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The Journey of Surrender - 12

Bihari Mohan Sharma

 

Bihari’s days were woven with the threads of duty and devotion, as he balanced the responsibilities of family and community. One fateful day, news arrived like a whisper on the breeze: a distinguished gentleman had graced their village with his presence. For Bihari, this was more than a mere announcement. It was an opportunity, a chance to secure donations vital for the Bhakta Sammilani. As he was planning to meet him, misfortune attacked him yet again. His son lay sick, a heavy burden upon his heart. The weight of responsibility tugged at him from all directions as he was torn between the needs of his family and the demands of his sacred duty. Inability to meet this gentleman would result in losing opportunities vital for the smooth arrangements of the congregation. After much deliberation, Bihari left his son in the care of loved ones and ventured forth, driven by the urgency of his mission. Little did he know that tragedy awaited him upon his return.


As he crossed the threshold of his home once more, a scene of heart-wrenching sorrow unfolded before him. His son, once full of life, now lay motionless, the cruel hand of death stealing him away. He was devastated but in the midst of grief's relentless grip, Bihari found comfort in the silent support of his spiritual brethren. Encircled by their unwavering presence, he found strength to endure, to carry on in the face of unimaginable loss.


With the dawn of a new day, Bihari got up, his spirit unbroken, his resolve unwavering. Joined by fellow devotees, he embarked once more upon the path of duty, marching onward in search of the donations that would sustain their shared vision. Venturing forth with steadfast resolve, Bihari and his companions traversed the countryside, their mission clear: to gather alms for the noble cause they held dear. They covered seven villages that day and saw the fruits of their labour begin to take shape. Bihari then joined Bhuban Brahmachari at Mayanamati Ashram. There, immersed in the work of the ashram, he discovered a sense of fulfilment that lifted him from the depths of despair. Days turned into weeks, and Bihari's spirit blossomed amidst the tranquil embrace of the ashram's sanctum. Yet, duty called once more, pulling him back to the world.

After returning home, Bihari, alongside his steadfast companion Kamini Sen, resumed his quest for donations. As they walked, the generosity of the community flowed forth like a river, swelling their coffers with a bounty of goodwill. But amidst the flurry of activity, a sudden message pierced the tranquility of Bihari's heart: his mother, the cornerstone of his existence, lay gravely ill. Bihari left his companions and hastened back home. But he felt gratified since they had collected fifteen hundred rupees and his efforts had not been in vain. Bihari arrived at home just in time to witness his mother's final moments As he stood by his mother's side, he heard his mother repeatedly uttering his name as she took her final breath.

 

As a tradition, the villagers followed certain customs observed by the community, Bihari found himself at odds with the expectations of society. Faced with financial hardship, he had forgone the luxury of barbers, shouldering the burden of social functions alone. The villagers, understanding Bihari's plight, had been silent. But, in the wake of his mother's passing, the winds of change swept through the village, stirring unrest in their wake. Driven by tradition, the head of the village demanded he accept the services of a barber for the rituals of mourning or else he would be evicted from the community. Bihari and his brother were bedridden with fever during that time. They lay helpless, caught in the throes of grief and illness. Undeterred, Bihari stood resolute in the face of coercion, refusing to bend to the will of societal expectations. The threat of expulsion loomed heavy in the air, yet he remained steadfast in his conviction, preferring exile to compromise. With the unwavering support of his spiritual brethren and kin, Bihari honoured his mother's passing with dignity and grace.

 

Six months had passed since the somber farewell to his mother, yet Bihari found himself engulfed in a tempest of trials and tribulations. Amidst the solemnity of mourning, whispers of disapproval, health of his loved ones faltering and the cruel hand of societal oppression bearing down, he poured out his heart in a letter to Sri Sri Thakur.


With unwavering compassion, Sri Sri Thakur's response came swift and sure, a beacon of wisdom amidst the darkness of doubt. In simple yet profound words, he dispelled the burden of obligation that weighed heavy upon Bihari's shoulders, offering solace in the knowledge that the path to liberation need not be paved with material sacrifice. The community was pressing him to carry out ‘Brishatshorga’ or donation of a bull. But Thakur’s words echoed, "No point in taking loans to donate a bull." These words pierced the veil of uncertainty, offering Bihari a reprieve from the shackles of societal expectation.


Relieved of the burden of debt and obligation, Bihari found renewed purpose in the wisdom of Sri Sri Thakur's counsel. Six months later, as fortune smiled upon him and a debtor returned his long-lost funds, he seized the opportunity to honour his mother's memory in a manner befitting his means. With a heart overflowing with gratitude, Bihari completed the 'Brishatshorga' ritual, not out of obligation, but out of love and reverence for his mother who had shaped his very existence.


In the ebb and flow of life's unpredictable currents, Bihari marched on. As fate would have it, the school where he once imparted knowledge, was searching for good teachers. With a heart fortified by the unwavering support of his well-wishers, Bihari seized the moment, and embarked in his journey once more in the realm of education. Guided by the hand of destiny and the prayers of those who believed in his potential, Bihari found satisfaction in the rhythm of routine. Days turned into weeks, and weeks into years, as he poured his heart and soul into the noble pursuit of education, the weight of responsibility no longer a burden, but a privilege to bear.


For six years, when he was jobless, he had walked the path laid out before him by the guiding hand of Sri Sri Thakur. With each passing day, he had learned the true value of work, its transformative power in shaping him into the man he was destined to become. And as the seeds of love and labour took root within his soul, Sri Sri Thakur smiled upon him, offering a gift born of both grace and gratitude. The job he had once forsaken, lost to the grip of laziness, now beckoned anew. One truth shone bright amidst his struggles: that with faith in his Gurudev and work as his guide, even the most arduous of paths can lead to the sweetest of victories.

... to be continued

Inspired by Krushnapriya Mohanty's essay, 'Bihari Mohan Sharma'.


Sadguru Swami Nigamananda Paramahansa Dev

 

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