Monday, March 26, 2018

Chapter 9: Stay at Mathura & Wandering in Braj (Part 1)

Shri Vrindavan

Three years had passed since Maharajji had been staying at Shri Vrindavan Dham. In spite of not coming in close contact with many people several denizens of Braj had come to know him.

He had an aversion for thronging masses as the Gita preaches:

'viviktadeshsevitvam,aratirjansansadi  '

'Dwelling in a secluded place and lack of desire to be in a crowd.'

Bengali Ghat, Mathura

So Maharajji left Vrindavan for some time and thought it was best to go to Mathura. He began to live at the secluded Bengali Ghat on the banks of the Yamuna in Mathura. At times he would venture to Vrindavan to see the 'Rasa Lila.' Leaving his abode on the Yamuna's banks he would generally not go to the city of Mathura. Alone and concealed, he would sometimes lie down on the small turret, or on the banks of the ghats, a three-doored hall or a temple. Only on feeling hungry he would take bhiksha from some kshetra. A glimpse of how he would live life, devoid of bodily care and disinterested in worldliness can be seen from the following incident.

A Cobra With a Black Hood

It was summer and noontime. Lost in his realm of spiritual emotion, Maharajji was lying down with eyes closed in a small Shivalaya[1] on Bengali Ghat. Soon enough, a black hooded cobra came from somewhere and slithering over his neck went away. Maharajji was not at all aware of this. When the cobra's clammy tail touched him, he opened his eyes and saw that the snake was sliding through the drain of the mandir.

Quilt Made of Rags

Apart from detachment, non-possession was a distinctive feature of Shri Maharajji's life journey. He had made a gudari[2]  by stitching together old clothes gifted by mahatmas and his own torn clothes. It was so long and wide that he could spread it as  bedding as well as cover himself with it. Its weight was not less than twenty sers[3]. He would leave it anywhere on the ghat and go. No one ever lifted this quilt made of rags, neglected it would lie, waiting for Maharaj ji to return. However, once he was sitting with this quilt on Bengali Ghat when some sepoys came and took the gudari to the thana. Maharajji did not stop them from taking the quilt. On the third day, the policemen returned the gudari. They had suspected that the mahatma had  hidden some stolen goods in this heavy gudari but nothing was found.

Sandy Banks of the Yamuna

Banks of On summer days Maharajji would sit in seclusion on the sandy banks facing the holy Yamuna, absorbed in meditation with his eyes closed. Attracted by his identity, postures and indifferent attitude, some people would sit behind him at some distance. When he would get up from meditation, Maharajji would look back at those people sitting behind and waiting in expectation. 

 Dwarkadheesh Temple, Mathura

After prostrating and greeting him respectfully when they would ask him some questions related to spirituality he would talk of divine topics and defining reliable doctrines, and would shortly leave for darshan of Dwarkadeesh. The horde of listeners would want to accompany him but could not keep pace with him darting ahead so speedily.

Shri Balkrishna Das ji Maharaj Starts Living in Seclusion

This sequence continued for several days. The crowds began to swell. People wanted to be acquainted with Shri Maharaj ji and know where he resided but they would get to know this homeless saint's abode only if he had one. To remain unknown he would walk along very speedily and wrap a cloth around his head in such a fashion that no one could recognize him in either in the bazar or the mandir. Despite being so cautious the crowds went on swelling and he did not like this. Soon after, he got rid of his pancha kesha[4] and stopped sitting on the river's sandy banks, in the evening. He maun or a vow of complete silence for a year and began living in seclusion.

Owing to his detached and carefree personality Maharajji did not have much contact with others except a couple of families. Mahilalji, a junior court official, and three brothers of the Jadia family were the only ones who had attained closeness to him. The family would happily attend to his needs when Maharajji would come to their house. They had a twelve year old girl who adored him.  

The Mahamantra

She had embroidered the 'Mahamantra' with silken threads on the ascetic sack of Shri Maharajji. He too showered his grace on her. The girl passed away at a young age.

God has accepted her! Shri Maharaji had said in his natural way while conversing once.


Satsang would go on in their house and the entire family listened to him intently with full devotion. Those people used to address him as 'Bade Maharajji!' Taking his permission they had bought a farm in Lohvan thereby becoming very prosperous. They insisted in making a cottage for Maharajji in the farm but he refused. Gradually he stopped visiting their house. When I sought refuge in the holy feet of Maharajji he had once taken me to their house in 1945.

A Gujarati name Mahilal Peshkar used to live in Mathura. Maharajji had great affection and showered his grace on him as well. He was a very true and sentimental devotee. He generally waited for his arrival at the Dwarkadeesh Mandir and went home only after he had seen him.

Vishram Ghat, Mathura

There are a few interesting episodes which took place when Maharajji resided in Mathura. Once he had collected a few religious texts and was sleeping on a turret at Vishram Ghat. It must be about 3:00 to 3:30 at night. A sub-inspector with two sepoys came there and removing the covers of the  spiritual texts he began checking them.

He called out aloud and waking up Maharaji, began inquiring,Who are you? Where have you come from?

Shri Maharajji got up and counter-questioned the sub-inspector,Who are you? Why have you come?

The sub-inspector replied,I am a police officer. There has been a theft tonight and I am going about in search of the thief.

Butter Thief Krishna

Laughing Maharajji responded,I am a C.I.D. Official. I have been moving about in the Braj region for the past so many years in search of the Supreme Thief.[5]

The sub-inspector was dumbfounded to hear this fearless but sweet speech and gazed at Maharajji.

Maharajji smiled and motioned him to sit down and began talking of:

'vraje prasidham navneet-chouram vrajangananam ch dukool chouram  |
anek janamarjit-pap-chouram,chouragragannayam shirsa namami  || '

which means:

'I bow my head to Him who is famed in Braj for stealing butter, the clothes of maidens in Braj, the sins accumulated in several births, and hence the foremost Thief.'

The sub-inspector was so enamored by this delightful discourse that he forgot he was searching for a thief. Much time had lapsed and it was about to be day-break.

Maharaj ji signalled that he should leave.

The sub-inspector spoke with great reverence,I have to go to my duty now. I will come back and behold your sacred feet in the evening.

Thereafter, Shri Maharajji bathed in the Yamuna and went away elsewhere.


Shri Maharajji used to be always intoxicated by some divine unrestrained joy and his eyes would be satiated with some rasa. Curly locks of hair would touch his twin cheeks and wave below on his chest. His gait matched that of a royal elephant. The eyes of wayfarers were involuntarily drawn towards him. He roamed about in the whole of Braj as freely as he wished, be it Goverdhan, Barsana, Nandgaon or some other village. However, wherever he might be, Maharajji was bound to reach Vrindavan to see the 'Rasa Lila' at Kolkata Baadi in the month of Agahan[6].  

 Shri Balkrishna Das ji Maharaj

Likewise, once Shri Maharajji was lost in his own mood and was walking speedily at night. Noting his fast walk a policeman of the secret police got suspicious and followed him assuming that this person must be a thief as he was walking so rapidly without looking this way or that. Shri Maharajji was so absorbed in his joyous abandon that he did not know that someone was tracking him. After covering about two miles the policeman called out aloud and stopped him, and searched him as well. Shri Maharajji had nothing except a blanket on him so he was very disappointed.

Why did you suspect me? Shri Maharajji asked him.

Due to your fast gait!” was the policeman's reply.

 Bhai[7]! You should have asked me earlier as it would have saved you the trouble of following me for such a long distance. This is my normal speed of walking, Maharajji responded with a smile.

 The poor man asked for forgiveness, did pranam[8] and left.

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