1 Dharma Bhakti Arrive on Earth
Having learnt that Dharma, Bhakti and the Rushis are going to be born on earth, the evil-minded souls also took birth at various places. Thousands of the evil souls who had a vengeance against God were born everywhere. At end of the Dvaapar Yug and the beginning of the Kali Yug, many evil souls were born as Kans, Jarasandh, Vrashabhaasur, Bakaasur, etc. They became spiteful of Brahmins, Vedas, etc because these are supportive of religion. At that time, God appeared as Shree Krishna and annihilated many of them, whilst others died in battle at the hands of Baldevji and Arjun. Those who died at the hands of Shree Krishna achieved redemption. However, those who died at the hands of others had retained their die-hard vengeance and having heard of Dharma and God’s imminent arrival on earth, they began taking birth in large numbers to avenge themselves. They took birth in all the four castes. In order to hide their evilness, they took Vaishnav and Shaiv initiation and set themselves up as gurus and began degrading religious moral conduct and devotion and began propagating the so-called values of meat-eating, alcohol-consumption, adultery, etc. They started to promote violent sacrificial rituals and committing great sins such as killing Brahmins.
Thousands of these evil people stayed at pilgrimages such as Jagannathji, temples, and good towns & cities and converted the people to the way of non-religious acts. Many took on the clothes of ascetics and started hoarding weapons. They started making their own ‘scriptures’ and encouraged their sinful ways and lives. Also, the evil-minded kings joined forces with these people and began hacking away at good morals. As the saying goes, “Like king, like subjects” so the values of religious morals dropped greatly. Non-violent sacrificial rites became less popular. The earth repeatedly trembled at the weight of sin, droughts, etc leading to the calamities on the public. Lightening bolted on temples. Great gusts of winds brought down trees and homes. In the midst of these many atrocities befalling the earth, Dharma, his wife and the Rushis were taking birth.”
In the region called Northern Koshal Desh, on the northern bank of the River Saryu there is a town called Itaar. Here there lived a Brahmin called Laxman Sharma. He was of Saamved, Kauthumi Shaakha, Bhargav, Vait-havya and Saavetas Pravahar and Chhaavani Gautra. He had a son called Bansidhar, who had one called Vedmaan, who in turn had one called Kanhiram. This Kanhiram had a son called Bal Sharma.
Bal Sharma was very knowledgeable, of good qualities and pure conscience. His wife, Bhaagyavati was a very devout woman. To this very honest couple in the Vikram Year 1796, Kartik month, eleventh day of the bright half (Prabodhini Ekadashi), Wednesday at midday, Dharmadev was born. At the news of this birth, the demi-gods played musical instruments and showered flowers. The words ‘Jay Jay’ were also heard from the sky. There was a celebration at Bal Sharma’s residence also. At this time, the hearts of the saintly people became pure, the waters in lakes became clean, and lotus flowers opened out their petals. Bal Sharma conducted the birth rituals and gave many gifts to Brahmins.
By observing the habits of the child, people said he looks like some demi-god. Then, on the twelfth day, Bal Sharma conducted the child’s naming ceremony and called him Dev Sharma. After giving him the sacred thread, Dev Sharma was enrolled in a gurukul to undertake Vedic studies and after completing the Samaavartan Sanskar, Dev Sharma was ready for marriage.
In the same area of Koshal Desh, near the city of Ayodhya there is the River Saryu. On the other side of this river, some distance away, there is another river called Manorama. On it’s banks there is a pilgrimage called Makhoda. North of this place there is the picturesque town of Chhapaiya. The town was inhabited by the four casts and dotted around it were many clean water lakes and beautiful trees. Here lived an honest Brahmin called Krishna Sharma with his devout wife, Bhavaani. This couple were god-loving. To them Bhaktidevi was born on Wednesday, the fifteenth day of the bright half of the month of Kartik in the Vikram Year 1798. At this moment, the minds of the god-searching souls became eager to perform devotion. In every house, festivals of god worship, etc were happening. Because of Bhaktidevi’s arrival on earth, the evil people felt as good as dead.”
When his daughter was born, Krishna Sharma performed the birth rituals and with great happiness named her Bala. After the birth of Bala, Krishna Sharma’s wealth and prosperity began to increase. Calamities such illnesses were extinguished. In terms of appearances, qualities & habits, Bala was comparable to Mata Devhutiji. Because of her love and devotion for God, people began calling her Bhakti.
Seeing that his daughter was now ready for marriage, Krishna Sharma arranged her marriage with Bal Sharma’s son Dev Sharma (Dharma Dev). In the wedding procession, Bal Sharma brought many friends and family with great pomp to Chhapaiya. Krishna Sharma welcomed the wedding party with food and accommodation. At an auspicious time, Krishna Sharma wedded Bhakti to Dev Sharma. Seeing the new couple, people began equating them to Shiv & Parvati.
After the wedding ceremony was completed, Krishna Sharma requested Bal Sharma that Dev Sharma (his son-in-law) should stay at Chhapaiya. With Bal Sharma’s agreement Dev Sharma stayed on in Chhapaiya. Bal Sharma stayed on at Chhapaiya for a number of days and before departing, he called his son and daughter-in-law to him. Addressing them he said firstly to his daughter-in-law, “O virtuous Bhakti, listen my words of advice. You should be chaste. The parents and husband of a truly chaste woman are most fortunate. Only those who have accumulated thousands of years of good deeds receive a chaste woman in their home. Even the demi-gods bow before a chaste woman. All the pilgrimages on earth are forever at the feet of a truly chaste woman. Even the earth is spiritually cleansed by the dirt of a chaste woman’s feet. O Devi! You shall also be equal to the likes of Arundhati, Saavitri, Ansuya, Sangna & Svaha.”
Seeing Bala’s love for her husband, Bal Sharma named her Premvati. After having addressed Premvati, Bal Sharma turned to his son and said, “O son! You have studied the scriptures. Nevertheless, in order fulfil my parental duty, I am instructing you. Always bathe while reciting the mantras, and perform the worship of Sandhya Devi, three times a day. Never scorn your virtuous wife. Never stay alone with unrelated women. Do not touch widows. Meat, liquor, adultery, theft, suicide, homicide, etc. should be shunned always. Always associate with saintly men. Follow the religion. Those married people who wish for wedded bliss should observe every Ekadashi. Ekadashi is the king of all observances. Those who observe Ekadashi receive prosperity and liberation. On the day of Ganesh Chaturthi, you should perform the worship of Ganpati and on the fourteenth day of the dark half of the month of Aaso, you should perform the worship of Hanumanji. He is our household deity and remember him, he will remove all your pains.”
Hearing Bal Sharma’s words of advice, Dharma and Bhakti bowed to him and promised to act as instructed. Then Bal Sharma blessed both of them and left for Itaar with his friends and family. After his father had left, Dev Sharma followed his father’s instructions to the letter and pleased his parents-in-law. Seeing Dev Sharma’s dutiful convictions, people began to call him Dharma Dev. Dharma Dev’s other twelve wives such as Shraddha were also serving him spiritually. As time went on, Dharma Dev & Bhakti Mata had a son, whom they named Rampratap. His qualities were similar to Sankarshan.
2 Ghanshyam Arrives in Chhappaiya
The evil people born before Dharma & the Rushis now began to harass them. They saw Dharma and Bhakti as their greatest enemies. They began wrongly accusing the couple and abusing them. The evil people rained down on Dharma & Bhakti with such indecencies. They even came to their home and scorned the religious duo.
In order to get away from all this harassment, Dharma Dev took his family to live in Ayodhya. The same fate befell them there also. So they moved again. This time to Kashi. But there was no peace here either. After a month in Kashi, Dharma Dev & Bhakti Mata went to Prayaag Raj (known today as Allahbad). They had observed so many fasts, that they had become very feeble. Journeying through the pilgrimages of Prayaag, Dharma & Bhakti remained anonymous.
Here Dharma Dev met up with Ramanand Swami, the Acharya of the Vaishnavs who was giving discourses to his disciples, explaining about liberation and God, qualities of good people. Seeing Ramanand Swami, Dharma thought to himself, could this be Uddhavji?
At Prayaag, Dharma Dev served and accompanied Ramanand Swami. One evening, while massaging Ramanand Swami’s legs, Dharma Dev fell asleep and in the dream-state he had darshan of Lord Shree Krishna. Dharma Dev believed that this darshan was because of Ramanand Swami’s blessings, so he accepted Swami as his guru. Swami told him to wear a two-fold necklace made of Tulsi wood and gave him two mantras. In this way, Swami initiated Dharma Dev and Bhakti Mata and began to teach them.
Ramanand Swami said, “The male and female followers of Uddhav Sampraday shall never take a life. You should never kill animals in the name of sacrificial rituals. Never kill any person in order to gain a female, wealth or kingdom. The followers of Uddhav Sampraday shall never commit suicide in a place of pilgrimage, whether by taking poison, jumping into a well, strangulation, and similar methods. Meat eating shall be avoided in any circumstances. Liquor and intoxicants and any medicines made form them shall not be consumed. The followers of the Uddhav Sampraday shall not associate with unrelated people of the opposite gender. Additionally, the ascetics shall shun the eight types of femininity. The householders shall not touch unrelated widows and the widows themselves shall avoid contact with unrelated males. Also, never steal even to do religious deeds. Never defame or degrade others. Never associate with those who are engrossed in evil habits such as; gambling, hunting, etc. Never abuse any demi-god, place of pilgrimage, Vedas, cow, Brahmin or saintly person. Never listen or believe any scriptures which promote God as anything other than in a real form.
Our followers shall always bathe first thing in the morning and then shall mark their body with the Urdhvapundra Tilaks. Such tilaks shall be marked on the forehead, chest and two arms. In the middle of those tilaks, you shall place a round mark (Chandlo) made from either Sandalwood paste or KumKum. Married women shall mark only the Chandlo. Then you should perform the worship (poojan) of Shree Radha-Krishna, recite the Raas-Panch-Aadhyaayi, and recite the mantras morning and evening, forever remembering the Lord Almighty. All satsangis shall wear the two-fold necklace made from Tulsi wood. Understand the qualities of Souls, Maya & Ishvars. Never become attached to anything other than God.”
Ramanand Swami said, “O Dharma! You are very fortunate and full of qualities. You are principal among my students. With my instruction, go to your home and initiate worthy souls and promote the devotion of Lord Shree Krishna.”
Dharma & Bhakti left Prayaag and began living in Chhapaiya, again. They lived according to the instructions of Ramanand Swami. They studied the scriptures. Appreciating the exceptional qualities in Dharma Dev, other people left their life-long gurus and began accepting Dharma Dev as their new guru.
Dharma’s disciples stopped doing evil things and began to radiate like demi-gods. Dharma also became wealthy from the gifts he received from those disciples. Afterwards, he performed the sacred thread ceremony (Yagnopvit Sanskaar) to Rampratap in such a grand manner that it amazed even kings and he also gave gifts to brahmins.
The evil people became envious upon seeing this. They began to harrass Dharma and his disciples. They would steal things such as; clothes, vehicles, jewellery, grain, cattle, etc. Additionally, they would come to Dharma’s house uninvited, fill their stomachs and then insult both Dharma and Bhakti in their own home and leave. Hence, Dharma’s household became very poor. Nevertheless, they never turned away any guests without feeding them.
One day, the very benevolent Bhaktidevi exclaimed to her husband, “O Dev! What kind of ill-fate has befallen us! There is nothing in the home, yet the guests are never-ending. We will go without, but we must give food to the guests. We are just about making do with eating something every 3rd or 4th day. O Husband! You are very patient. But I cannot suffer this. I am not saying this for my sake, but so that I can fulfil my duties as a dutiful wife. With nothing in the home, the husband eating every third day, how is a devout wife supposed to serve her husband. You are wise. Please find a way out of this predicament.” Dharmadev responded to his distraught wife, “O Lady! Intelligent people are able to manage such difficult situations through patience. Therefore you should be patient. All souls are bound by their fate. We must have a difficult fate, which we must suffer. Even the demi-gods have to suffer their ill-fate, so what can we say about humans? The great Indra suffered at the hands of Vrutrasur. The pure-hearted Nall-Damyanti also suffered many pains. The great sage Vashist and his wife Arundhati suffered many difficulties at the hands of their enemies. The mighty Pandavs also suffered their ill-fate with great patience. Yet they said nothing to anyone, anywhere.”
Bhakti broke down in tears upon hearing Dharmadev’s words. Dharmadev continued, “O Kalyani! Difficulties are not permanent. Be calm, I shall do my best to find a solution to our predicament.” Having calmed Bhakti down, Dharma began to think and recalled that his father had said, “Pray and worship Hanumanji in times of difficulty. He is our household deity and will rescue you from such circumstances.” So we should worship KashtaBhanjan Dev. With this thought in mind, Dharma and Bhakti moved to Ayodhya and without the evil people knowing began to worship Hanumanji. In the Temple at Hanuman Gadhi, they began reciting the Hanuman Stotra;
Namaste Aanjaneyaay VaayuputraayDhimatte | Raamaduttaay Mahatte Sugreev Sachivaay Cha ||
After completing the Stotra, they created a Mantra from it:
Aum Namo Hanumatte BhayaBhanjanaay SukhamKuru PhatSvaha|
and began to recite that. Then, standing on one foot they recited the Stotra;
Niti Pravina Nigamaagam ShastraBhuddhe
RaajaaDhiraaj RaghunaayakMantriVarya |
Sindur CharchitaKalevar Naishtikendra
ShriRaamdut Hanuman Har Sankatam Mei ||
Dharma and his wife were living on root-vegetables and on some days, they ate nothing. After spending two months like this, Hanumanji visited Dharmadev and said, “O Dharma! I am pleased with you. You will be relieved quickly from your sorrows. Go to Vrindavan and perform a Vishnuyaag with mantra recitals.”
Saying this much, Hanumanji disappeared. The next morning, Dharmadev completed his religious observances and left Rampratap with his maternal uncle. He and Bhakti then left for Vrindavan. The light bodied couple, who did not have anything to eat, arrived at Naimishaaranya after ten days and at Vrindavan after one month. On their arrival, the festival of Fuldol was being held. Thousands of people had gathered there. Dharma and Bhakti were pleased at seeing the idol of Baal Krishna in the swing.
Just as Dharma & Bhakti had arrived in Vrindavan as per Hanumanji’s guidance, thousands of sages harassed by evil people also came there by divine wishes. While circumambulating the great mountain Govardhan, Dharma-Bhakti recognised the great sages and the sages also recognised Dharma & Bhakti. The mutual recognition gave mutual pleasure. They all talked about their personal experiences and difficulties. They spoke of their births, lives thus far and the harassment they had suffered under evil hands. Upon hearing each other’s pains, they realised that it is because of Durvasa’s curse that they were in this predicament. When will the boon of deliverance come true? Dharma said, “O Great Rushis! Just as Durvasa’s curse has come true, so will his boon. Until then, we should be patient and do what pleases God.”
“For that reason Hanumanji has instructed us to perform a VishnuYaag. So, let us start that today. I shall commence the recital of the eight-syllabled Mantra. You all should read appropriate scriptures.” So deciding, on Thursday, the 2nd day of the dark half of the month Phalgun, during the Hasta Nakhshatra they started the VishnuYaag. Some rushis recited the Shreemad Bhagwat. Some the Bhagwat Gita, some Vasudev Mahaatmya, many the Vishnu Sahastra Naam and some the Vishnu Gayatri, while some recited the Narayan Kavacham and others continuously recited God’s name. Bhakti recited the Raas Panch Aadhyaay. All day the recitals continued and in the evening they all sing kirtans.
In that way, the VishnuYaag continued until Mohini Ekadashi (the 11th day of the bright half of Vaishaakh). That night, everyone was awake in prayer and kirtans. 2 Ghadis remained of that night. It was the auspicious Braahm-Muhoorta. At that moment, there was a great light. Then in that light, Shree Krishna gave darshan in the company of His many divine servants, such as His queens, the cowherds, cow-girls, cows, Parshads, etc. The Lord carried a flute in His Lotus-like hands.
Dharma and the Rushis performed Saastang Pranaam. With their whole body totally attracted by this Divine vision, Dharma and the Rushis began to sing the Lord’s praises.
Dharma Dev says, “ O Lord! We have had Your sin-destroying darshan. We are very fortunate. You are the God of gods. You are the creator and destroyer of innumerable universes. All powers are in your obedience. You are the Lord of all Supremacy. You accept the wishes of your devotees. You have protected religion, culture and your devotees by assuming the 24 Avtaars.”
After Dharma Dev had praised the Lord, Bhakti Mata began to sing His praises. “O Lord! You performed many childhood acts in Vraj, gave Yashoda great pleasure, gave the cowherds and cow-girls the pleasure of your persona. O Vraj-Vihaari! Remembrance of your name destroys all ignorance and gives liberation. I bow before You with love. I am in your refuge.” Everyone praised the Lord as above, which He listened and began to reply, “O Devotees! I have listened to your praises, ask of Me whatever you wish.” So Dharma spoke, “O Lord! The evil people have harassed us greatly. They have stolen our wealth. We are your refugees. O Merciful One! There is no-one to protect us except You.” God replied, “You will no longer suffer at the hands of the evil people. They are my enemies from their previous lives. They worry you because you are My devotees. O Dharma! In a short while, I shall become your son. I am also caught in Durvasa Rushi’s curse. I shall be known in this world as Hari. I shall protect you, these Rushis and all the demi-gods also. I shall perform many divine acts and will also re-establish religion. From today your poverty will be no longer. You will become very happy. I shall relieve you from Durvasa’s curse. O Dharma! Like you, if anyone comes to Vrindavan, performs recitals and rituals they will have all their wishes fulfilled and will in the end go to my abode.” Having said thus, the Lord disappeared. Dharma Dev and the Rushis completed the VishnuYaag.
Having been blessed with the darshan of Shree Krishna, Dharma and the rushis decided they should not tell anyone of the boon given by God. When God appears, that fact will not remain secret. Then they all departed from Vrindavan to go to their own homes. Dharma Dev on his way to Chhapaiya with his wife, arrived in Naimishaaranya. In the dense jungle, Dharma Dev could see that some evil people were coming towards them. To avoid them, Dharma Dev left the main road and entered the jungle. In a short while, they lost their way. After sunset, they could not see any village nearby. Not knowing which way to go, they became worried. Hungry and thirsty, Dharma & Bhakti sat down in the jungle.”
At that time, they saw a man. He was very dark. He had red eyes, a big lock of hair and frightening appearance. He looked like an ascetic. Innocently, Dharma Dev thought this man to be an accomplished ascetic and stood up before him. The visitor asked, “Who are you in this darkness and isolated jungle?” Dharma Dev not only introduced himself, but also told him of the story of Vrindavan. “We performed a Yagna and prayed to Shree Krishna. Shree Krishna has given a boon to appear and now on our way back home we are lost, hence we are seated here.” The ascetic-looking man said, “Quick tell me what Shree Krishna has booned you.” Dharma Dev said, “We have been harassed by evil people and prayed to God. God said that all the evil people are past helpers of Duryodhan, they had held an enmity with Him and harass us because of that enmity. Now He shall be born to us as a son and will destroy the evil people. Giving this boon, God disappeared.”
On hearing Dharma’s explanation, the ascetic-like man became angry. Gritting his teeth he started saying, ”O Dharma! I am Ashvatthama! I know exactly who that Shree Krishna is, the One who is to be born to you as a son. No one knows Him better than me. That Shree Krishna is the one who has done injustice to my dear friend Duryodhan. He became Arjun’s charioteer and has given pains, and now He is going to be reborn and give more pains to the evil people. Before that I shall curse Him. Your son Shree Krishna shall not be able to take up weapons. Should He take up weapons against my curse, He will lose.” Cursing God in this way, Ashvatthama disappeared. The worried couple sat there talking. “This is a great obstacle in our auspicious event. Observance of Ganpati is said to relieve obstacles. From today, we shall undertake to observe the 4th day of the bright half of Bhadarva as Ganesh Chaturthi and Ganpati will relieve us of all obstacles and rescue us. O Devi! Don’t think that we are the only distressed people in the world. The world is distressful. In the Treta Yug, Lord Shree Ram despite being God, left home with His wife Sita and brother Laxman, at the request of His father Dashrath and suffered many distresses. In this way, they talked about the pastimes of Lord Shree Ram and three quarters of the night passed by. Dharma Dev said, “Hanuman is our household deity and has served Shree Ram extensively. Still, why does he not care for us!”
No sooner had they prayed to Hanumanji in this way, than Hanumanji appeared in the form of a brahmin. Hanumanji started talking to Dharma & Bhakti, “Don’t worry about Ashvatthama’s curse. I am your household deity, Hanuman. God will be your Son. He will have no need of weapons. He is capable of enticing the three worlds with His intellect.” Saying this, Hanumanji showed Dharma & Bhakti the way to the main road and disappeared. The couple began walking towards Chhapaiya with the remembrance of Hanuman that made them fearless. On the way, Bhakti Devi asked, “How did Hanumanji become immortal?” Dharma Dev replied, “Having slain Raavan, when Shree Ram return to Ayodhya Hanumanji, Vibhishan, Jaambuvaan etc assumed handsome forms and stayed there for a year. They were serving Shree Ram in numerous ways, such as; shading, fanning, etc. Once, Shree Ram summoned everyone and prepared to bid them farewell. Hanumanji could not leave Shree Ram and asked that he should remain on this earth as long Shree Ram’s recitals remained here. Shree Ram embraced Hanuman and blessed with the boon to remain immortal. O Devi! To this day, he remains immortal. Wherever Ram’s pastimes are recited, Hanumanji is present.” Bhakti Devi was very pleased to hear this story and reached Chhapaiya one and a half months after leaving Vrindavan. All of Dharma & Bhakti’s long lost wealth had returned. Not only that, but the Almighty was wishing to appear in this world. God enjoined the dual forms of Nar & Narayan and entered Dharma’s heart. Because Dharma was the recipient of God’s pleasure, he became known as Hariprasad. Then the Lord entered Bhakti’s womb and she began to blossom.
On Ram Navmi day of Vikram Samvat 1837 (Monday, 2nd April 1781), Lord Swaminarayan was born to Bhakti Devi in Chhapaiya. At birth, The Almighty God gave divine darshan to His mother to confirm to her that He was born to her as a Son. Bhakti Devi sang God’s praises. When Bhakti completed the praises, the divine image of The Almighty God merged into the child laying beside her. She hugged her baby with great fondness. Meanwhile, the demi-gods heard the news of the God’s birth. They all manouvered their divine vehicles towards Chhapaiya. The sky was filled with infinite objects in the sky above the birth place. The demi-gods sang the Lord’s praises in one voice, showering him with flowers, sandalwood powder, rice, etc. They brought numerous gifts for the infant God.
Due to His complexion, the females of Chhapaiya called Him Ghanshyam. The great rushi Markandey bestowed three names upon God: Hari, Krishna & HariKrishna. Markandey said the child would also be known as Nilkantth during His life.
3 Ghanshyam Falls in the Well
One day, after feeding Ghanshyam Maharaj, Bhaktimata sat Him on the edge of the water well situated in front of her home (where the birth-place temple presently stands on Chhapaiya). She instructed her niece (brother’s daughter), Balvantabai to look after Ghanshyam and went into the house to cook the family’s next meal. However, Balvantabai left Ghanshyam alone and went to her own home.
Whilst playing on the edge of the well, Ghanshyam fell in! The great serpent, Shesh Naag residing in Paataal (deepest hell) realised what had happened and hurried to Chhapaiya. Just as Ghanshyam was about to hit the water in the well, Sheshji fanned out his head and caught Him just above the water level.
Just then Bhaktimata came out of the house and looked around, but could not see her son. She began to worry, wondering to herself, “Where could Ghanshyam have gone? I left him just here with Balvanta.” Seeing his sister getting worried, Bhaktimata’s brother shouted to her, “Didi, He was sitting on the edge just a few minutes ago. Are you sure He hasn’t fallen into the well?!”
Bhaktimata rushed over to the edge of the well and looked in. She saw, to her amazement, Ghanshyam was seated above the water level! Bhaktimata screamed out to Rampratapji, who was seated with his father, Dharmadev. “Rampratap, come here! Quick! Look! Ghanshyam has fallen in!” Both Rampratapji & Dharmadev ran over to the well.
Dharmadev, Bhaktimata & Rampratapji looked in to the well. They saw a very bright light coming from the within the well. They could barely see through the intensity of the light. But, within the light they saw Ghanshyam sleeping on a bed created by Shesha Naag. They saw that Laxmiji was massaging Ghanshyam’s feet and many Parshads were praising His greatness. This sight astonished all three on-lookers.
Dharmadev & Bhaktimata recalled the occasion in Vrindavan, when Lord Shree Krishna appeared before them. Just then, the light disappeared. Bhaktimata saw Ghanshyam stretching his arms. So she stretched out and pulled Him out of the well. She pressed Ghanshyam to her chest and forgot all the worries of the past few moments.
Bhaktimata could not keep the event to herself and narrated it to Moti Tarvaadi, Vashram Tarvaadi, Sundaribai, Surjabai and other residents of Chhapaiya. The villagers listened to the narration with great intrigue and blessed Ghanshyam, commenting on His good fortune!
Do you believe Ghanshyam was fortunate? Or was there another reason for this event happening?
4 Markanday names Ghanshyam
One day, Markanday Rushi arrived at Dharmadev’s residence in the guise of a brahmin. Dharmadev welcomed the rishi. When he realised the rishi was an astrologer, he said, “O Maharaj, please conduct my son’s naming ritual. He is 3 months old now.”
Hearing Dharmadev’s request, Markanday rishi was very pleased to name Ghanshyam and said, “O Hariprasadji! This son of your’s will destroy all your worries and all those who take refuge in him. And as he is born in the Karka raashi1, I shall name him Hari.”
The rishi continued, “O Hariprasadji, your son’s complexion is dark, and will tug the minds of his followers towards him. Also, as he is born in the Chaitra month, he will be renowned by the name Krishna. Joining both the names, he shall be named Harikrishna.”
“Also, your son has the sign of a flower in his palm, and the soles of his feet are decorated with various symbols such as octagon, fish and half-moon. These signs suggest your son will be a leader of thousands. In the fields of asceticism, tapascharya, knowledge, yoga and religion, he will be comparable with Lord Shiva. So he will become known as Nilkantth.”
“Additionally, your son will have many benevolent attributes. He will show many people his heavenly abode in meditational trances and make them his followers. He will protect you from all calamities.”
When Markanday rishi stopped, Dharmadev gave him many gifts and clothes. The rishi received the gifts with pleasure. Leaving Dharmadev’s home, the rushi went into a trance caused by Ghanshyam Maharaj. In the trance, Ghanshyam Maharaj said to him, “O muni, in due course of time come to the Gujarat region. There you shall meet me.”
Markanday rishi left Dharmadev’s home with his disciples and arrived at Narayan Sarovar, where Dharmadev came to see them off. Markanday rishi turned to Dharmadev and said, “O Hariprasadji, your son Ghanshyamji is Lord Purna Purushottam of Akshardham and the cause of all manifestations.”
The rishi then went to Meen Sagar to the north where a seat has been constructed. There the rishi stayed one day and night with his disciples and meditated upon Ghanshyam Maharaj. Then the entourage travelled to Ayodhya and on to Prayag Raj (Allahabad) thereafter.
In this way, summoned by Ghanshyam Maharaj via the trance, Markanday rishi arrived in Gujarat after some time and met Shreeji Maharaj at the town of Unjha. He was then initiated with Maha Bhagwati Diksha and renamed Mahanubhavanand Swami by Shreeji Maharaj.
5 Laxmiji Visits her Husband
One day, Bhaktimata was teaching Ghanshyam to walk. She gave her index finger to Ghanshyam to hold, and led him from one side of the forecourt, to the other. Then she led Ghanshyam from the house to the Chhapaiya’s village square. After a short rest there, Bhaktimata led her son back to their home.
Near the home, there was a tamarind tree. As Bhaktimata & Ghanshyam arrived there, Laxmiji appeared with her friends, to have darshan of her husband’s pass-times. The females all sat beneath the tree without anyone noticing them.
Watching Ghanshyam’s childhood acts, Laxmiji sent one of her friends to the house, saying “Sakhi, take the form of a bird and fly over to the door and sit there. Let’s watch what he does.”
The female-turned-bird tried to fly but was not very good at it. She lost height as she was flying over Ghanshyam. Ghanshyam released himself from Bhaktimata and stretched his arm out and caught the bird! As soon as Ghanshyam caught the bird, he lost his balance and fell to the ground, with the bird tightly held in his hand. The bird started to shrill. Flapping her wings and still shrieking, the bird tried to escape.
Seeing this, Bhaktimata got worried. Thinking the bird would peck Ghanshyam and hurt him; she attempted to grab the bird from his hand. Just then, the bird returned back to her normal image and became a lady. Adorning her effulgent body with highly embroidered clothes & ornate jeweller, she stood up. She put her hands together and prayed to the child-form God, “O Maharaj, I became a bird on the say so of Laxmidevi. I must have hurt you with my beak and wings. I am really sorry, please forgive my insolence.”
Hearing the lady’s request, Ghanshyam responded by instructing her, “Go to the Gujarat region. There you will meet me again.”
Laxmiji and her other friends approached Ghanshyam and Bhaktimata and bowed before them both, touching their feet. Ghanshyam said to them all, “You shall all come to the Katthiawad area of Gujarat. You shall all have my presence there.”
Hearing Ghanshyam’s blessings-filled words, Laxmiji and her friends again bowed to Ghanshyam Maharaj, touched his feet and flew off into the air, and vanished towards the heavens.
Bhaktimata was so excited by this event, that she told everyone in Chhapaiya of this event. The village residents were amazed at what they heard, but nevertheless very pleased at what had happened.
Dear reader, are you excited enough by this event to repeat it to others?
6 NarNarayan Dev arrive for Ghanshyam’s Darshan
One day Dharmadev, Bhaktimata & Rampratapji were seated in the living room. A few of Bhaktimata’s friends, including Surjabai & Chandamami, arrived and sat next to Bhaktimata.
Ghanshyam Maharaj was playing before them. Seeing Chandamami, he crawled over to her played with her for a while and went and sat in his mum’s lap. Bhaktimata was so overcome with love for her son that she lifted him and began to breast-feed him.
While feeding Ghanshyam, Bhaktimata held his hand and gazed at the lines on his right palm. As she was engrossed in looking at Ghanshyam’s palm, immense light began to pour out of it. It pervaded all corners of the room. Within this immense light, Badrikashram appeared.
All those present in the room saw the light and Badrikashram within it. They saw Shree NarNarayan Dev, numerous muktas (released souls) & the rushi munis.
NarNarayan Dev gave Dharmadev, Bhaktimata etc. seats of straw, which they all occupied. NarNarayan Dev then bowed to Ghanshyam, still laid in his mother’s lap. NarNarayan Dev placed Ghanshyam on their seat and performed extra-ordinary poojan of him. On completion of the poojan, they served Ghanshyam ripened berries from the Badri tree.
NarNarayan Dev then turned to Dharmadev & Bhaktimata, bowed at their feet and did poojan of them, also.
Ghanshyam Maharaj then addressed NarNarayan Dev, “O NarNarayan Dev, in your Bharatkhand, there is the prominent Gurjar region, within which is the city of Amdavad. I shall make a place for you there, and install your images.” Having said this, Ghanshyam returned to his mother’s lap.
Seeing all this, Dharmadev & Bhaktimata recalled their past and realised they were the actual birth parents of Shree NarNarayan Dev. Just as they were recalling their past, Shree NarNarayan approached them and with folded hands prayed to them, “O Mother! O Father! Purushottam Narayan has appeared at your home, as your son Ghanshyam, HariKrishna. Thus we are fulfilled by his darshan.”
Dharmadev & Bhaktimata were overcome with boundless joy at the sight.
All of a sudden, the light returned back within Ghanshyam’s palm. Witnessing the goings on, Dharmadev, Bhaktimata, Rampratapji, Surjabai & Chandamami saw Ghanshyam’s divinity. They tried to recall it daily.
7 Ghanshyam calls the moon down
One Sharad Poornima evening, Bhaktimata was seated on the well in front of the house. She had Ghanshyam cradled in her lap. The full moon was high in the night sky.
Ghanshyam turned to Bhaktimata, “Didi, I want that moon.”
“Dear Ghanshyam. My darling Ghanshyam. The moon cannot come down here”, taught Bhaktimata.
A little while later, Ghanshyam repeated, “Mother, please call it down.”
“If you have the desire to have it in your hands, you call the moon down yourself”, Bhaktimata replied in frustration.
Ghanshyam lifted his hand and opened and closed his fingers, beckoning the moon to come to him.
Immediately, the moon took human form and came to Ghanshyam accompanied by his 27 wives. He was dressed in all white, wearing a crown on his head and cladded with ornate jewellery.
The wives brought clothes, pots of sandalwood paste and flowered garlands. They dressed Ghanshyam Maharaj while the Moon applied the paste to his forehead. They all garlanded Ghanshyam and completed the poojan ritual.
Having completed the poojan thus, the Moon begged leave and left with his entourage back to the night sky and disappeared into the moon.
Bhaktimata watched all of this with great amazement and told this story to all the residents of Chhapaiya, with great pride. The village residents were very pleased to hear of the event.