The Mother Divine
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By Sri Sri Sitaramdas Omkarnath

Through simple and unwavering faith God can be realised, while argumentation takes one far away from Him. Simple faith is the root of the direct vision of God. The devotee in whose heart this holy lotus of simple faith has blossomed will undoubtedly the direct vision of God. One may not have austerities, may not practise yoga or perform sacrifices, yet it is certain that if one possesses the treasure of simple faith, one is highly rich. God cannot remain away from such a man of simple faith. If this is not a fact, how can the boy Dhanaji get the direct vision of God?

The father of Dhanaji was a Jat by caste, did not know reading and writing earned his living by agriculture. But due to his good deeds in his previous births, he loved to serve saints. Coming to know this, saints came to his house at intervals and were pleased to accept his service. One day a Brahmin devoted to God came there as a guest. He worshipped his Shalagrama (a symbol of Lord Narayana; it is said in the scriptures that the Shalagrama is a permanent abode of the Lord Narayana with flowers, sandal paste, etc. and offered bhoga (food offered to God) to him and took prasada.

Dhanaji did not go away for play that day and began to observe the process of worship of the Brahmin. The Brahmin poured water on the Shalagrama for His bath, put Tulasi leaf with sandal paste on Him and placed Him on a copper plate. Then he carried on meditation on the Lord Narayana and worshipped Him mentally. Then again, he kept a flower in his hand, chanted mantras, meditated on the resplendent form of the Lord and placed the flower on the Shalagrama. After worshipping Him with sandal paste, flowers etc., he offered bhoga to Him. Dhanaji remembered all these in their successive order and requested the Brahmin to give him a Deity like the Brahmin's one, so that he might also worship the Deity just like the Brahmin. The Brahmin said, "You are still a boy, you are not to perform puja (worship) as yet; when you will be grown up like me, practise the puja of the Lord." Dhanaji replied, “No, no, please give me the Lord for puja; I have learnt how to perform puja and I shall be able to do it well."

The Brahmin could in no way dissuade the boy. He gave a black piece of stone to Dhanaji and asked him to worship it carefully.

Dhanaji became extremely glad getting his Deity. He placed Him on his head sometimes, sometimes on his breast and sometimes looked at Him keeping Him in his hand. He placed Him on a piece of cloth kept on a plate in a lonely room.

Next morning, he got up from his bed, took his bath and put tilaka (marks of the servant of God, painted on the forehead and some other parts of the body) on the forehead, arms, etc., collected leaves, flowers and a piece of earth and sat before his Deity. He then bathed his Deity, placed a leaf with mud-paste on Him and worshipped Him with flowers, etc., and saluted Him falling on the floor like a stick in intense love for the Deity. After that he began to do japa. The parents of Dhanaji saw all these standing behind him and got immense joy. Then Dhanaji offered the bread, given to him by his mother, to his Deity as bhoga and sat closing the eyes. After a while opened his eyes to see whether his Deity ate the bread. He saw that the Deity did not eat the bread. He again sat closing his eyes for a long time. Then he opened his eyes and found that the bread was not taken by his Deity. Then he said with folded hands, "Oh Lord! I am merely a boy and do not know mantras; are you not eating the bread for this? Please take it; if you do not eat, I will also not eat." The boy, Dhanaji, spoke many things in a tone of surrender, but found that his Deity remained static and showed no sign of movement.

This indifference of his Deity touched Dhanaji's mind very much and he said, “Well! if you do not eat, I will also not eat." Then he threw that bread in a tank unnoticed by any one and came back to his house. At night also he sat before his Deity with the food given to him by his mother and seeing that it was not taken by the Deity, he went near the tank and threw the food to its water. Several days passed in this way.

Dhanaji's mother thought that her son took Prasad after offering the bhoga to the Deity.

Thus, Dhanaji fasted for several consecutive days and as a result he got very emaciated and became very weak. The mother grew very anxious seeing the condition of her son, when she asked what ailment he had, Dhanaji did not reply.

One day he was sitting before his Deity keeping bread in front of Him. But as the Deity did not take the bread, tears rolled down his cheeks in heartfelt sorrow. Dhanaji had not the strength even to stand on legs. He wept and wept and could not even move. Seeing his condition God could no longer remain unmoved. Dhanaji's intense love for his Deity moved the all-pervasive consciousness, the Absolute, who is at the same time Personal God. Brahman, whom great yogins cannot realise, took concrete form and began to eat the bread placed by Dhanaji, before his Deity.

Dhanaji was sitting with closed eyes. Hearing the sound of eating bread, he opened his eyes and saw that Lord Krishna, the very personification of beauty, was eating that bread, Dhanaji's eyes were fixed on the Lord who was eating bread. When the Lord ate up half of that bhoga, Dhanaji said, “If you eat the whole quantity of the bhoga, what shall I eat?” The Lord smiled and gave the remaining half of the bhoga to him. Dhanaji ate that nectar like bread and was highly gratified. His hunger of innumerable births was satiated.

Dhanaji loved the Lord very much. If he could not see Him even for a moment, everything appeared empty to him and he became very anxious. The Lord cannot neglect the anxiety of His devotees; so, He got Himself bound by the intense love of the boy. He remained always close to the boy and before his eyes.

Gradually Dhanaji grew in years. The Lord was staying before him always in his going, eating and lying. One day the Lord said, “You see, I shall milk a cow in the house of the milkman and bring milk for you."

Dhanaji said, “Well! I shall also go with you. I shall not be able to stay away from you even for a moment."

Thus, the Lord began to milk a cow for the benefit of Dhanaji.

A few days after this the Brahmin devotee who gave Dhanaji the Deity came to his house. He said to Dhanaji, “Where is that Deity? Why do you not worship it?

Dhanaji said, "you gave me a very good Deity. He did not allow me to eat for several days and He Himself also did not eat. But now He has turned very good. He milks a cow and brings milk.” The Brahmin remained looking at him in astonishment. Then he said to Dhanaji, "Where is your Deity? Can you show Him to me?".

Dhanaji replied, “There is the Deity standing." The Brahmin did not see the Lord and said, “Well! I do not see Him."

The Lord said, “Oh! Dhana! You could see me as a result of austerities in your previous births. This Brahmin has no such austerities, so he cannot see me."

Dhanaji said, "I have no concern with all those. You must show him your form."

The Lord said, “He has earned much merit being your Guru. You just sit on the lap of your Guru and then he will see me."

Dhanaji said, “The Deity says that if you take me in your lap, you will see him.”

The devoted Brahmin earnestly placed Dhanaji on his lap. At once he gained divine eye-sight and saw God as Shyama-sundara, i.e., Lord Krishna. The nectar of that exquisite beauty of the Lord was drunk by him but he wanted to see Him more and more. Tears of love and joy rolled down his cheeks. He wanted to praise His glory, but his voice got choked. With silence and steady eyes, he began to see God.

Dhanaji said, "Oh! my Deity! This Brahmin has given you to me; then why are you not being visible to him? Be visible to him please! At first you gave me pain by not showing me your form. Do not torture this Brahmin any more. Kindly be visible to him."

Several years rolled away and Dhanaji grew up and was now a young man. The Lord said, “You see, Dhana! This is no longer the time of talking and seeing externally. You just go in Banaras, take initiation Ramananda Swami and realise my true nature."

Hearing the command of the Lord Dhanaji prayed to his parents to allow him to go to Kashi Dham, i.e., Banaras. They permitted him to go there Dhanaji took the dust of their feet and started for Kashi Dham. Reaching that holy place, he went to Ramananda Swami who was then the greatest master of the devotional school and a great devotee of God. He narrated to him all that has happened to his life and prayed for initiation.

Ramananda Swami embraced Dhanaji and said, “My dear! What mantra shall I give you! Through your austerities in many births, you have gained simple and sincere faith and unflinching devotion and are seeing the Lord always. You, your parents and clan are all blessed.”

Dhanaji said, “The Lord has asked me to know His true nature from you and to take initiation from you."

Ramananda Swami said, “Very well. Come to me after taking your bath."Dhanaji bowed to his feet after taking his bath. Then the Swami sanctified him with five rites. Tapa (hot impression), Pundra (marks of the servant af God), Name, Mala (rosary) and Mantra are the causes of the realisation of God. He also gave him the Tarark Mantra consisting of six letters the Dvaya Mantra “Srimad Rama Charanam Sharanam Prapadye and Shrimate Ramachandraya namah.” He asked Dhanaji to meditate on the meaning of these two mantras. Lastly the final mantra ----

"Sakrideva Prapannaya

Tavasmiti Cha yachate

Abhayam sarvabhutebhyo

dadamyetadvratam mama”

--- was also given to him.

After this the Swami told Dhanaji: Vyasa, Parasara and other sages have spoken of three truths, acit, cit and Iswara (the unconscious, the conscious and God). The various names of acit are Nitya, Ajna, Achetana, Prakriti, Avikriti. Visvayoni, Subha, Nanavarnatmika, Aja, Trigunasunilaya Avyakta, Nirvyapara, Parartha and Mahadahamitisu.

The best of the sages say that the conscious self is ever of the same form, has knowledge as its quality, is of the nature of knowledge or consciousness, is devoid of old age, death and other kinds of transformations, is the servant of God both in bondage and liberation, subtler than even an atom, infinite in number and resides in all bodies pervaded by the Lord Sri Ramachandra, the husband of Laksmi. The self-reaps the fruits of his own actions, whether good or bad. In the state of bondage, the self thinks itself to be the agent of all actions and forgets that it is the eternal servant of God. When free the self-realises that it is dependent on God and His servant.

God is all-pervasive Truth having cit and acit as His parts. The universe is His manifestation; He protects it; in dissolution it will merge in Him. The sun and the moon shine by His light. Wind blows, and the earth does not go to nether regions being afraid of Him. He stays always steady like a mountain. He is the witness of the conscious and unconscious entities, the greatest of the three truths, endowed with divine qualities like protecting the persons surrendering unto Him, eternal and is eternally connected with Sri Laksmi who is no other than Sita. He is adored by gods and is capable of saving souls surrendering to Him. He is devoid of all shortcomings. The devotees meditate on His lotus feet through intense love for Him. Sages like Valmiki and others have praised His glory. He has infinite knowledge. Garuda, Visvaksena and others meditate on Him. He confers dharma, artha (riches), Kama (pleasures of life) and moksa (liberation). Water and human beings are His abode. He has no beginning nor any end. All the Vedas sing His glory. He is beyond the comprehension of even gods.

Dhanaji heard with undivided attention the truths about the conscious, unconscious and God and said, "What am I to do?” Ramananda Swami said, “Always do the japa of Taraka Mantra and the Rama-dvaya Mantra leading to salvation and also meditate on their meaning. Sri Vaisnavas should listen to the Lila of Sri Ramachandra, the holder of the wheel, always and also chant it. They should take all things, conscious and the unconscious, to be the forms of God and should keep company with saints.”

Thus, Dhanaji learnt the mantra, the nature of Truth and the process of sadhana from his Guru, bowed down to his feet and returned home. His parents were extremely delighted to see him.

Dhanaji now knew that all things and beings in the world were all Lord Ramachandra and nothing existed beyond Him. Before his initiation from Ramananda Swami, he got the Lord in a specific form. But now he realised that the Lord was infinite and all-pervasive and that He assumed infinite number of forms and this was His Lila or self-descriptive sport.

Thus, Dhanaji dived deep in the sea of the highest bliss. His biographers narrate a very interesting incident of his life. One day Dhanaji was going to the field to sow wheat being asked by his father. At this time, he met some saints. They wanted alms from him. As there was nothing except that wheat with him, he gave it to them. Lest his father would be displeased he went to that field and turned the earth of that field into the condition in which it was to be after seeds were sown. Then he returned home.

At the will of the Supreme Being, who creates infinite number of worlds, ample crop grew in that field even without seeds. People came to Dhanaji and spoke highly of the bumper crop grown in that field. Dhanaji took all this to be a joke, but hearing the same thing from many men, he went to the field and found that it was full of crops. Realising this to be a grace of the ever-gracious God, he began to shed tears of love and joy. He saw the Supreme Being in the crops, the field, the sky and everywhere and thus forgot himself.

Dhanaji passed the remaining portion of his life in the service of saints and the Lord Ramachandra, in chanting His Names and in meditating on His lotus feet and went to the eternal highest heaven after death.