Bihari Mohan Sharma
Some people are just born lucky. Without following any spiritual practices, without any discipline, contemplation, asceticism, worship or any sadhana, they get acceptance in the lotus feet of their Guru. It might be because of their karma accumulated in the previous births or simply by the unimaginable mercy of their Guru. Bihari Mohan Sharma, a close disciple of Sadguru Swami Nigamananda Paramahansa Dev came under this category. Though born in a brahmin family, he was never involved in adhyayana (studying vedas), yajana (performing sacrifice), dana (giving), adhyapana (teaching), yajana (acting as a priest), pratigraha (accepting gifts), or any activity that a virtuous brahmin was expected to carry out. His parents had him at a later age and hence showered him with all their love and care. Bihari grew up pampered, without a care for the world, taking everything for granted. He was the apple of the eyes of his aged parents and grew up irresponsible, without any rules or regulations to abide by.
When Bihari was only nineteen years old, his parents got him married to a beautiful girl. As his father was old and unable to sustain the family anymore, the burden of managing the entire family fell upon the shoulders of Bihari. Bihari Mohan Sharma took up the job of a teacher in a nearby school. He also took in their land and property and started a credit business, loaning out money with an interest. Slowly a dormant wish sprouted inside him. He wanted name, fame and wealth. He also wished to be counted as an elite, yielding influence in the society. But life has something else in store for him. He tried very hard but was unsuccessful in making his dream come true. Rather he got entwined in a number of cases and law suits involving his land and property and lost peace of mind. He didn't enjoy the company of his friends anymore and was always worried with some problem or the other. Slowly he stopped meeting people, shied away from spending time in festivals and celebrations. That was possible only by the mercy of the Lord. But since he was learned, with a brilliant mind, he still received the same respect as before from the people around him.
In his book titled, ‘Thakura Mahatmya’, he affirms that even before one surrenders before a Guru, the mercy of the Guru creates obstacles in the desired path of the disciple.
Earlier, Bihari was an atheist and didn’t believe in God or a superior power. But when he was frustrated after failing in his attempts, he found peace in accepting the will of the Lord. He turned towards devotion and started reading the biographies of the great saints, seers and devotees and learned that the lives of devotees were never smooth. They faced uncertainty, confusion and a lot of obstructions at every step, forcing them to deviate them from their cherished path. But they faced all these challenges smilingly, surrendering themselves at the feet of the Lord.
Since his childhood days, Bihari was attracted to music and playing various instruments. He was influenced by the the Bengali kirtans of the vaishnavas and started Hari Naam Kirtan, chanting and singing the names and glories of Krishna along with his family and friends. This activity of getting together and singing grew on him and he started enjoying it. Amazed by his devotion, his deep interest in scriptures and the way he led the kirtan, two of his friends became very close to him. These two friends guided him to take shelter at the lotus feet of Sadguru Nigamananda Saraswati.
Bihari was no longer satisfied with singing and dancing and the wish to have a Guru grew stronger by the day. He got hold of some of the books written by Sri Sri Thakur. He read every line, every word intently, moving from one page to another, astounded by the truth of every word and bewildered by the revelation. One of his neighbours was a brahmin scholar and another was a steadfast, knowledgeable lawyer. When Bihari came to know that both of them had adorned Sri Sri Thakur as their Guru, he developed an irresistible desire to become Thakur’s disciple. After contemplating for a long time, he sat down to write a letter to Sri Sri Thakur describing his condition and state of affairs and requesting for darshan. He received Sri Sri Thakur’s reply with some instructions and advice. But the desire became so intense that he decided to travel to Assam as soon as he could. In the year 1917, he got into a train and headed for Kokilamukh.
After arriving at the Kokilamukh Matha, he was surprised to see the brahmachari and the sanyasi working in the Matha like labourers, with hammers and sickles, digging and constructing. He grew suspicious but since most of the disciples were western educated, he thought they must all be busy in some work for the betterment of humanity. Sri Sri Thakur was aware of the confusion going on in his mind. So instead of giving him Deeksha (initiation), Sri Sri Thakur told him the procedure of chanting and meditating on his previous mantra given by the family priest. But Bihari was not satisfied and wanted more. He kept thinking how to possibly get Sri Sri Thakur to visit his home so that he can spend some time alone with Thakur and apprise him of his wish. Those days Thakur hardly left the Kokilamukha math. So, Bihari went to Chidananda Maharaj, one of Thakur’s close disciple, and told him about his wish. Soon after he left the Matha and returned to home. Throughout the way, he could think of nothing else except Sri Sri Thakur. Sri Sri Thakur’s luminous face, the bright aura around his body, kind and merciful eyes, his fearless countenance untouched by any emotion flashed before his eyes.
... to be continued
Inspired by Krishnapriya Mohanty's essay: Bihari Mohan Sharma
Sadguru Swami Nigamananda Paramahansa Dev