Mahaprabhuji was staying at the Bola Guda Ashram at the time of Janmashtami festival, the celebration for the occasion of God Krishna's birthday. On this festival the merchant Seth Rup Chandaji from Bhiwalia and his family, as well as Thakur Bhur Singhji and Pandit Jiva Rajaji from Jait Singh Guda, all wanted to go and see Mahaprabhuji.
In the evening they left their homes and travelled by oxcart to Bola Guda. Their way was through a river bed which, though normally dry, was then in flood due to the monsoon. The animals and heavy cart began to sink in the water and be carried along by the strong current. Fearing for their lives, the devotees loudly called to Mahaprabhuji for his help.
"Lord, if you're unable to save us from this river, what hope do we have in crossing the ocean of ignorance? Please don't let us drown in this flood. We are on our way to see you!"
And from the depths of their hearts, together they sang the mantra,
OM PRABHU DEEP NIRANJAN SABADUKHA BHANJAN
"OM Mahaprabhuji, radiant Light, save us from all evil!"
In this moment a miracle took place. Drawn by an invisible force, the ox and cart safely landed on the opposite shore. Wet and still trembling with the fear of their life-threatening ordeal, the group joined together in a thanksgiving prayer, then continued on their way to see their Divine benefactor.
On arriving at the ashram they wanted to express their thanks to Mahaprabhuji but even before they could say a word, Mahaprabhuji spoke to them with feigned sternness.
"Is this your entire confidence in me? I had always thought that you were firm in your belief, but you are full of fear! I am always with you, so why worry about your life? The cord of life is always in Gurudeva's hands. Only he can save you from every danger."
During the whole night they held a joyous satsang. Inside, the ashram radiated with the warmth of music and devotion while outside the cold monsoon rains tumbled from the sky. When day was breaking the disciples were becoming hungry but the ashram only contained one open fireplace which was impossible to use because of the continual downpour. Some wanted to go to the village to ask for warm food.
Mahaprabhuji perceived these thoughts as if they had been spoken aloud.
"It's not necessary to bother the village citizens. The rain will soon stop for as long as it takes you to cook and eat, then it will return to wash your dishes! I will instruct God Indra not to disturb your meal!"
Instantly it stopped raining around the ashram, while it continued to rain in the village. What a wonderful experience! The lightning and thunder flashed and rolled about them while they cooked and ate their meal without interruption. When finished, they simply left their dishes and, as promised, it began to rain again and the plates were washed clean!
God Takes on the Responsibilities of His Devotees
The following day, the richly blessed devotees were preparing to return home when Mahaprabhuji took Pandit Jiva Rajaji aside and asked him to stay one more day.
"I would very much like to do this," answered the pandit, "but unfortunately my duties call me back. As you know, I lead the temple service in our village and have the responsibility to punctually perform the puja. Besides, at the least I also receive my income from this duty."
"Don't worry. The spring of your income lies elsewhere. Stay here with me."
Being a faithful disciple, the pandit was unable to refuse the request of his Master and so stayed in Bola Guda.
After one more day of peace at the side of Gurudeva, the pandit returned to his village in the evening. On arriving there he was more than surprised at the question put to him by his neighbours.
"Where did you disappear so quickly after service this morning?"
It was then that the pandit learned that as the people of his village stepped into the temple for morning prayers, he had appeared to them as usual to perform the ceremony and after the puja he was seen by the devotees to close the gates of the temple and leave.
At first he was speechless and he did not answer his neighbours’ question. Gradually it dawned on him what had happened and he realized the truth in the words that God does everything for his devotees. God truly takes upon Himself the full range of responsibility for his wards and even takes their form and carries out their daily tasks.
Pandit Jiva Rajaji told me this story himself. In former times such miracles also took place, as can be seen in the following story.
The Story of the Good-Hearted Barber
Sena Bhagat was a barber in the court of a king who suffered from leprosy. It was his task to be in the palace daily at a certain time to shave the king. This king had a cruel nature, but for all that Sena Bhagat was still kind, mild in his character and had selflessly surrendered to God.
One day on his way to the palace the barber met some swamis. Respectfully, Sena Bhagat greeted the holy men and inquired of them whether they had already taken their daily meal, as it is the custom of sadhus, swamis and monks to entrust God and fellow beings with their livelihood. On hearing that the swamis had not yet eaten, Sena Bhagat realized that it was his sacred duty to invite them to his house.
"It would be a great honour for me if you would bless my house by taking your meal with me."
Thus he instantly upset his schedule for the day and guided the swamis to his home, where he served them a rich meal. After this they held satsang. Finally the sadhus thanked their host and continued on their way.
Meanwhile, the barber's appointment with the king had long since passed and Sena Bhagat reckoned that he would certainly be punished. Full of fear, he dashed as fast as he could to the palace without knowing what to say to excuse himself. However, to his great surprise the king received him warmly and even heartily hugged him.
"Please excuse my delay, Oh Lord," Sena Bhagat muttered.
But the king did not hear him at all, for he was saying in joyous excitement, "Which miraculous power do you possess, that while shaving me today I was healed from your touch? You will be amply rewarded!"
What had happened? The Lord Himself had taken on the duty of Sena Bhagat while he was in selfless service to the servants of God. Truly noble is the mind of a bhakta like Sena Bhagat!
The Enlightenment of a Jaina
In the Shivbagh Ashram of Bola Guda, Mahaprabhuji was visited by a famous Jain acharya named Sadhu Acharya Vijaya Suriji. At first he tried to start a religious dispute but realizing Mahaprabhuji's deep wisdom, he decided to become a disciple.
"True Saints of the Jain are those who renounce the illusion of maya and seek God," Mahaprabhuji spoke. "Truly great souls realize brahma gyana, the knowledge of Brahman. God-realization is not bound to this world and therefore not dependent upon worldly education. Those who place much confidence in intellectual knowledge are often misdirected by maya. God-realization cannot be attained through outward appearances, but only by overcoming inner desires, attachments and mistakes. Whoever recognizes his own Self in the entire universe is a true Jain. He fights against no one and adheres to the Divine command. Ascetic practices without self-analysis only lead to suffering and not to realization. Only this realization of the truth can overcome the harm of the world."
"I have been unwise to doubt my meeting such a Saint of sat sanatan dharma in these times," the Jain Master thought. "Now I realize that Sri Mahaprabhuji is as great as my Master, Bhagwan Mahavir."
Respectfully he spoke to Mahaprabhuji, "I thought that in this age of kali yuga there were no more Divine incarnations, but today you have opened my eyes and I realize that the eternal Divine Light manifests on earth at all times."
"Tell me, is the world during kali yuga different from that during satya yuga, or is it the same?" Mahaprabhuji asked him. The Jain acharya replied, "It is the same."
"Just like the existence of fire, water, the sun and moon," Mahaprabhuji continued, "so too do the God-realized, the mahatmas and rishis of satya yuga manifest on earth during kali yuga in order to revive dharma and protect devotees. In every age Saints and Divine incarnations appear. Nothing belongs to you. Hold onto truth and remember God."
The Jain acharya thanked Mahaprabhuji for this satsang and richly blessed, he returned home.
puja = Divine service or ceremony
Jaina = member of the Jain religion, which was founded by
Bhagwan Mahavir in the 5th century b.c.
acharya = teacher, scholar
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