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Updated: Jun 10, 2023

6. Thakur's New Friends


Malati was watching her sister intently as she offered her garland to Sri Sri Thakur. But she was not someone who could be directed or instructed. She was obstinate. She had to put the garland around Sri Sri Thakur’s neck. As she moved forward to offer her garland, a tussle ensued between the Lord and the devotee. The fight went on and on as both of them were unyielding. In the end, Sri Sri Thakur had to give in and allowed Malati to put the garland around his neck. Everyone present there tried to subdue their laughter, covering their mouth with their hands. This event of introduction of the disciples to their Guru Maharaj provided the much-needed entertainment to all the assembled disciples. After lunch when Sri Sri Thakur retired to his room to rest, hiding from the eyes of others, both the sisters tiptoed into Sri Sri Thakur’s room. On seeing them, Thakur extended his feet towards Malati and his hands towards Suradhuni as both of them sat down to massage. Then commenced their question-answer session.

“What’s your name?”

“My name is Malati”

“Oh! That explains the sweet fragrance,” He exclaimed as he started singing a few lines from a poem:

“With its sweet fragrance, Malati flower started blossoming

And attracted the bee came near and started humming.”

Now the question for the other partner:

“What’s your name?”

“My name is Suradhuni.”

“Oh wow!” Sri Sri Thakur sat up straight.

“Suradhuni! You are the beauty of Shiva’s locks. That was your home. Bhagirath pleased Shiva with his meditation and brought you down to earth. So, she is called Bhagirathi. Do you know the story of Bhagirath?”

Then Sri Sri Thakur told them the story of Ganga’s descending to earth.

Thakur loved to tease Malati. One day, while having food, Thakur called Malati and asked her to sit beside him. Then he ordered her to show her hand. As she opened her hand in front of him, he put some fish bones and the rough, outer skin of vegetables in her palm. Everyone roared out laughing but Malati sat there still. She put everything in her mouth and started chewing saying, “Whatever he has given me is his prasad.” Next, Sri Sri Thakur put some prasad in her hand and she danced with joy. There were two other children in the household, ‘Krishna’ and ‘Balram’ who were very close to Thakur. They followed him everywhere like a shadow. Sri Sri Thakur used to consider them as his dear friends and called them ‘Krishna Bandhu’ and ‘Balai Bandhu’.

In the year 1932, Sri Sri Thakur set foot in Deeghalkandi for the third time. A letter arrived at their home which was sent by Bhuvanananda Maharaj informing about Sri Sri Thakur’s travel plan, “Sri Sri Thakur will come to your home very soon. Please stay prepared to welcome him.” The letter generated a wave of unbridled joy. Everyone in the family always looked forward to these few days at the end of the year. Words fall short to describe the excitement and jubilation that the news brought. A few days later, another letter reached their home, “Sri Sri Thakur will arrive at your place on the seventh day of Shravan, which is a Saturday. If there are any disturbances at your place during this period, please write to us and inform ahead of time. If we don’t hear from you, Sri Sri Thakur will arrive at your place on the above day.”

At that time, the household was going through a tough situation. Brajabala, daughter of Surendranath, who was only twelve years of age, was suffering from typhoid and was bedridden. But even at this serious juncture, the joy and excitement of the news of Sri Sri Thakur’s arrival couldn’t be discounted. So, no one spoke about the condition of Brajabala and started preparations to welcome Sri Sri Thakur. A letter was written to inform how anxiously they were waiting for him. A question popped up in their minds, “Was Thakur aware of the situation in the household. Else why would he ask if there were any disturbances at our home?”

Day by day, the condition of Brajabala got worse. It was evident that her last days were drawing nearer. Forgetting about her health, she was only chanting Sri Sri Thakur’s name day in and day out. She was praying hard to see Thakur once before she left her body. In such serious times also, everyone was excitedly looking forward to Sri Sri Thakur’s arrival. The day arrived. Everyone got into a boat in the midst of cheerful chanting of ‘Jayaguru Mahanaam’ and sailed to the harbour to welcome Sri Sri Thakur. Only one person stayed at home to take care of Brajabala. The steamer came to a halt. Everyone stepped up and paid their obeisances to Sri Sri Thakur. As if all their anxiety, sorrow flew away at the touch of the lotus feet. They got into the boat along with Sri Sri Thakur and sailed towards their village. At the outskirts of the village, Thakur suddenly asked, “Oh! Is there a cremation ground here?”

What sort of a question was that?

…to be continued

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

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