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Chapter - 8
There was a gentleman named Haridasa Basu lived in the village of Ramakrishnapur. He was very intelligent, pious, and experienced person. He was working in a government office. He had three sons and one daughter. Since his first two sons did not make much progress in education he took them out of school and engaged them in some job in his own office. They use to hand over their entire salary to their father. The father gave some money to the sons to help meet their bare necessities. With the rest of the money he maintained his family and used for other necessary cause. In due course of time Haridasa Babu got both of his sons married. For a few years Haridasa Babu maintained his family without any difficulty. But who can check the wheel of providence? Haridasa Babu could not enjoy happiness and prosperity for long. Gradually both his sons died of the incurable disease small pox. Out of lamentation and sorrow he became weak and morose. His wife was very pious and full of good qualities. She also became extremely afflicted due to lamentation, and her entire body appeared like a skeleton. Haridasa Babu was an intelligent person. Although he remed ??majrity of his lamentation on the strength of his knowledge, he became afflicted with the formidable disease of indigestion. His body became extremely weak and skinny. After various treatment he regained his health up to some extent. But the condition of his wife was pathetic. Her entire body became weak and skinny due to lamentation for her sons. Her mental condition was extremely poor like a mad man. Sometimes she thought that her two sons were standing before her, calling her mother mother and she was wondering around searching for them in order to feed something. If anyone came before her she would ask have you seen my two dear sons? Just now they were here and now they are gone. Often she spoke in this way by mistake. Sometimes not seeing her two sons she would cry while describing their qualities. In order to look after his wife Haridasa Babu appointed a maidservant for some time and he too personally served her according to his capacity.
It became extremely difficult for Haridasa Babu to continue with his government service after the death of his sons. So finding no other alternative he took voluntary retirement from his job after applying for his pension. From this time onwards his financial condition became tight. The pension he received from the government was very insignificant. The income from his small family property was also very less. Any how from both these incomes he somehow managed to maintain his family. At that time his youngest son was eight years old and his only daughter was thirteen years old. He was searching for a suitable groom for the marriage of his daughter. But he could not find one anywhere. Every person he met wanted much more dowry than he can afford. Therefore due to lack of money all his endeavors were unsuccessful. He had a great desire that he will marry his only daughter to a suitable groom, but by the will of the providence all his desires were totally uprooted. It became extremely difficult for him to marry his daughter to a suitable person.
Generally the people of society are controlled by the greed for wealth. Today the daughter of a pious man could not find a suitable groom. The name of Haridasa Babu’s daughter was Suhasini. She was well-behaved, a hard worker, and a devotee of the Supreme Lord; by accepting the hands of such a daughter one achieves happiness and prosperity in the family life. Today the geed for wealth did not accept the good qualities of a pious man’s daughter. By the wheel of time Haridasa Babu has become a poor man and both his well-behaved and earning sons left this world one by one in their tender age. Therefore he was extremely afflicted with disease and lamentation. No one showed any sympathy to him being controlled by their ever increasing greed for wealth. Those who respected and loved him by knowing him as a pious person, most of them also neglected his request being controlled by the greed of wealth. In order to marry his daughter, Haridasa Babu decided to sell his property. When he showed the registration papers of the property to some rich landlords and requested them to buy his property, none of them agreed to pay the actual cost of his property. Thereafter being completely hopeless he began to pray emotionally to the Supreme Lord, who is the destroyer of all one’s distresses, who is the well-wisher of all living entities, and who is the controller of the entire universe. “O my Lord! All my attempts have become unsuccessful. I have become neglected by everyone. I have not found any one who has sympathy for me. But O my Lord! You are the most merciful. I am sure you will never be cruel to me. I am atoning for my own sinful activities. This is indeed beneficial for me. How will I understand your supreme will. I have no one other than you. If you do not remove your distress then who will remove? O compassionate Lord! I cannot tolerate any more miseries.” As Haridasababu was speaking in this way tears flowed down from his eyes. O human beings! You may not be distracted by this flow of tears but the Supreme Lord who destroys all one’s miseries can never remain steady.
Haridasa Babu was a close friend of Devadasa’s father. Both of them were pious persons. They both used to visit each other’s house. From his childhood Devadasa respected Haridasa Babu like his father. Now Haridasa was employed in a high-class government service. He drew a good amount of monthly salary. After praying to the Lord in the above-mentioned way Haridasa Babu resolved in his mind, “Let me go to Devadasa he is merciful and well-behaved. If I request him to buy my property, he will never refuse me. Even though he has no necessity he will buy my small property with my desired cost on account of my request.” Resolving in this way one day Haridasa Babu went to Devadasa’s house in Calcutta.
On seeing his father’s old friend, the sober pious Devadasa became extremely jubilant. At that time he was sitting at home and completing some of his office work. He stood up respectfully and after offering obeisances to the friend of his father took the dust from Haridasa Babu’s feet on his head. Thereafter he gradually inquired about Haridasa Babu’s and other members of his families well-being. Devadasa already knew about the death of Haridasa Babu’s sons and his physical illness. Now he became very distressed on seeing Haridasa Babu’s weak and skinny body. Devadasa instructed his servants to make proper arrangement for his bath, food, and comfortable stay. Then he led Haridasa Babu to another room and requested him to take rest. He had his servants bring all the necessary items for taking rest and taking his permission he returned to continue his unfinished office work.
Haridasa Babu was very pleased with Devadasa’s proper etiquette and good behavior. Then he thought that it is most likely that his request will be fulfilled. Thereafter he met with Devadasa’s uncle; both of them were very pleased by their conversation. When Devadasa’s mother came to know that a friend of her husband has come she happily inquired about his and his family members well-being through one of the maidservants. When the time for going to the office arrived Devadasa took his bath and sat down to eat together with Haridasa Babu. After finishing his meal he washed his hands and put on his clothes. Then he took permission from the friend of his father and left for his office while riding on a cart. Haridasa Babu went to his room to take rest.
In the evening Devadasa returned from his office and entered Haridasa Babu’s room. After offering him due respect he sat down in one side of his bed. Getting Devadasa alone Haridasa Babu explained his whole situation in detail and informed him about the cause of his arrival. With great distress he said, “My dear son! If you can kindly buy all my ancestral property for four hundred rupees, then I can somehow manage to get my daughter married. Otherwise due to lack of money I am unable to get my daughter married. In fact no one is ready to marry her without money or with little money. My daughter is about to complete thirteen years of age. If I can not get her married now, then I will be insulted and criticized by my neighbors. I can not keep her at home any more. I am sure that my daughter will not remain unmarried. The Supreme Lord will certainly arrange a groom for her; yet the system of the country is such that if I cannot give sufficient amount of money I cannot get a good groom. Due to illness my body has become extremely weak. Although I am getting some help from my ancestral property for the maintenance of my family, but unless I sell those properties I have no other alternative to arrange for money. I tried at many places to sell this property but no one agreed to give its proper value. If you think that my property is not worth four hundred rupees or if you say that you have no need to buy this property, then my dear son! this is my hearty request to you that kindly do me this favor of buying this property knowing me the friend of your father. I am in great trouble now. If you try to mitigate the distress of a poor person like me then the most merciful Lord will certainly award auspiciousness to you.” After hearing these heart-shattering topics of his father’s friend, Devadasa could not remain steady any longer. He became filled with emotion and without uttering a word he left the room. Haridasa Babu remained there alone. He began to think all relationships spoiled because of money. Devadasa neither accepted nor rejected my proposal; I think the creator is still not favorable to me. Who will agree to give more value to small property. I think I did a mistake by telling him that others want to give less value to my property. What can I do ? I have no other alternative. If I am unsuccessful from a relative like Devadasa then I have no other option left to get my daughter married. O merciful Lord you are naturally compassionate towards the poor. Are you not hearing my crying? How long your poor servant will suffer the distress? While thinking in this way tears flowed down from the eyes of Haridasa Babu.
At that time suddenly Devadasa’s uncle came to Haridasa Babu’s room through the front door. He saw that tears were flowing down from Haridasa Babu’s eyes. On seeing this, his mind became extremely aggrieved with anger and distress. Thinking that it is reasonable to immediately remove the mental agony of Haridasa Babu he assured him as follows: “Haridasa Babu you need not worry any more for the marriage of your daughter. The most merciful Lord is very kind to you. In order to mitigate your mental distress He has sent me with a good news to you. It is Devadasa’s mothers, mine and also Devadasa’s desire that you arrange the marriage of your daughter with Devadasa. You do not have to sell your property rather Devadasa will personally bear the entire expenses of the marriage.”
On hearing these happy news Haridasa Babu became speechless and struck with wonder. Tears flowed down from his eyes again. After remaining stunned for a while he began to say, “O most merciful Lord! This is your wonderful pastime I have never thought even in my dream that a poor person like me can arrange his daughter’s marriage with Devadasa. Devadasa is decorated with all good qualities moreover he is working in a high government post. It is a question of good fortune to get a groom like him. The present situation of the society is such that in order to get a groom like Devadasa one has to spend six to seven thousand rupees. There is no doubt that a person who is capable of giving six to seven thousand of rupees to his son-in-law at the time of marriage is certainly a rich man. There is every possibility for such a groom to expect sufficient amount of money from rich people. Devadasa kicking aside all these consideration will marry the daughter of a poor man; what more proof of greatness a person can display then this? How glorious is the land of Bengal! Today a godly personality has appeared in your land. Glorious are the parents of Devadasa! You have become famous simply by having a son like Devadasa. O my dear child Suhasini I cannot say how great austerity you had performed in your previous life. On the strength of that austerity you have become fortunate enough to put garland on Devadasa who is pure-hearted and decorated with good qualities.” Haridasa Babu became very pleased by seeing the extra ordinary courtesy exhibited by the family members of Devadasa. He began to shower repeated blessing on Devadasa from the core of his heart.
According to the custom of the country, Haridasa Babu fixed an auspicious day to marry his daughter Suhasini with Devadasa. Soon the prime example of Devadasa’s great sacrifice and his act of rectifying the society became flashed in every town and village. Everyone began to praise Devadasa profusely. His actions should be followed by every human being.
Gradually the day of Devadasa’s marriage arrived. Being dressed as a groom, Devadasa accompanied by his friends came to the house of Haridasa Babu at the village of Ramakrishnapur on the fixed time. The house of the bride groom became filled with the sound of conch and other auspicious sound. On the fixed time the marriage ceremony was duly performed. All the invited friends and relatives of Devadasa sumptuously fed. On the next morning Devadasa after satisfying all the poor people by giving money in charity left for Calcutta with Suhasini.