The Mother Divine
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B.N. Mullik (Kinkar Vishwananda)
Eklinga-Shiva is the presiding deity of the Mewar Raj and the Maharana used to rule the kingdom as Eklingaji’s Dewan and in the God’s name. Every order was issued as emanating from Eklingaji. The temple is very old. It is said that Bappa Rawal (724-753 A.D.) used to tend his cattle in jungles surrounding the place. To his dismay, he found his best cow always dry after the day’s grazing. Disturbed by this he started to keep a watch on this cow during the grazing hours and one day he found the cow to be empting its udder on a piece of stone in a very secluded place. Bappa Rawal then reported the fact to Harita Rishi who used to live in the jungle nearby, and the latter advised him to establish the deity and carve out a kingdom in HIS name. Bappa Rawal did as he was advised and become invincible and it is reported that his army conquered even Kabul. He established the capital at Chittor and, thereby, can be said to be the founder of the Sisodiya dynasty. He recognized Eklingaji to be the supreme Lord of Mewar, himself receding to the position of Dewan – a title which was proudly borne by his descendants too.

Eklingaji is a five-faced Shiva Linga, there being four faces on four sides representing Shiv, Vishnu, Brahma and Surya and the fifth at the top representing of Para-Brahma. Whereas the four sides have faces, the fifth at the top consist of only some circles-probably representing infinity. Maharana Fateh Singh had called in many pundits from all over India and prepared a puja system based on Vaidik Pouranik and Tantrik rites. It is said that this form of puja is peculiar to Eklingaji and is not followed anywhere else. Successive Maharanas have added to the temple and its surroundings. The temple is beautiful with a big courtyard; a whole township has grown around it. There beside a magnificent sight, Baba partook the Eklingaji’s ‘Rajbhog’ and not only all members of the party had their fill but there was enough for groups of tourists and pilgrims who had come from Gujarat and various other places. Baba had a restful afternoon, sitting on the bank of the tank, hearing ‘Naam’ and sometimes himself playing on the ‘Kartal’.

Baba left Eklingaji at 4.30 P.M. and in Udaipur he visited the house of Sadri Jhala. He returned to Govind Bhawan at 5 P.M. There were visitors waiting and there was another meeting to be attended at the same place as the day before. But he was so tired that he had to take some rest. He reached the meeting place at 6.30 P.M. - late by over an hour- the audience anxiously waiting for his ‘Darshan’. After ‘Mangal Archana’, some extracts were read by Jayendu and then Zorawar Singh Jhala made a speech of complete surrender to Baba- captivating the hearts of the entire audience. Earlier, before Baba’s arrival, Rajkumar Man Singh had spoken about Baba and his own experiences which had also been beautifully rendered. Then in response to repeated requests, Baba himself spoke in Hindi.

Baba traced the ills of the society to its fall from the path of ‘Dharma’ and stressed that there was yet time to retrace the steps and save society and mankind. He referred to the five disciplines enjoined by many which were common to all ‘Varnas’ and people of all religions- i.e. ‘Ahimsa’, ‘Satya’, ‘Asteya’, ‘Shoucha’ and ‘Indriya Nigraha’ and He said that these could be followed by everyone. He explained every discipline in detail and finally came to the ‘Ananda Samvaad’ (Happy News) that all the result of these five disciplines could be obtained if one followed only three. i.e. ‘Shoucha’ including ‘Ahar Shuddhi’, ‘Sadachar’ and regular ‘Upasana’. Finally he recommended ‘Naam- Kirtan’ to those who could not do even these three disciplines and said that ‘Naam’ did not require any formalities to be observed and made no distinction between castes or religions, rich or poor, the learned and the illiterate, the old and the young. He promised that if one could keep ‘Naam’ on his lips, all other disciplines would come one by one. The tongue singing ‘Naam’, would not like to touch impure food, the desire would automatically come to keep the body pure, evil thoughts would disappear, mind would go towards ‘Sadachar’ and ‘Upasana’ and finally ‘Naam’ alone would reach the singer to ‘Param Pada’ from which there would be no return. He stressed that, in ‘Kali Yuga’, when it was difficult for people to do any ‘Tapasya’, Yagna or elaborate Pujas; ‘Naam’ was the only way out. It was simple to practice and could be done by everyone at any and every place. He appealed to everyone to try this Maha Rasayana and experience the tremendous bliss that was sure to come in no time.

Baba spoke for nearly an hour, the audience sitting in pin drop silence. It was evident that every word of his had found a place in their heart and though it was late (9.30 P.M.) the audience sat patiently and attentively. Then the Secretary of the Reception Committee spoke thanking Baba for his clear and simple prescription and conveyed the gratitude of the people of Udaipur, to Baba, for coming to Udaipur and for giving so much of his invaluable time to the people. He requested Baba to come again so that Udaipur could be lifted from its present gloom and could steer its course towards ‘Dharma’. On the way back, Baba said that he had not mentioned ‘Varnashram’ as no one there would either understand it or could now follow it. For them ‘Shoucha’, ‘Sadachar’ and ‘Upasana’ were the only way to attain salvation and ‘Naam’ alone was sufficient to turn even a criminal’s mind from crime to ‘Sadachar’, So at the present time, in areas where even the feeling of ‘Varnashram’ had disappeared, ‘Naam’ was the only path and it was sufficient to make people progress to their betterment and was powerful enough to give them their salvation.

This was a fitting end of Baba’s visit in Udaipur; this being the last day of his stay in this city. People were anxiously waiting for his ‘Vani’; in this difficult time when everything seemed to be confusing, Baba gave them a simple, easy and straight path which they could follow to remodel their lives. ‘Naam’ could enrich them both materially and spiritually. His own life was an example; ‘Living in ‘Naam’ for forty years he has,’ in the words of Swami Chidananda reached ‘Advaita’ not only in ‘Jnana’ and learning but in person which few had done before. He has become one with God, with the Universe, with Para Brahma itself’.

Baba came back to Govind Bhawan at 10 P.M. and after taking ‘Pranam’ from people waiting for him, was persuaded to take rest. But this was for a short time only. An important visitor was Thakur Nathu Singh, Lt. Gen. (retired). He had been hovering around Baba like a bee around a flower for the last three days and now, on the last night of Baba’s stay, he approached Baba who got up from his sleep, explained to him the salient points of his own life and told the General to do ‘Prayaschitta’ and take on the others also. One must do ‘Sadhana’ first before one could think of guiding others. Thakur Nathu Singh thereafter followed Baba for the rest of the journey though he did not even have a change of clothes with him. It was not until after midnight that this dialogue ended when Baba had his night meal. The rest had ‘Prasad’ at 1 A.M.

The 2nd of December was the day of departure from Udaipur. Consequently the morning assembly for prayer and ‘Paduka Sparsha’ was heavy. Baba explained in detail the meaning of the ‘Mantra’ which he uttered at the time of the ‘Paduka Sparsha.’ He took ‘Pranam’ from everyone, had nominal ‘Phal-bhog’ and was ready for the journey. Every member of Rao Saheb’s family was crying, the assembled people looked overwhelmed with sadness and many were on the verge of breaking down. But the time of departure (8 A.M.) was fast approaching and ultimately the car started moving amidst shouts of ‘Guru Maharaj Ki Jai’ and Baba was on his way to Nathdwara and then to Ghanerao, Bera and Jodhpur. This ended a most memorable visit to Udaipur, the memory of which would remain green in people’s minds for many years to come.

The journey from Udaipur to Nathdwara was over a good Ghat road passing through picturesque country leaving on the left village Bedla, which was the jagir of our host at Udaipur, Rao Manohar Singh. The Eklinga Village, containing the famous temple of Eklingaji, which had been visited by Baba the previous day, was also passed at the 14th mile. The distance to Nathdwara (30 miles to the north of Udaipur) was covered in about one and a half hour. Baba’s party first stopped at the main gate which was till then closed. When it opened, the party was taken by the temple authorities to a spacious courtyard where all the ‘Yatris’ were gathered. Ultimately Baba and Vishwananda accompanied by Jhala and Manohar Singh, were taken inside the temple where the curtain was still down as the ‘Sringar’ of Sri Nathji had not been completed. Standing in front of the curtain hiding Sri Nathji, Baba went through certain emotions and ‘Bhava’ which were beyond the understanding of a lay man. His body started trembling violently, every hair was standing on its end and tears were flowing from his eyes. Thinking that Baba might go into ‘Samadhi’, Vishwananda held him by his waist but he was quite oblivious of this. Then suddenly the curtain was lifted and Baba was face to face (distance about 10 feet) before the exquisitely beautiful ‘Murti’ of Sri Nathji. His trembling ceased and Vishwananda could also relax his hold. Baba stood there with his eyes fixed on the ‘Murti’. ‘Darshan’ for not more than 15 minutes is allowed at a time and Baba’s party moved off after 10 minutes to let other waiting pilgrims have their chance. They were however, allowed into a different enclosure at a distance of about 20 feet from the ‘Murti’. It was good that Baba was conducted inside earlier than others, because, as soon as the gate was opened for them, there was a mad rush to take up advantageous positions for ‘Darshan’. Baba waited in the courtyard for the rest of the party to come out of the temple and then proceeded to the exit. Incidentally the temple authorities would not allow any ‘Naam- Kirtan’ to be done in the temple premises. They have only temple songs and that also by temple singers at fixed hours only, so as not to disturb Sri Nathji’s rest. However as an exception, they allowed only one person of Baba’s party to sing in a low voice. From the temple Baba drove through the bazar and came to one of the temple guest houses which Jhala had reserved for the occasion. Here, while Baba rested and ‘Phal-Prasad’ was being got ready, some members of the party drifted to the bazar to visit book shops and other places of interest in the town.

Sri Nathji appeared in a dream before a great Bhakta, Goswami Madhavendra Puri, in the jungles adjoining Giri Goverdhan (Mathura) in the 16th century on the same date on which Sri Vallabacharyaji was born in Champa-Aranya in Raipur district (M.P.). It is said that Sri Nathji used to reside atop the Govardhan Hill, but on the advent of Muslims, his Sevaks hid him in a cave in the jungle and ran away. Since then Sri Nathji lived in the jungle in much discomfort. According to the direction received by him, Goswamiji established the God’s ‘Murti’ on the Govardhan Hill and built a temple for Him. He called the God Gopalji. After some years, on receiving orders in a dream from Gopalji, Madhvendra Puri went to Nilachal (Puri) after entrusting the puja to some Vaishnavas from Bengal. Simultaneously Sri Vallabhacharya, whilst on a journey through Jharkhand (Birbhum-Santhal Parganas), got a dream to come to Govardhan and take charge of God’s ‘Seva’. So he came to Govardhan, had a small temple of his Ishta Devata also built and started the ‘Seva’ of Gopalji whom he named Sri Nathji. In the year 1576 A.D., a spacious and beautiful temple was built for Sri Nathji; Sri Vallabhacharya was succeeded in 1587 by his eldest son Gopinathji, who, in his turn was succeeded by his younger brother, Vittalnathji. The latter was a great scholar and Bhakta and even Akbar was so impressed by this Gossain that he made a gift of a large area of land for the maintenance of the temple. Under the guidance of these Gossains, temples were erected at six more places. In 1638, the management of these seven temples was distributed among the seven sons of Gossain Vittalnathji. The presiding Gods and the present location of these temples are as follows :- (1) Mathureshji at Giriraj Govardhan; (2) Vittalnathji at Nathdwara; (3) Dwarkadhishji at Kankrouli;  (4) Gokul Nathji at Gokul; (5) Gokul Chandramaji at Kamvana; (6) Balkrishanji at Surat; and (7) Madan Mohanji at Kamvana. Vittalnathji kept Sri Nathji and Yamuna temples under his own control. At present while the descendants of these seven brothers enjoy the proceeds of the temples allotted respectively to their forefathers, the proceeds of the central Sri Nathji temple are distributed among the descendants of all the seven brothers.

A new turn of events took place during Aurangzeb’s reign (1655-1707). As the new emperor was carrying on a campaign of systematically destroying all Hindu shrines, the custodians of the Sri Nathji temple, which was still at Giri Govardhan, got frightened at the prospect of their temple also being desecrated. So, with the deity they left Mathura in 1672 A.D. and proceeded towards Mewar to take shelter in the hills of the Aravali Range. When they came to the spot where Nathdwara is at present situated, the deity refused to move any further and told the custodians in a dream that He should be established there. Maharana Raj Singh of Mewar readily agreed and the deity continued to stay at the place chosen by Him. A new temple was constructed and in 1728, the deity was re-established in the new temple according to Vedic rites.

The temple of Sri Nathji at Nathdwara is unlike any other temple in India. It has neither ‘Shikhar’ nor any ‘Kalasa’ which distinguish a temple from a residential house. Instead it has a roof made of locally made tiles. In architecture it is similar to an ordinary large house. The reason is that Sri Nathji is considered to be Balkrishna living in Nanda’s house. There are many courtyards where Sri Nathji could play with his friends, the Gopis. There are meadows all round where Sri Nathji could take his cattle out to graze. Sri Nathji is open to ‘Darshan’ eight times a day, though not for more than 15 minutes at a time-
(1) Mangala Darshan, (2) Sringaar Darshan; (3) Gwal Darshan, (4) Rajbhog Darshan; (5) Utthapan Darshan, (6) Bhog Darshan (7) Aarati Darshan; and (8) Shayan Darshan.  Sixty eight festivals are held during the year. Among them the most important ones are- (1) Gan Gour (2) Ram Navami, (3) Sri Vallabacharya Jayanti, (4) Goverdhaneshji Ka Utsav, (5) Sri Krishna Janmashtami, (6) Nanda Mahostav, (7) Sharad Purnima, (8) Deepavali and (9) Anna-Kutotsav. The administration of Nathdwara temple and the establishments at other places controlled by this temple is done by 33 departments of which 16 are in Nathdwara itself and the rest in outlying places. The bigness of this administration can be appreciated from the fact that Sri Nathji has 10 cowsheds which accommodate 1020 animals. It is probably the richest temple in India after Tirupati.

Nathdwara has a mixed culture of Brajadham, Rajasthan and Gujarat. As the original Sevaks and Pujaris, as well as the Gossains, came from Brajadham, they brought with them the culture of that place and this was planted in the center of Rajasthan culture and so there was a good admixture of both at Nathdwara. As Nathdwara attracts Gujaratis most, the Gujarati culture has also gradually mixed with Braja and Rajasthan cultures giving rise to a unique Nathdwara culture. There are three flourishing cottage industries- (1) Painting; (2) Sari-Printing; and (3) Enameling ornaments. The ‘Bhog’ given to Sri Nathji is a mixture of Mathura, Mewar and Gujarat varieties. It generally consists of more than a dozen varieties of rice, eight types of ‘Khir’, several types of ‘Thuli’ and ‘Halwa’, 64 types of Karhi and 24 types of vegetables in addition to many types of ‘Roti’, ‘Sattu’, ‘Churma’, ‘Bilsaru’, etc. The dry ‘Prasad’ ‘Thora’ can be preserved for months without any special precautions. Different types of ‘Bhog’ are given at different times and are accompanied by music which also varies its programme according to the time of the day and also the month.

Nathdwara is the headquarter of the Vaishnava sect which follows Sri Vallabhacharya. He preached ‘Shuddha-Advaita Darshan’.  It is also known as ‘Brahmavaad’. According to the Advaita, the philosophy of Sri Shankaracharya, the cause of this world is ‘Maya’. But ‘Shuddha Advaita’ holds that the cause is ‘Shuddha Brahma’, completely independent of ‘Maya’. Being a part of the ‘Shuddha Brahma’ which is Sat, the world is also ‘Sat’ and not ‘Asat’ as preached by Shankar philosophy. He distinguished ‘Samsara’ from ‘Jagat’. The way of ‘Sadhana’ according to Vallab Darshan is ‘Pushthi Marga’. According to him there are three ‘Margas’ which one can follow (1) ‘Pravaha Marga’ (2) Maryada Marga and (3) Pusthi Marga. If, in this Samsara, one follows the path of physical or mental enjoyment, he is in, ‘Pravaha Marga’. In ‘Maryada Marga’, one attains ‘Mukti’ by ‘Jnan’, i.e., in other words God is attainable only through long ‘Sadhana’. But in ‘Pushthi Marga’, one surrenders himself to God and thereby enters into His ‘Nitya Leela’. The result does not come through one’s own efforts but through the grace of God Himself. There are 84 ‘Baithaks’ of Sri Vallabhacharya, mostly in Northern, Central and Western India, each place having been established during a visit by Sri Vallabhacharya who lived in the sixteenth century and, though younger, was a contemporary of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu of Bengal. The two are reported to have met at Vrindaban.

After collecting all this information, members of Baba’s party returned to the Guest House, where Baba was waiting from them. He heard some of these accounts and reserved other for narration later on as it was now time to leave. The party left Nathdwara at 11 A.M. and reached Kankrouli at noon. The town was small but the palace containing the temple of Dwarkadhishji was huge and situated on the bank of a huge artificial lake, called Raj Samand, giving a magnificent view from its windows. Baba stayed in the temple premises and an elaborate ‘Bhog Prasad’ was served at 2 P.M. consisting of more than a dozen items of food. The next ‘Darshan’ of ‘Dwarkadhish’ was at 4 P.M.; so Baba waited for the temple to reopen. And when it did, what a rewarding sight it revealed! There was ‘Dwarkadhish’ in all his glory, beating in splendour the original at Dwarka and it was difficult to tear one’s eyes from the God. Baba was so moved that he suddenly sat down on the ground, looking straight at ‘Dwarkadhish’. There was complete silence all round. What passed between them, they only knew, but there was no doubt that a secret communion was going on between the two. Then, after sometime, Baba asked to be lifted up and, when Vishwananda helped him get up, he quietly walked out of the temple and was carried down the long fight of steps to the waiting car.

The party left Kankrouli at 4.20 P.M. On the way, to the left, it passed Kumbhalgarh- a fort named after the great administrator, Rana Kumbha, who built it in the year 1458 A.D. It was an impregnable fort by old standards and contained a large tank which supplied water to the defenders even if the fort was besieged by enemies. Its architecture is beautiful. Now it is under the care of the Archaeological department. Baba’s party was late and had no time to detour and visit the fort, but it halted at a village, Kelwa, from where a jeepable road led to the fort. At the village, Baba visited the house of the Thakur, who was his disciple and had died a few months earlier. There was tremendous reception in the courtyard of the Thakur’s palace but it was marred by a sharp shower of rain which lowered the temperature perceptively and left everyone shivering. As it was getting late and light was failing, the stay in this village had to be limited to only half an hour, much to the disappointment of the villagers.
The party left the village at 6 P.M. and halted next at village ‘Charbhuja’. There is a temple of ‘Chaturbhuja’ Bhagawan Vishnu. Though the deity is old, the temple is said to have been erected by Rana Kumbha. The ‘Murti’ is said to be beautiful and worth seeing. The Pandas belong to the Gurjar caste and this system has been going on for generations. On the Ekadashi day of the moonlight period, in the month of Bhadra, a big ‘Mela’ assembles ‘Aarati’. There were eight miles yet to go. It was very dark; it was drizzling and cold. Baba was visibly tired and everyone was anxious to reach the destination which still seemed far away.

After a long and tiring journey the party at last reached Ghanerao at 6.30 P.M. It was first taken to the Thakur Saheb’s place where Baba was shown the original ‘Murlidhar’ which Meerabai used to worship when she was a maiden at her father’s place. A leg of this deity is cracked. There is a whole history behind it. The ancestors of the present Thakur Saheb originally belonged to Merta where Meerabai was born in this family. She had taken the deity, Murlidhar, to Chittor when she was married. When after the death of her husband, Bhojraj, his younger brother, who had succeeded him, started troubling and insulting her in every way possible, Meerabai got apprehensive about the safety of Murlidhar as she was certain that her brother-in-law would snatch it away from her and throw it in a dustbin or insult it in other ways. She found out that the soldier who was guarding her was also a Mertia Rajput. So she enquired from him if he would be true to the daughter of Merta (meaning herself) or to the Rana under whom he was serving. The young man replied that he would not forget his Merta blood. So she asked him to take charge of her Murlidhar and deposit it at her father’s place. When he consented, she dropped the deity from the window of first floor to the Rajput young man waiting below. In this process, one leg of Murlidhar got a crack. The young man in due course deposited the deity with the Merta chief and it has been coming on in the possession of this family since then. When one of the Thakurs wanted to repair the crack, Murlidhar appeared before him in dream and forbade him from doing so. Hence the crack has remained unrepaired. When the Thakurs left Merta and came to Ghanerao on receiving this as Jagir, Murlidhar came with them.

This is a very old and highly respected family in Rajasthan. Even the Ghanerao ‘jagir’ is over 400 years old. Ghanerao was astride the pass leading from Udaipur to Jodhpur and so occupied a most strategic position. Hence the Thakur was wooed by the ruling princes of both Udaipur and Jodhpur. It is said that when the Mertia chief used to visit the Jodhpur court, the Maharaja used to get down from his throne and go forward to receive him which he did not do for any other. Thakur Rabindranath Tagore’s beautiful poem entitled ‘Vivaha’ in his book ‘Katha O Kahini’ relates to an incident which happened to this Mertia Thakur’s family. On the night of his marriage, even before the nuptial knots had been untied, the Mertia Rajkumar was called away from his bride’s side to fight for his overlord, the Maharaja of Jodhpur, against some rebels. Even when the bridegroom had left, the bride would not put off her bridal dress but wanted to be taken to Merta. She was taken there in a palanquin with music but at the entrance to the fort of Merta she was told to stop the music as the Rajkumar had been killed in action. Rather than being subdued by this news, the bride ordered the music to raise its tempo and asked to be carried to the place of cremation. There she saw her newly married husband in full bridegroom’s dress lying dead on the wooden pyre. She came down from the palanquin, walked up to the funeral pyre, re-tied the nuptial chord and sat with her dead husband’s head on her lap. The fire was lit and amidst frequent ‘Mangal-Dhwani’, the fire rose and consumed the couple- never to be separated again. We bow our head to the brave Rajput warrior and his equally brave wife.

Thakur Saheb Lakshman Singh, the present head of this Merta family, is a disciple of Baba. His sister was married to Rao Manohar Singh of Bedla. Unfortunately she died a few years ago. He had made arrangements for Baba’s stay not in the congested town of Ghanerao but in his farm house in ‘Baghon ka Bagh’- 5 miles from the town. As the name signified, it was originally a shooting lodge, but now a farm with innumerable cattle. The place was spacious. There were many bath rooms. The living accommodation was vast. The courtyard was large and a well with Persian wheel gave very good water supply. All arrangements had been worked out to perfect detail and there was no shortage or deficiency of any kind. The party soon settled down and, after prayers and ‘Mauna’, Baba started Ramayana Path from this day. The night meal was served at about midnight. It rained at night; so it was cold outside; but inside the house it was not felt. People going for their early morning bath, found that the water raised by the Persian wheel was lukewarm and even in that cold morning; they could have a good bath. ‘Phal Prasad’ was served at 9 A.M. and Baba was ready to leave for Bera.

At 7 A.M. on 3-12-74, the Thakur Saheb of Bera, Sri Jangjit Singh, arrived and sent the advance party ahead to keep food ready. Baba left at 9.30 A.M., in Bera Thakur Saheb’s car and the members of the party followed in a bus. The journey was uneventful until the cars reached the outskirts of Bera village. Here a large crowd was waiting for Baba and he was mounted on a decorated jeep and taken in a procession led by a band and horsemen to the town. All along the route people had thronged the two sides to have Baba’s ‘Darshan’. When the procession reached Bera Palace, Baba dismounted and visited the ‘Ramji Bhapji’ temple at the entrance and also a ‘Krishna’ temple next to it. Bera originally was a part of Mewar and Bera Thakurs are also Sisodiyas. But in the redistribution of the states under the British, Bera was given to Jodhpur in exchange with certain hills and forests which were given to Udaipur. Ramji Bhapji has an interesting legend attached to it. It has the image of Vishnu but with a bow which is a new addition. It is said that one of the earlier Thakurs was a great Bhakta. He had gone to Jodhpur for some work and in his absence his ‘jagir’ was attacked by the Chief of Sirohi. A messenger was sent to Jodhpur to call back the Thakur Saheb but it would take four days for the message to reach him and for him to ride back. His subjects were preparing for a fight but they were disheartened due to the absence of their Chief. When Sirohi’s men started attacking the town, the Bera Thakur suddenly appeared on horse-back and under his leadership the Sirohi marauders were put to flight, then the Thakur disappeared. Two days later, the Thakur Saheb of Bera arrived from Jodhpur riding day and night and was happy to find the town safe. When he enquired how the Sirohi attackers had been beaten back, villagers told him that he himself had led the defenders and defeated the Sirohi men. When the Thakur Saheb said that he was in Jodhpur and so could not have taken part in the fight, the villagers insisted that it was he who had led them to victory. The Thakur Saheb then realized that a miracle had happened and went and lay flat on the floor of the Vishnu temple. He understood that God Himself had come out in his form and fought and defeated the enemy. The Thakur Saheb was very repentant on account of the fact that God had to take so much trouble to save his town and palace and he decided to lay down his life by fasting to atone for his sins. God then appeared before him and told him to break his fast as it was His vow to come always to help his Bhaktas. However, God said that a bow should be placed in the hand of the deity to commemorate the occasion. The Thakur Saheb then broke his fast and did as he was told. With a bow in his hand, the God came to be called Ramji as Ram always has a bow in his hand and ‘Bhapji’ is added as a form of greeting. So Vishnu came to be known here as ‘Ramji-Bhapji’- the family deity of the Beras.

(to be continued in the next issue of The Mother)