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The Journey of Surrender - 5

Updated: Mar 10

Bihari Mohan Sharma

 

In the heart of Satgaon station, amidst the hustle and bustle of everyday life, Bihari had an encounter that would forever alter the course of his spiritual journey. It was that chance meeting with Sri Sri Thakur, an encounter that left him awestruck and filled with an overwhelming sense of divine presence. In that moment, Bihari's faith was reaffirmed – he believed that Sri Sri Thakur listened to every prayer, whether spoken aloud or whispered silently in the depths of one's soul.


Returning home from this transcendent meeting, Bihari was greeted with unexpected news – a letter from Anukul Babu, a respected lawyer, expressing his desire to also seek solace in Sri Sri Thakur's embrace. Overjoyed at the prospect of his spiritual family expanding, Bihari fervently prayed for others to experience the boundless joy he had found. Bihari’s heart leapt with joy when he heard the news later that Anukul Babu had received Deeksha from Sri Sri Thakur at the Kokilamukh Matha. However, amidst his elation, Bihari found himself wrestling with a lingering concern. Though Sri Sri Thakur had spoken of the dangers of laziness, quoting it as an expression of Tamoguna, he hadn't explicitly urged Bihari to return to conventional employment. This uncertainty gnawed at him, leading him to reflect deeply on his own path.


Gradually, Bihari reached a realization – perhaps his decision to leave his job wasn't entirely unjustified, but remaining idle wasn't in alignment with his spiritual journey either. Determined to embrace the concept of 'karmayoga', he threw himself into any task that presented itself. Whether it was tending to the family's cows, erecting broken fences around the house, harvesting peas and beans from the fields, or collecting jute from plants, Bihari found solace and purpose in every chore. Since the family condition was not affluent, he could make himself useful to the family.


Whenever he found time, Bihari would visit the Kokilamukha Matha Inspired by the dedication of the sanyasis at the Matha, particularly Chidananda Maharaj and Nirvanananda Maharaj, Bihari eagerly absorbed their teachings and honed his skills through their guidance. Their tireless efforts served as a beacon, guiding Bihari towards a deeper understanding of the essence of work – not as a means to an end, but as an expression of devotion and selflessness.


One morning, Nirvanananda Swami, who was the manager of the Matha and in charge of Rishi Vidyalaya, distributed the day’s work among everyone present and himself took on the work that was left off, to cut grass for the cows. Cutting grass for fifty cows was not an easy task. His pride of education, status, intellectualism didn’t come in the way of finishing this high physically demanding work. Seeing all these luminaries working tirelessly, Bihari also got addicted to work.


In the tranquil beauty of a Durgashtami morning, when the air was thick with the scent of devotion and the promise of spiritual awakening, Bihari embarked on his daily routine. Despite fasting in observance of the holy day, his spirit remained resolute as he led the cows of the Kokilamukha Matha out to graze. As they wandered into the lush forest, a gentle drizzle began to fall, enveloping the surroundings in a veil of mist. Unbeknownst to Bihari, the rain had stirred the forest floor, awakening the slumbering leeches, which stealthily made their way onto his unsuspecting feet. Yet, undeterred by the unexpected intrusion, Bihari sought refuge on higher ground, his heart swelling with reverence for the divine. With the cows grazing contentedly around him, he lifted his voice in a melodious song, filling the forest with the sweet strains of devotion. In that moment, amidst the gentle patter of raindrops and the chorus of nature's symphony, there was a sense of jubilation that transcended the mundane – a celebration of life, love, and unwavering faith.


Chidananda Maharaj's voice rang out, tinged with a hint of irritation, as he addressed Bihari, "There's a designated time and place for each task. Today, amidst the celebrations of Durga Mahotsav, your presence is needed in the temple hall to string garlands."

Undeterred, Bihari responded calmly, "Every task brings me equal joy. If I delay collecting the jute now, it'll likely go to waste. Therefore, I felt compelled to complete this task first."

Chidananda Maharaj offered a sagely remark, "Remember, we engage in work to fulfil our purpose, not to be enslaved by it. Let it go to waste if need be."

Bihari listened to him in awe and reverence.


Chidananda Maharaj was renowned for his unwavering commitment to selfless service. In the face of adversity, he exemplified resilience and determination, as evidenced by his solitary efforts to cleanse an entire forest, enduring the relentless stings of bees without faltering. While others hesitated, he embraced the challenge with resolve, demonstrating an unparalleled dedication to his duty. Once he even carried the luggage of three people on his head without complaint. His readiness to spring into action at a moment's notice, regardless of the task at hand, marked him as an epitome of tireless effort and boundless compassion.


Yet, it was that simple exchange with Chidananda Maharaj that provided Bihari with profound clarity. In response to Chidananda Maharaj's assertion that some tasks could be left undone, Bihari realized the distinction between being enslaved by work and embracing it as a form of spiritual practice. Bihari understood that it was not the nature of the work that bound one's soul, but rather the attachment to its fruits. In embracing each task with a heart full of joy and devotion, he had discovered the true essence of 'karmayoga' – a path that liberated the spirit from the shackles of desire, and allowed it to soar free, like a bird in flight, towards the boundless expanse of divine grace.


... to be continued

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


Sadguru Swami Nigamananda Paramahansa Dev

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