Wednesday, July 27, 2022

30th July, 2022: Janam Utsav of Bhaktimati Usha Bahenji

Bhaktimati Usha Bahenji

The metaphorical search of the impassioned soul for union with Lord Krishna is centerd within earthly Vrindavan or perhaps that region in the heart wherein god is ultimately found. 

 Boboji's Yugal Sarkar

The pivotal concept of madhurya defines the love of Krishna and an important Vaishnava concept of shringara bhakti evolves in "Braj Vaibhav ki Apoorv Shri Bhaktimati Usha Bahemji.'. Whether it is in the pleasure of belonging or the pathos of longing, participating in the innocent lilas of Krishna or being charmed by His flute, Usha Bahenji, fondly known as Bobo, reflects the madhurya of Krishna in equal measure.

Pujya Bobo is Passionately Drawn to Vrindavana

Bhaktimati Usha Bahenji becomes a paradigm of the perennial quest of mankind for a divine and transcendental love. This intense attraction to Vrindavan is apparent in Bobo. She lived in Vrindavan for over half a century, inspiring educated youth to live lives of celibacy and tapa. Shunning self-publicity, she led a life of stern simplicity and attained great heights of spiritual realization.

Ambala  Cantt

Revered Ushaji was born in the city of Ambala on 30th of July, 1925. Her parents Shri Manamohan and Syama brought her up with loving care. Educated in a reputed school, she went on to take up the job of teaching and subsequently became principal of Sanatan Dharma Girls School in the city. But these felicities did not bind her down to Ambala. Right from the start, Bobo intensely felt as if she belonged to Vrindavan and she was born elsewhere by a matter of chance.

Kusum Sarovar, Vrindavan

In the course of passionately being drawn to Vrindavan an interesting incident took place on 30th July 1954, her thirtieth birthday. While she was pondering over the meaning of nila parivestita, a saintly figure dropped in all of a sudden, uttering jaya jaya radhika madhava and thus creating a peculiar vibration in the room. 

Charan Sakha, friend of Lord Krishna's Lotus Feet

On being asked the siddha mystically replied that he was Charan Sakha and he lived at Kusuma Sarovara in Vraja where Uddhava also lived. It was by the bidding of Lord Krishna that he had come to Ambala.

Saint Usha Bahenji Leaves for Vrindavan

Sakhaji narrated various lilas of Lord Krishna and kept them spell-bound. He visited Ushaji's house for years together and his mystic revelations had a tremendous impact on her. Deciding to leave for her chosen destination Vrindavan for good on 17th November,1959, Ushaji left behind her parents, friends, students, institution and job. She soon became a paradigm of the seeker for ultimate reality.

Bhaktimati Usha Bahenji Attends to the Needs of Shri Radha-Krishna

The English version of 'Braj Vaibhab Ki Apoorv Shri Bhaktimati Usha Bahenji (Poojya Bobo)' is available on this site. Her seva to the Yugal Sarkar, the living presence of Shri Radha-Krishna, made Boboji attend selflessly to their needs.  Soon after, she developed an all-consuming intimacy with them.

Shringara Rasa

Her devotional practices require the devotee to savour the shringara rasa of Radha by smarana, a concentrated internal practice of imaginative recollection by living through the countless legends of Shri Radha-Krishna's playful dalliance. For both the bhakta and the rasika, madhurya is the key to understanding and celebrating the love of Radha and Krishna and in so doing get a glimpse of one's transcendent self. 

Everyone is a Nayika Searching for Krishna

As madhurya translates into ananda comes the realization that everyone is ultimately a nayika searching for Krishna. Thereafter worshippers come to find the god within themselves.

Shri Shiv Stuti by Bhaktimati Usha Bahenji

(Composed by Boboji! Sung by her parikar during Shravan month, Shivratri and Guru Purnima)

Lord Shiva is Very Dear to Sri Hari

shri hari ke priye parvati pati ,
shiva shankar bhole bhandari  |

vaishnav jan aru shaivjanan ke ,
ek samaan sanche hitkaree |

ati udar gurudev hamare ,
aashutosh karuna vistari  |

mo augun prabhuchit na deeje,
kariye kripanij baan bichaari  |

charan kanj dridh nishtha deeje ,
amba sahit kailash vihari  |

priti pragadh shyam charnan manh ,
deeje chhin chhin vardhankari  |

shivshankar bhole bhandari ,
aashutosh karuna vistari  |

English Translation

Lord Shiva, the Consort of Parvati

shri hari ke priye parvati pati ,
shiva shankar bhole bhandari  |

* Shiva *Shankara, the innocent treasurer is
Dear to Lord Hari and is the consort of Parvati,

Shiva Works for the Well-being of Vaishnavas & Shaivites

vaishnav jan aru shaivjanan ke ,
ek samaan sanche hitkaree |

You are the true benefactor of both Vaishnavas and *Shaivites, 
 in equal measure.

 Shiva as Aashutosh  is So Very Compassionate

ati udar gurudev hamare ,
aashutosh karuna vistari  |

So very generous is our gurudev, 
Aashutosh, the spreader of compassion.

Shiva Showers Mercy on the Needy

mo augun prabhuchit na deeje,
kariye kripanij baan bichaari  |

Do not pay heed to my shortcomings,
Shower your  innate mercy on this poor wretch.

Lord Shiva with Maa Amba on Mount Kailash

charan kanj dridh nishtha deeje ,
amba sahit kailash vihari  |

O Shiva who dallies with *Amba in Kailash.
 Give me dedicated devotion for Your lotus feet,

Lord Shiva, Grant Me Love for Krishna's Feet

priti pragadh shyam charnan menh ,
deejai chhin chhin vardhankari  |

O giver of boons!
Grant me immense love for dark-hued Krishna's feet,
every single moment!

Shiva Shankar, Bhole Bhandari
shivshankar bhole bhandari ,
aashutosh karuna vistari  |

*Shiva *Shankar, the innocent treasurer,
Aashutosh, the spreader of compassion.

Shiv: means the auspicious one

Shankar: the name reflects the benign form of Shiva and means beneficent or conferring happiness

Shaivites: revere Shiva as the Supreme Being. Shaivites believe that Shiva is All in all, the creator, preserver, 
destroyer, revealer and concealer of all that is.

Vaishnavas: followers of the Supreme Lord Vishnu, lead a way of life, which gives importance to Lord Vishnu and His 

Aashutosh: a title of Shiva, meaning one who is easily satisfied

Amba: a title of Paravati, the consort of Shiva

Monday, July 11, 2022

Guru Purnima: 13th July 2022

 Lord Shiva as Adi Dakshinamurthy

The highest form of a Guru is Lord Shiva Himself ( *Adi Dakshinamurthy) or ultimate knowledge, whereas a guru is the manifestation of that knowledge. Shiva, the supreme Vaishnava, is often venerated as the Adi Guru who resides in the spiritual mentors of this mundane world. Guru Purnima is such an important annual festival that most Indians visit the ashrams of their respective gurus or spiritual preceptors in Rishikesh, Haridwar, Mathura and Vrindavan.

Lord Shiva Bestows Religious Devotion to Krishna

Lord Shiva, 'The Auspicious One', works for our well being, is the refuge of loving tenderness, is splendidly generous, bestows religious devotion to Krishna and is Maha Yogeshwar. 

Easily pleased, Lord Shankar manifested for Usha Bahenji (fondly known as Bobo), a great saint of Vrindavan, and made the spectral revelation that He was her guru who would take her to the pivotal concept of Krishna's madhuryaor sweet love.

Highly Revered Usha Bahenji in Vrindavan

The incident dates to the time when Bobo had come to Vrindavan. After a bath in the Yamuna she was heading homewards accompanied by Sushila Bahenji, Vijayji and others. It was Guru Purnima, (the full moon day in the month of Ashadh of the Hindu calendar).

Guru Purnima

 "Today is Guru Purnima and everyone says one can not attain salvation without a spiritual mentor-then who is my guru," she wondered.

Yugal Ghat, Vrindavan

As she walked in the fields opposite the Yugal Ghat.  Instantly the great Vaishnava, Lord Shankar with his wife Parvati and son Ganesha were  clearly visible in the sky, which soared slightly higher than the temple's platform.

 Lord Shiva Assures Bobo that He is her Guru  

Mother Parvati was clad in a red sari and adorned in the best of finery. Child Ganesha was also present with His spirited antics. Whereas Lord Shankar was resplendent with matted yellow hair which shone like heated gold.The holy Ganges and crescent moon rested on His head and a beautiful blue hue was apparent in His throat. 

Garlanded with a serpent, He assured her in a deep-throated voice," I am your guru." She reverentially bowed before Him there itself. 

Shiva's Trident

While He repeatedly touched Bobo's forehead and blessed her with His radiant trident.

* Dakshinamurthy literally describes a murti (idol) of Shiva facing dakshina (the south). This form represents Shiva in his role as a teacher of yoga, music and wisdom, expounding the shastras at the same time. This iconographic form depicting Shiva seated upon a deer-throne, surrounded by sages receiving his instructions, is mostly from Tamil Nadu.

Saturday, January 15, 2022

Boboji's Punya Tithi: 18th February 2022

Bhaktimati Usha Bahenji,

Lord Krishna with whose wishes Bhaktimati Usha Bahenji had manifested on earth, forcefully stole her heart today.The purpose for which Bobo, as she was fondly called, had been sent to this temporal world had  reached its zenith and her task was over.

Sakhi Bobo Was Summoned by Krishna

The handsome Shyam summoned her and the question of staying back on earth did not arise.Ardently longing for Krishna, she got an indication to leave this mundane world and proceed to that eternal dham where Radha-Krishna forever dwell, to take part in their divine play.

Gopis Are Drawn by Krishna's Flute Play

Dark-hued Krishna played His flute and the enraptured village girls were passionately drawn.The greatly fortunate cowherdesses were not even conscious of decking themselves and moved in a delicious anguish to the side of their teasing, elusive and insistent paramour.Longing for union with the Supreme Lover. The love of the gopis is seen as transcendental love of the highest order so why would His hungering devotees think of anything else.

Well the joyous and enchanting days of the rainy season transformed into the mild winter of autumn, which was very pleasant. Soon after a biting cold wind banished the autumnal season and reigned supreme. Gathering all its achievements and failures with each passing day,1991 passed away.The year 1992 began with the dawn of a winter morning.

Episodes of joy and sorrow do not have much significance in a saint's life very much like the rotation of a cycle.They hold modakas in both hands. While living in this mundane world the memory of Shyama-Shyama overwhelms them whereas relishing the constant closeness and divine play of Radha-Krishna on going to their nitya dham  is easily feasible for them. Hence it is the society and devotees who have to bear the loss.

The same year snatched away several great siddh luminaries and presented the never to be filled vacuum .Who will ever forgive this year laden with the dreadful kaal (eventual destiny or fate). Oh! How ironical that we lose out on those saints whose separation is so painful. What shall we call this farewell which has been ordained by destiny?Saints are never absent or mortal.They are forever present,giving assurance to their followers in a hidden and visible manner, making themselves available.

Revered Bobo In Meditation

Bobo's physical health was deteriorating.Diabetes had attacked her, and an ailing heart creeped in simultaneously.The cold of the cold season escalated.During this time span her body had become extremely weak but her spiritual strength had become as powerful.She was always indifferent to a medical examination.

Ailments do not have any particular importance for saints. What would be an ordeal of their suffering and condition of inborn virtues? The body becomes the reason for departing, and that is what they have wanted and is meritorious. Taking its support, they reach their destination for which they have taken birth. Thereafter, they rest in the eternal proximity of Shyama-Shayma, the wealth of their hearts, and all this was being completely realised in Bobo's life.

Even in such an ailing condition she was always alert and enthused in attending to the needs of Thakurji, doing His shingara,incessant seva round the clock, and devotedly fulfilling her routine.Gradually the body became increasingly frail and everyone insisted on a medical check up followed by medication.Surprisingly she did not oppose this suggestion very adamantly this time. Absent mindedly she agreed to go ahead which seemed absolutely contradictory to her temperament.Obviously this was the final contribution connected to her body as mentally she had become totally indifferent.

Shri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa

The characteristics of saints are strangely extraordinary.

 “Why don't you ask the Mother Goddess to make you recoup.”Narendra had once told Shri Ramkrishna Paramahamsa, 

“Do you think that I have been undergoing this suffering voluntarily? I do wish to recover. But how is that possible? It all depends upon the Mother,”Ramakrishna Paramahamsa had answered.

“Then please pray to Her for your recovery. She cannot but listen to you,” Narendra had suggested.

“ It is easy for you to say so,but such words I can never utter,” had been Ramakrishna Paramahamsa's response. 

The conduct of saints depends on the Lord's wishes and they are themselves devoid of definite intentions and uncertainty. Therefore Shri Paramahamsa was always disinterested in the body and his mind was way above this mundane world.

Revered Bobo had been sick for quite some time now.

 Once when she had gone into isolation in the afternoon as was her routine, she heard Thakurji's voice, “Everything will be fine, just bring your will power into use.”

The Yugal, Shri Radha-Krishna served by Bobo

“The task of attending to my Thakurji should go on perfectly.He may keep me as He wishes. Should I stoop to use the power of my desire for getting rid of physical illness?”Bobo had said while narrating the above incident to Sushila Bahenji 

Shri Ramana Maharshi

When the disciples of Shri Ramana Maharshi had suggested the surgery of his arm he was quite unconcerned and was supremely indifferent to suffering, “You may throw the leaf plate in which I have eaten by shredding it to pieces or else throw the whole of it. My purpose of attaining the Divine has been fulfilled thus take me as you wish now.”

Swami Shivanandji Maharaj

Similarly Swami Shivanandji Maharaj would eat from delicacies offered to him by the bhaktas even though he was suffering from diabetes.How could he disrespect the Supreme Being pervading this temporal world to safeguard his body.

Swami Sharnandji Maharaj

Around this time Swami Sharnanandji Maharaj had suffered seven heart attacks one after the other.All the doctors had recommended that he should not meet anyone and take rest.But he felt that the body has to depart one day as per the laws of nature so why should he hurt the sentiments of those dropping in.

Saints Attain Shri Radha-Krishna's Closeness

On the other hand saints are unanimous in not being bothered whether this earthly body remains or does not-least worried as they are,and there is no uncertainty regarding the protection of their body.When they are getting an indication from Shyama-Shyam who are wanting to take them along,how can they oppose the sacred Couple. Their lot is readily waiting for Radha-Krihsna's constant closeness on getting a signal from the Supreme Lover.