Thursday, April 26, 2018

Chapter 12: Further Intensification of Sadhana

Rocks Impeding the Course of a River

Impediments on the spiritual path sometimes escalate the speed of a spiritual traveller. Just as the blocking boulders of rock in the course of a river  gushing forth to merge with the sea, make it surge more swiftly  obstacles impeding the way of a devotee who is eagerly desirous to turn towards the Supreme Lord, enhance his longing to attain the divine by making his spiritual practice more intense. This intervening span of illness which lasted for six months made Shri Maharajji's longing to behold Lord Krishna more ardent.

The Ancient Cave

 On reaching Nandgaon, Shri Maharajji fervently got engaged in tough sadhana [1]. Getting up at 3 AM in the morning,he would chant one lakh Naam Japas in a loud voice in the cave and mentally recite the Naam Japa, two and a half lakh times. Many a time, he would get so engrossed in chanting the Name of God that he did not know when the sun had set and it was evening. At times he would get so perturbed that he would weep constantly. Any stimulant would make bhava or love flowing towards the Lord, gush forth in him when he stepped out of the cave.  Seeing a kadamba flower he would indulge in visualizing some lila or divine play and sattvik bhavas [2]would arise in him.  

A Peacock

The sight of a parrot, peacock or cuckoo would make his heart abandon the visible world and swim in transcendental thoughts. 

When he would spot a herd of cows he would invariably be lost in the realm of Shri Radha-Krishna's lila, their divine play.

The denizens of Braj had gradually come to know of this state of Maharajji. They had begun to have a special affection for him. Whenever he went to take bhiksha he would softly call out 'Radhe-Shyam', wait for a few moments at the door and then move ahead. Hence the Brajwasis, apprehensive that he might go away without taking alms, would wait at the door  beforehand to give bhiksha. The tradition of giving just roti in bhiksha prevails in Braj but the Brajwasis would make it a point to give him cooked vegetables or pickle along with the rotis.

Shri Balkrishna Das ji Maharaj

It became well known in the locality of Nandgaon that Shri Maharajji was an educated mahatma and that is why the residents developed feelings of respect and kinship towards him. However, public contact became unbearable for Maharajji. His appearance at this time was a japmala in his hand and a string of tears cascading from his eyes. It was a state of utmost longing to have a vision of Lord Krishna. In fact, from that very day when the divine gopi had appeared and given him darshan in the cave, a source of irrepressible anguish of separation had sprung up in him. In fact, his senses, his heart and life had all assumed the form of yearning for Lord Krishna. Awareness of the physical body and memory of the mundane world had been washed away by the burning tears of separation. Only the memory of Lord Krishna remained. Taking bhiksha had also reached the same state;it was eaten at times and not eaten at other times.

Ardently Longing for Krishna
A heart suffering from the anguish of separation is a treasure-trove of sentimentality. Implicit faith is its sole support. Arguing for and against it has no place in this state because the devotee is insane for the love of Krishna, the Supreme Lover. However, the wisdom of the entire world can be sacrificed for this divine madness. One day Shri Maharajji was sitting under a tree, at the edge of a path in the forest and weeping. A denizen of Braj passed by that way. He knew Maharajji.

Seeing him cry, the denizen came near and began consoling him, rove kaykoon hai ? aaj char baje toku thakurji milege !  orWhy are you weeping?  Thakurji will meet you at four o' clock today.

Anyway, he went away but Maharajji kept sitting at that spot for the arrival of Lord Krishna, with an expectant eagerness lodged in his heart. His eyes were laid out on the way. Time was passing slowly at its own pace-it was 12 o' clock, 2 o' clock and that point in time when it would be 4 o' clock, drew near. The state of Shri Maharajji's heart waiting expectantly with an ardent longing is indescribable. It was an isolated ambiance. Around 4 o' clock a person could be seen coming on the path from a distance. Maharajji ran as soon as he came close, clung to his feet and burst out crying loudly. That unknown traveller got perturbed by this strange behaviour.

 The Brahmin

The traveller would say repeatedly, “ baba chhod dai , moye  janau hai . Dair hovai hai! orBaba leave me. I have to go. It's getting late.

Nonetheless, Shri Maharajji would reply,I have recognized you. That Brajwasi has already told me that you are Lord Krishna. You have come in this guise. I will not let you go.Saying so, he wept all the more loudly.

The traveller explained,baba, tokun kaahu ne bahkaya deenho hai. mein to brajwasi brahmin hun. vishram ghat piyau[3] mein pani pivave ka kaam karun hun.orBaba, someone has mislead you. I am a brahmin residing in Braj and I work to give water at the piyau at Vishram Ghat.

In this manner after the traveller had convinced him in several ways, Maharajji let go off him.

One day, Maharajji's heart was torn apart with irrepressible mental agitation since early morning. Shri Maharajji was weeping in a loud voice, his eyelids were swollen and the eyes were blood-shot. It was nearly 11 o' clock and sitting in the cave was also arduous. By and by he stepped out with a slow pace from the cave and headed towards 'Uddhava Kyari'.

   Uddhava Kyari

Uddhava Kyari is situated on the path to Barsana and is about four to five furlongs from Nandgaon. It is the site of Shri Radha-Krishna's divine play which took place during the Saraswat Kalpa[4]. It is here that the dialogue between Uddhava and the gopis took place.

Shri Uddhava Delivering the Message of Krishna to Gopis

The seat of the best of Lord Krishna's devotees,'khrishnasya dayitah sakha  |' and his cherished companion Uddhavaji is surrounded by clusters of kadamba trees on all sides. Maharajji was staggering along on the footpath slowly. The body was very weak and tired because of not eating and the heart was anguished because of separation. There was no energy left in his body to trudge ahead. Even then, the feet were advancing at a slow pace. Maharajji's face was bent downwards and tears were streaming down his cheeks. He would have trudged laboriously, half the way, when the body and mind gave up. Maharajji lay down under a tree at the edge of the path with his mind steeped in the realm of bhavas[5]  and unconscious of the external world. He was even unaware of the time spent in this state.

 The Jatani

It must be about 1:30 PM when a jatani [6] carrying rotis tied in a cloth on her head, was passing by that way. When she saw Shri Maharajji lying down in this fashion she came to him and began saying,Baba, Baba!

Lying unconscious when Maharajji did not respond, she shook his shoulder with one hand and calling out to him, tried to make him conscious. After being shaken for a while in this manner he became a bit aware of the external world. He opened his eyes, looked at the jatani  but did not have the strength to speak.

The cowherdess remarked,baba, tu bhukho deekhe hai! lai roti kha le.orBaba, you appear to be hungry. Come, eat the roti.

He made a sign of refusal by shaking his neck.

The cowherdess was adamant and insisted,nahin baba, tokun khana hi paraigo !orNothing doing Baba, you will have to eat it!.

Gokul Chandra Krishna
Shri Maharajji got up quietly and sat. He must have put about three to four morsels of the roti in his mouth when the cowherdess vanished, all of a sudden. The morsel in his hand remained where it was. His heart's agony burst out into weeping bitterly. He went on crying and moved on to Uddhava Kyari in the same state. It is not possible to explain as to what was his condition , how long he was in this state, why the divine gopi  had come and what did she do before vanishing. But yes, we can definitely say that she had done the work of ghi (clarified butter)in fuelling the blazing fire of separation. The frenzied tide in the ocean of restlessness existing in his heart, began to rise vehemently for a vision of Gokul Chandra, Krishna, the Moon of Gokul.

[1] Sadhana: spiritual practice
[2]     Sattvik bhavas:  are powerful ecstatic emotions which arise in the devotee without any conscious intention when he is overwhelmed with blissful love. Becoming stunned, fainting and faltering of voice are examples of sattvik bhavas.

[3]     A spot where water is given to passersby
[4]     Saraswat Kalp: that period of Dwapar yuga when Lord Vishnu incarnated as Krishna
[5]     Bhavas: feelings of love flowing towards the Lord
[6]     Jatani: woman of a north-west Indian community(chiefly of cultivators)

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