Hindu Bhakti (Devotional) Stories Index
Bhakta Deena Bandhu Das
Stories of Devotees, Stories from Puranas, Stories from Hindu Mythology, Stories of Bhakthas, Stories of Alwars, Stories of Nayanars, Stories of Hindu Saints, Biographies of Hindu Philosophers, Stories of Hindu Sages, Stories of Hindu Gods and Goddesses,
Once upon a time there lived a Brahmin called Bhakta Deenabandhu Das in Ujjain. His family consisted of his wife, two sons and eldest daughter-in-law. All of them were like-minded people.
There seemed to be a close affinity among the family members. They looked inseparable. They looked as if they could not survive without the others. But there was a detachment in all of them by their faith in God, their good behavior and service to humanity. They spent most of their time in prayer to God and in serving the poor. They never longed for wealth. They believed in the statement ‘Athidi Devo Bhava’ (Guest is equal to God) and served any guest that came to their doorstep as God himself. They fulfilled the desire of the guest and in case they couldn’t, they spoke to him in a pleasing manner. The neighbours forgot the man’s original name in due course and he was referred to as Bhakta Deena Bandhu Das by his unselfish devotion to God and God’s creation.
His name and fame spread far and wide and reached God in Heaven. Just as King’s messengers come in disguise, test us and carry a favourable or negative report about us, God’s messengers come to us in disguise and carry their message to God so we should be alert. The person who comes to our doorstep begging for alms may not be just a poor beggar, but may be Buddha or Saibaba, come to bless us in return.
The deeper our love is for God, the stronger is the concern of God for us. God’s concern for us is greater than our prayer to God. The minute we seek God’s Darshan, He is ready to appear before us. ‘Gajendra Moksha’ is the best example of God’s answer to any strong devotee’s prayer.
So God wanted to bless the family of Bhakta Deena Bandhu Das’ family. But as is the custom with God, he wanted to test the family before blessing them. As a part of his test, all of a sudden the eldest son of the family was stung by a poisonous snake and was dead on the spot. The whole family was immersed in their grief.
Ironically enough, a Sanyasi landed in Ujjain, clad in saffron robes. Wherever he walked, spiritual bliss radiated all around. The people on the way, bowed to him unknowingly. Such a saint came in search of Deenabandhu, when Deenabandhu was in no mood to show little courtesies of life. All the same he came out as his name was called. He was thrilled at the Darshan of the great saint. The next minute the courteous host in him dominated his grief-stricken soul and prompted him to ask politely ‘May I help you”.
The saint answered ‘I have heard a lot about you and your family. I was told you never say no to your guests. You provide them whatever they want. I have been hungry for a long time. Will you serve me food?’ The head of the family told him to sit comfortably there and came in to consult his family. He projected the scene to them. Their good nature was not a forced habit but an innate tendency. So they all unanimously answered. ‘However much we cry over the dead body, we cannot get him back alive. In such a case why displease a guest when he is badly hungry? Let us keep aside our sorrowful mood and let us serve our guest. Let us do the funeral rites later. Deenabandhu was pleased at this good gesture of his family and thanked them and God.
Immediately the arrangements were made accordingly. They kept aloof the dead body, had their bath and the ladies prepared a sumptuous meal for the saint. They offered food to the Sanyasi with folded hands, but the Sanyasi had one more desire to fulfil. He laid a condition. He said that he never ate alone. He ate with all the members of the family. What a test! They looked at one another. They had no other go but to oblige. They sat with him suppressing all signs of grief and agony. But that was not the end. The saint said ‘I heard that there were 5 members in your family. Where is the fifth member? I will not eat without him.
Then the head of the family was forced to blurt out the truth. He fell before his feet and narrated the whole scene with tears rolling down his cheeks. But the Sanyasi couldn’t believe it! It was so unbelievable! Will any mother and wife cook and eat food with the dead body beside them?
They were forced to show him the dead body. The saint was shocked at the situation. He couldn’t believe his own eyes! Will there be ever such a family who would cook specials for the guest and give him company when there lay a dead body demanding a cremation! The Sadhu posed the same question to the father first. He added ‘I treat you as the worst father ever born on the face of the earth! How do you treat yourself a Jnani’?
The father was not offended at such an attack. He reasoned out, ‘Yes, my lord you are correct. But don’t you know that man is mortal. No one remains permanently on earth. Ultimately all of us have to reach the Paramathma sooner or later. It is only a matter of time. We are like the mango groves. Some mangoes are nipped off in the bud, some mangoes are blown away by the wind, some are plucked raw, and some ripen into fruits. Ultimately all are separated from the tree that bears them. Death is inevitable. The rich and the poor, the good and the bad, the prince and the pauper all have to travel alike on their way to the graveyard. These family ties are man-made ties! The Atma or the soul has no relationship with anyone. Jeevathma is a part of Paramathma and it has to reach the latter finally. ‘Dust thou art and to dust thou shalt return.’ When my turn comes, I will join my son who led the way for me! All of us know that but still we cry for the dead body, thinking it is the dead soul. So it looks ruthless on our part to serve you food in such a situation. But let me ask you one simple question. You have been starving for food and if I drive you away, will I get back my son? No! I thought ‘let me help another poor soul atleast!’ As Sri Krishna explained in Bhagavat Geetha one who doesn’t cry for the dead and for his dear ones is a real pundit.
The Sadhu was impressed with his answer and smiled to himself. He didn’t let out his feelings. He approached the mother and asked, ‘There can never be a bad mother and nothing can replace mother’s love! How come you are so cruel”?
The lady politely answered, ‘Oh Swami! You are a saint! You know better than me! But still I would like to give vent to my feelings in my humble way. Forgive me if I speak wrongly! As long as the boy was in flesh and blood he was a fond son of mine! I was prepared to do anything for him. I loved him with my heart and soul. But once he is dead, he is no more my possession. He is God’s possession. Haven’t many poets compared God’s creation to clay and potter? A potter makes many pots on his wheel with warmth in his work, but some are broken in the process itself, but some attain beautiful shapes! Does he stop his work and brood over the broken pots? No! He carries on his work unmindful of his feelings over his creation! I have to carry on my duties as a wife, a mother as a hostess! I cannot brood over the temporary relationships! These bindings are a ‘maya’ or leela of God. If we cry over God’s leela, we are thrown away from God’s kingdom! When He looks after everything who am I to question His deed?
The saint liked her answer but wanted to test the younger brother. He asked, ‘you are his younger brother but you don’t seem to feel bad for his loss! Are you gloating over the added benefits you will get after his demise? How cruel and hard hearted you are!’
He did not take it to heart. He explained ‘Oh! Saint! I am very much younger than you. It looks unmannerly on my part to lecture to you! I know that I will be termed a selfish guy in the material world for my strange action! But if we go deep into God’s creation, we understand that the soul changes its shelter, once the shelter is decayed. God knows how many abodes my brother’s soul has changed! Imagine the situation in a fair. People from various corners come there to deal with their business. As long as they are together, they treat one another like brothers, but the minute one’s work is over, he goes back without waiting for the others. The others also don’t hasten to go with him. They go back only after they sell all their goods. The same way we are sent to this earth to lead our life as per our deeds and we go back the minute we have enjoyed the fruits or reaped the consequences of our good or bad deeds. When my ‘Karmas’ come to an end, I too will shed this physical body of mine. You can correct me if I am wrong and show me the right path.’
The saint got the right answer. The boy was on the right path. The daughter-in-law was left out. He asked her, ‘Husband is everything for any wife. Life is meaningless without him. But surprisingly there is not a drop of tear in your eyes! Is there no love lost between you two? Are you not angry with your in-laws in forcing you to cook for me when you are so deeply shocked?
The daughter-in-law was a perfect blend with the family. She explained the same argument in her own way, with her own comparisons. ‘Of course you are cent percent correct! Husband is whole and sole for any wife. In one word, he is a soul mate. Husband is worshipped as God-’Pati devo bhava’ I treated him as a representative of God and so worshipped him as I would have worshipped God Himself. Now, God has taken back His gift from me. What right have I to complain? After all he is God’s property, not mine. In fact, I should be happy! God has given me a direct approach to him, by cutting off his mediator. If we can gloat over the gifts we are given, we should also gloat over our loss.
Shakespeare has compared the world to a stage. All men and women are actors come to enact their roles as per God’s wish. The actor lives in his role as long as he plays it as per the director’s wish, but the minute he steps out of the character, he forgets all about it. We should lead our life, as God wants us to lead it.
In fact people give up their earthly comforts, their sensual desires and their attachments and force themselves into a Sanyasin life to seek God’s blessing! It is a blessing in disguise for me! Without any forced attempt on my part, God has made my path easy! I can fully devote my time to Him!
We are all puppets in the hands of God and our life is a puppet show. He makes one laugh, one cry, one enjoy and the other suffer! When we enjoy one act, we should enjoy all other acts!
Moreover, if I cry over the death of my husband, he cannot live in peace in Heaven. He will feel sorry for me. He taught me to keep smiling in any situation and to fall in line with my in-laws’ life style. If I keep crying, they cannot fulfil their duty. As my father-in-law had already explained, we sat for food only to please you!
Swami, the Lord clearly explained in the Geetha - Ajonitya: Sasvatoyam pura. Nahanyate Hanyamane Sareere
Soul is eternal. It has no death. Only the body decays. Why cry over the physical body?
The Sanyasi liked the wise sayings of the family. He brought back the eldest son to life sprinkling holy water over his body.
The son got up as if he woke up from a deep sleep and prostrated over the feet of the Sanyasi. The family was astonished at his powers. They wondered who he was.
Now, the Swami questioned the elder son. ‘Oh! Young man, do you know something? Your entire family is very selfish. Nobody is crying over your death. Your own father, mother, brother and even your loving wife were ready to dine with me. I pity you for having born into this ruthless family.
The boy intervened and added, ‘Oh swami don’t say that! I feel proud to be born into this family. As the Lord expressed in the Geetha, only a blessed soul will be born into a yogi’s family. Our life is like a train journey. We get down once we reach our destination. We don’t think of our co passengers anymore. They too forget us!
Life on earth is like a temporary shelter under a big tree. When it is raining heavily people rush to the tree. When it stops raining, they leave the tree and go on their ways! The same way to the tree like world people come and go as per their ‘Karma’. Their attachments end when their karma ends. So we don’t have to cry for anything.
The Sanyasi was delighted at his answer and blessed the whole family. He said ‘I liked your Bhakti yoga, your reasoning, your service to humanity and your jnana. You are an asset to your village, your country and to the entire human race. You will soon attain moksha. They all fell to the feet of the sanyasi.
The sanyasi continued. ‘I take leave of you. This is the be all and end all of all your miseries. Henceforth I will take care of you. You don’t forget me and I won’t forget you! I am constantly in search of people like you. I sell myself wholeheartedly to such people. Do you know who I am! I am the Lord Almighty!
By the time they could digest these words the Lord disappeared! The family unanimously pleaded unto the Lord, ‘Oh Lord! This is very unfair! You are so hardhearted! When you don’t want us to see you, why did you introduce yourself to us? Do you think we can live in peace when we learn that God personally visited us but we couldn’t see him to our heart’s content? Is there any greater suffering than this? You promised to keep us in good humour! How do you think we can live in peace if you don’t see you? Please don’t blame us for not recognizing you. Your leela is so amazing that even angels can’t recognize you. We are after all ordinary human beings. Please forgive us!’
Suddenly there was a flash of light and they saw a divine figure before them. God could not say no to the heartfelt desire of his devotees! They are God’s disciples. God is their Guru! They led the rest of their life in the same pious, sincere, truthful manner.