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THE BANDOPADHYAYA FAMILY OF DEEGHALKANDI

13. Guru – Sishya : A Relationship Forever

 

That day thakur had given initiation to another devotee. That gentleman was not known to the Deeghalkandi family. He was in his mid-thirties, a resident of Mayamansingh district. He was well built and had a calm and peaceful countenance. A couple of days after Thakur’s arrival, he would come almost every day, sit lost in meditation outside the prayer room and take prasad along with other devotees. He never used to talk with anyone. In the beginning, everyone thought that he must have accompanied Thakur along with his entourage. But soon they found out that he was a complete stranger. That gentleman attracted Thakur’s attention. On Thakur’s call, he came forward and prostrated at the lotus feet of Thakur. He exchanged a few words with Thakur. Thakur enquired about his sadhana. A few days later he approached Thakur, held his lotus feet close to his chest and begged for his blessings. He washed Thakur’s feet with his tears that flowed relentlessly. A relationship like this cannot be limited to one birth. It was as if a very close, intimate person had found his confidante after eons of searching. He could not let go of this opportunity. He offered all his love, his heart’s craving, everything he held dear, all at the lotus feet. Thakur accepted all his offerings, gave him a mantra and initiated him, thus forging a bond that could never be broken. They got bound in the Guru – Sishya relationship for all times to come.


The Bandopadhyaya family always suffered from scarcity of water in summer. The wells would dry up and the water table would shrink low. It would become very difficult for the ladies of the family to draw water for the whole family. So, they decided to dig a pond before the rainy season arrived. The wish was duly carried out and the work was completed on time. It was agreed that Sri Sri Thakur would first use the water of that pond. No one would bathe in the pond before him. So, with utter excitement, the entire family waited for the arrival of Sri Sri Thakur. The ladies of the household continued drawing water from the well.


Sri Sri Thakur arrived in Deeghalkandi at the end of the month of ‘Aashadh’. All his disciples were reluctant about this visit since his stay might become uncomfortable due to the torrential rains. But Thakur was not ready to listen to anyone. He retorted, “They have dug that pond with so much hardship, investing so much money and they won’t use it if I don’t go there. So, I have to go.” The news reached the Bandopadhyaya family, “He will arrive on the 16th of the month.”


A wave of joy and excitement flooded every heart of the family. They made all arrangements for Sri Sri Thakur’s comfortable stay. Then, on the day of his arrival, the members of the family took a boat to the harbour where the steamer was docked. They welcomed Sri Sri Thakur with much enthusiasm. Thakur was accompanied by his close disciples Satya Chaitanya, Shakti Chaitanya, Bhuvana Brahmachari and many others. During rainy season, the lowland would get filled with water. The river would overflow its banks and flood the plains and fields. So, whenever Thakur would visit during rains, he would enjoy boat rides with his disciples. That day too, when the sun was about to go down, Thakur set out with his entourage for the boat ride. Thakur spoke with everyone present and advised them about their duties and responsibilities, quoting scriptures.


The following day he called Surendranath, the eldest son of the family and told him that he ouldl inaugurate the pond on that very day. He asked all his devotees to join in ‘Jayaguru Kirtan’ and circumambulate the pond. Then he called the ladies of the house and directed them to cook prasad with the water from that pond. A group of around forty devotes went around the pond singing ‘Jayaguru Kirtan’ to the accompaniment of drums and cymbals. The whole area reverberated with divine sounds. Around half past nine, Sri Sri Thakur entered the pond. All the small girls and ladies followed him. There was a kadamb tree on one end of that pond.

Sri Charuchandra Bandopadhyaya has beautifully narrated this scene: There were many colourful clothes hanging from the branches of that lone kadamb tree that were put out to dry. Seeing Sri Sri Thakur playing in the pond, he was reminded of the playful nuances of Krishna playing with the gopis in the waters of Yamuna. Thakur stood in chest deep water and flung the water at everyone around. Then he swam from one end to the other, stealthily going behind some and pulling their legs down under water. Some devotees made him sit on a chair and lifted it to their head as they waded through the water to reach the centre of the pond. Sometimes he just floated with his face up. He continued floating like a lifeless log for about an hour. It was heavenly and everyone present there stood watching him in wonder. After about two and a half hours, Sri Sri Thakur came out of the pond and went straight to their mother. He stood near her and said, “O Mother! You won’t have to go to Kashi to bathe in the Ganga. I have brought Ganga here for you.” Their mother also spent the rest of her days on the banks of this Ganga.



…to be continued

Inspired by Krushnapriya Mohanty’s essay, “Deeghalkandi Parivar.”




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