Updated: Sep 12, 2022
Is there no end to this search? So many sleepless nights and worrisome days have been spent waiting for the first rays of dawn. Why doesn’t the heart become enchanted by the magnificent grandeur of the blossoming of flowers in a bed of soft green grass or in the sweet, refreshing smell of the breeze gently touching my skin? Who plays this sorrowful tune in the soul stirring notes of the music? Why is my mind restless? Every corner of this beautiful world is so enticing. Why can’t nature in all its glory captivate me? Why does the veil of unfulfillment shroud me?
Sri Fani Bhusan Mitra, a renowned lawyer in Kolkata High Court cannot find the answers to these ‘Why’s’. His search continues for the love of his life. But who is he, for whom his heart yearns? Since his childhood, he has been influenced by the Vaishnava philosophy. He used to get deeply affected and completely exhausted listening to Radharani pining for Krishna in separation. And the loving pastimes of the unique, supreme person, the source of all existence, Krishna, never fails to bring a shiver in his body. Alas! Won’t the flute play again? Won’t the gopis be enraptured by the flute again and run to meet the love of their lives? The anticipation, the waiting for the union is a much more elevated state than the joy of union. When will the burning fire of separation be subdued? The stories and characters in the mythological dramas become true in front of his eyes. He would get so involved in the characters of a play, that long after the play is over, he follows the characters thinking them to be real. But why can’t the mind find peace? After going through a lot of scriptures, he arrived at the conclusion that, ‘Guru is Parambrahma, the Supreme Absolute’, ‘Guru and Krishna are one’. Sri Guru is the only boatman who can help you cross this ocean of worldliness. A Guru can only guide you in the path of Tantra, Gyana, Yoga or Bhakti.
When will I find my desired lord, the giver of permanent joy, ever eternal, pure supreme being?’ If you worship, Krishna or Ishta will help you in finding your Guru. He used to stay awake days and nights, engulfed in this thought. A divine form, a blend of gyana, prema and bhakti, would take shape in his mind. When will he, the lord of my heart, come to me? The gopis had worshipped Goddess Katyayani and observed Katyayani Vrat, to get Sri Krishna as their husband. This chapter from Srimad Bhagavatam encourages him, inspires him. He got an image of Goddess Durga and started worshipping Her. Putting forth all his ardent wish at the feet of the mother, he prayed, “O Mother! Have mercy on me. Please unite me with the lord of my heart, the love of my life.” The obstacles he encountered, gave more life to his prayer- his prayer became intense. At last, The Mother bestowed her compassion upon him. One night, in his dream, he got a glimpse of his ever desired ‘Love of his life’. He was in awe seeing the brilliant, exquisite, splendid form. With the scent of a thousand lotuses blooming, the lord of his life, sat on a gem studded throne. His charming smile and the sweet glance from his radiant face, made him forget his world. He uttered, “O the love of my life! Please accept me as your own.”
The stream of affection, fondness and love unfolds in various ways. The surrender of the servant to serve at the feet of his lord, exchange of warmth in the bond of friendship, the parental love of a mother for her child and the dependence of the child on the mother, the desire of the beloved to completely giveherself up to her lover – Servitorship (Dasya), friendship (Sakhya), parental affection (Vatsalya), amorous (Madhura). One mood, superior than the other. The ‘Madhura’ or amorous relationship includes within itself the essence of Dasya, Sakhya and Vatsalya. Devotees in amorous relationships are keen to serve like a servant, share like a friend, and take care with the outpour of paternal love. All the moods or relationships are fulfilled in Madhurya Bhav. There is no want, no desire, no need for self-joy, the only emotion that reverberates is, ‘I am happy in your happiness.’
Fani bhai is a seeker of this amorous relationship. The mood has been flowing from his previous birth and he has also followed the path of complete surrender. From the very first dream, he had accepted Thakur as his lord. The night gave way to morning. Why isn’t he waking up? His wife gets worried and sprinkles water on his face. Fani bhai gets up from his sleep and finishes his morning ritual. But today he doesn’t lack anything. That form, bestower of his joy, is still there in front of his eyes. An unknown exhilarating shiver runs down his body. In order to be alone with his exalted emotions, to again go through the dream and plunge in an ocean of joy, he closes the doors and sits inside his room. Sometimes, he cries incoherently, sometimes laughing uncontrollably, while sometimes sitting still, void of any emotion. What a wonderful experience! Has he gone crazy?
Someone knocks on the door. The self wants to stay within as if something is preventing him from interacting with the outside world. With much difficulty, the man standing outside peeked in through the crack in the window, “Today is the last day of my case hearing. Please take these papers and the money.” A feeble voice answered from inside, “I’m sorry. I won’t be able to do anything today.” The man outside was broken. He has deep faith on Fani Babu. He will lose everything without Fani babu. But what can Fani babu even do? How can anyone do anything in this state of body and mind? He turns his client away, giving an excuse of being sick. He sits down thinking about the Man in his dreams.
Another knock on the door. This time it was someone who can’t be ignored. He was his neighbor, a police officer. A simple, straightforward man, full of energy and very similar to him in his approach to life. He is also wandering in search of a Guru. He dashes inside the room and holds in front of him an image from a copy of the book, ‘Premika Guru’. He asks, his voice full of excitement, “Look at him, is he suitable to get a place in your heart?” Beholding the image in the book, he presses the book to his bosom. The image was beyond words, it was only for the heart to experience. The image is to be carefully kept in the bejeweled inner chambers, putting an end to the timeless search. Fani Babu becomes meditative. This is the image of the man in his dreams. Anyone looking at that image will forget his own existence. He felt so insignificant in comparision. Oh! At last, he has found the love of his life. Today, all the emptiness is gone and his life feels fulfilled. ‘I have found him.’ His body and mind sing a joyful melody. He comes back to the present at the call of Kshetramohan Babu, “Do you know, today, this sage is residing in Kalighat. I’m going to meet him. Would you like to come along?” Fani babu has spent so many nights thinking of him, anxiously waiting, soaked himself with tears, and today how his fortune has shone. How can he let this opportunity go?
... to be continued
Image Courtesy: 'Smruti Pathe Nigamananda'
Inspired by Krushnapriya Mohanty's essay, 'Sri Fani Bhusan Mitra'.