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Sharanagati

Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha




“The old vaishnavi inquired: “Were is your residence? By your speech it appears that you come from Calcutta?” Then they introduced themselves. Listening to Naren Babu’s introduction, Prema-bhavini moved forward and asked: “Can you recognize me?” Naren Babu said: “No!” Prema-bhavini said: “Can you say where your aunt is now?” “When I was just a child, my aunt went to Kashi. She never returned home. I can somewhat remember her features; she used to put me to sleep with stories about thieves and robbers.” Prema-bhavini said: “I am that aunt of yours! When I left you and went to Kashi, I found that it was very painful. I stayed in Benares for some time, but I found the association to be not good, so I came to Vrindavana. I have been living in this kunja for the last twenty years. Since coming here, I have become attached to vaishnavism. I have read all the vaishnava literature, listened to the sadhus’ instructions and gradually taken complete shelter into Lord Hari’s lotus feet. Since coming here I haven’t tried to get news about you or written any letter to you. I remained silent, fearing that if I inquired about you, I may fall into material whirlpool again. But after seeing you today, I’m feeling a kind of jubilation. Seeing you with tilaka and japa beads, I cannot think of you as a family member. Please, tell me how you have become a vaishnava?” Naren Babu told everything about himself. Hearing this, Prema-bhavini became overwhelmed with joy and could not speak. “He Nanda Tanai! He Gopijana Vallabha! Who can understand on what pretext You accept someone and bestow Your mercy on him!?” Saying this, Prema-bhavini fell to the ground again. Her hair stood on end and her body began perspiring and shivering. Naren Babu picked up his father’s sister with affection, as if she were his mother. On seeing this, Anand Babu and Malik Mahashaya were somewhat bewildered. Rasa-bhavini, Krishna-kangalini, Hari-rangini and other vaishnavis smeared their bodies with the dust from Prema-bhavini’s feet while sweetly chanting. One old vaishnava said: “Prema-bhavini’s life has become successful now. She is illuminated with that love of God, which is difficult for even Lord Brahma to obtain.” After some time Prema-bhavini came to her external senses. She opened her eyes and while crying began to say: “Naren, stay for few days and visit me daily! Let your devotion to your guru’s feet be fixed. Without the mercy of the guru, no one can have Krishna’s mercy. When you go home, take some Vraja dust for your mother.” Naren Babu said: “Pishi Ma! (that is “aunt”) If you wish to go home, I will take you with special care.” But she said: “O, my darling! I have become indifferent to everything. I no longer desire nice food, nice cloths, nice house or loving relations. I strongly desire to serve Krishna with a fixed mind. Had you not taken the shelter of vaishnavism, I wouldn’t have introduced myself to you. The devotees of Krishna are my mother and father, they are my friends and brothers. Only Krishna is my husband. Living a life with Krishna, I wouldn’t go anywhere. You stay well and worship Krishna.” At that time Yogi Babaji called them. All three of them offered obeisances to the old vaishnava and Prema-bhavini and went to the outer room. Babaji said: “The day is over, let’s go to our kunja.” Saying this, all of them started off.

 

“Everyday the babus read devotional literatures, discussed the Absolute Truth, chanted Hari kirtan, performed paricram, honored mahaprasad, had deity darshan and performed various other devotional practices. The two babus found nothing interesting outside the vaishnavas’ association. If someone wanted to argue, they would say: “The time of arguments has passed. Let everybody argue over whether the Absolute Truth has form or not, what is religion and irreligion. Let us remain enchanted by drinking the nectar of hari bhakti. Where ignorance is bliss, it is folly to be wise.” [1]

 

From this I think the main message is that vaishnavas are our real families, they are our real fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters. We can also understand that the devotional prema is fully satisfying. This is the story of their conversion – how they shifted from materially-conditioned life into spiritual life. And it was very interesting how the old lady would not identify herself if they have not been vaishnavas. Sometimes we think that that type of renunciation is almost frightening. Giving up name and fame and honor, or to give up the security, so to say, of everyday life and fully depend on Krishna – that is risky. But if there is no risk, there is no gain. Krishna is very sweet. He says: “Just come to Me, I will take care of you fully.” Then you start and… you feel that He does not take care fully. You still have some demands: “Why don’t You act like this, why don’t you act like that?” But all rights are reserved by Him. We should come to the unconditional level in order to fully taste His shelter.

 

 

[1] From “Prema-pradipa” by Bhaktivinoda Thakura



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