Monday, January 24, 2011

Baba Shri Manohar Das ji, the Pride of the Spiritual World-XXIX

The Maha Mantra is a Prayer to Radha, Asking Her to Engage us in Lord Krishna's Service

Baba got such immense affection, respect and honour in Barwani that he had no inkling when, where and how his entire day was spent. Showing the path to young men singing film song and gazals in Barwani, he stimulated them to chant the 'Maha Mantra' (asking mother Hare or Radha , the Godhead in female form, to engage us in Lord Krishna's service); so that the torch of reciting Lord Hari's name kindled by highly revered Shri Maharaj ji was constantly ablaze.

The Hari Naam Sankirtan

Simultaneously their lives transformed by advancing on the path of spirituality. Several of these youths' heart-felt desires were fulfilled and they had many miraculous experiences after the sankirtan (glorifying a deity with devotional songs) got over. This faction of youths was so deeply impressed by Baba that they began coming to Vrindavan for the sake of his darshan, later on.

When the continuous sankirtan of Hari Naam's 'Mahamantra' was going on in Barwani, Manohar Baba also went to Maheshwar, his home town. There he was given a grand welcome by the showering of flowers and his arti being done (a ceremony in which a dish holding a lamp, burning ghee, incense and other articles is moved in a series of circles in front of the revered person.)All the residents of his colony lit lamps at the entrances of their own houses as if they were celebrating the festival of Diwali on Baba's homecoming.

Shri Manohar Baba Entering Maheshwar After Several Years

The members of Baba's family decked their doorways with garlands of flowers and made rangoli or painted decorative patterns at the entrance. Shyam Mule and Dilip Mule, his nephews spread carpets on the path and lovingly got their Kulbhushan Baba to their house. Sprinkling water at the main door to ward off the evil eye, both their wives made Baba ceremonially enter the house.

With Baba's arrival the denizens of Maheshwar were very pleased. Delighted at this show of affection, Baba went to ask about the well being of all neighbours living near his house.

Baba Praying to Shri Narsingh Bhagvan, his Family Deity

On going home, first of all he respectfully bowed before Shri Narsingh Bhagwan, his family deity. Alongside he did darshan of that miraculous shivling (the phallic emblem of Shiva) which he used to serve and worship everyday by offering 108 bilav patras (leaf of the wood apple tree as offered to Shiva), before coming to Vrindavan.

Thereafter Manohar Baba returned to Vrindavan. Three to four times he ventured from Vrindavan to Barwani, to take part in the 501 days akhand sankirtan of Hari Naam. He stayed on for a month and sometimes for one and a half months. When the residents of Barwani would stop Baba from going to Vrindavan because of their immense love, he would respond spontaneously, “Have faith in the fact that I am here itself.” And this statement of his was literally true. Several of his bhaktas were conscious of his constant presence in Barwani.

Many of his devotees had divine experiences which appear astonishing. During the akhand sankirtan an arrangement for tea and refreshments to be served to everyone after midnight, had been made. One fine night, the milk which had been kept aside for tea got spoilt. Therefore the procedure of making tea got shelved. By an amazing act of fate a devotee who was asleep, woke up all of a sudden and thought of going to the sankirtan site for making tea. When he reached Ram Mandir, the bhakta saw that the milk had got spoilt. In such a condition that person instantly arranged to get milk from elsewhere. Soon after he prepared tea and made everyone drink it.

When Manohar Baba went to Barwani for participating in the concluding ceremony of the continuous Hari Naam sankirtan in Barwani, he was given a splendid welcome. A young girl had been decked fully and holding a thali of arti, she was made to stand for receiving him. As soon as Baba saw her, he reached the heights of elation and ecstasy. Walking along with a tottering gait, he was teary-eyed. Seeing his unsteady steps, people gave him their support and taking him to the dais, made him sit down. Later on he had revealed to his intimate adherents that a spark is enough to stimulate us spiritually.

Lord Krishna's Divine Play

The Lord's lila or divine play is going on constantly all around. If a sadhaka or aspirant remains within the periphery of chintan or meditating upon Him, spiritual evolution can take place from the most trivial of things. Soon enough, the mind does not remain in one's control.

Under the supervision of Manohar Baba a grand majestic procession was taken out in Barwani on the sankirtan's conclusion. Persons of all castes and religious sects enthusiastically took part in this ceremonial ending. People were eager to take Baba who was journeying in the procession, to their respective homes and business establishments. Manohar Baba managed to go to the houses and work places of several people, and gave them his blessings. Suprisingly Baba sat for seven hours at a stretch in a motor car and directed the procession. Wherever it went, flowers were showered, arti was done and alongside light refresments were served as well.

In the bhandara (meal provided for holy men)held in the concluding ceremony of the akhand Harinam Sankirtan, more than even six thousand persons were given food-prasad from 12 to 2:30 in the afternoon, the time specified by Manohar Baba. The denizens of Barwani remember this historical event with great pride, even as of today.

If we look at the entire life span of Manohar Baba we gather that he had transcendental and miraculous experiences from time to time. Some astonishing incidents which I know of are given below:

Lord Krishna Dancing in Perfect Rhythm

There is an event centred around the daily sankirtan which was held in the evenings in Venu Vinod Kunj, as a regime. During the sankirtan Baba saw Shri Krishna dancing with sweet rhythmic movements in perfect harmony to the music, but he could not believe his eyes. All of a sudden a thought cropped up in his mind that he would consider this happening as true only if some person confirmed this scene.

Shri Balkrishan Das ji Maharaj

'Precisely then, highly revered Shri Maharaj ji who was in his room said, “Yes indeed! Shri Krishna has come to the kirtan and is dancing himself.” Hearing this statement, Baba was ecstatic and the elation of this incident affected him for several days.(pages 381-382 of 'Smriti Kaumudi,'the memoirs of Shri Manohar Baba)

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