|NITAAI-Veda.nyf > All Scriptures By Acharyas > Bhaktivinoda Thakura > Devadasa > Chapter-XIV|
VChapter - 14
After returning to Calcutta, Devadasa resumed his work. After her marriage Krishnapriya already went to her father-in-laws house for a few times. When Krishnapriya stayed at the house of her father Jnanendranarayana often came to his father-in-laws house. Krishnapriya treated her husband like her very life. Whatever she did was meant to please her husband. She had unduplicitious faith and devotion in her husband. She happily served her husband and did not feel any trouble even if she has to work hard for the serving her husband, rather she felt happiness. Her words were very sweet and behavior was humble. Her husband never felt any distress by her actions and words. Her husband became very pleased by her sweet words and good behavior. He considered himself fortunate to have the association of such a wife. The husband also loved his wife like his own self. The husband always looked forward to increase the happiness and prosperity of his wife. There was a constant competition in the minds of both the husband and wife regarding who can love more. Their minds and lives were one. The example of Krishnapriyas devotee father and mother was her ideal. The pious example of her parents was deeply rooted in her heart and made her character sweet and pious. The character of Krishnapriya was reflected in the heart of Jnanendranarayana. Krishnapriya was always eager to work for the benefit of others. She was extremely faithful to the fallen, wriched and the guests. Whatever monthly pocket money her father gave her every month she distributed it all among the poor and fallen people. She did not spent even a paise for her won happiness and prosperity. Whenever some guests came to her fathers house she immediately took care of them. Her parents felt great happiness by her such good behavior. Knowing his wife’s such eagerness to help others Jnanendranarayana became very pleased within his mind.
When Krishnapriya first came to her father-in-laws house her father-in-law and mother-in-law could not see her special qualities. But now they were quiet convinced about this fact. Gradually her good qualities began to manifest before them. Dhananjaya Babu was little bit unhappy with the marriage of Jnanendra Narayana because he did not get the desired wealth. Krishnapriya was very intelligent, she clearly understood the intention of her father-in-law. But she could not decide what to do. Jnanendranarayana has an elder brother who died long before Jnanendranarayana’s marriage. He had no children Therefore his wife lived at the house of Dhananjaya Babu. Dhananjaya Babu’s family was very small. Gradually Krishnapriya became matured. She began to perform all the household duties herself. She displayed due respect to all the members of the family. She acted according to the desire of her father-in-law and mother-in-law. She engaged in those activities which they liked. She served them with special faith and devotion. Dhananjaya Babu was a rich man. He had a cook for cooking and 2/3 servants and maidservants. It was a fact that Krishnapriya did not have to work personally, but she managed to get all the household activities done. She made arrangement for the food to be cooked according to the liking of the family members. Due to her proper management the expenditure of the family became lower than before. Yet everyone was satisfied with the food. She also kept an eye on the food and clothings of the servants and maidservants. Nobody was unhappy with her. When Dhanajaya Babu came to know that his family expenditure has dropped down due to the good management of his daughter-in-law he became very pleased with her. Moreover he gradually became attracted to her by the way she served him with care and devotion. If one serves with faith and devotion, then the person to whom this service is offered can also understand it in his mind. And soon such a person becomes attracted to him. Whatever monthly pocket money Krishnapriya received from her father she used it to buy palatable foodstuff and fed her father-in-law, mother-in-law, husband, and Jnanendranarayanas brothers widow wife. When Dhanajaya Babu asked his wife how his daughter-in-law is feeding them palatable foodstuff in spite of maintaining low family expenditure, she said, ‘Whatever Krishnapriya receives from her father as pocket money every month she buys opulent foodstuff from the market and fed them. But she does not eat anything herself. I forbade her to spend her money in this way but she felt hurt in her mind and said to me, ‘O mother! If I cannot use my money for all of your service, then what can be my more misfortune then this? If my little money can be utilized for the satisfaction of my elders then only I will become satisfied. O mother! Please do not stop my service to my elders. To serve my elders is my duty and happiness.’” After Dhananjaya Babu heard everything from his wife, he praised his daughter-in-law for her magnanimous quality. He then called her and said, “Why do you spend your money uselessly on us? If you save them you can accumulate so much money for your future and can buy various items for your happiness and prosperity.” On hearing her father-in-law’s words Krishnapriya humbly said, “O father! All of you are my worshipable elders and my object of respect. It is a sin to not serve all of you properly and for that reason I will become an object of criticism in the society. If in exchange of my little money I can serve my worshipable dear ones and what can be more happiness and good fortune for me then this? Please bless me so that I can spent my whole life in the service of all of you. O father! If one does not utilize his money for the good cause then his money is not properly utilized. What is my profit in accumulating so much money? If one’s money is spent for good cause he achieves uncontaminated happiness and the persons for whom that money is spent become free from miseries and distresses and get peace in life. All of you live long by the mercy of the Supreme Lord I do not care for my future happiness and prosperity.” On hearing his daughter-in-law’s essential sweet words Dhananjaya Babu began to lament in his mind. He condemned himself for being miser and lamented in his mind, ‘ I have become old and die after some time. I have simply accumulated money and did not utilize it properly. My daughter- in-law is in her tender age, she does not wish to spend money for herself rather she is always anxious to make us happy. Her happiness and prosperity lies in our satisfaction. If I would have utilized my money for the good cause like her then I would have made many people happy and benefited. Actually I did not do a good job by accumulating money.
After lamenting in his mind in this way Dhananjaya Babu said to his daughter-in-law. “My dear daughter do not spend your money for us any more. Whatever you require to feed us with your full satisfaction let me know and I will give it to you.” By the example of the daughter-in-law the standard of meals and snacks of Dhananjaya Babu’s house improved. From that time onwards daughter-in-laws money was not spend for the family. But to accumulate money was against the daughter-in-laws nature and character. Dhananjaya Babu never gave any alms to the beggars. But his daughter-in-law brought with her own money and arranged it to give it away as alms to the beggar through the servants. Considering the circumstances she sometimes gave them money also. When Dhananjaya Babu asked the servants who was distributing the rice, they said that the daughter-in-law has arranged to distribute the rice with a desire to benefit all of you. Dhananjaya Babu did not speak any further. He thought that it is against the nature of the daughter-in-law to simply accumulate money. Our benefit is her only concern. She does not even care for her own happiness and prosperity. I have eight houses at Chowrangi which are given on rent. From those houses my monthly income is three thousand rupees. Apart from them I own a factory worth two and a half lacs rupees. I have sufficient income from that also. My family is not so big. I require only a small monthly income to maintain my family and the rest of the income I am simply accumulating. I have neither spend a paise for pleasing the Lord, forefathers, or other living entities. Then for whom am I accumulating, for whom am I miser? I have only one son and he is well educated. Recently he is practicing in Calcutta High Court. His intelligence is so sharp that soon he will make tangible progress in the profession of a lawyer. If I have no qualification to spend some money how can I claim that money is mine? So far I have been condemned by people as a miser. People are extremely opposed to me. My daughter-in-law is the daughter of a saintly person so she is a devotee. It is her nature to act for the welfare of others. I do not see any reason to check her welfare activities other than inducing her to be selfish. But my daughter-in-law does not have any self-interest. It is clearly manifested in her work that she is ready to work for the benefit of others without any self-interest. I have become an old man but I do not possess the quality of helping others like her. As long as I lived in this world I criticized people and tolerated their criticism. I cannot estimate how much welfare activities I could have performed with my money. I have never seen such care, such devotion and such service as that of my daughter-in-law. Her service and devotion has deeply rooted in my heart. The more I think about it the more I become happy. Now my heart is extremely hurt because of my miserliness. The more I think about my being a miser the more lamentation burns my heart. I cannot get any peace of mind in my heart. Shame on my desire to accumulate money! Shame on my being a miser! I swear that from today onwards I will utilize my money for the good cause according to the desire of that pious saintly woman. Without utilizing my money in this way I will never obtain any peace of mind.
After suffering extremely by the fire of lamentation in his mind he went to his daughter-in-law and said, “O daughter! After seeing your divine qualities I have lost my desire for accumulating money. A blazing fire in the form of repentance has appeared in my mind and burning my heart. O daughter! Your sweet peace giving instructions are the means of my deliverance. Now tell me the way by which I can be successful with my money.” On hearing her father-in-law’s honest proposal she felt happiness in her mind. She solaced his mind by speaking to him sweetly about various pious activities. At that time Dhananjaya Babu’s fathers death anniversary arrived. He desired to feed everyone including the brahmanas, kayasthas, other castes, fallen and poor people on the pretext of the anniversary. His daughter-in-law praised his proposal and fully approved it. The proper arrangement for the anniversary began to take place. On the day before the anniversary he sent a brahmana to invite the brahmanas of his village for lunch. The brahmanas of his village criticized Dhananjaya Babu as a miser. When the brahmana invited them for lunch they did not accept the invitation. They said in the marriage ceremony of Jnanedranarayana, Dhananjaya Babu invited us and fed us only in the afternoon. First of all we were without any food for the whole day and then the food we were served was disgusting. He has no respect and care for the brahmanas. Therefore we can not accept his invitation.
The brahmana who went to invite other brahmanas returned and told everything to Dhananjaya Babu. Dhananjaya Babu lamented so much for his own mistake. Gradually this topic came to the notice of Krishnapriya. She was greatly hurt and said to her father-in-law, “O father! You please take that brahmana with you and personally make a special request to those brahmanas with faith and devotion. ‘O brahmanas! Please forgive my offenses. I will make every arrangement so that you all can eat by 10 O’clock tomorrow. If I fail in my commitment then punish me as you wish. So Please accept my invitation.” Now Dhananjaya Babu’s mind is burning with repentance. Submissiveness and proper etiquette have captured his heart. He was no longer a miser. On seeing his humility and honest behavior the brahmanas were struck with wonder and accepted his invitation without any hesitation. On the day of the anniversary everyone became very happy by the proper etiquette, care, devotion, and faith of Dhananjaya Babu. As promised the brahmanas, the kayasthas, and members of other caste sat down to eat at separate places at 10 O’clock. All of them ate with their full satisfaction. The items of food were sufficient and very tasty. He spoke to everyone in a very humble manner and gave suitable dakshina to all the brahmanas. On seeing Dhananjaya Babu’s wonderful change of heart, everyone became amazed. Any how when the neighbors soon understood the cause of his sudden change of heart they boldly thanked the good natured daughter-in-law. At the end of the ceremony poor, fallen and wriched persons were also fed sufficiently. Thereafter Dhananjaya Babu took initiation. Religious scriptures were regularly discussed in his house. He began to spend money in various pious activities meant for the Hindus. He began giving monthly help for the maintenance of the orphans, poor children, and widows. If anyone requested money for their children’s education he immediately gave him the required money. He faithfully served guests and strangers by feeding them properly. People only knew his acts of charity that were performed before their eyes. Apart from them he secretly gave many donations. These acts of giving donations were known only to the Supreme Lord and his most close relatives. From now the neighbors praised Dhananjaya Babu as pious and big donor. O saint Devadasa! By the good qualities intelligence, devotion, care and extraordinary service of your pious daughter, today the heart of Dhanajaya Babu who was extremely cruel, unkind and miser became charitable and afflicted by seeing the distress of others.
In due course of time two sons were born to Jnanendranarayana. Dhananjaya Babu spent lavishly for those two grandsons head shaving and grain eating ceremonies. Now the family of Dhananjaya Babu transformed into an ideal family. The service attitude devotion and care of Krishnapriya reflected in the hearts of everyone in the house. Everyone became pure, attracted to devotional service and had a smile on their faces. By seeing them one felt that a flower in the form of a happy family has blossomed in this miserable material world. But this happiness did not last long. By the will of the inevitable creator this happy family soon became unhappy. When Krishnapriya’s eldest son was four years old and the youngest son was two years old, she was attacked by a dreaded fever. Gradually her fever increased and many other symptoms were found. Devadasa came to Dhananjaya Babu’s house with his entire family. The best doctors of the city were treating her, but the illness did not subside.
As a son should serve and take care of his mother such a time Dhananjaya Babu served and cared his daughter-in-law in the same way. It became impossible for the doctors to cure her disease. Her father, mother, brother, father-in-law, mother-in-law and husband were all present by the side of her bed. She offered her obeisances to all the elderly persons. She then called her husband near her head. She placed her own head on the lap of her husband and looked at his face for some time. At that time tears flowed down from both of their eyes. Thereafter while chanting the names of the Lord she closed her eyes. Nobody could see that scene. Krishnapriya became silent and stunned. She went to the abode of the Lord. A loud sound of cry arose. Dhananjaya Babu forcefully fell to the ground after saying, “O mother, where have you gone?” Jnanendranarayana began to cry loudly placing his head on the face of good natured Krishnapriya. Krishnapriya’s mother-in-law, mother, and brother began to cry loudly. Everyone became impatient with lamentation. Devadasa was grave. The flood of lamentation overcame everyone and scattered everyone all over. The neighbors began to lament profusely. The orphans, widows, and many poor people screamed and said, “ O mother! Where have you gone? Who will take care of us now? Who will feed us now? Everybody was overcome by the flood of lamentation. The brahmanas, the kayasthas, and the members of the other caste cried in lamentation. Devadasa only became somewhat hassitated in the midst of the flood of lamentation, but he did not fall down from his position. Yogendrababu and his wife tried to pacify everyone according to the situation. After discussing with Yogendra Babu about Krishnapriya’s funeral and other required activities, Devadasa rode in a bullock cart with Suhasini and his two sons and returned home.
Dhananjaya Babu’s relatives and neighbors began to arrange for the funeral. The dead body was brought outside in the courtyard. Everyone was crying and saying, “We have only heard about our mother’s good qualities, but we have never seen her. Let us see our mother for the last time.” Thereafter they took out the cloth that was used for covering the dead body. On seeing the dead body everyone lamented and said, “Our mother possessed good qualities and beauty as well.” Although her incomparable beauty was somewhat diminished due to the influence of the disease yet she looked beautiful. All the neighbors then decorated the mother’s body with flower garlands and took her to the crematorium for cremation. Dhanajaya Babu suffered extreme lamentation for his daughter-in-law. A few month after this incident he left this world. Jnanendranarayana became extremely impatient with lamentation. Although in due course of time he started practicing the profession of a lawyer in the High Court by the request of his friends, but the black spot that was marked in his heart never disappeared. His mother and his brothers widow wife took care of his two sons. Many people requested him to marry again but he never agreed. The idol that was constantly manifested in his heart could not be replaced by any other idol.