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Chapter - 12
The holy land of Varanasi is situated on the western bank of the sanctified river Bhagirathi. Even today the Vedas and Vedantas are fully studied here. The activities of Hindu religion are directly found here. The glories of Devi Rani Bhavani and Ahalya are still present here and bearing the proof of their greatness and charitable. Many saintly person and sannyasis live in this great holy place and spend their time in thinking of the auspicious peace giving Supreme Lord. By the association of these pure-hearted saintly persons, all sinful reactions of nondevotees are constantly being destroyed. Wherever the saintly persons reside, that place is the most auspicious for the living entities. On arriving in such a holy land Devadasa became very much pleased. As per his request his friend had already rented a house near Dasasvamedha bathing ghata. His friend took all of them to that house. The arrangement of their food were already made, therefore they did not face any trouble or inconveniences.
Devadasa regularly got up from the bed early in the morning and after washing his hands and mouth he would complete his morning duties. Thereafter he walked down the wide street of the holy land of Kashi. After walking and enjoying some pure cool morning air he returned home and took some rest. Then again he would go out to visit various temples and saintly persons. It would be 10 O’ clock by the time he came home. After taking rest for a while he took his bath and finished his meal. After the meal he sat down alone to study religious scriptures. Gradually he made friendship with few gentlemen and a few saintly persons and sanyasis of Varanasi. Almost every afternoon he would spend his time in discussing various religious and spiritual topics with them. In the evening he attend the arati ceremony of Vishveshwara Kedaranath temple and then he would return home and spend up to 10 O’clock studying religious scripture and thinking of Supreme Lord. After that he would take his dinner and go to bed.
One day Devadasa was sitting alone and thinking about the confidential purport of the religious principles; various doubts and contradictions were disturbing his mind; he was unable to reach to any conclusion. His mind was fully absorbed in trying to find a solution to all these complicated mysteries, at that time one of his servants came there and informed him that an old man is standing at the door step and willing to meet him. Being instructed by his master he brought the old man before him. The stranger old man offered his respectful obeisance to Devadasa. Being somewhat surprised by the behavior of the old man Devadasa stood up. He also offered his obeisances to the old man and requested him to sit down. The old man obliged and sat down peacefully. When Devadasa was just about to inquire about his identification the old man humbly said, “Dear sir, I guess you have not recognized me. You are my original spiritual master. For by your mercy I have attained peace in this material world.” On hearing his words, Devadasa became struck with wonder. Then the old man said, “Perhaps you remember one day I came to your village Ramakrishnapur and was sitting under a Bakul tree in front of your house. You were only a boy at that time. I was very tired due to not having any food for a few days. I was a thief at that time. In the first time when I was caught in the act of stealing I was beaten heavily with a stick. In the second time also I was caught and tortured by the police and brought to the court for same offence. The judge after carefully considering my previous acts of stealing awarded three years rigorous imprisonment to me. During my imprisonment I had number of friends who were thieves and rouges. By their association and inducement I developed more attachment for stealing rather then developing a hatred. I learned various tricks of stealing from them. The profit of stealing is very insignificant. Often I had to sell those stolen items at a very low price. With that money I could not maintain myself for more then a day. At that time I used to take intoxicants such as wine and ganja. Whatever I used to steal, I sold them to some of the so called rich gentlemen in our village. These people supported us and encouraged us in the acts of stealing. Needless to say in this way these people became more and more rich and prosperous. My parents were very sober. In order to stop me from stealing they gave various instruction to me. In some circumstances they tortured me profusely. Due to my sin my innocent parents had to tolerate various miseries. Finally when they failed to rectify my character in any way what so ever they gave up all connections with me out of distress. When I could not live with my father any more I took shelter of my light-minded friends. Due to bad association my mind became so cruel that I did not feel sorry for committing any sinful activities. I was very expert in committing sinful activities without any hesitation. What more can I say about those few so called gentlemen? In order to fulfill their sinful desire they engaged us to commit various crimes against their neighbors. They are the actual thieves. They use to help us and if needed they gave false witness in the court for our sake. By their help we were often delivered from many dangerous situations. Actually these gentlemen are the thieves. If they are punished then the country will be saved.
“After spending three years in the jail I was released from the imprisonment. My character did not become rectified even after living in the jail. My mind began to search out for opportunities to steal again. Once a small child came to see the deity of Durga during Durgapuja festival wearing a golden chain on his neck. He was sitting on the lap of the servant. I waited patiently for a long time for the carelessness of the servant. But the servant was very clever. Although he was showing the deity to the child he was always keeping an eye on the golden chain. Not getting any opportunity I created a quarrel among some of the people present there. As soon as the servant became little bit inattentive I snatched that golden chain from the child’s neck. Although the servant could not see me stealing but another person who was standing nearby caught me red-handed. I tried hard to run away but I could not succeed because many people came and captured me. I was caught and taken to the court. The judge sentenced me to five year rigorous imprisonment. While living in the jail I had to tolerate a great deal of physical distress. As long as the thieves and rouges live in the jail the human society gets freedom from their harassment only, but often the characters of such miscreants are not rectified. Miscreants and people who disturb peace and prosperity of human society are sent to the prison house. They cannot develop repentance in their minds. Unless somehow or other they develop this feeling of repentance they have no other alternative to get freedom. Repentance is the most important factor. Some people sometimes repent while living in the jail. One who does so becomes delivered.
“During my second prison term one day I was sitting alone inside the jail; I began to think for what happiness did I steal? If I am caught I have to suffer. And even if I am not caught then the wealth I earned through stealing becomes the cause of my inauspiciousness and encourages me to commit more sinful activities. When I was a child my affectionate mother loved me so much. My father tried very hard for my well-being. Due to my stealing nature I have lost their affection and care. I could never achieve any happiness or prosperity. My wealth which I earned by stealing only made other people wealthy and prosperous. Why did I loose my own happiness and prosperity for the sake of others? Why did I ruined many innocent people? Such thoughts constantly kept on giving me trouble? Soon this repenting mood vanquished by the association of my jail inmates. From this time onwards the feelings of repentance repeatedly came and then vanished. After being freed from the jail when I came to Ramakrishnapur village nobody allowed me to enter their houses for they recognized my true identity. I tried to beg for food in various places but no one displayed any compassion to me. I could not get any food at any place. Being extremely tired due to hunger I came and sat under the Bakul tree in front of your house. Due to my own fault I have lost peoples sympathy otherwise they would have certainly shown mercy knowing me as a hungry. The more this thought appeared in my mind the more it gave me distress.
“At such a time I got a darshana of a great soul like you as a means of my deliverance. At that time you were only a boy. You immediately arranged for my food. After eating my hunger was mitigated. But since the repentance disappeared from my heart, my bad habit again surfaced. When I was about to run way with the water pot that you gave me to use, the village watch man caught me and brought before you. I again came to the consciousness. I started repenting a lot. I was already a branded thief and then I was caught red-handed. There was no doubt that this time I would be awarded severe punishment. I was such a miscreant that I was unfit to live in the society of gentlemen. Knowing me as a bad charactered person people were reluctant to give even a handful of food. They hated me like any thing. But a small boy did not hate me at all rather he fed me; He protected me from my distress of hunger. Shame on my stealing nature for I stole the water pot of such a broadminded boy!
“Thereafter whatever had happened perhaps you remember. The quality of greatness that you displayed at that time is rare in this world. On seeing your magnanimousity I became speechless. The Supreme Lord had made an arrangement for my deliverance. From this time onwards the feelings of repentance deeply rooted within my heart. I promised within my mind that I will not take shelter of any one else other then the broad-minded saintly person. After taking your leave I came to this pious land of Varanasi. I began to pass my life by working as an ordinary labor. I was constantly searching for a qualified saintly person who can deliver me. Although there are many saintly persons and sanyasis are here but I do not know why none of them bestowed mercy upon me. Feelings of repentance kept on reminding me about my previous misdeeds. My mind became extremely disturbed. I think there is nothing more miserable in this world than having a disturbed mind. Not receiving any peace of mind anywhere I became completely hopeless. Then I swore that until I find a saintly person who is qualified to deliver me I will not even drink water. It is better to die than suffer the pangs of disturbed mind.
“After swearing in this way I lied down underneath a tree. I spend two days without any food. I could not find any alternative to get freedom from the disturbance. Due to hopelessness I kept on crying. There is no estimate that how much I called the auspicious peace giving Supreme Lord. Gradually my body became weak. I thought death is the only solace for this most sinful persons like me. On the third day when I was desiring the mercy of the saintly persons with an undevieated mind I fell asleep. Nidradevi the predominating deity of sleep gave me some temporary relief from my unbearable pains. Soon it was dawn. The birds began to sing sweetly. Cool breeze slowly began to blow shaking the leaves of the tree. I was still sleeping at that time. At such a time someone touched my body and said, ‘O son getup! Do not worry any more. Soon all your miseries will be vanquished.’ My sleep was broken by his touch. As I got up I saw a peaceful personality with white beard and smiling face was standing before me. His words were pleasing to hear and destroyed my miseries. On seeing him I offered my respectful obeisances and took the dust from his feet on my head. In the course of conversation with him I came to know that he certainly knows the cause of my miseries. Who else except the spiritual master who dwells in the heart can know the topics of my heart which I have never disclosed to anyone? I understood that today the most auspicious creator is mercifully present before me in the form of the spiritual master. By his sweet assuring words my pains of restlessness began to mitigate. Then love and respect from my heart forcefully flowed towards him. He took me to his peaceful residence. Although I was unable to wake properly my spiritual master slowly led me like his own son.
“My gurudev is a householder he has no one in this world except a widow daughter. By the teachings of his father he has also made remarkable advancement on the path of spiritual life. His daughter personally takes care of his all household duties. They have no attachment for family life. Whatever is required to maintain the body and soul together they do according to religious principle and without keeping any attachment. Envy, hatred and other enemies can not disturb their minds. They are peaceful and help others to become peaceful. In the dense forest of material existence my spiritual master is just like fully blossomed flower. Those who have smelled the fragrance of this flower out of good fortune have enjoyed its fragrance and sweetness. Knowing him to be a pious person his neighbors show him special show him special respect and devotion. Only those who are fortunate have surrendered themselves at his lotus feet and have received the ultimate peace.
“After bringing me to his residence my spiritual master affectionately had me taken bath and fed. I also became well there after eating and taking rest. On that same evening after finishing his evening worship my spiritual master sat down with me and began to discuss various spiritual topics. He said, ‘My dear son the living entities have no independence. As the Supreme Lord induces them to act, the living entities act accordingly. One who fully convinced about this fact he never suffers the pains of lamentation. Those who have such a faith in the Supreme Lord realize the Lord’s existence within every living entities and are forced to abstain from engaging in sinful activities which are harmful to the living entities. To develop such a faith is very rare. It is impossible to express through words. Your intense repentance is the atonement for your previous misdeeds. This feelings of repentance has removed all the contamination and purified your heart. You have become qualified to receive the Lord’s mercy. My dear son tomorrow I will give you initiation.
“According to his order the next morning I took bath in the Ganges and came before him. He had me seated next to him and gave me the initiation. After the initiation my heart filled with a wonderful feelings of ecstasy. What to speak of this world I even forgot my own existence. Tears of love began to flow from my eyes. I do not remember for how long I felt this extra ordinary happiness. Thereafter my spiritual master pacified me. When this ecstasy disappeared I became extremely distressed and keeping my head at his lotus feet I began to cry. I said, ‘ O Gurudev! Why have you bereft me from the happiness that I was enjoying by your mercy. It is my hearts desire that I may enjoy this happiness day and night.’ My spiritual master became greatly pleased by my words and said to me, ‘ It is the first duty of the spiritual master to produce such feelings of ecstasy in the hearts of his disciples. Without sadhana such a feelings can not remain permanently. If a disciple wants to feel this ecstasy day and night then he must follow strict sadhana. I will gradually teach you the process of sadhana, and if you follow those process of sadhana you will be able to obtain that ecstasy. ‘ Since then I am cultivating krishna consciousness according to the process instructed by him. Knowing me as the most fallen my Gurudev gave me permission to live in his house. From that day onwards I have been living in his ashrama and serving him with faith and devotion to the best of my ability.
“In the course of our conversation once I mentioned about you to my Gurudev. He happily praised your actions. He told me that a pious and a faithful person will never be bereft of obtaining the Lord’s mercy. It is simply a matter of time.”