remain unanswered, ask them.”

The dentist kept coming constantly to the satsang for fifteen days and then assured Shriji, “All my questions have been solved.”

One day Jattubhai (in whose bungalow Shriji was staying) came and begged Shriji, “ The maximum number of people should get the benefit of such glorious discourse. If you allow me I can get pamphlets printed and have a large shamiana put up in the courtyard here.”

“ I say do not even convey to others what you listen to here. One should be selfish in this matter otherwise you will be busy in publicising and I in preaching. Thus without any spiritual gain, we will be getting nowhere,”Shriji replied with a laugh.

Poor Jattubhai left quietly.

In his previous visit to Rajkot, Shriji had continuously stayed at Kanjibhai's place, getting no chance to go to anybody's house. The wishes of so many devotees had remained unfulfilled. This time, despite Jattubhai's insistent urgings Shriji gave a chance to almost the devotees, turn by turn, daily. So the long-standing desire of devotees to offer Prasad to Shriji was fulfilled, to their great joy. Whereas Jattubhai got only two chances to do so in this entire one and a half months span. Jattubhai had a car constantly stationed outside Shriji's room for his outings and prayed to Shriji to use it. 

 j
Junagadh

However, Shriji never sat in it except once for going to Junagadh. He would go on foot to the devotees' houses in Rajkot. Jattubahi himself could not come separately to see Shriji daily, barring the satsang timings.

One of Jattubahai's nephews was lying sick with typhoid fever in a third storey room of Jattubahi's house. Great eminent doctors had treated him but without any success. The boy's body had emaciated and he had become stick-like. At this point of time, satsang was going on in Jattubhai's house. A mike had been fitted in his nephew's room so that he could listen to the satsang while lying down on bed. One day Jattubhai requested Shriji to come up and give the boy his darshan. Shriji went with Jattubhai to his room and sat down on a chair, right next to him. While lying down the nephew touched Shriji's feet and his eyes filled with tears.

Running his hand over the boy's body, Shriji urged, “ Take the Name of God as He only cures!”

Jattubahi made the boy offer coconut, some mithai  and money to Shriji with his hands. Giving spiritual advice for about ten minutes, Shriji came down. Miraculously, that very evening the seventy days old fever came down to normal. Thereafter, the boy recovered gradually.

 Shri Vrindavan Dham

Thus giving the unprecedented benefit of satsang to bhaktas for one and a half months, Shriji came back to Shri Dham Vrindavan.



[1]     Roti: a type of unleavened bread
[2]     Phalgun: 20th March to 21st April
[3]     Satsang: divine congregation
[4]     Rasik: a person moved by passionate religious devotion especially for Krishna
[5]     Magha: is the eleventh month of the year, beginning in Mid-February and ending in Mid-March.
[6]     Diwan:(formerly in India) the chief minister or finance minister of a state ruled by an Indian prince
[7]     Ashtpadi :Gita Govinda was composed in the 12th century by Indian poet Jayadeva. The composition is a lyrical poetry in twelve chapters, sub-divided into twenty four divisions called Prabandha. The Prabandhas contain couplets grouped into eights, called ashtapadis. The songs in Gita Govinda symbolize the eternal love of  LordKrishna  and His beloved Shri Radha..


[8]     Satsang: In Indian philosophy it means the company of the highest truth, the company of a guru, or company with an assembly of persons who listen to, talk about, and assimilate the truth. This typically involves listening to scriptures, reflecting on, discussing and assimilating their meaning, meditating on the source of these words, and bringing their meaning into ones's daily life.