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THE BANDOPADHYAYA FAMILY OF DEEGHALKANDI

21. Guru - The Boatman who Ferries Across the World Ocean

 

No one shed a single tear after this death, no heart heaved a sigh. Rather, they all got together and sang ‘Jayaguru Kirtan’. As the kirtan gained momentum, it took away all their pain, suffering, and the agony of separation. Some time later, one of their relatives said, “You don’t feel sad witnessing such a death. The only thing you feel is jealousy. One begins to imagine if he could have such a death.” In which higher plane does one need to be in to accept the heartbreaking news of death so calmly and get submerged in ‘Jayaguru Kirtan’, throwing away his cares? This isn’t any acquired power, siddhi, or result of any effort or sadhana.

This was possible only by the mercy of their Guru, by the blessings of their Guru.


There are many such stories that narrate the intimate friendship that blossomed between Sri Sri Thakur and his little friends whom he called ‘Bandhu’. Thakur had one such little Bandhu in Belgharia. He was a close relative of Bhuvan Brahmachari and had come to meet Thakur with Dheerendranath and Aparajita. He was fair, chubby and adorable. Till then he had not come across Sri Sri Thakur. That day, unnoticed by everyone, he ran up the stairs and arrived on the second floor and stood right in front of Sri Sri Thakur. Thakur was elated upon seeing him and exclaimed, “How nice to have you here, my friend.” The little boy started giving him all the information he had in an Eastern Bangla dialect, “My father, mother and my entire family is here to meet you. I ran up to meet you first.” Then he lowered his voice as if he was sharing a secret, “They have brought flowers and so many other things. They will decorate you.” Thakur eyes widened and he came closer and whispered, “Really, decorate me?” The Bangla dialect became even sweeter as the little boy spoke. He couldn’t stop. There were so many things that he had to share with Sri Sri Thakur and he went on and on without any hesitation. This sweet little child became Thakur’s bosom friend ‘Balai Bandhu’.


Sri Sri Thakur’s relationship with this family was unique. Every member of the family had woven a special bond with Thakur. There are so many stories and pastimes of Sri Sri Thakur with the Deeghalkandi Family. There was a lowland next to their home which always got filled up with water during rainy season and appeared like a river. One day Sri Sri Thakur expressed his wish to go on a boat ride. Everyone was amazed and the elders of the family ran to seize this opportunity. Two boats were booked as they were well aware and all his devotes and disciples would want to accompany Thakur. The ladies of the family saw this commotion and quietly came and stood near Thakur expressing their desire to also be included in his entourage. They also told him that they were not allowed to go on the ride. The compassionate Thakur listened to their plea and replied, “Okay, I get it. Now all of you get back to your work. I will arrange something.


After having prasad, Thakur went into his room to rest. Around five ‘o’ clock in the afternoon, everyone assembled ready for the ride. About fifteen senior disciples had climbed into one boat with the oars in their hands. A ladder was kept beside the boat to help the devotees climb up into it. Sri Sri Thakur came and stood on the edge of the ladder with all the ladies lined up behind him. Devotees were standing on either side to help Sri Sri Thakur climb up and remove the ladder afterwards. Thakur was aware that the ladies would not be allowed to get into the boat. So, he slowly put one foot on the ladder keeping the other foot firmly on the ground. They he blinked his eyes signaling the ladies to climb up the ladder. Without wasting any more time all the girls of the house went up the ladder one by one followed by their mothers. Soon after all of them were seated in the boat, Thakur started climbing up and took his seat. The boat started and Thakur took an oar in his hand. The boat caught up speed and everyone was in awe looking at Thakur steering the boat deftly like a seasoned boatman. Everyone chanted ‘Jayaguru’ loudly together. The atmosphere resounded with, “All glories to Thakur Maharaj” chants. Thakur laughed and chided, “All of you say all glories to all these owls and she owls.” The Ladies answered back in unison, “Thakur! We accept that we all are she owls but then who is the owl here?” Thakur pointed at himself with pride and said, “Why? I am the owl here.” Everyone present rolled out laughing. All the villagers lined up on either side of the lowland watching this joyous sight.


…to be continued

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



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