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The Journey of Surrender - 13

Updated: May 5

Bihari Mohan Sharma

 

Three months passed by quietly and then one day the news reached that Sri Sri Thakur would make a stop in Bihari's village, on his pilgrimage to Puri. Initially Sri Sri Thakur’s intention was to travel with Bihari, since he always wished to stay close to his Guru. But Thakur's plans took an unexpected turn upon discovering Bihari's reemployment. Without thinking twice, Thakur summoned Premananda Swami from Bhaual Ashram to accompany him instead. Despite Bihari's heartfelt pleas to join, Thakur, with unwavering resolve, declined his request.


Upon his arrival in Bihari's village, Thakur questioned: "How long do you all wish me to stay in your village?" The collective response echoed unanimously: "At least three days, Thakur!" Later, the villagers regretted, wishing they had beseeched him to stay longer. Responding to their plea, Thakur graciously agreed, outlining a structured agenda for their time together. "Very well," he affirmed, "On the inaugural day, we shall confront the challenging matters, addressing any grievances or accusations concerning Bihari. The subsequent day shall be dedicated to dispelling doubts, resolving issues, and offering personal and general counsel. Finally, on the third day, we shall immerse ourselves in joyous celebration, embracing the spirit of brotherhood."


On the inaugural day, amidst a backdrop of earnest murmurs and whispered grievances, Sri Sri Thakur lent a patient ear to the litany of complaints levelled against Bihari. Central to the discourse were the societal norms allegedly flouted by Bihari in the wake of his mother's passing. Three salient objections emerged: his purported disregard for dietary restrictions, the casual embrace of footwear, and the eschewing of traditional barber services. Sri Sri Thakur listened to every word with empathy and rendered his judgment, tenderly addressing each grievance. With a gentle voice, he reminded the assembly that Bihari's recent bout with severe fever mitigated any offence that had arisen regarding dietary transgressions and the wearing of slippers. Regarding the third accusation, Thakur, refrained from direct intervention, advocating that we should harmoniously blend with the societal customs. Bihari, guided by Thakur's counsel, reconciled with his detractors, obliging to their request and embracing the service of a barber.


The following day unfolded as a symphony of inquiry and revelation, with Sri Sri Thakur assuming the mantle of the Guru, tenderly guiding his devotees through the labyrinth of doubt and uncertainty. With measured words and boundless compassion, he dispelled shadows of confusion, illuminating pathways to enlightenment and understanding.


On the culminating day, as the lingering strains of aarti and kirtan caressed the air, Sri Sri Thakur, took his devotees on a journey through the corridors of memory, regaling the assembly with the story of his life. As the assembled devotees listened in rapt attention, fate also took their side. The heavens opened with torrential rain as if conspiring to prolong this scared communion. Sri Sri Thakur, with a smile of benevolent understanding, stayed an additional day in their village, fulfilling the fervent desires of his devoted flock. From there, Sri Sri Thakur continued his journey to Mayanamati Ashram and presided over the 'Bhakta Sammilani,' amidst the fervent embrace of a devoted congregation. Overseeing the consecration of the sacred ground of the ashram and imparting blessings upon all who gathered, Sri Sri Thakur continued his pilgrimage to Puri.

 

Bihari often found himself entangled between worldly attachments and the call of transcendence. It was in the year 1925 that Bihari, consumed by the intoxicating allure of renunciation, resolved to sever ties with the comforts of home and embark on a pilgrimage to Kokilamukh Matha. Fuelled by a fervent desire to detach himself from the trappings of worldly affairs, he liquidated all his earthly possessions and led his entire family on a pilgrimage to the Kokilamukh Matha.


Welcomed with open arms by Sri Sri Thakur, they were granted sanctuary within the ashram. However, amidst the serenity of their newfound surroundings, a sobering truth dawned upon them. A month had passed by when one day, Sri Sri Thakur, revealed, “Bihari!  You had given your son to me to embark on a spiritual path. But with his mother and sisters now in the ashram, his attachment and familial ties is gaining strength. This eclipses the spiritual growth he had painstakingly cultivated over the years.” In the face of this stark revelation, Bihari found himself at a crossroads, torn between his son’s future and his own pursuit of spiritual enlightenment. He pondered over the situation and made a solemn decision. Swiftly, and without hesitation, he gathered his loved ones and returned to the embrace of his home, retracing his steps with the same determination with which he had embarked upon his pilgrimage.

 

An arduous chapter unfolded in Bihari's spiritual journey next, revealing the depths of his reverence for Sri Sri Thakur and his unwavering commitment to honour every word of his revered Guru. Bihari had forged a relationship with an elderly lady, whose abiding love for scriptures and spiritual pursuits had drawn him into her orbit. As their bond deepened, she became an integral part of his household, offering solace and support in times of adversity, and nurturing his family with a love that transcended mere friendship. Yet, amidst the warmth of their companionship, whispers of disapproval began to circulate in the society, casting a shadow of doubt upon their relationship. In a bid to dispel the clouds of misunderstanding, Bihari turned to his spiritual brethren and wrote a letter to Sri Sri Thakur seeking counsel. Though met with a resounding silence in response to his plea, the wisdom of his Guru found voice in an unexpected forum. In a gathering of devotees at Baguda Bhakta Sammilani, Sri Sri Thakur delivered a decree that reverberated with the weight of divine authority. "Please tell Bihari that if he comes near the lady any more then I will disassociate with him."


As dusk settled, words of Sri Sri Thakur's directive reached Bihari's ears. Sri Sri Thakur's words penetrated the depths of Bihari's soul and without any hesitation, he made a vow to honour the decree of his Guru, even at the cost of personal sacrifice. During that time the lady was in his home, taking care of his ailing grandmother. It was inappropriate to ask the lady to leave the house at that late hour. But Bihari had resolved not to look at the lady’s face anymore and hence chose to walk out of his own home. Seeking solace at a friend's house for the night, he promptly relayed instructions to his family to ensure the lady’s departure the following day. This marked a tumultuous period for Bihari, as the family leaned heavily on the assistance provided by the lady. Yet, amidst the turmoil of his heart, there burned a flame of unwavering faith, of divine guidance that illuminated his path with clarity and purpose. For Bihari knew, with a certainty born of profound conviction, that to follow the dictates of his Guru was to walk the path of righteousness, regardless of his personal happiness.


Bihari maintained a straightforward, unadorned connection with his Guru characterised by simplicity and sincerity, devoid of ostentatious displays. He confided all his doubts and concerns openly, like pages in a unsealed book. Through his steadfast dedication to upholding his Guru’s teachings, Bihari embodied the enduring principle that genuine spiritual progress is found not in the pursuit of personal ambitions, but in the humble submission to divine guidance, even amidst life’s challenges. 

… to be continued

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


Sadguru Swami Nigamananda Paramahansa Dev

 

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