Thursday, November 19, 2009

Chapter 4: Religious Sentiments and Winsome Manners of Childhood

Krishna's Spirited Antics 

Even Lord Krishna draws His bhaktas because of His spirited antics as a child. Children have been considered as the svarupa of God. When the mundane influences an infant, he is invariably distanced from the Supreme Being in the course of time.


Shri Radha-Krishna in the Rainy Season


The rainy season was at its peak and after shasti pujan, the newborn girl began to be affectionately called 'Munno'. Everyone tried to draw her attention by saying 'Shri Radhe, Shri Radhe and Shri Krishna, Shri Krishna'. Gradually the infant began to mumble and focus her eyes as she grew up. Her mama was irked by her dark complexion but inevitably drawn by her charm. The dadi was delighted by her winsome manners, little knowing that this girl was a braj bala and a very dear sakhi of Krishna's, born for His service.

She was not particularly attached to her mother. In a few months she began crawling and her faint laughter turned to cries of delight.

Munno's mother was busy with household chores and most of her time was spent with her dadi. Ever since childhood a distinctive detachment was apparent in her. While crawling she would never sit on the ground but on an elevated place. When she was roughly nine months old she began to toddle and spoke quite fluently on crossing her first year. The house always resounded with her prattle and irrepressible joy.


Shyama ji's Thakurji


Shyamaji's life abounded with religious devotion and she had the full support of her husband. Munno got up with her early in the morning. She watched with concentration when her mother did puja as if she relished the devotional practice. Looking intently at Thakurji , Munno would invariably sit in a cross-legged posture.

Her father raved, "I will not make my Munno a Sita or Savitri but Gargi(the daughter of sage, Vachaknu whose inclination towards academics was very conspicuous from an early age) in academics and Mira in bhakti.

As she grew a bit older she would toddle around the courtyard and striving to go near Thakurji became easier. At times she would join in the ongoing kirtan with eyes closed. An innate interest in the Supreme Being,a distinctive impact of religious devotion, love towards every person and compassion for living beings was obvious early in her life.


Lord Shiva

Time passed by and Munno stepped out to light incense sticks before the tulsi plant, circumambulate the temple, offer water to Lord Shiva, hop up and down the temple's stairs and attentively hear kirtans, cuddled next to her grandmother. She was drawn to her dadi because of conversation focused on Lord Krishna.


Buland Shahr

Munno was very sharp-witted and siting next to her parents during recitation of stotras, she learnt several of them by heart. When roughly two and a half years old she went to her nana in Bulandshahr. There she recited the verse of Ram Raksha Stotra so naturally that he was enraptured with her perfect rendition. He opined that this girl seemed divine and had certainly come to give them salvation.

Right from childhood Munno was never fond of idle gossip or play. Whatever tales of Lord Rama and Krishna she had heard she often narrated to children who were spell-bound. Once at her grandparents' residence she narrated the Satyanarayan Vrata Katha at her nana's insistence. Observing her religious sentiments, Munno's nana and others often exulted about her attributes.

As she grew older she easily imbibed knowledge of the Hindi and English languages from her mother Shyama, with focused attention. Many a times she was steeped in her own thought process in absolute isolation. A certain restlessness nagged her as the month of Shravan set in. She was particularly fond of the rainy season .which gave hope to love-struck souls and tried to find the cause of an inner pathos of longing. During this particular time she abandoned all activities.

Mischievousness
Several times she was seen playing kabaddi, gulli-danda and other sports with children. She entreated deities and read the hanuman chalisa in order to triumph in the play. Seeing her short height and lean physique,she seemed a repository of intense energy. Spirited and mischievous, Munno would often be clad in a dhoti and kurta. 


Munno Intensely Loved Shri Radha-Krishna


She grew up a bit. Hearing her knowledgeable questions-answers, it appeared as if reminiscences of her previous life were surfacing. Her bond with the Supreme Being was visible by her intense passion for Lord Krishna with the passage of time and her childish mindset wanted to do away with the typical imaginations and doubts which tugged it. But God's wish is supreme and love for Radhe-Krishna soon transformed into bhava or love flowing towards the Lord. On maturing it made her conscious of connectivity with the divine and led her on the hungering path which was her destination.

Seeing her absolute inclination for Radha-Krishna everyone was convinced that she had a previous relationship with them. I am going to narrate an incident which endorses this fact. She must have been six years around this time. She went to her nana's house and became very close to her cousin sister. They would play around together but on seeing a particular absorption in Munno and a trance like state at times, her cousin was stunned.

Once both of them were playing in a room on the upper floor of their house, when Bobo(Ushaji) stood up all of a sudden. Her condition turned strange with ears desirous, teary-eyed, sight vigilant and the heart restless. In a peculiar state she crossed the verandah and strove to peep into the environs in front. Mellifluous notes, a lilting melody from behind a tree planted behind the facing wall, arose from the flute in Krishna's hands and filled her with a delicious anguish. And she longed to offer her entire being to that dark god fluting. It seemed as if Krishna's terrifying rush of love had invaded her heart. When her cousin shook her she woke up as if from a reverie.

Another occurrence is worth mentioning. Her father was employed as an adjudicator in an insurance company based in Lahore and Ushaji was with him. The servants swept the house but she had made it a practice to clean Thakurji's room with her own hands. Satsangis, ascetics and saints often dropped in. While sweeping the room she would look lovingly at Thakurji. Once, while doing so she stopped all of a sudden and the broom fell from her hands. Leaning against the wall,she rolled over to one side. With eyes shut and oblivious, she sat still. Later on she related this scene to her devoted friend Sushila Bahenji.







Munno Sees Dark-hued Krishna Playing the Flute


"When she turned to look towards Thakurji she saw a dense pipal tree. An unfired brick platform stood beneath it on which the dark-skinned cowherd frolicked with the flute. Tenderness and teasing loaded his eyes and a slight smile played on his lips. She could hear the chirping of birds and clearly saw Krishna's dark blue-black figure glowing in yellow garments and wearing a garland of flowers. Aching with separation, she experienced the joy of his presence followed by the emptiness of his absence." Interdependence of separation and union is the distinguishing attribute of Krishna's sakhis as romantic heroines.

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