Sunday, March 18, 2018

Chapter 8: A Lonesome Nomadic Lifestyle

 Shri Balkrishna Das ji Maharaj

Now Shri Maharaj ji became absolutely free from the confinement of place and lived a nomadic lifestyle. He begged for alms from kshetras [1], here and there. Above all, he would go and see the Rasa Lila[2] where it was being enacted. And he slept wherever he pleased. Maharajji became absolutely companionless after the departure of Kamal Nayan ji. He did not live with or increase his acquaintance with anyone for a few years. Neither did he live in any ashram nor did he have dealings with any sampradaya.

 Tilaks/Sectarian Marks

So much so that Shri Balkrishna Das ji Maharaj stopped applying tilak or wearing other sectarian signs. Even the convention of purification rituals was relaxed. He would beg for alms from some kshetra of Vrindavan or from the homes of Braj denizens. Steeped in the joyous abandon of worshipping God, the delight of meditating on God's lila  along with an ardent longing for pratyaksha darshan, actual seeing the Divine, he began moving about freely at his own will.

The Narada Bhakti Sutra

 yo vedan api sanyasyati kevalam avicchinnanuragam labhate  |
(Sutra 49, Narada Bhakti Sutras)

It is a state in which the devotee forsakes religious observances ordained by the Vedas and remains steeped in the flow of incessant prema or loving devotion for Shri Radha-Krishna:

Shri Udiya Baba

In those days the Rasa Lila used to be enacted in the ashram of Shri Udiya Baba, the Vanshi Vat and Brahmachari Mandir. Shri Maharaj ji would go to the sites to see these performances. At night he would rest at any of the following places:Davanal Kund, Govindji's Mandir, Cheer Ghat, Keshi Ghat or the old Mandir of Shri Harivanshji. In those days the ashram of Shri Udiya Baba ji Maharaj was a famous place. Shri Udiya and Shri Hari Babaji were fully siddh, self-realized saints, at that time. The immense joy on seeing the Rasa Lila which was enacted daily in the ashram, was indescribable.

Enactment of the Rasa Lila, Shri Rasa Bihari & Shri Radha

Shri Hari Baba ji Maharaj had great faith in the Rasa. When Rasa Bihari[3] got seated on the throne he would fully prostrate before Him and put a garland on him.  

Shri Hari Baba

Standing behind him, Hari Baba would keep waving the chanwar[4] as long as the Rasa went on. Shri Maharajji had great regard for him. Furthermore, Maharaj ji went through a unique incident related to Shri Hari Baba, which shall be narrated later, contextually.

Davanal Kund

Generally after seeing Rasa in the ashram of Udiya Baba, Shri Balkrishna Das ji would take bhiksha of two rotis from Bombay Kothi Kshetra[5] and keep lying in a cave near the stairs of Davanal Kund. He would not even go to the basti[6]   for several days at a stretch.  

Radish & Carrots

Once it so happened that the time of the Rasa Lila’s enactment in Udiya Baba's Ashram and the time of giving bhiksha in the Bombay Kothi Kshetra coincided in the winter season. So he would go to a field after the Rasa and asking for carrot or radish he would survive on them. Four months passed by in this fashion.

[1]     Kshetra: food centre
[2]     Rasa Lila: enactment of the round dance of Krishna with the herdgirls of Braj, a performance depicting Krishna and the gopis dancing in communion, a typle of popular drama dealing with the exploits of Krishna

[3]     Rasa Bihari: youn boy enacting the role of Lord Krishna
[4] Chanwar: the ceremonial flapper
[5]     Kshetra: free food centre
[6]     Basti: settlement for homeless people

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