Sunday, February 28, 2010

Chapter 22: Higher Education in Hindi-Meeting Several Close Ones in the Course of Bhakti

Learning does not come just with education. Where there is tenderness, serenity, affection, regard and one is instinctively moved by someone's sorrow, it means we have amassed all the virtues in our life.


These attributes had become an intrinsic part of revered Bahenji's life. Stripped of arrogance and a icon of humility, she was respected by her students, loved by collegues,held in high esteem by the learned, famed in politics and saints were very fond of her.Above all her affection and terrifying rush of love for Radha-Krishna would invariably draw others to her.


Her mentor in education was an ascetic. Acharya Sevti Prasadji was the grandeur of Ambala. Coming into contact with great writers, he was an idealist.A loin cloth and an angocha were his sole possessions and he lived with great austerity. He would make tea for students in winter and arrange food for those who came from a distance. If a student did not turn up he would intuitively visit him, worried about his well-being.Teaching at daybreak, he would often arrange for firewood to warm them in the bitter cold. Acharyaji never demanded money as fees from his students and revered Bobo adopted this practice.


Sevti Prasadji doted on Bahenji. On his insistence, Bahenji appeared for the Sahitya Ratan (title awarded to those passing the uppermost grade of a particular examination in Hindi Literature) and passed with flying colours. He would assert," I have explicit knowledge of the Hindi language but am really proud of Munno. No one can give such a beautifully lucid interpretation of religious texts and lives of bhaktas, which she can. Not even me."


It was natural since she had reverential belief in saints and their verbal compositions, understood their traditional norms and was ecstatic on listening to their padas sung in daily and festive use.


Shri Jagdish Chandra Josh's school where she taught exulted, about her potential and the privilege of having the principal of Santan Dharam Girls School working for him.


As of now she had passed M.A. and the Sahitya Ratan. The honour conferred on her since childhood did not make her brazen but humble and tender at heart. All those who treated her as Munno and their own young daughter now had reverential affection on seeing her majesty. Eminent personages in the current scene like Brahmanandji Saraswati Shankracharya,Shri Gangeshwarnandji Maharaj, revered Udiya Baba, Ma Anandamayi,


Shri Hari Baba,

Shri Prabhu Datt Brahmachariji,Goswami Shri Binduji Maharaj, Goswami Ganesh Dattji,Shri Mukund Hariji, Shri Dinanath Dinesh and other saints were often invited for the Sabha's festivals, religious functions and big sammelans.As a principal she played a significant role in organizing the sammelan, interchanging perspectives along with a detailed discussion on spiritual topics with the luminaries.


Bahenji had a great sense of humour. Once some learned personages came from outside. Out of reverence she was also posited on the podium. A speaker bragged during his sermon,"Friends you do not know anything and can not comprehend what I am about to say." When he repeated the sentence a second time Bahenji got up and left the stage. Later when the Sanatan Dharmis asked the reason she explained gently yet firmly that the speaker was stressing that we can not figure out what he is about to reveal. Therefore why should we sit and while away our time. All those present laughed heartily at her gibe.


Ushaji meets Pushpa Grover

During these days Pushpa Grover having a modern mindset came into contact with revered Bahenji and was highly impressed.


Pushpaji's father had come to Ambala due to the partition of Punjab. The practice of Thakurji's seva prevailed in their house since quite some time. Brought up in a contemporary affluent family, her innocence, softness and clarity drew Bahenji to her.


Soon after the regular meetings transformed into great affection and Pushpaji began visiting Ushaji's house for satsang.A few days later the need of a teacher cropped up in the school and brought them closer. Spontaneously God arranges for like-minded people to meet and steeps them in the distinctive rush of religious devotion.


As a matter of chance after propitiating Lord Shiva, Bahenji was heading home when she met a very fashionable girl. Short in stature and heavy, she seemed very spiritual and gullible. She willing to work for the school without wages.


Stripped of self-gratification and pride she found respite in Bahenji's bent of mind. And becoming humble soon after, was deeply engrossed in Krishna.


Pushpaji got admission in the Hindi section of M.A. due to her increasing contact with Bahenji who took M.A classes. The time of study was fixed at two o' clock in the night. Amusingly Bahenji decided to take a fees of Rs.200 which she usually never asked for. Pushpaji agreed but wondered where the money would come from. An idea struck her and breaking her gold bracelets took Sushilaji along to sell them. When Sushilaji knew her intention she convinced her to come the next day. At the other end Usha Bahenji who had taken a vow of silence was stunned when Sushilaji narrated the episode to her, and moved by her naivety.


Pushpaji had once exulted," What was the magic of Bahenji's enigmatic persona? I would hover around her house to hear discourses on spirituality, moved by her complete absorption in the joy of Krishna. Her idealistic lifestyle made me evolve spirituality and helped me live in Vrindavan, where I got to know the Krishna that abides in our hearts."

* * *

The priceless twenty-seven years and a day of Bahenji's life had passed by. Not enamoured by accolades, Bahenji did not deviate from her path by the worldly repute and affinity she had received.She was bestowing spiritual awareness on several sadhakas by distributing the rasa or blissful experience of Krishna. Or rather by his terrifying rush of love, the blue-hued god wanted to draw his devotees to Vrindavan.Physically Bahenji was bound by some unknown constraint. Everyone has seen her in seclusion as if lost in another world, oblivious of her surroundings.


Her budding persona on the political and social arenas was as powerful as narration of Krishna's divine play and seva-puja, which was a unique phenomenon.


She would reveal on coming to Vrindavan that who ever came into contact with her in Ambala did not take much time in reaching his destination. It was due to the gushing love which exuded from her of its own accord. Divine love never weighs suitability or unsuitability and instinctively immerses us in the deeper ecstasies of devotion.


During this course, Bahens who studied in junior classes graduated to senior ones. Due to innate virtues some of them thronged here as if a hidden power incited the lot.Studies would carry on in the school and simultaneously spiritual company,religious education, recitation of the Ramayana, chanting God's name, singing songs of a devotional nature and reading bhaktas' biographies continued. To know of their intense feelings Bahenji made them write on some particular topic. Immensely moved during sankirtan several of them could not control this divine madness and went into a trance like state.


However Bahenji urged them to conceal and not flaunt their intense love for Krishna.


She endorsed Naradji's theory,'Gopneeya, gopneeya, gopneeya prayatnat.' Which means we should strive to keep our ardent love for the handsome god a secret.


Above all Shri Umaji, Darshanji, Vimlaji, Aabja, Tripta, Vimla Tandon, Shashi, Shanta, Sneh, Indu, Santosh, Sneh Bhasin, Santosh Narang,Sumitra, Saroj, Pushpa, Nirmala Sharma, Nirmala Gupta, Kaushal, Malka, Kamda and others evolved spiritually with the impetus of Bahenji. Those who kept up contact with her reached their destination and no force could deviate those at a distance since they were overwhelmed by the spiritual scene and satsang.


The wave of religion and bhakti escalated to such an extent in Bahenji's company that visitors were eagerly looking for free time to drop in. Making excuses of studying, to complete their pending assignment or if their parents had gone out, they would head to Bahenji's house. It seemed that the attraction of living through the countless legends of Radha-Krishna was drawing them. Bahenji would teach for certain but most of the time was spent in satsang.


Bobo

The word Bobo was used for an elder sister in Muzaffar Nagar and its neighbouring regions. Being eldest in the house, Bahenji's younger brothers and sisters would address her as Bobo.There was such loving affection that all outsiders considered themselves a member of her family, moving around confidently in the house as if it were their own. Therefore Ushaji known as Munno to elders and Bahenji for outsiders, became equally revered by all as Bobo. Now onwards we will be referring to her as Bobo.


Decorum affected her life. On one hand she appeared with net adorning her hair due to her father's insistence and, alongside she always wore a high close-necked blouse with full sleeves.Once a Bahen slightly envious of her repute, had remarked about her dress up to the school's director.Rebuffing her instantly he replied," You are talking of Bahenji, whose arms have never been bared. I want to hear no contradictory statement about her who is the icon of seemliness."


During spiritual education and sermons she would explain so naturally that it can not typically be called a sermon. Due to her eternal bond with Krishna, episodes of the Shastras, Gita and Puranas were discerningly imbibed.People contacting her did not individually study the scriptures but instinctively accumulated its essence needed on the divine path.


Introduction to Shri* Dharam Bahenji

Talk of Dharam Bahenji often ensued through the medium of Vimla Bahenji. A rush of bhakti invaded Ambala in the proximity of revered Bobo. Several saints would visit the place and religious devotion was resplendent in every house.


Vimlaji went to receive Dharam Bahenji at the station on knowing of her arrival but the two could not reach at the same time and Dharamji hired a tonga.She told the tongawala," I need to go to Vimlaji's house." He replied," Yes! I very well know Usha Bahenji's residence and will certainly take you along." She repeated herself and he was dumb.Soon she told a passerby," I have to go to Vimlaji's place." Taking her along, he pointed to Ushaji's residence,"That house in front is Usha Bahenji's." Ultimately Dharamji got down and coming inside met Usha Bahenji.


She asked Ushaji,"Are you Ushaji?" Thrilled, Ushaji ran to her and exulted,"Dharamji has come." It seemed she knew her earlier and a fervent enthusiasm affected the scene. Two sakhis crazed for Krishna had met. Discussions on the dark-god ensued with these two sakhis and other Bahens singing his glories. Revered Bobo's steadfast attraction was such that even on wanting to Dharamji met Usha Bahenji instead of Vimlaji.


Revered Dharam Bahenji visited Ambala again and Usha Bahenji got this news. Soon enough she went to meet her. After the conversation Bobo told Vimlaji," I am hungry. Do get me something."Meals had got over at Vimlaji's place and she expressed the condition but Ushaji insisted which she never did at home. Seeing her strange behaviour everyone was amazed. Soon after, Dharamji shyly revealed," I have some paranthas with me."While narrating the incident Dharamji had explained," Bobo had come to know of the paranthas beforehand and perhaps persisted in this manner to relish them. I was really touched to see her affection and affinity."


This time when Dharamji came to Ambala she stayed on since there was an attraction of reciting the playfull dalliance of Krishna. She began working in the same school where Usha Bahenji was principal. Everyone eagerly looked forward to satsang which could be on holidays, after school got over, before it began and while going from one classroom to another.


It seemed as if two schools of thought existed at the same time. Duty consciousness, true justice and concern about the children's studies, along with reminiscences of her supreme lover, Krishna, became a beatific state dazzling Bahenji. Bobo had once remarked," I have done several tasks with this individual mind and body simultaneously."


*Everyone knows of Major General A.N.Sharma, who controlled the nation after independence.His son V.N.Sharma was a high ranking official of the Army. Shri Sharma had the blessings of saints and dreamt that his true guru was at a certain place. Searching for her house, he reached Lahore. Dharamji was coming from the front and he prostrated in reverence. A girl about 20 to 21 years remarked very naturally,"Amar Nath you have come very late." Those who have seen her roaming intoxicated in the idyllic pastures of Vrindavan, certainly knew of her intense bond with Krishna. I have heard she would do kikli alone( a sport wherein two children hold hands and go round in circles). On her mother asking, she had instinctively revealed that the handsome god was her partner.


The Shrimad Bhagwad Gita made a great contribution to Bobo's life. She had profound reverence for this precious voice which emanated from Krishna and its context. Having made an indepth study of the religious text at a very young age,she made several people, ascetics and saints go through it. Besides other scriptures like the Puranas,


biography of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu,

Rama Krishna Paramahansa and Upanishads were read daily in the house. Talk of Krishna's legends had taken over her life.


Introduction to Shri Dwarka Singh

A denizen of Amritsar and lover of Vrindavan, he is renowned for his reverential belief and singing songs of a devotional nature. Ever since his days in Lahore he longed for Vrindavan, where the god forever dwells. He visited Ambala on coming to know about Bobo. Her spiritual sensitivity and intense love for Krishna captivated him.Whenever he came to the dham for darshan he would certainly meet Bobo who he held in high esteem. By singing padas and sankirtan he would often please Thakurji.

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