5. Sri Sri Thakur’s Bonding with the Children
Sri Sri Thakur looked at Dheeren for a long time. He was touched by the way this family had surrendered to him completely. He was drawn by their simplicity and unwavering devotion. There was no veil separating the Guru and his disciples. They considered him their very own, the head of their family and ready to follow the path shown by him. Sri Sri Thakur thought about the request for some time and replied, “That’s alright. That’s how it shall be done. From today, I will take care of you all and you will follow all my directions. But I cannot stay with you all the time. So, I hereby select Dheeren and Adheer as my representatives. All of you have to listen to them. They will manage the accounts and fulfill the needs of the family. I will come here once in two years, take charge of all your family matters and solve all your problems.” Merciful Thakur kept his word and visited the Deeghalkandi family four times in the years of 1927, 1929, 1932 and 1934.
Once during Sri Sri Thakur’s visit, Charuchandra was not at home. He had been away for work. The news of Sri Sri Thakur’s arrival reached his ears. He was overwhelmed with joy when he found that Thakur was travelling in the same steamer that he had boarded. When the steamer reached the shore, the dock was crowded with people. All the brothers of Charuchandra along with Sri Naresh Chandra Pakadasi and about fifteen other disciples were waiting to welcome Sri Sri Thakur. Everyone stood there barefoot with folded hands. But Charuchandra had his shoes on and didn’t want his shoes to be seen. His home was about three miles away from the dock. Neither could he wear the shoes nor hold it in his hands while following the procession. He noticed that the palanquin that was brought for Sri Sri Thakur had a hook beneath it. He hung his shoes on that hook and joined the procession as the devotees carried Sri Sri Thakur home. As the palanquin reached home, the eyes of his eldest brother, Surendranath fell directly on the shoes that hung from the palanquin. Surendranath, who was known for his patience and reticence, lost his temper on seeing the shoes under the palanquin. He shouted, “Whose shoes are these?” Seeing his furious form, Charuchandra fled from the scene. When it was found out that the shoes belonged to Charuchandra, he was called for. A search team went looking for him but he was nowhere to be found! The culprit had run away after his mischief had been caught. Sri Sri Thakur calmed everyone and said, “Yes, he has made a mistake. He is scared and hiding. It’s not such a big crime. I have come to this world to wash everyone’s dirt. So, call him.”
At last, Charuchandra came and took shelter at the lotus feet of Sri Sri Thakur. Sri Sri Thakur stroked his head gently and said, “Don’t be scared. I pardon everyone’s mistakes and you have not committed any. So, go fearlessly.”
Sri Sri Thakur, though their Guru, was more like the head of that household. Every member had a different relationship and different lines of discussion with Sri Sri Thakur. In the beginning, the daughters in law of the household hesitated to come in front of him out of reverence. Whenever Sri Sri Thakur was outside his room, they used to clean his room and make his bed. One day, when Thakur was outside, Indubala Devi, the wife of Dheerendranath, was cleaning his room. Sri Sri Thakur suddenly darted in. Seeing him, Indubala panicked, receded, and stood stiff like a statue. Seeing her so scared, Sri Sri Thakur held her hand and calmed her saying, “Why were you so alarmed on seeing me? You have your parents at home. Consider me like your father. Never be scared of me again.” From that day onwards, all the ladies of the household built a close relationship with Thakur and had easy access to him. He was so dear like one of their own. All their problems, requests, wishes and complaints found their way first to the ears of Sri Sri Thakur.
Brajabala was the eldest daughter of Surendranath while Suradhuni and Malati were the daughters of his younger brother. Sri Sri Thakur had just arrived at their family home in Deeghalkandi. These children had hardly interacted with Sri Sri Thakur. Suradhuni and Malati got up early in the morning, plucked marigold flowers from the garden and started stringing garlands for Sri Sri Thakur. Everyone got together to pluck the flowers but only Suradhuni strung them into a garland. She was engrossed in stringing and kept humming a song-
“I have plucked these flowers with care
So beautiful they look, beyond compare
I have made this garland, sweet and neat
A wish to offer them at his lotus feet.”
Sitting in the platform, she was so absorbed in making the garland that she had no idea Thakur was observing her actions from behind the window of his room. She was startled when she heard his voice addressing her, “O florist! Busy stringing these dew-soaked flowers? Well, it seems like you will put it on me, isn’t it? What do you think? Won’t I shiver in this cold and fall sick?” It was winter. Suradhuni jumped in her place, turned around and looked at Sri Sri Thakur straight in the eye. Seeing Thakur beaming with a graceful smile on his face, Suradhuni also burst out laughing. Thakur reiterated, “Don’t put this dew-soaked flower garland around my neck, offer it at my feet.” Suradhuni nodded yes. When the time came to offer the garlands, Suradhuni bowed down and put her garland at his feet. Next was Malati’s turn.
…to be continued
Inspired by Krushnapriya Mohanty’s essay, “Deeghalkandi Parivar.”