The history of revered Bobo's poor health is very long. Ailing and weak with a very limited intake of food, Bobo attended to her daily tasks, the school's work, social obligations and arranged for satsangs along with writing books.But her spiritual awareness, dependence on Priya-Priyatam, working according to their wishes and above all her strength of character was so powerful that she did not consider the worst of illnesses as ailments.
She used to say her body was attacked by several fearsome diseases but her svami Krishna was making this physique carry on for his own self. No one could say she was ill on seeing her spiritedness when she had 104 fever. Doctors in Ambala had been astounded on seeing her alertness and this continued-even in Vrindavan when devotees ran on hearing she was ill.She would meet them so spontaneously that no one could figure out that she was ailing.
The reason was Bobo had implicit faith in Krishna's presence and power and was free from anxiety. The handsome god had given an assurance that she could recover whenever she wanted. Her eyesight was very weak and she could not read a large alphabet with ease-but did the most beautiful seva and shringar of Shri Thakurji, embroidering the finest of motives.
Once in Ambala her father had insisted that she take rest when she was sick but Thakurji had intervened, “Why do you unnecessarily stop her from narrating lilas.I am the one concerned about her well being.
In the era of the Mahabharata I was the one who bore the pain of Bhisham Pitamah's body pierced by arrows.”
Whenever the topic of wearing spectacles cropped up she would say, “My affairs are managed from above (Radha-Krishna) and if you tarnish them with the mundane I will be deprived of the dark god's grace and loving tenderness.” And this is precisely what happened.
In the 1990s she was affected by diabetes. Her father had this ailment and it was hereditary. Initially she was not in favour of following any diet or medication.Having unfailing reverence for prasad (food offered to an idol)she felt all treatments would become easily feasible.
Her mind was way above physical obligations since Bobo did not belong to this temporal world. She was never keen for a medical examination and did not allow a medical practitioner to touch her body. She knew of just one vaidh,the dark-hued Krishna who was the energy and soul of her life. While ailing she would endorse at times,
“This is for sure that Radha-Krishna are looking after me. If ever such a condition arises that everyone insists on taking me to the dispensary then do not do so because it is better to end my suffering in the proximity of Shri Thakurji.”
She did not adopt any particular recourse for diabetes apart from moderation in meals. Her diet was limited and followed by intense hard work soon after. A busy schedule for the entire day and merely half a roti (bread cake) and many a times even less.Yes! She would certainly take the tea offered to Thakurji and just a bit of fruits and milk.
During this decade, intermittent fever, fearsome ailments of the legs, malaria and unbearable pain in the head racked her frame but she was never dejected or lacking in initiative. Having faith in the compassionate grace of the dark god, she knew that making her suffer for sins of her previous lives, Krishna did not want anything to be left outstanding and thus the anguish passed by peacefully.
Whenever ailments confronted her they had a fearsome form and it is not as if she did not suffer. However she continued the dedicated seva of Radha-Krishna with absolute alertness in all her activities considering them to be the wish of Shyama-Shyam. The zenith of her tolerance was apparent on seeing such a firm resolve and perseverance.
Krishna in a nikunja with gopis
Wherein her body appeared frail, her lively sentiments absorbed in Braj, Vrindavan, the nikunjas, Vanshivat, banks of the Yamuna, caverns of Giri, enchanting Vrasbhanupur, Gahar Van, Sankhri Khor, Shri Nandgram, Lalitasar,Prem Sarovar, the festivities of birth celebrations, the spiritedness of spring, the merriment of Holi, the fragrant morns of summers, lazy joyful afternoons and dark evenings, made her relish the playful dalliances of Krishna.
A loving entreaty by Shri Thakurji to have sweet tea
Bobo's Yugal or Radha-Krishna
We have said earlier that bhoga of tea was offered to Shri Thakurji on waking him. Bobo would certainly drink the tea later in the form of prasad. When diabetes afflicted her some associates proposed that she have sugar less tea and she agreed gleefully. She had no addiction and if she did have an ardent longing it was for the handsome Krishna. Her personal life was sincere, transparent like glass and tender.
As she was about to sip the tea, the svarupa of the yugal (Radha-Krishna) served by her, got down from their sinhasan (pedestal) stood on the stool and affectionately insisted that she drink sweet tea. She was deeply moved by the display of their loving tenderness and the question of turning down the request did not arise.
Darshan of Shri Nathji
Shri Nathji Thakur
The svarupa of Shri Nathji Thakur has been splendidly residing in Braj.Many of his spirited characteristics are renowned the world over. One of the main attractions of going to Giriraj used to be darshan of Shri Nathj.Several times the programme of going to Nathdwara was made but postponed. The matter dates back to September 1985 when a plan to go to Shri Giriraj with some associates was fixed. A sudden visit to Chandra Sarovar was made on reaching there.They went to sight the bhajan site of Surdasji and baithak of Mahaprabhuji.Shri Nathji was present in the form of a picture in those days.
Revered Bobo instantly remembered Shri Nathji, and saw him standing in the same frivolous charming manner and enchanting her. Bending his neck slightly to tease Bobo he looked at her and smiled, which made her reach the heights of elation and ecstasy. Thereafter she had said that now her resolve to go to Nathdwara and have darshan of Nathji had been fulfilled.
Darshan of Shri Thakur Gokulnathji
Shri Gokulnathji Thakur
The matter is not very old and Vijay had come to Vrindavan.One day instantly while decking her sevya Thakurji Bobo asked, “Will you come to Gokul.” He replied in the affirmative but was wary,“Bobo! The shringar of Thakurji has yet to be completed.The time of aarti is roughly nine-thirty after raj bhog during summer time. How will we ever reach on time?”
She repeated,”You just answer are you coming?” It seemed mysterious and he said yes.Amazingly shringar was done ahead of time today.Soon after Bobo and Vijay reached Mathura across the Yamuna where you get buses for Gokul.On inquiring everyone said, “Darshan is about to close and aarti will be over by the time you get there.” Vijay was indifferent but Bobo's insistence to go ahead was firm.
By bus they reached Gokul and arrived at the temple of Gokulnathji by rickshaw.Vaishnavas were returning after darshan. Gokulnathji, the living presence of the pushti margis service,is manifest for everyone.As soon as we reached there the sevakas drew the curtains and said,”Have darshan!” Behind the drawn curtain revered Bobo, Vijay, the pujari and Shri Gokulnathji along with his two sakhis were the only ones present.
When Vijay asked Bobo after coming out she disclosed that Gokulnathji had given an indication to come to Gokul in Vrindavan itself and when they reached the bus terminal he was visible in front-saying, “Don't be anxious, you will have darshan.”In this manner he walked alongside to warmly welcome them. Soon after the bhandari or cook came and took them into the kitchen where they were given a leaf platter of prasad and a laddu from the raj bhog.(major noon offering of food to an idol).
Darshan in the Banke Bihari form
Thakur Shri Banke Bihariji
The flirtatious and sportive form Shri Banke Bihari has enraptured emotional bhaktas, which is reflected by masses thronging to catch a glimpse of him. Once Bobo was standing on top in the verandah to the left and having darshan. Suddenly she saw Bihariji adulating her with a loving glance in his eternal dark-hued form of a youth, loaded with madhurya and ineffable beauty. Alongside he was alert so that no one else could watch this form of his. Revered Bobo was ecstatic on relishing this svarupa of Bihariji.
Darshan of Shri Radha Vallabhji
Shri Radha Vallabhji Thakur
The actual delight of holi-phaag is abundant in Braj when everyone is zealous. Once during holi Bobo went to have darshan of Shri Radha Vallabh Thakurji.She was standing in front when the priest sprinkled colour on her. She reflected if Krishna had drenched her in colour it would be rapturous. Instantly the capricious blue-hued god appeared and revealed, “I have had the colour thrown. "Thereafter Bobo stood absorbed for some time.
Surprisingly the pujari was showering colour in the temple but it fell on the other bhaktas standing nearby.
The decade of 1990s gradually withdrew and due to the onslaught of diseases it became feeble.As far as medication was concerned Bobo took no precaution except abstinence.The weakness increased but even so she religiously followed her regime of serving Shri Thakur and as an icon of loving tenderness gave full respect to all beings.
Achievements and Predicaments in 1992
The year of 1992 began embarrassed with bouts of physical illness, trying to keep its name from being defamed. Her ailing state worsened but Bobo forgot her plight while ardently longing for festivals and the divine play of Shri Thakurji.Several times asking her ill health to take a back seat she would appear absolutely healthy, alert and radiant in the festivities. I am reminded of the competence of guru Ramdasji Maharaj.The way he entrusted his fever to a bedding of rags, Baba Maharaj became healthy and the bedding shivered with fever.Bobo had precisely the same power which she brought into use at times for attending the needs of Thakurji and festivals.
Bobo along with Priya-Priyatam plus sakhis took part in the merriment of spring,dressed in colourful clothes.Delighting in the festival of holi she was absorbed in the haze of gulal and the charge of colour from a pichkari.
Water sports of Radha-Krishna and their sakhis
In summer afternoons she was engrossed in Radha-Krishna playfully dallying in bucolic groves, and their water sports and romantic dalliances in the evening. Soon after she was steeped in Priya-Priyatam soaked in a deluge of the joyous rain.
The realm of love is strange wherein the beloved is happy in the joy of the supreme lover.Krishna knows of this sacrifice which is stripped of self interest and thus constantly rewards his devotees by impassioned assurances, delightful reminiscence and his closeness. The root of their lives, the dark god becomes the powerful support of his bhaktas' ardent longing for the supreme lover.
Lord Krishna's Janamashtami
The days passed one by one and so did weeks and months. Seasons changed as was characteristic of nature.Showers of the rainy season filled everyone with enthused exultation and nature was bathed clean. The birth celebrations of the tender handsome Krishna, the wealth of his devotees, arrived.The day of 2nd Septemeber 1999 was just round the corner.Two days earlier Bobo had a stroke and on 1st September while going to the Yamuna she had an another attack. Her speech slurred and face also became slightly distorted but bowed before her steadfastness, tolerance and assiduousness.
In such agony she went walking to the banks of the Yamuna and returned without any support She would always say, “What has happened to me that all of you are insistent for attention. Just think can such an ailing person walk about in this fashion.” Meanwhile when she was returning from the Yamuna,Sushila Bahenji who had gone along told Shri Mahohar Dasji of Venu Vinog Kunj of her condition,sending Kanhaiya the rickshaw puller to get him.Bobo could not tolerate this and began returning alone from Seva Kunj.She had walked a bit ahead when Manohardasji and Ghanshyam Dashji stopped her en route and forcefully made her sit in the rickshaw saying,”Respected Maharaji was ready to come but we stopped him somehow.”
In such a feeble condition she visited twelve sites for Thakurji's darshan. Undoubtedly she had the support of Priya-Priyatam because of which she was not anxious. The shringar of Shri Thakurji was also a bit disorderly on Janamshtami but making her sight his divine svarupa or living presence, Krishna did not let her sense it.Nothing of the temporal plane could impact revered Bobo,absorbed in the constant closeness of Shyama-Syam, and she seemed healthy in a few days time.
The festival of Janamashtami and Nandutsav passed happily and in apprehension. The lines below sum up what her heart felt:
Bhanu Nandini and Nand Kumar
Mere ek matra aadhaar|
Bhanunandini, Nand Kumar || 4.9.1991