18 Mar 2016

Stories from the Mauritius Pilgrimage

We'll wrap up the coverage of Guruji's trip to Mauritius with a few stories from the trip. One story is about the story of a great bhakta named Dhanajara, which Guruji told many times in his tour around the island. In a following blog post, we'll share the story of a hike that we went on during the trip, and how through Guruji's grace, we were able to escape a heavy tropical rain to enjoy a wonderfully sunny hike. We'll share the translation of the arati that Guruji sings every day in his puja to his personal deities. This arati was written by Mirabai, and gives a beautiful insight into the love relationship that we both seek and enjoy on the bhakti path. We'll also share the story of a 'chance' meeting with a Hindu bhakta at a temple, which was very moving - a simple experience, but full of love - just the type that Mirabai sang about in the Mane Chakhar Rakho Ji arati.

The Story of Dhanajara and Raja Thakur

Guruji told the story of the child bhakta Dhanajara multiple times throughout the trip, at many of the darshans and satsangs.


Dhanajara was a young boy of around 4 years old, who lived in a village in India. His village guru was a sadhu, who he observed doing puja to a saligram shila - Mahavishnu in the form of a stone.


Guruji performing puja to two saligram shilas and to Giridhari at Ganga Talao, Mauritius 

Dhanajara asked the sadhu if he could have a saligram. The sadhu offered him a choice: either he could have "Raja Thakur" - which in reality was a normal stone the sadhu picked up, which people kicked down the street every day - or Dhanajara could have "normal" Thakur - which, unknown to the boy, was actually a proper saligram.

Here is Guruji's talk:

The sadhu said to choose which one he wanted. Dhanajara knew that "Raja" is something more special. He said, "I want the Raja one!" The sadhu took it and gave it to the boy. Dhanajara was extremely happy. He didn't know whether it was a stone or a saligram. He hugged the stone, and he was so happy that he was crying - tears were flowing from his eyes. He rushed to his mom and said, "Look! Guruji has given me this saligram!" Of course, his mother saw that this was a stone, so not to displease him, she said, "Okay." She was just laughing at him.

He asked his mom, "Please give me all the puja utensils. I want to pray to the saligram the same way that Guruji has been doing." Not to offend him, she said, "Ok. Listen, I don't have anything right now, but I'll give it to you. Tomorrow morning I will go to the market and buy it." That night Dhana held that stone. He was crying. Time to time he would wake up and he would cry. He was so eager, waiting for when morning would come, when he would go to the market and buy the utensils.

When morning arrived, he rushed to his mom, and said "When are you going to the market to buy?" The mother said to him, "Listen my child, to pray to Thakurji, you have to do one thing. You can't take things from others. You can't take things from somebody else, but you have to take it from yourself. You have to provide everything by yourself."

Then he was determined. He heard what his mother had said. He was determined to serve Thakurji. So, what he did, he gathered some flowers and some leaves. He didn't even know what is Tulsi leaves, so he gathered normal leaves everywhere, flowers which were available. For the chandan - the sandalwood paste - he took a brick from the house, because he saw that Gurudev was using some red paste. He took the brick from the house, and crushed it, and put water into it. Of course brick is made with earth, so when you rub it, it becomes red. Same as chandan. So, he was very happy to have flowers and the chandan, and for an incense stick, he took normal wood. He didn't take agarbhati, nothing. He just took normal wood. That's what he gathered. So, happily, with joy, he collected the bread from his breakfast, and the jaggeri - some sugar, candy - which his mom had given him. He collected for his prayer. He took some water, to wash the stone.

For him, it was a saligram shila. For him, it was Krishna. And he was calling him Raja Thakur - the King of all Thakurs. He prayed. He washed the saligram shila. He offered the flowers, and the leaves. He offered the stick as an incense stick. He offered the chandan. Of course, for him, it was chandan. For him, it was an incense stick. It was Tulsi. And also, for him, it was. For Thakurji, it also was. Mind you, here there was just a stone.

Then he offered the bread, and he offered the sugar. As Gurudev had shown him, he did the same. He closed the curtain, because when you offer bhog, to Bhagavan, you close the curtain afterwards, you know? We say that Bhagavan doesn't eat, no? But Bhagavan comes and eats. If you offer, purely, like Sabari had offered to Ramji, He will come and eat. So he didn't know any mantras. He didn't know anything. He didn't even know who Bhagavan is. So, he offered in the way he saw, from Guru Maharaj. He was waiting that Thakur would eat the food.

What he would do: he would draw on the curtain. He would look. Peep inside: "Oh, He has not eaten." He would wait. So, you see: because of his devotion, that stone, which was a normal stone, which everybody was kicking on the street while walking. All the animals were passing by, and their feet were kicking it! But through his devotion, through his selfless devotion inside of him - single-pointed devotion, and also in the trust that he had in his Gurudev, Bhagavan Himself manifested into that. Bhagavan doesn't manifest just like that, you know? He wants that one is completely surrendered.

To be completely surrendered, what He does? He waits. He hides Himself. The same way He did with the gopis. He called the gopis, and told them, "Come, come, come!", then after, He said, "Why have you come? Go, go, go!" First He says "Come," then He says "Go!". What happens during that time, you know, is what emerges from inside. The more you wait, the more the fruit is sweeter. The quicker you get something, the more quickly you lose it. It comes, and goes. But when you know how to handle certain things, it stays for a longer time. It stays forever.

So here, Dhana was waiting. When will Thakur eat? The mom called him. He said "No, no, no, I'm waiting for Thakur to finish His food. When Thakur finishes his food, then I will eat." Here, we will sit, and think, "When will Swamiji finish? I want to go home, and eat. I have cooked food nicely."

Here, Dhana was sitting, on and on, thinking of when Thakur would eat, and Thakur was looking at him wondering, saying, "We will see how long can you wait for Me? How long can you long for Me? I have been waiting for you for many lives. Not only one life. You know only one life." Here Thakurji said, "To get this devotion, to remember that, I've been waiting for that moment since many lives. You have come so many times here! I long for your devotion. I long to be in your presence!" So He made him also wait.

Dhana started crying and crying, saying "Thakur, what have I done? I don't know any mantra, anything. That's why You're not eating!" Of course, you see, there's a limit, to everything. There's also a limit to where the Lord can't see the bhakta suffer. How can He see a 4-years old kid suffer?

So, He manifested Himself. He started eating the bread and the sugar. You know, when you eat, it makes some sound. Especially when you're eating sugar candy, what happens? You have to break the candy. It makes sound. So in the same way, when Dhana heard that Thakurji is eating, he opened the curtain, and to his amazement, he was face-to-face with Krishna. He could not hold himself. He just started crying. Krishna, when He looked at him, He smiled, and when He saw Dhana crying out of love for Him, He also started crying.

Like that, Dhana, everyday, served Krishna, his Thakur. For him, "Thakur" and "Bhagavan", all these names were just his friend. He didn't know any difference. He didn't know that Bhagavan is the one that you stand in front and pray to. And he didn't know that this Krishna is the same Bhagavan who created the whole universe, who has created the whole world. He didn't know about that. For him, he loved Krishna. He loved Him with all his heart, you know? And day by day, his love grew more and more. That bhakti grew more and more inside of him.


So, time passes. Dhana grew up. Of course, he started to learn. He learned that Bhagavan Krishna, which he called his friend before, is the supreme Lord Himself. He is the supreme Lord of the universe Himself. He is Bhagavan. He loved Krishna dearly, but the mood inside of him began to change. He started looking at Krishna.

You see, before, he used to feed Krishna like the gopas, 5,000 years back in Vrindavan. How were they? Did they have any restrictions on how they loved Krishna? No, they loved Him dearly, but they didn't pray to Him. Even inside of them they know that He is Bhagavan, He is the supreme Lord Himself, but yet, they love Him as a friend. Here, the Lord also reciprocates that love, as a friend. That's why they could carry Him. They could play with Him. They could tease Him. They could beat Him, they could feed Him. They could tell Him everything.

If that relationship would not be there, do you think they would be able to do that? No, they would not be able to do that. What would they do? "Bhagavan, Agya Dijiye: give me orders that can I do for you!" But Bhagavan didn't manifest Himself just to give agya - He didn't manifest Himself just to order people. He has manifested Himself to remind you of His Love - how much He loves you, and how much you must love Him. It's not just 'come and sit and pray'. No. You should love Him! And know, that He loves you! He always reciprocates the Love.

The more you love Him, the more He loves you. Love Him until you can't love more than that. Then let Him do. He can love you much much more. You, as a human, because of the mind, because of this body, one is limited. But Bhagavan is not limited. He is unlimited. His Love is also unlimited. You can love Him to your maximum.

Like Dhana. He loved Him dearly, as a friend. He didn't know who Bhagavan is, until that bhav changed. Then, he started serving Bhagavan, he carried on serving the deity, the saligram, the same way, but Bhagavan would appear to him, and quickly would disappear. After some time he started wondering why.

Why was He different before? Why was it great joy before? It's like when you start your spiritual path, you know? At the beginning, you take deep resolution to move forward. And then, in the middle, you start (in Creole) carot caroter [the enthusiasm that we had goes away]. Same thing with Dhana. This enthusiasm he had inside of him was not the same as before.

Before he was eating and he was feeding Thakur. And this time, it changed. Before, he didn't know. He had bhakti, he had this pure devotion - innocent. Now it was filled with jyaan - knowledge. Due to that knowledge - it is important to have knowledge, don't get me wrong - but knowledge without bhakti is useless. If knowledge really would lead you to God-realisation, every knowledgeable people would have realised themselves by now.

Why are realisations less? There are not so many people who have realised themselves. Why are there so many wise people? You know, many people can sit on an asan and talk, no? Many people can stand there and talk to a stadium of people. It doesn't mean that they are realised. If they don't have this bhakti, if they don't live this bhakti themselves, they are not realised.

So, Dhana was simple, but then, when he had this knowledge that his is not his friend - he knows that He is Bhagavan Himself, the supreme Lord - what happened? His bhav changed, and he could not feel him. He had to put Him there, and do the prayer. That's what he would do. But before, he would feed him.

He started feeling very deeply sad. He would cry regularly, remembering the relationship that he had with Raja Thakur. So of course, the merciful Lord could not bear seeing him crying like that. He appeared in his dream and said to him, "My dear, I have never left you, but now that you have realised that I am Bhagavan, that bhav inside of you" - you know, when we come here, in front of the temple, what do we do? We pray, no?

Dhana was crying. Bhagavan appeared in his dream and said to him, "Listen, now, you have grown up. If you want to achieve back again this relationship, this feeling that we had, go to Kashi. There is Ramananda Acharya. Go and get advice from him."

You see, Bhagavan was very dear to him. They had a very close relationship, but yet, when jyaan had entered the mind, one gets corrupted. Very often, people are so wise, but they become so arrogant of their knowledge. That knowledge will die with you.

You can be very wise. When you die, do you carry the knowledge with you? No! You don't carry it with you. Next life, you will have to study again, no? But, spiritual knowledge - receiving from a true Guru - that you will carry always with you, because it's not external only, but it's also internal. Everything else will give you outer satisfaction, but spiritual knowledge gives you inner satisfaction. And this inner satisfaction is very important. Spiritual knowledge gives you this inner satisfaction, and reveals your relationship with God. But devoid of bhakti, this is not possible. You can chant how many mantras you want. You can do any kind of yoga you want. It always stays mechanical, only.

Dhana went to Kashi, receiving the jyaan, the knowledge, from his Guru Maharaj, Ramananda Acharya. After he received that, he came back home, and this time he understood. He understood that we can love Him differently. We can have different relationships to Him - He is Bhagavan, no? And He has placed inside of each one, certain seeds. In the heart of each person, the Lord has planted different seeds, different forms of awakening, of how to awaken to reach Him. Otherwise, your atma is just sleeping. It has been sleeping.

Chaitanya, in the 1500's, said, jeev jago. He said, "Awake, o soul! Don't sleep!" If you keep sleeping, it will still sleep. Life after life you will sleep. And this eternal sleep doesn't finish! But when you choose to wake up, when you surrender to Him, then you choose to wake up. Then you are awake.

That's the inner awakening. The inner awakening is not something outside. It's something inside. Inner! The word itself says, inner awakening! So it is something from deep inside which is dormant, which is awakening, which is coming out, which surfaces itself. And that, kripa. That's His grace. Whenever He sends the Guru.

When you are ready, He sends you to the Guru. It is His grace, His kripa, that He wants you to fully attain Him. He wants you to fully realise. Not partially, but fully. But you don't know about that, what is fully realised - what is fully attaining Him. You know only a little bit, what your mind can perceive you, that wall which you have created, thinking that, "Yes, I want this. That's it." Once you've got it? "Merci bon Dieu! Bye bye!"

When Bhagavan hugged Dhana, he was filled with the same love again. He was filled with the same bhav that he used to have before. Only under the guidance of a real Guru. Now, the question will arise, "Who is a real Guru? Who is not a real Guru?" The real Guru is the one who can give you Bhagavan. He can give you that feeling. He can awaken this longing inside of you, to long for God more and more. Because the Guru is here for you - not for himself.

He wants you to achieve the highest state. That's why he has left his place, why he has come again on earth. Otherwise, why would the Guru come here? This Love that he feels for Bhagavan, he wants you also to feel the same! That's why choosing one's guru is very important. Because not all gurus can lead you there. There are many lokas - many devalokas, no? But the Ultimate, only the true Satguru can give it to you.


Guruji told the second part of the story the next day, at a darshan he gave in Marcellement:

Bhagat Dhana Ji
[Krishna told Dhana to] learn from him [Ramananda Acharya] what is a guru, and learn from him which quality Bhagavan has - which aishwarya Bhagavan has - and come back. Once he had gotten that knowledge, he knew. He came back to Krishna, his friend was never so happy, his friend had come back.

But yet, still, due to that ignorance, of knowing that there's a difference between God and you, that friendship destroyed. He tried his best to please Krishna, but it was not possible. There was always a distance between them, and that distance, Krishna was longing for it - Krishna was not longing for the distance, Krishna was longing for the service.

You see, service is not one way. Very often we say, "Yes, we have longing to serve the Guru." It's true, you have to serve the Guru, but the Guru Himself is serving you. It's not only one way. It's two ways. Guru Maharaj is uplifting you towards God realization, towards God consciousness. And for you to be serving the Guru means that you are purifying yourself. You are removing all the ignorance from you, so that you can be ready to receive what Maharajji is giving to you.

So, here, Bhagavan also, longing the same way, for this relationship with Dhana. But Dhana: deep inside he was very happy, but yet, he could not be friendly with Krishna.

So what he did? One day, the father of Dhana called him, and said, "Listen, you have this field I am giving you." He said "Yes," Dhana had his house and his duty, and he has also his field to look after. If he didn't look after the field, he would not have anything to eat.

So Dhana started working in the field. As he started working in the field, he was sowing some seeds, and some sadhus were passing by. They came to him, and said, "Dhana, we are very hungry. Can you please give us some food?" The food which was available at that time was just the grain which he was sowing. He took the grain, he boiled it, cooked it, and gave it to the sadhus.

In the other side, Krishna was wondering, "How can I make him serve Me, the same way I was serving him?" What Krishna did, inside of Dhana, He awakened the feeling, "Ah, I can't look after this big field by myself. I need somebody to look after it." Having this inner feeling that he had to have somebody to look after the field, Krishna disguised Himself as Saujaha.

Saujaha came. He said, "You are looking for somebody to look after your field?" "Yes, yes, I am looking for somebody to look after the field." He said, "Here I am. I will look after your field, but with one condition: you give me one-third of the crops." One-third of the crops is a lot of things, no? "One-third is too much! I will give you one-quarter." Saujaha said "No, I want one-third, nothing else."

This is very important to understand. You see, in our tradition - in the Hindu tradition - whatever you receive as income, normally is divided into three parts. One part you look after your family. One part, you do seva with it. Another part, you should use it for the society. I am sure nobody will really follow that, because if you follow that, and say "I myself don't have enough, then how would I follow that?" Here, Dhana also is saying the same thing, "I don't have enough. I don't give you one-third, I give you only one-quarter." He said, "No, I don't accept one-quarter, I accept only one-third." That's what is written in the Shastras. Finally, Dhana said, "Ok, I will give you one-third."

Then, Saujaha, Krishna in disguise, said, "I want also that you serve me breakfast, lunch, and dinner." Dhana said, "Ah, you want me to serve you the same way you are serving me?!" He said "Yes. Look, if I had a wife, it would be easy, but I don't have a wife. If I leave your field to go and cook three times a day, what would happen? Animals would come and eat it." So Dhana said, "Fine, I will bring you breakfast, lunch, and dinner." Saujaha said, "Ah, but with one condition you can bring it - that we can eat together."

Krishna made him serve Him, and when Dhana would bring the breakfast, lunch, and dinner, they would have great joy together, eating together.

So one day, Dhana needed to go somewhere, and he needed to bring the breakfast in the early morning. So he brought the breakfast in the early morning, thinking that Saujaha is still sleeping. He saw the clothes and the blanket there. So he went inside quietly, not to disturb him. He lifted the quilt to say to him, "Look, I brought the breakfast. Have it."

To his amazement, what was in Saujaha's place was Krishna. Krishna was lying, covered with a blanket. When Krishna realised that Dhana is here, He changed again His aspect into Saujaha.

Of course, now that He had been discovered, there is no way back. Dhana, at the same time he was very happy, he was very angry. Krishna wanted to see that anger also inside of him, because you can be angry with your friend only when your friend is dear to you! If your friend is not dear to you, why would you get angry? Then, you use nice words. Flattery.

So, Krishna was discovered. Dhana was so happy, that he had gotten back this bhav inside of him, that it was his friend. This is what Guru Maharaj gives you, once you surrender on your spiritual path. The Guru, in a touch, can give you everything, IF you are ready. If you are not ready, why would the Guru give you? Then he has to work on you! Then, step by step, he will purify you.

He will purify from outside. He will purify you from inside! Sometimes it will be very difficult, due to your mindset, how it is. Your mind always expects and expects and expects how it has to be YOUR way. You want to hear what YOU want to hear! You want the Guru to tell you, "Yes, it's like this. Yes, it's like that." If the Guru tells you, just like this, that's not a Guru. Then, you have to be careful, that he's just flattering you, to please your mind. No. The Guru has to destroy that mind! If the Guru tells you something which is against your self, don't shut the Guru. Accept it.