At a military post of the British Government at Mount Abu there was a duty officer who had always been quite hostile to the Hindus. It was here that Sri Devpuriji first appeared in public.
One evening when the British officer was strolling by Lake Nakki, he happened to pass the temple of Sri Duleshwar Shiva at the time of prayer when the sound of songs, drums, bells and cymbals resonated from the temple. As this officer detested the exotic sounds of Indian worship, he angrily entered the temple and interrupted the prayer.
"Why do you make such unbearable noise?" he barked at the priests. "Your God must be either deaf or asleep if you need to make so much noise to wake him. You disturb the peace of the entire area, therefore I order that this spectacle come to an end at once! If your God really wants to hear such music, he should seek my permission. Whoever violates this order to play any instrument without my personal approval, shall be arrested!"
With a view to make them realize that he meant what he said, he immediately took into custody a few of the brahmins.
The priests and sadhus were rightly afraid that this was the end of their freedom to practise their own religion, but knew it was not wise to defy the British officer. In despair they began to fast - praying night and day to Lord Shiva, so that he might appear to make the officer rescind his order and release the brahmins.
The British officer came to know of the activities and prayers of the Hindus and decided to poison the sadhus. For this purpose he obtained bottles of nitric acid and had them brought to his house.
During those days Sri Devpuriji was living a life of seclusion in dense forests of the Mount Abu range. Only rarely did someone glimpse him tending his cows. Otherwise he remained virtually unnoticed. His transcendent and all-embracing awareness heard the distressed calls of the sadhus and priests, so in order to help his devotees, he decided to reveal the presence of Lord Shiva himself to the tyrannical British officer.
Proceeding to this man’s house, loudly and clearly he shouted, "Englishman, come out! Here is a sadhu who has come to drink the poison you have prepared for the Hindu priests and brahmins."
The officer heard Sri Devpuriji and was alarmed at this unusual request, for how could anyone know that he had such poison? Assuming that the fearless swami was leader of the rebellious priests, he commanded a servant to bring a bottle of the acid.
Sri Devpuriji drank the poison, emptying the bottle in one draught, but it had no effect.
"As you can see, I am still alive!" he said to the officer. "Do you have more such bottles? If so, then bring them here!"
Six more bottles were brought and Sri Devpuriji drank them all, one after the other. The officer and all present stood in speechless in amazement, unable to believe their eyes. Finally, Sri Devpuriji shattered all seven bottles and swallowed the glass. He then lay on the ground and withdrew his breath to the brahma randhra, whereupon his pulse became imperceptible. The relieved officer concluded that the poison had finally taken effect and the impertinent swami was now dead.
He called servants to carry away the lifeless body, but just at that moment Sri Devpuriji sat up and smiled.
"What do you think? I am still very much alive and was only taking a little rest!"
Then he appeared in his true Divine form and grabbing the frightened officer, carried him bodily to the banks of Lake Nakki. Sri Devpuriji walked out over the water of the lake as if it were dry land and on reaching the deepest point, he stopped and spoke to the wretched officer.
"As I have heard, you too have some requests to make of Lord Shiva. Now you have the opportunity to express them personally, as he truly stands before you!"
Trembling with fear, the officer began to pray, "Sri Devapurisa Mahadeva, rescue me!"
He recited this mantra five times and Sri Devpuriji graciously nodded to him.
"You have found the right words. This mantra will most certainly save you from the world that you know, from this ocean of suffering and pain."
Encouraged by these compassionate words of Sri Devpuriji, the officer continued to repeat the mantra and was permitted to touch the lotus hands of the Divine Master. Instantly he was purified. There was a great change in him and his mind was filled with Divine richness.
With folded hands he begged for Sri Devpuriji's blessing.
"Lord, grant us your mercy. We of the Western world possess education, science and art. We have money and food in abundance yet we lack true yoga - wisdom, knowledge of God and inner peace. Therefore I request that you bless us with your presence and grant us your wisdom and mercy."
Sri Devpuriji always satisfies the pure wish of his devotees and so he replied, "Your desire will be fulfilled."
He prophesied that God Himself would appear on this earth in the form of Bhagwan Sri Deep Narayan Mahaprabhuji.
"A great and luminous soul from satya loka will be sent to spread the message of peace and the Divine teachings of Vishwa Deep throughout the whole world. I myself, in the form of blessing and light, will always accompany him. The radiance of Vishwa Deep, the universal Divine Light, fills the entire cosmos. This messenger to come is part of him and all who are devoted to him shall be liberated from ignorance and delusion and will attain enlightenment and inner peace."
After Sri Devpuriji had bestowed his blessing and made this prophecy to the officer, he delivered him safely to the shore. Immediately the officer ordered the release of the brahmins and priests, begged their forgiveness for his errant ways and showered them with gifts. In the meantime, thousands of faithful devotees had gathered around the shores of Lake Nakki. Overjoyed at the sight of him, they all praised Shiva, Lord of Kailash. Everyone tried to get closer to Yogiraj Sri Devpuriji, but he vanished as suddenly as he had appeared.
The news of this miracle quickly spread and the people felt assured that benevolent God Shiva had heard their prayers and was sending them a Divine protector, just as was prophesied. Materially poor Indian people may be, but they are rich in spirituality, their faith in God is strong. Regardless of poverty, in their faith they are certain that God watches over everything and that in His inexhaustible mercy, He sends them His help.
This story was told to me by the old sadhus and brahmins of Mount Abu, as well as by Mahaprabhuji himself.
brahmin = One of the four castes in India. Brahmins are those contemplativc persons who have full knowledge of the Vedas and Vedic philosophy and who are spiritually inspired.
sadhu = a hermit devoted to asceticism and spiritual discipline
brahma randhra = sahasrar, seventh chakra
Yogiraj = "King of the Yogis", an epithet for Lord Shiva
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