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The Journey of Surrender - 4

Bihari Mohan Sharma


The transformation of Bihari's life from one of turmoil and uncertainty to a path of spiritual awakening and purposeful action is a testament to the profound impact of Sri Sri Thakur's teachings. Before receiving initiation, Bihari grappled with overwhelming pressure, both externally and internally, contemplating leaving his job as a means of relief. However, upon initiation, he felt a sense of responsibility towards his spiritual mentor, fearing that his departure would reflect poorly on Sri Sri Thakur.

Despite his initial intentions to seek permission from Sri Sri Thakur before making any drastic decisions, circumstances forced Bihari to leave his job eventually. As he stepped back from his professional duties, his younger brothers took charge of the family's affairs, ensuring that their daily needs were met. Yet, despite the smooth functioning of household responsibilities, Bihari couldn't shake off the feeling of inadequacy, yearning to contribute in some meaningful way.

Driven by a newfound sense of purpose, Bihari adopted a life of simplicity and austerity. He minimized his expenses, embracing a humble existence and finding solace in the simplicity of his lifestyle. He used a ten feet long cloth, cut it into two pieces, wearing one as a dhoti and the other as a shawl to cover his upper body. He left eating delicacies and plucked green leaves from the forest to cook for himself and felt an incredible satisfaction doing so. Building a small hut outside his home, he created a sacred space for prayer, meditation, and devotion to Sri Sri Thakur. Engaging with fellow devotees, Bihari immersed himself in spiritual discussions, bhajans, and kirtans, finding community and support among like-minded seekers. Only the vaishnava community of his village was engaged in spiritual discourses, bhajan and kirtan. Though he enjoyed attending the gatherings, but he could not have an open heart to heart talk with them. Despite his immersion in spiritual practices, Bihari couldn't help but long for a deeper sense of connection and purpose. His prayers to Sri Sri Thakur echoed with a desire to expand the circle of spiritual brothers in his community, envisioning a vibrant community dedicated to spiritual growth and service.

In the depths of Bihari's soul, a seed of longing took root, blossoming into a fervent desire to send his son to the revered Kokilamukh Matha. With trembling hands, he penned his aspirations into a letter, pouring his heart's yearning onto the parchment addressed to none other than the venerable Chidananda Maharaj.

Fate seemed to shine in his favour. A missive arrived, bearing the seal of Chidananda Maharaj, carrying news that danced like sunlight upon Bihari's weary heart. Sri Sri Thakur, the revered master, had not only heard his plea but embraced it with open arms. A 'Rishi Vidyalaya', sanctuary for nurturing young minds, was born from Bihari's dream, with Bihari’s son as the first enrolled student. With each word of acceptance, a new wish unfurled within Bihari's soul, like a delicate bud reaching for the heavens. Could he, too, tread the hallowed halls of the Matha alongside his beloved wife and son? Alas, the answer came as a gentle breeze extinguishing a flickering flame—denied, yet accompanied by sage counsel. Sri Sri Thakur's wisdom flowed like a sacred river, guiding Bihari to navigate the currents of life's journey. "Remain in your world," the master's voice echoed, "But surrender all unto the Divine. Offer your essence, your kin, your wealth, as humble offerings at the feet of the Lord."

Thus, with a heart heavy yet brimming with devotion, Bihari accepted his path. He would remain in the embrace of his worldly duties, while his eldest son, entrusted to the care of Sri Sri Thakur, would journey forth upon the path of enlightenment. And in this sacred exchange, Bihari found solace, knowing that his family's legacy would be woven into the tapestry of divine grace, guided by the hands of a compassionate master.

Days after their correspondence, an insistent yearning seized Bihari, compelling him to seek the divine presence of Sri Sri Thakur. Like a pilgrim drawn to a sacred shrine, he longed for the blessed sight of his spiritual guide.

In a gesture both unexpected and profound, Thakur extended an invitation in a letter. Through the ink of his words, a path unfolded—a train journey weaving through Satgaon village on its way to Kumilla. There, amidst a gathering of devotees and disciples, Bihari would meet Sri Sri Thakur. In case Bihari missed Thakur at the station, he may find him in the home of another devotee, Sonamani Sheel, in a nearby village, the chosen haven for Sri Sri Thakur’s stay.

But when Bihari spoke with Sonamani Sheel, he found that the latter had no idea of the Guru’s visit and no arrangements had been made. No whispers of Thakur's arrival graced the air. Undeterred, Bihari, accompanied by three devoted souls, dashed towards the Satgaon station, their breaths mingling with the urgency of their quest. With hearts racing and spirits ablaze, they arrived just in time to witness the gentle arrival of Thakur's train.

As Thakur descended from the carriage, along with his disciples Chidananda Maharaj and Haridas, surrounded by the aura of his presence, Bihari's heart swelled with both gratitude and remorse. For Sonamani's unpreparedness cast a shadow of embarrassment upon their gathering. Yet, in the face of their faltering steps, Thakur's countenance remained serene, his wisdom a beacon of light amidst the darkness of their confusion. With a simple gesture, he reassured them, “We sanyasis are accustomed to the rigours of nature's embrace, accustomed to travelling through dense, wild forests. What was a mere railway station in comparison?”

As Bihari stood there clueless what to do next, the station master emerged, offering shelter for three people in the humble confines of the parcel room. Grateful, Bihari and his companions, laden with their burdens, arranged makeshift beds for the three travellers, their hearts filled with humility in the presence of the divine. As Sri Sri Thakur surveyed the makeshift lodging, his keen eyes caught every detail, but one question lingered in his mind, "Where will you all sleep?" Bihari's response echoed with a hint of resignation, "We will wait outside." But Thakur's voice cut through the chilly air, his tone sharp with incredulity, "Out in this cold winter night, while we sleep inside? How could you even entertain such a notion? Retrieve our belongings at once."

Under the weight of Thakur's command, silence enveloped the group like a heavy blanket. Their sleeping bags, once prepared for rest, now lay abandoned in the open waiting room. Haridas, in an attempt to offer warmth, presented additional blankets to Sri Sri Thakur, but with a swift motion of his stick, Thakur dismissed them, his concern for the others' comfort evident.

Shivering in the biting cold, sleep eluded them like a fleeting dream. As dawn broke, the next morning Thakur declared, “We don’t have to go anywhere else. Please arrange for our food here in this station. We will catch the train after food.” Amidst the bustle of preparations, Thakur's gaze fell upon Bihari, probing the depths of his soul, as he enquired the reason behind Bihari leaving his job. Bihari's admission of bodily laziness drew Thakur's contemplative gaze, prompting a profound response, "We are Karmayogi. Work is our sole path. Laziness is but a trait of 'Tamoguna,' the cloak of ignorance and inertia."

In the dim light of dawn, Thakur's words resonated, weaving threads of wisdom amidst the chill, illuminating the path of action amidst the darkness of complacency.

Sadguru Swami Nigamananda Paramahansa Dev 

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

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