Thursday, January 21, 2010

Chapter 11: Illness-Trip to Mussoorie

Bhaktimati Usha Bahenji

Great people are born with innate virtues. Religious devotion being their unique trait, they work for the well being of everyone considered to be their own. Their attribute is to have great respect for elders. Lovingly tender, they are an open book and above all absorbed in God. Revered Bobo had these inherent qualities of affection, sincerity, humility along with unprecedented spiritual experiences. Every fiber of her being was dedicated to Shyama-Shyam.

Mussoorie, a Hill Station

We have said earlier that Bahenji's health was detereorating. Fever had ravaged her and weakness worsened her ailment. Due to her being duty-conscious and detached towards her body, she turned more feeble. All well wishers and family members suggested going to a hill station and relaxing in seclusion which was not feasible in Ambala. A change and the pristine environs made them decide on going to Mussoorie. Ushaji went to the queen of hill stations with Vimla Tandon and Sanyukta Mishra in June 1954.

Dark-hued Krishna Visible Amidst Gathered Clouds

Even though the fields forests down to the streams of Mussoorie had a pristine innocence she was not at peace. The thick tall trees, colourful flower beds and all pervading silence of nature had her somewhat absorbed. The picturesque beauty appeared like Vrindavan and she longed for the closeness of Thakurji The beauty of Krishna was reflected amid gathered clouds and she often questioned Him as to why He had got her there. At times she could hear, "I need you." Repeating Meera's line," Mai ri, your Shyam has understood my longing," and translating Umar Khayyam couplet she often murmured,

"And Thou
Beside me singing in the wilderness-
And wilderness is paradise now."

Supreme Lover Krishna Bathing with the Gopis on Sharad Poornima

As she admired the night bathed in moonlight on poornima a sentence of Mahaprabhu Chaitanya Mahadev's tugged her heart strings," Today is the day of full moon when you can meet your Supreme lover (Krishna)". She recollected the miracle of the Raas Lila of Krishna's manifestation as human lover and divine incarnate dancing with the gopis in the forest of Madhuvana and bathing with them in the waters of the Yamuna on the radiant night of Sharad Poornima. Identifying herself with the gopis,she reproached Krishna, as she was intensely desirous of having the dark god's attention.

Fleeting thoughts and the joyous seclusion led to her recouping health. Spending some time in Mussoorie, she returned to Ambala. In the month of March 1955 she had to check results of the school's annual examinations. Getting free around six in the evening, she heard the Ramayana being recited. And saw the Lord's divine play which is narrated in her own words:

"These eyes sometimes closed and open at times saw a scene which was captivating. I was ecstatic to observe your loving tenderness showered on me.

I felt like laughing at your spirited antics. Shri Radhika trudging through thick bushes in a kunja was looking for you while you tiptoed behind Her. She could not sense your presence but when She was bewildered on reaching the midst of the dense kunja You stunned Her by placing Your hand on Her shoulder. Scared, She clung to You in desperation. It was so dark that I could merely see that You sat down with Her leaning on You.

Suddenly the voices of sakhis startled you and I saw Radha peeping from behind a thicket of creepers. You left from the backside and then speedily mingled with the sakhis from the other side. Seeing you, they were thrilled. They inquired about Kishori ji and You cleverly said,' Find her. Come, I will look along with you. Let's see who finds Her first.'

Kanhaiya is Looking for Shri Radha

You are certainly a clever shiromani. Purposely you went and sat in another kunja and made a seat of green grass for the sakhis. As a matter of chance they went to the same kunja where Radha was and beholding her enthused,' Kishori! Kanhaiya is also on the look out for you.' Smiling she suggested,' Come let's look for Him. He may not ramble far away looking for me.' She is your replication after all and no less shrewd. Obviously She knew where you could be found and went to the same kunja.

Radha Rani Playing the Flute

All of them saw you serenely reclined on a boulder. Those simple cowherdesses thought that you were tired and disappointed in your search. When they came close and asked about Your state You replied that You knew they would come here and had made a seat of grass for them. Instantly you took out the flute and began playing on the breath of love. Right then Radhaji also picked up a bamboo shoot and guess what it turned into a flute and played. Hearing the sound some other maidens were drawn there and you came out into the open forest with the lot. Right then someone suggested going for a boat ride.

 Shri Radha-Krishna & Gopikas Enjoy a Boat Ride

One of them said it is a bit cold. I do not clearly recollect whether everyone sat in one boat or Shri Radhika and the earlier gopikas in one and the rest in another boat. Anyway splashing the flowing water you all laughed and made merry. The moon slowly rose, it was not poornima but half moon. Teasing comments ensued.

Someone or probably you exulted that there are countless full moons here, how can the half moon possibly compete with them. Instantly the melodious voice of a sakhi echoed. You and the other sakhis joined in the lilting melody. Precisely then Shri Radhika's mellifluous song resounded making the other voices sound faint. Your heart-stealing voice could be heard before the sakhis could join in.

Sakhijan meri atihi sundari
Amit roop chavi dhaam.

Seeing the ethereal scene and hearing the sound I was startled and soon after this enrapturing view vanished from my sight."

Several times wretchedness would outweigh the wave of delight invading Ushaji's heart. When an ardent longing for the closeness of Priya-Priyatam took over she would be agitated. She would remind Krishna of His earlier assurances, "I am able to live life because of such reminiscences and Your closeness or else..."

Shri Radha Rani With Her Sakhis

She complained yet again," Svamini (Shri Radha) is very compassionate. Invariably she instills her selfless and sweet feeling of love for You in everyone but has abandoned me. Why does She not give just a bit of her rasa to this sakhi who attends to Her needs. My Supreme Lover, just remind Her of the boon She had granted when I was ailing and had promised me of your terrifying rush of love." (Radha's characterization in the literature of the Gaudiyas represents the highest ideal of religious rapture experienced through madhura rasa, the sentiment of sweet romance.)

The path of love is very strange. Pining is its nature and a constant yearning its form. An ardent longing adds to the cry of the individuated soul for union with the handsome god. Love-struck devotees casting off their work and all their worldly cares and moving in a delicious anguish to Krishna's side, are cleansed in a passionate desire for more and more of his love.

Shri Narada

Shri Naradji, friend and devotee of Krishna, sees the love of the gopis as transcendental love of the highest order. Such love represents the purest emotion a soul may have for its divine source. Krishna exists intensely in their hearts when they sing his praise and dwells in their longing for him. Seeing blue-hued Krishna in front,the gopis are satiating their perennial quest and constantly hungering for more of his love.

Several times tears streamed down Ushaji's cheeks and she had sleepless nights. A seeker for the love of Krishna,she was pacified by sweet reminiscences as she searched for the ultimate reality.

The Bhagavad Gita

Several women would come to her for recitation of the 'Bhagvad Gita' and she spared time in her busy schedule. The exercise did not fatigue her but soothed her like a balm.Once her father raised this matter angrily. You are tired slogging throughout the day. Rest during the half-hour which you spend in reading the Gita.He replied harshly," You will feel its repercussions in old age when the senses become sluggish."

The matter ended there. Bahenji was very depressed at this outburst. Kirtan or songs of a devotional nature began in the evening. Strange apprehensions stormed her mind. Wrong words spoken against Thakurji pained her immensely and she was distressed.

As soon as kirtan got over, Bahenji's father said affectionately,"Munno, come here." Meekly she went to him. Teary-eyed he said, "Thakurji has enlightened me when the kirtan was going on." She was apprehensive that the earlier unpleasant scene may repeat itself.

Lord Krishna is Arjuna's Charioteer

Ushaji revealed,"But my delightful surprise knew no bounds when Babuji told what you (Thakurji) had said, 'You scold her pointlessly. You must know that there is a vast difference in singing my glory and exertion due to worldly activities. Arjuna's arrows hit their targets because I was his charioteer. His wounds were healed the moment I caressed them. In the same manner fatigue of the mundane world is expelled by glorifying me. Why do you unnecessarily worry about her.'

Shri Shri Thakurji (the Lord's svarupa) had a living presence in all her talks and actions. In reality she had been born due to his wishes for fulfilling his task. She did the duties relegated to her with help of the handsome god who was a witness to every act of her's. Getting immense support of his assurances and relishing his leela or divine play at every step, she progressed spiritedly and fearlessly, lighting the lives of several people, and enflaming their desires for union with the divine.

No comments: